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October 31st, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | 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: October 31st, 2012

In a surprise move that has shocked the industry and fans alike, Disney has bought Lucasfilm and all of its subdivisions, 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 subdivisions, 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 liveaction 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: October 31st, 2012

The latest title in the Disgaea series “Disgaea D2” will be released for Playstation 3 in Japan on March 20th 2013 for 7140 Yen (around $89 USD), with a first press limited edition available for 11340 Yen (around $142 USD). In this brand new simulation RPG from Nippon Ichi Software, players will be able to once again play as the popular characters Laharl, Etna, and Flonne from the original Disgaea. What is Disgaea? • A realm where devils and angels soar the skies. A realm where heroes and villains lock swords in battle.


October 31st, 2012

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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: 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 2

October 31st, 2012

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.

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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.”

“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: 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.

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.

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.


October 31st, 2012

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2K Games and Gearbox release Borderlands Legends game on iOS Source: 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.

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: October 31st, 2012

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.

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.

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.

(Zhang Tingzhen undergoing treatment after obtaining severe injuries)


October 31st, 2012

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Samsung to mass produce 28nm 'Adonis' processor for Galaxy S4 Source: 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. (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.”

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 powerconsuming 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:


October 31st, 2012 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.

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Scott Forstall ousted because he didn't sign Maps app apology letter Source: 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.

(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.

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: October 31st, 2012

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.

Three months ago, Google introduced us to it's new voicesearch system, and now it's finally been released on iOS as a competitor to the native Siri. The new voice search replicates a lot of the features found in the new voice-search capabilities for Android's Jellybean. The software provides voice queries with spoken results and provides web searches for anything it doesn't have knowledge about.


October 31st, 2012

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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.

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 CortexA53 and Cortex-A57 Source: October 31st, 2012

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 CortexA9 (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 powerefficient ARM application processor," while the CortexA57 is "most advanced high-performance applications processor." Cortex-A53 at a Glance • Out-of-Order ARMv8 32/64 Core • Up to Quad-Core Design

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.

• 40-bit Physical Memory Address

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).

• NEON SIMD Engine

• Up to 1TB RAM (LPDDR3 to DDR4) • 8-64KB L1 I-Cache (w/parity) • 8-64KB L1 D-Cache (w/ECC) • FPU • 128KB - 2MB L2 Cache (w/ECC) • 128-bit CoreLink CCN-504)




Furthermore, we have a product overview:

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 7

October 31st, 2012

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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.

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 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 CortexA53/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 8

November 1st, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | 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: 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: November 1st, 2012

Self-driving cars are becoming a growing phenomenon, touted by many as a safer way to travel, but when it comes to racing, humans still have the upper hand – for now. Self-driving cars are becoming a growing phenomenon, touted by many as a safer way to travel, but when it comes to racing, humans still have the upper hand – for now. The race was held at the Thunderhill Raceway in California, with an automated Audi TTS developed by the Centre for Automotive Research at Standford University facing off against a human driver. There were 15 turns on the track, presenting a challenge for the robotic car which adjusts to surroundings thanks to a number of sensors fitted to it, and the driverless car reached speeds of 115 miles per hour. In the end the human driver won, but only by a few seconds, suggesting that it is likely only a matter of time before robotic racers beat us to the finish line.


November 1st, 2012

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“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.”

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:

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.

November 1st, 2012

Fujitsu ARROWS Tab Wi-Fi QH55/J delayed 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.

Source: 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. 2

November 1st, 2012

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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.

Opposite entrance to store in shopping mall

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: November 1st, 2012

Tryout area for devices 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.

360 degree Genius Bar

YT Holiday Plaza entrance to store


November 1st, 2012

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Apple forced to remove statements about Samsung verdict from their website Source: November 1st, 2012

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.

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.

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.

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 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". 4

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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: 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.

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GeChic unveils 2501M & 2501A 15.6-inch USBpowered monitors Source: 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 OnLap 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 (15.6inch) 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.

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.

The display resolution of both units is set at 1366x768 pixels, response time at 8ms, brightness at 200cd/sq.m, and contrast at 400:1. Some of their connectivity options include HDMI, MicroUSB, and D-sub. The dimensions are both set at 395x16.3x260 mm. For their weights, the 2501M is set at 1.3 kg, while the 2501A is at 1.1 kg. In addition, the 2501M will also be installed with a 9300mAh battery, allowing it to still continue functioning for 10 hours even when it is not connected. Earlier this year, GeChic released the On-Lap 1301 and 1501. The 1301 had a 13.3-inch screen while the 1501 has the same 15.6-inch screen. While both were functionally the same as the 2501M and 2501A, they had fewer features, and had considerably lower specs. Brightness for example is very noticeably lower on the 1301. Source: PCWatch (JP)


November 1st, 2012

Hitachi launches new robot to inspect building foundations Source: November 1st, 2012

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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)

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.

Sony and Sharp fighting to remain profitable Source: 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.

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.

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. 6

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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: 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.

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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 Redmondbased software maker still has what it takes to remain on top.

Facebook employees dump shares as company's stock prices continue to tumble Source: 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.

(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

In May, Facebook’s initial offering price was $38, but that has fallen by nearly half. Employees that were supposed to be millionaires and even billionaires became less and less inclined to hold onto their shares as the company’s value continued to decline. Back in August, co-founder of PayPal and an early bird investor in Facebook, Peter Thiel sold the majority of his shares and netting over $1 billion in cash (not bad for a $500K initial investment). He also made $640 million after


November 1st, 2012

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.

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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.

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: November 1st, 2012

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 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.

The idiotproof eZ Bun has only 3 buttons to operate. The top part with the ECS logo is the microphone receiver button that allows the user to switch between receive and mute. The center is the phone answer button. While using an iPhone, you can use the middle button to call or hang up a phone call. The other button with the eZ Bun lucky charm is the volume control.


November 1st, 2012

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.

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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.

The bundled 2-in-1 cord to attaches to a smart phone or tablet computer.

Image and Review Credits: Chinese VR-Zone


November 1st, 2012

eBook Japan to launch their own 7-inch tablet Source: November 1st, 2012

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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! 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".

Source: 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: 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

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 ebooks 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

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 10

November 1st, 2012

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.

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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

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"

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 consolecentric 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?

"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

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 11

November 1st, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

all. Kind of like another game with the word 'Crysis' in the title *ahem*. But this time around, its not certain that pirates will use Crysis 3 as their new benchmarking tool du jour. So what are Crytek to do? Well give the game away for free of course. Well.. kind of. Well, that's my theory behind Crytek's decision to throw out free copies of their (albeit alpha-stage) game. What do you guys think?


November 2nd, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | 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: 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:


November 2nd, 2012 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

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Facebook security flaw allows account access without passwords Source: 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.

• Advanced DC to DC Converter • Intelligent Fan Control • Off- Delay Fan (Fan Stays On After System Off) • Single +12V Output Rail

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.

• 100% Japanese-made Capacitors • Reliable Japanese-made Solid-state Capacitors • Easily Detachable and Flexible Flat Modular Cables • Patented Easy Swap Connector

Microsoft working on own smartphone design, suppliers claim Source: 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. 2

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. 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.

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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

“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.

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...

Need for Speed Most Wanted PS Vita Review Source: 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 3

November 2nd, 2012

...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: November 2nd, 2012

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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: 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.

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.

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: 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.

An example of the synonyms and frequency features

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”.

The final feature, "Synonyms" will group translations of a word into groups to ensure that all synonyms for one word 4

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"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).

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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: November 2nd, 2012

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: 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.

Sega hosted a press meeting / free tasting event at Izakaya Hanako’s Japanese-pub in Shibuya to promote the release of Yakuza 5 in Japan (aka Ryu ga Gotoku 5: Yume, Tanaeshimono) on December 6, 2012, and to discuss their new collaboration with the pub chain. Attending the event was Japanese talent Saki Suzuki, who is recreated in the game as a bar waitress. To celebrate the release of the latest Yakuza title, Izakaya Hanako pubs are offering a special “Yakuza 5 Banquet Course” menu from Oct 30th to Dec 13th, which consists of the following dishes based on the 5 main cities which appear in the game:

Zangi Tsukimino, Sapporo Spring chicken deep fried in a special sauce. Goes well with lemon juice.


November 2nd, 2012

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one of 20 limited edition Hanako Original Ryu ga Gotoko T Shirts by applying through their site.

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

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

Large chunks of octopus deep fried for a crunchy sensation.

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.

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


November 2nd, 2012

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Saki Suzuki

Kaori Okamoto (left) and Saki Suzuki Finally, Mr. Yokoyama gave his thoughts on the game: “When looking for a way to accurately portray the local cultures of each of the 5 cities appearing in the game, I realized that ‘food culture’ was an important aspect of each region.” It is possible to walk the streets of the game while eating specialties from all around Japan, but according to Mr. Yokoyama, “Izakaya Hanako gives you the chance to eat local specialties from each region all at one place, that’s why I like it. I hope to merge the realms of the game world and reality through our collaboration with Izakaya Hanako.”


November 3rd, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | 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: 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.

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: November 3rd, 2012

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.

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 1

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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.

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-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.

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 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 A typical Taobao storefront

No rest for the weary 2

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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: 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.

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Seeing the Halo universe come alive with fully fleshed characters who have personalities and emotions is a real treat, especially since it brings a whole new level of realism to the franchise. Not since the live action Halo Landfallvideos has the universe seen such caren taken to represent the fan-favorite saga. This series is a monumental shift from Halo 3's live-action snippets and promos: Forward Unto Dawn shows the total evolution of live-action gaming fiction and how its grown into an amazing medium that blurs the lines of gaming and film. One of the most enjoyable and iconic moments of the series is the appearance of Master Chief, who saves the survivors and dispatches Covies with ease. Forward Unto Dawn exposes Master Chief's role as a savior and a beacon of hope for humanity, which is something that isn't always adequately represented in the games.

The series breathes new life into the franchise, allowing fans to experience an in-depth view at a living adaptation of Halo. It has everything from Warthogs to ODST pods, orbital elevators, Covenant cruisers, needlers, energy swords, Sangheili warriors, and of course Master Chief, and it honestly is like watching a feature film on the big screen. With the recent release of the fifth episode, the series comes to a close, but it has done its job with an exemplary performance and has been exceedingly enjoyable, building the anticipation for Halo 4 even more. 343i's newest chapter of the Halo franchise goes above and beyond, and Forward Unto Dawn has helped push it over the edge and become one of the most anticipated games of 2012. Watch all five episodes of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn via a playlist on Machinima Prime's YouTube page, and check out IGN's official mini-Wiki on the series for a rundown of cast and credit info as well as a few other interesting tidbits.


November 3rd, 2012

Japan gets Charizard-version Nintendo 3DS LL Source: November 3rd, 2012

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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)

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.

Qihoo 360 target of security controversy Source: 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?

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.

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.

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 4

November 3rd, 2012

Time Magazine cover shot with iPhone Source: November 3rd, 2012

The cover image for this week's issue of Time Magazine was shot by "photojournalist" Benjamin Lowy, using an iPhone and popular photo editing application "Hipstamatic"

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Apple bringing $19 Lightning to Micro USB adapter to the U.S Source: November 3rd, 2012

Apple is finally bringing the Lightning to Micro USB adapter, which has only been available in Europe, to the United States. It can now be purchased on Apple's website. The United States is something of an anarchy when it comes to mobile device chargers, adapters, etc. That is why Apple, an American corporation, was able to invent yet another charging and syncing protocol with the release of the iPhone 5, known as 'Lightning'. This new release was met with a good deal of criticism, since it forced some consumers to purchase adapters or Lightning cords for their new Apple devices. Additionally, a special security technology inside of Lightning cables make them a very difficult target for imitation, therefore wiping out a good deal of cheaper alternatives which might otherwise have been available from Chinese imitators on the internet. Apple is not known for cheap anything, and their cables are no exceptions. The problem of needing to purchase an adapter still existed in Europe, but nobody with a Micro USB cable had to worry about getting a new cable. The European Commission's guidelines require all mobile devices to be compatible with the Micro USB standard. In order to meet this standard, Apple released a Lightning to Micro USB adapter in Europe. For a long time, this convenient device has been unavailable in America, except through 3rd party resellers.

The image here is an ominous shot of a churning swell, during this week's Hurricane Sandy, which caused billions of dollar's damage in the United States, affecting a great portion of the East Coast. This picture not only demonstrates the iPhone's competence as an instrument of photography, but the transformation that mobile devices are having on journalism and photography alike. With the ability to snap pictures like the one above, and to share them and other information instantaneously, mobile devices are making it more possible for individuals to capture and share the moment. As sentimental as that last phrase may sound, Time Magazine's cover shows it to be true in a more somber sense. Clearly major events, political or natural, can now be captured on the spot by individuals as they occur. The smartphone is becoming an important tool in recording and sharing important information with the world.

Image from Apple Those Americans that do not simply follow along with Apple's comparatively Draconian methods will be elated to 5

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learn that the adapter is now available to purchase, directly through Apple's website. Although the adapter costs $19.00, the experience of being able to use an already purchased cord with a new Apple product in the U.S should be like a splash of cool, clear water on the face of a man trapped in a sweltering desert*. The adapter is compatible with all current iOS devices, including the iPad mini, and with the seventh generation iPod nano. It is capable of charging, and syncing devices in the same manner of a standard Lightning cord. *Please note that the author of this article is an American.

Introducing Evergreen's password lock USB storage Source: November 3rd, 2012

Evergreen can protect you files from being accessed without your permission with their new Password Lock USB memory storage sticks. Password-like protection systems for USB drives are already available everywhere. But there is a particular scarcity for USB storage devices that can be actually “sealed” with a password. Fortunately though, Japanese company Evergreen presents us with a somewhat innovative and strange USB storage device that allows you to protect your files using a good old password.

