VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Nov 2012 Issue
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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Nov 2012 Issue

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

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

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Nov 2012 Issue VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Nov 2012 Issue Document Transcript

  • October 31st, 2012 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. Disney to buy Lucasfilm and Lucasarts, will release new Star Wars movies Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/disney-to-buy-lucasfilm-and- lucasarts-will-release-new-star-wars-movies/17674.html October 31st, 2012 In a surprise move that has shocked the industry and fans alike, Disney has bought Lucasfilm and all of its sub- divisions, including gaming company Lucasarts, and plans to release a seventh Star Wars film in 2015, with at least two more to follow. In a surprise move that has shocked the industry and fans alike, Disney has bought Lucasfilm and all of its sub- divisions, including gaming company Lucasarts, and plans to release a seventh Star Wars film in 2015, with at least two more to follow. The stock and cash deal, worth a whopping $4.05 billion, effectively hands over the reins of the Star Wars universe from creator George Lucas to Disney, opening the way for a slew of new Star Wars productions. Everything under the Lucasfilm name will now be under the Disney banner, including special effects and audio production firms Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, and not to mention LucasArts, the studio that oversees dozens of Star Wars games, including the recent Star Wars The Old Republic MMO by BioWare. Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, answering to Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Disney said the present intent is for employees to remain in their current locations. Perhaps the biggest revelation made during the deal is that Episode 7 is a reality, with a targeted release date of 2015. Lucas will serve as creative consultant, while Kennedy will serve as executive producer. This is only the first of several new films too, with Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of Disney, promising Episodes 8 and 9 too, with even further plans to release more movies every two to three years. Iger talked about “maximizing the value of our strategic acquisitions,” suggesting this is a franchise that will receive a lot of attention over the coming years, and likely not just on the big screen, given previous plans for a Star Wars live- action TV show. “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm. “It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.” Disgaea D2 coming to PS3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/disgaea-d2-coming-to- ps3/17673.html October 31st, 2012 The latest title in the Disgaea series “Disgaea D2” will be released for Playstation 3 in Japan on March 20th 2013 for 7140 Yen (around $89 USD), with a first press limited edition available for 11340 Yen (around $142 USD). In this brand new simulation RPG from Nippon Ichi Software, players will be able to once again play as the popular characters Laharl, Etna, and Flonne from the original Disgaea. What is Disgaea? • A realm where devils and angels soar the skies. A realm where heroes and villains lock swords in battle.
  • October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 This is not the world as you know it. This is the Makai – a world of magic and sorcery where normal logic does not apply, where almost anything can happen. In this fantastic world, many characters will set out on the road to their destinies, and on the way meet others from distant lands. They may become the best of friends, or they may become sworn enemies – only time will tell. • The same Disgaea style we all know and love. Nippon Ichi has kept a consistent style throughout the series of Disgaea games, thanks to character designer Takehi Hasegawa and music designer Tenpei Sato’s participation in the development of each game. Without their efforts, Disgaea just wouldn’t feel the same! • Are you a noble or a scoundrel? It matters not if you’re having fun! Disgaea’s characteristic turn-based combat is back; complete with tutorial modes which welcome players who may be new to the series. However, seasoned veterans of the simulation RPG genre need not be scared away by the low learning curve of the game, as there are plenty of intricate and original elements speckled throughout the game which will provide even more entertainment to those who put in the effort to master their secrets. • Open-ended character creation & training It is possible to customize several aspects of your teammates such as job class, personality, and skill set. Players can produce a unique character that won’t be found anywhere else thanks to the unlimited combinations of features that are available for each character. • Refreshing gameplay with puzzle elements and extravagant visuals In addition to the thrill of defeating powerful enemies, puzzles dotted throughout the world will also provide players with as much pleasure as watching the exciting visuals which play every time your characters blow away an enemy with a powerful special move. If you’re still not excited for the game yet, check out what bonus stuff you get! (Note: don't get too excited unless you live in Japan or can play imports on your PS3...) Pre-order bonus content: Legacy outfits for Laharl, Etna and Flonne (original outfits from the first game downloadable from PlayStation Store) First print limited edition bonus content*: Etna & Flonne set of 2 figures from Niitengo Hard-cover impressively detailed design booklet OST set of 2 CDs *All of the above come in an exclusive limited edition box designed and illustrated by character designer Takehi Hasegawa. Activision launches Transformers Prime on Nintendo systems Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/activision-launches-transformers- prime-on-nintendo-systems/17672.html October 31st, 2012 Activision has launched Transformers Prime on Nintendo game systems, bringing the world of the animated TV show to life in an interactive brawler experience. Activision has launched Transformers Prime on Nintendo game systems, bringing the world of the animated TV show to life in an interactive brawler experience. The game will feature everyone's favourite Autobots and Decepticons, including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Arcee, Ratchet and Bulkhead, as well as Megatron and
  • October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Thunderwing, along with the human characters of the show like Jack, Miko and Raf. The single-player game focuses on the Autobot adventure, while multiplayer (not available on DS) will allow players to choose from 11 different Transformers from both factions. The gameplay involves brawler-style combat and numerous driving sequences. “The Transformers Prime television show is a fantastic series and we're excited to bring this new adventure to Nintendo and Transformers fans alike,” said Kurt Niederloh, VP of Activision. “We've worked hand-in-hand with Hasbro and the TV show producers to bring this all-new storyline to life with the spirit and trademark gameplay Nintendo gamers have come to know and love.” The game is now available on the Wii, 3DS and DS, and will be a launch day title for Nintendo's next-generation console, the Wii U, on 18 November. Google loses Australian defamation lawsuit Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-loses-australian-defamation- lawsuit/17671.html October 31st, 2012 Google has lost a lawsuit in Australia where it was accused of defaming a man by linking his name with gangland crime in search results. Google has lost a lawsuit in Australia where it was accused of defaming a man by linking his name with gangland crime in search results. 62-year-old Milorad (or Michael) Trkulja, who moved to Australia from Yuogslavia in the 1970s and hosted a TV show in the 1990s, sued Google after it refused to remove search results that Trkulja claimed were damaging his repution. In 2004 he was shot in the back at a restaurant by a man wearing a balaclava, with the crime never resolved, but police did not believe it was linked to the criminal underworld. Despite this, Trkulja's name started to appear in Google searches linked with alleged murderers and drug traffickers, as well as with the words “Melbourne Crime,” which he claimed might give people the wrong impression that he was a criminal. With such an uncommon name in Australia, Trkulja found that when he searched for his name the first result that came up contained the words: “Melbourne Crime – Underworld – Ganglands,” adding: “Former music promoter Michael Trkulja was shot in the back by a hitman wearing a balaclava while dining at a St Albans restaurant in June 2004.” He claims that this suggestion that he was involved in crime, resulting in a hitman being hired against him, has damaged his reputation, resulting in people publicly avoiding him and even refusing to sit at the same table as him at a wedding. Trkulja's lawyers asked Google to change the search results in 2009, but Google refused, claiming that its search results were automated and was therefore a case of “innocent dissemination,” an argument that the jury said was reasonable only up until Google was contacted by Trkulja. Google has the option to appeal, but Yahoo also previously lost a case taken by Trkulja, making it diffult to see how the search giant might overturn the verdict. It will need to remove the offending search results and the amount of damages to be paid to Trkulja will be set over the next two weeks. The case, and similar cases taken against Google, show how potentially damaging search results can be, even if there is no malicious intent behind how certain keywords and names are linked together. As Google loses more cases like this, it is likely it will be forced to change its approach and remove allegedly defaming material as soon as it receives a complaint.
  • October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 2K Games and Gearbox release Borderlands Legends game on iOS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/2k-games-and-gearbox-release- borderlands-legends-game-on-ios/17670.html October 31st, 2012 2K Games and Gearbox Software have launched Borderlands Legends, a mobile gaming experience for iOS devices set in the same world as the console titles. 2K Games and Gearbox Software have launched Borderlands Legends, a mobile gaming experience for iOS devices set in the same world as the console titles. Brick, Mordecai, Lilith and Roland are all back from the original game, fighting off endless waves of Skags, Bandits, Psychos, Bruisers and a slew of other enemies in a mix of action-RPG and strategy. There is an easy to navigate menu, important for small smartphone screens, randomised maps, randomly generated weapons, shields and utilities, and dozens of skills and abilities to unlock. The same unique artistic style as the original games is also present. The game is limited to iOS devices for now, but the team behind it mentioned there is a possibility of extending it to other mobile devices in the future. Borderlands Legends costs $4.99 on the iPhone and iPod Touch and $6.99 on the iPad. Let's just hope people's characters aren't inadvertently deleted, like in a recent bug for Borderlands 2. Injured worker's father sues Foxconn Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/injured-worker-s-father-sues- foxconn/17669.html October 31st, 2012 Zhang Guangde, father of factory worker Zhang Tingzhen brought electronics manufacturer Foxconn to court this Tuesday after his son suffered severe injuries while working at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory. Mr. Zhang expressed to the court his extreme dissatisfaction with the transfer of his son to a comparatively cheaper hospital in Huizhou to receive treatment. He also stated that Foxconn should continue payment of his son’s medical fees. (Zhang Tingzhen undergoing treatment after obtaining severe injuries)
  • October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 (Zhang Tingzhen before injuries obtained at Foxconn) Zhang Tingzhen was injured while fixing a spotlight at the Shenzhen factory, where he suffered severe trauma to the brain after being electrocuted and falling to the ground. Tingzhen was saved from near-death after part of his left brain was removed. Directly after the incident, Foxconn had originally paid Zhang Tingzhen’s medical fees, however starting from this month the company notified the family that payment of medical fees would cease unless Tingzhen was transferred from the expensive Shenzhen to Huizhou, which is situated some 69km away. Zhang Guangde’s plea stated that Tingzhen’s fragile state could not bear long distance travel, and that Foxconn should continue payment of medical fees for treatment in Shenzhen. Zhang’s lawyer presented to the court several items of evidence including his time of hospitalization, his salary record, and affidavits from coworkers which proved that Tingzhen did indeed receive injury while working at the factory. Chinese factories have a long standing trend of hiring workers from areas with a lower average salary, and having them work in areas with higher commodity prices, in an effort to lower expenditures. Foxconn denied allegations of using such a strategy when employing Zhang. Earlier this month Foxconn made a statement to CNET expressing: “Chinese companies are required to purchase insurance for their workers via a government social security system. This makes it impossible for any company to gain a profit by giving workers low wages or employing people from areas with a lower median salary. Government issued social security compensation is different in each area, and Foxconn have already guaranteed Zhang Tingzhen’s family compensation for any difference in social security which arises as a result of their moving to Huizhou. We have guaranteed this regardless of the fact that we have no legal obligation to do so, simply because it represents the best interests of Zhang Tingzhen.” Samsung to mass produce 28nm 'Adonis' processor for Galaxy S4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-to-mass-produce-28nm- adonis-processor-for-galaxy-s4/17668.html October 31st, 2012 Samsung is gearing up to start mass production of a new mobile application processor (AP) with increased performance and lower power consumption compared to previous models. According to related sources, Samsung Electronics’ System LSI operation division produced a test model of an original 28nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process based mobile AP named “Exynos 5400” (codename: Adonis). The Exynos 5400 utilizes ARM’s latest Cortex A15 architecture, and packs 4 CPU cores with a low power- consuming GPU as a bonus. Thanks to process miniaturization and an upgraded GPU, the Adonis gets not only a boost in power but also burns through a battery a lot slower than the existing 32nm HKMG based Exynos 5250 (Cortex A15). Should Samsung keep on schedule with mass production, this chip is set to be the first mobile AP on the market which utilizes a 28nm HKMG process. TSMC are collaborating with Samsung Electronics to provide a foundry to fabricate Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon iteration; however this product will not be HKMG based. Instead it will utilize a traditional SiON silicon based process. HKMG enables the manufacturing of low power-consuming chips as ultra-miniaturization of the fabrication process can take place without the side effect of current leakage associated with shrinking processes based on the regular SiON approach. According to market analyzers Strategy Analytics, Samsung Electronics took 2nd place with 25.9% market share of the mobile AP market in the Q2 of this year, compared to market leader Qualcomm who possessed 38.8%. The product is expected to reach market in the first half of next year, and analysts predict it will be used in the next iteration of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy smartphone (Galaxy S4) for some localities. Mass production is slated to commence at the end of this year. Arndale Exynos 5 with Mali T604 board offers Android developers all the goods Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arndale-exynos-5-with-mali-t604- board-offers-android-developers-all-the-goods/17667.html
  • October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 October 31st, 2012 ARM development boards such as the Raspberry Pi and the VIA APC are fun to tinker with, but those are kids' toys compared to the Arndale board featuring Samsung’s Exynos dual-core Cortex A-15. (VIA APC board ~$50) While Raspberry Pi will go for around $50, the base Arndale board will cost enthusiasts and developers $250 a pop, and will come with 2GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a plethora of connectivity options. Add on some modules such as the Wi-Fi/BT/GPS, audio, touch panel, and camera and you may have to shell out around $750 for the total package. The Exynos 5 with the Mali T604 in the Arndale is the same beast that powers Google’s Nexus 10 tablet. Samsung’s spin on this board offers 12.8GB/s of memory bandwidth, 1080p 60FPS video with VP8 codec decoder, and USB 3.0. This time around, Samsung will provide developers with information on the Exynos—something Samsung has kept on the down low in past Exynos hardware. There is a site that’s dedicated to this particular board and accessories for it. Additionally, there will be documentation and instruction on how to build Android and flash it, and the source code for the device will be available in December. Scott Forstall ousted because he didn't sign Maps app apology letter Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scott-forstall-ousted-because-he- didn-t-sign-maps-app-apology-letter/17666.html October 31st, 2012 Drama among Apple’s managements may be the reason why iOS chief, Scott Forstall, will leave the company at the end of this year. The change in management will be a massive shake up for Apple, and apparently it’s out of stubbornness that Forstall has decided to jump ship. According to various reports, Forstall refused to sign the apology letter regarding the faulty Maps app in iOS6, which Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, had publicly acknowledged while also suggesting alternatives. Apparently, Forstall’s history within the company seems to have a part in foretelling his ultimate departure later this year. Bloomberg reported in a recent story that Forstall wasn’t always “cooperative,” and that he would brag about his relationship with Steve Jobs on more than one occasions. Apple announced Monday that its current chief designer, Jonathan Ive, would step in to fill the void that left behind as a result of Forstall’s ousting. Also in the announcement was the news regarding Apple’s head of retail to accompany Forstall in the departure. The Wall Street Journal reported that without Steve Jobs around to mediate the tension between the execs, the inevitable happened. Jobs was notorious for his hot headedness and stubbornness, but according to sources familiar with the matter, Jobs did his part to retain talents within the company. Google releases competitor to Siri for iOS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-releases-competitor-to-siri- for-ios/17663.html October 31st, 2012 Three months ago, Google introduced us to it's new voice- search system, and now it's finally been released on iOS as a competitor to the native Siri. The new voice search replicates a lot of the features found in the new voice-search capabilities for Android's Jellybean. The software provides voice queries with spoken results and provides web searches for anything it doesn't have knowledge about.
  • October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Google's approach, during initial testing by CNET, proved to be faster than Siri in many regards. Google's approach also displays your spoken words as text while you speak, something which Siri doesn't do until you've finished speaking. The new feature was released in an update to Google's search app, and added support for the iPhone 5. iOS users with version 4.2 or above will be able to use the new feature. Google stated earlier this year that it plans to expand this functionality to Google Calendar and Drive, though no date has been set for when this might happen. ARM Introduces Its 64-bit Processors: Meet the Cortex- A53 and Cortex-A57 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arm-introduces-its-64-bit- processors-meet-the-cortex-a53-and-cortex-a57/17652.html October 31st, 2012 At the ARM TechCon which is being held in Santa Clara, CA the company introduced its first processors based on 64-bit ARMv8 architecture. Under the name Cortex-A53 and -A57, the company plans to usher itself into the microserver era, where it won't face competition from Intel until 2016. The ARM TechCon 2012 conference is being viewed as a pivotal event for the company. While previous conferences were always quite poor, both in content and the way how they were organized (a complaint we heard from several large ARM partners) - the 2012 conference is flooding the news channels with quite important announcements. Everything is gearing up for a major attack on the market in 2014, with Intel scheduled to launch its microserver parts in fourth quarter 2013 or first quarter 2014 (Bay Trail platform with Valleyview processors, which we exclusively disclosed here). The News First off, AMD announced that the company will ship hybrid 64-bit x86/ARM processors for servers, all carrying the Opteron brand name. While details about the parts remain hidden, we were assured that AMD will mix the 64-bit low-power "Jaguar" cores with ARMv8 cores, SeaMicro's Freedom Fabric and most probably with the Volcanic Islands GPU. Secondly, Cadence and IBM successfully demonstrated a test chip with ARMv8 based 14nm process node with both IBM FinFET (Tri-Gate, so called 3D transistors) and next-gen Fully Depleted SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator). The combination between FinFET and FD-SOI is viewed as advantageous over competitors that use bulk silicon (Intel, all TSMC clients), and you can expect IBM, GlobalFoundries and Samsung Electronics to fully utilize the two technologies once 14nm hits in 2014. Three foundries in question are members of the Common Platform Alliance, which shares the resources in order to accelerate development. 14nm FinFET / FD-SOI wafers will be available from IBM East Fishkill (NY State) GlobalFoundries Malta Fab (NY State) and Samsung's Foundry in Austin (Texas). ARM's 64-bit products for 2014 take shape With the manufacturing set in place, the time came for ARM to unveil a true successor to the popular Cortex- A9 (2009) and Cortex-A15 (2012) models. The two new models come under the name Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57. These two are first parts based on the eight generation ARM architecture (ARMv8), targeting superphones, tablets, convertible designs and high-density servers. According to ARM, the Cortex-A53 and -A57 should offer at least three times the performance of Cortex-A15 parts, while keeping the full compatibility with existing ARMv7 code. As the name goes, the two parts have different roles, even though the look in their internals reveals that not all the numbers play in hand of the higher numbered part. According to the press release, Cortex-A53 is "most power- efficient ARM application processor," while the Cortex- A57 is "most advanced high-performance applications processor." Cortex-A53 at a Glance • Out-of-Order ARMv8 32/64 Core • Up to Quad-Core Design • 40-bit Physical Memory Address • Up to 1TB RAM (LPDDR3 to DDR4) • 8-64KB L1 I-Cache (w/parity) • 8-64KB L1 D-Cache (w/ECC) • NEON SIMD Engine • FPU • 128KB - 2MB L2 Cache (w/ECC) • 128-bit CoreLink Interconnect (CCI-400 and CCN-504) Furthermore, we have a product overview:
  • October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Cortex-A57 at a Glance • Out-of-Order ARMv8 32/64 Core • Up to Quad-Core Design • 44-bit Virtual Memory Address • Up to 16TB RAM (LPDDR3 to DDR4) • 48KB L1 I-Cache (w/DED parity) • 32KB L1 D-Cache (w/ECC) • NEON SIMD Engine • FPU • 128KB - 2MB L2 Cache (w/ECC) • 128-bit CoreLink Interconnect (CCI-400 and CCN-504) Just as with the Cortex-A53, we obtained an overview of the Cortex-A57 silicon, thanks to PR team at Race Point Group: ARM announced six vendors that will utilize Cortex- A53/A57: AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon/Huawei, Samsung Electronics and STMicroelectronics. We'll address AMD's strategy in a separate article, while you can expect A53 and A57 to be the center of quad-core designs from HiSilicon (paired with Mali-T604 or T628 graphics), Samsung Exynos 6000 Series, while Broadcom, Calxeda and STMicroelectronics will use the concepts above for their respective markets (embedded - automotive, networking, etc.). All in all, Intel's 32-bit Out-of-Order mobile architecture codenamed Silvermont will have a battle royale on their hands, with ARM entering the server space with AMD and Samsung.
  • November 1st, 2012 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. Study finds smartphones and tablets extend work days by two hours Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-finds-smartphones-and- tablets-extend-work-days-by-two-hours/17691.html November 1st, 2012 The rapid growth of smartphones and tablet computers had led to working days increasing by up to two hours for some, according to a survey by Pixmania. The rapid growth of smartphones and tablet computers had led to working days increasing by up to two hours for some, according to a survey by Pixmania. The research found that the average working day is upwards of 12 hours long, with nine to ten hours in the office and a further two hours making phone calls or answering emails after clocking out. That number jumps to three hours for one in ten people surveyed. Close to nine out of ten office workers have email access on their phones, with two-thirds checking their email on waking and before bed, which means they probably dream about work too. A third of people check their emails between the unholy hours of 6am and 7am, while a quarter log in between 11pm and midnight. The average user checks for new emails a whopping 20 times a day. “Many companies expect their employees to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and smartphones mean that people literally cannot get away from work,” said Ghadi Hobeika, Marketing Director of Pixmania. “The more constantly in contact we become, the more is expected of us in a work capacity.” Of course, users can turn their phones off, turn off 3G or 4G connectivity to stop getting emails, disable notifications, or in some cases set their smartphone to blocking mode, which restricts incoming calls and messages to certain allowed numbers between certain times of time. Unfortunately many employees will feel obligated to add work numbers to the whitelist, ensuring work forever haunts their home life. Human-controlled car beats self-driving car in race Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/human-controlled-car-beats-self- driving-car-in-race/17689.html November 1st, 2012 Self-driving cars are becoming a growing phenomenon, touted by many as a safer way to travel, but when it comes to racing, humans still have the upper hand – for now. Self-driving cars are becoming a growing phenomenon, touted by many as a safer way to travel, but when it comes to racing, humans still have the upper hand – for now. The race was held at the Thunderhill Raceway in California, with an automated Audi TTS developed by the Centre for Automotive Research at Standford University facing off against a human driver. There were 15 turns on the track, presenting a challenge for the robotic car which adjusts to surroundings thanks to a number of sensors fitted to it, and the driverless car reached speeds of 115 miles per hour. In the end the human driver won, but only by a few seconds, suggesting that it is likely only a matter of time before robotic racers beat us to the finish line.
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The experiment will be pivotal to future development of self-driving technology, with the researchers at Stanford analysing data collected from the race, including from human drivers, in order to incorporate better controls into the car. The ultimate aim is to take what is learned and developed from this research and bring it into safety systems for cars, particularly for dealing with unpredictable scenarios like icy roads. Google has already been boasting about the safety of its self-driving cars, explaining that most crashes are caused by human error, while Nissan is developing similar driverless technology. “As we set up these systems in the future, it's important not to build autonomous vehicles that are merely a collection of systems designed for human support but to think a little bit more holistically about making them as good as the very best human drivers,” said Professor Chris Gerdes of Stanford University. “It's not so much the technology as the capability of the human that is our inspiration now.” Megaupload founder unveils file-hosting replacement Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/megaupload-founder-unveils-file- hosting-replacement/17688.html November 1st, 2012 Megaupload made headlines earlier this year after it was taken down by the FBI and the US Department of Justice, but its founder, Kim Dotcom, has unveiled a replacement service called Mega, set to launch in January. Megaupload made headlines earlier this year after it was taken down by the FBI and US Department of Justice, but its founder, Kim Dotcom, has unveiled a replacement service called Mega, set to launch in January. In order to avoid a similar fate to Megaupload, one of the world's largest file-hosting services, Mega will adopt a number of changes to how it works, first of which is avoiding US companies for hosting any data. “The new Mega will not be threatened by US prosecutors,” Dotcom told Reuters. “The new Mega avoids any dealings with US hosters, US domains and US backbone providers and has changed the way it operates to avoid another takedown.” Encryption will also play a huge role in the new service, with users able to encrypt their files and hand out unique decryption keys to share them with others. This will not only make the service more secure, it will ensure Mega is not liable if the files breach copyright, since it will not actually have access to the files themselves. “Content owners can still remove infringing material and they will even get direct delete access if they agree not to make us responsible for actions of users,” Dotcom explained, marking a major shift from the approach used at Megaupload, where the website moderators would have to look for and remove infringing content. Dotcom claimed that the FBI was flooding the new Mega website with traffic as it was unveiled, delaying the unveiling. He still faces charges of copyright infringement, fraud and money laundering, with an extradition hearing planned for not long after Mega's official launch. Fujitsu ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J delayed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-arrows-tab-wi-fi-qh55j- delayed/17687.html November 1st, 2012 Fujitsu announced today with much chagrin that their ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J tablet originally slated for release on November 2nd is going to be delayed for several weeks. Fujitsu announced that their 10.1 inch Windows 8 tablet, the ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J originally slated for release on November 2nd is going to be delayed. The tablet is now scheduled for a mid-November release.
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J has a 10.1 inch wide IPS liquid crystal display with a 1366x768 resolution and comes pre-installed with Windows 8. The unit has been described as a “pure tablet PC”, with a weight of 574g. The tablet stands out from other models with its waterproof and dirt proof body, which is the thinnest in the world at 9.9mm. Hardware-wise, the ARROWS boasts Intel's latest Atom Z2760 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and a hefty 64GB SSD. It also has full connectivity features with support for IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, and users will get about 10.5 hours of video playback on a single charge. Addtional features include GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light sensor, and gyrometer. The device also has a single USB 2.0 port and a single microSD memory card slot, as well as a microphone jack. There are two built-in cameras, an 8MP camera on the back, and a 2MP camera on the front. Full dimensions of the tablet are 264.4 (length) x 169.4 (height) x 9.9 (width) mm. The tablet is scheduled to go on sale for 99.800 Yen ($1,245 USD). Yikes! Sneak peek of Shenzhen's first Apple Store Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sneak-peek-of-shenzhen-s-first- apple-store/17686.html November 1st, 2012 Apple will be unveiling their first ever Shenzhen based Apple Store this Saturday at 9 am in Shenzhen’s YT Holiday Plaza, but today the media got first dibs on a sneak preview of the store. YT Holiday Plaza entrance to store Opposite entrance to store in shopping mall Tryout area for devices 360 degree Genius Bar
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 A mountain of iPhone 4S and iPad 3 devices.. (but no iPhone 5...) This store is the first (official) Apple retail outlet to be opened in Shenzhen, and the 7th in China following Apple’s Wangfujing store in Beijing. This occasion also marks the third Chinese city to have an Apple store, after Beijing and Shanghai. Situated in the entertainment center of Shenzhen, the new store lies opposite the city’s famous ‘Window on the World’ district, which is chocked full with luxury goods retailers. Apple Store China’s director Denny Tuza introduced the YT Plaza store to the media today as a special preview for what’s in store for would-be buyers starting this weekend. Situated in the first floor basement of a shopping mall, the outlet covers an area of 1000 square meters and lies entirely on one floor. This unfortunately means that there is no trademark spiral staircase in the store (yet). There are two entrances to the store, one facing the YT Plaza itself, and one which leads directly into the shopping mall in which it is situated. Apple have gone all out in its search for staff and hired a whopping 250 employees from a total of 41 different cities across China. Workers at the store can speak a combined total of 6 different languages and should have no trouble pushing their wares onto visitors from any nation. Apple fans in the region may also be pleased to hear of the triumphant return of the 360 degree open bar – the Genius Bar. Although somewhat common place in US stores, this is only the second time a Genius Bar has been set up in a Chinese store (the first being in Beijing’s Wangfujing outlet). The rest of the store is broken up into several areas, and users can easily find their way to the accessories section, iPad/ iPhone section, or one of the trial areas (divided into child and adult space) where consumers may try out the latest iPhone and Mac computers. The latest iPod touch and nano devices which debuted this September will also be on sale at the new store, and the iPod touch will start out at 2298 yuan (around $368 USD). With another weapon to take on the Chinese market in their arsenal, Apple’s next move is to build a new Apple Store in the city of Chengdu. Apple forced to remove statements about Samsung verdict from their website Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-forced-to-remove-statements- about-samsung-verdict-from-their-website/17684.html November 1st, 2012 After Apple was ordered by UK courts to display a message stating that Samsung did not infringe upon it's patents, they have now been ordered to change their message and remove parts of the statement which were untrue. It's been less than a month since the Apple vs Samsung verdict in the UK ended with a loss for Apple. Samsung was not infringing upon Apple's patents, and as a result of the lawsuit, Apple was ordered to put up a notice on their website, stating this fact clearly. However, Apple felt the need to embellish and add things to the statement, and as a result, the courts are forcing them to change the statement. Apple asked for two weeks to make the changes, but the court shot down their request, stating it had to be altered within 24 hours. The statement was originally a very specific, 56-word paragraph laid out by UK High Court Judge Colin Birss: "On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do notinfringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the Highcourt is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/ cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html." However, Apple then decided to add a further four paragraphs to justify the statement and put Apple in a good light. Among these paragraphs was a reference to a judge in the original Apple vs. Samsung case stating that one of the differences between Apple and Samsung was that Samsung's devices "are not as cool." Apple then went on to describe how, despite the verdict, Apple had won in other cases around the world. The statement was concluded with "So while the UK court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad." UK Appeals judge Robin Jacob responded with saying, "I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this".
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Indeed, this seems like a particularly irresponsible way for a multi billion dollar corporation to handle a loss. Microsoft sued over new user interface Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-sued-over-new-user- interface/17683.html November 1st, 2012 SurfCast, a small company making operating systems, has sued Microsoft for infringing on one of it's four patents, a user interface design built around the concept of tiles. In keeping with the spirit of tech companies suing each other over patents, a small OS developer called SurfCast is suing Microsoft for Windows 8's tile design. The company filed a complaint with the US District Court in Maine for "making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products" protected by the SurfCast patent. Mobile phones, PCs and Tablets using windows phone 7, as well as windows 8/RT, are supposedly violating the patent. Microsoft is also accused of contributing to copyright infringement by encouraging other developers of producing app tiles for their operating systems. SurfCast wants Microsoft to pay damages for any direct and indirect infringement, while Microsoft remains adamant that the lawsuit is unfounded and that the case will be dropped. SurfCast is stating that it thought of the idea of dynamically updating tile first, and applied for a patent as early as 2000 (it received the patent in 2004). They also claim that Microsoft was aware of the patent at the time of the development of their LiveTiles, and that they even referenced the technology as "relevant art" during the development of the new user interface. GeChic unveils 2501M & 2501A 15.6-inch USB- powered monitors Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gechic-unveils-2501m--2501a-15.6- inch-usb-powered-monitors/17685.html November 1st, 2012 GeChic Corporation presents their new On-Lap 2501M and 2501A mobile display models. These are 15.6-inch LED monitors that can operate efficiently using only power from a USB port. GeChic Corporation had just unveiled recently two new mobile display units for commercial distribution. The On- Lap 2501M and the On-Lap 2501A are 15.6-inch portable LED monitors that can be simply powered via USB port. These will be available starting November 9, 2012 in Japan, and the retail price will be set at around 24,800 yen (300 USD) for the 2501M, and 19,800 yen (254 USD) for the 2501A. Distribution and sale of the units will be managed and taken care of by TekWind. To give you a clearer idea on just how low both units' power consumption rates would be, we'll provide a direct comparison. A standard LED monitor of the same size (15.6- inch) usually has a power rate of 15 watts. The USB port delivers only 2.5 watts at maximum, which means that these mobile display models are potentially 6 times more energy efficient. The display resolution of both units is set at 1366x768 pixels, response time at 8ms, brightness at 200cd/sq.m, and contrast at 400:1. Some of their connectivity options include HDMI, MicroUSB, and D-sub. The dimensions are both set at 395x16.3x260 mm. For their weights, the 2501M is set at 1.3 kg, while the 2501A is at 1.1 kg. In addition, the 2501M will also be installed with a 9300mAh battery, allowing it to still continue functioning for 10 hours even when it is not connected. Earlier this year, GeChic released the On-Lap 1301 and 1501. The 1301 had a 13.3-inch screen while the 1501 has the same 15.6-inch screen. While both were functionally the same as the 2501M and 2501A, they had fewer features, and had considerably lower specs. Brightness for example is very noticeably lower on the 1301. Source: PCWatch (JP)
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Hitachi launches new robot to inspect building foundations Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hitachi-launches-new-robot-to- inspect-building-foundations/17680.html November 1st, 2012 Human workers need no longer crawl under buildings to perform inspections. Hitachi Advanced Digital announced today that they are now accepting orders for a new crawling robot with an attached camera that can squeeze underneath buildings and inspect foundations, pipes and floor supports remotely. Although Hitachi is best known for their factory assembly and maintenance robots, in 2007 they received a lot of media attention for a cute roller skating companion and support robot called EMIEW 2. The new robot announced today may not be as huggable but it is arguably more useful, and engineers overcame formidable design challenges in making it. In the past workers would have had to crawl under buildings, entering tight spaces with poor air quality, in order to check the foundations for weakness or damage. Hitachi's new robot can enter those spaces and take photos and video, allowing technicians to judge the soundness of the building from a comfortable distance. It may sound like a no brainer but engineers like Eiji Koyanagi, deputy director of the Future Robotics Technology Center at the Chiba Institute of Technology, couldn't just stick a camera on any remote controlled vehicle. They ran into trouble making sharp turns; and the plastic sheet, which protects the building from excess moisture, would often get caught in the wheels. These challenges have been overcome and the robot can now smoothly crawl over plastic sheet, make turns, ascend and descend stairs, and go over objects up to 15 cm high. Hitachi have stated that they expect to find more uses for the robot and develop it to handle a wider range of tasks. In addition to home builders they are also actively marketing the robot to construction companies for use under buildings and around piping. Source: mynavi (JP) Sony and Sharp fighting to remain profitable Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-and-sharp-fighting-to-remain- profitable/17681.html November 1st, 2012 After some troubling times for Sony and Sharp, the two technology giants are taking drastic steps to cut costs and are refocusing their businesses to get back to turning a profit. Sony has been losing money for a while now, and last year, they reported a loss of 1.6 billion yen (20 million USD), but this year, it is expected they'll manage an operating profit of nearly 33.8 billion yen (425 million USD). Still, Sony is not out of the water yet; that profit is somewhat inflated and the company is still cutting costs at every corner. Currently, Sony's stocks have dropped in value by 16% since mid-June and is currently valued collectively at 12 billion USD. Sony's five year cost for ensuring against debt default, the so called credit default swap, has jumped up by 60%. Much of the sudden profit comes from the recent selling of their chemicals unit for 58 billion yen and the closing of their Shinagawa Technology Center, a 31-story Tokyo commercial building. There's also talks of closing the Sony tower in New York. In addition, the company is expected to lay off 10,000 employees before March. These sudden changes come after the new Sony CEO, Kazou Hirai, took over in April. He's making some drastic changes to the company, including shifting focus to gaming, mobile devices and digital photography, as well as emerging new technologies such as medical imaging. It will subsequently be moving away from televisions, which has given Sony a 9 billion USD loss over the past eight years. "The areas in which Sony is continuing to focus are of course high-risk, high-return markets," said JP Morgan analyst Yoshiharu Izumi. Meanwhile, Sharp is also taking steps to cut costs and boost profits, and for them, the situation is even more dire. They recently received a 4.6 billion USD bank bailout, and has pledged to cut, like Sony, around 10,000 jobs, and sell assets.
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 After adding restructuring, and with loss of valuation losses on stocks for LCD displays, they expect a loss of 400 billion yen between April and September, nearly double of what they had predicted. To boost profits, Sharp is increasing production of their new HD power-saving IGZO screens, which they hope to sell to laptop manufacturers, such as Lenovo and HP. They are expecting a much milder, yet still substantial loss of 50.4 billion yen, for their second quarter. However, it is expected that the charges incurred in the April-September period, frees the company up to pursue profits, and puts it in a better position to bounce back. Microsoft claims to have sold 4 million Windows 8 upgrades Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-claims-to-have-sold-4- million-windows-8-upgrades/17679.html November 1st, 2012 Developers that are looking into taking a chance on Windows 8 will be happy to know that Microsoft has managed to sell 4 million upgrades to the latest Windows OS. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, announced the news at the Build 2012 conference yesterday. He also claims that Windows 8 is outpacing Windows 7 in terms of initial adoption, and it is only proper that Ballmer dropped the good news in front of developers that are looking for reasons to develop software for Windows 8. (Steve Ballmer at Build 2012 in Redmond. | Image: TNW) “The level of enthusiasm and desire to learn about the new Windows 8 computers has really been remarkable,” said Ballmer. The impressive adoption rate for Windows 8 is perhaps largely attributed to the ‘discounted’ and ‘promo’ strategy that Microsoft has launched in an attempt to lure consumers into switching from previous versions of Windows. In one such promo, Microsoft offered recent Windows 7 PC buyers the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 8 for a fraction of what it will cost in retail. In terms of corporate partners, Ballmer claims that ‘tens of millions of units’ have already been sold to corporate customers. These corporate customers may have purchased millions of units, but at the same time they are in no way obligated to actually install the new OS onto their hardware. DoCoMo, one of Japan’s major cellular carriers, has also announced that it will be partnering with Microsoft to promote Windows 8 through LTE-enabled tablets. To show that DoCoMo has faith in Windows 8, the Japanese carrier will collaborate with Microsoft on the hardware and software as well as share the marketing costs to ensure that Windows 8 will be in the hands of as many consumers as possible. DoCoMo wrote in a statement: “Tablet devices are being used increasingly in the corporate world to raise the efficiency and value offerings of sales activities. DOCOMO’s Xi LTE service enables corporations to use tablets with enhanced flexibility and diversity, while the new Windows 8 operating system realizes permanent connection to wireless networks and enhanced mobile experiences using the touchscreens of tablets from various manufacturers.” Within all this hustle and bustle around Windows 8, it’s easy to forget that Apple also experienced a similar success with its Mountain Lion OS, with 3 million copies sold in just four days after launch. Microsoft’s control on the PC market is currently experiencing a shakeup in light of the growing tablet/mobile market, and if consumers approve of Windows 8 then that will demonstrate that the Redmond- based software maker still has what it takes to remain on top. Facebook employees dump shares as company's stock prices continue to tumble Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-employees-dump-shares- as-company-s-stock-prices-continue-to-tumble/17678.html November 1st, 2012 Facebook has been taking a beating from Wall Street since its IPO in May, and now the social networking service is facing yet another dilemma. Many employees that had their shares locked up until Monday dumped a lot of shares on Wednesday. In May, Facebook’s initial offering price was $38, but that has fallen by nearly half. Employees that were supposed to be millionaires and even billionaires became less and less inclined to hold onto their shares as the company’s value continued to decline. Back in August, co-founder of PayPal and an early bird investor in Facebook, Peter Thiel sold the majority of his shares and netting over $1 billion in cash (not bad for a $500K initial investment). He also made $640 million after
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 selling 16.8 million shares during the IPO. IPO investors, on the other hand, are not so lucky compared to Thiel. So instead of waiting it out and risking further devaluing of their shares, many Facebook employees have decided that they’re better off cashing in now before the social networking giant dips to an even lower level. It was rumored shortly after Facebook’s IPO that perhaps the firm would dive into hardware with a smartphone, and prove to investors that there’s something ‘tangible’ to keep the company sustainable. That, however, quickly became an afterthought when CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out and said that a Facebook-powered smartphone wouldn’t make any sense, and that the firm would continue with its core business model—that is, profiting from ad revenues on its social networking platform. Facebook will face the possibility of another massive dump on November 14 when employees can sell 777 million more shares. ‘777’ can either make it or break it for a lot of slot machine players, but it doesn’t seem like Facebook will be hitting the ‘jackpot’ at this rate. Impressions: ECS eZ Bun - Conference Speakerphone on the Go Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/impressions-ecs-ez-bun--conference- speakerphone-on-the-go/17677.html November 1st, 2012 The ECS eZ Bun is a nifty little contraption that adds conference speakerphone functionality to your favourite mobile devices while on the go. Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is one of the largest Taiwanese based OEM/ODM of motherboards and peripherals, best known for its components inside branded PCs and entry retail offerings. Recently they have decided to venture into the rather saturated realm of "mobile widgets", creating nifty little devices like the eZ Bun to target the digital masses. With the advent of long-range wireless communication and the Internet, more work and meetings can be done on the road rather than only in a traditional office. For these users, it might be useful to carry a companion device to have video conferences with managers or customers. Since the majority of tablets, smartphones and laptops have less than ideal microphone input and speaker output for these situations (lack of volume and clarity), ECS has made the eZ Bun to address this usage model. The ECS eZ Bun is a portable video conference speaker and microphone. Its palm-sized frame allows you to easily carry it around. The ECS eZ system has two similar-looking product models: the eZ Bun and the the eZ Bun BT. The regular version that uses a micro-USB cable to connect to a Mac or PC, and an included Apple dock connector for the iPad/iPhone. The BT model has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can avoid the hassle of wires. Battery life is rated up to 10 hours of video conferencing and 4 hours continuous music. The idiotproof eZ Bun has only 3 buttons to operate. The top part with the ECS logo is the microphone receiver button that allows the user to switch between receive and mute. The center is the phone answer button. While using an iPhone, you can use the middle button to call or hang up a phone call. The other button with the eZ Bun lucky charm is the volume control.
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 At the side of the eZ Bun we find the power button and a micro USB port to charge the device. Headphone audio output and microphone input is on the other end. The bundled 2-in-1 cord to attaches to a smart phone or tablet computer. When attached to a PC or MAC, the appliance is detected as a USB audio device with software volume controls., The eZ Bun has many essential features built into its design. For instance, it can isolate static noise and increase microphone sensitivity. With an audio receiver range of up to 3 meters, you can have multiple participants in a video conference. Image and Review Credits: Chinese VR-Zone
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 eBook Japan to launch their own 7-inch tablet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ebook-japan-to-launch-their-own-7- inch-tablet/17676.html November 1st, 2012 eBook Japan, a very long time distributor of electronically published content on the web, now plans to directly go where they really belong, by releasing their own e-content optimized 7-inch tablet. eBook Japan, a website that mainly deals with the electronic distribution of Japanese published materials and content, has announced yesterday (October 31, 2012) that they will be launching their very own 7-inch tablet model. eBook Initiative Japan, the company that manages the website, considers this as a natural and an eventual step up from the services that they already have. The 7-inch size may be considered as a standard screen size for smaller tablet units, but there is actually a slightly higher significance to it that made them choose such screen size. Most of the e-contents that eBook Japan distributes, when presented in their original paper form, are already near the size of a 7-inch tablet. This goes perfectly in line with the theme of the unit to "place e-books closer to their real form". While the concept and main scope of their project has been revealed to the public, there is yet any information available about the tablet model's specs and overall design schemes. The only thing that is certain as of now is that it will be installed with the Android OS. The release price of the unit is also yet to be announced as of this moment, although eBook Japan claims that it will have a price that's "easy on the hands". Modern e-books of the "pre-tablet era" as we know it today were already widely distributed and used ever since electronic content gradually became widespread in the late 2000's. For eBook Japan, they have been distributing e- books and other e-content since the year 2000. Their usual specialities are electronic manga (Japanese comics) titles, which can be conveniently read and accessed with a web browser using the Trunk Room, a personal account that stores bought e-books via cloud storage. Today, they have over 65,000 titles that is under the category of manga alone, all of which are universally accessible to PC's, smartphones, and tablet computers. Their 7-inch Android tablet is expected to be commercially available at around December of this year. Source: Androwire (JP) Crysis 3 Alpha key giveaway extravaganza! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crysis-3-alpha-key-giveaway- extravaganza-/17675.html November 1st, 2012 Crytek is back with a new installment in the Crysis series - and one generous site has 3000 alpha keys up for grabs! "The award-winning developer Crytek is back with Crysis 3. Return to the fight as Prophet, the Nanosuit soldier on a quest to rid the world of the invading Ceph; eliminate the corrupted CELL Corporation. Adapt to any situation with the stealth and armor abilities of your unique Nanosuit as you battle through the seven wonders of New York's Liberty Dome. Unleash the firepower of your all-new, high-tech bow and alien weaponry to hunt both human and alien enemies. And uncover the truth behind the death of your squad while establishing the power of human will in a rich story full of exciting twists and turns." ..Or so the story goes. If you just want to jump in to the game, go here and follow the instructions: http://www.gamingdeluxe.co.uk/crysis-3- giveaway.html. For those of you still here, let's discuss Crytek's latest endevour in depth shall we? But first a little on Crytek's background: Small Beginnings Crytek started out not as a games company, but as a small German graphics company in 1999. Founded by two Turkish brothers with the last name "Yerli", Crytek wowed participants of the European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) in 2000 with a tech demo they made for NVIDIA. Several years later this tech demo evolved into Crytek's first venture into the games industry - Far Cry. After Far Cry Soon after Far Cry, Crytek released their game engine into the wild. Dubbed 'CryEngine', the new engine was showcased at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2003 trade show. Back in those days, the stunning physics and polybump visuals of the engine were a huge leap ahead anything out at the time - even Crytek's arch enemy Epic could not compete with their Unreal engine. In Februrary 2004, after allegations of using pirate software in their offices and being raided by the police, Crytek coincidentally (?) joined hands with EA, and started work towards a new plateau of graphical superiority that would even blow Far Cry out of the water. Crysis
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 In January 2007, Crytek for the first time revealed to the world the fruits of their labor over the past few years - CryEngine 2. Evidently their engine wowed not just would be consumers of their next game, but also other developers, as multiple studios rushed at the chance to get their hands on the engine for use in their own games. In November of the same year, Crysis was unleashed on PCs worldwide, and gamer's machines would simply melt in contact with the game, such were the system requirements for playing it so high (OK, I made that last bit up). After what seemed like an endless flood of 'but can it run Crysis?' jokes, the rest of the world finally caught up to Crytek's digital prowess and played the game long enough to get to the part where the aliens arrive.. and it went all downhill from there really. Hurr look at me I'm a bad ass nanosuit dude! Revenge Crytek were mad. Really mad. They had made a decent profit with Crysis, but it wasn't the multi-million dollar hit they had anticipated for all these years as they toiled over perfecting their monstrous CryEngine 2. The reason for this, they figured, was not the alien levels in their game, or lacklustre multiplayer mode. No, no, the reason for their mediocre sales was of course.. piracy! Vowing to never again trust the filthy scum of the PC gaming world, Crytek secretly started work on a new project ... one that would be a blockbuster hit ... one that would run on all systems... one that people would have to pay for this time. Crysis 2 was going multiplatform. Betrayal Nerds everywhere were outraged. How dare Crytek, the last bastion of PC gaming, the flag flier of the PC master race, betray its own kind like this! How dare they develop for Xbox360 and Playstation 3! "It won't sell anyway" "It will look like crap" "I bet the alien levels are back" Such were the sounds of sour grapes which emanated from masses of PC gamers around the globe. But Crytek didn't care, because they had a hit on their hands. They were going to beat Gears of War. They were going to beat Call of Duty. They were going to beat Halo! To Crytek's credit, they did try pretty damn hard this time. Employing professional sci-fi writer Richard Morgan for the story, and the legendary Batman Trilogy/ Inception composer Hans Zimmer to create the soundtrack, Crytek were sure they were going to blast the world away. But would they. Would THEY be the ones to finally run Crysis? ..A jungle guerilla warfare game set in.. New York?? Seriously, Crytek? Aftermath The short answer is no. Crysis 2 did OK considering it was Crytek's first ever multiplatform game. But it's total 1.6 million sales were miniscule in comparison to the 3 million sales of Crysis (4.5 including sales of Crysis: Warhead). Something was missing. The graphical prowess had been toned down a lot in order to get the game running on the consoles, and the PC version suffered a lot because of it. The most important factor here was that Crysis 2 was natively a Direct X 9 game, and at the time of its release Direct X 10 games had already begun to dazzle PC gamers with their new sparkly features. This did nothing but further aggravated PC gamers who were already feeling betrayed by Crytek. It also didn't help that the game had no graphics settings menu, and the PC version merely came with the console version of the menu, complete with 'press X to continue' style console- centric help messages. To use the parlance of the Internet, it was almost like Crytek were 'trolling' its audience. Return of the Prodigal Developer After being slapped in the face with their console iteration, Crytek finally got the message and decided it was time to bring back the tired 'but can it run Crysis?' meme, by developing Crysis 3 with PC as their main target audience. (Yes, the CEO himself actually used that stupid phrase). However, only time will tell whether or not this will prove to be an effective strategy. For one, the game is still going to be multiplatform with current generation consoles, which means that it is debatable whether or not the next iteration of CryEngine will even be that impressive. (At this stage of the console lifecycle, it is doubtful). Some demos were thrown about during E3 this year but personally they didn't really impress. It seems like Crytek wants to have their cake and eat it. Will PC gamers buy into their so-called 'return' to the PC arena? It's free, just take it, PLEASE! And so what this all boils down to is this: Crytek probably BENEFITTED from all the popularity they got when benchmarkers around the globe tested out their beefy rigs with pirated versions of Crysis. Without people testing the game and showing their results to the world, it is dubious whether or not anyone would have really cared about the game to begin with. And then it wouldn't have sold much at
  • November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 all. Kind of like another game with the word 'Crysis' in the title *ahem*. But this time around, its not certain that pirates will use Crysis 3 as their new benchmarking tool du jour. So what are Crytek to do? Well give the game away for free of course. Well.. kind of. Well, that's my theory behind Crytek's decision to throw out free copies of their (albeit alpha-stage) game. What do you guys think?
  • November 2nd, 2012 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. Android dominates third quarter with 75 percent smartphone market share Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/android-dominates-third-quarter- with-75-percent-smartphone-market-share/17704.html November 2nd, 2012 Google's Android mobile operating system is just four years old and has managed to grow at an incredible rate, ruling a whopping 75 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter of this year. Google's Android mobile operating system is just four years old and has managed to grow at an incredible rate, ruling a whopping 75 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter of this year. A report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter, 136 million ran Android, marking a 91.5 percent increase on the 71 million shipments and 57.4 percent market share it held at the same time last year. To see how much the smartphone industry has boomed, and how well Android is doing within it, Android's shipments in the third quarter of 2012 are higher than the total smartphone shipments of 2007, when Android was first announced. Apple's iOS is far behind Android, with 26.9 shipments in the third quarter, giving it a market share of 14.9 percent. This is substantially higher than other rivals, however, and represents a 57.3 percent growth over last year, when it shipped 17.1 million units and held a market share of 13.8 percent. BlackBerry is still in third place with 7.7 million third quarter shipments and a market share of 4.3 percent, a drop of 34.7 percent on its 11.8 million shipments last year, when it held a market share of 9.5 percent. Windows Phone shipped 3.6 million units, giving it just a two percent market share, but that is 140 percent growth on the 1.5 million units it shipped in 2011, when it had a market share of just 1.2 percent. By contrast Android is skyrocketing ahead like only a little green robot can. In 2008 it shipped just 0.7 million units, giving it a tiny 0.5 percent market share. A year later it was at 7 million units and four percent. 2010 saw that boom to 71.1 million and 23.3 percent, while 2011 saw a further boost to 243.4 million and 49.2 percent. So far this year, with a full quarter yet to go, Android is sitting at 333.6 million units and a total market share of 68.2 percent. “Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of Mobile Phones at IDC. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.” High Power Astro PT 700W PSU Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/high-power-astro-pt-700w-psu- review/17702.html
  • November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 November 2nd, 2012 High Power is the retail branch of Sirfa, a large and well known power supply OEM manufacturer. Last year we had the chance to take a look at their most popular products at the time, the powerful Direct12 BR and the versatile Performance Pro. Since it has been over a full calendar year since we had the opportunity to examine the performance of one of their products, High Power has released many new and interesting power supplies, with perhaps the most interesting one being the Astro PT 700W, an 80Plus Platinum power supply featuring a futuristic appearance and with a power meter embedded on it. How does it perform though? We will find out in this review. High Power is the retail branch of Sirfa, a large and well known power supply OEM manufacturer. Last year we had the chance to take a look at their most popular products at the time, the powerful Direct12 BR and the versatile Performance Pro. Since it has been over a full calendar year since we had the opportunity to examine the performance of one of their products, High Power has released many new and interesting power supplies, with perhaps the most interesting one being the Astro PT 700W, an 80Plus Platinum power supply featuring a futuristic appearance and with a power meter embedded on it. How does it perform though? We will find out in this review. Manufacturer’s features and specifications • 80 Plus Platinum Certified • Patented D- VRM technology,Digital Control for a Precise Voltage Regulation • Eagle Eye – The patented Real Time Power Meter • Silent Design • Advanced DC to DC Converter • Intelligent Fan Control • Off- Delay Fan (Fan Stays On After System Off) • Single +12V Output Rail • 100% Japanese-made Capacitors • Reliable Japanese-made Solid-state Capacitors • Easily Detachable and Flexible Flat Modular Cables • Patented Easy Swap Connector Facebook security flaw allows account access without passwords Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-security-flaw-allows- account-access-without-passwords/17701.html November 2nd, 2012 Facebook has disabled a feature that contained a security flaw allowing access to some accounts without a password. The vulnerability affected as many as 1.32 million Facebook accounts, with direct links to those accounts that bypass the password requirement featuring on a Google search. Matt Jones, security engineer for Facebook, said that the links in question are designed to be sent directly to the email addresses of account holders to log back into their accounts more quickly, such as in the case of email notifications for status updates. However, some of these links had been shared in the wild, thanks to hacked emails, throwaway mail websites, and services with poor protection of archived messages. Most of the links can only be clicked once, which means many of them have already expired, but Facebook decided to disable the quick access feature until better security is put in place. It is not clear how it will address the issue of allowing easy access without potentially compromising accounts. Facebook was keen to stress that it never made any of those links “publicly available or crawlable,” blaming the situation on external websites who had made the information available to search engines. Most of the users affected by the vulnerability are in Russia or China, and Facebook said it has taken steps to secure the accounts of these users and anyone else who recently used the feature. Microsoft working on own smartphone design, suppliers claim Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-working-on-own- smartphone-design-suppliers-claim/17700.html November 2nd, 2012 Asian component suppliers working for Microsoft claim that the company is designing its own smartphone, a move that might cause tensions with partner Nokia.
  • November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Asian component suppliers working for Microsoft claim that the company is designing its own smartphone, a move that might cause tensions with partner Nokia. Anonymous officials at the suppliers told the Wall Street Journal that the company is already testing a smartphone design, with a display of four to five inches. No other details are known and Microsoft has refused to confirm the rumours, except for a potentially revealing comment from CEO Steve Ballmer. “We're quite happy this holiday going to market hard with Nokia, Samsung and HTC,” Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal. “Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn't have a plan I wouldn't comment in any dimension.” So no confirmation on a new device, but definite confirmation that Nokia is now as much a rival as it is an ally. Since Microsoft's recently-launched Surface tablet, powered by Windows 8, has no competition from Nokia, it begs the question if Microsoft will get a smartphone out before Christmas. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform has failed to take off with the support of Nokia, which is likely making it eager to try its own approach. It still seems keen to keep Nokia on board, however, having just announced the Nokia Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8, but if it can emulate even a fraction of Apple's success, which involves keeping control of both the hardware and software, then it might not need the Finnish mobile firm for long. Need for Speed Most Wanted PS Vita Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/need-for-speed-most-wanted-ps- vita-review/17695.html November 2nd, 2012 The Need for Speed franchise has released it's latest game, and this time, they've made the jump to the Playstation Vita. Can the handheld version hold it's own against the home console versions, or should you do all your driving from the living room? Need for Speed: Most Wanted is the latest game in the NFS franchise, and is developed by Criterion, who previously worked on the Burnout series and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit back in 2010. The new game, though sharing it's name with a previous NFS title, departs in many ways from it's predecessor, discarding the underground street racing scene and storyline for something closer to the Burnout franchise. VITA VS HOME CONSOLE One reason I chose to review the Vita version of this game is because the developers have made some bold promises: Most handheld versions of games turn out to be cheap, bare-bones versions of the "real" game, but Criterion has promised that Most Wanted for the Vita will be the same game as for the consoles. The Vita's powerful hardware certainly allowed for the possibility of a full Need for Speed game, but even more promising is that Criterion has developed this version themselves, without outsourcing as so many other developers do. Indeed, the Vita version is the full game. The gameplay, the HUD, the size of the city... all are like the home console version. There are some differences, but they have less to do with the content of the game and more to do with compensating for Vita´s hardware capabilities. There's less anti-aliasing for example, textures have a somewhat lower resolution and car headlights also look oddly pixilated. The overall impression though, largely thanks to the smaller screen, means you won't notice this very much. The game is quite gorgeous anyway, and the game plays smooth as silk with a decent framerate too. Most Wanted on PS Vita...
  • November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 ...and PS3 A difference which kind of affects gameplay, and kind of doesn't, is that the number of cars on the road has been reduced. This includes both race opponents and general traffic: The opponents have been modified, according to Criterion, to ensure that the challenge remains equatable. The reduced traffic not only puts less strain on the hardware, but helps gameplay too. Most wanted is a fast-paced game, and on a small screen like the Vita's, it would most likely work against the enjoyment of the game if there were more cars to avoid. Something I originally thought was a cut-back was the crash animations, which hardly seem to deform the cars, but I've since learned that this is no different on home consoles or pc. This is rather odd, considering the destruction visible in previous Criterion games. Google Translate updates dictionary with new features Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-translate-updates-dictionary- with-new-features/17699.html November 2nd, 2012 Google has just released an update for Google Translate, which adds a smarter dictionary for the translation service; something which will help you choose the right words with greater ease for your translation. Google has released an update for Google Translate; three new features to their dictionary, which should make translations much more accurate. The first of these features is known as "Reverse translations" and will help you choose between various alternatives to a translation. This will help you weed through differences such as those found in various dialects. This would otherwise be very difficult to do without intimate knowledge about the language. The next feature, "Frequency" helps you pick correct words by how commonly they're used. It will instantly rank translations for certain words based on how commonly the language uses them. The rarest translations will be hidden by default, but can be unlocked. An example of the synonyms and frequency features The final feature, "Synonyms" will group translations of a word into groups to ensure that all synonyms for one word will be easy to navigate to and that words which have only nearly the same meaning, do not get mixed up with them. Synonyms is currently only available when translating into English, but Google is planning to update and expand the feature in the future. To try out the new dictionary, head over to Google Translate! Galaxy Note 2 on a roll Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/galaxy-note-2-on-a-roll/17697.html November 2nd, 2012 Samsung Electronic’s Galaxy Note 2 is on a roll. It has sold more than 3 million since it was last released 37 days ago. Samsung Electronic’s Galaxy Note 2 has sold more than 3 million since it was last released 37 days ago. If it continues to be as popular as it has been so far it is expected to easily sell over six million items within the next three months. This is more than three times the original Galaxy Note sold for. Galaxy Note cumulative sales was just over 2 million three months after the launch of the product. Galaxy Note 2 has a large screen and fast multi-tasking. It also comes with Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. It also sports two cameras -- an 8MP rear-facing camera with 1080p HD video, a 1.9MP front-facing camera. The Galaxy Note comes in two sizes with either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. The Galaxy Note 2 has received high praise from many quarters. A Chinese weekly called the phone the most ‘creative of the year’. The US Tech Magazine Wired gave it 9 points out of ten and named the phone the swiss army knife of phones due to its broad array of functions. Rakuten light up your Christmas with the Kobo Glo Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rakuten-light-up-your-christmas- with-the-kobo-glo/17693.html November 2nd, 2012 Yesterday, Rakuten announced new additions to their Kobo brand of electronic book readers: the 6 inch Kobo Glo, and the 5 inch Kobo Mini. The Kobo Glo has a frontlight (which is like a backlight, except it’s on the front, I guess), allowing users to enjoy books in dark places like bedrooms and underground prison camps (ok maybe not that last one). It also has received a huge bump-up in storage space, so it is perfect for reading comic books and Manga. Which, according to Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, is a good thing, because “Japanese people really like Manga”.
  • November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 "Japanese people really like Manga" - Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten CEO So just how much of a boost in memory are we talking here? Well the Glo will come with an embedded 2GB of flash memory, and will support microSD cards of up to 32GB. Apparently this translates to roughly 600~1000 comics, or 30,000 books. Which is how they measure things in Japan. So much for the metric system! The Kobo Glo possesses a 16 gradient grayscale touch screen with 758x1024 dot resolution. The device itself is sized 114x157x10mm, and it weighs 185g. So maybe you can fit it in your pocket, if you have like reallybig pockets. I dunno, once I fit a Sony PRS-T1 in my pocket, but it scratched the hell out of the frame. So maybe buy a case if you’re planning on doing that? Anyway, moving on… Connectivity-wise, the Glo supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n wireless, so you will be able to download new books to it (which is a relief, because that electronic instruction manual gets pretty boring the 300th time you read it). At full charge its battery lasts for up to 30,000 page flips. The battery is also said to retain charge for up to 1 month, which is cool if you’re like me and can’t be bothered plugging stuff in. The device will be available in black or white. Kobo Glo (Right) and Kobo Mini (Left) Kobo Glo will be priced at $99 USD, and preorders in Japan started Nov 1st , with a planned shipping date of Nov 15th . The Kobo Mini is available for $87, and should be shipping mid December. The old Kobo Touch also got a price cut and is now the same price as the Mini. The Kobo family is now available from Rakuten Market, Rakuten Books, and several electronics stores (at least in Japan). Future plans for an Android based device named Kobo Arc were also hinted at. Rakuten Homepage (English) Kobo Product Information (Japanese) Thanko bring your Minority Report dreams to life with new gesture-based mouse Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thanko-bring-your-minority-report- dreams-to-life-with-new-gesture-based-mouse/17692.html November 2nd, 2012 Japanese company Thanko have released a glove shaped mouse which responds to midair gestures. Dubbed the “Gesture Glove Mouse”, this device consists of a strap-on sensor for your index finger and a fingerless glove which carries the brains of the controller and its battery. The mouse works not only on Windows (XP/Vista/7/8) but also on Mac OS X (10.5 or later) and even Android. iPhone compatibility has yet to be announced, but at present is unavailable. Users can manipulate the glove by wearing it on their right hand (sorry southpaws!), and the embedded sensor will read the movements of the user’s wrist, translating it into mouse movement. The strap-on part worn on the index finger reads finger movements, allowing users to perform a ‘virtual click’. Unlike similar products in the past, this device does not require a Wii style sensor bar, and instead of using Bluetooth, it communicates with your computer over 2.4GHz wireless via a USB dongle included with the mouse. This gives the device a range of about 10~15m. The embedded battery in the device gives a good 12 hours of usage after charging over USB for 1 hour. The glove’s dimensions are 200x110x50mm, and it has a weight of 35g. The mouse is currently on sale in Japan at 4,980 Yen (around $62 USD). No US release has been announced at present, so you will have to import if you want to get your mitts on it. (see what I did there?) Thanko Homepage Product Page Sega team up with tavern chain Izakaya Hanako in Yakuza promotion Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sega-team-up-with-tavern-chain- izakaya-hanako-in-yakuza-promotion/17690.html November 2nd, 2012 Sega hosted a press meeting / free tasting event at Izakaya Hanako’s Japanese-pub in Shibuya to promote the release of Yakuza 5 in Japan (aka Ryu ga Gotoku 5: Yume, Tanaeshimono) on December 6, 2012, and to discuss their new collaboration with the pub chain. Attending the event was Japanese talent Saki Suzuki, who is recreated in the game as a bar waitress. To celebrate the release of the latest Yakuza title, Izakaya Hanako pubs are offering a special “Yakuza 5 Banquet Course” menu from Oct 30th to Dec 13th , which consists of the following dishes based on the 5 main cities which appear in the game: Zangi Tsukimino, Sapporo Spring chicken deep fried in a special sauce. Goes well with lemon juice.
  • November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Cheese Curry Pot Kamurocho, Tokyo A pot of cheesy curry with pork and seafood. Good for sobering up. Miso Cutlets Kineichou, Nagoya Pork cutlet covered in red miso, lightly seasoned with sesame seeds. Takoyaki Aotenbori, Osaka Large chunks of octopus deep fried for a crunchy sensation. Fried Ramen Nagasugai, Fukuoka Fukuoka’s specialty fried ramen. Rich pork-flavored ramen served on a metal griddle. In addition to the above menu, Izakaya Hanako is also offering their mail magazine subscribers the chance to win one of 20 limited edition Hanako Original Ryu ga Gotoko T Shirts by applying through their site. The press event was attended by Sega’s producer of Ryu ga Gotoku 5 Masa Yokoyama, Izakaya Hanako’s Manager and Section Eight PR Official Minako Sakaue, and the previously mentioned talent Saki Suzuki. Saki Suzuki is well known for being a video game addict gave her thoughts about being digitally represented in Yakuza’s latest installment: “I wanted to give my friends a shock by appearing in the game, and I was amazed at how lifelike my CG model was”. Ryu ga Gotoku 5 Producer Masa YokoYama Section 8 PR Official Minako Sakaue Also appearing at the event was the Sapporo finalist of the previously hosted “Miss Ryu ga Gotoku 5” contest, Kaori Okamoto. Miss Okamoto is actually a waitress at Izakaya Hanako in real life, and this was the reason she was chosen to be digitally represented as a bar waitress in the game.
  • November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Saki Suzuki Kaori Okamoto (left) and Saki Suzuki Finally, Mr. Yokoyama gave his thoughts on the game: “When looking for a way to accurately portray the local cultures of each of the 5 cities appearing in the game, I realized that ‘food culture’ was an important aspect of each region.” It is possible to walk the streets of the game while eating specialties from all around Japan, but according to Mr. Yokoyama, “Izakaya Hanako gives you the chance to eat local specialties from each region all at one place, that’s why I like it. I hope to merge the realms of the game world and reality through our collaboration with Izakaya Hanako.”
