Revenue to repay thousands of homeowners in property tax blunder

first_imgThey added that they will write to these people as soon as possible advising them that they may qualify for an exemption subject to meeting the conditions of the exemption.Your questions about the local property tax answered>Revenue: We assumed that people would be somewhat familiar with the concepts> THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS are set to repay thousands of homeowners after confusing wording of the Local Property Tax (LPT) legislation gave a three-year exemption to all homeowners who bought in 2013.It’s believed the property tax refund will cost the Revenue millions of euros.In a statement this morning from the Revenue Commissioners, they stated that the local property tax legislation provides for a number of exemptions, two of which are:An exemption in respect of new houses purchased from a builder or property developerAn exemption for buyers of any house whether new or second-hand, where the house is then occupied as the buyer’s sole or main residence.The Commissioners referred to the second clause on exemptions in the Local Property Tax legislation which, they said, clearly intended to apply to first time buyers.The second exemption also applies up to 2016 but only as long as the house is occupied as the purchaser’s sole or main residence.  The exemption cannot pass to any subsequent purchaser.First time buyer“It was originally intended that this second exemption would only apply to first time buyers, which is clear from the head note to the section (Exemption for first-time buyers). The Explanatory Memorandum to the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act clearly states that the exemption applies to first-time buyers and this was the clear intention of the exemption,” they stated.However, read literally, the exemption benefits not just a first time buyer, but all buyers.The statement continued, by recalling that the Mortgage Interest relief which was phased out on mortgages taken out after 31 December 2012, stating that “this measure was a transitional provision to help first-time buyers in the first year after the abolition of Mortgage Interest relief”.‘Read literally’They added the wording of the legislation, drafted by the Department of Finance, read literally, gives the exemption to any buyer, not just a first time buyer.“The result is that a person who purchases a second hand house and occupies it as a sole or main residence is entitled to the exemption regardless of the fact that they are not a first time buyer,” they stated.Having reviewed the legislation, Revenue concluded that, “notwithstanding the fact that the intention was clear, the legislation did not impose a liability to LPT on a non-first time buyer of a second–hand house,” they said.The Revenue said they will now try and identify the people concerned by matching LPT data with stamp duty records.They added:We have concentrated on trying to identify two groups of people:Those who bought before 1 May 2013 and may have wrongly paid the 2013 LPT and who will not have a liability for 2014  to 2016, and those who bought after 1 May and who will not have a liability for 2014  to 2016.The vendor in these cases would have been liable to the 2013 charge.last_img read more

Vial thieves threw away John Paul IIs blood

first_imgTHIEVES ACCUSED OF stealing a religious relic stained with Polish pope John Paul II’s blood threw it away thinking it worthless, Italian media said today, reporting the police had detained three people.The three “did not understand the relic’s value” and “cannot remember where they threw away the precious loot”, the ANSA news agency said, citing the police.Police recovered the object’s metal frame but could not find the cloth, believed to be part of the robe the pontiff was wearing when he was shot in an assassination attempt in St Peter’s Square in 1981.It was stolen on Saturday along with a cross, which has also been found, from the San Pietro della Ienca church in the mountainous Abruzzo region in central Italy where the late pope loved to go on skiing holidays.The Abruzzo news website said two of those arrested are 23 and 24 years old and are drug addicts known to the police for other petty crimes.The relic is a framed, tiny square of cloth.The relic was given to the small church in 2011 by Stanislaw Dziwisz, a cardinal who served as John Paul II’s personal secretary until his death in 2005.Local media said some 50 police officers and sniffer dogs were deployed in the search for the missing relic in an area famed for its weathered stone houses and the little church where the head of the Roman Catholic Church once reportedly took refuge in a storm.John Paul II and the Italian pope John XXIII, known as “Good Pope John”, are set to become saints in a ceremony at the Vatican in April – an event which will substantially increase the value of the stolen relic.- © AFP, 2014Read: Vial thieves steal blood of Pope John Paul II>last_img read more

