VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Nov 2012 Issue


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

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Nov 2012 Issue

  1. 1. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Disney to buy Lucasfilm and Lucasarts, will release new Star Wars movies Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/disney-to-buy-lucasfilm-and- lucasarts-will-release-new-star-wars-movies/17674.html October 31st, 2012 In a surprise move that has shocked the industry and fans alike, Disney has bought Lucasfilm and all of its sub- divisions, including gaming company Lucasarts, and plans to release a seventh Star Wars film in 2015, with at least two more to follow. In a surprise move that has shocked the industry and fans alike, Disney has bought Lucasfilm and all of its sub- divisions, including gaming company Lucasarts, and plans to release a seventh Star Wars film in 2015, with at least two more to follow. The stock and cash deal, worth a whopping $4.05 billion, effectively hands over the reins of the Star Wars universe from creator George Lucas to Disney, opening the way for a slew of new Star Wars productions. Everything under the Lucasfilm name will now be under the Disney banner, including special effects and audio production firms Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, and not to mention LucasArts, the studio that oversees dozens of Star Wars games, including the recent Star Wars The Old Republic MMO by BioWare. Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, answering to Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Disney said the present intent is for employees to remain in their current locations. Perhaps the biggest revelation made during the deal is that Episode 7 is a reality, with a targeted release date of 2015. Lucas will serve as creative consultant, while Kennedy will serve as executive producer. This is only the first of several new films too, with Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of Disney, promising Episodes 8 and 9 too, with even further plans to release more movies every two to three years. Iger talked about “maximizing the value of our strategic acquisitions,” suggesting this is a franchise that will receive a lot of attention over the coming years, and likely not just on the big screen, given previous plans for a Star Wars live- action TV show. “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm. “It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.” Disgaea D2 coming to PS3 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/disgaea-d2-coming-to- ps3/17673.html October 31st, 2012 The latest title in the Disgaea series “Disgaea D2” will be released for Playstation 3 in Japan on March 20th 2013 for 7140 Yen (around $89 USD), with a first press limited edition available for 11340 Yen (around $142 USD). In this brand new simulation RPG from Nippon Ichi Software, players will be able to once again play as the popular characters Laharl, Etna, and Flonne from the original Disgaea. What is Disgaea? • A realm where devils and angels soar the skies. A realm where heroes and villains lock swords in battle.
  2. 2. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 This is not the world as you know it. This is the Makai – a world of magic and sorcery where normal logic does not apply, where almost anything can happen. In this fantastic world, many characters will set out on the road to their destinies, and on the way meet others from distant lands. They may become the best of friends, or they may become sworn enemies – only time will tell. • The same Disgaea style we all know and love. Nippon Ichi has kept a consistent style throughout the series of Disgaea games, thanks to character designer Takehi Hasegawa and music designer Tenpei Sato’s participation in the development of each game. Without their efforts, Disgaea just wouldn’t feel the same! • Are you a noble or a scoundrel? It matters not if you’re having fun! Disgaea’s characteristic turn-based combat is back; complete with tutorial modes which welcome players who may be new to the series. However, seasoned veterans of the simulation RPG genre need not be scared away by the low learning curve of the game, as there are plenty of intricate and original elements speckled throughout the game which will provide even more entertainment to those who put in the effort to master their secrets. • Open-ended character creation & training It is possible to customize several aspects of your teammates such as job class, personality, and skill set. Players can produce a unique character that won’t be found anywhere else thanks to the unlimited combinations of features that are available for each character. • Refreshing gameplay with puzzle elements and extravagant visuals In addition to the thrill of defeating powerful enemies, puzzles dotted throughout the world will also provide players with as much pleasure as watching the exciting visuals which play every time your characters blow away an enemy with a powerful special move. If you’re still not excited for the game yet, check out what bonus stuff you get! (Note: don't get too excited unless you live in Japan or can play imports on your PS3...) Pre-order bonus content: Legacy outfits for Laharl, Etna and Flonne (original outfits from the first game downloadable from PlayStation Store) First print limited edition bonus content*: Etna & Flonne set of 2 figures from Niitengo Hard-cover impressively detailed design booklet OST set of 2 CDs *All of the above come in an exclusive limited edition box designed and illustrated by character designer Takehi Hasegawa. Activision launches Transformers Prime on Nintendo systems Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/activision-launches-transformers- prime-on-nintendo-systems/17672.html October 31st, 2012 Activision has launched Transformers Prime on Nintendo game systems, bringing the world of the animated TV show to life in an interactive brawler experience. Activision has launched Transformers Prime on Nintendo game systems, bringing the world of the animated TV show to life in an interactive brawler experience. The game will feature everyone's favourite Autobots and Decepticons, including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Arcee, Ratchet and Bulkhead, as well as Megatron and
  3. 3. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Thunderwing, along with the human characters of the show like Jack, Miko and Raf. The single-player game focuses on the Autobot adventure, while multiplayer (not available on DS) will allow players to choose from 11 different Transformers from both factions. The gameplay involves brawler-style combat and numerous driving sequences. “The Transformers Prime television show is a fantastic series and we're excited to bring this new adventure to Nintendo and Transformers fans alike,” said Kurt Niederloh, VP of Activision. “We've worked hand-in-hand with Hasbro and the TV show producers to bring this all-new storyline to life with the spirit and trademark gameplay Nintendo gamers have come to know and love.” The game is now available on the Wii, 3DS and DS, and will be a launch day title for Nintendo's next-generation console, the Wii U, on 18 November. Google loses Australian defamation lawsuit Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-loses-australian-defamation- lawsuit/17671.html October 31st, 2012 Google has lost a lawsuit in Australia where it was accused of defaming a man by linking his name with gangland crime in search results. Google has lost a lawsuit in Australia where it was accused of defaming a man by linking his name with gangland crime in search results. 62-year-old Milorad (or Michael) Trkulja, who moved to Australia from Yuogslavia in the 1970s and hosted a TV show in the 1990s, sued Google after it refused to remove search results that Trkulja claimed were damaging his repution. In 2004 he was shot in the back at a restaurant by a man wearing a balaclava, with the crime never resolved, but police did not believe it was linked to the criminal underworld. Despite this, Trkulja's name started to appear in Google searches linked with alleged murderers and drug traffickers, as well as with the words “Melbourne Crime,” which he claimed might give people the wrong impression that he was a criminal. With such an uncommon name in Australia, Trkulja found that when he searched for his name the first result that came up contained the words: “Melbourne Crime – Underworld – Ganglands,” adding: “Former music promoter Michael Trkulja was shot in the back by a hitman wearing a balaclava while dining at a St Albans restaurant in June 2004.” He claims that this suggestion that he was involved in crime, resulting in a hitman being hired against him, has damaged his reputation, resulting in people publicly avoiding him and even refusing to sit at the same table as him at a wedding. Trkulja's lawyers asked Google to change the search results in 2009, but Google refused, claiming that its search results were automated and was therefore a case of “innocent dissemination,” an argument that the jury said was reasonable only up until Google was contacted by Trkulja. Google has the option to appeal, but Yahoo also previously lost a case taken by Trkulja, making it diffult to see how the search giant might overturn the verdict. It will need to remove the offending search results and the amount of damages to be paid to Trkulja will be set over the next two weeks. The case, and similar cases taken against Google, show how potentially damaging search results can be, even if there is no malicious intent behind how certain keywords and names are linked together. As Google loses more cases like this, it is likely it will be forced to change its approach and remove allegedly defaming material as soon as it receives a complaint.
