Sprint’s first quarter 2014 results show they finally turned a profit

Sprint today released its earnings report for the first fiscal quarter of 2014, detailing a net income of $23 million, the best result in over seven years. The US mobile operator also confirmed that 3G network maintenance was largely complete, while LTE coverage expands to cover approximately 254 million people. Sprint had previously been struggling with new affordable plans to attract custom and forking out for upgrading 4G infrastructure.

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Sony claims Xbox One’s EA Access program doesn’t offer much ‘value’

Sony made a rare critical comment against Microsoft and Electronic Arts, claiming that the just announced EA Access subscription program for the Xbox One would not offer much in the way of value for PlayStation console owners.

http://dlvr.it/6SwWwk

Tank Invaders Review- a blast of a Windows Phone game

Tank Invaders hit the Windows Phone Store last week and made a nice first impression. We took the arcade styled game out for a test drive the past few days and that impression held.

The game has you controlling a battery of missiles that will come in handy to fend off alien invaders from space. Tank Invaders has plenty of action, challenges and power-ups to blast the enemy into orbit.

Available for low-memory devices, Tank Invaders is a blast of a time waster and a fun addition to the Windows Phone line-up.

http://dlvr.it/6SwWpw

A North Korean defector sees his art silenced in China

Look at us, by Sun Mu. The text translates as, “Let us endure hardship with a smile!”

An exhibition of works by a former North Korean propaganda artist was cancelled this week in China, reportedly under orders from the Chinese government. As AFP reports, Beijing’s Yuan Dian gallery was planning to show a collection from Sun Mu, a North Korean defector who uses a pseudonym for fear of retribution from Pyongyang. The month-long exhibition was due to open on July 27th, but according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, Chinese police blocked people from entering the gallery and removed Sun Mu’s paintings just before the opening.

Officials gave no reason for the closing, though China has a long history of censoring both media and art, and…

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How do you feel about Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1?

Microsoft revealed what will be included in Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 earlier this morning and we’re interested to hear your thoughts on features expected to make their way to Windows Phone. We’re talking about Live Folders, Xbox Music improvements, Apps Corner and more.

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NOW TV brings on-demand content to your Xbox One

Sky has announced on the official NOW TV blog that support for its online service on the Xbox One console has been rolled out. Not only is Microsoft’s console the home of gaming entertainment with Xbox Live, but there’s also sweet integration with set-top boxes, services and more to really get the most out of interactive content and transform any TV into a media hub. We can now add NOW TV to the list of supported content providers.

http://dlvr.it/6Sv1Yy

Chinese smartphone makers are eating away at Samsung Galaxy sales

In a smartphone market that grew by 23 percent over the past year, Samsung has somehow managed to ship fewer phones. The vast Korean conglomerate is still the distant leader in terms of shipments — sending out more than 74 million handsets over the past three months — but its lead has been eroded by a rising tide of low-cost Chinese smartphone makers, according to the latest figures from IDC. Huawei is the standout from that group, recording a 95 percent increase in global shipments and sliding into third place behind Samsung and Apple. It’s followed by Lenovo in fourth, but the more daunting thing for established brands like Samsung is the sheer number of upstart Chinese manufacturers capable of stealing away sales with lower prices.

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Sony claims EA’s Xbox One subscription service isn’t ‘good value’

Electronic Arts surprised gamers with a subscription service for Xbox One yesterday, but Sony is less than impressed with the offering. EA Access lets Xbox One owners play titles like FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4 for just $4.99 a month, or $29.99 per year. Despite what seems like a good deal, with more games coming soon, Sony claims the program is not good value for PlayStation 4 owners. “We evaluated the EA Access subscription offering and decided that it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect,” a Sony spokesperson told Game Informer. “We don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer.”

S…

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Facebook Beta gets updated with minor improvements

"It seems faster" doesn’t quite cut it for every update that hits the store with no change log. This includes Facebook Beta, which has just been bumped to version 8.3.0.5 (up from 8.3.0.4). Unfortunately, Microsoft has failed to provide a list of changes included in the release an thus we’re not entirely sure what’s actually new with this update. That said, it’s available for download.

http://dlvr.it/6StCr0

Xbox One to make its Chinese debut on September 23

While details regarding the Xbox One launch have been trickling out over the last few weeks, what was missing was an official launch date from Microsoft. We have that today as Yusuf Mehdi, head of marketing and strategy for Microsoft’s Xbox division, stated that the console will be launching in China on September 23.

http://dlvr.it/6StCnk

How one journalist accidentally turned fiction into fact

The Daily Dot’s EJ Dickson told a lie on the Internet, and it went on to be repeated by dozens of people and publications. The article opens with an explanation about how the writer and her best friend had embellished a Wikipedia entry about a well-known children’s book character named Amelia Bedelia. “We were stoned out of our minds,” she writes. The two had quietly added a remark about how Bedelia was inspired by a maid with a large hat collection. The Internet didn’t question it. Dickson goes on to explore the hilarious results of her actions, and how easily such hoaxes can propagate in Wikipedia’s fertile pages.

