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

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

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

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

  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Research suggests surgeons perform better when they use Nintendo Wii Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/research-suggests-surgeons- perform-better-when-they-use-nintendo-wii/19123.html February 28th, 2013 A study of postgraduate surgeons at the University of Rome revealed that those who played the Nintendo Wii for an hour a day performed better than other non-gaming surgeons. A study of postgraduate surgeons at the University of Rome revealed that those who played the Nintendo Wii for an hour a day performed better than other non-gaming surgeons. A group of surgeons were put on a month-long Wii gaming regimen, playing Wii Tennis, Wii Table Tennis, and High Altitude Battle. These surgeons performed significantly higher in simulated tasks needed for complex and delicate procedures like keyhole surgery. The research found that the Wii was perfect for honing the skills of laparoscopists, or keyhole surgeons, since there is a limited motion range of the surgical instruments and a loss of depth perception, requiring specific skills that the games could enhance. The paper suggests that the Wii could be a “helpful, inexpensive and entertaining part of the training” of young surgeons when used with traditional surgical education. However, it acknowledges that universities may be reluctant to embrace gaming as part of the curriculum. Previous research has also linked gaming with increased performance in a field. For example, a 2007 study by the Beth Israel Medical Centre in New York found that gaming doctors made 37 percent fewer mistakes and were 27 percent quicker in tests, according to The Telegraph. There is a widespread perception that gaming is a waste of time, lowering productivity, and contributing to addiction in teenagers and young adults, but a growing body of research shows that a healthy approach to gaming could actually enhance skills and make a person more productive in all aspects of their life. Scientists create first brain- to-brain interface using rats Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-create-first-brain-to-brain- interface-using-rats/19121.html February 28th, 2013 Scientists at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina have created the first brain-to-brain interface using rats, another science-fiction idea that has become reality. Scientists at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina have created the first brain-to-brain interface using rats, another science-fiction idea that has become reality. Professor Migquel Nicolelis led a team of scientists in using wired brain implants in the rodents, which they demonstrated could send sensory and motor signals from one rat to another, which could then be correctly interpreted by the second rat. The idea came from previous work with brain implants, where they were hooked up to a computer and let the researchers know what a rat was going to do. Nicolelis questioned if it was then possible to get another brain to do the job of the computer. An example of the trials used included linking the brains of two rats and presenting each of them with a series of levers.
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The first, designated the encoder, was shown which lever to pull to receive a reward. The second, called the decoder, was not given this cue, but would instead have to rely on the signals transmitted through the brain-to-brain connection. The scientists recorded a success rate of 70 percent, but they reported that it could take up to 45 days for the rats to learn how to use the brain signals correctly. The experiments were so successful that the scientists were even able to link the brains of rats that were thousands of miles apart. If similar technology could be applied to humans it could open a wave of new technology, effectively amounting to the fabled art of telepathy. The same scientists previously demonstrated how they could make rats aware of infrared light, which is normally invisible to them. The brain implants were linked to infrared sensors, effectively giving them a “sixth sense.” Nicolelis said the technology could be used to link millions of brains trying to figure out a problem, with all of them sharing a solution. He expects this to be a method of communication for humans in a few decades time. The study can be found in the journal Scientific Reports. Image Credit: BBC/Scientific Reports Canon Singapore Announces Four New Digital IXUS Compact Cameras Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canon-singapore-announces-four- new-digital-ixus-compact-cameras/19118.html February 28th, 2013 Canon Singapore launched four new compact digital cameras from their IXUS range - IXUS 255HS, IXUS 140, IXUS 135 and IXUS 132. The new cameras are available in a number of different colours but all are packing new features like Hybrid Auto, ZoomPlus and Eco mode. For more details on availability and features read on. IT SHOW 2013 Exhibitor Floor Plans Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/it-show-2013-exhibitor-floor- plans/19115.html February 28th, 2013 IT SHOW 2013 Exhibition Sales @ Marina Bay Sands (MBS) will open its doors next Thursday and run through that weekend! Instead of the usual place at Suntec, all the action will be happening at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, Levels 1 and B2. Consult from our official floor plans and list of exhibitors to start planning for your quarterly shopping spree! Level 1 of Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre (click to enlarge) Level B2 of Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre (click to enlarge)
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 ZTE unimpressed with Samsung's Exynos octa-core chip, will continue to use Qualcomm's Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-unimpressed-with-samsung-s- exynos-octa-core-chip-will-continue-to-use-qualcomm-s/19112.html February 28th, 2013 Samsung is currently holding an envious position among competing tech companies, but despite all the accolades, the pride of South Korea is not impressing many with its “Octa- Core” Exynos. ZTE, being one of the growing firms in the smartphone space, is looking the other way when asked if they were interested in using Samsung processors in ZTE devices. “Only Samsung uses Samsung chips,” according to a ZTE official at Mobile World Congress 2013 (MWC). “We are currently really not interested in using Exynos.” The statement given by the ZTE official basically sums up the current and future prospect of whether or not Exynos chips will begin to make a big impact on non-Samsung smartphones, tablets and other forms of mobile gadgets. The chip business, especially those that are geared toward mobile devices, is highly lucrative, and Samsung is aiming to generate more of its revenue from the Exynos line. However, in light of the recent statements from ZTE, it seems like Samsung will have a hard time beating out its powerhouse rival chip maker, Qualcomm. “We have our partnership with Qualcomm and our own chip business. We want to expand our own chips for devices,” the ZTE official added. Reportedly, even Samsung is unhappy with its octa- core Exynos' power consumption, and will instead use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon solution for the next Galaxy S installment, which will be officially announced on March 14. (Device with the highest mark: HTC One) Moreover, various benchmarks from a few outlets have revealed that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 with 4 Krait 300 and Adreno 320 GPU (found in HTC’s latest One smartphone) is outperforming its competitors by a wide margin. While it’s plausible that Samsung will ditch the Exynos completely and use a Snapdragon instead in all markets, it’s much more likely that the Exynos will continue to make its presence known in selected markets such as Europe and Asia—whereas, North America will continue to use Galaxy handsets utilizing Qualcomm’s chips. Bomberman spinoff hits the web with 1,000 players per game MMO Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bomberman-spinoff-hits-the-web- with-1-000-players-per-game-mmo/19109.html February 28th, 2013 Remember the classic SNES game Bomberman? Of course you do, you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t know what Bomberman was. In any case, a new spinoff of the throwback SNES hit is hitting the web, and will allow up to 1,000 bombers to play against each other at once. The game is called “Bombermine”, and is essentially a remake of Bomberman, but with the added feature of which you can trick n’ trap 999 other bomber-wannabes. Bombermine borrowed Bomberman game elements such as the score-sheet setup, as well as the grid layout used to plant the explosives. Beta servers are now up in Europe, US, and Japan, so if you want to take a quick stroll down memory lane go ahead and sign up, or just jump in and play. Pandora imposes 40 hours limit on mobile users due to increasing royalty rates Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pandora-imposes-40-hours-limit- on-mobile-users-due-to-increasing-royalty-rates/19108.html
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 February 28th, 2013 Due to increases in royalty rates, Pandora will begin limiting mobile listeners to 40 hours of free service per month. Listeners who want to extend the 40 hours per month limit will either have to subscribe to Pandora One, an annual, no ads and unlimited streaming, subscription, or pay a one-time $0.99 fee for unlimited streaming for the rest of the month. Desktop users, however, can continue stream unlimited music. According to a blog post, founder of Pandora, Tim Westergren, states that the new mobile restrictions won’t affect the majority of Pandora’s current listeners. “In fact, it will affect less 4% of our total monthly active listeners,” says Westergren. “For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in a given month.” Rather, the newly imposed hour limitations on mobile users are meant to mitigate the increasing royalty rates that Pandora has to pay record labels and artists. Since 2010, the per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25 percent, and that percentage is expected to increase an additional 16 percent over the next two years, according to the Westergren blog. For the outliers that do stream near or over 40 hours using Pandora’s free service, Westergren assured that the users will be notified if and when they are closing in on the limit. Sony Electronics Asia Pacific announces the NEX-3N Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-electronics-asia-pacific- announces-the-nex-3n/19042.html February 28th, 2013 Sony's NEX-3N announcement comes threes later than it's peers NEX-5 which has already been through the N designation. Now three years later we finally see an update to the NEX-3 whilst the NEX-5 has already gone through two upgrades since, - the 5N and the most recent 5R. Sony announced the NEX-3 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with the NEX-5 back in early 2010. Now three years later we finally see a update to the NEX-3 whilst the 5 has already gone through two upgrades since, the 5N and the most recent 5R. The differences between the NEX-3 and NEX-3N are many but here's a short list highlighting the changes worth noting. NEX-3N NEX-3 16.1-megapixel image sensor 14.6-megapixel 1080p HD video 720p video 180 Degree tiltable LCD 80 degrees up & 45 degrees down 4 frames per second (approx) 2.3 frames per second 269 grams (w/battery) 480 shots (CIPA Standard) 330 shots (CIPA Standard 11 Scene Modes 7 Scene Modes ISO 200-16000 ISO 200-12500 Electronic Zoom Control No electronic zooming control What may be a little confusing to the consumer is the NEX- F3. I know it confused me to the point I believe the F3 was the NEX-3 replacement. With such a small compact body sporting an APS-C sensor and interchangeable lenses the NEX-3N makes for a formidable upgrade path for any point and shoot user looking to upgrade their skills. AMD Reveals "Temash" SoC for Tablets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-reveals-temash-soc-for- tablets/19098.html February 28th, 2013
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 At the 2013 Mobile World Congress, AMD has revealed their new Temash SoC (System On a Chip). Temash is a quad core APU using the Jaguar architecture and is designed for use in tablets and hybrid PCs. With integrated Radeon HD graphics, powerful tablets on par with laptops are just around the corner. AMD showcased their new Temash processor in several demo tablets at the MWC this week. The Temash uses the Jaguar architecture (seen on the upcoming Playstation 4) with quad cores and on-chip Radeon HD graphics, which gives the Temash an impressive amount of computing power. The design is claimed to support 1080p video and DirectX 11. If we can really get a chip that handles that level of graphic intensity, AMD's promise of tablet gaming that can stand up to more than casual games may have a more solid core than most think. Even though this chip has a very large amount of processing horsepower, it is very battery friendly. Drawing only a purported 1 watt for low powered tasks like web browsing and text editing, and 5.9 watts while in battery mode, this chip will power the next generation of Windows 8 smart tablets, and help them stay powered longer. One of the core new features of Temash is a Turbo docking mode. When docked with the power station, the processor draws 15 watts and unleashes its full potential. The docked Temash beats a higher powered Core i5 in some tests, and crushes Intel Atom based tablets all-round. There is a reason that it only runs at 15 watts in docked mode, and that reason is not just power. Fifteen watts is an enormous amount of heat to dissipate passively, and the docking station has a built in fan that spins up to cool down the processor when it goes turbo. With the reference tablets sporting USB 3.0 and HDMI ports, something the iPad sorely lacks, these tablets have the power and convenience to compete in a market where speed and power consumption are king. That is, as long as the Windows 8 they run doesn't bring them down. While an 'iPad killer' will never be able to overcome Apple's dedicated market, the Temash based tablets of late 2013 and 2014 will certainly bring some powerful options to the table. Cablevision sues Viacom for forcing customers to pay for unwanted channels Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cablevision-sues-viacom-for-forcing- customers-to-pay-for-unwanted-channels/19096.html February 28th, 2013 Cablevision recently filed a federal lawsuit against the media giant, Viacom. The dispute is over the company forcing people to accept and pay for channels they do not want in the first place. The case is Cablevision Systems Corporation, et al., v. Viacom International Inc, et al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 13-1278. Cablevision Systems Corporations filed a federal lawsuit on February 26 against Viacom arguing that the media giant is forcing customers to pay for lesser channels that most do not want. Furthermore, they are forced to take the channels if they want to watch networks like Comedy Central. A few of the lesser channels forced on customers called out were networks like Nicktoons, CMT, Palladia and VH1 Classics to name a few. The popular cable company says that these unwanted, lesser network channels are being forced on customers with what is referred to as ‘bundles’ by Viacom. They insist that this forced bundling of networks is illegal. In a public statement Cablevision said, The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anti-consumer, and wrong. Viacom effectively forces Cablevision's customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want. Viacom's abuse of its market power is not only illegal, but also prevents Cablevision from delivering the programming that its customers want and that competes with Viacom's less popular channels. Cablevision has also said that Viacom is violating antitrust laws by forcing these networks on customers. They have asked the court to enact a permanent injunction on Viacom, “barring Viacom from conditioning carriage of any or all of its core networks on Cablevision’s licensing any or all of Viacom’s ancillary networks.” They have also asked to be let go of an eleventh-hour licensing deal they signed with Viacom late last year as well. Viacom caused a bit of a stir in the summer of 2012 when they blocked out their networks to the largest U.S. satellite TV provider, DirecTV. The blocked lasted for nearly 3 weeks before a deal was settled. To date it marks the biggest blackout from a major network provider.
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Endless bubble wrap popping fun with StrapyaNext's iPhone 5 case Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/endless-bubble-wrap-popping-fun- with-strapyanext-s-iphone-5-case/19103.html February 28th, 2013 StraptyaNext presents their new "self-regenerating" bubble wrap iPhone 5 case. Unlike ordinary bubble wrap themed cases, users can endlessly enjoy popping the bubbles in this iPhone case over and over again. How many of us seemingly go unconsciously after the bubble wraps after unpacking fragile electronic items? There might be a few that would even say that popping em' bubbles is half of the excitement of opening packages. However, that fun just doesn't last forever. Even for regular iPhone bubble wrap cases, sooner or later you'll run out of bubbles to pop. That isn't the case with StraptyaNext's newest item though. Introducing the world's first "self-regenerating" bubble wrap iPhone 5 case. Yes, that means this isn't your standard iPhone bubble wrap case, nor is it a real bubble wrap that's simply wrapped around the unit. The case is made up of four separate layers, that when combined, allows full replication of the look and feel of a real bubble wrap. Even the popping sound and sensation is also replicated to a considerable degree. After popping all of the bubbles in the iPhone case, you can simply use its unique function to "reinflate" the bubbles and return them to their original shape and form. That technically means an infinite amount of bubble wrap popping fun for all bubble wrap "enthusiasts" out there. There is one small hitch in the bubble wrap case though. The bubbles might get in the way when you are using the iPhone 5's camera, so you may want to pop a few bubbles out, or take out the case first when snapping shots with the iPhone 5 encased in it. The self-regenerating bubble wrap iPhone 5 case is currently available in Japan for 2100 yen (23 USD). Source: ITMedia (JP) PayPal co-founder Levchin launches Affirm to compete with Square Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/paypal-co-founder-levchin-launches- affirm-to-compete-with-square/19094.html February 27th, 2013 Silicon Valley star and Paypal co-founder, Max Levchin. is leveraging his e-commerce knowledge to launch his newest startup called Affirm. Affirm is a mobile payment platform, but its USP (unique selling point) compared to Stripe and Square is that it strives to complete the payment process in as few steps as possible. The goal is to completely emulate the desktop one-click buying experience. The new Levchin payment processor will use Facebook authentication to verify the identity of buyers, which will help guarantee payment to merchants, according to AllThingsD. It might also verify buyers by using ZIP code income ranges and people's mobile device IDs. The startup's beta launch partner is 1-800-Flowers.
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Levchin carries a remarkable pedigree in the tech world. After co-founding PayPal and selling for $1.5 billion to eBay in 2002, he launched the social-media company Slide, which was ultimately acquired by Google in 2010. Levchin was also appointed to Yahoo's board in December. Currently he also runs another startup, HVF, which operates in the Big Data space. EA discusses plans for next-gen gaming in recent conference Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ea-discusses-plans-for-next-gen- gaming-in-recent-conference/19104.html February 27th, 2013 EA has recently held an investors conference focusing on next-gen consoles, revealing a number of exciting highlights such as new IP's, game teases, financial information, statistics, and other interesting highlights that add to the anticipation of next-gen gaming. EA's absence at Sony's PS4 event was noted to the dismay of many gamers who were interested in what the publisher had planned for the PlayStation 4, such as new games or at least a speech or two. As for not attending Sony's PS4 event, EA says that “not being at PS Meeting was not indicative at all," and that they are "maintaining a balance between other parties". EA has recently made up for their absence with a separate conference of their own, and although it was attended mainly by investors, the meeting touched upon exciting updates like EA's ability to transcend 1080p and 60 frames-per-second for "unprecedented gameplay", or the tease of new IP's for Sony's next-gen system. The statements below are quoted from EA’s CTO Rajat Taneja and Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen, with additions for emphasis and clarity. EA goes on to discuss the raw power of next-gen consoles: “The PS4 and next Xbox are between 8 and 10 times [the power of previous gen consoles]“, and that they "no longer have to constrain our games with 1080p & 60FPS...[with next-gen consoles] there will be a level of gameplay that is unprecedented". Concerning the progressive efficiency of next-gen consoles, EA discloses that the PS4 and Xbox 720 will allow much faster and expedient development: "What used to take us months in the past will now take days to do." Additionally, EA mentions that they are working on new IP's for next-gen systems, however they remain tight-lipped with no specific details: “[There are] new IPs that we are building for this [upcoming] console generation.” They have also been developing games for next-gen consoles for over a year now--possibly a few sequels to best-selling franchises During the meeting EA also discussed the possibility of Microsoft's new Xbox being released during the same timeframe as the PS4--holiday 2013--which they've assumed is true. When it comes to next-gen game costs, EA says that prices have yet to be officially set:
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 "We haven’t set price, but you will probably see a similar trend [where prices go up $10, but then fall back down]". This may be upsetting to many consumers, due to the higher cost of the consoles themselves--EA still affirms that this is hypothetical and that nothing is certain at this point. Microtransactions will be utilized even more in the next-gen world, and EA is planning to include the "pay-to-win" model in its new games as well: "We’re building into all our games the ability to pay for more, to unlock faster… trucks, levels, etc. microtransactions. Consumers love that.” Furthermore, EA has recently told Venture Beat that they are working toward unifying a single identity for cross-platform integration, moving towards embracing all gamers across all platforms rather than isolating them in their respective systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, iOS, etc. "Our strategic vision at EA is to create a single backend system so that we can truly embrace the secular trends in our industry that are creating massive growth for games. And we will be able to embrace all of the new business models that come with that." This plan is a major investment from EA's chief executive John Riccitiello who aims to help the company bridge the gap from being a publisher to a multi-platform (consoles, pc, mobile) digital games company. Their vision is already in the works and is the culmination of 1500 engineers and more than 18 months of time. EA's next-gen conference wasn't full of explosive reveals or in-game footage, as it was made primarily for investors and not consumers, however it does bring with it a closer look at what the developer slash publisher is planning for the future of gaming. As a well-known and successful name in the industry, EA has a stake in many popular, best-selling franchises, and it will be interesting to see what direction they are taken in with the PS4 and Xbox 720, and how it affects both the gaming world and the gamers themselves. To listen to the conference be sure to check out the full webcast, and we'll have more information and coverage throughout the coming months when EA sheds more light on its upcoming games. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag confirmed, poster & screenshot leaked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/assassin-s-creed-4-black-flag- confirmed-poster--screenshot-leaked/19100.html February 27th, 2013 A poster for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has recently leaked, confirming the rumors of a pirate-themed prequel, and new details such as the game's protagonist, setting, and time-frame have also been revealed. Avast ye landlubbers: a poster for the next Assassin's Creed game has recently leaked onto the internet, solidifying the recent rumors of a possible pirate-theme for Ubisoft's new stealth adventure. (Source: Kotaku) According to the poster, Ubisoft's new title will be labeled Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and will feature a new adventure that takes place in the 1700's with Edward Kenway--Haytham's father and Connor's grandfather--as the assassin protagonist. The artwork itself shows the deadly assassin confidently wreaking havoc aboard the deck of a pirate ship, taking out scurvy-addled scallywags with a black flag rippling in the wind above.
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Edward Kenway, the less-than-virtuous hero of AC4: Black Flag. The swashbuckling Edward Kenway has been reported as a "privateer, assassin, and an occasional pirate", which may suggest that this game's hero may be less virtuous than Altair, Ezio, and the others. This information fits in with the description that Ubisoft's CEO gave about the new game, as he claimed that the new Assassin's Creed game would feature "an all-new Assassin’s Creed hero, within an all new team and time period." Imagine the possibilities! The leaked artwork, which was sent to retailers, features a map of the Carribean on the other side, showing a variety of locations such as Havana, Kingston and the southern tip of Florida--places that our seafaring pirate-assassin may visit. Additionally, the map also features a skull-and-crossbones icon for certain locations, which may be the Assassin's icon for this game. Along with the leaked poster, an in-game screenshot has also surfaced, giving players their first look at Edward Kenway and a hazy backdrop of a busy seaport. The screenshot is a bit unfocused, but it does show our seasoned hero, and sparks off a new wave of anticipation and speculation for what Ubisoft has in store. Our first in-game look at Edward Kenway doesn't reveal much, but it's a start. (Source: Nicholas Gigante) Rumors of a pirate-themed Assassin's Creed game have been floating across the internet for a while now, and the rumors and speculation further ignited the flame which was first sparked with Assassin Creed III's amazingly-fun seafaring ship-to-ship combat missions. It will definitely be interesting to see if Black Flag incorporates open-sea exploration, allowing gamers to go from island to island and search for bountiful treasure chests and sink a multitude of aggressive sea dogs in the process. Ubisoft has yet to officially announced Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, however it is rumored that the developers are holding a mysterious AC-themed event today, and we'll have more information as it becomes available. New technology boosts projected images beyond 4K Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-technology-boosts-projected- images-beyond-4k/19105.html February 27th, 2013 I-cubed Research Center Inc. has developed a new technology that allows the projection of very clear images in full detail that is well beyond the 4K resolution. I-cubed Research Center Inc. has announced on February 25, 2012 that they have just developed a new kind of projection imaging technology that has the potential to surpass the quality of 4K resolution images. Named as the Intelligent Spectacle Vision Creation (ISVC), it enhances detail that is "embedded" within the image using an array of different imaging techniques, with the resulting image considerably a lot clearer and crisper than what could have been accomplished by conventional HD imaging techniques.
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 As seen on the from the two sample images shown here, the projected image was capable of intensifying the level of detail that would have otherwise been impossible or at least challenging even for a 4K screen. Details and background elements such as rocks and foliage are displayed at a superbly high level of detail. In fact, I-cubed Research Center Inc. even boasts that the technology is still capable of displaying images with such high level of quality even if the screen size goes larger than 150 inches. Technical details surrounding the ISVC technology is yet to be revealed or even publicly announced. However, the research center aims on making the technology commercially available as early as next year, and they have already started negotiating with tech and electronics manufacturers to adopt their ISVC technology. Source: Asahi News (JP) 58 percent of adults blame games for teen violent tendencies Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/58-percent-of-adults-blame-games- for-teen-violent-tendencies/19097.html February 27th, 2013 According to a Harris Poll survey, 58 percent of US adults think that video games contribute to violent behavior of kids, 38 percent admitted their ignorance about the Electronic Software Rating Board (ESRB) system, and 33 percent said they allow their children to play whatever they like. The debate, whether violent video games cause real world violence or not, is not new. There are strong voices on both sides of the table and many studies and statistical analyses to support both cases. For the public opinion, though, it seems the game industry is guilty. Or the public is very confused about the whole game/violence debate. At least, that’s what this new poll indicates. The survey interviewed 2278 adult Americans and three in five of them blamed video games. On the other hand, 38 percent of the adults surveyed had no idea how to read the ESRB ratings and another 47 percent confessed they wouldn’t trust the ESRB ratings to keep mature-rated games away from children. Which is understandable, since one third of the Americans interviewed paid no attention to what their kids play. The survey didn’t aspire to prove or disprove the correlation between games and violence. What it did was to show the confusion and ignorance of the public about the whole matter. As Mike de Vere, president of Harris Poll, said: “The findings underscore the lack of awareness Americans have about the video game rating system, as well as the confusion in the market. They also factor into a larger discussion playing out across our country and on a political stage around how violent games impact our youth…” Digicraft celebrates Mega Man's 25th Birthday with themed Ultrabooks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/digicraft-celebrates-mega-man- s-25th-birthday-with-themed-ultrabooks/19093.html February 27th, 2013 Digicraft plans to release a special exclusive ultrabook that features Mega Man, in commemoration to the franchise's 25th anniversary. They are currently holding an online survey to see which design would be preferred most by its fans. Digicraft, in celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Rockman (or more official known internationally as Mega Man) game franchise by Capcom, plans to release a special exclusive ultrabook that features a theme centered on the Blue Bomber, along with the many characters of his world.
  • February 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 There are no specifics on the hardware of the unit just yet, but they are currently holding an online survey to let people choose what front design they would prefer for the Ultrabook unit. Some of the designs include an image showing all of the Roll characters from various Mega Man series, and the "fixed" or updated version of the old PAL-region box art of the first Megaman series. The last option in the survey (the "other" option) serves as a bonus, for people to fill in additional cover art suggestions. The online survey period of the "Rockman Ultrabook Project" will last from February 26 to March 4, 2013. After that, customers may start placing reservations from the end of March till May. The Ultrabooks would then be finally available at around July 2013. The survey is just the first of the three projects that Digicraft has to celebrate Rockman's 25th anniversary, with the second and third ones to be announced by mid-March 2013. But for those who want to participate in the first survey now, they may do so at this official link (in Japanese). Source: 4Gamer (JP)
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Review: Crysis 3 (PC) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/review-crysis-3-pc-/19135.html March 1st, 2013 Crysis 3 is here! We all know it looks good, but how does it play? Can Crytek deliver a game that is both beautiful and engaging, or are we going to be shedding a few tears? Crysis 3 is the sequel to Crysis 2. That just about sums it up. It does everything right that Crysis 2 did right, and everything wrong that Crysis 2 did wrong. It’s beautiful, like its predecessor, and a GPU killer, just like its predecessor. The game has a ridiculously crafted plot and multifaceted, engaging gameplay. Minor changes here and there represent refinements to the gameplay since last time, but ultimately, you’re looking at the same deal: Flawed but brilliant. Google, Facebook, and Amazon to develop cancer research game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-facebook-and-amazon-to- develop-cancer-research-game/19134.html March 1st, 2013 Google, Facebook, Amazon and other top technology companies have teamed up with scientists from Cancer Research UK to develop a game aimed at accelerating the search for a cure for cancer. Google, Facebook, and Amazon have teamed up with scientists from Cancer Research UK to develop a game aimed at accelerating the search for a cure for cancer. The idea is to take cancer research and present it to the public in a game format, so that “citizen scientists” can have fun while being exposed to information that could lead to them discovering something the researchers have missed. 40 computer programmers will meet over a weekend at the Google Campus in London to turn the charity's collected data into a game. When presented in this format it will feel less like work and could even enhance the problem-solving aspects of the brain, given recent research that suggests gaming helps improve certain skills. Cancer Research UK's Slogan “We're making great progress in understanding the genetic reasons cancer develops. But the clues to why some drugs will work and some won't are held in data which need to be analyzed by the human eye - and this could take years,” said Carlos Caldas at Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Institute, according to Reuters. “By harnessing the collective power of citizen scientists we'll accelerate the discovery of new ways to diagnose and treat cancer much more precisely.” With 7.5 million deaths from cancer each year, and that number expected to rise by 75 percent by 2030, a faster approach to cancer prevention, treatment and cure is badly needed. With the ability for anyone with a smartphone or tablet to make their own contribution, this idea could just be the tipping point in our understanding, and eventual eradication, of the disease. Scientists develop invisibility cloak Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-develop-invisibility- cloak/19133.html
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 March 1st, 2013 Scientists have turned another idea from fantasy and science fiction into reality with the development of an “invisibility cloak,” which was demonstrated at the TED conference. Scientists have turned another idea from fantasy and science fiction into reality with the development of an “invisibility cloak,” which was demonstrated at the TED conference. Professor Baile Zhang led a team from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to develop a small box made of calcite optical crystal, which he showed could bend light around an object, making anything placed behind the box appear as invisible. The research is in the early stages, but the team were able to demonstrate the ability to cloak a cylindrical tube, part of which appeared invisible when behind the cloaking material. Zhang's inspiration for the idea was “fun,” because he thought it would be cool. He said he hopes this experiment shows that simple tools can be used to fulfil important functions. The technology only works on a small scale at the moment, but that will likely change in the coming months and years. It could be applied to many different sectors, but we expect the military will be particularly interested in this. A previous breakthrough allowed the ability to make objects invisible to thermal-imaging devices, but this technique goes even further. Invisibility cloaking might have seemed far-fetched when it was used by Harry Potter or to hide spacecraft in Star Trek, but scientists are continually pushing the boundaries of our ability and understanding; in many ways it is these works of fiction that give the inspiration for the technology of tomorrow. Kim Dotcom suffers legal setback - may be extradited to the U.S. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kim-dotcom-suffers-legal-setback-- may-be-extradited-to-the-u.s./19131.html March 1st, 2013 Kim Dotcom's legal worries have just intensified with a recent legal setback for him. On Friday the New Zealand high court overturned a prior court’s opinion that U.S. officials must reveal all evidence they had against Dotcom for extradition. A higher court in New Zealand on Friday has overturned Kim Dotcom’s previous court order that stated the U.S. Justice Department had to reveal all of the evidence they had against him for extradition. Dotcom could be extradited to the U.S. on charges that he allowed users to pirate copyrighted songs and movies through the popular P2P site, Megaupload.com In 2012 Dotcom’s defense team said they had the right to see the evidence the Justice department in the U.S. had against their client on the grounds that they could not fight the extradition without it. Attorneys in the U.S. fought it out in New Zealand’s Court of Appeals by saying the evidence involves "literally billions of e-mails and would delay the hearing indefinitely". The three-person panel in the Court of Appeals agreed with Dotcom’s legal team and ruled the Justice Department needed to give a summary of the evidence they had against Dotcom. On Friday, March 1st, the court said the extradition hearings were not full fledged trials and that any protections afforded to a person in criminal trials are not given, or rather, do not apply to extradition hearings. Kim Dotcom’s legal problems began in January of 2012 when his mansion was raided in a fashion likened to a Hollywood action movie. It involved numerous New Zealand SWAT style police, helicopters and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to U.S. authorities Dotcom was in violation of supporting copyrighted piracy through the now defunct Megaupload.com. They also told New Zealand police that Dotcom possessed a ‘doomsday device’ that could essentially shut down the entire Internet. While Dotcom was the founder and operator of Megaupload.com, the doomsday device as described by the FBI was totally fictitious and by all intents and purposes, a total fabrication by the FBI. During the mansion raid the police took possession of numerous computers, personal belongings and other items as the FBI followed along dictating all they wanted removed. The U.S. also demanded that he be extradited to the U.S. for his supposed crimes. This latest reversal from the courts in Dotcom’s case is the first real setback for him after he went through a string of wins, one of which included a ruling that the search warrants on his the police used on his home were illegal. To date all of
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Dotcom’s millions of dollars in assets are still frozen, and he is forced to petition the courts for any release of those assets. In regards to this recent setback, Dotcom wrote on his Twitter account, "The fight goes on. Next is the Supreme Court of New Zealand”. At one time Megaupload received as many as 50 million visitors per day, which some estimate was 4% of all Internet traffic at that time. The U.S. says Dotcom owes more than $500 million dollars to copyright owners of the media that was shared on his former site. The FBI also says he will be facing charges of racketeering fraud, money laundering and copyright theft. He could also face up to 25 years in a U.S. federal prison if convicted. Recently Dotcom started up a new website called Mega.com and supports what he claims to be ‘military grade encryption’ on all data. The new website, which was launched in January of this year, is supposedly within New Zealand and international copyright laws. Dotcom publicly stated that any attempts at shutting down the new Mega.com would be insensible. "This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood," Dotcom said."…This site is just as legitimate as Dropbox, Box.net and other competitors." If you were a previous user of Megaupload.com and you’re hoping on getting your lost files back, you might as well count them lost forever. His attorneys said they tried to obtain the court’s permission to get the data transferred back to the users, but the U.S. authorities repeatedly fought any kind of transfer. A visit to the now defunct Megaupload.com reveals a notice showing it indefinitely seized by the U.S. Department of Justice. Japanese court rejects Samsung's patent lawsuit against Apple Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/japanese-court-rejects-samsung-s- patent-lawsuit-against-apple/19129.html March 1st, 2013 Japan’s district court appears to be uninterested in hearing all about how Apple infringed upon Samsung’s patents and vice versa. In a recent filing in Japan, a Tokyo District Court has rejected Samsung’s allegations that Apple violated some of its patents in various iPhone models. Amidst all the commotions surrounding Samsung’s overly hyped upcoming Galaxy S IV smartphone, some may have forgotten that the legal battles between and Samsung is ongoing. The two consumer tech juggernauts both want to deal a fatal blow to each other’s core, and the Galaxy S IV may well be subjected to that same patent bickering once it hits the market. (The purported Samsung Galaxy S IV) “We are disappointed by today's court decision. Following a thorough review of the ruling, we will take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights.” Apple went home with a huge victory over Samsung last year when a California court awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages--although Apple was seeking twice that amount. Sony's Phil Molyeux hints at 4K video distribution via PlayStation network Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-s-phil-molyeux-hints-at-4k- video-distribution-via-playstation-network/19128.html March 1st, 2013 Sony’s COO Phil Molyeux is hinting that there is a possibility that a 4K video service will be included alongside the company’s highly anticipated next-gen game console. The PlayStation 4 is purported to support 4K videos and images but not games, which begs the question of whether or not Sony will supply the ultra-high definition content as part of its next generation game console package. Molyeux, in an interview with The Verge, did not confirm any speculations; however, he did subtly hint at the topic when he said that Sony won’t “disappoint” anyone with regards to 4K services for the PS4. Sony is rumored to begin 4K content distribution via its various networks sometime this summer, but the main concern, though, is that consumers haven’t exactly been keen to hop onto the 4K wagon and drop heavy amounts
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 of cash for 4K displays. Additionally, 4K formatted content requires huge amounts of bandwidth, with average videos requiring 100+ GB of storage space, according to Molyeux. Moving forward, 4K is an adaptable industry standard, but, for now, the limiting factors are the availability of high broadband speed as well as affordable technologies to view content in 4K format. Like any smart businessman, Molyeux says that these limiting factors must be overcome before things like 4K can be delivered in a fashion that will provide for “a comfortable consumer experience.” Apple remains Fortune's most admired company Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-remains-fortune-s-most- admired-company/19127.html March 1st, 2013 Not many companies can endure a steep stock price slip like Apple and still maintain their position at the top. Yet, the Cupertino-based tech company is still rated as number 1 on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies.” Less than desirable sales figure of its latest iPhone has subjected Apple to a slew of scrutiny from investors and analysts alike. Some of the iPhone woes can be attributed to the iOS Maps app debacle that eventually led to the release of some top Apple execs, which included long-timers like Scott Forstall and John Browett. Despite all the finger pointing, Apple’s slippage on Wall Street is most likely due to the fact that its high-end gadgets, those that target premium users, are highly saturated— meaning, it’s becoming more and more difficult for Apple to sell iPhone 5’s that range from $650 to $850. While Apple is busy trying to cram high-priced gadgets down the throat of consumers, its overseas competitors (most notably, Samsung) have been busy diversifying their portfolios to include low-end and budget-friendly alternatives to iPhones and iPads. Times are changing and it seems like Apple is taking a couple steps necessary to ensure it stays at the top. Recent rumors and speculations have suggested that Apple will out a budget iPhone that costs about half that of the lowest-priced iPhone 5. Moreover, the introduction of the iPad Mini has been well received and Apple is due to release a refreshed iPad Mini with Retina sometime this year. All else aside, Apple is still holding onto its crown as numero uno amongst competing tech companies. Last quarter alone, Apple posted $13 billion in net income, which is more than enough to make even Samsung envious. Could super thin stretchable batteries be just around the corner? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/could-super-thin-stretchable- batteries-be-just-around-the-corner-/19107.html March 1st, 2013 People in the tech industry like to yammer on about how every new cellphone or tablet is revolutionary, but the fact is that the last revolutionary consumer technology was Apple's original iPhone (many would even argue against that ). In all cases, our mobile world is dependent on an antiquated technology - the battery, and its dismal power storage and bulkiness. When it comes to the design of all our cool mobile gadgets like cellphones and tablets, they are held hostage by a technology that, for the most part, hasn't changed in years. Sure, things like lithium-ion have helped to improve the
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 length of time that we are able to use those gadgets before having to park them to recharge. As much as we like to think our technology has been transformative, the fact is that the batteries that we need to power our toys are the very thing that holds us back from any real serious technological change. It is this bottleneck that desperately needs to be addressed, so it is nice to see that researchers are doing some serious work on new battery form factors, like the ones at Northwestern University and University of Illinois. Researchers Yonggang Huang and John A. Rogers recently demonstrated a stretchable lithium-ion battery that can be stretched, folded, twisted, and work for eight to nine before it needs be recharged, which can be done wirelessly. Even when fully stretched, the power and voltage of the stretchable battery is similar to a normal lithium-ion battery of the same size—with the exception being the flexible battery can be stretched up to 300 percent of its original size. This is the type of thing that could truly revolutionize our technological world should it become practical. Spin of massive black hole accurately measured for the first time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spin-of-massive-black-hole- accurately-measured-for-the-first-time/19119.html March 1st, 2013 For the first time in space history, the spin of a super massive black hole was accurately measured. The black hole at the center of galaxy NGC 1365 is more than 2 million miles wide, (that’s eight times the distance from Earth to Moon), and spins so fast, its surface travels at nearly the speed of light. With the help of the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X- ray satellites, astronomers managed to measure the spin rate of this immense black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365. The results show that this black hole is spinning almost at the maximum possible rate. The astronomers measured X-rays from the center of the galaxy to determine the black hole’s mass and spin. These two numbers say everything one needs to know about a black hole. The spin, in particular, reveals the past and future of the black hole and its host galaxy. As Guido Risaliti, leader of the team and member of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), said: “The black hole's spin is a memory, a record, of the past history of the galaxy as a whole". The black hole in NGC 1365 is as massive as several million Suns and it grew that big by ‘swallowing’ stars, gas and other black holes, over a period of billions of years. Its high spin suggests it grew through “ordered accretion” and not by randomly pulling matter from all directions. To measure the spin of a black hole, scientists spread the X-ray light of the accretion disk that swirls around the black hole into different colors. Each color signifies a different element, for example iron. Then they track how these colors disperse and distort from the immense gravity of the black hole. The amount of distortion monitored can reveal the spin rate of the black hole. The only problem is the obscuring clouds around the black hole that obstruct the measurements. NuSTAR solved that particular problem by ‘piercing through’ the obscuring clouds. As Risaliti claimed, “This is the first time anyone has accurately measured the spin of a supermassive black hole." The results of this research are published in the February 28th issue of Nature and in NASA’s media pages. Ubisoft officially announces Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag for X360, PS3, PC & Wii U Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ubisoft-officially-announces- assassin-s-creed-iv-black-flag-for-x360-ps3-pc--wii-u/19122.html March 1st, 2013 Right on the heels of the leaked screenshot and poster, Ubisoft has officially announced that the pirate-themed Assassin's Creed adventure is coming to current-gen consoles and PC. Ubisoft has officially announced the fourth installment of the Assassin's Creed franchise with an all-new pirate- themed adventure that will see a multi-platform release on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PC. This announcement was most likely prompted by the recently leaked promotional poster and screenshot which revealed concrete evidence of the new game. Ubisoft has also revealed that the PS3 version of the game will feature 60
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 minutes of extra gameplay, presumably exclusive missions and maybe even a few extra side-quests. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag takes place during the 1700's, and players take the role of Edward Kenway--seen above-- who is actually Haytham Kenway's father and grandfather to Connor (the protagonist in Assassin's Creed III). Edward Kenway has been reputed to be a privateer, assassin, and also dabbles in piracy himself, hinting at a conflicting persona for a hero, as most of the protagonists in the series have had straight moral compasses. Since the plot revolves around Edward Kenway, Assassin's Creed IV may in fact be a prequel--even if indirect--and it will be interesting to see what developments Ubisoft makes in terms of story concepts and how they build around the Kenway family's past. The reverse side of the recently leaked poster also reveals a map of the Caribbean, showing locations such as Havana, Kingston and the southern tip of Florida, offering a variety of areas to explore. The official news was first revealed by gaming sites such as Joystiq, who may have attended the mysterious Assassin's Creed meeting that Ubisoft was rumored to have held yesterday. It will also be interesting to see what direction Ubisoft takes with Black Flag in terms of game mechanics, and if we'll see an evolution in the current ship-to-ship combat featured in Assassin's Creed III. Hopefully we'll see more land exploration opportunities and more swashbuckling action amidships which are classic concepts to any pirate- themed game. No solid release date has been confirmed yet, and supposedly we'll hear more about the game on Monday. We'll keep you updated when more information comes to life, so stay tuned! European governments & NATO hit by 'MiniDuke' cyber attack Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/european-governments--nato-hit-by- miniduke-cyber-attack/19116.html March 1st, 2013 Hackers recently hit dozens of computer systems all across Europe due to a flaw recently discovered in Adobe’s software. NATO headquarters confirmed that they too had been attacked. These recent government attacks were said to be far more sophisticated than other attempted attacks that happen nearly on a daily basis. Some experts have suggested that this recent attack may have been some form of a state sponsored hack, but no nation being accused was mentioned in the report. The nations falling victim to the attack included Ireland, Portugal, Romania and the Czech Republic. Both Hungary’s Laboratory of Cryptography and Systems Security along with Russia’s Kaspersky Lab confirmed the attacks. In addition, the security groups said that the attacks were orchestrated by using what they refer to as the ‘MiniDuke’. In regards to the recent attack, a February 27 press release from Kaspersky lab reads in part, Today Kaspersky Lab’s team of experts published a new research report that analyzed a series of security incidents involving the use of the recently discovered PDF exploit in Adobe Reader (CVE-2013-6040) and a new, highly customized malicious program known as MiniDuke. The MiniDuke backdoor was used to attack multiple government entities and institutions worldwide during the past week. Kaspersky Lab’s experts, in partnership with CrySys Lab, analyzed the attacks in detail and published their findings. The MiniDuke program was designed specifically for spying but the security firms investigating the attacks have not discovered exactly what the sleuths main goals were in the computer break-ins. Kurt Baumgartner, who serves as a senior security expert with Kaspersky lab said that all indications are showing that this is a brand new type of threat that has never been seen before in regards to espionage. Baumgartner would not suggest any suspicions on what government, if any, might be behind the hacks. MiniDuke operates by taking advantage of a security flaw found in the highly popular Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat software, which are most commonly used to open
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 PDF documents. The hackers sent their intended targets official looking government PDF files that contained the MiniDuke. The flaws in the software were discovered approximately 2 weeks ago by the security agency FireEye. Interestingly enough, FireEye says that those behind the MiniDuke attack had the virus programmed to search for Tweets from specific Twitter accounts that contained instructions for controlling the personal computers that were compromised. If the virus could not access the tweets it was searching for, it would do an automatic Google search for alternate instructions. Adobe has issued a patch for the exploit, however, each computer must install the update or have its Adobe software set to update automatically for it to be secured. Nintendo dips the 3DS again in two fresh colors Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nintendo-dips-the-3ds-again-in-two- fresh-colors/19114.html March 1st, 2013 New Nintendo 3DS units will soon be available in two more new colors. These new Light Blue and Gloss Pink Nintendo 3DS consoles will be available by around the third quarter of March 2013. Nintendo just unveiled one the latest makeovers that they have for the Nintendo 3DS. Starting March 20, 2013, customers may now order their Nintendo 3DS in two new different colors, Light Blue and Gloss Pink. With these two new colors added, there are now a total of 8 different color schemes for the Nintendo 3DS (non- XL) portable console (Along with the previously new Flare Red and Aqua Blue colors that have already finished their manufacture/production period). While the standard 3DS package usually included a 2GB SD card, these newly colored 3DS units will come with a 4GB SDHC card. This means you get to instantly enjoy increased storage (and increased 3D content) while you groove out to the neon bright colors of your "neo" 3DS unit. Both the Light Blue and Gloss Pink Nintendo 3DS units will be available in Japan with a price tag of 15,000 yen (162 USD). JARI experiments with autonomous trucks for standard road use Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/jari-experiments-with-autonomous- trucks-for-standard-road-use/19110.html March 1st, 2013 The Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) will be experimenting on driverless trucks to look into the possibilities of their industrial, practical, and safe use on the road. The Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) recently announced this week that they will be experimenting with autonomous trucks to see whether they can practically put a fleet of such vehicles on the high road. The experiment will be conducted on a test course in Tsukuba City, at the Ibaraki Prefecture. They will build a test course where the driverless vehicles would run the entire course and cover about 3 to 2 kilometers in a single lap. The project was started by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), along with the cooperation of a few universities and car manufacturers within the country. Each of the trucks will be using standard "auto road sensing" technology, such as laser/light sensors and cameras, to aid the onboard
  • March 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 computers in keeping the trucks' course straight, protecting it from possible obstacles, as well as preventing damage and accidents from occurring. All data would of course be collected by JARI for further analysis. Typical driverless vehicle projects often involve the use of smaller or more standard-sized vehicles, with a few examples such as DARPA's Grand Challenge, Google's Driverless Car project, and the Driverless Mercedez Benz 2013 S-Cars. Application of autonomous systems on larger vehicles like trucks usually aim or concentrate on rough industrial areas like mines, or on any other area that may be perilous for human workers. This makes JARI's experiment on driverless trucks considerably different, though fundamentally the goal of improved safety still stays the same. Some of the experiments that would be conducted in the project include deftly running the autonomous vehicles at a speed of 80 km/h, and making them coordinately run together within the course at 4 meters apart each other. Source: Yomiuri News (JP)
  • March 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. NASA puts Mars Curiosity rover into safe mode after corrupt file glitch Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-puts-mars-curiosity-rover-into- safe-mode-after-corrupt-file-glitch/19153.html March 4th, 2013 NASA has been forced to put the Curiosity Mars rover into safe mode after encountering a corrupted file computer glitch. NASA has been forced to put the Curiosity Mars rover into safe mode after encountering a corrupted file computer glitch. The robot's flash memory files have become damaged, resulting in the computer rebooting in a loop. NASA does not currently know how this happened, but it has launched an investigation. Early indications suggest the file corruption may have been caused by stray cosmic rays, despite the components being radiation-tolerant. NASA said there's only so much it can do to harden the hardware against high-energy particles that could corrupt the memory. Curiosity is now running on a backup computer, but it may take up to a week before NASA can configure all the files to restore it to full functionality. The rover had just begun analysing rock samples it collected as part of a carefully planned drilling mission. This technology setback will likely halt those efforts until NASA can not only restore the rover to full working order, but test its various abilities to ensure everything is working as intended. Curiosity landed on Mars in August of last year and has been slowly increasing the pace of its investigations of the Red Planet. NASA engineers can upload software remotely to the rover, so it should only be a matter of time before it is back in operation. There was almost a Wii U release for Crysis 3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/there-was-almost-a-wii-u-release- for-crysis-3/19150.html March 4th, 2013 Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has shared the sad tale of the Crysis 3 port for the Wii U that was almost ready, but never came to be. The Wii U does not have a Crysis 3 port, and while many would guess this has to do with the reported weakness or programming difficulties associated with Nintendo's new machine, Crytek's CEO Cevat Yerli paints a different picture. When interviewed by VentureBeat earlier in the week, Yerli was asked about the Wii U. He stated that the console's power wasn't the reason it never got a port, but rather, that it was business politics that put a stop to it.