  4. 4. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 2K Games and Gearbox release Borderlands Legends game on iOS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/2k-games-and-gearbox-release- borderlands-legends-game-on-ios/17670.html October 31st, 2012 2K Games and Gearbox Software have launched Borderlands Legends, a mobile gaming experience for iOS devices set in the same world as the console titles. 2K Games and Gearbox Software have launched Borderlands Legends, a mobile gaming experience for iOS devices set in the same world as the console titles. Brick, Mordecai, Lilith and Roland are all back from the original game, fighting off endless waves of Skags, Bandits, Psychos, Bruisers and a slew of other enemies in a mix of action-RPG and strategy. There is an easy to navigate menu, important for small smartphone screens, randomised maps, randomly generated weapons, shields and utilities, and dozens of skills and abilities to unlock. The same unique artistic style as the original games is also present. The game is limited to iOS devices for now, but the team behind it mentioned there is a possibility of extending it to other mobile devices in the future. Borderlands Legends costs $4.99 on the iPhone and iPod Touch and $6.99 on the iPad. Let's just hope people's characters aren't inadvertently deleted, like in a recent bug for Borderlands 2. Injured worker's father sues Foxconn Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/injured-worker-s-father-sues- foxconn/17669.html October 31st, 2012 Zhang Guangde, father of factory worker Zhang Tingzhen brought electronics manufacturer Foxconn to court this Tuesday after his son suffered severe injuries while working at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory. Mr. Zhang expressed to the court his extreme dissatisfaction with the transfer of his son to a comparatively cheaper hospital in Huizhou to receive treatment. He also stated that Foxconn should continue payment of his son’s medical fees. (Zhang Tingzhen undergoing treatment after obtaining severe injuries)
  5. 5. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 (Zhang Tingzhen before injuries obtained at Foxconn) Zhang Tingzhen was injured while fixing a spotlight at the Shenzhen factory, where he suffered severe trauma to the brain after being electrocuted and falling to the ground. Tingzhen was saved from near-death after part of his left brain was removed. Directly after the incident, Foxconn had originally paid Zhang Tingzhen’s medical fees, however starting from this month the company notified the family that payment of medical fees would cease unless Tingzhen was transferred from the expensive Shenzhen to Huizhou, which is situated some 69km away. Zhang Guangde’s plea stated that Tingzhen’s fragile state could not bear long distance travel, and that Foxconn should continue payment of medical fees for treatment in Shenzhen. Zhang’s lawyer presented to the court several items of evidence including his time of hospitalization, his salary record, and affidavits from coworkers which proved that Tingzhen did indeed receive injury while working at the factory. Chinese factories have a long standing trend of hiring workers from areas with a lower average salary, and having them work in areas with higher commodity prices, in an effort to lower expenditures. Foxconn denied allegations of using such a strategy when employing Zhang. Earlier this month Foxconn made a statement to CNET expressing: “Chinese companies are required to purchase insurance for their workers via a government social security system. This makes it impossible for any company to gain a profit by giving workers low wages or employing people from areas with a lower median salary. Government issued social security compensation is different in each area, and Foxconn have already guaranteed Zhang Tingzhen’s family compensation for any difference in social security which arises as a result of their moving to Huizhou. We have guaranteed this regardless of the fact that we have no legal obligation to do so, simply because it represents the best interests of Zhang Tingzhen.” Samsung to mass produce 28nm 'Adonis' processor for Galaxy S4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-to-mass-produce-28nm- adonis-processor-for-galaxy-s4/17668.html October 31st, 2012 Samsung is gearing up to start mass production of a new mobile application processor (AP) with increased performance and lower power consumption compared to previous models. According to related sources, Samsung Electronics’ System LSI operation division produced a test model of an original 28nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process based mobile AP named “Exynos 5400” (codename: Adonis). The Exynos 5400 utilizes ARM’s latest Cortex A15 architecture, and packs 4 CPU cores with a low power- consuming GPU as a bonus. Thanks to process miniaturization and an upgraded GPU, the Adonis gets not only a boost in power but also burns through a battery a lot slower than the existing 32nm HKMG based Exynos 5250 (Cortex A15). Should Samsung keep on schedule with mass production, this chip is set to be the first mobile AP on the market which utilizes a 28nm HKMG process. TSMC are collaborating with Samsung Electronics to provide a foundry to fabricate Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon iteration; however this product will not be HKMG based. Instead it will utilize a traditional SiON silicon based process. HKMG enables the manufacturing of low power-consuming chips as ultra-miniaturization of the fabrication process can take place without the side effect of current leakage associated with shrinking processes based on the regular SiON approach. According to market analyzers Strategy Analytics, Samsung Electronics took 2nd place with 25.9% market share of the mobile AP market in the Q2 of this year, compared to market leader Qualcomm who possessed 38.8%. The product is expected to reach market in the first half of next year, and analysts predict it will be used in the next iteration of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy smartphone (Galaxy S4) for some localities. Mass production is slated to commence at the end of this year. Arndale Exynos 5 with Mali T604 board offers Android developers all the goods Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arndale-exynos-5-with-mali-t604- board-offers-android-developers-all-the-goods/17667.html
  6. 6. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 October 31st, 2012 ARM development boards such as the Raspberry Pi and the VIA APC are fun to tinker with, but those are kids' toys compared to the Arndale board featuring Samsung’s Exynos dual-core Cortex A-15. (VIA APC board ~$50) While Raspberry Pi will go for around $50, the base Arndale board will cost enthusiasts and developers $250 a pop, and will come with 2GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a plethora of connectivity options. Add on some modules such as the Wi-Fi/BT/GPS, audio, touch panel, and camera and you may have to shell out around $750 for the total package. The Exynos 5 with the Mali T604 in the Arndale is the same beast that powers Google’s Nexus 10 tablet. Samsung’s spin on this board offers 12.8GB/s of memory bandwidth, 1080p 60FPS video with VP8 codec decoder, and USB 3.0. This time around, Samsung will provide developers with information on the Exynos—something Samsung has kept on the down low in past Exynos hardware. There is a site that’s dedicated to this particular board and accessories for it. Additionally, there will be documentation and instruction on how to build Android and flash it, and the source code for the device will be available in December. Scott Forstall ousted because he didn't sign Maps app apology letter Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/scott-forstall-ousted-because-he- didn-t-sign-maps-app-apology-letter/17666.html October 31st, 2012 Drama among Apple’s managements may be the reason why iOS chief, Scott Forstall, will leave the company at the end of this year. The change in management will be a massive shake up for Apple, and apparently it’s out of stubbornness that Forstall has decided to jump ship. According to various reports, Forstall refused to sign the apology letter regarding the faulty Maps app in iOS6, which Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, had publicly acknowledged while also suggesting alternatives. Apparently, Forstall’s history within the company seems to have a part in foretelling his ultimate departure later this year. Bloomberg reported in a recent story that Forstall wasn’t always “cooperative,” and that he would brag about his relationship with Steve Jobs on more than one occasions. Apple announced Monday that its current chief designer, Jonathan Ive, would step in to fill the void that left behind as a result of Forstall’s ousting. Also in the announcement was the news regarding Apple’s head of retail to accompany Forstall in the departure. The Wall Street Journal reported that without Steve Jobs around to mediate the tension between the execs, the inevitable happened. Jobs was notorious for his hot headedness and stubbornness, but according to sources familiar with the matter, Jobs did his part to retain talents within the company. Google releases competitor to Siri for iOS Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-releases-competitor-to-siri- for-ios/17663.html October 31st, 2012 Three months ago, Google introduced us to it's new voice- search system, and now it's finally been released on iOS as a competitor to the native Siri. The new voice search replicates a lot of the features found in the new voice-search capabilities for Android's Jellybean. The software provides voice queries with spoken results and provides web searches for anything it doesn't have knowledge about.
  7. 7. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Google's approach, during initial testing by CNET, proved to be faster than Siri in many regards. Google's approach also displays your spoken words as text while you speak, something which Siri doesn't do until you've finished speaking. The new feature was released in an update to Google's search app, and added support for the iPhone 5. iOS users with version 4.2 or above will be able to use the new feature. Google stated earlier this year that it plans to expand this functionality to Google Calendar and Drive, though no date has been set for when this might happen. ARM Introduces Its 64-bit Processors: Meet the Cortex- A53 and Cortex-A57 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/arm-introduces-its-64-bit- processors-meet-the-cortex-a53-and-cortex-a57/17652.html October 31st, 2012 At the ARM TechCon which is being held in Santa Clara, CA the company introduced its first processors based on 64-bit ARMv8 architecture. Under the name Cortex-A53 and -A57, the company plans to usher itself into the microserver era, where it won't face competition from Intel until 2016. The ARM TechCon 2012 conference is being viewed as a pivotal event for the company. While previous conferences were always quite poor, both in content and the way how they were organized (a complaint we heard from several large ARM partners) - the 2012 conference is flooding the news channels with quite important announcements. Everything is gearing up for a major attack on the market in 2014, with Intel scheduled to launch its microserver parts in fourth quarter 2013 or first quarter 2014 (Bay Trail platform with Valleyview processors, which we exclusively disclosed here). The News First off, AMD announced that the company will ship hybrid 64-bit x86/ARM processors for servers, all carrying the Opteron brand name. While details about the parts remain hidden, we were assured that AMD will mix the 64-bit low-power "Jaguar" cores with ARMv8 cores, SeaMicro's Freedom Fabric and most probably with the Volcanic Islands GPU. Secondly, Cadence and IBM successfully demonstrated a test chip with ARMv8 based 14nm process node with both IBM FinFET (Tri-Gate, so called 3D transistors) and next-gen Fully Depleted SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator). The combination between FinFET and FD-SOI is viewed as advantageous over competitors that use bulk silicon (Intel, all TSMC clients), and you can expect IBM, GlobalFoundries and Samsung Electronics to fully utilize the two technologies once 14nm hits in 2014. Three foundries in question are members of the Common Platform Alliance, which shares the resources in order to accelerate development. 14nm FinFET / FD-SOI wafers will be available from IBM East Fishkill (NY State) GlobalFoundries Malta Fab (NY State) and Samsung's Foundry in Austin (Texas). ARM's 64-bit products for 2014 take shape With the manufacturing set in place, the time came for ARM to unveil a true successor to the popular Cortex- A9 (2009) and Cortex-A15 (2012) models. The two new models come under the name Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57. These two are first parts based on the eight generation ARM architecture (ARMv8), targeting superphones, tablets, convertible designs and high-density servers. According to ARM, the Cortex-A53 and -A57 should offer at least three times the performance of Cortex-A15 parts, while keeping the full compatibility with existing ARMv7 code. As the name goes, the two parts have different roles, even though the look in their internals reveals that not all the numbers play in hand of the higher numbered part. According to the press release, Cortex-A53 is "most power- efficient ARM application processor," while the Cortex- A57 is "most advanced high-performance applications processor." Cortex-A53 at a Glance • Out-of-Order ARMv8 32/64 Core • Up to Quad-Core Design • 40-bit Physical Memory Address • Up to 1TB RAM (LPDDR3 to DDR4) • 8-64KB L1 I-Cache (w/parity) • 8-64KB L1 D-Cache (w/ECC) • NEON SIMD Engine • FPU • 128KB - 2MB L2 Cache (w/ECC) • 128-bit CoreLink Interconnect (CCI-400 and CCN-504) Furthermore, we have a product overview:
  8. 8. October 31st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 Cortex-A57 at a Glance • Out-of-Order ARMv8 32/64 Core • Up to Quad-Core Design • 44-bit Virtual Memory Address • Up to 16TB RAM (LPDDR3 to DDR4) • 48KB L1 I-Cache (w/DED parity) • 32KB L1 D-Cache (w/ECC) • NEON SIMD Engine • FPU • 128KB - 2MB L2 Cache (w/ECC) • 128-bit CoreLink Interconnect (CCI-400 and CCN-504) Just as with the Cortex-A53, we obtained an overview of the Cortex-A57 silicon, thanks to PR team at Race Point Group: ARM announced six vendors that will utilize Cortex- A53/A57: AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon/Huawei, Samsung Electronics and STMicroelectronics. We'll address AMD's strategy in a separate article, while you can expect A53 and A57 to be the center of quad-core designs from HiSilicon (paired with Mali-T604 or T628 graphics), Samsung Exynos 6000 Series, while Broadcom, Calxeda and STMicroelectronics will use the concepts above for their respective markets (embedded - automotive, networking, etc.). All in all, Intel's 32-bit Out-of-Order mobile architecture codenamed Silvermont will have a battle royale on their hands, with ARM entering the server space with AMD and Samsung.