London police use Facebook ad in Yemen to track down suspected rapist

first_imgPOLICE IN LONDON say they have taken the “unprecedented step” of using a Facebook ad to track down a wanted man.The post has been targeted at users in Yemen where the suspect – who is wanted for questioning over the rape and murder of a Norwegian socialite – is believed to be living.Today marks the sixth anniversary of the horrific crime and Scotland Yard say that they only want to talk to one person in connection with the attack. That man is Farouk Abdulhak, who fled to the Yemen (via Cairo) just hours after the killing.According to media reports in the country, he got married recently and has no intentions of returning to England.Diplomatic efforts to arrange for his return have been unsuccessful so far so detectives are hopeful that the Facebook post will encourage people in the Yemen region to talk about the case.“We want to spark a conversation and prick the conscience of those people closest to Farouk Abdulhak. We hope that their pressure may prompt him to do the right thing and return to the UK,” said DCI Andy Partridge, the officer in charge of the investigation.“Farouk fled to the Yemen six years ago and continues to hide there to avoid capture and evade justice.Abdulhak’s bride and her family need to be aware that he is wanted for murder and is liable for arrest should he travel outside of the Yemen.The victim’s father, Petter Magnussen, says that the wanted man is denying his family any closure.“He seems to be untouched by the simple values of respect, dignity and tolerance that are expected in any civilised society.“These past six years he has continued to build his life in the Yemen showing no remorse or common decency.Our daughter would have been 29 in February this year and not a day goes by where she isn’t foremost in our thoughts. We miss her every hour of every day.The crimeOn 13 March 2008, Martine, who was 23 at the time, lived with friends in Westminster. She and her flatmates went out to a nightclub in central London.The student was last seen by her friends at Maddox nightclub some time between 2am and 3am on 14 March.She is believed to have left in a taxi, accompanied by Abdulhak and a fellow student.Police received a missing person’s report the following day, 15 March. During the subsequent probe, officers making inquiries about her whereabouts called to a residential address in Great Portland Street.Her body was discovered at around 10.30am on 16 March. Her remains were partly concealed under rubble in the basement of the privately-owned flats.A post-mortem revealed that she had been strangled and a later inquest concluded a verdict of unlawful killing.Scotland Yard also has a dedicated page in Arabic about the crime.Read: Renewed appeal for missing man on his 30th birthdaylast_img read more

Frozen in time Incredible video shows womans house untouched for 14 years

first_img Donal Moloney)WHILE ON A shoot in rural Ireland recently, professional photographer Donal Moloney was told about an interesting site nearby.On the advice of a local, he visited an old building once owned by a librarian.Birdie Higgins had moved out of her house about 14 years ago to take up residence in a retirement home. Her original property was never lived in again.“Time almost seems to have stood still since her leaving and me arriving,” explained Moloney.Signs of her life can be seen throughout his images – open packages of soup, a newspaper on the sidetable, a cardigan draped across a chair and abandoned slippers in front of the fire.There are also hints to her job, with English Literature books open on a table.Birdie died three years ago, aged 94.A prayer for those who live aloneMoloney, who has a specific interest using abandoned and derelict buildings in his work, that he spent three hours exploring Birdie’s house.“I am used to walking around these old and decayed places but this house was different. I was touched by various things – the Milk of Magnesia, the prunes which were found in every old person’s home. But there is a shot of a clock and Holy Water from Knock…beside them is a little frame for a prayer for those who live alone.“That got me. I welled up. It was the most touching moment in the house.“But the whole thing was amazing. The beauty, decay and colour.”last_img read more