  • March 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Above: Not happening According to Yerli, Crysis 3 actually had a port up and running. It was in fact "very close to launching", but due to disagreements between Nintendo and Electronic Arts (who publish Crysis 3), the port never saw the light of day. In all likelihood these disagreements have to do with EA's desire to put it's Origin platform on the new Nintendo console; something Nintendo won't allow. Unfortunately, since EA owns the publishing rights to the Crysis series, there's little that can be done. Crytek can't even publish it themselves. Apple iWatch won't launch for at least three years Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-iwatch-won-t-launch-for-at- least-three-years/19151.html March 4th, 2013 Apple fanboys may have to wait three years before they can get their hands on the much-rumoured iWatch, according to a glass manufacturing firm believed to be working on the device. Apple fanboys may have to wait three years before they can get their hands on the much-rumoured iWatch, according to a glass manufacturing firm believed to be working on the device. Corning, responsible for the Gorilla glass used by many smartphone makers, including market leader Samsung, is developing a new flexible glass material called Willow, which is widely expected to be used in Apple's next potential game- changer. The problem is timing, with Corning debunking suggestions that the iWatch is imminent. James Clapping, president of Corning, said the new glass technology will be ready within a year, but not for something as complex as a wearable device, which could take at least three years to develop. The news will disappoint those who believed the iWatch launch was not far away, as previous information suggested. 100 developers are supposedly working on the device, leading to speculation that the device was already in an advanced stage and almost ready for production. A recently published patent filing revealed plans to make the iWatch charge itself from wrist movements. With Apple losing market share to rivals, particularly Samsung, and the company under fire from investors, it needs another product and another market. CEO Tim Cook urged share-holders to take a long-term view, but they may not be willing to wait three years for the next big thing, especially with Google Glass just around the corner. A baby has been cured of HIV Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/a-baby-has-been-cured-of- hiv/19149.html March 4th, 2013 For the first time, doctors are saying they have cured an infant of HIV by using an aggressive new treatment method. Though still no solution for adults with HIV, this may be a turning point for children with the virus. Mississippi doctors are reporting that they've managed to cure an HIV infected infant, marking the first time a child has been successfully treated for the crippling virus. The baby, which inherited the virus from its mother, was put on antiretroviral drugs almost immediately; a mere 30 hours after being born. This is an unusually aggressive treatment plan, and doctors believe it may have been largely responsible for the baby being cured. This is an HIV. Creepy. The baby tested positive for HIV on five separate occasions, though this has yet to be completely verified by experts. Dr. Deborah Persaud, associate professor at Johns Hopkins
  • March 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Children's Center, as well as several other outside scientists however, have stated that they are certain of the child's initial infection. Now, two and a half years into the infant's life, the test is coming back negative - not a trace of the virus remains in the infant's body. In the future, similar aggressive treatment methods will be tested on newborn HIV positive babies, to ensure the effectives of the cure. An estimated 330,000 babies were born with HIV in 2011 alone, inheriting the disease from their infected mothers. The world estimate of infected children however, is as high as 3 million. If this cure is truly effective, it could mean a drastic improvement in those figures, and certainly, have an impact on the total adult population with HIV as well. Assassin's Creed: Black Flag trailer is up! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/assassin-s-creed-black-flag-trailer-is- up-/19146.html March 4th, 2013 The trailer for the recently announced Assassin's Creed: Black Flag is now online, giving us a sneak peak of what is to come, as well as a release date. Only days after the first morsels of information started coming in about the new Assassin's Creed game, we have a trailer. The trailer was leaked earlier in the week, but quickly removed in preparation for an official Monday reveal, but it seems as if it's here to stay now, as other sources have now begun uploading the trailer to YouTube. The new trailer begins in an inn somewhere as a crowd gathers around notorious pirate Blackbeard himself, who boasts about the new protagonist's abilities as a captain and warrior. The trailer confirms a lot of what we have been suspecting (and reporting) about the game; that you will play as Connor's grandfather (Connor being the protagonist of Assassin's Creed III), and that the game will indeed take place in the West Indies. Another piece of expected news that is now confirmed is that the game will see a next gen release, alongside the current gen release. Considering AC's propensity for CGI trailers, this is really going out on a limb, but it's possible then, that the very flashy trailer is actually not CGI, but in-game rendering from a new engine. I'd say that's unlikely though. And of course, the best part: We have a release date, which has been set to October 29th! Japan approves external robot suit for worldwide distribution Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/japan-approves-external-robot-suit- for-worldwide-distribution/19139.html March 2nd, 2013 Japan just approved an external robotic suit that people can use to assist them in everyday life. This new suit would be very beneficial for the disabled, elderly with helping them get around safely. Cyberdyne Incorporated of Tuskuba, Japan calls it the “Hybrid Assistive Limb” or simply HAL for short. This new power-assisted robotic suit aids the user in getting around and unlike our muscles it will never get tired. The most intriguing part about HAL is that it is controlled by the human mind, or rather, brainwaves to be precise. A whole series of sensors on the suit continually monitor the minute electrical signals our nerves and muscles give off when we go to move or even think of moving a region of our body. These minute signals then tell the suit’s robotic limbs which way you want to move. Cyberdyne says that those wearing the exo-robotic suit will not even notice its 130lb weight it has since it does all the lifting for you. Invented by Eiji Koyanagi for Cyberdyne, HAL is a magnificent step forward with offering better mobility for the elderly or disabled, and it offers them new chance on life in general by allowing them getting around with independence and with safety. The new device would be the first nursing-care robot certified under Japan’s economy, trade and industry draft standard. Cyberdyne says they have leased about 330 of the units to 150 hospitals in and around Tokyo, Japan since 2010. The suits cost approximately $1950.00 (U.S.) per year to lease.
  • March 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 While robotic suits are a new concept on the market, the general theory or idea of having them has been around for decades. Anyone familiar with the Marvel Comic superhero Ironman would certainly know this. Also, if you are familiar with the Alien movie franchise, you might recall how the heroine Ripley used a robotic suit to fight one of the Aliens. Let’s just hope this company’s future doesn’t end up like the fictitious Cyberdyne from the Terminator franchise of Hollywood films. Yahoo CEO axes 7 products, including a Blackberry mobile app Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/yahoo-ceo-axes-7-products- including-a-blackberry-mobile-app/19138.html March 2nd, 2013 Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer has been working overtime looking for ways for Yahoo to remain a top competitor. She just recently axed seven unsuccessful products offered by Yahoo and has dozens more she wants to end as well. Yahoo’s hard hitting chief executive has been cleaning house and has found a lot of things she wants to take to the curb. Just recently she killed 7 product lines that were not profitable, which includes the latest Blackberry mobile device app. She also says that there are dozens more she wants to get rid of. Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer was previously working with Google before Yahoo was able to entice her with the head position for the company, and by all accounts it appears that Mayer was the best choice. Mayer's recent approval for numerous product line cessations are just part of eliminating anything that is either not making any foreseeable progress or is not making any real profit for the company. “…after much thought and deliberation, we decide to shut down some products. Before making these decisions, we look at a variety of factors. The most critical question we ask is whether the experience is truly a daily habit that still resonates for all of you today,” writes Yahoo’s EVP of platforms, Jay Rossiter at Yahoo's official blog site. “…By continuing to hone in on our core products and experiences, we’ll be able to make our existing products the very best they can be.” Yahoo says that they will be ending Yahoo App Search, Yahoo Clues, Yahoo Message Boards, Yahoo Updates API and Yahoo Clues just to name a few. This is the second such product shutdown approved by Mayer since she took over Yahoo in July of 2012. This concept mirrors the same approach that Google makes when they have an idea or product that is not working and referred to by Mayer as “spring cleaning”. Mayer further iterated that Yahoo would continue to reduce any and all products that aren’t profitable cutting some 50+ apps to a little more than a dozen. This latest announcement on product cuts out of Yahoo came just days after Mayer called all of Yahoo’s telecommuting employees back to the office. However, this decision did not come without a lot of criticism by many who felt it might have been a step backward for Yahoo by not embracing what many see as the modern way to work. Mayer ignored her critics and feels that for Yahoo to be a top contender in the world, all of the employees need to be on the same playing field. Mayer says that having all the employees pooling ideas and working together in a more constructive manner is the best way to go while Yahoo restructures itself. Beginning on April 1st , the mobile app for Blackberry previously offered by Yahoo will no longer be available for download, or given further support from Yahoo. Also on that same date Yahoo says they would no longer support their Yahoo Avatars that some Yahoo users have as a name badge. Apparently Yahoo will not be claiming any image copyrights on the Yahoo avatars since they said that users could simply copy their current avatar and re-upload it as their own profile image - if they intend on keeping it, that is. Harlem Shake takes over cyberspace and airspace Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/harlem-shake-takes-over- cyberspace-and-airspace/19137.html March 2nd, 2013
  • March 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 YouTube's latest sensation, Harlem Shake, is spreading worldwide. From Google's embedded Harlem Shake Easter Egg to a Colorado College ultimate frisbee team, there's no wonder why this chaotic trend is so popular. Started by Baauer, a young music producer, the “Harlem Shake” is a new Internet trend that has taken the world by storm. For the few that haven’t heard of it, “Harlem Shake” is a worldwide video craze consisting of usually one character doing small dancing movements during the buildup of the song, then many characters dancing humorously after the song itself takes a turn for the chaotic. Sports teams, colleges, and general crowds of people have flocked towards the idea, with high hopes that their video will bring them online fame. Though, there is question about whether a small Colorado College ultimate Frisbee team has taken it too far. On February 15th , the band of athletes asked the flight crew of Frontier Airlines Flight 157 if they and any other willing participants on the plane could film a Harlem Shake video— while in the air. The flight crew approved, seemingly eager to be a part of the trend, and those interesting in being in the video took their positions. Donning an Abe Lincoln mask and a banana costume, the college students took the lead in the front as they and many other passengers danced— without music. According to Matt Zelin, a sophomore on the team, “The music didn’t work and nobody had the song downloaded and it was actually just people dancing around on an airplane with no music whatsoever.” Due to concerns about safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decided to investigate the video. “Better to be safe than sorry,” says FAA spokesman Tony Molinero. Don’t worry, the seatbelt sign was off. YouTube, the source of Harlem Shake’s success, has embedded a small Easter egg when you search “Do the Harlem Shake”. After searching, the song begins playing as the YouTube logo in the top left corner wobbles during the buildup. As the song intensifies, videos brought up by the search begin shaking randomly. Many other elements of the page like your username, the search bar, and buttons turn seizure-like during the song. Worth the search just to see the YouTube logo dance. MIT researchers reveal a world of "invisible motion" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mit-researchers-reveal-a-world-of- invisible-motion-/19125.html March 2nd, 2013 We've always known that there are things going on in our world that are just beyond our perception, and now thanks to some researchers at MIT we can now peel back a layer of our world and actually see a new world of invisible motion that is all around us. You might not realize it but there is a whole world of motion going on around us that we can't see, or as researchers at MIT refer to it as - invisible motion. This world of invisible motion might have forever been beyond our visual grasp if it wasn’t for a really fancy algorithm that has been trained by researchers in the art of detecting pixels. The researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have amazingly found a way to detect what should be undetectable movement, and then capture that on video. What the program does is watch another video and focuses on any change in an image’s pixels, frame by frame. Then, once the changes have been detected, the program amplifies the color of the change by up to a 100 times, which makes them much more noticeable. The researchers have named the process Eulerian Video Magnification, and the results can be more than a little unsettling. Amazingly, the process will work on any video since the video being processed doesn't need to be shot in any particular way. As the pixels change color the program will be able to create the movement overlay. Anonymous dumps tons of Bank of America spying data onto the web Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/anonymous-dumps-tons-of-bank-of- america-spying-data-onto-the-web/19126.html March 2nd, 2013 If there is one constant when it comes to the Internet, it is that at some point the hacktivist group Anonymous will make a big splash by dumping someone's data all across the web. Well, they've done it again and chances are Bank of America isn't too happy right now. Ask any person and they'll tell you that they don't trust big corporations, with banks being at the top of the list. Some of the more paranoid folks out there will go as far as to suggest that those big companies are actively spying on us. Before you go running to either get the roll of tinfoil, or to laugh at those wearing the tinfoil, it seems that the hacktivist group known as Anonymous has just dumped about 14GB of data that belongs to companies like Bank of America, Thomas Reuters, ClearForest, Bloomberg, and TEKSystems an intelligence firm on to the web for everyone to enjoy. The released data is said to contain information about the spying habits of Bank of America and the other corporations,
  • March 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 and include a log of data on hundreds of thousands of employees and executives. Anonymous has said that this information is interesting for a number of reasons, but the primary one is just how easy it was for them to get the information - they didn't need to hack anything. The data is reportedly stored on a ClearForest server in Tel Aviv, a server that was so badly misconfigured it more closely resembled an open door that anyone could have entered. The group also said that much of the information was badly researched and that large portions of it might not even be correct, and that they are only releasing the data in order to raise awareness about these companies and their security practices.
  • March 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. Chinese officials say Google controls too much of China's smartphone market Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-officials-say-google- controls-too-much-of-china-s-smartphone-market/19171.html March 5th, 2013 Google has too much control of China’s smartphone market according to China’s Ministry of Information and Technology, and that the limitations placed upon Chinese firms by Google is causing the country’s mobile innovation to become stagnant. Clearly, there seems to be Chinese officials that believe it is time for China-based firms to do away with Android and work on their own mobile platform—something that isn’t controlled or limited by a foreign firm. What type of regulations the Chinese government will place upon Google in regards to the Android OS remains to be seen, but, regardless of whatever China has in mind as an Android replacement, there’s no denying that Android has helped more than one Chinese telecommunication equipment companies to rise through the ranks and become contenders in the smartphone/tablet business. (One of ZTE's latest flagship, the Grand S, runs on Google's Android OS) ZTE and Huawei are prime examples of how Android has helped them to become a dominant force in the smartphone market. Both Huawei and ZTE have set their sights on closing between the gap between Apple, Samsung, and themselves. In fact, as of the Q3 2012, Android accounts for 90 percent of all mobile operating systems in China. It’s highly unlikely that China-based handset makers will ditch Android and concoct their own brew to compete with a proven and successful mobile OS. However, it will be interesting to see how Google responds to what Chinese officials said. Playing video games makes old people happy, says study Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/playing-video-games-makes-old- people-happy-says-study/19167.html March 5th, 2013 A new medical study has discovered that among a group of older people, those who played video games were generally happier than those who didn't. First reported by Medical Xpress, a study conducted by the North Carolina State University has been observe a group of 140 men and women aged 63 and up, and have found that those who played video games, were generally happier and more socially and emotionally well adjusted than the ones who did not. Even those who only played occasionally displayed these traits, while the non-gamers had a greater tendency for negative emotion and depression
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 "The research published here suggests that there a link between gaming and better well-being and emotional functioning," says Jason Alleire, lead author of the research paper on the study. At this point, though there seems to be a correlation, one cannot be certain if there is a causation. Further research is planned to determine whether video games actually induce well-being among older people. Of course, most gamers could have told you this without needing to do a study. What might surprise gamers to hear though, is that a sizable 61% of the study group played games at least occasionally, with 35% stating that they played at least once a week. Hindenburg disaster solved after 76 years! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hindenburg-disaster-solved-after-76- years-/19166.html March 5th, 2013 76 years after the Hindenburg disaster, scientists have finally figured out exactly what made the dirigible explode into a ball of flames on May 6, 1937 Back in the 20's and 30's, dirigibles were all the craze. People were quite certain that the massive, rigid airships were the future of air travel, something evidenced by the Empire State Building, whose spire was originally intended as a docking station. However, all that changed after a fateful disaster in 1937, when the German airship Hindenburg caught fire while landing in New Jersey, killing 35 of its 100 passengers. Up until now, experts have debated what actually caused the fire, but scientists from the Southwest Research Institute, led by aeronautical engineer Jem Stansfield, have recreated the Hindenburg's final moments using models, and they believe they've found the true reason for the disastrous fire: Static electricity. It has been generally accepted that a sudden spark ignited the hydrogen filled airship, but the source of the spark is contested. What Stansfield believes, is that the Hindenburg traveled through an electrical storm on it's way across the Atlantic, charging the airship. When landing, the Hindenburg released it's anchoring cables, and when ground crew attached the cables, they effectively grounded the ship, discharging whatever static it had built up during the trip. The 450 meter long Hindenburg, sailing through the air above the southern tip of Manhattan Stansfield and his team also believe a leak or faulty valve in the hydrogen balloons which contained the airship's gas, lead to hydrogen being dispersed throughout the rear of the ship via the ventilation system. This is evidenced by the entire rear portion of the ship being engulfed in flames almost immediately. Obviously, the fact that the Hindenburg was filled with hydrogen didn't set it up for a nice, safe flight to begin with: Hydrogen is highly explosive (and used today as rocket fuel). The reason it was filled with such a dangerous gas however, instead of the completely non-reactive Helium, wasn't purely out of negligence. At the time the Hindenburg was in service, the United States had control of the world's helium supply and had placed a helium embargo on Germany. Thus, only the American built airships could be filled with Helium, and the German Zeppelin company had to resort to the only other lighter than air gas readily available, despite the risks. And thus, sadly, these incredible giants which combined the leisure of a cruise with the adventure of air travel, disappeared from our skies. SimCity experiencing launch troubles Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/simcity-experiencing-launch- troubles/19165.html March 5th, 2013 Sim City just launched in North America, and the first few hours have been bleak for many, with delays, locked games and waiting. Poor SimCity is barely out of the gate and is now being plagued by problems related to the game's launch. Today marked the game's release in North America (with Europe
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 following next, on Thursday), and immediately after the game was unlocked in EA's Origin client, the problems started pouring in. Users reported download failures, connection issues, and in the worst cases, the game refused to unlock. Initially, users may also have been lulled into a false sense of hope due to the small and fast origin download, but after the initial download completed, new players had to sit through hours of downloading of the actual game files from the SimCity launcher. Then, they were treated with delays; the game's servers sometimes taking up to half an hour of waiting time before you could get into the game (and yes, that includes those who wanted to play on a private server). Time for an English lesson: This is called a metaphor. Unfortunately, this isn't very surprising. The download failures, delays and connection issues probably have a lot to do with EA's perplexing decision not to let pre-order customers download the game ahead of launch; this is something I'm experiencing here in Europe as well, with just over a day left before it becomes available to me. The issues with copies staying locked after launch doesn't surprise either, as the exact same thing happened to a lot of people surrounding the recent Origin release of Crysis 3. And no, the server waiting times just to get into the game don't surprise either. That's what happens when you require a game to be connected to the internet at all times. Stay tuned for our review of SimCity, showing up in a few days Malala Yousufzai, advocate of education for women via Internet, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/malala-yousufzai-advocate- of-education-for-women-via-internet-nominated-for-nobel-peace- prize/19161.html March 5th, 2013 The young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, that was brutally shot in the head by the extremist Taliban group for publicly advocating women education via the internet has been nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the youngest such nominee for the prize in history. Of all the recipient nominees for the prize, one particular individual has stood out among the rest, which is the 15- year-old Malala Yousufzai of Pakistan. She hails from the town of Mingora in Pakistan’s Khyber Paktunkhwa province, and she is also the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in history. Her story became global after members of the Taliban tried to assassinate her for promoting education for women. The area she lives in has many Taliban rebel soldiers who would often prevent or ban girls from attending school. Malala was not intimidated by the Taliban and was the first girl to begin blogging on the Internet for the BBC. She wrote about her fight against the Taliban online with her blog post. Her blog actually began back in 2009 when she was only 11 years of age, which is another act that the Taliban would forbid a woman from doing. Nevertheless, she carried on with her education and her blogging and expressing her views to promote education, all with the power of the Internet. When the New York Times got wind of her story, they visited the area and filmed a documentary about her life and the region she lived in. From that time onward she was seen on television multiple times doing interviews and standing strong with her position and support for women’s education. She was shot on October 9, 2012 in the neck and head as she was getting off of her school bus to return home. She nearly died but was rushed to the United Kingdom where she received better care and state-of-the-art rehabilitation. The attempt on her life only gave her added strength, and her cause has spread globally and made her into a shining symbol of women’s rights and equality. The fact of the matter is that Malala Yousufzai represents progress for women’s equality worldwide. By promoting education, Malala is helping to bring knowledge to areas that were once without. Her ideals by using the Internet and blogging about education for women helps to promote a better understanding of the world, which in turn helps with promoting peace and ending prejudice. The Nobel Peace Prize is one of five awards that were initially set by Alfred Nobel at the time of his passing. The peace prize specifically is awarded to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". Along with the notoriety the person gains from being awarded the prize, the winner would also receive approximately 1.2 million dollars (U.S.) and would be awarded the prize on December 10th , which is the date of Alfred Nobel’s death.
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The Pirate Bay, now served from North Korea? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-pirate-bay-now-served-from- north-korea-/19158.html March 5th, 2013 In an unexpected turn of events, The Pirate Bay have just recently announced that they will be operating their website out of North Korea, one of the most dysfunctional states in the world. Is it just an elaborate hoax or trolling attempt? Many are questioning the reason for the highly irregular move into North Korea when the Pirate Bay broke off from their Sweden home and moved to Spain/Norway just last week. The controversial torrent site made the announcement on March 3rd saying they would be hosted out of the ‘Hermit Kingdom’, North Korea. They claim the move comes after fighting off numerous governments actions and being hunted by many countries around the world, particularly in Europe. Time and again, The Pirate Bay has defended the right to allow free trade of information on the Internet, which of course does contain copyrighted material. They claim that they have made the recent move to avoid being “persecuted for beliefs in freedom of information”. “Today, a new chapter is written in the history of the movement, as well as the history of the internets(sic),” reads the Pirate Bay blog announcement. “A week ago we could reveal that The Pirate Bay was accessed via Norway and Catalonya. The move was to ensure that these countries and regions will get attention to the issues at hand. Today we can reveal that we have been invited by the leader of the republic of Korea, to fight our battles from their network.” Initially the announcement came from The Pirate Bay’s official Facebook page. Instantly many thought that it was either a joke or someone had hacked the site. Those suspicions were quickly clarified when P2P watchdog TorrentFreak confirmed via traceroutes that The Pirate Bay had indeed been routed through North Korea. Again this is the only 'proof' thus far. "This is truly an ironic situation,” The PB writes. “We have been fighting for a free world, and our opponents are mostly huge corporations from the United States of America, a place where freedom and freedom of speech is said to be held high. …And to our help comes a government famous in our part of the world for locking people up for their thoughts and forbidding access to information.” BlackBerry Z10 sees price cut in Europe prior to U.S. launch Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-z10-sees-price-cut-in- europe-prior-to-u.s.-launch/19162.html March 5th, 2013 Some recent news out of Europe is suggesting that BlackBerry isn’t attracting as many consumers as it would like to with its latest Z10 smartphone. Various retailers have begun slashing prices on the comeback BB10 smartphone, which only adds to the growing woes of the once proud Canadian handset maker. Carphone Warehouse and Vodaphone have both reduced the prices of the BB10 Z10 device. Although the price cut is not significant enough to say that the Z10 is completely dead, it’s a signal that consumer interests in the BB10 OS are not as high as Android or iOS. “We believe that meaningful price cuts so soon after launch, while probably at the initial discretion of the carriers, is likely to relegate the Z10 to being a mid-tier device with very low gross margins,” says James Faucette, an analyst for Pacific Crest. On a less grim note, according to BlackBerry, 1/3 of the Z10 owners in Britain did not own BlackBerry devices prior to hopping onto the BlackBerry train. Still, the fact that carriers seem to think less of BB10 compared to competing platforms means that BlackBerry will have a much harder time competing in markets like the U.S. Speaking of the U.S., since the Z10 has begun its price descent in Europe, it may mean that consumers stateside won’t have to fork out as much initially. Hackintosh lover's dream and Apple's nightmare: the Z77MX:QUO-AOS motherboard Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hackintosh-lover-s-dream-and- apple-s-nightmare-the-z77mx-quo-aos-motherboard/19160.html March 5th, 2013 Hackintosh builders will be happy to know that soon there will be a motherboard that will support Apple’s popular desktop OS out-of-the-box. Quo Computers is seeking to make the process of building your own Mac OS X rig much simpler than before with the introduction of its Project Q: Z77MX:QUO-AOS. The Project Q motherboard, according to Quo Computers, will be the “first ever custom made motherboard that will run any operating system you choose.” For many people, any operating system means trying out Mac OS X without having to purchase an expensive setup directly from Apple.
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Using a MicroATX form factor, the Project Q motherboard will come with both Firewire 400 and 800, and Intel- certified Thunderbolt. Adding to the fact that the motherboard will support any OS, Quo Computers also claims that the board’s custom firmware will allow booting of any OS in “under 10 seconds.” Currently, the company is seeking funding for its Project Q motherboard via Kickstarter, and early backers will be able to buy the motherboard for $219—retail price will start at $249. Quo Computers also has pre-packaged setups, one of which is a $1,200 Intel Core i7 setup complete with Thunderbolt, HDMI, DVI, Firewire, a 1TB HD, 8GB of RAM, SATA III, USB 3.0, and a black aluminum “special edition” tower engraved with a unique serial number. Shanghai security guard turns discarded bus into solar-powered home for his family Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/shanghai-security-guard-turns- discarded-bus-into-solar-powered-home-for-his-family/19159.html March 5th, 2013 A 39-year-old retired Chinese soldier by the name of Sun Jie is showing everyone what self-reliance is all about. Despite all sorts of adversities, the diligent husband and proud Shanghai security guard is doing his best to provide for his family by retro-fitting a discarded bus and turning it into a habitable home. Sun’s wife has breast cancer, so he uprooted his family and moved to Shanghai to secure better treatments for his wife. Living expenses in Shanghai is so expensive that Sun has to dig deep into his bags of tricks to support his family. Using skills he acquired in the military, Sun purchased a bus and turned it into a home complete with solar power. (Sun's humble abode.) However, since pictures of his humble abode began emerging, local authorities have been trying to expel him from the area. Some nearby residents are claiming that Sun and his family are illegally occupying land that they don’t own and building structures that are not certified. “We don’t need help or your sympathy. We cannot afford to buy or rent an apartment in the city so we built one. It’s not breaking the law or disturbing the others. So if you cannot give us another shelter, just leave us alone. Leave the bus and our life alone, here, isolated but peaceful,” says Sun’s wife. Adding on to Sun’s increasing responsibilities is the fact that his heart disease-stricken mother is also a part of the household. Sun earns $2000 yuan (~321.00 USD) a month, and since he is the sole breadwinner of his family, most of the money goes towards medical treatments of both his wife and mother. The makeshift Sun RV is currently occupying a narrow lane in the suburban Songjiang District, and it’s probably only a matter of time before authorities and unaccommodating locals find ways to remove the family’s home. (This is what happens when an old Chinese couple refuses to move from their home. Sun's home, however, might not be so lucky.)
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Samsung Galaxy S IV renders leaked, reveal no front button on phone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iv-renders-leaked- reveal-no-front-button-on-phone/19157.html March 5th, 2013 Samsung won’t officially show off its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, until next week, but some purported legitimate renders of the S IV have already surfaced. As you can see, the S IV has taken a step back in time in terms of its shape, as the corners are much less round compared to the S III. Previous rumors suggested that Samsung was going to ditch AMOLED in favor of something else, but as one of the leaked image revealed AMOLED won’t be going anywhere—in fact, this time around people will get a 1080p AMOLED display despite yield rate concerns. Moreover, the screen real estate to bezel ratio continues to prove that Samsung is committed to providing people with as much display space as possible to play with. Also within one of the leaked images is confirmation that the S IV will sport a 13MP rear camera. Something else that’s even more intriguing is that the S IV won’t have a front button, a trademark feature on all previous Galaxy S’s. The elimination of the front button means that the S IV will rely solely on Android’s built in virtual interface for many functionalities. Leaks will continue to roll in as the March 14 date approaches, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on all of them. Italian student busted for trying to sell a downed drone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/italian-student-busted-for-trying-to- sell-a-downed-drone/19142.html March 5th, 2013 The auction posting said: "[it]... is almost new", the only thing missing was the remote control, and that should have been the first clue that this drone being sold wasn't exactly what you would call legit. The 24-year old student in Bologna, Italy, must have thought it was his lucky day when he came across a drone that had made an emergency landing near his apartment last October. The drone, which was a privately operated Microdrones quad-rotor, was owned by an Italian startup called Eye Sky and was used by the company in the past for aerial photographic survey to assist local government. It was also used to perform damage assessment after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Bologna last May. The drone in question was on a demonstration flight last October when it suddenly lost its GPS navigation signals, which resulted in it performing an emergency landing, which is where this student comes in. Then in a less than brilliant move the student decided to put the $40,000 drone up for auction on Subito.it, an online auction site, for the measly amount of €1,000. At this point the police, who had spent four months trying to track the drone down, poses as buyers on Subito.it and asked for some additional information about the drone. Using the email address from the seller they were able to connect it to the student, who also used the same email address on an online dating site. Additionally, authorities were able to tighten down the student’s location by examining the EXIF data in the images that he had posted of the view of the city from his apartment.
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Needless to say, Eye Sky now have their drone back and the student now faces the possibility of up to a year in jail. Sprint will not be offering the BlackBerry Z10 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sprint-will-not-be-offering-the- blackberry-z10/19144.html March 5th, 2013 Blackberry fans, if you are on the Sprint network take note that Sprint will not be offering the Z10 in their lineup of Blackberry smartphones but only the Q10 model. The Sprint network just recently confirmed that they will only be carrying the Q10 Blackberry smartphone, in regards to Blackberry’s two new model releases. The BlackBerry Z10 was the first smartphone to run on the all-new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The BlackBerry Q10 is different from the Z10 in the fact that that offers a standard QWERTY external keyboard, which many BlackBerry fans are fond of and something BlackBerrys were always known for. The Z10, which is very similar to the Q10, only offers the standard touch screen but also runs on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. If you are not on the Sprint network but are in the market for the new Z10 model, you'll be happy to know that it will be offered by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, and of these three networks, only T-Mobile will also be selling the Q10. The Z10 will be going on sale any day now in the United States, however, you’ll have to wait until May of this year if you want the Q10. Many fans of BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion) were exited to hear about the new models of smartphones unveiled in January of this year. The newly designed smartphones with their 11-centimeter high resolution touch screens were a real hit with critics. An added bonus was the new operating system and brand new look for the smartphone that gave added hope to many investors who were beginning to lose faith in in the company. BlackBerry has been trying to regain a bigger share of the market since they began to lose favor to the trendier iPhone and other smartphone manufacturers such as South Korea’s Samsung. In fact, BlackBerry saw their sales continuing to decline nearly 34% in 2012 as compared to 2011. In the 4th quarter of 2012, they were down some 44%. Apple and Samsung have dominated Smartphone sales for some time now and now the Chinese company Huawei is really beginning to take notice as well. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Samsung and apple accounted for 52% of smartphone sales, which was up 46% from the third quarter. Europe team up to build the "European Extremely Large Telescope" in Chile Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/europe-team-up-to-build-the- european-extremely-large-telescope-in-chile/19155.html March 5th, 2013 The “European Extremely Large Telescope”, or E-ELT for short, will be – as its name obviously suggests – the world’s biggest space telescope. It will cost more than one billion dollars and the plans for its construction are moving forward. The project is part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) agenda and 15 countries are collaborating for its construction, making E-ELT project one of the biggest global science collaborations in history. UK, in particular, as the government recently confirmed, is investing up to £88 million just to make sure their Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) will be deeply involved in the construction and operation of the advanced telescope. Although European, the E-ELT will be built in Chile, since the clear skies of the Atacama Desert are ideal for such an observatory. With a mirror of 39 meters in diameter, E-ELT will be able to collect 15 times more light than any other telescope and it will produce images 16 times sharper than the Hubble. Its dome will be nearly 74 meters high and 86 meters in diameter with two huge sliding doors of 45 meters total width. The construction of E-ELT is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 The White House responds to cellphone unlocking petition Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-white-house-responds-to- cellphone-unlocking-petition/19154.html March 5th, 2013 Back in February, the Library of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office decided to make it illegal for consumers to unlock their cellphones, which obviously didn’t sit too well with consumers. Within a very short time, a petition was started on the government's We The People petition site to have this silliness overturned. Well, today we got their reply to that petition. Back in February we told you about the petition that had been started at the government's We the People petition site with the goal being for the Obama Administration to overturn the ridiculous 'law' that made it illegal for consumers to unlock their smartphones. Not surprisingly, the requisite 100,000 signatures needed in order to require a reply from the White House was quickly met and all that remained was that reply; which we finally got today. As it turns out the White House agrees with the 114,000+ (final signature count by the cutoff point), and they go even one step further by suggesting that tablets should be included as well. One of the reasons the White House agrees that this unlocking law needs to be changed isn't just about new devices, but also those smartphones and tablets that are bought second hand and consumers’ choices. According to the statement issued by the White House (see the full statement below) the Obama Administration would support a range of options in order to address the issue, even to the point of extremely narrow legislation that would make it clear that neither technological locks, or criminal law, should prevent the consumer from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service contract. It should be noted that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is backing the government on this issue. Here is the full statement in reply to the petition: Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we’re pleased to offer our response. The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs. This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs — even if it isn’t the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility. The White House’s position detailed in this response builds on some critical thinking done by the President’s chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). For more context and information on the technical aspects of the issue, you can review the NTIA’s letter to the Library of Congress’ Register of Copyrights (.pdf), voicing strong support for maintaining the previous exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone carrier unlocking. Contrary to the NTIA’s recommendation, the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA. The law gives the Librarian the authority to establish or eliminate exceptions — and we respect that process. But it is also worth noting the statement the Library of Congress released today on the broader public policy concerns of the issue. Clearly the White House and Library of Congress agree that the DMCA exception process is a rigid and imperfect fit for this telecommunications issue, and we want to ensure this particular challenge for mobile competition is solved. So where do we go from here? The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation. We also believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its responsibility for
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 promoting mobile competition and innovation, has an important role to play here. FCC Chairman Genachowski today voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking (.pdf), and to complement his efforts, NTIA will be formally engaging with the FCC as it addresses this urgent issue. Finally, we would encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and most importantly you — the everyday consumers who stand to benefit from this greater flexibility — to ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve. R. David Edelman is Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, & Privacy Elder Scrolls Online update: Bethesda to send out beta invites later this month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/elder-scrolls-online-update- bethesda-to-send-out-beta-invites-later-this-month/19147.html March 5th, 2013 Bethesda has recently taken the time to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions centered around their new MMOG, including the most burning of them all: when the beta invites will start being sent out. Bethesda has recently taken the time to compile a basic FAQ concerning the Elder Scrolls Online Beta, answering some of the most commonly asked questions about the highly anticipated beta test. The questions themselves are very general and formulate a basic FAQ with essential information such as "How do I Sign Up?" and "How long is the Beta?" Bethsoft started the Q&A session with the following: "The Elder Scrolls Online beta is approaching, and we have more details for you about the program, how it works, and when it starts. Read on for new beta information. Our first invites are going out this month. We know many of you have questions about the program, so we’ve put together this article to give you some answers and help prepare you to beta test ESO. Thank you for all your enthusiasm about testing, and we look forward to seeing you in the game." Below you can see some of the more important information contained in the Elder Scrolls Online Beta FAQ: How long are beta events and when are they held? At first, beta events will generally be held on the weekends, and each test will have limited windows of access to the game. You’ll receive your invitation in advance so you can make time to participate. While there will only be a few events per month early on, they will be held more frequently as we approach launch. As we progress through testing, we’ll also begin scheduling longer tests that allow testers to provide more detailed feedback on topics like progression. How many testers will be invited? We’re starting with smaller groups of focused testers during March and April. However, as we approach launch, beta events will get bigger. Our AvA tests will likely require thousands of participants, and stress tests will be even larger! Can I be invited to multiple beta events? Yes, it’s possible to be selected for multiple beta events. However, an invitation to one beta event does not guarantee that you’ll be invited to additional events. When you receive an invitation, it will be for a specific beta event.
  • March 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Just about every gamer who has experienced Bethsoft's award-winning fantasy series is excited for the Elder Scrolls Online for many reasons, and ESO has been named the "Most Anticipated MMOG of 2013" by many gaming outlets including IGN. In ESO, gamers finally get the chance to join their friends in the virtual magic-infused land of Tamriel, forging legendary battles against enemy factions and embarking on epic quests to save the world from certain doom. Anticipation for the beta has been building for months now, and gamers across the world are eager to experience what Bethesda has in store with ESO. We may see more information once the first invites are sent out--depending on Bethsoft stance on upholding an embargo on the gameplay info--but it will be interesting to see how the developers take what was always a distinct one-player experience and mold it into a communal, global adventure. In case you've missed it, check out Bethesda's official Alliances trailer for some amazing cinematic scenes! Sugoi Mop cleans as you play with it, and vice versa Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sugoi-mop-cleans-as-you-play-with- it-and-vice-versa/19148.html March 5th, 2013 The Omoshiro RC Sugoi Mop is a new generic tech item in Japan that lets anyone control and clean with the mop remotely using a wireless controller. Automated cleaning robots like Roomba may look high-tech and all, but wouldn't some of us just want to take command of the cleaning schedule once in a while? Of course, it'd be boring if we are to do it in the same old way, so we'll call in a new Japanese gadget to make things just a bit more interesting. The (Omoshiro RC) Sugoi Mop is, as you can see, a mop that can be controlled via remote controller. You can let it sweep across the room, taking care of floor messes while you stay at a comfy position without moving a single inch. We know, the concept kind of looks a bit tedious compared to automated robots, but it can be actually fun, just try imagining the entire living room as a race track of some sort while using it. The product is actually marketed as a double-purpose cleaning tool designed to "let kids help with the household chores while still being able to play". We don't know if this would really be effective in making your kids clean the house or not, but it is quite interesting to see an object like this scooting and cleaning around the floor while someone is happily controlling it at the comfort of their bed or sofa. Optionally users can attach the mop to its main body, so that you can use it as an ordinary…err, mop. You can also clean the mop easily because the cleaning material portion itself is removable (meaning no risk in damaging its electronic components in water).
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Google develops social driving app Volkswagen Smileage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-develops-social-driving-app- volkswagen-smileage/19196.html March 7th, 2013 Google is developing a new series of creative experiments called Art, Copy & Code, with the first being social driving app Volkswagen Smileage. Google is developing a new series of creative experiments called Art, Copy & Code, with the first being social driving app Volkswagen Smileage. The app is designed to make driving a more fun experience, so that drivers measure the enjoyment factor of a trip, or the “smileage,” instead of just the mileage itself. The software takes into account things like weather, traffic, location, time and social interactions, with trips stuck in traffic on the way to work in the rain gaining less smileage than a sunny weekend trip to a favourite vacation spot with friends or family. Users can sign into the app with their Google+ login, and trip information can be shared there. In fact, photos and videos taken during a trip can be automatically added to a live interactive map. The idea is to make trips, especially those made alone, a more social, and therefore more fun, experience. The app might carry the Volkswagen name, but it is not limited to that company's cars. Google's approach to the app was to build upon Volkswagen's 2012 advertising campaign, which carried the slogan “It's not the miles, it's how you live them.” Volkswagen Smileage is just the first of a series of creations Google is coming up with. Other partners include Burberry and Adidas, and likely dozens more will follow in hopes to get a more creative and engaging approach to building brand identity and product awareness. The Volkswagen Smileage app will be entering beta soon. Users can sign up here. Freezing an Android smartphone circumvents its encryption Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/freezing-an-android-smartphone- circumvents-its-encryption/19195.html March 7th, 2013 Security researchers have discovered a major vulnerability in Android phones that allows encryption to be circumvented if the device is frozen for an hour. Security researchers have discovered a major vulnerability in Android phones that allows encryption to be circumvented if the device is frozen for an hour. A team at Erlangen's Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany tested the method, leaving Android phones in a freezer until they fell below -10 degrees Celsius, which revealed previously scrambled data, including contact lists, browsing histories, and photos, according to the BBC. Google added the encryption feature as part of the Ice Cream Sandwich update to Android, which has presented difficulties for law enforcement, but has protected the identities and data of users. All of that protection is now at risk with just the change of temperature.
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 When an Android phone reaches sub-zero the battery can be quickly disconnected and reconnected, which allows the loading of new software instead of Android itself. The team developed software called FROST, Forensic Recovery of Scrambled Telephones, which lets them copy data from the phone for analysis on a computer. The researchers were also able to take advantage of the fact that memory data fades more slowly when the chips are cold, giving them time to hack the system and steal the encryption keys for even more access to potentially sensitive information. This form of hacking, known as “cold booting,” has been previously used on computers, but this is the first time it has been demonstrated on a mobile phone. Smartphones might have much of the functionality of normal computers, but it seems they also have many of the same vulnerabilities. Scientists develop algorithm able to lure people into accepting friend requests Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-develop-algorithm-able-to- lure-people-into-accepting-friend-requests/19178.html March 7th, 2013 How can you convince a complete stranger to accept your friend request? You use this newly developed algorithm to create a ‘pathway’ of friends leading ultimately to the desired ‘target’. Sounds like an infiltration strategy, but it’s only a clever algorithm. So far, to make friends in social networks you had either to send a friend request to a real acquaintance, or pick a name from the recommended “friends” list and hope for the best. However, this is the passive way. The team of computer scientists that developed this new algorithm aims to offer an alternative befriending method, where a user actively specifies a “friend” target. According to Yang and colleagues, until now “a recommendation designed to provide guidance for a user to systematically approach his friending target, has not been explored in existing on-line social networking services.” The algorithm will manipulate users with intelligent suggestions to friend each other, creating a circle of mutual friends that will have a higher probability to sway the final target into accepting a friend request. It would actually trick the stranger, making them believe they do have a mutual social circle. Until now, social media don’t offer this kind of underhanded “friend” approaches. The running example Although it has an interesting potential, this algorithm needs to be embedded in the social network itself to work, and it will be rather difficult for social networks like Facebook to add such a ‘shady’ feature. At least officially… For reference (or vice), the algorithm is called: emph{Selective Invitation with Tree and In-Node Aggregation (SITINA)}. More unconfirmed specs surface for the Xbox 720 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/more-unconfirmed-specs-surface- for-the-xbox-720/19185.html March 7th, 2013 Another unnamed "source" in the video games industry has revealed more unconfirmed specs for Microsoft's next Xbox, with specific GPU/CPU specs as well as HDD capacities and more. More details on Microsoft's next-gen Xbox 720 console have surfaced, again from another unnamed source that's supposedly an expert in the video games industry. The
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 information revealed by the source focuses on the system's technical specs as well as other features including the utilization of Smartglass, Blu-Ray movie playback, and the console having three times the power of the current Xbox 360. A full list of the details provided by the source can be found below. General: • The new ’720′ will have 3x the processing speed of the current 360 • No hard release date but it looks like Holiday 2013 • 2 launch versions. 320 GB Arcade / 500 GB Pro. Exact pricing is unknown • 1 TB HDD available as a separate purchase • It will not include Blu-Ray (movie playback) • No picture was available as prototype consoles are packaged in a 360 slim case to “avoid complications” about the design until announcement • Smartglass still utilized Technical: • AMD eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU • Direct 3D 11.x 800MHz GPU • 8GB DDR3 RAM These supposed specs do somewhat fit into our recent coverage of the specs revealed by an ex-Ubisoft employee, however we must always treat this information as rumor and not accept it at face value. Rumors of the Xbox 720's specs and integrated features have been running full blast in the last few months, many of them making similar claims to the console's technical performance and raw power. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft competes with the PlayStation 4's impressive specs, and what new additions they will make to the console to counter the opposition from Sony. Many times the decision to buy a certain console can be made by the smallest of features, such as Blu-Ray movie playback (which the 720 is rumored not to have) and may sway the decision for many casual gamers who don't care so much about technical specifications. In any case, we'll most likely see what Microsoft has in store for the gaming world with Durango (the codename for the new Xbox) during this year's E3 event in June--or perhaps the rumored April Xbox event--but until then speculation will run rampant. As always, be sure not to take these specs as absolute truth, as they haven't been officially confirmed and must remain rumor. We'll have more detailed coverage on Microsoft's next-gen console when more information comes to light, so stay tuned. Verizon discovers child pornography stored in its cloud Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/verizon-discovers-child- pornography-stored-in-its-cloud/19184.html March 7th, 2013 There's no getting around it, we are headed to a cloud storage world where all our files and data is being stored on someone else’s servers. This means someone is legally responsible for making sure that nothing illegal ends up in the respective cloud services. It is becoming a common practice these days for just about everyone to have a cloud storage service of some type where they can keep all their private files and data safe, but what a lot of folks don't probably know is that the companies running these cloud services have a certain legal responsibility to make sure you aren't storing anything illegal on their servers. This is because of the PROTECT Our Children Act passed by Congress in 2008, which mandated that service providers must report things like child pornography that are being stored by their customers. Of course, this act was passed before cloud services became as popular. Regular checking of the servers is still voluntary, and the advent of automated image-matching technology services usually accurately and quickly report things like child pornography when they are being uploaded. This is what happened recently to William Albaugh when he backed up his computer to Verizon's online backup service. What the 67-year-old deacon of a Catholic church in Baltimore County didn't realize is that Verizon, through the use of image-matching technology, discovered he was using their servers to store his collection of pornographic and videos of children. So because of the PROTECT Act, Verizon was obligated to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) through their Cyber Tipline, which has already handled 113,009 reports of child pornography from service providers. At this point, the Baltimore police were tipped and a search warrant was issued for Albaugh's residence. While the forensic results of the search are still preliminary, Albaugh has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography, but was released on $75,000 bond. However, further charges could be added depending on the final results of the investigation.
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Members of Congress getting in on cellphone unlocking ban Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/members-of-congress-getting-in-on- cellphone-unlocking-ban/19183.html March 7th, 2013 Chances are the Library of Congress didn't realize the hornet's nest they were unleashing when they decided to ban consumers from being able to unlock their cellphones outside of their carrier's offers. Here at VR-Zone we've been keeping a pretty close eye on the whole Library of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office’s decision to ban consumers from being able to unlock their cell phones. First was the initial petition at the government's We are the People petition site and how it got the requisite number of signatures needed so that the Obama Administration would have to respond. That was followed by the news that the administration did indeed respond and, amazingly, on the side of the consumer saying that the ban was wrong and that consumer should have the right to unlock their cell phones - and tablets - as they see fit. Now, today we get word that Congress is looking at getting in on the act as a growing number of Senators and Representatives are adding their voices to the Obama Administration's response. In fact, several of them are drafting legislation that would overturn the ban and to make unlocking of cell phones a legal right. As it stands right now Rep. Anna Eshoo, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee is working on legislation and says that a ban on unlocking cell phones puts consumers "in the back seat" when it comes to choosing the device and service that best suits their needs. Along with Eshoo, we have Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrate, who says she will be unveiling a similar type of bill in the Senate. Adding one of the most powerful voices in Congress, Senator Patrick Leahy, and it looks like we could have the beginnings of a real bill that could pass both houses of Congress to make its way the President's desk. Given his administration has already come out in favor of the consumer on this, we could see a real change in the laws regarding you and your right to unlock your cell phone as you see fit. Sony reveals screenshots of PS4's user interface Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-reveals-screenshots-of-ps4-s- user-interface/19182.html March 7th, 2013 Sony has recently revealed the General User Interface for PlayStation 4, giving gamers around the world a first- hand look at what they can expect with the new console's streamlined GUI. Shortly after the PlayStation 4 reveal during the "See The Future" event in New York, Sony has released a few official screenshots of the PS4's general user interface. The screenshots themselves show off the console's stylish home screen and new streamlined look, showcasing many of the new unique additions like enhanced social interactions, a dynamic new friends list, and an expansive game library. As you can see, the PlayStation 4's UI is streamlined for next- generation gaming, with a variety of options and features that encompass the console's features. Everything from Recent Activity to Friends and a progressive leveling system based on Trophies can be seen, offering a glimpse of the different screens that comprise the PS4's GUI. The last of Sony's screenshots shows the PS4's dynamic social interface, which is broken up into different tiles and displays recent activity from gamers on your friends list. From comments on recent screenshots to interactive and live updates, this part of the UI gives gamers an example of
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 the PlayStation 4's emphasis on interactivity and capturing a player's ever-evolving social presence. It will be interesting to see the PlayStation 4's full offering when it comes to the user interface, as it appears to be very user-friendly and visually appeasing. Everything is efficiently broken down and sorted in a logical way, making a new progression for the console itself. With Vibrant colors and a streamlined modern look, these screenshots are a nice glimpse at what Sony has to offer with the PlayStation 4's GUI. Also it's worth noting that these screenshots are not final, and that the PS4's actual UI may vary in many ways. FBI increases spying data bank using Google's database Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fbi-increases-spying-data-bank- using-google-s-database/19177.html March 7th, 2013 Google just revealed for the first time how many ‘National Security Letters’ (NSLs) they are getting from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These NSL requests are now part of Google’s Transparency Report, which is publicly available online. In late January of this year, Google fulfilled their promise on how the company would be open with their customers and Internet users in regards to any national government request for user data. David Drummond, who serves as Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer wrote on Google’s official blog just how the search giant was committed to a user’s privacy. Drummond also noted that Google had an extremely strict policy on protecting user data and have petitioned to update the laws pertaining to the U.S. Electronic Communications and Privacy Act as well. Google publicly posted which countries were making those formal requests on user data, but more importantly Google was a bit concerned about it all since requests for user data had gone up over 70% during the past three years. Now Google has gone a step further to show us how many official NSL requests they are getting from the FBI. Richard Salgado who serves as the Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security for Google, wrote on their official blog site with a blog post titled “Transparency Report: Shedding More Light on National Security Letters”. An NSL is an official request to obtain identifying information about a subscriber from telephone or any Internet company. He further said that Google had been trying to find ways in which to provide more information about NSL requests to the public without violating laws and particularly since there was an increase in government spying since 9/11. On March 5, 2013, Salgado writes, Starting today, we’re now including data about NSLs in our Transparency Report. We’re thankful to U.S. government officials for working with us to provide greater insight into the use of NSLs. Visit our page on user data requests in the U.S. and you’ll see, in broad strokes, how many NSLs for user data Google receives, as well as the number of accounts in question. In addition, you can now find answers to some common questions we get asked about NSLs on our In the past Google's Transparency Report supplied user with a fair amount of data in regards to what companies and governments were looking into, now they are literally showing us specific FBI requests, and it is a bit unnerving to some. This recent revelation from Google marks the first time an Internet company, or rather, any company in history that has disclosed data in regards to NSL requests. Now that Google has published the FBI's NSLs to their list, it still doesn’t explicitly list whom the FBI is investigating. In July of 2012, the still current NSA director, General Keith Alexander, was accused of lying to a crowd gathered at the Def Con hacker conference by saying that the NSA did not spy, nor store or collect personal data American citizens. In December of 2012, a former NSA cryptologist by the name of William Binney told Russia Today that the FBI had some access to the data collected by the NSA, which consisted of E- mails of people inside U.S. “All the congressional members are on the surveillance too,” Binney said to RT. “No one is excluded. They are all included. So, yes, this can happen to anyone…” Binney further added that not only was the U.S. government expanding its role in spying on its citizens, but that they were building servers to store all E-mail communications to be recalled at any time in the future for whatever need they may have with it. IBM's Watson supercomputer will soon be diagnosing and curing diseases Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ibm-s-watson-supercomputer-will- soon-be-diagnosing-and-curing-diseases/19176.html March 7th, 2013 An unknown error occured formatting this story. EU fines Microsoft 561 million Euro for not promoting rival web browsers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/eu-fines-microsoft-561-million-euro- for-not-promoting-rival-web-browsers/19181.html March 6th, 2013 The European Union has fined Microsoft €561 million ($729 million) for not promoting rival web browsers to its Internet Explorer.
