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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue
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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue

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

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

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  • 1. January 2nd, 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. New Black Ops 2 Revolution DLC details leaked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-black-ops-2-revolution-dlc- details-leaked/18572.html January 2nd, 2013 New info on Black Ops 2's brand new "Revolution" DLC leak out onto the internet, revealing details on the five new maps included with the DLC pack. Hydro", "Grind", "Downhill", and "Mirage" as well as a singular zombie map entitled "Die Rise", for a total of five new maps. Also included in the Revolution DLC is a new Peacekeeper SMG--which can be clearly seen on the promo poster--but no official details are revealed as to which gametypes are compatible with the new weapon. As of right now, there is no info as to when the DLC will release on PC or PS3. The official price tag has yet to be revealed, but SlashGear puts it at $15 based onthe price points for Black Ops II's recent DLC's. Toshiba smartphone camera technology to end blurry photos Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toshiba-smartphone-camera- technology-to-end-blurry-photos/18571.html January 2nd, 2013 Blurry photos may be a thing of the past, thanks to new technology being developed by Toshiba, which can put photos taken on smartphones back in focus. Blurry photos may be a thing of the past, thanks to new technology being developed by Toshiba, which can put photos taken on smartphones back in focus. The Japanese electronics firm is working on a camera module that contains a whopping half a million miniature lenses, each of which captures an image with a different focal length, allowing for the resulting image to be displayed with different people or objects in or out of focus. This means that an image where a person in the foreground is blurred can be changed after the fact so that they are now in focus, helping avoid the need to retake pictures, but also saving potentially once-in-a-lifetime snapshots of people, locations, or events. The tiny module, just one cubic centimetre in size, is similar to how an insect's eye works and follows on from developments made by Lytro, which launched a camera with similar features in 2011. Check out Lytro's gallery and click various parts of the pictures to see how the technology works in action. Digital cameras are largely a thing of the past, however, thanks to the boom in smartphones, which usually contain a built-in camera that can produce high-quality pictures.
  • 2. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Toshiba's shrinking of the technology into a size factor suitable for smartphones is where this could really take off. With handset makers looking for the next big thing to sell their devices, this could prove a major attraction, potentially enticing lucrative licensing deals with the likes of Apple or Samsung. The technology is expected to be available by the end of the year. Image Credit: Lytro/Ashley Schoenknecht Samsung Galaxy smartphones win top spots for Christmas and all of 2012 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-smartphones-win- top-spots-for-christmas-and-all-of-2012/18570.html January 2nd, 2013 Samsung has secured the top three slots for Christmas smartphone sales and the top spot for the entire year of 2012 thanks to its popular Galaxy range, beating Apple's once dominating iPhone, according to the latest Mobile Tracker report by uSwitch. Samsung has secured the top three slots for Christmas smartphone sales and the top spot for the entire year of 2012 thanks to its popular Galaxy range, beating Apple's once dominating iPhone, according to the latest Mobile Tracker report by uSwitch. The first spot for Christmas handsets was the Galaxy S III, which also held the overall crown for last year. It has been the most popular smartphone in the UK for eight consecutive months, with the iPhone 5 failing to knock it out of place. Samsung's older model, the Galaxy S II, held the number one slot for the first quarter of 2012, while managing to stay in the top five all year around. The Galaxy S II also managed to take the number two slot for Christmas, followed by the Galaxy Ace. Apple's iPhone 4S was always in the top ten, but only managed to become the number one smartphone for the month of April. The company's newer model, the iPhone 5, failed to reach number one at all, suggesting a major shift in the brand's popularity. For December, the most lucrative month of the year, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 were in fifth and sixth place, both down three spots on the previous month. That leaves the LG Nexus 4, the latest Google device, in fourth place, ensuring dominion of the Android platform. Windows Phone 8 saw a rally in support, with the Nokia Lumia 800 rising four spots to number seven. Samsung is the overall victor, however, ruling not only the top three slots, but taking six of the top ten positions overall. The Galaxy Note II was in eight place, down one position, the Galaxy S III Mini climbed seven spots to ninth place, and the Galaxy Ace II was a new entry at number 10. With figures like this it is not surprising to find Apple in a continuing heated battle with the Korean electronics giant. Another report from Experian suggested that Apple devices were the most unwanted gifts for Christmas, thanks to confusion among family and friends over exactly which iDevice their loved ones wanted. 2013 may see further shifts in the smartphone arena, however, as RIM gets ready to release a new wave of BlackBerry devices. TSMC begins trial production of Apple A6X chip Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tsmc-begins-trial-production-of- apple-a6x-chip/18569.html January 2nd, 2013 TSMC is reportedly beginning trial runs to produce Apple's A6X using its 28nm process, so does this mean Apple is almost completely done with Samsung? TSMC has been on Apple’s radar for quite some time now, and evidently it seems like the move to switch over to the Taiwan-based foundry is pretty much set in stone. The China Times is reporting that TSMC will begin trial
  • 3. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 production of Apple’s A6X chip using the 28nm process (contrary to the existing 32nm A6X). Previously, Samsung supplied the majority of the chips that power many Apple mobile devices, but bickering between the two firms in addition to a recent increase in manufacturing cost of the chips may have caused Apple to want to take its business elsewhere. The ultimate beneficiary in this whole situation is TSMC as it may obtain a long term deal to manufacture ARM chips for Apple, and as we all know Apple’s iPad is dominating the tablet market by a wide margin and the iPhone is in a heated battle against Android-powered phones (particularly those of Samsung’s). There are no official words as to whether or not TSMC will produce Apple’s A6X at a lower price, but certainly price as well as the more efficient 28nm fabrication process probably played key roles in Apple eyeing the Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturing company. Recently, TSMC was reported to be experiencing issues with its 28nm fabrication process, but around November 2012 the company assured potential clients that the issues were resolved and it was ready to start making chips for big name clients like Qualcomm and Apple. If TSMC’s A6X trial run is successful it’s very likely that future A7 chips will also be brewed by them. However, it remains to be seen whether or not TSMC can meet the demands of not only Apple’s but also other clients. via slashgear The Death of the Netbook Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-death-of-the- netbook/18566.html January 2nd, 2013 With 2012 behind us we will also see the end of the netbook line of portable computers. Once considered the future, the netbook was kicked out of the race by mobile touch screen devices such as the iPad. Stowed away between a bona fide laptop PC and perhaps an Internet ready Smartphone was the netbook. Often only equipped with the most basic functions and running on a simple Intel Atom processor, the netbook was supposedly the future of portable computing. Needless to say, that wasn’t the case and 2013 will mark the end of the run of the little laptop Jr. In 2012, Acer and Asustek were the last manufacturers still making the netbook style of computers. And while the netbook has fallen out of favor in the west, Asus and Asutek will still market the underpowered wonders to the Asian market - how long is anyone’s guess. Introduced in 2007, the netbook was supposedly the answer to those who only used their computers for social media, Internet surfing and Internet shopping. However, the netbook still offered operating systems like Windows and the standard programs that came with them. The netbook was a lot smaller than a traditional laptop, much lighter in weight, and you could stow it away in most handbags. Its longer lasting power was due to its smaller processor and smaller display, which usually was 10” or less. There are many factors involved with the death of the short-lived netbook, but nothing killed it more than the advent of mobile touch screen devices like the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and other tablet devices. In late 2007 Apple released the iPod Touch and iPhone. These devices were fun, extremely easy to use and are often incorporated as useful tools in our daily lives. These touch devices lead to the development of larger touch screen tablets such as the iPad and tablets from Samsung and others. The tablet industry opened up the world to literally hundreds of thousands of apps for anything imaginable, and this industry has given us things we never could have imagined a mere 7 years ago. While the netbook may have given us the smaller and lighter laptop, along with the ability to run office programs, the facts is that it just couldn’t keep pace with the unlimited usability and fun offered in a mobile touchscreen device. The slide towards higher tablet sales began in 2011 when tablets outsold netbooks for the first time. In 2012 sales for all netbooks fell by over a 25 percent as compared to 2011. By May of 2012 both Dell and Toshiba would be out of the netbook market, and in September of last year Acer, Asus and MSI all announced they would cease production of all 10” models. With Acer and Asustek left as the last manufacturers producing the netbook, it was only a matter of time before they would cease production aimed at the US market. The netbook has fallen out of favor in the western markets, and it is only a matter of time that Asian markets follow. Not many years from now we may hear someone mention the little netbook and perhaps smile, and think about how we actually thought it was the future for mobile computing. Apple has a functional iPhone 6 with iOS 7 prototype already? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-has-a-functional-iphone-6- with-ios-7-prototype-already-/18565.html
  • 4. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 January 2nd, 2013 Apple is purported to have an iPhone 6 with iOS 7 already in the making. There are no "physical" leaks, but a device tagged with the "iPhone 6,1" identifier was spotted making a request with an IP from within Apple's Cupertino campus. Tech gadgets become out dated so quick that it’s almost impossible to buy something and be able to brag about it for more than a month after its initial launch. Apple fanatics are not exception to that rule, because once the iPhone 5 broke loose for public consumption everyone knew that an iPhone 6 was already on the table. The Next Web has reported that a device dubbed the “iPhone 6,1” sporting “iOS 7” made a request from an IP that was within Apple’s Cupertino campus. The latest iPhone made its debut back in late September and Apple really knew how to stir up hype for their flagship smartphone. Leaks upon leaks churned out of many microblogging sites, and for the most part the rumors and leaks were spot on and were confirmed when Apple finally lifted the lid on the iPhone 5. A leak from the supply chain is one thing, but leaks and rumors from inside Apple itself are very sketchy. Let’s face it, Apple knows marketing and as consumers you’re either caught up in the hype or you’re a doubter—but either way there’s no arguing that Apple’s marketing is top notched. The “leak” from within Apple could just be a stunt drawn up by the marketing department to up people’s anticipation for the next Apple creation, but who really knows. What we do know, however, is that sooner or later parts and spot on concepts of the iPhone 6 will get blasted all over the internet. Students being warned online boasting could hurt them Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/students-being-warned-online- boasting-could-hurt-them/18563.html January 2nd, 2013 There was once a time when the old adage of kids will be kids meant just that and that once they started into their adult years they would smarten up and almost have a fresh start. Not so anymore thanks to social networks and their natural ability to do stupid things being forever available for all to see on the Internet. It seems that the undergraduates at Swansea University are becoming the poster children of a new wave of kids boasting about their binge drinking and sexual escapades on web sites set up specifically for that reason. These new social networking sites are encouraging students to tell the world about their "most disgusting, hilarious and embarrassing" moments. The problem with this type of disclosure, however, says the university chiefs and student union is that all this information could potentially find its way into the hands of potential employers. As well, students could face disciplinary action from the university as well as being faced with defamation suits from others. In a joint statement the university registrar, Raymond Ciborowski, and Student Union president Tom Upton where they said that they were extremely concerned about the nature and content of the site pages. Furthermore, they feared that such irresponsibility could damage their future employment prospects since companies are increasingly searching the Internet for information on applicants. These types of "student confession pages" have become increasingly popular lately and even though many have been shut down by universities undergraduates continue to post their wild exploits having broken free of the confines of home. Is 2013 a new era for physics discoveries? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/is-2013-a-new-era-for-physics- discoveries-/18562.html January 2nd, 2013 When it comes to science there is no getting around the fact that it was a pretty spectacular year. From the fantastic landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover to the announcement of the discovery of the long-anticipated Higgs boson it seemed that every day was bringing science geeks something new to be excited about. Will that continue in 2013? For scientists around the world, July 4, 2012, is a day that will be remembered for a very long time. It was on that day that a panel of scientists at the Large Haldron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, announced to the world that they had discovered a new particle which they believed to be the much anticipated Higgs boson. It is this particle that scientists believe is the last piece of the Standard Model of particle physics; which is the theory behind everything we experience in our lives, and this single discovery is thought to end one era of scientific discovery and the beginning of a whole new one. The question is: What will these new discoveries be? Well for one group of scientists the big buzz word is - dark matter.
  • 5. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 What is dark matter? According to scientists studying the phenomena, dark matter centers around all the matter that scientists can't explain when they account for all the "ordinary" particles that have been discovered on Earth. Astronomers have suggested that the universe has about five time more matter and that the difference between what we know and what we don't yet understand is referred to as 'dark matter'. In South Dakota scientists have installed the LUX detector which should be the most sensitive detector yet in being able to measure these dark matter particles which they expect to begin collecting data at some point in 2013. Another search for information has scientists looking into space after discovering in 2012 that there was an unusual excess of a particular energy coming from the center of our galaxy. One of the possible explanations for this is that is dark matter particles are colliding and converting into high energy radiation. Either way it looks like 2013 will continue to bring us exciting new discoveries with the possibility that dark matter will become the next physics discovery to catch the public’s attention. Ubuntu teases a touch future is coming Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ubuntu-teases-a-touch-future-is- coming/18561.html January 2nd, 2013 In a move that is sure to irritate some of the more hardcore Linux users Ubuntu has a teaser up on the site that would suggest that the next release is going to be a lot more touch- centric and geared to a mobile world. In a world where our technology is increasingly becoming mobile and touch-centric it should come as no surprise that Ubuntu, the leading "consumer-friendly" Linux distro with over 20 million users, is going to release a touch- based version of its Linux variation. The countdown on the main page of the Ubuntu site currently shows a timer countdown that is set to reach the end at 8AM on Wednesday, January 2nd, at which point it is expected that Mark Shuttleworth will make the move official. This move to touch and mobile is something that Shuttleworth has previously hinted at as he plans to extend the reach of Ubuntu beyond just that of the desktop and laptop and bring one of the most popular Linux distro to smartphones and tablets. It is not expected that this release will be a full move to touch as that is not expected until mid-2014 when Ubuntu releases 14.04 LTS. It is suggested that this "interim" release with some touch capabilities will be used as a guidepost as to what Shuttleworth has up his sleeve when it comes to Ubuntu and the future which he has made clear previously will be a cross-device OS. This is similar to the big bet that Microsoft has taken with Windows 8 but it remains to be seen if the reaction of Linux fans will be as mixed as the wider tech reaction to Windows 8 has been. HP to possibly unload non- performing divisions Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hp-to-possibly-unload-non- performing-divisions/18564.html January 2nd, 2013 After a whirlwind of chaos surround the company's executive suite Hewlett-Packard (HP) brought eBay ex-CEO Meg Whitman to try and turn the company around. While Wall Street is still waiting there is some serious talk of the company looking to unload assets and businesses that aren't performing up to expectations. There's no getting around the fact that Hewlett-Packard has been experiencing more than its fair share of hard time, whether brought on by its own executives or just the market in general, but things aren't necessarily looking any better. In a December 27 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission the company reported that they are in the process of evaluating possible disposition of company assets and businesses that are not helping the company as a whole meet objectives. It was in September 2011 that the company hired eBay ex- CEO Meg Whitman to try and turn the sinking ship around. A ship that was badly wounded by five straight quarters of declining sales as well as some huge botched deals and complete confusion in the executive suite. The demand from Wall Street for the company to start shedding certain business came after the $8.8 billion write down regarding the acquisition of the software company Autonomy Corp. HP also stated in the filing to the SEC that the U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation regarding the Autonomy mess and HP has accused Autonomy of misrepresenting its performance before being bought in 2011. The filing continued with stating that there is the possibility that some of the businesses they might be disposing of might be at a price or on terms that might be less desirable than anticipated. Moreover, the impact of any divestiture on the company's revenue growth might be larger than anticipated. Any way you slice it things aren't looking up for HP any time soon it would seem. Coming soon - "Near Live" HD video of Earth Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/coming-soon--near-live-hd-video-of- earth/18557.html January 2nd, 2013 A Canada-based technology company called UrtheCast will soon be providing near-live HD video of Earth from space.
  • 6. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The video will come from 2 cameras mounted on the Russian side of the International Space Station. Imagine if someone were able to give us the power to see fresh images of the earth from outer space? Maybe they could give us a 1 meter high-definition resolution with the ability to record videos of different areas we are interested in? Well, that wait is over - very soon a new website called UrtheCast will be offering images such as this and best of all it will be available to anyone. UrtheCast will be providing super HD camera viewing of earth 24/7 from the ISS for all Internet users, educators, and app developers. The company says that even environmental monitoring services will be using their services to monitor what is happening to our planet in real time. Essentially, UrtheCast is offering a spy satellite for the entire Internet to use. Is this awesome or what? UrtheCast is a subsidiary of Earth Video Camera Incorporated, and they will be working with the Russian space agency’s OAO RSC Energia that will be mounting UrtheCast's cameras onto the Russian section of the ISS. The HD cameras were made by a company out of the United Kingdom called Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and then shipped out to Russia to be launched and attached to the ISS in 2013. According to UrtheCast’s website, the cameras will provide live and static images of earth down to a 1 meter resolution. And while the images may be comparable to Google earth, they won’t be years old and they will be seen, at time, with far more clarity. The company has also appointed William ‘Mac” Evans, who once served as President of the Canadian Space Agency to its board of directors. Evans will help the company grow and guide them in the proper direction for the new startup as he is veteran of the Canadian space program and was awarded the prestigious John H. Chapman Award of Excellence during the 16th , 2012 CASI ASTRO Convention held in Quebec City. Evans, who served 34 years in public service, was instrumental in creating Canada’s Space Agency. “I was pleased to have been considered for the UrtheCast board, and can’t wait to see what impact we can have upon Earth observation and the Canadian space industry,” said Evans. “I’m looking forward to watching UrtheCast blossom into a major force in the web world of the future.” The company says the cameras will, logically, only be capable of recording and seeing images as they pass overhead. The ISS orbits the planet nearly 16 times a day so it may take as long as 3 years before all of the images can be taken. The company explains that the ISS follows an equatorial orbit with an inclination of nearly 52 degrees. This states that the cameras are only able to snap images that are 52 degrees latitude, north and south. Therefore, most countries lying in the far northern hemisphere along with the upper part of Canada will not be available. UrtheCast says that they will have all of their images kept in a library much different than what Google Earth or Bing Maps has. They will be keeping a catalog of the images collected so an individual can go back and compare all the changes seen on any given region. For example, you could compare Singapore before and after a monsoon, or see the same section of the U.S. in the winter or spring. There are a few things the company does not explain, and that is how they filter out sensitive regions that are not allowed to be viewed by the public. For example, there are many military installations and government facilities that are off limits not only from the ground but any aerial images as well. Area 51 in the Nevada desert is one example. It will be very interesting to see how popular the site will become in 2013. UrtheCast could very well become as popular as YouTube, if only for a while. This will be a wonderful educational tool for the classroom and anyone that is curious about how our earth is changing. More importantly it may open up the eyes of those who are skeptical about the environmental impact we are making on our fragile planet. Apple decides it might love the pen after all Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-decides-it-might-love-the-pen- after-all/18559.html January 2nd, 2013 Apple has always maintained that using a pen as a digital input device is old school thinking and not something that Apple want to associate with its touch-centric philosophy and that you will never see an iPad with a digital pen. Well according to a new patent that may not exactly be the truth anymore. As much as Steve Jobs might have been against the very idea of using a stylus with something like the iPad it seems that the company's engineering team has been looking for ways to re-invent the whole idea. Given the popularity of Samsung's Galaxy Note and its S-Pen it would appear that Apple has decided that quite possibly this is something that they should reconsider hence a new patent received for something called the "ActiveStylus" which, unlike the passive input style of the S-Pen, would see Apple's implementation and tweaking of a few things around the whole idea. The patent which Apple just received describes it as: The Styluses can either act as a drive electrode to create an electric field between the drive electrode and the sense lines of a mutual capacitive touch sensor panel, or as a sense electrode for sensing capacitively coupled signals from one or more stimulated drive rows and columns of the touch sensor panel or both. The stylus would appear to have its own touch sensor panel which would allow for it to couple signals with the main device making it "active" which is in contrast to the current passive style.
  • 7. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Patent info and drawing courtesy of Patently Apple. PC CPUs in 2013 - Year of the Haswell Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pc-cpus-in-2013--year-of-the- haswell/18558.html January 2nd, 2013 The ‘End of the World’ year came to an end, is the next one going to be the end of PC CPUs? Not yet! Although, there might not be many launches to speak of… This past year, we heard enough about the demise of PCs in favour of tablets, super-duper smartphones and such, haven’t we? Well, surely the phones and tablets went up on the performance – and productivity – ladder in 2012, however PC CPU development is continuing to slog on. We can’t deny, however, that among PC CPUs there is somewhat less focus on the desktop front, and that more accent is on the mobile-centric power consumption and compact die + packaging size, rather than raw performance. When we look back at the Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge migration, there was zero gain on the CPU clock speed – staying at 3.5 GHz, just a few % on the IPC, but substantial ~20% power consumption benefits, both in idle and full performance modes. Of course, Intel had no pressure to push the IVB performance forward as their main CPU competition all these years, AMD, seems to be on the way down and out of the high end PC processor business altogether, unless some sort of miracle happens to the company. Surely you’ve noticed how, as AMD grew weaker, Intel’s product rollouts slowed down, including the famed ‘tick tock’ now being some 18 months late compared to Intel’s statements five years ago. And that is for desktops and mobiles, add another year for workstation/server market. So, what to expect in 2013 on the PC CPU front? First, Haswell: yes, the much vaunted, power saving desktop and notebook Haswell processors will finally appear, but only middle of the year – expect to see them right at this June’s Computex. This is a bit later than then first quarter of the coming year as expected by certain other media. Now the bad part: many key parameters – clock speeds, sizes, features, will stay the same as they were since the first mainstream desktop and mobile Nehalem CPUs appeared in 2009. Look, the quad core 3.5 GHz top speed of the LGA1150 Core i7-4770K will likely be the same 3.5 GHz as it was for the Ivy Bridge 3770K, or the Sandy Bridge 2770K some 30 months before. The 8 MB L3 cache size stays the same, as well as the default dual channel DDR3-1600 memory support – even though DDR3-2800+ should run just fine on the new ‘K’ chips, as it does on the K-series Ivy Bridge parts anyway. The unlocked parts still don't get VT-x support. Of course, you do get some 10% core performance improvement, plus some more if your code gets recompiled for FMA/AVX2 instruction extensions, but again this is not earth-shattering news. If you’re into integrated GPUs, then yes, do expect quite a bit of performance boost with the Haswell, both in desktops and in UltraBooks, where the promise of decent 3-D graphics and 4K display support in one device will finally be fulfilled. The HD4600 integrated graphics – at least the GT2 version in the desktop and mainstream mobile CPUs – should be at least half faster than the best Ivy Bridge HD4000, with decent ‘turbo’ frequency management on offer, up to and beyond 1.3 GHz GPU clock. The 57 W top end mainstream notebook – not Ultrabook – parts are expected to be full quad core 3 GHz speed demons with full GPU and memory systems akin to the desktop parts. In fact, the top bin i7-4930MX mobile Haswell might have same 3.9 GHz top Turbo frequency as the desktop i7-4770K! Match if with a pair of nice mobile DDR3-2133 DIMMs and a 16:10 4 Mpixel or better retina-quality LCD, and you got a portable power machine good enough for anyone. Right after the New Year, and well before Haswell, do expect some of the power consumption refinements to trickle into Ivy Bridge ultramobiles as well – the ten-watt TDP core i7-3689Y will bring dual core multithreaded 4 MB L3 part with full HD4000 graphics onto the border of the high-end tablet space! The 1.5 GHz base CPU speed can go all the way
  • 8. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 up to 2.6 GHz in Turbo, so yes this would be faster than any ARM on the market. More about Haswell and ultralow power IVB in our other stories to come – how about the competition? If all went according to the last year’s plans, 2013 would have seen the entry of AMD ‘Steamroller’ core in at least two parts relevant to the PC – ‘Kaveri’ and ‘Kabini’, the successors to the Piledriver based APU and PC CPU chips. The SOS signals emanating from AMD right now, as well as the associated media buzz, hint that there is high chance that these parts might never see the light of the day. What is going on? As we covered in detail two months ago, AMD fate will likely be decided in the next few months. Whether it is some sort of sale or ownership transformation to be managed by Morgan Stanley, or an internally-driven, we hope, massive company rehash to get it out of the doldrums, don’t expect much activity from AMD, especially its CPU division, in the early 2013. This leaves the PC CPU field now completely open to Intel. If this didn’t happen to AMD, and they had competitive entries with committed roadmap, I bet we’d have seen the Haswell lineup already by now – it’s ready for quite a while, it seems. So, the PC CPU 2013 arena will only have one battle- ready contender covering it all from ultramobile to high end PC: Haswell. If you are a power-conscious user planning a migration, then waiting for it makes good sense. If building an enthusiast gamer machine right now, with a proper discrete GPU, then the wait may not be necessary – the current Ivy Bridge CPUs provide all the oomph you’ll need. However, this same year will likely see the emergence of two new CPU categories in specific – I accentuate this word – desktop and mobile PC rollouts, especially in Asia Pacific. One is, obviously, ARM, where there will be some attempts at Windows RT based “more than tablet” machines, in both mobile and mini-desktop sizes, not dissimilar to Intel’s cute SFF system Lennard reviewed last month. The other one is Loongson in China, whose MIPS-based CPUs are even more power-efficient than ARM, and already have 50W-class CPUs in 32 nm process, like the 8-core vector-enhanced Loongson 3B-1500, that match FP power higher than Core i7-3970X in one-third the TDP, while using PC infrastructure like HyperTransport and, guess what, AMD I/O chipset. What about the software? Well, it helps to have a huge market with internal critical mass to gain the important initial software stack, and millions of school desktops with controlled software library, where the ISA lock on prevents the user from installing un-approved software easily at least, will help in large government sponsored deployments. Ah, worried about that software lock-on? Well, it’s not any worse than those awful “Marketplace” or “Store” lock ons seen in the tablets or, worse, Windows ‘lucky’ 8, isn’t it? Either way, at least something new to look forward in this new year… HP says U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Autonomy for fraud Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hp-says-u.s.-department-of-justice- to-investigate-autonomy-for-fraud/18555.html January 2nd, 2013 Hewlett-Packard just announced that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating its October 2011 acquisition of Autonomy. HP is alleging that Autonomy’s accountants inflated the company value through accounting tricks. In October 2011, Hewlett-Packard acquired the U.K.-based software company Autonomy, which was the U.K.'s largest independent software maker that produced all manner of management products. Shareholders of Autonomy voted and accepted the 10.3 billion dollar offer from HP, which came to about 42.11 dollars (U.S.) per share. The deal for the acquisition was orchestrated by former CEO Leo Apotheker, but even at the time of the acquisition many experts felt the price was set too high. Soon after the deal went into effect HP appointed former eBay chief Meg Whitman as the New CEO. Whitman stood behind the deal and felt the price was accurate. Now HP is saying that Autonomy’s accountants pulled a fast one on them and is asking the United States Department of Justice to investigate the matter. HP has also provided their findings to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office along with filing a 10-K form with the U.S. based Securities Exchange Commission. “As a result of the findings of an ongoing investigation, HP has provided information to the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC related to the accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy that occurred prior to and in connection with HP's acquisition of Autonomy,” HP says in part on their 10-K form. “On November 21, 2012, representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice advised HP that they had opened an investigation relating to Autonomy. HP is cooperating with the three investigating agencies.” On November 20, 2012 HP disclosed an $8.8 billion write- down. Of that 8.8 billion, HP says that 5 billion was linked to what HP determined to be “serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures discovered by an internal investigation by HP and forensic review into Autonomy’s accounting practices prior to its acquisition by HP.” HP made very clear in their press release how displeased the company was with Autonomy. The public notice further stated they were highly disappointed with the many members of Autonomy’s former management team. HP writes, “These efforts appear to have been a willful effort to mislead investors and potential buyers, and severely impacted HP management’s ability to fairly value Autonomy at the time of the deal.”
  • 9. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 On Friday, December 28, 2012 Autonomy's founder, Mike Lynch, denounced the claims made by HP and published an on-line rebuke of HP’s accusations at www.autonomyaccounts.org, a website apparently made specifically to counter HP’s claims. “It is extremely disappointing that HP has again failed to provide a detailed calculation of its $5 billion write down of Autonomy, or publish any explanation of the serious allegations,” Lynch writes. “Furthermore, it is now less clear how much of the $5 billion write down is in fact being attributed to the alleged accounting issues…Simply put, these allegations are false, and in the absence of further detail we cannot understand what HP believes to be the basis for them.” This latest crisis with HP is just part of a long string of financial problems beginning in 2012 when the Chinese based Lenovo Corporation beat out HP to become the world's leader in PC manufacturing. Since HP's initial downfall, the company has been aggressively trying to reshape itself and remain competitive. In August 2011 HP announced they would be exiting the smartphone and tablet computer business HP mainly markets their products to everyday consumers and households, small- to medium-sized businesses. While the company made numerous changes, sales still waned and in May 2012, HP announced they would be laying off some 27 thousand employees but that figured then jumped to 29 thousand in July of 2012. Whether the Justice Department discovers anything irregular with Autonomy remains to be seen. One thing for certain is that this latest scandal involving HP will only hinder the company's efforts in reclaiming a top spot in a highly competitive electronic world. Michigan says no to employers asking for social media login info Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/michigan-says-no-to-employers- asking-for-social-media-login-info/18556.html January 2nd, 2013 Over the past year we have seen more than a few companies start asking employees, and those applying for jobs, to start coughing up their various social media accounts login details causing an uproar every time. Slowly states have begun to come to the defense of these employees and future employees with legislation outlawing this type of employment requirement. I remember writing at another blog the first time news broke that a state agency was requiring new job applicants to provide their Facebook and Twitter login information. The uproar that followed was immense; and well deserved, so it was no surprise that the agency ended up backing down on the request. So it's rewarding to see a state government that is willing to come to their citizen's rescue and stop companies trying to do this; which is exactly what Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has done by signing new legislation which bars companies and schools from asking employees and students for their social media usernames and passwords. In the press release announcing the signing Gov. Synder said that protecting the private internet accounts of the state's residents was of prime importance, and that employees and students should be judged by their skills and abilities not their private online activity. So under this new law employers cannot discipline, or decide not to hire job applicants, if they refuse to hand over their access information; including names, passwords, login information or any other information that protects access to a personal internet account. The same rules apply to universities and schools when it comes to the students or those applying for admission. The only exception to this law is when it relates to any internet accounts owned by a company or educational institution, such as e-mail. The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Federation of Independent Business have both endorsed the Michigan bill. Pinterest early investor being sued by former partner Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pinterest-early-investor-being-sued- by-former-partner/18553.html January 2nd, 2013 It's almost a rite of passage for any new startup looking to make its bones in the real world—being sued for stealing the idea you are looking to get rich on from someone else that says that they should be the one's getting rich. In the case of Pinterest it’s all a matter of welcome to the club buddy. You had to know this was coming. After all if Zuckerberg can be sued continuously for supposedly stealing Facebook for any number of people then it shouldn't come as any surprise as Pinterest, the next hottest service next to Facebook, is suddenly in the news for one of its early investors being sued by an ex-partner for stealing the "idea" of Pinterest and giving it to the young founders. This is what is being alleged by Theodore F. Schroeder of Ocean City, N.J., in a lawsuit that was filed yesterday in New York where he accuses Pinterest early investor Brian Cohen; and the founders, of basically stealing ideas that Schroeder had had when he and Cohen worked together in 2007 and 2008 on a project called Rendezvoo, and a later pivot Skoopwire, and gave those ideas to the young founders of Pinterest. Parts of Schroeder’s argument are two key elements: the idea of "Boards" for posting content and the idea of "infinite scrolling". He also mentions that fact that the color scheme used by Pinterest is similar to the one they had for
  • 10. January 2nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Rendezvoo because it was attractive to women. Schroeder also maintains that Cohen who was serving as CEO and chairman of the company pushed the team away from the Pinterest like ideas they had for Rendezvoo. It was after Cohen and Schroeder had a falling out over equity and roles that Cohen made his "Faustian deal" (as Schroeder phrases it) with the founders of Pinterest and provided them with Schroeder's ideas and applications. Another start-up, another lawsuit. Welcome to the tech world guys.
  • 11. January 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. Ubuntu enters the smartphone market Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ubuntu-enters-the-smartphone- market/18578.html January 3rd, 2013 The Linux-based operating system Ubuntu is heading to smartphones, adding yet another rival to an already tightly- packed arena. The open source software, traditionally offered as a free alternative to Windows on laptops and desktop computers, has been adapted into a form suitable for mobile devices, offering a PC-like experience on a smaller screen. Ubuntu will let users run apps designed for PCs on their smartphone, bringing the mobile experience almost full circle and opening the way for Microsoft to potentially provide a standard Windows experience in a mobile environment. The people behind Ubuntu hope to address the issue of working with complex software on tiny screens by using voice recognition to access interface features, but this may prove difficult, if not altogether impossible, for some software. The founder of Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth, admitted that the platform will likely only attract a small fan base at first, but he suggested that people may want a full PC experience on a phone in the future, even going as far as to say that within the next three to five years Apple will be forced to make such a transition. Shuttleworth also highlighted Microsoft's currents attempts to unify its desktop Windows experience with its mobile one, partially achieved through a shared core in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. He suggested that Windows 9 or 10 would complete this union. Ubuntu for smartphones will initially be available as a download for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, replacing the pre- installed Android operating system, but Shuttleworth said he is in talks with device manufacturers to sell Ubuntu smartphones and even tablet computers later this year. Remote island pleads for internet access Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/remote-island-pleads-for-internet- access/18577.html January 3rd, 2013 A remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean has pleaded with the UK government to provide funding for it to connect to the internet via a submarine cable. A remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean has pleaded with the UK government to provide funding for it to connect to the internet via a submarine cable. The island of St. Helena, a British Overseas Territory, lies in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and South America, many miles away from the coast, leaving it effectively isolated from the rest of the world. There are 4,200 people living on the island, and they are hoping to finally get access to the internet, blaming the blackout for hindering the island's growth. Some of the population can access the internet via satellite, but the costs are extremely high at over £100 per month. The solution would involve rerouting the already planned South Atlantic Express, an underwater fibre-optic cable that will connect Brazil to Angola and South Africa.
  • 12. January 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Some of St. Helena's hopes rested on the proposed revised UN treaty that was rejected by the US, UK and many other Western nations. Under the proposals the UK would have been forced to connect remote territories like St. Helena to the internet, but Russia's suggestions for changes in internet governance and internet taxes did not go down well. The UK Foreign Office said it needed to conduct a full economic assessment before it could fund a project to bring St. Helena online. The cost is expected to be £10 million, according to campaigners, which is not all that much in the grand scheme of times, but the UK government may have a difficult time justifying the expense for the relatively small population involved. St. Helena is not being entirely forgotten, however. The UK government is investing £250 million to build a new airport there, which should encourage tourists to visit the hard-to- reach locale. However, it could be argued that if more St. Helenians could go online, they could advertise the island and make that airport investment more worthwhile. Image Credit: A Human Right The problem with metricating the US Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-problem-with-metricating-the- us/18575.html January 3rd, 2013 Most of the world uses the Metric system (or SI), with one of the few exceptions being the United States. The SI system of units is logical, simple to understand and international, making it quite confusing why the US hasn't adopted it. Many critics of the US system however, fail to see some very fundamental problems with a switch. The US Standard system of units is unfortunately both archaic and convoluted. I'm certain that by saying this I'm already angering quite a few Americans (and to be honest I can understand a certain brand loyalty to something as widespread as a system of units), but it is true nonetheless. 12 inches make a foot. Three feet make a yard, and 1760 yards make a mile. There's no consistency or logic behind the scaling and it's utterly unscientific, relying instead on arbitrary standard measurements for, say, how big a human foot should be. An outsider who attempts to learn this system from scratch is going to have a difficult time adjusting. The sheer number of different units (Gizmodo's recent article on this listed 30 different units of volumes, a staggering amount) only adds to the difficulty. The consistency of the metric system is one of it's appeals The Metric system however, uses one unit and factors it by ten for scale: The standard unit of length is the meter. A decimeter is a tenth of a meter. A centimeter is one hundredth of a meter. A millimeter is one thousandth of a meter. On the other end of things, a kilometer is one thousand meters. It's simple to understand and consistent: If you know what a meter is, you will very easily realize what a kilometer is. The prefixes permeate the entire system as well - from volumes, such as the milliliter (one thousandth of a liter) to mass, like the kilogram (one thousand grams). Only a few countries still don't use the metric system Then there's always the fact that most of the world uses the Metric system (and in the scientific world, the almost identical SI system). This causes practical issues in commerce and trade between the US and the rest of the world. Machined parts for example, do not naturally fit each other, and tool sizes are different. So why is the United States still using this system? Well, if it was as easy as just selecting "metric" in a drop-down menu on some computer in the bowels of the pentagon, they probably would have changed by now. In reality, it's not that simple and there are massive practical issues with switching. To understand this, we need
  • 13. January 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 to go back in time, and learn about how this system came to be. iPhone 5S may come in different colors and sizes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iphone-5s-may-come-in-different- colors-and-sizes/18576.html January 3rd, 2013 People who aren’t content with the silver, white, and black coloring scheme of the current iPhone 5 will be happy to know that Apple may launch the iPhone 5S in a variety of colors. According to an analyst from Topeka Capital Markets, Apple may launch the iPhone 5S with 6-8 color options. The hype surrounding Apple’s minimalistic approach to designing its product have been more than enough to keep consumers interested, but perhaps it’s about time Apple mixes things up a bit. Additionally, the analyst believes that Apple may also offer the iPhone 5S in different screen sizes. Fans of phones with larger displays may be in for a treat come Q2 or Q3 2013. The current gen iPhone 5 has a 4-inch Retina display, but there is a growing market for phablets (phone + tablets) that sport 5+ inch displays. No matter how stubborn Apple might be about adopting the trends instead of being the trend-setter, it’s clear that many smartphone users prefer devices with larger displays. Samsung’s second iteration of the Galaxy Note II phablet has been a success, and unless Apple jumps in now it might be too late to play catch up later. Apple’s recent patent regarding an ‘active stylus’ only adds more confirmation to speculation of an iPhone with a larger display. No one knows how big the display on the next iPhone might be, but if it’s a stylus-enhanced device we can guess that the screen real estate will probably be around 5 or so inches. Many handset makers have been trying to catch up to Apple in the smartphone race for years and years, but in the newly formed phablet league Apple is the one that’s lagging behind. Huawei may one day overtake Samsung in the smartphone market Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/huawei-may-one-day-overtake- samsung-in-the-smartphone-market/18574.html January 3rd, 2013 The Chinese electronics maker, Huawei, shipped out 85 percent of their goods under their own brand name in 2012 as compared to 20 percent in 2011. Huawei will also unveil their new ‘Ascend Mate’ model smartphone at the upcoming CES 2013 - it is rumored to be the most powerful smartphone ever. Huawei only recently began diving into the smartphone market and were a bit uneasy with using their own brand name, preferring to sell as a white-label for other name brand carriers. Now Huawei feels their products are saturated enough that they can come out of their shell, and last years numbers show this. With Chinese smartphones quickly making their way into western consumer’s hands, they could very well overtake brands like the South Korean based Samsung in the coming years. While Huawei Technologies is not a name many in the west are familiar with, this is no small startup by a long shot. Founded in 1988, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., which is a Chinese networking and telecommunications company, is the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world, after having overtaken Ericsson in 2012. Huawei employs nearly 150,000 with about half of those involved in research and development. Currently Samsung is the leading brand in China, followed by brands like Coolpad, ZTE and Apple. Nevertheless, Huawei is so confident in their brand name that their Chief Marketing Officer, Shao Yang, says that the company will be in the top 5 of all smartphone markers in 2014 and in the top 3 by 2016. As China’s economy grows and millions more customers switch over to smartphones, Huawei wants to cash in on that mass transition. Compared to other larger name brands, Huawei has an advantage over their competition with their ability to manufacture their own products. Brands such as Apple or Motorola must rely on other manufacturers to create their devices. Furthermore, Huawei being a Chinese company, more Chinese would logically want to invest in a product made in their own country. In other news, rumors state that Huawei will soon be unveiling the world’s most powerful smartphone. Images of a new smartphone were recently leaked ahead of the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that will take place on January 8-13, 2013 in Las
  • 14. January 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Vegas, Nevada. The new smartphone is called the Huawei ‘Ascend Mate’ and it is said to have a 6.1-inch screen in full 1080p HD, a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, and 2GB of RAM along with a 4000mAh battery. Cost of the phone is projected to be around $480.00 (U.S.). How long before man can inhabit Mars? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/how-long-before-man-can-inhabit- mars-/18541.html January 3rd, 2013 Mars, being the one other planet that is potentially conducive to sustaining life, has occupied our imaginations for years. The rover Curiosity is adding real-life data to our imaginations, fueling our dreams all the more. One day in our future we may be visiting Mars. If so, know that a day on Mars is 40 minutes longer than here on Earth, so imagine how much more we could get done, or how much sleep we could catch up on. In addition, a year on Mars is twice as long as that on Earth, so we could theoretically achieve twice as much in a year. Perhaps our New Year’s Resolutions would actually be achieved giving the newly found surplus of time. The landscape of Mars is desert, desert and more desert. Of course, there are mountains, valleys and sand dunes, to break up the desert monotony. Though water was historically present on Mars, there is no water to speak of these days. You’d need to pack some extra-heavy coats as Mars is pretty cold most of the time. And, because of the thinness of the atmosphere, Mars does not contain heat the way Earth does. Hence, the temperatures would drop down about 100°C each night. Worse yet, the cold weather would not protect you from the sun’s radiation. All the more so, the lack of a magnetic field would offer no protection from the sun. If you were to indeed visit Mars, know that it will take you several months to get there, so you’d have to accumulate a lot of vacation time to afford the trip. And then, you might as well stay for a few years to make the couple of month travel time worthwhile. Once you arrive on Mars, you will need to stay on your spaceship and/or in your spacesuits to get the oxygen you need. You’ll need to make a power plant pretty quickly for your heating and electricity needs (is there internet on Mars?). This power plant would also fuel the process of extracting oxygen out of carbon dioxide, and water out of hydrated minerals. At the present moment, if you were to bring a year’s supply of Evian water with you, it would do no good on the surface of Mars. It would either freeze because of the freezing temperatures, or boil away because of the low pressure, or do both. Therefore, to further make the planet livable, you would need to add additional carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, to increase air pressure and to trap heat, simulating the greenhouse effect. These extra carbon dioxide stores are most likely frozen at Mars’ poles. Dr. Richard Zurek, Chief Scientist in the Mars Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), estimates that humans will land on Mars in 30 years. That gives us enough time to pack up a lot of warm coats, a lot of water, oxygen, carbon dioxide and uranium (for the nuclear power plants) for the trip. Sony PlayStation 2 ends its 13-year run in Japan Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-playstation-2-ends-its-13-year- run-in-japan/18560.html January 3rd, 2013 Sony is ending its historical 13-year production run of the PlayStation 2 in Japan. No word on production for other countries. Sony Corporation has ended their Japanese production of its best-selling gaming system, the PlayStation 2. First going on sale in March of 2000 in Japan, more than 150 million of the gaming consoles were sold. The PS2 became so popular that it outsold the PS3 for the first 3 years it came out. When the PS2 was introduced, it was quite the innovation with its ability to run DVDs back when they were just being seen as a new video viewing medium. This machine predated cell phone use by the masses, and the Internet was just beginning to catch on. Not only did the PS2 become a popular gaming system, it broke all kinds of sales and production records worldwide. According to Sony they have sold over 150 million units, and seen over 11 thousand game titles come about for it. Of those game titles, over 1.5 billion games have been sold. And while the system is ending its record breaking 13-year run in Japan, Sony said that games would continue to be produced and marketed for the PS2 console. There has not been any word if other countries will see a PS2 production end, but the odds are they will soon follow suit. Sony has not released any upcoming reports on any release dates for a PS4. However, many gaming techs are saying Sony may soon begin marketing the PlayStation 4 system in March of 2013. Study finds Internet capable HDTVs basically serve only as monitors Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-finds-internet-capable-hdtvs- basically-serve-only-as-monitors/18545.html January 3rd, 2013
  • 15. January 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 A leading consumer behavior research group’s recent study shows that the Internet connected HDTV is rarely used for Internet surfing. The report comes from the NPD’s Connected Intelligence Application & Convergence report. And while the HDTV remains to be the main device for viewing programs in the home, its use usually goes no further than just that. And as the HDTV fails to break beyond the bounds of its basic use, more individuals are using its connection to gain access to alternative sources of video content. The study results from NPD present a dual picture for HDTV manufacturers. The negative side of the data says that manufacturers are not connecting with their audience in regards to the extra features these high-end televisions provide. The data further demonstrates that customers are using more attached devices that focus on video-centric apps, such as television apps available for the Xbox Live subscription service from Microsoft. The good news for HDTV makers is that the TVs remain the main video screen in the home. There is also an expansion of programming by consumers with about 6 out of 10 users choosing over-the-top (OTT) services that fill in for Internet TV. So while the HDTV is used for lots of video viewing and Internet subscriptions through services like Netflix, people are not using their HDTVs for much anything else. The problem that NPD found was that there were just too many choices for consumers in regards to connecting their HDTV to the Internet. 15% of HDTV displays are currently connected to the Internet, but that number will just to 29% when you factor in the connected devices that provide that access. It often times brings about confusion when you can connect to the same app but through more than one device projecting the same picture. There are currently more than six different types of devices that can provide Internet for televisions on the market right now such as BluRay Disc players, TiVo boxes, video game consoles and so forth. Because of this dilemma many consumers just aren't interested in exploring the extra features on their HDTV because they see it as nothing more than that, which is a really big TV with a really nice picture. The suggestions coming from NPD says that HDTV manufacturers and retailers need to get away from any new 'bells and whistle' innovations, and stay focused more on simplifying the television. Or in other words, just keep it a really nice TV. NPD is a private company that serves as a global provider of consumer and retail market research solutions for all manner of markets. Their focus is in researching and providing consumer behavior with detailed point-of-sale (POS) information along with consumer and retail tracking. China tightens down on Internet restrictions Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/china-tightens-down-on-internet- restrictions/18544.html January 3rd, 2013 The People’s Republic of China has issued new regulations for its citizens in regards to Internet use. The biggest change is that the government now requires Internet users to properly identify themselves to their current ISP. With the number of Internet users in China estimated to be around 500 million people, the government is taking steps to tighten down what its citizens may view on-line. According to the decision by the National People’s Congress (NPC), the change was made to "ensure Internet information security, safeguard the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal entities or other organizations, and safeguard national security and public interests," The changes came soon after the government implemented harsher restrictions on viewing websites outside of the country. Among the changes, the restrictions make it near impossible for businesses to hide any commercial secrets and put a damper on what the common citizen may view on- line. China is renowned for its heavy censorship of western-based news sites along with blocking of what is known as ‘virtual private networks’ (VPN). VPNs allow for a user to bypass government censors by using encrypted computer surfing and communication. VPNs and proxy servers are quite popular in China and help a user to visit foreign websites without fear of any government monitoring. The Internet changes came by way of the ‘Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress’, and were then adopted by China’s lawmakers. Many of the new rules were mandated in order to tackle the recent rise in anonymous postings on-line that are often critical of the nation’s government. With the growing popularity of the number of Weibo (microblog) users, it is particularly hard for the government to catch anyone making anonymous posts online. While the new rules still allow for anonymous postings, the committee stated that all Internet providers, which include land lines and mobile phone providers, must force users to disclose their personal information. In regards to the vote, 145 members of the Standing Committee voted in favor of the ISP regulation rules, 5 abstained and 1 voted against the measure
  • 16. January 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The changes to Internet policy came after the majority of the nation’s private ISPs have been slow to adopt similar mandates that were passed earlier in 2012. Many of the providers feared that forcing users to disclose their private information would results in protests or the customer going with another ISP. These latest mandates now force more legal pressure on all ISPs in the country. And while many are voicing their concern over the changes, the government also stepped in to say they were enforcing the rules to protect users private data. Evergreen accessory turns any pen into a touch pen instantly Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/evergreen-accessory-turns-any-pen- into-a-touch-pen-instantly/18568.html January 3rd, 2013 Evergreen's DN-84303 accessory can fit snugly into any pen, ball pen or pencil, effectively turning any cylindrical object of such size into an instant touch pen that can be used for capacitive screen mobile devices. Convertible touch pens (ones that can work both as touch pens and ordinary pens) may have an additional function to what would otherwise be a technology-specific tool, but the concept could actually be simplified further. Just take a look at Evergreen's new accessory. The DN-84303 may look like some sort of a miniaturized and stylized version of your average highlighting markers, but it is actually a plug-in instant touch "tip" device. To use it, you need to attach it over any kind of pen or writing tool as shown in the image. This means that any pencil, ball pen, or any kind of cylindrical object with the same form factor for that matter, can be instantly turned into a capacitive touch pen using the accessory. There are two sizes that are currently available for the DN-84303. The first is the thicker one that is used for light markers and stouter pens, with dimensions at 19 x 19 x 55mm. The second is the thinner one used for standard pens and pencils, with its dimensions at 15 x 15 x 40mm. The thick versions are available in red and light blue, while the thinner ones are available in pink and light green. They come in paired sets however, so you can't have two of the same thickness in one set. The DN-84303 is now available in Japan as of December 28, 2012. The price of one paired set is 799 yen (9 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) U.S. Senate passes warrantless wiretap bill extending FISA Amendments Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/u.s.-senate-passes-warrantless- wiretap-bill-extending-fisa-amendments/18546.html January 3rd, 2013 The U.S. Senate voted to approve a 5-year extension on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which will allows warrantless surveillance of anyone in regards to counter- terrorism. This bill extends what is known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008, which allowed intelligence agencies the power to monitor E-mail or monitor your Internet traffic. The bill came about in 2007 when then-Director of National Intelligence Admiral Mike McConnell told Congress that
  • 17. January 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 the original FISA passage in 1978 was a hindrance. He stated that it took a considerable amount of time to obtain warrants for monitoring terrorists. The Admiral further iterated that some two-thirds of the information they needed wasn’t available because of the slow process of getting a warrant for surveillance. In July of 2008, then-U.S. President George Bush signed the FISA Amendments Act in support of the intelligence community’s so-called need for easier electronic monitoring of communication. The act was supposedly set in place to protect American’s civil liberties while getting the upper hand on terrorists. When the bill extension passed in September 2012, with a 301 to 118 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, it stirred up a new whirlwind of controversy. The far-reaching enhancements FISA provided to the U.S. government in 2008 angered many privacy groups, many members of Congress and at least one former NSA intelligence agent who became a whistleblower against the agency. The 1978 passage of FISA was made in an effort to actually protect American Citizens from being spied on, but with these new amendments those protections are pretty much gone for good. New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler who spoke out against the extension said that citizens of the United States have nothing to do with foreign intelligence gathering. “The American people deserve better,” Nadler said. “And Congress has an obligation to exert more control over spy agencies than simply to give them a blank check for another five years. Just a few weeks ago a William Binney, who served as a former NSA cryptographer and code breaker exposed the NSA for what he claims to be constant E-mail monitoring by the NSA on all Americans. Binney left the NSA in 2001 over what he described as illegal acts of domestic spying by the agency. He also claims that the systems he built for the agency were turned against the American people and not for what they were intended. In an interview with Russia Today, Binney said that the NSA was violating the very foundation the U.S. was built upon. Originally the extension would have expired on December 31, 2012, but on Friday, December 28, 2012 the Senate voted 73-23, in favor of extending FISA’s Amendments Act of 2008 until December 31, 2017. The bill will now move to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. And for those of you who felt the President may veto the bill, his administration has already stated that he and his administration are strongly in favor of it. Many privacy groups and lawmakers have tried to fight the extension on the FISA amendments in the past. Some lawmakers have even asked for details on just how many Americans the NSA may be monitoring only to have their request denied stating that it would “impede the NSA’s mission.” It's quite evident these types of bills are here to stay. Canonical unveils Ubuntu for smartphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canonical-unveils-ubuntu-for- smartphones/18573.html January 3rd, 2013 Believe it or not, Ubuntu for smartphones has come to fruition, and it’s only a matter of time before we see full- fledged smartphones that have desktop-like functionalities in the hands of consumers. Although there are no official words as how much support Canonical will be getting from manufacturers and/or carriers, the people behind the platform seem confident that Ubuntu for smartphones will take off. Samsung Galaxy Nexus owners will be pleased to know that they will be among the first to drive Ubuntu for smartphones. Canonical will release the installation package which will replace Google’s Android OS. “We are confident that Ubuntu will ship on phones from large manufacturers in 2013,” says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical. In all fairness, the processing power of a smartphone is still far from desktop-level computing, but daily tasks that requires minimal horsepower (i.e. word processing) can get by if powered by a decent dual-core ARM-based chip. Many companies have already caught onto the idea of combining mobility with desktop/notebook functionalities; this is evident with the ‘docking’ stations that essentially turn tablets and smartphones into somewhat of a laptop. Android, Windows Phone, and Mozilla’s upcoming Firefox OS are all engaging in essentially the same niche that Canonical is going for. Cross-device OS is nothing new, and for the most part these OS’s are touch screen optimized and doesn’t focus too much on the functionalities that desktop users are accustomed to. So perhaps this will be where Ubuntu for smartphones will shine, because supposedly the Ubuntu-driven smartphone will have full desktop capabilities when paired with a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
  • 18. January 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Canonical’s announcement of Ubuntu for smartphones seems more like a spinoff of Ubuntu for Android—something that has been peaking the interests of Android owners for quite some time. A fully dedicated smartphone OS instead of an Android add-on is definitely a plus if vanilla is your flavor, but at the end of the day it remains to seen whether or not manufacturers would be willing to hop aboard the Ubuntu smartphone wagon. Not to mention the fact that app developers for this particular platform is still lacking— or rather, it’s very sparse at the moment.