  9. 9. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Study finds smartphones and tablets extend work days by two hours Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/study-finds-smartphones-and- tablets-extend-work-days-by-two-hours/17691.html November 1st, 2012 The rapid growth of smartphones and tablet computers had led to working days increasing by up to two hours for some, according to a survey by Pixmania. The rapid growth of smartphones and tablet computers had led to working days increasing by up to two hours for some, according to a survey by Pixmania. The research found that the average working day is upwards of 12 hours long, with nine to ten hours in the office and a further two hours making phone calls or answering emails after clocking out. That number jumps to three hours for one in ten people surveyed. Close to nine out of ten office workers have email access on their phones, with two-thirds checking their email on waking and before bed, which means they probably dream about work too. A third of people check their emails between the unholy hours of 6am and 7am, while a quarter log in between 11pm and midnight. The average user checks for new emails a whopping 20 times a day. “Many companies expect their employees to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and smartphones mean that people literally cannot get away from work,” said Ghadi Hobeika, Marketing Director of Pixmania. “The more constantly in contact we become, the more is expected of us in a work capacity.” Of course, users can turn their phones off, turn off 3G or 4G connectivity to stop getting emails, disable notifications, or in some cases set their smartphone to blocking mode, which restricts incoming calls and messages to certain allowed numbers between certain times of time. Unfortunately many employees will feel obligated to add work numbers to the whitelist, ensuring work forever haunts their home life. Human-controlled car beats self-driving car in race Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/human-controlled-car-beats-self- driving-car-in-race/17689.html November 1st, 2012 Self-driving cars are becoming a growing phenomenon, touted by many as a safer way to travel, but when it comes to racing, humans still have the upper hand – for now. Self-driving cars are becoming a growing phenomenon, touted by many as a safer way to travel, but when it comes to racing, humans still have the upper hand – for now. The race was held at the Thunderhill Raceway in California, with an automated Audi TTS developed by the Centre for Automotive Research at Standford University facing off against a human driver. There were 15 turns on the track, presenting a challenge for the robotic car which adjusts to surroundings thanks to a number of sensors fitted to it, and the driverless car reached speeds of 115 miles per hour. In the end the human driver won, but only by a few seconds, suggesting that it is likely only a matter of time before robotic racers beat us to the finish line.
  10. 10. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 The experiment will be pivotal to future development of self-driving technology, with the researchers at Stanford analysing data collected from the race, including from human drivers, in order to incorporate better controls into the car. The ultimate aim is to take what is learned and developed from this research and bring it into safety systems for cars, particularly for dealing with unpredictable scenarios like icy roads. Google has already been boasting about the safety of its self-driving cars, explaining that most crashes are caused by human error, while Nissan is developing similar driverless technology. “As we set up these systems in the future, it's important not to build autonomous vehicles that are merely a collection of systems designed for human support but to think a little bit more holistically about making them as good as the very best human drivers,” said Professor Chris Gerdes of Stanford University. “It's not so much the technology as the capability of the human that is our inspiration now.” Megaupload founder unveils file-hosting replacement Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/megaupload-founder-unveils-file- hosting-replacement/17688.html November 1st, 2012 Megaupload made headlines earlier this year after it was taken down by the FBI and the US Department of Justice, but its founder, Kim Dotcom, has unveiled a replacement service called Mega, set to launch in January. Megaupload made headlines earlier this year after it was taken down by the FBI and US Department of Justice, but its founder, Kim Dotcom, has unveiled a replacement service called Mega, set to launch in January. In order to avoid a similar fate to Megaupload, one of the world's largest file-hosting services, Mega will adopt a number of changes to how it works, first of which is avoiding US companies for hosting any data. “The new Mega will not be threatened by US prosecutors,” Dotcom told Reuters. “The new Mega avoids any dealings with US hosters, US domains and US backbone providers and has changed the way it operates to avoid another takedown.” Encryption will also play a huge role in the new service, with users able to encrypt their files and hand out unique decryption keys to share them with others. This will not only make the service more secure, it will ensure Mega is not liable if the files breach copyright, since it will not actually have access to the files themselves. “Content owners can still remove infringing material and they will even get direct delete access if they agree not to make us responsible for actions of users,” Dotcom explained, marking a major shift from the approach used at Megaupload, where the website moderators would have to look for and remove infringing content. Dotcom claimed that the FBI was flooding the new Mega website with traffic as it was unveiled, delaying the unveiling. He still faces charges of copyright infringement, fraud and money laundering, with an extradition hearing planned for not long after Mega's official launch. Fujitsu ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J delayed Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fujitsu-arrows-tab-wi-fi-qh55j- delayed/17687.html November 1st, 2012 Fujitsu announced today with much chagrin that their ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J tablet originally slated for release on November 2nd is going to be delayed for several weeks. Fujitsu announced that their 10.1 inch Windows 8 tablet, the ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J originally slated for release on November 2nd is going to be delayed. The tablet is now scheduled for a mid-November release.
  11. 11. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J has a 10.1 inch wide IPS liquid crystal display with a 1366x768 resolution and comes pre-installed with Windows 8. The unit has been described as a “pure tablet PC”, with a weight of 574g. The tablet stands out from other models with its waterproof and dirt proof body, which is the thinnest in the world at 9.9mm. Hardware-wise, the ARROWS boasts Intel's latest Atom Z2760 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and a hefty 64GB SSD. It also has full connectivity features with support for IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, and users will get about 10.5 hours of video playback on a single charge. Addtional features include GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light sensor, and gyrometer. The device also has a single USB 2.0 port and a single microSD memory card slot, as well as a microphone jack. There are two built-in cameras, an 8MP camera on the back, and a 2MP camera on the front. Full dimensions of the tablet are 264.4 (length) x 169.4 (height) x 9.9 (width) mm. The tablet is scheduled to go on sale for 99.800 Yen ($1,245 USD). Yikes! Sneak peek of Shenzhen's first Apple Store Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sneak-peek-of-shenzhen-s-first- apple-store/17686.html November 1st, 2012 Apple will be unveiling their first ever Shenzhen based Apple Store this Saturday at 9 am in Shenzhen’s YT Holiday Plaza, but today the media got first dibs on a sneak preview of the store. YT Holiday Plaza entrance to store Opposite entrance to store in shopping mall Tryout area for devices 360 degree Genius Bar
  12. 12. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 A mountain of iPhone 4S and iPad 3 devices.. (but no iPhone 5...) This store is the first (official) Apple retail outlet to be opened in Shenzhen, and the 7th in China following Apple’s Wangfujing store in Beijing. This occasion also marks the third Chinese city to have an Apple store, after Beijing and Shanghai. Situated in the entertainment center of Shenzhen, the new store lies opposite the city’s famous ‘Window on the World’ district, which is chocked full with luxury goods retailers. Apple Store China’s director Denny Tuza introduced the YT Plaza store to the media today as a special preview for what’s in store for would-be buyers starting this weekend. Situated in the first floor basement of a shopping mall, the outlet covers an area of 1000 square meters and lies entirely on one floor. This unfortunately means that there is no trademark spiral staircase in the store (yet). There are two entrances to the store, one facing the YT Plaza itself, and one which leads directly into the shopping mall in which it is situated. Apple have gone all out in its search for staff and hired a whopping 250 employees from a total of 41 different cities across China. Workers at the store can speak a combined total of 6 different languages and should have no trouble pushing their wares onto visitors from any nation. Apple fans in the region may also be pleased to hear of the triumphant return of the 360 degree open bar – the Genius Bar. Although somewhat common place in US stores, this is only the second time a Genius Bar has been set up in a Chinese store (the first being in Beijing’s Wangfujing outlet). The rest of the store is broken up into several areas, and users can easily find their way to the accessories section, iPad/ iPhone section, or one of the trial areas (divided into child and adult space) where consumers may try out the latest iPhone and Mac computers. The latest iPod touch and nano devices which debuted this September will also be on sale at the new store, and the iPod touch will start out at 2298 yuan (around $368 USD). With another weapon to take on the Chinese market in their arsenal, Apple’s next move is to build a new Apple Store in the city of Chengdu. Apple forced to remove statements about Samsung verdict from their website Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-forced-to-remove-statements- about-samsung-verdict-from-their-website/17684.html November 1st, 2012 After Apple was ordered by UK courts to display a message stating that Samsung did not infringe upon it's patents, they have now been ordered to change their message and remove parts of the statement which were untrue. It's been less than a month since the Apple vs Samsung verdict in the UK ended with a loss for Apple. Samsung was not infringing upon Apple's patents, and as a result of the lawsuit, Apple was ordered to put up a notice on their website, stating this fact clearly. However, Apple felt the need to embellish and add things to the statement, and as a result, the courts are forcing them to change the statement. Apple asked for two weeks to make the changes, but the court shot down their request, stating it had to be altered within 24 hours. The statement was originally a very specific, 56-word paragraph laid out by UK High Court Judge Colin Birss: "On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do notinfringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the Highcourt is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/ cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html." However, Apple then decided to add a further four paragraphs to justify the statement and put Apple in a good light. Among these paragraphs was a reference to a judge in the original Apple vs. Samsung case stating that one of the differences between Apple and Samsung was that Samsung's devices "are not as cool." Apple then went on to describe how, despite the verdict, Apple had won in other cases around the world. The statement was concluded with "So while the UK court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad." UK Appeals judge Robin Jacob responded with saying, "I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this".
