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Nicholas DiMeo

Nicholas DiMeo

Former Segment Host

Current Host

Current UpStream Contributor

Current Product Reviewer

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With over ten years of audio engineering experience, Nick's addition to PLuGHiTz Corporation is best served when he is behind the mixing board every Sunday night to produce the audio side of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Piltch Point and PLuGHiTz Live Night Cap. While mixing live every week, his previous radio show hosting experience gives him the ability to co-host as well, giving each show a unique flare with his slightly off-center, yet still realistic take on all things tech. An integral part of the show, you can find Nick always enveloped in coming up with new (and sometimes crazy) ideas and content for the show and you can always expect the most direct opinion on the stories that he feels need to be shared with the world. During the few hours where Nick isn't sleeping or working on ways to improve the company, he spends his free time going to hockey and football games and playing the latest titles on Xbox 360. Email him for his gamertag and add him today for a fun escape from the normal monotony and annoyance that the Xbox LIVE gaming community can sometimes be!

Recent UpStream Articles

Crackdown 3 Shows Off Power of Azure, Only Limited by ISP

posted Sunday Aug 16, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

<i>Crackdown 3</i> Shows Off Power of Azure, Only Limited by ISP

As we fully move into current-gen gaming on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, we're finally starting to see the consoles pushed more and more. For the Xbox One, the Azure cloud was supposed to make playing games more immersive and dynamic, however fans seemed to hate innovation when this feature set was announced back at E3 2013. Because of this, many games pulled back on using cloud services to improve gaming experiences, however some first-party titles were still taking advantage of the superior performance. This week, Reagent Games stamped their approval on cloud-backed gaming as well, saying that Crackdown 3 will be so intense, your only bottleneck will be your Internet service provider.

In an interview, Microsoft Studios' GM Shannon Loftis said that the power of the cloud is real. Crackdown 3 will take full advantage of it with the game's multiplayer destruction, and the servers that host the 100% destructable cities can scale up and down, using more server power when needed. The only thing Microsoft and Reagent can't guarantee, however, is the connection between you and your ISP, which may limit how much chaos you will witness while playing.

We can ensure that what leaves the data center is in a particular state, but not what happens between then and when it gets to people's houses. There's code on the client side that ensures that all the instances stay synced and that you're seeing what I see and that it all runs smoothly.

It's worth mentioning here that the studio is saying that you will be affected; it's just saying that it might be a problem if you have a much slower connection than your peers in-game. Considering the fact that at Gamescom, we saw Crackdown 3 in all its glory leveraging the cloud, the game has already proven that it drives the Xbox One into being an insanely powerful console. Maybe this will be the game that finally pushes developers back to harnassing the tools that Microsoft gave them to really make this generation of consoles mean something.

read more...

Over $100 Million Made from Hacking 150k Press Releases

posted Sunday Aug 16, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Over $100 Million Made from Hacking 150k Press Releases

Classify this one as next-level insider trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a statement that says hackers out of the Ukraine hacked databases containing press releases that weren't released yet in order to use the information to make over $100 million on the stock market.

The SEC says that the hackers would secretly access the press releases and share the info they found with stock traders across the globe for a cut of their earnings on said information. The US government has arrested five suspects so far and has filed charges on 32 other people based on these findings.

Two particular gentlemen, Ivan Turchynov and Oleksandr Ieremenko, were allegedly behind the entire operation, according to the SEC. The agency says that these two worked their way into Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire, three of the biggest news wire services. The hackers would then grab embargoed press releases and send them to businesses and investors. The SEC says over 150,000 pressers were stolen but would not say how long this was going on for.

The thieves aren't the only ones involved in this elaborate setup. Traders were actually sending the men lists of companies and press releases to go after, but only after they were sold on the idea. There was even a video made about how the traders could get access to the information.

SEC's Director for the Division of Enforcement, Andrew Ceresney, said,

This cyber hacking scheme is one of the most intricate and sophisticated trading rings that we have ever seen, spanning the globe and involving dozens of individuals and entities.

In all, 14 businesses and 16 stock investors have had civil charges filed against them. Seven other people, along with Ieremenko and Turchynov are looking at criminal charges. The SEC said they have already been granted the order to freeze any and all bank accounts and assets related to the crime.

read more...

Columbia House Files for Bankruptcy

posted Sunday Aug 16, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

You remember Columbia House, right? You know, the website and mail-order service where you could get 13 records, tapes, CDs or DVDs for JUST $1? As a kid, I thought this was the coolest and best deal ever, and I remember seeing those commercials on TV, in the mail and online for as far back as I can remember. And even though some of their marketing tactics were downright shady, it pains me to report that another nostalgic company has fallen.

Columbia House, which is now owned by Filmed Entertainment, Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection this week. The company has acknowledged that it can no longer compete in selling CDs and DVDs with the advent of digital music. It seems like that statement could have been made about 5 years ago with the same impact.

This decline is directly attributable to a confluence of market factors that substantially altered the manner in which consumers purchase and listen to music, as well as the way consumers purchase and watch movies and television series at home.