  • 19. January 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. Guy retrieves stolen iPhone with a hammer & OKCupid Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/guy-retrieves-stolen-iphone-with-a- hammer--okcupid/18591.html January 5th, 2013 There's nothing new about someone losing their smartphone, it happens all the time, and we've all heard the stories of how some of them managed to get their smartphones back. But I wonder how many involved the use of a hammer and the OKCupid dating site? It's a common refrain these days, you know, the one where someone has either forgotten their smartphone somewhere stupid or had it stolen; and in most cases that's the end of it as the poor sap who lost their smartphone heads to the store to buy another one. In rare cases however we hear different stories of people who have managed to get their phone back, either because someone found it and decided to be a good human being and return it to the owner; or we hear about the phone being found because some idiot uses it to post to some social media site bragging about their "new" phone. The second option is the one that Nadav Nirenberg found himself relying on recently after some joker stole his iPhone 4. At first Nirenberg thought he'd have to get in line somewhere to buy a new phone but then he started getting email alerts from the OKCupid dating site. It seems that the person who had stolen his phone decided that it would be a great way to talk with the ladies on the dating site, and to add insult to injury he used Nirenberg's image as his own. So Nirenberrg, with some help from some friends, put together a plan to get his phone back. They first got a photo from Google image search showing a smiling woman with her cleavage showing and used it as the image for a fake "Jennifer Gonzalez" OKCupid profile. At that point Nirenberg started sending messages to the person that had stolen his phone and was pretending to be him on the dating site. Needless to say the crook replied and they set up a date for later that day. Nirenberg gave the crook the address to his apartment and sent the message containing lots of winks and smiley faces so that it would seem real. It goes without saying that the thief showed up carrying a bottle of wine and when he knock on the door of Nirenberg's apartment, Nirenberg came up from behind and tapped the thief on the shoulder. The thief turned around to find himself facing the real owner of the phone holding a hammer and asking for his iPhone back. Of course the thief complied and left. Nirenberg decided not to press any charges - he just wanted his phone back. Is Google blocking Windows Phone users from Maps? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/is-google-blocking-windows-phone- users-from-maps-/18590.html January 5th, 2013 You would almost think that there is a war brewing between two of tech's giants as news comes today that Google appears to be blocking Windows Phone users from accessing Google Maps. There has been no word from Google or Microsoft about the news that a growing number of Windows Phone users are reporting that they can't access Google Maps via the phone's browser. When they try to go to maps.google.com they are being redirected to google.com/m regardless of any settings in the phone's browser (IE10). I can verify that this is indeed the case as I tried on my Nokia Lumia 900 and instead of going to Google Maps I found myself looking at the standard Google search page. Other folks are reporting that Android users are not experiencing any problems accessing the maps.google.com address. iPhone users are first prompted to download the Google Map app, but can click through to maps.google.com without any problems. There has been no word from Google if this is just a momentary glitch that they will be fixing or if it is a part of a continued targeting of Windows Phone users to provide them with a reduced, or non-existing, user experience when it comes to using Google products on Windows Phones. This latest Google "glitch" follows the accusation by Microsoft that Google has told YouTube to provide a less than enjoyable viewing experience to Windows Phone users. Google has already made it clear that they have no intention to develop any Google-related apps for Windows Phone. So it isn't really that hard following this latest news to jump to the conclusion that Google is doing whatever it can to make Windows Phone a less than desirable smartphone. For WP
  • 20. January 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 users who use Google-related products, this type of antics between competing companies can be extremely annoying. Impecca bamboo keyboard seeks to make computing greener Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/impecca-bamboo-keyboard-seeks-to- make-computing-greener/18589.html January 5th, 2013 If there is one thing about our electronics that really needs to change is how unfriendly they are to our environment, and are the largest contributors to global pollution. I am sure we’ll see more of a move to make our devices "green" but I'm not sure that a wooden keyboard is the right answer. We are all pretty familiar with the images of piles upon piles of discarded electronic, and people crawling over them trying to ink out a living by trying to recover what valuable heavy metals and salvageable electronic they can. We live in a world where we are drowning in old and discarded electronic, so it should be no surprise that some companies that are looking to capitalize on this by coming out with "green" products. Impecca is one of those companies and their newest product, "a bamboo keyboard with a solid metal construction", will give you some bragging rights about being environmentally responsible with your electronic gadgets. In addition, the keyboard supports Bluetooth so you can use it with any of your Bluetooth enabled devices that are a part of your gadget world. The company says that the keyboard will also come with a fixed bamboo panel on the bottom of the keyboard for ergonomic comfort. As well, the keyboard will have a wireless range of 33 feet. There is no date for shipping of the keyboard but Impecca will be selling them for $99 when they show off the keyboard off at this year's CES event. No Apple HDTV for 2013 & Google Fiber to expand in 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/no-apple-hdtv-for-2013--google- fiber-to-expand-in-2013/18585.html January 5th, 2013 Rumors about Apple introducing a new line of HDTVs have been squashed. Experts say the TV is being delayed by digital rights management concerns. Other predictions say Google will expand their Google Fiber Internet into more cities. For well over a year now there have been rumors of this elusive Apple HDTV coming out, aptly named the iTV. The suspicions were mixed, but many marketing experts saw the rumors about the TVs as being completely unfounded. In August of 2012 Forbes magazine quoted research done by Jefferies analyst, Peter Misek and his reasons behind the TV's production. Misek writes, “Recent data out of Sharp, Hon Hai and other specialty chemical and TV component suppliers support this." Forbes went on to say that Misek based his predictions on supply chain analysis and a boost in revenue for the contract manufacturer for Apple. Apple iTVs were supposed to appear around Christmas 2012 – that of course never materialized. Now that 2013 is well on its way, many research and marketing agencies are again making their predictions for the year. Some of the biggest predictions in particular come from BTIG research group with their top 13 predictions for 2013, one of which includes the anti-rumor that Apple will not be producing an HDTV this year. “The so-called ‘next big thing’ remains hampered by concerns over the legality of the managed/specialized service exception to net neutrality rules, TV Everywhere usage restrictions and solidifying nationwide coverage/accessibility,” BTIG wrote. BTIG did have some positive notes on Apple and predicted that the company will be launching the iRadio. “We expect iRadio to be incorporated into the iTunes iOS app with personalized radio functionality akin to Pandora, integrated with iTunes to purchase music and other music related content such as concert information/tickets/merchandise via Live Nation and Ticketmaster,” writes BTIG. “… iRadio will not only be a global solution, but will include increased skips per hour and extended caching for offline playback.” With all the predictions coming from BTIG, one that is particularly enlightening is an expansion of Google Fiber into more U.S. cities in 2013. BTIG believes Google will move their Fiber into the top 15 or top 20 market cities. Currently ranked as #31, Kansas City is the only U.S. city with Google Fiber. Google sells low number of LG Nexus 4 smartphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-sells-low-number-of-lg- nexus-4-smartphones/18588.html January 5th, 2013 Google's flagship Android smartphone, the LG Nexus 4, has sold fewer than 400,000 units, according to analysis at the XDA Developers forum, putting it well behind the market leaders. Google's flagship Android smartphone, the LG Nexus 4, has sold fewer than 400,000 units, according to analysis at the XDA Developers forum, putting it well behind the market leaders. Users at the forum found that the IMEI numbers of the devices, which helps uniquely identify each phone, used a simple rising sequence of numbers, allowing them to estimate the number of total Nexus 4 phones produced
  • 21. January 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 and sold since its announcement in October and release in November. The developers and Android enthusiasts found that an estimated 70,000 devices were made in October, 90,000 in November, and 210,000 in December, leaving an estimated total of 370,000 devices in circulation. This explains why many customers found it difficult to buy the device, which ended up being sold out in most territories. When compared to total smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012, expected to be in the 200 million mark, it makes for a disappointing sales figure. The low production, however, suggests that both Google and LG expected sales to be lower than they were, so the issue is not necessarily lack of demand. The Nexus 4 gained popularity thanks to similar specs to top- end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III, but with a lower price tag. LG is expected to up production of the smartphone this month, but it will also be upping the price, which could make it a lot less desirable compared to the more attractive Galaxy brand. LG is not necessarily performing badly compared to previous Nexus models, however. The Nexus Galaxy, made by Samsung, shipped just 512,000 models in 2011, and Samsung dismissed the sales as “miniscule” in a court case brought against it by Apple. Given the relatively low sales, one might wonder why Google continues with the Nexus brand, but it seems that becoming the ruler of the smartphone market is not the aim. In many ways it is all about showing off Android and its supporters, giving each one a chance at making the new flagship model, without eating into the sales of each manufacturer's own leading devices. Xbox 720 or Xbox Infinity announcement expected at E3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/xbox-720-or-xbox-infinity- announcement-expected-at-e3/18587.html January 5th, 2013 Microsoft is expected to announce its next-generation gaming console, long speculated to be called Xbox 720, at this year's E3 trade fair, after an official Xbox spokesperson put a countdown on his website. Microsoft is expected to announce its next-generation gaming console, long speculated to be called Xbox 720, at this year's E3 trade fair, after an official Xbox spokesperson put a countdown on his website. Larry Hryb, better known by his Xbox Live gamertag Major Nelson, added the countdown to the event to be held from 11-13 June in Lost Angeles, but did not specify what Microsoft's presence there would involve. However, there has been mounting speculation that Microsoft's answer to the Wii U will arrive this Christmas, likely with a similarly-timed launch of Sony's next PlayStation console. That said, the Wii U was unveiled at E3 2011, but did not launch until Christmas 2012, so the Xbox 720 may not launch until some time in 2014. Leaked information suggests the new Xbox will feature an Intel quad-core processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia graphics card, giving it a significant edge over the Wii U in terms of pure computing power. It is also expected to release a new version of the Kinect, likely with support for up to four players simultaneously. The console, codenamed Durango, may feature a name entirely different to expectations, such as Xbox Infinity, a name that carries some weight thanks to Microsoft buying a series of related domain names, including some for Xbox8,
  • 22. January 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 which is likely an extension of the “infinity” motif, with an infinity loop looking like an 8 on its side. This symbol would likely become the logo of choice, and it would help tie the Xbox brand in with Microsoft's recently-released Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms. Pricing is expected to start at $299. NASA finds large amount of water on Mars meteorite Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-finds-large-amount-of-water- on-mars-meteorite/18586.html January 5th, 2013 NASA researchers analysing a small meteorite believed to have come from the surface of Mars have found a substantial amount of water, providing yet another inkling into the geology of the nearby planet. NASA researchers analysing a small meteorite believed to have come from the surface of Mars have found a substantial amount of water, providing yet another inkling into the geology of the nearby planet. The NWA 7034 “Black Beauty” meteorite, which now becomes a class of its own, weighs roughly 11 ounces and contains 10 times more water than other Martian meteorites. It was found in the Sahara Desert in 2011 and the rock is a whopping 2.1 billion years old, from the so-called Amazonian geologic period on Mars. “The age of NWA 7034 is important because it is significantly older than most other Martian meteorites,” said Mitch Schulte, program scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We now have insight into a piece of Mars' history at a critical time in its evolution.” The meteorite, which is unlike any previously discovered one from the Red Planet, but matches surface rock identified by the Mars rovers, is expected to challenge the current understanding of Martian geology, according to John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The current theory is that the large amount of water contained in the meteorite is from an interaction between the rocks and water present in Mars' crust, and the different mixture of oxygen isotopes may be the result of an interaction with the Martian atmosphere. The meteorite is made up of cemented fragments of basalt, a rock formed when lava cools. “This Martian meteorite has everything in its composition that you'd want in order to further our understanding of the Red Planet,” said Carl Agee, leader of the analysis team and director and curator at the University of New Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics in Albuquerque. “This unique meteorite tells us what volcanism was like on Mars 2 billion years ago. It also gives us a glimpse of ancient surface and environmental conditions on Mars that no other meteorite has ever offered.” Image Credit: NASA Facebook adds voice to Messenger & VoIP for Canadian users Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-adds-voice-to-messenger-- voip-for-canadian-users/18584.html
  • 23. January 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 January 5th, 2013 Facebook has added voice to its independent messenger app, and experimenting with VoIP in Canada. They are also offering a new advanced developer feature called ‘flexible sentences’ that will help modify sentence structure. Facebook just recently adopted a new update to their independent messenger service. Whether you are using iOS or Android this new feature will allow users to send actual voice messages for the first time. The new update is present in the updated messenger with a visible record button located in the chat dialogue box. One simply clicks and holds the button, and then they can record their message up to one minute in length. Facebook is also in the testing stages of a adding a VoIP inside messenger much like what Google offers in their Gmail service. For the time being the VoIP is only available for Canadian iOS users. For now Canadian iOS users will not be able to communicate with other users on Android, nor any user, no matter the OS, outside of Canada. The VoIP service is free but Facebook reminds users that by using the service it will reflect on a user’s data plan. If in fact the VoIP test run in Canada shows a positive feedback the company says that an expansion of the service would ensue. Facebook seems to be on a roll with offering all types of new changes. It was in December 2012 that Facebook began offering users a Messenger first available for Android users. All a person needs is a phone number without any need of an active Facebook account. Soon after messenger was released they began offering the ‘Poke app’ via their new Snapchat-like service. This app allows mobile users to send a traditional Facebook 'poke’, a message, photograph or a video to their friends. Each message can be set to expire at a predetermined time, up to 10 seconds maximum, after which the message will self- destruct. The Poke app is currently available for free at iTunes. The latest change offered is for developers, and it is an advanced feature they are calling ‘flexible sentences’ with Open Graph. This feature offers greater control with sentence structure in stories along with the ability to edit tenses for custom verbs and add additional text for the reader. Facebook says that by offering this new feature it gives the developer an ability to create “more compelling stories for their apps.” The configuration tool will also allow a developer to see which stories are shared and viewed more often along with an ability to remove objects from a sentence. You can read the basic how-to guide here at Facebook’s developer’s page. Which big name sites are sharing your user information? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/which-big-name-sites-are-sharing- your-user-information-/18583.html January 5th, 2013 We all would like to think that the sites we visit the most respect our privacy and wouldn't share that information with other people. Unfortunately that is pretty much a pipe dream as even the most popular web sites on the Internet have been found to share just about everything you do with anyone who wants to know. In a recent investigation of web site privacy policies, the Wall Street Journal tested 50 of the most popular web sites in the United States (including their own site and 20 additional sites in sensitive categories) to see how they treated the data of registered users. To pick the sites used in the investigation WSJ used data from a list of a 1,000 sites as compiled by ComScore in their June 2012 most popular listing. The WSJ's methodology for their investigation was based on techniques used by researchers at AT&T Labs and Worchester Polytechnic Institute. For each of the sites in the list WSJ created a new account, entering name, username, email address, birth date, location, password, and any other "required" information that was a part of the site's registration process. After completing registration the Journal would log out, then log back in and browse all the known pages for the site in question, and then after logging out again they would totally clear the browser cache of all cookies before continuing on to the next. The following is a list of the top 20 and the type of data that they shared with others. First this is the color coding of the type of data shared: Here is the listing with the information explanation of about what Yahoo sends - you can see more on the Wall Street Journal page and drill down for the names on the list to see what they share as well.
  • 24. January 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 E Fun wants to give touch to all Windows 8 computers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/e-fun-wants-to-give-touch-to-all- windows-8-computers/18582.html January 5th, 2013 Windows 8 is all about touch but the problem is that not all computers, especially the desktop, are touch enabled. This is the problem that E Fun is trying to answer with its new Touch8 hardware and software combination. With Windows 8, Microsoft showed the world that it was all in when it came to a unified Windows platform that could run on any device whether it is a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or even the desktop. However this idea faces one huge problem in at least two of those areas: the laptop and desktop because many of these computers don’t have touch capabilities. The laptop world is changing as an increasing number of new laptops are coming to market sporting touch screens, which will make it much easier to live in the new Windows 8 world. The desktop world however is another story, because many people simply don’t want to upgrade their hardware just to have touch functionalities. This is the problem that a company by the name of E Fun is looking to solve with their new product called the APEN Touch8. This product seeks to give touchscreen functionality to the older hardware running Windows 8 - well sort of anyway. The APEN Touch8 is a USB-powered device that includes a receiver and stylus. The receiver connects to the laptop or desktop, and is used to convert the actions of the stylus into inputs that Windows 8 can understand. This is why I said "sort of" about the touchscreen capabilities, because it isn't true touch. Rather, it’s touch by proxy as you need to use a stylus to trick Windows 8 on the laptop or desktop into thinking you are providing the input. It's an interesting idea and I am sure that there are times when something like this might work. However, on the whole the idea that you have to pick up a stylus every time you want to "imitate" touch gestures to get something done seems to me to be a little pointless. The company will be showing off the APEN Touch8 at this year's CES and selling it for $79.99. A $150 kid-focused tablet is Polaroid's attempt at new life Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/a-150-kid-focused-tablet-is-polaroid- s-attempt-at-new-life/18581.html January 5th, 2013 After being saved from oblivion, Polaroid has been searching for some way to become relevant in a new world where instant photograms mean uploading images from camera phones to Instagram. The company's latest attempt is an interesting offering - a 7-inch tablet aimed for kids. I have never understood the reasoning for giving any kid, regardless of age, an expensive electronic device like a smartphone—especially kids under the age of 12 or 13. Besides making sure that they aren't the object of ridicule for not being one of the "cool" kids, children and smartphones are nothing more than a marketing ploy for tech companies and telcoms. However, when it comes to something like tablets the idea of them being a part of a child's world makes a lot more sense. The only thing about that idea is that I cringe the thought of a toddler or young child getting their grimy mitts on a device that can cost multiple hundreds of dollars. Moreover, often times these expensive tech toys aren’t design for slobbery and ill-tempered kids. So as much as I might disagree with children and smartphone or cringe at the idea of miniature humans throwing around a tablet, I find this offering from a re- launched Polaroid (remember them - the instant picture company that almost went bankrupt and then bought up) something that I can actually get behind. The 7-inch tablet comes in a rugged shell with bright colors and big buttons, which that alone makes it perfect for small kids. The yet-to-be-named tablet ships with Android Ice Cream Sandwich installed - even though it's hidden by a more kid friendly shell - and pre-loaded with 35 "premium apps", but more available in a kid-friendly app store. As far as price, Polaroid says it is available for $149.99 and that it is available now directly from Polaroid or in stores later this month. Parent's drugged so teens could stay online Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/parent-s-drugged-so-teens-could- stay-online/18580.html
  • 25. January 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 January 5th, 2013 I can understand a little bit of teenage rebellion when it comes to trying to buck parents and their rules but I think these two teenage girls might have carried that idea just a little too far. Having kids can be fraught with problems and more than a few headaches especially in this day and age of the Internet, texting, and kids that seem to need to be surgically separated from their electronic devices regardless of any rules or curfews that are imposed on them. In the case of two teenage girls in Placer County, California, it seems that they weren't going to have anything to do with the rules and curfew that their parents had placed on their time spent on the Web. For the girls involved their parents had decided that 10 p.m. was a reasonable enough time to shut down access to the Internet but apparently the girls were having nothing to do with that. So the girls decided that they would do something nice for their parents and offered to go an pick up some milkshakes for the family at a local eating establishment but when they returned home the parents noticed after slurping back a fair portion of the milkshakes that their drinks tasted strange; or as the police reported during the investigation - the drinks tasted grainy. That didn't stop the parents from drinking enough of the milkshakes that they fell fast asleep and didn't wake up until 1 a.m. feeling rougher than a New Year's Day hangover. So wanting to find out what had happened, the parents went to their local police station where they bought a $5 drug testing kit (apparently the police have a fairly good side business selling these testing kits) and discovered that the milkshake was spiked with sleep medication. It turns out the girls had spike the milkshakes with a pretty liberal dosage of prescription sleeping aid and when questioned by the police they said they did it because their parents' Internet policy was too harsh. The girls have been charged with conspiracy and "willfully mingling a pharmaceutical with food". Apple refuses to fix Do Not Disturb bug Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-refuses-to-fix-do-not-disturb- bug/18579.html January 5th, 2013 Apple has refused to fix the Do Not Disturb bug that has plagued iPhones since the turn of the year, suggesting users simply wait it out until the feature returns to normal next week. Apple has refused to fix the Do Not Disturb bug that has plagued iPhones since the turn of the year, suggesting users simply wait it out until the feature returns to normal next week. When users set up Do Not Disturb the phone will no longer ring during a specified time period or for certain callers, helping people get a good night sleep while still allowing for certain emergency calls from pre-defined people. A bug in iOS, however, means that the feature does not switch off after its scheduled end time, potentially resulting in missing important calls and notifications. Apple's suggested workaround is to manually turn the feature on or off until 7 January, when the bug will resolve itself. Patrick McCarron, a developer for iOS, suggested the problem was created by incorrectly formatting dates on the platform, leading to it thinking the New Year begins a week into January. Given the problem will go away of its own accord, it is not surprising that Apple is not bothering to issue a software fix, but that still means several more days of a glitchy feature for many users, some of whom might have been hoping for a patch this week. Apple is no stranger to date and time related problems, regularly suffering from bugs related to the daylight savings time zone switch, which resulted in many people not being up on time for work. Users might be hoping this latest bug is patched before we ring in 2014, but past experience suggests time just really is not on Apple's side. Gary Calcott, technical marketing manager at Progress Software, criticised Apple's approach to this issue: "The recent glitches in Apple's iOS applications have been well publicised, and the latest fault with its 'Do Not Disturb' application is the latest in a number of high profile issues it has experienced. However, the most important lesson to take from this is the importance of treating mobile applications as business critical applications, and offering a rigorous level of testing. The increase in the number of businesses operating a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy means that in today's business world, mobile phones are increasingly becoming business tools, which means that it's never been more
  • 26. January 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 important for them, and the applications they run to operate correctly. "Imagine, for instance, material planning transactions that were unable to work correctly until January 7th - it's highly unlikely that such a scenario would take place. Perhaps developers need to start viewing mobile applications not as value-add services for consumers, but as business critical tools for businesses, with the same amount of rigour put into testing as you'd expect from this kind of application?" To make matters worse, Apple aired a video showing off the Do Not Disturb feature on 1 January, right when it stopped working properly. It just cannot get the hang of proper timing, it seems.
  • 27. January 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. Microsoft says no to Halo branded bullets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-says-no-to-halo-branded- bullets/18602.html January 7th, 2013 Microsoft definitely isn't averse to marketing any of its products as we have seen with the popularity of the Surface and Windows Phones on a number of CBS televisions shows like Hawaii Five-0. Heck, you can even see in the ending credits of the shows that Microsoft helped sponsor them, but it would seem that even Microsoft has its limits when it comes to marketing. As much as Microsoft might love to get its products in front of people using things like television shows there comes a point when a company has to draw a line in the sand about what is acceptable when it comes to marketing. Such was the case recently when Microsoft discovered that an ammunition company was making Halo-branded bullets without permission from Microsoft. These Halo-branded bullets were first discovered on the show called "Dual Survival" on the Discovery channel by an avid gamer who noticed the distinct Halo font and logo on the boxes of ammunition. Branded as Halo-Point, an obvious play on the "hollow point" type of bullets, they are manufactured by a US ammunition company named Liberty Ammunition. Even though the company produces ammunition primarily for military use, these "Halo-Point" bullets are obviously being marketed to the general public. Once Microsoft found out about the bullets they made it quite clear that they had nothing to do with the product, and that the logo and Halo font was being used without permission. In a statement to the Kotaku blog Microsoft had this to say: Microsoft does not have a licensing agreement with Liberty Ammunition, or any gun or weapons manufacturer, and the company does not have permission to use "Halo" branding on any of its products. When we discovered the unauthorized use last fall, Microsoft contacted Liberty Ammunition to demand removal of all "Halo" branding from its products and advertising, to which Liberty Ammunition agreed. Microsoft is following up again to ensure full compliance. While there has been no statement from Liberty Ammunition over the matter, something must have been said to them as any reference to the "Halo-Point" bullets has been removed from their website. Man hires in-game assassins to kill son's game character Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/man-hires-in-game-assassins-to-kill- son-s-game-character/18608.html January 7th, 2013 A Chinese man hired digital assassins to kill his son's player character in an online game in efforts to get him to stop gaming so much, according to a report by The Telegraph. A Chinese man hired digital assassins to kill his son's player character in an online game in efforts to get him to stop gaming so much, according to a report by The Telegraph. 23-year-old Xaio Feng quit a software job after three months and since then spent much of his time playing video games instead of looking for another job, resulting in his father becoming concerned about his apparent addiction, though Xaio claims his gaming habits were being exaggerated. His father became so exasperated by the situation that he resorted to a very unorthodox solution: hiring in-game assassins to constantly target his son's character to make the game a lot less fun to play. Xiao grew suspicious after a while and confronted his virtual attackers, who admitted that they had been paid by his father to add him to their hit list.
  • 28. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 It is not clear what game was the focus of the dispute and subsequent digital murder, but it was likely an MMO with an open world active player-versus-player experience or a first- person shooter. The bizarre case highlights a growing phenomenon of internet and gaming addiction, particularly in Asian countries, where new laws have been passed in recent years to address the issue. Some of these have involved questionable or unethical approaches, such as the use of electroshock “therapy” in China, while others have involved enforcing internet curfews, like one implemented by South Korea. Xiao has since reached a deal with his father to look for a new job. Presumably the hitmen have been called off as a result. Image Credit: Hitman: Absolution Lenovo announces first table, not tablet, computer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-announces-first-table-not- tablet-computer/18607.html January 7th, 2013 Lenovo has announced the IdeaCentre Horizon and Gamma Table PCs, kick-starting a new sector of the industry that it is calling the “interpersonal PC,” a multi-user, multi- touch, multi-mode device for a very different interactive experience. Lenovo has announced the IdeaCentre Horizon and Gamma Table PCs, kick-starting a new sector of the industry that it is calling the “interpersonal PC,” a multi-user, multi- touch, multi-mode device for a very different interactive experience. The Horizon is like a tablet computer, but much larger, with a 27-inch screen. It is designed to be placed flat on any surface, such as a table or floor, and lets two or more people use the touchscreen simultaneously, allowing for some interesting new gameplay options. For example, players can use the screen as the board for their games of Monopoly, with an e-dice accessory that means players can still use a traditional element of boardgame gameplay, while the digital version will automatically pick up the appropriate roll of the die. We can see boardgames in general becoming a major attraction to these devices. Players can utilise other accessories like the the four accompanying joysticks and strikers in unique ways, such as in the games FishingJoy and Raiding Company. Music and TV apps are also available, as is a Paint, Color Corner app that turns the screen into a virtual easel. The Horizon also features a unique Aura desktop interface when flat or a standard Windows 8 experience, allowing the device to be used at a normal viewing angle like a standard desktop PC. The Lenovo App Shop offers over 5,000 apps to choose from. The system features an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia graphics card. Perhaps even more unusual is the literal Table PC, which is codenamed Gamma, and still in the concept stage. It is a 39- inch screen built right into a table with wheels, making for a huge working surface. A variety of arcade games could play very well on such a large screen, especially with the part- digital, part-physical experience that Lenovo has penned as “phygital.” “We've seen technology shifts across the four screens, from the desktop to the laptop, tablet and smartphone, and yet, while people have more computing power than ever before, there is still room for technologies
  • 29. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 like Horizon that bring people together. Horizon makes personal computing interpersonal computing with shared, collaborative experiences among several people,” said Peter Hortensius, president of the Product Group at Lenovo. “Now many people can enjoy different photos, music and video on the same screen, and they can play games with our special accessories that blend physical and digital interaction. Horizon reflects our commitment to delivering the innovative products that define the PC Plus era.” Nvidia unveils Project SHIELD Android and PC gaming console Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nvidia-unveils-project-shield- android-and-pc-gaming-console/18605.html January 7th, 2013 Nvidia has announced Project SHIELD, a portable gaming console that can play Android games or stream games from the Steam library of Nvidia-powered PCs. Nvidia has announced Project SHIELD, a portable gaming console that can play Android games or stream games from the Steam library of Nvidia-powered PCs. The handheld console comes with the new Nvidia Tegra 4 mobile processor, which combines ARM's quad-core Cortex- A15 and Nvidia's custom 72-core GeForce graphics chip, resulting in what the company claims is the fastest processor for mobile devices in the world, while also delivering much- needed power saving features for power-hungry portable computing. On the surface of it Project SHIELD looks much like MOGA, a handheld Android gaming system, but one of the many key differences is that Nvidia's device packs everything in, not requiring a user to attach their smartphone to act as a screen and the processing power behind everything. Project SHIELD has a built-in 5-inch multitouch screen, with a resolution of 1280x720, that folds down over the controller, which is more like a traditional console controller than the ones we have encountered with other handheld consoles from Nintendo and Sony. Another major feature is the ability to play Windows games, thanks to streaming content. While the operating system is Android Jelly Bean, and users can access games from Google Play or Nvidia's Tegrazone, the built-in Wi-Fi allows for streaming games from a PC using Nvidia architecture, including titles from Steam, opening up a huge collection of games that Android-only devices do not have. “Project SHIELD was created by NVIDIA engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO and co-founder of Nvidia. “We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way. We hope other gamers love SHIELD as much as we do.” The move is a major shift for Nvidia, which is usually powering the systems under the hood of many gaming rigs. Now it is set to become potentially a major player in the handheld console market, taking advantage of the mobile gaming boom to deliver a two-in-one system with potent architecture to power it. We will likely find out more, such as pricing and a release date, at this year's E3.
  • 30. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 It's the tech world's Crunchies Award time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/it-s-the-tech-world-s-crunchies- award-time/18600.html January 7th, 2013 It's that time of the year again folks when the tech world gets together to pat each other on the back and hand out awards for the supposed best of tech for the past year. This year’s list of nominees has been announced, and while we can be pretty sure who the winners will, in the nature of good fun here's the list with who we think the winners should be. There are some in the tech blogosphere who think that the Crunchies Awards are nothing more than the favorite picks from Techcrunch (since that is where the awards originated), with the winners pretty well predetermined. Of course there is plenty of denials going around about this type of rumor mongering, but with this year's awards being run by both Techcrunch and VentureBeat we may see some real surprise winners. The complete list of nominees has been released and the winners will be announced on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at the Louis M. Davies Symphony Hall, but in the mean time I thought it might be fun to pick our own winners and see how close we come to the actual winners; which you can still vote for here. So without any further delay here's the nominees and our picks for the winners: Best Technology Achievement Felix Baungartner Jump From Space Google Glass - it goes without saying that this will probably be the judges pick for this category Mars Curiousity .... This was the collective pick of the VR-Zone writers as the winner SpaceX docks with International Space Station Telsa Supercharger Network Best Collaborative Consumption Service Airbnb Get It Now / Postmates Lyft TaskRabbit Uber ... Our pick for winning this category Best E-Commerce Application Fab Hotel Tonight Karma / Facebook Gifts - this will probably be the judge's pick Warby Parker Zulily We can't honesty think of one to pick here Best Mobile Application Evernote .... this would be my pick for winner Google Maps Grindr Instagram Square - this will probably be the judge's pick mainly because of its pedigree Fastest Rising Startup Exec Lyft
  • 31. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Pinterest - this goes without saying that it will be the winner because everyone thinks that Pinterest is the hottest thing going on in social media these days Snapchat Stripe Best Content Discovery Application Flipboard ... given the tech blogosphere's infatuation with apps that are meant for iOS this will probably be the pick Instapaper Pinterest Prismatic .. late arrival for 2012, this is getting a lot of buzz so I think it has a shot at winning this category Tumblr Best Design Facebook Timeline ... seriously, what the hell is this doing in the Best Design category Medium Paper by FiftyThree Square - good chance to pick up the winning Crunchie for this category Best Bootstrapped Startup FreshBooks Instapaper Nimbus Techmeme .. how does a site started in 2005 even belong in any of these categories, but that said, chances are it'll win due to association and how it likes to blacklist people and sites Upverter ... can't really pick one we think could be a winner *YAWN* Sexiest Enterprise Startup Asana Box - this will probably be the big favorite and one that we would pick as well Cloudera Plexxi Zendesk Best International Startup Hailo Rovio Soundcloud .. I'd like to see this one make it to the winner's circle Spotify ... bets are that this will be the judges favorite Xiaomi Best Education Startup Codecademy Coursera - this is the newest and hottest favorite for the tech pundits and judges and will probably win Edmodo Khan Academy - Should be the winner Udacity Best Hardware Startup Lit Motors Lockitron Makerbot - because of the massive shift that 3D printing means for society, this startup should win Nest - because of it's founder heritage, this will probably win Raspberry Pi - this would be my second pick for a spot in the winner circle Best Time Sink Angry Birds Star Wars Buzzfeed Letterpress Pinterest - clear winner regardless of who is doing the picking and voting WhatsApp Biggest Social Impact Donors Choose Indiegogo Kickstarter Kiva - as a Kiva member I am bias, but I think Kiva should be the winner in this category Reddit - this will probably be the winner just because it's reddit Angel of the Year Michael Arrington - seriously??? you've got to be kidding Chris Dixon Paul Graham David Lee Chris Sacca - if honesty counted for anything, Chris should win VC of the Year Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz - chances are it will be these two that are crowned as winners Matt Cohler Jim Goetz Michael Moritz Founder of the Year Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia (from Airbnb) Kevin and Julia Hartz (Eventbrite) Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla) Kevin Systrom (Instagram)
  • 32. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Nir Zuk (Palo Alto Networks) ... too open to be able to pick a winner CEO of the Year Dick Costolo - Twitter Phil Libin - Evernote Marissa Mayer - Yahoo! - even though she's still new to the position, I think she should have a shot at winning Larry Page - Google Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook - will probably end up winning <gag> Best New Startup of 2012 Coursera - because of its potential to disrupt the educational (broken) system Crowdtilt Lyft Snapchat Waze Best Overall Startup of 2012 Fab Github Instagram Palantir Square .... the winner will be either Instagram or Square, but neither are really even a startup anymore so it's a bit of a joke Google's Eric Schmidt & former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson confirmed for North Korea visit Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-s-eric-schmidt--former- new-mexico-governor-bill-richardson-confirmed-for-north-korea- visit/18599.html January 6th, 2013 Google Excutive Chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson are confirmed for a trip to North Korea next week, although the delegates’ objectives in the secluded portion of Korea are unknown. You know Google is serious about making its mark on every part of the world when one of its executives, Eric Schmidt, wants to go to North Korea. According to a report from Yahoo, Schmidt and the former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and a few ‘staff’ members will be visiting the secluded portion of Korea for unconfirmed purposes. Schmidt’s objective for visiting North Korea is unclear, but according to sources familiar with the matter, it will be some type of ‘humanitarian’ mission. Although, it’s certainly not out of the question that there may be some sort of ‘Googlism’ that will take place to build the search engine’s brand even more. The U.S. State Department insisted that Schmidt’s visit to North Korea is not timely, because of rising tension between North Korea and various world factions over North Korea’s recent rocket launching. Before departing for North Korea, Richardson will hold a press conference at the Beijing airport on Thursday. However, no media group(s) will accompany the private group of delegates on their humanitarian mission. Speculators are proposing that part of the mission will involve Richardson seeking the release a Korean-American tour guide who has been detained in North Korea since last year. There are political implications on Richardson’s mission in North Korea, but Schmidt’s reason for tagging along is unclear. Be it Google brain washing or just travelling out of curiosity, Schmidt’s name is linked with Google and one can only guess that there has to be some sort of business to be accomplished in North Korea. Teenager brags about drunk driving on Facebook and gets caught Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/teenager-brags-about-drunk-driving- on-facebook-and-gets-caught/18598.html January 6th, 2013 What happens when you brag about driving drunk on Facebook? Well, there's a high chance that the police will come knocking on your door. Facebook is one of those places where you shouldn’t post everything about your life onto. Jacob Cox-Brown of Oregon did exactly what many people would consider dumb. The teen reportedly posted the following Facebook status onto his profile: “Drivin drunk... classsic ;) but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P." As you can tell by what the teen wrote, it seems like the young man decided that it was cool to brag about his ability to drive drunk. Cox-Brown probably had a nice little chuckle right after he pressed ENTER, but then the police showed up at his door and charged him with “two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver,” as reported by KGW.com. There weren’t enough evidence to charge the teen with drunk driving. This isn't the first time someone has done something like this on a social networking site. In September of last year,
  • 33. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 a woman posted “my dumb*** got a DUI and hit a car LOL” onto Facebook right after wrecking someone’s car. The judge overseeing her case demanded that she take down that Facebook post, but the drunk driver did not comply and ended up receiving some jail time for her stubbornness. In 2011, another Facebook mishap also landed some thieves in jail when two men robbed an Internet café, and one of the thieves left a trail for police when he neglected to sign out of his Facebook from the café’s computer. It’s sad and funny at the same time to read and hear about people getting caught for crimes that they could have gotten away with. Facebook is not a private channel for people to confess and record everything that’s going on in their lives. Samsung preparing to unveil Galaxy S IV in March? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-preparing-to-unveil- galaxy-s-iv-in-march-/18597.html January 6th, 2013 Some recently leaked images is suggesting that Samsung may lift the lid on the Galaxy S IV on March 4, 2013. The buzz around Samsung’s next Galaxy S installment is that there won’t be an official word from Samsung until mid-2013. But that hasn’t stop ‘insiders’ from leaking details and even images of what Samsung is cooking up for consumers. Sam Mobile recently posted an image of a phone that is reported to be the Galaxy S IV by the source. There’s no point in harping about what the hardware will be like in the S IV, but it’s a given that whatever Samsung decides to slap into their next flagship needs to be a notch above the current S III. Many sources are quite sure that the Galaxy S IV will sport a bigger screen that supports 1080p resolution. It is also believed that Samsung will do away with the physical keys in favor of the full-on touch interface generated by the Android OS. We’ll be at CES 2013, but it’s almost certain that Samsung won’t be dropping a doozy on everyone by announcing the Galaxy S IV—plus, it’s not their style. If Samsung was to unveil or at least confirm the Galaxy S IV, the South Korean firm would send out hoards of press invites and such to create commotion amongst the media as well as prospective customers. Flextronics CEO hints of a return to U.S. manufacturing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/flextronics-ceo-hints-of-a-return-to- u.s.-manufacturing/18596.html January 6th, 2013 Just recently CEO Mike McNamara of Flextronics International Ltd., which is a Singapore-based company, hinted on bringing manufacturing back to the United States. Speaking last month at the annual Raymond James IT Supply Conference, Mike McNamara, who serves as the chief executive officer of Flextronics, predicts that more smartphones will be produced by the U.S. in the near future. As with any corporation, that decision would of course be based entirely on profit potentials. A higher standard of living is quickly becoming the norm in countries that U.S. manufacturers once saw as profitable labor alternatives. With a higher standard of living, other costs rise in tandem such as higher pay and incentives for workers. Because of this, many U.S. manufacturers are eyeing a return to U.S. production. Nevertheless, those decisions would pivot on tax incentives, labor demands and the unknown costs that would stem from the newly enacted federal health insurance mandates.
