VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Dec 2012 Issue
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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Dec 2012 Issue

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A monthly roundup of VR-Zone.com Technology News covering PC Hardware & Mobile gadgets from Intel, AMD, Apple, Google, Samsung, NVIDIA, Sony, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, ASUS, Android, iOS, iPhone, iPad,......

A monthly roundup of VR-Zone.com Technology News covering PC Hardware & Mobile gadgets from Intel, AMD, Apple, Google, Samsung, NVIDIA, Sony, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, ASUS, Android, iOS, iPhone, iPad, iWatch, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • 1. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Scientists take first hyperspectral photos of Earth's auroras Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-take-first-hyperspectral- photos-of-earth-s-auroras/18138.html November 30th, 2012 The first ever hyperspectral images of Earth's auroras, bizarre and beautiful lights in the sky, have been captured with a new purpose-built camera. The first ever hyperspectral images of Earth's auroras, bizarre and beautiful lights in the sky, have been captured with a new purpose-built camera. Researchers at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Norway developed the NORUSCA II camera, which can simultaneously image multiple spectral bands of light, allowing for some new discoveries when it comes to the so- called “Northern Lights.” Tests at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard produced the first hyperspectral images, which pick up and separate light over different bands. “A standard filter wheel camera that typically uses six interference filters will not be able to spin the wheel fast enough compared to the NORUSCA II camera,” said Fred Sigernes of UNIS. “This makes the new hyperspectral capability particularly useful for spectroscopy, because it can detect specific atmospheric constituents by their unique fingerprint, or wavelengths, in the light they emit.” An aurora appearing in the night sky at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, Norway. Taken November 2010. Credit: Njaal Gulbarndsen. The technology also helped the scientists uncover a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon and could pave the way for even more discoveries in the future. On 24 January a major solar flare called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) hit the Earth and caused widespread auroras, and tests conducted then found a faint wave pattern of unknown origin in the lower atmosphere. It resembled the natural emission of light by the Earth's atmosphere called “airglow,” but this has never previously been associated with auroras, making it an entirely new phenomenon. “Our new all-sky camera opens up new frontiers of discovery and will help in the detection of auroras and the understanding of how our Sun impacts the atmosphere here on Earth,” said Sigernes. “Additional development and commissioning will also hopefully verify our intriguing first results.” The findings were published today in a paper in Volume 20, Issue 25 of the Optical Society's journal Optics Express.
  • 2. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The aurora as seen as a color composite image from the NORUSCA II camera. Three bands were combined to make the image. Each band was assigned a different color – red, green, and blue – to enhance the features of the aurora for analysis. Credit: Optics Express. The red arrow points to the unidentified low-intensity wave pattern, which the researchers suspect is an auroral- generated wave interaction with airglow. For contrast, the blue arrow points to the faint emission of the Milky Way. Credit: Optics Express. Students perform measurements of the aurora in front of the Kjell Henriksen Observatory. Svalbard, Norway, November 2010. Credit: Njaal Gulbarndsen. Piracy charges against 9- year-old girl dropped Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/piracy-charges-against-9-year-old- girl-dropped/18137.html November 30th, 2012 Police in Finland have dropped a piracy case against a 9- year-old girl after she attempted to download songs from Finnish pop star Chisu. Police in Finland have dropped a piracy case against a 9- year-old girl after she attempted to download songs from Finnish pop star Chisu. Once the illegal download was detected the Copyright Information and Control Centre (CIAPC) issued a letter to the girl's father, who was the internet account holder, demanding a payment of €600 in compensation, as well as requiring the signing of a non-disclosure agreement. The father refused to pay, claiming that neither he nor his daughter really knew what she was doing, and that the songs ended up not even playing. The CIAPC responded by filing a complaint to the police, who raided the girl's home and confiscated her laptop.
  • 3. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Tools of the trade for digital criminals News of the raid spread online, earning the CIAPC much condemnation, but now the charges have been dropped. “We have decided to end the criminal investigation, because CIAPC has waived the penalty claims,” police officer Markku Nisula told Finnish news outlet MTV3. It appears that CIAPC and the girl's father reached a settlement for the payment of €300, half the original amount. Presumably the infamous flagship of piracy worldwide, the girl's Winnie the Pooh laptop, will now be returned to her. US and EU oppose Russian proposal to tax the internet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-and-eu-oppose-russian-proposal- to-tax-the-internet/18135.html November 30th, 2012 The United States and European Union have revealed that they will oppose a proposal by Russia to tax the internet and make it easier to track people online. The United States and European Union have revealed that they will oppose a proposal by Russia to tax the internet and make it easier to track people online. A major internet conference will be held from 3-14 December in Dubai, with all 193 countries that are members of the International Telecommunications Union meeting to debate new internet regulations. Russia has proposed a tax on companies like Google and Yahoo if they deliver content abroad, while also suggesting the implementation of more sophisticated methods to trace what people do online. The proposals have received the backing of China and a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East. On the opposite side of the fence is the US and EU, backed by Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and a number of other countries, all of whom believe the proposals will limit innovation and damage commerce. There are also fears over free speech. Russia claims its suggestions are designed to tackle cybercrime, but the European Union thinks this is an excuse to control freedom of expression online. Google has already voiced its opposition to the conference, calling on internet users to sign an online petition against the proposals. It was particularly against the idea of having to pay a fee every time someone in another country accesses some of its content, as this would likely lead to what many activists call an “information black out” in poorer countries. “The European Union's firm view is that the Internet works,” said Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Internet Policy. “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” Image Credit: Google Rosewill RK-9100 Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rosewill-rk-9100-illuminated- mechanical-gaming-keyboard-review/18134.html November 30th, 2012 Rosewill has been on fire lately, releasing product after product after product. Even though the company started as an in-house brand of Newegg, they slowly fledged into a fully stand-alone manufacturer and exporter with myriads of technology-related products, including high performance products for gamers and enthusiasts. Today we will be
  • 4. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 having a look at such a product, the RK-9100 illuminated mechanical keyboard, an upgraded version of the RK-9000 mechanical keyboard which we reviewed a few months ago. Rosewill has been on fire lately, releasing product after product after product. Even though the company started as an in-house brand of Newegg, they slowly fledged into a fully stand-alone manufacturer and exporter with myriads of technology-related products, including high performance products for gamers and enthusiasts. Today we will be having a look at such a product, the RK-9100 illuminated mechanical keyboard, an upgraded version of the RK-9000 mechanical keyboard which we reviewed a few months ago. Rosewill offers the RK-9100 keyboard with two different key switches, Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Blue; sorry guys, no black or red switches with this version. We received and tested the version with the Cherry MX Brown switches to bring you this review. Although the name suggests that the RK-9100 would be just an upgrade of the RK-9000 with lighting, it actually is an entirely different product, with different features and functionality. We will explore those differences in detail in this review. Manufacturer features and specifications • Individually backlit keys with 3 illuminated modes and 4 brightness levels • Equipped with 8 multimedia shortcut keys • 2-Port USB 2.0 hub • 6-Key rollover: 6 Key could press at the same time • Cherry MX brown switches with soft tactile feeling • Gold plated USB connector to ensure low latency • High quality braided cable Model No. RK-9100 Color Black Type Mechanical Keyboard Interface USB and PS/2 Normal Keys 104 Key Switch Cherry MX Blue Switch Key Pitch 19.05mm Key Stroke 4.0mm±0.5mm Total Travel 4.0mm-0.5mm Operating Force 1.8±0.5 oz Switch Life 50 x 10^6 Times Cable Length 5.9 feet Dimensions 446(L) X 140(W) X 36(H) mm / 17.56"(L) X 5.51"(W) X 1.42"(H) Operating System Supported Windows XP/ Vista/ 7 Package Contents 1 x RK-9100 Keyboard 1 x User Manual Parts 3 Year limited Labor 1 Year limited Creator of original X-Com praises new game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/creator-of-original-x-com-praises- new-game/18133.html November 30th, 2012 When Firaxis Games set out to create a new game in the classic Microprose series X-Com, the biggest worry was likely to whether they'd end up disappointing fans of the original. Jake Solomon, lead designer of the new game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of those fans, and even he isn't certain whether he and his dev team have managed to capture the feel and appeal of the original game. This is the new game... ...and the original However, it seems a bit of official word on the subject is in, as X-Com's original creator Julian Gollop, has praised the new game in a recent Eurogamer article: "I think Firaxis has done a great job… The game is addictive and absorbing, not to mention quite challenging on the classic difficulty setting." Solomon responded with praise for Gallop too: "That's good, man. The guy's a legend. It's a weird situation. You know he's
  • 5. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 still out there, you know he's going to end up playing it - and you just admire the guy so much." Scientists take photo of DNA for first time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-take-photo-of-dna-for- first-time/18132.html November 30th, 2012 Scientists have known about the shape of DNA molecules for several decades, but for the first time, a photograph of the molecule has been taken, spiral and all. Watson and Crick first modeled the composition of the DNA molecule in 1953, identifying it as a double helix structure composed of guanine, adenine, thymine and cytosine. Previously, a technique X-ray crystallography has been used to convert dots into an overarching image of the molecule. However, it isn't until not that it has been directly photographed. Using an electron microscope, a picture was snapped of a DNA strand which had been stretched out and suspended between two nanoscopic silicon pillars. The DNA, strung up between the pillars The photographer of the image is Enzo di Fabrizio from the University of Genoa, Italy. He separated a single DNA string in a solution by introducing the aforementioned pillars, which absorbed the water in the solution, leaving the DNA molecule left behind, strung up like a clothes line. By drilling holes in the base plate for the pillars, he could fire beams of electrons at the DNA, illuminating it, in a sense. The double helix, finally on a photo. In the future, Fabrizio's technique will allow scientists to study DNA in more detail, including how it reacts to RNA and proteins North Korean archaeologists find... a unicorn lair Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korean-archaeologists-find...- a-unicorn-lair/18131.html November 30th, 2012 North Korea's central news agency has reported that archaeologists have found a mythical unicorn lair belonging to an ancient King. North Korea is one of the most entertaining countries in the world. When it isn't busy threatening people with a hornet's nest of a military, starving it's citizens, flooding it's farmland or building massive hotels that are never quite finished (not like there's much tourism anyway), it seems as if the country spends most of it's days trying to be as ridiculous as possible. Think this stuff is fiction? THINK AGAIN. North Korean "archeologists" from the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences have announced the finding of a unicorn lair. Yes, you read it correctly. The Unicorn lair was apparently the property of King Tongmyong, founder of the ancient Korean kingdom Koguryo. Tongmyong, who lived between BCE 277 and CE 668, was mythically known to ride a unicorn, as Jo Hui Sung, director of the History Institute explains: "Korea's history books deal with the unicorn, considered to be ridden by King Tongmyong, and its lair." They found the lair 200 meters from a temple in North Korea's capitol city Pyongyang. The discovery of the lair apparently proves Pyongyang was the capitol of Koguryo, as well as the modern day North Korea.The question on everyone's mind though, is undoubtedly how they found this "lair", and how they could tell that it was real? Did they find
  • 6. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Unicorn bones? No, they found a rectangular rock with the words "Unicorn Lair" carved into it. I'm not even kidding... Gigapixel image lets you take close look at difference engine Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gigapixel-image-lets-you-take-close- look-at-difference-engine/18129.html November 30th, 2012 Charles Babbage's difference engine is the forefather of today's modern computers, and now, there's a Gigapixel photo of it for you to check out every detail of. Charles Babbage was the creator of one of the ancestors of the computer, the Babbage Difference engine. The device was created in the 1820's to perform calculations mechanically, as opposed to the by-hand method used by scientists of the time. Back then, a calculator was a person who calculated professionally, but humans make mistakes, and Babbage wanted to find a way to do the same work, without human error. After the difference engine, he sought to improve his design, and came up with plans for the Difference engine #2. Unfortunately, the prohibitive cost meant Babbage never saw his improved machine become a reality. Shiny However, in the years since, replicas have been manufactured, and one of them is stored in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. This difference engine now has four Gigapixel images of it, which you can check out right here. The images are a composite, containing a total of 1,350 images each, and up to 28 images per focus stack. There have been quite a few Gigapixel images lately, most of them of landscapes such as this 26 Gigapixel Paris, or this 16 Gigapixel Machu Picchu. What sets the Babbage picture apart is that it is a close-up, and that has required some complex computer controlled focus and tracking control. Kid explains Wii U to Michelle Obama Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kid-explains-wii-u-to-michelle- obama/18128.html November 30th, 2012 In a lighthearted piece of news, here's a cute video of a kid explaining what the Wii U is to the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Being the First Lady of the USA is a tough job, and it doesn't leave much room for learning about new releases in the video games industry. During an event where Michelle Obama spoke to a group of children and asked them what they wanted for Christmas, a boy answered "a Wii U", to which Mrs. Obama replied "What's a Wii U?" At this point, a girl took over the conversation and provided a very competent, on the fly explanation of the console. Charlie Spiering, who works at the Washington Examiner, provided a video of the happening which was uploaded to YouTube. It may not be the most news worthy thing ever to come out of the Examiner, but it's pretty heartwarming. DayZ to receive engine overhaul Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dayz-to-receive-engine- overhaul/18113.html November 30th, 2012 DayZ's standalone was slated for a 2012 release, but that date might not be set in stone anymore, as the Arma II mod undergoes an engine change. Dean "Rocket" Hall's Arma II mod, DayZ, has been a work in progress for a while now, but it was meant to have a standalone release before the end of the year. This may not happen, explains the developer. Accoirding to Hall, though they are still aiming for a 2012 release, the developers of the mod would not be entirely opposed to pushing the release back, if it meant giving the game a more solid foundation. Hall has stated that short term goals such as meeting a deadline, should not compromise long term goals, such as the overall quality of the game.
  • 7. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 One of the reasons there may be a delay, is the extensive overhaul of the game being implemented, most interesting of which is a new engine. Though the engine may not look drastically different from the previous engine, it implements a lot of functionality changes at it's core, making weapons customizable, as well as clothes and changes in controls and the map. The game, when it is released, will launch on Steam. Nothing to see here, Mars rover discovery is unfounded Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nothing-to-see-here-mars-rover- discovery-is-unfounded/18127.html November 30th, 2012 It is now confirmed that NASA scientist John Grotzinger’s previous announcement of a find in the soil sample taken onboard the Mars rover Curiosity, turned out to be nothing more than speculation. A recent press announcement from NASA stated, "Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect… At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics." (NASA's Curiosity Mars rover being tested in Death Valley) One of the main missions that the rover is to complete on Mars is to find signs of organic molecules left behind when the planet had a presumed shallow sea. Everywhere on earth that liquid water is found, there is always some form of life. The rover has been on the planet now for approximately 4 months, and it is the most technologically advance rover to date. It has a large array of arms and cameras that will be taking samples of air, rock and soil for the next 2 years. One very important mission for the rover will be to study the Gale Crater where NASA believes some form of microbial life may be present. This latest announcement may have upset a lot of hopeful folks on Earth, but NASA also released new data that the Mercury orbiter, 'Messenger', has found frozen water at the planet's North pole. Messenger was said to have found a very large amount of frozen water there and found what the space agency is calling possible “organic material” as well. The planet Mercury, which is closest to the sun, has an average surface temperature of 427C (800F), so finding any type of frozen water on the planet’s north pole will be a bit of a shock if there is indeed water on Mercury. NASA also feels that its south pole may contain frozen water as well. Neuroscientist creates a large scale model of a functioning brain Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/neuroscientist-creates-a-large-scale- model-of-a-functioning-brain/18126.html November 30th, 2012 The device is called “Spaun”, which stands for Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network, and its design is based on the human brain. The model has connections that work together like the prefrontal lobe. An article in the November 30, 2012 issue of Science titled, "BUILDING THE HUMAN BRAIN”, by Eliasmith, et. al., goes over the brain model and how it functioned. “In this work, we present a 2.5-million-neuron model of the brain (called “Spaun”) that bridges this gap by exhibiting many different behaviors, “ writes Eliasmith. “Although simplified, the model captures many aspects of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and psychological behavior, which we demonstrate via eight diverse tasks.” The brain model took Eliasmith and his team with the University of Waterloo over a year to build, and it is capable of performing a few basic tasks. The team made clear that while it does have a very limited capability to learn new things on its own, it does demonstrate how the brain’s neurons work, which includes biological signals that are being transmitted. Currently the model brain can recognize a few things, has memory, and it is able to write down numbers. The scientists that created Spaun are reaching out to other scientists in the U.K and the U.S. in an effort to help expand its capabilities. Eliasmith says that in time this model may be scaled up, and it might lead the way to increase the machine’s intelligence. Currently machines that simulate human interaction only operate by certain pre-programmed responses and only give the appearance they are thinking. Eliasmith said that this design might also lead to a future of machines with more realistic human-like responses, or even a bona fide machine with real artificial intelligence that is self aware. Fujitsu transforms smartphones into skin care gadgets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-transforms-smartphones- into-skin-care-gadgets/18124.html November 30th, 2012 Fujitsu launches its Skin Memory service, a cloud-based service that provides a relatively comprehensive skin analysis using a smartphone's camera. Ever thought of using your smartphone for skin care? If you have, then this new service from Fujitsu might pique your interest. They have just recently unveiled their new cloud- based "Skin Memory" service. Using your smartphone's
  • 8. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 camera as a scanning device, the service's system is capable of collecting different kinds of information about your skin. It is essentially an analysis tool that assesses the status of your skin by looking at certain elements such as skin tone, dimples, spots, and other things. There are three basic things required to use the service: the specialized app, a 4MP (at minimum) camera, and the special "Color Frame" card. The Color Frame card has a special hole that would be used to target the skin area that you want to be scanned. Using the special card would enable the app to maintain an accurate analysis despite varying changes in the surrounding lighting. The app was primarily designed for the Android OS, although an iOS version is in the works. After getting a clear snapshot of the target skin area inside the Color Frame card, the picture will then be sent to their system, where it would be studied by an image analyzer. Users may be able to compare data from previous scans, as well as data from skin scans made by other people. The service will allow for upgraded functions as the system accumulates more data. Though it seems that way, the Skin Memory service isn't really designed to be used individually though. Fujitsu plans to have the actual service catered to other skin care-related business entities (health, beauty, cosmetics, etc.) as a B2B service. For example, businesses who have signed contracts with them may combine the Skin Memory service with other services that they might have. Fujitsu started the service on November 29, 2012. Source: Tech-On (JP) Microsoft Core i5 Surface Pro tablet available January, 2013 starting at $899 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-core-i5-surface-pro-tablet- available-january-2013-starting-at-899/18125.html November 30th, 2012 Early Windows 8 adopters who have been waiting it out for the Surface Pro will have to shell out a bit more for the Intel- based tablets—as expected. Microsoft announced on its blog recently that its Intel Core i5 Surface Pro tablets will start at $899 with the 64GB model and $999 for the 128GB model. All Surface Pro models will come with Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Pen stylus, 4GB of RAM, dual 2x2 MIMO antennas, built-in kickstand, Dark Titanium VaporMg casing, one USB 3.0 port, and Windows 8 Pro OS to boot. Weighing in at less than two pounds and measuring less than 14mm thick, the Surface Pro has a full 1080p 10.6-inch HD screen, and is capable of 2560x1440 output via a Mini DisplayPort. The Surface Pro has the ability to use a Touch Cover or a Type Cover, but in the interest of Microsoft the tablet will be sold as a 'standalone' (meaning, no Touch/Type Cover add-on will be included). Many are saying that the Surface RT is Microsoft’s answer to high-end tablets such as the Asus Transformer Prime, and Apple’s new iPad. The Surface Pro on other hand is meant to compete with Ultrabooks, or ‘superslim’ and ‘ultraportable’ laptops. Whatever the case may be, Microsoft is still trying to gain notoriety in the portable market its Surface devices. Many users have griped about Windows 8’s lack of a ‘desktop’ feel, and the barren app store. Microsoft projected that 4 million Surface RT tablet were going to be shipped in 2012, but that number had been cut by about half a million to a million. Nevertheless, the Redmond-based software giant has its mind set on taking on the tablet world with its in-house hardware. ARM-based Windows 8 tablets are cheaper, but users will not be able to run legacy software designed for prior versions of Windows. Here's a quick comparison of the Surface RT and Pro: Features Surface RT Surface Pro OS Windows RT Windows 8 Pro Weight 676g 903g Thickness 9.3mm 13.5mm Battery 31.5W-h 42W-h Connectivity microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD video, 2x2 MIMO antennae microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort video, 2x2 MIMO antennae Software bundle Office Home & Student 2013 RT N/A Storage 32 or 64GB 64 or 128GB NASA: 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of ice exist on Mercury Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-100-billion-to-1-trillion-tons- of-ice-exist-on-mercury/18123.html November 30th, 2012
  • 9. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 There is between 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of ice on Mercury according to some recent data beamed back to Earth from the Messenger spacecraft. It has been theorized since the 1970’s that there’s water on Mercury, but it is not until recently that NASA has become even more confident about the idea of there being water on the planet closest to the Sun. Adding to the almost non-existent atmosphere, Mercury’s average surface temperature is 800 °F (427 °C), so it’s hard to imagine the planet being able to retain the nectar of life. However, Mercury has an axial tilt of near zero, meaning the north and south poles never get any direct sunlight. Mercury’s axial tilt, along with craters that exist near the poles are strong proofs that water may be in abundance in those craters close to the poles. Using Earth-based radar, optical cameras, and an instrument called a neutron probe on the Messenger; NASA is predicting that Mercury does indeed have water on its surface. The water itself may not be directly above the surface, but rather it’s buried under a layer or two of surface materials. A theory, as to where the water came from, is that asteroids bombarding the planet carried along with it ice, and without direct sunlight at the poles (temperature may reach a chilly -370 °F (-223 °C)), which—along with the protective geographical structures created by the asteroids—may have contributed to the preservation of the water at Mercury’s poles. Improving game graphics is behind the newest NVIDIA Beta Drivers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/improving-game-graphics-is-behind- the-newest-nvidia-beta-drivers/18118.html November 30th, 2012 NVIDIA today announced the availablity of its beta video card drivers which sees the version number change from 310.54 to 310.64 beta and said the update is aimed at improving the framerates by up to 38%. When it comes to gaming nothing can get gamers more in a lather, and excited, than the framerates for their favorite games and video card manufacturers like NVIDIA and AMD are continually trying to improve their video card drivers to make their most passionate customers happy. So it should come as no surprise that NVIDIA announced the availability of some new beta drivers for their GeForce 600- series video cards that are directly targeted to some specific games. You can grab your copy of the beta drivers here or if you have the NVIDIA Update app running make sure it is set to also check for beta drivers and click on Check for Update.
  • 10. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Mugen Power wows Samsung Galaxy Note II users with 6400mAh battery Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mugen-power-wows-samsung- galaxy-note-ii-users-with-6400mah-battery/18153.html December 2nd, 2012 Mugen Power has long been known as a leader in extended batteries for many mobile devices. With the Note 2 being so new the fact that it [already] has an extended battery is a bit of a shock by itself, the fact that it's 6400mAh is downright impressive! The people at Mugen Power never cease to amaze me. A few years ago I had a BlackBerry 9300 and got a Mugen extended battery which almost tripled the life of the phone. When I installed it I wanted to put it to the test so I kept the phone on vibrate, display as bright as it could go and disabled WiFi to get the battery a run for its money. It was a long 17 hours before the battery finally died. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has an impressive 3100mAh OEM battery that gives an advertised talk time of 17hrs. Take that and add an additional 3300mAh and you have a phone or a tablet that might last twice as long! The downside to the extended battery is the size of the door you have to put on it, however, the door for the Mugen Power does have a cool kickstand to it. I guess it is a 'give and take.' Nikolai Lebedovsky, marketing manager at Mugen Power Batteries claims that the company worked hard on trying to cram as much juice as possible into the aftermarket battery, and their main goal was to maintain useability without the trouble of needing to constantly charge the device. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is an amazing device with great set of functions and brilliant screen. Users are happy to enjoy all the functions of this phone, but the battery life is a real limitation if you want to get it all. We worked hard on this project and managed to fit additional 3300mAh capacity into that new battery. Our solution gives customers added battery life to stay connected longer without recharges and make more with the smartphone than ever before. The pricing is at just under $100 until December 2nd when it will go up to $106.99 and can be gotten directly from the Mugen Power website here. Mexican court fines Yahoo! 2.7 billion dollars Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mexican-court-fines-yahoo-2.7- billion-dollars/18156.html December 2nd, 2012 A court in Mexico has recently fined Yahoo Incorporated 2.7 billion U.S. dollars over a breach of contract and because of losses from other advertising mediums. Worldwide directories and Ideas Interactivas, which manages the yellow pages listings in the Mexico has been awarded a judgment against Yahoo! Incorporated and Yahoo de Mexico, A.A. de C.V. by the 49th Civil Court of the Federal District of Mexico City. Worldwide Directories S.A. de C.V. along with Ideas Interactivas, S.A. de C.V, filed the lawsuit. Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas claims that Yahoo! Inc. breached contractual agreements that caused losses in profit from the local yellow pages listing business. Yahoo has denied the claims and is currently seeking an appeal. If Yahoo is unable to appeal this lawsuit, it will be a mighty blow to the once powerful company. In an official statement on Yahoo!’s investor page, Sarah Gorgman, a Yahoo! official, says that the claims against Yahoo! are without 'merit' and that the company will 'vigorously' find ways to appeal the court's decision. “Yahoo! believes the plaintiffs' claims are without merit and will vigorously pursue all appeals. The plaintiffs alleged claims of breach of contract, breach of promise, and lost profits arising from contracts related to a yellow pages listings service," says Gorgman. This latest news against Yahoo! came a few weeks after the company grabbed former Google executive and spokeperson, Marissa Mayer. Mayer is Yahoo!'s 5th CEO,
  • 11. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 and the company has been fighting agressively to maintain their position in a highly competitive search, advertising and mobile market. Toy-inspired helicopter capable of carrying a person Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toy-inspired-helicopter-capable-of- carrying-a-person/18150.html December 2nd, 2012 Hirobo, a popular Japanese based model maker for remote controlled planes and helicopters, recently unveiled a full size version of their line. This latest helicopter is designed for one person and will be battery powered. The new, battery-powered, helicopter from Hirobo will be called the “HX-1”, and will have contra-rotating rotors that incorporates a ‘fly by wire’ control system. Its flight time will be approximately 30 minutes and has the capability to be flown either by the person riding it or with a remote control unit. Currently, the helicopters have only been tested hovering, but the company stated that human flight tests will begin in early 2013. While the popular remote control helicopters normally made by Hirobo are known to be of great quality, this is the first full size endeavor created by them. This scaled up single-seat helicopter is made in the same way as their smaller units, and uses a very similar style of flight control with flight speeds up to 60MPH. The company stated that since it can be flown using the fly-by-wire or remote, that it might be useful in helping with search and rescue or what most people would use it for - entertainment purposes. If you would like one of these toys it’s not going to be cheap. The base price for one helicopter will run you about 375,000 U.S. dollars, and may be ready sometime later in 2013. ZTE Grand X LTE T82 Smartphone Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-grand-x-lte-t82-smartphone- review/18065.html December 2nd, 2012 ZTE's affordable dual core LTE entry, the Grand X T82, combines decent performance and display with somewhat plain design. How does it feel in everyday use? ZTE, the close second on the Chinese phone vendors' throne after Huawei, has increasingly re-focused on the consumer market, including Asia-Pacific, after quite a few of its enterprise hardware efforts got curtailed by the Western governments questionable protection measures on one side, and increased competition within China, on the other side. Their new smartphone range aims to be on a par with the best that, at very least, Huawei can do, and competitive with what the overseas brands create. We have a quick look here at their "Grand X" T82 Android ICS-based LTE Band3&7 smartphone, enabling up to 100 Mbps 4G-speed comms if your provider and area of coverage allow so. It's quite a large unit at 130.9×65×11.1mm. First of all, the plain designed white plastic back casing with black front is dominated by the 4.3 inch qHD - nicer name for the 960x540 moviescreen 16:9 - glossy screen. Now, I'm resolutely against 16:9 on any PCs or tablets, but on the smartphone, this format may actually make some sense, as it makes the phone longer and easier to grasp, especially if one doesn't have a very large hand. If watching the 1920x1080 FullHD content, then this phone's resolution will nicely display that without blurring as there'd be simple halving of the resolution on each axis. The display itself had decent colour range and can handle being in the outdoor lighting except very strong sunshine, where the glare becomes a bit too much. Even though this isn't the top end model - the Grand Era would be the one - it still has a reasonably powerful dual core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 CPU with integrated Adreno 225 GPU, a new 28 nm process iteration of Qualcomm's ARM smartphone processors. There's 768 GB usable RAM out of 1 GB total, as well as s 4 GB flash capacity plus a microSD memory slot, where we had another 32 GB card inserted. The dual camera config has a rear 8MP camera with flashlight and 1080p recording support, as well as a front end 1 Mpix 720p HD camera for videoconferencing.
  • 12. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 In the daily use, the 1900 mAh LiIon battery could last good two days on idle, not bad for a reasonably high end device. What was more interesting was to see the performance of the phone's underlying hardware using the brand new Sandra Mobile and Passmark Mobile benchmarks, and set a reference against the other models. The Android phone bench applets, especially comprehensive tests like Sandra or Passmark, are still rare, so running two of those suites, and checking the experiences, was quite a temptation. Here are our first Sandra Mobile and Passmark results: Passmark CPU Tests 5508 Passmark Disk Tests 1889 Passmark Memory Tests 2661 Passmark 2D Graphics Tests 2192 Passmark 3D Graphics Tests 645 Sandra Aggregate Native Arithmetic Performance 610MOPS Sandra Aggregate Native Multi-Media Performance 5025kPix/s Sandra Aggregate Crypto Bandwidth 54MB/s Sandra Aggregate Memory Performance 3424MB/s Futuremark Peacekeeper HTML5 Benchmark 395 marks When playing 3-D games like the AE 3D motorbike, the phone was fully responsive, except a few glitches which could be driver-related. The display resolution seems to be sufficient for decent web browsing, including standard PC- sized web pages, when using the horizontal mode. If you want higher resolution here, it may actually make sense to go with a larger 5-inch class 'phablet' configuration like what Samsung Galaxy Note has, or the upcoming ZTE's own 1080p model in this class. In summary, this is a pretty good LTE starter phone, with sufficient hardware strength to support lots of stuff to be downloaded and ran from a high speed LTE network. The minus points are likely need for more integrated flash memory (I'd start with 8 GB there) and the design which could be somewhat thinner and overall more impressive - even Intel's first Atom phone, the Xolo 900, looks more physically attractive. Adult industry seeks profit in 3D printing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/adult-industry-seeks-profit-in-3d- printing/18149.html December 2nd, 2012 In the I knew this was bound to happen department it seems that the growing popularity of 3D printing has made it into the adult sex toys business thanks to Tom Nardone of MakerLove in an effort to be in the highly coveted first to market percentile. I have been a proponent of 3D printing since its first mention in tech blogs and have said on more than one occasion that the popularization of 3D printing will bring about a fundamental change in our society, but when I said that I definitely wasn't thinking in the same direction as Tom Nardone of MakerLove. The engineer turned sex toy salesman is just about making any old type of sex toys either. For him his 3D printed sex toys is a combination art and science along with technology and pleasure. As anyone who has been involved with technology for a long time will tell you, sex has been a major influence in the popularization of technology most notably with the popularity of VCRs (and online porn), so it should come as no surprise that someone would see what a 3D printer can do and immediately start thing about things like sex toys. However Nardone will be the first to tell you that it is still early days with things like 3D printed sex toys, mostly due to the materials currently used in the process of printing something out as well as the difficulty in getting a smooth finished product. There are technical hurdles, too. Right, now most 3D printers print objects at resolutions far too rough to be used comfortably in intimate areas. “There’s a bit of a texture to them,” MakerLove’s Nardone confesses. Also, sex toys printed from material known as polyvinyl alcohol are water-soluble, which automatically rules them
  • 13. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 out for use with any water-based lubricant. While the solution to that is simply to print other materials that still doesn’t solve the whole texture issue. Nardone, however, is largely unconcerned. “The resolution will improve with time. 3D printing is just like any other technology,” he said. Some of the more popular and affordable 3D printers are the MakerBot line of 3D printers. In its second revision, the MakerBot Replicator 2 boasts not only a default layer height of 100 microns, but also ease of use. The Replicator 2 is driven by a desktop application called MakerWare, and third party extensions such as CAD files may also be used as an input. Affordable as it may be, the Replicator 2 runs for a cool $2,199.00. Shogun Bros. dual functionality mouse Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/shogun-bros.-dual-functionality- mouse/18147.html December 2nd, 2012 This unique mouse that combines a wireless mouse and gamepad; will you buy one if it gets to mass production? The majority of us who prefer playing games with a controller over a keyboard will be interested in this new device from Shogun Bros. It's a mouse that turn into a gamepad just by flipping it over. There are dozens of controllers out there that let you play games on your computer as comfortably as you would on a console. They look like everything from regular controllers to super futuristic mice with adjustable buttons, to retro SNES controllers. There's still something novel about this one though. Having the buttons on the bottom makes it feel like you're trying to be sneaky about it. It lets you imagine someone hard at work at his desk who then just snatches his mouse up, flips it over and starts playing Fifa or Battlefield 3. It's like how James Bond would play games on his computer. Or maybe the bottom was just the only place where everything would fit.
  • 14. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The Chameleon X-1 is a regular 2.4GHz wireless mouse with 1600 DPI resolution. As a gamepad it has the full complement of buttons - 14, plus the L and R buttons. It even supports force feedback. They have really packed a lot into this small device and I'm sure a lot of people would love to see it for sale soon. Toei have suggested 5700 Yen ($69) as a hypothetical price. Unfortunately it is not yet clear whether they will move to sell the device or whether it will just remain a nifty idea. Staples to launch 3D printing in Europe Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/staples-to-launch-3d-printing-in- europe/18145.html December 2nd, 2012 Staples, a popular office supply chain of retail stores, will soon begin offering 3D printing services for their customers in parts of Europe. The 3D models will be made with paper and will be available in full color. Staples will soon be offering what they are calling “Staples Easy 3D” for their customers. The service will be just like their current printing services ordered from home and available for pickup or by mail. This new 3D printing service will be available first for customers in Belgium and The Netherlands in early 2013, and the services will later be expanded to other parts of Europe and abroad. The new service from the company was announced at the Euromold 2012 by Mcor Technologies, which will be working with the office supply chain. Mcor Technologies new ‘iris’ line of 3D printers will use standard printer paper instead of plastic in constructing 3D images. This different approach uses glued bits of paper in exact dimensions prescribed by the printer program and it can provide the customer with a high-resolution layer thickness of 100 microns. Something even more spectacular about this printing service is that you can get your 3D model with realistic coloring and shading. For those leery of believing that paper models could be a strong as 3D plastic models, the company claims the models made on the machine are very similar to composite wood with the ability to be tapped or drilled. 3D printing is quickly gaining in popularity and will have future applications in all manner of devices and uses. Researchers with Washington State University experimented with simulated moon rocks in an effort to melt them down to be used in a 3D printer. They proved that tools or other things could be created, in theory, for future colonists on the moon using only the materials present. Other research into 3D printing is finding uses for human organ implants by fashioning cartilage cells in mesh molds or other needs such as artificial arteries. Top secret X-37B space plane to launch soon? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/top-secret-x-37b-space-plane-to- launch-soon-/18146.html December 2nd, 2012 The top-secret aerospace project being called the “X-37B” will be launching again soon but still no word on its intended use. The Boeing-developed X-37B test space plane is quite different from the recently retired NASA space shuttles, and many are curious why the U.S. is developing an unmanned space plane in the first place. While answers about the vehicles specific purpose is for now, the United States Air Force simply stated that it will be a more reliable and reusable unmanned space vehicle. The X-37B space plane is the latest model based on the X-37 test plan, but on a larger scale. It measures over 29 feet in length and is launched by an Atlas V class rocket and can return to earth like a regular plane. Past statement from NASA have suggested that the plane would be an aid in the development and design of NASA’s Orbital Space Plane program. The X37-B’s next launch is set for December 11, 2012. NASA nor the Air Force will confirm nor deny any current theories on what it will be used for, but some are saying it may be a more cost effective way of launching or retrieving satellites. Some feel that the vehicle itself could be a future satellite technology that can be retrieved at any time. One thing for certain about the vehicle is that it is a highly developed unmanned plane that is well out of the reaches of any ground radar. If the vehicle’s future intent is scientific in nature it
  • 15. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 will mean that it can be set in orbit for extended periods and then returned to earth for retrieval of any data it may have collected without the need of human occupants. HTC releases Droid DNA source code Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-releases-droid-dna-source- code/18143.html December 2nd, 2012 In the Android community there are few things that can get a developer motivated than fresh code. Developers everywhere have anxiously waited for this and an equal number of Android owners have as well. It's time to see what the community can make this phone really do. Having source code released means a couple different things. It means new ROMs, new kernels and the ability to get rid of the pesky bloatware that comes with the phone from the factory and carrier. Any and all of which are something HTC Droid DNA owners are all celebrating. It's all about customization when it comes to the Android super user. With this code, developers can take a standard, Jelly Bean powered phone and turn it into something that they and the user can really enjoy. Now to add on to that, Verizon has never been known to make this easy. The Droid DNA does have a locked bootloader. Be that as it may, the Android community of developers didn't see this as a problem and found an exploit to take care of the issue. With the bootloader unlocked it takes down the main wall for the phone to be touched by the pending developers. HTC itself is, however, very much in touch and in tune with the wants of the developers and such released the code for enthusiasts to play with. While the code is still fresh, you can expect to see ROM's and kernels coming out, being tested, revamped and tested again. It shouldn't take too long for the community to have a main base such as CyanogenMod to play with and mod out. Next-gen military uniforms could change into chemical suits automatically Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/next-gen-military-uniforms-could- change-into-chemical-suits-automatically/18141.html December 2nd, 2012 The military is looking into a new next-gen technology that could see a soldier's fatigues be able to automatically turn into a protective shell if chemical or biological weapons are detected. Military technology is constantly evolving and agencies like DARPA is helping to shape some of the future technology that we, as regular consumers, will end up using in the future. Where we generally are always looking for the new and the coolest of toys and gadgets the military is looking at future technology to do two things: eliminate threats more efficiently and to keep soldiers as safe as possible from the dangers of war. One of the primary concerns of the military is the increasing possibility of enemies using more and more sophisticated chemical and biological weapons against soldiers in the field. Well thanks to researchers at UMass Amherst soldiers may soon get a rather unique, and very cool, second skin due to some recently developed nanotube-based fabrics. This fabric is intended for use in the uniforms worn by soldiers and to provide protection from certain biological and chemical weapons used against them. While the military already has chemical warfare suits they are both cumbersome, really hot to wear, and require time to get in and out of. These new nanotube-based fatigues on the other hand would be able to switch from a highly breathable state (like the current uniforms) into a protective one once it is triggered by the presence of a chemical or biological attack; all this happening before the soldier may even recognize the threat. It is a mix of breathable membranes imbued with pores made of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes that allows for a multi-state material designed to respond to various types of biological and chemical triggers. The technology is still in the lab but the researchers believe that we could see practical applications in the field within the next decade. via PopSci / image courtesy of the US Army Stem cells successfully made from endothelial cells in blood vessel lining Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/stem-cells-successfully-made-from- endothelial-cells-in-blood-vessel-lining/18142.html
  • 16. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 December 2nd, 2012 The study of stem cells has been making incredible leaps when doctors realized that other cells could be manipulated into becoming stem cells. Now scientists have found another way to turn a patient’s own blood vessel lining-derived cells into usable, personalized stem cells. A new study on stem cell research published in the on- line journal, Stem Cells: Translational Medicine, titled, “A Practical and Efficient Cellular Substrate for the Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adults: Blood-Derived Endothelial Progenitor Cells” by Imbisaat Geti, Mark L. Ormiston, et. al., states that stem cells can now be made into other human cells by tricking them into becoming stem cells. The submission reads in part, We have developed a protocol that allows the reliable isolation of L-EPCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cell preparations, including frozen samples. As a proof- of-principle for clinical applications we generated EPC- iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) from both healthy individuals and patients with heritable and idiopathic forms of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Stem cells are cells found in the body of any multicellular organisms and have been a focus of scientists for many years since they can be transformed into any other type of cell in the body. What separates these cells from other types of cells is that they are not predetermined to what they will be. In humans, we have adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. The adult cells are for healing or to make more of a certain cells where there is damage or growth needed. With embryonic cells, they are for the development of the fetus. With this newly discovered process, the University of Cambridge team says they can reprogram 'late-outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells' (L-EPCs) and turn them into stem cells, which is much easier than using adult tissue samples. Furthermore, stem cells taken from other donors can and are often rejected by the body. By using cells derived from the patient’s own blood, it'll help to mitigate the rejection involved. Another part of the research that could prove to be beneficial is that the blood derived cells do not have to be converted immediately. Those working on the project stated that they could freeze and store the regular blood cells for later use, and then convert them over to the iPSC the patient might need later on. Dr. Amer Rhana who is part of the project stated, “Tissue biopsies are undesirable, particularly for children and the elderly – whereas taking blood samples is routine for all patients.” Hitting the 'Like Button' could suggest you are a terrorist Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hitting-the-like-button-could- suggest-you-are-a-terrorist/18139.html December 2nd, 2012 The FBI seems to think that clicking on the Facebook Like button is a sign that you could have terrorist tendancies, or at least this is what they are saying in a released indictment against three people. Facebook has always reminded me of that drunk uncle that we never want to invite to family functions because, well, he gets drunk and does stupid things. Add onto that the fact that Facebook is becoming increasingly used in the courts for things like divorces and of course the police using it to track down stupid crooks so it really shouldn't be a surprise that the FBI is trolling Facebook for "dangerous" people. However some of their claims seem tenuous at best, which can attest to a recent indictment used to arrest and charge three men based on the men's Like button-clicking habits. From the indictment; which you can read in full here, I have reviewed several of the social media web sites for KABIR, SANTANA, DELEON, each of whom has posted radical prom jihad content on their respective pages. Additionally, portions of the social media show that DELEON and SANTANA "liked" postings on KABIR's Facebook page as early as May 2011. [...] On September 17, 2012 SANTANA "liked" KABIR's post of an article entitled "A Public Talk by Ustadz Abu M Jibriel AR: The Truth of The 9/11 Jihad Operation, The Plots Of The Enemies and The Zionist Conspiracy. Of course there is other information that helped lead the FBI to arrest them but the idea that liking and sharing questionable stuff on Facebook could lead you to being arrested to the degree that seems apparent in these documents is a little disturbing. Turn your tablet into a big- boy computer with Sanwa's tablet-storing display stand Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/turn-your-tablet-into-a-big-boy- computer-with-sanwa-s-tablet-storing-display-stand/18130.html December 2nd, 2012 Sanwa Supply Inc. must have used Windows 8 before, as they have realized that traditional PCs have started to merge with the up and coming barrage of tablet technology. To aid you in making the transition from box-to-pad, Sanwa have released a new handy gadget.
  • 17. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Sanwa’s latest display stand, dubbed the “100-MR066” features a convenient sliding draw which, when exposed, allows you to place a tablet at a comfortable typing angle. While typing on a touch screen is far from ideal, users who wish to free themselves from the convenience of a full-sized Qwerty keyboard can go ahead and use a tablet as their input device, as well as their computing device. Of course, this isn’t the only option, and by sliding the draw (which actually has enough space to store two tablets simultaneously!) back into the stand it is possible to have all the convenience of a mobile computing device, coupled with the functionality of a fully fledged desktop computer, as it frees up desk space allowing you to use an external keyboard and mouse. The underbelly of the tablet-storing stand is left open, and this allows you to store your keyboard and mouse under the stand too when not in use. This form factor allows for super neat-freaks and Zen practitioners to relish in the comfort of an empty desk whenever you aren’t using your computer. Design wise, this seemingly-innocuous stand is top-notch. The sliding drawer can be used in any number of ways, and in addition to the aforementioned “tablet stand” configuration, pulling out the drawer just a tiny amount lets you stand a smartphone or tablet vertically too, giving you the full screen space of an external display coupled with the convenient touch-panel interface of a tablet. The stand also contains a space in the back to hold a power unit, allowing you to store charger cables inside the drawer too. The stand has dimensions of 702x300x100mm, with internal drawer dimensions of 659x217x19mm. It can reportedly take a weight of 7kg on the top of the stand, and 1.5kg on the drawer. The 100-MR066 is available via mail order here for 5,480 Yen (US$66).
  • 18. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Samsung Galaxy S III most popular smartphone in UK Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-most-popular- smartphone-in-uk/18175.html December 3rd, 2012 Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone looks set to continue its reign as the most popular mobile phone in the UK, after seven months in the number one slot. Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone looks set to continue its reign as the most popular mobile phone in the UK, after seven months in the number one slot. The Korean electronics giant's flagship model kept its crown for November, but the previous model, the S II, fell from second place to fourth place, replaced by two models of Apple's iPhone. The iPhone 5 stayed in third place, while the iPhone 4S jumped two places into second position, showing that newer is not always better for Apple supporters. Samsung is the top mobile and smartphone maker in the world and has seen its devices skyrocket in popularity, despite tough competition and numerous lawsuits from Apple, but the Christmas season could see a shift in sales, as Apple still has a strong brand to sell, and the holiday good will is likely to overcome the high price range. Samsung's brand is enjoying unparallelled popularity, however, with five of its Galaxy models in the top ten in the UK, including the Ace at number six, the Note II at number seven, and the Ace II at number ten. Android is the overall winner, ruling eight of the ten slots. The race is not just between Samsung and Apple, however. LG's recently released Nexus 4 shot to number five, the HTC One X+ came in at number nine, and the Sony Xperia U fell three places to number eight. None of these have the same kind of brand awareness as the big two contenders, however, making it difficult for them to steal the limelight this Christmas. “The affordable price point has kept the Samsung Galaxy S3 at the top of the tree, but whether it will be at the top of the Christmas tree remains to be seen, as price drops for both the 4S and 5 have seen the iPhone quickly gaining ground,” said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com. “As for the Christmas number one, the Apple brand could well reign supreme and see the iPhone 4S take over in the final straight as the gift of choice for consumers, especially at these reduced price points. Eight months may well be just that month too long for the S3 to wear the mobile crown.” Heat can repair flash memory chips Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/heat-can-repair-flash-memory- chips/18172.html December 3rd, 2012 Researchers have discovered that a short exposure to intense heat can repair flash memory chips, which traditionally suffer from reliability issues over time.
  • 19. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Researchers have discovered that a short exposure to intense heat can repair flash memory chips, which traditionally suffer from reliability issues over time. Staff at Macronix in Taiwan managed to increase the lifespan of flash memory from just 10,000 write and read cycles to a whopping 100 million cycles through the use of heat “healing.” The chips were redesigned to include a built-in heater, which would periodically jolt the material with a few milliseconds of heat at 800 degrees Celsius, many times the temperature of an oven. This brief exposure fully restores damage portions of the memory chip. Tests have shown that the new chips can last at least 100 million write and read cycles, but there is potential that they could last much longer than this, possibly even into billions of cycles, but this would take months to test. For those concerned about the possible fire risk, the researchers said that the device is perfectly safe, since the heat is only applied for a short duration. It will also only use a small amount of power, so it should not adversely affect battery life. Macronix, which makes flash memory, said it plans to send the technology to market, but it is not clear how long it will take before we have self-healing memory chips in our devices. SMS text messages 20 years old today Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sms-text-messages-20-years-old- today/18171.html December 3rd, 2012 The first SMS message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone 20 years ago today. On 3 December 1992 Neil Papworth, a test engineer for Sema Group, sent the first text message, with the words “Merry Christmas” to Vodafone employee Richard Jarvis, but since mobile phones did not have the capability enabled yet, Jarvis was unable to respond. Since then texting has boomed, with the first commercial service launched by Telia in Sweden in 1993, followed by several other companies in 1994, including Vodafone itself in the UK. SMS messages were also a bit more like Twitter in that they were strictly limited to 160 characters, with no way to combine multiple texts for a longer message. This led to the infamous “txt speak,” where words were replaced with numbers or otherwise shortened, like “c u” for “see you” and “b4” for “before.” Predictive text systems like T9 were not invented until 1995, making those initial years more cumbersome for many texters. It was not until 1999 that full cross-network compatibility, between Vodafone, Cellnet, One-2-One and Orange, became a reality. Text messages have since become the norm for communication for many people and companies, with parents texting their children to ask how they are and companies texting customers to tell them about offers, their latest bill, or confirm a delivery date. “When texting was first conceived many saw it as nothing more than a niche service,” said James Thickett, Director of Research at UK regulator Ofcom. “But texts have now surpassed traditional phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent way of keeping in touch for UK adults, revolutionising the way we socialise, work and network.” He also said that text volumes have, for the first time in history, shown “signs of decline.” This is largely due to the availability of other forms of text communication, such as instant messaging services and social media, which are widely used on internet-enabled smartphones. Slender sequel to be made in collaboaration with Marble Hornets creators Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/slender-sequel-to-be-made-in- collaboaration-with-marble-hornets-creators/18169.html December 3rd, 2012 The sequel to the short, but terrifying game Slender is receiving a sequel, and the creators of Marble Hornets are crafting the story for it.
  • 20. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The slenderman mythos originated in the Something Awful forums, and spread throughout the internet, eventually inspiring, among others, a popular free downloadable game called Slender: The Eight Pages, and a successful YouTube series called Marble Hornets. Now the creators of Marble Hornets have signed up to craft the story for Slender's sequel, "The Arrival". This will most likely mean a very good sequel. Mark Hadley, the creator of Slender, stated he's "confident that together we can produce a mind blowing horror experience in The Arrival." An encounter with the slenderman during Slender: The Eight Pages The slenderman was created as part of a contest in 2009 on Something Awful's forums, in which users were to doctor real images to include a supernatural entity and then spread the image on paranormal communities online. One contestant, Victor Surge, spread a series of photos from the late 19th century depicting children and a tall figure with tentacles in the background, stating that the children later vanished. Since then, the character has evolved and today, is generally defined as a tall faceless (literally) man wearing a suit and tie, often associated with trees and forests... and indeed, with the disappearance of children. The first encounter with the slenderman in Marble Hornets Slender popularized the Slenderman myth to a large audience, though it drew much of it's inspiration from the earlier YouTube series, Marble Hornets. Gameplay elements such as the pages which must be collected were designed after similar pages in MH, and several locations, such as a large drain pipe and abandoned house, were inspired from MH as well. Marble Hornets is an ongoing YouTube series filmed in the found-footage style, depicting interactions between the slenderman and a character named Jay who is attempting to find a missing friend. The series is presented as an alternate reality game, and allows viewers to interact with the content and tries to convince the viewer that the events in the series are unfolding in the real world. Slender: The Arrival is due to be released in early 2013. Crysis 3 PC requirements released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crysis-3-pc-requirements- released/18167.html December 3rd, 2012 Crysis 3 is due to be released in February of 2013 for Xbox 360, Playstation 4 and PC, and now, the requirements for the PC version have been released. The game will support Windows versions Vista and above, and will require a minimum of 2GB of RAM and a DirectX 11 compatible graphics card with 1 GB of memory. Crytek has posted the minimum, recommended and high- spec requirements for the game, which are below: Minimum: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 DirectX 11 graphics card with 1Gb Video RAM Dual core CPU 2GB Memory (3GB on Vista) Example 1 (Nvidia/Intel): Nvidia GTS 450 Intel Core2 Duo 2.4 Ghz (E6600) Example 2 (AMD): AMD Radeon HD5770 AMD Athlon64 X2 2.7 Ghz (5200+) Recommended Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM Quad core GPU
  • 21. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 4GB Memory Example 1 (Nvidia/Intel): Nvidia GTX 560 Intel Core i3-530 Example 2 (AMD): AMD Radeon HD5870 AMD Phenom II X2 565 High-performance Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 Latest DirectX 11 graphics card Latest quad core CPU 8GB Memory Example 1 (Nvidia/Intel): NVidia GTX 680 Intel Core i7-2600k Example 2 (AMD): AMD Radeon HD7970 AMD Bulldozer FX4150 Star Wars Battlefront III was 99% done upon cancellation Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-wars-battlefront-iii-was-99- done-upon-cancellation/18166.html December 3rd, 2012 Co-founder of Free Radical, the developer behind the canceled Star Wars Battlefront III, revealed recently that the game was 99% finished when funding was cut. Free Radical Design, who developed Haze and were working on Star Wars Battlefront III, recently had some leaked footage of the latter hit YouTube. Nearly an hour of leaked footage hit the web earlier this year, and was met with positive feedback. Now, Free Radicals' co-founder, Steve Ellis, has commented on the game. He explained that during the development of Haze, the developers had tech problems and were generally in a slump, but that they had climbed out of that slump. Battlefront III was very ambitious and in Ellis' mind, would have been their most successful game: Screenshot from the game "We were making a game with very high ambition. You could start a battle on the ground, jump into a ship and fly into space, continuing on to dock in a capital ship and continue the battle there. We'd had to build all kinds of new tech and overcome numerous technical challenges and limitations but we had done it." he explained. In fact, Ellis claims they had done it to 99%; that all which remained in the game's development was bug fixes and patching, and that the game was essentially finished. However, when LucasArts had a change in management, it seems that for whatever reason, it was decided not worth investing in the game anymore, and Battlefront III was canceled. As the game was due out for current gen consoles, perhaps we can hope for a digital release at some point. Canadian Samsung Galaxy S III Jelly Bean update now available Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canadian-samsung-galaxy-s-iii-jelly- bean-update-now-available/18160.html December 3rd, 2012 It looks like the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE version is getting updates pushed to it. The new 4.1 update has been a long time coming for the GS3. The new update is just over 324MB so make sure you are connected to power and have WiFi enabled if possible! Other Canadian carriers like Wind aren't showing any updates quite yet, and this isn't really a big surprise as Wind isn't really known for pushing out updates as fast as mainstream carriers. The Galaxy S3 came with Android 4.0 from the factory but that soon changed when it got root and Jelly Bean ROM's came out for "The Next Big Thing". It is being reported that the Samsung servers are getting increasingly slower but with the amount of GS3's that are being updated it's to be expected. If you haven't gotten the update pushed to your device yet you can try and manually force it by the following steps:
  • 22. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Intel's NUC in Interactive Displays Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-s-nuc-in-interactive- displays/18161.html December 3rd, 2012 Nobody has cracked teleportation or world peace yet but advertising-oriented digital signages and interactive displays have certainly invaded every facet of our lives. With its small and versatile form factor, the NUC is the perfect choice to be the brains behind the screen. For denizens living in the civilized world of 2012, it is virtually impossible now to step out into the urban concrete jungle without being bombarded by some kind of digital signage, which have taken over static billboard displays as the medium of mass public messaging. These screens have gradually improved over the years in pixel densities and clarity, attracting and overloading your senses with useful information and other advertising messages. From the MRT train arrival notice board to the interactive point of sales interface on soft drink can machines, there is a computer, usually embedded, controlling what is displayed to the user and running the software routines programmed on it. When building such interactive displays, the underlying hardware plays an important role in the decision making process. As with our previous usage examples of the Intel NUC, its small but versatile 4" x 4" form factor comes into play, especially if you want to build a sleek and attractive structure to house the screen and machine. Also its sub-20W TDP means hardly any cooling is required in the storage compartment/cabinet, and is therefore eco friendly compared to the usual offerings. Its dual-core mobile Ivy Bridge processor augmented by a speedy SSD and up to 16GB of DDR3 ram entails that you can run a few foreground and background processes simultaneously without hiccups, such as a stock ticker at the side with a Full HD video playing and background webcam recording for crowd analytics and nanny-state surveillance.
  • 23. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 In places where Ethernet LAN connectivity is not possible, the (optional) WIFI module of the NUC should allow the maintenance people to push and retrieve updates wirelessly from a central location. For custom displays such an array of video walls and other unconventional screen sizes, system integrators can define custom resolutions and orientations/rotations from the HD 4000 graphics control panel to suit their needs. Plastic light bulb might replace fluorescent bulbs in the future Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/plastic-light-bulb-might-replace- fluorescent-bulbs-in-the-future/18165.html December 3rd, 2012 Fluorescent bulbs seem to be the theme in energy conservation these days, but proponents of fluorescent bulb may want to keep an eye out for field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) bulbs once they hit the market. Developed by a physics professor, Dr. David Carroll, at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Fipel technology utilizes three layers of white-emitting polymer that contains minute amount of nano-materials which glow when electric current passes through. Carroll claims that fluorescent bulbs produce a harsh blue tint that can aggravate the human eye, but his Fipel-based bulb on the other hand can produce more natural tints that are more accommodating.
  • 24. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 “I’m saying we are brighter than one of these curly cubes and I can give you any tint to that white light you want,” Caroll says. Furthermore, the new lighting technology is made of plastic, so therefore it could be made into shapes that are constrictive to bulbs utilizing technologies derived from other materials. Supposedly, Carroll has been running a Fibel-based bulb in his lab for the past decade or so, which is a testament to the technology’s longevity. Although fluorescent bulbs are the predominant popular ‘energy saving’ consumer products, LED and OLED technology is creeping into people’s mind. Many LED lamps have quoted life expectancies of somewhere between 25,000 to 50,000 hours. LED bulbs have also gone down in prices in recent years, making it much more affordable now as they did in the past. Even so, Carroll claims that his plastic- derived Fipel bulb is ‘cheap’ to make and that he already has a ‘corporate partner’ interested in mass producing the new light source. The first round of production could possibly start in as early as 2013. Intel's NUC as a Home Server Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-s-nuc-as-a-home- server/18162.html December 3rd, 2012 Intel's Next Unit of Computing, with its power sipping 17W mobile Ivy Bridge processor housed inside a small 4" x 4" form factor, is quite the ideal candidate as a 24/7 small server to take advantage of your unmetered home broadband connection. After years of stop-start progress, we are finally living in a glorious age where home broadband, especially of the fibre variety, is becoming more prevalent with decent download and upload throughput speeds. Implication being more ambitious network activity can now be carried out, including proper HD media streaming, speedy remote access to your work/play file repositories and low latency communications/gaming, all happening at the same time. Therefore it is not uncommon nowadays to find homeowners runnning servers at home huming along in one corner next to their networking equipment, in one form or another, as an extension of their digital lifestyle for automation and monitoring of pre-assigned tasks. No longer are servers found only inside expensive datacentres under the watchful eyes of security guards in an sterile, arctic winter environment. Two of the main pre-requisites for any household appliances are low power consumption and heat/noise level emissions, both of which the sub-20W NUC will excel in, other than the most important fact that it is basically an x86 PC that can run Windows/Linux/OSX natively without compromise. After all, we all need a comfortable amount of compute power for applications to be responsive, without putting a glaring hole in the monthly energy bills or spoiling the tranquility of the home environment. With four-usable CPU threads and up to 16GB of DDR3-1600 memory augmented by an SSD, the NUC is fully capable of running file/web/game servers to serve dozens if not hundreds of concurrent users, better than some of the aging, power hungry machines in the traditional datacentres even. I dare say that if we cluster a handful of NUCs together in a properly configured Linux/Nginx/PHP/ MySQL/Memcached setup, they can run a high traffic site like VR-Zone.com. In Singapore, the three main residential ISPs (SingTel, StarHub and M1) are joined by a host of other smaller players like MyRepublic, ViewQuest and Super Internet, all of which offer a plethora of unlimited service plans and
  • 25. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 packages for the different usage tiers. Some of these services have port filtering (blocks) turned on for common TCP applications like HTTP, FTP and SMTP, rendering them impractical if you are doing that sort of hosting. Static IP (as opposed to the usual dynamic IP) options are also available from some of these providers, so you can have a somewhat permanent presence on the internet and access your home network without the need for Dynamic DNS. Some of the other essential items in such a setup include a capable home gateway router, such as the Asus RT- AC66U which can provide near wire-speed WAN-LAN routing and handle an abusive amount of simultaneous connections, and a Gigabit/Thunderbolt NAS for dedicated storage of files. Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II 4G Android phone for $0.01 at Amazon.com Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-stratosphere-ii-4g- android-phone-for-0.01-at-amazon.com/18154.html December 3rd, 2012 The Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II isn't what you would call a superphone in today's standard but it is still a good deal. Amazon Wireless has this Verizon phone on sale for just a shiny penny with free shipping. It's Christmas time again and without fail the phone prices are dropping like crazy. If you are in the market for a new phone, you may want to take a look at this one. Powered by Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich is boasts a 1.2GHz dual- core CPU, 4" Super AMOLED screen, 4G with LTE and NFC. The full retail price of the phone is $449.99 but still $129.99 with a two-year term on the Verizon Wireless website. You can take a gander at this phone on the Amazon.com website by going here. If you are in fact interested in getting this phone we'll give you a quick rundown of the specs to it, even at a penny it's still good to see what you'll be locked into for the next couple of years. • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 • Dual core, 1200 MHz • Adreno 225 - Graphics Processor • 1024 MB RAM • 8GB Internal storage • Up to 32GB expandable SD Card • 5 MP rear / 1.3 front camera • 4" Super AMOLED @ 480 x 800 • 1800 mAh battery A great starter phone for sure but probably not the one you want to buy if you are Galaxy S3 material! New trailer released for Halo 4's Spartan Ops episode 5 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-trailer-released-for-halo-4-s- spartan-ops-episode-5/18158.html December 3rd, 2012 The newly released trailer for Spartan Ops Episode 5 "Memento Mori" gives players a brief glimpse into the events that take place in the new episode. Jump in to check it out! Episode 5 "Memento Mori" of Halo 4's newest Spartan Ops addition delves deeper into the expanding story arc put into place by the series, expounding upon the canon of the Halo universe along with the events that take place within the game's campaign.
