VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Dec 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, Smartphones, Tablets

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Dec 2012 Issue

  1. 1. November 30th, 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. Scientists take first hyperspectral photos of Earth's auroras Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-take-first-hyperspectral- photos-of-earth-s-auroras/18138.html November 30th, 2012 The first ever hyperspectral images of Earth's auroras, bizarre and beautiful lights in the sky, have been captured with a new purpose-built camera. The first ever hyperspectral images of Earth's auroras, bizarre and beautiful lights in the sky, have been captured with a new purpose-built camera. Researchers at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Norway developed the NORUSCA II camera, which can simultaneously image multiple spectral bands of light, allowing for some new discoveries when it comes to the so- called “Northern Lights.” Tests at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard produced the first hyperspectral images, which pick up and separate light over different bands. “A standard filter wheel camera that typically uses six interference filters will not be able to spin the wheel fast enough compared to the NORUSCA II camera,” said Fred Sigernes of UNIS. “This makes the new hyperspectral capability particularly useful for spectroscopy, because it can detect specific atmospheric constituents by their unique fingerprint, or wavelengths, in the light they emit.” An aurora appearing in the night sky at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, Norway. Taken November 2010. Credit: Njaal Gulbarndsen. The technology also helped the scientists uncover a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon and could pave the way for even more discoveries in the future. On 24 January a major solar flare called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) hit the Earth and caused widespread auroras, and tests conducted then found a faint wave pattern of unknown origin in the lower atmosphere. It resembled the natural emission of light by the Earth's atmosphere called “airglow,” but this has never previously been associated with auroras, making it an entirely new phenomenon. “Our new all-sky camera opens up new frontiers of discovery and will help in the detection of auroras and the understanding of how our Sun impacts the atmosphere here on Earth,” said Sigernes. “Additional development and commissioning will also hopefully verify our intriguing first results.” The findings were published today in a paper in Volume 20, Issue 25 of the Optical Society's journal Optics Express.
  2. 2. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The aurora as seen as a color composite image from the NORUSCA II camera. Three bands were combined to make the image. Each band was assigned a different color – red, green, and blue – to enhance the features of the aurora for analysis. Credit: Optics Express. The red arrow points to the unidentified low-intensity wave pattern, which the researchers suspect is an auroral- generated wave interaction with airglow. For contrast, the blue arrow points to the faint emission of the Milky Way. Credit: Optics Express. Students perform measurements of the aurora in front of the Kjell Henriksen Observatory. Svalbard, Norway, November 2010. Credit: Njaal Gulbarndsen. Piracy charges against 9- year-old girl dropped Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/piracy-charges-against-9-year-old- girl-dropped/18137.html November 30th, 2012 Police in Finland have dropped a piracy case against a 9- year-old girl after she attempted to download songs from Finnish pop star Chisu. Police in Finland have dropped a piracy case against a 9- year-old girl after she attempted to download songs from Finnish pop star Chisu. Once the illegal download was detected the Copyright Information and Control Centre (CIAPC) issued a letter to the girl's father, who was the internet account holder, demanding a payment of €600 in compensation, as well as requiring the signing of a non-disclosure agreement. The father refused to pay, claiming that neither he nor his daughter really knew what she was doing, and that the songs ended up not even playing. The CIAPC responded by filing a complaint to the police, who raided the girl's home and confiscated her laptop.
  3. 3. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Tools of the trade for digital criminals News of the raid spread online, earning the CIAPC much condemnation, but now the charges have been dropped. “We have decided to end the criminal investigation, because CIAPC has waived the penalty claims,” police officer Markku Nisula told Finnish news outlet MTV3. It appears that CIAPC and the girl's father reached a settlement for the payment of €300, half the original amount. Presumably the infamous flagship of piracy worldwide, the girl's Winnie the Pooh laptop, will now be returned to her. US and EU oppose Russian proposal to tax the internet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/us-and-eu-oppose-russian-proposal- to-tax-the-internet/18135.html November 30th, 2012 The United States and European Union have revealed that they will oppose a proposal by Russia to tax the internet and make it easier to track people online. The United States and European Union have revealed that they will oppose a proposal by Russia to tax the internet and make it easier to track people online. A major internet conference will be held from 3-14 December in Dubai, with all 193 countries that are members of the International Telecommunications Union meeting to debate new internet regulations. Russia has proposed a tax on companies like Google and Yahoo if they deliver content abroad, while also suggesting the implementation of more sophisticated methods to trace what people do online. The proposals have received the backing of China and a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East. On the opposite side of the fence is the US and EU, backed by Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and a number of other countries, all of whom believe the proposals will limit innovation and damage commerce. There are also fears over free speech. Russia claims its suggestions are designed to tackle cybercrime, but the European Union thinks this is an excuse to control freedom of expression online. Google has already voiced its opposition to the conference, calling on internet users to sign an online petition against the proposals. It was particularly against the idea of having to pay a fee every time someone in another country accesses some of its content, as this would likely lead to what many activists call an “information black out” in poorer countries. “The European Union's firm view is that the Internet works,” said Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Internet Policy. “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” Image Credit: Google Rosewill RK-9100 Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rosewill-rk-9100-illuminated- mechanical-gaming-keyboard-review/18134.html November 30th, 2012 Rosewill has been on fire lately, releasing product after product after product. Even though the company started as an in-house brand of Newegg, they slowly fledged into a fully stand-alone manufacturer and exporter with myriads of technology-related products, including high performance products for gamers and enthusiasts. Today we will be
  4. 4. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 having a look at such a product, the RK-9100 illuminated mechanical keyboard, an upgraded version of the RK-9000 mechanical keyboard which we reviewed a few months ago. Rosewill has been on fire lately, releasing product after product after product. Even though the company started as an in-house brand of Newegg, they slowly fledged into a fully stand-alone manufacturer and exporter with myriads of technology-related products, including high performance products for gamers and enthusiasts. Today we will be having a look at such a product, the RK-9100 illuminated mechanical keyboard, an upgraded version of the RK-9000 mechanical keyboard which we reviewed a few months ago. Rosewill offers the RK-9100 keyboard with two different key switches, Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Blue; sorry guys, no black or red switches with this version. We received and tested the version with the Cherry MX Brown switches to bring you this review. Although the name suggests that the RK-9100 would be just an upgrade of the RK-9000 with lighting, it actually is an entirely different product, with different features and functionality. We will explore those differences in detail in this review. Manufacturer features and specifications • Individually backlit keys with 3 illuminated modes and 4 brightness levels • Equipped with 8 multimedia shortcut keys • 2-Port USB 2.0 hub • 6-Key rollover: 6 Key could press at the same time • Cherry MX brown switches with soft tactile feeling • Gold plated USB connector to ensure low latency • High quality braided cable Model No. RK-9100 Color Black Type Mechanical Keyboard Interface USB and PS/2 Normal Keys 104 Key Switch Cherry MX Blue Switch Key Pitch 19.05mm Key Stroke 4.0mm±0.5mm Total Travel 4.0mm-0.5mm Operating Force 1.8±0.5 oz Switch Life 50 x 10^6 Times Cable Length 5.9 feet Dimensions 446(L) X 140(W) X 36(H) mm / 17.56"(L) X 5.51"(W) X 1.42"(H) Operating System Supported Windows XP/ Vista/ 7 Package Contents 1 x RK-9100 Keyboard 1 x User Manual Parts 3 Year limited Labor 1 Year limited Creator of original X-Com praises new game Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/creator-of-original-x-com-praises- new-game/18133.html November 30th, 2012 When Firaxis Games set out to create a new game in the classic Microprose series X-Com, the biggest worry was likely to whether they'd end up disappointing fans of the original. Jake Solomon, lead designer of the new game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of those fans, and even he isn't certain whether he and his dev team have managed to capture the feel and appeal of the original game. This is the new game... ...and the original However, it seems a bit of official word on the subject is in, as X-Com's original creator Julian Gollop, has praised the new game in a recent Eurogamer article: "I think Firaxis has done a great job… The game is addictive and absorbing, not to mention quite challenging on the classic difficulty setting." Solomon responded with praise for Gallop too: "That's good, man. The guy's a legend. It's a weird situation. You know he's
  5. 5. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 still out there, you know he's going to end up playing it - and you just admire the guy so much." Scientists take photo of DNA for first time Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scientists-take-photo-of-dna-for- first-time/18132.html November 30th, 2012 Scientists have known about the shape of DNA molecules for several decades, but for the first time, a photograph of the molecule has been taken, spiral and all. Watson and Crick first modeled the composition of the DNA molecule in 1953, identifying it as a double helix structure composed of guanine, adenine, thymine and cytosine. Previously, a technique X-ray crystallography has been used to convert dots into an overarching image of the molecule. However, it isn't until not that it has been directly photographed. Using an electron microscope, a picture was snapped of a DNA strand which had been stretched out and suspended between two nanoscopic silicon pillars. The DNA, strung up between the pillars The photographer of the image is Enzo di Fabrizio from the University of Genoa, Italy. He separated a single DNA string in a solution by introducing the aforementioned pillars, which absorbed the water in the solution, leaving the DNA molecule left behind, strung up like a clothes line. By drilling holes in the base plate for the pillars, he could fire beams of electrons at the DNA, illuminating it, in a sense. The double helix, finally on a photo. In the future, Fabrizio's technique will allow scientists to study DNA in more detail, including how it reacts to RNA and proteins North Korean archaeologists find... a unicorn lair Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/north-korean-archaeologists-find...- a-unicorn-lair/18131.html November 30th, 2012 North Korea's central news agency has reported that archaeologists have found a mythical unicorn lair belonging to an ancient King. North Korea is one of the most entertaining countries in the world. When it isn't busy threatening people with a hornet's nest of a military, starving it's citizens, flooding it's farmland or building massive hotels that are never quite finished (not like there's much tourism anyway), it seems as if the country spends most of it's days trying to be as ridiculous as possible. Think this stuff is fiction? THINK AGAIN. North Korean "archeologists" from the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences have announced the finding of a unicorn lair. Yes, you read it correctly. The Unicorn lair was apparently the property of King Tongmyong, founder of the ancient Korean kingdom Koguryo. Tongmyong, who lived between BCE 277 and CE 668, was mythically known to ride a unicorn, as Jo Hui Sung, director of the History Institute explains: "Korea's history books deal with the unicorn, considered to be ridden by King Tongmyong, and its lair." They found the lair 200 meters from a temple in North Korea's capitol city Pyongyang. The discovery of the lair apparently proves Pyongyang was the capitol of Koguryo, as well as the modern day North Korea.The question on everyone's mind though, is undoubtedly how they found this "lair", and how they could tell that it was real? Did they find