  • 34. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 In 2012 production costs in China rose about 20%, and they are also predicted to rise at that same rate every year thereafter for at least 5 more years. Labor rates are also rising in many other parts of the globe such as India, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia. “What that is going to do is probably push more work into Mexico,” McNamara said. “And, over time, as those costs continue to go up, you'll probably see more things get pushed back in the USA. With the costs continuing to go up around the world like they are, and with the cost in the United States staying relatively flat over the last few years, I would expect you would to see a little bit more coming back." In November 2012 one of the hot button issues during the U.S. Presidential debates was the financial crisis and unemployment problems affecting the country. And just a year previous a report from the U.S. Commerce Department stated that approximately 1/3 of the 31 million employees involved in multi-national corporations were working abroad. Of course the U.S. wants to see a return to more manufacturing, but hopefuls must understand that it would entail less expensive automation processes along with construction and where to place a new facility. We must remember it is only a supposition when men such McNamara predict a likely return of jobs to the United States. Markets are always changing, so a return of jobs would not be some instant, miraculous event. It may take many years before we see anything. Flextronics is a Fortune Global 500 electronics company that offers manufacturing and end-to-end supply chain services. Currently employing more than 200,000 employees, they have facilities in over 30 countries. Corsair AX760 Power Supply Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/corsair-ax760-power-supply- review/18595.html January 6th, 2013 Today we are having a look at the Corsair AX760; the replacement of the older AX750 and the non-digital version of the recently released AX760i. This power supply boasts amazing performance figures, 80Plus Platinum efficiency, an all modular design and pretty much everything a hardcore user desires. Can it deliver though? We will find out in this review. Last year, Corsair made an impression with their digital PSUs. Through our reviews here in VR-Zone we had the chance to work on both the monstrous AX1200i and the excellent AX860i, the performance and features of which made most enthusiasts drool over their keyboards. However Corsair recognized that not everyone really needs the digital link interface, yet everyone craved the crazy performance which these units offered, thus they released two "non- digital" AX series power supplies as well, the AX760 and AX860. It is the AX760 which we will be reviewing today, checking to see whether its performance is up to par with the digital units of the series. Corsair might have started as a computer RAM manufacturer but today the company also is one of the favorite performance PSU suppliers among enthusiasts. They offer tens of products through six series, each series aiming at a different segment of the market. During the past few months, Corsair completely upgraded the AX PSU series, enriching it with digital units with USB interfaces (such as the AX1200i and the AX860i which we reviewed in the last few months) and replacing the older AX750 and AX850 with the more advanced AX760 and AX860. Due to their power rating and nearly identical specifications, most people would think that the AX760/AX860 and the AX760i/AX860i are identical, with the exception of the USB interface; that however is entirely incorrect, as even the OEM manufacturer differs, meaning that they are entirely different products down to their very core. Is the non-digital version as capable as the digital -i version then in terms of performance? We will find out in this review, as we are putting the AX760 to the test. Manufacturer’s features and specifications • Dedicated single +12V rail • An ultra-quiet, 120mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow with exceptionally low noise levels by varying fan speed in response to temperature • 80 PLUS Platinum certified, delivering up to 92% energy efficiency under real-world load conditions • Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF value of 0.99 • Universal AC input from 90~264V • Over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current, and short circuit protection provide maximum safety for your critical system components • Engineered to meet maximum power output at a server-grade 50°C temperature rating. • Self-test switch to determine PSU functionality even before installation. • High-quality capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability • A seven year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair's legendary technical support and customer service • Safety Approvals: cTUVus, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TÜV, CCC, C-tick Warranty Seven years Dimension 150mm x 86mm x 160mm Modular Fully Power 760 Watts 80 Plus Platinum ATX Connector 1 EPS Connector 2 PCI-E Connector 6 4 Pin Peripheral Connector 8 SATA Connector 12 Floppy Connector 2 MTBF 100,000 hours
  • 35. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Disney Game Console, A Whole New World Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/disney-game-console-a-whole-new- world/18594.html January 6th, 2013 Disney filed an application for a patent many moons ago, in June 2011 to be precise, but recently the Trademark Office logged it, and with extra attention. The patent suggests a gaming console featuring 3D augmented reality with a handheld device. Some of the words used in the patent application are eerily similar, in a good way, to the description of the Toy Box. The Toy Box was an endeavor that Disney only briefly mentioned. "Its gameplay involves various Disney and Pixar characters interacting with each other." Nothing more was said at the time. In fact, this was before it was officially announced, and it still has yet to be, which is why this patent application is likely to be the Toy Box. The device would allow the user to take a picture of something and animate it with Disney and Pixar characters. The Toy Box also described an "extensive mobile and online applications." This device, whether it's the Toy Box or not - and let's face it, it probably is - is going to be very intriguing. Sure, maybe Disney games don't appeal to everyone, but the device doesn't end there. Apple could be thrown into the crockpot of this whole idea. Apple and Pixar have ties, and you should know why. They have tried to expand their gaming, so this may be Apple's foot in the door. Either way, Disney rarely disappoints, so this device will be something to pay attention to when it comes out. IBM V.P. Mike Daniels departs after 36 years stint Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ibm-v.p.-mike-daniels-departs- after-36-years-stint/18593.html January 6th, 2013 Mike Daniels, who started with IBM at a mere 22 years of age, will be departing the company on March 31, 2013. Oddly enough, Daniels will not receive a direct replacement, but IBM will fill his position with two new positions. According to an IBM spokesperson, Erich Clementi, who serves as senior vice president for global technology services, and a Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president for global business services, will be filling in Daniels spot when he departs. Both Clementi and Kralingen will report directly to the CEO. "Mike Daniels has worldwide responsibility for Services, which includes outsourcing, consulting and systems integration, application management, integrated technology services, maintenance and technical services, and global delivery,” reads his IBM website biography. “Together, these businesses account for more than half of IBM revenue.” Daniel’s once served as head of Global Services in the Asia Pacific region and as IBM’s Sales and Distribution operations in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. He also had many other positions that included responsibility for sales in regards to IBM’s information technology products, marketing, and services. Daniels was seen by many as an economizer in regards to saving money for IBM and a trailblazer in regards to computer management services. Daniels was nearly picked as CEO of the company but was passed over for Ginni Rometty just over a year ago. Rometty also became the company’s first female in charge of operations. IBM was a leader and groundbreaker in computer development. The company is credited with the invention of the hard disk drive, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, the UPC, DRAM and many more. Gingerbread Drops Below 50%, Jelly Bean jumps to 10% Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gingerbread-drops-below-50--jelly- bean-jumps-to-10-/18592.html January 6th, 2013 Google's latest data shows that usage of Android, ‘Jellybean’ has broken the 10% mark for the first time in six months. Android’s most popular version, 2.3, Gingerbread has dropped below 50%. Google’s latest statistics on Android usages, which are found at their Android Developer Dashboard site, are showing some interesting changes with users. Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich ranks in at second with a 29.1% usage rate. Android 4.1, Jelly Bean has jumped to be the third most popular system showing the number of devices running the OS to be over 10% in the past six months. The statistics were gathered from Google’s, Google Play app store. The most popular version of Android is still version 2.3, Gingerbread. Nevertheless, its usage has dropped below 50 percent for the first time to 47.6%. While still highly popular, the Gingerbread version of Android has not been updated since September 2011. This sudden increase in Jelly Bean is apparently part of a trend. The stats, which were gathered ending on January 3, 2012, shows Jelly Bean use nearly doubling. In all, Jelly Bean usage grew from 2.7 to 6.7 % as compared to the October data.
  • 36. January 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Android 4.1, Jelly Bean debuted in June 2012 with many smartphone makers switching to the OS soon thereafter. Part of the surge with Jelly Bean may be attributed to Google’s release of the Nexus 10 tablet and their Nexus 4 handset that coincided with the release of Jelly Bean. Soon after its release Samsung offered Jelly Bean on their Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note devices.
  • 37. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Google offers free Wi-Fi to New York City neighbourhood Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-offers-free-wi-fi-to-new-york- city-neighbourhood/18637.html January 9th, 2013 Google is offering free public Wi-Fi access in a neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City, as part of a major redevelopment project in the area. Google is offering free public Wi-Fi access in a neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City, as part of a major redevelopment project in the area. The search giant teamed up with the Chealsea Improvement Company to provide free outdoor access to the internet in the Chelsea, Manhattan neighbourhood, resulting in it being the largest area of Wi-Fi coverage in the city. Part of the motivation for the free internet was likely the fact that Google's New York offices are in this part of the city, as are several new technology companies. Google also provides free Wi-Fi in Mountain View, California, where its headquarters is based. Before people get too excited, however, a spokesperson for Google said that the company does not have any current plans to extend the free Wi-Fi to other regions. Google is also experimenting with offering 1Gb/s broadband at comparatively low prices to many internet service providers. It is even offering a TV package and free 5Mb/ s internet in select areas, with schools and hospitals also benefiting from free access. Google has long been campaigning for a free and open internet, which means acting as a service provider could help it ensure its internet-based services remain at the fore of the online user experience. Free or cheap internet is certainly going to be a major motivator. Image Credit: Reuters/Andrew Kelly Real smartphone users have no brand loyalty Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/real-smartphone-users-have-no- brand-loyalty/18627.html January 9th, 2013 Tech pundits love nothing better than to brag about how their mobile device of choice is the best on the market and that it is either leading the pack or killing the leader. From the iPhone to the iPad, the Android smartphone to the Nexus the hyperbolae gushes forth like verbal diarrhea when in fact real people just want something which works for them. We like to believe that when we go out an pick ourselves up a new smartphone or tablet that we are doing so with a fair modicum of knowledge, especially those of us that live in a tech-savvy world where others come to us looking for advice about what they should buy. There is no getting around the fact that we all have our own preferences and like to believe that those preferences only change when the technology changes rather than being swayed by marketing and peer pressure. However brand loyal we like to think we are the reality is that "real-techie" type folks are a small minority of the buying public and as Accenture found out in a new study over 66% of smartphone and tablet buyers have no brand loyalty whatsoever. As they found out in the study 24 percent would switch just to see what else it out there, 23 percent would change if offered a better user experience, and another 23 percent would switch in a heartbeat if a newer system would give them access to more innovative services and applications. In an email to VentureBeat managing director at Accenture, Kumu Puri said that overall there is no such thing as widespread loyalty among consumers when it comes to the
  • 38. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 operating systems used on their smartphones, tablets, or PCs. For many, according to the Accenture study, the reason for switching boils down to simply curiosity along with lower costs, less hassle, higher security, and better syncing with of all things their in-car systems. It turns out that about one-fifth of the study group are "strong users" only by coincidence and that they don't really have any preferred OS or don't care what operating system they have. New Xbox 720 specs surface, possibly leaked by ex-Ubisoft employee Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-xbox-720-specs-surface- possibly-leaked-by-ex-ubisoft-employee/18632.html January 9th, 2013 Specs for Microsoft's next-generation Xbox 720 console may have been leaked onto the internet by an ex-Ubisoft employee who claims to know all about the upcoming console. According to recent leaked information, Microsoft's Xbox 720 console may very well boast an AMD eight-core CPU and a 8800 series GPU. This info has been gleaned by a regular user on the Chinese forum site TGFC known as BD. The user also claims to be an ex employee for the video gaming publisher and developer Ubisoft, and makes further claims to be an expert on Microsoft's upcoming next generation console. BD goes on to reveal that Microsoft may use Windows 8 kernel for the system, and that the Xbox 720 may have 8GB of RAM and 640 GB of hard drive memory. Keep in mind that none of this data has been acknowledged to be factual and still at this point remains unofficial speculation...however it would be interesting to find this leaked info to be correct, especially with the Xbox 720's reveal coming at this year's E3 event in June. FPSRussia's weapons manager found dead Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fpsrussia-s-weapons-manager- found-dead/18635.html January 9th, 2013 FPSRussia's YouTube channel, featuring the fictional Russian character Dmitri Potapoff, is all about guns. In every video, a new weapon is demonstrated to great effect with explosions, target practice and humor. FPSRussia's arsenal was managed by Keith Ratliff, who has just been found dead at his place of business, the possible victim of homicide. FPSRussia's YouTube channel is a haven for gun nuts and FPS players. In each video, Dmitri Potapoff, a fictional Russian played by Kyle Myers, demonstrates different weapons, ranging from pistols to assault rifles, all the way up to tanks. I've been a subscriber myself for quite some time, and there's always been one question on my mind whenever I see a particularly impressive weapon being tested: How
  • 39. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 do you even go about getting one of those? Enter Keith Ratliff, FPSRussia's weapons manager. Ratliff worked in close partnership with Myers on the YouTube channel and also operated a custom firearms manufacturer called FPS Industries; it's thanks to him that the show has had it's wide and impressive arsenal. However, tragically, Ratliff was found dead at his Georgia business. Keith Ratliff was responsible for supplying FPSRussia with its arsenal Kitty Wandell, also a part of the FPSRussia YouTube channel, released this statement: "As I am sure most of you know Keith Ratliff has been with the FPS Russia channel for quite some time now, helping us out with everything from pulling pranks to finding almost impossible weapons to use in videos. It saddens me to confirm that he was indeed found having passed away here in Georgia on Thursday. I do ask for some privacy right now as you can imagine it has shocked us all and our main thoughts and concerns lay with his family right now. Thank you for understanding." Keith Ratliff Ratliff, 32, was found dead on Thursday at 5.45pm, having last been seen alive the previous day at around 7pm. The body was found with a bullet hole in the head and is currently being regarded as a homicide. The GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) is aiding local authorities with the case. The body has been taken to Atlanta to perform an autopsy. CES 2013: ZTE unveils world's thinnest 5-inch full high definition smartphone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ces-2013-zte-unveils-world-s- thinnest-5-inch-full-high-definition-smartphone/18636.html January 9th, 2013 ZTE has unveiled the world's thinnest 5-inch full high- definition (FHD) smartphone, the Grand S, offering a powerful system under the hood and LTE connectivity. ZTE has unveiled the world's thinnest 5-inch full high- definition (FHD) smartphone, the Grand S, offering a powerful system under the hood and LTE connectivity. The Grand S is ZTE's first full high-definition smartphone, boasting a 5-inch 1080p display capable of showing off the entirety of a website, as well as a 13-megapixel autofocus camera with flash and a 2-megapixel front facing camera for video conferencing. The cameras also come with facial recognition, anti-shake, and a panoramic feature. Powered by a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, this smartphone can run Android Jelly Bean easily. LTE internet offers download and upload speeds of up to 100Mb/s and 50Mb/s respectively. It is also one of the thinnest devices in the world, particularly for the size of its screen, at just 6.9mm. “The ZTE Grand S gives our customers the latest in technology, functionality and style. We understand that today’s consumers call for advanced features and state-of- the-art multimedia options in their handsets, and the ZTE Grand S confidently addresses those demands,” said Mr.
  • 40. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Kan Yulun, corporate VP of ZTE and CTO of the Mobile Device Division at ZTE. The Grand S is on display at ZTE's booth at CES 2013 and will be available for purchase online in China in the first quarter of this year, though there is no word on a worldwide release yet. ZTE said it plans to release many more high-end smartphones throughout the year. ASUS MX299Q makes widescreen wider Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-mx299q-makes-widescreen- wider/18626.html January 9th, 2013 The new MX299Q wide-angle (WLED) monitor revealed by Asus at CES 2013 delivers hearty fare for even the hungriest wide-angle lovers. Featuring a 29'' frameless edge-to-edge display with a 2560 x 1080 resolution, the MX299Q is a 21:9 aspect ratio for ultra- wide viewing. With a 178° horizontal and vertical viewing angle, this WLED screen offers an ultra-slim profile with a sundial-style stand design as well as extensive connectivity with a HDMI port (with MHL function), Dual-link DVI, DisplayPort port, an earphone jack, a PC audio-in jack. The MX299Q from Asus is planned to be available in the first quarter of 2013 for a price point of $599. ASUS P9X79-E WS: Mother of all Sandy Bridge-E boards? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-p9x79-e-ws-mother-of-all- sandy-bridge-e-boards-/18630.html January 9th, 2013 Asus unveiled an unannounced X79 offering at their CES suite today - the juggernaut known as the P9X79-E WS, also probably the most feature-filled single socket motherboard ever.
  • 41. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Apple could be working on a cheaper lite iPhone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-could-be-working-on-a- cheaper-lite-iphone/18628.html January 9th, 2013 According to a report by the Wall Street Journal (and by the less reliable Digitimes), Apple might be working on a less expensive and lower spec little brother to the iPhone. According to the WSJ, Apple is finally going forward with a plan which they have been considering for years: producing a low cost and lower spec version of the insanely popular iPhone - a sort of iPhone lite. The phone, which would resemble its superior flagship version, would be subjected to certain differences in order to lower consumer costs for the product. Among these, the WSJ specifically mentioned the possibility that the phone’s frame would be constructed using polycarbonate plastic rather than aluminum. The iPhone has never numbered among the more affordable phones since its debut in 2007, a trend which continues to this day. Back then, an 8 GB version was no less than $599, and a 16 GB version of the current iPhone 5 is $649. Compared to some other modern smartphones, such as Google’s Nexus 4 which sold for $300 off contract (it’s currently sold out), the iPhone is a bit...not cheap. So it is a fairly sensible idea to introduce a lower cost version of the product, which would undoubtedly appease a fairly significant market. CES 2013: EVGA X79 Dark Motherboard and Mini-ITX Cases Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ces-2013-evga-x79-dark- motherboard-and-mini-itx-cases/18629.html
  • 42. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 January 9th, 2013 Previously teased on their social media channels, EVGA showed off their new X79 Dark motherboard offering and an upcoming water-cooled mini-ITX enclosure. X79 Dark Unlike the more prominent motherboard makers like ASUS and Gigabyte, EVGA was late to the Intel Sandy Bridge- E HEDT platform with less than stellar offerings like the X79 FTW and Classified, which offered only four DDR3 DIMM slots (as opposed to eight on the other brands) and were plagued for months after launch with numerous BIOS quirks and underwhelming memory overclocking potential. The company's engineers went back to the drawing board to come out with the X79 Dark - which they claim is now able to compete with the likes of the Republic of Gamers boards from ASUS and challenge top overclocking records, thanks to a redesigned memory trace configuration (presumably T- toplogy) that can support eight-DIMM operation in quad channel. The board is loaded with a plethora of enthusiast oriented features like a 12+1 phase VRM (presumably IR3550) and debug switches including an EVBot connector. A company spokesman said the X79 Dark should hit retail in around 2-3 months time, which is to be close to the upcoming 22nm Ivy Bridge-E refresh and GPU releases from Nvidia and AMD. Mini-ITX Box EVGA also showed off its new line of ITX enclosures for LAN party enthusiasts, fitted with a 500W 1U power supply (40A on 12v rail) and ample space for a 240mm close-loop water radiator. The actual design and pricing has not been finalized yet but expect to see the final incarnation around Computex Taipei at June this year.
  • 43. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Razer's Edge brings full PC gaming to a tablet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/razer-s-edge-brings-full-pc-gaming- to-a-tablet/18622.html January 9th, 2013 Razer has introduced the Edge gaming tablet at CES 2013, claiming that the device is the "most powerful tablet in the world". Razer has finally revealed a retail version of Project Fiona, and its official name is the Razer Edge. Gamers may notice some differences between the Edge and its prototype, including the removal of the permanent side- mounted controllers and actually finalizing the system's base specs and software.
  • 44. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Razer claims that the Edge is the "most powerful tablet in the world" for good reasons: the gaming tablet will be available with either the Intel i5 or i7 processor, discrete graphics with an Nvidia GT640 LE GPU, and up to 8GB of RAM that promises to deliver amazing PC-quality gaming performance of well over 30 fps for all current titles. Dishonored, for example, runs at 59 FPS, Dirt Showdown at 41 FPS, etc. The Edge also has a docking station to allow gamers to use it like a console, with USB slots for controllers and HDMI output to a big-screen HDTV, somewhat like Nintendo's Wii U system. The Razer Edge will be available in Q1 of this year and comes in two varieties: the Edge and the Edge Pro. The basic version (Edge) comes packed with Intel Core i5 processors, the Nvidia GT640 LE, 4GB of RAM, and a 64 GB SSD, whereas the Edge Pro utilizes an Intel Core i7, Nvidia GT 640 LE, 8 GB or RAM and either a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD. Pricing information is still not revealed, however Razer says that the Edge (basic version) will start at $999. Massive asteroid skirts close to Earth tonight, could hit in 2036 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/massive-asteroid-skirts-close-to- earth-tonight-could-hit-in-2036/18619.html January 8th, 2013 We might have survived the Mayan apocalypse, but doomsayers will have plenty more to talk about, thanks to a whopping 900-foot wide asteroid that will skirt close to the Earth tonight and may crash directly into the planet in 2036. We might have survived the Mayan apocalypse, but doomsayers will have plenty more to talk about, thanks to a whopping 900-foot wide asteroid that will skirt close to the Earth tonight and may crash directly into the planet in 2036. The collossal space rock, dubbed Apophis after the evil Egyptian god, will bypass Earth tonight (midnight GMT, 7pm EST) at a distance of around nine million miles, which might sound like it is very far away, but given the size of the thing and the gravitation pull of the planet, this is reasonably close. We should be safe for now, but in 2029 it will come even closer, cruising just 30,000 kilometres away from the Earth's surface, potentially endangering communication satellites that are orbiting the planet at a similar distance. Artist's impression of an asteroid impact, courtesy of NASA Scientists previously predicted in 2004 that there was a one- in-45 chance that the asteroid will strike Earth in 2029, but that threat was later lifted after further calculations gave us yet another sigh of life. However, 2036 is not looking so good, according to scientists, with a “non-negligible chance” of an impact that year. The chance is very small, just 1 in 250,000 (a 0.0004
  • 45. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 percent chance), but its predicted close proximity then has been the cause of concern for some time. If it hits, NASA said it would be like 500,000,000 tons of TNT going off, making it roughly ten times more powerful than the worst nuclear bomb ever detonated. With so many years to go and a variety of technological advancements likely to be made, scientists may find their predictions inaccurate or may develop tools to redirect the asteroid to avoid a disastrous collision. Image Credit: NASA CES 2013: Valve teams up with Xi3 for gaming "console" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ces-2013-valve-teams-up-with-xi3- for-gaming-console-/18618.html January 8th, 2013 Game developer Valve has teamed up with Xi3 Corporation to develop a tiny computer system optimised to run Steam, giving us a first inkling into Valve's long-awaited hardware plans. Game developer Valve has teamed up with Xi3 Corporation to develop a tiny computer system optimised to run Steam, giving us a first inkling into Valve's long-awaited hardware plans. The grapefruit-sized Piston modular computer chassis has been created by Xi3, with investment from Valve, and the two companies are showcasing the design at both of their booths at CES 2013 in Las Vegas this week. The companies are remaining tight-lipped about how close their partnership is and what exactly is under the hood of the modular computer, but what we do know is that it is designed for what Xi3 is calling Big Picture mode, which is aimed at LAN gaming parties using high-definition displays, and this mode will support Valve's Steam game distribution service. While the system is not technically a Valve product, affectionately called the Steam Box, it is being supported heavily by the developer, and marks the closest thing to a gaming console from the company, after rumours last year that it planned to enter the console market. The biggest drawback to a deal with Xi3, however, is the price. Similar miniature gaming rigs designed by Xi3 cost around $1,000, and while they will likely pack a lot under the hood and plenty of connectivity options, this is a price point that just won't compete with the current console leaders. Image Credit: Digital Trends CES 2013: Intel broadens mobile computing entry with latest Atom chips Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ces-2013-intel-broadens-mobile- computing-entry-with-latest-atom-chips/18616.html January 8th, 2013 Intel has unveiled a slew of new mobile products at CES 2013, with Atom-powered smartphones, Ultrabooks that consume even less power than before, and all-in-one computers with a battery built right into the screen. Intel has unveiled a slew of new mobile products at CES 2013, with Atom-powered smartphones, Ultrabooks that consume even less power than before, and all-in-one computers with a battery built right into the screen. With the smartphone market continuing to boom, Intel is hoping to carry forward its popular brand from PCs to the mobile sector, predicting the Intel Inside label will act as an attractive incentive to buy an Android device with an Atom processor over the myriad of other mobile processors out there.
  • 46. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Intel is boasting speeds of 1.2GHz for the Z2420 Atom processor, with Hyper-Threading Technology, 1080p hardware-accelerated encode and decode, and support for up to two cameras and a 5 megapixel burst mode for capturing seven pictures in less than a second. The company is already looking to the future, however, with the Z2580, codenamed Clover Trail+, set to be a dual-core processor with a dual-core graphics engine. Intel is not ignoring the tablet market either, noting deals it has made with Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG and Samsung for Windows 8 tablets running on an Atom Z2760 processor. A next-generation 22 nanometer quad-core Atom System- on-Chip (SoC), codenamed Bay Trial, is set to release around Christmas of this year, which should double the computing performance compared to current Intel-powered tablets. Intel will also be enhancing security features to attract more enterprise customers. The chip giant is not forgetting its Ultrabook range, with plans to offer third-generation Intel Core processors that can operate as low as seven watts, making for even thinner designs that require substantially less power to run. First to hit the market will be Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 11S and a detachable Ultrabook being designed by Acer. Battery life is a key focus for Intel in the coming year, with fourth-generation Intel Core processors expected to bring huge improvements, allowing users to get up to nine hours out of a single charge, or a whopping 13 hours when docked, as the company demonstrated with a new Ultrabook design that converts into a 10mm tablet, codenamed North Cape. Intel highlighted the capabilities of its hardware in a demonstration where an Ultrabook was controlled via movement of the user's hands, fingers, and face, all picked up by a 3D depth camera, in addition to responding to voice commands. Intel has dubbed this technology Perceptual Computing and is offering developers a beta SDK to play with. All-in-one computers might be taking a back seat to newer types of devices in recent years, but Intel still believes in them, showcasing an adaptive all-in-one with a battery built into the screen, allowing it to be picked up and moved to anywhere in the home, essentially delivering a halfway point between a standard all-in-one PC and a tablet computer. “The best of Intel is coming to a mobile device near you,” said Kirk Skaugen, VP and GM of the PC Client Group at Intel. “We are set to deliver the biggest increase in battery efficiency in Intel's history with 4th generation Intel Core processors, while adding broad new human interfaces to computing devices through touch, voice, facial recognition, and gesture-based interactions. We're also significantly extending the performance and power savings in Atom processors as we accelerate our mobile offerings in an unprecedented fashion in 2013.” ASUS unveils ARES II (dual HD 7970GHz) and other new products at CES 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-unveils-ares-ii-dual- hd-7970ghz-and-other-new-products-at-ces-2013/18615.html
  • 47. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 January 8th, 2013 In what has been a relatively underwhelming CES 2013 so far (or at least for PC components), Asus has released a plethora of new products, including the ARES II which is the company’s dual slot, water-cooled take on a dual-HD 7970 card (aka 7990). ARES II Back in June last year along with the ill-fated MARS II (dual GTX680, which never went into production because Nvidia frowned on it), we exclusively revealed that the Asus Republic of Gamers team had been working on the follow- up to their AMD graphics flagship line (ARES) which was to be based on two HD 7870 Pitcairn ASICs on a single PCB. Shortly afterwards, we were then informed that the project was shelved due to a lack of perceived demand. Rumors began circulating about its revival around last month and today ASUS finally took the wraps off the latest incarnation of the project, featuring dual HD 7970 GHz edition ASICs along with a dual-slot, water-cooled solution consisting of a 120mm radiator and two fans in a push-pull configuration. Possibly a contender for the title of fastest graphics card in the world, the monstrousity is fitted with beefy 20-phase VRM and 6GB of GDDR5 memory. As with the previous MARS/ARES marquee cards, there will only a limited production run of around 1000 units (with a serial number on every card) and they are expected to be priced north of US$1500 (or around three individual HD 7970). Similar to the Matrix HD 7970 Platinum that we reviewed not too long ago, the ARES II will come with six display connectors (four full-sized DP and two DVI-D) for six display Eyefinity support. The core and memory clocks have also been given a slight bump from stock to 1100MHz and 1650MHz respectively. RAIDR ASUS also showed off their upcoming PCIe based SSD RAID solution, although the company did not reveal specifics about its flash memory controller or NAND configuration. PA249Q ProArt
  • 48. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 12 The PA249Q ProArt is a delightful 24" 1920x1200 (16:10) monitor designed for image professionals. Featuring an IPS panel with WLED backlighting, it is factory pre-calibrated for the highest accuracy of any display in this category (?E <5), with six-axis color control and outstanding color space reproduction — 99% Adobe RGB, 103% NTSC and 100% sRGB. Corsair's traveller-centric Voyager Air Drive; wireless media hub with built-in battery Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/corsair-s-traveller-centric-voyager- air-drive-wireless-media-hub-with-built-in-battery/18611.html January 8th, 2013 Corsair has just announced the launch of its Voyager Air Drive—an “all-in-one mobile wireless drive, home network attached storage, USB drive, and wireless hub.” The Voyager Air Drive is available in 500GB and 1TB models; users can connect to their data via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB 3.0. Through the use of Corsair’s in-house mobile app, users on the Android and Apple iOS platforms can access their files directly without having to jump through too many hoops. Additionally, network-enabled devices such as smart TV’s can also connect the Voyager Air Drive for content steaming. Extra nifty features which make the drive especially appealing to travelers are its internal battery that provides up seven hours of video streaming, and the built-in wireless hub that allows multiple users to stream from the Voyager Air Drive at the same time. People may also use the drive as a Wi-Fi hotspot if it’s connected to the Internet. Corsair claims that up to five users can stream or access other files from the drive if they are within the range of about 90 feet. If a hub is not what you want, then the Voyager Air Drive can be used as a network attached storage (NAS) drive. Once the drive is plugged into a network router via its Gigabit Ethernet, users can access files from the drive on any networked Windows, OSX, or Linux systems. The Voyager Air Drive comes pre-formatted as NTFS for full functionality under Windows, but Mac users will have to reformat the drive to HFS+ for Time Machine usage. The drive will be available in early February with MSRP’s of $199.99 for 500GB drive, and $229.99 for the 1TB model. Samsung unveils the DA-F60 portable wireless speaker system Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-unveils-the-da-f60- portable-wireless-speaker-system/18603.html January 8th, 2013
  • 49. January 9th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 13 Samsung recently unveiled their first ever portable Bluetooth enabled sound system called the DA. The device was unveiled just ahead of the CES 2013 being held in Las Vegas from Jan 8-11. Last year Samsung introduced to the market the DA-E750, which is very nice Airplay and Bluetooth enabled speaker system. While nice on the eyes, it wasn’t truly portable and it costs around 600 dollars (U.S.). Samsung has listened to their consumer’s wants, and recently unveiled a sister version of the DA-E750 they are calling the DA-F60; its unveiling came just ahead of the CES 2013 being held in Las Vegas, NV. Weighing in at around 3 pounds, the DA-F60 is Samsung’s first truly portable, Bluetooth enabled speaker system. The device also supports NFC connections and is compatible with Samsung’s ‘SoundShare’ platform enabling it to work with your HDTV. This system will also feature a relative newcomer to codecs called the apt-X. The DA-F60 offers a premium sound unlike any other wireless, portable system offered by any of Samsung’s competitors. The speakers use powerful neodymium magnets and a passive radiator to impart a high quality, high fidelity sound along with super low-frequency sounds. Samsung claims that even at very high volumes the device has little distortion. In regards to the previously mentioned apt-X codec, this is a relatively new audio codec developed by APT Licensing. This codec enables the DA-F60 to offer a much improved dynamic range and superb audio streaming over a Bluetooth device. The codec offers ultra-low latency and low power consumption making it perfect for the DA-F60. Keep an eye out for this codec offered on future audio devices. “The DA-F60 incorporates neodymium magnets and a passive radiator to produce results typically found in high- end Hi-Fi audio systems, including tuned low-frequency reproduction and virtually no distortion even at high volumes,” Samsung writes on their website. “Users will also enjoy improved performance and a high-quality experience with the built in apt-X codec technology, which boosts the Bluetooth speaker’s extensive dynamic range, particularly at the top end. Android mobile devices that support the DA-F60 are Motorola’s RAZR line of smartphones, the HTC One X, One S, and One V. Logically it supports the Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II as well. The cost of the portable system has not been made public just yet, but if one were to compare it to the DA-E750, we could expect it to be somewhere in the 350-500 dollars (U.S.) range. There are no worries about having to get batteries for it since it comes with its own built in battery; however, Samsung did not release any facts on what kind of life its battery has. Be expecting to see the system either on-line or at a Samsung distributor in 3-5 months.
  • 50. January 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. SpaceX to fly humans to space by 2015 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spacex-to-fly-humans-to-space- by-2015/18656.html January 11th, 2013 Commercial space firm SpaceX will send humans into space by 2015, according to a company executive, marking another major leap forward in the private space exploration industry. Commercial space firm SpaceX will send humans into space by 2015, according to a company executive, marking another major leap forward in the private space exploration industry. The California-based company hopes to send astronauts into space in a currently planned demonstration mission in 2015, and while the aim is to secure additional contracts with US space agency NASA, SpaceX will be sending up its own staff first. One of the potential candidates for the initial flights is Garrett Reisman, an ex-NASA astronaut who is now serving as project manager at SpaceX. He said that flight safety is very important to him and he will help ensure that the trips will be safe. The announcement was made by Reisman during a news conference at the Kennedy Space Centre. He joked that SpaceX is not selling tickets, a reference to several space tourism ventures, including the well-known Virgin Galactic plans, backed by numerous celebrities. The SpaceX mission will involve sending humans into orbit for three days, a change from its existing cargo supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS). We can likely expect a further manned test flight to the ISS before NASA agrees to send its own astronauts. SpaceX's plans are being encouraged by NASA, which lost the ability to fly astronauts into and out of space with the retirement of its shuttle programme in 2011. Since then astronauts have relied on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The commercial space industry is a quickly growing arena, with a number of rivals to SpaceX popping up, including Orbital Scienes and aircraft maker Boeing, which is working on reusable unmanned spacecraft. With national space agencies receiving budget cuts due to the global economic downturn the private space sector could be just what is needed to ensure space exploration gets the support it needs. Pokemon X and Y for the 3DS Finally Revealed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pokemon-x-and-y-for-the-3ds- finally-revealed/18643.html January 11th, 2013
  • 51. January 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Nintendo has finally revealed the newest and the first main Pokemon title game for the Nintendo 3DS. The Pokemon X and Y features an enhanced 360 degree 3D environment and even more Pokemons. What's new for the Pokemon X and Y? Well, we're going to expect a new set of Pokemons as usual, with the three basic Pokemon in their usual Fire, Water and Grass types but with an entirely different identity. But aside from the usual new stuff, probably the most noticeable difference in Pokemon X and Y is its graphics implementation. 3D graphics in Pokemon has been done since way back in Diamond and Pearl, with Black and White versions even using actual 3D environments (as opposed to Pearl and Diamond's "3D- fied" settings). However, this new main title Pokemon game would use a more "ground-to-earth" 3D environment, to catch up to the higher specifications of the 3DS. This changes the perspective of the game to an even more immersive one, albeit older players might miss the standard feel of the game that is still somehow given by Black and White. So far, the trailer has only revealed the look and feel of Pokemon X and Y's new world, although a few shots gives us a peek of some of the new features that we can expect from the new title. The release date for Pokemon X and Y is set sometime on October 2013, and yes, that release date is not only for Japan, for but for Europe and North America as well. This would be the first time that any main Pokemon title is slated for a multi-national release. Google invests $200 million in Texas wind project Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-invests-200-million-in-texas- wind-project/18648.html January 10th, 2013 Google has invested $200 million in a wind project in Texas capable of generating 161 megawatts of energy, enough to power 60,000 average US homes. Google has invested $200 million in a wind project in Texas capable of generating 161 megawatts of energy, enough to power 60,000 average US homes. The jack of all trades company pumped the funds into the Spinning Spur Wind Project in Oldham County, Texas, which is run by EDF Renewable Energy. This marks the eleventh investment Google has made in renewable energy since 2010—with the total output of all its invested facilities topping a whopping 2 gigawatts of energy. Construction of the Spinning Star facility began in February 2012, and it was opened for commercial operation in late December. It consists of 70 Siemens 2.3 megawatt turbines, and the energy it generates will be supplied to utility company SPS, which caters for the Texas and New Mexico areas. “We’re proud to be part of a project that provides the Lone Star state with a new source of low-cost, renewable energy and supports the state’s thriving wind industry,” said Kojo Ako-Asare, Senior Manager of Google Corporate Finance. “This investment reflects Google's ongoing commitment to clean energy and our belief that corporations can be an important new source of capital for this sector.” We will likely see further investment from Google in renewable energy in the coming months and years, with the company diversifying well beyond its initial internet focus. Foxconn under investigation over bribery allegations Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/foxconn-under-investigation-over- bribery-allegations/18647.html January 10th, 2013
  • 52. January 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Foxconn, best known for assembling Apple's iPhone and iPad products, is under investigation in China over allegations that it looked for bribes from suppliers. Foxconn, best known for assembling Apple's iPhone and iPad products, is under investigation in China over allegations that it looked for bribes from suppliers. The Taiwanese Next Magazine claims that a Foxconn manager was arrested over suspicion that he solicited bribes from some of the numerous firms supplying parts to the company. It is not clear what the manager sought and what was offered to suppliers in return, but presumably one of those approached for a bribe reported the incident to the police. Foxconn said it was cooperating with authorities and carrying out an internal investigation, suggesting this issue was not known to those higher up in the company. It said will implement new measures to prevent similar occurences in the future. The incident is the latest in a series of headaches for the company, otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision Industry. A spate of employee suicides in recent years drew widespread scrutiny and criticism of the company's working conditions, while Foxconn has also hit the headlines for hiring underage staff. Problems at Foxconn reflect badly on a number of well- known technology companies that pay it to assemble their products at dirt cheap prices, including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, Amazon, Dell, and HP. Some of these have launched investigations of their own and attempted to secure improvements at the company to avoid the endless negative PR that seems to accompany it. PaperTab Prototype merges tablet computing with flexibility of paper Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/papertab-prototype-merges-tablet- computing-with-flexibility-of-paper/18625.html January 10th, 2013 Flexible, ultra-thin tablet prototype unveiled at CES in Las Vegas. PaperTab could replace your laptop or tablet within the next five years. Some of the big news at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week comes from the demo of PaperTab. This new type of tablet computer was on display, and was developed jointly by Queen's University, Plastic Logic, and Intel. The PaperTab looks and has dimensions similar to paper PaperTab brings innovation with its near-paper-thin design and is heralded as being “virtually indestructible”. The power behind the prototype is its unique interface and interactivity between screens. Unlike current tablets that have one screen and use windows and icons to navigate, the PaperTab can have 10 or more screen which interacts with both touch and each other. Each PaperTab display will handle an app and when the display is set out of reach it will display a thumbnail "summary" of the content open. Some of the unique interactions include expanding an image on one screen by placing another PaperTab sheet next to it. The PaperTab can also be used as an e-reader, opening documents by tapping a blank page against the file you want on other page. You can then navigate through the document by bending, or "dog-earring" the corner of the PaperTab, flipping forward and back through the document depending on the direction of the dog-ear.
  • 53. January 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Each PaperTab keeps track of its location relative to each other as well as the user. While pricing and release information are still unknown, the tablet is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and features a 10.7 inch plastic display developed by Plastic Logic. With robust flexibility and ease of managing documents, the PaperTab is poised to be a serious necessity to business and personal efficiency in the future. Samsung Records A Record $8.3 Billion in Profits Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-records-a-record-8.3- billion-in-profits/18613.html January 10th, 2013 The South Korean electronics giant, Samsung, just recorded record breaking profits for the quarter at 8.3 billion in U.S. dollars. Samsung has estimated they sold roughly 500 handsets a minute. There is no doubt that Samsung, now valued around 230 billion dollars, is a giant in the manufacturing of consumer electronics and mobile devices. And now that this financial quarter’s numbers are in, it shows the company is doing very well against their rival, Apple. In all, Samsung, which is the world’s largest information technology company, amassed some 8.3 billion dollars (U.S.) in profits. Samsung claims a good percentage of that revenue came from their popular Galaxy line of smart phone ‘phablets’. Other smartphone makers did fair, but when it comes to comparison, Samsung leaves them far behind in the dust. Comparatively, the Taiwan-based HTC released 18 different makes of cellular phones last year, LG released 24 and the Finland-based Nokia released 9. Apple, with all of their supposed innovation and technology, only released a single smartphone last year, which was the iPhone 5. While sales of the iPhone 5 were ‘okay’, Samsung rolled out a total of 37 smartphone types last year alone. Furthermore, Samsung produced their smartphones with a very wide assortment of sytles and prices that could fit the budget of any consumer on the market. Currently Samsung’s Galaxy S III has overtaken Apple and is the world’s most popular, best selling smartphone. In early spring 2013, Samsung will be releasing the Galaxy S IV, and many other new phone models, which should keep the company well ahead of Apple, or any potentially new smartphone contender. Samsung is saying that their new Galaxy model will come with an unbreakable screen that will have and incredible 440 pixels per inch, super high-definition resolution. The new Galaxy will also have a much faster processor as well as a higher resolution camera. Analysts are predicting that Samsung will see an even larger increase with their smartphone sales by more than a third this year. They further stated that Apple will lag farther behind as Samsung offers an even broader range of mobile devices. Over all, it is projected that Samsung will sell 290-320 million smartphones in 2013, which is up from an estimated 215 million in 2012. Samsung’s operating profits from their October-December sales rose some 89 percent to 8.28 billion dollars from a year ago, which was 8.6% higher than their previous record of 7.29 billion dollars in July-September, 2012. German Engineers Develop "Seismic Fabric" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/german-engineers-develop-seismic- fabric-/18634.html January 10th, 2013 German engineers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a new building material to protect against earthquakes. The material may be incorporated with new construction or applied to older buildings as well. A new ‘seismic fabric’ technology was just recently developed that will aide against damaging earthquakes and help buildings to remain more stable. The new material came about by research conducted by Lothar Stempniewski and Moritz Urban of the prestigious Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). This glass fiber plastic fabric is far superior to previous reinforcement fibers experimented with in times past, and it will soon be available on the market. The fabric can be applied to the walls of a building, which in turn makes the wall far more stable by absorbing the shakes and vibrations from an earthquake. The fabric was designed especially for exterior brick or for the back of stone walls. The developers are also looking at ways to incorporate it in different types of concrete and interior walls. Most earthquakes are so minor and commonplace that a local population often becomes oblivious to them. Nevertheless, once in a while a >7.0 Richter scale earthquake can and do occur. And some smaller earthquakes may cause destruction on a scale that often goes undetected until the building fails from hidden damages to its tensile strength. "Thanks to the reinforcement, collapsing of walls due to earthquakes can be delayed and, in the ideal case, be avoided completely," Urban says. "Particularly in the case of short and moderate earthquakes, mostly not much more additional tensile strength is needed to avoid a collapse of the building. The simplicity of that ‘prophylactic dressing’ allows to apply it easily during renovation together with insulation.” The seismic fabric will be sold under the brand name “Sisma Calce” by the Italian company, Röfix, which is part of the German Fixit Group. Google Drops Two ITC Patent Claims Against Microsoft Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-drops-two-itc-patent-claims- against-microsoft/18633.html
  • 54. January 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 January 10th, 2013 Motorola Mobility just recently dropped two of 3 patent suits against Microsoft. The suits were over video-coding patents used in the Xbox gaming system and some smartphones. Motorola Mobility, which is now owned by Google, filed a motion on Tuesday, January 8, 2012 with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to end two patent infringement complaints against Microsoft Corporation. The motion, which can be seen here, began back in November 2010 when Motorola sued Microsoft over some wireless and video coding patents that were used in the Xbox and Microsoft smartphones. Microsoft argued with the court that Motorola Mobility was going beyond their rights and were seeking extraordinarily unfair royalty payments. The patent claims in particular were in regards to the H.264 video patents, which are now used as industry standards. When something becomes a common standard in technology, royalties must be done in such a way that it is considered reasonable and nondiscriminatory in nature. In May 2012 an ITC Judge ruled that Microsoft infringed on Motorola’s patent with their Xbox gaming system. In reply, an ITC commission was to decide on the ruling. In return the ITC commission could not come to any type of resolution and returned the ruling back to the judge for another review of the case. While Motorola/Google dropped the 2 suits, there is still a third suit that is ongoing and based on U.S. Patent No. 6,069,896, which is wireless peer-to-peer network technology. This patent is not considered to be similar to the other two, which are considered to be industry essential standards. In the U.S. District Court of Western Washington, that court will soon decide on a similar case where Motorola is suing Microsoft for royalties in the neighborhood of $4 billion dollars (U.S.). The two patents cases recently dropped by Motorola/Google are not supposed to have any bearing on the Western Washington case. Blizzard hops on the Linux train Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-hops-on-the-linux- train/18631.html January 10th, 2013 Rumor has it that Blizzard is working on releasing some titles that will run on Linux without the aid of third party software like Wine. Blizzard has allegedly been running a World of Warcraft Linux server within their own HQ. According to Phoronix, Blizzard intends to release whatever it is they have up their sleeves this year. Though the rumor doesn't point to which game is underway, it's said to be one of Blizzard's popular titles. Mind you, this is all speculation, but there is good reasoning why this is a likely endeavor. Linux is seeing a refreshing change of pace in the game field this year. Valve boarded the Linux train with their native steam client (Steam sort of opened the door for Blizzard (and others). In fact, THQ even mentioned interest. In the past, Blizzard has banned players that have used some of the aforementioned tweaks to play their titles on Linux. Now, however, Blizzard sees the market that is the Linux community. Sony's Kaz Hirai responds to PlayStation 4 questions at CES 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-s-kaz-hirai-responds-to- playstation-4-questions-at-ces-2013/18640.html January 10th, 2013 Gaming giant Sony was at CES 2013, and during a press conference Sony's President and CEO Kaz Hirai responds to questions about the upcoming PlayStation 4. Gaming giant Sony was at CES 2013, and during a press conference Sony's President and CEO Kaz Hirai responds to questions about the upcoming PlayStation 4. Sony Computer Entertainment was one of the few major gaming industry giants present at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, as Apple and Microsoft both skipped the annual electronics showcase. During their official press conference, Sony CEO and President Kaz Hirai explored the new path that the company would follow in the way of mobile phones and TV's, leaving gaming news on the back burner. Even still, Kaz Hirai couldn't avoid the burning questions about Sony's upcoming next-gen console, and in the Q&A section held during the conference he addressed the questions about the PlayStation 4. Here is a selection of his responses: "We’re very happy with the way that the PlayStation 3 has grown over the years. Obviously a lot of interaction with the PlayStation Vita as well,” Hirai stated. ”All of the gaming fans out there, you probably know that we don’t talk about future generation technologies until we’re ready to launch it in a big way.” Hirai's response to being put on the spot with an abrupt and unplanned question about the PlayStation 4 is pretty much standard and what everyone would expect. As Hirai said, Sony is well-known for keeping tight-lipped about upcoming gaming tech. We may learn more about the PS4 during E3 2013, this year's biggest gaming event, as industry analysts believe that next- gen consoles will be revealed this year. Source: The Silent Chief
  • 55. January 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Panasonic unveils bone conduction headphones prototype Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/panasonic-unveils-bone-conduction- headphones-prototype/18646.html January 13th, 2013 Panasonic Corporation just introduced a new set of headphones that literally conduct sound through your skull. The headphones will be available to the public in the fall of 2013 and are aimed at people with highly active lifestyles. To understand how the new headset from Panasonic would work is first to understand how sound travels, which for most of us is through vibrations conducted by the air. What Panasonic is claiming with their device is that your skull or tissue around the eardrum would become the conductor for the sound rather than the air around us. In fact, sound travels better through water or a solid object much better than open air. While this technology may seem a bit ahead of its time, other companies are testing and exploring the concept of it as well. At the CES 2012, Kyocera unveiled a speakerless prototype smartphone. Instead of emitting a phone ring tone or music through a regular speaker, the entire phone vibrates with an oscillator much like a speaker cone would. In order to hear the phone one must place it directly to their head for the vibrations to be transferred to the eardrum and translated by the brain as sounds. Panasonic's new headphone set is made to sit on the outside of your ear and then it vibrates the ear canal, which then translates to the eardrum or inner ear. According to Panasonic the sound quality is excellent but at the same time other ambient sounds are clearly heard around you. Those who have tried the technology explained that it is a bit getting used to at first because you have to ‘tune out’ those other sounds. The technology may seem unnecessary to some readers, but it helps fix a lot of the current drawbacks with traditional headphones and speakers. For example, if you were at a loud construction site or an area with lot of background noise, you would still be able to hear their sounds since they transfer directly to the inner ear. This means the sounds could still be heard even if you were wearing hearing protection. Another issue would be using them in a motor vehicle to hear while staying focused on the highway. Some U.S. States ban the wearing of headphones while driving, but with these headphones you can still hear the sounds around you making them far safer to wear. Simply stated, these headsets are aimed at people on the go with highly active lifestyles. These new headsets will be the first Bluetooth enabled, wireless, speakerless headphones currently available on the market, however, there are other brands out there with this same technology such as Aftershokz. that will be availale shortly. They should be available in the fall of 2013 and they will run on a single AAA battery. Cost of the headset was not disclosed but the company says they should be fewer than 300 U.S. dollars. Samsung's flexibile OLED shows up again at CES Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-s-flexibile-oled-shows-up- again-at-ces/18661.html January 13th, 2013 Samsung showed off its flexible OLED technology again this year at CES. Could this be the year that Samsung decides it wants to launch the technology, or will we have to wait another year for the South Korean tech giant to work out the kinks? Samsung just recently presented some new prototypes of their 'Youm' line of flexible, organic light-emitting diode displays (OLED) at the 2013 CES held in Las Vegas, Nevada. It cannot be denied that such availability will change our world and offer all manner of new devices. The advantages would be proven with the military's need for tougher screen. Countered shapes around devices or buildings would be useful at times, or just about anything that can take a punishment would find a need with a flexible screen. One of Samsung's larger displays at CES was a smaller tablet with a flexible, wraparound screen. By offering such a shape, it was able to increase the screen availability for larger content. Samsung also presented a video presentation showing a new designed mobile device that operated like a smaller smartphone but then could expand out, much like a book, to form a larger tablet that was twice as large as the smartphone's previous screen size. The idea of flexible screens isn't new by any means and many other companies have been toying with the technology for a few years now. One of the biggest drawbacks in the past was the lack of technology available to mass-produce such a screen, and then making sure that the screen works 100% of the time. Previous attempts had the screens breaking down
  • 56. January 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 after just a few bends, which is something no consumer would ever want. Now it seems that Samsung will definitely be delivering on such a technology in the very near future. Soon we are sure to see all manner of smartphones, billboards, and tablets with the flexible screen technology. We may possibly even see magazines or books with the technology since at least one publisher has tested a working E-ink cover on Esquire with the same idea in mind. Blizzard raises $2.3 million for Hurricane Sandy relief with WoW Cinder Kitten Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-raises-2.3-million-for- hurricane-sandy-relief-with-wow-cinder-kitten/18660.html January 13th, 2013 The World of Warcraft community has raised over $2.3 million for Superstorm Sandy relief by purchasing these virtual fiery felines. Not all blizzards have to be cold, and the game developer/ publisher Blizzard Entertainment proves this by raising $2.3 million for Superstorm Sandy victims by selling virtual Cinder Kitten pets in World of Warcraft. In the month of December, Blizzard donated 100% of the proceeds raised by Cinder Kitten sales to Sandy relief efforts via the American Red Cross in order to help victims of the devastating hurricane. The flaming felines, which are valued at $10 apiece, mark Blizzard's second noble fundraiser since the Cenarion Hatchling pet raised funds for tsunami victims in Japan in 2011. More about the Cinder Kitten pet: "The Cinder Kitten doesn’t just have good looks -- this kitty has claws, and makes a purrfect addition to any Pet Battle team. The Cinder Kitten has Rare- quality stats and is a part of the Elemental family. This not-so-cool cat uses many Beast abilities in addition to Dragonkin and Elemental, and can also Prowl, Leap, and Rend its way to a 3-hit combo against its foes—and look good doing it." Adopt your very own Cinder Kitten today and help Superstorm Sandy relief! Internet Archive URLs storage grows to 5 petabytes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/internet-archive-urls-storage-grows- to-5-petabytes/18649.html January 13th, 2013 The Internet Archive is a massive on-going project to store everything that has been on the Internet and what is being added daily. Using the Wayback Machine site, you can travel back in Internet time to see what the web looked like as far back as 1996 and let me tell you - there is a lot of data being stored—ranging in the petabytes. Have you ever wondered how many URLs there are out there on the World Wide Web? Well up until today, the Internet Archive has stored some 150,000,000,000 URLs and the associated data for those addresses, but that is nothing compared to what they are storing now. In an announcement today the Internet Archive has almost doubled that number of URLs to 240,000,000,000 URLs which works out to be about 5 petabytes of data. All this data now lets the Internet Archives' Wayback Machine take you to any point from 1996 to December 2012, and as a result the Wayback Machine's database gets about 1,000 queries every second by some 500,000 people. It is numbers like this that has made the home site Archive.org rank as the 250th most popular site on the Internet. While some of the data being saved are the URLs and data of site, currently on the web the organization's army of volunteers have been scouring the web and archiving
  • 57. January 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 the URLs and data of sites that could be on the verge of disappearing for good. So not only do we have a current snapshot of the web to explore, but we can also visit sites that no longer exist. Of course storing all this data requires hardware, lots of hardware, and it is only because of a recent campaign that they were able to purchase the needed hardware. The campaign was also successful because of an anonymous donor who agreed to match all the donations made during the campaign three-to-one. Even though the campaign has finished, you can still make donations to the non-profit organization to help with their future growth. Gaming Roundup: Cyberpunk 2077, Project Shield, Halo 5 and Xi3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gaming-roundup-cyberpunk-2077- project-shield-halo-5-and-xi3/18659.html January 13th, 2013 We take a look at some of the gaming news revealed this week with CES 2013's multiple prototypes, the new Cyberpunk 2077 teaser, and Frank O' Connor's address to Halo fans everywhere. This past week has been huge in gaming news with multiple prototypes being revealed at CES 2013, the release of Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 teaser trailer, and Frank O' Connor's heartfelt promises on doing better with Halo 5. First, let's start with CES 2013's reveals that include Nvidia's Project SHIELD, Valve and Xi3's "Steam Box" consoles, and Razer's Edge tablet. Each of these devices have been demoed at this year's Consumer Electronics Show and have taken the world of gaming by storm by ushering in a new generation of post-PC and portable console gaming, bringing a new wave of mobile gaming platforms to the retail market. Each platform offers distinct advantages, such as Nvidia's powerful two-in-one Project SHIELD that packs Android and PC gaming in one convenient package, or Razer's Edge that provides rich PC-quality gaming in a tablet, affording for console-like usage with a docking station and USB controllers. Razer has boasted that their Edge tablet is the "world's most powerful tablet" for good reason, as the Edge is capable of playing full retail games at high resolution with 30 fps and above. Also the Edge features impressive internal specs with an Nvidia GT640 LE GPU, up to 8GB of RAM, and either an Intel i5 or i7 processor for optimum gaming. The Edge also does everything that you'd expect a tablet to do, running Windows 8 OS and offering multiple media entertainment options. Razer has shown that the Edge isn't just for gaming; rather it is optimized for gaming and is more than capable of doing other things as well. Razer's gaming tablet comes in two flavors the Edge and the Edge Pro, and starts at $999 for the basic Edge model. For more information please visit Razer's official website. Nvidia's Project SHIELD mobile gaming platform is just as impressive, supporting both Android and PC gaming via Steam. Internally, Project SHIELD features the Tegra 4 which is comprised of ARM's quad-core Cortex-A15 and Nvidia's custom 72-core GeForce graphics chip. On the outside, the SHIELD looks much like a MOGA, another Android-based gaming device that lacks SHIELD's PC gaming support. In terms of functionality, Project SHIELD utilizes built- in Wi-Fi to stream games via PC, allowing users to play Windows games from the Steam library as well as Android titles on Google Play.