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The item is currently available at the Shanghai Donya online store for 1999 yen (25 USD). It is sold under the advanced items category, and will have different service support (compared to other items) for purchasing customers. While the concept of the device looks pretty neat, we just can’t help but wonder about what would happen if things go wrong witth it. We just hope at least that its users won’t accidently lock themselves up, or erase their files unintentionally, in case they forgot their USB stick's password. Source: ITMedia (JP)

Pinch Interface Lets You Create Video Walls On The Fly Source: November 3rd, 2012

Pinch is an interface that connects the displays from multiple touch devices and it is under development by a research group at the Tokyo University of Technology. Devices with different-sized screens, such as smartphones and tablets, can go together to form a display interface. Pinch is an interface that connects the displays from multiple touch devices and it is under development by a research group at the Tokyo University of Technology. When the user places a thumb and index finger on two adjacent screens and pinches, the screens link up. The screens can be lined up freely, vertical or horizontal. The connected devices share each other's position and screen size via Wi-Fi. Devices with different-sized screens, such as smartphones and tablets, can go together to form a display interface. According to Takashi Ohta, Associate Professor at Tokyo University of Technology, who appeared in a video demo, "This Pinch interface we've developed is used to create applications that make devices react when they've both been pinched, so they work together.

The Password Lock USB Memory Storage, as seen in the image looks like a micro-feature phone that has a USB plug. It has an LCD display and a standard number pad set in the main body of the device. There are no details given on how passwords are made and saved, but it is capable of storing 8-digit passwords in it. When it is plugged on a PC, it can automatically disconnect properly after a set time period (5 to 20 minutes). The device can tolerate up to 6 wrong password inputs, and if it goes over the limit, it will start reformatting the unit, erasing all data saved inside the device. As for its technical specs, its storage capacity is 8GB, supports USB 2.0 connectivity and weighs at around 22 grams.

In the case of a graphics application, when the devices recognize they've been pinched, they can show the whole picture as if it's on one screen." He said that Pinch can be the foundation of a musical experience, where you connect the different devices you have horizontally, with the result that "you could keep playing music for a long time." Ohta sees Pinch as enabling "fun" communications, where people gather, place their devices next to one another, and communicate ideas and images in novel ways. Other avenues, too, could include mobile music, advertising, and photo-sharing experiences.


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The Pinch team said it was offering Pinch to developers, hoping they could "do something with it." In 2010, Ohta cowrote a paper that cast some light on the present research. In that paper, titled "Automatic configuration of display ordering for multi-display environments," Ohta and Jun Tanaka said, "We designed and built a system that configures the information of how displays are arranged as a multidisplay environment. The system automatically matches the physical location of displays and network addresses. It uses a web camera for capturing a real-time video to observe each display to flash its screens one by one. The timing and relative locations of the flashing screens are recognized using an image processing technique. Furthermore, the correspondence of the displays and the network addresses can be deduced from these data." The team concluded, based on their results, that the "system works perfectly, with various configurations of display dispositions."

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colleagues uses two new techniques to measure uranium and lead isotopes.

Connelly and colleagues dated samples from numerous meteorites, finding chondrules formed 4.567 billion years ago - far earlier than previously thought.

Source: Tokyo University of Technology

"These data refute the long-held view of an age gap between CAIs and chondrules and, instead, indicate that chondrule formation started contemporaneously with CAIs and lasted about three million years," the authors write.

Solar System Theory In a Spin Thanks to New Research

Connelly and colleagues say the new time scales are comparable with those observed in distant solar and protoplanetary disks, indicating the processes that formed chondrules and CAIs in our solar system are not unique.

Source: November 3rd, 2012

Dr Katie Dyl of Curtin University in Western Australia, says the new techniques used by Connelly and colleagues have only recently been available. "These are really hard measurements to make," says Dyl. "This new plasma technology allows you to do more and also offers far greater precision."

The new findings, by researchers led by Dr James Connelly from the University of Copenhagen, may change our understanding of how the first pieces of 'dirt' in our solar system first formed. The first solids to form in our solar system appeared at the same time, more than 4.5 billion years ago, according to a new study published in the journal Science. The new findings, by researchers led by Dr James Connelly from the University of Copenhagen, may change our understanding of how the first pieces of 'dirt' in our solar system first formed. CAIs (calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions) and chondrules are the earliest solids to form in our solar system. Both are found as millimetre- to centimetre-sized grains in meteorites.

She says this has allowed them to say something new and different from what everyone else is saying. "The idea that CAI's and chondrules formed at the same time, goes against one of the basic principles, namely that CAI's formed first before anything else by two to three million years," says Dyl. "Their claim will cause a lot of discussion" "If it holds up to scrutiny and other labs find the same thing, then that's a really interesting breakthrough," says Dyl. Source: ABC Science

Scientists have traditionally used isotopic ratios of aluminium to magnesium to date these most ancient solids, concluding that CAIs were the first solids to condense out of the protoplanetary disk followed millions of years later by chondrules. The new method developed by Connelly and


November 3rd, 2012

Will Plasma Jet Thrusters "Kickstart" Interplanetary Travel? Source: November 3rd, 2012

A new Kickstarter project is looking to build a prototype electric pulsed plasma jet thruster, and the engineers behind the project say this could be used for reliable, high performance, low cost interplanetary space transportation. One of the side effects that we're seeing from commercial companies getting involved in space travel and exploration is that regular entrepeneurs are getting stuck in, developing what may be the next big thing in their garages and home made labs. A new Kickstarter project that has a buzz around it is looking to build a prototype electric pulsed plasma jet thruster, and the engineers behind the project say this could be used for reliable, high performance, low cost interplanetary space transportation.

Published by: VR-Zone

"We believe our thruster technology has the potential to be just as efficient as existing electric thrusters (such as ion and Hall effect thrusters) and with similar specific impulse. But our advantages will be derived from a thruster that is less complex (and much more robust), which can use a variety of propellants including gases, inert plastics, and propellants derived from asteroids, Mars, the Moon, etc., It will also be far cheaper to build, and can be more readily scaled to larger sizes and very high power levels than current electric propulsion systems. Our plasma thruster technology should be scalable from a few kilowatts all the way up to megawatts of average power. The electricity which is needed to power electric thrusters would most likely come from new high performance solar panels, but could also utilize other compact energy sources. From a practical viewpoint for satellite design, our thruster will have much higher thrust per unit area than ion or Hall thrusters, thus taking up less room on the rear of the spacecraft."

The team of plasma physics researchers started a company about 8 years ago called HyperV, and they have come up with a new design for basic pulsed plasma jet technology. It runs on superheated ionized particles, and the engineers envision it could be used for orbital maneuvering, asteroid/ comet rendezvous, orbital debris cleanup and interplanetary transportation. They say that using this kind of electric propulsion would significantly reduce the mass and weight of spacecraft, resulting in more affordable missions.

HyperV's Mark 1 plasma accelerator. Open shutter image of an approximately 10 microsecond long plasma pulse in visible light. Although there are other types of electric propulsion systems that have been used for space travel – with mixed results— the HyperV team believes their new design offers solutions to problems in previous designs, and will ultimately provide cheaper and more robust space travel.

They predict their prototype could produce a specific impulse (Isp) of 2000 sec, which is an equivalent to an exhaust velocity of 20,000 m/s. As of this writing, the team's Kickstarter has raised $69,525 of their $69,000 goal, so the project will indeed be funded after it finishes later today. Then, it's all up to them to make this dream come true.

The team offered this description of their project: 8

November 3rd, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

"We invite you, the citizens of Earth, to join with us as we design, construct, test, and execute this demonstration," the team wrote on their Kickstarter page. "The culmination of this project will be an all-up, laboratory demonstration of our prototype thruster."


November 5th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks.

Test drive Wii U at 5,000 kiosks before buying Source: November 5th, 2012

For U.S. consumers, the Wii U will hit retail in about two weeks, but in case you haven’t already got your mind set on snatching one up before the Christmas rush then you’ll still be able to test out Nintendo’s latest console via demo kiosks. Nintendo announced earlier that it will issue 5,000 Wii U kiosks to various retailers such as Target, GameStop, WalMart, and Toys R’ Us. The Wii U will go on sale for $299 starting November 18, and the deluxe Wii U + Nintendo Land bundle will go for $349.99.

If you’re thinking about taking the Wii U out for a test drive and don’t know the locations of demo kiosks then Nintendo has you covered. Click here to find out.

Google may have a Maps app ready for iOS 6 by year's end Source: November 5th, 2012

As soon as Apple launched its iOS 6, many people began to complain about the faulty in-house Apple Maps app that replaced Google’s Maps app. Fret not iOS 6 users, despite the bad blood between Google and Apple, the superior Google Maps app may return to iOS 6 soon. The Guardian reports that Google is working on developing a native Maps app for iOS 6, which may be ready for deployment as early as the end of this year. There is a brick wall that Google needs to climb over (or break down), however, as Apple gets to decide whether or not the Google Maps app can be installed on iOS 6. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, and see how the whole Apple Maps app debacle has not only affected consumers but also the managements within the billion dollar walls of Apple Inc. September 19, 2012: Apple releases iOS 6 to the public, and the Maps app scrutiny began. September 21, 2012: The iPhone 5 launches, but instead of praising the nifty new features on Apple’s latest flagship, tech bloggers ranted about the horrible Apple Maps app experience.

(The Wii U GamePadwith the 6.2-inch screen in the center) The most intriguing part of Nintendo’s new console is the new GamePad controller, which sports a 6.2-inch touchscreen in the center. How consumers will react to this dual-screen console gaming remains to be seen, but Nintendo is hoping that it’s trend-setting ‘quirks’ to gaming will ultimately help the firm maintain profitability in the years to come. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s president since 2002, made it clear that the Wii U will be sold at a loss, and any future profits will be made mainly from the sales of add-ons, accessories, supply chain modifications, and so on.

September 28, 2012: CEO Tim Cook apologizes for the bad Maps app, and advises users to use alternatives (all the while trying to not ‘promote’ the best alternative). Mid to late October, 2012: Tension between iOS Chief, Scott Forstall, and Tim Cook arises and out goes the long-time iOS exec. November 5, 2012: Words get out that Google wants to push its Maps experience back onto iOS, pending future Apple approval. Clearly, Apple understands that its Maps offering is inferior compared to Google’s, but yet the Cupertino-based firm has remained adamant about sticking with its own product. “[We are] continuously improving [Maps],” Apple said in a statement. The question is not whether or not Apple can develop a good product, but rather when can it deliver a product that’s on par with Google’s. 1

November 5th, 2012

When will Apple have a Maps product that can compete with Google’s? Who really knows, but supposedly Google will have one by the end of this year. Apple may be drunk with power now, but when it sobers up let’s hope that it’ll let people decide which native Maps app to use rather than forcing it upon its loyal customers.

AT&T to offer Windows 8 Samsung ATIV Smart PC for $799 Source: November 5th, 2012

Last week Microsoft announced that it had already sold 4 million Windows 8 upgrades, and that arrangements with various firms were already in place to help push the adoption rate of the latest Microsoft tablet/desktop OS. This week, AT&T announced that it will also pitch in by promoting Windows 8 through the Samsung ATIV Smart PC, with the device available starting November 9. The ATIV Smart PC is an Intel Atom (Z2760) powered tablet that is aimed at the business sectors. AT&T is planning to charge $799 for the device, which may come under scrutiny since that’s a hefty premium for a tablet that has relatively ‘average’ specs compared to other Z2760 business tablets. Of course, one has to take into account that the AT&T ATIV Smart PC comes with an integrated mobile broadband radio, and therefore the apparent premium price tag. Samsung claims that the 9.9mm thin tablet can stay lit for 14.5 hours on a single charge. The 1.5GHz 11.6-inch (1366x768) tablet also comes with 64GB of SSD storage (expandable to 94GB via microSD), and 2GB of RAM. Keep in mind that AT&T will be offering just the tablet by itself, with no accessories/add-ons such as a keyboard dock (which most Windows 8 users will probably want). Factor in the additional costs of accessories and add-ons and it’s easy to see that this Windows 8 tablet offering from AT&T may not sell that many units.

Published by: VR-Zone

GB of SSD storage, 4GB of RAM, and even the screen has a higher resolution—coming in at 1920x1080. All the features on the Pro definitely help it to outshine the standard model, but you won’t get the mobile broadband radio in the Pro, yet. The current going price for the Pro version is $1,199 (Amazon), and although the tag is higher than the AT&T offering, the Pro comes packaged with a keyboard dock.

Trailer is here for the new Skyrim DLC! Source: November 5th, 2012

The third DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is in the works, and the first trailer is here. Watch it now! The third Skyrim DLC is coming, and the trailer is here. It seems the dragonborn will be traveling to the island of Solstheim this time, due east of Skyrim. For those who are invested in the game's lore, the new trailer reveals that apparently, you were never the first Dragonborn in Skyrim; there was one before, who became a rogue dragon priest and whom you must now defeat. At the very least, you'll see some fantastical sights, like giant mushrooms and a bunch of new enemies. Check out the trailer below:

Microsoft partners with AMEX, pays you for completing Halo 4 Source: November 5th, 2012

Microsoft and AMEX are doing a promotional campaign together, where you'll receive $25 (or £25 in europe) for completing the Halo 4 campaign. Being one of the first to complete it on legendary, may yield an even bigger award. Xbox360 players will see their wallets stuffed from playing games, as Microsoft has partnered with AMEX for a promotional campaign. Linking your Xbox Live account with an American Express card will give you $10/£10 credit on your card. In the US and UK you'll also receive coupons to AMC theaters, Pacsun and Carphone warehouse. Finishing the Halo 4 campaign on normal or harder difficulties will give you $25, or £25 if you're in Europe.

(Samsung's ATIV Smart PC Pro) If the $800 tag for a device that doesn’t boast much muscle is a turn off, then perhaps the ATIV Smart PC Pro may be a better alternative if Samsung is still your flavor. The Pro version has a beefier Core i5 3317U clocked at 1.7GHz, 128 2

November 5th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

C'mon, get in there.. GET IN THERE! Grrr!!

Get paid for doing this! In addition to this, various achievements in-game will see you receiving credit, as well as coupons. If you happen to be one of the first 25 players to complete the game on legendary difficulty in the US, or one of the first five to do so in the UK, you'll be entered in a competition to win a trip to the E3 expo next year. Get playing!

JCI offering visitor SIM cards for tourists in Japan Source: November 5th, 2012

Ever just landed in Japan, only to realize your cell phone won’t work on their network? JCI (Japan Communications Inc) is here to help you get your phone-on in the land of the rising sun. JCI is seeking to ease the pain of foreign tourists stranded with no means of communication, by offering a new rental SIM card available from airports across Japan.

