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April 8, 2013

Technology News Briefs — April 8, 2013

Facebook Pushes Home With TV Commercial

The promotion has begun.

Facebook has released its first television commercial for Facebook Home, a group of apps that turns Android users’ mobile devices into “a great, living, social phone.”

The commercial, which is set to air soon, features a businessman who decides to add some excitement to his airplane ride with his HTC First Smartphone, the first device to have Facebook Home pre-installed. It is being sold exclusively by AT&T.

As the man scrolls through his cover feed, his friends pop out of the overhead luggage compartments; drag queens appear in mid-performance; his nephew, face smothered in chocolate, tells him he ate all his birthday cake; a party breaks out in the aisle and the after liking a picture of a woman with her cats, the felines appear on board, leaping from headrest to headrest on the passengers’ seats.

Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store beginning April 12.

The HTC First will be available for pre-order beginning today for $99.99 with a two-year commitment. It is available in stores and online starting April 12.  To pre-order, visit



Anonymous Arab Launches Attack Against Israel

A group calling itself Anonymous Arab is taking credit for crashing a number of Israeli government websites March 7.

Anonymous Arab  is saying its #OpIsrael attack has caused more than $3 billion in damage, with more than 100,000 websites, 40,000 Facebook accounts, and 30,000 bank accounts belonging to Israelis hacked.

According to the hackers, the websites of the Israel Police and the Prime Minister’s Office were among the official sites to be attacked.

Israel did not take the attack sitting down, however. Israeli hackers hit back — the anti-Israeli messages were erased from the OpIsrael website and it was programmed to play Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, CNN reported.

Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, of the government’s National Cyber Bureau, said the attacks have caused little trouble to important government websites, CNet reported.

“So far it is as was expected, there is hardly any real damage,” Ben Yisrael was quoted by CNet. “Anonymous doesn’t have the skills to damage the country’s vital infrastructure. And if that was its intention, then it wouldn’t have announced the attack ahead of time. It wants to create noise in the media about issues that are close to its heart.”

The hacker’s campaign is an apparent bid to protest Israel’s policies on Palestine.

Sony 4K TVs Available for Purchase April 21

Sony’s 55- and 65-inch 4K televisions — which were unveiled earlier this year at CES 2013 — will be available for purchase online and in stores beginning April 21, the company announced April 7.

The 55-inch set will retail for $4,999 while the 65-inch TV will carry a $6,999 pricetag. A 4K TV has a resolution four-times that of full HD TV.

Those who are prepared to open their wallets for Sony’s latest offering, however, will also have to purchase a 4K media player. Sony’s 4K player, the FMP-X1 will be available for purchase this summer bundled with 10 feature films and video shorts for $699.

“These new models will be arriving in homes just before the summer and are sure to bring the enhanced viewing experience of 4K TV to a whole new audience,” said Sony Electronics Home Division senior vice-president Mike Lucas. “Our TVs deliver a vibrant and natural picture that is four-times clearer than high definition.

“As for content, these new sets enhance all of the video people are watching today, and this summer our 4K media player, followed in fall by the video distribution service will demonstrate how Sony continues to lead in bringing the 4K entertainment experience to viewers.”