  • 58. January 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Valve and Xi3's Piston Steam Box aims to bring Steam's Big Picture mode into your living room, bypassing the inconvenience of hooking up a PC to your HDTV. Essentially, these "consoles" aren't necessarily as impressive as the other gaming devices and are made more for convenience and modularity than their "wow" factor. Over on the Halo front, 343i's Frank O' Connor opens up to Halo fans to address certain aspects of Halo 4 and that 343i is learning how to fill Bungie's "oversized shoes": It won awards, from Best Graphics at the VGAs to Game of the Year at the Inside Gaming Awards. We altered the engine. We expanded the universe. We innovated in storytelling, technology, and even marketing. It wasn’t flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but by most objective criteria, it was a resounding success. So we know we have a lot to do. And we know we have a lot to learn. But we also know that we now have the capacity, the teamwork, the technology and the experience to do much better next time. By no means should Frank O' Connor feel unaccomplished with Halo 4, and he outright says that he's proud of the game and what 343 Industries has accomplished. The game has garnered mostly positive reviews and has won many accolades and awards. Despite all of this, Frank feels he can do more with the franchise. And with the supposed introduction of next-gen consoles to run Halo 5, O' Connor and 343i may have to learn old tricks all over again in order to develop onto the Xbox 720 (or whatever else it might be called). O' Connor has always been passionate about the Halo universe, and it's nice to see him address and talk about the obstacles and the plans to build a better future for Halo, especially since the fans have such high expectations of the future releases. Aside from the CES news, the game developer CD Projekt Red (The Witcher franchise) has revealed the first teaser trailer for their upcoming next-gen sci-fi title Cyberpunk 2077. The trailer is short but sweet and is completely made up of impressive CGI cinematic, and has garnered over a million views in a single day, showing the feverish anticipation for Red's futuristic open-world RPG. With Cyberpunk 2077, Projekt Red is planning to bring a mix of classic RPG and sci-fi elements to the next generation of gaming. The game is currently scheduled for a release in 2015 for next-gen consoles and PC. Bungie begins beta testing of new website interface Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bungie-begins-beta-testing-of-new- website-interface/18654.html January 12th, 2013 The beloved devs of the Halo franchise have been pretty quiet lately--presumably working on Destiny and other projects in the background--but Bungie has recently opened their website for a public Beta test of the new site-wide features. Bungie will forever be imbued with a mystical popularity for its creation of the Halo universe...however its fan base seems to have fractured since the company sold the Halo franchise and teamed up with Activision. Since then, Bungie has been off the radar, being mysterious about its new Destiny project. This fractured fan base, made up of a variety of long-time Bungie fans and newcomers, come together to voice their opinions on the new changes to Bungie.net. Held in an open beta, anyone can log into their Bungie.net account and check out the new changes to the site's interface, featuring a very social media-esque experience that seems to take away many of the familiar forum elements of yesteryear. The changes, which include Twitter-like hashtags and "Likes" straight out of Facebook, have the forums divided. The most obvious change is the stark white background that
  • 59. January 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 many have complained is "hard on the eyes", as loyal forum- users remember a darker and less contrasting color scheme. Also the new Bungie.net interface makes use of Facebook, Google, and even PlayStation Network integration, allowing users to sign in with their social media/PSN accounts rather than having to make a username. Bungie.net still supports Microsoft account sign-ins as well. Bungie will likely take both the negative and positive comments into consideration and utilize that data to build a more user-friendly website presence...but even still many loyal die-hard Bungie fans feel alienated and as if their virtual "home" has changed for the worse. Overall the site seems cleaner and more convenient, but it does feel more like a social media network rather than the hugely-active fan base of epic proportions that it used to be. The new interface may indeed be an early build to pave the way for Bungie's current Destiny project, as the game developer is well-known for providing web interfaces for its games, as it did for global Halo stats years ago. Also the inclusion of PlayStation Network sign-in support is a bit mysterious, and may be a clue to Destiny's integration. Be sure to check out the changes for yourself at Bungie.net. Activision's new Walking Dead shooter gets release date & stalks onto the Wii U Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/activision-s-new-walking-dead- shooter-gets-release-date--stalks-onto-the-wii-u/18652.html January 11th, 2013 A release date for Activision's new The Walking Dead FPS has surfaced, and the publisher also confirms a Wii U launch. Activision's new The Walking Dead-themed shooter has just received an official release date, and the publisher has confirmed that the game will be launching for the Nintendo Wii U as well. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct will hit shelves on March 29, 2013 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC and Wii U. Developed by Terminal Reality, Survival Instinct has nothing to do with Telltale's adaptations and will feature characters like Merle and Daryl Dixon from AMC's hit television series, and will stay true to the franchise's blend of drama, action and horror. In December we reported on the game's first footage, where Terminal Reality's own Glenn Gamble sits down to talk about many the in-game mechanics and emphasis on teamwork: "So if I find an axe, I can use the axe or give it to someone else and say 'Hey, go find me food with this axe'. Conversely, if I find some food--healthpacks are food in this game--and someone else is injured, they will use it heal themselves. The resources are in a shared pool--so it's all shared. You not only have to manage what you've got but manage what everyone else has as well." It will be interesting to see how Survival Instinct's gameplay is developed for the Wii U, and how the experience varies from that of the other platforms....especially if the game utilizes the Wii U's tablet interface as an extra screen during gameplay. Be sure to check out the game's official website for trailers and more. Sims 3 University Life Expansion announced Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sims-3-university-life-expansion- announced/18644.html January 11th, 2013 The Sims 3 will be getting (yet another) expansion coming this March 5th. Sims will finally be able to further their education and throw wild parties! But with the slew of expansion coming out recently, will this new addition be worth the money? By now, any gamer will recognize the title – The Sims may not be enjoyed by all, but it's certainly revered. The game is on the top charts, and is conclusively the best-selling PC- based franchise in all of PC history. That's why, when EA announced that The Sims 3 would be getting yet another new expansion pack, most didn't bother issuing a complaint. The Sims series is steeped in a history of success – from its meager start with the original Sims game in 2000, to the third and rather upgraded edition seen in The Sims 3 come 2009. For four years, EA has released only expansion packs for the game, including everything from World Adventures
  • 60. January 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 to Pets. Enthusiasts have been crying out for a university- based expansion for a while, and EA is finally answering. The newest pack, slated for release on March 5, is coined simply Sims 3: University Life. You know what that means – parties and well… mostly parties. While it seems much of the content will be drinking related, the Sims drink “juice” - so no worries if you're hoping to steer your Sims-playing kids clear of alcohol. Besides the parties and “juice”, sims will now have a major and follow through with a regular college life. Study, go to class, and get smarter! For those who seek to head back to their college days, the new expansion pack may be a welcome sight. Enthusiast or not, EA announcing yet another expansion to the series may come with some frustration. Many of the packs that have been released have come with minimal amounts of content but with a steep price tag. While the recently released magic-themed pack Supernatural was greeted warmly, the following Seasons pack was only given a lukewarm reception. Simmers are hopping that this new pack will come with more than “juice pong” and a new type of college-themed party - for the amount of money we'll be forced to shell out, this had better be good. But don't think that EA is done just yet – while University Life is set to release in the spring, a new expansion Island Paradise is slated for the summer... and a yet-to-be-named pack will be released in the fall. The only hint is that the fall pack will be somehow related to time travel. Perhaps this is a good time to cultivate your young University-attending sim into a scientist. Former space shuttle facilities now up for sale Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/former-space-shuttle-facilities-now- up-for-sale/18650.html January 11th, 2013 NASA recently started the liquidation of all the former Space Shuttle program assets located at the Kennedy Space Center. While anyone may bid on the assets, NASA is hoping more private space agencies will move in. The U.S. Space Shuttle program has come to a close, and the remaining shuttles are now displayed in air and space museums. NASA needs to get rid of all the leftovers, some of which include a 15,000-foot landing strip, a massive launch pad and numerous structures. There are also hundreds of acres of government-owned land that needs to be sold off or leased as well. The last Space Shuttle completed her mission well over a year ago, and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida has millions of dollars in antiquated machinery, materials, computers and all manner of Space Shuttle paraphernalia that must be sold or disposed of. Furthermore, the numerous buildings sitting on those properties cannot be maintained anymore with the amount of funding allowed for the space agency. Some reports state that in December 2013, NASA will be cut off for any additional funding for the upkeep at ISS. In a recent story found in the Orlando Sentinel, Joyce Riquelme, who serves as NASA's director of the Kennedy Space Center development and planning, told the paper that NASA had many buildings that simply could not be abandoned or they would ruin quickly due to Florida’s tropical climate. "We have a lot of things in discussion, realizing that these major facilities have been funded by the space-shuttle program,” said Riquelme. "And the facilities out here can't be in an abandoned state for long before they become unusable.” NASA will keep the procedure in which a company’s bids on any assets will strictly remain confidential. NASA is hoping that the area being sold off will continue to focus on space exploration along with research and development in the private sector. Boeing was one of the first major companies to jump on the property and will begin using one of the orbiter processing facilities. Boeing is currently working on the CST-100 Space Transport Station. The transport station will have the capability to ferry up to seven astronauts to the International Space Station in the future. Boeing has also partnered with Bigelow Aerospace, which is developing a new type of space station of its own that is made of a new type of space fabric. This space station would be much lighter in weight and it will expand out once it is in orbit. Chinese cyber pirate tracked down and arrested by ICE Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-cyber-pirate-tracked-down- and-arrested-by-ice/18651.html
  • 61. January 13th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 January 11th, 2013 Software pirates who live outside of the US often think that they are safe from arrest and prosecution, especially if they live in China. However, a recent arrest of a Chinese software pirate through a bit of trickery by ICE shows that when you sell pirated software worth millions in licenses you can be found and prosecuted. There's no getting around the fact that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) folks love nothing better than going after pirates, at least when they aren't doing mass takedowns of web sites they think are doing nasty and illegal things. However, there are some countries that ICE can't force their way into to go after pirates. One of those countries is China, which might account for the cavalier attitude that Xiang Li had when it came to cracking and selling pirated software that was worth millions of dollars in licensing fees owed to the companies whose software he was pirating. Through his site Crack99.com Li managed to accumulate customers for his pirated wares from around the world, at least according to the report (PDF file) that ICE used as grounds to go after him. Xiang Li was right that he was safe as long as he stayed in China but ICE had other plans and managed to trick Li into traveling to the remote US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands where they pretended that they were customers looking to buy pirated copies of software from him, and when he showed up he was promptly arrested. Once arrested, ICE got a warrant to search his Gmail account where they found a trail of sales of software that was used for industrial and governmental purposes that included aerospace simulation, computer-aided manufacturing, and defense systems. ICE was able to verify that Li had at least $60,000 in sales of his pirated versions of software programs to US customers. Li now faces up to a $250,000 fine as well as up to 25 years in jail. Needless to say, ICE is proclaiming this action as one of the most significant copyright infringement cases that it has solved. Amazon launches 'AutoRip' service Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amazon-launches-autorip- service/18653.html January 11th, 2013 Amazon has launched a new service in the U.S which allows purchasers of physical media free access to digital versions of albums, and to stream them from almost anywhere with the website's Cloud Player. Popular everything website Amazon.com is now offering a service called AutoRip, which gives CD purchasers access to digital versions of the music they buy. The service is only available in the U.S for now, and only for select albums. The decision to bestow this service to an album has so far been influenced by the popularity it has on Amazon’s website. Available selections currently include stuff with track records like “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, and “21” by Adele. "When we picked those 50,000 titles we focused on having a substantial majority of our physical CD sales covered,” said Steve Boom, head of digital music at Amazon. In addition to offering this new service at album purchase, Amazon is also making digital downloads available to users who purchased it anytime between now and 1998. Depending on how the library of available AutoRip music expands, it represents a nice convenience to users, who would otherwise have to manually rip the music themselves. Also, it beats purchasing digital downloads alone, since many will now be accompanied by a physical “backup” to keep around. Things used to be simpler when there was one way to get music – you went to the store and bought the CD, cassette, or record, depending on what era you lived in. But then the digital world stepped in and made everything complicated, introducing a whole dictionary of new words like DRM, MP3 player, and the even more baffling “cloud”. Services like AutoRip seem like a nice way to unify and make order out of the physical vs. digital media dilemma. Perhaps CDs and iPods have hope to one day dwell in harmony.
  • 62. January 14th, 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. Cable to appear in High Moon's Deadpool game as a central character Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cable-to-appear-in-high-moon-s- deadpool-game-as-a-central-character/18673.html January 14th, 2013 Cable joins the list of Marvel characters included within High Moon's upcoming Deadpool game, which is slated for a release sometime this year. Deadpool has always been a popular fan-favorite within the realm of comics and has held a status akin to Star Wars' iconic bounty hunter Boba Fett for years. Finally, the deadly and quirky assassin will be making his way to the gaming world with his very own console game that's based on his action-packed adventures throughout the Marvel universe. Deadpool is currently in development by High Moon Studios, and Activision has helmed the publication of the upcoming title, which was revealed at last year's San Diego Comic-Con where the assassin made a real-life appearance to announce the game. Also, new information has revealed that iconic Marvel characters Cable and Domino will be making an appearance within the game as well, and Cable will be featured as a main character to balance Deadpool's insane tendencies with some good old-fashioned telepathic power. Cable and Deadpool are old friends and have proven to be a formidable duo since their adventures in a fifty-issue series based in the Marvel universe. It will be quite interesting to see how the two complement one another in terms of combat and personality throughout the game. A massive array of standalone adventures as well as the series mentioned above will provide a wealth of source material for High Moon to draw upon for the game, offering the chance to incorporate many different scenarios from the comics into the upcoming release. High Moon studios is working hard on capturing the assassin's quirky and quite erratic behavior, as it is Deadpool's personality that accounts for much of his popularity. It will be interesting to see if his virtual form adequately matches his signature blend of humor, insanity and deadliness that is portrayed within the comics. Deadpool is slated for a release date sometime in 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more information like screenshots and videos or to pre-order the game, be sure to check out its official website, or stay connected with updates via Facebook & Twitter. Send Mark Zuckerberg a Message For Only $100 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/send-mark-zuckerberg-a-message- for-only-100/18669.html January 14th, 2013 Facebook may soon begin letting people send paid messages to any of their head management for 100 U.S. dollars. In fact, you could send a message directly to the inbox of Facebook's co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
  • 63. January 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Spam is a serious problem with most messages we receive in our inbox, and it takes up a good percentage of all messages received. In most instances if a Facebook user sends a message to someone they do not know, that message may get deposited into a spam folder listed as 'other' and never seen by the intended recipient. In December 2012 Facebook announced that they might begin testing paid messages, which would allow users to contact people they do not have any real connection to. While the company didn’t say how much the possible service would cost, we now know it is going to be very expensive – 100 U.S. dollars. “Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance. This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with,” reads Facebook’s December 20 blog entry. “Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.” On Thursday, January 10, 2012, Mashable discovered that if a person would like to send a message to any of Facebook’s high level management could do it, but that it would come with a 100 dollar price tag. And as the site noted, this is a new and highly expensive variant to Facebook’s 1 dollars pay-to- message plan they’ve toying with for a few months now. While most of Facebook’s revenue is generated from advertisements, this new for-a fee messaging service is a brand new set of ideas coming from the company. In fact, this is only the second revenue stream other than advertising that Facebook has tapped into from its nearly 1 billion users of the social network. In October 2012 Facebook began offering the ‘Promote’ feature that allowed users to pay a 7- dollar fee to promote photographs or announcements. Sanyo's Mouse & Keyboard Combo Backtracks Closer to Nature Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sanyo-s-mouse--keyboard-combo- backtracks-closer-to-nature/18672.html January 14th, 2013 Sanyo's keyboard/mouse combo product takes on the usual eco-friendly trend of building its outer shell from more natural components. The EEA-YW0865 mouse and the EEA-YW0863 keyboard are both wireless PC input peripherals that are made from bamboo. Wooden gadgets and peripherals may not exactly be unique, but they're not really that common either. That is probably why it's considerably worth noting that a company like Sanyo would even bother to produce their own "green" PC peripherals. The EEA-YW0865 is a wooden computer mouse unit that is made out of bamboo. It is wireless, uses the standard 2.4 Ghz band, and its input is transferred to a USB-plugged receiver. Energy is provided to it by two AA batteries. It doesn’t have any other special features, but that's already a given to a product that tries to be eco-friendly in the most minimalistic way possible. The keyboard unit is designated as the EEA-YW08063. Just like the EEA-YW0865, it is also made out of bamboo. Unlike the mouse unit though, it is not wireless. What's a bit nice (at least visually) though, is that the wire is also colored to match the same light brown, wooden finish of the keyboard. Again, no special features in this one, though it has extra function buttons at the top (near the numpad) like any other standard modern keyboard. Wooden peripherals like these are attractive to some people due to the ironic "quaint-yet-modern" factor that they usually have. It's like you're in some sci-fi office from the future that was envisioned by the people from the early 1900's or something. Though presented as a combo due to having the same theme and being presented at the same time, they are actually sold separately. The EEA-YW0865 wooden mouse is priced at 3180 yen (35 USD), while the EEA-YW0863 is priced at 4180 yen (46 USD). Source: PCWatch (JP) New Custom Body Options Unveiled for Rising Revengeance Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-custom-body-options-unveiled- for-rising-revengeance/18668.html
  • 64. January 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 January 14th, 2013 Konami gives upcoming Metal Gear Rising Revengeance players an early treat by offering new custom body options to be used by Raiden. Get the cyborg ninja body and play as the legendary Gray Fox, or use the MGS4 version suit, or even just choose a standard color theme-based body touch up. We all know that Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is still a month away, but Konami seems to already give us all the more reason to forget about espionage and dive into its cool slicing and dicing action theme. That's because they have recently unveiled last January 11 five custom body options that you can use to change Raiden's suit in the game. The first one, and unarguably the most exciting one, is the cyborg ninja custom body option. Who would not want to use those new game mechanics and play as if Raiden is the legendary Gray Fox? The second one is the suit that he previously used in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. It has the nostalgia factor in it, though of course this is something that we can consider as obligatory. The final three custom body options are mainly modified versions of his cybernetic suit. They are color-themed (the White, Inferno, and Commando armors), and while not as thematic as the previous two, they still add variety and uniqueness the Raiden that you are playing. You can see how these body options really look like in the actual game in their official trailer: Oracle patches major Java 7 security vulnerability Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/oracle-patches-major-java-7- security-vulnerability/18676.html January 14th, 2013 Oracle has issued a patch that fixes a major vulnerability in Java 7, which could let hackers access a user's system. Oracle has issued a patch that fixes a major vulnerability in Java 7, which could let hackers access a user's system. The Java security hole meant that any malicious website carrying specific code could remotely exploit the vulnerability over a network without needing a username or password, rendering it a high risk for untrusted websites. Oracle's solution is to change the default Security Level for Java from Medium to High, which means all unsigned Java applets or Java applications will prompt the user for approval before running, preventing rogue code from automatically playing out in the background. Oracle highlighted that this vulnerability was “severe,” details on how to exploit it were publicly available, and there were numerous reports of it being actively exploited. It said it strongly recommends users apply the latest Java updates as soon as possible. Despite the patch, some security experts believe the problems may still persist, as hackers can trick users into believing a Java applet comes form an authentic source, encouraging them to approve and run it, and thereby put their system at risk. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) of the US Department of Homeland Security warned that users should disable Java unless it is absolutely necessary, even after patching to the latest version. Michael Jackson hackers escape jail sentence Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/michael-jackson-hackers-escape-jail- sentence/18675.html
  • 65. January 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 January 14th, 2013 Two British men charged with hacking into servers owned by Sony Music Entertainment and making off with a whopping 8,000 files, including numerous unreleased Michael Jackson tracks, managed to escape a prison sentence and get community service instead. Two British men charged with hacking into servers owned by Sony Music Entertainment and making off with a whopping 8,000 files, including numerous unreleased Michael Jackson tracks, managed to escape a prison sentence and get community service instead. 27-year-old James Marks from Daventry and 26-year-old James McCormick from Blackpool pleaded guilty to the charges and were handed six-month suspended sentences and 100 hours of helping the community for their Bad behaviour. The Smooth Criminals claimed that their motive was to find evidence of whether or not some of the tracks developed with Eddie Cascio on the posthumous Michael album were fakes, as many fans of the King of Pop claim. However, the prosecution produced chat log evidence that the men planned to sell or share the unreleased music, potentially profiting from or reducing the profit of Sony's material, which it paid a whopping $250 million for in a landmark deal following Jackson's death. The duo's solicitor said that they wanted to point out to fans and family of Michael Jackson that they would “never do anything to harm the legacy that is Michael Jackson's music.” Clearly they are not Dangerous then. One of the hackers, James Marks, claims that he only downloaded around 300 files from the Sony servers, not the 7,900 files cited in the court case, suggesting that the prosecution was counting all files he had in his default Downloads folder for Firefox. However, he said he was grateful for the judge's leniency and wanted to apologise to Sony over the incident. Image Credit: Thriller Live Interacting systems give birth to a new galaxy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/interacting-systems-give-birth-to-a- new-galaxy/18671.html January 14th, 2013 Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a galaxy that is 5 times larger than our own Milky Way, and interestingly that same system may also be a "parent" of a newly formed galaxy. As we await human colonization of other planets in our solar system, astronomers and scientists are doing everything in their power to study not only other habitable planets but also other galaxies. In a collaborative effort, scholars have confirmed that NGC 6872 is the largest known spiral galaxy. Not only is the NGC 6872 barred spiral galaxy huge, but it’s so big that astronomers believe that it’s about 5 times larger than our very own Milky Way. By combining various astronomical instruments from worldwide space exploration agencies, astronomers are saying that NGC 6872 spans more than 522,000 light-years from the tip of one spiral arm to the other. (The circled region is believed to be the newly formed tidal dwarf) The most intriguing part of NGC 6872 is actually not that it’s much bigger than the Milky Way, but rather NGC 6872’s interaction with a nearby disk galaxy (IC 4970). Astronomers believe that many systems, including our own, formed through acquisitions and merging, but the interaction between NGC 6872 and IC 4970 may have created a newer smaller galaxy instead. “The northeastern arm of NGC 6872 is the most disturbed and is rippling with star formation, but at its far end, visible only in the ultraviolet, is an object that appears to be a tidal dwarf galaxy similar to those seen in other interacting systems,” says Duilia de Mello, professor of astronomy at Catholic University.
  • 66. January 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The tidal dwarf is brighter in ultraviolet, leading astronomers to believe that there are many young stars present within the newly formed galaxy. “Understanding the structure and dynamics of nearby interacting systems like this one brings us a step closer to placing these events into their proper cosmological context, paving the way to decoding what we find in younger, more distant systems,” says Eli Dwek, a member of the team and a Goddard astrophysicist. Asus Introduces World's Smallest USB Powered WiFi Router Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-introduces-world-s-smallest- usb-powered-wifi-router/18667.html January 14th, 2013 The new WL-330NUL Pocket Router is currently the smallest fully featured wireless router in the world. Asus unveiled the router at this past CES 2013. Asus just recently unveiled what they are calling the 'world’s smallest router', specifically made for helping people get online by Wi-Fi as easy as possible. This new ‘pocket’ router is the smallest, fully featured router that isn’t much larger or heavier (25g) than a typical USB thumb drive. The new device is being called the WL-330NUL Pocket Router, and this small wonder comes with a single Ethernet port for connecting to a wired network along with a built- in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi for extending a wireless network for multiple clients as well. Best of all it is powered directly by any USB power source. Pricing for the new pocket router has not been disclosed by the company yet, however, Asus did say it will be available next month at the usual places. Another issue that is left unanswered is the range of the device, which if based on its size, would be limited to a small area. Vuzix says its Smart Glasses will beat Google to market Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/vuzix-says-its-smart-glasses-will- beat-google-to-market/18665.html January 14th, 2013 When it comes to wearable computers much of the attention is being given to Google Project Glass, but they aren't the only ones trying to bring what some are calling the future of the computing market. One of those companies is a small company based out of Rochester, New York, called Vuzix; and they say their Smart Glasses will hit the marketplace this summer - well ahead of Google. Anyone even remotely associated with the tech world will remember the skydiving antic wherein Google’s Sergey Brin hyped up the 2012 I/O attendees as the skydivers landed on the roof of the Moscone Center while wearing and streaming from Google Glasses prototypes. As cool as that might have been for a presentation, Google still says that it is hard at work and don't expect to have the Google Glasses ready for market until the summer of 2014. However, Google isn't the only company looking to bring this type of wearable computing to market. At this year's CES, one small Rochester-based company by the name of Vuzix demonstrated their Smart Glasses using the latest version of the Android operating system, but the real news was that they plan on having their Smart Glasses ready to go this summer and will be selling them for under $500. Tom Simonite, writing for Technology Review, said that the 800 x 480 pixels Vuzix lens provides the wearer with a bright, clear image that was easy to focus on with the actual display resembling that of a four-inch phone screen held at arm's length. The glasses attach to your head using the earpiece portion, and is controlled with Bluetooth using three buttons on the earpiece. It comes with 4GB of storage, GPS, Wi-Fi, and can shoot 720p video. It will be interesting to see if Vuzix can meet its summer sales target. If Vuzix meets its target, what kind of pressures will that put on Google’s Glass project out the door? Icy Dock HDD Enclosures Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/icy-dock-hdd-enclosures- review/18666.html January 14th, 2013 Icy Dock designs and produces many PC peripherals but, undoubtedly, the German company is famous mostly for their vast range of HDD enclosures. HDD enclosures and trays are the kind of product which is usually overlooked; at least until you need one. Today we will be having a look at a variety of Icy Dock products, examining their quality and performance. designs and produces many PC peripherals but, undoubtedly, the German company is famous mostly for
  • 67. January 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 their range of HDD enclosures. HDD enclosures and trays are the kind of product which is usually overlooked; at least until you need one. Today we will be having a look at a variety of Icy Dock products, examining their quality and performance. As Icy Dock is one of the most popular companies and an expert when it comes to such devices, we decided to have a close look at three of their enclosures; the MB971SP "DuoSwap", an internal 5.25" hot swap caddy, the MB559U3S "ICYBento", a typical USB 3.0/eSATA external 3.5" enclosure, and the MB080U3S "Blizzard", a high performance, cooling oriented USB 3.0/eSATA external 3.5" enclosure. Aaron Swartz, On-line Activist and Co-founder of Reddit, Commits Suicide Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/aaron-swartz-on-line-activist-and- co-founder-of-reddit-commits-suicide/18663.html January 13th, 2013 The social news and entertainment website lost one of its co- founders - Aaron H. Swartz. The 26-year-old programming genius was discovered dead in his New York City dwelling. His apparent suicide was over his recent arrest and possible conviction of stealing MIT records. Aaron H. Swartz, known as a prolific hacker and co- founder the highly popular Reddit.com social news site, was found dead in his New York home on Friday, January 11, 2013. The 26-year-old Internet activist had been indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2011 and was accused of hacking the MIT JSTOR database. He was also accused of stealing approximately four million MIT documents from the site with the intent to distribute them over the Internet. When Swartz appeared in court on Sept. 24, 2012, he pled not guilty. If a jury had found him guilty on all charges, he was facing some $4 million in fines and two life sentences in a federal prison. His family and friends knew Swartz as a programming genius and a very kind person. In addition to helping co- found the popular Reddit.com news site, he also helped write the highly popular RSS 1.0 specification when he was only 14 years of age. In his adult life, Swartz became somewhat of an Internet activist and as a driving figure behind stopping the SOPA and PIPA censorship bills that went before Congress. Swartz was also highly involved with the on-line Avaaz Foundation civic group, which pioneered Internet activism often time referred to as ‘clicktivism’. The Avaaz group, which began in 2007, was highly active in promoting human rights, combating poverty and ending regional conflicts in third world nations. In just five years' time, the group became the most powerful on-line activist network of its type. "Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment. We are in shock, and have not yet come to terms with his passing”, writes Schwartz’s family, in part, in a recent public address. "Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney's office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community's most cherished principles." For those who knew Aaron and the things he did for the community, along with opening up the Internet's real potential in regards to news and freedom of information, this is very sad news.
  • 68. January 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. National Rifle Association releases gun game that children can play Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/national-rifle-association-releases- gun-game-that-children-can-play/18693.html January 15th, 2013 Just a month after the massacre of 26 children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the US National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a shooting game for mobile devices, which children can play. Just a month after the massacre of 26 children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the US National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a shooting game for mobile devices, which children can play. While both President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden are preparing to unveil plans to address gun control in the country, the powerful gun lobby group is encouraging more use of guns with the launch of the video game NRA: Practice Range. The title is available for the iPhone and iPad for free, while users can buy additional guns in-game for $0.99 each. Nine firearms are available, and users are tasked with shooting a variety of targets. Perhaps the most concerning thing about the game is that it has been given a rating of 4+, meaning it has been deemed suitable for very young children to play. If nothing else, the lack of sensitivity in regard to the numerous children killed at Sandy Hook is sure to invite further criticism of the NRA. The move is also considerably hypocritical, given the NRA previously blamed violent video games for the shootings. The association claims its app is about striking the balance between gaming and education, but many will see it as a poorly-timed and insensitive attempt to encourage further gun use in a country already plagued by gun crime. 1 in 3 federal government smartphone users ignore password protection Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/1-in-3-federal-government- smartphone-users-ignore-password-protection/18692.html January 15th, 2013 One in three US federal government staff who use their personal smartphones for work-related tasks do not have password protection in place, according to a study by Telework Exchange. One in three US federal government staff who use their personal smartphones for work-related tasks do not have password protection in place, according to a study by Telework Exchange. The 2013 Digital Dilemma Report, sponsored by EMC, VMware, Cisco, and Carahsoft, showed a surprising negligence to basic device security among those working in federal government.
  • 69. January 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The survey showed that more than half of smartphone users in federal government use their personal smartphone for work, but only two-thirds of them use passwords to protect the potentially sensitive data they are dealing with. The report also found that 85 percent of federal employees have downloaded an app on their personal smartphone or tablet that makes the device more open to attack. With malware attacks rising by a whopping 185 percent in less than a year, according to a GAO report, government employees need to become less complacent about mobile security. The Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, the Interior, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Defence performed significantly better than other government departments on password protection, multi- factor authentication, secure remote connection, remote data deletion, global positioning system trackers, and biometrics. However, the study found that progress needs to be made on policies for employees using their own personal devices in the workplace, particularly as this is likely to be a growing phenomenon, with 95 percent of those surveyed reporting increased productivity as a result of having access to mobile devices. “IT transformation, helped by the adoption of mobile computing, is at an all time high within the Federal government. As more Federal employees introduce their own smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to work, managing these devices over an IT infrastructure they can trust becomes crucial,” said Kyle Keller, federal cloud business director at EMC Corporation. “Implementation of policy, training and technology will be necessary to ensure the best security and control in this new era of increased mobility.” Beijing's smog is off the charts Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/beijing-s-smog-is-off-the- charts/18691.html January 15th, 2013 If you've heard any news from Beijing recently, it's likely smog related news. The smog has actually gone off the charts and according to one resident, it looks a lot like living in Silent Hill. The Beijing air quality has gone to downright biohazardous levels over the weekend. The air quality is always bad in the city, much due to the tall and closely placed buildings which prevent pollution from flowing out of the city and dispersing. However, over the weekend, cold temperatures led to the pollution being trapped more than usual, and as if that wasn't enough, increased traffic added more pollution to the mix. The end result could pretty well be labeled as an environmental disaster. NASA imagery of Beijing Air pollution is usually measured in AQI (Air Quality Index), and is defined by a number between 0 and 500. Low pollution falls somewhere between 0 and 25 on the scale, and once you get over 100, it may begin to have chronic health implications. Once the pollution reaches an AQI of 500, it will severely aggravate those with existing health conditions, and even healthy people will experience symptoms. However, the air in Beijing is way worse than a 500: Over the weekend, the AQI reached 700, a ridiculously high amount. The Chinese government has taken steps to reduce the smog, including forcing 54 manufacturers to reduce their pollution by 30%. One factory operated by Beijing Hyundai Motor Company shut down completely. Hopefully, this will help in the short run, and the smog is down to the 300-400 range now, but this problem is going to take a lot more effort to solve permanently.
  • 70. January 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Photo of Beijing in 2005. The left image is after two days of rain. The right image is the build up of smoke on a sunny day. In the meantime, the population is stuck with it, and it's not very pleasant. Kotaku's Eric Jou described that "The first thing you notice is your eyes burning, then a slight sulfur-y taste in your mouth even though your mouth isn't open." One citizen described the city as living in Silent Hill, whilst Chris Pfeiffer of Kabam thought the thick smog-wall felt like the short draw distance of a GTA game. He also compared it to walking through soup: "Dude, it's soup outside! Like a beach was sent through a fan, its microdermabrasion for FREE!" Woman accidentally drives 900 miles Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/woman-accidentally-drives-900- miles/18690.html January 15th, 2013 A woman in Belgium accidentally drove 900 miles instead of 90 because of a GPS error and a vacant brain that took her across five countries and eventually into Croatia. Sabine Moreau, a 67 year old Belgian woman, recently drove a baffling 900 miles out of her way due to a GPS error and an astounding lack of attention. Moreau was planning to drive from her home town of Hainault Erquelinnes in Belgium, to pick up her friend at a train station in Brussels; a total distance of about 93 miles northbound. To aid her in getting there safely, she turned on her GPS, and due to an error, the GPS told her to travel south instead. The device guided her turn by turn all the way to Zagreb, Croatia. That's.... quite the detour. Instead of a two hour drive, Moreau spent two days driving south, passing through five countries, stopping twice for gas and sleeping on the side of the road. Moreau even had a minor car accident on the way. How a person can make such a mistake is unbelievable, literally, but Sabine Moreau insists that, as far fetched as the tale is, it's true; she never noticed something was wrong because she was simply distracted: "I was distracted, so I kept driving. I saw all kinds of traffic signs, first in French, then German and finally in Croatian, but I kept driving because I was distracted. Suddenly I appeared in Zagreb and I realized I wasn't in Belgium anymore." After being missing for a day, Moreau's son, who was less than amused, called the police. Needless to say, the cops were unable to find the missing woman. Let's hope someone finds her missing brain at least. Playstation Store receives patch Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/playstation-store-receives- patch/18689.html January 15th, 2013 The Playstation Store, which recently received a design overhaul, has just gotten a patch to speed things up a bit The Playstation store was recently overhauled and received a new design, which has been met with mixed reviews. It's more stylish, but unfortunately, it's receiving criticism for both being slow and bug ridden. There is merit to the criticism, and Sony has listened, at least to complaints about slowness. A new patch was released yesterday, a 26MB download, which is meant to speed up the store and bring it back up to speed. This patch, which brings the store to version 1.02, comes three months after the release of the new store late last year. Hopefully, it'll improve the experience a lot.
  • 71. January 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Firefox 18 is out Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/firefox-18-is-out/18688.html January 15th, 2013 Firefox 18 has been released, and delivers a faster browsing experience than before. Along with the release, the pre- release for future versions of the browser promises some interesting changes Firefox 18 was just released, and adds a new, faster Javascript engine, support for Retina screens on mac and preliminary support for WebRTC. The Javascript JIT compiler which debuts with the browser, called IonMonkey, should speed up web apps heavy in Javascript, including certain games, apps, and pages like Gmail. Good stuff. It's always nice to see Firefox speeding up Web developers in particular will enjoy the update, which adds support for more WebRTC features, facilitating peer-to-peer communications, such as video conferencing, without the need for external plugins. There is also support for the latest CSS 3 Flexible Box Model syntax, which can be enabled by going to about:config and searching for "flexbox". A final noteworthy change is the ability to stop insecure content from being loaded on a secure page. As it may break a lot of pages, it's turned off by default, but it does facilitate more security in your browser. Gmail is going to be faster Along with the update, Firefox 19 is now available for beta download. Firefox is about 6 weeks from release and will integrate a pdf viewer in the browser. Firefox 20 is also available as an Aurora release, and will enable local webcam and microphone capture. Unless you've disabled automatic updating, your Firefox should already be updated to version 18. If you want to try the pre-releases out, head on over to Mozilla's website, but bear in mind they are not ready yet and may be unstable. Crab lice are becoming endangered thanks to bikini waxing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crab-lice-are-becoming-endangered- thanks-to-bikini-waxing/18685.html January 15th, 2013 Crabs are disappearing. It's becoming more and more rare for a health clinic to receive a case of pubic lice, and one reason may be the pervalent trend of bikini waxing. Crabs, or pubic lice, used to be a pretty common thing. They have been an annoying itch for as long as humans have existed, but in recent years, they've started disappearing. In Australia, a sexual health clinic in Sydney reported that it has not had a woman with crabs since 2008, and for males, cases have dropped by 80% in the past decade. “It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen,” said Basil Donovan, a physician at the Sydney sexual health clinic, “Without doubt, it’s better grooming.” Indeed, there is a correlation between the disappearing lice and the growing trend of bikini waxing, which destroys the lice's habitat. A recent study showed that as much as 80% of college students remove some or all of their pubic hair. The trend of removing pubic hair, such as through Brazilian bikini waxing, has it's roots in 1990's New York. The J sisters salon a block from fifth avenue, operated by seven Brazilian
  • 72. January 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 sisters, first introduced the waxing technique in 1994, and it has since grown into a big industry. Thanks to the combative effects it has on lice, waxing and other depilatories has grown beyond a mere fashion trend to become a $4.7 billion industry In Win H-Frame Mini, an attractive dust magnet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/in-win-h-frame-mini-an-attractive- dust-magnet/18682.html January 15th, 2013 In Win is working a bold Mini ITX chassis that might turn some heads. Borrowing design elements from the H-Frame, the H-Frame Mini is an open-frame case that will attract as much dust on your components as it does eyes. Not much is known about the case, but sources are saying that it will have a dimension of 263x122x273mm (about the size of a toaster). Surely, the 120W PSU that it comes with will either be thrown into the dust bin or shot with a machine gun, but enthusiasts can live with a shoddy PSU if the chassis is sexy enough. Some other minor details include different color variations as well as USB 3.0 output for usability. Dust 514 Open Beta Starting January 22 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dust-514-open-beta-starting- january-22/18677.html January 14th, 2013 CCP Games, the company that brought Eve Online to the gaming world, introduces Dust 514, with an open beta coming in just a week. Eve Online is a sci-fi MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) set in space. Originally released in 2003, it was available on the three major computer platforms, though Linux distribution has since been discontinued. The game had great reception, and won the game of the year in both 2009 and 2010 by MMORPG.com. CCP, the game company behind EVE, now has a new game, Dust 514. Originally announced in Germany in 2009 at the Game Developers Conference, the game's beta is just a week away. Dust 514 is an upcoming F2P (free to play) FPS (first person shooter) for the PS3 with elements of MMO games, and will intertwine with EVE. In fact, Dust is actually stylized as EVE: Dust 514. The actions in Dust will affect gameplay in EVE and vice versa. The real-time combat of Dust 514 will take place on planets in the EVE map. Additionally, the two games will share the same universe. In Dust 514, players will
  • 73. January 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 fight for control of the planets and the districts in which the planets are located. Players in Dust 514 will wear dropsuits as pictured above. Similar to the ships in Eve, players can customize the weapons on their suits to utilize various weapon sets and equipment. An advanced beta is available on the PlayStation Network Store for $20, but will be free as of January 22. Phil Harrison Envisions Bumpy Road Ahead for Valve Hardware Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/phil-harrison-envisions-bumpy- road-ahead-for-valve-hardware/18674.html January 14th, 2013 Microsoft Studios executive Phil Harrison, a veteran who has been in the console biz for years, warns Valve about entering the hardware business with their new Steam Box "micro- consoles". At CES 2013, Valve made headlines and sent a ripple through the gaming sphere with the announcement of its Steam Box "micro-consoles", confirming that Valve was now entering the hardware business. Piston, one of Valve's prototypes that were demoed at CES 2013, featured multi-functionality and aims to bring Steam (the company's online gaming marketplace) conveniently to your living room. With Piston and the other Steam Box prototypes Valve has now entered into the hardware business, putting itself against fierce competitors like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft who are veterans to the market. This prompted Phil Harrison--a Microsoft Studios executive who has seasoned experience within the field--to issue a warning to both Valve and Xi3, the company behind the Piston prototype. "Entering the hardware business is a really tough business," Harrison began. "You have to have great fortitude to be in the hardware business and you have to have deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet. It's not possible for every new hardware entrant to get to scale. "They can be successful at small scale. But it's very rare for a new hardware entrant to get to scale, and I mean tens or hundreds of millions of units. There are a very small number of companies that can make that happen. "And it's not just having a great brand or a great software experience. It's about having a supply chain and a distribution model and a manufacturing capacity and all the things that go with it. It's a non-trivial problem to solve and it takes thousands of people to make reality." Given the prosperity and popularity of Valve's online gaming marketplace and community Steam, the company may be versatile enough to handle these points in terms of cost, given the revenue generated from digital gaming sales. However Valve started out making games like Half-Life, and do not have much experience in this field. Harrison goes on to display his feelings on Valve as a whole: "I admire Valve as a company and what they've achieved with Steam," Harrison continued when asked if Microsoft would be satisfied if, in two years' time, it had emulated the success of Steam with its own cloud gaming offering. "So I wouldn't in any way criticise what they've achieved and the role they've played in the industry. But I'm not sure we would choose Steam as a benchmark of success. We would always seek to innovate and push beyond. "Xbox Live as a foundation, the reach we have and the experience we deliver is a great place to build on." Harrison also reveals his feelings on the Android-based Ouya as well as Valve's Steam Box, looking past the potential competition that these consoles may provide: "Any new entrant, without being specific to any company or brand or product, to the games industry is ultimately a good thing, because it helps validate, grow and enhance consumer
  • 74. January 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 excitement and consumer interest in our category. So, ultimately, it's a win for everybody." Phil Harrison does make a few very good points, and it will be interesting to see how Valve and Xi3's Piston as well as the other Steam Box prototypes develop over time....and how well they perform when introduced to the retail market. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see if Valve responds to Harrison's warnings, and whether or not they'll take his words into consideration. As a veteran in the field, his words hold some weight, and hopefully Valve doesn't bite off more than it can chew with its new hardware.