  • November 3rd, 2012 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. Special Edition HTC One S - Finally coming to China! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/special-edition-htc-one-s--finally- coming-to-china-/17715.html November 3rd, 2012 The HTC One S is the dual core successor to HTC’s popular Sensation series of phones, and is being touted as one of the best Android products from the Taiwan-based smartphone maker this year. Although previously released in the West, the phone is finally making its way to China, but with an extra surprise. The HTC One S utilizes a Qualcomm S4 dual core processor, and is designed on a brand new architecture, with bigger pizzazz thanks to its hefty 1.5GHz of processing power and 1GB RAM. The phone is finally making its way to China, and with a relatively low price of 2170 Yuan (around $347 USD for the non-Special Edition One S), the One S is shaping up to be an attractive choice for cautious buyers. The Special Edition comes in a glamorous white model Going into more detail on the specs of the phone, the One S has a sleek simplistic style designed to be easy to grip, with a thickness of 7.8mm. Instead of HTC’s traditional choice of SLCD display, the One S instead possesses a nifty Super AMOLED screen 4.3 inches in size, whose 540x960 pixels drives a stake between it and older models in terms of display quality. The One S has an iPhone-esque aluminum alloy unibody casing, which feels great to hold. It's so thin you'd snap it if it weren't for the ultra-strong aluminium alloy unibody casing!! Additional features of the phone include an 8MP camera with an F2.0 aperture lens, and support for 1080p video. The operating system is based on Android 4.0 and incorporates HTC’s Sense UI. The MSM8260A series processor also boasts lower power consumption than previous members of the Sensation series, so it should give your battery a little more leeway too. While the look and feel of the phone is identical to the US version, the Special Edition will feature a humongous 64GB of storage space, a huge improvement from the orignal 16GB, which should be plenty for storing your videos and mp3s. The exact release date for the phone has yet to be announced, but the phone should be out by the end of the year. Exposed: A day in the life of a Taobao Shopkeeper Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/exposed-a-day-in-the-life-of-a- taobao-shopkeeper/17714.html November 3rd, 2012 Ever wonder what its like to run an online store? A local journalist went undercover to get the down and dirty on the truth about the driving force behind China's biggest virtual retailer. Taobao has over 1,000,000 “virtual stores”, all bustling busily 365 days a year. A majority of these are small to midsized in scope, and run by individuals or a small handful of sellers. A local journalist documented the workings of one
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 of these small stores and found that almost everyday they worked around the clock like a 24 hour workhouse. While the life of a virtual shopkeeper may seem relaxing to the uninitiated, only those who have tried it can truly appreciate what a laborious job it is. “I gave my youth to Taobao.” Eating, talking to friends and family, even washing is a race against the clock for Taobao store owners before their store starts to stagnate. In addition to pacifying impatient customers, Taobao shop owners must spend their time renovating their shop design, photographing new products, looking for defects in products, photoshopping pictures, taking orders, preparing goods for delivery, wrapping them, sending deliveries, returning items, and so on, and so on… Let’s take a look at a regular day in the life of Ms Yue, a Taobao seller who specializes in women’s clothing. -10:05 Photograph new items in stock Ms Yue awakens to the shrill sound of the alarm clock. After working the previous night until 3am, Yue is reluctant to get out of bed. But duty calls. Yue stumbles out of the bedroom and quickly washes up, before heading down to a high rise riverside apartment. Yue opens the door to a well lit south facing room. Two young customer service reps briefly give Yue a courteous smile, but their fingers never stop their agile dance across the keyboard beneath. “Ding Dong”. A chat window pops up on the customer rep's screen. Another customer interested in purchasing from Ms. Yue’s clothing store. More business. More work. Yue heads to the photography area, where a large mirror is set up beside two professional lamps and 40-50 items of new apparel lie waiting to be photographed. One-by-one, Yue places each item of clothing on the podium, finds a good angle, then crouches down to take a picture. After an arduous couple of hours, Ms. Yue finally finishes taking photos of all new items for the store. A typical Taobao storefront -12:30 Ten minute lunch There is a knock on the door; lunch has arrived. 1 Soy Beans with Chicken, 1 Spicy Tofu with Rice. Total $5. The two customer service girls momentarily chatter as they eat their take-out. But time is ticking; around 10 minutes later, the girls quickly finish up and return to their desks. Yue has finished photographing new items, and also returns to her desk to check out the new orders received that morning. -13:30 ~ 18:00 Hi-ho, Hi-ho, to buyers they must go Yue meticulously opens each of the 50 pieces of clothing to be delivered and checks for any flaws, pushing the defected items into a pile for returning to their factory of origin later on. Clothes that pass visual inspection are packed into plastic and stored in a larger sack for outgoing mail. Ms. Yue finishes this task by 16:00, and calls the delivery boy to collect the sack she just prepared. While waiting for the delivery boy, Yue as always sits steadfast before her computer, answering as many buyers’ questions as possible in order to spur their purchase. You can never have too many new orders. A typical outlet for a Taobao store -19:30 Nightshift Yue and the two customer service reps leave the office. The company has no-one working nightshift, so after hurriedly taking a few bites of dinner. Yue once again turns on the computer and starts answering buyer questions. Sometimes Yue has personal issues to solve, and has to rely on friends to answer questions in her absence, but this is a rare event for the diligent Ms. Yue. After 22:30, the tumultuous wave of curious buyers starts to wane. Yue uses this opportunity to upload the new pictures she took that morning to her online storefront. -02:00 No rest for the weary
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Yue rubs her sore neck and blinks her aching eyes. It’s 2 in the morning already. Yue originally wanted to sync the new clothes to her Weibo blog, but she no longer has the energy for it. Yue staggers into the shower and washes off the day’s tension. Collapsing into bed, Yue’s exhausted body breathes a sigh of relief. But her brain keeps working, simmering each unresolved issue; how will they continue to cope with just 2 customer service reps? How will they meet client demand in the coming season with their remaining stock? Yue rolls over and shuts her eyes tight, trying to push such thoughts from her fatigued mind. Tomorrow after deliveries Yue still has to visit the factory to choose new products. The landlord is going to come for the monthly rent of $720. At 29 years of age Ms. Yue already feels like retiring. But such is the life of a Taobao shopkeeper. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn comes to a close Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-forward-unto-dawn-comes- to-a-close/17713.html November 3rd, 2012 343i's immensely popular live-action series set in the Halo universe seamlessly blurs the lines of gaming and film, but Forward Unto Dawn has run its course and closes the circle with its recently released final episode. "Stay close to me. It's your best chance at survival." --Master Chief, Forwad Unto Dawn Halo 4's live-action mini-series has been hailed, celebrated, and beloved by Halo fans worldwide. Not only does the series give a personal and intimiate look at the life of an ordinary group of cadets, but it also gives a first-hand look at the original war against the UNSC and the Insurrectionists as well as how the war against the Covenant united humanity together. Forward Unto Dawn chronicles the daily lives of Hastati Squad, a fresh group of cadets training to become soldiers at UNSC's Corbulo Academy of Military Science. The series starts off with everyday drama wherein viewers see the interactions of the characters as they stuggle to become soldiers, then Hastati are thrust into a brutal and chaotic war between a hostile race of unknown aliens who suddenly attack the planet. Seeing the Halo universe come alive with fully fleshed characters who have personalities and emotions is a real treat, especially since it brings a whole new level of realism to the franchise. Not since the live action Halo Landfallvideos has the universe seen such caren taken to represent the fan-favorite saga. This series is a monumental shift from Halo 3's live-action snippets and promos: Forward Unto Dawn shows the total evolution of live-action gaming fiction and how its grown into an amazing medium that blurs the lines of gaming and film. One of the most enjoyable and iconic moments of the series is the appearance of Master Chief, who saves the survivors and dispatches Covies with ease. Forward Unto Dawn exposes Master Chief's role as a savior and a beacon of hope for humanity, which is something that isn't always adequately represented in the games. The series breathes new life into the franchise, allowing fans to experience an in-depth view at a living adaptation of Halo. It has everything from Warthogs to ODST pods, orbital elevators, Covenant cruisers, needlers, energy swords, Sangheili warriors, and of course Master Chief, and it honestly is like watching a feature film on the big screen. With the recent release of the fifth episode, the series comes to a close, but it has done its job with an exemplary performance and has been exceedingly enjoyable, building the anticipation for Halo 4 even more. 343i's newest chapter of the Halo franchise goes above and beyond, and Forward Unto Dawn has helped push it over the edge and become one of the most anticipated games of 2012. Watch all five episodes of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn via a playlist on Machinima Prime's YouTube page, and check out IGN's official mini-Wiki on the series for a rundown of cast and credit info as well as a few other interesting tidbits.
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Japan gets Charizard-version Nintendo 3DS LL Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/japan-gets-charizard-version- nintendo-3ds-ll/17711.html November 3rd, 2012 The Pokemon Company plans to release limited-edition Charizard-version Nintendo 3DS units to lucky customers who are lucky enough to win the company-sponsored raffles. Here’s another potentially great addition to your Pokemon fan collection items. The Pokemon Company has just unveiled a limited edition black Nintendo 3DS LL that is design-themed with a gold-lined Charizard (Lizardon in Japan) image. It will not be available for general sale though, but will be available to a few lucky customers who will win their special promotion raffle. To avail the special raffle, interested participants in Japan must go and register at the nearest Pokemon Center branch in their area. Those who are not near any Pokemon Center branch may alternatively register for the mailing/delivery version of the raffle contest. There is a specific fill-out form that will be exclusively used for the promo. Direct Pokemon Center applicants would of course get the physical fill out form, while those registering for the mail/delivery version must download the official form at this link. Take note, though, that although the units will be raffled, it is not actually free. The customers will only get the privilege to purchase the unit when they are chosen in the raffle. That said, this limited edition Nintendo 3DS LL, if you ever got the chance to buy one, will cost you at around 18,900 yen (240 USD). The registration period to avail these special Nintendo 3DS LL units starts from November 3 up to November 26, 2012. If you are selected as the winner in the raffle, you may purchase your unit at the shop that is indicated in your fill out form. The purchase period for the units will last from December 15, 2012, to January 14, 2013. Source: 4Gamer (JP) Qihoo 360 target of security controversy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/qihoo-360-target-of-security- controversy/17710.html November 3rd, 2012 Qihoo 360, a China-based antivirus software company, has been accused of collecting users' personal information. Was this the company's fault, or is someone outside responsible? There is currently a war of words between Qihoo 360 and Fang Zhou, a well-known anti-counterfeiting expert in China. Fang accused Qihoo 360 collecting users private information through its antivirus software. In China, users are concerned about their own privacy online and some are considering other security products. Qihoo 360's stock has taken a slight drop since the "Fang Zhou Wars" started in October, but not nearly enough to cause serious worry. A spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry and Communication Development Division says that Qihoo 360 will launch an investigation into the alleged security failures, and that the company takes the matter very seriously. Shi Wenchang, a professor of information security at Renmin University, said that, if such a breach of privacy occurred, it was most likely a malicious theft of an outside hacker, never the intent of Qihoo 360. Expert members of the Policy and Resources Committee of the Internet Society of China have noted that, as technology advances, it becomes more and more difficult for the government to regulate Internet companies and monitor security. As investigations continue, internet users should remember to avoid suspicious websites and keep their private information secure.
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Time Magazine cover shot with iPhone Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/time-magazine-cover-shot-with- iphone/17709.html November 3rd, 2012 The cover image for this week's issue of Time Magazine was shot by "photojournalist" Benjamin Lowy, using an iPhone and popular photo editing application "Hipstamatic" The image here is an ominous shot of a churning swell, during this week's Hurricane Sandy, which caused billions of dollar's damage in the United States, affecting a great portion of the East Coast. This picture not only demonstrates the iPhone's competence as an instrument of photography, but the transformation that mobile devices are having on journalism and photography alike. With the ability to snap pictures like the one above, and to share them and other information instantaneously, mobile devices are making it more possible for individuals to capture and share the moment. As sentimental as that last phrase may sound, Time Magazine's cover shows it to be true in a more somber sense. Clearly major events, political or natural, can now be captured on the spot by individuals as they occur. The smartphone is becoming an important tool in recording and sharing important information with the world. Apple bringing $19 Lightning to Micro USB adapter to the U.S Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-bringing-19-lightning-to- micro-usb-adapter-to-the-u.s/17708.html November 3rd, 2012 Apple is finally bringing the Lightning to Micro USB adapter, which has only been available in Europe, to the United States. It can now be purchased on Apple's website. The United States is something of an anarchy when it comes to mobile device chargers, adapters, etc. That is why Apple, an American corporation, was able to invent yet another charging and syncing protocol with the release of the iPhone 5, known as 'Lightning'. This new release was met with a good deal of criticism, since it forced some consumers to purchase adapters or Lightning cords for their new Apple devices. Additionally, a special security technology inside of Lightning cables make them a very difficult target for imitation, therefore wiping out a good deal of cheaper alternatives which might otherwise have been available from Chinese imitators on the internet. Apple is not known for cheap anything, and their cables are no exceptions. The problem of needing to purchase an adapter still existed in Europe, but nobody with a Micro USB cable had to worry about getting a new cable. The European Commission's guidelines require all mobile devices to be compatible with the Micro USB standard. In order to meet this standard, Apple released a Lightning to Micro USB adapter in Europe. For a long time, this convenient device has been unavailable in America, except through 3rd party resellers. Image from Apple Those Americans that do not simply follow along with Apple's comparatively Draconian methods will be elated to
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 learn that the adapter is now available to purchase, directly through Apple's website. Although the adapter costs $19.00, the experience of being able to use an already purchased cord with a new Apple product in the U.S should be like a splash of cool, clear water on the face of a man trapped in a sweltering desert*. The adapter is compatible with all current iOS devices, including the iPad mini, and with the seventh generation iPod nano. It is capable of charging, and syncing devices in the same manner of a standard Lightning cord. *Please note that the author of this article is an American. Introducing Evergreen's password lock USB storage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/introducing-evergreen-s-password- lock-usb-storage/17694.html November 3rd, 2012 Evergreen can protect you files from being accessed without your permission with their new Password Lock USB memory storage sticks. Password-like protection systems for USB drives are already available everywhere. But there is a particular scarcity for USB storage devices that can be actually “sealed” with a password. Fortunately though, Japanese company Evergreen presents us with a somewhat innovative and strange USB storage device that allows you to protect your files using a good old password. The Password Lock USB Memory Storage, as seen in the image looks like a micro-feature phone that has a USB plug. It has an LCD display and a standard number pad set in the main body of the device. There are no details given on how passwords are made and saved, but it is capable of storing 8-digit passwords in it. When it is plugged on a PC, it can automatically disconnect properly after a set time period (5 to 20 minutes). The device can tolerate up to 6 wrong password inputs, and if it goes over the limit, it will start reformatting the unit, erasing all data saved inside the device. As for its technical specs, its storage capacity is 8GB, supports USB 2.0 connectivity and weighs at around 22 grams. The item is currently available at the Shanghai Donya online store for 1999 yen (25 USD). It is sold under the advanced items category, and will have different service support (compared to other items) for purchasing customers. While the concept of the device looks pretty neat, we just can’t help but wonder about what would happen if things go wrong witth it. We just hope at least that its users won’t accidently lock themselves up, or erase their files unintentionally, in case they forgot their USB stick's password. Source: ITMedia (JP) Pinch Interface Lets You Create Video Walls On The Fly Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pinch-interface-lets-you-create- video-walls-on-the-fly/17707.html November 3rd, 2012 Pinch is an interface that connects the displays from multiple touch devices and it is under development by a research group at the Tokyo University of Technology. Devices with different-sized screens, such as smartphones and tablets, can go together to form a display interface. Pinch is an interface that connects the displays from multiple touch devices and it is under development by a research group at the Tokyo University of Technology. When the user places a thumb and index finger on two adjacent screens and pinches, the screens link up. The screens can be lined up freely, vertical or horizontal. The connected devices share each other's position and screen size via Wi-Fi. Devices with different-sized screens, such as smartphones and tablets, can go together to form a display interface. According to Takashi Ohta, Associate Professor at Tokyo University of Technology, who appeared in a video demo, "This Pinch interface we've developed is used to create applications that make devices react when they've both been pinched, so they work together. In the case of a graphics application, when the devices recognize they've been pinched, they can show the whole picture as if it's on one screen." He said that Pinch can be the foundation of a musical experience, where you connect the different devices you have horizontally, with the result that "you could keep playing music for a long time." Ohta sees Pinch as enabling "fun" communications, where people gather, place their devices next to one another, and communicate ideas and images in novel ways. Other avenues, too, could include mobile music, advertising, and photo-sharing experiences.
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The Pinch team said it was offering Pinch to developers, hoping they could "do something with it." In 2010, Ohta co- wrote a paper that cast some light on the present research. In that paper, titled "Automatic configuration of display ordering for multi-display environments," Ohta and Jun Tanaka said, "We designed and built a system that configures the information of how displays are arranged as a multi- display environment. The system automatically matches the physical location of displays and network addresses. It uses a web camera for capturing a real-time video to observe each display to flash its screens one by one. The timing and relative locations of the flashing screens are recognized using an image processing technique. Furthermore, the correspondence of the displays and the network addresses can be deduced from these data." The team concluded, based on their results, that the "system works perfectly, with various configurations of display dispositions." Source: Tokyo University of Technology Solar System Theory In a Spin Thanks to New Research Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/solar-system-theory-in-a-spin- thanks-to-new-research/17706.html November 3rd, 2012 The new findings, by researchers led by Dr James Connelly from the University of Copenhagen, may change our understanding of how the first pieces of 'dirt' in our solar system first formed. The first solids to form in our solar system appeared at the same time, more than 4.5 billion years ago, according to a new study published in the journal Science. The new findings, by researchers led by Dr James Connelly from the University of Copenhagen, may change our understanding of how the first pieces of 'dirt' in our solar system first formed. CAIs (calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions) and chondrules are the earliest solids to form in our solar system. Both are found as millimetre- to centimetre-sized grains in meteorites. Scientists have traditionally used isotopic ratios of aluminium to magnesium to date these most ancient solids, concluding that CAIs were the first solids to condense out of the protoplanetary disk followed millions of years later by chondrules. The new method developed by Connelly and colleagues uses two new techniques to measure uranium and lead isotopes. Connelly and colleagues dated samples from numerous meteorites, finding chondrules formed 4.567 billion years ago - far earlier than previously thought. "These data refute the long-held view of an age gap between CAIs and chondrules and, instead, indicate that chondrule formation started contemporaneously with CAIs and lasted about three million years," the authors write. Connelly and colleagues say the new time scales are comparable with those observed in distant solar and protoplanetary disks, indicating the processes that formed chondrules and CAIs in our solar system are not unique. Dr Katie Dyl of Curtin University in Western Australia, says the new techniques used by Connelly and colleagues have only recently been available. "These are really hard measurements to make," says Dyl. "This new plasma technology allows you to do more and also offers far greater precision." She says this has allowed them to say something new and different from what everyone else is saying. "The idea that CAI's and chondrules formed at the same time, goes against one of the basic principles, namely that CAI's formed first before anything else by two to three million years," says Dyl. "Their claim will cause a lot of discussion" "If it holds up to scrutiny and other labs find the same thing, then that's a really interesting breakthrough," says Dyl. Source: ABC Science
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Will Plasma Jet Thrusters "Kickstart" Interplanetary Travel? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/will-plasma-jet-thrusters-kickstart- interplanetary-travel-/17705.html November 3rd, 2012 A new Kickstarter project is looking to build a prototype electric pulsed plasma jet thruster, and the engineers behind the project say this could be used for reliable, high performance, low cost interplanetary space transportation. One of the side effects that we're seeing from commercial companies getting involved in space travel and exploration is that regular entrepeneurs are getting stuck in, developing what may be the next big thing in their garages and home made labs. A new Kickstarter project that has a buzz around it is looking to build a prototype electric pulsed plasma jet thruster, and the engineers behind the project say this could be used for reliable, high performance, low cost interplanetary space transportation. The team of plasma physics researchers started a company about 8 years ago called HyperV, and they have come up with a new design for basic pulsed plasma jet technology. It runs on superheated ionized particles, and the engineers envision it could be used for orbital maneuvering, asteroid/ comet rendezvous, orbital debris cleanup and interplanetary transportation. They say that using this kind of electric propulsion would significantly reduce the mass and weight of spacecraft, resulting in more affordable missions. Open shutter image of an approximately 10 microsecond long plasma pulse in visible light. Although there are other types of electric propulsion systems that have been used for space travel – with mixed results— the HyperV team believes their new design offers solutions to problems in previous designs, and will ultimately provide cheaper and more robust space travel. The team offered this description of their project: "We believe our thruster technology has the potential to be just as efficient as existing electric thrusters (such as ion and Hall effect thrusters) and with similar specific impulse. But our advantages will be derived from a thruster that is less complex (and much more robust), which can use a variety of propellants including gases, inert plastics, and propellants derived from asteroids, Mars, the Moon, etc., It will also be far cheaper to build, and can be more readily scaled to larger sizes and very high power levels than current electric propulsion systems. Our plasma thruster technology should be scalable from a few kilowatts all the way up to megawatts of average power. The electricity which is needed to power electric thrusters would most likely come from new high performance solar panels, but could also utilize other compact energy sources. From a practical viewpoint for satellite design, our thruster will have much higher thrust per unit area than ion or Hall thrusters, thus taking up less room on the rear of the spacecraft." HyperV's Mark 1 plasma accelerator. They predict their prototype could produce a specific impulse (Isp) of 2000 sec, which is an equivalent to an exhaust velocity of 20,000 m/s. As of this writing, the team's Kickstarter has raised $69,525 of their $69,000 goal, so the project will indeed be funded after it finishes later today. Then, it's all up to them to make this dream come true.
  • November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 "We invite you, the citizens of Earth, to join with us as we design, construct, test, and execute this demonstration," the team wrote on their Kickstarter page. "The culmination of this project will be an all-up, laboratory demonstration of our prototype thruster."
  • November 5th, 2012 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. Test drive Wii U at 5,000 kiosks before buying Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/test-drive-wii-u-at-5-000-kiosks- before-buying/17734.html November 5th, 2012 For U.S. consumers, the Wii U will hit retail in about two weeks, but in case you haven’t already got your mind set on snatching one up before the Christmas rush then you’ll still be able to test out Nintendo’s latest console via demo kiosks. Nintendo announced earlier that it will issue 5,000 Wii U kiosks to various retailers such as Target, GameStop, Wal- Mart, and Toys R’ Us. The Wii U will go on sale for $299 starting November 18, and the deluxe Wii U + Nintendo Land bundle will go for $349.99. (The Wii U GamePadwith the 6.2-inch screen in the center) The most intriguing part of Nintendo’s new console is the new GamePad controller, which sports a 6.2-inch touchscreen in the center. How consumers will react to this dual-screen console gaming remains to be seen, but Nintendo is hoping that it’s trend-setting ‘quirks’ to gaming will ultimately help the firm maintain profitability in the years to come. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s president since 2002, made it clear that the Wii U will be sold at a loss, and any future profits will be made mainly from the sales of add-ons, accessories, supply chain modifications, and so on. If you’re thinking about taking the Wii U out for a test drive and don’t know the locations of demo kiosks then Nintendo has you covered. Click here to find out. Google may have a Maps app ready for iOS 6 by year's end Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-may-have-a-maps-app-ready- for-ios-6-by-year-s-end/17733.html November 5th, 2012 As soon as Apple launched its iOS 6, many people began to complain about the faulty in-house Apple Maps app that replaced Google’s Maps app. Fret not iOS 6 users, despite the bad blood between Google and Apple, the superior Google Maps app may return to iOS 6 soon. The Guardian reports that Google is working on developing a native Maps app for iOS 6, which may be ready for deployment as early as the end of this year. There is a brick wall that Google needs to climb over (or break down), however, as Apple gets to decide whether or not the Google Maps app can be installed on iOS 6. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, and see how the whole Apple Maps app debacle has not only affected consumers but also the managements within the billion dollar walls of Apple Inc. September 19, 2012: Apple releases iOS 6 to the public, and the Maps app scrutiny began. September 21, 2012: The iPhone 5 launches, but instead of praising the nifty new features on Apple’s latest flagship, tech bloggers ranted about the horrible Apple Maps app experience. September 28, 2012: CEO Tim Cook apologizes for the bad Maps app, and advises users to use alternatives (all the while trying to not ‘promote’ the best alternative). Mid to late October, 2012: Tension between iOS Chief, Scott Forstall, and Tim Cook arises and out goes the long-time iOS exec. November 5, 2012: Words get out that Google wants to push its Maps experience back onto iOS, pending future Apple approval. Clearly, Apple understands that its Maps offering is inferior compared to Google’s, but yet the Cupertino-based firm has remained adamant about sticking with its own product. “[We are] continuously improving [Maps],” Apple said in a statement. The question is not whether or not Apple can develop a good product, but rather when can it deliver a product that’s on par with Google’s.
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 When will Apple have a Maps product that can compete with Google’s? Who really knows, but supposedly Google will have one by the end of this year. Apple may be drunk with power now, but when it sobers up let’s hope that it’ll let people decide which native Maps app to use rather than forcing it upon its loyal customers. AT&T to offer Windows 8 Samsung ATIV Smart PC for $799 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/at-t-to-offer-windows-8-samsung- ativ-smart-pc-for-799/17732.html November 5th, 2012 Last week Microsoft announced that it had already sold 4 million Windows 8 upgrades, and that arrangements with various firms were already in place to help push the adoption rate of the latest Microsoft tablet/desktop OS. This week, AT&T announced that it will also pitch in by promoting Windows 8 through the Samsung ATIV Smart PC, with the device available starting November 9. The ATIV Smart PC is an Intel Atom (Z2760) powered tablet that is aimed at the business sectors. AT&T is planning to charge $799 for the device, which may come under scrutiny since that’s a hefty premium for a tablet that has relatively ‘average’ specs compared to other Z2760 business tablets. Of course, one has to take into account that the AT&T ATIV Smart PC comes with an integrated mobile broadband radio, and therefore the apparent premium price tag. Samsung claims that the 9.9mm thin tablet can stay lit for 14.5 hours on a single charge. The 1.5GHz 11.6-inch (1366x768) tablet also comes with 64GB of SSD storage (expandable to 94GB via microSD), and 2GB of RAM. Keep in mind that AT&T will be offering just the tablet by itself, with no accessories/add-ons such as a keyboard dock (which most Windows 8 users will probably want). Factor in the additional costs of accessories and add-ons and it’s easy to see that this Windows 8 tablet offering from AT&T may not sell that many units. (Samsung's ATIV Smart PC Pro) If the $800 tag for a device that doesn’t boast much muscle is a turn off, then perhaps the ATIV Smart PC Pro may be a better alternative if Samsung is still your flavor. The Pro version has a beefier Core i5 3317U clocked at 1.7GHz, 128 GB of SSD storage, 4GB of RAM, and even the screen has a higher resolution—coming in at 1920x1080. All the features on the Pro definitely help it to outshine the standard model, but you won’t get the mobile broadband radio in the Pro, yet. The current going price for the Pro version is $1,199 (Amazon), and although the tag is higher than the AT&T offering, the Pro comes packaged with a keyboard dock. Trailer is here for the new Skyrim DLC! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/trailer-is-here-for-the-new-skyrim- dlc-/17731.html November 5th, 2012 The third DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is in the works, and the first trailer is here. Watch it now! The third Skyrim DLC is coming, and the trailer is here. It seems the dragonborn will be traveling to the island of Solstheim this time, due east of Skyrim. For those who are invested in the game's lore, the new trailer reveals that apparently, you were never the first Dragonborn in Skyrim; there was one before, who became a rogue dragon priest and whom you must now defeat. At the very least, you'll see some fantastical sights, like giant mushrooms and a bunch of new enemies. Check out the trailer below: Microsoft partners with AMEX, pays you for completing Halo 4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-partners-with-amex-pays- you-for-completing-halo-4/17730.html November 5th, 2012 Microsoft and AMEX are doing a promotional campaign together, where you'll receive $25 (or £25 in europe) for completing the Halo 4 campaign. Being one of the first to complete it on legendary, may yield an even bigger award. Xbox360 players will see their wallets stuffed from playing games, as Microsoft has partnered with AMEX for a promotional campaign. Linking your Xbox Live account with an American Express card will give you $10/£10 credit on your card. In the US and UK you'll also receive coupons to AMC theaters, Pacsun and Carphone warehouse. Finishing the Halo 4 campaign on normal or harder difficulties will give you $25, or £25 if you're in Europe.
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Get paid for doing this! In addition to this, various achievements in-game will see you receiving credit, as well as coupons. If you happen to be one of the first 25 players to complete the game on legendary difficulty in the US, or one of the first five to do so in the UK, you'll be entered in a competition to win a trip to the E3 expo next year. Get playing! JCI offering visitor SIM cards for tourists in Japan Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/jci-offering-visitor-sim-cards-for- tourists-in-japan/17726.html November 5th, 2012 Ever just landed in Japan, only to realize your cell phone won’t work on their network? JCI (Japan Communications Inc) is here to help you get your phone-on in the land of the rising sun. JCI is seeking to ease the pain of foreign tourists stranded with no means of communication, by offering a new rental SIM card available from airports across Japan. 1GB! Cool, now I can download the latest episode of Dexter... Dubbed the “VISITOR SIM”, the cards will be available from the airport post office. Users who sign up for the service will be able to pick up a VISITOR SIM from any airport post office for a postal fee of 210 yen. It gives travelers the advantage of having instant access to their cell the second they step off the plane. At present, participating airports are: Chitose, Narita, Haneda, Chuubu(Central Japan International Airport), Kansai, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, and Naha (Okinawa). C'mon, get in there.. GET IN THERE! Grrr!! Compatibility with various phones has yet to be announced, so if you’re planning on travelling to the far east and can’t bear to go ten minutes without your cell phone, make sure your phone is of the 'unlocked' variants. One more thing: If you take your iPad, I don’t think they will be happy about you cutting the SIM card in half. Press release: http://www.j-com.co.jp/news/ release/1228.html Google letting users opt out of personalized search Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-letting-users-opt-out-of- personalized-search/17729.html November 5th, 2012 Google has been filtering your searches based on personal preference, and since this has caused some stir in the online community, Google is now releasing a way of opting out of Google's personalized search results. Over the past few months, there's been some concern regarding Google's personalized search. Google collects data on dozens of different factors, including where you are and what your previous searches have been, and then uses that information to improve the results of future searches based on what you probably want to look for. For example, if you've previously searched for "iPad", then searching for tablets will be more likely to give you results on iPads rather than, say, the Galaxy Tab. At first glance, this might sound like a good thing, and to an extent, it is. Personalized searching means finding what you're looking for faster and with more ease. However, there is a dark side to personalized searches: they edit the web for you, without alerting you or asking permission. This puts you in an information bubble, which restricts the flow of information to you and may narrow your world view. For example, during the height of the political crisis in Egypt, a test was conducted where two people googled the word "Egypt". One of them did receive results focused around the political situation, while the other only received travel links.
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Many people are reaching the conclusion that personalized searches isn't for them, and Google has responded by letting their users turn off this search feature. If you have a Google account, such as a Gmail account, you can do this by accessing your account settings and choosing “pause” under Google search. This will stop Google from collecting any further information. Pressing "delete all" web history will also remove previously stored data. If you do not have a Google apps account, you will have to install a tracking cookie which alerts Google not to store search data. The cookie can downloaded form google.com/ history/optout. ZTE quad-core Android phone for about $160 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-quad-core-android-phone-for- about-160/17724.html November 5th, 2012 ZTE received the first orders today for its new Andoid phone that's equipped with the U950 quad-core processor. It's not the first Chinese smart phone to include a quad- core processor but the U950 is receiving a lot of attention for its price. It comes with all the bells and whistles for the equivalent of $160. The phone's 4.3 inch screen and 480x800 resolution are standard, just like the 5 megapixel camera on the back and the 0.3 megepixel camera on the front. At 9mm it is thin and light. Its non-removable lithium ion battery however, has received complaints from early reviewers who would have preferred a removable battery. The TFT LCD screen is also somewhat disappointing and seems to waste the U950's Full HD capacity. But everyone agrees that for the price this phone is a wonder. It comes equipped with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of RAM, and the Tegra 3 quad-core processor from Nvidia clocked at 1.3GHz. Reviewers have praised its speed and responsiveness when running games. It certainly won't be the last Chinese phone to come with a quad-core processor, as the technology itself is becoming more and more feasible. The U950 may be less important for what it can do, but more so a stepping stone for future affordable quad-core phones in China. As more and more applications are programmed to run on quad-core processors, we will be able to enjoy a faster and fuller experience for a lot less money. This phone might make a great gift for someone you don't want to spend too much money on. It's the thought that counts after all, albeit a $160 thought. Battlefield 3 "Epicenter" shakes up multiplayer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/battlefield-3-epicenter-shakes-up- multiplayer/17727.html November 5th, 2012 A new map has been revealed for Battlefield 3, which will be part of the new Aftermath DLC, premiering in December. Aftermath will bring the earthquake from the singleplayer campaign into multiplayer. Premiering in December, the Aftermath DLC pack for Battlefield 3 will feature several new maps, one of which, "epicenter" has just been revealed with a flythrough-video and an in-depth interview on the battlefield blog. Epicenter, and aftermath in general, will focus on bringing the earthquake from the singleplayer game, into the multiplayer environment.
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The DLC pack in general will revolve around the aftermath (hence the name) of an earthquake, and the Epicenter map frames this in the ruins of a city block. Damaged buildings, torn streets and a fallen construction crane turned makeshift walkway, are the main visual features of the map. This destruction obviously changes the urban environment; something the designers were keen on incorporating into gameplay. Cracked roads will provide new cover, rubble will provide access to otherwise unreachable areas of buildings and exposed pipes will let you sneak past you enemies. The arguably most exciting feature on Epicenter though, is that you will be experiencing an earthquake in-game. At random intervals while playing the map, you will feel aftershocks from the earthquake. This means loud rumbles, car alarms and dogs barking, as well as debris and broken glass raining down from the buildings around you. You will also be shaking, thus making it harder to aim. To cope with traversing that has so much destruction and debris around it, DICE will also be providing a few new and specialized vehicles in the DLC. These will be heavily modified to get through difficult terrain without getting stuck. There will also be the addition of new weapons, such as the silent crossbow. A new game mode, scavenger, will also be introduced. Scavenger will be based around the concept of hunting for weapons and ammo around the map. ThinkPad X1 Carbon Limited Edition 20 Year Anniversary Model Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thinkpad-x1-carbon-limited- edition-20-year-anniversary-model/17725.html November 5th, 2012 To celebrate the 20th birthday of the ThinkPad, Lenovo Japan is releasing a limited edition 14-inch “ThinkPad X1 Carbon 20th Anniversary Edition” Ultrabook exclusively in Japan. Reservations for the Ultrabook can be made starting November 13th, with a scheduled shipping date of late December. The model will only be available via special order and there will be a limited production run of 500 units, making this a possible collector’s item. The ThinkPad was originally created in Japan 20 years ago, and wowed users with its portability and durability. The anniversary edition of the Carbon will be based on the highest powered SKU of Lenovo’s current flagship ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and will feature a Core i7-3667U (2GHz, with embedded graphics), 8GB memory, SSD 256GB, and Windows 8 Pro. Production of the limited model will take place at NEC Personal Computer’s Komezawa factory in Yamagata, and the machines will be printed with a serial code near the hinge, a “20th Anniversary Edition” logo on the left of the power button, and “Made in Japan” printed on the back of the Ultrabook. Special features include an original screensaver and wallpaper, and a special set of wrapped black chopsticks based on the design of the ThinkPad, created by professional chopstick artists at Ginza Ohashi. The Ultrabook will also come with an original waterproof case created by Matsushita Luggage in Toyooka, Hyogo In addition to direct sale of the device via Lenovo, orders can also be taken via Yamada electronics, Yodobashi Camera, and Big Camera. Remember, there will only be 500 units manufactured, so if you are interested, better order yours soon! Lenovo Homepage Product Info 3D-printed Minecraft worlds for sale online Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/3d-printed-minecraft-worlds-for- sale-online/17728.html November 5th, 2012 An online company, FigurePrints, is now selling 3D-prints of your minecraft worlds. Upload your map to them and they'll make you a plastic model. Minecraft's PC players can now have their worlds exported into the real world via a company called FigurePrint. FigurePrint, which also makes models of your World of Warcraft and Xbox Live characters, has turned to 3D printing to make your virtual worlds come to life. Buying a model of your world is a fairly simple process: First, you download FigurePrint's map exporting program, and extract your chosen map. After this, you select what part of the map you want to model. You can pick essentially any part you want, but larger sections will be more expensive. After this, you simply submit your request.
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 This is a really cool application for 3D-printing. The models are printed with a special powder. A layer of the powder is spread onto a flat surface. Then resin, used to bind the powder together and harden it, is injected where the solid parts of the model are meant to be. After this, another layer of powder is added on top of the previous one and more resin is added. This process is repeated over and over again, building up the structure bit by bit, until you eventually have a completed model of resin, encased in a block of the powder. The powder is then cleaned away and your model is complete. 3D-printing is a growing industry, and some very complex models, including ones with moveable parts and functioning mechanical systems, can be created easily. Still, beyond product demos and architectural models, you don't hear about a lot of consumer applications of the technology, so it's good news that companies such as FigurePrint are starting to pop up. Asus RT-AC66U 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless Router Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-rt-ac66u-802.11ac-dual-band- wireless-router-review/17712.html November 5th, 2012 The draft IEEE 802.11ac spec provides for transmission speeds up to 1300 Mb/s, which is 3 times faster the current de facto 802.11n wireless standard. We find out whether Asus's top of the line RT-AC66U is able to widen the speed gap from its predecessors such as the RT-N66U that we reviewed earlier this year. Externals At a glance, the RT-AC66U is almost indistinguishable from its predecessor, the RT-N66U "Dark Knight", save for the gold color logo on the top right corner of the router. The front side of the router has the LED indicators for power, wireless 2.4/5GHz, USB port, WAN and LAN activity. At the rear, we find three RP-SMA antennas connectors, a power jack, power switch, pair of USB 2.0 ports, four Gigabit LAN ports, WAN port, WPS and reset button.
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Advertised Features Designed for Class-Leading Speed and Range Dual-Band Connectivity for Lag-Free Entertainment Separate and Secure Wi-Fi Network via Guest Network Access Powerful Online Multitasking up to 300,000 Data Sessions VPN Server Enabled Specifications Table Network Standard IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.3u, IPv4, IPv6
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Data Rate 802.11a : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps 802.11b : 1, 2, 5.5, 11Mbps 802.11g : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps 802.11n : up to 450Mbps 802.11ac: up to 1300Mbps Antenna Detachable Dipole RP-SMA antenna x 3 Operating Frequency 2.4G~2.4835GHz /5.1~5.8GHz WAN Connection Type Internet connection type : Automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE(MPPE supported), PPTP, L2TP Dual Link support Multicast Proxy support Utilities Download master - support BT, NZB, HTTP, ED2K - support encryption, DHT, PEX and magnet link - upload and download bandwidth control - download scheduling Media server: Image: JPEG Audio: mp3, wma, wav, pcm, mp4, lpcm, ogg Video: asf, avi, divx, mpeg, mpg, ts, vob, wmv, mkv, mov QoS: WMM User definable rules for IP/MAC/Port. Upload and Download bandwidth management. ACK/SYN/FIN/RST/ICMP with Highest priority Guest Network 2.4GHz guest network x 3, 5GHz guest network x 3 Printer Server: multifunctional printer support(Windows nly), LPR protocol support File server: Samba and FTP server with account management PPTP VPN server Network map Traffic monitor Ports 4 x RJ45 for 10/100/1000/ Gigabits BaseT for LAN, 1 x RJ45 for 10/100/1000/ Gigabits BaseT for WAN, Support Ethernet and 802.3 with max. bit rate 10/100/1000/ Gigabits Mbps and auto cross-over function(MDI- X) USB 2.0 x 2 Button WPS Button, Reset Button, Power Button LED Indicator LAN x 4 WAN x 1 AIR x 2 USB x 1 Power Supply AC Input : 110V~240V(50~60Hz) DC Output : 19 V with max. 1.58 A current Weight / Dimensions 450g / 207 x 148.8 x 35.5 mm (WxDxH) Black Ops II gets leaked onto the net Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/black-ops-ii-gets-leaked-onto-the- net/17723.html
  • November 5th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 November 5th, 2012 Following the trend of Halo 4, Treyarch's newest chapter in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops II, has been leaked onto piracy websites around the net. Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Treyarch's newest contender in the juggernaut FPS series, has just been leaked onto the internet's most nefarious and seedy underground: piracy websites. A fully-working .ISO of the game has been spotted on many popular piracy websites, allegedly uploaded by "BAD 2 THE B0N3" from 360iso, a piracy website that specializes in illegal downloadable Xbox 360 disc images. Gamers might see many spoilers for Black Ops II including end-game cinematics in the next few days, potentially ruining the experience for many gamers worldwide. Following Microsoft's response to Halo 4's recent leaking, Treyarch and Activision will most likely respond quickly and do what they can to get the image off the net, since the game is this year's flagship title for the development/publisher duo. Call of Duty: Black Ops II releases on Nov. 13, 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC. For more information please visit the game's official website. New Apple store opens in Shenzhen Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-apple-store-opens-in- shenzhen/17722.html November 5th, 2012 The Shenzhen Apple store welcomed an estimated ten thousand customers on its first day in business. Customers started lining up 24 hours before the grand opening at World Yi Tian Holiday Plaza. The first customer through the door was Chen Taixin, a young Malaysian man and a senior at Shenzhen University. Chen told reporters that he began waiting outside the doors before 9 AM on November 2. The store officially opened at 9 AM the next day. Apple provided the waiting customers with free Starbucks coffee and free meals from KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and Ajisen's Ramen. Customers were allowed to leave their spots for 15 minute bathroom breaks. Reporters estimated that 1500 customers entered the store within the first hour of business, and the first 1000 people were given commemorative Apple t-shirts. Last month, Apple opened a larger store in Beijing which welcomed a record number of customers on opening day, and the Shenzhen store is now living up to its counterpart's success. Conan O'Brien: Apple's next tablet will be the iPad Mini Mega Micro Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/conan-o-brien-apple-s-next-tablet- will-be-the-ipad-mini-mega-micro/17721.html November 5th, 2012 Late night TV has been mocking various Apple products lately, and Conan O’Brien’s take on what Apple may launch next will probably have you laughing until the next launch event. When the iPad mini rumor began swirling, some thought that Apple will finally heed the needs of budget conscious consumers. However, as we can see from the $329 price tag of the 16GB iPad mini, Apple hasn’t changed its philosophy at all. Apple has so much control of the tablet market that regardless of what the competition is doing, the Cupertino- based firm will still profit immensely from most of their gadgets. Major tablet competitors such as Amazon have confirmed that they’re making next to nothing on their tablets, but despite selling iPad-alternatives for ‘less,’ the Kindles aren’t being sold like grain during a famine. With all this in mind, O’Brien’s clever take on Apple’s control of the tablet market is nothing short of hilarious. Regardless of the screen size, and regardless of the price, Apple iPad tablets will sell. So far, that theme hasn’t change, and so the Apple war chest continues to grow.
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. New Uncharted game revealed! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-uncharted-game- revealed-/17756.html November 7th, 2012 A new Uncharted game has just received classification, meaning the adventures of Nathan Drake aren't over quite yet. However, what little we know of the new title suggests some strange features. This may be a very different Uncharted. Both the Australian and Brazilian classification board, have just released classification for a game called "Uncharted: Fight for Fortune", suggesting to fans of the series that they'll see more of Nathan Drake in the future. There is yet little information about the game, but the classification board has revealed some interesting, and puzzling facts. Screenshot from Uncharted 3's plane crash scene First, the game is not being developed by Sony's first party developer Naughty Dog, or by Sony Bend Studios, who handled the development of Uncharted's Playstation Vita game "Golden Abyss". Instead, the game will be developed by One Loop Games. One Loop is a third party developer who has had releases for, among others, PSN and XBLA . They've been involved in the development of console games like The Sabatour as well.One Loop Games does have a prior relationship with Sony as well, as they've worked on both God of War: Betrayal and Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. Another interesting fact about the new game is that it's classified in Australia as having no adult themes, nudity or sex; and very mild violence and drug use. Uncharted usually involves quite a bit of violence and at least a few instances of adult themes, so it is strange that this game has such a mild classification. Accompanying this, the Brazilian classification board has listed it as a "casino/card game". We may be looking at a very different Uncharted. The Australian classification page for the new game Apart from this, the classification reveals little else, though it does issue the warning "Experience may change online", so it's safe to assume a multiplayer mode is in the works. We'll have to wait and see for further information. ZTE is developing a 5.9-inch 1080p Windows Phone 8 'phablet'? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-is-developing-a-5.9-inch-1080p- windows-phone-8-phablet-/17759.html November 7th, 2012 Samsung, step aside because the Galaxy Note may be a thing of the past if ZTE is indeed working on a 5.9-inch Windows Phone ‘phablet’. ZTE is rumored to be in the process of developing a 5.9- inch 1080p WP8 smartphone. However, Microsoft has not confirmed support for 1080p devices, but chances are full HD support will be announced sometime in the near future if the Redmond-based software maker does indeed want to stand on even grounds with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. That said, all other important details regarding ZTE’s
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 rumored phablet such as the CPU, RAM, and storage is currently unknown. Steve Ballmer confidently said that sales of Windows Phone 8 hardware should pick up rapidly. "We are still relatively small. ... I expect the volumes on Windows Phone to really ramp quickly," Ballmer said at a WP8 launch event in Tel Aviv, Israel. The latest from the IDC has Windows Phone market share at 2.0% of the total smartphone market. Android and iOS on the other hand still controls the majority of the market with 75% and 14.9%, respectively, as of Q3. Microsoft is pouring a lot man power and money into pushing Windows 8 as well as Windows Phone 8 platforms into the hand of consumers. Partnerships with major carriers from around the world such as DoCoMo and AT&T imply such, but it remains to seen whether or not consumers are inclined to ditch the two-headed mobile behemoth that is ‘Goople.’ AT&T announced earlier this week that the Nokia Lumia 920 (the flagship among WP8 flagships) will go for $99, with a contract of course. If the cheap Lumia 920 price tag is not enough to entice consumers to switch, then how about the entry-level Lumia 820 for $49? The pricing and marketing strategies are set in place, but again, it is up to consumers whether or not they will walk out with a WP8 gadget in hand once it’s all said and one. One of the biggest drawbacks to adopting WP8 platform is that the Microsoft app marketplace is nowhere near the levels of Apple’s and Google’s. Microsoft is, too, pushing and wooing developers to make apps for Microsoft. As for the rumored ‘phablet’ from ZTE, the market for this particular niche is still young, so it will not hurt Microsoft or OEMs to take a stab at it and see where it takes them. Foxconn admits struggle to keep up with iPhone demand Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/foxconn-admits-struggle-to-keep-up- with-iphone-demand/17758.html November 7th, 2012 Foxconn, one of Apple's primary suppliers and assemblers, has revealed that it is having difficulty keeping up with demand for the iPhone. Foxconn, one of Apple's primary suppliers and assemblers, has revealed that it is having difficulty keeping up with demand for the iPhone. It is a problem that many other companies would love to be having, but Terry Gou, Chairman of Foxconn, told journalists that the company is “falling short of meeting the huge demand.” Gou said it is not easy making iPhones, a fact that is hampered not only by high demand, but by intense scrutiny and criticism of Foxconn's treatment of workers, following a spate of suicides in recent years and numerous investigations into factory working conditions. Higher pay for staff and a cap on working hours has undoubtedly weakened Foxconn's ability to pump out iPhones at an incredible rate. Foxconn could pick up the slack in iPhone supply by transferring some assembly from Hon Hai Precision Industry, the primary sub-division of Foxconn, which is responsible for making the iPhone range, to Foxconn International Holdings (FIH), a division which makes phones for Nokia and Huawei. Gou refused to confirm the rumours that FIH would be helping out in future, but Reuters reports that stocks rose by up to 35 percent after Citigroup upgraded its shares to “buy,” paving the way for a huge boost to supply for the iPhone. The
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 question is if it will be enough and if Apple can maintain its momentum with future models. Microsoft to shut down Windows Live Messenger Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-to-shut-down-windows- live-messenger/17757.html November 7th, 2012 Microsoft has announced plans to close its once popular instant messaging service Windows Live Messenger, replacing it with VoIP service Skype. Microsoft has announced plans to close its once popular instant messaging service Windows Live Messenger, replacing it with VoIP service Skype. Windows Live Messenger launched in 1999 as MSN Messenger, rivalling Yahoo Messenger and AOL's AIM, but the rise of Skype and Google Talk saw the market shares drop, resulting in Microsoft buying Skype for $8.5 billion last year. The ageing chat service has been given its death knell, with all services except the Chinese one, shutting down by March 2013, with users prompted to switch to Skype instead. A tool for migrating contacts over will be made available. The move follows a sharp decline in users, with a 48 percent drop to 8.3 million in the US alone. Many have already jumped ship to Skype or other services, and Microsoft would risk canibalising its user base by running two competing services, making the end of Windows Live Messenger somewhat of an eventuality. Skype as a brand could pull in a lot of new people for Microsoft, especially with upgrades in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, and the planned roll-out of Skype for the Xbox. There is also potential to make more money from this, since users can buy credit for Skype calls to landlines or mobile phones in addition to making their free text, voice or video chats. Maine gets its first WoW playing state senator Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/maine-gets-its-first-wow-playing- state-senator/17755.html November 7th, 2012 Colleen Lachowicz, the state senate candidate who has recently been under heavy criticism for playing World of Warcraft, has won her seat as senator. A while back, state senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz came under heavy fire from for being a World of Warcraft player. The republican party has been accusing the democratic candidate via an intensive mail campaign, sending out postcards citing her gaming habits as a reason for why she would be unfit for holding public office. One motivation is that she plays a rogue in World of Warcraft, and thus spends a lot of time stabbing things. Another is that she wastes time that could be used for more productive means. State Senator Lachowicz (left) and her WoW character (right) As the story broke, many people wanted to offer support for her campaign, but refusing to take donations, she directed them to give money to a political action committee, ActBlue, instead. At this, the republican party charged her with improperly acting with the committee. Nevertheless, Lachowicz was cleared of all charges, and then went on to defeat her opponent, Tom Martin, with 913 votes. She'll be representing Kennebec and Somerset counties, who clearly care more about a politician's qualifications, than how she chooses to spend her free time. Watch Dogs arrives next year! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/watch-dogs-arrives-next- year-/17753.html November 7th, 2012
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Ubisoft has revealed that it's upcoming game Watch Dogs, one of the most promising games of this year's E3, is going to be released next year for current gen consoles. In Ubisoft's financial call yesterday, it was revealed that the upcoming game Watch Dogs, will be coming out next year to current gen consoles and pc. This isn't the first time we've heard this information: The promise of a 2013 release was tweeted by Ubisoft earlier, but the tweet was deleted afterwards. Having the announcement made in an official statement though, garners more validity to it. Watch Dogs has been under development since 2010, and impressed at the E3 expo earlier this year, where it became one of the big surprises of the show. Watch Dogs' defining gameplay feature is the use of hacking throughout the game's open world environment. By tapping phones, redirecting traffic lights and all manner of other things, the player can turn the world around them into a useful tool or weapon. If it works well, it may be a very interesting game. Check out below for a gameplay demo: Gigabyte GTX 650 Ti 2GB Windforce 2X Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gigabyte-gtx-650-ti-2gb- windforce-2x-review/17398.html November 7th, 2012 The Geforce GTX 650 Ti is based on the GK106 die used in the GTX 660 but with some organs removed. Is it still enough to take you on the DirectX 11 virtual battlefield? This year, we've covered most of the GPU releases from both red and green camps, including three hot-clocked enthusiast grade Geforce offerings from Gigabyte (GTX 680, GTX 670, GTX 660 Ti). With the holiday buying season approaching, we thought that a significant portion of our readers might be eyeing the mainstream GTX 650 Ti, since it is priced at a relatively affordable US$159-174 and shares most of the DNA from the more illustrious Keplers. This is a card suitable for single monitor users who can settle for medium image quality and physics effects at 1080p resolution. The card in question is also good for SFF builds, since it has relatively low profile and power/cooling requirements. According to the latest Steam Hardware Survey in October of the latest generation of GPUs, Nvidia's market share stands at 3.92% (GTX 670/680 and 660 Ti) against AMD's 2.89% (HD 7850/7870/7950/7970), despite the latter having almost a half-year headstart in pushing their products to the same audience. The general consensus so far is that the Keplers have better power efficiencies, and Southern Islands edge ahead in clock for clock performance and GP compute. The GTX 650 Ti is available in 1GB or 2GB memory configurations, and we strongly recommend paying a few more follars for the larger option to avoid being bottlenecked in texture heavy titles like Skyrim and BF3. Gigabyte's take comes with their trademark Windforce 2X cooler and "Ultra Durable 2" components. Instead of a DisplayPort connector that we find on the higher end models, the Gigabyte card is fitted with a legacy analog D-SUB, which is a baffling decision since hardly anyone uses
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 it today. Together with the dual link DVI and HDMI ports, the GTX 650 Ti supports up to four independent displays. Only a single 6-pin PCIe connector is required, thanks to its lowly 110W TDP. There is no SLI bridge connector here so no multi-GPU capability is supported. The GTX 650 Ti uses a derivative of the TSMC 28nm GK106 ASIC found in the more powerful GTX 660, featuring one less SMX and memory controller unit (effectively 768 Stream Processors and 128-bit GDDR5 Memory Bus). Nvidia's polarizing GPU Boost (dynamically adjusts voltage and clocks) is also absent here, which should please those who prefer the traditional overclocking interface. Google changes its layout Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-changes-its- layout/17752.html November 7th, 2012 Google alters its design today, giving you a sleeker, less cluttered search window; at least on google's main US site. Google has updated the layout of it's US search page, simplifying the design and de-cluttering it. The changes include the removal of Google's sidebar, instead incorporating it's elements, such as images, shopping and search options, into the overhead bar available above your results. Google has stated that they wish to optimize the search page in to the many ways it's users access Google today. According to a statement, they want to ensure it's accessible “across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today.” Another effect of the change is that the right side of the screen, which provides immediate information on a subject you're searching for; the so called Knowledge Graph, will have more space. It's notable that only the US site, www.google.com, has been redesigned. Google is planning to incorporating the changes to it's other regional websites and languages soon.
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Me.ga domain seized, then hacked. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/me.ga-domain-seized-then- hacked./17751.html November 7th, 2012 Kim Dotcom's new file sharing hub Mega, is already facing difficulties, as the domain name me.ga was shut down yesterday. As if this wasn't enough, the domain has now been hacked by a group known as Omega. For the past few months, we've been hearing some bold words from Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload and creator of it's soon to be successor, Mega. Dotcom has been claiming time and time again that Mega will be unstoppable, a file hosting system of no equal, and we've covered it quite a bit at VR-Zone in the past. However, even before it's launch, Kim is finding a lot of opposition. Splash screen at the current mega site Dotcom decided on the catchy domain name Me.ga to be the home of his new site. However, yesterday, it was shut down by the Gabonese government, who own the .ga domain name suffix. The communications minister of the small African country, Blaise Louembe stated that www.me.ga "cannot serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people". So much for that idea. Dotcom wasn't phased by this though, stating that he had plenty of backup domains incase me.ga fell through. This is what greeted you after the site was hacked What he might not have been expecting is what happened next. A group known as "Omega" hacked me.ga after the shutdown, redirecting it to their own site. The group seems to be strongly opposing Dotcom and are looking to sell the domain to Dotcom's adversaries. In a statement they released on Torrentfreak, they said that Dotcom was "no better nor worse than Universal. He himself is an industry, only here to pollute." The hacked site has now been taken completely offline, but still, it looks like there's a war brewing. Until further notice, Mega is hosted at www.kim.com/mega, where a splash screen greets you with the launch date of January 19th 2013. PlayStation 3 certification suggests China might lift console ban Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/playstation-3-certification-suggests- china-might-lift-console-ban/17754.html November 7th, 2012 China's harsh attitude towards gaming might be a thing of the past after certification for the PlayStation 3 paves the way for an end to the country's ban on consoles. China's harsh attitude towards gaming might be a thing of the past after certification for the PlayStation 3 paves the way for an end to the country's ban on consoles. Sony's gaming console received approval from the China Quality Certification Centre, a move that signals a shift in approach to console gaming, which has been banned since 2000. “This does not mean that we have officially decided to enter Chinese market,” said Mai Hora, spokesperson for Sony. “We recognize that China is a promising market so we will continuously study the possibility.”
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 It is up to the Ministry of Culture to make any decisions on reversing the ban, but the certification is a good step forward for Sony and the country as a whole, potentially establishing a console battle between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo over the large and lucrative market. Despite the potential for high console sales in China, some analysts believe the gaming habits of Chinese people are very different to many other countries, with Piers Harding-Rolls, senior games analyst at IHS Screen Digest, suggesting that gamers prefer to use “non-dedicated devices,” according to Reuters. The threat of piracy is also another challenge console makers will face, particularly with the rise of knock-offs of devices like the iPhone and iPad in the region, but even with all the hurdles facing Sony and its rivals, China is just too big an economy to ignore. Affordable quad-core Huawei Glory a big hit in China Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/affordable-quad-core-huawei-glory- a-big-hit-in-china/17748.html November 7th, 2012 The Huawei Glory was officially released on November 6 and has been called "the quad-core king." Dragon Quest X Online now has 40,000 players in Japan Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dragon-quest-x-online-now- has-40-000-players-in-japan/17750.html November 7th, 2012 Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online, a game that was released by Square Enix for the Nintendo Wii console last August 2012, now has more than 40,000 players with over 70,000 copies sold in Japan. Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online, has been reported to have reached a number of more than 40,000 players in Japan as of November 6, 2012, within a time period of about three months after its initial release. For comparison, Final Fantasy XI, which is also developed and presented by Square Enix over 10 years ago last 2002, gathered only around 10,000 players within the same three- month period. This shows that the reception of the game is exceedingly a lot more than what was expected. The game is also noted to have been sold in over 70,000 copies in Japan. Dragon Quest X is currently the first online Dragon Quest game. It presents the same fundamental gameplay system of older titles, while having many more features that are usually available to standard MMORPG's. It currently has two game modes. The first one is the standard pay-to-play version, and the other is the time restricted "kid's time" free- to-play version. The upcoming Wii U version of the game is supposed to be filled with lots of other extra features that would make your adventure experience in the game more fun and exciting. The very first Dragon Quest game was released for the FamiCom (NES) console more than two decades ago, in 1986. It was one of the very first pioneers of the Japanese RPG genre known today, and have since then grown to be played on numerous other titles on other consoles through
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 the years. With the largely positive reception of the game in Japan, could we expect an international release soon? Sanwa presents new TouchPen for all surfaces Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sanwa-presents-new-touchpen-for- all-surfaces/17749.html November 7th, 2012 The new ballpen and touchpen tool by Sanwa can be used to note, write, point and browse on all kinds of surfaces. Touchpens are nifty and convenient little tools that can be used for clean and pinpoint touchscreen browsing. But if these tools are generally classified as pens, wouldn't it be more convenient to if they could also be normally used as a ballpen? The idea may be hardly original nowadays, but you may want to take a short look at what Sanwa can offer for your productivity. Simply called as the "Ballpen & Touchpen", this is a tool that can help you "access" all sorts of different surfaces. The "Ballpen & Touchpen" tool is originally designed to act as a touchpen for capacitive screened units, particularly modern tablets. It has a soft end and good sensitivity, which allows for the tactile sensation of actually pressing into the buttons of the screen interface. However aside from its touchpen function it can also be used as an ordinary ball point pen for writing notes. You simply have to pull the front half off, turn it around, and connect the touchpen end to the other end to the pen. The third and last functionality of the pen is its Class 2 laser pointer, which can of course be used on all kinds of wallboards for lectures, presentations and other similar stuff. Additionally, the overall design of the pen was done to make it look like a deluxe or premium ball point pen of some kind. Maybe this would make the product look more attractive when worn with proper businessperson attire? The "Ballpen & Touchpen" is currently available at Sanwa's online shop with a 3980 yen (50 USD) price tag. Corsair AX860i Digital PSU Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/corsair-ax860i-digital-psu- review/17747.html November 7th, 2012 Ever since its release back in August, the Corsair AX1200i became perhaps the most wanted power supply amongst all kinds of computer enthusiasts, from professionals to gamers and overclockers. However, most users did not really need that kind of power and the high retail price discouraged them from upgrading. Corsair realized this and today the company announced the release of two smaller digital PSUs, the AX760i and the AΧ860i, the wattage of which covers the main market body of gamers, overclockers and technology enthusiasts. Are they as good as the AX1200i though? We put the AX860i to the test, so the answers lie in this review. Ever since its release back in August, the Corsair AX1200i became perhaps the most wanted power supply amongst all kinds of computer enthusiasts, from professionals to gamers and overclockers. However, most users did not really need that kind of power and the high retail price discouraged them from upgrading. Corsair realized this and today the company announced the release of two smaller digital PSUs, the AX760i and the AΧ860i, the wattage of which covers the main market body of gamers, overclockers and technology enthusiasts. Are they as good as the AX1200i though? We put the AX860i to the test, so the answers lie in this review. The Corsair Link DSP interface is the highlight of the AX860i, as is of the entire AXi digital PSU series. The software allows the monitoring of several figures, such as the input/output power of the power supply, the voltage lines and the speed of the fan, as well as control certain aspects of the power supply, such as the fan speed profile and the OCP. Furthermore, the Corsair Link software can monitor other system parameters as well, such as the CPU/ HDD temperatures, fan speeds and almost anything that has a sensor embedded in it. Furthermore, it can also control parameters of other compatible devices, such as the H100i watercooling kit which the company recently released. Manufacturer’s features and specifications • Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for delivering extremely clean, efficient power with real-time adjustments • Corsair Link™ Integration for monitoring and adjustment of performance, noise, and OCP settings • Dedicated single +12V rail with user-configurable virtual "single rail" and "multi-rail" software modes • An ultra-quiet, 140mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow with exceptionally low noise levels by varying fan speed in response to temperature • 80 PLUS Platinum certified, delivering up to 92% energy efficiency under real-world load conditions • Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF value of 0.99 • Universal AC input from 90~264V
  • November 7th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 • Over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current, and short circuit protection provide maximum safety for your critical system components • Engineered to meet maximum power output at a server-grade 50°C temperature rating. • Self-test switch to determine PSU functionality even before installation. • High-quality capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability • A seven year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair's legendary technical support and customer service • Safety Approvals: cTUVus, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TÜV, CCC, C-tick Warranty Seven years Dimension 150mm x 86mm x 160mm Modular Fully Power 860 Watts 80 Plus Platinum ATX Connector 1 EPS Connector 2 PCI-E Connector 6 4 Pin Peripheral Connector 8 SATA Connector 12 Floppy Connector 2 MTBF 100,000 hours
  • November 8th, 2012 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. Creating easy design printouts with the iDecora iD-01 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/creating-easy-design-printouts-with- the-idecora-id-01/17772.html November 8th, 2012 Roland DG's newest member of their iCreate printer series, the iDecora iD-01, enables users to easily create design printouts for various creative purposes. Japanese computer accessory manufacturer Roland DG has recently unveiled their latest iCreate printer model. Designated with the name iDecora iD-01, it is technically a creativity-centric printer model that is primarily focused on printing high quality design sheets and other similar projects. For the most part, the iDecora iD-01 functions like an ordinary printer. However aside from its usual PC integration function, this printer could also communicate with your iPhone or iPad unit for printing jobs via the upcoming iDecora app for the iOS. This communication/ data transfer feature provides the printer with the functionality that is present on many standard wireless printers today. Aside from directly connecting through iPhone and iPad units, the iDecora iD-01 could also wirelessly communicate using the AirMac Express. Sticker and iron print sheets are the first things that would definitely come to mind with this design printer. However, it can also take other types of specialty design sheets like label papers and vinyl chloride sheets. You can create wallpapers, shirt designs, papercrafts and even nail designs with it. The dimensions of the unit are (W)230×(L)158×(H)108mm, and it weighs 1.4kg. Wired connectivity option for the device includes a USB 2.0 port. Those who want to learn more about the printer's design and creativity potential may simply look up into the iDecora app's list of available design data. Other than the iDecora app, the printer unit itself will also have its own iDecora Creator design data software for PC's. Roland DG plans to launch an iDecora specialty website around the same time of its commercial release. Owners of the printers will be presented there with detailed usage instructions, maintenance tips and additional downloadable design files to maximize their use for the design printer. The official release date of the iDecora iD-01 is on November 15, 2012. It would be available to customers at a price of 20,790 yen (265 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) Google launches Chrome- based music collaboration web app Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-launches-chrome-based- music-collaboration-web-app/17774.html November 8th, 2012 Google has launched a music creation web app for its Chrome browser that lets one or more people play guitars, keyboards and drums together live. Google has launched a music creation web app for its Chrome browser that lets one or more people play guitars, keyboards and drums together live. The aptly-titled JAM with Chrome is a “Chrome Experiment” using HTML5, including Web Audio API, Websockets, Canvas and CSS3. We gave the app a try and found it amusing and surprisingly versatile. Users can choose from 19 different instruments, likely with more to come, and there are different modes available depending on previous musical expertise.
  • November 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The easy mode allows individual string, pad or key clicks, or a useful autoplay feature for those of us without musical talent, allowing for some good tunes with little effort. The more advanced pro mode lets people use their keyboard to play, an important option, since clicking really is not fast enough for proper simulation of a real instrument. One thing it seems to lack is a Record button, which could have worked nicely with an upload to YouTube, but we expect Google will add something like this eventually. Up to four people can play together, with users able to invite friends to a session via a special link, or even post to Google+, Facebook or Twitter to see who shows up for a jam. However, you might want to soundproof your walls before hitting that Invite button. If that has not sold you on JAM with Chrome, perhaps some musical animals might. More than a third of IT to be cloud-based by 2015 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/more-than-a-third-of-it-to-be-cloud- based-by-2015/17773.html November 8th, 2012 Cloud computing is expected to boom over the next few years, with a report by WaveLength and Winn Technology suggesting that more than a third of IT will run on the cloud by 2015. Cloud computing is expected to boom over the next few years, with a report by WaveLength and Winn Technology suggesting that more than a third of IT will run on the cloud by 2015. Currently only 4.4 percent of enterprise IT runs on the cloud, which is already up by 58 percent on last year, with 78 percent of medium and large businesses using or testing a cloud-based platform. The study predicts that by three years time that 4.4 percent will be 35 percent, firmly securing the cloud's role in the future of IT. “The enterprise cloud market and segments have quickly evolved; today’s meaningful question is no longer if cloud is used but rather how much,” said Natalie Robb of WaveLength Market Analytics. “Last year, cloud users said they expected 28% of IT to be cloud-based by 2015 and now they expect around 35%. Knowing what sets Cloud Pros and Pioneers apart is crucial for technology and telecom firms to advance technologies and reach buyers.” The report divides enterprises into different segments, with a new one called multicloud users or “Cloud Pros,” making up 19 percent of the division, with all of them using multiple data centres and most employing Amazon Web Services. “Cloud Pioneers,” who actively use or pilot a cloud, account for 59 percent, many of which use IBM, Verizon and Rackspace, while 12 percent are making cloud-based plans. The remaining 10 percent have no current cloud plans. In the cloud sector itself, desktop cloud apps are up from six percent to 26 percent, while back-up and disaster recovery is also up significantly, from 17 percent to 38 percent. So for anyone thinking early adopters of this technology had their heads in the clouds, they might want to think again, as cloud computing appears to be the way forward for many businesses.
  • November 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Starbacks starts accepting Square mobile app payments Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/starbacks-starts-accepting-square- mobile-app-payments/17771.html November 8th, 2012 US coffee company Starbucks has started accepting payments made using the Square Wallet mobile app, paving the way for cashless enjoyment of a hot beverage in roughly 7,000 Starbucks outlets. US coffee company Starbucks has started accepting payments made using the Square Wallet mobile app, paving the way for cashless enjoyment of a hot beverage in roughly 7,000 Starbucks outlets. The app, for Apple and Android devices, makes use of the user's credit or debit card for payments. Once a payment is arranged, users scan the QR code presented, and the money is taken digitally, resulting in a digital receipt of the transaction. Starbucks customers might already be familiar with the company's own mobile payment app, which is used over two million times each week, and has clearly been seen by Starbucks as a resounding success if it is now keen to embrace even more mobile payment options. Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks, said that the company looks forward to continuing to offer choices to customers in how they pay. “Starbucks was the first national retailer to offer its own mobile payment technology combined with a world-class loyalty program in January 2011, and we have seen a tremendous response from our customers with more than 100 million mobile transactions occurring in our U.S. stores since its launch,” he said. “Starbucks believes in the values and vision of Square, and just three months after announcing our partnership with Square, we are thrilled to make the convenience of paying with the Square Wallet app available to our customers starting today.” Square Wallet is more than just a payment system, however. It shows where the nearest Starbucks is and what is on the menu. Outside of Starbucks it makes it easy to find other local businesses, particularly ones that also use Square Wallet, and provides rewards for visiting new businesses for the first time. The app is available on any device running iOS 5.0 or Android 2.2 or higher. Only participating stores in the US will be accepting Square Wallet payments for now, but we can likely expect the feature to be rolled out across the world over time. MSN gets the boot, but not in China! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/msn-gets-the-boot-but-not-in- china-/17762.html November 8th, 2012 You may have heard the news this week that MSN’s flagship messenger would be merged into their recently acquired Skype software. In most parts of the world, it will be lights out for MSN starting in the first quarter of 2013. However, this isn’t the case for China. Hey that’s not fair! It turns out that China gets to keep MSN. Why is this? Well it may have something to do with the fact that at present, MSN’s Chinese users total 50-60 million people. Not bad, especially considering the iron grip that Tencent has had on the chatting market with its popular QQ software. (By the way, QQ is said to have something like 0.72 billion users.. yikes!). In the past few years, MSN has bobbed along in China at around 5% market share. That’s not to say that Chinese users won’t get access to Skype of course (well unless.. you-know-who decide to block access). As with current MSN users in other parts of the globe, Chinese users will also have the chance to transfer their account to Skype. The problem with China Skype is a global internet phone company that was founded in 2003. It enables users to voice chat with each other, and also call domestic and international phones ‘IRL’ as the kids say these days. In 2007, Chinese internet company TOM announced that it would be bringing Skype to the mainland,
  • November 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 and to achieve this they opened a joint-venture company, where TOM got 51% and Skype held on to 49% stock. Things changed in May of last year, when the big bad company from Redmond came into the picture. Microsoft acquired Skype for 8.5 billion dollars. That's right.. 8.5... BILLION DOLLARS! In China, MSN is operated by Shanghai Mason, which is a company set up by Microsoft and a local enterprise called ‘Shanghai Union Trading”. When MSN and Skype merge, this will cause quite the love triangle between TOM, Microsoft, and Shanghai Union Trading. Local analysts say that TOM would still have control of Skype at the time of the merger, but what that would mean in the courtroom is hard to say. Other analysts even go so far as to say that Skype is a VOIP client, and as Microsoft have no license to distribute such software in mainland China, its very existence under Microsoft’s control would be illegal under Chinese law. Microsoft is already finding it hard to stay afloat in the vicious Internet market of domestic China, and merging Skype and MSN may exacerbate the problem rather than remedy it. Added to this is the fact that Microsoft doesn’t fully own MSN, this already makes it difficult for Microsoft to control the many problems that the software faces in China such as frequent downtime and excessive advertisement. Giving control over to another company isn’t Microsoft’s style, but it is almost certain that Microsoft decided to do this because the alternative would be to deal directly with the government, which is well known for putting foreign controlled companies through hell. Google and Ebay are two good examples of the things that can happen when you take on the far east. So for now at least, it looks like MSN isn’t going anywhere. If you live in China. Nippon Ichi Software to continue focusing on PS3, Vita Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nippon-ichi-software-to-continue- focusing-on-ps3-vita/17770.html November 8th, 2012 The RPG game developer Nippon Ichi Software, which has focused on the Playstation platform in the past, has stated in an interview that indeed, they will continue to do so in the future. Nippon Ichi Software has been focusing on the PlayStation platform, releasing several games for the PS2, PS3, PSP and Vita, and in an interview with the Japanese magazine Dengeki, they have revealed that they will be continuing this in the future. They will be focusing their efforts on the Playstation 3 and Vita from this point on, but they have not yet given up on the PSP. NIS is still developing niche software for the Playstation Portable, according to the studio's president Sohei Niikawa. One of NIS's previous titles, Disgaea 4 The rumor is that NIS is currently developing a new title for the PS Vita. In addition, the interview hinted at the release of Disgaea 5, the new sequel to their popular franchise. The title was first hinted at in July during an anime expo. As with the previous Disgaea games, it will include a new world setting and characters. Most likely, the game will be released on Playstation 3. LG releases UltraWide 2560x1080 29-inch IPS monitor Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lg-releases- ultrawide-2560x1080-29-inch-ips-monitor/17768.html November 8th, 2012 Korea’s LG Electronics’s new beast of a monitor has an aspect ratio which comes close to cinema quality. But how does its other features compare? The EA93 UltraWide monitor, as its name suggests, is really frickin’ wide, and 29” of screen real estate should be enough for any HD content you can throw at it. Not only that, but the monitor also supports splitscreen mode, which turns your monitor into 2 or 4 subscreens ala Mario Kart. This makes it the perfect choice for multitaskers looking to give their productivity a boost.