In its hey-day, Columbia House brought in $1.4 billion. That was in 1996. Since then it's been a spiral downward, with the company only making $17 million last year. How anybody was still paying them money is beyond me, but here we are. Even crazier, the company stopped selling CDs in 2010 and was completely outsourcing its DVD distribution until this announcement.

It's crazy to think how such a shady company stayed in business for so long, and that only the change in technology led to its closure. I can't tell you how many horror stories I've seen over the years of young adults getting suckered into the long-term commitments to Columbia House with no way out. While I wasn't one that fell for the 12 CDs for a penny or a dollar or whatever, I did fall victim to similar scams at the time with other companies. So while it's weird to see another 90s brand crumble, this one is oddly satisfying.

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Microsoft Extends NFL Partnership to Include New Surfaces and a New App

posted Sunday Aug 16, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Extends NFL Partnership to Include New Surfaces and a New App

The NFL and Microsoft have had a bit of a tumultuous partnership. A couple of years ago, the full push behind Microsoft's Surface as the technology that powered on-field devices ended up with announcers calling them iPads. This led to Microsoft issuing a statement and demanding all personnel know what the computers were actually called. This seemed to have fixed the problem, with NFL teams adopting more and more Microsoft technology, and even venturing into the virtual reality world. Now, the partnership between the National Football League and the team behind Windows has been extended even further, with new things coming for the fan, player and coach.

Fans of the NFL who are using Windows devices will benefit from having a new app for the Xbox One and Windows 10 that will feature improved video playback, new stats and an added fantasy football tracker. The NFL app on the Xbox One was badly missing a fluid user interface and not many people used it as it was reported that the app would freeze and crash on occasion. And with fantasy football becoming more and more popular, being able to snap a tracker on your Xbox seems like a perfect match for those watching football through their TV input on the console. Adding it to other Windows 10 devices gives customers the ability to check out all the content while away from home.

Added to the app will be a new feature called Next Gen Stats. The NFL has added sensors into player equipment that will provide really cool stats like the distance a player has traveled throughout a game or play, how fast they were going and even replays that feature player movements combined with those stats.

Next Gen Stats have opened up a new game for NFL fans to play, called NGS Pick'em. This new quick-hit game lets Xbox users pick players who they think will perform well in a game and will award them prizes for picking the right ones. The winners will be picked weekly, with one winner for the entire season getting tickets to Super Bowl 50. Microsoft has said all these features will be identical on the Windows 10 app as well, naturally.

For coaches and players, Microsoft has supplied them with an abundance of new Surface Pro 3 tablets. Players have fallen in love with the older Surface Pro 2s, as it gave them next to real-time feedback on their last plays and current performance on the field. Coaches were using the computers over printing each and every play from the 12 angles they have access to and instead were swiping, zooming and drawing right on the screen. Referees will get to join in on the tech fun, too, as they will continue to use a Surface for all replay reviews under the hood.

Lastly, Microsoft has made sure that nobody will forget what these devices are called ever again. Instead of just putting the Microsoft logo or the word on the back of the Surfaces, each and every one will have the word Surface labeled on the back of the special housing, in big, bold white lettering. This way, the only people who will misname them again will be those with a secret anti-Surface agenda.

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Appeals Court Upholds Microsoft's Win Over Motorola

posted Sunday Aug 2, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Appeals Court Upholds Microsoft's Win Over Motorola

If you've been following the Microsoft-Motorola saga over the past few years, you'll know that the two companies have been feuding over royalty payments since 2012. The fighting has been so intense that Samsung decided to jump into the fray, only to end up settling out of court. Motorola, however, tried to set up injunctions and stop sales of the Xbox 360 in 2013. The case has been ongoing, with the ITC stomping on the injunction. Now, an appeals court has upheld the initial ruling of Microsoft's royalty victory and Motorola must pay up.

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has agreed with the decision to have Motorola pay Microsoft $14.5 million for violating license agreement in relation to patents the company were using over the past five years. This finally puts Motorola in the losing position of the half-decade lawsuit, and will require all handset and tablet manufacturers using Android as their operating system to pay Microsoft royalties for use of their patents.

From the ruling,

With the parties' consent, the district court conducted a lengthy, thorough bench trial on the RAND rate and range. The court analyzed that evidence in its exhaustive findings of fact and conclusions of law, in a manner consistent with the Federal Circuit's recent approach to establishing damages in the RAND context. The court's factual findings were properly admitted at the jury trial. The jury's verdict was supported by substantial evidence, and its damages award

was proper. The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

That's about as emphatic as it gets. The key here is that no judge before the one presiding over the case had ever ruled on what was a "fair and reasonable" basis of use for patents regarding smartphones and tablets. Well, the judge here determined that the rate of use can be pretty low, and would still fall under that clause. This sets a precedent moving forward that other companies will have to abide by. Plus, it keeps in place the funny and ironic notion surrounding the ordeal that Microsoft gets paid for each use of Android.

read more...

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