  • 75. January 16th, 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. Xbox 720 rumored Blu-Ray is for games but not movie playback Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/xbox-720-rumored-blu-ray-is-for- games-but-not-movie-playback/18706.html January 16th, 2013 Sources have speculated that Microsoft's new Xbox console may feature Blu-Ray support for game discs, but may not include movie playback thanks to Xbox LIVE's content streaming. Gamers have been speculating on how the inclusion of Blu- Ray support will benefit Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console for years now, arguing both the pros and the cons for quite some time. Naturally, these arguments have escalated into rumors, many of which have spread like wildfire as the Xbox 720's official unveiling draws nearer. This particular rumor has taken new shape, however, and reveals that the Xbox 720 may in fact include Blu-Ray support. But not for movies: only for games. Sources say that based on Microsoft's current offering with content streaming via Xbox LIVE, the Xbox 720 may feature Blu-Ray drives for games but will block movie playback. This meshes in with Microsoft's business plan already set into place with Xbox LIVE's content streaming, which offers a multitude of movies and television apps. Xbox LIVE generates a reliable and steady stream of annual revenue for Microsoft via subscriptions and digital purchases, and sources say that this is the justification for not including support for Blu-Ray movie playback. Rather than being able to watch Blu-Ray movies, gamers can purchase and stream premium digital content via Xbox LIVE. However, this inconvenience will most likely make consumers think twice about the console in terms of all- around entertainment. The advantage of Blu-Ray discs is clear in terms of storage space, and will no doubt solve the current storage problems faced by the Xbox 360 today, making gameplay more convenient for gamers. In terms of entertainment, though, blocking Blu-Ray discs would be a deterrent to many consumers who expected that Microsoft's next-gen console would offer total high-def movie playback. The rumor hasn't been officially confirmed and still remains speculation, but if it's true, I can foresee many aggravated gamers who will turn to Sony's new PlayStation console for this reason. In any case, all the rumors will be put to rest during E3 in June where Microsoft is expected to reveal the next Xbox console. Surface Pro should be available within the next few weeks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/surface-pro-should-be-available- within-the-next-few-weeks/18709.html January 16th, 2013 People not wanting to smash their piggy bank for the Surface RT won’t have to wait much longer for the Surface Pro. Microsoft is in need of some help as sales of its Surface RT tablet are still sluggish. The Surface Pro, however, may help to boost the Surface brand because it’s much more powerful than its ARM-based counterpart. According to MS, the Surface Pro is due for arrival in early 2013, starting at $899 for the 64GB model and $999 for the 128GB model. People holding out for the Pro version won’t have to wait much longer as Panos Panay, GM of MS’s Surface Division, recently tweeted that the first batch of Surface Pro should arrive in the next couple weeks. The Surface Pro comes with an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5, a 1920x1080 display, the full version of Windows 8, and the ability to run legacy applications. MS launched its Surface RT in late October, and assured consumers that the Pro version will arrive about three months thereafter. The time window MS gave us is quickly closing, so people should be able to begin putting in orders for the Surface Pro come February.
  • 76. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Hollywood turns Reddit thread into time travel movie Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hollywood-turns-reddit-thread-into- time-travel-movie/18708.html January 16th, 2013 Reddit could be the new way to be noticed by the movie industry, after a time travel short story posted in a Reddit thread was spotted by Hollywood executives and will now become a full feature movie. Reddit could be the new way to be noticed by the movie industry, after a time travel short story posted in a Reddit thread was spotted by Hollywood executives and will now become a full feature movie. Author James Irwin posted a 350-word story detailing what happens when the fictitious 35th Marine Expeditionary Unit disappears from modern-day Kabul and shows up on the Tiber River in 23 BC. It was his answer to the question: “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern US Marine infantry battalion?” The thread boomed in popularity, ending up on the illustrious Reddit homepage. There it was spotted by film studio executives in 2011, who contacted Irwin with the proposal of turning the idea into a movie. Thus was Rome, Sweet Rome born. Irwin wrote a first draft, but the studios brought in screenwriter Brian Miller, famed for his script for Apollo 18. The story has undergone some changes, with US special forces replacing the Marines, but the overall concept remains the same. Now the film has its own Subreddit and a growing audience eagerly waiting to see the Reddit grown creation. NASA warns of global warming trend Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-warns-of-global-warming- trend/18707.html January 16th, 2013 NASA has warned that 2012 marked yet another year in a global warming trend, with the last decade marking some of the warmest years on record. NASA has warned that 2012 marked yet another year in a global warming trend, with the last decade marking some of the warmest years on record. Research from the space agency has shown that the average temperature in 2012 was 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.6 degrees Celsius), which is 1.0 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) warmer than the baseline temperature of the mid-20th Century. Further analysis shows that the average global temperature has risen by roughly 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) since 1880. That number might not sound significant, but it is enough to dramatically change the environments we live in, resulting in potentially extreme shifts in weather. While the scientists acknowledged that there will always be fluctuations in the average temperature, thanks to changes in weather patterns, they warned that the continued increase in greenhouse gas levels in our planet's atmosphere means that each decade will be warmer than the last. This map represents global temperature anomalies averaged from 2008 through 2012
  • 77. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 2012 was ranked as the ninth hottest year since 1880, while most of the other top ten occurred since 2000. The US, in particular, experienced one of its warmest summers in 2012. Measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mauna Loa Observatory showed that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere had risen to 390 parts per million, up from the 315 parts per million measurement in 1960 and 285 parts per million in 1880. “One more year of numbers isn't in itself significant,” said Gavin Schmidt, climatologist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it's warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” Image Credit: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies US software developer outsourced job to China Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-software-developer-outsourced- job-to-china/18705.html January 16th, 2013 A US software developer outsourced his job to China for just a fraction of his salary while he spent his days lazing about browsing the internet. A US software developer outsourced his job to China for just a fraction of his salary while he spent his days lazing about browsing the internet. The man, who has not been named, worked at an unnamed software firm, receiving a whopping six-figure salary, yet it appeared that for months he was not even doing the job. The company was permitting some staff to work from home on certain days using a virtual private network (VPN), allowing the developer to ship his job overseas to a company in Shenyang, China, paying them just a fifth of the massive wages he “earned.” He even mailed his security token to China to overcome the authentication requirement to access the work servers. The scam was discovered after unusual activity showed up on the company's VPN logs, with traffic coming from Shenyang to the staff member's workstation. The firm suspected a security breach and ordered an audit, revealing the unusual ploy. Auditors even discovered hundreds of PDF invoices from the Shenyang contractor on the computer. Evidence uncovered suggested the man might have been running a similar scam in a variety of companies in the area, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, while paying out a measly sum to the Chinese workers. It is not clear if he faces criminal charges. The software developer was described as “inoffensive and quiet,” and was said to be versed in numerous programming languages. He allegedly spent his work-free days watching cat videos on YouTube, surfing the web, and browsing Reddit and eBay. The plan backfired, however, and the man is no longer working for the company. Well, no longer pretending to work for it. Image Credit: Sutprattana Valve announces newest batch of greenlit games Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/valve-announces-newest-batch-of- greenlit-games/18704.html January 16th, 2013 Steam greenlight has just cleared another batch of games for sale on steam, and the list contains a few noteworthy titles, including a Leisure Suit Larry remake. Greenlight is Valve's community driven service for determining which titles should be available for digital distribution via their Steam platform, and every so often, they come out with a list of new games that have made it through the Greenlight process. The list includes a few
  • 78. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 non-gaming titles, such as the GroBoto modeling app, and a number of games, which notably includes a remake of Leisure Suit Larry, a Sierra point-and-click adventure title from the early 90's. Once again, we can follow Larry's quest for getting laid. Classy! Here's Steam's official press release: Valve today revealed the fourth set of games and Software titles to advance through Steam Greenlight and be offered worldwide distribution via the popular platform for games and software. Over 60 titles have advanced through Steam Greenlight and been offered Steam distribution agreements since Greenlight launched in August of last year. The latest Software titles are: articy:draft | Game Design Tool GroBoto - Modeling App The latest games are: Akaneiro: Demon Hunters Asylum DLC Quest Eador. Masters of the Broken World La-Mulana Leisure Suit Larry MaK The Age of Decadence Unepic War For The Overworld These titles will be released independently in the months ahead (as they are varying stages of completion). What faster than light travel would actually look like Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/what-faster-than-light-travel-would- actually-look-like/18703.html January 16th, 2013 We've all seen the streaks of light in Star Wars that have become an iconic visualization of what faster than light travel would look like, but alas, science has stepped in to show us what it would actually look like. We all know what FTL (faster than light) travel looks like - the light from stars extend outwards as we catch up with the light beams, and the sky is filled with bright white streams... right? Turns out that's not really what happens, and science has stepped in to correct us once again with a much less dramatic reality. A team of physicists out of the University of Leicester have pointed out that those streaks of light would be nowhere to be seen, all thanks to the Doppler effect. The Doppler effect, which is usually experienced by us through sound, is the notion that as a moving object emits waves, those waves exhibit a frequency change due to the movement. Waves are compressed ahead of the object and extended behind it. The relative motion of the object in essence "speeds up" the waves leaving the back of the object, and "slows down" the waves ahead of the object. The effect can be observed in any kind of wave, from sound, to the particle waves of photons that make up light. It might look like this for a while; the light would become bluer and bluer and eventually disappear The way this applies to FTL travel has to do with the visual spectrum. The part of the electromagnetic waveband which falls in the visible spectrum is actually quite narrow; we can only see light that falls between approximately 390 to 700 nm wavelength. When we accelerate to light speed and beyond it, the Doppler effect will alter the frequency of the light so it falls beyond the visible spectrum, going well past ultraviolet light. The stars, which may still indeed exhibit that streaking behavior, would be invisible to us. However, in the same way that visible light is shifted out of the visible spectrum, other waves are shifted into it. Specifically, the universe's background radiation, which is composed of microwave radiation, would also be subject to
  • 79. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 the Doppler effect, and would become visible to us. It's much less dramatic though; we'd simply see a fuzzy disc of light ahead of us; kinda like this: This is what true speed looks like - woo hoo! Sony teases Playstation 4 reveal in May or E3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-teases-playstation-4-reveal-in- may-or-e3/18702.html January 16th, 2013 Sony home entertainment's vice president has teased that there's a big reveal coming our way, either in May or at the E3 expo in June. It can only mean one thing; the PlayStation 4. Hiroshi Sakamoto, vice president of Sony Home entertainment, just made PlayStation owners very happy when he let it slip that Sony has a "big announcement" coming up about the next generation of the console. Hiroshi Sakamoto The announcement will either take place in May, or one month later during the E3 expo. Not surprisingly, this news comes at the same time as Xbox Live's head Larry Hyrb posted a countdown to E3, essentially revealing that the next Xbox will be debuting at the expo as well. Coincidentally, the news also arrives less than a week after the Playstation 3 finally surpasses the Xbox 360 in number of sold consoles. Sakamoto also revealed that Sony expects to deliver "great news" that will be a big step forward for Sony's consoles. The new console will pack NFC (near filed communications) and is speculated to support Ultra HD displays. I'm certainly excited, are you? Largest structure in the universe discovered Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/largest-structure-in-the-universe- discovered/18701.html January 16th, 2013 Astronomers have discovered the largest single structure in the universe, a collection of quasars which form a single entity; and it is terrifyingly large. The universe is filled with massive things, but none quite as massive as what an international team of scientists have just discovered. The team has discovered a collection of 73 quasars, which are grouped together to form a single structure. A quasar is the brightly luminous nucleus of a galaxy, which in the 1980's was discovered to mainly consist of a gas layer surrounding a super massive black hole. In other words, the structure is a massive grouping of black holes. The structure is at it's widest a whopping 4 billion light years across, which is about 1,600 times the distance between our galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. The milky way itself is only about 100,000-120,000 light years across. Artist's rendering of a quasar "While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this large quasar group, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe. This is hugely exciting – not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe." explains Dr. Clowes, a researcher on the team that discovered the Quasar group. Indeed, Clowes goes on to explain that the structure is so large that it challenges the cosmological principle, the notion that on a large enough scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers.
  • 80. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Cleaning lady steals train, drives it into house Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cleaning-lady-steals-train-drives-it- into-house/18700.html January 16th, 2013 A Swedish woman stole a local train early on Tuesday morning and derailed it, crashing it into a three family apartment building. New reports suggest the key was left in the ignition. I live in a town about fifteen minutes from Stockholm, Sweden, and every day when I head into town, I take the Saltsjöbanan railway, which has been making stops in my town since 1893, when it first opened. Delays are common, especially during winter, but when me and many other commuters woke up Tuesday morning, we were faced with a delay we had not yet encountered. A cleaner working for the railway had stolen a train and driven it into a house. Let's look on the bright side - the house's occupants have a very short walk to their morning commute The cleaner, a 20 year old woman with a hitherto good employment record, fired up the train at 2.23am and proceeded to fly down the track at 80 km/h (50 mph) before reaching the end station, plowing through the buffer stops and planting herself in a house 50 meters away. The woman is amazingly the only one who was injured, despite the house being home to three families. She is currently in critical but stable condition at the Carolinska university hospital in Stockholm. Authorities still have no clue why the cleaner took the train, though some speculation has arisen that it may have been a suicide attempt. The police is planning to interrogate her as soon as her condition improves, but they have as of yet not spoken with her. Amazingly, only the cleaner was injured According to the railway company Arriva, the train rolled into the train depot at Neglinge station, two stops from the terminus at Saltsjöbaden, at 1.45am on Tuesday. The keys to the train were for some reason left in the ignition and the track between the depot and the main line was open. Forty minutes later, the train was speeding down the track. One suggestion is that the entire incident was an accident. Anders Lindström, CEO for SL (Stockholm's public transport company) says "I'm not excluding anything. It does happen occasionally that a five year old starts a car, after all. That's up to the police investigation to determine" However, the train in question has a security lever which either needs to be pressed down by hand or foot. If you release the lever, the emergency brakes engage within seconds. This makes an accidental train theft less likely. AutoCAD on iPad Mini: Tablet as the next 3-D content creation tool? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/autocad-on-ipad-mini-tablet-as-the- next-3-d-content-creation-tool-/18698.html January 16th, 2013 Tablets are usually considered as content viewing / playback devices, rather than content creation tools, which was the realm of PCs and workstations. However, in 3-D graphics apps such as CAD and 3-D visualization, they have a chance – here’s the first AutoCAD experience on the iPad Mini... Having used PCs and workstations, and running high end software such as AutoCAD, for the past 27 years or so, I have always preferred larger, more capable devices, with faster CPUs, more memory and higher resolution displays, for interactive 3-D modeling and visualization. Tablets, which I generally don’t use, were never a consideration there, partly due to their performance, resolution and general capability issues, one of them being the lack of keyboard input, among others. However, those minuses, which usually make tablets seen as content consumption rather than creation devices – try typing a multimedia rich text document on a tablet, for an example – seem to turn on their back when looking at today’s modern tablets as 3-D CAD terminals.
  • 81. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 First, the resolution is more than good enough, as we explained in my previous story – 2048x1536 of new Ipad, or 2560x1600 of Nexus 10, are as high as any professional workstations would give you. Then, the integrated flash capacity of 64 GB or more, is sufficient to store quite a number of drawings and 3-D models locally without always referring to the sometimes patchy Web access. The built-in tablet 3-D GPUs are usually sufficient for real time CAD or CAE, as there is little or no requirement here for anything beyond pure 3-D polygon, shading and basic non moving material texture visualization. Then, we come to the multipoint touch user interface, far more suitable for interactive 3-D model manipulation than any mouse or cursor would ever be. In fact, it’s likely the most flexible one for this purpose after true 3-D spatial manipulation which is still a bit far from mainstream. And, at least for visual manipulation, lack of keyboard is not an issue as on-screen buttons and multitouch are more than sufficient for the job. In fact, even the smaller devices like Apple iPad Mini are quite suitable for the job – their compactness and lightness helps the contractor engineers check the actual stuff against the drawings in real time as they run up and down many levels of under-construction buildings or bridges, for instance. This time I tried Autodesk AutoCAD WS, a utility to view and edit AutoCAD DWG drawings on iPad and Android tablets and phones, on an iPad Mini, to see whether the tablet-sized CAD has any merit, at least for on-the-fly reviewing and sharing. Especially since the mini iPad could literally fit into big working clothes pockets of a typical on site engineer or contractor, making it easy to carry. The installation was a breeze, of course requiring the Apple Store for it – as anything else does on the iPad, like it or not. The software lets you download a couple of sample 2-D and 3-D drawings to get used to, and the rest must go via Autodesk’s own cloud – where you must register with an account, which I feel is a little unnecessary as an access restriction. It shouldn’t be the problem to also open drawings locally stored by the user on the iPad itself. For local viewing, yes smooth real time zoom, pan and 3- D rotate all worked fine, both in wireframe and in solid mode – yea there was no line anti-aliasing, but then, if you want picture perfect lines, there is always the Retina display on the larger iPad for a hundred or so bucks more. And, the multitouch allowed several different operations to be done without any buttons pressed! So, in that sense, it is really a practical improvement over a mouse. Finally, yes, the 4:3 display format really fits CAD waaay more than the 16:9 movie watching stuff, as CAD drawings are rarely, well, elongated. AutoCAD WS doesn’t offer much of editing, beyond adding simple 2-D elements like lines or polygons, or text. In that sense, it’s more of an annotation and review tool than a true drawing tool, which is fine as it is a free utility to augment the big AutoCAD in the field, rather than replace it. However, the combination of iPad Mini and AutoCAD WS is a good harbinger of things to come: truly full function, real time 3-D CAD in your – big, though – pocket. If Apple really launches a Retina based iPad Mini follow-on with stronger CPU as well, this could as well be the smallest full function AutoCAD platform soon! Finally, to think one step further – CAD/CAM/CAE and 3- D content creation professionals are, besides the photo pros, 4K video and desktop publishers, the one category of users that would welcome a larger 17 to 20 inch ‘supertablet’ for their creative design on the road. With a quad-core CPU and associated GPU, and say 4 GB RAM, Apple could have a lovely 4K, 4:3, or to put it this way, 4096x3072, near 13 Mpix display, exactly 4x that of current iPad Retina for easy software scaling, and provide THE tool for these demanding, deep pocket user communities. And oh yes, you may thing the GPUs would be too weak? Not really – just provide quad channel DDR3-LP memory for refresh, and standard 3-D polygon and texture stuff will suffice… how about that? I’d love one ASAP… 3M ups its game with 84-inch touchscreen table Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/3m-ups-its-game-with-84-inch- touchscreen-table/18680.html January 16th, 2013 Anyone who has watched the "new" Hawaii 5-0, the concept of a usable touchscreen table is nothing really new, and 3M should know as last year they showed off a 48-inch
  • 82. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 touchscreen table that could handle 20 fingers at a time. Well, they've just upped its game with a new reveal at this year's CES. A 48-inch touchscreen table is oh so last year - literally - as 3M used this year's CES to show off the progress they have made in this territory. If you thought 48-inches was the cat's meow, wait until you see the new 84-inch lion’s roar. Not only has the table doubled in size, but it can now handle 40 finger touches at a time—all the while, displaying images with a resolution of “4K” - 3,840 x 2,160. The touchscreen technology is sensitive enough that you can leave a bottle on it or even lean on it and it won't interrupt anyone from being able to open another window on the display. Now if you think 40 finger touch ability is enough for anyone, 3M has other plans as they hope to ship a version that will be able to handle more than 100 touches. As you ponder that idea here's a video courtesy of VentureBeat showing off 3M's new table. Apple iPhone Orders Cut, Stock Value Falls Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-iphone-orders-cut-stock- value-falls/18684.html January 16th, 2013 Apple lost a percentage of its value on Monday after news was made aware about the company cutting their iPhone orders in half. Apple's recent order cuts for LCD screens and other needed parts for the popular iPhone can only mean one thing – Apple’s sales are slumping. Many Apple investors are fearful that demand for the iPhone 5 has reached saturation and predictions for its future sales in 2013 might have been more hype than real scientific sales projections. When news of Apple’s cuts hit the news, investors began to sell off shares. In turn this caused their share prices to drop 3.57% to $501.75 (U.S.), which was their lowest mark in nearly a year. In December 2012, Andy Hargreaves, who serves as an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, accurately predicted sales of the iPhone dropping in 2013. Hargreaves based his opinion on the fact that there were well over 200 million iPhone users projected by the end of 2012 and to him that meant a saturation point for the product. “Global consumer demand for iPhone 5 is not as strong as we anticipated,” Hargreaves states in his report. “Although we believe iPhone 5 remains the best-selling high-end smartphone on the market and is likely gaining significant share right now, a combination of market saturation, weak global demand and incremental innovation that has surpassed consumer demand.” In a global perspective, Apple has been fighting hard to keep up with their chief rival, Samsung. Currently Samsung’s Galaxy S III has overtaken Apple as the world’s most popular and best-selling smartphone. Analysts are also predicting that Samsung will see an increase in smartphone sales by more than a third in 2013. It is also projected that Samsung will sell 290-320 million smartphones in 2013, which is up from an estimated 215 million in 2012. Pirate Bay's first server becomes a museum show piece Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pirate-bay-s-first-server-becomes-a- museum-show-piece/18681.html January 16th, 2013 The Pirate Bay has to be one of the best known sites on the whole web and has caused more than a few headaches to the entertainment industry worldwide, but did you know that this world wide file sharing phenomenon got started with one single server. Say what you will about The Pirate Bay, but there is no getting around the fact that it has had a pretty profound effect on the web and our society. Entertainment lobbying organizations may like to paint the people behind the site as nothing better than thieves, but this one site has probably done more to change how we get and consume our entertainment in this modern web-orient world. It is because of this effect that the Computer Museum in Linkoping, Sweden, will be having the original server computer on permanent display. A monumental occasion considering that this September will mark the tenth anniversary of when The Pirate Bay was first founded. The only changes being made to the computer is the placement of a glass panel that not only shows off the antiquated internals of the server, but also is inscribed with a short history of The Pirate Bay and its founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg. Here is that inscription as translated from the original Swedish text.
  • 83. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Stockholm, in the year of 2004. In the home of Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, at his parent’s place, this ordinary computer is running day and night. With a special software and a standard broadband connection this machine was the beginning for one of the most loved, hated and debated phenomena in modern time – the file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. In less than ten years The Pirate Bay has become a contemporary historical phenomenon, due to its distinguished position in the file-sharing debate. The discussions that have sprung from this simple computer server concerns serious subjects as freedom of speech, global democracy and of course the sole existence of copyright. Support groups and political parties have gathered around the now well-known banner of The Pirate Bay. Together they stand in the center of a cultural revolution. A revolution that begun in a dark grey metal box under a bed. Aaron Swartz's death prompts petition for removal of DA Carmen Ortiz from post Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/aaron-swartz-s-death-prompts- petition-for-removal-of-da-carmen-ortiz-from-post/18697.html January 16th, 2013 Aaron Swartz’s, an internet activist and Reddit co-founder, death has gotten many people riled up. The fingers have begun to point as to who should take the majority of the blame for Swartz’s purported suicide. District attorney Carmen Ortiz, the person overseeing Swartz’s prosecution, is currently in the hot seat. A petition with 33,000+ signatures is prompting the White House to remove Ortiz from her post on the grounds that Ortiz “overreach[ed]” her role, thereby, indirectly driving Swartz to do what he did. “It is too late to do anything for Aaron Swartz, but the who used the powers granted to them by their office to hound him into a position where he was facing a ruinous trial, life in prison and the ignominy and shame of being a convicted felon; for an alleged crime that the supposed victims did not wish to prosecute. A prosecutor who does not understand proportionality and who regularly uses the threat of unjust and overreaching charges to extort plea bargains from defendants regardless of their guilt is a danger to the life and liberty of anyone who might cross her path.”1 The online community including Kim Dotcom and WikiLeaks have also shown their support the petition and Ortiz’s removal. There haven’t been any indications as to whether or not Ortiz will be ousted, and the DA herself has also remained quiet about Swartz’s death. Playstation 3 Finally Exceeds Xbox 360 in Unit Sales Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/playstation-3-finally-exceeds- xbox-360-in-unit-sales/18687.html January 15th, 2013 The PlayStation 3 finally overcomes the Xbox 360 in terms of sales, with a total unit sale count of 77 million around the world, according to a report that was publicly released by the International Data Corporation. Market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) had just publicly revealed in their latest report and press release that the PlayStation 3 gaming console had actually already gotten past the Xbox 360 in terms of sales. As of December 2012, the PlayStation 3 had been officially sold by a total number of 77 million units worldwide. This is in contrast to the 76 million Xbox 360 units that were sold at the same time. This makes the PlayStation 3 higher in sale rank by about 1 million units. It is comparatively not much considering the large scales involved, but it is still well considered an achievement in itself. Probably what made this milestone a bit more remarkable, was the fact that the Xbox 360 had a head start of almost a year, since the PlayStation 3 was released at a significantly later date (JP: November 11, 2006, NA: November 17, 2006). This meant that Sony's flagship home gaming console needed a lot more to pump the higher sales numbers needed to catch up and take over the Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 even experienced one of the largest sales rates as of November 23, 2012 (Black Friday), with at least 525,000 units sold on just that one day. This most likely had a significant effect to the sales results that they had that eventually led to the achievement. Within the same report, the IDC also anticipates the future activity of the Wii U console in the gaming and tech market in the coming years. They also expect that package/hard copy/game disc sales for new games would get lower, as DLC becomes more and more common. With the predicted trend, they expect digital channels to be the primary form of
  • 84. January 16th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 obtaining new games and media for the consoles at around the year 2016. Source: 4Gamer (JP) Panasonic Unveils a 20-inch 4k Tablet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/panasonic-unveils-a-20-inch-4k- tablet/18683.html January 15th, 2013 Panasonic has announced their plans of releasing a special large-type 4k Tablet. It sports a 3840x2560 resolution within a 20-inch IPS Alpha screen. A prototype of the unit made its debut at CES 2013. Using a 4K resolution inside a smaller screen size can be challenge, with all the pixels that needs to be squeezed in that cramped space. However, Panasonic has stepped forward, and presented their answer to the challenge, as they unveiled their 20-inch 4K touchscreen unit. Tentatively named as the 4K Tablet, the unit sports a 3840x2560 screen with a pixel density of 230ppi. This might look like the 4k standard, but do note that this the first time that all of these pixels are squeezed inside a 20-inch screen. The screen technology used is IPS Alpha, though we're not really quite sure what "Alpha" meant since it wasn't really explained in the source. As you might have observed from the resolution, it has a non-standard aspect ratio of 15:10. A 20-inch screen with a 15:10 aspect ratio would approximately have the same general look and of an A3 paper (size-wise), and is a bit nearer to the size of a standard newspaper or large magazine than your average 10- inch tablet. The specifications for the unit are more or less equal to the standard specs of a regular Ultrabook or hybrid laptop. It uses a Core i5-3427U vPro CPU, has 4 GB of RAM, is fitted with a 128 GB SSD and will be pre-installed with a 64-bit Windows 8 Pro OS. Additional features include standard Wi- Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a microSD slot, a USB 2.0 port and their special Anoto Live Pen. Its dimensions are 475 x 334 x 10.8 mm, and weighs 2.4 kg. Battery life is set at two hours. No word on pricing and official release dates yet though, but Panasonic had confirmed that it is scheduled to be commercially available this year. Source: ITMedia (JP) Qualcomm sticks to smart watches; smart glasses cause headaches Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/qualcomm-sticks-to-smart-watches- smart-glasses-cause-headaches/18696.html January 15th, 2013 Google is going head-on with Project Glass, and for augmented reality aficionados this will definitely be a test drive (and buy if it’s affordable). The idea of being able to surf the cyber world while walking down a real sidewalk is cool, but Qualcomm’s CEO, Paul Jacobs, is saying that it’s actually not all that great. "I spent a lot of time on glasses at one point, and the issue for me is that the ones that were very immersive I would get a headache from. The stats are that some percentage of people get a headache from them. I think that any consumer product that’s giving a high percentage of people a headache is pretty hard to sell. So, a fully immersive glass is tough," says Jacobs. It’s quite plausible that one will get a headache from AR glasses, as it may take some time for people to adapt to having a computer preoccupying one eye and dealing with reality in the other eye. There are no real studies or statistics to prove Jacob’s point, so we’ll just have to take it with a grain of salt and see what his company’s alternative to the glass is. “Right now we’re more focused on things like smart watches - always-on display on your wrist - those kinds of ideas as opposed to glass.” Abandoning the AR glasses, it seems like Qualcomm is adopting the smart watches instead. Powerful mini computers for wrists are not new, and for Qualcomm to say that it will be focusing on smart watches is intriguing. Headaches and other health conditions aside, it will be interesting to see what type of AR elements will Qualcomm be able to tap into with a device that is strapped onto a person’s wrist. Immersive visual elements are certainly easier to achieve when directly integrated into a head-worn piece, but for a wrist watch that will be a bit harder.
  • 85. January 18th, 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. Warming Up with Thanko's "Futon" Mouse Pad Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/warming-up-with-thanko-s-futon- mouse-pad/18729.html January 18th, 2013 Warm up your hands during the cold nights with Thanko's new mouse pad, which is designed like a Japanese futon, allowing your hand to "sleep" in it and warmed up using its internal heater. Nights during winter can be quite cold, and in Japan, it can be quite uncomfortable for some people even if they are just in front of their PC. This cute item by Thanko most likely isn't as effective as a whole kotatsu, but it surely is nifty in some ways in keeping you warm as you use your computer. The USB Futon Mouse Pad (USFTMOP1) looks like, as clearly seen, a mini Japanese futon, complete with a pillow, upper bed cover (kakebudon), and underside mattress (shikibudon). Looking at its design, you might probably think that you only need to put the blanket on your hand for it to warm you up, while the underside mattress functions as the mouse pad. Well, that's partially correct, but the blanket is actually installed with a heating sheet that is powered via USB. So it provides warmth in two ways. In addition, the pillow also acts as a cushion and wrist rest for those who are careful about stressing their wrists during long hours of work. The USB heater heats up the futon mouse pad rather quickly and it goes from (winter) room temperature to 50 degree Celsius in just about a minute or so. If you find the placement of the heater's USB cable a hassle, you have the option to remove the heater from the blanket, and it can still provide a relative degree of warmth. Oh, and while it may look like the space is too cramped inside, your hand can still actually move quite freely inside the futon. Functionality-wise, it still of course suffers from the flaw of getting your hand to always get in and out of the futon whenever you need something to type with both hands. Nevertheless though, the concept is quite nice and the design is really cute. It might be a great novelty item that you could add to a collection, or you could possibly give it as a gift for someone. It's available in Japan for 2000 yen (22 USD). Source: ITMedia (JP) Facebook's Data Centers Move to Flash Memory Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-s-data-centers-move-to- flash-memory/18716.html January 18th, 2013 Fusion-io has been working with Facebook as a customer for sometime, but now they are helping the social network giant switch their storage infrastructure over to their Fusion ioScale, which will convert their datacenters from mechanical hard drives to enterprise-grade flash technologies. Flash is far less expensive to operate in the datacenter due to its lower power footprint and can sustain higher I/O concurrency to serve more transactions. This recent change was announced at the 2013 Open Compute Summit held in Santa Clara California. David Flynn, who serves as the CEO and President of Fusion-io,
  • 86. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 discussed the changeover with his address titled, “The all- flash data center: Hyperscale acceleration”. Flynn says that they will be working with Facebook to design a new “disaggregated, rack-scale architecture” that uses silicon photonics technology. A relative newcomer to the computer technology world, Fusion-io was started in 2006 and is based out of Cottonwood Heights, Utah. In just a few years they began attracting the attention of many major companies such as Apple, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard. Fusion-io also garnered much attention when they made Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) their scientist and developer in chief. In February 2009 Fusion-io was chose as the Red Herring Top 100 Global Company. Star Wars 1313 may be coming to PS3 in 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-wars-1313-may-be-coming-to- ps3-in-2013/18718.html January 18th, 2013 A recent Facebook post from PlayStation Germany reveals that the new Star Wars 1313 game may be availble in 2013 for PlayStation 3. According to a recent post on Sony's German Facebook page, the new Star Wars 1313 (which was announced at last year's E3) may be coming to PS3 in 2013. Below is the text from the post that led to the discovery: "Star Wars 1313 erscheint 2013 für PlayStation 3," Star Wars 1313 will offer a markedly different experience from other games in the franchise, allowing players to take on the role of a bounty hunter who explores the seedy criminal undeground that comprises Coruscant's subterranean level 1313 underworld. The game is being developed by Lucasarts and features gritty and mature gameplay, bringing players into a definitive bounty hunter experience as players make use of fast-paced gadget and weapon-based combat using tools exclusive to bounty hunters rather than the Force. The game has received popular acclaim and has been widely favored since it's reveal at E3 of last year. It certainly will be fun to jump into Boba Fett's shoes and take on the criminal conspiracies that litter Coruscant's underbelly. According to this post, Star Wars 1313 is slated for a release sometime in 2013 for PS3. However, it may be making its way onto PC and Xbox 360 as well.For more information, please visit 's official website. BioWare's Neil Thompson: Xbox 720 isn't a huge leap from Xbox 360 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bioware-s-neil-thompson-xbox-720- isn-t-a-huge-leap-from-xbox-360/18717.html January 18th, 2013 In a recent interview, BioWare's own Neil Thompson reveals that the Xbox 720 won't be an obvious leap forward in technology from current gen consoles as the Xbox 360 was over the original Xbox. Neil Thompson, BioWare's director of art and animation, has stated that Microsoft's upcoming next-generation Xbox console won't be a massive upgrade in technology as the Xbox 360 was over the first Xbox console. "The next generation of Xbox hardware won't be quite as barn-storming an upgrade as Xbox 360 was over the original Xbox, It'll still be quite a big leap, mind." BioWare may very well be working hard on the development of sequels for two of their most popular franchises--Dragon Age and Mass Effect--for Microsoft's next-gen console, and Thompson touches on some of the challenges that they face while developing for the new system. "Clearly we still hammer up against the limitations of the hardware on a daily basis and if you push those parameters back, as I'm sure the next-gen will do, we'll hit them again," he began. "I think the main thing is that the industry doesn't get itself into a corner where it becomes economically unviable to make a game. "The last technology iteration caught folks by surprise - especially the number of people you needed and the skillset jump to do the work that people expected. In the last generation the perception was that it was going to be a ten times improvement over the previous generation. " For the next generation there will be quite a big leap, but it won't be as obvious, " Thompson continues. "People will do things in a cleverer fashion - and I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved! I think they'll be better prepared, shall we say - but we can't see a ten-fold team increase again as the budgets would just be ridiculous. "You'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even."
  • 87. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 EA has also made predictions that their new FrostBite 2 engine will dominate the new system's hardware, and since Dragon Age 3 has been confirmed to utilize the engine and has a planned launch date of late 2013, the game has been widely recognized as a next-gen release. We've already taken a look at Dragon Age 3's concept art which was quite impressive; however it will be even more impressive to see actual in-game screenshots and footage that shows off the capabilities of EA's new engine. The gaming world has been flooded with Xbox 720 rumors, such as the console's rumored launch in November of 2013 with an estimated price range of $300-450. Additionally the 720 has been speculated to feature upgrades like enhanced RAM, processors and other rumored specs that still remain unconfirmed. As always, be sure to take these rumors with a grain of salt and not accept them as total fact, regardless of the supposed proof. All in all they still have yet to be officially confirmed. Thompson's voice does add perspective to the expectations of Microsoft's next-gen Xbox console, some of which have been wild and fanciful. In any case, BioWare should be a credible source on the subject since they're working on both Dragon Age 3 and Mass Effect 4. However, gamers will most likely be able to see what Microsoft's new Xbox console has to offer during this year's E3 in June. A Mac and PC all-in-one Millennium Falcon [Video] Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/a-mac-and-pc-all-in-one- millennium-falcon-video-/18724.html January 18th, 2013 There have been a lot of case mods over the years, some of them excellent, some good, and then some that just suck. This case mod, however, is nothing short of awesome and will definitely make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, regardless of which OS is your preference. Most of the time when a Mac user wants to travel to the darkside and use Windows they'll load up something like BootCamp and off they go. For Windows-type PC, it's a little harder when it comes to using Mac OS X since you will have to travel the Hackintosh route to play around in that alternate OS universe. That is unless you are case mod builder Ken Swallow and have a penchant for going where no-one else has gone before, and create an extremely unique case that houses both a Windows PC and a Mac OS X machine. Yes you read that right, two complete machines and all in one case except this isn't just any ordinary case. You see what Ken decided to do was to take a model of the Millenium Falcon and gutted it with the exception of what ever was used to make the model's sound effects, and replace it all with an MSI ATX motherboard and a Mac Titanium G4 motherboard. Here's the breakdown of what exactly he used for each: Mac: • Titanium G4 867Mhz powerPC • 80 GB hard drive • 1 GB memory PC: • MSI ATX P4M900M3 motherboard • 3.20 Ghz processor • 200 GB hard drive • 1 GB memory To that he added: • Linksys wireless • AirPort card as well as lights and fans from both systems Of course this kind of thing doesn't come cheap but if you are up for the run, head over to his Esty page and plonk down your $2,800; but you better hurry because he's only made one of these monsters. Ken was also good enough to make a video showing of his creation which you can see here. Samsung Galaxy S IV may feature the 8-core Exynos 5 Octa Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iv-may-feature- the-8-core-exynos-5-octa/18728.html January 18th, 2013 We’re quite a ways off from learning anything significant about Samsung’s next Galaxy S release, but some interesting new scoops about the next iteration of Samsung’s flagship smartphone is that it will have an “octa-core” Exynos running the system. Most ARM dual-cores now-a-days can handle just about any tasks thrown at them, so it was an insane step up when quad- core smartphones began emerging. Although it’s just a big fat rumor, it seems like Galaxy S users can start boasting
  • 88. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 (now) that their future S IV smartphones will have “eight” cores. The octa-core Exynos 5, as it’s being deemed, is actually not a “true” eight-core unit, but rather it will comprise of four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7. The chip won’t be revving all eight-cores at once as the A7 part is used mainly for the purpose of “power-saving.” CPU intensive tasks will, on the other hand, be handled by the A15 part. Samsung claims that the 28nm octa-core Exynos 5 will help it to achieve “70% power saving” compared to the Exynos 5 Dual-core. Phablet users may already got a whiff about the Galaxy Note III’s future integration of the eight-core Exynos 5, but for now Samsung has remained tight lipped about its Galaxy S IV device. People are hoping that Samsung will begin teasing about the S IV once MWC rolls around, but that’s still a stretch considering the Galaxy S III is still an immensely popular device worldwide. Ultra-high resolution Acer notebooks rumored for arrival this summer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ultra-high-resolution-acer- notebooks-rumored-for-arrival-this-summer/18727.html January 18th, 2013 Several reports have indicated that Acer will begin distributing laptops and an Ultrabook that will sport a resolution of 2880x1620. The growing trend in displays is that people want more pixels; this is apparent with the advent of the “4K” displays among other emerging technologies such as Sharp’s IGZO. Apple created a lot of hubbub when it unveiled its ultra-high resolution Macbook Pro with Retina (2880x1800 on the 15-inch, and 2560x1600 on the 13-inch), and it seems like competing notebook manufacturers are quickly following the suit by outfitting their own gadgets with high-res displays also. (Apple is mighty proud of itself when it comes to its Macbooks featuring Retina) While Apple has remain adamant about singling itself from the pack with the 16:10 aspect ratio, Acer will stick to the standard 16:9, which consequently, will cause it lose out on a few pixels. Regardless of how many pixels it has, an ultra-high resolution display needs some fine tuning when it comes to scaling on the software side, and without the proper DPI scaling, the desktop viewing experience will suffer. We currently don’t know when Acer will deploy these high- res notebooks, but a few sources are pointing to late spring or summer. HP to launch ENVY 27-inch IPS display with Beats audio Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hp-to-launch-envy-27-inch-ips- display-with-beats-audio/18726.html January 18th, 2013 For those people that gripe about the low sound quality of built-in speakers that are found in most displays on the market, HP has an answer to the complaints of audiophiles. HP will soon launch its ENVY 27-inch IPS display featuring Dr. Dre’s approved Beats tuned sound system. The speakers are located at the bottom of the display and are tilted upward at a slight angle. A headphone jack as well as a subwoofer and digital audio outputs are also built-in for your convenience. Skepticism about the sound quality of the display aside, let take a quick peek at what the monitor has to offer in terms of a monitor. The 27-inch display features edge-to-edge (as opposed to the rather ambiguous term “frameless”) glass design, and a very thin bezel wrapping the sides and top. HP claims that the IPS panel allows for a viewing angle of 178 degrees horizontally and vertically, and thickness-wise, the display measures just 13.95mm at the top. The MSRP for HP’s audio-enhanced Envy monitor is $499, and is due for launch on February 3. Truth be told, for that price, one can certainly pick up a premium monitor from other OEMs and spend a bit of gold for a true surround sound set-up.
  • 89. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Asus Padfone with Windows Phone 8 just over the horizon? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-padfone-with-windows- phone-8-just-over-the-horizon-/18725.html January 18th, 2013 Asus took a pretty bold step in the mobility department when it launched the Padfone line running Google's Android OS, but that might not be enough as a company official has confirmed that the Taipei-based OEM is exploring Windows Phone 8 as an alternative platform for its hardware. This, of course, makes people think about the possibility that Asus may also be looking into developing a Padfone-like device that will run WP8. There may be another Windows Phone 8 OEM entering the Microsoft mobile ecosystem soon. An Asus official, Benson Lin, recently told The Wall Street Journal that his company was “interested” in exploring the WP8 platform, and that it just “makes sense” for Asus to expand its mobility portfolio. While there are no specifics beyond the fact that Asus pondering whether or not it should gamble on WP8, it’s certainly exciting to know (from a mobile consumer point of view) that WP8 won’t be limited to just a few major brands. Anyone that has taken the Asus Padfone out for a test drive will also be happy to know that a WP8-Padfone might be just over the horizon. The tablet-smartphone hybrid is a plus when it comes to mobility and productivity on the go. CES 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada came and gone with WP8 not making so much as a dent on the attendees and people behind the scenes, so perhaps Asus will do Microsoft a favor and stir up some excitement for the insignificant player in the mobile OS arena come CES 2014. Oracle's Java exploit may take years to fix Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/oracle-s-java-exploit-may-take- years-to-fix/18699.html January 17th, 2013 Security experts are warning people not to run Java in their web browsers. While Oracle has issued a patch for the Java vulnerability, it may take up to two years before a complete fix is made. On Sunday, January 13, 2013, Oracle issued a patch for the latest Java security problems being called the “zero-day” flaw. Still, experts are warning that it is not satisfactory and Java should be avoided at all costs. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, US-CERT team agrees, and is asking that people to just avoid all Java plugins on their computers for now. A January 14 announcement at the DOHS website titled, “Vulnerability Note VU#625617”, warns users that Java 7 Update 10 and earlier versions of Java 7 all contained a vulnerability that will allow a third party to gain unauthorized access. The Java 7 coding offered hackers the ability to initiate their own code on a victim’s computer, and then gain complete control of the computer. In fact, the flaw was discovered in two vulnerable areas, both of which involved going around the program’s security manager to allow unrestricted access to Java classes. “This vulnerability is being attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits. Exploit code for this vulnerability is also publicly available. We have confirmed that Windows, OS X, and Linux platforms are affected. Other platforms that use Oracle Java 7 may also be affected,” reads the DOHS US-CERT website alert. “By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted HTML document, a remote attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.” The website explicitly warns users to disable all Java in their web browsers immediately, even after Oracle’s 7u11 update. "Unless it is absolutely necessary to run Java in web browsers, disable it even after updating to [Java 7 update 11]," the US-CERT team writes. "This will help mitigate other Java vulnerabilities that may be discovered in the future." Software security experts said that it might take Oracle up to 2 years to sort out the bugs found in Java’s security management. The writers at the Sophos website, Naked Security, agree with the US-CERT team and said that installing a patch from Oracle wouldn’t be enough to guard one’s computer in the future. “Patching against this security hole isn't the end of the story,” writes Graham Cluley with Naked Security. “You need to seriously consider whether Java has any place in your browser at all.” Obama Administration Orders Study on Violent Video Games Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/obama-administration-orders-study- on-violent-video-games/18715.html
  • 90. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 January 17th, 2013 The Obama Administration is calling for millions of dollars for studies on video game violence. Many critics of violent video games feel that virtual violence translates into real- world violence, even though past research proves contrary. On January 16, 2013, the White House Office issued a brief outline on what the Obama Administration will be pursuing to combat gun violence in the U.S. The 23-point plan is titled, “Now Is the Time: The President’s Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence”. Just recently Vice President Joe Biden met with many video game makers to see what they were willing to do in helping to conduct research on violent video games. Some of the men Biden met with included Electronic Arts CEO, John Riccitiello along with Entertainment Software Association’s Michael Gallagher. Part of those talks included in the outline calls on the Center for Disease Control to begin studies on video game violence. President Obama will also be calling on Congress to allocate 10 million dollars for the CDC to begin the research Almost immediately following the Sandy Hook shooting incident, many critics of video games began their onslaught on the games saying that virtual violence will incite real- world violence. Less than a week after the shooting, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill that called on the National Academy of Sciences to look at violent video games’ effects on children’s behavior. "Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children," Rockefeller said on his personal website. "They have a responsibility to protect our children. If they do not, you can count on the Congress to take a more aggressive role." Rockefeller’s video game bill was killed on January 3, 2013; however, reports suggest that he might soon be resubmitting the bill, however, Rockefeller’s resubmission may not matter now since the White House has their own outline asking for the same thing. Many critic of the research, such as the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), feel that it is a waste of taxpayer dollars, citing past research proving that video games do not incite real-life violence in children. The ESA has replied to the White House outline saying that past scientific research shows that video games do not cause violence to erupt in young people in real-life situations. "ESA appreciates President Obama's and Vice President Biden's leadership and the thoughtful, comprehensive process of the White House Gun Violence Commission,” the ESA writes in part. “The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.” Even though the ESA does not agree with the research effort, they have agreed to cooperate with the Obama Administration in other ways. The ESA says they will be offering a ‘constructive role’ with the government in helping to reach some sort of national dialogue in regards to actual gun violence. Consumers spent nearly 25 billion dollars on video games in 2011 and, on average; every home has at least one video game console. In 2012 the biggest selling video game was Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II. In fact the Black Ops franchise made it to that #1 spot for four years running. Activision reported that on its opening sales day in November 2012, Black Ops II sold over one million copies, which broke many video game sales records. White PlayStation 3 coming to North America Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/white-playstation-3-coming-to- north-america/18722.html January 17th, 2013 Japan has had classic white PS3's for months now, but gamers in North America will be able to pick up their very own alabaster PS3 later this month. Since their release a few months ago, the classic white PlayStation 3's where believed to be exclusive to Japan. However recent news reveals that the pearly PlayStations are actually crossing over to the shores of North America later this month. Beginning Jan. 27, gamers in the U.S. and Canada can snag their own alabaster PS3 featuring a 500 GB hard drive and a year of PlayStation Plus for $299.99. The white PlayStation 3 model is the new slide-top console that debuted during last year's Tokyo Game Show, and comes with a full year of Sony's premium PlayStation Network subscription that offers movies, games, and expansive entertainment that includes original PlayStation titles and more. Whether or not gamers will be purchasing a PS3 with a custom paint job or not is hard to say, especially since most gamers are probably saving up for Sony's next-gen PlayStation console.
