Archive for July, 2012

Having far outstripped its original Kickstarter funding goal of $995,000, Android-based video game console Ouya has already earned a place in the annals of crowdfunding history. But the real challenge for the Ouya team will begin when the $99 machine hits the market next year, for their ultimate goal is building a great console. While the possibility of Ouya foundering under the weight of all this hype can not be ruled out, prenatal celebrity has its fair share of advantages too.

It is due to this hype that the Ouya team has managed to attract game streaming service OnLive to their platform. OnLive announced the availability of its cloud gaming service on Ouya in a blog post Friday. According to the announcement, the service will be available on the hacker-friendly console at launch.

“OnLive will deliver a full console-class experience, bringing hundreds of top-tier games from more than 80 publishers to the OUYA console for play on demand,” wrote OnLive General Manager Bruce Grove.

“Instant demos will be available for nearly every game in our ever-growing library-from eagerly anticipated indie titles like Ravaged, to hot blockbusters like the upcoming Darksiders® II. Players can experience up to 30 minutes of each game for free before deciding what to buy. If they like it, they can continue playing where the demo left off.”

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IP telephony adoption has progressed slowly for more than a decade, but with hosted voice vendors now offering modular consumption models and shifting away from simply viewing hosted voice as a way to sell broader unified communications (UC) solutions, organizations can now pursue IP telephony services as a highly scalable stand-alone service.

Vidyo has announced it will offer a free interconnectivity service to support multi-vendor, business-quality videoconferencing for multi-party or point-to-point meetings. The new service is called "VidyoWay" and it will connect room systems like those provided by Cisco/Tandberg, Polycom and LifeSize to Microsoft Lync clients, mobile devices and telephones.

The industry-wide move to the 28nm manufacturing process has been slowed by the 28nm manufacturing struggles suffered by TSMC and other for-hire chip fabricators. Poor 28nm yields have adversely affected product availability for several of TSMC’s partners, to the point that Nvidia and Qualcomm were rumored to be threatening to take their business elsewhere. Those dark days may be (mostly) behind, however, as TSMC’s 28nm production skyrocketed in the second quarter.

Xbit Labs listened to TSMC’s conference call and dug through the company’s financial data, then reported that the fab’s 28nm output jumped by a whopping 70 percent last quarter. That’s admirable, but still not anywhere near as much 28nm production as TSMC’s customers are looking for. Fortunately, TSMC execs ensured investors that the company expects its 28nm shipments to double in the upcoming quarter en route to picking up steam and fully meeting OEM demand in the first quarter of 2013.

Image credit: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

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Ever since Skype updated its network to transfer the supernodes that power the service away from a P2P system and onto secure, Skype-run data servers, rumors have run rampant that the update occurred solely to make Skype more amicable to government wiretapping requests. Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a story claiming that Skype recently expanded its cooperation with authorities, and the architecture changes let the company provide more chat and user info to feds. Last evening, Skype officially responded to the various allegations in a blog post by COO Mark Gillett. In a nutshell, Gillett says the rumors are nuts.

“It has been suggested that Skype made changes in its architecture at the behest of Microsoft in order to provide law enforcement with greater access to our users’ communications,” Gillett wrote. “False.” Nor, Gillett claims, did Skype change its policy for cooperating with government information requests, stop encrypting Skype communications, or start recording users’ audio and video calls. (Given the nature of the service, it isn’t even technically possible for Skype to record calls.)

Skype’s supernode changes were simply to improve service performance and were set in motion long before Microsoft bought the company, Gillett explains. As far as the Washington Post’s claim that the update allows Skype to provide IM details to law enforcement, Gillett says the following:

In order to provide for the delivery and synchronization of instant messages across multiple devices, and in order to manage the delivery of messages between clients situated behind some firewalls which prevent direct connections between clients, some messages are stored temporarily on our (Skype/Microsoft) servers for immediate or later delivery to a user.

Skype has employees whose sole purpose is handling legal requests for information, however, and Gillett stresses that the temporary IM data stored on Skype’s servers will only be given to authorities if Skype finds the request to be both “legally required and technically feasible.” Skype’s privacy policy has always stated as such — and it’s right in line with that of pretty much every service provider around the world.

The message from Skype seems exceptionally clear-cut and straightforward, especially in a world of PR speak and corporate communications that are full of words, but really say nothing. Do Gillett’s comments comfort your Skype communication worries?

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