1GB! Cool, now I can download the latest episode of Dexter... Dubbed the “VISITOR SIM”, the cards will be available from the airport post office. Users who sign up for the service will be able to pick up a VISITOR SIM from any airport post office for a postal fee of 210 yen. It gives travelers the advantage of having instant access to their cell the second they step off the plane.

Compatibility with various phones has yet to be announced, so if you’re planning on travelling to the far east and can’t bear to go ten minutes without your cell phone, make sure your phone is of the 'unlocked' variants. One more thing: If you take your iPad, I don’t think they will be happy about you cutting the SIM card in half. Press release: release/1228.html

Google letting users opt out of personalized search Source: November 5th, 2012

Google has been filtering your searches based on personal preference, and since this has caused some stir in the online community, Google is now releasing a way of opting out of Google's personalized search results. Over the past few months, there's been some concern regarding Google's personalized search. Google collects data on dozens of different factors, including where you are and what your previous searches have been, and then uses that information to improve the results of future searches based on what you probably want to look for. For example, if you've previously searched for "iPad", then searching for tablets will be more likely to give you results on iPads rather than, say, the Galaxy Tab. At first glance, this might sound like a good thing, and to an extent, it is. Personalized searching means finding what you're looking for faster and with more ease. However, there is a dark side to personalized searches: they edit the web for you, without alerting you or asking permission. This puts you in an information bubble, which restricts the flow of information to you and may narrow your world view. For example, during the height of the political crisis in Egypt, a test was conducted where two people googled the word "Egypt". One of them did receive results focused around the political situation, while the other only received travel links.

At present, participating airports are: Chitose, Narita, Haneda, Chuubu(Central Japan International Airport), Kansai, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, and Naha (Okinawa).


November 5th, 2012

Many people are reaching the conclusion that personalized searches isn't for them, and Google has responded by letting their users turn off this search feature. If you have a Google account, such as a Gmail account, you can do this by accessing your account settings and choosing “pause� under Google search. This will stop Google from collecting any further information. Pressing "delete all" web history will also remove previously stored data. If you do not have a Google apps account, you will have to install a tracking cookie which alerts Google not to store search data. The cookie can downloaded form history/optout.

ZTE quad-core Android phone for about $160 Source: November 5th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

But everyone agrees that for the price this phone is a wonder. It comes equipped with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of RAM, and the Tegra 3 quad-core processor from Nvidia clocked at 1.3GHz. Reviewers have praised its speed and responsiveness when running games. It certainly won't be the last Chinese phone to come with a quad-core processor, as the technology itself is becoming more and more feasible. The U950 may be less important for what it can do, but more so a stepping stone for future affordable quad-core phones in China. As more and more applications are programmed to run on quad-core processors, we will be able to enjoy a faster and fuller experience for a lot less money. This phone might make a great gift for someone you don't want to spend too much money on. It's the thought that counts after all, albeit a $160 thought.

Battlefield 3 "Epicenter" shakes up multiplayer Source: November 5th, 2012

ZTE received the first orders today for its new Andoid phone that's equipped with the U950 quad-core processor. It's not the first Chinese smart phone to include a quadcore processor but the U950 is receiving a lot of attention for its price. It comes with all the bells and whistles for the equivalent of $160. The phone's 4.3 inch screen and 480x800 resolution are standard, just like the 5 megapixel camera on the back and the 0.3 megepixel camera on the front. At 9mm it is thin and light. Its non-removable lithium ion battery however, has received complaints from early reviewers who would have preferred a removable battery. The TFT LCD screen is also somewhat disappointing and seems to waste the U950's Full HD capacity.

A new map has been revealed for Battlefield 3, which will be part of the new Aftermath DLC, premiering in December. Aftermath will bring the earthquake from the singleplayer campaign into multiplayer. Premiering in December, the Aftermath DLC pack for Battlefield 3 will feature several new maps, one of which, "epicenter" has just been revealed with a flythrough-video and an in-depth interview on the battlefield blog. Epicenter, and aftermath in general, will focus on bringing the earthquake from the singleplayer game, into the multiplayer environment.


November 5th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

highest powered SKU of Lenovo’s current flagship ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and will feature a Core i7-3667U (2GHz, with embedded graphics), 8GB memory, SSD 256GB, and Windows 8 Pro. Production of the limited model will take place at NEC Personal Computer’s Komezawa factory in Yamagata, and the machines will be printed with a serial code near the hinge, a “20th Anniversary Edition” logo on the left of the power button, and “Made in Japan” printed on the back of the Ultrabook.

The DLC pack in general will revolve around the aftermath (hence the name) of an earthquake, and the Epicenter map frames this in the ruins of a city block. Damaged buildings, torn streets and a fallen construction crane turned makeshift walkway, are the main visual features of the map. This destruction obviously changes the urban environment; something the designers were keen on incorporating into gameplay. Cracked roads will provide new cover, rubble will provide access to otherwise unreachable areas of buildings and exposed pipes will let you sneak past you enemies. The arguably most exciting feature on Epicenter though, is that you will be experiencing an earthquake in-game. At random intervals while playing the map, you will feel aftershocks from the earthquake. This means loud rumbles, car alarms and dogs barking, as well as debris and broken glass raining down from the buildings around you. You will also be shaking, thus making it harder to aim. To cope with traversing that has so much destruction and debris around it, DICE will also be providing a few new and specialized vehicles in the DLC. These will be heavily modified to get through difficult terrain without getting stuck. There will also be the addition of new weapons, such as the silent crossbow. A new game mode, scavenger, will also be introduced. Scavenger will be based around the concept of hunting for weapons and ammo around the map.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Limited Edition 20 Year Anniversary Model Source: November 5th, 2012

To celebrate the 20th birthday of the ThinkPad, Lenovo Japan is releasing a limited edition 14-inch “ThinkPad X1 Carbon 20th Anniversary Edition” Ultrabook exclusively in Japan.

Special features include an original screensaver and wallpaper, and a special set of wrapped black chopsticks based on the design of the ThinkPad, created by professional chopstick artists at Ginza Ohashi. The Ultrabook will also come with an original waterproof case created by Matsushita Luggage in Toyooka, Hyogo In addition to direct sale of the device via Lenovo, orders can also be taken via Yamada electronics, Yodobashi Camera, and Big Camera. Remember, there will only be 500 units manufactured, so if you are interested, better order yours soon! Lenovo Homepage Product Info

3D-printed Minecraft worlds for sale online Source: November 5th, 2012

An online company, FigurePrints, is now selling 3D-prints of your minecraft worlds. Upload your map to them and they'll make you a plastic model. Minecraft's PC players can now have their worlds exported into the real world via a company called FigurePrint. FigurePrint, which also makes models of your World of Warcraft and Xbox Live characters, has turned to 3D printing to make your virtual worlds come to life. Buying a model of your world is a fairly simple process: First, you download FigurePrint's map exporting program, and extract your chosen map. After this, you select what part of the map you want to model. You can pick essentially any part you want, but larger sections will be more expensive. After this, you simply submit your request.

Reservations for the Ultrabook can be made starting November 13th, with a scheduled shipping date of late December. The model will only be available via special order and there will be a limited production run of 500 units, making this a possible collector’s item. The ThinkPad was originally created in Japan 20 years ago, and wowed users with its portability and durability. The anniversary edition of the Carbon will be based on the 5

November 5th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

The draft IEEE 802.11ac spec provides for transmission speeds up to 1300 Mb/s, which is 3 times faster the current de facto 802.11n wireless standard. We find out whether Asus's top of the line RT-AC66U is able to widen the speed gap from its predecessors such as the RT-N66U that we reviewed earlier this year. Externals At a glance, the RT-AC66U is almost indistinguishable from its predecessor, the RT-N66U "Dark Knight", save for the gold color logo on the top right corner of the router. This is a really cool application for 3D-printing. The models are printed with a special powder. A layer of the powder is spread onto a flat surface. Then resin, used to bind the powder together and harden it, is injected where the solid parts of the model are meant to be. After this, another layer of powder is added on top of the previous one and more resin is added. This process is repeated over and over again, building up the structure bit by bit, until you eventually have a completed model of resin, encased in a block of the powder. The powder is then cleaned away and your model is complete.

The front side of the router has the LED indicators for power, wireless 2.4/5GHz, USB port, WAN and LAN activity.

3D-printing is a growing industry, and some very complex models, including ones with moveable parts and functioning mechanical systems, can be created easily. Still, beyond product demos and architectural models, you don't hear about a lot of consumer applications of the technology, so it's good news that companies such as FigurePrint are starting to pop up.

Asus RT-AC66U 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless Router Review Source: November 5th, 2012

At the rear, we find three RP-SMA antennas connectors, a power jack, power switch, pair of USB 2.0 ports, four Gigabit LAN ports, WAN port, WPS and reset button.


November 5th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

VPN Server Enabled

Advertised Features Designed for Class-Leading Speed and Range

Dual-Band Connectivity for Lag-Free Entertainment

Separate and Secure Wi-Fi Network via Guest Network Access

Specifications Table Network Standard

Powerful Online Multitasking up to 300,000 Data Sessions

IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.3u, IPv4, IPv6 7

November 5th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

Data Rate

802.11a : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps 802.11b : 1, 2, 5.5, 11Mbps 802.11g : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps

File server: Samba and FTP server with account management

802.11n : up to 450Mbps

Antenna Operating Frequency WAN Connection Type


802.11ac: up to 1300Mbps Detachable Dipole RP-SMA antenna x 3 2.4G~2.4835GHz /5.1~5.8GHz Internet connection type : Automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE(MPPE supported), PPTP, L2TP Ports Dual Link support Multicast Proxy support Download master - support BT, NZB, HTTP, ED2K - support encryption, DHT, PEX and magnet link - upload and download bandwidth control - download scheduling Media server: Image: JPEG Audio: mp3, wma, wav, pcm, mp4, lpcm, ogg Video: asf, avi, divx, mpeg, mpg, ts, vob, wmv, mkv, mov

Printer Server: multifunctional printer support(Windows nly), LPR protocol support

Button LED Indicator

PPTP VPN server Network map Traffic monitor 4 x RJ45 for 10/100/1000/ Gigabits BaseT for LAN, 1 x RJ45 for 10/100/1000/ Gigabits BaseT for WAN, Support Ethernet and 802.3 with max. bit rate 10/100/1000/ Gigabits Mbps and auto cross-over function(MDIX) USB 2.0 x 2 WPS Button, Reset Button, Power Button LAN x 4 WAN x 1


AIR x 2


USB x 1

User definable rules for IP/MAC/Port. Upload and Download bandwidth management. ACK/SYN/FIN/RST/ICMP with Highest priority

Power Supply

Weight / Dimensions

AC Input : 110V~240V(50~60Hz) DC Output : 19 V with max. 1.58 A current 450g / 207 x 148.8 x 35.5 mm (WxDxH)

Guest Network

Black Ops II gets leaked onto the net

2.4GHz guest network x 3, 5GHz guest network x 3



November 5th, 2012 November 5th, 2012

Following the trend of Halo 4, Treyarch's newest chapter in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops II, has been leaked onto piracy websites around the net.

Published by: VR-Zone

The Shenzhen Apple store welcomed an estimated ten thousand customers on its first day in business. Customers started lining up 24 hours before the grand opening at World Yi Tian Holiday Plaza. The first customer through the door was Chen Taixin, a young Malaysian man and a senior at Shenzhen University. Chen told reporters that he began waiting outside the doors before 9 AM on November 2. The store officially opened at 9 AM the next day. Apple provided the waiting customers with free Starbucks coffee and free meals from KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and Ajisen's Ramen. Customers were allowed to leave their spots for 15 minute bathroom breaks. Reporters estimated that 1500 customers entered the store within the first hour of business, and the first 1000 people were given commemorative Apple t-shirts. Last month, Apple opened a larger store in Beijing which welcomed a record number of customers on opening day, and the Shenzhen store is now living up to its counterpart's success.

Conan O'Brien: Apple's next tablet will be the iPad Mini Mega Micro Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Treyarch's newest contender in the juggernaut FPS series, has just been leaked onto the internet's most nefarious and seedy underground: piracy websites. A fully-working .ISO of the game has been spotted on many popular piracy websites, allegedly uploaded by "BAD 2 THE B0N3" from 360iso, a piracy website that specializes in illegal downloadable Xbox 360 disc images. Gamers might see many spoilers for Black Ops II including end-game cinematics in the next few days, potentially ruining the experience for many gamers worldwide. Following Microsoft's response to Halo 4's recent leaking, Treyarch and Activision will most likely respond quickly and do what they can to get the image off the net, since the game is this year's flagship title for the development/publisher duo. Call of Duty: Black Ops II releases on Nov. 13, 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC. For more information please visit the game's official website.

New Apple store opens in Shenzhen Source: November 5th, 2012

Source: November 5th, 2012

Late night TV has been mocking various Apple products lately, and Conan O’Brien’s take on what Apple may launch next will probably have you laughing until the next launch event. When the iPad mini rumor began swirling, some thought that Apple will finally heed the needs of budget conscious consumers. However, as we can see from the $329 price tag of the 16GB iPad mini, Apple hasn’t changed its philosophy at all. Apple has so much control of the tablet market that regardless of what the competition is doing, the Cupertinobased firm will still profit immensely from most of their gadgets. Major tablet competitors such as Amazon have confirmed that they’re making next to nothing on their tablets, but despite selling iPad-alternatives for ‘less,’ the Kindles aren’t being sold like grain during a famine. With all this in mind, O’Brien’s clever take on Apple’s control of the tablet market is nothing short of hilarious. Regardless of the screen size, and regardless of the price, Apple iPad tablets will sell. So far, that theme hasn’t change, and so the Apple war chest continues to grow.


November 7th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks.

New Uncharted game revealed! Source: November 7th, 2012

prior relationship with Sony as well, as they've worked on both God of War: Betrayal and Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. Another interesting fact about the new game is that it's classified in Australia as having no adult themes, nudity or sex; and very mild violence and drug use. Uncharted usually involves quite a bit of violence and at least a few instances of adult themes, so it is strange that this game has such a mild classification. Accompanying this, the Brazilian classification board has listed it as a "casino/card game". We may be looking at a very different Uncharted.