  13. 13. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Indeed, this seems like a particularly irresponsible way for a multi billion dollar corporation to handle a loss. Microsoft sued over new user interface Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-sued-over-new-user- interface/17683.html November 1st, 2012 SurfCast, a small company making operating systems, has sued Microsoft for infringing on one of it's four patents, a user interface design built around the concept of tiles. In keeping with the spirit of tech companies suing each other over patents, a small OS developer called SurfCast is suing Microsoft for Windows 8's tile design. The company filed a complaint with the US District Court in Maine for "making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products" protected by the SurfCast patent. Mobile phones, PCs and Tablets using windows phone 7, as well as windows 8/RT, are supposedly violating the patent. Microsoft is also accused of contributing to copyright infringement by encouraging other developers of producing app tiles for their operating systems. SurfCast wants Microsoft to pay damages for any direct and indirect infringement, while Microsoft remains adamant that the lawsuit is unfounded and that the case will be dropped. SurfCast is stating that it thought of the idea of dynamically updating tile first, and applied for a patent as early as 2000 (it received the patent in 2004). They also claim that Microsoft was aware of the patent at the time of the development of their LiveTiles, and that they even referenced the technology as "relevant art" during the development of the new user interface. GeChic unveils 2501M & 2501A 15.6-inch USB- powered monitors Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gechic-unveils-2501m--2501a-15.6- inch-usb-powered-monitors/17685.html November 1st, 2012 GeChic Corporation presents their new On-Lap 2501M and 2501A mobile display models. These are 15.6-inch LED monitors that can operate efficiently using only power from a USB port. GeChic Corporation had just unveiled recently two new mobile display units for commercial distribution. The On- Lap 2501M and the On-Lap 2501A are 15.6-inch portable LED monitors that can be simply powered via USB port. These will be available starting November 9, 2012 in Japan, and the retail price will be set at around 24,800 yen (300 USD) for the 2501M, and 19,800 yen (254 USD) for the 2501A. Distribution and sale of the units will be managed and taken care of by TekWind. To give you a clearer idea on just how low both units' power consumption rates would be, we'll provide a direct comparison. A standard LED monitor of the same size (15.6- inch) usually has a power rate of 15 watts. The USB port delivers only 2.5 watts at maximum, which means that these mobile display models are potentially 6 times more energy efficient. The display resolution of both units is set at 1366x768 pixels, response time at 8ms, brightness at 200cd/sq.m, and contrast at 400:1. Some of their connectivity options include HDMI, MicroUSB, and D-sub. The dimensions are both set at 395x16.3x260 mm. For their weights, the 2501M is set at 1.3 kg, while the 2501A is at 1.1 kg. In addition, the 2501M will also be installed with a 9300mAh battery, allowing it to still continue functioning for 10 hours even when it is not connected. Earlier this year, GeChic released the On-Lap 1301 and 1501. The 1301 had a 13.3-inch screen while the 1501 has the same 15.6-inch screen. While both were functionally the same as the 2501M and 2501A, they had fewer features, and had considerably lower specs. Brightness for example is very noticeably lower on the 1301. Source: PCWatch (JP)
  14. 14. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Hitachi launches new robot to inspect building foundations Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hitachi-launches-new-robot-to- inspect-building-foundations/17680.html November 1st, 2012 Human workers need no longer crawl under buildings to perform inspections. Hitachi Advanced Digital announced today that they are now accepting orders for a new crawling robot with an attached camera that can squeeze underneath buildings and inspect foundations, pipes and floor supports remotely. Although Hitachi is best known for their factory assembly and maintenance robots, in 2007 they received a lot of media attention for a cute roller skating companion and support robot called EMIEW 2. The new robot announced today may not be as huggable but it is arguably more useful, and engineers overcame formidable design challenges in making it. In the past workers would have had to crawl under buildings, entering tight spaces with poor air quality, in order to check the foundations for weakness or damage. Hitachi's new robot can enter those spaces and take photos and video, allowing technicians to judge the soundness of the building from a comfortable distance. It may sound like a no brainer but engineers like Eiji Koyanagi, deputy director of the Future Robotics Technology Center at the Chiba Institute of Technology, couldn't just stick a camera on any remote controlled vehicle. They ran into trouble making sharp turns; and the plastic sheet, which protects the building from excess moisture, would often get caught in the wheels. These challenges have been overcome and the robot can now smoothly crawl over plastic sheet, make turns, ascend and descend stairs, and go over objects up to 15 cm high. Hitachi have stated that they expect to find more uses for the robot and develop it to handle a wider range of tasks. In addition to home builders they are also actively marketing the robot to construction companies for use under buildings and around piping. Source: mynavi (JP) Sony and Sharp fighting to remain profitable Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sony-and-sharp-fighting-to-remain- profitable/17681.html November 1st, 2012 After some troubling times for Sony and Sharp, the two technology giants are taking drastic steps to cut costs and are refocusing their businesses to get back to turning a profit. Sony has been losing money for a while now, and last year, they reported a loss of 1.6 billion yen (20 million USD), but this year, it is expected they'll manage an operating profit of nearly 33.8 billion yen (425 million USD). Still, Sony is not out of the water yet; that profit is somewhat inflated and the company is still cutting costs at every corner. Currently, Sony's stocks have dropped in value by 16% since mid-June and is currently valued collectively at 12 billion USD. Sony's five year cost for ensuring against debt default, the so called credit default swap, has jumped up by 60%. Much of the sudden profit comes from the recent selling of their chemicals unit for 58 billion yen and the closing of their Shinagawa Technology Center, a 31-story Tokyo commercial building. There's also talks of closing the Sony tower in New York. In addition, the company is expected to lay off 10,000 employees before March. These sudden changes come after the new Sony CEO, Kazou Hirai, took over in April. He's making some drastic changes to the company, including shifting focus to gaming, mobile devices and digital photography, as well as emerging new technologies such as medical imaging. It will subsequently be moving away from televisions, which has given Sony a 9 billion USD loss over the past eight years. "The areas in which Sony is continuing to focus are of course high-risk, high-return markets," said JP Morgan analyst Yoshiharu Izumi. Meanwhile, Sharp is also taking steps to cut costs and boost profits, and for them, the situation is even more dire. They recently received a 4.6 billion USD bank bailout, and has pledged to cut, like Sony, around 10,000 jobs, and sell assets.
  15. 15. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 After adding restructuring, and with loss of valuation losses on stocks for LCD displays, they expect a loss of 400 billion yen between April and September, nearly double of what they had predicted. To boost profits, Sharp is increasing production of their new HD power-saving IGZO screens, which they hope to sell to laptop manufacturers, such as Lenovo and HP. They are expecting a much milder, yet still substantial loss of 50.4 billion yen, for their second quarter. However, it is expected that the charges incurred in the April-September period, frees the company up to pursue profits, and puts it in a better position to bounce back. Microsoft claims to have sold 4 million Windows 8 upgrades Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-claims-to-have-sold-4- million-windows-8-upgrades/17679.html November 1st, 2012 Developers that are looking into taking a chance on Windows 8 will be happy to know that Microsoft has managed to sell 4 million upgrades to the latest Windows OS. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, announced the news at the Build 2012 conference yesterday. He also claims that Windows 8 is outpacing Windows 7 in terms of initial adoption, and it is only proper that Ballmer dropped the good news in front of developers that are looking for reasons to develop software for Windows 8. (Steve Ballmer at Build 2012 in Redmond. | Image: TNW) “The level of enthusiasm and desire to learn about the new Windows 8 computers has really been remarkable,” said Ballmer. The impressive adoption rate for Windows 8 is perhaps largely attributed to the ‘discounted’ and ‘promo’ strategy that Microsoft has launched in an attempt to lure consumers into switching from previous versions of Windows. In one such promo, Microsoft offered recent Windows 7 PC buyers the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 8 for a fraction of what it will cost in retail. In terms of corporate partners, Ballmer claims that ‘tens of millions of units’ have already been sold to corporate customers. These corporate customers may have purchased millions of units, but at the same time they are in no way obligated to actually install the new OS onto their hardware. DoCoMo, one of Japan’s major cellular carriers, has also announced that it will be partnering with Microsoft to promote Windows 8 through LTE-enabled tablets. To show that DoCoMo has faith in Windows 8, the Japanese carrier will collaborate with Microsoft on the hardware and software as well as share the marketing costs to ensure that Windows 8 will be in the hands of as many consumers as possible. DoCoMo wrote in a statement: “Tablet devices are being used increasingly in the corporate world to raise the efficiency and value offerings of sales activities. DOCOMO’s Xi LTE service enables corporations to use tablets with enhanced flexibility and diversity, while the new Windows 8 operating system realizes permanent connection to wireless networks and enhanced mobile experiences using the touchscreens of tablets from various manufacturers.” Within all this hustle and bustle around Windows 8, it’s easy to forget that Apple also experienced a similar success with its Mountain Lion OS, with 3 million copies sold in just four days after launch. Microsoft’s control on the PC market is currently experiencing a shakeup in light of the growing tablet/mobile market, and if consumers approve of Windows 8 then that will demonstrate that the Redmond- based software maker still has what it takes to remain on top. Facebook employees dump shares as company's stock prices continue to tumble Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-employees-dump-shares- as-company-s-stock-prices-continue-to-tumble/17678.html November 1st, 2012 Facebook has been taking a beating from Wall Street since its IPO in May, and now the social networking service is facing yet another dilemma. Many employees that had their shares locked up until Monday dumped a lot of shares on Wednesday. In May, Facebook’s initial offering price was $38, but that has fallen by nearly half. Employees that were supposed to be millionaires and even billionaires became less and less inclined to hold onto their shares as the company’s value continued to decline. Back in August, co-founder of PayPal and an early bird investor in Facebook, Peter Thiel sold the majority of his shares and netting over $1 billion in cash (not bad for a $500K initial investment). He also made $640 million after
  16. 16. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 8 selling 16.8 million shares during the IPO. IPO investors, on the other hand, are not so lucky compared to Thiel. So instead of waiting it out and risking further devaluing of their shares, many Facebook employees have decided that they’re better off cashing in now before the social networking giant dips to an even lower level. It was rumored shortly after Facebook’s IPO that perhaps the firm would dive into hardware with a smartphone, and prove to investors that there’s something ‘tangible’ to keep the company sustainable. That, however, quickly became an afterthought when CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out and said that a Facebook-powered smartphone wouldn’t make any sense, and that the firm would continue with its core business model—that is, profiting from ad revenues on its social networking platform. Facebook will face the possibility of another massive dump on November 14 when employees can sell 777 million more shares. ‘777’ can either make it or break it for a lot of slot machine players, but it doesn’t seem like Facebook will be hitting the ‘jackpot’ at this rate. Impressions: ECS eZ Bun - Conference Speakerphone on the Go Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/impressions-ecs-ez-bun--conference- speakerphone-on-the-go/17677.html November 1st, 2012 The ECS eZ Bun is a nifty little contraption that adds conference speakerphone functionality to your favourite mobile devices while on the go. Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is one of the largest Taiwanese based OEM/ODM of motherboards and peripherals, best known for its components inside branded PCs and entry retail offerings. Recently they have decided to venture into the rather saturated realm of "mobile widgets", creating nifty little devices like the eZ Bun to target the digital masses. With the advent of long-range wireless communication and the Internet, more work and meetings can be done on the road rather than only in a traditional office. For these users, it might be useful to carry a companion device to have video conferences with managers or customers. Since the majority of tablets, smartphones and laptops have less than ideal microphone input and speaker output for these situations (lack of volume and clarity), ECS has made the eZ Bun to address this usage model. The ECS eZ Bun is a portable video conference speaker and microphone. Its palm-sized frame allows you to easily carry it around. The ECS eZ system has two similar-looking product models: the eZ Bun and the the eZ Bun BT. The regular version that uses a micro-USB cable to connect to a Mac or PC, and an included Apple dock connector for the iPad/iPhone. The BT model has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can avoid the hassle of wires. Battery life is rated up to 10 hours of video conferencing and 4 hours continuous music. The idiotproof eZ Bun has only 3 buttons to operate. The top part with the ECS logo is the microphone receiver button that allows the user to switch between receive and mute. The center is the phone answer button. While using an iPhone, you can use the middle button to call or hang up a phone call. The other button with the eZ Bun lucky charm is the volume control.
