Samsung opts for permanent solution to Galaxy Note 7 phones in the GOUSA

❝ Samsung is reportedly adopting even harsher methods to prevent people from using the few remaining Galaxy Note 7s in the wild, planning an imminent U.S. software update that will render them useless.

On Dec. 19 Samsung will push out an update preventing the phones from charging, according to a statement to The Verge. The code will be distributed through all major U.S. carriers within 30 days.

❝ Samsung noted that 93 percent of Note 7s sold in the country have already been returned. The update is meant to get people to participate in a long-standing recall offering refunds and exchanges, sometimes with extra financial incentives.

The company has been gradually escalating its software tactics. American Note 7 models are already unable to charge past 60 percent, and in Canada, Samsung will soon be disabling all wireless functions.

❝ Shortly after its launch late this summer, the Note 7 was plagued by a series of battery fires and explosions, possibly owing to an ultra-compact design rushed to beat Apple’s iPhone 7. Samsung attempted to recall and fix the initial batch of units, but this didn’t solve the problem, forcing the company to issue another recall and discontinue the product entirely.

Folks, if you’re part of that 7% solution do yourself a favor and return that bookend.

Zombies are about to take over Portland

Hey, all you fantastic Pacific Northwesterners! What are you doing this labor day weekend? Because the Portland Film Festival is celebrating its fourth year running with movie premieres, Q&As, guest speakers and… zombies? Yup, you read that correctly: September 7th is Zombie Day in Portland.

George C. Romero, son of the Night of the Living Dead director, is enlisting local zombie fans to be extras in his short film Zombie Day Apocalypse. Why? He’s vying for the Guinness World Record “Most Extras in a Short Film.” And it’s up to you to help him, in full zombie garb! What better time to round up zombie movie lovers than at an independent film festival?

Per the Zombie Day website, you can sign up to play the role of Fleeing Citizen or DIY Zombie. For a small price, you can bump either of those titles up to Featured Extra. You can also donate to become a Featured Crew Member, Supporter, Associate Producer and Producer.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Nuclear bombs questioned over money wasted on upgrades

Hundreds of Cold War-era atomic bombs must be upgraded before their electronics fail, says the head of the Nebraska-based long-range bomber strike force.

The proposal by Gen. C. Robert Kehler has not been well-met by opponents who say estimated costs for the modernization has doubled in just two years, the Omaha World-Herald reported…

Kehler, head of U.S. Strategic Command, says extending the life of the B-61 bomb is “absolutely essential.” Noting that mandatory Pentagon cost cutting has delayed or deferred much maintenance, he says, “Now we don’t have the luxury of waiting.”

The bombs were designed in the 1960s to be dropped from NATO strategic bombers and tactical fighters. Some of the parts are so old they can’t be replaced. The Defense Department wants to upgrade the four models of B-61 bombs into single new one called the B61-12. The cost: about $28 million for each bomb [WTF?].

There’s concern about whether these plans make any sense,” says Kingston Reif, director of nuclear nonproliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, D.C.

When did Congress or the Pentagon ever worry about making sense?

In 2010, President Obama asked Congress to allocate $4 billion over 10 years to renovate about 400 of the weapons…

Congress is considering cutting back on the B-61 project. Its budget this year was lopped about 20 percent by the federal sequestration, or across-the-board cuts. Congressional subcommittees are threatening to take another third from Obama’s $537 million budget request for the project.

Of course. Obama would be seen as weak by the chickenhawks and dimwits in Congress if he didn’t maintain an appropriate number of bombs capable of destroying whole cities.

Meanwhile, the whole rationale of mutually-assured destruction – central to the original production of these bombs – has gone by the board with the diminution of the Soviet military from the playhouse of death and destruction on a global scale.

Not that any of these discussions means anything to the Pentagon warlords. Their very reason for existence is “defending” the United States by threatening every other country on the planet.

You can find Steve Liewer’s detailed article that prompted this UPI piece – over here.

Ford ratings drop — Ford ships extensive fix for Microsoft software

The Ford Motor Company began adding touch-screen control systems to some of its most popular models two years ago as a way to stand out from the rest of the industry and draw in new customers. But after many buyers grew frustrated with flaws in the system, known as MyFord Touch and developed with Microsoft, Ford’s quality ratings plunged and a feature meant to increase loyalty instead damaged perceptions of the company.

MyFord Touch replaces many of the traditional knobs and buttons in a vehicle with touch screens, steering wheel-mounted controls and spoken commands…

Now Ford has issued a major upgrade that redesigns much of what customers see on the screen and tries to resolve complaints about the system crashing or rebooting while the vehicle is being driven. Ford said on Monday that the upgrade made the touch screens respond to commands more quickly, improved voice recognition capabilities and simplified a design that some say had the potential to create more distractions for drivers who tried to use it on the road. Fonts and buttons on the screen have been enlarged, and the layouts of more than 1,000 screens have been revamped.

“We expect that these improvements will put us back on track in the quality ratings,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development. “It’s more than just an update. This is a substantial upgrade.”

Ford is taking the unusual step of sending the upgrade directly to customers, who can install the new software in about an hour by plugging in a USB flash drive.

Dealers, which can perform the procedure if customers prefer, received the upgrade kits Monday, and the more than 300,000 customers with MyFord Touch in their vehicles can expect their USB drive in the mail later this week, Ford said.