A new Uncharted game has just received classification, meaning the adventures of Nathan Drake aren't over quite yet. However, what little we know of the new title suggests some strange features. This may be a very different Uncharted. Both the Australian and Brazilian classification board, have just released classification for a game called "Uncharted: Fight for Fortune", suggesting to fans of the series that they'll see more of Nathan Drake in the future. There is yet little information about the game, but the classification board has revealed some interesting, and puzzling facts.

The Australian classification page for the new game Apart from this, the classification reveals little else, though it does issue the warning "Experience may change online", so it's safe to assume a multiplayer mode is in the works. We'll have to wait and see for further information.

ZTE is developing a 5.9-inch 1080p Windows Phone 8 'phablet'? Source: November 7th, 2012

Screenshot from Uncharted 3's plane crash scene First, the game is not being developed by Sony's first party developer Naughty Dog, or by Sony Bend Studios, who handled the development of Uncharted's Playstation Vita game "Golden Abyss". Instead, the game will be developed by One Loop Games. One Loop is a third party developer who has had releases for, among others, PSN and XBLA . They've been involved in the development of console games like The Sabatour as well.One Loop Games does have a

Samsung, step aside because the Galaxy Note may be a thing of the past if ZTE is indeed working on a 5.9-inch Windows Phone ‘phablet’. ZTE is rumored to be in the process of developing a 5.9inch 1080p WP8 smartphone. However, Microsoft has not confirmed support for 1080p devices, but chances are full HD support will be announced sometime in the near future if the Redmond-based software maker does indeed want to stand on even grounds with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. That said, all other important details regarding ZTE’s 1

November 7th, 2012

rumored phablet such as the CPU, RAM, and storage is currently unknown.

Published by: VR-Zone November 7th, 2012

Steve Ballmer confidently said that sales of Windows Phone 8 hardware should pick up rapidly. "We are still relatively small. ... I expect the volumes on Windows Phone to really ramp quickly," Ballmer said at a WP8 launch event in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Foxconn, one of Apple's primary suppliers and assemblers, has revealed that it is having difficulty keeping up with demand for the iPhone. Foxconn, one of Apple's primary suppliers and assemblers, has revealed that it is having difficulty keeping up with demand for the iPhone. It is a problem that many other companies would love to be having, but Terry Gou, Chairman of Foxconn, told journalists that the company is “falling short of meeting the huge demand.”

The latest from the IDC has Windows Phone market share at 2.0% of the total smartphone market. Android and iOS on the other hand still controls the majority of the market with 75% and 14.9%, respectively, as of Q3.

Gou said it is not easy making iPhones, a fact that is hampered not only by high demand, but by intense scrutiny and criticism of Foxconn's treatment of workers, following a spate of suicides in recent years and numerous investigations into factory working conditions. Higher pay for staff and a cap on working hours has undoubtedly weakened Foxconn's ability to pump out iPhones at an incredible rate.

Microsoft is pouring a lot man power and money into pushing Windows 8 as well as Windows Phone 8 platforms into the hand of consumers. Partnerships with major carriers from around the world such as DoCoMo and AT&T imply such, but it remains to seen whether or not consumers are inclined to ditch the two-headed mobile behemoth that is ‘Goople.’ AT&T announced earlier this week that the Nokia Lumia 920 (the flagship among WP8 flagships) will go for $99, with a contract of course. If the cheap Lumia 920 price tag is not enough to entice consumers to switch, then how about the entry-level Lumia 820 for $49? The pricing and marketing strategies are set in place, but again, it is up to consumers whether or not they will walk out with a WP8 gadget in hand once it’s all said and one. One of the biggest drawbacks to adopting WP8 platform is that the Microsoft app marketplace is nowhere near the levels of Apple’s and Google’s. Microsoft is, too, pushing and wooing developers to make apps for Microsoft. As for the rumored ‘phablet’ from ZTE, the market for this particular niche is still young, so it will not hurt Microsoft or OEMs to take a stab at it and see where it takes them.

Foxconn admits struggle to keep up with iPhone demand Source:

Foxconn could pick up the slack in iPhone supply by transferring some assembly from Hon Hai Precision Industry, the primary sub-division of Foxconn, which is responsible for making the iPhone range, to Foxconn International Holdings (FIH), a division which makes phones for Nokia and Huawei. Gou refused to confirm the rumours that FIH would be helping out in future, but Reuters reports that stocks rose by up to 35 percent after Citigroup upgraded its shares to “buy,” paving the way for a huge boost to supply for the iPhone. The 2

November 7th, 2012

question is if it will be enough and if Apple can maintain its momentum with future models.

Microsoft to shut down Windows Live Messenger Source: November 7th, 2012

Microsoft has announced plans to close its once popular instant messaging service Windows Live Messenger, replacing it with VoIP service Skype. Microsoft has announced plans to close its once popular instant messaging service Windows Live Messenger, replacing it with VoIP service Skype. Windows Live Messenger launched in 1999 as MSN Messenger, rivalling Yahoo Messenger and AOL's AIM, but the rise of Skype and Google Talk saw the market shares drop, resulting in Microsoft buying Skype for $8.5 billion last year.

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or mobile phones in addition to making their free text, voice or video chats.

Maine gets its first WoW playing state senator Source: November 7th, 2012

Colleen Lachowicz, the state senate candidate who has recently been under heavy criticism for playing World of Warcraft, has won her seat as senator. A while back, state senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz came under heavy fire from for being a World of Warcraft player. The republican party has been accusing the democratic candidate via an intensive mail campaign, sending out postcards citing her gaming habits as a reason for why she would be unfit for holding public office. One motivation is that she plays a rogue in World of Warcraft, and thus spends a lot of time stabbing things. Another is that she wastes time that could be used for more productive means.

The ageing chat service has been given its death knell, with all services except the Chinese one, shutting down by March 2013, with users prompted to switch to Skype instead. A tool for migrating contacts over will be made available.

State Senator Lachowicz (left) and her WoW character (right) As the story broke, many people wanted to offer support for her campaign, but refusing to take donations, she directed them to give money to a political action committee, ActBlue, instead. At this, the republican party charged her with improperly acting with the committee. Nevertheless, Lachowicz was cleared of all charges, and then went on to defeat her opponent, Tom Martin, with 913 votes. She'll be representing Kennebec and Somerset counties, who clearly care more about a politician's qualifications, than how she chooses to spend her free time. The move follows a sharp decline in users, with a 48 percent drop to 8.3 million in the US alone. Many have already jumped ship to Skype or other services, and Microsoft would risk canibalising its user base by running two competing services, making the end of Windows Live Messenger somewhat of an eventuality.

Watch Dogs arrives next year! Source: November 7th, 2012

Skype as a brand could pull in a lot of new people for Microsoft, especially with upgrades in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, and the planned roll-out of Skype for the Xbox. There is also potential to make more money from this, since users can buy credit for Skype calls to landlines 3

November 7th, 2012

Ubisoft has revealed that it's upcoming game Watch Dogs, one of the most promising games of this year's E3, is going to be released next year for current gen consoles. In Ubisoft's financial call yesterday, it was revealed that the upcoming game Watch Dogs, will be coming out next year to current gen consoles and pc. This isn't the first time we've heard this information: The promise of a 2013 release was tweeted by Ubisoft earlier, but the tweet was deleted afterwards. Having the announcement made in an official statement though, garners more validity to it.

Watch Dogs has been under development since 2010, and impressed at the E3 expo earlier this year, where it became one of the big surprises of the show. Watch Dogs' defining gameplay feature is the use of hacking throughout the game's open world environment. By tapping phones, redirecting traffic lights and all manner of other things, the player can turn the world around them into a useful tool or weapon. If it works well, it may be a very interesting game. Check out below for a gameplay demo:

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(HD 7850/7870/7950/7970), despite the latter having almost a half-year headstart in pushing their products to the same audience. The general consensus so far is that the Keplers have better power efficiencies, and Southern Islands edge ahead in clock for clock performance and GP compute.

The GTX 650 Ti is available in 1GB or 2GB memory configurations, and we strongly recommend paying a few more follars for the larger option to avoid being bottlenecked in texture heavy titles like Skyrim and BF3. Gigabyte's take comes with their trademark Windforce 2X cooler and "Ultra Durable 2" components.

Gigabyte GTX 650 Ti 2GB Windforce 2X Review Source: November 7th, 2012

The Geforce GTX 650 Ti is based on the GK106 die used in the GTX 660 but with some organs removed. Is it still enough to take you on the DirectX 11 virtual battlefield? This year, we've covered most of the GPU releases from both red and green camps, including three hot-clocked enthusiast grade Geforce offerings from Gigabyte (GTX 680, GTX 670, GTX 660 Ti). With the holiday buying season approaching, we thought that a significant portion of our readers might be eyeing the mainstream GTX 650 Ti, since it is priced at a relatively affordable US$159-174 and shares most of the DNA from the more illustrious Keplers. This is a card suitable for single monitor users who can settle for medium image quality and physics effects at 1080p resolution. The card in question is also good for SFF builds, since it has relatively low profile and power/cooling requirements. According to the latest Steam Hardware Survey in October of the latest generation of GPUs, Nvidia's market share stands at 3.92% (GTX 670/680 and 660 Ti) against AMD's 2.89%

Instead of a DisplayPort connector that we find on the higher end models, the Gigabyte card is fitted with a legacy analog D-SUB, which is a baffling decision since hardly anyone uses 4

November 7th, 2012

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it today. Together with the dual link DVI and HDMI ports, the GTX 650 Ti supports up to four independent displays.

Only a single 6-pin PCIe connector is required, thanks to its lowly 110W TDP. There is no SLI bridge connector here so no multi-GPU capability is supported.

Google changes its layout Source: November 7th, 2012

Google alters its design today, giving you a sleeker, less cluttered search window; at least on google's main US site.

The GTX 650 Ti uses a derivative of the TSMC 28nm GK106 ASIC found in the more powerful GTX 660, featuring one less SMX and memory controller unit (effectively 768 Stream Processors and 128-bit GDDR5 Memory Bus). Nvidia's polarizing GPU Boost (dynamically adjusts voltage and clocks) is also absent here, which should please those who prefer the traditional overclocking interface.

Google has updated the layout of it's US search page, simplifying the design and de-cluttering it. The changes include the removal of Google's sidebar, instead incorporating it's elements, such as images, shopping and search options, into the overhead bar available above your results. Google has stated that they wish to optimize the search page in to the many ways it's users access Google today. According to a statement, they want to ensure it's accessible “across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today.�

Another effect of the change is that the right side of the screen, which provides immediate information on a subject you're searching for; the so called Knowledge Graph, will have more space. It's notable that only the US site,, has been redesigned. Google is planning to incorporating the changes to it's other regional websites and languages soon.


November 7th, 2012 domain seized, then hacked. Source: November 7th, 2012

Kim Dotcom's new file sharing hub Mega, is already facing difficulties, as the domain name was shut down yesterday. As if this wasn't enough, the domain has now been hacked by a group known as Omega. For the past few months, we've been hearing some bold words from Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload and creator of it's soon to be successor, Mega. Dotcom has been claiming time and time again that Mega will be unstoppable, a file hosting system of no equal, and we've covered it quite a bit at VR-Zone in the past. However, even before it's launch, Kim is finding a lot of opposition.

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This is what greeted you after the site was hacked What he might not have been expecting is what happened next. A group known as "Omega" hacked after the shutdown, redirecting it to their own site. The group seems to be strongly opposing Dotcom and are looking to sell the domain to Dotcom's adversaries. In a statement they released on Torrentfreak, they said that Dotcom was "no better nor worse than Universal. He himself is an industry, only here to pollute." The hacked site has now been taken completely offline, but still, it looks like there's a war brewing. Until further notice, Mega is hosted at, where a splash screen greets you with the launch date of January 19th 2013.

PlayStation 3 certification suggests China might lift console ban Source: November 7th, 2012

China's harsh attitude towards gaming might be a thing of the past after certification for the PlayStation 3 paves the way for an end to the country's ban on consoles.

Splash screen at the current mega site Dotcom decided on the catchy domain name to be the home of his new site. However, yesterday, it was shut down by the Gabonese government, who own the .ga domain name suffix. The communications minister of the small African country, Blaise Louembe stated that "cannot serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people". So much for that idea. Dotcom wasn't phased by this though, stating that he had plenty of backup domains incase fell through.

China's harsh attitude towards gaming might be a thing of the past after certification for the PlayStation 3 paves the way for an end to the country's ban on consoles. Sony's gaming console received approval from the China Quality Certification Centre, a move that signals a shift in approach to console gaming, which has been banned since 2000. “This does not mean that we have officially decided to enter Chinese market,” said Mai Hora, spokesperson for Sony. “We recognize that China is a promising market so we will continuously study the possibility.”


November 7th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone November 7th, 2012

Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online, a game that was released by Square Enix for the Nintendo Wii console last August 2012, now has more than 40,000 players with over 70,000 copies sold in Japan.

It is up to the Ministry of Culture to make any decisions on reversing the ban, but the certification is a good step forward for Sony and the country as a whole, potentially establishing a console battle between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo over the large and lucrative market.

Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online, has been reported to have reached a number of more than 40,000 players in Japan as of November 6, 2012, within a time period of about three months after its initial release. For comparison, Final Fantasy XI, which is also developed and presented by Square Enix over 10 years ago last 2002, gathered only around 10,000 players within the same threemonth period. This shows that the reception of the game is exceedingly a lot more than what was expected. The game is also noted to have been sold in over 70,000 copies in Japan.

Despite the potential for high console sales in China, some analysts believe the gaming habits of Chinese people are very different to many other countries, with Piers Harding-Rolls, senior games analyst at IHS Screen Digest, suggesting that gamers prefer to use “non-dedicated devices,� according to Reuters. The threat of piracy is also another challenge console makers will face, particularly with the rise of knock-offs of devices like the iPhone and iPad in the region, but even with all the hurdles facing Sony and its rivals, China is just too big an economy to ignore.

