Facebook is Going Public, and is Going Down?

Reports say that everyone’s favorite social network: Facebook will go public sometime next week. The company has been valued at $100 billion, the largest IPO (Initial Public Offering) in history by a long shot. In comparison, Google was valued at $1.9 billion when the company first went public. Shares will reportedly go for between $35 and $40. With Mark Zuckerberg having 24 percent of the company’s shares his wealth will rise up to a staggering $24 billion making him tied for the 14th wealthiest person in the world.

Speculations have run that major changes to the way Facebook would handles advertisement would come with the company going public in order to satisfy the future shareholders. This is just speculation though and nothing is certain. The company grossed $714 million in the first three quarters of 2011, so they are certainly bringing in the big ones with their current system.

On a related note, internet hacker collective Anonymous released a video today saying that their next target to bring down is Facebook. Their reason is that they claim that Facebook was not quick enough to oppose the controversial SOPA and PIPA bills, and also that they want to show the world what a restricted internet would look like shining a light on other bills, such as ACTA, that is still threatening the freedom of the internet. According to a semi-official Anon twitter account, the video uploaded to YouTube is a fake and that they are not planning to take aim at Facebook. I guess only time will tell which of the two stories is true.

What do you think of Facebook going public? Do you think that anything will change on the site in order to satisfy shareholders? Also, do you think Anonymous threat is empty, or will we have a Facebook-free day tomorrow? Let me know in the comments below.

Sony Sweetens the Vita Deal

Just when I have written a post about why I will not buy a Playstation Vita, Sony announces new Vita bundles that are quite attractive if I may say so myself. Everyone that already have preordered the First Edition Bundle for $349.99 will, in addition to a 3G/WiFi enabled PSVita console, the 4Gb memory card, the game Little Deviants, and the limited edition carrying case, receive a 250Mb data packet from AT&T as well as a downloadable game from the Playstation Network. Users who plan on picking up a 3G/WiFI enabled Vita on the regular February 22nd launch date can frolic in an 8Gb memory card, a free PSN game, and the same 250Mb data packet from AT&T. All for a mere 300 bucks.

Will this make you feel better about the Playstation Vita? Will this sway you to buy the more expensive 3G/WiFi version over the WiFi only version? Let me know in the comments below.

Nintendo Will Not Be Responsible For Your Credit Card Information

Some new details about Nintendo’s upcoming sequel to their Wii gaming console has come out. Apparently the Wii U controller will feature NFC, which stands for Near Field Communication. What this feature does is that it enables communication with other NFC equipped gadgets, such as your smart phone, for safe and easy money transactions via services like Google Wallet. This would barr Nintendo from having any sensitive information stored in their network, and thus would not be subject to any scandal much like the Playstation Network suffered last year when millions of users’ personal information were stolen by hackers. This may be a very good route for Nintendo to take, especially since gaming consoles have been quite vulnerable to hacking as of late.

What do you think of this new service implemented by Nintendo? Is it a good move? Let me know in the comments below.

Mac vs. PC – My Two Cents

Ever since I started using computers I have worked with PCs. My dad was (and still is) strictly against anything Apple, mainly because he feels as if they over charge and do not let the user upgrade their product easily on their own. Which is a very fair argument in many ways. The consumer generally pays a lot more for an Apple product than for a Windows PC, and for what really? A different operative system and a hipstamatic form factor? And the fact that it is quite hard to upgrade anything you buy from Apple is a big downfall in my eyes. Sure, you can put in more ram or upgrade the harddrive on your Mac, but you tend to pay a lot more for the parts needed than you would if you wanted to upgrade a PC. Also, it’s a fact that you can’t upgrade any other Apple product, such as the iPhone, iPad, or iPod with more memory should you need it. Where most other phones, tablets and Mp3 players have the option to cram in an SD card, Apple’s products do not.

My main problem with Macs has always been the fact that I had never worked with one and thus I felt very out of my element the minute I sat down in front of one. The change for me came after I had had enough of dealing with poorly built PCs. My first laptop was an Acer, I had nothing but trouble with it and after about a year and a half the screen completely crapped out on me. It would cost too much to repair it for it to be worth it so I decided to buy me a completely new laptop instead. I bought an HP with great specs for a fair price, and I experienced the true definition of ‘you get what you pay for’. Within a few months of using the computer I had to send it into HP to have it fixed because it would not turn on. They exchanged the motherboard and I got it back. A few months later the exact same problem happened, and I sent it in again. I had to send it in once more before my warranty ran out, and the minute it did, the part that holds the screen to the rest of the computer cracked so that the screen would not stay upright on its own. That’s when I decided that I had had enough. I was not going to gamble on another crappily built PC again, so I skimped out the money to buy me a MacBook Pro.

Like I said earlier, I had never used a Mac extensively before, so I was naturally very lost in the beginning. However, I very quickly found out just how user friendly Mac OSx is and within a few days I felt right at home. I was actually very happy with my MacBook, I did not have any problems whatsoever for a long time. But I have had some problems recently. The main thing is that my Mac is not very keen on Flash, in fact I think my Mac hates Flash more than anything in the world. Regardless of which browser I use (I’ve tried them all), and regardless of how many times I reinstall Flash I still have a lot of trouble playing Flash-based web videos. Sometimes they don’t play at all, sometimes they are just laggy as hell, and about once a week the Flash plug-in crashes all together. The other problem I have had is that my hard drive crashed on me a few weeks back. I was devastated at first, and 7pm at night I rushed to the nearest Apple store to try and resolve the problem.

This is where I truly found the true beauty of Apple’s products. Granted I had bought the extended warranty for my computer, but regardless I was treated with the best costumer service I have ever experienced. When I was having trouble with my HP I had to be on hold with “Jason” from Tennessee (that sounded a lot more like Manoj from New Dehli than Jason from Tennessee) for several hours and got the “have you tried to turn it off and back on again” – standard script of any tech support. It was so different dealing with Apple though, I walked into the store, told them my problem, had to wait for about 10 minutes before they had a tech support person available to help me, and then they took care of everything. They even managed to boot my harddrive up via their system so that I could save most of my data. They then took my computer in and changed the hard drive over night. It was literally done at 9 am the next morning. Like I said, it was the best costumer service I have ever experienced. If I remember correctly the whole thing would have cost me about $200-300 if I wouldn’t have had the extended warranty, and I believe that was about what I paid for the extension, so I already made up for that decision.

I don’t know whether Macs are actually better built than PCs, all I can speak of is my own experience and I sure have had less problems with my current MacBook than with any PC I have ever owned before this. But it doesn’t really matter in the end because what matters to me, and what the reason is that I would buy another Apple computer again in a heart beat, is their vastly superior costumer service. That alone is literally worth paying a few extra hundred dollars for.

Do you agree? Have you had any bad customer service experiences with Apple, or any other company for that matter? Let me know in the comments below!

NASA Releases “Blue Marble 2012” UPDATED w/ 1280×800 Desktop Background

When the original Blue Marble image was released in 1979, society’s view of the earth was forever changed. Today NASA released a updated HD version of the image taken by NASA’s newly launched satellite Suomi NPP, and it is quite spectacular. A small note is that the 2002 version of the Blue Marble image is what Apple uses as the default background image on their iPhones.

[Image Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring]

If you want a version of the picture as a 1280×800 desktop background you can click the image below, then right click, and save as.

[Image Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring]

The original image is 8000×8000 pixels and can be viewed in its entirety by clicking the link below.

View a huge version of the picture by clicking here.

Xbox 720 Specs Leaked

Image: Joseph Dumary

Gaming site Kotaku and technology site Engadget reported on rumors today on the upcoming sequel to the very successful Xbox 360. One quite startling piece of information said that the upcoming system will not be able to play used games. How they would be able to pull this off was not clear, but it is widely known that the gaming companies have been in uproar since they do not receive any revenue on games that are resold. This is quite the bitch move by Microsoft if true, and something I hope won’t come to be true.

