Microsoft Patents a Modular PC, Get Netflix Passwords for 25 Cents… [Tech News Digest]

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Microsoft wants you to build modular PCs, Netflix passwords are dirt cheap to buy, MixRadio is no more, Sony thinks E Ink is the future, and Kanye West begs Mark Zuckerberg for money.

Microsoft Eyes Modular PC Patent


Microsoft has been granted a patent for a modular PC system, which would see customers buying individual components and slotting them together to form a working machine. Many of our readers already build their own PCs from scratch, but these modular components would be suitable for both experienced and new PC builders.

The patent, as spotted by VentureBeat, was filed in July 2015 and granted this week. It details how the whole thing would work, with a display sold as standard, under which the individual components would be magnetically stacked to form a working all-in-one. Upgrading the machine would be as simple as removing and replacing individual components as and when needed.

As Microsoft explains in the patent application:

“The display modular component includes a power supply and may include one or more inputs that may be utilized with another device, such a HDMI, display ports, USB ports, and so on. The display modular component may also include a sufficient amount of ballast to counteract a weight of the display device such that component 108 may be placed on a surface.”

Microsoft has clearly been inspired by Google, which is persevering with the Project Ara modular smartphone, and a number of smaller modular PC projects. While there’s no guarantee this will ever see the light of day as an actual product, Microsoft must feel there’s money to be made in making the practice of building PCs easy enough for anyone to do.

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Netflix Passwords Are Going Cheap

Stolen Netflix credentials are available for as little as 25 cents on the black market, according to a new report by security firm Symantec. An ad on the Dark Web shows someone selling 300,000 passwords for as little as 25 cents each. Buyers are offered a 7-day guarantee, and told not to change the account info so as not to alert the genuine subscriber.

These passwords are being nabbed due to the use of Trojans and phishing emails. Both methods allow the perpetrators to not only grab login credentials but also, potentially, personal information and payment methods. Which is where the real worth lies.

Existing Netflix users can protect themselves by a) only downloading official Netflix apps, b) never following links from emails, instead opening a new tab and logging in manually, and c) checking their recent Viewing Activity to make sure they (and possibly their friends) are the only ones with access.

Line Shutters MixRadio

Line is shutting down MixRadio, the streaming music app which formerly belonged to Nokia and Microsoft. Nokia built MixRadio as one of the suite of apps designed to persuade people to switch to Windows Phone. Then Microsoft acquired Nokia and sold MixRadio to the Japanese company Line. Now, Line has decided that the Pandora-like MixRadio is surplus to requirements.

MixRadio will therefore be “discontinued in the coming weeks,” after the company realized that “future growth would be difficult to ensure”. We’re not sure how many people were actually using MixRadio, but with so many streaming music options to choose from we doubt it will be particularly missed. Unlike Picasa, which Google has executed in favor of Google Photos.

Sony Develops an E Ink Universal Remote

Sony has developed a universal remote controller which features an e-paper touchscreen display. The Huis, pronounced House, is the latest product to emerge from Sony’s crowdfunding program, First Flight. This features potential devices from Sony employees, with First Flight used to determine the level of interest and help fund the initial production.

The Huis is a versatile remote controller for everything from TV sets to air conditioners. The interface can be customized to suit each person’s needs, and the use of e-paper means the virtual buttons can be displayed at all times without using a lot of battery power. The Huis is available to buy in Japan for ¥27,950 (US$250), but there is no word yet on a wider release.

Kanye West Wants Facebook Money

And finally, Kanye West is currently causing consternation on Twitter with a set of rambling inanities only true fans could defend. He started by stating he’s $53 million in debt. Which, for someone who has sold millions of records worldwide, suggests a distinct lack of business acumen. West then begs Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion, because giving that money to him would be better than giving it to “one school in Africa”.

Why the sudden admission of poverty and request for an injection of cash? It may just be a coincidence, but West has a new album out called The Life of Pablo. So, with that in mind, it gives me great pleasure to advise you not to buy Kanye West’s new album. Because he’s already blown millions of dollars, and will likely just blow his earnings from this album too.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is Microsoft wasting its time building a modular PC platform? Would you ever buy someone else’s Netflix password? Will you miss MixRadio? Do you have any interest in Sony’s universal remote? Is Kanye West acting a fool to gain publicity for his new album?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: TechStage via Flickr

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