  • 26. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The newly released trailer from Halo Waypoint shows off an impressive glimpse into episode 5's cinematics, showing players what they can expect from the newest chapter. Continuing in the tradition in keeping gameplay fresh, Memento Mori adds in five new missions to Spartan Ops, offering new branching objectives and goals to complete. The trailer reveals that Dr. Halsey has made some terrific finds in her investigations of the Forerunner artifact: she has figured out that the artifact actually contains human memories, unlocking some of the cryptic secrets behind the mysterious Prometheans. Meanwhile, the Spartan IV's of Crimson Team are busy battling the Elite hierarch Jul M'dama who vies for dominance with a nefarious scheme. What will become of Crimson this time around, and will they be able to stop M'dama and his bloodthirsty warriors? Episode 5 of Spartan Ops will be available for free on Dec. 3, 2012. For more information please visit Halo Waypoint's official website. Prolimatech Genesis CPU Cooler Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/prolimatech-genesis-cpu-cooler- review/18159.html December 3rd, 2012 It is well known that nowadays CPU coolers come in all shapes and sizes but today we are going to present you one of the largest and weirdest designs ever to hit the retail market. This CPU cooler is no other than the Prolimatech Genesis, a hybrid design of massive proportions combining a C-type with a tower-type cooler. How well this behemoth can perform? We will find out in this review. It is well known that nowadays CPU coolers come in all shapes and sizes but today we are going to present you one of the largest and weirdest designs ever to hit the retail market. This CPU cooler is no other than the Prolimatech Genesis, a hybrid design of massive proportions combining a C-type with a tower-type cooler. How well this behemoth can perform? We will find out in this review. The Prolimatech Genesis is not a new design, with the company presenting the first version nearly two years ago. Prolimatech kept the design up to date with minor modifications, mostly in the form of installation kits for the newer CPU sockets, suggesting that the performance of the Genesis is sufficient to counter the competition even so many months after its initial release. We will explore all the strengths and weaknesses of this strange design in our latest review. Manufacturer features and specifications • High clearance for better motherboard compatibility. • Massive cooling range; cools not only CPU but also MOSFET and RAM. • Cooler surrounding temperature allowing more stable environment for higher overclock. • Takes both 12 and 14cm fans for a maximum installation of 3 fans. • Six high quality heatpipes for effective heat transfer. • Light weight at 800 g (without fans) in the high end class. • Intel and AMD platform supported. All mounting hardware are included. Heatsink Dimension (L)146mm X (W)216.5mm X (H)160mm Heatsink Weight 800 g(without fan) Suggest Fan 120mm X 120mm X 25mm,140mm X 140mm X 25mm Heatpipe Ø 6mm X 6pcs Suggest Fan Speed 800~1600 rpm CPU Platform Intel Socket LGA 775/1366/1156/1155/2011 , AMD Socket AM2/2+/3/3+(FM2) Net statistics back up Microsoft's claim of quick Windows 8 adoption rate Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/net-statistics-back-up-microsoft-s- claim-of-quick-windows-8-adoption-rate/18155.html
  • 27. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 December 3rd, 2012 While Windows 7 only just passed the popular classic Windows XP in terms of market share three months ago, new data corroborates Microsoft’s statement that Windows 8 is shipping at a much higher pace than its previous versions. Data from Net Applications shows what a success the month of November was for the new OS. While Windows 7 gained a mere 0.02%, (bringing it to 44.71%), Windows 8’s share increased a hefty 0.68%, bringing it to a total of 1.09% market share in the short time since its release. Windows Vista and XP, on the other hand, fell 0.10% and 0.84% respectively, marking an end of an era for the dated systems. This doesn’t tell the full story of the OS wars, however, as it’s important to note that Windows as a whole lost 0.22% market share (dropping to 91.45%) between the months of October and November, giving up part of its reign to OS X and Linux, who now enjoy 7.30% and 1.25% shares respectively. While Windows 8’s adoption rate isn’t particularly surprising, it is somewhat a relief for Microsoft that people are finally abandoning the XP ship, which stubborn users have clung onto for years. The attachment to Windows XP of less than savvy computer users was to the chagrin of many a web designer, who was forced to accept the hard cold truth that many of these users still used XP’s default internet browser – the dreaded IE6. For the past two years, Microsoft have ran a more or less successful strategy to get people off the web-standards- ignoring, security-hole-ridden browser and onto something more modern, with an ultimate objective of “less than 1% IE6 market share worldwide”. The score currently hangs at 6%, which is a hefty 5.3% less than it was last year, but as Microsoft’s market share map shows that the main culprits are in China, Japan and Korea. The reasons behind Asia’s obsession to the browser differ with each country. It is well known that China has vast hordes of Windows XP pirate copies, and these come without any Service Packs, which is why users end up using the terribly outdated Internet Explorer 6. Korea’s problem lies in banking websites, which force users to install Active X plugins and refuse to work on other browsers such as Chrome or Firefox (this is reportedly thanks to a deal Microsoft made with the Korean government several years ago). Japan’s Internet also has a similar reliance on Internet Explorer, and while their websites are not as “broken” to the same extent of Korea’s, the larger population of Japan ensures them double the IE6 market share of Korea by default. Thankfully though, most of the western world has dropped into “green” status, meaning that web developers can rest easy with the knowledge they no longer have to create multiple CSS files and design configurations to support the IE6 dinosaur. Unless they want to target Asian clients -- then they’re boned.
  • 28. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Swiss spy agency warns of major data leak Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/swiss-spy-agency-warns-of-major- data-leak/18204.html December 4th, 2012 Switzerland's intelligence agency, the NDB, has warned of a massive data theft by one of its technicians, which has put top secret information on counter-terrorism from multiple world governments at risk. Switzerland's intelligence agency, the NDB, has warned of a massive data theft by one of its technicians, which has put top secret information on counter-terrorism from multiple world governments at risk. An anonymous source reported to Reuters that Swiss authorities have alerted intelligence agencies in the US and UK, including the CIA and MI6, that they were among a number of countries whose sensitive security information may have been exposed. The disgruntled employee, who allegedly felt he was not being taken seriously at work, was arrested during the Summer after acting suspiciously, but was released pending further investigation. It is believed he intended to sell the data to foreign governments or other commercial buyers. Reports suggest that the man, whose name has not been released, downloaded terabytes of data, numbering potentially millions of pages, onto portable hard drives and simply walked out of government buildings with them in a backpack, highlighting the obvious lack of security in place. The man worked for the NDB for eight years and was described as being very talented. He was a senior technician with administrator rights, which gave him unrestricted access to the spy agency's servers. He apparently did not show up for work on a number of occasions, but alarm bells were only rung when a bank copped onto a suspicious attempt to set up a new bank account. The hard drives were seized in the arrest, and the NDB believes it managed to step in before any sale of the data was arranged. However, one source said that the agency could not be certain that any of the information was not handed on to another party. National spy agencies around the world have thus been notified as a precaution. Image Credit: Setreset Motorola fails to secure Xbox 360 ban Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/motorola-fails-to-secure-xbox-360- ban/18202.html December 4th, 2012 Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, has failed to secure a sales ban on Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console over the alleged infringement of its patents. Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, has failed to secure a sales ban on Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console over the alleged infringement of its patents. The mobile firm was hoping to prohibit sales of the console in the US and Germany, but US Judge James Robart denied its request, citing the fact that the disputed patents operate under FRAND rules, which means they must be offered under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms. Motorola also wants Microsoft to pay fees of up to $4 billion a year to use the patents, which cover Wi-Fi connectivity and H.264 video-coding technology. A sales ban would have given the company considerable leverage over Microsoft.
  • 29. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 However, Microsoft is not contesting Motorola's request for a fee, but wants the figure to be reduced. Motorola suggested negotiations with a starting point of a 2.25 percent royalty, which a jury will decide on in the near future. Although a sales ban may not have been in place in time, Microsoft will likely be considerably relieved, given the importance of the Christmas shopping season for console sales. Lack of supply for Nintendo's next-generation Wii U console has helped with sales of rival gaming systems. While Microsoft might enjoy some relief over the holidays, it will still end up paying a pretty penny to Motorola to keep the Xbox 360 on the market, as it cannot afford to axe features like the ability to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. Student group to sue Facebook in Ireland over privacy issues Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/student-group-to-sue-facebook-in- ireland-over-privacy-issues/18199.html December 4th, 2012 An Austrian student group is preparing to sue Facebook in Ireland over what it claims is poor handling of the privacy of users. An Austrian student group is preparing to sue Facebook in Ireland over what it claims is poor handling of the privacy of users. The group, called Europe-v-Facebook, has been campaigning for over a year, securing a number of changes to the popular social networking website, such as the facial recognition feature being switched off in Europe. However, it does not believe Facebook has made enough changes, and it has also expressed disappointment at the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which it said was “miles away from other European data protection authorities in its understanding of the law, and failed to investigate many things.” It said it is hoping for a “legally compliant solution” from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, but added that it is “highly doubtful,” suggesting that Facebook has been giving the data protection authority “the runaround.” The student group is now preparing a lawsuit to bring the issue to the next level. Facebook is also in trouble in the US, where a class action lawsuit over the privacy of user's “likes.” A settlement of $10 per user is being negotiated at the moment, and if successful then a similar proposal may be made in Ireland. Facebook's international headquarters is in Ireland, thanks mostly to the country's low corporate tax rate and highly educated workforce. Many other top technology companies also have bases in the Emerald Isle, including Google, Apple, Amazon, eBay, and most recently Dropbox. They will likely all be watching this case closely, especially Google, since its own social network could come under scrutiny for privacy concerns. Image Credit: Lawyers.com Americans spent 121 billion minutes on social media in one month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/americans-spent-121-billion- minutes-on-social-media-in-one-month/18197.html December 4th, 2012 Information and measurement company Nielsen has announced it's annual social media report, and the results say that Americans alone, spent 121 billion minutes engaged in social media this July. Social media is, unsurprisingly, on the rise. Nielsen, which is a company specializing in assessing and gathering information, has put out it's annual social media report, in which it presents data on the habits of social media users.
  • 30. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 This July alone, Americans spent 121,13 billion minutes of time engaged in social media. This is a rise from 88 billion minutes the year before. Nielsen reports that one reason for the rise is due to the extensive use of social media and apps for mobile devices, which has seen a collective 63% rise from last year. Social media usage for July of 2012 (blue) and July of 2011 (grey) However, before drawing any conclusions from the numbers, which do seem staggering, one must put them into perspective. The United States has a population of about 310 million. A simple check with a calculator reveals that the numbers actually only amount to 6.5 hours per person during that month, or 13 minutes per person per day. Of course, not everyone in the United States uses social media. There's probably more than a few who spend hour on Facebook every day to make up for those who don't. Portal is now available on calculator! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/portal-is-now-available-on- calculator-/18196.html December 4th, 2012 Bored of math class? Love Valve's puzzle game Portal? Well, you can kill two birds in one stone now, with the new Portal game for Texas Instruments calculators. If you own a Texas Instruments graphing calculator, chances are, like me, that you have some games on it. TI calculators have a surprisingly robust programming language available to them, and games (many, many games) have been made for them over the years. Super Mario clones and even a version of Doom have been released by homebrew programmers who wanted to make math class more entertaining. The latest game to hit the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus calculators, is Portal, the puzzle game by Valve. Before you get your hopes too high, this isn't a port of the original game, but rather a remake akin to the flash based Portal game you can find here. Still, for a game on a calculator, it's really impressive. The game was created by a programmer named Builderboy and is available on Omnimaga. Check out a video of it below: Steam launches Big Picture Mode Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-launches-big-picture- mode/18195.html December 4th, 2012 Steam has launched Big Picture Mode, a full screen user interface especially intended for users who enjoy playing their games on a TV Big Picture Mode is a new full screen UI accessible via a button in the upper right corner of your Steam window. It's intended mainly for people who enjoy playing their games on a TV, as opposed to a computer, and has an easily navigated and sleek interface with increased gamepad support. The main window in Big Picture Mode The new interface reminds somewhat of other full screen UIs, such as the windows media center, but is far better organized and less cluttered. The main window cycles between the Steam store, community and library, and are explored via mouse, keyboard or gamepad. Games are organized in nice, high resolution icons in a grid that's easy to navigate. The same can be said for the store and community features as well To celebrate the new UI, Steam is having a sale until December 10, where they're offering some of their more controller friendly games for very reasonable prices, some of which are on as much as 75% sale. "Father" of SMS speaks on 20th anniversary of technology Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-father-of-sms-speaks-on-20th- anniversary-of-technology/18194.html
  • 31. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 December 4th, 2012 20 years after the first SMS, the "reluctant father" of the technology sat down with the BBC to reflect upon it's development. 20 Years ago, on 3 December 1992, the first text message was sent from a PC to a mobile phone on Vodafone's UK network, stating simply "Merry Christmas". Matti Makkonen, the Finnish engineer who conceived of the technology, first came up with the idea for the SMS, or Short Message Service, in 1984 during a telecommunications conference, but it took eight years before his vision became a reality. Matti Makkonen The technology didn't truly find a foothold though, until it was incorporated into the GSM standard. Makkonen considers the "true" birthday of the SMS to be 1994, when Nokia released the 2010, the first mobile phone which easily facilitated texting. Makkonen calls himself the reluctant father of the technology. Though he may have come up with the idea, he pointed out to the BBC that the SMS technology was developed through a team effort, and that he does not hold any claim to creating it himself. He also never made any money on the technology, as he felt it couldn't be patented. Makkonen stated that he loves texting, but he never uses shorthand when he texts. He is currently the CEO of Anvia Oy, a Finnish telecommunications service provider. Kickstarter project misses goal by $28 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kickstarter-project-misses-goal- by-28/18193.html December 4th, 2012 A Kickstarter project for a game called Alpha Colony just missed its deadline by $28. Kickstarter says tough luck, but it won't bend the rules. Alpha Colony, an "Exploration, Building and Trading simulator" game, fell short of its Kickstarter goal over the weekend. The dev team was looking for $50,000 worth of pledges and it missed this goal by a measly $28. This means the game won't get any of it's funding: Kickstarter works through "pledges"; a supporter's credit card is only billed if the goal is reached. Kickstarter has stated that it won't bend the rules, despite how close the project got. A spokesperson explained to Kotaku yesterday: "That's really, really uncommon. It was a tough finish, but unfortunately we wouldn't bend the rules. Of course, creators can always relaunch a project that was initially unsuccessful." Screenshot from Alpha Colony The game's website however, has announced that this will most likely have to wait. The developers have invested $60,000 into the project and they need to focus on projects with a more immediate financial payoff. However, the game has been in development for 14 years and so likely won't stop because of this. The website states that "I believe there is still a way to build Alpha Colony in all of it’s glory". Dropbox places first non US- based office in Dublin, Ireland Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dropbox-places-first-non-us-based- office-in-dublin-ireland/18192.html December 4th, 2012 Dropbox is the latest of many large companies who are placing offices in Ireland. Dropbox claims the location they chose has nothing to do with the country's low taxes. Dropbox is a cloud based storage system which launch in 2007. Since then, it has grown dramatically, and after
  • 32. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 declining an offer by Steve Jobs to be bought out in 2009, has amassed more than 100 million users. 95% of Fortune 500 companies utilize Dropbox today. Their headquarters in San Francisco have 240 employees, but now, the company is hoping to expand overseas, putting their first international office in Dublin, Ireland. This will make a few people's ears perk up; Ireland is one of several tax havens which have been at the center of a lot of controversy recently, as several major US based companies have set up offices in Ireland and eventually relocated their financial headquarters there. Google, for example, funneled their income through several places, including Ireland (a technique known as a double Irish), to reduce their income tax to 2.4% 2010. Google is not alone: Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, Microsoft, eBay, Facebook and PayPal (and several others) all have their European headquarters in Ireland. Ireland's flag In an interview with the Guardian, Mitra Lohrasbpour, head of business development at Dropbox, claims that the main reason for moving to Dublin is not for tax related purposes: "We took a look at cities in Europe with strong technical people. Dublin had a passionate pool of talent. There are many cities were a technical company can be successful, but Dublin had a strong user base and they also had multilingual skills that weren't available elsewhere." Lohrasbpour declined to comment if and how much of a factor taxes played in the decision. Internet Explorer 10 is good now, according to Microsoft Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/internet-explorer-10-is-good-now- according-to-microsoft/18191.html December 4th, 2012 Over the past several years, Internet Explorer has garnered a reputation of being the browser you use to download other browsers, but now Microsoft is claiming IE10 is actually good. Internet Explorer is almost universally regarded as a crappy browser. Chrome, Firefox and the other browsers are faster, more secure, more customizable... but that has all changed, according to Microsoft. Internet Explorer 10 has been reworked from the ground up - it is, in essence, a completely new browser. It seems they haven't been completely oblivious to the criticisms their browser has received, because their new ad campaign, titled "The browser you loved to hate" admits straight out that everyone dislikes IE, but that we should give it a new chance, because things are different now. The promotional website for IE10 is full of praise from various publications, and states that the browser is built for speed and during tests received 29% less malware than Chrome. If this is all true, it's quite promising. Personally, I'll remain skeptical until it proves its worth to me. Rounding off the promotional campaign is a video ad for the browser which pokes fun at the old IE and the people criticizing it. You can check it out below, it's well worth it: $3000 Nexus 4 8GB variant found on Ebay Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-3000-nexus-4-8gb-variant-found- on-ebay/18185.html December 4th, 2012 With the 8GB Nexus 4 out of stock it seems that some people are trying to capitalize on the phone and the lack of availability. Most of the Nexus 4's on eBay are selling for the $300-$600 range and then you come upon this one for $3000. I can't imagine why there are no bids but I have a pretty good idea. I am all for getting the latest technology and sometimes you will pay a premium for a product that is normally unavailable such as this phone. The only thing that could have made this even more hysterical is if they charged shipping. There is one part of this ad that has me just plain dumbfounded, the seller doesn't have the product either. This is located at the very bottom of the ad.
  • 33. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 So let's recap..we have a seller on eBay that is charging a criminally insane price for a Nexus 4 8gb (base model with the least amount of storage) version AND he doesn't have it in hand to send it to you. What could possibly go wrong? If for some reason you feel the need to spend $3000 on a Nexus device you can buy it here. Qualcomm to invest $121 million in Sharp to study its IGZO technology Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/qualcomm-to-invest-121-million-in- sharp-to-study-its-igzo-technology/18187.html December 4th, 2012 Sharp Corporation and Qualcomm Corporation are about to work out a deal together that will help the struggling Japanese tech firm. Sharp has been looking at numerous ways in which to remain profitable in a highly competitive world market, and sharing its technology seems to be one of them. Qualcomm 's initial investment will be about 121 million dollars. The two will be combining their efforts to further develop the next generation IGZO display, which is a Sharp technology. With this deal Sharp will allow Qualcomm to study its indium-gallium-zinc oxide (IGZO) technology. As part of the agreement Qualcomm will initially invest $121 million in the partnership and then another estimated $60 million once the project progresses. Sharp has been struggling, and in 2012 alone the company lost over 75% of its stock value on the Tokyo stock exchange. Sharp is expecting a second consecutive net loss as well, and with a capital ratio somewhere around 10% at the end of September 2012. Sharp is looking for ways to bring up its capital, and Qualcomm’s investment would give the popular mobile chip maker an approximate 5% stake in Sharp. Sharp’s advancement with their LCD displays may help them become more profitable, and the company is doing fair as of late as it ranks second with about 16% of the global market share for smaller LCD panels used in smartphones and tablets. Qualcomm is a California based company that manufactures and designs digital wireless telecommunications products, and is also a major semiconductor provider. In a move to expand its reaches, Qualcomm putting effort into further development of its mirasol display technology, which is based on a reflective technology called “Interferometric Modulation” or IMOD. The MEMS-based development uses less power and is highly reflective, allowing it to be seen in direct sunlight. BlackBerry 10 and the 106 forbidden passwords Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-10-and-the-106- forbidden-passwords/18184.html December 4th, 2012 One of Blackberry's main focuses is security. The RIM servers are just about the most secure in the world for good reason, most companies use the BIS severs for data transmission. BlackBerry 10 seems to be increasing their security stand by disallowing 106 of the most common passwords, some of them may surprise you. RIM apparently spent some time in research when developing this list. Some of the passwords they forbid are on the list for good reasons while others are pretty "colorful" you might say. While BlackBerry is barely holding on to it's own ground they are still not willing to cut any corners in what made them the company they are today. The file that holds the list is PasswordService.properties which is kept in sync with the BB IdM server. Without further delay, here is the list: 1=123456 2=12345678 3=123abc 4=a1b2c3 5=aaaaaa 6=abc123 7=abc123 8=abcdef 9=amanda 10=andrew 11=angel 12=asdfgh 13=august 14=avalon 15=bandit 16=barney 17=baseball 18=batman 19=biteme 20=brandy 21=buster 22=butthead 23=calvin 24=canada 25=changeme 26=chelsea 27=coffee 28=computer 29=cowboy 30=diamond 31=donald 32=dorothy 33=dragon 34=eeyore 35=falcon 36=fishing 37=football 38=freedom 39=f***me - replace * with obvious letters 40=f***you - replace * with obvious letters 41=gandalf 42=george 43=harley 44=hello 45=helpme 46=hockey 51=jordan 52=letmein 53=maggie 54=marina 55=master 56=matthew 57=merlin 58=michael 59=michelle 60=mickey 61=mike 62=miller 63=molson 64=Monday 65=monday 66=monkey 67=mustang 68=natasha 69=ncc1701 70=newpass 71=newyork 72=pamela 73=password 74=patrick 75=pepper 76=piglet 77=poohbear 78=pookie 79=princess 80=qwerty 81=rabbit 82=rachel 83=ranger 84=rocket 85=secret 86=service 87=shadow 88=snoopy 89=soccer 90=sparky 91=spring 92=steven 93=success 94=summer 95=sunshine 96=thomas 97=tigger 98=trustno1 99=victoria 100=whatever 101=wizard
  • 34. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 47=iloveyou 48=internet 49=jennifer 50=jonathan 102=zapata 103=blackberry 104=blackberryid 105=bbidentity 106=playbook Steam's aggregated usage numbers shows Windows 8 blowing by OS X Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-s-aggregated-usage-numbers- shows-windows-8-blowing-by-os-x/18183.html December 4th, 2012 In the slow but steady news it would seem that Windows 8 is on the road to proving Valve's Gabe Newell wrong as the Windows 8 numbers blow past the aggregated numbers for OS X, and it's rising. Just before Microsoft launched its newest version of the Windows operating system Gabe Newell from Valve, a prominent game developer and one of driving forces behind the Steam digital game distribution channel, came out very strongly against Windows 8. As a headline generator and rallying point for all those anti-Microsoft tech pundits it doesn't get any better than strong rhetoric like what Gabe Newell had to say. So it is both interesting and humorous that we get news today that Steam's own official usage stats shows that Windows 8 has a combined usage share of 4.69% on the Steam network; and this is still early days for the new operating system. When compared to the numbers for OS X on the same network we can see that even at this early stage Windows 8 has surpassed Apple's operating which sits at just 3.26%. To date Windows 8 has snagged almost 5% of platform usage on Steam but it still lags behind its older brother as Windows 7 has the largest percentage of Steam usership coming in a t 72.56%. A couple of other interesting tidbits from the Steam numbers are: • Multi-monitor usage: 19.11% • DirectX 11 - the newest generation of the DirectX engine: 9.17% • Primary display resolution of 1920 x 1080: 29.71% Bathrooms are social media hot spots according to a recent study Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bathrooms-are-social-media-hot- spots-according-to-a-recent-study/18181.html December 4th, 2012 A recent Nielson study shows that 18-24 year olds are likely to be using social media from the bathroom. Social media while driving and Twitter while watching television has also become more commonplace. Smartphones and busy schedules make it more likely that people will access social media from some very unusual places. Since texting while driving has become such a problem, it isn't surprising to hear that more people are checking their Twitter and Facebook feeds while behind the wheel. It turns out that people are more likely than ever to be using social media from some very unusual places, including the bathroom. Nielson's most recent annual social media study found that more than 27% of 18-24 year old report using social media from the bathroom. It's great that the digital natives are connected 24-7, but do they really need to bring their Facebook friends to the bathroom with them? Alas, this statistic pales in comparison to the number of people who reported using social media while at the office: a whopping 51% of employees access sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pininterest while at work. Watching television used to be a sacred activity, but now more than 38% of smart-phone owners and 41% of tablet users access social media while watching their favorite shows. During the 2012 US Presidential debates, live Twitter updates were posted on-screen, and most viewers agreed that it added to their overall enjoyment of the program. In fact, more than 33% of Twitter users twitter about T.V, and it isn't just the 18-24 crowd. The age group most likely to use social media to discuss television shows were adults aged 35-44. It's too early to tell how these trends will affect the future of social media and how companies will continue to use it to connect with their customers, but we can be sure that it has never been more important for a business to understand their customers. The best way to do this is still through creative uses of social media. What are those 18-24 talking about on Facebook while in the bathroom? It will be up to some talented data crunchers to find out. CyanogenMod 10 for Galaxy S III fixes December bug Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cyanogenmod-10-for-galaxy-s-iii- fixes-december-bug/18179.html December 4th, 2012 CyanogenMod is a very well known team of custom ROM developers. They have have paved the way and almost pioneered custom ROMs. The Cyanogen ROM is just about the most used base for all modded ROMs. Now they are
  • 35. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 showing off that famous cyan colored beauty on a GS3. Once they have this down then more developers can emerge for the development of the GS3. As you can see from the image above this is running on the SCH-T999, more commonly known as the Samsung Galaxy S3. The ROM itself isn't officially released - yet; but the Cyanogen team is working very hard to get it all done and rolling to a device near you. This among numerous other additions and code changes apparently fixes the December issue as well. If you aren't familiar with that bug, it's where the month of December was missing. Mayan calendar conspiracy? Just a few more days of work left and I expect we'll have nightlies going for all the D2s. 4.2 is super smooth" As you can imagine the ROM is good news to people anxiously waiting for CM10. We can assume that when it is all finalized and given Steve's stamp of approval it'll start being ported to other devices. Lights out, Boeing creates the first working EMP bomb Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lights-out-boeing-creates-the-first- working-emp-bomb/18163.html December 4th, 2012 It’s official now – Boeing and the US Air Force have successfully demonstrated a working electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) device over a military compound in the Utah desert. A spokesperson for Boeing stated, "Today we turned science fiction into science fact.” The story received very little attention in the media, and a lot of us who follow science and technology research missed it – we now have a working electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) missile that will be used as an offensive or defensive weapon by the military. The project test was announced on September 22, 2012, and codenamed, the ‘Counter- Electronics High Power Advanced Missile Project’, or simply ‘CHAMP’. This is the first time a real EMP missile has been tested with positive real world results. For years many people felt that in order to create an EMP weapon, there might be some collateral damage involved from some form of an explosion used to create the pulse. However, this system does not make use of any explosive whatsoever, thereby resulting in zero collateral damage. Boeing in partnership with the US Air Force Research Laboratories Directed Energy Directorate created the CHAMP weapons system, and successfully tested the system over the Utah desert on a military compound. The exact details on how the device was made will remain a secret, but we do know that it is transmitted from a missile-like device that flies over the intended target and directs its concentrated microwave energy. Keith Coleman who serves as Boeing’s CHAMP program manager in their Phantom Works division stated that the tests were conducted on a military compound set up in the Utah desert with cameras to record the very instant the device was deployed. In the video that was recently declassified and made public, one can clearly see the images of numerous desktop computers running, and then suddenly all of them go out quickly followed by the camera going to black. “We hit every target we wanted to - we prosecuted every one. Today we made science fiction, science fact”, said Coleman. He went on to say that the EMP device not only worked well but he also implied it worked better than expected. Coleman goes on to say, “When that computer went out, when we fired, it actually took out the cameras as well. We took out everything on that. It was fantastic.” Coleman further noted that this new technology would be marked as a new age for modern warfare. James Dodd who serves as Boeing’s Vice President of Military Aircraft said the device was made with troops in mind. “We know this has some capabilities and some impact”, said Dodd. “So we’re really trying to engage the customer and see if we can find a way to get this filled and implemented sooner than later.” Now that EMP technology is a reality and not just sci-fi, one has to fear is that it may become more of a danger to those who created it, rather than the enemy. Sure, an EMP weapon may prove useful against an enemy that are just as technologically advanced, but it wil be useless against an enemy that uses fighting tactics that are not affected by an EMP weapon, much like what we see today in Afghanistan.
  • 36. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 First round of Ouya Android game consoles for developer ship on December 28 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/first-round-of-ouya-android-game- consoles-for-developer-ship-on-december-28/18180.html December 4th, 2012 When we heard about the Ouya (pronounced “oooh-yah”) Android-powered gaming console it was still gathering up steam on Kickstarter. However, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, which helped Ouya raise $8.6 million from over 60,000 backers; the developer of this interesting new console has promised that supporters and developers will have access to their units around December 28th when they're shipped. Ouya is a NVIDIA Tegra 3-based platform that runs an interface based off of Google’s Android OS. The system will have a game store, and is open to any developer who wants to publish games for the system. The Ouya campaign boasts support from developers such as Mojang, inXile, and Canabalt (among others). Outside of the above mentioned developers, game/app makers like Vector Unit (developer of Tegra-enhanced titles such as Beach Buggy Blitz and Riptide GP) are closely monitoring Ouya's progress. Vector Unit said the following in an email: "Currently we are not working on an Ouya version of our games, but we're keeping an eye on it to see how it does, and may consider adding games in the future!" Developers seeking to make apps for the Ouya receive the SDK for free with the purchase of a console. For gamers, the Ouya promises playability of AAA to indie titles, and functionalities from Android apps such as TwitchTV for streaming of e-Sports to a television. All games will all be free-to-play, with in-game purchases and trials being the exceptions. The console has a planned pricing of under $99, and will come a standard controller with touchpad. For the Android enthusiasts, the Ouya is ‘built to be hacked.’ For instance, rooting the device won’t void the warranty, and every unit will come with a debug console. On the hardware front, the Ouya is held together by standard screws, which will make it easy for tinkerers to bust the unit wide open without too much effort. USB ports will be available for attachment of peripherals, and the PCB comes with ‘clearly documented test points’ for people who want to solder a thing or two onto the Ouya hardware. The first batch of dev consoles will be ‘pretty special’ according to a blog post on Ouyah’s official homepage. The announcement neglected to mention what will make the early dev consoles ‘special,’ and teases people that they’ll know once they receive it. For the rest of us who are still eyeing this project, the maker of Ouya is projecting that the first consumer-ready consoles will ship in early 2013.
  • 37. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Curiosity detects organic material on Mars, but scientists are unsure of its origin Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/curiosity-detects-organic-material- on-mars-but-scientists-are-unsure-of-its-origin/18177.html December 4th, 2012 There seems to be no signs of little green men on Mars, but that hasn’t stopped NASA’s latest Mars rover—Curiosity— from scurrying around and examining Martian soil. That’s not to say that Mars doesn’t contain some sort of organic materials, which NASA has confirmed there are organic compounds on Mars. Curiosity’s onboard lab has examined various Martian soil samples and found chlorinated methane gas floating around the sample in the microwave-sized test chamber. Before ET fans get too excited, it’s worth noting that perchlorate released from the heating of the soil sample may have bonded with carbon dioxide (found in Mar’s atmosphere) to form the chlorinated methane. It was known prior to Curiosity’s arrival that Martian soil contained perchlorate salts, which has a tendency to destroy organic compounds when combined and heated up together. Even if organic matters are found on Mars, it doesn’t mean that their origins are also from Mars. Meteorites and comets bombarding the planet may have carried along with it organic compounds, and it’s tough to be sure about any of these possibilities. (Caltech's John Grotzinger) “There are many processes that could destroy even the organic material that falls in from space: cosmic radiation, hydrogen peroxide, or ultra-high-dose radiation,” said John Grotzinger, project scientist for the mission, said in a press conference. Piecing the puzzles together to determine the history of Mars will be a difficult task, but scientists of past, present and future Mars-related missions will continue to use what’s available to them to figure out a small part ‘next frontier.’ “We’re doing science at the speed of science,” Grotzinger said. “Curiosity’s middle name is patience, and we all have to have a healthy dose of that.” Scientists have at their helm some of the most advanced analytical instruments available on the Red Planet, but that don’t mean that they will make an amazing discovery overnight. CPU and GPU clock speeds revealed for the Nintendo Wii U Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cpu-and-gpu-clock-speeds-revealed- for-the-nintendo-wii-u/18168.html December 4th, 2012 The notorious hacker "Marcan" has solved the riddle surrounding the Wii U's CPU and GPU clock speeds, finding that its slower than Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Nintendo's new Wii U console is extremely popular, and stores around the world have sold out countless systems and have thousands upon thousands of gamers on waiting lists. Having already sold millions, Nintendo's latest console is taking the gaming world by storm with its functionality as a media entertainment device as well as a full-fledged gaming console. Although the Wii U has been met with critical acclaim and is a success, a recent look at its CPU and GPU clock speeds by renown hacker "Marcan" reveals that the Wii U's internal specs aren't very impressive. According to GamingBolt's recent article on the subject, the Wii U's CPU speeds run at 1.24 GHz per corewith 3x PowerPC type cores. Marcan also revealed that the GPU speed of the Wii U runs at 549.999755MHz.
  • 38. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 According to GamingBolt, the Wii U has slower CPU clock speeds when compared to an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 (X360's Xenon @ 3.2GHz, and PS3's Cell cores @ 3.2 GHz). Marcan, however, warns people about comparing the speeds of a Wii U to that of an X360: So yes, the Wii U CPU is nothing to write home about, but don't compare it clock per clock with a 360 and claim it's much worse. It isn't. Now that the CPU and GPU clock speeds have been revealed, gamers and tecchies have a better idea of what Nintendo has been keeping secret all this time. If you've missed our coverage of the recent teardowns of the Nintendo Wii U by various third-party websites, you can check out both Anandtech's and PCPerspective's teardowns that expose various specs for what the Wii U is hiding under its hood. The Nintendo Wii U is now available in 8GB Basic ($299) or 32GB Deluxe ($349) editions.
  • 39. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Toshiba launches first eco- friendly multifunction printer that can erase printed text Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toshiba-launches-first-eco-friendly- multifunction-printer-that-can-erase-printed-text/18223.html December 5th, 2012 Toshiba has developed the world's first eco-friendly multifunction printer which can erase text and images on printed documents and thus allow paper to be reused. Toshiba has developed the world's first eco-friendly multifunction printer which can erase text and images on printed documents and thus allow paper to be reused. The e-STUDIO 306LP/RD30 printer employs a special toner which produces an erasable colour, which is removed from paper when passed through at a high temperature. The result is that paper can be reused multiple times, instead of binned after a document is no longer needed. A page recycled five times would result in a 57 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for the entire printer system. It will also save businesses a significant amount in paper costs. Toshiba claims it has always attempted to produce eco- friendly printing options, reducing the size and weight of printers, as well as making them more energy efficient, but the ability to reuse paper marks a major step forward. The printer is also made using bio-based plastics instead of traditional petroleum-based plastics, further reducing the device's carbon footprint by 20 percent. Inventor of the web voices concern about UN internet treaty Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/inventor-of-the-web-voices-concern- about-un-internet-treaty/18222.html December 5th, 2012 The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has joined a growing list of people, nations and companies expressing concern about the United Nations meeting on the future of the internet. The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has joined a growing list of people, nations and companies expressing concern about the United Nations meeting on the future of the internet. Berners-Lee said the groups running the internet at the moment are already doing a good job and thus he sees no need for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to take over, as some countries have suggested should be the case. “I think it's important that these existing structures continue to be used without any attempt to bypass them,” he said. “These organisations have been around for a number of years and I think it would be a disruptive threat to the stability of the system for people to try to set up alternative organisations to do the standards.”
  • 40. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Changes that have been proposed include a Russian suggestion for better tracking of internet users and a tax on internet companies like Google when content is access abroad, both ideas potentially damaging privacy and leading to difficulties accessing information in poorer countries. Google has been championing a campaign against the treaty. The aim of the meeting, which includes 193 countries, is to revise the telecommunications treaty that is already in place, which has not been touched since 1988. Some see the need to address the vastly different technological world we live in today, while others like the US and EU have voiced opposition to changes. The ITU itself denies it is trying to seize power over the internet, with its secretary-general, Dr. Hamadoun Toure, stating that there is “no need” for the agency to take over. The ITU hopes to reach agreement by consensus, but with so many differing views expressed by the large number of countries involved, the two week conference may not meet much success. Image Credit: Paul Clarke US graduates who post inappropriate photos online are 84 percent less likely to get job interviews Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-graduates-who-post- inappropriate-photos-online-are-84-percent-less-likely-to-get-job- interviews/18219.html December 5th, 2012 College graduates in the US who post inappropriate photos online reduce their chances of getting a job interview by a whopping 84 percent, according to a study by anti-virus firm AVG. College graduates in the US who post inappropriate photos online reduce their chances of getting a job interview by a whopping 84 percent, according to a study by anti-virus firm AVG. The research, part of AVG's Digital Diaries, surveyed 230 human resources professionals in the US and UK, in addition to 4,400 people between the ages of 18 and 25 in 11 different countries. The results show that the vast majority of young people do not review their online profiles, which means they could be negatively impacting their career prospects. In fact, the study shows that social media is becoming a major asset to recruiters in determining the qualities of potential candidates. 90 percent of human resources professionals search for unprotected profiles in order to assess applicants, and those who have photos of themselves drunk, for example, are significantly less likely to get the job, with recruiters assuming that this irresponsibility displayed online would likely carry over into work life or negatively affect the reputation of the company. 91 percent of recruiters will not offer an interview if they find evidence of “obnoxious behaviour,” over 90 percent will pass on an applicant if they find nude photographs on their profile, 93 percent will never call back if they find extremist or racist comments, and a whopping 95 percent will pass over a candidate if they have been making derogatory comments about their previous employer. If you think this is all talk, close to 50 percent have already turned down applicants because of their online profiles, and that includes Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Flicker, with the vast majority of recruiters searching the first three. “AVG’s latest research shows that the Internet and social networks in particular, have changed the way that human resources professionals approach the recruitment process,” said Tony Anscombe of AVG. “Nowadays, online content posted about, or by a candidate, has become the modern day equivalent of a first interview. AVG’s research emphasises
  • 41. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 that our digital brand is potentially just as important as our resume. AVG encourages consumers to take control of their online privacy --- more than ever, young adults need to proactively manage their online brand to avoid missing out on career opportunities.” Image Credit: Fair Employment Legal Update Nooka commissions Back to the Future taxi Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nooka-commissions-back-to-the- future-taxi/18218.html December 5th, 2012 In an attempt to promote fashion brand Nooka's "technoprogressive" product line, the company has commissioned the creation of a Back to the Future themed taxi. Nooka is a fashion brand which, in order to promote it's "technoprogressive" line of products has drawn inspiration from the past; specifically form 1985's hit movie Back to the Future. Art director Mike Lubrano has looked to the DeLorean time machine featured in the movie to create a time-machine themed taxi which is now crushing through new York. The taxi is concept only, but is likely to draw more attention than an actual taxi of the future, the Nissan NV200 minivan, which was introduced recently with such features as USB ports for all pass angers and germ-fighting seats. The NV200, despite being a minivan, which critics find boring, has other features too, including a transparent roof, odor fighting interior, no floor hump, and a smaller carbon footprint. How much physical space does the internet take up? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/how-much-physical-space-does-the- internet-take-up-/18217.html December 5th, 2012 We don't think of the internet as something with an actual, physical size, but if we gathered all the information online in one place, how big would the storage have to be? XKCD has answered that question. Randall Munroe, creator of the XKCD webcomic, has recently been delving into answering science and technology related questions from his fans on a weekly basis. The questions have ranged from whether Yoda (yes, the Star Wars character) could be used as a power source, to what would happen if all the rain from a storm fell in one massive drop. This week, he's answering a series of short questions and one of them deals with the internet. A map of the internet, courtesy of the Opte project Max L wrote to XKCD, asking how much physical space the internet takes up. Munroe gave this very informative response, revealing that the internet is smaller than you may think: "There are a lot of ways to estimate the amount of information stored on the internet, but we can put an interesting upper bound on the number just by looking at how much storage space we (as a species) have purchased. The storage industry produces in the neighborhood of 650 million hard drives per year. If most of them are 3.5” drives, then that’s eight liters (two gallons) of hard drive per second. This means the last few years of hard drive production—which, thanks to increasing size, represent a large chunk of global storage capacity —would just about fill an oil tanker. So, by that measure, the internet is smaller than an oil tanker."
  • 42. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The internet: Smaller than this. The new question answering section of XKCD is called "What if" and is updated regularly. If you're interest in these kind of things, head on over and read the rest of them! Snakes on an actual plane cause emergency landing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/snakes-on-an-actual-plane-cause- emergency-landing/18216.html December 5th, 2012 In a case of real life copying fiction, a plane outbound from Cairo, Egypt was forced to make an emergency landing because a snake was loose in the cabin. When Snakes on a Plane hit the cinemas, one of the reasons it was so entertaining was because of it's absolutely ridiculous premise that could never... totally happen. An Egypt Air flight from Egypt to Kuwait was indeed recently forced to make an emergency landing because of snakes on the plane. A 48-year old Jordanian man who owned a reptile shop decided to bring his Egyptian Cobra along for the flight and smuggled it in via his carry-on luggage. During the flight, he for some reason wanted to say hello to the snake, and while attempting to handle it, the man was bitten in the hand. After this, the cobra slithered away, loose in the cabin. A motherf***ing snake on a motherf***ing plane. Egyptian Cobras can kill an Elephant in 3.5 hours and a person in 15 minutes, but still, the Egyptian newspaper al- Masry al-Youm reports that the man refused treatment, claiming the wound was superficial. After local authorities confiscated the snake, the flight resumed to it's original destination with no further incidents. This story raises some questions. First, how did this man manage to smuggle a live cobra onto a plane? And if security is that bad in Cairo, then how does the TSA justify stopping me for bringing nail clippers onto a plane? Thirdly, and most importantly, where was Samuel L Jackson during this incident? It should also be noted, that this isn't the first time there's been snakes on a plane. Last year, a traveler in South America was stopped after attempting to travel with checked baggage contain over 400 snakes - they never made it into the cabin though. Scientists determine how tall can you make a tower of Lego Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-determine-how-tall-can- you-make-a-tower-of-lego/18215.html December 5th, 2012 Every material has a theoretical limit to it's load bearing capacity. Now, scientists have determined what that limit is for Lego, and by extension, how tall a Lego tower could be Every material has an Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS), a load limit for the material which, if exceeded, will crush (or tear apart) the material. This can be compensated for, to a degree, by the structure of the material (which is why we have I-beams), but no matter how you look at it, the material will fail at some point. This is true not only for concrete and steel, but for Lego too. So, bearing this in mind, have you ever wondered how tall you could make a Lego tower? I certainly have, and after a lively debate on Reddit, it seems some scientists at the Open University in the UK have decided to answer that question using science! They placed a standard 2x2 Lego brick made from ABS plastic,in a hydraulic stress testing machine, and applied pressure. The material began deforming slowly once it had passed it's yield point at 430 kg, and shortly thereafter, it became flattened in a process known as plastic failure. The Lego brick, after being crushed So, a Lego brick can take around 430 kg before it is crushed by the weight above it. Now, if we know the weight of an individual brick, we can determine how many bricks can be stacked on top of each other, before the bottom one collapses. Each brick weighs in at 1.152 grams. A quick visit to the calculator reveals that we could theoretically stack 373,000 bricks on each other, to a height of 3,591 m.
  • 43. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Size of the Lego tower in perspective The scientists explain that at such a height, even the smallest deviation in loading could destroy the tower, and factors such as wind would therefore make a real structure of this height impossible. Of course, the scientists also state that if you built the tower tactically, placing gaps in the tower's walls, it could be substantially higher than the limit they've discovered. It is also possible that the 1x2 bricks are stronger than the 2x2 ones, so building with those may result in a better result as well. Now there's science put to good use! New theory may explain odd ridge on Satrunian moon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-theory-may-explain-odd-ridge- on-satrunian-moon/18214.html December 5th, 2012 Saturn's moon Iapetus has a puzzling mountain range which stretches across it's equator. It's the only one of it's kind and science has been unable to explain it. Now, a new theory may hold the key to how it was formed. The equatorial ridge on Saturn's moon Iapetus has confused scientists for years. The moon is the only one of it's kind that has been discovered, and has an appearance reminiscent of a walnut. Many theories have been presented to explain the strange mountain range, including tectonic movement, as well as a smaller body which broke apart, forming a ring, and eventually fell to the surface. Gabriel Tobie of France’s University of Nantes however, has used computer simulation to suggest a new idea. The strange equatorial ridge on Iapetus Tobie points to a 500 mile wide impact crater on the moon's surface, and suggests that at some point, a body of between 500 and 650 miles wide, impacted the moon, and that this impact changed the rotational speed of Iapetus. Iapetus currently rotates at around 30 hours per revolution, but if it had originally rotated at a much higher rate, closer to 6 hours per revolution, the theory may explain the ridge. By suddenly slowing the rotation of the moon by such an extent, it may have deformed the crust of the moon, eventually leading to the flattened poles and 12 mile high ridge we see today. The theory was presented at the American Geophysical Union conference on December 4. Critics state that the simulation isn't perfect and that Tobie may have misrepresented the internal composition of the moon, and that de-spinning a moon isn't quite as easy as simply impacting it. There's also the mystery of why the ridge only goes part of the way around the equator. Square Enix pulls trigger on Hitman Facebook app and misses, badly Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/square-enix-pulls-trigger-on- hitman-facebook-app-and-misses-badly/18208.html December 5th, 2012 When it comes to the video game Hitman by Square Enix there is no getting around the fact that the company has had more than a couple promotion screw-ups when it comes the the newest game in the franchise - Hitman: Absolution; but that doesn't seem to stop them from doing it again If you are a gamer, and follow the video game news, you will remember that not too long ago Square Enix found itself getting some serious flack over a game trailer involving sexy nuns in the Hitman: Absolution game, the newest addition to the Hitman franchise. So one would think that given the negative pushback from people Square Enix would be a little more careful when it came to any future promotion of the game. Well think again because it would seem that the company hasn't learned anything if the news about their newest
  • 44. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 promotional attempt is any indication. It appears that this morning the company launched an app on Facebook that would let you put out a hit on your friends on Facebook. Yes you read that right. Here is the opening couple of lines from the press release announcing the new Facebook app: FACEBOOK APP “HIRE HITMAN” CREATED TO PROMOTE HITMAN: ABSOLUTION BAFTA winning creative agency Ralph has teamed up with videogame publisher Square Enix to create a personalised video experience that lets fans put a ‘hit’ on their mates on Facebook. The experience brings the iconic character of Agent 47 to life in a moody, live action video which incorporates the target’s individual information from their Facebook account. Agent 47 tracks them down and pieces together his sniper rifle before assassinating them with cold, clinical precision. Pulling together a collage of their photos, the victim then witnesses their life flash before their eyes. Needless to say the uproar that ensued the app's launch was very loud and clear - people didn't find anything humorous or fun about the app; and very shortly after the launch Square Enix pulled the app. This was followed up with an apology that went something like this: “Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient, and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.We were wide of the mark with the app, and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done. We’re sorry for any offense caused by this.” Kudos to Square Enix for pulling this as quickly as they did, but seriously, who in their right mind thought this would be a good idea in the first place. FCC's data roaming requirements upheld by appeals court Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fcc-s-data-roaming-requirements- upheld-by-appeals-court/18210.html December 5th, 2012 A recent appeals court opinion is that the FCC does have the authority to make mobile carriers to enter into data roaming agreements. Mobile phone carriers will be forced to use data roaming agreements with each other as per FCC regulations; according to a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This ruling was in reference to the FCC’s April 2011 mandate forcing mobile carriers to offer their data roaming fees and services to competitors at a reasonable rate. In may 2011, Verizon Wireless challenged the FCC mandate stating that the government agency was overstepping their authority by making any carrier impose any data roaming regulations. While the Court’s ruling will stand for now, Verizon’s argument was a solid argument. Verizon argued that the FCC had no authority over regulating the Internet, which is what their mobile data is used for. The courts rejected Verizon’s arguments saying that the FCC does have ‘broad authority’ as per the telecommunication’s Act, which is to manage all wireless data in regards to the public’s needs or interests. "This unanimous decision confirms the FCC's authority to promote broadband competition and protect broadband consumers,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowsk. "Our rules have empowered consumers and expanded their ability to enjoy the benefits of seamless and nationwide access to mobile data services, including wireless Internet and e- mail." Yahoo! aquires OnTheAir to compete with Google's Hangout? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/yahoo-aquires-ontheair-to-compete- with-google-s-hangout-/18203.html December 5th, 2012 On the Air has been aquired by Yahoo! for an undisclosed amount. This quite popular video chat application will hopefully help Yahoo gain some momentum in the race to compete with Google's Hangout. On The Air launched 9 months ago and took the world by storm. This video chat application was founded by five members who will all be joining the Yahoo! team to compete with Google and hangouts or mobile video chat applications. The application itself is is built around WebRTC, which is an Open Source framework that powers Hangouts designed by Google.
  • 45. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 All five of the founders will be going to Yahoo! and will be working under Adam Cahan on the mobile team. The founders include Abel Allison, Daniel Hopkins, Erik Goldman, Josh Schwarzapel and Mike Kerzher. This is a very momentous occasion for the once largest search engine. This could be the opening of the door to bigger and better things from Yahoo!. The only thing we can do is wait to see what they do with the software, where they take it and to what degree they choose to make it better. Yahoo says 'hiring talented mobile product thinkers & engineers is a big priority.' OnTheAir.com has this written on their homepage: Friends of OnTheAir, We are excited to share some big news: OnTheAir has been acquired by Yahoo!. When we started OnTheAir, we had dreams of building a company that made a difference in the daily lives of millions. Our pursuit was challenging: We put in late nights together. We debated intensely. We worked like crazy to build a product we were proud to put our name on. Despite the challenges, our experience has been a rewarding one. We got to launch multiple products to a wonderful community. We were coached and mentored by some of the brightest investors and advisors in Technology (see our list below and work with them if you ever get the chance!). Most importantly, we developed deep bonds as a team and learned how to work together as a unit. While we haven’t yet attained our dream of building a widespread daily use product, we are just as committed to it. And this is why we’re so excited to be joining Yahoo!. When we first met with the team at Yahoo!, it was clear that everybody there is committed to making mobile products the backbone for the world’s daily habits. All in all, it’s a fascinating time to be joining Yahoo!. There’s a tremendous amount of energy in the company. There are big things to be done and great products to be built, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. We want to conclude this letter with a word of gratitude. Thank you to all of our customers, team members, mentors, advisors, investors, consultants, friends, and family for being a special part of OnTheAir. Building a company is no easy task, and we realize we wouldn’t be anywhere without your support. The OnTheAir Team Abel, Dan, Erik, Josh, and Mike Black Friday not kind to everyone - consumer electronic sales fell 5.6% Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/black-friday-not-kind-to-everyone-- consumer-electronic-sales-fell-5.6-/18205.html December 5th, 2012 One of the biggest draws to the huge Black Friday Sales that happen every year has typically seen massive numbers when it came to consumer electronics. However this year's Black Friday saw a reversal of those numbers as consumers didn't appear to be buying as many electronics. Every year in the US there is this tradition called Black Friday insanity which is when everyone and their brother (and mother, father, aunts and uncles) all head to the big chain store for insane midnight sales as well as all kinds of mayhem if the police reports are any indications. Pushing and shoving aside this is a big time of the year for merchants in the lead up to the Christmas holiday shopping sprees so a lot is made of the numbers generated out of the sales made during that time, especially when it comes t o consumer electronics. However this year held some bad news for merchants as outlined in the recently released report from The NPD Group with the overall sale of consumer electronics dropping by 5.6% over last year on Black Friday. “This slow start is merely a continuation of the challenges seen in the consumer electronics business throughout 2012,” Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said. “In an unbalanced market, where just a few categories deliver significant dollars, and even fewer offer any growth, the ability to deliver positive results will remain difficult for companies exposed to the entire consumer electronics marketplace.” The report also goes on to state that even though televisions, Android tablets, and PC were the most purchased items the flat panel revenue fell by 6 percent. Notebook computer sales fell, as well, by 10 percent with even the sales of Apple's laptops remaining flat. You can read the complete NPD Group report here Wirefly offers 30+ free phones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/wirefly-offers-30-free- phones/18206.html December 5th, 2012 Wirefly, the largest internet Authorized Agent for Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon kicks off the holidays with super nice deals on 30+ phones all free. These phones range from clamshell form factor all the way up to Androids and Blackberrys.
  • 46. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Wirefly is widely known as a place where you can get great deals on phones from big brand carriers. The biggest issue faced with this authorized dealer is that it normally only offers great deals to new activations. In this sale, however, Wirefly includes new lines AND activations. This is a limited time offer so you might want to act soon on it. With this deal you will also get Free Shipping, Free Contact Transfer and Free Mobile Backup. Facebook Messenger no longer requires a Facebook account Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-messenger-no-longer- requires-a-facebook-account/18201.html December 5th, 2012 The largest social network in the world has made some improvements to it's quite popular Facebook Messenger app. There are some people that don't want a Facebook profile but still want to connect with friends that do. With the new Messenger app you will be allowed to use the app with simply your name and phone number. It is now a SMS based service among the many! You could, however, do this before, with the same app. The real feature change is that now they have opened up the doors to the app for everyone. So what is the big deal about this? There are more than one SMS-based apps around - ChatON from Samsung, WhatsApp and more but the true greatness comes from the fact that it's not locked down. This is a wonderful day for Facebook as Google+ tries to reel themselves in for the kill shot. With the inability to send pictures on GTalk, Facebook now has a fighting chance against the second largest (and growing) social media. Time will tell if this change was worth it or not but from my standpoint, this can be a real game changer. Put on Adam Jensen's suit in Hitman Absolution's new Deus Ex DLC Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/put-on-adam-jensen-s-suit-in- hitman-absolution-s-new-deus-ex-dlc/18198.html December 5th, 2012 A new DLC pack from IO Interactive allows Agent 47 to wear Adam Jensen's stylish cybernetic outfit from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The new 'Deus Ex DLC' for Hitman: Absolution isn't really a full-fledged DLC that adds new missions, but is instead a small add-on that offers a brand new disguise in the form of Adam Jensen's armor from the popular prequel game Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Gamers can perform stylish executions while wearing Jensen's definitive cyberpunk outfit, offering an interesting opportunity to add that distinct stylish visual flair to every assassination. Also available is the Zenith Gun add-on that brings even more Deus Ex-themed authenticism to Agent 47's arsenal,
  • 47. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 allowing use of the iconic pistol while competing in-game in Contracts Mode. The newly released Deus Ex DLC trailer on Hitman Absolution's official YouTube page offers a glimpse of the new Deus Ex DLC disguise and the Zenith Handgun add-ons in action, showing their sleek cyberpunk style while Agent 47 kills with incredible efficiency. The Deus Ex DLC and Zenith Handgun add-ons are now available for Hitman: Absolution for 80 Microsoft Points ($1) each on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, PlayStation Network, and Windows PC platforms. Can MySpace make a comeback using a different approach? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/can-myspace-make-a-comeback- using-a-different-approach-/18207.html December 5th, 2012 Can the new MySpace bring back the old fans and attract the new, or is it too late for one of the original social networking sites to make a comeback? Justin Timberlake teams up with the renovated site to connect artists with their fans. One of the newest social networking sites turns out to be not so new after all. MySpace is back for Round 2, and it has been renovated and refocused. It has been a couple of years since MySpace was considered a serious contender in the social networking arena, but investors believe that the brand still has value. The social networking site was purchased by Chris and Tim Vanderhook for only $35 million, a deeply discounted price compared to the princely $500 million that NewsCorp paid in 2005. Instead of positioning itself as a direct competitor of Facebook, the new MySpace actually encourages its users to login using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, implying that it is simply a way to enhance the social media experience. MySpace has teamed with the mega pop star Justin Timberlake to put a new face on the company, and is focusing on providing a unique user experience in the music space. The goal is to attract artists from all genres with the opportunity to connect directly with their fans, as well as allow fans to interact with their favorite artists. The site is not restricted to musicians, since photographers, designers and other artists are encouraged to join and display their work. Many experts agree that the decision not to take on the social media giant Facebook is wise. With hundreds of millions of users that have invested years of their lives storing photos and conversations on Facebook, it seems unlikely that users would abandon their profiles and create them on a brand- new, untested site. There are many beautiful, well-designed websites that already do a great job filling the space that MySpace is actively pursuing. While MySpace is extremely well- designed and has all the features that anyone listening to and exploring music online could want, it might be walking the thin line between something great and too much of a good thing. MySpace has advantages that other music sites don’t, such as licensing agreements that date back several years, from the times when the company was in a good position to leverage excellent deals. In order to join the new MySpace, you have to request an invite from the site. They are rolling it out by invite only, which was a very effective strategy for Gmail. While no one can tell for sure whether former MySpace users will be willing to give the site another chance, it is true that there are tens of millions of new internet users who were never exposed to the previous site. Only time will answer the $35 million dollar question of whether MySpace can finally be revived. iTunes opens in 55 countries including Russia Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/itunes-opens-in-55-countries- including-russia/18188.html December 5th, 2012 Apple's latest expansion by enabling 56 more countries with access to iTunes will nearly double the number of countries that Apple offers access to their popular on-line media store. iTunes has nearly doubled its presence worldwide now and have taken a big offensive move against any future rivalry. This latest announcement came just a few days after the new layout for iTunes 11 was unveiled. The makeover simplified iTunes, making it more visually appealing and more iCloud integration for added functionalities. Russia will be a very big market for Apple, and expansion into growing markets like India, South Africa and Turkey will increase the range of iTunes' digital distribution services to a total of 119 countries. Apple also announced that they will be catering to the local tastes in music by featuring more local artists for each particular regions. In a December 4, 2012 press release, Apple stated, “The iTunes Store features local artists including Elka in Russia, Sezen Aksu in Turkey, AR Rahman in India, and Zahara in South Africa, international artists including The Beatles, Taylor Swift and Coldplay, and world-renowned classical musicians including Lang Lang, Yo Yo Ma and Yuja Wang. Customers can choose from over 20 million songs available to purchase and download on the iTunes Store.” Russia recently enacted a law where the government could censor or block any material that is deemed offensive. So this latest move by Apple into that region may prove to be a bit of a struggle. And if you are following news out of Russia, you may recall the arrest of the Russian band, “Pussy Riot” over their offensive language, and 2 of the members in the band were sent to prison for insulting the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. It will be interesting to
  • 48. December 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 see how well Apple does in this department and what they'll be offering to the Russian audience.
  • 49. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Crytek partners with filmmaker Albert Hughes for Crysis 3 video series Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crytek-partners-with-filmmaker- albert-hughes-for-crysis-3-video-series/18241.html December 6th, 2012 Electronic Arts and Crytek have teamed up with filmmaker Albert Hughes to make an online video series inspired by the game Crysis 3. Electronic Arts and Crytek have teamed up with filmmaker Albert Hughes to make an online video series inspired by the game Crysis 3. The series, entitled The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3, helps establish the setting of the upcoming game and will show off the game's graphics, in addition to some of the weapons, enemies and gameplay features players can expect. Hughes has directed critically-acclaimed films like Dead Presidents, From Hell, and Book of Eli, but he has done more than just direct the Crysis 3 video series; he also helped work on the scripts, storyboards, and shot plans. The actual footage is created using in-game assets, so this won't be another case of top-notch visual effects for a cinematic trailer, only to disappoint players when they get into the game itself, as is often the case with many games today. What people see in these videos should be replicated in what they experience in February when the game launches. “When EA and Crytek approached me about being involved in creating ‘The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3’ video series, I liked the idea of creating emotional stories using only computer generated images,” said Hughes. “The challenge of producing something intensely human without ever seeing a human on screen was incredibly compelling, and the technology of the CryENGINE that Crytek developed enabled me to do that and venture into a completely unique medium of storytelling.” The first episode of the series, Hell of a Town, will go live on 12 December. Crysis 3 launches for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on 19 February in North America and 21 February in Europe. Philips teams up with StarMaker for wireless karaoke microphone for iOS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/philips-teams-up-with-starmaker- for-wireless-karaoke-microphone-for-ios/18240.html December 6th, 2012 Philips has teamed up with StarMaker to launch a wireless karaoke microphone and Bluetooth speaker that will work with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Philips has teamed up with StarMaker to launch a wireless karaoke microphone and Bluetooth speaker that will work with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Users can dock their iPad into the 30-pin connector on the speaker to amplify sound and wirelessly transmit signals from the microphone, making for a much smaller karaoke kit to bring to parties. Of course, this means it is not compatible with the 8-pin Lightning port of Apple's latest devices, including the iPhone 5, iPad 4 and iPad Mini—that is without an adaptor. The StarMaker app provides the songs and lyrics, including latest hits and old classics, along with the ability to record performances for sharing online, and a challenge mode for singing simultaneously with a friend, with the app delivering a verdict of best singer based on pitch and timing.