Affordable quad-core Huawei Glory a big hit in China Source: November 7th, 2012

Dragon Quest X is currently the first online Dragon Quest game. It presents the same fundamental gameplay system of older titles, while having many more features that are usually available to standard MMORPG's. It currently has two game modes. The first one is the standard pay-to-play version, and the other is the time restricted "kid's time" freeto-play version. The upcoming Wii U version of the game is supposed to be filled with lots of other extra features that would make your adventure experience in the game more fun and exciting.

The Huawei Glory was officially released on November 6 and has been called "the quad-core king."

Dragon Quest X Online now has 40,000 players in Japan Source:

The very first Dragon Quest game was released for the FamiCom (NES) console more than two decades ago, in 1986. It was one of the very first pioneers of the Japanese RPG genre known today, and have since then grown to be played on numerous other titles on other consoles through


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the years. With the largely positive reception of the game in Japan, could we expect an international release soon?

Sanwa presents new TouchPen for all surfaces Source: November 7th, 2012

The new ballpen and touchpen tool by Sanwa can be used to note, write, point and browse on all kinds of surfaces.

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them from upgrading. Corsair realized this and today the company announced the release of two smaller digital PSUs, the AX760i and the AΧ860i, the wattage of which covers the main market body of gamers, overclockers and technology enthusiasts. Are they as good as the AX1200i though? We put the AX860i to the test, so the answers lie in this review. Ever since its release back in August, the Corsair AX1200i became perhaps the most wanted power supply amongst all kinds of computer enthusiasts, from professionals to gamers and overclockers. However, most users did not really need that kind of power and the high retail price discouraged them from upgrading. Corsair realized this and today the company announced the release of two smaller digital PSUs, the AX760i and the AΧ860i, the wattage of which covers the main market body of gamers, overclockers and technology enthusiasts. Are they as good as the AX1200i though? We put the AX860i to the test, so the answers lie in this review.

Touchpens are nifty and convenient little tools that can be used for clean and pinpoint touchscreen browsing. But if these tools are generally classified as pens, wouldn't it be more convenient to if they could also be normally used as a ballpen? The idea may be hardly original nowadays, but you may want to take a short look at what Sanwa can offer for your productivity. Simply called as the "Ballpen & Touchpen", this is a tool that can help you "access" all sorts of different surfaces. The "Ballpen & Touchpen" tool is originally designed to act as a touchpen for capacitive screened units, particularly modern tablets. It has a soft end and good sensitivity, which allows for the tactile sensation of actually pressing into the buttons of the screen interface. However aside from its touchpen function it can also be used as an ordinary ball point pen for writing notes. You simply have to pull the front half off, turn it around, and connect the touchpen end to the other end to the pen. The third and last functionality of the pen is its Class 2 laser pointer, which can of course be used on all kinds of wallboards for lectures, presentations and other similar stuff. Additionally, the overall design of the pen was done to make it look like a deluxe or premium ball point pen of some kind. Maybe this would make the product look more attractive when worn with proper businessperson attire? The "Ballpen & Touchpen" is currently available at Sanwa's online shop with a 3980 yen (50 USD) price tag.

Corsair AX860i Digital PSU Review Source: November 7th, 2012

The Corsair Link DSP interface is the highlight of the AX860i, as is of the entire AXi digital PSU series. The software allows the monitoring of several figures, such as the input/output power of the power supply, the voltage lines and the speed of the fan, as well as control certain aspects of the power supply, such as the fan speed profile and the OCP. Furthermore, the Corsair Link software can monitor other system parameters as well, such as the CPU/ HDD temperatures, fan speeds and almost anything that has a sensor embedded in it. Furthermore, it can also control parameters of other compatible devices, such as the H100i watercooling kit which the company recently released. Manufacturer’s features and specifications • Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for delivering extremely clean, efficient power with real-time adjustments • Corsair Link™ Integration for monitoring and adjustment of performance, noise, and OCP settings • Dedicated single +12V rail with user-configurable virtual "single rail" and "multi-rail" software modes • An ultra-quiet, 140mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow with exceptionally low noise levels by varying fan speed in response to temperature

Ever since its release back in August, the Corsair AX1200i became perhaps the most wanted power supply amongst all kinds of computer enthusiasts, from professionals to gamers and overclockers. However, most users did not really need that kind of power and the high retail price discouraged

• 80 PLUS Platinum certified, delivering up to 92% energy efficiency under real-world load conditions • Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF value of 0.99 • Universal AC input from 90~264V


November 7th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

• Over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current, and short circuit protection provide maximum safety for your critical system components • Engineered to meet maximum power output at a server-grade 50°C temperature rating. • Self-test switch to determine PSU functionality even before installation. • High-quality capacitors provide performance and reliability


• A seven year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair's legendary technical support and customer service • Safety Approvals: cTUVus, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TÜV, CCC, C-tick Warranty Dimension Modular Power 80 Plus ATX Connector EPS Connector PCI-E Connector 4 Pin Peripheral Connector SATA Connector Floppy Connector MTBF

Seven years 150mm x 86mm x 160mm Fully 860 Watts Platinum 1 2 6 8 12 2 100,000 hours


November 8th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks.

Creating easy design printouts with the iDecora iD-01 Source: November 8th, 2012

Roland DG's newest member of their iCreate printer series, the iDecora iD-01, enables users to easily create design printouts for various creative purposes. Japanese computer accessory manufacturer Roland DG has recently unveiled their latest iCreate printer model. Designated with the name iDecora iD-01, it is technically a creativity-centric printer model that is primarily focused on printing high quality design sheets and other similar projects. For the most part, the iDecora iD-01 functions like an ordinary printer. However aside from its usual PC integration function, this printer could also communicate with your iPhone or iPad unit for printing jobs via the upcoming iDecora app for the iOS. This communication/ data transfer feature provides the printer with the functionality that is present on many standard wireless printers today. Aside from directly connecting through iPhone and iPad units, the iDecora iD-01 could also wirelessly communicate using the AirMac Express.

can also take other types of specialty design sheets like label papers and vinyl chloride sheets. You can create wallpapers, shirt designs, papercrafts and even nail designs with it. The dimensions of the unit are (W)230×(L)158×(H)108mm, and it weighs 1.4kg. Wired connectivity option for the device includes a USB 2.0 port. Those who want to learn more about the printer's design and creativity potential may simply look up into the iDecora app's list of available design data. Other than the iDecora app, the printer unit itself will also have its own iDecora Creator design data software for PC's. Roland DG plans to launch an iDecora specialty website around the same time of its commercial release. Owners of the printers will be presented there with detailed usage instructions, maintenance tips and additional downloadable design files to maximize their use for the design printer. The official release date of the iDecora iD-01 is on November 15, 2012. It would be available to customers at a price of 20,790 yen (265 USD). Source: MyNavi (JP)

Google launches Chromebased music collaboration web app Source: November 8th, 2012

Google has launched a music creation web app for its Chrome browser that lets one or more people play guitars, keyboards and drums together live. Google has launched a music creation web app for its Chrome browser that lets one or more people play guitars, keyboards and drums together live. The aptly-titled JAM with Chrome is a “Chrome Experiment” using HTML5, including Web Audio API, Websockets, Canvas and CSS3. We gave the app a try and found it amusing and surprisingly versatile. Users can choose from 19 different instruments, likely with more to come, and there are different modes available depending on previous musical expertise.

Sticker and iron print sheets are the first things that would definitely come to mind with this design printer. However, it 1

November 8th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone November 8th, 2012

Cloud computing is expected to boom over the next few years, with a report by WaveLength and Winn Technology suggesting that more than a third of IT will run on the cloud by 2015. Cloud computing is expected to boom over the next few years, with a report by WaveLength and Winn Technology suggesting that more than a third of IT will run on the cloud by 2015.

The easy mode allows individual string, pad or key clicks, or a useful autoplay feature for those of us without musical talent, allowing for some good tunes with little effort. The more advanced pro mode lets people use their keyboard to play, an important option, since clicking really is not fast enough for proper simulation of a real instrument. One thing it seems to lack is a Record button, which could have worked nicely with an upload to YouTube, but we expect Google will add something like this eventually.

Up to four people can play together, with users able to invite friends to a session via a special link, or even post to Google+, Facebook or Twitter to see who shows up for a jam. However, you might want to soundproof your walls before hitting that Invite button. If that has not sold you on JAM with Chrome, perhaps some musical animals might.

More than a third of IT to be cloud-based by 2015 Source:

Currently only 4.4 percent of enterprise IT runs on the cloud, which is already up by 58 percent on last year, with 78 percent of medium and large businesses using or testing a cloud-based platform. The study predicts that by three years time that 4.4 percent will be 35 percent, firmly securing the cloud's role in the future of IT. “The enterprise cloud market and segments have quickly evolved; today’s meaningful question is no longer if cloud is used but rather how much,” said Natalie Robb of WaveLength Market Analytics. “Last year, cloud users said they expected 28% of IT to be cloud-based by 2015 and now they expect around 35%. Knowing what sets Cloud Pros and Pioneers apart is crucial for technology and telecom firms to advance technologies and reach buyers.”

The report divides enterprises into different segments, with a new one called multicloud users or “Cloud Pros,” making up 19 percent of the division, with all of them using multiple data centres and most employing Amazon Web Services. “Cloud Pioneers,” who actively use or pilot a cloud, account for 59 percent, many of which use IBM, Verizon and Rackspace, while 12 percent are making cloud-based plans. The remaining 10 percent have no current cloud plans. In the cloud sector itself, desktop cloud apps are up from six percent to 26 percent, while back-up and disaster recovery is also up significantly, from 17 percent to 38 percent. So for anyone thinking early adopters of this technology had their heads in the clouds, they might want to think again, as cloud computing appears to be the way forward for many businesses.


November 8th, 2012

Starbacks starts accepting Square mobile app payments Source: November 8th, 2012

US coffee company Starbucks has started accepting payments made using the Square Wallet mobile app, paving the way for cashless enjoyment of a hot beverage in roughly 7,000 Starbucks outlets. US coffee company Starbucks has started accepting payments made using the Square Wallet mobile app, paving the way for cashless enjoyment of a hot beverage in roughly 7,000 Starbucks outlets. The app, for Apple and Android devices, makes use of the user's credit or debit card for payments. Once a payment is arranged, users scan the QR code presented, and the money is taken digitally, resulting in a digital receipt of the transaction. Starbucks customers might already be familiar with the company's own mobile payment app, which is used over two million times each week, and has clearly been seen by Starbucks as a resounding success if it is now keen to embrace even more mobile payment options.

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2011, and we have seen a tremendous response from our customers with more than 100 million mobile transactions occurring in our U.S. stores since its launch,” he said. “Starbucks believes in the values and vision of Square, and just three months after announcing our partnership with Square, we are thrilled to make the convenience of paying with the Square Wallet app available to our customers starting today.” Square Wallet is more than just a payment system, however. It shows where the nearest Starbucks is and what is on the menu. Outside of Starbucks it makes it easy to find other local businesses, particularly ones that also use Square Wallet, and provides rewards for visiting new businesses for the first time. The app is available on any device running iOS 5.0 or Android 2.2 or higher. Only participating stores in the US will be accepting Square Wallet payments for now, but we can likely expect the feature to be rolled out across the world over time.

MSN gets the boot, but not in China! Source: November 8th, 2012

You may have heard the news this week that MSN’s flagship messenger would be merged into their recently acquired Skype software. In most parts of the world, it will be lights out for MSN starting in the first quarter of 2013. However, this isn’t the case for China. Hey that’s not fair! It turns out that China gets to keep MSN. Why is this? Well it may have something to do with the fact that at present, MSN’s Chinese users total 50-60 million people. Not bad, especially considering the iron grip that Tencent has had on the chatting market with its popular QQ software. (By the way, QQ is said to have something like 0.72 billion users.. yikes!). In the past few years, MSN has bobbed along in China at around 5% market share. That’s not to say that Chinese users won’t get access to Skype of course (well unless.. you-know-who decide to block access). As with current MSN users in other parts of the globe, Chinese users will also have the chance to transfer their account to Skype. The problem with China Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks, said that the company looks forward to continuing to offer choices to customers in how they pay. “Starbucks was the first national retailer to offer its own mobile payment technology combined with a world-class loyalty program in January

Skype is a global internet phone company that was founded in 2003. It enables users to voice chat with each other, and also call domestic and international phones ‘IRL’ as the kids say these days. In 2007, Chinese internet company TOM announced that it would be bringing Skype to the mainland,


November 8th, 2012

and to achieve this they opened a joint-venture company, where TOM got 51% and Skype held on to 49% stock. Things changed in May of last year, when the big bad company from Redmond came into the picture. Microsoft acquired Skype for 8.5 billion dollars.

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Nippon Ichi Software has been focusing on the PlayStation platform, releasing several games for the PS2, PS3, PSP and Vita, and in an interview with the Japanese magazine Dengeki, they have revealed that they will be continuing this in the future. They will be focusing their efforts on the Playstation 3 and Vita from this point on, but they have not yet given up on the PSP. NIS is still developing niche software for the Playstation Portable, according to the studio's president Sohei Niikawa.

That's right.. 8.5... BILLION DOLLARS! In China, MSN is operated by Shanghai Mason, which is a company set up by Microsoft and a local enterprise called ‘Shanghai Union Trading”. When MSN and Skype merge, this will cause quite the love triangle between TOM, Microsoft, and Shanghai Union Trading. Local analysts say that TOM would still have control of Skype at the time of the merger, but what that would mean in the courtroom is hard to say. Other analysts even go so far as to say that Skype is a VOIP client, and as Microsoft have no license to distribute such software in mainland China, its very existence under Microsoft’s control would be illegal under Chinese law. Microsoft is already finding it hard to stay afloat in the vicious Internet market of domestic China, and merging Skype and MSN may exacerbate the problem rather than remedy it. Added to this is the fact that Microsoft doesn’t fully own MSN, this already makes it difficult for Microsoft to control the many problems that the software faces in China such as frequent downtime and excessive advertisement. Giving control over to another company isn’t Microsoft’s style, but it is almost certain that Microsoft decided to do this because the alternative would be to deal directly with the government, which is well known for putting foreign controlled companies through hell. Google and Ebay are two good examples of the things that can happen when you take on the far east.

One of NIS's previous titles, Disgaea 4 The rumor is that NIS is currently developing a new title for the PS Vita. In addition, the interview hinted at the release of Disgaea 5, the new sequel to their popular franchise. The title was first hinted at in July during an anime expo. As with the previous Disgaea games, it will include a new world setting and characters. Most likely, the game will be released on Playstation 3.

LG releases UltraWide 2560x1080 29-inch IPS monitor Source: November 8th, 2012

So for now at least, it looks like MSN isn’t going anywhere. If you live in China.

Nippon Ichi Software to continue focusing on PS3, Vita Source: November 8th, 2012

Korea’s LG Electronics’s new beast of a monitor has an aspect ratio which comes close to cinema quality. But how does its other features compare? The EA93 UltraWide monitor, as its name suggests, is really frickin’ wide, and 29” of screen real estate should be enough for any HD content you can throw at it. Not only that, but the monitor also supports splitscreen mode, which turns your monitor into 2 or 4 subscreens ala Mario Kart. This makes it the perfect choice for multitaskers looking to give their productivity a boost.

The RPG game developer Nippon Ichi Software, which has focused on the Playstation platform in the past, has stated in an interview that indeed, they will continue to do so in the future. 4

November 8th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

Specifications: Screen Size


Aspect Ratio


Contrast Ratio




Color Gamut

sRGB 100%





Viewing Angle (V/H) 178/178 Response Time Cinephiles and workaholics alike will be absorbed by the capabilities of this device, especially graphic designers and programmers who are used to heaving multiple monitors onto their desk will especially appreciate the efficiency they gain when using splitscreen mode. Being all in the same physical monitor, the subscreens will each have identical colors and resolution to each other. This will solve the problems graphic designers frequently run into when using 2 separate monitors to compare their work on. Speaking of this, the monitor also has 100 sRGB color space, and can be color-calibrated in hardware, which ensures that you can get the most out of its display capabilities. The 21:9 aspect ratio of the monitor makes it perfect for watching movies. Most movies are shot and edited with the cinema in mind, and generally movie theater screens have an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 or 2.39:1. Watching this movies on your laptop monitor or home TV set causes them to be cropped or distorted from the original format. With the EA93 UltraWide, you can watch movies the way they were intended to be seen. The IPS display technology used by the monitor also allows viewers to sit at practically any angle to the screen and still enjoy the vibrant colors and rich visual quality.

The monitor also includes two 7W stereo speakers and allows gamers to hook up their consoles via HDML or even their smartphones via the included MHL connection, making it possible to watch media and also play games through your phone. Pretty neat, huh?


Interface DVI-D Dual x1, HDMI x2 MHL x1, USB 3.0, Display Port, PC Audio In, Headphone Out

BeBionic 3 prosthetic hand looks like something from the Terminator Source: November 8th, 2012

British prosthetic firm RSLSteeper latest creation, the BeBionic 3 prosthetic hand, looks like something from a scifi movie, and has some impressive capabilities. The British company RSLSteeper has been developing prosthetic limbs for a few years now, and their latest creation, the BeBionic 3, is quite impressive. The prosthetic is a mechanical hand made from light weight carbon fiber with aluminum and alloy knuckles. Thanks to the design, it's light enough to be worn without much strain, however, where it really excels is in it's function. It is strong enough to grip a book, yet delicate enough to grab an egg. The hand is controlled by the contraction of two muscles in the forearm, to which sensors are attached via a forearm sleeve. When one muscle tenses, the tiny bioelectrical signal which is produced, is picked up by the hand's sensor. The sensor then amplifies the signal and send the signal to the hand, which closes. When the other muscle tenses, a signal is similarly sent for the hand to open. If both muscles are tensed, then the hand switches from it's gripping mode to it's wrist rotation mode. Thus, the hand doesn't function naturally in the same way a real hand does, but it is operated through muscles in the arm, and learning to use it intuitively sounds like a fairly easy process.

The LG UltraWide Monitor will be released in its home country Korea early this month, and it should be available globally before the end of the year. 5

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Seeing how it looks now, imagine how cool these things will be in a few years... What sets the hand apart from other prosthetics though, according to Richard Shapcott, general manager of the US branch of the company, SteeperUSA, is that the digits can be operated individually. Most prosthetics simply have a gripping function where the entire hand can be closed or opened. The BeBionic 3 however, has a motor for each finger, meaning it can perform delicate operations, such as clicking a mouse or gripping a pencil. Esthetically, it also makes the hand look more natural. The hand comes preset with eight different grips, some of which involve manually rotating the thumb with the other hand. BeBionic 3 comes with software that lets you modify the grips though, adding your own or refining the existing ones. Since September, roughly 30-50 people have been outfitted with the prosthetic. One of these people is Nigel Ackland, who lost his hand six years ago. Below is a video where he demonstrates some of the hand's capabilities.

Android and iOS will have Microsoft Office in 2013 Source: November 8th, 2012

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The Office app will be free to download so that Android and iOS users will be able to view Microsoft Office documents. Basic viewing functionality of Word, PowerPoint, and excel documents will be free of charge in Android, but to edit documents users have to have Office 365 subscription. iOS users will, too, be able to view the same type of documents, and users will be able to buy Office 365 subscriptions directly from within the app. The Office app for iOS will supposedly launch around March, 2013, but Android users will have to wait until May, 2013 to have a whack at the app.

Use Bing to earn free Windows Phone apps Source: November 8th, 2012

Want to know how to get free apps for your Windows Phone devices? It’s not exactly ‘free’ per se, because you’ll have to do a bit of work to obtain the points which you can then convert to cash for use towards the apps. If you use Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, then you may know that there are some perks to searching Microsoft’s answer to the Google search engine. With the Bing rewards, you can now redeem points—earned by using the Bing search engine—for certificates for the Windows Phone Store.

There are quite a few good office suites available for iOS and Android, but when Microsoft wants to shove its way to the front, well, who’s going to stop it from pummeling the competition? Microsoft has been quiet about its development of Office for iOS and Android, but a version of Office has been spotted via The Verge. Per the same source, Microsoft is planning to release its mobile productivity suite sometime in early 2013.

(Go ahead, Bing away) The freebies will come in two forms, one is the $1.25 variety, and the other is $5 nugget. To cash in your $1.25, you must earn 170 points, and 525 points for the $5 reward. If you’re a Windows Phone user, just know that you’re a part of a very selective few. Microsoft’s contribution to the 6

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smartphone market with its Windows Phone platform is currently set at 2%, according to the IDC. If you’re already on a Windows Phone user, it goes without saying that even if you manage to earn a good amount using the Bing search engine, there may not be much for you to redeem from in the Windows Phone Store. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t some useful apps for you to purchase, but for now, the choices seem somewhat limited in comparison to iOS and Android.

AT&T to invest $14 billion to extend LTE & broadband coverage Source: November 8th, 2012

AT&T is going to spend big to deliver better services to its customers, and by big I mean investing $14 billion large. The increased spending will help AT&T expand its 4G LTE network, which is more efficient in transmitting data than the previous 3G generation. “This is a major commitment to invest in 21st century communications infrastructure for the United States,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, said in a statement. He also mentioned that the expansion will help to deliver high-speed internet to millions more people who did not have access to broadband before.

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major U.S carrier, recently handed over the majority of the company over to SoftBank Japan in exchange for $20.1 billion. The thought of catching up to Verizon is on the mind of most major carriers in the U.S., and AT&T is putting a lot of chips on the table, but so have T-Mobile and Sprint. Will AT&T retain second place in the race to be the largest carrier? The company is planning to infuse $22 billion into expanding its network by 2015, so why shouldn’t AT&T maintain its rightful place as the second best carrier?

Spiffy MARSHAL USB analog meter displays PC's internal information Source: November 8th, 2012

MARSHAL announced that they are developing an analog meter which can display your PC’s status – and look cool while doing it. Presently, the product is still undergoing testing, but we know that MARSHAL is working on 3 types of meter – one to show CPU, one to show HDD, one to show memory, and one final meter to rule them all ….. well maybe not that last one. Combined with an exclusive software package, the meters are able to read the various internal data from Windows task manager and display them on their cockpit style gadgets.

A portion of the investment will go towards expanding AT&T’s broadband network. Strategically, the company wants smartphone users to use the wired network instead to help alleviate the stress of data usage on the wireless network.

Verizon is currently in first place in terms of LTE coverage, with 420 cities. Whereas, AT&T’s LTE currently only covers about 80 cities, but AT&T expects that the investment will help to bring LTE to 300 million people by the end of 2014. AT&T’s move to beef up its infrastructure follows recent moves by other major carriers in the U.S. to improve their respective services. Last month, T-Mobile USA bought out Metro PCS to expand on its own business. Sprint, another

The test products are completely handmade, and their black spherical shape bear a Gantz-like quality to them. (I wonder if it plays “a new morning has come”?). They also have a simple red arrow which points accurately to the current value of whatever information it is displaying. The final design may not completely emulate this simple design however, and MARSHAL may still have a few surprises up their sleeves. The mysterious device also has an LED backlight installed in it, giving it an even eerier look when you switch the lights off. 7

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MARSHAL’s head of domestic planning Takeomi Maruyama expressed his thoughts on the quirky meter product. “Engineers who develop ways to convert analog to digital are a dime a dozen, but those who know how to convert digital to analog are few and far between. For this reason, it took a long time for this product to be realized from its original design," he said.

All that work just for the PC equivalent of a magic eight ball. Who’da thought? The ball, while not exactly a cornucopia of functionality, is bound to attract fans of the stylish and unique. It’s release date has yet to be announced, but you will be able to get your hands on one for around 1,980 Yen (~25 USD). Currently, there are only 3 test models, but that may change if they are popular enough. I bet you artsy types will buy them up in truck loads though, that is if you haven’t spent your money on the latest Macbook Pro. MARSHAL Homepage


November 9th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks.

Space internet used to issue commands to robot on Earth Source: November 9th, 2012

An astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) has issued commands to a robot on Earth using a new interplanetary internet, paving the way for enhanced communications between astronauts and people back home. An astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) has issued commands to a robot on Earth using a new interplanetary internet, paving the way for enhanced communications between astronauts and people back home. The new technology, developed jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, is called DisruptionTolerant Networking (DTN) and has the potential to help safely deliver more data from space missions back to Earth, addressing existing problems with rovers sent to Mars. Sunita Williams, ISS Expedition 33 Commander, used a laptop with the DTN software to successfully direct a rover in Germany. The idea going forward is to replace the existing point-to-point communication systems used to control rovers on Mars with the new, more data durable internet.

The DTN was a project long in the making, with proposals made a decade ago by Vint Cerf, one of the creators of the internet. The space internet is similar to the one back home, but as its name implies it is more tolerant to delays and disruptions that are possible when sending data over such large distances, where data may take minutes rather than seconds to arrive, sometimes due to solar storms or planetary interference. The delays are dealt with using a network of nodes, where data is held at one node when there is a disruption, before attempting to send on again later. This prevents the data loss that is capable when a transmission fails on the normal internet. The technology is likely too expensive to replace our normal internet here, but it could become part of smaller networks, such as those used by the military, where data loss prevention is important.

Tales of Hearts R Slated for a PS Vita Release in Spring 2013 Source: November 9th, 2012

Bandai Namco Games finally presents a remake for the Nintendo DS game Tales of Hearts. The game will be ported this time for the PS Vita and will be released in spring 2013. Bandai Namco Games is again continuing its trend of remaking certain Tales series games for other consoles. This time, its Tales of Hearts, a game that was originally released for the Nintendo DS last 2008. The new Tales of Hearts R will feature a new 3D rendered environment, and will have lots of other bonus features that would let gamers treat it as a totally separate version from the original. The game will be ported to the PS Vita, and is scheduled for an official (Japanese) release in spring of 2013. Aside from the newly 3D rendered graphics the game would also have fully voiced main scenarios. There will also be additional animation sequences to further immerse the players into the game's story. A new battle strategy/ command, which is named as the "Chase Link", provides an 1

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additional angle of offense for players who want to use aerial battle techniques (waza and ougi) to combo their opponents above ground. The world map system, a system that is common to many standard RPG's, will also make a comeback in Tales of Hearts R. This would allow the player to experience going through fields and navigating the next town just like any classic RPG. But perhaps the most anticipated bonus addition to the remake is Calcedny Arcome. Originally a non-playable character in the NDS version, he will now be available in the new PS Vita version as a playable party character. In general the remake will have many features that would also enable old players of the original version to have something to enjoy. Players who are expecting an English release of the game overseas though might still have to wait yet again, if Bandai Namco Games would ever decide to work on an international version of it soon.

New potentially habitable planet discovered Source: November 9th, 2012

Earth - could HD 40307g look like this? HD 40307g, which we might one day call Earth 2, was discovered using the HARPS spectrograph, which can pick up changes in light colour of the star as it is affected by the gravitational pull of its orbiting planets. A new technique helped filter out the star's own signals, making it easier to see the surrounding planets. Previously the scientists were only able to discover three planets, but the newly-employed technique uncovered three additional planets, including this potentially life-supporting one which is the closest of habitable planets to Earth that ticks all the boxes for an Earth-like environment.

Astronomers have discovered a new planet which they say could support life, thanks to a potentially similar climate to that seen on Earth. Astronomers have discovered a new planet which they say could support life, thanks to a potentially similar climate to that seen on Earth. The team, which combined scientists from the University of Goettingen in Germany and the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, identified the planet orbiting its star at roughly the same distance as Earth does, which is within the “Goldilocks Zone� of neither too hot nor too cold. The planet, dubbed HD 40307g after its star HD 40307, is 44 light years away and has a mass that is seven times that of Earth, which might come in handy if our burgeoning population ever needs to evacuate the planet in future. In addition to orbiting its star at a distance similar to our planet, the new planet also rotates on its own axis, which gives it a night and day cycle, further exciting astronomers about life on the planet. Night and day is pivotal, as otherwise one half of the planet would be plunged into total darkness the entire year around.

Of course, until we develop technology to travel such vast distances of space safely, it will likely be a long time before we can confirm the scientists' suspicions.