  17. 17. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 9 At the side of the eZ Bun we find the power button and a micro USB port to charge the device. Headphone audio output and microphone input is on the other end. The bundled 2-in-1 cord to attaches to a smart phone or tablet computer. When attached to a PC or MAC, the appliance is detected as a USB audio device with software volume controls., The eZ Bun has many essential features built into its design. For instance, it can isolate static noise and increase microphone sensitivity. With an audio receiver range of up to 3 meters, you can have multiple participants in a video conference. Image and Review Credits: Chinese VR-Zone
  18. 18. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 10 eBook Japan to launch their own 7-inch tablet Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ebook-japan-to-launch-their-own-7- inch-tablet/17676.html November 1st, 2012 eBook Japan, a very long time distributor of electronically published content on the web, now plans to directly go where they really belong, by releasing their own e-content optimized 7-inch tablet. eBook Japan, a website that mainly deals with the electronic distribution of Japanese published materials and content, has announced yesterday (October 31, 2012) that they will be launching their very own 7-inch tablet model. eBook Initiative Japan, the company that manages the website, considers this as a natural and an eventual step up from the services that they already have. The 7-inch size may be considered as a standard screen size for smaller tablet units, but there is actually a slightly higher significance to it that made them choose such screen size. Most of the e-contents that eBook Japan distributes, when presented in their original paper form, are already near the size of a 7-inch tablet. This goes perfectly in line with the theme of the unit to "place e-books closer to their real form". While the concept and main scope of their project has been revealed to the public, there is yet any information available about the tablet model's specs and overall design schemes. The only thing that is certain as of now is that it will be installed with the Android OS. The release price of the unit is also yet to be announced as of this moment, although eBook Japan claims that it will have a price that's "easy on the hands". Modern e-books of the "pre-tablet era" as we know it today were already widely distributed and used ever since electronic content gradually became widespread in the late 2000's. For eBook Japan, they have been distributing e- books and other e-content since the year 2000. Their usual specialities are electronic manga (Japanese comics) titles, which can be conveniently read and accessed with a web browser using the Trunk Room, a personal account that stores bought e-books via cloud storage. Today, they have over 65,000 titles that is under the category of manga alone, all of which are universally accessible to PC's, smartphones, and tablet computers. Their 7-inch Android tablet is expected to be commercially available at around December of this year. Source: Androwire (JP) Crysis 3 Alpha key giveaway extravaganza! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/crysis-3-alpha-key-giveaway- extravaganza-/17675.html November 1st, 2012 Crytek is back with a new installment in the Crysis series - and one generous site has 3000 alpha keys up for grabs! "The award-winning developer Crytek is back with Crysis 3. Return to the fight as Prophet, the Nanosuit soldier on a quest to rid the world of the invading Ceph; eliminate the corrupted CELL Corporation. Adapt to any situation with the stealth and armor abilities of your unique Nanosuit as you battle through the seven wonders of New York's Liberty Dome. Unleash the firepower of your all-new, high-tech bow and alien weaponry to hunt both human and alien enemies. And uncover the truth behind the death of your squad while establishing the power of human will in a rich story full of exciting twists and turns." ..Or so the story goes. If you just want to jump in to the game, go here and follow the instructions: http://www.gamingdeluxe.co.uk/crysis-3- giveaway.html. For those of you still here, let's discuss Crytek's latest endevour in depth shall we? But first a little on Crytek's background: Small Beginnings Crytek started out not as a games company, but as a small German graphics company in 1999. Founded by two Turkish brothers with the last name "Yerli", Crytek wowed participants of the European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) in 2000 with a tech demo they made for NVIDIA. Several years later this tech demo evolved into Crytek's first venture into the games industry - Far Cry. After Far Cry Soon after Far Cry, Crytek released their game engine into the wild. Dubbed 'CryEngine', the new engine was showcased at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2003 trade show. Back in those days, the stunning physics and polybump visuals of the engine were a huge leap ahead anything out at the time - even Crytek's arch enemy Epic could not compete with their Unreal engine. In Februrary 2004, after allegations of using pirate software in their offices and being raided by the police, Crytek coincidentally (?) joined hands with EA, and started work towards a new plateau of graphical superiority that would even blow Far Cry out of the water. Crysis
  19. 19. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 11 In January 2007, Crytek for the first time revealed to the world the fruits of their labor over the past few years - CryEngine 2. Evidently their engine wowed not just would be consumers of their next game, but also other developers, as multiple studios rushed at the chance to get their hands on the engine for use in their own games. In November of the same year, Crysis was unleashed on PCs worldwide, and gamer's machines would simply melt in contact with the game, such were the system requirements for playing it so high (OK, I made that last bit up). After what seemed like an endless flood of 'but can it run Crysis?' jokes, the rest of the world finally caught up to Crytek's digital prowess and played the game long enough to get to the part where the aliens arrive.. and it went all downhill from there really. Hurr look at me I'm a bad ass nanosuit dude! Revenge Crytek were mad. Really mad. They had made a decent profit with Crysis, but it wasn't the multi-million dollar hit they had anticipated for all these years as they toiled over perfecting their monstrous CryEngine 2. The reason for this, they figured, was not the alien levels in their game, or lacklustre multiplayer mode. No, no, the reason for their mediocre sales was of course.. piracy! Vowing to never again trust the filthy scum of the PC gaming world, Crytek secretly started work on a new project ... one that would be a blockbuster hit ... one that would run on all systems... one that people would have to pay for this time. Crysis 2 was going multiplatform. Betrayal Nerds everywhere were outraged. How dare Crytek, the last bastion of PC gaming, the flag flier of the PC master race, betray its own kind like this! How dare they develop for Xbox360 and Playstation 3! "It won't sell anyway" "It will look like crap" "I bet the alien levels are back" Such were the sounds of sour grapes which emanated from masses of PC gamers around the globe. But Crytek didn't care, because they had a hit on their hands. They were going to beat Gears of War. They were going to beat Call of Duty. They were going to beat Halo! To Crytek's credit, they did try pretty damn hard this time. Employing professional sci-fi writer Richard Morgan for the story, and the legendary Batman Trilogy/ Inception composer Hans Zimmer to create the soundtrack, Crytek were sure they were going to blast the world away. But would they. Would THEY be the ones to finally run Crysis? ..A jungle guerilla warfare game set in.. New York?? Seriously, Crytek? Aftermath The short answer is no. Crysis 2 did OK considering it was Crytek's first ever multiplatform game. But it's total 1.6 million sales were miniscule in comparison to the 3 million sales of Crysis (4.5 including sales of Crysis: Warhead). Something was missing. The graphical prowess had been toned down a lot in order to get the game running on the consoles, and the PC version suffered a lot because of it. The most important factor here was that Crysis 2 was natively a Direct X 9 game, and at the time of its release Direct X 10 games had already begun to dazzle PC gamers with their new sparkly features. This did nothing but further aggravated PC gamers who were already feeling betrayed by Crytek. It also didn't help that the game had no graphics settings menu, and the PC version merely came with the console version of the menu, complete with 'press X to continue' style console- centric help messages. To use the parlance of the Internet, it was almost like Crytek were 'trolling' its audience. Return of the Prodigal Developer After being slapped in the face with their console iteration, Crytek finally got the message and decided it was time to bring back the tired 'but can it run Crysis?' meme, by developing Crysis 3 with PC as their main target audience. (Yes, the CEO himself actually used that stupid phrase). However, only time will tell whether or not this will prove to be an effective strategy. For one, the game is still going to be multiplatform with current generation consoles, which means that it is debatable whether or not the next iteration of CryEngine will even be that impressive. (At this stage of the console lifecycle, it is doubtful). Some demos were thrown about during E3 this year but personally they didn't really impress. It seems like Crytek wants to have their cake and eat it. Will PC gamers buy into their so-called 'return' to the PC arena? It's free, just take it, PLEASE! And so what this all boils down to is this: Crytek probably BENEFITTED from all the popularity they got when benchmarkers around the globe tested out their beefy rigs with pirated versions of Crysis. Without people testing the game and showing their results to the world, it is dubious whether or not anyone would have really cared about the game to begin with. And then it wouldn't have sold much at
  20. 20. November 1st, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 12 all. Kind of like another game with the word 'Crysis' in the title *ahem*. But this time around, its not certain that pirates will use Crysis 3 as their new benchmarking tool du jour. So what are Crytek to do? Well give the game away for free of course. Well.. kind of. Well, that's my theory behind Crytek's decision to throw out free copies of their (albeit alpha-stage) game. What do you guys think?