  • 50. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The app can also perform auto-tuning of a user's voice, which might help make some people that little bit more bearable when they get up to sing. The AEA7100 sells for $179.99. Philips is also planning to release the AEA3100, which includes a wireless microphone and a Bluetooth receiver, for iOS devices in March, retailing at $99.99. Study suggests strong support for revised laws to protect children online Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-suggests-strong-support-for- revised-laws-to-protect-children-online/18237.html December 6th, 2012 There is overwhelming support for changes to laws to protect children online in the US, according to a study conducted by Princeton Research Associates International, in conjunction with the Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media. There is overwhelming support for changes to laws to protect children online in the US, according to a study conducted by Princeton Research Associates International, in conjunction with the Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media. 2,000 adults were surveyed over a two-week period in November, and the vast majority of them not only agree with the core elements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), but want to see further changes to the law to better protect kids on the internet. COPPA requires that online companies that wish to obtain personal information on children must first seek the permission of the parents, and 90 percent of those asked agree that this should be the case. However, technology has advanced significantly since 1998, when COPPA was passed, and 2000, when the law was finally implemented, and since then privacy has become a growing concern. 91 percent believe advertisers should not be able to identify a child's location through their mobile phone. 94 percent of parents and 91 percent of adults in general believe parental permission should be sought before any kind of tracking software is allowed to be installed on a child's computer. 96 percent of parents and 94 percent of adults in general are against the idea of websites asking children for the personal information of their friends. 80 percent of adults opposed the collection of activity reports of a child's online usage, even when such reports are anonymous. “It is clear from these findings that the public supports strong action by the FTC to address the disturbing and widespread practices that threaten the privacy and safety of our nation’s children,” said Kathryn C. Montgomery, Ph.D, professor of communication at American University and one of the leaders of the campaign to pass COPPA. “Children should be able to reap the benefits of this new participatory media culture without being subjected to techniques that take advantage of their developmental vulnerabilities. We must ensure that the COPPA rules are updated effectively so that the generation of young people growing up online today will be treated fairly in the growing digital marketplace.” Changes to COPPA are expected to be announced by the Federal Trade Commission in the coming weeks, which will likely affect mobile location tracking, cookies, plug-ins, and other tracing software. Image Credit: Jarenwicklund
  • 51. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Japanese police use Playstation Vita to catch criminals Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/japanese-police-use-playstation-vita- to-catch-criminals/18232.html December 6th, 2012 A recent episode of a Japanese police reality show showcase how the Japanese police are using Sony's handheld gaming console to fight crime and catch criminals. Japan has a TV show called Gekiroku: Keisatsu Micchaku 24ji!!, which is similar to COPS in the United States. This past week, they aired an episode which focused on a cyber- crime division in Fukuoka Prefecture, in southern Japan. The cyber cops were hot on the trail of a criminal wanted for several accounts of identity theft. At one point, the police officers were trying to look for Wi-Fi signals in their immediate area, and whipped out a "device to check Wi-Fi connections". That device was a Playstation Vita. The Vita is actually quite good at picking up Wi-Fi signals, and Japanese news site GetNews thinks that perhaps the Vita was chosen for the job because it could be better at finding the signals than smartphones or tablet computers. Alright boys, let's catch this guy and then play Call of Duty multiplayer! Naturally, some are suspicious that the Vita was simply used as a plug for Sony, but then again, the cops on the show never named it as anything else than a "Wi-Fi checker" so perhaps that's a bit overly suspicious. Apple and Intel racing to hire former TI engineers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-and-intel-racing-to-hire- former-ti-engineers/18231.html December 6th, 2012 Apple intends to build a new R&D center in Ra’anana, Israel, and is thus looking to hire some engineers. A group of 250 employees from Texas Instruments' Ra’anana development center were conveniently let off recently, and so Apple decided to offer them jobs. The engineers were mainly working on TI’s OMAP and radio chips. When Intel found out about this, they decided to hire the same engineers before Apple could get to them, hoping to put them to use in Intel's R&D centers in Haifa, Jerusalem, Petah-Tkva and Kiryat Gat. As incentive, Intel is offering “healthy compensation packages” to those who come to work for them instead of going to Apple. Apple, meanwhile, is rumored to be planning an interview day specifically for Texas Instruments employees. Apple is planning their new Research and Development center for the end of 2013, but unless they can hire the engineers, the center won't be able to open. AT&T has sold 6.4 million smartphones this quarter Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/at-t-has-sold-6.4-million- smartphones-this-quarter/18230.html December 6th, 2012 AT&T is selling a lot of smartphones, with 6.4 million in this quarter alone and in total, a million more than projected for the year. A few days ago, consumer reports listed that AT&T was America's worst mobile carrier (again), but it seems like nobody told AT&T, because they're selling a lot of smartphones. According to CNET, Ralph de la Vega, wireless chief for AT&T, has been boasting about his company's sales, which in this quarter, have hit $6.4 million. For all of 2012, de la Vega announces that the company will sell 26 million smartphones, a million more than originally projected.
  • 52. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 “What we’re seeing is tremendous response in the marketplace,” de la Vega said at an investor conference this week. While some thought that an LTE iPhone would hurt AT&T's sales growth (while helping Verizon), AT&T has compensated by expanding it's smartphone catalog to include high-end phones such as the LG Optimus G and Samsung Galaxy S III. New Stealth computer is waterproof, can be run over by a truck Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-stealth-computer-is- waterproof-can-be-run-over-by-a-truck/18229.html December 6th, 2012 The new Stealth WPC-525F computer is built to last. It's completely water proof and the case is strong enough to handle being run over by a truck! Stealth make some pretty rugged computers. Their new pc, the WPC-525F, is both water-proof and truck proof. It's the perfect computer for people who spend a lot of time in hazardous environments... or who are simply very clumsy. The base model goes for USD 1,595. That's a lot for a fairly basic computer, but then again, it does bring something unique to the table. The WPC-525F after being run over The WPC-525F can withstand being completely submerged in water; or as Stealth themselves put it, the computer can "[survive] liquids, chemicals, dust and dirt intrusion." It doesn't have any fans, instead relying on the metal casing for passive cooling. This also makes the computer very quiet, especially with the solid state drive minimizing the amount of moving parts. The casing itself also provides a lot of protection. Three images on Stealth's website, all captioned with "Rugged, tough" shows the computer being run over by a pickup truck. In addition, the computer is very portable. It's only 25.8 x 15.8 x 5.2 cm, meaning it'll fit almost anywhere. The computer uses bayonet connectors to remain waterproof The WPC-525F is weak from a hardware perspective, but it will suffice for doing most of the essentials. The computer comes with an Intel Dual-Core D525 Processor which runs at 1.8GHz and has 4 GB of RAM. It has an onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150, a 120 GB solid state drive, and an Intel ICH8M chipset. To round it off, there's also an Ethernet controller and two PCI-E slots internally for upgrading the machine. The computer comes with a number of attachments, including VGA, USB LAN ports. However, as these have to be waterproof, the Stealth uses watertight "bayonet" connections. This means you'll need to use the provided cables to attach your peripherals. Hue Toaster toasts your bread perfectly every time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hue-toaster-toasts-your-bread- perfectly-every-time/18228.html December 6th, 2012 A new toaster uses photo sensors to ensure that your toast never comes out burnt, and never needs to go back in to get it right. Toasters don't usually experience a lot of innovation, and whether you buy a cheap one or an expensive one, chances are they'll have the same problem: Toasters have a burn intensity set by a numerical dial. Since there's no real way to equate "5" on a dial to a certain amount of heat, and since there's no standard to what "5" means in a toaster, various toasters will burn differently. You also have to consider that different breads will burn differently. The Hue Toaster aims to change this.
  • 53. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The toaster uses color to determine how much heat should be applied The Hue Toaster is the creation of Basheer Tome, an interaction designer with a BS in Industrial Design. The toaster relies on photo sensors to toast your bread. Sensors are placed throughout the toaster and check the color of the bread. Once it reaches your desired hue, it shuts off. It's simple to use and consistent every time, says Tome. What's more, since bread only browns once it reaches a certain temperature, there's no need to have a specialized mode for frozen bread. It looks good sitting in the kitchen too The toaster was created as an undergraduate project by Tome while attending Georgia Tech. Unfortunately, the toaster is still a prototype, and needs to find backers to move it into production. League of Legends pro player banned for life Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/league-of-legends-pro-player- banned-for-life/18227.html December 6th, 2012 Riot Games, makers of League of Legends, has made the rather weighty decision to ban the pro player IWillDominate of Team Dignitas from the game... for life. The player has had increased complaints filed against him in recent months of what Riot describes as "toxic behavior". This ban will end the player's career early, and undoubtedly cause Team Dignitas some issues in the new season. Harsh news from the League of Legends community today – player IWillDominate of pro team Team Dignitas has officially been banned. According to Riot's public message on their League of Legends forum, “IWillDominate is ineligible to play in the League of Legends Championship Series for a period of one year. This suspension shall commence immediately. In addition, all other existing known accounts used by IWillDominate are permanently banned.” The ban was due to, as Riot put it, IWillDominate's “toxic behavior” - listed more formally as in-game harassment, verbal abuse, offensive language and negative attitude. Christian “IWillDominate” Rivera is (or was) the assigned jungler for Team Dignitas – a top ranking and highly respected team. Christian has only been with the team since January, but they've seen their share of victories together. Now it seems that they've seen their last. “We take sportsmanship and player behavior very seriously, and we fundamentally believe that pro players should not be exempt from scrutiny over their behavior,” said RedBear, VP of League of Legends eSports, “In fact, we believe pros have an additional opportunity to act as positive role models for the entire community.” The player has also been known to be generally un-sportsman like outside of the game as well, says Riot: “There also have been repeated incidents of similar behavior outside the game.” And for a pro player on a big-name team, that's a strict no-no. This news is sure to make huge waves in the League of Legends crowd, not to mention all the online gaming community. It may send a shiver down the spine of those who make their living off of playing games – seeing that you can be top dog one day and banned the next due to bad behavior is a bit humbling. “The decision to impact someone’s career is not one we make lightly, which is why this is tough news to deliver,” said the VP of LoL eSports.
  • 54. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 While there are a few voicing outrage already, many League players seem to be alright with the ruling. Seeing as the judgment was passed by the Tribunal – average players of the game who get to weigh in on the ruling – I suppose it should be no surprise that the outrage is minimal. League of Legends players are, admittedly, among some of the worst in gaming when it comes to flaming, or “toxic behavior”... second only perhaps to Halo players. Gamers and League enthusiasts are wondering if this will cause a shift in the way players approach the game... and how they approach their fellow players. US Navy has to combat over 110,000 cyber attacks every hour Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-navy-has-to-combat- over-110-000-cyber-attacks-every-hour/18225.html December 6th, 2012 It's no surprise that US military gets hit by a lot of cyber attacks but a recent report from the US Navy pegs that number at 110,000 attacks every hour, or 30 attacks every second of the day It should come as no surprise to anyone that when it comes to cyber attacks there is no bigger target than the military, but an inadvertantly released report Hewlett Packard shows that those attack numbers are far greater than we might imagine. HP provides the network used by the US Navy and its 800,000 men and women in around 2,000 locations worldwide. Mike Nefkins, the head of enterprise services at HP, said at the recent Discover event held by the company that the Navy network faces 110,000 attacks every hour, which averages out to 1,833 per minute or 30 every second. The reason that HP has these kind of numbers to share, even if only internally, is because they manage the Navy Marine Corps Intranet as well as its transition to a Next Generation Enterprise Network, a deal that is apparently worth $3.3 billion. Also at the same event Nefkens told attendees that HP currently manages some 5.5 million mobile devices across 100 countries and handles 13 billion credit card transactions every year. Can Microsoft's Socl survive in harmony with Facebook? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/can-microsoft-s-socl-survive-in- harmony-with-facebook-/18226.html December 6th, 2012 On Wednesday, Microsoft began allowing new user registrations to its new social networking site that is, according to the company's website, not intended to be a competitor to Facebook and other similar sites. On Wednesday, Microsoft began allowing new user registrations for their new social networking site named “Socl.” Experts are not sure if Microsoft plans to compete directly with Facebook, or change the social media landscape entirely. The company insists that the site is not intended to be a competitor, but is in fact an “experimental research project”, according to the website. Additionally, the site explains that there are only minimal active features, leading many to believe that there may be more exciting capabilities to be released in the future. While users can log into Socl using their Facebook accounts and connect with their existing friends, Socl encourages users to connect with other Socl members with like interests. Socl focuses much more on the visual, using pictures and collages of images to help users organize their interests. Some of the more interesting features include the display of posts by random users from across the entire site, ideally encouraging the forming of new connections. The site is also integrated with Bing, Microsoft’s budding search engine, meaning that when a user searches for a term in the search bar, they will also receive internet results. The technology included in the site’s design is undoubtedly amazing, but the real test will be whether potential users can find a need for this site in their lives. They can already organize pictures via Pinterest, and many Gmail users automatically have Google+ accounts which are integrated somewhat with the search engine, Google. Facebook is very well established, and it seems unlikely that users will leave the site in critical mass any time soon. Microsoft has a decidedly conservative, if not old-fashioned, image. No one argues that Microsoft reinvented the world of personal computing with its design and marketing of the Windows operating system. Whether the company can repeat this success in the online space remains to be seen, since Bing has been able to grab limited market share from the search engine giant Google, despite very aggressive marketing campaigns. Many of us here at VR-Zone will be experimenting with this new site and will report back findings as they become available.
  • 55. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Verizon Applies For Patent To Eavesdrop On You Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/verizon-applies-for-patent-to- eavesdrop-on-you/18213.html December 6th, 2012 Verizon just filed for a patent on a DVR that can watch and record what you are doing so it can target you with special advertisements. Verizon says the technology to serve their customers better to fit the mood for what you are doing. Verizon is calling it a way of presenting an advertisement associated with the ambient action of the ‘user’. The information would be collected from microphones and/ or infrared cameras that would eavesdrop on what was being said near the TV or even what might be nearby it such as people or even your pets. The publication of the patent was disclosed recently but it was filed in May 2011. The abstract of the patent explains that the system is a means of making targeted advertising by detecting the ambient action of the user/s during a presentation of the media being presented. It suggests that when there is an advertisement break, the system would then know what type of advertisement to display. In an explanation of how the device targets its advertisements, the patent application explains the ambient action in part by stating, “To illustrate, the ambient action may include the user talking to, cuddling with, fighting with, wrestling with, playing a game with, competing with, and/or otherwise interacting with the other user In further examples, the ambient action may include the user interacting with a separate media content access device (e.g., a media content access device separate from the media content access device presenting the media content).” Whether this patent is approved and if Verizon sells such a product remains to be seen. The big question is if customers would want such a device in their homes? Unity Game Engine 4 oozes with mobile goodness, pre- order ready Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/unity-game-engine-4-oozes-with- mobile-goodness-pre-order-ready/18224.html December 6th, 2012 Unity is back again with its latest beta release of Unity 4. With cool and critical new features, the game engine is showing promising foreshadows of the soon-to-be-released engine. New editions! We all like to see how our favorite products progress, and Unity 4 is no exception. For the true gamer and gamemaker at heart, Unity is taking the next step to allow end developers to create beautiful AAA titles. With new features "such as the all-new Mecanim animation system, DirectX 11 support, [and] hypermodern mobile graphics," Unity is nothing to play around with... Actually, it is. Rather, it's to be taken seriously because it will undoubtedly mark its notch in the game industry. (Talks about the upcoming release of Unity 4, available now for pre-order) Windows and Mac OS games have been readily creatable with previous versions of Unity. Who doesn't love cross- platform distribution after all? The horizons have expanded with the advent of the Linux publishing option, another new feature in U4. With more fluid graphics, solid performance, and all around tight-knit work, this game engine is promising. But it doesn't end with desktops! Unity is very kind to its mobile developers. In fact, they included crucial updates in the latest beta for the mobile makers. One of those updates being shadowing, but not just any shadows - dynamic shadows. Now, that may seem dismissable to the novice user, but the pros will make a stiff about it. Take a look at the latest releases of other engines and you will surely find lighting and shadowing as a key feature. This engine is making itself very well-rounded in this version Unity, which is now available for pre-order. Don't Worry, She'll Hold Together! - Fans Build Full Scale Millennium Falcon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/don-t-worry-she-ll-hold-together-- fans-build-full-scale-millennium-falcon/18209.html December 6th, 2012 A resident in Nashville, Tennessee (U.S.) has purchased 88 acres of land where a full scale Millennium Falcon model will be constructed. The projected is being put together by fans from all over the world. Star Wars fan take note, a full scale replica of the Millennium Falcon is being built just west of Nashville, Tennessee and you an be a part of it. For those of us who can’t get enough of the Star Wars franchise and the numerous fan clubs that have spun off of it, there is now an even bigger idea being put together. A Nashville man has started a project where fans and fabricators of Star Wars props can contribute to building a full size replica of the Millennium Falcon. The project, which is the brainchild of Chris Lee of Nashville, Tennessee, has purchased 88 acres of land just west of the city where the full-scale model will be constructed. While all of the work on the project will be very expensive, all of the work and money will come from volunteers and donations.
  • 56. December 6th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Once the ship is completed it will be about 114 feet in length and docking ring to docking right (beam) of 81 and one half feet. The height of the ship to the dish will be over 30 feet and a height to the top body itself will be approximately 25 feet. The project builders say that while they appreciate any donations to the project, and in keeping with any copyright laws with Lucas Films and the Walt Disney Company there will be no charge to see it once it is completed. The builders also say that due to the intellectual property rights to Lucas Films, they will not be publicly soliciting funds through any 3rd party fundraising entity or on-line site like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter to help pay for the construction. To learn more about the project you can visit the full-scale Millennium Falcon project here. The site also has a forum for those wanting to talk about the project and a page where you can make donations for the project. NSA Whistleblower Says All E-mails Are Monitored Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nsa-whistleblower-says-all-e-mails- are-monitored/18211.html December 6th, 2012 An NSA whistleblower is saying that all U.S. citizens are under surveillance by their own government and should be careful how they write their e-mails. According to NSA whistleblower, William Binney, all U.S.. citizens are under surveillance. Binney stated that the Federal government can and will use this information against them if they choose to do so. Because of his efforts in exposing such information, Binney was recently awarded the Callaway Award which is prize given to those who have defended Constitutional rights of Americans by placing themselves in harm's way by doing so. Binney who is said to be one of the greatest mathematicians in history for the NSA says he quit the agency in 2001 because he felt the acts being perpetrated against the American people was a violation on the Constitutional rights for all Americans. Binney also claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently uses widespread surveillance on American Citizens and cited the case with General Petraeus as a prime example that no person is exempt. In an interview with Binney was asked if there was no such thing as privacy today. Binney answered with the affirmative and elaborated on how. “Yes, that’s what I’ve been basically saying for quite some time, is that the FBI has access to the data collected, which is basically the emails of virtually everybody in the country. And the FBI has access to it,” said Binney “All the congressional members are on the surveillance too, no one is excluded. They are all included. So, yes, this can happen to anyone…” Binney elaborated that the NSA was building different social networks on citizens before he left and that made him rethink his association with the agency. He suggested that the violations of the constitution being committed by the government agency played on his conscience. “That was the part that I could not be associated with. That’s why I left. They were building social networks on who is communicating and with whom inside this country. So that the entire social network of everybody, of every US citizen was being compiled overtime. So, they are taking from one company alone roughly 320 million records a day. That’s probably accumulated probably close to 20 trillion over the years.”
  • 57. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Apple to move some Mac production to US in 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-to-move-some-mac- production-to-us-in-2013/18266.html December 7th, 2012 Apple is planning to bring back some Mac production to the US next year in what could signal a major shift from its reliance on cheap Chinese manufacturers. Apple is planning to bring back some Mac production to the US next year in what could signal a major shift from its reliance on cheap Chinese manufacturers. The company's CEO, Tim Cook, announced the change in policy in an interview with Bloomberg, which will see over $100 million being spent to put everything in place. Apple will not be doing the production itself, but rather will outsource it to another company in the US, much like it currently does with Chinese firms. The costs are likely to be higher, but the good PR from the move will be significant. Apple has been the subject of much criticism in recent years over poor working conditions at the facilities of manufacturers and suppliers it uses in China. It has also been condemned for shipping jobs overseas, a general issue that featured prominently in the recent US presidential election. The production shift will include manufacturing of components and final assembly, so there will likely be several lucrative contracts up for grabs. However, only one of the Mac product lines will be made exclusively in the US. While some have praised the move as a positive first step to restoring the US manufacturing industry, the sheer difference in costs between production in the US and production in China will make it a difficult move to follow up on. However, it might just be enough to encourage other companies to make similar changes. NASA uses Nvidia GPUs for flight simulators Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-uses-nvidia-gpus-for-flight- simulators/18264.html December 7th, 2012 NASA is using Nvidia graphics cards to develop a more vivid and realistic flight simulator experience. Current simulators offer a 20/40 vision, significantly poorer than the standard 20/20 vision or the 20/13 vision that most young military pilots have when starting their flight careers. This means the images displayed are blurred or difficult to identify, providing for a less effective training routine. NASA's latest simulator, co-developed with the US Air Force Research Labs, provides displayed images at 20/10 vision, which means even those with exceptionally good eyesight will see no blurring for objects twice as far away as the typical viewer. To manage this feat, NASA is using nine 4K projectors, which have a resolution that is 36 times that of a normal high- definition television, powered by lots of Nvidia Quadro GPUs and Quadro Sync cards, all packed with the largest frame buffer memory available. The result is that the technology has been reduced from the previous requirement of 36 computers to just five
  • 58. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 computers, while maintaining a frame rate of 60 frames per second while drawing a new scene every 1/60th of a second. The graphics cards handle the warp and bending between the projectors, reducing latency and costs. NASA plans to increase the resolution of the simulator in early 2013 by adding an additional six projectors. Humble THQ Bundle nears $4 million Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/humble-thq-bundle-nears-4- million/18259.html December 7th, 2012 The Humble THQ Bundle is a big hit, and the for-charity sale is already approaching $4 million in sales with more than five days left to go. That's a lot of cool content! The Humble Bundles are a series of pay-what-you want game collections which go on sale on a semi-regular basis. The Humble THQ Bundle has been on sale since November 29, and let's you pick a price, from $1 dollar and up, for a games and soundtrack collection worth a total of $210. What's more, you get to choose what to do with the money you paid. You can send it to charities, such as the American Red Cross and Child's Play charity, to THQ (they kinda need it too) or the Humble Bundle organization. So far, more than 692,000 bundles have been purchased at a total of $3.8 million. The games included in the bundle are Red Faction Armageddon, Darksiders, Metro 2033 and Company of Heroes (including it's two DLC packs). If you pay more than the average, which is currently $5.61, you'll also receive Titan Quest and Saints Row: The Third. The sale ends on December 12, so you still have plenty of time to chip in - and remember, the gift of giving is the best gift of all, so don't be too cheap. Google funds drones to watch endangered species Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-funds-drones-to-watch- endangered-species/18258.html December 7th, 2012 Google is giving $5 million to the World Wildlife Fund to put drones in the skies over Africa and Asia in order to monitor endangered species Google has just given $5 million to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). With this money, the WWF will build drones to fly over areas of Africa and Asia to monitor endangered species. The primary goal of the effort will be to protect the animals from poaching. As an added bonus, the money will also fund the development of software which can map out where poachers strike most frequently. This is a drone used by the WWF The World Wildlife Fund has already used drones in Nepal, where they could fly for as much as an hour at a time, monitoring the ground with onboard cameras and recording suspicious behavior. They act in supplement to rangers who are already on the ground searching for the poachers. In essence the drones serve, much like in the military, as "eyes in the sky". Poaching is a serious problem for certain species, such as elephants and tigers, who are desired by poachers for various body parts which are believed to have healing or magical powers. The parts usually sell for top dollar. The poaching of Rhinos is so bad that they may risk going extinct within a few years unless the poachers can be stopped. Google's efforts will hopefully aid significantly in that purpose. YouTube has been redesigned across all platforms Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/youtube-has-been-redesigned- across-all-platforms/18257.html December 7th, 2012
  • 59. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 YouTube has undergone a major overhaul. The interface has been redesigned, for all platforms, with focus on a pretty important thing: watching videos YouTube is yet again redesigning itself, and this time, the product team is putting focus on a new feature called the YouTube Guide. The guide sits on the left side of the screen and will show your subscriptions, recommend channels to you based on your viewing habits, and even tell you what your friends are watching. The Guide will permeate YouTube, no matter what platform you're experiencing it through, whether it is a computer, smart phone or Playstation. It also eases the navigation from video to video, allowing you a simply way to browse videos from the user you're currently watching. The new YouTube YouTube has been receiving complaints that the videos on the site have been too messy, with subscription buttons, social media buttons and other content taking up too much space and focus. Now, the video will once again take center stage. All of the other content has been placed below the video, and the buttons have a lower profile, standing out less and not cluttering up the screen. Generally speaking, the interface is much more crisp, with sharp edges and comfortable colors. Another change is the playlist menu, which has been moved to the immediate right of the video and allows you to navigate the current playlist with more ease. This is part of a conscious effort to help users have an easier time accessing videos and not have to use the search function as much. Last year, YouTube attempted a similar change meant to affect their users' experience, by easing the channel subscription process. This worked very well, as the number of subscribing users doubled, despite subscriptions being an already 6 year old feature at the time. The new design went live yesterday, so if you head on over there, it'll be waiting for you. Private company plans manned moon mission Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/private-company-plans-manned- moon-mission/18256.html December 7th, 2012 A private company called Golden Spike, is planning to launch a manned moon mission by the year 2020, for the relatively small price of 1.5 billion dollars. On July 20, 1969, we walked on the moon. We returned for the next three years, but in 1972, the last Apollo mission ended, and apart from a few probes, we haven't been back. There are some valid reasons for why we haven't gone back; one reason being that it has been more important to learn how to survive for long periods in space, rather than simply going far away. Nevertheless, it is disheartening to see humanity take a step back from it's days at the frontier. Now, a company called Golden Spike, hopes to bring us back. Golden Spike was named after the last spike put into the First Transcontinental Railroad. It's president and CEO, Alan Stern, is a former director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. He and the board of the directors for the company announced their plans to sell round trip tickets to the moon at the National Press Club in Washington DC yesterday (Dec. 6): For a mere $1.5 billion, Golden Spike will send two humans to the Lunar Surface by 2020. Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, during the Apollo 11 mission $1.5 billion may seem like a lot of money, but it's actually comparatively cheap, comparable to unmanned robotic missions. It may be too pricey for the average Joe, but it should be manageable by private companies or nations who lack their own space program. "We're selling to nations, corporations and individuals," Stern told SPACE.com, "Get in line — and I think it's going to be a long one." Indeed, some nations have already shown interest: "We have spoken to space agencies from both Asian and European countries and found real interest," Stern said. The company has not chosen a rocket yet, but they are expected to finalize this choice by 2014. To keep costs low, they are most likely going to use already existing or in- development technology. Rumor's that they will be using SpaceX's Falcon9 Heavy Rocket are "not true" according to Stern. In addition, the company will need to manufacture their own space suits and a lunar lander.
  • 60. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The base of the Eagle Lunar Lander is still on the moon, along with this plaque This isn't the first time private companies have attempted to reach the moon. The Google Lunar X Prize is offering $30 million to anyone who can land a rover on the moon and drive it 500m while sending back data. Stern is part of another venture competing for this prize as well. However, no private venture has attempted to send a manned mission to the moon before. Golden Spike hopes to send regular missions to the moon throughout the 2020s. Each flight would consist of four launches; two to get the lander into orbit, and two to get the crew and supplies into orbit. That's going to cost a lot, and Golden Spike doesn't have a ton of funding, but according to Stern, this isn't a problem: "We don't need it. We're going to make our business run on sales," The Earth rise, one of the most iconic photos taken Golden Spike has been under development and kept under wraps for the past two and a half years, reveals Stern. He and his team chose to announce the news on a significant date, and chose yesterday as it was the eve of the last Apollo mission; Apollo 17, which launched today (Dec. 7) 40 years ago. Journey soundtrack has been nominated for a Grammy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/journey-soundtrack-has-been- nominated-for-a-grammy/18255.html December 7th, 2012 The soundtrack for the videogame Journey has become Grammy nominated, marking the first time a game soundtrack is considered for the award. Journey is a game developed by Thatgamecompany for the Playstation 3. It was released in March and has the player take control of a robed figure in a desert who is journeying towards a mountain. The game was meant by the developers to inspire a sense of wonder, and the game was praised for it's visual and auditory art style. The audio hasn't gone unnoticed, as Journey's soundtrack has just been nominated for a Grammy. This is the first time a game's soundtrack has been nominated for a Grammy. It's a big deal, and Journey's composer, Austin Wintory, unsurprisingly tweets "Well I don't really have words right now.". The soundtrack is a contestant in the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category, alongside Hans Zimmer's score for The Dark Knight Rises, Howard Shore's soundtrack for Hugo, Ludovic Bource's The Artist score, and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's music for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The score was meant to be "as universal and culture- less as possible," according to Wintory. The soundtrack was released a month after the game's release and quickly became one of the top ten downloaded soundtracks in over 20 countries on iTunes. TorrentReactor Offers Proxy After Court Orders Censorship Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/torrentreactor-offers-proxy-after- court-orders-censorship/18252.html
  • 61. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 December 7th, 2012 The Italian Vallo della Lucania Court has ordered that all BitTorrent site access be censored by all ISPs in their country. In reply, TorrentReactor is offering a proxy to bypass the censors. BitTorrent sites have been under a lot of criticism and attack from many government agencies, and it's partly due to the music industry and its war on illegal music downloading. In an effort to fight the censorship, TorrentReactor has created a free proxy service to circumvent the censorship blocks by the Italian government. The new domain called come.in will operate for all manner of torrent services such as Torrents.net, KickassTorrents and The Pirate Bay. The proxy helps a person access the blocked sites by fooling the ISP, particularly when a server is using an IP-based geolocation to block access from a particular country. The recent Italian block of all BitTorrent sites will allow for police to investigate or seize downloaded material from individuals. However, many feel this is a direct infringement on the purpose of the Internet, which was founded as a free and open source of information sharing. Google+ Over 500 Million Users and Apps No Longer Free for Business Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-over-500-million-users-and- apps-no-longer-free-for-business/18250.html December 7th, 2012 Google+ members just surpassed the 500 million member mark and Google says that they will soon overtake Facebook as the most used social media site. Also, Google will be making changes and no longer offer a free business version of Google Apps. When Google + was introduced as a new alternative to other popular social media sites, many felt it would never take off. Now Google says they have 500 million users and of those users, over 135 million are active users. In mid-September, Google announced on their blog that they reached 400 million users, with 100 million active users. And according to Google, their social media network is currently the fastest growing social media. Google measures their usage by taking the total number of registered Google users who use the Google App store through Chrome or other means, those who search YouTube or Google Search and then by looking at those who use the Google+ application. During a November 28 business conference in New York City, Google’s Vice President of Product, Bradley Horowitz, spoke with Business Insider Deputy Editor Nicholas Carlson at the Business Insider, IGNTION Conference. In the interview, Horowitz implied that Facebook is a social network that would fade away, and that Facebook was not set up in a way that works efficiently for its users. Horowitz iterated that more than a billion people use Google if you add up Google search and all of the other services that Google offers. “We think we can do a better job for our users than we did in the last decade of hyper growth. Those products are great, - honestly they’re not as great as they could be. And Google + is an attempt to weave them together into an experience that provides immense value for our users and brands as well,” Horowitz said. “The way that we think about Google+ is a foundational layer. It’s not a parallel product that lives as a vertical equivalent to those products. It is the identify relationship and interest system for Google.” Horowitz went on to say that Google+ would eventually surpass Facebook in regards to active users because it allows people to have conversations without having to involve others along with offering all manner of other useful applications. "In designing Google+, we keep thinking about the real world, the way people actually are," Horowitz said. "We're trying to make a product that's ergonomic for the way our attention is wired." In other news, a December 6th blog post by Google’s Director of Product Management, Clay Bavor, writes that Google Apps would no longer remain free for businesses. He advised that individuals who wish to use Google’s web apps should create a free personal Google account. Bavor explains that the services would now be combined for different users. “When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well. Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn't quite right for either group…With this in mind, we’ve decided to make things very straightforward.” Clay states that for businesses there will be only one service from this point on, but would includes 24/7 phone support, a near 100% uptime guarantee and a 25GB inbox at 50 dollars per year. The blog did make sure to emphasize that Google Apps for education would be available and remain as a free service for all schools and colleges, and Google Apps for Government at 50 dollars per year. iPhone 5 Gets 1-Up With Xbox SmartGlass App Update Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iphone-5-gets-1-up-with-xbox- smartglass-app-update/18249.html December 7th, 2012 Microsoft is dealing some nice cards this quarter. Alongside Windows 8, they released Xbox SmartGlass, a smart phone app supplementary to the Xbox 360. It serves peripherally as either an additional screen or additional controller to greatly expand on interactivity. Plenty of Xbox users have smartphones, so the SmartGlass app was a brilliant implementation on Microsoft's behalf. Smartphone owners get to use what they already own as an aide. Not even 2
  • 62. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 months into the release of the app, SmartGlass has an update that has iPhone 5 users animated. With a 4" screen and an aspect ratio of 16:9, the iPhone 5 is certainly bigger than the previous generations. Hitherto, iPhone 5 owners using the SmartGlass app had to deal with the constraints of the iPhone 4 screen. Yikes! We all remember widescreen movies with the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. Well, say goodbye to that! The latest iPhone screen gets its potential maximized, which is not just convenient, but aesthetically gratifying, too. Hacking pacemakers isn't just fiction folks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hacking-pacemakers-isn-t-just- fiction-folks/18243.html December 7th, 2012 As we increasingly put medical devices into our bodies, and able to interact with them with all kinds of apps, the question has to be asked - just how safe are these devices from being hacked? When it comes to medicine we think of bugs and viruses as something that, at best, make us sick and, at the worst, can kill us. What we don't think of is what effect the electronic versions of those things could have on the medical devices that are becoming all the more prevalent as we seek to overcome illness and other medical maladies. In fact the very idea of anyone being able to hack medical devices, like pacemakers, don't even register in our conversations about the dangers of technology when in fact the ability to hack pacemakers has been doable for some time and the terrifying part of this is that agencies like the FDA in the US don't even have any types regulations in place when it comes to security in relation to medical devices. This type of technology is increasingly important in our lives as more and more people become reliant on some sort of medical device, and while devices have been around for a very long time, it is only within the last ten years or so that they have become totally accessible. It is this accessibility that allows doctors, and patients, to collect all kinds of data; but it is that kind of accessibility that also makes them vulnerable to illegal and dangerous attacks. Last year big news was made at one of the security conferences when a researcher hacked into his insulin pump using nothing more than a cheap Arduino module that cost less than $20. This was followed up by another example from a researcher at McAfee who could scan for and compromise insulin pumps wirelessly; and then cause any pump within 300 feet to dump its entire contents. The same researcher showed at another conference how he had reverse-engineered a pacemaker so that it could deliver an 830-volt shock to a person's device from 50 feet away - in other words a medical assassination. This medical cybercrime isn't just being directed at personal medical devices either as hospitals are starting to see a dangerous rise in malware infections in their computerized equipment. Part of the blame can be placed on manufacturers who are running older versions of Windows on their equipment and not allowing that equipment to be modified regardless of the fact that it could be desperately needed security updates for those systems. While government regulators have been studying the issue the fact is that we are going to have to be even more stringent when it comes to security and the medical devices that our lives depend on. Steam celebrates the release of Big Picture with a huge sale Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-celebrates-the-release-of-big- picture-with-a-huge-sale/18248.html December 7th, 2012 Steam offers big savings on select controller-friendly titles on the digital marketplace in celebration of the release of Big Picture, allowing gamers to play Steam games on their TV. The launch of Steam's new Big Picture mode has been met with an exclusive sale on an impressive variety of controller- friendly titles, including such PC favorites as Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2, and a slew of Indies like Super Meat Boy, Braid, and Bit Trip Runner just to name a few.
  • 63. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 This sale offers up to -75% off on select games, with some retail titles of yesteryear offered as low as $4.99. The bargain coincides perfectly with the release of Steam's Big Picture mode--which allows gamers to play Steam games on their TV--and many of the selected games offer full controller support to deliver that classic couch gaming experience. The Big Picture Celebration Sale ends at 10 am on Dec. 10, 2012, so get your favorites while they're still on sale today! For more information including what games are included in the sale, please visit Steam's official website. Register for the Halo 4 Infinity Challenge and win great prizes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/register-for-the-halo-4-infinity- challenge-and-win-great-prizes/18245.html December 7th, 2012 The new Halo 4 Infinity Challenge gives everyday gamers a chance to win awesome Halo-themed prizes for staying on top of the newly-implemented leaderboards for Halo 4's multiplayer. Halo 4's brand new Infinity Challenge allows gamers a chance to win awesome prizes just for playing Halo 4's online multiplayer over Xbox LIVE, rewarding them for staying on top of the brand new enlisted leaderboards for the game's Infinity multiplayer mode. Registration for the new event is now open, and players who get to the very top of the leaderboards for Spartan Ops, War Games or Weekly Challenges have a chance to earn great prizes like an appearance on the next Halo game or winning a UNSC-themed 2013 Ford SVT Raptor. Be sure to register today and jump into the fray for your chance to win! The Halo 4 infinity Challenge is sponsored by the upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Stand and powered by Virgin Mobile. For more information including terms and conditions, please visit the event's official website Dotcom free to sue New Zealand's spy agency Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dotcom-free-to-sue-new-zealand-s- spy-agency/18242.html December 7th, 2012 Kim Dotcom - the Internet entrepreneur that everyone loves to hate - is back in the news again after getting the okay from a New Zealand judge to sue the island's spy agency for its actions leading up to the raid on his home. Kim Dotcom, the brains and hilarity behind Megaupload, has always maintained his innocence when it comes to the charges being leveled against him by the US Department of Justice, as well as declaring that the January raid on his mansion was illegal and violated his rights. He has also stated quite publicly that the government's surveillance of him through the island's intelligence service, GCSB, was a lot more extensive than the government was admitting to, and to make matters even worse some of the information was shared with the United States. Well it would seem that Dotcom might just have the island's justice system on his side as Judge Helen Winklemann has given her approval for Dotcom to sue the GCSB and that the agency must disclose: "...anything they shared with other intelligence agencies in the 'Five Eyes' intelligence alliance— made up of the US, Australia, UK, and Canada," according to one news report. "And they must reveal if they carried out surveillance on Doctom's wife Mona and his co-accused Bram van der Kolk." In order to protect any government intelligence the judge has appointed Stuart Grieve as an independent expert who will review any classified material and deicide what is relevant to the case and what might comprise the country's national security. MetroPCS adds Samsung Galaxy Admire 4G Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/metropcs-adds-samsung-galaxy- admire-4g/18239.html December 7th, 2012 MetroPCS today announced the release of the Samsung Galaxy Admire 4G today. Even with the 4G speed of MetroPCS this phone still isn't even in the same category of powerful phones but at $169 you cant expect much.
  • 64. December 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 This wasn't a secret to anyone if you are into Android news at all. It was, in fact, in the list of phones to be released; we just didn't know it's name. The phone itself has the look of the Galaxy S2 and S3 but it doesn't have the size or the power of Samsung's previous and current flagship. It's predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Admire, reveals that the step up to a Galaxy Admire isn't huge change with the exception of the phone's appearance. If we look at the specs of the new versus the old it's basically got a slightly bigger screen, a slightly faster processor and a slightly better battery. And of course, all for a slightly higher price tag. It's a better looking phone for sure but the differences in the phone aren't worth it to me to run out and grab one. The Galaxy Admire 4G is slightly better than your average entry level Android devices, but it's nothing to rave about either. It is worth noting that the Galaxy Admire 4G will run Android Gingerbread out of the box, which is more or less very outdated in today's Android world.
  • 65. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Pre-CES 2013 Crystal Ball - Intel's Atom might win the ARMs race Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pre-ces-2013-crystal-ball--intel-s- atom-might-win-the-arms-race/18275.html December 8th, 2012 During our short time with the Atom Medfield powered Motorola RAZR i, which surprised us in many areas, we had an epiphany - What if Intel added moar cores and a better GPU engine into their upcoming torpedo (Clovertrail +) aimed at the ARM dominance in smartphones? There is no denying that ARM has enjoyed considerable success in the smartphone arena, with virtual dominance in the Android market by CPU makers like Samsung, Qualcomm and Nvidia reaping the rewards as seen in their recent financial reports, not forgetting too that Apple uses its own custom ARM SOCs in their wildly popular mobile devices. In contrast, traditional x86 CPU giants like Intel and AMD are facing a sluggish desktop market, with the latter shedding heaps of vital personnel (read: engineers) and even going ARM in a last ditch effort to stay afloat and keep the Mubadalas happy. Of course, Intel is a behemoth filled with boatloads of cash and very talented engineers, and the world's largest semiconductor firm isn't going to disappear anytime soon. Four seasons ago (or one year if you live in Singapore), they introduced the Atom Medfield smartphone platform, based on its own mature 32nm HKMG process and a custom x86 version of Android (currently 4.0.4 ICS only) with ARM binary translation for application compatibility. The actual rollout was delayed until the middle of this year and Intel got vendors like Lenovo, ZTE and Motorola in addition to a host of smaller brands to sign up for their first assault into the smartphone market. Motorola Mobility's (recently acquired by Google) RAZR i, shares many similarities to their regular TI OMAP ARM powered Droid RAZR M with its use of a 4.3-inch Gorilla Glass covered Super AMOLED pentile display and the iconic DuPoint kevlar backplate. The first impression that you'll get when picking up the candy bar shaped phone is how comfortable it grips in your hand, and it is also lighter (126g) compared to the usual Nexus 4 (139g) and iPhone 4S (140g). There is some thoughtful industrial design experience going into the placement of the power, volume rocker and camera shutter buttons, all located on the right side. On the left side which has the micro USB port, we find the micro SIM / SD slots cleverly tucked under a rubber cover for easy access without needing to turn the phone off for replacement. A non-removable 2000mAH battery takes care of the single core, dual (hyper)threaded 2 GHz Atom Z2460, with formal reviews from sites like The Verge reporting a respectable 72 hours of regular use on a single charge, far
  • 66. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 longer than most of its ARM competitors. Admittingly the RAZR i doesn't have LTE (HSPDA+ from an Intel radio), which plays a big part in its long battery life. Just imagine if Motorola were to come out with a MAXX version of the phone - finally we can go through a whole week while on a desert island with no charging points! The rest of the phone is what you'd expect from any typical Android offering - Phone, Loudspeaker, WIFI, Bluetooth, Camera, A-GPS and a lightly skinned interface with unrestricted access to a rich application ecosystem (*cough RT*). Here are some of the performance figures from popular benchmarks: Passmark CPU Tests 4824 Passmark Disk Tests 4425 Passmark Memory Tests 3745 Passmark 2D Graphics Tests 2491 Passmark 3D Graphics Tests 646 Futuremark Peacekeeper HTML5 Benchmark 725 marks Sunspider 0.91 Javascript Benchmark 1050.9ms Amdahl's law states that a small portion of the program which cannot be parallelized will limit the overall speed-up available from parallelization. To put the performance figures in perspective, the single- core synthetic CPU numbers are about half of the top performing quad core ARM SOCs found in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 (Exynos 4) and LG Optimus G (Snapdragon S4 Pro). The LPDDR2 memory controller performance absolutely blitzes the competition by a factor of 3 to 4 and the graphics (400 MHz PowerVR SGX540) is not too bad for an aging 5-year old design. All these translates into a silky smooth web browsing experience, where absolute single threaded performance (hence the Amdahl's law reference) is more important especially in JavaScript heavy sites like VR-Zone.com. Even with only 1GB of RAM, I'm also happy to report that regular applications load and switch in an instant (including Facebook and WhatsApp), and that the overall Android experience doesn't get diminished by an aggressive low memory killer. With its performance leadership in desktop and server frontiers locked up for years to come, it is only logical that Chipzilla will pump in more R&D and marketing into the still-exploding smartphone and tablet arena. So what happens when Intel doubles the number of cores while maintaining the same IPC and puts in a more effective GPU, augmented by manufacturing process improvements and tweaks, into their next Atom (codenamed Clover Trail+)? Lets hope we'll see some of them at CES next month... Century's Drive Desktop Beefs Up Your Home Data Storage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/century-s-drive-desktop-beefs-up- your-home-data-storage/18260.html December 8th, 2012 Century makes sure that you'll never run out of data storage space in your home or office with the Hadaka-zoku Capsule Hotel. It is a convenient peripheral that allows you to instantly install and use up to four separate storage drives as an external data storage tower. Are you the type that likes to archive many files in one day? Do you always like storing large HD media files? Then this peripheral by Century may be for you. The Hadaka-zoku Capsule Hotel is essentially a drive desktop that allows the external installation of a multi-drive system for your home or office computer system. The primary focus of the product is to conveniently use multiple desktop storage drives without the need to constantly open your desktop, or to constantly plug or connect multiple wired or wireless external drives to your computers.
  • 67. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 As seen from the image, the Capsule Hotel is capable of using up to 4 SSD's or HDD's simultaneously. Each drive is powered separately, and can be turned on/off accordingly without affecting the other storage drives. To install a storage drive in it, you only have to open the drive bay, insert the drive as you would put a tray in an oven, then close the drive. It would automatically line up with the appropriate connectors inside, making drive switches fairly easy and convenient. And because they're powered separately, you can simply switch to a new drive in one slot, while the others are in operation. Power management is also quite efficient, because the Capsule Hotel can be set to turn on only when the drives are accessed by the computer connected to it. Unfortunately for backup fanatics, though the unit is capable of using 4 drives simultaneously, it cannot be setup for a RAID system. Each drive will be recognized as a separate storage drive. The primary drives that are compatible for you to use in the Capsule Hotel are 3.5 inch SATA HDD and SSD's. For those who want to use 2.5 inch storage drives in it, they would have to use a special Hadaka-zoku mounting adapter to fit them in. The connection interface of the unit is USB 3.0 (5Gb/s). For cooling, it has two 2,500 RPM cooling fans. Its dimensions are set at 130 x 185 x 260 mm, and it weights 3.2 kg. The official price for the unit hasn't been set yet, but it is estimated that it would be around 17,800 yen (220 USD). Crytek introduces the seven wonders of Crysis 3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crytek-introduces-the-seven- wonders-of-crysis-3/18244.html December 8th, 2012 The newest teaser trailer from Crytek goes behind the scenes of Crysis 3, showing off many of the game's incredible cinematic sequences. The newest trailer released from EA delves behind the scenes of Crytek's latest chapter in the Crysis franchise, taking a brief glimpse at many of the cinematic sequences and scenes that comprise the game's dynamic campaign. The new video features an introduction by Albert Hughes, visionary director of the films From Hell and The Book of Eli who has worked on Crysis 3, trying to blend cinematic film elements with the game's distinct action-packed first-person shooter gameplay. The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3 refers to the seven environments detailed in the game's story arc, and this teaser takes an impressive look at storyboards and much of the impressive artwork that has gone into the planning and execution of the upcoming title. Crysis 3 is slated for release on Feb. 19, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. For more information please visit the game's official website. Cooler Master Seidon 120M and Hyper T4 Mini-Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cooler-master-seidon-120m-and- hyper-t4-mini-review/18190.html December 8th, 2012 Today we take a quick look at two inexpensive aftermarket CPU coolers from Cooler Master - a regular heatpipe tower heatsink that is the Hyper T4 and a closed-loop water cooling kit called the Seidon 120M. How well do they perform? Similar to the famous Hyper 212 series that have been the choice of enthusiasts for years. the Cooler Master Hyper T4 is a slim aluminum tower heatsink with four direct touch copper heatpipes at its base. Equipped with a 120mm PWM fan rated at 1800rpm / 70CFM / 31.6dBA, it is an inexpensive way (SGD$59) to upgrade the stock heatsink solution for almost every modern Intel/AMD CPU socket type.
  • 68. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The relatively slim profile of the Hyper T4 allows it to be installed onto motherboards or enclosures with tight space constraints. Also, the position of fan can be adjusted vertically to accomodate tall RAM heatspreaders. Brackets to install another 120mm fan are included in the package as well. Installation is fairly quick and painless with the use of thumbscrews and clips for every step. Mounting pressure isn't as tight as the more advanced towers that we've come across but it does its job fairly well for its price. Our test setup is the top of the line Intel i7-3960X (rated at 130w TDP) mounted on an Asus Rampage IV GENE. When pushed hard with a "power virus" like Linpack, the heat output can be as much as 180w according to the on-die power reading. The Hyper T4 reached a maximum load temperature of 62 degree celcius, which is way below the thermal throttling limit and a good result as regular applications and games will be way below that figure. Further tests showed that we can push the Vcore safely up to 1.4v, which should allow for overclocks around 4.4 GHz on our Sandy Bridge-E system. This cooler should also be able to handle mainstream Ivy Bridge and Trinity CPUs near the fabled 5 GHz frequency range, which have a much lower heat output than the 6-core processor that we used.
  • 69. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Over $47 Million Stolen Using Infected PCs And Phones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/over-47-million-stolen-using- infected-pcs-and-phones/18270.html December 8th, 2012 Europe is being hit hard by a new version of the famous Zeus trojan as over 30,000 users have found their PCs and smartphones infected and being used to steal their money. There's a new version of the famous Zeus trojan out in the wild in Europe and as to be expected it is causing all kinds of havoc and is believed to be behind the attacks against some 30,000 electronic banking customers. The new version of the malware; and the botnet behind it, has been dubbed "Eurograbber" by security experts at Check Point Software and Versafe. The trojan was first detected in Italy earlier this year and has since spread throughout Europe. Researchers believe that Eurograbber is responsible for over $47 million in fraudulent transfers from victim bank accounts in amounts that range from 500 Euros; $650 USD, to as much as 25,000 Euros; $32,000 USD. The attack vector requires the victim to click on a malicious link; typical part of a phishing attack, which then will take them to a site that will attempt to download one or more trojans that will then install themselves on the computer or phone. The two trojans involved in this latest attack appear to be customized versions of Zeus as well as its SpyEye and CarBerp variants. These then will record the user's web visits and then inject HTML and JavaScript into the victim's browser. Then the next time the victim visits their banking site the trojan will snag their credentials and use JavaScript injection to launch a request that the user install a security upgrade from the banking site. The JavaScript completes the first part of the attack when it captures the user's phone number and mobile operating system, which is then used to send a text message to the user's phone requesting that they go to the attached link to download and install some "encryption11 software". What they actually end up with though is Zeus in the mobile (ZITMO) which is a trojans specifically made for the Android and Blackberry phones. With both systems compromised, the installed malware waits patiently for the victim to access their bank account at which point it will automatically transfer a percentage of the account balance to the criminal's accounts. It doesn't just stop there though, as the malware will intercept the confirmation text message sent by the bank and forward it on to the trojan's command and control server. At this point the trojan will use the message to confirm the transaction and withdraw the money. This process happens every time the victim accesses their bank account online and they are none the wiser. Posting Mug Shots To Pinterest Nets Increased Arrests For Police Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/posting-mug-shots-to-pinterest- nets-increased-arrests-for-police/18269.html December 8th, 2012 Police around the world are no slouches when it comes to using social media in all kinds of ways but it would seem that they are getting great results from Pinterest, the newest social media darling. From Twitter to Facebook, and now Pinterest as well, police agencies around the world have found unique and interesting ways to use social media. Whether it is just simple outreach to the citizens or using social media to actually track down and arrest criminals law enforcement is turning out to be pretty quick to take advantage of these new forms of communication like Facebook, and other social media networks. The interest in Pinterest however first started when a crime reporter at The Mercury in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, started posting mug shots of the towns criminals in a gallery on the new social network only to discover that the local police saw a 57% increase in arrests as well as catching more people based on tips as a result of the mug shot gallery. However, it isn't just small towns trying this out as evidenced by the Philadelphia police setting up their own mug shot gallery on Pinterest after seeing the results in Pottstown.
  • 70. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Using social media to catch criminals isn't something new to the Philadelphia police department but the addition of something like Pinterest and its growing success is another tool in the police toolbox. With this kind of early success it wouldn't be surprising to see more police agencies around the country taking a look at Pinterest and the idea of mug shot galleries. 5.7" Zopo ZP950 images leaked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/5.7-zopo-zp950-images- leaked/18263.html December 8th, 2012 Zopo is going to be replacing their current flagship phone with a new one and it looks like this is it. The Zopo ZP950 is the next step up from the current top dog, the Zopo ZP900. Leaked images have surfaced of what this phone will look like and the specs to go with it. This phone is quite a large one, in fact, it is .2" larger than the Galaxy Note II and that is a pretty good sized phone. The funny thing is that this phone isn't being marketed as a phablet. I am not sure what to think about that aspect, not that it is really all that important but it could lead into more from the company itself. This unit was rumored in China a while back but nothing could be confirmed with it until now. It seems that the dual-core rumor wasn't accurate as it will come with a dual-core MT6577 and 1GB RAM. It also states that it will have a resolution of 1280 x 720 and run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The 4.1 part is confirmed but that could change with Android 4.2 on the horizon. With this being the new flagship, chances are they will have the latest Android OS planted deep in it. In the picture you can see an 8MP rear shooter and it will also have a 3MP front, dual-sim support and a few other nice updates from it's predecessor. Leaked images of Huawei Ascend Mate phablet surface Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/leaked-images-of-huawei-ascend- mate-phablet-surface/18262.html December 8th, 2012 Phablets are becoming more and more prevelant as users want more from phone makers. Huawei is even jumping on board to create a new hybrid and this one is going to be an absolute beast!
  • 71. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Let's start with a small back story here. I got my first Android from MetroPCS, it was a Huawei Ascend, the original. The phone had a single core 600MHz CPU which I over clocked to 867MHz. Advance forward and now I have a LG Esteem with a single core 1GHz CPU which is over clocked to 1.7GHz. This new phone takes both of these CPUs' and laughs. And for good reasons. The leaked images that surfaced a couple days ago show this beast of a phone to be pretty plain in design, but the reported internals are some of the best you will see in a phablet to date. Reports indicated that this will have a 6.1" FULL HD 1920 x 1080 resolution screen, 2GB RAM and a quad- core 1.8GHz CPU. The actual chip will most likely be a K3V3 which is their 3rd generation CPU. This information has been confirmed by a Huawei executive. The actual release date isn't known yet but it will most likely be around the time of CES or MWC. As it stands it will be receiving the Jelly Bean treatment of Android 4.1 but that is subject to change. To top it all off it's got a 4000mAh battery which will be the largest battery in a smartphone to date. Like I said, this will be a beast of a phone. If this is anything like the Ascend P1 then we are probably going to see changes in the specs as time goes on to different chips and screens and such but either way, WOW! Now as said before this is a confirmed phone - we know it is coming but we will still follow it to see what, if any, changes are made to keep you up to date. Akasa Venom Power 1000W PSU Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/akasa-venom-power-1000w-psu- review/18268.html December 8th, 2012 Akasa is a company which offers a very wide variety of products to technology junkies, from cooling solutions to modding parts and from power supplies to tablet peripherals. Today we will be having a look at the latest and most popular unit of their power supply range, the Venom Power 1000W. The unit bears an 80Plus Gold certification and sports a unique design; but will it also perform well enough in order to have a chance against the myriads of 1kW units available today? We will find out in this review. Akasa is a company which offers a very wide variety of products to technology junkies, from cooling solutions to modding parts and from power supplies to tablet peripherals. Today we will be having a look at the latest and most popular unit of their power supply range, the Venom Power 1000W. The unit bears an 80Plus Gold certification and sports a unique design; but will it also perform well enough in order to have a chance against the myriads of 1kW units available today? We will find out in this review. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Demo Sweeps Japan with Free Shirts Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/metal-gear-rising-revengeance- demo-sweeps-japan-with-free-shirts/18254.html December 8th, 2012 Konami, in commemoration to their upcoming release of the full demo of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance on December 13, plans to give all gamers across Japan a treat by giving exclusive prizes at demo booths installed in various tech stores starting December 15. There are still a few months before the game is officially released, but at least gamers all across Japan can have a little extra beside the sword-slashing treats that the PS3 game Metal Gear Rising Revengeance has to offer. This is because Konami, in celebration to their upcoming release of the game's updated demo on December 13, 2012, plans to roll out a country wide campaign to promote the title, by opening up demo booths at selected tech stores all around Japan.
  • 72. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 The chance to play the demo alone may already be very enticing, but it would be quite better for those who will participate in Konami's live demo. This is because each person who played the demo of the game in the selected tech shops will be awarded with a special fan pack. The first item on the pack is an exclusive pamphlet of the game, and the other is a limited-edition Metal Gear Rising Revengeance T-Shirt. The fan pack will not be delivered at a later date, but would be instantly handed to the participants after they played the demo. There are of course a limited number of fan packs available, so if you're in Japan, you better line up very early in the morning if you ever want to have the chance to have one. So far, Konami has been quite secretive about the entire game project. We first saw Metal Gear Rising Vengeance as a short clip. Then, the trailer progressed little by little. Afterwards, the promotion campaign moved forward until a very short demo of the actual game was publicly released. Now, with just a few months wait, it probably wouldn’t hurt to get a little warm up from their free demo release, although it'd certainly be more memorable to those who could get the shirts. The campaign is slated to start from December 15, and would last for about two days until December 16, 2012. Of course, people who may not be interested in the event, and those who cannot attend the event anyway (due to obvious regional "restrictions") may simply enjoy the full demo at the Playstation Store. AMD Releases New Piledriver Server Processors Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-releases-new-piledriver-server- processors/18265.html December 8th, 2012 AMD continues to fight to keep its footing in the server market with new series of mid-range server processors. The Opteron 4300 and 3300 lines hit stores! On Tuesday, December 4th , AMD released two new series of their Opteron server processors. The 4300 and 3300 series are the direct successors of 4200 and 3200 Bulldozer-based Opterons, which failed to meet expectations last year, and are meant to take on the mid-range and lower-mid-range server processor market, leaving the current 6300 series for the high end. According to AMD’s press release: The AMD Opteron 4300 Series processors offer up to 15 percent better performance versus the prior generation, based on SPECint benchmark results and SPECpower results show up to a 24 percent improvement in performance per watt. The new models are built on AMD’s Piledriver architecture that is geared to make good on the promises of the previous line of Opteron CPUs. Like the older series they intend to replace, the 4300s uses the C32 socket while the 3300s uses socket AM3+ making it easy to upgrade from the previous generation. Below is a chart of the models in each series: Model Cores Clock Speed (GHz) Turbo CORE (GHz) TDP Socket Pricing (USD) 4386 8 3.1 3.8 95W C32 348 4376 HE 8 2.6 3.6 65W C32 501 4340 6 3.5 3.8 95W C32 348 4334 6 3.1 3.5 95W C32 191 4332 HE 6 3.0 3.7 65W C32 415 4310 EE 4 2.2 3.0 35W C32 415 3380 8 2.6 3.6 65W AM3+ 229 3350 4 2.8 3.8 45W AM3+ 125 3320 4 1.9 2.5 25W AM3+ 174 Every model continues the trend of Turbo CORETM technology that allows some cores to exceed their stock clock speed (and TDP) for brief amounts of time when needed. While the 4300 and 3300 series may not reinvent the way AMD does servers, hopefully it gives them a solid footing against Intel for cloud and small-business computing and other ventures until the next big thing comes around. For a full list of details see the source below. Sony Online Entertainment publicly shames cheaters of Planetside 2 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-online-entertainment-publicly- shames-cheaters-of-planetside-2/18251.html December 8th, 2012
  • 73. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 SEO is cracking down hard on cheaters, hackers, and general ne'er-do-wells in their popular game Planetside 2. The president of the company, John Smedly, took to personally naming the "scumbags" on his Twitter account. While hackers and cheaters really do have it coming, the violent lash-out by Smedly leaves some wondering if he went too far. "Haruhi at http://artificialaiming.com was just banned. all 3 of his accounts. Goodbye you scumbag. Find a new hobby or get good at the game." Ouch! This was posted publicly from John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. If that won't bring the red out in your cheeks, nothing will. This was only part of a chain of posts by Smedley, though it may be the most cutting. He and SOE have been ruthlessly hunting down cheaters, hackers, and ne'er-do-well-ers on the game Planetside 2. They ban the players, and then periodically publicly shame them via social media sites such as Twitter. That's where Smedley has been posting these biting gems. In truth, the players of the game itself have been complaining at length about the amount of cheaters in the game. SOE is only, in essence, responding to what the majority of their gaming audience wants - retribution. “I want to make some very clear statements about hacking in PlanetSide 2. We are aggressively banning people,” Smedley said. “We play the game — we see the people using aim bots. We are banning them. We see people attempting other stuff. We are banning them. As they develop hacks, we will break the hacks. We have time and great people. Trust that this is a top priority. Hackers will not win.” There was some negative response to the naming-of-names by John - he has this to say about that: “People are asking why I publicly named Haruhi. Ordinarily our policy is not to do that. Since he’s pushing the Aimbot site I thought an exception has to be made for the guy pimping the tools hackers are using. It’s not to shame him. It’s to make an example and say ‘the stuff this guy is selling or giving you will get you banned… just like him.” Wow. What a warning. These are some pretty strong words from the president of such a big company. It seems there is a trend growing with large online games to outright ban people from playing - earlier this week we saw Riot Games ban a pro player from League of Legends, and now this. Better question - is this hot, or not? Researchers develop contact lenses that can display text messages Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/researchers-develop-contact-lenses- that-can-display-text-messages/18267.html December 8th, 2012 Researchers at the Centre of Microsystems Technology in Gent University have developed contact lenses that can display text messages, marking the latest advance in augmented reality technology. Researchers at the Centre of Microsystems Technology in Gent University have developed contact lenses that can display text messages, marking the latest advance in augmented reality technology. The scientists came up with a curved LCD display that can be made into contact lenses and can project images over a wireless connection. “This is not science fiction,” said Jelle De Smet, chief researcher for the project. “This will never replace the cinema screen for films. But for specific applications it may be interesting to show images such as road directions or projecting text messages from our smart phones straight to our eye.”