  6. 6. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Unicorn bones? No, they found a rectangular rock with the words "Unicorn Lair" carved into it. I'm not even kidding... Gigapixel image lets you take close look at difference engine Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gigapixel-image-lets-you-take-close- look-at-difference-engine/18129.html November 30th, 2012 Charles Babbage's difference engine is the forefather of today's modern computers, and now, there's a Gigapixel photo of it for you to check out every detail of. Charles Babbage was the creator of one of the ancestors of the computer, the Babbage Difference engine. The device was created in the 1820's to perform calculations mechanically, as opposed to the by-hand method used by scientists of the time. Back then, a calculator was a person who calculated professionally, but humans make mistakes, and Babbage wanted to find a way to do the same work, without human error. After the difference engine, he sought to improve his design, and came up with plans for the Difference engine #2. Unfortunately, the prohibitive cost meant Babbage never saw his improved machine become a reality. Shiny However, in the years since, replicas have been manufactured, and one of them is stored in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. This difference engine now has four Gigapixel images of it, which you can check out right here. The images are a composite, containing a total of 1,350 images each, and up to 28 images per focus stack. There have been quite a few Gigapixel images lately, most of them of landscapes such as this 26 Gigapixel Paris, or this 16 Gigapixel Machu Picchu. What sets the Babbage picture apart is that it is a close-up, and that has required some complex computer controlled focus and tracking control. Kid explains Wii U to Michelle Obama Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kid-explains-wii-u-to-michelle- obama/18128.html November 30th, 2012 In a lighthearted piece of news, here's a cute video of a kid explaining what the Wii U is to the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Being the First Lady of the USA is a tough job, and it doesn't leave much room for learning about new releases in the video games industry. During an event where Michelle Obama spoke to a group of children and asked them what they wanted for Christmas, a boy answered "a Wii U", to which Mrs. Obama replied "What's a Wii U?" At this point, a girl took over the conversation and provided a very competent, on the fly explanation of the console. Charlie Spiering, who works at the Washington Examiner, provided a video of the happening which was uploaded to YouTube. It may not be the most news worthy thing ever to come out of the Examiner, but it's pretty heartwarming. DayZ to receive engine overhaul Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dayz-to-receive-engine- overhaul/18113.html November 30th, 2012 DayZ's standalone was slated for a 2012 release, but that date might not be set in stone anymore, as the Arma II mod undergoes an engine change. Dean "Rocket" Hall's Arma II mod, DayZ, has been a work in progress for a while now, but it was meant to have a standalone release before the end of the year. This may not happen, explains the developer. Accoirding to Hall, though they are still aiming for a 2012 release, the developers of the mod would not be entirely opposed to pushing the release back, if it meant giving the game a more solid foundation. Hall has stated that short term goals such as meeting a deadline, should not compromise long term goals, such as the overall quality of the game.
  7. 7. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 One of the reasons there may be a delay, is the extensive overhaul of the game being implemented, most interesting of which is a new engine. Though the engine may not look drastically different from the previous engine, it implements a lot of functionality changes at it's core, making weapons customizable, as well as clothes and changes in controls and the map. The game, when it is released, will launch on Steam. Nothing to see here, Mars rover discovery is unfounded Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nothing-to-see-here-mars-rover- discovery-is-unfounded/18127.html November 30th, 2012 It is now confirmed that NASA scientist John Grotzinger’s previous announcement of a find in the soil sample taken onboard the Mars rover Curiosity, turned out to be nothing more than speculation. A recent press announcement from NASA stated, "Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect… At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics." (NASA's Curiosity Mars rover being tested in Death Valley) One of the main missions that the rover is to complete on Mars is to find signs of organic molecules left behind when the planet had a presumed shallow sea. Everywhere on earth that liquid water is found, there is always some form of life. The rover has been on the planet now for approximately 4 months, and it is the most technologically advance rover to date. It has a large array of arms and cameras that will be taking samples of air, rock and soil for the next 2 years. One very important mission for the rover will be to study the Gale Crater where NASA believes some form of microbial life may be present. This latest announcement may have upset a lot of hopeful folks on Earth, but NASA also released new data that the Mercury orbiter, 'Messenger', has found frozen water at the planet's North pole. Messenger was said to have found a very large amount of frozen water there and found what the space agency is calling possible “organic material” as well. The planet Mercury, which is closest to the sun, has an average surface temperature of 427C (800F), so finding any type of frozen water on the planet’s north pole will be a bit of a shock if there is indeed water on Mercury. NASA also feels that its south pole may contain frozen water as well. Neuroscientist creates a large scale model of a functioning brain Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/neuroscientist-creates-a-large-scale- model-of-a-functioning-brain/18126.html November 30th, 2012 The device is called “Spaun”, which stands for Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network, and its design is based on the human brain. The model has connections that work together like the prefrontal lobe. An article in the November 30, 2012 issue of Science titled, "BUILDING THE HUMAN BRAIN”, by Eliasmith, et. al., goes over the brain model and how it functioned. “In this work, we present a 2.5-million-neuron model of the brain (called “Spaun”) that bridges this gap by exhibiting many different behaviors, “ writes Eliasmith. “Although simplified, the model captures many aspects of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and psychological behavior, which we demonstrate via eight diverse tasks.” The brain model took Eliasmith and his team with the University of Waterloo over a year to build, and it is capable of performing a few basic tasks. The team made clear that while it does have a very limited capability to learn new things on its own, it does demonstrate how the brain’s neurons work, which includes biological signals that are being transmitted. Currently the model brain can recognize a few things, has memory, and it is able to write down numbers. The scientists that created Spaun are reaching out to other scientists in the U.K and the U.S. in an effort to help expand its capabilities. Eliasmith says that in time this model may be scaled up, and it might lead the way to increase the machine’s intelligence. Currently machines that simulate human interaction only operate by certain pre-programmed responses and only give the appearance they are thinking. Eliasmith said that this design might also lead to a future of machines with more realistic human-like responses, or even a bona fide machine with real artificial intelligence that is self aware. Fujitsu transforms smartphones into skin care gadgets Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-transforms-smartphones- into-skin-care-gadgets/18124.html November 30th, 2012 Fujitsu launches its Skin Memory service, a cloud-based service that provides a relatively comprehensive skin analysis using a smartphone's camera. Ever thought of using your smartphone for skin care? If you have, then this new service from Fujitsu might pique your interest. They have just recently unveiled their new cloud- based "Skin Memory" service. Using your smartphone's
  8. 8. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 camera as a scanning device, the service's system is capable of collecting different kinds of information about your skin. It is essentially an analysis tool that assesses the status of your skin by looking at certain elements such as skin tone, dimples, spots, and other things. There are three basic things required to use the service: the specialized app, a 4MP (at minimum) camera, and the special "Color Frame" card. The Color Frame card has a special hole that would be used to target the skin area that you want to be scanned. Using the special card would enable the app to maintain an accurate analysis despite varying changes in the surrounding lighting. The app was primarily designed for the Android OS, although an iOS version is in the works. After getting a clear snapshot of the target skin area inside the Color Frame card, the picture will then be sent to their system, where it would be studied by an image analyzer. Users may be able to compare data from previous scans, as well as data from skin scans made by other people. The service will allow for upgraded functions as the system accumulates more data. Though it seems that way, the Skin Memory service isn't really designed to be used individually though. Fujitsu plans to have the actual service catered to other skin care-related business entities (health, beauty, cosmetics, etc.) as a B2B service. For example, businesses who have signed contracts with them may combine the Skin Memory service with other services that they might have. Fujitsu started the service on November 29, 2012. Source: Tech-On (JP) Microsoft Core i5 Surface Pro tablet available January, 2013 starting at $899 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-core-i5-surface-pro-tablet- available-january-2013-starting-at-899/18125.html November 30th, 2012 Early Windows 8 adopters who have been waiting it out for the Surface Pro will have to shell out a bit more for the Intel- based tablets—as expected. Microsoft announced on its blog recently that its Intel Core i5 Surface Pro tablets will start at $899 with the 64GB model and $999 for the 128GB model. All Surface Pro models will come with Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Pen stylus, 4GB of RAM, dual 2x2 MIMO antennas, built-in kickstand, Dark Titanium VaporMg casing, one USB 3.0 port, and Windows 8 Pro OS to boot. Weighing in at less than two pounds and measuring less than 14mm thick, the Surface Pro has a full 1080p 10.6-inch HD screen, and is capable of 2560x1440 output via a Mini DisplayPort. The Surface Pro has the ability to use a Touch Cover or a Type Cover, but in the interest of Microsoft the tablet will be sold as a 'standalone' (meaning, no Touch/Type Cover add-on will be included). Many are saying that the Surface RT is Microsoft’s answer to high-end tablets such as the Asus Transformer Prime, and Apple’s new iPad. The Surface Pro on other hand is meant to compete with Ultrabooks, or ‘superslim’ and ‘ultraportable’ laptops. Whatever the case may be, Microsoft is still trying to gain notoriety in the portable market its Surface devices. Many users have griped about Windows 8’s lack of a ‘desktop’ feel, and the barren app store. Microsoft projected that 4 million Surface RT tablet were going to be shipped in 2012, but that number had been cut by about half a million to a million. Nevertheless, the Redmond-based software giant has its mind set on taking on the tablet world with its in-house hardware. ARM-based Windows 8 tablets are cheaper, but users will not be able to run legacy software designed for prior versions of Windows. Here's a quick comparison of the Surface RT and Pro: Features Surface RT Surface Pro OS Windows RT Windows 8 Pro Weight 676g 903g Thickness 9.3mm 13.5mm Battery 31.5W-h 42W-h Connectivity microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD video, 2x2 MIMO antennae microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort video, 2x2 MIMO antennae Software bundle Office Home & Student 2013 RT N/A Storage 32 or 64GB 64 or 128GB NASA: 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of ice exist on Mercury Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nasa-100-billion-to-1-trillion-tons- of-ice-exist-on-mercury/18123.html November 30th, 2012