  • 91. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 If you're unfamiliar with Sony's new slide-top PS3 then be sure to check the attached video which showcases the model during last year's Tokyo Game Show. Kingston Presents their Almighty 1TB Flash Drive Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kingston-presents-their- almighty-1tb-flash-drive/18714.html January 17th, 2013 Kingston Technology Corporation presents the world's first true "high-end" pocket flash storage drive, the Data Traveler HyperX Predator, which has a very spacious capacity of 1TB. Flash drives are convenient data storage peripherals for quick pocket-accessible data storage. They're not usually used for storing heaps of data because there is just isn't enough space to store it in them. But Kingston has apparently proved this wrong recently, as they present their latest flash drive that has a storage capacity of a whopping 1TB. The DataTraveler HyperX Predator USB looks no more than a fattened version of your regular USB drive. It uses a USB 3.0 connection, and can reach data transfer speeds of up to 240MBps (read) and 160 MBps (write). Dimensions are 26.94 x 72 x 21 mm, and it is made of a durable, shock- resistant zinc alloy. The USB connector is taken out or covered by simply sliding in and out the drive's main body. Most of the large high-end flash drives that we have today are within the line of 64GB or so. Flash drives that have 128GB storage space or more have just been developed recently, and have in fact just become widely available last year. This makes Kingston's quick jump to the TB storage range a bit more astonishing, and indeed it is, because at that capacity, we'd usually think of some sort of external hard drive, not something as small as gum box. In addition to the 1TB drive, Kingston also plans to release a 512GB version, presumably at a more economic price than the original version. Both items have been announced and unveiled last CES 2013, but Kingston has yet to announce its actual price when it finally becomes commercially available. Power plants struck by USB malware Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/power-plants-struck-by-usb- malware/18721.html January 17th, 2013 Two US power plants were infected with malware from USB drives last year, according to the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS- CERT), adding to growing concerns about the safety of key infrastructure. Two US power plants were infected with malware from USB drives last year, according to the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS- CERT), adding to growing concerns about the safety of key infrastructure. ICS-CERT said the plants were the target of “sophisticated” attacks, adding that they are common, and warning that such attacks are expected to increase. The malware found its way onto the control systems for the power plants through USB drives, with one technician unwittingly uploading the virus while attempting to make software updates. Another employee reported problems with his USB drive, used to back up control systems configurations, and IT staff found that it also contained malware. The affected systems had to be taken offline for roughly three weeks to sort out the problems, giving an inkling into the potential chaos and destruction such cyber attacks on important facilities can achieve. The security officials did not reveal anything about the nature of the malware, such as whether or not it was
  • 92. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 designed to cause havoc or for espionage. Malware has become a major new tool of war in recent years, with the Stuxnet virus causing significant damage to Iran's nuclear facilities. A growing number of attacks on power grids, water plants, oil rigs and similarly vital infrastructure has caused many governments to step up cyber defence plans. These latest attempts show that more attention will need to be paid to the use of USB drives, which have previously been used to infect consumer PCs with viruses. Image Credit: Geograph.org.uk Facebook offers free calls for US iPhone users Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-offers-free-calls-for-us- iphone-users/18720.html January 17th, 2013 Facebook is letting users of its iPhone app make calls in the US for free over Wi-Fi or cellular networks, and is planning to roll out the feature for Android and BlackBerry. Facebook is letting users of its iPhone app make calls in the US for free over Wi-Fi or cellular networks, and is planning to roll out the feature for Android and BlackBerry. As part of a slew of new features aimed at beating rivals like Google, Facebook users can select the “i” button in the Facebook for iPhone app and select Free Call, a direct challenge to Google Voice, where US customers can make free US calls. Given the popularity of Facebook this could become a major attraction for those looking for a VoIP service, as many users will already have most of their friends using the social network. It would also encourage more people to use the app and keep logging into the website. Unfortunately there are some major flaws in the implementation of the free call feature. It does not allow calls to anyone logged into Facebook, but rather requires them to have Messenger installed on their iPhone. It also cannot call a landline, unlike Google Voice. Both Android and BlackBerry are set to get similar treatment, with Facebook stating that it is working on an update to the apps for those platforms. While the service is currently restricted to the US, a spokesperson for Facebook said the company is working on expanding the service to other regions. Whether or not it will be free there remains to be seen, as Google Voice involves charges in many other locations. Facebook also unveiled a social search feature this week called Graph Search, another stab at Google and its Google + social network, the launch of which made the two bitter enemies. This latest debut is certainly not going to help relations, but competition is always good for the consumer. CM Storm Scout 2 and TPC 612 Mini-Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cm-storm-scout-2-and-tpc-612-mini- review/18276.html January 17th, 2013 Two of the most crucial components in any enthusiast PC build are the chassis and cooling system. After all, the last thing you want happen when trying to win an in-game clutch situation for your team is your computer melting or falling into pieces. We see if the CM Storm Scout 2 is the case you want to bring to the LAN party sessions, and check out the abilities of the vapour chamber endowed TPC 612 CPU tower heatsink. Cooler Master has grown from strength to strength through the years, delivering high quality and value for money products to both their OEM and retail customers. These offerings include CPU/GPU coolers (little known fact: they design and make most Intel/AMD/Nvidia HSFs), PC enclosures, power supplies and other peripherals across the entire price spectrum. In recent times they have also
  • 93. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 launched a sub-division known as CM Storm, targeting the needs of the discerning eSports gaming enthusiast. The Scout 2 is the latest in a line of cases from CM Storm, which previously produced cult hits like the the original Scout and Sniper enclosures. Available in Midnight Black, Gunmetal Grey or Ghost White, the newcomer has, among other niceties, reinforced carrying handles for accident- free transportation between LAN venues and a side panel window to show off the raging inferno that lurks within. Much like the other mid tower PC cases around today, the Scout 2 features a rear 120mm honeycombed fan exhaust and has its PSU compartment situated at the bottom to accomodate a water cooling radiator at the top. Four rubberized feet keeps the setup tethered to whichever surface it is placed on, and its front cover can be detached via an opening at the base. At the top, there is the welcome inclusion of a reset button (usually forgotten by case designers these days) along with the power button and lights switch. A sliding panel conceals a bunch of USB and audio ports, which is in keeping with the case's macho yet unpretentious outlook.
  • 94. January 18th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer employee approval remains low Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-ceo-steve-ballmer- employee-approval-remains-low/18710.html January 17th, 2013 Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, has never been an employee or investor favorite, but the recent moves made by him and the company has helped him to get a few more thumbs up from his underlings. There are people out there that aren't happy with Ballmer helming the Microsoft ship, and feel that the company would do better under new leadership, especially considering that it was under his leadership that the company fell so far behind in the mobile market. However, given the company's recent moves with things like Windows Phone, the Surface, and of course Windows 8, onlookers may have shifted their perspectives of Ballmer to a certain degree. Even though Ballmer may be ranked as the second worst CEO of 2012 by CNBC, you have to give him credit for being willing to take on the riskiest bet the company has ever taken. It is a bet that appears to have helped changed some company employees' feelings about their leader. According to Glassdoor the company's employees approval for Ballmer has gone up in 2012 to 52% from the previous year's 35% approval. Unfortunately, his approval rating has dropped to 48% this month. The average employee rating also went up a bit in 2012; last year’s 3.4 increased to 3.7 out of 5 this year. T-Mobile Nexus 4 available in- store soon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/t-mobile-nexus-4-available-in-store- soon/18713.html January 17th, 2013 Google Nexus 7 with T-Mobile enabled data is now available, and on-contract T-Mobile Nexus 4 will become available in- store "in the coming weeks." Google Play now has a Nexus 7 with data enabled via T- Mobile, but the extra baggage also means a higher price tag. For the low, low price of $299, people can purchase the unlocked 32GB Wi-Fi + mobile data Nexus 7 and enjoy the "blazing-fast" T-Mobile 4G. The T-Mobile enabled Nexus 7 is essentially the same set-up as the AT&T package; the difference is of course the price of the actual data plan itself. On the handset front, T-Mobile will begin distribution of the Nexus 4 via its stores “in the coming weeks,” and its website will begin taking orders beginning January 23. Availability of the Nexus 4 have been extremely limited through Google Play, and as demand for the pure Android Jelly Bean device remains high, T-Mobile will undoubtedly hook some contracts once the device becomes available in- store.
  • 95. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. NASA discovers Mars may once have had groundwater- fed lake Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-discovers-mars-may-once- have-had-groundwater-fed-lake/18753.html January 21st, 2013 NASA has found evidence of a wet underground environment on Mars, giving scientists a better understanding of the early evolution of the Red Planet. NASA has found evidence of a wet underground environment on Mars, giving scientists a better understanding of the early evolution of the Red Planet. Data collected from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests that the 57 mile wide and 1.4 mile deep McLaughlin Crater once allowed underground water to flow into the crater's interior. The information reveals that there are layered, flat rocks at the bottom of the crater, which contain carbonate and day minerals that form in the present of water, while there are small channels in the crater's wall that could mark the surface of a lake. The findings, which are published in the latest edition of Nature Geoscience, could have meant the environment was habitable, according to NASA scientists. This view of layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater shows sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded the image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Univ. of Arizona “A number of studies using CRISM data have shown rocks exhumed from the subsurface by meteor impact were altered early in Martian history, most likely by hydrothermal fluids,” said Joseph Michalski, lead author of the paper. “These fluids trapped in the subsurface could have periodically breached the surface in deep basins such as McLaughlin Crater, possibly carrying clues to subsurface habitability.” NASA has been exploring Mars for years in hopes of finding water on the planet, which many consider to be the closest thing to an Earth environment within an achievable space travel distance. A recent study of a Martian asteroid showed large amounts of water, but these latesting findings suggest Mars could have had very large bodies of water all over the planet. "This new report and others are continuing to reveal a more complex Mars than previously appreciated, with at least some areas more likely to reveal signs of ancient life than others," said Rich Zurek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a member of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project. The fact that this lake was underground presents the tantalising possibility that there could be other sources of water still on the planet that are hidden from plain sight.
  • 96. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Asus PadFone 2 (with Jelly Bean) Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-padfone-2-with-jelly-bean- review/18274.html January 21st, 2013 The best smartphones and tablets all share the same recipe - they are a potent mix of good hardware and software engineering, with the latter sometimes taking longer to reach maturity, often due to the inevitable rushed market introductions. Two months on from its official inception, do the recent Android Jelly Bean 4.1 updates propel the Asus PadFone 2 convertible hybrid straight to the top of the food chain? "Good things come to those who wait" The development cycles of mainstream smartphones and tablets have been so aggressive that we're seeing new releases almost every 6-12 months, which is an impressive feat when you consider the behind the scenes design, engineering and marketing processes that goes into the making of each product. This neccessitates taking some inevitable short cuts to keep within the release schedule, with the usual one being an accelerated time-table for QA efforts. Much like the birth of a premature infant, obvious consequences are the deployment of unoptimized software during media sampling/shipping or worse still, prolonged PR bloopers like the recent iOS 6 Maps fiasco. Normally. a skeleton team of engineers is tasked to take care of the product upon release, with the actual big guns whisked away to concentrate their talents on the next big thing. If the vendor has any measure of decency (some big names come to mind), software updates will be released on a regular basis to provide patches for failings and to improve the overall user experience. Sometimes the vendors themselves have to depend and wait on upstream component suppliers like Qualcomm to deliver updated blobs of drivers/firmware which have the low-level fixes. My initial experience a couple of months back with the Asus Padfone 2 was that of disappointment. Back then I was given an purported final production sample loaded with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to publish a review in tandem with the December retail launch in Singapore. For its relatively cutting-edge hardware (Qualcomm S4 Pro with Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM), the Android user experience was disappointing, and not surprisingly too it performed way below par in the synthetic benchmarks. Menu transitions/rotations were laboured and unresponsive, and there were visible GPU texture artifacting even when doing innoculous tasks like web browsing. A factory reset helped bring back the anti-aliased fonts and some measure of smoothness, but over time as typical applications like Angry Birds and WhatsApp were loaded in, the stutter fest came back again and it didn't felt like the rocket it was built to be. Worse still, docking the phone with its tablet companion was anything but smooth - even running the purpose built applications would (randomly) crash or fail to properly resize to a phone/tablet optimized layout. A few days before which I would have published a very damning review piece (still before actual retail release and the exclusive hands-on session for our forum members), I received a manual OTA update which eradicated many of the show-stopppers and elevated the phone to a state that it could be deemed usable... but still not great. Nevertheless this rendered many of the points in that review moot, and I then set upon rewriting a new piece that would put the Padfone team from Asus, who have been most earnest and co-operative in soliciting and acting upon feedback, in a fair and honest light for their considerable efforts. One thing led to another and before I could complete the re- review, I was distracted by the year-end holiday festivities/ H3N2 and my 3-week long vacation to San Francisco which cumulated at the very lackluster CES in Las Vegas. When I came back to the office, I was duly informed by the friendly local Asus PR representative of the imminent release of a Jelly Bean 4.1.1 update, which was then applied to the media sample. The ugly duckling then turned into a swan...
  • 97. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Everything worked like a dream. The user interface became buttery smooth (slightly modified from the stock Android launcher). Web browsing felt like an Apple iOS device (yeah, its a valid compliment). Photos from the 13-megapixel Sony BSI sensor appeared razor sharp. Docking with the tablet companion became, as proudly advertised, "It's Intuitive!". Even the previously abysmal battery life now lasted more than a day on abusive 4G LTE streaming/tethering usages. A quick check on the synthetic benchmark scores also showed that it has leaped in front of its illustrious quad-core competitors, including the Samsung Galaxy S III/Note 2, LG Nexus 4 and the Xiaomi 2. To address the more geeky developer/hacker crowd, Asus provides the latest full source code dump together with an unlocked bootloader on their support portal for those who want to cook their own ROMs. The Padfone 2 doesn't have a presence in the major OSS places like XDA yet but this is bound to change once the phone makes its debut in America. The Jelly Bean software update has transformed the Padfone 2 to a device that I'll recommend to our readers over similarly priced competition in a heartbeat. Other than the lack of external SD storage facility, I'm still not totally sold on the usefulness of the tablet companion, which is a optional SGD$300 add-on. Its 10.1" 1280x800 (16:10) display is lacking in sharpness compared to contemporary high 300+ PPI counterparts, and without a stylus or keyboard attachment for productivity usages, it just is an expensive magnifying glass for media consumption. So Asus, what's next? Recommended Retail Price (RRP) in Open Channels 32GB 64GB PadFone 2 + PadFone 2 Station S$1,099 S$1,239 PadFone 2 S$848 S$988 PadFone 2 Station S$328 S$328 CyanogenMod 10.1 "M-Series" released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cyanogenmod-10.1-m-series- released/18751.html January 21st, 2013 CyanogenMod's nightly builds are fantastic, but the team's recently released CM 10.1 "M-Series" builds prove that a truly stable CM 10.1 build is right around the corner. The folks involved in the CyanogenMod project recently released their CM 10.1 “M-Series” builds, which promises improved performances along with overall stability compared to the nightly builds. The following devices are supported:
  • 98. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 There’s not much to complain about when developers are releasing these aftermarket goodies for free. For more info and download links, check out the official post on the Cyanogenmod website. BlackBerry Z10 & iPhone 5 quick comparison [VIDEO] Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-z10--iphone-5-quick- comparison-video-/18748.html January 21st, 2013 In a few days’ time, the public will be able to get their hands on RIM’s attempt at competing with Android and iOS (possibly Windows Phone 8 also), but as we await BlackBerry 10’s arrival let’s take a look at the BB Z10 and see how it matches up to the iPhone 5. In a recent Telekom-Presse video, we found that the BB Z10 was able to demonstrate its mobile prowess with the iPhone at its side for comparison. The BB Z10 comes with a 4.2- inch screen with a pixel density of 356ppi, and the 1800mAh removable battery is standard (which Apple doesn’t practice, because… well, it’s Apple). Something that is a selling point for mobile users is the storage expandability, which the BB Z10 covers this nicely with its microSD slot, and as we all already know, the iPhone 5 has neither a storage expansion option nor a removable battery. On the operating system front, it seems like (from the comparison video) BB 10’s optimization is a bit better than iOS. BB10 voice recognition appears as if it’s more accurate and faster than Siri. Switching between apps in BB10 is also slightly snappier compared to iOS in the iPhone 5. Moreover, surfing the web on a smartphone is a must if it’s actually a “smartphone,” and the Z10’s BB Browser might just be the deciding factor as it is shown to be faster than the mobile Safari browser. Staying true to its enterprise roots, BB10 also comes with BlackBerry Balance—a feature that allows people to switch between home page and apps for business and personal use. Sensitive business data and apps must be enabled via RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for full access. People can say what they want about RIM’s outlook, but you have to give RIM credit for putting up a fight and hopefully BlackBerry will do what it is designed for—and that’s to save the Canadian handset maker from being blown to oblivion by its competitors. Sony Xperia Tablet Z is slim but powerful Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-xperia-tablet-z-is-slim-but- powerful/18746.html January 21st, 2013 The Xperia Tablet Z might be exactly the device that will get Sony back into the swing of everything Android in 2013. Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z is a 10.1-inch device that boasts nice specs as well as a slim and classy design profile. Underneath the rectangular exterior lies a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 quad-core, 2GB of RAM, and 4G LTE connectivity for selected models. An Exmore R-enabled 8.1MP camera on the back is a plus for people who like taking pictures with tablets, and the audio enhancements using Sony’s “S-Force” virtual surround sound system will be an interesting novelty feature. Sporting the “non-standard” resolution of 1920x1200, the Xperia Z Tablet will give users plenty of screen real estate— though, Google’s Nexus 10 (along with a few other devices) is still the mainstream tablet to beat if ultra-high resolution is what one is going for. Weighing in at 495g and measuring 6.9mm in thickness, this tablet is one of the thinness 10- incher announced to date. A 6000mAh battery will supply
  • 99. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 the juice, and NFC capability as well as microSD will also be gracing Sony’s next-gen Android toy. Sony claims that the Xperia Tablet Z is both dustproof and waterproof, but we’ll see how much punishment it can actually take once Sony decides to launch it stateside. Sony allows PSN purchases with PayPal in North America Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-allows-psn-purchases-with- paypal-in-north-america/18740.html January 21st, 2013 After coming back online after two days of downtime, Sony has implemented a new feature on the PlayStation Network that allows gamers to purchase content with their PayPal accounts. Sony has launched a new feature which allows PSN members to use digital currency from their PayPal accounts to purchase content on the PlayStation Network's vast marketplace, opening up new doors for customer satisfaction and convenience. Originally implemented in Europe, the new PayPal payment method has now spread to North America and offers gamers the chance to buy content with their digital wallets rather than pre-paid cards or credit cards. To use PayPal to buy content on PSN, users must first sign in to Sony Entertainment Network's mainsite. Once there, open the Account Management screen, then click the "Add Funds to Wallet" button, When prompted at the next screen, click the "Add Funds to Wallet" button again, and voilà. The wallet's balance can be viewed at any time, and it appears that funds digitally transferred from a user's PayPal account into their digital wallets via PSN which can be used to buy games and other content from the PlayStation Store. Perhaps sometime soon we will see Microsoft follow suit and offer PayPal as an optional payment method for Xbox LIVE content, but only time will tell. Kim Dotcom says his new cloud storage site is legitimate Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kim-dotcom-says-his-new-cloud- storage-site-is-legitimate/18742.html January 21st, 2013 Kim Dotcom, founder of the now defunct Megaupload.com, has just launched a new creation called ‘Mega’. The new cloud-based storage site comes with military grade encryption and supposedly the most secure storage site going. Kim Dotcom has unveiled his latest creation he is calling ‘Mega’. The new site allows users to upload files via encryption that Dotcom says is as good as it comes. This new website, according to Dotcom, is nothing like his previous site, Megaupload.com. In January 2012 more than seventy armed police, New Zealand special agents and the U.S. FBI made a raid on the New Zealand mansion belonging to Dotcom. It was called ‘Operation Takedown’, and it was conducted to obtain a ‘doomsday device’ that Dotcom supposedly possessed that could ‘shut down the internet’. Later the raid was determined by the New Zealand courts to be illegal, and neither was there any doomsday device found. It has been suggested the FBI dreamed up the fictitious device in order to gain access to Dotcom's home. Dotcom is now fighting extradition to the United States under accusations that megaupload.com was being used to share copyrighted music, films and software. The new website, which was launched on Sunday, is all supposedly within New Zealand and international copyright laws. Dotcom also told U.S. authorities that any attempts at shutting down the new site would be senseless. "This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood," Dotcom commented."…This site is just as legitimate as Dropbox, Boxnet and other competitors." What sets Mega apart from Dotcom’s former site, Megaupload, is that it allows users to access the cloud and lets them control who has access to their files. With Megaupload, anyone who had the service could search for and download those files.
  • 100. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The encryption service that comes with Mega was installed as a means of keeping people’s files secure from any type of unauthorized access. Dotcom further emphasized that the new site is secure enough that even the website administrators, such as himself, can’t see what files a user may possess. Mega comes with two memberships, which are the standard free version and the pro. With the free version you get 50GB of free upload, and then three Pro tiers of 500GB to 4TB for $13-$40 a month If you are hoping to get any of your files from megaupload.com returned from the U.S. Feds - that is not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. Dotcom said that he would like to give premium status to former Megaupload users. His attorneys said they tried to obtain court’s permission to get the data transferred over, but the U.S. authorities repeatedly fought any kind of transfer. A visit to the former site reveals it is still under seizure by the U.S. Department of Justice. Taking Dell off NASDAQ could cost Michael Dell & partners $22bn Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/taking-dell-off-nasdaq-could-cost- michael-dell--partners-22bn/18744.html January 21st, 2013 In the tech world, rumors are a daily occurrence but this one regarding Michael Dell and his move to take the company bearing his name private is gaining momentum, and a big sticker price. There isn't a day that doesn't go by that tech bloggers are flooded with all kinds of rumors, but there has been one floating around lately that has a lot of tech pundits just a little bit excited. The rumor is that Michael Dell is in some pretty serious talks with private equity firms about taking the company that bears his name out of the NASDAQ, and return it to being a private company. Apparently part of the reasoning behind this move, according to analysts, is that as the third largest PC maker in the world Dell is extremely concerned about declining sales; and is looking to transform the company. As a public company this would be extremely difficult as every action would be answerable to shareholders, whereas a private company would allow him to be able to do what he thinks needs to be done to transform his company and make it more agile. At this point, PC sales account for 70% of the company's revenues and more than half of its profits, but Dell believes that if the company is going to survive it needs to move from dependence on things like laptops and desktop. He sees that to survive and grow in the future the company needs to become more of a "business services" company concentrating on managing servers, software in the cloud, and data center equipment. However, this move to a private company isn't going to be cheap and apparently the deal that is being led by private equity group Silver Lakes Management and Michael Dell could cost as much as $22 billion, which would make this the largest leveraged takeovers since 2007. To accomplish the purchase Silver Lakes has lined up four banks to provide an estimated $15 billion. According to Bloomberg, these banks include: Credit Suisse Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Barclays, and Bank of America; with a share price of between $13.50 and $14 being offered. One analyst, Bernstein Research's Tony Sacconaghi believes the deal is workable because Dell would be able to switch the money it pays in dividends to meet the interest of the loan needed to take Dell private. Architect wants to use 3D printer to build house Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/architect-wants-to-use-3d-printer- to-build-house/18745.html January 21st, 2013 You know 3D printing has built itself a solid foundation when an architect is willing to use the technology to build a house utilizing the printer’s capabilities. Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture in Amsterdam has designed a building that can be built partially using a 3D printer. The ambitious architect teamed up with mathematician and artist Rinus Roelofs to develop the project, and is planning to have the actual building “printed out” by 2014.
  • 101. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The concept involves printing out 6x9m pieces using the D-Shape 3D printer, and then fitting the parts together to complete the building. Designed by Italian inventor Enrico Dini, the D-shape 3D printer is capable of printing huge 3D objects using thin layers of sand and an inorganic binder. As reinforcement to the 3D printed pieces, the building will be reinforced with concrete to achieve structural stability. In essence, the “3D printed building” won’t actually comprise of purely printed pieces, but rather whatever comes out of the printing machine will have their roles played out in the “looks” department. According to Ruijssenaars, the printed pieces will play an active role in the building’s form only. “It will be the first 3D printed building in the world. I hope it can be opened to the public when it’s finished.” Ruijssenaars said. CM Storm QuickFire TK Mechanical Keyboard Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cm-storm-quickfire-tk-mechanical- keyboard-review/18743.html January 21st, 2013 As mechanical keyboards become more ubiquitous, it was a matter of time before companies came up with various unique features and designs. Today we are having a look at the QuickFire TK by CM Storm, a compact gaming mechanical keyboard designed to mix LAN party gaming with working at home. Mechanical keyboards are becoming more and more popular among gamers, professionals and enthusiasts. Unlike a year ago, when mechanical keyboards were a very rare and expensive commodity, there are numerous unique models available today from which every power user can choose from. Today we are having a close look at the QuickFire TK, a compact mechanical keyboard with a full numpad which CoolerMaster primarily designed for gamers attending LAN parties. The QuickFire TK comes in three versions, each featuring a different Cherry MX switch and backlight color. Today we are testing the red version which, as the name suggests, is built using Cherry MX red switches and red backlighting. Bethesda plans to release every Skyrim DLC on PSN next month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bethesda-plans-to-release-every- skyrim-dlc-on-psn-next-month/18739.html January 20th, 2013 PS3 owners have been waiting patiently for Skyrim's DLC, and Bethesda aims to bring their long wait to an end with a planned release for all packs next month. In a recent blog post, Bethesda announces that every Skyrim DLC is planned for release onto the PlayStation 3 in February, finally allowing access to PS3 owners who have been patiently waiting for the add-ons for months. For the first time every DLC pack--DawnguardHearthfire and Dragonborn--is slated for release onto the PlayStation Network, each add-on bringing a variety of new quests and areas to expand Skyrim's gameplay. It's fair to say that many players have already complete the main quest of the game and are looking forward to new content, and PS3 owners have been waiting for quite a bit for these DLC packs. The news also sheds light on the official release date for Dragonborn on PC, which is slated to launch on Feb. 5th, 2013 on the Steam marketplace. Dragonborn adds new expansive content complete with a main quest and many side-quests that span multiple hours, a multitude of new weapons, armors and powers, and the chance to explore the sizeable island of Solsthiem. PC: On Tuesday, February 5th, Dragonborn will be available on Steam, including the English, French, Italian, Spanish and German versions of the content. PlayStation 3: Dragonborn will be the first add-on arriving on PSN in February. Hearthfire will release next, followed by Dawnguard, and all three should be out in February. The 1.8 update will also release just prior to Dragonborn. We’ll keep you posted as release dates get finalized both on our end and with Sony for each and its various languages. Also, to make up for the long wait Bethesda is offering a sale on the DLC once they're released onto the PlayStation Network, discounting each pack by -50% off!
  • 102. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Former FCC Chairman Admits Data Caps Aren't About Congestion Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/former-fcc-chairman-admits-data- caps-aren-t-about-congestion/18738.html January 20th, 2013 Michael Powell, former FCC head and currently the president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, revealed that the Cable industry’s demand for data caps is not about network congestion but for needed revenue. For many years major Internet service providers have claimed that users demanding high speed Internet will result in an Internet bottleneck. By implementing data caps and charging higher rates, they claim it is the best way to combat the problem of over usage. In December 2012 the Open Technology Institute lashed out at ISPs and accused them of making up a need for data cap. Writing in part, the OTI claims that cable companies are “motivated by a desire to further increase revenues from existing subscribers and protect legacy services such as cable television from competing Internet services.” Now it seems that the OTI was quite accurate with their accusations and even the former FCC head, Michael Powell, admitted it recently in a roundabout way. An article from Broadcasting & Cable recently suggested that Powell revealed that the cries of a brownout or bottleneck from cable companies had no real truth to it, but was really more about ‘fairness’. In response to MMTC president David Honig’s question about the issue of data caps and how a lot of people felt it was about data congestion management, Powell stated: "That's wrong. Our principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost." Speaking mainly as an apologist for the cable industry, Powell expressed that the industry had to first spend millions of dollars in setting up the infrastructure that was not there before. “It is a completely rational and acceptable process to figure out how to fairly allocate those costs among your consumers who are choosing the service and will pay you to recover those costs." He also added that bandwidth limits is to help encourage app designers survey data usage more closely. Or simply put, ISPs must force people to observe moderation or discipline while working on-line or they will not do it on their own. Many critics of high-speed ISPs, and especially the cable companies, are upset that most of the high-speed Internet is controlled by what equates to what they consider to be monopolies. Most cities have only one provider for high- speed cable, and you either accept what they are offering or you do without. Rumored Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 specs hit the web Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rumored-xbox-720-and- playstation-4-specs-hit-the-web/18741.html January 20th, 2013 No that image isn't of a real Xbox 720, no matter how much we might want it to be a real thing. Instead, what we have been getting is a whole bunch of rumors about the specs for both it and Sony's PlayStation 4. Even though we have no official word on what these specs might be, we have a whole bunch of new rumors hitting the web today. There is a lot of anticipation amongst gamers that 2013 will be the year when we finally get some sort of official word from both Sony and Microsoft about what their next-gen consoles are going to be like. In the meantime, we have to deal with rumors about what kind of specs are coming our way, much like the ones coming from Eurogamer's Digital Foundry today. First up, the PS4—codenamed Orbis—is supposedly going to be sporting an 8 core processor that will be clocked at 1.6GHz. Rumored to be built around AMD's Jaguar architecture, the Radeon HD graphics chip is reportedly a notch above previously mentioned chips. When it comes to RAM memory, the PS4 may come with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM; but as with everything else, this is speculation that will only get cleared up possibly at this year's E3 event. Unlike Sony, there is no rumor as to when Microsoft will be announcing the next-generation Xbox, but we hear that it is currently codenamed internally as “Durango." Similar to the PS4, the Durango will be coming with an 8 core processor clocked at 1.6GHz, and uses AMD's Jaguar architecture. However, Microsoft's console will come with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, a healthy portion compared to the PS4’s allotted RAM serving. So far we don't have any solid word on what the graphics chip will be like other than it is supposedly on par, if not better, than the PS4. Regardless of when we get the official specs, it is believed that both consoles will go on sale by November of this year.
  • 103. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 APC Unveils $99 Paper Mini PC Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apc-unveils-99-paper-mini- pc/18730.html January 20th, 2013 APC just unveiled their first ever Mini PC constructed with an actual paperboard cover. The system comes combined with a Rock APC board and will be available for order in March of this year. APC is a fairly new startup company that made headlines in May 2012 when they introduced a 49-dollar PC that ran on Android. Now, APC has developed quite the conversation piece with a new book sized PC. Not only does it look like a hardback book, it is literally made with a paperboard backing. Stacked neatly like any hardback textbooks, you would never suspect it’s a powerful PC in disguise, bringing a whole new meaning to the word ‘notebook’. It is being called the APC Paper, and this new mini PC creation comes stock with a Rock APC board. “APC Paper, with its unique recycled cardboard case, is a computer for people wanting to connect to the Internet without the need for specific Windows application. With special attention to design, APC paper blends seamlessly into any home or office environment.” Basic features on the Paper are: one HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, one micro USB (OTG), microphone plug and a 10/100 Ethernet port. It runs on Android 4.0 and comes with a VIA ARM Cortex-A9 Processor at 800MHz. The built in 2D/3D graphics support up to 1080p resolution. Overall size of the PC is 8.03” x 3.8” x 1.1” (204 x 98 x 28mm [W x H x D]) Best of all, the Paper PC is only 99 U.S. dollars. If you want to save a few dollars and make your own casing, you can just get the board itself for 79 dollars - it will be available for pre- order starting in March. Google's Plans To Do Away With Passwords Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-s-plans-to-do-away-with- passwords/18732.html January 19th, 2013 The world surrounding internet passwords is a stirring one. There are services to store all your passwords in one place so you only have to remember a master password. Websites are getting stricter with password requirements, demanding a capital letter, a number, and a hieroglyph, practically. Google Vice President of Security Eric Grosse and Engineer Mayanl Upadhyay have opened the door to a password-less world, as outlined in their paper to be published in IEEE's Security and Privacy magazine. A few alternatives have been proposed, such as cryptographic cards for USBs, and even a wearable ring. “Along with many in the industry, we feel passwords and simple bearer tokens such as cookies are no longer sufficient to keep users safe.” Google has already started altering Google's web browser to work with the cards. A user would only have to plug in a USB and they would be logged in. As for the ring, the user would wear it like a normal ring, and it would allow the user to authorize a computer with access to certain sites or to the machine itself. They continued in the paper by saying, “We’d like your smartphone or smartcard-embedded finger ring to authorize a new computer via a tap on the computer, even in situations in which your phone might be without cellular connectivity.” Though the web might not be completely free of passwords, it certainly will take a good step into verification via hardware, thus, making the information superhighway a little safer. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 & Tab 2 get Jelly Bean update Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-note-10.1--tab-2- get-jelly-bean-update/18736.html January 19th, 2013 Galaxy Note 10.1 and Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab 2 owners who haven’t already tapped into the Jelly Bean experience via third party ROM can now update their devices to the official Samsung JB release. The update will allow Galaxy Note 10.1 users to access Premium Suite, which is a collection of features that Samsung has thrown together to improve multitasking. Users will be able to have a multi-window experience with cascade view, and pinning of applications so that they can
  • 104. January 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 run side by side. Some novel features in the update include S Pen enhancements such as the ability to send hand-written emails, and assigning of command shortcuts to applications and services. Galaxy Tab 2 users, however, won’t be getting the same updated functionalities as the Note 10.1, but an OS upgrade is better than none. Samsung, unlike many other Android OEMs, actually shows interest in updating the software for their hardware a bit more often.
  • 105. January 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Wikimedia Moves to Ashburn, Virginia Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/wikimedia-moves-to-ashburn- virginia/18758.html January 22nd, 2013 The Wikimedia Foundation recently announced they would be moving their main operations to Ashburn, Virginia. Currently headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Wikimedia says the move will help them improve the site and offer greater reliability to its users. Wikipedia is by far one of the most popular sites on the Internet. If you have searched a topic or popular phrase, Wikipedia is sure to have an answer for you. Best of the entire site is free to use, and the data is updated and supported by donations from its readers. Wikipedia is now saying that in order to keep the site more readily available they will have to make Ashburn, Virginia their new data center and home of technical operations. The move will allow them to, “...improve the technical performance and reliability of all Wikimedia sites, including Wikipedia.” Engineering teams have been preparing for the big move, and planning out the best ways to minimize any major black outs. However, they are saying that users need to expect a short disruption while they get the service back up and running. “Our sites will be in read-only mode for some time, and may be intermittently inaccessible,” Wikimedia writes. “Users are advised to be patient during those interruptions, and share information in case of continued outage or loss of functionality.” The original Tampa, Florida location for Wikimedia was chosen due to the fact that it was the home of Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales. As the site grew in popularity the foundation’s technical operations team was in dire need of a larger and more reliable network. Furthermore, the weather conditions in South Florida were not conducive for such a large network. The team eventually settled on the Ashburn, VA region due to the fact that the area has a faster and more reliable network. The team is promising that the new data center will have improved text storage systems and a brand new media storage system to help them keep up with user demand. According to Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation currently operates with over 885 servers and services approximately 20 billion page views per month. All of their services are free to the public, and they subsist entirely on donations from their readers. Expect to see blackouts for the site between January 22, 23 and 24, 2013 from 17:00 to 1:00 UTC - you may also click here to see other time zones. Bethesda opens registration for Elder Scrolls Online beta Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bethesda-opens-registration-for- elder-scrolls-online-beta/18763.html January 22nd, 2013 Bethsoft has now opened the doors for registration for the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online beta, which will take the epic fantasy universe online for the first time ever in an MMORPG. Fans of the Elders Scrolls series can rejoice, as Bethesda Softworks announces that gamers can now sign-up for The Elder Scrolls Online beta, which will take the epic fantasy universe into the MMORPG realm for the first time. Along with the news, Bethsoft has also released a new cinematic trailer which offers an impressive look at the CG sequences featured within the game. According to Bethesda, the first beta test will "begin soon" and they have released information on what the chosen few can expect from the beta experience: "If selected, you will be one of the first people to embark upon the newest Elder Scrolls adventure, and help us beta test The Elder Scrolls Online. Please
  • 106. January 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 be aware that this is just beta sign-ups. The first beta test will begin soon—watch our official website, Facebook, and Twitter for an announcement about the first round of invites." Official details such as game mechanics, in-game footage, and more have been somewhat scarce, yet this beta should offer a considerable amount of information in terms of in- game content. As a long-time fan of The Elder Scrolls, I am excited to see what changes are in store with TES Online: there's so many possibilities and so many doors that haven't been explored thus far within the series, and hopefully the game will stay true to the franchise will delivering an authentic MMORPG experience at the same time. For more information be sure to visit Bethesda's official blog. 85 year old UK woman addicted to PS3 gaming Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/85-year-old-uk-woman-addicted-to- ps3-gaming/18762.html January 22nd, 2013 Meet Hilda, an elderly woman from the UK who proves that you don't have to be young to enjoy video games, and uses them to keep her mentally active. Hilda Knott isn't your average gamer: she's an 85 year old senior from the UK who loves her library of PlayStation 3 games. In a recent interview Hilda discussed many of the benefits that gaming offers elderly adults, including the improvement of critical thinking skills and heightened mental acuity: Do you think it actually keeps you active, mentally? "Oh definitely...yes. Because a lot of games are adventures and fighting as well as puzzles, and you have to figure out how to do something, and when to do it." Hilda is one of many elderly adults who frequently uses console gaming as a means of both entertainment and to keep mentally active, a trend which has been consistent for quite some time. Not all gamers are young, and Hilda has been playing video games for over forty years: she's seen the evolution of gaming from the very beginning to its current state. Hilda also plays her PS3 games on a gigantic 65-inch HDTV (pictured above) mainly to help with her eyesight, and frequently plays with her 94 year-old aunt via PSN. It's interesting to find that the range of female gamers is actually climbing, and it has predicted that by the end of this year female gamers may outnumber their male counterparts for the first time ever. Elderly gamers are more common that most people think, and it's not surprising to find that the influence of video games has affected gamers of all ages across the world. Upcoming Gundam Game is All About Fighting Plastic Toys Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/upcoming-gundam-game-is-all- about-fighting-plastic-toys/18761.html January 22nd, 2013 Bandai Namco Games have recently unveiled more details about their new upcoming Gundam game for the PS3, Gundam Breaker. The game features a bizarre setting twist, because the mobile suits are actually the plastic models of their "real" counterparts. Mobile Suit Gundam may be one of the most pervasive robot-themed franchises today, but its most iconic form is still the collectible "plamos" (plastic models) or "Gunpla" (Gundam plamos), which practically spawned an entirely new hobby genre. There is a certain high level of dedication to the hobby of collecting and building Gundam models, and Bandai Namco Games seems to be planning to take it a step further. Introducing Gundam Breaker, the upcoming PS3 game that pits your favorite mobile suit toy model in a battle between other plastic toy models. While you may be used to piloting your Gundams and mobile suits in other Gundam games, this one does not take you to any world, realm or timeline of your favorite characters. Instead, it brings you to a world that is exclusively made for the plastic mobile suit models.
  • 107. January 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 What's the difference you ask? Well, if Gunplas are concerned then we're talking about scales and grades. That's right, you may find your standard 1/144 scale model mobile suit fighting against a gigantic 1/60 scale model mobile suit on certain settings and play levels. Stages are also not limited to regular landscapes and urban areas, because they're plastic models right? So there's totally no problem with mobile suits fighting each other on, let's say, a casino table. Additionally, winning against opponents would allow the player to obtain one or more plastic components that the defeated mobile suit model has. This allows the player to come up with any combination of parts and components from different models. For now, only the basic gameplay and the main premise of the title are explained in the official website. There is also no confirmed release date either, but it is clearly stated that they plan to release the game sometime in 2013. Sony unveils world's thinnest 10-inch tablet, LG announces Optimus G Pro phablet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-unveils-world-s-thinnest-10- inch-tablet-lg-announces-optimus-g-pro-phablet/18765.html January 22nd, 2013 Sony has unveiled what it claims is the world's thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet computer, measuring just 6.9mm in thickness, weighing just 1.1lb, and powered by Google's popular Android operating system. Sony has unveiled what it claims is the world's thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet computer, measuring just 6.9mm in thickness, weighing just 1.1lb, and powered by Google's popular Android operating system. The Xperia Z is the Japenese electronics giant's answer to the iPad, with a 10.1-inch screen, and yet it is thinner than even the iPad Mini. It features a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 8.1-megapixel camera. The tablet also boasts water and dust resistance, employing protective covers for its ports like the Xperia Z smartphone unveiled at this year's CES. The tablet and smartphone will be able to work in unison, thanks to NFC chips that allow one-touch sharing between the devices. The new Sony tablet has thus far only been confirmed for a Japanese release, with contracts available with NTT Docomo, but we can likely expect expansion to other countries in the near future. Rival firm LG also unveiled the Optimus G Pro, which comes with a 5-inch screen, marking the latest entry into the “phablet” sector, essentially created and ruled by Samsung. It will offer a higher resolution, with 440 pixels per inch, and a 3,000 mAh battery to compensate for the increased power required by the screen.
  • 108. January 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 iPhone eye examiner gets medical approval Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iphone-eye-examiner-gets-medical- approval/18764.html January 22nd, 2013 Smartphone users can become a do-it-yourself optician, thanks to a newly approved eye examination device that clips onto an iPhone. Smartphone users can become a do-it-yourself optician, thanks to a newly approved eye examination device that clips onto an iPhone. The aptly titled iExaminer, developed by medical diagnostic firm Welch Allyn, received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), making it safe to use to inspect the fundus and retinal nerve of a human eye. Users simple slot their iPhone 4 or 4S (no word of iPhone 5 yet) into the Welch Allyn PanOptic Ophthalmoscope and the smartphone's screen can then display the part of an undilated pupil up to five times larger than a traditional instrument used by opticians. Retinal details are also 26 percent more magnified, allowing easier inspection. The system works with all Welch Allyn 3.5 volt power source handles, making it complete mobile. The tool could become part of any eye doctor's arsenal and could signal a shift from more old-fashioned devices to new connected ones that can then upload data immediately to hospitals or research centres. “This is the first affordable device to give almost anyone, anywhere the ability to capture a picture of the back of the eye,” said Dr. Wyche Coleman, inventor of the iExaminer. “I was able to take this very lightweight, portable, inexpensive iExaminer to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in sub- Saharan Africa and take a picture of a patient’s fundus. From the top of the mountain, I then transmitted it to a doctor at Johns Hopkins University in the United States where he was able to analyze the image.” The iExaminer goes on sale from 11 February. Pricing has yet to be revealed. Star Wars 1313 is coming this year to PS3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-wars-1313-is-coming-this-year- to-ps3/18760.html January 22nd, 2013 Star Wars 1313, a game believed by many to be one of the first of the next generation of games, will have a 2013 release date for Playstation 3, according to Sony's German site. Star Wars 1313 was one of the big debuts during last year's E3, where the audience was wowed by the game's impressive, seemingly next gen graphics and darker, grittier view of the Star Wars universe. Described by the developers as a more mature Star Wars game, many believed that 1313 would be released in the next console generation, and that we wouldn't be seeing it any time soon.
  • 109. January 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Particle and lighting effects, such as the embers in this image, are one of the reasons a lot of people thought the graphics had to be next gen Sony's German Facebook site however, has released a surprising revelation. Along with concept art and screenshots which have been previously released, Sony posted a statement saying that not only would we see the game this year, but it will be released for the PlayStation 3. This isn't entirely surprising, as regardless of how good looking it may be, the game is built on the current gen Unreal 3 engine. If you have yet to check out 1313's gameplay, here's a sample: Microsoft Xbox 720 may hit retail before Sony PlayStation 4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-xbox-720-may-hit-retail- before-sony-playstation-4/18757.html January 22nd, 2013 In what appears to be a game of cat and mouse between Sony and Microsoft, Sony’s CEO Kaz Hirai is hinting that Microsoft’s Xbox 720 will hit the shelves first with the PlayStation 4 following thereafter. (Sony CEO Kaz Hirai. Image: AFP/Getty Images) “Why go first, when your competitors can look at your specifications and come up with something better?” Hirai said in an interview with The Times. Sony took a similar path when it launched the PS3 nearly a year after Microsoft unleashed its Xbox 360. It took Sony years to overtake Microsoft in units sold, but eventually the PS3 out-shipped the Xbox 360 by about a million by 2013. Not only that, but the Japanese console maker didn’t actually break even with its PS3 investment until years later. Both Microsoft and Sony have a strong following, and, like siblings from the same litter, the two firms are also currently struggling to keep up with a booming mobile and cloud gaming market. Sony announces super-slim red and blue PS3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-announces-super-slim-red- and-blue-ps3/18756.html January 22nd, 2013 Sony will be unloading some more PS3 hardware later this month, and this time around it’ll come in azurite blue and garnet red. The issue, however, is that it will only be available for Japanese consumers—sorry, everyone else. Priced at ¥24,980 (~$279), the blue and red PS3 has a super slim design, comes with a matching controller, and a 250GB hard drive in the gut to store your game data. Interested consumers outside of Japan will probably have to purchase the consoles through specialized channels. Sony’s tradition of re-releasing hardware in a slimmer and more compact profile is not new—evident with the PS1 and PS2’s various releases. PS3 sales have slowed down significantly as people are awaiting the release of the PS4. Rumors about the next Sony game console have been flying wildly, but we’re expecting Sony to give people some official details of the next-gen PlayStation console at this year's E3 in Los Angeles, California. ASB Glassfloor is the ultimate multi-sports surface Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asb-glassfloor-is-the-ultimate-multi- sports-surface/18755.html
  • 110. January 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 January 22nd, 2013 A lot of the rich and famous have indoor gyms that will make the masses jealous, but even these gyms don’t have floors that have built-in LED lines that can change colors on the fly. ASB Systembau GMBH, a German company, has developed a type of glass flooring that comes with programmable LED built-in. Dubbed as the “ASB Glassfloor,” the glass flooring is reported to have similar elasticity and friction levels to a typical wooden floor. The company claims that the glass material has to go through a series of ceramic treatment to achieve the “feel” necessary for playing sports. The glass flooring is dulled to reduce the amount of reflection given off by the surface—a necessity considering it’s almost impossible to concentrate on dribbling a ball when all you want to do is look at yourself in the glass mirror. An ASB company rep pointed out that the glass flooring’s reflection level is similar to that of a typical marble surface. Tapes and paint on a regular gym floor remain static, but with the ASB Glassfloor the colors change according to the needs of its owner. The floor color as well as the line positioning can change from one state to another. For instance, if the floor is need for a basketball game, the lines will change to a basketball oriented fashion, and for a tennis match the lines will shift to the standard boundary rules. This sort of flooring can significantly reduce the amount of work it takes to convert one sporting venue into another. Of course the ABS Glassfloor has its limitations when it comes to which sports it can handle, but its potential in marketing and advertising is huge. For example, if the floor is outfitted with enough programmable LEDs, owners can convert it into a huge floor monitor during a time out or break to play a commercial or message. ASB Systembau is also pitching their glass flooring to venues like nightclubs. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to groove on the dance floor like you once did on the DDR dancing pad. Second generation Google Nexus 10 to have 8-core GPU & quad-core CPU Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/second-generation-google-nexus-10- to-have-8-core-gpu--quad-core-cpu/18754.html January 22nd, 2013 Google is rumored to be in the process of updating its Nexus 10 tablet to an 8-core GPU, and appeasing to the cries of current Nexus 10 owners who are saying that their tablets’ performance are below par. Sources are suggesting that the refreshed Nexus 10 will sport the 8-core Mali-T678 GPU along with a quad-core CPU. Major component upgrades such as a beefier GPU merits a design overhaul, so maybe we’ll see a brand spanking new Nexus 10 by May or June. Although, it is also reported that Google may tuck away the beefier chips under the same current Nexus 10 shell. Mobile World Congress is right around the corner, but most can guess that it’s just too soon for Google to announce a new tablet in Barcelona. Google’s I/O event, however, sounds like a reasonable date for the lid to be lifted. The current Nexus 10 features a dual-core A15 along with the quad-core Mali T604. Currently, the 16GB model costs $399, and the 32GB model is tagged for $499.
  • 111. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. NASA discovers how the Sun stores and releases energy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-discovers-how-the-sun-stores- and-releases-energy/18790.html January 24th, 2013 NASA scientists have discovered the first clear evidence of energy transfer from the sun's magnetic field to the solar atmosphere or corona, a scientific theory that now has substantial backing. NASA scientists have discovered the first clear evidence of energy transfer from the sun's magnetic field to the solar atmosphere or corona, a scientific theory that now has substantial backing. The findings were discovered by a NASA suborbital telecscope, the High Resolution Coronal Imager, which caught the highest ever resolution images of the solar corona to date, with five times more detail than previous imaging tools used to study the Sun. The telescope only launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in July of last year and has already delivered to the world of astronomy. During the $5 million telescope's 10 minute flight it caught 165 images of a large, active region of the Sun's corona. The images showed the evolution of the magnetic field, in addition to releases of energy at temperatures of between a mind-boggling two million and four million degrees. The Hi-resolution Coronal Imager full resolution image shown here is from the solar active region outlined in the AIA image (upper left). Several partial frame images are shown including a potion of a filament channel (upper center/right), the braided ensemble (left, second from top), an example of magnetic recognition and flaring (left, third from top), and fine stranded loops (left, bottom). These Hi-C images are at a resolution of 0.2" or 90 miles. This resolution is the equivalent of resolving a dime from 10 miles away. Image credit: NASA “Scientists have tried for decades to understand how the sun's dynamic atmosphere is heated to millions of degrees,” said Hi-C principal investigator Jonathan Cirtain, a heliophysicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. “Because of the level of solar activity, we were able to clearly focus on an active sunspot, and obtain some remarkable images. Seeing this for the first time is a major advance in understanding how our sun continuously generates the vast amount of energy needed to heat its atmosphere.” The findings will help improve space weather predictions, which largely rest on the eruptions of energy from the Sun. Understanding the evolution of the magnetic field will thus give astronomers a better idea of shifting space weather patterns, which can affect the atmosphere of our planet and even threaten satellites in orbit.