  • 74. December 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 The potential applications are not limited to a mini experience of what we have on our smartphones, however, as the researchers are exploring the idea of one pixel, fully covered contact lenses that can act as a pair of adaptable sunglasses, adjusting to match the sun. They could also be used to treat damage to the eye, by helping control the light transmitted to the retina, or they could be used to adjust people's eye colour instead of switching contact lenses. Displays made into contact lenses are not a new thing, but they usually have severe limitations in place, such as only being able to display a few pixels of information on part of the lens. This latest development utilises the whole lens surface. Image Credit: Gent University
  • 75. December 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. White Hacker Faces Jail Time For Exposing AT&T's Incompetence Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/white-hacker-faces-jail-time-for- exposing-at-t-s-incompetence/18292.html December 9th, 2012 A jury could find Andrew Aurenheimer guilty of identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers - he faces up to 10 years in prison for exposing AT&T's own mistake. Many on-line security experts known colloquially as ‘white hatters’ or ‘white hat’ hackers are eyeing a certain legal case regarding an Andrew Auernheimer. Auernheimer is accused of hacking into an AT&T website. They say if he is convicted of his accusations, the case could very well jeopardize the very way in which we use the Internet and set a precedent in regards to how someone is prosecuted for using the Internet. White hat hackers look for flaws in websites and servers and then give that information back to the company or website security firm to help with making needed changes. Their purpose is quite clear and they are to prevent bad hackers, or ‘black hat’ hackers from exploiting vulnerable websites. According to an Andrew Auernheimer’s defense, in June 2010 AT&T ‘published’ the names of numerous iPad 3G users E-mail on their public webserver. According to Auernheimer, AT&T had no password set up for the data, no firewall or any type of authorization in place to prevent anyone from the public accessing this data. Auernheimer took the data and gave it to a journalist to publish because he felt the company was putting a lot of users data at risk. However, instead of getting a lot of positive feedback, AT&T pressed charges on him and accused him of stealing company data. Auernheimer is now looking at 10 years in prison for ‘hacking’. The crimes he is being accused of are found in the “Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA”. He is being tried as a criminal for posting information that was publicly available, but prosecutors say he should have given the data to AT&T or the FBI instead of a journalist. The charges against Mr. Auernheimer are USC 1030, “Conspiracy to access a computer device without authorization”. However, the charges against him are also said to be in violation of a New Jersey state statute that uses the term ‘discloses’, which means that that act of giving the information to another individual, including a journalist, is a criminal act. Furthermore, he is also being charged under USC 1028 which is identity theft and simply because he possessed the names that AT&T had listed on the webserver. Many experts are in agreement that Auernheimer’s case is unique and it makes a white hatter more reluctant to show any of the information they have found on-line. In an article from the Huffington Post regarding Auernheimer’s case, a Jeremiah Grossman, founder of White Hat Security was quoted in an interview as saying, “ If other researchers find flaws but are scared about disclosing them, that's going to give them pause. And that makes it easier for the bad guys to put people at risk." Another individual by the name of Dave Aitel of the security firm Immunity stated that his conviction could mean that it may trickle down to other parts of the industry or a flood of new cases involving matters such as this “If they manage to make it stick,” said Aitel. “The collateral damage is all of us.” Final Fantasy IV headed for iOS December 20th Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/final-fantasy-iv-headed-for-ios- december-20th/18291.html December 9th, 2012 Final Fantasy fans can rejoice - Square Enix has hinted that the game will be available on December 20th on the iOS. Just in time for Christmas! Phone-based gamers and Final Fantasy fans will be happy to know that Final Fantasy IV will be released for iOS within the month – December 20th, to be exact. Though there wasn't an official release announcement from Square Enix, both the publisher and iTunes have advertised for the game on their respective websites. Now, the game is technically a remake of the original – it will have additional content in the form of mini-games, bug fixes, and other improvements. The game will even have 3D graphics and a new translation. Not bad for a iOS release, considering the version for the Nintendo DS was released all the way back in 2008.
  • 76. December 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 There's a bit of sad news when it comes to Android owners, as the game will not have the same release date for them. They'll be getting the short end of the stick, as the release date is lost somewhere in 2013. Not a great Christmas for Android owners. The price may be a little off-putting – once the initial launch price has ended, it's estimated to go up to a little over $17. That's quite a bit to be set back for an iOS game, especially not an original game. Perhaps Square Enix thinks it'll really draw in the crowds. Or the niche group. In any case, the fellow over there are trying to weigh things out by cutting prices of other final Fantasy titles. If you head over to the App Store, you can see that FF1 and FF2 are both only $4 instead of their normal $9. A bit of relief on the wallet, but doesn't quite make up for the loss on the new release. Check out the App Store on December 20th if you're interested - you can get that gamer in your life a nostalgic gift they'll enjoy... and if that gamer just happens to be you, so be it! Bioshock Infinite is delayed one last time (?) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bioshock-infinite-is-delayed-one- last-time--/18289.html December 9th, 2012 Seems that gamers are looking at a delayed Bioshock Infinite release... again. The game has been delayed several times, originally looking at a October 2012 release, and now moving into March 2013. Some are agitated by the delay, but many more are expressing their relief that the game should be finely tuned by the time the makers, Irrational, finally do release it. Gamers around the world flinched slightly at the news that Irrational Games is delaying Bioshock Infinite... again. This is not the first time the game has been delayed, but will it be the last? That depends on the reasoning behind the delay, many suppose, and according to Ken Levine, the creative director for the game, the snag was less of a snag and more of a pause for refinement. “It’s primarily polish and bug fixing,” Ken Levine said. “You know, 'let’s make that narrative scene that much better. Let’s do another pass on the timing of that scene. Let’s do another balance pass.’ It’s a game we could have shipped in February. It just wouldn’t be the game that we think the fans deserve. And that doesn’t mean it was far off from that, but they deserve what they deserve. And when we ask people to pony up a lot of money for this game, we have to feel confident that we’re giving them something that they deserve.” Ken expected to take “slings and arrows” for the delay, but overall the response was rather mature – many are applauding the game studio for taking the time to make sure that the game is quality, rather than focus on the speed of release. While there are undoubtedly those complaining (there always are), the majority of the audience seems to be fine sitting by and waiting. As long as the final product is good, of course. From what we've been hearing from those who have previewed the game, the wait will be worth it. Contrary to what you may think, this game is not a prequel or sequel to any other Bioshock game. The short-and-sweet premise of the game... (if you enjoy going into a game completely blind you may consider some of this paragraph to be spoilers, so shield you eyes) – you play a character named Booker DeWitt in 1912, sent to the floating city of Columbia to find a woman named Elizabeth. Yes, we can all imagine that Elizabeth must be the woman-in-the-dress-with-the- chest. Don't tell Ken Levine, boss at Irrational Games, you've been looking... he doesn't appreciate that.
  • 77. December 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The project was originally due in October of this year. Not much later, the date was pushed to February of 2013. While the March 2013 release date isn't much of a push, any push at all usually makes gamers bite at their finger nails... even wonder if the third time's the charm, and will be the final delay. Everyone will need to keep their fingers crossed. Very, very hard. News Source: IGN Self-powered Robot Crosses the Pacific Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/self-powered-robot-crosses-the- pacific/18290.html December 9th, 2012 A wandering robot that was powered by the waves of the sea called a ‘Wave Glider’ recently completed a nine thousand mile journey, arriving safely in Australia. The robot was one of four that were set off just over a year ago in San Francisco, California in an effort to study ocean data. In November 2011 two pairs of self-propelled robots called ‘Wave Gliders’ were launched in San Francisco, California. There four robots would have tallied about 38 thousand miles if they all had completed their perspective journeys, however, 2 of them were pulled due to problems, and another is off course about 800 miles from Australia. The one Wave Glider, "Papa Mau", that successfully reached Australia did so perfectly, and the robot logged in a lot of useful data that scientists were able to study. The company press release dated December 6th stated, “Papa Mau navigated along a prescribed route under autonomous control collecting and transmitting unprecedented amounts of high-resolution ocean data never before available over these vast distances or timeframes.” The purpose of the scientific experiments with the robots is to monitor temperatures of the sea in relation to where they are. The bots also monitor salinity of the seawater in different regions, and wave height along with ocean oxygen levels. The one wave glider to that successfully reached its Australia destination on December 8th proved that autonomous, self- powered data gathering robots could be made inexpensively and left to explore the oceans on their own. While standard trade routes have been in existence for centuries, there hasn’t been any real ocean data gathering to speak of until recently. This new technology will help scientists better understand what is happening to the climate and just how much climate change may be affecting oxygen levels and temperatures in the oceans. The four robots were built by the Liquid Robotics Company, which was founded in 2007. The company operates as an ocean data service provider. The Wave Glider bots were the first fully operational wave-powered, autonomous marine robots. According to their website, Liquid Robotics wants to use this new technology to study ocean data on a continual basis and according to their About page create a “game-changing scientific discoveries to help us address the biggest challenges our world faces, including global climate change, national security, hurricane & tsunami warning, and offshore energy & resource management.” Steam PC gaming rolling into your living room by 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-pc-gaming-rolling-into-your- living-room-by-2013/18286.html December 9th, 2012 When it comes to gaming, specifically PC gaming, there is no bigger name than Valve and its online game store--Steam. Following the company's negative comments regarding Windows 8 there has been all kinds of rumors floating around that we could see anything from controllers to consoles in 2013. Over the past year there have been all kinds of rumors making their way through the tech blogosphere about the future of Valve and Steam, its online game store. These rumors have included everything from Steam specific game controllers to Valve building their own consoles. These rumors have been helped along with comments from Gabe Newell about how Windows 8 will be a failure for game developers and gamers as well as the fact that Steam has added support for Mac OS X and is working on support for Linux. Add to that the announcement this past week of the company's "Big Picture" initiative, which is designed to be used with your big screen television and gamepads. According to a recent interview with gaming blog Kotaku Newell has said the response to the "Big Picture" mode has been a lot stronger than expected. It is things like this that some believe could help push Valve, and possibly other companies as well, to release living room PCs that are designed to be more like consoles. In regard to this Newell had this to say: I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that [the PC is] a better environment for them. Cause they won't have to
  • 78. December 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 split the world into thinking about 'why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?' So in a sense we hopefully are gonna unify those environments. When it comes to a Steam branded "Big Picture PC" he said that it would have to be a "very controlled environment" - you know .. like a game console. Facebook growth potential in Middle East and Africa [Infographic] Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-growth-potential-in- middle-east-and-africa-infographic-/18285.html December 9th, 2012 Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and even though it is hard to believe that it could get any bigger the fact is that in places like the Middle East and Africa it is only getting started. That is a mind numbingly large number and even more mind boggling that this is the number that Facebook likes to claim it has as members in its social network. The thing about that number is that it really only reflects U.S. and Europe which means that there is still plenty of growth ahead for the company as it turns its attention to places like the Middle East and North Africa. To give you an idea of the potential for the company social media analytics company SocialBakers has put together an infographic showing how Facebook has grown in these regions and how there is still plenty of opportunity ahead for the social network. Capcom announces Street Fighter X Mega Man Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/capcom-announces-street-fighter-x- mega-man/18284.html December 9th, 2012 Capcom celebrates Mega Man's 25th birthday on Dec. 17, 2012 with a free PC download that infuses the Street Fighter franchise into the retro 2-D sidescroller. In celebration of Mega Man's 25th anniversary, Capcom has planned a hilarious and fantastic cross-over that pits the characters of Street Fighter right into the signature 2-D sidescrolling action of every Mega Man game. The newly released announcement trailer from Capcom Unity's YouTube channel shows off actual in-game footage of Street Fighter X Mega Man, featuring old-school retro NES bit-styled awesomeness that every fan of the series who grew up playing the infamously hard games will love. Rather than being an all-out fighting game, Street Fighter X Mega Man introduces fan favorites from the franchise into the 2-D world of Mega Man as end-level bosses, and will feature the same layout and style as the early Mega Man games. The upcoming release will be available for FREE on Dec. 17, 2012 for PC. For more information please visit Capcom Unity's official website. Spike TV's VGA 10 awards show aftermath Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spike-tv-s-vga-10-awards-show- aftermath/18282.html
  • 79. December 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 December 9th, 2012 Did you miss Spike's VGA 10th anniversary awards show? Jump in to see which of your gaming favorites won, as well as a look at the world premieres. Spike TV's annual Video Game Awards have recognized the year's most acclaimed and enjoyable games, and this year's 10th anniversary special hosted by Samuel L. Jackson was no different. Many of the winners of VGA 10 were surprising, but the VGA's have always given the power to the people, tallying up their votes to announce the winners of each respective category during the gala event. Millions of people--including gamers and geeks everywhere--tuned in last night for Spike TV's distinct brand of award show awesomeness, but if you were one of the unlucky ones who weren't able to catch the show, you can find a few of the winners for the major categories below: 2012 Game of the Year:The Walking Dead (Telltale Games) Best Xbox 360 Game: Halo 4 (Microsoft Studios343 Industries) Best PS3 Game:Journey (Sony Computer Entertainment America/ ThatGameCompany) Best Wii/Wii U Game:New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo) Best PC Game:XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2K Games/Firaxis Games) Best Indie Game: Journey Best Shooter: Borderlands 2 (2K Games, Gearbox Software) Best Action/Adventure Game:Dishonored (Bethesda Softworks, Arkane Studios) Best RPG:Mass Effect 3 (EA, BioWare) Best Fighting Game:Persona 4 Arena (Atlus, Arc System Works) Best Graphics: Halo 4 For the full list of winners and nominees included in Spike's VGA 10, please visit the official website. Spike's VGA's also give gamers and viewers a first-hand look at upcoming titles that are in the works, allowing them to see a sneak-peek at what's to come next year in the world of gaming. VGA 10's world premieres included a brand new trailer for Gears of War: Judgment, a new Bioshock: Infiniteteaser trailer, an additional teaser trailer for The Last of Us and finally a trailer for Castlevania: The Lords of Shadow 2. ImageFORMULA DR-P208 mixes portability with productivity Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/imageformula-dr-p208-mixes- portability-with-productivity/18281.html December 9th, 2012 The ImageFORMULA DR-P208 is one of the latest models in Canon's imageFORMULA product line of scanning peripherals. This particular model proves yet again to its users the productive potentials of highly portable and lightweight scanners. The basic working principle of scanners haven't really changed for the past few years, and the design and application of its functions are always just modified to gradually improve overall convenience. That is why the ImageFORMULA DR-P208 may not seem that outstanding or amazing in any way. However, it may still have a few good points that you may find interesting for a modern portable scanner. Let's first talk about it most important plus point: the size. The dimensions of the unit are set at 312 x 55.5 x 40 mm, and it weighs about 600 grams. The general form factor of the unit is comparably similar to other portable scanners such as Fujistsu's ScanSnap S1100, albeit a bit heavier and stouter in one or two sides.
  • 80. December 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Like the other Canon scanners that preceded it, the ImageFORMULA DR-P208 uses Canon's proprietary Capture OnTouch software option for Windows and Mac OS. For mobile devices using the iOS and Android operating systems, the application CaptureOnTouch Mobile may be appropriately used to provide the same software functionality. There are several regular scanning modes in this unit, which includes: black/white scanning, colored scanning, blank line skip, word recognition, end-point emphasis and moire deletion, among others. The largest paper size that this unit can scan is A4. It uses a CIS sensor, the scanning resolution can be set at a maximum of 600dpi, and the average scanning speed (when set at 200dpi) is around 8ppm/16ipm. It supports ADF functionality, and can handle up to 10 sheets of paper at a time. Connectivity is provided by a USB 2.0 port, but it can also be accessed wirelessly through a standard Wi-Fi network. Of course, these portable scanners are ultimately designed for short and quick uses. They are not to be placed in line with heavy duty scanners. So while the ImageFORMULA DR-P208 may not perform at the same level as those gigantic and bulky office scanners, we can see that in terms of raw specs, its capabilities are more than sufficient enough for casual users. The ImageFORMULA DR-P208 is slated to be released around December 2012. As for its price, there are no official announcements yet, though it would probably cost around 10,000 yen (123 USD). Source: PCWatch (JP) Apple and Google join up to buy Kodak patents Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-and-google-join-up-to-buy- kodak-patents/18273.html December 9th, 2012 Google and Apple are looking to legally obtain Kodak’s imaging patents (IP). In a recent Bloomberg news report, it states that Apple and Google are actually working together to purchase the IP from Kodak in the amount of 500 million U.S. dollars. Two individuals acquainted with the deal stated that Apple and Google were joining forces to offer more than 500 million U.S. dollars for the Eastman Kodak Company imaging patents. It further stated that while the two companies may be rivals, a partnership in a patent liquidation is good because it rids the companies of any future disputes over patent rights. In all the report states the two companies are looking to buy 1,100 imaging patents from Kodak. Kodak, which was once the pioneer in camera’s and film never caught up with the digital revolution that began in the 1990s. Soon sales of film and cameras began to hurt the company even though it was the Kodak company that invented the core technology used in digital cameras today. Kodak attempted to make a comeback marketing their EasyShare cameras and printing devices, but it just never worked out for the company. Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2012 with a debt of 6.75 billion U.S. dollars and 5.1 billion in assets. In August of this year the company announced that they would be selling off their film and kiosks but motion pictures made by Kodak would remain Kodak's. Konami releases new gameplay boss battle footage of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/konami-releases-new-gameplay- boss-battle-footage-of-metal-gear-rising-revengeance/18283.html December 9th, 2012 Konami's newest footage for the highly anticipated release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance shows gamers a nice bit of video that displays an action-infused boss battle
  • 81. December 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 between Raiden, the game's protagonist, and a RAY, a formidable and villainous Metal Gear mech. The footage shows off the game's combat, which is flawless and invigorating, making for an impressive and fluid gameplay experience from start to finish. It also shows off the game's Blade Mode in action which accounts for much of the awesomeness of the game's combat. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes place in 2018, four years after the events of MGS4: Guns of the Patriots, and follows the cybernetically-enhanced Raiden as he carries out missions for the PMC (Private Military Company) known as Maverick Enterprises. A rival PMC, Desperado Enterprises, seeks to destroy Maverick, and Raiden is sent in to ensure that Desperado is shut down. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is slated for release on Feb. 19, 2013 in North America for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. For more information please visit the game's official website. Hitachi Maxell announces new tube shaped speakers modeled on wind instruments Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hitachi-maxell-announces-new-tube- shaped-speakers-modeled-on-wind-instruments/18271.html December 9th, 2012 Need powerful speakers but live in a small space? Hitachi has a solution for compact home dwellers. These newest speakers from Hitachi Maxell incorporate Magic Speaker and Dynamic BassReflex Horns in order to get a rich three dimensional sound while measuring only 81mm tall. No price has been announced for them but they are expected to cost around 10,000 Yen ($121). The speakers come in both a wireless Bluetooth connected model (MXSP-BT1300), and one which connects via the same 22 pin USB 2.0-compatible WM-port as a Walkman. Alternatively, they can both be connected with a 3.5mm jack. The output of the new Maxells measures 4.2W x 2, and they come with an 80Hz ~ 20kHz frequency response. They are light but not tiny; weighing in at 900 grams, measuring 113cm in length, and come with a remote control. Maxell is really hoping to attract customers to the unique design, which will make them fit nicely and elegantly in your home. The company's description of Magic Speaker includes a surround sound-like effect, where it should feel like you have additional speakers to the left and the right of the MXSP. Thus, giving you a more three dimensional listening experience. The Bass Reflex, the bouncing of sound off the back of the speaker housing in order to increase the efficiency of the system, will supposedly boost bass without the need to make the unit larger. It will definitely come down to personal taste on whether or not these tube-shaped speakers are right for you but they are a nice addition to the market's current offerings. Best Buy fined 27 million for stealing trade secrets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/best-buy-fined-27-million-for- stealing-trade-secrets/18272.html December 9th, 2012 Best Buy was just slammed with a 27 million dollar settlement that must be paid to TechForward. Of that 27 million the courts say the electronics company must pay 22 million for the trade secret damages and another 5 million for punitive damages. TechForward, which filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in 2011, alleged that Best Buy misappropriated their trade secrets in relation to their ‘Guaranteed Buyback Program’. The program allowed for customers to exchange an electronics product for credit in the store on another item. Best Buy used TechForward’s idea with the buyback program by working with the company and then cancelled their agreement and began using the company’s own, nearly identical, customer purchase credit program. In a statement to the press, Jade Van Doren who co-founded TechForward stated, “We are extremely pleased that the jury recognized Best Buy’s misconduct, and we hope this verdict puts large companies on notice that there are real consequences to illegally exploiting start-up businesses like ours.” Techforward is a smaller California based company that focuses on buyback programs for other stores. Their website states that the company’s purpose is to give customers the opportunity to upgrade their computers or electronics more easily. The trademarked “Guaranteed Buyback” product allows customers to return electronic items which are then recycled or resold, and Techforward claims that it was the first to market the idea back in 2006.
  • 82. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Hackers upload 1.6 million NASA, FBI and other accounts Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hackers-upload-1.6-million-nasa-fbi- and-other-accounts/18327.html December 11th, 2012 A hacktivist group calling itself Team GhostShell has posted online the log-in details of 1.6 million accounts belonging to major government agencies like NASA, the FBI, the European Space Agency, and numerous others. A hacktivist group calling itself Team GhostShell has posted online the log-in details of 1.6 million accounts belonging to major government agencies like NASA, the FBI, the European Space Agency, and numerous others. The sensitive details include usernames, passwords, email addresses, and even CVs and other data that was uploaded to the various agencies' databases. They have now been uploaded to several different websites to ensure they are widely circulated. 37 organisations and companies were hit in the attack, covering "fields such as aerospace, nanotechnology, banking, law, education, government, military, all kinds of wacky companies & corporations working for the department of defense, airlines and more," according to a press release by the group posted on Pastebin. 150 servers were hacked, using SQL injection to force databases to hand over data, and exposing the databases as lacking the necessary protection one would expect for such agencies, including encryption of log-in details. The group said the attack is part of Project White Fox, a campaign it is waging to promote free speech online, but added that it had informed security personnel about the insecure servers that were utilised in the hack. This will be a major wakeup call to officials, given that the information could also have been acquired by various espionage agencies throughout the world. Team GhostShell, which is an offshoot of hackers operating under the Anonymous banner, said this is its "last project," though it suggested that this might only be the final foray for this year. It has certainly gone out with a bang, and it has encouraged others to follow suit, which means we will likely see similar attacks in 2013. Getac upgrades convertible rugged tablets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/getac-upgrades-convertible-rugged- tablets/18325.html December 11th, 2012 Getac has released updated versions of its V100 and V200 rugged convertible tablets, allowing a hybrid tablet and laptop experience in the most extreme environments. Getac has released updated versions of its V100 and V200 rugged convertible tablets, allowing a hybrid tablet and laptop experience in the most extreme environments. The fourth generation V-series feature a 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-3320M or 2.9GHz Core i7-3520M processor with vPro technology, helping boost speeds by 251 percent and 177
  • 83. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 percent respectively over the previous models. Graphics responsiveness is also up by more than four times, thanks to the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4,000. The real selling point of these devices, however, is their rugged design, which can withstand a bit more of a beating than an iPad. Both models are fully MIL-STD 810G and IP65 certified, which means they can resist electric shocks, vibration, and high drops, and they can even operate at extreme temperatures (a freezing -20 degrees Celsius to a searing 60 degrees Celsius). Since you might be wandering the desert with one of these, the latest models now come with QuadraClear, which makes the screens readable in direct sunlight. The touchscreen has also been adapted so that it will be usable by people wearing thick industrial gloves. Both models can also be configured to feature LTE mobile connections. “Now in its fourth generation, our V-series is a proven workhorse in flight-line maintenance, field service, and the utility and oil & gas sectors,” said Jim Rimay, president of Getac. “Updating our convertible tablets is part of our initiative to incorporate the latest technologies across the full line of rugged and semi-rugged notebook computers.” To prove the point of just how durable these hybrid devices are, Getac is also offering a five-year warranty. Mobile banking usage increases by 50 percent in US since 2011 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mobile-banking-usage-increases- by-50-percent-in-us-since-2011/18324.html December 11th, 2012 Mobile banking has boomed over the last year, with usage growing by a whopping 50 percent in the US since 2011, according to a report by business consulting firm Bain & Company. Mobile banking has boomed over the last year, with usage growing by a whopping 50 percent in the US since 2011, according to a report by business consulting firm Bain & Company. 150,000 bank account holders were surveyed in 14 markets throughout the world, revealing the growing importance of banking on mobile devices. Asia is taking the lead in terms of market penetration, with South Korea topping the polls with 47 percent of survey respondents stating that they have used mobile banking in the previous three months. While less people in the US log into their bank accounts from their smartphone, those that do so log in more often than anyone else in the world, with the survey revealing an average of 4.9 mobile transactions in the previous quarter. The report also found that banking loyalty increased with mobile users in the US compared to other banking models, with larger banks like Citi and JPMorgan Chase gaining the most in loyalty scores. Customers in Asia and developing markets tend to be more loyal to their bank, while wealthier customers in the US and Europe have a substantially lower loyalty rating. When asked about future smartphone and tablet interactions that would be most valuable to customers, 64 percent of respondents said that the ability to check their account balances is important. 41 percent want remote deposit capture, while 26 percent would like to be able to pay their bills from their mobile device. “Mobile banking presents profit-strapped banks with an opportunity to shift routine transactions from high-cost physical channels to much lower-cost digital channels,” said Gerard du Toit, financial services partner at Bain and lead
  • 84. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 author of the report. “It also presents opportunities for banks to create more 'wow' experiences that use new digital technologies to delight customers and deepen customer loyalty.” Image Credit: Bank of America "The Phantom Pain" premiers at VGAs Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-the-phantom-pain-premiers-at- vgas/18319.html December 11th, 2012 A mysterious new game called "The Phantom Pain" is headed our way. The VGA awards saw the release of the first teaser trailer for it... but is there more than meets the eye here? The Phantom Pain seemingly came from nowhere. During the VGA awards last week, we were unexpectedly treated to an amazing, disturbing and very mysterious trailer for this new game. It shows a man who has been in a coma for some time, and wakes up in a hospital with a missing arm, bandaged face and no idea of where he is or what happened. Soldiers suddenly arrive and begin exterminating everyone in the hospital, sending the man on a terrifying escape, made even more difficult by his atrophied muscles which keep him from properly moving. Towards the end of the trailer, there's hints at supernatural involvement as we're treated to a burning man, a flying entity and a giant burning whale... though I suspect the last one is an hallucination. All in all, it's an absolutely beautiful and quite disturbing trailer: However, a lot of people have begun suspecting that there's more to this trailer than meets the eye. The first time I saw it, I felt something was amiss too. There's quite a lot of evidence actually, but the first thing which caught my attention was the protagonist. He looks very much like another gaming character, and the conclusion more and more people are reaching is that The Phantom Pain is really Metal Gear Solid V. Here's a comparison of Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes' Snake with the protagonist from the new trailer: The man from the trailer (left) and Big Boss/Snake (right) The bandages may very well be from the time Big Boss lost his eye. There's more evidence though. The title of the game, "The Phantom Pain", obviously refers to the imaginary pain one can feel in limbs which have been amputated, but it may also be a reference to "From FOX two phantoms were born", which was written on a teaser image for Ground Zeroes. There's another hint in the trailer: The game engine for The Phantom Pain is stunning, and it looks very much like the Fox game engine used in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. The Fox Engine is proprietary to Kojima Productions though, and should not be showing up in other games. Obviously, we can't confirm that it's the same engine, but the kind of fidelity it's presenting would be very challenging for an hitherto unknown studio to produce. On that note, let's talk about the mysterious developer: The Phantom Pain is being developed by Moby Dick Studios, which seems to have appeared out of thin air with no social media presence and a one week old website. The development studio is based in Stockholm, Sweden and it's CEO Joakim Mogren is virtually unknown in the gaming world (and as a Stockholm resident, I can attest that I've never heard of the studio or Mogren either). Curiously though, Joakim is an anagram for Kojima. Finally, there's the logo, which has gaps in the lettering, as if blacked out lettering was covering parts of the logo. Some clever people have been fitting in the words Metal Gear Solid V into the gaps, and it fits pretty nicely. Chump to champ; 2012 Nissan GT Academy winner to race in Dubai 24 Hour Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chump-to-champ-2012-nissan-gt- academy-winner-to-race-in-dubai-24-hour/18317.html December 11th, 2012 29-year-old Steve Doherty was the 2012 North American winner of the Nissan GT Academy. Doherty was formerly an unemployed mechanic hailing from the U.S. Illinois town of Plainfield. This win will allow Doherty to race in the upcoming United Arab Emirate, Dubai 24 Hour race that will take place on January 10, 2013. Doherty successfully beat out thousands of other race hopefuls, which included 15 of North America’s fastest virtual Gran Turismo racers finalists. SPIKE TV broadcasted all of the challenges each contestant had to endure during the event, and the racers were all judged by pro racing greats such as Danny Sullivan, Maryeve Dufault and Boris Said. The win gives Doherty the privilege to continue racing and further undergo intense professional training in England.
  • 85. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 He will then be given his professional, international racing license. Doherty actually made it to the finals in 2011, but he missed the final 16 challenges by just a miniscule six-tenths of a second. Doherty did not give up and made a point to come back and give it all he could. "After being so close, I knew I could never let a chance like that slip through my fingers again. That's where my history in sports helped me,” said Doherty. “The only person who can motivate you is yourself. I knew I would never get another chance like this, so I tried to make the best of every day. All of the hard work and commitment has paid off in the biggest way possible, but there's much more work ahead." Doherty said he wants to ultimately find himself competing in the Daytona 24 Hour race, but for now the Dubai 24 Hour will be his main priority. Doherty and 3 other GT Academy winners will race with a Nissan 370Z. Online democracy a fail; Facebook ends the user vote Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/online-democracy-a-fail-facebook- ends-the-user-vote/18315.html December 11th, 2012 Facebook's final user vote has come to a close at long last, putting an end to the social network's extremely unsuccessful attempt at an online form of democracy. In 2009, Facebook announced that any change in site policy receiving 7,000 or more comments would be pushed to a vote for users of the site to engage in. Three votes have since taken place, all of them ending with disastrously disappointing results. It turns out that the average user apparently had no idea that such a vote was going on. On this third and final occasion, an extremely meager 0.067 percent of the site's population participated. That makes 668,872 votes out of one billion users. Facebook will now be adopting an altered policy, effectively putting an end to the life of a sad and miserable government. In fact, the policy change was voted against by 88% of voting users. However, the votes only count as long as they represent 30% of Facebook's population – a little figure which here means no less than 330,000,000 people. As stated, this did not occur. Thus, Facebook is now free to make decisions without consulting the votes of its users. Does Facebook in any way resemble a Roman forum...? This news may come as a surprise to some who are familiar with the tendency of Internet dwellers to criticize their surroundings. Facebook has become an especially famous environment for this ironic mentality, in which users complain about the changes of the social platform they refuse to dump. However, while some users may love to rant about new site features and changes to policies, that doesn't mean that they are willing to go through the arduous process of reading lengthy documents before casting decisions. As one reader of arstechnica points out, “The only way they'd get a 30% turnout is if they made the ballot 2 simple sentences and put it at the top of your feed until you voted.” It is clear that for a successful attempt at an online form of democracy, simpler methods than those of conventional governments must be employed. This strikes a difficult balance between a quick and easy method of voting, and adequately informing users about their choices. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure; if anyone is to pioneer successful digital democracy, it will not be Facebook. So, if Facebook decides it wants to stick an unwieldy banner on the top of your flawless user page – tough. Hacker claims he will release a working untethered iOS 6 jailbreak on December 22 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hacker-claims-he-will-release-a- working-untethered-ios-6-jailbreak-on-december-22/18313.html December 11th, 2012 The iPhone 5 came out with iOS 6 and then the rest of the iFamily followed suit thereafter. Now that the iPhone community has the latest operating system it is only a matter of time before there's a 'permanent' jailbreak. So who's the first to claim that they have found a true untethered jailbreak
  • 86. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 for iOS 6? A hacker going by DreamJailbreak claims to have done so, and will release his work to the public soon. We ran a story back in September about pod2g not being involved in the development of a jailbreak for iOS 6, and since then nothing too major has been going on surrounding the untethered iOS 6 jailbreaking scene--until now. An unnamed hacker using the twitter handle "DreamJailbreak" announced recently that he has a working untethered iOS 6 jailbreak, and will release it on the 22nd of December. Dream has set up a twitter account to accommodate all of the emails he is getting, and plans to use social media to keep people informed until the actual release date of the supposed untethered jailbreak. As per the various 'popular' questions that people may have regarding the legitimacy his jailbreak, he has a FAQ section on his website that will answer those inquiries. People who doubt that DreamJailbreak actually accomplished what many others haven't will see proof of his work of art "some time mid next week," according to the FAQ. All else aside, he claims that the jailbreaking process is safe, and that users will have the option of restoring the factory iOS 6 via iTunes in case anything goes wrong. Proof will be posted both here and on my Twitter account on Wednesday. As far as the video that will be uploaded, it will be a single-take shot of the entire jailbreak process, including a restart and usage of the device to prove it is untethered. It will be uploaded as raw video straight from my camera to YouTube. So no edits in any form. Thank you all for your patience and support. Hackers demand ransom money after encrypting Australian medical facility's patient records Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hackers-demand-ransom-money- after-encrypting-australian-medical-facility-s-patient-records/18314.html December 11th, 2012 The Miami Family Medical Centre in Australia is facing a scary prospect – it may lose the medical records of its patients forever, thanks to a group of hackers who broke into the digital records and encrypted them. It is a melancholy case of “so near and yet so far”, as the records still exist as data accessible to the facility. Only, not in a form that anybody can read. In exchange for the key which will unencrypt the medical center's data, the hackers are demanding a ransom of 4,000 Australian dollars, which is equivalent to about $4,196. Simply put, unless the center gives into the demands, or figures out how to crack the code on their own, they may lose the data forever. David Wood, co-owner of the medical facility insists that the data was under good security. “We’ve got all the antivirus stuff in place,” Wood told ABC News. “There’s no sign of a virus. They literally got in, hijacked the server and then ran their encryption software.” Without the medical records, it will be, in Wood's own words, a “very, very, very difficult” task of running the facility. The choice seems a very simple one - $4,200 to get back the documents back, so that operations may resume as normal. After all, the well-being of people is involved. It can even be argued that it isn't an exceptionally expensive demand – but, in an interview with ABC News, former investigator with the Australian High-Tech Crime Centre Nigel Phair explained that extortionists often follow up one ransom demand with another, and never actually hold up their end of the deal. A digital barrier stands guard between sensitive data and hackers - what happens when they break it? This incident illustrates the dangers of an era where even vital records have widely gone digital. Any programmer or IT expert worth his salt will be quick to admit that computers cannot and do not think. They only ever do exactly what they are told. Without – and sometimes even with - secure measures in place to eliminate the possibility that computers
  • 87. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 will take instructions from the wrong person, they will do precisely that. But as bleak as the possibilities for digital data may be, there are pros and cons to every method of data recording. In the past, physical media was certainly not impervious to destruction – while attempts to hold such records ransom was certainly much more unlikely, physical mediums are subject to decay, fire, theft – and perhaps more commonly - human error and forgetfulness. While the incident will lead some to question the modern methods of storing information, perhaps the most immediate thing it does is to teach a lesson that Woods had to learn the hard way. In his own words, “Check your IT security and don’t leave backups connected to servers.” Google offering $99 Chromebooks to teachers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-offering-99-chromebooks-to- teachers/18308.html December 11th, 2012 While tech companies in the United States throw up advertisements galore, thrashing desperately for grabs at the wallets of holiday consumers, Google has quietly found a more generous way to celebrate Christmas, the annual season of giving. Google's Rajen Sheth revealed in a blog post that Google will be offering Chromebooks to teachers at $99 apiece, a fraction of the regular price tag, starting at $430. While the hardware in question might not impress such PC power users as gamers and artists, it is certainly an incredibly useful tool for education. This is evidenced by the fact that for years – and in some cases, even now – simple PCs running versions of Windows from the 1990s have been used many times over as a regular part of children's education, in home and public schooling alike. As such, the offer seems like a great way for Google to provide support for teachers, and simultaneously get Google notebooks into schools around the states. Obviously, Windows based computers have always dominated the personal computer market at large. It certainly isn't an easy task to compete with such a well-established monster, but at the chance of purchasing a computer for $99, it's hard for even the biggest tech giant to compete. Teachers cannot purchase the $99 notebooks directly from Google, however. If they wish to purchase one on the discount, they must place a request through DonorsChoose, the educational charity website with which Google has partnered. Using a “crowd-sourced” platform, notebooks will be sent out as soon as they are funded by various donors. Those who wish to participate will have to hurry, as the offer ends on the 21st of December. Apple updates Maps app in response to warning from Australian Police Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-updates-maps-app-in- response-to-warning-from-australian-police/18304.html December 11th, 2012 When one thinks of Apple and its products it is usually coupled with high praise for quality and consumer appeal, however lately the company has been facing some difficult times over two of its products: Siri and Maps. Of the two, Maps has been getting the most attention as evidenced with the Australian police issuing a warning against using them. It's not very often that Apple gets a black eye over its products, but ever since the release of Apple Maps the company has been facing a lot of criticism and has resulted in the firing of Richard Williamson, manager of the Maps team, as well as countless memes about how bad Apple Maps is. Recently, we heard that the police in Victoria, Australia, issued a warning that people should not use Apple Maps after finding several motorists were led to the middle of a national park with high temperatures and no water. It turns out that the people were looking for the city of Mildura, but instead found themselves in the middle of Murray Sunset National Park which is about 70 kilometers away from the city. “Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees, making this a potentially life threatening issue,” Victoria’s Acting Senior Sergeant Sharon Darcy noted in the warning. “Some of the motorists located by police have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and have walked long distances through dangerous terrain to get phone reception.” Apparently the police service has been in touch with Apple over the issue and until the problem is resolved are recommending that people use one of the other map offerings available for the iPhone. Update: Apple has pushed out an update that corrects the problem and has Mildura in its proper place.
  • 88. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Google doodle celebrates Ada Lovelace, 197 year old computer programmer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-doodle-celebrates-ada- lovelace-197-year-old-computer-programmer/18310.html December 11th, 2012 Today's Google doodle celebrates Ada Lovelace, a woman who is widely regarded as the first computer programmer, since she wrote algorithms for Charles Babbage's analytical engine. Today's Google doodle celebrates an underexposed but significant figure in history, especially to those who use computers – which essentially enumerates the population at large. Ada Lovelace, born 197 years ago today, is considered by many to have been the first computer programmer. Any human being with a knowledge of our technological history can understand the confusing implications of this statement – how could a woman living in the 1800s program computers, which weren't invented until the next century? But inventions never pop-up – they are built on the achievements of yesterday, and the modern computer is an excellent case in point. While it may appear at first glance as if computers suddenly emerged in the middle of the twentieth century, and exploded towards its end, it was the mathematical and theoretical contributions of thinkers such as George Boole and Charles Babbage which built the foundation of their creation. Ada Lovelace was highly talented from an early age. Tutored by her mother, who was herself a mathematical wizard, Ada came to become highly experienced in the subject of numbers. In her life, Ada corresponded with her contemporary Charles Babbage, who had designed a thinking machine – otherwise known as the analytical engine, the mechanical predecessor to the modern computer. So thrilled was Babbage with Ada's skill, that he came to call her “The Enchantress of Numbers”. Babbage's own machine was an incredibly complicated one, and would not be successfully built for another century. It existed only on paper, and as a concept. However, it is clear from her notes that Ada understood how the analytical engine worked, and she wrote algorithms for it. These mathematical algorithms for a mechanical machine were instructions; programs for a mass of gears that would literally crank out calculations with the base-10 number system, and print information to a notebook of paper – the modern day equivalent of 16.7 kilobytes. It is difficult for us, in our modern environment, to understand what such a machine would seem like in the 1800s. Before Thomas Edison had invented the light bulb, when cars were still impractical novelties for the rich, and in a time that woman were discouraged from pursuing academic careers, Ada Lovelace was writing computer programs. Though she never got to see the effects of her work, she remains a hero in the minds of many modern programmers, and an asset to technology which is now an inseparable part of the worlds infrastructure.
  • 89. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Google outed for global tax dodging, again Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-outed-for-global-tax- dodging-again/18307.html December 11th, 2012 It's a game that all multi-national corporations play in one fashion or another - the game of evading as much tax as you can; and Google is the latest corporation to be outed as a global tax dodger. Last month the team at Ars Technica first reported about Google and its use of the "Double Irish" and the "Dutch Sandwich" techniques in order to move incredible sums of money - legally - from countries where they would have to pay taxes to countries where they didn't have to pay any, or at least a vastly smaller amount. It is the "in" method for companies to avoid paying double-digit tax rates in most of the countries where they do business. Now today we have a report out of Bloomberg where they have found out that a Google subsidary in the Netherlands managed to avoid paying $2 billion on worldwide taxes by moving almost $10 billion to a shell company in Bermuda. To be clear here - as questionable and shady as these kinds of transfers might be they are totally legal - but the techniques being used are starting to get the attention of the governments of the countries where companies like Google are moving money from, to the point that one British MP called Google's use of these types of tax avoidance practices as being "immoral". The Bloomberg investigation isn't alone either as Ireland's Sunday Independent newspaper has been conducting their own and found that Google has been doing everything it can to avoid paying a fair tax rate as the company was found to have "paid a puny 0.14 per cent tax on sales of over €47 billion ($61.5 billion) in seven years" “While people reel in the aftermath of another austerity budget, entirely legal accounting magic allowed the multibillion-earning multinational to pay fractional tax to the Irish Exchequer,” the newspaper reported Sunday. “On turnover of €47.44 billion ($62.1 billion), Google Ireland paid total tax of €69.91 million ($91.5 million) between 2005 and 2011. And in spite of its massive earnings, profit before tax during that period is an astonishingly small €114 million ($149.3 million).” Google Ireland is quick to point out though that the company makes a substantial contribution to the Irish economy through their employing 2,500 in the European HQ in Dublin as well as their investments in the recently open data center and the purchase of three office building in Dublin in the year 2011 alone; but the company also has an obligation to their shareholders and that they comply with all the tax rules in Ireland. Dark Souls II world premiere unveiled at Spike's 2012 VGA's Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dark-souls-ii-world-premiere- unveiled-at-spike-s-2012-vga-s/18300.html December 11th, 2012 Check out the official world premiere trailer of Dark Souls II originally shown live at Spike TV's 2012 Video Game Awards ceremony. The most infamously difficult game of our era, Dark Souls, is back for an even more challenging sequel that promises to enduce that special kind of video game rage that's responsible for many a broken controller. "Sequel to one of the most challenging and rewarding games ever released -- Dark Souls II will deliver its signature brand of unrelenting punishment, devastation and emotional highs for the iron-willed." --Official Namco Bandai YouTube description The world premiere announcement trailer for Dark Souls II recently aired at Spike TV's 2012 VGA 10 awards show, displaying in-game footage of the upcoming sequel from Namco Bandai Games. The trailer itself offers an inside look at what gamers can expect from the sequel, and it appears that the second chapter continues the franchise's distinct bizarre
  • 90. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 and tortured medieval style, introducing new mysterious characters with that same stylish ominous flair. Dark Souls II is being developed for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. No release dates have been officially announced, and for more information please visit the game's official website. New 5" HTC will be first with Nvidia Tegra 4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-5-htc-will-be-first-with-nvidia- tegra-4/18299.html December 11th, 2012 The new HTC 5-incher is set to hopefully bring them back into the game with smartphones. They have had it rough over the last year or so and revenues have declined pretty severely. Not too long ago the leaked images of the supposed "M7" surfaced, which suggests that HTC is pushing harder than ever before to get back to prominence. I have said it before and I'll say it again, the phablets are going to become standard after a while. Samsung started it all out but now it's a race to see who can make the biggest phone and still call it a phone. The specs on the HTC aren't a real big secret; HTC has always been very helpful and semi-transparent when it comes to information about their phones. One thing we didn't know was that HTC is planning on using the new Nvidia Tegra 4. The Tegra 3 is a sweet chip, it really is, and if the Tegra 4 is half the beast its predecessor was then HTC is in very good hands. If the HTC does, in fact, come out with the Tegra 4 then that will make it the world's first mobile phone to have it. South Korea Wages War on Internet Pornography Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/south-korea-wages-war-on-internet- pornography/18297.html December 11th, 2012 A band of South Korean volunteers calling themselves the “Nuri Cops” are fighting a battle to end Internet pornography in South Korea. According to a recent Associated Press article, a team of 800 or so anti-porn zealots known as “Nuri Cops” feel it is their job to get pornography out of South Korea. The volunteer net police are going about it by literally scanning the Internet looking for places that may be getting around the filters. The team members then report the sites to the government so that the site IPs can be blocked by the internet service providers or stopped altogether if it is coming out of the country itself. Pornography is illegal in South Korea, however, the government or any Internet provider has an extremely hard time stopping it due to South Korea being such a technologically advanced nation that is well connected to the Internet. Currently South Korea is one of the most connected places in the world to the Internet with some 90% having high-speed access to it. Furthermore, of the 50 million inhabitants in South Korea, 30 million of them are connected to the Internet with smartphones. The AP report further stated that during a six-month period ending in October of this year, South Korea has arrested about 6,400 individuals who were caught either selling or producing pornography. South Korean government agencies believe that pornography is directly related to sex crimes being committed in the country and are not easing up on any restrictions with accessing pornography on-line. Furthermore, the Korean National Assembly recently passed a law enforcing the prohibition of pornography distribution in the country making the maximum sentencing to be 10 years in prison. Formerly the maximum sentencing was 7 years, but anti-pornography advocates were pushing lawmakers for harsher penalites. The Korean Institute of Criminology stated that the reason South Korea is seeing more sex crimes is not because of a rise in that type of offense, but that more people are coming forward to report it. They also reported that in 2010, 18,000 people were arrested for rape, which was nearly 2.5 times higher than that reported in 2000. ZTE N9210 Anthem 4G shows up in FCC database Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-n9210-anthem-4g-shows-up-in- fcc-database/18298.html December 11th, 2012 The ZTE Anthem 4G is one of the four phones that are scheduled to arrive at MetroPCS. We have seen, so far, the Galaxy S3, Admire 4G and Coolpad Quattro and now we have the 4th showing up to the party. The ZTE Anthem 4G is a mid-range Android 4.0 phone, typical of what you would see with the 5th largest carrier in the USA.
  • 91. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 The above image is image that passed through the FCC on December 7th. It's where the FCC label will sit on the phone. Nothing we haven't seen before but it does give some specs confirmation that we all love to see. MetroPCS has been pushing out some phones as of late and they have now got a range to suit almost everyone, unless you are an Apple fan. With T-Mobile still planning on buying MetroPCS, it makes us wonder why they are still putting out CDMA phones as T- Mobile is a GSM company. The logistics of the whole deal are still foggy at best. It is nice to see that MetroPCS is finally breaking free of the stagnant position they held on to for such a long time. Going back to the phone, you can see the specs below. They are nice and robust but still speculation at this point, it's a mid-range unit, probably priced in the $199- $250 area like most the other ZTE's are. Hotels install pedal-powered exercise bikes that charge laptops and tablets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hotels-install-pedal-powered- exercise-bikes-that-charge-laptops-and-tablets/18306.html December 11th, 2012 Humans are soon to mimic hamsters, thanks to the Element Hotels implementation of eco-friendly exercise bikes that can charge laptops, monitors, smartphones and tablet computers just by pushing the pedals. Humans are soon to mimic hamsters, thanks to the Element Hotels implementation of eco-friendly exercise bikes that can charge laptops, monitors, smartphones and tablet computers just by pushing the pedals. The technology, first announced in Spring and debuting at the Element Miami Internation Airport hotel, includes a generator built into the pedals of the machine, allowing users to generate electricity as they do their workout. Frits van Paaschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the company that runs the Element brand, demonstated the capability of the bikes at a pilot program at the Element Miami hotel, where he and others generated enough power to run plasma monitors and laptop computers. Now all of the Starwood fitness centres, open 24 hours a day, have been fitted with one of the electricity generating bikes, providing an option for improving health while also improving the well-being of the planet. “The Element brand was founded on an innovative, balanced-living approach to hospitality,” said Brian McGuinness, SVP of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “Not only do our pedal-powered bikes add an element of fun to a workout, but they also encourage our guests to think creatively about sourcing the energy we all depend on to fuel our daily lives.” We wonder how long it will be before we end up doing a Fred Flintstone and powering our own cars too.
  • 92. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 London taxis to get free Wi-Fi next year Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/london-taxis-to-get-free-wi-fi-next- year/18305.html December 11th, 2012 London is about to get another boost with free Wi-Fi in taxis next year, part of efforts to make the capital of England a major technology and tourism hotspot. London is about to get another boost with free Wi-Fi in taxis next year, part of efforts to make the capital of England a major technology and tourism hotspot. Transport for London has approved the plans, which will see TechCity startup Eyetease rolling out Wi-Fi to taxis throughout the city, operating over 3G or 4G networks, depending on coverage. The service, called CabWifi, will be free for customers of the taxis, but there is a catch: they will have to watch a 15-second ad every 15 minutes. That is a small price to pay for free Wi- Fi, however, and the funding from advertising should help with a possible roll-out to other cities around the world. So what's in for the taxi drivers? Apart from the fact that it might encourage more people to hop into a taxi, Eyetease will also give the drivers free Wi-Fi without ads, accessed via a special driver login. This will help cover costs for taxi and GPS apps. London already enjoys widespread free internet coverage, with the London Underground and Overground both offering Wi-Fi hotspots, while Nokia and O2 also provide free coverage throughout large parts of the central city. Eyetease is in talks with a number of big brands to secure advertising, and it likely will only be a matter of time before it secures a slew of backers, thanks to those 15 seconds of undivided attention it can offer. Image Credit: The London Taxi Company Laptop display panel prices continue to fall in 2012 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/laptop-display-panel-prices- continue-to-fall-in-2012/18302.html December 11th, 2012 Prices for laptop display panels are continuing to fall since the second quarter of this year, according to a report by panel market research firm DisplaySearch, with expectations that prices will remain low in the first half of 2013. Prices for laptop display panels are continuing to fall since the second quarter of this year, according to a report by panel market research firm DisplaySearch, with expectations that prices will remain low in the first half of 2013. Weak demand has led to prices for 14-inch and 15.6- inch laptop modules with wedge-type backlights falling below $40, almost at manufacturing costs, and the lack of difference between the pricing for the different sizes means some panels are even selling below their value. TV display panels are still going strong, with prices increasing over the last three quarters, while monitor panel prices are stagnant, but the laptop market has been hard hit by the tablet computer boom, an issue that is exacerbated by poor enterprise IT spending due to continued economic downturn. The result is that many of the top brands have forecast a drop in laptop shipments next year, with Dell seeing the biggest drop, from 25.3 million units in 2012 to just 16 million in 2013. HP's shipment target is also down, from 36.5 million to just 29.5 million, while Acer's is down from 27 million to 24.5 million. Other drops include Samsung from 15 million to 14.4 million and Toshiba from 15.8 million to 14.5 million. It is not all bad news for some companies, however. Apple expects laptop shipments to increase from 15 million to 16 million, while Lenovo and Asus expect to go from 27 million to 31 million and from 18.8 million to 20 million respectively. Sony also predicts some modest growth from 7 million units to 7.3 million.
  • 93. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 However, when tallied together, the overall shipment target for 2013 is 173.2 million, down from 187.4 million this year, showing that the launch of Windows 8 and high resolution panels have failed to halt the slowdown in the laptop market. AMD Trinity A10 Revisited (Part 1/2) - Going ITX with MSI's FM2-A75IA-E53 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-trinity-a10-revisited-part-12-- going-itx-with-msi-s-fm2-a75ia-e53/18279.html December 11th, 2012 In the first of a two-part series to revisit the curious enigma that is the AMD Trinity APU, we look at the MSI's much- awaited ITX offering for the FM2 socket. Then, later in the week, we will explore how the setup handles recent blockbusters like Borderlands 2, Hitman Absolution and Far Cry 3. AMD's Trinity APUs can be described with all sorts of superlatives by supporters and critics alike, but we can all agree that they are priced at ridiculously cheap levels (USD $64.99 for an A4-5300 to $119 for an A10-5800K) relative to the competition, and offer an integrated GPU capable of entry level DX11 gaming that is streets ahead of Ivy Bridge at the same price points. Since there is a considerable CPU bottleneck with multi-GPU setups as we've tested some time ago, it makes a lot of sense to pair Trinity APUs with smaller microATX/ITX sized motherboards to reduce the physical footprint. Enthusiasts have been clamouring for ITX options for their HTPC/Lan Party box builds since the October Trinity launch with the new FM2 socket, and only recently have we seen motherboard manufacturers like MSI, ASRock and Zotac fulfilling that demand. MSI's take on the FM2 ITX is the FM2-A75IA-E53, based on the recycled A75 Hudson chipset from last year's Llano, which is still endowed with niceties like native USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s support with RAID. There is also a Wifi/Bluetooth module included in the US$89.99 / SGD $188 bundle, which raises its value proposition for a budget HTPC build. The motherboard layout is fairly straightforward, with most of the connectors situated on the right side with the exception of the 4-pin 12v and HD Audio pinouts. This should help with cable management in a confined space of a typical ITX case. The CPU socket positioning could also handle the Cooler Master Hyper T4 that we've tested last weekend (12cm, installed perpendicular to the ram slots), although one of the heatpipes just missed the nearest standard height memory module. A single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot is provided for expansion, and if you want to utilize the Dual Graphics/Crossfire functionality with the onboard GPU then you've got to pair it with the older Turks VLIW-5 HD 6670/6570 cards. Still, to get a more tangible improvement in framerates, I would recommend at least a HD 7850 or GTX 650 Ti. Over at the rear I/O panel, we see all the standard USB 3.0/2.0 , Gigabit LAN (Realtek 8111E) and audio (Realtek ALC887) ports. Display is handled by Analog D-SUB and
  • 94. December 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 13 HDMI, and there is the surprise inclusion of a legacy PS/2 and eSATA connector. The CPU+NB VRMs are fairly decent for its price bracket, with Tantalum capacitors and ON Semiconductor's PowerPAK MOSFETs being employed in a dual-channel 3+2 phase configuration, and an Intersil ISL62773 controller (datasheet) to take care of things. This is the part that will disappoint the enthusiast readers - although there are base clock frequency and multiplier adjustments for the CPU and GPU, the FM2-A75IA-E53 lacks adjustable core voltage controls (verified with MSI). This puts an end to any meaningful overclocking, which is pretty ironic/misleading given its emphasis on the product's marketing literature and box design. We will check with MSI again if they have plans to restore this in a future BIOS update since the PWM controller apparently has support for it. Update 12/11 - Apparently it is possible to adjust the CPU/ NB voltage with tools like AMD Overdrive and macci's TCI K2 utility.However any attempt to overvolt the CPU above its default VID will immediately cause the multipliers and base clock to be locked at their stock values, even with throttling mechanisms like CPB/APM switched off. Fortunately, memory voltage, sub-timings and frequency strap can still be adjusted to alleviate the well-documented memory bottlenecks on the Fusion platform. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we will we will explore how the setup handles recent blockbusters like Borderlands 2, Hitman Absolution and Far Cry 3!
  • 95. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. The Walking Dead rises in North American retails Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-walking-dead-rises-in-north- american-retails/18337.html December 12th, 2012 Named "Game of the year" by Spike TV’s 2012 game awards, the retail version of “Walking Dead” is now available in stores! If you are a fan of the AMC series, The Walking Dead, or anything to do with 'zombies', you’ll be happy to know the game based on the series is now available. Aptly named The Walking Dead, this new point and click RPG will be sure to excite those of us who love anything to do with killing zombies. Developed by Telltale games, the RPG will be based on episodes taken directly from the series with the same chronological timeline, however, new characters are introduced to the game. Interestingly, your movements and decisions in the game will directly affect which way the game's timeline will go. It will allow the user to interact with characters and things needed in order to survive, rather than puzzle solving. In a 2011 Entertainment Weekly interview, Robert Kirkman who developed the story for the comic stated that the game will be focusing more on character development. “…One of the key aspects of Walking Dead is it focuses on characters and the emotion,” said Kirkman. “And that theme is very much alive in the game, and luckily with modern games you can actually do that.” The Walking Dead first appeared in comic form in 2003 by Image Comics. Written by Robert Kirkman, the story was based on the life and times of character, Rick Grimes. Grimes is forced to search for his family and other survivors of a zombie apocalypse that he awakes to while he is in a hospital. In 2010 AMC picked up the comic and turned it into a live action weekly series based on Kirkman’s concept in the comic. However, the TV series is a bit different and it doesn’t follow the character timeline quite in the same way. The Walking Dead is filmed entirely in Atlanta, Georgia and is in its third season on AMC. Along with other zombie films and franchise, the series has been quite the ratings hit and has received numerous nominations and awards, which includes a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series Drama. The season 3 premiere received nearly an 11 million-viewer count by Nielsen ratings, which is said to be the most viewed cable TV program in history. Editor's Note: The Walking Dead was previously only available through digital distribution. The boxed version of this title recently hit North American retails, and is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC for $29.99. US military launches top secret mini shuttle Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-military-launches-top-secret- mini-shuttle/18346.html December 12th, 2012 The US military has launched a rocket containing a small space shuttle from Cape Canaveral in Florida as part of an ongoing top secret test programme. The US military has launched a rocket containing a small space shuttle from Cape Canaveral in Florida as part of an ongoing top secret test programme. The X-37B experimental robotic space plane, otherwise known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, launched atop an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket at 1:03pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, the third flight of the spacecraft in the classified mission. The first flight occurred in 2010, when the shuttle orbited Earth for 224 days. The second flight, using another similar ship, resulted in a 469-day stint in space, but the military refused to state how long it expects the third flight will last —or what it will be doing up there.
  • 96. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 “The focus of the program remains on testing vehicle capabilities and proving the utility and cost-effectiveness of a reusable spacecraft,” Tracy Bunko, a spokesperson for the US Air Force, told Reuters. Not much to go on then. The solar-powered shuttles, built by commercial aeroplane giant Boeing, may land at NASA's base in Florida, now that the space agency has no shuttles of its own to use the infrastructure there. This is expected to save the mission a considerable amount of money. On the surface of it the X-37B might simply be an extension of the US space programme, though cuts in funding would contradict that idea, as would the question of why the military is involved. What is clear is that lips are sealed about what exactly these spacecraft are designed for. Images Credit: Reuters/Scott Audette Sony brings "Cinemagraphy" to Android with Motiongraph Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-brings-cinemagraphy-to- android-with-motiongraph/18339.html December 12th, 2012 Sony develops a new Android application called the Motiongraph. This app uses various photo editing techniques to create what is called as a cinemagraph, something that is technically similar to a GIF image. Are you looking for something to spice up those boring static photographs that you have in your mobile device's gallery? Well Sony has brought a nice new digital toy for you. Sony Digital Network Applications has recently developed and released a new application that will let you sprinkle bits of fantasy in your pictures. The name of the app is Motiongraph. To put it simply, it is an application that is designed to create cinemagraphs. To those who are new to the term, cinemagraphs are technically defined as very, very short edited videos that has most or all of its moving visual elements controlled or manipulated in some way. They are in a way similar to a GIF, but the relationship is more of a subtype than that of a synonym. The effects that are brought to cinemagraphs most of the times give the edited images a surreal feel, as they are often given attributes or motion sequences that are usually impossible to do in the real world. To use the Motiongraph, you first have to use the mobile device's camera to record a very short video of something (2 seconds). Then, you will be given the chance to edit certain elements of the video that you want to move and don't want to move throughout the entire sequence. The final product will be a cinemagraph that is animated or given motion exactly according to your preferences. App usage is mainly divided between the shoot, play/rub and save options. There are also various other lighting or color controls to edit the basic visual properties of the cinemagraph depending on the camera used by your unit. The Motiongraph app is now available at the Google Play Store (starting December 12, 2012), with a price tag of 104 yen (1.2+ USD). Source: Androwire (JP) Blizzard testing Diablo III on consoles Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-testing-diablo-iii-on- consoles/18344.html
  • 97. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 December 12th, 2012 Blizzard is testing Diablo III on consoles in what it said could eventually turn into an “official project,” a major shift from its usual PC-only approach. Blizzard is testing Diablo III on consoles in what it said could eventually turn into an “official project,” a major shift from its usual PC-only approach. The company first suggested a possible console port of the game in March, but there appeared to be no development of that idea since. Now it has been revealed that the studio already has console builds running internally, suggesting it might only be a matter of time before Diablo III is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Wii U. “We're still kind of exploring it,” Rob Pardo, chief creative officer at Blizzard, told Polygon. “We've got builds up and running on it. We're hoping to get it far enough along where we can make it an official project, but we're not quite ready to release stuff about it, but it's looking pretty cool.” Diablo III launched in May and became one of the fastest- selling games of all time. Despite some criticism of its online- only functionality, it received widely positive reviews, as did many of its subsequent updates. Lead writer at Blizzard, Jay Wilson, said that the company is working on “the next big Diablo thing,” which is likely to be the rumoured expansion for Diablo III that was confirmed to be on the table by the company's CEO, Mike Morhaime. He said there is no timeframe for release, however, which means players could be waiting for this, and a console port of the game, for quite a long time. The Ray Kingston Company develops a Bluetooth enabled 'Sneaker Speaker' Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-ray-kingston-company-develops- a-bluetooth-enabled-sneaker-speaker-/18336.html December 12th, 2012 The New York City based Ray Kingston Company has recently developed a new Bluetooth enabled and ankle- mounted speakers dubbed, with a rhyming poetic flair of an artist, the ‘Sneaker Speaker’. A new Bluetooth enabled speaker device called the ‘Sneaker Speaker’ has been designed by a New York based company named Ray Kingston. Named for its current founder and designer, Kingston designed the Bluetooth ready speakers to mount directly to the users ankles. The device is said by Kingston to be a ‘futuristic urban device’ made to increase one’s ‘ghetto vibe’. Kingston says the new speakers were developed to help what they called ‘urban artists’ and anyone else looking for some inspiration from the power of music. The designs of the speakers are somewhat drawn from the days of the 80's style 'boom box' that often rested on the shoulders of the listener strolling down the sidewalk with their music blaring for all to hear. When the advent of the Sony Walkman came about, the fad quickly disappeared from the public eye with a big thank you from those who weren’t so amused by the boom box craze. The Ray Kingston Company often designs current trends with that of fashion, urban art and music. Kingston says he wanted a concept would blend art and music together. The
  • 98. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 speakers help to demonstrate a fashionable-looking speaker all the while providing inspiration during a creative process by the urban artist. Ray Kingston who founded the company says he’s very active as a new concept designer and had previously spent 14 years designing products for Sony. This company is his own way of reaching back to his origins, and focuses more on developing products that people can use in daily life on the street. Mitsubishi builds radiation- resistant robot Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mitsubishi-builds-radiation- resistant-robot/18343.html December 12th, 2012 Mitsubishi has become the latest company to develop a robot that can resist toxic radiation levels, making it useful for cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was damaged in the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. Mitsubishi has become the latest company to develop a robot that can resist toxic radiation levels, making it useful for cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was damaged in the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. Given the dangerous conditions inside the plant, officials are already employing robots, primarily to record the radiation levels inside. Hitachi and Toshiba have also developed robots for use in Fukushima, but Mitsubishi claims that no other company has developed anything for the kind of work its robot is capable of. The robots currently inside the plant were built for other purposes, such as searching mines, giving Mitsubishi's purpose-built robot an edge over the competition. The device is called MEISTeR, short for Maintenance Equipment Integrated System of Telecontrol Robot, and it is made of specially hardened material to withstand radiation. It is 1.3 metres tall and has two arms, each of which can hold up to 15kg. Robots are generally not seen as intelligent enough to be truly effective in disaster zones, where human improvisation comes in useful, but with Fukushima still remaining dangerous for people Mitsubishi's invention looks like the next best thing available. Image Credit: Mitsubishi Chinese tech company offering Doomsday Vacation for upcoming apocalypse Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-tech-company-offering- doomsday-vacation-for-upcoming-apocalypse/18342.html December 12th, 2012 A Chinese tech company is giving it's workers the day off next Thursday and Friday, in anticipation of the coming end of days as "predicted" by the Mayan calendar. For years, we've been hearing about the upcoming Mayan apocalypse. On December 21st, 2012, which is next Friday, the Mayan calendar officially runs out, and a lot of people have been claiming this means the end of the world is upon us. The Mayans were astoundingly skilled at mathematics and astronomy, and their ancient calendar managed to predict the movements of astronomical bodies and the passing of time with an incredible accuracy. As an example, the Mayan calendar has estimated the length of one year on Earth to be 365.2420 days. The currently accepted length of a year is 365.2422 days, a difference of just 17 seconds.
  • 99. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 I'm hoping for a cool apocalypse... Zombies would be fun. Because of the Mayans' skills at telling time and their calendar's abrupt ending, a lot of people have drawn the conclusion that if the end of the calendar quite simply means the end of the world. Of course, the Mayans themselves never claimed such a thing. Next Friday marks the end of a 5125-year long astronomical cycle for which the calendar calculated. If anything, the Mayans believed that the end of the cycle would involved the ushering in of a new age and a positive transformation for it. Also, there's absolutely no scientific evidence that the world is going to end. Nevertheless, a Chinese tech company called Chengdu Higgses Internet Technology Company is giving their workers a long weekend, just in case. Most likely, this is a light hearted way to give overworked employees some well deserved time off. You can read the company's memo below: To all Comrades in Arms: In light of the special meaning of December 21, 2012, and after careful consideration, the company has reached the following decision: [To make] 2012 "Doomsday Vacation" arrangements, with vacation days on December 20 (a Thursday) and December 21 (a Friday), for two days in total. We hope that during this vacation time, everyone will take the following steps: 1. Please take measures to prevent fire and theft. 2. You may choose to entirely shut down your cell phone for the duration of the vacation to ensure you are not bothered. 3. As everyone is usually always busy with work, we suggest you take advantage of this "final" time to spend more time with your closest family. We wish everyone a meaningful "doomsday." Ever wanted to own a Warthog? Now you can. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ever-wanted-to-own-a-warthog-now- you-can./18341.html December 12th, 2012 A custom-made warthog originally created for a Halo fan- film is now up for sale, and you can buy it for just $28,000 Back in 2009, Peter Cooper and a few friends were making a Halo fan-film called Operation Chastity, and they needed a warthog, the game's futuristic answer to the Humvee. They bought an old Land Rover via GumTree4x4.co.uk and modified it until they had a replica of Halo's iconic vehicle. Check it out Halo fans! Operation Chastity's blog details the construction of the vehicle, and shows how the team stripped the Land Rover down to its bare essentially, before constructing a metal frame around it and filling in the gaps with wood and fiberglass. After painting it, adding minor details here and there and adding custom seats, hubcaps, instruments and windshield, they ended up with just about the coolest car ever. The Warthog, mid-construction Cooper is no longer using it however, and has put it up for sale, which he announced via Twitter. He'll take any
  • 100. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 reasonable offer and has stated that the car is currently worth about $28,000. Water activated seat belt could prevent drowning Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/water-activated-seat-belt-could- prevent-drowning/18340.html December 12th, 2012 The escape belt is a new type of seat belt which automatically activates when in contact with water, and thereby releases the restraints. It will allow people to escape a submerged car just a little bit easier. Around 400 people drown every year in the United States alone, after their cars have become submerged in water. To help prevent this, or at least remove one of the hazards involved, a dutch company called Fijen TMLS has developed the Escape Belt, a seat belt with an automatic release to help you get out when your car is filling with water. If too much force is being applied on the buckle of a normal seat belt (such as if you're hanging against it), it may be difficult to operate the release, and so the Escape Belt employs a salt release mechanism to do the job for you. The buckle on the Escape Belt looks almost like a normal one, except for a canister on the side which houses a salt pill, the same kind used by airlines in automatic inflators for life jackets. When the pill is dissolved, a hammer releases the belt, freeing you. The pill is hardy enough not to go dissolving on you if you drop a coke in the car, but it will need replacing every few years. The belt buckle costs about $40 a piece and Fijen TMLS is currently looking for buyers in the auto industry. North Korea launches satellite; everyone is outraged Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korea-launches-satellite- everyone-is-outraged/18338.html December 12th, 2012 Back in April, North Korea attempted to launch a rocket into space. This was one of the first things North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un did after assuming power, and it failed miserably. Now they've gone for a second attempt, and it seems they succeeded. The rocket launched Tuesday evening with the intent of putting a weather satellite into space. The rocket's first stage dropped into the Yellow sea, and the second stage crashed into the pacific ocean, just east of the Philippines. Initially, neither the South Korean nor Japanese government were able to confirm if the launch had been a success. NORAD, the US aerospace defense command however, confirmed that they had tracked a long range missile launch from North Korea and confirm that an object has been placed in orbit. North Korea's Launchpad As usual, the world is really angry at North Korea again. President Obama has stated that he's considering "Iran- style" sanctions against North Korea, and the US National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor, called the launch a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security." China has expressed "deep concern" for the act as well, and Japan is calling for an emergency meeting with the UN Security council. Britain is condemning North Korea and stating that it too, will speak with the security council. The world's reaction isn't surprising, seeing as North Korea is usually regarded as a violent and dangerous nation; however, I wonder if the reaction is appropriate. It is true that North Korea has a vendetta against the United States and has an intimidatingly large army. It would be bad if North Korea began developing long range ballistic missiles, and for a nation that can hardly feed itself it seem odd to be focusing their efforts on space exploration. However, there's a new guy in charge, and it is very possible that they did indeed just intend to launch a harmless weather satellite.
  • 101. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un If the launch was innocent, this kind of reaction is going to do more harm than good. I can't help but fear that the last thing we should do is have the entire world condemning and threatening Kim Jong Un's every move, thereby confirming his father's opinion that the world is out to get North Korea. Even Kim Jong Un's Disney-themed parade earlier in the year ended with threats of a lawsuit from Disney. Perhaps I'm naive, but I'd say the best thing we can do is send them some food aid, and perhaps try to turn over a new leaf. Infographic plots out world's oldest trees Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/infographic-plots-out-world-s- oldest-trees/18320.html December 12th, 2012 An infographic detailing the locations and ages of the world's oldest trees has surfaced on the web, demonstrating how ancient parts of our world really are. Above is an infographic showing the location and age of some of the oldest living plants in the world. Graphic designer Michæl Paukner created the infographic which details some 20 of the oldest trees and clonal colonies. A clonal colony differs from an individual tree in that it is an interconnected super-organism of cloned plants, all connected via an enormous root system. Technically, such colonies are regarded as one organism, and due to their expansive size, they are excellently adapted for survival: The loss of a single "tree" in the colony is basically insignificant, so unless large parts of the colony are wiped out at once, it'll survive. This is evidenced as the oldest tree in the list, the Trembling Giant, or Pando (Latin for 'I spread') has been determined to be at least 80,000 years old, though some estimates place it as high as a million years old. Pando is a clonal colony of a single male Quaking Aspen tree, and sits in southern Utah. The colony weighs in at around 6,000 metric tons, making it the heaviest living organism in the world. There is some debate of course, as to whether this is true - though one hasn't been found, if a clonal colony of just 7 Sequoia (redwood) trees were to be found, the record would be broken. The oldest individual tree in the world, Old Tjikko is a Norwegian spruce tree growing in the mountainous Dalarna region of Sweden. Old Tjikko is 9550 years old, and spent much of it's lifetime in a bush-like state known as a Krummholz formation, due to the extreme conditions it was growing in. Due to the past century's warming weather though, the spruce has grown into a full grown tree, now standing about 5 meters tall.
  • 102. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Asus Zenbook UX31A Touch Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-zenbook-ux31a-touch- review/18277.html December 12th, 2012 Whether you like it or not, Microsoft's Windows 8 requires a touchscreen for optimal use around its controversial Modern UI interface. So is the touch followup to the acclaimed Asus Zenbook series any good? Last year at Computex, Intel introduced Ultrabook brand which were a set of premium laptop specifications to push for sleeker and more innovative form factors, without compromising on battery life or performance. These Windows based offerings with 17W ULV CPUs and SSDs were designed to compete head on with Apple's uber successful MacBook Air concept, and used a high profile marketing campaign featuring stars like Megan Fox and Will.i.am. to paint the Ultrabook buyer as coffee sipping, hip and smug content creators. While there were some notable successes, many Ultrabook models faced lackluster sales due to the use of bog standard glossy TN displays (especially those of the 16:9,1366x768 variety) and uninspiring industrial designs, not helped also by their above-average price tags in a bad economy. The overall situation was expected to improve with the introduction of Ivy Bridge (improved battery life and graphics) and, uhm... Windows 8, paving the way for convertible tablet form factors and touch screens. ASUS has one of the more well-received Ultrabooks with their Zenbook line, no thanks to its sharp and beautiful all- aluminium chassis with Bang and Olufsen ICEpower audio, and later from their Prime models, a full HD 1920x1080 IPS + panel even on the diminutive 11.6" UX21A. Today, we take a look at their latest 1.4kg creation with Windows 8 touch capabilities added - Zenbook Touch. As a proud owner of the original first generation Sandy Bridge based Zenbook which I have used throughout the past year on my work and travels, I wanted to see if this was a worthwhile upgrade. Mind you, my own precious has seen many TSA checkpoints and other hostile locations, surviving a few accidental drops and even a coffee dunking on the keyboard. I'm proud to report that it has gone without a deep scratch or dent (its owner is quite a klutz), and this bodes well for our review unit today as it shares almost the same chassis design. Four rubber feet anchors the laptop to the surface that its on and raises the Z-height just enough for the air intake vents at the bottom. This is how the internal layout looks like, which we will go through the later sections of the review.
  • 103. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Epson's updated projector gets closer to conventional whiteboards Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/epson-s-updated-projector-gets- closer-to-conventional-whiteboards/18335.html December 12th, 2012 Epson presents the EB-1410W, one of the several updated units based from the projector products that they have developed and introduced almost a year ago. This particular product unit bases its function on the fundamental use of a projector pen, and attempts to make projector-based presentations and lectures far more intuitive than before. The elegance of using projectors is in the malleability of screen interfaces. Just like a touchscreen, the fact that you can change elements on the board instantly and systematically makes lectures more technically presentable. Epson has been developing new projector concepts that focus on this theme for quite a while now, and we'll briefly present one of the upcoming updated product units that they introduced on December 11, 2012. The EB-1410WT is, as technically specified, an office-type projector that is specifically designed to be used in lectures and presentations. The resolution of the unit is set at 1280x800, its maximum brightness at 3100 lumens, and contrast ratio at 3000:1. It is essentially an updated version of the EB-485WT, and as seen from the image, the projector unit is installed right above the board where the screen is projected. The simple fact that it is installed very near the board already makes it better than standard projectors in two ways. First, shadow coming from the person standing in front would no longer obstruct the projected image. Second, the person in front would no longer be bathed in the bright light beamed by the projector. Of course, shadows would still appear as you get right below the projector however. In standard white board mode, you can use the projector pens freely like a normal pen. With no obstructions in the screen, writing on it should feel and look fairly intuitive, as if writing with real ink. This mode does not require the unit to be connected to any device or peripheral, and it would slide out a default interface that would allow you to actively change ink color and thickness. Additionally you can also lay the projected screen horizontally flat if that would be more convenient, and if you need to use it for something other than lectures and presentations. If you want to save and edit the notes you've made during the lecture or presentation, you can simply hook the EB-1410WT to a computer via USB. Unfortunately, wireless connectivity is not natively supported. But don't worry; it comes with a special adapter that provides such functionality. And speaking of PC's, the EB-1410WT could easily coordinate its functions with Microsoft Office's ink features, as well as having the option to be used as a drawing tool for PowerPoint and Excel (live slides anyone?). Finally, it can also communicate with other Android and iOS devices using the Epson iProjection app. The commercial release date of the EB-1410WT is on January 17, 2013. It will be available with a set price of 300,000 yen (3,750 USD). Windows 8 hacked, Games unlocked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/windows-8-hacked-games- unlocked/18334.html
  • 104. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 December 12th, 2012 A Nokia engineer has found some exploits in Windows 8 that will allow games to be pirated, cracked and the likes. If there's a will there's a way, and if there's a hack, it will be found. Nokia engineer Justin Angel posted on his twitter, "Research done. Writing my next blog post: 'Hacking Windows 8 Games." And that he did. Windows 8 came out in late October, but hackers and crackers never cease to make haste. Justin Angel, in this case, was the vanguard in this literal breakthrough. He mentions the flaws of the Windows Store, which, to a novice would slip the eye and likely be beyond skill, but to a moderate techie, would be like striking gold. Microsoft allegedly stored (and may still store) the key/hash in plaintext! That's not all. According to Mr. Angel, they also stored the algorithm to both encrypt and decrypt the data alongside the app! He remarks, "storing encrypted data locally, alongside the algorithm and the algorithm key/hash is a recipe for security incidents." With this information, hackers could alter the permissions of the app to unlock full game modes from within a trial app, as well as remove advertisements and unlock in-app purchases. Though he did not condone the unethical exploitation, he did outline the steps of the compromise on his blog, which, at this point, is not available. It is believed that excess traffic has made the site jam. Microsoft is aware of the exploit, however. It's not just MS who is worried on resolving the issue. Windows 8 game developers are also quite fretful. Microsoft had better get to working before more hackers get to playing. Surveillance devices on buses recording conversations without you knowing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/surveillance-devices-on-buses- recording-conversations-without-you-knowing/18333.html December 12th, 2012 From San Francisco to Baltimore governments are installing surveillance devices on buses that will allow them to record any and all conversations that we might be having while travelling on the buses because we all know that buses are the ultimate ride for criminals and terrorists. From San Francisco to Baltimore governments are installing surveillance devices on buses that will allow them to record any and all conversations that we might be having while travelling on the buses because we all know that buses are the ultimate ride for criminals and terrorists. While there has been video surveillance on many city buses for years, they didn't have any audio to go with the images being captured. However, that is about to change in a number of major city transit hubs across the nation including cities like San Francisco, California and Baltimore, Maryland. Once installed, the audio recordings will be linked with the existing cameras which will allow easier browsing of the incoming feeds because of the ability to play them back simultaneously. The recordings will be stored in the equivalent of a "black box" on the bus where it can then be accessed at a later date for viewing. These boxes are said to be able to hold up to a month's worth of recordings at a time. As to be expected the arguments - pro and con - are beginning to rage over this addition to the already existing system with some saying that this is just a further protection of both the passengers and drivers while others are saying that this is an infringement of basic civil liberties. The discussion on this side of the argument is that because these "conversations" can be transcribed they can then be collected and scrutinized by officials without any warrants— with or without the supervision of the courts. The only problem with this argument is that this isn't something new as these audio surveillance devices are being added to already existing video surveillance systems on the buses, which, as creepy as it might be, have already passed any legal sniff tests. Sharp releases limited edition Vivienne Westwood phone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sharp-releases-limited-edition- vivienne-westwood-phone/18321.html December 12th, 2012 In a move that is certain to interest the orb bedecked fans of Vivienne Westwood's designs; Sharp is now selling a limited edition version of one of their popular Android smart
  • 105. December 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 phones, produced in collaboration with the world renowned British fashion designer. Part of the new winter and spring lines of accessories, the body of this Sharp SH-01E is covered in a camouflage motif, and decorated with a gold Vivienne Westwood label. The user interface has also been jazzed up with 16 custom backgrounds based on iconic Westwood designs like Harris Tweed and Pagan Kiss. From the photo you can see that the icons are also slightly dramatized versions of standard Android icons. What apparently most delighted users who tried the phone out at its premier were the mischievous satyrs who appear when you get a call or a message. The handset itself is none too shabby either. The selling point is its 4.1 inch 540x960 QHD screen which takes up the entire front side of the phone, and it’s light weight—weighing just 115 grams. DoCoMo calls this size "Just Fit" and markets it to women, because apparently Japanese women aren't offended by the implication that they are weak and their hands are small. The SH-01E's 12.1 megapixel HD camera also allows you to take full HD video. The other features of the phone like its dual core 1.5 GHz snapdragon processor, and Android 4.0 OS are pretty standard. It owes its existence to the number of fans of the Vivienne Westwood label in Japan, which is likely second only to the UK. At the moment this limited edition phone is only being sold in Japan but if fans in the rest of the world showed enough interest Sharp just might do something about that.
  • 106. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. US immigration and customs agency to test BlackBerry 10 platform Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-immigration-and-customs- agency-to-test-blackberry-10-platform/18371.html December 13th, 2012 The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has indicated that it will be testing BlackBerry 10 devices next year, signalling a potential restoration of government confidence in RIM's platform. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has indicated that it will be testing BlackBerry 10 devices next year, signalling a potential restoration of government confidence in RIM's platform. The agency will run a pilot programme employing BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, designed for governments and big businesses, traditionally RIM's strongest audience. RIM has suffered at the hands of Apple's iOS and Google's Android, both of which have stolen essentially all of its consumer market share, while also making a dint in the enterprise sector. Many government agencies that previously used BlackBerry have switched to iPhones or Samsung Galaxy devices, but confidence in RIM is beginning to be restored. In October ICE signalled that it would switch to iOS, with 17,600 employees set to get an iPhone to replace their aging BlackBerries. That may change now that it plans to see what BlackBerry 10 is like, and it is a major contract that RIM really needs to secure, not least of all because it is such a large number of devices, but because it will help encourage other agencies to follow suit. After months of doom and gloom, RIM's shares are now enjoying reasonable growth. Today they are up $0.39, or 2.93 percent, to $13.70, at the time of writing, after having gained several percentage points over the last few days. In fact, share prices have more than doubled since September, thanks in part to Goldman Sachs upgrading the company's stock rating from “neutral” to “buy” at the end of November. BlackBerry 10, and a slew of devices running the OS, will launch on 30 January. Many see it as the make or break event for the company, but things are starting to look a little better for the Canadian smartphone maker. Google Maps is back on the iPhone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-maps-is-back-on-the- iphone/18369.html December 13th, 2012 Google has restored Google Maps to the iPhone, filling the gap caused by Apple's removal of the app earlier this year. Google has restored Google Maps to the iPhone, filling the gap caused by Apple's removal of the app earlier this year. The search giant's latest offering has been designed from scratch to give iOS users an intuitive interface, with all the functionality of a reliable map application that Apple could not deliver. Google is promising that users will be able to see more of the map on screen now, with better quality thanks to vector- based images, faster loading times, and smoother tilting and rotating in both 2D and 3D views. The company also highlighted the fact that it makes “tens of thousands of daily updates” to Google Maps to keep it “accurate and comprehensive,” two words that Apple failed to consider before launching its own rival product. Google even added a new way to send in feedback—users can simply shake their screen when they spot something that is a little off.
  • 107. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Google is also releasing a software development kit for Google Maps for iOS, along with a simplified URL scheme, which means other app developers can more easily incorporate Google Maps into their software. The release comes only days after Australian police labelled Apple's Maps app as "potentially life-threatening," thanks to its misplaced roads, cities, and just about everything else. Apple previously featured Google Maps as a default app on iOS devices, but growing rivalry between the companies prompted it to ditch Google's long-standing service for a self- built replacement using data supplied by GPS firm TomTom. The result was a disaster, prompting Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, to issue an apology. Fans of Google Maps, which is likely to be just about every user who tried Apple Maps, can now rejoice in no longer having to access it via a mobile browser. Google Maps is available immediately from the App Store on the iPhone and fourth-generation iPod Touch, providing they are running iOS 5.1 or higher. Visceral Games adds Kinect voice control to Dead Space 3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/visceral-games-adds-kinect-voice- control-to-dead-space-3/18368.html December 13th, 2012 Visceral Games, a studio under the Electronic Arts wing, has announced that the much-anticipated third-person shooter Dead Space 3 will feature voice commands with the Xbox 360's Kinect. Visceral Games, a studio under the Electronic Arts wing, has announced that the much-anticipated third-person shooter Dead Space 3 will feature voice commands with the Xbox 360's Kinect. The game will take advantage of the built-in microphone in Microsoft's motion sensor camera, allowing players to issue simple voice commands to find objectives, give health or ammo to a partner, revive allies, attack enemies, and more. “The voice commands in Dead Space 3 give players a unique way to take down the terror, whether they choose to face the Necromorphs alone in single-player, or alongside a friend with drop-in / drop-out co-op,” said Steve Papoutsis, VP and GM of Visceral Games, and Executive Producer on Dead Space 3. “Dead Space 3 delivers the action-horror experience our fans have come to know and love. And with the ability to survive the adventure alone, with a friend, or with Kinect, we’re excited about extending the spine-tingling Dead Space experience to a whole new audience of players.” While the feature sounds most useful for the new co-op mode, the ability to use voice to issue commands frees up the gamer to spend more time looking for enemies, where split- second reactions are important. That said, it will depend on just how sensitive the Kinect is to picking up those commands, especially if a player has the sound of the game on high, as a failed command to use a health pack could make traditional button-bashing a more reliable option. Voice recognition with the Kinect allows gamers to issue commands to, for example, watch DVDs, and some other games like Mass Effect 3 also feature the option. We will likely see more games adopt the feature over the next year in efforts to provide a more immersive experience. Dead Space 3 launches for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on 5 February 2013 in North America and 8 February 2013 in Europe.
  • 108. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Google Sound Search widget now in play store Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-sound-search-widget-now-in- play-store/18365.html December 13th, 2012 Google's sound search widget has been released to the Google Play Store letting you do from the home screen of your android device, what you've already been doing through apps. Google's "Sound Search for Google Play" widget was previously only available on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but now it's compatible with 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Thus, it has been released to the Google Play Store and is available for free in the North America region. The Sound Search widget can be dropped onto the home screen of android devices and allow you to search for a song with the touch of a button. If a piece of music is playing around you and you don't know what it is, this is the tool for you. The widget is really very similar to apps such as Shazam and Sound Hound, with a key difference, which may indeed make it worth a download: The Sound Search widget is integrated with Google Play, meaning that a song you hear in a coffee shop will be available for purchase in the Play Store when you get home. Unfortunately, for the time being, the widget is only available in North America Cassini finds longest extraterrestrial river in the solar system Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cassini-finds-longest- extraterrestrial-river-in-the-solar-system/18364.html December 13th, 2012 The Cassini space probe has just found a river on Saturn's moon Titan. Outside of earth, it is the longest river found in the solar system thusfar. The Cassini space probe is continuing it's exploration of the outer solar system and now, it's taken a few new pictures of Saturn's moon Titan. What it's discovered is a river, 320 kilometers in length, which makes it the longest river known to exist outside of earth. Rivers have been found on Titan before, but none of this size, which is impressive, despite being 20 times shorter than our own Nile river. Unlike terrestrial rivers however, the rivers on Titan are not composed of water. The temperature on Titan is a brisk -170C, meaning all water is well below freezing. However, hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane are in a liquid state, and they behave much like water does here on earth; Titan has lakes, rivers like the newly discovered one, and liquid-eroded landscapes, making it an oddly familiar place far from home. North Korea's satellite is out of control Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korea-s-satellite-is-out-of- control/18363.html December 13th, 2012 The controversial satellite launched by North Korea is now out of control, flying haphazardly around the planet risking collisions with other satellites Yesterday, we reported on North Korea's new rocket test, which placed an object (according to the North Koreans it
  • 109. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 was a weather satellite) in orbit. The launch outraged pretty much the entire international community, and though Japan and South Korea were initially unable to confirm success of the launch, NORAD and now several other monitoring entities around the world, have confirmed that the North Koreans did indeed get something into orbit. It's the Korean peninsula from space. Can you tell where NK is? Getting something into orbit is one thing; getting it to behave is quite another. Originally, the satellite was intended for a polar orbit (an odd choice considering that the rotation of the earth would make a prograde launch to the east easier). However, the object is now tumbling out of control, according to US officials. This makes the object a collision risk for other satellites, and that's bad news for two reasons. First, obviously, a collision will mean the end of a satellite, and it wouldn't be the first time it happened. In 2009, an American satellite collided in orbit with a 1-ton derelict Russian satellite, destroying both. The second, and more dangerous problem with an orbital collision, is that it will create fast flying and tiny debris. Such debris is too small to track from the ground, and thus impossible to avoid during space missions. Even something as small as a screw, when traveling at several kilometers per second, could easily punch it's way through the hull of a spaceship, threatening the lives of the astronauts and equipment within. Then of course there's the concern that this was no satellite at all, but rather a missile test for ICBMs. Mass Effect 4 will be arriving in 2014 or 2015 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mass-effect-4-will-be-arriving- in-2014-or-2015/18362.html December 13th, 2012 Bioware has announced that the next Mass Effect game is in production, but we won't be seeing it for another two years or so. In an interview with Gamer Syndrome, a Bioware employee revealed some news about the next installment in the Mass Effect franchise. The employee stated that the next game is most likely looking at a release sometime between late 2014 and mid 2015. They went on to reveal that full time production on the new game started about a month or two back. Bioware made it no secret that we would receive more Mass Effect games; revealing almost immediately after the trilogy ended that the universe they'd created would be a waste to just throw away, and that there would indeed be another sequel. Bioware made it pretty clear though, that Mass Effect's protagonist, Commander Shepard, would not be featured in any major way. A while back, the developers reached out to the fans to ask for their input on whether the new game should be a sequel or prequel, and while the majority of gamers seemed to indicate they wanted the story to pick up in the aftermath of Mass Effect 3, we have no definitive knowledge so far, of what the game will contain. Developers of Last of Us refuse to move Ellie to back cover Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/developers-of-last-of-us-refuse-to- move-ellie-to-back-cover/18361.html December 13th, 2012 Naughty Dog, the developers behind The Last of Us, was asked to move Ellie, one of the game's female protagonists, to the back cover, but the devs refused. Naughty Dog, the developers behind the Uncharted Franchise and currently in the middle of developing The Last of Us, was recently asked to move one of it's protagonists from the cover. Creative Director Neil Druckmann explains that the development team was asked to move Ellie, a young girl central to the plot, to the back of the box, as there was some concern as to whether a game would sell as well with a female on the front cover. Druckmann explains that this is a major misconception and that the entire team flat out refused to move her. She's now safely front and center on the box.
  • 110. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Ellie This isn't the first time cover art has become the focus of heated discussion. Recently, fans of the upcoming Bioshock Infinite were upset that the cover art would feature a stereotypical tough-guy-with-shotgun and make just about no references to the characters and themes central to the plot, such as Elizabeth and the Songbird. Irrational Games has listened to the complaints however, and are now offering a reversible cover, with the art on the backside to be chosen by the gamers. Get a free copy of Metro 2033 for liking their Facebook page Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/get-a-free-copy-of-metro-2033-for- liking-their-facebook-page/18332.html December 13th, 2012 To promote their upcoming title, the makers of Metro 2033 are offering the game for free to anyone who likes the Facebook page. What're you waiting for? Go get it! It's not often you get a real reward for liking a page on Facebook. From today until December 16th , you can – you can get a free copy of the spectacular game, Metro 2033, for liking their page on Facebook. Bribery? Probably. Do we care? Not at all. You may ask, “Why? Why free, why now?” The game has already been featured as a part of the Humble Bundle by THQ, where you could offer whatever you wanted for the game... and get at least five other games along with it. That meant you could have paid pennies for an awesome game. Thought you got a good deal? You did – now there's one out that's better. Besides that, the company that released Metro 2033, 4A Games, is almost ready to release the sequel – Metro: Last Light. With that game due out early 2013, the studio is most likely looking for as much publicity as possible. What better way than to be those cool guys that give out their game for free? If you've never played the game, you're missing out. It might have passed under the radar due to its Ukrainian origins, but this game packs a punch. Based on the novel of the same name, you play Artyom in this post-apocalyptic version of Moscow. Funny enough, you reside mostly in the metro. Go figure. A FPS with a pinch of steal and a heaping cup of horror, this beautiful game has captured many a heart. Now, what are you waiting for? If you don't have a copy yet, go and grab it! You can get to their Facebook page here. Once you agree to all the mumbo-jumbo, you'll either be allowed to download the game independently or given a code for a Steam version. Bon voyage! Humble Bundle fundraiser finishes with over 5 million earned Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/humble-bundle-fundraiser-finishes- with-over-5-million-earned/18356.html December 13th, 2012
  • 111. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The most recent bundle by The Humble Bundle has come to a close, earning over 5 million dollars. Much of this money will be going to charity, as well as to fund the company and future projects. It's not every day you see gamers everywhere unite to better the world they live in, unless it's driven by greed. That might do it. The Humble Bundle is a project that periodically gathers music movies, and even games together and lets you pay whatever you want for the entire package. These bundles are great for everyone – fantastic promotion for the products involved, a great deal of money goes to charity, and a bit goes to Humble so they can keep offering these sweet bundles. Before the most recent bundle, Humble had a collection of music, a bunch of games for the Android... and now this: The bundle that proved to be the most successful – games from THQ. The Humble THQ Bundle had some pretty noticeable titles, including Metro 2033, Darksiders, and several Company of Heroes games. Nothing to sniff at, especially when you consider that you could pay anything you wanted for the whole lot. Anything – though, of course, there were some perks if you paid more than a certain amount, such as extra games. But this amount ended up being little more than $7-$8, which is significantly less than the games were worth. Even though many only contributed a few dollars, the average being precisely $5.76, the names of the highest contributors were shown for all to see on the Humble Bundle page, which was $10,000. Best of all, as the bundle went on, Humble started realizing they were going to be making a ridiculous amount of money. Extra games were included to make up for the massive win – namely Titan Quest and Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War. Those who had already bought the bundle were sent codes to redeem these games, as well as the original titles. It was like getting Christmas early. Now, the Humble THQ Bundle is over, showing staggering numbers. They ended up “with 885,286 bundles sold for a total of $5,097,454.84.” Crickey. If that wasn't enough game-based bundling for you, Humble is still running an exciting project called the Double Fine Amnesia Fortnight. The team from Double Fine studios is in the midst of sending 5 teams to make 5 games... in two weeks. It's like Project Runway... only better because it's about games, and you get to play them when they're done. If you're interested in the Humble Bundle, check them out here. At the top of the page you'll also see the link to all the info about Amnesia Fortnight... or you can just click this link here. Oppo launches Find 5 in China with U.S. market next in line Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/oppo-launches-find-5-in-china-with- u.s.-market-next-in-line/18357.html December 13th, 2012 Oppo launched its 5-inch Oppo Find 5 in Beijing recently, and will launch the device in the U.S. soon as an unlocked smartphone. But does it have what it takes to compete with the Nexus 4? Oppo’s past products seem to have been geared more toward the Chinese consumers, but the latest phone from Oppo—the Find 5—will be deployed for consumption in the U.S as well. The Find 5 was recently launched in China, and will soon make its way to global markets sometime next month. The Oppo Find 5 sports a 5-inch screen with a 1920x1080 resolution. It comes with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and, unfortunately, there’s no microSD expandability option—so you’re stuck with 16GB. Connectivity-wise, the Oppo Find 5 has the standard Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC is always nice if you’ve adopted the functionalities that comes with it. At the center of it all is a Qualcomm APQ8064 Quad-Core humming at 1.5GHz, and Android Jelly Bean 4.1 to boot. According to Oppo’s USA website, the Find 5 will be available to consumers for $499, and comes unlocked so that it’ll be compatible with major GSM carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T. On another unfortunate note, however, it seems like the Find 5 will only be capable of handling 3G.
  • 112. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The Find 5, despite its hefty screen size, is actually not that ‘fat’ as it’s purported to have a thickness of just 8.8mm. Not too long ago, Oppo launched the Finder claiming that it’s the world’s thinnest smartphone coming in at a mere 6.65mm in thickness. Soon after, ZTE dropped an empty bomb on Oppo’s parade claiming that it will release a 6.20mm thick smartphone—the rumored ZTE Athena. Regardless of its specs, the Find 5 will have to face some tough competition once it becomes available to U.S. consumers. Google’s recently launched Nexus 4 has been flying off the warehouse shelves due to its impressive specs as well as its outrageously low price tag for an unlocked ‘high-end’ Android device. The Nexus 4 has slightly less screen real estate compared to the Finder 5, but a 4.7-inch 1280x768 display is nothing to jeer at. The 8GB Nexus 4 is priced at $299, while the 16GB is just $50 more ($349). Hence, any unlocked Android device in the U.S. will have a hard time competing with the LG rebranded Nexus 4. Hot Deal: Duke Nukem 3D free to Mac and PC users for a limited time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hot-deal-duke-nukem-3d-free-to- mac-and-pc-users-for-a-limited-time/18355.html December 13th, 2012 Looking to relive the glorious early days of PC video gaming then GOG.com has the perfect offering for both PC and Mac users - Duke Nukem 3D for free. Google steps up its safe search game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-steps-up-its-safe-search- game/18354.html December 13th, 2012 Like most search engines Google has always had a "safe search" option so that you wouldn't be inundated by questionable (aka porn) results when you are searching for images but they have apparently stepped up their game by making it harder to get adult content unless you are really, really, specific. It's not hard at all these days when searching for images on any of the major search engines to suddenly find yourself faced with adult content that can even make me blush and quickly hit the next button. While search engines like Google and Bing offer a family type "safe search" option they sometimes fall short and let really questionable images escape into your results. This is apparently why Google has decided to change, or modify, the way that its search engine handles safe searches. Where before you could turn SafeSearch on or off in your settings, Google has changed it so that it will only let you "filter explicit images" or "report offensive images" with the effect that even searching images with the keyword "porn" will only return you things like lollipops and funny images. This new "feature" of Google was discovered reddit user Fake_Cakeday when he was doing an image search for a common sex term and in the ensuing discussion on reddit many were quick to fling the "censorship" word around. However, when asked by CNET Google had this to say regarding the change: We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for — but we aim not to show sexually explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query. If you’re looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting — you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous. The image search settings now work the same way as in web search. Interestingly enough, several tech bloggersare making the point that this move by Google could lead to search engines like ICM Registry's Search.xxx and Microsoft's Bing scoring a win in this particular segment of web search. So how do you feel about Google's efforts to "puritanize" your search result - especially if you don't want them to? New trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth released by South Park Studios Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-trailer-for-south-park-the-stick- of-truth-released-by-south-park-studios/18352.html December 13th, 2012 A brand new trailer shows hilarious in-game footage of the upcoming South Park: A Stick of Truth RPG, coming to consoles in March of next year. Ever since it was announced at E3, gamers and fans of the hilarious and sometimes controversial television show South Park have been awaiting and anticipating any news or updates concerning The Stick of Truth. South Park Studios has recently released a brand new trailer for the upcoming parody-infused RPG, showing actual in-
  • 113. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 game footage that chronicles the basic storyline as well as a few combat scenes. The Stick of Truth centers around an imaginary medieval adventure conjured up by the loveable scamps of South Park who use their youthful imagination to bring quite an immersive--and outrageously funny--RPG experience. The game is being developed by Obsidian Games, who are no strangers to RPG's: they've developed such games as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout New Vegas just to name a few. With THQ handling the publishing of the game, The Stick of Truth seems to be in more than capable hands. The upcoming RPG features authentic cartoonish graphics that adequately portray the characters as they are represented in the show, giving that distinct South Park-look to every scene, making the game actually look and feel like a huge episode that players can interact with. This makes for a quite rewarding and enjoyable experience for any fan of the show. South Park: The Stick of Truth will release on March 5, 2013 in North America for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. For more information please visit the game's official website. No apps for Windows 8 users says Google Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/no-apps-for-windows-8-users-says- google/18348.html December 13th, 2012 There's no getting around: Windows 8 is having a really hard time finding love in the tech world. Adding insult to injury, now Google has given Microsoft's latest OS the thumbs down, and is in no hurry to develop apps like Gmail for Windows 8. Microsoft is doing whatever it can to bring developers into the world of its Windows 8 platform but it would seem that one of the biggest tech companies in the world, and a major competitor, is giving the new operating system a big thumbs down. Google let it be known today that they have no intention of developing any apps for the Windows 8 platform claiming that there isn't enough interest in the platform from consumer to warrant them devoting any developer time to bring things like a Gmail app to windows 8. While that might change at some point in the future, the impression being given is not to hold your breath as Google's product management director for Google Apps, Clay Bavor, said recently that the company is "very careful" when it comes to where they invest their time, energy, and resources. Google will go where the users are said Bavor, but for now Google doesn't believe that consumers aren't falling all over themselves to buy into the Windows 8 Phone or Windows 8 OS. All I can say as both a Windows 8 Phone (Nokia 920) and windows 8 OS user is - this sucks and is just plain stupid. One has to wonder if it is more about platform competition as Google has a lot invested in the Android and Chrome OS platforms. In the end though, it's the users that are getting screwed - thanks Google. ZTE prepares lobbying force to prove it's not a threat to the U.S. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-prepares-lobbying-force-to- prove-it-s-not-a-threat-to-the-u.s./18347.html December 13th, 2012 ZTE wants to prove that it's not spying on America and its people, and is reportedly gathering a lobbying force to clear its name. Consumer electronics, in general, play a big role in the North American market. The United States, in particular, has some of the most gadget-hungry consumers, so it comes as no surprise that foreign firms want to target American consumers when developing things like smartphones and tablets. That said, ZTE, a Chinese hardware manufacturer and the world’s 4th largest smartphone maker, has been tagged as a brand that might threaten the national security of the red, white and blue. Government officials in the U.S. (some say that competing firms, i.e. Cisco, have a hand in the matter) have gone out of their way to say that ZTE devices imported into the country may be used to spy on America and its people. The White House Intelligence Committee released a report in October stating that the U.S. needs to “consider the long-term security risks associated with doing business with either ZTE or Huawei for equipment or services.” The report
  • 114. December 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 also went to say that ZTE and Huawei cannot be trusted because of the companies’ strong tie with their authoritarian government. There are no conclusive evidences that can prove ZTE (or Huawei) has malicious intents, but its brand has been tainted with the conspiracy stamp nonetheless. So what now? ZTE can’t simply just abandon one of its largest markets. True to the cliché “fight fire with fire,” ZTE is purported to be gathering a lobbying force in the nation’s capital to clear itself of the ‘threat’ label. It certainly won’t be easy for a Chinese firm to convince the portions of the U.S. government that it poses no threats to national security. However, ZTE seems to know the U.S. lobbying system well as it has linked up with some very notable names in the lobbying business. ZTE has reportedly brought aboard Ogilvy and DLA Piper, and former U.S. ambassador Tom Korologos to help the Chinese firm regain a positive image in front of the American people. The move to tackle its branding issues in the heart of America is a bold one, and ZTE’s march into Washington will definitely be met with oppositions. But win or lose, ZTE won’t wave the white flag anytime soon.
  • 115. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. McAfee warns of cyber threat to 30 US banks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mcafee-warns-of-cyber-threat-to-30- us-banks/18396.html December 14th, 2012 Computer security firm McAfee Labs has warned that 30 US banks face a major fraud attack by hackers in the New Year, which could result in the loss of millions of dollars. Computer security firm McAfee Labs has warned that 30 US banks face a major fraud attack by hackers in the New Year, which could result in the loss of millions of dollars. McAfee claims that hackers have developed software called Project Blitzkrieg, which it said has been in the works since 2008 and has already stolen $5 million, but the US has only recently come on the radar for these kinds of attacks. The report shows that there have already been up to 500 victims in the US in the past few months, but it predicts that the real efforts won't materialise until Spring of 2013. Attacks recorded in the US in recent months The software is designed to utilise the protocols banks use to protect against attacks, intercepting tracking emails that flag suspicious activity and mimicking genuine transactions. Large transactions are expected to be targeted in efforts to slip under the radar, as discrepancies are likely to appear less significant on those than on smaller amounts. US banks have already come under attack recently, with Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase suffering from Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attacks in September. However, these attacks that are just on the horizon are likely to be the largest ever seen in the US banking sector. The American Bankers Association said that banks are aware of the threat. Image Credit: McAfee Woman tasered in Apple Store for wanting to buy iPhones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/woman-tasered-in-apple-store-for- wanting-to-buy-iphones/18395.html December 14th, 2012 A Chinese woman who could not speak fluent English was tasered in an Apple Store in the US after she tried to buy more than the allowed quota of iPhone 5 devices. A Chinese woman who could not speak fluent English was tasered in an Apple Store in the US after she tried to buy more than the allowed quota of iPhone 5 devices. Xiaojie Li, a 44-year old Chinese woman living in Newton, Massachusetts, bought two of the latest iPhones last Friday at the Apple Store in the Pheasant Lane Mall. She ordered two more online and tried to collect them on Tuesday, but the store refused to sell her them, thanks to a limit of two devices per customer. The store manager then asked Li to leave, but she claims that her poor English meant she did not understand the command. The manager brought in a police officer, who asked her to leave, but she again refused, resulting in her being held down and tasered, which police say is “standard procedure.”
  • 116. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The woman had a whopping $16,000 in cash on her when she was arrested, though given the price of Apple devices that is not necessarily such a large amount. She claims she was buying the phones for relatives in China, but some suspect she planned to resell them for a profit. Regardless, the incident appears to be a case of overreaction to someone who clearly presented no threat to the store, staff or other customers. To make matters worse, Li now faces charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest, all for wanting to buy more iPhones. NASA releases video explaining why world will not end on 21 December Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-releases-video-explaining-why- world-will-not-end-on-21-december/18389.html December 14th, 2012 NASA has released a video explaining why the world will not end on 21 December 2012, as many people believe. NASA has released a video explaining why the world will not end on 21 December 2012, as many people believe. The video, entitled “Why the World Didn't End Yesterday” was designed to be published on 22 December, the day after the supposed Armageddon, but the space agency is so confident that things will keep on going that it decided to release the video early. The primary reason for expectations that the world will end in a week's time is down to an ancient Mayan “long count” calendar, which covers thousands of years and mysteriously stops on the 21 December of this year, a fact that sounds ominous until one considers that it is a rolling calendar, according to Dr. John Carlson, director of the Centre for Archaeo-Astronomy. What the world will look like on 22 December 2012 Carlson states that the Mayan calendar is the most complex ever developed, with dates in some Mayan ruins spanning billions of years, even further back than when scientists currently postulate the Big Bang occurred. Yet there is nothing in the Mayan material that suggests the world will end next week. Putting prophecies aside, NASA was able to assure people that there were no comets or asteroids on a collision course with Earth, nor was a planet coming too close either. The agency explained that such impending space objects would be visible to the naked eye if they were anywhere near the planet. Fears about the Sun's flares are also deemed to be unfounded, and while the Sun is approaching the end of an 11-year cycle, which means a peak in violent eruptions, this cycle has been the tamest we have seen in 50 years. For those still not convinced, NASA also has an FAQ on its website. Of course, none of that will put the conspiracy theories and doomsday predictions at rest, but we expect many scientists will be saying the words “I told you so” in just over a week's time. Metro: Last Light details pre- order bonuses Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/metro-last-light-details-pre-order- bonuses/18388.html December 14th, 2012 Metro: Last Light has just revealed what kind of goodies you can expect from pre-ordering the game, and there's a pretty big bonus for those who want their game to be extra hard. Metro: Last Light, THQ's shooter due to arrive in March of 2013, has just detailed what bonuses you'll get for pre- ordering the game. There's some fairly standard bonuses as well as couple of really cool ones. You'll get a new weapon,
  • 117. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 the AKS-74U as well as extra pre-war bullets. The new rifle is compact and apparently pretty powerful, which should give you an edge in the harder parts of the game. The pre-war ammunition functions in the game as both extra powerful ammunition, and as currency, so that's always welcome. The big bonus though, is Ranger Mode, which returns from Metro 2033. Ranger mode is an extra hard difficulty, where bullets are much more damaging (only a few shots will kill you), cross hairs and indeed the entire HUD is disabled, and ammunition is sparse. Ranger mode should be more than enough for those looking to challenge themselves: I can personally attest that ranger mode in Metro:2033 will make you cry. If you pre-order through the Playstation Network, there's another bonus: Continuing THQ's recent habit of throwing games at their customers, any PSN pre-orders will also come with a free copy of Homefront. "Woven" turns you into a walking game console Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-woven-turns-you-into-a-walking- game-console/18387.html December 14th, 2012 Two graduates form the Utrecht School of Arts have created a wearable game console, with electronics and LEDs woven into the fabric. Christiaan Ribbens and Patrick Kersten are two recent graduates from the Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands, and they've created a new game console. Their creation, "Woven", consists of (among others) Bluetooth modules, motion sensors, speakers, shake motors and LEDs which have been woven into a pair of jeans and a sweater. Three Arduino microcontrollers keep the system running. The Woven's insides exposed Wearable technology is becoming more and more popular these days, and Woven has proven itself among it's peers by being quite diverse. Though originally built as a gaming console, Ribbens and Kersten discovered a number of alternate uses for it during development: They discovered it could be used to monitor the health of the user, alert the wearer of their social media updates, or quite simply, it could function as cool looking clothing with LEDs built in. It's first and primary use as a game console is quite interesting by itself though. The developers have created a game called spooky, in which you attempt to fight ghosts and phantoms which attack you at random. The game is played by connecting a smartphone to Woven via Bluetooth and connecting the speakers to the headphone jack on said phone. The LEDs will display a 12x12 inch broadcast of the game's progress to onlookers. The idea of using your entire body to play, much like a connect, but augmented into the real world, is an interesting concept. Oh and did we mention? It's washable. Medal of Honor update rolling out Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/medal-of-honor-update-rolling- out/18386.html December 14th, 2012 An update is rolling out for Medal of Honor: Warfighter, partially due to player feedback and partially in preparation for the upcoming Zero Dark Thirty map pack. An update for EA's shooter, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, is rolling out on December 18 for all platforms. The update, which is mandatory for all platforms except the Xbox 360, includes a number of fixes and changes. Player feedback over the past months are the primary force behind the update, and include everything from damage alteration, to menu
  • 118. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 fixes. Four changes in particular are PC specific and have to do mainly with game options. The update is required for anyone who wants to play the upcoming Zero Dark Thirty map pack, which focuses on the Bin Laden raid. It contains preparatory changes and additional content required for the map pack, which is free for anyone who purchased the Limited and Digital Deluxe editions of the game. The complete list of changes is below: -VoIP improvements - Front-end visual improvements in MP - Increased bullet damage in Real Ops - In-game Party improvements - Shortened post-match timer and updated post-match progression display - Several fixes for Eyefinity setups (PC) - Added server leaderboards post-match - Added Fireteam leaderboards in Battlelog - Added Quick Select for classes/weapons - Added server password protection support (PC) - Added ability to modify FOV through in-game options (PC) - Added ability to modify ADS mouse speed option (PC) - 10 additional multiplayer ranks: Atlas Commander Bronze 1/2/3, Atlas Commander Silver 1/2/3, Atlas Commander Gold 1/2/3, and Atlas Supreme Commander - Improved stability for SP and MP - Numerous fixes addressing known bugs and exploits - Additional content and changes in preparation for the Zero Dark Thirty Map Pack. Metal Gear Rising: Revengence demo is coming to North America Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/metal-gear-rising-revengence-demo- is-coming-to-north-america/18385.html December 14th, 2012 A demo for the upcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengence, previously released and region locked for Japan, is hitting North American in January. Kojima Productions' next game, Metal Gear Rising: Revengence, is departing a bit from the rest of the Metal Gear series, by providing fast paced action gameplay instead of the stealth commonly associated with the franchise. Due to be released in February next year, it will take place four years after the previous game (though it was originally intended as an interequel, meant to explore what happened to protagonist Raiden between Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4). Revengence is still a ridiculous word in my opinion A demo for the new game has been out in Japan for some time, and the demo was also shipped with copies of the Zone of Enders HD collection. Now though, Konami has announced that the demo is being released for Xbox360 and PS3 in North America in January. No news as to whether the demo will be showing up elsewhere, but with just a month between the North American demo and the game's release, how much of a difference is it really going to make? US Senate bill bans cyberstalking apps Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-senate-bill-bans-cyberstalking- apps/18384.html December 14th, 2012 Loopholes in the law have permitted the sale of cyberstalking apps for cell phones, but a new bill by the US Senate hopes to put an end to such sales.
  • 119. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Software companies have been utilizing loopholes in the law to sell apps for cyberstalking people via their cell phones. The software has been popularized for being able to keep track of your children and can easily record the movements of a spouse. However, the US Senate Judiciary Committee has just approved a new bill that would make it illegal to intentionally manufacture such an app. Stalking and wiretapping is already illegal, but there exists no law to regulate the manufacture of software which facilitates stalking. Senator Al Franken, one of the bills supporters The bill is supported by Senator Al Franken, chairman of the US Senate subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law. He is hoping to further diminish the use of the app by forcing it to reveal it's presence when in use, and hopes to increase the liabilities, both civil and criminal, to include the company which manufactured the app. The bill requires the app to alert the user of it's presence within seven days of being installed, and would require permission by the phone's user to run. If these requirements are not met, the company would be subject to liability charges. The new bill would update antiquated laws which were created years before the introduction of the wireless technologies we today surround ourselves with: "What's most troubling is this: Our law is not protecting location information," said Franken, explaining that the current laws prohibit revealing location information for landlocked phones, but that wireless location information can be freely extracted and used without the user's permission. Opponents of the bill stated that asking for the users permission would stifle innovation in an industry that's still developing and growing, something echoed by Senators Charles Grassley and Chuck Schumer. However, both these senators voted on the bill and it passed. Congress may thus soon put an end to cyberstalking, or at least cripple it. Shenzhen Touts Highest Micro-Blogger Usage In China Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/shenzhen-touts-highest-micro- blogger-usage-in-china/18383.html December 14th, 2012 Shenzhen now has the highest micro-blogging usage in all of China and its Internet penetration rates will soon rival that of Japan. Shenzhen, which is located in China’s Quangdong province, has a well connected population on the Internet (netizens), with a good percentage of that population being college educated. The Internet usage by its citizens is quite regular and more so than the national average. Now statistics state that Shenzhen is not only becoming the leader in Internet usage penetration, but Shenzhen currently has the highest Weibo penetration rate in China with the number of Weibo users who actively use the social network three or more times per day, 16% higher than China’s national average. It is also reported that Shenzhen Internet users are more active bloggers, BBS users and other on-line apps as well. In China, the abbreviated term for a microblog is referred to as a ‘Weibo’. A Weibo or micro-blog is a communication exchange platform used so people can talk and exchange real time information with one another through different kinds of clients like WEB or WAP. Operating very much like Twitter, it only allows up to 140 characters or less. For sometime now, Shenzhen has been growing quickly and is fast becoming China’s version of Silicon Valley. It is the home of China’s main Internet portal, Tencent, and Huawei, the latter being one of the largest telecommunication corporations on the planet. Shenzhen is also the headquarters of Baidu, which is China’s version of Google. The city is also the home headquarters for dozens of major manufacturers of all types of electronic consumer devices, computer software, medical equipment and all manner of other electronic devices and technology used around the world. A recent report from the Shenzhen Internet Development Research Report says that the Internet usage in Shenzhen, China is nearly at 77 percent and that nearly 8 million people are actively using the Internet there on a daily basis. In other Chinese regions the Internet penetration is growing as well. The Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai regions are at 70.3%, 72.9% and 66.2% respectively. Internationally, Internentworldstats show that Singapore has an Internet penetration of around 77.2% with Hong Kong at 68.7%. The report further states that the Internet penetration in the Shenzhen region will soon surpass Japan, which has the highest Internet penetration in the world.