  9. 9. November 30th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 There is between 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of ice on Mercury according to some recent data beamed back to Earth from the Messenger spacecraft. It has been theorized since the 1970’s that there’s water on Mercury, but it is not until recently that NASA has become even more confident about the idea of there being water on the planet closest to the Sun. Adding to the almost non-existent atmosphere, Mercury’s average surface temperature is 800 °F (427 °C), so it’s hard to imagine the planet being able to retain the nectar of life. However, Mercury has an axial tilt of near zero, meaning the north and south poles never get any direct sunlight. Mercury’s axial tilt, along with craters that exist near the poles are strong proofs that water may be in abundance in those craters close to the poles. Using Earth-based radar, optical cameras, and an instrument called a neutron probe on the Messenger; NASA is predicting that Mercury does indeed have water on its surface. The water itself may not be directly above the surface, but rather it’s buried under a layer or two of surface materials. A theory, as to where the water came from, is that asteroids bombarding the planet carried along with it ice, and without direct sunlight at the poles (temperature may reach a chilly -370 °F (-223 °C)), which—along with the protective geographical structures created by the asteroids—may have contributed to the preservation of the water at Mercury’s poles. Improving game graphics is behind the newest NVIDIA Beta Drivers Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/improving-game-graphics-is-behind- the-newest-nvidia-beta-drivers/18118.html November 30th, 2012 NVIDIA today announced the availablity of its beta video card drivers which sees the version number change from 310.54 to 310.64 beta and said the update is aimed at improving the framerates by up to 38%. When it comes to gaming nothing can get gamers more in a lather, and excited, than the framerates for their favorite games and video card manufacturers like NVIDIA and AMD are continually trying to improve their video card drivers to make their most passionate customers happy. So it should come as no surprise that NVIDIA announced the availability of some new beta drivers for their GeForce 600- series video cards that are directly targeted to some specific games. You can grab your copy of the beta drivers here or if you have the NVIDIA Update app running make sure it is set to also check for beta drivers and click on Check for Update.
  10. 10. December 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. Mugen Power wows Samsung Galaxy Note II users with 6400mAh battery Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mugen-power-wows-samsung- galaxy-note-ii-users-with-6400mah-battery/18153.html December 2nd, 2012 Mugen Power has long been known as a leader in extended batteries for many mobile devices. With the Note 2 being so new the fact that it [already] has an extended battery is a bit of a shock by itself, the fact that it's 6400mAh is downright impressive! The people at Mugen Power never cease to amaze me. A few years ago I had a BlackBerry 9300 and got a Mugen extended battery which almost tripled the life of the phone. When I installed it I wanted to put it to the test so I kept the phone on vibrate, display as bright as it could go and disabled WiFi to get the battery a run for its money. It was a long 17 hours before the battery finally died. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has an impressive 3100mAh OEM battery that gives an advertised talk time of 17hrs. Take that and add an additional 3300mAh and you have a phone or a tablet that might last twice as long! The downside to the extended battery is the size of the door you have to put on it, however, the door for the Mugen Power does have a cool kickstand to it. I guess it is a 'give and take.' Nikolai Lebedovsky, marketing manager at Mugen Power Batteries claims that the company worked hard on trying to cram as much juice as possible into the aftermarket battery, and their main goal was to maintain useability without the trouble of needing to constantly charge the device. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is an amazing device with great set of functions and brilliant screen. Users are happy to enjoy all the functions of this phone, but the battery life is a real limitation if you want to get it all. We worked hard on this project and managed to fit additional 3300mAh capacity into that new battery. Our solution gives customers added battery life to stay connected longer without recharges and make more with the smartphone than ever before. The pricing is at just under $100 until December 2nd when it will go up to $106.99 and can be gotten directly from the Mugen Power website here. Mexican court fines Yahoo! 2.7 billion dollars Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mexican-court-fines-yahoo-2.7- billion-dollars/18156.html December 2nd, 2012 A court in Mexico has recently fined Yahoo Incorporated 2.7 billion U.S. dollars over a breach of contract and because of losses from other advertising mediums. Worldwide directories and Ideas Interactivas, which manages the yellow pages listings in the Mexico has been awarded a judgment against Yahoo! Incorporated and Yahoo de Mexico, A.A. de C.V. by the 49th Civil Court of the Federal District of Mexico City. Worldwide Directories S.A. de C.V. along with Ideas Interactivas, S.A. de C.V, filed the lawsuit. Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas claims that Yahoo! Inc. breached contractual agreements that caused losses in profit from the local yellow pages listing business. Yahoo has denied the claims and is currently seeking an appeal. If Yahoo is unable to appeal this lawsuit, it will be a mighty blow to the once powerful company. In an official statement on Yahoo!’s investor page, Sarah Gorgman, a Yahoo! official, says that the claims against Yahoo! are without 'merit' and that the company will 'vigorously' find ways to appeal the court's decision. “Yahoo! believes the plaintiffs' claims are without merit and will vigorously pursue all appeals. The plaintiffs alleged claims of breach of contract, breach of promise, and lost profits arising from contracts related to a yellow pages listings service," says Gorgman. This latest news against Yahoo! came a few weeks after the company grabbed former Google executive and spokeperson, Marissa Mayer. Mayer is Yahoo!'s 5th CEO,
  11. 11. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 and the company has been fighting agressively to maintain their position in a highly competitive search, advertising and mobile market. Toy-inspired helicopter capable of carrying a person Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/toy-inspired-helicopter-capable-of- carrying-a-person/18150.html December 2nd, 2012 Hirobo, a popular Japanese based model maker for remote controlled planes and helicopters, recently unveiled a full size version of their line. This latest helicopter is designed for one person and will be battery powered. The new, battery-powered, helicopter from Hirobo will be called the “HX-1”, and will have contra-rotating rotors that incorporates a ‘fly by wire’ control system. Its flight time will be approximately 30 minutes and has the capability to be flown either by the person riding it or with a remote control unit. Currently, the helicopters have only been tested hovering, but the company stated that human flight tests will begin in early 2013. While the popular remote control helicopters normally made by Hirobo are known to be of great quality, this is the first full size endeavor created by them. This scaled up single-seat helicopter is made in the same way as their smaller units, and uses a very similar style of flight control with flight speeds up to 60MPH. The company stated that since it can be flown using the fly-by-wire or remote, that it might be useful in helping with search and rescue or what most people would use it for - entertainment purposes. If you would like one of these toys it’s not going to be cheap. The base price for one helicopter will run you about 375,000 U.S. dollars, and may be ready sometime later in 2013. ZTE Grand X LTE T82 Smartphone Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/zte-grand-x-lte-t82-smartphone- review/18065.html December 2nd, 2012 ZTE's affordable dual core LTE entry, the Grand X T82, combines decent performance and display with somewhat plain design. How does it feel in everyday use? ZTE, the close second on the Chinese phone vendors' throne after Huawei, has increasingly re-focused on the consumer market, including Asia-Pacific, after quite a few of its enterprise hardware efforts got curtailed by the Western governments questionable protection measures on one side, and increased competition within China, on the other side. Their new smartphone range aims to be on a par with the best that, at very least, Huawei can do, and competitive with what the overseas brands create. We have a quick look here at their "Grand X" T82 Android ICS-based LTE Band3&7 smartphone, enabling up to 100 Mbps 4G-speed comms if your provider and area of coverage allow so. It's quite a large unit at 130.9×65×11.1mm. First of all, the plain designed white plastic back casing with black front is dominated by the 4.3 inch qHD - nicer name for the 960x540 moviescreen 16:9 - glossy screen. Now, I'm resolutely against 16:9 on any PCs or tablets, but on the smartphone, this format may actually make some sense, as it makes the phone longer and easier to grasp, especially if one doesn't have a very large hand. If watching the 1920x1080 FullHD content, then this phone's resolution will nicely display that without blurring as there'd be simple halving of the resolution on each axis. The display itself had decent colour range and can handle being in the outdoor lighting except very strong sunshine, where the glare becomes a bit too much. Even though this isn't the top end model - the Grand Era would be the one - it still has a reasonably powerful dual core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 CPU with integrated Adreno 225 GPU, a new 28 nm process iteration of Qualcomm's ARM smartphone processors. There's 768 GB usable RAM out of 1 GB total, as well as s 4 GB flash capacity plus a microSD memory slot, where we had another 32 GB card inserted. The dual camera config has a rear 8MP camera with flashlight and 1080p recording support, as well as a front end 1 Mpix 720p HD camera for videoconferencing.
