Sharp ends early retirement plan as volunteers abound


Sharp ends early retirement plan as volunteers abound

Japan’s Sharp, struggling with deep losses and searching for a financial savior, has cut short an early retirement program after being flooded with volunteers.

The company said Tuesday that it ended the program after a week, having received 2,960 applicants, about 10 percent of its domestic workforce. The original plan was for the program to run for two weeks and target about 2,000.

The Osaka-based manufacturer, one of the world’s largest makers of LCD panels for TVs and mobile displays, instituted the program as part of its restructuring efforts, which have also included broad salary cuts and mortgaging of key properties. The company forecasts a US$5.6 billion loss this fiscal year.

The job cuts are taking place as Sharp negotiates with major foreign IT companies such as Intel and Hon Hai Precision Industry, the parent company of contract manufacturer Foxconn Electronics. News reports have said it is nearing a deal for a US$500 million investment from Intel, while talks with Hon Hai have stalled after a previous agreement was scuttled earlier this year.

Sharp is slashing costs as it attempts to deal with a major cash crunch. The company has secured emergency loans from its banks, but financing costs have risen since its stock downgraded to junk status by ratings agencies.

While the company is ailing financially, it still possesses cutting edge manufacturing and display technology, as well as some of the largest LCD assembly lines in the world. It is attempting to shift production away from televisions to the booming market for smartphone and tablet displays.

The employees will officially leave the company Dec. 15. Sharp has also moved other employees between its Japan-based factories as it realigns production.

The early retirement plan, announced in August, applies to domestic workers and was to run from Nov. 1 to Nov. 14. The company ended the program Nov. 9.

Sharp said it had 30,800 employees in Japan as of the end of July, with another 32,600 outside Japan.

See also:

Foxconn interest in Sharp shares hints at Apple television
Sharp can’t make iPhone 5 screen fast enough, caused supply issues
Did Apple spend $2.5b bailing out iPhone screen supplier Sharp?

Watch Dogs lead platform is PC confirms Ubisoft


Watch Dogs lead platform is PC confirms Ubisoft

Ubisoft has confirmed that PC is the lead platform for their upcoming open world game Watch Dogs, and all other platforms will be getting a port.

Watch DogsThis is really great news for PC gamers, because Watch Dogs for PC will be better optimized. In a recent interview to InsideGamer, Ubisoft CEO said:

“We expect fewer problems with porting games to the PS4 than the PS3, which had a completely different infrastructure. Previously, we developed games first on the Xbox 360 and then translated them onto the PS3. It took a lot of time and money to port. Now we develop first on the PC and port to all other consoles.”

Watch Dogs is schedule to launch in 2013 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360.

US patent office rejects Microsoft FAT bid


US patent office rejects Microsoft FAT bid

The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has issued a preliminary rejection of two patents key to Microsoft’s control of the FAT file system.

FAT has been in use since the 1970s, and is widely used in removable media such as USB memory sticks and cameras. Microsoft claims it developed FAT in 1976, and was granted a patent on the system in 1996. It began licensing the system to third parties in late 2003 and has signed up several major licensees, including Rockwell International, Creative Technology and Seiko, according to the company.

Pubpat flies 517 challenger

Last spring the Public Patent Foundation (Pubpat), a small New York organisation, launched a challenge to the patent and met with initial success when the USPTO initially rejected Microsoft’s application for patent 5,579,517, known as the ‘517 patent, in September 2004. “The patent office has simply confirmed what we already knew for some time now: Microsoft’s FAT patent is bogus,” said Dan Ravicher, Pubpat’s executive director, in a statement at the time.

The initial rejection meant Microsoft had to submit further materials supporting its claims. This week the USPTO moved a step further along in the process, rejecting the ‘517 patent and another known as the ‘352 patent, both dealing with FAT’s long-filename technology.

The decision still isn’t final, however, and Microsoft said the details of the USPTO’s decision were in its favour. The patents were not rejected on the grounds of prior art, but on what Microsoft characteried as a technicality related to inventorship. Meanwhile the USPTO ruled in Microsoft’s favour on all the prior art issues in question.

Microsoft – everything’s going our way

“The examiner has requested evidence that all six of the named inventors are properly named as inventors on the patent,” Microsoft said in a statement, adding that it’s optimistic the final decision will go in its favour.

The status of FAT may have a significant impact on open-source software such as the GNU/Linux operating system and Samba, which allows other operating systems to communicate with Windows. Open-source leaders say if Microsoft is able to confirm the patent, it could force any software able to read and write FAT to license the technology and pay royalties.