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The European Union has fined Microsoft €561 million ($729 million) for not promoting rival web browsers to its Internet Explorer. The Windows maker was previously in trouble with the EU over anti-competitive practises, eventually agreeing to introduce the Browser Choice Screen in March 2010 as part of a settlement. However, Microsoft removed the choice in the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update in February 2011, restoring Internet Explorer as the default browser. It was another 14 months before the feature was added in again, and only after receiving complaints from the EU. The company said this was due to a technical error, but that did not wash with European authorities. The magically disappearing Browser Choice Screen Joaquin Almunia, Competition Commission for the EU, said Microsoft's behaviour marked a “serious breach” of its prior commitment, and he hoped the fine would deter other companies from going back on their promise to act in a competitively fair manner. It seems the ruling was as much a warning to others as it was a reprimand of Microsoft itself. While Microsoft will be upset at this latest fine, it could have been much worse. EU rules allow for fines of up to 10 percent of a company's annual revenue, which could have amounted to $7.4 billion for 2012. The firm's cooperation was seen as a mitigating factor in the punishment. “We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologised for it,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. Valve prepares Steam Box console for testing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/valve-prepares-steam-box-console- for-testing/19180.html March 6th, 2013 Game studio Valve is preparing prototypes of its Steam Box gaming console for testing within the next few months, according to the company's CEO. Game studio Valve is preparing prototypes of its Steam Box gaming console for testing within the next few months, according to the company's CEO. Gabe Newell, top dog at Valve, told the BBC that prototypes will be ready within four months, confirming long-running rumours that the studio was building its own console. Newell said the testing will be to “gauge [customers'] reactions,” suggesting the firm is still far away from launching the device. He admitted that there are currently noise and heat issues, which he said were challenging to fix while still trying to keep the system powerful. The type of controller that will acompany the Steam Box is still undecided, but Valve is exploring the concept of adding sensors that detect a gamer's body state, including their heart rate, which is designed to see how stimulated the gamer is from the content. This could result in the game experience changing depending on the mood of the player. With Steam boasting a whopping 50 million members on PCs and Macs, there is already an established customer base for Valve to sell to, and still nearly a year before the second next-generation console, Sony's PlayStation 4, hits the shelves. At this stage it is still too early to tell just how successful the Steam Box might be, but the top three console makers on the market at the moment might have to make room for a new player, and one that has a large catalogue of games to offer.
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 FBI investigating drone sighting near New York airport Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fbi-investigating-drone-sighting- near-new-york-airport/19179.html March 6th, 2013 The FBI has launched an investigation into a report that an unmanned drone was seen flying around the John F. Kennedy airport in New York. The FBI has launched an investigation into a report that an unmanned drone was seen flying around the John F. Kennedy airport in New York. An Alitalia pilot said he spotted the drone about three miles from a runway on Monday and reported it to air traffic controllers. He said the drone was flying roughly 1,750ft in the air and was just 200ft away from his aircraft. The drone was reportedly just 3.3ft wide with four propellers and was painted black, a colour not usually employed on the drones that have been photographed to date. The news will heighten concern following leaked memos of a draft legal framework authorising the US government to use drones against its own citizens. This has been widely criticised, but the CIA director nominee John Brennan has defended the idea, stating that such attacks are “a last resort.” The reported sighting will make people wonder if this was a government drone sent out to kill someone, if it was a routine mission, or if it belonged to someone else entirely. Even if it was not on the hunt, its proximity to other aircraft could have posed a safety risk. The aircraft might also have been a hobby plane, according to the BBC, but rules set out by the US Federal Aviation Administration prohibit these from being flown at higher than 400ft. The FBI asked for anyone with knowledge of this aircraft or its operator to contact it. Canon develops 35 mm full- frame CMOS sensor with impressive low-light video capability Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canon-develops-35-mm-full-frame- cmos-sensor-with-impressive-low-light-video-capability/19163.html March 6th, 2013 Canon just announced their latest creation, which is an extraordinary full-frame CMOS sensor. This sensor was made expressly for shooting video at nighttime and it can take incredible images at very low light levels. Most traditional cameras cannot offer true low-light HD images and particularly video without a lot of noise. Canon’s new CMOS sensor can take full HD video with very little 'noise' and at extremely low-light levels. The benefits of this new technology from Canon is obvious and especially in regards to nighttime images of the sky or film footage taken at night. In time this technology could be added to security cameras to improve images that were previously very hard to make out in low light. Regarding the new sensors features, Canon writes on their main site, The newly developed CMOS sensor features pixels measuring 19 microns square in size, which is more than 7.5-times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor incorporated in Canon's top-of-the- line EOS-1D X and other digital SLR cameras. In addition, the sensor's pixels and readout circuitry employ new technologies that reduce noise, which tends to increase as pixel size increases. Thanks to these technologies, the sensor facilitates the shooting of clearly visible video images even in dimly lit environments with as little as 0.03 lux of illumination, or approximately the brightness of a crescent moon—a level of brightness in which it is difficult for the naked eye to perceive objects.
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 By making the pixels larger, and then adding noise reduction technology, Canon is giving users full HD video in environments that were previously impossible to capture before without added light, which often times spoils the shot. It is hopeful that this new technology can be adapted to many more camera lines. While low light DSLR cameras currently exist, this sensor is much more sensitive taking video shots to extreme low-light levels. A demonstration of the prototype camera using the new 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor technology, along with sample footage captured with the camera at SECURITY SHOW 2013 (www.shopbiz.jp/en/ss/). The demonstration will be held at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center in Tokyo, Japan beginning Tuesday, March 5, and running through Friday, March 8th , 2013. Canon also offers a sample video here at their main website demonstrating the new sensors ability. Toshiba goes cute with Hello Kitty USB drive and SD cards Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toshiba-goes-cute-with-hello-kitty- usb-drive-and-sd-cards/19164.html March 6th, 2013 Toshiba, in collaboration with Sanrio, plans to release special edition USB flash drives and SD cards that feature Hello Kitty. Toshiba, drifting this time towards the side of cuteness, has unveiled the new special edition Hello Kitty-themed USB flash drive and SD cards. The project is in collaboration with, you know it, Sanrio, and they have brought one of the company's most famous mascot characters to cater to the "cute" needs of our portable storage devices. The Hello Kitty USB flash drive, designated as UKT-A008G, is designed like a mini Hello Kitty figure, with a USB connector on it. As suggested by the product code it has 8GB of storage space, and works on Windows XP/Vista/7/8 and OS X 10.0.2+. Unfortunately, it's not specified whether it is fully compatible with a USB 3.0 port or not. The Hello Kitty SDHC cards are designated as SD-H04GKT and SD-H08GKT, with storage capacities of 4GB and 8GB respectively. While the design still holds the same level of cuteness with its pink externals and presence of our mascot character, it feels a bit less impressive, since you can't really fully appreciate the design when it's inside your mobile device. These Hello Kitty storage media products are aimed towards the female side of the tech market (surprise!). However, we're quite sure that these products would also raise the positive interest of a few males out there, since the mascot character in question is, you know, Hello Kitty. The Hello Kitty flash drives and SD cards will be available in Japan on March 9, 2013. There are still no official announcements on its price yet however. Source: PCWatch (JP) ZTE to develop smartphone featuring Intel's Atom Z2580 Clover Trail+ Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-to-develop-smartphone- featuring-intel-s-atom-z2580-clover-trail-/19173.html March 6th, 2013 ZTE has announced that it will be partnering with Intel to develop smartphones that feature the Atom Z2580 processor, known as “Clover Trail+”. Last year, ZTE launched the Grand X IN smartphone, and, although the device featured a much more modest Z2460 Medfield, was reportedly to be well received in its limited markets. Moving forward, ZTE says that it will work with Intel to develop “unique smartphones” using the more powerful—purportedly, also more energy efficient—Atom Z2580.
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The Clover Trail+, which was introduced at Mobile World Congress, is a dual core that is capable of a max clock of 2GHz, full HD support, and a PowerVR setup that, according to Intel, will provide 3 times the 3D performance of the Medfield. ZTE’s Grand X IN was considered a mid-range Android device, but Intel and ZTE are aiming higher with their upcoming Clover Trail+ handset. Since Intel is reporting that its Clover Trail+ is much more powerful while consuming less power, it means that whatever ZTE and Intel are cooking up is probably going to be a high end device targeting enthusiasts and premium smartphone users. Intel powered smartphones in the U.S. isn’t particularly a craze, but, according to ZTE, markets like parts of Europe, France and Austria seem to be welcoming the ZTE-Intel handsets with open arms. Both ZTE and Intel are targeting emerging markets with their mobile products, so Clover Trail+ devices from ZTE probably won’t be making a huge splash in markets like the U.S. New fossil findings reveal giant arctic camels Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-fossil-findings-reveal-giant- arctic-camels/19168.html March 5th, 2013 Bone fragments discovered in northern Canada give evidence that camels actually hail from the arctic cycle and their ancestors are possibly thirty percent larger than modern camels. Researchers on Ellesmere Island, found thirty fragments of a camel’s lower leg. According to their calculations, this camel was a 3.5 meters giant and lived on the High Arctic 3.5 million years ago. The scientists believe that the Arctic had a milder temperature at the time, but it was still an area covered with snow most of the year. The paleontologists think this discovery will change the way we think about camels. Maybe they were adapted to live in an arctic environment instead of their present arid one. It is possible that in their humps they stored fat to survive the long arctic winters when food was scarce, just as their descendants do to survive the inhospitable environment of the deserts. Dr. Natalia Rybczynski, of the Canadian Museum of Nature, claims that “some specializations seen in modern camels, such as their wide flat feet, large eyes and humps for fat, may be adaptations derived from living in a polar environment”. Razer launches Collector's Edition League of Legends Naga Hex gaming mouse and gaming mats Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/razer-launches-collector-s-edition- league-of-legends-naga-hex-gaming-mouse-and-gaming-mats/19172.html March 5th, 2013 Razer recently released some League of Legends gears that promise to raise your MMO gameplay prowess, and do so in style. First up is the LoL Collector’s Edition Razer Naga Hex mouse, which is specifically designed for MOBA and action- RPG. The mouse features 6 large mechanical thumb buttons which players can use to map in-game functions like spells, items, and abilities. Fast paced action-RPG usually requires massive amount clicking, so the Naga Hex mouse has
  • March 7th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 “specialized switches” that last up to 10 million clicks, and can accurately register 250 clicks per minute. In total, the Razer Naga Hex mouse sports 11 programmable buttons, and a 5600dpi laser sensor to provide accurate tracking along a surface. The mouse has a 1ms response time, and weighs approximately 134g. For extreme fans, Razer has also released the LoL Collector’s Edition Razer Goliathus gaming mouse mat. Along with its Razer’s claim that the mat provides for a “seamless surface that trumps all other gaming cloth mats”, Razer also promises that the mat is made of an “extra dense stitching” material along the edge that will guard against fraying and is guaranteed to last longer than conventional mats. Lastly, Razer is also releasing the LoL Sphex hard gaming mouse mat, which will “adhere to any surface” and is thin enough to the point where gamers will feel as if they are playing on a “gaming grade surface that is the literal skin of the desktop.” The Naga Hex mouse currently retails for $89.99, the Goliathus gaming mat for $19.99, and the Sphex hard gaming mat is $14.99.
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Rovio to launch Angry Birds cartoon series Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rovio-to-launch-angry-birds- cartoon-series/19223.html March 11th, 2013 Rovio is launching an animated Angry Birds series this weekend, turning its popular apps into more than just a gaming franchise. Rovio is launching an animated Angry Birds series this weekend, turning its popular apps into more than just a gaming franchise. The first episode of Angry Birds Toons will be shown on Saturday, 16 March on TV or Sunday, 17 March through the Angry Birds app, which has been downloaded a whopping 1.7 million times. The series will feature 52 episodes, with a new one released each week. The cartoon will show on regional TV stations throughout the world, including FOX8 in Australia, JEI TV in Korea, ANTV in Indonesia, Cartoon Network in India, MTV 3 Juniori and MTV3 in Finland, Children's Channel in Israel, 1+1 Networks in Ukraine, Gulli and Canal J in France, SUPER RTL in Germany, TV2 in Norway, Canal 13 in Chile, and Gloob in Brazil. Rovio has teamed up with Comcast to offer access to the cartoon on Xfinity on Demand, the Xfinity TV Player app, Samsung Smart TVs, and soon Roku set-top boxes. More platforms will be announced in time. The gaming studio has also teamed up with Activision, Paramount Pictures, BlackBerry, and Sony Pictures for the launch. We've already got to know some of the cast of the cartoons, having flung them to their doom countless times, but we'll get a more personal look at their lives and personalities. There is Red, Chuck, Bomb, Matilda, Terence, and the Blues. And let's not forget the Pigs. “We want to combine the feel of cartoon classics with modern twists on an unprecedented scale. Our team has been working tremendously hard to once again delight our fans with a new way to experience these loveable characters,” said Nick Dorra, Head of Animation at Rovio. Watch the trailer below. Publishers don't want Amazon to own .book domain Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/publishers-don-t-want-amazon-to- own-.book-domain/19218.html March 11th, 2013 The highly awaited sale of new top-level domains (TLDs), progresses into a full-scale war between publishing companies and the Amazon giant. Amazon’s request to own new suffixes like .book, .author and .read, provoked the ire of the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. In their complaint to the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), they strongly opposed the idea, arguing that giving Amazon control over these addressed, would be a threat to competition. Amazon has also applied for names like .movie, .app and .like, as well as many in foreign languages, but only the book related requests raised such dispute. Indicatively, Scott Turov, novelist and president of the Authors Guild, wrote: “Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power. The potential for abuse seems limitless.”
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 For the record, applications for the new domain names cost $185,000 each and their storage in ICANN’s database will cost another $ 25,000 per year. So, according to rough estimations, Amazon has already spent more than $10 million for all its applications. BlackBerry doesn't want to "cheapen" its brand with $50 to $60 handsets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-doesn-t-want-to- cheapen-its-brand-with-50-to-60-handsets/19221.html March 11th, 2013 Many are suggesting that BlackBerry is pinning its hope of surviving (even making a comeback) on its latest BlackBerry 10 OS along with a few new handsets. However, the adoption rate of BB10 devices is still not rising quickly enough to indicate that the Canada-based smartphone maker is back in the swing of things. Furthermore, it seems like BlackBerry has only one plan, and that’s to take on giants like Samsung and Apple head on. BlackBerry’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, has indicated recently that his company doesn’t intend on stooping down to the feature phone segment. That is, BlackBerry doesn’t intend on mass producing ultra-cheap BlackBerry devices anytime soon. (BlackBerry's CEO, Thorsten Heins, is convinced that consumers will love the Z10. Image | WSJ) “You will not see us getting into the 50 to 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry,” Heins told Bloomberg. Heins’ proclamation is a bold one indeed, because the two big guns in the smartphone business—Apple and Samsung —currently hold the majority of the high-end market share, and there's a very slim chance that the Z10 will yank away a significant number of iOS and Android users anytime soon. So while up-and-comers like ZTE and Huawei are growing quickly by targeting emerging markets with their dirt cheap Android handsets, Heins is confident that the company's will maintain and grow its market share with premium BB10 handsets. While it’s true that a decent $60 Android handset is still hard to come by, there’s no denying that growing markets like China and India are thirsting for affordable smartphones. Yet, BlackBerry doesn’t want to demote its brand by deploying low-end BB10 handsets. New, and more affordable, BlackBerry 10 devices will roll out later this year, but don’t expect any of them to be dirt cheap. BlackBerry is maintaining its high-class image, but will its pride cause its downfall? Heins doesn't seem to think so. The Z10 is slated for arrival in the U.S. on March 22 with a starting price of $199.99 with a two year contract from AT&T. How well the Z10, and by extension the BB10 mobile OS, fare in one of the most competitive markets will provide some insight as to where BlackBerry will end up several months from now. NASA study shows rising temperatures and vegetation changes in northern hemisphere Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-study-shows- rising-temperatures-and-vegetation-changes-in-northern- hemisphere/19222.html March 11th, 2013 A NASA-funded study of records of the last 30 years has shown that temperature changes in the northern hemisphere are leading to vegetation growth that resembles lusher climates south of the equator, another scientific confirmation of global warming. A NASA-funded study of records of the last 30 years has shown that temperature changes in the northern hemisphere are leading to vegetation growth that resembles lusher climates south of the equator, another scientific confirmation of global warming. An international team of researchers from universities and scientists from NASA examined changes in temperature and vegetation growth in the northern half of the planet, with results showing that northern latitudes now resemble the warmer environments 4 to 6 degrees further south. “Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more,” said Ranga Myneni of Boston University's Department of Earth and Environment. “In the north's Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems.”
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Satellite data from NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers and NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer between 1982 and 2011 was analysed, revealing stark changes in the northern half of the planet over the last few decades. “It's like Winnipeg, Manitoba, moving to Minneapolis-Saint Paul in only 30 years,” said co-author Compton Tucker of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Using 17 climate models the team were able to predict what might be in store for us in the future. They expect that increased temperatures in the Arctic and boreal regions will result in locations in the northern hemisphere having the climate of those 20 degrees further south by the end of this century, compared to data from 1951-1980. The findings were published in the Nature Climate Change journal. In January NASA released a report highlighting the last decade as the warmest on record, with average temperatures rising by 1 degree Fahrenheit compared to a baseline temperature in the mid-20th Century. Combined with this latest study, there is a growing body of research supporting assertions of global warming. Fake Twitter accounts could lead to stock market hoaxes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fake-twitter-accounts-could-lead-to- stock-market-hoaxes/19219.html March 11th, 2013 Fake Twitter accounts impersonating top investors could cause stock market hoaxes, according to a report by Reuters. False accounts have already led to numerous cases of people thinking a celebrity has said something that they did not, and Twitter has a “verified account” status designed to address this issue. Some accounts even make it obvious they are fakes and are used for comedic value, like @notzuckerberg, a parody of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. The problem is worse when it comes to stocks, however, as false information claiming to be from a reputable source could led to panic on the exchange, with some buying or selling erroneously. The reality of the problem was highlighted when a fake Twitter account called @Greenlightcap tweeted in the name of hedge fund manager David Einhorn, founder of Green Light Capital, suggesting he saw Carl Icahn as the investor of choice in a battle with Bill Ackman at Herbalife. Will the real David Einhorn please stand up? Einhorn, who tweets from @davidein, said that he did not make the tweet and also has no plans to tweet about stocks. That will not stop impersonators profiting from his name and spreading rumours on the stock market. Reuters also highlighted just how damaging such false information could be. A fake tweet about audio chip maker Audience, impersonating short-seller Carson Block of Muddy Waters, suggested shares should be sold, leading to sharp declines in share prices throughout the day. In the end it is up to investors to verify their sources to ensure they are not being fed incorrect information, but that will be little consolation to businesses that stand at the mercy of fake stock tweets. Mozilla says no future plans for iOS until Apple plays fair Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mozilla-says-no-future-plans-for-ios- until-apple-plays-fair/19214.html
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 March 11th, 2013 The vice president for the not-for-profit Mozilla organization recently said that there are no plans in the works to create a Firefox browser for iOS devices. The announcement came by way of the SXSW Interactive conference Mozilla’s Firefox, which is a very popular free and open source web browser, currently works with Linux, Microsoft Windows and OS X. However, the one OS they will not be working with anytime soon will be Apple's iOS. Mozilla pulled their Firefox web browser download from Apple’s App Store in September 2012 and said they will not be building a future version of Firefox for iOS. Recently, by way of the SXSW Conference, Vice President Jay Sullivan of Mozilla reiterated the company's stand with not creating an OS for Apple. Sullivan said that may change but not until Apple changes their marketing ways and make an even playing field. Sullivan says that Apple’s marketing is very unfriendly to any type of third party browsers available for download. While the move to not produce a browser for Apple might seem like a bad idea, it would not get used very much even if they did. Apple currently prevents their users from making any other app other than Safari the default web browser, therefore the user would have to manually pull up Firefox every time they wanted to surf on their mobile device. Safari has a very large bite of the market on mobile devices at this time. According to Akami Technologies in their "State of the Internet Report", it says that in the third quarter of 2012 Apple’s Mobile Safari held approximately 60% of all mobile browser usage across its networks just behind Android. If Firefox OS can catch on with more countries they could very well become a serious new player in the mobile device web browser wars. Just last month Mozilla announced that as many as 18 Latin American carriers along with China and some European carriers were getting on board with the Firefox OS. Also, some recent news says that Sony may soon be introducing a new line of handsets for the Indian market with the Firefox OS. Newly released screenshots for The Last of Us depict highly detailed post- apocalyptic world Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/newly-released-screenshots-for-the- last-of-us-depict-highly-detailed-post-apocalyptic-world/19213.html March 11th, 2013 Naughty Dog has released new screenshots that display the gritty realism of their PS3-exclusive survival horror adventure The Last of Us. The newly released screenshots for Naughty Dog's survival horror adventure The Last of Us display an incredibly detailed post-apocalyptic world that pushes past the boundaries of the PlayStation 3's capabilities. The screens are impressive to say the least, and help set the tone for the upcoming game, displaying beauty even in a world that's wracked with terrifying carnage and hardship. The Last of Us takes place two decades after a super-fungus kills off millions, and the living have been contained and sectioned off in quarantine zones, which are under the control of the United States military. The military has instituted martial law, and thus reigns over everyone, establishing itself as a regime and enacting harsh regulations and rules with a zero tolerance on those that are infected. The game follows two characters--Joel, a hardened black marketer who is seasoned in survival, and Ellie, a fourteen year old girl who happens to be the daughter of one of Joel's best friends. Joel makes a promise to keep Ellie free of the regime's harsh rule, and he leads Ellie away from the oppressive safety of the quarantine zones and they make their way across the wilderness.
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The Last of Us chronicles the adventure of Joel and Ellie as they trek amongst scavengers and other untold dangers throughout the wild, verdant lands...yet they are constantly running from the military, as they are hunting for Ellie to return her to the zones. Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells summarizes the game in his own words: "The Last of Us is a genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements to tell a character driven tale about a modern plague decimating mankind. Nature encroaches upon civilization, forcing remaining survivors to kill for food, weapons and whatever they can find. Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States." Naughty Dog's original post-apocalyptic adventure has been hailed as one of the most impressive-looking PlayStation 3 games, as it displays very deep realism in nearly every visual instance. Whether it's in-game cinematic, footage, or screenshots, Naughty Dog has created a veritable masterpiece to gaze upon. The Last of Us also has an array of dynamic in-game features as well, with the "Balance of Power" AI structure that allows enemies to adapt and respond to given situations, adding depth to the enemies and challenge to the game. The Last of Us is being developed by Naughty Dog and is slated for release on June 14, 2013 for PlayStation 3. For more information as well as screenshots and trailers please visit the game's official website. Maxis to offer "a little something for your troubles" to SimCity owners Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/maxis-to-offer-a-little-something- for-your-troubles-to-simcity-owners/19208.html March 10th, 2013 A new SimCity has recently launched, yet many gamers have had trouble connecting to the game's online servers. This hardship prompted Maxis--the game's developer--to offer a little something to make up for this inconvenience: a free game from EA's catalogue. The highly anticipated new SimCity game has recently launched, sending a surge of excitement through the gaming world, prompting nearly every fan of the classic franchise to get their hands on a copy. The game's popularity has spread like wildfire, and nearly everyone who played the game agreed that it was fantastic. Then the servers crashed. Troubles and unforeseen outcomes can be typical for online- based PC games during their launch, and such was the case with Maxis' new SimCity reboot. Apparently the servers overloaded, making the game unplayable, which was met with considerable outrage from gamers across the globe. Maxis has responded to the outrage and is determined in fixing this problem, and they have already developed improvements in server stability.
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager for Maxis recently posted an update that reveals that the developers are trying to make up for the outage with "a little something for your troubles": a free game for all SimCity owners. "Here’s a quick update on the problems we were experiencing with SimCity – and a little something extra for people who bought the game. The server issues which began at launch have improved significantly as we added more capacity. But some people are still experiencing response and stability problems that we’re working fast to address. So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta." Bradshaw also explains on Maxis' plans to gift SimCity gamers with a free title from the EA portfolio, most likely a redemption code for a digital download from EA's Origin client--the game hasn't been officially revealed yet, however. "And to get us back in your good graces, we’re going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio. On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game. I know that’s a little contrived – kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy. But we feel bad about what happened. We’re hoping you won’t stay mad and that we’ll be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent." Regardless of the game's online performance issues, the new SimCity remains one of the best games in the franchise and has been hailed by both professional gaming critics and gamers worldwide as a fantastic game. Maxis is committed to the current server problems, but it may take a bit to get the servers running at optimal capacity. For more information be sure to check the official EA post , and we'll have more information on the "free game" that is offered on March 18. Gearbox reveals next Borderlands 2 DLC will feature new vault hunter Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gearbox-reveals-next-borderlands-2- dlc-will-feature-new-vault-hunter/19210.html March 10th, 2013 At this year's SXSW 2013 (South by Southwest) event, Gearbox has revealed that the new Borderlands 2 DLC will feature a brand new Vault Hunter to join the fray. During this year's SXSW event in Texas Gearbox unveiled a teaser trailer that gives hints at the latest DLC for Borderlands 2--and a brand new vault hunter. "Deep beneath Pandora, an experiment has escaped," the teaser begins, revealing a shadowy figure that pummels nearby baddies. "Bandits beware, a new vault hunter is coming. More mayhem awaits." According to the trailer, the new hero is "an experiment"-- maybe one of Dr. Zed's experiments gone wrong--and one can only guess what his appearance will be. Gearbox's distinct humorous blend is apparent in the Borderlands series, and just about every quest, character, DLC and gun in the game's arsenal reflects their twisted hilarity--so it's fair to assume this new DLC will adequately represent that same wacky humor. The character does look misshapen, though, and may be a sort of Frankenstein's monster sort of deal. It will also be interesting to see the new vault hunter's distinct class ability, as well. As for the DLC's release date, Gearbox's Matt Armstrong was tight-lipped on the exact date during the panel, but he did add the following: "DLC is announced on a very tight schedule, and I don't think you'll have to wait long until you see that character." Oddly enough, Gearbox has further mentioned that this new DLC pack will not be included with the Borderlands 2 Season Pass, which up to this point has offered access to all previously released DLC packs. We'll have the details when more information comes to light. Until then, gamers will have to make do with the current line-up of DLC offerings for Borderlands 2, including the Mechromancer pack that adds an additional character to play as.
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 China vehemently denies hacking accusations by the U.S. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/china-vehemently-denies-hacking- accusations-by-the-u.s./19207.html March 10th, 2013 China is denying all accusations coming from the U.S. based Internet security firm, Mandiant. Mandiant recently reported that the Chinese military was behind a series of computer network break-ins inside the United States and in parts of Europe. On Saturday, March 9, 2012, China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi called on the United States to help aide in stopping computer and server hacking via the Internet. China has angrily denied claims by the U.S. that its military is somehow involved in cyber espionage and that have been happeneing repeatedly throughout U.S. government computer networks along with some major private corporations. Recently the U.S. based security firm Mandiant Corporation wrote in a detailed report showing what they said was undeniable evidence that the Chinese military was involved in computer network spying. Mandiant's report also said that the China-based hackers had infiltrated overseas networks as well and had stolen massive amounts of data from U.S. companies and other large corporations. Mandiant said they were able to trace the spying back to a multi-storied building located in Shanghai. The building where an alleged network of recruited hackers worked, was supposedly set up for the sole purpose of infiltrating American owned corporations and government server networks around the globe. Jiechi called the accusations nothing more than a politically motivated smear campaign by the U.S. “Anyone who tries to fabricate or piece together a sensational story to serve their political motive will not be able to blacken the name of others or whitewash themselves," Jiechi stated at a public news conference. “We hope the relevant parties will stop irresponsible attacks or accusations." Last month China's Defense Ministry also denied the accusations and said that their government had never supported any such hacking into the U.S. and abroad. They also issued their own claims saying they too were hacked approximately 144,000 times per month with two-thirds of those attacks coming from the U.S. Foreign Minister Jiechi called on the United Nations to help China work together with other nations to come up with some form of peaceful resolution to regulating the Internet and to help thwart any future computer network infiltrations. Earlier this month a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report said that Chinese hackers have successfully broken into numerous U.S. gas pipeline operators from December 2011 through June 2012. The 23 gas pipeline companies were hacked into by e-mails that looked to be official but contained a Trojan horse that gave the hackers access. This one example that has many lawmakers worried since approximately 30% of the U.S. power grid is dependent on natural gas to produce energy. A detailed report from the Obama Administration titled, “Administration Strategy on Mitigating The Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets”, published on February 13, 2012, discusses the urgency for the U.S. to update its computer network infrastructure to prevent any future attacks on the Internet. Man uses Dyson vacuum as a fire extinguisher Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/man-uses-dyson-vacuum-as-a-fire- extinguisher/19211.html March 10th, 2013 Usually cleaning equipment companies don't stress test their vacuum products using fire, but one man did just that to test a vacuum's suction power. Sometimes companies make outlandish claims about their products—be it pros or cons. So when James Dyson said that his vacuums don’t ever lose suction, some were a bit skeptical. To put Dyson’s claim to the test, a man set his yard on fire and used his Dyson vacuum to see if it could put out the fire. Did it work? See for yourself. 3D printer replaces 75% of patient's skull Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/3d-printer-replaces-75-of-patient-s- skull/19206.html March 9th, 2013 An un-named man in the United States just received a 3D printed skull implant for skull reconstruction surgery that took place on March 4th. Oxford Performance Materials of Connecticut (OPM) made the new implant, which was the first of its kind. OPM calls their revolutionary new product “OsteoFab”, and it recently made history after the FDA gave approval for its use as a bone replacement implant for a man’s skull. The implant is made porous enough so that bone and red blood cells will attach and eventually form a new and perfectly formed skull. The company says the approval for the implant came by way of the Food and Drug Administration on February 18th and it was ready for surgery by March 4th . It marked the first time such an extensive surgery was performed with a 3D printer and composed as much as 75% of the patients new skull.
  • March 11th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Presently OPM is selling other 3D-printed implants to hospitals overseas but had to get permission from the FDA before they could begin actually using the implants on patients. Scott DeFelice, who serves as president of OPM says that in the very near future there will not be a single part of the orthopedic industry that will remain untouched by 3D printing. OPM sees their OsteoFab™ Patient Specific Cranial Device to go well beyond just skull reconstruction but also for other parts of the body as well. OPM just recently began submitting other custom 3D-printed bone parts for future FDA approval, which would account for a very large worldwide market. “It is our firm belief that the combination of PEKK and additive manufacturing is a highly transformative and disruptive technology platform that will substantially impact all sectors of the orthopedic industry,” DeFelice said. “… we will now move systematically throughout the body in an effort to deliver improved outcomes at lower overall cost to the patient and healthcare provider.” DeFelice says the new technology is highly profitable and could generate as much as 100 million dollars per year for each type of bone replacement part. In an interview with TechNewsDaily DeFelice said, "If you can replace a bony void in someone's head next to the brain, you have a pretty good platform for filling bony voids elsewhere.” Image source
  • March 12th, 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. Smartphones will eventually replace car smart keys Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/smartphones-will-eventually- replace-car-smart-keys/19237.html March 12th, 2013 It goes without saying that many people have begun to consolidate all their electronic needs into a single hardware, and usually it's the smartphones that can fulfill this exact purpose. For those that own vehicles, their smartphones may also one day replace keys. According to AAA, smartphones are already capable of allowing “motorists to enter and start a vehicle.” Hence, it’s only a matter of time before the automotive industry catches on and makes smartphone entry and ignition standard for cars. (Wait... where's the key hole?) Smart keys were once reserved for luxury brands such as BMW and Lexus, but nowadays most new cars rolling off the lot come with standard smart keys or at least it’s offered as an option. “Traditional car keys will likely become obsolete and be replaced by technologies offering even greater security and convenience,” says John Nielsen, AAA director of automotive engineering and repair. “Motorists will need to adapt with the technology to avoid the hassle and expense of smart key replacements.” The benefits of having smartphones control the majority of vehicular functionalities are apparent, but one has to wonder if the “spare key” will also be replaced by a backup handset battery. Astrobiologists discover fossils, extraterrestrial life confirmed? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/astrobiologists-discover-fossils- extraterrestrial-life-confirmed-/19236.html March 12th, 2013 Astrobiologists have been studying a meteorite sample that hit Sri Lanka last year and have now announced that they have found fossils of extraterrestrial microbes in the rock. Astrobiologists in the United Kingdom have confirmed what may be the most important biological discovery in human history. As such, it must be met with harsh scrutiny and a very skeptical eye; but if their findings are true, they have just found solid evidence of extraterrestrial life. In December of 2012, a meteorite struck Sri Lanka, and upon initial examination by the Sri Lanka medical research institute, the meteorite was found to be containing fossilized siliceous microalgae; diatoms. As the scientific world viewed the discovery with skepticism, the samples were sent to Cardiff University in Wales, where they have been examined closer. Now, the researchers in Cardiff have come out with the announcement that yes, indeed, the rock is a meteorite of extraterrestrial origin, and it definitely contains fossilized biological structures. The supposed fossil findings The researchers tested the rock in two different ways: They tested it to ensure that it did contain the fossilized algae, and then ensured that the rock couldn’t have been terrestrially contaminated, or of terrestrial origin. The research team ultimately discovered that the sample had low levels of nitrogen (common in modern-earthly organisms) but also oxygen isotopes that confirmed the rock was not from earth. As the fossils were also fused with the rock, they see this as solid evidence that the fossils did not come from here.
  • March 12th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Obviously, with such a bold claim, the sample needs to be tested and confirmed by many more research teams before we can truly believe in the results; it’s somewhat concerning that the peer reviewed publication which published the findings, the Journal of Cosmology, has come under critical scrutiny in recent years involving other claims of fossilized life in meteors. Their website also looks quite unprofessional, and that usually says a lot. The fossilized diatom in all its glory. credit: journalofcosmology.com One possibility as suggested by extremetech’s John Hewitt, is that the microbe fossils may simply look like they’re biological while not actually being fossils. He suggests that such strong proof is more difficult to believe without previously discovered evidence which might have hinted that this finding would one day arrive. If the claim turns out to be true however, and they would be difficult (though not impossible) to fake, it speaks strongly for panspermia, the idea that life on earth was either accidentally or intentionally created as a result of extraterrestrial life contaminating it. More importantly though, it would tell us that we are not alone in the universe, and that the stars might be teeming with life. University predicts personalities based on Facebook "likes" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/university-predicts-personalities- based-on-facebook-likes-/19235.html March 12th, 2013 Researchers at the Psychometric Centre of Cambridge University have come up with a method to predict someone's personality based on what they “like” on Facebook. Researchers at the Psychometric Centre of Cambridge University have come up with a method to predict someone's personality based on what they “like” on Facebook. Unsurprisingly, those who like Mozart are considered to have a high IQ. More surprising, however, is the fact that liking Morgan Freeman's voice or curly fries is also seen as indicative of above average intelligence. Michael Kosinksi, operations director for the research, suggested that more intelligent people appear to like “quirky” things, which may explain the attraction to the oddly-shaped fries. Some “likes” are obvious clues to beliefs or political persuasion, such as those liking Barack Obama usually being Democrats. Others provide a deeper inkling into a person's mind and emotions, such as liking comedic author Terry Pratchett being seen as an indication of shyness. Apparently there are 986,000 intelligent people in the world. The university worked with Microsoft to compile and analyse a mind-boggling nine million “likes,” giving them a good picture of who people are, and highlighting the lax privacy on the dominant social network. The study was able to deduce if someone came from a broken home or a secure family, with people from the former group tending to like emotional phrases like “I'm sorry I love you,” while those with a more secure background tended to like more dismissive statuses, such as “ Watching Peoples’ Lives Fall Apart Via Status Updates And News Feeds.” This information will no doubt be sought by advertisers, who already spend millions building profiles of people, but the researchers said it could also be used by recruitment firms to accept or reject people before even going for an interview. Of course, these are only patterns, and there will always be people who defy the trend. We're off to “like” curly fries then.
  • March 12th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Musicians in dispute over Harlem Shake Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/musicians-in-dispute-over-harlem- shake/19234.html March 12th, 2013 The popular Harlem Shake phenomenon has become a source of contention between musicians, who claim that their voices were used in the song without their permission. The popular Harlem Shake phenomenon has become a source of contention between musicians, who claim that their voices were used in the song without their permission. Hector Delgado, a reggae singer, and Jayson Musson, a rapper, want compensation from Mad Decent Records, the label behind the song, for the unauthorised use of their voices. The musicians claim that a sample of Delgado singing “Con los terroristas” was taken from a 2006 single, while another sample of Musson shouting “Do the Harlem Shake” is taken from a 2001 rap by Musson's group Plastic Little. The original video that began the meme While sampling is allowed in musical creations, the owner of the sampled work is entitled to receive royalties. Apparently the record label is being co-operative, but a deal has yet to be made. More people may come forward to cash in on the song too, as DJ Bauuer, otherwise known as Harry Rodrigues, admitted in a Reddit chat that he found the female Spanish vocal used in the song on the internet. Harlem Shake went viral in early February, encouraging thousands of users to upload their own version of a dance to the first 30 seconds of the song. EA and Visceral Games launch Dead Space 3 Awakened digital expansion Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ea-and-visceral-games-launch-dead- space-3-awakened-digital-expansion/19233.html March 12th, 2013 EA and Visceral Games have launched the first digital expansion for Dead Space 3, entitled Awakened, adding new content for single player and co-op modes. EA and Visceral Games have launched the first digital expansion for Dead Space 3, entitled Awakened, adding new content for single player and co-op modes. Awakened continues the story of Dead Space 3, letting players play as Isaac and Carver, who have been left for dead on the ruined planet of Tau Volantis. Gamers will be tasked with surviving on the planet, repairing the Terra Nova, escaping the planet, and then finding their way back to Earth, all while the Necromorphs attack. A Dead Space game would be nothing without the psychological element, with images of the Unitologists driving the men to madness, blurring the line between what is imagination and reality. “Dead Space 3 Awakened is some of the most creative and unsettling content the team has ever created -- it’s really going to test gamers’ psyche,” said Steve Papoutsis, VP and GM of Visceral Games and Executive Producer on Dead Space 3. “We’ve put Isaac and now Carver through a lot in the franchise, but these seasoned vets are experts when it comes to taking down the terror. We can’t wait to see who is brave enough to venture further into the horrors that lie within Awakened.” Dead Space 3 is available now in North America on the PlayStation Network for $9.99 and in Europe on 13 March. It is available immediately throughout the world on Origin.com for $9.99. It is also available on Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points.
  • March 12th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Iran enforces nationwide block on all VPNs Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iran-enforces-nationwide-block-on- all-vpns/19228.html March 12th, 2013 Iranian officials have recently enforced a nationwide ban on the use of all virtual private networks (VPNs) inside the country. The enforcement comes just three months ahead of Iran’s national elections. The use of VPNs is quite common in parts of the world where censorship is heavy such as in Saudi Arabia, China and Iran. Since the 1979 Iran Islamic revolution the government has been ruled by a very strict theocratic state. Now Iran is stepping up enforcement by enacting a nationwide ban on the use of all VPNs. Access to the Internet in Iran is heavily restricted with very strict filters. The government prevents most users from accessing sites on the Internet that Iranian leaders feel are detrimental to their nation, may be considered religiously offensive or even criminal, such as pornography website access. Reuters recently reported that an official by the name of Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard, who serves as the head of Iran’s Information and Communications tech committee, confirmed the ban on VPNs. "Within the last few days illegal VPN ports in the country have been blocked," Sobhani-Fard said. "Only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used." Reuters also reported that users in Iran have anonymously protested the block with messages on Facebook. However, the fact that some are using Facebook shows that many have found ways around the block with the use of other types of software. Not all VPNs are considered illegal in Iran and are oftentimes used by those involved in businesses that work outside the country. Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi who works as secretary of Iran’s Supreme Cyberspace Council, said in January of this year that some registered VPNs were legal for banking institutions and other groups that need access outside the restrictions. This recent mandantory enforcement of a block on VPNs is the first massive effort done on the part of the Iranian government to this extent. Furthermore, many are worried that the block will end all access to popular sites such as Yahoo, Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook that many Iranians feel is useful to them. There has also been talk that Iran might be making its citizens switch to a more domestic based ‘Internet’ of sorts, which would essentially put a total block on accessing the World Wide Web all together. The Iranian government’s total ban on VPNs is obviously an attempt to prevent any future protests before the June 14 nationwide elections. In 2009 the elections caused some rioting and protests throughout the country and inside the capital city of Tehran. Many protesters during the 2009 election claimed that the voting process was rigged and many became so violent that the military was called in to suppress it. Many young people during the protest made use of the Internet with sites like Twitter and Facebook to get their message out. Google and Motorola's next big thing is called "NXT" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-and-motorola-s-next-big- thing-is-called-nxt-/19229.html March 12th, 2013 While Apple and Samsung are huffing and puffing at each other in public, Google is busy at work behind the scene brewing up perhaps the successor to the Nexus 4. Rumored as the “NXT” (pronounced “Next”), the new Motorola Android smartphone will be one of the few to boast Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 4i processor. Per various sources, the Motorola NXT will be a 4.7-inch device that will sport a 16MP rear shooter along with a 5MP front facing cam.
  • March 12th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 As Google now owns Motorola Mobility, there’s no doubt that the NXT will probably be one of the most optimized devices to run Android. Despite all the hubbubs about the raw powerful components that go into making up flagship Android handsets, one of Android’s weaknesses is that OEMs often neglect to tune and tweak its OS to run well on certain hardware. Android 5.0, or “Key Lime Pie”, will power the NXT, and both Google’s latest mobile OS and the NXT are expected to make a splash at this year’s I/O in May. As for pricings of the Motorola NXT, one can only hope that Google will once again be kind and use its Nexus 4 pricing strategies. Update: The above image has been confirmed as fake, hence, whatever Google and Motorola are cooking up is still a mystery. Legitimate Samsung Galaxy S IV images leaked right before official debut? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/legitimate-samsung-galaxy-s-iv- images-leaked-right-before-official-debut-/19227.html March 12th, 2013 Samsung’s next flagship smartphone isn't due for the show floor until the end of this week, but before its official debut some interesting images of the device have popped up—an official teaser, and some other not so official pictures. As noted earlier by a slew of ongoing rumors, the Galaxy S IV will boast a larger, almost tablet-esque, 4.99-inch 1080p display compared to its predecessor, the S III. As for the processor, it’s more than likely that the S IV will sport a quad-core, but the overly hyped Exynos 5 Octa (an “8-core” CPU) might also be a possibility. Another exciting rumor is that the S IV is purported to feature “Eye- Tracking” technology, which enables the device to detect the user’s eye movement and, therefore, helping the device to automatically respond to user’s in-app needs. Supposedly, the S IV will be available for public consumption starting in mid to late April for Asia and Europe, while North America will probably follow in May or June. It is also worth noting that the NA Galaxy S IV might feature a Qualcomm solution instead of Samsung’s in-house chip. The variation in hardware might be very similar to that of Samsung’s previous Galaxy S iteration. Regardless of what rumors people are spreading, Samsung will confirm or refute any speculations soon enough. So before its official debut, here are some pictures for your eyes to feast on:
  • March 12th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Lenovo K900 Intel Clover Trail+ smartphone to be priced at just $480? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-k900-intel-clover-trail- smartphone-to-be-priced-at-just-480-/19226.html March 12th, 2013 Lenovo is rumored to launch its Intel-powered K900 smartphone in April for an extremely competitive price, but there are still no words on when or if U.S. market will officially get the device. The K900, which was shown off at CES, is a 5.5-inch 1080p device featuring a slim, 6.9mm, profile and Intel’s Atom processor clocked at 2GHz. Underneath the hood of the Lenovo phablet are also 2GB GB, 16GB of ROM, and a 13MP rear shooter. Spec-wise, the K900 certainly seems like a respectable smartphone, but the main point of emphasis is that the device will probably be an exclusive to only a few markets. Intel is methodically making its way to emerging mobile markets, and the Lenovo K900 represents just that. In fact, it seems like Intel is strictly targeting markets like China and Austria with its smartphone products. However, Intel is claiming that it’s making progress with its Atom platform in terms of pure horsepower and energy efficiency. When and if Intel can catch up to its ARM competitors remains to be seen, but that aside, according to an unnamed Lenovo source, the K900 smartphone will be priced at just 2999 Yuan (~$480). The Clover Trail+ Lenovo handset hasn’t been announced for the U.S. market, so we’ll see if consumers abroad will have to dig through private channels to get their hands on the somewhat exclusive Intel toy. Assassin's Creed 4's whaling sparks controversy with PETA Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/assassin-s-creed-4-s-whaling-sparks- controversy-with-peta/19224.html
  • March 12th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 March 12th, 2013 PETA has sparked yet another video game-related controversy, this time aiming at the whale hunting featured in the Ubisoft's recently announced Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Ubisoft's newly announced Assassin's Creed game has recently come under fire from animal rights group PETA, who targets the game's supposed whaling scenes, labeling them as "disgraceful". PETA made the following statement to VentureBeat concerning the game's depiction of whaling: “Whaling – that is, shooting whales with harpoons and leaving them to struggle for an hour or more before they die or are hacked apart while they are still alive – may seem like something out of the history books, but this bloody industry still goes on today in the face of international condemnation, and it’s disgraceful for any game to glorify it. PETA encourages video game companies to create games that celebrate animals – not games that promote hurting and killing them.” PETA has a history of targeting video games, and in the past the animal rights group has focused on titles like Super Meat Boy, Cooking Mama, and even Nintendo's iconic Mario has felt pressure from the group Black Flag is set in the early 18th century, and during that time--that is the 1700's--whaling was a prevalent and profitable industry. Ubisoft has recently made an official comment on their Google Plus page for Assassin's Creed, which can be found below: "History is our playground in Assassin’s Creed. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is a work of fiction that depicts the real events during the Golden Era of Pirates. We do not condone illegal whaling, just as we don’t condone a pirate lifestyle of poor hygiene, plundering, hijacking ships, and over the legal limit drunken debauchery." The whaling controversy has also been featured in IGN's Up at Noon show, which can be found here. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is scheduled to release on Oct. 29, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC. For more information please visit the game's official website.