  12. 12. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 In the daily use, the 1900 mAh LiIon battery could last good two days on idle, not bad for a reasonably high end device. What was more interesting was to see the performance of the phone's underlying hardware using the brand new Sandra Mobile and Passmark Mobile benchmarks, and set a reference against the other models. The Android phone bench applets, especially comprehensive tests like Sandra or Passmark, are still rare, so running two of those suites, and checking the experiences, was quite a temptation. Here are our first Sandra Mobile and Passmark results: Passmark CPU Tests 5508 Passmark Disk Tests 1889 Passmark Memory Tests 2661 Passmark 2D Graphics Tests 2192 Passmark 3D Graphics Tests 645 Sandra Aggregate Native Arithmetic Performance 610MOPS Sandra Aggregate Native Multi-Media Performance 5025kPix/s Sandra Aggregate Crypto Bandwidth 54MB/s Sandra Aggregate Memory Performance 3424MB/s Futuremark Peacekeeper HTML5 Benchmark 395 marks When playing 3-D games like the AE 3D motorbike, the phone was fully responsive, except a few glitches which could be driver-related. The display resolution seems to be sufficient for decent web browsing, including standard PC- sized web pages, when using the horizontal mode. If you want higher resolution here, it may actually make sense to go with a larger 5-inch class 'phablet' configuration like what Samsung Galaxy Note has, or the upcoming ZTE's own 1080p model in this class. In summary, this is a pretty good LTE starter phone, with sufficient hardware strength to support lots of stuff to be downloaded and ran from a high speed LTE network. The minus points are likely need for more integrated flash memory (I'd start with 8 GB there) and the design which could be somewhat thinner and overall more impressive - even Intel's first Atom phone, the Xolo 900, looks more physically attractive. Adult industry seeks profit in 3D printing Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/adult-industry-seeks-profit-in-3d- printing/18149.html December 2nd, 2012 In the I knew this was bound to happen department it seems that the growing popularity of 3D printing has made it into the adult sex toys business thanks to Tom Nardone of MakerLove in an effort to be in the highly coveted first to market percentile. I have been a proponent of 3D printing since its first mention in tech blogs and have said on more than one occasion that the popularization of 3D printing will bring about a fundamental change in our society, but when I said that I definitely wasn't thinking in the same direction as Tom Nardone of MakerLove. The engineer turned sex toy salesman is just about making any old type of sex toys either. For him his 3D printed sex toys is a combination art and science along with technology and pleasure. As anyone who has been involved with technology for a long time will tell you, sex has been a major influence in the popularization of technology most notably with the popularity of VCRs (and online porn), so it should come as no surprise that someone would see what a 3D printer can do and immediately start thing about things like sex toys. However Nardone will be the first to tell you that it is still early days with things like 3D printed sex toys, mostly due to the materials currently used in the process of printing something out as well as the difficulty in getting a smooth finished product. There are technical hurdles, too. Right, now most 3D printers print objects at resolutions far too rough to be used comfortably in intimate areas. “There’s a bit of a texture to them,” MakerLove’s Nardone confesses. Also, sex toys printed from material known as polyvinyl alcohol are water-soluble, which automatically rules them
  13. 13. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 out for use with any water-based lubricant. While the solution to that is simply to print other materials that still doesn’t solve the whole texture issue. Nardone, however, is largely unconcerned. “The resolution will improve with time. 3D printing is just like any other technology,” he said. Some of the more popular and affordable 3D printers are the MakerBot line of 3D printers. In its second revision, the MakerBot Replicator 2 boasts not only a default layer height of 100 microns, but also ease of use. The Replicator 2 is driven by a desktop application called MakerWare, and third party extensions such as CAD files may also be used as an input. Affordable as it may be, the Replicator 2 runs for a cool $2,199.00. Shogun Bros. dual functionality mouse Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/shogun-bros.-dual-functionality- mouse/18147.html December 2nd, 2012 This unique mouse that combines a wireless mouse and gamepad; will you buy one if it gets to mass production? The majority of us who prefer playing games with a controller over a keyboard will be interested in this new device from Shogun Bros. It's a mouse that turn into a gamepad just by flipping it over. There are dozens of controllers out there that let you play games on your computer as comfortably as you would on a console. They look like everything from regular controllers to super futuristic mice with adjustable buttons, to retro SNES controllers. There's still something novel about this one though. Having the buttons on the bottom makes it feel like you're trying to be sneaky about it. It lets you imagine someone hard at work at his desk who then just snatches his mouse up, flips it over and starts playing Fifa or Battlefield 3. It's like how James Bond would play games on his computer. Or maybe the bottom was just the only place where everything would fit.
  14. 14. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 The Chameleon X-1 is a regular 2.4GHz wireless mouse with 1600 DPI resolution. As a gamepad it has the full complement of buttons - 14, plus the L and R buttons. It even supports force feedback. They have really packed a lot into this small device and I'm sure a lot of people would love to see it for sale soon. Toei have suggested 5700 Yen ($69) as a hypothetical price. Unfortunately it is not yet clear whether they will move to sell the device or whether it will just remain a nifty idea. Staples to launch 3D printing in Europe Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/staples-to-launch-3d-printing-in- europe/18145.html December 2nd, 2012 Staples, a popular office supply chain of retail stores, will soon begin offering 3D printing services for their customers in parts of Europe. The 3D models will be made with paper and will be available in full color. Staples will soon be offering what they are calling “Staples Easy 3D” for their customers. The service will be just like their current printing services ordered from home and available for pickup or by mail. This new 3D printing service will be available first for customers in Belgium and The Netherlands in early 2013, and the services will later be expanded to other parts of Europe and abroad. The new service from the company was announced at the Euromold 2012 by Mcor Technologies, which will be working with the office supply chain. Mcor Technologies new ‘iris’ line of 3D printers will use standard printer paper instead of plastic in constructing 3D images. This different approach uses glued bits of paper in exact dimensions prescribed by the printer program and it can provide the customer with a high-resolution layer thickness of 100 microns. Something even more spectacular about this printing service is that you can get your 3D model with realistic coloring and shading. For those leery of believing that paper models could be a strong as 3D plastic models, the company claims the models made on the machine are very similar to composite wood with the ability to be tapped or drilled. 3D printing is quickly gaining in popularity and will have future applications in all manner of devices and uses. Researchers with Washington State University experimented with simulated moon rocks in an effort to melt them down to be used in a 3D printer. They proved that tools or other things could be created, in theory, for future colonists on the moon using only the materials present. Other research into 3D printing is finding uses for human organ implants by fashioning cartilage cells in mesh molds or other needs such as artificial arteries. Top secret X-37B space plane to launch soon? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/top-secret-x-37b-space-plane-to- launch-soon-/18146.html December 2nd, 2012 The top-secret aerospace project being called the “X-37B” will be launching again soon but still no word on its intended use. The Boeing-developed X-37B test space plane is quite different from the recently retired NASA space shuttles, and many are curious why the U.S. is developing an unmanned space plane in the first place. While answers about the vehicles specific purpose is for now, the United States Air Force simply stated that it will be a more reliable and reusable unmanned space vehicle. The X-37B space plane is the latest model based on the X-37 test plan, but on a larger scale. It measures over 29 feet in length and is launched by an Atlas V class rocket and can return to earth like a regular plane. Past statement from NASA have suggested that the plane would be an aid in the development and design of NASA’s Orbital Space Plane program. The X37-B’s next launch is set for December 11, 2012. NASA nor the Air Force will confirm nor deny any current theories on what it will be used for, but some are saying it may be a more cost effective way of launching or retrieving satellites. Some feel that the vehicle itself could be a future satellite technology that can be retrieved at any time. One thing for certain about the vehicle is that it is a highly developed unmanned plane that is well out of the reaches of any ground radar. If the vehicle’s future intent is scientific in nature it
  15. 15. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 will mean that it can be set in orbit for extended periods and then returned to earth for retrieval of any data it may have collected without the need of human occupants. HTC releases Droid DNA source code Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-releases-droid-dna-source- code/18143.html December 2nd, 2012 In the Android community there are few things that can get a developer motivated than fresh code. Developers everywhere have anxiously waited for this and an equal number of Android owners have as well. It's time to see what the community can make this phone really do. Having source code released means a couple different things. It means new ROMs, new kernels and the ability to get rid of the pesky bloatware that comes with the phone from the factory and carrier. Any and all of which are something HTC Droid DNA owners are all celebrating. It's all about customization when it comes to the Android super user. With this code, developers can take a standard, Jelly Bean powered phone and turn it into something that they and the user can really enjoy. Now to add on to that, Verizon has never been known to make this easy. The Droid DNA does have a locked bootloader. Be that as it may, the Android community of developers didn't see this as a problem and found an exploit to take care of the issue. With the bootloader unlocked it takes down the main wall for the phone to be touched by the pending developers. HTC itself is, however, very much in touch and in tune with the wants of the developers and such released the code for enthusiasts to play with. While the code is still fresh, you can expect to see ROM's and kernels coming out, being tested, revamped and tested again. It shouldn't take too long for the community to have a main base such as CyanogenMod to play with and mod out. Next-gen military uniforms could change into chemical suits automatically Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/next-gen-military-uniforms-could- change-into-chemical-suits-automatically/18141.html December 2nd, 2012 The military is looking into a new next-gen technology that could see a soldier's fatigues be able to automatically turn into a protective shell if chemical or biological weapons are detected. Military technology is constantly evolving and agencies like DARPA is helping to shape some of the future technology that we, as regular consumers, will end up using in the future. Where we generally are always looking for the new and the coolest of toys and gadgets the military is looking at future technology to do two things: eliminate threats more efficiently and to keep soldiers as safe as possible from the dangers of war. One of the primary concerns of the military is the increasing possibility of enemies using more and more sophisticated chemical and biological weapons against soldiers in the field. Well thanks to researchers at UMass Amherst soldiers may soon get a rather unique, and very cool, second skin due to some recently developed nanotube-based fabrics. This fabric is intended for use in the uniforms worn by soldiers and to provide protection from certain biological and chemical weapons used against them. While the military already has chemical warfare suits they are both cumbersome, really hot to wear, and require time to get in and out of. These new nanotube-based fatigues on the other hand would be able to switch from a highly breathable state (like the current uniforms) into a protective one once it is triggered by the presence of a chemical or biological attack; all this happening before the soldier may even recognize the threat. It is a mix of breathable membranes imbued with pores made of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes that allows for a multi-state material designed to respond to various types of biological and chemical triggers. The technology is still in the lab but the researchers believe that we could see practical applications in the field within the next decade. via PopSci / image courtesy of the US Army Stem cells successfully made from endothelial cells in blood vessel lining Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/stem-cells-successfully-made-from- endothelial-cells-in-blood-vessel-lining/18142.html
  16. 16. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 December 2nd, 2012 The study of stem cells has been making incredible leaps when doctors realized that other cells could be manipulated into becoming stem cells. Now scientists have found another way to turn a patient’s own blood vessel lining-derived cells into usable, personalized stem cells. A new study on stem cell research published in the on- line journal, Stem Cells: Translational Medicine, titled, “A Practical and Efficient Cellular Substrate for the Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adults: Blood-Derived Endothelial Progenitor Cells” by Imbisaat Geti, Mark L. Ormiston, et. al., states that stem cells can now be made into other human cells by tricking them into becoming stem cells. The submission reads in part, We have developed a protocol that allows the reliable isolation of L-EPCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cell preparations, including frozen samples. As a proof- of-principle for clinical applications we generated EPC- iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) from both healthy individuals and patients with heritable and idiopathic forms of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Stem cells are cells found in the body of any multicellular organisms and have been a focus of scientists for many years since they can be transformed into any other type of cell in the body. What separates these cells from other types of cells is that they are not predetermined to what they will be. In humans, we have adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. The adult cells are for healing or to make more of a certain cells where there is damage or growth needed. With embryonic cells, they are for the development of the fetus. With this newly discovered process, the University of Cambridge team says they can reprogram 'late-outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells' (L-EPCs) and turn them into stem cells, which is much easier than using adult tissue samples. Furthermore, stem cells taken from other donors can and are often rejected by the body. By using cells derived from the patient’s own blood, it'll help to mitigate the rejection involved. Another part of the research that could prove to be beneficial is that the blood derived cells do not have to be converted immediately. Those working on the project stated that they could freeze and store the regular blood cells for later use, and then convert them over to the iPSC the patient might need later on. Dr. Amer Rhana who is part of the project stated, “Tissue biopsies are undesirable, particularly for children and the elderly – whereas taking blood samples is routine for all patients.” Hitting the 'Like Button' could suggest you are a terrorist Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hitting-the-like-button-could- suggest-you-are-a-terrorist/18139.html December 2nd, 2012 The FBI seems to think that clicking on the Facebook Like button is a sign that you could have terrorist tendancies, or at least this is what they are saying in a released indictment against three people. Facebook has always reminded me of that drunk uncle that we never want to invite to family functions because, well, he gets drunk and does stupid things. Add onto that the fact that Facebook is becoming increasingly used in the courts for things like divorces and of course the police using it to track down stupid crooks so it really shouldn't be a surprise that the FBI is trolling Facebook for "dangerous" people. However some of their claims seem tenuous at best, which can attest to a recent indictment used to arrest and charge three men based on the men's Like button-clicking habits. From the indictment; which you can read in full here, I have reviewed several of the social media web sites for KABIR, SANTANA, DELEON, each of whom has posted radical prom jihad content on their respective pages. Additionally, portions of the social media show that DELEON and SANTANA "liked" postings on KABIR's Facebook page as early as May 2011. [...] On September 17, 2012 SANTANA "liked" KABIR's post of an article entitled "A Public Talk by Ustadz Abu M Jibriel AR: The Truth of The 9/11 Jihad Operation, The Plots Of The Enemies and The Zionist Conspiracy. Of course there is other information that helped lead the FBI to arrest them but the idea that liking and sharing questionable stuff on Facebook could lead you to being arrested to the degree that seems apparent in these documents is a little disturbing. Turn your tablet into a big- boy computer with Sanwa's tablet-storing display stand Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/turn-your-tablet-into-a-big-boy- computer-with-sanwa-s-tablet-storing-display-stand/18130.html December 2nd, 2012 Sanwa Supply Inc. must have used Windows 8 before, as they have realized that traditional PCs have started to merge with the up and coming barrage of tablet technology. To aid you in making the transition from box-to-pad, Sanwa have released a new handy gadget.
  17. 17. December 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Sanwa’s latest display stand, dubbed the “100-MR066” features a convenient sliding draw which, when exposed, allows you to place a tablet at a comfortable typing angle. While typing on a touch screen is far from ideal, users who wish to free themselves from the convenience of a full-sized Qwerty keyboard can go ahead and use a tablet as their input device, as well as their computing device. Of course, this isn’t the only option, and by sliding the draw (which actually has enough space to store two tablets simultaneously!) back into the stand it is possible to have all the convenience of a mobile computing device, coupled with the functionality of a fully fledged desktop computer, as it frees up desk space allowing you to use an external keyboard and mouse. The underbelly of the tablet-storing stand is left open, and this allows you to store your keyboard and mouse under the stand too when not in use. This form factor allows for super neat-freaks and Zen practitioners to relish in the comfort of an empty desk whenever you aren’t using your computer. Design wise, this seemingly-innocuous stand is top-notch. The sliding drawer can be used in any number of ways, and in addition to the aforementioned “tablet stand” configuration, pulling out the drawer just a tiny amount lets you stand a smartphone or tablet vertically too, giving you the full screen space of an external display coupled with the convenient touch-panel interface of a tablet. The stand also contains a space in the back to hold a power unit, allowing you to store charger cables inside the drawer too. The stand has dimensions of 702x300x100mm, with internal drawer dimensions of 659x217x19mm. It can reportedly take a weight of 7kg on the top of the stand, and 1.5kg on the drawer. The 100-MR066 is available via mail order here for 5,480 Yen (US$66).
  18. 18. December 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. Samsung Galaxy S III most popular smartphone in UK Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-most-popular- smartphone-in-uk/18175.html December 3rd, 2012 Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone looks set to continue its reign as the most popular mobile phone in the UK, after seven months in the number one slot. Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone looks set to continue its reign as the most popular mobile phone in the UK, after seven months in the number one slot. The Korean electronics giant's flagship model kept its crown for November, but the previous model, the S II, fell from second place to fourth place, replaced by two models of Apple's iPhone. The iPhone 5 stayed in third place, while the iPhone 4S jumped two places into second position, showing that newer is not always better for Apple supporters. Samsung is the top mobile and smartphone maker in the world and has seen its devices skyrocket in popularity, despite tough competition and numerous lawsuits from Apple, but the Christmas season could see a shift in sales, as Apple still has a strong brand to sell, and the holiday good will is likely to overcome the high price range. Samsung's brand is enjoying unparallelled popularity, however, with five of its Galaxy models in the top ten in the UK, including the Ace at number six, the Note II at number seven, and the Ace II at number ten. Android is the overall winner, ruling eight of the ten slots. The race is not just between Samsung and Apple, however. LG's recently released Nexus 4 shot to number five, the HTC One X+ came in at number nine, and the Sony Xperia U fell three places to number eight. None of these have the same kind of brand awareness as the big two contenders, however, making it difficult for them to steal the limelight this Christmas. “The affordable price point has kept the Samsung Galaxy S3 at the top of the tree, but whether it will be at the top of the Christmas tree remains to be seen, as price drops for both the 4S and 5 have seen the iPhone quickly gaining ground,” said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com. “As for the Christmas number one, the Apple brand could well reign supreme and see the iPhone 4S take over in the final straight as the gift of choice for consumers, especially at these reduced price points. Eight months may well be just that month too long for the S3 to wear the mobile crown.” Heat can repair flash memory chips Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/heat-can-repair-flash-memory- chips/18172.html December 3rd, 2012 Researchers have discovered that a short exposure to intense heat can repair flash memory chips, which traditionally suffer from reliability issues over time.
  19. 19. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 Researchers have discovered that a short exposure to intense heat can repair flash memory chips, which traditionally suffer from reliability issues over time. Staff at Macronix in Taiwan managed to increase the lifespan of flash memory from just 10,000 write and read cycles to a whopping 100 million cycles through the use of heat “healing.” The chips were redesigned to include a built-in heater, which would periodically jolt the material with a few milliseconds of heat at 800 degrees Celsius, many times the temperature of an oven. This brief exposure fully restores damage portions of the memory chip. Tests have shown that the new chips can last at least 100 million write and read cycles, but there is potential that they could last much longer than this, possibly even into billions of cycles, but this would take months to test. For those concerned about the possible fire risk, the researchers said that the device is perfectly safe, since the heat is only applied for a short duration. It will also only use a small amount of power, so it should not adversely affect battery life. Macronix, which makes flash memory, said it plans to send the technology to market, but it is not clear how long it will take before we have self-healing memory chips in our devices. SMS text messages 20 years old today Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sms-text-messages-20-years-old- today/18171.html December 3rd, 2012 The first SMS message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone 20 years ago today. On 3 December 1992 Neil Papworth, a test engineer for Sema Group, sent the first text message, with the words “Merry Christmas” to Vodafone employee Richard Jarvis, but since mobile phones did not have the capability enabled yet, Jarvis was unable to respond. Since then texting has boomed, with the first commercial service launched by Telia in Sweden in 1993, followed by several other companies in 1994, including Vodafone itself in the UK. SMS messages were also a bit more like Twitter in that they were strictly limited to 160 characters, with no way to combine multiple texts for a longer message. This led to the infamous “txt speak,” where words were replaced with numbers or otherwise shortened, like “c u” for “see you” and “b4” for “before.” Predictive text systems like T9 were not invented until 1995, making those initial years more cumbersome for many texters. It was not until 1999 that full cross-network compatibility, between Vodafone, Cellnet, One-2-One and Orange, became a reality. Text messages have since become the norm for communication for many people and companies, with parents texting their children to ask how they are and companies texting customers to tell them about offers, their latest bill, or confirm a delivery date. “When texting was first conceived many saw it as nothing more than a niche service,” said James Thickett, Director of Research at UK regulator Ofcom. “But texts have now surpassed traditional phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent way of keeping in touch for UK adults, revolutionising the way we socialise, work and network.” He also said that text volumes have, for the first time in history, shown “signs of decline.” This is largely due to the availability of other forms of text communication, such as instant messaging services and social media, which are widely used on internet-enabled smartphones. Slender sequel to be made in collaboaration with Marble Hornets creators Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/slender-sequel-to-be-made-in- collaboaration-with-marble-hornets-creators/18169.html December 3rd, 2012 The sequel to the short, but terrifying game Slender is receiving a sequel, and the creators of Marble Hornets are crafting the story for it.