  • 120. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Samsung Galaxy Note III Rumored to Come With a 6.3 inch Display Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-note-iii-rumored- to-come-with-a-6.3-inch-display/18380.html December 14th, 2012 A Samsung official speaking under anonymity says that the new phablet will have the largest screen to date in the smartphone industry at a whopping 6.3 inches. If you are a fan of oversized smartphones, often referred to as ‘phablets’, you’ll be happy to know that they are here to stay for a while. A South Korean news agency is reporting that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy III will come with an impressive 6.3” screen. When Samsung first introduced their Note line of smartphones it came with a generous 5.3” display, howerver, many critics felt that a mid-range tablet’ish device wouldn’t work in the market. Samsung quickly proved the critics wrong and now the Galaxy II model boasts and impressive 5.5” display. Now Samsung plans to doone better by increasing its display size by nearly another inch for its 2013 release. It is apparent that Samsung is attempting to see just how large they can create a smartphone without the tablet title. Needless to say, a 6.3” display would be close in size to what many consider a tablet like the iPad mini with its 7.85” display or the Nexus 7, which has a 7” display. At this time Samsung has not disclosed any other specification on the Note III but it will have the organic light- emitting diode (OLED) display. Furthermore, the Korea Timesrecently reported that Samsung would be taking a turn from conventional LCD display and move towards more research and development in OLED display. When asked about the new display route being taken by Samsung, a high- level subcontractor Samsung requesting anonymity stated, “Because the LCD industry is approaching full saturation, Samsung, as well as its biggest rival LG Display, is expected to lower investment for its LCD plant in southern China. The reason is simple. LCD is no longer a cash generator.” In the same article, the Korea Times also quoted a Samsung parts supplier who stated that the global market for LCD displays is at saturation and that consumers will begin to see a major shift over to OLED and even flexible displays. “With money saved from LCD restructuring, the firm plans to spend more on OLED and flexible displays. Profitability is the top priority for Samsung’s display-making business next year,’’ said an executive from one of Samsung’s key local parts suppliers by telephone on Monday. According to reports conducted by ABI research, researchers say that we are in the beginning of what they call the dawn of the ‘phablet’ era, and that by 2015 the tablet like smartphones may see sales as high at 208 million units by 2015. “One of the chief drivers for phablets is the amount of time people use their smartphones for web browsing, reading articles and newspapers on the go, or simply navigating their journeys,” says ABI analyst Joshua Flood. “The larger screen sizes make a significant difference to the user’s experience when compared to conventional- sized touch screens between 3.5 to 4 inches.” Back From the Dead: Turbine Announces Asheron's Call 2 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/back-from-the-dead-turbine- announces-asheron-s-call-2/18379.html December 14th, 2012 Game developer Turbine Inc. has announced the relaunch of its 2005 MMORPG Asheron's Call 2. After a quiet 7 years, AC2 returns abruptly and without a subscription fee. It will be a very Merry Christmas for some this year. In a sudden announcement yesterday, Turbine’s producer Severlin announced via their forums that Asheron’s Call 2 has returned. You heard it right, after shutting down in 2005 shortly after the release of its first expansion, Legions, the game is already live and back seven years later with a single server called Dawnsong. It is free to play for those with an active Asheron’s Call account. Though still running a version of the old client, Turbine considers the game in beta and is actively monitoring for any hiccups. A screenshot of AC2 before its premature demise. This is unprecedented for an MMORPG developer to re- release a game so long after it has closed down and it is raising some eyebrows. After Turbine bought out Microsoft’s share of the Asheron's Call IP back in 2004 and choose to publish for themselves, the game seemed to tread water for a time but struggled to draw in significant numbers. Only time will tell if there is still a place for old MMOs. Seattle looking to bypass ISPs with its own gigabit network Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/seattle-looking-to-bypass-isps-with- its-own-gigabit-network/18378.html
  • 121. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 December 14th, 2012 There are a growing number of cities that are looking seriously at bypassing the typical ISPs high-speed broadband access, and provide their citizens with true high- speed broadband access much like what we have seen Google do in Kansas City. There are a growing number of cities that are looking seriously at bypassing the typical ISPs high-speed broadband access, and provide their citizens with true high- speed broadband access much like what we have seen Google do in Kansas City. It might be too soon to think about declaring 2013 as the year that cities around the nation decide to give the traditional ISP companies the finger and roll out gigabit networks for its citizens en masse but I think that we are definitely seeing a real trend of this type of thing happening. It is a trend that Google help publicize with its Google Fiber project that recently went live in Kansas City and has Eric Schmidt of Google saying that they are looking at extending the project to other cities. However, some cities aren’t waiting for the Google Fiber project to come their way and instead are beginning to build out their own gigabit network infrastructure often in partnership with other companies like Gigabit Squared. This is the case with Chicago, Kansas City, Bristol (Tenn.), and now Seattle. These cities are all teaming up with Gigabit Squared in an effort to build a gigabit broadband network in a total of six college towns, including the cities already mentioned. In the case of Seattle, the new network would take advantage of the dark fiber network the city already owns. For the Seattle deal there will be three parts to the network. First there is the fiber-to-home component that will reach some 50,000 homes in 12 of Seattle's neighborhoods. Secondly, the city will see the network take advantage of point-to-point wireless. Lastly, some sort of mobile broadband service will come about. From Gigabit Squared side this will mark its second fiber commitment under an already existing agreement that the company has with Blair Levin's Gig.U project. The company's first commitment was in Chicago and will see the project piggyback itself on the city's upgrade to their utility infrastructure. Even though there have been previous efforts by cities to provide their own broadband service to their residents, in most cases the projects failed due to pressure in the courts and lobbying of state houses by the telecoms and cable companies. What could make this different this time around is that you have companies like Google getting involved as well as cities that are willing to make this type of fiber project an integral part of any utility upgrades they are doing to their cities. The snowball could be starting its roll and I don't think that the telcos and cable companies are going to be able to stop the momentum this time around. Samsung Galaxy S IV won't have a flexible display Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iv-won-t-have-a- flexible-display/18377.html December 14th, 2012 Clumsy people who are looking forward to having an unbreakable flexible display technology for the next Galaxy S smartphone will have to keep on wishing. Sorry folks, Samsung won’t be outfitting the Galaxy S IV with its flexible AMOLED display. The idea of having a screen that’s virtually unbreakable is definitely something worth looking forward to, but for now Samsung will keep that technology off the shelf. The Galaxy S III was one of the most anticipated smartphones this year, and words are that the S IV probably won’t be announced at CES or even MWC. Despite Samsung’s ‘short-shelf-life’ tactic, the Galaxy S III will probably remain the flagship for possibly another 5-6 months. The S III became the most popular smartphone when 18 million units were shipped in the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. Many are expecting an announcement of the S IV to come in the later part of 2013, and people can expect a 1080p display considering how HTC (among others) has already began utilizing higher res displays in devices like the J Butterfly and Droid DNA. When Samsung was developing the S III, the Korean-tech giant took extra precautions when it came to protecting its trade secret. Samsung engineers reportedly built several prototypes and dummies, and made sure that only the people that were involved in the project knew which were prototypes and which were dummies—even the engineers had a hard time keeping track of the ‘real’ thing. So throw caution to the wind when the S IV rumors begin to swirl later next year, because Samsung really don’t want people to know anything about their next flagships until it’s officially announced. Steam announces new Community Feature - Game Guides Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-announces-new-community- feature--game-guides/18372.html December 14th, 2012
  • 122. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Steam, Valve's online game site, is on quite the roll of late with an announcement recently of a new beta feature for Steam members - Games Guides. Over the past couple of months Steam has been on quite the roll when it comes to rumors about the company and the rolling out of a number of beta features for the service and its users. We've heard about the rumors of a Steam game console (which still makes no sense to me personally) to support for Mac users along with early testing for Linux support… Then there is the Steam Greenlight project that allows Steam members to select and vote on which indie developer games will make into the Steam gaming portfolio. Now we get news that a new feature for the Steam Community called Game Guides has been made available as a beta that is open to all Steam users (as long as they have selected to be notified of beta versions of the service). As any serious, and not so serious gamer knows, there are times when playing a game for the first time that having something like a walkthrough, or guide, can make the difference between enjoying that new game and pulling out one's hair while banging one's head against the desk. With this new Game Guides feature you can create a guide for your favorite game and then share it with your fellow players. Once you have selected to create a guide you will be able to upload and insert images, or use screenshots that are already in your Steam gaming cloud. You can insert YouTube videos and add friends to help you write the guide as well. When done just hit the publish button and your guide for that specific game will become available for everyone to use. To use this new beta feature you will need to be a member of the Steam Community Beta Group. Personally I think that this will be a great addition to Steam especially after suffering through having to hunt up game walkthroughs in the past. Having guides available at the same place as your games, and hopefully a step above the ones you find in the wilds of the Internet, will be a really nice bonus. Dream JailBreak is just that, a dream Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dream-jailbreak-is-just-that-a- dream/18367.html December 14th, 2012 The iOS hacker @DreamJailbreak made a claim that the "First Untethered iOS6 Jailbreak" would debut 12/22/2012. The name holds true, however, the jailbreak is still nonexistent. We previously ran a story of an iOS hacker that made claim of a jailbreak for the illusive iOS 6. From the DreamJB.com website it seems that this was an elaborate social media experiment. It was simply to show what can happen when a claim is made. The website received over 300,000 unique views and the Twitter account had 20,000 followers in just a week. Whether or not the reason is true is unknown. It could be he was caught in false claims and this is the backtrack. This tweet came out and that is when we knew the whole claim was false. When we tried to find the DreamJB twitter account it seems it has been deleted. Dream says: ......There are services out there that charge for jailbreaks that are intended to be free. Imagine what could have happened should this have gone for sale? The provided proof tonight was intended as a final boost to the viewers before this message was released. Let this be a lesson to the public. PLEASE be careful when it comes to jailbreak solutions that are advertised outside of the prominent and accepted dev teams. Do some research and follow them on Twitter now...... If and when a true iOS 6 jailbreak does come out, we will be sure to inform you. Julian Assange runs for Australian senate under new Wikileaks Party Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/julian-assange-runs-for-australian- senate-under-new-wikileaks-party/18359.html December 14th, 2012 Julian Assange, better known as the founder of the controversial ‘Wikileaks.org’ whistleblower website, is running for a Senate position in Australia. The 41-year-old Wikileaks founder recently revealed his intention to run for a Senate seat in the 2013 Australian federal election. Assange says that his new goal for a political party has quickly gained some momentum and that it has a lot of support in his home country of Australia.
  • 123. December 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The Senate seat Assange is seeking will be under his own new political party he has aptly named, the ‘Wikileaks Party’. Currently Assange is wanted in connection with the rape of two Swedish females while he was purportedly visiting that country for a conference. Some U.S. federal lawmakers are calling for his extradition to the U.S. and are saying he is guilty of international espionage. Assange says he will need to have at least 500 Australian citizens to sign up for the new Wikileaks Party name for it to be recognized. Assange feels that a new Wikileaks party would be good for an open government that he envisions for all Australians. Other like-minded supporters feel an open government is a necessity in this day of what they perceive as illegal government operations and spying on its own citizens. Assange feels that personal privacy is at stake around the globe, and it is his goal to make sure people keep their right to privacy. Assange gained a lot of notoriety for his controversial website Wikileaks, which has disclosed thousands of secret government and business documents, E-mails and other secret records. Most of the material is turned in anonymously but there have been a few whistleblowers that were caught, such as the U.S. Army Private, Bradley Manning who is currently on trial for turning over to Wikileaks a large amount of classified U.S. Army intelligence material. Wikileaks is credited with uncovering and disclosing thousands of private E-mails from Syrian government officials that they are calling, “The Syria Files”. “The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents,” says Assange. “It helps us not merely to criticize one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it.” Assange was in England on house arrest fighting extradition to Sweden, but in June 2012 Assange violated his parole and moved into the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he applied for political asylum, fearing that a deportation to the U.S. meant he could be put to death if convicted. The following month the Ecuadorian government accepted Assange’s political asylum request and stated that Assange may stay in the Embassy for as long as he wished. Assange says the accusations of rape against him are totally false, and it is a way for the U.S. to have him extradited to them. He called on the U.S. to end the witch-hunt against him and that “the US Administration’s war on whistleblowers must end.” Google Fiber "not just an experiment" according to Eric Schmidt Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-fiber-not-just-an-experiment- according-to-eric-schmidt/18353.html December 14th, 2012 From the moment when Google first announced its Google Fiber project to the point when it actually launched this past month techies have been drooling at the idea that you could actually have incredible broadband speeds at a reasonable price. Now we find out that Google is looking to make the project "a business" and not just an experiment. When Kansas City was announced as the winning city that would be ground zero for Google's fiber high-speed broadband project the collective weeping of the cities that lost out could be heard throughout the Internet, but if what Eric Schmidt said at the New York Times' DealBook conference was not just hot air then those cities may just have another shot at getting Google Fiber. During his talk at the conference Schmidt said that Google wasn't treating the fiber project just as an experiment but rather the company was running it as if it were a business and that it will come to "hopefully more cities if we're able to expand our service". While the promise of the fiber project is broadband speeds of 1GB up and down the reality is that many people in Kansas City who are using the service are reporting speeds of 841 Mbps download and 923 Mbps upload; but even that for an price of $70 per month is just plain mind-blowing and puts any of the other providers services to shame. Right now Google Fiber is only available to certain residential areas and won't be available for businesses for some time. There is also no real information from Google as to when, or if, we will see their service spread to other cities.
  • 124. December 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 On their side, Intel has also helped by finally enabling Quad HD level resolutions like 3840x2160 and 3840x2400 in their Ivy Bridge display support this month. The upcoming Haswell generation will, of course, support these resolutions by default anyway, as Nvidia and AMD GPUs did for years in any case. So, from a hardware standpoint, there is nothing to prevent PC vendors from exceeding the tablets – or Apple – in the notebook display resolution and quality. Oh yes, quality here also means non glossy display, as US$ 1K++ Ultrabooks are usually not bought for watching movies or being used as a mirror, but for productive work. As for the usual ‘no guts’ PC vendor behavior in avoiding to demand from LCD panel vendors the right displays for their laptops’s use, rather than just taking what panel makers throw at them to “save on glass cutting costs” and such dumb excuses for the pathetic 16:9 format, the only party who can correct the problem are the vendors themselves – the users have already voted with their money, looking at the dwindling notebook, including Ultrabook, sales, and exploding tablet sales, even without the “PC application base”. Or, maybe, Intel can be the one to gently, or less gently, nudge the PC vendors into solving this issue. Because, once Apple really moves into 64-bit ARM-based laptops as they likely will in a year or two, they will make sure these are vastly superior to anything in the PC marketplace, and then Intel will suffer far more too. And, it seems, Intel – not the users - is the only ‘shepherd’ that PC vendor sheep lot listens to, at the end of the day. Samsung plant guilty of exposing female worker to carcinogens Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-plant-guilty-of-exposing- female-worker-to-carcinogens/18401.html December 16th, 2012 A female working in the chip production area of Samsung developed breast cancer while being exposed to caustic chemicals. Family was awarded compensation for her death. The Associated Press has reported that South Korea's Worker’s Compensation and Welfare Service government agency stated on Friday, December 14th that an employee working at a Samsung Electronics factory did develop breast cancer from exposure to carcinogenic elements in a computer chip production area of the plant. The Korea Workers' Compensation and Welfare Service, official statement was that there was a "considerable causal relationship" between the female who developed breast cancer while she worked in the chip assembly section of the plant. The woman whose name was withheld for privacy was said to have worked at Samsung from 1995-2000 and passed away in March of 2012, three years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the Welfare agency, they stated that the cancer was likely attributed to the woman being exposed to different organic solvents and radiation. The agency awarded the family compensation for her death; however, a spokesman for Samsung stated that the company would not be seeking an appeal in the matter. This is the fourth case in which an employee, who worked for Samsung, or the family of such, was awarded compensation for unsafe working conditions. In 2011, it was ruled that two former Samsung employees got cancer from working in the semiconductor area of the plant, and in April of this year one former employee who suffered from aplastic anemia was awarded compensation as well. The purpose of the Korea Worker’s Compensation and Welfare Service is to process and make rulings in regards to claims from workers who say they have a disease or illness attributed to working conditions. Contrary to most countries, employees file directly with the agency, and not the company they work for. If the person’s case is thrown out, they have the right to appeal, and the same for the company found negligent. There have been 30 claims filed by employees who have worked for Samsung stating that they developed some form of a disease from working at Samsung, many of which have been thrown out. Yahoo and AVG announce partnership to protect your links Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/yahoo-and-avg-announce- partnership-to-protect-your-links/18404.html December 16th, 2012 One of the dangers of our ever increasing mobile world is that the malware out there is being made available through what they call "drive-by clicking" which potentially makes every link you click on a danger to your security and information. Yahoo and AVG have announced a partnership to help fight that danger. For many years AVG has been well known for providing an antivirus software that became the mainstay for a very large number of computer users, myself included, but the days of malware only being available via infected software that you might have downloaded to install is long gone. Malware can find its way on to any of your computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones by the simple action of clicking on a link. In a world where even you search results in your favorite browser can lead to malware being installed the time has come for different tactics to be used, which is why we are starting to see partnerships like the one announced today between Yahoo and AVG. The deal will see Yahoo powering AVG's secure search which uses their own LinkScanner technology to scan the links to protect their users from malicious web sites that will try to download and install malware in the background when you end up on t heir sites. According to a recent report via Search Engineland, there has been an 80% increase in the number of infected search
  • 125. December 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 results which makes this kind of partnership a needed service. Shashi Seth, senior vice president of Connections at Yahoo, said when the partnership was announced that it was the company's commitment to being able to provide a safe and rich search experience for AVG users that helped lead to the partnership. Police catch Anonymous hacker with a simple Google search Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/police-catch-anonymous-hacker- with-a-simple-google-search/18402.html December 16th, 2012 22-year-old Christopher 'Nerdo' Weatherhead was convicted by U.K. Police for his role in a DDoS attack in 2010 and 2011 that cost PayPal approximately £3.5m ( $5.7 million U.S.). Police in the United Kingdom recently busted a hacker, who referred to himself as ‘Nerdo’ on the Internet, when they performed a simple Google search of his name. ‘Nerdo’, whose real name is Christopher Weatherland, was charged with conspiracy to impair the operation of computers. Weatherhead was part of the ‘Anonymous’ hacktivist group that has often plagued many servers around the globe. The U.K. Police caught Weatherhead because he made the mistake of using the same IRC network name for some time, thereby giving police a long trail of Internet history to track him by. A Detective Constable Trevor Dickey who worked on the case explained they basically did a simple keyword searching via Google. "We then did some keyword searching and spent a lot of time looking social leakage,” says Dickey. “Combining all these elements we then identified the NICs of interest and did open source research on them. Weatherhead was easy to identify as he had been using the NIC of ‘Nerdo' for quite some time." According to a report from the U.K. based, The Register, Weatherland, 22, was studying at Northampton University when he took an active part in what was called "Operation Payback", which was a denial-of-service attack (DDoS) campaign that began when the on-line hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ began a defense of the whistleblower site, Wikileaks.org. Between 2010 – January 2011, Weatherland, along with others involved with the hacktivist group, targeted many Internet media sites along with PayPal.com that blocked payment portals for donations to the Wikileaks site. PayPal says it cost the company approximately 5.7 million (U.S.). The Guardianreports that an Ashley Rhodes, 27, of South London, a Peter Gibson, 24 of Hartlepool and an 18-year-old Jake Birchall had previously pleaded guilty in connection to the same case. Sony unveils the new PS3...Lunch Box? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-unveils-the-new-ps3...lunch- box-/18390.html December 16th, 2012 In appreciation of continued support for series like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear for more than 25 years, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan happily unveils a new PS3… Lunch Box! Themed lunch boxes may be far from being a staple of tech news, but this one might interest you in many "tech" ways. Presenting the new PS3 Lunch Box! Unveiled on December 14, 2012, this special limited edition item was a token of appreciation from Sony Computer Entertainment for the continued support of long running series like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear (yes, even though they didn't originally come from the Playstation console). It was dubbed as "the Ultimate Theme Lunch Box". As it is slated to be released in Japan, the shape and form of the lunch box is that of a bentou, or a Japanese meal box. This particular type is that of a juubako, or a nest box type bentou. The cover on top of the lunch box is of course, the unmistakable top portion of your average PS3, with the proportions accurate to about 0.1mm of the original (albeit a bit modified though to add to the aesthetic quality of its design). And speaking of design, it has been claimed that the lunch box was made with the highest woodworking and laser etching techniques that were available to the designers. Not that it means anything too critical for us who won't really get their hands on the item (or don't care about those details), but it does look quite impressive for a simple nested/stacked lunch box to have such high-quality design. In addition, it is also claimed that it's absolutely safe to put any kind of food in it, no need to worry about accidentally damaging it with "certain" condiments.
  • 126. December 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The dimensions of the PS3 lunch box are 230 x 290 x 145mm, and there are at least two stackable boxes as seen in the sample images. Though it looks quite ready to use in the images, this is actually not the final version yet. Sony still plans on unveiling the finalized version on December 18, 2012. Source: 4Gamer (JP) Windows Phone seeing 40% sustained submission rates Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/windows-phone-seeing-40- sustained-submission-rates/18397.html December 16th, 2012 For a number of Microsoft employees this year's Christmas holidays will be business hours as usual, which Microsoft says is due to a sustained increase in app submissions to the Windows Phone 8 store. With all the emphasis being placed on the number of apps available in mobile online stores like iTunes, Android Store, and the Windows Phone store it is no surprise that Microsoft will do anything to make sure that the number of apps available in their store continues to grow, regardless of it being a holiday season or not. In a post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog the company announced that since the launch of Windows Phone 8 in October the Windows Phone Store has been experiencing a sustained 40% increase in Windows Phone app submissions. To be able to keep up with this momentum and maintain their certification process Microsoft is pulling a bit of a Grinch and making sure that they have a full complement of staff on hand over the holidays. To help developers Microsoft also posted this timeframe chart for them so that developers can know what to expect turn-around wise when it comes to their submissions over the holidays. Hopefully there will be a nice bonus once the holidays are over for those staff members who were there to help get the apps from developers into the hands of consumers looking to play with their new Windows Phones they might have gotten as a present. Prepaid carriers, MetroPCS and Cricket start financing smartphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/prepaid-carriers-metropcs-and- cricket-start-financing-smartphones/18394.html December 16th, 2012 Not having a contract has its advantages, you're not locked in to anything so no early termination fees (ETF). It does, however, have its disadvantages as well, such as higher priced cell phones. Carriers like MetroPCS and Cricket have found a way to get you the technology you want, and they to do so without destroying your bank account. They have started financing options. With the ever rising cost of new phones coming out, people with prepaid carriers may not be able to afford the phones they really want. Smartphones are the wave of the future; this has been known for years. Samsung, HTC, Apple, LG are making it so people have the ability to run their lives from their phones but it comes at a pretty steep price. Giving the option of financing would normally require a credit check and approval to get the credit you need, but in these cases, it simply just comes out of your checking account each month. Since the phone will be financed it will cost a bit more, but overall, I feel it is worth it. Both MetroPCS and Cricket have confirmed with Fierce Wireless that they will be using Progressive Finance. MetroPCS currently uses BillFloat, which allows you to make a smaller initial payment, and then two more payments thereafter to complete the transaction.
  • 127. December 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 I am on MetroPCS and have been looking into getting the Galaxy S3 and this has really peaked my interest. This is the perfect time to do this as the holidays are coming around the corner at light speed and now, with this option, people can get out of their older 3G phone into a nice 4G. T-Mobile has wanted to do a re-farm for a while now. With them buying MetroPCS, getting people into 4G phones and getting the much needed spectrum, they can start the re-farm and allow the iPhone space to pick up when they get it later next year. Keep in mind, this has not been confirmed or even rumored about the spectrum, but I have no doubt it is in the plans and this is the reason for the financing options.
  • 128. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. NASA crashes probes on the Moon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-crashes-probes-on-the- moon/18438.html December 18th, 2012 NASA has crashed two probes into a mountain on the Moon in a controlled mission that ends their year-long attempts to map Earth's sattelite. NASA has crashed two probes into a mountain on the Moon in a controlled mission that ends their year-long attempts to map Earth's sattelite. The probes, dubbed Ebb and Flow, were part of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, taking measurements as they orbited the Moon and giving scientists at the space agency enough data to construct detailed gravity maps, thanks to the probes speeding up or slowing down when gravity changed from region to region. They made their last map of the Moon's most recent crater on 6 December. The spacecraft also helped with the discovery that the Moon's crust is thinner than previously thought, and that impacts cause significant unseen damage beneath the surface. The discoveries are expected to help with understanding not only how the Moon formed, but will give more insight into Earth and other planets too. An artist's depiction of the twin spacecraft (Ebb and Flow) that comprise NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. Despite the success of the mission, the probes were running out of fuel and presented a threat to the spacecraft and relics left on the Moon in the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. “We do feel the angst about the end of the mission,” said Charles Elachi, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA, which orchestrated the mission. “On the other hand, it is a celebration because this mission has accomplished tremendous science.” The resting place of of the probes has been named after the first US woman in space, Sally Ride, who helped with GRAIL's outreach programme before her passing in July of this year. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT London Fire Brigade exploring answering Twitter emergency calls Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/london-fire-brigade-exploring- answering-twitter-emergency-calls/18437.html December 18th, 2012 The London Fire Brigade is exploring the possibility of responding to emergencies posted to it on Twitter, the latest in its efforts to engage in social media.
  • 129. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The London Fire Brigade is exploring the possibility of responding to emergencies posted to it on Twitter, the latest in its efforts to engage in social media. Currently the service advises people to use its traditional contact method, dialling 999 on a phone, but it has now pledged to look into responding to incident reports on social networking sites. “With over a billion people now using Facebook and half a billion using Twitter, it’s quite clear that social media is here to stay,” said Rita Dexter, Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade. “The London Fire Brigade is the biggest fire service in the country and we think it’s important to look into ways to improve how we communicate with the public and how they can get in touch with us.” Dexter said that in 1935 people doubted that dialling 999 to report emergencies would work, but now British Telecom handles over 30 million such calls every year. Social media could in the future become the new way to quickly and efficiently report incidents, she said. The London Fire Brigade is not a stranger to social media. It set up a Twitter account, @LondonFire, in 2010, where it posts real-time information about incidents around London. It also has a Facebook account, where it posts fire safety information and communicates with the public about its work. The service does not currently monitor social media on a 24/7 basis, but it will have to implement such monitoring or it might miss potentially life-threatening situations across England's capital. Dialling the emergency number will likely remain the default for now, but tweeting could be the default of tomorrow. Instagram to sell users' photos to advertisers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/instagram-to-sell-users-photos-to- advertisers/18436.html December 18th, 2012 Photo-sharing website Instagram plans to sell users' photos to advertisers, thanks to an update to its privacy policy. The Facebook-owned website has given itself the right to sell photos without notifying users, and there is only one way to opt out: delete your account before 16 January. The updated terms include: “To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” Photos will still belong to users and other privacy restrictions will remain in place, but advertisers will be able to use people's photos to effectively recommend a product without the person even knowing they are making the recommendation. Facebook bought Instagram in April for $1 billion, and while Facebook has frequently made headlines for its privacy issues, this is likely to be one of its biggest PR headaches to date. Already social media has been flooded with complaints about the change, including numerous threats to quit the website. The lack of a proper opt-out will be a particular focus of criticism, and if the changes go ahead as planned, then the service will certainly lose users by the mid-January deadline. Huawei Ascend D2 to compete with Samsung's Galaxy Note II Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/huawei-ascend-d2-to-compete-with- samsung-s-galaxy-note-ii/18435.html
  • 130. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 December 18th, 2012 Huawei (along with ZTE) is trying to regain the trust of the American government and, by extension, the American people. Regardless of the hubbubs that are going on behind the scene and on Capitol Hill, let’s just hope that Huawei is not in cahoots with the Chinese government in trying to spy on the US. Why you say? It is because of devices like Huawei’s rumored Ascend D2 that we don’t want Huawei to be guilty of any conspiracies. The rumored Huawei Ascend D2 is an Android phablet that features a 5-inch 1080p display. Samsung may have been the brand to push the phablet craze, but it certainly won’t be the only company to ship tablet-esque smartphones in the coming months. Smartphone manufacturers like LG and Oppo have launched smartphones that boast displays with a lot of screen real estate as well as high resolution. The Oppo Find 5 was recently launched in China, and will make its way to the US and other countries in the coming months. LG, on the other hand, have already received some good press reviews for its Optimus Vu, and Samsung has followed up its popular Galaxy Note with the Note II. Calling phablets a craze is certainly somewhat of an understatement as many of these devices have sold in the thousands and millions of units. Therefore, it is only proper that consumers who want to have a 5+ inch smartphone have a wide selection to choose from. The Huawei Ascend D2 is a feature packed device that will give even Samsung’s Galaxy Note II a scare. Under its shell, the Ascend D2 has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor (probably Huawei’s in-house K3V2) to power Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a 13MP rear camera for taking pictures and shooting videos (1.3MP front), and a hefty 3000mAh battery to get you through the day. Keep in mind that the above specs are not yet confirmed as a Huawei spokesperson has explicitly said that the “product details from anonymous sources are incomplete and inaccurate,” and that people can expect an official announcement about the product itself in January 2013. Samsung to launch red Galaxy tablets the day before Valentine's Day Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-to-launch-red-galaxy- tablets-the-day-before-valentine-s-day/18433.html December 18th, 2012 Samsung is planning its sales strategy accordingly next year, and will launch some red Galaxy tablets the day before Valentine's Day. Why gift your lover flowers that will eventually die when you can offer him/her a passionately dressed Galaxy tablet? Chivalry is one of those things that every man should practice—if not often, then at least once in a while. Now, chivalry for a tech lover means buying a tech toy for the woman that you love. A dozen roses are nice, but after a few days they’ll wilt and then perish. So instead of gifting flowers on Valentine’s Day next year, how about surprising that special lady with a red Samsung tablet? Although Samsung is a South Korean-based company, it is well-aware of the day in which men in the US shower their
  • 131. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 lovers with flowers, jewelry and chocolate. Hence, according to Sam Mobile Samsung will be releasing three tablets in red come February 14. The three tablets that will grace us in red dress next year are the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and Galaxy Tab Note. Keep in mind, however, that the fiery- colored tablets will only apply to the 3G/Wi-Fi models (GT- P3100, GT-P5100 and GT-N8000, respectively). 120 US companies begin beta testing BlackBerry 10 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/120-us-companies-begin-beta- testing-blackberry-10/18432.html December 18th, 2012 The year 2012 brought about many busts and musts for gadget lovers, and for companies like RIM 2012 is one that it doesn't want to remember. As 2013 approaches, however, RIM is hoping that BlackBerry 10 will be the company's saving grace. Can RIM scratch and claw its way back to prominence? Or will iOS and Android seal BB's fate with the final blow? RIM’s future is one of great uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean the Ontario-based handset maker is going to let the ship sink slowly without a fight. The Android-iOS iceberg is large and sharp, but RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 is built to withstand the unforgiving smartphone market—at least that’s what RIM is hoping BB10 will do. BB10 began its beta testing today in corporate settings which included more than 120 US companies. Richard Piasentin, RIM’s US business managing director, said that the test will focus on RIM’s touch-screen device rather than the traditional QWERTY BB device. Furthermore, he claims that the test clients “agreed to implement the full solution into their infrastructure,” which means that by beta’s end RIM should have a good grasp as to whether or not BB10 is the real deal. RIM’s marketing department has been very active in promoting the next BB platform, and a recent video showing a demo of the BB10 Dev Alpha device reveals that RIM wants to be a serious contender in the smartphone battle. Although BB10 lacks in terms of app count, it seems like the OS is in line with current trends set by Google and Apple. Until we can get an actual hands-on of BB10 however, it remains to be seen whether or not BB10 is just an Android or iOS knock- off. The public will get an official look at BB10 on January 30, 2013 when RIM unveils the new lineup of BB devices at Pier 36 in New York. Consumers will have their hunger for BB (or lack thereof) in February when RIM and its partners launch the devices globally. It’s hard to imagine that RIM was once a behemoth in the smartphone space with its stock trading at a peak of $147.55 in June 2008. However, the glory days that BB once experienced are long gone as RIM is currently trading 90 percent below its heyday number. Despite losing the loyalty of average consumers, RIM managed to hold onto a number of corporate and government clients. However, recently companies and organizations like Yahoo and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have spent millions on integrating more iOS and Android devices into their infrastructures. RIM is set to close out the year with about 4.7 percent of the smartphone market share, and if BB10 is a bust come early next year then that may be it for the once prosperous handset maker. Hacker gets 10 years in jail for stealing private pictures of celebrities Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hacker-gets-10-years-in-jail-for- stealing-private-pictures-of-celebrities/18430.html December 18th, 2012 A hacker by the name of Christopher Chaney stole hundreds of private photos of Hollywood female celebrities, and will be spending the next 10 years of his life behind bars for his crime. Chaney was taken down in an FBI sting nick-named, "Operation Hackerazzi". The 36-year-old Florida man was charged with 28 counts of hacking and obtaining private images and texts of celebrities, which included that of Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and pop-rocker, Christina Aguilera and many others. Before Chaney was sentenced, Hollywood starlet Scarlett Johansson had a pre-recorded video testimony sent to the court in regards to her private images being stolen. “I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed,” Johansson said while crying in the video, “I find Christopher Chaney's actions to be perverted and reprehensible." Christina Aguilera also sent a video the court saying that her previous feeling of security couldn’t be restored no matter what was done. “…There is no compensation that can restore the feeling one has from such a large invasion of privacy,” said Aguilera. Another actress by the name of Renee Olstead appeared live in court. Olstead stated that when her photographs appeared on the Internet, it drove her to deep thoughts of
  • 132. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 suicide. She was astounded that a person could lose all they had acquired simply by the actions of a total stranger. In all, Chaney was uncovered to have hacked into the lives of at least 50 celebrities that included the likes of Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato. He said that he broke into the accounts by simply resetting their passwords by answering security questions that he knew about the stars such as their birth date or mother’s maiden name. He further testified that his hacking into thee private accounts of the stars became an addiction and that he was ‘relieved’ when police finally busted him. “I was almost relieved months ago when they came in and took my computer,” said Chaney. “…Because I didn't know how to stop.” He further added that he didn’t make any monetary gain from the celebrity photographs, and he simply tossed them around on the Internet in forums and gossip sites. Chaney was convicted by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero and will spend up to 10 years in prison in addition to a $67,000 fine. Heroes of Newerth hacked, your account could be at risk Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/heroes-of-newerth-hacked-your- account-could-be-at-risk/18428.html December 18th, 2012 This kind of news seems to go hand-in-hand these days for people playing online games so it’s not surprising that another online game has announced that they've had a security breach. Online gaming is one of the hottest forms of gaming these days with more and more online games going with the "free to play" model that relies on either advertising or in-game purchases to make their money. In order to play these games though we are often required to hand over a lot of personal information which we hope that the company will make sure is kept safe; but increasingly that isn't the case. It is this treasure trove that makes online gaming sites so attractive to hackers and today we find out that a fairly popular MOBA game called Heroes of Newerth has become the latest victim to hackers when they announced in the game forums that their servers had suffered a security breach. S2 Games, the developer behind the game, has been pretty slim on the details beyond what little they have announced so far, but that is likely because they are still probably trying to assess what damage has been done and how much, if any, data the hackers made off with. The company was quick to respond though taking the game offline shortly after announcing the breach in order to "fix some things on the backend," and even though the game is back in operation right now some are reporting that the game doesn't seem to be fully operational yet. Needless to say, if you are a player of Heroes of Newerth you might want to head over to the site and change your passwords. Highgrounds, a free and highly addictive browser game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/highgrounds-a-free-and-highly- addictive-browser-game/18414.html December 18th, 2012 Highgrounds is a sweet multiplayer strategy game by Spryfox and Heart Shaped Games that puts a very interesting twist on forefront combat. There are three types of gamers: those who play their few favorites over and over again, those who dabble into every single game without ever really finishing them all, and those that are mixture of the first two, who play lots and lots of game from start to end. Whichever of the three you may be, you will find Highgrounds to fit nicely into your gaming agenda. Developed by Spryfox (SteamBirds: Survival and Triple Town) and Heart Shaped Games (Hero Generations), Highgrounds is a game developed by people with solid backgrounds in the industry. So what's so cool about it? Well, consider a trading card game without cards. That's right. Remember games like Magic: The Gathering? The game where you have to set up attack and defense strategies by turn, count the cost of attacks, and strategize one move at a time? Highgrounds has that. The basis of the game is that you have a small army that escaped a great flood and eventually crash landed on a mysterious island which is already inhabited. You engage in turn-by-turn offense and defense while heeding income per turn against cost per unit, as well as gathering resources and hiring more fighters to strengthen and expand your army. The points are tallied at the end of each turn, and when one base is reduced to 0, that player loses.
  • 133. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The simplicity of the game makes it so enjoyable. It's easy to play, but not necessarily easy to win. You follow? It's an all- around fun game, well-developed, and the best part is that's you can play in your browser! HTC cancels 1080p big screen Windows Phone 8 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-cancels-1080p-big-screen- windows-phone-8/18427.html December 18th, 2012 Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 might still be struggling for any serious mobile market share, but that hasn't stopped handset makers like HTC from making some really outstanding Windows Phone 8 smartphones. However, any plans for the company to bring a WP8 device with a larger screen to market have been scrapped. There is no denying that Microsoft is taking a big chance with Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8, and while the former may be having a hard time getting off the ground the latter has been getting some really good press. This good press is also extended to the handset makers like Nokia and HTC with praise for their lines of Windows Phone 8 handsets. In fact HTC's 8X is being touted by many in the tech world as the best Windows Phone 8 handset on the market along with high marks for the smaller and cheaper 8S. There were recent rumors that suggested that HTC was planning on launching a third, larger screen, handset alongside the 8X and 8s with a codename of Zenith but it never materialized. Now today we have a report from Bloomberg that said HTC was canceling any plans for a larger screen version of the 8X. The decision was reached by HTC apparently because they believed that that the 4.7 screen technology would have been out of date even before the handset hit the market. The reasoning was that the larger screens would have to be able to support 1080p resolution but the Windows Phone 8 platform is only able to support a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. The only thing that might have saved the Zenith was that it was also rumored to be running the quad-core Snapdragon processor, but in the end it was screen size and resolution that was the deciding factor. Toshiba ships out nearline storage enterprise HDD samples Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toshiba-ships-out-nearline-storage- enterprise-hdd-samples/18407.html December 18th, 2012 Toshiba recently started shipping sample units of their new high-capacity USB 3.0 HDDs. These drives will utilize nearline storage technology, allowing it to be used as transitional database for multiple networks or machines. Toshiba recently began conducting sample shipments of their new MG03SCA400 and MG03ACA400 HDDs. These two models are classified as high-end 3.5-inch SAS/SATA storage drives, having a data capacity of 4TB. The focus point of its specs and capabilities is its configuration to be used as a nearline storage device. This means that both models can act as transitional archiving units, capable of being efficiently accessed in any local/wide area network or system. Security-wise, both the MG03SCA400 and the MG03ACA400 are capable of using its special overwrite functionality. It would follow a data transfer command from an authorized system, and would record that specific command data on each disk within the drive. This way, the data that is recorded to the HDD becomes exclusive, and would not be extracted by any other user. Aside from security and raw performance/capability, power management options are also improved in these large disk drives. Control options for energy consumption modes when idle and active for example, are readily available to each unit. Efficiency and green standards are also actively met by the models. For instance, its manufacture goes in line with the European RoHS Directive, and is halogen and antimony- free. The HDD's are of course directly targeted towards enterprises and other business type consumer entities that requires huge data space capacities (e.g. data centers). The model that would use the SATA interface is the MG03ACA400, and for the SAS interface, the MG03SCA400. Source: MyNavi (JP)
  • 134. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Facebook ramp up user privacy with the ultimate 'sexting' app Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-ramp-up-user-privacy- with-the-ultimate-sexting-app/18421.html December 18th, 2012 According to insiders, Facebook is about to launch another mobile app messaging system that will offer self-destructing images, chat and possibly video. For some time now, critics of the social media giant have complained about user privacy and image usage, which notoriously gets stolen and used by others. To calm a lot of privacy fears, Facebook is said to be releasing a recently developed application that can send text along with images that has the ability to self-destruct after a period of time. The development of the app is said to be a direct competition to ‘Snapchat’, Some sites are already deeming the new app ‘the ultimate in sex chat’, aka a ‘sexting’ app that will allow users to send their own x-rated images without worrying about it getting in the wrong hands. Like the purported new Facebook chat app, many of these sexting applications have security measures enabled to protect your private conversations and images. Since Facebook went public earlier this year, the company has been acquiring different technologies to help advance its site. Their popularity has maintained steady growth and the site now boasts nearly 1 billion users, and just a few weeks ago the social media giant introduced chat software that does not require one to have an actual user account to download and use. While Facebook’s latest app may be directly competing with Snapchat, the technology first came about with another lesser-known app called ‘Wickr’. Wickr, with their motto, “Leave No Trace”, was one of the first apps that could encrypt all images, text and other information sent over your smartphone. It also allows the sender to decide who can see the images or text and for how long. And while Facebook has not said if Wickr is working with them on the technology, it will be interesting to see just how much alike the two services will be. If the ideas are very much alike, or even identical, it could lead to a future patent dispute, which is nothing new in today’s corporate world. Fighting cancer with 3D printed drugs Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fighting-cancer-with-3d-printed- drugs/18424.html December 18th, 2012 If there is one technology with the potential to make radical changes to our society it would have to be 3D printing, and nowhere will we see a more apparent effect of this change than in the drug manufacturing business. As someone who has followed technology for a very long time and having seen many changes and shifts, I can honestly say that we are facing one of the biggest shifts in our society and technology with the rise of 3D printing technology. Even the average consumer will soon be able to afford one. Now as cute as it might be to be able to print out things like 3D avatars of ourselves, the real change comes when you can print out things like parts for machinery or even more radically - print out drugs that we can take. This might seem fanciful and too futuristic for some but the fact is that there are companies out there that are trying to do just this. Two of those companies: Parabon NanoLabs and Janssen Research & Development recently got a grant from the National Science Foundation, which they used to move just beyond the theory and actually create cancer drugs that are now in testing. The technology is called Parabon Essemblix Drug Development Platform and the companies involved believe that this technology could bring about rapid prototyping of drug creation and thereby drastically reduce the time it takes to bring these new drugs to market. Co-developer of the technology, Steven Armentrout, commented on the news by saying that the company can now "print" the exact compound that they want—molecule by molecule—but what differentiate their technology from other companies is that they are able to specify the exact placement of every atom in any compound they design. Right now the team at Parabon is working on creating a new prostate cancer drug that, in its current form, “combines a toxin with a chemical that makes cancer cells susceptible to that toxin.” Researchers can also track the drug as it moves to tumors to prevent healthy tissues from being targeted by the drug. All this can be done in a matter of a few weeks. Google avoids anti-trust litigation with the FTC Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-avoids-anti-trust-litigation- with-the-ftc/18420.html
  • 135. December 18th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 December 18th, 2012 It's been reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be officially ending their investigation into Google Incorporated's alleged antitrust violations that included blocking patent licensing to their competitors. The investigation came after competitors accused Google of blocking competition by using their popular search engine to direct users to their products, which includes shopping, travel and directions. The company was also being investigated for purposely refusing patent licensing for other competing mobile-devices and accusations that the company somehow blocked a competitor’s access to their Android wireless operating system. It was recently reported that Google will be working with the FTC to officially end the investigation and make some recommended changes in how they operate. These voluntary changes were reported to begin this week and may include things such as ending targeted advertisements and how the search feature works with sales competitors. It appeared early on that the FTC did not have enough evidence on Google to go forward with any anti-trust lawsuit. Nevertheless, Google felt the investigation was worrisome enough that they will be making the changes to avoid any future allegations. It has also been reported that the FTC's probe into Google’s licensing of mobile-technology patents will be negotiated and changed as well. Google will be working more closely with their competitors and make it easier for them to be granted a license on patents they hold from the acquisition of Motorola Mobility. This latest announcement came after the recent complaints by Google’s rivals. They were fearful that an antitrust investigation into Google by the FTC would not materialize because the agency was not working hard enough in the investigation. Some even insinuated they should take the case to the U.S. Department of Justice and see if the FTC actually investigated Google’s practices. Some even proposed a full blown congressional hearing on the FTC itself and their recent actions with Google. These latest voluntary changes by Google are more than likely directly attributed to the FTC's Safari Web browser ruling against the company in August of this year. In that investigation the FTC found Google guilty of ignoring the settings made by users of the Safari web browser. Google was forced to pay a hefty 22.5 million dollar fine (U.S.) to the FTC; the fine was noted as the largest fine the federal agency has imposed on any one company to date. Sharkoon Gaming Mice 3-way review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sharkoon-gaming-mice-3-way- review/18426.html December 18th, 2012 Perhaps the most important device to a PC gamer is the mouse, a peripheral which refuses to be replaced by gamepads and joysticks. Although some years ago there was a very limited number of mice specifically designed for gaming, nowadays almost every manufacturer involved In this review we will be having a look at the latest three gaming mice from Sharkoon, a well-known manufacturer of gaming- related products. Perhaps the most important device to a PC gamer is the mouse, a peripheral which refuses to be replaced by gamepads and joysticks. Although some years ago there was a very limited number of mice specifically designed for gaming, nowadays almost every manufacturer involved In this review we will be having a look at the latest three gaming mice from Sharkoon, a well-known manufacturer of gaming- related products. Sharkoon is a company which originates from Germany, specializes on PC peripherals, modding supplies and accessories. They are currently offering five gaming mice, three of which we will present you in this review. These three mice are the Squad, a compact laser mouse, the Drakonia, a rather peculiar high performance mouse, and the DarkGlider, a top performance mouse designed for maximum speed and accuracy.
  • 136. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Sky to broadcast Queen's Christmas speech in 3D Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sky-to-broadcast-queen-s-christmas- speech-in-3d/18464.html December 20th, 2012 The Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries will be giving her Christmas speech this year in 3D, thanks to British broadcaster Sky News. The Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries will be giving her Christmas speech this year in 3D, thanks to British broadcaster Sky News. The Christmas message from the monarch is a tradition dating back to 1932, when King George V gave a speech at 3pm UK time. The tradition will continue this year, but the technology has taken a big leap forward. Sky was the producer for the Queen's speech in 2011, but this year it is hoping to wow viewers by showing the event in 3D on its Sky 3D channel. BBC HD will also show it. Sky has been pushing for adoption of 3D TV in the UK, showing sporting events and documentaries by Sir David Attenborough, as well as Avatar, the film that renewed interest in the technology. While the Queen's speech is unlikely to have anything flying at the screen like the recently-released The Hobbit, it does make for an interesting end to the monarch's Diamond Jubilee year. Steam pulls zombie game The War Z after complaints Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-pulls-zombie-game-the-war-z- after-complaints/18463.html December 20th, 2012 Steam has pulled online zombie game The War Z from its store after receiving numerous customer complaints that it was missing advertised features. Steam has pulled online zombie game The War Z from its store after receiving numerous customer complaints that it was missing advertised features. Valve, the game studio behind Steam, said it was a mistake to put the game on sale, as it had been issued prematurely. It said it would not sell it again until it resolves the issues with the developer Hammerpoint, and it also offered full refunds to purchasers. When the game initially went on sale players were promised a number of features, including the ability to play with up to 99 other players on a server, add players to a friends list, customise their characters with a skill tree, and even rent their own private servers. Many were disappointed to find that several of the features were not available.
  • 137. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Another key complaint was an update to the game that lengthened the respawn timers for dead characters from one hour to four hours, while allowing instant respawning if players paid with an in-game currency that could be bought with real cash. Effectively it looked like the developer was forcing people to pay for respawns by making the normal timers less accomodating. Sergey Titov, Executive Producer of the game, said that the game is a “foundation release” and like other online games it grows over time. He said several of the missing features, including leaderboards, rental of Gameworld and Stronghold servers, locker items for loot storage, and building blocks for the Stronghold experience, would be coming in the next one to four weeks. Skill trees are being tested, but won't make it this year. Apple pinch-to-zoom patent under review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-pinch-to-zoom-patent-under- review/18462.html December 20th, 2012 Apple may lose its pinch-to-zoom patent, thanks to a review currently being conducted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which gave a preliminary ruling that the patent should not have been given to the Cupertino, California-based company. Apple may lose its pinch-to-zoom patent, thanks to a review currently being conducted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which gave a preliminary ruling that the patent should not have been given to the Cupertino, California-based company. The patent, along with five others, plays a key role in Apple's lawsuit against Samsung and could help Samsung evade paying damages for using that technology on its mobile devices. The reason for the preliminary rejection of the patent is because the USPTO has discovered that the 21 methodologies Apple claimed in the patent had already been awarded to previous applicants, a fact it was not aware of in 2010 when it initially approved the application. Apple will likely appeal against the preliminary ruling, while Samsung is expected to use it to convince the courts to reduce the $1.05 billion payment it was ordered to make to Apple in August. This is not the first time the iPhone maker's patents have been questioned. It previously came under fire from the USPTO in October when it put the patent for the so-called “rubber band” user interface effect under review. We may see further patents at the heart of the ongoing patent war lose their validity as they are exposed to more scrutiny in the coming months. Corsair Carbide 200R Case Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/corsair-carbide-200r-case- review/18461.html December 20th, 2012 Corsair might have started as a RAM manufacturer, yet the company successfully diversified towards several other kinds of products, making them one of the most well-known and favored companies amongst technology experts and enthusiasts. Today we will be having a look at the Carbide 200R, the latest addition to Corsair's rich computer case line-up for those who are unwilling to spend a fortune on a case. Corsair might have started as a RAM manufacturer, yet the company successfully diversified towards several other
  • 138. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 kinds of products, making them one of the most well-known and favored companies amongst technology experts and enthusiasts. Today we will be having a look at the Carbide 200R, the latest addition to Corsair's rich computer case line-up for those who are unwilling to spend a fortune on a case. What Corsair is trying to achieve with the Carbine 200R is pretty obvious from a consumer's point of view; it is a notably simpler and cheaper case compared to any other Corsair case that we have ever seen before, clearly meant to be a product with which Corsair is trying to enter the budget and builder segments of the market. Yet, the Carbide 200R is nothing alike a generic cheap "tin box" computer case. Read on to find out what this new product is capable of. Manufacturer features and specifications Smart ergonomics for easy, great-looking builds • Side panel thumbscrews • PCI-E expansion card thumbscrew mounts • Tool-free SSD, hard drive, and optical drive installation • Cutouts for cable routing and CPU cooling Serious Expansion and Cooling Capacity • Seven PCI-E slots with thumbscrews and room for cards up to 430mm long (300mm with drive cage) • CPU coolers up to 160mm in height • Install up to four hard drives and four SSDs at once • Up to eight fan mounts (depending on hard drive configuration) High-End Features • Front panel USB 3.0, headphone and microphone ports • Dust filters behind the front intake fan help keep the interior clean Warranty Two years Dimension 16.9 x 8.3 x 19.6 inches, or 430mm x 210mm x 497mm (H x W x L) MB Support ATX, mATX Expansion Slots 7 Form Factor Mid-tower Material Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces Drive Bays (x3) 5.25", (x4) 3.5", (x4) 2.5" Cooling (x5) 120mm/140mm fan mount locations Front I/O (x2) USB 3.0, (x1) Headphone, (x1) MIC, Power, Reset Power Supply ATX (not included) FTC adds new amendments to COPPA Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ftc-adds-new-amendments-to- coppa/18458.html December 20th, 2012 A recent action made by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission shows the agency giving young children greater protection over the information that third parties may accumulate. The changes will go into effect July 1, 2013. In regards to the Internet, the FTC has adopted their final amendment to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). These new amendments will protect children’s privacy and particularly those less than 13 years of age. The aim of the amendments is directly targeted to third parties and what information they can obtain on children through numerous Internet downloaded children’s apps used on smartphones and other mobile devices. The amendments also help parents by giving them easier to understand controls on what the third party can and cannot do in regards to private information. In 2010 the FTC conducted a review of COPPA to make sure it was in par with the current technology at the time. Amendments were made to COPPA such as closing any loopholes on information collection, and insistence that site operators adopt reasonable practices for data retention and deletion, among other things. Earlier in the month the FTC released a report where they went over hundreds of apps targeted to children. The report stated that the vast majority of the apps found in the Google Play and Apple App Store were transmitting private information to app developers or third parties to help them build profiles on the child. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz stated that the FTC was concerned that the ‘gatekeepers’ needed to do a better job at monitoring what they allow. Leibowitz added that the apps were retrieving “an alarming amount of information”. On December 19th , 2012, FTC Chairman Leibowitz unveiled the new amendment changes and guidelines in a public statement. "The Commission takes seriously its mandate to protect children's online privacy in this ever-changing technological landscape,” said Leibowitz. “I am confident that the amendments to the COPPA Rule strike the right balance between protecting innovation that will provide rich and engaging content for children, and ensuring that parents are informed and involved in their children's online activities.” The new amendments have changed many definitions from the 2010 review, and the amendments clarify many of the mandates. For example, when defining the term usage of 'Operator”, it has been updated to make clear that the rule applies to services that integrate outside services that collect information. "This definition does not extend liability to platforms, such as Google Play or the App Store, when such platforms merely offer the public access to child-directed apps," the FTC writes.
  • 139. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The definition of confidentiality and security requirements has been amended as well and reads, “The amended Final Rule requires operators to take reasonable steps to make sure that children’s personal information is released only to service providers and third parties that are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security, and integrity of such information, and who assure that they will do so. The Rule also requires operators to retain children’s personal information for only as long as is reasonably necessary, and to protect against unauthorized access or use while the information is being disposed of.” The FTC website stated that the Commission vote to issue the amended Final Rule was 3-1-1, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch abstaining. Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen voted no and issued a dissenting statement on the grounds that she believed a core provision of the amendments exceeds the scope of the authority granted by Congress in COPPA. She stated that, regardless of policy justifications, she cannot support extending COPPA’s statutory definition of “operator” to impose obligations on websites or online services that do not collect personal information from children or have access to or control of such information collected by a third-party. The site further states that final amended rule will be published in a notice in the Federal Register, and will go into effect on July 1, 2013. To read more on the changes made, you can read Chairman Leibowitz's statment in full by clicking here. SpamSoldier hits smartphones by sending thousands of unwanted SMS messages Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spamsoldier-hits-smartphones-by- sending-thousands-of-unwanted-sms-messages/18456.html December 20th, 2012 The Trojan horse called SpamSoldier infects smartphones running the Android operating system and blurts out hundreds of SMS messages without the user’s knowledge. The virus is mostly spread through a smartphone via seemingly innocent adverts or texts that claim to offer free versions of popular paid-for games. When an individual downloads what they think may be a popular game like Angry Birds Space and Need for Speed: Most Wanted, they actually open up the Trojan installer app which then infects the smartphone. Once installed, the Trojan then works to make sure you become the vector for other smartphones by using your phone to send out the fake messages. There have been a few cases of an actual game install, but the installation was made to cover up and fool the smartphone user as the Trojan sends out hundreds of messages. Cloudmark Incorporated, which operates as a major anti-Spam software maker, says that this latest Trojan infection could get out of hand since so many individuals carry smartphones. "With the rising popularity of text messaging, U.S. consumers of all ages are susceptible to receiving unwanted text messages," said Neil Cook, CTO of Cloudmark. "There is a tremendous opportunity to help consumers learn how to effectively combat Spam and utilize the resources their mobile providers offer." Cloudmark researcher Andrew Conway further notes that users infected phone can and will send out literally thousands of Spam SMS and it will also give out your private information. “A user's phone will be used to silently send out thousands of Spam SMS messages without permission to lists of victim phone numbers that the malware automatically downloads from a command-and- control server.” Conway further added that Cloudmark has seen peak rate of over 500 thousand Spam SMS per day so far. Cloudmark says that the Trojan seems to be coming from .mobi servers in Hong Kong and that it first appeared in October of 2012. The Trojan originally appeared as an anti-SMS Spam program before they changed the look to be a game download. According to Cloudmark this is the first threat as the "first functioning Android botnet sending SMS spam.” SimCity 5 always connected requirement angers fans Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/simcity-5-always-connected- requirement-angers-fans/18454.html December 20th, 2012 Even though Maxis and EA forewarned SimCity fans that the next game in the series would require that they need an always-on Internet connection in order to play the game it is only now that we are finding out just how restrictive this requirement is going to be. There is some really bad news starting to percolate through the gaming world regarding the much anticipated release of the next game in the SimCity franchise from Maxis and EA. While fans have known from the beginning when SimCity 5 was announced that having a persistent Internet connection was going to be a requirement in order to play the game, we didn't realize just how much of a requirement it was going to be. When word first leaked about this it was thought that the connection requirement would only be for the multi- player portion of the game however thanks to a recent AMA (AskMeAmything) on Reddit with the game developers we found out that this will apply to even the single player portion as well. One of the questions in the reddit thread asked the developers in regards to the connection restriction was what about players who were "experiencing connection problems" while playing the game. In other words would the game still be playable if the player's internet connection goes down and then reconnects. The response from the Maxis developers only added fuel to the fire when they said that players would be allowed for as long as their game state could be preserved and remained within a time period of "minutes". What this really means is that players who lose their connection for anything longer than "a few minutes" would be in danger of losing any game progress.
  • 140. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 One other point that was raised during the AMA with Maxis was that all activity in the game would require the players using EA's terrible Origin service. Needless to say this has angered many of the game's fans with many that I have talked to on Twitter and Google+ saying that because of this they have changed their minds about getting the game, a game that they all wanted to get. Being a longtime fan of the game I was really looking forward to getting SimCity 5, but given these requirements I'll be saving my money for something else. Crytek confirms that Crysis 3 is DirectX 11-only title Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crytek-confirms-that-crysis-3-is- directx-11-only-title/18453.html December 20th, 2012 Crytek's CEO Cevat Yerli revealed in a recent interview that the upcoming Crysis 3 will be a DirectX 11-only game and will not support DX10. In a recent interview with GameTrailers, Crytek's CEO Cevat Yerli revealed that Crysis 3's PC version will be wholly dependent upon DirectX 11, contrary to beliefs that it may in fact support DirectX 10. As the PC spec requirements for Crysis 3 were recently released and made available to the public, the inclusion of Crysis 3 to be DX11-only doesn't come with a lot of surprise, seeing as DX11 was spotted as a minimum GPU requirement. In the interview, Yerli discusses many things that are made available with Crysis 3's DX11 support, including dynamic environments that provide more than scenic flora, but actually afford many in-game choices for players to strategically utilize. Yerli also talks about Crysis 3's Seven Wonders series and how the videos actually show off the game's environments and allows players a brief preview of what they can expect from certain areas of the game. Everything from the grass--which isn't just decor but actually bends when players walk or hide within it, making for interactive environment pieces within the game's nature- infused overrun metropolis. "Crysis 3's environments cater to every player's style, making it a more natural playing field where players have many flexible options and aren't constrained to one set path or area. Players can hide in the grass, swim underwater, or within the shadows of objects--there are many options to utilize within the game. There are natural player choices, but the game doesn't force any one single path or area." --Cevat Yerli Yerli does introduce many elements that are made possible by the dependence upon Direct X 11, such as the beautiful in- game environments and visuals, but as for an official reason as to why DX10 isn't supported, no comment was made. People that still have DX10 machines may be disappointed with this news and will have to make do with console versions of the game or buy a new GPU. Crysis 3 is slated for released on Feb. 19, 2013 in North America for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. For more information, please visit the game's official website.
  • 141. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Santa uses theoretical physics to deliver toys this Christmas? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/santa-uses-theoretical-physics-to- deliver-toys-this-christmas-/18455.html December 20th, 2012 Santa has a big job ahead of him next week. According to Larry Silverberg, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, Santa must deliver presents to approximately 200 million children within 24 hours. Luckily for him, some of these 200 million children were possibly naughty and not nice, which would only slightly reduce his workload. As there are roughly 2.67 children per household, Santa would need to make 75 million household visits in one night. As these houses are approximately 1.63 miles apart, Santa would need to travel a total of 122 million miles. Let’s say Santa traveled these 122 million miles in a 24 hour window of time, he would have to travel at a speed of 5,083,000 miles per hour to complete his deliveries before Christmas day. This speed would still clock him under the speed of light, so he wouldn’t even have to take the form of a neutrino to accomplish this amazing feat. Keep in mind, however, that Santa isn’t as young as he used to be, and not at his most fit. Therefore, Silverberg proposes another explanation -- that Santa is well-versed in the theory of relativity. Taking advantage of the fact that “time … can be stretched like rubber bands, space itself can be squeezed like an orange, and that light itself can be bent,” it is plausible that Santa travels in relativity clouds, controllable domains within which space-time is controlled. Silverberg explains that, “inside the relativity cloud, Santa has months to deliver presents. Santa sees the world frozen and only hears silence. Upon returning to the North Pole, and leaving the domain of the relativity cloud, only a few minutes go by.” Further, if Santa spread his work-load among his many elves, he could drastically reduce the amount of time it would take to deliver his presents. Doctoral candidate Danny Maruyama of the University of Michigan remarks, "While I don’t know much about relativity clouds myself, I think it’s very possible that a man who flies in a sleigh, lives with elves, and has flying pet reindeer could have the technology needed to utilize relativity clouds." Nevertheless, perhaps we should think about leaving Santa a more nutritionally satisfying snack than milk and cookies. Boost Mobile to throttle data speed of unlimited data plan after 2.5GB Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/boost-mobile-to-throttle-data-speed- of-unlimited-data-plan-after-2.5gb/18451.html December 20th, 2012 Boost Mobile, a popular subsidiary of Sprint, is going to start throttling user data at 2.5 gigabytes. This decision is made, despite the fact that few people are actually using this kind of data, according to the company itself. Boost is a prepaid service, as opposed to the monthly plans of Sprint's regular wireless services. Strongly recalling a typical MNVO – though it is strictly owned and operated by Sprint itself – Boost offers a variety of CDMA phones, ranging from feature phones to smart devices, including Android and Blackberry phones. For a set fee a month, a user can choose between a variety of wireless plans, promising a flat or unlimited amount of certain features, such as data and phone minutes. Boost Mobile, outlining its "Monthly Unlimited" plan Although Boost's advertising campaign strongly features the word “UNLIMITED” in reference to its data plans, the company is now following suite with the vast majority of so-called unlimited data plans offered by various carriers. When a Boost user hits a cap of 2.5 gigabytes data, his service will switch from standard data speeds way down to 256kbps. Technically, this is still a connection – it is just incredibly slow and useless for many purposes. Boost assured its subscribers that the vast majority of them will not be affected by the decision. On a network such as Boost, this is more than likely true.
  • 142. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Nevertheless, if users are upset, they can very easily move to one of several good competitors – including Virgin Mobile, which also operates on Sprint towers, and the prepaid services from T-Mobile. Both are cheaper than Boost, but offer essentially the same services. EFF gets $500k from donors to fight flawed patent system Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/eff-gets-500k-from-donors-to-fight- flawed-patent-system/18450.html December 20th, 2012 The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) got an early Christmas present to help them with the battle to bring about serious patent reform. The money came from Mark Cuban and famous indie game developer Notch with each of them donating $250,000 to the foundation. The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) is best known for helping people who have happened to run afoul of the law and their activities online, but the EFF is also working hard at trying to bring about some serious change in our patent system. This kind of work takes money however, and that is something that the EFF doesn't have a lot of as they are an organization that exists totally on contributions from the public. Therefore, the EFF hasn’t been as front and center in the battle over patent law as they would like to be. Well, thanks to an early Christmas present that situation could change in the new year. In an announcement made on the EFF's site we found out that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Minecraft creator Markus Persson (also known as Notch to the world's Minecraft fans) each donated $250,000 to the EFF to help the organization move forward in their push for patent reform. In what might seem at first to be a joke, Cuban's money will go toward creating a new position at the EFF entitled "The Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents." However, Staff Attorney Julie Samuels, who will be filling that position, assured us that it is no joke. As well, part of Cuban's money will be used towards hiring Daniel Nazer, an experienced patent lawyer, who will join the EFF as a Staff Attorney. Persson, a longtime proponent of software reform believes that there needs to be some deep and meaningful reform to the patent system in order to protect software development, will see his donated money used in a more general manner when it comes to the EFF and their fight for patent reform. EFF's Rebecca Jeschke says that this donation from Persson will allow them to increase their activism campaigns, push for reform in the courts, as well as trying to educate politicians about what is wrong with the current patent system and how it needs to change for the future. Dell shifts focus with acquisition of Credant Technologies Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dell-shifts-focus-with-acquisition-of- credant-technologies/18444.html December 20th, 2012 Dell has recently acquired Credant Technologies as part of their expansion plan of moving beyond the hardware business and more into services and management. Credant Technologies develops encryption technology that is used in many mobile devices, other server connected devices and the cloud. Currently, Credant is responsible for securing over 2 million endpoints with customers from all manner of industries ranging from retail, IT, nuclear energy, healthcare, and the aerospace and defense industry. The latest acquisition of Credant Technologies by Dell is said to be the latest effort by the computer maker to expand their development of device management technologies. Earlier in 2012, Dell acquired Wyse for just over 1 billion U.S. dollars. Wyse has helped to develop the K3000 system, which offers IT administrators increased management of mobile devices that includes the ability to turn off a device or lock it out entirely. In May of 2012, Dell acquired SonicWall, which according to Dell was to expand their enterprise solutions portfolio. The idea is for Dell to give customers a wider range of services to help manage their IT infrastructure. The acquisition of SonicWall was Dell’s ambition to grow their security portfolio, which includes cloud security solutions and data encryption services. “Protecting critical information has only become more important as organizations globally struggle to protect their data in an ever more complex world,” said Bob Heard, chief executive officer and founder of Credant. “This combination allows Credant to bring its deep capabilities in data security to Dell’s robust solution set and customer base. Together we will continue to focus on innovation and building value that results in beneficial outcomes for our customers.” Apple exonerated in Motorola patent case Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-exonerated-in-motorola- patent-case/18443.html December 20th, 2012 A United States International Trade Commission judge recently exonerated Apple Corporation of any wrongdoing or infringement on a patent owned by Motorola. Judge Thomas P. Bender of the U.S. International Trade Commission has recently exonerated Apple Incorporated of any infringement on Motorola’s patent on embedded
  • 143. December 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 proximity sensors. The Administrative Law Judge found that Motorola’s patent number 6,246, 862 for a “sensor controlled user interface” for a portable communication device was invalid, and Apple cannot be held liable for any infringement on the device. The Patent by Motorola they claim Apple violated explained the device to be an infrared proximity sensor that would trigger a touch screen when it detected a user’s ear, which is often a problem with many touch screen smartphones. This very same feature is on the Apple iPhone as well. In August 2011 Google announced they would be buying up Motorola Mobility for around 12.5 billion dollars (U.S.). This buy was part of Google’s official transition from a simple search engine company to full-fledged consumer mobile electronics maker. Both the European and U.S. antitrust government agencies approved the deal soon after the announcement even though many rival companies worried it would result in unfair trade. Google’s purchase of Motorola gave the company more than 17,000 patents along with more than 7,000 that needed further approval. Google announced that the purchase of Motorola Mobility was to prevent any future lawsuits from competitors like Apple and Microsoft that have been eyeing Google’s popular Android operating system. Nevertheless, Apple has vehemently argued time and again that Android has violated many of their patents. They have also claimed the Android operating system from Google has copied many distinct features adopted by Apple for their iPhone line of smartphones. This latest contest with Apple came just days after they decided they would allow Google Maps back onto the iPhones. On December 12th Google announced on its official blog that Google Maps would be available in the Apple App Store. “People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone. Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here—rolling out across the world in the Apple App Store,” reads the official Google Blog. “It’s designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier.” Both Apple and Google have quickly rose to become to very powerful competitors in the mobile device market and it leaves only more questions about what lawsuits and new devices we’ll see in the near future.
  • 144. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. How Intel secured the Chinese Supercomputer Deal (feat. Ivy Bridge-EP + Xeon Phi) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/how-intel-secured-the-chinese- supercomputer-deal-feat.-ivy-bridge-ep--xeon-phi-/18457.html December 22nd, 2012 Sometimes in the next 18 months, Intel will power the world's most powerful supercomputer. Consisted out of approximately 100,000 Ivy Bridge-EP based Xeon E5's and 100,000 Xeon Phi boards (Knights Landing), the Chinese supercomputer should be the world's most powerful, reaching no less than 100 PFLOPS of compute power. The target for the Chinese supercomputer is not a secret - even with the limitations of Amdahl's Law, as well as incurred latencies which reduce the peak compute power, the supercomputer should reach 100 PFLOPS, approximately 10 times faster than the fastest supercomputer in 2011 and five times faster than the current fastest supercomputer. This project is heavily backed by the Chinese government and Ministry of Sciences, viewed as the system needed to aid the China space exploration, as well as rising the health research to a new degree. The government sees that within the next couple of decades, it will have to start battling the older population, predict where to build cities, calculate the highway system (by 2020, China plans to build more new highways than the current total in the United States, for example - and have twice as much highways than U.S. by 2030), public transportation system as well as wild projects such as intelligent license plates, real time traffic calculation to suggest preferred speed to reduce stoppages on the roads etc. However, the dark cloud in otherwise a fantastic design win is one of reasons why Intel got chosen in the first place. Anyone who had to compete against the 800-pound gorilla nicknamed "Chipzilla" knows that the company will do anything to win the deal, and if the deal has a budget that would not pass the mustard with the accounting, there are special budgets (marketing, academic, research etc.) where those projects can be placed and ultimately, won. Thus, we were not surprised to hear that the world's largest (public) installation of Xeons and Xeon Phis will be located in Southwest China. What we were surprised to hear was the overall budget for the system. This project was budgeted with around 100 million dollars for the processing power, which is a large sum indeed. However, given that Intel is placing almost the top-end Ivy Bridge-EP processors and top-of-the-line Xeon Phis, the budget starts to look small. If we take a look at commercial terms, a Xeon E5-2567W v2 should set you back (note: this is a future part, pricing was an estimate based on current line-up) for $2,500. Top end Xeon Phi, the 5110P with 8GB GDDR5 memory should set you back between $1,500 and $2,500. If we take that into calculation, 100,000 Xeon E5 should retail for $250 million. Xeon Phi would add additional $250-350 million, bringing a total for just the processing silicon north of half a billion dollars. This excludes motherboards, memory, storage, enclosure, cooling and just about anything else. Following the TACC deal, where Intel sold the Xeon Phi boards for mediocre $400, the calculation for this deal is even worse. According to sources in the know, the processors are going for less than $300, while Xeon Phis will also fit the sub $300 bracket. This deal will net less than $250 per piece of silicon. When you look at the pricing model, it is clear as day that Intel won't even cover the manufacturing cost - but this is a prestige deal, after all. Also, they will earn some nice dollars off the special warranty arrangements.
  • 145. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 When it comes to the memory used with this beast, we're talking about several million DIMMs (each CPU will be outfitted between 16 and 24 DIMMs), which is more memory than some memory manufacturers make in year. We're talking about Registered ECC DDR3L memory, and at retail value, we're talking over quarter billion dollars. At present time, we do not know how much the memory setup will go for, but one thing is certain - this will be the fastest supercomputer for some time. Naturally, there's only progress and the 100PFLOPS machine won't stay on top for too long. Back on GPU Technology Conference 2009, we talked with researches from Australia involved with building the 1EFLOPS (Exascale Computing, 1000 PFLOPS or 1,000,000 TFLOPS, or 1,000,000,000 GFLOPS - the magic "billion billion" floating point operations per second) supercomputer which will accompany the Square-Kilometer-Array (SKA) radio telescope, which is set to go into operation in the next couple of years. Last time we checked on that project, it was based on the architecture which succeeds Maxwell, combining the ARM and GPU cores on a single die. The projected cost of such system was set in the region of billion dollars just for the compute parts. From our conversations with the scientists, Nvidia had the pole position in this setup, but if Intel offers $100 per Xeon Phi board (Tesla K10 can be bought for $1500 in quantities larger than 10,000 units), we wonder at what point we can start discussing uncompetitive practices and price dumping... for the record, the EFLOPS system is planned to use at least 250,000 GPGPU boards (initial deployment, update with as much as 250,000 additional units 5 years after the initial launch of the exacomputer). If we leave financials aside, the Chinese supercomputer will be a majestic rig indeed, with over 200,000 pieces of silicon processing weather simulations, calculating Chinese space projects (manned missons to the Moon by 2020, Mars by 2025), and many more. However, one thing is clear - Xeon Phi is not going anywhere and Intel's sales team will fight with every mean possible to increase the market share, even if that means giving the parts completely for free, which is what they did with an unnamed Wall Street financial institution. The only problem with that deal was that the analyst in place accidentally dropped that news bomb. Thus, the sale strategy is simple - offer simpler programming model than GPUs, offer unbeatable price and then start charging after the competition is gone. Nokia Lumia 820 Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nokia-lumia-820-review/18486.html December 22nd, 2012 Introduction Those of us who were teenagers in the late 1990s and early 2000s (yours truly included) would have had Nokia phones as our weapon of choice in communications. My very first cellphone was a Nokia 3310 with a yellow backlight, paid for out of my own pocket from a vacation job. That was considered the ‘typical’ standard among students back in 2001, and the BMOC (Big Man on Campus) was the one who carried a Nokia 8250 with a blue backlight. Nokia’s star has apparently faded over the years though, especially after smartphones made their debut and captured the hearts of many. Apple had their line of iPhones, while other manufacturers for the most part went with Android, with Samsung leading the way. Nokia chose to walk a completely different path with their own Symbian OS, which was eventually superseded by the Windows- enabled Lumia line starting in 2011. Their exclusivity with Microsoft, starting with the Windows 7-enabled Lumia 710 and 800 has had the effect of pushing the company to the sidelines. A tech friend of mine once summed up the current mobile phone wars as such: ‘Samsung/Android on one side, Apple/iOS on the other, and Nokia/Microsoft getting caught in the crossfire.’ While this might be a gross oversimplification of the true scenario, it does contain a certain grain of truth. While everyone is swooning over the latest Galaxy Note II or the iPhone 5, Nokia gets short shrift. This review aims to shine the spotlight on one of Nokia’s first offerings with the Windows 8 mobile OS, the Lumia 820. The phone on the wireless charging stand (optional) Initial Impressions: Size, Weight, and Build Quality The phone does seem a little hefty in the hand, even though it only has a 4.3 inch screen. With dimensions of 123.8 x 68.5 x 9.9 mm and a mass of 160g, it does weigh quite heavily on the hand, and the thickness is considerable. By way of contrast, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is slightly thinner at 9.4 mm and is only 23 g heavier in spite of its much-larger 5.5-inch screen.
  • 146. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Left Side view. There are no ports or buttons here. Right Side view. From left: Camera shutter button, power button, volume controls Bottom view. The ‘Back’, Windows and Search buttons on the screen can be seen. The bottom itself consists of the microUSB port and microphone. While the back cover is made of cheap-looking glossy plastic, looks can be deceiving. The plastic appears to be strong and does not flex easily under manual pressure. The glossy texture lends itself to being susceptible to grime and fingerprints, however. Back view with the camera lens and flash. Among the first things I did upon receiving this phone was to open the back cover so as to insert the micro SIM and micro SD cards. At least, I attempted to. A full five minutes of fumbling with the phone did not yield any hidden catches or buttons that could allow the back cover to be removed easily. A quick search of the manual revealed that the removal of the back cover could be done by sliding a thumbnail into the crack between the back cover and the main body. That took another five minutes to accomplish properly, even though my thumbnail was long (I had been planning to trim it later in the day, honest!). And I wasn’t the only person with this quirky problem, as a cursory web search of Lumia 820 reviews reveals. Sliding my thumbnail into the crack. If you had just trimmed your nails five minutes before, good luck to you.
  • 147. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Square Enix reveals new assets for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/square-enix-reveals-new-assets-for- lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/18480.html December 22nd, 2012 Square Enix has released a few new screenshots and a brand new trailer showing off the epic conclusion of Lightning's last adventure in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The newly released screenshots of Square Enix's upcoming last chapter in Lightning's dynamic adventure show off incredible visuals, displaying that Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII still incorporates that bizarre and dynamic signature style. Everything from the in-game cities and towns to the enemies and bosses--and, of course, Lightning herself--are rendered in such crystal clarity, painting a dazzling picture to a series that has continually pushed the bars of innovative RPG mechanics and distinctly amazing visuals. Every character and environment is detailed in that signature magical "Final Fantasy" look, building upon the visuals within the first two games (Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2) to bring an all-new experience that keeps those trademark elements that fans have come to expect from the franchise. Square Enix's legendary RPG series has always ushered in a new era of both dynamic story-telling and amazing art- infused visuals to deliver a truly remarkable and engaging experience, bringing gamers into a new fantasy world where magic and mystery run rampant with our imaginations. The screenshots themselves truly imbibe that sense of mystery and fantasy that have become distinct elements that make up the Final Fantasy franchise, giving gamers a brief look at the many environments and characters--as well as Lightning's brand new stylish look. Lightning Returns is no different in this regard, and looks to be one of the most graphically impressive titles in Square Enix's current line-up. The newly released "The Final Journey of Lightning" trailer goes far to encapsulate the overall plot of the upcoming game, which continue the story arc set forth by the two previous titles before it: There are only thirteen days left until the world ends, and Lightning allies with her former team--including Snow Villiers and Hope Esthiem--to save the new merged world of Coccoon from the devastating Sea of Chaos that threateans to annihilate all life. Lightning Returns follows the last days until the end of the world, chronicling the events that take place in her struggle to save the floating sky-islands of Nova Partus and New Coccoon from certain doom. Personally I find the plotline to the game to be quite inventive and creative, merging emotional turmoil with a
  • 148. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 destined Hero's Journey archetype, and Lightning--to me at least--is the ultimate female hero (besides maybe Samus Aran!). It will be interesting to see how the plot develops and what happens at the very end to conclude Lightning's epic and legendary saga that's spanned across a trilogy of games. A release date for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be announced in 2013, and the game will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more information, please visit the game's official website. The Rheinmetall 50kW laser weapon scores big Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-rheinmetall-50kw-laser-weapon- scores-big/18478.html December 22nd, 2012 The (wet) dream of probably every general in the military is to be able to have a working laser weapon that they can use for both defense and active duty has gotten one step further to reality with a successful testing of the Rheinmetall 50kW laser system. Designed as a weapon to be used for air defense, asymmetric warfare and also in Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C- RAM) operations, the Rheinmetall high energy laser system is a dream come true for the military. This past November the company tested its newest version, a 50kW laser, in a series of exercises at the German-based company's Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland to show what improvements they have made since last year's 10kW version of the system. The system isn't a single laser but rather two laser modules that are mounted on the Oerlikon Revolver Gun air defense turrets and with additional modules for supplying the power needed. These two lasers are combined using Rheinmetall's Beam Superimposing Technology to focus a 30kW and a 20kW laser on the same spot, which is what give the system its combined 50kW destructive power. Testing of the laser system was against three different targets with the first being a 15 mm-thick steel girder which was cut through at a distance of 3,281 ft. Second was against a group of nose diving drones that were flying at 164 ft/s, detected by the system at 1.24 miles within a few seconds. The last test was a simulated mortar attack using a steel ball 3.22 inches in diameter moving at 50 meters per second and was immediately tracked, locked on to, and destroyed. Rheinmetall says that the tests have shown that the laser system can work in all types of weather and also meeting the energy and cooling requirements while delivering twice the power compared to previous equipment of the same size. There are plans for a 60kW next year and the company sees no reason why it wouldn't be possible to develop a 100kW version as well. Psy breaks 1 billion views for Gangnam Style YouTube MV Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/psy-breaks-1-billion-views-for- gangnam-style-youtube-mv/18479.html December 22nd, 2012 “Gangnam Style” helped propel Psy into a global spotlight that rarely any other Asian music stars get to experience. How big is this spotlight? Well, Psy recently overtook Justin Bieber to become the musician with the most views in a single YouTube video. Psy’s hot streak didn’t end there as the Korean pop/rap star has just broken the 1 billion view mark for his Gangnam Style MV on YouTube. It’s staggering how much fame an individual can obtain through just a single production during the digital age. What’s even more amazing is that Psy’s feat has been achieved despite racial and cultural boundaries. Psy’s comical Gangnam Style choreography played a huge role in his newfound global stardom. This, however, leads many critics to consider Psy as nothing more than a novelty artist with little substance in term of lyrical depth. While it’s true that Korean is not a globally used language, it should be noted that many catchy tunes that turned artists into ‘stars’ had little to do with the lyrics. Take for example; CUPID’s 2007 hit “Cupid Shuffle” gave CUPID a bit of fame, but the performer—along with his dance—soon faded into obscurity. What about Soulja Boy’s “Crank That”? One could pose the question: How much depth is there in Soulja Boy’s Crank That lyrics? Substance and depth are clearly one of those topics that should be left for the listener to decide, but no one can deny that Soulja Boy’s dance played a role in boosting the MV’s popularity and entertainment value. Oh, and how can we forget the “Dougie.” There were countless catchy tunes and choreographies that helped many people obtain fame and fortune, but rarely do these stars hold onto their statuses. Skeptics in the Western world are wondering if Psy can produce another hit that will be on the same level as Gangnam Style. There’s no doubt that Psy will ride his Gangnam Style streak for as long as possible, but like all legitimate artists there has to be something in the works to prove that Psy is not just a ‘novelty.’ Google working on "X Phone", it's the next Nexus phone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-working-on-x-phone--it-s- the-next-nexus-phone/18477.html December 22nd, 2012
  • 149. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 While many of us have yet to get our hands on a Nexus 4, Google is purportedly to be already working on its successor. A rumor has begun swirling surrounding Google suggesting that the company is working on the next Nexus device. The public’s reception to the Nexus 4 was great, and the only thing that people had to gripe about was that demands were high and supplies were low. If people couldn’t get their hands on a Nexus 4 device from Google, then perhaps they should wait it out until the next Nexus phone arrives. According to WSJ, Google is working on a pure Android device known as “X Phone.” Apparently, the X Phone will focus heavily on a high-quality camera and a robust photo editing program to go along with it. Speaking of high- quality, X Phone might also come with a bendable display and built using durable ceramic materials. Recently, Samsung was rumored to be considering using its flexible AMOLED technology in the Galaxy S IV. However, that rumor was douse when another report came out stating that insiders said the S IV won’t feature the flexible display, because the technology itself was not far along enough in its development. If Samsung and Google partners up again for the X Phone project however, then there may be some similarities between the S IV and X Phone. For instance, X Phone might utilize Samsung’s AMOLED and Exynos technologies, which the S IV will undoubtedly feature. For fans of Samsung, this means that we may see a pure Android phone with S IV-like hardware, but at a lower price—take a look at the Nexus 4 and compare it to LG’s Optimus G. In addition to X Phone, the WSJ also reported that an “X Tablet” will follow once all the X Phone details are finalized. Scientists unveil greener, smarter sleigh for Santa Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-unveil-greener-smarter- sleigh-for-santa/18476.html December 22nd, 2012 Scientists working at General Electric (GE) have made a number of modifications to Santa's sleigh, making it faster, smarter and more energy-efficient. Scientists working at General Electric (GE) have made a number of modifications to Santa's sleigh, making it faster, smarter and more energy-efficient. With only days to go before Santa's lightning speed trip around the world, which internet users can track via Google's Santa Tracker, GE has implemented a number of new features to Santa's aging vehicle. First up is a thin cooling solution, which can help improve the sleigh's jet engine aerodynamics (yes, Santa did upgrade to jet engines) and even produce a thinner and cooler laptop for Santa (yes, Santa does have a laptop). The technology, unveiled earlier this month, is half the thickness of conventional cooling systems. Secondly, GE added new Air Traffic Management Technology, similar to the one the company is working on with NASA to bring air traffic control “into the cloud.” Thirdly, GE is fitting Santa's sleigh with an Electric Traction Motor with MEM switching technology, similar to technology used in electric cars. Fourthly, the sleigh blades were made using a 3D printer, using a tougher and yet more flexible fabric, building on previous advances in 3D printing. Finally, GE has added Ceramic Matrix Composites for energy saving, in addition to a Durathon battery for durable powering of the various equipment on board Santa's high- tech sleigh. “It has been three years since we introduced a new sleigh for Santa, and we figured it was time to provide a few upgrades to make his ride even better,” said Mark Little, SVP and Director of GE Global Research. “With the advancements GE scientists have made in 3-D printing, new materials like CMCs and the great opportunities to make machines smarter with the Industrial Internet, we have incorporated several new technologies to give Santa and his reindeer team a greener, smarter sleigh.” Santa was equally enthused. “I am looking forward to flying into outer space,” he said. “This will really save time by helping me get to destinations in different parts of the world much faster.” Image Credit: General Electric iPhone numbers in Southern Europe are down, Windows up Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iphone-numbers-in-southern- europe-are-down-windows-up/18474.html
  • 150. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 December 22nd, 2012 There is no doubt that Apple's iPhone is one of the most popular and sought after smartphones on the market especially in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom but some recent numbers from the report by Kantar Worldpanel show that Apple has some weak points internationally. Weak points that apparently are leading to increased numbers for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8. There is no doubt that Apple's iPhone is one of the most popular and sought after smartphones on the market especially in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom but some recent numbers from the report by Kantar Worldpanel show that Apple has some weak points internationally. Weak points that apparently are leading to increased numbers for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8. In the North American markets there is no doubt that Apple's iPhone is the smartphone leader and most likely to stay that way, but as we found out in a new report for November from Kantar Worldpanel, Apple isn't doing so well in many of the other international markets that include Australia, Brazil and Southern Europe. In fact the report shows that in those countries the iPhone has been seeing some pretty hefty declines: Down 5.4 percentage points in Australia to 35.9%, down 1.6 points in Brazil to 1.6%. When it comes to Southern Europe Windows Phone has been making some big market gains with Italy hitting 11.8% and Spain saw Windows' market share hit the 3% mark. Much of this gain in Southern Europe can be attributed to a number of factors that include everything from new smartphone users entering the market to the aggressive pricing by Nokia and HTC when it brings the affordable 8S to Europe at the end of January. Granted Apple's strong showing in countries like the United Kingdom and France managed to keep its overall European growth at 2.5%, the company is facing the lack of a low-end model in other parts of Europe. With consumers concerned about the economic situation in their countries, coming up with the money needed to purchase the higher priced iPhones is making smartphones like the Lumia 820 and 620 as well as the HTC 8S much more attainable smartphones. As long as Apple maintains its $620 ASP level around the world we could see a point where Android could have a 10- to-1 volume lead outside of the United States and Northern Europe; but we could also see Windows Phones pulling ahead of Apple in lower income countries like Spain, Brazil, and South-East Asia. Hideo Kojima reveals new Fox Engine screenshots Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hideo-kojima-reveals-new-fox- engine-screenshots/18471.html December 22nd, 2012 Hideo Kojima has revealed screens via Twitter of the new cross-platform Fox Engine which will serve as the foundation for next-gen titles from Kojima Productions. Hideo Kojima has recently uploaded a few screenshots of Kojima Productions' new game engine onto his official Twitter feed, showing off the cross-platform engine's amazing visuals and incredible next-gen graphics. Labeled the "Fox Engine" after the iconic fox logo behind the FOXHOUND special operatives from the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Kojima Productions began working on the Fox Engine after the completion of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots all the way back in June of 2011. The Fox Engine will serve as the foundation for many next-gen titles from Kojima Productions, providing more graphical enhancements and capabilities that build upon the older engines while incorporating many new features, making for a truly dynamic and impressive visual experience. Now Kojima is giving gamers a brief look at the fruits of the team's labors, displaying their finely tuned skills and attention to detail in a few absolutely stunning screenshots. With the Fox Engine, Kojima and his team sought out to make the "best engine in the world", and based on these screens, the engine may obtain a place somewhere near the top.
  • 151. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 The screenshots display a very detailed Snake holding Hideo Kojima's masterfully crafted culinary artwork within one of the Metal Gear Solid 25th Anniversary bento boxes, and gamers who have viewed the Fox Engine's lighting demo will recognize the conference room's chairs and table. The lighting demo is another example how far the Fox Engine has come within a year, displaying dazzling photorealistic environments and remarkable lighting effects that truly live up to gaming's next-gen standards. As a gamer, I look forward to the new next-gen era of gaming in terms of graphics and visuals, especially when engines such as Kojima's bring such dynamic realism to the table. It's exciting to think about how they will incorporate the Fox Engine's capabilities into the next Metal Gear Solid game-- or any other games made by Kojima Productions. Personally I am impressed by these screens and I can't wait to see more, especially in alternating environments--maybe scenic landscapes with plenty of grass and trees. It'll be interesting to see how flora and fauna look with the Fox Engine. Be sure to follow Hideo Kojima on Twitter for more updates and picture uploads--who knows what he'll bring us next! Also check out Kojima Productions' official website for news and other goodies Objet 1000 3D Printer creates models in sizes other printers can't Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/objet-1000-3d-printer-creates- models-in-sizes-other-printers-can-t/18470.html December 22nd, 2012 An unknown error occured formatting this story. UK government to spy on computers of unemployed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/uk-government-to-spy-on- computers-of-unemployed/18475.html December 22nd, 2012 The UK government is to spy on the computers of jobseekers to make sure they are actually looking for work, an approach which could reduce welfare numbers, but also marks a major invasion of privacy. The UK government is to spy on the computers of jobseekers to make sure they are actually looking for work, an approach which could reduce welfare numbers, but also marks a major invasion of privacy. Claimants of benefit in the UK can look for jobs through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which presents people with potential job opportunities that match their skills on their CV. All sounds well and good, but users may be tracked using cookies to see how many jobs they are looking at and if they are turning down valid jobs to live off the dole. Government advisors can then impose sanctions on the jobseekers to encourage them to get back into the workforce.
  • 152. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The privacy implications are huge, but the system is entirely voluntary, as the UK cannot monitor people's online activities without user consent, thanks to laws imposed by the European Union, a fact that will put the minds of more privacy conscious jobseekers at rest. Iain Ducan-Smith, Secretary for Work and Pensions, said the programme would reolvutionise how people would look for work. More than half of the 690,000 people who signed up for the service so far have granted permission for the government to spy on their job browsing. Facebook testing $1 charge for messages to strangers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-testing-1-charge-for- messages-to-strangers/18473.html December 22nd, 2012 Facebook is testing a feature that allows users to send messages directly to strangers for $1, potentially opening the way for other features to be locked behind micro- transactions. Facebook is testing a feature that allows users to send messages directly to strangers for $1, potentially opening the way for other features to be locked behind micro- transactions. Currently people can send messages to users not on their friends list, but they go to the Other folder rather than the Inbox, leading to many of them being lost. Now users will be able to send a message directly to a stranger's Inbox, but at the cost of $1 per message. The company said its research found that a financial cost would be the best way to discourage unwanted messages, but it is also implementing some restrictions to prevent spam, such as a maximum limit of receiving one paid message per week, up to a total of three in a month. This should help prevent celebrities, for example, being bombarded with messages, but it also presents a problem in that only those who manage to get their message sent at the beginning of a month may be able to communicate in this way with people. We would expect the restrictions will be loosened in the future, both for the convenience of users, but also for more profit for Facebook. When users first visit Facebook, the sign-up page states: “It's free and always will be.” While the core service is indeed free, many users may fear that this trial will lead to them having to pay to use the social network, or at least some of its essential features. The service, which is similar to one used by LinkedIn, is being trialled with a small group of people in the US. There are no immediate plans for tests in other regions like Europe. Boeing tests Wi-Fi on planes by using potatoes for humans Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/boeing-tests-wi-fi-on-planes-by- using-potatoes-for-humans/18472.html December 22nd, 2012 Boeing is testing the signal strength of Wi-Fi in aeroplanes, substituting humans with sacks of potatoes, which are thought to produce a similar effect as humans on electronic signals. Boeing is testing the signal strength of Wi-Fi in aeroplanes, substituting humans with sacks of potatoes, which are thought to produce a similar effect as humans on electronic signals. The US plane manufacturer is attempting to improve in-air Wi-Fi, while also ensuring safety standards are met, which includes stopping signals from interfering with the plane's electrical systems. People obstruct Wi-Fi signals, which makes aeroplane cabins problematic, as people getting up to use the bathroom or even cabin crew walking up and down the aisle can cause fluctuations in signal strength.
  • 153. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 In order to test the signals, Boeing used a decommissioned plane, loading the passenger seats with a whopping 9,000kg of potatoes, which is perhaps not a very flattering assessment of passengers. Given that the assessments were conducted over several days, using real people would have been extremely difficult, not to mention less cost effective. The company said the potatoes produce a similar effect on signals as human bodies, adding one more alternative use to the hearty spud, which already can be used in beauty treatments, to make alcohol, and even to generate electricity. The findings of the tests could produce a more reliable Wi- Fi service in the air, without affecting any of the plane's equipment. With Boeing aircraft used throughout the world, any improvements in this area could benefit a lot of people. Image Credit: Boeing Halo 4's Infinity Challenge is now live Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-s-infinity-challenge-is-now- live/18467.html December 22nd, 2012 The Halo 4 Infinity Challenge has been officially launched, allowing gamers a chance to rack up points for completed games on War Games or Spartan Ops and compete for awesome prizes. Three days ago on Dec. 17, 2012 Virgin Mobile teamed up with Xbox LIVE to kick off the Halo 4 Infinity Challenge, offering gamers the chance to compete with one another to win fantastic Halo-themed prizes. Players can choose between both of Halo 4's Infinity multiplayer game types--Spartan Ops and War Games-- to amass points which accrue and determine global leaderboard rankings which can be seen anytime on Halo Waypoint. Along with the new challenges the first-ever Halo Waypoint challenge has been issued: "Spartan Takedown" will be live from Dec. 17 to Dec. 23 and requires players to kill 250 players in War Games multiplayer. "If that wasn’t enough, we’re also running Weekly Challenges where 20 players will win a Halo® 4 prize pack every week. Every Monday, during this challenge, check the “Waypoint Challenge” for that week and aim to complete it as fast as possible. Winners are announced ever week." As players earn more points and progress farther up the leaderboard rankings they will earn Tier rankings for both Spartan Ops and War Games, allowing eligibility to win the Grand Prize for each of the categories: War Games Grand Prize (Tier 1): UNSC 2013 Ford SVT Raptor Spartan Ops Grand Prize (Tier 1): 2-minute appearance in a Halo game As of now, only the first episode is available for play on Spartan Ops, and it hasn't been confirmed if 343i is going to alter the levels week-by-week or not, but a slew of new weekly and monthly challenges have also been added in for extra XP opportunities. With War Games, all of the playlists are included within the competition and players can choose whichever gametype or playlist they want: there is no specially selected or required gametype for the Infinity Challenge. This is the perfect time to jump into Halo 4's frenetic multiplayer and take advantage of your holiday vacation with some good old-fashioned FPS fragfests, and get rewarded with the chance to win awesome prizes in the process. Also be sure to pick up some Mt. Dew for some Halo 4 Double XP and earn bonus experience while you rack up more points for the Infinity Challenge! If you haven't already, be sure to register for the Halo 4 Infinity Challenge now, and remember, the competition only lasts until Jan. 20, 2013...but on Jan. 10 all of the
  • 154. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 leaderboards will be taken down so that the participants can be grouped in their final Tier rankings and groupings.A After you've had your fill of simulated Spartan-on-Spartan battles or gunning down Covies and Prometheans be sure to check your progress on the official global leaderboards which can be accessed any time on Halo Waypoint! Twitter lets you download ALL your tweets - now what? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/twitter-lets-you-download-all-your- tweets--now-what-/18468.html December 22nd, 2012 Did you hear the news? Twitter is now letting you download all of your tweets that you have made from the day you joined the service. Wow, how great is that eh. Not really. If you haven't been hiding under a rock for the past week or so you'll have heard the incredible and fantastic news that has driven the social media pundits and pontificators into a frothy mass of joy, not to mention that quivering mass of open data evangelists over there in the corner. You see Twitter announced that they were finally going to be adding a new feature to the service. A feature that the social media mavens like Robert Scoble and others have been begging Twitter to do since almost the first days of the service. So what is this new feature? Are you ready? You can now download all your tweets that you have made since the day you joined Twitter, and all in one archived file. Wow, neat huh. So I ask ... Now what? What exactly am I supposed to do with this file? Seriously, now that you have downloaded all those treasured messages of 140 characters that you threw out there in order to dazzle the world with your brilliance, what are you going to do with them? I don't know about you but I couldn't care less about what I've tweeted about 5 minutes after I hit enter to send my wise words into the Twittersphere; and you know what, others couldn't care less either. So the fact that Twitter has finally implemented the option to download all your tweets is as about as useful as eating sushi with one chopstick. Don't get me wrong, I like Twitter and have been using the service since February 2007 (and even wrote a Windows client for it) but I can see absolutely no use to having a single file containing every single thing I posted to Twitter. Sure it's nice, and will appease all those open data proponents that are constantly pushing the company to do this, but come on people, what exactly can you do with this information beyond inflate your ego a little more? Can you import it into a competing service like app.net or perhaps identi.ca? Can you make it available for Facebook to use in some fashion - not that Facebook would want to in the first place. On top of that, even if you were able to use all that data in some other service I again have to ask ... why? The truth is that in the end all you have from this new feature is a big lump of a file that is useless for anything. Thanks Twitter. Thanks for nothing, because that is what this really amounts to. (BTW ... how's that improved search feature coming?) ZTE launches 5-inch 1080p Nubia Z5 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-launches-5-inch-1080p-nubia- z5/18469.html December 22nd, 2012 Samsung is battling Apple throughout North America and Europe for brand supremacy, but in China and throughout Asia companies like ZTE and Oppo are giving the South Korean tech giant a run for its money. The latest addition to the Chinese's arsenal of high tech gadgets is ZTE's Nubia Z5—a 5-inch goliath that tackles frugality while not negating the charm of what it means to be 'high-end.' As more and more people familiarize themselves with smartphones, they begin to bask in the wonders of how technology has provided many with the ability to downsize many aspects of their lives. While many of us are cramming all we can into our smartphones, manufacturers are finding ways of upsizing the features—especially the display size. Samsung’s two Galaxy Note devices are quite a hit, so it was only a matter of time before Chinese handset makers followed suit. If you’re not a fan of Chinese-branded gadgets, then this may not interest you as much, but if you’re a follower of the market then you should know China- based handset makers like ZTE, Huawei, and Oppo are all producing relatively good devices at a decent price.
  • 155. December 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 If you’re in the market for a 5-incher smartphone like the Note, but don’t want to fork out the premium or tie yourself down to a contract then smartphones coming out of China is a good alternative. ZTE recently launched its flagship, dubbed the Nubia Z5, which boasts a 1.5GHz quad-core APQ8064 S4 Pro processor, a 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, a unibody chassis, and Android Jelly bean to boot. Those are some nice specs, right? The expected price of this at launch, however, may surprise you even more. The Nubia Z5 launch price was around $400—that’s not bad for a phablet that has specs comparable to that of the Note II. Wait, there’s more from ZTE. If you’re not willing to drop $400 for the Nubia Z5 then there’s another 5-incher in the making from ZTE that will probably go for less than the Nubia Z5. ZTE is working on a 5-incher that carries along with it entry-level specs, meaning a lower power dual- core and much less RAM compared to ZTE’s latest flagship. Under the hood of this low-end phablet, for now it’s called the U887, will be a 1.2GHz Mediatek dual-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, and probably Android ICS or Jelly Bean to run it. If the specs hold true in the finalized product then the U887 is nothing to be bragging about, but the price might just win you over. Imagine a contract-free phablet for less than $300. Launch dates for these devices outside of China has yet to be confirmed, but hopefully they do make it past the Great Wall. In the end, more products equal more competitions, and that may also mean more affordable gadgets for everyone. BitLocker, PGP, TrueCrypt cracked real-time with $299 tool Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bitlocker-pgp-truecrypt-cracked- real-time-with-299-tool/18466.html December 22nd, 2012 A Russian security firm has announced that their forensic disk decryptor software package can now access any information on disks that have been encrypted with industry standard programs. The program cost $299 and will work against BitLocker, PGP, and TrueCrypt; but even worse it can do it in real-time. It's bad enough that we have to do everything we can to protect ourselves against malware and web-based security attacks looking to steal our data, but one would hope that using encryption programs like TrueCrypt, BitLocker, or PGP would protect the data on our hard drives; but that isn't the case anymore thanks to a Russian security firm. The firm is ElcomSoft and they announced this past Thursday that their new software package, Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor (EFDD), can access any information on hard drives that have been encrypted with any of the software mentioned above. Their new software runs on all flavors of Windows, 32-bit and 64-bit, as well as any version right back to Windows XP and their server packages. EFDD is able to let you either decrypt all the files and folders in the "cryptographic container" for full unrestricted forensic access to all the data stored in it or you can mount the encrypted volumes as a new drive letter for instant access —both can be done in real-time. It does all this with a zero- footprint operation or any alterations or modifications to the original content. Now one would think that something like this would cost a pretty penny especially when it is going up against industry standard software like Encase, but you can pick up your own copy of EFDD for just $299 (Encase is only available to law enforcement agencies). The full set of features for EFDD is: • Decrypts information stored in three most popular crypto containers. • Mounts encrypted BitLocker, PGP and TrueCrypt volumes. • Supports removable media encrypted with BitLocker To Go. • Supports both encrypted containers and full disk encryption. • Acquires protection keys from RAM dumps, hibernation files. • Extracts all the keys from a memory dump at once if there is more than one crypto container in the system. • Fast acquisition (limited only by disk read speeds). • Zero-footprint operation leaves no traces and requires no modifications to encrypted volume contents. • Recovers and stores original encryption keys. • Supports all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.
  • 156. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. 2 Player Productions uploads Minecraft: The Story of Mojang to Pirate Bay Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/2-player-productions-uploads- minecraft-the-story-of-mojang-to-pirate-bay/18505.html December 24th, 2012 2 Player Productions' (2PP) recently released documentary, Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, has been uploaded to Pirate Bay. The culprit, however, isn’t a pirate but rather it’s the producers themselves that uploaded the torrent. “We wanted to come here (Pirate Bay) first because we knew the movie would end up here eventually, and the best thing to do seemed to be opening a dialogue. Torrents and piracy are a way of life and it probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon,” says the producer in a short memo on Pirate Bay. “There are many people that want to punish you for that, but we have a more realistic outlook on things.” Rather than condemn people who are pirating their movie, 2PP wants downloaders to know that they have also “been there.” The realistic approach here is basically everyone have their reasons for pirating movies, software, games and etc.; these reasons can range from financial circumstances to anger and so on. However, in the end 2PP still wants people to realize that the folks behind the project put a lot of time, effort and money into production the movie. Therefore, if it’s within the range of the downloaders’ conscience, 2PP encourages downloaders to pay $8 for the DRM free digital download or $20 for the DVD. In addition to supporting the film with their own money, 2PP also pointed to their struggles to obtain backers on Kickstarter because they didn’t have sufficient funds to pay for the expenses themselves. It took 2PP nearly two years to produce Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, and part of their goal is for people to fully enjoy the documentary. The other part of their goal is that the folks at 2PP want continue to do what they love to do, which is produce quality documentaries/movies about the world of video games. Without monetary support from viewers of their documentary, 2PP cannot sustain their efforts to create more content for people on the World Wide Web to enjoy. “Please consider helping us continue on this path. The best has yet to come.” Pirate Party removes proxy site after BPI threatens with lawsuit Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pirate-party-removes-proxy-site- after-bpi-threatens-with-lawsuit/18504.html December 24th, 2012 The United Kingdom Pirate Party took down their highly popular Pirate Bay proxy site due to legal threats from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The U.K.’s Pirate Party’s political movement, which is said to be based on the freedom of information sharing, is experiencing difficulties at home once again. Now six members of the Pirate Party have come under direct fire from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) with threats of a costly lawsuit in regards to the upkeep and operation of the Pirate Bay Proxy site. Loz Kay who represents the U.K. Pirate Party fired back arguing that BPI had no right to threaten party members with what would amount to a costly legal battle. On December 23, 2012, fearing personal bankruptcy and fear of a drawn out fight, the party bowed to BPI and took down the proxy site for The Pirate Bay. Immediately other foreign support groups of the party, which includes the Argentinean Pirate Parties, organized and began their own proxy service for The Pirate Bay. This drawn out legal dispute began back in April 2012 when the U.K. High Court ruled that all U.K. Internet service providers were to censor and block The Pirate Bay website. In response to the ruling, people began using proxy sites in order to access the site, which included the proxy supported and set up by the U.K Pirate Party, when the ban went into effect. It was clearly accessible through the party’s website and soon became the most popular proxy used in the U.K. and accessed by the millions every month.
  • 157. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The BPI demanded that the proxy offered UK Pirate Party be removed or face legal action, but the party refused to comply with BPI. In reply, the music group went with what could be described as a ‘Plan B’, which was to attack the individual members of the party with personal legal action, and according to party leader Loz Kaye, bankruptcy. “Elected members of the party's National Executive Committee, along with the head of IT, received letters from lawyers acting for British Phonographic Industry (BPI), threatening them personally with High Court legal action,” writes Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye on their official website. “After seeking exhaustive advice, as well as attempts to open dialogue with the BPI, it has become clear that the law as it stands makes any decision to continue hosting the proxy impossible…” Contrary to what Kaye has stated, the BPI denies any threats of bankruptcy on party members. In a recent story published at the torrentfreak.com website, BPI’s Adam Liversage said the recent allegations made by Loz Kaye were untrue and that “BPI has not threatened Pirate Party UK officers with bankruptcy.” The Pirate Bay was founded in Sweden in 2003 and it operates as a magnet link hosting site that helps to facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing using BitTorrent. In 2009 four of the founders of the site were charged with illegal downloading of copyrighted material. All four men were sentenced to each serve one year in prison and pay a fine of nearly 4 million U.S. dollars combined. Currently The Pirate Bay is supported by the Swedish Pirate Party who claims to serve as The Pirate Bay site's ISP. $80 Edifier 2.1 speaker system crying out for Alien dreadlocks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-80-edifier-2.1-speaker-system- crying-out-for-alien-dreadlocks/18502.html December 24th, 2012 There are some pretty strange looking speaker systems out there and this one from Edifier definitely falls into that category with the only thing missing being the Alien dreadlocks. It's called the e1100 Predator and is an inexpensive set of speakers that instantly reminds one of some terrifying creature from a hit sci-fi movie but at $80 Edifier has put together a pretty impressive speaker package. That main unit, you know the one that looks like an Alien minus its dreadlocks is the main part housing the system's amplification and a 5-inch down-firing subwoofer. The sub- woofer can handle frequencies from 20Hz - 100Hz and the two satellite speakers each sport a 2-inch full range speakers that are paired with a 2-inch passive radiator. The two satellites can handle frequencies from 200Hz to 20KHz. Even though Christmas is almost history for another year there's no reason to not check these out if you happen to be in the market for a decent set of speakers. You can get them from the Edifier site for $79.99. PC Power and Cooling Silencer MKIII 1200W Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pc-power-and-cooling-silencer- mkiii-1200w-review/18501.html December 24th, 2012 PC Power and Cooling. A legendary name amongst enthusiasts a decade ago, as it was one of the very few companies which offered truly high end power supplies at the time. Although OCZ annexed PC Power and Cooling 5 years ago, they kept the company running even though OCZ also markets power supplies under their own brand name. Today we are having a look at one of the latest PC Power and Cooling power supplies, the Silencer MKIII 1200W unit. PC Power and Cooling. A legendary name amongst enthusiasts a decade ago, as it was one of the very few companies which offered truly high end power supplies at the time. Although OCZ annexed PC Power and Cooling 5 years ago, they kept the company running even though OCZ also markets power supplies under their own brand name. Today we are having a look at one of the latest PC Power and Cooling power supplies, the Silencer MKIII 1200W unit. When OCZ bought PC Power and Cooling, many of the company's original trends, such as the use of a single 80mm fan and the bashing of modular designs, have been erased. As a matter of fact, the third revision of the Silencer series which we are about to review today is both a modular design and is using a large 140mm fan. These are not the only notable points of this power supply which comes with
  • 158. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 numerous features and certifications, the details of which we will examine in this review. Manufacturer’s features • 1200W Continuous @ 50C • SLI and CrossFire Ready • 80-Plus Platinum Certified (92% Efficiency); .98 Active PFC • 140mm double ball-bearing fan • Up to 90% (10dB) Less Noise per Watt • +12VDC @99.5A (Powerful Single Rail) • Premium Components with 100% Japanese 105°C Capacitors • Modular Cabling Design • Dual Thermal Control System: Normal and Silent Operation • 7-Year Warranty and Tech Support Manufacturer’s specifications AC Input Operating Range: 115-240 VAC 0.98 power factor Frequency: 50/60Hz Current: 15A Efficiency: 92% typical load (80+ Platinum) EMI: FCC Class-B, CE DC Output Output: +3.3V@20A,+5V@20A, +12V@99.5A, -12V@0.5A,+5VSB@2.5A Regulation: 3% (+3.3V, +5V, +12V) 5% (-12V, +5Vsb) Ripple: 1% (p-p) Hold Time: 40ms minimum PG Delay: 100-500ms Safety Over Voltage Protection: +3.3V, +5V, +12V Over Current Protection: 135% OPP Agency Approval: cTÜVus, CB, TÜV, CCC, C- tick, GOST, BSMI, China RoHS, WEE, RoHS Environmental Temperature: 0-50°C Humidity: 10-90% Fan Type: 140mm, ball bearing, thermally controlled Miscellaneous Compatibility: ATX12V & EPS12V M/B Connectors: 1 x 20+4-pin ATX 2 x 4+4-pin CPU Video Connectors: 6 x 6+2-Pin PCI-E Drive Connectors: 4 x Peripheral 12 x 5-pin SATA 1 x FDD Adapter MTBF: 100,000 Hours Dimensions/Harness: 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) x 180mm (L) Power Cord: US, EU, UK, CN, AU, JP, KCC Warranty: 7-Years Fake apps posing as Halo 4: iOS users get scammed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fake-apps-posing-as-halo-4-ios- users-get-scammed/18500.html December 24th, 2012 Apple has recently made a rather large blunder - approving not one, but two apps that claim to be Halo 4. While they certainly look to be official ports of the official game, one is actually a racing game, while the other is a chess game. Well, what do we have here? Looks like someone ported Halo 4 to the iPhone and iPad just in time for Christmas! However, don't be fooled because not all things are as they seem. There are two apps out in the AppStore, promoting themselves as Halo 4. What are they really? The screenshots, the app logo, and even a 343 Industries copyright logo are pretty convincing, and the amount of buys have been getting out of hand. One of the apps is for iPhone and iPad and the other is iPhone only, each priced at $4.99. "Halo 4 for iPhone/iPad is the fourth in the Halo series where Master Chief returns to battle an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation," reads a summary of one of the games. How was Apple tricked? Many look to reviews to check if a game is really what it says it is, and these games have many five-star reviews purporting their validity. Each review requires a unique Apple ID and login, and there are hundreds of these fake reviews. Not only that, but the reviews are pretty staggering in the variation and depth. "I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile," says one review. “I'll update if I have a poor frame rate as some are claiming."
  • 159. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Apple has been shamed thoroughly on this one; the news has even made it into a recent LA Times article. While the games were finally removed, many people already lost their money on the purchase. The apps were put out just before the infamous “app freeze” - no new apps, bug fixes, or price changes are allowed during that period. This is also the highest revenue period for the App Store, being so close to the holidays. Someone out there made some nice pocket change off iOS users. YouTube cracks down on fake video views; Sony and UMG lose billions of views Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/youtube-cracks-down-on-fake-video- views-sony-and-umg-lose-billions-of-views/18499.html December 24th, 2012 Just recently, Google stripped Universal, Sony and other music labels of some 2 billion faked views from their respective YouTube channels. There has not been any word from the music labels in regards to the bust. The cumulative view counts that were recently stripped from Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, RCA records and a few others was in regards to what is known as ‘black hat’ view counts. The companies were using programs or paying a 3rd party that manipulated view counts on YouTube videos, which are essentially robot views. The purpose of the higher counts is to make the songs look more popular than they really were. Over 2 billion views combined were removed from the companies' videos. According to the statistics available on the website socialblade, it was apparent that Universal was the biggest instigator with a loss of 1 billion in view count from a former statistic of 7 billion views total on all videos. Sony/BMG was the second largest with a loss of 850 million views, which brought their total down to 2.3 million views. RCA lost 159 million views bringing their total view count to 120 million views. While the news is mildly shocking to some, it means a lot more when you look deeper into what the companies were doing. By manipulating views and making them appear more popular, they were able to get more advertisements near or on the videos themselves. Google has been meticulously making major changes in how YouTube looks and operates. The crackdown on fraudulent activities on YouTube extended beyond big corporations and businesses as Google tracked down many individuals and cited them for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service (TOS) agreement. At first many users thought it was a bug or some other glitch when they received notices. However, that theory of a glitch was quickly put to rest when a Google representative informed users in a YouTube forum that the notices were in regards to violations in their view count policy. The notice also directed users to a page titled 'Views and 3rd party services'. The webpage goes over how YouTube uses view counts and that any person or company engaging in deceptive view counts may be terminated from the site. The violation in question is specifically mentioned in YouTube’s TOS item 4, Section H, which bans users from creating fake views. In part it reads, “You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, ‘robots,’ spiders’, or ‘offline readers,’ that accesses the Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.” So far none of the music labels who were caught with faked views have made an official comment. Banning spree continues - Blizzard bans thousands on Diablo III Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/banning-spree-continues--blizzard- bans-thousands-on-diablo-iii/18497.html December 24th, 2012 The ban hammer has visited Diablo III as thousands of players have been banned by Blizzard, for using bots, cheating, and other horrid deeds. This, however, begs the question: Does the ban come too late?
  • 160. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 We have seen a good deal of banning going on this month in the world of gaming – from new games like Planetside 2 to established games like League of Legends, companies everywhere seem to have gotten sick of certain players and neither casual nor pro players are safe. Whether it's negative attitude or cheating, big name games are cutting away the fat. Diablo III has had its share of news-making: from the controversial release of its real-money marketplace, to the idea of the game itself (a third edition of a very old title). Now, Blizzard released a bit of news: it has gone and banned thousands of players on Diablo III. Why land the ban hammer? For using bots, cheating, and also “undermining the spirit of fair play.” “We’ve recently issued account bans to several thousand Diablo III players who were found to be using botting programs while playing. In addition to undermining the spirit of fair play, botting, hacking, and other forms of cheating can also cause technical problems with the game as well as contribute to performance issues with the Battle.net service,” said Lylirra, a Blizzard community manager, on the official forums. Many are saying that this is too little and too late as players have been complaining about the increase in cheating and bot-usage for months now. The company plans to put in changes, however, to make it easier for players to report the hackers and abusers of the game. “We will also be adding the ability for players to report this kind of behavior directly through the game client in a future patch,” added Lylirra. For now, Blizzard is urging players to report cheating, botting, and other illegal deeds on the forums. Even so, many have abandoned the game entirely, and Blizzard is hoping this move will attract old and new players alike. One thing is for sure, the ban hammer has seen a lot of light recently. What game will it strike next? RIM agrees to license Nokia's patented tech to settle dispute Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rim-agrees-to-license-nokia-s- patented-tech-to-settle-dispute/18496.html December 24th, 2012 Research In Motion (RIM) and Nokia Corporation have officially ended their patent dispute and have announced a settlement deal that includes RIM obtaining the rights to Nokia's WLAN patented technologies. Research in Motion (RIM) has come to an agreement with Nokia to pay the company a one-time settlement for Nokia’s patent dispute litigation. However, the agreement also stipulates that RIM will pay Nokia for the rights to continue using their patented technology, which is essentially a lease agreement. The lawsuits began when the Finland-based Nokia argued that the Canada-based RIM was using their wireless networking technology. RIM did agree that they were implementing WLAN in their products, but they contested that their initial contract with Nokia covered the usage. The court did not agree and RIM was ordered to pay Nokia royalties on the technologies or their BlackBerry line of smartphones would risk a sales injunction with no chance of appeal. Both companies publicly stated that all former issues involving any patent usage disputes had officially ended in every sales region. In regards to the deal made between the two, neither the cash value nor any of the patents agreed upon for usage was made public In an official press statement, Paul Melin, who serves as Nokia’s chief intellectual property officer, stated, "We are very pleased to have resolved our patent licensing issues with RIM and reached this new agreement, while maintaining Nokia's ability to protect our unique product differentiation. This agreement demonstrates Nokia's industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market." Nokia further noted in their press release that the company has spent nearly $60 billion in research and development over the past two decades. Nokia says that they have “built the wireless industry's strongest and broadest IPR portfolio, with around 10,000 patent families.” In other news, RIM saw their shares of BlackBerry plummet drastically by 23% on Friday, December 21st after the company's quarterly sales report was released. RIM's revenue for its fiscal third quarter dropped 47% to $2.7 billion as shipment of Blackberry devices dropped
  • 161. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 from 7.4 million to 6.9 million this year as compared to last’s. During the financial quarter before last, RIM’s reports shows 80 million subscribers as compared this past quarter of 79 million subscribers. In an effort to help boost sales, company CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company would be lowering prices on their BlackBerry 7 units along with service fees that it charges carriers. The release of the BlackBerry 10 with its newly designed operating system will debut on January 30, 2013. The new BlackBerry 10 is supposed to be an innovative design targeted at their larger competitors like that of Samsung or Apple, which have the vast majority of the smartphone market. Nevertheless, RIM only captured a mere 5% of the smartphone market worldwide in 2012. That share is predicted to drop by another percentage point in the next 3 years if current trends continue. New Minecraft documentary tells the story of Mojang Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-minecraft-documentary-tells- the-story-of-mojang/18492.html December 24th, 2012 2 Player Productions' new documentary Minecraft: The Story of Mojang chronicles the events that led to the development of one of the most iconic and popular Indie Games of our era. 2PlayerProductions takes an in-depth look at the mega- popular and ever-growing gaming sensation that is Minecraft, chronicling the story of Mojang's humble beginnings as a simple team of Indie developers who struck gold with their pixelated pickaxes and made one of the most iconic and popular video games of our era. The documentary, Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, is a feature-length video that takes viewers to Stockholm, Sweden, going behind the scenes with exclusive interviews with Markus "Notch" Persson and the rest of the Swedish dev team at Mojang (which is actually Swedish for "gadget"). "I kinda always knew I wanted to make games..."-- Markus "Notch" Persson, creator of Minecraft & founder of Mojang Fans of the best-selling cross-platform Indie will enjoy this documentary the most as Notch answers many questions, detailing his rise to fame and what it was like making Minecraft along with the rest of Team Mojang. Minecraft: The Story of Mojang actually was funded via Kickstarter, raising over two hundred thousand dollars way back in March of 2011--one thing was clear, even then: many people wanted this story to be told. Industry greats such as Peter Molyneaux and Tim Schafer offer insight on the game as well as prominent gamers Yogscast, The Shaft and Minecraft Teacher who have all been profoundly affected by the game as a whole. 2 Player Productions' documentary truly captures the magic of Minecraft, encapsulating the joy that millions of players all across the globe experience day after day in the game's pixelated world that's full of endless possibilities.
  • 162. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Gamers truly have a passion for Minecraft. Whether it’s a passing hobby or you're a hardcore gamer, it's the every man's game. It doesn't matter how old you are, or if you only like certain types of games, Minecraft has something for everyone. Millions of gamers have been touched (and still are being touched) by the magic of the game, allowing them to create virtually anything out of pixelated blocks. A simple Google search of "Minecraft creations" brings up thousands of incredible creations, all painstakingly created by fans of Notch's low-res Indie masterpiece. At its heart, both the documentary and the game are social experiences, ones that players and gamers can share with one another all across the world. Gamers have a distinct passion for Mojang's amazingly fun block-builder slash RPG that range from simple curiosity to hundreds of hours of game time. Minecraft has affected the gaming world and has paved the way for Indie Games as a whole, breathing life into the oft- beleaguered genre. If it does one thing, it shows that a game can be magical and hugely entertaining and not cost a fortune or have immensely good graphics: at its heart, Minecraft brings the kid out in all of us and lets every gamer rekindle the magic of gaming in a living, thriving virtual environment. Minecraft; The Story of Mojang touches upon all of these elements and delivers an experience that every fan of the game will enjoy. It tells the story of Mojang from its humble beginnings to its rise to fame and everything in between, showing that the majesty of gaming that attracts players of all walks of life can be tapped without million dollar development companies or next-generation graphics. 2 Player Production's documentary truly is an adventure through the dynamic and heartfelt story of one of the most popular and enjoyable games of our time and is a great watch for every Indie gamer or dev, big or small. Minecraft: The Story of Mojang will be available later today on Dec. 23, 2013 as a DRM-free download on Redux.com. i Zynga Japan branch to shut down; fails to woo Japanese social gamers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zynga-japan-branch-to-shut-down- fails-to-woo-japanese-social-gamers/18491.html December 24th, 2012 Zynga, the company that brought to the market FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and by extension, Draw Something (Zynga owns Omgpop), is closing its branch in Japan come January. After a cut of 5% of its workforce in October to optimize its operations, Zynga now decides to eradicate its offices in Japan in effort to trim its less profitable parts. Gree, Zynga’s Japan competitor, has made it tough for Zynga in the Japanese market. In 2010, Zynga attempted to compete by buying out Unoh Games (a Tokyo based company), but to no avail present day. Kenji Matsubara, CEO of Zynga Japan posted to Facebook the announcement of the closure. In it, he thanked those who supported and played Zynga and stated "Zynga Japan will dissolve effective January 31, 2013." He continued by saying operations will continue up until that date. Zynga executives tossed around the idea of a closure in October after the 5% layoff, so the idea was not impromptu. In fact, Zynga has seen some tough times this quarter. They had to put an end to three of their games—the ones that did not match up to their more successful titles. Nevertheless, Zynga is still a major player in social gaming despite recent slips in some markets. Samsung suing Apple over Notification Center Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-suing-apple-over- notification-center/18490.html December 24th, 2012 Samsung has filed suit in South Korea over Apple’s version of the notification center found in Apple’s iOS. The
  • 163. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 clarification center found in Apple’s iOS is seemingly identical to the one found in the Android operating system. A report mentioned in the Korean on-line news site iNews24.com states that Samsung Electronics is angry over Apple’s notification center found in the Apple iOS. The lawsuit, which was filed in the South Korean court, claims patent infringement on that application, but no other details on the lawsuit were mentioned. Apple added the notification center on their line of iPhones in 2011 on the iOS 5. However, this suit filed by Samsung against Apple could very well develop into a much bigger issue since the Android operating system notification center is a Google invention. Furthermore, Google was awarded the patent on the notification center in November 2012, which lends to some theories that Samsung’s suit against Apple was waiting for the patent to go through with Google. In other news, Samsung recently received an official complaint from the European Commission on a misuse on their smartphone patents against Apple. The Commission’s ‘Statement of Objection’ was sent to Samsung on Friday, December 21, 2012. The EC’s opinion was that Samsung was not acting fairly in regards to their property rights claims against Apple. The patent claims are in reference to the European Telecommunications’ Standardization Institute’s 3G UMTS, adopted European industry-Standard on all mobile phones. If the European Commission determines that Samsung has violated patent law they have the power to impose a 10 percent fine of Samsung’s total annual profits, which would be a massive fine. Samsung will be given the opportunity to reply to the Commission in writing and requesting a live hearing and state their case. For some time now there has been a wave of lawsuits against Samsung from Apple over all manner of devices and ideas. Many of the cases were thrown out, but a few have made history such as the 1.05 billion dollar settlement against Samsung settled by a California jury in August 2012. Apple was claiming in the lawsuit filed in August 2011 that Samsung stole Apple’s ideas in their smartphones and was seeking 2.5 billion (U.S) dollars in damages. The jury threw out a lot of the claims made by Apple, but did stick Samsung with the 1.05 billion dollar (U.S.) settlement in favor of Apple. The settlement was the largest in history between two electronics makers. Samsung immediately appealed the case. Wells Fargo web site troubles persist, U.S. OCC issues DDoS Cyber Alert Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/wells-fargo-web-site-troubles- persist-u.s.-occ-issues-ddos-cyber-alert/18487.html December 24th, 2012 Wells Fargo has been having intermittent interruptions with their on-line banking fearing another DDoS cyber attack. The U.S. Federal Office of Comptroller Currency has been investigating the issue. Wells Fargo, which is the fourth largest banking institution in the U.S., recently told customers they may have intermittent or no access to their online banking due to what is believed to be another DDoS attack. While the flood of traffic has let up, the bank said customers might still encounter interruptions during the next few days. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller Currency (OCC) has been called in by Wells Fargo to investigate the matter. Wells Fargo spokeswoman Bridget Braxton stated that the bank’s IT personnel were working hard to isolate the problem. Braxton further iterated that they would be working with federal authorities to see if the attacks can be thwarted. A hacking operation calling itself the “Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters” has been targeting many of the larger international banks using denial of service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS works by inundating a website with thousands of hits per second thereby slowing down or even shutting down the site entirely. The group has been on a campaign against many U.S. banks of late and this latest attack on Wells Fargo may be from this same group. "A DDoS attack seeks to deny Internet access to bank services by directing waves of Internet-based traffic from compromised computers to the bank. In some instances, sophisticated groups shift their tactics during attacks and target Internet service providers (ISP),” reads a December 21, 2012 OCC memo on the attacks. The memo goes on to say that the fraudsters also use DDoS to distract the banking personnel so they can gain access to user accounts. Additionally, the memo states, “In this scenario, the DDoS can occur immediately before, during, or after the attack. DDoS attacks also have been used to deny bank customers the opportunity to report suspected fraud and to block the banks’ customer-alert communications.” On December 10, 2012, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters announced via a Pastebin posting that they would start on their "second phase" of their attacks on five major U.S. banks by DDoS. So far U.S. Bank, Bank of America, PNC Financial Services Group, JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust have all been targets. A more recent December 18th , 2012 Pastebin post from al- Qasam states that their attacks would continue and that they had a bit more up their sleeve, so to speak. “The past week’s attacks, showed our ability in doing wideness attacks so efficiently and of course this is not all of the Izz ad-Din al- Qassam’s ability.” According to al-Qassam, they have committed their attacks because of “widespread and organized offends (sic) to Islamic spirituals and holy issues”. They further stated that a film widely available on the Internet had insulted the Holy Prophet Mohammad. While the group did not mention the film by name, it is presumably the same film that appeared on YouTube earlier this year that caused so much controversy in the Middle East. Phase one of the DDoS attacks began in the middle of September and ran through most of October. Al-Qassam claimed they effectively attacked 10 major banks but each bank was warned ahead of time concerning the attacks. While some banks were able to hold back the DDoS to some
  • 164. December 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 extent, no bank was able to prevent any of the attacks from happening. Al-Qassam has not stated what their plans are for 2013, but until more banks switch to more cloud-based servers, DDoS will continue to be a major nuisance for on-line banking systems and websites.