  21. 21. November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Android dominates third quarter with 75 percent smartphone market share Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/android-dominates-third-quarter- with-75-percent-smartphone-market-share/17704.html November 2nd, 2012 Google's Android mobile operating system is just four years old and has managed to grow at an incredible rate, ruling a whopping 75 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter of this year. Google's Android mobile operating system is just four years old and has managed to grow at an incredible rate, ruling a whopping 75 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter of this year. A report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter, 136 million ran Android, marking a 91.5 percent increase on the 71 million shipments and 57.4 percent market share it held at the same time last year. To see how much the smartphone industry has boomed, and how well Android is doing within it, Android's shipments in the third quarter of 2012 are higher than the total smartphone shipments of 2007, when Android was first announced. Apple's iOS is far behind Android, with 26.9 shipments in the third quarter, giving it a market share of 14.9 percent. This is substantially higher than other rivals, however, and represents a 57.3 percent growth over last year, when it shipped 17.1 million units and held a market share of 13.8 percent. BlackBerry is still in third place with 7.7 million third quarter shipments and a market share of 4.3 percent, a drop of 34.7 percent on its 11.8 million shipments last year, when it held a market share of 9.5 percent. Windows Phone shipped 3.6 million units, giving it just a two percent market share, but that is 140 percent growth on the 1.5 million units it shipped in 2011, when it had a market share of just 1.2 percent. By contrast Android is skyrocketing ahead like only a little green robot can. In 2008 it shipped just 0.7 million units, giving it a tiny 0.5 percent market share. A year later it was at 7 million units and four percent. 2010 saw that boom to 71.1 million and 23.3 percent, while 2011 saw a further boost to 243.4 million and 49.2 percent. So far this year, with a full quarter yet to go, Android is sitting at 333.6 million units and a total market share of 68.2 percent. “Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of Mobile Phones at IDC. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.” High Power Astro PT 700W PSU Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/high-power-astro-pt-700w-psu- review/17702.html
  22. 22. November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 November 2nd, 2012 High Power is the retail branch of Sirfa, a large and well known power supply OEM manufacturer. Last year we had the chance to take a look at their most popular products at the time, the powerful Direct12 BR and the versatile Performance Pro. Since it has been over a full calendar year since we had the opportunity to examine the performance of one of their products, High Power has released many new and interesting power supplies, with perhaps the most interesting one being the Astro PT 700W, an 80Plus Platinum power supply featuring a futuristic appearance and with a power meter embedded on it. How does it perform though? We will find out in this review. High Power is the retail branch of Sirfa, a large and well known power supply OEM manufacturer. Last year we had the chance to take a look at their most popular products at the time, the powerful Direct12 BR and the versatile Performance Pro. Since it has been over a full calendar year since we had the opportunity to examine the performance of one of their products, High Power has released many new and interesting power supplies, with perhaps the most interesting one being the Astro PT 700W, an 80Plus Platinum power supply featuring a futuristic appearance and with a power meter embedded on it. How does it perform though? We will find out in this review. Manufacturer’s features and specifications • 80 Plus Platinum Certified • Patented D- VRM technology,Digital Control for a Precise Voltage Regulation • Eagle Eye – The patented Real Time Power Meter • Silent Design • Advanced DC to DC Converter • Intelligent Fan Control • Off- Delay Fan (Fan Stays On After System Off) • Single +12V Output Rail • 100% Japanese-made Capacitors • Reliable Japanese-made Solid-state Capacitors • Easily Detachable and Flexible Flat Modular Cables • Patented Easy Swap Connector Facebook security flaw allows account access without passwords Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-security-flaw-allows- account-access-without-passwords/17701.html November 2nd, 2012 Facebook has disabled a feature that contained a security flaw allowing access to some accounts without a password. The vulnerability affected as many as 1.32 million Facebook accounts, with direct links to those accounts that bypass the password requirement featuring on a Google search. Matt Jones, security engineer for Facebook, said that the links in question are designed to be sent directly to the email addresses of account holders to log back into their accounts more quickly, such as in the case of email notifications for status updates. However, some of these links had been shared in the wild, thanks to hacked emails, throwaway mail websites, and services with poor protection of archived messages. Most of the links can only be clicked once, which means many of them have already expired, but Facebook decided to disable the quick access feature until better security is put in place. It is not clear how it will address the issue of allowing easy access without potentially compromising accounts. Facebook was keen to stress that it never made any of those links “publicly available or crawlable,” blaming the situation on external websites who had made the information available to search engines. Most of the users affected by the vulnerability are in Russia or China, and Facebook said it has taken steps to secure the accounts of these users and anyone else who recently used the feature. Microsoft working on own smartphone design, suppliers claim Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microsoft-working-on-own- smartphone-design-suppliers-claim/17700.html November 2nd, 2012 Asian component suppliers working for Microsoft claim that the company is designing its own smartphone, a move that might cause tensions with partner Nokia.
  23. 23. November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Asian component suppliers working for Microsoft claim that the company is designing its own smartphone, a move that might cause tensions with partner Nokia. Anonymous officials at the suppliers told the Wall Street Journal that the company is already testing a smartphone design, with a display of four to five inches. No other details are known and Microsoft has refused to confirm the rumours, except for a potentially revealing comment from CEO Steve Ballmer. “We're quite happy this holiday going to market hard with Nokia, Samsung and HTC,” Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal. “Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn't have a plan I wouldn't comment in any dimension.” So no confirmation on a new device, but definite confirmation that Nokia is now as much a rival as it is an ally. Since Microsoft's recently-launched Surface tablet, powered by Windows 8, has no competition from Nokia, it begs the question if Microsoft will get a smartphone out before Christmas. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform has failed to take off with the support of Nokia, which is likely making it eager to try its own approach. It still seems keen to keep Nokia on board, however, having just announced the Nokia Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8, but if it can emulate even a fraction of Apple's success, which involves keeping control of both the hardware and software, then it might not need the Finnish mobile firm for long. Need for Speed Most Wanted PS Vita Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/need-for-speed-most-wanted-ps- vita-review/17695.html November 2nd, 2012 The Need for Speed franchise has released it's latest game, and this time, they've made the jump to the Playstation Vita. Can the handheld version hold it's own against the home console versions, or should you do all your driving from the living room? Need for Speed: Most Wanted is the latest game in the NFS franchise, and is developed by Criterion, who previously worked on the Burnout series and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit back in 2010. The new game, though sharing it's name with a previous NFS title, departs in many ways from it's predecessor, discarding the underground street racing scene and storyline for something closer to the Burnout franchise. VITA VS HOME CONSOLE One reason I chose to review the Vita version of this game is because the developers have made some bold promises: Most handheld versions of games turn out to be cheap, bare-bones versions of the "real" game, but Criterion has promised that Most Wanted for the Vita will be the same game as for the consoles. The Vita's powerful hardware certainly allowed for the possibility of a full Need for Speed game, but even more promising is that Criterion has developed this version themselves, without outsourcing as so many other developers do. Indeed, the Vita version is the full game. The gameplay, the HUD, the size of the city... all are like the home console version. There are some differences, but they have less to do with the content of the game and more to do with compensating for Vita´s hardware capabilities. There's less anti-aliasing for example, textures have a somewhat lower resolution and car headlights also look oddly pixilated. The overall impression though, largely thanks to the smaller screen, means you won't notice this very much. The game is quite gorgeous anyway, and the game plays smooth as silk with a decent framerate too. Most Wanted on PS Vita...
