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, Smartphones, Tablets

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Jan 2013 Issue

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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