US Game sales drop 25% in October Source: November 9th, 2012

Game software and hardware sales continute to decline, and during the month of October, sales have dropped 25%, possibly due to people holding off their purchases before the big holiday titles are released. For the past 11 months, game sales in the US have been dropping. The trend continues during October, with game sales dropping a further 25%. The drop concerns both hardware and software.


November 9th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

a stop, and then a series of six cameras with infra red lights construct a panorama of the area around it. The device also takes measurements such as temperature and oxygen levels in the area. All of this information is then transmitted to a mobile device and will give the user invaluable information on what to expect around the next corner. The NDP group revealed the sales figures on Thursday It is possible that October's decline in sales is due to the upcoming holiday game rush. Many AAA-titles, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Hitman: Absolution, will be coming out very soon, and some gamers may simply be waiting to spend their money. Still, a few of the holiday games have already been released during October, and the holiday rush doesn't explain the past year of sales: The NDP group revealed on Thursday that the industry's sales in the US have gone from $1 billion last year, to just $755.5 million for this year. Sales of games, excluding PC titles, fell by 25%, to $432.6 million. Hardware, including consoles, fell 37% to $187.3 million. Accessories was the only part of the industry where sales saw a growth; increasing by 5% to $135.6 million.

The developers of the camera ball, both of whom are alumni of MIT, have stated that the device is still a prototype and that further testing and development is needed. Still, they expect it to have far-reaching application, in everything from search and rescue to military operations. Though no price has been speculated on yet, the ball will be cost efficient and will provide an alternative to traditional fiber optic "snake cams" used by first responders today.

Apple experiences a slump in China: iPhone out of China's Top 5 Source: November 9th, 2012

After just taking a blow in the global market by losing 1st place to the Galaxy S III, its more bad news for Apple today as the latest analyst data shows that the Apple iPhone dropped out of China's Top 5 smartphones in the 3rd quarter.

Retail sales account for roughly half of the industry sales, the rest being covered by downloads.

Apple enjoyed 2nd place in China's smartphone market in the first quarter of this year, but have started to see their foothold slip as they dropped down to No. 5 in the second quarter. The 3rd quarter sees a continuation of that trend as Apple's iPhone slipped further down to No. 6. Samsung held their grip on the market, keeping 1st place with 14% of the market, and are closely followed by Lenovo who have 13%.

One explanation to the drop in sales is that we're nearing the end of a console generation, and thus, consumers may be less inclined to throw money at their game systems. Feel free to come up with your own theories in the comments section below.

While Apple's YOY shipment of smartphones in the 3rd quarter actually increased, it wasn't enough to hold onto their position against the fast pace of local makers, and their market share dropped 1 point from the previous quarter to 7%.

Hitman: Absolution, is one of this years holiday season releases, and will be coming out in November

Throwable camera helps warn of dangers Source: November 9th, 2012

A company known as Bounce Imaging is developing a new, throwable camera which can help with finding dangers and letting the user know via a mobile device. Bounce Imaging have been developing a new device; a small ball outfitted with an array of cameras and sensors, to warn of dangers wherever it's thrown. When deployed, it rolls to

Analysts commented that China's electronics market operated on the principle of extreme price wars, and recent low-price high functioning smartphones produced by local makers has stimulated new growth at the bottom end of the market. People who weren't interested in buying hi-tech cell phones at Apple prices jumped at the chance to get their hands on some nifty gear at an affordable price. In the 3rd quarter of this year, China's total shipped smartphones amounted to 50,000,000 units. That's more than 1/3 of all globally shipped units. 60% of these were made by Chinese manufacturers, and as time goes on an even larger percentage of these sales will be eaten up by local manufactures. The average price for a smartphone in China is currently $70~$120 USD. Compare that to Apple's iPhone 4S, which when bought without a contract in China will set you back a


November 9th, 2012

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hefty $713 USD. That's almost a full months wages for a lot of locals.

Will the iPhone 5 be Apple's savior in China? Things are not all bleak though, as Chinese sales of the iPhone have yet to feast on the spoils of the iPhone 5, which is scheduled for a December release in the region. Analysts expect the new revision to give Apple another boost in the 4th quarter. Whether or not this will be enough to hold off against the cutthroat competition of the Chinese electronics market though, is yet to be seen.

Dead Space 3 Co-op adds new element of gameplay Source: November 9th, 2012

It's likely that this won't restore all of the dread and loneliness the game series have previously been good at invoking, but it is taking a step in the right direction. Having co-op take a few unique and different turns will set it apart from the regular concept of "play the same game but with a friend", is welcome too. At this time though, not much is known of how extensively the hallucinations will be incorporated into the game. Personally, I have never been a particular fan of co-op, and I have been skeptical to the Dead Space 3 co-op in particular. I have to admit though, I'm very curious to try it out. Dead Space 3 will be released in February 2013

Skyrim DLC coming soon to PS3 Source: November 9th, 2012

PS3 players rejoice; after a long wait filled with bugs and delays, Skyrim may soon get a DLC pack for Sony's console. Dead Space 3 has been critiziced for featuring an optional co-op mode, which players believe will remove much of the horror elements in the game. The co-op though, will feature some unique features that may change that. Dead Space 3 has been under some criticism recently, much focused on it's upcoming co-op gameplay. Many critics believe that including co-op in a horror game will remove many of the elements which makes the game scary. Visceral Games hopes to remedy this by adding some interesting and unique elements into the gameplay: Both playable characters will be having hallucinations at different times during the game, while the other continues to experience the game normally. This will lead to one character running off like a madman, while the other is left alone to fend for themselves. Alternatively, they could choose to follow the player, but may then be lead into a situation more dangerous than they were previously in.

When The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released for PS3, it was plagued by bugs. Most notably, the game became slower as you explored more and more of the game world. This had to do with how the Playstation 3 handles system and video memory, which is notably different from how it is handled on the Xbox360 and PC. Bethesda decided that they wouldn't release any DLC for the game until all the issues with the Playstation port had been resolved. In the meantime, PS3 players have been free to look on with jealousy as the PC and 360 received DLC packs Hearthfire and Dawnguard.


November 9th, 2012

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Now though, PS3 players may finally get to experience the content, as Bethesda has released a statement: "To update: we’re also close on new Skyrim content for PS3 and PC." It had been hinted in the code for the newest DLC, Dragonborn, that the it may be released for PS3, and so the issues with the platform were probably resolved. This confirms it.

CoolPAD 9960 with Nvidia five core chip comes out this month Source: November 9th, 2012

According to recent reports from China Telecom, CoolPad's latest flagship 4.7-inch Android smartphone, the HD 9960, will go on sale later this month. The biggest surprise, however, is that the phone will come with a Nvidia pentacore chip inside.

The HD 9960 is part of a major investment in handset technology on the part of China Telecom, and an ambitious attempt by Chinese IT companies generally to compete with their counterparts around the world. China Telecom has outlined a strategy it calls the "New Three" which consists of providing technology, a platform, and content for mobile phones. CoolPAD is reported to have invested 200 million Yuan ($32 million) in research. Investment in new devices is also reportedly up 20% over 2011. I wouldn't expect the appearance of new technology from Chinese manufacturers to slow down any time soon.

In true Chinese fashion, the HD 9960 is the result of two years of research by a team of 800 engineers. It represents a significant achievement through the partnership between CoolPad and China Telecom. In China, sales of the phone will be subsidized by the state owned China Telecom. A lot of buyers may need help affording it, too, as its price of 4980 Yuan, or almost $800, places it firmly at the expensive end of the price spectrum for new smartphones.

The World goes Topsy-Turvy: Foxconn factory in America? Source: November 9th, 2012

The HD 9960's 4.7 inch 1280x720 screen and 13MP camera are impressive, but it's the processor that could really change everything. The Nvidia mobile CPU inside the new phone employs a technique called Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) to balance workloads and save power. Additionally, the CPU governor analyzes system workloads and switches between the low power process 500MHz processor and the four high performance 1.5GHz processors. The 'throttling' effect can be accomplished in just 2 milliseconds. Nvidia claims this processor uses two to three times less power than standard competing chips.

In a strange turn of events, market watchers in China have leaked that the notorious Apple contractor Foxconn is planning to build a manufacturing plant in the States. Electronics makers such as Apple generally outsource their manufacturing to the Far East to cut costs and take advantage of the Mainland’s extensive work force. Foxconn is one of the biggest of these outsourced manufacturers, and makes sure that all the kids in middle America get their new iPhones in time for Christmas. The lower salaries and 5

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material costs in China have traditionally made it a ripe target for device makers who want to keep their expenditure to a minimum. ..Which is why it’s completely unintuitive that Foxconn would be trying to build a company in the US. …Or is it? With each new generation of device, the technology embedded in them become more and more complex. Especially in the case of iPhones, each new model seems to try and cram more and more components into an ever-tightening space. However, there is one electronic product that doesn’t face that problem: LCD displays. Analysts predict that it will be these displays, and not Apple’s iProductLine that get their green cards, so to speak. So where does this theory stem from? Recently, there has been somewhat of a trend in the US, where many product makers with manufacturing plants based in China have started announcing their plans to bring manufacturing back to the US. In order to solve the cost difference between the two continents, makers have begun to get cozy with a new burgeoning technology: automation. The trend began with electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors, who completely manufacture their Model S cars in America, using multi-limbed sophisticated robots with more tentacles than a Japanese comic book.

Tesla Motors' automated factory at work Hoping to jump in on the homegrown boom, many other makers have started vowing to rid their manufacturing process of all connections to the East, and thus in one sweep banish the problems of exploitation accusations and intellectual property theft which constantly rear their head in the industry. Foxconn is in a very fragile position if such a boom continues to fruition, as suddenly they will have no clients left. Not one to be left behind, Foxconn is taking the initiative and attempting to go automatic before their American friends can beat them to the chase. The new factory search in America is probably directly related to this strategy. Any concrete plans are still unclear, and the topic still remains hearsay, but sources state that Foxconn are currently scoping out Detroit and Los Angeles as potential build sites for their new factories. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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New software from Microsoft translates spoken language almost instantly Source: November 9th, 2012

Microsoft is developing new software which allows the user to speak in one language, and have their voice almost immediately translated into speaking another language. Scifi takes another step towards reality. At an event in Tianjin, China on October 25, Microsoft's chief research officer Rick Rashid demonstrated a new product which translates speech into other languages. Rashid's voice was almost immediately translated from English into Chinese. After he spoke, the words he uttered in English appeared on a screen along with it's Chinese translation. A short time thereafter, he was heard speaking Chinese to the cheering audience. There has been a slew of recent research into voice recognition, and particularly from an advancement known as "deep neural networks", which make use of the way neurons are mapped in the human brain to better optimize speech recognition. By understanding how the human brain thinks, and how it goes from thought to thought, it has an easier time predicting what word comes next, based on what has been said previously. This new technique has reduced the errors in speech recognition from 20-25% of the translated words, to just 15%. This is still a lot, but a significant improvement. The new translator makes use of the recent improvements in order to transcribe what a speaker says. Even when speaking unclearly, as one would in a normal conversation when not attempting to dictate words, it manages fairly well at understanding what the speaker is saying. Afterward, the software translates the text, word for word, into the new language. Next, it reorders the words to fit the structure of the new language. The final part of the translation process is to speak the translated text, and it does this in the original speaker's voice. The speaker supplies about an hour of their own voice, which allows the software to automatically modulate the audio output to sound like the speaker. Rashid has stated that the limits of the accuracy of this technology is unknown. However, the most impressive part of the technology is that the software completes the translation almost immediately. In other words, we're not all that far from the translators you see on Star Trek or in Mass Effect, and that is extremely exciting. The future is now! Below is a video demonstration of the technology from the recent event in China:


November 9th, 2012

US Seals who killed Bin Laden punished for revealing secrets in game Source: November 9th, 2012

A number of US Navy Seals, allegedly including at least one member of the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, have received reprimand letters and pay deductions for revealing secrets while helping out with Medal of Honor: Warfighter. A number of US Navy Seals, allegedly including at least one member of the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, have received reprimand letters and pay deductions for revealing secrets while helping out with Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

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Team Six was the division of the Navy responsible for taking out Bin Laden, earning it fame throughout the US and the rest of the world, but some members of the group have irked the Pentagon over their subsequent behaviour. One Seal, Mark Owen, wrote a book about the events, which the Pentagon warned their could be legal repercussions over. For all the hype over the use of real Seals in the making of the new Medal of Honor game, Warfighter was received largely negatively by critics and players alike. Our review highlighted how it was “mediocre” and full of bugs. So if any secret Navy information was used in the game, probably less people than intended will be seeing it now.

Intel to Merge Xeon and Itanium in 2015-2017 Source: November 9th, 2012

Electronic Arts brought the Seals on board as consultants, claiming that they were used to make the material in the game, including raids, more realistic. The Seals are believed to have divulged secrets in this process, but it is not clear what these were. Sufficed to say, the Navy was not pleased. Rear Admiral Gary Bonelli, Deputy Commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, told the Associated Press that the Navy does “not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do.”

The seven Seals, which include two Senior Chief Special Operators and five Chief Special Operators, all members of Team Six, were charged with violation of orders, misuse of command gear, dereliction of duty and disclosure of classified material, according to the BBC. They received disciplinary letters and their pay was cut for two months. Another four former Team Six members, who are still on duty in the Navy, are under investigation.

The future of much criticized Intel Itanium processor is often blurry. In fact, it was even a matter of recent court spat between ORACLE and HP, where ORACLE wanted to abandon Itanium altogether. Thus, Intel is making a strategic move to ensure the future of this niche product line. Without much fanfare, Intel finally introduced the Itanium 9500 series, formerly known as Poulson. This longdelayed part is manufactured using the trusted-n-tried 32nm process, replacing the 65nm Tukwilla (Itanium 9300 Series). However, there are many clouds on the horizon for the Itanium lineup, mostly with Itanium customers demanding more strict ECC code for the GPU and Accelerators (how Intel likes to call Xeon Phi), in order to replace them going forward. Even with the court forcing ORACLE to continue supporting Itanium, there's no secret that long delays of Poulson / Itanium 9500 and general lack of focus on the architecture Intel and HP once called "the future of high-end computing" are taking their toll. Thus, for the next generation of Itanium processors, Intel is going to do something the company typically avoids to do: socket compatibility. Poulson or Itanium 9500 will be the top of what Intel has on offer for the next two to three years, during which time its successor, 22nm Kittson will be reengineered to align itself with the Xeon E7 series processors. According to slides leaked on X-bit Labs, the Haswell-EX (Xeon E7) will share silicon design (Memory, I/ O, RAS) and package / socket, while the cores will be either Itanium (IA64) or standard Xeon (x86-64 / EM64T).