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Purina Friskies creates tablet game for cats Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/purina-friskies-creates-tablet-game- for-cats/19257.html March 14th, 2013 Cats are not just for Christmas or YouTube videos—they can make good gaming partners too. Providing you have a tablet computer for them to play on. Cats are not just for Christmas or YouTube videos—they can make good gaming partners too. Providing you have a tablet computer for them to play on. Purina Friskies has launched Happy Wings, a game designed for cats, where the feline companions can try to capture as many hummingbirds, moths, dragonflies, and other winged creatures. The game responds to how agile the cat is, increasing the pace and making it more challenging if they are catching a lot of critters. Handy for training them to catch real-life bugs, exercise their paw-to-eye coordination, or just to keep them entertained. Surprisingly, this is not the first tablet game for cats. Friskies released six previous ones and is even hosting a Hackaton to encourage developers to craft more games for cats, with a $15,000 reward for the grand prize. All the games are available on iOS, and the newer ones, like Happy Wings, are also available on Android. Of course, cats have never been too shy to jump on your keyboard or try to take a swipe at your monitor or tablet screen, but now you can keep them occupied with some purpose-built gaming. You might want to invest in a screen cover, however. New study advises against sex in space Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-study-advises-against-sex-in- space/19255.html March 14th, 2013 Experiments on plants show that changes in gravity damage cells and cause ‘traffic jam’ on vital highways of the organism. Scientists from University of Montreal discovered a series of harmful effects in plant reproduction system under conditions of low gravity, proving the theory that terrestrial organisms have adapted for reproduction under the Earth’s gravitational forces.
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Their study showed that changes in gravity result to disruption of cellular ‘highways’ that control growth and functionality of the male reproductive organs in plants. According to Professor Anja Geitmann, head of the scientists’ team, “…these findings offer new insight into how life evolved on Earth and are significant with regards to human health, as traffic jam on these highways that also exist in human cells can cause cancer and illness such as Alzheimer’s.” So far, the only Earthling successfully reproducing in space was the cockroach Hope back in 2007. Although, the urban myth about human reproduction experiments in space still circulates, scientists like NASA’s biophysicist Tore Straume, warn that any female conceived in space would be sterile due to high radiation levels. Even low doses of radiation can kill egg cells in a female fetus. Until 2023, when the NASA’s colony on Mars start getting populated, we have time to ponder on our sexual space problems. Microsoft blames overheating for Hotmail and Outlook outage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-blames-overheating-for- hotmail-and-outlook-outage/19256.html March 14th, 2013 Microsoft has blamed overheating at one of its datacentres for Tuesday's outage of Hotmail and Outlook.com, promising it is implementing changes to prevent this happening again. Google's Android manager Andy Rubin steps down Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-s-android-manager-andy- rubin-steps-down/19254.html March 14th, 2013 Andy Rubin, the guy behind Google's wildly successful mobile operating system Android, is stepping down from his post, handing the important role to another. Andy Rubin, the guy behind Google's wildly successful mobile operating system Android, is stepping down from his post, handing the important role to another. Sundar Pichai, who ran the division of Google responsible for Chrome, Google Drive and Gmail, will take Rubin's place. Part of the reason for his appointment is the merger of the Android team with Pichai's existing Chrome team, which could see further integration of the key Google software. In many ways Google will be hoping to emulate the success of Android with the Chrome operating system, which has so far failed to gain anywhere near the same level of popularity. Both platforms do similar things and are potential competitors for the future, or might even be merged into a single product. “Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android — and with a really strong leadership team in place — Andy's decided it's time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “Andy, more moonshots please!” There is no word yet on where Rubin will go, but it looks like he's staying with the company. Presumably the head honchos will want him overseeing the next big thing for Google, and that is likely to be Google Glass. If Rubin can help steer Glass into market dominance like he and his team did with Android, then Google will have another winner on its hands.
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Valve says it's not involved in Xi3's Piston project Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/valve-says-it-s-not-involved-in-xi3-s- piston-project/19253.html March 14th, 2013 Some seem to think that the Xi3 Piston is actually a pet project that Valve is heavily involved in, with some even thinking that it’s the studio’s rumored “Steam Box.” As it turns out, Valve has come clean about the whole Valve- Piston thing, and has admitted that it currently has no involvement in the Xi3 modular PC “game console.” “Valve began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year, but currently has no involvement in any of theirs,” said Dough Lombardi, Valve’s head of marketing. Now that Valve has distanced itself from Xi3, it’s time to figure out what the heck a Steam Box is. Purportedly, there will be multiple Steam Boxes, and one of which will be offered to consumers directly from Valve. Furthermore, Gabe Newell has also said that Valve will be offering its Steam Box at a competitive price. So if Xi3’s $1000 Piston rig is competitive, we all might as well make our own Steam Box. So in essence, what we do know at the moment is that Valve will have its own Steam Box, while other manufacturers will probably pitch in and make different variations of a box that is optimized for Big Picture Mode. Xi3’s Piston will come with a 3.2GHz AMD Trinity quad-core, a Radeon 7000-series GPU, 8GB of RAM, a SDD drive, and, as aforementioned, a price tag of approximately $1,000. Therefore, other Steam Boxes may also have similar specs, but hopefully for a lot less. Perhaps a “Steam Box” is just some sort of certification of approval from Valve. Let’s see what type of “competitive” pricings Valve can give these PC game boxes, and whether or not the hardware is worth an investment. Newell said that Valve plans to seed out prototypes this year for feedback, so we’ll probably get more details then. 28 million viewers flocked to Twitch in February to watch live games Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/28-million-viewers-flocked-to- twitch-in-february-to-watch-live-games/19249.html March 14th, 2013 If you’re an online gamer, chances are you know a bit about what Twitch is. No, it’s not the type of spasm you get for gaming too long—though, one would think that the entity’s name was derived from such a disorder. Twitch is actually a site dedicated to live streaming of gamers playing various video games, and you might be surprised as to how many people actually tune into e-sport matches and the likes via Twitch. According to data released from Twitch, the streaming site attracted 28 million unique viewers in the month of February alone. These viewers also watched more than 600,000 live broadcasts of other gamers, and on an average each watched more than 90 minutes of video per day. Not bad for a website that was launched only recently. (Just a few of the games people are streaming gameplays of on Twitch.) “Twitch launched in June of 2011 and our growth ever since has exceeded even my expectations, which were not small,” says Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. “A year-and-a-half later, the community of broadcasters and viewers has multiplied hundreds of percent.” The online gaming community has flocked to sites like Twitch to promote their teams, brands, and even individuals. Unlike YouTube, Twitch has created a platform specifically for gamers, and companies like Electronic Arts, Sony, and Activision are quickly jumping on the advertising potentials that Twitch has. Twitch possesses what many would refer to as “word of mouth marketing” potential—meaning, gamers who can entertain their viewers can draw interests to certain games that even the publisher’s marketing department isn’t capable of. For the most part, word of mouth marketing is much
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 cheaper than putting up a huge billboard every couple of miles. Steve Jobs manga coming March 25 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steve-jobs-manga-coming- march-25/19247.html March 14th, 2013 The beginning of Steve Jobs is perhaps one of the most interesting stories of any tech entrepreneurs, so why not make a manga based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the famed Apple icon? As it turns out, there might be a manga based on Steve Jobs after all. A manga artist by the name of Mari Yamazaki is reportedly brainstorming some ideas for a manga based off Isaacson’s take on Jobs’ life. Better yet, there seems to also be a release date for the Manga, as Kotaku is reporting that the Jobs manga will be available in the Kiss comics section starting March 25. (Not bad.) So far, there’s only a rough manga sketch of Jobs, no actual comic strips yet. As for the title, it’s eloquently dubbed as “Steve Jobs”. Google admits it stole data, fined a petty $7 million Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-admits-it-stole-data-fined-a- petty-7-million/19244.html March 14th, 2013 The fine may be small for the likes of Google; nevertheless, the company will have to pay a $7 million fine to settle a 38 state investigation into Google intercepting people’s wireless Internet during drive-bys of Google Map cars. On Tuesday it was reported by the Associated Press reported that Google would be paying $7 million (U.S.) in a lawsuit that covers 38 states along with the District of Columbia. The company stole the data when Google map cars drove through neighborhoods and a rogue program would intercept data transmitted on Wi-Fi networks from 2008 until early 2010. Google said they ceased the data grabs in May of 2010 when they admitted they were stealing the transmissions over Wi- Fi networks that were set up without passwords or little to no security in place. Google claimed that the data gathered was really unintentional and was done by a sole engineer who had rigged a data-collection program that was supposed to collect basic anonymous data about Wi-Fi networks. Even though Google admitted that they conducted their own inquiry into the data theft, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled last year that some Google supervisors did know about the employee’s decision to alter the data collection technique. While the network spying was not necessarily the intention of Google as a whole it still caused uproar among people whose data may have been taken. Google has apologized concerning the breach of trust, but insisted they still had not broken any laws with the rogue program. Curiously, the individual who created the program to steal the data has remained unnamed in any of the litigation. As part of the multistate lawsuit Google is to destroy all of the data gathered from the networks unless any pending lawsuits require some of the data to be saved. Niki Fenwick, who serves as an official spokeswoman for Google, spoke about the agreement on Tuesday saying that Google has worked hard to respects people’s privacy, but that with this particular matter the company had failed. She assured people that the company has addressed that particular issue so that it never happens again. In other parts of the world, other countries are just as angry over the whole ordeal. In Canada it was reported that Google obtained full names of users logged on the unsecured networks along with their private telephone numbers. France said they found very similar problems and even an entire private conversation between individuals that was saved for no apparent reason other than wild curiosity concerning the sexual nature of the text. Critics of the lawsuit see the damages as nothing more than an insult to the victim's intelligence. The amount awarded in this lawsuit amounted to a mild scolding for a company as powerful and massive as Google who will amass around $61 billion (U.S.) in revenue this year alone. According to a recent Associated Press report the $7 million fine Google is to pay amounts to about one hour’s worth of their daily revenue. Weapon-maker proposes cheap nanotech method to filter salt water Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/weapon-maker-proposes-cheap- nanotech-method-to-filter-salt-water/19245.html
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 March 14th, 2013 Lockheed Martin Corp, a company constructing jet fighters and missiles for the Pentagon, has come up with a new, economic method to remove salt from seawater. Before the foreshadowed global water crisis this is good news, even if they come from a weapon manufacturer. The method is simple. Membranes of graphene (pure carbon) filter the seawater, producing clean, drinkable water with minimum cost and energy expenditure. The holes on the membranes are one nanometer wide (1nm = 1x10-9 m), allowing the water pass through but blocking the salt molecules. These membranes are so thin, only one atom in thickness, that it takes minimum energy to push the seawater through. As John Stetson, the chief engineer of the project, explained, these membranes are 500 times thinner and a thousand times stronger than the best commercial filters available. On the other hand, they only need one hundredth of the energy and pressure required to filter salt than conventional methods. Such a technique could save millions of dollars to underdeveloped countries suffering from water shortage and offer a promising solution to the increasing global water crisis. As the report mentioned, “Between now and 2040, fresh water availability will not keep up with demand and water problems will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate electricity.” Crucial M4 256GB SSD Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crucial-m4-256gb-ssd- review/19243.html March 13th, 2013 The Crucial M4, which made its debut almost 2 years ago, is one of the most popular drives in the market. Is it still a top contender? SSDs are getting more and more appealing by the day. Already nowadays their retail pricing is affordable for most home users and gamers who only require capacities up to 256GB for their primary HDD. Crucial is one of the most active players in the SSD market, which is only natural as the company's focus is on memory-related products, usually those designed and produced by Micron, as Crucial actually is their subsidiary. In this review we will examine the 256GB version of the M4, currently the fastest 2.5" drive offered by Crucial, based on a well-renowned Marvell controller. We should also note that the M4 has been available for nearly two years now, which makes it the longest living SSD model in history up to this date. Manufacturer features and specifications Features • Integrated 8-channel single chip Controller • Self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology (SMART) command set • RAID Support • Average Access Time < 0.1 ms • Data Reliability: Built-in EDC/ECC Environmental • Power Consumption (Idle): < 65 mW • Power Consumption (Active): 0.15W • Operating Temperature: 0°C ~ +70°C • Storage Temperature: -40°C ~ +85°C • Max Shock Resistance: 1500G Specifications Form Factor 2.5" Memory Components MLC Sustained Sequential Read Up to 500 MB/s (SATA 6Gb/ s) Sustained Sequential Write Up to 260 MB/s (SATA 6Gb/ s) 4KB Random Read Up to 45K IOPS 4KB Random Write Up to 50K IOPS Width 69.85mm
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Depth 100.5mm Height 9.5mm Weight 75g MTBF 1,200,000 hours Mars once suitable for life says NASA Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mars-once-suitable-for-life-says- nasa/19240.html March 13th, 2013 Just prior to having to put the Mars rover Curiosity into a slumber mode due to a bad software upgrade, the plucky explorer had completed one of its first serious missions - drilling into the surface of Mars and then analyzing the collected sample. One of the big questions that NASA, and the world, wanted to find an answer to with the most recent rover exploration of the Mars was if the planet could have supported life at some point in its past. It was this question that scientists at NASA were hoping that Curiosity would be able to answer after analyzing samples that it recently collected on the planet’s surface. NASA already stated that the planet could have had microbial life due to the discovery of an ancient streambed discovered by Curiosity. The sample was collected from a location on Mars called Yellowknife Bay in the Gale Crater was found to contain sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon. They also noticed that the sample contained a mixture of oxidized, less-oxidized, and non-oxidized chemicals that led scientists to believe that these could be good energy sources for some of the microbes we have here on Earth. An interesting point also surfaced at the press conference to announce the results of the drilling analysis. John Grotzinger, a project scientist at the Mars Science Lab at the California Institute of Technology, said that with these results, the mission has moved from being one of searching for water on Mars to one of finding habitable, or formerly habitable, environments. New Batman Arkham 3 game coming in 2013? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-batman-arkham-3-game- coming-in-2013-/19212.html March 13th, 2013 A new title in the Batman Arkham series is believed to be in the works by Warner Bros. Interactive, and a recent re- naming of the franchise's official Facebook site adds more credit to the possibility. The official Facebook page for Warner Bros. Interactive's highly acclaimed Batman series has recently went through a change, being edited from "Batman: Arkham City" to "Batman: Arkham". That in itself doesn't point too much, but when you consider the confirmation made in February by Time Warner CFO John K. Martin during a quarterly earnings call that a yet- unnamed "Batman Arkham 3" was in the works, this may point to something substantial. "And we also have a strong games release this year, which will include the next release in the Batman Arkham franchise. So all in all, we expect Warners to post another very strong year in 2013. And with a little luck, the year should be as good or maybe even a little bit better than 2012." -- Time Warner Management Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript The mention in the transcript itself of a new Batman Arkham game is very brief, but it's still clear, and some gaming publications believe that this new title could be the silver- age Batman game that was rumored last year. Additionally, it has been rumored that Rocksteady Studios-- the development team that's worked on the past two Batman Arkham titles--won't be developing Batman Arkham 3. Instead it's believed that the Canadian studio Warner Bros. Montreal will head up development, yet this has yet to be officially confirmed and still remains rumor.
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Due to the success of the previous two releases in Warner Bros.' franchise--Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman; Arkham City--the possibility of a new release is quite realistic, especially given the brief mention within the transcript itself. It will be interesting to see what changes in game mechanics and features that are implemented in Batman: Arkham 3, and what direction the story goes in. Many gamers out there would definitely enjoy an old-fashioned silver-age adventure that explores the Dark Knight's early history, and there is a veritable library of comic book source material to glean ideas from. We'll have more information on these developments as time goes on, and it is believed that Batman: Arkham 3 may be released for both current and next-gen systems, depending on its planned release. Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey raises $1.5 million via Kickstarter Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dreamfall-chapters-the-longest- journey-raises-1.5-million-via-kickstarter/19217.html March 13th, 2013 Red Thread Games is bent on bringing a brand new adventure set in the fan-favorite point-and-click adventure Dreamfall series, and the game's recent whopping Kickstarter success shows that fans are just as eager for a new Dreamfall. Red Thread Games has embarked on a prestigious journey with the creation and development of Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey, and the studio has just received substantial funding via Kickstarter from gamers and fans who believe in their 3D adventure game. The game in development is actually a sequel to the critically acclaimed Norwegian point-and-click adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, and will incorporate traditional story elements as well as infuse the game with classic 3D point-and-click mechanics that were hallmarks of the originals. Red Thread Games is a Norwegian independent game studio that aims to bring a sequel to the fan-favorite franchise into the modern age. Below you can find an official description of the game itself: "Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey is a 3D adventure game for Mac, Linux and Windows PC that takes the player on an epic journey across the twin worlds of Stark and Arcadia; from a futuristic cyberpunk vision of our world, to a realm of powerful magic and dangerous beauty. With Dreamfall Chapters, we will finally continue the darkly magical story that began in the critically acclaimed and award-winning adventures The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. Independently developed by Red Thread Games, this project brings back the core team behind Dreamfall, including Ragnar Tørnquist, creator of The Longest Journey saga." Dreamfall's Kickstarter project was successfully funded, overshooting its set goal of $850,000 with a total of $1,538,425 raised across over twenty thousand backers. It is also worth noting that Red Thread is composed of the original dev team behind the first PC releases, and it will be interesting to see how they blend the hallmark game mechanics set in place by the previous games into an all- new modern PC adventure. Red Thread has also submitted Dreamfall onto Steam Greenlight where it has garnered positive feedback and anticipation from a growing fan base. In any case, many gamers across the world are looking forward to a new adventure in the distinguished Dreamfall series: the game's whopping Kickstarter success is proof that fans are eager for more. Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey is planned for a release sometime in November of 2014 for PC, Mac and Linux. For more information please visit the game's official
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 website, and be sure to check the game's official Kickstarter video below. Nintendo 3DS XL now available in Mint White flavor Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nintendo-3ds-xl-now-available-in- mint-white-flavor/19232.html March 13th, 2013 Starting April 18, 2013, new Nintendo 3DS XL units will be optionally available in its Mint White color version, plus one more bonus package for a certain popular 3DS sim game in Japan… Ever thought that the recent new color designs for regular Nintendo 3DS units were unfair for potential 3DS XL owners? Yeah, we did thought so too. But we need not worry anymore, because Nintendo actually has all the color themes evened out for both versions. Starting April 18, 2013, new Nintendo 3DS XL units would now be optionally available in the new Mint White version. As an added bonus to the new 3DS XL color version, Nintendo also plans to provide another separate Mint White package that is pre-installed with the latest Tomodachi Collection Shinseikatsu (new life) game, perhaps in celebration to what is considered as the most popular 3DS sim game in Japan. Instead of being purely mint-white however, the alternate Mint White 3DS XL package will be available in a base white design that is filled with mint white- colored thought balloons, as shown here. With the addition of the new upcoming Mint White color version, there are now a total of 7 different color versions for the Nintendo 3DS XL. The standard Mint White Nintendo 3DS XL and the Tomodachi Collection Pack/Bundle version will be available in Japan for 18,900 yen (197 USD) and 22,800 yen (237 USD) respectively. Source: 4Gamer (JP) GOG.com offering 80% discount for bundling 5 games Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gog.com-offering-80-discount-for- bundling-5-games/19241.html March 13th, 2013 Steam isn’t the only place to grab some computer games at some very attractive prices. Although GOG.com lacks somewhat in terms of selections, the site is currently running a “pick 5 games and save 80%” promotion that might convince you to downsize that burger meal order to a medium this week. The deal is self-explanatory. Pick 5 games, and you’ll save 80% at check out. Some titles aren’t worth too much attention, but games like Deponia, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, and Alan Wake are definitely a bargain if you pick up some other $2 titles. Title Price ($) Capsized 2.00 Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers 2.00 The Witcher: Enhanced Edition 2.00 A New Beginning – Final Cut 2.00 PID 2.00 Puddle 2.00 Legend of Grimrock 3.00 The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena 3.00 Inquisitor 3.00 Defender’s Quest 3.00 Alan Wake’s American Nightmare 3.00 Deponia 4.00 Runaway 3: A Twist of Fate 4.00 Lucius 4.00 Divinity 2: Developer’s Cut 4.00 King’s Bounty: Crossworlds GOTY 5.00 Back to the Future: The Game 5.00 Alan Wake 5.00 Sam and Max Save the World 5.00 Sam and Max Beyond Time and Space 5.00
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 There’s still about a week for you to pick out what you want your bundle to look like, so there’s no rush. Tesla to repay U.S. loans five years ahead of schedule Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tesla-to-repay-u.s.-loans-five-years- ahead-of-schedule/19230.html March 13th, 2013 In a rather surprising announcement from the all-electric car company, Tesla said they are making plans to repay their government loans 5 years ahead of schedule. Tesla received approximately 465 million U.S. dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance the company. Tesla Motors received approximately 465 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2011 to help finance with the growth of the company. Now the company says they are doing well enough that they will be able to repay that loan five years ahead of their previous schedule. During Tesla’s annual report on March 7, 2013, they have amended their previous agreement and approved to repay their loans earlier than expected. According to Tesla’s Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja, he said they’ll begin repayment in 2015 and then make a lump sum payment for the remaining balance sometime in 2017. The original loan agreement had Tesla repaying by 2022. Back in September of 2012, Tesla hinted that they were working out a way to make the repayment back to the DOE. This latest announcement came as a bit of a surprise to many and speaks clearly how well the company is operating. One big reason for the early pay off was the 3 million shares Tesla would have to give the U.S. government if the loan was not paid in full by the allotted time schedule. While the company is doing rather well, paying off the loan early was also a big incentive for the company since the value of those 3 million shares could be worth quite a sum of money in 8-9 years. Tesla’s latest production model is the 4-door Sedan Model S, which was awarded the 2013 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine. The Model S was also Tesla’s first all- electric sedan model built and marketed from the ground up that is available to a mass market. Motor Trend said (in reference to choosing the Tesla Model S) that it was the first time that a unanimous panel of judges chose a car to be car of the year. Tesla says they will be producing their first SUV beginning in the fall of 2014 at their Fremont, California plant. There will be about 15 thousand Model X SUV crossovers built in 2015, and if sales do well Tesla plans to bring that number up. Acer launches updated C7 Chromebook, boasts more RAM and improved battery life Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/acer-launches-updated-c7- chromebook-boasts-more-ram-and-improved-battery-life/19239.html March 12th, 2013 Acer has launched an update to its $199 C7 Chromebook with the C710-2055, which offers better battery life, slightly beefier hardware, but comes with a higher price tag. While its predecessor offered only around 4 hours of battery life, the C710-2055’s has been significantly improved. Acer claims that its updated C7 Chromebook will provide 6 hours of run time on a single charge. Speaking of improvements, the new C7 also has 4GB of RAM compared to 2GB in the older model. Both old and new C7 share, however, the same 11.6-inch 1366x768 display along with an Intel Celeron 847 Sandy Bridge processor. Internally, there is a 320GB HDD with 100GB of Google cloud storage as a supplement. The C710-2055 Chromebook is priced at $279, and while it costs more than the previous-gen C7, the added RAM and extra battery life are more than enough to justify dropping some more coins. Acer says that its C7 Chromebooks are targetted at casual users and the educational sectors. So just like any other Chromebooks, it’s either you’ll like it for what it is or hate it cause it’s not what you expected. If the later is
  • March 14th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 the case, there might also be a Linux/Ubuntu option floating around somewhere... just saying.
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Google says adios to Adblocker Plus from Play Store Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-says-adios-to-adblocker-plus- from-play-store/19260.html March 15th, 2013 In a rather strange move, Google has kicked fan favorite Adblocker Plus from the Google Play store on the same day that they announce the closing of Reader, their web-based RSS newsreader. While everyone was distracted the other day by Google’s announcement to shutter Google Reader, the company may have tried to slide another questionable move under the radar; a move that could end up angering an even larger segment of their consumers, and potentially be bad news for Chrome users as well. So what has Google done? Well, they booted AdBlocker Plus, one of the most popular ad blocking apps, from the Google Play Store. This wasn't limited to just AdBlocker Plus as similar apps were also pulled. AdBlock Plus co-founder, Till Faida, believes that the timing of these events is no accident and only didn't happen sooner because AdBlocker Plus is one of the most popular ad blocking extensions for Chrome. However, whatever stand-off there might have been that held Google back from disallowing the program in the browser may have been removed in November of 2012 when they released AdBlocker Plus for Android. The thing that made this app different is that users weren't required to root their phones in order to use it, which made it a very attractive option for Android users and a much bigger pain for Google. Shortly after its release, the app was blocked by Google on devices running Android 4.2.2 as a way to diffuse any popularity that the app might be able to gain. Faida believes that this kind of action doesn't bode well for Google Chrome users and that this removal of the app from the Play Store is a test run to see what the reaction will be, and that if Google can get away with it slashing the AdBlock Plus extension in Chrome. He also thinks that this action proves Google cares more making money than consumer interests. Adblock users and Faida are still waiting to hear from Google regarding what is going on, but don’t count on Google apologizing for dropping the useful Chrome extension. National Vulnerability Database, ironically, gets hacked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/national-vulnerability-database- ironically-gets-hacked/19259.html March 15th, 2013 Just because an organization maintains something like the “National Vulnerability Database”, it does not exclude them from becoming a victim to lurking hackers. Well, chock this one up to being just a tad on the hilarious side, but one would think that if you were the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) you would be a more conscientious about making sure you wouldn't be vulnerable to exploits. In the case of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the maintainers of the database didn't seem to get that memo as it has been unavailable since last week due an attack via some type of vulnerability exploit. On Friday March 6, the NIST noticed that there was some rather unusual activity around its firewall and began investigating when the servers were taken offline. At some point, malware was discovered on two of the NIST servers, which were then traced back to a software vulnerability. Luckily, there is no evidence that people visiting NIST web pages were infected, but at this point there is no indication of when the servers will be brought back online.
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Samsung planning Galaxy S IV gamepad accessory Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-planning-galaxy-s-iv- gamepad-accessory/19268.html March 15th, 2013 Samsung is working on a gamepad for its latest smartphones, showcasing a prototype of the design at the Galaxy S IV launch. Samsung is working on a gamepad for its latest smartphones, showcasing a prototype of the design at the Galaxy S IV launch. The controller is similar to others we have encountered in the past, such as the Android Moga gaming system. It features a slew of traditional gaming buttons, including a D- pad, analogue sticks, A, B, X, and Y buttons, and Start, Select, Menu and Back keys. For the screen and gaming power, users slot their smartphone into the holder and use the smartphone's screen to display their games. The controls transmit signals via Bluetooth to the attached smartphone, and the controller itself is powered by two AAA batteries, so it can be used on the go. Engadget got some hands-on time with the device, stating that it is big enough for the Note II's 5.5-inches, and suggesting it might also be able to hold future, larger Samsung “phablets.” Some have criticised the gamepad's similarity to the Microsoft Xbox 360 controller, which could spark legal issues similar to those with rival Apple. This is an early prototype, however, and its design could change significantly before release. There are no prices or other details yet, but it is expected to launch during the summer. Source and Image Credit: Engadget Digg to pick up the Google Reader pieces after it shuts down Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/digg-to-pick-up-the-google-reader- pieces-after-it-shuts-down/19258.html March 15th, 2013 If you were on the web the other day and heard a loud cry of pain echoing through the tubes, it was the sound of many people lamenting the news that Google was going to be shutting down Google Reader. Yesterday you would have thought that the world was coming to an end (or at least the blogger's world) when Google announced that they were going to be shutting down Google Reader due to a decreasing number of users. While most people may not know (or understand) what RSS/ RSS reader is, which is what Google Reader was, for a very large number of people Reader was their lifeblood. It was how they got their news, stay on top of important events, or just consumed their daily dose of LOLcats. For others, like myself and probably a number of the writers here at VR-Zone, it is also the way that we stay on top of breaking stories so that we can bring attention to our readers the most current news in the tech world. (One man's trash is another man's treasure.) In the wake of the announcement, there were also a large number of posts written and tweets posted with alternatives that were available (myself I've switched over to using Feedly), and one of those came from a surprising source - Digg. Anyone who has been on the web for a while now will remember Digg as being one of the first social news sites that popularized mass sharing and voting up or down of news, but also went through some really trying times before being sold and rebooted to its current incarnation. Following the Google announcement, Digg had one of their own - they were going to build a better Google Reader replacement.
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 In fact, they apparently had been planning on developing a Google Reader replacement (for some time now) for a launch in the second half of 2013, but Google's closure of Reader has prompted them to speed up development. We hope to identify and rebuild the best of Google Reader’s features (including its API), but also advance them to fit the Internet of 2013, where networks and communities like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit and Hacker News offer powerful but often overwhelming signals as to what’s interesting. Don’t get us wrong: we don’t expect this to be a trivial undertaking. But we’re confident we can cook up a worthy successor. If you are interested in their project, they have a page up with a countdown timer until Reader is no more, as well as an email sign-up to keep interested parties up to date with their Reader-replacement project. Study shows online comments can have a 'nasty' effect Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-shows-online-comments-can- have-a-nasty-effect/19246.html March 15th, 2013 A new study from researchers at George Mason University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison has confirmed that online comments on social media sites, blogs, and forums can be downright nasty and, consequently, make people feel bad. This news is something you can file under the old we knew that already column, but researchers from George Mason University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have put the scientific stamp of approval on what is already common knowledge - online comments can be very nasty and have a detrimental effect on people. The study, which was published in the Journal of Computer- Mediated Communication, saw the researchers setup a fake blog with a news item on a new (and fake) product called nanosilver that had both benefits and risks. They then created two versions of the news post where one had comments that ran from supportive to skeptical but were civil. The second one had comments that also ran like the first, but contained rude outbursts, obscenities, and attacks on other commenters. Then they had two groups of people read the article that was followed by one of the sets of comments. The group that read the post with the civil comments was found to maintain the same beliefs about nanosilver that they had before reading the comments. On the flip side the people that read the uncivil comments were a lot more polarized over their beliefs of the product and were more likely to change their minds as well as focusing on the product's risks. The researchers found that rude comments don't just affect our mood or frame of mind, but they can affect how our mind's framing of ideas. Naturally, they then termed this the “nasty effect.” iPhone converted into medical microscope Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iphone-converted-into-medical- microscope/19266.html March 15th, 2013 Scientists have turned an Apple iPhone into a microscope for detecting intestinal worm infections, highlighting the potential of everyday technology for medical uses. Scientists have turned an Apple iPhone into a microscope for detecting intestinal worm infections, highlighting the potential of everyday technology for medical uses. A torch and a £5 lens were added to the smartphone using double-sized tape, allowing the researchers to take zoomed in pictures of stool samples. Some of these were found to contain parasitic eggs. The findings were compared with results taken using a laboratory microscope, with the iPhone managing to detect 70 percent of infections. While this is a high success rate, Dr. Issac Bogoch told the BBC that he was not happy with the accuracy and would prefer 80 percent or higher.
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 There is still work to be done before smartphones become viable medical microscopes, but Bogoch said he wanted to use affordable and easy to procure technology. He added that any smartphone with a decent camera and zoom could be used. Consumer technology is gradually gaining traction in the medical world, with surgeons employing the Kinect for keyhole surgery and an iPhone eye examination accessory securing medical approval. We are almost certain to see new and unusual uses of mobiles and other devices over the coming months and years. Image Credit: Dr. Issac Bogoch Gamer modifies SimCity to play offline Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gamer-modifies-simcity-to-play- offline/19265.html March 15th, 2013 A hacker has turned the latest SimCity game by Electronic Arts into a single-player game, disproving claims by the developer that the game required an internet connection to work. A hacker has turned the latest SimCity game by Electronic Arts into a single-player game, disproving claims by the developer that the game required an internet connection to work. The hacker, who goes by the name AzzerUK, was able to alter the game's code to turn off a feature that periodically checked if the user was online, disconnecting them if they were not logged in. The result is an almost perfect single-player game, although the one drawback is that cities cannot be saved to a local machine, but must be downloaded from the EA servers. He suggested this could also be changed if more “serious work and ingenuity” was applied. The SimCity launch did not go quite as smoothly as expected The internet requirement of the game, which launched on 5 March, caused extensive problems for many users, with some unable to connect, others having to wait 30 minutes to get in, and those who were able to play experiencing server lag and numerous bugs. The problems prompted EA to apologise for what it described as a “dumb” approach to the game's launch. It added new servers to deal with the volume of players and is offering a free game to everyone affected. “Always on” games are a growing phenomenon, designed primarily to deal with game piracy. Blizzard's Diablo III also experienced launch issues. Eventually these games are hacked and pirated like any other, and often attempts to hinder pirates end up hindering genuine customers instead. Long log-in waiting times are an unannounced game feature Acer Aspire S7-191 Ultrabook Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/acer-aspire-s7-191-ultrabook- review/18977.html
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 March 15th, 2013 Ten years ago yesterday, Intel introduced the Centrino platform initiative, which was a combination of low voltage CPUs and wireless hardware to steer notebook designs towards longer battery life and universal WiFi hotspot compatibility. It meant everybody from corporate types to students could virtually bring their machine to work from anywhere, not chained by wires to an office desk. Here we examine the current status quo and look at one of the modern day spiritual successor in the form of the 11.6" Acer Aspire S7-191 Ultrabook. Truth be told, *most* Ultrabooks in the market today are insipid, over-priced pieces of junk. For an elite category that aspired to emulate the well executed "thin and light" Apple MacBook Air on Windows, we instead see many instances of manufacturers cutting corners and not making their products as good as they should be. For example, the majority of them still come with washed out 1366x768 TN panels (inexcusable especially on 14-15" SKUs, when smartphones have 1080p FHD now), and have barely enough juice to meet the minimum "5 hour battery life" requirement by Intel's Ultrabook definition in order to reach the promised land of of mobile all-day computing. The upcoming Haswell SoCs and LPDDR3 should help allievate the latter, but not if the battery sizes also shrink to achieve the figures of anorexic supermodels or god forbid, cut cost. We also need transparency and industry wide standardization on battery life tests too. Not to mention that external connectivity is limited to USB 3.0 (usually only a single port), with Thunderbolt interfaces nowhere to be found. Other baffling integration choices include the schizophrenic PS/2 touchpad for multi-gestures and single band 2.4GHz wireless radios, components that should be relegated to the entry netbook class. However, my greatest beef with the current crop of machines is the lack of onboard system memory. Bar a handful of models out there that can have their internals swapped out, the rest of them only ships with a pitiful 4GB of RAM soldered onto the motherboard, sometimes in single channel even, which is criminal from a performance standpoint. This seriously hampers productivity as disk swapping activity starts to occur after firing up a few Chrome tabs and content creation applications like Word/Photoshop in a typical multi-tasking scenario (good luck if you're using a hybrid 5400RPM mechanical drive). After all, Ultrabooks are supposed to be better than the ARM based tablets which are already pretty capable in the light web browsing/media consumption/entry level creation type of usage scenario. Apparently, the beancounters did not want to incur an extra $20 BOM to do the right thing for consumers. Instead, they prefer to pre-load more bloat like Norton/Mcaffee anti-virus trialware (constant subscription notifications accounts for a lot for your missing cpu/disk cycles) and other cloudy endeavours in a bid to squeeze out more dollars from the creative professional who didn't get a Mac. Cyril from The Tech Report has an excellent piece on the awkward and cumbersome state of Windows 8 convertible ultrabook-tablets, funky form factors that either remind you of the ill-fated teleportation experiment from The Fly or spiderwalk staircase scene from The Exorcist. I'm sure the status quo will change if more of the (technical) press and end users voice their concerns to the Ultrabook manufacturers, who really should listen to them to avoid making the same design mistakes in the upcoming Haswell and Bay Trail iterations that should be unveiled next month during IDF Beijing or Computex. Or else the Intel powered Apples will leave them in the dust again... Now the 11.6" Acer Aspire S7 is one of the few offerings in the current Ivy Bridge generation that is actually competitive to the fruity counterpart in the same price range. Equipped with a high PPI FHD touchscreen and some other performance tricks, it has the potential to be a cult hit if not for a few blemishes. Find out more in the subsequent pages of this review. BitTorrent Live streaming seeks beta 'broadcasters' Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bittorrent-live-streaming-seeks-beta- broadcasters-/19242.html March 15th, 2013 BitTorrent just released a new concept with live streaming to the general public. Bram Cohen, inventor of BitTorrent, helped develop the idea and says it is going to be a brand
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 new way in which information is streamed over the Internet in real-time. Since BitTorrent's initial unveiling in 2001, it has become the most used P2P platform on the Internet and with a good deal of that popularity stemming from its minimal bandwidth usage requirements. While highly unpopular with the attorneys working for the recording and movie industries, a torrent operates by downloading small bits of information from many sources at once. Today there are millions of people around the world taking part in the Torrent community. Now BitTorrent is going a step further and has introduced a new concept in live streaming that promises to be not only faster but also without interruption. In fact, the people at BitTorrent are saying that this will be the greatest technology in regards to live streaming to have come about to date. In the past, as more people view a live stream on the Internet the quality of the playback would plummet. Now with BitTorrent’s Live streaming technology it essentially ends the bottleneck problems normally seen with other live stream feeds. It actually improves with more people viewing. What it does is make each user become an additional miniature broadcaster and therefore allows the broadcast to be amplified across the Internet, much like a radio repeater. In an interview with TorrentFreak, Justin Knoll of BitTorrent Incorporated said that with more people using the service, the better it gets. “The more people who tune in, the more resilient your stream will be,” Knoll said. He elaborated by saying that it operates on the same concept of the BitTorrent protocol does and that it is “designed to make real-time reporting, and open expression available to all: eliminating bandwidth, cost, and infrastructure as broadcast barriers.” BitTorrent designed the new live streaming concept from the ground up and claims that it will be the best means in which to share any live event to a large audience in real-time. Knoll went on to say that there would be little to no latencies and void any bandwidth requirement problems of before. He further added that BitTorrent Live streaming may soon be the ‘democratization of streaming technology.” BitTorrent says they are interested in seeing more users become live broadcasters and are inviting new beta testers for the service. For more information on live streaming you can visit BitTorrent's Live page to learn more about it. Samsung's Galaxy S IV: A little bigger and a little faster Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-s-galaxy-s-iv-a-little- bigger-and-a-little-faster/19262.html March 15th, 2013 At a certain age, people stop growing, and down the line people usually shrink as they become wiser. However, unlike the world of biological dispositions, Samsung’s smartphone business seems to only have one path, and that is expansion in all directions. The Samsung Galaxy S IV embodies that philosophy, but does growth have to necessarily mean adding more spices into a flagship and seeing how it tastes? Today, Samsung took the lid off the GS4, and although it did not get as much fanfare and glam hype as its predecessor —the GS3, the latest from Samsung does boast some new features that might grab people’s interest. Let’s start off with the phone’s core. There will be two GS4 variants; one being a 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm, and the other a 1.6GHz “8-core” Exynos 5 Octa. We knew beforehand that there will be two variants, but what we were a bit skeptical about the Exynos 5 Octa making its appearance in the GS4. Nonetheless, there you have it, two GS4 phones with different brains. As for the rest of the GS4’s specs, people will be getting a 5- inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a 2,600mAh battery, a 13MP rear shooter, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean to boot.
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 There are also a bunch of Samsung’s in-house brew that goes into the GS4, and it involves a lot of “S-this” and “S-that.” Quite frankly, none of those Samsung apps really matter, as they are either considered as bloatware or nothing new in general. Eye tracking, however, is basically the only feature that’s worth any attention. Supposedly, eye tracking will allow the phone to automatically adjust in-app functions by detecting a user’s eye movement (i.e. changing the page on an e-book or scrolling down a webpage). Then there’s “S-health”, which uses the phone’s various sensors (accelerometer and barometer) to track people’s steps, jogs, hops, skips, sprints, snacks, and perspiration. The catch to this feature is that you’ll have to have a Samsung-branded fitness wrist band, which is probably more money down the toilet. Samsung's latest creation comes with it essentially the same baggage that prior-gen GS devices had. Touch Wiz should be banned altogether, but then again there are probably people out there that like Samsung’s overlay of the Android OS— either that or they have never experienced any other UIs. So there you have it, the GS4 has a larger display, faster processor, and a few nifty features to back up all the hype. Still, the GS4’s introduction lacks the “wow” factors seen by the GS3, but perhaps that had a bit to do with a lack of competition for the spotlight. Last year, everyone was comparing the GS3 to the iPhone 5. This time around, it’s the GS4 by itself, with nothing really for us to compare it to. Apple and Samsung have been duking it out for the title of alpha male in the smartphone arena for the past couple years, and part of the excitement from a consumer standpoint is watching how the two firms can outdo each other. Samsung's fourth iteration of the Galaxy smartphone, however, is now compared to products like Sony's Xperia Z and HTC's One, and for the sake of clarity, didn't Samsung leave HTC and Sony in the dust already? However, we need to give credit where credit is due, Sony and HTC have stepped up their game recently. Sure, also blame Samsung’s product cycle for killing the hype, but what’s in the GS4 that hasn’t been done before? Well, you be the judge of that. Images via Chinese VR-Zone LG introduces eye-tracking technology for the Optimus G Pro Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lg-introduces-eye-tracking- technology-for-the-optimus-g-pro/19248.html March 15th, 2013 The South Korean-based LG has developed a new type of eye tracking software that will soon be available on the Optimus G Pro series of smartphones. LG is the first electronics maker to bring this type of technology to market. LG calls this amazing new technology ‘Smart Video’, and it allows the user to control video playback simply with motions tracked in the eye itself. LG will be the first company to introduce this type of software on a mass scale and to the general public. This neat feature along with a few other additional extras will be available on what LG calls their ‘Value Pack’. Dr. Jong-seok Park who serves as LG’s CEO said that LG was continuously trying to find new ways that they could be more creative with their product line. “LG is continuously innovating to offer creative ways to offer a user experience that adds value to our customers,” Park said. “It’s the positive UX that will differentiate smartphones in 2013 and beyond, not only cutting-edge hardware specs.” Smart Video is quite amazing since there is no physical touch or voice-spoken commands to make it work. It initiates commands by monitoring the user’s eye movements from its front-facing camera. It offers the ability to play automatically once the video has started, stop the video all together or simply pause the video. For example if a user looks away from the video due to a distraction or for whatever reason, the video will then pause and later pick up from where it paused after it detects the user is facing the video again.
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 One very interesting feature for the new Optimus G Pro upgrade will be the ‘Dual Camera’ mode that will allow a user to video record simultaneously from the front and rear- facing camera. While it is not necessarily recognized as a new ground breaking technology, it is however the first camera in the history of smartphones to implement such a feature. With this feature the videographer can be a part of the video recording in real picture in picture recording time. This concept eliminates the need of a second camera, which would then need to be synchronized later in the editing process. The Value Pack upgrade will also include the ability to use the Optimus G Pro as a remote control for LG Smart TVs, customizable colors for their contacts list. Flashing LED in different shade of color to identify specific callers, E-mail contacts or missed calls. LG says Value Pack will be available to the South Korean market this April and in other locations thereafter. Berkeley researchers create super responsive graphene earphones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/berkeley-researchers-create-super- responsive-graphene-earphones/19250.html March 15th, 2013 Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley just invented the first ever set of graphene earphones. Graphene, which is a single layer of the purest carbon known, is also the thinnest and one of the strongest materials known to man. The process by which the earpieces were constructed was discussed in the paper titled, “Electrostatic Graphene Loudspeaker” by Qin Zhou and A. Zettl dated March 10, 2013. First isolated in 2004, graphene is being touted as the construction material of the 21st century. It is a two- dimensional material that consists of single ultra-thin layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure. While graphene is one of the thinnest materials known, it is also one of the strongest of materials. Graphene is able to conduct electricity as well as silver and it far surpasses all other materials as a conductor of heat, which includes diamond. Another incredible feature of this material is that it is incredibly dense, yet is completely transparent. Now researchers at Berkeley have just effectively demonstrated a new use for graphene in the form of speakers. The far superior strength and electrical conductivity of the graphene outperforms even the most advanced earpieces. The earpieces are unique because the diaphragm in them is made from an ultra-thin layer (30nm-thick), 7mm wide sheet of graphene. They then took the diaphragm and fitted it between a top and bottom layer of electrodes made of silicon coated with a thin layer of silicon dioxide. The graphene headphones work much in the same way that a normal paper or rubber diaphragm speaker works. When the electricity is applied it in turns creates an electro- static force enabling the diaphragm then vibrates. When the oscillation is changed it creates a new frequency of sound generated from the vibrations in the airwaves. Graphene speakers may work the same way as common speakers, but they have found that the clarity is far superior and has incredible performance capabilities with a very wide range and frequency response. Furthermore, the researchers said that with graphene speakers there is no need to add any padding, which is put in place to avoid unwanted frequency responses. In the March 10, 2013 paper, Qin Zhou who led the research writes, An alternative approach to response spectrum broadening is to reduce both the mass and spring constant of the diaphragm so that inherent air damping dominates and flattens the response peaks. Moreover, with ambient air serving as the dominant damping mechanism, most input energy is converted to a sound wave, which makes such speakers highly power efficient. For these reasons (more detailed analysis is provided in the Supporting Information), the ideal audio transduction diaphragm should have small mass and a soft spring constant, and be non-perforated to efficiently displace the surrounding air. The Berkeley researchers are predicting that graphene might possibly be the material of choice in future speakers in laptops and smartphones not only for their wonderful sound output but also because of their energy conductivity abilities. They also have demonstrated how it can be mass-produced
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 easier with new vapor techniques that could create much larger diaphragms. Image Source: Cornell University Library, arXiv: 1303.2391 - “Electrostatic Graphene Loudspeaker” by Qin Zhou, A. Zettl New footage from Star Wars: First Assault leaked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-footage-from-star-wars-first- assault-leaked/19251.html March 15th, 2013 New leaked footage for LucasArt's downloadable shooter Star Wars: First Assault has recently been leaked, however the game has yet to be officially announced and may never be released...even though it's almost finished. New footage for LucasArts's distressed shooter Star Wars: First Assault has been leaked onto the internet, giving gamers a closer look at the unannounced downloadable Star Wars shooter. With First Assault, LucasArts has planned to bring the traditional multiplayer FPS elements of games like Call of Duty and Battlefield into the Star Wars universe, with distinct sci-fi elements and the incorporation of traditional themes and characters from the franchise. LucasArts also reveals that Star Wars: First Assault is a "predecessor" of Battlefront III and that it was meant to release this spring as a downloadable release. There's just one problem: Disney's recent acquisition of the company has put all game development on hold, and although First Assault is almost finished, we many never see it officially released. Although the footage is of an early build of First Assault and the game in its current state may be quite different, it appears to be the only bona fide in-game footage available. (Screenshot via Kotaku) One source had the following to say about the footage: "The trailer contains all in-game footage, including known bugs and incomplete art," said a source. "In the time since it was made, many improvements have been made in performance, completeness, and quality." The footage also displays both first-person and third-person action, indicating a mix between familiar elements from Star Wars: Battlefront and those of the FPS genre. Gamers can also see a glimpse of the abilities and weapons featured in Star Wars: First Assault, along with vehicles and virtual battlegrounds. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the game, and if Star Wars: First Assault gets released in the next few months--or if it all. It certainly would be interesting to take part in a high-tech war in the fan-favorite franchise; however gamers may have to wait before Disney figures out what to do with the myriad Star Wars properties. Bethesda reveals new "Knife of Dunwall" DLC for Dishonored Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bethesda-reveals-new-knife-of- dunwall-dlc-for-dishonored/19252.html March 15th, 2013 Bethesda Softworks has recently announced Dishonored's new "Knife of Dunwall" DLC is coming April 16th, and will allow gamers to take the role of the lethal assassin who set the game's plot into motion.
  • March 15th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Bethesda has just announced a brand new DLC for their award-winning stealth action game Dishonored is coming next month. The Knife of Dunwall is a story-driven add-on, and will allow gamers to take the role of the mysterious assassin Daud who set the wheels of Dishonored's plot into motion by slaying Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. "Those that have played Dishonored vividly can recall the actions of Daud – the legendary assassin that puts the game’s plot into motion. Beginning April 16th, you’ll return to this fateful moment and play the role of Daud in the story-driven add-on, The Knife of Dunwall." The Knife of Dunwall will include a variety of new in- game features such as new powers and weapons and access to additional areas that were previously off-limits. Additionally, gamers will be able to tackle each objective the way they see fit--which has been a hallmark of Dishonored's stylish gameplay since its release. The Knife of Dunwall returns players to familiar key moments in the game with a new perspective, including Jessamine Kaldwin's fateful assassination. Below you can find a summarized list of features included in The Knife of Dunwall: • New Powers, Weapons & Gadgets - Daud has been marked by the Outsider as well, and he has enhanced abilities like "Summon Assassin" which calls upon an ally to help in battle, "Void Gaze" which acts like Corvo's Heart and tracks down Bone Charms and Runes. Additionally, gamers can learn new variations to classic abilities such as Blink, and the inclusion of new gadgets and weapons like Chokedust--which dazes enemies--Stun Mines that are powered by whale oil to shock enemies, and a stylish Wristbow that fires the classic projectiles like sleep darts and explosive bolts. • Explore More of Dunwall - The Knife of Dunwall unlocks access to new areas such as the Legal District and Rothwild Slaughterhouse, along with familiar areas like the Flooded District which contains Daud's hidden home base. • Choose your Path - Gamers can retain their own distinct style with The Knife of Dunwall as they search for clues to Daud's personal enigmatic struggle. The DLC features a new standalone experience where gamers search for the truths behind the mystery of Delilah, which will conclude Daud's story in the upcoming final add-on "The Brigmore Witches". As you can see above, Bethesda has hinted at Dishonored's next DLC "The Brigmore Witches" which will conclude Daud's mysterious, death-laden story. It will be interesting to see what new plot twists lie in store for gamers in The Knife of Dunwall, along with the impressive new array of weaponry such as the Wristbow and the new Summon Assassin ability. The Knife of Dunwall DLC will be available on April 16, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC for $9.99 (800 Microsoft Points). For more information please visit Bethesda's official website.