  • November 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Cinephiles and workaholics alike will be absorbed by the capabilities of this device, especially graphic designers and programmers who are used to heaving multiple monitors onto their desk will especially appreciate the efficiency they gain when using splitscreen mode. Being all in the same physical monitor, the subscreens will each have identical colors and resolution to each other. This will solve the problems graphic designers frequently run into when using 2 separate monitors to compare their work on. Speaking of this, the monitor also has 100 sRGB color space, and can be color-calibrated in hardware, which ensures that you can get the most out of its display capabilities. The 21:9 aspect ratio of the monitor makes it perfect for watching movies. Most movies are shot and edited with the cinema in mind, and generally movie theater screens have an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 or 2.39:1. Watching this movies on your laptop monitor or home TV set causes them to be cropped or distorted from the original format. With the EA93 UltraWide, you can watch movies the way they were intended to be seen. The IPS display technology used by the monitor also allows viewers to sit at practically any angle to the screen and still enjoy the vibrant colors and rich visual quality. The monitor also includes two 7W stereo speakers and allows gamers to hook up their consoles via HDML or even their smartphones via the included MHL connection, making it possible to watch media and also play games through your phone. Pretty neat, huh? The LG UltraWide Monitor will be released in its home country Korea early this month, and it should be available globally before the end of the year. Specifications: Screen Size 29W Aspect Ratio 21:9 Contrast Ratio Mega Resolution 2560x1080 Color Gamut sRGB 100% Panel IPS Brightness 300nits Viewing Angle (V/H) 178/178 Response Time 5ms Interface DVI-D Dual x1, HDMI x2 MHL x1, USB 3.0, Display Port, PC Audio In, Headphone Out BeBionic 3 prosthetic hand looks like something from the Terminator Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bebionic-3-prosthetic-hand-looks- like-something-from-the-terminator/17769.html November 8th, 2012 British prosthetic firm RSLSteeper latest creation, the BeBionic 3 prosthetic hand, looks like something from a sci- fi movie, and has some impressive capabilities. The British company RSLSteeper has been developing prosthetic limbs for a few years now, and their latest creation, the BeBionic 3, is quite impressive. The prosthetic is a mechanical hand made from light weight carbon fiber with aluminum and alloy knuckles. Thanks to the design, it's light enough to be worn without much strain, however, where it really excels is in it's function. It is strong enough to grip a book, yet delicate enough to grab an egg. The hand is controlled by the contraction of two muscles in the forearm, to which sensors are attached via a forearm sleeve. When one muscle tenses, the tiny bioelectrical signal which is produced, is picked up by the hand's sensor. The sensor then amplifies the signal and send the signal to the hand, which closes. When the other muscle tenses, a signal is similarly sent for the hand to open. If both muscles are tensed, then the hand switches from it's gripping mode to it's wrist rotation mode. Thus, the hand doesn't function naturally in the same way a real hand does, but it is operated through muscles in the arm, and learning to use it intuitively sounds like a fairly easy process.
  • November 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Seeing how it looks now, imagine how cool these things will be in a few years... What sets the hand apart from other prosthetics though, according to Richard Shapcott, general manager of the US branch of the company, SteeperUSA, is that the digits can be operated individually. Most prosthetics simply have a gripping function where the entire hand can be closed or opened. The BeBionic 3 however, has a motor for each finger, meaning it can perform delicate operations, such as clicking a mouse or gripping a pencil. Esthetically, it also makes the hand look more natural. The hand comes preset with eight different grips, some of which involve manually rotating the thumb with the other hand. BeBionic 3 comes with software that lets you modify the grips though, adding your own or refining the existing ones. Since September, roughly 30-50 people have been outfitted with the prosthetic. One of these people is Nigel Ackland, who lost his hand six years ago. Below is a video where he demonstrates some of the hand's capabilities. Android and iOS will have Microsoft Office in 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/android-and-ios-will-have- microsoft-office-in-2013/17766.html November 8th, 2012 There are quite a few good office suites available for iOS and Android, but when Microsoft wants to shove its way to the front, well, who’s going to stop it from pummeling the competition? Microsoft has been quiet about its development of Office for iOS and Android, but a version of Office has been spotted via The Verge. Per the same source, Microsoft is planning to release its mobile productivity suite sometime in early 2013. The Office app will be free to download so that Android and iOS users will be able to view Microsoft Office documents. Basic viewing functionality of Word, PowerPoint, and excel documents will be free of charge in Android, but to edit documents users have to have Office 365 subscription. iOS users will, too, be able to view the same type of documents, and users will be able to buy Office 365 subscriptions directly from within the app. The Office app for iOS will supposedly launch around March, 2013, but Android users will have to wait until May, 2013 to have a whack at the app. Use Bing to earn free Windows Phone apps Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/use-bing-to-earn-free-windows- phone-apps/17765.html November 8th, 2012 Want to know how to get free apps for your Windows Phone devices? It’s not exactly ‘free’ per se, because you’ll have to do a bit of work to obtain the points which you can then convert to cash for use towards the apps. If you use Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, then you may know that there are some perks to searching Microsoft’s answer to the Google search engine. With the Bing rewards, you can now redeem points—earned by using the Bing search engine—for certificates for the Windows Phone Store. (Go ahead, Bing away) The freebies will come in two forms, one is the $1.25 variety, and the other is $5 nugget. To cash in your $1.25, you must earn 170 points, and 525 points for the $5 reward. If you’re a Windows Phone user, just know that you’re a part of a very selective few. Microsoft’s contribution to the
  • November 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 smartphone market with its Windows Phone platform is currently set at 2%, according to the IDC. If you’re already on a Windows Phone user, it goes without saying that even if you manage to earn a good amount using the Bing search engine, there may not be much for you to redeem from in the Windows Phone Store. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t some useful apps for you to purchase, but for now, the choices seem somewhat limited in comparison to iOS and Android. AT&T to invest $14 billion to extend LTE & broadband coverage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/at-t-to-invest-14-billion-to-extend- lte--broadband-coverage/17764.html November 8th, 2012 AT&T is going to spend big to deliver better services to its customers, and by big I mean investing $14 billion large. The increased spending will help AT&T expand its 4G LTE network, which is more efficient in transmitting data than the previous 3G generation. “This is a major commitment to invest in 21st century communications infrastructure for the United States,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, said in a statement. He also mentioned that the expansion will help to deliver high-speed internet to millions more people who did not have access to broadband before. A portion of the investment will go towards expanding AT&T’s broadband network. Strategically, the company wants smartphone users to use the wired network instead to help alleviate the stress of data usage on the wireless network. Verizon is currently in first place in terms of LTE coverage, with 420 cities. Whereas, AT&T’s LTE currently only covers about 80 cities, but AT&T expects that the investment will help to bring LTE to 300 million people by the end of 2014. AT&T’s move to beef up its infrastructure follows recent moves by other major carriers in the U.S. to improve their respective services. Last month, T-Mobile USA bought out Metro PCS to expand on its own business. Sprint, another major U.S carrier, recently handed over the majority of the company over to SoftBank Japan in exchange for $20.1 billion. The thought of catching up to Verizon is on the mind of most major carriers in the U.S., and AT&T is putting a lot of chips on the table, but so have T-Mobile and Sprint. Will AT&T retain second place in the race to be the largest carrier? The company is planning to infuse $22 billion into expanding its network by 2015, so why shouldn’t AT&T maintain its rightful place as the second best carrier? Spiffy MARSHAL USB analog meter displays PC's internal information Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spiffy-marshal-usb-analog-meter- displays-pc-s-internal-information/17761.html November 8th, 2012 MARSHAL announced that they are developing an analog meter which can display your PC’s status – and look cool while doing it. Presently, the product is still undergoing testing, but we know that MARSHAL is working on 3 types of meter – one to show CPU, one to show HDD, one to show memory, and one final meter to rule them all ….. well maybe not that last one. Combined with an exclusive software package, the meters are able to read the various internal data from Windows task manager and display them on their cockpit style gadgets. The test products are completely handmade, and their black spherical shape bear a Gantz-like quality to them. (I wonder if it plays “a new morning has come”?). They also have a simple red arrow which points accurately to the current value of whatever information it is displaying. The final design may not completely emulate this simple design however, and MARSHAL may still have a few surprises up their sleeves. The mysterious device also has an LED backlight installed in it, giving it an even eerier look when you switch the lights off.
  • November 8th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 MARSHAL’s head of domestic planning Takeomi Maruyama expressed his thoughts on the quirky meter product. “Engineers who develop ways to convert analog to digital are a dime a dozen, but those who know how to convert digital to analog are few and far between. For this reason, it took a long time for this product to be realized from its original design," he said. All that work just for the PC equivalent of a magic eight ball. Who’da thought? The ball, while not exactly a cornucopia of functionality, is bound to attract fans of the stylish and unique. It’s release date has yet to be announced, but you will be able to get your hands on one for around 1,980 Yen (~25 USD). Currently, there are only 3 test models, but that may change if they are popular enough. I bet you artsy types will buy them up in truck loads though, that is if you haven’t spent your money on the latest Macbook Pro. MARSHAL Homepage
  • November 9th, 2012 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. Space internet used to issue commands to robot on Earth Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/space-internet-used-to-issue- commands-to-robot-on-earth/17793.html November 9th, 2012 An astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) has issued commands to a robot on Earth using a new interplanetary internet, paving the way for enhanced communications between astronauts and people back home. An astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) has issued commands to a robot on Earth using a new interplanetary internet, paving the way for enhanced communications between astronauts and people back home. The new technology, developed jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, is called Disruption- Tolerant Networking (DTN) and has the potential to help safely deliver more data from space missions back to Earth, addressing existing problems with rovers sent to Mars. Sunita Williams, ISS Expedition 33 Commander, used a laptop with the DTN software to successfully direct a rover in Germany. The idea going forward is to replace the existing point-to-point communication systems used to control rovers on Mars with the new, more data durable internet. The DTN was a project long in the making, with proposals made a decade ago by Vint Cerf, one of the creators of the internet. The space internet is similar to the one back home, but as its name implies it is more tolerant to delays and disruptions that are possible when sending data over such large distances, where data may take minutes rather than seconds to arrive, sometimes due to solar storms or planetary interference. The delays are dealt with using a network of nodes, where data is held at one node when there is a disruption, before attempting to send on again later. This prevents the data loss that is capable when a transmission fails on the normal internet. The technology is likely too expensive to replace our normal internet here, but it could become part of smaller networks, such as those used by the military, where data loss prevention is important. Tales of Hearts R Slated for a PS Vita Release in Spring 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tales-of-hearts-r-slated-for-a-ps-vita- release-in-spring-2013/17790.html November 9th, 2012 Bandai Namco Games finally presents a remake for the Nintendo DS game Tales of Hearts. The game will be ported this time for the PS Vita and will be released in spring 2013. Bandai Namco Games is again continuing its trend of remaking certain Tales series games for other consoles. This time, its Tales of Hearts, a game that was originally released for the Nintendo DS last 2008. The new Tales of Hearts R will feature a new 3D rendered environment, and will have lots of other bonus features that would let gamers treat it as a totally separate version from the original. The game will be ported to the PS Vita, and is scheduled for an official (Japanese) release in spring of 2013. Aside from the newly 3D rendered graphics the game would also have fully voiced main scenarios. There will also be additional animation sequences to further immerse the players into the game's story. A new battle strategy/ command, which is named as the "Chase Link", provides an
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 additional angle of offense for players who want to use aerial battle techniques (waza and ougi) to combo their opponents above ground. The world map system, a system that is common to many standard RPG's, will also make a comeback in Tales of Hearts R. This would allow the player to experience going through fields and navigating the next town just like any classic RPG. But perhaps the most anticipated bonus addition to the remake is Calcedny Arcome. Originally a non-playable character in the NDS version, he will now be available in the new PS Vita version as a playable party character. In general the remake will have many features that would also enable old players of the original version to have something to enjoy. Players who are expecting an English release of the game overseas though might still have to wait yet again, if Bandai Namco Games would ever decide to work on an international version of it soon. New potentially habitable planet discovered Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-potentially-habitable-planet- discovered/17792.html November 9th, 2012 Astronomers have discovered a new planet which they say could support life, thanks to a potentially similar climate to that seen on Earth. Astronomers have discovered a new planet which they say could support life, thanks to a potentially similar climate to that seen on Earth. The team, which combined scientists from the University of Goettingen in Germany and the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, identified the planet orbiting its star at roughly the same distance as Earth does, which is within the “Goldilocks Zone” of neither too hot nor too cold. The planet, dubbed HD 40307g after its star HD 40307, is 44 light years away and has a mass that is seven times that of Earth, which might come in handy if our burgeoning population ever needs to evacuate the planet in future. In addition to orbiting its star at a distance similar to our planet, the new planet also rotates on its own axis, which gives it a night and day cycle, further exciting astronomers about life on the planet. Night and day is pivotal, as otherwise one half of the planet would be plunged into total darkness the entire year around. Earth - could HD 40307g look like this? HD 40307g, which we might one day call Earth 2, was discovered using the HARPS spectrograph, which can pick up changes in light colour of the star as it is affected by the gravitational pull of its orbiting planets. A new technique helped filter out the star's own signals, making it easier to see the surrounding planets. Previously the scientists were only able to discover three planets, but the newly-employed technique uncovered three additional planets, including this potentially life-supporting one which is the closest of habitable planets to Earth that ticks all the boxes for an Earth-like environment. Of course, until we develop technology to travel such vast distances of space safely, it will likely be a long time before we can confirm the scientists' suspicions. US Game sales drop 25% in October Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-game-sales-drop-25-in- october/17784.html November 9th, 2012 Game software and hardware sales continute to decline, and during the month of October, sales have dropped 25%, possibly due to people holding off their purchases before the big holiday titles are released. For the past 11 months, game sales in the US have been dropping. The trend continues during October, with game sales dropping a further 25%. The drop concerns both hardware and software.
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The NDP group revealed the sales figures on Thursday It is possible that October's decline in sales is due to the upcoming holiday game rush. Many AAA-titles, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Hitman: Absolution, will be coming out very soon, and some gamers may simply be waiting to spend their money. Still, a few of the holiday games have already been released during October, and the holiday rush doesn't explain the past year of sales: The NDP group revealed on Thursday that the industry's sales in the US have gone from $1 billion last year, to just $755.5 million for this year. Sales of games, excluding PC titles, fell by 25%, to $432.6 million. Hardware, including consoles, fell 37% to $187.3 million. Accessories was the only part of the industry where sales saw a growth; increasing by 5% to $135.6 million. Hitman: Absolution, is one of this years holiday season releases, and will be coming out in November Retail sales account for roughly half of the industry sales, the rest being covered by downloads. One explanation to the drop in sales is that we're nearing the end of a console generation, and thus, consumers may be less inclined to throw money at their game systems. Feel free to come up with your own theories in the comments section below. Throwable camera helps warn of dangers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/throwable-camera-helps-warn-of- dangers/17787.html November 9th, 2012 A company known as Bounce Imaging is developing a new, throwable camera which can help with finding dangers and letting the user know via a mobile device. Bounce Imaging have been developing a new device; a small ball outfitted with an array of cameras and sensors, to warn of dangers wherever it's thrown. When deployed, it rolls to a stop, and then a series of six cameras with infra red lights construct a panorama of the area around it. The device also takes measurements such as temperature and oxygen levels in the area. All of this information is then transmitted to a mobile device and will give the user invaluable information on what to expect around the next corner. The developers of the camera ball, both of whom are alumni of MIT, have stated that the device is still a prototype and that further testing and development is needed. Still, they expect it to have far-reaching application, in everything from search and rescue to military operations. Though no price has been speculated on yet, the ball will be cost efficient and will provide an alternative to traditional fiber optic "snake cams" used by first responders today. Apple experiences a slump in China: iPhone out of China's Top 5 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-experiences-a-slump-in- china--iphone-out-of-china-s-top-5/17789.html November 9th, 2012 After just taking a blow in the global market by losing 1st place to the Galaxy S III, its more bad news for Apple today as the latest analyst data shows that the Apple iPhone dropped out of China's Top 5 smartphones in the 3rd quarter. Apple enjoyed 2nd place in China's smartphone market in the first quarter of this year, but have started to see their foothold slip as they dropped down to No. 5 in the second quarter. The 3rd quarter sees a continuation of that trend as Apple's iPhone slipped further down to No. 6. Samsung held their grip on the market, keeping 1st place with 14% of the market, and are closely followed by Lenovo who have 13%. While Apple's YOY shipment of smartphones in the 3rd quarter actually increased, it wasn't enough to hold onto their position against the fast pace of local makers, and their market share dropped 1 point from the previous quarter to 7%. Analysts commented that China's electronics market operated on the principle of extreme price wars, and recent low-price high functioning smartphones produced by local makers has stimulated new growth at the bottom end of the market. People who weren't interested in buying hi-tech cell phones at Apple prices jumped at the chance to get their hands on some nifty gear at an affordable price. In the 3rd quarter of this year, China's total shipped smartphones amounted to 50,000,000 units. That's more than 1/3 of all globally shipped units. 60% of these were made by Chinese manufacturers, and as time goes on an even larger percentage of these sales will be eaten up by local manufactures. The average price for a smartphone in China is currently $70~$120 USD. Compare that to Apple's iPhone 4S, which when bought without a contract in China will set you back a
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 hefty $713 USD. That's almost a full months wages for a lot of locals. Will the iPhone 5 be Apple's savior in China? Things are not all bleak though, as Chinese sales of the iPhone have yet to feast on the spoils of the iPhone 5, which is scheduled for a December release in the region. Analysts expect the new revision to give Apple another boost in the 4th quarter. Whether or not this will be enough to hold off against the cutthroat competition of the Chinese electronics market though, is yet to be seen. Dead Space 3 Co-op adds new element of gameplay Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dead-space-3-co-op-adds-new- element-of-gameplay/17786.html November 9th, 2012 Dead Space 3 has been critiziced for featuring an optional co-op mode, which players believe will remove much of the horror elements in the game. The co-op though, will feature some unique features that may change that. Dead Space 3 has been under some criticism recently, much focused on it's upcoming co-op gameplay. Many critics believe that including co-op in a horror game will remove many of the elements which makes the game scary. Visceral Games hopes to remedy this by adding some interesting and unique elements into the gameplay: Both playable characters will be having hallucinations at different times during the game, while the other continues to experience the game normally. This will lead to one character running off like a madman, while the other is left alone to fend for themselves. Alternatively, they could choose to follow the player, but may then be lead into a situation more dangerous than they were previously in. It's likely that this won't restore all of the dread and loneliness the game series have previously been good at invoking, but it is taking a step in the right direction. Having co-op take a few unique and different turns will set it apart from the regular concept of "play the same game but with a friend", is welcome too. At this time though, not much is known of how extensively the hallucinations will be incorporated into the game. Personally, I have never been a particular fan of co-op, and I have been skeptical to the Dead Space 3 co-op in particular. I have to admit though, I'm very curious to try it out. Dead Space 3 will be released in February 2013 Skyrim DLC coming soon to PS3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/skyrim-dlc-coming-soon-to- ps3/17785.html November 9th, 2012 PS3 players rejoice; after a long wait filled with bugs and delays, Skyrim may soon get a DLC pack for Sony's console. When The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released for PS3, it was plagued by bugs. Most notably, the game became slower as you explored more and more of the game world. This had to do with how the Playstation 3 handles system and video memory, which is notably different from how it is handled on the Xbox360 and PC. Bethesda decided that they wouldn't release any DLC for the game until all the issues with the Playstation port had been resolved. In the meantime, PS3 players have been free to look on with jealousy as the PC and 360 received DLC packs Hearthfire and Dawnguard.
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Now though, PS3 players may finally get to experience the content, as Bethesda has released a statement: "To update: we’re also close on new Skyrim content for PS3 and PC." It had been hinted in the code for the newest DLC, Dragonborn, that the it may be released for PS3, and so the issues with the platform were probably resolved. This confirms it. CoolPAD 9960 with Nvidia five core chip comes out this month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/coolpad-9960-with-nvidia-five-core- chip-comes-out-this-month/17782.html November 9th, 2012 According to recent reports from China Telecom, CoolPad's latest flagship 4.7-inch Android smartphone, the HD 9960, will go on sale later this month. The biggest surprise, however, is that the phone will come with a Nvidia penta- core chip inside. In true Chinese fashion, the HD 9960 is the result of two years of research by a team of 800 engineers. It represents a significant achievement through the partnership between CoolPad and China Telecom. In China, sales of the phone will be subsidized by the state owned China Telecom. A lot of buyers may need help affording it, too, as its price of 4980 Yuan, or almost $800, places it firmly at the expensive end of the price spectrum for new smartphones. The HD 9960's 4.7 inch 1280x720 screen and 13MP camera are impressive, but it's the processor that could really change everything. The Nvidia mobile CPU inside the new phone employs a technique called Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) to balance workloads and save power. Additionally, the CPU governor analyzes system workloads and switches between the low power process 500MHz processor and the four high performance 1.5GHz processors. The 'throttling' effect can be accomplished in just 2 milliseconds. Nvidia claims this processor uses two to three times less power than standard competing chips. The HD 9960 is part of a major investment in handset technology on the part of China Telecom, and an ambitious attempt by Chinese IT companies generally to compete with their counterparts around the world. China Telecom has outlined a strategy it calls the "New Three" which consists of providing technology, a platform, and content for mobile phones. CoolPAD is reported to have invested 200 million Yuan ($32 million) in research. Investment in new devices is also reportedly up 20% over 2011. I wouldn't expect the appearance of new technology from Chinese manufacturers to slow down any time soon. The World goes Topsy-Turvy: Foxconn factory in America? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-world-goes-topsy-turvy-foxconn- factory-in-america-/17788.html November 9th, 2012 In a strange turn of events, market watchers in China have leaked that the notorious Apple contractor Foxconn is planning to build a manufacturing plant in the States. Electronics makers such as Apple generally outsource their manufacturing to the Far East to cut costs and take advantage of the Mainland’s extensive work force. Foxconn is one of the biggest of these outsourced manufacturers, and makes sure that all the kids in middle America get their new iPhones in time for Christmas. The lower salaries and
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 material costs in China have traditionally made it a ripe target for device makers who want to keep their expenditure to a minimum. ..Which is why it’s completely unintuitive that Foxconn would be trying to build a company in the US. …Or is it? With each new generation of device, the technology embedded in them become more and more complex. Especially in the case of iPhones, each new model seems to try and cram more and more components into an ever-tightening space. However, there is one electronic product that doesn’t face that problem: LCD displays. Analysts predict that it will be these displays, and not Apple’s iProductLine that get their green cards, so to speak. So where does this theory stem from? Recently, there has been somewhat of a trend in the US, where many product makers with manufacturing plants based in China have started announcing their plans to bring manufacturing back to the US. In order to solve the cost difference between the two continents, makers have begun to get cozy with a new burgeoning technology: automation. The trend began with electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors, who completely manufacture their Model S cars in America, using multi-limbed sophisticated robots with more tentacles than a Japanese comic book. Tesla Motors' automated factory at work Hoping to jump in on the homegrown boom, many other makers have started vowing to rid their manufacturing process of all connections to the East, and thus in one sweep banish the problems of exploitation accusations and intellectual property theft which constantly rear their head in the industry. Foxconn is in a very fragile position if such a boom continues to fruition, as suddenly they will have no clients left. Not one to be left behind, Foxconn is taking the initiative and attempting to go automatic before their American friends can beat them to the chase. The new factory search in America is probably directly related to this strategy. Any concrete plans are still unclear, and the topic still remains hearsay, but sources state that Foxconn are currently scoping out Detroit and Los Angeles as potential build sites for their new factories. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. New software from Microsoft translates spoken language almost instantly Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-software-from-microsoft- translates-spoken-language-almost-instantly/17783.html November 9th, 2012 Microsoft is developing new software which allows the user to speak in one language, and have their voice almost immediately translated into speaking another language. Sci- fi takes another step towards reality. At an event in Tianjin, China on October 25, Microsoft's chief research officer Rick Rashid demonstrated a new product which translates speech into other languages. Rashid's voice was almost immediately translated from English into Chinese. After he spoke, the words he uttered in English appeared on a screen along with it's Chinese translation. A short time thereafter, he was heard speaking Chinese to the cheering audience. There has been a slew of recent research into voice recognition, and particularly from an advancement known as "deep neural networks", which make use of the way neurons are mapped in the human brain to better optimize speech recognition. By understanding how the human brain thinks, and how it goes from thought to thought, it has an easier time predicting what word comes next, based on what has been said previously. This new technique has reduced the errors in speech recognition from 20-25% of the translated words, to just 15%. This is still a lot, but a significant improvement. The new translator makes use of the recent improvements in order to transcribe what a speaker says. Even when speaking unclearly, as one would in a normal conversation when not attempting to dictate words, it manages fairly well at understanding what the speaker is saying. Afterward, the software translates the text, word for word, into the new language. Next, it reorders the words to fit the structure of the new language. The final part of the translation process is to speak the translated text, and it does this in the original speaker's voice. The speaker supplies about an hour of their own voice, which allows the software to automatically modulate the audio output to sound like the speaker. Rashid has stated that the limits of the accuracy of this technology is unknown. However, the most impressive part of the technology is that the software completes the translation almost immediately. In other words, we're not all that far from the translators you see on Star Trek or in Mass Effect, and that is extremely exciting. The future is now! Below is a video demonstration of the technology from the recent event in China:
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 US Seals who killed Bin Laden punished for revealing secrets in game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-seals-who-killed-bin-laden- punished-for-revealing-secrets-in-game/17791.html November 9th, 2012 A number of US Navy Seals, allegedly including at least one member of the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, have received reprimand letters and pay deductions for revealing secrets while helping out with Medal of Honor: Warfighter. A number of US Navy Seals, allegedly including at least one member of the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, have received reprimand letters and pay deductions for revealing secrets while helping out with Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Electronic Arts brought the Seals on board as consultants, claiming that they were used to make the material in the game, including raids, more realistic. The Seals are believed to have divulged secrets in this process, but it is not clear what these were. Sufficed to say, the Navy was not pleased. Rear Admiral Gary Bonelli, Deputy Commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, told the Associated Press that the Navy does “not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do.” The seven Seals, which include two Senior Chief Special Operators and five Chief Special Operators, all members of Team Six, were charged with violation of orders, misuse of command gear, dereliction of duty and disclosure of classified material, according to the BBC. They received disciplinary letters and their pay was cut for two months. Another four former Team Six members, who are still on duty in the Navy, are under investigation. Team Six was the division of the Navy responsible for taking out Bin Laden, earning it fame throughout the US and the rest of the world, but some members of the group have irked the Pentagon over their subsequent behaviour. One Seal, Mark Owen, wrote a book about the events, which the Pentagon warned their could be legal repercussions over. For all the hype over the use of real Seals in the making of the new Medal of Honor game, Warfighter was received largely negatively by critics and players alike. Our review highlighted how it was “mediocre” and full of bugs. So if any secret Navy information was used in the game, probably less people than intended will be seeing it now. Intel to Merge Xeon and Itanium in 2015-2017 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-to-merge-xeon-and-itanium- in-2015-2017/17781.html November 9th, 2012 The future of much criticized Intel Itanium processor is often blurry. In fact, it was even a matter of recent court spat between ORACLE and HP, where ORACLE wanted to abandon Itanium altogether. Thus, Intel is making a strategic move to ensure the future of this niche product line. Without much fanfare, Intel finally introduced the Itanium 9500 series, formerly known as Poulson. This long- delayed part is manufactured using the trusted-n-tried 32nm process, replacing the 65nm Tukwilla (Itanium 9300 Series). However, there are many clouds on the horizon for the Itanium lineup, mostly with Itanium customers demanding more strict ECC code for the GPU and Accelerators (how Intel likes to call Xeon Phi), in order to replace them going forward. Even with the court forcing ORACLE to continue supporting Itanium, there's no secret that long delays of Poulson / Itanium 9500 and general lack of focus on the architecture Intel and HP once called "the future of high-end computing" are taking their toll. Thus, for the next generation of Itanium processors, Intel is going to do something the company typically avoids to do: socket compatibility. Poulson or Itanium 9500 will be the top of what Intel has on offer for the next two to three years, during which time its successor, 22nm Kittson will be reengineered to align itself with the Xeon E7 series processors. According to slides leaked on X-bit Labs, the Haswell-EX (Xeon E7) will share silicon design (Memory, I/ O, RAS) and package / socket, while the cores will be either Itanium (IA64) or standard Xeon (x86-64 / EM64T).
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 This move is scheduled to take place during 2015-2017 timeframe, which follows the executing logic of the company: • Ivy Bridge (Core i3/i5/i7) debuted in 2012 • Haswell (Core i3/i5/i7) will debut in early 2013 • Ivy Bridge-EP (Xeon E3/E5) should arrive in mid-2013 • Ivy Bridge-E (Core i7) debuts in late 2013 • Ivy Bridge-EX for critical servers (Xeon E7) debuts in late 2013 • Broadwell (Core i3/i5/i7) should ship in early 2014 • Haswell-EP (Xeon E3, E5) should ship by mid 2014 • Haswell-E (Core i7) debuts in late 2014 • Haswell-EX (Xeon E7) is planned for late 2014 • Broadwell-EP (Xeon E3 / E5) is planned for mid 2015 • Broadwell-E (Core i7) arrives in late 2015 • Broadwell-EX (Xeon E7) is planned for late 2016 At the same time, Kittson is targeting the introduction in the fourth quarter 2015, when the socket meld should be happening. The company is hoping that by lowering the cost of the infrastructure, it can get more businesses to use Itanium. At least, that is the company line. More realistically, as our sources close to hear of the company are saying is that Intel wants to lower the cost of Itanium platform development, since it represents too high of a strain when profitability is compared. The new socket could be the one you already know - according to some sources, Intel plans to re-wire the LGA-2011 for Haswell/Broadwell, making it incompatible with Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge-based products. The rewiring isn't being done to support new architectures, but rather provide more power - according to documents we saw, Intel plans to introduce 150W and up to 180W parts when Haswell and Broadcom architectures enter the cut throat server business. That's it for this edition of crystal ball, stay tuned. Xiaomi now taking orders for the 6th batch of Xiaomi M1s phones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/xiaomi-now-taking-orders-for- the-6th-batch-of-xiaomi-m1s-phones/17780.html November 9th, 2012 Fans who missed out during the first five rounds have another chance to order their own M1s phones. The first round of 20,000 phones, released on August 29th, sold out in just under half an hour. Is the phone worth the fuss? Xiaomi will be releasing the sixth batch of its popular M1s phone on the 11th of November, in time for Chinese 11/11 sales events. The last five rounds were snapped up eagerly by hordes of Mifen, as Xiaomi fans are known in China. But let's take a look at the phone and try to figure out what all the fuss is about. Despite selling for 1499 Yuan (the equivalent of $240, in China), it is marketed towards the US market as well as international customers for between $330 and $360, respectively. The phone's specs are average. It runs MIUI V4, an in-house twist on Google's popular Android ICS. It comes equipped with a 1.7GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor, 8MP camera with autofocus, and a 2MP rear camera. The M1s supports both GSM and WCDMA connections. The MSM8260 1.7GHz processor represents the biggest difference between the M1s and the earlier M1 phone, which was powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor. The M1s also includes an HML instead of a micro-USB port. Chinese reviewers have praised the M1s for its speed and responsiveness, and that the phone's greatest strength is its ability to stream video smoothly. Reviewers have also commented that it takes quality pictures, and comes installed with useful software like a music player and antivirus software. On the other hand, a few have
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 complained about bugs affecting the audio quality and that the battery can often get hot. Overall, the positive feedback seems to outweigh the negative, and the speed with which each batch of M1s phones sell out is a testament to its popularity. It is sure to remain strong competition for other phones in its price range due to its speed and ease of use. Chinese colleges in favor of online civil service exams Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-colleges-in-favor-of-online- civil-service-exams/17779.html November 9th, 2012 For hundreds of years, the Chinese civil service exam was a strenuous affair for scholars wanting to work in the government. Now, many professors want the exam to be held online. The Chinese civil service exam has changed drastically over the last hundred years. In pre-modern China, Confucian scholars would spend days in a small room writing lengthy essays on parchment. Today, college students take the exam with pencil and paper, but soon, the exam might be on the internet. According to discussions among Chinese universities, it may be beneficial to host the civil service exam online. Ji Xuefeng, a professor of mathematics, says that many student athletes have to cut back on practices because their parents push them to take the civil service exam. If the exam were held online, students would be able to take the test without missing other activities. It would also encourage students to take the test who may have otherwise not had the time. Having the test online would be more convenient for students, teachers, and proctors, but it might make sorting through the scores more difficult. Last year, 150 million people took the test, according to the Chongqing National Bureau of Statistics Survey Corps. Only one out of every 9470 test takers get a job in the civil service. If the exam were held online, entrance into the civil service might become even more competitive. Civil service employees have very low starting salaries, but they recieve good benefits and job security. However, it seems that fewer and fewer young people are interested in civil service careers. Brush your teeth till they're blue! Bluetooth 4.0 coming soon to...everything Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/brush-your-teeth-till-they-re-blue- bluetooth-4.0-coming-soon-to...everything/17776.html November 9th, 2012 The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) announced on the 8th that Windows 8 would natively support Bluetooth 4.0. With Bluetooth 4.0, your PC will be able to connect to a whole new array of low power- consuming devices. Bluetooth 4.0 first reared its head in the iPhone 4S. Unlike previous editions of the protocol which munched up all the power from your battery (presumably with its blue- teeth), this time around Bluetooth is being heralded as the harbinger of a new era of low energy devices. If it does all that its cracked up to be, Bluetooth 4.0 will be the go-to choice for medical and health devices, sports and fitness equipment, and a host of other crap that you never dreamed would some day connect to your PC. Bluetooth has forged its way into a variety of devices thus far due to its simple and secure way of connecting wirelessly to devices. According to ABI Research, the amount of Bluetooth capable devices in the world already amounts to 9 billion; shipped units in 2012 alone account for over 2 billion of these, and there are no signs of this trend slowing down. Over 9 billion blue-teeth reported. Dentists everywhere are outraged. From its humble beginnings as the wireless communications device of choice for headset-wearing obnoxious businessmen who talk too loud in the line at Starbucks, Bluetooth has evolved into a multi-purpose protocol whose low power requirements will let it bless your household products with its heavenly blue teethed waves. Running on a battery the size of a coin, Bluetooth 4.0 really is a giant leap for the protocol. There is one tiny itty-bitty problem with putting Bluetooth in everything though. The simple and compact data sent from each Bluetooth compatible device cannot really be used by anything without first being sent to a “hub” device, like a PC, smartphone, or tablet. Only then can the data be viewed, processed, or sent to that all-powerful cloud in the Internet sky.
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Doc, I'm having a CAT scan here, can you quit playing Angry Birds for one second? At the recent Bluetooth 4.0 sleepover (or maybe it was just a conference, who knows), the example given was wait for it… a Bluetooth ready toothbrush. (Get it? Bluetooth.. toothbrush.. ha..ha… oh you crazy engineers!) So anyway the example was of a child using a Bluetoothbrush™ to brush their pearly whites, and all of the data associated with the brushing process such as time spent, pressure of the brush, which teeth were brushed etc. can all be sent to a nearby tablet or phone. Oh god.. it actually exists… a Bluetooth toothbrush!! Where can I get one??? A possibly less creepier example given was to insert a Bluetooth enabled accelerometer in the tip of a golf club to measure your swing speed and accuracy, allowing the golfer to check his/her stats on their smartphone. More useful applications include checking your blood level on your PC, or connecting your fitness equipment to your TV so that you can synchronize your workout with Jane Fonda (good luck catching up to her though!). Blue wavy things not included (unless you count Bluetooth’s spread spectrum radio waves, but they’re invisible, silly.) Bluetooth devices are expected to take the world by storm, reaching an estimated 2.5 billion devices shipped next year, and 27 billion devices shipped by 2017. It’s hard to say what level of success the slimmed down protocol will have, but it sure will be fun to see what crazy devices choose to support it in the coming years. Play Halo 4 multiplayer and earn Microsoft Points Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/play-halo-4-multiplayer-and-earn- microsoft-points/17778.html November 9th, 2012 Embrace your Halo 4 addiction with Microsoft's new Halo 4 Combat Tour promotion on Xbox LIVE Rewards, allowing gamers to earn up to 800 MSP just by playing Halo 4 multiplayer. The more you play, the more you earn!
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 Gamers can now get rewarded for their devotion to playing dozens of hours of Halo 4's multiplayer with Microsoft's new Halo 4 Combat Tour promotion, a new Xbox LIVE Rewards program focused on 343i's newest chapter in the Halo franchise. Microsoft is giving away a total of ten million Microsoft Points in the promotional event, allowing each gamer to earn up to 800 MSP for their participation in Halo 4's invigorating and explosive multiplayer. "Your commitment to Halo 4 has never been so rewarding! Xbox LIVE Rewards members can earn up to 800 Microsoft Points this November simply for playing Halo 4 on multiplayer and purchasing eligible Halo content on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Explore Halo 4 in all its modes: Campaign, Spartan Ops, and War Games - the more you do, the more you get. Gamers can also get back Microsoft Points when they purchase Halo-related content from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, offering more ways to earn from the promotion. Players have the entire month of November to stack up their hours, and can play both War Games and Spartan Ops to accumulate game time. Pre-Orders now available for Gears of War: Judgment Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pre-orders-now-available-for-gears- of-war-judgment/17777.html November 9th, 2012 Epic's groundbreaking franchise is back and better than ever with Gears of War: Judgment, and now you can reserve your own copy at a retailer near you. Epic Games' Gears of War franchise has been synonymous with Xbox 360's noteworthy shooters, providing a unique and gritty experience that hasn't been matched by many other games on the market today. Spanning an award- winning critically acclaimed trilogy, the new Gears of War release--GoW: Judgment--breathes new live into the series with a multitude of new gametypes--like OverRun-- and a brand new story arc that continues the dynamic plot of the previous games. "Before the rise of the Lambent, the sinking of Jacinto or the detonation of the Lightmass bomb, there was Emergence Day – when the Locust horde burst from the ground and set Sera on a path toward near annihilation.Gears of War: Judgment brings players back to the terrifying aftermath of E-Day, before the events of the Gears trilogy, for the most intense and challenging “Gears” game yet." Gamers can now reserve their own copies of Gears of War: Judgment, securing their place among the ranks of Cog- heads worldwide for a brand new battle. The upcoming new chapter retails at the standard price of $59.99, however many retailers have $1 pre-order cards that allow gamers to reserve their copy and pay the rest when the game is actually released--which is quite convenient for many gamers. Gears of War: Judgment releases on Mar. 19, 2013 for Xbox 360. For more information please visit the game's official website. Sharp to release electronic dictionary with a twist Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sharp-to-release-electronic- dictionary-with-a-twist/17775.html November 9th, 2012 Not one to let bad news stand in their way, (soon to be bankrupt?) Sharp is releasing a new “lifestyle oriented” electronic dictionary on November 22nd. Dubbed the “Brain PW-A7300”, the device is expected to be released with a price of around 35,000 Yen (~$440). At first glance, the Brain PW-A7300 looks just like any other e-dictionary. But it packs a secret weapon. In an attempt to ride the health boom currently sweeping the aging society in Japan, this dictionary is chock full of health tips. That’s right. Health tips, in a dictionary. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! Sharp is just full of surprises lately. Although it may sound strange, technically it makes sense. The dictionary’s health almanac is pulled from an electronic version of the “Complete Course on Household Health: Revision 6”, which has previously been released on the Android market. So technically it is a dictionary. Sort of. Anyway, this health encyclopedia has over 2,600 entries about illnesses, wounds, symptoms, and so on. Think of it as a pocket version of WebMD.
  • November 9th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 The home screen of the device makes no attempts to hide the fact that it is going for the ‘iPhone for old folks’ angle, and consists of 6 icons: “Health”, “Brain Training”, “Travel”, “Dictionary”, “Color Picture-book Movie”, and “Accessories”. Especially interesting is the “Brain Training” application, as the popular “Brain Age” game on Nintendo DS is actually called “Brain Training” in Japan, and just happens to be one of the best selling DS games amongst the elderly in Japan. It looks like Sharp are trying extremely hard to conquer that market, but whether they can do it or not by copying competitors is another matter. What’s more, the device itself is no Nintendo DS, and shoving unrelated software on a device like a dictionary is a bizarre move to say the least. By the way, did I mention the dictionary comes with a touch pen? Despite the dubious nature of some of the bonus apps, we should give Sharp some credit for thinking outside the box here, as most electronic dictionaries tend to be boring grayscale with the same 2 or 3 dictionaries and not too many extra features. It just feels like maybe the makers of this device are stretching themselves too thin trying to please a bigger audience, and in the end it is doubtful whether they can find any market for such a device, in a world of smartphones and portable games consoles. I guess that's why they’re trying so hard to appeal to old people, since they are the one target group who don't necessarily all carry cell phones. It looks cool I guess but can it play Angry Birds? Didn't think so... While adding a lot of extraneous features, Sharp did the right thing and made sure not to drop the ball when designing the core features of the device: the dictionary software itself. The device carries a whopping 100 dictionaries including “Kanji-gen 5th Revision”, “Meikyou Japanese Dictionary”, “Historical Encylopedia of Japan”, “Genius English-Japanese Dictionary”, and some other bizarre entries such as “Understanding Medicine Your Doctor Gave You 2013”. Well, it is a health-oriented dictionary, after all. Spec wise, the unit is no iPhone 5, but it still beats the pants off of earlier models with its 5in 480x320 dot LCD display, and continuous display time of approx. 130hrs. The Brain PW also packs a microSD card, which is usually used to add new dictionaries in devices like this, but maybe Sharp will offer new apps to install via SD card if it sells enough units. The device’s dimensions are 149x110.2x16.8mm, and it has a weight of 205g. It comes in gold, pink, black and green, so you’ll have no problem finding a model that matches your grandma’s shoes if you’re buying one as a Christmas gift. The dictionary doesn't promise to cure all ailments of the elderly, but here’s hoping that it can cure some of Sharp’s recent aches and pains. Press Release: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/ news/121108-a.html
  • November 11th, 2012 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. Samsung vs Apple: Have the tables finally turned? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-vs-apple-have-the-tables- finally-turned-/17803.html November 11th, 2012 Recent analysis shows that more of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III phones were sold in the 3rd quarter of this year than the Apple iPhone 4S. Is this the beginning of a new era? And just what is Samsung's secret? During the past quarter, Samsung shipped 18 million units while Apple only managed to sell 16.2 million. That’s a big deal considering the iron grip that Apple has held on the smartphone business for the past few years. Although the data referred to mixes shipped and sold units and is basically like comparing apples to oranges (well, actually its comparing Apples to Samsungs..), the result is still far from insignificant, and may be the first step down a bleak road for the Cupertino developer. Arch rivals Samsung and Apple have been battling each other for years for domination of the smartphone market. Both manufacturers employ a more or less similar strategy, that of focusing on a single flagship device rather than diversifying and playing the laws of large numbers, as has been the case with HTC, Motorola, LG et al. By doing so, Samsung were able to build up their brand recognition and make their product into the ‘must-have’ device that is craved annually by a mass market. While in the background Apple have been taking on Samsung in the courts for copying the likeness of their products, in the main arena of pushing product there was nothing Apple could do to stop Samsung from “copying” their winning strategy, and ultimately it has been this strategy that has let Samsung rise above their opponent. The Galaxy S III finally knocks the iPhone out of its ivory tower After three iterations of the Galaxy S, Samsung have gotten into the swing of how to control every aspect of their smartphone strategy. From hardware manufacture to design to advertising, Samsung is completely self-sufficient. This is the real Ace up Samsung’s sleeve, and gives them unlimited potential in the mobile computing market. Apple, though trying hard to migrate from relying on 3rd party fabricators to internally developed ARM chips for their CPUs, still have to rely on outside sources for their phone’s displays and flash memory. Until now Samsung have been the major source of these parts for Apple, so the Korean maker have been profiting even when their competitors do better than them. That’s not to say that Apple doesn’t have control over its production chain. It is this very control which has been another key part of their strategy, as they can cheaply and quickly manufacture in bulk thanks to their huge orders every year. When Apple is in town, it is harder for other phone makers to even get similar parts, since contracted manufactures in places like Taiwan and mainland China are too busy cooking up batches for Apple’s annual sales bonanzas. Samsung is about the only other player capable of such a high-stakes battle. And they play it just as well as Apple. It is hard to say which way the feud between Apple and Samsung will go. Maybe Samsung’s lack of creativity will be the thorn in their side that stops them from really getting ahead of their foe. But one thing is for sure, where there’s more competition, there’s more benefit for the user. As long as the fire between the two smartphone makers keeps smoldering, there will be no end to the rapid innovation and progress of the mobile market. Sales numbers courtesy of tech.sina.com.cn Taiwan will switch to digital TV by 2014 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/taiwan-will-switch-to-digital-tv- by-2014/17801.html
  • November 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 November 11th, 2012 The Taiwanese government has announced a date for the analog to digital television switchover. Electronics companies are manufacturing set-top boxes in preparation for incoming sales. The Executive Yuan, the executive branch of the Taiwanese government, is planning for all television services to become digital by 2014. All county and city governments will hold their National Cable subscriptions until the end of 2013, when services will make the switchover. People who still have analog televisions will need set- top boxes to convert broadcasts. Electronics companies such as Prime Electronics and Satellites, Inc., Unizyx, and Morningstar are producing set-top boxes en masse. Local television service providers will purchase the set-top boxes for customers who need them. The Executive Yuan had recently planned to make a complete switch to digital cable by 2017, but the growing popularity of digital service in Taiwan made it possible to do this sooner. Already, more than 50% of Taiwanese households have digital cable, and broadband companies like KBRO have seen surges in service subscriptions. Apple pays $20 million for clock design Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-pays-20-million-for-clock- design/17802.html November 11th, 2012 Awhile back, there was a report that Apple stole a clock design trademarked by the Swiss Federal Railways. Well, the story didn’t end there, as the Swiss railway company decided to go after Apple for stealing what was rightfully theirs and got a pocket full of change for their effort. There hasn’t been much coverage regarding the iOS clock rights, and none of that matter now because Apple has agreed to a $20 million payout for rights to use the clock design. The amount Apple paid out to the Swiss Federal Railways may as well be a dime in a wishing well, but to the average Joe it’s an automatic retirement and all the toys one can ever wish for. Initially, the railway company approached the iOS clock design with friendliness and enthusiasm, and they had this to say in a statement: “We’re rather proud that a brand as important as Apple is using our design, it’s already on show in exhibitions in places like New York.” However, shortly after the initial statement, a Swedish newspaper reported that the Swiss railway company meant business and were pursuing the matter legally. Lo and behold, the outcome couldn’t have been better (other than more money) for the Swiss railway company. The railway company's operating revenues for 2011 were $902.4 million, so $20 million may not seem like much. However, we’re talking about a clock design that’s worth $20 million! Only companies like Apple have enough change to toss around like that. Now that that’s out of the way, back to Samsung vs. Apple. Update: The figure seems to be around $20-21 million. The Nerd comes to the big screen with the official AVGN: The Movie trailer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-nerd-comes-to-the-big-screen- with-the-official-avgn-the-movie-trailer/17800.html November 11th, 2012 James Rolfe a.k.a. the Angry Video Game Nerd has released the first official AVGN: The Movie trailer, allowing fans to get a two and a half minute glimpse of the hilarity that ensues when the Nerd gets pressured into reviewing the worst game of all time: E.T. for the Atari 2600. Just about every gamer around knows about that iconic cussing, booze-chugging geek gamer who brings you back to the past and plays all the games that really suck ass. James Rolfe's portrayal as one of the most humorous YouTube celebrities on the internet has gained considerable popularity and an ever-growing fanbase: his signature bad- mouthing and unforgettable expressions have become the stuff of legend. Since his inception in 2006, AVGN has gone viral and is still going strong with a multitude of views and followers throughout the internet's most popular social networks. The episodic YouTube show now spans over a hundred episodes, each of them focusing on a different classic system of game that has frustrated everyone in the gaming sphere. Due to the popularity of The Angry Video Game Nerd's show, James Rolfe has been working on an official AVGN movie for the last few years. Finally, we get to see the fruits of his labors with the first official AVGN: The Movie trailer.
  • November 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 This film marks the culmination of Rolfe not only as a popular internet celebrity, but as an aspiring director, and it will be quite a fantastic journey to see the Nerd review one of the worst games of all time: E.T. for the Atari 2600. Check the trailer out for yourself below, and for more information on The Angry Video Game Nerd and the AVGN movie be sure to check out Cinemassacre's official website. Preview of ASUS's new Windows RT VivoTab RT TF600 (Japan) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/preview-of-asus-s-new-windows-rt- vivotab-rt-tf600-japan-/17799.html November 11th, 2012 ASUS will be releasing their own Windows tablet tomorrow (in Japan) to do battle with the multitude of competitors all itching to get their hands on a slice of the mobile computing pie. But how does it stand up against its rivals? Your favorite writer (me, in case you were wondering) is here to find out! On Nov 11, ASUS fans will get an early Christmas gift in the form of a new Windows 8 tablet by the Taiwanese manufacturer. Launching at 59,800 Yen ($750 USD), the tablet will run Windows RT on its ARM SoC platform. Of course, beneath the pretty veil that is the common Windows UI lies the controversial debate of ARM's compatibility with various apps/software. It is said that 10% of the apps on the Windows Store are not compatible on RT, and not only that, but device drivers compatible with the OS are few and far between. If it looks like a tablet and works like a tablet, then its probably a tablet. Users who just want a basic tablet with Internet functionality and a familiar interface should be happy enough with the VivoTab in its current state, but those wanting a little more bang for their buck should probably hold out for an X86 model. Of course, that’s not to say the folks at MS won’t some day solve the compatibility issues with RT, but those of us with memories somewhat more lengthier than a goldfish may still be haunted by flashbacks of the early days of Vista… and Windows ME…. And we all know just how long those problems lasted for. One advantage of ARM’s System-On-A-Chip hardware is that being originally designed for use in smartphones, it’s motherboard and cooling components can be shrunken down to fit into small spaces. This means any tablets that use it should be thinner and lighter by default. And on the software side, sure you may not have access to every app out there, but at least you get Office 2013 (well.. this device only comes with the ‘Preview Version’ of Office, but its better than nothing. I guess.) Lookin good, VivoTab, have you been on that new juice diet that's all the rage? Of course in America, Microsoft’s own flagship ‘Surface’ is getting most of the limelight, but over in the land of the Rising Sun, the only Windows tablet currently available is the NEC LaVie Y. Starting tomorrow, Japan will have a grand total of 2 Windows tablets on the market. Not exactly piping hot competition, but that is sure to change in the coming months. Anyway, lets get down to the nitty gritty. That’s what you’re all here for, isn’t it? Specifications CPU: NVIDIA Tegra3 (1.3GHz quad core with embedded graphics) Memory: 2GB Storage: 32GB Display: 10.1” Super IPS + Liquid Crystal Resolution: 1,366x768 dots Interface: IEEE 80211b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro HDMI, microSD, microphone & headphone jacks. Extras: Mobile keyboard dock available separately for 14,800 Yen ($186 USD) (yikes!) Sensors: GPS, compass, accelerometer, gyrometer, 2MP front camera, 8MP back camera Dimensions: 262.5 x 170.9 x 8.3mm (same as ASUS Pad)
  • November 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Sure it looks cool now, but just wait until you get your greasy fingerprints all over it... Judging from the above, you may be thinking “why, that’s exactly the same as an Android tablet!”. If so, give yourself a cookie, because you’re quite right. It seems that at this point in time, ASUS is merely offering existing hardware wrapped up in a different bow. Maybe when competitor devices start showing up in Japan they’ll try harder, but until then you should probably keep that credit card stored safely in your wallet. That is, unless you really really loved Windows ME. Product Page: http://shop.asus.co.jp/item/ASUS %20VivoTab%20RT%20TF600T/ Evergreen release touch- based Bluetooth keyboard Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/evergreen-release-touch-based- bluetooth-keyboard/17798.html November 11th, 2012 Evergreen Inc is back again with another weird device for you crazy PC aficionados. It’s a touch based Bluetooth keyboard and it’s got “useless” written all over it. But looks can be deceiving so let’s take a look at what it’s really like. Before we go into the tech side of this device, its worth noting that its one of those mysterious units that can only be acquired via direct sale. In this case the keyboard can be obtained via Shanghai Donya (that's Japanese for wholesalers), and you’ll forgive them for not spending too much on marketing, but come on guys you could have tried a little harder with the name. DN-80513. Seriously? It sounds like a reject droid from the Star Wars prequels. But anyway, like I said this is only available through direct sale, so I guess people who have their heart set on owning something like this won’t be too bothered about what its called. So what does this little puppy have in store for those brave enough to put 7,999 Yen (that's a cool $100 USD) on the line for one? By the power of Bluetooth!! Well, the keyboard is exactly that – a flat board, with keys printed on the surface. It works by electrostatic capacitance (in normal people speak, that means iPhone-style (capacitive) rather than Nintendo DS-style (resistive)). This means when you spill your coffee on it, it will go all crazy for a while, but when it dries it will go back to normal. Unlike mechanical keyboards, which instantly fry when bathed in hot caffeinated liquids. So that's one plus point for the device. Another advantage of the keyboard is that it works over Bluetooth, so it’s completely wireless. Even better is, you can switch modes on it to turn it into a Bluetooth touch pad. Ok not bad, Evergreen, so what else can you do to wow us with this little black brick? There’s another cool option – the backlight. In dark places you won’t have to fall back on your Mavis Beacon skills to type, instead you will be greeted by the cool Tron-like hue of the panel. Another cool add on is that the board vibrates to every touch, and this haptic response should keep your fingers from feeling naked when tapping on this flat slab. Might be cool for taking notes but you won't see anyone playing Counterstrike with this thing!
  • November 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The dimensions seem to be somewhat tablet-oriented at 191x115x13mm, and it has a weight of 269g, so you won’t have to stock up on protein powder before carrying it around. Carrying it together with a 7-inch tablet should be a piece of cake. The keyboard of course has an internal battery, and it can be charged over USB. The DN-80513 hasn’t jumped on the 4.0 bandwagon and is still Bluetooth 3.0, but its communication distance of a max 10m should be more than enough for any eagle-eyed typists. It supports Windows Vista/7/8 and iPad/iPhones on iOS 4.2 and below, and if you’re lucky enough to possess an Android phone with Bluetooth HID profiles, it should work on that too. This keyboard isn’t for everyone, but might be a cool addition to your Starbucks survival kit if you have $100 lying around collecting dust. Shanghai Donya Product Page: http://www.donya.jp/ item/23966.html Tencent Video to recoup startup expenses by 2014 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tencent-video-to-recoup-startup- expenses-by-2014/17797.html November 11th, 2012 Tencent announced an end to the "money burning" stage as its new video platform starts turning a profit. Now competing against the Youku and Tudou merger, Tencent Video has some advantages that sets it apart. In the past 16 months, Tencent has been investing heavily in in its online video website and now expects to recoup its losses by 2014. Tencent Video recieves around 275.5 million viewers a month, better than Youku's previous 266.3 million viewers a month. Youku, a popular Chinese online video service, recently merged with its rival, Tudou, amassing an average of 475 million monthly viewers. However, Liu Chunning, Tencent's general manager, is confident that Tencent can catch up with Youku-Tudou soon. According to Liu, Tencent has four advantages over other video sites. First, Tencent has years of previous experience in the entertainment industry and is better able to draw viewers to videos according to their interests. Second, with Tencent's integrated platforms and channels, videos can spread more widely. Third, Tencent can use its user base resources and capital to keep technology up to date. And lastly, Tencent has one of the most innovative and influential new media platforms in the country. There are currently four popular video platforms available in mainland China: Youku-Tudou, Tencent, Sohu, and Aiqiyi. Foreign websites, such as Youtube, are banned by the government and only accessible through a VPN or other application. Target Black Friday sale includes Retina iPad with $60 gift card for $499 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/target-black-friday-sale-includes- retina-ipad-with-60-gift-card-for-499/17796.html November 11th, 2012 The madness is about to begin, so are you willing to endure it all for a chance at grabbing a Retina iPad with a $60 gift card for $499.99? Black Friday is quickly approaching, and if you’ve been setting aside a few bucks here and there for a chance at grabbing cheap tech then maybe an iPad with Retina bundled with a $60 gift card for $499.99 from Target will empty the pig and satisfy your urge for a new toy. Wal-Mart will, too, have an iPad sale, but it’s not the one with Retina. Rather, Wal-Mart will be selling the iPad 2 for $399.99 and will come with a $75 gift card. Wal-Mart will open early, and promises that the iPad 2 will be in stock for at least an hour. If you’re willing to endure the crowd and risk losing a body part in all the madness then I have this to say to you: “May the force be with you.” Wouldn’t it be nicer just to stay at home to enjoy the left-over turkey and catch up with family and friends? iPhone snatchers beware: pepper-spray case now available Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/iphone-snatchers-beware-pepper- spray-case-now-available/17795.html
  • November 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 November 11th, 2012 Are you an overprotective parent (not many will admit to being so)? Are your kids off to college? Are you scared for their safety? Did you spoil your kid with an iPhone 4/4S? If you answered yes to the last question, then perhaps an iPhone case with built in pepper-spray will help to ease the thought of evil-doers trying to harm your precious children. It’s called the ‘Pepper Spray Phone Case,’ and although the name may not conjure up fear like facing el Diablo himself, it’ll get the job done—just like a normal point-n- shoot pepper-spray canister. The deadly iPhone 4/4S add-on was developed by Scott McPherson of Arizona for the purpose of protecting his daughter who is in college. “Most co-eds don’t go anywhere without their smartphone,” he said, “So the optimal solution was to combine her phone and a safety device.” Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Operating the pepper-spray is as easy as unlocking the canister and turning the phone sideway then aim-and- shoot. According to McPherson, the spray is formulated using habanero pepper: “[It’s] one of the hottest peppers available.” “We use what the police force does, TSA, FBI. We actually buy it at the same place they get it,” McPherson added. The pepper-spray case is currently only available for the iPhone 4/4S, and can be bought for $39.95 via Spraytect. It comes in four colors: Black, pink, white, and turquoise. The maker is even kind enough to include a dummy canister so that you can practice operating the pepper-spray case. Presenting the New Extra Battery Packs from Croy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/presenting-the-new-extra-battery- packs-from-croy/17794.html November 11th, 2012 Energy accessory manufacturer Croy has released 3 new portable battery products, all of which can be conveniently used without the need for wires. Croy, a specialty manufacturer of energy accessories for mobile devices in Japan, has unveiled on November 9, 2012 three new products that they will add to their current product line. Each one of these products presents a functionality that is similar to battery pack smartphone cases, which means they do not necessarily require wires to be used. The first product is the Energy Stick. It is an extra battery pack that is cylindrically shaped, and looks much like an oversized battery. Connection ports include both one male and female connector, with the female connector mainly used for wired charging (using adapters). Standard configurations include a full USB port, and a 30-pin Apple connector port. It weighs 90 grams, has an energy capacity of 3000mAh, and will be priced at 3850 yen (50 USD).
  • November 11th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The second product is the Energy Stage A30. It is an extra battery pack that is uses a 30-pin Apple connector port, so it is specifically designed for the iPhone 3GS / 4 / 4S and iPod. While it can be used like an iPhone stand as shown in the image, the connector can actually bend all the way down, allowing you to use it much like any other battery pack smartphone case. It has an energy capacity of 2700mAh, and will be priced at 3750 yen (48 USD). The last product is the Energy Stage Micro. It is an extra battery pack that is designed to be generally used by any smartphone, although it is also specifically designed to fit the profile of any Samsung Galaxy S unit. It uses a micro- USB port for connectivity, and like the Energy Stage A30, the port could also be twisted and moved around. It an energy capacity of 2700mAh, and will be priced at 3650 yen (46.5 USD). The commercial release date for all three products is set on November 12, 2012. Source: ITMedia (JP)
  • November 12th, 2012 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. BlackBerry 10 to launch 30 January Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blackberry-10-to-launch-30- january/17826.html November 12th, 2012 Research In Motion (RIM) is finally ready to put BlackBerry back on the map with the launch of BlackBerry 10 on 30 January at events throughout the world, with the first two devices powered by the revamped mobile operating system slated to be unveiled that day. Research In Motion (RIM) is finally ready to put BlackBerry back on the map with the launch of BlackBerry 10 on 30 January at events throughout the world, with the first two devices powered by the revamped mobile operating system slated to be unveiled that day. The much-anticipated platform will come with a slew of new features, including Flow, which offers “seamless navigation” through multiple open applications, and the Hub, which collects all messages, notifications, feeds and calendar events into a single area that can be opened from anywhere on the device, while the keyboard adapts to how users type for even faster correspondence through email. RIM is attempting to hang onto its strongest market, government and business, with a recently granted FIPS 140-2 certification, which gives government agencies the go-ahead to use both BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. Then there is BlackBerry Balance, which separates personal and work profiles and the apps and information relevant to each. “In building BlackBerry 10, we set out to create a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs. Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities. All of this will be integrated into a user experience – the BlackBerry Flow – that is unlike any smartphone on the market today,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of RIM. “Thanks to our strong partnerships with global carriers and a growing ecosystem of developers, we believe our customers will have the best experience possible with BlackBerry 10. We are looking forward to getting BlackBerry 10 in the hands of our customers around the world.” RIM earned investor criticism after delaying the launch of BlackBerry 10, formerly called BBX, from late 2012 to early 2013, missing out on the lucrative Christmas shopping season. Shares fell by as much as 18 percent and speculation mounted about RIM's fate. Many analysts see BlackBerry 10 as a “make or break” for the company, a reality which might have factored into its delay, but it seems that RIM is finally ready to take a leap of fate with the product and hope it can win back market share lost to Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Apple: "Before contacting the genius bar, have you tried turning it off and on again?" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple--before-contacting-the-genius- bar-have-you-tried-turning-it-off-and-on-again-/17819.html November 12th, 2012
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Apple, presumably fed up with the number of unneccessary support requests it gets, has started asking it's customers to reset their devices, before contacting them. As anyone who has tried to troubleshoot a computer will tell you, the first thing to do is usually to try turning it off and on again. I myself have been doing it for years. Most of the time, this will solve your problems, but the general public seems quite unaware of this handy all-round solution. Resetting the device has been a running joke on the comedy TV series "the IT crowd" (there's a montage below, for your amusement), because it's something tech support has to say over and over again. Apple has seemingly caught on to this fact. Currently, when making a genius bar reservation for fixing your iPhone, apple tells the user to try resetting it first, likely saving the company a lot of time, and frustration for their support staff. Curiously, the suggestion is not presented when reserving tech support for an iPad or iMac, even though it is fairly universal in terms of devices. Video Game Exhibit coming to Seattle in February Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/video-game-exhibit-coming-to- seattle-in-february/17821.html November 12th, 2012 A video game art exhibit from the Smithsonian American Art Museum is traveling to Seattle, where it will make an appearance in February, highlighting art in games over the past 40 years. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has been hosting an exhibition on the Art of Video Games, and this exhibit is now going to have a showing at Seattle's EMP Museum between February 15 and May 12 of next year. Pac-man The exhibit showcases art in videogame and demonstrates the evolution of art within the medium, and will have 80 games from 20 consoles on exhibit, all of which have been carefully selected to demonstrate storytelling, interactivity and art. The exhibit begins with early classics, such as Pac- man, and then moves up through artistic milestones within gaming, such as the Secret of Monkey Island and ending in modern examples such as Flower. Flower The exhibit will consist of videos and interviews, images and screenshots, as well as some playable games. PFU to release iOS/Android compatible document scanner: ScanSnap S1500 (Japan) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/pfu-to-release-iosandroid- compatible-document-scanner-scansnap-s1500-japan-/17810.html November 12th, 2012 For the first time in 3 years, PFU will be releasing a new ScanSnap model on Nov 30. And this time, it will support mobile devices. The ScanSnap iX500 will be released with an open price, but can also be purchased via direct sale for 49,800Yen ($626 USD). With IEEE 802b/g/n Wi-Fi, the scanner can easily connect to your iOS and Android devices when you want to scan in your documents without booting up a clunky desktop PC. The scanner will also support USB 3.0, and carries a newly developed hardware graphics processing engine called the ‘GI’ processor. This allows it to achieve the same level of image processing on mobile as with PC, as the heavy lifting is all done by the scanner itself, and the machine effortlessly outputs JPEG and PDF encoded files.
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 That's GI Engine, not GI JOE. Additional improvements in this latest model from PFU include a heightened read speed, which has been boosted to 25 pages/ minute for color 300dpi scans. More cool features include a ‘break roller’ paper feed which separates the inputted pages, and a straight path paper ejection which allows the device to support many more types of paper, and even allows direct printing onto plastic such as credit cards. Not only that, but the scanner can even prevent multiple pages entering the feed by using a multi-feed sensor based on ultrasound! As far as boring office equipment goes, this guy’s actually pretty cool! Some printers/scanners have notoriously bad software, but how does the iX500 shape up? On the PC, when you scan something and a helpful pop-up menu appears, making it easy to deal with the newly obtained image. You can also add applications or cloud services to the ‘Favorites’ function. When scanning in business cards or receipts, a ‘recommendation’ function helpfully displays the relevant business card or receipt managing software first. Speaking of business cards, the scanner also comes with a copy of “CardMinder” , which supports management of business cards not only in Japanese but from a total of 11 languages including English, Russian, and Chinese. Scan straight from your iPhone! The software package also comes with OCR, which utilizes parallel processing to speed up creation of searchable PDFs. Traditionally the OCR processing of a 3 page A4 sized document has taken up to 36 seconds, but with PFU’s latest machine, this has been reduced to 17 seconds. On the technical side of things, the scanner has 2 CIS sensors, and can support a maximum resolution of 600dpi in color, or 1,200dpi in monochrome. Scanning speed is 7 pages/minute at color 600dpi, or 25 pages/minute for 150/200/300dpi. The scanner can take paper formats A4~B6, postcards, business cards, letters, legal documents, and so on. An additional A3 carrier sheet can also be used to enable scanning of A3/B4 documents, with a maximum length of 863mm. The unit is powered by an AC adapter and has dimensions 292x159x168mm, with a weight of 3kg. The scanner comes with the following software: scanner drivers, ScanSnap Manager V6.0, ScanSnap Organizer V5.0, CardMinder V5.0, Business Card Filing OCR V3.2, Acrobat X Standard, ABBYY Fine Reader for ScanSnap 5.0, Scan to Microsoft SharePoint 3.4, Simple Account Book Entry 2 for ScanSnap, Evernote for Windows 4.5. Of these, the drivers, business card manager, OCR, and Evernote tools also work on Mac OS. Thermo-bimetals may change cooling and shading of buildings Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thermo-bimetals-may-change- cooling-and-shading-of-buildings/17818.html November 12th, 2012 Doris Kim Sung is developing Thermo-Bimetal paneling, which changes shape with temperature and may let walls breathe and windows apply shading to themselves.
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Doris Kim Sung is an architect with a history in biology and has been addressing an issue with modern architecture: heat. Before the advent of air conditioning, buildings were well insulated to keep them warm in winter and cool in summer. But as technology improved and air conditioning became available along with new construction techniques, our buildings moved away from insulation, trading it instead for large panoramic windows and thinner walls, essentially making them hot boxes. As long as the power is on, such building design is fine. But when the power goes out and the AC stops working, they heat up immensely in the sunlight and sometimes even have to be vacated temporarily. Sung is developing a number of solutions which could help solve this problem, and they involve thermo-bimetals. Thermo-Bimetals are alloys which contains two separate metals layered on top of each other. If the alloys have different thermal expansion properties, then one side of the metal will expand more than the other when exposed to heat. Because of this, the thermo-bimetal curls up, and this is very useful. Doris Kim Sung, next to some thermo-bimetal paneling Sung is hoping to develop an automatic shading system with the material. By paneling strips of thermo-bimetal, she can create a sun shield which remains open in the shade, but closes as soon as direct sunlight begins to warm it. She has created a proof of concept for this technology, in the form of a large metallic sail which not only provides shading, but as a side-effect allows air to stream freely through the material and provide a cooling effect when the panels are open. In the future, Sung is hoping to incorporate this material into the space between two panes of glass in a window. By filling it with many small strips of thermo-bimetal, she envisions a window which will shade itself from the sun, only in the area that's effected by the sun. Theoretically, a building could self regulate shading as the sun travels around it throughout the day. The metal strips curl upwards when heated, allowing air to pass through Another equally interesting concept, would be to create a building material which breathes. She hopes to manufacture a construction material with perforations which would allow air to travel through it. These would be constructed together with thermo-bimetals, which could curl around the holes, blocking them, when the metals were hot, and allowing air to pass through freely when cool. A promising aspect of the technology is that it operates with no electricity. It's completely autonomous. Alibaba reports healthy growth Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/alibaba-reports-healthy- growth/17805.html November 12th, 2012 Alibaba's net profit amounted to $292 million in the second business quarter, ending June 30, 2012, a 113% rise from the previous quarter. The company's entire revenue for the quarter was $1.07 billion, a rise of 70.63%. Net profit for 2012 was $730 million, an increase of 75.68% from the same period last year, with a profit margin of 68.7%, slightly better than last year's 66.72%. As of June 30, 2012, Alibaba's current assets were $4.437 billion, a rise from $3.49 billion a year before. Alibaba is a leading ecommerce group that connects businesses and manufacturers. Reportedly, Alibaba makes more sales per year than Amazon and eBay combined. Valve says new engine under development. No news on HL3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/valve-says-new-engine-under- development.-no-news-on-hl3/17813.html November 12th, 2012 According to Gabe Newell, Valve is working on a new game engine. Newell is still not talking with regards to when Half- Life 3 may be turning up though. A group of 4chan members from the site's /v/ board, recently made a visit to Valve's studio in Washington, where they met with studio head Gabe Newell and asked him about what Valve is working on at the moment. Rumors have been circulating recently about a new game engine that may be under development, and during the visit, Newell confirmed that Valve is indeed working on an engine. When asked if the engine was completely new, i.e. more than just an update of the current engine, he confirmed that it was. Some ambiguity still exists as to whether the engine is a sequel to Source or something entirely different.