  • 112. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 FDA approves first autonomous telemedicine robot for hospitals Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fda-approves-first-autonomous- telemedicine-robot-for-hospitals/18789.html January 24th, 2013 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first autonomous navigation remote presence robot for use in hospitals, paving the way for advances in telemedicine. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first autonomous navigation remote presence robot for use in hospitals, paving the way for advances in telemedicine. The RP-VITA, developed by iRobot and InTouch Health, allows remote doctor-to-patient consultation, travelling to and from patients with ease, allowing physicians to interact with more people from anywhere in the world. With an array of sophisticated sensors, the robot can detect obstacles in its environment and safely navigate around them, an essential feature for the busy corridors of hospitals. The robot also has integrated electronic health record software, keeping doctors up to date. It can be controlled from an iPad, letting health workers communicate with one another, and with patients, with just a single click. The FDA approval means the robot is clear for use for monitoring of patients during pre-operative, peri-operative and post-surgical settings, including cardiovascular, neurological, prenatal, psychological, and critical care assessments and examinations. “FDA clearance of a robot that can move safely and independently through a fast-paced, chaotic and demanding hospital environment is a significant technological milestone for the robotics and healthcare industries,” said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. “There are very few environments as difficult to manoeuvre as that of a busy ICU or emergency department. Having crossed this technology threshold, the potential for self-navigating robots in other markets, and for new applications, is virtually limitless.” Simply Connect is the Exclusive Distributor for ATEN Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/simply-connect-is-the-exclusive- distributor-for-aten/16149.html January 24th, 2013 ATEN International recently announced the appointment of Simply Connect Pte Ltd as the Exclusive Distributor of ATEN products in Singapore from January 1st 2013. Selected for its outstanding level of customer service, technical capabilities and network expertise in the connectivity and Pro A/V industry, Simply Connect was granted exclusive rights to sell ATEN's broad range of solutions across Singapore, giving customers in Singapore a new and convenient way to purchase ATEN products.
  • 113. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 ATEN International recently announced the appointment of Simply Connect Pte Ltd as the Exclusive Distributor of ATEN products in Singapore from January 1st 2013. Selected for its outstanding level of customer service, technical capabilities and network expertise in the connectivity and Pro A/V industry, Simply Connect was granted exclusive rights to sell ATEN's broad range of solutions across Singapore, giving customers in Singapore a new and convenient way to purchase ATEN products. Samsung's ATIV Odyssey now available on Verizon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-s-ativ-odyssey-now- available-on-verizon/18786.html January 24th, 2013 Verizon has announced the addition of Samsung's ATIV Odyssey to its lineup of Windows Phone 8 devices. The arrival of the ATIV Odyssey makes it only the third WP8 device to become available on the nation’s largest carrier. Verizon announced earlier today that the Samsung ATIV Odyssey has joined the carrier’s lineup of Windows Phone 8 smartphones. The device features a 4-inch (800x480) display, a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 8GB of ROM, 1GB of RAM, and a 2100mAh battery to keep it lit. Less significant features include a 5MP rear camera, a 1.2MP front camera, and microSD slot for storage (up to 64GB) expandability. Data-wise, the ATIV Odyssey is 4G LTE capable, which is a plus considering Verizon prides itself on having the best LTE network in the US. The ATIV Odyssey is only the third WP8 device, thus far, that Verizon has chosen to carry, with the other two WP8 devices being HTC’s 8X, and Nokia’s Lumia 822. Currently, the Lumia 920 is an exclusive of AT&T, and there are no words as to when the Nokia flagship will be in Verizon’s lineup of WP8 smartphones. Malware invasion of Android accelerating quicker than it did for Windows Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/malware-invasion-of-android- accelerating-quicker-than-it-did-for-windows/18785.html January 24th, 2013 Popularity has a price, and Android OS users are paying that price by having to put with an increasing amount of malwares, viruses and adware—among many others. The number of Android threats can exceed 1 million by the end of 2013. According to a recent report by Trend Micro, Google's Android OS is extremely susceptible to attacks from cybercriminals. How these criminals can invade your mobile device and steal confidential information via various routes that range from the installation of fraudulent apps posing as legitimate apps to phony texts from scammers.
  • 114. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The top three threat types include premium service abuser, adware, and data stealer. Malicious downloader, rooter, and click fraudster round out the bottom three. Premium service abuser took the top spot as the main threat to Android users. As the name suggests, premium service abuser will, for instance, send a premium text or call without the permission and then leaving the user with the bill. Cybercriminal favors premium service abuser for tapping into people’s wallet because it is “simpler to create and less risky to use compared to committing credit card fraud or distributing fake antivirus.” Android users are vulnerable to these threats every day, with or without them knowing about it. Data stealers are also becoming an increasingly popular method for cybercriminals to deploy their dirty deeds. These types of attacks will hi-jack a user’s phone and leave people’s private data completely open for the taking. Frequently stolen confidential information includes: • Application Programming Interface (API) key, a value used to authenticate service users • Application ID • Contact list • International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI), a number used to identify mobile devices • International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), a number used to identify subscribers in a network • Location • Network Operator • Phone ID and model • Phone number • Text message To make problems worse, Trend Micro also stated in their report that the Android OS itself is full of holes—on both the OEM side and Google side—that eventually become avenues for criminals to attack people’s mobile devices. One such avenue is the dialer app found on certain smartphones that can execute Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes which, along with other malicious codes, can lead to the attacker being able to wipe data from a device. Many people in high GDP countries are relying on their mobile Android devices to store critical personal data. Samsung, the most prolific distributor of Android gadgets, is currently also facing issues with its Exynos driver. Recently, devs discovered that an Exynos driver vulnerability would allow attackers to gain complete control over the device. The Android eco-system is growing faster than E. coli on a petri dish, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that petty thieves and evil-doers are out to take advantage of gullible Android followers. To help mitigate the problems associated with owning and using an Android OS device, Trend Micro is advising people to use the device’s built-in security features, research apps before downloading and installing, always check app permissions before installing, check for software updates regularly—though Android OEMs are notorious for their lack of software support, and pay for a security app. Reclaim your childhood by building a giant LEGO NES controller Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/reclaim-your-childhood-by-building- a-giant-lego-nes-controller/18784.html January 24th, 2013 Growing up doesn’t mean you have to abandon all facets of your childhood, and LEGO blocks are perfect for telling your friends that age is just a number. New York’s Baron von Brunk (Julias A. Brunk), a graphic designer and LEGO enthusiast, recently completed a giant NES controller that is functionally almost like the original NES gamepad we grew up with. The huge gamepad was built using thousands of LEGO pieces, but even von Brunk himself doesn’t know how many pieces exactly went into making the controller.
  • 115. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Underneath the myriad of LEGO pieces are several NES controller circuit boards that von Brunk wired and soldered together to make the huge LEGO buttons work. When the last LEGO pieces were finally put in place, von Brunk took his gigantic controller out for a test drive by connecting it to his laptop via a USB cable and then playing NES ROMs on an emulator. Unless you’re a very large human being with extremely long arms, it’s completely understandable that some games will work well with the giant controller and others, not so much. Fast paced games (i.e. Contra) that require fast maneuvering using the AB and directional triggers will naturally suffer in playability, but games like Tetris and Dr. Mario will be just fine. As for the controller’s use beyond a few NES games here and there, it seems like the LEGO-based NES gamepad will be sold and then put up for display somewhere—be it someone’s house or a toy museum. For those that want to give this NES LEGO controller project a shot, von Brunk has posted a rough guide as a reference material. Resident Evil: Revelations Coming to PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/resident-evil-revelations-coming-to- ps3-xbox-360-wii-u-and-pc/18771.html January 24th, 2013 Capcom is planning to port the originally Nintendo 3DS game Resident Evil: Revelations to all other mainstream gaming consoles and PC. It will be renamed as Resident Evil: Revelations Unveiled Edition. Capcom just announced this week that they are planning to do a remake of Resident Evil (Biohazard) Revelations on the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and the PC. This was the title of the Resident Evil game that was released for the Nintendo 3DS exactly a year before. The newly ported game will be officially named as Resident Evil: Revelations Unveiled Edition. Resident Evil: Revelations has been quite notable to the fans of the series, as it introduces many elements that revive the pure survival horror genre that earlier Resident Evil titles had. You only get to have a very limited supply of ammunition from the start, getting away is a more efficient means of going around the ship, and oftentimes the player would have Jill Valentine explore and solve puzzles more. It still adapted the same viewing/camera perspective as Resident Evil 4 though, allowing for better overall handling and maneuverability. Aside from the announced retail price of 4990 yen (56.5 USD) and the short teaser trailer, there is not yet much to reveal about Resident Evil: Revelations Unveiled Edition. New options and features are of course to be expected, though we might still have to wait for further updates till then. Microsoft tries to be transparent about user privacy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-tries-to-be-transparent- about-user-privacy/18781.html January 24th, 2013 Everywhere we go on the web it seems that many sites, especially social networks, want you to share everything about yourself with them. The problem is that all that personal data we are sharing is not always being used the way you might think, which makes being able to control how our data is collected all the more important. We love free stuff, and it has become an accepted fact on the web that in order to get all those free goodies and use services like Facebook we have to cough up all kinds of personal data. Some of it we do knowingly; like liking and posting updates to Facebook, and others not so knowingly.
  • 116. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 (It's just as bad as trying to make your way through the TSA. Image: blogspot) With that in mind, it is important to note that on January 28th we will be celebrating Data Privacy Day, this being the day where we try and gain some real understanding of just how much of our personal data is being used, and misused, on the web. One of the participants of Data Privacy Day is Microsoft and they want you to know that our online privacy is very important to them, more so than some other companies out there. Microsoft has recently commissioned a survey by Ipsos Public Affairs that surveyed over 1,000 people about this subject. In advance of Data Privacy Day, the company has released the results which included the following: • Forty-five percent of those surveyed felt that they have little or no control over those companies collecting their information while they browse the web or use online services. • Four in ten believe that they mostly understand how to protect their data and online privacy. • Thirty-nine percent turn to their friends and family as their best source for privacy information. • Thirty-two percent say they pay attention to companies' privacy reputations, track record, and policies; which affects their decision to visit sites or use their services. To show their commitment to online privacy, Microsoft launched a new website; Privacy In Action, with information about how Microsoft handles privacy in IE10, Bing, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox. In addition the company launched the Personal Data Dashboard site which is where users have a central location to manage how their personal information is being used online. All in all, it would seem that Microsoft is making a real attempt at letting users have some say in how their personal information is being used by the company. InMoov enables 3D printing your own robot Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/inmoov-enables-3d-printing-your- own-robot/18780.html January 24th, 2013 InMoov, by French sculptor Gael Langevin, is a project that features a printable 3D robot—further proving that 3D printing can one day change almost all aspects of our lives. There are a handful of really neat 3D printing projects—well, all of 3D printing is fascinating, but one project in particular is making headlines. Started in 2012, Gael Langevin has since been working on InMoov, an engineering project for printing a 3D robot. Initially, the project only had a few parts of the robot, namely the arm and hand, but Langevin has added more parts. For the new year, he posted a blog saying the shoulder of InMoov was ready to download. That's right, it's open source. Though it seems like a hefty do-it-yourself project, it is aimed to be one (or at least it's trying to be one for those with the right tools). Gael has been working on getting the robot to recognize voice commands, too! Call of Duty franchise dominates Xbox Live Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/call-of-duty-franchise-dominates- xbox-live/18779.html January 23rd, 2013 Microsoft has announced the big winners when it comes to time being spent by gamers on its Xbox Live network. As expected, the Call of Duty franchise games topped the list, but we also saw the entry of newcomer Minecraft in the number four spot. Every year Microsoft releases a list of the top games on its Xbox Live gaming network when it comes to gamer activity. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Call of Duty franchise is not only on the list but that there are three CoD titles in the top 5 of the list. Halo 4 takes the number three spot, and newcomer Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition is solidly in the fourth spot. When it comes to genre titles, 75 percent of all the top games were shooters, sports, and driving games. The list is based on
  • 117. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 the number of unique users per game per day, and is broken into two parts: Xbox 360 games and Xbox XBLA games. Here are the top 15 games on the Xbox 360 for 2012: • Call of Duty: Black Ops II • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 • Halo 4 • Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition • Call of Duty: Black Ops • FIFA Soccer 13 • FIFA Soccer 12 • Battlefield 3 • Halo: Reach • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 • Borderlands 2 • Assassin’s Creed III • Skyrim • Madden NFL 13 • Gears of War 3 The top 15 for XBLA games for 2012 are: • Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition • Trials Evolution • The Walking Dead • Pinball FX2 • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive • Castle Crashers • Gotham City Impostors • I Am Alive • Fruit Ninja Kinect • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD • Trials HD • Magic 2013 • Fez • Dungeon Defenders • Alan Wake’s American Nightmare U.S. Military Wants to Salvage Older Satellites Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/u.s.-military-wants-to-salvage-older- satellites/18775.html January 23rd, 2013 The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to refurbish older satellites that are still in orbit. Satellites that cannot be upgraded would be harvested for recycling rather than letting them burn up in reentry. Even though a satellite may have outlived its usefulness it may still contain usable parts, such as solar panels, transmitters and other items that can be retrofitted onto newer satellites. Now DARPA says they have a plan that entails creating or fixing older satellites while still in orbit by means of a ground-controlled, robotic mechanic that will remain in orbit indefinitely. Very soon DARPA will be testing some robotic devices to be launched in space that can be commanded to disassemble or refurbish older satellites. They are calling it the 'Phoenix Program', and the proposal will cost U.S. taxpayers around 180 million dollars, and that is just to test it all. "We're attempting to essentially increase the return on investment,” said DARPA program manager, David Barnhart. Barnhart stressed that the government is seeking ways in which to “change the economics” of satellites so that manufacturing costs will be far less expensive. The agency says that they will be looking at any proposals from interested technologies in February of this year as well. The first test of the project will come in 2016 when they will retrieve a non-working or decommissioned satellite while still in orbit. Currently, there are approximately 140 retired U.S. satellites still in orbit with usable electronics and solar technologies that DARPA has their eye on. The final project phase, if approved, would be to launch a robotic mechanic that will disassemble the satellites for their parts or make needed upgrades or repairs. DARPA also wants to launch a string of mini-satellites in orbit where the robot would assemble them together, with the older retrieved parts, to create a new working satellite. DARPA is well known for their strange ideas that draw a lot of attention, such as creating mind controlled artificial limbs; laser guided bullets or even a flying “submarine.” In 2011 they helped kick start the 100-year Starship program, which is a means of making interstellar travel possible in the next 100 years. Image Source: DARPA Phoenix Program's Youtube Channel Fujitsu Researches on Screen Data Access Using Smartphones and Tablets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-researches-on-screen-data- access-using-smartphones-and-tablets/18774.html January 23rd, 2013 Fujitsu's Research Center unveils their new technology, and its potential to use smartphones and tablets to instantly acquire data that is visually presented on a screen by pointing the smartphone on certain portions of the screen. Fujitsu Research and Development Center has revealed last January 20, 2013 that they are currently developing a new technology that uses smartphones and tablets to access visual data on computer screens. By pointing your unit on a
  • 118. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 certain part of the screen, you'll be able to access whatever is in that portion, regardless of whether it is a document, image or any other kind of file. The idea takes into account how IP addresses and SSID's provide unit-specific data within the network, allowing all connected devices to recognize each other by default. By allocating a specific "IP address" on certain portions of the screen, a unit within the network would be able to easily identify which part of the screen it is actually pointing at. This means that the visual data that is currently displayed on the screen can be analyzed using the mobile unit's camera, so that the smartphone or tablet knows exactly which unit, and at what part of the screen it is currently looking at. Using specialized software (that is installed on the target computer) that combines all of these data, one can easily attach a specific file or provide a course of action that could be downloaded and given by the mobile units as they "access" the screen. The process is perceived as automatic, easy and intuitive, making file access easier for the entire network. For example, during a presentation at a meeting, participants may simply point their mobile units on the screen to download the needed reference and presentation materials and documents. One can easily have a copy of a high-res image that is displayed on the presentation screen by just pointing their mobile unit to the screen. It is as if the smartphone or tablet is taking a paper document that is posted on a bulletin board. Fujitsu is planning to present the technology at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013. Source: MyNavi (JP) Facebook apologises for banning user over posting gay marriage photo Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-apologises-for-banning- user-over-posting-gay-marriage-photo/18778.html January 23rd, 2013 Facebook has apologised for banning a user from its social network after he posted a photograph depicting a married gay couple, which had been labelled as “offensive” by homophobes. Facebook has apologised for banning a user from its social network after he posted a photograph depicting a married gay couple, which had been labelled as “offensive” by homophobes. Murry Lipp, who founded the Gay Marriage USA page on Facebook, uploaded a picture of a mixed-race gay couple, one of whom is a bishop at a Pentecostal church. The picture received hateful comments, with some people labelling it as “vile.” Facebook not only allowed such homophobic comments to remain, but removed the innocent picture and banned Lipp for a week, claiming he broke the website's policies and community standards. A spokesperson for the social network said the content of the photo “did not violate our terms” and “it was removed in error.” He said that the correct course of action should have been to remove the homophobic comments, not the photograph. “We apologise for the error,” he added. This is not the first time Facebook has been forced to apologise for banning members for posting on gay issues. Many staff members of PinkNews found themselves temporarily banned after using the word “faggot” when reporting on a homophobic tweet made by rapper and singer Azealia Banks. According to a source cited by The Guardian, Facebook is currently reviewing the way it deals with reports of offensive
  • 119. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 material, as it receives thousands of content complaints every day, and clearly the report feature is being misused. NASA approves experimental suborbital commercial flights Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-approves-experimental- suborbital-commercial-flights/18777.html January 23rd, 2013 NASA has selected 13 experimental space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, balloons and a commercial parabolic aircraft in 2013 and 2014, allowing them to demonstrate their technologies before committing them to space. NASA has selected 13 experimental space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, balloons and a commercial parabolic aircraft in 2013 and 2014, allowing them to demonstrate their technologies before committing them to space. The cutting-edge space experiments cover a wide variety of areas, including a number of tests of technology during a parabolic flight. These include UAH ChargerSat-2 testing, high eccentric resistive overload device demonstration, accessing otolith-organ function with vestibular evoked myogenic potentials, and a caging system for drag-free satellites. Other tests focus on the effects of changes in microgravity, such as a structural dynamics test of STACER antenna deployment, a performance test of a nanocatalyst-based direct ammonia alkaline fuel cell for water reclamation and energy applications, in-flight lab analysis technology demonstration, dynamic and static behaviour of a flexible fuel hose, and a demo of the restonant inductive near-field generation system. The final tests will employ a vertical launch and landing suborbital vehicle to test autolanding for robotic precursor missions, deployable rigid adjustable guided final landing approach pinions, and guided parafoil high altitude research. Flight testing of a UAT ADS-B transmitter prototype for commercial space transportation using reusable launch vehicles is the final experiment, and this will employ a variety of different launch aircraft. “These payloads represent more real progress in our goal of fostering a viable market for American commercial reusable suborbital platforms -- access to near space that provides the innovation needed for cutting-edge space technology research and development,” said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program. “American leadership in the commercial suborbital flight market will prove to benefit technology development across NASA, universities, industries and in our new technology economy.” The technologies will be sent into suborbit on the parabolic airplane designed by Zero G Corporation, high altitude balloons created by Near Space Corporation, and reusable launch vehicles from Masten Space Systems, UP Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic. The venture marks the latest in NASA's efforts to encourage private space corporations to fill the gap in space experiments and exploration created by government budget cuts in recent years. One of the major success stories so far has been SpaceX, which secured a number of contracts for the use of its rockets, but it is only one of a growing list of companies pushing the final frontier. Image Credit: Zero G Corporation 23-year-old cancer patient raised enough money to pay for cryopreservation Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/23-year-old-cancer-patient-raised- enough-money-to-pay-for-cryopreservation/18776.html January 23rd, 2013 Whether you believe in life after death or the lack thereof, while you’re still alive on this planet we call home, the idea of preserving your corpse for a second coming with cryogenic technology is pretty cool. The problem with cryogenically preserving yourself is not that it’s not awesome, but because it’s very expensive. That’s why people who want to preserve themselves but don’t have the funds should take a page out of 23-year-old Kim Suozzi's book. Suozzi, a Truman State neuroscience student, was diagnosed with recurrent Glioblastoma multiforme, an extremely aggressive brain cancer, but before her death in January
  • 120. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 2013 she managed to raise enough money to preserve her body until advancement in the technology can revive her and treat her cancer. According to her blog: “Many of you know that I’m agnostic; I don’t have any clue what happens when you die, but have no reason to think that my consciousness will continue on after death. The only thing that I can think to make me feel a little more at ease with my death is to secure cryopreservation plans on the off- chance that they figure out how to revive people in the future. The way I see it, it’s a better bet than decomposing or getting cremated.” Using various social and non-profit outlets, Suozzi eventually raised enough to finance her preservation. One of the sources of her funding came from donations through Reddit users. After posting on Reddit about her diagnosis, Redditors began suggesting that they should start a fundraiser for Suozzi to do something “fun.” Suozzi, on the other hand, had another idea in mind and posted that she wanted the funds to go towards “helping [her] even if it’s not going towards vacation or skydiving.” As noted previously, Reddit was not the only source of her cryopreservation money, and eventually Suozzi raised enough money for the procedure. She passed away on January 17, and was cryogenically preserved that same day at the Alcor Life Extension facility. RIM launches BES 10, a complete multi-platform management service Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rim-launches-bes-10-a-complete- multi-platform-management-service/18772.html January 23rd, 2013 Before RIM has launched its BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, just a few days before rolling out BlackBerry 10—the latest mobile OS from the Canadian handset maker. BES 10 is a multi-platform management service aimed at businesses and government agencies. The enterprise system will help IT admin manage workers’ mobile devices, separating work related data and apps from personal. Corporate-centric apps will be handled by “BlackBerry World for Work,” which is RIM’s app store for purchasing business-related apps. Moreover, BES 10 admins will have the ability to push apps to BB10, iOS as well as Android as needed. RIM also released a video demonstrating how BES 10 can enhance work flow by consolidating platforms management and putting them under one synchronous roof. The video’s demo of BES 10 only shows off partially what the service is capable of, and it’s relatively straight forward. First, the admin selects a user from a list. Next, he adds the device. Finally, he enters an activation password to activate the service. “BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 empowers employees to be more productive and better equipped to serve customers while it provides business and IT leaders with the confidence that corporate data is protected and manageable in the same way they have long enjoyed with BlackBerry,” says Peter Devenyi, RIM’s Enterprise Software Senior Vice President. Cuba's Fiber-optic Cable Is Officially Operational Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cuba-s-fiber-optic-cable-is-officially- operational/18759.html January 23rd, 2013 Renesys, which operates as an Internet monitoring agency, is reporting that Cuba’s fiber optic cable connection to Venezuela is officially operational. Cuba began using the ALBA-1 fiber optic cable on January 14, 2013 and was previously connected to the rest of the world by only a satellite feed. Renesys, which monitors Internet traffic around the globe, stated that until recently the nation’s Internet connection was much slower due to being stuck with satellite feed. In February 2011 Cuba successfully connected their Island to Venezuela via an underwater fiber-optic cable, but it remained un-operative for nearly 2 years. Doug Madory who writes for Renesys said that they immediately observed the Caribbean nation’s trace route path going through the Spanish owned, Telefonica. This new connection, coupled with lower latencies, led them to the conclusion the system was up and running, albeit less than 100%. Madory writes: We believe it is likely that Telefonica's service to ETECSA is, either by design or misconfiguration, using its new cable asymmetrically (i.e., for traffic in only one direction), similar to the situation we observed in Lebanon in 2011. In such a configuration, ETECSA enjoys greater bandwidth and lower latencies (along the submarine cable) when receiving Internet traffic but continues to use satellite services for sending traffic. Named the "Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de nuestra América" or ALBA-1, the submarine fiber-optic cable was a product of the both Cuba and Venezuela’s state- owned media agencies. The cable cost approximately 70 million U.S. dollars and would have gone on-line much earlier, however, numerous political problems caused its delay. According to the Associated Press, there were also rumors of a possible embezzlement by government officials that hindered its progress. Cuba is the last country in the western hemisphere to connect to the Internet by a fiber-optic line. Even with this new connection Akamai Technologies Inc. says the nation has the 2nd lowest connectivity to the Internet in the world.
  • 121. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 HTC M7 rumored to be available on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-m7-rumored-to-be-available-on- at-t-sprint-and-verizon/18770.html January 23rd, 2013 HTC loyalists in the US will get their dose of the next HTC flagship from three of the nation’s largest carriers—AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. The HTC M7 will stake its claim on being HTC’s latest flagship later this quarter, which will most likely be during Mobile World Congress or right after MWC. Despite its struggle this past year, HTC is confident that it can retain and regain its user-base in 2013, and with the rumored specs being what they are, the M7 is definitely worthy of some attention. (A supposed rendering leak of the M7) Although the specs are unofficial, the rumors have settled on the M7 sporting a 4.7-inch 1920x1080p screen, a quad-core Qualcomm processor, 32GB of internal ROM, 2GB of RAM, a hefty 13MP rear camera, and a decent 2MP front camera. All this HTC M7 goodness will run under Android Jelly Bean along with HTC’s in-house Sense 5, which promises to deliver on simplicity and overall responsiveness. It is worth noting that the M7 may not come with a microSD slot, but that doesn’t mean HTC will definitely leave out expandability in its next flagship, as there are more than one memory card standards. All three of the three major carriers mentioned above have 4G networks, meaning the US M7’s will have 4G capability. T-Mobile, the 4th largest carrier, wasn’t on the list of rumored M7 carriers, but that doesn't mean it won’t end up snatching the device somewhere down the line. Study finds many Facebook users are envious of their friends Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-finds-many-facebook-users- are-envious-of-their-friends/18768.html January 23rd, 2013 A new study by two German researchers suggests that visiting the world's largest social network might be bad for your emotional health, as one out of three people feel worse after going to Facebook. In a new report from researchers at two German universities titled "Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users' Life Satisfaction?" we find out that visiting the world's largest social network could be bad for our emotional health. Specifically, the researchers believe that our sense of envy increases with our time spent at the site, depending on our type of involvement. It would seem, according to the study, that one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook as well as more dissatisfied with their lives, and that the people who browsed more than they contributed being the most affected. Hanna Krasnova of the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin's Humbolt University said in an interview with Reuters that she was surprised at the number of people who have a negative experience from visiting Facebook. It seems that many felt varying degrees of envy which would leave them feeling lonely, frustrated, or angry. Researchers from both Humbolt University and Darmstadt's Technical University found that some of the worse culprits for causing these feelings were posted images of vacations. Next to that social interaction was a cause of envy because of users comparing how many birthday greetings they might get to those of their Facebook friends.
  • 122. January 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 12 Some of the other things they found out during the study that caused these negative feelings are: • People in their mid-30's were most likely to envy family happiness. • Women were more likely to envy physical attractiveness • These feelings could prompt users to boast more about their achievements in order to portray themselves in a better light • Men are more likely to post self-promotional content • Women stressed their good looks and social lives. The first study, of the two involving 600 people, looked at the scale, scope, and nature of envy incidents while the second looked at how envy was linked to the passive use of Facebook and life satisfaction. Microsoft is potentially a partner in Dell buyout rumor Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-is-potentially-a-partner- in-dell-buyout-rumor/18766.html January 23rd, 2013 A couple of days ago we got the news that Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computers, was in talks with private equity companies to take the company private. The rumored cost of such a move is $22bn which is a lot of money, but if the news we are hearing today is true Dell could be getting some serious help from Microsoft. A couple of days ago, we reported about the rumor floating around the web that Michael Dell was looking to take the company private, and that the reported price of the move was going to be around $22 billion. Needless to say, such a move would require some help from private equity companies, and the rumor included Silver Lakes Management as one of the major partners that was going to be the lead in the buyout. Today, we find out that another company that Silver Lakes has dealt with in the past is possibly going to join the party. If anyone remembers the big Skype purchase of a few years ago that saw Microsoft buy Skype for an insane amount, you will know that Silver Lakes was also a major player in the deal between Skype and Microsoft. In a deal that saw Microsoft buy Skype for $8.5 billion, Silver Lakes, which had invested $1 billion in Skype, pocketed three times their initial investment. This makes this news that Microsoft is seriously considering giving Michael Dell a helping hand a lot more reasonable. The news originated with a CNBC report that suggests Microsoft's involvement could range between $1 billion to $3 billion, and that their investment would be of the "mezzanine" type. This means that the debt converts into equity if the amount invested isn't paid back within a certain period of time; or possibly into preferred shares. As big as that investment figure is, you need to remember that Microsoft is still flush with lots of cash and has shown it isn't reluctant to spend the money if they think it will benefit, even if it a future benefit. We have seen this with Microsoft's huge investment in Nokia with the eye of making Windows Phone a success, or even the small change investment of a couple million dollars in Facebook. So the idea of have a "closer" relationship with a hardware maker like Dell shouldn't come as a surprise, especially since Microsoft has been getting into the hardware end of the business as well.
  • 123. January 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Lenovo considering buying BlackBerry maker RIM Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-considering-buying- blackberry-maker-rim/18800.html January 25th, 2013 Lenovo is considering a takeover bid for Canadian BlackBerry maker RIM, which is just about to launch its latest operating system version and product line. Lenovo is considering a takeover bid for Canadian BlackBerry maker RIM, which is just about to launch its latest operating system version and product line. A top executive at the Chinese computer hardware firm confirmed that it was looking at RIM as a possible acquisition in the future, revealing that Lenovo and RIM have already held talks, and they have also been in discussions with banks to fund the move. “We are looking at all opportunities - RIM and many others,” said Wong Wai Ming, CFO of Lenovo, in an interview with Bloomberg. “We'll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along.” Lenovo catapulted itself into the PC market in 2005 when it bought IBM's PC division, and many consider it a viable contender for the top spot in the sector. The purchase of RIM could do the same for its position in the smartphone and tablet markets, largely ruled by Samsung and Apple. The Chinese firm may find it difficult to buy RIM, however, thanks to tough regulations in the US and Canada's intense pride in the firm. A deal could be made even harder to achieve if BlackBerry 10 is a major success, as RIM might be less willing to hand over the reins. Shares for RIM were up 2.2 percent as a result of the acquisition rumours. Underage workers found at another Apple supplier in China Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/underage-workers-found-at-another- apple-supplier-in-china/18799.html January 25th, 2013 Apple has discovered 74 underage workers at one of its suppliers in China as part of a latest round of audits, resulting in the iPhone maker ending its relationship with the company. Apple has discovered 74 underage workers at one of its suppliers in China as part of a latest round of audits, resulting in the iPhone maker ending its relationship with the company. Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics, others known as PZ, was reported to be employing the children, all under the age of 16, to make circuit board components for top technology firms like Apple. These staff have since been sent home. Allegedly recruitment firm Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources provided fake identity papers for the underage staff and has now had its business license revoked by the regional government.
  • 124. January 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Jeff Williams, SVP of Operations at Apple, told Reuters that the company hopes to eradicate child labour from the technology industry altogether, adding that Apple is going deep into the supply chain to find it. The findings are the result of 393 audits Apple has conducted lately on its suppliers, with the aim of discovering any unacceptable working conditions. iPhone and iPad manufacturer Foxconn, known for its high volume of employee suicides, admitted hiring underage staff in October of last year. License Plate Flipper lets you play super spy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/license-plate-flipper-lets-you-play- super-spy/18794.html January 25th, 2013 The police might not think this is all that funny, but now you can live your inner James Bond super spy with this handy- dandy license plate flipper that will let you swap between two different license plate with the flip of a switch. There have been other similar type things that simply let flip your license plate flat so that it can't be read, or photographed, but this neat little gimmick goes one step further and lets you switch between two different license plates. Needless to say there is probably a big question about the legality of doing this; but of course the makers of this little gizmo spin it as a great way to keep your plate clean when off-roading or to perhaps conceal it at a car show. If this is something you think you might want, be prepared for a stiff sticker price of $455, which definitely narrows down the market just a little bit. Should you want to investigate this further hit up their site or check out their promo video below. Facebook plans to replace cookies with OCPM, a blow to privacy advocates Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-plans-to-replace-cookies- with-ocpm-a-blow-to-privacy-advocates/18795.html January 25th, 2013 Facebook is always looking for ways to change the way we use the web, especially if it will benefit them. So it should be no surprise that they want to replace the use of "cookies" with a custom tracking method. Cue the privacy uproar, starting in 10... 9... 8... As long as there has been website there has been those little text files littered on our computers called "cookies". The idea behind them is that it allowed websites to better personalize your experience as well as a way to keep information that might be needed for the next time you visited a site. Then at some point it was found that these cookies were also a great way to "track" people as they went from site to site, as well as what they did at any given site. Cookies were an advertiser’s dream and a privacy advocate’s worst nightmare and now Facebook wants to do away with them. The problem is that they want to replace them with something called "Optimized CPM"; which Facebook product manager David Baser detailed in an interview with AdExchanger. Apparently, the reasoning behind this new OCPM method of tracking comes from the fact that Facebook knows that users who log into the service very rarely log out. This means that, through their Facebook ID, they can be tracked as they travel around the web all day, especially if they click on things like the Facebook Like buttons. However, that is where there is a difference, as the cookies are "supposedly" anonymous while your Facebook ID is linked directly to who you are on Facebook. Also, cookies are machine dependent which means their usefulness stops at the border of your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. This isn't the case with your Facebook ID as it can follow you from your laptop to your phone and to your desktop. What Baser, and Facebook, want to do is to target ads at the user IDs which will allow them to easily group users together and be targeted with ads. It is Facebook's findings that these groups, or audiences, have a much higher conversion rate when it comes to advertising than they do with cookie based ad targeting. They are also quick to point out that this OCPM method doesn't allow advertisers to just target "you" with any specific type of ad, but rather the larger group of anonymous "you's". Google Files With FCC To Test Wireless Network Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-files-with-fcc-to-test- wireless-network/18788.html
  • 125. January 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 January 24th, 2013 Google recently filed an application with the FCC in an effort to conduct a wireless Internet test. Much of the FCC application is currently confidential and therefore is unknown how it will operate. If Google has their way with the FCC they will soon be testing an experimental wireless Internet of their own, albeit just for themselves. Based on the application alone it seems they are looking to conduct the tests at their Mountain View, California headquarters with 50 smaller base stations set both indoors and out, with 200 user devices. The frequencies being requested are in the 2524-2546 and 2567-2625 MHz range, which are all part of the Educational Broadband Service (EBS). It also marks the first time that Google has requested a radio test in the mobile broadband frequency range with all previous being in the standard 2.4 - 5 GHz band. The transmitters will have a range of 100-200 meters inside buildings, and 500-1000 meters out of doors. The testing will only be conducted within a two-mile radius of their headquarters for now. It is apparent that Google is in the process of expanding their product offerings with the amount of changes being made. This latest request to the FCC only satisfies rumors that the company wants to make a wireless network of their own. The Wall Street Journal published a report in November 2012 concerning Google and DISH Network having talks about a Wi-Fi partnership deal. Another example is when the company began offering their Google Fiber Internet to the Kansas City area in August of last year. Beginning in early January of this year, Google announced plans to offer free Wi-Fi to parts of New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, which is home for their NY headquarters. The Wi-Fi network they will be servicing about 7,000 people, which includes approximately 5,000 local students and possibly millions of tourists. First episode of The Tyranny of King Washington DLC coming Feb. 19 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/first-episode-of-the-tyranny-of-king- washington-dlc-coming-feb.-19/18791.html January 24th, 2013 Assassin's Creed III new three-part DLC promises to add an interesting alternate reality to Ubisoft's award-winning title, and is planned for a multi-platform release in mid-February. In a recent news update, Ubisoft has announced the release date for the first episode of The Tyranny of King Washington, the upcoming three-part DLC pack that expands the18th century world of Assassin's Creed III. The Tyranny of King Washington chronicles an alternate reality wherein a corrupt and tyrannical George Washington uses fear and violence to rule America with an iron grasp, proving to be more of a despotic terror than the British monarch King George III. The first episode of the three-part tale is called The Infamy, and tells the beginnings of the alternate reality starting with Washington's rise to infamy and villainy: "It’s 1783 and the American Revolution is over, our hero, Ratonhnhaké:ton, awakens from an unsettling dream to find that despite his efforts to deliver justice in the newly-founded United States of America, a new king has been crowned – George Washington. Blinded by a thirst for unlimited power, Ratonhnhaké:ton must dethrone the tyrant and return freedom to the land." The Infamy will be release on Feb. 19 for 800 Microsoft Points ($9.99) on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Owners of the Assassin's Creed III Season Pass (2400 MSP/$29.99) will receive the content for no additional charge. For more information on The Tyranny of King Washington DLC please visit the official website for Assassin's Creed III. Microsoft may have accidentally leaked release date for GTA V Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-may-have-accidentally- leaked-release-date-for-gta-v/18792.html January 24th, 2013 Rumors have spreading like wildfire over Grand Theft Auto V's release date, which Microsoft may have revealed the game's launch day via e-mails to those who pre-ordered the game. Rumors on Grand Theft Auto V's release date are all over the web, however Microsoft seems to have added more fuel to the fire by possibly shedding light on the game's launch date. According to various fans like Nick Ritenour who pre- ordered the GTA V from Microsoft, a confirmation e-mail was sent that reveals a March 24, 2013 release for the game:
  • 126. January 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 "I preordered it from Microsoft...says shipping/ release date is March 24. This doesn't mean it's correct lol...but usually if it's not known they list it as TBA." This date actually coincides with a recent slip-up made by Amazon, who accidentally listed a release date of March 26, 2013 for Rockstar's upcoming game. Speculation continues as similar reports pour in, such as this one from a consumer who pre-ordered the game from an Australian retailer: "I have pre-ordered Grand Theft Auto V at the Australian retailer JB-HI-FI. I recently updated my pre-order with them and I directly asked when this game will be released, they responded without hesitation and said April 24 2013 (Australian release date) They continued to explain to me that Rockstar Games had notified them of this information. It also says the release date on my pre-order receipt April 24 2012. True story." One fan by the username "Mxk" believes that Rockstar may announce Grand Theft Auto V's official release date when the game's cover art is revealed at the end of January 2013: "The end of this month we are getting the game cover. Maybe then they'll finally give up the release date, been waiting a long time, just wanna get that Jeremy can and burn the sh*t out of things already. Can't wait R* you're the best." Rockstar Games has not denied or confirmed any of this information, and for now the speculation must still filed in the rumor category...despite the apparent slip-ups from retailers. Anticipation for Grand Theft Auto V has grown to epic proportions, and these rumors fan the flames of excitement for fans and gamers worldwide. As always, be sure to take these claims with a grain of salt and not to accept them as fact. Rockstar has maintained its tight-lipped policy about GTA V's release date thus far, and still affirm the Spring 2013 launch window for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more information on Grand Theft Auto V please visit the game's official website. Google Transparency Report Shows Increasing Demand for User Data Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-transparency-report-shows- increasing-demand-for-user-data/18787.html January 24th, 2013 Google transparency report reveals that the federal government and other police agencies have been seeking an increasing number of user data from their user services. The latest data disclosed at Google’s Transparency Report page shows just how often governments from around the globe are looking into user data. The data statistics provided by Google only proves that more police agencies are not just looking into personal information, but the searches are growing by the month. According to the data in question, Google coughed up 21,389 requests for information on user data on nearly 34,000 users in the latter part of 2012 through January 2013 - this is a 17% increase from the previous year’s request. Of those requests, 8,438 came from the U.S. federal government, which represents 40% of all requests. In regards to actual subpoenas of personal data, the U.S. accounted for 68% of the requests and 22% of all search warrants. The nation of India came in second at 2,431 requests, which was a 10% jump from the previous year. Long before the Internet as we know it now was devised, the U.S. federal government passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act or ECPA. The act specified standards in which police agencies could retrieve electronic data and communications from private individuals. The ECPA set in place specific warrants for different communications, however, the Internet has changed dramatically since that time, and many wire-tapping laws have changed as well. Not long after 9/11 many laws were passed that gave the federal government the ability to access your private E-mail and other transmitted data without you knowing about it. With the passing of statutes such as the Patriot Act, many people saw this as the government overstepping its powers and particularly with section 215 of the act. These conflicting laws and standards on spying on Internet user data has riled up a lot of dissention with privacy rights advocates, and even some U.S. courts saw them as being illegal. While not required to do so, Google started publishing all requests reports on-line as part of their open policy on how they share your data. Google says they will soon be offering
  • 127. January 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 the data on government censorship requests as a service to their users as well. Nintendo announces Zelda Wind Waker HD for Wii U Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nintendo-announces-zelda-wind- waker-hd-for-wii-u/18783.html January 24th, 2013 Nintendo has announced that two new Zelda games are in the works, including an HD port of Wind Waker for the Wii U handheld gaming tablet which is slated for release this fall. Nintendo has recently announced via their Wii U Direct video series that an HD port of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is coming to the Wii U, offering enhanced graphics as well as other features that bring the GameCube classic into the current age of gaming. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD will feature new HD graphics, Off-TV play with the Wii U Gamepad, and integrated Miiverse support. It was also revealed that the remake came to be as the development team experimented with different art styles for the next main Zelda title, which is also currently in development for the Wii U. According to Satoru Iwata, gamers can expect the HD port of Wind Waker sometime in Fall 2013. Originally released in 2003 on GameCube, Wind Waker received favoritism and was warmly received by critics and fans alike for its creative and original graphics, which utilize cell-shading and a very distinctively bright color scheme. The game mechanics were very original as well, providing an experience that was unlike any prior games in the Zelda game series. Even now, the game is ranked as one of the best Zelda titles, and many fans worldwide count it as their favorite in Nintendo's expansive series, which remains one of the most iconic franchises in video game history. Netflix and YouTube launch DIAL to compete with AirPlay Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/netflix-and-youtube-launch-dial-to- compete-with-airplay/18782.html January 24th, 2013 The "second screen" is the hottest one of the buzzwords in tech these days. Many app developers are looking for ways to change the way you consume entertainment on your television and secondary device. Currently AirPlay; an Apple specific protocol, and DLNA are the main ways to use your mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone, to interact with your television; but two new players want to change that. As mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, increasingly become a part of our everyday life, we are looking for new ways to use them to consume entertainment —whether it’s through the primary screen or the "second screen". Up until now, using your mobile device to interact with apps on your television (or Internet connected set- top boxes) usually involved connecting to Apple's AirPlay or televisions that supported DLNA. The problem with Apple's solution, though, is that it is proprietary and only usable if you have Apple devices. DLNA on the other hand has never gained any real adoption and isn't as widely known. Well, two competitors have decided that it is time to join forces to see if they can bust open this potentially very fertile area of technology. In an announcement today, Netflix and YouTube said that they are working together to develop a new protocol, known as DIAL, and it will be an open protocol that will allow mobile apps to control apps on televisions or set-top boxes. DIAL stands for Discover and Launch and it will allow apps on a "Second screen"; such as your smartphone or tablet, to automatically bring up and communicate with supported apps on your first screen; typically your television. This will make is possible to launch the YouTube app on your smartphone, load up a video, and then click on a "Play on TV" button. This action will trigger the YouTube app on the television and automatically start playing the video. The nice thing about making this an open protocol is that any developer will be able to make use of it in their apps. As well, it will make the job of linking mobile apps to television apps a lot easier for developers. DIAL will be maintained by both Netflix and YouTube, but other partners are more than welcome to become a part of the project. Neither of the companies’ individual apps currently support DIAL, but are expected to in very short order. You can more information on the new site for the project.
  • 128. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Apple budget iPhone design leaked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-budget-iphone-design- leaked/18818.html January 28th, 2013 There are really no "budget" gadgets when it comes to Apple branded products, but as the mobile market is becoming more and more competitive, Apple has to adapt to maintain its position as a global leader in mobile technology. Apple, for a while now, has maintained its position as the top “premium” maker of mobile gadgets. However, as smartphone technology becomes cheaper and more readily available for the masses, it’s only logical that Apple has to adapt to the shifting trend. According to rumors, Apple is currently developing a budget iPhone that is a cross between the iPhone 5, the iPod classic, and the iPod touch 5G. Budget iPhones in the past usually refer to previous-gen smartphones from Apple, but that won’t be the case any longer. Just like how Apple launched the iPad mini to compete with tablets like the Kindle from Amazon and Google’s Nexus 7, the upcoming budget iPhone is also aimed at budget conscious consumers. The design of the low-end iPhone, according iLounge, will compose mainly of plastic materials. Apple’s trademarked Retina display as well as the Lightning docking connector will grace the dumbed down iPhone. It won’t be as sleek as the current iPhone 5, as the budget iPhone will be slightly thicker and wider in dimension. The budget iPhone will look almost identical to the iPhone 5 from the front, but in the back it will look more like an iPod classic (flat back and side surfaces with curvy edges connecting the sides). Control buttons like the volume and vibrate switch will also see some changes in the new iPhone, as Apple will do away with the circular volume button in favor of the elongated “pebble” button style. While no one knows for sure how much the new budget iPhone will cost, it’s plausible to say that it will cost 30-50% less than the latest iPhone—taking into account that the 16GB iPad mini costs approximately 34% ($170) less than the 16GB new iPad. China considering ending 13- year console video game ban Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/china-considering-ending-13-year- console-video-game-ban/18817.html January 28th, 2013 China is considering the possibility of ending its 13-year ban on video game consoles, according to a regional newspaper, paving the way for Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to make millions in the monumental market. China is considering the possibility of ending its 13-year ban on video game consoles, according to a regional newspaper, paving the way for Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to make millions in the monumental market. A Chinese newspaper made the claim, suggesting the restrictive regime is planning a major U-turn that could give console companies a significant boost just as smartphones and tablets are stealing away customers. “We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market,” said an unnamed source at the Ministry of Culture, according to The China Daily. “However, since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it.”