  • March 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Cisco says 'good sites' may have more malware than porn sites Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cisco-says-good-sites-may-have- more-malware-than-porn-sites/19280.html March 17th, 2013 Cisco's 2013 Annual Security report has revealed that websites that appear to be safe-looking can have more dangerous malware links than what most people believe. The real bombshell was that pornography websites are often times a lot safer than ecommerce or search engine sites. Cisco recently released their 2013 Annual Security report and the numbers are contradictory to what most people think. Cisco found that riskier links were not found on ‘shady’ sites but actually found more often on regular safe-looking sites such as search engines or online shopping sites. In fact Cisco says that a person is 182 times as likely to download malware on a ‘safe’ site’s advertisements as opposed to a site promoting pornography. Cisco further noted that pharmaceutical and gambling sites were also not as likely to have malware in their advertisings either. To the surprise of many readers a random ecommerce site is about 21 times more likely to get you infected with some kind of bug. The report further stated that you would be 27 times more likely to download malware from a no-name search engine as opposed to a counterfeit software website. The report also made it very clear that many Internet users often mislead themselves in regards to websites that might harbor malware. "Many security professionals —and certainly a large community of online users—hold preconceived ideas about where people are most likely to stumble across dangerous web malware," the report reads in part. Two other interesting highlights in the report shows that Android malware grew by 2,577% (two-thousand five hundred and seventy-seven percent) in 2012. It also shows that global spam e-mail volumes were down by 18% over all, and very curiously it drops by as much as 25% on the weekends. North Korea accuses South Korea and U.S. of cyber- warfare Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korea-accuses-south-korea- and-u.s.-of-cyber-warfare/19279.html March 17th, 2013 The most recent accusations coming out of North Korea now are accusations of cyber espionage by the U.S. and South Korea. Both allies have not made any official statements, but some are saying China is more likely to blame for the recent attacks on the North’s state-run websites. Security experts say that it may take months before it can be proven where the cyber-attacks came from. South Korea says that China is more likely to blame since information on their software and infrastructure is better known than in the U.S. Beginning earlier last week Internet access in Pyongyang was random and slow at best. Loxley Pacific Company, which handles the Internet into North Korea, said that the server attacks took down a good portion of North Korea’s Internet access at Pyongyang. Loxley Pacific, which is a Thailand based ISP, said they were not able to determine where the attacks originated or even summarize exactly how it was done for now, and it may take weeks to determine the origin. North Korea’s official state news agency, Korean Central News, immediately blamed South Korea and the United States and fired off more rhetoric on why the North was ready for any kind of hostile military action. Loxley Pacific has only been providing broadband Internet service since 2010 through a cooperative effort with North Korea. They said that were able to get the Internet back to normal operations this past Saturday. The Associated Press, which has journalists in Pyongyang, also confirmed that Internet access was again available. The Internet in North Korea is very much a luxury and is highly restricted to most inhabitants living there. Those that do have access will find that searches and websites are highly censored or blocked all together. North Korea's accusations against the U.S. and their southern neighbor have been highly inflammatory since the U.N. agreed to stiffer sanctions on the country, most of which came after the North conducted another nuclear weapon detonation test. North Korea has publicly stated that they will attack the U.S. with a nuclear bomb and fight to take over
  • March 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 South Korea, essentially declaring the armistice agreements signed in July of 1953 to be invalid. Judge rules that FBI 'National Security Letter' requests are illegal Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/judge-rules-that-fbi-national- security-letter-requests-are-illegal/19275.html March 17th, 2013 The U.S. Justice Department just had their biggest blow in regards to obtaining Internet and telephone surveillance data. A U.S. judge just ruled that National Security Letters (NSLs) are illegal under the U.S. Constitution. The FBI, DEA and other federal police agencies use what is referred to as "National Security Letters", which are known simply as NSLs, in order to conduct surveillance on people or businesses without the need of a search warrant. That has all changed now when a U.S. Federal court ruled NSLs to be illegal. The history of NSLs dates back nearly 4 decades to the 1970s when the Justice Department claimed that getting a search warrant for every incident was time consuming and detrimental to any particularly important cases. When the U.S. was under terrorist attacks in September 2001 (9/11), many new laws and statues were rushed through such as the U.S. Patriot Act that only amplified the Justice Department’s ability to issue NSLs, which includes data on American citizen's Internet E-mails. Just recently Google disclosed publicly just how many NSL requests they have received, but only listed the numbers without any particular specifics or which people were investigated. When a company gets an NSL request the law forbids them from disclosing the request to anyone else unless it is a company adviser or attorney for the corporation or ISP. Nevertheless, Google said their latest policy of NSL and other national governments requests and warrants needed to be public information. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston concluded in the ruling that NSLs are in direct violation of the First Amendment and separation of powers principles. However, the ruling has a stay pending appeal or 90 days if no appeal due to what judge Illston referred to as “national security issues at stake.” The case against the Justice Department came in 2011 from an unnamed company that was being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF attorney Matt Zimmerman said in a recent statement, "We are very pleased that the court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute. The government's gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience." Even the Federal government's own people have found flaws in NSL requests. Back In 2007 the Justice Department’s inspector general said that they had found instances where FBI special agents were abusing the NSLs and many of the NSLs were considered ‘inadequately documented’. The Department of Justice issued a statement in regards to the recent California ruling saying that they would be filing an appeal, which is sure to spur more criticism and constitutional legality of NSLs by other civil liberty organizations. Source: (PDF file copy) US District Court, Northern District of California Filing - Order granting to put aside NSL Feedly snatches up 500,000 more users after Google Reader closure announcement Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/feedly-snatches-up-500-000-more- users-after-google-reader-closure-announcement/19278.html March 17th, 2013 Since Google announced that it was shutting down Google Reader starting July 1, many RSS feed users have been searching for an alternative. Now that Google Reader is out of the picture, other news aggregating sites are attempting to pick up where Google left off, and it seems like Feedly is doing quite well in that instance. (As seen in Apple's App Store.) Within 48 hours of the Google announcement, Feedly managed to add 500,000 new subscribers, and is now experiencing ten times the bandwidth usage compared to before the announcement. Feedly is aiming higher, and states on its blog that it intends to revamp its current offering to accommodate the new members. “Our main priorities over the next 30 days are 1) to keep the service up, 2) listen to new users for suggestions and 3) add features weekly.” Something else that might also excite former Google Reader users is that Feedly will take a stab at cloning the Google Reader API called Normandy. Feedly says that if Google Reader users “give feedly a try before July 1… [they] will be able to migrate seamlessly.”
  • March 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Samsung's Galaxy S IV is "more of the same" says HTC Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-s-galaxy-s-iv-is-more-of- the-same-says-htc/19277.html March 16th, 2013 Critics haven’t been particularly kind to Samsung in the past few days, and Samsung’s competitors have taken this opportune time to load their mocking guns. One such snub against the Galaxy S IV is the hash tag #theNextBigFlop, a play on Samsung’s recent campaign to mock Apple’s iPhone 5. HTC’s CMO, Ben Ho, also recently got his hands dirty by dipping into the pool of GS4 criticisms. According to the HTC big wig, Samsung’s latest Galaxy device is just “more of the same.” Some may agree with Ho, and others may not. Still, it is, from our perspective, always entertaining to see how competing companies take jabs at each other’s respective products. (Samsung's follow up of its last "Big Thing.") This is Ho’s statement in full: "With a continuation of a plastic body, and a larger screen being the most obvious physical change, Samsung's new Galaxy pales in comparison to the all-aluminum unibody HTC One. This is more of the same. HTC remains the best option for those people looking for the best technology wrapped in premium design. Our customers want something different from the mainstream, who appear to be the target for the Galaxy. "Our customers want original cutting-edge technology, mouth-watering design and a premium feel from their mobiles, which is why we created the HTC One." Clearly, the point of emphasis in Ho’s judgment of the GS4 relies a lot on the device’s design, because as we all know, pound-for-pound, the GS4 and HTC’s latest One handset both punches with the same amount of ferocity. Different designs doesn’t necessarily mean better sales figure, and HTC epitomizes that predicament. Nonetheless, there will be undoubtedly more snide remarks coming Samsung’s way in the coming week, so be out on the look for it if you need a bit of humor in your day. Fujitsu develops 100 Gbps optical network using old protocols and components Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-develops-100-gbps-optical- network-using-old-protocols-and-components/19271.html March 16th, 2013 Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has recently announced their development of their new optical transmission technology that could reach 100 Gbps data transfer speed rates, by only using components and protocols that are meant for 10 Gbps networks. Fujitsu Laboratories (Research and Development Center) Ltd. has unveiled last a couple of days ago their newly developed high-speed optical data transfer technology. The new light-based data transfer technology easily passes through the standard 10 Gbps limitation, finally reaching the next anticipated speeds of 100 Gbps, but without requiring the use of new components that are not already used in standard 10 Gbps networks. Fujitsu's new technology uses a discrete multi-tone (DMT) modulation system, with the aid of digital signal processing. It actually uses a "line", or a set of components and communication protocols that are meant for 10 Gbps, but configures it in a way that it greatly enhances their optical transmission network to achieve the claimed speeds, or at least that is what the report claims. Using a power management algorithm, the modulated data stream can then be efficiently be transmitted at very high speeds even when diffused to multiple subcarriers. Fujitsu has stated that in addition to the 100 Gbps boost, the technology can be used in tandem with a four-channel optical transceiver, multiplying the speed further to 400 Gbps.
  • March 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 A ten-fold improvement in speeds for data centers using what's supposed to be conventional components would surely be more than just helpful, as it could even probably open up new applications for the internet itself. In fact, Fujitsu expects that their technology would be best applied on the current developing state of various business or enterprise-type web-based/cloud services. Source: MyNavi (JP) Scientific analysis of tweets reveals Twitter tribes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientific-analysis-of-tweets-reveals- twitter-tribes/19267.html March 16th, 2013 The analysis of 75 million tweets from 189,000 Twitter users proved that like-minded people tend to use a common language and group into ‘tribes’. The use of certain words revealed a behavioral pattern able to map people according to their beliefs, interests, careers or ethnic groups. The researchers used algorithms to monitor the exchanged messages and group the users into tribes. In their graphic representation (here) the words present are the most widely used in the community, while the circles represent the communities according to their size and activity. For example, fans of Justin Bieber have a liking to end words with ‘ee’ (as in ‘pleasee’), animal welfare groups use words like ‘anipals’, ‘furever’ and ‘pawsome’, teachers tend to use long words while African Americans tend to shorten words (as in ‘chillin’). The list goes on with abbreviations and made-up words reflecting the backgrounds and preferences of various groups. According to Dr. John Bryden, one of the study’s authors, “...by looking at the language someone uses, it is possible to predict which community they belong to, with up to 80 percent accuracy.” The team now says that can work out the tribe of an individual by analyzing their tweets. They actually believe their method can have commercial applications and have already applied for a patent. Reuters Editor is charged with aiding Anonymous in hacking LA Times website Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/reuters-editor-is-charged-with- aiding-anonymous-in-hacking-la-times-website/19264.html March 16th, 2013 26-year Matthew Keys who worked as a social media editor for Thomson Reuters was recently charged with helping the hacktivist group Anonymous. The FBI said the charges stemmed from The Los Angeles Times website being defaced. Mathew Keys worked briefly as a Website producer for KTXL Fox 40, which was affiliated with the Los Angeles Times due to them both being owned by the Tribune Company. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Keys, who went by the user name of “AESCracked”, was able to use his past knowledge as a Web producer for KTXL to assist the hacktivist group Anonymous in hacking the L.A. Times website. The charges against Keys include assisting Anonymous with login and passwords into the site, encouragement of vandalism, conspiracy and the transmission of a malicious code (virus). Under the count II, Conspiracy, the indictment read that on December 15, 2010 “The defendant, MATTHEW KEYS, together with at least one other person, did conspire to knowingly cause the transmission of a program, information, code, and command, and, as a result of such conduct, intentionally caused damage without authorization to a protected computer…” This indictment against Keys also includes a portion of communication Keys had in an IRC chat under his screen name, ‘AESCracked’. In the communication, Keys conversed with an Anonymous member using the screen name “sharpie”, and gave the individual the admin access needed to get into the Los Angeles Times website. The indictment also mentions the defacing of the site article that occurred on or about December 11, 2010 when an Anonymous member under the user name of “Ngarcia” got into the site and altered a headline and a portion of its content. Initially the headline read, “Pressure Builds in House to Pass Tax-Cut Package” but was altered to read “Pressure Builds in the House to Elect CHIPPY 1337”. While Keys was an employee of Thomson Reuters when he was arrested, he was not employed by the agency at the time of his alleged hacking of the L.A. Times website. According to the FBI their Sacramento and Los Angeles Field Offices investigated Keys’ case. They also stated that the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual
  • March 17th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Property Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California would be prosecuting him. The case against Keys was filed on March 14, 2013 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California. If Keys is convicted and sentenced on all counts he could be facing as much as 10 years in prison and $750,000 (U.S.) in fines. Netflix Chief Product Officer says to expect 4K streaming soon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/netflix-chief-product-officer-says-to- expect-4k-streaming-soon/19263.html March 16th, 2013 While very few of us own a 4K TV, Netflix says that they will be offering 4K streaming in one to two years time. This announcement came not long after Sony said they want to do the same with their PS4 system, which is 4K ready. Neil Hunt who serves as the Chief Product Officer for Netflix recently said in an interview with The Verge that the company is planning on introducing 4K streaming to their popular home video streaming service lineup. He said that customers could expect to see it in one to two years’ time. Hunt also works as the manager of the Netflix video service's technology, which includes all of Netflix's streaming platforms, along with helping to analyze all of the user data stored by Netflix. In an interview with The Verge, Neil Hunt asserted that Netflix is standing behind the idea of bringing this type of high resolution streaming into the home. When asked about bandwidth he admitted that it might be a bit tough in the beginning. “Clearly we have much work to do with the compression and decode capability, but we expect to be delivering 4K within a year or two with at least some movies and then over time become an important source of 4K,” Hunt said. “4K will likely be streamed first before it goes anywhere else.” Where there is a demand for a product there will be a seller, but presently most homes are not even capable of receiving 4K TV transmissions. Nevertheless the fact that Netflix is trying to be the first to offer this and other HD platforms means that it will be ready when consumers and ISPs are able to catch up with it. Netflix isn’t the only company with 4K streaming in mind. Soon after Sony unveiled the PS4 we learned they would be the first to offer 4K movies as a download service since the PS4 system is fully capable of displaying 4K. It is important to note that you would still need a 4K TV to view it all, which is another product that Sony is hoping consumers jump on board with quickly. Review: SimCity Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/review-simcity/19269.html March 15th, 2013 SimCity is back, and with a disasterous launch and a lot of feature changes, one question remains: Is it zoned for success, or is it a crack-den waiting to be demolished? It’s difficult for a game (or anything, in fact) to pull off being simultaneously really good and really bad, but SimCity has managed. This of course, comes as no surprise to anyone, as the loud and massive outcry from fans has made SimCity’s launch into the year’s worst gaming fiasco. So what did Maxis do wrong? Well, they created a fantastic game, and then ruined it with one simple hyphenated word: “online- only”. The people at Maxis, while not busy avoiding the bricks flying through their windows, have actually created a very good game, but the framework in which that game exists means it will never live up to its potential.
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Intel hiring for internet TV service Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-hiring-for-internet-tv- service/19302.html March 19th, 2013 Intel is hiring an additional 60 people in preparation for the launch of its internet television service later this year, which marks a major shift away from its prior focus on hardware. Intel is hiring an additional 60 people in preparation for the launch of its internet television service later this year, which marks a major shift away from its prior focus on hardware. The company's media wing, Intel Media, already has 300 staff, but is opening the doors for another 60 positions, and Intel spokesperson Jon Carvill suggested the division could grow to 400 within the next six months. The move marks a vote of confidence in the upcoming service, despite intense challenges facing the company to get the support of content providers. This was a major stumbling block for Google TV when it first launched, hindering its potential success. The future of Intel: set-top boxes and smart TVs However, Intel Media has some experience at the helm, with Erik Huggers, a former BBC executive, taking the top job. The Intel set-top box will include a camera, which can detect users and profile them, providing content recommendations and targeted ads based on the viewer. Some might consider this an invasion of privacy, but advertisers are likely to be big supporters. Engineers looking to join Intel Media will be required to have experience in cloud computing, user interface design, and security. Among the other job qualifications required for some of the roles is “must be weird,” suggesting Intel is hoping for quirky, innovative programming. Samsung Galaxy S IV scores 2X higher than Apple iPhone 5 in Geekbench 2 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iv-scores-2x- higher-than-apple-iphone-5-in-geekbench-2/19301.html March 19th, 2013 Even if the Samsung Galaxy S IV didn’t deviate too much from the GS3 in terms of its design, its hardware certainly did. A Geekbench 2 benchmark of the GS4 reveals that not only is Samsung’s latest smartphone twice as fast as Apple’s iPhone 5, but it also beat out HTC’s One by a good margin. (Geekbench measures CPU and memory performance.) As depicted by the chart above, the GS4’s quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 variant topped out with a Geekbench score of 3163, which is about twice the iPhone 5’s 1596. For a more recent product comparison, HTC’s One and LG’s Nexus 4 are the only devices that is anywhere near the GS4’s score. However, one must take into consideration that, though the GS4 has a higher score, the GS4’s Snapdragon chip is clocked slightly higher than the HTC One. Another factor that may have influenced the score was the fact that the GS4 runs Google’s Android 4.2.2 vs. HTC One’s 4.1.2 OTB.
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Security researchers warn of Origin game hack vulnerability Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/security-researchers-warn-of-origin- game-hack-vulnerability/19300.html March 19th, 2013 Security researchers have warned that subscribers to EA's Origin game service are at risk of malware attacks, thanks to a vulnerability in the game link system. Security researchers have warned that subscribers to EA's Origin game service are at risk of malware attacks, thanks to a vulnerability in the game link system. ReVuln, a firm specialising in computer security, was able to exploit the vulnerability to make game execution links run malicious code, leading to malware infections. The exploit appears not to have been used yet, but EA is investigating the issue and will likely have a patch for it ready soon. Hackers would need to know details about users to take advantage of the vulnerability, but the researchers said that this would be easy to do, because Origin does not protect against brute-force attacks like guessing information repeatedly. A temporary workaround would involve launching all games directly from Origin and not shortcuts placed on the user's desktop, which can be used to direct elsewhere. There is more bad news for EA today, with its CEO, John Riccitiello, stepping down from the role after six years. He accepted the blame for the company falling short of targets set. His replacement has yet to be decided. Borderlands animated short film in the works Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/borderlands-animated-short-film-in- the-works/19299.html March 19th, 2013 Gearbox Software and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco have joined forces to create the Borderlands Cooperative, which will produce an animated short film by the end of the year. 2K, Gearbox Software and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco have joined forces to create the Borderlands Cooperative, which will produce an animated short film by the end of the year. Students at the university will be tasked with coming up with a short animated film set in the Borderlands universe, based on stories submitted before a panel of judges. With deadlines, teamwork, and lots of potential challenges and obstacles, this initiative will offer valuable experience in the field. A selected student will also earn themselves an internship at 2K, the publisher of the game series, jump-starting their career, while everyone participating will be able to add the project to their CV. The action first-person shooter franchise, known for its unique and unusual artistic style, has seen growing popularity, with the second game in the series selling close to six million copies since its September 2012 release. “We are so proud and excited at 2K to have the opportunity to give back to our local San Francisco community and help enable students to achieve their dreams of breaking into the entertainment industry,” said Sarah Anderson, SVP of Marketing at 2K. “The Borderlands universe is vast and there are many stories left to tell, we can’t wait to see what imaginative scenario is realized in the finished animated short film later this year.”
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Samsung confirms it is working on a smartwatch to compete with Apple iWatch Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-confirms-it-is-working-on- a-smartwatch-to-compete-with-apple-iwatch/19296.html March 19th, 2013 Samsung has confirmed that it will also launch its own smartwatch, although no time frame or features are known at the moment. Many big brand companies have already entered or will enter the smartwatch market as the smartphone market becomes more and more saturated. Smartphone market growth, according to analysts from Bloomberg, will slow to 9.8 percent in 2017 from this year’s 27 percent. (An artist's concept of Samsung's upcoming smartwatch.) “We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” said Lee Young Hee, an executive for Samsung’s mobile division. “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.” Apple, although unconfirmed, is working on an iWatch —we’re supposing that’s what it’s going to be dubbed considering past product naming schemes—with a supposed 100—member strong team to R&D the next-gen wearable smartphone replacement. (Apple is big on minimalist designs, so how plain will the iWatch look?) Sony and even a few startups like Pebble have already released smartwatches or prototypes of a smart wrist wear. However, their functionalities may not match up to future Apple and Samsung watch products. Speculations suggest that both the consumer tech giants are working on making all smartphone features available in smartwatches. So not only will people be able to use their watches for time management, but also do other things like make phone calls and browse the web. (Sony already has smartwatches on the market.) Rumors about Apple’s iWatch are hinting that the Cupertino, California-based company is seriously looking at using curved displays for Apple iWatches. Samsung has already shown off its flexible OLED display tech at various tech trade shows in recent years, so there will be no doubt that Samsung will launch a smartwatch that fits the contours of people’s wrist. Industry specialists say that the watch industry will generate more than $60 billion in sales this year, and the emergence of smartwatches will increase that number. Not only are people expecting the watch industry to bloom in the near future, some are even suggesting that other sectors— especially those within the fashion market—will merge with these tech conglomerates to form a monstrous entity that will engulf all aspects of people’s lives. Samsung wants Apple to price its smartwatch product competitively to allow other firms to enter the ecosystem. If Apple’s past product pricings is of any indication, the iWatch
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 might also be a high profit margin product, reserved for well- to-do individuals and premium markets. Google Keep a serious threat to Evernote and OneNote? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-keep-a-serious-threat-to- evernote-and-onenote-/19293.html March 19th, 2013 Google has never been shy about launching competing products to current market leaders, and it seems that the company has decided that it wants to play in the Evernote and Microsoft OneNote sandbox. When it comes to note taking and storing those notes in the cloud, the current darlings of the business would have to be Evernote and Microsoft's OneNote product. However, they both might be facing some serious big name competition if this post on Android Police by Ron Amadeo is of any indication. Apparently, and for a very short period of time, some lucky Google Drive users were able to access something called Google Keep, Amadeo was amongst the selective few. It seems like Keep will allow users to create text notes, clip and insert images, and add checklists. According to what has been seen, individual notes will be able to be filed into groups and archived. Also, there is the ever present search box for searching your collected notes. The data created with Google Keep will be stored on Google Drive, just as your Docs and Photos are. There is no word from Google to confirm this or when it will be released to the public, but people are speculating that we will hear more about Keep at Google’s I/O conference on May 15 to 17. That, however, doesn't stop the possibility of a soft launch of the product, which Google is also well known for. image courtesy of Android Police Successful liver transplant numbers could double thanks to new machine Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/successful-liver-transplant-numbers- could-double-thanks-to-new-machine/19294.html March 19th, 2013 The ability for doctors to perform all kinds of successful organ transplants has made a big difference to our society, but the problem of having enough organ donors available is still a big problem; a problem that may have just gotten a big helping hand—at least for people who need new livers. One of the big problems with any organ transplant is that the organ being transplanted has only a very narrow window of viability. So any way that this window can be increased is a boon to both doctors and patients. In the case of the human liver, its viability window is 14 hours, and involves being packaged in ice so that the metabolism is lowered. This narrow window is one of the reasons that more than 2,000 livers are tossed each year due to damages from the cold process or because of oxygen deprivation. This may all change soon thanks to work by a team of Oxford scientists that have invented a machine that will keep a liver alive at normal body temperatures through a process called perfusion, or supplying the liver with oxygenated red blood cells. When the liver is connected to the device, it regains its normal color and will produce bile just like it would when inside a human body. The technology has been in the works since 1994 and the Oxford team believes that their device has the potential to double the number of livers that would be available for transplanting. There have already been two successful transplants at King's College Hospital in London and while those livers only needed to be kept alive for ten hours, the scientists believe they could keep them viable for up to 24 hours.
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Australian scientists create living embryo of extinct frog species Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/australian-scientists-create-living- embryo-of-extinct-frog-species/19287.html March 19th, 2013 Reports out of Australia’s University of New South Wales are saying that their scientists have successfully created an embryo from the extinct gastric-brooding frog. While it is only in embryo form, they say that the species will live again and possibly see other extinct animals restored as well. It is not exactly the passenger pigeon or dodo bird just yet, but scientists at the University of New South Wales are claiming to have created a living embryo of the extinct gastric-brooding frog that died out about three decades ago. They claim that through this new technique other extinct species of animals will be brought back to life and reintroduced to nature. Scientists were able to use dead genetic material preserved from the gastric-brooding frog, and then insert its DNA into some donor egg of a similar species of frog. After waiting a short while, the embryo came to life. The process is being likened to the cloning techniques used by scientists early on in its development, such as with “Dolly” the sheep. One of the men on the research team at the UNSW by the name of Mike Archer said that they were not sure if the DNA introduction worked at first, so they went ahead and patiently waited. "But then, all of a sudden, one of the cells divided, and then it divided again, and again,” Archers said. What makes this story so unique compared to other cloned animal stories is that it is the first time an extinct species has been brought back from extinction. However, the frog embryo did not fully develop into a full-fledged tadpole as some had hoped for. Nevertheless, the researchers are saying that this small step was to prove it could be done, and this is a proof of concept that an extinct animal can be brought back using non-living samples of DNA. In the 1970s the idea of cloning any kind of animal or human was in the realms of science fiction literature and Marvel comic books. Even when the cloning technology came about, scientists were still skeptical if one could bring back an animal from non-living genetic material. Now that scientists have found a way to ‘resurrect the dead’, so to speak, it may be the first step in seeing animals like the Woolly Mammoth grazing fields again, or even the exceedingly controversial resurrection of the Neanderthal man! The gastric-brooding frog (Rheobatrachus silus), also known, as the Platypus frog, was a land-dwelling frog once native to the region of Queensland, Australia. They were unique with the fact that they were one of only two species of frog that actually ate its eggs, incubated their young in the stomach of the female and then giving birth out its mouth. Scientists say the species was confirmed extinct in 1983, which was partly attributed to habitat loss and other environmental factors. Amphibians are often considered the most sensitive to environmental change due to their aquatic nature and ability to absorb chemicals through their fragile, thin skin. Scientists create search engine to help diagnose rare diseases Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-create-search-engine-to- help-diagnose-rare-diseases/19291.html March 19th, 2013 “FindZebra” is the Google of rare diseases. A new search engine, made by scientists for scientist, which lists more than 30,000 medical articles from ten major medical sources around the net. If you have a rare disease, you’ll find it here. So far, when doctors and medical professionals face a hard- to-diagnose, rare disease, they do what any of us would do: they Google it. Google, though, can’t help them when they are looking for bizarre symptoms and complicated diagnoses. Thus, the FindZebra search engine was born. The name ‘Zebra’ derives from a famous phrase of a medical professor “when you hear a gallop, don’t expect to see a zebra”, (i.e. think first of the common diseases). Since then, ‘zebra’ in medical slang stands for an unusual diagnosis or rare disease. Today, more than 8000 rare diseases are recognized and listed, and FindZebra can find many of them. This search engine uses carefully selected databases, like the Mendelian Inheritance in Man and the HON Foundation Rare Disease Database, and the Indri retrieval tool. The loaded databases will help to provide far better and more accurate results about symptoms and diseases than Google's PageRank algorithm ever could.
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Radu Dragusin and colleagues, of the Technical University of Denmark, are the creators of this smart medical search engine, and although their ‘child’ is still a research project, they have made it publicly available at www.findzebra.com. You can find the full Zebra report here. Chinese celebrities attack Apple as part of alleged campaign Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-celebrities-attack-apple-as- part-of-alleged-campaign/19290.html March 18th, 2013 Celebrities in China have been accused of participating in an organised campaign criticising Apple for allegedly failing to replace broken iPhones in the country. Celebrities in China have been accused of participating in an organised campaign criticising Apple for allegedly failing to replace broken iPhones in the country. CCTV broadcast a consumer rights show over the weekend, highlighting how Apple only fixed specific parts of broken smartphones instead of offering a full replacement, in efforts to avoid giving customers a new warranty period. It contrasted this treatment with that of other customers throughout the world, who receive a new phone. Once the show was over, various celebrities took to Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, voicing their outrage at Apple. Suspicion began when Taiwanese film star Peter Ho's message ended with “Post around 8:20,” which appeared like an instruction a PR agency might give. Ho later claimed that he never wrote this message, but that his phone had been stolen. Other celebrities followed suit, all posting around the same time of 8:20pm, adding to concern that this was an orchestrated attempt to blacken Apple's name. Kai-fu Lee, former president of Google China, said that he was asked by CCTV if he could post comments about the show on Weibo, but he refused. The revelation, however, suggests that the TV channel itself was looking to drum up social media furore over the programme. Apple said it values criticism and suggestions, but did not indicate that it was willing to change its policy on replacement iPhones in China. European Space Agency seeking citizen help for flying robotic aircraft Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/european-space-agency-seeking- citizen-help-for-flying-robotic-aircraft/19289.html March 18th, 2013 The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for citizens to help it fly robotic aircraft, in efforts to improve the reliability of space flight. The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for citizens to help it fly robotic aircraft, in efforts to improve the reliability of space flight. The agency is looking for hobbyists who own terrestrial robotic aircraft, like the Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter, to provide data of their flights for analysis. Information collected will by anonymous. iPhone users can download the AstroDrone app, developed by ESA's Advanced Concepts Team, which will log how fast a user manoeuvres their aircraft without damaging it. Users will be presented with a real life location to fly their aircraft to, with an augmented reality port or airlock overlayed, simulating docking with the International Space Station.
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 ESA researcher Guido de Croon said that people intuitively assess their position and motion in relation to their surroundings, based on what they see before them. It is this level of intuitive control that ESA wants to bring to robotic spacecraft. The result of the research will be finely tuned navigation software for steering spacecraft into space stations, potentially saving millions on replacements and repairs if it can prevent crashes or other accidents. “For ESA, the result could be much more autonomous spacecraft that can reliably manoeuvre, dock or land themselves,” said de Croon. Images Credit: ESA Lenovo announces newest Thinkpad Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-announces-newest- thinkpad/19288.html March 18th, 2013 The ThinkPad T431s is powered by Intel third-generation Core processors, Intel HD Graphics, and up to 12 GB of RAM. HDD or SSD options are available, and the laptop comes with a 14-inch HD+ anti-glare display, with a resolution of 1600x900. Two USB 3.0 ports are also provided. Style is also the name of the game, with Lenovo spending nine months researching what users need and want in a laptop. The results are a new refined design that include a new trackpad with click functionality and an ultrathin display bezel. The keyboard has also been revamped, with better key placement. The new trackpad uses TrackPoint for customised behaviour, and the multi-touch display is optimised for Windows 8 gestures. The device weighs in at just 1.63kg and measures just 20.6mm in thickness. It also features Lenovo's traditional carbon fiver top cover and magnesium exterior, for business- class durability. Google Glass vs. Apple iWatch: What they're really thinking Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-glass-vs.-apple-iwatch-what- they-re-really-thinking/19286.html March 18th, 2013 Eye glasses and watches are definitely not new concepts, but Google and Apple are attempting to re-invent these ageless tools by integrating more “smart” features into them.
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 So while we ponder about what type of innovative wonders await consumers in Google’s Glass project, and Apple’s supposed iWatch, there’s still the whole debate about which next-gen tech will excite and grab the most consumer interests. A consumer prototype of Project Glass will be available for public consumption before the end of 2013 or sometime in 2014. However, Apple’s rumored iWatch will remain as pure speculations until the fruity company decides to confirm its existence. Nevertheless, Project Glass and Apple’s iWatch are competing products—albeit in different forms. Both Glass and iWatch will provide consumers with quick and easy access to various computational and entertainment needs, and do so in the form of wearable gadgets. Until consumers decide on which product is more fashionable and useful, both the Silicon Valley giants will have figure out how they can duplicate each other’s success should their respective products become busts. Kudos to joyoftech for the awesome comic. Lenovo to integrate NFC payment processing into more 2013 tablets and Ultrabooks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-to-integrate-nfc-payment- processing-into-more-2013-tablets-and-ultrabooks/19285.html March 18th, 2013 Lenovo has announced that it plans to integrate even more NFC technology into a slew of ThinkPad tablets and Ultrabooks later this year. Selected ThinkPad tablet and Ultrabook models coming later in 2013 will sport contactless NFC credit card payment methods, according to Lenovo reps at this year’s Expand conference in San Francisco, California. Currently, Lenovo is still trying to work with payment processors to make the NFC payment feature more feasible. NFC-enabled models are currently unknown, but, if things pan out as planned, Lenovo consumers will be able to go about purchasing goods online with ease by simply tapping a credit card. NFC payment processing via smartphones are still catching on, and with features like Google wallet continuing to amass more and more users, it should only be a matter of time before those same NFC features become more widespread in other mobile gadgets. ALMA radio telescope exposes 12 billion-year-old galaxies Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/alma-radio-telescope-exposes-12- billion-year-old-galaxies/19281.html March 17th, 2013 When we look up at the sky, the worlds beyond our own atmosphere are more than just mysteries—they’re time capsules waiting to be unpacked and studied to expose our own galaxy’s past and origin. The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in the Chilean Andes is helping scientists to do just that. Some recently released findings are proving that no amount of discoveries in our lifetime can lead to a complete understanding of how the universe operates and where mankind will end up hundreds and thousands of years from now. The ALMA radio telescope is a $1.4 billion project involving the collaborations of multiple nations, and it is due to the combined efforts of scientists worldwide that we have only begun to scratch the surface of what’s really beyond our solar system. As a matter fact, the ALMA telescope has transported researchers back 12 billion years, and denuding layers upon layers of the estimated 13.7 billion-year-old universe.
  • March 19th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 (The incomplete ALMA telescope has already begun to help us peek billions of years into the past. A year ago, only 16 antennas were fully functional, but in total there will be 66 antennas when the ALMA array completes.) In one such finding, researchers believe, through data gathered by ALMA, galaxies started forming shortly after the Big Bang. About 1-2 billion years right after the Big Bang, star-forming galaxies called starburst galaxies began appearing, and, like many other phenomenon out there, it took billions of years for the images to each our eyes. “It just tells us earlier in the history of the universe, there might have been large scale galaxy formation and star formation that might have been earlier than we thought,” said astrophysicist Yashar Hezaveh, who led and co- authored some of the studies utilizing ALMA. “So perhaps it’s going to help us understand some of the processes that could cause the formation of these galaxies.” Also, according to the data gathered by ALMA and other instruments, these starburst galaxies were forming stars at a rate of about 4,000 a year, which is far more than our Milky Way’s one star formation a year. Hezaveh is hoping that further observations using the ALMA telescope can provide scientists with further insights as to why these early galaxies had such fast star formation rates. Exciting as it may be that researchers have only begun to see deeper into space—and, by extension, back in time —the ALMA telescope is no nowhere near its maximum observational potential. The data released this week was gathered using only 16 antennas, but the telescope’s full array actually involves 50 more antennas. Meaning, once the ALMA telescope has all 66 antennas up and running, we’ll be able to see much more clearly and in detail the formation processes of the universe.
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Qualcomm Galaxy S IV heads to Europe, while Asia will get Exynos 5 Octa variant Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/qualcomm-galaxy-s-iv-heads-to- europe-while-asia-will-get-exynos-5-octa-variant/19324.html March 21st, 2013 People who are definitely going to grab a Samsung Galaxy S IV at or right after launch dates need to know which variant will be available in their country. If you don’t already know, there will be two GS4 variants, one with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, and the other with Samsung’s in-house Exynos 5 Octa. The following list shows which market will get the Exynos and which will get the Qualcomm GS4: GT-I**** = Not decided yet. GT-I9500 = Exynos GT-I9505 = Snapdragon GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 = Both Africa GT-I9500 – Afghanistan GT-I9500 – Algeria GT-I9500 – Egypt GT-I9500 – Kenya GT-I9500 – Lybia GT-I9500 – Marocco GT-I9500 – Nigeria Asia / Middle East GT-I9500 – Bangladesh GT-I9500 – China GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Hong Kong GT-I9500 – India GT-I9500 – Indonesia GT-I9500 – Iran GT-I9500 – Iraq GT-I**** – Israel GT-I9500 – Kazakhstan GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Korea GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Malaysia GT-I9500 – Nepal GT-I9500 – Pakistan GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Philippines GT-I9500 – Russia GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Saudi Arabia GT-I9505 – Singapore GT-I9500 – Sri Lanka GT-I9500 – Taiwan GT-I9500 – Thailand GT-I9500 – Turkey GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – United Arab Emirates GT-I9500 – Uzbekistan GT-I9500 – Vietnam Australia GT-I9505 – Australia Europe
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 GT-I9505 – Austria GT-I9505 – Baltic GT-I9505 – Belgium / Luxemburg GT-I9505 – Bosnia and Herzegovina GT-I9505 – Bulgaria GT-I**** – Croatia GT-I9505 – Cyprus GT-I9505 – Czech Republic GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – France GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Germany GT-I9505 – Greece GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Italy GT-I9505 – Macedonia GT-I9505 - Nordic Countries GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – Poland GT-I9505 – Romania GT-I9500 – Russia GT-I9505 – Portugal GT-I**** – Serbia GT-I9505 – Slovakia GT-I9505 – Slovenia GT-I9505 – Spain GT-I9505 – Switzerland GT-I9505 – The Netherlands GT-I9500 / GT-I9505 – United Kingdom GT-I9500 – Ukraine As you will notice, many European markets will get the Qualcomm variant, whereas most Asian markets will get the Exynos chip. A Geekbench 2 benchmark of the GS4 has shown that the quad-core Qualcomm GS4 is beating its competitor—HTC’s One—by a slight margin, albeit the chip is clocked a bit higher and the GS4 is running a more current Android OS. The U.S. is expected receive the Qualcomm model sometime in April or May. Valve offering games pre- release with new Early Access program Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/valve-offering-games-pre-release- with-new-early-access-program/19321.html March 21st, 2013 Valve has launched their latest feature, Early Access, which will allow gamers to play the pre-release alpha and beta versions of games before they hit the market. Perhaps inspired by the recent rise of crowd funding for game development, Valve has come up with a new way for the community to help make better games: Large scale alpha and beta testing. Through their new Early Access feature, you can gain access to select games while in development, giving you both a first hand look at how the game development process evolves over time, and giving the developers much needed feedback and bug-hunting. "A lot of games are already operating as ongoing services that grow and evolve with the involvement of customers and the community," said Sean Pollman of Badland Studio, developers of the upcoming title Kinetic Void, which was featured on Steam's Greenlight service, "[...] now Steam Early Access will let us continue the development of our game while gathering crucial feedback, input and support from the steam Community." Early Access, as it appears in Steam Early Access features automatic game updates, facilitating a quick response between the development studio and feedback it receives. Community features are also included so that you can play against other people online, share screenshots, etc. For a quick rundown, here's a list of the first titles to make it onto Early Access: • 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby) • Arma 3 • Drunken Robot Pornography • Gear Up • Gnomoria • Kenshi • Kerbal Space Program • Kinetic Void • Patterns • Prison Architect
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 • StarForge • Under the Ocean Amazing gel coagulates blood, seals wounds immediately Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amazing-gel-coagulates-blood-seals- wounds-immediately/19320.html March 21st, 2013 An amazing new gel presents a possible revolution to on-site medical assistance, as it is able to seal even large lacerations almost immediately. Video inside! NYU student Joe Landolina has created a medical miracle, and if the video below is to be believed, it can revolutionize on the fly medical assistance to victims of open and bleeding wounds. His invention is a Veti-Gel, a medical gel created from plant polymers, which seals up any wounds almost immediately, successfully clotting the wound in the process, and then leaves a skin-like stretchy surface that helps in the healing process. Landolina has explained that the gel has three main functions: First, its a tissue adhesive that clings to wounds and seals them up almost immediately, even under the pressure of gushing blood. Thus, there is no need to even put pressure on the wound, unlike what you'd do with conventional bandages. Secondly, the gel activates "Factor 12" on contact with blood. Factor 12 activates fibrin, the stringy webbing which creates blood clots by catching platelets and using them to block the flow of blood. On the title image for this article, you can see those strings clearly. Finally, the gel activates the platelet cells which causes them to bind to the fibrin, completing the seal. Amazing! "The gel basically [mimics] what the human body does but at a much faster rate," Landolina explains, further stating that the military is interested in adopting the technology and that clinical testing will begin at around the same time as its released to the military; roughly one and a half years from now. Voyager 1 on cusp of leaving solar system Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/voyager-1-on-cusp-of-leaving-solar- system/19298.html March 21st, 2013 Voyager 1, sent out into the great unknown some 35 years ago, has been on the verge of leaving the solar system for a few years. Now the indicators are finally beginning to mark the probe's location as beyond the influence of the sun. It was 35 years ago that NASA sent Voyager 1 on its way, with the mission of becoming the first man-made craft to leave to solar system and enter interstellar space; to travel to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, never to return again. Along with equipment to measure the surroundings of the probe is a golden disc, etched with images of humans and a visual depiction of the solar system, as well as instructions for how to access the sounds, music and greetings from earth recorded upon it; an outstretched hand to any other beings out there who may one day find it. Now, the first step on Voyager's journey is just about completed: It's about to leave the Solar System. This is something which has been close to happening for years, but has been very difficult to precisely determine. We don't know particularly much about the border between our solar system and interstellar space, and the line between the two is rather fuzzy. Still, two indicators which NASA has been considering as signs for crossing the border were just detected by Voyager; the signs being related to the movement of charged particles around the probe. Somewhat prematurely, the American Geophysical Union released a statement this morning saying that the probe had indeed left the solar system, but this isn't quite true yet - it's only very close. The final indicator of interstellar space is a change in magnetic field lines (arrows in the image). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Apart from the two discovered indicators mentioned above, NASA and JPL are waiting for one more indicator; a change in the direction of magnetic field lines, before it officially announces the probe as outside the Sol system. The Voyager team issued this statement: "It is the consensus of the Voyager science team that Voyager 1 has not yet left the solar system or reached interstellar space. In December 2012, the Voyager science team reported that Voyager 1 is within a new region called 'the magnetic highway' where energetic particles changed dramatically. A change in the direction of the magnetic field is the last critical indicator of reaching interstellar space and that change of direction has not yet been observed." That being said, the probe is now outside the region effected by the sun's heliosphere; as the AGU report states: “It appears that Voyager 1 has exited the main solar modulation region, revealing Hydrogen and Helium spectra characteristic of those to be expected in the local interstellar medium.” So whether or not we've officially left the solar system, we're definitely someplace new, and different... and the final crossing will likely happen soon. YouTube breaks record with 1 billion active users Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/youtube-breaks-record-with-1- billion-active-users/19318.html March 21st, 2013 YouTube just announced that they officially broke the one billion active user per month mark. This would make YouTube one of the two most actively visited websites on the Internet today. One rule in business is you go where the people are and if you are going to sell you must have (or invent) a need or want. Obviously videos today are the need or want, and YouTube is where the people are. According to Google, YouTube has officially broken the 1 billion-user month mark, which means that one out of every two people on the Internet or one out of every 7 people on earth use the website each and every month. The user-generated video website was quite the success since its inception, and it operates as the second most popular search on the Internet after Google main search engine, according to Google's research data. In an official YouTube blog post announcing the historical achievement, they said the monthly viewers on the video site would be equivalent to ten Super Bowl audiences. They went even further to give the reader an idea of the size of their audience saying, "If YouTube were a country, we'd be the third largest in the world after China and India." Google says that people are watching the equivalent to 4 billion hours of video per month on the site, and many user sites and videos are breaking viewing records in their own right. Just recently the Sesame Street YouTube channel topped the 1 billion-view mark, and Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style” video was able to break the 1 billion view mark for the one video alone! Gunnard Johnson who serves as an advertising research director for Google says that the views are partly stemming from what the Nielsen research firms refers to as ‘generation C’. Generation C makes up a massive number of people that view videos on their mobile devices. Writing on Google’s official blog post: “…an entire generation has grown up watching content on their own terms. This generation is defined by the Internet, mobile, and social - consuming content when and where they want.” Johnson went on to say that Generation C thrives on what they call the ‘four Cs’, which are connection, creation, community and curation. Hackers shut down South Korean TV networks and banks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hackers-shut-down-south-korean-tv- networks-and-banks/19316.html March 21st, 2013 It has been determined that the source of the cyber- attacks on South Korea’s media outlets and banks indeed originated from China. Three major television networks were essentially shut down on Wednesday and many ATMS and online banking services were inaccessible to major banks and their customers. South Korea had a real mess on their hands this past Wednesday when three major television networks along with some major banking institutions were shut down by a vicious malware attack that occurred at 2PM Seoul time. Security experts discovered the hacker’s malware program but not until after the attack occurred. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and it is not known at this time if the hacker was working with a collective or alone. This attack comes just one week after North Korea had a similar break into their highly exclusive Internet network that knocked them offline for approximately 36 hours. North Korea immediately blamed South Korea for their Internet outage that occurred a week ago. The North also called it an "intensive and persistent virus attack" by the U.S. Internet security experts in the U.S. and Europe concluded that the attacks on the North Korean network more than likely originated out of China. While the South Korean government made no publicly noted suspicions about who committed attacks, many privately said that the attacks might be North Korea in origin, due to the recent tensions between the two entities. As chance would have it, an analysis team got lucky and determined the source to have originated out of Mainland China. The program left behind a calling card in the banks servers giving up data that lead to its origin.
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The South Korean financial institutions that were hit included Shinhan Bank, Jeju, and Nonghyup banks. The malware greatly hindered all of the bank's Internet access usability, which included mobile banking apps and ATM access. Crystal Dynamics says it's currently not focusing on a single-player Tomb Raider expansion Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crystal-dynamics-says-it-s-currently- not-focusing-on-a-single-player-tomb-raider-expansion/19317.html March 21st, 2013 If you’re one of those people hoping that there will be more single player content for Tomb Raider via a future DLC, don’t count on it because Crystal Dynamics isn’t planning on releasing more single player goodies anytime soon. “Currently there are no plans regarding single-player DLC. Now that Lara is more experienced, we are excited to take her on new adventures that challenge her strength and confidence. It is important that even as Lara grows as a character, so does the challenges she must. There are currently no plans in place for any single-player expansion. All of our DLC is based around the multiplayer experience for now.” The news is a bit of a downer for those that felt like Tomb Raider didn’t provide enough kicks in single-player. However, the Crystal Dynamics did not rule out the possibility of future single player expansion, they simply stated that they are currently focusing on adding more to the multi-player mode. Adobe exceeds profit estimates thanks to Creative Cloud Tools Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/adobe-exceeds-profit-estimates- thanks-to-creative-cloud-tools/19307.html March 21st, 2013 Adobe Systems Inc. beat the predictions for 2013 first- quarter sales, amassing a $1.01 billion profit. According to analysts, the company’s fiscal success was due to web- software marketing and Creative Cloud subscriptions. Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer, focused on web and mobile devices’ products and services, changing Adobe’s profile as a developer of computer software. In only three months, 153,000 subscribers were added to Adobe’s Creative Cloud tools, which now include Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator. Adobe’s transition towards online sales and marketing has been impressively fast, giving the company a dynamic role in the marketplace. Its shares increased by 7.2 percent and its stock gained 8.1 percent within the year. According to predictions, 2013 will close with profits of about $4.1 billion for Adobe. Keeping up with the current, Adobe’s next steps would be a revised version of Adobe Marketing Cloud software with touch-screen capabilities, and tailored prices for subscribers. Council approves Google Fiber expansion into Olathe, Kansas Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/council-approves-google-fiber- expansion-into-olathe-kansas/19315.html March 21st, 2013 Google is expanding its Fiber experiment into Olathe, Kansas, and residents of the so called “Silicon Prairie” will soon be able to zip around cyberspace under the Google banner. According to the search giant, not only will expansion of its fiber optic internet service into the area bring locals faster broadband, but it will also “create jobs and grow local businesses.” There is still no time table as to when Olathe residents will begin receiving the Google Internet service. Google says that there is still a lot of planning and engineering works to be done before Google Fiber in Olathe can take off.