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Gabe Newell Newell also stated that the engine would most likely roll out together with a new game release, but did not say which game that might be. He did confirm that the studio is working on Ricochet 2, the sequel to a multiplayer Half-Life modification from 2000. As usual, Valve is keeping silent about the development of the elusive Half-Life 3. Witness the end of an era in the new Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn trailer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/witness-the-end-of-an-era-in-the- new-final-fantasy-xiv-a-realm-reborn-trailer/17820.html November 12th, 2012 The end is nigh in this breathtaking cinematic trailer for Square Enix's popular MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The new trailer for Square Enix's revitalized MMORPG based in the Final Fantasy universe features nearly six minutes of amazing cinematics from the game, displaying the studio's signature breathtaking and fantasy-infused visual style that has defined the franchise for decades. After receiving a considerable amount of negative feedback and poor reception for the original Final Fantasy XIV, the previous PC MMORPG, Square Enix used feedback from the community to completely rebuild the game from the ground up. Now gamers get to see and experience the fruits of Square Enix's labors with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, breathing new life into the game as well as the franchise with all-new original content. Additions include an epic story arc filled with fantasy and intrigue, fully fleshed characters, new classes, jobs, skills and abilities, and a dynamic living, breathing world rife with adventure and mystery making for a great MMO adventure. "Witness the end of an era as the Eorzean Alliance clashes with the Garlean Empire in a bid to deliver the realm from certain destruction. The saga will continue in FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn." -- Official YouTube video description For more information on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and the radical changes and alterations that have taken place in the dynamic MMORPG world, please visit the game's official website. Assassin's Creed movie may be coming to theatres next year Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/assassin-s-creed-movie-may-be- coming-to-theatres-next-year/17817.html November 12th, 2012 In a recent interview, Ubisoft's chief sales and marketing officer Geoffroy Sardin revealed that the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie may be coming out next year. In a recent interview with the website GamesIndustry.biz, Geoffroy Sardin, Ubisoft's chief sales and marketing officer, hinted at a tentative release date of next year for the film adaptation of Ubisoft's critically acclaimed video game franchise Assassin's Creed. “Another thing that is very important for the lifecycle is the transmedia offer. All the figurines, the books, the publishing, and we have a movie in the next coming year. So it's not only about games, we are talking about a global brand, and this is the life cycle management we want to set up now.” -- Geoffroy Sardin, interview with GamesIndustry.biz The Assassin's Creed film will star Michael Fassbender in the lead role--presumably as Desmond Miles--and Hollywood has been buzzing with news that the movie is indeed in the works for months now. Ubisoft, the development studio behind the popular gaming franchise, has partnered with New Regency to bring the games to life on the big screen. The Assassin's Creed games have been the subject for acclaim and anticipation, selling over 38 million units
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 of the franchise's four games worldwide, and with the newest chapter in the series, Assassin's Creed III, Ubisoft's franchise gains even more momentum. An official release date for the movie hasn't been confirmed yet, but it appears that fans might see their favorite assassin on the big screen next year. Toyota testing automated car communication system Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toyota-testing-automated-car- communication-system/17823.html November 12th, 2012 Toyota is testing a new automated safety system that recognises obstructions on the road and communicates with other vehicles to avoid accidents. Toyota is testing a new automated safety system that recognises obstructions on the road and communicates with other vehicles to avoid accidents. The Intelligent Transport System employs sensors on the car and transmitters on streets to give the car a kind of intelligence of its own, notifying the driver of things he or she may not have seen, such as a pedestrian crossing the road or the breaking of a red light. The Japanese car giant trialled the system in a newly- completed 3.5 hectare facility in Japan, where the car showed off its safety-first mentality. A fake pedestrian on the road led to a beeping sound and an image of a person displayed on a screen in front of the driver, an arrow indicated an approaching car at an intersection, and a voice reminded the driver the light is red when he was about to break it. The company also demonstrated an advanced breaking feature for when drivers don't press on the break hard enough. That is all well and good in a fake road network, but Toyota plans to test the technology on real Japanese roads in 2014, with similar plans on the table for the US, though no date for that is decided. Like Google's claim that most accidents occur due to human error, Toyota believes this new system could help save lives. It said that half of car accidents happen at intersections, where Toyota's smart car technology will come in most useful. There is no estimated date for release, but the technology is expected to be initially offered on Lexus luxury models, which already tout additional safety features like automatic breaking. Given the high cost of all the sensors and related technology, we likely won't see these kinds of features on cheaper models for a long time to come. Source and Image Credit: Associated Press Blizzard sued in class action lawsuit Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-sued-in-class-action- lawsuit/17815.html November 12th, 2012 Blizzard is being sued in a class action lawsuit for selling security solutions after sale to protect their customers' private information A class action suit is being brought against Blizzard Entertainment and it's parent company Activision Blizzard. Benjamin Bell, who is the lead plaintiff is seeking damages for fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence, breach of contract and bailment. His charge concerns a $6.40 security solution called the Authenticator, which is meant to help solve a security flaw; something which Blizzard has earned $26 million on selling. Blizzard requires their players to use the battle.net website which stores personal information, but puts the responsibility to secure that information on the player, and charges them for it; rather than taking steps to ensure that the accounts themselves are secure.The complaint, which is 33 pages long, puts focus on this fact:
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 "Defendants negligently, deliberately, and/or recklessly fail to ensure that adequate, reasonable procedures safeguard the private information stored on this website. As a result of these acts, the private information of plaintiffs and class members has been compromised and/or stolen since at least 2007." Adding insult to injury, in both May and August, it was revealed that hackers had breached battlenet's servers and stolen personal information from the defendant's accounts in North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. Furthermore, Blizzard is accused of not taking the necessary legal steps to alert the gamers effected. We will report on the outcome of this case as it develops. US claims world's most powerful supercomputer with Titan Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-claims-world-s-most-powerful- supercomputer-with-titan/17822.html November 12th, 2012 The United States has sealed its claim to the top spot for supercomputing thanks to its latest rig built by Cray at the Orak Ridge National Laboratory, utilising AMD processors and Nvidia graphics cards to make it the fastest and most powerful computational machine in the world. The United States has sealed its claim to the top spot for supercomputing thanks to its latest rig built by Cray at the Orak Ridge National Laboratory, utilising AMD processors and Nvidia graphics cards to make it the fastest and most powerful computational machine in the world. The new system, aptly dubbed Titan, is capable of a whopping 17.59 petaflops, which is thousands of trillions of calculations per second. This beats the previous record holder, the IBM-built Sequoia supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which was capable of an equally impressive 16.32 petaflops. Titan, based in Tenessee, is used for climate studies, material research, fuel combusation analysis, and nuclear power simulation. It is 10 times faster than Jaguar, Oak Ridge's previous supercomputer, which held the record in 2009. The system is made up of 18,688 processing nodes, with a mind-boggling 710TB of memory. Each node utilises a 16-core AMD Opteron 6274 processor and an adapted Nvidia Tesla K20X graphics card, helping it achieve its record-breaking computing speeds, and also helping it lower the supercomputer's carbon footprint compared to systems using CPUs alone, especially considering Titan uses roughly the same amount of electricity as 9,000 homes. Despite how monumental that sounds, Titan was able to achieve its 10 times faster speeds over Jaguar while only increasing power consumption by 20 percent. The Top500 list of supercomputers shows where the world's powers are in terms of computational ability, with the US generally leading the race. Japan stole the lead in 2011 with the K computer, which was the first to surpass the 10 petaflop mark, but Sequoia returned the crown to the US in June of this year. Titan ensures that crown sits firmly in place, but in the fast-paced world of supercomputing that can quickly change. Tsukumo Japan releases PC equipped with Intel's Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tsukumo-japan-releases-pc- equipped-with-intel-s-core-i7-3970x-extreme-edition/17807.html November 12th, 2012 Anyone interested in buying a PC that comes loaded with the newest six-core CPU from Intel shouldn't have long to wait. The Aero Stream RA9J-K43/XE2 from Tsukumo Japan's built to order brand of computers, eX. Computer, went on sale today in Japan. It's priced at ¥224,980, or about $2,380. When the Core i7-3970X came out late last month, some fans were disappointed that the newest edition to the Sandy Bridge-E-based Core i7-3000 family was another six core and not an eight core processor. In many ways the Core i7-3970X is similar to the 3960X which came out last year. They both feature six active cores plus hyperthreading which
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 allows them to address 12 threads simultaneously. They both similarly offer 15MB of L3 cache and drop into the same 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture. The only difference between them is that while the 3960X's base clock rate was 3.3GHz and it reached 3.9 GHz via Turbo Boost in single threaded apps, the i7-3970X starts at 3.5GHz and accelerates to 4.0GHz when Turbo Boosted. Furthermore it is rated for 150W compared to the 3960X's 130W. The Sandy Bridge-E-based core i7 processors have been called the best of the best for running threaded apps or setting up a multi-card gaming box. They are the perfect choice for high performance gaming machines. The real question for the new Aero Stream is whether users will be satisfied enough with everything else on it to buy the PC, or whether they will just buy the processor for about $1000 and build their own machines. AMD Launches FirePro S10000, Goes against Intel Xeon Phi 3110 / 5110P, Nvidia Tesla K10 / K20s Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-launches-firepro-s10000-goes- against-intel-xeon-phi-3110-5110p-nvidia-tesla-k10-k20s/17812.html November 12th, 2012 AMD is finally becoming more aggressive in their bid to win the lucrative HPC share, which is set to explode with this week's SC'12 supercomputing conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. On AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2012 (AFDS), which was held in June 2012 in Bellevue, WA Mark Papermaster (Chief Technology Officer) showed "the next generation FirePro for workstations and servers" card. The card represented quite the departure from familiar-looking FirePro cards, since it featured no less than three 80mm fans and purportedly two GPUs. In conversations with PR team, it was clarified that Mark Papermaster was mistaken, and that the part in question was long delayed and pretty much shelved Radeon HD 7990 (PowerColor launched the product on their own). Today we see that the CTO of AMD was not mistaken in any way, and that he indeed, showed the server part. FirePro S10000 (S10K) represents the best Southern Islands GPUs can offer to give "optimal efficiency for HPC calculations, ideal for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and workstation graphics deployments." This is also (on paper) the highest performing accelerator on the market. AMD cites 5.91 TFLOPS single-precision and 1.48 TFLOPS in double-precision floating-point operations. This is higher than what both Intel and Nvidia can offer with their Xeon Phi 3110/5110P and Tesla K10 and K20/K20X boards. In fact, in terms of peak compute performance, this is the highest performing accelerator card of all time. As you might have figured out, the S10K is consisted out of two Tahiti XT GPUs, packing no less than 4096 stream cores, while the dual 384-bit memory interface delivers 480GB/s (240GB/s per GPU). On paper, nothing compares to this part. We believe that AMD should have launched the 12GB version (6GB per GPU instead of "just" 3) and completely thrash the competition, but there are objective reasons why the company did not dare to offer maximum memory configuration. Probably the biggest concern was populating the back of the card on a server board, as these parts have to endure 100% computational load for most of its life. Still, S10000 has equal amount of memory to single- GPU configurations like Sapphire's Toxic HD 7970 6GB, K20X (6GB) and less memory than Intel's Xeon Phi 5110P (8GB) and Tesla K10 (8GB). Furthermore, AMD is the only vendor that doesn’t offer a passively cooled option, which will prevent system integrators from embedding this part with their standard 1U and 2U servers. In the high-occupancy 4U configuration, you should be able to put up to 8 FirePro S10000 boards, for a 16GPU/48GB GDDR5 configuration. We spoke with one of vendors that will unveil its FirePro S10000 system at SC'12 in a few hours time, and it cites record performance from a 4U box: • 8x FirePro S10000 • 16 Tahiti XT GPU • 48GB GDDR5 Memory • 3.75 TB/s Aggregate GPU bandwidth • 47.28 TFLOPS Single Precision (peak) • 11.68 TFLOPS Double Precision (peak) In the standard 42U rack, you could configure up to seven systems for a grand total of: • 56 FirePro S10000 • 112 Tahiti XT GPUs • 336GB GDDR5 Memory • 26.25 TB/s Aggregate GPU bandwidth • 330.96 TFLOPS Single Precision (peak) • 82.88 TFLOPS Double Precision (peak)
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 All in all, it is good to see that AMD is becoming more aggressive and is launching products for this space, but we cannot but wonder is this the reason why HD 7990 never saw the light of the day. Furthermore, AMD could have made a passively cooled part without DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI, as these things are really unnecessary in a server configuration. Amazon Kindle finally coming to China? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amazon-kindle-finally-coming-to- china-/17811.html November 12th, 2012 Last week with the Kindle Paperwhite’s software update came the newly added support for Simplified Chinese. This maybe another hint alluding to an incoming Chinese release of the electronic reader. Addition of Chinese support alone isn’t enough evidence to justify this theory of course. There may be been technical issues in the past which prevented Amazon from supporting the complex Chinese script. However, that’s not all. Another clue comes from the China Radio Management Agency’s website, which shows that four Kindle devices were submitted for evaluation for a Chinese radio license. If that’s not a big X marking the spot, I don’t know what is. Finally, Chinese support. What took you so long, Amazon! What’s more, in 2011 Amazon already confirmed that they were planning a future Chinese launch, so what is really surprising is that its took them this long. Amazon would be foolish to miss another Christmas’ worth of sales, and may be ramping up for a festive release in the mainland. It is interesting to note the timing of this move too. 2 weeks ago I wrote an article about Amazon China’s president Wang Hanhua resigning amongst rumors of Amazon attempting to ‘speed up’ the strategy of the Chinese branch. This would correlate with the sudden rush of events to indicate a Kindle launch. Amazon have also just released their Kindle devices in Japan, and this may be part of a larger strategy to take on Asia as a whole. Until Amazon get a move on, we always have... this thing.... With billions of potential customers, Amazon would be silly to miss out on this opportunity. While e-book piracy is rampant in the mainland, that doesn’t mean that people wouldn’t be willing to pay for quality content should it be easily available. Hopefully Amazon can rectify that situation better than any local tablet clone has in the past. New Spartan Ops episode coming to Halo 4 today Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-spartan-ops-episode-coming-to- halo-4-today/17809.html November 12th, 2012 Episode Two: Artifact of Halo 4's Spartan Ops multiplayer mode is coming to Xbox LIVE later today. Jump in for the trailer to get a brief glimpse at what's included with the new episode. The new trailer for Halo 4's celebrated multiplayer gametype Spartan Ops features a look at what gamers can expect in the new episode, continuing the story arc that was established in Episode One: Departure. Episode Two: Artifact features five new chapters, each with their own distinct map, objectives, and enemies, combining the Covenant ensemble with the dangerous and lethal Prometheans for an unforgettable and enthralling gametype. The new episode also follows up the investigations of the mysterious artifact discovered in Chapter 5: Core, which actually ends up sending a EMP pulse throughout the UNSC Infinity... Episode Two: Artifact will be available on Xbox LIVE on Monday Nov. 12, 2012 for free. For more information on Halo 4 or Spartan Ops, be sure to check out Halo Waypoint's official website. RIM hosts Port-a-Thon for Blackberry developers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rim-hosts-port-a-thon-for- blackberry-developers/17804.html November 12th, 2012
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 In a desperate attempt to hold on to its handful of remaining supporters, RIM will be hosting a 36 hour developer event on November 16. Dubbed the “BlackBerry Got Game Port-a- Thon”, it’s good news for developers who still have a love for the previous king of enterprise devices, but is it all a case of “too little, too late?” At the virtual event (that’s right, you don’t need to leave your room to attend) next week, RIM employees and specialists will instruct developers on how to port and develop games onto the Blackberry 10 platform. RIM’s strong suit has always been enterprise applications, and this begs the question: what is the management thinking? Is this an attempt to reach a wider audience, or are they just hooked on Angry Birds? Do you want to get game? Get rewards? Or just get a life? The choice is yours! There is a pot of gold waiting at the end of this 36-hour marathon though, as the developers with the best results will be rewarded with $100. Ooh, lucky them. I guess you can’t blame RIM for not giving a bigger reward though, since they’re leaking money like it's water in a boat made out of Swiss cheese. But wait developers, don’t walk away just yet, there’s more! If a developer makes 2~5 games which pass approval, they get a PlayBook tablet thrown into the mix. If they make 5~10 games which all pass approval, the developer can even win a Dev Alpha unit. If they make more, the busy developers will be repaid heavily with a vast banquet of rare meats and festive wines, drank from a goblet made of solid gold. Just kidding, they get a ticket to next year’s Game Developers Conference. Close enough I guess. I'll settle for the $100, thanks..... It seems like RIM are really pushing any developers they have left to make as many apps as possible. Not a bad strategy, but the fragrant aroma of desperation is still difficult to ignore. Microsoft cooking up a handheld Xbox? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-cooking-up-a-handheld- xbox-/17806.html November 12th, 2012 Now that the Surface tablet and Windows 8 are launched and ready for consumer scrutiny it’s time for a build up to the next bit of rumor surrounding the Redmond-based software giant. As previously reported by us in a recent article, the next Microsoft game console may be called the Xbox Next or something that doesn’t have to do with doubling upon the previous gen numbering system. There’s probably no doubt that there will be a next-gen Xbox released to compete with the Nintendo Wii U and Sony PlayStation 4, but what about the handheld market? The PS Vita and the Nintendo DS are currently the big players in this niche, but if you throw in tablet brands such as the Nexus 7 and Apple’s new iPad Mini and you have a rather perplexing ecosystem. Sure, true console/handheld gamers will probably negate the fact that a tablet can be considered as a ‘gaming system,’ but one cannot doubt that tablets can deliver just as much horses as a handheld (maybe not so much a console, just yet). That said, there are some rumors suggesting that Microsoft is considering developing a handheld gaming device that will use Windows 8 to drive the game software. What do you suppose Microsoft may call this device? Why not the Xbox Surface? Microsoft has garnered enough experience and industry know-how through its Xbox console hey-day to slap the Xbox brand onto a portable device to woo gamers. The Microsoft mobile app store hasn’t matured enough for a ‘portable gaming Windows 8’ tablet to stand on its own, but with the help of partnering game developers a 'portable Xbox’ may be a reality sooner than one might think. (EA's latest NFS: Most Wanted on a mobile platform. Got an HDMI out? Hook your device up to an HD TV.)
  • November 12th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 While I still favor the personalization of a PC gaming rig, it’s hard for me to deny the fact that mobile devices are catching up in terms of functionality and visual eye candy (also, check out our review of NFS: Most Wanted for the Vita). No single tablet can replace the gaming rig which I spent countless hours devising and putting together, but the reality is that we can achieve almost just as much on a portable device today as we once did on a full tower PC—be it productivity or gaming. Many questions are going to be answered within the next few years as the ‘personal computer’ evolves. For the hackers and geeks that love the ‘personalization’ part of a PC, let’s hope that the future of the PC industry will continue to allow us to customize the hardware the way we want it. For those that likes to have something that ‘just works’ without any tinkering and modding there will be plenty of that floating around.
  • November 13th, 2012 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. Survey shows kids want laptops, not smartphones or tablets, for Christmas Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/survey-shows-kids-want-laptops- not-smartphones-or-tablets-for-christmas/17847.html November 13th, 2012 More children want laptops for Christmas than smartphones or tablets, according to a survey by online reward website Ebates, showing there is still plenty of life left in older forms of computing. More children want laptops for Christmas than smartphones or tablets, according to a survey by online reward website Ebates, showing there is still plenty of life left in older forms of computing. The study was conducted by Harris Interactive for Ebates, surveying 1,121 kids and teens between 8-18 years in the US. The findings show that the mobile device market has not fully devoured the laptop market yet. When presented with a list of products they would like for Christmas, 17 percent picked a laptop, followed by 15 percent for an iPhone 5, 11 percent for clothes, nine percent for a 10-inch tablet, six percent for an Android smartphone, five percent for an iPad Mini, and four percent for an e-reader. The most desired gift changes based on gender and age bracket, however. Boys between 8 and 9 typically wanted a tablet, while girls of the same age typically wanted an iPhone 5 or clothes. Both boys and girls between 10 and 12 wanted a laptop. Boys between 13 and 15 generally wanted an iPhone 5, while girls of the same age usually wanted clothes. Both genders from 16-18 preferred to have a laptop. “Ebates feels the holidays are a time to focus on children, so we wanted to hear directly from them what they would most like as a gift with our 2012 Holiday Wish List,” said Kevin H. Johnson, CEO of Ebates. “It’s interesting to see how the older kids want a laptop while the younger kids generally would prefer a smartphone or tablet.” Many of the kids also reported being influenced by celebrities like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, One Direction and Selena Gomez for which gift they would like. Laptop makers might want to take note of that to keep Santa off of Apple and Google's payroll. Image Credit: Jarenwicklund University of Dundee finds practical use for Kinect Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/university-of-dundee-finds-practical- use-for-kinect/17841.html November 13th, 2012 The university of Dundee in Scotland has found a practical use for Microsoft Kinect's technology in the form of optical tweezers, which physicists will find useful. Up until now, the Microsoft Kinect has had it's primary use as an input device for dance games on the Xbox 360, but the University of Dundee has found another use: Optical tweezers. Optical tweezers are lasers, which can be used to manipulate microscopic particles. The system that has been developed by the university is known as HoloHands and allows physicists to use gestural commands to operate the lasers.
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Optical tweezers have been in development since the 1970's, but have always been difficult to control. The researchers are hoping that the Kinect will be able to help them solve these issues, though more development is still required. HoloHands has undergone basic testing, but latency issues and misinterpretations of the bodies it manipulates are still causing problems. Doctor David McGloin, who is the project leader at the University of Dundee has stated that a lot of the researchers working on HoloHands are gamers. He believes that using the Kinect is a useful and intuitive way to control the tweezers and could fit a wide range of users. Google updates Maps with indoor mapping Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-updates-maps-with-indoor- mapping/17846.html November 13th, 2012 Google has updated its Maps app for Android devices to include the interiors of many stores, helping consumers more easily navigate their way around this holiday season. Google has updated its Maps app for Android devices to include the interiors of many stores, helping consumers more easily navigate their way around this holiday season. While Apple's map app failed to get basic roads and landmarks in place, Google is boasting its latest enhancement for Maps for Android, with indoor floor plans, fully labelled to help people find food courts, toilets, ATMs, and pretty much anything else that might be on a shopper's list. The maps are not available for all interiors, but popular shopping locations, includings malls, will be accurately mapped, Google says. Select other stores will also be mapped, including Best Buy, Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Harrod's, Selfridges, and John Lewis, among other retailers. It is not just shoppers who will see the benefit of indoor maps, however. Many railway stations, museums, universities, libraries, airports, casinos, hotels, and sports centres, among others, have already been given the Google Maps treatment. In addition to simply knowing where you are and how to get from A to B, the app can tell users the quickest route from one store to another, a valuable tool considering the mad shopping rush that will occur over the next two months. Individual shops are also mapped by product, so women can find where the dresses are, while men can find which small corner the men's clothing is tucked away in. So far indoor maps are available in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US, with Google releasing a full list of available locations. This list will likely expand rapidly in the future, with Google calling on owners of stores and facilities to upload a floor plan to its database.
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Google Play Music now available in parts of Europe Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-play-music-now-available-in- parts-of-europe/17837.html November 13th, 2012 Google's music streaming and cloud storage service is becoming available in Europe, and has now rolled out in a number of European countries. Google Play Music is a mix between iTunes, Spotify and a cloud storage service and for the past few years, it's been available exclusively in North America. Now the service is becoming available in Europe and Google is rolling it out in a few countries to begin with. The UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain can now make use of the service, and more countries will undoubtedly follow soon. Play Music has two main features. It is composed of a music store, similar to the iTunes store, which allows you to search for and purchase music. In addition, the cloud storage feature allows you to store your own music library in the cloud, letting you stream it from any computer or smartphone with an internet connection. You may, of course, also download your music to keep it on your computer, when the internet is not available to you. I've been using the service for a long time and can attest to how practical this cloud feature is. I always have my music with me, no matter where I am or what I am doing. In addition, when a hard drive failure destroyed my music collection last year, it was saved in Play Music. Google Play Music's user interface It may take some time for Europe to warm up to the idea of Google's music service, but many will soon see it's usefulness; especially with the recent announcement of Warner Music Group's inclusion to Google's worldwide music catalog, meaning a lot more music will be coming Play Music's way. Rockstar's co-founder Dan Houser reveals spoilers for GTA V Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rockstar-s-co-founder-dan-houser- reveals-spoilers-for-gta-v/17840.html November 13th, 2012 In a recent interview with The New York Times, Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser reveals a few spoilers for Grand Theft Auto V's complex story arc.
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Still here? Then you don't mind knowing more about GTA V's story straight from the co-founder of Rockstar Games himself, Dan Houser, in a recent interview from The New York Times. Silicon Studio release free benchmarking software for iOS/Android Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/silicon-studio-release-free- benchmarking-software-for-iosandroid/17832.html November 13th, 2012 Ever wanted to test the power of your cell phone? Silicon Studio is here to answer your prayers with their new MOBILE GPUMARK software. But be warned, the guys over at Silicon Studio really love CAPS LOCK. GPUMARK is composed of several tests which can evaluate specific features of your graphics unit. RIGID GEMS tests shader power and measures the 3D capabilities of your mobile device. DEAD PARKING tests display of multiple characters, while NATURAL BONE uses a variety of rich 3D models with highly detailed textures to simulate scenes from high-end game consoles. Finally, there is a GPU BENCHMARK option that will test all aspects of your GPU. SOUNDS GREAT, DOESN'T IT? Let’s take a closer look at each test. RIGID GEMS Light beams are reflected and refracted off sparkly gems and rings, utilizing complex shader programs, post effects such as glare and depth of field, and physical simulations such as collision between gems and rings. Each gem has around 300 ~ 600 polygons and each ring has 832 polygons. DEAD PARKING This demo tests drawing of multiple 3D characters with large polygon amounts, generation of real time shadows for the 3D objects, glare and depth of field, and control of character motion. Each of the 24 zombie characters in the demo has around 2,000 polygons, and the main character has approx. 3,300 polygons, while the background uses 13,000 polygons. NATURAL BONE This demo pulls no punches and throws in current generation console level 3D models and high quality textures. Rest assured, this one will really give your GPU a decent workout. The character’s polygon count is 12,000, and the background has a whopping 150,000 polygons. GPU BENCHMARK Combines ‘Fill Test’, ‘High Polygon Model’, ‘Many Models’, ‘Per Vertex Lighting & Specular’, ‘Per Pixel Lighting & Specular & Normalmap’ tests into one big survival challenge. Will your GPU make it to the end, or just melt under the pressure? THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT!
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Each demo also comes with a ‘demo mode’ which lets you play with options such as glare filters, out-focusing, level of physics, and so on. If your phone manages to run the tests without dying of exhaustion first, scores from each demo are uploaded to a server where you can compare your phone’s power level with other devices (then brag on every forum in existence). The benchmarking software currently runs on Android 2.3.3, iOS 5.1 and below, but a Windows version is also in the works. SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO AND DOWNLOAD IT NOW! The New Canon PowerShot S110 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-new-canon-powershot- s110/17831.html November 13th, 2012 Canon is known for their outstanding cameras that come in all manner of styles and user needs, but the new PowerShot S110 with its 12.1 megapixel capability is one outstanding buy. Priced around 450 U.S. dollars, the PowerShot S110 has an image stabilized zoom with a 5X wide-angel optical lens. This little camera produces some effortlessly sharp images, while the camera itself looks sharp as well with its ultra slim compact design. Canon has began expanding their line of mid range compact cameras making them useful for the most novice to the most professional of users. While the cameras can take impressive professional looking images, its use is easy to understand and the price tag is not something that will break the bank. Canon’s lines of PowerShot cameras are all quality cameras, but one camera that really sticks out is the PowerShot S110. The camera comes with a 5x wide-angle optical image stabilized zoom with a super high-sensitivity CMOS sensor along with their DIGIC 5 image processor. Its 24mm wide- angle f/2.0 lens can give the user speeds up to 12800, and even at very early or very late hours in the day. Its lag time is barely noticed with its super high speed AF, with setting easily changed with its touch screen LCD interface. While picking out a camera might come easy to some, this camera is special with its built in Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to instantly upload your images or video on-line. If you happen to be near a hotspot or a traveling Internet connectivity, this means you could have your images up on a social media site in mere seconds as opposed to hours, or sometimes days, depending where you are. This Wi- Fi capability also allows a user to connect to any type of Wi-Fi enabled printer. Most amazingly, the camera offers GPS snapshot information that can be recorded from Canon’s online ‘CameraWindow’ application, which can be downloaded for free onto your smartphone. This enables the user to tag their images and where they were taken. For those who use social media sites like Facebook, this is a really fun tool to have. It also comes with many great features such as face detection, and a flash range up to 23 feet. If you are looking for a high quality compact camera under 500 U.S. dollars, the Canon PowerShot S110 might be exactly what you are looking for. It’s easy to use, takes fabulous shots and has features that more advanced cameras offer. Also, it’s WiFi access capability makes it a must have for those who like being on-line to tag and upload their images. For more information, check it out on-line or at your favorite camera retailer. Epson release 14-inch non- glare notebook PC (Japan) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/epson-release-14-inch-non-glare- notebook-pc-japan-/17834.html November 13th, 2012 Epson have started taking orders for a new ultra-slim notebook named the Endeavor NA601E. Today we take a look at just how slim it really is. Epson used to be a popular printer and scanner maker, so it’s always strange to see them release new notebooks. Maybe they just got sick of getting printer ink all over their hands whenever they changed a cartridge? Who knows. Anyway, let’s get down to brass tacks and take a look at what this puppy can do. Available from Epson Direct, the Endeavor has a thickness of 22mm and a screen size of 14”. The machine is marketed as a “business mobile notebook PC” rather than an ‘ultrabook’, but after converting from Yen (¥59,850, to be precise) its price more or less reaches ultrabook prices ($755 USD). The weight of the device is 1.76kg as standard, but its also possible to order a model without an optical disk drive, in which case the weight drops to a lighter 1.65kg. The dimensions of the device are 338x242x22mm. Its practical use as a business machine really boils down to its portability and usage time on-the-go. We’ve already seen that its small and light enough to fit into an attache case, but
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 what about the battery life? Well, the default battery gives a so-so 7 hours, but it is possible to add an extra battery, boosting the mobile-life of the unit up to 11.6 hours. That’s more like it, Epson. Lookin' good, Endeavor. Are you on that new juice diet? Spec wise, the machine carries a Core i5-3317U (1.70 GHz, with embedded graphics), 2GB memory standard (upgradable up to 16GB), Intel HM77 Express chipset, DVD- ROM drive (optional), 1,366x768 dot 14”-wide LCD panel (non-glare). On the storage front, buyers may choose from the standard HDD 250GB, SSD, or hybrid HDD. Those who opt for the solid state model will be happy to hear that it supports Intel Rapid Start Technology. The model of SSD has not been specified but its support for Rapid Start indicates that it’s probably an Intel device. Three Ctrl buttons you say? This is madness! The machine comes with Windows 8 64bit as standard, but those more comfortable with Windows 7 can choose Windows 7 Home/Premium/Professional in 32 or 64 bit. It’s also possible to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro 64bit, if you’re really feeling wacky. Additional components include a TPM security chip, and optional antitheft features. Interface ports include USB 3.0, USB 2.0x2, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI output, Mini D- Sub15pin, SD card slot, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n wireless LAN, WiMAX, and Bluetooth. Phew! Epson Direct Store: http://shop.epson.jp/ Product Info: http://shop.epson.jp/pc/na601e/ Sanwa Direct Showcases Back-Installed Tablet Arm Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sanwa-direct-showcases-back- installed-tablet-arm/17829.html November 13th, 2012 Sanwa Direct presents a new adjustable arm stand that is installed at the back of your PC monitor, and is designed to hold tablets. Sanwa direct had just showcased another adjustable arm product for their line of monitor holders. They have already previously released adjustable arm products for quite some time, but this is the first time that they had developed one that is specifically used for tablets. The new product is designated as the 100-MR067, and it is aimed to be used on tablets that are 7 to 12 inch in size. It is designed to be installed at the back, for the attached tablet to be used as an auxiliary unit for your PC setup. The back mounting standard of the 100-MR067 allows a good portion of the arm itself to be hidden behind a ordinary LCD monitor, which makes for added points in its overall ergonomic standard. It saves you table space, and is not rough to look at. The tablet holder itself has 5 variable stoppers/clips and is tipped with a cushion material, so that it both stays in place firmly and gets protected from scratches and other minor damage. The arm has three joints, all of which can be efficiently used to change the position of the tablet while it is attached. The tablet tray is made of ABS plastic, and the arm is made of steel and aluminum. The maximum length of the arm is 462.8mm, and overall it weighs 0.98kg. Although it has been generally advertised to be able to hold 7 to 12 inch screen tablets, it actually has specific tablet dimension limits. The length of the tablet to be mounted should be from 191 to 272mm, width from 110 to 190mm and thickness from 5 to 18mm. The tablet arm units are now currently available for limited time purchase at several online stores (Rakuten Online
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Shop, Yahoo Shopping (JP), Amazon Marketplace (JP) for a price of 6480 yen (82 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP) Update: Blizzard sued in class action lawsuit - Blizzard's response Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/update-blizzard-sued-in-class- action-lawsuit--blizzard-s-response/17835.html November 13th, 2012 Yesterday, we published an article concerning a class action lawsuit against Blizzard for forcing the sale of security solutions to it's customers. Blizzard has responded to our request for a comment, and so we're publishing an update. Yesterday, we published an article about the recent class action lawsuit against Blizzard Entertainment. The lawsuit concerns security solutions for their games, which involves charging customers for protecting their personal information and for not taking proper steps towards alerting their players when security breaches had compromised the personal data. We reached out to Blizzard for a comment, and they've responded. Blizzard is adamant that the lawsuit is baseless, as well as filled with false information. They state that the do indeed take the security of their users seriously, and that they are "fully committed to defending [their] network infrastructure." The Battle.net logo Blizzard is accused of failing to alert their users of the August 2012 security breach or take any appropriate steps against it. Blizzard denies any wrong-doing. Their response to us states that they took action and provided their players with information on what Blizzard was doing to correct the situation, as well as how the breach affected the end user. Blizzard points out that it explained how no sensitive information, such as names or credit card numbers, had been obtained. They refer to their FAQ and a letter to their users, and indeed, having looked through them, they seem to support Blizzard's claim. The lawsuit also claims that Blizzard is charging their players for security solutions, necessitating that customers purchase the battle.net authenticator, instead of providing security to the user accounts outright. Blizzard's response states that this charge centers around a basic misunderstanding of what the authenticator does. They explain that the battle.net authenticator is an added protection against threats from outside of Blizzard's network infrastructure. Using the authenticator involves using a random code as an extra security step for logging into your account. It's purpose is to ensure that it is really you who are logging in, and not simply a person who has stolen your credentials through external means, such as if you've used the same credentials on another website which was compromised. This has nothing to do with the internal security at Blizzard and is completely optional, though Blizzard still recommends it. The Battle.net Authenticator The letter ends with Blizzard remarking that they've received plenty of support for their security solutions and thanks the player community for their support during the lawsuit. You can read their full email response to us on the next page Blizzard announces release date for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-announces-release-date-for- starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm/17845.html November 13th, 2012 Blizzard has announced that the highly-anticipated first expansion for StarCraft II, entitled Heart of the Swarm, will launch in March of next year, with pre-orders now open. Blizzard has announced that the highly-anticipated first expansion for StarCraft II, entitled Heart of the Swarm, will launch in March of next year, with pre-orders now open. The game will zerg-rush onto the computers of players on 12 March, 2013, taking the story from the perspective of Sarah Kerrigan, Queen of Blades, the leader of the Zerg race. There will be a single-player campaign with 20 missions, where Kerrigan features and can grow more powerful, with new abilities and new Zerg strains to use to fight dictator Arcturus Mengsk. Multiplayer is receiving some attention with new units like the Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, updates to old units, and new features like group and clan systems, unranked matchmaking, global play, additional stat tracking, an improved user interface
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 and physics system, multiplayer replay, and a new levelling system to provide more customisation for players. Heart of the Swarm can be pre-ordered now, with three editions available: the standard edition download, with just the game itself; a Digital Deluxe Edition with the game, a Torrasque skin, three unique portraits and decals, a World of Warcraft Baneling pet, and blade wings and a banner sigil for Diablo 3, showcasing Blizzard’s ability to entice players of its other games to part with cash; and finally the Collector's Edition, with all of the above, an art book, soundtrack CD, behind-the-scenes DVD, and mousepad. The expansion will be available for PC and Mac and will sell for $39.99 for the basic edition, $59.99 for the Digital Deluxe Edition, and $79.99 for the Collector's Edition. Players can upgrade from the standard edition to the Digital Deluxe Edition at any time for $20. AT&T to launch Android- powered Samsung Galaxy Camera on November 16 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/at-t-to-launch-android-powered- samsung-galaxy-camera-on-november-16/17828.html November 13th, 2012 Samsung and AT&T will launch a high-end Android-based Galaxy camera on November 16 for US consumption. Will this camera be a hit or a novelty item? The camera, although having already been launched in various locales worldwide, is finally coming to the US with a pretty nice price tag. Originally tagged for retail as a $499 purchase, the price seems to have dropped to $399 for US consumers—with a catch, that is. Buyers will be able to purchase the Android-powered Galaxy camera for $399 if they decide to also purchase a Samsung Galaxy Smartphone as well. True to the Android meme, the Camera will sport a 4.8-inch Super Clear HD LCD screen, a 1.4GHz quad-core CPU, Wi- Fi, 3G and 4G support (varies on model), Wi-Fi Direct, and a microSD. The camera itself boasts a 16MP sensor, 21X zoom, and a wide variety of built-in photo editing software. Since the camera is capable of 3G and 4G connectivity, you’ll be able to purchase AT&T’s data services. The pricings of the various service includes: Mobile Share which allows you to share between 1GB-20GB for $10, DataConnect 250MB for $15, DataConnect 3GB for $30, and DataConnect 5GB for $50. Does the Galaxy Camera sound like a worthwhile buy? Or is it just a novelty item that will get phased out sooner or later? Comments below! John McAfee Wanted for Murder in Belize Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/john-mcafee-wanted-for-murder-in- belize/17827.html November 13th, 2012 According to reports, John McAfee, the founder and namesake of the McAfee antivirus software company, is
  • November 13th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 wanted for murder in Belize, on the north-eastern coast of Central America. According to reports, John McAfee, the founder and namesake of the McAfee antivirus software company, is wanted for murder in Belize, on the north-eastern coast of Central America. According to Gizmodo, the antivirus pioneer is a prime suspect in the murder of American expatriate Gregory Faull, who was shot in his home on Saturday night. Faull, a builder, had previously filed a formal complaint against McAfee for firing off guns and exhibiting "roguish behaviour." Apparently the two men had had a disagreement about dogs sometime before Faull was shot. Wanted for murder: John McAfee. Photo: Youtube A police statement obtained by Gizmodo notes that police haven't established a motive yet, but are pursuing several leads, one of which appears to be McAfee. McAfee founded the company that bears his name in the late 90s and went on to sell it to Intel for $US7.7 billion in 2010. Since then, McAfee has turned his attention to a new company he co-founded called Quorumex, which is based in Belize and researches antibiotics. McAfee's behaviour has been described as "erratic" in recent years. He has experimented with hallucinogenic drugs and discussed his experiences in chat rooms. Earlier this year, McAfee was arrested in Belize for possessing illegal firearms, which he described at the time as being a "bogus charge." He also accused police of having killed his dog during the raid on his house. This is not the first time a software company founder has been accused of murder. In 2008 Hans Reiser, the Linux programmer behind the ReiserFS filesystem, was convicted of killing his wife.
  • November 14th, 2012 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. Rightware launches Browsermark 2.0, benchmark tool for multiplatform web browsers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rightware-launches- browsermark-2.0-benchmark-tool-for-multiplatform-web- browsers/17870.html November 14th, 2012 With a four minute test conducted by Rightware's new Browsermark 2.0 benchmark, users can now better determine the efficiency of their browser, and compare it to statistics gathered from a library of other tests. With a four minute test conducted by the new Browsermark 2.0 benchmark tool by Rightware, Internet users can now determine the performance of their browser based on a wide range of strenuous tests, and a library of statistics with which to compare the results. Browsermark 2.0 is free to use, and works across a variety of hardware and software platforms. This includes desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. After performing a four minute series of tests to determine performance of browser functionality and conformance to modern standards/protocol, Browsermark displays the results and compares them to an accumulated library of statistics. Currently, and likely to few netizen's surprise, Google chrome largely takes the lead in performance across desktop and mobile platforms tested. “We are all frustrated with the performance of our browser based on the device we are web browsing on, to the point that we continue to ask ‘Am I expecting too much from my tablet?’” said Tero Sarkkinen, CEO of Rightware. “Browsermark answers that question for you. This simple to run test will help you decide which browser gives the best web experience for your device. In addition to measuring your own device, consumers can check out the latest results in our Power Board online database. We believe these two technologies will help to improve the user experience on every device.”
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 With the rise of “post-PC” computing, and feature rich web applications for business and personal use, web browsers have a dominant place in the average computer user's digital life. This makes the functionality of Rightware's utility quite useful, in allowing users to determine the most efficient browser for their purposes. To that end, Browsermark performs a series of detailed tests for a variety of categories. This includes basic functionality, such as loading pages and resizing windows, to more complicated features typical of modern browsers, such as WebGL, Canvas, HTML5, and CSS3/3D. These latter categories also make the benchmark particularly useful for web gamers, playing any of the variety of rich MMO's and various other games available to browsers. Skype patches password reset vulnerability Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/skype-patches-password-reset- vulnerability/17871.html November 14th, 2012 Skype has fixed a vulnerability in its Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service that allowed hackers to take over accounts using the password reset feature. Skype has fixed a vulnerability in its Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service that allowed hackers to take over accounts using the password reset feature. Leonas Sendrauskas, an engineer at Skype, said that the company was notified of the problem earlier today. It temporarily suspended the password reset while it made an update to fix the security hole. However, the problem has existed for months, with one Russian website, Xeksec, featuring a guide on how to exploit the vulnerability. When the bug finally gained notoriety on Reddit Skype took notice. Skype for Windows 8 All a hacker had to do was create a new Skype account with the email address of an existing member. A password reset request with the original Skype user's username would then result in the hacker being able to access the reset token directly through the Skype app using the newly-created account. The hacker would then be able to see the user's details and spend any credit the user had on their account. Credit card details are also stored, though only the last four letters are shown, but a hacker can avail of the automatic top-up option for when credit is low, potentially leaving a hacked user with a hefty bill. Skype said it is contacting anyone affected by the vulnerability to assist them in regaining access to their accounts. Presumably it will refund any credit that is fraudulently spent, given the problem was not user security but a gaping hole in Skype's own defences. With Microsoft planning to ditch Windows Live Messenger for Skype, monumental security failings like this one won't make that transition any easier. Google reveals government requests for user data on the rise Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-reveals-government- requests-for-user-data-on-the-rise/17869.html November 14th, 2012 Google has released its latest transparency report, revealing that government surveillance is on the increase, with the United States making the most requests by far for data on users. Google has released its latest transparency report, revealing that government surveillance is on the increase, with the United States making the most requests by far for data on users. During the first six months of this year, the latest figures to be added to Google's tally, the search giant received 20,938 requests for user data from governments throughout the world, with those requests centring on 34,614 Google accounts. Of those, close to 40 percent came from the United States, which made a whopping 7,969 requests, relating to 16,281 accounts. 90 percent of these were fully or partially complied with.
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The next highest country is India with 2,319 requests relating to 3,467 accounts. 64 percent of these were complied with in some form. The UK, France, Germany and Brazil all came in with around 1,500 requests, with between 39 percent and 76 percent of them being complied with. Some countries like Hungary, Turkey and Russia made dozens of requests, but Google refused to comply with any of them. Compliance with the US is by far the strongest, followed by Japan at 86 percent, then Denmark at 78 percent. Content removal requests also increased dramatically. Google said that from 2009, the year it started releasing these reports, to 2011, such requests from governments were “largely flat,” hovering around the 1,000 mark, but in the first half of this year it received 1,791 requests to take down content, relating to 17,746 pieces of content on the web. The vast majority of these were for defamation, but privacy and security also made up a huge chunk. There were relatively low amounts of requests for removal of government criticism, adult content, hate speech, and copyrighted material. Google also commended fellow technology companies Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter for jumping on the transparency report bandwagon in the last year. Image Credit: Google Shenzhen based Ginwave's new Gnote2 gives Samsung a run for their money Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/shenzhen-based-ginwave-s-new- gnote2-gives-samsung-a-run-for-their-money/17830.html November 14th, 2012 The successor to Ginwave's popular Gnote smart phone came out this month. It offers users a 5.3 inch screen that they can write on with an attached stylus, along with other industry-standard bells and whistles, all at less than half the price of a Galaxy Note 2. The Gnote2 is part of a general trend toward bigger screens. It offers users a screen resolution of 960X540 to enjoy streaming and gaming powered by a dual-core ARM cortex- A9 processor. It comes with an 8 megapixel rear and a 2 megapixel front camera one would expect on a device like this one. It runs Android 4.0, and allows for 32GB of expandable memory via microSD. The added stylus should significantly increase the device's appeal to less tech-savvy users who are more comfortable operating the device with a peripheral. If you're saying to yourself that the Gnote2 is basically just a slightly downgraded Samsung Galaxy Note 2 then you have a point. Its processor is slower than the Note 2's 1.6GHz quad-core. In fact that was the main complaint it recieved
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 from early reviewers in China. The Gnote2's screen is also 0.2 inches smaller than the Galaxy Note 2's, and also slightly thicker and heavier. Why should you care about it at all? Selling for 2299 Yuan ($369) in China, the Gnote2 costs 60% less than the price of a Galaxy Note 2. O2 and Vodafone customers in the UK are getting it for free with their plans. If the device makes it into the US market, it may be a very attractive price if the pricing model remains consistent. Even smart phone users who aren't interested in cheaper, lower- spec versions of the most popular phones should know that their existence has an important effect of pushing down prices across the board. Phones like the Gnote 2 fill an important gap in the market. New GRIN technology could create better artificial lenses Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-grin-technology-could-create- better-artificial-lenses/17866.html November 14th, 2012 A new optical technology will mean better artificial lenses for the human eye; a closer resemblance to the eye's natural lens will remove distortions which were previously unavoidable Artificial eye lenses have never been a perfect replacement for the natural ones we're born with. One reason for this is that artificial lenses have a single refractive index, while the natural lens has a range of different indices. The refractive index is the property in a material which determines the way light travels through it; specifically how the angle of incoming light changes as it passes from one material to another. The natural lens has several different refractive indices, and the human eye is optimized for this. Artificial lenses with one refractive index, such as those used in cataracts surgery, thus often cause visual distortions. Diagram over how light is refracted through a natural lens Case Western University, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and a company called PolymerPlus have been working on creating a new lens capable of having several refractive indices, and thus being able to serve as a more perfect replacement for the human one. The technology they've created is called GRIN, or Gradient Refractive Index Optics. The group has used GRIN to create a new lens, which is composed of layers upon layers of nano-scale polymer films. Each layer has slightly different optical properties, and when combined on top of each other, the result is a lens through which light is incrementally bent at different angles depending on where it strikes the lens. Michael Ponting, president of PolymerPlus, explains: “It’s a very efficient means of controlling the pathway of light without relying on complicated optics," A GRIN lens The most obvious application for the technology is medical, but in the future the technology could be more widespread. As Ponting stated, the technology allows for very efficient means of controlling light; meaning it could one day have consumer or military applications in optical systems by reducing the number of components needed. Papa John's Pizza sued for $250 million over SMS spam Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/papa-john-s-pizza-sued-for-250- million-over-sms-spam/17868.html November 14th, 2012 After an SMS ad campaign sent thousands of text messages to customers, even those who hadn't opted in for adverts, Papa John's pizza is now being sued for $250 million. In 2010, Papa John's Pizza hired a mass text messaging service, OnTime4U to send advertisements to it's customers. Now, this service has earned them a $250 million class action lawsuit. Erin Chutich, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement that "Papa John's never asked permission to send me text message advertisements." Indeed, even when customers complained, the messages kept coming.
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The lawsuit was certified by U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour on November 9 in Seattle, Wa. If successful, it will lead to a big fine for Papa John's, according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This act states that it is illegal to send advertisements to anyone who hasn't opted in to receive that information. The lawsuit requests $500 worth of damages for each sent text message. The lawsuit is also claiming that, in total, 500,000 messages have been sent. Judge John C. Coughenour Papa John's has stated that it acted within the extent of the law, since it was not them, but a third party vendor, who sent the messages. Personally, this seems like a very weak defense, but Papa John's is nevertheless moving to appeal the certification given by Judge Coughenour. Jellyfsh-like device can snatch cancer cells from the bloodstream Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/jellyfsh-like-device-can-snatch- cancer-cells-from-the-bloodstream/17867.html November 14th, 2012 A new technology utilizing microfluidic biochips mimics how jellyfish catch food, in order to grab cancerous proteins from the blood stream. It's been about a year since a collaboration between three universities created what is known as a microfluidic chip; essentially a laboratory on a glass biochip which with no electricity can separate blood plasma from blood cells, and then analyze the blood in a variety of sensors. Now, the same technology has been used to find a possible means of treating cancer. Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital has created a microfluidic chip where a sample of blood flows through a channel, and long strands of DNA have been dangled into this stream. The DNA strands grab onto cancerous proteins which flow past, behaving in the exact same way as jellyfish behave when they grab food in the ocean. The chip can even be made to release the proteins later for further study. Thus, the chip can be used both therapeutically and diagnostically. It's even possible to use the technology to isolate fetal cells, and most likely there will be other sues in the future as well. At this point, the next step for the technology is human testing, meaning it's been quite far into the development stage already. Tesla wins Motor Trend Car of the Year with all electric Model S Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tesla-wins-motor-trend-car-of-the- year-with-all-electric-model-s/17855.html November 14th, 2012 Motor Trend has made the unanimous decision on Monday, November 12th in making the Tesla Model S to be the 2013 Car of the Year. The Model S will be Tesla’s first sedan and is all electric. The Model S will be Tesla’s first sedan that is all electric and the first all electric built and marketed from the ground up available to a mass market. Most people drool when they see a Tesla roadster pass them on the highway but the sporty looking all electric sport cars
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 are priced for those in the more affluent market. Many critics said the idea of a new start up all electric car company was next to impossible to achieve but to the amazement of many Tesla kept going, and they have now expanded their fleet offering cars that are truly modestly priced. The latest model from Tesla is being called the Model S, and it was awarded by Motor Trend magazine as the 2013 Car of the Year. Motor Trend states that this is the first time in their history that the decision was made unanimous by the judges. Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO stated to the press, “Our aspiration with the Model S was to show that an electric car truly can be better than any gasoline car, which is a critical step towards the widespread adoption of sustainable transport…Nothing illustrates this more clearly than winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year by unanimous decision against a field of exceptional competitors.” Many will agree with Motor Trend’s decision on this new Tesla sedan, and this Tesla sedan just an absolutely phenomenal car of the future. The car comes with an impressive 300-mile range (85kWh model) and can reach 60MPH in less than 4 seconds! The car is also the world’s first high end all electric sedan designed from the ground up that is available to a mass market. It is a solid car, and it has a near perfect weight distribution along with a low center of gravity making it agile and responsive on the road with its 19” aluminum wheels. Of course the interior console is just fantastic with a full 17” in-dash touch screen pad available with an Internet connection and satellite radio along with a GPS function. The main powers available for the car are three options and all with lithium ion batteries. They offer 40kWh, 60 and 85kWh of power. The 85kWh offers the driver a near 300- mile range but adds a lot ot the final cost of the vehicle. Tesla claims that since a regular engine is absent in their sedan, they offer more cargo space with two trunk areas, which is very nice. The exact specs on this all-electric sedan are impressive. The legroom is 42.7/35.4” and a seating capacity for 5 grown adults and a total cargo area is a roomy 31.6 cubic feet. The body on this car is made of a special aluminum alloy that is super strong with boron steel reinforced regions on the frame. If you are truly interested in owning a Tesla model S, you need to put down a 5 thousand U.S. dollar reserve payment. The cost of the car starts out just under 50,000.00 U.S. dollars and it qualifies for the U.S. Federal tax credit for driving a car with zero emissions. For more information on reserving your very own Tesla you can check out their website at www.teslamotors.com Black Ops II for PC may contain Mass Effect 2 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/black-ops-ii-for-pc-may-contain- mass-effect-2/17865.html November 14th, 2012 If you bought Black Ops II retail for PC, you may end up with your second disc filled with Mass Effect 2 code. Gamers who bought Black Ops II for their PCs may be in for a nasty surprise when they try to insert the game's second disc. Due to a manufacturing error, it seems the retail version of the game has gotten mixed up with Mass Effect 2, and some of the copies of the game contain code from Bioware's space opera. This doesn't effect all copies of the game (I got away unscathed), but reports are piling up from all over the internet. No Black Ops for you, PC gamer. Since the two game franchises are published by different companies; Electronic Arts for Mass Effect and Activision for Call of Duty, it's strange to find the games mixed up. The most likely explanation is that both companies use the same pressing plant for manufacturing their game discs, and that this is where the mix-up occurred. Neither Activision nor EA has as of yet come out with a statement regarding the incident. If you've received a faulty disc, there's no need to fret as long as you have a decent internet connection, of course. The game launches via steam, and if you can't install via the disc, you can simply download it instead, even if it may cause some frustration. Motorola unveils wearable computer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/motorola-unveils-wearable- computer/17864.html November 14th, 2012 Motorola is has revealed a new computer that will soon go on sale, which is worn on the head like a helmet, and operated via voice commands. Motorola has created a new computer which is worn on the head like a helmet. The Motorola HC1 as it is called,
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 is attached with a cradle that fixes the computer to the wearers head. The computer itself curls around their neck. A small screen protrudes on the left side of the device and is positioned so the user can see it when glancing slightly down. Meanwhile, the right side of the device is occupied by a camera. Controlling the computer is predominantly done via voice commands, which will allow the user to do several tasks, including accessing files and email, as well as viewing and zooming with the camera. It will also feature Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity. It's bulky, but Motorola's wearable computer is a very practical device The main use for the HC1 will be in professions where on the fly information is vital, and where it is important to have your hands free. Paul Reed, product manager for mobile computing at Motorola explains further: "If you imagine somebody up, say, a telegraph pole at the very top, needing to rewire something, they don't really want to be fiddling with a laptop,". Other professions which may find use for the computer are warehouse workers who need to be aware of storage and stocking information; or paramedics, who could access medical records and stream video of the patient back to the hospital. A Nottingham based company is already developing an application for the device intended for use by paramedics. Motorola is estimating the retail price of the HC1 to be around $3000-4000. With it's rather bulky design and expensive price tag, it's not exactly a consumer product. You'd be better off waiting for Google's take on the concept "Project Glass" instead. However, the Motorola HC1 is notable because it is not a prototype, as with many similar projects. It's due to go on sale in the new year. John McAfee In Hiding From Belize Police Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/john-mcafee-in-hiding-from-belize- police/17853.html November 14th, 2012 Millionaire software developer John McAfee is currently in hiding from the police in the country of Belize. He is wanted in questioning concerning the shooting and murder of a fifty- two year old man by the name Gregory Viant Faull. Faull was a neighbor of McAfee whose body was found on Sunday, November 11th lying dead in his home with a bullet wound to the head. McAfee is currently not considered a suspect in the murder of Faull but he is being called a ‘person of interest’ according to numerous on-line reports. If the name John McAfee seems familiar, you may not have to look any further than the computer you are reading this story from. McAfee was a pioneer in developing software to combat virus attacks with his company aptly named, McAfee. The 67-year-old McAfee is currently in Belize and has been considered to be in hiding from law enforcement there. A Wired magazine report stated that McAfee had nothing to do with the murder of Faull and was worried that the police may kill him if he is found. Numerous on-line reports have also stated that the Belize police are asking that he come in and just talk without any fear of harm. The 67-year-old Faull is being reported as a retired construction magnate from the U.S. state of Florida. His housekeeper found him inside his Belize Island home and purported to be lying on the floor face up in a large pool of blood. He had a single bullet wound to the head. McAfee told Wired magazine that he felt maybe the shooter mistook the home to be his and possibly killed the wrong man. John McAfee is a U.K born, naturalized U.S. citizen. He made his fortune by starting up a software company in the 1980s that became the leader in anti-virus for personal computers. In 2008 McAfee moved to Belize to invest in a new company that makes pharmaceuticals. His net worth was once over 100 million dollars but it has been rumored that he lost a considerable amount of his fortune when the world economy collapsed. McAfee has been accused by the Belize government of starting up some sort of quasi-military force by surrounding himself with armed bodyguards, and he has accused the Belize government of killing his pets and stealing his passport and other personal items. Panasonic to lay off 10,000 employees in attempt to restore profitability Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/panasonic-to-lay-off-10-000- employees-in-attempt-to-restore-profitability/17862.html November 14th, 2012 During the last fiscal year, Panasonic already let go of 36,000 workers. During an interview with Panasonic’s CFO Hideaki Kawai, he announced that another 10,000 unlucky
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 employees of the group will be sent on their way before the end of March 2013. Panasonic have continued to bled money amongst stiff competition from both China and Korea, who specialize in undercutting competition with their price war strategies. This combined with the murky economic state has been more than a small burden on the Japanese electronics maker. Hideaki Kawai let on that 1/5 of the 88 business departments which the group oversees are unprofitable, and only 50% of the company are able to achieve the expected operating profit of at least 5% per annum. Starting from next year, Panasonic plan on selling off some of their non-core businesses, and directly close those which have no selling value. The CFO explained how the current plans for the group was to reach a minimum of 200 billion Yen (approx. 2.52 billion USD) by the end of the fiscal year ending in March 2014. In the fiscal year of 2011, Panasonic’s losses amounted to 10 billion USD, the largest loss in history for the company. However with some amount of effort, Panasonic was able to turn this around and had a profitable 1st quarter of this year, making net profits of 12,81 billion Yen. However, the future is bleak for the electronics group as Panasonic’s profit estimate released last month shows expected losses of 10 billion dollars by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2013. By this fated date, Mr. Kawai plans on selling off 110 billion Yen’s worth of property, consisting of mainly land and real estate. Industry analysts claim that this selling off of assets will provide Panasonic with the liquidity it requires to reshuffle its organization’s deck in the coming months. Z.O.E Reboot Project: Jehuty attacks Odaiba (Japan) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/z.o.e-reboot-project-jehuty-attacks- odaiba-japan-/17844.html November 14th, 2012 To celebrate the release of “Zone of the Enders HD Edition” on PS3 and Xbox360 (released October 25), Konami has been making a splash in Tokyo. Taiwan's ecommerce growth might plateau Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/taiwan-s-ecommerce-growth-might- plateau/17849.html November 14th, 2012 Taiwan's annual ecommerce growth has hovered around 15% for several years. Economic expert, Wang Yizhi, suggests some ways to get those numbers up. Wang Yizhi, a senior industry analyst and group leader for the Institute of Information Industry, says that Taiwan has seen a 17.4% increase in commerce since from last year's numbers. Taiwan's ecommerce industry is currently valued at 660 billion yuan, roughly 1 billion USD. Wang predicts that ecommerce will grow because more consumers are starting to buy online, more retail businesses are using ecommerce, and the government is offering more support for online business. This year, the B2C (Business to Consumer) ecommerce amounted to 385.2 billion yuan, while C2C (Consumer to Consumer) ecommerce accounted about 275 billion yuan. However, if Taiwan's ecommerce industry makes no significant changes in the near future, its value may plateau. For the past few years, the industry has maintained a steady growth rate of around 15% per year. If Taiwanese ecommerce can establish a firm foothold in mainland China, its value would rise exponentially. Nonetheless, Taiwan can expect the value of ecommerce to rise to 764.5 billion yuan next year. As of now, much of Taiwan's ecommerce targets a predominantly female consumer base with clothing, accessories, beauty products, and specialty food. Wang points out that an untapped consumer group, the 30 to 39 year-old office workers, can be targeted for further business growth. Some consumers are worried about shopping online, voicing concerns such as Internet instability, limited quality of goods, poor safety regulations, and security of online payments. Businesses can improve upon those issues to bring in new customers. Ubuntu for Android video teases smartphone users even more Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ubuntu-for-android-video-teases- smartphone-users-even-more/17852.html November 14th, 2012 The folks over at Ubuntu want you ‘to live a simpler life.’ How? By turning your Android smartphone into a full- fledged PC, and thereby eliminating the need to 'live a double life.' The Ubuntu for Android ad has been plastered all over the Ubuntu official website for a long time, but up until now there still hasn’t been a public release of the desktop OS for our Android smartphones. The concept is pretty simple; you install Ubuntu to run alongside your Android OS, and when you hook your phone to a docking station the phone will switch into Ubuntu desktop mode. Sounds freakishly cool right? But again, the Ubuntu-Android mash up is still not available for public consumption as of yet. As if the dedicated ‘Ubuntu for Android’ section of the website was not enough to tease us, Ubuntu recently posted
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 a video explaining all the great things you can do with your Android smartphone if you installed Ubuntu on it. Here… the video is self-explanatory: Google deploying fiber optic Internet in Kansas Cities Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-deploying-fiber-optic- internet-in-kansas-cities/17851.html November 14th, 2012 This week, residents in the two Kansas cities will be able to arrange for installation of Google's new 1 Gbps fiber optic internet service. Residents of the two Kansas cities are now among the first to experience Google's fairly revolutionary new Internet service. The fiber optic service, first announced in 2010, will be among the fastest available anywhere in the United States, and delivers 1 Gbps Internet service – a speed 100 times faster than that of an average American's Internet connection. This week, it will become possible for residents to arrange for installations of this new connection into their homes, so they can access content at the speed of light – literally, in a sense. The fiber optic cables that are being used in Google's new service carry data signals by light beams transmitted through a glass thread inside the cables. These light beams are ideal for data, since they can deliver vastly superior transfer speeds, orders of magnitude greater than that of the every day Joe. For an idea of how fast this kind of Internet is, at a speed of 1 Gbps, it's theoretically possible to zip a four gigabyte HD movie to a connected computer in about thirty seconds. Of course, this is in perfectly ideal conditions. And, needless to say, there probably aren't a lot of servers on the web ready to capacitate a steady a lot of traffic at those rates. But now that the Google monster is adding ISP to its already towering resume of services, the average netizen can be sure that an Internet revolution won't be far behind. Tomb Raider Collector's Edition announced Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tomb-raider-collector-s-edition- announced/17843.html November 14th, 2012 Square Enix reveals the Collector's Edition for their new re-imagining of Lara Croft's adventures in Tomb Raider, coming soon to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The new upcoming Tomb Raider game completely revitalizes the franchise, giving a realistic and gritty new adventure for gamers to explore and re-imagining the iconic femme fatale Lara Croft. Spearheded by gaming giant Square Enix and developed by Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider looks to be one of the most dynamically impressive releases of 2013. The newly announced Tomb Raider Collector's Edition features a wide array of additional goodies for fans of the series and is available in limited quantities for release alongside the game on March 5, 2013. • The Collector's Edition features a replica survival tin recovered from the expedition ship "Endurance" as well as the following: • An exclusive 8-inch Lara Craft figurine from Play Arts -KAI- with an alternate set of three hands, bow and arrow, shotgun, handgun, and an ice axe. • A double-sided 15" x 19" island map and poster, allowing gamers to discover and keep track of their travels and adventures throughout the island of Yamatai. • An exclusive 5" x 7" Lara Craft lithographic print with matte frame designed by Crystal Dynamic's senior art director Brian Horton and concept artist Brenoch Adams. • Three iron-on badges used on the game's experience icons: "Animal Instincts," the "Climbing Axe" and "Fire Arrow". • The official 10 track Tomb Raider Original Soundtrack "Survivalist Cut" CD featuring over 60 minutes of music from the game. • Weapons Pack DLC, including a variety of weapons to help Lara survive against Yamatai's dangerous inhabitants. The Tomb Raider Collector's Edition will be available in limited quantities for $99.99 and will release alongside the game on March 5, 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. For more information on Tomb Raider and how to reserve your own pre-order, please visit the game's official website. New Windows 8-optimized Wireless Keyboard by Elecom Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-windows-8-optimized-wireless- keyboard-by-elecom/17848.html
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 November 14th, 2012 The TK-FDP055 is a wireless keyboard developed recently by Elecom. It features a special number pad that can be used as a touch pad by using specific finger gestures. Now here's a treat for those who still want to fully optimize touch functionality in Windows 8 without always having to reach for your screen while typing. Elecom has just presented their new wireless keyboard, the TL-FDP055, which is designed to be optimized for various Windows 8- exclusive control functions. The most noticeable feature on the keyboard, as you can see in the image, is its numpad, which is actually also designed as a touch pad. While the buttons work as they would in an ordinary numpad, it can also be used to control a screen mouse pointer, or to scroll and click things within Windows 8's graphical interface. In addition, the touch pad can also receive other special commands based on specific finger gestures. Here are the some of the things that you can do to the numpad of the TL-FDP055: • Swipe leftwards to the center to call up the Charm Bar menu • Swipe rightwards to the center switch active apps • Swipe downwards to the center to open the apps bar • Pinch to zoom in/out • Swipe sideways using three fingers to flip between webpages • Swipe upwards from the center with three fingers to open the Computer menu Unlike the some other Windows 8 optimized keyboards though, the configuration for its input "system" is actually more of a typical desktop-use wireless keyboard than an all-rounder mobile keyboard. It does not send input via Bluetooth, but instead it uses a wireless receiver that is plugged into the main unit's full USB port. This can be a hassle to some mobile Windows 8 units, but is thankfully not a problem for Microsoft's flagship tablet unit. The dimensions of the unit are set at 369 x 124 x 24 mm, and weighs 442 grams. It uses two AA batteries, which it can typically use for up to 4 months. The frequency of the wireless signal is at 2.4 Ghz and maximum use distance is 10 meters, though it shortens to 3 meters when used within a nearby magnetic field. Even though it's optimized for Windows 8, it can also be used for Windows XP, Vista and 7 (albeit without the touch functions). The release of the TL-FDP055BK (black version) in Japan is scheduled to be around December of this year. It will be priced at 8431 yen (107 USD). Verizon gets quad-core LTE HTC Droid DNA for $199.99 with contract Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/verizon-gets-quad-core-lte-htc- droid-dna-for-199.99-with-contract/17850.html November 14th, 2012 Starting November 21, the HTC Droid DNA will be available for $199.99 with a two year contract, but pre-order for this quad-core LTE-capable device is already underway. We’ve been following HTC for a while ever since rumors swirled about HTC developing a ‘phablet-esque’ smartphone like the Galaxy Note, and now it’s official. The Droid DNA’s screen size is slightly smaller than the Note II’s 5.5-inches, but coming in at 5-inch the Droid DNA is inching ever closer to tablet territory. Previously, many quad-core flagships from OEMs like HTC and Samsung did not retain that same spec when they entered US market due to LTE requirements. Therefore, OEMs instead installed dual-core chips that were LTE- capable, being mainly the dual-core Snapdragon S4. The quad-core dilemma is no more, because Qualcomm has finally made a quad-core Snapdragon S4 that is compatible with LTE technology here in the States. Specifically, the Droid DNA will boast a 5-inch 1080p HD screen protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 2, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro LTE-capable clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, HTC’s in-house Sense 4+ UI, an 8MP rear camera, a 2.1MP front camera, NFC, sound tuned with Beats Audio, and Android Jelly Bean to boot.