Continue reading… http://dlvr.it/6St7wr

What do you think of China’s Xiao Na?

Microsoft just announced the availability of Cortana in China and the United Kingdom. In China, Cortana will be going by the nickname Xiao Na. Not only is the name different in China, but Cortana looks different and has been given a pair of eyes. This is in order to serve the Chinese culture. We think Xiao Na looks pretty great and want to ask you the same. Take our poll and share your thoughts on Xiao Na.

http://dlvr.it/6SsSyn

Yet Another Man With a Gun Just Murdered His Wife and Children:  In Saco, Maine on Saturday night, 33-year-old Joel Smith used a pump-action shotgun to kill his 35-year-old wife, Heather Smith, his 12-year-old stepson, and the couple’s two biological children, a 7-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, before turning the gun on himself. The horrific scene was discovered on Sunday morning after a concerned family friend called the apartment complex where the Smith family lived and asked a maintenance worker to check on them. In a statement to the media, a Maine State Police official called the mass shooting “one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine’s history.” 

As we reported in the wake of a mass shooting in Texas earlier this month, domestic violence and guns are a frightening combination: A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than fivefold if he has access to a gun. And most fatal violence between intimate partners across the United States involves firearms. (Here are just a few examples from the past few months.) A photo of Heather Smith, left, and her sons from one of her Facebook albums Facebook  

The night before the shooting, Heather Smith told a friend that her husband had threatened suicide earlier in the week, pointing a gun to his head, according to the Portland Press Herald. Joel Smith’s mother, Jerys Thorpe, told the Herald that she’d long been trying to get her son to see a therapist for his depression. “His mind was just gone, he had to be,” she said, regarding the murder-suicide. Research shows a strong correlation between suicidal thoughts and deadly domestic violence. As Maine Attorney General Janet Mills put it in a statement on Monday: “Recognizing the signs of abuse—and acting upon them—is key to preventing future tragedies like this.” 

Police investigators also said that the couple had been struggling with “domestic issues,” including financial problems, but that they were aware of no protective court orders or history of abuse regarding the couple, who moved to Maine from Arizona about three years ago. But even if there had been such a history with the legal system, it’s likely that Smith still would have been able to possess a gun, because state and federal laws generally do a poor job of keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers. Most state laws overlook various groups of men who potentially pose a threat, including misdemeanant stalkers, abusive dating partners, and subjects of temporary restraining orders. And Maine is no exception—its laws are among the more lax, as this chart shows: 

Moreover, data suggests that states with weaker gun laws regarding domestic abusers see more murders among intimate partners involving guns. 

Three federal bills aimed at addressing these problems—opposed by the National Rifle Association—are currently stalled in Congress. But a handful of states have passed tougher laws this year, in part due to lobbying by groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, and the issue may now be rising on Washington’s radar: On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds its first-ever hearing on domestic violence and guns. http://dlvr.it/6SsSyX

Yet Another Man With a Gun Just Murdered His Wife and Children: In Saco, Maine on Saturday night, 33-year-old Joel Smith used a pump-action shotgun to kill his 35-year-old wife, Heather Smith, his 12-year-old stepson, and the couple’s two biological children, a 7-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, before turning the gun on himself. The horrific scene was discovered on Sunday morning after a concerned family friend called the apartment complex where the Smith family lived and asked a maintenance worker to check on them. In a statement to the media, a Maine State Police official called the mass shooting “one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine’s history.”

As we reported in the wake of a mass shooting in Texas earlier this month, domestic violence and guns are a frightening combination: A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than fivefold if he has access to a gun. And most fatal violence between intimate partners across the United States involves firearms. (Here are just a few examples from the past few months.) A photo of Heather Smith, left, and her sons from one of her Facebook albums Facebook

The night before the shooting, Heather Smith told a friend that her husband had threatened suicide earlier in the week, pointing a gun to his head, according to the Portland Press Herald. Joel Smith’s mother, Jerys Thorpe, told the Herald that she’d long been trying to get her son to see a therapist for his depression. “His mind was just gone, he had to be,” she said, regarding the murder-suicide. Research shows a strong correlation between suicidal thoughts and deadly domestic violence. As Maine Attorney General Janet Mills put it in a statement on Monday: “Recognizing the signs of abuse—and acting upon them—is key to preventing future tragedies like this.”