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 The fiber optic service, according to its website, will run customers $120 plus taxes and other fees a month. While it’s not the most affordable broadband service, Google Fiber also comes with standard cable TV channels like Disney, ESPN, and BBC. Today, another city in the Kansas City area is getting the chance to join the growing Silicon Prairie — Olathe, Kan. A few minutes ago, the Olathe City Council approved an agreement to bring Google Fiber to their city. Olathe has become one of the fastest-growing cities in Kansas and has attracted an influx of new businesses and residents. They’ve all noticed what a great community Olathe is, and so have we. We think that Fiber and widespread Internet access will help to create jobs, grow local businesses, and make Olathe even stronger as it grows. - Google Fiber Blog Simon Cowell to bring his Idol-like magic to YouTube Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/simon-cowell-to-bring-his-idol-like- magic-to-youtube/19305.html March 21st, 2013 Simon Cowell has a bit of the Midas touch when it comes to providing the right platform to discover—or make—rising stars, and it has made him a very wealthy man in the process. It seems that he has decided to move beyond regular television and is setting his sights on the YouTube generation of possible stars and maybe more money. It's been a rather big month so far when it comes to YouTube announcements. The news that Ridley Scott (yes the same Scott of Alien and Blade Runner fame) is joining forces with YouTube powerhouse Machinima to create 12 original science fiction short films has stirred up a lot more hype for the video streaming site. This was followed quickly with Reddit announcing that it will be doing a new "Explain Like I'm Five" web series. If that wasn't enough to make normal television executives sit up and take notice (and maybe make a run for some more Pepto Bismol), then the news that Idol and X-Factor star maker Simon Cowell was headed to YouTube as well will definitely cause a few cages to be rattled. It's called "The You Generation", and the idea is that, starting this Wednesday, 26 countries will be a part of the journey to discover the most talented people in the YouTube world. Every two weeks a new batch of finalists will be picked out and winners will be announced every second Friday. They then will all be able to win money; even though prize amounts have not been made public yet. All these winners will then go on to a Grand Finale, where once again the prized are still to be announced. There are a lot of jokes floating around the web about the whole idea, but the reality is that Simon Cowell is still a force in the entertainment industry. The fact that he and his people have figured out that there might be some serious gold in all those YouTube videos is something that will raise YouTube's profile as a competitor to the established networks. Should this new project prove to be a hit, expect copy-cats to begin emerging. Here's the promo video for the project: Redbox Instant now available on Xbox LIVE Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/redbox-instant-now-available-on- xbox-live/19312.html March 21st, 2013 Xbox LIVE Gold members can now take advantange of a free one-month trial of Redbox Instant, bringing a wide variety of streamable content to their living room. With the newly announced Redbox Instant service, Verizon brings all of the convenience and low cost of a Redbox movie rental straight to your living room or on-the-go with digital video streaming. Redbox Instant has also made its way onto the console world and is now available as a downloadable app via Xbox LIVE, where Gold members can sign up for a one-month free trial to try the service out for themselves.
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The service itself isn't just video streaming; Redbox Instant offers credits for four free DVD rentals a month along with access to an ever-growing library of digital hits. Subscribers can stream a variety of content via different devices including computers, smart phones, tablets or Xbox 360 consoles. Additionally, viewers don't have to be a subscriber to the service to rent digital movies--for about $5, anyone can enjoy Redbox Instant's digital streaming. Redbox Instant allows subscribers and viewers to bookmark their favorite movies, check out new arrivals and review their watch history to revisit previously watched content. Redbox Instant also saves your viewing progress across a variety of different devices, conveniently allowing viewers to pick up where they left off during their last session. Verizon's streaming service also features a variety of the latest movie trailers to keep up to date on the hottest upcoming flicks, and even includes trailers of greatest hit movies and more. Redbox Instant by Verizon is now available with a subscription fee of $8 a month. For more information please visit the official website Articles on Kindle are only a click away with Amazon's new service Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/articles-on-kindle-are-only-a-click- away-with-amazon-s-new-service/19311.html March 21st, 2013 Up until now, readers used RSS aggregators and services like Instapaper or Pinboard to access and read their chosen articles. Now, Amazon makes its move offering the option to send any article directly to your Kindle. Instead of building a web interface for reading the articles, Amazon directs the readers straight to their Kindle devices, hitting two birds with one stone. It promotes Kindle products while offering a simple, user friendly and potentially popular reading service. All Amazon did was to introduce the Send to Kindle button. The websites only have to integrate it into their sites and the users are one click away from sending the article to their Kindles. Alternatively, they can use the Kindle app on their laptops or mobiles. The integration of the Send to Kindle widget is simple and easy, but depends on the websites’ convenience whether they would add it on their menus or not. So far, the Kindle button can be found in Wordpress sites as a plugin, and according to Kindlepost, to the web pages of Washington post, TIME, and the Boing Boing blog. If you want to add the button on your website or blog, you can get it for free from Amazon. Here comes the 'Tesla Killer' - Detroit Electric soon to unveil their very own all- electric coupe Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/here-comes-the-tesla-killer--detroit- electric-soon-to-unveil-their-very-own-all-electric-coupe/19306.html March 21st, 2013 Detroit Electric will be the first all-electric car company to make its headquarters in Detroit - at least in modern times. While the company and concept of the car is brand new, the name goes back about 100 years when Detroit Electric was the leader in electric vehicles made in the 'Motor City'. The early days of the electric car dates back well over 100 years when numerous inventors were experimenting with horseless carriages. While we all know Detroit as ‘Motor City’, historians also say that the town was the epicenter of the first EVs built in America. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the electric vehicle industry was doing moderately well before they lost out to the readily available and inexpensive petroleum that powered all internal combustion engines. One of those companies was called Detroit Electric, and they were leading the way with the most cars produced and sold nearly 14,000 cars before they shut down.
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 (1922 Detroit Electric) Detroit Electric was simply well ahead of its time, but like the fabled phoenix rising from its ashes, Detroit Electric's name returned to life in 2008 all thanks to the dreams of Albert Lam who once served as the CEO of Lotus Engineering. The company just recently put up an outline of the EV coupe on their website displaying its curves and lines but not enough to give the car away. Based on what we can see from the teaser, it appears to be directly targeted at Tesla's sports coupe. Furthermore, some rumors are saying that the car may be priced under $30,000 (U.S.), which would be a major hit on Tesla's American sales. Lam has placed DE's headquarters in Detroit’s old Fisher Building, and he says they will be hiring about 200 people before production begins in August of this year. They will purportedly build approximately 2,500 two-seater sport coupes for their first run with plans on building other models soon after. It took the company around five years of research and development before they were able to finalize the design on the car. It will be officially unveiled in Detroit sometime in early April 2013 and just ahead of the worldwide unveiling to take place at the Shanghai Motor Show on April 20,2013. The company's website also hints that they will be joining forces with another major maker as well – the website reads in part, “The show will also provide the platform for Detroit Electric to share an exciting announcement about a major partnership with a global carmaker. “Full details will be announced on the first press day of the show.” While there has not been any mention of what kind of design the other models might be, it is only logical they will be in direct competition with the Tesla Model S and possibly a SUV or crossover type model. HTC One launch delayed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-one-launch-delayed/19310.html March 20th, 2013 HTC has delayed the launch of the HTC One smartphone, potentially hurting sales of the new flagship model. The device, with a 4.7-inch display, is largely seen as the HTC's answer to Samsung's popular Galaxy range, and many analysts saw the HTC One's slightly earlier release than the Galaxy S IV as one of its primary advantages. Today, however, HTC announced that the HTC One would not release this month, as previously expected, though some pre-orders would ship towards the end of the month. Instead most shipments will not occur until April, the same month as the Galaxy S IV. The reason for the delay was blamed on difficulty sourcing parts for the phone, with sources at HTC admitting that many manufacturers no longer consider it a top tier partner, suggesting they have inked deals with more lucrative companies like Apple and Samsung. While HTC was a significant player a few years ago when smartphones were beginning to emerge, it has consistently lost market share to larger rivals. In 2012 its market share was just 4.6 percent, down from 8.8 percent the year before, according to figures from IDC. At the time of writing HTC shares are down $2.50, or one percent, to $246.50.
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 eBay to lower seller fees to steal Amazon sellers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ebay-to-lower-seller-fees-to-steal- amazon-sellers/19309.html March 20th, 2013 eBay is taking advantage of price hikes for Amazon sellers by reducing its own seller fees, encouraging potentially millions to jump ship. eBay is taking advantage of price hikes for Amazon sellers by reducing its own seller fees, encouraging potentially millions to jump ship. The popular online auction site is simplifying its final value fees and removing some of its listing fees, resulting in substantial savings for sellers. Some of the changes will primarily affect smaller sellers who list fewer than 12,250 items per month, with eBay offering 50 free listings per month, compared to current charges of 50 cents per listing unless they are auctions. eBay will take 10 percent of any sales. Higher volume sellers will also benefit, with reductions in fees averaging 11 percent, according to one seller cited by Reuters. The new final value fees will be between 4 and 9 percent, depending on the type of product on offer. The move comes as sellers become more vocal about price hikes at Amazon's third-party seller programme, threatening to move elsewhere. Part of Amazon's advantage over eBay was not requiring listing fees, making eBay's free 50 listings a powerful motivator for switching over. The changes will be implemented on 16 April for some and 1 May for others. Image Credit: Coolcaesar Logitech unveils new gaming mouse, keyboard and headset lineup Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/logitech-unveils-new-gaming- mouse-keyboard-and-headset-lineup/19308.html March 20th, 2013 Logitech has unveiled its latest peripherals for PC gaming, including six redesigned mice, two keyboards, and two headsets. The Swiss company is revamping many of its products to improve durability and comfort, with fingerprint-resistant coatings and hydrophobic coating to stop hands from sticking to the mice. Low-friction polytetrafluorethylene feet also help reduce drag and improve cursor accuracy. The G700s rechargeable gaming mouse touts wireless response times similar to that of a wired mouse, an important feature for gamers relying on split-second reaction. There are 13 programmable controls for macros or easy quickslot access. This mouse retails for $99.99. The G500s laser gaming mouse allows adjustment of weight and centre of gravity to tune it to the player, and 10 programmable controls. It retails for $69.99. The G400s optical gaming mouse comes with Delta Zero sensor technology for improved cursor accuracy. It is also extra durable, with a lifespace of 20 million clicks. It retails for $59.99. The cheaper G100s model has similar features and retails for $39.99. The two new gaming keyboards on offer are the G19s and the G510s. Both include an adjustable GamePanel LCD display and custom-colour backlighting. The G19s has 12 programmable G-Keys with up to 36 different functions, in addition to allowing anti-ghosting over 26 keys to avoid interference. The G510s has 18 programmable G-Keys with
  • March 21st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 54 functions. The G19s retails for $199.99, while the G510s sells for $119.99. Logitech also has two gaming headsets on offer, the G430 and G230. The first features Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound, for a more immersive sound experience, plus a Low Frequency Effects channel, washable ear cups, and noise- cancellation for the foldable mic. The G230 features stereo sound, washable ear cups, and a similar mic. The G430 retails for $79.99, while the G230 retails for $59.99. All the new peripherals will be available in the US at the beginning of April and in Europe at the beginning of May. There is no word yet on a release in other regions. Justice Department says they are above the 4th Amendment, argues to GPS track without warrant Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/justice-department-says- they-are-above-the-4th-amendment-argues-to-gps-track-without- warrant/19295.html March 20th, 2013 Just recently the U.S. Justice Department along with the Obama administration defended the use of GPS tracking on citizens without a warrant. The administration says there aren’t any laws that require them to issue a warrant and will be appealing last year's Supreme Court decision on the matter this week. The U.S. Department of Justice along with the Obama administration is still maintaining the position that a warrant is not needed for them to legally track someone with a GPS device. This came after last year’s Supreme Court’s opinion that GPS tracking devices are the same as a search, and that is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Last year's SC decision created a lot of unanswered questions that will be cleared up this week in the court of appeals. Catherine Crump, who serves as a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), wrote an article for the ACLU website concerning the decision and explained that while they did say it was a 4th Amendment issue, they didn’t say if a warrant was needed. In regards to the U.S. v. Jones landmark decision by the Supreme Court, Crump says, “Although the Court’s decision in Jones makes clear that the government’s attachment and use of a GPS tracker on a car constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment, it does not say whether that search requires a warrant from a judge—a crucial protection because it forces agents to justify their actions to a neutral outsider.” Crump further argues that the court’s opinion in the matter never addressed other technologies being used such as smartphone tracking, camera monitoring and face recognition technologies or even the use of drones to follow and record a person’s movements. The Justice Department will make their appeal this week before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This court will decide on the higher court’s 2012 opinion on the GPS device tracking. The Feds will further argue that the court has in the past given police agencies broad exemptions from warrants such as with public school searches, the U.S. Border Patrol and their procedures and even airport security that involves searches without warrants. Last year when the SC made their decision on GPS tracking, the Justice Department temporarily terminated the use over 3000 GPS trackers on individual's cars and bikes. If the department is able to win their argument concerning the tracking technology, the Supreme Court’s opinion will be ignored, and therefore giving the Feds unlimited tracking technology techniques without any restrictions or warrants issued.
  • March 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. New trailer drops for PS3 console port of Diablo III Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-trailer-drops-for-ps3-console- port-of-diablo-iii/19337.html March 22nd, 2013 During Sony's "See The Future" PS4 event, Blizzard revealed that Diablo III is coming to PlayStation 3. Now we get our first look at the console port's in-game footage with a brand new game play trailer. Blizzard Entertainment has just released a brand new trailer for the console port of Diablo III, giving gamers a brief look at actual in-game footage that shows off fluid combat as well as the game's interfaces. The upcoming console port of Diablo III is planned to feature most of the same elements of its PC counterpart, including the same classes, enemies, levels and acts, etc. Blizzard plans to bring the full extent of hack-and-slash action RPG to the PlayStation 3, including online multiplayer via the PlayStation Network and local split-screen play. This won't be the first Diablo game that's made its way onto the PlayStation console; back in 1996 Blizzard North released the first Diablo game onto the original PlayStation as an exact port of the PC version. It will be interesting to see how the two versions differ--if at all--and how Blizzard adapts a traditional point-and-click dungeon crawler into a fully functional console release. There have also been other titles of this nature released onto consoles: Runic Games released the original Torchlight action RPG onto Xbox LIVE as an Arcade title, and it worked quite well. The PS3 port aims to bring the full Diablo III experience to your living room in the comfort of your couch, and based on the fluidity of the game play footage in the new trailer, they may very well pull it off. Everything from combat to inventory and item mechanics is featured within the trailer, giving a nice if not brief look at the upcoming release. Additionally it will be interesting to see if the PS3 version features cross-over play with PC gamers, and if the current and future patches will be represented in the game. Much of the game's core constituency has been divided on many aspects of the game--including the prospect of paying real money in the game's virtual Real Money Auction House (RMAH)--and with the new PS3 version in the works Blizzard has opened up new doors for console gamers...something that avid fans of the series may have mixed feelings about.
  • March 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 In any case, it will be interesting to see if the RMAH is implemented in the PS3 version, if cross-over play is featured, and what bugs (if any) will arise. Many longtime Diablo gamers will remember the dupe glitch in the original PlayStation version. However, Blizzard is notorious for nerfing many features of its games so it most likely won't last. Information on a release date has yet to be revealed, but we'll keep you updated once it's announced. For more information on the PS3 version of Diablo III please visit the game's official website. Civilian hackers could be killed in a cyber-war Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/civilian-hackers-could-be-killed-in- a-cyber-war/19326.html March 22nd, 2013 The Geneva Convention has always stated that when it comes to times of war civilian lives are off limits, and that anyone caught killing civilians could face being charged with war crimes. However, in increasing our use of technology in warfare, civilians could find themselves without that protection. Warfare is becoming more and more centered around the use of technology, with things like drones being the go to weapon of the modern military, and then there is the more covert use of hackers to conduct cyber-attack against enemy forces and governments. However, this use of forces that may never see a battlefield raises some serious legal implications. Ever since the creation of the Geneva Convention, civilians have been 'protected' from being killed by enemy forces for whatever reason, but what if those civilians, operating under the auspices of the military forces become a hacker army whose sole intent is to perform electronic attacks against foreign governments and military forces. To address this legal quandary, a set of proposed international rules has been commissioned by NATO and put together along with the International Committee of the Red Cross and US Cyber Command to address the fact that civilian hackers could become legitimate targets. The document is titled "Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare" and was written by 20 legal scholars and practitioners to come to some consensus at how current international law applies to cyber warfare. Needless to say, this has all kinds of people across the web up in arms with concerns regarding some key points, one being: Civilians are not prohibited from directly participating in cyber operations amounting to hostilities, but forfeit their protection from attacks for such time as they so participate. To make this a bit less legal sounding, not to mention easier to understand, here's the plain English version: While civilians are normally off-limits in a time of war, they stop being off-limits as targets if they engage in cyber-attacks of any kind. This rule basically creates an exception to the Geneva Convention rules when it comes to targeting civilians. via PopSci / image courtesy of Gizmodo Google releases report of wrongful DMCA takedown requests Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-releases-report-of-wrongful- dmca-takedown-requests/19314.html March 22nd, 2013 When the DMCA first went into effect, it was meant to provide a way for copyright holders to legitimately request for copyrighted files and links to them, but unfortunately that process has been abused as evident through Google’s tracking and publishing the list of DMCA takedown notices. Google gets lots of DMCA takedown notices. No, change that. Google gets tons of takedown notices every year, and they have always been fairly transparent about what notices they act on, but now they have decided to take that transparency a little further by also publishing a list of those takedown notices that they deny. To give you an idea of how many notices Google acts on, in 2012 Google was asked to remove an incredible 51.4 million links to supposedly infringing links. By the end of the year, Google was removing almost half a million links per day. However, if you think that is a staggering amount you haven't seen anything yet, as 2013 is shaping up with requests for 3,790,409 links to be removed in February. Even that is nothing compared to March requests, which by the 11th had already surpassed 4 million requests. Of course, just because a copyright holder sends in a takedown notice it doesn't mean that Google will actually comply to it and to illustrate which ones do get taken down and which ones don't, Google has added a new section to its Transparency Report. This new section shows, on a daily basis, a selection of copyright holders and anti-piracy firms that Google has declined the requests of.
  • March 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Takedown notices aren't going anywhere, but it is nice to see that Google is improving the transparency of what they report. We all win in the end when they do. Apple planning iPhone that reacts to falling to land safely Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-planning-iphone-that-reacts- to-falling-to-land-safely/19336.html March 22nd, 2013 Apple has filed a patent for an iPhone design that features a method to detect a fall and correct its descent so that it survives the impact. Apple has filed a patent for an iPhone design that features a method to detect a fall and correct its descent so that it survives the impact. The patent, numbered 20130073095, is entitled “Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device” and was filed on 26 September, 2011, before being published online on 21 March, 2013. It details a system where sensors built into the phone detects that it is falling, how fast it is falling, and how close it is to the ground, triggering a mechanism where the phone is spun around until it lands flat, offering the most cushioned fall possible to save the screen and components from being damaged. For the sensors smartphones already have gyroscopes, accelerometers, and GPS, but additional imaging sensors could be employed. However, the really mind-boggling part of the idea is how the phone will reposition itself. Apple proposed a variety of options, such as employing a small weight inside the device which can move around, foils like those that extend from the wings of an aeroplane, or a gas-propelled thruster. Apple has even considered ways to eject cables from chargers or headphones if they snag on something or someone and begin to tug the phone to the ground. With so many butterfingers out there, and smartphones, especially iPhones, costing so much, a technique for saving a device in a fall could become a very attractive feature, and potentially one of the ways that Apple can regain its crown from rival Samsung. Chameleon botnet responsible for stealing millions from advertisers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chameleon-botnet-responsible-for- stealing-millions-from-advertisers/19304.html March 22nd, 2013 With traditional media advertising, the companies that paid for ads never had to worry about having their money stolen by thieves. However, in the Internet age there is no such guarantee, and companies are losing millions of dollars to Internet thieves. Blogs play a very delicate game when it comes to money. On one hand they need to run advertising in order to make money so they can pay the bills and their writers, but on the other hand they have to be careful or else there’s the risk of alienating their readers with too many ads. On top of that news outlets have to try and attract quality advertising to make it all worthwhile, but the situation is equally delicate for the advertisers who have to constantly show that they are actually getting something back on the money they spend. So when news of something like the Chameleon botnet breaks you can be assured that advertisers are going to be
  • March 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 paying attention, especially when that botnet could very well be stealing millions of dollars from them. Security researchers first came across the Chameleon botnet at the end of 2012, and believe it is one of the most sophisticated ad revenue stealing botnets to date. The bot is capable of re-creating "normal" mouse traces, "random" click-through on specific advertisements, and ad only clicking 0.02 percent of the time. This kind of behavior is meant to trick existing technology that is available to detect fraudulent click activity on ads. The botnet was discovered by security company Spider.io and they have been able to detect at least 120,000 'host machines'; which a majority of them coming from United States IP addresses. The cost to advertisers by the Chameleon botnet is estimated to be in the range of $6 million so far, and that it is responsible for almost nine billion ad impressions being served up by the 202 sites it is known to visit. Doomsday study gives humanity better survival chances Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/doomsday-study-gives-humanity- better-survival-chances/19323.html March 22nd, 2013 A recalculation of the humanity’s survival chances, according to the ‘Universal Doomsday Argument’, improves the odds of our long-term survival. On top of that, if we find a way to reduce existential threats, like asteroid strikes or nuclear wars, we can hope to be one of the long-lived civilizations of the universe. It is not science fiction, but serious scientific research. According to the Doomsday Argument, we can calculate the total number of humans that will ever exist, based on the number of humans that have already existed. This simple calculation can predict how long we will survive in the future. So far, the calculations drew a bleak picture. If 70 billion humans have already existed, then according to the probabilities, we are among the last 95 percent of the humans that will ever exist. Following this reasoning, the total amount of humans that will ever exist would be more or less 1.4 trillion. This means that we have only 10,000 years left as a race. Don’t despair, though. Austin Geric and colleagues, from Oxford University, recalculated our chances using a different model, the “Universal Doomsday” argument. According to it, we are one among the many evolved civilizations of the universe and our chances to become a long-lived one depends on the number of existential threats and our countermeasures. Gerig, and colleagues, developed a detailed analysis that takes under consideration the number of existential threats we will face. These include nuclear wars, pandemics, asteroid impacts and other threats we have not yet make movies about. This new approach improves the odds that humanity will exist in the future longer that it has existed in the past. The probability our civilization would be long-lived as a function of R given N existential threats. In their study, they also included the obvious actions we can take as a race to raise our survival chances. According to Gerig, “If there is a message here for our own civilization, it is that it would be wise to devote considerable resources (i) for developing methods of diverting known existential threats and (ii) for space exploration and colonization. Civilizations that adopt this policy are more likely to be among the lucky few that beat the odds.” Apple blames record labels and film studios for high prices in Australia Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-blames-record-labels-and- film-studios-for-high-prices-in-australia/19335.html March 22nd, 2013 Apple has blamed Australian record labels, films studios and TV networks for the significantly higher prices in the country for digital downloads compared to the US. Apple has blamed Australian record labels, films studios and TV networks for the significantly higher prices in the country for digital downloads compared to the US. The cost of a song, software, or hardware in Australia is on average 50 percent more expensive than the US, according to a report by consumer advocacy group Choice. In some cases albums cost double the price, such as Justin Timberlake's 20/20 Experience, while software like Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium costs the equivalent of $3,300, compared to $1,899 in the US. Apple, Microsoft and Adobe are facing tough questioning and criticism from an Australian parliamentary committee, after allegations of unfair pricing were raised by consumer watchdogs.
  • March 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Tony King, VP of Apple Australia, New Zealand and South Asia, pointed the finger at what he described as “old- fashioned” content providers, stating that Apple has called for lower prices. He said the cards are ultimately in the hands of the people who own the content. The trio of companies also blamed other factors for high prices in Australia, such as the country's 10 percent goods and services tax, high labour costs, copyright issues, and the classic geographical product differentiation, a fancy way of saying prices are naturally different in different regions. The committee investigating the pricing issues has strongly criticised all three companies for initially declining to send executives to publicly answer questions. When the companies eventually complied many of the answers given were considered as evasive or doubtful. To make matters worse for Australian customers, many of them are prevented from buying cheaper products from US websites, forcing them to buy the greatly inflated versions closer to home. The committee challenged the three companies with charging “what you can get away with.” Australia is now considering taking control of pricing itself, which could drive costs down substantially for consumers, and really hurt the revenues of the software giants. Image Credit: Google Maps Lenovo officially unveils 5.3- inch quad-core Android 4.2 S920 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-officially-unveils-5.3-inch- quad-core-android-4.2-s920/19334.html March 22nd, 2013 The Lenovo S920 can be considered as somewhat of a Galaxy Note II competitor, but it’s definitely not a cream of the crop-type device. Underneath the relatively thin, 7.9mm, exterior lays a quad-core MT6589 clocked at 1.2GHz along with 1GB of RAM. While the 5.3-inch display does boast a 1280x720 resolution, a display of that size merits the full 1080p resolution. Rounding out the specs, the handset also sports an 8MP rear camera (2MP front) and a 2250mAh battery. MediaTek’s 28nm MT6589 is nothing to laugh at even if it’s of the “affordable” variant. The chip is based on ARM’s Cortex A7, and with four cores running at 1.2GHz it makes the MT6589 a very respectable chip. Paired up with a PowerVR Series 5XT GPU and a wireless onboard modem chip, and devices featuring the MT6589 is capable of supporting 1080p screens, a 13MP camera with 1080p video recording, and high mobile data transmission rates. Lenovo chose to not take full advantage of the MT6589’s capabilities, and it’s very likely that the S920 handset will be reserved for emerging markets like China and India. Currently, the S920 is posted on Lenovo’s Chinese website, but people can’t purchase the handset yet.
  • March 22nd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Despite the hardware’s capabilities, it remains to be seen how well Lenovo has taken care of the OS optimization. BlackBerry Z10 now available in U.S. with over 100,000 apps to select from Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-z10-now-available-in- u.s.-with-over-100-000-apps-to-select-from/19332.html March 22nd, 2013 There seems to be some mixed feelings regarding the "comeback" BlackBerry 10 device, but, regardless of what critics are saying, the Canadian handset maker is still pinning the company’s survival on the Z10 and other lower- end BB10 models coming later this year. For the price of $199.99 and with a two year contract, interested parties can snatch up a 4.2-inch 1280x768 Z10 that features a dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon and 2GB of RAM. The device comes with 16GB of internal storage, but users can add more storage via microSD (up to 32GB). Other specs include an 8MP rear shooter capable of recording 720p video, 2MP front camera, an 1800mAh battery, micro HDMI support, and Bluetooth 4.0. BlackBerry has been doing its best to convince developers to make apps for the BB10 platform, and it seems like things are going well as the company’s app store has amounted to over 100,000 apps. Apps like CNN, eBay, Facebook, and Skype have all made their way to the BB app market. “Top brands and application providers are joining us every day and are seeing the benefits of being early supporters of the new platform,” said Martyn Mallick, VP, Global Alliances at BlackBerry. “We constantly hear from developers that the BlackBerry 10 tools are easy to build with and that we provide opportunities for app differentiation that they do not see on other platforms.” People who want to check out the phone in person can check out a local A&T store or retailers like Best Buy and RadioShack. RSS.com owner wants to sell domain for $200,000 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rss.com-owner-wants-to-sell- domain-for-200-000/19325.html March 21st, 2013 Ron Sheridan, the domain’s owner, is currently seeking $200,000 for RSS.com. Ever since news broke that Google plans on shutting down Reader, quite a few entities have been scrambling to pick up whatever the search giant is dropping—and by no mean is millions of users an insignificant thing. Hence, Sheridan’s timing coincides with all the chatter running around about all the opportunities that are still exploitable within the RSS realm. (Buy me, I'm worth the investment.) When Sheridan first purchased the domain, he had plans to develop an RSS reading service, but his intentions didn’t fall through. If there aren’t any takers for RSS.com, Sheridan wants to form a partnership with others to turn the site into something useful. Like many startups seeking funds nowadays, if there is no exchange of hands with RSS.com, a Kickstarter campaign might be next in line.
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Durango's SDK leaked, always online confirmed for next-gen Xbox Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/durango-s-sdk-leaked-always- online-confirmed-for-next-gen-xbox/19353.html March 24th, 2013 The SDK for Microsoft's project Durango (Xbox 720) has recently been leaked onto VGLeaks, revealing many core features of the console such as it being "always online, always connected". The SDK (Software Development Kit) for Microsoft's next- generation Xbox console has recently been leaked onto a website called VGLeaks, revealing many of the system's hardware specifications and features. For months now, rumors have been circulating throughout the gaming world on possible specs, limitations, and integral features of Durango (Microsoft's code name for the console), and the recently leaked XDK (Xbox Development Kit) confirms many of the speculations and rumors. One of the major features listed within the XDK's "Durango Hardware Overview" section is the confirmation that the console will be always online and always connected, a concept that we covered last month. “Durango will implement different power states so that it can always be powered on, but will draw minimal electricity when not in use,” the overview begins. “The console will be ready instantly when users want to play, and will always maintain a network connection so that console software and games are always current. With this “Always On, Always Connected” design, users will quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install games.” The overview also states that Durango will be shipped with a new high-fidelity Kinect sensor--which is required for the system to operate--and will also feature a Blu-ray disc drive, but it still may not support Blu-ray movie playback which folds into our recent coverage. Additionally, the document revealed that all games on Blu- ray discs will have to be installed, and that Durango will not feature optical disc playback--yet players will still be able to play games as they are being installed onto the console. "Durango consoles will have a Blu-ray disc drive. Disc media will be used for distribution, but during gameplay, games will not use content from the optical disc. An installation system is being designed that will allow gamers to begin playing while the game is being installed on the hard drive rather than waiting until installation is complete." This concept may have serious economical and personal implications, and it certainly seems to fit in with our coverage of the Xbox 720 blocking used and secondhand games, which will no doubt send a wave of agitation through the gaming world. PS3 firmware update allows players to download games from PSN website Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ps3-firmware-update-allows-players- to-download-games-from-psn-website/19352.html
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 March 24th, 2013 The changelog for PlayStation 3's Ver. 4.40 firmware update reveals some innovative new features such as allowing gamers to download virtual games to their console from the PlayStation Network website. Recent news on the upcoming software update for the PS3 has revealed that Sony plans to implement a new option that brings extra convenience to PS3 users across the world. The changelog for Sony's new firmware update for the PlayStation 3 sheds light on the new feature along with the additional changes included with the update. The version 4.40 update will introduce the ability to download PlayStation 3 games to the console directly from the official PlayStation Network website. This not only gives gamers options when purchasing content from Sony's digital marketplace, but also spells out additional convenience for users as they can purchase content on the PSN Store and download it to their console on the fly. Users will have to wait a bit before this new feature becomes active, however: it's not planned to become available until May 2013. Until then Sony is working out the kinks and finalizing the option to make it more efficient and safe. Additionally, the update will restore stability to some system features and also adds game support for a few wireless headsets. Below you can find an excerpt from the official changelog for the Ver. 4.40 Firmware Update: • "System software update 4.40 will allow users to download content purchased from our online store to their PS3. This feature is not available yet and will be activated in May 2013. Keep an eye on eu.playstation.com for a detailed guide explaining how to make the most of this feature. • System software stability during use of some features has been improved. • The wireless stereo headset (CECHYA-0080 / CECHYA-0086) and the stereo headset (CECHYA-0088) now support PlayStation 2 Classics that have been downloaded from PlayStation Store." Version 4.40 was released on March 21, 2013 and is now available for download. For more information on the update such as new features and the firmware update's official changelog, be sure to visit Sony's System Update page. Papers link Shanghai Jiaotong University to special army hacking unit Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/papers-link-shanghai-jiaotong- university-to-special-army-hacking-unit/19351.html March 24th, 2013 Recently published Chinese academic papers claim that researchers at Jiaotong University collaborated with an elite Chinese army unit to study how to carry out sophisticated cyber-attacks. Shanghai Jiaotong University is the premiere institution of higher education, and a lot of China’s top-level lawmakers can claim the University as their Alma Mater as well. Now, that very same University has published papers that seems to present damning evidence backing the U.S.' claim that China has a PLA-backed hacking unit.
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The recently published papers date back to 2007 and show several researchers associated with Jiaotong's School of Information Security Engineering (SISE) listed with the work. The papers claim to focus on how to orchestrate computer break-ins abroad, and they also show that university researchers were working with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Unit 61398. The works vary on monitoring techniques, to literal computer break-ins, which includes the coding for an "intrusion monitoring system" for assorted computer networks, along with how to monitor "attack graphs". Just last month the U.S. security firm Mandiant accused the Chinese military of conducting sophisticated hacking runs into major computer networks located inside the U.S. and abroad. Mandiant says China is involved in a “systematic cyber espionage and data theft against organizations around the world.” The firm was also able to show how the Chinese PLA-backed hackers set up their base of operations inside of Shanghai’s commercial district. The Communist Party of China (CPA) allegedly backs up the work down by the PLA, and the goal of the hackers is to learn "How to get inside major corporations to steal trade secrets and also some government servers”. In February a string of sophisticated hacks into high profile corporations, which included Apple, Microsoft and Tumblr and Facebook, were reported, and many felt the attacks were a direct reply to Mandiant’s report on the Chinese hackers. E-mails have also begun showing up with laced versions of the actual report itself, which only lends credence to the Chinese hacking allegations. China has denied all accusations in regarding computer network break-ins, and have actually accused the U.S. of stealing their own secrets. Kim Dotcom to sue Hong Kong government Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kim-dotcom-to-sue-hong-kong- government/19346.html March 24th, 2013 Kim Dotcom (formerly Kim Schmitz) is suing the Hong Kong government over what he says was an illegal raid on his base of operations and freezing of his assets. Beginning in 2003 Kim Dotcom began calling Hong Kong his business headquarters and he operated there with megaupload.com until January 2011 when he had his home and Hong Kong office raided by police officers. Working under the direction of the United States federal Government (FBI) for allegedly violating copyrights, racketeering and money laundering, the police shut down his website indefinitely and seized all of his assets as well. "We were in the process of preparing a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange and the valuation of our company was over $US2 billion. Fortunately, the US government will have to indemnify Hong Kong for any damages awarded to us,” Dotcom as quoted in the South China Morning Post. Dotcom has already won permission to sue New Zealand in their part in the raid on his home, now he's going through the processes in Hong Kong. Oddly enough, Dotcom wants to keep and maintain his operations in Hong Kong and expand his new file storage website that he calls mega.com with some new ventures to go along with it. The new offering to go with mega.com will be streaming services that will be called Megabox, Megamovie and and the ad network called Megakey. In a recent interview with the National Business Review (NPR) Dotcom says the reason of staying in Hong Kong isn’t political in nature but for tax purposes. "It involves some US artists as potential shareholders and they want a more tax-friendly jurisdiction. That's why we looked at Hong Kong and Singapore." Megaupload.com, which is now shut down by the U.S. federal government, was once the most popular file-hosting site in the world. It began in 2005 and it included video streaming along with its file hosting services. For a long time the defunct file storage site revealed a notice showing it indefinitely seized by the U.S. Department of Justice. Mega.com was launched back in January of this year, and Dotcom publicly said that any attempts at shutting down the new Mega.com would be insensible. "This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood," Dotcom said."…This site is just as legitimate as Dropbox, Box.net and other competitors." Windows Blue build 9364 reportedly leaked Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/windows-blue-build-9364- reportedly-leaked/19350.html March 24th, 2013 Microsoft’s “Windows Blue” build 9364 has reportedly been leaked onto the internet. The build seems to be sourced out of France with the partial file name: 9364.0.FBL_PARTNER_OUT13.130315-2105_X86FRE_CLIENT. There haven’t been any confirmations as to the ISO’s legitimacy, but the source of the leak has also posted some screenshots to accompany the download. No one is sure as to what types of improvements Windows Blue will have over
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Windows 8. What we do know, however, is that the leaked build is a 2.63GB ISO of a 32-bit edition. Here are some of the specifics of the leaked build: Name: 9364.0.FBL_PARTNER_OUT13.130315-2105_X86FRE_CLIENT_EN- US-IMP_CCSA_DV5.ISO Size: 2.63 GB HASH: 179B588DFC21CCF4B76B7E9BE505A51D00F52D6F Sony sends people on Easter egg hunt with latest teaser image Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-sends-people-on-easter-egg- hunt-with-latest-teaser-image/19345.html March 24th, 2013 The “It’s Coming” marketing scheme deployed by many companies these days can get a bit stale, and one of Sony’s latest campaigns to peak the interests of consumers is no different. Nonetheless, here’s another “mystery” Sony product which the company has been teasing people with via a Facebook post of an “egg”. We all get what the egg is in reference to, but what we don’t know is what’s inside the Easter egg. Although, we’re hoping that it's something along the line of a PS4-related product will hatch from mysterious egg-shaped, Iron Man-inspired, thing.
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 However, Sony recently announced some sort of partnership with Ovosonico, whose logo is also an egg. Ovosonico is an indie studio specializing in “designing and developing original, unconventional and artistically-crafted video games.” Hence, there’s a high possibility that the Sony egg teaser has something to do with Ovosonico, and maybe perhaps a title the studio is developing for the PS4. Bioware releases Mass Effect 3 statistics Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bioware-releases-mass-effect-3- statistics/19342.html March 23rd, 2013 A lot of you have been played Mass Effect 3, and Bioware has been collecting a lot of data. Some of the statistics we've been contributing to were just released in a neat infographic at PAX east Bioware just conducted a "Mass Effect retrospective" panel at PAX East where they released a bunch of interesting statistics on how we've all been playing the third installment in the space opera trilogy. As it turns out, most people played paragon, 64% had to play the game without meeting Wrex, and of all your squad members, Kaidan Alenko had the lowest survival rate at 17%. Check out the graphic below for the full details. Also during the panel, Bioware restated that work on the next Mass Effect game is underway, and that it will be a fresh start for the series. What could be considered as a new reveal however, was that the next game will involve "a new way for you to explore the whole universe in Mass Effect." Whether this means a change in gameplay or simply reiterating that we will be starting a new story arc remains to be seen. Mysterious new teaser trailer points to possible March 27 reveal of Battlefield 4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mysterious-new-teaser-trailer- points-to-possible-march-27-reveal-of-battlefield-4/19340.html March 23rd, 2013 A new trailer has been released that teases at potential undersea submarine battles in Battlefield 4, and also teases at a possible March 27th reveal. A new mysterious teaser trailer has recently made its way onto the internet that seems to point to Battlefield 4, the next chapter in EA's popular military FPS franchise. The teaser, which emphasizes the slogan "Prepare 4 Battle", is very brief and we only see a snippet of content yet the footage points to the possible inclusion of undersea submarine battles in the next Battlefield title. The teaser also mentions March 27, 2013, which may very well point to an official reveal for Battlefield 4.
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 This supposition actually ties in with the recent rumors of EA revealing the new title during an invitation-only event held at this year's Game Developer's Conference. The event is slated for the night of March 26, and many gaming outlets believe that the publisher is planning on showcasing footage from Battlefield 4 during the affair. The rumor isn't just based on guesswork, but rather based on a few clues: • The invites have a blue/orange color scheme that is very similar to official Battlefield-related artwork. • The recent comments made by Gamestop's CEO after seeing a private demo of Battlefield 4. • EA's comment in a January earnings call that information on Battlefield 4 would be revealed in "about 90 days", which coincides with the March 26th event. It will be interesting to see what EA has in store with Battlefield 4, and how much impact the undersea battles have in both multiplayer and singleplayer gameplay. In any case, we'll most likely hear more when EA releases more information and a possible official reveal later this week. For more information be sure to visit Battlefield's official website on March 27, 2013. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-walking-dead-survival-instinct- review/19313.html March 23rd, 2013 Does Terminal Reality's new survival-based first-person shooter adequately portray AMC's high-profile zombie drama, or is it a catastrophe? Jump in to find out! Developer: Terminal Reality Publisher: Activision Release Date: March 19, 2013 Genre: Action, Shooter, Horror Platform: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, Wii U & PC Price: $49.99 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is an interesting first- person shooter from Terminal Reality that brings the gritty, horror-infused world of AMC's hit thriller to the world of gaming. Rather than being based on the comic series as Telltale's wildly popular multi-platform series, Terminal Reality's rendition instead makes use of the television show as source material. Survival Instinct is a prequel to the events in the show and tells the story of Daryl and Merle Dixon right after the infection has spread. Players take the role of the lethal crossbow-wielding Daryl Dixon in a grisly and bloody battle for survival--but he's not alone. Along the way Daryl finds many survivors of all types to aid him in his journey across the ruined state of Georgia. While the number of undead rises with each passing minute, Daryl evens the odds with an impressive arsenal of firearms--everything from pistols, shotguns, assault rifles and of course his signature crossbow--and melee weapons-- fire axes, lead pipes, hunting knives and sledgehammers. Armed and ready to defend themselves, Daryl's group plots their route across many locations, searching for supplies, survivors, and a way out of the nightmare they've found themselves in. Survival Instinct chronicles the emotional and physical struggle of Daryl as he pushes through a state full of roaming undead ghouls, trying to do what he can to save people along
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 the way. Players can tackle each mission and level as they see fit, using strategic stealthiness or going in with guns blazing--the choice is yours. Terminal Reality's adaptation does let player down in a few areas such as the game's overall unfinished feel with bad graphics and renders to the lack of any sort of multiplayer-- not even split-screen co-op. The game does try to reflect the show's signature blend of drama and horror, but fails to bring any sort of substance to the characters themselves. Additionally, there are no elements of psychological terror featured in the game, and it just doesn't feel like it fits in the series very well. It seems to capitalize on one of the most popular characters of the show--Darly Dixon--and doesn't offer very much substance for any actual game. In short, it's a relentless and brutal shooter/stealth game that was slapped with "The Walking Dead" and shoved into stores before it was finished. In any case, the game does have its share of interesting mechanics, but even these are so watered down with mediocrity that its hard to look past the overwhelming sense of cheapness. Additionally, the game follows Daryl as he tries to overcome personal struggles such as his father being killed by walkers--which is then shrugged off and not met with any sort of reaction. Daryl is a touch character, of course, but the game lacks any sort of connection even with the main character and doesn't give us much reason to care about him (unless you've seen the show). This lack of drama makes nearly every terrible event in the game seem paltry and badly executed, which is a shame because Survival Instinct could have been a good game if it made better use of the show's signature themes. Bug 'eats' 10,000 eBay sellers listings Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bug-eats-10-000-ebay-sellers- listings/19331.html March 22nd, 2013 10,000 eBay merchants saw their listings disappearing, in the blink of an eye, due to a software bug. The company guaranteed the recovery of the data, but it made no promises about the affected accounts’ sales histories. According to eBay’s statement, the unexplained glitch hit sellers in the US, UK, Germany and Australia, and wiped out their listings. However, the process for their restoration is underway and will be completed within 24 hours. Despite the company’s assurances, sellers are worried about the loss of their precious sales histories. It’s not an easy job to build trust and make a name in a virtual marketplace like eBay, and those affected are afraid they would see their efforts going to waste. Truth is, the company will offer no compensation and will not guarantee the restoration of the sales history data. As they said, “We will keep our sellers apprised of our progress and apologize for any inconvenience resulting from this issue”, i.e. S*** happens. CIA's chief technology officer says your data is being studied Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cia-s-chief-technology-officer-says- your-data-is-being-studied/19328.html March 22nd, 2013 The Central Intelligence Agency’s Chief Technical Officer, Ira Hunt, told a crowd gathered at the GigaOM Structure: Data Conference that his agency is storing as much Internet data as possible. Hunt says the CIA is even expanding its storage of what he refers to as “really big data”. Ira Hunt, who serves as the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) chief technology officer, recently made a presentation that raised a few eyebrows. While speaking at the GigaOM
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Structure: Data Conference on March 20th, he said the CIA is looking to “collect everything and hang onto it forever.” In all, he spoke for nearly one half hour about how the CIA is looking to expand its goals in storing data and how they can easily expand that storage now to capacities never before imagined. Before the time of computers it was a daunting task of trying to connect all the information together. Now the mission of amassing such a large amount of data means that any new intelligence gathered can be connected more easily with very similar or older intelligence. In regards to that intelligence gathering in cyberspace, Hunt explained in part by saying, “Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever. The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time”. It was made clear to the audience that we are currently in the "high noon of the information age”. With mobile devices and their assorted sensors such as cameras, GPS and constant Internet connections, he shows that it is those devices where a good percentage of most data is retrieved from, and that “…it is nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information.” To back up his point on how so much data is quickly being gathered in one place, he used the example of the social network, Facebook. He clearly points out the fact that >1 billion users are on the site and that >35% of all digital photographs from around the world are on the site as well. In reference to new technologies, Hunt says the legal system is woefully behind. Internet users need to be aware of this rapidly advancing technical age – an age that is almost impossible to keep up with. In conclusion he told the audience, "You should be asking the question of, what are your rights and who owns your data.” Source: GigaOM Data:Structure conference, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Apple ID account easily hacked after Apple deployed new verification method Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-id-account-easily-hacked- after-apple-deployed-new-verification-method/19339.html March 22nd, 2013 Whenever Apple screws up, it usually leaves behind a blazing trail of fire that takes a while to extinguish. The company’s recent move to tighten up security for its users has actually caused an even bigger problem, which may leave many users with Apple IDs at risk. Apple recently deployed a two-step verification security measure that was supposed to help prevent Apple ID and iCloud accounts from being hijacked. However, a known exploit is allowing hijackers to easily reset users’ passwords if they haven’t already enabled the new Apple verification measure. The exploit is purportedly so easy that it only involves knowing the user's email and date-of-birth (DOB). The exploit involves copy and pasting a modified URL while inputting the DOB security question on Apple’s iForgot page. People with Apple IDs and iCloud accounts are encouraged to enable the new Apple two-step verification, or else risk having their accounts hijacked. An even bigger problem, however, is that the new verification hasn’t been applied to all countries, and those outside of the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand will have to mitigate the problem via a very simple step: Sapphire releases Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition: 3GB GDDR5 & a spiffy white dress Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sapphire-releases-radeon-hd-7950- mac-edition-3gb-gddr5--a-spiffy-white-dress/19338.html March 22nd, 2013 The Mac Edition HD 7950 is essentially the ordinary HD 7950, with the exceptions that it comes with a spiffier looking white coat and a firmware that’s optimized for Macs. All else aside, the Mac HD 7950 comes with it 3GB of GDDR5 memory, and Mac Pro users need to have a free PCIe x16 slot and two PCIe power connectors to get the card rolling.
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 As mentioned earlier, the Mac HD 7950 has a firmware optimized specifically for Macs, but the beauty of this is that the firmware is switchable--enabling people to switch between Windows-optimized and Mac-optimized "modes". This, however, depreciates the value of the Mac HD 7950 a bit, because people can simply flash an ordinary HD 7950 with the Mac-optimized firmware; therefore, turning their run of the mill card into a "special" Mac Edition. Sapphire’s Mac Edition HD 7950 isn’t cheap, and has a suggested tag of $450. Specs as outlined by Sapphire: Output 1 x HDMI (with 3D) 2 x Mini-DisplayPort 1 x Dual-Link DVI-I GPU 800 MHz Core Clock 28 nm Chip 1792 x Stream Processors Video Memory 3072 MB Size 384 -bit GDDR5 5000 MHz Effective Dimension 279(L)x110(W)x35(H) mm Size. 2 x slot Software Driver CD for Mac® Driver CD for Windows® Accessory DVI to VGA Adapter Mini-DP to DP Cable 2 x 6 pin power cable for MAC (250MM) User Manual Press Release: SAPPHIRE Technology, the leading manufacturer and global supplier of graphics solutions based on AMD technology, has just announced an exciting new graphics accelerator compatible with the Apple Mac Pro series of desktop computers. Exclusive to SAPPHIRE, the HD 7950 Mac Edition is based on AMD’s latest Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. This highly acclaimed architecture delivers a significant graphics performance boost for Mac Pro users in a wide range of applications including gaming, audio or video editing and content creation. For example, gaming frame rates are increased by over 200%, general benchmark performance increased by around 30%
  • March 24th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 and graphics intensive benchmarks increased by as much as 300% compared with the NV 8800GT commonly used in these machines.
