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-we...
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...
February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
3
Despite the performance increase as well as added
functionalities in the Tegra ...
February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
4
The system is cooled using Aurora Hot Water Cooling
technology, a process origi...
February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
5
“We didn't expect to see so much gas around this star,” said
Edwin Bergin of th...
February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
6
Survey confirms more frugal
users on Android than iPhone
Source: http://vr-zone...
February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
7
The "endoscopic" camera is 10mm in diameter. The four
LED lights around the cam...
February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
8
January 31st, 2013
Many were astonished that NVIDIA decided to drop Project
Shi...
February 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
9
else to fall back onto should Facebook’s advertisement
platform crumble. Many k...
February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
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VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks!
VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-we...
February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
2
128GB Motorola X-Phone
running Android Key Lime Pie
rumored to drop in May
Sour...
February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
3
Characters of the TV-show (left) and the game (right)
blend the two mediums tog...
February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
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Dell of nearly 16% towards gaining the majority ownership,
and Microsoft would ...
February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
5
250,000 Twitter accounts
hacked, possibly the work of
Chinese hackers
Source: h...
February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
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The launch
Alongside the console, Sony will also introduce a new,
improved iter...
February 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
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We are doing all we can to help ensure it will meet if
not exceed your expectat...
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-we...
February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
2
The pen comes from German-based Lernstift, with the aim
of helping children imp...
February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
3
British troops in Afghanistan are deploying the smallest
military grade spy dro...
February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
4
February 5th, 2013
Recently leaked details are suggesting that Verizon will off...
February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
5
February 5th, 2013
Dubbed the “Airblade Tap”, the product does what many
other ...
February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
6
It has reputedly made 280 of the 360 changes asked for by
the Fair Labour Assoc...
February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
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The addition of a Valve Amplifier, a world first, means
the HW-F751 Soundbar pr...
February 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
8
Spec-wise, there’s nothing to rave about when it comes
to the Pavilion 14 Chrom...
February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
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VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks!
VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-we...
February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
2
and new Kinect motion sensor hardware will ship alongside
the console.
These so...
February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
3
Images Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Dead Space 3 exploits allow
players to avo...
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 wi...
February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
5
In the very near future the team plans to minimize the device
so there will be ...
February 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone
6
Canonical expects Ubuntu-
powered smartphones to hit
retail in October
Source: ...
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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, Smartphones, Tablets

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Feb 2013 Issue

  1. 1. 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.
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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.
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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.
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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.
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. 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.
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. 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.
  22. 22. 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.
  23. 23. 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.
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. 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,
  26. 26. 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.
  27. 27. 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.
  28. 28. 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.
  29. 29. 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.
  30. 30. 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

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