Police investigators also said that the couple had been struggling with “domestic issues,” including financial problems, but that they were aware of no protective court orders or history of abuse regarding the couple, who moved to Maine from Arizona about three years ago. But even if there had been such a history with the legal system, it’s likely that Smith still would have been able to possess a gun, because state and federal laws generally do a poor job of keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers. Most state laws overlook various groups of men who potentially pose a threat, including misdemeanant stalkers, abusive dating partners, and subjects of temporary restraining orders. And Maine is no exception—its laws are among the more lax, as this chart shows:

Moreover, data suggests that states with weaker gun laws regarding domestic abusers see more murders among intimate partners involving guns.

Three federal bills aimed at addressing these problems—opposed by the National Rifle Association—are currently stalled in Congress. But a handful of states have passed tougher laws this year, in part due to lobbying by groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, and the issue may now be rising on Washington’s radar: On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds its first-ever hearing on domestic violence and guns. http://dlvr.it/6SsSyX

Leaked Docs: How a Secret FreedomWorks Donor Sought a Return on Its “Investments”:  For five years, FreedomWorks has proclaimed itself a leading tea party group fueling the conservative grassroots and fighting establishment Republicans. The organization touts its small-dollar donations from everyday activists, but it also has received substantial funding from corporate donors and one-percenters, most notably Richard Stephenson, a FreedomWorks board member who founded the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Documents obtained by Mother Jones—including emails, financial records, and fundraising pitches—show that CTCA, in addition to Stephenson, gave money to FreedomWorks, and that Stephenson’s son, Shawn, a Switzerland-based businessman, had a central role in overseeing the Stephenson family’s support of FreedomWorks. The goal, Shawn Stephenson noted in a September 2010 email, was “creating a tsunami of change directed at DC that is and will be historic.” But the documents also reveal that the Stephensons and CTCA expected real returns for the money they pumped into FreedomWorks. 

In numerous emails, CTCA officials said they anticipated their FreedomWorks donations would produce tangible benefits for the company. For example, they hoped that FreedomWorks would help CTCA hone its online marketing and outreach skills. (CTCA is a privately held chain of hospitals that treats advanced-stage cancer patients. It reaches new customers largely via TV commercials and digital advertising.) As Shawn Stephenson put it in 2010, “I know there will be benefits that all of CTCA will gain through the work that Freedomworks is pursuing.” 

A spokeswoman for CTCA declined to comment for this story. FreedomWorks and Shawn Stephenson did not respond to detailed requests for comment. 

Continue Reading » http://dlvr.it/6SsSxh

Leaked Docs: How a Secret FreedomWorks Donor Sought a Return on Its “Investments”: For five years, FreedomWorks has proclaimed itself a leading tea party group fueling the conservative grassroots and fighting establishment Republicans. The organization touts its small-dollar donations from everyday activists, but it also has received substantial funding from corporate donors and one-percenters, most notably Richard Stephenson, a FreedomWorks board member who founded the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Documents obtained by Mother Jones—including emails, financial records, and fundraising pitches—show that CTCA, in addition to Stephenson, gave money to FreedomWorks, and that Stephenson’s son, Shawn, a Switzerland-based businessman, had a central role in overseeing the Stephenson family’s support of FreedomWorks. The goal, Shawn Stephenson noted in a September 2010 email, was “creating a tsunami of change directed at DC that is and will be historic.” But the documents also reveal that the Stephensons and CTCA expected real returns for the money they pumped into FreedomWorks.

In numerous emails, CTCA officials said they anticipated their FreedomWorks donations would produce tangible benefits for the company. For example, they hoped that FreedomWorks would help CTCA hone its online marketing and outreach skills. (CTCA is a privately held chain of hospitals that treats advanced-stage cancer patients. It reaches new customers largely via TV commercials and digital advertising.) As Shawn Stephenson put it in 2010, “I know there will be benefits that all of CTCA will gain through the work that Freedomworks is pursuing.”

A spokeswoman for CTCA declined to comment for this story. FreedomWorks and Shawn Stephenson did not respond to detailed requests for comment.

Continue Reading » http://dlvr.it/6SsSxh

Cortana can now tell you how old Bill Gates is, find your location and more

Microsoft is firing all cylinders in the engine that drives Cortana. It was just announced that China and the United Kingdom would be getting Cortana shortly. Cortana also just entered alpha status for India, Australia (hello mates) and Canada. Now we’re seeing some other changes with Cortana. Users are now seeing more answers returned à la Google Now.

http://dlvr.it/6SqyC9