This isnt the first time illegal recording of Garda station calls has

first_imgDuring the course of the trial the lawfulness or otherwise of the Garda Síochána at Waterford Garda Station recording incoming and outgoing calls on their public lines, and the admission of the evidence obtained during the use of such practices became the subject of protracted legal argument.On the 29th of January 2010, shortly after the arrest of Mr Holness, there was telephone communication between certain of the accused. These calls were recorded on the Garda Síochána recording system and a recording was provided to GSOC. This recording was offered in evidence by the DPP. Objections were raised by the Defence. The court held that the practice engaged in by the gardaí at Waterford Garda Station of recording all incoming and outgoing calls on a particular phone line was in breach of the relevant statute on the recording of telephone communications, which requires that at least one of the parties to a phone call has consented to its being recorded.This requirement was deemed to have not been met on this occasion. The court ruled that the evidence obtained in those calls was inadmissible.On consideration of the ruling of the court the Garda Commissioner may wish to re-evaluate his practice regarding the recording of such calls and the consents required if it is to be permissible to use such recordings in evidence. Despite this admonition in June of last year, Taoiseach Kenny said today in the Dáil that the system of recording incoming and outgoing calls at a large number of Garda stations stayed in place until November last year, with the Government only being informed of the extend of this practice this Sunday, and an inquiry launched only this afternoon.This evening, a government spokesperson said they were not aware of any discussion in relation to the report in question at government level or whether Justice Minister Alan Shatter was aware of it when it was published last year.Several queries to the Department of Justice about if and what Shatter knew about the report and whether he discussed it with the Garda Commissioner were not immediately returned.- additional reporting Hugh O’Connell First published 4.46pm New revelations: Incoming and outgoing calls at Garda stations taped ‘since the 1980s’>Gardai did not co-operate with watchdog investigation>Catch up: Everything you need to know about GardaGate in one place > Updated 6.40pm TODAY’S GOBSMACKING REVELATIONS that there was systemic recording of both incoming and outgoing calls to Garda stations around the country has sparked a major inquiry.Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today that the Government was first made aware by the Attorney General of the breadth of recordings on Sunday – and the fact that the recordings dated back as far as the 1980s.This “new information” however won’t surprise anyone who will have noted a report by the Garda Ombudsman relating to a case in Waterford in 2010.Academic and journalist Elaine Byrne retweeted a message from a Tim Price on Twitter, pointing out that the recording of incoming and outcoming calls from a Garda station had previously been highlighted in a court case:That case – although not the case referred to in today’s Government statement on how the systemic recordings came to light – shows that illegal recording of calls to and from Garda stations is a matter of public record.In 2010, Anthony Holness of Waterford made a complaint that he had been assaulted by gardai in the city. That case went to trial in 2011, two gardai were jailed for harming Holness when he was being arrested; another garda was given a suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice.In June of last year, GSOC claimed that gardai had not co-operated with the watchdog’s investigation into the claims – and, as reported in this article from that time, “was also critical of Waterford Garda station for illegally recording telephone conversations and called on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to immediately review procedures”.The full report from GSOC can be read here.This is the most important passage (bold text by read more

Government spends over €100000 to help preserve freshwater pearl mussel

first_imgIT IS HOPED that Ireland’s critically endangered freshwater pearl mussel is to be given an additional lease of life after the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht issued a 24-month contract to support its continued existence.The €117,360 (excluding VAT) contract is for the “provision of full-time scientific support” to the department, as well as to a number of ongoing pearl mussel projects.90 per cent of all the freshwater pearl mussels are believed to have died out across Europe during the twentieth century and has, as a result, been listed on Annex II and Annex V of the Habitats Directive.Freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) are found in more than 130 rivers throughout Ireland. The population of adult mussels in Ireland is estimated to be in excess of 12 million.According to the department, however, they remain in severe decline and are in many cases unable to reproduce because of poor water quality.Read: Bray Sea Life to display largest collection of seahorses in Ireland >last_img read more

Thai hotel reacts to military coup by extending happy hour

first_img THERE’S BEEN A military coup in Thailand, at least the country’s 12th since 1932 and the second in the past decade.It’s the culmination of a push to end what had become a de facto one-party rule.While the movement that led to the coup was not in itself bloodless, there were few reports of violence in the nation Thursday.That, and the sheer volume of past coup attempts the country has lived through, may be why the instructions given to guests of the Le Meridien hotel in Chiang Mai, in the country’s north, were downright dainty. To combat the effects of the nationwide curfew the military has imposed, happy hour has been extended through midnight, and free Wifi will now be available until further notice, according to a flyer posted on Facebook.Read: Thai army seizes power in military coup SpaceX is trying to buy a hamlet inside its Texas rocket-launch site because it ‘did not anticipate’ there’d be any ‘significant disruption’ to residents who live there A car plowed through the main hall of Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, New York See how smoggy downtown LA was the day before Trump is expected to demolish California’s attempts to tackle auto emissions 16-year-old Greta Thunberg met with Obama and chided senators, saying they’re not trying hard enough to fight climate change last_img read more