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Current AAA video game development strategy: It's all or nothing says Ubisoft manager Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/current-aaa-video- game-development-strategy-it-s-all-or-nothing-says-ubisoft- manager/19365.html March 25th, 2013 Ubisoft’s manager, Jade Raymond, claims that modern gamers want to try before buy, they are used to free-to-play and microtransaction games, and that there is no space for more than ten blockbuster titles per year. While working on Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the head of Ubisoft’s Toronto studio gave a warning about the current situation in gaming industry. The market cannot sustain anymore many triple A budget games, given the changes on the gamers’ habits and the highly competitive gaming market. In her interview on the today’s Guardian, she expressed her concerns about the changing trends in gaming. Old gamers prefer to try before buy and they don’t blindly buy the game in a box as they used to, while new gamers come from a social media world where games are free or based on optional microtransactions. Given these facts, she believes gaming companies should find a way to introduce such options in console games as well. Blockbuster games can still coexist with free-to-play and microtransaction ones, but the game developers should face the truth. As she said: “There's only room for let's say 10 successful titles a year on those sorts of budgets. So you have to go all-in on those; you have to be sure you'll have a hit, and when you make it you have to invest everything to make sure it's amazing." New trailer for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag showcases in-game footage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-trailer-for-assassin-s-creed-4- black-flag-showcases-in-game-footage/19358.html March 25th, 2013 Ubisoft's recently released trailer for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag displays in-game footage from the upcoming release, showcasing many of the game's signature features like capturing the Golden Age of Piracy as well as impressive in-game mechanics. Ubisoft's newly released trailer shows off in-game footage for the upcoming fourth chapter in the critically acclaimed Assassin's Creed franchise, giving fans a two-minute glimpse of actual in-game footage. The trailer displays a good chunk of the mechanics featured in Assassin's Creed IV such as ship-to-ship combat, the perils of undersea exploration, and even the exploration of uncharted islands that contain untold treasures. The footage also delves into Edward Kenway's backstory, shedding light on his infamy-craving personality and reveals him to be more complicated than the other heroes in the series.
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Instead of a heroic do-gooder like Ezio, Kenway is more brutal and is feared by both the authorities and outlaws alike, making him a more dynamic character that's capable of both good and bad within the game. Scenes of Black Flag's swashbuckling combat is also prevalent throughout the footage, and overall Kenway looks very fluid and graceful as his blades deal out death--in a way its almost like a dance. Kenway is also seen dual- wielding pistols in the scenes--another welcome addition to the game's combat system. The new trailer also briefly touches upon the inclusion of legendary pirates and historical figures within the game, and displays breathtaking vistas and incredible underwater environments that add to the game's stylish flair. Black Flag takes place in the Caribbean during the 1700's, chronicling the journey of a notorious privateer named Edward Kenway as he adventures across the high seas during the Golden Age of Pirates. Black Flag makes use of the franchise's signature historical accuracy with a variety of impressive in-game visuals and environments that authentically mirror the timeframe with exotic ports from Havana to Kingston. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is scheduled to release on Oct. 29, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC. For more information please visit the game's official website. Blizzard prepares to launch collectable card game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-prepares-to-launch- collectable-card-game/19354.html March 25th, 2013 Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, is Blizzard’s brand new video game. The official announcement was made in the Pax East gaming convention on Friday and the beta testing is about to begin. Despite its name, the game is a stand-alone and free-to-play trading card game, along the lines of the classic Magic the Gathering. Players don’t have to own a WOW account, but they’ll have to log in Battle.net to be able to download and play the game. Players will be able to gain cards by winning matches or trading them, and the impatient ones can always pay to speed things up. Cards will come in packs of 5 (randomly generated), each costing $1. By destroying unneeded or duplicate cards the players would be able to create a mana pool and use it to get better and rarer cards later on. At the moment, Hearthstone is accepting sign-ups for its beta test in North America. The rest of the world will have to wait. According to the company, the game will be ready to launch by the end of 2013 and will be initially available for Windows and Mac, and a version for iPad will follow shortly. New study changes our view on how dinosaurs had sex Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-study-changes-our-view-on- how-dinosaurs-had-sex/19359.html March 25th, 2013 So far, paleontologists believed dinosaurs mated like most four-legged animals (a.k.a. doggy style), but new studies suggest that dinosaurs preferred the missionary position, and they had very good reasons to do so. How dinosaurs had sex, is not an easy to answer question. We are talking about animals weighting 30-tonnes, the size of multistorey buildings and - in many of the cases - armored with dangerous spikes and thick plates. Professor Brian Switek, a dinosaur expert, took under consideration these particular difficulties. Many dinosaurs, like Kentrosaurus, had spiky tails and any attempt of the male to mount the female from the rear would have caused his instant castration. Other species, like
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Brontosaurus, had their tailbones fused together at the top end, so it would be impossible for the females to raise their tails. Even Tyrannosaurus Rex would have had problems with a doggy position, especially since the size of his front legs wouldn’t have helped him to keep his balance on top of a female. Reconstruction of T-rex mating (Jurassic Museum of Asturias, Spain) According to Switek, ‘the female lay down on her side and the male reared up to rest his torso over her, while other species could have used different positions, like backing up to each other’. Professor John Long (another dinosaur expert), however, laughed at this idea, saying that ‘a 33ft-long ankylosaurus, with spikes and armour, would have had a 6ft 6in penis to bridge the gap when close to a female’. Most paleontologists wouldn’t take sides on the debate, since the ‘holy grail’ of the dinosaurs’ sex research is not discovered yet. Soft tissues are not easily preserved, so no fossilized dinosaur’s phallus has been found. Until then, the sex-life of dinosaurs will remain a mystery. Unreal Engine 3 getting Oculus Rift support Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/unreal-engine-3-getting-oculus-rift- support/19322.html March 25th, 2013 The VR head mounted display we've all been hearing about is now getting Unreal Engine 3 support, giving hope to many many more titles being compatible with it upon release! The Oculus Rift is a head mounted VR-display that, according to those who have tried it, fulfills every dream we had as kids of playing games in virtual reality. But no matter how good the device is, it'll be worthless if it doesn't have a wide range of supported current and next gen titles. Thankfully, Epic's Unreal Engine 3, which powers a large percentage of current gen games on all consoles, will be getting an update to support the newly release developer's kit of the Rift. The Oculus Rift's field of view, as compared to other VR devices This means that we'll have a larger library of games to try the device out on upon it's release, and chances are good there'll be support for the device on the upcoming fourth version of the Unreal Engine. Games already supported are Doom 3 BFG edition and Hawken, with future titles including Star Citizen and several others which have been modded to play with the headset. We'll update you as the story develops, and of course, you'll have our full review upon release. Mozilla giving away free Firefox OS preview handset to interested app developers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mozilla-giving-away-free-firefox-os- preview-handset-to-interested-app-developers/19366.html March 25th, 2013 Mozilla is recruiting app developers, and one of the incentives include a free preview handset for people attending workshops that are spread out at various locales. The first three locations for the Firefox OS workshop include Madrid, Spain on April 20, Bogota, Columbia on May 18, and Warsaw, Poland on June 1. Mozilla is looking for people who are familiar with developing software for PhoneGap, Chrome, webOS, BlackBerry WebWorks, and other formats.
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 (It looks cheap, and it is cheap.) Mozilla and its partners will launch Firefox OS later this year to selected markets, with the U.S. following in 2014. Some of the first markets to begin test driving Firefox OS are Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Many of the mentioned markets are emerging markets, and Mozilla is aiming to grow a loyal following with affordable smartphones—dirt cheap even. Despite what many analysts are referring to as the “saturation” of the smartphone market, many of the markets which Mozilla and co. are tackling still hold opportunities for growth. Hence, even Intel—a big shot in the chip making business—is also gambling its resources on markets like China and India. Graphene sponge becomes lightest material on earth Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/graphene-sponge-becomes-lightest- material-on-earth/19357.html March 25th, 2013 A new material made of graphene and light enough to balance on a flower has earned the title of lightest material on earth, beating the existing record holding graphite-based material Aerogels are substances made almost entirely (but not completely) of air, and have been made from different materials over the years. Every time a new one comes along, it will usually be lighter and more amazing than the previous one, and this trend continues today: A graphite- based aerogel which held the record for lightest material on earth, was just dethroned when a similar graphene-based material was created, weighing in at an amazing 0.16mg/ cm3 , a reduction of 0.02mg/cm3 as compared to the graphite aerogel. Insanely light doesn't even begin to describe this. Yes, it's resting on grass. Researchers at China's Zhejiang University created this "graphene sponge", which is lighter than helium (the second lightest element in the periodic table), through a complex method involving freeze drying. The science team reports that the process used for creating the "aerographene" can easily be scaled up to create large chunks of the material, measurable in cubic meters, as opposed to the current cubic centimeter scaled ones. This is a good thing, because aerographene has some amazing properties - it's able to absorb 900 times it's own weight, making it priceless in certain applications like as a clean up sponge after oil spills. Yahoo buys teenager's app for millions of pounds Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/yahoo-buys-teenager-s-app-for- millions-of-pounds/19362.html March 25th, 2013 Nick D'Aloisio, 17, created the Summly app when he was just 15, and now it has made him one of the youngest self- made multi-millionaires in the world. The exact figure of the transaction is unknown, but is believed to be "dozens of millions" of pounds, according to the BBC. The app summarises news from a variety of top media companies, providing short and sweet updates on current events, taking advantage of the limited time many people have nowadays.
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Summly attracted attention from very early on, earning over £1 million in investment, but the deal with Yahoo shows just how much potential the app has. For fans of Summly, however, the app itself will be no more, but its features will be incorporated into Yahoo's existing mobile lineup. Yahoo has also given D'Aloisio a job, clearly confident that Summly is just the first of many innovative ideas. Other people who were hired to work on Summly will also join the Yahoo team. The teenager said he will save and invest most of the money he has received. He thanked investors, advisors, colleagues, family, friends and his school for supporting him. Sony begins pre-order of unlocked Xperia ZL in the U.S. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-begins-pre-order-of-unlocked- xperia-zl-in-the-u.s./19364.html March 25th, 2013 Sony, among a few other Android handset makers, has done a commendable job breathing some life back into the Android ecosystem recently in terms of design with the Xperia Z line, and the ZL handset will begin to officially stream into the U.S. as an unlocked handset for those willing to fork over a few gold coins. Both the HSPA+ and 4G LTE versions of the ZL will begin shipping on April 8, with the LTE model to run for $760 and the HSPA+ model for $720. On the hardware front, the Xperia ZL sports Qualcomm’s APQ8064 quad- core Snapdragon, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera (2MP front), 16GB of internal storage (upgradeable to 64GB with a microSD), and Android Jelly Bean 4.1. Consumers will have to make some tough choices as Samsung's Galaxy S IV and HTC's One have also made strong cases as to why they should be the hands of mobile users. Which one will you pick up? BlackBerry shares drop after Goldman Sachs downgrade Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-shares-drop-after- goldman-sachs-downgrade/19361.html March 25th, 2013 Shares at BlackBerry, formerly called Research In Motion, fell by several percentage points today after investment banking firm Goldman Sachs cut the company's rating. Shares at BlackBerry, formerly called Research In Motion, fell by several percentage points today after investment banking firm Goldman Sachs cut the company's rating. BlackBerry launched its latest device, the Z10, in the US on Friday, considerably behind the UK launch date of 31 January. Despite months of preparation and anticipation, the BlackBerry 10-enabled device failed to generate much enthusiasm among consumers. Goldman Sachs checked more than 20 stores, including AT&T, Best Buy, and RadioShack, since the 22 March
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 launch, and found what it described as “a surprising lack of marketing support” and “poor positioning of the product.” The result is a downgrade of BlackBerry stock from “buy” to “neutral,” and a subsequent fall in investor confidence in the ailing Canadian smartphone maker. Samsung launches ATIV Smart PC Pro and Series 9 Ultrabook Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-launches-ativ-smart-pc- pro-and-series-9-ultrabook/19360.html March 25th, 2013 Samsung has announced its latest portable Windows 8 PC, the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T, and a Series 9 Premium Ultrabook. Samsung has announced its latest portable Windows 8 PC, the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T, and a Series 9 Premium Ultrabook. The 700T provides a hybrid laptop and tablet experience, with a detachable keyboard, 11.6-inch display with 10-point touch capability, and a built-in S Pen stylus, borrowing from Samsung's popular Note range. The device is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and has a battery life of up to eight hours. It also features 4G LTE connectivity with US phone and internet provider AT&T. The Series 9 Premium Ultrabook comes with a 13.3-inch LED-backlit display, with a resolution of 1920x1080 and SuperBright technology for up to 50 percent brighter and more vivid colour than a standard laptop. The Ultrabook is powered by an Intel Core i7-3517U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD for faster booting times. The Lithium-Polyester battery touts up to three times the lifespan of conventional batteries, lasting up to 1,500 cycles. It also comes with a three-year warranty. The devices are available immediately, with the ATIV Smart PC 700T costing $1,599.99 and the Series 9 Premium Ultrabook retailing for $1,899.99. Square Enix officially announces Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD Remaster for PS3 & PS Vita Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/square-enix-officially-announces- final-fantasy-xx-2-hd-remaster-for-ps3--ps-vita/19356.html March 25th, 2013
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Square Enix has recently released a brand new trailer for the upcoming HD release of FInal Fantasy X and its X-2 sequel, both of which will be making their way to the PS3 and PS Vita this year. Square Enix has just released the debut trailer for the highly anticipated HD version of Final Fantasy X, and has also formally announced that both FFX and its sequel FFX-2 are coming this year to the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. "Listen to my story. This...may be our last chance." The trailer gives a one-minute look at the crisp and crystal clear quality featured in both of the re-mastered titles, allowing gamers a short but sweet look at the impressive graphical enhancements that bring the two PS2 favorites to the current generation of HD visuals. Both titles are officially labeled Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster and offer players to revisit their fond memories of one of the most popular PlayStation 2 games. The HD remakes feature the original games in their entirety, including all of the signature characters (like Tidus, Yuna, Wakka and Auron), innovative turn-based J-RPG game mechanics (remember that awesome skill tree?), and the amazing cinematic scenes and unforgettable story arc. Oh, and who could forget one of the most entertaining mini- games in the franchise's history? I'm talking about Blitzball, of course--that bizarre aquatic sport in which Tidus and Wakka are well-versed. The games will be released onto the PlayStation 3 as a combo back that features both Final Fantasy X and its sequel Final Fantasy X-2 in the same box, whereas the games will be sold individually for the PlayStation Vita. Both versions are slated to release in 2013, and we'll have more coverage when an official release date is announced. IBM invents liquid-based transistors that acts much like the human brain Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ibm-invents-liquid-based- transistors-that-acts-much-like-the-human-brain/19355.html March 25th, 2013 The modern transistor is the real driving force behind how our current computer technology operates. Now IBM says they have taken the old technology and developed a liquid- based transistor that operates much like our brain. In the early 20th century, most electronics like the early TVs and radios relied on the humble vacuum tube. While it was a great leap in technology, they consumed a lot of power and were bulky. Scientists at the time knew we needed a solid-state amplifier that could switch electronic signals and electrical power. In the late 1940s, the development of the modern transistor soon replaced the vacuum tube and today is found in most modern electronics. Now IBM says they have developed a new transistor that works a lot like our own neural pathways. Other than being made very small, the way in which transistor works has not changed very much over the years. IBM decided to take another look at it with a new approach in developing a transistor that can enable a computer to operate much like the human brain. Even more fantastically, this new transistor is liquid-based.
  • March 25th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 IBM says all mobile devices and other computers would be developed with far more efficiency with using what they call "correlated electron oxides”. The researchers feel they can advance this technology to create a genuine non-volatile memory chip that saves data with our without an electrical charge being applied. Researchers also say that logic chips would use far less power than what current silicon-based semiconductor chips use now. The breakthrough was first published in the journal Science and reported first by The New York Times. It is described as a transistor that reads ionic signals instead of normal electronic signals that common transistors rely on. When these oxides in the transistor are mixed with an ionic fluid containing a 50/50 mix of positive and negative charges, you get a current flow in a specific direction once a small amount of ionic voltage is applied. Stuart Parkin who works as a physicist and IBM fellow told the NY Times, “I’m particularly excited by our findings because a lot of how the brain operates is by the flow of ions and ion channels. In some sense what we want to do is mimic those components of the brain.” IBM says that one-day soon after working with this new technology we may be able to mimic exactly how the brain operates.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/metal-gear-solid-v-the-phantom- pain/19392.html March 27th, 2013 Metal Gear Solid V is finally revealed to be the same game as The Phantom Pain. Check out the trailer which combines the two already existing trailers with new footage and some groovy music by Garbage We've all suspected it for a long time. We've all kind of known for a long time too. But now, we've finally had it confirmed: Metal Gear Solid V is The Phantom Pain, and Hideo Kojima has tossed us a bone with a great new trailer that gives us a look at some old friends who will be making reappearances in the new game and a lot of little hints as to what is going on in MGSV. We've got a few mysteries baked in there too, such as the mysterious phrase "V has come to". We have all the leftover mysteries from Kojima's little mind game - like the relevance of Moby Dick (the name of the fake studio which was making The Phantom Pain). What is up with that flaming whale? T-Mobile CEO blasts competition over what he calls bulls**t pricing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/t-mobile-ceo-blasts-competition- over-what-he-calls-bulls-t-pricing/19382.html March 27th, 2013 CEO John Legere of T-Mobile recently sent a message to his company’s competition telling them to “stop the bulls**t” subsidy pricing model and long term contracts that lock in a customer for 2 years or more. John Legere, who serves as CEO of T-Mobile really hit the message home at an event that was held in New York City for T-mobile. He told the audience that T-Mobile’s competitors were overcharging customers with their pricing plans. In his no apologies speech, Legere said the competition was only helpful with their customers just before they lock them in every 23 months. “This is the biggest crock of sh** I've ever heard in my entire life," he shouted. "Do you have any idea how much you're paying?" T-Mobile is aggressively trying to reshape their image and how customers are treated in regards to pricing plans. While most cellular providers want to focus on locking a customer into a contract, T-Mobile wants to take the approach from the customer’s point of view. “Everyone hates contracts,” Legere shouts. When promoting T-Mobile’s new LTE network he told the audience that if someone felt the company wasn’t in par with that they promised, they had the right to simply drop them and go with another provider. “These bold moves serve notice that T-Mobile is canceling its membership in the out-of-touch wireless club,” Legere said in a recent press release.“This is an industry filled with ridiculously confusing contracts, limits on how much data you can use or when you can upgrade, and monthly bills that make little sense. As America’s Un-carrier, we are changing all of that and bringing common sense to wireless.” T-Mobile is far behind their competitors, particularly with AT&T and Verizon, who have offered LTE service for about two years now, and Sprint having the service for about a year. The 4G LTE network was officially launched this past Tuesday March 26, offering the service Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, and the Washington DC metro area. The company says they will be providing approximately 100 million people with LTE by July of this year, and two times that number by the end of 2013. The new rate plan now being offered allows customers unlimited data, talk and text for 70 dollars (U.S.) per month with no contract agreement to sign. Battlefield 4 gameplay reveal! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/battlefield-4-gameplay- reveal-/19390.html March 27th, 2013 DICE has released a 17 minute gameplay video from the upcoming game Battlefield 4, and it shows off the game's very impressive technical capabilities Battlefield is making a habit of leading the way with mind blowing graphics and wow does this new trailer prove it. During the 17 minutes of gameplay we're treated to, a discerning eye will catch plenty of amazing new-gen eye- candy and gameplay features, and what looks like a really good military campaign.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The most striking graphical improvement must be the character models, which move as if they're real (like reality real), and whose faces have just about passed the uncanny valley into what we could consider photo realistic. The way the facial muscles move and emote is striking! The very short clip of an Asian woman during the last seconds of the trailer showcases this the best - I would not have thought it was CGI if I didn't know ahead of time. Next, lighting and especially smoke effects come off as very impressive, and play a new role in the gameplay as an obscuring field that will envelop the battle if too much stuff gets destroyed at once. And speaking of destruction, if you're quick enough to catch it, there is indeed a building in the trailer which seems to be fully destructible (as opposed to the BF3 buildings, which largely had destructible walls while retaining it's indestructable steel infrastructure). It's a bird watcher's Mecca The processing power needed for this game will probably be quite high, as we can tell from the massive flock of birds about halfway in, and the row of construction projects with beautifully animated cloth fluttering in the wind. Finally, new gameplay elements seem to be emerging, including branching paths to explore buildings, as well as in-campaign driving sections. Most notably though, the inclusion of squad commands adds an emphasis on thinking tactically, and flanking the enemy as opposed to just facing it head on. It's not often I'm wowed these days. I am wowed. I will be wowed again this fall when Battlefied 4 comes out for PC (though next gen consoles haven't been confirmed, they will most likely get a release as well... I wouldn't bet on the 360 or PS3 though. I doubt they can handle it) Now, go check it out for yourself below! North Korea bans 3G access for tourists Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korea-bans-3g-access-for- tourists/19391.html March 27th, 2013 North Korea has banned 3G access for tourists in the country, adding to already stringent controls on free access to information. North Korea has banned 3G access for tourists in the country, adding to already stringent controls on free access to information. The Communist regime has gone back and forth on its policy towards mobile phones used by visitors to the country, initially requiring all devices be confiscated for the duration of their stay, then allowing phones to be used with internet access, and now banning 3G. Citizens of North Korea are not allowed access to 3G, though the government has regular internet access, even joining social media websites over recent months to share propaganda images and videos. The 3G network is operated by Koryolink, the only 3G provider in the country. This is jointly run by the state- owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation and an Egyptian company called Orascom Telecom Holding. It is not clear what Orascom thinks of the 3G ban for tourists, which could potential hurt its profit. As the country comes under increasing pressure and criticism over nuclear tests, and as tension mounts between it and South Korea, the regime is clearly not taking any chances that information might leak out via mobile internet.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The move is likely to be one of a number of new restrictions implemented as the country continues its stalemate with Western powers, while its own people remain largely in the dark. SpaceX Dragon spacecraft delivers scientific research safely to Earth Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spacex-dragon-spacecraft-delivers- scientific-research-safely-to-earth/19387.html March 27th, 2013 SpaceX has safely and successfully completed its second cargo flight to and from the International Space Station, with the Dragon spacecraft landing in the Pacific Ocean with a payload of scientific research from NASA. SpaceX has safely and successfully completed its second cargo flight to and from the International Space Station, with the Dragon spacecraft landing in the Pacific Ocean with a payload of scientific research from NASA. The spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 1 March, carrying 1,268 pounds of supplies and investigations. It has returned with 2,668 pounds of science samples, equipment and education activities, including freezer packed research collected in the space station's microgravity environment. “The scientific research delivered and being returned by Dragon enables advances in every aspect of NASA's diverse space station science portfolio, including human research, biology and physical sciences,” said Julie Robinson, International Space Station Program scientist. “There are more than 200 active investigations underway aboard our orbiting laboratory in space. The scientific community has eagerly awaited the return of today's Dragon to see what new insights the returned samples and investigations it carries will unveil.” Some of the investigations are believed to hold the key to aiding food production for long-duration space missions, findings which could also help improve crop production on Earth. Other research involves more efficient solar cells, detergents and semiconductor-based electronics. There are also samples from the astronauts, which will be analysed to see the effects of long-duration spaceflights on the human body. This is the second of 12 planned SpaxeX missions to the International Space Station through 2016, thanks to a lucrative contract with NASA. Given the success so far, it will not be surprising to see the deal extended. However, SpaceX is not the only company vying for a slice of the commercial space market, which has seen a recent boom in competition thanks to government cuts for space agencies. Orbital Sciences Corporation is planning a demonstration flight of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft, which will fly to the space station later this year. Images Credit: SpaceX PC gaming market growing despite console and tablet competition Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pc-gaming-market-growing-despite- console-and-tablet-competition/19386.html
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 March 27th, 2013 The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) has released two reports that highlight growth in the PC gaming market, despite tough competition from consoles, tablet computers, and smartphones. The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) has released two reports that highlight growth in the PC gaming market, despite tough competition from consoles, tablet computers, and smartphones. The reports, exclusive to PCGA members, cover the period of 2012 to 2016, examining overall PC gaming growth and which specific markets and sales venues are expected to be the most profitable. Analyst David Cole cited the Chinese market as a big factor in the strong growth of PC gaming in 2012, which was up eight percent on the year before. China accounted for $6.8 billion of the $20 billion revenue brought in globally in this sector. While tablet computers and smartphones have stolen the limelight in recent years, luring away some gamers, Cole said that there are over one billion PC gamers throughout the world, and he expects that number to grow as more PCs connect online. “We are experiencing a shift in the gaming industry,” said Erik Noreke, executive director of the PCGA. “The power of the latest portable PC hardware is allowing gamers for the first time to bring the full gaming experience with them on the road. They are no longer confined to their home for game play. The traditional desktop is no longer the gaming platform of choice as we are seeing more and more laptops with powerful GPUs and high end audio systems. PC gaming is going mobile.” The PCGA is also working on a certification program, which it is hoping will help eliminate consumer confusion when it comes to system requirements. This is particularly important now that more games and expansions are going digital, with retail boxes disappearing off the shelves. Image Credit: Óscar Javier García Baudet Samsung Galaxy S4 arrives on T-Mobile around May 1 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s4-arrives-on-t- mobile-around-may-1/19380.html March 27th, 2013 T-Mobile drops a bombshell at its latest press conference. The Company announces it will release the Samsung Galaxy S4 on May 1. T-Mobile announced that it will be selling the Samsung Galaxy S4 “around” May 1st . The announcement came at the end of a press event where the carrier said they were getting the iPhone 5 in a couple of weeks. The move was seen as stealing Apple’s thunder by some but Android fans were happy. (Who's next in line to give T-Mobile an attractive buyout offer?) Both phones will feature the newly announced 4G LTE network. It’s been a big day for T-Mobile. Samsung Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Seiver, confirmed the Galaxy S4 somewhat vague launch date but gave no specifics on price. They did announce that the iPhone 5 will be available for purchase with a $99 “down payment” and then a $20 monthly charge after that to pay off the phone. This has led many to speculate that the same payment plan will be available for the Galaxy S4. So far, T-Mobile has not stated that this will be the case. T-Mobile also unveiled its “Simple Choice” rate plans at the event. It is a three-tiered plan of unlimited talk, text and web for $50, $60 and $70 per month. The first two throttle data speeds after 500MB and 2.5GB, respectively. The $70 plan has no throttle.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 T-Mobile is the first U.S. carrier to give a date for the Galaxy S4 and this may spur other carriers to announce a date. 19-year-old inventor finds way to clean up the world's oceans in under 5 years time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/19-year-old-inventor-finds-way-to- clean-up-the-world-s-oceans-in-under-5-years-time/19381.html March 27th, 2013 Previously the idea of cleaning up the world’s oceans with their vast accumulations of disposed plastic material was considered an impossibility. Now a 19-year-old inventor says he and his foundation has a way to clean up the world’s oceans, and not only does he say we can do it, but that we can do it in five years time and produce a profit from it. It is called the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ or sometimes the “Pacific Trash Vortex”, and it is a massive collection of plastic particles accumulating in the Pacific. Other oceans have their own collections of plastic wastes as well; furthermore, most of the debris in our oceans are plastic materials that accounts for approximately 90% of all the waste debris. Scientists have considered all manner of ways how the debris could be retrieved but there was no clear answer for it. Now a 19-year-old inventor by the name of Boyan Slat says we can remove nearly 20 billion tons of plastic waste with his concept he calls an ocean cleanup array. It is made from a massive series of floating booms and processing platforms that gradually suck in the floating plastic like a giant funnel. The angle with how the array is set up allows all of the plastic to go to where the platforms processing centers are floating. At the platform processing area it would separate the naturally occurring life such as plankton an only keep the plastic materials to be recycled. What is most impressive about the array is that once it goes operational it would clean up the oceans in only 5 years time! He also makes a point in saying that due to the vastness of our oceans most do not know how badly polluted the oceans really are. “One of the problems with preventive work is that there isn’t any imagery of these ‘garbage patches’, because the debris is dispersed over millions of square kilometers,” Slat says on his website. “By placing our arrays however, it will accumulate along the booms, making it suddenly possible to actually visualize the oceanic garbage patches. We need to stress the importance of recycling, and reducing our consumption of plastic packaging.” Slat was able to come up with the idea while in school, and so he wrote a paper on his concept. Once Slat's paper was published it immediately caught the attention of many marine experts. His paper won all manner of prizes, which included the Best Technical Design 2012 from the Delft University of Technology. When he and others realized that the concept would work he took a leap of faith and created a non-profit organization he calls The Ocean Cleanup Foundation. This group will focus on the goal of developing his invention, raise funds for it and make it operational as soon as possible. His concept would save numerous aquatic species of fish and help reduce PCB and DDT containments affecting all of us. Best of all it operates on the power of the sun and by the oceans themselves. Not only is Slat's concept self-powered, it would also be very profitable from the all the recycling, which is estimated in the amount of 500 million dollars (U.S.) per year. According to Slat's website it "would make in fact more money than the plan would cost to execute. In other words; it's profitable." Ubisoft accidentally leaks price of PS4 game? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ubisoft-accidentally-leaks-price-of- ps4-game-/19377.html March 27th, 2013 On their official Uplay site, Ubisoft has inadvertently revealed the pre-order price of the new Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag game for PlayStation 4. On their official Uplay site for the UK, Ubisoft has recently listed the price of the deluxe version of Assassin's Creed IV for Sony's next-gen PlayStation console. The listing showed a price of £119.99, which actually matched the prices for current gen systems including Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 pre-orders. This slip-up seems to point toward the fact that Ubisoft isn't planning on raising the price of their next-gen games, which is something that many game analysts--and even Sony--have claimed in the past few months.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Photo Credit: PSNation Gamers around the world will most likely approve of Ubisoft's stance in the price of next-gen games, and it will be interesting to see if Ubisoft changes its position, and if the price of DLC will increase or not as well. The premium deluxe Black Chest Edition of Assassin's Creed IV features a plethora of additions and extras--which can be seen above--and is now available for pre-order, Ubisoft has also released an official gameplay trailer for AC4 which showcases in-game footage from the upcoming pirate- themed release. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is slated for release on Oct. 29, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U and PlayStation 4. For more information please visit the game's official website. Leaked pre-order poster for Battlefield 4 reveals Fall 2013 release window Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/leaked-pre-order-poster-for- battlefield-4-reveals-fall-2013-release-window/19376.html March 26th, 2013 A recently leaked pre-order promo poster for Battlefield 4 reveals the game is scheduled for a Fall 2013 release date, and also makes mention of real-life dog tags offered as pre- order incentives for the upcoming shooter. A brand new promotional poster for Battlefield 4 has recently been leaked onto the internet, revealing a release window of Fall 2013 as well as pre-order incentives for the highly anticipated military shooter. The poster showcases the game's distinct visual style and features what appears to be the game's main protagonist, and also touches upon the real-life dog togs that are offered as a pre-order incentive from select retailers. Photo Credit: Gamersky Although the news has come a bit early, Battlefield 4 is believed to be showcased at an invitation-only event during GDC 2013 (Game Developer's Conference). Furthermore, the recent teaser trailer for the game points to the date of March 27, 2013, presumably an official reveal for DICE's fourth chapter in the popular FPS series. The most important info on the promo poster is the mention of the game's Fall 2013 release window, solidifying a timeframe for Battlefield 4's launch. Additionally, the poster shows that the game is still marked as RP (Rating Pending). In any case, we'll probably see an official reveal trailer sometime tomorrow and perhaps a few snippets of in-game footage as well as the same "Fall 2013" release window. It will be interesting to see what new mechanics and features that are incorporated into Battlefield 4--especially with the teaser trailer's apparent inclusion of underwater submarine combat. We'll have an update on tomorrow's Battlefield 4 news, so stay tuned for more coverage. YW9300 Android set-top box: Exynos 4412 quad-core toy for almost nothing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/yw9300-android-set-top-box- exynos-4412-quad-core-toy-for-almost-nothing/19375.html March 26th, 2013 Not many Android devices feature Samsung’s Exynos 4412 quad-core chip, much less a set-top box. So Android enthusiasts should get a bit of a kick out of the YW9300—a set-top box that features the very same chip that’s in one of the Samsung Galaxy S III variants.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Despite its relatively cheap price tag of just $120, the YW9300 set-top box sports a chip that is worthy of attention. Samsung’s past flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, also sported the Exynos 4412, which makes the YW9300 all the more attractive in the eyes of Android enthusiasts. Ebay is flooded with cheap Android set-top boxes, but not many can compare to the YW9300 in term of specs. The YW9300 comes in two models, with the base model to have 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Whereas, the beefier and slightly higher-priced model has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of space to play with. Both, however, will come with the Exynos 4412 quad-core, the Mali 400 GPU, Wi-Fi, HDMI, IR remote control, and 2 USB 2.0 ports. As for the Android OS version, the YW9300 comes with Android Jelly Bean 4.2 OTB. The current going price for the base Y9300 is $120, and the top of the line model is $142. QNAP launches entry-level four-drive rackmount NAS models Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/qnap-launches-entry-level-four- drive-rackmount-nas-models/19373.html March 26th, 2013 Network attached storage (NAS) firm QNAP has launched two new rackmount models in its Turbo NAS lineup, providing more budget-friendly options for small-to- medium businesses. Network attached storage (NAS) firm QNAP has launched two new rackmount models in its Turbo NAS lineup, providing more budget-friendly options for small-to- medium businesses. Both the TS-421U and TS-420U models feature a four-drive 1U form factor rackmount, 1GB DDR3 RAM, two Gigabit LAN ports and two USB 3.0 ports. The key difference is the processor speed, with the former coming with a 2.0 GHz Marvell 6282 CPU and the later including a 1.6GHz Marvell 6282 CPU. The models offer cross-platform file sharing for Windows, Mac and Linux users, while the Windows AD and LDAP directory service provides IT administrators with simpler setup for a large number of users. Windows ACL lets admins set up sophisticated permission settings for shared folders, ensuring the right users have access to files. As is vital for any storage medium, the TS-421U and TS-420U come with a variety of backup solutions, including Real-time Remote Replication, backups to cloud providers like Amazon S3, ElephantDrive or Symform, additional third-party backup software like Veeam Backup & Replication and Acronis True Image, and QNAP NetBack Replicator for Windows or Apple Time Machine for Mac. Additional features include an FTP server for file sharing, a RADIUS server for centralising and consolidating user authentication, a Syslog server for collecting and storing logs, a VPN server for accessing the Turbo NAS and other resources on the same network from the internet, a proxy server for web filtering, monitoring and business security, and a web server for hosting websites on the Turbo NAS. “The TS-421U and TS-420U satisfy the requirements of SMB and workgroup users who desire high performance networked storage with low acquisition cost but won’t compromise on reliability and features,” said Laurent Cheng, product manager of QNAP. “They deliver high performance coupled with a broad range of business-ready applications.”
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Researchers develop light nanofoam that is more resistant to impact Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/researchers-develop-light-nanofoam- that-is-more-resistant-to-impact/19372.html March 26th, 2013 Engineers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are developing a type of nanofoam that may one day provide better structural integrity for buildings compare to current conventional foam material. The nanofoams are made of porous, honeycomb-like, structures that are light, and are reportedly able to absorb impacts in a much less localized manner; therefore, minimizing the amount of damage suffered. Currently, the UCSD researchers are trying to determine the most optimal pore size to absorb energy from impacts, with sizes that range from 10 nanometers to 10 microns. (Porous silica depicted at various magnifications.) “We are developing nanofoams that help disperse the force of an impact over a wider area,” said Yu Qiao, professor of structural engineering at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “They will appear to be less rigid but will actually more resistant than ordinary foams.” Much like how engineers have developed cars that can spread out the absorption of energy during impact, the nanofoam material is essentially the same concept—except this is on a nano scale. Qiao and his colleagues are currently manufacturing the nanofoam material in his lab. Working on a molecular level, the team first blends two materials together, and then using “acid etching” or combustion to remove one of the two materials to create “channels” within the nanofoam. The project is being funded by the Army Research Office, and Qiao is hoping that with enough progress the team can begin applying similar principles to test metallic and polymeric nanomaterials. Bacteria could power bio- batteries Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bacteria-could-power-bio- batteries/19371.html March 26th, 2013 Researchers in the US and UK have made a breakthrough that could lead to bacteria becoming microscopic bio- batteries, offering humanity a new potential energy source. Researchers in the US and UK have made a breakthrough that could lead to bacteria becoming microscopic bio- batteries, offering humanity a new potential energy source. Scientists at the University of East Anglia, UK, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington, teamed together to find out whether or not bacteria directly conducted electrical charges. Until now researchers knew that bacteria were influencing levels of minerals in lakes and seas, but how they were doing it remained a mystery. The team conducted their tests using the Shewanella oneidensis bacterium, which is found throughout the world. A synthetic version of the bacterium was created, resulting in the discovery that the organism itself generated a charge, which could create a chemical change when put in contact with a mineral surface. The findings may not sound like much on paper, but it means that bacteria conduct electrical charges on their own, and thus they could eventually become useful for providing power. At the very least, understanding how they work can give greater insight into the biological links with electricity. The paper was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Image Credit: Gross L, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/8/2006, e282 A classic RPG adventure in Excel spreadsheets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/a-classic-rpg-adventure-in-excel- spreadsheets/19370.html March 26th, 2013 It brings back memories of the good, old RPGs, but the fun thing is that it’s an Excel game, made entirely of Excel spreadsheets. That’s what happens when an accountant has too much time in his hands. The game is called Arena.Xlsm and its creator is Cary Walkin, a chartered accountant from Toronto. The game creation took him about four months, and he built it on his spare time, while he was studying for his MBA. Now, he has uploaded the full version on his blog, where you will also find a wiki and bug feedback. The game is an old school fantasy rpg, where you kill monsters, gather loot, gain experience and built up fame. Its key features include over 2000 different enemies, 1000 possible items, 31 spells, 36 achievements, 15 artifacts, 4 different endings and 8 big bosses. What else can one ask from an RPG adventure, especially if it’s programmed entirely with Excel macros. Arena.Xlsm works on Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010, but it was not tested on Excel 2013 and it won’t run at all on the Mac versions. Also, it will not work on Excel starter packs, since they don’t support macros (I tried it). To play it you have to enable macros and to save your progress you have to make a copy of the Arena.Xlsm workbook under a different name, (e.g. ArenaLvl46.Xlsm). It’s seriously fun and worth a try. You will find it here. Teen arrested for hacking phones and uploading child pornography Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/teen-arrested-for-hacking-phones- and-uploading-child-pornography/19369.html March 26th, 2013 What happens when underage kids take compromising images of themselves, and then finding that somehow those same explicit images end up on porn sites? According to a report from 9News.com, a 17-year-old US teenager by the name of Michael has been arrested by Cobb County Police for hacking minors' cellphones with a bogus text ad that, when clicked on, would install a piece of phone- controlling malware. As bad as that might be, it is only the beginning as it appears that teen pervert would then scan the phone for compromising images. Even more disturbing is that he also takes control of the phone’s camera to take nude pictures unbeknownst minors. Cook would then download those images and then upload them to pornographic sites. At this point, the police know of eight victims, with the youngest being 14 years old. Police have charged the teen with eight counts of cruelty to children, and one count of sexually exploiting children. Police, however, also admit that they may never know the total number of victims, because it was difficult to identify some of the victims in the confiscated pictures. A fiber optic network that operates at 99.7% the speed of light? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/a-fiber-optic-network-that-operates- at-99.7-the-speed-of-light-/19367.html March 25th, 2013 A fiber optic cable that can transfer data at near the speed of light is no longer just a theory. Researchers in England have successfully transferred data at 99.7 percent the speed of light and have broken all manner of latency records as well. Researchers working at England’s prestigious University of Southampton Optoelectronics Research Center have developed a new type of optical fiber that easily transfers data at nearly the speed of light in a vacuum. They successfully transferred 73.7 terabits of information per second, which is approximately 10 terabytes per second. This recent fiber optic test broke all past records and demonstrated a much lower latency as well. In fact, this demonstration was approximately 1 thousand times faster than any fiber optic network available today. In a paper titled, “Towards high-capacity fibre-optic communications at the speed of light in vacuum”, the research on the high-speed fiber optics was written by F. Poletti, N.V. Wheeler, et. al. and was made available online at the Nature website on March 24, 2013.