The GPL licence governing Linux and Samba prohibits the inclusion of patented technology that requires royalty payments. That means these technologies wouldn’t be able to, for example, read and write on typical memory cards without licensing add-on software, according to open-source developers.

League of Legends All Stars Chosen | League of Legends


League of Legends All Stars Chosen | League of Legends

The League of Legends All Stars for Europe and North America are chosen, it’s time to get hyped for All Star Week!

We have almost hit the League of Legends Championship Series halfway point, and All Star week is rapidly approaching us all.  The votes have been tallied and our all star representatives have been chosen for both Europe and North America.

In Europe we have sOAZ from Fnatic in top lane, Yellowpete from Evil Geniuses as AD Carry, and all three remaining positions being taken up by the players from Gambit BenQ: Diamondprox, Alex Ich, and EDward.

The North American voting resulted in two players from TSM from being chosen.  Xpecial as Support and Dyrus as Solo Top.  The remaining three slots each go to a different team, one from each of the other top four teams currently in North America.  Saintvicious from Curse as the voted Jungler, Doublelift from Counter Logic Gaming in the AD Carry slot, and Scarra from Team Dignitas as the North American AP Carry.

Remember, the team that wins All Star week will earn an extra slot in the World Championship finals for their region, so get hype!  The best League of Legends players in the world, as voted on by us, are getting ready to rumble!

Al Gore pays $440k for $29.5m Apple shares


Al Gore pays $440k for $29.5m Apple shares

Apple’s stock might have fallen in recent months, but Al Gore still has faith in AAPL. 

The former US vice president, and Apple board member has triggered a share package that was awarded to him by Steve Jobs. 

The award gave him the rights to purchase 59,000 Apple shares for $7.475 each. He exercised the options on 15 January, and was awarded them on Friday, when the stock closed (mysteriously) at exactly $500 a share. 

This means that his investment cost him just $440,000 but was worth around $29.5m that day. 

Gore could sell the shares at any time. 

Apple board member Al Gore revealed details of Steve Jobs’ instructions to Apple staff about how to carry on after his death back in October 2011. Gore detailed Jobs’ insistence that no-one should ask the question ‘What would Steve do?’ after his death, instead telling them to follow their ‘own voice’. “He used to talk initially about how after Walt Disney died, the company always got in trouble about asking ‘what would Walt do in this situation?’. And he made it very clear ‘I don’t want that’. He made it clear to Tim Cook and everyone else ‘Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.'” Gore said.

Related: 

Al Gore: Steve Jobs’ best invention was Apple itself

Al Gore refers to ‘new iPhones’ coming in October

Gore says supercomputing can be killer app in climate change

AAPL plummets to $485.92, lowest level in almost a year

‘Flawed’ WSJ report and alleged ‘stock manipulation’ causes Apple to fall to $500

Have Igor news for you


Have Igor news for you

Noteheads will release version 1.5 of Igor Engraver today. This version is for non-OS X Macs and Windows.

The company has begun work on a Mac OS X port, Petter Terenius, Igor Engraver’s product manager, said: “Mac OS X support is high on our list. We have been able to run Igor Engraver on it as early as April this year, but aren’t there yet on a final application.”

Noteheads is impressed with OS X: “The power of Mac OS X amazes us,” said Terenius, “as soon as we’ve finished porting Engraver to Windows we’ll dig into this matter again,” he revealed.

Igor Engraver 1.5 is a music notation program. It works like a standard word processor, and also understands and transcribes MIDI files. It also knows the ranges and preferred clefs of over 250 instruments. It also knows instrument names and their abbreviations in six different languages, and has a playback feature.

It’s a flexible solution, supporting professional music engraving, printing and editing. Version 1.5 offers a selection of new features, including the ability to suppress empty staves of music, to save space and paper. Pricing for the new version hasn’t been announced at this time.

Tons of New Dark Souls II Details from SDCC 2013


Tons of New Dark Souls II Details from SDCC 2013

Some never heard before details about Dark Souls 2 has arrived on internet all thanks to Reddit user “MkfShard”. He was present at SDCC 2013 and was able to get his hands on playable demo of Dark Souls 2.

Dark Souls 2Here are all the new details (thoughts and observations of user “MkfShard”):

New Mechanics:

  • Every action feels a bit more weighty. You’re committing more to each movement.
  • You’re no longer invincible during any special animation, like opening doors or entering bonfires.
  • Magic has been expanded! Each spell now has a weak and strong attack, and some are even chargeable! Two-handing catalysts also changes the spell somewhat.
  • When you’re targeting someone, you’re no longer restricted to attacking directly at them. This kind of threw me off, as I tried to back up and then heavy attack, but then attacked backwards…
  • Enemies are much smarter. Even normal hollows were rushing me when I tried to heal.
  • The enemies the Mirror Knight summons are weak, easily killable with a single greatsword strong attack. But they distract away from the boss himself, which can get dangerous.
  • There’s a shortcut in the dark basement area where the Turtle Knight is. You need to lure a firebomb hollow to blow up some explosive barrels, while rolling out of the way.