  20. 20. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The slenderman mythos originated in the Something Awful forums, and spread throughout the internet, eventually inspiring, among others, a popular free downloadable game called Slender: The Eight Pages, and a successful YouTube series called Marble Hornets. Now the creators of Marble Hornets have signed up to craft the story for Slender's sequel, "The Arrival". This will most likely mean a very good sequel. Mark Hadley, the creator of Slender, stated he's "confident that together we can produce a mind blowing horror experience in The Arrival." An encounter with the slenderman during Slender: The Eight Pages The slenderman was created as part of a contest in 2009 on Something Awful's forums, in which users were to doctor real images to include a supernatural entity and then spread the image on paranormal communities online. One contestant, Victor Surge, spread a series of photos from the late 19th century depicting children and a tall figure with tentacles in the background, stating that the children later vanished. Since then, the character has evolved and today, is generally defined as a tall faceless (literally) man wearing a suit and tie, often associated with trees and forests... and indeed, with the disappearance of children. The first encounter with the slenderman in Marble Hornets Slender popularized the Slenderman myth to a large audience, though it drew much of it's inspiration from the earlier YouTube series, Marble Hornets. Gameplay elements such as the pages which must be collected were designed after similar pages in MH, and several locations, such as a large drain pipe and abandoned house, were inspired from MH as well. Marble Hornets is an ongoing YouTube series filmed in the found-footage style, depicting interactions between the slenderman and a character named Jay who is attempting to find a missing friend. The series is presented as an alternate reality game, and allows viewers to interact with the content and tries to convince the viewer that the events in the series are unfolding in the real world. Slender: The Arrival is due to be released in early 2013. Crysis 3 PC requirements released Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crysis-3-pc-requirements- released/18167.html December 3rd, 2012 Crysis 3 is due to be released in February of 2013 for Xbox 360, Playstation 4 and PC, and now, the requirements for the PC version have been released. The game will support Windows versions Vista and above, and will require a minimum of 2GB of RAM and a DirectX 11 compatible graphics card with 1 GB of memory. Crytek has posted the minimum, recommended and high- spec requirements for the game, which are below: Minimum: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 DirectX 11 graphics card with 1Gb Video RAM Dual core CPU 2GB Memory (3GB on Vista) Example 1 (Nvidia/Intel): Nvidia GTS 450 Intel Core2 Duo 2.4 Ghz (E6600) Example 2 (AMD): AMD Radeon HD5770 AMD Athlon64 X2 2.7 Ghz (5200+) Recommended Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM Quad core GPU
  21. 21. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 4GB Memory Example 1 (Nvidia/Intel): Nvidia GTX 560 Intel Core i3-530 Example 2 (AMD): AMD Radeon HD5870 AMD Phenom II X2 565 High-performance Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 Latest DirectX 11 graphics card Latest quad core CPU 8GB Memory Example 1 (Nvidia/Intel): NVidia GTX 680 Intel Core i7-2600k Example 2 (AMD): AMD Radeon HD7970 AMD Bulldozer FX4150 Star Wars Battlefront III was 99% done upon cancellation Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-wars-battlefront-iii-was-99- done-upon-cancellation/18166.html December 3rd, 2012 Co-founder of Free Radical, the developer behind the canceled Star Wars Battlefront III, revealed recently that the game was 99% finished when funding was cut. Free Radical Design, who developed Haze and were working on Star Wars Battlefront III, recently had some leaked footage of the latter hit YouTube. Nearly an hour of leaked footage hit the web earlier this year, and was met with positive feedback. Now, Free Radicals' co-founder, Steve Ellis, has commented on the game. He explained that during the development of Haze, the developers had tech problems and were generally in a slump, but that they had climbed out of that slump. Battlefront III was very ambitious and in Ellis' mind, would have been their most successful game: Screenshot from the game "We were making a game with very high ambition. You could start a battle on the ground, jump into a ship and fly into space, continuing on to dock in a capital ship and continue the battle there. We'd had to build all kinds of new tech and overcome numerous technical challenges and limitations but we had done it." he explained. In fact, Ellis claims they had done it to 99%; that all which remained in the game's development was bug fixes and patching, and that the game was essentially finished. However, when LucasArts had a change in management, it seems that for whatever reason, it was decided not worth investing in the game anymore, and Battlefront III was canceled. As the game was due out for current gen consoles, perhaps we can hope for a digital release at some point. Canadian Samsung Galaxy S III Jelly Bean update now available Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canadian-samsung-galaxy-s-iii-jelly- bean-update-now-available/18160.html December 3rd, 2012 It looks like the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE version is getting updates pushed to it. The new 4.1 update has been a long time coming for the GS3. The new update is just over 324MB so make sure you are connected to power and have WiFi enabled if possible! Other Canadian carriers like Wind aren't showing any updates quite yet, and this isn't really a big surprise as Wind isn't really known for pushing out updates as fast as mainstream carriers. The Galaxy S3 came with Android 4.0 from the factory but that soon changed when it got root and Jelly Bean ROM's came out for "The Next Big Thing". It is being reported that the Samsung servers are getting increasingly slower but with the amount of GS3's that are being updated it's to be expected. If you haven't gotten the update pushed to your device yet you can try and manually force it by the following steps:
  22. 22. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Intel's NUC in Interactive Displays Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-s-nuc-in-interactive- displays/18161.html December 3rd, 2012 Nobody has cracked teleportation or world peace yet but advertising-oriented digital signages and interactive displays have certainly invaded every facet of our lives. With its small and versatile form factor, the NUC is the perfect choice to be the brains behind the screen. For denizens living in the civilized world of 2012, it is virtually impossible now to step out into the urban concrete jungle without being bombarded by some kind of digital signage, which have taken over static billboard displays as the medium of mass public messaging. These screens have gradually improved over the years in pixel densities and clarity, attracting and overloading your senses with useful information and other advertising messages. From the MRT train arrival notice board to the interactive point of sales interface on soft drink can machines, there is a computer, usually embedded, controlling what is displayed to the user and running the software routines programmed on it. When building such interactive displays, the underlying hardware plays an important role in the decision making process. As with our previous usage examples of the Intel NUC, its small but versatile 4" x 4" form factor comes into play, especially if you want to build a sleek and attractive structure to house the screen and machine. Also its sub-20W TDP means hardly any cooling is required in the storage compartment/cabinet, and is therefore eco friendly compared to the usual offerings. Its dual-core mobile Ivy Bridge processor augmented by a speedy SSD and up to 16GB of DDR3 ram entails that you can run a few foreground and background processes simultaneously without hiccups, such as a stock ticker at the side with a Full HD video playing and background webcam recording for crowd analytics and nanny-state surveillance.
  23. 23. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 In places where Ethernet LAN connectivity is not possible, the (optional) WIFI module of the NUC should allow the maintenance people to push and retrieve updates wirelessly from a central location. For custom displays such an array of video walls and other unconventional screen sizes, system integrators can define custom resolutions and orientations/rotations from the HD 4000 graphics control panel to suit their needs. Plastic light bulb might replace fluorescent bulbs in the future Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/plastic-light-bulb-might-replace- fluorescent-bulbs-in-the-future/18165.html December 3rd, 2012 Fluorescent bulbs seem to be the theme in energy conservation these days, but proponents of fluorescent bulb may want to keep an eye out for field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) bulbs once they hit the market. Developed by a physics professor, Dr. David Carroll, at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Fipel technology utilizes three layers of white-emitting polymer that contains minute amount of nano-materials which glow when electric current passes through. Carroll claims that fluorescent bulbs produce a harsh blue tint that can aggravate the human eye, but his Fipel-based bulb on the other hand can produce more natural tints that are more accommodating.
