Microsoft gives up on the Xbox One DRM and used-game restrictions

Xbox One

It appears that Microsoft have been listened to the almost unanimous complaints aimed at their restrictive digital rights management (DRM) they had announced for the Xbox One.

To be honest they had to reverse their decision or take a huge hit in sales.

Their new stance is as follows:

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

Don Mattrick, Head of Xbox, had this to say: Read the rest of this entry

Google Loon – Balloons could bring the Internet to everyone

Google Project Loon balloon on display at Airforce Museum in Christchurch

Google have recently been testing balloons in the hope of building a global network enabling internet access and mobile signals around the world.

Called Project Loon, Google launched 30 test balloons in New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to our balloons.

Head of the project, Mike Cassidy, had this to say about it.

We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.

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First look and details on the PS4

PS4 controller

Sony announced the new PS4 at E3 and it appears they have looked at what Microsoft were offering with the XBoxOne and the problems people had with that.

First up, unlike the XBoxOne the PS4 has no online requirements or used games DRM. It is also region free. It will cost US$ 399 ($100 less than the XBoxOne), Canada$ 399, € 399, and £ 349. It is available for pre-order.

The video below shows how you can share your games on the PS4.

PS4 has a 500GB hard drive which, like the PS3, will be upgradeable.

PlayStation®4 (PS4™) (CUH-1000A series) computer entertainment system will come in “Jet Black” color and will be available this holiday season in North America and Europe at a recommended retail price (RRP) of US$ 399, Canada$ 399, € 399, and £ 349.

The design of PS4 made its public debut at the PlayStation® press conference on June 10, 2013, which kicked off the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. PS4 will also be displayed this week at the Sony Computer Entertainment America booth at E3, one of the world’s largest video game exhibitions.

The internal design architecture of the PS4 system, from the optical drive and power supply unit to the cooling mechanism, has been pursed to keep the body as slim and light as possible to dramatically enhance the flexibility of the design.
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Ferrite – Interactive Ferrofluid Sculptures

If you are looking for a new desk toy to procrastinate with then Ferrite could be for you.

The ultimate desktop accessory, Ferrite provides hours of interactive entertainment at work and at home.

Explore magnetism like never before!

Lines of flux from the two included custom magnetic styli are easily viewed through the crystal clear borosilicate glass.

A sleek CNC’d aluminum base provides stability, ensuring a stunning presentation of the contained Ferrofluid.

The proprietary clear suspension liquid guarantees a long lifetime of stain free, highly detailed spiking action from the fluid; no easy feat!

Launched on Kickstarter, significant design, engineering and development was required to produce this high-tech sculpture. Now available to the public, only a limited number of units of this initial batch will be sold.

Ferrite is a ferrofluid art piece Designed, Manufactured, and Hand Assembled in the USA.

Intended for use by adults age 18 and up.

Using WiFi as a motion sensor interface

WiSee is a novel interaction interface that leverages ongoing wireless transmissions in the environment (e.g., WiFi) to enable whole-home sensing and recognition of human gestures. Since wireless signals do not require line-of-sight and can traverse through walls, WiSee can enable whole-home gesture recognition using few wireless sources (e.g., a Wi-Fi router and a few mobile devices in the living room).

WiSee is the first wireless system that can identify gestures in line-of-sight, non-line-of-sight, and through-the-wall scenarios. Unlike other gesture recognition systems like Kinect, Leap Motion or MYO, WiSee requires neither an infrastructure of cameras nor user instrumentation of devices. We implement a proof-of-concept prototype of WiSee and evaluate it in both an office environment and a two-bedroom apartment. Our results show that WiSee can identify and classify a set of nine gestures with an average accuracy of 94%…

WiSee takes advantage of the technology trend of MIMO, the fact that wireless devices today carry multiple antennas (which are primarily used to improve capacity). A WiSee/WiSee-enabled receiver would use these multiple antennas in a different way to focus only on the user in control, thus eliminating interference from other people.

Source: WiSee

Check out the NASA Ion Engine

Ion Engine

This image shows a cutting-edge solar-electric propulsion thruster in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., that uses xenon ions for propulsion. An earlier version of this solar-electric propulsion engine has been flying on NASA’s Dawn mission to the asteroid belt.

This engine is being considered as part of the Asteroid Initiative, a proposal to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. This image was taken through a porthole in a vacuum chamber at JPL where the ion engine is being tested.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: NASA

Homemade Lightsaber burns through many things

While this laser is not quite as powerful as a Jedi’s Lightsaber it does burn through a whole bunch of stuff.

Here my BEAST 3000mW blue laser goes up against a bunch of flammable stuff. Most things light INSTANTLY when placed in the beam of this laser! This is the most powerful handheld laser that I’ve ever used!

This laser uses the new 9mm 450nm laser diode and runs on two 18650 Li Ion batteries. The housing is a custom machined “Sirius” host. I usually try to refrain from using the term “lightsaber” when referring to my lasers but there really isn’t much else out there to describe this laser.

Don’t try this at home.

The New Generation Kinect for Windows

kinect

Microsoft will also deliver a new generation Kinect for Windows sensor next year. We’re continuing our commitment to equipping businesses and organizations with the latest natural technology from Microsoft so that they, in turn, can develop and deploy innovative touch-free applications for their businesses and customers. A new Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK) are core to that commitment.

Both the new Kinect sensor and the new Kinect for Windows sensor are being built on a shared set of technologies. Just as the new Kinect sensor will bring opportunities for revolutionizing gaming and entertainment, the new Kinect for Windows sensor will revolutionize computing experiences. The precision and intuitive responsiveness that the new platform provides will accelerate the development of voice and gesture experiences on computers.

Some of the key capabilities of the new Kinect sensor include:
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Xbox One Launch Trailers for Call of Duty: Ghosts, Anthem, