VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Feb 2013 Issue
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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Feb 2013 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, iWatch, ...

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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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Feb 2013 Issue VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Feb 2013 Issue Document Transcript

  • February 1st, 2013 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. Google Maps offers panoramic view of Grand Canyon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-maps-offers-panoramic-view- of-grand-canyon/18860.html February 1st, 2013 Google has released a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon, giving people throughout the world a glimpse of a whopping 75 miles of trails and roads at the iconic location. Google has released a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon, giving people throughout the world a glimpse of a whopping 75 miles of trails and roads at the iconic location. The beautiful site, revered by tourists and Native American pilgrims, can now be seen from the safety of one's very home, letting internet users make a virtual hike down the Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail, take a peek at the Colorado River, explore the nearby Meteor Crater, and get 360-degree views from some scenic overlooks. There are a mind-blowing 9,500 panoramas available of the Grand Canyon, and this represents only part of the monumental canyon. While Google did not say, it is likely it will be sending staff back to the rocky terrain in the future to capture images of the rest. The area was mapped by a Google team wearing 40-pound Android-powered Trekker backpacks with 15-lens camera systems. The team had to endure long and tiring hikes and extreme weather conditions, but the result is a permanent panoramic experience the entire world can enjoy. In what is likely a dig at Apple's map app disaster, Ryan Falor, Product Manager for Google Maps, said that the addition of the interactive images makes Google's map of the area “more comprehensive, acurrate and easy to use than ever before.” To take a look at the Grand Canyon, click here. Designers unveil plans for 3D building on the Moon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/designers-unveil-plans-for-3d- building-on-the-moon/18859.html February 1st, 2013 The designers and architects behind the London City Hall, Wembley Stadium, and Millenium Bridge have come up with plans to make a building on the Moon using 3D printing. The designers and architects behind the London City Hall, Wembley Stadium, and Millenium Bridge have come up with plans to make a building on the Moon using 3D printing. London-based Foster and Partners revealed the designs as part of a consortium set up by the European Space Agency to examine the feasibility of 3D printing in space. The plan is to send an inflatable dome on a rocket from Earth, and then cover the basic shell using regolith, the Moon's soil, as the material in robot-operated 3D printers. The technique was tested on a smaller scale using simulated regolith and 3D printers, all in a vacuum chamber to give an approximation of the lunar environment. The result will be a four-person dwelling on the south pole of the Moon, where there is more light, with room for further expansion. The housing can protect astronauts from meteorites, gamma radiation and high temperature fluctuations.
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 It is not yet known if, or when, such proposals will be put into action, but it is likely only a matter of time and funding, as 3D printing presents a way to build structures in space without the typically prohibitive costs of launching materials and pre-built structures on rockets. NASA is also exploring use of the technology to make tools and parts on the Moon. Images Credit: Foster and Partners Microsoft 64GB Surface Pro comes with a meager 23GB of free storage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-64gb-surface-pro-comes- with-a-meager-23gb-of-free-storage/18856.html February 1st, 2013 Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet is due for launch on February 9, but it seems like the Intel-powered tablet will come with less than the desirable amount of free storage—especially the 64GB model. In an age where 1GB is more or less the amount of space it takes to store a full length non-HD movie, a $900 tablet that comes with 23GB of free storage out of the box is a sign that there’s something missing from the device, and 23GB of free space is exactly what the Surface Pro 64GB will come with. Windows 8 is partly to blame because it takes up the majority of the space, and in total, Microsoft’s latest OS plus various included applications will suck up 45GB worth of space. Wise tech consumers will probably steer clear of the 64GB Surface Pro, but for first time tablet buyers, the lack of space will become a burden when they figure out after a few days that they have almost no free space left. In response to criticisms from tech bloggers and enthusiasts, Microsoft had this to say: "The 128 GB version of Surface Pro has 83 GB of free storage out of the box. The 64GB version of Surface Pro has 23GB of free storage out of the box. Of course, Surface Pro has a USB 3.0 port for connectivity with almost limitless storage options, including external hard drives and USB flash drives. Surface also comes pre-loaded with SkyDrive, allowing you to store up to 7GB of content in the cloud for free. The device also includes a microSDXC card slot that lets you store up to 64GB of additional content to your device. Customers can also free up additional storage space by creating a backup bootable USB and deleting the recovery partition." For many people who are ditching laptops and desktops in favor of tablets, the main focus is that they want to keep everything as mobile as possible—meaning, less peripherals to lug around. A USB 3.0 external hard drive isn’t a bad solution, but the problem is that people may not want to carry around an external drive. A microSD will do just fine with small documents, but for larger files it’ll become a hassle to deal with. Lastly, SkyDrive is fine, too, as long as you have a connection. For $100 more, people can purchase the 128GB Surface Pro, which has the same specs as the 64GB version but will come with 83GB of free storage out of the box, a better number when compared to the 64GB model—although, 83GB will run out just as quickly if a person decides he wants to use the Surface Tablet for work and fun. Nvidia struggles to convince vendors to adopt Tegra 4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nvidia-struggles-to-convince- vendors-to-adopt-tegra-4/18853.html February 1st, 2013 Consumers will not see a lot of Nvidia Tegra 4-based smartphones and tablets in the later part of 2013, according to reports out of Taiwan. The Tegra 4 features 72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores, which is purported to boast six times more horsepower than its predecessor—the Tegra 3. It also includes ARM’s quad- core Cortex A15 architecture, and 4G LTE voice and data support with the optional Nvidia Icera i500 chipset.
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Despite the performance increase as well as added functionalities in the Tegra 4, it seems like Santa Clara- based chip maker is struggling to woo tablet and smartphone vendors to adopt its next-gen SoC. According to DigiTimes, Toshiba is the only vendor, thus far, to confirm the launch of Tegra 4-based tablets some time in mid-2013. Major OEMs like Asus and Acer are putting a lot of effort into developing ARM tablets, but they have not confirmed any orders of Tegra 4. Asus has close ties with Qualcomm in the smartphone department, so it’s likely that Asus will continue to use ARM chips from Qualcomm for future smartphones. Rather than forcing the issues with the Tegra 4, Nvidia will try to remain relevant by lowering the price of its Tegra 3 to attract vendors that are developing entry-level devices. However, even with a price cut on the Tegra 3, there are still cheaper solutions coming from MediaTek and other China- based chip makers. Sony hints at February 20 as PlayStation 4 unveiling date with teaser video? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-hints-at-february-20-as- playstation-4-unveiling-date-with-teaser-video-/18852.html February 1st, 2013 A short 45 second video is teasing Sony PlayStation fans with a February 20 date. Could this mean that we will finally see the official PS4 later next month? This year’s E3 in Los Angeles, California will be an interesting one as people are speculating that major game console makers such as Sony and Microsoft will unveil or give fans official announcements as to the development and deployment dates of the next generation consoles. Sony, however, may be jumping the gun by a few months with the PlayStation 4. A recent video released by Sony is pointing at a February 20 unveiling date, which is a lot sooner than what most people were expecting. Sony could be showing off anything next month, but most console gamers are hoping that it will be the PS4. The average console lifespan is about half a decade, and certainly anything over 10 years will deem the hardware a relic. Therefore, the PlayStation brand is due for a makeover as it’s been sitting on retail shelves for more than 7 years. Eurora Supercomputer achieves world record for energy efficiency with Nvidia Tesla GPUs Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/eurora-supercomputer-achieves- world-record-for-energy-efficiency-with-nvidia-tesla-gpus/18851.html February 1st, 2013 Italy’s newest and fastest supercomputer, nicknamed Eurora, set the world record this week for energy efficiency, maintaining 3150 megaflops per watt of performance. Eurora, a Supercomputer based at the Cineca facility in Bologna, Italy has recently broken the record for highest performance-to-energy-efficiency by 26 percent over the previous highest system on the Green500 list of the world’s most efficient supercomputers, the National Institutes for Computational Sciences’ “Beacon”. Powered by 128 of NVIDIA’s Tesla K20 GPUs and Intel Xeon 'Sandy-Bridge EP' E5-2687W, the Eurotech-built system was able to sustain 3150 megaflops per watt of performance, and a total of 350 teraflops in one rack. Eurora, deployed at the Cineca Facility in Bologna, Italy
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The system is cooled using Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology, a process originally developed by IBM that passes warm water up to 45 degrees Celsius (113° F) directly to processors and memory. This cooling system is significantly more compact and energy efficient than a comparable air-cooling system. The Aurora Cooling System, coupled with Tesla GPU accelerators based on NVIDIA Kepler, is proving to be an effective team of power saving, reducing total cost of ownership by between 30-50 percent. "GPU accelerators are inherently more energy efficient than CPUs, and Tesla K20 accelerators widen this gap considerably," said Sumit Gupta, general manger of the Tesla accelerated computing business at NVIDIA. "Energy efficiency has become the defining element of computing performance." As the trend of using GPUs over traditional CPUs continues and cooling methods become more innovative, we should see a huge boost in both performance and energy efficiency in future super-systems and smaller devices alike. FCC documents reveal a sleeker, more powerful Apple TV Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fcc-documents-reveal-a-sleeker- more-powerful-apple-tv/18848.html February 1st, 2013 After months of speculation about an update to the Apple TV, the production of a sleeker, more powerful Apple TV is on its way. New FCC documents have revealed an Apple TV that is a much sleeker than what we’re expecting to see. It will also come with the A5X SoC “quad-core graphics technology” along with the Apple iOS 6.1. This update from Apple promises faster app performance and more processing power than the current gen Apple TV. It will also include firmware 5.2, which adds more ability to stream songs from your iTunes in the cloud and support for a TV controller. One new and interesting feature for the device is its ability to operate from any standard Bluetooth keyboard connection. You will also be able to edit or add new songs very simply from a remote app or your Apple remote controller. It is easily compatible with most popular models of TVs such as JVC, Samsung, Hitachi, and Toshiba. Just like all previous designs, the new Apple TV is compatible with HDTVs with HDMI and is capable of 1080p output. When Apple TV was first introduced it was considered nothing more than a hobby, but recently Apple’s CEO changed his perspective on that. Nevertheless, there still has not been any major changes to the model other than the software mentioned and a few features added to the device. Another big absence in the recent FCC filing was details regarding Siri or any type of motion control features. Apple TV sales have done fairly well, and recent statistics show it gaining popularity and is one of the most popular TV streaming devices on the market. Recent sales reports from Apple reveal that the company sold more than 2 million Apple TV devices in its fiscal first quarter, which was up from 1.4 million during the previous holiday period. In total, Apple has sold more than 10 million Apple TV devices since its inception. Herschel Space Telescope identities star past prime that can create planets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/herschel-space-telescope-identities- star-past-prime-that-can-create-planets/18850.html January 31st, 2013 The Herschel Space Telescope, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), has identified a star presumed to be too old to create new planets, but which appears to be doing just that. The Herschel Space Telescope, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), has identified a star presumed to be too old to create new planets, but which appears to be doing just that. The TW Hydrae star is a whopping 10 million years old. It is technically “young” when compared to other stars, but it was believed to be past its prime, which means it should no longer be able to create new planets. Those accepted beliefs in the science community might now be shattered, however, as the star appears to have such a large mass of material swirling around it that it could make dozens of new planets in the future.
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 “We didn't expect to see so much gas around this star,” said Edwin Bergin of the University of Michigan, lead author of the study. “Typically stars of this age have cleared out their surrounding material, but this star still has enough mass to make the equivalent of 50 Jupiters.” This artist's concept illustrates the planet-forming disk around TW Hydrae. Using newly-developed techniques to figure out the weight of the disks around a star that form planets, the scientists were able to discover evidence that suggests TW Hydrae's parenting days are not over. “Before, we had to use a proxy to guess the gas quantity in the planet-forming disks,” said Paul Goldsmith, a scientist for Herschel from NASA, which also worked on the project. “This is another example of Herschel's versatility and sensitivity yielding important new results about star and planet formation.” Astronomically-speaking the voluminous star is fairly close to Earth, just 176 light years away, and it has been the subject of considerable study by astronomers. These latest findings, published in the Nature journal, could have a huge impact on how we view the creative abilities of stars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech EA denies video games promote violence Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ea-denies-video-games-promote- violence/18849.html January 31st, 2013 The head of game studio EA has defended the gaming industry, refuting claims that video games promote violence in the real world. The head of game studio EA has defended the gaming industry, refuting claims that video games promote violence in the real world. John Riccitiello, CEO of the game giant, told analysts at a company conference call that the gaming industry was suffering from a perception issue, but he firmly denied that there is any link between games and real-life violence. “There's been an enormous amount of research done in the entertainment field about looking for linkages between entertainment content and actual violence, and they haven't found any,” he said, according to the BBC. “Hundreds of millions of dollars of the research has been done [and] has been unable to find a linkage because there isn't one.” He said that there “appears to be the perception of a problem” and admitted that gaming studios do have to tackle this. He said members of the Entertainment Software Association are prepared to deal with the issue. The comments follow a growing debate in the US over gun control, with many gun advocates, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), blaming video games for the recent spate of gun massacres in the country. Of course, the NRA also released its own shooting game, so it is perhaps not the best critic of the industry. As part of his gun reform package, US President Barack Obama promised investment in research to identify the link, if any, between violent video games and gun violence. Previous studies have largely been inconclusive, while some have come out with support on either side of the bitter debate. Vice President Joe Biden, however, said: “There is no hard data as to whether or not these excessively violent video games in fact cause people to engage in behaviour that is antisocial, including using guns.” The gaming industry faces a potential clampdown as gun violence escalates in the US, which could mean changes to the minimum age to play such games, or perhaps even a total ban on popular first-person shooters, which are often a staple of teens' entertainment.
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Survey confirms more frugal users on Android than iPhone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/survey-confirms-more-frugal-users- on-android-than-iphone/18847.html January 31st, 2013 Apple’s iPhone is simplistic in design and function, but the baggage that almost every iPhone user has to deal with is the carrier bills. Some recently released data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) reveal that, on average, iPhone users shed a bit more tears when the carrier bills come in. A poll conducted by CIRP showed that 49 percent of the people in the survey spent $100 or more per month on their cell phone bill, with 10 percent spending an astonishing $200 or more. Only 6 percent had bills that were $50 or less, and right in between was the 36 percent that spent in between $51 to $100 per month. Android users also donated quite a sum to the carriers’ monthly treasure chest, as 46 percent of Android users in the survey reported that they pay $100-200 per month to use their smartphone. However, the over-the-top $200 monthly premium Android users was less active, with 7 percent reporting that they had to pull out two Benjamins each month to feed their bloated carriers. Frugal Android users outnumbered iPhone users 2 to 1, as 13 percent revealed that they paid $25-50 for their monthly bills—compared to iPhone’s 6 percent. CIRP co-founder, Michael Levin, was quick to point out that Android and iPhone carrier bills do not reflect user habits, rather it’s because Android devices are more feasible for pre- paid and unsubsidized plans. “We think it has to do with their data plans and carriers, rather than their usage habits,” said Levin. “They are all on expensive data plans, unlike Android users, some of which are on prepaid or unsubsidized plans with regional carriers.” Levin continued by saying that “carriers are working hard to make their money back during the course of the contract... with the exception of perhaps the hottest Android phones, we think the subsidies on Android phones are lower, so the carriers make more money even with slightly lower per- subscriber revenue.” Thanko's "Peeping Tom" USB Microscope Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thanko-s-peeping-tom-usb- microscope/18839.html January 31st, 2013 Thanko introduces the USB Flexible Endoscopic Light Scope DX2 USB microscope. The main feature of the unit is a flexible camera, an optical tool that would have been typically used only on medical check up procedures or on certain special observation/optical tasks. Looking through tight corners and small spots with a camera can be very difficult. Even with the use of smaller cameras, flexibility still often becomes the issue. It'd be great if we can get those medical endoscopes to be easily available to the market. Thankfully though, Thanko has the affordable and commercially viable solution. The USB Flexible Endoscopic Light Scope DX2 is designated as a USB microscope. Yes, it is in the same line as those low powered rigid optical devices, but there is one very small but important (albeit obvious) difference. It makes use of a flexible cable, therefore enabling the user to stick the microscope into small cracks and nooks where your average USB camera or microscope can't reach.
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The "endoscopic" camera is 10mm in diameter. The four LED lights around the camera allow the unit to efficiently search in dark areas, and of course keep the energy consumption to the USB allowed minimum. It uses a 0.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, has a maximum "viewing angle" of 60 degrees, and has a focal length of 50mm. In addition, the camera's cable length is 83cm, while the USB cable is 185cm. The portion that connects the camera cable to the main unit is water proof. It's optimized for USB 2.0 ports, has a unit weight of 210g, and works on Windows XP/ Vista/7 OS. The price of one unit in Japan is 4980 yen (54 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) Lexar unveils microSD cards with 90MB/sec speeds Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lexar-unveils-microsd-cards- with-90mbsec-speeds/18840.html January 31st, 2013 Lexar plans on rolling out their new high-performance data card sets as early as February 2013. Among these, is a microSD card that has a 90MB/sec maximum data transfer speed. Lexar has previously unveiled their new set of high- performance microSD, SD, and XQD cards. They plan on making them commercially available as early as around the end of February 2013. Many of these cards trump the fastest (possible) data transfer speeds of the other high-end products that they have released just a few months ago. First among these products is the high-performance 600x microSD UHS-I card. The 600x means that it has a standard speed rate comparable to CD-ROM read rates (150KB/s) times 600. Thus, it has a theoretical maximum data transfer speed of 90 MB/sec. The product itself comes with a special USB 3.0 compact card reader (with dimensions at 20 x 39 x 8 mm). For the lineup, there will be a regular 16GB version at 3,600 yen (39.5 USD), a 32GB version at 5,600 yen (61.3 USD), and 64GB versions at 12,600 yen (138 USD). Next in the line is the professional 600x SDXC UHS-I 256GB SD card. It has the same multiplying value as the microSD card line, so it also has a 90MB/sec maximum data transfer speed. The product is a direct step up from the 400x version that was previously revealed and now commercially available. The estimated retail price for this product is around 88,000 yen (963 USD). The product will come with a free download coupon of their Image Rescue 4.0 image recovery software. Last is the professional XQD card. It would have a minimum read speed of 168MB/sec (1100x). The lineup holds a 32GB version for 39,800 yen (435 USD), and a 64GB version for 59,800 yen (654 USD). Both versions will come with USB 3.0 XQD card reader (dimensions: 89 x 54 x 13 mm, weight: 78g). The microSD and the SD card products are scheduled for a March 2013 release, while the XQD cards will be commercially available at around April 2013. Source: PCWatch (JP) NVIDIA Project Shield started life as smartphone and controller attached by wood Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nvidia-project-shield-started-life-as- smartphone-and-controller-attached-by-wood/18846.html
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 January 31st, 2013 Many were astonished that NVIDIA decided to drop Project Shield at CES 2013, and some were giddy right from the get- go. In trying to satisfy people’s hunger to know more about NVIDIA’s Android-based handheld game system, the folks over at NVIDIA has posted a lengthy (and perhaps even over- romanticized) blog post as to how Project Shield came about and the steps it took to become a showroom prototype. Naturally, for something to become tangible it must be conceptualized through ideas and brainstorming, and according to NVIDIA Senior VP of Content & Strategy, Tony Tamasi, they were “talking on and off about building something for more than 5 years, maybe 10.” Fast forward several years and finally NVIDIA became serious about making a console of its own. Add that to the fact that the Android ecosystem is now saturated with followers, and NVIDIA saw a perfect business opportunity. Now it was time to get to work on the actual hardware. The people that brought us graphic cards that contributed to global warming began slapping a few parts together to see if the thingamajig could “revolutionize” the video game industry. One of the first contraptions was basically just “a game controller fastened to a smartphone with wood.” Interestingly enough, the smartphone, controller and wood combo made sense to the engineers and voila, Project Shield was born! Skipping straight to the months that led up to CES 2013, and we found out that the engineers worked 14-hour days to mold the controller plus smartphone (sorry wood, you never had a chance) "thingy" into one unit. Finally, Project Shield was ready to be unveiled, and it was fun for us to see NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang show off the cool little Android toy (at first I thought it was a dummy unit when I awoke from my slumber during the previous announcements). Project Shield is no doubt a highly anticipated product, but NVIDIA is not the only firm to be conjuring up Android gaming consoles as of late. Startups have been working on Android consoles and handhelds like the Ouya, and even established firms like ARCHOS have released its Android- based GamePad (slated for US in February). So the idea of a controller attached to an Android smartphone is nothing new, but perhaps NVIDIA’s cloud gaming solution on Project Shield will give it a boost. The addition of Project Shield to Android’s vast open network is sure to be an interesting one. Will we see NVIDIA dominate the gaming sector of Android, or will Project Shield become just another antiquated novelty right off the shelf? We'll find out soon enough. Facebook mobile advertisement earnings increases, a welcoming sight for investors Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-mobile-advertisement- earnings-increases-a-welcoming-sight-for-investors/18845.html January 31st, 2013 Despite its IPO struggle, Facebook has managed to slowly regain some lost grounds in recent months, and the social network’s mobile platform should be given some of the credit for helping the Zuckerberg engine gain steam. According to a recent report, Facebook generated 23 percent, $306 million, of its total revenue from mobile advertisement, that’s a 14 percent increase in the third quarter. In total, Facebook’s revenue rose 40 percent from $1.13 billion to $1.59 billion. Critics and naysayers of Facebook’s decision to go public jeered at the fact that Facebook did not have anything
  • February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 else to fall back onto should Facebook’s advertisement platform crumble. Many knew that Facebook had its eye on mobility, with some even speculating early on that a Facebook smartphone may become a reality. Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejected the notion that Facebook is considering getting into the hardware business, and said that it will continue to stick to its core business model— advertisement. Facebook’s earnings in the October-December period was down $360 million compared to a year earlier, but its earning from mobile advertisement increased. Meaning, Zuckerberg has maintained his position of keeping Facebook an advertisement conglomerate. “I think more people are starting to understand mobile is a great opportunity for us,” Zuckerberg told an analyst. “It allows us to reach more people, we have engagement from the people we reach and I think we will be able to make more money for each minute people spend with us on… mobile devices.” The recent increase in money generated from mobile advertisement is by no means evidence that Facebook stock will continue to rise, but it’s definitely a sign that the potential earnings via interaction with people's mobile devices is quickly rising as people move away from desktop PCs and onto smartphones and tablets.
  • February 3rd, 2013 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. Sandisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD Performance Preview Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sandisk-ultra-plus-256gb-ssd- performance-preview/18503.html February 3rd, 2013 Before we embark on long-term endurance testing on the drive, we take a quck look at the latest market entrant from Sandisk which uses a Marvell 88SS9175 controller and 19nm MLC NAND. In a bid to increase storage densities and performance, deep pocketed companies with fabs like Intel and Sandisk are investing in newfangled NAND technologies and controllers to drive the NAND chips used in the latest SSDs. These require months to years of stringent validation before they can be deployed. Thanks to Samsung's and OCZ's aggressive retail pricing initiatives for their offerings, SSDs are no longer prohibitively expensive and have finally reached levels that are competitive with regular mechanical drives. Depending on which territory you get the drive from, the pricing of the Sandisk Ultra Plus SSD can either be considered reasonable or borderline expensive. For example in the USA market, the 256GB model costs just USD$220 (or $0.85/GB) which positions it at the lower-middle tier of the market. In Singapore, the corresponding MSRP is a whopping SGD$360 (or $1.40/GB), placing it in the same league as premium drives like Intel 520 and just a notch below the current king of the hill OCZ Vector. To take a look at the innards of the drive, one must tear open the white label sticker (which instantly voids the warranty) to access the screws holding the casing together. Inside, we see a relatively small PCB occupying just a fraction of the usable space. The four Sandisk branded chips (two on each side) are the company's own 19nm eX2 ABL 64GB MLC NAND, which are flanked by a Marvell SS889175 6Gbps SATA/NAND controller and 128GB Samsung DDR2 DRAM cache. Although the effective number of flash write cycles was not disclosed, total MTBF is rated at a purported two million hours and the company offers a 3-year limited warranty.
  • February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 128GB Motorola X-Phone running Android Key Lime Pie rumored to drop in May Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/128gb-motorola-x-phone-running- android-key-lime-pie-rumored-to-drop-in-may/18866.html February 3rd, 2013 Some more details about Google and Motorola’s X-Phone have surface, and sources are pointing to I/O 2013 in May as the unveiling date. Previous rumors suggested that the X-Phone will have a 5+ inch screen, but it seems like engineers have settled on a 4.8-inch 1920x1080 display instead. Sony’s Exmor camera sensor is expected to be gracing the X-Phone as Apple’s exclusivity to that technology has ended. Additionally, the X-Phone is engineered to be rugged to withstand the beating that a lot of smartphones have to go through. Insiders are saying that the phone will utilize Motorola’s Kevlar design, and is built to be water-resistant. The X-Phone will also sport Google’s latest Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, which is purported to have added functionalities, and other features that will help improve battery life. The most interesting rumor, however, is not that it’ll boast the latest Android or that it will be durable, but that a 128GB variant will also be available (in addition to a microSD slot). Development of the X-Phone seems to be going smoothly as sources have reported that a few lucky persons are currently testing out the phone in public—although, none of the X-Phone prototypes have been spotted in the wild, yet. Chances are, once the device launches, Google’s Play Store will be one of the sources for buying the X-Phone, and hopefully Google’s pricing scheme will be similar to that of the Nexus 4. Gaming Roundup: Defiance MMO Shooter, Dead Space 3 DLC, and Countdown to Prey 2 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gaming-roundup-defiance-mmo- shooter-dead-space-3-dlc-and-countdown-to-prey-2/18865.html February 3rd, 2013 As Sony's imminent PS4 reveal closes in, we take a look at some of the other news updates in the gaming sphere such as Trion's upcoming open-world MMO shooter that blurs the lines between television and gaming, Dead Space 3's sizeable launch day DLC offering, and a new countdown site that hints at a March release window for Prey 2.
  • February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Characters of the TV-show (left) and the game (right) blend the two mediums together, bringing a new realm of entertainment possibilities. Trion Worlds' upcoming MMO open-world shooter Defiance has been on the radar of many gamers ever since it was revealed, and has gained momentum as one of 2013's most highly anticipated multiplatform titles. The game's most groundbreaking feature is that it ties-in with a television series of the same name, which is scheduled to broadcast on SyFy, and promises to deliver an unprecedented entertainment experience that blurs the line between gaming and television. Set in a futuristic terraformed version of Earth decades into the future, Defiance takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area and tells the story of a fractured planet wherein most of the plants and animals have been eradicated, and extra- terrestrials--known as Votans, which are actually a covenant of seven different species--have landed on Earth to seek a new home. The game takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, featuring many scenic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge. The arrival of the alien species ignited a chaotic war between the Votan and human race, further devastating the already damaged planet. After the war, humans and the Votan have made a pact and learned to live alongside one another, and the game focuses on the rebuilding and the further survival of both races on the ruined world. Players take on the role of Ark Hunters, who are enlisted to search for valuable alien technology as well as secure and protect their findings from thieving enemies with enhanced weaponry and abilities. Essentially everyone--and everything--on the planet is searching for this tech in order to survive, and Ark Hunters must do what they can to acquire it by any means necessary, and to keep it once acquired. Defiance features a wide variety of weapons and armors, each with their own signature in-game appearance. Defiance is planned to feature extensive open-world elements, bringing an authentic massive multiplayer online experience that blends distinct sci-fi elements with action- orientated shooter gameplay. Co-operative play is also one of the main features within the game, as players can work together or compete with one another in a variety of missions and objectives. Another distinct element of Defiance is that gamers have an effect on the world based on the in-game decisions they make, with consequences for certain actions that send ripples of affect throughout the world. Players can change the world for the worse, or the better, and sway the tide of conflict towards peace or war. This is a unique feature that brings a true sense of open-world gameplay, allowing players to have a real effect on the virtual world rather than it being simple terrain. The MMO shooter also features random events known as Arkfalls, which are akin to events found in the PC game Rift. The arkfalls are huge pieces of alien ships containing valuable technology that crash down from space, attracting just about every faction of friend and foe on the planet to the source. The Defiance television series is planned to premiere on Mon. April 15, 2013 at 9/8 C on SyFy. The video game is also slated for a release in April 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. For more information on the show or to pre-order the game please visit Defiance's official website. Dell mega buyout deal nearing closure Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dell-mega-buyout-deal-nearing- closure/18864.html February 3rd, 2013 Recent reports are suggesting that Dell Computers will be getting bought out by Monday, February 4, 2013. Michael Dell, who is the founder and current CEO of Dell, is expected to have a 16% majority stake in the company once it goes private. Around mid-January 2013 many rumors surfaced that Dell was looking to go private in order to save the company. Some reports even suggested that Microsoft and Silver Lake Partners investments were looking to purchase the publicly owned computer maker. Now it seems those rumors are more possible than ever. So the question for Dell is not if they go private, but a matter of when will they go private? Reuters is reporting that at least four major banks are looking at investing in Dell, which are, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital. It has also been rumored that as part of the buyout and investment deal, Michael Dell would contribute his stake in
  • February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Dell of nearly 16% towards gaining the majority ownership, and Microsoft would be willing to invest as much as 3 billion dollars. Dell, which is mainly known as a PC desktop brand, is nowhere near as popular as it was during the “Dude, you're gettin' a Dell” days. During the months of November and December of 2012 alone, PC sales slipped nearly 6.5 % as tablet sales shot up as much as 75%. For Dell to be able to compete they will need to shed off their older PC desktop image that so many knew them for. Dell is currently having a hard time competing in a global market with competition from powerful brand names like the South Korea-based Samsung, U.S. based Apple and China-based Huawei. Turkey considers buying $4.5 billion worth of iPads for students Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/turkey-considers-buying-4.5-billion- worth-of-ipads-for-students/18863.html February 2nd, 2013 Sales of Apple’s iPhone 5 have slumped a bit since the extremely overhyped device launched last year, but a new source of income from Turkey may help to restore some of the company's value. News out of Turkey is suggesting that Apple’s executive John Couch and other Apple execs are currently in talks with Turkish President, President Abdullah Gül, regarding a deal that will put $4.5 billion worth of iPads in the hands of Turkish students. Apple stocks topped out at just above $700 billion late last year, but have since dipped to around $450 billion (Exxon has taken back the title of “World’s Most Valuable Company” when the Apple-stock bubble popped). Analysts are pointing to the fact that Apple has saturated the market with its high-end iPhone, and therefore sales of its latest iPhone are below what investors are hoping it would be. To regain momentum in the mobile market and restore investors’ confidence, Apple released a “budget” iPad —dubbed the iPad mini, and is expected to release a low-end iPhone that will cater to budget conscious consumers as well. Recently Apple got a bit of good news as a report by Strategy Analytics revealed that the iPhone maker outshined its handset vendor rival, Samsung, by shipping more iPhones in the US than Samsung in the fourth quarter. HTC CEO teases people with a white M7? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-ceo-teases-people-with-a-white- m7-/18862.html February 2nd, 2013 HTC’s next flagship, codenamed “M7”, will likely be available in both white and black, and people may have gotten a peek at the white variant when HTC’s CEO, Peter Chou, whipped out his slick unknown white phone at an HTC event. Press cameras were not able to get a close look at what Chou was actually holding up as he snapped a few pictures with his device, but from the looks of it, the device in Chou’s hands was most likely a white M7. According to the rumored specs, the M7 is a 4.7-inch 1080p device, which boasts a quad-core processor (we’re guessing a Snapdragon), 2GB of RAM, 32 GB of ROM, a 12MP rear camera, a 2300mAh battery, and Android Jelly Bean with HTC’s Sense UI 5.0 as the cherry on top. All the major carriers, except T-Mobile, are expected to carry HTC’s next flagship. The Taiwan-based handset maker has fallen behind in the smartphone race as of late, but perhaps the M7, along with its refreshed Sense UI 5.0, will help HTC regain the lost grounds. People are expecting HTC to unveil the M7 (most likely a “One” device when it’s all said and done) at an NYC event on February 19. Samsung, HTC’s ultimate rival in the Android handset market, will probably follow with the Galaxy S IV, but an announcement date for the next Galaxy flagship probably won’t come around until mid-2013.
  • February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 250,000 Twitter accounts hacked, possibly the work of Chinese hackers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/250-000-twitter-accounts-hacked- possibly-the-work-of-chinese-hackers/18861.html February 2nd, 2013 Twitter recently came out in a blog post and admitted that about 250,000 user accounts were compromised. Among the information stolen from these accounts were email addresses and user names. “This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later,” according to Twitter director of information security, Bob Lord. Security advisors at Twitter are encourage people to use “strong passwords” that are a mix of numbers, symbols, case-sensitive and passwords that are not duplicates of other online accounts. Twitter is also advising people to disable Java in all browsers. Twitter believes that the people behind the recent account hackings were not amateurs, and that Twitter was not their only target. Some recent major hacking of websites includes the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, both of which are considered to be the work of Chinese hackers’. Some believe the slew of hacked websites may have something to with recent criticisms of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao by the media. Twitter, however, have not pointed its finger at any particular organizations. Sources reveal new PS4 features? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sources-reveal-new-ps4- features-/18858.html February 2nd, 2013 Sources who claim to be close to the PS4's hardware development have supposedly shared new information on Sony's next-gen console, such as controller features and specs. Earlier we reported on Sony's teaser video that hints at a reveal of the PS4 at their "See the Future" event on Feb. 20. Now even more sources have made new claims on the capabilities and features of Sony's next-gen console, such as the PS4 will be even more powerful than Microsoft's new Xbox. Some of the other new features include changes on the PS4's controller like an integrated Share button and a touchpad. While these sources claim to be close to the PS4's hardware development, their claims still haven't been confirmed and therefore must remain speculation. Below you can find a categorization of each of the claims made to the PlayStation 4, as well as their capabilities and differences from Sony's current PlayStation 3 console: Seen above is the "Heatshock", one of the many PS4 controller concepts. The PS4 Controller As far as the PlayStation 4's controller, sources claim that the console will ship with a redesigned controller that makes use of a small touchpad instead of the Start, Select and PS buttons. The controller is supposedly the same size as the DualShock controller, and the touchpad technology is based on that found on the PS Vita and responds in a similar manner. Along with the touchpad, a new Share button has been included, allowing gamers to share their user-created content such as screenshots and video online, adding an easy-to-use social mechanism to gaming. Users will be able to edit up to 15 minutes of on-screen action--which is recorded by the PS4 itself--and broadcast it through the internet. A new Share button on the controller will, when pressed, launch a new feature that will allow screenshots and video to be distributed online. The PS4 hardware will continually record the most recent 15 minutes of onscreen action (with no processing penalty, claims our source), which users will then be able to edit and broadcast via the Internet.
  • February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The launch Alongside the console, Sony will also introduce a new, improved iteration of its PlayStation Eye peripheral, which remains compatible with the PlayStation Move controller. Move will be available at launch, but it’s not clear yet whether it will be bundled with the hardware. Under the Hood - PS4's Specs Sources have gone on to report on one of the most important parts of the PS4: its specs. The following specifications have not been confirmed and still remain rumor, and may in fact be totally erroneous. As far as specs, the dev. sources have supposedly confirmed that some of the recently leaked specs are in fact accurate, and that Sony is pushing to match Microsoft's supposed 8GB of RAM for the next Xbox console. The PS4's development hardware is also purported to be much more PC-like in its makeup than the PS3, providing more opportunities to developers that may not have been there before. In terms of RAM, Sony may use an 8 GB GDDR5 that's capable of data speeds of up to 176 GB/s for the PlayStation 4, which will definitely alleviate many of the PS3's many in- game performance issues. One of the more interesting concept pieces depicting the PS4. Sources also go on to say that both Microsoft's and Sony's consoles will utilize an eight-core AMD CPU that's clocked at 1.6GHz, yet Microsoft has supposedly planned to make use of a D3D11.x GPU whereas Sony has chosen a more capable solution with AMD's R10XX architecture. A source who is familiar with the PS4's hardware says that Sony's system is "slightly more powerful" and that it is "very simple to work with", which will most likely garner praise from game developers. To showcase the PS4's capabilities, Sony plans to demonstrate the console's full ability in terms of graphics and hardware performance with huge budget releases such as the next-gen Uncharted sequel. All in all, gamers around the world may find out what the PlayStation 4 has under its hood on Feb. 20th during Sony's "See The Future" event, where Sony plans to unveil their new next-gen console. Rockstar pushes back release date of GTA V to Sept. 17, 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rockstar-pushes-back-release-date- of-gta-v-to-sept.-17-2013/18857.html February 2nd, 2013 Rockstar has finally revealed a release date for one of the most anticipated games for 2013...but they've also pushed it back all the way to Sept. 17, 2013. Rockstar's newest post on their Newswire update page reveals an official bona-fide release date for Grand Theft Auto V, but it's not the launch date we were expecting: the game has been pushed back from Spring 2013 to Autumn 2013. Rockstar Games has the following to say about the game's moved release window: "We know this is about four months later than originally planned and we know that this short delay will come as a disappointment to many of you, but, trust us, it will be worth the extra time. GTAV is a massively ambitious and complex game and it simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require. To all Grand Theft Auto fans, please accept our apologies for the delay, and our promise that the entire team here is working very hard to make the game all it can be.
  • February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 We are doing all we can to help ensure it will meet if not exceed your expectations come September – we thank you for your support and patience." This of course puts an official end to all of the rumors of a possible "March" release window which many retailers have shown via confirmation e-mails and on-site pages for the game--those dates have been revealed as simple placeholders rather than the actual release dates. Many fans are no-doubt disappointed from the anticipation that went into a Spring 2013 release window, which probably led to more pre-orders and advanced purchases of GTA V. Rockstar is taking a few months to make the game better and refine Grand Theft Auto V to a fine sheen, and push-backs of such highly anticipated titles can be a common thing in the games industry. Grand Theft Auto V is planned for release on Sept. 17, 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more information please visit the game's official website. Best Buy stores go out of business without telling employees Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/best-buy-stores-go-out-of-business- without-telling-employees/18854.html February 2nd, 2013 Best Buy just recently shut down 8 Future Shop and seven of their Best Buy main stores in Canada. Many employees were not told of the closings beforehand, only to discover a note left on the store window when they arrived for work. Best Buy has just shut down 15 stores across Canada as part of their restructuring and ‘transformational plan’. The resent closings came as a shock to a few of the locals not current on Best Buy's problems, but in reality they should have seen it coming all along. Once the leader in regards to brick and mortar sales, Best Buy has been fighting a very tough up-hill battle with sites like Amazon.com and countless other on-line Internet stores. In 2011 Best Buy reported a total loss of 1.23 billion dollars (U.S.). Richard Shulze, who was the founder of Best Buy, has been trying to buy back the company to take it private. However, this has not come easy and is a really tough sell with board members. Best Buy based their decision on the closings after an extensive review of Best Buys’ retail footprint in the region. Company official said the closings were necessary to help reduce costs and to help with eliminating “redundant operating systems and to optimize its real estate strategy to reflect a changing retail landscape.” The five Best Buy stores that were closed were located in South Surrey, Queensborough, Nanaimo, Victoria, Langford (Westshore Town Centre). The two Quebec store closing were the Lachenaie, and Sherbrooke (SmartCentres Sherbrooke) areas. The Future Shop closing were located in Manitoba (Regent), Alberta (Calgary), Columbia (West Kelowna), Quebec (Montreal and Laval), and Ontario (Ancaster, Barrie South and Erin Mills). To add insult to injury, many Canadian on-line media outlets reported that employees working at the Sherbrooke Outlet in Quebec did not know beforehand about the closing. A few arrived to work on Thursday, January 31st only to find a note left on the window saying the store was permanently shut down. In all about 900 people will lose their jobs from the closings over all. Currently, there are still about 120 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations operating in Canada at present. They also have approximately 140 Future Shop stores scattered throughout the region as well.
  • February 5th, 2013 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. Photos suggest Iran's space monkey is fake Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/photos-suggest-iran-s-space- monkey-is-fake/18893.html February 5th, 2013 Iran's claim that it successfully launched a monkey into space and retrieved it alive is under question as photos of the monkey before and after highlight significant differences. Iran's claim that it successfully launched a monkey into space and retrieved it alive is under question as photos of the monkey before and after highlight significant differences. The monkey that was allegedly sent to space appeared to have a red mole above its right eye, along with a light colour to its fur. The monkey purported to have returned from space has no mole and much darker fur. The pictures, released by Iranian media, have caused many to speculate that the space mission was not as successful as the government claims, and that either the monkey did not return alive or the flight never happened at all. Before and After pictures If the flight was staged, however, it raises questions as to why Iran did not report its failed 2011 launch as a success also. That flight also featured a monkey, but it did not survive. Iran's ability to launch rockets into space has been a cause of grave concern to Israel and the US, which believe Iran could use the rockets to fire nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, but if the launch of the monkey into space was faked then its truthfulness on other matters is also in question. Pen invented that informs users of spelling mistakes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pen-invented-that-informs-users-of- spelling-mistakes/18892.html February 5th, 2013 While word processors have spellcheck features, the old- fashioned pen and paper has no way to tell you when you've gone wrong. Until now. A pen has been invented that will vibrate when a user makes a spelling mistake. While word processors have spellcheck features, the old- fashioned pen and paper has no way to tell you when you've gone wrong. Until now. A pen has been invented that will vibrate when a user makes a spelling mistake. The unusual invention, currently in the prototype stage, is programmed to detect movements associated with each letter of the alphabet, and therefore it can tell what words you are writing, or attempting to write, and so identify possible errors. The device will feature two modes, one for pointing out spelling and grammatical issues, and another for addressing problems with the form and legibility of handwriting. That's doctors sorted then.
  • February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The pen comes from German-based Lernstift, with the aim of helping children improve their spelling, but the company hopes to market it to people of all ages. The inventors said they were inspired to create the pen when they witnessed their young son's first attempts to write. The firm has proposed a number of potential future additions to the technology, including pressure sensors and computer connectivity. There is also the suggestion of making an open source platform for developers to make apps that make use of the pen's abilities. Lernstift has launched a crowdfunding project to finance the invention. Image Credit: Lernstift Check out 15 minutes of video from the DayZ standalone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/check-out-15-minutes-of-video- from-the-dayz-standalone/18891.html February 5th, 2013 DayZ, the zombie apocalypse survival mod of Arma II, is currently developing a standalone version, and creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has finally released some footage of what we might expect from it. DayZ is an Arma II mod which is still under development, but has been released as an alpha, and seen immense popularity among pc gamers. The mod, which is about surviving a zombie apocalypse, saw Arma II's sales go up 500% in the months following the mod's arrival on the net. Since last year, the mod's developer, Dean "Rocket" Hall, has been working on a standalone version, and he's finally ready to let us see some of it. He has released a 15 minute in-game video showing an early, and understandably rough version of what we can come to expect. The biggest changes detailed in the video is a simplified interface, the ability to customize your clothes, a new swamp and an island off the coast of the in game world. Finally, the loot system has also been reworked so that you truly have to scavenge buildings for gear and food, as opposed to the current system of just running in and looking for a pile of stuff on the floor. The loot system is also moved from the client to the server's side, to ensure it's less exploitable and hackable. Fly over an erupting volcano in this interactive video Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fly-over-an-erupting-volcano-in-this- interactive-video/18890.html February 5th, 2013 A Russian film crew recently used drones and a 360 degree camera mounted on a helicopter to capture images and video of one of four simultanious erupting volcanoes. The Russian Airpano film crew had been filming a segment on five star hotels in Mumbai when they heard news of not one, not two, but four separate volcanoes erupting simultaneously, in a 110 mile radius, on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's far east. The film crew rushed to the area to capture some footage of the event, utilizing several R/C hex drones and a helicopter to capture some stunning imagery. The drones took photos, making panoramas of the Tolbachick volcano's crater, while the helicopter, which was mounted with a 360 degree camera, filmed the event. The film crew had to battle -31 C temperatures, and ground so hot it could melt your boots, but they got some stunning footage. Lucky for us, they decided to post it online, and we've got the links for you! British troops deploying nano- sized copter in Afghanistan Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/british-troops-deploying-nano-sized- copter-in-afghanistan/18889.html February 5th, 2013
  • February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 British troops in Afghanistan are deploying the smallest military grade spy drone to date, the Norwegian built Black Hornet nano copter. The Black Hornet nano copter is the latest spy drone to join the British war effort in Afghanistan. Weighing in at just 16 grams, this 10 cm (4 in) long RC helicopter is the smallest military grade drone to date. Developed by Norwegian manufacturer Prox Dynamics, the copter is capable of still and video imagery and is small enough to easily be carried by a solitary soldier. The usefulness of a small, portable spy drone is obvious: It allows soldiers to see around corners; exploring possible insurgent firing points and exposed areas, before the soldiers themselves need to be exposed. Sgt. Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force told the British Ministry of defense that the drone was "[...] a real asset" Aww, how cute. The drone is the result of a $4 million contract by the Ministry of Defense, signed back in 2011, and is just the latest in a slew of miniaturized drones: The US, while simultaneously investing in larger unmanned vehicles, have developed several portable drones as well, including the hand launched Raven, the collapsible, backpack sized Switchblade and the Airforce's Micro-Aviary. Another major benefit, or perhaps the greatest of all, is that the black hornet is meant to be deployed and operated by a single person. Predator drones are few and far apart and serve a large number of troops simultaneously. Getting clearance to fly one requires going up the chain of command and involving a lot of people. A black hornet however, only needs one person to launch and operate it, and it serves that pilot specifically. It may be a game changer from that fact alone. Ouya Android game console hits Best Buy and Target in June 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ouya-android-game-console-hits- best-buy-and-target-in-june-2013/18886.html February 5th, 2013 The Android-powered Ouya game console has received so much support that major retailers such as Amazon and Target will also take part in distributing the tiny $99 game console. Over 68,000 Ouya pre-orders are going to be shipped out in March; many of these early Ouya early birds are backers that helped fund the project with contributions of more than $8.5 million on Kickstarter. Target, Best Buy and GameStop will sell the console for about $100 and the gamepad for $50, while Amazon will take care of online shoppers. The $50 Ouya gamepad is pricey considering the console itself is only $100. However, Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman argues that the addition of a touchpad on the controller justifies the “premium price” in retail. Uhrman pointed out that the Ouya was not created to compete with other major game consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. Rather, Ouya is an open platform console that anyone from developers to enthusiasts can mess with. Moreover, the Ouya’s hardware capabilities will be nowhere near that of Sony’s upcoming PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox 720, hence, the $100 price tag for the Ouya. Pre-orders for the Ouya are currently being accepted on the company’s website. Early bird enthusiasts/developers can have an Ouya by April if they put in an order on February 4. The going price, as mentioned above, is $99 for the console and a controller, but an additional controller will cost shoppers an extra $30. USA shoppers will have to pay $10 for shipping, whereas people outside the US will have to pay $20. HTC M7 might be a Droid DNA upgrade for Verizon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-m7-might-be-a-droid-dna- upgrade-for-verizon/18884.html
  • February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 February 5th, 2013 Recently leaked details are suggesting that Verizon will offer the HTC M7 as a refreshed version of the carrier’s current “Droid DNA” device. The Droid DNA was codenamed “DLX” before it was finally launched last November, and a recent tweet by an HTC insider revealed a “DLXPLUS” will soon be in Verizon’s lineup of handsets. According to the tweet, the DLXPLUS is a 4.7-inch 1080p device that boasts a Qualcomm APQ8064 quad-core clocked at 1.7GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and Android Jelly Bean plus HTC’s Sense UI 5.0 to boot. Other features include a 13MP rear shooter (2.1MP front), GPS + Glonnas support, and Bluetooth 4.0 along with the standard Wi-Fi connectivity. People that have been following the HTC M7 rumors will notice that the DLXPLUS’s specs are very similar to that of HTC’s upcoming flagship smartphone. The major difference, however, is that the current Droid DNA (DLX) has a 5.0-inch display versus the 4.7-inch on the DLXPLUS. Therefore, it’s quite possible that Verizon will carry the M7, but under its Droid DNA branding system. Seeing as how many vendors have been using the “mini” marketing scheme lately, the DLXPLUS might as well be a “Droid DNA Mini”. However, as its codename suggests, the DLX “PLUS” might also be an upgraded Droid DNA, albeit, with a smaller screen. HTC is set to officially unveil the M7 in NYC on February 19, so we should know more about the M7’s status on the carriers’ side of things soon after. Corsair Hydro H55 & H60 CPU Liquid Coolers Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/corsair-hydro-h55--h60-cpu-liquid- coolers-review/18877.html February 5th, 2013 Liquid cooling used to be an unattractive solution for amateurs and everyday users for many years, until the recent release of closed loop, ready-to-run products. Today we will be having a look at two such watercooling kits from Corsair, the H55 and the new H60. Liquid cooling has been known to enthusiasts and hardcore overclockers ever since the 486DX2 CPU era but it was not until many years later that a few pioneering companies decided to release retail liquid cooling products and kits. The situation changed significantly a couple of years ago, when the first sealed and ready-to-run kits found their way into the market, allowing even amateur users to install and use liquid coolers without the fear of leaks or other problems. Today several companies offer such ready-to-run liquid cooling solutions and one of the most well-known is Corsair. With seven ready-to-run watercooling products, Corsair most likely has the widest selection of models currently available, with the company obviously trying to have at least one product for each and every kind of user. Today we will be having a look at two of them, the all-new H55 and the upgraded version of the H60. These two liquid coolers are very similar but there are distinct differences between the models, which we will explore in this review. Dyson reveals Airblade Tap, a wash and dry all-in-one faucet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dyson-reveals-airblade-tap-a-wash- and-dry-all-in-one-faucet/18883.html
  • February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 February 5th, 2013 Dubbed the “Airblade Tap”, the product does what many other basic faucets do, but what conventional faucets don’t have are air blowers on both sides to dry your hands after a soapy rinse. There’s nothing spectacular, or even innovative about the Airblade Tap, as a person can easily “air dry” his hands with a hairdryer on the side. What the Airblade Tap does offer, however, is an elegant all- in-one design that will have your house guests in awe once they realize that the faucet can both rinse and dry their dingy hands. Built into the Airblade Tap are sensors that detect hand positions and release water, and once a person is done rinsing the blowers on the two sides will send “unheated filtered” air at a person’s hands at a speed of up to 420 mph. Dyson claims that the Airblade technology in its faucet “literally [scrapes]” a person’s hands dry in 14 seconds. Also in the Airblade Tap are six silencers to drown out the noise generated while the faucet is at work. The Dyson faucet is made with stainless steel, and a HEPA filter is utilized for the “clean” air-drying action. iPad Mini 2 ups display resolution with Retina Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ipad-mini-2-ups-display-resolution- with-retina/18881.html February 5th, 2013 A report from a Chinese news service states that an iPad Mini 2 is underway and that its resolution is getting huge a boost. Brightwire, the Chinese investment news service, cited Taiwanese Apple suppliers in saying that the production of a 7.9 inch iPad Mini 2 is underway. The report also says that AU Optronics is the pilot behind the iPad Mini 2. Currently, AU builds displays for a handful of Apple products, one of them being the first generation iPad Mini. The report by Brightwire states the next-gen iDevice would feature a 2048 x 1536 pixel display, or 324 ppi (pixels per inch). That number is quadruple that of the current iPad Mini. While better resolution seems like good news to consumers, it can occasionally be bad news for developers. Different resolutions may call for a redesign of an app to fit the dimensions and be aesthetically pleasing. Fortunately, the resolution for the next gen iPad Mini will not require such a thing since it is equivalent to that of the larger Retina iPad. Many have speculated about the coming of a higher resolution version of the iPad Mini, especially when the first gen did not show off a retina-level display. Foxconn to allow staff union elections Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/foxconn-to-allow-staff-union- elections/18879.html February 4th, 2013 Chinese manufacturing firm Foxconn, best known for making Apple's popular iPhone and iPad ranges, has announced plans to allow staff to elect union representatives, the latest in a series of changes at the company aimed at improving working conditions and the firm's ailing reputation. Chinese manufacturing firm Foxconn, best known for making Apple's popular iPhone and iPad ranges, has announced plans to allow staff to elect union representatives, the latest in a series of changes at the company aimed at improving working conditions and the firm's ailing reputation. The company, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, will allow the election of a chairman and 20 members of its Federation of Labour Unions Committee every five years, addressing a key concern of the Fair Labour Association and complaints from workers that they are not being properly represented. The move comes as Apple continues to pressure the firm, which provides cheap manufacturing of its lucrative high- end products, to make improvements to how it treats staff. The company has already made some changes, including reducing the maximum working hours and increasing pay.
  • February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 It has reputedly made 280 of the 360 changes asked for by the Fair Labour Association, which is a major step in the right direction, but it clearly still has a long way to go. Foxconn entered the media spotlight a few years back when a number of employees committed suicide, which immediately highlighted the poor conditions and excessive working days staff are subjected to. With a whopping 1.2 million workers at the company, proper union representation is a significant advance, and may help spur further changes. Samsung unveils new Smart TV line-up Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-unveils-new-smart-tv-line- up/18878.html February 4th, 2013 Samsung has announced its latest line-up of Smart TVs, with additional “smart” features, improved picture quality, larger screen sizes, and digital audio advancements. Samsung has announced its latest line-up of Smart TVs, with additional “smart” features, improved picture quality, larger screen sizes, and digital audio advancements. The first big change with the new products is the Smart Hub, which has been completely redesigned to feature personalised panels, easier navigation, and thumbnail previews. The panels cover: TV programme suggestions based on viewing habits; premium movies, TV shows, and VOD content recommendations; photos, videos and music from AllShare; a social panel to find content shared on various social platforms; and an apps panel for easy access to Samsung apps. S-Recommendation with Voice Interaction is another major feature, letting users find new content easily without the use of a remote. It aggregates content form broadcast TV, premium VOD, apps, social content and even locally-stored content. Improved picture quality is also on the agenda, with new Samsung Ultra High Definition (UHD) TVs, including the UHD TV 85S9, a whopping 85-inch model with four times the resolution of existing full high-definition displays, and 120-watt array speakers, all within a floating minimalist design for those who consider their devices part of their décor. Samsung is also expanding its premium line of TVs in Europe, with the F8500 LED Smart TV becoming the flagship model in its premium Magnum catalogue of displays. The frame and stand are made up of a single piece of aluminium. It is powered by a quad-core processor and comes with a unique feature called Intelligent Viewing, which means the display adjusts the picture quality to the type of content displayed.
  • February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The addition of a Valve Amplifier, a world first, means the HW-F751 Soundbar provides more natural sound, with increased performance. Since it connects wirelessly it can also double as a wireless speaker for smartphones and tablets. Samsung is also delivering on its promise to update old devices. It is offering an Evolution Kit for Series 7, 8, and 9 2012 Smart TVs, which will provide both software and hardware updates for those devices, including updating to the new Smart Hub and upgrading from dual-core processors to quad-core. The new 2013 devices will also allow Evolution Kits for the next round of updates. The TVs will launch in the first half of the year. Pricing varies from retailer to retailer. Halo 3 may soon be available through Steam Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-3-may-soon-be-available- through-steam/18876.html February 4th, 2013 Over half a decade ago, Halo 3 made its way onto the Xbox 360, but despite the game’s popularity, Microsoft has yet to release a PC port of the game. That may change, however, as some evidence have arisen which suggest that a PC Halo 3 may be coming soon through Valve's Steam. According to a recent post on the NeoGAF message board (which cites the Steam database), Halo 3 was spotted amongst some games that will eventually be distributed by Valve’s Steam service. Halo and Halo 2 have already been ported to the PC, but they, too, are among the games that may eventually end up a part of Steam’s selection. It took a while for Microsoft to release PC versions of Halo and Halo 2, and if milking the cow until its bone dry means anything, Microsoft will do the same with Halo 3. However, Bungie’s last touch on the Halo franchise is certainly way past its expiration date, so Halo 3 will probably follow the path of its predecessor and become a PC title, eventually. Currently, a Halo 3 PC release is strictly pure speculation, but if the game is really destined for Steam, then may see it in Steam in about half a year or maybe longer. HP launches $329 Pavilion 14 Chromebook Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hp-launches-329-pavilion-14- chromebook/18874.html February 4th, 2013 HP has launched its first Chromebook to join other major brands (Acer, Samsung, and Lenovo) in supporting Google’s lightweight Linux-based OS. The HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook is a 14-inch notebook that is powered by an Intel Celeron Processor 847 clocked at 1.1GHz, 2GB of RAM (supports up to 4GB), and a 16GB SSD. It also comes with an HDMI output, 3 USB ports, an SD card slot, and built-in webcam for video conferencing. HP estimates that people can get approximately 4 hours of use off a single charge.
  • February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Spec-wise, there’s nothing to rave about when it comes to the Pavilion 14 Chromebook, but powerful hardware is not something that Google and vendors are going after. Rather, Chromebooks are targeted at budget conscious consumers who want a basic notebook that will allow them to complete daily tasks such as browsing the internet, drawing up documents, and checking emails. The HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook is priced moderately at $329, and for most frugal shoppers that’s a nice tag to look at when considering a basic computer. HP’s Chromebook isn’t the cheapest solution, however, as Chromebooks from Acer can be found at prices that are well below $300 (although the display sizes are smaller). Chrome OS won’t be stealing any major market shares away from Microsoft’s Windows OS and Apple’s OSX anytime soon. However, as more and more vendors begin developing Chromebooks, we may see Google carve out for itself a nice following for its Linux-based OS
  • February 7th, 2013 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. Kowa-Girlie, the Snap-On Instant Door Camera Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kowa-girlie-the-snap-on-instant- door-camera/18916.html February 7th, 2013 Magrex Japan introduces the Kowa-Girlie camera, the camera that you can easily "snap on" and install on any door, and can be conveniently accessed via smartphone. Want to install surveillance cameras at your place but find the installation and networking procedures a hassle? Then this tech item might be for you. Japanese tech hardware developer Magrex has introduced the Kowa-Girlie camera, the wireless, portable surveillance camera that you can easily install anywhere and whenever you need it. Like a huge clip, the Kowa-Girlie camera can be conveniently snapped onto any door. It doesn't need screws to fix on, no frames to latch on, and no bases to hang on. In fact, aside from the user's preferred placement or position, it requires absolutely no technical installation procedure. And because it is wireless, there's also no need for any extra wiring, making it tidy to look at and easy to fix to the door. When not needed, or if you want to use it on another door, you can simply pull the Kowagirlie camera off the door and it will be "uninstalled". Smartphones can connect to the Kowa-Girlie camera via Wi- Fi. Aside from simply recording whatever the camera sees, users have the other option of instantly taking a snapshot instead, using the camera's special app. In addition, the camera is installed with a motion sensor, and it is set by default to only start working when someone is in front of the camera. The main camera of the device uses a 655x488 CMOS sensor. It has a maximum observation angle of 95 degrees horizontally, and 73 degrees vertically. Using the device requires a minimum ambient illumination intensity of 5 lux before it can properly register images. Saved videos are encoded in H.264 format. Frame rates are set at 10, 15 and 20 fps, while bitrates are set at 0.1~2.0Mbps. Display size can simply be adjusted from the smartphone's side. As for its general hardware specs, its dimensions are 189 x 99 x 102 mm, and weighs 180g. It is powered by a 4400mAh battery. When used non-stop, it can run for 15 hours. If it is used with the motion sensor on, assuming that it goes off in one day around 10 times for 1 minute each, it can last for almost 3 months. Recharging is done via USB. The Kowa-Girlie camera and its special app are compatible with iOS 4.3+ and Android 2.2+. It has an estimated price of 14,800 yen (158 USD) in Japan. Xbox 720 rumored to be always online, possibly blocking use of secondhand games Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/xbox-720-rumored-to-be-always- online-possibly-blocking-use-of-secondhand-games/18914.html February 7th, 2013 More rumors have been spun on Microsoft's Xbox 720 with possible inclusions like required internet, 50gb Blu Ray game discs, restrictions against secondhand games, and a new Kinect motion sensor. According to recent reports, sources have revealed that Microsoft's new next-gen Xbox console will require an internet connection in order to function, which aims to rule out the possibility of playing secondhand and used games. A new form of Xbox LIVE will be fundamental to the Xbox 720,
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 and new Kinect motion sensor hardware will ship alongside the console. These sources claim to have "first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next generation console". Whether or not they’re credible and their information valid remains to be seen, hence, we must still treat this info as speculation and rumor and take them with a grain of salt. Along with the new features, sources also say that the Xbox 720's revealed specs are indeed factual, pinning the 720 with an AMD eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics solution and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Additionally, these sources claim that Sony's next-gen console is much more preferable to work with and that Microsoft's console is more oppressive in nature. Sources also say that the next-gen consoles are much more like computers than the current generation of gaming consoles, allowing developers have more freedom with their concoctions. When it comes to game discs, sources claim that the Xbox 720 will utilize Blu-ray discs with 50GB capacities. The upgrade to Blu-Ray has obvious advantages including more storage space as well as the alleviation of games released with an extra disc of renders to be installed onto the console. The sources haven't said anything about Blu-Ray movie playback support, which is believed to be restricted on the Xbox 720. These rumors are a bit unnerving and will most likely send a ripple of dissent throughout the gaming world, as the market of secondhand games is thriving and allows gamers to purchase titles at a reduced cost. The Blu-Ray disc capacity is an advantage, but without Blu-Ray movie playback (something that the PlayStation 3 already has) Microsoft's console looks less appealing, especially when coupled with the restriction of used game and online-only functionality. In any case, gamers will most likely be able to put these rumors to the test at this year's E3 event, where Microsoft is believed to unveil its new console. NASA turns on Curiosity drill on Mars for first time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-turns-on-curiosity-drill-on- mars-for-first-time/18917.html February 7th, 2013 NASA has turned on the drill of the Curiosity rover on Martian soil for the first time, marking the latest stage in the exploration and analysis of the Red Planet. NASA has turned on the drill of the Curiosity rover on Martian soil for the first time, marking the latest stage in the exploration and analysis of the Red Planet. The space agency previously employed the hammer action of the tool, but now the robot has drilled directly into the ground, resulting in deposits that will be collected for analysis on the rover's built-in laboratories, where they will be analysed for their chemical and mineralogical compositions. The move is more significant than it sounds, because NASA has to be careful when using any instruments to dig holes in the planet's surface, due to fears that it could lead to unintended damage. The engineers on the project have therefore carefully checked to ensure the drill is working as intended and that the area chosen for drilling is suitable and safe. A mark left in the Martian ground after the first test use of Curiosity's drill. Curiosity's mission is to explore the possibility that the Gale Crater on Mars once supported life, making drilling an essential component in accessing rocks that could record the planet's history. The rover, which landed on Mars last August, has been taking pictures and sending them back to NASA, resulting in some amazing glimpses of the planet. It will soon be directed to drill deeper into the ground to collect samples that could potentially change our understanding of the planet.
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Images Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS Dead Space 3 exploits allow players to avoid in-game fees Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dead-space-3-exploits-allow-players- to-avoid-in-game-fees/18915.html February 7th, 2013 Players of Dead Space 3 can use a number of exploits to circumvent the in-game cash shop, reports suggest, raising questions over the ethics and legality of game cheats when it comes to microtransaction models. Players of Dead Space 3 can use a number of exploits to circumvent the in-game cash shop, reports suggest, raising questions over the ethics and legality of game cheats when it comes to microtransaction models. GameFront showed how some of the exploits work, with one requiring the user to go a specific location, pick up an item, and then save and quit before returning to the game to loot the item again. Another of the exploits is as simple as walking into a building to pick up an item, and then walking out and returning again to find the item has immediately respawned. It sounds like extremely bad coding, and many people will be unaware they are even exploiting the game in this case. An exploit is considered any use of the game in an unintended way, and does not necessarily have to result in the player profiting from its use. Often times they are discovered by accident, which a player can claim in their defence, but repeated use, which may be logged on the game servers, could show deliberate intent to exploit the game. Of course, many players will consider the turn of events appropriate, given that this is the first game in the series to feature microtransactions, and the main purchase already costs a substantial amount. Developer Visceral Games said players are not required to purchase the in-game items, which can be found elsewhere in the game. The purchases simply unlock them earlier. A lawyer told the BBC said exploiting microtransactions is a grey area of the law. Some users claim they do not believe it is unethical, but that may not stop EA from issuing game bans or other penalties. It is almost certain to issue updates to prevent these exploits in future, given the potentially large amounts of revenue it is losing. Valve and JJ Abrams may collaborate on Half-Life and Portal movies Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/valve-and-jj-abrams-may- collaborate-on-half-life-and-portal-movies/18911.html February 7th, 2013 The 2013 DICE summit, a yearly gathering of executives in the video game industry is currently ongoing in Las Vegas. During the opening presentation, Valve and JJ Abrams announced they would be teaming up to make movies and games in the future. Every year, the top people in the video game industry gather at the DICE summit to discuss the industry for a few days. The opening presentation on Tuesday, titled "Storytelling across platforms", was presented by Valve's CEO, Gabe Newell (Half-Life, Portal) and director/producer JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek). During the end of the presentation, they revealed that Valve and Abrams' production company Bad Robot would be teaming up to make movies and even games, in the future. This handshake could lead to some interesting things “We’re going to figure out if we can make a Portal movie or Half-Life movie together" stated Newell during the presentation. Valve have said in the past that they would consider having one of their games made into a movie, but made it clear that it would only happen if they were directly involved in the process; that does indeed seem to be the case here.
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Abrams then added "There’s an idea we have for a game that we’d like to work with Valve on." Again, this is something which, in a way, has been brought up in the past. Portal 2 contained an interactive trailer, essentially a minute long game made in Valve's source engine, for JJ Abram's movie Super 8. It may have been a tiny collaboration, but it was a collaboration nonetheless. Screenshot from the interactive Super8 trailer The surprise announcement took the form of a rehearsed discussion of whether games or movies functioned as a better storytelling medium. Games were critiqued by Abrams for often putting the player in an empty vessel of a character (Half-Life's mute protagonist Gordon Freeman being the archetypical example), while Newell remarked on how the interactivity and self pacing of a game is sometimes preferable to the lack of control one has in movies. The discussion was a leadup to the advantages of having both industries work together, and the announcement that the two parties would be teaming up. No specifics have been released as of yet, beyond the mention of Half-Life and Portal, but we will update you on this story as it develops. Researchers create working biobattery to power hearing device Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/researchers-create-working- biobattery-to-power-hearing-device/18904.html February 7th, 2013 For the first time ever an actual device was powered by the ear itself, although it was the ear of a guinea pig. Scientists are saying that they have found a way to tap into the body’s own electrical energy to power small devices! A team of researchers are saying the days of old fashioned hearing aids may be over. They have created an experimental chip planted in the inner ear that gets its energy from the body itself. Tina Stankovic, an auditory specialist and neuroscientist with Harvard University, headed the team that created the self-powered device in conjunction with MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory. She stated that we could easily see some form of autonomous power for cochlear implants in the foreseeable future. The team was able to develop a small electronic chip with numerous low resistance electrodes that are able to grab infinitesimal amounts of the inner ear’s electrical activity. While the technology seems straightforward enough, harnessing this small amount of power in the human body for long durations will be a challenge. That amount of energy made with our nerves is very small. Stankovic says that while science has known about the DC power in the human body for decades no one has even attempted to harness it until now. (A close up of the tiny device that was implanted into the guinea pig's inner ear.) “In the past, people have thought that the space where the high potential is located is inaccessible for implantable devices, because potentially it’s very dangerous if you encroach on it,” Stankovic said. “We have known for 60 years that this battery exists and that it’s really important for normal hearing, but nobody has attempted to use this battery to power useful electronics.” For nerve cells to operate they must use a positively charged sodium and potassium ion across the membrane to create a very small electrochemical gradient. Stankovic says that the inner ear has that same process in the cochlea as well. It works by borrowing from the mechanical energy created on the eardrum and then converts it to electrical signals for the brain where it deciphers what was heard. Stankovic and her team ran the first test and only test so far on a guinea pig’s inner ear. Electrodes were connected to both sides of its cochlea cell membranes, and then the device was connected to a small radio transmitter and monitored. The guinea pig’s hearing was determined to be normal during the test, but it was only able to transmit just under 5 hours. The team said that the technology can work for short durations; however, there is a risk of damaging the fragile tissue inside the inner ear for any longer. Nevertheless, the device is proof of concept that such a technology can be attained.
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 In the very near future the team plans to minimize the device so there will be little or no chance of the inner ear being harmed. The team also speculates that as the technology progresses there may be a way of harnessing the energy stored in individual cells all throughout the human body to power other types of devices. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner may soon return to the skies Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/boeing-s-787-dreamliner-may-soon- return-to-the-skies/18909.html February 7th, 2013 The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was grounded in January due to a faulty battery design which led to electrical fires. Now, a redesign of those batteries may put the Dreamliner back in the skies soon. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner was designed to be quite progressive. It is 20% more fuel efficient than Boeing's 767 (which the Dreamliner is due to replace), and is the first major airliner to be made primarily from composite materials. Unfortunately, for the past month, the Dreamliner has been grounded due to an electrical fault in the plane's lithium-ion batteries, which caused them to overheat and catch fire mid-flight. The futuristic new 787 Dreamliner - that's one hot plane. Lithium-ion batteries, like their cousins the LiPo batteries, have a very good capacity for storing energy, but that comes with the drawback of being somewhat volatile. Other airplanes use NiCd batteries. However, the batteries themselves aren't really at fault: Li-Ion batteries have made their way to laptops, cell phones and all manner of other electronic devices, proving that if handled properly, they don't pose any substantial danger. Thus, Boeing is not planning to replace the battery type, but rather, to redesign the way the batteries are stored on the plane. A new proposal will redesign the batteries to have more spacing between the cells (reducing heat exchange and the potential of a fire spreading to other cells). Added heat sensors are also included in the proposal, as is a new casing which will reduce movement in the batteries during flight. As of now, the proposal isn't finalized, but Boeing has a massive team of tech experts and engineers working on the problem. Considering that the Dreamliner is Boeing's take on a next generation airliner, it's not surprising they want the problem taken care of and the 787 back in the skies. Samsung Galaxy S IV rumored to launch in April Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iv-rumored-to- launch-in-april/18910.html February 7th, 2013 Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone has been so well received globally that many have raised their expectation for the S III's successor. While no one likes to wait, it seems like Samsung may launch the Galaxy S IV in April, and people will see for themselves if the next Galaxy S device can live up to all the hype. Many believe that Samsung will not even hint at the current development of the Galaxy S IV at Mobile World Congress, much less unveil it. However, according to rumors, the South Korean tech company will launch the Galaxy S III’s successor at the end of April to Asian and European markets, while North America, Australia and Africa will get their portion come May or June. Also, according to Sam Mobile, Samsung will officially announce the Galaxy S IV on March 15, which is about half a month after MWC. Press invites for the unveiling event will go out some time after MWC. Spec-wise, the upcoming Galaxy S IV is purported to boast Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa (an “8-core” chip) that will provide more than enough horses to pull any apps and multitasking features thrown at it, but at the same time have power saving features built-in that will keep the horses at bay when not needed. A Mali-T658 GPU will take care of the graphical end of things on the 4.99-inch Super AMOLED 1080p display. Other rumored specs include a 13MP rear shooter (2MP front), 2GB of RAM, as well as Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean to boot.
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Canonical expects Ubuntu- powered smartphones to hit retail in October Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canonical-expects-ubuntu-powered- smartphones-to-hit-retail-in-october/18908.html February 7th, 2013 Fans of Linux will be happy to know that Canonical intends to have smartphones running the open source Ubuntu operating system on the market by October 2013. Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical Ltd., recently dropped the news at a meeting in New York on Tuesday. Ubuntu’s entrance into the mobile sector marks a significant shift in which desktop functionalities are beginning to merge with the portability of tablets and smartphones. Ubuntu for smartphones is Canonical’s approach to making desktop features more accessible to mobile users. A smartphone running Ubuntu can be used as a fully functional desktop when docked to a larger display and wireless peripherals like a mouse and keyboard. As a standalone smartphone, the Ubuntu OS switches to a “mobile interface”, something the company refers to as a “distilled version of the Ubuntu desktop interface.” Canonical is tackling a heated market in which Google’s Android is the top open source mobile OS, and Apple’s iOS is the preferred proprietary. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS as well as BlackBerry’s recently launched (formerly RIM) BB10 OS are strong contenders in the mobile space—albeit, with far less market share than Android or iOS. Aside from the enthusiasts, Ubuntu for smartphone shows promises in corporate settings where IT specialists can manage all employee devices much more easily through the consolidation of hardware and software. However, in recent years, the phenomenon known as “bring your own devices” (BYOD) has been catching on, and many IT managements have practically overhauled their infrastructures to accommodate different devices with various mobile OS. Yahoo sites to display ads from Google's AdMob & AdSense Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/yahoo-sites-to-display-ads-from- google-s-admob--adsense/18905.html February 7th, 2013 Yahoo recently announced that it will begin displaying ads from Google’s AdMob and AdSense on Yahoo co-branded sites as well as Yahoo-specific sites. Google has outplayed Yahoo in essentially every single game thus far, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Yahoo has decided to partner up with its rival. The deal between Yahoo and Google will allow Google to have an even bigger presence on the web, while also allowing Yahoo to have more ads to display. Many Yahoo-specific sites such as News, Answers, Sports, and Mail have strong followings, and the deal seems to benefit both search engines—although, one can argue that Google is the on the better end of the bargain. Yahoo says that the deal will help it to become more “focused on doing everything [they] can to make user experience inspiring and engaging… [and] one of the way [they] can do this is by providing relevant and well-targeted content— whether that be editorial or advertising content.” Moreover, Yahoo claims that there won’t be a “noticeable difference in how or where ads appear” on the sites. It is worth noting that Yahoo’s current CEO, Marissa Mayer, was a former Google engineer, designer, product manager, and executive. Instead of “abandoning Google”, Mayer may have helped to build a bridge between the two competitors. We’ll see where this partnership leads Google and Yahoo, but for the time being Google has the stronger hand. Sony WG-C10, pocket server makes external storage access universal Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-wg-c10-pocket-server-makes- external-storage-access-universal/18885.html February 7th, 2013 Sony unveils the WG-C10, a wireless server that can be used to access external storage devices. With it, you can wirelessly
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 connect to a USB Flash drive, SD card, USB external HDD, etc. using a smartphone, tablet, or PC. External data cards may provide huge extra storage space, and USB port access makes mobile devices more versatile, but Sony's new data hub can make access still a whole lot easier, by combining these two data storage outlets into one handy, wireless device. The WG-C10 is technically classified as a wireless server that is used to universally access any external storage device via Wi-Fi. In other words, you insert a storage device in it (an SD card for example) turn it on, and it will transform into a pocket Wi-Fi storage device. Any device that is connected to its Wi-Fi network could then directly access the files and data of the connected storage medium. Aside from simple device-to-medium access, the WG-C10 also allows users to manipulate data from two separate storage mediums that are connected to the device. For example, if you want to transfer files from the connected SD card to the connected USB flash drive, you may simply do so with the use of your tablet, smartphone, or PC. Available slots and ports (for storage media use) of the WG-C10 includes one memory card slot, one microUSB 2.0 port and one full USB 2.0 port. A maximum of 8 devices and computers can connect to its Wi-Fi network. As an extra bonus, the WG-C10 is also installed with a 2210mAh lithium-ion battery. This provides the needed power to the USB ports if for example, an external USB HDD would be connected to it. This also means that it can be used to directly charge devices via USB, allowing it to function as an extra portable battery pack. OS compatibility for the WG-C10 includes Windows XP (SP3) / Vista (SP2) / 7 (SP1 / 8, Mac OS X 10.6+, Android 2.3 / 4+, and iOS 5.0+. PC's can simply use the available networking options of its OS to access the storage device. As for tablets and smartphones, you'll need to download the PWS Manager app from their respective app markets. Sony plans to release the WG-C10 on April 30, 2013. Its price in Japan is expected to be at around 9,000 yen (97 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) Samsung unveils new Silicon Valley R&D center Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-unveils-new-silicon-valley- r-d-center/18899.html February 6th, 2013 Samsung Electronics just unveiled a new Silicon Valley innovation center, which the company says will be an epicenter of research and development. This new center will also be aided through a 1 billion dollar investment. Called the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center, this new innovation hub will be an epicenter of designing new products and encouraging entrepreneurs and inventors to help Samsung create new and useful products. The center will be located in Menlo Park, California on Sand Hill Road. There will also be satellite offices located in South Korea and in Israel. Samsung’s President and Chief Strategy Officer of device Solutions, Young Sohn, will be managing the center. "We see tremendous opportunities and transformations over the next five years driven by Big Data centered around mobility, cloud, and the Internet of Things, and Samsung will be a significant part of this revolution," Sohn said in a recent press statement. "This is an exciting opportunity for us to engage with entrepreneurs and innovators and empower them to leverage Samsung's technology and global brand presence to bring our collective visions to market." Funding for the new center will come directly from Samsung’s Catalyst Fund, but according to Sohn the center has been open since August of 2012. The center would be a place where the company’s product divisions would be able work together and take advantage of the rich resources that Silicon Valley has to offer. Sohn also said that Samsung would eventually be establishing offices in other strategic locations around the globe. He further stressed that the center would be reaching out to others in the community and possibly mentor young innovators and to even build new partnerships with special programs. The 100-millons dollars coming from Samsung’s Catalyst Fund is aimed at what they call early stage and seed stage investments. This would be going along with the 1 billion dollar corporate venture fund, which will also be making more investments in other US-based companies. According to Sohn, Samsung is one of the three largest corporate investors on the globe. Samsung has organized something they call the ‘SamsungCreate Challenge’ that will be set up later this year. Its purpose is to encourage engineers, artists, inventors and all manner of entrepreneurs to make use of Samsung’s technology to help promote their new ideas. If chose, innovators and entrepreneurs will receive 10 million dollars through seed investments and support from other Samsung partners.
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 North Korea uses Modern Warfare 3 footage in disturbing propaganda video Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korea-uses-modern- warfare-3-footage-in-disturbing-propaganda-video/18900.html February 6th, 2013 It seems North Korea’s latest propaganda video showing the United States in flames used images from Modern Warfare 3. This came soon after North Korea’s announcement that they would be detonating a nuclear bomb. If you keep up with anything to do with world affairs, you have probably heard about North Korea’s determination to conduct a nuclear bomb test in defiance of U.N. sanctions. To make matters worse some reports are saying that North Korea may be testing more than one nuclear bomb. Now the hermit kingdom has taken advantage of the power of social media and posted a disturbing video to YouTube aimed directly at the United States. In the video it shows a young man dreaming about a new world, and part of that dream shows the United States in flames. "Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing," reads a translation of the video. "It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze with the fire started by itself." Not long after the video was posted someone noticed the similarity between it and Once confirmed, it was removed due to an image ownership claim from Activision. To add insult to injury, the video uses the same tune to the 1980’s hit single, ‘We Are the World” that was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie. The amateurish video was uploaded by the username of ‘Uriminzokkriri’, which is the same name as North Korea’s propaganda agency. Once it began to trend Online it created a stir among viewers because of the fact that North Korea is getting ready to test fire at least one or more nuclear bombs. This video came just one day after North Korea fired back their rebuke over the United Nation’s sanction’s set on them for launching a satellite back in December 2012. Kim Sook, who serves as South Korea’s ambassador to the UN, said that a nuclear explosion test by North Korea would happen very soon. South Korea has observed a lot of movement across the border and has confirmed a definite test site. Speaking at a press conference Sook said, "They are very firm and resolute and I would expect very firm and strong measures to be taken in terms of format as well as in substance once they go ahead with such provocation.” North Korea became the world’s eighth nuclear bomb holder in October 2006 after setting off a successful test of an underground nuclear bomb. In defiance to the U.N., the country is also conducting long-range missile tests and successfully launched a supposed satellite in orbit late last year. Many experts have warned that the satellite was really just a long-range missile test guised as a peaceful advancement in technology. Kaspersky anti-virus update knocks PCs offline Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kaspersky-anti-virus-update-knocks- pcs-offline/18902.html February 6th, 2013 Computer security firm Kaspersky Lab made a major blunder with its latest anti-virus update, which blocked Windows XP users from accessing the internet. Computer security firm Kaspersky Lab made a major blunder with its latest anti-virus update, which blocked Windows XP users from accessing the internet. The update fiasco knocked one of the largest groups of computer users off the web and made it extremely difficult to fix the problem, since further updates to the code could not be downloaded. Kaspersky issued a hotfix within two hours, but many people could not connect to download it. The company told them to roll back their system to before the previous update or to disable its anti-virus software so that they could reconnect to the internet again. They then had to manually download the update before re-enabling the software. The only problem is that without the internet many users will be unaware of the possible workarounds, and may be forced to bring their computers to repair shops to figure out what the problem is, incurring unnecessary costs and eating up valuable work time. It is not clear what, if any, compensation the firm plans to give to users.
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 US Federal Reserve admits hackers stole data Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-federal-reserve-admits-hackers- stole-data/18901.html February 6th, 2013 The US Federal Reserve had admitted that hackers stole personal information from its servers during a hack that could affect as many as 4,000 bank executives. The US Federal Reserve had admitted that hackers stole personal information from its servers during a hack that could affect as many as 4,000 bank executives. The Federal Reserve said that passwords were not compromised, but a contact database, designed for use in natural disasters, had been breached, due to a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product. It said the security hole is now fixed and does not affect its critical operations. The admission follows the publication of details of 4,000 US bank executives by loose-knit hacktivist group Anonymous. It is not clear if the two are connected, but if they are then the leaked list was certainly substantial. The hack is considered one of the more worrisome ones in recent years, owing largely to the fact that banks and other financial institutions are required by law to disclose sensitive financial information to the Federal Reserve. If any of that information was exposed it could prove disastrous, and trust in the Federal Reserve is likely to be considerably weakened. This is not the first time the Federal Reserve has been hacked. In 2010 Malaysian hacker Lin Mun Poo broke into the systems and took sensitive information that he allegedly then planned to exploit to steal money. This latest attack puts the Feds back under the spotlight, and many will be questioning just how safe computer networks are if the servers of agencies like this can be breached. Image Credit: Federal Reserve AMD entices Radeon buyers with Never Settle: Reloaded gaming bundle Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-entices-radeon-buyers-with- never-settle-reloaded-gaming-bundle/18882.html February 6th, 2013 AMD is once again teaming up with publishers and delivering some of the hottest games with their technology. Never Settle: Reloaded is a bundle for the hardcore gamer. Last year AMD bundled some of the most-anticipated games of the year with select HD 7800 and 7900 series hardware, calling it the Never Settle bundle. This year AMD is continuing that trend with Never Settle: Reloaded, and once again teaming up with their Gaming Evolved brand partners to deliver some of the hottest games with their 7000-series video cards. With select HD 7800 and HD 7900 graphics cards, you will get a download code for one or more AAA title games. Crysis 3, BioShock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Devil May Cry join last year’s choices Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution, and Far Cry 3. The Never Settle: Reloaded bundle will include some impressive games from AMD's Gaming Evolved partners Game Title AMD Radeon™ HD 7900 Series (WW) AMD Radeon™ HD 7800 Series (NA, EMEA, AUS, NZL, KOR) AMD Radeon™ HD 7800 Series (APAC, excl. GC, JPN, KOR, ANZ) Purchase two AMD Radeon™ HD 7900 Series (NA & EMEA only) AMD Radeon™ HD 7990 GPU (NA & EMEA only) Crysis® 3 Download Code X X X BioShock® Infinite X X X X X
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Download Code Tomb Raider® Download Code X X X DmC Devil May Cry™ Download Code X Sleeping Dogs™ Download Code X X Hitman: Absolution™ Download Code X X Far Cry® 3 Download Code X X X AMD is taking an aggressive stance at pushing their current- gen hardware with enticing deals in order to bolster sales after treading water in 2012. With top anticipated titles included with some powerful hardware, perhaps we will see the rise of AMD again. HP Envy x2 Review: Clover Trail Tablet Hybrid Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hp-envy-x2-review-clover-trail- tablet-hybrid/18898.html February 6th, 2013 Intel Clover Trail Atom tablets can do one thing that the ARM based Windows RT tablets can't - load and run regular x86 applications. How does the HP Envy x2 fair as an all-day computing device? Introduction Past computer operating systems have been brought into the market with personal computers (PCs) firmly in mind. There have been tablet versions of PC operating systems, starting from XP all the way to Windows 7. However, the tablet had never really caught on as the supporting hardware was just too bulky and heavy for most consumers’ liking. In recent years technology has caught up, and with the introduction of Windows 8, a revolutionary new operating system has been introduced with both tablets and PCs in mind. It was only a matter of time before someone thought about having a lightweight tablet which could also double as an Ultrabook of sorts. Asus was technically the first to have thought of that, but their use of Android as an OS made their hybrid models more of a ‘tablet with a keyboard dock’. HP has now gone one better, with tablet that has both a keyboard dock and a full PC operating system. Lo and behold, we present to you the Envy x2. Initial Impressions Looking at the picture above, Apple fanboys are almost certainly going to cry foul and label it as a rip-off of the Macbook Air. However, the two couldn’t be more different. For one thing, the keyboard dock has a full HDMI port, two USB ports, and a SD card slot capable of reading up to 64 GB. The tablet section has the power button and the microSIM slot, allowing for wireless connectivity on the go. The build quality is also significantly better than the MacBook Air. Brushed aluminium makes up both the tablet and dock bodies. This reviewer is usually wary of consumer products made of pure aluminium since producers seem to go for cheaper alloys with lower impact resistance to cut costs. A Google search of ‘dents in aluminium laptops’ is very enlightening. The HP Envy x2 appears to buck the trend of poor aluminium alloys, though. The build quality appears to be very solid, with no noticeable flex in the keyboard dock underside and tablet case upon manual pressure. Some relatively negligible flex was noted in the keyboard and palm rest areas. The tablet and keyboard dock each weigh roughly 700g, making the full set a very lightweight 1.4 kg, comparable to the Thinkpad X1 Carbon that is making waves among business-minded professionals. Docking and undocking the main tablet is relatively simple, involving sliding a small catch to the left. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the latching mechanism is flimsy, for flipping the entire laptop upside down did not cause the tablet to drop out or even jiggle in its slot (WARNING: VR Zone will not accept any responsibility for viewers who actually do that).
  • February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 Of note is the fact that when the tablet is docked, opening the screen to its viewing angle lifts the edge off the table surface slightly. This makes for a more ergonomic typing experience. That said, there are problems that are evident on first use with this tablet/laptop hybrid. For one thing, there is no Ethernet LAN port, and one would have to use a USB-to- Ethernet adaptor for this purpose. This is admittedly quite a standard feature in most Ultrabooks, but it would have been nice if a LAN port could have been crammed into the dock. Also, it is unclear as to what glass the display is clad in, but it appears to be Gorilla Glass. While this allows for an impact- resistant display, it also makes for a very glossy surface that reflects light easily even in dim conditions.
  • February 9th, 2013 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. Next up for Google - the Google Airport Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/next-up-for-google--the-google- airport/18928.html February 9th, 2013 Not happy with being the main force behind online advertising, Google has branched out into all kinds of different areas and now it looks like they are adding a new business to their portfolio - a Google Airport. It sure seems that Google isn't happy unless it is finding new types of businesses to get involved in. From online advertising to self-driving cars to being an ISP, the company is always on the move and now it seems that Google wants to take their brand to altogether new heights. According to a report from Slashgear, the company that Larry and Sergey built is going to be getting into the airport business with their own branded airport in San Jose. This isn't some wild rumor either as the officials of the current San Jose airport are urging city officials to okay the deal. If approved by the city, primarily the council's Airport Competitiveness Committee, the Google owned Blue City Holdings (the company that runs the Google fleet of aircraft), and Signature Aviation would fund an $82 million dollar facility on land that is currently a parking lot. At the moment, Google has a set of planes that are owned and operated by the company (housed at the Moffat Federal Airfield) and are used for private Google flights that ferry around Google CEOs and their buddies. This deal would have Signature Aviation and Blue City Holdings using the area for 'at least 50 years', which is unusual given that typical airport leases run for 20 to 30 years. The final proposal will be seen by the San Jose city council, and its Airport Competitiveness Committee later this month. However, this will only be the first step in a series of reviews the proposal will have to go through. It is hoped by the parties involved that the reviews will be completed in time for a full city council vote this spring. Monster security patch coming from Microsoft Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/monster-security-patch-coming- from-microsoft/18927.html February 9th, 2013 Patch Tuesday is that time when Microsoft pushes out any updates that are needed for your installed version of Windows and related software. Typically these are security patches and aren't overly newsworthy, however, this one that is coming our way is quite the monster. Anyone who uses Windows as their primary operating system will be quite familiar with Patch Tuesday. That is the day that Microsoft pushes out via Windows Update any software updates and security patches needed by the OS. For the most part these are pretty minor security patches, but then every once in a while they push out a monster update; and the one coming our way this next Patch Tuesday is one of those monsters. Part of this update will be security patches for every single version of Internet Explorer - from IE 6 right through to IE 10; which is the latest version of their browser. Apparently, this is to address a security hole that leaves users open to being exploited through drive-by attacks. These are the attacks that happen when you visit a webpage that can cause your browser to silently download and install malware. According to Microsoft's advisory for this upcoming Patch Tuesday, five of the twelve security patches are rated as "critical", but the total number of security flaws that will be fixed by this update is a jaw-dropping 57.
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Microsoft will be offering a free webcast on February 13th that is meant to address some of the questions and concerns people might have about the updates; which you can register for here. Ubisoft CEO teases with details of new Assassin's Creed game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ubisoft-ceo-teases-with-details-of- new-assassin-s-creed-game/18926.html February 9th, 2013 Ubisoft's CEO reveals that a new Assassin's Creed game is in the works and that it will feature a new hero, a new time period, and may launch before April 2014. This spawned a variety of rumors include a possible pirate-theme for the game and other speculations. The Assassin's Creed franchise has been a hallmark series for Ubisoft, and has garnered a substantial amount of acclaim throughout the gaming world. The games are well-known for their signature adventures throughout distinct historical time periods, and according to Ubisoft's CEO, the series is far from over. Yves Guillemot reveals that the next title in the series will continue with an "all-new Assassin's Creed hero, within an all new team and time period" and that the new game will be "another major leap forward for the franchise". Below you can find Guillemot's full statement: “We are delighted and proud to announce today that in financial year ’14, we will introduce an all-new Assassin’s Creed hero, within an all new team and time period, and we expect it to be another major leap forward for the franchise. It is the benefit of multiple teams working on multiple chapters of the product, each getting several years to make their versions of an Assassin’s Creed game.” Since Guillemot reveals that a new protagonist will be featured in the next game, Desmond's story may be over, but the series is still ripe with interesting story arcs and plots. Whether or not we will see Desmond again remains unconfirmed--perhaps Guillemot meant that a new assassin will be featured rather than an all-new character. There's always the possibility of a prequel, perhaps one that chronicles the earlier years of the Templar/Assassin war. Guillemot continues on the subject of the merits of bringing in a new dev team to work on the game: "It is the benefit of multiple teams working on multiple chapters of the product, each getting several years to make their versions of an Assassin's Creed game." The next Assassin's Creed title is believed to come sometime before April 2014. Guillemot hasn't specified whether or not it will be released on current or next-gen consoles, and has yet to unveil which dev team is working on the new game. It will be interesting to see which time period that the new game utilizes, as the series is famous for its dazzling recreations of historical environments. Perhaps the new game will take place in ancient Rome and tell the story of Aquilus, whose adventures are chronicled in the Assassin's Creed graphic novels. There have also been rumors that speculate on a pirate theme for the new Assassin's Creed game. Ubisoft already has a lot of practice under its belt with the ship-to-ship combat in Assassin's Creed III, allowing players to sink enemy ships with a barrage cannon fire and sail across the high seas. Guillemot assures that more information on the new Assassin's Creed title is coming son, and we may here more during this year's E3 event in June. For now, players can take part in an alternate universe that parallels Assassin's Creed III with the latest DLC pack The Tyranny of King Washington, whose first episode is coming to consoles and PC on Feb. 19 for $9.99 (800 MSP). Star Wars & Star Trek are connected says JJ Abrams at DICE 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-wars--star-trek-are-connected- says-jj-abrams-at-dice-2013/18913.html February 9th, 2013 At this year's DICE Summit J.J. Abrams, the director of the new Star Trek film and Star Wars Episode VII, speaks with
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Gabe Newell about the importance of subtle clues in his movies. J.J. Abrams shared the stage with Valve's own Gabe Newell at this year's Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit to discuss the "merits of storytelling across platforms". They also talked about Star Trek, Star Wars (of course), and even teased the audience (and gamers worldwide). Abrams, who was confirmed as the director of the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII back in January, showed a clip of his 2009 film Star Trek to illustrate how small details can speak volumes. After freeze-framing the scene, Abrams highlighted a specific area to show a familiar astromech droid barely visible amidst space debris, which you can see below. Artoo Deetoo it is you, it is you! "So they're looking at all the debris that's out there, and curiously, it's R2D2," Abrams said, accompanied by a gale of laughter from the crowd. R2-D2 had been caught by many fans across the internet, but it was bewildering at the time, thought as a possible homage to Star Wars when it was in fact a clue. To this Newell responded: "So now I have to go back through your movies looking at all the debris to figure out what movie you're going to direct next?" Abrams hasn't given many clues on what he's planning to bring to the franchise with Episode VII, but he has surely reminded fans to pay close attention to his films for small subtle hints. Valve's Gabe Newell and J.J. Abrams discuss the merits of "Storytelling Across Platforms" at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. Additionally, the DICE Summit might have opened new doors to the possibility of Abrams directing films based on Half-Life and Portal. During their sit-down Gabe Newell expressed interest in Abrams taking the helm for adaptations of the best-selling franchises: “We’re going to figure out if we can make a Portal movie or Half-Life movie together" stated Newell during the presentation. This year's May release of Star Trek: Into Darkness may in fact be studded with small clues for Episode VII, and after Abrams' showcase in Las Vegas, Force aficionados will no- doubt crossover and become temporary Trekkies just to see clues for the anticipated film. It will be interesting to see what Newell and Abrams drum up in the next few years on the possibilities of film adaptations of Half-Life and Portal, considering both gaming franchises are ripe with distinct and entertaining story arcs. With Star Trek and Star Wars Abrams may be too busy to tackle Valve's project for a few years, but he's definitely a great choice for the role. Geanee's Micro PC is Jelly Bean-powered, has its own app market Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/geanee-s-micro-pc-is-jelly-bean- powered-has-its-own-app-market/18923.html February 9th, 2013 Geanee Japan develops their version of an Android-on-a- stick device, the ADH-42. Aside from the slightly upgraded specs, it uses the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, and has an available market alternative to Google Play. How many of you remembered that nifty Android innovation called Cotton Candy? Well, it seems that the Japanese also have their version of these "gum box" PC's. In fact this one might even actually be a step more advanced than Cotton Candy or even the MK802, with its slightly upgraded specs, the use of a more advanced OS version, and the availability of an alternative online app market. The ADH-42 is a pocket micro-PC that is powered by Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The unit is used by connecting it to an HDMI port, so it can be used on regular televisions as well as PC monitors. It is powered by a 1.5 Ghz Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU, has 1 GB of RAM and has 4GB of internal
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 memory. The unit is also Wi-Fi enabled, and is capable of full HD display. Like most Android-on-a-stick products, it does not have direct Google Play support. However, the ADH-42 has a convenient alternative in the form of the Tapnow Market, providing the user with an online outlet to add apps to the device. This is probably the most critical and distinct feature that the ADH-42 has, enabling it to be used almost perfectly like a regular Android unit. Available ports on the ADH-42 include one host USB port, one power supply microUSB port, another microUSB port for data transfer and software updates, an HDMI port and a microSD card slot. Compatible media formats for the ADH-42 are AVI / WMV / MOV / MPEG-2 / MPEG-4 / MKV / FLV for videos, JPEG / BMP / PNG / GIF for images, and WMA / MP3 / WAV for audio files. The ADH-42 is available in Japan for 9,980 yen (108 USD), almost half the price of the Cotton Candy, and is just a bit more expensive than the MK802. Chinese say the 'EmDrive' may change the future of space propulsion Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-say-the-emdrive-may- change-the-future-of-space-propulsion/18922.html February 9th, 2013 Chinese scientists have built and tested a British inventor’s design of a new type of space propulsion drive. Once scoffed as an impossible device by his British counterparts, China says that it not only works but it will change the satellite industry in a positive way. Today, most satellites are launched into orbit and maintain their altitude and proper orbit by the use of fuels or compressed gasses. In fact, a good percentage of the weight of a satellite is composed of the fuel that keeps it at its proper position once in space. This added weight on satellites costs a lot, but now China says they can change all of this with this new and innovative propulsion system called the ‘EmDrive’. Currently the amount of thrust it produces is very small and only able to lift a few ounces, but in outer space that can amount to a lot of momentum over time. A British engineer by the name of Roger Shaywer is the inventor of the new drive system, which he began the work on it in 2001 after he received a government grant from the United Kingdom’s Department of Trade and Industry. Soon thereafter, he started his own company, which he called the Satellite Propulsion Research (SPR) Ltd. In two years’ time he developed a version of his EmDrive system, which is a conical container that uses propulsion with resonating microwaves and supposedly results in a net thrust of force downward at the wide end of the container. Immediately after Shawyer wrote on his findings with his invention, the scientific community scoffed at the idea and called it a just a little less than a sci-fi fantasy. Many fired back saying that the apparatus violated the law of conservation of momentum, which states that no closed system can give a net thrust. Shawyer desperately tried to argue his case by saying that the microwaves were causing the thrust because they have a group velocity that is greater in a single direction. Shawyer said that Einstein’s special theory of relativity plays a role in how it works. Even still, his counterparts wouldn't have it and ignored anything he came back with. The first test of the device occurred in 2003 and gave a reading of 16mN, which is very small but enough to prove that it worked. Just as they had previously, other scientists in his field of study ignored his findings, called it implausible and would not even look at it often quoting Newton’s laws of physics. When China heard about the drive they decided to take a look at Shawyer's findings and see what the fuss was all about. Not only were they curious at his design but they went ahead and built and tested their own model. After running it for the first time, they are not only saying that it really does work but that it will change the satellite industry as we know it today. The Chinese researchers were led by a Dr. Yang Juan who serves as a Professor of Propulsion Theory and Engineering of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xi'an. The paper on the new system was called, "Net thrust measurement of propellantless microwave thruster," and was published by the Acta Physica Sinica journal. In all aspects of space travel all initial propulsion relies on the simple fact that a gas is ejected out results in thrust. Once in space, all satellites must rely on a propellant to keep them in orbit or to make subtle changes to their position. This fuel will eventually run out and the satellite will lose its orbit position or make a reentry into the atmosphere due to earth’s gravity. With this new drive system it would mean no more fuel for satellites, which currently accounts for a lot of their mass at launch time as well. All of this added weight from more fuel translates to higher costs for the launch in the first place. Dr. Juan and her team discovered that the drive system given as little as 2 kilowatts of power would produce up to 72 grams of thrust or about 720 mN. While this may not seem like much thrust, in a weightless environment it means a lot movement. To give a good example, the current ion drive (the XIPS thruster by Boeing) that is being experimented with by NASA uses twice as much power as the EmDrive and it produces less than one quarter the same thrust as
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 the EmDrive. The EmDrive is also lighter in weight than the XIPS thruster. Shawyer has big plans for this thruster and wants it to be able to produce more thrust so it can be used right here on terra firma. He is hoping that the latest tests coming out of China will back up his work and restore his standing in the scientific community. Having more funding will allow him to begin making a more powerful unit. The amount of thrust the EmDrive produces is determined by the Q value of the cavity in the device. Shawyer claims that if he can implement some kind of superconductor with the drive he can boost its Q value, which in turn boosts its thrust by several thousand. Basically what Shawyer is hinting at is something along the lines of a flying car, and who doesn’t want a flying car? NASA to host Google+ Hangout with International Space Station Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-to-host-google-hangout-with- international-space-station/18925.html February 8th, 2013 NASA will host its first live Google+ Hangout with the International Space Station soon, giving citizens a glimpse of life 240 miles above the Earth. NASA will host its first live Google+ Hangout with the International Space Station soon, giving citizens a glimpse of life 240 miles above the Earth. Users from around the world will be able to tune in at NASA's Google+ or YouTube pages to see and potentially interact with astronauts up in the space station and here on the ground. The event will be from 11am to noon EST on Friday, 22 February. Users following NASA on Google+, Twitter or Facebook can submit questions before or during the live stream, and a select number of these will be answered by astronauts. The astronauts taking part in the Hangout are Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn of NASA and Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency. They will be answering questions and providing insights about life in space, such as how they eat, sleep and exercise in a near-weightless environment. Anyone wishing to submit a question in advance must do so by 12 February by uploading a video of no more than 30 seconds to YouTube, with the tag #askAstro. The same tag should be used for any questions sent in during the event. All submissions must include an introduction with the person's name and location. NASA said it is looking for the most unique and original questions. Google+ Hangouts have become a popular feature employed by celebrities, politicians, organisations and agencies throughout the world. For example, US President Barack Obama, known for his embracing of technology and social media, used Google+ Hangouts for the first all-virtual White House interview in January. The medium is likely to only grow from here as more big names adopt it to interact with supporters and fans. NASA can be found on Google+ here. Scientists pinpoint more precise date for dinosaur extinction Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-pinpoint-more-precise- date-for-dinosaur-extinction/18924.html February 8th, 2013 Scientists from around the world have determined the most accurate date for the extinction of dinosaurs, which supports the theory that they were wiped out by a comet or asteroid. Scientists from around the world have determined the most accurate date for the extinction of dinosaurs, which supports the theory that they were wiped out by a comet or asteroid. Researchers from the Glasgow University, Berkeley Geochronology Centre, University of California, and Vrije Univesity Amsterdam teamed up to date rock and ash samples near the fossilised remains of dinosaurs, using a technique called argon-argon dating, considered one of the most precise methods of dating rock.
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The team were able to pinpoint the demise of the monstrous beasts to around 66,038,000 years ago, with an error margin of around 11,000 years. This is the most detailed approximation of the extinction of dinosaurs to date. The significance of the dating is that it coincides with the impact of a comet or asteroid, giving new credibility to a theory first made in 1980 that dinosaurs were wiped out in this way. Some scientists refuted that theory, suggesting dinosaurs died out as much as 300,000 years before the comet struck. It is believed that a 10km-wide rock struck an area off the coast of Mexico, resulting in a massive 180km-wide crater called Chicxulub, while also sending debris across the world. The team now propose that this had a definite impact on the end of dinosaurs, though they acknowledge that it probably was not the only factor. The findings were published in the Science journal. Image Credit: David Monniaux Report details PlayStation 4 price, features Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/report-details-playstation-4-price- features/18921.html February 8th, 2013 Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun recently released a report on the PlayStation 4, revealing a number of features, as well as a price for the upcoming game console A recent article on the Verge details a report in Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun which reveals several of the features, as well as the price, of Sony's upcoming Playstation 4 console. The console, which Sony have teased will be revealed on February 20th, is expected to be releases during 2013 in America and Japan, according to the report. No information has been given regarding a European release date though, which has led some to believe the console won't be sold there until 2014. The report lists a price of 40,000 yen for the console, which is just over $400; the price tag is high, but substantially lower than the PlayStation 3's 2006 launch price, whose most expensive configuration sold for $599. Considering the poor launch of the PS3, which was partially due to the high price, this may be a case of Sony learning their lesson. This may be the what the new PlayStation controller will look like The new features detailed for the console include a new controller which will retain the general dimensions of PlayStation's existing dualshock controller, but include a touchpad similar to the one featured on the back of the Playstation Vita. The Nikkei Business daily mentions the inclusion of another feature attributed to Sony's recent $380 million purchase of Gaikai, an online cloud-gaming service. The Nikkei reports that the PlayStation 4 will thus integrate cloud streaming features into the console. NASA Kepler telescope reveals Earth-like planets are close to us Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-kepler-telescope-reveals-earth- like-planets-are-close-to-us/18920.html February 8th, 2013 There are many mysteries that await mankind’s discovery in the vast expanse of space, but recent data gathered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope is hinting at the possibility that the nearest habitable—or “Earth-like” planets—may be right next door to our solar system. According to the data gathered, NASA has detected 461 new potential “alien planets”, including four worlds that are slightly larger than Earth which may be capable of supporting life forms that human being are familiar with. All four of the planets are considered “super-Earths” because they’re 1.25-2 times larger than our planet. Moreover,
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 these super-Earths are within their stars’ habitable zones, meaning there’s a possibility that water may exist on the planets’ surface. Unprintable Content (Video, Flash, etc.) Not only did the Kepler space telescope found possible habitable planets, the data gathered also indicated that the nearest Earth-like planet may be just 13 light years away the sun. One light year is 9.4605284 × 1012 kilometers, so 13 light years is still very far in term of reachable distance via current technology. “The information we presented today will excite the general public because we now know what the nearest potential Earth-like world is likely within 13 light years of the sun,” said Courtney Dressing, an astronomer. “Astronomically speaking, 13 light years is practically next door.” Just as significant is the Kepler’s new findings also increase the number of stars “known to host more than one planet candidate from 365 to 467.” Apple iPad mini - a (re)view from a staunch PC user's side Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-ipad-mini--a-re-view-from-a- staunch-pc-user-s-side/18280.html February 8th, 2013 Did the tablets mature from a consumer fad to a serious device that can be used for serious purposes, even when small in size? Here’s a look at one of the most popular new entries, Apple iPad mini. I’ve analysed, benchmarked, created and, yes, used high end PC systems for over 25 years now, and the progress usually meant getting faster, more capacity and features, but still relying on pretty much common ATX or thereabouts size. Such systems – and their laptop PC cousins - were and still are the mainstay of productivity content creation. Now, tablets were initially seen as just a bit more than toys, for watching movies or sharing photos and bigger-screen web browsing compared to the phones, when bored in a bus or metro. It is so because they were just that – a grade above a toy. No one would bother creating a serious presentation on a tablet, or writing a document (no real keyboard without Bluetooth appendages), not to mention design a machine part with 3-D engineering software. Some vendors, like Asus, attempted to make the tablets more serious with the proper keyboard dock in the Transformer series, but that was just a drop in the ocean of other simpler ‘pay and play’ tablets. While I have taken a look at many tablet devices from hardware analysis point of view, the Apple iPad mini is the first tablet I bothered to use now for over more than a month – here’s the view on it compared to the other tablets hardware-wise, and also pros and cons of its usability and overall experience. The iPad mini’s A5X processor and the 1024x768 7.9-inch screen may not be the top notch of today’s ~8 inch tablet segment, but they perform well the purpose intended by Apple: bring the iPad 2 to a smaller size, with selected added improvements – better camera and Siri among them, thrown in as well. I had a a look at the 64 GB storage version of white iPad mini here. Not only it feels very thin, thinner than most high end smartphones, but the device is actually reduced in overall size more than just the screen difference – 9.7 inch vs 7.9 inch – would suggest. Most of it is due to the bezel around the longer screen side being reduced to just ¼ of what it would normally be, making iPad mini feel narrower than its predecessors despite keeping the same 4:3 screen format. And that’s where the format story comes, from a practical point of view. After comparing the Apple iPad mini 1024x768 screen to, say, Microsoft Surface RT 1366x768 16:9 screen, for all practical purposes, the Apple screen wins. First, the format is so much more naturally matched to the document (whether paper or Web) size, so both viewing and editing are far easier than on the elongated moviescreens. Same goes for the photos, which are about all in 4:3 format. Talking about the movies, yes the widescreen tablets are surely better for watching the HD movie content, but then there are simpler and cheaper ways of watching a movie
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 rather than to procure a tablet only for that purpose. And yes, widescreen tablets are better for the early Angry Birds play, too – the wider, the better in that case. That’s all they are better in, I feel. The resolution? I feel that for a mainstream user, 1024x768, if properly used, is quite OK. No it’s not good enough for photos and videos, but if you handle web pages, documents, PDFs and of course most of the current iPad games & utilities, this resolution is a nice match for a 7.9 inch screen, while it does look somewhat coarse on the bigger iPads. Would there be any use of 2048x1536 New iPad resolution on a 7.9 inch screen in a future iPad? Practically, not much – but then, people are buying 5 – 6 inch phablets with 1920x1080 FullHD screens without ever being able to discern a single pixel inside, so why not 2048x1536 on 8 inches then? OK, yes you could watch those Full-HD movies pixel-perfect in just a window, and still see any email or social network notifications in other windows as plenty of screen real estate would remain available, and of course the photos would really look sharp like real photos. But there would have to be a compromise on the battery life due to the display and processor requirements. I still believe that, after having used both iPad mini and the bigger ‘retina’ ones, that the high resolution can practically be better used on the larger units. Rather than reducing the screen size for the same resolution, I’d much rather see Apple make a 18 or 20 inch supertablet with 4096x3072 resolution, something to beat the new Panasonic 4K entry from CES. At least all of the photo, video, 3-D and document editors I know would buy one instantly, even if it only works for 3 hours at a time – the Panasonic one does only 2 hours anyway, more than enough to do your work on the field and bring it back to the home or office for upload. The GUI? Aside from not being able to do more than one task at a time (aside from background downloads and such), the sliding iPad user interface has matured well in managing many downloaded apps that the users usually amass, with the key things – Safari, Mail etc, staying always visible at the bottom. By default, I feel the Settings box should be in the fixed portion too. The sturdiness? I can testify the little iPad holds its own on this. By accident, I dropped it on the floor so that it hit two sharp edges on both the floor and side wooden chair, and the mini survived with excellent marks, with just a small scratch & dent on the side. So, the device seems to be built pretty well. I still recommend some sort of protective cover, though. Now we come to the usability as a ‘serious’ device. First, if doing emails or document editing, I strongly recommend a Bluetooth keyboard, preferably embedded within the protective cover. No matter how good the screen, an on screen keyboard would take precious space, and also never be as good as an actual keyboard. I tried my best with the on screen thing, but it just doesn’t do it beyond simple email replies and such. The keyboard is necessary to productively type a text such as this one. For taking notes, especially if having a stylus handy, a combination of iPad mini and applet like Moka is a lovely way to make quick and productive hand notes, combining text with drawings. That’s a big plus for a touch device, provided your handwriting is FAST – with a stylus, that is. Spreadsheets? Same thing as the word documents – keyboard is a necessity, however the multitouch capability, in both documents and spreadsheets, helps a lot to quickly,
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 accurately selects areas for editing and copying, faster than the mouse would ever do. Presentations are another story, though – while the keyboard text input is still important, it is less critical here as the other contents gain in importance, and combining innovative apps like Presenter Pro, and touch controls, does make creating unique slide shows a new experience. Same applies to touch enabled Adobe Photoshop Express and similar utilities when it comes to the photo editing. Talking about the camera, I feel that the iPad mini – and other iPads in general – could benefit from a better back camera. Simply, there is no space crunch here like on the smartphones, so a larger sensor, both physically (for better light capture) and in resolution, could be there at least on high end models. For web conversiations like Skype, the built in mic, speakers and camera are good enough, though. We come to the final part, which relates to the application downloads and management. I’ve never been a fan of controlled application environment such as application stores, but over time could get used to it as a complement, not replacement, of the relatively free PC environment. One issue with the Apple store is the credit card info requirement, even if you only download free apps. That is a problem in the markets where releasing your credit card info is treated as a security risk, so a better alternative would be two account levels – ‘basic’ only for free apps downloads, and ‘premium’ that requires credit card info for everything else. It would likely help Apple expand the market share a bit in places like China or India, where the credit card info is an issue. Another issue is more ‘free’ installation executable distribution, at least for the free apps – meaning copying from one iPad to another, and being actually able to run it. That process needs to be easier. And, oh yes, the interfaces – iPad is famously thrifty with these, but I believe the next generation should at the very least have one mini USB 3 and one mini HDMI or Thunderbolt/miniDP there. These could then provide for dongles allowing for, let’s say, attachment to cable Ethernet, important for many office environments where WiFi is banned, or if you happen to be stuck in a hotel like Ibis somewhere in Europe where wired Ethernet access is free, but WiFi is not free or not even available at all, yet one doesn’t happen to have the 3G/LTE iPad variety. And, oh yes, WiFi radiation might not be that good for kidneys and testicles/ovaries after all, so the cable alternative does make sense even on a tablet. GitHub and SourceForge being used to serve up ransomware Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/github-and-sourceforge-being-used- to-serve-up-ransomware/18918.html February 8th, 2013 Say what you want about all those creeps out there that try to con you into downloading and installing malware but there is no denying that they can get pretty darn creative in their methods. This newest attempt tries to get you interested by spamming you with emails promising primo links of "celebrity nude pics" and videos. GFI Labs is reporting that there is an on-going massive and "determined" spam campaign happening that is trying to entice people into clicking on links that will take them to pages of fake nude pictures and videos of famous people like actresses, singers, US news reporters, and wrestlers. The problem is that they aren't only getting fake images, but they are also having ransomware installed on their computers in the background. For those not familiar with the term ransomware, it is a type of malware that can do anything from encrypting documents and images to totally blocking access to the infected machine. The only thing the user will see when logging on to their machine or trying to access documents
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 is a prompt demanding that they pay a certain amount of money to unblock the files, or machine. What is different about this campaign is where these ransomware installs and where they are being hosted and deployed from. As GFI Labs has found out, both GitHub and SourceForge are being used as the hosts for these ransomware packages. What makes this so bad is that both of these sites are well respected and very popular. These sites are file repositories for open source software projects, and by using these sites there is a certain air of respectability associated with any links to those sites. This is an example of search results for fake nude pics on the GitHub site: The amount of money being demanded by these scam artists varies but as you can see from the image below, the amount can get as high as $300. Often times, the ransom money is accompanied with text that accuses them of downloading pornography and that they had better pay up or else. Of course the last thing you should do is pay this 'ransom'. Instead, find a friend or a professional that can clean out your computer for you if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Oculus Rift announces features for those wearing glasses and contacts Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/oculus-rift-announces-features-for- those-wearing-glasses-and-contacts/18912.html February 8th, 2013 While gamers have had to deal with a three month delay on the release of the Oculus Rift virtual reality developers kit, the team has just announced some new features integrated during the delay - namely, the integration of new "eyecups" for those who are nearsighted, farsighted, and who may use glasses or contacts. These kits slid back on their schedule, now slated for release in March – a three month delay from the original release date. The team hasn't been sitting on their laurels as they've announced that they've used this delay time to create new swappable lens for the Rift, all to accommodate those who are vision-impaired. “Our early prototypes required that you either: 1. Wear contact lenses. 2. Press your glasses up against the lenses, which can cause scratches (it’s also uncomfortable). 3. Squint!” said Palmer, creator of the Oculus Rift, in the most recent blog post. “After prototyping a number of potential solutions, we picked what we thought was the best short- term bet and ran with it.”
  • February 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 The solution is rather technical, but overall brilliant – varying lens, designed to accommodate specific varieties of focal distance. There are three “removable eyecups”: the normal version, the farsighted version, and the nearsighted version. “This isn’t the perfect solution: the B and C cups won’t be ideal for everyone, but we’re hoping that they help some of the nearsighted developers,” said Palmer. “If you have other eye issues like astigmatism, the additional lens cups may not be sufficient. In short, your mileage may vary.” In addition to the eyecups, the team has integrated adjustable assembly to accommodate glasses (if required), or a “larger brow” - overall, the headset should be more universally comfortable. With the addition of these features, the Oculus Rift will still be sticking to its March dev kits release. They're still taking orders for the kits: $300 even. If you're interested in a developer kit now rather than waiting for a commercial version, now is the time to grab one.
  • February 11th, 2013 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. Vodafone warns iPhone 4S users not to upgrade iOS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/vodafone-warns-iphone-4s-users- not-to-upgrade-ios/18944.html February 11th, 2013 Mobile carrier Vodafone has issued a statement warning iPhone 4S users not to update to the latest version of iOS released by Apple, which it said causes significant 3G performance issues. Mobile carrier Vodafone has issued a statement warning iPhone 4S users not to update to the latest version of iOS released by Apple, which it said causes significant 3G performance issues. The problem is so severe that Vodafone said some customers “may occasionally experience difficulty in connecting to the network to make or receive calls or texts or to connect to the internet.” This would effectively axe the primary features of a smartphone. Some users are claiming that their devices are suffering from battery life issues since the update, while others have proposed restoring the phone using iTunes as a possible workaround. Apple is working on the issue, but it is not clear when it will have a fix available. Vodafone said users who have not upgraded yet should wait until Apple issues its patch. Let's hope that doesn't break something else. iOS 6.1 is a relatively minor update, the main element of which is the provision of LTE connectivity to more countries. Instead of opening the doors to 4G, however, some users cannot operate on 3G. Vodafone is not the only company to tell customers not to upgrade. Reports suggest that 3 in Austria also warned users to avoid the latest iOS patch. Others are likely to follow suit. Samsung launches latest Smart Cameras Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-launches-latest-smart- cameras/18943.html February 11th, 2013 Samsung has launched its latest Smart Camera 2.0 line-up with the WB250F and DV150F, both of which offer Wi-Fi photo backup and sharing, along with a number of other “smart” features. Samsung has launched its latest Smart Camera 2.0 line-up with the WB250F and DV150F, both of which offer Wi-Fi photo backup and sharing, along with a number of other “smart” features. The WB250F leads the charge, with a 14.2-megapixel camera, 18x optical zoom, BSI CMOS sensor, and a lightweight form factor. It comes with a 3-inch touchscreen and five-way navigational keys, and also has a pop-up flash that can be tilted backwards or forwards to adjust the lighting of the shot. It is available in white, cobalt black, gun metal and red. The DV150F has a 16.2-megapixel CCD sensor, 5x optical zoom, F2.5 25mm bright lens, and 2.7-inch display. A key selling point for this device is DualView, which features an additional 1.48-inch screen on the front for self-portraits.
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Child Mode can also display colourful animations on this screen to keep children focused when attempting to take their picture. It is available in cobalt black, white, or plum. Both cameras feature Direct Link, for instant Wi-Fi access, Best Face mode, which will automatically select the best facial expressions from a burst of photos, AutoShare for automatic backups, and a revamped user interface. They also feature Smart Filter 3.0, Motion Photo, Magic Frame, Remote Viewfinder, and MobileLink. “Samsung has spent the last few years really cementing its leadership in Smart Cameras so in 2013 we focused on improving the experience even more and making it as easy as possible for the consumer,” said Ron Gazzola, VP of Marketing for Digital Imaging at Samsung. “Connectivity has become the standard for digital photography but delivering connectivity in the easiest way possible through all-in-one apps, touch LCD screens and features like AutoShare truly differentiate Samsung in the digital imaging space and give us a definite advantage.” The WB250F retails for $249.99, while pricing for the DV150F has yet to be decided. White HTC 8X coming soon? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/white-htc-8x-coming- soon-/18939.html February 11th, 2013 It’s a bit trivial when you consider the fact that HTC released just about every common color of its HTC 8X device possible —except white. That may all change, however, because a recent Tweet by HTC is hinting at an eventual release of a white variant of its fairly popular Windows Phone 8 device. Currently, the available color variations of the 8X include black, blue, red and yellow. A white version of the 8X would have shown up eventually, but the fact that a white variant wasn’t in the initial selections was a bit puzzling from a consumer point of view. However, the white HTC 8X may soon be coming to a carrier retailer near you as a recent Twitter post by HTC had two girls showing off what seems to be the white variant of HTC’s popular Windows Phone 8 device. The Taiwan-based handset maker is experiencing fair growth in terms of Windows Phone 8 sales. It’s flagship Windows Phone 8 device, the HTC 8X, has been a very competitive device when considering its main role was to give Nokia’s Lumia 920 a run for its money. Nokia criticized HTC for essentially “copying” the Lumia’s design when it unveiled the 8X. All the rivalry aside, HTC is doing whatever it takes to stay competitive in the smartphone market, even though its Android-based handsets have slipped somewhat last year and this year. Apple iWatch with curved display gets more confirmations Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-iwatch-with-curved-display- gets-more-confirmations/18937.html February 11th, 2013 Apple has been trying to diversify its portfolio as of late, and an “iWatch” is definitely a change up from the conventional gadgets that its factories have been churning out. According to a few sources, Apple has been tossing around the idea of a watch for a while now—as early as some time
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 in 2012, as a matter of fact. Stock prices for the Cupertino consumer tech giant have been going south in recent months. Some analysts are attributing the loss in company value to Apple’s lack of a diverse lineup of products. iPads and iPhones are still the company’s core products, but as the market becomes more and more saturated with Apple smartphones and tablets it means that it's getting tougher for Apple to continue to have strong sales figures. (A concept of the iWatch) Sources close to Apple’s supply chain in China are suggesting that Apple is experimenting with curved display wristwatches. While no one knows for sure how the iWatch looks like, one can imagine an iPod Nano attached to wristbands as the basic concept. The software running the iWatch will, of course, be Apple’s in-house iOS, and some are even suggesting that a Siri-enabled Apple wristwatch is a no brainer. Smartwatches is an emerging market that many firms are eyeing. A startup by the name of Pebble Technology found $10.3 million worth of backers on Kickstarter last year to help the company produce a wristwatch that interacts directly with people’s iPhones and Android devices. Sony has also jumped on board recently when it launched its Android-based SmartWatch. Apple is known for its product execution and marketing, so an iWatch is something that the company can tap into to regain the interests of its followers. As it’s still too early to say for sure that Apple will launch an iOS wristwatch, for now, however, let’s just sit back and wait as the supply chain leaks come rolling in, and we’ll see for ourselves if an iWatch is worth any attention. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct gets new trailer & pre-order offers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-walking-dead-survival-instinct- gets-new-trailer--pre-order-offers/18935.html February 11th, 2013 Pre-orders have begun for Activision's new Walking Dead- themed first-person shooter, revealing exclusive retailer- specific pre-order incentives as well as a new gameplay trailer. As Pre-orders for Activision's new The Walking Dead shooter begin, select retailers like GameStop and Amazon are continuing the trend of exclusive pre-order incentives. Wii U and PC gamers are left out of the offers, however-- the incentives are only for Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game. As of now, Gamestop's pre-order offer includes a "Herd Mode Challenge" DLC pack which allows gamers to take on wave after wave of zombies in a survival-themed frenzy of gunfire and hack-n'-slash action. Gamestop has also thrown in a fashionable zombie ear on a keychain, allowing gamers to sport their love for the undead wherever they go. Below you can find Gamestop's official description for the Herd Mode Challenge DLC: "The dead need no rest - will you? Take on endless waves of walkers, each more dangerous than the last in the all-new Herd Mode. Each wave of undead held off brings with it a new outbreak of hungry biters and new opportunities to rack up an even higher score. How many frenzied flesh-eaters can you survive against before joining their ranks?" Amazon pre-order incentive arms gamers with the "Walker Execution Pack", which includes a knife, kurki (just like Emile's!), hatchet and a machete to slice and dice biters with. Ammo is overrated anyway, and in Survival Instinct, it's quite scarce. "Give yourself an edge (or five) with this unique weapon kit. The Amazon-exclusive "Walker Execution Pack" adds multiple melee options to your arsenal--with ammo scarce and the undead attracted to loud noises, a sharp, silent blade might just be your must trusted companion." Additionally, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct now has an official description that touches upon the main elements
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 and provides a summary of what gamers can expect out of the game: "The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a do- whatever-you-need-to-survive first-person action game that brings the deep, character-driven world of AMC's Emmy Award-winning TV series onto console gaming systems and the PC. The game follows the mysterious, crossbow- wielding survivor Daryl Dixon, brought to life by TV series star Norman Reedus, alongside his overbearing brother Merle, voiced by Michael Rooker, on a haunting, unforgiving journey across the Georgia countryside. Players will need to tread carefully on this desperate quest, scrounging for food, water, and ammunition to survive against nightmares both living and undead." Revealed a good seven months ago, Survival Instinct is being developed by Terminal Reality and chronicles the early, grisly adventures of Daryl and Merle Dixon who trek across the zombie-ridden streets of the South and scramble to survive. Survival Instinct is a standalone game and has no ties with Telltale's games, yet the upcoming fps does utilize a blend of emotional drama, gore-filled action and shocking horror which are staples of AMC's critically acclaimed television show. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is slated for a release on March 29, 2013 for $49.99 ESRP on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC. For more information please visit the game's official website BioWare: "Calling the next game Mass Effect 4 is a disservice" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bioware--calling-the-next-game- mass-effect-4-is-a-disservice-/18934.html February 11th, 2013 BioWare Montreal discusses their plans to break the mold set into place with the current trilogy, dropping a few hints and clues about the new Mass Effect game. BioWare has made it clear that the new Mass Effect game shouldn't be referred to as "Mass Effect 4", as the upcoming game is not a sequel to Commander Shepard's story. The trilogy that chronicles Shepard's intergalactic struggle with the nefarious Reaper threat has been concluded and BioWare is looking to move on by creating a new web of plots with a new protagonist at the center. While the new Mass Effect game isn't a sequel, many have speculated on the possibility of it being a prequel, yet BioWare's community manager Chris Priestly puts that to rest in a recent forum post: "To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here," Chris began. "We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her. That is the only detail you have on the game. I see people saying 'well, they'll have to pick a canon ending'. No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know. Or yaddayaddayadda." It will be interesting to see the new faces and characters of BioWare's next Mass Effect game--especially the new game's new hero. BioWare Montreal is handling the development for the new Mass Effect title, and considering the superb job they did with Mass Effect 3's multiplayer and multiple side-quests featured in both the second and third chapters, the game appears to be in good hands. BioWare Montreal's own Yanick Roy has also clarified Priestly's recent statements and has dropped a few hints and clues on the new title, revealing that the events of the new game may in fact come after those of Mass Effect 3 despite the game not being a direct sequel. "Thinking of the next Mass Effect game as Mass Effect 4 would imply a certain linearity, a straight evolution of the gameplay and story of the first three games," Roy began. "That doesn't mean that events of the first three games and the choices you made won't get recognised, but they likely won't be what this new story will focus on. "If you had three games centred around a group of key soldiers in the US army during World War I and then decided to make a game about another group of people during the Second World War, the games could have many points in common and feel true to one another," he continued. "You likely would have to recognise how the events of the first war influenced the ones of the second, but you would not necessarily think of it as a sequel. Again, the analogy is not great, but what I'm trying to say is that the ME universe is so rich that we are not limited to a single track when coming up with a new story."
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Although evidence of the game was made available as early as last September, more details won't be coming for "several more months": "We don't have a firm communication timeline established at this point, but I don't expect it will be for several more months," Roy concluded. "Early in development, things fluctuate so much that any detail we communicate could have to be 'uncommunicated' a few months later. I think we'd rather have something solid to show by the time we step in the spotlight." While gamers will have to wait a year or two before they can return to the Mass Effect universe, BioWare Montreal is working hard on creating a dynamic and rich gameplay experience that the current trilogy is best known for. Additionally, with the expected 2014-2015 release window the game may very well see a release onto next-gen consoles--this remains unconfirmed, however. It will be interesting to see what faraway worlds and vistas featured in BioWare's new Mass Effect game, as well as the myriad of characters, races, and intergalactic plot-lines to explore. We may see a variety of new in-game mechanics and other dynamic features with BioWare Montreal heading up the development, as well as a few surprises to distinguish the upcoming title from the current trilogy. For now, though, gamers will have to make do with Mass Effect 3's most-recent (and possibly final) single player DLC. Study shows 1/3 of all PC owners shift tasks to mobile devices Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-shows-13-of-all-pc-owners- shift-tasks-to-mobile-devices/18933.html February 11th, 2013 More mobile devices are being used today for surfing the web or interacting on social media sites than ever before. A new report from the global information company, NPD Group, shows that consumers are venturing away from the PC for basic Internet browsing, and entertainment. No one could have envisioned a day when the personal computer would be considered a dinosaur? All things considered, the humble PC is still the norm for performing most office and home tasks in regards to work. However, that is changing very rapidly, and a new report from the NPD Group backs up this fact showing us an alarming trend that may see the PC largely disappear in the coming decade. The NPD Group report shows that Internet browsing is still the highest with PC owners at 75% usage. Smartphones come in at a close second at 61% and tablet usage for the Internet surfing comes in around 53%. With social media sites like Facebook, usage interaction shows PC owners at 63%, 39% with tablet users, and 55% for smartphone users. “Among tablet owners, 27 percent say they are using their PC less frequently for accessing the Internet and 20 percent say they are using their PC less frequently for accessing Facebook,” reads the NPD Group report. “Twenty-seven percent of smartphone owners have decreased both their Internet and Facebook usage on their PCs because they now use their smartphone for these activities.” While it might look like the end of the PC era, some experts tell us it really is not all doom and gloom for the PC just yet. John Buffone who serves as director of devices for Connected Intelligence agreed that while we are seeing major shift in behavior among consumers, he said that computers would continue to be an important tool in regards to content creation for a long time to come. Buffone also clarified that consumers are just basically switching where they spend most of their recreation time on the Internet, such as browsing videos or communicating online through Facebook. “Consumers, however, are switching their entertainment- centric behaviors to tablets, smartphones, and connected TVs at warp speed,” Buffone says. “During 2013 this trend will be further perpetuated as more mobile devices become enabled with screen sharing technologies such as AllShare and Miracast that allow users to bridge their mobile devices to their TV screens.” Prisoner hides cell phone in butt, gets caught for not silencing it Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/prisoner-hides-cell-phone-in-butt- gets-caught-for-not-silencing-it/18936.html February 11th, 2013 People will always find creative ways to smuggle things in and out of places, and one of the most obvious places to hide the goods for transport is within the persons' bodies. However, just like how it’s proper etiquette to silence your cell in a movie theater, the same needs to be applied to inmates that want to sneak cell phones into prisons. Cell phones have gotten smaller and smaller throughout the years, but not many are small enough for people to insert into their butt. Even so, size did not stop a prisoner at the Welikada jail in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from hiding a smuggled cell phone in his rectum.
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 How the convict managed to shove the phone and a hands- free headset into his body cavity was obvious (and probably painful), but how he got caught was the humorous part. Despite being crafty in his method of concealment, the prisoner neglected to use his ingenuity to turn off the phone before shoving it up his butt. Hence, when the phone started ringing, the guards quickly became suspicious. Needless to say, they knew that the prisoner’s butt was not capable of producing a catchy flatulent tune. The convict was taken to a local hospital for an X-ray, and, lo-and-behold, an internal organ that looked very similar to that of a conventional cell phone popped up. There are no words as to how the phone was removed, but it’s safe to say that the next time the convict decides he wants to sneak in a cell phone he’ll turn it off (or at least put it on vibrate) before hiding it. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes coming this fall to consoles and handhelds Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lego-marvel-super-heroes-coming- this-fall-to-consoles-and-handhelds/18931.html February 10th, 2013 Marvel's most famous super heroes cross over to the LEGO universe with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, launching on multiple platforms this fall. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes brings some of the most iconic and well-known superheroes of the Marvel Universe to life in LEGO's distinct block-form, allowing gamers to use their favorite characters from the legendary comic-book world to thwart evil and save the day--and look good doing it. LEGO's newly announced game boasts the highest number of Marvel super heroes in a console game, featuring over 100 characters from a myriad of legendary series such as Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four and more. Set in Marvel's expansive universe, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes features an original story arc wherein Nick Fury calls upon some of Marvel's most distinguished heroes to save the world from the villainous grasp of such infamous baddies such as Loki (Thor's estranged half-brother) and Galactus, Devourer of Worlds. The story isn't all just doom and gloom, though; LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is jam-packed with a signature blend of humor and family-friendly action, which has been a staple of all LEGO video games such as the Harry Potter series, Star Wars games, or the Lord of the Rings releases. The game also features a dynamic array of game mechanics and features including epic boss battles, puzzle solving, character-specific abilities, combat-like action sequences and more to deliver an exciting gameplay experience worthy of the Marvel Universe. TT Games is developing the game with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment handling the publishing, and is currently slated for a multi-platform release for PC, consoles, and handhelds in Q3-Q4 2013. Tom Stone, Managing Director for TT Games Publishing, had this to say about LEGO's newest release: “We’re very excited to bring a myriad of classic Marvel characters to life in LEGO form for some fun, family-friendly gameplay in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes," Tom begins. “Players will brave the ultimate mission to save the world as they explore famous landmarks in LEGO New York and take the adventure beyond Earth to iconic locations in the Marvel Universe.” According to TQ Jefferson, Vice President of Games Production for Marvel Entertainment, fans have been waiting for a LEGO game set in the iconic comicbook universe for quite some time:
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 “Fans of both LEGO and Marvel have wanted this game for years, and we’re addressing that demand with more Marvel Universe characters than ever in a console game. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, the Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy or scores of other Marvel characters, this is the game for you.” For more information please visit the game's official website. The Hydra power supply, a small but feature-packed hobbyist tool Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-hydra-power-supply-a-small- but-feature-packed-hobbyist-tool/18932.html February 10th, 2013 Power supplies come in all shapes and sizes, but the Hydra power supply from CH Robotics may be one of the most customizable units out there. For hobbyists who build their own gadgets, the Hydra is something that will come in handy when they need something that will deliver the right voltages to their devices. There are a lot of power supplies out there that can be used to customize voltages, but the Hydra’s main selling point is that it’s very small. The size, along with its configurability via USB, Bluetooth (from a smartphone app), and serial connection, makes the Hydra a highly appealing tool for hobbyists and even large scale industrial sectors. Users have a wide range of customizability as the Hydra is capable of handling voltages of 5V to 14V, and can push out voltages that range from 3V to 12V via three outputs—all of which are easily configurable via methods mentioned above. CH Robotics claims that the Hydra is basically a full size bench top power supply, except the Hydra’s small dimension makes its much more versatile in various settings. Currently, the company is running a Kickstarter campaign to jump start the Hydra’s mass production process. Pre-order is being processed now with a starting price of $169, and $212 for the Bluetooth-enabled model. The estimated time frame for delivery is around April. Proposed Arizona bill makes it illegal to impersonate someone online Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/proposed-arizona-bill-makes-it- illegal-to-impersonate-someone-online/18930.html February 9th, 2013 An Arizona State Representative has recently introduced a bill to the Arizona House, which would make it a felony to impersonate someone on the Internet. An Arizona State Representative, Michelle Ugenti, just recently introduced a bill making the impersonation of someone online to be a class 5 felony. This would also include anyone on a social media site. Ugenti says she proposed the bill after one of her constituents told her about how they were harassed on Facebook by a false identity. Some legal experts who have examined the wording of the bill are saying that it may have already been decided on in the past and particularly with criticism of political figures. As it stands, simply stating one’s grievance, whether it be openly or anonymously, is not illegal according to the U.S. Supreme Court. The only time such harsh language, written or spoken, might be illegal is if it had what is defined as the ‘fighting words', which was first covered in the U.S. Supreme Court decision
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 of . Gooding V. Wilson (1972) went a step further and explained that some fighting words can be okay if they are only figurative in meaning. Representative Ugenti has had numerous people that have impersonated her online, which lends many to believe this measure she’s proposing is based on personal reasons. According to the proposed bill, committing an online felony impersonation can be done by the following means (in part): A. A PERSON COMMITS ONLINE IMPERSONATION IF THE PERSON, WITHOUT OBTAINING THE OTHER PERSON'S CONSENT AND WITH THE INTENT TO HARM, DEFRAUD, INTIMIDATE OR THREATEN ANY PERSON, USES THE NAME OR PERSONA OF ANOTHER PERSON TO DO EITHER OF THE FOLLOWING: 1. CREATE A WEB PAGE ON A COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE OR OTHER INTERNET WEBSITE. 2. POST OR SEND ONE OR MORE MESSAGES ON OR THROUGH A COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE OR OTHER INTERNET WEBSITE, OTHER THAN ON OR THROUGH AN ELECTRONIC MAIL PROGRAM OR MESSAGE BOARD PROGRAM. Many are worried that if this Arizona bill passes it may be interpreted to apply to online parodies as well, and anyone that reads twitter or the Internet in general with any regularity knows that parody, comedic or otherwise, is quite the norm. Nevertheless, we know that protection from prosecution from a written or spoken parody, which includes anonymous criticism of an elected official, is clearly someone’s right as per the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. iPhone 5 jailbreak used over 7 million times in 4 days Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iphone-5-jailbreak-used-over-7- million-times-in-4-days/18929.html February 9th, 2013 This week alone, approximately 7 million iPhones and iPad users have used a new hacking app called ‘evasi0n’. Evasi0n allows one to jailbreak an iPhone or iPad quite easily and in just a few minutes time. A team of programmers have developed a new application tool called ‘Evasi0n’ that gives a person the ability to jailbreak their iPad or iPhone if they are running the latest iOS version 6, iPhone 5 or iPad Mini. This week, or rather, during the past 5 days there have been approximately 7 million devices that downloaded the evasi0n program app to jailbreak their iOS device, which makes evasi0n the most popular jailbreaking application so far. These large numbers only proves to Apple that their customers want more from their Apple devices. The new hacking app was released this past Monday by a team calling themselves the ‘evad3rs’, and it marks the first time that a jailbreak program was able to successfully jailbreak the iPhone 5 along with the most recent iOS from Apple. The app can successfully remove all of the restrictions set in place by Apple in just a matter of minutes once the app is installed and activated. The app was so incredibly popular that statistics show it being used no less than 800 thousand times in the first half day alone. By the end of the next day that number jumped to nearly 2 million. These stats come from a Jay Freeman who also runs an alternative app called Cydia and a store for jailbroken Apple devices. Freeman also said that his download numbers on the app may be even higher and that traffic was coming to his site so heavily that it actually knocked his server offline for a brief time. Evasi0n takes advantage of no less than 5 separate flaws in iOS’s coding, the first of which is an exploit in iOS’s backup system to gain access to special settings normally impossible to reach by a user. From this point forward the app goes through a series of special steps cracking other exploits in the iOS, which includes rewriting the root directory on the device. This may be the beginning of even more in-depth hacks on Apple devices because of this latest evasi0n application. Some reports say that hackers may have uncovered even more exploits in the iOS that will keep Apple programmers on their feet. Apple proves victorious in two patents Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-proves-victorious-in-two- patents/18907.html February 9th, 2013 The U.S Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple its design patents for its slide-to-unlock feature and the design of the first generation iPhone. Apple having its hand full with patents is not an unfamiliar thing. The latest in the series of Apple-requested patents stems from their request to patent their slide-to-unlock feature, as well as the design for the original iPhone. On February 5, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple's application, No. D675,639. The claim in the patent request stated it was for "the ornamental design for
  • February 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 a display screen or portion thereof with a graphical user interface, as shown and described." The patent included drawings and specifications of the user interface to indicate exactly what they were attempting to patent, specifically the "display screen or portion thereof," namely the design of the unlock bar. Their second patent, No.D675,612, made the claim of "the ornamental design for an electronic device, as shown and described," referring to the physical specs of the first-gen iPhone, namely its rounded edges. This patent was also granted. Now that the design is patented to Apple, it can be used in a case that sprung last October against Samsung, who had allegedly infringed upon several Apple patents, one of them being this one, which was at the time yet unapproved.
  • February 13th, 2013 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. Mobile phone sales down 1.7 percent in 2012 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mobile-phone-sales-down-1.7- percent-in-2012/18964.html February 13th, 2013 The smartphone market might be booming, but overall mobile phone sales across the world were down 1.7 percent in 2012 as demand for feature phones continues to weaken, according to market research firm Gartner. The smartphone market might be booming, but overall mobile phone sales across the world were down 1.7 percent in 2012 as demand for feature phones continues to weaken, according to market research firm Gartner. A total of 1.75 billion mobile phones were sold last year, down slightly on 2011's figures. Feature phone sales amounted to 264.4 million in the fourth quarter, a drop of 19.3 percent compared to the same time the year before. “The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year.” At the same time, smartphones continued to dominate the market, with record sales of 207.7 million units in the fourth quarter, a 38.3 percent increase year-on-year. Samsung topped the list, with 64.5 million smartphone sales in the fourth quarter, a whopping 85.3 percent increase compared to 2011. The company sold a total of 384.6 million mobile phones throughout the year, with 53.5 percent of them being smartphones. Apple saw smartphone sales of 43.5 million units in the fourth quarter, an increase of 22.6 percent on 2011. Demand for iPhones remains high, but customers are opting more for the iPhone 4 or 4S than the newest model, mainly due to lower prices. Samsung and Apple increased their combined smartphone market share from 46.4 percent to 52 percent in the fourth quarter, securing their dominance in the market. Android grew its market share from 51.3 percent to 69.7 percent, while the market share for iOS fell from 23.6 percent to 20.9 percent. “There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales,” said Gupta. “The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand. Despite the overall drop in mobile sales, Gartner expects 2013 to see even more growth for smartphones, with 1 billion units expected to sell, which should bring the entire mobile phone market up to 1.9 billion units, a significant increase on 2012.
  • February 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Team of 100 developers rumored to be working on iWatch Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/team-of-100-developers-rumored-to- be-working-on-iwatch/18963.html February 13th, 2013 According to people with inside knowledge of Apple's plans, the iWatch is a very real thing and has a development team of 100 people working on it as we speak. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times recently leaked some rumors about a new Apple product, the iWatch. The iWatch, which we have now seen a few pictures of, is a wrist-wearable iOS device, and according to two people "familiar with [Apple's] plans", there's a 100 person strong development team working on it right now. It's thus very likely that Apple is far past experimenting with technology, and actually moving this product somewhere close to the production phase. The two people, who remain anonymous, were quoted explaining that "the team, which has grown in the past year, includes managers, members of the marketing group, and software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad". The iWatch. Timeless. The reveal certainly comes at a good time for Apple's CEO Tim Cook, who has been under pressure to demonstrate that Apple still innovates. The wearable device is currently swimming in rumors, including suggestions that it can link up to and access some of the features of the user's iPhone. Furthermore, the New York Times, citing "people familiar with the company’s explorations" offered the possibility of the device using Willow Glass, the new flexible glass technology that could allow the iWatch to have a curved screen. Is wearable electronics becoming a thing now? It seems Google's Project Glass might have some interesting competition. The F-35 has a video game- like targeting system Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-f-35-has-a-video-game-like- targeting-system/18962.html February 13th, 2013 The US' new fighter jet, the F35, has an onboard targeting system that autonomously highlights enemy targets, just like you'd see in video games. What will they think of next! The new F-35 fighter jet made by Northrop Grumman is a bit of a technological marvel, and it seems to have taken a few of it's features straight from video games. It's equipped with the new Distributed Aperture System (DAS) which allows the plane to automatically detect and highlight enemy targets on the ground below, including AAA and artillery weapons. After detecting the enemy targets, the DAS sends the information to a Heads Up Display inside the incredibly futuristic helmet of the pilot. So we have a plane that picks and highlights targets, and then sends a little blip to your visor... This is straight out of a video game. Northrop Grumman recently released the above video demo of the plane's targeting system in action, and it's mighty impressive. It apparently doesn't work all the time, and may require the enemy to actually fire to become visible in the DAS, but that's still a pretty cool feature. One just has to hope it doesn't target friendlies by accident some day. Apple updates Macbook Pro with Retina display line and lowers prices Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-updates-macbook-pro-with- retina-display-line-and-lowers-prices/18961.html February 13th, 2013 Apple is updating its MacBook Pro with Retina display range with faster processors, while also cutting the prices. The 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display will start at $1,499 for the 128GB flash model, while the 256GB flash model will retail for $1,699, and will also feature a 2.6GHz processor.
  • February 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The lower end 15-inch version has had its spec upped with a 2.4GHz quad-core processor, while the higher-end model comes with a 2.7GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of RAM. Apple is also cutting the price of the 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of flash, with it now retailing for $1,399. All the revamped and lower priced models are available immediately from Apple or authorised resellers. Life discovered under the Antarctic ice Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/life-discovered-under-the-antarctic- ice/18960.html February 13th, 2013 Deep beneath the antarctic ice, scientists have discovered life in lakes sealed off from the world for millions of years. This discovery is monumental, and has important implications for astrobiology On the bottom of our planet sits the Antarctic continent, draped in a 2000 meter thick ice covering hundreds of millions of years old. Beneath this ice is solid ground, rivers and lakes, forever encased and cut off from the rest of the world. There is no light down there, and a crushing pressure 350 times of that on the surface. The lakes here have long been the subject of debate by biologists. Could there be life in a place so utterly desolate and cut off from all of what makes this planet hospitable? Scientists have finally managed to drill into one of these lakes, Lake Whillans, and have confirmed that yes, there is indeed life there. Lake Whillans' location underneath the Ross Ice Shelf Montana State University glaciologist John Priscu led the science team responsible for the discovery, announced via a phone interview that "It appears that there lies a large wetland ecosystem under Antarctica's ice sheet, with an active microbiology." The lake, which was just 2 meters deep at the drill site, was teeming with microbial life. Around 30 liters of water and eight 60 cm long samples of sediment were retrieved from the lake and studied under microscope, where the water was revealed to contain about 1000 bacteria per milliliter. This is roughly one tenth the number of microbes found in oceanic waters on earth. At this time, the team will continue investigating the lake and researching the microbes further. DNA testing is a high priority and the team is very curious as to discover what characteristics, most likely very unique, have allowed a completely isolated ecosystem to survive on it's own in such a harsh environment. Saturn's ice covered moon Enceladus with its thermal geysers. Conditions here may be similar to Lake Whillans This discovery will naturally have an impact on our understanding of life on earth, but also has some very
  • February 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 important implications for the possibilities of life outside our planet: The subglacial lake environment is namely very similar to conditions on several moons in the outer solar system, including Jupiter's moon Europa, and Saturn's moon Enceladus. Enceladus in particular is believed to have both a massive subglacial ocean, and mineral rich thermal vents similar to what you would find teeming with life in the depths of Earth's oceans. Now that life has now been proven to be possible in these conditions, the chances of alien life in the universe, let alone the solar system, may have increased a bit. Asus launches RT-N12HP Wireless-N300 router with 9dBi antennas Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-launches-rt-n12hp-wireless- n300-router-with-9dbi-antennas/18957.html February 13th, 2013 The RT-N12HP Wireless-N300 has detachable 9dBi antennas, which Asus claims will provide users with up to 300% more Wi-Fi range. To make use of the router’s range capability, however, the client side hardware should also be fairly robust. Furthermore, the RT-N12HP Wireless-N300 is a 3-in-1, meaning users have the ability to switch the device from a router to an access point or range extender. Some useful admin features that the RT-N12HP Wireless- N300 comes with include: • Admins have control of up to four distinct networks • Primary network and guest networks have different privacy options • Router uses dynamic bandwidth allocation • Primary host/admin network will have priority bandwidth • Parental control can be accomplished much more easily Elder Scrolls Online rolls out food truck tour in March Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/elder-scrolls-online-rolls-out-food- truck-tour-in-march/18941.html February 13th, 2013 What better way to advertise the coming release of the Elder Scrolls Online than free food? Bethesda's incoming MMO game has posted their tour schedule, and will be hitting the roads of the USA starting this March. The Elder Scrolls Online team has been pulling no punches when it comes to advertisement – if you haven't seen a commercial or banner for the upcoming MMO, then you haven't been on the internet recently. Now ESO has announced that they'll be touring the US with the best form of advertisement available: food. This March, the Elder Scrolls Online Food Truck Tour begins – headed for the warm weather of Austin, Texas, the truck will make its way across the country, giving out prizes, swag, and, of course, free food. The truck will hit such key events and locations as “PAX, E3, San Diego Comic-Con, and fine
  • February 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 universities like UCLA and UMASS.” They'll only be making it to 11 stops, so you might want to plan ahead if you want to meet them. “If you happen to be in the states, meet us at one of 11 stops for free food, giveaways, and more!” says the ESO team. “If you can’t make it, keep an eye on our website as we'll announce our plans for the European conventions soon.” Sound like an unusual way to advertise? The food truck was modeled after their last food-based venture for the release of Skyrim. The menu for their previous truck included “Dragon Leg” turkey legs, “Whiterun Corn”, and the much-coveted “Solitude Sweetroll”. Elder Scrolls Online clearly knows that the way to a gamer's heart is through their stomach. If you're excited and want to catch the fabled food truck, you can check their intended schedule here. Raytheon's RIOT stalks and predicts what people will do online with new data harvesting tech Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/raytheon-s-riot-stalks-and-predicts- what-people-will-do-online-with-new-data-harvesting-tech/18948.html February 13th, 2013 An unknown error occured formatting this story. Bungie hints at news reveal for Destiny Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bungie-hints-at-news-reveal-for- destiny/18956.html February 13th, 2013 Destiny has been in the dark for quite some time now, yet a recent news post released by Bungie points to an influx of news via social media outlets over the next few days. Bungie has been tight-lipped about its new mysterious game Destiny for quite some time, leaving a lot to the imagination concerning game mechanics and other features. Destiny--originally known as project "Tiger"--marks Bungie's first title since it sold the Halo franchise and signed a ten year contract with Activision, and has since garnered a fairly high amount of anticipation, as gamers worldwide are curious to see the fruits of Bungie's labor. In a recent news post Bungie hints that Destiny will finally get its fair share of time in the limelight: "In a matter of days, we're going to give you your first glimpse into the vision and ambition that's driving the creation of our brave new world. To make room for the resulting chatter, we've launched some official social media channels. There’s a new Destiny page to like on Facebook, a new Destiny feed to follow on Twitter, and a new Destiny page on Google+. And, of course, we've opened a new Destiny forum here on Bungie.net where you can discuss upcoming news." Bungie is famous for its unconventional game reveals, and as they put it, gamers who are subscribed to all of the pertinent social media networks focused on Destiny are ready for anything. What we know about Destiny so far hints that it may be a multi-platform next-gen release with a sci-fi story arc focused around a mysterious alien ship and a group of "knights" who stand sentinel as the last defense of humanity. A report has also surfaced a few months back via IGN that says Destiny will be "fun and accessible", and that it would feature a "deep, tangible and relatable" world comparable to the Star Wars universe. Further details concerning Destiny are planned to release in the next few days, and it is believed that an official reveal may be made on Feb. 17, 2013. Minecraft now available for Raspberry Pi Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/minecraft-now-available-for- raspberry-pi/18955.html February 13th, 2013 Mojang's mega-popular block-building Indie sensation has made its way onto the credit-card-sized Raspberry Pi, allowing gamers to play around with Minecraft's source code and become amateur programmers. Minecraft, the mega-popular voxel-style block builder Indie, has currently been ported onto the Raspberry Pi. This opens up new doors and allows gamers to explore and play around with the game's source code as well as build their programming skills in the process. The Minecraft: Pi Edition is now available as a free download and includes support for multiple programming languages. Mojang's Aron Nieminen and Daniel Frisk have been working on a port for the Raspberry Pi for a few months now, and had the following to say about the possibilities of Minecraft: Pi Edition: "The possibilities are massive. You could organise the cheapest LAN party of all time, or use the Pi to learn the fundamentals of programming on a miniscule budget. It’s like hacking your way into
  • February 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Minecraft and modifying the game world with code, a bit like being Notch, Jeb, or Nathan, but arguably more fun and less stressful. You can start by building structures in the traditional Minecraft way, but once you’ve got to grips with the in-game features, there’s opportunity to break open the code and use programming language to manipulate things in the game world. You’ll be learning new skills through Minecraft." Creepers love Raspberry Pi. And LEGOs. The Raspberry Pi is a curious piece of technology; about the size of a credit-card, the single-board computer was created by The Raspberry Pi Foundation in order to teach basic programming skills and provide a launching point for beginners. The Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive ARM GNU/ Linux box (usually around $25-35) and supports a variety of operating systems, along with a "Pi Store" that offers a myriad of free downloadable software. The Minecraft: Pi Edition seems to be a much more entertaining and fun way to polish your programming abilities, and provides a playground for gamers and coders alike to experiment with a multitude of possibilities. For more information on the Minecraft: Pi Edition please visit the mainsite, and for more information on the Raspberry Pi please visit their official website. Review: Dead Space 3 (PC) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/review-dead-space-3-pc-/18952.html February 12th, 2013 Dead Space 3 is here! Can we expect a competent sequel, or are we in for a really bad day in deep space? We've dismembered the game and have a verdict for you! Dead Space 3 brings its usual game to the table, mostly living up to its pedigree and providing another terrifying venture into space that will make you jolt out of your seat on at least a few occasions. Thankfully though, most of the actual fears I had for this game, based on rumors and trends I believed to be seeing in Dead Space 2, have proven untrue: Unlike what some had thought, Visceral Games' third trip into the dark void has not turned into an action adventure; it is still claustrophobic, dark and frightening, and it's doing what it does best. And you can bring a friend this time. Next Xbox console will require Kinect Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/next-xbox-console-will-require- kinect/18954.html February 12th, 2013 The next Xbox console from Microsoft will require use of the Kinect motion sensor camera, according to an industry source. The next Xbox console from Microsoft will require use of the Kinect motion sensor camera, according to an industry source. The new gaming rig is set to get a major overhaul compared to the current Xbox 360, with the ability to run two games at once (saving their progress in one while a gamer switches to another), a completely redesigned controller, and a built- in Kinect device, according to a source calling himself SuperDaE, who spoke to Kotaku about the console. Kinect being included is one thing, but the source stated that the console will not operate unless Kinect is turned on, making it a core part of the system, rather than just an accessory. That might be okay for most people, but rumours abound that the console will also require a constant internet connection to function, which may not go down so well. Video game magazine Edge claims that the new console will feature a Blu-ray player and a 1.6GHz eight-core AMD
  • February 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 processor. Apparently the system will allow game discs, despite fears that Microsoft was planning to go all digital, but the report suggests that there will be single-use activation codes, making the discs useless on the second-hand market. Rival gaming firm Nintendo has already released its next- gen console, the Wii U, while the other heavyweight in the arena, Sony, is expected to unveil its PlayStation 4 next week. The Xbox 720 is not expected to be announced until this year's E3 in June.
  • February 15th, 2013 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. Crysis 3 beta downloaded more than 3 million times Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crysis-3-beta-downloaded-more- than-3-million-times/18983.html February 15th, 2013 Crysis 3 is almost here and the newly released beta has been downloaded 3 million times. The projected sales are looking pretty good as well. Crysis 3 is getting released next week and so far, the game's beta has been downloaded over 3 million times. This is good news for EA, and one can assume a good deal of the beta players will be purchasing the full game. Crysis 2, coincidentally, sold 3 million units after it's 2011 release. Of course, it was also the most pirated game of that year, so the final sales figures could be difficult to predict. Crysis 3 gives new meaning to "Urban Jungle" What is possible to see however, are the pre-orders, which are up quite a bit for the latest installment in the series. According to EA's end of January financial report, the pre- orders for Crysis 3 were a whopping 40% higher than for Crysis 2. Even today, a week before release, that number is staying comfortably high at 35%. Crysis 3 will be released for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on February 19th in North America, February 21st in Australia and Europe, and March 7th in Japan Airbus pulling Li-Ion battery option from A350 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/airbus-pulling-li-ion-battery-option- from-a350/18982.html February 15th, 2013 After the recent issues with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's lithium Ion batteries, Airbus is now pulling the batteries from the options available on their A350 jetliners. Over the past month, Boeing has been dealing with the rather serious issue of the Lithium-Ion batteries catching fire on the 787 Dreamliner. The 787 planes have been grounded while Boeing tries to investigate the causes of, and potential solutions to the problem. One rather central problem is that Lithium-Ion batteries are more reactive than many other batteries, and thus are more likely to combust. They store a large amount of energy in them, and if they are damaged or overheated, that energy can be released violently. The charred remains of a Lithium Ion battery from the 787 Because of the nature of the Li-Ion batteries, and due to the effects already seen on Boeing's jetliners, Airbus has now announced that they are pulling the battery type from their A350 series jetliner, opting instead for the less reactive Nickel-based batteries which have been the standard in the airline industry until recently. Boeing has stated previously that they will not abandon the Li-Ion batteries, and indeed, if handled correctly, they should not pose any threat. However, one can't really blame Airbus for adopting a "rather safe than sorry" approach. Of course, dropping the battery type also ensures that Airbus distances itself from any potential bad press due to Boeing's problems.
  • February 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Meteorite impact in Russia, hundreds injured Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/meteorite-impact-in-russia- hundreds-injured/18980.html February 15th, 2013 A meteorite impact has occurred in Russia, causing hundreds of injuries, ranging from light to severe. The rock, which broke apart mid-air, scattered across the Chelyabinsk Oblast, before landing in a lake a kilometer outside of the city of Chebarkul. At 9:15 am local time, in the Ural mountains of Russia, a light streaked across the sky blindingly bright. This light was a meteorite, which had entered the earth's atmosphere at approximately 54,000 km/h (33,500 mph, or 44 times the speed of sound). The rock, which was estimated to weigh 10 tons exploded (also known as an airburst) about 10 kilometers from the surface and then scattered across the Chelyabinsk region. The main body of the meteorite eventually impacted in Lake Chebarkul, one kilometer from the city of Chebarkul. Check out this compilation of videos from the impact. The reports are still coming in, and depending on your news source you can get a wide range of figures pertaining to the damage the meteorite has caused, but several hundred people have been reported injured. So far, the higher estimates are around 950 injured people, including two "gravely injured" and over 150 schoolchildren who were cut by the glass of their classroom window shattering from the airburst. So far, around 100 have been hospitalized due to the incident. The majority of the damage indeed seems to have been caused by the airburst's shockwave, which shattered glass in many buildings and may have been responsible for the collapse of a factory roof. Russia's Prime minister Dimitri Medvedev confirmed in a public announcement that there had indeed been a meteorite impact, and that it proved that the world, as a whole, is very much exposed to this kind of disaster. He also proclaimed the need for a system that could protect the planet from meteorites and asteroids. The impact happened with suspicious timing, considering the asteroid which will be passing earth at close proximity later today, and astronomers are conflicted as to whether the two events are connected. However, since the meteorite was traveling in a different direction and nearly 500,000 km away from the asteroid, there is a distinct possibility of the two events being unrelated. Tesla's CEO fires back at the NYT, says the review on their Model S is a big lie Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tesla-s-ceo-fires-back-at-the-nyt- says-the-review-on-their-model-s-is-a-big-lie/18974.html February 15th, 2013 The New York Times recently wrote a very negative review of the Model S Sedan from Tesla saying it didn’t keep a charge. Tesla’s CEO fired back with data logs proving the writer lied about the car’s ability. In case you missed the recent Tesla Model S story from the New York Times, one of their writers recently did an independent review of the all-new Tesla Model S Sedan. The story was written by a John Broder and titled, “Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway”. To say it was a negative review would be putting it mildly. Broder began the article right off in the negative saying that the car under performed and that he was forced to turn off devices in the car just to make it to the charging stations. Now Tesla has fired back at Broder's review and is questioning the statements he made in his story. Furthermore, Tesla has all GPS data and other highly detailed computer logs on the car showing Broder made up his claims about the car's inadequacies. In fact, it looks like Broder lied about the ordeal with the car just to make it look bad in the first place. Tesla disproved Broder’s claims by showing the detailed system logs found in the car. In particular, they went over the recharge status alerts, cabin settings and driving style that were made by Broder. Tesla’s blog article found on their homepage debating Broder's claims is titled, “A Most Peculiar Test Drive” and was written by Tesla's CEO Elon Musk. In it, Musk points out very clearly that Broder had it in for the Model S from the moment he was given the opportunity to drive it and took the opportunity to tell the world that it wasn’t worth the money and possibly dangerous to drivers. .
  • February 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 “You may have heard recently about an article written by John Broder from The New York Times that makes numerous claims about the performance of the Model S,” writes Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “We are upset by this article because it does not factually represent Tesla technology, which is designed and tested to operate well in both hot and cold climates.” Tesla brings up numerous bullet pointed facts when the car was in Broder's hands. Firstly, the data on the car shows that Broder never ran out of energy at any point of his test drive. In one of the more detailed bullet points, Tesla shows that Broder’s first recharge was only made up to 90%. At the second ‘Supercharge’ performed by Broder, Musk writes, "he deliberately stopped charging at 72%.” The facts go on to prove that when Broder supposedly ran out of energy he actually stopped charging at 28%. Tesla’s CEO concluded his review on the story by asking the readers to look over the data supplied by Tesla. The car company has made a formal request to the NYT to investigate Broder's facts. Musk writes, “You are a news organization where that principle is of paramount importance and what is at stake for sustainable transport is simply too important to the world to ignore.” Juice up your devices with Sanyo's wristband battery pack Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/juice-up-your-devices-with-sanyo-s- wristband-battery-pack/18973.html February 15th, 2013 Sanyo Transport releases a portable battery pack that can conveniently charge your device while in use, as it is strapped around the user's wrist. Portable battery packs come in different shapes and sizes. However, with the exception of phone case-type battery packs, all of them require you to leave the device for a while, or carry both battery and unit uncomfortably. Sanyo (nope, not that Sanyo) Transport solves this problem by molding the battery pack into something that can be easily worn. The EEA-YW0845 is a new portable battery pack that is made to be worn around the wrist. This might seem just another fancy way of designing a portable battery pack, but the proximity of the battery to the hand technically allows it to stay connected to the unit even when use, therefore allowing the user to both charge and use the unit at the same time. When not in use, the EEA-YW0845 camouflages as an ordinary, rigidly-designed wristband. When the proper connector is plugged in it, it turns into a convenient extra power source for almost any kind of portable gadget that you may have. All in all it has 8 different connector adapters, some of which include an Apple dock connector, miniUSB, microUSB, Nintendo DS and Sony PSP charging connectors. Charging the EEA-YW0845 unit itself is done via USB, with a four LED indicators telling the user its state of charge. It has a top charge capacity of 1500mAh, and a maximum current output of 750mA at 4.5~5.5V. It is available at Sanyo Transport's E-Supply online store for 3,780 yen (41 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) Analog gaming nostalgia with Elecom's new iPhone 5 cases Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/analog-gaming-nostalgia-with- elecom-s-new-iphone-5-cases/18970.html February 15th, 2013 The PS-A12PVGM is a new product line/series introduced by Elecom for the iPhone 5. Aside from its brightly colored features, each product version lets you play a different analog game on it. Games of today sure have made most analog games of the past obsolete by current standards. This does not mean that they are now completely and utterly boring however, as what these new iPhone 5 cases seem to try to prove.
  • February 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The PS-A12PVGM is a new iPhone 5 case product line introduced by Elecom. It has no technical features in it, isn't made of a very unique/special synthetic composite material, and is even most likely not designed to protect your iPhone 5 (by default). It does have however, a nifty little analog game board that you can play with when you, well, want a breather from those action-intensive game apps on your phone. Complementing the analog game feature is a bright color scheme that matches the color of the toys that introduced those analog games long ago. It certainly brings the nostalgia back; flip your iPhone 5 at one side, and it's a marvel of modern 21st century technology, but flip it on the other side, and you're instantly taken back to the past with its all too familiar toy-like design. Some of the analog games that you can play with these cases are drop ball, sort ball, a maze game, a 15-tile puzzle and simple pinball. As shown in the images, each of the game comes preset with a particular color scheme. All cases are made of silicon-coated polycarbonate. They are going to be available in Japan with an estimated price of about 2,500 yen (27 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) Large Hadron Collider shuts down for two years Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/large-hadron-collider-shuts-down- for-two-years/18972.html February 14th, 2013 The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator, has shut down for a two year period for maintenance and upgrades designed to restore it to peak efficiency. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator, has shut down for a two year period for maintenance and upgrades designed to restore it to peak efficiency. The LHC entered operation in 2008, but an incident following its initial launch resulted in a helium gas explosion that damaged part of the machine, forcing scientists to run it at less than optimal settings. That damage will now be repaired over the next two years, and the power should be turned back on in 2014. The shutdown began Thursday morning, but it won't be until Saturday morning that everything is offline, as the 1,734 magnets in the machine need time to return to room temperature. In 2011 the LHC ran particle energies at 7 trillion electron- volts, and in 2012 scientists managed to inrease that to 8 trillion electron-volts. However, when the device is turned back on in 2014 it is expected to run at 14 trillion electron- volts, making it a monumental improvement that could change the way we understand physics. Along with the repairs to the damaged parts, scientists will be upgrading the detectors, the electronic shielding, and the ventilation system. The machine should come back online in November 2014, but experiments are unlikely to resume until February or March 2015.
  • February 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The LHC earned acclaim for the discovery in 2012 of what scientists believe might be the Higgs boson, the last remaining piece of the puzzle for the Standard Model of particle physics. If it turns out to be the real deal, then the LHC will already have proven its worth, and we can only imagine what might be discovered when it comes back into operation with substantially more ability. Image Credit: Julian Herzog NASA to show live event of asteroid flyby Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-to-show-live-event-of-asteroid- flyby/18971.html February 14th, 2013 NASA will broadcast live footage and commentary on the asteroid that will fly close to Earth tomorrow (Friday), documenting its passage by the planet. NASA will broadcast live footage and commentary on the asteroid that will fly close to Earth tomorrow (Friday), documenting its passage by the planet. The asteroid, dubbed 2012 DA14, will be just 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) away at its closest point at 2:25pm EST (7:25pm GMT, 11:25am PST), and NASA will begin its half- hour broadcast at 2pm EST (7pm GMT, 11am PST), this Friday, 15 February. The live stream comes from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with additional real- time footage of the asteroid from astronomers in Australia and Europe, providing the weather is favourable. Video of the asteroid will be available for several hours on Ustream after the main event, starting from noon EST (5pm GMT, 9pm PST). NASA will also be hosting a Ustream from its Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, running for three hours from 9pm EST (2am GMT, 6am PST). Users will be able to ask questions about the asteroid flyby during this broadcast. NASA runs the Near Earth Objects Program in Washington, which searches for, studies, and monitors asteroids and comets which periodically come close to Earth. The long- term goal is to explore these space rocks, which contain large amounts of natural resources, and to mitigate the potential of impacts with our planet, such as the Apophis asteroid that astronomers believe could hit the Earth in 2036. Image Credit: NASA Capitol v. Thomas, defendant to appeal $222,000 music sharing fine in U.S. Supreme Court Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/capitol-v.-thomas-defendant-to- appeal-222-000-music-sharing-fine-in-u.s.-supreme-court/18965.html February 14th, 2013 A jury awarded the RIAA a judgment of $222,000 against Jammie Thomas-Rasset in regards to her sharing 24 songs on Kazaa. Rasset appealed the judgment and lost; the defense now wants the U.S. Supreme Court to hear it. The case against a Jammie Thomas-Rasset began in 2007 when she was sued for file sharing music over the now defunct Kazaa file-sharing network in the case of Capitol v. Thomas (previously titled Virgin v. Thomas.). Capitol v. Thomas set a precedent since it was the first such case of file sharing brought on a consumer by a major music label and tried in front of a jury. The defense for Rasset's case has just recently petitioned the U.S. Supreme court to hear it to see if the incredibly high fine imposed on Rasset is illegal under the U.S. Constitution. Rasset was fined 22,000 for downloading and sharing only 24 copyrighted songs. If the case does make it to the SC, the defense will also argue the entire legitimacy of the Copyright Act. This act, which was fought for by the music industry, allows for damages of up to $150,000 per infringement. Many legal experts feel that amount constitutes as ‘cruel or unusual’. The Obama administration got itself involved in this case earlier when it was in the court of appeals. The U.S. Solicitor General said the damages were indeed constitutional because they are “reasonably related to furthering the public
  • February 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 interest in protecting original works of artistic literary, and musical expression.” The administration also stated in regards to the appeal to the SC that the case “is not an appropriate vehicle to decide” whether or not a high fine is legal under the U.S. Constitution. Rasset would be making history for the second time if her case were brought before the SC. She was the first to be sued by a major recording label for file sharing and also be the first to bring a file sharing case before the SC. Rasset’s case would specifically involve the opinion on the lower 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in September 2012 that defended the award by the jury against Rasset. The RIAA also made a recent opposition to Rasset’s SC petition. In a public statement, the RIAA said that Rasset’s copyright infringement fines were justified because she knew what she was doing. They also brought up the fact that three other juries found her guilty of copyright infringement. Final pre-release trailers and CM's for Rising Revengeance released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/final-pre-release-trailers-and-cm-s- for-rising-revengeance-released/18968.html February 14th, 2013 About a week before the official release of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, Konami gives a final promotion event, and a treat of two new trailers and two new short commercials for the upcoming PS3/Xbox 360 game. The long wait is over, and it's just about a week before Konami officially releases Metal Gear Rising Reveangeance. However, before Rising Revengeance is finally out, Konami decided to hold the "Metal Gear Rising Revengeance World Tour 2013 Launch Party" on February 13. It was held at the 246COMMON Food Carts and Farmer's Market in Japan, and was attended by Hideo Kojima and other MG staff members, including the Japanese voice actor for Snake, Akio Otsuka. One short but significant part of the event was the presentation of the final two trailers and CM's for the game. They're already officially uploaded to Youtube now, and you might want to check some of them out below: Micromax's $260 5-inch A116 Canvas HD reveals practical quad-core smartphones are in high demand Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/micromax-s-260-5-inch-a116- canvas-hd-reveals-practical-quad-core-smartphones-are-in-high- demand/18969.html February 14th, 2013 Micromax’s A116 Canvas HD probably won’t enter the US as a major smartphone on any carriers, but the ultra- affordable quad-core smartphone is signaling a future where smartphones may be cheaper than water. The Canvas HD features a 5-inch 720p IPS display, a 1.2GHz Mediatek MT6589 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of ROM, an 8MP rear camera, dual-SIM, and Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2) to boot. So how much does all this cost? For a mere $260, you can have yourself this off-contract quad- core Android smartphone. We don’t have to dwell upon the fact that the MT6589 quad- core, based on the Cortex A7, is not what people may refer as “a beast of a chip”, but it is cheap solutions like these that will provide people of all backgrounds access to devices that are considered relatively up-to-date. Currently, the Canvas HD is only available in India, and like the price would suggest, the phone sold out within hours of its launch. Carriers in the US and other premium markets will probably push aside the Canvas HD, but as chip makers in China develop cheaper and increasingly viable solutions like the MT6589, we’ll probably see more and more affordable off-contract devices making their way to developed markets. FDA nearing approval of the first bionic eye Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fda-nearing-approval-of-the-first- bionic-eye/18967.html
  • February 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 February 14th, 2013 Things like cyborgs and bionics have long been the staple of science fiction, but as with all things in our technological world, it was only a matter of time before the science of bionics went from the pages of a science fiction paperback and into our everyday world. It has taken years of incredible amounts of research, followed by prototypes and clinical trials, but the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is on the verge of giving its blessing to the first bionic eye meant to treat blindness. The Argus II is designed primarily to combat the effects of a genetic condition known as retinitis pigmentosa that causes the photoreceptors in the eye to stop functioning properly, thereby, leading to blindness. The condition affects some 100,000 people in the United States and researchers make it clear that the Argus II is not a silver bullet to cure all forms of blindness. Europe has already approved the Argus II and is being implanted into patients right now. The procedure has already been done on over 60 patients with varying, but still positive, results. The way the Argus II works is by implanting a small array of electrodes—meant to replace the functions of the degraded photoreceptor cells—in the retina, then a pair of glasses equipped a small camera will feed images into the electrodes. While the outcomes so far have been mixed, all the patients involved in the testing have seen some benefit. Some went from seeing nothing to being able to at least make out shadows. However, others have regained enough "vision" to make out newspaper headlines. As for the price tag, the Argus II will cost patients around $100,000 mark. Although, that might seem like a lot for those that are afflicted with this condition, the Argus II is definitely the future come true. SOLD OUT: MS Surface Pro, purposely understocked? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sold-out-ms-surface-pro-purposely- understocked-/18966.html February 14th, 2013 While it looks as if the Microsoft Surface Pro is flying off the shelves, the real culprit may be that there were never many in the first place. Some reports are suggesting that Microsoft purposely made sure their new product was under stocked at retailers. If you caught a few headlines you might have noticed that the new Microsoft Surface Pro models sold out as fast as the stores got them in. While many took the story at face value, the real culprit is that Microsoft played with the numbers to make it look as if the Surface was selling like hotcakes, or at least that’s how it appears. According to retailers the new tablet/laptop from Microsoft disappeared as fast as they got them, and for good reason – they never had that many in the first place. Most retailers, which included the Microsoft stores, reported that all models and colors were gone just as soon as sales began, but not to worry because they’d have more in very soon. Some reports online are suggesting that Microsoft purposely under stocked retailers with the Surface simply to make it look as if the model was selling incredibly well. According to reports, some stores received as little as one or two 128GB models. Microsoft says that they would be shipping out more models soon, particularly the 64GB model, with the 128GB model by this weekend. “Customer response to the launch of Surface Pro has been amazing,” reads a Feb 9 Microsoft website blogpost “We’re working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro to replenish supplies as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that every customer gets their new Surface Pro as soon as possible.” No official numbers are in yet showing just how many Surfaces have sold. Cleaning your Tablet? Let AutoMee S do it for you Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cleaning-your-tablet-let-automee-s- do-it-for-you/18958.html
  • February 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 February 13th, 2013 The AutoMee S is a cute and tiny cleaning robot developed by TakaraTomy that is designed to autonomously clean tablets and smartphones. Tablet screen protectors and cases help maintain fingeprint- smudged tablets. But even with these conveniences, you'd still need a good wiping of your tablet every now and then. Alternatively though, instead of doing the wiping yourself, you could simply hire a mini-robot to do all the wiping for you. The AutoMee S is a TakaraTomy-developed handheld robot that we could only properly describe as a cute, miniature tabletop version of Roomba. That's correct; this tiny thing that looks like your hair gel case is actually a tablet cleaning robot. It diligently runs and sweeps by the surface of your tablet, removing fingerprints and other things stuck on your tablet's screen. No need to worry about it falling off the tablet, as it is equipped with simple and standard sensors that help it detect the edges of the unit. Though it seems to be best suited for tablet PC's, it is actually marketed for smartphones, and can be technically used on any screen. The AutoMee S unit might not be capable of moving much on a smaller smartphone screen, but it is "careful" enough not to fall on the edges even with such small working space. These cute critters do take up a bit of time to clean a smartphone or tablet though. Cleaning a standard 4-inch smartphone may take up to 4 minutes, and 10-inch tablets might require 8 minutes of non-stop sweeping. There are no restrictions on using multiple AutoMee S units on a unit though, so one may probably use two or more units on a single tablet. One AutoMee S weighs 82 grams (without the battery), and its dimensions are 67 x 38 x 73 mm. Operating the unit requires one AA battery. It is estimated that the price of one AutoMee S unit in Japan would be around 1500 yen (16 USD) when it becomes available. Source: Androwire (JP) LG unveils design of Optimus G Pro, features 1080p curved display Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lg-unveils-design-of-optimus-g-pro- features-1080p-curved-display/18959.html February 13th, 2013 LG just revealed the new design of their 5.5” smartphone called the Optimus G Pro. This new model will come with a quad-core processor and a full HD curved display that will offer a “2.5D-ish" view of objects on the screen. LG just recently released images and details on their new Optimus L series II handsets that would be on display at the upcoming Mobile World Congress electronics show in Barcelona. Now LG has gone step further and revealed to us the all-new LG 5.5” Optimus G Pro. This new model Optimus is slimmed down on either side of the display and continues with LG's sleek look, but currently the exact specifications on the model's dimensions are not yet publicly available. It will come with a 1.8GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and have a standard 2GB of RAM. Also, the Optimus G Pro will sport a high-resolution 13- megapixel camera and run on the highly popular Android “Jelly Bean” (4.1) operating system. LG has not revealed just when exactly the new G Pro will reach the U.S. market, nor have they released any press releases in English. However, there is a newly published Korean language press release from the LG website stating that the device will be on the market at the end of February 2013. Only time will tell if this recent PR satisfies the question when the model will be sold on the U.S. market. More detailed information for the new G Pro model is sure to be released once the Mobile World Congress gets on it's way.
  • February 17th, 2013 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. Move over Google, Oxford University tests their very own robotic car Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/move-over-google-oxford-university- tests-their-very-own-robotic-car/18992.html February 17th, 2013 Researchers from Oxford University just successfully tested their own self-driving car on U.K. highways. Very similar to Google’s cars, the 'Robotcar' can brake, accelerate and navigate on familiar roads with accurate precision. Technology that was developed by Oxford University was successfully tested on a new self-driving car. Dubbed the ‘Robotcar’, this new self-driving vehicle is very similar to the type that Google has been experimenting with in California and recently approved for highway testing. However, the Robotcar has its own system of navigation. The Oxford Robotcar was made from a modified all- electric Nissan Leaf. It is equipped with cameras and laser rangefinders all around the car that help navigate the vehicle with complete safety. The car also has a very sophisticated computer operation that performs millions of computations a second while it is in operation. It is able to accelerate, decelerate and avoid objects that might dart out in its way much faster than any human could. Paul Newman who heads Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science said that they’d like to create a car that can be driven part time by a person. “Instead of imagining some cars driving themselves all of the time we should imagine a time when all cars can drive themselves some of the time, “Newman said, “The sort of very low cost, low footprint autonomy we are developing is what's needed for everyday use." Interestingly, the driverless Robotcar uses an actual iPad mounted to the dash, which activates the car to driverless mode when needed. Much like the way cruise control on a car operates, an individual can take control of the car from the computer by simply tapping the break pedal. Google’s driverless car makes use of varying computer readings and GPS, while the Robotcar uses laser range finders and mapping technology. Newman said that the recent advancements in 3D laser mapping is what helped the team develop how the car navigates. In a sense, this car literally sees what’s around it and uploads those images to discern if they are obstacles. Newman feels that it is this type of hybrid driving technology is where cars are headed. With this system, it can allow a driver to take a break on long, mundane commutes to and from work, or simply allow one the enjoyment of driving for a short trip on the weekend. German court rules in favor of Facebook: no more pseudonyms for account holders Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/german-court-rules-in-favor-of- facebook-no-more-pseudonyms-for-account-holders/18990.html February 17th, 2013 A recent court battle in Germany over the legality of Facebook's real name policy has temporarily halted. Facebook argued that they do not observe German privacy laws because their E.U. headquarters are in Ireland—the court agreed, at least for now. For some time now legal experts in Germany and Facebook’s legal team have argued over the legality of forcing someone to use a real name on the mammoth social media site. Facebook argued that since their headquarters are in Ireland, German citizen’s rights to privacy, and particularly in regards to making people use real names on Facebook, do not apply. Previously a lower German court ruled that Facebook could not legally force German citizens to use their real name. Thilo Weichert, who serves as the Privacy Commissioner and Head of ULD said in part, “It is unacceptable that a U.S. portal like Facebook violates German data protection law unopposed and with no prospect of an end.” Soon thereafter an appeal in another German court said that Facebook did have the right to make the rule since it was basically a voluntary matter where no one person is forced to use Facebook. However, another court ruled in favor of the privacy laws yet again, seemingly keeping the legal battle going ad nauseam The final ruling from the administrative court in the northern German Schleswig stated that Germany’s privacy laws could not apply because Facebook headquartered themselves out of Ireland, which does not recognize those same privacy laws in regards to Internet usage. Facebook feels that by making users abide by their real name policy, it helps to protect users from bullying, false identities
  • February 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 set out to cause mischief and so forth. By allowing someone to use a pseudonym, according to Facebook, only means he or she are only pretending to be someone else for no genuine cause. Very similar to Facebook, Google’s YouTube has also been slowly making their users post with their real names as associated with their Google + accounts. According to YouTube the reasoning was to help slow down people that habitually insult (aka, trolls or trolling) or write overly negative reply comments simply for the sport of it. The difference with YouTube is that there are not any obligatory contracts to abide by in regards to using one’s real name. Serellan partners with 505 Games to make Takedown: Red Sabre a reality Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/serellan-partners-with-505-games- to-make-takedown-red-sabre-a-reality/18994.html February 17th, 2013 505 Games has recently partnered with the devs at Serellan to make Takedown: Red Sabre a reality. Famous for its authentic SWAT action, Takedown is being developed by some of the minds who had a hand in classic tactical series like SWAT, SOCOM, and Ghost Recon. Serellan, the development team behind the tactical shooter project Takedown, has recently announced that they have formed a partnership with 505 Games. 505 has signed up as the publisher of Serellan's popular tactical Indie shooter now officially labeled Takedown: Red Sabre, and the publisher aims to help Serellan make the game accessible to the public. Below you can find an excerpt from Serellan's official press release: "505 Games, a global publisher of video games, today announced a partnership with Seattle- based indie developer Serellan to help them bring TAKEDOWN, their Kickstarter-backed project http://kck.st/ysmSIW, to a worldwide launch." The developers that comprise Serellan have quite a bit of experience in the way of tactical shooters: with industry vets such as Christian Allen, who acted as creative director of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon franchise, along with other veteran developers who had a hand in games and franchises as Halo: Reach, SOCOM, SWAT and F.E.A.R. Takedown: Red Sabre is the successor to such tactical shooters as the original Rainbow Six and SWAT series, and is a great fit for players who choose to engage in "deliberate and methodical gameplay as oppose to gamers who want to run in with guns blazing". The press release also reveals that Takedown will feature strategic and non-linear game mechanics that have been staples of authentic shooters of the genre, allowing gamers to experience close-quarters combat as a member of the elite force known as Red Sabre team. "Every scenario is designed to emulate the tactics employed by SWAT teams and SOF units in taking down small numbers of dangerous adversaries. Non-linear environments allow for multiple routes, tactics and added replayability." Last year in April project Takedown was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign that rose over $220k spread over five thousand backers. With that kind of support, it's clear that gamers worldwide believe in Serellan's unique tactical fps. Christian Allen, Founder and Creative Director of Serellan had this to say about the recent partnership: “We are extremely pleased to be able to let our Kickstarter community know that their early faith in the TAKEDOWN dream will be rewarded with a global campaign from a committed partner who consistently launches successful global campaigns from IL-2: Sturmovik to Sniper Elite V2.” Kickstarter backers will indeed be pleased to hear that Serellan has found a bona-fide publisher for Takedown, as crowd-funding projects can suddenly fall apart mid- development, and now the community's anticipation for Takedown will no-doubt grow even more. Takedown: Red Sabre is planned for a release sometime in 2013 for multiple consoles.
  • February 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 For more information as well as pre-alpha screenshots, trailers, and regular news updates please visit the game's official website. President Obama: "Games can fuel tech innovations" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/president-obama--games-can-fuel- tech-innovations-/18993.html February 17th, 2013 During his "Fireside Hangout" via Google Plus, President Obama has recently stated that he believes gaming can fuel technology, citing Mark Zuckerberg as an example. Pretty much everyone in the United States is aware of President Obama's recent State of the Union speech, yet his first Fireside Hangout on Google+ also revealed some interesting tidbits: how Obama believes games can fuel tech innovations. During his session on Google+ President Obama answered questions submitted by the more geeky and tech-savvy crowd, and during the Q&A Obama suggested that gaming can help today's youth by sparking an interest in the field, which may lead to more groundbreaking individuals and innovations in technology. "Look at Mark Zuckerberg," Obama began "I was sitting next to him at dinner a couple of years ago, and he said he taught himself programming primarily because he was interested in games. If we set programs in high schools that engage kids because they get it, they won’t be just sitting there slouching in back of rooms while someone is lecturing. "Given how pervasive computers and the internet is now, how integral it is in our economy, and how fascinated kids are with it, I want to make sure they actually know how to produce stuff and not simply consume stuff," he continued. While Obama hasn't given any specific plans for these programs, it is interesting to see the President of the United States attribute positivity to gaming, especially during the recent purported link to violence and video games. For President Obama's full Fireside Hangout session please see the video below. Aquaman revealed in new game "Injustice: Gods Among Us" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/aquaman-revealed-in-new-game- injustice-gods-among-us-/18991.html February 17th, 2013 Aquaman has been ignored, for better or worse, in any DC video games that have been released thus far. NetherRealm Studios showcased the hero-of-little-fame in the new trailer for their game Injustice: Gods Among Us. Would you play as Aquaman? Warner Brothers Entertainment announced that Aquaman will be added to the roster in the highly anticipated game 'Injustice: Gods Among Us'. The studio in charge, NetherRealms, released a trailer specifically to announce the inclusion of Aquaman... to the raised eyebrows of many. Only 17 characters have been revealed, including Batman, Bane, Superman, and Shazam (also known as Captian Marvel). Will that be enough to contend with other fighting games, such as Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the most recent Mortal Kombat, which each had more than 25 characters for their releases? How many more characters will be added before the game's debut? So far, NetherRealm Studios, who also developed Mortal Kombat, and Warner Bros. haven't really hinted towards any other characters at this time. Here is the announcement trailer for Aquaman, which shows more story-orientated content than actual game-play: In past DC Comic content, Aquaman has been portrayed as lame and weak. In this trailer, however, Aquaman seems to rise up against his previously pitted odds... and kick some major tail. While Aquaman has never been in a game, this might be an Aquaman that we would be proud of. Would Aquaman be a character that you would play in the game? Injustice: Gods Among Us will be released on April 16th, 2013 in North America and April 19th , 2013 in Europe. It will be available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii U. Asus ROG ARES II 6GB Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-rog-ares-ii-6gb- review/18752.html February 16th, 2013 Can the much hyped liquid-cooled ROG ARES II (dual HD 7970x2 aka HD 7990) live up to its lofty SGD$2499 price tag? *Update: 17/2* - Added some benchmarks and short conclusion to the original piece
  • February 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 This picture doesn't do much justice to the actual size and weight of the package, because inside the box... ... contains a gigantic metal briefcase, complete with a seemingly impenetrable exterior and a twin set of combination locks to protect its valuable cargo. It didn't take long for us to figure out the passwords (both default to "000"). Throwing open the case, we find a raging hulk strapped to a pair of jet skis, ready to replace its outdated and outgunned predecessor in the owner's PC. Just like one of those limited edition masterpieces from Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, the ARES II only has a limited production run of 999. This is probably for good reason anyway, as one of these cards cost (SGD$2498) almost as much as five HD 7970, which completely rules it out of "value for money" awards. Developer Preview of Ubuntu for smartphone available February 21 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/developer-preview-of-ubuntu-for- smartphone-available-february-21/18989.html February 16th, 2013 Ubuntu for smartphones won't set anchor until October, but for those that are impatient, Canonical will be release a preview of the mobile-desktop mash-up next week. The Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 will be available for developers and enthusiasts to tinker with, and for those that attend MWC, Canonical will even install it onto the attendee’s phone for them. “This release marks the threshold of wider engagement —both with industry and community,” says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. “For developers, contributors and partners, there is now a coherent experience that warrants attention. The cleanest, most stylist mobile interface around.” Shuttleworth’s claim of the “most stylish mobile interface around” will be subjected to scrutiny and reviews far and wide once the OS launches, but, all else aside, the release of a
  • February 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 preview version will deliver instant fun for savvy developers and enthusiasts. Google opening their own retail stores this year Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-opening-their-own-retail- stores-this-year/18987.html February 16th, 2013 It seems that tech companies opening up their own retail stores is a growing trend, a profitable trend first started by Apple and then followed by Microsoft. Following that trend, according to rumors out today, Google is said to be considering opening some of their own. Retail stores have proven to be incredibly profitable for Apple with estimates of the company earning approximately $51,148,000 per location, or $6,050 per square foot of their retail stores; which by the way beats out Tiffany & Co. who does $3,017 per square foot. It is also a perfect way for a company like Apple to make sure that consumers get the total experience that Apple wants them to have. This is also one of the reasons that Microsoft has gotten into the retail store business as they try to find ways to provide consumers with a "pure" Windows experience. Now it would seem that Google wants to get in on the game —that is, if rumors originating with 9to5Google.com prove to be true. Apparently, the decision to add a retail presence for the company is so that Google can have a direct outlet for selling its products like the Nexus phones, tablets, and Chromebook laptops. Like its competitors, Google also will use these locations to help educate consumers about the Android way of life and also be able to help customers having problems with their Android phones. The rumor suggests that Google is planning on having its first flagship Google Stores ready to open in time for this year's holiday season. There is no word yet on where exactly those locations will be, but bets are that they will be in close proximity to existing Apple and Microsoft stores. Sony PS4 will stream PS3 games? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-ps4-will-stream-ps3- games-/18988.html February 16th, 2013 This “rumor” is falling directly in line with previous discussions and debates about whether or not Sony will take a more proactive approach when developing their latest console with respect to the clouds. Sony has to utilize these fast connections to further enhance the PlayStation experience as more and more consumers have access to broadband internet. Clearly, the Japanese consumer tech and game console maker will continue to utilize physical drives to deploy game titles, but the ability to stream titles of the previous-gen console will allow gamers to enjoy older games without having to worry too much about hardware—aside from the connection that they’re on of course. Iceland wants to ban Internet porn because of link between violent porn and crimes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iceland-wants-to-ban-internet-porn- because-of-link-between-violent-porn-and-crimes/18985.html February 16th, 2013 There has been a lot of talk about the link between violent crimes and video games and other forms of entertainment which involves the act of committing violence. While there are no clear evidence to prove the link, Iceland’s government, a country that has already banned printed pornography and strip clubs, is proposing that the country should ban internet porn altogether because they believe “violent pornography” will have a harmful effect on young people. Iceland Interior Minster Odmundur Jonasson, the man behind the porn ban legislation proposal, wants to block access of pornography from smartphones, computers and game consoles. According to Odmundur, pornography— especially the violent variants—causes social unrests and impacts young people in a very negative way. The proposed law will take the necessary steps to ensure that pornographic IP addresses are blocked, and the use of Icelandic credit cards to purchase porn will be deemed as illegal.
  • February 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 “If we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the Internet,” Halla Gunnarsdottir, political advisor for Ogmundur, said. “It is anti-violence because young children are seeing porn and acting it out. That is where we draw the line. This material is blurring the boundaries for young people about what is right and wrong.” Furthermore, Halla claims that the proposed law is not meant to be an anti-sex statement, but rather it is to address the link between violent porn and violence among youth. In fact, The Guardian actually heralded Iceland as one of the global leaders in feminism in 2010—partly due to the country’s outlawing of strip clubs. Archos to launch quad-core iPad and Kindle killers soon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/archos-to-launch-quad-core-ipad- and-kindle-killers-soon/18984.html February 15th, 2013 Archos has become a relatively well-known brand in the Android tablet space, and once Mobile World Congress rolls around the French-based company will show off its line of Platinum tablets--two of which are meant to take on the big boys, and the other is something "unlike what the market has ever seen" before. The Platinum line will feature three models: the 80 Platinum, 97 Platinum HD, and 116 Platinum. All three models will have the same core specs, with all Platinum tablets sporting a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, an IPS display, 2GB of RAM, front and rear cameras, SD card slot, mini HDMI out, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to run it all. As the naming scheme suggests, the “80” Platinum is an 8-inch device with a screen resolution of 1024x768, the “97” is a 9.7-incher with a 2048x1536 resolution, and lastly the “116” is a 11.6-inch tablet that features the standard 1920x1080 HD display. Price has always been a focus when it comes to Archos Android slates, therefore, the Platinum line won’t deviate much from past pricing strategies. The mid-range 8-inch 80 Platinum will go for $199, and is considered by the firm as a strong competitor against Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (perhaps even the Nexus 7). Archos’ 9.7-inch 97 Platinum is built to be an iPad competitor, and has an initial asking price of $299. Last but not least, the 11.6-inch 116 Platinum will go for $349, and Archos claims that the device will be “unlike anything on the market.” All the Platinum tablets are expected to drop around MWC 2013, with detailed specs to be released soon. New YouTube Space studio opens in Tokyo for video entrepreneurs Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-youtube-space-studio-opens-in- tokyo-for-video-entrepreneurs/18979.html February 15th, 2013 YouTube Space studios are expanding to include a new facility in Tokyo, Japan. Currently YouTube has studios in London, England and Los Angeles, CA to help serve the needs of video makers, and all free of charge. Today YouTube is popular as ever and is the de facto, go- to website for news, entertainment or just a search for some how-to video on your favorite dish. It is truly amazing what creativity people can come up with their videos and many are award winning as well. Now YouTube wants to reach out to video developers and give them access to better resources in helping to create more professional and dramatic videos for amateurs and professionals alike. They are calling it “YouTube Space”, and its YouTube's way of offering free video recording services in major cities around the globe.
  • February 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Just before the 2012 Olympics held in the U.K., YouTube opened up the first Space production studio in London and later that year a second studio in Los Angeles, California. “YouTube creators are welcome to attend workshops or networking opportunities at the YouTube Space LA,” reads YouTube’s Space main website. “From fashion and beauty, to cinematography and screenings of original YouTube productions, workshops and networking events provide many opportunities to improve your channel and content strategy.” Now the company has opened up a studio in Tokyo, Japan at the Roppongi Hills Complex. Just like the other facilities, it will be used for free by YouTube’s select partners and it will offer them professional tools, hardware and other advanced recording equipment so that they can get their ideas off the ground with more precision. Space and times will be limited and YouTube will choose which lucky people get to use the facility. If you are in the L.A. area, YouTube will begin taking applications beginning this April 1st , 2013. For those who get to use the L.A. site, they will get up to three months of production time, which includes all access to the sound stages and of course all of the high-tech camera gear, production and editing and lighting. The facility has three main studios, a full equipment and props room, screening rooms, a Foley room and edit bays. Better yet, the studio will also be providing on-demand content as well as live event capabilities. Evergreen's new iPhone accessory lets you dive into the 3D realm Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/evergreen-s-new-iphone-accessory- lets-you-dive-into-the-3d-realm/18981.html February 15th, 2013 Evergreen introduces the DN-84426 3D Movie Viewer, a peculiar looking accessory for the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 that lets you view 3D images and video in their full three dimensional glory. If there was any tech today that seems to be very slow to progress, that would have to be 3D screen tech. We know, it may not really be a necessity, but it sure is a good option to have, especially if something like Evergreen's new product could put such functionality in a widely used mobile unit like the iPhone. The DN-84426 3D Movie Viewer is a strange looking accessory that is used to provide your iPhone 4, 4S or 5 with the capability to view compatible images and movies in its full 3D format. As plainly seen, the unit looks awfully a lot like a pair of binoculars, at least when viewed on certain angles. If you want to watch for instance, a 3D video on Youtube, you may just slap on the accessory to your iPhone and start watching it in three dimensions through its eyepiece. There's a slight catch though; we just can't guarantee how you would look like in public if you were to, say, watch a 3D movie with it while sipping coffee outdoors. Regardless of its usage aesthetics (compared to something like the i3DG) however, as long as you watch the appropriate 3D video, it is claimed to be capable of delivering you a reasonable 3D experience. Technical specifications state that the unit is partially made up of ABS resin, has a size dimension of 150 x 135 x 70 mm, and weighs 140 grams. It is currently available in Japan for 3,000 yen (32 USD).
  • February 19th, 2013 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. HTC unveils HTC One Android smartphone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-unveils-htc-one-android- smartphone/19010.html February 19th, 2013 HTC has announced its latest flagship Android smartphone, the HTC One, with a slew of new features including a revamped Sense UI, BlinkFeed live stream, UltraPixel camera, and BoomSound audio enhancements. HTC has announced its latest flagship Android smartphone, the HTC One, with a slew of new features including a revamped Sense UI, BlinkFeed live stream, UltraPixel camera, and BoomSound audio enhancements. The device features a 4.7-inch 1080p display, making it a direct contender to Samsung's large screen Galaxy models. It is powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 2GB of RAM, and will come in 32GB or 64GB versions. The HTC One runs Android Jelly Bean, but many of the key features are unique to HTC, including the Sense UI overlay, which has received an upgrade, including the cloud- enabled Sense TV, which allows the HTC One to become a remote control and TV guide for many TVs, set-top boxes, and receivers. BlinkFeed is one of the selling points, offering a live stream of personally relevant information, including social updates, news, and photos. HTC has inked deals with a number of content partners, including AOL, ESPN, MTV and Reuters, to provide some of this. The UltraPixel Camera with an f/2.0 aperture lens and HTC Zoe is an unusual approach to photography, with users able to create three-second snippets of the footage they capture, which can then be shared. Other features include a 360 degree panorama, time sequencing, and object removal. BoomSound completes the major features by offering front- facing stereo speakers with a dedicated amplifier, a first for a mobile phone. BeatsAudio is also integrated for better audio, while Sense Voice improves the quality of calls in noisy environments. The HTC One, available in silver, black or red, launches globally in March. Pricing will depend on region and mobile carrier. China ousts US to become largest smartphone market Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/china-ousts-us-to-become-largest- smartphone-market/19009.html February 19th, 2013 China has outpaced the US to become the biggest smartphone market in the world, according to research by market analyst Flurry. China has outpaced the US to become the biggest smartphone market in the world, according to research by market analyst Flurry. China is expected to have 246 million Android and iOS smartphones and tablets this month, significantly ahead of the US' 221 million. Both are miles ahead of the next closest contender, the UK, which has 43 million devices. The remaining countries in the top ten are South Korea with 30 million devices, Japan with 29 million, Germany with
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 27 million, France with 23 million, Canada with 23 million, Russia with 19 million, and India with 19 million. While India is last in the top 10, it is considered a viable threat to China, given similar populations and high growth rate. China has 1.3 billion people and a phenomenal growth rate of 209 percent, while India has 1.2 billion people and an equally impressive growth rate of 189 percent. The research found that throughout 2012 the US added 55 million new smart devices, while China added nearly three times that much, 150 million, in the same period. Of course, market saturation is much higher in the US due to longer exposure to the smartphone boom, but the significantly higher population of China gives it much more room for continued growth. The Flurry report made use of activity on more than 90 percent of the world's smart devices, employing 2.4 billion anonymous, aggregated application sessions each day, with 275,000 applications used in the research. Blizzard announces BlizzCon 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-announces- blizzcon-2013/19008.html February 19th, 2013 Blizzard Entertainment has announced plans for its seventh BlizzCon gaming convention, which will be hosted in early November in California, making up for the cancelled 2012 convention. Blizzard Entertainment has announced plans for its seventh BlizzCon gaming convention, which will be hosted in early November in California, making up for the cancelled 2012 convention. The event is one of the highlights of the year for fans of the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo series of games, and replaces summer's E3, which Blizzard no longer attends, as the convention of choice for many gamers. This year's Blizzcon will be held on Friday, 8 November and Saturday, 9 November at the Anaheim Convention Centre in Anaheim, California, the location of all previous events. Last year's Blizzcon was cancelled, with Blizzard claiming it needed to take the time to focus on its games, including Diablo III and the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft. This will likely make 2013's event even more exciting for dedicated Blizzard fans. The convention will provide hands-on previews of the latest Blizzard games, the finals for esports games like StarCraft 2, discussion with game developers and artists, contests and prizes, competitive and casual player tournaments, and commemorative merchandise. Other things are also planned, but Blizzard is remaining tight-lipped about what those might be. 2011's event included a performance from the Foo Fighters, so we can likely expect something similar. Mists of Pandaria was also unveiled at that event, so Blizzard might have some big announcements planned. “BlizzCon gives us a chance to connect with our players and share our latest projects in a very personal way,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard. “Members from all of our gaming communities have helped make this event bigger and better every time, and we look forward to meeting up and celebrating with them in November.” More details, such as ticket prices, will be available closer to the event. Google Docs deemed unsafe by Oxford University, temporarily blocked to students and staffs Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-docs-deemed-unsafe- by-oxford-university-temporarily-blocked-to-students-and- staffs/19002.html
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 February 19th, 2013 A decision by Oxford University to temporarily block access of Google Docs on its campus due to security concerns isn't probably going to sit well with any university students who are Google fans; or with the PR department at Google. It's not uncommon for universities to be a target for hackers, but, according to Oxford University Computer Services, the university has been fighting phishing-type attacks for the past few years, and they have been seeing an increase of attacks coming through forms created in Google Docs and served up through student and staff email accounts. This switch in attack vectors is because the university is quick to react to attacks coming from the more traditional avenues by blocking the sites serving up the malware; whereas traffic from Google Docs is considered safe due to the trust we have in Google and that the traffic is encrypted. Even any reporting of the suspicious forms using the "Report abuse" link at the bottom of each page doesn't guarantee that any action will be taken due to Google's lackluster response to such reporting. Now Oxford University has found itself in the position of having to block access to Google Docs because of a big increase in phishing attacks against the university staff and students; an action that could have much wider repercussions as other email services like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook could begin rejecting emails from Oxford accounts. This could happen because a proportion of the mail is being marked as spam and thereby affecting the university's "reputation". Due to the fact that almost all of the recent phishing attacks have used Google Docs URLs, the university's computer IT department decided to simply block the service, albeit only temporarily. However, due to the overwhelming reliance on Google products due to the tight integration of Google Docs, they had to remove the block within hours of it being instituted. Even so, since the danger to users is still there, the university is investigating alternatives as well as contacting Google to try and pressure them into being a lot more responsive regarding the reported abuses. Google may see 'repressive action' from Europe over privacy worries Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-may-see-repressive-action- from-europe-over-privacy-worries/19005.html February 19th, 2013 France’s CNIL has been leading an investigation into Google to see if a more repressive action from the E.U. is needed. They will be voting on the measure at the end of the month, and may even impose some kind of sanction on the search engine giant. After many months of research into Google’s privacy practices in Europe, an investigation lead by the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) concluded in October 2012 with some privacy recommendations. Now that some four months have passed, the CNIL is demanding that Google comply with their recommendations that were previously adopted. CNIL recommended that Google needed to improve how data was stored and just how that data moved across their networks. They also asked if Google would give them better clarification on just how long personal data is stored. "European data protection authorities have noted that Google did not provide any precise and effective answers to their recommendations," the CNIL writes. "In this context, the EU data protection authorities are committed to act and continue their investigations. Therefore, they propose to set up a working group, led by the CNIL, in order to coordinate their repressive action which should take place before summer.” Google has recently spoken on personal data in some detail and have also gone over privacy concerns. They also posted just how a lot of personal data is stored and even who is researching such data, which includes government agencies. In a recent statement Google writes, "Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process, and we'll continue to do so going forward." A lot of the issues many European privacy groups are concerned with are in regards to Google’s privacy policy that changed back in March of 2012. The new changes gave the
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 company the ability to track their users more easily with the different services provided by the company such as Gmail, YouTube and so forth. Google defended the changes they made saying that by combining the services only improved the lives of their users. They also offer help on how to secure one's privacy online. New lawsuit has Jannard seeing RED over patent infringements Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-lawsuit-has-jannard-seeing-red- over-patent-infringements/18998.html February 19th, 2013 RED Digital Cinema is suing Sony claiming that they violated their patents on the F65, F55 and F5 cameras. RED is seeking monetary damages for loss of profits and also asking that all f-series of cameras from Sony be “delivered up and destroyed.” James Jannard, founder of Red Digital Cinema, says that Sony has used his company’s technology on their line of F5, F55 and F65 cameras without a license to do so. In this lawsuit RED is demanding that Sony completely reclaim and destroy all of the models that use their technology and to cease and desist any action that may incorporate their technology without licensing rights. Jannard says his company has suffered a drastic reduction in profits and a major loss of sales from Sony’s ‘willful and wanton’ patent infringement. In the formal complaint that was filed, RED writes in part, “RED is informed and believes, and thereupon alleges that Sony is selling certain video cameras that unlawfully embody the claimed subject matter of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,174,560 and 8, 358, 357. In particular, RED is informed and believes, and thereupon alleges, that Defendant's F65, F5 and F55 cameras all embody the subject matter claimed in RED's asserted patents without any license thereunder and thereby infringe RED's U.S. Patent Nos. 8,174,560 and 8, 358, 357.” The cinema company is also requesting for a trial by jury and also seeks “an assessment and award of damage against Defendants in the amount no less than lost profits or a reasonable royalty.” Furthermore, the lawsuit is also seeking reimbursement of all legal fees incurred from the litigation process. Billionaire James Jannard formed RED in 1999. The super high definition RED One digital camera that was released in 2007 soon became a popular choice for filmmakers wanting to create films that looked as impressive as 35mm but at a lower cost. Even big budget films such as The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey (2012) was shot with RED digital cameras. Three budget Archos Android smartphones coming in May Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/three-budget-archos-android- smartphones-coming-in-may/19006.html February 19th, 2013 Archos, the French-based company that brought us a slew of affordable Android tablets, will soon add some smartphones to its growing portfolio. According to a Russian tech-blog, Archos is set to launch a Samsung Galaxy-esque flagship that will boast a 4.8- inch 1280x800 display, a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, and Android Jelly Bean 4.1 to top things off. Although the high- end Archos Android smartphone will boast features that might be comparable to Samsung’s Galaxy line, it won’t have the same high-end price tag. Rather, the Archos flagship will go for around $335—that’s about half of what a Galaxy S III was when it first launched. Two other Archos devices will also make their debut soon, but the specs of these smartphones will be a lot less attractive to power users. One lower-end toy will rock a 5.2-inch 800x460 display with a 1.2GHz dual-core to run under it, and the other is a $120 3.5-inch single-core ultra-low-end phone. People can expect the Archos smartphones to drop sometime in May. The prices mentioned above are strictly speculations, but considering how Archos has always targetted budget conscious consumers, we’re fairly confident in the rumored going prices of the smartphones. Final Fantasy X HD resurfaces, coming to PS Vita Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/final-fantasy-x-hd-resurfaces- coming-to-ps-vita/19003.html
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 February 19th, 2013 During Sony's PS Vita Heaven Stream update, Square Enix's Shinji Hashimoto showcases the upcoming PS Vita version of Final Fantasy X HD. After a somewhat long-ish wait, fans are now hearing more about Final Fantasy X HD straight from Square Enix's Shinji Hashimoto during the PS Vita's recent news stream. The stream is in Japanese, however gamers can still get a nice preview of FFX HD on the PlayStation Vita as it's showcased in all of its high-definition glory. The graphics are clean and crisp, with close-ups on familiar faces like Yuna and Tidus. Gamers around the world have been anticipating the release of a re-mastered FFX that they can experience on-the-go via the PlayStation Vita, and according to Hashimoto, an official announcement will be made soon from Square Enix. Just about everyone who had a PlayStation 2 experienced the magic of Final Fantasy X, as it was undoubtedly one of the best RPG's to experience on the console. It pushed the realm of fantasy to new heights, and instilled classic characters that we still identify with today. Among the many adventures in the iconic role-playing series, Final Fantasy X has been regarded warmly as one of the best, and gamers are eager to experience their nostalgic memories with the game once again. Shinji Hashimoto also apologizes for the long lapse of news updates, and hopes to make up for them with this video and the game's official reveal. iPad Mini with Retina may cost 30% more than original Mini Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ipad-mini-with-retina-may-cost-30- more-than-original-mini/19004.html February 19th, 2013 We’re almost positive that Apple will drop a Retina iPad Mini sometime this year, and for those that are waiting it out for the high-res iPad Mini to drop, just remember that the price tag may also increase to reflect the added feature. Some have already speculated that the Retina iPad Mini will cost 30% more than the original non-Retina Mini. While it is fairly obvious that the inclusion of a higher resolution display will cost Apple more to make the upcoming iPad Mini, one has to wonder how much Apple is willing to shave off the Retina iPad Mini’s price tag to keep it at a “budget conscious” level. Currently, Apple has its iPad Mini without Retina retailing at $329 (16GB), a $130 markup from the original factory’s manufacturing cost. The Mini’s profit margin is quite large, so there’s a lot of wiggle room for Apple to keep the prices of its Retina iPad Mini close to that of the original iPad Mini. Still, Apple has always been known as a "premium" brand, so we won't be surprised if Apple decides to keep prices of the original Minis the same and sell the Mini with Retina as its own line with higher price tags. Bungie sheds light on Destiny, reveals pre-orders & new ViDoc trailer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bungie-sheds-light-on-destiny- reveals-pre-orders--new-vidoc-trailer/19001.html
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 February 19th, 2013 Destiny is here. Are you ready? Jump in the new scoop on Bungie's recently unveiled IP, including a new ViDoc reveal trailer, pre-order info, and new concept art. As Bungie reveals its new IP, the world of gaming looks on with greedy anticipation. Our hearts even skip a beat, as many of us have been waiting for this unveiling for quite some time. Now it's finally here. Are you ready? Then let's walk through the darkness and into the light. Bungie takes us behind the scenes of Destiny with their newly released Pathways out of Darkness ViDoc, which is divided up with actual in-game footage and the team at Bungie taking us on a tenuous journey through the inner- workings of their new game. Within just one day, the Pathways out of Darkness ViDoc has garnered over a million views. It's fair to say that the general gaming population is excited and hyped for Destiny, and the entire world of gaming looks on to see what Bungie has in store for us next. Who or what is the Traveler? Perhaps some benevolent alien who gave his ship to the benefit of mankind? In any case, above you can see Traveler's Rest. Throughout the first few minutes of the Vidoc players are treated to actual in-game footage that delves into Destiny's story, which in itself is about bittersweet survival on a somewhat ruined Earth. Maybe it's Earth, or maybe it's some other planet--with Bungie at the helm, anything is possible: "The stories tell of a golden age, long ago, when our civilization spanned the system. It was a bright and hopeful time. But it didn't last. Something hit us. Knocked us down and tried to stamp us out. No one knows exactly what. But we do know this: very few of us survived. And those who did owe their lives to the Traveler." In essence, Destiny is a sci-fantasy story that chronicles many of Bungie's most noteworthy themes. Humanity is struggling, and trying to simply survive. As the years pass, the remaining population band together to face adversity, slowly repopulating and rebuilding. Since the Traveler's ship--that strange sphere in the sky--is a beacon of hope for the almost-vanquished population, the survivors build a city underneath it, so as to be able to look up at it every day. The city starts to thrive, and humanity begins its slow crawl to repopulation, with myths and legends of the Traveler and its ship growing and encompassing the culture. Eventually, they venture back out into the ruined wilderness that is their world, searching for answers of the Golden Age. The mysterious alien forces are met with hostility--in Destiny, its kill or be killed. Throughout their search, humanity's new alliance comes to find out they are not alone: strange, hostile creatures have come to inhabit the world they used to know. These creatures are feral, and cannot see reason: all they want is to kill. This sparks off a brutal war of Human-Covenant proportions, and it is this war that has spawned the Guardians--the Spartans of Destiny. Players take on the role of Guardians to fight the strange alien forces, and being a Guardian has its perks: as special soldiers, you can wield many of the Traveler's advanced technology. Think of the Traveler akin to the Forerunners--a parallel that most Halo fans will instantly make--who has bestowed upon humanity gifts to aid them in their struggle. Behold Destiny's Guardian, the character that players will control in Bungie's new sci-fantasy adventure. The video showed a quick look at three possible classes of Guardian: a soldier with an assault rifle (seen above), a sniper with a heavy-duty Traveler rifle, and a rogue-ish class that had a sleek and powerful revolver-type weapon. The Guardians are humanity's hope in not only stopping the alien threat, but also securing their city--which remains the last bastion of humankind on the planet. They are the last defenders, the guardians, and they must succeed or doom will befall our kind.
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 A fireteam of brave Guardians rush off into the heat of battle, their Traveler firearms at the ready. The ViDoc touches upon the heart of Bungie's game-making magic, and does one thing exceptionally well: it makes you want to know more, to see more, and above all else, play the game for yourself. After watching the ViDoc, you feel this compulsion to take part into the community and dive right in. Which, of course, is what Destiny is all about--Bungie isn't just creating a single-player experience with their new IP; Destiny is aimed to incorporate a vast webwork of gamers, each of which can have their own experiences in Destiny's sci-fantasy world. With multi-device integration, Bungie aims to bring pieces of Destiny across various platforms. You won't be able to play the whole game, say, on your smartphone; yet a few instances of the ViDoc suggested that the various apps for Destiny will allow gamers to do something--if not miscellaneous things like tweaking armor, planning out playdates with friends, etc. In Destiny, Bungie may have created the next big hit--it's quite hard to watch the entirety of the new reveal trailer and not be excited in some form. A million different questions roam through your mind, and then a few seconds later something else sparks off a million other questions. Destiny is currently available for pre-order via Best Buy, Amazon and GameStop for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3-- hopefully we'll see a release onto PC. In regards to a release date, Activision has confirmed that it won't launch in 2013. "Although Bungie's amazing new world was revealed today, Activision has not included the launch in its 2013 outlook and there should be no speculation of expectation of a different result." For more information on Destiny please visit the game's official website. Microsoft Office 2013 is totally non-transferable - for any reason Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-office-2013-is-totally-non- transferable--for-any-reason/18997.html February 19th, 2013 If you are planning to purchase a perpetual license for Microsoft Office 2013, take note that it will be one copy per PC with no transfer available for any reason. Even wiping the hard drive from your old PC does not give you the ability to transfer it. Many Microsoft Office users are a bit taken back by the software giant's new policy with the latest suite for 2013. With Office 2010 Microsoft allowed a single transfer of the program over to a new or different PC. The company is now saying that even if you wipe the drive of your old PC that it will not allow the user the option of transferring the program over. Critics of this new policy say that Microsoft is essentially penalizing their consumers for no logical reason. One really has to ask why Microsoft would make this new policy with Office 2013 since there are so many other office programs out there? Furthermore, many free office program can perform the same tasks equally well. By enacting this new plan of sales, Microsoft will more than likely drive users over to Google’s office suite that is available through Google Drive. In fact, Google’s free services are offered to any Google+ users free of charge and can accomplish the same identical tasks equally as well as MS Office 2013. Google's web-based office suite can also work as a free storage service for up to 5GB of data and for a small fee per month one could upgrade that data storage to over 25GB. It is interesting to note that the 80% of sales for Microsoft in 2012 were to businesses and only 20% to consumers. Based on this information it seems that Microsoft is betting that they can boost their profits on software by making more businesses purchase more copies. Microsoft is trying hard to get users to subscribe to their Office 365 Home, which costs 99 dollars per year. This subscription will allows up to 5 PCs or tablets to carry the program. So, It would be far less expensive for you to just buy a single suite if you are happy using Microsoft Office. Transparent smartphone to launch this year Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/transparent-smartphone-to-launch- this-year/19000.html
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 February 18th, 2013 Taiwanese electronic and optical vision glass maker Polytron Technologies has come up with an almost completely transparent smartphone, which is expected to launch by the end of this year. Taiwanese electronic and optical vision glass maker Polytron Technologies has come up with an almost completely transparent smartphone, which is expected to launch by the end of this year. The firm showed a prototype of the device, which makes use of Switchable Glass, a conductive OLED display that employs liquid crystal molelcules to show images to the user. The molecules are nearly see-through normally, but when an electric current passes through transparent wires the molecules align to display content. Other companies, like Sony, have attempted to make “invisible” phones before, but none of them are anywhere near as transparent as the Polytron smartphone. The image speaks for itself, with the user's hand clearly visible through the device. The memory card, SIM card, and battery can also be seen through the glass. Polytron will use darker glass to hide these parts if it cannot figure out a way to make them transparent also. The device is expected to launch later this year, but there are some doubts about its viability as a contender to the major companies out there like Apple and Samsung. However, Polytron said it is in discussions with major smartphone makers across the world, which could see the glass being used by some of the big name brands. The technology is certainly impressive in principle, but the technique used to display images might make them less clear or a lower resolution than rival devices. Many might also see a transparent phone as little more than a gimmick, and the high price tag we can likely expect for it might scare away all but the truly dedicated gadget lovers. Image Credit: MobileGeeks Facebook admits it was hacked last month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-admits-it-was-hacked-last- month/18999.html February 18th, 2013 Facebook has admitted that it was hacked last month in what it called a “sophisticated attack,” but it claimed no user information was stolen. Facebook has admitted that it was hacked last month in what it called a “sophisticated attack,” but it claimed no user information was stolen. The cyber crime was committed when several Facebook employees visited a mobile developer website using company laptops. The website had been compromised, resulting in the download of malware. Facebook said that it immediately repaired the infected computers, informed law enforcement, and begun an investigation, which remains ongoing. It said there is no evidence that user data was taken. The social networking giant, which has over a billion users, said it was not the only victim in this attack, though it did not state who the other companies are. Facebook said it is working with the other affected firms to share information, which might help identify the culprits. The attack follows a major hack of Twitter earlier this month, which resulted in 250,000 user passwords being stolen. It is not clear if the hacking incidents are related, but Twitter believes its attackers were not amateurs, potentially pointing
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 to a professional cyber crime gang or even hackers working for a world government. China has remained a popular target of accusations. CPU cooling in tight spaces - Noctua NH-L9(i/a) and Phanteks TC90LS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cpu-cooling-in-tight-spaces--noctua- nh-l9-ia-and-phanteks-tc90ls/18996.html February 18th, 2013 Do you have a hard time finding space in your slim HTPC, ITX or mini-ITX system? Noctua and Phanteks may have a solution for you with their new ultra low-profile NH-L9 and TC90LS coolers, designed to fit where no other cooler can. We take a thorough look at them in this review. Every enthusiast knows how to appreciate the advantages of a high performance cooler. However, the size of most such coolers removes them as an option when HTPC and small form factor cases are involved. This is especially true with many ITX and mini-ITX systems, where the height of the cooler cannot exceed that of a few centimeters. Today we are having a look at three ultra-low profile coolers from two of the most reputable manufacturers, Noctua and Phanteks, designed to fit where no other cooler possibly can. How much of performance can possibly fit in such a small package? We will find out in this review. Noctua NH-L9i and NH-L9a manufacturer specifications Model ΝΗ-L9i ΝΗ-L9a Socket compatibility LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156 AM2(+), AM3(+), FM1, FM2 Height (without fan) 23 mm 23 mm Width (without fan) 95 mm 114 mm Depth (without fan) 95 mm 92 mm Height (with fan) 37 mm 37 mm Width (with fan) 95 mm 114 mm Depth (with fan) 95 mm 92 mm Weight (without fan) 345 g 390 g Weight (with fan) 420 g 465 g Material Copper (base and heat-pipes) aluminium (cooling fins) soldered joints & nickel plating Copper (base and heat-pipes) aluminium (cooling fins) soldered joints & nickel plating Fan compatibility 92x92x14mm, 92x92x25mm 92x92x14mm, 92x92x25mm Warranty 6 Years 6 Years Fan specifications Model Bearing Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 2500 RPM 2500 RPM Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1800 RPM 1800 RPM Min. Rotational Speed (PWM) 300 RPM 300 RPM Max. Airflow 57,5 m³/h 57,5 m³/h Max. Airflow with L.N.A. 40,8 m³/h 40,8 m³/h Max. Acoustical Noise 23,6 dB(A) 23,6 dB(A) Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 14,8 dB(A) 14,8 dB(A) MTBF > 150.000 h > 150.000 h Phanteks TC90LS manufacturer specifications Compatibility Intel Socket 2011/1155/1156 TDP Up to 130W Color White Material - Copper (Base and Heat- pipes), Nickel Plated - Aluminum Cooling Fins with patented P.A.T.S. and C.P.S.C technology Fan Model PH-F90 PWM Premium Fan Fan Size 92x92x15 Fan compatibility 80x80x15mm Bearing Type UFB (Updraft Floating Balance) Bearing Blade Geometry White Colored Nine Blade Design RPM 1000 - 2500 ± 300 RPM Max Air Flow 11.53 - 28.67 CFM Max Air Pressure 0.21 - 1.34mm H2O
  • February 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Acoustical Noise 19 - 26 dB(A) Input Power 3W Current (Ampere) 0.25A Rate Voltage 12V MTBF > 150,000 hr. Heatsink Dimension (LxWxH) with Single Fans 95x95x45mm Heatsink Weight with fan 273g Warranty 5 Years.
  • February 21st, 2013 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 iWatch could charge itself from wrist movement Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-iwatch-could-charge-itself- from-wrist-movement/19032.html February 21st, 2013 Apple's next device, the iWatch, could be powered by movements of the wrist, according to a patent filing approved today. Apple's next device, the iWatch, could be powered by movements of the wrist, according to a patent filing approved today. The patent, numbered 20130044215, is entitled “Bi-Stable Spring with Flexible Display” and covers: “A wearable accessory device is disclosed. The wearable accessory device includes a flexible display coupled to a bi-stable spring. Coupling the display to the bi-stable spring allows the accessory device to be easily worn in a number of convenient locations.” Perhaps the most interesting idea presented in the patent is the concept of charging the battery of the iWatch through the kinetic energy generated from everday wrist movements, which could potentially keep it powered indefinitely, a major boon for power-hungry modern devices. The patent also covers the ability to listen to music and make calls, making it an effective replacement for an iPhone. Apple may be reluctant to give it too much functionality, however, or it could cannibalise sales of its other devices. One option is to make it wirelessly access data from the iPhone a user is carrying, as the patent suggests will be the case. This will ensure consumers buy both devices, but that could also render it less attractive. The patent was originally filed on 17 August, 2011, so Apple has clearly been working on this for quite some time. With Google readying Glass for release, and Apple losing smartphone market share to Samsung, the Cupertino, California-based firm will need to up the ante to maintain its image as a major innovator. With 100 designers working on the iWatch, this is clearly Apple's next big thing. Sony Electronics Asia Pacific announces new Alpha camera and lenses Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-electronics-asia-pacific- announces-new-alpha-camera-and-lenses/19031.html February 21st, 2013 Sony Electronics Asia Pacific announces the new Sony Alpha SLT-A58 DSLR. The A58 will replace the Alpha SLT-A57 with upgraded sensor and electronics as well as sporting a new kit lens. The Sony Alpha SLT-A58 announcement comes almost one year after the SLT-A57. Does the A58 get more than just cosmetics and some simple upgrades? Here's what the A58 is offering. • New 20.1-megapixel (effective) Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor versus the A57's 16.1 • Shooting speed of 5 frames per second which is down from the A57's 10fps • OLED True-Finder (Electronic ViewFinder) versus the A57's True-Finder • LCD Screen is now smaller at 2.7-inch versus 3.0-inch and resolution is lower • Standard hotshoe for flash guns versus the older proprietary Minolta mount It appears to be more of an update than an upgrade given the two big changes are the higher count megapixel sensor and
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 the Electronic ViewFinder. In some areas the system seems to have been downgraded but some of that can be attributed to other upgrades. The larger mega-pixel sensor means the capture buffer has more data to deal with and the by product is slower shooting speed. I can't really reason why the LCD was made smaller and with lesser resolution until the two cameras are side-by-side. Perhaps the better EVF makes up for the lower resolution LCD Display. The Sony Alpha SLT-A58 will be available from April 2013 in the Asia Pacific region. Pricing to be advised. To compliment the A58 a new 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM lens will be available at the same time. The lens lineup does not stop with the kit lens. Also, announced is the 70-400mm f/4.0-5.6 G SSM II Telephone Zoom. For those need the best lens for portraiture there is a new Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM. NASA discovers smallest planet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-discovers-smallest- planet/19030.html February 21st, 2013 NASA has discovered the smallest planet in a planetary system with a star similar to our sun, paving the way for even more discoveries of sub-Mercury size planets. NASA has discovered the smallest planet in a planetary system with a star similar to our sun, paving the way for even more discoveries of sub-Mercury size planets. The Kepler space telescope spotted a new planetary system called Kepler-37, which is 210 light-years away from Earth in the Lyra constellation. The system is made up of three planets, with its smallest, dubbed Kepler-37b, measuring roughly one-third the size of Earth, and only slightly larger than our moon. Scientists were searching in the “habitable zone” of the planetary system, which is where it is believed liquid water might exist, but data suggests that Kepler-37b does not have an atmosphere, is likely rocky in composition, and cannot support life as we know it. The other two planets in the system are Kepler-37c, which is slightly smaller than Venus and around three-quarters the size of Earth, and Kepler-37d, which is twice the size of Earth. All three planets orbit their star at less than one-third the distance of Mercury to the sun, making them inhospitable, with temperatures of over 800 degrees Fahrenheit (426 degrees Celsius). The star itself is of the same class as our sun, but slightly smaller and cooler. Scientists were able to use asteroseismology, a method of analysing sound waves made by the boiling motion under a star's surface, to determine the size of the star, which is pivotal in making out the size of orbiting planets. “Even Kepler can only detect such a tiny world around the brightest stars it observes," said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California. "The fact we've discovered tiny Kepler-37b suggests such little planets are common, and more planetary wonders await as we continue to gather and analyze additional data.” An artist's concept of Kepler-37b Images Credit: NASA
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Sony reveals PS4 specs and new controller, but not the console Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-reveals-ps4-specs-and-new- controller-but-not-the-console/19027.html February 21st, 2013 A lot of people were disappointed that Sony didn’t show up with any actual hardware—the ones that really matter, anyway—yesterday at the “See the Future” event in New York . However, what we did get from Sony were the official specs of the PlayStation 4, and some first glances at less significant PS4 peripherals. The next-gen game console will sport an x86-64 AMD Jaguar 8-core processor, a Radeon GPU with 18 compute units that is reportedly capable of dishing out 1.84 Teraflops, and 8GB of GDDR5 RAM which offers 176GB/ s of bandwidth. All of the following connections will also be standard: Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI, analog AV out, optical digital out, and USB. On the internal drives front, the PS4 will come with an internal HD as well as a Blu- ray drive for media storage and software deployment. Despite not showing off the console itself, Sony did let people take a glimpse at the Dualshock 4 controller. The updated controller features a new, more sensitive, six-axis sensor and a touchpad in the middle. A gamepad will serve its role as long as its comfortable to the player, but the Dualshock 4 will also have a “Share” button that will make it easy for people to instantly share their gameplay videos without having to jump through a few hurdles first. Then there’s the PS4 Eye camera system, which is a dual- camera system that is capable of depth perception and 85- degree views. The cameras are able to identify players’ positions by the Dualshock controller's LED lights, and Move controllers are also compatible with the new Eye system. Self-driven Cars: Nissan opens research center in Silicon Valley Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/self-driven-cars-nissan-opens- research-center-in-silicon-valley/19019.html February 21st, 2013 Nissan, the Japanese car giant, opened a new advanced research center in Sunnyvale, California that will conduct high-profile research aimed at making it a major player in the upcoming market of self-driven cars and internet- connected auto technology. The facility will house 60 engineers and technicians in the next three years according to VP of North American R&D Carla Bailo. The move is in sync with their consistent efforts over the past few years to move a bulk of Nissan’s work “to the heart of the industry”. Nissan opened a Mountain View research office in 2011, and the new facility is a clear indication of their increasing focus on North American markets. “We’re going to focus on this technology really in the heart of where it lies today,” Bailo said “We are going to be shifting work that’s being done in our Nissan Advanced Technical Center in Atsugi, and moving that work over to the heart of the industry.” Other auto giants like Toyota and Volkswagen already have research facilities in SV and Nissan expects to develop a synergy with Stanford University's automotive labs as well as the University of California's Berkeley and Davis campuses. Though, legal hurdles won’t make self-driving cars a reality until about 2020, the increasing resources put in this area by all auto giants including the Google Self-driving car project is expected to produce a new generation of ultra-connected vehicular technology.
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The Nissan Sunnyvale facility will be led by Maarten Sierhuis, a former NASA scientist specializing in artificial intelligence research. Microsoft to spend millions on ad campaign as Outlook.com exits preview phase Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-to-spend-millions-on-ad- campaign-as-outlook.com-exits-preview-phase/19020.html February 21st, 2013 Six months after its high profile launch, Microsoft's revamped Email service sheds its preview status, and will be backed by millions of advertising dollars. Six months after a much publicized launch of Microsoft’s Outlook.com, it has finally shed its preview status and is now available everywhere. "Outlook.com is coming out of preview," says Microsoft's Dharmesh Mehta, senior director of Outlook.com. "We'll take the preview tag off." Outlook.com was one of the boldest moves by Microsoft in 2012 to take on the Gmail juggernaut of Google. Its bright sparkly colors and simple interface immediately received rave reviews from pundits and common users alike. Combined with a fluid interface with Skydrive and many other smart innovations gave Outlook.com a unique identity of its own. Microsoft has already launched a high decibel advertising campaign on TV, radio, online and elsewhere. These ads will be directed at Gmail users but will be less aggressive than the famous “Scroogled” ads. According to Mr. Mehta, about 60 million people have been actively used services offered by Outlook.com, and Microsoft engineers are working on the backend constantly to provide a smooth service to everyone. More features are also expected to be added very soon – Calendar UI upgrade, Android app and Skype integration being some of the main ones. The war between the Email giants is entering another phase, and so far it looks like Microsoft is hellbent on stealing away some of Google’s users. The future of Sony: PS4 & more unveiled at "See The Future" event [LIVE blog] Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-future-of-sony-ps4--more- unveiled-at-see-the-future-event-live-blog-/19021.html February 20th, 2013 The future of Sony is here--jump in for info and updates on the PS4 and everything you need to know about the "See The Future" press event. Anticipation for Sony's "See The Future" event has been soaring high for the last week, with a multitude of rumors and speculation about the PlayStation 4. Specs, controller designs, and a plethora of other features have been crowding the internet in a frenzy--but now those rumors will be put to the test. We'll be providing live updates on everything you need to know about Sony's new event, including the PlayStation 4 reveal, Gakai, and more. Live Updates & Coverage on Sony's See the Future Event Games revealed during the event: • Killzone: Shadowfall (PS4) • Infamous: Second Son (PS4) • Diablo III (PS3 - PS4) • Drive Club (PS4) • Watchdogs (showcased, not revealed PS4) • Witness (exclusive to PS4) Highlights of the event with Timestamps:
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 18:12 PS4 aims to focus on development-friendly architecture. “A platform by game creators for game creators.” The PS4 will feature a powerful and accessible system with a deep feature set to support the evolution of gaming. Architecture “like” PC but supercharged. 18:19 8GB GDDR5 unified memory. 8 CPU cores. 18:24 Digital titles are playable as they are being downloaded. Hardware to support dedicated always-on video compression and decompression systems. 18:26 Browse live gaming video of friends or famous people via social streaming. Interact with friends via social networks. Open to third party devices & PS Vita. Use smartphone to browse game video of gaming matches. 18:32 Using Gaikai, you’ll be able to instantly experience any gaming content you want, even as it’s downloading. 18:33 Spectating will be a focus via Share button on the PS4 controller--PS4 controller share confirmed. Partnered with ustream to provide multicasting capabilities. 18:39 PS3 titles aren’t natively supported on ps4? Yet Gaikai supports digital streaming of PS3 titles via PSN--gamers can get all the past, present and future games? 19:09 Indie game support self-publishing on PlayStation network. 19:18 "30,000 polygons for Beyond game" -- David Cage, Quantic Dream. Immense graphics that were previously only available via CGI. 19:27 Every major third party partner that PlayStation has worked with in the past will support PS4--Capcom, SEGA, etc. 19:31 New Capcom Engine for PS4 codenamed " Panta Rhei". Capcom's new IP "Deep Down" uses Panta Rhei engine -- medieval fantasy. Deep Down is being developed concurrently with the Panta Rhei engine. 19:54 Diablo 3 announced for PS3 and PS4 by Blizzard. Multiplatform interactivity between consoles and PC, PaxEast will bring more of Blizzard's PS port. 19:59 Activision shows off Bungie's Destiny on the PS4, displays glimpse of in-engine footage. 20:03 PS4 coming holiday 2013. EA showing off Battlefield 4 to game retailers, offering huge sale on Origin Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ea-showing-off-battlefield-4-to- game-retailers-offering-huge-sale-on-origin/19017.html February 20th, 2013 EA has recently began showing off the upcoming fourth chapter in their award-winning Battlefield franchise to retailers such as GameStop, as well as a new update from EA's official Origin marketplace. EA has already begun to pull back the curtains on Battlefield 4, the next installment in their award-winning military
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 FPS franchise that has gone head-to-head with Activision's juggernaut Call of Duty franchise. Gamestop's CEO J. Paul Raines has recently tweeted on the retailer's official Twitter account that he was given a sneak peak of Battlefield 4, and that the game is impressive to say the least. Additionally, EA has confirmed that Battlefield 4 is coming via a recent tweet on their Origin client, and is celebrating with a huge sale on "everything Battlefield". Additionally, the team at DICE has provided an update on the official Battlefield website, which lightly discusses the Battlefield 4 Beta. Basically the team isn't ready to talk about the upcoming game, and below you can find an excerpt of the update. "Battlefield fans – The team at DICE is hard at work on the next entry in the Battlefield series. While there is no further Battlefield 4 news at this point – remember, if you don’t see it published here, it’s just rumor and speculation – we did want to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts on the state of the Battlefield franchise. We are extremely proud of Battlefield 3, and with millions of fans out there, we’re happy you’re enjoying it too. When we launched the game, we introduced unparalleled levels of in-game destruction, all-out vehicle warfare and redefined online gameplay. Even with billions of bullets fired and millions of games played, we know the Battlefield 3 story is still just the beginning. As ever, we are humbled by the community’s response to the game, and couldn’t be happier with the feedback we have received to Battlefield 3 Premium. With the first four expansion packs already out, and End Game just around the corner, we’re looking forward to the many more hours of gameplay with you, and can’t wait to see the stories you will tell through Battlelog and player-created videos. But we’re not ready to talk about Battlefield 4 yet – in the meantime, we hope you will continue to enjoy Battlefield 3 and all the Battlefield 3 Premium content still to come. We’d also like to invite you to expand your Battlefield by taking a look at the Origin Sale that’s currently going on. You can receive up to 75% off on the best Battlefield games. Check out the sale here! See you on the battlefield!" The Battlefield sale offers discounts of up to -75% off on everything in the expansive franchise, including every game within the series in deluxe and premium flavors. For more information please visit Origin, and for updates on Battlefield 4 stay tuned to the game's official website. Mark Hamill may return as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VII Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mark-hamill-may-return-as-luke- skywalker-in-star-wars-episode-vii/19018.html February 20th, 2013 With the recent confirmation that Harrison Ford will take up the blaster and reprise his role as the galaxy's most notorious smuggler, Mark Hamill speaks out on the possibility of taking up the lightsaber and returning to the big screen.. The future of the Star Wars franchise is becoming quite interesting, especially since Harrison Ford has reportedly signed up to reprise his role as Han Solo in Episode VII, and that the upcoming film will focus on the Solo and Skywalker children. Mark Hamill, who played the iconic Force-wielding protagonist Luke Skywalker, has recently commented in an interview with Entertainment Tonight about the possibility of Luke and Leia (played by Carrie Fisher) returning to the big screen:
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 "They're talking to us," he said. "George [Lucas] wanted to know whether we'd be interested. He did say that if we didn't want to do it, they wouldn't cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out. … I can tell you right away that we haven't signed any contracts. We're in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed -- on their end, not mine. They're more busy than I am." Before the news of Disney's Lucasarts purchase, Lucas had reportedly talked to Carrie Fisher about coming back as Leia, however it's unclear how much the proposal has progressed since then. Hamill denied knowing much about the script and Episode VII's story line, but he did speak out on what certain assumptions of his role--if he were to accept: "I'm assuming, because I haven't talked to the writers, that these movies would be about our offspring -- like my character would be sort of in the Obi-Wan range [as] an influential character. … When I found out [while making the original trilogy] that ultimate good news/bad news joke – the good news is there's a real attractive, hot girl in the universe; the bad news is she's your sister – I thought, 'Well, I'm going to wind up like Sir Alec [Guinness]. I'm going to be a lonely old hermit living out in some kind of desert igloo with a couple of robots.'" Mark Hamill also spoke out on his desire to see the full cast reunited in the new films, with familiar faces such as Billy Dee and Tony Daniels, rather than just a single returning actor--Harrison Ford as Han Solo. "Another thing I'd want to make sure of is - are we going to have the whole gang back? Is Carrie and Harrison and Billy Dee and Tony Daniels, everybody that's around from the original [returning]? I want to make sure that everybody's on board here, rather than just one." Hamill, 61, further shares his love for the retro Star Wars films, and urges Disney to keep the authentic sci-fi magic that surrounded Episodes IV-VI by keeping the CGI at a minimum: "I hope they find the right balance of CGI with practical effects. I love props, I love models, miniatures, matte paintings -- I'm sort of old school. I think if you go too far in the direction of CGI it winds up looking like just a giant a video game, and that's unfortunate. … If they listen to me at all, it'll be, 'Lighten up and go retro with the way it looks.'" Mark Hamill has the truth of it, as millions of Star Wars fans worldwide have chastised the prequels for their over-use of CGI and off-hand humor (i.e. Jar Jar Binks), and the real- life Luke Skywalker wants to see something that captures the majesty of the old trilogy. In any case, Hamill hasn't signed any contracts and hasn't yet said if he's returning to Episode VII or not--but it will
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 be interesting to see if the old cast is re-united for one last galactic adventure. Sources say the PS4 will launch this November & feature integrated smartphone support Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sources-say-the-ps4-will-launch- this-november--feature-integrated-smartphone-support/19015.html February 20th, 2013 Sources have recently revealed that Sony's next-gen console may launch with two models this November, with expansive features such as allowing gamers to control the console remotely with their smartphones and more. According to a source in the gaming industry, Sony's next- generation console may be planned to launch sometime in November in the United States. The source also claims that the PS4's launch will consist of two models; a lite model and a premium model with additional features. The source also goes on to say that Sony has tentative plans for a price range of $429 (lite) and $529 (premium), however this could change at any time during the year. This price point fits in with our recent coverage, which hinted at a ~ $400 starting point--yet these listings are always subject to change. The popular gaming site Kotaku vouches for the validity and calls the source "reliable", as this same source has revealed the codename for both Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's new Xbox console, along with other details that have been confirmed. Along with the potential pricing and release window, the source also suggests that gamers will be able to control the PlayStation 4 remotely via tablet or smartphone, and that players will be able to use their mobile devices to chat with their PSN friends as well as purchase digital titles on the marketplace. "You'll be able to use a mobile device to chat with your PS4 friends or buy games which are then automatically downloaded to your machine." Additionally, the source reveals that every PS4 will come with a PlayStation Eye, allowing gamers to interact with their friends and other gamers across the world with the new spectating feature, which lets gamers watch their friends play games--even if you don't own the game they're playing. The console also is believed to support local network play via the PlayStation Vita. We've already seen many reports of the PS4's supposed features, including the possibility of streaming PS3 games via Gakai, Sony's massive cloud storage network, or the console's expansive specs and controller design. It will be interesting to see if these new features are integrated with Sony's next-gen console, and if so, they will no doubt open up new doors in the realm of gaming and convenience, allowing gamers to bridge gaps that haven't been spanned before. The ability to remotely connect to your PS4 via mobile devices is quite convenient and innovative, and it will be something that allows gamers to adequately compartmentalize their gaming. As always, the information that these industry sources have revealed remains unconfirmed and must be treated as speculation. In any case, we may see confirmation of many of these features as the rumors and speculation is put to the test during Sony's "See the Future" event, where the PS4 is believed to be revealed. The official press event airs tonight at 6pm EST, and we'll have more information as it becomes available. Dual display Yotaphone selects Singapore as manfucturing home Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dual-display-yotaphone-selects- singapore-as-manfucturing-home/19014.html February 20th, 2013 Yota Devices, which gained acclaim at CES 2013 for their dual-display Android Yotaphone featuring an e-ink display on the backside of the AMOLED display, has announced that they will work with Singapore's Hi-P to produce the device, with a scheduled release date in mid-2013. In a press release sent out early Wednesday Morning, Yota Devices announced that they will be working with Singapore's Hi-P to manufacture their Yotaphone, and that they will be opening an Asian sales office in Singapore as well. For those of you that don't know, the Yota Phone was announced in December, but first really came into the spotlight gained during January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where it garnered Cnet's "Best of CES" award for phones, beating out more well-known competitors like Samsung, LG, and HTC. What makes this Android phone so special compared to the dozens of others? From the front the Yotaphone looks like a standard Android device, but from the backside it's transformed, with a touch e-ink display resembling those on e-readers, offering a low
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 power consumption option to check emails, browse the web, or do just about anything. Since the inception of smartphones, it's been a constant uphill battle to increase battery life even as hardware becomes more powerful, and consumes more power itself. Device Makers like Apple, and Samsung have built in sensors, and software tweaks to stretch battery life as far as possible, but the fact is that the bright color displays of today consume an immense amount of power, and there's no way around it. E-ink displays are naturally more efficient, because when they're static they consume very little power or none at all. The Kindle Paperwhite, for example, offers up to eight weeks of battery life. Offering this lower-consumption screen is what has brought the Yotaphone its' fame, because it offers a solution that lets you use your phone without the normal drain. In the release, Yota's CEO Vlad Martynov commented: "Bringing a unique product like YotaPhone to the market requires an experienced manufacturing partner with both qualitative and quantitative engineering skills and Hi-P excels in both." In addition to doing the manufacturing and opening a sales office, Yota is also opening a new Research and Development office in Singapore alongside their Finland, Russia, and US offices. They hinted at working on future iterations of Yotaphone in a generational way, indicating that they may try to stick to the single flagship phone model followed by Apple, with a regular release cycle of one phone per year. The company estimate that the release date for the phone will come sometime in mid-2013. Google possibly in talks with Visa, Paypal and Mastercard to help block piracy websites Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-possibly-in-talks-with-visa- paypal-and-mastercard-to-help-block-piracy-websites/19013.html February 20th, 2013 Google is said to be in talks with some major credit agencies such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard. The transaction agencies are all considering ways in which to block pirating websites from receiving funding and want Google's help. Google has always remained a big proponent of Internet freedom and even played a major part in the anti SOPA and PIPA campaign in early 2012. However, in regards to online piracy of copyrighted material, that seems to be where Google draws the line and they are working hard with the entertainment industry to stamp it out. Now the search giant is working with some major banking and credit groups in an effort to block out some file sharing and piracy. This latest news really should not come as a shock to anyone really. In fact, Google has been making changes in their search since the summer of 2012. Back in August of 2012 Google first began making changes to their search algorithm that would help hide or block out piracy websites. In particular they began looking at the number of valid copyright removal notices and then they would remove those sites from the search results, or bring them down further in the rankings. “We aim to provide a great experience for our users and have developed over 200 signals to ensure our search algorithms deliver the best possible results…” Google writes on their August 2012 blog. “…Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify.” The recording and movie industry in the U.S. has been in full swing in regards to combating file sharing. They have also been urging Google to help them with their endeavor. The matter has even reached the executive level of government with the Jammie Thomas P2P file- sharing lawsuit in particular. Her defense petitioned her case to go before the U.S. Supreme Court but the Obama administration quickly weighed in on the matter and urged the SC to ignore the appeal. Google reveals details of Google Glass in preview video Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-reveals-details-of-google- glass-in-preview-video/19016.html February 20th, 2013
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Google has released a sneak peak of the experience of Google Glass from the perspective of a wide range of activities and industries, showing the potential for what some consider “the next big thing.” Google has released a sneak peak of the experience of Google Glass from the perspective of a wide range of activities and industries, showing the potential for what some consider “the next big thing.” The video highlights some of the features of the device, which can be accessed by the command “ok glass,” followed by a subsequent command, such as “take a picture,” “record a video,” “start a hangout,” or “get directions to.” Glass can also display the current time or weather, translate languages, and can google photos or information. It also displays information based on your location without having to ask questions, such as notifying you of whether or not you're on time for your flight when in an airport. And all of this is voice-activated. The video shows some of the more extreme activities in life, such as skydiving or spinning an aeroplane, making for a more elegant way to show people things they might not otherwise get to see. However, it is probably not a good idea to wear your $1,500 Google Glass on a roller-coaster if it goes upside down. While Glass was only open to developers, Google is now accepting applications from “bold, creative individuals” in the US. The cost remains high ($1,500) and successful applicants must be able to attend an event in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Applications are open until 27 February and more details can be found here. 3D Printing gun site getting 3,000 visitors per hour Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/3d-printing-gun-site-getting-3-000- visitors-per-hour/19012.html February 20th, 2013 As can be expected the idea of anyone being able download the plans for guns and then turn them into real gun parts using 3D printers has created quite the uproar, both positive and negative, but through it all sites like DEFCAD have seen a massive growth in traffic since launching their service. Of all our recent technological innovations, the increasing growth of 3D printing holds the most potential for affecting our society in ways that we can't even imagine at this point. For instance, data files, which people can download, can be used as blueprints for printing out various tangible objects like toys and even guns. These data files, which cover an increasing number of gun components, are being made available through sites that have sprung up in order to provide a central place to both let people share their component data files and to keep on top of any new developments with this new technology. One such site is DEFCAD, and since launching in December 2012 it has become the spot to pick from nearly 90 different components which includes everything from bullet casings to pistol suppressors. They even have data files for grenade models and so far visitors to the site have downloaded over 250,000 files from the site. Of course this type of download count leads to some pretty impressive traffic numbers for the site. Every hour of the day DEFCAD gets approximately 3,000 visitors which represent some 2TB of traffic since its launch. Defense Distributed, the company behind the DEFCAD site, says that interest in the site isn't limited to just the United States, and founder Cody Wilson says that they get emails
  • February 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 every day from around the world from gun enthusiasts who just want to say thank you for making such a site available. grenade image courtesy of VentureBeat Yahoo and Gree to develop social games for smartphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/yahoo-and-gree-to-develop-social- games-for-smartphones/19007.html February 19th, 2013 Yahoo!, or more specifically Yahoo! Japan, had just announced on February 18, 2013 that they will move a step further in their partnership with Gree to create a new company that would develop games for the mobile market. Development of social games for smartphones would be the focus of this joint venture, and the total investment for the venture is 200 million yen (2 million USD), with 51% of the shares owned by Gree and 49% by Yahoo. This business move made by Yahoo! is a step that was reportedly made to further build firm support in their place not only in the social gaming realm, but in the internet in general. Social games that would be developed and released under this partnership will be distributed via Yahoo!'s mobile website, specifically right at its home page, where users will be redirected towards Gree's social game page. Gree is a Japanese social networking company. Some may be familiar with this company as the developer of various battle card games that are internationally available for Android and iOS devices. Their cooperation with Yahoo! started in November 2012. It is expected that Yahoo!'s decision to deepen of their partnership with this company would not only result in the exchange of valuable experiences in the industry, but would also bring fresh ideas and concepts to their primary objective of social game development. Source: Androwire (JP)
  • February 22nd, 2013 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. LG unveils Optimus F Series 4G smartphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lg-unveils-optimus-f-series-4g- smartphones/19046.html February 22nd, 2013 LG has unveiled its Optimus F Series of smartphones ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, its latest 4G LTE smartphones aimed at a wider audience. LG has unveiled its Optimus F Series of smartphones ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, its latest 4G LTE smartphones aimed at a wider audience. The South Korean electronics firm has two F Series models debuting at the mobile event, both of which offer features from LG's premium devices on lower-end models. The Optimus F5 features a 4.3-inch IPS display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of onboard storage, which can be expanded with a 32GB microSD card. A largest-in-class 1,150mAh battery should give plenty of life. The Optimus F7 comes with a 4.7-inch True HD IPS display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and the same amount of built-in storage as the F5. The battery is larger on this model, at 2,540mAh. Both devices run Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 and provide LG user interface improvements like QSlide, which allows users to run two apps simultaneously, and Live Zooming, which lets users zoom in while watching videos. QuickMemo, QTranslator, Video Wiz, and Safety Care are also included.
  • February 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The Optimus F5 will launch in the second quarter in Europe, followed by a worldwide release. The Optimus F7 will come later in selected markets, but it is not clear when we can expect it. Pricing for both models will be announced later, but given their relatively low specs we can likely expect them to be on the more affordable end of the market. Review: DmC: Devil May Cry (PC) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/review-dmc-devil-may-cry- pc-/19043.html February 22nd, 2013 Devil May Cry has been rebooted, and we’ve reviewed it! Is this new take on Dante a trip to gaming heaven, or should this hack and slash game just go to hell? DmC: Devil May Cry has had a tumultuous launch. What else can be expected when you reboot one of Capcom’s biggest game franchises and turn it into something completely different? A new plot, new setting, rebooted characters and a completely different art style has made a lot of fans turn to hate this westernized version of DmC, but that doesn’t make it a bad game. With a lot of personal feelings coloring opinion of Devil May Cry, perhaps the only way to objectively tell if its worth your time is to have it reviewed by someone who has never stepped into Dante’s shoes until now – Yes I admit it; this game took my DmC cherry, but from my fresh perspective, I can tell you this: The hate is unwarranted, and it’s quite a good ride. BlackBerry Z10 sales lower than expected Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-z10-sales-lower-than- expected/19045.html February 22nd, 2013 BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, may have sold significantly less of its new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone than previously expected, news that will dampen investor confidence in a turnaround at the Canadian company. BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, may have sold significantly less of its new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone than previously expected, news that will dampen investor confidence in a turnaround at the Canadian company. Analysts Cannacord Genuity and Pacific Crest cut their estimates for sales of the Z10 after contacting shops and supply chain sources. Originally BlackBerry was predicted to sell upwards of 1.75 million of the new flagship model, but revised estimates are down to a paltry 300,000. Pacific Crest said it expects BlackBerry to ship between 1 million and 1.5 million Z10 units by the end of this fiscal year, down considerably from the initial three to four million units it expected. It also said that it does not see all of these selling.
  • February 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The firm also warned of cannibalisation of BlackBerry's Bold 9900 sales, which it said have declined since the launch of the Z10. It seems a good chunk of Z10's sales are from existing BlackBerry customers, suggesting the brand is still not attracting enough people from rival operating systems like iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The figures mean that BlackBerry could make another loss this quarter, its fifth in a row. Pacific Crest said it sees no profitability in sight, a fact that will likely accelerate share price drops surrounding the disappointing BlackBerry 10 launch. The Z10 has not launched in the US yet, however. That release was held back until March of this year, which hurt BlackBerry's sales figures. The US launch may help recoup some losses, as might the release of the Q10 with keyboard later this year, but it seems that BlackBerry is still in for a major struggle to keep afloat. Samsung to launch TV Discovery service for Smart TVs and smartphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-to-launch-tv-discovery- service-for-smart-tvs-and-smartphones/19044.html February 22nd, 2013 Samsung will announce a new service called TV Discovery at this year's Mobile World Congress, making it easier and faster to find content on smartphones and smart TVs. Samsung will announce a new service called TV Discovery at this year's Mobile World Congress, making it easier and faster to find content on smartphones and smart TVs. The service simplifies searching for content by integrating and relaying real-time programme information from multiple sources, including live TV, video-on-demand, and online services like YouTube. Some content providers that will be aggregated in the initial lineup include Netflix and Blockbuster in the US, and Acetrax, Wuaki, MovieMax, Chili, Pathé, and SF Anytime in Europe. It will also offer personal recommendations based on users' viewing habits, and it can project content from a smartphone or tablet to a TV, or vice-versa. Users can also share what they are watching with their family and friends. TV Discovery will be available for Samsung Smart TVs and supported mobile devices. A connected tablet can also be turned into a universal remote control, resulting in a single remote for cable, satellite, home stereo, DVD players, and Blu-ray players. “More and more people are starting to expect the same experience from each and every screen they own – whether it’s their smartphone and tablet, TV or camera. TV Discovery is bringing that demand ever closer to becoming a reality, by giving our customers the opportunity to search for and enjoy their favourite TV shows or the latest films wherever they are, whether that’s on the commute into work or sat in their living room,” said Simon Stanford, VP of IM division at Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland. The TV Discovery service will launch in the first quarter of this year in the UK for Samsung Smart TVs, and it will be a feature of future mobile devices from the second quarter. Mobile World Congress 2013 will be held in Barcelona from 25-28 February. Petition demanding legalization of cellphone unlocking meets White House threshold requirement Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/petition-demanding- legalization-of-cellphone-unlocking-meets-white-house-threshold- requirement/19035.html
  • February 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 February 22nd, 2013 Last month, the Library of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office decided to make it illegal for consumers to unlock their cellphones because they felt that the existing sanctioned methods of unlocking was good enough. Needless to say, consumers weren't very happy about the decision. Almost immediately after the announcement, a petition was started on the government's We The People petition site asking the Obama Administration to make the unlocking of cellphones legal. As a side note, just prior to this petition being started, the We The People site had changed the requirements for getting a government response to petitions. Previously, a petition needed to have 25,000 signatures in order to have the government respond, however, now a petition requires 100,000 signatures—this change had some worried that the legalization of cellphone unlocking petition would have a hard time reaching that new goal. So when word came today that the petition had indeed passed that new threshold, there were a lot of happy people. Even though this is only the first hurdle, and doesn't mean that anything positive will come of the request, the people behind the petition are hoping for even more signatures before Saturday when the official signing window for the petition closes. Derek Khanna, former Republican Study Committee staffer and who helped lead the campaign, says that this is only the start of the process and that he and his supporters have a long way to go before the unlocking ban can be overturned. Dennis Tito announces insanely ambitious Mars Mission Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dennis-tito-announces-insanely- ambitious-mars-mission/19037.html February 22nd, 2013 Unveiling an insanely ambitious plan, Dennis Tito, Earth's first space tourist, announced a private expedition to Mars in 2018 under the aegis of a new group called the Inspirational Mars Foundation. Tito paid around $20 million to visit International Space Station in 2001, though, the costs for the proposed Mars mission hasn't been declared yet. Further details of the project are expected to be released in a press conference in Feb 27. The press event will be attended by two members of the controversial Biosphere 2 project. The mission is designed to be a 501-day round trip mission with human travellers. It is not to take humans to the surface or an orbital mission, but is a fly-by mission aided by a modified Space-X Dragon capsule and the company's untested Falcon Heavy Rocket. However, doubts have already emerged about the feasibility of the project—especially considering the tight timeline and huge amounts of money and advanced technology that is required for the success of such a complex project. "This 'Mission for America' will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation." Retina iPad Mini may be thicker than current model Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/retina-ipad-mini-may-be-thicker- than-current-model/19039.html February 22nd, 2013
  • February 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Rumors of the revised iPad Mini having a Retina display have been floating around for a while, but, along with the increase in resolution, some recently leaked pictures of the new Mini’s shell is suggesting that the inclusion of a Retina display will bump up the tablet's thickness as well. A plausible scenario to explain as to why the revised iPad Mini requires a thicker profile is that the addition of the Retina display increases power consumption, therefore, a larger battery is needed. Additionally, the new Minis may also come in a variety of colors, similar to the selections that are available from the iPod line. Along with what seems to be a dimension and weight increase, the iPad Mini with Retina may also cost 30% more than previous gen Mini’s. When the iPad Mini launched, many seemed to think that Apple was trying to become more appealing to budget-conscious tablet lovers, but if the rumors of a jacked up price tag for the next Mini is true then all that consumer friendly notions may have just been tossed out of the window. Most are expecting the Retina iPad Mini along with the new iPad to drop some time in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2013. Qualcomm's bus stop ad forces even an infant to remember its brand Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/qualcomm-s-bus-stop-ad-forces- even-an-infant-to-remember-its-brand/19038.html February 22nd, 2013 Simply having a big billboard with your company's logo plastered all over it won't cut it anymore in today's market, especially for tech companies who are constantly fighting for brand appeal. Companies that are struggling to build a presence should take a page out of Qualcomm's recent ad campaign if they really want to make use of all that marketing dollars. Marketing has always been one of those hit and miss thing for a lot of companies, but Qualcomm’s latest stunt may just be a hit. Check out this video of the chip maker’s method for embedding its brand into the minds both the young and old alike. Microsoft files another anti- bacterial UV tech patent for touchscreens Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-files-another-anti- bacterial-uv-tech-patent-for-touchscreens/19036.html February 22nd, 2013 Microsoft wants people to know that it is also anti-bacterial, and that the software-giant is looking into more methods for eradicating unwanted germs from your touchscreen- enabled gadgets.
  • February 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 It should be common knowledge that not all germs are bad for you, but the paranoia—strengthened by anti-bacterial propaganda of many companies—and fear of our micro- friends will continue even if there are studies to prove otherwise. Anti-bacterial hand wash and sanitizer have become prevalent in many households, and that same concept is making their way to handheld technologies-- albeit, a bit more sophisticated. Microsoft has put in another patent that will deploy the use of UV tech to eradicate harmful bacteria (possibly normal flora, as well) on their mobile gadgets. The patent submitted by Microsoft basically covers the use UV light to disinfect people’s fingertips if they come in contact with a touchscreen. Basically, the UV light bounces through a film on or inside the screen, thereby, zapping micro-sized critters without directly blasting every parts of the user. Keep in mind that Microsoft has been pursuing the anti-bacterial UV tech for quite some time now, and this latest submission is just an improvement on previous proposed methods. It’s unknown when Microsoft will integrate this method of bacterial annihilation into their lineup of gadgets, but rest assured you don’t have to wait because some hand sanitizer, Windex and toilet papers will do the job just as well. How long before a “do not share your tablet with others” lingo becomes the norm just like “don’t ever share your toothbrush”? Researchers use 3D printer to bio-engineer human ear Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/researchers-use-3d-printer-to-bio- engineer-human-ear/19033.html February 21st, 2013 The other day we told you about people using 3D printers to create various gun parts, and even though that might be a highly questionable use of 3D printing technology that doesn't mean that it isn't being used for some pretty incredible purposes. Take for example, the researchers who have created a bio-engineered human ear with the help of 3D printing technology. As big believer in the changes that 3D printing will bring to our society, I am always on the look-out for new, and interesting, ways that the technology is being used to change our lives and this news that Cornell University researchers have recently used 3D printing as part of the process to create a bio-engineered human ear definitely fits that bill. In today's medical world, the creation of prosthetics like the human ear involves things like radiation from CT scans to measure ear anatomy and then messy molds. Now the researchers have bypassed that method by using a 3D camera that rotates around a person's head in order to create a picture of the existing ear to match. Then that data is sent directly to the computer which then uses a 3D printer to create a soft mold of the ear. Once the mold is ready it is injected with a special collagen gel that's chock full of cow cells which will produce cartilage, thereby, creating a scaffolding. Over the next few weeks the collagen is replaced totally by cartilage, and by the end of three months you have a flexible and usable outer ear. In the future, researchers say that they are hoping that they will be able to use the patient's own cells in the 3D printing process. It should be noted, however, that cartilage is one of the easiest body parts to generate with a 3D printer since it doesn't need blood vessels inside of it in order to survive. The real challenge for researchers is graduating up to trying to bio-engineer more complex tissues and organs. You can read about the Cornell University researchers results at PLOS One. Chromebook Pixel - Google's challenge to the MacBook Air Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chromebook-pixel--google-s- challenge-to-the-macbook-air/19034.html February 21st, 2013 Google's Chromebook laptops have proven to be quite successful for the company, but now they want to move beyond the low-end market of laptops and take on Apple's MacBook Air; the leader of the high-end, high-quality, market. When Google first announced their Chromebook project—a browser based OS that could run on low-end (read cheap) laptops—there was much laughter in the tech world but in the years that have followed that announcement the Chromebook has made some real progress as a viable alternative for a growing number of people. Today, however, Google has once again thrown down the gauntlet and set their sights on consumers that typically would be buying the Apple MacBook Air. At a media event today, Sundar Pinchai, Google's SVP of Chrome and Apps, showed off the new Chromebook Pixel with a display to rival that of Apple's MacBook Air - and a price to match. According to Pinchai, the Pixel comes with a Gorilla Glass multi-touch screen, 12.85-inch 2560x1700 display, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 32GB solid state drive, and for good measure they are throwing in 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage which is free for three years. It also comes equipped with an Intel core i5 processor and three microphones built directly in the laptop to help with noise cancelation for all your Google Hangout or Skype calls.
  • February 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Pinchai said that the Chromebook Pixel is available starting today in the Google Play store and that the company is working with Best Buy to have it available in 10 locations in the US where you can try out the new laptop. Now, here comes the real kicker - the price. Are you sitting down? The WiFi only version of the Pixel will set you back $1,299 and the LTE enabled version of the laptop will be $1,499. All this for a laptop meant to only run a browser. Wow. U.S. State Department hacked by Anonymous Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/u.s.-state-department-hacked-by- anonymous/19026.html February 21st, 2013 Anonymous recently hacked into the U.S. State Department. The hacktivists successfully stole personal data, which includes private email addresses and phone numbers of government employees and published them online as part of 'Operation Last Resort'. Anonymous has successfully taken down, or rather, infiltrated another federal government website. This time it is the U.S. State department website. In addition to the hack, the group stole personal data from hundreds of State department employees and published it online. The data stolen included private and work e-mails, phone numbers and addresses that were immediately published to the ZeroBin website. The hactivists also said the recent hack was a protest to the recently arrested members of LulzSec. A message accompanying the government data post to ZeroBin read in part, Our reasons for this attack are very simple. You've imprisoned or either censored our people. We will not tolerate things as such. You don't see us going around censoring everything that is inappropriate or we do not like. Basically, you tried to put an end to us and you got owned, there's nothing more you can say or do. You took away Topiary, Avunit, Neuron, Pwnsauce, lolspoon, Aaron Swartz shall we go on?… This recent hack by Anonymous is all part of a series of efforts the group has been doing in the name of the late Aaron Swartz who was facing a long prison term and a hefty fine for breaking into the MIT library. Swartz committed suicide and many people close to Swartz said that it was the U.S. federal government that drove him to take such drastic measures. Following his death Anonymous immediately began hacking websites and also began publishing notices saying that it was all part of their ‘Operation Last Resort’. In addition to the federal government being hit, the investment firm George K. Baum and Company, was also hit. It has been suggested that the firm was hit because of their help in assisting the CIA with their ties to Stratfor, which is a private intelligence agency. The stolen data from the investment firm purportedly included personal account holder data along with other account transaction information. In a public statement via Twitter, the username that goes by the handle “OpLastResort’ said the attacks were for the, “basis for reform of computer crime laws and the overzealous prosecutors.” Just last month Anonymoussuccessfully hacked the U.S. Sentencing website as part of their Operation Last Resort and transformed the website into the classic arcade game, Asteroids. To date the website still has a message saying that it was still ‘under construction’. The USSC operates as an independent agency to the U.S. Judiciary branch of government. Nanosensor being developed that would warn us of an impending heart attack Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nanosensor-being-developed-that- would-warn-us-of-an-impending-heart-attack/19025.html February 21st, 2013 Researchers are looking a new micro size nanosensor that would float around in our bloodstream monitoring our heart health. This device would warn patients by sending a message directly to their smartphone. In the United States, billions of dollars are wasted per year from misdiagnosis, prescribing the wrong medicine or having tests performed that patients simply do not need. Medications and health care in general are extremely costly, and in some cases those costs can wipe out the savings of many people after the insurance runs out. Now doctors are saying that healthcare costs may soon plummet in costs if we begin using our smartphones to do more of the work in regards to our healthcare. Dr. Eric Topol is regarded as one of the world’s most renowned and respected cardiologists. He has accomplished a lot in regards to innovating new approaches to hearth health, but now he wants to change the way in which we see medicine and the entire health care industry for that matter. A big proponent of using new technology in medicine, Topol is working on a new scientific device, with other researchers, which would literally warn a patient long before a heart attack was about to happen. Smaller than a grain of sand, this nanosensor would be a permanent part of our body by floating around in our bloodstream constantly monitoring the changes happening in our blood chemistry. The U.S. has in the neighborhood of 20 million echocardiograms performed every year that average around 800 dollars per procedure. Now with a simple plugin device designed by General Electric called the Vscan, that cardiogram can be done for next to nothing in a regular doctor’s office. In his book, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Healthcare”, Topol discusses intently just how our smartphones will change how
  • February 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 our healthcare is monitored in the future. Topol says that treating everyone the same in regards to checkups like ‘cattle herds’, as he puts it, is extremely wasteful. In a recent interview with NBC, Topol talked about the new nanosensor device he and his colleagues are working on that would warn us of a heart attack. “Well, we are working on a project that will take a nanosensor in the bloodstream that is smaller than a grain of sand and it will pick up a signal when you have cells coming off, shed, into the bloodstream coming off the artery lining, which is a precursor to a heart attack,” Topol said in an interview with NBC “…then you’ll get on your phone a special heart attack ring tone, which will warn you that within the week or two weeks that you are very liable to have a heart attack. I know it sounds a little invasive putting this tiny, smaller than a grain of sand in your blood, but what that will do is have your body under continual surveillance talking to your phone – that’s the future of medicine.” Another device being promoted is the wearable ViSi Mobile System that allows doctors to monitor patients remotely from essentially anywhere on earth. This small device fits on the wrist, with a few wires attached to the chest. The ViSi Mobile allows doctors or nurses to see the vitals of any patient and make changes to what they may need. You can see a 17-minute video from Dr. Topol by clicking here. In this video he quickly goes over how the current technology trends will reshape medicine in the future with some really interesting examples.
  • February 24th, 2013 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. Can hackers control your HP Printer remotely and set it on fire? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/can-hackers-control-your-hp- printer-remotely-and-set-it-on-fire-/19057.html February 24th, 2013 Security researchers from Columbia University have alleged that HP is selling printers with a vital loophole that allows hackers with malicious intentions to control them. MSNBC ran a detailed article today on the allegations that hackers could remotely take over HP LaserJet Printers and set it on fire using a predefined set of instructions. Once taken over, sensitive personal information can be stolen, networks can be attacked and set on fire by executing a set commands designed to heat the printer up. HP responded to MSNBC with a statement that it is evaluating the problem but contended that the claims by Columbia PhD student Ang Sui and Prof. Salvatore Stolfo are highly exaggerated. The Prof-student duo claims that the printers are accepting software updates without verifying digital signatures and they are able to remote install malicious software onto it. In a demonstration of the flaw, the researchers demostrated how by giving instructions, they could heat up the printer fuser of a hijacked computer, which is designed to dry the ink once it is applied to paper, ultimately causing it to burn and smoke. In the same demo, a thermal switch shut the printer down before a fire started. But the researchers expressed their apprehension that such things can easily cause real- world damage if not checked immediately. FBI part of Australia SuperDae home raid concerning Microsoft corporate espionage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fbi-part-of-australia-superdae-home- raid-concerning-microsoft-corporate-espionage/19058.html February 24th, 2013 A teenager from Perth, Australia found his family’s home raided and had his personal possessions seized by the U.S. FBI. The case involves details about the upcoming Xbox the teen had in his possession that he revealed online. A Perth, Western Australia teenager known online as ‘SuperDae’ recently had his family’s home raided by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. The raid was over intelligence the young man, who is purportedly a hacker, had somehow acquired on the upcoming Xbox gaming system. The FBI working with the Western Australia police seized many of the young man’s possessions, which included all of his computer equipment. He is being accused of international corporate espionage. This raid came many months after the teen revealed information regarding the upcoming Xbox via his highly popular Twitter account. Dylan, whose last name was withheld over privacy and age, is a highly popular social media user and has nearly 30 thousand followers on his Twitter account. Dylan also posted online a new development kit for the ‘Durango’, which is what the new Xbox design will be called. The development kit is what companies receive from a video game maker to help them create and develop new games for their system. Because of Dylan’s leak, it caused a lot of chatter in cyberspace with designers and other developers since this type of information is usually kept very secret. Dylan told The West Australian press that the sudden raid was a highly charged and frightening experience to go through for his entire family. He said when he heard the knock, the FBI were literally about to ram the door open. The FBI also insinuated to him that he may very well be extradited to the U.S. depending on the outcome of the investigation. The West Australian further confirmed that the raid did occur through the local WA police department. When asked for more information regarding the FBI’s role in the ordeal, they refused comment, but did say that their
  • February 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 tech crime investigation unit was involved in a type of multi-jurisdictional investigation into the alleged corporate espionage. Dylan, a.k.a. SuperDae, considers himself to be a security consultant for any type of flaws found in programs or online sites. He said that he only published the intelligence over the Durango Xbox to show that it was possible to do so. He claims that he was in contact with Microsoft over the flaws in their security, but he said he ceased communication when he felt they were only using him without any form of reimbursement or thanks. It isn’t known at this time if Dylan will be extradited to the U.S. or if the espionage case will begin to grow. His case has just begun to make the rounds on Twitter and the hash tag #FreeSuperDaE has also begun trending with the hacker community. "Six Strikes" against pirate downloaders to start Monday Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-six-strikes-against-pirate- downloaders-to-start-monday/19055.html February 24th, 2013 From the early days of the Internet until now, the act of downloading of pirated software, movies, music, and television shows has been something that just about everyone has done at some point or another. This doesn't mean that it is right, but at the same time the response from governments and companies has been less than logical and this newest attempt in the US is no different. Just as we have been downloading pirated entertainment and software from the Internet since the very beginning, so to have governments and entertainment lobby groups done whatever they can to stop us from doing that. This has led to some really heavy-handed actions by entertainment trade groups like the MPAA and RIAA; and has seen everything from single mother's on social assistance being sued to grandmothers, who wouldn't know a BitTorrent client if it jumped up and slapped them, being arrested and facing lawsuits. Of course the success of these types of actions has been less than stellar, to say the least, but that isn't stopping these trade groups from continuing with mind-numbingly stupid ideas in order to try instill fear into consumers. Their most recent attempt was the idea of following France's example of the three strikes and you lose your Internet connection for good law. Some of these anti-piracy groups are teaming up with five U.S. Internet service providers to announce their own six strikes pseudo-law meant to punish those nasty BitTorrent downloading pirates. The partners in idiocy launched a new site, Center for Copyright Information (CCI), dedicated to the re-education of offenders, and proposing a system which would allow them to identify Internet account holders that are using their connections to commit copyright infringement. In the system, after six offenses have been logged against an IP address the ISPs would be able to impose a variety of repressive actions. Initially, this system was set to launch back at the end of 2011, but for reason still not known it didn't happen. However, the team at TorrentFreak has it, on good authority, that the six strikes system will finally be launched by early next week. After this point, people who receive these copyright infringement notices will be directed to the newly re-launched CCI site where they will learn the error of their ways. Microsoft joins Apple, Facebook and others in a string of cyber attacks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-joins-apple-facebook-and- others-in-a-string-of-cyber-attacks/19052.html February 23rd, 2013 Microsoft was recently added to the list in a recent string of high profile cyber-attacks. Rogue hackers have also capitalized on Mandiant’s report alleging that the Chinese are playing a major role in U.S. computer network infiltration. Microsoft recently added themselves to the list of a string of high profile cyber-attacks. Facebook and Apple both admitted that hackers had infiltrated their servers as well in an attempt to spread computer viruses. Many computer experts believe the recent report from Mandiant, which is a computer security agency, gave many rogue hackers an excuse to engage in a heavy barrage of high profile website break-ins. In a recent blog post from Microsoft, they wrote that a small number of their computers had become victim to some malicious software that was installed by online hackers. Microsoft put to rest any concerns from their customers saying they did not have any evidence that any malware had spread, or that any customer data was compromised, however, they did say that an investigation into the break- in was ongoing. “During our investigation, we found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organizations. We have no evidence of customer data being affected and our investigation is ongoing, “writes Matt Thomlinson, General Manager of Microsoft’s Computer Security. “ This type of cyber-attacks is no surprise to Microsoft and other companies that must grapple with determined and persistent adversaries (see our prior analysis of emerging threat trends).” On Tuesday, February 19th , Apple announced the same group of rogue hackers that hit Facebook attacked them. Facebook claimed that they sourced the attack out of China and had done so by using an exploit in the laptops of some of their employees.
  • February 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 In regards to the recent report from Mandiant on threats to U.S. computer networks, the report itself is now being used as a means to spread more malware and viruses. Tainted versions of their report began showing up online recently that would infect PCs with a virus that allowed a hacker to take control of an infected PC. Symantec Corporation announced on their website blog that some versions of Mandiant’s report also began showing up in Japanese based E-mails. Brandon Dixon who serves as a security engineer for Mandiant wrote on February 21st, “This morning I identified a PDF with the name "Mandiant_APT2_Report.pdf" uploaded from India and was using a lure different than what Symantec just reported on. The file is password protected following the theme Xecure andmyself had seen last year.” Many security experts feel that the recent flood of cyber- attacks will only fuel other rogue hackers to cause more mischief online. These recent attacks also coincide with Anonymous’ “Operation Last Resort”, which is a direct response to the suicide of Aaron Swartz after the U.S. Justice department began targeting him. Anonymous has successfully hacked both the U.S. Department of State and USSC websites. Google to offer free and unlimited music streaming Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-to-offer-free-and-unlimited- music-streaming/19053.html February 23rd, 2013 According to some recent reports, Google is looking to create their very own music streaming service. The new service will supposedly offer unlimited streaming and may come with an advert free subscription service as well. While not as popular as Apple, Google does currently offer their own music download service in the U.S. and parts of Europe. Now they want to expand their music offerings by creating a real music streaming service that would be free and similar to Spotify. Reports have suggested that the new streaming service would be advertisement supported. There has also been word that Google may offer an ad-free version for a subscription fee, but no word on how much it may run. This recent idea comes as Google began looking to create their own subscription service for YouTube, which is owned by Google and the Internet’s most popular video site and streaming service. In 2011 Google launched Google Music, which allows users to download music. In May of that same year Google launched their online cloud storage service, which gave their users the means to store and stream their saved music as well. This latest streaming idea from Google is just another major endeavor the company has been looking into to diversify their profit sources. Currently most of Google’s money is made from straight advertisements from their popular search engine. Google has not mentioned anything about the music deal they are trying to make on their official blogs; however, some reports are saying they are working out contracts with major music labels. Also, there has not been any word if the streaming service will be strictly confined to the U.S. or offered globally. World's First 3D Printing Pen coming in September for $75 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/world-s-first-3d-printing-pen- coming-in-september-for-75/19051.html February 23rd, 2013 The world's first ever 3D printing pen is taking 3D printing a step further by allowing people to "draw in the air" and "lifting people's imagination off the page". If everything goes as planned, the world will get the first 3D writing pen sold for just $75. Christened as the 3Doodler, it enables you to lift flat sketches off the paper and actually draw in 3D. The renderings look impressive and the technology is phenomenal.
  • February 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Currently, this is a Kickstarter project that has already raised over $1,600,000 with the first units expected to be shipped in September. Judging by the massive support for the project already, a lot of people are really excited at the concept. The device will be 24mm thick and weigh less than 200g with an external power brick that accepts 110-240V. If it works out as well as the creations on the Kickstarter page, this will become a must-have tool for hobbyists. Microsoft expected to showcase Xbox 720 during April event Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-expected-to-showcase- xbox-720-during-april-event/19048.html February 23rd, 2013 In response to Sony's recent unveiling of the PlayStation 4, Microsoft is expected to reveal the Xbox 720 during an event in April. Speculation has grown on the possibility of Microsoft responding to Sony's PS4 event with a gala affair of their own, and industry professionals--including various purported Sony employees--believe that Microsoft will unveil the Xbox 720 during an event in April. Furthermore, NeoGAF reports that Microsoft's partners at Ustechs have recently registered the domain name "XboxEvent.com". Ustechs has worked with Microsoft on previous media briefings and showcases such as the press conference at E3 2012. This update adds even more credibility to the sources who claim the Xbox 720 event is coming, but the April timeframe has yet to be confirmed. According to a Sony employee, the PS4 event "at first caught Microsoft off-guard", and that Sony "definitely ruffled some feathers". To counter Sony's first strike, Microsoft is believed to showcase its next-gen console at a media event in early April, yet industry professionals believe we may hear even more about the console at GDC in March. Millions of gamers around the world are looking forward to what Microsoft is bringing to the table to combat Sony's formidable stance with the PlayStation 4, and if the 720 will match or beat the PS4's specs. The PlayStation 4 was revealed during Sony's See The Future event, and is planned for a launch sometime in Holiday 2013. It will be interesting to see what curve balls Microsoft throws at their Xbox Event, especially since they have yet to officially confirm many of the rumors centered on the console. Gamers and journalists are hopeful that Microsoft will actually show the console during the event; Sony's PS4 was absent during Wednesday's show, which disappointed many gamers and fans across the globe. Microsoft will most likely seize upon that and have a demo build ready for the Xbox Event--but only time will tell. Hopefully this isn't some elaborate April Fool's joke--that's always a possibility with speculation and rumor. Microsoft is currently believed to kick-off their Xbox 720 event sometime in early April, and we'll have more updates as new information is revealed. Get Wikipedia articles via SMS in the coming months Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/get-wikipedia-articles-via-sms-in- the-coming-months/19050.html February 23rd, 2013 Wikipedia is easily one of the most valuable resources on the internet and it's about to get better for more people in the world. Wikipedia has a huge market in developing countries with inconsistent internet connectivity, and it's about to release a new service for these underserved communities. In what could bring about a revolution in accessing information, Wikipedia is going to let users request specific topics through SMS or another standard called USSD. The article will then be delivered to the phones within seconds, with the work being funded by a $6,000,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.
  • February 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Kul Takanao Wadhwa, head of mobile for Wikimedia Foundation laid out the plans for service in a blog post on Friday: "We’re very excited about delivering Wikipedia via text, which we expect to roll out within the next few months. With the program, users will send a text request to Wikipedia and, within seconds, they will get the article to their phone." There has been a continuous push from the Wikimedia foundation to facilitate better access to Wikipedia from so- called 'dumb phone' owners. This is a further improvement over its existing "Wikipedia Zero" service working in Russia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa among other regions. Renderings of Google's upcoming Bayview Campus released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/renderings-of-google-s-upcoming- bayview-campus-released/19049.html February 23rd, 2013 Google is planning to redesign its iconic Mountain View GooglePlex, and Vanity Fair just released a preview of a design rendering. Seattle-based NBBJ designed the new 1.1 million square foot "Bayview" campus. Externally, it doesn't look hugely different from its present campus, but the ergonomic considerations that have gone into it are phenomenal. For example, no employee is more than 2.5 minutes from another employee, which is an extraordinary feat considering the huge size of the company. All features are geared towards enabling a casual conversational environment geared for innovation and discussion. As of now, Bayview is meant to augment the Mountain View campus to keep pace with the rapid growth of the company. However, it will be interesting to see what Google will actually come up with once everything is final. Apple, Google’s rival in Cupertino, will also build an awe-inspiring campus with a spaceship-like design, so the rivalry involves not only technological innovations but also who will have the best looking house on the block. Samsung takes fight to Apple's Silicon Valley backyard Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-takes-fight-to-apple-s- silicon-valley-backyard/19047.html February 23rd, 2013 When it comes to complex business relationships, there are no better poster children than Apple and Samsung. Now Samsung wants to up the ante in their ongoing rivalry with a massive building expansion right in Apple's Silicon Valley backyard. There is no getting around the fact that Samsung and Apple have one of the most complex relationships in the tech world. While Apple may be looking to change this, the fact is that Samsung is one of the largest suppliers of components used in Apple products, and the legal battles between the two tech-giants will continue regardless of the goods exchanged. Well, it turns out that Samsung has decided that they need to step up their game against their rival, albeit, in a passive aggressive way. Already the company has opened up a new innovation center in Menlo Park, planning a research and development lab in San Jose, and is working on opening up a startup incubator in Palo Alto, but that apparently isn't good enough.
  • February 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 In a move to compete with Apple's proposed spaceship-like campus, Samsung is going to build a massive semiconductor campus with a distinctive design as well. Samsung claims that its Silicon Valley expansions are needed in order to bring more entrepreneurial DNA into the company so that it can move from being an innovation leader instead of a follower. Samsung's chief strategy officer Young Sohn believes the company needs to do this in Silicon Valley because it is the center of disruptive forces and he wants the company to be a part of those disruptions. In order to make that shift, the company wants to get rid of the insular culture that Samsung has been focusing to develop most of its technologies and products internally. To do this, Samsung is partnering and investing with startups, supporting other innovators, and being a more active buyer of other companies. Sohn also says that much of the company's innovation is currently done in Korea, but he believes that they need to reach out to global hot spots and how Samsung taps into global innovation will dictate their success. The new semiconductor campus will cost Samsung $300 million and sport an open-air design meant to rival both Apple and Facebook’s. Fighter jets to be fitted with laser weapons for 2014 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fighter-jets-to-be-fitted-with-laser- weapons-for-2014/19041.html February 23rd, 2013 Very soon the U.S. Military will be fitting some of their fighter jets with real laser weapons. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) says that the new laser system will be fitted onto jet aircraft in 2014 as a defensive weapon capable of knocking out missiles and other projectiles while in flight. If you’ve been waiting for the future to finally get here, just go ahead and mark your calendar for 2014. It was recently announced that the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) would be retrofitting some U.S. military jets with actual 150KW lasers that will be able to knock missiles out of the sky. The new laser weapons are part of DARPA’s High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System and are purportedly being fitted as a defensive measure specifically for knocking projectiles out of the sky such as surface-to-air missiles or any type of larger projectile. The exact specifics of the system’s capability are still classified. According to DARPA the new laser weapon system will begin operations in 2014 with their first major round of extreme tests before actual use. The lasers will be tested for all types of projectiles that can be taken out of the sky, which would include other jet aircraft. Actual news of the laser system comes direct from the U.S. Pentagon and is being developed specifically for the U.S. Navy and Air Force. They further elaborated that that the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) would be constructing a second laser system in addition to the current laser system. Earlier on, the U.S. Navy tested a very similar yet larger laser system earlier on that successfully shot down objects even as small as mortar rounds. It was even used to knock out the motors on speedboats. This new system is far smaller and more advanced than some of the original concept laser defense weapons. One earlier design was so large that it required a 747 to house all of the electronics for cooling and powering it up. GA-ASI, is an affiliate of the privately held General Atomics, which is a major military contractor will be creating the laser defense system,. They are a major player in the development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), aka, ‘drones’, sophisticated surveillance and spying systems along with tactical reconnaissance radar systems. In addition to their recent advances in laser weapons they are also a major designer in electro-optical sensors and ultra- wideband data links for the U.S. government. U.S. wants Wikileaks shut down - will recruit hackers for help Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/u.s.-wants-wikileaks-shut-down-- will-recruit-hackers-for-help/19040.html February 22nd, 2013 A recent report from the U.S. Attorney General shows a real interest in seeing Wikileaks and other groups like them shut down. The report also suggests the U.S. government may be recruiting and using civilian hackers as an aide in catching cyber threats early on. The U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has recently released a report outlining how to deal with threats against U.S. computer networks. Titled, “Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets”, this new report from the Justice Department sees groups such as Anonymous and other hacker groups as a real threat to America’s computer networks. The report even goes as far to mention Wikileaks by name when defining what a ‘hacktivist’ group is. This new cyber-security outline from Holder came not long after another report from security firm Mandiant was released. Mandiant, which operates as an intelligence and
  • February 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 information security company, revealed that the Chinese military was playing a big role in hacking into U.S. computer networks. In addition to the Mandiant report, the one presented by the Attorney General says that Wikileaks and members like that of the group formerly known as "LulzSec" have been defined as a major threat to U.S. intelligence and computer networks inside the U.S. Oddly enough, while the report sees sites like Wikileaks as a threat to U.S. security it further suggests that the government take the opportunity to recruit civilian hackers and build some form of a relationship from what it calls the ‘cyber underground’. “This ‘cyber underground’ could, however, become a fruitful recruiting ground for the tools and talents needed to support economic espionage,” reads the report in part. “Following the model used by some intelligence services in exploiting the cyber environment for political or military espionage, a foreign government or corporation could build relationships with hackers for the development of customized malware or remote access exploits for the exfiltration of sensitive US economic or technology information.” Interestingly, the idea of using civilian hackers to stop hackers is not new by any means. A 2011 article written by The Guardian stated that as many as 1 in 4 hackers were informants for the FBI. Many times the government will use scare tactics of long jail times to recruit or use former hackers as informants to catch a larger group. On February 13, 2013 President Obama signed an executive order that deals with building up a better defense for computer networks inside the U.S. along with other similar issues. During this year's State of the Union address Obama brought up what he called a serious threat from recent cyber- attacks. In regards to dealing with better cyber-security Obama said, America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks…we know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy. That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information-sharing and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy. In addition to building up a better defense for computer networks, Federal agencies are also being told that they should begin sharing intelligence with private companies concerning any kind future threats to their computer systems. This type of information would include any details gathered from informants or intelligence gathered from monitoring activity on the Internet.