  • 165. December 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Wording of Amazon's "Kindle Care" looks eerily similar to Apple Care Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/wording-of-amazon-s-kindle-care- looks-eerily-similar-to-apple-care/18521.html December 26th, 2012 In mid-December, Amazon filed with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office an attempt to trademark the Kindle wordmark. Seems normal, right? For the most part, yes. However, Amazon quietly included an interesting description of Kindle associated goods. Maintenance, repair, updating and installation services for computer hardware, computer peripherals, computer networks and consumer electronic devices; consulting services in the field of physical maintenance of computer hardware, computer peripherals, computer networks and consumer electronic devices; technical support services, namely, troubleshooting in the nature of the repair of computer hardware." So what's the big idea? Well, coincidentally it looks rather similar to Apple's AppleCare statement. It's notable that the statements are practically identical. However, there's no room to point the finger at Amazon for the idea. After all, who wouldn't want protection and care for their beloved gadgets? With the approval of Amazon's application, their warranty will significantly better itself. Talks from consumers and techies are calling it Kindle Care, but Amazon probably won't copy that, too. More details coming out about Windows "Blue" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/more-details-coming-out-about- windows-blue-/18522.html December 26th, 2012 While Microsoft may not be overly happy with the less than enthusiastic response to Windows 8 that hasn't stopped from getting ready for the next version that is going by the codename 'Blue'. Even though we are still some ways away from being able to get our hands on what is being referred to as 'Windows Blue', it hasn't stopped some of the people working on the project from sending out some teasers much like the person posting on a Taiwanese forum; which the other members of the forum have identifies as being a Microsoft official. This person apparently is running an alpha version of this next iteration of Windows and has indicated that the company will be keeping the much maligned Start Menu as well as the overall Metro design. However, one of the tidbits is that we will be able to customize the Start Screen with resizable tiles, much like Windows Phone 8. For those hoping that the company would step away from hiding the desktop you may commence whining now as the poster said that the "Desktop" will still be there but will undergo even more flattening. The final tidbit was that the new "Blue" version of Windows will be getting an updated kernel which is supposed to bring some major changes to the core of the OS. One should point out that "Blue" is still rumor bait as there has been no "official" word about it or what we can expect from it. Cloud-based GPS cuts smartphone power usage by 99% Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cloud-based-gps-cuts-smartphone- power-usage-by-99-/18516.html December 26th, 2012 A new Microsoft Research project shows that smartphone battery life can be saved by as much as 99% by using the cloud instead of only using a smartphone’s GPS Chip. The location GPS chip found in smartphones and tablets grab most of our battery life due to the amount of work they must do for our devices to operate. Not only does it take a considerable amount of time to accumulate the GPS data,
  • 166. December 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 the location chips must then calculate our location based on the codes received from the data received. Now Microsoft’s Jei Liu says that we could be saving as much as 99% of our power in our mobile devices. His idea is simple, we just simply offload the majority of the work onto the cloud and save that coveted power we need to operate those devices we love so much. This new system that Liu developed will grab only the first few milliseconds of the most important data needed for the GPS chip. Then on a remote server the data is crossed referenced with other information gathered from public databases, such as Earth elevation values and satellite trajectories. Since the majority of the work determining location is done by another entity it saves the mobile device’s energy consumption. What is really impressive is that Liu says that the system can perform continuous GPS sensing for well over a year using only the power contained in two AA size batteries. The original design concept was developed to conserve battery life for animal-tracking systems, which is often the main culprit of lost research done in the wild. Liu calls the new concept ‘cloud-offloaded GPS’, and the system itself being called the ‘Cultivating the Long tail in Environmental Observations’ or CLEO. The research on the subject was presented at this past 10th annual ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys 2012) held at Toronto, Quebec; Liu was awarded 'Best Paper' over all other entries. Lower power consumption GPS on mobile devices means continuous location logging, which translates into a smarter mobile device, according to Liu. In theory, you could monitor your driving speed or habits on a real time basis or any manner of real time GPS data research. You can read the paper in its entirety here in PDF format. It seems Hollywood love pirated movies too Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/it-seems-hollywood-love-pirated- movies-too/18519.html December 26th, 2012 The movie industry and their lapdog trade groups, like the MPAA, do their damnedest to paint everyone using BitTorrent as nothing but worthless pirating scum who are trying to destroy the very fabric of our society, or at least the movie industry's pocketbook. So it is pretty hilarious when you find out that those very same companies are also more than happy to pirate movies using BitTorrent. As we all know the big Hollywood movie companies and their trade group, MPAA, do everything in their power to demonize BitTorrent users as being nothing more than common thieves and that they are totally responsible for the movie industry losing billions of dollars. They are also the driving force behind the implementation coming this year of the "six strikes" copyright alert plans that is supposed to be used to help 'educate' the public about the dangers of piracy and show them more legitimate sources for their movie needs. It is this type of hypocrisy that makes this news from TorrentFreak and Scaneye all the more hilarious. You see the results of their investigation show that rather than wanting to stay as far away as they can from BitTorrent, these Hollywood companies are in fact right up there when it comes to sharing movies on the service. What follows is a series of images of lists of movies available on BitTorrent and the static IP address for the different movie companies. Keep in mind as well that TorrentFreak says that these are just a small fraction of the files being shared - sort of the tip of the iceberg. First up we have Paramount Pictures: Next up - Warner Bros.: Now for Sony Pictures: Here's a little bit of 20th Century Fox: And let's finish off with good old Walt Disney: It's also important to keep in mind as well that even as the movie companies and the MPAA moan and cry to anyone who listen about how much these damn pirates are ruining
  • 167. December 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 their business, the fact is that 2012 is going to end up being another record year money-wise for them at the box office. Two-way multi-function USB drive makes device storage access easier Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/two-way-multi-function-usb-drive- makes-device-storage-access-easier/18518.html December 26th, 2012 The 600-GUSD Series is a new product line by Sanwa Direct that features a two-way access option for both PC's and Android mobile devices by having both a full USB and a microUSB plug in its hardware. Connecting USB flash drives to Android devices is easy. All you need is a proper adapter and presto, your unit now has another outlet for extra data storage. But don't you find those adapters kind of hard to use? Well, Sanwa Direct provides another alternative to Android/PC USB access, with the 600-GUSD series. It is a new set of USB flash drives that can be accessed in two ways without the need of additional external hardware. The 600-GUSD flash drive can be accessed via a full USB plug at one end, and via a microUSB plug at the other. So, after using it on a PC, you can simply flip it on the other side if you want to connect it to your Android mobile device later. You can intuitively use it as some sort of universal external, portable storage device to almost any device or computer that you have at home. There's virtually no need to resort to USB adapters, which can be difficult to use, and may render the device unwieldy if it needs to be connected for a certain period of time. Additionally, there is a small slot beside the full USB plug that can be used to plug in microSD cards. This way it can also act as an SD card adapter for file transfers or if you need more than two microSD cards in your Android device at that moment. While it can be plugged on any Android device with a microUSB slot, it of course does not have universal compatibility. Only versions of Android that have inherent universal USB storage compatibility (Honeycomb and up) are the ones capable of recognizing 600-GUSD flash drives. The two-way access concept of the 600-GUSD probably isn't the most novel idea out there for a USB flash drive, but it does earn a considerable amount of bonus points in access convenience. Currently, there are two versions that are available commercially. The 4GB version (600-GUSD4G) of the product is priced at 1,980 yen (24 USD), while the 8 GB version (600-GUSD8G) is priced at 2,480 yen (30 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) Slash the Germ Side of the Force Away with the Influsaber Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/slash-the-germ-side-of-the-force- away-with-the-influsaber/18517.html December 26th, 2012 The Influsaber is a home-use device that is designed to shoot a wide beam of ultraviolet light on a specific item to sterilize it. It has been widely claimed nowadays that touchscreens can be dirtier than toilet items. But even if we clean our hands or our phones, we're still not quite sure how clean we could still really be. That's where the idea of on-hand sterilization comes up, and that's where this nifty gadget comes in.
  • 168. December 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The Influsaber is a special home-use device that is designed to sterilize objects and things using a wide beam of ultraviolet light. As it is widely known, ultraviolet radiation, particularly the UV-C part of it, has strong anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties due to its capability to destroy the genetic structure of microorganisms. The product was presented and developed by Forcemedia, and it has a usage theme centering on the elimination of very common bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli (bacteria that while not inherently harmful, may be the occasional cause of infections and other common bacteria-related ailments). To use the gadget, you simply have to set a specific amount of time, place it above the target object, and let it bathe in the light until the time expires. Though it can be set to operate for a maximum extended period of about 3 hours, the standard 5-minute UV bathing time period is usually already enough to remove most of the organisms on the objects surface. For those who are worried about getting those UV rays pointed somewhere where they shouldn't be, don't worry. The Influsaber is designed so that it would automatically turn off if the UV bulb is positioned in any way other than facing laterally downwards. The UV bulb that is used in the Influsaber is rated to have an operating longevity of about 8000 hours, and powering it would require the use of four AA batteries. The product also comes with protective goggles for added usage safety. The Influsaber is available in Japan for a price of 9,999 yen (123 USD) Source: Androwire (JP) Scientists create an inexpensive peel-and-stick solar cell Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-create-an-inexpensive- peel-and-stick-solar-cell/18513.html December 26th, 2012 Scientists working with Stanford University have invented the first ever, peel-and-stick solar cells. Working the same way as glass encased solar cells, these cells are highly flexible, ultra thin and can be attached to practically any surface. Researchers working at Stanford University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering have successfully demonstrated the first working peel-and-stick solar cells. Once fabricated these efficiently produced solar cells are applied to practically any substrate much in the same way a regular sticker is applied. The process for the new solar cell begins with growing a layer of silicon dioxide onto a standard silicon wafer, and then a super thin layer of nickel metal is deposited on the wafer. The last step is to apply the final layer of a hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin-film solar cell (TFSC). Once complete the solar cells are covered in a thin plastic along with some thermal release tape. To apply the cell, one places it in regular tap water with the tape partially peeled. Water then permeates the layer between the nickel and silicon dioxide, and the cell separate from the wafer. Lastly, the thermal tape is heated briefly to nearly 200F and then the cell can be stuck to any surface with any kind of adhesive medium. This new solar cell would help develop new products and “directly build TFSCs on diverse previously inaccessible substrates, such as paper, plastic, cell phones and buildings.” The maker of the solar cell stickers claims that not only does it help preserves the TFSC performance, but will also help rid the problems previously associated with non- conventional substrates by getting rid of any previously needed fabrication, and allow direct application the target substrate. Furthermore, costs will be cut tremendously because less material is needed to build the functional solar cells. ReWalker bionic exoskeleton lets paraplegic compete in marathon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rewalker-bionic-exoskeleton-lets- paraplegic-compete-in-marathon/18509.html
  • 169. December 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 December 26th, 2012 We always look at those who run the fastest to be the big winners in marathons, but in the case of the recent London marathon the real winner was Claire Lomas. She took 17 days to complete the marathon thanks to the ReWalker exoskeleton that allowed the beautiful paraplegic to compete in the first place. In 1997 Dr. Remit Gopher, and Israeli electrical engineer, was in an accident that left him a quadriplegic and for the next ten years he worked hard at designing a device that would allow a paraplegic to walk again. Even though there have been mechanical devices for the past 50 years that could allow them to maneuver, the effort required by the wearer was immense. Gopher and Argo Medical Technologies (the company that actually makes the ReWalk) CEO Larry Jasinski knew that the only way to make a practical exoskeleton was if the energy requirements for the wearer should be no different than that of a person who wasn't injured in any way. The design of the ReWalker is such that the robotic exoskeleton attaches to the user's legs and waist, and can bear the weight of both the device and the user. Movement is much the same as using a Segway where the suit is controlled by shifts in the user’s center of gravity. There is a certain amount of training required but that can range from the average of 15 sessions to those that are quite proficient after three days. One of the important side benefits of the ReWalker is that it can help to reduce certain health conditions due to paraplegia. Many paraplegics experience depleted bone density, diabetes, reduce cardiovascular fitness, severe bowl problems, and rising body fat. In the studies involving the ReWalker and patient health, they are finding that patients are almost all showing reduced body fat and improved cardiovascular functions. The ReWalker is already available in Europe for 52,500 EUR, and while the price tag may seem high the company believes that the health impact on patients using them will more than pay for the system. The ReWalker is already being tested in 22 rehabilitation centers in the US. Once they get FDA approval to sell to the public, Argo Medical Technologies believes they will be able to sell the ReWalker for around the 65,000 USD mark. Rockstar Games celebrates Christmas Eve with new GTA V screens Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rockstar-games-celebrates- christmas-eve-with-new-gta-v-screens/18506.html December 26th, 2012 It's Christmas Eve and Rockstar Games wishes gamers across the world Happy Holidays with five brand new screenshots of Grand Theft Auto V. Stylin'! Rockstar Games has let us open some of our presents early on Christmas Eve, revealing five new screenshots for their highly anticipated fifth chapter of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Grand Theft Auto V is the most ambitious title to date, bringing in a slew of amazing features--including incredible graphics and expansive new in-game additions-- to deliver a highly enjoyable, crime-infused open-world gaming experience. Stay out of the water! The new screenshots (which were uploaded earlier on Rockstar's officical Facebook page) depict many random scenarios: Everything from a gigantic shark to a mini-scuba sub--hinting at that we will be able to explore the ocean for the first time in a GTA game--to one of the main characters cruising around town with his Rottie in the passenger seat. Explore the high seas! If you're not familiar with the backstory of Grand Theft Auto V, the game itself takes place in the fictional Los Santos,
  • 170. December 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 continuing Rockstar's tradition of fictitious and parody- infused environments. The city itself will be even more grandiose in terms of spaciousness, providing a huge area for gamers to explore and pushes the boundaries of open-world gameplay quite far. The three kings of GTA V are up to no good, as usual. GTA V follows a triumvirate of retired cons who ally together for one last job, breaking away from the traditional "lone wolf" character plots featured in the previous games. Players will experience the game through each of the character's perspectives, and Rockstar has even said that they will turn on each other and betray one another, making for an impressively dynamic story plot. Fighter jets!! There will be a huge variety of vehicles--including dozens of variations of cars, scuba subs, and even fighter jets--to roam the streets (and skies) of Los Santos, allowing players to wreak havoc in style as they see fit. GTA V truly brings that feeling of sandbox freedom that has been a staple in every Grand Theft Auto game, allowing gamers to do whatever they want whenever they want. It's the freedom to destroy everything and go ballistic that has afforded the franchise with so much acclaim, and Rockstar is bringing out the big guns with this new release for a truly unforgettable gameplay experience. Grand Theft Auto V is slated for release in Spring of 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more information, please visit the game's official website. Nokia's Windows tablet to have a battery-equipped keyboard cover Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nokia-s-windows-tablet-to-have-a- battery-equipped-keyboard-cover/18508.html December 26th, 2012 While the idea of Nokia coming out with a competitor to Microsoft's Surface tablet might still be more rumor than fact we have some more rumors floating around the web about some features that we can expect if Nokia does indeed launch a tablet. There have been ongoing rumors ever since Nokia launched their Lumia Windows Phone line that they would also be bringing a Windows powered tablet to market, and those rumors have been picking up in frequency as we head in to the New Year. The tablet is supposedly set to debut running Windows RT and come with HDMI and USB ports as well as a 10.1- inch display that's very similar to the Microsoft Surface RT screen. Unlike the Surface, Nokia's tablet will come with cellular connectivity with AT&T rumored to be first to market with it. What does have everyone's interest though is the rumor that the tablet will be available with a special cover that envelops the tablet like a book, and once it has been clicked into place the cover provides a keyboard and a stand; but the goodies don't stop there as the cover will also have a battery built in to it. This additional battery can be used to power the tablet when it runs low on power from the main battery. It is believed that Nokia will unveil the tablet at the Mobile World Congress in February. Emotion recognition is the next step in human-computer interaction? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/emotion-recognition-is-the-next- step-in-human-computer-interaction-/18494.html December 26th, 2012 Voice recognition algorithms have advanced steadily in the past few years. And with a new Dragon coming out each year, the super-responsive and virtual friends Siri, and now with Google Voice Search, voice recognition is not going away anytime soon. But, even though we may be successful getting the computer to recognize our speech and transcribing it into words, how do we make the computer truly “understand” us? The way voice recognition works currently is based on one or both of the following modes. The acoustic model uses statistics to turn sounds into words. Once the first part of a
  • 171. December 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 word is spoken, there are only a finite number of subsequent sound combinations that would lead to a recognized word. The language model attempts to match words that usually go together. Though I can train my computer to convert my speech to text, other scenarios may pose additional problems, such as background noise, different accents and poor sound quality. Further, when I speak to Dragon or to Siri, or any of a number of my other virtual friends, I have to be deliberate and clear in my speech. We may think we are training the computers, but in reality, the computers are training us, because natural speech does not work that way. Natural, conversational speech is, more often than not, too fast and unclear for computers to understand. (Disney and Pixar's WALL-E captivated young and old alike with the emotional tale of robots that can 'love'.) Peter Robinson, Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, wants to change all that. He wants computers to not only understand what we are saying, but how we are saying it. Along with just the words themselves, come a wide variety of cues as to the emotions of the speaker. For instance, facial expressions, tone of voice, head movement and body movement all provide subtext to the meaning of the words. To account for this, Robinson has programmed into his computer 400 predefined mental states, which are triggered by reading these expressions and movements in the speaker. “The computer can correctly read my mind more than 70% of the time, and that’s as well as most people can understand me,” he remarks. Robinson is not satisfied however with just having the computer read his emotions. Rather, he wants a computer that can respond emotionally as well. Of course, not all of us want such an emotional collection of bytes. I, for one, want my computer to do what I tell it to do. I don’t need a computer to do what it feels like doing. I’ve got children for that.
  • 172. December 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. iPad 5 to be thinner and lighter than iPad 3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ipad-5-to-be-thinner-and-lighter- than-ipad-3/18535.html December 28th, 2012 If you think Apple’s current iPad 3 isn’t thin or light enough, then the iPad 5 may gratify your needs for extra mobility. Some rumors out of China are suggesting that the next iPad will have 4mm shaved off its height, 17mm from the width, and 2mm from its depth. Apple’s iPad mini launched roughly six months after the iPad 3’s inauguration, and this may also be the case for the iPad 5. There are reports hinting that the iPad 5’s design will be very similar to that of the iPad mini—meaning less bezel and more screens on either side. Additionally, Apple is also purported to be working on a second gen iPad mini that will sport a Retina display. The screen size of the iPad 5 will probably maintain the standard 9.7-inch, and there are talks about possible integration of Sharp’s IGZO display technology into the next iPad. However, the technology itself hasn’t matured enough as yield rates and availability of manufacturing lines are major concerns. It’s relatively safe to say that the iPad 5 will have a thinner and shorter profile compared to the iPad 3. The processor will probably remain an A6, and 1GB of RAM to keep things going—although 1.5-2GB isn’t out of the question. As for the shooters, the current iPad 3 sports a 5MP rear camera, and a 1.2MP front shooter. An 8MP rear camera will definitely be a nice upgrade, although 5MP is still somewhat up to date for a tablet. Science and Technology's Greatest Achievements of 2012 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/science-and-technology-s-greatest- achievements-of-2012/18533.html December 28th, 2012 The year 2012 has seen great strides in scientific and technological advances, from landing Curiosity on Mars, to the technology to transplant organs with 3D printed images. To follow are some of the more memorable achievements of 2012. Curiosity on Mars NASA accomplished one of the most complicated landings ever attempted by landing the 2000-pound Rover Curiosity on the surface of Mars in what is now known as the 7 minutes of terror. Curiosity has been taking Martian samples ever since, and back in September, proved that the soil contains remnants water, a necessary ingredient for life. NASA scientist explained that the large and rounded pieces of gravel found on Mars “are too large to be transported by wind. The consensus of the science team is that these are water-transported gravels in a vigorous stream.” The Higgs Boson Physicists at CERN announced in July that they had most likely discovered the Higgs Boson, the missing piece of particle physics that would either prove or disprove things we know and believe about the Standard Model of physics. The Higgs Boson is believed to be the particle that gives mass to the otherwise massless particles, and would therefore explain how the universe was created out of nothing. The Smallest Vertebrate Scientists discovered the smallest vertebrate so far, a frog living in the rainforests of New Guinea. The Paedophryne amanuensis measures in at 7.7 millimeters long, the size of a housefly. The First Solo Dive to the Deepest Point on Earth Director James Cameron accomplished the first solo dive down to the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on Earth, 11 kilometers below the Pacific Ocean. The Highest Skydive
  • 173. December 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 On the other end of the spectrum, Felix Baumgartner accomplished the highest skydive ever, by jumping from literally the edge of space, 24-miles high. Though he did not break the free fall record at 4 minutes and 20 seconds, he was the first to break the sound barrier without a jet or space shuttle. Oh, and by the way, he landed on his feet. A Step Forward in Breast Cancer Research Scientists in the UK found that breast cancer is not one disease, but can be differentiated into 10 types, a finding which will help tailor treatment and potentially increase survival rates. 3-D Liver Printing In the United States, an artificial liver made of sugar was printed in 3D, for blood vessels to grow into. An artificial jaw was also printed in 3D and successfully transplanted. 3D printing will continue to grow in usage and popularity in the coming year. Home 3D printers will soon drop below the $2,000 mark. Brian Barrett, the managing editor of the blog Gizmodo, explains, “Instead of printing ink onto paper, it takes these little spools of plastic, [usually], and you can feed it instructions and it will use that to form basically any shape that you want, whether it's a utensil or a replica of the White House," he said. "You can go on the Internet, find a design, download it, send it to your 3D printer, and in the course of either several minutes or several hours, depending on how large your order is, it will construct this thing. What's fascinating about it is the limits are only as far as the imagination goes." Mobile Technology Mobile technology develops at an ever rapid pace each year, as more and more people are using their mobile devices in lieu of computers for most tasks. Microsoft joined the fray with its new Windows 8, specifically engineered for touchscreen use. It is growing increasingly evident that touchscreen laptops will soon become the industry standard. 2012 has been quite a year for science and technology, and with the rapid development of new technologies, 2013 promises to see growth at an even faster rate. So, fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be quite a ride. Century develops live info terminal for earthquakes in Japan Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/century-develops-live-info-terminal- for-earthquakes-in-japan/18534.html December 28th, 2012 The JMB-AH is an information terminal that is specifically used to monitor seismic activity all across Japan from a home or on other places where there are a large number of people. It can provide live, real-time data, so users in Japan can have an early warning forecast of an impending earthquake. Japan's has a particular "specialty" for earthquakes due to its location. In fact, we all know that one of the worst ones just happened a year ago. That is why it is always an imperative task for the Japanese to develop their technologies in measuring and predicting seismic activity as accurate as they could. Getting the entire nation to know the current "ground status" is also equally important, as what this new innovation from Century demonstrates. The JMB-AH is an advanced emergency earthquake information relay terminal. This particular model is designed for general, all-purpose use, allowing it to be easily placed and installed at homes and at various facilities like schools and train stations where information can be quickly accessed. The terminal connects to the internet, and relays all kinds of seismic activity data such as an earthquake's magnitude, epicenter, the entire area affected, duration and the time left before it arrives. All of the information can be presented in the terminal in real time, so information about earthquakes in other areas can be sent instantly to help people take an early and immediate course of action. Though the JMB-AH has its own "advanced user" mode, it is of course made to be generally user-friendly. The advanced user setting is mostly set only when the unit is installed in locations where it is required to be used by professionals and researchers in earthquake-related fields. The JMB-AH uses a 240x320 LCD touchscreen. Aside from live seismic activity data, it is also capable of providing minor data-related stuff such as a tuner radio capability. It also has slots that allow mobile devices to be charged. It requires four AA batteries to work, but it can also be plugged to an AC socket. Its dimensions are 146 x 43 x 101mm and it weighs 350 grams. The price for the JMB-AH is set at 31,500 yen (390 USD). The information it sends via the internet though is totally free. Source: MyNavi (JP) Samsung wants to ban sales of Ericsson products in U.S. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-wants-to-ban-sales-of- ericsson-products-in-u.s./18532.html
  • 174. December 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 December 28th, 2012 Samsung retaliates with an official request of sales and import ban with the International Trade Commission (ITC), continuing the ongoing Ericsson-Samsung legal battle. The Ericsson-Samsung dispute gains more momentum as Samsung retaliates in the ensuing legal altercation, returning fire against Ericsson's alleged accusations of Samsung's patent infringements. The South Korean telecom giant Samsung has retaliated against the Swedish Ericsson with a request to the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban sales and imports of certain Ericsson products in the United States. Samsung has accused Ericsson of violating and breaching seven of its patents, prompting Samsung to take legal action against the Swedish telecom company. "We have sought to negotiate with Ericsson in good faith. However, Ericsson has proven unwilling to continue such negotiations by making unreasonable claims, which it is now trying to enforce in court," Samsung Electronics said in a statement. "The accused Ericsson products include telecommunications networking equipment, such as base stations," Samsung said. A ban on even just a few products in the U.S. could harm Ericsson quite a bit, and considering Samsung's size and power within the ever-growing mobile market, it will be interesting to see which company the ITC finds at fault for these disputes. Ericsson may in fact be trying to make up for its recent loss in sales (which fell 17% in the third quarter) with patent income gleaned from the courts in this legal dispute--something that many major companies are resorting to. Samsung is also currently gridlocked into many legal battles with Apple, and this dispute seems to only add more fuel to the fire. We'll be sure to keep you updated on the Ericsson-Samsung battle as new information becomes available. Amazon accidentally reveals Grand Theft Auto V release date? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amazon-accidentally-reveals-grand- theft-auto-v-release-date-/18531.html December 28th, 2012 Amazon has become well-known for slipping up and accidentally posting release dates for upcoming games, and they may have continued the tradition with the release date of Grand Theft Auto V. Millions of gamers around the globe are looking forward to jumping into Los Santos, the fictional mock-city within Rockstar Games' latest chapter in the acclaimed franchise Grand Theft Auto V. If you're one of the millions of fans who are eager to wreak havoc on the streets and skies of Los Santos (and have already opened the Christmas present of five new screenshots that Rockstar gave you) then you'll be excited to hear the game may be coming sooner than you think. A slip-up on Amazon's listing page for GTA V revealed that the game may be releasing on March 26, 2013. But keep in mind this has not been officially confirmed, it's merely a date that was listed on Amazon's website, but it's pretty much the only solid date gamers have received thus far. It's interesting to note that this information has been taken off Amazon's GTA Vpage...but this could be due to two possibilities: either that the release date was right on the spot or that it was completely wrong. OXCGN.com has actually captured a screenshot of an e-mail sent out to everyone who pre-ordered Grand Theft Auto V at Amazon, showing the proposed release date.
  • 175. December 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The March date does fit into Rockstar's vague "Spring 2013" release window--a date which was actually leaked to the internet due to more retail slip-ups--but hasn't been confirmed nonetheless. Rockstar has remained tight-lipped on the subject, and this date actually co-incides with the release date of BioShock Infinite, which will put tremendous competition between two of the most-anticipated AAA games of 2013. If you're not up-to-date with the events of Grand Theft Auto V, it follows a triumvirate of anti-hero ex-cons who ally together for one last big job. With the huge open-world city of Lost Santos to explore that's complete with a variety of weapons, vehicles, and a city full of hilarious characters, GTA V looks to be one of the most exciting and enjoyable chapters of Rockstar's iconic franchise. Grand Theft Auto V is to be released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and for more information including screenshots and trailers please visit the game's official website. Marvell Technologies slapped with $1.17 billion for patent infringements Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/marvell-technologies-slapped- with-1.17-billion-for-patent-infringements/18529.html December 28th, 2012 An unknown error occured formatting this story. Oppo Find 5 32 GB model to launch in the U.S. and markets outside China Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/oppo-find-5-32-gb-model-to-launch- in-the-u.s.-and-markets-outside-china/18530.html December 28th, 2012 There is no official arrival date of Oppo’s Find 5 in the U.S, and if 16 GB storage is a turn off then there is an update which may peak your interest of Oppo's take at a phablet. Oppo’s recently launched Find 5 boasts impressive specs, but for a lot of smartphone enthusiasts the 16 GB of internal storage might be the biggest turn off. Worry not, because Oppo recently announced that a 32 GB model will follow suit locally as well as internationally. Aside from the increase internal storage, the 32 GB Find 5 will have the exact same specs as the 16 GB—and for completeness sake, the Find 5 sports a 5-inch 1920x1080 display (441 ppi), Qualcomm’s APQ8064 quad-core @ 1.5GHz, 16GB/32GB ROM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, a 2500mAh battery, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to boot. Along with the upgrade in internal storage, the Oppo Find 5 will be dropping in some additional countries, which include: Canada, UK, Spain, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium, Malaysia, Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Greece, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Japan and Hong Kong. Some sources are pointing to Q1 2013 as the launch time frame of the Oppo Find 5 internationally. However, even that time frame is blurred since Oppo has yet to confirm anything else besides its intent to explore global retail channels. For now, Oppo’s USA website is stating that the 32 GB Find 5 will cost $569.00, and $499.00 for the 16 GB model. Some can theorize that Oppo’s decision to tackle competitive markets like the U.S. is because Chinese competitors like ZTE and Huawei are struggling supplant themselves in foreign soils. Recent conspiracy theories slapped upon the Huawei and ZTE brand have made it extremely difficult for these Chinese companies to increase its market presence stateside. Therefore, it’s an opportune time for up and coming Chinese companies like Oppo to test the water of other markets with devices like the Find 5. Samsung has controlled a lot of the attention of the phablet scene in the U.S. (you can throw LG and HTC into that conversation, too), but globally people are becoming more and more interested in smartphones with 5+ inch displays regardless of the brands. Hence, a growing market in combination with hard times for its competitors means that Oppo has a chance in building brand awareness outside of China.
  • 176. December 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Apple's next iPhone may use Sharp's IGZO display technology Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-s-next-iphone-may-use-sharp- s-igzo-display-technology/18528.html December 28th, 2012 Sharp is struggling to maintain its foothold in the consumer tech industry, and IGZO might be part of the solution to the company's woes as Apple is considering using IGZO displays in the next installments of iPhone and iPad. Apple’s next iPhone installment won’t be for a while, but that won’t stop ‘industry analysts’ and moles from stirring up rumors about what Apple may have in store for smartphone/ tablet lovers in the coming months—or years. Sharp’s IGZO display technology has been well documented in the press, and it seems like Apple may be pondering IGZO’s application in the next iPhone. (Left: standard display, right: IGZO display | IMG: techjailbreak) Many Japanese tech firms are struggling right now, and Sharp is no exception. Despite its struggle, Sharp is still trying to maintain relevancy and IGZO is a testament to just that. IGZO—Indium gallium zinc oxide—is purported to have forty times higher electron mobility than amorphous silicon, which allows it to have smaller pixels or a higher display reaction speed*** . Furthermore, Sharp claims that a device utilizing the IGZO display technology can be thinner and much more energy efficient. Digitimes is saying that Apple is currently discussing the possibility of using IGZO displays in the next iPhone (among other Apple mobile devices) with Sharp. However, since the technology itself hasn’t matured in terms of yield rate, there is a high possibility that Sharp may not be able to meet demands this early in the game. There is, however, talk of possible use of Taiwan’s AU Optronics L5C line to produce IGZO displays. Innolux, another Taiwan-based firm, was recently granted license to produce IGZO displays, so this may also play role in whether or not Apple decides to go with IGZO in upcoming products. Apple's App Store still the biggest cash cow out there Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-s-app-store-still-the-biggest- cash-cow-out-there/18525.html December 28th, 2012 As is the case with every end of year celebrations we look to the market leaders like Apple, Android and others to see just how well they have done. In the case of competing App Stores there is no doubt who the winner is, and by a huge margin. As we come to the close of 2012 analytic firms of all types are prepping their famous (and sometimes questionable) reports on just about every aspect of the tech industry and leading the pack this year is the mobile app analytics company Distimo where they compared Apple's App Store vs. Google Play on Android handsets. Interestingly enough Google Play, according to Distimo, has been growing faster than the Apple App Store in recent months, but Play can't even come close to the daily revenues being generated by Apple's App Store. To give you an idea of just how big of a difference there is between the two consider this - on an average day in November 2012 the App Store made $150 million in revenue, whereas Google Play only generated $3.5 million in revenue; and this is with a growth of 43% in revenues. Of course one of the big things about the "app economy" is that these companies would have you believe that anyone can submit an app and find themselves making a good living. The problem with that is as we see from the Distimo is that this couldn't be farther from the truth as the report shows only seven iOS apps were responsible for 10% of the money being spent there. In the case of Google Play it was four apps that accounted for 10% of revenues.
  • 177. December 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 iPad and Surface sales according to Twitter Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ipad-and-surface-sales-according-to- twitter/18524.html December 28th, 2012 In what has to be a rather unorthodox style of data mining self-styled "information massage therapist", A.X. Ian took to Twitter for 24 hours following Christmas to find which of the tablets on the market was winning the sales numbers. Just to be clear here - this is not a scientific study by any stretch of the imagination - at the very best it's an interesting way to do some simple data mining on Twitter based on some specific keywords and then putting it altogether in a quickie chart that is guaranteed to go viral. What Mr. Ian did was to analyze the tweets being sent out on Christmas Eve that included the following phrase "first tweet from [ ]" with the blank obviously the name of the tablet the person was using Twitter on. The end result of his analysis: the Apple iPad is outselling the Microsoft Surface by an "incredible" 50-to-1 margin. Here is the full chart for you to look over. Now before all the Apple fan boys start patting each other on the back and point mocking fingers at Microsoft remember this - it's a silly 24hr study done by someone who can't even use his (or is it her?) real name on their Twitter page. I'm not suggesting that the iPad isn't trouncing the Surface - I totally expect it would - but let's not get too carried away with this silliness. MIT experiment realizes 'Quantum Spin Liquid' Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mit-experiment-realizes-quantum- spin-liquid-/18507.html December 28th, 2012 A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has discovered the first evidence of the Quantum Spin Liquid magnetic state within Herbertsmithite minerals. This month, MIT realized for the first time a new type of magnetism. Originally theorized by physicist Phil Anderson in 1973, MIT is the first to show evidence of a Quantum Spin Liquid (QSL) in crystalline herbertsmithite in an experiment by Professor Young Lee and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A chunk of Herbertsmithite The experiment began with the team spending years to grow small samples of very pure herbertsmithite crystals. They then used the process of neutron scattering to observe the signs of spin liquid physics. Using the Multi-Axis Crystal Spectrometer (MACS) at the NIST Center for Neutron Research, the team fired beams of neutrons at the samples and measured the energies from the scattered neutrons. Strong evidence for the discovery of the spin liquid came into focus after the energies recorded varied widely, unlike the uniform energies of most magnetic materials. This representation of neutron scattering shows the magnetic effects within Herbertsmithite crystals. The green regions depict a higher scattering of neutrons from the disorder. A highly-ordered magnetic material shows only small spots of green, while a highly-disordered material tends to be uniform in color. The amount of both colors shows the order and disorder unique to spin liquids. QSL is a third type of magnetism after ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism and is considered a “liquid” due to its disordered state, like water is to crystalline ice, despite being a solid crystal. The atoms in herbertsmithite form a kagome lattice, a repeating triangle pattern. The copper atoms within the mineral form at the points of the triangles in the lattice and interact with each other in a typical up-down spin like in ferromagnetism. However, the electron spin at the
  • 178. December 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 third corner cannot align with the two other corners and continuously flips its spin. What makes Quantum Spin Liquid so unique is its ability to maintain this disorder even at very low temperatures. While this is the start to some very fundamental research, it will take quite some time for QSLs to have any practical application. Still, we may see them utilized in data storage and quantum computing in the future. For more information, visit the source: NIST Engineers turn 64 Raspberry Pi's and Lego bricks into a supercomputer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/engineers-turn-64-raspberry-pi-s- and-lego-bricks-into-a-supercomputer/18523.html December 28th, 2012 A team of computer engineers at the University of Southampton have successfully created the world’s first super computer made up entirely of an inexpensive array of Raspberry Pi computers and Lego bricks. Lead by a Professor Dr. Simon Cox, the 9-man team, which included Dr. Cox’s 6 year old son, managed to build a super computer that consists of 64 interconnected Raspberry Pi computers all set inside of a frame made of actual Lego bricks. The Lego brick stack was built around the Raspberry Pi computers to act as an inexpensive shelf for the computer array and partly designed by six-year old James Cox. “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer, said Dr. Cox when asked about the system’s beginning.” We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.” He further added, “The team wants to see this low-cost system as a starting point to inspire and enable students to apply high-performance computing and data handling to tackle complex engineering and scientific challenges…” The system runs on a free programming language software called ‘Python’ and has also been tested running another open source software called ‘Scratch’ that was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Cox has named the machine the “Iridis-Pi” after South Hampton University’s current real size super computer, Iridis. The Iridis-Pi runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet. In all, the system was said to have cost fewer than 4 thousand U.S. dollars (£2,500). The array has a total of 64 processors, and 1 terabyte of memory. The Raspberry Pi concept was devised in 2006 and based on the Atmel Atmega644 micro-controller. Lead by Dr. Eben Upton, he was able to organize and challenge a group of teachers and computer modification enthusiasts to help design an inexpensive computer that would be used to help inspire children to learn more about programming. The first prototype for the Raspberry Pi was about the size of a memory stick, and included an HDMI port on one end and had a USB port at the opposite end. Later the computer had a board added and was ready for public purchase. The computer comes with 512MB of RAM and uses an SD card for booting and long-term storage. The Raspberry Pi is produced through licensed manufacturing deals with Element 14/Premier Farnell, RS Electronics and Allied Electronics, all of which sell the computer online. Also, on December 17, 2012 the Raspberry Pi Foundation along with IndieCity and Velocix, opened the "Pi Store” that provides all the software one might need for programming the computer. If you think you might be interested in a similar Raspberry PI super computer, click here and learn how you can do it yourself.
  • 179. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. First footage for the new The Walking Dead first-person shooter arises Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/first-footage-for-the-new-the- walking-dead-first-person-shooter-arises/18549.html December 30th, 2012 IGN's own Greg Miller sits down with Glenn Gamble from Terminal Reality in a new episode of Up At Noon, revealing a smorgasbord of footage and facts about the upcoming The Walking Dead shooter. So far, details have been scarce on Activision's brand new shooter based on AMC's hit television zombie drama, and fans have been in the dark with little to no actual footage. However in a recent episode of Up At Noon with Greg Miller, Glenn Gamble from Terminal Reality stops by and delivers a plethora of new footage and details about the upcoming game: "As you're traveling across Georgia, you pick up supplies--you can pick up supplies and choose new vehicles as well as the highway you drive down. You can choose Path A or path B, and you can pick up survivors...each survivor has their own strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits...and when you go out on your missions, you can actually send survivors out on their own missions." Glenn goes on to reveal many more expansive details about the game, painting quite a dynamic picture of an impressively open-world adventure where players can choose different paths and aren't locked down on a single path. This freedom is quite enticing and has been one of the most enjoyable features in Telltale's definitive The Walking Dead series. Glenn also reveals that resources are shared across the group, making for a tactical and strategic type game where players have to make tough decisions and utilize their resources and supplies with discretion and caution in order to survive: "So if I find an axe, I can use the axe or give it to someone else and say 'Hey, go find me food with this axe'. Conversely, if I find some food--healthpacks are food in this game--and someone else is injured, they will use it heal themselves. The resources are in a shared pool--so it's all shared. You not only have to manage what you've got but manage what everyone else has as well."
  • 180. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The strengths of the walkers have also been addressed in the interview, revealing that the undead in Survival Instinct keep that distinct "power in numbers" element: "In the show, Rick almost gets overpowered by three walkers. So we wanted to take that and somehow put it in the game. If you're new and you go against a group of three walkers, chances are you're going to die..." The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct focuses on the story arc of Merle and Daryl Dixon before the met the other survivors in Atlanta, and chronicles their struggle for survival throughout the walker-infested world right after the outbreak of the virus. A release date for The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct has yet to be announced, and as Glenn puts it the game will be released "sometime in 2013" for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Samsung to expand its Silicon Valley headquarters Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-to-expand-its-silicon- valley-headquarters/18552.html December 30th, 2012 California’s Silicon Valley area is always teeming with hopeful startups and boastful industry giants, and although Samsung already has a presence within the area the South Korean-based tech goliath is about to build itself another den amongst its kind. Samsung will be moving its current SISA R&D headquarter in North San Jose to an 8.5-acre site that will be the base for two new 6-story class-A office buildings (totaling ~385,000 square ft.) and two 5-6 story parking structures. Its semiconductor R&D center will also pack up and move to a different location, with the exception that the new campus will be a 1.1 million square ft. headquarter with an “amenity pavilion” for its employees. Unlike its struggling competitors from Japan (Sharp, Sony and so on), Samsung has experienced tremendous growth in recent years due to an expanding mobile market. Japanese firms like Sony, for a while, had many office buildings and campuses that made other firms envious, but in light of their struggles they have sold off many lots as well as cutting jobs to prevent the ships from sinking. Samsung’s future campus and offices in the Silicon Valley area will undoubtedly bring about more jobs and opportunities for the locals as well as migrators, but one cannot help but to envision some sort of peak in Samsung’s future. At which point in time, the only way for Samsung to go is down. That’s a pessimistic way to look at Samsung’s growth, but in a more optimistic point of view; let’s hope Samsung continues to produce quality products to keep it at the top. Before starting its mountain climb Curiosity send a self- portrait home Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/before-starting-its-mountain-climb- curiosity-send-a-self-portrait-home/18551.html December 30th, 2012 There's no doubt that 2012 was an incredible year for NASA especially after pulling off the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars where it has been moving slowly towards one of its main objective while conducting some rather important scientific exploration as it goes. If the Mars rover program so far is any indication then 2013 could prove to be equally, or even more exciting than the year we are leaving behind. One of the reasons the Gale Crater was selected for the landing site of the Curiosity Rover was because of the proximity of Mount Sharp and the fairly easy route the rover could follow to get to it and now that all the preliminary testing of the rover has been completed it's time for Curiosity to get down to serious work. For the rover to travel to and climb to the top of Mount Sharp, which is situated at the center of Gale Crater (the landing site of the rover), will take approximately 9 months but it won't be just a simple one-minded trip to the mountain but the journey will also include stops along the way for more drilling and sampling being done by the rover. The rover's top traveling speed is supposed to be up around the 90 meters per hour range but scientists back on earth don't expect to have the rover traveling anywhere past a third of that speed. Several things are planned ahead of the actual start of the climb part of the rover's journey; with a software update being planned for mid-February and then scientists want to take about a month hunting for what they call "the perfect rock" to take samples from that will be tested in the rover's onboard labs. To celebrate the beginning of its journey Curiosity took the time to snap another self-portrait but this time it included the view of Mount Sharp in the background. The image was actually created from fifty smaller shots that were taken by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager located on the end of the primary robotic arm that was panned around the body of the rover. Curiosity sent off enough images over the course
  • 181. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 of a day that the engineers at JPL were able to stitch them together for that panoramic view. LG to show off 55 and 65-inch 4K TVs at CES 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lg-to-show-off-55-and-65-inch-4k- tvs-at-ces-2013/18550.html December 30th, 2012 For many people, a “full HDTV” means a display that supports a 1920x1080 resolution, but in the coming months companies like LG, Samsung, and Sharp will be pushing for displays that will make that brand spanking new big screen of yours look like a kid’s toy. LG will be unveiling several ‘modest’ 4K displays at CES in Vegas, which range from 55 to 65-inch; and for the sake of viability, these ‘smaller’ 4K LG displays will be more affordable. The 84-inch 84LM9600 4K behemoth that LG recently launched sports a resolution of 3840x2160—that’s 4X more overall pixels compared to the standard 1920x1080. Four times the pixel doesn’t equate to four times the price of an average (or even high end for that matter) 1080p display however. Rather, the price tag of the 84LM9600 is marked for a blowout low of just $19,999. If you’re not willing to drop several months of income for LG’s 84-inch 4K TV, then perhaps the 55 and 65-inch models will be much more affordable—although… LG has yet to confirm the price point of those models. There’s really no arguing the fact that a $19,999 TV is not something that “mainstreamers” like you and I are looking into purchasing in the next few months. However, we’ll be at CES 2013, so hopefully LG will provide us with some more details about the smaller 4K TVs—we mainly want to see if an average Joe will be able to afford one in the next couple years or months. In addition to the unveiling of the 55 and 65-inchers at CES, LG will also be bringing out its 30-inch 4K-by-2K (4096x2160) display for show and tell. This 4096x2160 display, LG claims, is the highest-resolution computer monitor to date. New Dead Space 3 demo release date and trailer revealed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-dead-space-3-demo-release- date-and-trailer-revealed/18547.html December 30th, 2012 Visceral Games and EA have revealed when the Dead Space 3 demo will be available and have also released a brand new story trailer for their upcoming game. Earlier this week Visceral games and EA released a new official story trailer for Dead Space 3 that sheds light on the upcoming game's story arc, painting a picture of the events that have taken place in the two previous titles. Along with the brand new video, EA has also brings the release date for the game's demo, which will hit Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network on January 22, 2013. Gamers who have an EA Origin account can actually register for a code to download the demo a week earlier than its official release date. If you don't have an Origin account, don't worry: you can still make one to get a Dead Space 3 demo code. The early download codes are limited, so be sure to act now to get yours! Dead Space 3 continues the epic storyline of Isaac Clarke's battle with the insidious interstellar Necromorph virus, and has a new ally in his quest: the merciless soldier John Carver. Together Carver and Clarke embark on an extremely risky plan to stop the Necromorphs from annihilating all of mankind and to save the universe from the intergalactic threat.
  • 182. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The third chapter of the critically acclaimed franchise features a plethora of new features including a brand new crafting system, a whole new dynamic story, and an awesome co-op mode that brings the sheer sci-fi survival horror that gamers have come to expect from the series. Dead Space 3 will be available on Feb. 5, 2013 in North America for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. For more information, please visit the game's official website. Europe, U.K. make GPS progress, China goes public with 'Beidou' system Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/europe-u.k.-make-gps-progress- china-goes-public-with-beidou-system/18536.html December 30th, 2012 China has officially opened up their domestic satellite navigation network, called 'Beidou', for public use in the Asian-Pacific region. Russia, the E.U. and the U.K. are also working on even larger GPS projects of their own. This new GPS system created by China will operate as an alternative to the current U.S. NavStar Global Positioning System (GPS). The NavStar system that we use today was initially made inaccurate for the public due to defense concerns by the military. That soon changed when President William “Bill” Clinton signed a law in 1996 allowing GPS navigation to be not only free but more accurate for public use. Since GPS came about for the masses it has become a mainstay around the globe, and it is found on all manner of devices like smartphones, automobiles, guided rockets and cruise ships. China saw a need of their own and now offers the use of a new GPS system for to the public. Available only in the Asian- Pacific region for now, this new ‘Beidou’ navigation system, which is named after the Chinese word for the Big Dipper, is said to be as accurate as the U.S. NavStar satellite system widely in use today. According to the China Satellite Navigation government office, the system will be targeting an estimated 80% share of the Chinese market in the next 7 years. The office also projected that the service maybe be widely available as a worldwide alternative as well. Currently there are only 16 Beidou satellites in orbit (and 4 experimental satellites); however, China claims that another 40 satellites will be placed in orbit in the next decade or so. The drawbacks on the Beidou system are that the receiver chips are far more costly than the current GPS system receiver chips. Nevertheless, China doesn’t seem too concerned about the cost of the chips. They are basing their optimism on the fact that production costs for the new technology will fall as production technology advances and more manufacturers begin wanting to use an alternative system. The Beidou system is capable of finding one’s location within 10meters (33ft), and monitors an object’s velocity within 0.2 meters per second. It can also synchronize signals to within 50 nanoseconds. While China is advancing their technology and infrastructure by leaps and bounds, they are not alone in their quest for a competitive GPS system. Currently Russia and the European Union have systems that are in place or in progress. The United Kingdom is also working on a new GPS that doesn’t need satellites and uses radio signals that are currently being transmitted by radio or cell towers. Russia’s GLONASS system currently consists of 21 satellites in 3 orbital planes, with 3 on-orbit spares. The ground control for the system is controlled entirely in the former Soviet Union territory with tracking stations located in Eniseisk, St. Petersburg and other locations. The E.U. is working diligently on their ‘Galileo’ navigation system, but it is only in its early stages with a mere three satellites in operation. And while they have run tests on signals with the satellites, they will need a minimum of four satellites in order for a navigation system to work properly And while the E.U. may be working on a system for Europe, the U.K. is creating a system of its own that may rival any current system in place. What is really interesting about this system is that it does not need satellites, but uses existing signals being transmitted, which includes signals for radio, TV, WiFi, and mobile phones. It is called the “Navigation via Signals of Opportunity” or NAVSOP, and is being developed by the British defense contractor, BAE systems. This novel technology will be able to calculate your position by making use of the thousands of signals already in place all around us at any given time instead of relying on satellites. The NAVSOP exploits the wide array of signals and is better able to resist any interference by jamming or GPS spoofing. BAE also says that this navigation system can “learn from signals that are initially unidentified to build an ever more accurate and reliable fix on its location.” More importantly, the NAVSOP system's infrastructure is in place all around us. While all of the GPS innovations seem to be a country or region's way of competing with the U.S. NavStar system, it's really much more complicated. NavStar is free and any developer can tap into the signals coming off those satellites. So why would a nation want their own system? It's quite simple really, while parading as a means to compete in the market we must remember that GPS is an important tool in times of war. If one nation were to be the only holder of GPS technology, they could easily turn off the system. Now with the former Soviet Union, the E.U., China and the U.S. all with their own systems, it evens up the battlefield. It will be very interesting to see what types of advances other nations make in the coming years in regards to their own GPS. Cloud health industry is primed and ready for hacker exploits Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cloud-health-industry-is-primed- and-ready-for-hacker-exploits/18540.html
  • 183. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 December 30th, 2012 In a lot of ways we have become numb to the number of stories we hear about hackers breaking into this database or that database. However with the increasing push to move all of our data into the cloud, including our medical data, one has to wonder how long before we start hearing horror stories of medical data being held for ransom, or being sold on some hacker network. There's no getting around it, we're jaded when it comes to news about the latest database being hacked, the latest smartphone being jailbroken within minutes, or some site being DDOS'ed. It's like we've almost gotten to the point where we think of this type of thing being the cost of doing business in a modern tech world where companies en masse don't seem to care one iota about keeping our data safe - when they aren't trying to sell it themselves that is. Up until now though, our one and most treasured form of data has been considered—our health information; mainly because the health industry as a whole wasn't making the same mindless rush to the cloud that other industries have. That is in the process of changing, and changing fast which is suddenly providing a whole new fertile ground for hackers to dig into. One would think of course that because it is our health information that is at risk here that those involved would be doing everything they can to make these medical information repositories safe as possible; and not only that but also the very hospitals that we go to when we are ill or hurt. The only problem is, as found out by The Washington Post after a yearlong investigation, they aren't doing anything to make our data or healthcare systems secure. In fact the report found that the health care industry is one of the most vulnerable industries in the country to the point that the Department of Homeland Security has expressed an increasing fear that our health care industry could be the next big plum target for activist hackers, cyber warriors, criminals, and terrorists. We have already seen the beginnings of this move to hacking health care and medical equipment but until there is a serious mind shift in the medical industry when it comes to security it is only a matter of time before our medical information and devices become a prime target for hackers instead an idle curiosity. Until then, we will continue to hear a growing number of horror stories like: • University of Chicago Medical Center posting documents for residents online that included the login information for a shared Dropbox account • The Peace Corps prepping to use the open-source medical records management systems OpenEMR even though it has scores of known security flaws • A researcher found a system that can be used to operate an electronic medicine cabinet for hospital prescriptions in Oklahoma. Roamz uses Google Maps SDK for iOS social search Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/roamz-uses-google-maps-sdk-for- ios-social-search/18542.html December 30th, 2012 A local search startup is attempting to bring some search goodness to Apple's iOS platform but rather than use Apple's map SDK they are going to be using the recently released Maps iOS SDK from Google, which they will use to bring an interesting 'social' aspect to mobile search. We might like to think that when it comes to search that the game is over - Google is the big winner; but that isn't necessarily the case when it comes to our mobile world where even new comers can come up with interesting twists on the old search paradigm. This of course is just what a new startup company by the name of Roamz is looking to do with their app for Apple's iOS platform; but not using Apple's own map SDK. Instead they are using the Maps iOS SDK by Google; which Google released at the same time as they released their Google Maps iOS app. This app from Roamz, however, isn't meant to be just another mobile search app as founder Jonathan Barouch said when announcing the app. What the company wants to do is to bring us "a 'Street View' for social". Roamz does this by using the 3D maps available through the SDK and combining them with real-time posts from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and Instagram to help people find businesses near where they are, as well as other places of interest and then layering the social content on top of the buildings. Barouch explains: "You're walking in New York and you'll see the social kind of popping out of the buildings." For Barouch it's more about the discovery, about exploring a little further out; which isn't in his mind a return to the company's "serendipitous discovery" roots but it sure sounds like that to me. This idea apparently was just waiting for the Google Maps for iOS SDK to come out as there was no other 3D mapping SDKs out there that would let them do what they wanted to do. Unfortunately, Roamz is still under wraps but Sarah Perez at TechCrunch managed to get a video teaser with Jonathan Barouch showing the app off. ChatOn 2.0 SMS now available from Samsung Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chaton-2.0-sms-now-available-from- samsung/18537.html
  • 184. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 December 30th, 2012 Samsung has released their latest version of the popular SMS app, ChatON v. 2.0, which is now up for grab in Google Play. ChatON is described by Samsung as “a global mobile communication service that enables you to have better relationships with your buddies and groups of buddies.” With version 2.0, ChatOn now offers a few more features that are in direct competition to other similar SMS apps out there. One of the best updates for ChatOn is how it can synchronize all of your updates and settings for up to 5 Android-based devices. Quite simply, you just log into your Samsung account and you will have available your live chat history, friends list and chat history – it really is that simple. The app will also be featuring offline support as well, so you can post your comments even if you are offline. Basically it stores your comments and once the device is back on-line the comments are automatically posted for you. Are you always talking to multiple people at the same time? Now you have ability to send multiple texts and images all at once, and you can even change your font features along with sending many types of animations while you are chatting. It features a push-to talk voice-messaging service for those using an Android tablet. There is even a setting that gives it the same appearance on your tablet as it looks on your smartphone. And just in case you forget how often you chat with your best friend, there is this ‘interaction rank’ feature that tells you how often and how much you talk to certain people. And while some might find this feature useful, it isn’t quite apparent why a person would need such a thing. ChatOn 2.0 is a free app and it is available for download at the Google Play store. And if you just recently purchased an Android-based smartphone or tablet, the app does come stock with the Android OS, but you may need to update the software. Toshiba plans to move TransferJet technology externally to Android Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toshiba-plans-to-move-transferjet- technology-externally-to-android/18543.html December 30th, 2012 Toshiba has announced the development of their special TransferJet module adapter for the Android OS. The adapter will turn any Android tablet or smartphone into a TransferJet compatible unit, capable of high speed wireless data transfer rates. Are you exasperated because of the current "selectiveness" of TransferJet technology for mobile devices? Well Toshiba has some great news for you. This is because they have just recently announced that they will be moving the TransferJet technology externally to Android devices. What does this mean? It means that they have developed a new adapter that would turn any Android device into a TransferJet compatible one. The TJM35420MU is a module that connects to your Android device via microUSB. It looks like your average USB drive tilted sideways. As briefly hinted earlier, the module provides any compatible Android device with instant TransferJet capability, allowing it to boost its wireless data transfer speeds to the high speed rates of the technology without the need of an internal TransferJet chip. This implementation of TransferJet to tablets and smartphones as an external, auxiliary device is a first in the industry, as TransferJet technology is usually developed to be internally available on mobile devices.
  • 185. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 With the data transfer speeds of TransferJet technology, even smartphones with no internal TransferJet capability could now transfer, let's say, a 30-minute HD video, within a short time of about a minute and a half. The universality of the microUSB slot allows for many kinds of mobile devices, tablet and smartphone models to use the TransferJet module adapter seamlessly. Keep in mind though that universal USB-based peripheral compatibility is only available for Android 3.0 and up, so it probably won't connect well to your 2 year-old Android 2.3 smartphones. There are still no specifics for the release date of Toshiba's TransferJet module adapter, but they do have announced that it would be available sometime around March of 2013. Source: MyNavi (JP) Xbox LIVE slashes prices of every "The Walking Dead" episodes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/xbox-live-slashes-prices-of-every- the-walking-dead-episodes/18539.html December 30th, 2012 Gamers can get every episode of the award-winning The Walking Dead series at 50% off today on Xbox LIVE, and even pick up the first episode for free! Just about everyone who's a fan of AMC's hit television series based on Robert Kirkman's popular graphic novels already owns Telltale's definitive The Walking Dead game series, but for those gamers out there who haven't tried them out yet, Xbox LIVE is currently offering huge savings on every episode on the award-winning series. Telltale's celebrated series has won countless awards (including Game of the Year on Spike TV's VGA 2012), garnering a multitude of positive review scores and has been praised all over the gaming world for its creative, heart- wrenching realism. The game has just been made available as a retail purchase in stores, allowing gamers to buy all five episodes in a physical copy...however Xbox LIVE's Countdown to 2013 sale offers a price on The Walking Dead games that's hard to beat. The first episode is actually free for a whole week, and The Walking Dead episodes 2-5 are 50% off for a mere 200 Microsoft Points (approx. $2.50). At this price, you can pick up the entire series for just $10, which makes the series much more accessible to gamers who were on the fence or those who haven't experienced it yet. If you're unfamiliar with Telltale's The Walking Dead series, the games feature an all-new cast of characters (with just a few familiar faces from the TV show) who must survive in incredibly dire situations, struggling to meet even the most basic needs like food and shelter. The games themselves feature a point-and-click interface with a free-roam scheme that is quite inventive and creative; Telltale has been hailed for its originality in terms of the game's mechanics and overall UI. The real heart of the game, however, is the social interactions between the characters and the dynamic decisions you make throughout the game.
  • 186. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 At certain intervals, players must make hard decisions (such as who to save from rampaging zombies), and these major decisions have actual consequences. The characters all have their own personalities and quirks, and the story arc is inventive and heartbreaking at the same time to deliver a truly immersing and enjoyable experience. This is a one day only saleand the sale ends tomorrow on Dec. 29 so be sure to pick these games up while they're discounted! Be sure to check out the games on Xbox LIVE by clicking here, and for more information on The Walking Dead series please visit the game's official website. New E-Notepad by Sharp brings paper notebooks closer to their doom Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-e-notepad-by-sharp-brings- paper-notebooks-closer-to-their-doom/18538.html December 30th, 2012 Sharp's new WG-N10 acts as your personal, functional and intuitive electronic notepad. With more specific and specialized functions than your ordinary e-notepad, it can take notes, scribble and write anything on it as if you are actually writing on paper. Samsung's Galaxy Note series may have its mighty S-Pen, and this innovative e-notepad vaporware may never really come to life, but Sharp's new electronic notepad is more than real, and it is most likely set out to pave out the road that would connect e-notebooks and tablets. The WG-N10 is an electronic notebook that, while it can be used as an ordinary writing notebook, can also be accessed in more or less the same way that tablets today are used. Unlike regular electronic notebooks that simply saves the written pages at best, you are given with an additional interface that lets you access different kinds of software tools and apps that are related to information and note taking. In essence, it is a hybrid e-notebook, with an overly simplified version of a tablet OS. The strongest point of the WG-N10 is the accuracy of its response when used with a stylus. It has a self correction system that adjusts the output lines accordingly as the stylus "writes", and can accurately display written notes even in the centimeter range. The reflective display even adds more intuitiveness to the unit, since it can be used just about anywhere that you can use an ordinary notebook, only you don't use up paper and ink! The sample images alone provided by PCWatch already tell us lots of details about what we can do to the WG- N10. However it still all boils down to handy and intuitive manipulation of information. Like a tablet, it lets us control visual elements on the screen directly. Like a notebook, it lets us write information like how humans have written it for thousands of years.
  • 187. December 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The WG-N10 is scheduled to be released in Japan around January of this year, and will be released in two versions: the standard 6-inch version, and a 7-inch one with a size and form factor that's reminiscent of the Nexus 7. There are no official announcements about its retail price just yet.