Judy’s Tech News Digest

The BlackBerry Saga Continues

Last week, I reported that former Apple CEO John Sculley was considering purchasing BlackBerry.  At this point, forget John Sculley or anybody else, for that matter.

BlackBerry announced on November 4th that it was abandoning the idea of selling the company and fired its CEO, Thorsten Heins. Heins is due $13.25 million in severance. In March, BlackBerry revised his pay package in recognition of his “outstanding performance.”

Fairfax Financial, which holds about 10% of BlackBerry stock as its largest shareholder, announced that it would invest $1 billion in the company. In September, Fairfax announced an offer to purchased the rest of the company for $4.7 billion.

A Satellite Is Falling to Earth

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced that end of the mission for the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite has been declared.  The satellite has run out of fuel.

The planned mission completion date was in April 2011.  However, the satellite proved to be much more fuel efficient than anticipated, allowing ESA to extend GOCE’s life.  GOCE became the first seismometer in orbit when it detected sound waves from the massive earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011.

Most of the satellite will disintegrate in the atmosphere but some smaller parts may reach the Earth’s surface.   The satellite’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere is predicted to occur during the night between Sunday, November 10th and Monday, November 11th.  The exact time and location cannot yet be determined.

Facebook Hopes You’ll ‘Like’ Their Buttons

Facebook’s ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons are undergoing a redesign.

Gone is the ‘thumbs up’ icon from the Like button. Instead, it will displayed in the box above the Like button that shows how many Likes a page or post has.

The rollout is expected to occur over the next few weeks. The Like button is embedded on over 7 million websites.

Blockbuster Stores See Their Last Days

DISH Network  announced that its subsidiary, Blockbuster, will end its retail and by mail DVD distribution operations by early-January 2014. Affected are the  300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores as well as its distribution centers.

The Blockbuster @Home service to DISH customers and the streaming-based Blockbuster On Demand will still be available.

Nvidia vs AMD – New Battle Rages

The ongoing battle between the two GPU giants hotted up recently with the release of AMDs new R9 290 and 290X high-end graphics cards. These new AMD cards are not only less expensive than comparable Nvidia products, they boast higher specs too. Nvidia fought back almost immediately by releasing its new combatant into the fray, the Nvidia GTX 780 Ti. Such was the immediacy of Nvidia’s response, it must be assumed that Nvidia was already keeping the new card on stand by, or the GTX 780 Ti was coincidentally extremely close to its planned launch date anyway. While pricing still comes down in favor of AMD, experts are now generally accepting that Nvidia has regained the lead in the specs department.

Nvidia hit back again with a smear campaign against AMDs new cards, targeting an overheating problem. Apparently, AMD’s driver software set default fan speeds too low at higher temperatures. AMD has now released new drivers for the cards which rectify this issue. And so the battle rages on…

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