  • February 25th, 2013 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. Facebook building cold storage facility for old content Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-building-cold-storage- facility-for-old-content/19077.html February 25th, 2013 Facebook is building a huge cold storage data centre in Prineville, Oregon to house old and unpopular photos and messages, an effort to cut energy costs as more people flood the social network with content. Facebook is building a huge cold storage data centre in Prineville, Oregon to house old and unpopular photos and messages, an effort to cut energy costs as more people flood the social network with content. The new 16,000-square-foot facility will link up more hard drives to each server, slightly increasing the time (by milliseconds) it takes for users to download content stored there, but significantly increasing the power efficiency of the social network. The servers will make extra energy savings by going into sleep mode when no data is being accessed, which means they will not need to be cooled as much as the existing set-up. Facebook is also working on a data centre in Sweden, its first outside the US. This will be not far from the Arctic Circle, and temperatures will be so low that it will act as a natural way to keep servers cool, saving significantly on energy costs. As the social network continues to grow it will likely need more facilities like this, and it said it plans to invest more in infrastructure throughout the year. A mere eight percent of the images posted to Facebook generate roughly 85 percent of the traffic, and these will still be stored in a super fast always-on data centre. A whopping 300 million photos are uploaded to the service every day, so it is understandable why the company is seeking ways to manage this volume of data more efficiently. Images Credit: Prineville Data Centre MWC 2013: Nokia aiming low with 15 Euro basic phone and cheap Lumia smartphone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mwc-2013-nokia-aiming-low- with-15-euro-basic-phone-and-cheap-lumia-smartphone/19074.html February 25th, 2013 Nokia is hoping to regain market share in the mobile sector by targeting the lower end with a €15 phone, a €65 phone for those who want internet access, and a lower priced Lumia smartphone.
  • February 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Nokia is hoping to regain market share in the mobile sector by targeting the lower end with a €15 phone, a €65 phone for those who want internet access, and a lower priced Lumia smartphone. The Finnish firm, which once ruled the mobile sector, is going back to its roots with low-end and feature phones aimed at emerging markets, signalling a shift in policy from its attempts to challenge the dominance of Samsung and Apple in the smartphone arena. The Nokia 105 comes in at just €15, with a colour screen and basic features, including up to 35-days of battery life. It is aimed at emerging markets like China, Egypt, India and Russia, where there are large populations who will be unable to afford the considerably more expensive smartphones, nor the equally costly bills or credit with carriers required to make good use of them. This phone will be released in the first quarter. The Nokia 301 offers an affordable phone with 3.5G connectivity, along with the Nokia Xpress browser and a smart camera. This model and its cheaper cousin are also available in a variety of coloured rims to match the more expensive Lumia models, helping retain a sense of brand identity. The 301 will be out in the second quarter. Nokia is also planning a €139 Lumia 520 smartphone for the lower end of the market, which may make it an attractive alternative to more expensive models from rivals, and Nokia's other higher price-tag Lumia devices. While sales of basic phones fell in 2012, they still brought in significant revenue, so focusing on this area could help Nokia recover. However, its biggest rivals are also attempting to take advanatage of low-end devices in emerging markets, so it is likely to face tough competition in all sectors. MWC 2013: Intel unveils new mobile processors and LTE solution Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mwc-2013-intel-unveils-new-mobile- processors-and-lte-solution/19073.html February 25th, 2013 Intel has announced an array of new mobile processors and an LTE solution at the Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona. Intel has announced an array of new mobile processors and an LTE solution at the Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona. The new Atom processor platform, codenamed Clover Trail +, is designed for smartphones, with long battery life in mind. There are three initial 32 nanometer dual-core processors to choose from, the Z2580, the Z2560, and the Z2520, with speeds at 2.0 GHz, 1.6 GHz, and 1.2 GHZ respectively, which is up to double the computing speed of previous Atom processors.
  • February 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The chips come with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology to allow four simultaneous application threads for even better performance. The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator, with graphics core speeds of up to 533MHz in boost mode, can deliver up to three times the graphics performance of the Intel Atom Processor Z2460 platform. With many rivals already jumping to quad-core, Intel will soon follow with the Atom Z2760 processor, codenamed Bay Trail, the company's first quad-core SoC. Intel is teaming up with Compal, ECS, Pegatron, Quanta and Wistron to help bring this chip to the market, in addition to its previous partnership with top computer makers like Samsung, Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, LG, HP, and others. It will be available around Christmas of this year. Intel is focusing on improving the security of devices with Identity Protection Technology built into the chips, which enables a two-factor authentication process for protecting cloud services like online banking, e-commerce, online gaming, and social networking. The chip giant has teamed up with Visa, MasterCard, McAfee, SecureKey, Symantec, and others to incorporate this extra level of security. The company is also jumping on the 4G LTE bandwagon with the unveiling of the XMM 7160 multimode-multiband LTE solution, which it claims is the smallest and lowest-power technology of its kind, making it ideal for smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks. Its modem can support 15 LTE bands at the same time, more than any rival, and the RF architecture can run real time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning, which results in cost- efficient multiband configurations. This is due out in the first half of the year, in time for an expected major boom in 4G connectivity. YouTube to launch Pay-to- View channels Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/youtube-to-launch-pay-to-view- channels/19064.html February 25th, 2013 YouTube has reportedly contacted a "small group" of channels to apply to be among the first paid channels. There are also rumors that YouTube might charge for live events like concerts and access to older episodes. This has been a long-awaited feature of YouTube and is expected to become a major revenue stream. Google is taking big strides in the media consumption market. After the recent rumors that Google is in aggressive negotiations with record labels to launch a music streaming service like Spotify. Google is planning something similar with YouTube by launching pay-to-view channels. This has been a long- awaited feature of YouTube and is expected to become a major revenue stream. The words: "You can only subscribe/unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer." confirms the legitimacy of the rumors that the feature will launch shortly. Will Barnes and Noble stop making the Nook? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/will-barnes-and-noble-stop-making- the-nook-/19068.html February 25th, 2013 As has been widely speculated by everyone in the Tech industry, the Nook hasn't done as well as the B&N execs would have liked. Will B&N continue to make the Nook hardware? B&N last month acknowledged the less-than-expectation holiday sales, and, according to sources of The New York Times, will stop building its own hardware. Instead the focus will be on delivering and licensing content to third-party developers.
  • February 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 B&N had high revenue expectations from the Nook, especially with less demand in its retails chain. However, B&N is expected to report a higher loss than before from its Nook business in the fiscal 2013. A lot of this is probably related to the resounding success of the Kindle and Fire that ate into the Nook market. How B&N pivots its business will be interesting to watch. Firefox OS smartphones to debut in July Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/firefox-os-smartphones-to-debut-in- july/19070.html February 25th, 2013 Mozilla will be introducing their operating system for smart phones this July. Firefox OS equipped smartphones will be the first built entirely to open Web standards, allowing for HTML5 application development. Its official now - Mozilla is about to take part in the smartphone wars with their new open sourced Firefox operating system. Firefox OS will be available through some major brands, and has won the approval of many international wireless providers. Sadly, U.S. buyers may have to wait until 2014 before they can get their hands on one. So far Mozilla has gotten 17 key telecom operators to sign on with the OS. Some of the names include China’s Unicom, American Movil, Sprint, Telenor and Telefonica. Telefonica says they will offer the new OS equipped phones in over 20 countries by the end of 2014. The first phones to have the OS will be in, Brazil, Columbia, Poland, Serbia Spain and Venezuela. “Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. “With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online.” Firefox OS is an open-source system and web-based, so many third party vendors would probably be jumping at the chance to create and market new apps for it. Furthermore, all proceeds from those apps won’t need to be shared with either Apple or Google. While the OS is advanced, it is capable of running on devices with much lower hardware needs. Mozilla’s Senior President of products, Jay Sullivan, said that a new operating system introduced to the market will be great move and will encourage more diversity in the marketplace, "There's a strategic imperative for the industry to have another OS that really is open and supports choice and competition," said Sullivan The OS will debut at the Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona. A few brands that are signed onto the deal with Mozilla are the growing Huawei Corporation and ZTE out of China, and LG, which is based in South Korea. For Mozilla to break into the smartphone world they will have to crack open the big part of the market that Google’s Android has, which is currently at 70%. In regards to Apple they have about a 20+% take. Mozilla fans are cheering about the debut, but only time will tell us if the open source and web based OS will gain in popularity with app developers. Nevertheless, many market researchers are hopeful of the OS by pointing out the new and promising markets emerging in Asia, Russia and Latin America. Samsung to announce Galaxy S IV on March 14 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-to-announce-galaxy-s-iv- on-march-14/19069.html February 25th, 2013 Prior speculations suggested that Samsung will launch the S IV in late March or early April to specific markets, and the latest word from Samsung pretty much confirms this rumor. The Galaxy S IV event will take place in New York —a location that is no stranger to hosting high-profile tech launches.
  • February 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 While many believe that Samsung will use its next-gen Exynos 5 Octa (an “8-core”) in the Galaxy S IV, some other recent rumors have revealed otherwise. Rather than going with its in-house ARM chip, Samsung is purported to go with a Snapdragon from Qualcomm*. Stepping even further away from other Samsung-developed tech, the rumor also suggested that the South Korean tech-giant will use SoLux display tech instead of AMOLED. Get ready Minecraft fans - 1.5 Redstone coming soon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/get-ready-minecraft-fans--1.5- redstone-coming-soon/19061.html February 25th, 2013 In the world where gamers look for incredible graphics, the idea that an 8bit game where you create worlds made up of blocks is a game that you would never think would be popular. Well, it turns out Minecraft is just that type of game, but despite the lack of modern day eye candy, it is extremely popular, to the point it has made its creator a multi-millionaire. When Minecraft first broke onto the gaming scene not many thought it would amount to much, but it turns out that the simple game of using blocks to create insanely complex or simple (depending on your preference) worlds took off like wildfire. The game has been so successful that it has made its creator, Markus "Notch" Persson a very, very, wealthy man. Therefore, by extension, it has made his company Mojang, co-founded with Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, a large force in the gaming world. It's growth and popularity is all the more incredible given that it didn't officially launch to gamers until 2011, but since that time Persson and Mojang have continued to update and improve the game. The newest update, which will bring the game to version 1.5, is codenamed Redstone and is apparently going to come with a large laundry list of improvements and additions. In the improvements column we have: • changes to the gaming engine • rendering optimizations • mobs will include an improved UI • mobs will no longer be able to walk over rails unless they are after you • improved inventory system • death messages now include cause of death, items used to kill you, and who did the dirty deed • bug fixes… and more bug fixes Now for the goodies - the new stuff being added to the game: • new texture packs • the game will now allow animated texture packs • a scoreboard system to track kills, deaths, or commands • Added items include o Redstone Comparator o Hopper o Dropper o Daylight sensor o Trapped chest o Weighted pressure plate o Activator rail o Detector rail o Minecart with TNT o and more Word is that the update should hit in a couple of weeks, so all you Minecrafters out there might want to mark your calendars for the days off needed - just to be safe. HP announces uninspired $169 7-inch Android tablet coming in April Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hp-announces-uninspired-169-7- inch-android-tablet-coming-in-april/19065.html
  • February 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 February 25th, 2013 HP recently announced that they will out a 7-inch Android tablet featuring “Field Fringe Switching”, which allows for better viewing angles—even in direct sunlight—compared to conventional displays. The HP Slate 7 is, as the name suggests, a 7-inch tablet with a display resolution of 1024x600. With this particular tablet, HP isn’t focusing on raw power—rather, the Slate 7 is basically just another low-end Android slate bearing the HP logo. Slated for launch in April, the Slate 7 will feature a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 clocked at 1.6GHz, 8GB of ROM, and Android Jelly Bean 4.1 to turn the gears. Of course, the only bright spot on HP’s Slate 7 is that it’ll come with a microSD slot for storage expandability. HP’s budget slate won’t burn a hole in people’s pocket as it is going to be priced at $169, but even at that price the Slate 7 will have a hard time competing with more powerful devices like Amazon’s Kindle and Google’s Nexus 7. Gearbox & SEGA to apologize for Aliens: Colonial Marines this week? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gearbox--sega-to-apologize-for- aliens-colonial-marines-this-week-/19059.html February 25th, 2013 A recent post via a Facebook petition page for Aliens: Colonial Marines reports that SEGA and Gearbox may issue a statement this week concerning the game's poor performance and reception. Gearbox's new multi-platform shooter in the definitive Aliens franchise has had a less than stellar launch; the game's poor reception has been due to a number of reasons including performance issues, gameplay mechanics, and the huge difference in gameplay from its demo to its retail version. This has led a number of gamers to become disgruntled, and Aliens: Colonial Marines has thus garnered numerous low review scores (IGN: 4.5) from professional gaming websites. According to an official Facebook petition page for the game, Gearbox and SEGA are supposedly issuing a statement this week on the game's new patch and a possible apology for the game's poor quality. The information comes from a supposed industry source which has contacted the owner's of the petition page, which has recently dis-confirmed the recent news of a massive 8 GB patch for the game: "Hi gamers. The 8Gb patch for Aliens: Colonial Marines is in fact a hoax which was posted on twitter. However, we have been able to confirm with sources within Sega, and Gearbox that one or the other, or both companies will be making an official statement this week on what happened to the game between the demo, and its official release. An apology will also be in this statement as well as details on a potential software patch. We will be following these sources very closely this week, and will provide you with the latest info as we get them. ~ Sarge" Rumors of the possible patch were started via Twitter and centered on the belief that Gearbox was going to somehow fix the game with a huge eight-gig update, providing a varied experience to the current release, thereby, basically upgrading to a new and different game altogether. The petition site declares this rumor as false much to many gamers' disappointment, as many players wanted more from the game and felt cheated by Gearbox's current sci-fi fps. Apparently, there will be a patch, and Gearbox is supposed to issue details on what's in store with the new update...but it won't be the game-changing one that many had hoped for.
  • February 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Furthermore, the petition page may be wrong about Gearbox's apology, which at this point must be chalked up to rumor and speculation. (Picture source: Kotaku) The game itself has received hugely varied reactions from gamers--albeit mostly negative--and gaming sites such as Kotaku, IGN and Eurogamer have given it negative reviews. This prompted many returns and has led to many fans to look upon Gearbox with scrutiny, as they feel betrayed with the game--which is still retailing at full-price. In any case, we'll have more updates as new information becomes available, and it will be interesting to see what SEGA and Gearbox have to say about the poor reception of Colonial Marines, and whether or not they'll buckle to pressure or stand by their creation. Huawei unveils Ascend P2, aims to take on Apple and Samsung in 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/huawei-unveils-ascend-p2-aims-to- take-on-apple-and-samsung-in-2013/19062.html February 25th, 2013 Huawei, like a few other Chinese telecoms equipment maker, is rising quickly to become a major player in the hotly contested smartphone market, and the recent unveiling of the Ascend P2 is a testament to their effort. The latest 4.7-inch quad-core smartphone from Huawei is nothing out of this world, but in terms of raw specs it is what most people would consider high-end. Beneath the hood, the Ascend P2 boast a 1.5GHz quad-core, a 13MP rear shooter (1.3MP front), and Android 4.1 JB with Emotion UI. Less impressive specs, however, include a 1280x720 display resolution (considering most firms are going for full 1080p in 2013), 1GB of RAM, and the phone is a bit beefy in terms of thickness—coming in at about 8.4mm thick. (Does Huawei have what it takes to go head to head with "SamPle"? | IMG) So far, many of the handsets that we’ve seen come out of Huawei’s production line were low to medium cost devices targeting Chinese consumers and budget consumers abroad. However, in 2013, Huawei has its sight set on taking on big name handset makers like Samsung and Apple. The Ascend P2 will go for ~526 USD (€399), making it one of the more affordable high-end smartphone. Huawei’s downfall, however, has always been the design appeal as well as the sturdiness of its handsets, so we will see if the Ascend P2 can capture the hearts of Android power users outside of China. Something else that Huawei handset seems to lack is optimization of Google’s Android OS to run on its hardware —although, Huawei isn’t the only Android handset maker to be suffering in this department. Furthermore, Huawei also recently came upon some roadblocks here in the US as well Europe due to allegations of espionage by various government organizations. Huawei has adamantly denied that they are using their exported consumer tech to spy on other countries. Still, the espionage dagger has managed to cut deep enough that Huawei is going to have to climb a steep hill to prove it is not conspiring against people abroad. Samsung Galaxy S IV to ditch Exynos and AMOLED? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iv-to-ditch- exynos-and-amoled-/19056.html February 24th, 2013 Much of the hype surrounding the recent rumors regarding Samsung's Galaxy S IV had the latest flagship sporting an Exynos 8-core chip along with other Samsung-specific tech, but some fresh rumors has it that the S IV may actually abandon core Samsung-developed tech in favor of components from other firms.
  • February 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 The pricing is expected to be similar to the way it was done for S3. The unlocked price is rumored to be $699.
  • February 27th, 2013 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. Robot designed to care for elderly Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/robot-designed-to-care-for- elderly/19101.html February 27th, 2013 A researcher at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, has invesnted a robot designed to care for the elderly, another step towards a wider introduction of robots to the healthcare sector. A researcher at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, has invented a robot designed to care for the elderly, another step towards a wider introduction of robots to the healthcare sector. Antonio Espingardeiro created the Carebot P37 S65, which is designed to help improve the quality of life of older people and take some of the pressure off staff in care homes. The robot can recognise the faces of patients and can store their medication requirements. It can remind people to take their pills and do exercise, can answer questions, and for those who are a little lonely it can even tell jokes. Telemedicine is a growing field, and the robot avails of this by allowing a video link with doctors and family, which can help with reporting ailments or even playing games. This could prove a great way for distant family and friends to keep in touch. Carebot can also be programmed to help people with speech therapy, and dementia sufferers can be helped with object recognition exercises. Meals can also be carried to residents of a care home, adding to a large repertoire of useful abilities, and one that is likely to grow over time. Of course, some might criticise the use of robots in this manner, which might seem impersonal and could contribute to job redundancies, but Espingardeiro said that he has seen first-hand the benefits of their use for both staff and residents of care homes. Adobe launches Photoshop Touch for iPhone and Android Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/adobe-launches-photoshop-touch- for-iphone-and-android/19099.html
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 February 27th, 2013 Adobe has launched the Photoshop Touch app for smartphones, letting iPhone and Android users employ touch-based gestures for image design and manipulation on the go. Adobe has launched the Photoshop Touch app for smartphones, letting iPhone and Android users employ touch-based gestures for image design and manipulation on the go. The app will let users enhance images with classic Photoshop features like layers, selection tools, filters, and tonal and colour adjustments. Effects and graphical text can be added, and images can be combined quickly using Scribble Selection, or refined using the Refine Edge tool. Photos up to 12 megapixels can be edited with the app, which should cover pretty much every smartphone out there. Adobe is also offering 2GB of free storage on its Creative Cloud, which can automatically sync images for use on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. “Mobile phones are increasingly becoming the primary tool for people to take and edit photos,” said Winston Hendrickson, VP of products at the Creative Media Solutions division of Adobe. “Adobe is dedicated to serving our customers’ evolving creative workflow and we heard, loud and clear, that Photoshop fans wanted some core Adobe imaging magic on their smartphones.” The new version of Photoshop Touch is available now in the Apple App Store and Google Play for $4.99. The app will work for the iPhone 4S and iPod 5th generation on iOS 5 and above, and Android 4.0 and above. Free music streaming services help to cut down illegal downloading Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/free-music-streaming-services-help- to-cut-down-illegal-downloading/19091.html February 27th, 2013 From the days of Napster and P2P file sharing, the music industry has tried to hold up all those scummy people illegally downloading music as the ultimate destroyers of the industry. It didn't matter that CDs were overpriced and that the vast majority of music was nothing more than formulaic crap; but it turns out that music has never been doing better, and piracy is declining. The music industry loves nothing better than to deflect our attention regarding their own failing business model, and enflame industry (and government) attitudes by claiming that piracy is rampant and destroying the music business; when really nothing could be further from the truth. As many of the more technologically knowledgeable folks who watch the music industry will tell you: piracy is a simple problem to solve and boils down to a couple of very simple proposals. One, give the consumers something that they are actually willing to pay for instead of constantly trying to push a load of crap they like to call music down our throats. When you can do that, make it as simple as freaking possible for us to acquire those goods. Stop making the consumer jump through all kinds of hoops just to pay for and download a song, or album. However, like a growing number of likeminded people, we are finding that some aspects of the industry is waking up and actually putting the consumer first and making that purchase option drop dead simple. As a result, and backed up by a recent report from the NPD Group, the need to hit the illegal downloads to get the music you want is becoming something of the past. In fact the NPD report points out that the volume of illegally downloaded music from P2P services saw a decline of 26% in 2012 when compared to 2011. Additionally, the number of people downloading musically illegally dropped by 17%. Interestingly the report showed that it wasn't just illegal downloads that were declining, but also music being burned and ripped from CDs that were owned by friends and family
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 saw a huge drop of 44%. Moreover, the number of illegal music being downloaded from file locker type sites dropped by 28%. Much of this drop across the board, according to the NPD, is due to the increase of free music-streaming services like Spotify and Rdio. Apparently, their study found that nearly half of those that had stopped downloading music illegally said it was because they started using free and legal streaming services as their primary outlet. Undersea canyon discovered in Red Sea Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/undersea-canyon-discovered-in-red- sea/19076.html February 27th, 2013 The Royal Navy ship, HMS Enterprise, discovered and mapped a 250 meter-deep canyon on the seabed of Red Sea. The ‘Grand Canyon’, as they nicknamed it, was captured in 3D images by the high-tech echo sounder fitted to Enterprise’s hull. Without this top-notch technology no human eye would have ever seen this underwater sight. HMS Enterprise sails the Middle East in a nine-month survey mission to update some of the Admiralty Charts used by seafarers. The mapping of the waters is facilitated by a state-of-the-art multi-beam echo sounder. The sound pulses emitted, reflect on the underwater surfaces and their ‘echo’ produces highly accurate 3D images. This method is able to determine if the depth of the water and the sea bed topography are safe for navigation and shipping. The ‘Grand Canyon’ was discovered after the ship left the Egyptian port of Safaga. The impressive 3D images caught the attention of the crew and attracted the interest of the scientists. According to Derek Rae, commanding officer of EMS Enterprise, the features revealed in the 3D images could be the result of ancient rivers ‘eating’ at the rock millennia ago, before the Red Sea was a sea. The underwater currents continued the work, carving even deeper the bedrock, and giving us the impressive images we see today. Armored Core: Verdict Day unveiled, added screenshots out Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/armored-core-verdict-day-unveiled- added-screenshots-out/19086.html February 27th, 2013 Armored Core: Verdict Day, the newest game in the Armored Core series, is set to be released later this year by From Software in Japan and by Bandai Namco Games internationally. Screenshots are also now available for gamers to see a glimpse of the game. From Software has recently unveiled last week the next game in the Armored Core Series. It is officially named as Armored Core: Verdict Day, and the title is set for the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles. This next mecha mayhem title would of course use the same build, assemble and battle formula system that is traditional to all other Armored Core games. Presumably, Verdict Day would use the same game engine as Armored Core V (as with any Armored Core title directly following the last numbered title), as the official sources say that you can simply load your previous Armored Core V save file into Verdict Day to get all of the parts and components of your old file. So, players would be able to use their previous AC builds to play Verdict Day's new missions. A few days shortly after their announcement, they've immediately added much more sample screenshots of the game in their official website. Though there are quite a number of action scene and cinematic sequence shots, there are now also a number of in-menu screenshots available there. Armored Core: Verdict Day is scheduled to be officially released by Bandai Namco Games internationally on September 26, 2013.
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 LG acquires Hewlett Packard's webOS for new smart TV line Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lg-acquires-hewlett-packard-s- webos-for-new-smart-tv-line/19084.html February 27th, 2013 LG just recently acquired Hewlett Packard’s WebOS and says they will be using it in their new line of smart TVs. LG will be the second such company to try and make something consumers will like with the operating system. The recent acquisition of Hewlett Packard’s webOS by LG is one of the most interesting buyouts in some time. LG says they will be using the technology as part of their expansion plan, and will be shaping the OS for their line of smart TVs as opposed to other existing platforms. Palm Incorporated originally came up with the webOS as part of their handheld data entry devices. HP was the first to acquire WebOS, which resulted in a new entity called Gram that was created by HP to manage webOS and to design products oriented around it. HP’s plan for WebOS failed with their TouchPad tablet and Veer smartphones that just never caught on with consumers. To make matters worse, HP paid 1.2 billion dollars for the OS along with other patents and licenses that Palm had associated with it. It addition to the purchase of webOS, LG acquired all of the HP licenses for use with other webOS products, which includes patents that HP originally acquired from Palm. LG says they will not be adding webOS to any of their smartphones or tablets and will continue to use Android for the majority of their mobile devices. One big plus for LG's acquisition is that they claim that they will remain committed to supporting current Palm users. It came as a bit of a surprise when reports said that LG was working to create a smart TV based on webOS. LG was working with HP’s Gram late last year in creating a smart TV. By purchasing the OS all together, it will give LG complete control on how it operates and looks for their new line of smart TVs. LG says that they chose webOS over Google TV because they were concerned that Google would try to basically micromanage the overall look and development of the TV line. Ford Motor partnering with Spotify music service Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ford-motor-partnering-with-spotify- music-service/19082.html February 27th, 2013
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Spotify, which is an Internet streaming music service, has joined up with Ford Motor Company in an effort to allow customers to use the music service in their cars and trucks equipped with SYNC. Both Ford Motor Co. and Spotify announced the deal on Monday, February 25th. If you are a fan of Spotify and happen to drive a Ford, you might be happy to know the two entities are teaming up to expand the music streaming service. Ford says they will be offering the service in over 1 million cars in North America. To access Spotify with your car, you can do so by using a simple smartphone app in conjunction with Ford’s SYNC service that is available in many cars and trucks. A representative of Spotify by the name of Diego Rego, writes on Spotify's news page, We have been working directly with Ford to deliver a safe, convenient, voice-activated in-car music solution for your car… Ford SYNC AppLink is already available in over one million vehicles in the USA, and on which Spotify will roll out in the coming weeks. In Europe it will be featured in selected Ford vehicles by the end of this year. If you are not familiar with the service, Spotify is a free on- demand streaming music service with advertisements. Users can also subscribe and pay a fee to avoid advertisements or any breaks in the song order. Spotify claims to have about 20 million active listeners with about one quarter of that being paid subscribers. Generally speaking, more and more automakers are beginning to add more computer and smartphone connectedness to their automobiles, but Ford has been working hard to outdo their competitors with more music streaming services through their SYNC AppLink. Other than Spotify, Ford allows you to link to services like Amazon’s Cloud Player, MOG Music, Pandora, Rhapsody and Slacker as well as the countless internet radio station’s apps. Smartphone launched into space to see if screams can be heard Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/smartphone-launched-into-space-to- see-if-screams-can-be-heard/19090.html February 26th, 2013 Researchers have launched a smartphone into orbit in order to the test whether or not anyone can hear you scream in space. Researchers have launched a smartphone into orbit in order to the test whether or not anyone can hear you scream in space. A team from the University of Surrey fired the smartphone into the cosmos from India, and the smartphone will orbit the Earth for a six month period. The iconic phrase “in space no one can hear you scream,” popularised by the blockbuster movie Alien, will be put to the test with a new app loaded onto the smartphone, which will play a variety of screams that people submitted online. The on-board speakers will pick up any sounds and transmit them back to the scientists. The device will also test the durability of commercial components in the harsh conditions of space, and two new propulsion systems will also get a workout. The first ejects a water-alcohol mix to provide thrust, while the second uses charged gas. The Google Nexus smartphone is technically part of a unique first-of-its-kind satellite called Strand-1. The device will take pictures using its built-in 5 megapixel camera, and these will be uploaded to Facebook. The satellite will also be tracked on Twitter. Dead bird turned into robot Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dead-bird-turned-into- robot/19089.html February 26th, 2013 Scientists in the US have turned a dead bird into a robot to help study the behaviour of swamp sparrows. Scientists in the US have turned a dead bird into a robot to help study the behaviour of swamp sparrows. Biologists and engineers at Duke University in North Carolina teamed up with a taxidermist to revive the bird, now nicknamed Robosparrow, a nod to 1987's blockbuster RoboCop.
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The robot was created using Picaxe computer chips and a tiny linear motor, which were inserted into the preserved remains of the swamp sparrow. It took nine months to get the robotics to the level of realism needed, and the team found the primary difficulty was getting the parts in the small sizes required. A sound system was also used to play bird calls. Robosparrow was then sent out to mingle with others of its species for a two month period, giving researchers a better understanding of the birds. Dr. Rindy Anderson, the head of the study, said that it confirmed their suspicions that wing- flapping was a sign of male agression. The research cost $1,500 and the team only had the one robot to use. Eventually the head fell off and the wings stopped moving, which might have been a bit of a shock to other swamp sparrows who thought it was the real thing. Image Credit: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Journal Apple offers compensation for in-app purchases made by kids Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-offers-compensation-for-in- app-purchases-made-by-kids/19088.html February 26th, 2013 Apple has agreed to pay compensation to parents in the US over in-app purchases made by children without their permission. Apple has agreed to pay compensation to parents in the US over in-app purchases made by children without their permission. The Cupertino, California-based firm was sued in 2011 over failing to make it clear that apps targeted at children in the App Store allowed purchases to be made inside the apps, potentially resulting in expensive bills for some parents of overzealous children. The case that instigated the lawsuit was when Garen Meguerian found out his nine-year-old daughter had bought roughly $200 of virtual items and currencies in various apps. His lawyer highlighted that children could spend $100 on similar items from the App Store in a single click, without even having to enter a password, and Apple profited from each of these sales. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that earlier versions of iOS allowed a 15-minute window after a sale where no authentication was required to make further purchases. Apple subsequently updated the software to require a password for all in-app payments. Apple's proposed settlement will involve $5 of credit (or cash if they no longer have an iTunes account) if a child made a charge without their parent's permission, providing the case was not previously resolved. It will also provide details of payments taken without permission when they are $30 or more, which will be reimbursed. The company said that up to 23 million users may qualify for the compensation. Apple also plans to pay Meguerian and four other plaintiffs an additional $1,500. They have accepted the proposal, but it will first have to be approved by a judge on 1 March. There is no word yet on compensation for users outside the US. Samsung doesn't plan on producing Firefox OS smartphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-doesn-t-plan-on- producing-firefox-os-smartphones/19085.html February 26th, 2013
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Samsung, a major driving force behind the Google Android movement, won’t support Mozilla in their Firefox OS effort for the time being, according words that trickled down from top level execs. While some other major brands like Sony and LG have signaled their intent to produce hardware to run Firefox OS, it seems like Samsung will remain content with producing just Android-based handsets. Other than diversification, Samsung’s decision to steer clear of Firefox OS is probably a clear sign that the South Korean tech-giant just don’t see any benefits (yet) in producing hardware to run a newly launched, and unproven mobile OS. Sony and LG, however, do have strong incentives to R&D hardware to run Mozilla’s mobile OS as they are way behind Samsung in the Android scene. ZTE and Sony, just to name a couple, are slated to have Firefox OS smartphones on the market by July, with premium markets to get their taste of the web-based mobile OS in 2014. Android is, without a doubt, the most popular open source mobile OS, with Apple’s proprietary iOS coming in second. Firefox OS will have a tough hill to climb, so it will be interesting to see what type of strategies Mozilla and company will deploy to ensure their product won’t go down as a short term stint. iOS 6.1.3 will kill Evasi0n jailbreak Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ios-6.1.3-will-kill-evasi0n- jailbreak/19083.html February 26th, 2013 When the Evasi0n jailbreak tool was finally released shortly after Super Bowl Sunday, many iPhone 5 users who were waiting for, what seems like an eternity, an untethered jailbreak of iOS 6.1 were ecstatic. As expected from Apple, however, the exploits will be plugged in iOS 6.1.3, according to David “Planetbeing” Wang. In speaking with Forbes, Wang pointed out that iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 patched at least one of the exploits that the Evasi0n jailbreak relies on. One bug getting patched up doesn’t sound all that bad, but in the case of the Evasi0n jailbreak, a single plug can mean that the whole jailbreaking mechanism can get ruined. “If one of the vulnerabilities doesn’t work, evasi0n doesn’t work,” Wang says. “We could replace that part with a different vulnerability, but [Apple] will probably fix most if not all of the bugs we’ve used when 6.1.3 comes out.” Millions of iPhone, iPad, and iPod users have used Evasi0n since version 1.0, so this latest jailbreaking tidbit is definitely signaling pro-jailbreakers to stay away from updating their iOS 6.1.3 in the future if they want to maintain functionalities of their jailbreaks. Nothing is official yet, and as Wang pointed out, there may be other holes that the jailbreaking gurus can look into to see if they can keep Evasi0n an ongoing effort. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-ideapad-yoga-13- review/18978.html February 26th, 2013 Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 13, the poster child of many recent television commercials, was one of the first convertible Ultrabooks that hit the market shortly after the launch of Windows 8. Is there any appeal in its unique form factor? Reading the storm of online criticism, Windows 8 is quite annoying to anyone who has used any Windows OS between Windows 95 and Windows 7. But of course, perhaps all this annoyance is due to the fact that Windows 8 is meant to be an operating system for touchscreen-based systems, and most desktops and laptops still do not have functional touchscreens. Perhaps several years from now we will all be looking back at late 2012/early 2013 and laugh at how we used to get annoyed at Windows 8 thanks to our (now-obsolete) touchscreen-less computers. In the meantime, manufacturers have rushed to come up with new products that blur the line between tablets and laptops. We have previously seen the HP Envy x2 attempting to do exactly that, but with mixed results. In this article we shall examine Lenovo's foray into this niche market, the IdeaPad Yoga. The IdeaPad Yoga comes into two different sizes, namely, the IdeaPad Yoga 11 and the IdeaPad Yoga 13. From their names
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 it is clear that the numbers roughly represent the screen size in inches (ED: the Yoga 11 runs Windows RT/Tegra 3). In this review, we were given the IdeaPad 13 to evaluate. Initial Impressions The initial impression that this reviewer had of this Ultrabook/tablet hybrid was that it was 'the poor man's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch'. That is of course a rather harsh assertion, especially when one considers that the X1 Carbon Touch has passed multiple MILSPEC tests. We shall take a look at the physical attributes of the Yoga here. The exterior has been given a rubberized finish. Lenovo probably took this idea from their business-oriented ThinkPad series, which is not a bad thing. It allows for a fingerprint-resistant surface which does not look or feel 'cheap'. In this case, it has the side effect of giving the IdeaPad Yoga a somewhat 'battered' look. The wristrests has also been rubberized, giving it a leather-like finish which felt comfortable to the wrists. The build quality is very good. Very little flex was noticed upon manual pressure everywhere around the laptop. Of course, the Yoga would almost certainly not stand up to the punishment that the X1 Carbon can take (including falls from heights and water splashes on the keyboard area). However, if you're the kind of person who tends to be a little rough with his electronic toys, the Yoga could be more forgiving with the punishment you mete out to it. Seeing that the name was 'Yoga', one would this laptop to be able to contort itself in all manner of positions. Surprisingly.... that isn't too far off the mark. You can flex the screen all the way back until it looks and functions like a large-sized tablet. There were concerns that the screen hinges might not be able to take that kind of flex so easily, but our fears proved unfounded. Barring a small amount of squeaking, the hinges appear to be quite solid. In tablet mode, the keyboard gets flipped underneath the screen. The Yoga appears to recognize when it is in tablet mode by automatically disabling the keyboard to prevent accidental activation. A small Windows button just under the screen in landscape mode allows for instant activation of the Metro interface. It feels lightweight at 1.54 kg, and one could comfortably hold the Yoga in one hand over extended periods of time. That said, it is slightly heavier than the X1 Carbon (1.4 kg), and not much lighter than this reviewer’s personal full- powered ThinkPad T430s (1.7 kg). As was previously-mentioned at the beginning of this review, not many users are at all enamoured of Windows 8 on touchscreen-less computers. Thankfully, the touchscreen interface of the IdeaPad Yoga has made the use of Windows 8 far more manageable, though there is still quite a significant learning curve, especially for one who has been using every Windows OS since Windows 95. NYPD lowers murder rate by monitoring Facebook Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nypd-lowers-murder-rate-by- monitoring-facebook/19081.html February 26th, 2013 We always knew that social media would be a prime ground for law enforcement to watch what we do, and now the New York Police Department is claiming that their 'covert' activity has had a beneficial effect on the murder rate of the city. Last year the murder rate in New York City fell to an all- time low, and continues to go down, thanks to what the city cites as innovative new police strategies being used by law enforcement to directly target youth gangs and spouse beaters. These new methods have seen the murder rate hit a record low of 414 in 2012, and seeing another reduction of 33 percent so far this year. So where does social media come into this story? Well, apparently the police are monitoring sites like Facebook and rounding up gang members who publicly post taunts and threats.
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Police Commissioner Kelly has stated that it is these small crews of trigger pulling thugs that are responsible of around 30 percent of all of the shootings in the city. In response to this information, the NYPD set up new police units, called SETs (Strategy Enforcement Teams), that operate in eight precincts in all five boroughs. It is one of these SETs that was responsible for a major success in Brownsville Brooklyn's 73 Precinct. Through this SET program, the police pored over tweets and Facebook posts from the area's known gang members. Then the information was then handed over to the DA's office, which then used the conspiracy laws to nail dozens of gangbangers in sweeps that brought back memories of the Mafia sweeps of the 70's and 80's. Knowing how people are so free with their mouth on sites like Facebook, it is now real surprise that the police have found a way to make it work to their advantage, and for the betterment of the community. Bethesda shows serious Skyrim love to broken- hearted man Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bethesda-shows-serious-skyrim- love-to-broken-hearted-man/19078.html February 26th, 2013 We love to rag on game companies when they pull brain- numbing stunts like stupid DRM policies that ruin the game for a lot of people, but let it never be said that those same companies might also have the ability to show love and compassion for fans of their games. People play video games for a lot of different reasons and some of them don't include any compulsions to murder and pillage electronic worlds. For some, it is a way to escape the trials and tribulations of their daily lives, or in the case redditor lb-Cyber, it was a way to escape from a sad heart. You see, lb-Cyber recently lost his sister to cancer after a nine year battle and to help him escape his grief, if only for a little while, he escaped into the world of Skyrim. Once he was ready, he wrote up a post on reddit telling how the game had helped him through his depression, but what he didn't know was that some folks at Bethesda, the game developer behind Skyrim, read his post and they asked him for his mailing address. lb-Cyber didn't think much of the matter until the one year anniversary of his sister's death when a package arrived on his doorstep. Inside of that package was a Skyrim art book signed by the staff. As lb-Cyber said: I absolutely was floored, and a day I thought would be absolutely agonizing ended with an incredibly heart-warming and unexpected moment of absolute kindness Here are the images of the book he got. Nicely done Bethesda, nicely done. ZTE announces Open Firefox OS smartphone, US launch coming in 2014 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-announces-open-firefox-os- smartphone-us-launch-coming-in-2014/19080.html February 26th, 2013 ZTE has announced the Open, a low-end smartphone that will be one of the first devices to support Mozilla’s web-based Firefox OS. When Mozilla announced that it will launch its own smartphone OS, it noted that it is targeting the feature phone market to begin with, and ZTE is no stranger to such a market.
  • February 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 As expected, the Open’s hardware is below par compared to many devices running Google’s Android—even the low- end ones. Specifically, the Open will have a Cortex-A5 Qualcomm processor running at 600MHz or 800MHz, 256MB of ROM, 512MB of ROM (expandable), and a, how should we put it, webcam-ish 3.2MP rear camera. The 3.5- inch display is even less spectacular, with a resolution of 480x320. It’s clear where Mozilla is going with all this when we take a glance at the specs. Devices running Firefox OS are geared toward emerging markets. However, there are still a lot of obstacles that Mozilla and company must overcome to fully declare Firefox OS a true mobile OS contender. For instance, Mozilla has to convince developers that its OS is worth taking a look at. There’s also of course the whole Android thing, and Google’s mobile OS has essentially every niche covered —from high-end devices to ultra-low-end bargain galore. Still, ZTE is expected to launch its Open Firefox OS smartphone to premium markets like the US by 2014, so perhaps Mozilla is expecting the dev community and users to grow quickly. As for the cost of the Open, you can expect that it, along with a few other Firefox OS phones, to run for an extremely low, low, price.