Some more specs rumored to be included in the next Xbox console is a GPU based on AMD’s 6000 series, bumping up the power six times the 360. It is also said to be about 20% more powerful than the soon-to-be-released Nintendo Wii U. I’m not entirely sure how those two numbers go together since the specs of the Wii U is said to only be slightly higher than the 360’s. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

Other rumors were the inclusion of a Blu-ray player, finally getting the Xbox brand’s storage capacity up to speed with the Playstation. However, this may be shown to become a moot point since bigger and better games requires bigger and better storage capacity. So if Blu-ray is the next generation’s DVD, Microsoft will once again fall behind.

Of course the console will be sold together with a new iteration of Microsoft’s huge success Kinect, bringing motion gaming forward into yet another generation of gaming consoles.

The machine is said to be released late 2013 or early 2014.

What do you think the next Xbox will include? What is your thoughts on taking away the ability to play used games? Let me know in the comments below.

Why I Will Not Buy a Playstation Vita

In December of 2011 I graduated from college with a degree in Biology. I worked very hard throughout my whole college education and received great grades. For me, as with most graduates, that one day came with a certain amount of cash gifts, and since I had not really bought myself anything tech-related since I bought my PS3 back in 2007 I decided to buy me something shiny.

I debated what I should buy, my first thought was a tablet, but I eventually decided against it since I want to wait until I can truly replace my laptop with a tablet instead of lugging around two things all the time. My second thought was a cell phone as my Nokia N97 is one of the worst buys I have ever made, I eventually decided against that as well since I wish to wait until the next generation of quad core phones starts rolling out. Finally I had my mind set, I was going to buy me Sony’s new handheld gaming console: the Playstation Vita once it has its U.S. release on February 22nd 2012. I enjoy playing videogames a lot, and with a new found internship in a lab that will provide me with hours of down time a day I figured it would be the perfect self-gift. I read up on the Vita, made plans for when to get it and what to get with it, and I was really excited about the coming purchase. Then one day last week I read an article on gaming site Kotaku that completely changed my mind.

Anyone that follows up with gaming and tech news have probably heard about the many complaints that the Vita already has. The unstable and glitchy OS, the outrageously expensive mandatory memory cards, and the very bad team-up with AT&T for the 3G version. However, it was none of that that actually made me decide not to get one, I was very willing to look past all of those flaws in order to have full games with HD graphics in the palm of my hand. The reason I decided not to buy a Playstation Vita was the article I read on the Vita’s sales figures in Japan. The machine started off great and sold over 300,000 exemplars in the first week of its release, but that’s when it stopped. The week after that the numbers were down to a mere 40,000, and the weeks following were even worse. The article specifically talked about the week prior to the article’s publication date where the Playstation Vita only sold 18,000 copies and didn’t even beat out its predecessor the Playstation Portable for weekly sales.

I understand that new technology usually have a bit of a rocky start and then picks up once people try it out and see how the technology itself fares in the market. It’s all fine and dandy, but I will not be the same type of victim that the early Nintendo 3DS adopters were. The 3DS did basically not sell at all when it first came out. It wasn’t until Nintendo lowered the price of the machine from $250 to $170 that sales started to pick up. What happened to those early adaptors that shelved out $250? They were rewarded with a handfull of NES classics for download. That was it. I remembered when the original Xbox came out and also had an immediate price drop, early adopters received things such as two hand controllers, a game, a t-shirt, etc. etc. That is how you reward loyalty. I have good reason to believe that unless the American and European launch of the Playstation Vita is a tremendous success, Sony will have to lower the price of the PSV within only a few months. Looking at how they treated me and other early adopters of the PS3, I seriously doubt that people who will pay the full $250 for the Vita will see any type of consolidation.

So, until I see a price drop of the Playstation Vita, or if the Vita sells like hot cakes in the Americas and Europe, I will not buy Sony’s latest handheld.