  • 129. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The hinted change of policy follows on from the safety certification of the PlayStation 3 last November, which many saw as a precursor to the lifting of the decade old console game ban. The restrictions were imposed to protect the mental and physical development of children, according to the Beijing government, but it looks like they see the value in gaming now – or at least the financial aspect of it. However, one official at the Ministry denies the report, suggesting it is not considering lifting the ban. Console makers have also been tight-lipped on the news, but shares have risen by as much as eight percent as investors salivate over the huge population of gamers in the country. Iran claims it sent monkey into space Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iran-claims-it-sent-monkey-into- space/18816.html January 28th, 2013 Iran claims to have successfully launched a monkey into space and returned it to Earth alive, paving the way for the embattled country to send humans to space by 2020, a move that is likely to further increase tensions with other states. Iran claims to have successfully launched a monkey into space and returned it to Earth alive, paving the way for the embattled country to send humans to space by 2020, a move that is likely to further increase tensions with other states. The Iranian TV station Al-Alam made the claim today, suggesting the Tehran regime made the launch last week, sending the monkey aboard a Kavoshgar rocket 75 miles into suborbit. Iran previously unveiled s space capsule for sending a monkey into space in 2011, but attempts then reportedly failed. It also previously sent a rat, turtles and worms into space in 2010, but retrieving a monkey safely from space is a major feat towards sending a human, echoing achievements from other major powers in the world. The first chimpanzee in space was called Ham, sent by the US in 1961, four years after Russia successfully sent a dog called Laika into orbit, though she never made it back alive. The so- called space race was a major element of the Cold War and partly what made the two countries major world powers. Iran's space advancements have been a cause of concern around the world, with many governments suggesting that these rockets can be used to fire nuclear weapons. Iran claims its nuclear facilities are designed for peaceful means, but that did not stop the launch of the mysterious Stuxnet virus, which targeted Iran's nuclear plants, causing significant damage. Iran is not the only country hoping to push its space programme. China is planning to send rovers to the Moon to collect soil samples by 2018, Russia wants to established a robotic base on the Moon by 2032, and NASA wants to land a human on an asteroid by 2025 and send the first human to Mars by 2030. Images Credit: AFP/Getty Images Pentagon approves fivefold cyber security staff increase Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pentagon-approves-fivefold-cyber- security-staff-increase/18815.html January 28th, 2013 The US Pentagon recently approved an expansion of its cyber security staff from roughly 900 members to 4,900
  • 130. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 military and civilian personnel. In light of recent events such as Anonymous’ attack on the US Department of Justice, it seems like the move to increase cyber security staff at the Pentagon is a must. Ever since man began staging wars against each other, information about each other has been a crucial component in determining the victor. Modern day computer infrastructures have allowed military organizations to steal and store critical information about anyone and anything that are potential threats. Data storage is no longer an issue for large organizations, but rather it’s the protection of the data that has become a top priority. Many hackers in recent years have managed to hack business and government servers to obtain information that are not meant for the public eyes, hence, the Pentagon’s move to increase its cyber security department. Pentagon Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted that the US has not invested enough in securing its computer infrastructure. (The Pentagon's Leon Panetta | Image: globalpost) “We’ve got good people that are involved in it, but, very frankly, if we’re going to stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening with regards to the chances that are occurring, we have to invest more in that area,” Panetta said in a speech last November. According to various reports, fivefold increase in cyber security staffing is to help protect the organization’s internal computer systems, offensive operations abroad, and computers that are connected to the department’s electrical grid. Patriot Gauntlet Node Portable Wireless Enclosure Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/patriot-gauntlet-node-portable- wireless-enclosure/18809.html January 28th, 2013 The advancement of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and ultramobile PCs, dramatically increased the storage requirements of the users. What happens when the storage of the mobile device, which frequently cannot be upgraded at all, runs out? Patriot is here with an answer in the form of Gauntlet Node, an external HDD enclosure with a built-in battery and Wi-Fi radio. Computer HDDs have advanced so much that storage is not often an issue with desktop computers; however; as far as ultrabook and laptop/tablet hybrids users are concerned, they can face serious storage problems since the small SSDs of such devices rarely can store enough data. Users of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are at even worse disadvantage, as there are times when a memory card or flash drive is simply not enough and using an external HDD is very rarely an option. When the memory of the mobile device cannot be upgraded any further, users frequently have to rely on internet-based cloud storage services for extra storage when their memory cards cannot suffice, preventing them from accessing their data when offline. Patriot had thought of an answer to that and presented the Gauntlet Node, an external 2.5" drive enclosure with an integrated battery and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n radio, allowing almost every mobile device to access the files stored inside it wirelessly. Manufacturer's features and specifications CONNECTIVITY: • Wifi 802.11 b/g/n • WEP/WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK security • USB 3.0 port for high speed wired connection • Connect up to 8 devices at a time • Stream HD movies (up to 720p) and music with up to 5 devices simultaneously • Supports internet connection through a home or business Wi-Fi network (Internet Pass-thru) • Internal interface (SATA II) POWER: • AC Wall Power Charger (100-240V ~ 50-60Hz) • Lithium-ion Battery • Up to 5.5 hours of operation on a full charge Note: Battery life will depend on the configuration of the product as well as usage conditions. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:
  • 131. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 • 2.5" HDD or SSD drive, NTFS formatted, maximum 9.5mm height • iPad, iPhone (3GS or higher), iPod Touch (4th generation or higher) runnion iOS 4.2 or higher, or Android phone with v2.3 or higher, or Android tablet with v3.0 or higher, or PC running Windows XP/ Vista/7/8 or higher, or Apple Mac running OSX 10.5 or higher, or Kindle Fire • USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port (when not using a Wi-Fi connection) • Gauntlet Connect app for phone, tablet, or Kindle Fire device for data transfer (available online at respective app stores) Note: Mobile device operating systems may have native file support limitations. PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS: • Dimensions: 3.39” (D) x 5.47” (W) x .96” (H) or 8.62cm (D) x 13.9cm (W) x 2.44cm (H) • Weight: 182.5 grams WARRANTY: • 2 Year Limited Warranty Asus ROG ARES II 6GB Review [Part 1/2]: In a different league Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-rog-ares-ii-6gb-review- part-12--in-a-different-league/18752.html January 28th, 2013 Can the much hyped liquid-cooled ROG ARES II (dual HD 7970x2 aka HD 7990) live up to its lofty SGD$2499 price tag? This picture doesn't do much justice to the actual size and weight of the package, because inside the box... ... contains a gigantic metal briefcase, complete with a seemingly impenetrable exterior and a twin set of combination locks to protect its valuable cargo. It didn't take long for us to figure out the passwords (both default to "000"). Throwing open the case, we find a raging hulk strapped to a pair of jet skis, ready to replace its outdated and outgunned predecessor in the owner's PC. Just like one of those limited edition masterpieces from Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, the ARES II only has a limited production run of 999. This is probably for good reason anyway, as one of these cards cost (SGD$2498) almost as much as five HD 7970, which completely rules it out of "value for money" awards.
  • 132. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Facebook owes you money Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-owes-you- money/18812.html January 28th, 2013 If you received a notice stating that Facebook may owe you money, it is not a scam. Facebook indeed owes 20 million dollars to some users of the site, but don’t be expecting a whole lot of cash. Facebook just recently settled out of court a class action lawsuit worth 20 million U.S. dollars, and you may be entitled to some of it. Sadly, that money will be distributed to approximately 150 million people. Surely a couple bucks is better than none, right? Recently many Facebook users have received E-mails stating they may be owed money but many thought that the E-mails were a hoax or possibly Spam. The messages are indeed real and will be coming from the sender, ‘legalnotice@facebookmail.com”. Be leery if you receive a message from any other sender and always verify it with Facebook if you are still unsure. The lawsuit, which was Fraley, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., et al., Case No. CV-11-01726 RS, was in regards to image usage by Facebook itself. Quite simply, if you or your child had a Facebook account with a Facebook Sponsored Story featured, you may be entitled to compensation. However, they must have used the images, which would then automatically constitute you as part of the class action. You may recall a similar stint where folks were in an uproar over the Instagram image use agreement. Instagram stated they would begin using people's images in advertisements without their knowing and they didn't need their permission. This notice resulted in an uproar of criticism from privacy advocates and Instagram quickly reversed their policy. Sadly, do not be expecting to overwhelm your bank with a hefty deposit with this class action - more than likely you are not going to see one penny. In the class action message it clearly reads, "If the number of claims made renders it economically infeasible to pay money to persons who make a timely and valid claim, payment will be made to the not- for-profit organizations on the Settlement website at "www.fraleyfacebooksettlement.com". So, if everyone goes in for a piece of the pie Facebook says, “No pie for you!” Anonymous Hacks US Sentencing Site, Changed to Asteroids Video Game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/anonymous-hacks-us-sentencing- site-changed-to-asteroids-video-game/18811.html January 28th, 2013 The U.S. Sentencing Commission was recently hacked for a second time by the hacktivist group, ‘Anonymous’. This time the hackers uploaded code (“Operation Last Resort") transforming the site into the classic video game of Asteroids. In what was obviously a response attack on the Justice department’s assault on the late Aaron Swartz, the hacktivist group with their “Operation Last Resort” transformed the USSC.GOV website homepage into the fun game of Asteroids. A check in the early morning hours of January 28 showed the site being shut down completely. The USSC was pulled down initially on Friday January 25, but was fixed and back up on Saturday January 26, 2013. The USSC is an independent agency to the U.S. Judiciary branch of government. Their main purpose is to give judges guidelines to go by when it comes to crime punishment. Very soon after the USSC site was up and running again, it was hit again by Anonymous and transformed into the classic arcade game. After reading the phrase, “AntiSec CAEK-mode activated. Destroy the system! Controls: up, down, left, right to fire,” it would enable you to play the classic game. This latest onslaught from Anonymous is in reply to the suicide death of Aaron Swartz. Swartz was facing up to 35 years in prison and a fine of one million dollars for opening up the MIT JSTOR library. It still is not known exactly why the government went after Swartz so harshly. Some believe that Swartz may have been feeding information on the Justice department over to Wikileaks. This theory is highly plausible because it was the Justice department that was seeking what many called an absurd and disproportionately harsh penalty for his actions. On January 18, 2013 Wikileaks revealed on their main Twitter account that Swartz had been in contact with Julian Assange and further stated he may have sent information to the website anonymously. Later a WikiLeaks associate by the name of Kristinn Hrafnsonn confirmed the tweets in question and said they were indeed authentic but would not elaborate on the Twitter posts any further.
  • 133. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The Amiigo Fitness Tracker Does It All Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-amiigo-fitness-tracker-does-it- all/18810.html January 28th, 2013 The 'Amiigo' fitness tracker is a cutting edge development outperforming all other fitness monitors. Not only is it capable of monitoring your exercise, but also it can precisely determine what you are doing with extreme accuracy. Exercise gimmicks are a dime a dozen these days, but once in a while something different pops up that is a cut above the rest. Designers call it the ‘Amiigo’, and this very inconspicuous bracelet can track all of your exercise movements, and quite remarkably it can see the difference in what you are doing. Amiigo began as an idea that was promoted at the startup site, indiegogo.com. In describing the product, its designers said they wanted a small device that would allow people to look into the details of their exercise routine and see what was happening with their bodies. “We wanted to allow users to track specific things like; exercise type, reps, sets, duration, speed, and intensity,” reads the Amiigo page in part. “Amiigo also tracks heart rate, blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, overall activity level, and calories burned.” The device looks very simple and comes in two parts, which are a shoe clip and bracelet; however, it is the software powering the device that makes it so incredible. Using ‘gesture recognition’ the Amiigo connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your mobile device and processes the data received. Abe Carter, who serves as co-founder of the Amiigo, says that their software team was able to come up with a set of complex algorithms that can interpret acceleration data made by the user into nearly unlimited variations of the activity being performed. The device is so precise that it can even differentiate between someone running in place as opposed to running down the sidewalk. Amiigo automatically understands your running speed, number of exercise reps performed at any time and even the intensity of your workout. The data is then instantly compiled and cataloged to be compared with past exercise data. That workout data can then be studied in a mobile device for evaluation, or changes could be made to the workout or routine in question if you are not happy with what you see. The real fun begins when you can compare your progress towards a goal with friends who use an Amiigo as well. By comparing your fitness data with others, you can promote a fun exercise plan or competition with a partner, your family or maybe your co-workers. The makers of the Amiigo say that it works with the iPhone 4S and above as well as most Android models supporting BLE. A pledge of $99 (U.S.) will get you a standard black colored bracelet and for 20 dollars more you can get it in any basic colors you like. Since the Amiigo’s main objective was reaching $90,000, they have far exceeded that. With over 30 days left to go they are quickly approaching nearly $250,000 in pledges. JJ Abrams confirmed to direct Star Wars Episode VII Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/jj-abrams-confirmed-to-direct-star- wars-episode-vii/18808.html January 27th, 2013 J.J. Abrams has been officially announced by Lucasfilm to direct Episode VII and take us to a galaxy far, far away. Disney and Lucasfilm have made the official announcement that J.J. Abrams is on board to direct the new Star Wars film. Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy had this to say about the news:
  • 134. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 “It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” Kathleen began. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.” According to the press release, Abrams will be producing Episode VII with Bryan Burk, his partner at Bad Robot, along with Lucasfilm. Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg have also been signed up as consultants on the new film, whose script is being penned by Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine). Abrams certainly has had an active and varied career; as the director of the 2009 Star Trek reboot, he has already brought one iconic franchise to the modern age, which he no doubt plans to do with Star Wars. Abrams is also famous for many hit television shows including Lost, Fringe and Alias to name a few. Star Wars: Episode VII is the first chapter of a brand new trilogy set in the expansive sci-fi universe, and with Abrams at the helm, the possibilities are endless. It will be interesting to see what surprises and twists that Abrams throws at the audience, and to see if Disney's hold on the project somewhat counters Abrams' style. George Lucas, the famed creator of the legendary franchise, had this to say about Abrams: “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands,” Fans are excited to see what J.J. Abrams has in store with Episode VII, but we'll have to wait until 2015 to find out. North Korean prison camps being outed by Google Maps Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korean-prison-camps-being- outed-by-google-maps/18807.html January 27th, 2013 It is amazing the things that you can find using Google Earth. Some of them are funny, some of them are interesting, but some can also reveal things that some countries would rather keep a secret. North Korea is one of those countries, and regardless of their denials, Google Earth is revealing the other big secret about the country - the vast network of prison camps. North Korea is a land full of mystery and dark secrets. Besides their nuclear program the country is believed to hold as many as 200,000 people in prison camps, camps that are reputed to be hell on earth. While very few people escape these camps those that have, and have managed to make it to freedom outside of North Koreas borders, tell tales of physical and sexual abuse, massive hunger, rampant disease, and of being worked to death. They tell of people who survive by eating rats and picking corn kernels from animal waste. In spite of these stories Pyongyang continues to insist to the world that these camps don't exist. They claim that any supposed tales of prison camps is just western propaganda. Except it isn't propaganda and researchers believe they have proof of their existence thanks to Google Earth maps and that new ones are still being built. On January 18, 2013, the North Korean Economy Watch site posted that they had discovered a new camp that had been built alongside an already existing camp in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province. Analyst Curtis Melvin used newly released Google Earth images to see that there is indeed a new camp alongside the already known Camp 14 and that its perimeter fence goes for nearly 13 miles. Additionally he says the fence has two checkpoints, six guard posts, along with a number of accommodation units and office buildings. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, along with earth-imagery company DigitalGlobe, recently released its second version of the Hidden Gulag report which is based on images taken by satellites. The report says that Google Earth is an important tool for them and allows for shining a light on North Korea's prison camp system. RWB demands transparency report from Microsoft regarding Skype wiretapping Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rwb-demands-transparency-report- from-microsoft-regarding-skype-wiretapping/18803.html January 26th, 2013 One of the rumors that constantly beleaguered Skype has been that law enforcement has the ability to eavesdrop in on your calls. Now we have the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as Reporters Without Borders, asking the same thing in an open letter. One of the most persistent rumors when it comes to Microsoft's Skype communication program is that there are backdoors to the program that allow law enforcement
  • 135. January 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 agencies to be able to eavesdrop in on calls made with the software. It is this question that a new "open letter" from the Electric Freedom Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, and many journalists and privacy activists is asking of the company. Their concern is that Skype has, in many cases, become the de facto method of communication for activists living in totalitarian and repressive regimes, and for journalists to communicate with their sources. For these types of people, the need for privacy and security is of prime importance, to the point that some people’s lives may very well depend on that privacy. It is felt by these groups that (i.e. Google) there needs to be some sort of transparency report when it comes to Skype. A report that details Skype's privacy policy as well as exactly what data Microsoft does release to third parties and who those third parties are. They also want a clear statement as to what access governments and other third parties have to Skype user data and their communications. Included in the transparency report, the groups would also like to see how many times Skype has responded to government requests and what criteria the company uses to when deciding to share the requested information. All this concern is contrary to the past as Skype was at one time applauded for its privacy efforts due in large part to its use of very strong encryption used on the calls. Skype even publicly stated that its security practices made it impossible to wiretap any conversations. The encryption was strong enough to the point where several police agencies around the world complained about it. This attitude has changed in recent years because, as noted by hackers, Skype's basic architecture has been redesigned. It is this redesign that some argue has made it easier for interested authorities to listen in on a person's Skype calls. While Skype has come out and denied that the redesign had anything to do with them acquiescing to governments and law enforcement, the company still won't clarify whether it allows for wiretapping. This of course wasn't helped when Microsoft, this past summer, applied for a patent for "legal intercept", presumably to be applied against its own communications software. Given Microsoft and Skype's reticence in dealing with this privacy question when it comes to Skype, we will no doubt hear more about this issue in the future.
  • 136. January 30th, 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. Research In Motion changes name to BlackBerry Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/research-in-motion-changes-name- to-blackberry/18843.html January 30th, 2013 Canadian smartphone firm Research In Motion (RIM) has ditched its ambiguous title for the more well-known moniker of its mobile operating system, BlackBerry. Canadian smartphone firm Research In Motion (RIM) has ditched its ambiguous title for the more well-known moniker of its mobile operating system, BlackBerry. The move coincides with the launch of BlackBerry 10, the company's latest attempt to take on big rivals like Apple, Google and Samsung. The long-awaited and frequently delayed new OS and smartphones are seen by many analysts as a defining moment in the company's history, a make or break affair as far as many are concerned. Given the importance of the occasion, and the fact that RIM is pitching BlackBerry 10 as a “re-invention,” the change in company name is appropriately timed and might even help give the firm more recognition, given the fact that “Research In Motion” is a relatively unknown and unpopular name among consumers, while BlackBerry is the opposite. Will a company name change help BlackBerry 10? The change means the company's website, RIM.com, will be redirecting to BlackBerry.com, and all email extensions will also change. A bigger deal for investors is the change to the stock exchange ticker symbols, with BB to be employed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and BBRY to be used on the NASDAQ. These changes will come into effect from 4 February. “This change from Research In Motion to BlackBerry comes at a defining moment in our company's history,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of the company formerly known as RIM. “RIM created the first BlackBerry smartphone and changed the way millions of people around the world stay connected. We have used that same ingenuity and innovation to redefine mobile computing with BlackBerry 10. As we launch BlackBerry 10 around the world, now is the right time to adopt the iconic BlackBerry name.” Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, described the name change as "just as bold" as the Z10's lack of a physical keyboard. “Today BlackBerry is betting everything on its all-new operating system,” he said. BlackBerry 10 launched, BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 to lead the charge Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-10-launched-blackberry- z10-and-q10-to-lead-the-charge/18841.html January 30th, 2013 Research In Motion (RIM), now known as BlackBerry, has launched its highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system, along with two new smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. Research In Motion (RIM), now known as BlackBerry, has launched its highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system, along with two new smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. Some of the highlights of the new platform include: the BlackBerry Hub, where users can easily access emails, BBM messages, social media updates and notifications, and more; BlackBerry Flow, which seamlessly ties apps together for a more integrated and efficient experience; an adaptable keyboard that learns your frequently used words; the ability to share your screen with other BlackBerry users via BBM;
  • 137. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 the TimeShift camera for improved photos; and the new BlackBerry 10 web browser, with HTML5 support and faster than ever loading times. Keen to keep up its emphasis on enterprise, the new OS features BlackBerry Balance, which separates business use of the device from personal use, an important distinction, particularly as “bring your own device” policies becoming increasingly common in the workplace. BlackBerry Remember offers note-taking capability, which can sync with Outlook or Evernote. There is also support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, and BlackBerry Safeguard provides the additional security that the enterprise sector expects. There is also a new BlackBerry World app store, with 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps already lined up, including some from big names like Disney, Cisco, Foursquare, Skype, and Rovio. Important social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn come pre-installed. BlackBerry Z10, launching in the UK first The Canadian smartphone maker also unveiled its initial lineup of devices at events held throughout the world: the full touch-screen Z10 and the touchscreen and keyboard Q10. Both feature a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, which is a bit on the low side compared to what some rivals have out on the market now, as well as 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, which can be expanded with memory cards. They also have micro HDMI ports for presentations and advanced sensors for NFC mobile payments. The Z10 features a 4.2- inch display, while the Q10 appears to have a much smaller screen, though the exact dimensions are not yet known. The BlackBerry Z10 will launch in the UK tomorrow, 31 January, with prices varying from carrier to carrier. In Canada the Z10 will launch on 5 February for $149.99 on a three year contract (yes, that's right – three years, as if two year contracts weren't enough). In the United Arab Emirates the Z10 will launch on 10 February for AED 2,599 (or less when subsidised by a carrier). In the US the Z10 won't launch until March, and prices will vary. The Q10 will launch in April, with pricing and availability to be announced closer to release. BlackBerry Q10, for those who like a real keyboard “Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. “We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving.” Injunction prevents CNET from reporting on P2P tech Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/injunction-prevents-cnet-from- reporting-on-p2p-tech/18838.html January 30th, 2013 CBS has replied to an injunction prohibiting any of its subsidiaries from reporting on P2P technology. CBS is arguing that their site, namely CNET, has the right to report about a technology without it necessarily being an endorsement of such. Last week CBS Interactive, which is the owner of the technology site CNET, argued their right to report on P2P
  • 138. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 technology. There is currently a legal injunction against the CBSI and its affiliates preventing them from writing about P2P, bittorrents, or any type of file sharing technology. The injunction states that by reporting on such technology it would constitute as a promotion of such technology. A legal team representing many Rap, Hip-Hop and R&B artists filed the injunction request against CBSI. Another powerful entity behind the injunction is billionaire Alki David who serves as chairman of Filmon.com. The artist’s representatives actually began their claim in May 2011 when the injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. The injunction stated that when any given CBSI journalist from download.com (now download.CNET.com) covers P2P or any other file sharing technology, they are essentially promoting piracy among their readers. The artists made their claims based on examples of editorials and videos on file sharing software explaining just how the software operated. The injunction reads in part: “The CBS Defendants received massive amounts of revenue from P2P providers on ‘Pay per download’ basis and also from advertising revenues generated by advertisements placed on the download screen for P2P software. The CBS Defendants’ business model has been so dependent upon P2P and file- sharing that entire pages of Download.com are designed to specifically list and categorize these software offerings.” CBSI’s rebuttal against the injunction says by forcing CNET not to report on any type of technology would be tantamount to censorship. Moreover, CBSI stressed such an injunction would never prevent anyone from downloading such software in the first place. CBSI writes: “Plaintiffs have presented no reliable evidence of direct infringement of any work by use of the BitTorrent technology they accuse…If CBSI were enjoined from linking to sites that offer downloads of BitTorrent clients, those sites would still remain available to the public and would still be easily found by a simple search on Google – albeit without the warning against infringement that CBSI provides.” A copy of the injunction rebuttal from CBS may be seen here. An all-out war on P2P or any type of file sharing has been going on for some time now and particularly the past few years. While P2p sites such as The Pirate Bay have somehow managed to continue operating, others popular sites have not fared so well. Kim Dotcom of New Zealand had his own home raided in some elaborate attempt to seize some kind of ‘doomsday device’ that was later proved to be a fantasy made up by the U.S. Department of Justice Later the New Zealand courts ruled the raid to be illegal but Dotcom’s file sharing site, Megaupload.com, is still being held by the U.S. government. Bogus tweet causes company to lose 25 percent of its stock value Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bogus-tweet-causes-company-to- lose-25-percent-of-its-stock-value/18837.html January 30th, 2013 An erroneous Twitter feed caused Audience Inc.’s (NASDAQ: ADNC) stock to lose 25% of its value in a matter of minutes. The message seemed to come from the stock-trading firm, Muddy Waters, but was quickly proved otherwise. Twitter, which is a highly popular social media site, can often times cause a lot of problems when rumors, real or imagined, get passed on. It is also not uncommon for people to pose as an official spokesperson, celebrity or company simply for starting false rumors that often spread like a zombie virus. This recently happened with Audience Incorporated (NASDAQ; ADNC). On January 29, 2013 stock value for Audience Inc. plummeted when someone posing as the investment firm, Muddy Waters, said that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating Audience Inc. over some kind of fraud. Soon following the post their stock value dropped like a rock from a high of $12 to $8.87. Dropping around 25%, Audience Inc.’s investors went into an instant panic. Luckily the original twitter feed was discovered to be a fake with a total following of only 11 people. Soon after the discovery the stock was able to rebound. Some experts have speculated that the false twitter feed may have been created to make the value drop for a quick profit once it rebound. There has been no definitive proof of the stock manipulation for Audience Inc. other than the one erroneous Twitter feed. Twitter has often been scrutinized as a highly unreliable source of intelligence. During Hurricane Sandy of 2012 there were many so-called official twitter feeds stating that the stock market was completely destroyed by floodwaters. In regards to this more recent event with Audience Inc., the stock drop lasted a mere 2 minutes with over 300,000 shares exchanging hands, or about one half of the day's total volume. Sony scores big by hiring ex-Microsoft Kinect game developer George Andreas Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-scores-big-by-hiring-ex- microsoft-kinect-game-developer-george-andreas/18836.html
  • 139. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 January 30th, 2013 Besides extending the life of Microsoft's Xbox 360, the Kinect also brought a whole new dimension to gaming, but today Microsoft lost one of their key members of the Kinect game team to a bitter rival - Sony. Sony and Microsoft have been battling it out for years when it comes to games as the Xbox took on Sony's PlayStation— for the most part, the Xbox won the battle on its home turf in the US. In terms of global units shipped up until 2013, the Xbox 360 and PS3 are estimated to have similar numbers of units sold, with the PS3 recently topping the Xbox 360 by about 1 million units according to some recent estimates by analysts. The arrival of the Kinect, however, added a whole new dimension to the "console wars" and helped Microsoft further cement itself as a power house in the game console business. That isn't to say that Sony didn't have its own motion control device, but in terms of the marketplace, Sony's EyeToy has never had the same presence as the Kinect. Of course it helped that Microsoft had some good games to bundle with the Kinect. Games like Kinect Sports and Kinect Sports: Season 2 helped to drive up people’s fondness of the motion sensing peripheral from Microsoft. In the middle of all the Microsoft Kinect insurgence was George Andreas. He helmed various projects at Rare that played major roles in helping the Kinect to become a popular household Xbox peripheral. Besides working on games for the Kinect, George Andreas also worked on the Kinect hardware; so when the news came out today that he has left Microsoft to work with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in their EyeToy studio in London, you can bet there were some pretty unhappy people at Microsoft. There is no word at this point on exactly what Andreas will be doing, but some are hoping that he will return to developing some great games like he did when he was at Rare. pixelSense wants help to buy Homeworld at second THQ auction Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pixelsense-wants-help-to-buy- homeworld-at-second-thq-auction/18822.html January 30th, 2013 Recently, game development house THQ was ordered by the courts to put itself up for sale, and consequently, much of the company's assets were auctioned off. However, some of those assets, like the video game Homeworld, didn't get sold which means that there is going to be another auction to try and find new homes for the unsold games. It's always sad when a game development company closes its doors, especially if you are a fan of any of their games, and leaves us all to wonder what will happen with some of the games that they created and owned. Such is the case with the recent news that THQ was going to be holding a court ordered auction as part of its bankruptcy proceedings in the hope that any monies received will settle any outstanding debts. In the lead up to the auction, many were concerned about what would happen to the catalog of games owned by the company, especially considering that THQ own a number of very high profile and popular games - like Company of Heroes and Saint's Row. As it turned out many of the THQ owned studios and properties found homes: • Sega bought Relic - responsible for Company of Heroes - for $26.6 million • Koch Media bought volition - responsible for Saint's Row - for $23 million • Ubisoft bought THQ's new Montreal studio • Crytek bought Homefront for $500,000 • Koch Media bought the Metro franchise for $5.8 million • Ubisoft bought the South Park franchise for $3.2 million However, not all of THQ's properties found new homes and there are enough that there is going to be a second auction to try and find buyers for them. Among the various properties is past Game of the Year winner Homeworld; and even though it was originally a Relic property (which sold to Sega) it remained unsold after the auction. Now if you aren't familiar with the game you can get a full breakdown here, suffice to say the game still has a strong following. It is this following that independent game developer pixelSense is hoping will help it come up with the money it might need to buy Homeworld at the second THQ auction. To achieve this pixelSense has gone to indieGogo to try and raise $50,000, which is what they are hoping will be enough to pick up the Homeworld franchise at the auction. If outbid,
  • 140. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 however, pixelSense will use the money to try and reach a deal to buy the franchise from the winning bidder. The team has promised that if they don't manage to get the franchise they will refund all monies raised. Free Pi for 15,000 UK students, courtesy of Google Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/free-pi-for-15-000-uk-students- courtesy-of-google/18834.html January 30th, 2013 Google Giving, the corporation's philanthropic branch, has made a generous but undisclosed grant that will provide 15,000 units of the Raspberry Pi Model B - as well as support - to pupils in the UK. Chairman Eric Schmidt visited a school in Cambridge early this morning and even taught schoolchildren some coding. Schmidt stated in regard to the grant, "Britain's innovators and entrepreneurs have changed the world -- the telephone, television, and computers were all invented here. We've been working to encourage the next generation of computer scientists and we hope this donation of Raspberry Pi's to British school pupils will help drive a new wave of innovation." Google will work alongside six education partners, namely CoderDojo, Code Club, Computing at Schools, Generating Genius, Teach First, and OCR. These partners will help determine the kids who will most benefit from having their own Pi. Additionally, OCR will create learning packs to go hand-in-hand with the microcontroller units. Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton stated in a blog post, "We're absolutely made up over the news; this is a brilliant way for us to find kids all over the country whose aptitude for computing can now be explored properly. We believe that access to tools is a fundamental necessity in finding out who you are and what you’re good at. We want those tools to be within everybody’s grasp, right from the start." Upton concluded the blog with an enthusiastic sentiment toward a resurgence in CS at schools. In the bog post, he stated, "The really good sign is that [the] industry has a visible commitment now to trying to solve the problem of CS education in the UK. Grants like this show us that companies like Google aren’t prepared to wait for government or someone else to fix the problems we’re all discussing, but want to help tackle them themselves." Google releases their approach to government user data requests Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-releases-their-approach-to- government-user-data-requests/18831.html January 30th, 2013 Just as promised, Google made public on Monday, January 28, 2013 just how they comply with government requests for user’s personal data. According to Google, requests for user data have gone up over 70% over the last three years and that it really worries them. Just how the government requested user data from Google remained unclear until this past Monday’s Google blog post. The blog post was a follow up to one Google made with their ‘Transparency Report’ the previous Friday, which gone over in detail how often governments were requesting user data. On Monday, David Drummond, who serves as Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer wrote a very detailed blog on how Google is committed to a user’s privacy. Drummond wrote that Google has a very strict policy of protecting user data and have petitioned to update the laws pertaining to the U.S. Electronic Communications and Privacy Act. Listing in detail how Google goes about comply with requests for data, Drummond writes: · We scrutinize the request carefully to make sure it satisfies the law and our policies. For us to consider complying, it generally must be made in writing, signed by an authorized official of the requesting agency and issued under an appropriate law. · We evaluate the scope of the request. If it’s overly broad, we may refuse to provide the information or seek to narrow the request. We do this frequently. · We notify users about legal demands when appropriate so that they can contact the entity requesting it or consult a lawyer. Sometimes we can’t, either because we’re legally prohibited (in which case we sometimes seek to lift gag orders or unseal search warrants) or we don’t have their verified contact information. · We require that government agencies conducting criminal investigations use a search warrant to compel us to provide a user’s search query information and private content stored in a Google Account—such as Gmail messages, documents, photos and YouTube videos. We believe a warrant is required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and overrides conflicting provisions in ECPA. Demand for user data by many foreign governments has gone up as well over the past 3 years and Google says they
  • 141. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 want their users to know how it all works. However, in some rare cases a search warrant may limit what Google can and cannot reveal to a user. One figurative example would be if the CIA were monitoring a known terrorist and were able to track down their private E-mail. With this particular example Google could not lawfully tip them off – depending who they are of course, and any effort to do so could jeopardize national security. Evergreen's USB cable lets you control smartphone screens via PC Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/evergreen-s-usb-cable-lets-you- control-smartphone-screens-via-pc/18826.html January 30th, 2013 The DN-84254 is a micro-USB interface cable that was developed by Evergreen. It provides a way to mirror visual content conveniently via USB only, and lets you manipulate screen elements of the unit using your PC. Sync programs for the PC and various access apps like AirDroid provides us with intuitive smartphone access for our PC. What they don't have however, is an access interface that directly reflects the way visual elements are presented in the smartphone. Evergreen's new USB accessory can, and in fact it may well be considered as a more intuitive version of your regular HDMI or any other video cable. The DN-84254 is a very simplistic looking micro-USB cable that could effectively transmit screen information via device mirroring when used along with the software that comes with it. This means that the program visually displays whatever is currently presented on your smartphone screen. This may sound very simple, but not until you realize that you could actually access the interface of the smartphone using your PC! That's right; you can use the PC mouse to navigate around the screen inside the program as if you are accessing the smartphone using your fingers. If an app would require you to input letters or characters, you can simply do so by using the PC's keyboard. Several key shortcut buttons on top of the program also allows you to conveniently make the device do specific commands, or access certain areas instantly. So, aside from being able to record screen activity directly on your PC (for gaming and reviews and the likes), you can also intuitively control the smartphone within the PC's environment as if it was just a simple Android emulating program or something. The DN-84254 and its software can be used on PC's with the Windows XP/Vista/7/8 OS. As for the mobile device, it would run on Android 2.3/4+. The cable has a length of 120cm. Take note that it can't be optimized for a USB 3.0 port. It's currently available in Japan for 3999 yen (44 USD). Sanwa's bulky but versatile Tablet Stand Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sanwa-s-bulky-but-versatile-tablet- stand/18823.html January 29th, 2013 Sanwa Supply Inc. presents the 100-MR075 tablet stand. It is an all around stand that you can use to free up your hands and make tablet access much easier and more convenient. Tired of constantly sticking one of your hands up whenever you use your tablet on the bed? Well, Sanwa may have a rather bulky solution for you. Introducing their 100-MR075 tablet stand, or more affectionately known as the "tablet- while-sleeping" stand.
  • 142. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The use of this item is pretty straightforward, just firmly secure and clamp the tablet in place, adjust the angle, and you're ready to go. The standard size of the entire stand makes it versatile to be used as a sitting stand, or as a sleeping stand. You can also make the mounted tablet face any direction, and can be positioned anywhere along the entire horizontal bar. Though it can be used in a variety of ways, it's mainly advertised for those who want to use tablets while lying on the bed though, hence the nickname of the product. The 100-MR075 supports tablets from 5 inch to 10.1 inches in screen size. However, for 7 inch tablets, the latch/clamp needs to be inverted before use. The entire unit weighs 1.5 kg (excluding the mounted tablet unit), and it comes in two colors, black, and red. It is available in Japan for 4980 yen (55 USD). Google Nexus 7 to have full HD display & white Nexus 4 is coming Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-nexus-7-to-have-full-hd- display--white-nexus-4-is-coming/18835.html January 29th, 2013 According to Digitimes, the Nexus 7 will get a resolution upgrade from 1280x800 to a full HD display. The quad- core Tegra 3 device has turned the mid-ranged tablet market upside down with its incredibly attractive price tag. In total, the Nexus 7 is estimated to surpass the 6 million units shipped by the end of January. Google’s powerful 7-inch slate helped to spawn a new wave of budget tablets that not only had an affordable price tag, but also beefier hardware to make the experience of owning a "cheap" tablet much more enjoyable. On the smartphone front, it looks like the Nexus 4 will jump out of its black shell and into a white one. It has been nearly impossible for some to get their hands on the current black off-contract Nexus 4 from Google Play, but currently the device is available and has an ETA ship date of between 1-2 weeks (get it while you can). NASA launches International Space Apps Challenge Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-launches-international-space- apps-challenge/18833.html January 29th, 2013 NASA has announced the second International Space Apps Challenge, which tasks developers with coming up with mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualisation
  • 143. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 and platform solutions that contribute to space exploration or improve life on Earth. NASA has announced the second International Space Apps Challenge, which tasks developers with coming up with mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualisation and platform solutions that contribute to space exploration or improve life on Earth. Representatives of NASA and other international space agencies will gather with scientists and citizens for a two- day event that presents 50 challenges, including ones focusing on robotics, citizen science, and remote sensing data applications. Full details of the challenges will be announced closer to the date. The event will be hosted at twelve locations in the US, in addition to similar events in 30 other countries throughout the world, including much of Europe, Canada, Australia, India, and Japan. The first Challenge, held last year, resulted in more than 2,000 participants, with over 100 open source solutions and 71 featured challenges. “What sets apart the International Space Apps Challenge from other events is that this is a collaborative opportunity to engage people from all over the world to participate in space exploration and develop state-of-the-art technology to improve life on Earth and in space,” said Nick Skytland, program manager of NASA's Open Innovation Program. Registration for citizens will open on March 1 and the event itself will operate from 20-21 April. More details can be found here. Apple unveils 128GB iPad 4 and iOS 6.1 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-unveils-128gb-ipad-4-and- ios-6.1/18832.html January 29th, 2013 Apple has unveiled a 128GB version of the iPad 4, in addition to the latest version of iOS, which adds LTE support to 36 more mobile phone carriers around the world. Apple has unveiled a 128GB version of the iPad 4, in addition to the latest version of iOS, which adds LTE support to 36 more mobile phone carriers around the world. The latest version of the iPad 4 offers twice the storage of the previous highest capacity model, with all the same features, such as a 9.7-inch Retina display, an A6X processor, FaceTime HD camera, and iOS 6.1. The 128GB iPad 4 will launch on 5 February for $799 for the Wi-Fi model and $929 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. They will be available in black or white. Coinciding with the announcement is Apple's latest update for iOS, which brings it to version 6.1, This is bundled with the latest iPad model and is also available as a free update for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, 3, and 4, iPad Mini, and iPod Touch fourth and fifth generation. The main feature of the new version is the addition of LTE capabilities to 36 more iPhone carriers and 23 more iPad carries around the world, allowing for faster data connections than ever. The update also allows users to employ Siri to buy movie tickets in the US through Fandango, and allows iTunes Match subscribers to download individual songs from the iCloud to their devices. Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, Philip Schiller, boasted that iOS 6 may be the most popular new version of an operating system in history, with a whopping 300 million devices using the platform in just a five month period. THQ Dissolves - Video Game Company Pieced Apart and Sold Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thq-dissolves--video-game-company- pieced-apart-and-sold/18828.html
  • 144. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 January 29th, 2013 Popular video game developer and publisher THQ has gone bankrupt and dissolved. This week marks the wrap-up of the company's selling off it's many pieces to several companies - take a look at where the pieces went. It's been a sad event for gamers to witness, but THQ is no more. While the name might not mean much on it's own, the titles that come with it are recognizable: Company of Heroes, Metro 2033, and Saints Row all have their roots placed at THQ. The company announced that it was dissolving a little over a week ago on Dec. 19, and that it's assets would be split up and sold to the highest bidders. Via a public notice on the THQ website, Jason Rubin, President of THQ, had this to say: “Today THQ announced that it has secured an investor, a private equity firm named Clearlake Capital Group, who is interested in purchasing most of what you think makes up THQ: the teams that make the games (Relic, THQ Montreal, Vigil and Volition), THQ’s Intellectual Property (titles, source code, etc.), THQ’s contracts (like the ones with Crytek, South Park Digital Studios, 4A games, Obsidian, and Turtle Rock) and the support staff that are required to help the teams succeed. … The sale needs to be completed through a Chapter 11 proceeding of the Bankruptcy code, which we filed today.” The company has been spread to many different hands since the bid. Sega won Relic Entertainment and Company of Heroes, Evolve aka Metamorphasis will be going to Take- Two Interactive, and Koch Media received Volition as well as both the Metro and Saints Row franchises. Among other notable bidders were Zenimax, Ubisoft, and Crytek studios, each getting some bit of the company. “Rest assured that the goal throughout the sale process has been to preserve our teams and our products,” said Jason Rubin in the release. “So no matter what the outcome in 30 days, as long as we have accomplished this goal, I will be satisfied.” Gamers might have seen this bankruptcy coming for quite some time, if the signs were paid attention to. THQ gamers were recently the center of the Humble THQ Bundle, a mass of games that could be bought for any donation amount. Shortly after the game Metro 2033 was given away for free via a Facebook promotion. It's uncertain what will become of the franchises and employees linked with THQ – each company has separate plans. While the announcement seems bleak, Jason assured gamers that this wasn't to be considered an end for the studio. “MGM filed Chapter 11 two years ago, and this year it released “Skyfall” and “The Hobbit,” two of the biggest titles of the year. That’s what I mean when I say new start!” said Jason. “In short, the teams will be unburdened by the past and able to focus on what they should be focusing on -- Making great games. I’m excited about the future and hope to have more to report soon.” Hopefully consumers will be just as excited about this future, and not put THQ away too soon. News source: GameSpot Replace the cameraman with Always Innovating's $50 MeCam UAV Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/replace-the-cameraman-with- always-innovating-s-50-mecam-uav/18824.html January 29th, 2013 Personal spy gadgets have always been somewhat of a niche market, as the toys are not always easy to come by—not to mention a little pricey at times. However, a tech firm by the name of Always Innovating is trying to deliver a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for just $50.
  • 145. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 The MeCam UAV is a tiny quad-rotor gadget that has an ARM Cortex A9 in the cockpit, 1 GB of RAM, an SD card slot, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to receive commands. Conceptually, the MeCam UAV will have the ability to stream videos to a desired device as it hovers above or around a person. Voice command, via a paired connection with an iOS or Android device, will elevate the MeCam UAV up and down, but as a person moves it will follow automatically. Two Linux-based algorithms and 14 real-time sensors will provide the instructions and eyes necessary to keep the personal UAV from crashing. A video algorithm will help to keep video feeds nice and smooth, and a sound filter will aid in drowning out the sound of the squealing motors. Always Innovating is not planning on manufacturing the device itself, but rather it is hoping that the MeCam UAV will garner enough attention that eventually the company can license out the technology to partnering firms. Vinyl returns with Pyle's 50s retro-look turntable Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/vinyl-returns-with-pyle-s-50s-retro- look-turntable/18805.html January 29th, 2013 If you are into old school sound, Pyle’s new turntable with a 50s retro look is now available. Called the PTR8UR, this machine is sure to crank out your favorite records from days gone by and with an inexpensive price to boot. While most folks today choose to listen to music from their MP3 or CD player, there are still a few of us who want that sound only vinyl can give us. While vinyl records may be ancient technology, so-to-speak, this new turntable from Pyle will not only appease your need for that vinyl sound but look really cool doing it. This brand new turntable from Pyle has a very beautiful chrome trim and candy color exterior that screams 1957. While it looks vintage, the electronics and sound are all 21st century technology. It comes with integrated 3” speakers, along with an LCD with blue backlight display. It even comes with a 3.5mm AUX input jack along with a 3.55mm headphone jack. There aren’t many turntables out there that can digitize your nostalgic records, but this model can easily convert all of your music to MP3 format enabling you to take it anywhere with its convenient USB port and SD card slots. It also comes with a great sounding AM/FM radio and an easy to read illuminated front radio dial display with amber backlight along with cordless remote control. The PTR8UR turntable has the standard speeds of 33 & 1/3, 45 (with adaptor) and 78 RPM - greater yet you can have this for only $115 dollars U.S. If you are interested Pyle offers other 50s look models with a lot more features as well. Click here to check out there product page and see their other lines of interesting turntables.
  • 146. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 Heavy Rain composer Normand Corbeil passes away from cancer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/heavy-rain-composer-normand- corbeil-passes-away-from-cancer/18814.html January 29th, 2013 Normand Corbeil, the renowned Canadian composer behind Heavy Rain's award-winning soundtrack, has recently passed away from cancer at the age of 56. Could the Blackberry Z10 herald RIM's rebirth? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/could-the-blackberry-z10-herald- rim-s-rebirth-/18820.html January 29th, 2013 There's no getting around the fact that RIM has been going through some very bad times with just about every tech pundit calling for the final stake to be driven through the company. The problem is that, unlike Nokia, the upcoming release of the Blackberry Z10 and its new operating system could see a serious resurgence of the company. January 30th, 2013, will, without any doubt, be the biggest day in the corporate history of Research In Motion (RIM) as it officially launches the much anticipated next generation Blackberry smartphone to a world expecting them to fail. There is only one problem with that expectation, especially if some of the thoughts regarding the Blackberry Z10 from the tech blogosphere are any indication. Some tech bloggers, like Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo, are suggesting that RIM might actually have a shot at regaining its position as a real player in the smartphone market; and to such a point that Apple might be in trouble. While there is not much of a chance that the new smartphone from RIM will make much of a dent in Samsung's growing dominance, it is believed by many that Apple could be facing a troubled future with its iPhone brand because of its perceived stagnation when it comes to both design and the iOS platform. So the thought is, given some of the leaked images of the Z10, that if RIM can deliver a compelling platform along with gorgeous looking hardware the Blackberry could possibly jumpstart the company's fortunes. Some of the rumored specs for the Z10 are: • dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470 Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 processor • Quad Band HSPA+/UMTS (850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz) • GSM/GPRS (850/900/1800MHz) • LTE Bands 2,4,5,13,17 (700, 850,1700, 1900MHz) radios • a 4.2” display • 1280 x 768 resolution • a pixel density of 356PPI. Of course we will have to wait until after the 30th to see if any of this holds any water, but if RIM does get the good buzz they are hoping for the smartphone wars may just get a bit more interesting. image couresty of Ubergizmo Japan to transmit 4K super HD TV in 2014; 8K in 2016 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/japan-to-transmit-4k-super-hd-tv- in-2014-8k-in-2016/18813.html January 29th, 2013 Japan recently announced they were two years ahead of schedule for their first 4K broadcast. 4K TV broadcast is said to have four times the resolution of any current HD TV. Japan just announced that in July 2014 they would begin transmission of their first ever 4K broadcast. The 4K services will be transmitted directly from Japanese satellites, then onto the broadcasters on the ground. The Japanese government is hoping the announcement will spur sales of super HD television sets, which will in turn boost sales of Japanese electronics makers. Super HD 4K televisions have approximately four times the regular resolution of the currently sold HD TVs. Many South Korean electronic producers have begun sales on their 4K TVs along with some of Japan’s big brands such as Panasonic, Sharp and Sony. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications previously announced that the TV service would start sometime in 2016. The Associated Press recently reported that Japan would be the first in the world to have 4K transmission, but this is not factual. Europe made a similar announcement at the CES
  • 147. January 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 12 2013 but their transmission is currently live, thanks in part to Eutelsat. A press release dated January 7, 2013 reads: As the television and cinema industries accelerate their progression towards Ultra HD (4K), Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) today announced it is launching a dedicated demonstration Ultra HD channel for Europe on the EUTELSAT 10A satellite. The first transmissions of content filmed in 4K will start on January 8. Delivering a resolution of eight million pixels, four times the resolution of HDTV, Ultra HD (4K) is poised to mark the next big leap forward in the immersive viewing experience. While we gawk at 4K TVs having jaw-dropping resolution, don’t expect that to be king for long. Japan has already announced that 8K TV transmissions are in the works and to be expecting that sometime in 2016. iOS 6.1 untethered jailbreak rumored for release on Super Bowl Sunday Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ios-6.1-untethered-jailbreak- rumored-for-release-on-super-bowl-sunday/18819.html January 28th, 2013 Jailbreaking iOS 6.x has been met with many roadblocks, but for untethered jailbreak seekers, this upcoming Sunday may be the day you all receive a very late Christmas gift courtesy of team Evad3rs. Evad3rs’ Planetbeing recently tweeted: “iOS 6.1 appears to be vulnerable to the exploits we are planning on using. :)” MuscleNerd, also a part of Evad3rs, added to the commotion by tweeting: “Hey, did everyone know the Super is this Sunday? What will you be doing? /cc @evad3rs” Of course all this iOS 6.1 untethered jailbreak talks is by no mean a confirmation of its eventual release, but MuscleNerd’s subtle hint in his Super Bowl tweet is creating quite a bit of hype for an actual untethered jailbreak. News of people running an untethered iOS 6.1 jailbreak on their iPhone 5 have been floating around the internet for quite some time, but there has been no official public release as of yet. It may be a good thing that there hasn’t been a public release yet, because the great people at Apple are quick to plug in the holes and prevent the exploits from taking away the company’s much needed revenue.

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