  24. 24. November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 ...and PS3 A difference which kind of affects gameplay, and kind of doesn't, is that the number of cars on the road has been reduced. This includes both race opponents and general traffic: The opponents have been modified, according to Criterion, to ensure that the challenge remains equatable. The reduced traffic not only puts less strain on the hardware, but helps gameplay too. Most wanted is a fast-paced game, and on a small screen like the Vita's, it would most likely work against the enjoyment of the game if there were more cars to avoid. Something I originally thought was a cut-back was the crash animations, which hardly seem to deform the cars, but I've since learned that this is no different on home consoles or pc. This is rather odd, considering the destruction visible in previous Criterion games. Google Translate updates dictionary with new features Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-translate-updates-dictionary- with-new-features/17699.html November 2nd, 2012 Google has just released an update for Google Translate, which adds a smarter dictionary for the translation service; something which will help you choose the right words with greater ease for your translation. Google has released an update for Google Translate; three new features to their dictionary, which should make translations much more accurate. The first of these features is known as "Reverse translations" and will help you choose between various alternatives to a translation. This will help you weed through differences such as those found in various dialects. This would otherwise be very difficult to do without intimate knowledge about the language. The next feature, "Frequency" helps you pick correct words by how commonly they're used. It will instantly rank translations for certain words based on how commonly the language uses them. The rarest translations will be hidden by default, but can be unlocked. An example of the synonyms and frequency features The final feature, "Synonyms" will group translations of a word into groups to ensure that all synonyms for one word will be easy to navigate to and that words which have only nearly the same meaning, do not get mixed up with them. Synonyms is currently only available when translating into English, but Google is planning to update and expand the feature in the future. To try out the new dictionary, head over to Google Translate! Galaxy Note 2 on a roll Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/galaxy-note-2-on-a-roll/17697.html November 2nd, 2012 Samsung Electronic’s Galaxy Note 2 is on a roll. It has sold more than 3 million since it was last released 37 days ago. Samsung Electronic’s Galaxy Note 2 has sold more than 3 million since it was last released 37 days ago. If it continues to be as popular as it has been so far it is expected to easily sell over six million items within the next three months. This is more than three times the original Galaxy Note sold for. Galaxy Note cumulative sales was just over 2 million three months after the launch of the product. Galaxy Note 2 has a large screen and fast multi-tasking. It also comes with Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. It also sports two cameras -- an 8MP rear-facing camera with 1080p HD video, a 1.9MP front-facing camera. The Galaxy Note comes in two sizes with either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. The Galaxy Note 2 has received high praise from many quarters. A Chinese weekly called the phone the most ‘creative of the year’. The US Tech Magazine Wired gave it 9 points out of ten and named the phone the swiss army knife of phones due to its broad array of functions. Rakuten light up your Christmas with the Kobo Glo Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/rakuten-light-up-your-christmas- with-the-kobo-glo/17693.html November 2nd, 2012 Yesterday, Rakuten announced new additions to their Kobo brand of electronic book readers: the 6 inch Kobo Glo, and the 5 inch Kobo Mini. The Kobo Glo has a frontlight (which is like a backlight, except it’s on the front, I guess), allowing users to enjoy books in dark places like bedrooms and underground prison camps (ok maybe not that last one). It also has received a huge bump-up in storage space, so it is perfect for reading comic books and Manga. Which, according to Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, is a good thing, because “Japanese people really like Manga”.
  25. 25. November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 5 "Japanese people really like Manga" - Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten CEO So just how much of a boost in memory are we talking here? Well the Glo will come with an embedded 2GB of flash memory, and will support microSD cards of up to 32GB. Apparently this translates to roughly 600~1000 comics, or 30,000 books. Which is how they measure things in Japan. So much for the metric system! The Kobo Glo possesses a 16 gradient grayscale touch screen with 758x1024 dot resolution. The device itself is sized 114x157x10mm, and it weighs 185g. So maybe you can fit it in your pocket, if you have like reallybig pockets. I dunno, once I fit a Sony PRS-T1 in my pocket, but it scratched the hell out of the frame. So maybe buy a case if you’re planning on doing that? Anyway, moving on… Connectivity-wise, the Glo supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n wireless, so you will be able to download new books to it (which is a relief, because that electronic instruction manual gets pretty boring the 300th time you read it). At full charge its battery lasts for up to 30,000 page flips. The battery is also said to retain charge for up to 1 month, which is cool if you’re like me and can’t be bothered plugging stuff in. The device will be available in black or white. Kobo Glo (Right) and Kobo Mini (Left) Kobo Glo will be priced at $99 USD, and preorders in Japan started Nov 1st , with a planned shipping date of Nov 15th . The Kobo Mini is available for $87, and should be shipping mid December. The old Kobo Touch also got a price cut and is now the same price as the Mini. The Kobo family is now available from Rakuten Market, Rakuten Books, and several electronics stores (at least in Japan). Future plans for an Android based device named Kobo Arc were also hinted at. Rakuten Homepage (English) Kobo Product Information (Japanese) Thanko bring your Minority Report dreams to life with new gesture-based mouse Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/thanko-bring-your-minority-report- dreams-to-life-with-new-gesture-based-mouse/17692.html November 2nd, 2012 Japanese company Thanko have released a glove shaped mouse which responds to midair gestures. Dubbed the “Gesture Glove Mouse”, this device consists of a strap-on sensor for your index finger and a fingerless glove which carries the brains of the controller and its battery. The mouse works not only on Windows (XP/Vista/7/8) but also on Mac OS X (10.5 or later) and even Android. iPhone compatibility has yet to be announced, but at present is unavailable. Users can manipulate the glove by wearing it on their right hand (sorry southpaws!), and the embedded sensor will read the movements of the user’s wrist, translating it into mouse movement. The strap-on part worn on the index finger reads finger movements, allowing users to perform a ‘virtual click’. Unlike similar products in the past, this device does not require a Wii style sensor bar, and instead of using Bluetooth, it communicates with your computer over 2.4GHz wireless via a USB dongle included with the mouse. This gives the device a range of about 10~15m. The embedded battery in the device gives a good 12 hours of usage after charging over USB for 1 hour. The glove’s dimensions are 200x110x50mm, and it has a weight of 35g. The mouse is currently on sale in Japan at 4,980 Yen (around $62 USD). No US release has been announced at present, so you will have to import if you want to get your mitts on it. (see what I did there?) Thanko Homepage Product Page Sega team up with tavern chain Izakaya Hanako in Yakuza promotion Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/sega-team-up-with-tavern-chain- izakaya-hanako-in-yakuza-promotion/17690.html November 2nd, 2012 Sega hosted a press meeting / free tasting event at Izakaya Hanako’s Japanese-pub in Shibuya to promote the release of Yakuza 5 in Japan (aka Ryu ga Gotoku 5: Yume, Tanaeshimono) on December 6, 2012, and to discuss their new collaboration with the pub chain. Attending the event was Japanese talent Saki Suzuki, who is recreated in the game as a bar waitress. To celebrate the release of the latest Yakuza title, Izakaya Hanako pubs are offering a special “Yakuza 5 Banquet Course” menu from Oct 30th to Dec 13th , which consists of the following dishes based on the 5 main cities which appear in the game: Zangi Tsukimino, Sapporo Spring chicken deep fried in a special sauce. Goes well with lemon juice.
  26. 26. November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Cheese Curry Pot Kamurocho, Tokyo A pot of cheesy curry with pork and seafood. Good for sobering up. Miso Cutlets Kineichou, Nagoya Pork cutlet covered in red miso, lightly seasoned with sesame seeds. Takoyaki Aotenbori, Osaka Large chunks of octopus deep fried for a crunchy sensation. Fried Ramen Nagasugai, Fukuoka Fukuoka’s specialty fried ramen. Rich pork-flavored ramen served on a metal griddle. In addition to the above menu, Izakaya Hanako is also offering their mail magazine subscribers the chance to win one of 20 limited edition Hanako Original Ryu ga Gotoko T Shirts by applying through their site. The press event was attended by Sega’s producer of Ryu ga Gotoku 5 Masa Yokoyama, Izakaya Hanako’s Manager and Section Eight PR Official Minako Sakaue, and the previously mentioned talent Saki Suzuki. Saki Suzuki is well known for being a video game addict gave her thoughts about being digitally represented in Yakuza’s latest installment: “I wanted to give my friends a shock by appearing in the game, and I was amazed at how lifelike my CG model was”. Ryu ga Gotoku 5 Producer Masa YokoYama Section 8 PR Official Minako Sakaue Also appearing at the event was the Sapporo finalist of the previously hosted “Miss Ryu ga Gotoku 5” contest, Kaori Okamoto. Miss Okamoto is actually a waitress at Izakaya Hanako in real life, and this was the reason she was chosen to be digitally represented as a bar waitress in the game.
  27. 27. November 2nd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 7 Saki Suzuki Kaori Okamoto (left) and Saki Suzuki Finally, Mr. Yokoyama gave his thoughts on the game: “When looking for a way to accurately portray the local cultures of each of the 5 cities appearing in the game, I realized that ‘food culture’ was an important aspect of each region.” It is possible to walk the streets of the game while eating specialties from all around Japan, but according to Mr. Yokoyama, “Izakaya Hanako gives you the chance to eat local specialties from each region all at one place, that’s why I like it. I hope to merge the realms of the game world and reality through our collaboration with Izakaya Hanako.”