13 unexpected advantages of being a vegetarian

first_imgFlickr/Gene HuntYou’re less likely to get food poisoningImage via Flickr/stephbondYou will never have to worry about which of your friends to eat if you get stranded on a desert island/up a mountainDVD coverYou rarely have to agonise over a menu in a restaurant because your choices are so limitedFlickr/tim ellisYou get to have exciting conversations with people about protein on a regular basisImage via Shutterstock.comYour airplane meals are nicerFlickr/carbonatedYou’re not filled with jealousy when you catch the scent of charred meat on a Summer’s dayOr maybe you are…are you?  Do your tastebuds betray your principles?Flickr/chiefmoambaYou will never eat doner meat and think ‘I wonder what was actually in that…?’Flickr/cactus_cat042You won’t be able to make it through this post without drooling>The Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich may be just what your BH Tuesday needs> ACCORDING TO A new study, vegetarians outlive people who eat meat.That’s a pretty big benefit, but there are actually lots of ways in which vegetarians have the edge on carnivores, some of which you might not immediately think of.Here are thirteen unexpected advantages of being a vegetarian.You can easily get out of eating whatever rank thing your mam/auntie/granny has prepared for dinner when you visitThey mean well, but not everyone’s a chef, eh?Flickr/Paul PelleritoYou’re probably healthierFlickr/comprockYou get to be smug on a regular basisDue to the health and loving of animals etc.Your freezer isn’t full of rock hard meat you bought eight months ago because it was three for €9Flickr/sjmckIt keeps you regularFlickr/mary hodderYou can visit a farm and coo over calves and lambs without an iota of guiltCan’t see the image? Try reloading the page. Via ImgurThe horse meat scandal was of no concern to youlast_img read more

Trinity College wants to triple admissions from NI and heres how theyll

first_imgTRINITY COLLEGE HAS launched a new initiative aimed at tripling the number of student admissions from Northern Ireland.The university said there has been a recent drop in numbers coming from the North, in part caused by the fact that only one in eight students there take four A-Levels. It will now be introducing a new feasibility study to find a new way of admitting A-Level applicants from across the EU, which will first be tested with applicants from Northern Ireland.This will mean some students from Northern Ireland will be admitted purely based on their best 3 A-Levels. All courses are included but a maximum of three students per course will be admitted this way.Trinity College said it hopes to reach its target of having 8% of the student body from Northern Ireland.Recently, the provost of Trinity, Dr Patrick Prendergast said that it has always been “an all-island university and that must be maintained”.“Unfortunately in the last few years our numbers from Northern Ireland have been in decline, and this has been a source of deep regret to our alumni, our students, our staff, and to me personally,” he commented. “With this feasibility study Trinity has acted to restore and re-establish a relationship that has done so much to build close links on this island between people from all backgrounds and traditions.”Read: Meet the team who installed the fixed Trinity College Front Gate>last_img read more

Suspects who stole baby dinosaur from a museum hand themselves in

first_imgTWO SUSPECTS WHO allegedly stole a model of a baby dinosaur from a museum in the United States have turned themselves in to police.The theft took place on Monday when the replica, which is valued at $10,000 (€7,500), was taken from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.The polymer resin model of an edmontosaurus hatchling was about 12 to 14 inches long.A number of props were also taken from a history exhibit in a nearby museum, including fake cabbage, lettuce, doilies, and an antique medicine bottle.In a statement, the museum said that the dinosaur replica had been recovered. A man was seen dropping a bag near the back entrance of the museum on Wednesday evening after closing time. The man left the scene before security arrived, but the bag was found to contain the dinosaur replica.The two suspects voluntarily turned themselves in the following morning.Logan Todd Ritchey, 21, and Alyssa Ann Lavacca, also 21, have both been charged with two counts of theft or destruction of property.“I doubt these two individuals realised the seriousness of tampering with artifacts and exhibits in a public museum,” police spokesperson Glen Allen said.MORE IN SCIENCE: Read: Newly-discovered dinosaur was the T Rex of its day > Read: You can finally have the pet dinosaur you’ve always wanted >last_img read more

After naming will the government make paternity testing mandatory

first_imgTHE GOVERNMENT HAS no plans to make paternity testing mandatory.In light of a proposed new law that will make the naming of fathers on birth certificates mandatory, Tánaiste Joan Burton told the Dáil she would not be requiring the tests.The Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014 was published by Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Burton after Cabinet approval earlier this month. Last week, she told the Dáil that the purpose of the bill was to protect the rights of the child. However, she told Fine Gael’s Brendan Griffin, that mandatory paternity testing was not part of that plan.“The fundamental objective of the provision is to ensure that a father’s details are included in the record of the child’s birth. This will underpin the rights of the child under EU legislation to have access to the details of their identity.“It is not intended to introduce mandatory paternity testing for registration of on birth certificates.”Current legislation does not require the father’s name to be provided at the time of registering the birth.The Bill would make it compulsory for this information to be provided. Provisions are made in the Bill for not providing the father’s name in exceptional circumstances.Read: New law would make it complusory for fathers’ names to be included on birth certslast_img read more

