Geek News Roundup October 2014– The Battle for the Nexus of Mobile Technology

The Geek News Roundup is back! Maybe. As October comes to an end (Happy Halloween, by the way), I can’t help but write about some of the news items that caught my attention. You can think of it as a monthly news roundup or even a mega roundup. Enjoy!

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“We’ve been hacked,” is a frightening line no one wants to utter. Unfortunately, the nearly 12 million websites that use Drupal are coming to terms with that reality. On October 15 the security team of the web content management software gave users a seven hour window to apply a patch to the newly discovered bug. Any website that did not apply a fix to this vulnerability should assume they’ve been hacked. The patch won’t fix any backdoors left by hackers. Ouch. Drupal users can join the “I’ve been hacked this month” club along with the White House, Staples and the Merchant Customer Exchange.

This was a big month in the world of technology. Google unveiled the next line of its Nexus devices, and to the surprise of everyone an Android TV player. The Nexus 6 is being produced by Motorola Mobility and the Nexus 9 is being made by HTC. Notably, the new six-inch phone will start at $649 unlocked at the big US carriers and the nine-inch tablet will start at $399. Google is officially done with heavily subsidizing its Nexus branded smartphones and tablets, which were half of their appeal. The Nexus 7 tablet is no longer available for sale directly from Google, but the Nexus 5 phone can still be purchased. Google also introduced Android 5.0, known as Lollipop. The update will be rolling out in the next few weeks and will be available to all Nexus devices first (yes, that includes the Nexus 4). Oh, and I didn’t forget about the Nexus Player. When it is released it will cost $99. No one knows when it will be released, however. The little player has gone into bureaucratic hell and its certification has been held up by the FCC. For now, the player is simply listed as “out of stock” by online retailers.

Apple’s own iPad event came hot on the heels of the Google’s Nexus events– just a day later. The company revealed two new iPads, namely the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2. The latter is being declared the “world’s thinnest tablet.” The 6.l-millimeter thick tablet is no lightweight in terms of processing power. It will sport a new A8X chip, and also features a better camera. The iPad Mini will have a forth-generation Intel Core processor, upgraded graphic abilities and will come in new colors– silver, space gray and gold. Both tablets will have Touch ID, so get ready to do some fingerprint scanning. The Mac Mini is also getting refreshed, the iMac is getting a Retina 5K display, and iOS 8 or Yosemite, was released. Whew! Between these new devices and the iPhone 6 unveil in September, that’s a lot of Apple news to digest.

Remember when Amazon promised to set the mobile world on fire with the Fire Phone? So far that’s not happening as the Fire Phone has crashed and burned. The online retailer is taking a $170 million write-down due to unsold inventory. Worse, Amazon’s Q3 2014 earnings show a huge operating loss of $544 million, up from the $25 million loss a year earlier. There is a slight bright spot in this sea of financial blood– the Fire TV is selling well.

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Before I get too bleak, let’s shift focus and talk about entertainment. Hellsing Ultimate has been a winner for Adult Swim on the ratings front. It ranked number one in its 3AM Sunday time slot among adults 18-34, especially men. The Naruto manga is coming to an end in November. Naruto has been running in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump since 1999 and has been a huge franchise. As a key part of one franchise comes to an end, another is getting a fresh shot in the arm. A new Lupin III anime is set to debut in 2015. This series will be set in Italy and will feature Lupin in a blue jacket. The last Lupin anime to star the titular character was in 1985. Speaking of old franchises, Gundam fans, you should rejoice! Sunrise and Right Stuf have partnered up to sell Gundam in the United States. The Gundam franchise hasn’t had a distributor since Bandai Entertainment was shuttered in 2012. Fans can finally look forward to an English release of Gundam ZZ and Turn A Gundam.

JRPG fans were pleasantly surprised when Sega announced Valkyria Chronicles would be invading Steam in November. The game will be released for $19.99 (though it’s currently on sale) and will include all of the DLC. Here’s to hoping this paves the way for the localization of Valkyria Chronices 3 on PC. Ah, a fan can dream. Wii U sales are up and Nintendo is expecting to sell even more consoles, thanks to Super Smash Bros. Sales of the Wii U have topped 7 million units and Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS is selling very well. The Wii U still isn’t in great shape but it’s to see nice software for it lighting up the sales charts for a change. Microsoft hopes to turn around the situation with the Xbox One with a holiday price cut. From November 2 to January 3 the Xbox One will cost $349 instead of $399 and that includes game bundles. Considering new games cost $60, the true price of the console is actually $290– now that’s a deal.

The increased mainstream media coverage of GamerGate continues. Feminist Frequency’s creator, Anita Sarkeesian may have been kept from speaking at a Utah university but she couldn’t be silenced for long. She was interviewed on the Colbert Report and discussed the movement and online harassment in general.

It wouldn’t be a newer style news roundup without at least one video. Final Fantasy Type-0 is coming along nicely and the first English trailer has been released:

I’m toying with the idea of making the Geek News Roundup a monthly column from now on. Any thoughts?

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