Irritation with MyFord Touch was cited last week by Consumer Reports as a big reason that Ford fell to 10th place on this year’s Automaker Report Card, from fifth in 2011.

Lots of details in the article. Read ’em and make believe you’re surprised that version 1.0 of software from Microsoft sucks big time!

Make a face like that little kid in the eTrade commercial.

Mozilla says you will upgrade – or they will do it for you!

According to Mozilla there are some 12 million Firefox 3.5 users out there surfing the interwebz, but Mozilla now needs them to upgrade to a more recent release. And Mozilla has drawn up plans on how to accomplish this mass move.

Firefox 3.5 users have two options. Mozilla would prefer that they upgrade to the latest Firefox 4.0.1 release, bringing them bang up to date. Alternatively, if they don’t want to go to Firefox 4 (perhaps because a plugin isn’t supported) then Firefox 3.6.x…

So, how will Mozilla deal with those still using Firefox 3.5?

Well, starting with those who have automatic updates enabled, Mozilla will push Firefox 3.6.18 to them after it has been released. Why 3.6.x as opposed to 4.0.x? Because Mozilla considers 3.6.x to be the security upgrade for Firefox 3.5 users.

However, before that happens all Firefox 3.5 will be given warnings that they are running an out of date browser on the default Google search page. Firefox 3.5 users will have also been warned via the firstrun messaging mechanism built into the browser. Mozilla can also send pop-ups to Firefox 3.5 users informing them of the end of life status of their browser.

And, then – say lots of people who claim to know better – Mozilla will upgrade your browser whether you choose to or not. WTF?

You may get your iPhone 4 by Bastille Day

If you were wondering why both Apple and AT&T melted down when taking orders for the iPhone 4 on Tuesday, we have the answer. Apple sold 600,000 of the things.

According to Apple’s press release, “It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions.”

It wasn’t helped by AT&T’s new ordering system which, according to an AT&T insider was updated over the weekend with new fraud-prevention measures and then left untested before iPhone ordering opened. AT&T has issued a statement saying that on launch day, pre-order sales were “10-times higher than the first day of pre-ordering for the iPhone 3G S last year.” Now AT&T has “temporarily suspended” ordering for the iPhone 4…

The crush of orders shouldn’t have come as a surprise to AT&T and Apple. All the iPhone 3G owners who held off buying the 3GS last year are now ready for an upgrade…And AT&T has decided to let many 3GS owners upgrade early without penalty. You might think that this unholy combination would lead to a surge in demand, and you’d be dead right: On Tuesday there were 13 million visits to AT&T by customers checking their eligibility to upgrade.

What does this mean for you, the customer? Delivery dates have slipped again, this time to July 14th – launch day is June 24 and new orders were already delayed to July 2…And this is in the United States. Countries that do not yet even have a launch date should be prepared for a long wait.

The only thing missing from the seven thousand articles noting the demand are new rationales from Apple-haters still convinced that sound and useful engineering, attractive design, means nothing in the marketplace.

It’s a psycho-social plot by Steve Jobs to take over the world – still seems to suffice.

Reversing Windows 7 to XP gets yet another reprieve – again

In a reversal of its earlier stance, Microsoft officials confirmed that customers will be able to downgrade from Windows 7 to Windows XP for a year and a half after the new system ships, or until the first Service Pack drops — whichever comes first.

While some industry observers the modified downgrade policy is a change for the better, at least one analyst says Microsoft still hasn’t enough to provide options for enterprises.

This industry observer says Microsoft simply hasn’t a clue!

The downgrade option is also not available to all Windows 7 users: Downgrade rights apply to purchasers of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate, so the option isn’t available to customers who buy Windows 7 Home Premium.

Additionally, customers who have either Software Assurance subscriptions or Enterprise Agreements with Microsoft can continue to get the downgrade as long as they want.

Confused, yet?

“Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate customers will have the option to downgrade to Windows XP Professional from PCs that ship within 18 months following the general availability of Windows 7 or until the release of a Windows 7 service pack (SP), whichever is sooner and if an SP is developed,” a Microsoft spokesperson told in an e-mail.

Understand that, OK?

Sony says Wii owners will end up buying PS3

For those of you that have any interest in this kind of thing, Sony Europe boss David Reeves stepped down recently and was succeeded by a fellow called Andrew House.

This year’s E3 was House’s first as president of Sony Europe, so it’s unsurprising that he wasted no time in chiming in with a typically brash Sony-style sound-bite when Edge Online interviewed him at the event.

EDGE: What are the key battlegrounds, as we go through the ten-year cycle, on which Sony will engage Microsoft? Is it encouraging people that have bought Wii into HD gaming?

Andrew House: I think you’re absolutely right. If you look back at previous lifecycles, like PS2 versus N64 [sic], we have lots of data that suggests that lots of people bought into N64 as their entry level gaming device, and were happy to upgrade to a more powerful machine later in the life cycle when the price point was right for them.

I think we’re going to see this later on PS3, and the fact that it’s a Blu-ray player as well and that there’s a [greater] wealth of network based experiences than are perhaps available on the device they already have will add to the proposition. I think that will definitely be a factor in the marketplace.

So there you have it. Better start saving those pennies because according to Sony, you WILL be buying a PS3 soon – even if you don’t know it yet.

Yes, House gets paid to say this kind of crap.

I hope he has spare batteries for his crystal ball. It may be a spell before his hope becomes reality.