  • November 14th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 Amazon selling zombie survival gear Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amazon-selling-zombie-survival- gear/17838.html November 14th, 2012 Amazon, much like the rest of the world, seems worried about a zombie apocalypse, and in order to do their part in our survival, they're now selling gear to help you survive the undead. Zombies are permeating our pop culture, and we seem obsessed with the idea of the dead waking up to feast on our flesh: Television has The Walking Dead; gaming has Left4Dead; and now Amazon has Zombie Apocalypse Supplies. The recently opened Amazon page sells everything you'll need to survive in the event of a zombie uprising, listing their product under categories such as "brain protection", "first aid supplies", "cut resistant gloves" and "duct tape". The page also sells costumes, books and movies. There is no subsection of the amazon page selling zombie themed games however, which at first seems strange, considering that there is quite a large market for them. However, after looking closer at the page, a small logo promoting Call of Duty Black Ops II's zombie mode is lurking at the top of the page. This amazon section is thus likely a promotional stunt. This doesn't make it any less cool though. My only complaint is that the site seems to be missing an axe-section.
  • November 15th, 2012 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. Black Ops II sells 1 million copies at launch - fails to impress fans Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/black-ops-ii-sells-1-million-copies- at-launch--fails-to-impress-fans/17891.html November 15th, 2012 With all of the hype and glam surrounding the release of Black Ops II, it's no wonder that the sales are enormous. On it's midnight launch alone, the game sold over one million copies. But with the reviews and opinions beginning to role in, impressions have not been so high. On Amazon alone, the highest number of ratings for the game are 1-star reviews. Considering the reviews have just started coming in, this is an ill-omen for the game. That's not to say that Black Ops II hasn't been trying. Being a sequel to the first Black Ops game, the description from the company sounds exciting, action-packed, and futuristic: “Pushing the boundaries of what fans have come to expect from the record-setting entertainment franchise, Call of Duty®: Black Ops II propels players into a near future, 21st Century Cold War, where technology and weapons have converged to create a new generation of warfare between old and new foes. In this conflict, the mechanized creations of men reign supreme, facing off against each other as their creators stay safe and unconflicted, and in the process grow ever softer. In this scenario an important question will be asked: What happens when enemy steals the keys? To understand such a possible future, you must understand where you have been.” Alongside of this thrilling premise, there is an alternate game style. Black Ops II features zombies. Built right in is one of the most extensive zombie vs. humans elements in a game that's not at all about zombies. The game features three different zombie-fighting modes: storyline play-through, survival, and 4v4 team mode. Excitement has been building since they announced the sans-modding zombie content, and folks were ready to spring into action with the release. The reviewers, however, are not so excited. One such reviewer, S. Joshi, commented that, “It's isn't like Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3.” Many are agreeing, which leaves the new title homeless in a market that thrives off of it's familiarity. Some even mentioned how they weren't that excited about the zombie content, as they had been long- time fans of the series and it's original theme and content... not some gimmick to get people buying. Only time will tell if the response turns positive, but the initial waves of angry reviewers spells a near doom for the title. With the departure from any of the previous games, will the Call of Duty series be able to hold on to it's fans.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Microsoft's Steve Ballmer attacks Apple and Android Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-s-steve-ballmer-attacks- apple-and-android/17898.html November 15th, 2012 The ever vocal Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has strongly criticised Apple and Android, suggesting Windows Phone is the best of both worlds. The ever vocal Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has strongly criticised Apple and Android, suggesting Windows Phone is the best of both worlds. The attack came during an interview at a technology event in California, where Ballmer lambasted Android for being too uncontrolled and iOS for being too controlled. He classified Android's ecosystem as “a little bit wild,” while finding fault with Apple's high prices. “The question is how do you get the quality with maybe not the premium price of the phone, with maybe not quite as controlled an ecosystem. And how do you allow for the lower price points, more affordability, diversity that comes with Android,” he told Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. “And I think you can say that's kind of the best of both worlds and that's available to us.” He suggested there was still room for a third competitor, that there is a customer base out there that “wants an alternative,” citing Apple and Samsung as the two high-end smartphone manufacturers, while dismissing the low-end sector's myriad of options as “a sea.” Ballmer is hoping Windows Phone will get 10 percent of the market share, though he did not give any indication of a timeframe. He boasted figures of as much as 60 percent, but said that will not happen overnight. Unless Windows Phone 8 takes off big time, however, that may not happen at all. Halo 4 rakes in $220 million in first day Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-rakes-in-220-million-in-first- day/17861.html November 15th, 2012 On it's first day of release, Halo 4 earned a whopping $220 million. While the full analysis of the earnings hasn't come in yet, projections for the sales say that this could be the best selling Halo game yet. The gaming industry has a whole field full of sequel games that have been released recently, or are set to release soon. One would think we've run out of original ideas. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Grand Theft Auto 5, the list goes on. But fans of the Halo series don't seem to want it gone yet, as Halo 4 has had record sales of $220 million earned in it's first 24 hours available to the public. With both Master Chief and Cortana returning for the game, fans have apparently gone wild and spent heavily. The game was released on November 6th , 2012, and while the numbers aren't all in yet, analysts predict an opening week of $300 million for the game.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The series was recently taken over from its original owners and producers, Bungie, to 343 Industries and Microsoft, as Bungie believed it had already made all of the games that it could with the title. Bungie had planned the Halo series to be a trilogy at most, and felt it was right to end it there. Microsoft, being what it is, knew the popularity behind the series and decided a new installment was called for. Obviously, Microsoft has the right idea. The game features much of what fans have come to expect: this installment introduces new characters, weapons, vehicles, maps and more. More maps are already planned in advance for Halo 4, the first being due out some time in December of this year. An update to Master Chief's suit has been spotted, along with “greater depth” in the relationship between Cortana and the Chief. You can hear the fan fiction writers squeal. With an opening day as fierce as this, and a projection of a firm opening week, Microsoft can already see that this is the most successful a Halo game has been in sales. What they plan to release next in the series is already being discussed, the company admitting that the next installment will be “darker”. If the sales for that match Halo 4, the video gaming market will have a good day indeed. NASA orders data encryption after latest laptop loss Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-orders-data-encryption-after- latest-laptop-loss/17896.html November 15th, 2012 NASA is implementing a new data encryption policy on portable devices after another of its laptops was lost, potentially exposing sensitive information. NASA is implementing a new data encryption policy on portable devices after another of its laptops was lost, potentially exposing sensitive information. The space agency, responsible for putting the first human on the moon, made a series of security blunders by not encrypting what is classified as “sensitive personally identifiable information” on a laptop that was stolen, along with a number of documents, from a staff member's car at NASA's headquarters. The laptop was password protected, but that might prove little defence against hackers. The firm has now not only ordered that no staff can remove company laptops with sensitive information from its facilities, but that those laptops should be encrypted, which would provide considerably more protection. NASA is now warning of phishing hoaxes, including emails and phone calls, that might make use of personal information found on the laptop to bypass security verification procedures. It said it may need up to 60 days to review the information stolen and contact the relevant people. The new encryption rules are designed to cover all laptops by a month's time, with a substantial amount sought by next Wednesday. Any laptop containing information about the international sale or transport of weapons and nuclear equipment, along with human resources data and other sensitive but unclassified information, will need to be encrypted before leaving NASA buildings. No other mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, are allowed to store sensitive information. NASA has already had losses and thefts before, with 48 laptops disappearing between April 2009 and April 2011. It seems it has finally learned its lesson. Fender Stratocaster introduces USB enabled guitar Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fender-stratocaster-introduces-usb- enabled-guitar/17882.html November 15th, 2012
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The Fender guitar company, which is famous for their high-end, solid-body styled electric guitars has recently introduced a revolutionary USB enabled guitar called the Squier Stratocaster. The newly designed USB enabled instrument will offer the ability for the user to record and share tracks without any need of additional hookups. If there were any guitar maker that emanates nostalgia, it would be a Fender. Starting out as the ‘Fender’s Radio Service’, the small business would go on to become the first company to set a precedent by offering the first solid- body Spanish-style electric guitar produced in mass. The company would become synonymous with style and of course Rock n’ Roll. However, in this day and age everyone want to somehow connect all their gadgets to a computer. Fender has acknowledged this reality, and will be offering a budget friendly guitar with a USB hookup to allow users to record their own tracks and share them with friends or colleagues. The new electric guitar will be called the Squier Stratocaster (one the best selling guitars of all time was the Fender Stratocaster, introduced in the 1950s) and will offer an integrated USB port, which allows one to record and share their music tracks. While the guitar is being marketed to the Apple iOS platform, Fender made sure the guitar was PC friendly and it will also be compatible with Windows 7 operating systems and above. It is only logical that Fender would choose this new type of method with Internet technology and speeds advancing like they are now. Instead of some fancy audio interface connection, now anyone can connect their USB, record some tracks and then upload it immediately to the Internet. This revolutionary guitar offers a stereo headphone jack that has a volume control when the user connects it to their iDevice or PC. The guitar can of course be played like any other electric guitar with the standard ¼” jack. The Apple store states that the all-new Squier from Fender will offer a bi-directional audio streaming, which includes a top of the line headphone amp. This guitar will allow the user to record directly to their iPhone, iPad or Mac without the need of any hardware. Some of the specifications on the guitar include a pickup tone control, type mini-USB connector with bi-directional audio streaming and a pickup select switch. Currently the guitar is only available at the Apple store and is priced at a highly reasonable 199.95 U.S. dollars, and it even comes with free shipping. For more information you can check it out at the Apple store. Microsoft celebrates the 10th anniversary of Xbox by giving away special edition consoles Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-celebrates-the-10th- anniversary-of-xbox-by-giving-away-special-edition-consoles/17890.html November 15th, 2012 Microsoft launched the Xbox 10 years ago, and throughout its decade-long lifespan the console has evolved into a bona-fide entertainment system. To celebrate Xbox's 10th anniversary, Microsoft is giving away many special edition consoles to long-time loyal users of Xbox LIVE. Microsoft's Xbox console has only been around for a decade, but in that short time the system has evolved and grown into a massive conduit that provides every kind of digital entertainment available today: from movies, television and interactive gaming, Xbox 360 has it all. To celebrate Xbox's tenth anniversary, Microsoft is giving away special editions of the Xbox 360 to select long-time loyal users of Xbox LIVE. Many people have already received their own consoles through the mail, however we're not exactly sure of the requirements. Since Microsoft is awarding and giving back to "loyal Xbox LIVE users", we can guess that this may mean an uninterrupted subscription for perhaps anywhere from seven to ten years...yet this hasn't been officially confirmed and remains speculation.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The limited edition consoles, dubbed "XBL 10", are snazzy redesigns of the newer age Xbox Slim models, featuring a stylish color scheme that incorporates the signature Xbox LIVE theme of neon orange and lime green. Also to coincide with Xbox's tenth birthday Microsoft is hosting an online event over Xbox LIVE featuring various sales on content as well as others festivities to be included on a window pane on the Xbox LIVE dashboard. For more information on Xbox's tenth anniversary please visit the official website. Minecraft milestone: 8 million PC copies sold Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/minecraft-milestone-8-million-pc- copies-sold/17886.html November 15th, 2012 The indie sand-box style game Minecraft hit it's 8-million copies sold mark, making it one of the top selling PC games of all time. The makers aren't stopping there, and are still planning many updates and expansions in the future. “Jeepers creepers! Crikey! Jawch! Inoffensive exclamation native to your home country!” is most of what the company Mojang had to say about hitting the 8 million mark for copies of Minecraft sold. This makes it one of the best-selling PC games of all time. Combined with the sales from the 360 version, the tally comes to 12 copies of Minecraft sold worldwide. That's nothing to sniff at. Notch, the creator of Minecraft, had only this to say: “69I960EHE0A4A0IVG0EHE02500R4R0G1T30PLJ00V6V0EHE No worries: as far as we know, Notch is still human. For those who don't know the game, I'm sorry. You've been missing out. An indie game, focused around creating, crafting, building, surviving, and (you guessed it) mining, the game is original in that every object in the game can be destroyed (and most can be destroyed and then re-placed). With Minecraft, you can take the massive generated world you are given, and reshape it from the ground up... or from the underground up, if you feel so inclined. The real key to the game... some say the things that keeps them playing the game... is that while you can build, craft, and explore during the day, by night the player will need to have shelter to avoid the many monsters of the dark. Other than that, however, you are free to play as you will – there is no set goal for the game, and therefore the possibilities are endless. Minecraft was officially release in November of 2011, though it had massive fan-base before it was even a full game. Even with the full version released, the creators are still adding to the game every few months or so with updates. The most recent update, the Pretty Scary! Update, added such things as a new “boss” to battle, new entities like bats and witches, as well as anvils, pumpkin pies, and flower pots. The game is set to shortly had a modding API update, which will universalize the system by which mods are added into the game. This is sure to boost popularity, and get sales revving up into the higher echelon of gaming. In a game where almost anything is possible, modders want to see how far they can stretch and mold that promise. The modding community is already thoroughly populated, having already crafted their own modding API's – they up and ran with them, creating some of the most impressive mods in any game to date. With the upcoming modding API, modders
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 across the world will rejoice, and glue themselves ever-more permanently to their computer screens. If you aren't one of the 8 million or more who own Minecraft, I heartily suggest you grab it post-haste. The game has something for everyone – from those who don't consider themselves “gamers”, to the most hardcore, mod-heavy, geek-speaking gamers alive... this game has something you'll fall in love with. With a few more purchases, maybe we can tip Minecraft into at least the Top 3. Hope springs eternal. Microsoft to begin offering Windows Embedded 8 from March 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-to-begin-offering- windows-embedded-8-from-march-2013/17884.html November 15th, 2012 Microsoft’s Windows 8 has been met with a lukewarm response. Unlike the iPad, their flagship ‘Surface’ product, while selling fairly okay, has not exactly been an ‘overnight success’. Aching to expand their market, Microsoft will be launching the next piece of the Windows 8 puzzle in the form of Windows Embedded 8, starting from March in next year. Devices known as ‘embedded systems’ traditionally spanned across a wide range of industries and devices such as VOIP phones, DVD players, GPS receivers, and printers. However with ever-shrinking technology, many other innocuous devices have started to spread their silicon wings and join the technological march towards the ‘smart’ future. With more and more devices becoming ‘embedded systems’ insomuch as they carry computer chips in some form, there is a growing demand in software to manage these machines. In the past, barebones versions of Linux have been the go- to choice for embedded operating systems, due to their low system requirements and easy customization. However, if Microsoft get their way, that is all about to change. The expansion of more and more household objects into the digital realm has sparked interest in what is being dubbed the ‘Internet of things’, a network which connects all of the computerized items in your house together, providing their owner the ease of managing and searching for objects just as they would files on a computer. So where does Microsoft fit into all of this? Well, there has been a steady decline in Desktop computer sales in the recent years, and Microsoft need to move fast to diversify unless they want to become a window- shaped fossil. One strategy which has been designed to save Microsoft is to jump on the tablet/smartphone craze, and Windows 8 is the first big step towards that. But this is just part of a larger overall plan, which aims to transform Microsoft from a software company to a ‘devices and services’ company. The folks over at MS have even gone so far as to release an ‘embedded roadmap’, most probably to show stock holders that they aren’t a lumbering dinosaur about to be obliterated by an incoming mobile meteor. So this brings us back to the topic at hand –Windows Embedded 8. While many may not have heard of this specific form of Windows, it has actually been around for a while. Even the original Win3.x had an embedded version which ran on POS terminals. But the first real ‘Windows Embedded’ product was built in 1999 and called Windows NT Embedded. The Windows XP code was then used to build “XPembedded”. Following this came “Windows Embedded Compact”, which you may have heard being referred to by its previous name, “Windows CE”. This was less obscure a product than you may think, and was used in many a set- top box, but probably gained most wide recognition from its inclusion in Sega’s ill-fated Dreamcast console. See, you have seen embedded products from Microsoft before! In 2009, Windows XP Embedded was updated to from Windows Embedded Standard, which provided the full Win32 API, but unlike Windows CE which ran on a multitude of processors such as ARM, MIPS and SuperH, Windows Embedded Standard only runs on x86. The tradeoff is that it is fully compatible with ‘standard’ programs such as .NET Framework, IE7, Windows Media Player, Silverlight, and so on. At this point you’re probably thinking ‘wait a minute, what’s the point of having all that installed on your microwave?’ Well, apparently Microsoft thought of this too, and has allowed device makers to customize the system by removing parts they don’t need, while keeping the core functionality of the OS. This feature has been utilized (exploited?) by some clever folks in the past to produce live-cds of Windows such as BartPE. Windows Embedded 8 Standard is also a modularized version of Windows, which allows Linux-like customization for device manufactures who don’t need all the bells and whistles of a full fledged OS just for a toaster oven. However that’s not to say that the latest version won’t benefit from Windows 8’s new features, and the new touch and gesture- based interface will be available from the comfort of your own waffle iron in the near future.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Now you can crash Internet Explorer and your brand new Prius all at the same time. Pretty cool, huh? The new edition to the Windows Embedded family will initially come in two flavors – Standard and Pro. Windows Embedded 8 Pro is the successor to the ‘Windows Embedded Enterprise’ SKU, and is basically a full version of desktop Windows 8 which has been repackaged to run on embedded systems. Later in the year, Microsoft will release Windows Embedded 8 Industry, which is aimed at manufacturing and healthcare (Windows on your pacemaker.. eep!). After that will come Windows Embedded 8 Handheld, which assumedly is for handheld devices, then Windows Embedded 8 Automotive, which will run on your in-car systems, if you...really want that... Microsoft chooses Julie Larson-Green as new Windows Head Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-chooses-julie-larson- green-as-new-windows-head/17881.html November 15th, 2012 Julie Larson-Green may not be a name most would recognize off hand, but she is surely a significant part of the millions of households around the globe that use a PC running Windows. Putting the past behind them, Microsoft with their all-new Windows 8 OS has made a tremendous leap forward and it was due, at least in part, because of the tremendous work and effort of Microsoft's programmer, Julie Larson-Green. Not too long ago Microsoft and Apple were major players at odds with one another. The commercials from Apple were seemingly endless with their humorous PC Vs. Macintosh campaign. The commercials would open up with the tag lines, “Hello I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.” The massive ad campaign seemed to fade away once Mac/Apple sales went up. Now Windows is firing back with their all-new Windows PC operating system. This new system is being touted as a major competitor with Apple, and a lot of that modern look is being attributed to Julie Larson-Green. Julie Larson-Green has been working for Microsoft for nearly 2 decades and began as an humble yet efficient program manager for Visual C++. Green worked her way up the ladder and was always well respected by her peers and known as a driven and efficient developer and programmer for the company. So, when Microsoft announced on Monday, November 12th that Steven Sinofsky who was once head over the Windows and Windows Live operations would be leaving the company and replaced with Julie Larson- Green, it came as no real surprise. Most knew that Green was the perfect woman for the job and also because of her revolutionary contributions to the new Windows 8. Sinofsky leaves Microsoft only a few weeks after the release of Windows 8, which was designed in part by the help of Julie Larson-Green. However, it was noted that Sinofsky and Green were part of a much larger team in helping to create the new software development for the company. And it was because of that team-building spirit that Green was able to help lead the biggest redesign in regards new Windows 8 operating system. In an interview with ABC News, Green stated that Windows needed major changes because the world had advanced tremendously since Windows was first introduced nearly a quarter century ago. Green told ABC News, “We wanted to reinvent Windows to be what people expect today but we also wanted to maintain the familiar desktop and the apps that people use.” She went on to say that she and the team working on Windows 8 worked very hard on the project and changed it to how they felt people wanted to have with the new OS. “We wanted it to be fun and useful. People talk about work life and home life, but in today's world it's not different… you can have fun and get things done," she said. Now that Green is head of Windows, many in the PC community are ecstatic to see where Windows is headed and how it will evolve into the more advanced era of computing. While the changes in Windows and the advancements they are making are quite apparent, it is even more apparent that Microsoft has chosen the right person to be head over Windows. Green has been one of Microsoft’s greatest assets, and now that she is head over Windows, PC users should be delighted to see that Microsoft has not lost its edge in an ever-evolving Internet world. New optic fibres will link Japan & Singapore to provide faster broadband Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-optic-fibres-will-link-japan-- singapore-to-provide-faster-broadband/17883.html November 15th, 2012 Japan’s NEC and KDDI have been busy lately, working together with American company TE SubCom to build a South-East Asia Japan Cable (SJC) that will speed up Internet access between Japanese and Singaporean servers.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Cables have already begun to be loaded onto ships in Fukuoka’s city of Kita Kyuushuu, and in Japan there is also work being done lifting earth in order to install new cables linked to this project. What is the SJC project really about? The SJC project, which heavily involves telecoms operator KDDI, sets out to link Japan & Singapore with undersea fibre optic cables, while on the way branching out to China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Brunei, providing speedier Internet access between all nations of South East Asia. The undersea cables reach a total length of around 9,000km, and utilize the latest DWDM technology to enable an initial capacity of 16Tbps. The construction costs for the cable amount to around 400 million dollars, and the cable is expected to go online mid-2013. The new construction is expected to help cope with the surge of new demand for high- speed telecommunications in the Asian region. KDDI’s Network Technology HQ International Network Department Chief Hiromitsu Todokoro states: "An undersea cable which cuts through the ocean costs around 300~400 hundred million dollars to construct, and requires over 10 hundred million in maintenance costs per year. Usually telecommunication companies from a cooperative body to invest in this, and this requires a long term relationship between participating companies of around 20~25 years. With the new cable construction for the SJC project, from an economic and technological standpoint, we thought it best to switch over completely to the new cable from the old one. The reasons for this are increase in Internet traffic, a trend towards higher capacities due to multiple wavelength technology, and the decrease in communications delay brought about by new cables, as well as decreased maintenance fees for the cables thanks to new developments in their manufacture.” Of course, a project with this kind of scope can’t be easily completed by just one company, and many other enterprises have come to lend a helping hand. In addition to KDDI, Global Telecom (Philippines), Google (USA), SingTel (Singapore), PT Telkom International (Indonesia), China Telecom (China), China Mobile (China), Donghwa Telecom (Hong Kong), BIG (Brunei), TOT (Thailand) have all agreed to lend their support to the project. Senior expert Shota Masuda at NEC’s Ocean Systems Enterprise Group stated that "with undersea cable systems, as soon as demand reaches half the total capacity of the cable, work on the next cable must be started." In 2013, demand is expected to reach half of the capacity laid out during 2009, and worldwide traffic is also inclining at a steady rate. Asia’s economic growth has also carried with it a huge surge in demand for Internet access in Asia and the Pacific region. Lenovo unveils world's smallest desktop PC and latest all-in-ones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lenovo-unveils-world-s-smallest- desktop-pc-and-latest-all-in-ones/17895.html November 15th, 2012 Lenovo has unveiled the world's smallest fully-functioning desktop PC and a slew of new all-in-one PCs. The Chinese computer giant boasts that its IdeaCentre Q190 is just 22mm wide, making it the smallest desktop computer in the world that can still do all the things its larger cousins can, such as play high-definition graphics and 3D Blu-ray with the optional Blu-ray drive.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The Q190 can be used as a normal PC, plugging into any monitor, or it can double as a mobile home theatre system, with 7.1 surround sound and an optional compact wireless multimedia remote with a built-in backlit keyboard and mouse. The computer comes with Windows 8 Pro and has processor speeds that are 80 percent faster than the previous model, the similarly-sized Q180. It will launch in January with prices starting at $349. Lenovo also unveiled the latest C-Series of all-in-one PCs, the C340, C440, C540, C345, and C445, all of which can feature up to 1TB hard drive, or 2TB for the C540, up to 8GB of RAM, a 720p webcam, the Lenovo Education Portal, and Windows 8. The C340 and C345 come with a 20-inch display, C440 and C445 feature a 21.5-inch display, while the C540 has a 23- inch display. The C340, C440, and C540 are powered by up to a third-generation Intel Core i3 processor, with graphics options available up to Nvidia's GeForce 615 2GB card, while the C345 and C445 feature up to an AMD E2 dual-core processor with AMD Radeon HD graphics. All models feature the Lenovo Dynamic Brightness System, which automatically adjusts screen brightness based on the user's environment, and the Lenovo Eye Distance System, which tells users if they are too close to the screen. Starting prices range form $479 to $519, depending on the model. Halo 4 Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-review/17744.html November 15th, 2012 How does 343i's newest chapter in the Halo universe compare to its predecessors, and why has it become one of the most anticipated games of 2012? Jump in to find out! Halo 4 is the culmination of the entire franchise, marking a new era for the Halo universe with the brand new Reclaimer saga. Featuring a multitude of new interactive features, pristine graphics, and a dynamic, epic story arc, Halo 4 breathes new life into the saga and brings gamers to a newly evolved series. Many gamers were dubious about Bungie handing off their fan-favorite franchise to 343 Industries, passing off the torch of Halo--who's flame has been brightly burning for more than a decade--to a brand new studio...but 343i has proven that they are more than capable and that the Halo universe is in safe hands. Halo 4 marks the return of the iconic Master Chief to the battlefield, reawakened after four long years of cryo- sleep to take on an ancient evil hidden within the strange Forerunner planet construct of Requiem. Spartan 117 faces impossible odds in true Halo style, balancing a hundred different incredible tasks on his shoulders while trying to save the cosmos as well as the UNSC and the rest of mankind at the same time. This new chapter in the franchise brings with it a host of new features, adding a plethora of in-game content, game modes, weapons, and a huge story arc that continues over the next two chapters of the Reclaimer trilogy. Halo 4 is filled with fully fleshed characters that have their own distinct personas: Commander Lasky (yes, that same cadet from the live-action series Forward Unto Dawn has grown up quite a bit) is easy-going, whereas Captain Del Rio is stern and stoic, leaving Commander Palmer an assertive and authorative female Spartan IV warrior who doesn't take no for an answer. 343 Industries has created an awe-inspiring visual spectacle that ushers in a new age of graphical presentation with Halo 4, leaping far ahead of that of Halo: Reach and raising the bar even further to deliver jaw-dropping vistas and incredible Forerunner constructs.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Everything from the expanse of the skies to the bizarre array of advanced Forerunner tech is eye-catching, and the character animations are perfectly fluid and incredibly realistic. During the game's many cutscenes, it's easy to mistake Commander Lasky's in-game character for a live- action recording of a real person: that's how good the graphics are. 343i's latest chapter in the series is pure entertainment and inspires a true sense of sci-fi fantasy that defines the series, bringing with it a mix of elation and curiosity as the Forerunners are shrouded in infinite mystery. The fourth installment of the Halo universe easily provides hundreds of hours of visually stimulating and entertaining gameplay, providing a treat for the eyes and ears of any gamer. Infinity Multiplayer makes up the game's other half, and is just as impressive as Campaign. Featuring many new and familiar game modes, the multiplayer is split between Spartan Ops--which delivers a short and sweet Firefight- like gameplay experience--and War Games--the definitive competitive multiplayer action filled to the brim with frenetic action. In Spartan Ops four players team together in co-operative matches to complete various objectives in episodic chapters that change week to week, affording a fresh new experience every week. War Games is the heart of Halo 4's multiplayer, delivering the classic in-your-face action that gamers are accustomed to: from King of the HIll to Oddball or classic Team Slayer, War Games is the ultimate Halo experience, bringing a new experience with every game. Tom Hardy signed on for Splinter Cell movie Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/tom-hardy-signed-on-for-splinter- cell-movie/17893.html November 15th, 2012 Tom Hardy, the British actor who recently played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, has signed on to play Sam Fisher in the movie adaptation of the Splinter Cell video game series It's time for another video game movie adaptation, and time for gamers all over to hope it isn't terrible. Ubisoft has just officially announced that a Splinter Cell movie is in the works, though no studio has been signed to the project yet. This confirms rumors which started circulating during the summer and is the second movie-related news coming from Ubisoft recently. A few weeks ago, it was announced that New Regency and Fox were going to be working on an Assassin's Creed movie co-produced by Michael Fassbender. Photoshop some night vision goggles to his forehead and you've basically got Sam Fisher Splinter Cell's "rival" franchise in the stealth genre, Metal Gear, is also in the process of making a movie. During the 25th anniversary event for Metal Gear, Avi Arad, the founder of Marvel Studios, took the stage to declare that he would be producing a Metal Gear movie for Colombia Studios. Ubisoft also stated that Tom Hardy, who was in recent titles such as The Dark Knight Rises and This Means War, will be starring in the movie, playing the lead as Sam Fisher. Chances are you'll have to wait a long time to see the movie hit theaters though. In the mean time, the next Splinter Cell game, Blacklist, will be coming out next year. Samsung reveals new, smaller chip for mobile phones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-reveals-new-smaller-chip- for-mobile-phones/17892.html November 15th, 2012 Samsung has released a new chip which will soon find it's way into our mobile phones. Significantly smaller than previously, we can look forward to even slimmer devices in the near future. Samsung has just revealed a new memory chip, making it's latest eMMC chip obsolete after only three months. The 64GB eMMC Pro Class 2000 is moving from a 20nm to a 10nm process format, the new chip is 20% smaller than the previous generation. In addition, the new chip has a whopping 30% increase in performance and manufacturing productivity.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 The previous chip utilized JEDEC Solid State Technology Association's eMMC 4.5 interface, but now, Samsung is planning to drop JEDEC in favor of developing a new interface able to handle the full capabilities of the chip. The new chip has an input speed of 2,000 IOPS (input/output per second) and an output speed of 5,000 IOPS. This means the new format will be able to handle 260MB/s read and 50MB/s write speed. By comparison, the old chip is able to handle 1,500 input and 3,500 output IOPS. The new chips are already in production and will be hitting the market soon. However, with Apple in the talks of buying billions worth of components from Samsung, you may just see them in Apple products. New research into frozen mummy reveals heritage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-research-into-frozen-mummy- reveals-heritage/17888.html November 15th, 2012 In 1991, the mummified remains of a 5,300 year old man was found in the Alps. Previously this year, the mummy's remains were genetically mapped, and now, there's been an update to the findings. Ötzi the iceman is the mummified corpse of a neolithic man found in the Austrian alps who died some 5300 years ago. When discovered in 1991, he became the oldest murder case in the world, as it was revealed that he had been shot with an arrow and left to bleed out on the mountain. Today, the mummy resides in the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in Italy. Ötzi's genes were recently analyzed to help determine his heritage and it was found that he was Sardinian, a surprising finding. Ötzi, shortly after being discovered It was confusing that a Sardinian, coming from a quite isolated area at the time, would have found his way to a glacier in the alps. It's assumed that prehistoric people didn't move around nearly as much as modern day humans. It would have taken a considerable amount of effort, for seemingly no reason, to move hundreds of kilometers to Austria. In order to find an explanation for this, the genetic makeup of Ötzi was further investigated. The entire DNA sequence had not been analyzed previously, and now, it was compared not only to modern day Humans, but to the remains of other prehistoric people as well. He has seen better days. The findings revealed something quite interesting: Though Ötzi does most closely genetically resemble modern day Sardinians, the result is quite different when compared to ancient humans. Among his peers, he is much closer linked to northern Europeans, such as Swedes, and also Bulgarian farmers of the time. The findings support the notion of a mass migration from the Middle East towards northern Europe, which brought farming to the continent. 2,500 educators turn to Portal 2 for teaching Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/2-500-educators-turn-to-portal-2- for-teaching/17887.html November 15th, 2012 Valve's physics-based puzzle game Portal 2 is being used by teachers across the United States in order to educate their students about math and physics. When the original Portal was released by Valve in 2007, many teachers had the idea of incorporating it into their lesson plans. Because the game relies heavily on physics for solving it's puzzles, it could serve as a teaching tool. Educators, ranging from middle school teachers to college professors, sent word to Valve of how they were using the game, and Valve took this into consideration when creating the sequel, Portal 2.
  • November 15th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 All right class - today's lesson: The Einstein-Rosen bridge! Valve initiated the "teach with portals" initiative in order to further the ability to use the game in a school environment, and released a level designer called "Puzzle Maker", which lets users create their own singleplayer and co-op maps. Today, over 2,500 teachers have embraced the teach with portals concept, and classrooms are using it to teach both math and physics. In the future, there's talks of expanding the lesson plan to include language, art, game design and chemistry. I personally believe that using the right games in the right way can make teaching into a much more visceral and captivating experience. I'm still looking forward to history class using Assassin's creed to aid in showing how people lived and how societies looked and were structured in the past. First homeless planet has been found Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/first-homeless-planet-has-been- found/17885.html November 15th, 2012 It's long been speculated that there may be planets whizzing through space without a sun to orbit, and now we may have found the first confirmed case. It's been a long standing theory that planets on occasion become ejected from their solar systems. Several objects have been found since the 1990's which have possibly met this fate, but until now, all such objects have been too close to a star to observe properly. It's unknown if these objects really are planets, or failed stars known as Brown Dwarves. Now though, Philippe Delorme and his team from Institut de planétologie et d'astrophysique de Grenoble, CNRS/ Université Joseph Fourier, France, have found an object which they can confirm is an ejected planet by using the ESO's Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. The planet, known as CFBDSIR2149 ...we'll call it Charlie for short, is supposedly four to seven times the size of Jupiter, but is bluish in hue and looks more like Neptune. Artist's depiction of Charlie if illuminated by a star Delorme's team explains their conclusions: "The team's statistical analysis of the object's proper motion; its angular change in position across the sky each year, shows an 87% probability that the object is associated with the AB Doradus Moving Group, and more than 95% probability that it is young enough to be of planetary mass, making it much more likely to be a rogue planet rather than a small "failed" star." The AB Doradus Moving Group is a group of around 30 stars which are all traveling at the same velocity, and have similar age and composition. The planet most likely used to orbit one of these stars, before being thrown out. It's not easy to throw a planet out of it's star system, but gravitational forces and interacting bodies could certainly do it. Another planet in the star system might have had an orbit that took it too close to Charlie, and slingshot it (him?) out of the system.
  • November 16th, 2012 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. Halo 4 Spartan Ops episode 3 trailer released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-spartan-ops-episode-3- trailer-released/17909.html November 16th, 2012 The third chapter is almost here for Halo 4's weekly episodic Spartan Ops series, and the new trailer gives a glimpse at what players can expect from S1E3 "Catherine". In Season 1 Episode 3 of Halo 4's weekly co-operative multiplayer mode, Spartan Ops, Catherine Halsey--the veritable mother of the SPARTAN-II project and of every Spartan warrior--comes all the way from ONI to investigate the strange Artifact that was discovered in the last chapter. Dharma Point to release N- Key Rollover Gamer Keyboard (Japan) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dharma-point-to-release-n-key- rollover-gamer-keyboard-japan-/17907.html November 16th, 2012 Clast Inc. is set to release a brand new n-key rollover supporting gamer keyboard under the Dharma Point brand in Japan on December 14th. Dubbed the DRTCKB109UP1, this keyboard has an ugly name, but aside from that what exactly sets it apart from the competition? With an estimated retail price of 3,980 Yen (~49USD), this keyboard is slightly less expensive than other ‘gamer’ targeted keyboards which generally contain a horde of bells and whistles such as LED screens and other such nonsense. It’s not all bare-bones though, because this keyboard does pack a punch with its special plunger-structured actuator, which allows gamers who type faster than they can think to hit the keys at any particular angle without their fingers slipping off the keys. It doesn’t matter what angle you hit the key at, it will reliably move perpendicularly and depress without slipping. That’s not all though, the keyboard is built for heavy use. Apparently the keyboard supports up to 20 million key presses with its super durable construction. That should last any avid gamer a while. (Unless you play Starcraft, in which case it will probably last you a week). Each keystroke has a distance of 3.8mm give or take 0.4mm, and a depression property of 35-75g. As far as special features go, while not exactly living up to the super nerdfest standard of Razer et al., it does contain a couple of neat perks. One is that you can simultaneously press all keys without the keyboard giving you any trouble or making that annoying PC speaker BEEP sound. Another is that you have the ability to lock the Windows key, which is a pretty cool option for when you are playing full screen games and don’t want to accidentally tab-out and crash your game.
  • November 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Being a Japanese product, the layout of the keyboard is Japanese 109, but don’t worry its pretty much the standard Qwerty format you are used to. It’s not one of those Kanji keyboards that you only ever see in movies like Tomorrow Never Dies. Another cool feature about this keyboard is that the cable can be shifted so that it extends from the center, left, or right of the keyboard, allowing you to organize your desk in perfect gaming Feng-Shui. The rubber stands on the base of the unit are also non-slip, which is another necessary requirement for those frantic gaming sessions. The keyboard has dimensions of 448x148x34~43mm, and a weight of 1,170g. The cable length is approx 1.8m. Oh, one more thing, it works over USB. Duh. Product Page: http://www.dharmapoint.com/products/ DRTCKB109UP1 Morgan Stanley - Sales For Apple Higher Than Expected Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/morgan-stanley--sales-for-apple- higher-than-expected/17904.html November 16th, 2012 In a recent report released by Morgan Stanley's head Apple analyst, sales for Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad and so forth will be doing far better than predicted. Morgan Stanley’s Apple Analyst, Katy Huberty, issued the report for Morgan Stanley investors on Thursday, November 15th, 2012. According to a recent report issued to clients of Morgan Stanley (MS), the company stated that a review of the companies in Asia producing the Apple products are showing sales would be doing far better than expected. Previous estimates stated that for the quarter ending in March 2013, Apple could sell as many as 43 million iPhones and as many as 19 million tablets. Those estimates have now been bumped to approximately 46 million iPhones and possibly 23 million tablets, which is not only exciting news for investors but also the market in general. MS sees a ‘bullish’ opinion on Apple, and the investment firm has set a ‘buy’ rating for the stock with an ‘overweight’ position. This means that MS believes the return on Apple stock can be expected to be well above previous average returns during the next 12 months. MS currently has Apple with a 714 U.S. dollar price target and estimated the stock could go up as much as 37% from that target in the next year which is close to 1,000.00 U.S. dollars per share. While MS maintains a bullish opinion on Apple, many investment firms are skeptical about any future sales and are saying that sales would be very hard to predict based on past sales. Most firms’ maintain a ‘bearish’ opinion on Apple stock, and they pointed out that the current report from MS has not brought the value of the stock price up since their report. In fact, Apple stock has plummeted as much as 25% post launch of the iPhone 5, which saw a 52-week high of 705.00 U.S. dollars. Steve Jobs film to feature just three scenes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steve-jobs-film-to-feature-just-three- scenes/17911.html November 16th, 2012 The upcoming film based on Steve Jobs' life and work may only have three scenes if award-winning Aaron Sorkin's script becomes reality. The upcoming film based on Steve Jobs' life and work may only have three scenes if award-winning Aaron Sorkin's script becomes reality. Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay for The Social Network, revealed that he plans to show three iconic moments from
  • November 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 the late Jobs' career, following each scene in real time for a kind of quasi-24 effect. The unusual treatment differs starkly from the more comprehensive coverage of Jobs' entire life in Walter Isaacson's biography, which is the book that Sony originally paid for before it had been completed, but the novel approach could prove insightful into some of the world's biggest product launches. The idea is to cover the lead-up backstage to the launch of the original Mac and iPod, with the third scene focusing on a product launch from Jobs' time at Next Computer. Surprisingly the iPhone and iPad do not seem to make the cut. Each scene will play out 30 minutes of events in real-time, rather than flitting back and forward to cut out the boring bits. This will give viewers a sense that they are watching actual events as they unfolded, as if it had been caught on a camera behind the scenes. Sorkin said he won't be using Isaacson's biography, but is instead doing his own research, meeting with various people connected with Jobs over the years, including Apple co- founder Steve Wozniak. The screenwriter also hopes to end the film with the first version of Apple's “Think Different” TV ad, which would certainly epitomise his approach to Jobs' career. A more traditional biopic starring Ashton Kuchter is also in the works, and it will remain to be seen which of the two will prove most successful on the big screen. Image Credit: Matthew Yohe Researchers discover way to boost congested Wi-Fi speeds by 700 percent Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/researchers-discover-way-to-boost- congested-wi-fi-speeds-by-700-percent/17910.html November 16th, 2012 Researchers have discovered a way to improve speeds on congested Wi-Fi networks by as much as 700 percent, potentially revolutionising crowded public hotspots. Researchers have discovered a way to improve speeds on congested Wi-Fi networks by as much as 700 percent, potentially revolutionising crowded public hotspots. A team from the North Carolina State University is testing WiFox software that optimises Wi-Fi networks to improve speeds for everyone connected, with dramatic results when there are a large amount of people hogging the same connection. One experiment was conducted on a network that could handle up to 45 users, with a 400 percent increase in speed noticed when 25 users were logged on. That figure jumped to 700 percent when the full 45 users were connected, when normally everyone on the network would suffer a serious slow-down. Arpit Gupta, head of the project, said that the technology could be distributed as a software update to existing Wi- Fi networks, which means it should be relatively pain-free to increase speeds on the millions of private and public networks throughout the world. The importance of such a discovery cannot be overstated, as anyone who has used a free public network in an airport, library, café, or waiting room can attest too. These connections are often so sluggish, thanks to so many people trying to use them at once, that they are virtually unusable.
  • November 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Any kind of improvement to this, and particularly such huge improvements, will be welcomed by many. John McAfee asks forum about tracing mobile phones Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/john-mcafee-asks-forum-about- tracing-mobile-phones/17908.html November 16th, 2012 John McAfee, founder of the namesake anti-virus firm, has sought advice on how quickly it takes for a phone company to locate a mobile phone signal and if there is anything that he could do to confuse or delay the system, according to Gizmodo. John McAfee, founder of the namesake anti-virus firm, has sought advice on how quickly it takes for a phone company to locate a mobile phone signal and if there is anything that he could do to confuse or delay the system, according to Gizmodo. McAfee is wanted in Belize on suspicion of murdering his neighbour, Gregory Faull, with whom he allegedly had a falling out. He denies the allegations, but his latest request online certainly does not help his case. Gizmodo reports that late on Wednesday night McAfee posted on a private forum under his well-known “stuffmonger” alias to ask: “How long does it take for a phone company to triangulate a cell phone signal? With what accuracy? Is there any way to confuse/delay the system? If a cell phone is turned off, but the battery is installed, is there any way to locate the phone? Are there any brands of phones are more/less difficult to triangulate?” Perhaps he thought the messages would not be tracked since it was not a public forum, or perhaps his experimentation with drugs has led to such erratic behaviour, but either way such a post, suggesting McAfee might literally go on the run rather than cooperating with police, who he thinks will kill him, does little to vindicate him. The Prime Minister of Belize called McAfee “extremely paranoid, even bonkers.” McAfee stepped down from his role in the anti-virus company in 1994 and Intel bought it in 2010, keeping the name, but Intel might now be inclined to change it after these bizarre revelations. Image Credit: Sofia Munoz/Associated Press Foxconn to install 10,000 Foxbots to replace thousands of workers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/foxconn-to-install-10-000-foxbots- to-replace-thousands-of-workers/17903.html November 16th, 2012 The benefit of robotics is that it can replace the need of human labor in various segments of manufacturing. Despite the cut throat pay that Foxconn offers its manufacturing workforce, the gadget producing behemoth of the east has begun installing robots to replace its current oxygen breathing, warm blooded employees. Foxconn revealed awhile back that it will begin replacing its human employees with robots, but it was not until recently that the robotic arms and legs, amounting in several thousands, began making their ways to the factories. ("What's beyond these walls?" | Image: ABC) According to Foxconn, the company plans on deploying 10,000 robots to replace 10,000 to 20,000 workers. Within three years, the number of robots will increase to 1 million, thus, ousting somewhere around 1 million workers. Blandly dubbed as the ‘Foxbots,’ these human replacements will help to suppress attacks from workers’ rights organizations and their accusations of poor employee treatments. Financially for Foxconn, the move to install robots will cost the company a fair amount. Each robot costs Foxconn somewhere between $20,000 to $25,000, and that’s about three times the annual salary of an average worker. Also, take into account the maintenance of the robots, and that means Foxconn has a big bill to pay.
  • November 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 In the long run, however, Foxconn will ultimately save itself the trouble of having to deal with worker complaints, negative media coverage, and wage increases. Singularity Hub reports that Foxconn employs approximately 1.2 million people, and the installation of 1 million robots will essentially lead to a massive layoff of employees. Or maybe Foxconn will keep the majority of their work force and give them all raises for being such dedicated and loyal servants. Who really knows... Google launches closed beta Ingress, a free alternate reality game for all Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-launches-closed-beta-ingress- a-free-alternate-reality-game-for-all/17902.html November 16th, 2012 Google is investing in fiber optics, entertainment, hardware, cars, satellites and, hell… Google probably has its hands in just about every aspect of technology today. So it shouldn’t surprise us that Google recently launched a closed beta of a free Android game that blends reality with the fictions of the digital world. Dubbed as Ingress, Google’s new take on alternate reality gaming has definitely caught some off guard. In Ingress, players actually have to get off the couch and travel around in the real world to be able to accomplish their goals. Once a player reaches his destination (be it by walking, running, or teleportation) he can interact with landmarks while using his phone as a ‘guide’ to figure out what secrets that location might hold. Along the way, players can collect “XM”, or virtual energy units, which can then be used for unlocking other ‘portal’ missions. Players are divided into two teams; the ‘Enlightened,’ which are the people that accepts the power, and the ‘Resistance,’ which are the ones that are against the power. “The concept is something like World of Warcraft, where everyone in the world is playing the same game,” said John Hanke of Niantic Labs, the force behind Ingress. While the game is an interesting addition to the line-up of Google products, Ingress itself does serve another purpose. And by purpose, I meant to say advertising. Some well- known brands such as Zipcar and Jamba Juice are involved in some ways with the game. Whether it’s directly or indirectly, Ingress will help expose players various brands as they progress in the game. The game does not have an infinite cycle as the creator has confirmed that there will be an end to the madness after about a year and a half. Ingress is a free app available to Android to users, but currently the game is in closed beta and only invited players are allowed to navigate the alternate reality to determine the fate of mankind. You can request an invite via the Ingresswebsite. Sims 3: Seasons Expansion Pack released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sims-3-seasons-expansion-pack- released/17897.html November 16th, 2012 As of November 13th 2012, Simmers can rejoice at the release of EA's Sims 3: Seasons expansion pack. Seasons are here, and they include weather. Sunny, rainy, snowy, foggy, and even hail-y! With this expansion pack, gamers can now see physical shifts in the (literal) atmosphere of their world. It adds seasons, of course – spring, summer, fall, and winter – but it doesn't stop there. All sorts of weather will now be available – snow snow storms and rain both take a big role in the lives of your Sims, letting them use umbrellas in the rain and appropriate clothing in the snow. Sunny, rainy, snowy, foggy, and even hail-y! Wondering what weather is coming next? Your Sim can check out the weather channel for all the updates. Each season comes with one specific holiday to match, and the town now takes notice! Watch for pumpkin carving, snow ball fights, and kissing booths to appear during their particular season.
  • November 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 This expansion pack has been long awaited by fans of the series. The previous installment, The Sims 2, also had a Seasons expansion pack, which was highly acclaimed and very popular with the Simmers. While the Sims 2 version added the seasons, much of the new material in the Sims 3 version will be in the holidays and festivals. After EA's most recent expansion for the game, the Supernatural pack, enthusiasts were wowed at the sheer amount of content included. Directly after that release, they announced the Seasons pack... which has left many excited, waiting impatiently for the release. The day has come and gone, and Seasons is out on shelves now. The game has two versions – original and limited. The limited version features an Ice Lounge community lot, where your Sims can go and cool down in the summer. It features an ice bar, ice furniture, and pub table. Tthe extra content isn't massive, but that hasn't stopped fans from going the extra mile to pick up a limited copy. Gamers have yet to collectively sound-off on how they like or dislike the expansion pack; this may be due to many being too busy actually playing the expansion pack. Go figure. New use for the Wii: YouTube set-top box Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-use-for-the-wii-youtube-set- top-box/17900.html November 16th, 2012 YouTube has finally released an app so that Wii owners can enjoy content from the video-sharing site without having to move over to a laptop or another gaming console. Starting today, Nintendo Wii owners in the U.S. can stream YouTube videos directly to their consoles, and while many of us are anticipating the release of the Wii U it’s nice to know that the original Wii hasn’t quite lost all purposes just yet. The YouTube app on the Wii won’t be as feature-packed as it is on a PC browser, but nevertheless YouTube promises that users will be able to “watch the shows and channels [they] love… like The Book Club…or the official Nintendo Wii YouTube channel.” The app will also enable users to flip through categories like Gaming, Music, and trending videos. Interactivity was one of the main selling points of the Wii, and now YouTube is trying to build upon that focus. Do you have a hankering for learning how to get ripped abs or do yoga? Flip through the Wii YouTube app using your Wii controller to enjoy exactly what you’re looking for.
  • November 16th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 The Wii U is coming soon, but don’t toss it’s elder into the closet just yet. Use it as a set-top box! Study finds 4G LTE has devastating weaknesses Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-finds-4g-lte-has-devastating- weaknesses/17899.html November 16th, 2012 Many mobile carriers have invested billions upon billions of dollars to upgrade their network infrastructures to support 4G LTE, but just like many modern marvels the network itself does have an Achilles’ heel. A recent Virginia Tech study found that wiping out 4G LTE signal in a large area won't be that hard. According to the study, the control instructions that regulates the LTE signal makes up less than 1 percent of the overall signal being sent. Hence, all a person has to do is ‘jam’ that 1 percent of the signal and down goes the network. A crucial portion of this 1 percent is the time synchronization and signal synchronization that helps mobile LTE devices communicates with the towers. By transmitting an amplified signal with the same frequency as the synchronization signal, it is possible to disrupt the entire network in a large area. “Your phone is constantly syncing with the base station. If you can disrupt that synchronization, you will not be able to send or receive data,” said Marc Lichtman, a research assistant in the study. (Jam your neighbor's 4G with this radio unit) Something like a $650 software-defined radio unit drawing power from a car battery can serve as the disruptive contraption. Although the idea sounds simple enough, it does take a bit of technical LTE knowledge and engineering know-how to actually carry out this experiment. Jamming the synchronization signal is just one method that may be used to disrupt LTE service, as there are about 8 point of attacks in total. The LTE signal is made up of subsystems, and if one subsystem goes the whole thing gets spoiled. “There are multiple weak spots—about eight different attacks are possible. The LTE signal is very complex, made up of many subsystems, and in each case, if you take out one subsystem, you take out the entire base station,” according to the researchers. One could say that even if LTE service gets disrupted, there is still 2G and 3G to fall back on. However, that may not be the case as many carriers are beginning to phase out the previous standards and promoting the latest. (Verizon currently boasts the most 4G coverage in the United States) The LTE study itself found possible weaknesses to the LTE infrastructure, but according to the researchers there aren’t any permanent solutions as of yet. “Although we’ve identified the problem, we don’t necessarily have the solutions. It’s virtually impossible to bring in mitigation strategies that are also backward compatible and cover it all,” said one of the researchers. “LTE does a good job of covering [digital cellular systems]. But unconventional security aspects, such as preventing signal jamming, have been largely overlooked,” said Jeff Reed, the director of the research group.
  • November 17th, 2012 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. Star Citizen breaks crowd funding record! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-citizen-breaks-crowd-funding- record-/17925.html November 17th, 2012 The new pc exclusive space sim game Star Citizen had broken a world record, gaining more financial backing from it's fans than any other crowd funded project in history. Star Citizen, the ambitious new space sim currently being developed by Chris Roberts (of Wing Commander fame) has broken a world record. The game, which is due out in 2014 has been on crowdfunding for almost a month now, and a short while ago, it became the most successful crowdfunding project of all time, breaking the previous record as it passed the $4.2 million mark. This record means the project has gathered more than double that of it's initial goal of $2 million. In game screenshot There's now barely two days left in the crowdfunding effort, and as is usually the case, the contributions are flooding in at an accelerated pace. The developers, who are promising unlocks such as new features, richer storyline and a more expansive universe as the supporters pass certain funding goals, are stating that they can't produce concept art quickly enough to keep up with the donations at this point. New USB key safely stores a person's medical data Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-usb-key-safely-stores-a-person- s-medical-data/17922.html November 17th, 2012 A company called SmartMetric Inc. has created a new type of device that stores your medical record data in a small keying. This storage device is unique in that it will give caregivers access immediately and that it is stored locally and not in some central database. In this day and age of digital storage you simply cannot be too careful with your personal information, let alone a detailed medical history. Now a company called SmartMetric Inc. has created a new type of secure storage device that keeps 100% of your medical record data in a small keying. This storage device is unique in that it will give medical staff instant access to your data while keeping your information safe and activated only by the patient's fingerprint. In a November 15, 2012 press release, SmartMetric Inc. announced a new product that can safely store the users medical records all contained and encrypted inside of a small keying with USB connection usable on a PC or MAC computer. This medical history storage device is plug and play ready, and it allows your medical doctor or other healthcare professional to instantly access your medical history without the need of doing a check from some central database. According to the company this small device will save the lives of many people entering into an emergency room because it allows the ER staff to know exactly what their patient’s history is without any wait. The key ring storage will offer up to 128GB of data, which is a large amount of storage data for any USB memory device. This large amount of memory will allow a patient to store X-ray images, CAT scans and all manner of image data important to the patient. While many might be fearful of carrying around their entire life on a keying there is no need to worry because all of the data is encrypted and stored locally. Even if the device is lost or stolen it cannot be activated without the users hands since it needs the patient’s fingerprint in order to open the drive. Upon release by the patient, the drive is
  • November 17th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 given to the medical staff that takes it to their own system to look through the patient’s history and then they can make important decisions about the patient’s medical care. WordPress goes ad-free for a fee Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/wordpress-goes-ad-free-for-a- fee/17921.html November 17th, 2012 WordPress Bloggers of the world take note, you can now go ad-free on your account! WordPress.com, which is probably the most popular free blogging sites on the Net, has begun implementing payment options for the user to go totally ad- free for a nominal fee. WordPress.com, which is one of the most popular free blogging sites on the Internet, has now begun allowing payment options for things such as allowing bloggers to go ad-free. These new options being offered by WordPress will allows user to pay only via Bitcoin, which is currently an on-line currency exchange system similar to PayPal but all transactions are carried out through BitCoin's own network, void of any 3rd party. WordPress’s decision to allow users to go add-free is welcome news to lots of users who enjoy blogging on the popular site. However, there will be some costs involved and users may only use the services offered by paying through the Bitcoin system. While many people prefer the use of PayPal and the ever-popular credit card, Wordpress felt that Bitcoin was a better method of payment. Currently PayPal and many credit card companies have restrictions on uses in many places around the globe due to problems associated with on-line theft and local politics, such as trade embargos. In regards to the latest payment through Bitcoin, Wordpress blogger Andy Skelton writes, “Bitcoin is a digital currency that enables instant payments over the Internet. Unlike credit cards and PayPal, Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network. Merchants who accept Bitcoin payments can do business with anyone.” Many people might still insist on using PayPal for on-line payments because of its on-line protection plan. Wordpress wants these people to know they can be rest assured, and they will be honoring refunds with any transaction done through Bitcoin payments for the site. And while BitPay does not offer refunds themselves, Wordpress says they will back up any grievances with any customers who are unhappy with the ad-free service for reimbursement. The cost of going ad free on WordPress will be 30 U.S. dollars per year and you can read more about it by clicking here. RIM reveals BlackBerry 10 focuses heavily on multitasking Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rim-reveals-blackberry-10-focuses- heavily-on-multitasking/17924.html November 17th, 2012 BlackBerry 10 isn't due out for almost three more months, but that hasn't stopped RIM from agressively trying to convince people that its latest OS should not be overlooked. RIM’s BlackBerry 10 (BB10) OS isn’t exactly the most anticipated tech launch of the year, but it’s still worth looking into if you haven’t already decided on an Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone. The Canadian-based handset maker hasn’t seen much success in the smartphone market in recent years, but its CEO, Thorsten Heins, is hoping that RIM’s latest OS will help BlackBerry regain its foothold. Due for launch at the end of January next year, BB10 will probably make it or break it for RIM. Despite all the speculations about the ultimate demise of the BlackBerry brand, there may be a chance for RIM to regain what little prominence it once had. Multitasking seems to be somewhat lacking in Android and iOS, and that’s where BB10 aims to rise above the rest. Muy Computer recently posted a 10 minute video in which RIM’s Regional Senior Product Manager, Claudio Roselli, gave viewers a taste of BB10’s multitasking prowess. The demo is in Spanish, but you don’t have to know the language to know what’s being shown. Roselli demonstrated that BB10 users can accomplish quite a few tasks within a short amount of time with simple finger gestures. BB10’s app count is still low, but the video reveals that the drawer isn’t filled with chirping crickets either. Furthermore, RIM has been aggressively trying to persuade developers to port apps to BB10, and supposedly porting an Android app to BB10 is as easy as installing a plugin for Eclipse. BlackBerry supporters will likely love everything about RIM’s new smartphone OS, and for the sake of RIM’s future let’s hope that others will feel the same. New Borderlands 2 "Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage" DLC inbound Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-borderlands-2-mr.-torgue-s- campaign-of-carnage-dlc-inbound/17917.html November 17th, 2012 In a sheer hilarious style, Gearbox has revealed a new DLC for their zany shooter slash RPG in a series of humorous ECHOcast tweets. Jump in for more info!
  • November 17th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Gearbox, the developers of the exponentially popular shooter/RPG hybrid Borderlands series, have revealed the last two DLC's to their newly released sequel in a creative way: through the interactivity of social networking. Utilizing their @ECHOcast Twitter feed, Gearbox made it appear as if someone were hacking their account, tying in a brand new nefarious baddie from the Borderlands universe to the digital tampering. Mr. Torgue has apparently taken over the ECHOcast and is running amok, spraying visceral oddities and hilarity to all of Gearbox's followers. Mr. Torgue only hinted at the new Borderlands 2 DLC via the hijacked ECHOcast Twitter feed before it was officially announced on Gearbox's website as "Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage", featuring a brand new ringleader for total chaos and havoc--which are signature staples to any Borderlands game. This story-driven expansion challenges players to conquer all that the titular Mr. Torgue has waiting in his newly-constructed Badass Crater of Badassitude, complete with a new storyline, new areas and environments, new bosses, new guns, new character customizations and more. In addition, Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage features appearances from fan-favorite characters like Tiny Tina and Mad Moxxi! Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage will be available on Tuesday Nov. 20, 2012 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC for $9.99 (800 Microsoft Points) For more information on , please visit Gearbox's official website, or talk to the crazy madman himself via Gearbox's Twitter feed: @ECHOcast. Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB SSD Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/corsair-neutron-gtx-480gb-ssd- review/17919.html November 17th, 2012 As the controller is the most important part of a SSD drive and virtually defines the entirety of its performance, it is only natural that every company is seeking the optimal solution in order to gain leverage over the others. Corsair surprised us recently with the launch of their new high end drives, the Neutron series, which were based on a Link-A- Media controller, a Japanese company without any history in the SSD market. Today we will see what kind of fruits this partnership brought about as we will be reviewing the current flagship SSD from Corsair, the Neutron GTX 480GB drive. As the controller is the most important part of a SSD drive and virtually defines the entirety of its performance, it is only natural that every company is seeking the optimal solution in order to gain leverage over the others. Corsair surprised us recently with the launch of their new high end drives, the Neutron series, which were based on a Link-A- Media controller, a Japanese company without any history in the SSD market. Today we will see what kind of fruits this partnership brought about as we will be reviewing the current flagship SSD from Corsair, the Neutron GTX 480GB drive. The Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB is based on a Link_A_Media (LAMD) LM87800 controller, not any different than the "Vanilla" Neutron SSD which we had the chance to test a few weeks back. However, certain improvements allow the GTX version to achieve considerably higher speeds, making it (on paper) the fastest SSD which Corsair currently produces. We will soon find out just how much faster the GTX version is and how well it compares against some competition. Manufacturer features and specifications SSD Unformatted Capacity 480 GB Max Sequential R/W (ATTO) 555 MB/s sequential read 511 MB/s sequential write Max Random 4k Write (IOMeter 08) 85k IOPS (4k aligned) Interface SATA 6Gb/s Form Factor 2.5 inch DRAM Cache Memory 256MB Weight .1kg Voltage 5V ±5% Power Consumption (active) 4.6W Max Power Consumption (idle/ standby/sleep) 0.6W Max S.M.A.R.T. Support Yes Shock 1500 G MTBF 2,000,000 hours
  • November 17th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Energizer launches 14,000mAh Super Battery to power your USB devices Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/energizer-launches-14-000mah- super-battery-to-power-your-usb-devices/17914.html November 17th, 2012 For those busy folks who are always in need of an extra charge, Japan Trust Technology have teamed up with Energizer batteries to release an external battery which can power your notebook for just a wee bit longer. The battery in question is an Energizer XP14000 mobile battery, which has a capacity of 14,000mAh. The unit is selling at an open price, but current estimates put an RRP of 15,800 (~94USD) Yen on the device. A lack of connectivity would be fatal for a product like this, and Japan Trust Tech have made sure not to make that mistake. The battery is able to output at 19V/3A, and comes with 6 different kinds of AC connectors. In addition to this, the battery pack also comes equipped with 5V/1A and 5V/2.1A output USB ports, which means that you can also use the nifty little unit to charge up your smartphone, iPad, PSP, or 3DS on the go. Gamers rejoice. Despite its small size, apparently the battery carries enough juice to power an Atom based netbook for an extra 4.5 hours (under moderate usage conditions). Not bad at all. Speaking of its size, the exact dimensions of the XP14000 are 155x98x23mm (Width x Length x Height), and it has a weight of approx. 375g. If the aforementioned myriad of connectors still weren’t enough for you tech geeks, you can still order the device with an optional 12, 15, or 16V voltage converter cable. And as an added bonus, users who purchase the battery pack are also offered up 2 free connector adaptor chips (although you do have to fork out for p&p when you order them). Head on over to Japan Trust Tech’s homepage for more info. Scott Derrickson to direct movie adaptation of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scott-derrickson-to-direct-movie- adaptation-of-deus-ex-human-revolution/17916.html
  • November 17th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 November 17th, 2012 The popular cyberpunk video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution has been greenlit for a movie adaptation, and noteworthy director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) is at the helm. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a direct sequel to the cult-classic PC game Deus Ex release in 2000, featuring a continuation of the franchise's signature futuristic cyberpunk dystopia and stylish mix of FPS action and deep story plots full of intrigue and decption. Receiving a warm reception in the gaming world, Human Revolution blends science fiction with futuristic sleuthing, as gamers take hold of the game's cybernetically augmented protagonist Adam Jensen and utilize both raw power and tactical stealth to uncover hidden conspiracies and overthrow the totalitarian government. Based on the game's success and distinct visual style, Scott Derrickson (the director of Sinister) was thrilled to take charge of the game's movie adaptation for CBS Films: “Deus Ex is a phenomenal cyberpunk game with soul and intelligence,” Derrickson commented. “By combining amazing action and tension with big, philosophical ideas, Deus Ex is smart, ballsy, and will make one hell of a movie." It's always a huge plus when a director of a game adaptation is a fan of the game itself, and hopefully Derrickson will stay true to the franchise and not go off on tangents. Considering that gamers may be the main constituency to see a movie based on a video game, movie producers and directors should keep the film closely tied to the original source material. Having played Deus Ex: Human Revolution myself I can honestly say that the game plays like a movie, featuring full voice-acting dialong, an engaging story arc replete with secrets and betrayal, and enjoyable fast-paced action. What's more is that the game itself paralells a societal conundrum that's eerily realistic, painting a visceral and dystopic view of our not-too-distant future. No information has yet been confirmed on who is to star in the upcoming adaptation or when it will be released, but I for one am excited to see this game get an adaptation. For more information be sure to check Entertainment Weekly's article on the upcoming film. Spike announces VGA 2012 nominees Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spike-announces-vga-2012- nominees/17915.html November 17th, 2012 Spike reveals the top nominees for this year's annual VGA 2012, celebrating its tenth anniversary while showcasing this year's best video games. Oh, and it's hosted by Samuel L. Jackson! Spike TV's annual Video Game Awards celebration is back, and the nominees for VGA 2012 have been revealed.for the various categories including Game of the Year, Best Independent Game, Best Song in a Game, etc. Along with celebrating this year's best video game titles, Spike is also celebrating its tenth anniversary of the VGA award ceremony. Spike's Video Game Awards showcase this year's best releases, allowing gamers and fans across the world to vote for their favorite titles and tune in to see the winners on Spike TV. This year's VGA 2012 is hosted by Samuel L. Jackson--yes, the highly esteemed Sam Jackson--and will feature Spike's signature hilarious style which makes the ceremony quite a fun ride. Nominees for VGA 2012's Game of the Year are: • Assassin's Creed III • The Walking Dead: The Game • Dishonored • Journey • Mass Effect 3 Be sure to vote for your favorite games today and have your voice heard!
  • November 17th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 You can catch Spike's VGA 2012 celebration live on Friday, Dec. 7 at 9p ET / 7p PT. For more information be sure to visit Spike's official VGA website. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City pulled from digital stores Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/grand-theft-auto-vice-city-pulled- from-digital-stores/17905.html November 17th, 2012 If you went to purchase Grand Theft Auto: Vice City recently and couldn't find it, there is good reason – it was pulled. According to Rockstar Games, the maker and distributor for the game, there is an issue licensing for some music found on the game. Rockstar Games, which markets and produces numerous video games recently had to pull their Grand Theft Auto: Vice city game from digital stores due to a possible copyright licensing claim on one of the songs imbedded in the game. In a recent statement from the company they write: “Due to some music licensing issues, we’ve had to temporarily remove Vice City PC from digital stores. We’ll make it available again as soon as possible.” While many Internet gaming forums have rumored it may be about a Michael Jackson track, there has been no official statement in regards to the rumor or exactly the issue is all about. A few on-line gaming sites such as gameinformer.com are reporting the company stated that the iOS and Android version of the game will still be available very soon. Rockstar Games began in 1998 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. The company famous for such games as Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, The Warriors and all manner of intense action games suited to all manner of free range or open world style of playing. The company is also known for their own game engine called the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), which enabled players to use the home PC, Play Station 3, Xbox 360 and the Wii gaming systems. Their website can be found at Rockstargames.
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. SpaceX claims Europe's Ariane 5 rocket has "no chance" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/spacex-claims-europe-s-ariane-5- rocket-has-no-chance-/17955.html November 19th, 2012 The CEO of commercial space agency SpaceX, Elon Musk, has mocked Europe's once-prized Ariane 5 rockets as having “no chance” against his company's new Falcon 9. The CEO of commercial space agency SpaceX, Elon Musk, has mocked Europe's once-prized Ariane 5 rockets as having “no chance” against his company's new Falcon 9. “Ariane 5 has no chance,” he told the BBC. “I don't say that with a sense of bravado but there's really no way for that vehicle to compete with Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. If I were in the position of Ariane, I would really push for an Ariane 6.” The Ariane 5 currently holds one of the top spots in a small but growing market for launching satellites and other vessels into space, but SpaceX's cheaper Falcon model is enticing many to switch contracts. The European Space Agency (ESA) is meeting this week to discuss the fate of the Ariane programme, with Germany calling for an upgrade of the existing model and France calling for development of the next-generation Ariane 6. The agency faces tough challenges, however, with member states required to subsidise the cost of the rockets at a price of €217 million for 2011 and 2012. Musk boasts that Ariane rockets “sure as hell can't compete with the next [Falcon 9],” which he said will actually come at a cheaper price than the current already comparatively affordable model, which costs less than $60 million per flight. It is no wonder then that SpaceX already has 40 contracts under its wing, despite the Falcon having only made four flights to date. Ariane's longer history and reliability may help it in the interim, but as SpaceX makes more successful launches it will become an even more attractive option. It looks like the future for space exploration will be outsourced to private companies. Given budget cutbacks in the US and Europe, this is probably a good thing for those hoping to keep interest in the final frontier. Amazon boasts week-long Black Friday sales Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amazon-boasts-week-long-black- friday-sales/17954.html
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 November 19th, 2012 Amazon has unveiled its Black Friday Lightning Deals running all week through 24 November, with up to 70 percent off select items, including electronics, toys, clothing, DVDs, and books. Amazon has unveiled its Black Friday Lightning Deals running all week through 24 November, with up to 70 percent off select items, including electronics, toys, clothing, DVDs, and books. Some discounted TVs include a Samsung 40-inch Smart LED HDTV for $448, a Toshiba 40-inch LCD TV for $179, a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch Smart 3D LED HDTV for $899, and a VIZIO 60-inch Razor Smart LED HDTV for $688. Other discounted electronics include a Lenovo G585 15.6- inch laptop for $199.99, Dell Inspiron i14z 14-ich Ultrabook for $499.99, a Canon EOS Rebel T2i digital SLR camera for $699, a Panasonic Lumix ZS20 high sensitivity digital camera with 20X optical zoom for $199, and a Fujifilm Finepix SL300 14 megapixel digital camera with 30X optical zoom for $149.99. Gamers can get their hands on an Xbox 360 250GB bundle with two games and one month's Xbox Live membership for $199 or a 250GB PlayStation 3 bundle with two games and one month of PlayStation Plus for the same price. Other discounts include up to 60 percent off outerwear for men, women and children, up to 70 percent off designer shoes, up to 60 percent off black diamond stud earrings, 50 percent off select Melissa & Doug toys, up to 67 percent off movies and TV shows, and up to 60 percent off books. “We’re offering customers our widest selection of Black Friday Lightning Deals ever and we’re bringing doorbuster deals to shoppers earlier this year,” said Ben Hartman, VP of Consumer Electronics for Amazon “Customers should check our Black Friday Deals Store regularly to find a vast selection of great gifts at great prices. Plus, there is no need to stand in long lines, fight crowds, or brave the cold weather – shop from the convenience of home.” With Adobe predicting $2 billion of online sales on this Cyber Monday alone, and a 12 percent increase in Black Friday sales over last year, Amazon is sure to benefit from the shopping frenzy over the coming week. Samsung bundles Far Cry 3 with 250GB SSD Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-bundles-far-cry-3- with-250gb-ssd/17953.html November 19th, 2012 Samsung is bundling its 250GB SSD 840 drive with Far Cry 3 from Ubisoft from this Black Friday through Cyber Monday, with an additional discount off the normal price to boot. Samsung is bundling its 250GB SSD 840 drive with Far Cry 3 from Ubisoft from this Black Friday through Cyber Monday, with an additional discount off the normal price to boot. From the 22 November to 26 November gamers will be able to get their hands on a free download of Far Cry 3, a week before its official release in Europe and nearly two weeks before its launch in North America. The Black Friday weekend deal will save customers $59.99 on the game itself, along with $20 on the list price of the solid-state drive, which Samsung is offering for $169.99 during the special promotion. The SSD 840 employs a SATA 6.0 Gb/s interface, a triple- core MDX controller, and triple-level cell Toggle DDR2 flash memory for an affordable SSD option. This delivers random read speeds of up to 92,000 input-output operations per
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 second and sequential speeds of up to 530MB/s, in addition to a longer battery life, less heat, less noise, and improved reliability compared to standard hard disk drives. Samsung also offers 120GB and 500GB variants. Far Cry 3 is Ubisoft's upcoming sandbox first-person shooter, stranding players on a tropical island, where the locals are not exactly friendly. There will be traditional combat involved, along with role-playing elements like skill trees and crafting. The game will benefit from the faster loading times of an SSD, and considering the usually high prices of SSDs, this is a bargain offer this Black Friday weekend. New Uncharted is a trading card game, drops in December Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-uncharted-is-a-trading-card- game-drops-in-december/17952.html November 19th, 2012 The new Uncharted game, "Fight for Fortune" has received it's first trailer. If you were expecting another globetrotting adventure, you'll likely be disappointed to hear that it's a trading card game for the Playstation Vita A while back we reported on the classification of a new Uncharted game. The Australian and Brazilian classification boards revealed a new game in the action adventure franchise by listing a page for Uncharted: Fight for Fortune back in October. This served as the first official word of the game's existence, but there was some confusion as to what we'd be playing. The classification of the game labeled it as a card game and having little to no violence, swearing or adult situations. Well, the first trailer for the game has arrived, so we can finally get an idea of what Fight for Fortune is all about. It's all about cards. The new game is a trading card game, akin to Magic the Gathering and will feature many of the protagonists and villains from the franchise. Notably, the game will tie in with Uncharted: Golden Abyss, allowing players of Abyss to collect items in-game that they can use in Fight for Fortune. This, no doubt, will not be a game in everyone's taste. It certainly doesn't seem to be the kind of game Uncharted's core audience is most interested in playing. Personally, I had hoped that an Uncharted card game would involve sitting around a poker table with the likes of Sully and Zorin Lazarevic. A trading card game however, just feels out of place to me. Check out the trailer below, and judge for yourself! Uncharted: Fight for Fortune will hit stores in December. Meth might be effective against combating Flu Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/meth-might-be-effective-against- combating-flu/17951.html November 19th, 2012 Methamphetamine is addictive, harmful, and lowers your immune response... but it might just be effective against fighting the flu, according to a new experiment conducted in a lab Researchers, from the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan and the University of Regensburg in Germany have been doing research in to the effects Methamphetamine has on different viral infections. There's a lot of research indicating that, continued use of meth makes you more susceptible to infections as it lowers your immune response. However, the same does not seem to be the case with the flu. The research team used a small sample of human lung tissue, which was kept alive in a lab, and administered meth to it before exposing it to the H1N1 influenza virus. This is the same subtype of influenza which the media calls swine flu, and is closely related to the influenza variation which occurs in pigs. Astonishingly, the lung cells demonstrated an increased ability to combat the infection. Walter and Jesse aren't bad guys - they're just trying to help you get over your flu This research however, is far from conclusive: The experiment was done with only one type of cell, which was exposed to only one type of flu. Further more,. the entire experiment was performed in a laboratory environment, so it is entirely unknown how the treatment would affect living humans or animals. Even if it was a conclusive finding though, the question arises as to how smart it would be to invest in meth as a flu treatment...
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The Wikipedia page for Methamphetamine lists the physical, psychological and long term effects of meth abuse. The list is a mile long and includes symptoms such as heart attack, paranoia, psychosis, memory loss.. and of course death. And if that's not enough to convince you, go watch Breaking Bad. Actually, go ahead and watch that anyway. Start8 App returns start menu to Windows, sells in tens of thousands Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/start8-app-returns-start-menu-to- windows-sells-in-tens-of-thousands/17949.html November 19th, 2012 Windows 8 did something rather bold when they decided to rid themselves of the start menu and put their money on Modern UI instead. As with any bold move, there's plenty of people who like it the old way, and the app known as Start8 is proof of this. Ridding Windows 8 of the iconic start menu is one of the most controversial things Microsoft has done in recent years, and a lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea. Streamlining issues between the desktop mode and Modern UI doesn't make things better. Stardock has developed a new application called Start8, a mod for Windows 8 which brings back the start menu (as it appears in Windows 7) to the desktop mode. Windows 8's users seem to be keen on seeing the start menu return to their computers. A spokesperson for Stardock said to USA Today that their $5 app has sold in the tens of thousands since it was released on October 26. In fact, the spokesperson referred to the release as "floodgates opening". The free version of the app has also been downloaded tens of thousands of times. An update was released for the app which restores even more of the old Windows feel, including a function which disables the start screen when you click in the lower left corner. You'll also be able to drag and drop items in the start menu. Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 10 850W PSU Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/be-quiet-dark-power-pro-10-850w- psu-review/17950.html November 19th, 2012 A few weeks ago we had a look at the Dark Power Pro 10 550W power supply, a product with low maximum output but of stunning quality and performance. Although it was a great product, it definitely was not enough for the system of an advanced enthusiast or hardcore gamer. Be Quiet responded to this by sending the 850W version of the same unit in for review, the output of which makes it capable of powering multi-CPU and multi-GPU systems. Can it perform as well as the smaller version though? We will soon find out. A few weeks ago we had a look at the Dark Power Pro 10 550W power supply, a product with low maximum output but of stunning quality and performance. Although it was a great product, it definitely was not enough for the system of an advanced enthusiast or hardcore gamer. Be Quiet responded to this by sending the 850W version of the same unit in for review, the output of which makes it capable of powering multi-CPU and multi-GPU systems. Can it perform as well as the smaller version though? We will soon find out. The Dark Power Pro 10 units are the high-end series of Be Quiet, a reputable German manufacturer. This series consist of six units, with their outputs ranging from 550W up to 1200W; however, only the units up to 850W are 80Plus Platinum certified. This also means that today we also have on our bench table the most powerful 80Plus Platinum certified Be Quiet has to offer at this point of time. Manufacturer’s features and specifications
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 • Virtually silent operation achieved through a broad array of meticulous optimizations, including use of be quiet!’s custom-designed 135mm SilentWings® fan • SilentWings fan features airflow-optimized fan blades, fluid dynamic bearing with copper core and high quality IC motor controller for the quietest possible operation • 80PLUS Platinum certification and up to 94% power conversion efficiency let you do more work with the same power and reduce your power bills • 850 Watts of continuous power provide deep power reserves for demanding computing applications • NVidia SLI and AMD CrossfireX multi-GPU certifications allow you to build intense Quad-GPU systems with utter confidence • Cable management with extra long cable reach simplifies component installation and reduces annoying clutter, increasing airflow and improving cooling in even the largest PC cases • Overclocking key allows switchover between quadruple independent +12V rail mode and high- performance single-rail operation • German product conception, design and quality control Continuous power (W) 850 Peak power (W) 950 Form factor ATX 12VVersion 2.31 Form factor EPS 12VVersion 2.92 Modular cable management Y Special technology LLC - DC/DC Voltage (Vac) 100 - 240 Frequency (Hz) 50 - 60 Input current (A) 10 - 5 PFC active Power factor at 100% load 0.99 Compliant to Intel C6 mode Y Power consumption in standby (W) 0.325 Average life time (h / 25°C) 300.000 Operating temperature up to (°C) 40 12 V Rails (Multi-Rail operation) 4 12 V Single Rail operation Y Overclocking key Y Output +3.3V (A) 25 +5V (A) 25 +12V1 (A) 30 +12V2 (A) 30 +12V3 (A) 45 +12V4 (A) 45 +12V5 (A) +12V6 (A) -12V (A) 0.5 +5Vsb (A) 3 Max. combined current 12V (A) 70 Max. combined power 12V (W) 840 Max. combined power 3,3V + 5V (W) 140 Hold-up time (ms) 21 SITEX 2012 @ Singapore EXPO Floor Plan and Exhibitor List Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sitex-2012--singapore-expo-floor- plan-and-exhibitor-list/17948.html November 19th, 2012 SITEX 2012 IT Exhibition Sales @ Singapore EXPO will open on Thursday and run through this weekend! All the action will be happening at Singapore EXPO (Changi South Ave 1) Halls 4B, 5 and 6. Check out the official floor plans and list of exhibitors to start planning for your shopping sprees! SITEX 2012 IT Exhibition Sales @ Singapore EXPO will open on Thursday and run through this weekend! All the action will be happening at Singapore EXPO (Changi South Ave 1) Halls 4B, 5 and 6. Check out the official floor plans and list of exhibitors to start planning for your shopping sprees! Surfers find fossil on beach Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/surfers-find-fossil-on- beach/17946.html November 19th, 2012
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Two surfers enjoying an particularly low tide on a Santa Cruz beach, have come across the skeletal remains of a whale Some surfers enjoying the waves at a Santa Cruz beach during an "extremely low tide", were walking across part of the seabed where the ocean had receded, and stumbled upon some bones. The bones, a row of vertebrae, were photographed by one of the surfers, a Redditor calling himself "Donkahones". Donkahones uploaded the picture along with the caption "So I went surfing and saw a dinosaur". Whale, what do you know? It wasn't a dinosaur precisely, but it was still something old and extinct. Director Gary Griggs of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, spoke to the Huffington Post, and gave his views on the findings. In his opinion, the bones are from an ancient, and extinct species of whale from the Pliocene-era, some 3-5 million years ago. He bases this opinion on the rocks the whale bones were found in, a sedimentary rock known as a Pliocene Purisima formation. "They... formed in a shallow marine environment and contain lenses of mollusk shells... as well as numerous marine mammal fossils" he explains. This is not the first time a find like this has been discovered in the area. During the construction of a seawall in 2009, a similar, 44-inch vertebrae of a fossilized whale was found as well. Oakland airport traveller apprehended for having suspicious watch Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/oakland-airport-traveller- apprehended-for-having-suspicious-watch/17943.html November 19th, 2012 An artist traveling from Oakland airport, California, was arrested for having a suspicious looking watch which looked like a bomb detonator, however the device turned out to be an art project. Geoffrey McGann, an artist traveling out of Oakland airport in California, was arrested Friday while trying to get through airport security. The reason for his arrest was a decorative watch he was wearing, which had cables and switches coming out of it. The security personnel at the airport noticed the watch and identified it as a possible device for detonating a bomb. McGann stated that the watch was just a watch, decorated unusually as an art project, but that it was not a detonator. A bomb squad was called in and the airport was swept. Unsurprisingly, there were no explosives in the watch. McGann was also wearing suspicious boots, which were unusually large and filled with insoles. Geoffrey McGann, having a pretty bad day McGann was taken into custody and moved to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he is still being held on charges of possessing materials to make an explosive device, according to the local Sheriff's department. This sounds like a nonsense charge, and perhaps the most obvious reason McGann is innocent is that nobody with an actual bomb would likely wear the detonator on his wrist, visible for all to see. This of course brings up the point that Mr. McGann doesn't seem very clever: You simply do not go into an airport with stuffed boots and wires coming out of your watch. Fuji Film says 1 Tbyte discs possible 2 years Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fuji-film-says-1-tbyte-discs- possible-2-years/17930.html November 19th, 2012 In a recent research paper from Fuji Film, the company stated they are working on a new recording method in which a disc can hold 1TB of data by the use of a two-photon absorbtion technique. In a paper titled, “Two-photon Sensitized Recording Materials for Multi-layer Optical Disk”, Masaharu AKIBA, Eri GOTO-TAKAHASHI, Hiroo TAKIZAWA, et. al., elaborate on a method in which optical discs can be recorded differently. This new method makes use of a two- photon absorption technique in order to manufacture heat and can be used on multiplayer discs. The two-photon absorption can be focused on a minute area of the focal point of the laser beam so it can provide the possibility for more layers for recording data. Two-photon absorption is basically defined as the absorption of two photons (identical or different wave lengths) at the same time, done in order to excite a molecule from a zero-point energy state to a higher energy state. Fuji claims that this new way of recording can give a recording density of 25Gbytes per layer and 20 layers per side thereby
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 giving you a disc capable of holding 1Terrabyte of data. Fuji even boasts that it may be possible to have discs holding as much as 15Tb of data in the next few years. While the actual production of the disc remains to be seen, the data supported by the findings from the Fuji team have proven the concept with empirical data. Fuji feels that these new type of storage discs will be even less expensive to produce than the popular Blu-Ray disc as well. The data and findings on the new recording technique can be seen here in a PDF document or directly from the Fuji company website. Cisco will acquire Meraki Incorporated Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cisco-will-acquire-meraki- incorporated/17939.html November 19th, 2012 Cisco Systems Inc. is offering over 1 billion dollars and other special incentives to acquire a privately owned cloud networking company called Meraki Inc. The acquisition of Meraki Inc is the latest acquisition in just one of many companies that Cisco has been acquiring. Cisco Systems has been on something of an acquisition run of late, and they just recently announced a 1.1 billion dollar deal in acquiring Meraki, Inc. According to Cisco the deal should be going through by January 2013. This latest deal will help Cisco provide improved security when it comes to cloud managed Wi-Fi networks for mid- sized corporations and businesses. The California based Cisco Systems is currently the world’s largest producer of computer-networking equipment. This latest acquisition announcement from Cisco comes just a few days after their November 15th announcement of the company’s plans to acquire the company, Cloupia. A relatively new company, Cloupia is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and operates as a software data center that manages and automates cloud data. The company offers numerous products such a cloud computing services and helps other companies make transitions over to private and public cloud environments. On Cisco’s company website Hilton Romanaski who serves as Cisco’s Head of Corporate Business Management says that the acquisition of Cloupia would allow them to “provide a single, ‘pane-of-glass’ management across Cisco and partner solutions including FlexPod, VSPEX, and Vblock. Romanaski goes on to say; “Mergers, acquisitions and investments are a key part of Cisco’s build, buy and partner innovation framework and supports our strategy of providing best-in-class solutions for customers.” It is quite apparent that Cisco’s recent acquisitions of many companies is an effort to help the computer- networking corporation expand their base and perfect their Cloud Computing organization to work as part of their growing Cisco Open Network Environment. But combining networking storage, management solutions and interconnecting all of our computers and mobile devices only makes sense, and it seems Cisco wants to remove any future competition in this department. To read more about the Meraki acquisition you can visit Meraki’s FAQ page here. ASUS Padfone 2 Singapore Event for VRForum members (15/11) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-padfone-2-singapore-event-for- vrforum-members-1511-/17937.html November 19th, 2012 Last Thursday, more than a hundred esteemed members from our forums came down to Ibis Hotel for an exclusive hands-on session with the ASUS Padfone 2, which will start selling at the upcoming SITEX 2012 later this week. Last Thursday, more than a hundred members of our VRForums community were invited to an exclusive hands- on/sharing session co-organized by VR-Zone and ASUS. The dinner event was one of the largest consumer electronics preview sessions ever held in Singapore and the objective was to spread the message about one of most powerful and feature-filled smartphones around - Padfone 2, which is the second iteration of the revolutionary 2-in-1 Android smartphone-tablet combination by ASUS.
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Representatives from the Padfone team in Taiwan gave a short presentation about the innovations in the Padfone 2, including its top of the line hardware specifications (quad-core Qualcomm S4 Pro with LTE, 2GB RAM, 13 MP camera, 4.7 inch Super IPS+ Display) and the much improved tablet dock from the original Padfone. They also carried along with them a truckload of sample sets for the audience to try out and solicit user feedback.
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 At the end, one lucky forum member won himself a Padfone 2 from the lucky draw. Later this week, interested buyers can get the Padfone 2 at authorised retailers from S$848 (32GB) or $1099 with the tablet bundle. StarHub will also offer the tablet bundle with a range of attractive mobile price plans. Twin Bird to release waterproof wireless TV Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/twin-bird-to-release-waterproof- wireless-tv/17936.html November 19th, 2012 Ever wanted to watch your favorite show in the bathtub but were too afraid of frying your TV's circuits? Twin Bird might have just the product for you! Due for release in late November at a price of 50,000 Yen, the Wireless Zabady (VW-J108W) is a waterproof and wireless TV from the clever folks at Twin Bird Inc. The device has a 10.1-inch waterproof LED monitor, and comes with a separate digital terrestrial TV tuner/ transmitter which sends image and sound data wirelessly to the monitor. Television signals are first picked up with the tuner before being sent through the air to the waterproof monitor, allowing you to enjoy TV without being tied down to cables and weighty TV sets. Now for the cool part. When they say waterproof, they mean it. This doesn’t just mean it prevents against water droplets that happen to splash on it, oh no. You could literally take this sucker into the shower with you and nothing would happen. How is that possible? Well, the monitor adopts a fully waterproof structure which conforms to IPX7 standards (water won’t enter the device after 30 minutes of submersion in 1m deep water). So if you drop it in your bathtub no need to worry, just fish it back out again. This puppy was made for the bathroom and kitchen, where water is an ever-present factor. Of course, what good would TV be without sound? The Zabady comes complete with a built-in speaker, and the battery lasts for up to 5 hours of continuous use. Should be long enough for any bath-lover. Unfortunately, the device takes 6 hours to charge up, but you can always leave it on to charge at night. The unit has a power consumption of 5.5W. Dimensions of the monitor unit are 305x36x180mm, and it has a weight of 1.2kg. A charger station is included, which can also be used as a television stand. The tuner unit supports terrestrial digital broadcast, and comes equipped with a miniB-CAS slot. It has dimensions of 225x160x35mm, and a weight of 420g. And if that’s not enough, the device even comes complete with a waterproof remote control!
  • November 19th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Motor Magazine's carry bag charges mobile devices on the go via solar power Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/motor-magazine-s-carry-bag- charges-mobile-devices-on-the-go-via-solar-power/17935.html November 19th, 2012 A new innovative piece of kit has come from the last place you’d expect it. Just how well does it charge your phone though? Click on the article to find out! Motor Magazine Ltd, like their name suggests, publishes magazines about motor vehicles. While it’s not odd that they would offer a bag made for motorcyclists, the innovation that goes into the bag is the interesting part. Their new bag “Halos” has just been released on the company’s web store, and it’s no ordinary bag. Priced at 31,290~47,040 Yen, the Halos bag conveniently charges up your phone while you carry it around. Not only that, but it does it via SOLAR POWER! That’s right, a solar panel actually wraps around the front of the bag, meaning that when you’re riding around in the hot sun it will actually be charging up any device you have inside it. And if you happen to go out a lot at night, there’s also an optional battery available that gives you the same functionality sans the dependency on our large hot friend in the sky. It has a capacity of 2,000mAh and is ‘card sized’, which is probably really small. That’s not all either. The bag comes in a total of 7 different variations, and you can choose from a shoulder bag, camera bag, backpack, messenger bag, etc. Apparently each bag is handmade by experts too; this is no shoddy Chinese knock- off. Taking a closer look at one of the bags, the dimensions of the shoulder bag (size L) are 380x200x330mm, and it has a weight of 1,130g. It carries a 2W output solar panel.
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Apple opens official eBay store for refurbished products Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-opens-official-ebay-store-for- refurbished-products/17977.html November 20th, 2012 Apple is testing a new eBay store that sells refurbished products, according to sources close to 9to5Mac. The store, simply called Refurbished Outlet, was discovered around a month ago, selling revamped MacBooks, iPods, and iPads, but there was no indication that this was an official store run by Apple until 9to5Mac got its hands on some as yet unconfirmed information. “We discovered that this is in face an Apple-run Store within eBay,” the site reads. “It is in trial, and it could open the door to much bigger things. No one would go on the record at eBay, however.” The store also has a few giveaways that Apple might be in charge, including similar conditions for refurbished products, such as a one-year warranty and new battery, the same prices as refurbished products sold by the company elsewhere, and the overall design of the Store. Of course, it could just be an elaborate mimicry of Apple's style, but 9to5Mac claims to have information that suggests otherwise. If this is Apple's first foray into selling outside its own stores, it could pave the way for the sale of new devices on eBay, and will give the technology giant an even larger audience and the option to pay by PayPal. Woman arrested in India over Facebook post Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/woman-arrested-in-india-over- facebook-post/17975.html November 20th, 2012 An Indian woman was arrested for posting a comment on Facebook criticising the government, while a friend of hers was also arrested for simply “liking” the post. An Indian woman was arrested for posting a comment on Facebook criticising the government, while a friend of hers was also arrested for simply “liking” the post. Shaheen Dhada was arrested on Monday for her message on Facebook that found fault with the shutdown of Mumbai following the death of politician Bal Thackeray. Her friend Renu Srinivasan was also arrested for clicking Like. Both individuals were later released on bail and both apologised for hurting people's feelings. Srinivasan said they were making the apologies to keep themselves and their families safe, stating that they “don't want any violence.” This is likely a reference to a mob attack on the clinic of Dhada's uncle following her comment. Nine people connected to the attack have been arrested, with the police still looking for others. The women's arrests follow clamp-downs on anti- government sentiment throughout the country, resulting in staunch criticism by free speech advocates, including Markandey Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India, who labelled the arrests as a “criminal act.”
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Until the government in India becomes less sensitive to comments made on social networking websites, people in the country will need to be careful about what they post online. Image Credit: Associated Press John McAfee reveals his disguises Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/john-mcafee-reveals-his- disguises/17973.html November 20th, 2012 John McAfee, founder of the anti-virus company that bears his name, has revealed a number of the disguises he is using to evade police, who want him for questioning about the murder of his neighbour. John McAfee, founder of the anti-virus company that bears his name, has revealed a number of the disguises he is using to evade police, who want him for questioning about the murder of his neighbour. McAfee wrote on his blog that he has been dressing up as a Guatemalan street seller, using shoe polish to darken the colour of his skin, browning his teeth, and stuffing his face with chewed bubble gum to make his face look fatter. He said he also stuffed a shaved down tampon into his right nostril and dyed the tip brown to give his nose an “awkward, lopsided, disgusting appearance.” McAfee also donned different, ragged attire and adjusted his posture to look shorter. He used broken English with a Spanish accent to fool tourists and reporters. He even claims to have almost sold a dolphin carving to a journalist from the Associated Press. Not one to stick to the same routine, McAfee also pretended to be a drunk German tourist, who yelled vulgar things at passers-by. He wore bandages on his face, which seems like a lot less work than the Guatemalan disguise. Apparently not what John McAfee looks like now Yet for the all the hassle he claims he has gone through to stop police, who he thinks will kill him, from finding him, he decided to blog all the details for everyone to see. And all of this despite telling The Telegraph previously that revealing any of his disguises would be “foolish.” It might be that McAfee never did any of this and is hoping to effectively make everyone a suspect, since he could be disguised as anyone, or it might just be that he is, as Belize's Prime Minister described, “bonkers.” He certainly seems to be revelling in the attention he is getting, despite the seriousness of the allegations made against him. McAfee is offering $25,000 to anyone who catches the killer of his neighbour and plans to publish any information he gets on his blog. In the mean time we can probably expect to see updates about the other exaggerated diguises he has up his sleeve. Image Credit: Sofia Munoz/Associated Press Rapidshare utilizing datacap restrictions to keep pirates away Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rapidshare-utilizing-datacap- restrictions-to-keep-pirates-away/17972.html November 20th, 2012 Rapidshare, in an attempt to distance itself from pirates, and perhaps avoid the headaches Megaupload faced, have decided to impose a datacap restriction on their downloads. Rapidshare, a big contender in the file sharing business, has taken steps to distance itself from internet piracy. Earlier this year, Kim Dotcom's Megaupload file sharing service was taken down by the US government, and it seems Rapidshare wants to avoid landing itself in the same place. To keep pirates away, Rapidshare has thus implemented a datacap restriction on their downloads, limiting the amount of data which can be downloaded from one file over a certain period of time. The new restriction will put a 1GB per 24 hours limit on files uploaded for free, whereas subscription users will be allowed a datacap of 30GB for their files. This data restriction will apply to publicly available files, whereas personal files shared from user to user (akin to dropbox), will be unaffected.
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 "No download for you. Come back, one day!" Since high data traffic on these public files will be impossible, pirates should be more or less unable to distribute copyrighted material via Rapidshare. However, smaller files such as documents, or files which will be downloaded by a limited number of people, will be largely unaffected. Unfortunately, any legitimate file of substantial size will be impacted as well. The datacap might be a risky move for Rapidshare: Whether they like it or not, a significant amount of the traffic they have comes from piracy, and if this is stopped, who knows what Rapidshare's fate will be, especially with the new "Mega" just around the corner to scoop those pirates up. It's possible that without the pirates, Rapidshare might become a much smaller and more timid beast than it currently is. Star Citizen crowdfunding has ended - game devs rake in $6.2 million Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-citizen-crowdfunding-has- ended--game-devs-rake-in-6.2-million/17971.html November 20th, 2012 Crowdfunding for Star Citizen has ended and Chris Roberts and his dev team have managed to amass a whopping $6.2 million dollars We've covered Chris Roberts' new game Star Citizen rather extensively recently, as the game has been in the midst of crowdfunding since the end of October. As the game has received more and more pledges, the developers have revealed new features and increased the scope of the game. In the past week, during the last few days of the crowdfunding effort, they blasted their way past the previous world record for crowdfunding, when they hit $4.2 million. When the effort finally ended yesterday, the game had received $6,238,563 in pledges. This is more than 300% of what the Star Citizen team were originally hoping to get, and even now, some funding is trickling in. Pew pew pew! The final game will have a single player campaign with over 50 missions, a persistent universe with 100 star systems to explore and several starships to fly around in. Further more, zero-g combat outside your ship, landing at space ports and being able to take part in several professions, all set in an MMO universe, will keep players entertained for quite a while (hopefully, at least). The development team is estimating the game's release at 2014, and those who have pledges can take part in the alpha and beta versions as well, which will become available within 12 months. GTA IV vs. V graphics comparison Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gta-iv-vs.-v-graphics- comparison/17970.html November 20th, 2012 Recently, there's been a bunch of comparisons showing up online of how Grand Theft Auto V looks when measured against Grand Theft Auto IV. Check out some of the best comparisons here! Recently, two comparisons between the graphics of GTA IV and GTA V have grabbed my attention. They're interesting because they do a very good job at showing the advancements in technology over the past few years. Two screenshots side by side don't really do it if you want to make a proper comparison, and the two comparisons we present below have understood that, going to great lengths to be accurate in their demonstration. The first comparison is a GTA IV recreation of trailer 2 for GTA V done by a YouTuber by the name of Golonka. Watch them side by side at YouTube Doubler, or check the remade trailer out by itself below. Admittedly, certain things are lacking in the comparison, such as facial expressions or lip syncing, but other than that, there's been a lot of effort put into it. It should be pointed out though, that this version of GTA IV does not seem to be running on maximum graphics settings. The remade trailer
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The original trailer An even more impressive screenshot comparison is on the next page, so keep reading! Harman International releases first ever Lightning compatible iPod speaker Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/harman-international-releases-first- ever-lightning-compatible-ipod-speaker/17966.html November 20th, 2012 The folks at Harman International are a brave bunch, releasing a speaker compatible with only a handful of devices. However, those carrying iPhone 5s and looking for a boost in volume should be grateful; their Lightning ports finally have a use! Launching in early December in Harman’s JBL brand, the Onbeat Micro has an estimated price of 9.980 Yen ($122). Like it’s simpatico partner iPhone, it comes in both black and white colors, but the white model apparently won’t be available until January 2013. The Lightning port, while still not quite as ubiquitous as say USB or even Firewire, has been getting a fair amount of exposure due to Apple’s big sellers such as the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Any Lightning compatible player can be placed directly onto the device and it will connect to the speaker. In addition to the iPhone 5, it is also compatible with the 5th gen iPod touch and 7th gen iPod nano. This speaker also got some press coverage at the previous Apple press release held back in September when the latest iPod touch and nano were unveiled, as it was given as an example of Lightning connector compatible products that can be used with the popular music players. If you want the speaker without having to pay Apple Tax though, don’t worry! There is still a USB port in the back of the unit, allowing you to connect USB players and also other iOS devices using a USB to Dock cable. It even comes with a mini-stereo analog port too. The device comes with an AC adaptor, but can also run on 4 single-cell batteries. Another cool feature is that its possible to charge your music player when its connected to the speaker when it is running on AC. The speaker contains two full range 25mm diameter bases facing upwards from the base of the unit, and even though the device itself is rather small, placing it at a higher location
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 can give you the rich sounds you want to pervade through your living room. The speaker’s amplifier is digital, with an output of 2Wx2ch. It has a playback frequency band of 110Hz~20kHz, and utilizing its own unique digital signal processing feature, playback on the speaker has a natural feel to it. The dimensions of the device are 168x168x54mm, and it has a weight of 360g. Halo 4 update brings Spartan Ops episode 3 & newTeam Snipers playlist Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-update-brings-spartan-ops- episode-3--newteam-snipers-playlist/17956.html November 20th, 2012 Players can hone their headshot skills in Halo 4's new Team Snipers multiplayer playlist, or team up with friends in the newly released third Spartan Ops episode, "Catherine". Whether you're the type of gamer who enjoys competitive MLG-style multiplayer, or you enjoy taking on hordes of enemies with a group of friends, Halo 4's newest update has you covered. The update itself adds a brand new Team Snipers playlist, which was brought back due to popular demand, allowing gamers to hone their dead-eye skills and heighten their accuracy. Along with Team Snipers, Halo 4's update also brings a new Spartan Ops episode, continuing the weekly tradition of new content with five all-new chapters of frenetic co-operative missions. Episode 3 "Catherine" continues the story arc set in motion by the previous episodes and features a reprisal of Dr. Halsey. Dr. Catherine Halsey is one of the most prominent and important figures in the Halo universe, as she is directly responsible for the SPARTAN program and for Cortana's incredible psyche. Additionally players have new Weekly Challenges to complete in Campaign, War Games and Spartan Ops, offering bonus XP for those who accomplish the set goals. For more information on the new Halo 4 playlists or Spartan Ops, please visit Halo Waypoint's official website. Human rights group seeks ban on Killer Robots Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/human-rights-group-seeks-ban-on- killer-robots/17965.html November 20th, 2012 If the thought of a Cyberdyne Systems' Skynet takeover by cyborg robots scares you, you are not alone. Now a major human rights organization agrees and is seeking a pre- emptive ban on any future 'killer robot' technology. We saw the warnings in the Terminator movies, and if the thought of Cyberdyne Systems’ Skynet takeover by cyborg robots scares you, you are not alone. Now a major human rights organization is seeking a pre-emptive ban on any future technology that could lend or give rise to sentient machines. In a recent press release by the Human Rights Watch, the group has stated a serious case for the total ban on the future development of technology that could lead to any type of autonomous killing machine. The 50- page report titled, “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots” lends serious concerns and gives examples about what could happen if autonomous killing machines are developed. The report was published by the non- government agency, Human Rights Watch and Harvard’s School of Law, International Human Rights Clinic. The main reason the groups are calling for a pre-emptive ban on any future implementation of autonomous killing machines is not only because of the danger involved. The groups stress that the ethics in creating such a machine that lacks empathy, emotion or any real reason in taking out a human life for defense or offense is questionable. And while many critics of the paper may scoff at the idea that someone would actually create or pay for such a weapon design, believe it – it is all ready happening to some extent with drone technology. The United States, Russia, China and Korea are a few major players that are seeking and have developed impressive drone technology. And if you are following the crisis involving Gaza and Israel right now, you may have seen the “Iron Dome” defense system in play or the images taken by drones flying over Gaza picking out their targets with extreme accuracy. Currently the U.S. is the main holder of the most advanced drone technology, but for the time being human still control what they can and cannot do. It has been said that in the coming years the control of drones will switch from
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 humans to computerized machines. The Human Rights Group clearly points out in their report that these so-called ‘killer robots’ may very well pick and choose targets on their own without any need of human instruction. In the report The Human Rights groups have proposed the following: • Prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument. • Adopt national laws and policies to prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. • Commence reviews of technologies and components that could lead to fully autonomous weapons. These reviews should take place at the very beginning of the development process and continue throughout the development and testing phases The report also goes over a few facts concerning what the U.S. is doing in regards to robotics. They write, Military policy documents, especially from the United States, reflect clear plans to increase the autonomy of weapons systems. In its Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2011-2036, the US Department of Defense wrote that it “envisions unmanned systems seamlessly operating with manned systems while gradually reducing the degree of human control and decision making required for the unmanned portion of the force structure.” It is important to note that the banning of weapons in space was a serious issue in the early 1960s but many at the time thought the idea was a bit paranoid. Nevertheless, a treaty was made and jointly agreed upon and signed by the U.S., U.K. and the Soviet Union (Russia) in 1967. The treaty became known as the “Outer Space Treaty” and now has over 100 nations agreeing to it. All of this talk about killer robots and outer space just makes you wonder if one day we’ll see a woman like Sarah Connor warning us of impending doom. If it does come to pass, I just hope they send back some sexy girl robots. Removal of multiplayer map from Black Ops II leads to outcry. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/removal-of-multiplayer-map-from- black-ops-ii-leads-to-outcry./17968.html November 20th, 2012 After Treyarch removed the Nuketown 2025 map from online matchmaking, causing an outcry from it's fan base, the developer has now caved to demands and put the map back into rotation. Any gamer who pre-ordered Call of Duty: Black Ops II, or who purchased the hardened or care-package editions of the game, received the Nuketown 2025 bonus multiplayer map, a remake of the ever popular Nuketown map from the original Black Ops. In addition to the map, these gamers were also given access to the launch weekend double XP event. Unfortunately, when the bonus XP event ended, so did the map. I'd love to live in a place with as ominous a name as "Nuketown" The map, though still playable in private matches, was removed form public matchmaking. This surprised a lot of players, including me, since the description for the Nuketown 2025 game mode read "Nuketown 2025, all day. 24/7. We never close." Not quite so. David Vonderhaar, game design director for Treyarch, tweeted this message as the double XP weekend ended: "Double XP weekend is official over. That means Nuketown 2025 / 24-7 is as well. I know. RIGHT? Don't kill the messenger. +" As Vonderhaar predicted, the removal of the map lead to a massive and widespread outcry from the players which continued for a full day , before Treyarch reacted to it and reinstated the map. Treyarch has stated that Nuketown 2025 was originally meant as a publicity stunt; an incentive to pre-order the game, and that it has a short lifespan and was always meant to be temporary (it was scheduled to return during special events though). However, following the fans' reaction, they have put the map back into public matchmaking permanently. Nuketown 2025 is now available through the Chaos Moshpit game mode.
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Fake Apple apps arrive at the Google Play Store. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fake-apple-apps-arrive-at-the- google-play-store./17967.html November 20th, 2012 A slew of Apple apps have inexplicably ended up in the Google Play Store. However, instead of being able to run some foreign apps on your android device, you'll find that these fake apps don't work. Recently, Apple's entire catalog of first party apps, including applications such as iPhoto, Garage Band and Keynote, have been appearing on Google's Play Store for download onto Android devices. However, anyone who did soon found that the apps didn't work. The $4.99 iPhoto app, for example, doesn't start, and one user reported that it instead displays a message "Wont open says not connected to internet when i am" ...This doesn't look right. Some clever users might have avoided the apps, finding it largely suspicious that Apple's first party software catalog suddenly shows up in a rival's app store: Apple generally does not let their apps slip out, and the most you can hope for is a knock off in the Play Store. Unfortunately, many users didn't reach this conclusion, and whoever uploaded these forgeries to the store likely made a good quick buck. Google did remove the apps within a few hours, but unfortunately, anyone who bought them before then are out of luck. That's unfortunately the price you pay for having an open platform... sometimes people take advantage. An interesting question though, is how many people actually bought these apps. If there were a lot, regardless of whether the apps were fake or not, what does that say about Android's customer base? Long awaited FireFox update for Android 2.2 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/long-awaited-firefox-update-for- android-2.2/17959.html November 20th, 2012 Older phone users running Android v2.2 now have available to them an updated version of Firefox. Mozilla says the update for the open source web browser was made to support a large list of ARM v6 hardware that is on a lot of popular but older model phones. If you happen to have an older phone running Android v2.2, an updated version of Firefox is available. Mozilla stated that the update for Firefox was made to support a large list of ARM v6 hardware that is on a lot of popular, older model phones such as the Motorola XT531 or the Samsung Galaxy Pro GT-B7510. Fans of Firefox from the Mozilla Corporation (MoCo) might be happy to know some changes have been made to the browser and now a stable build of Firefox is available for download in Google Play. While the highly popular open source web browser does have a lot of updated changes, these new changes were made in an effort to support older Android run phones. Some of these changes include ease of use for TalkBack, and a more secured ‘sandbox’ attribute for iFrames. This version of Firefox for Android is about a 17MB download and works on all Android 2.2 Froyo and later. A few of the new features include the ability to create a single master password, and the ability to clear all of your history, private data and so forth with ease. Firefox also allows you to sync up and interact with your phone’s controls such as your camera, battery life status, GPS and so forth. To learn more or to download, you can find the direct link by clicking here for a new window. Unitcom releases special 'Kumamon' notebook Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/unitcom-releases-special-kumamon- notebook/17944.html November 20th, 2012 Unitcom Inc have collaborated with the district of Kumamoto to get more people interested in the area in a new bizarre PR move. With preorders beginning on the 19th of November, the notebook is scheduled for release on December 21 and is officially called the “Kumamon no No-to Pasokon” (Kumamon’s Notebook Computer). “Kumamon”, despite what you might think, is not a new Pokemon, but in fact is the district mascot of Kumamoto. “Kuma” is the Japanese word for bear, and this fellow just happens to be a very oddly drawn bear himself. The notebook itself features a green-white cross hatch pattern resembling a picnic blanket, with a daunting Kumamon figure in a terrorizing yet super-cute bear pose
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 sprawled across the front. I guess somehow, this is supposed to make you want to go to Kumamoto and look at bears IRL? Oh, and there’s also a pure black edition with Kumamon’s elliptical face in extreme-close-up. Stare into those lifeless eyes and know the true face of Kuma. But you computer geeks don’t care about design do you? You care about specs. I know I do. The CPU is an Atom N470 (1.83GHz, with embedded graphics), and it has 2GB memory. So I guess this isn’t exactly high end. Anyhow, it comes with a hefty 500GB HDD (presumably to store all your bear photos on?), and a 1024x600 (WSVGA) 10.1-inch wide screen LED display. (Wait a minute, I hear you cry.. this is a netbook!) Aha, tricked you! As crazy as it sounds, the computer actually comes in 2 models, netbook or notebook! Combine that with the choice of different designs and that’s more Kumas than you can fit in your pic-a-nic basket, Boo-boo! The standard notebook model is a little more palatable to the ultra geeky of us, with a Core i5-3210M (2.5GHz, also with embedded graphics), 8GB memory (now we’re talking!) and 1TB HDD (that’s twice the amount of bear photos, in case you weren’t paying attention). The netbook model is going for 62,800 Yen (774USD), but if you’re splashing out on a new bear-themed computer you might as well put in the extra 10,000 Yen (123USD) and get the notebook model (72,800 Yen or 897USD). Both models, strangely enough, have the same battery running time of 2 hours 30, which personally is pretty unbearable. But to each his own. The dimensions and weight are 266x185x18.5mm,1.2kg for the netbook and 374x250x16.3mm, 2.8kg for the notebook. So pick it up if you like, just don’t let any hungry bears steal it from your picnic table! PS Vita System Software Update 2.00 Now Available Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ps-vita-system-software- update-2.00-now-available/17963.html November 20th, 2012 Sony Computer Entertainment has finally released the Playstation Vita's software update 2.00. Some of the new things in this update include improved web browsing functionality, a mail app upgrade, and more. A new update for the Sony Playstation Vita's firmware is now available as of November 20, 2012. A good majority of the new upgrades, options and features in this update has to do with enhancing the portable unit's internet and networking functionality. In addition, this update also marks the official inclusion of the Playstation Vita to the Playstation Plus premium service. PS Vita's new mail app in the 2.00 update Specifics of the added features in the new update are as follows: 1. Playstation Plus is now available on the unit. Users of the console can now enjoy several premium services such as free game downloads, purchase discounts, download/upload of cloud-based save data, and exclusive download content packages. 2. An email option has been added to its home interface. The PS Vita now has an email client app, enabling you to view or download email in your registered email address when it is connected to the internet. 3. Content management is enhanced. Data transfer and file management is now made more versatile for the PS Vita. For example, you can now send and receive files to and from your PC via wi-fi. 4. Browser layout and functionality is improved. The PS Vita can now "economize" web pages to make them load faster, and now has better compatibility with JavaScript and HTML5 content. 5. The "near" feature's screen gets a minor refit, and gets added with more features. Additionally, the friend activity menu is now moved to the LiveArea Friend menu. 6. The map app now includes weather information. The map will now show weather forecasts, and can send overall ground data to the registered email address in the PS Vita. 7. Notification systems can now be edited. This includes all other apps that provide notifications and announcements. 8. There are now more apps that also use the PS Vita's hard buttons. This is supposedly made to make access and editing in apps faster and easier.
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Republic Wireless available to public - unlimited cellular for $19/month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/republic-wireless-available-to- public--unlimited-cellular-for-19month/17957.html November 20th, 2012 Today, wireless provider Republic Wireless announced the formal launch of their low cost wireless service. With special VoIP WiFi/Cellular based technology, the company provides cheaper features at potentially superior quality. Plans for the new service are quite simple: unlimited everything for $19.00 a month. Republic Wireless will now number among several popular low-cost MVNOs that operate on Sprint's cellular network, including Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile. Republic Wireless is unique in the way that it will place phone calls. Rather than running them through traditional networks, calls placed through the service will be VoIP based, meaning that they will be transferred over the internet. Because of this, utilizing a technology that Republic Wireless has labelled 'Hybrid Calling', calls made with the service will be alternately placed over WiFi or cellular connections. This hybrid technology could potentially increase quality of service, due to the large availability of WiFi networks, and their generally superior dependency and transfer rates. Obviously, this means that any phone used on the new service will need to be smart in some degree - those lacking WiFi capabilities cannot use the hybrid technology. The first phone that will be available with the service is the Motorola Defy XT, and Android based smartphone supporting the Hybrid Calling feature. Republic Wireless announced that it later intends to offer a variant of the LG Optimus as well. For those interested in signing up for the service, the XT phone is now available for pre-order from the Republic Wireless website, at a cost of $249. A $10.00 startup fee is required, and one month of service. Republic Wireless has not yet announced when the device will ship. Speed and memory specs revealed for Nintendo's Wii U console Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/speed-and-memory-specs-revealed- for-nintendo-s-wii-u-console/17947.html November 20th, 2012 Nintendo's reluctance to provide certain data on it's new Wii U console led the geeky gurus at PC Perspective to crack open their own system and publish their findings to the internet. Some of the data itself hasn't been confirmed, however, and still remains guesswork. Nintendo's brand new handheld console has been shrouded in mystery in terms of many hardware specifications...but on launch day, the team at PC Perspective--a popular techno- geek website--took the opportunity to shed some light on the system's specs in their official Wii U teardown. PC Perspective's launch day livestream teardown didn't reveal many of the burning questions that hardcore geeks and gamers have been asking about the Wii U--like what the system's GPU is like--however they did identify how much system memory the Wii U has as well as the overall memory speed. According to their findings, the Wii U contains 2GB of Samsung DDR3 memory. A user on the Beyond 3D forums named AIStrong says this means that the WIi U's memory runs at amaximum speed of 17 GB/s: "PCPer did a teardown. Great stuff... they actually read off the RAM chip (SMRT!). There's only 4 chips. Samsung K4W4G1646B -> DDR3 4Gbit, 1.5V, 800/933/1066 speed bins -> I'm pretty sure that means "DDR3-1600/1866/2133" data rate. 256Mx16 would imply 16-bit I/O per DRAM... So... 17GB/s at most for main memory bandwidth. They didn't mention the rest of the numbers on the DRAM, but they ought to have high res photos later."
  • November 20th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 A recent NeoGAF forum thread reveals that the Wii U's system memory actually runs at a maximum speed of 12.8 GB/s, and that the original figure was a guess based on Samsung RAM speed. To compare to current generation consoles, Durante, a user on the NeoGAF forums, has compiled memory speeds for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3: 360: 22.4 GB/s + eDRAM for framebuffer PS3: 25.6 GB/s main memory BW + 22.4 GB/s graphics memory BW, no eDRAM GTX 680: 192.2 GB/s The Wii U's eDRAM amount and speed have yet to be determined, however it's kind of strange how Nintendo wouldn't release this data to the public in the first place. Many consumers enjoy knowing these kinds of specs and it allows them to weigh both the pros and cons of the console rather than just impulsively buy a product. Also it's worth mentioning that this information has been gleaned from third-party resources on launch day, and that we probably won't know the full specs of Nintendo's newest console until more geeky gurus have had time to study its inner workings. The data within this article is reported from various third-party websites including PC Perspective and multiple forums. I make no claims to the authenticity of the data within this article nor do I confirm or deny any of their findings.
  • November 21st, 2012 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. Researchers develop body measuring scanner for online clothes shopping Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/researchers-develop-body- measuring-scanner-for-online-clothes-shopping/17995.html November 21st, 2012 Researchers have developed a body scanning tool that can measure people for more accurate clothes ordering online. The London College of Fashion, University of Surrey and Bodymetrics have teamed up to create a solution to a major obstacle holding back online sales of clothes: not being able to try them on and therefore not knowing whether or not they will fit. Users can, of course, simply try an old-fashioned measuring tape, but many people do not know how to properly measure for clothing, making it difficult to pick out the right size, especially when some stores and countries use different labels for sizes, where, for example, an Asian medium is an American small. The system allows users to input their height and then take a full-length photo with their webcam or smartphone. The software then creates a 3D model based on the information gathered, producing what the researchers claim is an extremely accurate measurement. In the first half of the year only 14 percent of online sales in the US were for clothes, according to ComScore, while the London College of Fashion estimates that between 30 percent and 60 percent of clothes bought online are returned, largely due to not fitting properly. Bodymetrics already uses scanners in Bloomingdale's in the US, Selfridges and New Look in the UK, and Karstadt in Germany, employing motion sensors from Microsoft's Kinect device, but the ability for people to scan and determine their measurements at home will be a major boon to online clothes retailers. Nintendo releases trailer for... a book! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nintendo-releases-trailer-for...-a- book-/17988.html November 21st, 2012 Nintendo is releasing a book about the Legend of Zelda and they've just made a trailer for it - check it out here. Last year, Nintendo released a book titled "The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia"; an encyclopedia of everything Zelda related. The book was only released in Japan, but was hugely popular and became the subject of many fan translations into English. Now, Hyrule historia is getting released in English via Darkhorse comics, and when this was announced earlier this year, pre-orders took Amazon by storm, quickly lifting it to the No. 1 best seller spot. The hardcover book will feature a detailed presentation of the making of the Legend of Zelda series, including concept art, stories about the development, as well as Zelda history. Perhaps the feature fans will be most interested in seeing, is the official Legend of Zelda timeline; something which many fans have tried to piece together themselves throughout the years, with varying success. Nintendo has seen it fit to calm the excitement of their fans by releasing a trailer for the new book, which is rather unorthodox. Check it out below!
  • November 21st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Activision releases Family Guy video game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/activision-releases-family-guy-video- game/17994.html November 21st, 2012 Activision and Twentieth Century Fox have released Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, the latest game for consoles based on the hit animated comedy series. Activision and Twentieth Century Fox have released Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, the latest game for consoles based on the hit animated comedy series. The game features a brand new story based around the parallel universes encountered in the Season Eight episode Road to the Multiverse. Players will be tasked with saving Quahog from Bertram, the arch-nemesis of Stewie. Gamers can play as Stewie or Brian and can make use of a number of unique special weapons and abilities. Co-op and competitive multiplayer modes will add some life to the experience once the single-player campaign is complete. Additional challenges, multiplayer maps and even playable characters can be unlocked through gameplay. Players will also encounter a full cast of Family Guy characters on their journeys, fully voiced by their original voice actors from the TV show. The developer promises plenty of references and “gut-busting jokes” reminiscent of the irreverent series itself. A previous Family Guy video game launched in 2006, but poor controls and repetitive gameplay led to negative reviews. The comedy was a redeeming factor, however, and will likewise be the primary attraction for this latest title. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for $59.99. Google labels UN treaty conference as threat to internet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-labels-un-treaty-conference- as-threat-to-internet/17993.html November 21st, 2012 Google has criticised an upcoming United Nations conference on the internet as a threat to free speech online. The meeting is designed to negotiate a new international treaty on how the internet is governed, replacing an old treaty from 1998, but Google believes this will hamper things for users and internet-based companies. Google said a number of countries will try to take some of the decision-making on the technical specifications and domain name system away from the US and into an international organisation, which it found objectionable. It claimed that the proposals could allow some governments to censor legitimate speech or cut off internet access, while also forcing online services, including popular ones like YouTube, Facebook and Skype, to pay fees to reach people in certain countries. The search giant found fault with the fact that the conference was open to governments only, not companies with a stake in the internet, but the UN's International Telecommunication Union said countries are free to invite companies to be part of their delegation. Google is asking users to sign an online petition against the conference. The protest will likely be backed by other internet companies that traditionally compete with Google, but who have supported its fight against restricting the internet in the past. Negotiations on a new treaty begin in December.
  • November 21st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Image Credit: Google Bandai breathes new life into Tamagotchi Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bandai-breathes-new-life-into- tamagotchi/17992.html November 21st, 2012 If you grew up in the 1990s, you will remember the craze that was Tamagotchi, and those little digital lives are about to get new life thanks to a new line of products and a dedicated website from Bandai. If you grew up in the 1990s, you will remember the craze that was Tamagotchi, and those little digital lives are about to get new life thanks to a new line of products and a dedicated website from Bandai. The Japanese toy maker set up a website called Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. (Love is Fun Everywhere), where users will be able to read and share stories about Tamagotchi, watch webisodes, engage in charity, and even download an upcoming Tamagotchi app for iOS and Android, set for release in Spring 2013. A blog will detail the latest news on Tamagotchi, including details on a new line of “lifestyle products.” Bandai is capitalising on the fact that the original Tamagotchi devotees will now be in their early 20s and will perhaps feel a bit of nostalgia about their digital pets, but might not be so keen to engage them if they are still considered “toys.” The solution is Bandai's emphasis on Tamagotchi as a kind of fashion accessory, with the website focusing on the “lifestyle” of Tamagotchi as opposed to simply the products themselves. “This is an exciting and important step in the evolution of the Tamagotchi brand,” said Naomi Tobita, Chief Tamagotchi Officer (yes, that is a real title, it seems) at Bandai. “We’re delighted to provide the young adults of today with an updated presentation of the brand they loved as children in a fashionable, fun and fabulous new way to experience Tamagotchi.” Tamagotchi launched in Japan in 1996 and in the US a year later, selling over 78 million units in 54 countries to date, and creating one of the icons of the 90s generation. It takes its name from a portmanteau of the Japanese word for egg, tamago, and the English word watch, and it is a word we will likely hear a lot more of in the coming months and years. SITEX 2012 Shopper's Lucky Draw Details! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sitex-2012-shopper-s-lucky-draw- details-/17991.html November 21st, 2012 For every $100 spent or deposited in a single receipt at SITEX 2012, shoppers will get a chance to win attractive product prizes like 60 inch LED TVs and other electronic devices. For ladies, there is even a instant lucky dip targeted for them! Samsung 60" Full HD 3D Smart LED TV worth $7,499 (Model No. UA-60ES8000M) Samsung 55" Full HD 3D Smart LED TV worth $4,599 (Model No. UA-55ES6700) Philips 55" Smart 3D LED TV worth $3,799 (Model No. 55PFL5507) Toshiba 46" Smart LED 3D worth $2,499 (Model No. 46VL20E)
  • November 21st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Philips 40" Full HD 3D SMART LED TV worth $1,799 (Model No. 40PFL5507) Nikon 24.2MP DSLR with AF-S18-105mm worth $1,349 (Model No. D3200BK KIT18-105) Olympus 12.3MP Micro Four Thirds worth $998 (Model No. E-P3/1442 WH/ SL) Philips Sound Bar worth $699 (Model No. CSS-5123) Philips 5.1 Channel Blu-ray Home Theatre worth $599 (Model No. HTS-5563) Canon 16MP Powershot worth $499 (Model No. SX500IS) • Participants are entitled to one lucky draw coupon for every S$100 spent or deposited (single receipt) during SITEX from 22 to 25 November 2012 (up to a maximum of 20 entry forms per pax). • To enter, simply drop the completed Lucky Draw Coupon into the Lucky Draw Box at the Redemption area (Hall 6). • Results of the draw will be published in The New Paper and www.sitex.com.sg on 12 December 2012. All winners will be notified by email/phone. • All prizes must be collected by 8 February 2013 (Friday), 5.00pm, from Singex Exhibition Ventures Ptd Ltd (#02-01 Singapore EXPO, Foyer 1) or designated prize collection centres. • Unclaimed prizes will be donated to a charitable organisation chosen by the Organiser. The winner whose prize is forfeited is not entitled to any compensation not withstanding non-receipt of notification. • As a participant of the draw, he/she hereby authorises the Organiser to disclose and publicise his/her name, and other particulars deemed appropriate by the Organiser. • All staff of Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), Singex Exhibition Ventures Ptd Ltd, and their agencies are not eligible to participate in the draw. 343 Industries looking for devs with MMO experience Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/343-industries-looking-for-devs- with-mmo-experience/17987.html November 21st, 2012 343 Industries, the Microsoft owned game studio which developed Halo 4, is looking for two new developers with experience making MMOs for a future project 343 Industries, the studio behind Halo 4, has just released new job listings for two software development engineers to part take in "building the next generation of backend services to power Halo 4 and our new game saga." The listings further specified that the ideal candidate would have experience in MMO development. This follows other listings posted last week wherein 343 Industries announced they were looking for staff for "incubation projects". 343's latest title, Halo 4, was released on November 6th. This seems to indicate that a Halo MMO may be in the works, and it wouldn't be the first time. Microsoft's now closed Ensemble Studios was working on a Halo MMORPG nicknamed "Titan" until it was canceled in 2007. It seems very likely Microsoft hasn't quite given up on the idea yet. Job listings at 343 industries form back in July seems to suggest the studio is also working on next generation titles. Whether this new MMO project is going to be next gen remains to be seen, but I wouldn't count the possibility out. Army looks to using EMP grenades Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/army-looks-to-using-emp- grenades/17986.html
  • November 21st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 November 21st, 2012 The US Army is looking to combat IEDs utilizing the same kind of technology often seen in sci-fi movies and video games: EMP grenades. Today, the biggest threat against America's troops in Afghanistan is the IED, or Improvised Explosive Device. Combating this threat is difficult and dangerous. Jamming vehicles, robots and Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams have to be called in whenever an IED is discovered in order to neutralize it. It's an expensive and time consuming procedure, and unfortunately, though the US military has become better at detecting IEDs, some of them are still only discovered as they go off. In order to simplify the procedure, bringing IED disposal down to an individual level, the US Army is looking into developing an EMP Grenade. The grenade would be portable and light weight enough to be carried by individual soldiers, and could be tossed near an IED to neutralize it. Indeed, it could even be tossed into a room where an unknown IED may exist, and neutralize the threat before it's even detected. "When the pin is pulled, mr. Grenade is not our friend" EMP, or Electro Magnetic Pulse, is a technology in which a strong wave of electromagnetic energy is used to overwhelm the circuitry of electronic devices. This is useful in IED disposal as many of them have electronic components. IEDs frequently have remote triggers, and in this case, EMP technology would shut down the device's circuit boards and make detonation (or indeed communication with the trigger) impossible. For the companies participating in the development of the device, the US Army has put a few restrictions on the design. For instance, it has to be small enough to be portable, in the same size range as “hand or robot delivered munitions, 40 mm grenades, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), and Stinger, Hydra, and Javelin missiles." Additionally, the designers have to choose how to implement the EMP technology, as the grenade could either be explosive or non explosive. An non-explosive EMP device emits a series of compressed electromagnetic pulses at an ever increasing frequency, which should fry the circuitry of the targeted electronics. Unfortunately, non-explosive devices tend to be large and expensive. An explosive EMP device on the other hand, is much more powerful, and smaller, but uses superconducting materials to store the electromagnetic energy inside, and those materials have to be cooled. In addition, an explosive EMP grenade would most likely destroy itself during detonation, making it a one-shot device. Of course, the same goes for a fragmentation grenade, so perhaps self-destruction isn't a major concern. It's going to be very interesting to see how the development of the EMP grenade continues and seeing it used in the field one day may really turn the tide of the war. However, they do have to get there first, and they seem to have a lot of work left. Even if the grenade works perfectly for example, there's still the issue of protecting the army's own equipment from being disabled by the grenades. ASUS PadFone 2 (White Edition) Preview Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-padfone-2-white-edition- preview/17982.html November 21st, 2012 Our electrifying colleagues at Chinese VR-Zone have published exclusive snaps of the elusive white edition of the Asus PadFone 2 on their site. More details after the break... At the Milan and Taipei launch events earlier last month, ASUS showed off a gorgeous white edition of their revolutionary PadFone 2 which will be selling in December. No details are given about respective country availability yet but we can confirm that the hardware specifications will be identical to the regular black-ivory version (Qualcomm S4 Pro with LTE, 4.7 inch Super IPS+ screen, 2GB RAM). An update to the latest and greatest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is also on the cards. For Singapore consumers, the Padfone 2 will start selling tomorrow at SITEX 2012 from $848 (32GB) and $1099 (with Padfone 2 Station tablet) without telco line subscription. At the same time, StarHub will also announce their exclusive LTE plan bundles.
  • November 21st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 For more pictures, hop on to - http://chinese.vr- zone.com/41782/asus-padfone-2-white-to-launch-in-101- itmonth-11212012/ NASA discovery on Mars said to be "one for the history books" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-discovery-on-mars-said-to-be- one-for-the-history-books-/17980.html November 21st, 2012 For sometime now NASA's six-wheeled Mars rover has been rolling along, taking incredible pictures and samples of rock and earth. Now NASA says the rover has something “for the history books” It will be some weeks before they can officially announce what it is exactly. So, has NASA found past or present signs of life on Mars? A recent report from the U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) announced a stunning revelation on November 20th , 2012 by NASA. According to NASA the news is said to be very exciting and while they would love nothing more than to reveal what it is the rover has found, they are bound by policy to keep it silent until all the tests are made, all possible errors gone over and all data is complied. Until then, we can only guess. A John Grotzinger who serves as the chief principal investigator for the rover operation spoke to NPR and said, “We’re getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting…” The report goes on to say that NASA’s scientists controlling the rover are saying the arm on the machine, affectionately called “SAM”, has made the discovery that the team is now going over. SAM is mobile lab and analyzer all in one. After the unit analyzed all the material collected and sent the data back to NASA, Grotzinger stated that the data would be “one for the history books. It’s looking really good.” While those of us following the exploration of Mars by NASA’s rover are very excited to hear the recent news, we can only guess at what that find is. But with NASA using words like “history” and “really interesting”, we can only suspect it means exactly what we are thinking – signs of past life, or life itself. Google to create its own AirPlay esque service Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-to-create-its-own-airplay- esque-service/17979.html November 21st, 2012 According to tech website GIGaom, Google is currently developing its own media streaming functionality, for Android devices and Google TV. The technology that the company is hoping to persuade device and software makers to adopt would be similar to that of Apple’s AirPlay media solution. It could be said that the fascination with watching movies on four inch screens is dying off - movies are, and have always been made for the big screen. But now that most media is mobile and digital, a problem exists that needs solving - how to get all that media onto TVs. TVs have developed over the years, and so have smartphones/tablets. But unfortunately, technology to correlate these two has not progressed as quickly. While DVD burning is a possible method to watch digitally purchased films on television sets, expense, complication, and problems with format size makes this technique obsolete and disliked. With the introduction of the Apple TV, Apple sought to introduce a simple and elegant solution to this problem. It has been widely successful - using AirPlay functionality, integration between Macs and iOS devices allow music and video to be streamed to users’ television sets. Using automatic detection and synchronization, the whole method ends up requiring very little manual effort. Users get an easy and virtually seamless media experience, and Apple gets more sales on its new hardware and media store. AirPlay functionality, with an iPad and Apple TV streaming to a TV set (Image credit:Apple) So, it works out for everybody - everybody, of course, except for the competing brands, which would rather your living room be filled with their own equipment. This year, for instance, Microsoft introduced SmartGlass - an application to synchronize media between Windows 8 and Xbox devices.
  • November 21st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 So it makes sense that Google, auto maker/ISP/ search engine/advertisement/media provider/TV service extraordinaire would want in on the fun. Devices using Google’s Android OS fill the mobile market – and the beauty of Android (even if there are also blemishes) is that it comes in many shapes and sizes. From smartphones, tablets, to non-cellular media devices, the availability of Android software with which to obtain and consume mobile media is very large. Combining this empire of hardware and related services with Google’s own TV box, Google could prove to be a formidable player in this new territory of digital entertainment. Disney buys LucasArts: Star Wars video games threatened? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/disney-buys-lucasarts-star-wars- video-games-threatened-/17974.html November 21st, 2012 On October 30th, The Walt Disney Company purchased both Lucasfilm, LucasArts, and therefore gained all the rights to such things as Star Wars for $4 billion. Gamer's concern is over the LucasArts studio, and all of the many games it holds sway – Star Wars: The Old Republic being only one of a large lot. On October 30th , The Walt Disney Company purchased both Lucasfilm, LucasArts, and therefore gained all the rights to such things as Star Wars for $4 billion. Gamer's concern is over the LucasArts studio, and all of the many games it holds sway – Star Wars: The Old Republic being only one of a large lot. “Disney bought all Lucasfilm companies, including LucasArts. For the time being, all projects are business as usual. We are excited about all the possibilities that Disney brings,” Lucasfilm publicist Barbara Gamlen said. In the same press release, it was stated that a new episode of Star Wars is already in production. This could be good. Or this could be very, very bad. The way that it could be good is that LucasArts has been slowly whittling away – we've seen some strange things from the studio (not to mention Lucas himself). Things that seem to work against fans, not with them. Calls of rebellion have rung out a few times recently, for new management, new staff, and new ideas. Well, if this doesn't put a fresh turn on the material LucasArts has been producing, nothing will. Some point to the success of The Avengers, and give credit to the company for being honest to the series while producing quality entertainment. Disney has been around for a long time, and doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon. Perhaps they will know what's best for the dying company that is LucasArts. The way that it can be bad, however... well, the following picture can give you some idea. Fans are already starting to cry, weep, and generally pull out their hair in anguish over Disney-styled Star Wars objects. We've seen Micky and Minnie as Luke and Leia (respectively), and we won't even begin to mention poor Goofy in the background dressed as a black-helmed Storm Trooper. Some fans aren't sure what's worse – subjecting Star Wars to Disney themes, or Disney characters to Star Wars themes. Most importantly, the future of the video games produced by Lucas Arts... and indeed, any forthcoming games in the Star Wars world... are in question. The studio has not mentioned any current removal or cutbacks on the teams, including those that currently handle the video game department. Fans of the Star Wars (both the movie and video game series) are holding their breath, waiting for the studio to release it's newest content. While Disney has announced it's excitement about the purchase... but, other than saying it would release another film, has not spoken too much of their video game based plans.
  • November 21st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 “Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world- class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.” All we can do now is wait, hope, pray, and lovingly grasp our copies of Knights of the Old Republic Nintendo responds to Wii U system crashes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nintendo-responds-to-wii-u-system- crashes/17969.html November 21st, 2012 Nintendo responds to a few potential problems of their new Wii U console including slow updates and system crashes via their support website. Nintendo's new Wii U console hasn't had the best launch record: from multiple reports of the system bricking to system crashes and slow application launch times, many Wii U owners seem to be disappointed with Nintendo's new console. "We are aware that users are experiencing load times when they launch or switch between applications. We are exploring ways to enhance features for consumers’ overall experience. As a whole, the gaming community--including many professional game journalist websites--praise the Wii U, hailing it as a revolutionary new system and has received high review scores across the board. Regardless, many gamers are frustrated with the console, and a few of them are furious after accidentally bricking their system by turning it off during the long two-hour system update. Also PC Perspective's teardown of the Wii U revealed that it's internal components aren't too impressive, making the Wii U seem overpriced in terms of hardware proficiency. The Wii U does, however, offer many impressive features and ushers in a new generation of handheld gaming. The Wii U is now available in North America and retails at $299 (Basic) and $349 (Deluxe) respectively. For more information on the console please visit Nintendo's official website.
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Microsoft planning Xbox TV for 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-planning-xbox-tv- for-2013/18014.html November 22nd, 2012 Microsoft is creating an Xbox TV for launch in 2013, according to multiple sources cited by The Verge. The set-top box will be a low-cost alternative to a normal Xbox gaming console, primarily designed to be used for its entertainment features, such as video streaming. Gaming will be limited to “casual gaming,” making it a big departure from the console. The device will run a pared-down version of Windows 8, with all the core components, and it is expected to have almost instant boot-up times. The move marks a shift in approach to the Xbox name by Microsoft, with the Redmond, Washington-based company now utilising the brand for its wider entertainment product line, not just its gaming division. The device is expected to be unveiled next year, perhaps with Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console, which will be competing with Nintendo's Wii U, the latest console that has already launched in North America and will be launching elsewhere in the next two weeks. A statement by Microsoft neither confirmed nor denied the rumoured Xbox TV, but the wording suggests this might indeed be on the horizon: “Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.” John McAfee claims employees plotted to kill him Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/john-mcafee-claims-employees- plotted-to-kill-him/18013.html November 22nd, 2012 John McAfee, founder of the namesake antivirus company, claims that he has proof that two of his employees plotted to kill him, adding another twist to an increasingly bizarre story. John McAfee, founder of the namesake antivirus company, claims that he has proof that two of his employees plotted to kill him, adding another twist to an increasingly bizarre story. McAfee is wanted by police in Belize for questioning about the murder of his neighbour, Gregory Faull, which he denies he committed, but now he says that he was the victim of a murder plot. He posted a transcript of a conversation that allegedly occurred between an ex-employee and another employee, which he said he taped using secret recording devices on the grounds of his $1.5 million property. The post shows the men discussing planting a bomb at McAfee's house and calling officials in the police force, which they suggest are involved in the conspiracy. If the recording is genuine this would explain McAfee's fear that the police will kill him if he hands himself in for questioning.