  28. 28. November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Special Edition HTC One S - Finally coming to China! Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/special-edition-htc-one-s--finally- coming-to-china-/17715.html November 3rd, 2012 The HTC One S is the dual core successor to HTC’s popular Sensation series of phones, and is being touted as one of the best Android products from the Taiwan-based smartphone maker this year. Although previously released in the West, the phone is finally making its way to China, but with an extra surprise. The HTC One S utilizes a Qualcomm S4 dual core processor, and is designed on a brand new architecture, with bigger pizzazz thanks to its hefty 1.5GHz of processing power and 1GB RAM. The phone is finally making its way to China, and with a relatively low price of 2170 Yuan (around $347 USD for the non-Special Edition One S), the One S is shaping up to be an attractive choice for cautious buyers. The Special Edition comes in a glamorous white model Going into more detail on the specs of the phone, the One S has a sleek simplistic style designed to be easy to grip, with a thickness of 7.8mm. Instead of HTC’s traditional choice of SLCD display, the One S instead possesses a nifty Super AMOLED screen 4.3 inches in size, whose 540x960 pixels drives a stake between it and older models in terms of display quality. The One S has an iPhone-esque aluminum alloy unibody casing, which feels great to hold. It's so thin you'd snap it if it weren't for the ultra-strong aluminium alloy unibody casing!! Additional features of the phone include an 8MP camera with an F2.0 aperture lens, and support for 1080p video. The operating system is based on Android 4.0 and incorporates HTC’s Sense UI. The MSM8260A series processor also boasts lower power consumption than previous members of the Sensation series, so it should give your battery a little more leeway too. While the look and feel of the phone is identical to the US version, the Special Edition will feature a humongous 64GB of storage space, a huge improvement from the orignal 16GB, which should be plenty for storing your videos and mp3s. The exact release date for the phone has yet to be announced, but the phone should be out by the end of the year. Exposed: A day in the life of a Taobao Shopkeeper Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/exposed-a-day-in-the-life-of-a- taobao-shopkeeper/17714.html November 3rd, 2012 Ever wonder what its like to run an online store? A local journalist went undercover to get the down and dirty on the truth about the driving force behind China's biggest virtual retailer. Taobao has over 1,000,000 “virtual stores”, all bustling busily 365 days a year. A majority of these are small to midsized in scope, and run by individuals or a small handful of sellers. A local journalist documented the workings of one
  29. 29. November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 2 of these small stores and found that almost everyday they worked around the clock like a 24 hour workhouse. While the life of a virtual shopkeeper may seem relaxing to the uninitiated, only those who have tried it can truly appreciate what a laborious job it is. “I gave my youth to Taobao.” Eating, talking to friends and family, even washing is a race against the clock for Taobao store owners before their store starts to stagnate. In addition to pacifying impatient customers, Taobao shop owners must spend their time renovating their shop design, photographing new products, looking for defects in products, photoshopping pictures, taking orders, preparing goods for delivery, wrapping them, sending deliveries, returning items, and so on, and so on… Let’s take a look at a regular day in the life of Ms Yue, a Taobao seller who specializes in women’s clothing. -10:05 Photograph new items in stock Ms Yue awakens to the shrill sound of the alarm clock. After working the previous night until 3am, Yue is reluctant to get out of bed. But duty calls. Yue stumbles out of the bedroom and quickly washes up, before heading down to a high rise riverside apartment. Yue opens the door to a well lit south facing room. Two young customer service reps briefly give Yue a courteous smile, but their fingers never stop their agile dance across the keyboard beneath. “Ding Dong”. A chat window pops up on the customer rep's screen. Another customer interested in purchasing from Ms. Yue’s clothing store. More business. More work. Yue heads to the photography area, where a large mirror is set up beside two professional lamps and 40-50 items of new apparel lie waiting to be photographed. One-by-one, Yue places each item of clothing on the podium, finds a good angle, then crouches down to take a picture. After an arduous couple of hours, Ms. Yue finally finishes taking photos of all new items for the store. A typical Taobao storefront -12:30 Ten minute lunch There is a knock on the door; lunch has arrived. 1 Soy Beans with Chicken, 1 Spicy Tofu with Rice. Total $5. The two customer service girls momentarily chatter as they eat their take-out. But time is ticking; around 10 minutes later, the girls quickly finish up and return to their desks. Yue has finished photographing new items, and also returns to her desk to check out the new orders received that morning. -13:30 ~ 18:00 Hi-ho, Hi-ho, to buyers they must go Yue meticulously opens each of the 50 pieces of clothing to be delivered and checks for any flaws, pushing the defected items into a pile for returning to their factory of origin later on. Clothes that pass visual inspection are packed into plastic and stored in a larger sack for outgoing mail. Ms. Yue finishes this task by 16:00, and calls the delivery boy to collect the sack she just prepared. While waiting for the delivery boy, Yue as always sits steadfast before her computer, answering as many buyers’ questions as possible in order to spur their purchase. You can never have too many new orders. A typical outlet for a Taobao store -19:30 Nightshift Yue and the two customer service reps leave the office. The company has no-one working nightshift, so after hurriedly taking a few bites of dinner. Yue once again turns on the computer and starts answering buyer questions. Sometimes Yue has personal issues to solve, and has to rely on friends to answer questions in her absence, but this is a rare event for the diligent Ms. Yue. After 22:30, the tumultuous wave of curious buyers starts to wane. Yue uses this opportunity to upload the new pictures she took that morning to her online storefront. -02:00 No rest for the weary
  30. 30. November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 3 Yue rubs her sore neck and blinks her aching eyes. It’s 2 in the morning already. Yue originally wanted to sync the new clothes to her Weibo blog, but she no longer has the energy for it. Yue staggers into the shower and washes off the day’s tension. Collapsing into bed, Yue’s exhausted body breathes a sigh of relief. But her brain keeps working, simmering each unresolved issue; how will they continue to cope with just 2 customer service reps? How will they meet client demand in the coming season with their remaining stock? Yue rolls over and shuts her eyes tight, trying to push such thoughts from her fatigued mind. Tomorrow after deliveries Yue still has to visit the factory to choose new products. The landlord is going to come for the monthly rent of $720. At 29 years of age Ms. Yue already feels like retiring. But such is the life of a Taobao shopkeeper. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn comes to a close Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/halo-4-forward-unto-dawn-comes- to-a-close/17713.html November 3rd, 2012 343i's immensely popular live-action series set in the Halo universe seamlessly blurs the lines of gaming and film, but Forward Unto Dawn has run its course and closes the circle with its recently released final episode. "Stay close to me. It's your best chance at survival." --Master Chief, Forwad Unto Dawn Halo 4's live-action mini-series has been hailed, celebrated, and beloved by Halo fans worldwide. Not only does the series give a personal and intimiate look at the life of an ordinary group of cadets, but it also gives a first-hand look at the original war against the UNSC and the Insurrectionists as well as how the war against the Covenant united humanity together. Forward Unto Dawn chronicles the daily lives of Hastati Squad, a fresh group of cadets training to become soldiers at UNSC's Corbulo Academy of Military Science. The series starts off with everyday drama wherein viewers see the interactions of the characters as they stuggle to become soldiers, then Hastati are thrust into a brutal and chaotic war between a hostile race of unknown aliens who suddenly attack the planet. Seeing the Halo universe come alive with fully fleshed characters who have personalities and emotions is a real treat, especially since it brings a whole new level of realism to the franchise. Not since the live action Halo Landfallvideos has the universe seen such caren taken to represent the fan-favorite saga. This series is a monumental shift from Halo 3's live-action snippets and promos: Forward Unto Dawn shows the total evolution of live-action gaming fiction and how its grown into an amazing medium that blurs the lines of gaming and film. One of the most enjoyable and iconic moments of the series is the appearance of Master Chief, who saves the survivors and dispatches Covies with ease. Forward Unto Dawn exposes Master Chief's role as a savior and a beacon of hope for humanity, which is something that isn't always adequately represented in the games. The series breathes new life into the franchise, allowing fans to experience an in-depth view at a living adaptation of Halo. It has everything from Warthogs to ODST pods, orbital elevators, Covenant cruisers, needlers, energy swords, Sangheili warriors, and of course Master Chief, and it honestly is like watching a feature film on the big screen. With the recent release of the fifth episode, the series comes to a close, but it has done its job with an exemplary performance and has been exceedingly enjoyable, building the anticipation for Halo 4 even more. 343i's newest chapter of the Halo franchise goes above and beyond, and Forward Unto Dawn has helped push it over the edge and become one of the most anticipated games of 2012. Watch all five episodes of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn via a playlist on Machinima Prime's YouTube page, and check out IGN's official mini-Wiki on the series for a rundown of cast and credit info as well as a few other interesting tidbits.
  31. 31. November 3rd, 2012 Published by: VR-Zone 4 Japan gets Charizard-version Nintendo 3DS LL Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/japan-gets-charizard-version- nintendo-3ds-ll/17711.html November 3rd, 2012 The Pokemon Company plans to release limited-edition Charizard-version Nintendo 3DS units to lucky customers who are lucky enough to win the company-sponsored raffles. Here’s another potentially great addition to your Pokemon fan collection items. The Pokemon Company has just unveiled a limited edition black Nintendo 3DS LL that is design-themed with a gold-lined Charizard (Lizardon in Japan) image. It will not be available for general sale though, but will be available to a few lucky customers who will win their special promotion raffle. To avail the special raffle, interested participants in Japan must go and register at the nearest Pokemon Center branch in their area. Those who are not near any Pokemon Center branch may alternatively register for the mailing/delivery version of the raffle contest. There is a specific fill-out form that will be exclusively used for the promo. Direct Pokemon Center applicants would of course get the physical fill out form, while those registering for the mail/delivery version must download the official form at this link. Take note, though, that although the units will be raffled, it is not actually free. The customers will only get the privilege to purchase the unit when they are chosen in the raffle. That said, this limited edition Nintendo 3DS LL, if you ever got the chance to buy one, will cost you at around 18,900 yen (240 USD). The registration period to avail these special Nintendo 3DS LL units starts from November 3 up to November 26, 2012. If you are selected as the winner in the raffle, you may purchase your unit at the shop that is indicated in your fill out form. The purchase period for the units will last from December 15, 2012, to January 14, 2013. Source: 4Gamer (JP) Qihoo 360 target of security controversy Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/qihoo-360-target-of-security- controversy/17710.html November 3rd, 2012 Qihoo 360, a China-based antivirus software company, has been accused of collecting users' personal information. Was this the company's fault, or is someone outside responsible? There is currently a war of words between Qihoo 360 and Fang Zhou, a well-known anti-counterfeiting expert in China. Fang accused Qihoo 360 collecting users private information through its antivirus software. In China, users are concerned about their own privacy online and some are considering other security products. Qihoo 360's stock has taken a slight drop since the "Fang Zhou Wars" started in October, but not nearly enough to cause serious worry. A spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry and Communication Development Division says that Qihoo 360 will launch an investigation into the alleged security failures, and that the company takes the matter very seriously. Shi Wenchang, a professor of information security at Renmin University, said that, if such a breach of privacy occurred, it was most likely a malicious theft of an outside hacker, never the intent of Qihoo 360. Expert members of the Policy and Resources Committee of the Internet Society of China have noted that, as technology advances, it becomes more and more difficult for the government to regulate Internet companies and monitor security. As investigations continue, internet users should remember to avoid suspicious websites and keep their private information secure.