13 couples who are just doing relationships right

first_img8. When you’re together don’t mind looking like a pair of… Source: Imgur9. Or laying down the law Source: Imgur10. Your practical in-jokes are next to none Source: Imgur12. There’s always a bit of excitement to be had Source: RelationGoals13. Even if you’re not that enthusiastic about itHmm… Source: Pleated JeansGo with it.13 couples that should be banned from the internet immediately>12 of the most irritating things engaged people say> THESE ARE RELATIONSHIPS you wish you had. Heed their lessons.1. True love is using a mobility scooter to pull your husband on his rocking horse Source: Imgur2. Those who eat pie and beer together, stay together Source: Imgur3. Love is always there to give you a little push Source: Twitter4. When it’s love, you just know Source: American Belle5. And you’re not afraid to show it Source: Couples_dream6. You dress as cows together Source: Brian Reynolds7. And are always there to lend a helping hand Whoops! We couldn’t find this Tweetlast_img read more

TMobile 3D GSlate Unveiled

first_imgIf tablets and 3D are, in fact, the biggest things in the tech world at present, then T-Mobile surely has one hot commodity with the G-Slate tablet, right? Right? In honor of Honeycomb day, the carrier talked up its forthcoming tablet. The thing has Android 3.0 on it (obviously) and can record and play back 3D video and images.The G-Slate is 8.9 inches, packs a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and has a 32GB hard drive. A 5MP camera on the device’s rear can shoot 2D video in 1080p. 3D video is shot in lower resolution. The front-facing 2D camera is designed for video chat.No glasses-free 3D here. The G-Slate ships with a pair of the old red-and-blues. The tablet can also output 3D content to 3D capable HDTVs through an HDMI cable. The G-Slate is the second tablet for T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network, following the Deal Streak 7.The tablet it arriving at some point in the spring, No word on pricing, though T-Mobile did bandy about the term “value” when talking up the thing.last_img read more

Facebook Getting Digital Movie Rentals

first_imgLate last month, Amazon threw down the online movie gauntlet by offering free streaming to all Prime users. The retail giant still lacks the selection to make it a major player on that front, but the move was rightfully considered a warning shot against the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and, to a lesser degree, Apple.Facebook is apparently dipping its multi-billion dollar toes in the water as well, thanks to a new deal with Warner Bros. The Dark Knight will be first movie to get the Zuckerberg treatment. Facebook users who have friended the superhero flick will get the chance to rent it through the site for 30 Facebook Credits ($3 USD).The rental deal gives users 48 hours to watch the film on the site. Users will be able to pause the film and will also retain full Facebook functionality while the movie is running. Warner is using the film as a trial run, with the possibility of adding more titles in the future.AdChoices广告last_img read more

Apple Opening Makeshift Austin Store for SXSW

first_imgGood news, Austin Macheads, Apple is opening up a new store in your backyard. Bad news, Austin Macheads, the thing will only be open for two weeks. The company is set to rent out a space in Austin’s Scarbrough Building for a fortnight, to meet the tech demands of South by South West in that area.Fittingly, the whole deal went down in record time, according to Rance Wilemon, of the building’s real estate firm, Plat.Form. “They came in town on Monday, did a quick tour, found a spot, and they’re in there working and will open by Friday,” he told a local paper. “”They’re just a great draw.” Wilemon, naturally, is hoping that the temporary location will prove something of a trial run for a permanent Apple Store. Apple already has two permanent locations in the Austin Area. As such, Wilemon doesn’t expect a third store to be a priority. “I think we’re several years away from that being a focus for them. They do great at their two existing stores, and they’re really focused on overseas expansion right now.”last_img read more