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The employees worked for McAfee after his departure from the security firm. The plot seems to focus on the fact that the first employee was sacked, but McAfee plans to upload a transcript of a second recording that he says will expose the man's links with the government. McAfee also revealed he received a handwritten death threat, demanding a payment of $150,000. Not trusting the police, McAfee opted for a private investigator instead, forcing his employees and guards to copy the note in their own handwriting, but none matched. His four dogs were also poisoned, which police believe may be linked to the murder of Faull. Recently McAfee revealed a number of disguises he claims he has been using to evade police and journalists, but he denies being as paranoid as many reports have claimed. In a spat with a journalist at Wired he revealed that he fed false information, such as purposely strange tales about “frogmen coming out of the sea.” Something tells us that we can expect plenty more revelations in the coming weeks. Apple ordered to give HTC settlement details to Samsung Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-ordered-to-give-htc- settlement-details-to-samsung/18012.html November 22nd, 2012 A judge has ordered Apple to hand over details of its settlement with HTC to rival Samsung, the latest victory for the South Korean electronics giant. A judge has ordered Apple to hand over details of its settlement with HTC to rival Samsung, the latest victory for the South Korean electronics giant. HTC settled with Apple earlier this month, carving out a ten- year deal to share each others patents. Details of the deal were not revealed, but analysts believe HTC was forced to pay out between $5 and $20 on each handset it creates. The exact nature of the settlement will now be disclosed to Samsung's lawyers, not the public at large, and it is expected that it will deal with some of the same patents at the heart of Samsung's own dispute with Apple. This will give Samsung an edge in any kind of negotiation to end the close to 20 lawsuits the companies are engaged in, but Samsung has previously indicated that it has no intention on settling, despite a whopping $1.05 billion damages payment it was ordered to pay to Apple earlier this year, a ruling it is now appealing. Apple has also had a run of bad luck with its legal battles, including losing an appeal in the UK and being forced to publish an apology on its website, not to mention a failed attempt to dismiss a case launched against it by Motorola, now owned by Google. This latest setback, however, could pave the way for even more losses on Apple's side of the patent war. Skyrim with over 100 mods looks beautiful Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/skyrim-with-over-100-mods-looks- beautiful/18010.html November 22nd, 2012 A gamer named Unreal has added over 100 mods to his copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, turning an already pretty game into a work of art. One of the great things with pc games is the ability to mod their content. Assuming the right tools are available to the public (and sometimes even if they're not), creative individuals can alter their games in countless ways. This is a big part of pc gaming and so, modifications have been welcomed from day one in Skyrim. Steam and the Skyrim
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Nexus both have massive catalogs of custom player created content which will change the game in subtle or drastic ways. One gamer, who goes by the name Unreal (not to be confused with the makers of the Unreal engine), has tested over 300 mods and ended up using a mix of 100 of them, to carve his copy of Skyrim into something even prettier than the already beautiful Skyrim. He has changed the lighting, vegetation density, UI and water appearance to name just a few. To show off his creation, he created a video demonstration, which you can check out below. For reference, the Skyrim gameplay trailer is down there as well: Here's what Unreal has put together And here's the original, in case you want a reference There's a Contra easter egg in Battlefield 3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/there-s-a-contra-easter-egg-in- battlefield-3/18009.html November 22nd, 2012 Reddit users have managed to reveal a clever and well hidden easter egg dedicated to Contra in one of the singleplayer maps in Battlefield 3. Battlefield always comes with a few Easter eggs hidden away in their games, but the one which was just discovered by some people over at Reddit, was certainly obscure and well hidden. The Easter egg can be found in a singleplayer mission near the beginning of the game where you are tasked to follow a wire into a basement, where you find and must disarm an IED. Here's the IED, with cables sticking out of it On the table where the IED is sitting, there's a workbench filled with all sorts of electronics, and in the back, leaning against a wall, is an old circuit board. It seems perfectly inconspicuous, but if you take care and look carefully (looking through a scope helps), you'll notice that the board has a sticker with the old Konami logo on it. When redditor vtsteve discovered the logo, he did a little digging around. A close-up of the circuit board reveals the Konami logo What he found was that the circuit board was a very specific circuit board. It's the main circuit board from the Super Contra arcade cabinet. Super Contra, for those unaware, is the 1988 sequel to the original Contra. Wicked Lasers' Torch can cook your thanksgiving dinner. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/wicked-lasers-torch-can-cook-your- thanksgiving-dinner./18007.html November 22nd, 2012 Wicked Lasers makes the world's most powerful flashlight, and in a very cool demonstration of it's capabilities, they used it to cook a turkey. Wicked Lasers makes some.. well... wicked laser products. They also make flashlights, and their Torch model is
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 marketed as the most powerful flashlight in the world, shining with a blinding 4100 lumens. In comparison, the brightness of one of those cheap plastic flashlights you always find in the back of your cupboard shines at roughly 10-20 lumens. The Torch's battery lasts for about 8 minutes and in the past, Wicked Lasers have demonstrated it's ability to set fire to paper within seconds and it's even been used to cook eggs. Seeing as it's thanksgiving though, the Torch was used for it's most challenging job yet - cooking dinner. Six Torches were set up around an uncooked turkey and were aimed at it, lights on, for two and a half hours. The result? Delicious. Check it out below: Some amazing Black Ops II statistics Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/some-amazing-black-ops-ii- statistics/18005.html November 22nd, 2012 Call of Duty: Black Ops II was released a week ago, and Treyarch has been collecting gameplay stats on it's players. They've presented the stats on a website. Some of the numbers are absolutely staggering. Since Black Ops II was released last week, players have been racking up some absolutely amazing gameplay statistics. Treyarch, as with most other studios have been collecting gameplay data. This kind of data serves an important purpose; it allows the developers to use every player's statistics to monitor the game and subsequently adjust it (e.g. by adjusting the damage or accuracy of various weapons) to ensure fairness and good fun. However, the statistics are just plain interesting, even by themselves, and Treyarch has created a webpage which continuously updates the stats on a number of things in game. If you want to check it out yourself, head on over to Call of Duty's global stats page. We've presented a few whopping numbers below, but bear in mind that these stats are changing faster than they can be typed into the article. It's amazing how dedicated people are to killing each other online These are some of the stats for roughly 12.30 PM GMT, on Thursday November 22nd, 2012: Hours played: 88,230,297 Shots fired: 202,808,263,226 Total kills: 10,179,642,070 Dollar value of destroyed oil barrels, at $80 per barrel: $1,017,645,506 Zombies Killed: 9,049,655,020 Players who have reached Prestige: 1,830,455 Kids want iPad for Christmas; good luck Santa! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kids-want-ipad-for-christmas-good- luck-santa-/18006.html November 22nd, 2012 If you believed in Santa (maybe you still do now) when you were a kid, then perhaps you may also remember the letters which you wrote in details telling Santa how good you were and that all you wanted was a Pentium II. Okay, maybe just a few of us wanted a processor back then as a kid, but kids in this day and age want gadgets. Not just any gadgets mind you, but toys from the most expensive brand. A survey conducted by Nielsen Wire has revealed that 48% of U.S. kids aged 6-12 intend to ‘buy’ an iPad within the next 6 months. Second on the wish list is Nintendo’s latest Wii U game console, followed closely by three other Apple products —the iPod Touch, iPad mini, and iPhone. Consumers 13 years of age and up also have the iPad as their top choice of gizmos to buy within the next 6 months. However, the only other Apple product to make the top 5 most wanted list for this age group is the iPhone. Still, the Apple brand dominates the American culture as kids ages 6 to 60 want in on the Apple bobbing this holiday season. Tablets other than the iPad are also coveted tech toys, but clearly they’re not as popular as the iPad among kids 6-12.
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The iPad, too, is more popular among mature consumers (13+), although older folks are more inclined to consider an iPad alternative. If Santa outsourced his manufacturing, Apple (and by extension Foxconn) would probably be able to fulfill most of the requests of the good little boys and girls, but even Santa may not have the budget to leave an iPad under every Christmas tree. World's oldest computer turned on again Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/world-s-oldest-computer-turned-on- again/18004.html November 22nd, 2012 The oldest working digital computer has been turned on and is currently functioning as an exhibit in the UK National museum of computing. The WITCH, or Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell, is the oldest digital computer still in working order. When it was first built in 1951, it was used for nuclear research, and at the time it was one of perhaps a dozen computers worldwide. The WITCH weighs in at three metric tons and is the size of a room, and since 2009, the UK's National museum of computing has been restoring it to working order. Now, with the restoration complete, it has once more been turned on and is now functioning as an exhibit at the museum. The WITCH in the 1950's... The computer was mainly used for calculating algorithms, and could work at roughly the same pace as a human with a calculator. User input was handled via strips of paper, and the computer's output was stored on paper strips as well. "To see it in action is to watch the inner workings of a computer -- something that is impossible on the machines of today," said Kevin Murrell, museum director. Indeed, when the WITCH is turned on, there is stuff to see, with printers spinning up and lights flashing. And fully restored today The digital information in the computer was relayed by using telephone switch boards.The WITCH also utilized hundreds of dekatrons (pictured in the header image), large valves with neon lights which were used for counting. Each dekatron could hold one digit in data. It's astounding to think of how far computers have come in just 61 years, and how quickly technology is advancing. Nokia shares spike by 12%: Is the Lumia 920 doing that well? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nokia-shares-spike-by-12--is-the- lumia-920-doing-that-well-/18003.html November 22nd, 2012 Yesterday, shares of Nokia (NOK) climbed 12% to $3.40 per share. The stock has slumped for several months now, so the sudden jump has a lot of analysts scratching their heads. So what is the impetus behind this shot of good luck for Nokia? Share prices usually reflect the expectations and perceptions of investors. Back in July a similar occurrence happened. Even though Nokia was leaking money like a rusty boat, their stock rose 12% thanks to the 4 million shipments they made of the Lumia.1 So can the Lumia 920’s success be thanked for this sudden jump in Nokia’s share prices? Well, the phones certainly do improve a lot upon the fundamentals which the Lumia 900 introduced. Being a Windows 8 device, it contains higher specifications such as 720p resolution, dual-core processor, and larger storage. It contains Nokia’s critically acclaimed Nokia Maps, which is rather competitive compared to Google Maps and definitely blows the laughable iOS Maps out of the water. Not only this, the device supports wireless charging, NFC syncing, and an extremely good camera. So it comes as no surprise that the Lumia 920 has been shipping in truckloads; in fact the demand for the new device was so strong that it has been selling out. A Nokia phone
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 selling out, fancy that! And the phone may do even better in Asia than it did in Europe when it finally releases there. Nokia is rumored to be launching the Lumia 920 and 820 in Asia in December2 just in time for Christmas. The success of these phones in the region will greatly contribute to whether or not Nokia can keep up this momentum. The good news though is that Nokia have a good track record in areas such as India, and have sold many handsets there even during their ‘off-peak’ season in the previous years. Of course when there’s money on the line, traders can be a skeptical bunch. When big analysts or banks downgrade stock ratings on companies, many sell blindly despite what products a company offers. There have been rumors2 though, that investment Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley downgraded Nokia’s stock rating on purpose so that they could secure more shares of the company, while in secret they knew the company was about to bounce back. Word of this has gotten out now, and traders may be jumping back on the Nokia train once more. If this 12% bounce in stock price has enough momentum (i.e. trading volume), it may be just what is needed to get Nokia back in the game. And as we all know, more competition is always a good thing for consumers. Russian censorship of the Internet goes into effect Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/russian-censorship-of-the-internet- goes-into-effect/18001.html November 22nd, 2012 A controversial new Russian law went into effect today that bans or blacklists any website the government sees as objectionable. The Russian Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications agency will be managing the censorship. This new SOPA-like law that went into effect on November 21, 2012 gives the Russian government the power to immediately shut down, block or blacklist any site in the country that the government deems objectionable or illegal. Passed in July 2012, the law was fought hard by many Internet anti-censorship groups that included the popular Russian search engine Yandex.com and the Russian version of Wikipedia, which went black for 24 hours. According to Russian lawmakers the new law was made in an effort to protect young children from seeing material that would be objectionable, such as child abuse or drug abuse. The law allows for websites inside the country to be shut down entirely, while sites outside of the government’s reach would simply be blacklisted, which is essentially an outright blockage of that IP into the country through the Russian Internet service provider. This latest passage in Russia has many worried that other super powers may follow suit with Russia. Currently many nations have some form of censorship such as China and many Middle Eastern nations. Google Incorporated is asking its users to help them fight the United Nations attempt at deciding whether the Internet should be regulated. In reply to the UN meeting, Google has up a special web page with a tagline that reads, “A free and open world depends on a free and open web”. Google says their efforts are to prevent the upcoming vote by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on the future of the Internet. Part of the ITU’s goal would be on how the Internet is viewed, if it needs to be regulated and if the United States should remain the chief overseer of the Internet. Steven Milunovich's Prophecy: iOS is the New Windows Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steven-milunovich-s-prophecy-ios- is-the-new-windows/18002.html November 22nd, 2012 Apple has had its own fair share of bad luck recently, but the infamous analyst from UBS thinks Apple is still on the up, and even believes in a future of computers ruled by iOS. The decline of demand for the desktop PC is no secret. Both Hewlett Packard and Dell Inc. have showed steady decline in demand for their IBM-clone PCs in the past few quarters. While this may change now that Windows 8 has been unveiled, it’s still not a good sign. That’s not to say that it’s all peachy for Apple, either. The Cupertino software & hardware juggernaut reached its peak in share prices on Sept 21st ($705.07), but has fallen 21% in November. Of course, that wasn’t enough to strip Apple of its position as most valued public company. The number 2 spot is given to Exxon Mobil, who is valued at $401.3 billion. That’s still a fair way lower than Apple, who is currently valued at $528.4 billion. Many believe that the next main competition of the electronics space will take place with tablet computers, and the big three all have their own entrants. Apple’s iPad has been a consistent seller since its release 3 revisions ago. Microsoft has finally thrown its hat into the hardware ring with its Surface product, and Google have also released a Nexus tablet. Add to this the foreign resistance of Samsung, and a whole bunch of Taiwanese/Chinese makers willing to get a piece of the action, and you have one hell of a fight on your hands. So what is it that makes UBS analyst Milunovich think that iOS has the upper hand? Well, for one, Milunovich doesn’t think the aforementioned competition have what it takes to last, especially this late in the game. While he did express some hope for Samsung, who has a 20% share thanks to their early start, the iPad’s 50% market share is still a force to be reckoned with.
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 A UBS survey of big-wig chief information officers showed that 60% expected tablets to replace PC’s over time. Milunovich believes that Windows may take a corporate niche as they have done in the past, but will not win over the home consumer market. Apple’s own estimates state that tablet shipments will exceed those of PC by 2016, and Milunovich is well on board with that theory. It just remains to be seen whether or not Apple will riding atop this new wave of digital devices. Facebook wants to change how decisions are voted on Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-wants-to-change-how- decisions-are-voted-on/18000.html November 22nd, 2012 A letter sent to Facebook users on November 21, 2012, it informs the near 1 billion users that the company is looking to remove the ability of users to make or vote on changes to Facebook as it currently stands. The company wants to move to a newer system that allows users to vote on new policy that lets users write to the Chief Privacy Officer about concerns, and will be able to take part in a live stream web broadcast to voice concerns or ask questions. Currently the company has a policy that states that if they receive 7 thousand comments for a change, users (if at 30%) may vote for that change and the decision would be bound by Facebook to implement. Now, Facebook says they don’t want any more user feedback to make a change as far as the old vote is concerned. Facebook’s wants to move to a new system that will focus on feedback about new features rather than changing existing ones. According to on-line site TechCruch, Facebook says that the old rules were made back when the company only had about 200 million users. Now that Facebook has grown tremendously, it is time that the company makes the necessary changes so that the site runs more efficiently. To read Facebook’s Rights and Responsibilities page, you may click here for a new window. Lepa G1600-MA 1600W PSU Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/lepa-g1600-ma-1600w-psu- review/17999.html November 22nd, 2012 To the dismay of our most hardcore enthusiasts who own major energy consuming equipment, it has been a while since we last reviewed a 1kW+ power supply here in VR- Zone. Today we will try to redeem ourselves by bringing you a review of the most powerful power supply currently available, the LEPA G1600-MA 1600W. For those who have not heard of LEPA before, they are the in-house brand of Enermax, founded only 2 years ago. To the dismay of our most hardcore enthusiasts who own major energy consuming equipment, it has been a while since we last reviewed a 1kW+ power supply here in VR- Zone. Today we will try to redeem ourselves by bringing you a review of the most powerful power supply currently available, the LEPA G1600-MA 1600W. For those who have not heard of LEPA before, they are the in-house brand of Enermax, founded only 2 years ago. There are currently several 1500W units available on the market, including the MaxRevo and Platimax units from Enermax; however, the LEPA G1600-MA is the only 80Plus Gold certified 1600W power supply currently available to consumers and the company also claims that it may even peak at 1700W, making it the most powerful consumer- grade computer PSU that money can buy (after the discontinued Koolance 1700W water-cooled PSU, which has not been available for years). Manufacturer’s features and specifications • Powerful 1600W fully rated output, peak power up to 1700W • Surpassing 80 Plus Gold level (G1600-MA is 80 Plus Gold certified.) • Full Modular Cabling Design makes system upgrade and replacement easy • High Density PCB Design makes G1600 only 18cm in depth, providing more space to dissipate the heat inside the chassis • 135mm ball bearing fan with thermal programmed speed controller delivers silent, cool operation • Honeycomb-shaped ventilation design increases airflow and keeps power supply cool • Solid State Capacitors and 105°C Japanese Grade A Capacitors provide great reliability • DC-to-DC Converter Design ensures system stability • Full Bridge and Zero Voltage Switch (ZVS) topologies provide superior performance and reliability • Dual Sided PCB design synergizes PCB layout
  • November 22nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 • Six powerful +12V rails with high maximum loads offer great compatibility with heavy-duty graphics cards • Ability to run up to 4-Way GPU (SLI / CrossFire) and Dual CPUs together without difficulty • Compliance with EU ErP Lot 6 standards (lower than 1W power consumption at standby mode) • Over Power, Over Voltage, Under Voltage, Over Current, Over Temperature, Short-circuit protection provide great safety to your system • ATX12V version 2.3 and EPS12V version 2.92 compliant Model G1600- MA G1600- MA-EU AC Input Voltage 115-240VAC, 50-60Hz (Max. Range: 100-264VAC, 47-63Hz) 220-240VAC, 50-60Hz Current 16-8A 8.5-7.5A DC Output +3.3V 25A 140W 25A 140W +5V 25A 25A +12V1 20A 1596W (133A) 20A 1596W (133A) +12V2 20A 20A +12V3 30A 30A +12V4 30A 30A +12V5 30A 30A +12V6 30A 30A -12V 0.5A 6W 0.5A 6W +5Vsb 4A 20W 4A 20W Total Power 1600W 1600W PSU Dimension 180mm (D) x 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) Georgia Tech researchers develop robots that can work together Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/georgia-tech-researchers-develop- robots-that-can-work-together/17998.html November 22nd, 2012 We can all imagine the days when manmade robots equipped with limitless knowledge and abilities will somehow become beings that can think on their own—thus, leading to our impending doom. People have managed to develop robots that can walk upright, respond to human signals, and even do marvelous things like ride a bike, but we have yet to encounter a sentient being that’s completely made of metal and silicon (at least not first hand). Skipping the development of a single robotic entity that can function on its own, researchers at the Georgia Robotics and InTelligent Systems Laboratory went straight to developing a unit of bots that can function by following the instructions of its leader. In this systematic robo-unit, the leader is the one that gets the initial set of instructions, which it then relays to neighboring bots (the followers). Conditions such as distances between the bots will determine which of the commands the drones will execute sent via the leader. This sounds simple enough, but the complexity in the whole system lies in the algorithm that will determine which bot will do what. “The challenge...lies in building topologies tailored for applications that specify the total number of such groups, as well as the cardinality of each group. We’re currently working on developing low complexity algorithms for building such networks,” said the researchers. To demonstrate a simple use of the system, the researchers set up the robots to play an extremely short rendition of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” on a piano table. The tune probably won’t win the bots an Grammy or VMA any time soon, but the prospect of robots working together in unison and good efficiency is evident.
  • November 24th, 2012 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. Australia targets Google in tax law amendment Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/australia-targets-google-in-tax-law- amendment/18043.html November 24th, 2012 An Australian tax amendment is hoping to close loopholes which large companies like Google routinely use to circuimvent tax laws and keep from paying. Australia is one of many nations (including the United States) which suffers from loopholes in tax laws which allow multinational corporations to not pay taxes. Certain countries, such as Luxembourg and Ireland, have lower corporate tax rates than others, and so, it is becoming common practice for large corporations to have their corporate headquarters in these nations, even though their largest offices and bulk of operations are stationed elsewhere. Google for example, has it's financial headquarters in Ireland, and any sales made in Australia are actually going through the Irish office, and thus subject to Irish taxation, and not through Google's local presence. According to Reuters, a new tax law revision would force companies doing business in Australia to be subject to local laws on local sales. In other words, if Google makes a sale in Australia, then that sale is subject to Australian taxation. The new law revision would raises the taxes Google has to pay from 12.5% to 30%, more than doubling it. Google states that the company is abiding by all laws(and they are; that's how loopholes work), and that they are contributing to the Australian economy: "We make a significant contribution to Australia's economy by helping thousands of businesses grow online, providing services to millions of Australians at no cost, as well as employing 650 people locally," said a spokesperson for Google. This news comes shortly after several multinational companies came under fire in the UK for the same reason. The UK and Germany have both announced plans to lobby for a change in international tax laws to ensure that companies pay their fair dues. Oatmeal studios sues The Oatmeal Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/oatmeal-studios-sues-the- oatmeal/18042.html November 24th, 2012 A greeting card company known as "Oatmeal Studios" is suing the webcomic "The Oatmeal" for infringing on it's trademark, citing that the name is confusingly similar. A Massachusetts greeting card company known as "Oatmeal Studios" is suing Matthew Inman's "The Oatmeal" webcomic. The Oatmeal recently teamed up with Recycled Greetings in order to start putting some of it's content in greeting card form, and Oatmeal Studios found the name confusingly similar, and threw a lawsuit at Inman, citing infringement. The lawsuit claims that The Oatmeal's greeting cards are "likely to cause confusion, mistake, or is likely to deceive consumers." Oatmeal Studios has demanded the webcomic change it's name and pay damages. This is the second time in only a few short months that Inman has gone to court. Last time, he sued website FunnyJunk for copying his work. He won that lawsuit, and when FunnyJunk's lawyers demanded $20,000 for a defamation charge, Inman collected more than ten times
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 that in donations from readers, though he didn't need to pay a cent after the Electronic Frontier Foundation stepped in. Action games are good for your brain, says cognitive researcher Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/action-games-are-good-for-your- brain-says-cognitive-researcher/18041.html November 24th, 2012 A TED talk reveals that there are some scientifically supported benefits to playing action games, including an increased attention span and improved eye-sight. Turns out there are some actual, scientific benefits to playing action games. In a TED talk hosted by cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier, action games have been studied in a laboratory environment for what beneficial or detrimental effects they might have on players. Long standing beliefs such as sight-impairment from looking at a screen for too long, or gamers having short attention spans, seem to be wrong. Bavelier's research indicates that there's quite a few benefits to action games: Eye sight, especially discerning detail, is better among gamers, and their ability to see varying shades of grey is improved as compared to the general population. In addition, gamers have an increased attention span and ability to multitask and to track moving objects. When attempting to follow a number of specific objects, among a much greater set on a cluttered screen, gamers were found to be able to track around twice as many objects as non-gamers. All of these things may seem like rather useless talents, but when applied to real world situations, such as the ability to see the various grey features of a foggy roadway, the advantages become more pronounced. But don't take my word for it - check out the TED talk below: Microsoft is creating their own augmented reality glasses Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-is-creating-their-own- augmented-reality-glasses/18038.html November 24th, 2012 Google aren't the only ones creating augmented reality devices. Now Microsoft is coming up with their answer to Google's Project Glass, and it's a little different. Google has received a lot of attention for Project Glass, their attempt at creating augmented reality glasses. Microsoft wants to jump on the band wagon, and have taken to creating their own glasses. Though only published recently, they applied for a patent to this device back in May of 2011, so chances are development is quite a bit underway already. What makes Microsoft's glasses unique is that while Project Glass uses a rather small transparent display, the Microsoft glasses will utilize a full eye glass. Another difference is that the glasses will be meant more for specific events, than everyday use. The glasses will display text, images and video in front of you, which would be of great use for seeing lyrics at a concert or watching instant replays at sporting events. As of this time, there's little information on the development of this project (or if it's even being actively developed). 3D Printer prints cartilage for implants Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/3d-printer-prints-cartilage-for- implants/18037.html November 24th, 2012 Many afflictions, including Osteoarthritis, are largely caused by the degradation of cartilage in the joints. Unfortunately, cartilage has very limited healing capacity - once it's damaged, or gone, there's usually little the body can do naturally to replace it. In recent years, science has found ways to compensate, and efforts have been made to regrow the tissue using a variety of methods, including a bio-active "hydrogel" which induces tissue regrowth, and biodegradable nanofiber spheres which can carry new cells to wounded areas of the cartilage to help it heal properly. Now, scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina, have created a new method, by way of a 3D printer which can make artificial and implantable cartilage. This is how the cartilage printer works 3D bio printers have already been implemented to create artificial arteries, but the process of creating cartilage is a little different and has to use a combination of technologies
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 in order to manufacture a material that would properly fulfill it's function. The unique technology which must be implemented is called electro-spinning, where an electric current is used to create fine strands of polymer fiber. The fiber acts as a porous base, a sponge to put it simply, into which cartilage cells can be injected and stabilize as a solid structure. The fiber also acts as a reinforcement for the finished cartilage structure, lending it more stability than previous efforts. The team of scientists, led by Professor James Yu, extract the cartilage cells from rabbit's ears, and then inject them into the electro spun material by means of inkjet printing. As with other 3D printing technologies, thin layers of electro spun mat and cartilage cells are layered on top of each other, until a finished structure has been completed. The resulting cartilage disc, which is completely implantable, is 10cm in diameter and 4mm in thickness. The finished cartilage pieces were stress tested to see how they would handle wear and tear. Some implants were also tested on mice. After several weeks, the implants had assumed properties expected of natural cartilage. It may thus one day prove successful in humans as well. Intel SSD 525 180GB mSATA - Speedy Gonzales for Small Form Factors Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-ssd-525-180gb-msata--speedy- gonzales-for-small-form-factors/18034.html November 24th, 2012 Many Ultrabooks and tablets till now have been fitted with criminally slow and small flash drives for media storage, which is usually the primary speed bottleneck in modern systems. Can Intel raise the bar with its upcoming mSATA SSD? According to a roadmap that we have discussed about earlier this year, Intel planned to refresh its mainstream 330 series (with the 335 series), and provide an enthusiast mSATA offering in the form of the 525 series which uses Intel 20nm MLC NAND with a Sandforce SF-2281 controller. The new drive also features SATA 6Gb/s signalling speeds and capacities of up to 240GB. The pre-production 180GB variant that we have obtained came with our Intel Next Unit of Computing review sample, which currently suffers some thermal related issues induced by heavy loading as discovered by the Tech Report. The smart boffins at Intel are purportedly working on a fix. Here are some speed tests that we conducted with the drive, which should be more or less indicative of final performance:
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Anvil's Storage Utilities - Compressed 0-Fill Anvil's Storage Utilities - Uncompressible payload Blackmagic Disk Speed Test ATTO Disk Benchmark At one glance, we can see that the mSATA based SSD 525 is in the same performance league as its larger 2.5-inch Sandforce SF-2281 SATA counterparts (we mean fantastic of course), which should be a no brainer to integrate in premium Ultrabooks and SFF designs. There is no word from Intel on when it will hit the retail or OEM channels yet. Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) - Meet your new Overlords Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-next-unit-of-computing-nuc-- meet-your-new-overlords/18033.html November 24th, 2012 Whether or not you believe in the Post-PC era malarkey, there is no denying that the emphasis on personal computing has shifted on to smartphones and tablets rather than the latest Bulldozers and Geforces. After all, it's not the size that matters, but what you do with it... Here at VR-Zone, we'd rather (and we think our readers too) much like to talk about the latest in HPC (High Performance Computing) and HEDT (High-End Desktop) frontiers than try to pretend we care about low power solutions and integrated graphics. Burning the Earth's precious fossil fuels to feed our highly overclocked Piledrivers and GTX 680s gives us an adrenaline high, and there are few greater thrills
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 in computing than turning up the clock speeds to run Crysis 3 smoothly on six monitors and to find the 48th Mersenne Prime, or collaborate with total strangers on protein folding. (Melt the polar ice caps to make the Internets load faster) Just like how the space race of the 1960s gave way to fighting pointless proxy wars all across the globe, the attention in consumer technology has shifted to the more mundane smartphones and tablets and ultrabooks and hybrids and other low power "thin clients", where the actual processing power and information storage have transitioned to the backend servers of the cloud, usually with Intel Xeon(s) inside. Nothing grinds my gears more than the fact that the latest smartphones do not have external SD storage, instead replaced by some cloudy storage facilty accessed over ludicrously priced data plans with draconian volume caps. No wonder the Mayans predicted that the apocalypse will happen next month. Today we have two subjects from our dystopian future - both Intel NUCs, measuring a square 4 by 4 inches and not very thick, which is small and inconspicuous enough to be an MI6 field agent. Packing an Intel Core i3 (Core i5 SKU coming next year) also means that it can run a full fledged operating system and x86 applications without being terribly slow like a Brazos/Nano, or functionally castrated like my ARM based Microsoft Surface RT. (Meet your new Overlords - Ice Canyon and Box Canyon, Hitman not included) The primary difference between the two models is their rear panel I/O configuration, D33217GKE features two HDMI and a Gigabit LAN port, while D33217CK makes do with a single HDMI and a Thunderbolt port. Both have three USB 2.0 connectors (two at the back and one in front) and a 19V DC power input (65W brick provided). In case you're wondering, audio is piped over the Intel HDMI. Popping open the hood is easy, with only four phillips screws holding the top cover. Intel intends to sell the chassis together with the heatsink and the motherboard, so all a prospective buyer needs to get is some off the shelf DDR3 SO-DIMMs, mPCIe wireless card and a mSATA SSD to complete the system. To a systems integrator or administrator in an under-appreciated IT department, the standardized componentry and easily serviceable form factor is a godsend. No more bringing out the sledgehammer to open side panels or cheap exploding power supplies to contend with. Over at the other side of the board, we see a small blower fan taking care of a tiny heatsink block. The ULV Ivy Bridge Core i3-3217U (1.8GHz Dual Core with HT, HD4000 graphics) has a TDP rated at an UltraBook class 17W, with the QS77 PCH adding another 3.6W. We find the lack of USB 3.0 ports
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 mind boggling, since the chipset has native built-in support for that without the need for another 3rd party controller. Still, you can expect more dexterous configurations to come next year, especially with the advent of the Haswell mobile SOC with its GT3 graphics. A VESA bracket is also supplied with the NUC, so you can mount it behind monitors or television screens to save desk space and conceal wiring. Over the next few days, we will be exploring and writing about some usage models for the NUC. In the meantime, you should hit our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ vrzone for an ongoing sneak preview of what we're doing! ARM surges into the PC market and meets Intel in the middle? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arm-surges-into-the-pc-market-and- meets-intel-in-the-middle-/18032.html November 24th, 2012 Your PC is powered by Intel, and your smartphone/tablet is powered by ARM. As the two computing segments converge, who's going to be the dominant force? (Intel's Paul Otellini at IDF 2011) Paul Otellini, Intel’s soon-to-be ex CEO, surprised the world with his decision to retire after a long but fruitful career with the chip maker. Otellini’s seven year stint with Intel as top brass has helped it to maintain dominance in the PC market, but as mobility becomes more and more prominent who’s going to lead Intel into a new era of computing? Not to mention, how will Intel react to ARM’s insurgence into the PC sector? Intel still has the muscle to remain the dominant force in the PC market, but it goes without saying that the desktop PC market is shrinking. Mobile solutions such as tablets and smartphones are growing rapidly, and the majority of these devices are powered by ARM-based chips. While we don’t quite know who will captain the Intel battle cruiser next, we do know ARM has its sight set on taking on
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Intel in the PC space. The British chip designer expects its processors to take up more than 10 percent of the traditional PC or tablets market share by next year. ARM clearly holds the lead in the mobile/smartphone market, but Intel still has the upper hand in pure horsepower. The convergence of PC and mobility means that ARM and Intel will meet somewhere in the middle. Microsoft’s recent launch of the Surface RT tablet featuring the ARM-based Nvidia Tegra 3 chip marks one of the rare moments where an ARM chip gets featured in a device marketed at mainstream PC users. By mainstream PC users, I’m trying to say Microsoft Windows users. (A big bang for your bucks) Samsung/Google’s $250 Chromebook featuring Samsung’s Exynos 5250 is still trying to make its mark in the notebook arena, but who can overlook the ridiculously attractive price tag of a Chromebook? For professionals that are looking into a portable device that can be used to draw up office documents, surf the internet, and some light entertainment, the Chromebook is a steal. Ubuntu is also trying to take advantage of ARM’s robust mobile processors by developing a free desktop solution that can be installed alongside the Android operating system. ARM is directly tackling the needs of power-hungry PC users, and indirectly, firms on the outside are looking into developing PC-like experiences with the current ARM tech. Intel and ARM will be vying for the same space, and it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Intel winning out. So for the sake of entertainment, let’s hope both firms go guns a blazing the whole way through. Halo 4 Spartan Ops episode 4 trailer released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-spartan-ops-episode-4- trailer-released/18030.html November 24th, 2012 Spartan Ops Episode 4 "Didact's Hand" brings five all-new missions to Halo 4's co-op multiplayer mode, continuing the dynamic story set into place by the previous episodes. Jump in to check out the official trailer! Season 1 Episode 4 "Didact's Hand" of Halo 4's Spartan Ops co-op multiplayer mode brings with it five new chapters full of challenging missions and objectives for players to tackle alone or with friends on Xbox LIVE. The upcoming episode chronicles the nefarious Jul M'dama and his plans to wreak havoc upon the UNSC: having abducted a UNSC scientist, Jul--who seems to be a Sangheili hierarch who may or may not be Didact's "hand"--looks as if he's coercing the scientist to do...something. Whatever it is, it's not good, and Captain Lasky and Commander Palmer are trying to decipher the mysterious puzzle utilizing Dr. Halsey's expertise. Peter Molyneaux concerned about making promises for Kickstarter project GODUS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/peter-molyneaux-concerned-about- making-promises-for-kickstarter-project-godus/18027.html November 24th, 2012 Peter Molyneaux's heartfelt reaction in a recent interview shows fans that he's concerned about delivering false promises to those who fund his new Kickstarter project GODUS. Peter Molyneux has been hailed a gaming visionary, always thinking big and trying to revolutionize various aspects of gaming as we know it. His influence on the successful and popular fantasy-RPG Fable franchise is proof of Molyneaux's ability, showing that he is more than able to provide the gaming world with releases that explore the far- away vistas of a particular genre. His recent game Curiosity – What's Inside the Cube?, however, hasn't done too well in the past few weeks, and Molyneaux has been struggling with the game's
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 "disasterous" server malfunctions. As a result, gamers all across the world have lashed out, leaving Curiosity to be met with critical upheavel and negative reception. Curiosity's recent failures have weighed on Molyneaux, so much that he actually broke down into tears in a recent interview when discussing the promises he's made regarding his new Kickstarter-funded project. Since the game is largely dependent upon Kickstarter's crowd-funding--which relies heavily upon trust and offers no real guarantee that the project will be finished-- Molyneaux is concerned about making too many promises and not being able to deliver. “I swore that when we started 22 Cans that we wouldn’t over-promise, and I guess through stupid mistakes we have. I have to live by those. If it means that the project doesn’t get Kickstarted, if it means that people use the Kickstarter to vent their frustrations, then I guess I have to live by that.” With GODUS, Molyneaux hopes to re-invent the original PC "god game" Populous, and breathe new life into the genre to make it accessible to the modern age of gaming. So far GODUS has raised £107,268 of its £450,000 goal with over four thousand backers, and has 28 more days before the funding ends on Dec. 21, 2012. It will be interesting to see how GODUS pans out: will the project be successfully Kickstarted, and if so, will Molyneaux and 22Cans deliver on the promises they've made concerning in-game features and mechanics? Only time will tell...yet Molyneaux's recent comment proves that no matter what happens, one thing remains true: "...I still believe so much.” GODUS is planned to release on PC, iOS and Android. For more information please visit the game's official Kickstarter Page. New teardown reveals more specs for the Nintendo Wii U Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-teardown-reveals-more-specs- for-the-nintendo-wii-u/17989.html November 24th, 2012 Is Nintendo's new console really next-gen? A recent analysis of the system's internal specs by the geeky gurus at Anandtech revealed an answer that may surprise you. Here at VR-Zone, we've reported on Nintendo's new console quite a bit since its release on Nov. 17. We've talked about the Wii U's bricking malfunction and system crashes as well as Nintendo's response to these problems. Nintendo's continued silence on the actual internal specs of the Wii U led the team at PC Perspective to teardown their system and publish their findings to the internet. Their analysis answered a few questions concerning the Wii U's memory size and speed, however other specs were unknown. Despite Nintendo trying to hide the Wii U's innards from the masses, it didn't take long for the team at AnandTech to unwrap their console, get under it's skin, and report their findings in an their recent Wii U teardown. Both of these teardowns compliment one another to shed light on the mysteries of what the Wii U is hiding under its hood. AnandTech's recent teardown not only gives step-by-step directions on how to open up your own Wii U, but also explains each function of the system's internal components: There are four 4Gb (512MB) Hynix DDR3-1600 devices surrounding the Wii U's MCM (Multi Chip Module). Memory is shared between the CPU and GPU, and if I'm decoding the DRAM part numbers correctly it looks like these are 16-bit devices giving the Wii U a total of 12.8GB/s of peak memory bandwidth. These values may not seem very impressive, especially when compared to the memory speeds of an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. The teardown also reveals that the Wii U's memory bandwidth is the same as a Nexus 10 and an iPad 3/4, but
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 unlike the latter tablets, Nintendo's Wii U is supposed to have eDRAM for both the CPU and GPU to utilize. The teardown answers some questions that gamers and tech gurus have been wanting to know, but for the average gamer, the data is quite confusing. Basically, Anandtech's data seems to point to the fact that the WIi U isn't nearly as powerful--CPU-wise or graphically--as gamers had once thought, leaving many to believe that it's not truly a next-gen system. Be sure to check out the full specs and data that Anandtech found during its official Wii U teardown to sate your curiosity or if you'd like to dismantle your own system and take a look inside. But be sure you know what you're doing-- we would hate for anyone to destroy their expensive system! Watch out Google: Microsoft developing rival to Project Glass Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/watch-out-google-microsoft- developing-rival-to-project-glass/18018.html November 24th, 2012 All aboard the AR train! Following the lead of Google (Project Glass) and Brother (AiRScouter), Microsoft have finally realized the importance of a real life HUD that allows its users to view a virtual layer super-imposed upon their field of view. In a patent application posted today, Microsoft outlined “Event Augmentation with Real-Time Information” via a pair of glasses, which is very similar to the prototype of Google Glass we saw earlier this year. The example given in the patent consists of someone watching a live baseball game, simultaneously viewing statistics such as names and batting averages for the players via the AR specs. The above example would basically turn any real life event into its TV equivalent, and would theoretically make people more outgoing as they could have their cake and eat it so to speak, getting the social enjoyment of outdoor activities while at the same time receiving the information bursts that internet-addicts crave. The device has more potential than just use as an entertainment device though, and as Brother has proved with its AiRScouter, devices such as these can be used in the field to train new engineers and impose blueprints or manuals over the vision of workers, greatly raising their productivity. The patent also outlines a GPS device embedded in the specs, which would allow for much richer contextual sensitive information such as travel guides or shopping help when you’re out on the high street. Let’s just hope they don’t abuse the service with ads like a certain console’s dashboard… Smile Semi Tablet makes Japanese grade school more colorful Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/smile-semi-tablet-makes-japanese- grade-school-more-colorful/18022.html November 24th, 2012 Just Systems unveils the Smile Semi, a special learning tablet that is specifically designed to be used by grade school students in Japan. Japanese software company Just Systems revealed on November 20, 2012 their newest product, the Smile Semi. It is a 9.7-inch tablet that is optimized for correspondence education, and is specifically targeted towards grade school users. The OS used for it will be Android, although much of its software will be altered and changed to fit in their own custom learning app.
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 The course outline of the tablet's custom learning app will include most subjects from Japanese grade school, mainly (Japanese) Language, Arithmetics, Cooking, and Social subjects. The teaching materials for each subject will be sent to the units once each month. There are 20 lectures in all for each subject, with one lecture lasting for as long as 20 minutes. Aside from standard e-lessons, the tablet will also provide drills to work on what the child had just learned. The primary theme for the development of the tablet was for children to learn on their own without the need to push them to do educational tasks. Just Smile used key phrases such as "Children will be all over it" and "They'll habitually use it" to promote its general usability and feasibility as a modern educational device. In addition, the element of interaction is said to be optimized for the unit, allowing children to touch, see, listen and talk to the device as they work on their lessons and drills. Actual specifications of the tablet were not revealed in the announcement. However the company said that it would include standard tablet hardware features such as back- cameras, speakers, microphones, and microSD/SDHC slots. The weight of the unit is rated at 600 grams, and it will have the overall look and feel of the first iPad. Previously, Just Systems had developed the Just Smile, a type of education assistance software made for the PC. They had been releasing several updated versions of the software since 1999. The primary interface of the software is very much similar to the one that they are using for Smile Semi. In fact, the company actually used their experience in building those kinds of educational software in preparation for the development of the Smile Semi tablet. Source: ITMedia (JP) European Union slams the ITU over upcoming Internet vote Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/european-union-slams-the-itu-over- upcoming-internet-vote/18017.html November 24th, 2012 On November 22, 2012 the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the vote by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that would allow the organization to usurp power over the Internet. Some are saying it is the boldest attempt at controlling the Internet to date when the ITU made plans to vote on the future of how the Internet will operate. Soon after the ITU announced their intentions, a resolution was drafted condeming the measure and was submitted to the European Union. In turn the E.U. voted on the issue with the vast majority of its 27 member in favor of condemning the ITU over its intetions. A copy of that measure can be seen here. The World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) will be held on December 3, 2012 in Dubai, United
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 Arab Emirates. The meeting is being conducted in an effort to update and revise the international telecommunication operations, which has not been done since 1988. The ITU is an offshoot of the United Nations industry body for telecommunications operators. Many critics of this upcoming ITU vote have pointed out that any treaties regarding telecommunication operations predates the Internet, and because of this fact, the ITU has no authority to vote on its future operations. Google currently is voicing a lot of criticism over the ITU’s plans and have created a special website where users can voice their concerns and make pledges to keep the Internet as a “free and open Web”. Samsung adds new devices to its Apple Lawsuit Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-adds-new-devices-to-its- apple-lawsuit/18019.html November 24th, 2012 Apparently securing an official Apple issued apology and acquiring Apple's settlement details with HTC still wasn’t enough for Samsung, as they have filed yet another lawsuit against the Cupertino developer, this time in response to the iPad mini, 5th gen iPod touch, and iPad 4. As the endless patent infringement battle between our pals A and S seemed to finally be drawing to a close, the Korean electronics superstar Samsung stirred things up again by filing to the US District Court of Northern California for the addition of several of Apple’s latest devices to their ongoing lawsuit. Samsung states that there is “good cause” to add the three new devices to their original claim, as the products were not yet released at the time of Samsung’s original submission of contentions on June 15th 2012 or at the time of the company’s first supplementary contentions given on October 1st , 2012. (This just shows you how long the battle has been going on, new devices have long since come and gone since this whole thing started!) According to Samsung, the iPod Touch 5, iPad mini, and iPad 4 carry the same accused functionality as the versions of iPod and iPad that were already given in the case, and that the proof of these infringements is substantially similar to that already given to the court for the previous revisions of these devices. So basically Samsung think they can claim more damages without even offering proof this time, I guess. If the design and functionality of the new devices are sufficiently similar to those which they have already successfully gotten accused, then Samsung certainly have a case. On Wednesday of this week, Samsung’s Chief Executive Shin Jong Kyun went on record to The Korean Times that “Without Samsung’s wireless patents, it would be impossible for Apple to produce its handsets.” Apple and Samsung have been at each others throats since back in April 2011, and this August saw Apple winning $1 billion in damages for claims that Samsung had infringed upon the iPhone and iPad’s patents with its Galaxy S smartphones (although Samsung has appealed against this ruling). In areas such as the UK, the Netherlands, and Japan, Apple’s infringement claims against Samsung have been dismissed however, and Samsung have won a few cases of their own, such as the previous litigation brought against the iPod and iPad outlined in this article. Either way all those legal costs must have both firms burning through money, and it begs the question: Can’t we all just get along? DreamWorks releases an open source software Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dreamworks-releases-an-open- source-software/18016.html November 24th, 2012 DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., has recently made the decision that their software used to create some of their animations, which includes the upcoming “Rise of the Guardians” will be given away as open source. The software DreamWorks is being given away as an open source license is called OpenVDB. DreamWorks states at their download site, The OpenVDB library comprises a hierarchical data structure and a suite of tools for the efficient manipulation of sparse, possibly time-varying, volumetric data discretized on a three-dimensional grid. It is based on VDB, which was developed by Ken Museth at DreamWorks Animation, and it offers an effectively infinite 3D index space, compact storage (both in memory and on disk), fast data access (both random and sequential), and a collection of algorithms specifically optimized for the data structure for common tasks such as filtering, CSG, compositing, numerical simulation, sampling, and voxelization from other geometric representations. A November 22 on-line issue of the Wall Street Journal quotes a Mr. David Prescott who worked as a visual-effects supervisor for the "Guardians” animation after some were curious why DreamWorks would give away free software. Prescott stated that a release of the software was done in hopes that it would be adopted as an industry standard and possibly get adapted in other software company tool kit features, which would in turn benefit DreamWorks. The article goes on to state that open source releases of special animation software isn’t unique to DreamWorks and noted that Lucasfilm Ltd. and Sony Pictures both have released their own software as well.
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 To learn more about the free software download, you can check out the DreamWorks site here and learn more about it. JAXA's IMES tracks you at malls, provides visitor activity data Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/jaxa-s-imes-tracks-you-at-malls- provides-visitor-activity-data/18015.html November 24th, 2012 Japanese aerospace agency JAXA gives the green signal for the implementation of their IMES smart tracking technology to commercial and business establishments. Wide use of GPS in mobile devices today made tracking systems relatively common. However, pinpoint and precise tracking of a very specific spot (inside a building for example) is still not as universal. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) developed a new in-building positioning technology that would solve this problem, and it is now currently being rolled out on commercial and business establishments. Indoor messaging system or IMES technology is a notification and tracking system designed by JAXA that combines infrared, Bluetooth and GPS tracking systems to actively observe and pinpoint the changing locations of people in a certain area. It was first proposed since 2007, and has since been continuously developed even today. The implementation of the system makes it very different from a standard tracker-transmitter system, because the baseline application of the technology allows users to identify the exact location of a person at any given point in time. It is frequently dubbed as the "indoor GPS", and for Star Trek fans, you might be able to compare this to how a starship's computer is able to find specific people in their present locations. One of the very first establishments that were installed with the IMES was a building around Futako-Tamagawa station area in Tokyo. Each floor was installed with several IMES units, all of which are ready to send and receive human activity data for each mobile device registered in the system. Tokyu Corporation, the management firm for Tokyo's railways, is planning to use the positional data gathering technology of the IMES to make the city "brighter and more attractive". The IMES isn’t just limited to active tracking, as the system could also use the information for other purposes like trying to find out if a certain district or part of the establishment would be more crowded than others. It integrates the tracking information with all other position- based information to create a smart information delivery network. Aside from commercial establishments, there are also proposals that suggest using the IMES in an office setting. Japanese IT company Indigo for example, is currently offering their IMES-based Indoor Map MashUp Manager tool to business owners, to help actively track down the movements of each person inside their business establishment. Source: Tech-On (JP) Saudi men alerted by text when wives leave country Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/saudi-men-alerted-by-text-when- wives-leave-country/18029.html November 24th, 2012 Saudi Arabia has implemented a new monitoring system that sends text messages to the husbands of women who leave the country, informing them of their whereabouts. Saudi Arabia has implemented a new monitoring system that sends text messages to the husbands of women who leave the country, informing them of their whereabouts. The oppressive tactic, which joins a slew of other misogynistic policies in the country like a ban on female drivers, elicited strong criticism from both men and women, with many labelling it as “backward.” The law in the country, based on a strict interpretation of Islam, prohibits women from leaving the country without the permission of a male guardian, who can be either a husband, father or brother. He is required to sign a form at an airport or border permitting the woman to travel.
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 13 Now technology is being utilised to enforce the ban on free movement by notifying men when women travel abroad, even if the women are actually travelling with their husbands. One woman likened the approach to using “tracking ankle bracelets.” Badriya al-Bishr, a Saudi author and journalist, said this is the latest move in a “state of slavery” for women. Women only secured the right to vote in a decision made by the country's king last year, while a ruling to allow women to plead cases in court was decided just last month. In some ways the country appears to want to move forward, but government-backed moves like this latest one show that there is still a long way to go for the equal rights of Saudi women. The smartphone is 20 years old today Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-smartphone-is-20-years-old- today/18028.html November 24th, 2012 Despite the market only booming in the last few years, the smartphone is 20 years old today, but modern devices have come a long way since then. Despite the market only booming in the last few years, the smartphone is 20 years old today, but modern devices have come a long way since then. On 23 November 1992 IBM unveiled the Simon, codenamed Angler, at the COMDEX trade show in Las Vegas, a brick- shaped device that combined a mobile phone with a PDA, allowing users to make and receive calls, and send or receive fascimiles and emails, and use the device for other functions. It even featured a touchscreen and stylus. The term “smartphone” did not exist until 1997, when Ericsson coined it, but the IBM Simon had all the tell-tale features and functionality of what would rock the technology world two decades later. At the time there was excitement about the device, but only 50,000 units were sold in the six months it was on the market, thanks largely to its high cost and lack of consumer appeal. Old and New: The IBM Simon beside the HTC Salsa Twenty years might not seem like a long time, but in the technology industry things move very quickly, and now a cheap smartphone from Asda will greatly outpower IBM's device at just a fraction of the price. For example, the HTC Salsa, sold at Asda stores throughout the UK, allows storage expansion up to 32GB, a whopping 32,000 times the storage of the Simon, which had just 1MB of space. It comes with Android 2.3, which offers over half a million apps, which dwarfs the capability of IBM's smartphone. It is also just 25 percent the weight and costs just seven percent of the equivalent modern price of the Simon: £79 compared to £1,104. It was not until BlackBerry maker RIM and Finnish mobile giant Nokia came along that smartphones began to properly emerge at the turn of the century, but it was really the launch of Apple's iPhone and the subsequent wave of Android devices that popularised the smartphone. Yet the framework was laid out twenty years ago today. Finnish conduct raid on 9- year-old, confiscate laptop Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/finnish-conduct-raid-on-9-year-old- confiscate-laptop/18026.html
  • November 24th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 14 November 24th, 2012 Finnish police recently conducted a raid against a little 9- year old girl, confiscating her Winnie the Pooh laptop after the family refused to pay a fine for internet piracy charges. At 8 am on a weekday morning in Finland, there was a knock at the door of an ordinary family home. When the door was opened, the family was greeted by the police, who conducted a raid on the home, seizing evidence of an internet piracy charge, including a Winnie the pooh themed laptop belonging to a nine year old girl. The raid was conducted after the Finnish CIAPS anti-piracy group determined that copyrighted material had been downloaded illegally from the residence. As it turns out, the nine year old had been trying to download a song from Finnish pop star Chisu on the Pirate Bay, and the family had subsequently been charged a €600 fine. The father in the family had refused to pay the fine, citing that the download hadn't worked and that he had taken his daughter down to the store in order to buy Chisu's CD instead. The Finnish authorities didn't seem to buy this explanation (or they didn't care), and so decided to simply raid the family's house instead. The nine year old's father tries to explain their side of the story: "We have not done anything wrong with my daughter. If adults do not always know how to use a computer and the web, how can you assume that children or the elderly – or a 9-year-old girl – knows what they are doing at any given time online?" He also comments on the tactics employed by CIAPS and the police to stop piracy "This is the pinnacle of absurdity. I can see artists are in a position, but this requires education and information, not resource-consuming lawsuits,"
  • November 26th, 2012 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. Atari founder doubts success of Wii U Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/atari-founder-doubts-success-of-wii- u/18063.html November 26th, 2012 The founder of Atari has gone on record stating that he believes the Wii U, Nintendo's recently-released next- generation gaming console, will not be a success. The founder of Atari has gone on record stating that he believes the Wii U, Nintendo's recently-released next- generation gaming console, will not be a success. “I actually am baffled by it,” Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, told the New York Times. “I don't think it's going to be a big success.” He suggested that only hardcore gamers would be interested in getting the new machine, stating that the current generation of consoles still have a lot of life left in them. He said it feels like “the end of an era,” speaking of the race between rivals to get out next-gen consoles every few years. Of course, the Wii targeted a much wider audience than hardcore gamers, and the Wii U is more of the same, but it might be this similarity that stops the Wii U from having the same resounding success as its predecessor, which revolutionised the industry with motion capture gaming. That said, the wider industry was as equally baffled by the Wii as Bushnell is by the Wii U, and many doubted Nintendo's ability to succeed then, so there might be a few surprises in store. Meanwhile Robbie Back, former president of entertainment and devices at Microsoft, suggested that putting Mario on the iPhone might have been a smarter move. However, he added “I've learned not to count the Nintendo guys out.” While the Wii U might not boast the kind of sales that the original Wii had, Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, said that the company only needs one game sale per console to make a profit, and given that customers are likely to buy at least two games, and often considerably more, it might just be enough to help put Nintendo back in the black. Samsung reaches five million sales for Galaxy Note II Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-reaches-five-million-sales- for-galaxy-note-ii/18062.html November 26th, 2012 Samsung has sold five million units of its recently-released smartphone/tablet hybrid, the Galaxy Note II, making it one of the most successful launch periods for the company. Samsung has sold five million units of its recently-released smartphone/tablet hybrid, the Galaxy Note II, making it one of the most successful launch periods for the company. The South Korean electronics giant passed the magic five million mark just two months to the day from its 26 September launch, and Samsung believes it can push those figures to 20 million in the near future. The device touts a 5.5-inch screen, considerably larger than rivals on the market and close enough to 7-inch tablets to make it appealing to those who want an all-in-one design. The added stylus, improved from the original Galaxy Note, helps appeal to the business market, as well as creative types like writers and artists. Its 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM also make it a beast under the hood.
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The Note II may be under threat, however, as Apple has included it in its latest lawsuit against Samsung, claiming it infringes Apple's patents. With such a strikingly different design, and many very different features, however, Apple may have trouble convincing a judge to implement a sales ban. Samsung has also enjoyed roaring success with its Galaxy S III, which also boasts a bigger display than most rival smartphones, albeit still smaller than the Galaxy Note II. It sold a whopping 30 million units in 150 days and is believed to have outsold Apple's latest iPhone in the third quarter of this year. Such high sales figures go a long way to ensuring Samsung remains the top smartphone maker in the world, and it also explains why Apple is eager to put a dent in those figures through court action. Study reveals increase in Facebook friends causes stress Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-reveals-increase-in-facebook- friends-causes-stress/18061.html November 26th, 2012 Having a large amount of friends on Facebook leads to more stress, according to a study by the University of Edinburgh's business school. Having a large amount of friends on Facebook leads to more stress, according to a study by the University of Edinburgh's business school. The survey of over 300 Facebook users of an average age of 21 found that anxiety increases when more people are added, largely due to behaviour that is acceptable amongst one group of friends not being acceptable amongst another. For example, posts and pictures may display swearing, drinking or smoking, all of which might be fine with fellow students, but since many people are adding their family and work colleagues, and even their bosses, this can cause a great deal of stress. 97 percent of those queried add friends they know in real life, which is to be expected, but 81 percent add extended family, 80 percent add siblings, 69 percent add friends of friends, and 65 percent add colleagues, creating a potentially tricky situation in terms of discerning which group of people is appropriate for which content. “Facebook used to be like a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt,” said Ben Marder, author of the report. “But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines. If you have partners, parents, family and employers the more stressful it is as they all have different expectations.” Marder said that people will delete photos on Facebook and “even regulate their offline behaviour,” such as avoiding smoking or drinking in front of a camera, in case it ends up on Facebook for the whole world to see. While Facebook technically has similar post settings to Google+, where posts can be sent to a specific group of friends only, only one third of users actually avail of this. This is not entirely surprising, however, as this feature is far less intuitive than Google's. Time to unfriend some people then.
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Intel's NUC in Corporate IT: A Sysadmin's Dream? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-s-nuc-in-corporate-it-a- sysadmin-s-dream-/18045.html November 26th, 2012 True story - the boffins at the IT Department in most organizations, especially the non-technology ones, are usually viewed by management types as a cost center rather than a value-added function, despite being as essential as the other employees to the operations backbone of the company. The myraid of users that they service (bosses and minions) demand a fast and productive workstation so that they can do their work uninterrupted, preferably not occupying too much desk space (already cluttered by stacks of incessant paperwork, photographs and sweet wrappers) or bottom leg room (restless leg syndrome). Meanwhile, the overworked sysadmin wants an elegant solution that can easily deployed, serviced and be remotely managed to minimize as much downtime as possible. The pointy-haired, slaver driving boss doesn't care if the system stops responding because he unknowingly kicked the mechanical hard drive into oblivion, or the clueless intern (who happens to be the boss's daughter) accidentally introduces a virus onto the network because she plugged her own unauthorized thumbdrive in to view her Justin Beiber pictures. Are these situations familar to you? Enter the Intel Next Unit of Computing... Already from the picture below, one can see the obvious size and form factor benefits of the NUC relative to the traditional workstation box. The mobile i3 dual-core processor (four threads with HT) should be able to handle most office productivity applications such as Microsoft Excel and CRM packages with ease, so you're not sacrificing any compute performance with the chassis downsize. At less than 20W of power consumed when in operation, the NUC is also a significantly greener solution than the standard PC, which should please the beancounters and eco-mentalists. The bundled VESA bracket allows the NUC to be mounted behind monitors to save space and consolidate wiring. Of the two models (the other being the Thunderbolt equipped D33217CK), the D33217GKE has the more viable Gigabit Ethernet option for the corporate user to access the office network, and the administrator to mass deploy system images/updates in a jiffy. The provision of a Kensington Lock hole also prevent the NUC from being spirited away by vengeful office colleagues or rival spies.
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Sysadmins and their system integrators will appreciate the fact that the NUC uses fairly common off the shelf components like DDR3 SODIMMs (up to 16GB from two 8GB sticks) and mSATA/PCIe expansion, so they can stockpile parts somewhere in a drawer for a quick change. The use of SSDs for storage, other than obvious speed and productivity benefits, also means no more heart attacks from data loss due to a dodgy mechanical drive failure, which is usually the number one cause of downtime in most corporate environments. The other common causes are exploding power supplies and dust clogged CPU fans causing performance throttling, both of which will not manifest in this setup. To meet security and privacy regulatory compliance, the NUC can be remotely disabled (data is encrypted) if it becomes misplaced or exceeds the set number of login tries. Some other useful security features for IT Administrators include • UEFI Secure Boot to prevent malicious boot-time routines from being loaded (from malware) • VT-x support for Hardware Virtualization of sandboxed software • Password for UEFI BIOS • Wake on Lan for software updates Intel's NUC in the Home: Part of the Furniture Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-s-nuc-in-the-home-part-of-the- furniture/18044.html November 26th, 2012 In the first of a four part series, we explore why the Intel Next Unit of Computing is the ideal low power HTPC (Home Threatre PC) with its rich media creation and consumption capabilities, made possible by its mobile- oriented 3rd generation Intel Core processor and purpose built form factor. Last weekend, we did a brief introduction on Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC), which is part of the
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 chipmaker's concerted push towards small footprint devices in the so-called Post-PC era, alongside other products like Ultrabooks and Atom tablets. Its petite 4.5" x 4.4" x 1.5" form factor allow easy and organic integration into many daily usage scenarios, without compromises on application compatibility thanks to its X86 roots. In our first of a four part series, we explore some of the factors that positions the NUC as an ideal low power HTPC. (Can you see where the NUC is in this typical living room set? Hint - Bottom Right Shelf) Powered by a 22nm ultra-low voltage "Ivy Bridge" Core processor designed for mobile computers, the NUC offers one of the best power-performance ratio in its class (< 20W) which qualifies it as a media consumption device that is switched on and used all-day without racking up massive power bills or spoiling the home environment with a noisy fan. The HD4000 graphics engine in the dual-core Core i3 processor also integrates DirectX 11/GPGPU capabilities, a Multi-Format Codec Engine that even allows simultaneous 4K video decoding and QuickSync for fast video transcoding. As we've mentioned in our earlier preview, the NUC will be available next month in early December with a choice of either a Thunderbolt (D33217CK) or Gigabit Ethernet (D33217GKE) equipped model, both with full-sized HDMI and three USB 2.0 ports. We reckon that most users will choose the latter owing to the fact that Thunderbolt adoption in the storage and multi-media realm is not exact prevalent yet. Storage in the NUC is handled by a mSATA based SSD, which guarantees snappy loading times and file transfers, albeit still with relatively small capacities (currently up to 256GB) to store your movie and music library. For more disk space, users can hook up an external USB/ Thunderbolt hard drive, connect to the house NAS appliance via Gigabit Ethernet or Wifi, or simply stream from some cloud service over the Internet somewhere. With Intel's Hyperthreading providing four logical CPU threads, the system can still be responsive when playing media content even with many programs running in the background, such as your BitTorrent client downloads and stock ticker. Since the NUC is essentially a barebones system that uses generic parts with almost universal driver compatibility, users can choose to load virtually any operating system of their choice - including Windows 7/8 (with the Media Center add-on pack), Linux (XBMC) for the more technically inclined or *gulps*, even Hackintosh. Being a full fledged X86 processor also means you have the freedom to run any of your favourite applications or games, without being confined to the limited selection of an App Store or have a good experience only with obscure GPU accelerated applications. In short, the NUC can be used as a regular PC (office productivity, light gaming, surfing, media consumption), something which most other <20W devices cannot do.
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Some of the suitable peripherals for the NUC include a keyboard/trackpad combo such as the Logitech K400 or a media center remote to wirelessly interface with the HTPC if you're seating on a sofa some distance away. If you're into the touchscreen monitor fad, then a stylish display like the Dell S2340T should provide a full-HD 10 point multi-touch interface. WiDi support also eliminates unneccessary wiring with compatible display devices. In case you are wondering, audio output is over HDMI so you either use your HiFi AV transceiver or built-in television speakers for sound. Apple jumps ship: Reports suggest Apple will ditch Samsung battery Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-jumps-ship-reports-suggest- apple-will-ditch-samsung-battery/18050.html November 26th, 2012 Apple and Samsung haven’t been the best of pals lately, but their cooperation is vital to ensure the manufacture of new iPhones and iPads, as Samsung makes a lot of parts for the devices. Apple may be looking to change all that as they switch manufacturer for their batteries. Apple has tried in the past to reduce its reliance on the Korean manufacturer in the past by drafting the production of its components to other companies. Only recently Apple have just denied rumors that they were seeking to acquire displays from a company other than Samsung. However up until now, Samsung SDI has continued to make batteries for each revision of Apple products. Apple has purportedly replaced Samsung’s batteries with products from Chinese companies Amperex Technology Ltd and Tianjin Lishen Battery. Although this may have not been Apple’s decision, and Samsung SDI themselves were reported to have stopped supplying Apple. It is unclear who sparked this decision, but combine this with Samsung’s decision to raise processor prices for Apple, after the Cupertino developer internalized part of the processor design process and removed design components for it's A-series processors out of Samsung’s reach. This is also corroborated by rumors that Apple has been preparing TSMC et al to take over future chip manufacture. Conflicting reports exist, as Apple continue to deny rumors and Apple CEO Tim Cook himself stated during a recent conference call that Samsung would continue to be an important partner for Apple in the near future. While there seems to be more rumor than hard facts about the split growing between the two companies, logically it makes sense, as endless legal battles force the Korean and American device makers further into bitter rivalry. However, Samsung’s huge manufacturing capacity will be hard to replace, so Apple may have to think twice in the end. Thanks,Thanksgiving! Web shopping up 71% from last year Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thanks-thanksgiving-web-shopping- up-71-from-last-year/18051.html
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 November 26th, 2012 With more and more computing devices entering the hands of the public, it comes as no surprise that web shopping is steadily outgrowing its brick-and-mortar equivalent. However, this year showed even more impressive results, with web traffic to retail sites almost doubling year over year. According to stats from Experian Hitwise, web traffic on the holiday of turkey-and-football was up 71% across the top 500 retailers compared to the same time last year. Shoppers from the US alone accounted for more than 181 million visits to the retail sites, with Amazon taking the top spot at approx. 25 million visits on Thanksgiving Day. Walmart followed close behind with 24.6 million visits, and Target took third at 11.5 million visits. While Experian Hitwise doesn’t count mobile stats, thus skewing the data a little, traffic to shopping sites increased by about 8% throughout the holiday week compared to the previous year. In other electronic shopping news, PayPal reported that the volume of recorded mobile payments worldwide increased by 173% compared to the same time last year, showing a global trend to accept the concept of online payments more. PayPal's owner, eBay, had it twice as nice as their own shopping site saw a 133% increase in shopping compared to Thanksgiving last year. The infamous Black Friday was an even greater success for electronic payment service PayPal, as they achieved a 193% increase in mobile payments YOY. Overall its good news for web retailers, bad news for brick and mortar stores worldwide! Un-hackable telecommunications networks soon to be the norm Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/un-hackable-telecommunications- networks-soon-to-be-the-norm/18048.html November 26th, 2012 Researchers with Toshiba’s European research laboratory are saying they have a way of protecting telecoms networks using special quantum cryptography. In a recent paper titled, “Coexistence of High-Bit-Rate Quantum Key Distribution and Data on Optical Fiber”, researchers say they can protect these networks without the need of dedicated fiber optic links. The synopsis of the paper reads in part: In the world of traditional communications, it is impossible for one person who receives a set of encryption keys from another to know whether or not the keys have been seen by the eyes of an eavesdropper. However, quantum key distribution (QKD), which encodes keys in the quantum states of a medium, can achieve the impossible by exploiting the fundamental quantum property that any eavesdropping on a quantum state always leaves a trace. Telecoms networks are often prey to malicious hackers trying to cause mischief or even harm to Internet data. Using new advances in quantum cryptography, the researchers have come up with new code encryption that is theoretically un-crackable by malicious hackers. Furthermore the new encryption supposedly lets one know if someone was trying to decipher it. The encryption research was done by Cambridge University in conjunction with Toshiba European research laboratory. They claim this research will eventually be protecting all manner of data ranging from private company data, personal identity and credit card information. It is said that many military agencies and governments may already be using a very similar type of encryption technology. However, the information taken from the research states that the quantum keys are being sent on separate lines carrying the information to be decoded or encoded. The research on the new encryption techniques can be found in the scientific journal, Physical Review X. CALTECH breaks data transfer record at 339 Gbps Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/caltech-breaks-data-transfer-record- at-339-gbps/18047.html November 26th, 2012 Physicists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) say they have achieved an astounding data-transfer speed of 339 gigabits per second, which is equivalent to 1 million 2 hour movies per day. The website detailing all of the information is titled, “Super Computing 2012: Enabling Scientific Discoveries With The LHC Data Distribution Over 100 Gigabit Networks." Scholars working on the project credit new advances with fast data transfer technology (FDT) and express in part on their website:
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 One of the key advances in this demonstration was Fast Data Transport (FDT; http://monalisa.cern.ch/FDT), an open source Java application developed by the Caltech team in close collaboration with the Polytehnica Bucharest team. FDT runs on all major platforms and uses the NIO libraries to achieve stable disk reads and writes coordinated with smooth data flow across long-range networks. At blazing transfer speeds that blows any fiber optic transfer speed out of the water, these scientists at Caltech working with other universities and researchers are breaking data transfer speed records that were only theoretical a few years ago. They have also successfully transferred 187 Gbps of data for two-way transfer of information on a single link, and are looking into new means of data transfer that will triple in speeds over the next few years. According to Caltech, the not so distant future means data transfers up to 1 terabit-per-second, which is 1 thousand Gbps - and we thought Google's high-speed fiber optic Internet was fast at 360mbps. To learn more about CalTech’s fascinating research you can visit their site here. Sierra Leone teenager makes FM transmitter and battery from junkyard scraps Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sierra-leone-teenager-makes-fm- transmitter-and-battery-from-junkyard-scraps/18049.html November 26th, 2012 Regardless of the living conditions and time, the human spirit will never cease to amaze us. Take for instance a 16- year boy from Sierra Leone who found ways of inventing gadgets using nothing more than scraps from the junkyard. Kelvin Doe never took an engineering class and probably doesn’t even know what a RadioShack is, but somehow he still managed make his own FM transmitter and a battery that can pump enough juice to power the lightings in his family’s home. Going by the name of DJ Focus during his radio broadcasts using his homemade FM equipment, Kelvin reaches out to his community with music as well as issues and news relevant to the people that are tuning in. He and his staff (average age of 12), have interviewed guests from sporting events, and scheduled special DJ events to prove that neither age nor lack resources can prevent them from pursuing their passion. (Kelvin with his homemade FM transmitter and battery.) “If we have a radio station in my community the people can be able to debate about issues affecting our community and Sierra Leone as a whole,” he said. “People normally call me DJ focus in my community, because I believe if you focus you can do invention perfectly. I DJ every day.” David Sengeh, also a native of Sierra Leone and a MIT doctoral student, first met Kelvin at a “Summer Innovation Camp” in the teenager’s country. Sengeh immediately saw Kelvin’s immense potential and personally made it his mission to help broaden Kelvin’s mind by bringing him to the U.S. Once in the States, faculties and students at MIT (among other institutions) showered Kelvin with hoards of useful information which Kelvin said he will pass on to his family, friends, and colleagues once he goes back home. According to World Bank 2011 statistics, Sierra Leone’s GDP is $2.24 billion, and if you compare that to the $15.09 trillion of the U.S.’s it just goes to show how scarce resources can be for Kelvin and other children who have aspirations to learn about technology and obtain higher education. Sengeh acknowledges that there are more kids like Kelvin in Sierra Leone, as well as Africa as a whole, and it’s important to remember that Kelvin “is not the only young person… ready to embrace [the] opportunities” given the chances. “I love inventing,” said Kelvin. “I want to help my family to provide the facility for them. My next invention will be a windmill for people to use for electricity supply. [My aim] is to promote innovation among young people in Sierra Leone.” New evidence - Kim Dotcom lawyers want case dismissed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-evidence--kim-dotcom-lawyers- want-case-dismissed/18035.html November 26th, 2012 Kim Dotcom is seeking to have the case against him dismissed because of evidence suggesting the FBI forced him
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 to preserve 39 pirated movies from another case unrelated to his. According to Kim Dotcom’s lawyers, the 39 movie files were uploaded after the FBI investigated a website called ‘ninjavideo.com', and that the site used the cloud storage database from megauplaod.com to store the movies in 2010. In turn, the FBI made a seizure on megaupload.com. The 39 files were identified during an investigation into the NinjaVideo website, which had used Megaupload's cloud storage for their pirated movies. The FBI later seized the Megaupload site and based that seizure on the same files being stored even though Kim Dotcom says he was cooperating with the FBI as much as he could. In a statement to the press, Kim Dotcom said the FBI used the fact that the files were still stored on Megaupload’s cloud server to get the warrant. They then used his trust and cooperation to double cross the New Zealand resident. The district court of New Zealand is now seeking that the FBI provide them with all evidence and files relating to the case. However, the US is trying to appeal the request. Currently Kim Dotcom’s US lawyer, Ira Rothken, is working to have the US court drop the seizure of megaupload.com. Rothken says this latest revelation in regards to the 2010 seizure of NinjaVideo only proves that the case against Dotcom should be dismissed and was an illegal seizure. Was Black Friday the day of reckoning for the laptop? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/was-black-friday-the-day-of- reckoning-for-the-laptop-/18039.html November 26th, 2012 Since the launch of the iPad back in 2010, the tablet has grown greatly in popularity. While laptops have clenched onto their position as the leading computing device for years now, this year may be the year that notebook computers fall from grace. And Black Friday’s bonanza sales on tablets certainly didn’t help the cause of the traditional computer. While most analysts agree that tablets will outsell laptops in North America next year, it will still take some time for the new era of computing to sweep up the rest of the world. Analyst Richard Shim of NPD predicts that it will take until 2015 for the rest of the world to catch up to the new trend in mobile computing. But is Shim’s prediction of Black Friday being the catalyst for tablet’s success over notebooks valid? Well, while non- apple tablets have been bulky, pricy offerings during their first generation, real competitors to Cupertino’s all-purpose slab have really started to kick off this year, with the new Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 showing us what “affordable” tablets were really capable of. The traditional upgrade cycle of notebook and desktop computers has thus been disrupted by the rise in tablet computing, and this has been clearly reflected in Black Friday’s sales, where tablets have a much more substantial presence in stores than laptops. Some analysts however, feel that the low-cost Android tablets for under $100-$150 are in fact hurting the cause of the tablet. Certainly top brands such as Samsung, Apple, Google, and Microsoft didn’t discount their flagship models too much, as it would have damaged their reputation. Apple gave out some vouchers, but Microsoft probably felt that its surface was already competitively priced, even during the hectic sales holiday of Black Friday. NPD’s Stephen Baker feels that “the budget Android tablets are generally not good for the tablet market." "They generally send out a price message that is not realistic for the major brands,” he added. For now at least, it seems that tablets are in style, and laptops are not. It will be the sales figures for this year that tell us the whole story though. Hewlett Packard denies sales to Syria Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hewlett-packard-denies-sales-to- syria/18036.html November 26th, 2012 In a recent press release from Hewlett Packard (HP), the company stated that some of their products might have been sold in Syria. However, the company made it clear that the sales would not have been direct, but done through distributors or other re- sellers of their products. Recently the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asked HP to provide them with information on all sales to places that are being blocked due to embargo. In particular the government agency’s Office of Global Security Risk was seeking information about an HP surveillance system that was installed in the war torn nation of Syria. HP stated that they had not sold directly to Syria but that an Italian surveillance company by the name of ‘Area SpA’ more than likely purchased the HP needed electronics from a vendor and then sold them directly to the Syrian government. HP said that many foreign electronic outlets sometimes find ways around their own bans of sales to countries that have embargoes on them by the United States. This latest story on HP comes after a recent scandal where the HP owned company, Autonomy, was written down by as much as 5 billion dollars. Autonomy was acquired by HP last year, but was recently accused of altering facts on company values in an effort to inflate sales. Mike Lynch who founded Autonomy said that HP is just using his company as a scapegoat due to their poor sales. He also added that there was no way that accounting errors could have devalued his company by 5 billion. HP has been hurt greatly by the new trend in tablets and other hand held computer devices over traditional laptops and home PCs. This past year alone HP has dropped down by about 14% in sales.