November 9th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

That's it for this edition of crystal ball, stay tuned.

Xiaomi now taking orders for the 6th batch of Xiaomi M1s phones Source: November 9th, 2012

This move is scheduled to take place during 2015-2017 timeframe, which follows the executing logic of the company: • Ivy Bridge (Core i3/i5/i7) debuted in 2012 • Haswell (Core i3/i5/i7) will debut in early 2013 • Ivy Bridge-EP (Xeon E3/E5) should arrive in mid-2013 • Ivy Bridge-E (Core i7) debuts in late 2013 • Ivy Bridge-EX for critical servers (Xeon E7) debuts in late 2013 • Broadwell (Core i3/i5/i7) should ship in early 2014 • Haswell-EP (Xeon E3, E5) should ship by mid 2014 • Haswell-E (Core i7) debuts in late 2014 • Haswell-EX (Xeon E7) is planned for late 2014 • Broadwell-EP (Xeon E3 / E5) is planned for mid 2015 • Broadwell-E (Core i7) arrives in late 2015 • Broadwell-EX (Xeon E7) is planned for late 2016 At the same time, Kittson is targeting the introduction in the fourth quarter 2015, when the socket meld should be happening. The company is hoping that by lowering the cost of the infrastructure, it can get more businesses to use Itanium. At least, that is the company line. More realistically, as our sources close to hear of the company are saying is that Intel wants to lower the cost of Itanium platform development, since it represents too high of a strain when profitability is compared.

The new socket could be the one you already know according to some sources, Intel plans to re-wire the LGA-2011 for Haswell/Broadwell, making it incompatible with Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge-based products. The rewiring isn't being done to support new architectures, but rather provide more power - according to documents we saw, Intel plans to introduce 150W and up to 180W parts when Haswell and Broadcom architectures enter the cut throat server business.

Fans who missed out during the first five rounds have another chance to order their own M1s phones. The first round of 20,000 phones, released on August 29th, sold out in just under half an hour. Is the phone worth the fuss? Xiaomi will be releasing the sixth batch of its popular M1s phone on the 11th of November, in time for Chinese 11/11 sales events. The last five rounds were snapped up eagerly by hordes of Mifen, as Xiaomi fans are known in China. But let's take a look at the phone and try to figure out what all the fuss is about. Despite selling for 1499 Yuan (the equivalent of $240, in China), it is marketed towards the US market as well as international customers for between $330 and $360, respectively. The phone's specs are average. It runs MIUI V4, an in-house twist on Google's popular Android ICS. It comes equipped with a 1.7GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor, 8MP camera with autofocus, and a 2MP rear camera. The M1s supports both GSM and WCDMA connections.

The MSM8260 1.7GHz processor represents the biggest difference between the M1s and the earlier M1 phone, which was powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor. The M1s also includes an HML instead of a micro-USB port. Chinese reviewers have praised the M1s for its speed and responsiveness, and that the phone's greatest strength is its ability to stream video smoothly. Reviewers have also commented that it takes quality pictures, and comes installed with useful software like a music player and antivirus software. On the other hand, a few have 8

November 9th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

complained about bugs affecting the audio quality and that the battery can often get hot. Overall, the positive feedback seems to outweigh the negative, and the speed with which each batch of M1s phones sell out is a testament to its popularity. It is sure to remain strong competition for other phones in its price range due to its speed and ease of use.

November 9th, 2012

Chinese colleges in favor of online civil service exams

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) announced on the 8th that Windows 8 would natively support Bluetooth 4.0. With Bluetooth 4.0, your PC will be able to connect to a whole new array of low powerconsuming devices.

Source: November 9th, 2012

For hundreds of years, the Chinese civil service exam was a strenuous affair for scholars wanting to work in the government. Now, many professors want the exam to be held online. The Chinese civil service exam has changed drastically over the last hundred years. In pre-modern China, Confucian scholars would spend days in a small room writing lengthy essays on parchment. Today, college students take the exam with pencil and paper, but soon, the exam might be on the internet. According to discussions among Chinese universities, it may be beneficial to host the civil service exam online.

Bluetooth 4.0 first reared its head in the iPhone 4S. Unlike previous editions of the protocol which munched up all the power from your battery (presumably with its blueteeth), this time around Bluetooth is being heralded as the harbinger of a new era of low energy devices. If it does all that its cracked up to be, Bluetooth 4.0 will be the go-to choice for medical and health devices, sports and fitness equipment, and a host of other crap that you never dreamed would some day connect to your PC. Bluetooth has forged its way into a variety of devices thus far due to its simple and secure way of connecting wirelessly to devices. According to ABI Research, the amount of Bluetooth capable devices in the world already amounts to 9 billion; shipped units in 2012 alone account for over 2 billion of these, and there are no signs of this trend slowing down.

Ji Xuefeng, a professor of mathematics, says that many student athletes have to cut back on practices because their parents push them to take the civil service exam. If the exam were held online, students would be able to take the test without missing other activities. It would also encourage students to take the test who may have otherwise not had the time. Having the test online would be more convenient for students, teachers, and proctors, but it might make sorting through the scores more difficult. Last year, 150 million people took the test, according to the Chongqing National Bureau of Statistics Survey Corps. Only one out of every 9470 test takers get a job in the civil service. If the exam were held online, entrance into the civil service might become even more competitive. Civil service employees have very low starting salaries, but they recieve good benefits and job security. However, it seems that fewer and fewer young people are interested in civil service careers.

Brush your teeth till they're blue! Bluetooth 4.0 coming soon to...everything Source:

Over 9 billion blue-teeth reported. Dentists everywhere are outraged. From its humble beginnings as the wireless communications device of choice for headset-wearing obnoxious businessmen who talk too loud in the line at Starbucks, Bluetooth has evolved into a multi-purpose protocol whose low power requirements will let it bless your household products with its heavenly blue teethed waves. Running on a battery the size of a coin, Bluetooth 4.0 really is a giant leap for the protocol. There is one tiny itty-bitty problem with putting Bluetooth in everything though. The simple and compact data sent from each Bluetooth compatible device cannot really be used by anything without first being sent to a “hub� device, like a PC, smartphone, or tablet. Only then can the data be viewed, processed, or sent to that all-powerful cloud in the Internet sky.


November 9th, 2012

Doc, I'm having a CAT scan here, can you quit playing Angry Birds for one second? At the recent Bluetooth 4.0 sleepover (or maybe it was just a conference, who knows), the example given was wait for it… a Bluetooth ready toothbrush. (Get it? Bluetooth.. toothbrush.. ha..ha… oh you crazy engineers!) So anyway the example was of a child using a Bluetoothbrush™ to brush their pearly whites, and all of the data associated with the brushing process such as time spent, pressure of the brush, which teeth were brushed etc. can all be sent to a nearby tablet or phone.

Published by: VR-Zone

Blue wavy things not included (unless you count Bluetooth’s spread spectrum radio waves, but they’re invisible, silly.) Bluetooth devices are expected to take the world by storm, reaching an estimated 2.5 billion devices shipped next year, and 27 billion devices shipped by 2017. It’s hard to say what level of success the slimmed down protocol will have, but it sure will be fun to see what crazy devices choose to support it in the coming years.

Play Halo 4 multiplayer and earn Microsoft Points Source: November 9th, 2012

Embrace your Halo 4 addiction with Microsoft's new Halo 4 Combat Tour promotion on Xbox LIVE Rewards, allowing gamers to earn up to 800 MSP just by playing Halo 4 multiplayer. The more you play, the more you earn!

Oh god.. it actually exists… a Bluetooth toothbrush!! Where can I get one??? A possibly less creepier example given was to insert a Bluetooth enabled accelerometer in the tip of a golf club to measure your swing speed and accuracy, allowing the golfer to check his/her stats on their smartphone. More useful applications include checking your blood level on your PC, or connecting your fitness equipment to your TV so that you can synchronize your workout with Jane Fonda (good luck catching up to her though!).


November 9th, 2012

Published by: VR-Zone

Epic's groundbreaking franchise is back and better than ever with Gears of War: Judgment, and now you can reserve your own copy at a retailer near you. Epic Games' Gears of War franchise has been synonymous with Xbox 360's noteworthy shooters, providing a unique and gritty experience that hasn't been matched by many other games on the market today. Spanning an awardwinning critically acclaimed trilogy, the new Gears of War release--GoW: Judgment--breathes new live into the series with a multitude of new gametypes--like OverRun-and a brand new story arc that continues the dynamic plot of the previous games. "Before the rise of the Lambent, the sinking of Jacinto or the detonation of the Lightmass bomb, there was Emergence Day – when the Locust horde burst from the ground and set Sera on a path toward near annihilation.Gears of War: Judgment brings players back to the terrifying aftermath of E-Day, before the events of the Gears trilogy, for the most intense and challenging “Gears” game yet." Gamers can now reserve their own copies of Gears of War: Judgment, securing their place among the ranks of Cogheads worldwide for a brand new battle. The upcoming new chapter retails at the standard price of $59.99, however many retailers have $1 pre-order cards that allow gamers to reserve their copy and pay the rest when the game is actually released--which is quite convenient for many gamers.

Gamers can now get rewarded for their devotion to playing dozens of hours of Halo 4's multiplayer with Microsoft's new Halo 4 Combat Tour promotion, a new Xbox LIVE Rewards program focused on 343i's newest chapter in the Halo franchise. Microsoft is giving away a total of ten million Microsoft Points in the promotional event, allowing each gamer to earn up to 800 MSP for their participation in Halo 4's invigorating and explosive multiplayer. "Your commitment to Halo 4 has never been so rewarding! Xbox LIVE Rewards members can earn up to 800 Microsoft Points this November simply for playing Halo 4 on multiplayer and purchasing eligible Halo content on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Explore Halo 4 in all its modes: Campaign, Spartan Ops, and War Games - the more you do, the more you get. Gamers can also get back Microsoft Points when they purchase Halo-related content from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, offering more ways to earn from the promotion. Players have the entire month of November to stack up their hours, and can play both War Games and Spartan Ops to accumulate game time.

Pre-Orders now available for Gears of War: Judgment Source: November 9th, 2012

Gears of War: Judgment releases on Mar. 19, 2013 for Xbox 360. For more information please visit the game's official website.

Sharp to release electronic dictionary with a twist Source: November 9th, 2012

Not one to let bad news stand in their way, (soon to be bankrupt?) Sharp is releasing a new “lifestyle oriented” electronic dictionary on November 22nd. Dubbed the “Brain PW-A7300”, the device is expected to be released with a price of around 35,000 Yen (~$440). At first glance, the Brain PW-A7300 looks just like any other e-dictionary. But it packs a secret weapon. In an attempt to ride the health boom currently sweeping the aging society in Japan, this dictionary is chock full of health tips. That’s right. Health tips, in a dictionary. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! Sharp is just full of surprises lately. Although it may sound strange, technically it makes sense. The dictionary’s health almanac is pulled from an electronic version of the “Complete Course on Household Health: Revision 6”, which has previously been released on the Android market. So technically it is a dictionary. Sort of. Anyway, this health encyclopedia has over 2,600 entries about illnesses, wounds, symptoms, and so on. Think of it as a pocket version of WebMD. 11

November 9th, 2012

The home screen of the device makes no attempts to hide the fact that it is going for the ‘iPhone for old folks’ angle, and consists of 6 icons: “Health”, “Brain Training”, “Travel”, “Dictionary”, “Color Picture-book Movie”, and “Accessories”. Especially interesting is the “Brain Training” application, as the popular “Brain Age” game on Nintendo DS is actually called “Brain Training” in Japan, and just happens to be one of the best selling DS games amongst the elderly in Japan. It looks like Sharp are trying extremely hard to conquer that market, but whether they can do it or not by copying competitors is another matter. What’s more, the device itself is no Nintendo DS, and shoving unrelated software on a device like a dictionary is a bizarre move to say the least. By the way, did I mention the dictionary comes with a touch pen?

Published by: VR-Zone

The device’s dimensions are 149x110.2x16.8mm, and it has a weight of 205g. It comes in gold, pink, black and green, so you’ll have no problem finding a model that matches your grandma’s shoes if you’re buying one as a Christmas gift. The dictionary doesn't promise to cure all ailments of the elderly, but here’s hoping that it can cure some of Sharp’s recent aches and pains. Press Release: news/121108-a.html

Despite the dubious nature of some of the bonus apps, we should give Sharp some credit for thinking outside the box here, as most electronic dictionaries tend to be boring grayscale with the same 2 or 3 dictionaries and not too many extra features. It just feels like maybe the makers of this device are stretching themselves too thin trying to please a bigger audience, and in the end it is doubtful whether they can find any market for such a device, in a world of smartphones and portable games consoles. I guess that's why they’re trying so hard to appeal to old people, since they are the one target group who don't necessarily all carry cell phones.

It looks cool I guess but can it play Angry Birds? Didn't think so... While adding a lot of extraneous features, Sharp did the right thing and made sure not to drop the ball when designing the core features of the device: the dictionary software itself. The device carries a whopping 100 dictionaries including “Kanji-gen 5th Revision”, “Meikyou Japanese Dictionary”, “Historical Encylopedia of Japan”, “Genius English-Japanese Dictionary”, and some other bizarre entries such as “Understanding Medicine Your Doctor Gave You 2013”. Well, it is a health-oriented dictionary, after all. Spec wise, the unit is no iPhone 5, but it still beats the pants off of earlier models with its 5in 480x320 dot LCD display, and continuous display time of approx. 130hrs. The Brain PW also packs a microSD card, which is usually used to add new dictionaries in devices like this, but maybe Sharp will offer new apps to install via SD card if it sells enough units. 12

VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Nov 2012 Issue  

A monthly roundup of Technology News covering facebook, google, apple, baidu, social media, PC, gadget, geek, technology, intel,...

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