Microsoft Security Essentials bombs on first 2011 AVTest

first_imgEver since its arrival, I’ve been happily using Microsoft Security Essentials — and while one poor showing in a comparative test isn’t going to drive me away, I’ll admit I’m a little concerned. AV-Test GmbH has posted results from its first quarter 2011 testing of 22 antivirus applications on Windows 7, and MSE barely managed to squeak out a certification-worthy score. AV-Test requires a minimum of 11 points to certify, and MSE posted 11.5.So where did the wheels come off the train? Security Essentials struggled with zero-day threats, malicious software which has yet to be analyzed and rolled into an antivirus program’s definition files. The average across all 22 entrants was an 84% detection rate, but MSE only detected half of the samples thrown at it. Even more worrying is that MSE only managed to block 45% of malware during or after execution. AV-Test’s Andreas Marx said that MSE’s lack of effective Web and email scanners were major negatives, and expects that the program’s poor results in the lab are translating into equally poor results in the real world, too.Compare those marks to Kaspersky’s — 98% detection and 100% blocking. They might not be able to protect their own websites from being defaced, but it’s pretty clear that Kasperksy is very capable of defending your computers against malware. Even PC Tools — acquired by Symantec and now a sort of “value-priced” Norton Antivirus — posted significantly better scores than MSE. In fact, PC Tools was perfect in both areas, scoring 100% on both detection and blocking (though it still failed to amass enough points for certification).Heuristic detection and protection against zero-day threats is a critical piece of the Windows security puzzle in 2011. Crimeware kits make it far too easy for malware authors to remix their nefarious programs, which allows them to stay a step ahead of definition-based defenses. Yes, there were tests on which MSE scored extremely well this time around — like a 5.5/6 for usability with no false positives registered — but I hope Microsoft looks at the AV-Test results and re-doubles its efforts to get MSE back among the best performers.Read more at AV-Testlast_img read more

Five musthave Google TV Apps

first_imgIt has been a long and somewhat painful road for Google TV users, but the search engine-powered television enhancer is finally on the right path. Now that the set top boxes support apps from the Android Market, these devices can finally start to take advantage of minds outside the Googleplex. And with a little bit more time having passed since everyone got the Google TV 3.1 update, we’ve put together a list of our favorite apps for Google TV. Airtight – Airplay for GoogleTV Even if you live an Apple free existence, chances are you know someone who doesn’t. Airtight allows Airplay users to shoot their pictures, music, and video to a Google TV the same way you would an Apple TV. The Airtight app is $.99 in the Android Market, and doesn’t require anything on the Apple device. Once you install the app on your Google TV and both devices are on the same wireless network, the Apple device will detect the Google TV the same way it would an Apple TV. Space Invaders Who doesn’t love Space Invaders? The Android-themed variant of the game is available for Google TV. This game is best played with any of the Google TV devices with the Sony controller, in my opinion, but plays great on all of them. The app is free in the Android Market, and is a terrific time-waster for everyone. Plex Media Server It would take quite a bit for me to move my HTPC setup away from XBMC, especially after customizing it so it works for my home setup so well. After two minutes of setup time with Plex, and I feel like I have been wasting my time. Plex Media server is incredibly easy to setup, and has apps for everything, including Google TV. Now, with the $.99 Plex app for GoogleTV, I have access to all the media in my house, and enjoy it wirelessly with no real HTPC setup. Plex is perfect for anyone who has media on their home network they would want to move to their TV to enjoy. Able RemoteGoogle did a fine job with the remote app for Google TV. On both iOS and Android, it’s a pretty solid experience. That didn’t stop someone from taking a good idea and strapping more awesome to it, though. Able remote adds some pretty amazing features to your Google TV experience. Voice commands, the ability to talk into your phone and have it relay the command to your TV, is amazing for searching for content. Additionally, there is an app launcher in the app that will launch the app on the TV when you tap the icon on the phone. There’s plenty of additional toys in Able Remote, though you need to install the app on both your phone and you television. Classy Fireplace There’s not really a need for a digital fireplace. In fact, this is a giant waste of time and energy. Nevertheless, this one is my favorite. Digital fireplace videos are nothing new, and there is one on Netflix that runs for hours on end, and several for iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Android. Yet the Classy Fireplace App for Android includes a fireplace, fireworks display, and an aquarium scene and I enjoy it quite a bit. The videos play in the background and repeat as they play, so you could have a wonderful fireplace (or other soothing scene) for hours.last_img read more

