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, Smartphones, Tablets

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Mar 2013 Issue

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