  • November 26th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10
  • November 27th, 2012 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. Burglars exploiting bug in electronic hotel locks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/burglars-exploiting-bug-in- electronic-hotel-locks/18082.html November 27th, 2012 Burglars appear to be exploiting a bug in electronic doors to gain entry into rooms, raising serious questions about the security of many hotels. Burglars appear to be exploiting a bug in electronic doors to gain entry into rooms, raising serious questions about the security of many hotels. The technique was demonstrated at the Black Hat hacker conference as far back as July, utilising a simple electronic device to override the security of the door locks. Now it seems to have been used in a number of burglaries in the Texas area. The exploit has become so sophisticated that one researcher managed to put all the electronics required to open the doors into a marker pen, making it potentially easy to hide the burglar's tools of the trade. Attacks in Texas appear to have utilised a digital probe in a small hole on the door lock mechanism to discover the combination, prompting hotel managers to fill the hole with glue as a temporary solution. Over four million doors use these electronic locks, created by Onity. The company previously said it was working to replace the vulnerable locks. Insurance firms believe the technique will circulate among thieves quickly, resulting in a high volume of thefts and subsequent claims. Apple acquired "Lightning" trademark from Harley- Davidson Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-acquired-lightning-trademark- from-harley-davidson/18081.html November 27th, 2012 Applications published by the Europen Union's Patent & Trademark Office reveal that Apple acquired the right to use the name “Lightning” from motorbike firm Harley- Davidson. Applications published by the Europen Union's Patent & Trademark Office reveal that Apple acquired the right to use the name “Lightning” from motorbike firm Harley- Davidson. Apple abandoned its old proprietory 30-pin connector earlier this year for a new 8-pin connector, which is also restricted to Apple devices. The smaller port allowed Apple to make thinner devices, and provide more room for other parts, like larger batteries. The name it got was Lightning, but it did not come without a price. The Cupertino, California-based company secured a partial transfer to the trademark from Harley-Davidson, which owns the rights to use the name for pretty much everything bar that stuff that strikes in the sky when thunder roars.
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The partial transfer means Apple can use the name, but it does not own it, and Harvey-Davidson can still sell partial rights, or the full rights, to another buyer in future. It likely means that Apple had to fork over a pretty penny to get the name, the details of which were not revealed, but given Apple's protracted legal battles with rivals over patents, it was probably a small price to pay for the legal security. While many welcomed a smaller port for Apple devices, it was also criticised for the fact that old accessories would no longer be compatible – that is unless consumers fork over another $20+ for an adaptor. Otherwise they have to buy a slew of new products, which will keep Apple's accessory allies happy. Adblock Plus launches free open source app for Android devices Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/adblock-plus-launches-free-open- source-app-for-android-devices/18080.html November 27th, 2012 Adblock Plus has launched free app for Android devices that disables adverts in the mobile browser and even inside other apps. Adblock Plus has launched free app for Android devices that disables adverts in the mobile browser and even inside other apps. The open source software is the first of its kind of Android that does not require a jailbroken phone. It works the same as the Adblock Plus extension for web browsers, stopping ads from rendering on Android smartphones or tablets, including inside, for example, the Facebook or Angry Birds apps. “Mobile devices have exploded over the past few years, and as usage of these devices has increased, so has advertising, which is becoming more and more intrusive,” said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus. “Mobile devices can feel more ‘personal’ than online browsing via a desktop device, making advertising on these devices even more intrusive and annoying when they interrupt browsing. And by blocking ads from rendering, Adblock Plus users can experience up to 40% faster browsing on their Android devices.” Faida believes that mobile advertising is only beginning and that users will soon be “bombarded,” making it more important to be protected. He called for a new debate on advertising standards and rules to take into consideration new technologies like smartphones. If the app is popular, and we expect it will be, this could damage the revenue-making potential of Google and app developers, many of which rely on ads to fund their free apps. That will be little concern for most consumers, however. Part of the solution for advertisers is in a limitation of the app, which only blocks ads when on a Wi-Fi connection if running Android 3.1 or higher. The device needs to be rooted to block ads over a mobile connection. The Adblock Plus app is available for free from the Google Play store. Hotline Miami sequel announced Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hotline-miami-sequel- announced/18079.html November 27th, 2012 The blood spattered action game Hotline Miami is going to receive a sequel. The developers announced the news after realizing that the DLC they were planning had more content than the original game. Hotline Miami is a top down style 2D action game, mixing stealth and extreme violence with a dreamy 80's soundtrack and a ton of style directly influenced by the Nicholas Winding Refn movie Drive. The developers, Jonatan Söderström and Dennis Wedin created the game using game maker and released it in October to blazing reviews.
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 While they're currently focusing their work on patching the game, work has slowly begun on what was originally intended to be DLC for the game. As the ideas and content planned for the DLC grew, the two developers soon realized that it would contain more content than the original game. Thus, Söderström announced that it "feels reasonable to release it as a full game rather than a DLC". Söderström also tweeted that he was currently listening through an early version of the new soundtrack. Again though, the team is focusing on patching the original game, and work has hardly begun on the sequel, meaning it'll be a while before we get our hands on it. Metro: Last Light receives new live aciton trailer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/metro-last-light-receives-new-live- aciton-trailer/18078.html November 27th, 2012 THQ has released a new trailer for it's upcoming game, Metro: Last Light. Once again, it's a live-action trailer, and once again, it's quite unsettling. In May of this year, THQ released a live-action trailer for it's upcoming game; Metro: Last Light. The trailer made quite an impact and was praised for painting a chilling tale of the moments before the apocalypse occurs which Metro's universe takes place in. The financially troubled developer has released a new live-action trailer, and this one is just as unsettling, and poetic, as the first one. We're introduced to what most of us would refer to as a madman; a crazy person who walks the streets of Moscow with a bible in hand, yelling to himself about the apocalypse. The trailer asks us to consider what happens to people like this when the apocalypse actually occurs. What happens, is that this man whom society laughed off as completely insane, is now heralded as a prophet, as seen at the end of the trailer, when we see him holding a religious sermon. The trailer is thought provoking and raises quite a few philosophical questions about the nature of madness, truth and all manner of other things, which is perfect for a Metro trailer: Though Metro is predominately an action game, it's predecessor took plenty of opportunities to ask questions about human nature and what happens to society when civilization ends - it's a running theme in the game, and any trailer would be wise to include it. Chinese chips may soon rival Intel Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/chinese-chips-may-soon-rival- intel/18076.html November 27th, 2012 China's first microprocessor may soon find it's way into routers and servers, competing with the current day Intel and ARM architecture. Currently, the computer and mobile market is dominated by two architectures for their processors: Intel-architecture and ARM-architecture. Now, the Chinese BLX IC Design Corporation, a public private partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is about to unveil a third contender, based on their own design. Early next year, a chip in their line of Loongson processors will be unveiled, which is meant to drive computers, servers and even super computers. Loongson chip BLX IC Design Corporation's latest chip is the Godson-3B1500, released in 2011 and which is said to have twice as many transistors and being 35% more power efficient than previous models. These older chips have already been used however, to create china's first home-built super computer. The chip due to be revealed next year will be a 32nm chip, which still falls behind Intel's newest 22nm size. In addition, the processor chip will be incompatible with Windows, meaning it will lose a large potential market. However, the chip is cheap to produce, and that means it could be used to promote internet centric computing in developing nations, where the costs of setting up servers prohibit the development of online and cloud-based infrastructure.
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Microsoft may be planning to open retail stores in Europe Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-may-be-planning-to-open- retail-stores-in-europe/18075.html November 27th, 2012 Following Apple's example, Microsoft has been opening stores in the United States, and pretty soon they may be turning their attention to Europe. Microsoft has been opening stores in the United States, and a recent FT report suggests they may be bringing these stores to Europe next. Microsoft has reportedly been in talks with UK landlords to set up shops in the United Kingdom. Apple has also been expanding their stores, and Microsoft seems to be following the pattern in an attempt to catch up. While Apple stores only sell proprietary Apple products, the Microsoft stores sell software from a range of developers, but all of which are compatible with desktop and mobile versions of Windows 8 and Windows phone 8. The first Microsoft Store opened weeks after the release of Windows 7, and today there are 32 stores across the US and one in Canada. Since the release of Windows 8 at the end of October, four new stores have opened, and one is slated to open in December. It's a Microsoft Store Microsoft has been opening their stores near Apple Stores, which isn't very surprising and is a common business strategy, so you can probably expect to see something similar throughout the UK and eventually, across Europe. Man vs. Machine: WITCH computer faces off against human Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/man-vs.-machine-witch-computer- faces-off-against-human/18073.html November 27th, 2012 The WITCH computer, the oldest functioning digital computer in existence, has found a new life in the UK's National Museum of Computing, and has now taken part in a calculation race against a human. Last week, we reported on the WITCH computer, a dekatron powered machine and the oldest digital computer in existence. The WITCH has undergone serious restoration work since 2009 and is now powered back on again at the UK's National Museum of Computing, where it has taken it's place as an exhibit. The WITCH, which was created in 1951, was one of only a dozen computers worldwide at the time, and was meant to calculate algorithms based on input on paper strips. It worked at roughly the same speed as a human being, and because of this, it has taken part in a calculation race with Bart Fossey; a reenactment of one which was done nearly 60 years earlier. The WITCH, fully restored Bart Fossey was hired by an insurance company as a summer job while at university, where he utilized a mechanical Facit pocket calculator. When he was later in charge of checking the computational accuracy of the WITCH, he utilized the same mechanical device. He set out to determine if the computer's rounding produced errors in the results. The WITCH is a much more mechanical machine than it's modern day counterparts, and so Fossey could actually hear from the noises it made, that he was working at the same speed as the computer. Fossey visited the National Museum of Computing for a rematch, and set off to race the computer in front of an audience. Using a Facit requires some practice, and a bit of dexterity, and understandably, Fossey was out of practice. But after a while, the museum reports, he "managed to keep up with the machine for several minutes to great acclaim from the audience."
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Bart Fossey's epic race against the machine Unfortunately, while the WITCH is currently operational, it will only be reliving it's glory days for so long. Eventually, the Museums will run out of Dekatron tubes, the digital component central to the computer's operation, which can store one number between 0 and 9, and at that point, its racing days will be over. Steam breaks six million mark for simultaneous users Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-breaks-six-million-mark-for- simultaneous-users/18072.html November 27th, 2012 Steam has broken the six million user mark for simultaneous users, due partly to their ever growing user base, but also much thanks to the seasonal Steam sale. Over six million users were recently logged into Steam at the same time, breaking the next million user barrier after hitting five million earlier this year. This is partly due to the seasonal Steam sale currently ongoing, which offers deals on newly released titles as well as anthologies of old games. However, as the most played game on Steam right now is the free-to-play DOTA 2, these stats may not be entirely temporary. Unfortunately, the consoles aren't releasing simultaneous user stats as openly as Steam is, so it's difficult to say how the platforms compare, but no doubt PC gaming is far from dead. Over 6 million user at once. Impressive! Steam was originally released by Valve in 2003 as a platform for updating Counter-Strike, but soon grew into a software distribution platform and social hub for PC gamers, and in later years, has also seen a release for Mac, PS3 and Mobile platforms, and a version is in the works for Linux as well. In 2011, Forbes announced that Steam accounted for 50-70% of digital game sales for the PC and The Witcher II has similarly stated that Steam accounts for 80% of their digital sales. Petition for PC version of GTA V hits 40,000 signatures Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/petition-for-pc-version-of-gta-v- hits-40-000-signatures/18071.html November 27th, 2012 A petition to bring GTA V to the PC platform has just reached 40,000 signatures, out of a desired 100,000. Rockstar has at the moment not released any details about a potential PC release of the game. A petition has been started at change.org for the PC release of Rockstar Games' upcoming Grand Theft Auto V. The petition is hoping for a total of 100,000 signatures, of which it has so far managed to get 40,000 of. Rockstar hasn't mentioned a PC release so far. In an interview with IGN, Rockstar's Dan Houser stated that "for those asking about the PC platform, we're currently focused on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game and don't have any details to share about a PC version at this time.” "Hey 360, let's go hang out with GTA V! Oh.. hi, PC; sorry, you can't come" A good sign is that Houser also said all platforms other than 360 and PS3 are up for consideration. In addition, the Grand Theft Auto games have always seen a PC release, even if they're always much later to the market than the console versions. Grand Theft Auto IV, for example, was released for PC a whole seven months after the console release. Of course, these delays are always accompanied by mod support and better visuals, so waiting might not be all that bad. Of course, ensuring there will be a PC release by tossing petitions at Rockstar is not a bad idea anyway. The petition
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 cites, among other reasons for a PC release, that the franchise has a big impact and would be missed on the platform, that the PC is the most powerful platform and that the modding community unique to PC gamers has always enjoyed playing with GTA, and that this has resulted in some of the most fun gameplay you can have in GTA. The UN looks to Minecraft for regeneration projects Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/the-un-looks-to-minecraft-for- regeneration-projects/18064.html November 27th, 2012 Through a project called Block by Block the UN Habitat organization will be joining forces with the video game sensation Minecraft to help people have a voice in how their towns can be changed. Over the last few days, thanks to the annual conference in Paris, we have been hearing a lot of interesting, and cool, news about the video game sensation Minecraft; and today it was announced that Minecraft-maker Mojang will be collaberating with UN Habitat in a new project called Block by Block. The idea is to bring the development plans that UN Habitat has for 300 places around the world to 'life' and allow the residents of those areas to take a virtual tour so that they can help decide how those locations will change. People will be able to change the model as a way to help decide how the UN Habitat regeneration money should be spent. The first place to be modeled using Minecraft as a part of the pilot for the project was the Undugu playground, which is found in the Kibera slum region on the outskirts of Nairobi. "We'll be putting it into the game so people can walk around and feel like it's as real life as possible," Lydia Winters, community liaison manager at Mojang told the BBC. The Undugu playground has been recreated by the Minecraft modelling company Fyre UK and soon those who live around the playground will be able to visit it virtually and see what the UN has in mind when it comes to regenerating it. UN Habitat hopes that by 2016 all 300 areas under consideration for regeneration will be modelled in Minecraft. Get your geek on with a projected virtual keyboard Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/get-your-geek-on-with-a-projected- virtual-keyboard/18067.html November 27th, 2012 Until speech-to-text software reaches a point where they’re perfect without the need for ‘training’, we will all have to rely on our trusty keyboards to type out our messages. There are all sorts of keyboard on the market from ergonomics to mechanical, but essentially they all carry out the same tasks —typing. If typing is all you’re really looking to do with a keyboard then perhaps a laser projection keyboard from CTX Virtual Technologies can oblige to your needs. The pocket-sized device will project a virtual keyboard onto a flat surface and has optical sensors that track your finger movements so that you can type without the need of a physical keyboard. The device links to your tablet (why would you need one for a laptop?) via Bluetooth or USB, and has a battery rating of around 2 hours. As for how much this futuristic thing costs; it’ll run you $99, but as of right now the device is not yet available. Demands were so high that Brookstone.com (the only outlet offering the device) states that it cannot even accept any more pre- orders. If you’re one of the lucky few that managed to get in an approved pre-order, you’ll get it sometime in December. Those interested in putting in a pre-order, check out the product page once in awhile to see if pre-orders are being
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 accepted. Imagine all the eyes you would get at a Starbucks if you whipped out this virtual keyboard—lots. Which tablet maker will be the first to integrate this technology into their mobile device? ARM - Possible Beginning of the End for AMD? - Part 1 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arm--possible-beginning-of-the-end- for-amd--part-1/18054.html November 27th, 2012 Last month's move by AMD to license the initial 64-bit ARM cores for its server use could signal a brave attempt towards a new direction, as well as finally giving up any plans to competitively fight Intel on the X86 performance front. Aside of the still relatively healthy GPU business, what is the impact on AMD futures? This two parter focuses on the problem and possible solutions. After covering AMD - among many other CPU vendors, of course - over nearly two decades, and seeing quite a few of these CPU vendors fall by the wayside, I thought of the company as a kind of 'survivor', the feisty underdog or even 'Luke Skywalker' freedom fighter which, even in spite of the 'Darth Vader'-esque Intel shadow of the past, and, more importantly, repeated top management blunders, still soldiers on to provide the PC community an alternative CPU and system platform source. However, this past year's happenings, for the first time, make me feel that AMD's time as a serious CPU contender may be coming to an end. Why? Firstly, the accumulated, consecutive top management blunders, which now cannot just be blamed on Hector Ruiz era any more, have become just too much for any company to survive, even if able to take heavy blows. Yes, the troubles started well over half a decade ago with 'Barcelona', but what followed was even worse. Even though the decision to go with the Bulldozer, then strip it down and release a huge lemon, was a huge mistake, an even bigger mistake was not doing a quick U-turn on this the moment it became clear that both the raw performance, and power/performance are going to suck. Abandoning that microarchitecture on time, and refocusing on an early replacement, would have been better, despite the resulting say a year lull in CPU sales - which ended up depressing anyway till now. Simply, Intel was still big enough to swallow one Pentium 4 disaster, and still moved on just on time to the Core - but AMD doesn't have the stamina to continue this way. (somebody even bothered to make a viral video about the Bulldozer) The continued series of delayed minor CPU core improvements in the shape of Piledriver and follow-up Steamroller, if it gets released, didn't help the cause, as Intel continued to widen its performance lead despite slowing down its own tick tock sequence by over a year at this moment - this is what lack of true competition does to the market, like it? Secondly, the surrounding platform infrastructure - read uncore, chipsets and so on - followed the CPUs in being below par across the board. Slower memory controllers on top of truly bad cache latencies, which you can see from VR-Zone and others's benchmarks in plenty of cases, lower performing off-chipset PCIe v2 instead of on-CPU low latency PCIe v3, then the delays in introducing new stuff like USB3, SATA3, Thunderbolt etc. AMD is still stuck in 4 years old socket infrastructure for its CPUs, both desktop and servers. Thirdly, the relationship with the vendors, channels, enthusiasts and yes, even media. We in Asia Pacific will still remember how, a decade ago and before, AMD fetted the Western press with first class paid press conferences while the Asian press, except Japan, got, literally - nothing. Only way later, when the crisis struck and everything became uncomfortable coach, did they remember the Asia Pacific. But OK, forget about the usual journalists' junket noises, handling the vendors and channels is still far more important. And oh, all those 'early adopter' vendors and integrators who supported AMD in the early Opteron days when no big name wanted to, still do remember how AMD quickly abandoned them once they got the biggies like Dell on- board in those happy times prior to the first major fiasco, the 'Barcelona' - including even upping the prices post- launch. And, did that Dell keep AMD later on, once that crisis struck? Of course not, they just used them for better negotiating terms with their true parent - Intel. Now, no major vendor at all takes AMD seriously, at least not in the CPU business of any kind. And the smaller SI's, who depend on the unique performance or power usage advantages of the CPUs they peddle, are more likely to design something based on Chinese 'Loongson' MIPS or 'Shenwei' Alpha, which we covered here in detail, then on AMD, in the future - at least Loongson can use AMD I/O chipsets over HyperTransport, but too bad, they are also doing their own superior ones now. Next point, even though not directly coupled with the CPUs, are the professional GPUs. With GCN GPU series, AMD actually has a superior GPU design to Nvidia Fermi for any serious GPU computation, with much higher SP FP and comparable DP FP, not to mention the time to market advantage they had till this month prior to the Tesla K20 launch. Was it ever seriously used? No - the workstation card was darn late, and the software stack is still behind Nvidia - not to even mention the smooth ramp up of Intel MIC aka
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Xeon Phi. This opportunity could have been used by AMD to bundle clusters of their GPGPUs with their own server CPUs as a good sales approach in HPC, even if the CPU performance itself is below par. Now, well, it is gone, at least till the high end Sea Islands GPU parts arrive. (FirePro S10000 - missed the boat?) Final point, of course, is the management replacement - kicking out Dirk Meyer now seems to have been yet another mistake, even though, yes, he was a better engineer than a commander. The continued loss of the top engineering brains is a great pity - till last month, AMD had the most of the old key DEC Alpha team in one place, for instance. That CPU architecture, till today, likely stands as the best there was. Rory is a much more jovial type, but the 'SuperBowl sports announcer' style of CEO talk has both pluses and minuses here - the Chinese in Lenovo would have loved it, though. (AMD's current CEO, Rory Read) Then, in parallel with this, comes the long prepared - since Dirk's departure, it seems - ARM announcement. Now, as pointed out by many websites, this is not AMD crearting its own custom cores, but just licensing the initial ARM Cortex 64-bit cores as they are, and putting them into whatever uncore environment they can, likely something tied to the SeaMicro interconnect they acquired for an obnoxiously high sum of money, likely the brainchild of then interim CEO Thomas Seifert and his connections. What does this mean? AMD is now entering into a field where, instead of one single huge competitor, Intel, they will have half a dozen of huge and less huge competitors, ALL of them with a headstart over AMD - both in the ARM experience, custom core and uncore design for performance and/or power focus, customer relationships and, of course, influence within the ARM community. Besides the mammoth Samsung and not much smaller Qualcomm, the old gang like TI, the server focused Marvell and Calxeda (with their own server interconnects matching or exceeding SeaMicro one), and the prospective Chinese ARM server CPU vendor HiSilicon, a part of Huawei, there's also AMD's other nemesis there - NVidia. Like them or not, their have both CPU and GPU headstart over AMD in the ARM world that may be extremely difficult to overcome - ever. And, the AMD announcement would just give Jen-Hsun Huang a good enough reason to deny AMD easy entry in ARM market, any segment. Think Nvidia can't do a good ARM server CPU? Think again... Yet, for the money and resource tight AMD, focusing on ARM means de-emphasising X86 core competition. What then? Read the Part 2 for the possible scenarios. Dogs can retire, scientists develop super sensitive electronic sniffer Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dogs-can-retire-scientists-develop- super-sensitive-electronic-sniffer/18056.html November 27th, 2012 Scientists are claiming to have created a new sniffing device that can detect a wide range of chemicals that exceeds even the best bloodhound, and it was created in part by inspiration from the canine’s incredible sense of smell. For centuries dogs have benefited mankind in ways other animals cannot by using their incredible sense of smell for all manner of tasks. Whether it is tracking down an escaped prisoner, hunting wild game, or sniffing out illegal drugs or bombs - dogs are well adapted at detecting even the faintest of odors we as humans would never detect. Now scientists working at the University of California at Santa Barbara say they have designed a detector that mimics the same way in which a dog smells. The research entry can be found on-line in the Journal, Analytical Chemistry, in an entry titled, ‘Free-Surface Microfluidics/Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy for Real-Time Trace Vapor Detection of Explosives’. Dr. Carl Meinhart, a mechanical engineer, and Martin Moskovits, a chemist, led the research on the project. Dr. Meinhart stated the research was partly based on a dog’s olfactory mucus layer, which absorbs and then concentrates airborne molecules. The odor detector uses what they call microfluidic nanotechnology, and this technology mimics what our canine friends are born with but on a more fantastic scale. It is said to be so incredibly sensitive that even the most insignificant amounts of a substance can be detected and differentiated among other substances. In a seperate November 20, 2012 report from the University of California at Santa Barbara’s School of Engineering, Dr. Meinhart stated that while dogs are currently the best detectors for explosives and other things, they could become distracted or bored at their jobs and possibly miss something. This new device, according to Meinhart, never tires and can work indefinitely. “We have developed a device with the same or better sensitivity as a dog’s nose that feeds into a computer to report exactly what kind of molecule it’s detecting”, said Meinhart. While this device can in fact detect explosives or other substances, its uses could be limitless in regards to medical
  • November 27th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 research. In fact, Meinhart says that it could sample someone’s breath and detect certain types of cancers. (Concept illustration of the micoscale free-survade microfluidic channel as it concentrates vapor molecules that bind to the nanoparticles inside a chaber. A laser beam detects the nanoparticles, which amplify a spectral signature of the detected molecules | Image: UCSB) Analysts are confident in RIM's revival with BlackBerry 10 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/analysts-are-confident-in-rim-s- revival-with-blackberry-10/18057.html November 27th, 2012 Research in Motion Ltd all but seem to have headed for destruction, but a surge in their share price of 17.3% on Thursday showed a renewed optimism for the business-class device maker. RIM’s rally was spurred mainly by National Bank analyst Kris Thompson, who elevated his price estimate from $12 to $15. Thompson is betting on RIM’s early 2013 line up of new devices to propel the company enough to ensure their survival (at least for the time being). Thompson isn’t RIM’s only fan though, as Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek changed his critical stance on the Canadian phone maker, and raised both his rating and price target for the stock. RIM shares have risen in seven trading sessions in a row, reaching their highest level since May on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, ending out the day at $12 CAD. (Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on a different date to the US, in case you were wondering why the stock market was open that day). Share prices suggest that RIM may be back in business, and much of the new sentiment towards the company hails from the impending BB10 (BlackBerry 10) global platform launch in February 2013. Telecom carriers are welcoming the BB10 operating system and the devices that run on it with open arms, causing analysts to be more optimistic about RIM’s future. While still not certain, RIM are reportedly “100 percent ready” for a January 30 launch of their new BlackBerry 10 devices. RIM’s COO Kristian Tear stated that the devices will be available in stores “not too long after” the tentative launch date. Let’s wish RIM good luck, as more competition in the market is always a good thing. It keeps the likes of Apple and Samsung from getting too self-assured. Review: Assassin's Creed III (PC) Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/review-assassin-s-creed-iii- pc-/18059.html November 27th, 2012 With Assassin's Creed III finally out for all platforms, it's about time we looked under the hood. Is this game a revolutionary, or just sidenote in videogame history? It's been a long time since I found myself bubbling with excitement in front of the screen, or my thoughts drifting to a game when I'm going about my everyday business. The kind of experience which warrants that type of reaction, is for me what separates a great game from merely a good one. I was unsure if I'd experience this feeling with Assassin's Creed III; it has some pretty big shoes to fill: After the success of Assassin's Creed II and it's expansions (I say expansions, but they are really full games in their own right), and with the responsibility to wrap up a story five years in the making, there is a lot that could have gone wrong, and plenty of ways to let down a hyped audience. And while it's true that Assassin's Creed III has it's flaws, it has gone beyond my expectations in it's efforts to improve upon it's predecessors. The result is, beyond a doubt, a great game, and I am bubbling in front of the screen once more.
  • November 28th, 2012 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. US Congressman proposes a "don't touch the internet" law Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-congressman-proposes-a-don-t- touch-the-internet-law/18105.html November 28th, 2012 A Republican Congressman in the US has proposed a new law that prohibits further laws from changing or affecting the internet for at least two years, potentially saving it from a series of bills and treaties that some believe could hinder free speech online and invade user privacy. A Republican Congressman in the US has proposed a new law that prohibits further laws from changing or affecting the internet for at least two years, potentially saving it from a series of bills and treaties that some believe could hinder free speech online and invade user privacy. Darrell Issa, who represents California, put forward a new piece of legislation yesterday, the Internet American Moratorium Act, that could give the internet, and many internet-based companies, a breather for the next two years. The move follows a number of proposed laws and trade agreements, such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and CISPA, that critics suggested would lead to censorship online. Many of the previous proposals were designed to tackle the rise in piracy, but they were so broad they would likely cause more damage than they would solve. Issa has been a major opponent of the previous legislation attempts, but he also voted in favour of the widely-criticised CISPA. His Twitter bio says: “I also greatly enjoy an #OPEN, accessible & uncensored internet.” He uploaded the legislation to keepthewebopen.com and agreed to a Q&A on Reddit, where there are mixed views on his proposal. Some view it as a genuine attempt to protect the internet, while others see it as purely a political move to help repair the image of the Republican party. Some even think it might be a trojan horse to help undo current laws or pave the way for significant changes to how the internet is run. Regardless, Issa is pushing ahead with his hope that his legislation will unburden the internet – at least for a two year period. Image Credit: Svilen Milev US builds miniature "cyber city" for computer defence simulation Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-builds-miniature-cyber-city-for- computer-defence-simulation/18104.html November 28th, 2012 The US has built a miniature "city cyber" with a fully working infrastructure for testing out defences against cyber attacks. The US has built a miniature "cyber city" with a fully working infrastructure for testing out defences against cyber attacks. The tiny city, just six feet by eight feet, features a full selection of critical facilities needed to keep everything running smoothly, including a bank, hospital, water tower, power grid, and train system, all running on real computer systems. The city was created by security training firm the Sans Institute and is the answer to a challenge made by the US military to work out ways to protect important services from hackers. The Institute said that there is “detailed evidence” of foreign governments infiltrating the computer networks of banks, companies and infrastructure, and that previous efforts to fend off the attacks have been limited. There is a growing
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 fear in many countries of the threat of these kinds of attacks, which could cripple a city and cause widespread chaos and disruption, with oil companies claiming that oil supplies are also being targeted. Vital infrastructure like electricity grids are threatened by hackers The CyberCity will help train people to respond to attacks through a serious of simulations, where hackers will target the fully working computer systems of the miniature city's banks, water or power supply, hospitals, and other vital services a thriving city cannot do without. “We've built over 18 missions, and each of them challenges participants to devise strategies and employ tactics to thwart computer attacks that would cause significant real-world damage,” said Ed Skoudis, director of NetWars CyberCity. The missions, lasting between a few hours and several days, begin in December. Image Credit: Zorba the Geek AT&T celebrates 30 years of the Information Age Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/at-t-celebrates-30-years-of-the- information-age/18102.html November 28th, 2012 American Telephone & Telegraph, better known as AT&T, is celebrating 30 years of the Information Age on 12 December with the launch of a new website to highlight how it all began. American Telephone & Telegraph, better known as AT&T, is celebrating 30 years of the Information Age on 12 December with the launch of a new website to highlight how it all began. The new site is now online at www.informationage.org, thanks to James R. Messenger, a former AT&T employee, author of The Death of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company – How “Ma Bell” Died Giving Birth to the Information Age, EMMY award winner, and two time Academy Award nominee for his documentaries. Messenger is credited with teaching The Theory of the Information Age on 12 December 1982 at AT&T's Executive Briefing Centre in New Jersey. The subsequent division of AT&T after the US Department of Justice launched an antitrust lawsuit against it over its monopoly of the industry helped make Messenger's vision a reality, as it opened the market to considerable competition, thus accelerating the growth of the technologies of the Information Age. James R. Messenger “In 1982, the world’s telephone networks were analog systems incompatible with computers,” said Messenger. “When the decision was made to rebuild the world’s networks as all-digital systems to facilitate the interconnection of computers via telecommunications, my staff and I educated the world’s leaders in telecommunications, Information Technology, government, business, education, and other fields, planting the seeds that would lead to the world of high technology in which we now live. Today, I’m turning up a new website challenging human beings across the globe to consciously think our way into the Information Age so that it brings the greatest advantage to everyone.” The website covers a brief history of the Information Age, the people behind it, such as Ed Roberts, the inventor of the first PC, why people have trouble understanding the Information Age, and various theories about how to fix problems in the world through the adoption of Information Age policies. GameStop's Wii U waiting list is full Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gamestop-s-wii-u-waiting-list-is- full/18100.html November 28th, 2012
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 If you missed out on getting a Wii U, and were hoping to get on the waiting list with Gamestop, you're out of luck. No more names are being added to their list. Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, is unsurprisingly in short supply right now. GameStop decided to help those who missed out on pre-orders for the console by creating a waiting list for future shipments. To sign up on a list, you only had a 48 hour window to sign up and you had to be a member of their Power-Up rewards program. Once on the list, GameStop would then call you once they got new stock in the stores, before putting it on the shelf. GameStop has officially closed this list now, and are not adding any more names to it. Rumors were circulating that GameStop wouldn't be calling to let the signers know when new hardware had arrived, but this rumor turns out to be false, and in a comment to Gametrailers' Side Mission blog, they stated that the list is not canceled; only closed. It is unknown how many people signed up for the list, but for the rest of you hoping to get a copy, you'd best keep searching. If you're desperate and willing to toss out a few hundred dollars more, I'd recommend checking out eBay, where you'll find a bunch of them selling for about $300-500. Google Streetview now has over 90 ski resorts on camera Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-streetview-now-has-over-90- ski-resorts-on-camera/18099.html November 28th, 2012 Google continues it's awesome and ridiculous expansion of Streetview, returning to the slopes and providing over 90 ski resorts worldwide with a first person view of the snow Google Streetview had a fairly practical purpose when it was first implemented - instead of just seeing a location via map, you could look at a first person panoramic view of it as well; very useful for seeing what the house your driving to looks like, or keeping track of what the surroundings look like when you're supposed to make a turn. Then everybody discovered how much fun Streetview can be, letting people explore locations all over the world from the comfort of their living room. Google has since expanded upon the service, including Streetview in absolutely awesome, and often ridiculous places, such as art galleries and underwater, on the great barrier reef. They even gave the Streetview treatment to the Amazon river and the Antarctic. In 2010, while preparing for the Vancouver winter Olympics, they mapped out several ski slopes. Now they've returned and Google are announcing that 90 ski resorts world wide are mapped, in countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Canada and the US. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia WWII pigeon message found after 70 years; officials can't unscramble it. Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/wwii-pigeon-message-found- after-70-years-officials-can-t-unscramble-it./18097.html November 28th, 2012 While cleaning out his chimney, a British man discovered the remains of a WWII carrier pigeon, and with it, an encrypted message for British intelligence which may never be unscrambled. When retired probation officer David Martin cleaned out his chimney, the last thing he probably expected to find was the remains of a 70 year old WWII carrier pigeon, with message intact. The message was composed of 27 five-letter blocks, obviously encrypted to prevent it from being intercepted by Axis forces. When the message was later delivered to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain, who are in charge of signals intelligence, they found it was not possible to decipher the message. The message was coded using an OTP (one time pad), a virtually unbreakable coding system. The sender and recipient both have a one-time-use sheet with a cipher key. The specific key is necessary for decoding the text, and is only used for a single message. This means that if further messages are intercepted, they will all be coded differently and there are no copies of the key lying around either, making deciphering impossible.
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 It is believed that the message was sent during the D-Day invasion of France, sent across the channel to relay messages to the British command, since radio silence was in effect. Chances are the pigeon became disoriented or tired from it's flight, and ended up in the chimney. The message was most likely due to Bletchley Park, a secret military facility 80 miles from where the pigeon was found. The message was also to be delivered to X02, which was the designation for Bomber Command. The only way to ever find out what the message read is by finding the OTP designated AOAKN, which may be somewhere in an archive, or by finding the writer of the message, one Sergeant W. Stot. Dishonored DLC due on 11th December Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dishonored-dlc-due-on-11th- december/18096.html November 28th, 2012 The first of Bethesda's three planned DLCs for Dishonored is due out in December, and it includes a lot of new gameplay features. Bethesda announced a while back that it would be releasing three DLC packs for it's critically acclaimed game Dishonored, and the first one is just around the corner. On December 11, Dunwall City Trials will be released for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC at a price of $5, and will focus on adding new gameplay modes and achievements, as opposed to offering up more story missions. The new features will include a wave battle mode, achievements, drop assassination chains and time trials. The other two DLC packs will go on sale in 2013, the first one hitting in the spring and will be focusing on Daud, the leader of the supernatural assassins in the game. Details on the final DLC won't be revealed until closer to it's release, but Bethesda has announced that the two later DLC's will be more story driven than Dunwall City Trials Cassini snaps photos of vortex at Saturn's north pole Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/cassini-snaps-photos-of-vortex-at- saturn-s-north-pole/18095.html November 28th, 2012 Cassini just made a pass over Saturn's north pole, where it found a swirling vortex at the center of the planet's Northern Hexagon Saturn has some interesting features, including a hexagonal cloud pattern which mysteriously persists in the north pole region. At the center of this cloud pattern, which scientists believe may be caused by standing cloud formations, there is a massive vortex, which Cassini has just photographed from a distance of 361,000 km. The image was taken through an infrared filter.
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Not a hurricane I want to get stuck in... The vortex, though quite intimidating, is tiny compared to the rest of the planet. Below, you'll see it as a small mark at the center of the hexagon, and just for reference, the straight edges of that hexagon are about 13,800km long, longer than the diameter of Earth. The hexagon is the... hexagonal structure of a lighter color towards the edges of the image Windows 8 building up some steam: 40M licenses sold in one month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/windows-8-building-up-some- steam-40m-licenses-sold-in-one-month/18091.html November 28th, 2012 Sale of Windows 8's licenses has surpassed the speed of Windows 7’s initial launch, in terms of early-stage upgrades. Does this mean Windows 8 is a success though, or is it just a temporary fling? Microsoft’s official blog states that the factors behind Windows 8’s ‘success’ is that upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 is “super easy”, and because Windows 8 was also designed to work well on existing Windows 7 PCs. Is that the real reason though? Or did it have something to do with the fact it only costs $40 to upgrade a Windows XP< Vista, or 7 PC to Windows 8 (until January 31st , at least). Who knows what the real deal is, but while Windows 8 stirs polarizing opinions worldwide with its ‘tablet-like’ interface, it doesn't appear to be slowing down sales-wise. According to Microsoft, the OS sold 4 million upgrades in its first three days of release, and the new 40 million mark suggests that this upgrade-a-thon is still ongoing. Additional sales figures were not announced (such as Microsoft’s recent flagship Surface tablet), and its difficult to know whether users are sticking with the Fisher Price-esque Windows 8 or downgrading back to the warm familiar sight of Windows 7 after a weeks use. At this point in the game a sale is a sale, so it’s all great for Microsoft, and they may be able to hook people to keep using the OS thanks to the opening of their Windows Store back in October, which apparently launched with more apps than any other app store, and the number of apps available has already doubled since October. Developers who sell their apps through the Windows Store get 80% of the profits made through it, and this continues throughout the life of the app. Twenty percent is no small levy, but it's a good alternative to piracy at least. Apparently a number of apps on the store have already made more than $25,000, suggesting that PC users really aren’t all a bunch of dirty pirates after all, and that they are willing to pay money for software if the purchase process is easy enough. This mirrors Valve Software’s approach with their Steam platform, which aims to keep users buying by offering a pleasant buying experience. With a direct rival to their Steam service, its also easy to see why Valve’s boss Gabe Newell would get so upset about it, too. The Windows Store itself is more of a revolution than Windows 8 is, and may spur renewed interest in developing both apps and games for the PC platform, now that there is money to be had. 10GB e-mail attachments now possible, Google integrates Drive with Gmail Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/10gb-e-mail-attachments-now- possible-google-integrates-drive-with-gmail/18089.html November 28th, 2012 Google has integrated Google Drive with Gmail, thereby enabling users with the capability of sending files up to 400 times larger, or up to 10GB.
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 For those of us who upload or download a lot of data from the Internet, we are well aware of the limitations that E- mail offers in this department. While some On-line Email accounts offer transfers up to 25MB, many files today are just enormous. Google has heard our cries and are now combining Google Drive with their popular free E-mail system. This combo allows users to transfer files up to 10GB in size, which is very impressive. Google has also implemented their “smart assistant” in the file sender that alerts the recipients in case they are unable to open the files being sent and to also make sure the recipient has full access to it. Google Product Manager Phil Sharp in an official blog message titled, “Gmail and Drive - a new way to send files”, tells Google users that data sent through this new system is stored on the cloud, therefore all the recipients will have access to the most current version of the file sent. “Like a smart assistant, Gmail will also double-check that your recipients all have access to any files you’re sending," says Sharp. "This works like Gmail’s forgotten attachment detector: whenever you send a file from Drive that isn’t shared with everyone, you’ll be prompted with the option to change the file’s sharing settings without leaving your email. It’ll even work with Drive links pasted directly into email.” This latest addition comes just after Google’s new E-mail compose layout that was unveiled on October 30th , 2012. The new compose in Gmail gives little helpful popouts while you write such as the image of the recipient along with their contact information in the autocomplete area. First concept art for Bungie's new IP Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/first-concept-art-for-bungie-s-new- ip/18094.html November 28th, 2012 Bungie is making a new game called Destiny, and the first concept art for the game has hit the web for us to feast our eyes on. Bungie is releasing a new game through Activision, the first game in a long time which isn't Halo related, and the rumored title for the game is Destiny. Bungie has released the first concept art for the game as a response to a leaked marketing document which surfaced on IGN. In the document, it was detailed that Destiny would be "fun and accessible", and that it would feature a "deep, tangible and relatable" world comparable to the Star Wars universe. The plot will revolve around an alien starship out to destroy the earth and a number of "knights" who stand as humanity's last defense... which sounds pretty similar to Halo. What is very different though, is that Bungie is now in a ten year contract with Activision, meaning they are no longer a proprietary Xbox developer - logo icons from the marketing documents reveals the game will see a Playstation release. The leaked document garnered this response from Bungie: "We're not quite ready to take the wraps off our next universe, but in light of recent events we thought we'd give fans something a little more official over at Bungie.net. Feel free to drop by and say hello! There’s much more to come." The more official something they speak of, is the concept art below. Enjoy! Looks promising, no? Nintendo announces Wii Mini Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nintendo-announces-wii- mini/18093.html November 28th, 2012 Nintendo follows in the custom of re-designing their console with the newly announced Wii Mini. Jump in for specifics and screenshots of the system's new style. Nintendo's Wii Mini looks like a blast from the past: its geometric design hints at something from the early days of gaming in the 80's. The re-design of the popular console shows that Nintendo is still paying attention to the aging console, despite being overshadowed by it's next-gen brother the Wii U. As you can see in the picture above, the Open button seems to make the console a top-loader, a change that will be welcome
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 to some and brings back old memories of the GameCube console. One downside of the Wii Mini, however, is that the system does not support internet capabilities (no WiFi or Ethernet), denying access to Nintendo's eShop: "With the low price tag comes a few sacrifices. Most notably, the unit is stripped of its Wi-Fi capabilities, so the Wii Mini cannot connect to the internet and does not support online features in games. Furthermore, the Wii Mini will not be compatible with Nintendo GameCube game discs, and the GameCube controller ports and memory slots have been removed." -- Nintendo Wii Mini product page Nintendo's newly re-designed Wii Mini will hit shelves on Dec. 7, 2012 and will have a low price point of $99. For more information on the Wii please visit Nintendo's official website. Scientists invent self-filling water bottle Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-invent-self-filling-water- bottle/18088.html November 28th, 2012 Developers are saying they have invented a self-filling water bottle that should be on the market in about 2 years. The bottle is capable of pulling water vapor directly from the air and based in part by studying the desert dwelling Namid Beetle. We’ve all heard of the horror stories of someone being lost in the desert or maybe adrift at sea in a desperate need of water. Now a team calling themselves NBD Nano are saying those days may be over with their new self-filling water collector. The design of the device came about after they studied the exoskeleton of the Namid desert beetle. The insect is capable of condensing water vapor by the small dimples on its outer shell where the water is collected. The insect then angles itself and the water then drains into the insects mouth. The new self-filling water collector has applied the same principles as the Namid Beetle, but it uses a nano-scale surface area with water absorbing (super-hydroscopic) and water repelling (super-hydrophobic) attributes. Currently the designers of the water collector only have a concept model, but have demonstrated its proven ability to harvest water out of thin air. One of the designers by the name of Miguel Galvez was quoted as saying that the device can harvest as much as one half to 3 liters of water per day. Currently the team is looking to increase the size of the water collection model and apply its use for water production in green houses. Their website states that some uses for the device would be for dehumidification for households, production of water for those in the military, and pure water for third world regions. As the technology improves it could very well solve a lot of the world’s water shortage problems in farming regions like the U.S. southwest or in parts of the Middle East. Nano particle technology has begun to take hold in many applications. In 2005, scientists working with MIT came up with the very same concept that NBD Nano describes and saw its use for anti fogging and as a film to prevent dirt buildup. More recently MIT has developed a super- hydrophobic film coating they are calling "LiquiGlide". Currently 'LiquiGlide' is being aimed at food product cotainers and condiment bottles in particular. In an effort to prevent food waste 'LiquiGlide' prevents food from sticking to the interior walls of its container. Fujitsu launches Wandant, a doggy health monitoring pendant Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-launches-wandant-a-doggy- health-monitoring-pendant/18087.html November 28th, 2012 If you care enough about your dogs to buy them doggy jackets for the winter months, then perhaps you may also want to monitor the dog’s physical state. Fujitsu has just launched the ‘Wandant’ dog pedometer, which monitors your dog’s various canine biological occurrences and outputs the data to your computer/phone in readable human language. Just like any clever naming schemes, the Wandant is exactly what it’s named. ‘Wan’ means ‘woof’ in Japanese, and ‘dant’ is derived from ‘pendant’. Slam the two parts together and you have a ‘woof-pendant.’
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 The Wandant monitors conditions such as the dog’s temperature, how many steps it has taken, stool conditions, among others, and records the doggy-data for analysis via a graphical interface on a computer. Fujitsu claims that the collected data will make it easier for owners to ‘understand’ their pets better, and that it enables ‘communication’ with man’s best friend. This specialized doggy device is currently only targeted at Japanese consumers, and depending on how well it does in Japan the Wandant may drop on other markets. Certainly, this isn’t the first pet-dedicated tech tool to come out of Japan, and it won’t be the last. In 2002, a Japanese toy company by the name of Takara released something called a ‘BowLingual,’ which is a dog-to-human translator. Although Takara explicitly claimed that the device was strictly for ‘entertainment purposes only,’ it helped the inventors gain some fame (Dr. Matsumi Suzuki and Dr. Norio Kogure) when they were awarded the the Ig Nobel Prize for ‘promoting harmony’ between species. Oh, and who can forget the notorious dog washing machine. (See the video above) Regardless of how you feel about all these pet related techs, one thing is for sure…Japanese wants technological progress for themselves as well as their pets. ARM - Possible Beginning of the End for AMD? - Part 2 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arm--possible-beginning-of-the-end- for-amd--part-2/18055.html November 28th, 2012 Last month's move by AMD to license the initial 64-bit ARM cores for its server use could signal a brave attempt towards a new direction, as well as finally giving up any plans to competitively fight Intel on the X86 performance front. Aside of the still relatively healthy GPU business, what is the impact on AMD futures? As a follow-up to yesterday's history lesson, we look at three possible scenarios that could happen for AMD. So, at least looking at the CPU business, AMD is stuck in a very unenviable position right now. The X86 competitive position vs Intel is likely the worst since the Athlon days a decade ago across all market segments except ultra low power, with no near end in sight, while their ARM entry will bring multiples of that competition on both business and technology fronts. On top of it, taking ARM now may make the pundits ask whether AMD is really committed to stay in the X86 at all. The company has been forcibly bleeding, unfortunately, some of their best engineering talent, yet acquiring resources at high price - Seamicro etc - which may not be such a fit after all, especially if the CPU problems aren't solved. Nevertheless, let's take a calm look at the possible scenarios from now on: 1 - 'Gung Ho' approach reversing the brain-drain: the management would go all-out and somehow raise the money to create three parallel beefed-up top CPU core design teams: one for high end X86 for the Excavator and beyond; another for the ultra low power X86 'Jaguar' follow ons for tablets and such; and finally, proper ARM design team for their own custom core. All these, of course, also assume investment in 'uncore' and chipset support teams to support the each core team fully, for complete up to date system platform offerings. This would be the optimal choice to give the market and the user community renewed confidence in AMD as a CPU vendor, but will need to overcome two major troubles. One is the financial one, which only Arabs can seemingly solve at this stage, since the US government wouldn't let the Chinese buy AMD - and they're not interested anymore, anyway. Of course, the implication of the resulting Abu Dhabi controlled strengthened 'Arab Micro Devices' vs very Israeli friendly
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 Intel, where Intel Israel saved the day a decade ago with the Core design, and whose rumoured next CEO in line is whispered to be Dadi Perlmutter right from there, would give interesting twists to any future major Middle East conflict, and those come on regularly, as we all know. The other trouble is the management attitude. AMD would have to bring back someone like Jerry Sanders or alike to lift the spirits. Rory could maybe do a part of the 'spirit lifting' job with his speeches, but he's not a semiconductor guy, let's be honest. At the very least, he'd need decision making assistance by some proper semicon industry experts, possibly outside the current AMD team, but who believe in the company. Managing and supporting three CPU teams plus a GPU team, including the APU Fusion parts in more than just client market, would be a tough job, but it may be the only way AMD re-gains the technical excellence needed to be taken seriously in the market. Naturally, this would also mean strengthening that GPU capability as well. 2 - 'Graceful Shrinking' of a managed sort, let's say: The first step could be - as our friend Charlie said at Semiaccurate - ceasing the high end X86 core development post today's Piledriver, thus leaving the company with just low end X86 and ARM. If the management feels that the high end battle is gone - since Steamroller is another small interim step, and Excavator is two years away, unlikely to beat Intel unless revolutionary improvements in place - this may make sense: just focus on the still promising X86 ultramobile, tablet and smartphone market for the next few years, while in parallel somehow beefing up the ARM design capability to match the incumbents in that space. Over time, if the Windows fades away as, rumours say, its creator Bill Gates is now seemingly focusing on reducing the world population by deadly vaccines and chemtrail vapours (not to mention hoarding the natural seeds for the rich in the Arctic vaults while the rest of populace get poisoned by GMO), the X86 will become even less important, and the low end X86 team can go away as well, or be converted into the second ARM team - so a possible future AMD would have two ARM teams, one for low end mobile; another for ARM servers. And that's where that Seamicro thing may finally become really useful beyond servers - how about making clusters of smartphones, each with two low power Seamicro interconnects outside, to link to other phones directly at the CPU level, bypassing the vendor, OS, security and other limitations? 3 - "Gradual Collapse", also of a managed sort, like Digital or Compaq in the past, for those who remember. Killing off the high end would again be the first step, including this time attempting to sell off the related IP as well. This would be followed possibly by an announcement to, say, sell off most or all of the ATI GPU division - few years ago, only Intel or Nvidia would have been the prospective buyers, but now half a dozen bigwigs would be queuing up for this jewel, including Samsung, Qualcomm and, yes, the Chinese - the Beijing brethren still miss the high end GPU in their portfolio as of now. AMD management and shareholders need quick cash, and this is one sure way to go about it. Mubadala sends a message to AMD employees This would be followed by turning off - or likely selling off - the low end X86 division. VIA could maybe step in here by asking its rich parent Formosa Plastics for some cash to consolidate its low power X86 focus and become truly competitive, and finally give Taiwan a noteworthy X86 CPU platform capability. Heck, they could take the high end stuff at the same time, and, as the vendor is still comparatively small, I don't think Intel would have problems allowing them to keep the AMD X86 license extensions, especially to avoid any monopoly related questions from US FTC. Finally, a slow or underperforming release of the first ARM product - or even no release at all - would be the 'icing on the cake', leading to the dismissal of the rest of the team, if they can't be sold off to another ARM vendor. Seamicro interconnect would then likely be sold off to someone else, likely at minor fraction of what AMD paid for. And, that's about it - AMD would be wrapped up and history by then. Why not an AMD Alpha? Actually, there is a very unlikely - but actually very plausible - scenario as well. Remember AMD has/had quite a few of the top Alpha CPU designers, and what was the world's best CPU architecture, untimely murdered by the corporate merger shenanigans, is now revived very well in China, with 16-corers and beyond? Well, the solution is simple. Give up X86 altogether, and make AMD an all-RISC company with two platforms: renewed Alpha (in partnership with Samsung, once the Alpha 2nd source, and maybe the Chinese) at the high end, using the Hypertransport and Seamicro for various interconnect options, and ARM at the low end, both server and mobile. I am very confident AMD Alpha team could create cores, and uncores, that would not just beat anything Intel has, but also put IBM Power 7+ and its
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 successors, currently the worlds fastest CPUs, to shame. It would ensure long profitable hgh-end future for AMD too. After all, it's Linux open source time, and the dependence on an instruction set to get commercial software vendors' ports, is lesser than ever. How about this? Personally, I hope to see the Scenario 1 happen, for the better of whole computer industry. Over the past 30 years, personal computing has moved from 'space age' respected industry to local hoodlum (Ah Beng in Singapore & Malaysia) car repair shop level of appreciation, no thanks to the rapid decrease of both technology innovation and true competition, coupled with consumerism dominationg the whole industry now. The decline or death of AMD would bring us further to 'one CPU, one OS, one everything', sea of remote controlled Androids (humanoids, not just phone OS), controlled by malicious One World government, by technology monopoly, among others - sounds familiar? Part 1 of "ARM - Possible Beginning of the End for AMD?" can be found here: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arm--possible- beginning-of-the-end-for-amd--part-1/18054.html Executive in charge of iOS 6 Maps fired by Apple SVP Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/executive-in-charge-of-ios-6-maps- fired-by-apple-svp/18085.html November 28th, 2012 According to a report by Bloomsberg, Richard Williamson, the executive in charge of Apple's largely disdained Map application, has been fired. Williamson, "Senior Director, iOS Platform Services", is quite possibly the scapegoat of Apple's flop of an attempt at a Maps application, released alongside the iPhone 5 with the iOS 6 platform. For the majority of the iOS 6 production period, Maps was well known for its apparently advanced 3D imagery technology, but the application turned about to be an extreme disappointment, and possibly the most infamous gaffe of the iPhone 5. It isn’t fair to point a finger at any particular person, and call them responsible for the Maps goof. However, there are obviously some parties that are more responsible than others. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook stepped up and apologized for the poorly designed Maps product, but that alone doesn't solve the immediate problem. Since dimissing Apple's top brass was out of the question, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software Eddy Cue, decided to let Williamson go and hire some better people for the job, which is precisely what Cue plans to do. Says Bloomsberg: In removing Williamson, Cue wants to install a new leadership team for the group, one person said. A replacement for Williamson wasn’t immediately known. Attempts to reach Williamson weren’t successful. A team at Apple has been working to fix the mapping mistakes, focusing first on some of the most glaring problems, one person said. The satellite imagery over the U.K. has been improved and labels for popular U.S. landmarks such as the Washington Monument have been corrected. Bloomsberg reports that Apple does not yet have a replacement for Richardson, but judging by the standard he set, it isn't easy to imagine that his shoes will be difficult to fill. Bloatware tradition continues in Windows 8 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bloatware-tradition-continues-in- windows-8/18070.html November 28th, 2012 Windows notebook and PCs have a long history of coming with tons of unnecessary software preloaded on them, stealing valuable hard disk space and RAM straight out the box. While Windows 8 throws away a lot of Windows traditions, it appears to still cling to this one. After all this time, this should have been an easy issue for Microsoft to fix. While they cannot be blamed directly for the mischievous acts of their OEMs, they could certainly have laid down some guidelines to prevent this kind of abuse of users. PC makers surely have an incentive to pour the useless bloat down the throat of every buyer, since they're like to be getting a nice sum from the software providers themselves. Either that or they are seriously naive enough to think that their users want their PCs bogged down with all that worthless software. But it’s probably the former. It’s a sad state of affairs, but the tradition continues with Windows 8 PCs. Bloatware is back in full fashion. Several PC makers were recently asked for a list-up of what software came pre-installed on their computers, and the results fell into three categories: 1. Software provided by the OEM for system functionality (hardware drivers, system management tools)
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 2. Software provided by the OEM for the sake of optional added functionality (Samsung’s S Pen software etc.) 3. (Trial) software provided by 3rd parties While category one is mostly necessary (although we could do without some of those ‘management tools’ you enjoy throwing on your PCs, ASUS), even optional software such as S Pen is already dubious. These built-in programs are often poorly written and do little to improve the user experience. Update managers are also horrendous, with default settings they pop-up way too often, and besides that they steal a huge chunk of memory just to download “system” updates which often do anything for your PC in the first place. As long as you keep your Windows updated you are fairly secure, so these system updates generally only serve to provide you with the latest edition of crappy bloatware that you didn’t want to begin with. I get a pile of trash on my brand new computer and I have the privilege of wasting my time and my memory just to update it to the next poorly written code revision. Yeah, no thanks. The third category is not excusable at all, as it consists of trialware and begging programs which constantly yell at you for not paying for the full version. I didn’t even want the damn software to begin with, and it’s popping up windows every time I turn on the PC. These apps merely serve as a waste of time because there is no doubt you will uninstall them from your computer. If Microsoft really wants to compete against Android and Apple in the mobile space, it needs to shape up its OEMs and clean up its image. Here is the bloatware list in full, courtesy of informationware: Manufacturer OEM software 3rd-party S Pen apps (S Note, S Memo, S Cloud), Quick Starter, AllShare Play None Acer Ring, Acer Cloud, Acer Theft Shield Microsoft Office 2010 Trial, Microsoft Windows Live Essentials, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, newsXPresso, Cyberlink MediaEspresso, WildTangent Demo Games, Skype, McAfee Internet Security Suite trial, MyWinLocker TOSHIBA BookPlace™, TOSHIBA Disc Creator, TOSHIBA Maintenance Microsoft® Windows™ Essentials 2012, Microsoft® Office (60-day Trial), Utility, TOSHIBA Media Player by sMedio Truelink +, TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor, TOSHIBA Recovery Disk Creator, TOSHIBA Resolution+® Upconvert Plug-in for Media Player, TOSHIBA Service Station, TOSHIBA Sleep Utility, TOSHIBA Video Player, TOSHIBA eco Utility™ Norton Internet Security™ 2013 (30-day trial subscription), Norton™ Laptop Checkup, SRS Premium Sound 3D®, WildTangent® Game Console AcerCloud Docs, Acer Recovery Management, Acer Identity Card, Acer Live Update, Acer Accessory Store, Acer Initiatives, Acer Explorer, AcerCloud Portal Wild Tangent®, clear.fi Media, clear.fi Photo, Cyberlink® MediaEspresso, AIR Gesture, McAfee® Internet Security Suite, Hotkey Utility, MyWinLocker Suite, Nero 12 Essentials, Amazon weblink, Gomaji (Taiwan only), Lovefilm® web link, MyET, Spotify™, Evernote®, Communication, Skype™, Kindle, News Xpresso, Txtr, Hulu, IVI.RU, Netflix, 7Digital, Spotify™, TuneIn, Amazon®, eBay®, Rakuten Gateway, Adera, Cut The Rope, Mahjong, Minesweeper, Pinball FX2, Shark Dash, Solitaire, Tap Tiles, Treasures of Montezuma III, Wild Tangent®, Wordament, ChaCha®, Crystal Eye, Encyclopaedia Britannica, iCookbook™, Merriam Webster, WeatherBug, StumbleUpon, Travel, Ctrip Windows 8 Getting Started Tile, My Dell & Dell Backup Microsoft Office Trial (30-day), McAfee (Inspiron
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 & Recovery, Dell Shop App only), eBay (Inspiron only), Amazon Kindle, Amazon Taskbar App, eBay Desktop Icon (Inspiron only) Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13(consumer focus) Lenovo Cloud Storage by SugarSync, Lenovo Companion, Lenovo Energy Management, Lenovo Motion Control, Lenovo Support Center, Lenovo Transition Accuweather, Amazon Kindle, Birzzle, Cyberlink YouCam, eBay, Evernote, Fishing Joy, Intelligent Touchpad, McAfee® AntiVirus Plus, Microsoft® Office 2010, OneKey® Recovery, RaRa, Skype™ Lenovo ThinkPad Twist(business focus) Lenovo Cloud Storage AccuWeather, Amazon Kindle, BlueStacks -- Android app player, Evernote, Expense Management, Fruit Ninja, Microsoft® Office (trial), Rara -- Music, Skype™ Bing announces the top search terms for 2012 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bing-announces-the-top-search- terms-for-2012/18084.html November 28th, 2012 While we might still be a few weeks away from the arrival of 2013 Bing, Microsoft's search engine, has come up with its list of top search terms across 19 categories; and yes there are people who actually use Bing. It seems that, like Christmas advertising, our end-of-the- year compilation of facts, best of's, and other such mundane things, start arriving earlier every year or at least that is how it appears. Keeping with this trend Microsoft's search engine Bing has just released its collection of top search terms for 2012 covering 19 different categories. Now I won't bore you with all of them (you can find them all over on the Bing Search Blog) but here's a few of the more popular categories and their top search terms. People (they should have titled this one the gossip corner list): 1. Kim Kardasian 2. Justin Bieber 3. Miley Cyrus 4. Rihanna 5. Lindsay Lohan 6. Katy Perry 7. Selena Gomez 8. Jennifer Aniston 9. Nicki Minaj 10. Taylor Swift Next up the Technology list of top search terms which is actually divided into two sections with the first being Social Media: 1. Facebook 2. Twitter 3. Myspace 4. LinkedIn 5. Tumblr 6. Instagram 7. Reddit 8. StumbleUpon 9. Digg 10. Klout Following Social Media in the Technology section is Consumer Electronics: 1. iPhone 5 2. iPad 3. Samsung Galaxy S III / Samsung Galaxy S3 4. Kindle 5. iPad 3 6. iPad Touch 7. Xbox 8. Playstation 3 9. iPhone 4S 10. Windows 8 Of course what would a list of search terms be without the soul destroying world of Reality TV getting its own list, well two actually. First up is Reality TV Stars: 1. Kim Kardasian 2. Kloe Kardashian 3. Kourtney Kardasian 4. Kate Gosselin 5. Honey Boo Boo 6. Snooki 7. Emily Maynard 8. Kim Richards 9. Teresa Giudice
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 13 And of course if we have the stars we also Televisions Shows 1. American Idol 2. Dancing with the Stars 3. The Young and the Restless 4. The Walking Dead 5. Family Guy 6. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo 7. Glee 8. Vampire Diaries 9. The Bachelor 10. Game of Thrones Like I said these are just a couple of the complete list of categories for Bing's selection of top search terms but just in case you are curious here is the complete list of categories: Now if you'll excuse me I need to go find a bottle of aspirin and book the next flight off of this planet because these lists make me not want to live here anymore. New Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC now available Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-mass-effect-3-omega-dlc-now- available/18077.html November 28th, 2012 Mass Effect 3's newest campaign DLC returns players to the seedy asteroid colony of Omega in a battle to restore Aria T'Loak to her rightful place as queen of crime. Jump in for more details and an official trailer released by BioWare! Mass Effect 3: Omega focuses on expanding the game's campaign and returns gamers to the nefarious deep-space Mos Eisley known as OmegaSome players may remember their first encounter with the asteroid-city and its femme fatale queen in Mass Effect 2. In Omega, players ally with Aria T'Loak--the city-colony's unofficial former "queenpin"--and vie for control of the station against the Cerberus general who now has dominion over the colony. "Join Omega's infamous leader in her fight to retake the notorious black market station. Navigate Omega's seedy underbelly as Aria joins your squad and you witness her legendary biotic powers and unrelenting ruthlessness first-hand." BioWare's newly released trailer shows off the DLC's plot points as well as official in-game footage, allowing gamers to take a peek at what Omega has to offer. The return to the seedy crime-infused station is an interesting choice, and Aria is quite a colorful character to ally with: remember that one rule she told you about in ME2? Well you'll see what happens when people break that rule in this add-on...and it isn't pretty. Mass Effect 3: Omega is now available for Xbox 360 & PC and will be available on Nov. 28, 2012 for PlayStation 3. Click here for more information on this add-on. An unlikely home for Windows 8: Return of the budget PC Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/an-unlikely-home-for-windows-8- return-of-the-budget-pc/18069.html November 28th, 2012 Microsoft’s Windows 8 was far from a critical success, but does it stand to be a commercial hit in low end devices? During the holiday shopping weekend, low-end budget PCs running Windows 8 were all the rage at shopping chain Walmart. HP, Gateway, and Toshiba have all teetered recently due to the decline of the desktop and rise of mobile computing. All three companies started to return to form this weekend though, as their low cost Windows 8 running notebooks were a hit. The notebooks in question ran from $248 - $328, which pitted them in direct competition with netbooks/Ultrabooks and were only a little more expensive than your average tablet computer. Of course, when using a tablet with a keyboard a dock is usually your best choice, so the notebook offerings worked out cheaper than a $200 tablet + $100- $150 dock. The notebooks had average 2GB memory, 300GB HDD, and 1.3GHz dual-core AMD processors. Some models like the Toshiba Satellite C855D were marked from their usual price for more than $300. While the tablet boom certainly is booming, it still seems some sensible shoppers just want a regular device to do
  • November 28th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 14 chores on and write the occasional word. Touch screen technology is a great marketing device, but in reality fails to be practical for anything more than a plaything. As computing takes up more of our lives, a media-consuming device like a tablet just doesn’t cut it in some areas. Either way its good news for Microsoft, whose latest operating system Windows 8 runs on both notebooks and tablets, and is a cunning strategy by the Redmond developer to ensure they get a cut of whatever trend takes hold over the next few years. It’s not all pie in the sky for Microsoft, as the Microsoft Surface saw far less popularity than the Apple iPad. Fortune columnist Philip Elmer-Dewitt commented that Microsoft’s Store saw 47% less foot traffic than Apple at one particular mall. Most of the items purchased at the Microsoft Store were also Xbox360 games, not Surface tablets. While official numbers have yet to be released, eye-witness accounts don’t exactly convey a sense of popularity for Microsoft’s tablet that previous iPad launches have had. Perhaps the notebook isn’t dead after all.