Swordmaster who played Darth Vader dies at 89

first_imgSad news today for Star Wars fans the world over. British fencer Bob Anderson, the man behind the Vader mask during the epic lightsaber battles in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi has passed away. Along with his work on Star Wars, Anderson was the also the sword master for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.In typical George Lucas style, the fact that Anderson was the talent that brought scenes like the duel between Luke and Darth Vader in Cloud City during Empire was supposed to be kept a secret. Lucas was fanatical about keeping up the appearance that all of Vader’s scenes in the movie were done by one person. However the man who played Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, decided this wasn’t fair (perhaps he felt the Light Side telling him to do the right thing). He felt Anderson’s contributions to both films were too large to go unappreciated.In a 1983 interview with Starlog magazine, Hamill “outed” Anderson as the actor and architect of his characters fight scenes with Darth Vader. Hamill thought too much of Anderson to let his name go without credit for the movies. Arguably, his fight scenes are some of the most memorable parts of both films. While working on Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are big accomplishments, Andersons career did not start in the movie industry.Born in Hampshire, southern England, in 1922, Anderson served as a Royal Marine for queen and crown during World War Two. After surviving the global conflict, he went on to compete in the 1952 Olympics on the English fencing team. Also of note is that he competed for the world fencing championships in 1950 and 1953. It makes sense as to why Lucas and Jackson would want him for their films after seeing the amount of real-world experience he had.Fans can view his work in other films like The Princess Bride, Die Another Day and The Legend of Zorro.Read more at ESPN.comlast_img read more

Google selling Nexus 7 at a loss not cost

first_imgGoogle’s Nexus 7 tablet wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret, but they still rocked the tablet world when they revealed it at Google I/O 2012. One of the more surprising revelations: when Android chief Andy Rubin later revealed that Google was selling the tablets at cost.Now, a teardown report has confirmed that… sort of. UBM Tech Insights’ analysis pegs the 8GB Nexus 7 tablet’s bill of materials at around $184. That’s $15 shy of the selling price, of course, but that doesn’t take into account several other costs.There’s that $25 Google Play credit for one thing, though that’s probably being written down as a marketing cost — the same goes for the digital copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Google is also shipping the Nexus  for free $14 in the United States. When you add in R&D costs, it’s hard to imagine that $15 would cover everything.That doesn’t matter to Google. The Nexus 7’s mission is to advance the Google Play store and boost mindshare with consumers. It’s still a distant second to Apple’s store right now, and Google’s OK with offering up a loss leader in order to close the gap.They may also be hoping that shoppers will opt for the 16GB model, too — a good possibility since the Nexus 7 doesn’t feature a miscroSD expansion slot. The $50 premium for the bump from 8GB to 16GB more than covers the cost of a little extra NAND. Most industry estimates peg that at around $7-8, so it certainly seems like Google stands to pocket a few dollars’ profit when Nexus buyers opt for the increased storage.More at Fudzilla and UBM Tech Insightslast_img read more

LG E940 with 1080p display leaks battle with Droid DNA imminent

first_imgMove over Retina, the 1080p smartphone army is preparing an all out charge. The newest recruit is the LG E940, an unannounced model that has popped up in benchmark databases ahead of its impending launch.The E940 is built around the Optimus G (pictured above) foundation, and that’s not a bad starting point for a new hero phone. The Optimus G has torn up the benchmark charts with its 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and Adreno 320 GPU.The E940’s 1920×1080 resolution of will demand a bit more than the Optimus G’s toned-down 1280×768 display, and battery life will likely take a slight hit. The HTC Droid DNA — which sports very similar hardware to the E940 — lags about 25% behind the Optimus G in terms of endurance. LG could compensate by stuffing a few extra mAh into E940 perhaps even sacrificing a few millimeters of thinness. It’s an approach that worked well for Motorola with Droid Razr Maxx, which continues to dominate competitors when it comes to batter life.No official details have been released about the E940 yet, but it’s also thought that a Korea-only version (the LG F240K) will be launching before the end of 2012. The E940 notes from GLBenchmark show that it’s being tested on AT&T’s network, so it’s possible that it will make its debut in the U.S. some time early next year — once the folks in LG’s back yard have been given first crack.The E940 will join the Droid DNA and Oppo Find 5 in bringing 1080P displays to the U.S. smartphone market, and there’s no doubt other manufacturers will follow suit. Samsung certainly seems like a safe bet, especially since the Galaxy S4 should be surfacing in the next few months.via PhoneArenalast_img read more