  24. 24. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 “I’m saying we are brighter than one of these curly cubes and I can give you any tint to that white light you want,” Caroll says. Furthermore, the new lighting technology is made of plastic, so therefore it could be made into shapes that are constrictive to bulbs utilizing technologies derived from other materials. Supposedly, Carroll has been running a Fibel-based bulb in his lab for the past decade or so, which is a testament to the technology’s longevity. Although fluorescent bulbs are the predominant popular ‘energy saving’ consumer products, LED and OLED technology is creeping into people’s mind. Many LED lamps have quoted life expectancies of somewhere between 25,000 to 50,000 hours. LED bulbs have also gone down in prices in recent years, making it much more affordable now as they did in the past. Even so, Carroll claims that his plastic- derived Fipel bulb is ‘cheap’ to make and that he already has a ‘corporate partner’ interested in mass producing the new light source. The first round of production could possibly start in as early as 2013. Intel's NUC as a Home Server Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-s-nuc-as-a-home- server/18162.html December 3rd, 2012 Intel's Next Unit of Computing, with its power sipping 17W mobile Ivy Bridge processor housed inside a small 4" x 4" form factor, is quite the ideal candidate as a 24/7 small server to take advantage of your unmetered home broadband connection. After years of stop-start progress, we are finally living in a glorious age where home broadband, especially of the fibre variety, is becoming more prevalent with decent download and upload throughput speeds. Implication being more ambitious network activity can now be carried out, including proper HD media streaming, speedy remote access to your work/play file repositories and low latency communications/gaming, all happening at the same time. Therefore it is not uncommon nowadays to find homeowners runnning servers at home huming along in one corner next to their networking equipment, in one form or another, as an extension of their digital lifestyle for automation and monitoring of pre-assigned tasks. No longer are servers found only inside expensive datacentres under the watchful eyes of security guards in an sterile, arctic winter environment. Two of the main pre-requisites for any household appliances are low power consumption and heat/noise level emissions, both of which the sub-20W NUC will excel in, other than the most important fact that it is basically an x86 PC that can run Windows/Linux/OSX natively without compromise. After all, we all need a comfortable amount of compute power for applications to be responsive, without putting a glaring hole in the monthly energy bills or spoiling the tranquility of the home environment. With four-usable CPU threads and up to 16GB of DDR3-1600 memory augmented by an SSD, the NUC is fully capable of running file/web/game servers to serve dozens if not hundreds of concurrent users, better than some of the aging, power hungry machines in the traditional datacentres even. I dare say that if we cluster a handful of NUCs together in a properly configured Linux/Nginx/PHP/ MySQL/Memcached setup, they can run a high traffic site like VR-Zone.com. In Singapore, the three main residential ISPs (SingTel, StarHub and M1) are joined by a host of other smaller players like MyRepublic, ViewQuest and Super Internet, all of which offer a plethora of unlimited service plans and
  25. 25. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 packages for the different usage tiers. Some of these services have port filtering (blocks) turned on for common TCP applications like HTTP, FTP and SMTP, rendering them impractical if you are doing that sort of hosting. Static IP (as opposed to the usual dynamic IP) options are also available from some of these providers, so you can have a somewhat permanent presence on the internet and access your home network without the need for Dynamic DNS. Some of the other essential items in such a setup include a capable home gateway router, such as the Asus RT- AC66U which can provide near wire-speed WAN-LAN routing and handle an abusive amount of simultaneous connections, and a Gigabit/Thunderbolt NAS for dedicated storage of files. Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II 4G Android phone for $0.01 at Amazon.com Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-stratosphere-ii-4g- android-phone-for-0.01-at-amazon.com/18154.html December 3rd, 2012 The Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II isn't what you would call a superphone in today's standard but it is still a good deal. Amazon Wireless has this Verizon phone on sale for just a shiny penny with free shipping. It's Christmas time again and without fail the phone prices are dropping like crazy. If you are in the market for a new phone, you may want to take a look at this one. Powered by Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich is boasts a 1.2GHz dual- core CPU, 4" Super AMOLED screen, 4G with LTE and NFC. The full retail price of the phone is $449.99 but still $129.99 with a two-year term on the Verizon Wireless website. You can take a gander at this phone on the Amazon.com website by going here. If you are in fact interested in getting this phone we'll give you a quick rundown of the specs to it, even at a penny it's still good to see what you'll be locked into for the next couple of years. • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 • Dual core, 1200 MHz • Adreno 225 - Graphics Processor • 1024 MB RAM • 8GB Internal storage • Up to 32GB expandable SD Card • 5 MP rear / 1.3 front camera • 4" Super AMOLED @ 480 x 800 • 1800 mAh battery A great starter phone for sure but probably not the one you want to buy if you are Galaxy S3 material! New trailer released for Halo 4's Spartan Ops episode 5 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-trailer-released-for-halo-4-s- spartan-ops-episode-5/18158.html December 3rd, 2012 The newly released trailer for Spartan Ops Episode 5 "Memento Mori" gives players a brief glimpse into the events that take place in the new episode. Jump in to check it out! Episode 5 "Memento Mori" of Halo 4's newest Spartan Ops addition delves deeper into the expanding story arc put into place by the series, expounding upon the canon of the Halo universe along with the events that take place within the game's campaign.
  26. 26. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 The newly released trailer from Halo Waypoint shows off an impressive glimpse into episode 5's cinematics, showing players what they can expect from the newest chapter. Continuing in the tradition in keeping gameplay fresh, Memento Mori adds in five new missions to Spartan Ops, offering new branching objectives and goals to complete. The trailer reveals that Dr. Halsey has made some terrific finds in her investigations of the Forerunner artifact: she has figured out that the artifact actually contains human memories, unlocking some of the cryptic secrets behind the mysterious Prometheans. Meanwhile, the Spartan IV's of Crimson Team are busy battling the Elite hierarch Jul M'dama who vies for dominance with a nefarious scheme. What will become of Crimson this time around, and will they be able to stop M'dama and his bloodthirsty warriors? Episode 5 of Spartan Ops will be available for free on Dec. 3, 2012. For more information please visit Halo Waypoint's official website. Prolimatech Genesis CPU Cooler Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/prolimatech-genesis-cpu-cooler- review/18159.html December 3rd, 2012 It is well known that nowadays CPU coolers come in all shapes and sizes but today we are going to present you one of the largest and weirdest designs ever to hit the retail market. This CPU cooler is no other than the Prolimatech Genesis, a hybrid design of massive proportions combining a C-type with a tower-type cooler. How well this behemoth can perform? We will find out in this review. It is well known that nowadays CPU coolers come in all shapes and sizes but today we are going to present you one of the largest and weirdest designs ever to hit the retail market. This CPU cooler is no other than the Prolimatech Genesis, a hybrid design of massive proportions combining a C-type with a tower-type cooler. How well this behemoth can perform? We will find out in this review. The Prolimatech Genesis is not a new design, with the company presenting the first version nearly two years ago. Prolimatech kept the design up to date with minor modifications, mostly in the form of installation kits for the newer CPU sockets, suggesting that the performance of the Genesis is sufficient to counter the competition even so many months after its initial release. We will explore all the strengths and weaknesses of this strange design in our latest review. Manufacturer features and specifications • High clearance for better motherboard compatibility. • Massive cooling range; cools not only CPU but also MOSFET and RAM. • Cooler surrounding temperature allowing more stable environment for higher overclock. • Takes both 12 and 14cm fans for a maximum installation of 3 fans. • Six high quality heatpipes for effective heat transfer. • Light weight at 800 g (without fans) in the high end class. • Intel and AMD platform supported. All mounting hardware are included. Heatsink Dimension (L)146mm X (W)216.5mm X (H)160mm Heatsink Weight 800 g(without fan) Suggest Fan 120mm X 120mm X 25mm,140mm X 140mm X 25mm Heatpipe Ø 6mm X 6pcs Suggest Fan Speed 800~1600 rpm CPU Platform Intel Socket LGA 775/1366/1156/1155/2011 , AMD Socket AM2/2+/3/3+(FM2) Net statistics back up Microsoft's claim of quick Windows 8 adoption rate Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/net-statistics-back-up-microsoft-s- claim-of-quick-windows-8-adoption-rate/18155.html
  27. 27. December 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 December 3rd, 2012 While Windows 7 only just passed the popular classic Windows XP in terms of market share three months ago, new data corroborates Microsoft’s statement that Windows 8 is shipping at a much higher pace than its previous versions. Data from Net Applications shows what a success the month of November was for the new OS. While Windows 7 gained a mere 0.02%, (bringing it to 44.71%), Windows 8’s share increased a hefty 0.68%, bringing it to a total of 1.09% market share in the short time since its release. Windows Vista and XP, on the other hand, fell 0.10% and 0.84% respectively, marking an end of an era for the dated systems. This doesn’t tell the full story of the OS wars, however, as it’s important to note that Windows as a whole lost 0.22% market share (dropping to 91.45%) between the months of October and November, giving up part of its reign to OS X and Linux, who now enjoy 7.30% and 1.25% shares respectively. While Windows 8’s adoption rate isn’t particularly surprising, it is somewhat a relief for Microsoft that people are finally abandoning the XP ship, which stubborn users have clung onto for years. The attachment to Windows XP of less than savvy computer users was to the chagrin of many a web designer, who was forced to accept the hard cold truth that many of these users still used XP’s default internet browser – the dreaded IE6. For the past two years, Microsoft have ran a more or less successful strategy to get people off the web-standards- ignoring, security-hole-ridden browser and onto something more modern, with an ultimate objective of “less than 1% IE6 market share worldwide”. The score currently hangs at 6%, which is a hefty 5.3% less than it was last year, but as Microsoft’s market share map shows that the main culprits are in China, Japan and Korea. The reasons behind Asia’s obsession to the browser differ with each country. It is well known that China has vast hordes of Windows XP pirate copies, and these come without any Service Packs, which is why users end up using the terribly outdated Internet Explorer 6. Korea’s problem lies in banking websites, which force users to install Active X plugins and refuse to work on other browsers such as Chrome or Firefox (this is reportedly thanks to a deal Microsoft made with the Korean government several years ago). Japan’s Internet also has a similar reliance on Internet Explorer, and while their websites are not as “broken” to the same extent of Korea’s, the larger population of Japan ensures them double the IE6 market share of Korea by default. Thankfully though, most of the western world has dropped into “green” status, meaning that web developers can rest easy with the knowledge they no longer have to create multiple CSS files and design configurations to support the IE6 dinosaur. Unless they want to target Asian clients -- then they’re boned.