  • March 27th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 For those unfamiliar with the science, the speed of light in a vacuum travels at approximately 186 thousand miles per second. If light is traveling through a diamond or water it travels slower due to refraction. Therefore, due to refraction, when light is traveling through modern fiber optics cable, which is made with common silica, it travels approximately 31% slower. However, the new cable is hollow, thereby allowing the light to move without any interference and much like it does in our natural surroundings. While the idea of a hollow fiber optic cable has been around for some time, it was never successfully implemented because the light just can’t travel as fast due to the nature of the conduit, at least not until now. Regular fiber optic cable allows the light to bounce on the inside walls with their refractive index, which in turn allows light to travel continuously through the cable. Making the cable hollow in the past prevented the natural refraction, which in turn made the data come to a stop and transferring information nearly impossible. The problem with the hollow core theory was solved by the use of an ultra-thin ‘photonic- bandgap rim’. The photonic-bandgap rim prevents any loss of light and has very little latency as compared to modern fiber optics and allows faster data transfer by 31%. They used wave division multiplexing (WDM) to send approximately 40- gigabit signals through the cable, and the rate of transfer is reportedly the fastest in history. While this new design is incredibly fast it will not be replacing most of the fiber optic cables in use. The researchers do say it may be replacing the fiber optics used in supercomputer interconnections and data centers, which would benefit the most from this type of latency boost and data transfer rate. Source: Research paper: doi:10.1038/nphoton.2013.45 – “Towards high-capacity fibre-optic communications at the speed of light in vacuum”
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Egyptians arrested for trying to cut undersea internet cable Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/egyptians-arrested-for-trying-to-cut- undersea-internet-cable/19411.html March 28th, 2013 Three Egyptian men have been arrested for attempting to cut an undersea internet cable, which affected internet speeds in Alexandria and could have caused further outage and disruption. Three Egyptian men have been arrested for attempting to cut an undersea internet cable, which affected internet speeds in Alexandria and could have caused further outage and disruption. The men were arrested by authorities as they steered a fishing boat off the coast of the ancient city, where they were cutting through the undersea cable. It is not clear what they were using to do this, nor why they wanted to destroy internet connectivity in the region. The operator of the cable, Seacom, said that several lines connecting Europe with Africa, the Middle East and Asia were also affected by sabotage. Potentially the men were acting as part of a larger group attempting to cause internet chaos. Undersea cables have previously been damaged, resulting in outages, but these have usually been blamed on accidents, such as ship propellers clipping them when sailing by. While the motives of the men are not yet known, the Egyptian revolt of 2011 resulted in an internet blackout in the country as the then president Hosni Mubarak attempted to cling to power. It is possible that some factions in the country are hoping to isolate people from outside influence or prevent them accessing uncensored information online. Image Credit: Egyptian Navy (via BBC) Google launches delivery service Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-launches-delivery- service/19408.html March 28th, 2013 Google is doing a trial-run for yet another one of their ever expanding list of services. This time, it's a same day delivery service. Google always seems to be willing to try something new and innovative, and this time, it’s a delivery service. The Google Shopping Express service, which was unveiled today, is an attempt to create a same-day delivery service for a multitude of retailers. It’s in its infancy, and thus limited to the San Francisco bay area in order to do a trial run without overcomitting to the project, and while retaining a small enough size to adjust it easily for various problems Google may encounter. Google is partnering up with a number of major retailers, including Toys’R’Us, Target, Staples and Walgreens for the service, and is offering six months of free delivery to early testers. A long term pricing plan has yet to be determined. Unfortunately, even if you happen to live in the bay area, the service will only be available to a “small number of people”,
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 so you might not get to try it. But Google’s Shopping Express site is taking signups, so head over there if you’re qualified. Intel unveils new developer tools for gaming Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-unveils-new-developer-tools- for-gaming/19410.html March 28th, 2013 Intel has announced several new tools for game developers at the Game Developers Conference 2013 in San Francisco. The chip giant introduced a slew of new graphics capabilities for upcoming Intel HD Graphics platforms and DirectX- enabled hardware, including PixelSync, InstantAccess, and Quick Sync Video. PixelSync lets developers properly composite partially transparent pixels without needing an expensive sorting operation, which should lead to more realistically rendered smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other complex imagery. InstantAccess will allow physical memory to be written and read from a CPU or an integrated Intel HD Graphics chip, which offers enhanced real-time rendering to make graphics-intensive games look better on all devices. The company's HandBrake video transcoder is getting a boost with Quick Sync Video, which allows for increased performance while reducing CPU usage in the decoding or encoding process. Intel has also updated its Graphics Performance Analysers. The new version includes a Geometry Viewer with support for shader stages, which can help developers debug performance bottlenecks. Support for Android and the latest Intel processors has also been added. The Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit 2013 is now available, featuring Creative Interactive Gesture Camera for a Kinect-like experience with hand and finger tracking, speech recognition, facial analysis, and augmented reality, opening up a world of new features for the next generation of games. Image Credit: Intel Toshiba develops "industry's thinnest ever" camera module Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toshiba-develops-industry-s- thinnest-ever-camera-module/19404.html March 28th, 2013 Toshiba announces the successful development of a new camera module aimed for smartphone and tablet use. The new camera module is claimed to be the world's thinnest module ever developed to date. Toshiba Semiconductor & Storage Products Company had recently unveiled on March 28, 2013 a new thin form factor (1/3.07-inch) CMOS camera module that is made to be installed and used on smartphones and tablet computers. It is designated as the TCM9930MD, and Toshiba claims that it is currently the world's thinnest camera module. The TCM9930MD uses a 13-megapixel CMOS image sensor. The camera module was able to achieve such small and thin size due to a number of combined design techniques, the most notable of which is the use of an upgraded flip chip design (a design technique in semiconductor manufacture) that further thinned the module down to 4.7 millimeters. The TCM9930MD also employed the standard use of a systems LSI compatible lens that is claimed to further augment its "thin and efficient" design theme. Samples of the camera module will be available for export and international purchase around May 2013. The cost of one sample module is 7,000 yen (74 USD). Mass production of the modules is projected to start by the end of the year around December 2013. Source: ITMedia (JP) Google disqualifies Project Glass contest winners Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-disqualifies-project-glass- contest-winners/19405.html March 28th, 2013
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 After 8000 winners were selected to be the first to try Google's new Project Glass, a lot of them were later disqualified because they had failed to comply to the terms of the contest. Google just made a bunch of people very happy by offering them early trials of Google Glass, only to tear that happiness away moments later, when some of them were informed they would not be participating in the trial after all. A month ago, Google started a contest via twitter that asked contestants to send in their pitches in 50 words or less, for what they'd do if they had a Glass. The best 8000 applicants were to receive early access to the device, provided they could still cough up the $1500 for buying it and assuming they could get to New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles to pick it up. Google is leading the way with wearable computing, and will make cosplaying as a cyborg much easier Unfortunately, only hours after the lucky winners started being announced announced, Google sent out this stament via twitter: "We're gonna need to disqualify a few non- compliant #ifihadglass applications that snuck through." What seems to have happened is that Google simply picked tweets at random which included #ifihadaglass, as opposed to actually judging which ones were the best. This lead to some strange winning contributions, such as "#IfIHadGlass, I'd throw it at your face. ._." Does Windows Blue mean the end of the desktop enviroment? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/does-windows-blue-mean-the-end- of-the-desktop-enviroment-/19402.html March 28th, 2013 Windows is getting a new build nicknamed "Blue". It adds a lot of functionality to the ModernUI, making the touch- based interface easier to use for more purposes... but does it mean the beginning of the end for desktop mode? Windows 8's new build, nicknamed Blue, is adding a lot of features to the touch-oriented Modern UI; features which previously required the use of Windows' desktop mode. These features include the ability to modify control panel settings and a new multitasking feature, allowing windows to be viewed side by side. In the works is also a rumored file manager. On the surface, Blue seems to streamline the Windows experience and allow users of Modern UI to easier manage more of their operating system without having to dart back and forth to the desktop mode. If this is all it's doing, then there's no problem. However, many industry insiders are predicting that this is the beginning of the end for the desktop mode. The desktop mode - an endangered creature? Extreme tech puts it bluntly: "If you had any lingering doubts about whether Microsoft was trying to kill off the Desktop, here's confirmation." Information Week had a similar theory, explaining it in a bit more detail: "The changes can certainly be justified in the name of convenience but they will also wean users off the more familiar Explorer environment by encouraging them to conduct more of their business in the tablet UI." Whether this is simply an expanded feature set, or the end of desktop mode, is something only time will tell. Microsoft isn't saying anything at the moment. The BUILD conference, which takes place in June, was also announced during Blue's reveal, so it's possible we'll know more then: Microsoft is expected to talk about what's new and what's in the future for the company, and is expected to release the public preview of Windows 8.1 at the conference. Netgear R6300 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless Router Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/netgear-r6300-802.11ac-dual-band- wireless-router-review/19187.html
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 March 28th, 2013 The R6300 is one of the newest wireless routers from Netgear that supports high speed 802.11ac networking. It can concurrently sustain speeds of up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. The R6300 is one of the newest wireless routers from Netgear that supports high speed 802.11ac networking. It can concurrently provide speeds of up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. The R6300 wireless router belongs to Netgear's Ultimate Performance product line. They all feature the same "desk calendar" design. The front side consist of four LED indicators. Unfortunately there are no led indicators either on the front or back for the wired connections. Advertised Features Specifications Table Package Contents R6300 WiFi Router Ethernet cable Quick install guide Power adapter, localized to
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 country of sale Physical Specifications Dimensions: 205 x 255 x 77 mm (8.07 x 10.04 x 3.03 in) Weight: 654g (1.44 lb) Standards Two (2) USB 2.0 ports IEEE® 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11 a/n/ac 5.0 GHz Five (5) 10/100/1000 (1 WAN and 4 LAN) Gigabit Ethernet ports Warranty Warranty localized to country of sale System Requirements Microsoft® Windows 7, Vista®, XP®, 2000, Mac OS®, UNIX®, or Linux® Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 5.0, Firefox® 2.0, Safari® 1.4, or Google Chrome™ 11.0 browsers or higher Use laptop with 3x3 450 Mbps adapter like Centrino® 6300/5300, or 3x3 802.11ac adapter for maximum performance Supports Windows® 8 Performance WiFi Boost with high- powered radio amplifiers Memory: 128 MB Flash and 128 MB RAM Advanced Quality of Service (QoS) IPv6 Support (Internet Protocol Version 6) Ease of Use NETGEAR genie® App —Personal dashboard to monitor, control & repair your home network Push ‘N’ Connect using Wi- Fi Protected Setup® (WPS)1 Buttons WPS Button, WifFi on/off Button, Power Button Security WiFi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2 —PSK) Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT firewall) Denial- of-service (DoS) attack prevention D-Link DIR-865L Wireless AC1750 Router Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/d-link-dir-865l-wireless-ac1750- router-review/19190.html March 28th, 2013 The DIR-865L is D-link's latest 802.11ac entrant to join their Cloud router product line that allows users to remotely control and manage their network with little or no hassle through the mydlink cloud service. The DIR-865L is D-link's latest 802.11ac entrant to join their Cloud router product line that allows users to remotely control and manage their network with little or no hassle through the mydlink cloud service. The router comes in a vertical stand with an all-black appearance. On its front side, there are only two LED indicators for power and internet. There is also the WPS button with LED indicator. The DIR-865L lacks other LEDs for wired, wireless and USB connectivity. On the rear side of the device, there is a USB 2.0 port, four Gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a power switch and a power jack
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Advertised Features Specifications Table Advanced features RVPN pass through Guest Zone Support UPnP™ Support Wi-Fi WMM Quality of Service Standards IEEE 802.11ac IEEE 802.11g IEEE 802.11n IEEE 802.11a IEEE 802.3 IEEE 802.3u IEEE 802.3ab Ethernet Interface 4 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Ports Security Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2)
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 WPS™ LEDs Power Internet Power DC 12V Operating Temperature / Humidity 0º to 40º C 10% to 95% non-condensing Dimensions 9.8in. x 6.5in. x 2.8in. Warranty 1-Year Limited Warranty Sudden appearance of sinkhole in China swallows up man, but he won't be the last Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sudden-appearance-of-sinkhole-in- china-swallows-up-man-but-he-won-t-be-the-last/19399.html March 28th, 2013 Shenzhen, China recently lost one of its own to a sudden appearance of a four stories deep sinkhole, which is a growing concern for all Chinese residence in general as the country is continuing to collapse under its own poorly planned infrastructures. The huge sinkhole, measuring 16-feet-by-26-feet wide, swallowed up a passerby as he was strolling along. As tragic as the event was for the man and his family, the recent Shenzhen sinkhole is just one of the 200 to 300+ sinkholes that have been regularly appearing since 2007 in China. One estimate even suggested that between July 21 and August 12, 2012, 99 sinkhole collapses occurred in Beijing. China is one of the top economies in the world, and due to the rapid expansion the populace has to put up with poorly planned infrastructures. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, but the locals have reported that a nearby construction site has been causing tremors. Australian brick and mortar store implements $5 "just looking" policy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/australian-brick-and-mortar-store- implements-5-just-looking-policy/19398.html March 28th, 2013 An Australian store has implemented a “charge to look” policy to discourage shoppers from using the brick and mortar outlet as a showroom. High overhead costs and increasing pressure from online retails like Amazon have caused many brick and mortar store owners to shut down their businesses. For many business owners, the only way to escape the inevitable is to shift their businesses into cyberspace. Even so, business on the Internet can be a hit and miss, and for many it could be a dream come true or heart breaker in the making. So in attempt to remain relevant in the physical space, a brick and mortar store in Brisbane, Australia is taking the battle to stay in business right to the consumers. It might not be the best strategy, but we have to give it to the store’s management for thinking outside the box. As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for “just looking.” There has been high volume of people who use this store has a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else. This policy is in line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.” The just look policy went in effect last month so there should be enough data for the owner to either keep or come up with another strategy. Sony delivers new details on PS4 during GDC 2013 presentation Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-delivers-new-details-on-ps4- during-gdc-2013-presentation/19394.html
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 March 28th, 2013 Sony has taken the opportunity to reveal even more information about their new next-gen console at this year's Game Developer's Conference (GDC 2013), touching upon some of the major features including PS4 hardware, UI, and the increase Indie Game support. During this year's Game Developer's Conference (GDC 2013) Sony has taken the opportunity to go on stage with an official presentation on the PlayStation 4 and discuss many of the console's features in greater detail. The topics that Sony touched upon during the presentation include system hardware, UI (User Interface), the PS4's DualShock 4 controller and Remote Play. Many mockups of the PS4's UI were displayed at the presentation, giving viewers an idea of what Sony plans with the console's integrated social media support that compiles live updates including news, game feeds, and other information from PlayStation Network friends. The GDC presentation also utilized the five key principles that were featured in their See The Future PS4 reveal back in February: Simple, Immediate, Social, Integrated and Personalized. Regarding technical aspects of the PS4, Sony elaborated with the following information on the system's hardware specs: • CPU: 64-bit x86 architecture, low heat & power consumption, 8x cores, 8 HW threads, 2MiB L2 cache per 4 core group, 32 kib|1 I/D-cache • RAM: 8GB 256 bit GDDR5 • PS4 Shader Language is very similar to HLSL, allows features BEYOND Direct X 11 and OpenGL 4.0 Additionally, Sony assures gamers that every PS4 will come with a "very large hard drive" in every console, and that they are working on making the PS4 the central device in the living room with integrated connectivity among a variety of Sony devices. The PS4's DualShock 4 controller. Below you can find a list of details regarding Sony's focus on the PS4's controller: • Start/Select buttons have been changed to "Options" & New System button is "Share". • L2/R2 buttons have a curved design to alleviate accidental fast-forwarding on Netflix. • The PS4 controller buttons are reverting back to digital rather than analog as no one used it on PS3. • 1920 x 900 resolution on the analog touchpad. • The PS4 charges controllers while the system is off. • The controller's light bar can be utilized for in-game health bars and other various helpful additions. The PS4 Eye (right) will enhance the overall gaming experience with a variety of additional in-game features including speech recognition, Camera Magic, and more. The PS4's Eye sensor was also a topic that Sony touched upon during the presentation, delving into the sensor's hardware specs, capabilities, and how it will enhance gamers' experience with the console via a plethora of additional possibilities like Camera Magic and more. Sony also revealed a few suggested uses for the PS Eye which include game walkthrough videos, taunting gamers via a killcam, speech recognition, and even logging in via PSN. As far as specs, the PS Eye features high sensitivity dual- color cameras with resolution at 1280 x 800 (12 bits/pixel, 60Hz). Additionally the PS4 will have a dedicated port for the PS Eye and won't take up a USB port on the console--it cannot be hooked up to a PC, however.
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The PlayStation 4's User Interface (UI) has been tailored to efficiency, allowing gamers to glance at information like new DLC on the marketplace, friend feeds/social media, etc. The friend limit on the PlayStation Network has also been raised, and apparently gamers have to assign their real name to the PS4--however there is an option to keep friends and other players from seeing it. Remote Play is another concept that Sony detailed during their presentation. Remote Play allows gamers to seamlessly transition their gaming between the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita for on-the-go gaming--allowing PS4 games to be streamed remotely and wirelessly to the handheld PS Vita. During the GDC presentation Sony divulged that the Remote Play screens are mirrored on both the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita at the same time, and that the function is based on the console's hardware and doesn't require any special additions from game developers. Sony also went into detail on the new PlayStation App, which adds a fair share of convenience for gamers. The PlayStation App allows gamers to download purchased gaming content from the marketplace on-the-go, which is then downloaded to the PS4. When gamers get home they can play the portion of the game as it's still downloading--a feature that was talked about during the PS4 reveal. Sony has taken advantage of recent events to get an edge on Microsoft by showcasing even more features and information on their next-gen console, although it will be interesting to see how (and when) Microsoft debuts the next Xbox, and how they choose to combat Sony's impressive console. In any case, we may have to wait all the way until June during this year's E3 event to see Microsoft's answer to the PS4. Until then Sony seems confident on their stance in the world of next-gen gaming, and we may see a few more strikes dealt out until Microsoft unveils the Xbox 720. OUYA and MakerBot partner up to let people print their own console designs Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ouya-and-makerbot-partner-up-to- let-people-print-their-own-console-designs/19395.html March 28th, 2013 Still thinking about getting the OUYA console? This partnership might make your decision a little bit easier. OUYA and MakerBot are offering plans that will allow users to have their own console designs printed. The OUYA Android gaming console has been a highly anticipated console that will hit retail later this year. If you were looking at getting one of them, you may be interested in their recent partnership with MakerBot. For those who don't know, MakerBot Industries is a New York-based company founded in 2009 that produces 3D printers. With the partnership of these two companies, OUYA will now be offering plans that will allow users to print their own console cases. This offer is available from the Thingiverse.com website and is called the “OUYA MakerBot 3D Printing Development Kit”. What does the 'kit' give you exactly? It will give you the 3D template and specs that can be used to print your own OUYA console case with custom colors and patterns. The plans from the “OUYA MakerBot 3D Printing Development Kit” have been optimized for the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D printer. There will also be options available for those who have experience in 3D printing.
  • March 28th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 For those who backed the OUYA on Kickstarter, the console is just about ready to begin shipping which was previously announced as March 28th . These shipments are only for those who donated through Kickstarter. For those who pre- ordered through the main website, retail availability is set for June 2013.
  • March 29th, 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. Cuban revolution in a video game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cuban-revolution-in-a-video- game/19423.html March 29th, 2013 Gesta Final is a video game directly inspired by the communist revolution of Cuba. The players re-enact the historical battles, posing as Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos. Viva la Revoluzione! Gesta Final, means Final Heroic Deed. It’s a 3D FPS, in the style of Call of Duty. The game starts on the deck of the historical yacht Granma and takes the action on the wetlands and mountain trails of Cuba, following the guerilla steps of the original revolution. The final goal is simple: usurp the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. The player has a choice of three bearded characters, not quite the same but very much alike, the three historical figures of the Cuban Revolution. There are five levels of increasing difficulty and you have to fight and survive using vintage guns like Colt.45 and Springfield. True to the historical facts, the plot will never let you approach Batista, since he was already long gone when Castro’s troops entered the capital. The last act is a recreation of the “Pino del Agua II” battle, which led to the final victory of the rebels. The Cuba’s Youth Computing Club team, under Haylin Cojuro developed the game, said their aim was to teach the young Cubans their history. As the leader of the project said in the media, “We didn’t want the characters to identify any revolutionary leader, but we did want it to frame the moment. The player identifies with the history of Cuba." Apple patents wrap around 3D iPhone display Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-patents-wrap-around-3d- iphone-display/19425.html
  • March 29th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 March 29th, 2013 Apple has patented a design for a 3D display that wraps around the entire surface of a smartphone, adding to a growing list of next-generation features it is contemplating for the iPhone. Apple has patented a design for a 3D display that wraps around the entire surface of a smartphone, adding to a growing list of next-generation features it is contemplating for the iPhone. The patent, numbered 20130076612 , is entitled “Electronic device with wrap around display.” It was filed on 26 September 2011 and was published on 28 March of this year. The display features “transparent housing” and would be flexible. It would also allow presentation of visual content at any part of the housing. The essential idea is to utilise the entirety of the phone as a display, not just what Apple called “less than half of the overall device surface area.” Not content to rest with a wrap around display on its own, the patent also covers the inclusion of two AMOLED screens on top of each other, which would give the illusion of depth perception and mimic a 3D experience. The filing also calls for all buttons to be removed, relying on touchscreen controls instead, a nod to an idea the late Steve Jobs, former CEO and co-founder of Apple, originally presented. As rivals like Samsung continue to steal Apple's thunder, the company has been coming up with a slew of potential features for the next iPhone, including the ability for the phone to land in a safe position if it falls. A full wrap around display with 3D and no buttons would be a major departure from existing models, and as such it may not be an appealing idea for some customers. Galaxy S4 MINI may be released in June Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/galaxy-s4-mini-may-be-released-in- june/19418.html March 29th, 2013 The Samsung Galaxy S4 has not even been released yet and, already, there are rumors of a Galaxy S4 Mini release date. Rumors have been swirling that a smaller version of the flagship S4 would be released in Europe sometime after the full size version hits the shelves. Samsung has confirmed that the S4 Mini will be for sale in Europe first, but gave no firm release date. However, reports are saying that it will be sometime in June of this year. Samsung has also released a mini version of the S3 last year in select markets. It is to be noted that neither the Mini S3 nor Mini S4 will be available in the United States. With a massive 5-inch screen, the S4 may be just too big for some consumers. It is nearly impossible to fit in the front pocket of a pair of jeans. That is why Samsung has developed mini versions of their latest flagship devices. While details are sketchy, the S4 Mini is rumored to have a 4.3-inch screen with 256ppi, which would rival any display put out by Apple or any other manufacturer. It is also rumored to have a 1.6GHz processor; come installed with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and will be available in both LTE and HSPA+. Of course a smaller device should mean a smaller price, but Samsung has not given any indication as to what price it will sell the Mini S4 for. Samsung certainly doesn’t want to take attention away from the full size S4, but if the rumors are true the Galaxy S4 Mini will be a powerhouse of a smartphone. Chinese regulator wants more supervision of Apple Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-regulator-wants-more- supervision-of-apple/19424.html March 29th, 2013
  • March 29th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The Chinese commerce regulator has called for more supervision of Apple and its consumer policies, following accusations that the smartphone giant is not providing the same level of customer service to Chinese customers as it does in other countries. The Chinese commerce regulator has called for more supervision of Apple and its consumer policies, following accusations that the smartphone giant is not providing the same level of customer service to Chinese customers as it does in other countries. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce called for stricter regulation of the American company, but did not offer specific recommendations, according to a China National Radio report. Apple was already the subject of intense criticism in a Chinese TV programme, which accused the company of only fixing broken parts rather than replacing an iPhone, which helped it avoid giving customers a renewed warranty period. The warranty policy for Macbooks also came under fire for its shorter duration than in other countries. The State-run People's Daily newspaper also took a swipe at Apple on Wednesday, criticising it for its “unparalleled arrogance.” Apple still has brand popularity on its side, but Chinese authorities could make sales more difficult for the company, a possibility it cannot afford, given the sheer size and somewhat untapped nature of the Chinese market. NEC considering selling mobile unit to Lenovo Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nec-considering-selling-mobile-unit- to-lenovo/19422.html March 29th, 2013 IT and networking products and services provider NEC is in talks to try to sells its mobile phone division, with Lenovo among the potential buyers. IT and networking products and services provider NEC is in talks to try to sells its mobile phone division, with Lenovo among the potential buyers. Sources cited by Reuters said that the companies are currently locked in negotiations, with NEC hoping to sell the unit to restore the company to profitability after two years of losses. Lenovo is not the only buyer NEC is considering, with reports suggesting that the Japense firm is also in talks with domestic buyers. At this stage it is not clear who these are, how many companies are interested, and how much money is on the table. “Amid the rapidly changing market we are considering a number of ways to bolster the competitiveness of our mobile phone business, but nothing has been decided,” said NEC in a statement following initial media coverage. Smaller firms like NEC are struggling to keep up with larger mobile rivals like Samsung and Apple, but Lenovo has been aggressively moving into the smartphone market after success in China. If it secures the NEC mobile assets it will give it an extra boost to take on the top dogs. Fujitsu claims it can detect your pulse rate using only a webcam Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-claims-it-can-detect-your- pulse-rate-using-only-a-webcam/19420.html March 29th, 2013 Fujitsu Labs announces the development of their new technology that allows detection and analysis of a person's pulse rate by only using the image of that person's face taken by a web camera. It's been just a short while since Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has unveiled their new high-speed data transfer technology, but now, they have yet another novel technology concept on
  • March 29th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 an entirely different field. This time, they have developed a new detection analysis system, which is claimed to be able to observe and accurately measure human pulse rates using only the information found in an image produced by a web camera. The working principle of their new technology is based on the observation that the human skin shows very slight difference in color tones or variations in brightness depending on the flow of blood in that certain area. The phenomenon is explained as a common characteristic of hemoglobin, in which it absorbs light in the green part of the spectrum, and then causes the visual change in color. Fujitsu's technology first takes a shot of a person's face using a web camera for about five seconds, then by looking at the subtle changes in color as time passes, the analyzing software can then produce a measure of that person's pulse rate. Accuracy is achieved by the technology using a cross- referencing method to its surroundings. For example, it would not take irrelevant data such as a significant change in the face's subsequent positions. What is quite astonishing about this new technology is that it does not actually require the use of specific hardware. It only needs the analysis software, and any sufficiently good web camera for their system to work as devised. According to Fujitsu, the most important potential use for this kind of technology would be on health and security monitoring systems, or on any application or field that would require easy access to vital body information, without the need for the people to strap on and use complex equipment. Exynos 5 Octa supports all 20 LTE bands, but won't come to the U.S. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/exynos-5-octa-supports-all-20-lte- bands-but-won-t-come-to-the-u.s./19415.html March 29th, 2013 Samsung’s latest Exynos 5 Octa supports all 20 global LTE bands, but the “8-core” Galaxy S IV variant will only come to selected markets. Much like Samsung’s prior Galaxy S III device, there will be two variants, one sporting the South Korean’s in-house Exynos chip, and the other a Qualcomm-driven model. LTE compatibility issues were one of the reasons why North America and some other markets didn’t get their taste of Exynos in the last Galaxy S handset. However, now that Samsung has confirmed its latest Exynos 5 Octa does support LTE here stateside, why can’t people in the U.S. choose which variant they want? One reason could be Samsung might not have the production capacity to supply enough Exynos chips, and so Qualcomm becomes the benefactor as they, too, produce quality processors for mobile devices. There’s nothing wrong with the Snapdragon 600, and until proven otherwise, it is probably on par with the Exynos Octa. Still, wouldn’t be nice if everyone was able to decide for themselves which chip they preferred, and not just the color? Activision unveils new next- gen engine at GDC 2013, may power new Call of Duty games Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/activision-unveils-new-next-gen- engine-at-gdc-2013-may-power-new-call-of-duty-games/19414.html March 29th, 2013 Activision shows off an array of incredible photo-realistic images from a new next-gen engine that is believed to power the next Call of Duty release for next-gen consoles. At this year's Game Developer's Conference (GDC 2013), one of Activision's technical directors Jorge Jiminez unveiled a
  • March 29th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 myriad of amazing new images that showcase the photo- realistic capabilities of their new next-gen engine. The panel's images show the fruits of a year's worth of work, and as you can see each image features amazing realism that expose the engine's enhanced graphical capabilities with which Activision hopes to bring new emotional realism to their in-game characters. The demo--like every other display of next-gen graphics-- was shown using a PC with a GeForce GTX 680 graphics card running at 180 frames per second (fps). Additionally, Activision made no clear indication on which next-gen system (PS4 or Xbox 720) that the engine was for. There has also been speculation that a new Call of Duty game is in the works for PlayStation 4, and this engine may in fact power the next line of Call of Duty titles for the next-gen age. The dynamic realism that each image portrays is just an example of the engine's potential, and we will most likely see more instances of its usage at future events--such as E3 2013. FBI petitions for more access to your private real-time data Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fbi-petitions-for-more-access-to- your-private-real-time-data/19400.html March 28th, 2013 It is common knowledge that the FBI and other police agencies can gain access to our private data with court issued search warrants or NSLs; the FBI says they need access to our 'real-time' Internet data. The real-time data FBI wants includes real time chat, Skype, Google services and cloud- based services like Dropbox. The FBI says they are behind the times and need real- time data being transmitted in order to catch modern day criminals. While we all know the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can issue a search warrant for Internet data. The real problem for the agency is that by the time they get the information it may simply be too late to use it. Andrew Weissmann, who serves as the general counsel for the FBI, recently spoke before the American Bar Association (ABA) and told the listeners that the FBI will be seeking greater power to monitor Internet data in real-time. This real-time data would include chat programs, Skype, Google services and any manner of cloud-based data storage. Speaking to the ABA’s Standing Committee on Law & National Security program, Weissmann told the crowd that the FBI is using 20th century style intelligence gathering in a 21st century world. This new age of new technology, according to Weissmann, is hindering the FBI’s ability to catch criminals that are committing major cyber crimes, which can include attacks on major financial networks. “It is now possible to commit crimes in seconds that would have really taken years of planning to do in the real, 3-D physical world,” Weissmann said. Weissmann further explained that current search warrant regulations actually hinders the FBI's ability to access information because the laws do not help solve the problem of dealing with geography or victim protection in the cyber world. Citing ‘Rule 41’ of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, he said search warrant laws do not address how they are to be issued since a location is needed. Criminals now hide in a non-physical location where improved and continually updated technology hides their every move. “For a typical search warrant, you need to go to the magistrate, who is located in the place where the search is going to occur,” Weissmann said. “For most cyber cases, and there is one exception, that is not possible; it’s not a single location, it’s multiple locations, and sometimes you don’t even know where the search is actually occurring because you don’t know the locus of the computer in the panoply of cyberspace.” In the very near future we can expect to see more bills brought before lawmakers in regards to allowing the federal government to gain easy access to our Internet data. It is clearly understood that law enforcement agencies need a greater ability to monitor criminal elements on the Internet. There must also be a way to limit the amount of
  • March 29th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 information a police agency can see without violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. "Biggest cyber attack in history" believed to be a hoax Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-biggest-cyber-attack-in-history- believed-to-be-a-hoax/19409.html March 28th, 2013 It was just yesterday, that the news for the ‘world’s biggest ever cyber-attack’ circulated the web with catchy headlines and terrifying possibilities. As the dust settled, though, some coolheaded sources seemed to be skeptical about the truth behind the headlines. The Spamhaus versus Cyberbunker cyber war, raised havoc around the internet with series of apocalyptic articles (VR- zone included), but the internet itself seemed to be unaware of the raging war shaking it. Maybe because it was not that shaken? A rather smooth internet traffic report – source: Gizmoto Truth is, the skirmish between Spamhaus and Cyberbunker happened. Cyberbunker really tried to crush Spamhaus servers with a flood of junk data, and Spamhaus really sought help from affiliated companies to ward off the attack. One of these allies was CloudFlare, an anti-DDoS firm that did its best to flame the whole issue to armaggedonian proportions. Gizmodo, a UK based tech website, was the one who took up the gauntlet. According to their observations, the internet wasn’t slower than usually, streaming services kept working just fine, net giants like Amazon reported nothing out of order, web-monitoring organizations had no worrying feedback, and the World Wide Web had a fine day, thank you. Everything has been OK for Amazon – source: Gizmoto Then why all the fuss? Gizmodo claims it was nothing but a vulgar PR stunt, orchestrated by CloudFlare and Spamhaus, for advertising reasons. The UK Internet Service Providers Association Council, though, refrained from pointing fingers and simply said: “The attack did have an impact. Some sites will be affected”. Well then, probably, we have to wait a bit longer till we see the cyber war that will shake the internet. Final Fantasy V for iOS now out Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/final-fantasy-v-for-ios-now- out/19407.html March 28th, 2013 Square Enix finally releases Final Fantasy V for the iOS. Players may now relive the adventures of Bartz, and the other present time "Warriors of Dawn" on their iPhones and iPads. Running with the slowly-becoming long line of Final Fantasy game ports to the iOS, Final Fantasy V finally comes next as Square Enix's latest in their mobile device game rereleases. That's right; Final Fantasy is now available and can be downloaded from the app store as of March 28, 2013. Though it is basically considered as a remake, Final Fantasy V for the iOS lacks the graphics and environment overhaul that was made to Final Fantasy III. Instead, it simply refines the upgrades in graphics that was already applied previously in its PS1 and GBA remake. For example, GBA-exclusive job classes are included, and instead of just reading lines along a blue window, an image of the character (following the original designs of Yoshitaka Amano) is present at the side of the window.
  • March 29th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Aside from basic graphics and function upgrades, Final Fantasy V would also have a multi-language function. So, app users can also play the iOS version of Final Fantasy V in Japanese, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish or Chinese. One of the most important defining qualities of Final Fantasy V is the introduction of the job class system. Players were able to freely choose which job class they would want for a specific character. This job class system was an enduring feature that was eventually adopted on many RPG's, and is even a basic feature that is now found on many online games. Like all other Final Fantasy titles on the iOS, Final Fantasy V also comes with a not-so-light price tag. It is available in the app store for 15.99 USD (1,800 yen). Source: 4Gamer (JP) Thinktank suggests free parking for electric cars Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thinktank-suggests-free-parking-for- electric-cars/19412.html March 28th, 2013 The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the UK has called for free parking for electric vehicles, which could encourage drivers to switch to the more environmentally friendly mode of travel. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the UK has called for free parking for electric vehicles, which could encourage drivers to switch to the more environmentally friendly mode of travel. The thinktank wants a green badge for the eco-cars, similar to the blue badge used by disabled drivers, and has called for free parking, free travel through toll bridges, and the ability to park on yellow and red lines. Not all are on board for the idea, however. Motoring firm the AA said it thinks allowing parking on double yellow lines could increase congestion and thus emissions from other vehicles. A spokesperson for the AA classified the idea as “a bit of an own goal.” The issue appears to be focused on parking in restricted zones, so the IPPR may win more support by dropping this element and just calling for free parking and free tolls. Currently electric car sales are rising in the UK, thanks to a £5,000 government grant towards them, but the figures are stilled dwarfed by sales of conventional cars, with 2,000 electric vehicles sold in 2012, compared to 1.9 million petrol or diesel cars. The grant is due to expire in 2015, but free parking could be a great motivation for many drivers contemplating the switch. Image Credit: Frank H.
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Firefox gets Unreal Engine 3 support Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/firefox-gets-unreal-engine-3- support/19454.html March 30th, 2013 Mozilla has teamed up with Epic to create a port of the Unreal Engine 3 for use in your Firefox browser without the need for any plugins or installations. At the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, Mozilla revealed that it has partnered up with Epic to work on a new technology that could allow high end, console quality games in your Firefox browser. This is all possible thanks to OdinMonkey, an optimized version of Javascript which Mozilla has been developing behind the scenes for some time now. Epic Citadel running in a Firefox browser OdinMonkey was described in a Mozilla blog post as being able to “[supercharge] a developer’s gaming code in the browser to enable visually compelling, fast, 3D gaming experiences on the Web.” Epic used the code to port a version of their Unreal Engine 3 to the browser, and after tweaking the engine for a few days, they were able to demo their Epic Citadel game in Firefox. The demo is available for download online, but Epic hasn’t mentioned whether it will commercially release the Unreal Engine for browsers in the future. Equally exciting is that Mozilla is planning to port the technology to their mobile browsers and Firefox OS, meaning we’ll soon have compelling 3D experiences on the go, in addition to our regular apps. During development, Mozilla has been partnering up with Disney, EA and ZeptoLab to provide some ported games to the browser once a stable build rolls out sometime in June. Chinese film studio sues Apple for half a million dollars Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-film-studio-sues-apple-for- half-a-million-dollars/19453.html March 30th, 2013 A state owned animation studio in China has filed a lawsuit against Apple, asking for half a million dollars in damages for providing unauthorized downloads via iTunes Shanghai Animation Film Studio lies behind several popular animated films and is suing Apple for half a million dollars in damages for providing users with unauthorized download services for their films. The lawsuit was filed with the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court, which accepted the case. In the suit, which names Apple and it’s Chinese subsidiary as defendants, there are 110 claims of infringement against Shanghai Animation’s titles, including Black Cat Detective and Calabash Brothers. Black Cat Detective is a black cat. He's also a detective. There aren’t many details circling about the case. “We want to keep tight-lipped on this case because, as we see it, it's just a litigation in which we want to get compensation" said one executive for the animation studio when interviewed by the South China Morning Post, "It's a sensitive period now since
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Apple is a big multinational company and it is surrounded by controversies on its practices in China." The new lawsuit comes days after the Chinese government began putting pressure on Apple for their warranty policy, with China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce recommending that the authorities take action against Apple over it’s after-sale service. Soyuz capsule breaks record with six hour flight to ISS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/soyuz-capsule-breaks-record-with- six-hour-flight-to-iss/19452.html March 30th, 2013 The Russian Soyuz capsule has made a record breaking flight to the ISS in just one eighth the time it usually takes to get there With the space shuttle grounded, the Russian Soyuz capsule is currently the only way to get to or from the International Space station. It’s a journey the Russian spaceship usually takes two days to complete, but today, cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, as well as astronaut Chris Cassidy, became the first crew to utilize a new shortcut. The shortcut allows the capsule to reach the ISS in just under six hours, shorter than my average winter road trip to go skiing. The new route reaches its destination in just 4 orbits of the planet, cutting out 30 orbits and more than 45 hours of flight time. The ISS - our home in the sky The shortened route has been tested before, though not by humans: So far, three unmanned Russian Progress cargo ships have lifted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome and completed the journey successfully. The new ISS crewmembers will be staying on board until September, while the current occupants are due to leave in May. The new crew will be filling their days with over 181 scientific investigations, 137 conducted by the American part of the space station, and 44 conducted by the Russian part. The investigations will cover human research, biology, the physical sciences and technology development, as well as Earth observation and education. Termites cause strange plant circles in African desert Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/termites-cause-strange-plant-circles- in-african-desert/19451.html March 30th, 2013 Odd plant circles, thought to be created by fairies according to legend, are in fact created by termites, according to new research by Norbert Jürgens of the University of Hamburg. The deserts of Namibia have a strange phenomenon; an African version of the crop circle. So called “fairy rings” are circular growths of grass which dot the arid and dry landscape from Angola to South Africa. Their origins have never been explained, and in mythology, they are, as their name implies, thought to be caused by fairies. However, now a German scientist named Norbert Jürgens from the University of Hamburg, has discovered how they are actually created. After 40 trips back and forth to study water distribution and life around the rings, Jürgens concludes that termites are to blame. Termites: The beavers of the insect world Though hundreds of species of animals make use of the rings as a home, the sand termite is the only one which exists throughout the entire range of the fairy rings’ distribution, as he reports in the March 29 issue of Science. The termites create the circles when they eat the roots of grass growing in the desert. This kills the grass and creates a bald spot; the center of the ring. The soil beneath the bald spot remains moist as compared to the surrounding area, because there are no plants leeching the water out of it. This appeals to the moisture loving termites. More importantly, it creates soil with enough moisture for grass to survive in a lush ring around it, where the climate would otherwise be too harsh to support that amount of life.
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 3D sound cloaking device makes objects audibly invisible Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/3d-sound-cloaking-device-makes- objects-audibly-invisible/19450.html March 30th, 2013 A new device which looks like a 3D cage composed of rings of various sizes has successfully cloaked an object from sound waves. The technology could spell new possibilities for reducing noise pollution and allow ships, such as submarines, to successfully avoid sonar detection. Recent efforts in cloaking have been largely focused on visually cloaking various objects (often subatomic particles). However, the same principles generally apply to sound cloaking as well. Objects are visible (or audible) because electromagnetic waves and sound waves scatter when they come in contact with the objects. The general approach to cloaking is to curve the waves around the object and thus prevent the scattering. This futuristic ball of rings keeps the sound away José Sánchez-Dehesa, an electrical engineer at the Polytechnic Institute of Valencia in Spain, has developed a cloak that works differently: Instead of curving the waves, the waves are simply prevented from scattering on contact. By using computer algorithms, a ring-based structure was created which according to simulations would interfere with the scattered waves, thus eliminating them. This is the same technique used by noise-cancelling headphones to eliminate outside noise. Because the cloaking method employs a fairly simple physical phenomena, a model to test it could easily be produced by Sánchez and his team with a 3D printer. They hung the device from the ceiling of an echo-free chamber and pointed speakers at it. When the speakers played a tone of 8.55 KHz, the cloaked sphere became invisible to the audio sensors behind it. This marks the first time a three-dimensional object has been cloaked from sound, and should be very promising news to the US Office of Naval Research, which partially funded the study. Despite the discovery though, we’re predictably a long way from sonar-proof submarines at this point. Mark Zuckerberg could owe $1 billion in taxes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mark-zuckerberg-could-owe-1- billion-in-taxes/19448.html March 30th, 2013 After Mark Zuckerberg's initial public offering of Facebook last year, he made a cool $13 billion dollars. Now, he's looking at a possible tax bill for an immense $1 billion Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could be facing the tax bill from hell, in the form of a massive capital gains bill of $1.1 billion. This comes as a result of his Initial Public Offering of Facebook last year, in which he earned an even more massive $13 billion. This is how a man looks when he earns $13 billion With a paycheck like that, he should still have quite a bit of money left over despite the taxes. He’ll also be retaining his controlling interest the company. The bill shouldn’t come as a surprise to Zuckerberg however, who has likely been preparing for it for some time: On the day of Facebook’s IPO, he sold $1 billion worth of shares, which might very well have been in preparation for the bill. Zuckerberg has also been giving a lot of money to charity. At the end of 2012, he donated half a billion in stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and although he surely did it because he’s a nice guy, the fact is that it will likely offset his tax bill quite a bit. SimSensei - The Kinect- powered virtual therapist Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/simsensei--the-kinect-powered- virtual-therapist/19435.html March 30th, 2013
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Diagnosing depression isn't always the easiest thing to do, even for human psychiatrists, so how hard would it be for a computer to do it? This is the idea behind a new program called SimSensei. It shouldn't be too hard to imagine a day when routine visits to the doctor's office will be done remotely without you having to leave your home. However, things get a little trickier when it comes to being able to diagnose psychological problems, because current diagnosis depends on answers to standard questionnaires and misses what could be important non-verbal cues and gestures. This is something that Stefan Scherer, a researcher at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, is looking to overcome with the SimSensei project. The SimSensei program comes with an animated avatar that asks you questions ("hmmms" at the right time), and generally guides the conversation based on your answers; but at the same time it is also tracking your movements using Microsft's Kinect sensors and facial recognition software. Here is a video of SimSensei at work. The SimSensei project is still in its early stages, but it already can log your subtle body movements and facial expressions to help with diagnosis of depression. Major US bank ATMs getting hit by new malware Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/major-us-bank-atms-getting-hit-by- new-malware/19434.html March 30th, 2013 When we talk about malware most people think of our computers, and now smartphones, getting infected and letting some cyber-criminal either steal our information or use our computers as part of a larger botnet to cause havoc on the web. The thing is that your smartphones and computers are the only way this is being done, as some major US banks are finding out. It's called Dump Memory Grabber, and it is the newest headache facing US banks and point-of-sale (POS) systems around the country. Moreover, security researchers at Group-IB in Russia believe that the author of the malware has links to a Russian cyber-crime group. The malware is designed to scan the memory of point-of-sale systems and ATMs to look for credit card data. Researchers believe that the malware has already been used to grab data from credit and debit cards from the major US banks which include: Chase, Capital One, Citibank, and the Union Bank of California. In addition, SecurityWeek managed to get a chance to view of a video that is allegedly of the Dump Memory Grabber in action, and they say that it looked like some Nordstrom- branded credit cards may also have been compromised. The malware collects Track 1 and Track 2 data from the card swipes and then transfers the resulting logfile to some remote server. These two tracks refers to the data encoded into the magnetic stripe on the card, which includes things like the primary account number, first and last name, and expiration date which is then used to create cloned physical cards. Group-IB said that most of the POS/ATM attacks that they analyzed relied on the malware making its way into the system via "insiders", and only a few POS systems that were running either Windows XP or Windows Embedded were infected remotely though Remote Desktop or VNC software. Group-IB has shared all its findings regarding this malware with VISA and affected banks as well as the US enforcement agencies. The Dash car dongle keeps you informed on your driving Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-dash-car-dongle-keeps-you- informed-on-your-driving/19447.html March 30th, 2013 The Dash car dongle allows you to monitor your car's various components while you're out and about, giving you real time information otherwise not accessible Cars are a lot more high-tech than they seem to be on the surface. The days of gears and pistons are gone; the modern car is a cyborg, and the amount of information you receive is very limited compared to what your car actually knows. A small team in Boston with a kickstarter project has created the Dash car dongle, which plugs into your car’s diagnostic port and relays information to your phone via Bluetooth. For $69 you’ll get a slew of information, including fuel consumption, a virtual speedometer and tachometer, as well as an indicator for when components on your car have broken down and a map locator if you lose the car.
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Is it good to have something to distract you from the road though? You can upload all of this data to your online Dash account as well, letting you compare your statistics with that of friends and consult them on how to improve certain metrics. And just as icing on the cake, you can record video with a speedometer and tachometer overlay. I know some people who would abuse that a lot. Unfortunately, the project still hasn’t reached its kickstarter goal: The campaign has reached just $15,000 from its backers and need $750,000 by May 11. If the team succeeds with reaching this goal however, the dongles should begin production in June. Unfortunately, Android users will have to wait, as it’s currently iPhone only. Crytek plans to acquire Darksiders Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crytek-plans-to-acquire- darksiders/19446.html March 30th, 2013 Crytek has announced that when THQ auctions off the Darksiders IP next month, they will be making a bid to acquire it. After THQ went bankrupt, it began auctioning off all of its IP’s, and next month, they’ll be putting Vigil’s Darksiders up for bid. In an interview with Destructoid, Vigil’s co-founder and Crytek USA’s Ryan Stefanelli rather openly declared that Crytek would be making a bid for the franchise during the auction. Stefanelli stated that the team was excited about the prospect of acquiring the IP. The most prominent reason for Crytek’s interest is likely that which Crytek USA’s CEO David Adams tweeted recently: He and many other Crytek employees originally worked at Vigil, and that they want the franchise to be “at home with its creators” For fans hoping to see the next title in the series, this must be good news: Having a franchise taken over by those who helped create it will ensure some semblance of the original artistic vision remains. Whether Crytek will actually win the bid remains to be seen, so keep your hopes up. Bitcoins are now a billion dollar market Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bitcoins-are-now-a-billion-dollar- market/19445.html March 30th, 2013 For around four years, a virtual currency known as the bitcoin has been growing in power. Bitcoins are an open source, unregulated p2p currency, and right now, there are about 10.9 million of them in circulation on the virtual marketplace. Collectively, they’re worth over a billion dollars, and if you want to buy one, the value is somewhere around $90. They have stayed largely out of the media’s attention, partially because it has been difficult to tell whether bitcoins were a fad, a geeky niche currency or something bigger. However, in the less travelled areas of the internet, the bitcoin has grown to become the standard currency among black market traders, assassins and drug dealers. Admittedly, having the reputation of being the currency of choice for crazy anarchists and criminals isn’t good for the bitcoin, but all of that is beginning to change: One reason for the increased market size of the bitcoin is that it’s now being adopted by forward thinking startups. A benefit for them is that bitcoins avoid the fees and policing which many businesses have fallen victim to when dealing with paypal.
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Vires in Numeris translates to "Strength in Numbers" There are more benefits as well; the virtual currency is an excellent alternative for when governments in economic trouble freeze its citizens’ bank accounts, as happened recently on Cyprus. Also, bitcoins allow for the transfer of money without needing to divulge personal information. Unfortunately, there are some downsides too: First and foremost, the skyrocketing growth of the currency is turning the virtual currency into a giant bubble waiting to pop. In addition, it would be easy for governments to claim bitcoins are an economy ripe to be exploited by terrorists to fund their campaigns, so chances are that several legal battles will ensue over the next few years. Whether destined to become a legitimate financial institution or a failed experiment, we should certainly be keeping an eye on the bitcoin. It popped up seemingly out of nowhere, and now that it's here, things are due to become rather interesting. Astronomical error causes Easter to sometimes fall on the wrong day Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/astronomical-error-causes-easter-to- sometimes-fall-on-the-wrong-day/19444.html March 30th, 2013 Easter falls on slightly different days every year, and due to an astronomical error which can be traced back over a thousand years, the date which we celebrate on can be as much as a month off. Easter is usually celebrated on the Sunday following a full moon that is either on or after the spring equinox; a rather complex astronomical variable. When the date was set back in 325 CE, they didn’t have a good enough understanding of the motion of the solar system to accurately measure these phenomena, so they estimated them instead. Robert Cockcroft, a McMaster University astronomer and physicist, explains that the spring equinox is the point in the year when day and night are equally long as the sun passes the Earth’s equator, making its way back to the northern hemisphere and ushering in the spring. This date changes a little, falling somewhere between March 19 and 21. The church didn’t realize this and set the date to the 21st . They also determined that a full moon would be on the 14th day of the lunar month, which also isn’t necessarily true. How did bunnies and eggs became associated with a religious holiday, anyway? Because of these two estimations, our date for Easter is sometimes off compared to the astronomical date. This year, it all works out and Easter Sunday actually is Easter Sunday. But if the two dates fall out of sync, the consequences can be pretty dramatic. In six years, the church's date for Easter falls almost an entire month after the astronomical date. Of course, there are also discrepancies depending on where you celebrate. Eastern Europe uses the Julian calendar, which is offset 13 days from the Gregorian calendar used in the west. This means eastern Christians won’t be celebrating Easter until May 5 this year. Cockcroft explains that this kind of error isn’t actually uncommon in science and happens whenever our understanding for something dramatically changes. He points to the labeling of stars as an example. The stars are ordered in a non-alphabetical order, because we have discovered that the original order, by heat, is inaccurate. Netgear WNDR4700 CENTRIA Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/netgear-wndr4700-centria- review/19209.html
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 March 30th, 2013 The Netgear WNDR4700 CENTRIA simplifies the users digital home by being the quintessential all-in-one device. The Centria provides three essential functions - automatic backup system, an internet accessible media server and a high-performance dual-band WiFi router. The Netgear WNDR4700 CENTRIA simplifies the users digital home by being the quintessential all-in-one device. The CENTRIA provides three essential functions - automatic backup system, an internet accessible media server and a high-performance dual-band WiFi router.. It has the same desk calendar design like the R6300 wireless router. It also belongs to the Netgear's Ultimate Performance product line. The front side consist of five led indicators. Unfortunately, there are no led indicators for the wired connections either on the front or back . Advertised Features
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Specifications Table Package Contents NETGEAR CENTRIA – WNDR4700 (internal hard drive not included) or WNDR4720 (2 TB hard drive included) Ethernet cable Power adapter, localized to country of sale Quick Install Guide Physical Specifications Dimensions: 256 x 206 x 85 mm (10.08 x 8.11 x 3.35 in) Weight: 0.87 kg (1.92 lb) Standards Five (5) 10/100/1000 (1 WAN and 4 LAN) Gigabit Ethernet ports Two (2) USB 3.0 ports One (1) SD card slot IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11 a/n 5.0 GHz Warranty Warranty localized to country of sale System Requirements Microsoft® Windows 7, Vista®, XP®, 2000, Mac OS®, UNIX®, or Linux® Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 5.0, Firefox® 2.0, Safari® 1.4, or Google ChromeTM browsers or higher Use laptop with 3x3 450 Mbps adapter like Centrino® 6300/5300 for maximum performance Supports Windows® 8 Security WiFi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2 —PSK) Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT firewall) Denial- of-service (DoS) attack prevention Robotic ants used to model moving colony Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/robotic-ants-used-to-model-moving- colony/19443.html March 30th, 2013 Scientists in New Jersey and France have managed to replicate the complete workings of an ant colony on the move by using robots, in an attempt to understand how the individual ants orient themselves within the colony Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark and the Research Centre on Animal Cognition in Toulouse, France, have managed to replicate the behavior of a colony of ants on the move. The purpose of the study was to understand how Argentine ants coordinate themselves in symmetrical and asymmetrical pathways. In nature, the ants’ coordination is maintained with pheromone trails. In the study however, sugar cube sized robots named “Alices” used light trails to form pathways. Each robot was equipped with two photo sensors (antennae).
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Will we usher in the robot apocalypse for ants? At the start of the experiment, the Alices had no path to follow, and instead walked in a manner modeled after regular insect movement. This “exploratory behavior” had the ants walking in a random way but in the same general direction through a maze. The robots eventually began to choose the path that deviated the least from their trajectory each time the path split, and once they found a light path, they would follow that path. An interesting outcome of the study is that the robots didn’t need to be programmed to navigate the maze they were placed in. The two behaviors of random exploring and trail following were enough to create a colony-like path from origin to destination. Argentine ants typically have poor eyesight and move too quickly to think about where they’re going. This study suggests that high level cognitive function is thus not necessary for the ants to efficiently navigate. Lead author of the study, Simon Garnier, adds: "It also shows that the geometry of transport networks plays a critical role in the flow of information and material in ant as well as in human societies." Apple may be planning gaming hardware Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-may-be-planning-gaming- hardware/19442.html March 30th, 2013 Rumor has it Apple is planning to make a controller for use on iOS device and will be revealing said controller next month at a press event. Apple has long been rumored to be working on a game controller for use with iOS devices, but the rumors may become reality now as Apple has been wandering about the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, pitching the idea of a controller to various developers. Pocket Gamer reports that Apple even has a space reserved at GDC for talking with developers, but that they have been using a false name to stay under the radar. You may finally be able to say goodbye to those horrible touch screen controls This story follows a report by AnandTech last April, which noted that Apple had a controller project in the works, and a 2008 patent application for a dock that would allow the attaching of physical controllers and other hardware features. This would be the first time since the late 90’s that Apple has attempted to add such hardware, but with many companies now producing controllers for iOS devices (often Bluetooth linked), it may indeed be time for Apple to get in on the action. Gaming has become a major component in Apple’s iTunes business, with games making up the majority of the apps available in the store. Microbial weight loss solution possible? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microbial-weight-loss-solution- possible-/19441.html March 30th, 2013 A study at Harvard university has found a possible method which utilizes a change in intestinal microbes to induce rapid loss of weight in mice. Researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts general Hospital have collaborated on new research, which has found that a change in microbes in the intestines of mice can lead to dramatic weight loss. The microbes in question are natural intestinal microbes which live in the mice, but which underwent drastic changes following gastric bypass surgery. When those microbes were then transferred to sterile mice, the result was a dramatic weight loss and capacity to maintain a lower amount of body fat. The mice were able to lose about 20% of the weight they would have lost if they underwent surgery, according to Peter Turnbaugh, one of the senior authors of the paper. It’s possible the effect could be even more dramatic however, as
  • March 30th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 the mice weren’t on fatty diet prior to the introduction of the microbes. Had the mice already been overweight, the effect could have been very different. No cheese for you! "Our study suggests that the specific effects of gastric bypass on the microbiota contribute to its ability to cause weight loss and that finding ways to manipulate microbial populations to mimic those effects could become a valuable new tool to address obesity," said Lee Kaplan, the papers other senior author. Turnbaugh warned that though the results are exciting, there’s still plenty of research to be done on how the process works. They still don’t know what the link is between the change in microbes and the effect of weight loss and it may be years before human testing can begin. What they do know is that post-surgery, certain microbes dominated the intestinal microbial community and certain kinds of short-chain fatty acids became abundant. This is a good base for continued research, says Turnbaugh Even then, this will likely be a drastic solution to weight problems, suitable perhaps only for helping those who are extremely overweight to avoid surgery. Changing your entire intestinal balance is not a solution for losing the extra ten pounds you need to look good at the beach.