Around the IT Industry 9/9-9/13

by Modis on September 13, 2013

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Phonebloks: Modular Customized Smartphones

The trend in the electronics industry lately has been to produce cheap devices which generally do not last more than a few years before needing to be replaced and/or upgraded to newer technologies.  A revolutionary idea has come forth that aims to buck that trend.  That idea is Phonebloks, a modular cell phone system that allows individual components to be upgraded and replaced as needed instead of throwing away an entire device just because one part goes bad.  Users who desire certain features, such as a more powerful camera or larger battery cells, could simply purchase those components and fit them to the universal Phoneblok base.  While still in the development stages, the creators hope that an increase in public awareness will draw investors and developers to the platform in order to make it a reality.

A Look Inside Motorola’s New U.S. Assembly Plant

Motorola has been making waves in tech news lately with their decision to move their assembly operations for the new Moto X smartphone to the United States and now that the plant has opened and begun production, they’re quite proud to share some more details about the operation with the public.  Built inside a former Nokia plant in Texas, the 400,000 sq. ft. factory employs 2,500 American workers and cranks out an impressive 100,000 Moto X smartphones each week to be distributed to the world at large.  While most of the components used in production are still sourced overseas, Motorola intends to bring as much of the operation as possible back to the U.S. over time.

Federal Courts Fearmongering “Open Source” Software

While the vast majority of records kept by the American court system are supposed to be readily available to the public, there exists a system called PACER which charges a fee in order to access these records.  In 2008, Aaron Swartz and a collective of other “hacktivists” created an open source program called “RECAP” in order to bypass the PACER paywall and provide truly free access to these records once and for all.  The program has thus far managed to recover over 2 million such documents from behind PACER’s paywall and continues to do so to this day.  The government, however, sought prosecution against Swartz for supposed violations that were eventually dropped.  That has not stopped the government from warning lawyers about the supposed dangers of RECAP and its open source nature potentially opening doors for cyberattacks, however.

Steam Family Sharing Enters Beta

Steam, a popular cloud-based video gaming service similar to iTunes for gamers, has announced a new service entering beta testing this week called “Family Sharing.”  This feature will allow users to share their Steam gaming library with families and friends much like you would with physical copies of game discs.  While loaned out, the account holder will not have the ability to play the games they have shared (meaning that friends will still need their own copies of games to play multi-player with) but this allows users to loan out games that they no longer play or simply want their friends to test out before committing to purchase themselves.

14nm Intel PC Keeps Moore’s Law Alive

Intel has unveiled a new, smaller CPU based on a 14nm die that rivals the performance of current 22nm technologies with a 30% reduction in power consumption.  Moore’s Law is an observation that states that the number of transistors on integrated circuits will double every 18 months as technology becomes increasingly efficient and Intel developers say that a 7nm chip is already in development, doubling the already impressive output of the 14nm one demonstrated to investors at a keynote speech earlier this week.  While no decisive dates have been named as of yet, new developments in graphene manufacture have given developers a promising future to look forward to.

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