  28. 28. December 4th, 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. Swiss spy agency warns of major data leak Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/swiss-spy-agency-warns-of-major- data-leak/18204.html December 4th, 2012 Switzerland's intelligence agency, the NDB, has warned of a massive data theft by one of its technicians, which has put top secret information on counter-terrorism from multiple world governments at risk. Switzerland's intelligence agency, the NDB, has warned of a massive data theft by one of its technicians, which has put top secret information on counter-terrorism from multiple world governments at risk. An anonymous source reported to Reuters that Swiss authorities have alerted intelligence agencies in the US and UK, including the CIA and MI6, that they were among a number of countries whose sensitive security information may have been exposed. The disgruntled employee, who allegedly felt he was not being taken seriously at work, was arrested during the Summer after acting suspiciously, but was released pending further investigation. It is believed he intended to sell the data to foreign governments or other commercial buyers. Reports suggest that the man, whose name has not been released, downloaded terabytes of data, numbering potentially millions of pages, onto portable hard drives and simply walked out of government buildings with them in a backpack, highlighting the obvious lack of security in place. The man worked for the NDB for eight years and was described as being very talented. He was a senior technician with administrator rights, which gave him unrestricted access to the spy agency's servers. He apparently did not show up for work on a number of occasions, but alarm bells were only rung when a bank copped onto a suspicious attempt to set up a new bank account. The hard drives were seized in the arrest, and the NDB believes it managed to step in before any sale of the data was arranged. However, one source said that the agency could not be certain that any of the information was not handed on to another party. National spy agencies around the world have thus been notified as a precaution. Image Credit: Setreset Motorola fails to secure Xbox 360 ban Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/motorola-fails-to-secure-xbox-360- ban/18202.html December 4th, 2012 Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, has failed to secure a sales ban on Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console over the alleged infringement of its patents. Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, has failed to secure a sales ban on Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console over the alleged infringement of its patents. The mobile firm was hoping to prohibit sales of the console in the US and Germany, but US Judge James Robart denied its request, citing the fact that the disputed patents operate under FRAND rules, which means they must be offered under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms. Motorola also wants Microsoft to pay fees of up to $4 billion a year to use the patents, which cover Wi-Fi connectivity and H.264 video-coding technology. A sales ban would have given the company considerable leverage over Microsoft.
  29. 29. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 However, Microsoft is not contesting Motorola's request for a fee, but wants the figure to be reduced. Motorola suggested negotiations with a starting point of a 2.25 percent royalty, which a jury will decide on in the near future. Although a sales ban may not have been in place in time, Microsoft will likely be considerably relieved, given the importance of the Christmas shopping season for console sales. Lack of supply for Nintendo's next-generation Wii U console has helped with sales of rival gaming systems. While Microsoft might enjoy some relief over the holidays, it will still end up paying a pretty penny to Motorola to keep the Xbox 360 on the market, as it cannot afford to axe features like the ability to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. Student group to sue Facebook in Ireland over privacy issues Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/student-group-to-sue-facebook-in- ireland-over-privacy-issues/18199.html December 4th, 2012 An Austrian student group is preparing to sue Facebook in Ireland over what it claims is poor handling of the privacy of users. An Austrian student group is preparing to sue Facebook in Ireland over what it claims is poor handling of the privacy of users. The group, called Europe-v-Facebook, has been campaigning for over a year, securing a number of changes to the popular social networking website, such as the facial recognition feature being switched off in Europe. However, it does not believe Facebook has made enough changes, and it has also expressed disappointment at the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which it said was “miles away from other European data protection authorities in its understanding of the law, and failed to investigate many things.” It said it is hoping for a “legally compliant solution” from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, but added that it is “highly doubtful,” suggesting that Facebook has been giving the data protection authority “the runaround.” The student group is now preparing a lawsuit to bring the issue to the next level. Facebook is also in trouble in the US, where a class action lawsuit over the privacy of user's “likes.” A settlement of $10 per user is being negotiated at the moment, and if successful then a similar proposal may be made in Ireland. Facebook's international headquarters is in Ireland, thanks mostly to the country's low corporate tax rate and highly educated workforce. Many other top technology companies also have bases in the Emerald Isle, including Google, Apple, Amazon, eBay, and most recently Dropbox. They will likely all be watching this case closely, especially Google, since its own social network could come under scrutiny for privacy concerns. Image Credit: Lawyers.com Americans spent 121 billion minutes on social media in one month Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/americans-spent-121-billion- minutes-on-social-media-in-one-month/18197.html December 4th, 2012 Information and measurement company Nielsen has announced it's annual social media report, and the results say that Americans alone, spent 121 billion minutes engaged in social media this July. Social media is, unsurprisingly, on the rise. Nielsen, which is a company specializing in assessing and gathering information, has put out it's annual social media report, in which it presents data on the habits of social media users.
  30. 30. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 This July alone, Americans spent 121,13 billion minutes of time engaged in social media. This is a rise from 88 billion minutes the year before. Nielsen reports that one reason for the rise is due to the extensive use of social media and apps for mobile devices, which has seen a collective 63% rise from last year. Social media usage for July of 2012 (blue) and July of 2011 (grey) However, before drawing any conclusions from the numbers, which do seem staggering, one must put them into perspective. The United States has a population of about 310 million. A simple check with a calculator reveals that the numbers actually only amount to 6.5 hours per person during that month, or 13 minutes per person per day. Of course, not everyone in the United States uses social media. There's probably more than a few who spend hour on Facebook every day to make up for those who don't. Portal is now available on calculator! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/portal-is-now-available-on- calculator-/18196.html December 4th, 2012 Bored of math class? Love Valve's puzzle game Portal? Well, you can kill two birds in one stone now, with the new Portal game for Texas Instruments calculators. If you own a Texas Instruments graphing calculator, chances are, like me, that you have some games on it. TI calculators have a surprisingly robust programming language available to them, and games (many, many games) have been made for them over the years. Super Mario clones and even a version of Doom have been released by homebrew programmers who wanted to make math class more entertaining. The latest game to hit the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus calculators, is Portal, the puzzle game by Valve. Before you get your hopes too high, this isn't a port of the original game, but rather a remake akin to the flash based Portal game you can find here. Still, for a game on a calculator, it's really impressive. The game was created by a programmer named Builderboy and is available on Omnimaga. Check out a video of it below: Steam launches Big Picture Mode Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/steam-launches-big-picture- mode/18195.html December 4th, 2012 Steam has launched Big Picture Mode, a full screen user interface especially intended for users who enjoy playing their games on a TV Big Picture Mode is a new full screen UI accessible via a button in the upper right corner of your Steam window. It's intended mainly for people who enjoy playing their games on a TV, as opposed to a computer, and has an easily navigated and sleek interface with increased gamepad support. The main window in Big Picture Mode The new interface reminds somewhat of other full screen UIs, such as the windows media center, but is far better organized and less cluttered. The main window cycles between the Steam store, community and library, and are explored via mouse, keyboard or gamepad. Games are organized in nice, high resolution icons in a grid that's easy to navigate. The same can be said for the store and community features as well To celebrate the new UI, Steam is having a sale until December 10, where they're offering some of their more controller friendly games for very reasonable prices, some of which are on as much as 75% sale. "Father" of SMS speaks on 20th anniversary of technology Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-father-of-sms-speaks-on-20th- anniversary-of-technology/18194.html
  31. 31. December 4th, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 December 4th, 2012 20 years after the first SMS, the "reluctant father" of the technology sat down with the BBC to reflect upon it's development. 20 Years ago, on 3 December 1992, the first text message was sent from a PC to a mobile phone on Vodafone's UK network, stating simply "Merry Christmas". Matti Makkonen, the Finnish engineer who conceived of the technology, first came up with the idea for the SMS, or Short Message Service, in 1984 during a telecommunications conference, but it took eight years before his vision became a reality. Matti Makkonen The technology didn't truly find a foothold though, until it was incorporated into the GSM standard. Makkonen considers the "true" birthday of the SMS to be 1994, when Nokia released the 2010, the first mobile phone which easily facilitated texting. Makkonen calls himself the reluctant father of the technology. Though he may have come up with the idea, he pointed out to the BBC that the SMS technology was developed through a team effort, and that he does not hold any claim to creating it himself. He also never made any money on the technology, as he felt it couldn't be patented. Makkonen stated that he loves texting, but he never uses shorthand when he texts. He is currently the CEO of Anvia Oy, a Finnish telecommunications service provider. Kickstarter project misses goal by $28 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/kickstarter-project-misses-goal- by-28/18193.html December 4th, 2012 A Kickstarter project for a game called Alpha Colony just missed its deadline by $28. Kickstarter says tough luck, but it won't bend the rules. Alpha Colony, an "Exploration, Building and Trading simulator" game, fell short of its Kickstarter goal over the weekend. The dev team was looking for $50,000 worth of pledges and it missed this goal by a measly $28. This means the game won't get any of it's funding: Kickstarter works through "pledges"; a supporter's credit card is only billed if the goal is reached. Kickstarter has stated that it won't bend the rules, despite how close the project got. A spokesperson explained to Kotaku yesterday: "That's really, really uncommon. It was a tough finish, but unfortunately we wouldn't bend the rules. Of course, creators can always relaunch a project that was initially unsuccessful." Screenshot from Alpha Colony The game's website however, has announced that this will most likely have to wait. The developers have invested $60,000 into the project and they need to focus on projects with a more immediate financial payoff. However, the game has been in development for 14 years and so likely won't stop because of this. The website states that "I believe there is still a way to build Alpha Colony in all of it’s glory". Dropbox places first non US- based office in Dublin, Ireland Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/dropbox-places-first-non-us-based- office-in-dublin-ireland/18192.html December 4th, 2012 Dropbox is the latest of many large companies who are placing offices in Ireland. Dropbox claims the location they chose has nothing to do with the country's low taxes. Dropbox is a cloud based storage system which launch in 2007. Since then, it has grown dramatically, and after