New Spells:

Sorceries:

  • Soul Arrow: Now chargeable!
  • Soul Lance: Seems pretty standard.
  • Soul Sword (Guessed Name): SO COOL!
  • Soul Rain (Guessed Name): Easily the coolest new spell. It shoots a ball of light upwards, before raining down countless Soul Arrows. However, it has an issue with low ceilings…
  • Flame Toss (Guessed Name): One of two fire spells. Seems to fire at an angle, and so it was always hitting walls instead of enemies…
  • Fireball (Guessed Name): A straight shooting fire ball that explodes. The explosion hurts you too, so watch out.

New Miracles:

  • Talisman: The Talisman was very interesting! It looks sort of like a small mace.
  • Regeneration: A prayer-like spell that slowly regenerates your health for a while. I couldn’t find any standard healing on the Temple Knight.
  • Unknown Spell: I couldn’t figure out what this spell did, but the symbol looked like a body with a ring around it. It is chargeable for a very long time, and it gives you a fiery aura.
  • Lightning Burst (Guessed Name): An extremely powerful Miracle that sends out a burst of lightning that crackles over a wide area and hits multiple times. With it, I was able to kill Mr. Turtle in about three hits.
  • Dark Orb (Guessed Name): With very interesting implications, it seems that Dark Magic has been integrated into Miracles! It fires off a small Dark Orb that does moderate damage.

New Items/Item Mechanics:

  • Green Blossom: It returns! However, it takes SO DAMN LONG to eat. Easily about as long as a weapon enchantment. Speaking of which…
  • Aromatic Ooze: Read: Sticky White Stuff. Extra magic weapon damage. Pretty cool.
  • Amber Herb and Twilight Herb: Magic-Use replenishment! I’m assuming that Amber Herb refills one spell, while Twilight Herb refills all of them to full.

Source: Reddit

Mac developers’ sale to raise cash for US children’s charity


Mac developers’ sale to raise cash for US children’s charity

Independent Mac software developers have joined forces to raise funds for a Seattle-based children’s charity, Child’s Play.

Developers from Astoundit Software, Chimp Software, Clickable Bliss, Code Sorcery Workshop, Delicious Monster, Elgebar Studios, Flying Meat, Happy Apps, Houdah Software, Martian Technology, Mere Mortal Software, MK&C, Prosit Software, Red Sweater Software and RQS have got together for the initiative.

Child’s Play raises funds to buy toys and games for US children stuck in hospital during the Christmas period. It has raised over a million dollars for this purpuse since it was founded in 2003.

Proceeds from sales of the various software titles on Thursday 7 December will be donated to the charity.

More information is available here.

Final Packaging of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Limited Edition and New Gray Fox Trailer


Final Packaging of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Limited Edition and New Gray Fox Trailer

Today Konami has finally revealed the final packaging of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Limited Edition (North America). As per the details revealed, MGR Limited Edition will feature steelbook, soundtrack and High Frequency Blade plasma lamp!.

Metal Gear Rising: RevengeanceIn addition to this, GameStop pre-order bonus for the game will also be included i.e an artbook, Gray Fox (Cyborg Ninja) dlc and powerful Fox Blade. Metal Gear Rising: Revengance Limited Edition will carry a price tag of $149.99.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Limited Edition 1

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Limited Edition 2

In addition to this, Konami also released New Gray Fox (Cyborg Ninja) DLC Trailer. We have it below for you take a look.

iPhoto manager posted


iPhoto manager posted

Independent software developer Brian Webster has released iPhoto Library Manager 1.0.

iPhoto is Apple’s Mac OS X-only digital-image-management utility, announced at Macworld Expo, San Francisco. It’s designed to make it easy to import, edit and print digital photos. It can also organize and manage an entire photo collection containing thousands of images.

iPhoto Library Manager 1.0 lets iPhoto users work with multiple photo libraries, or save libraries in locations other than the one it chooses. The utility also lets multiple users share a common photo library, and controls the access permissions of all the files within libraries.

Separate preferences are stored for each library, and the utility is fully AppleScriptable, so scripts can be written to view various libraries, saving the hassle of switching between libraries manually. The utility is available for free download.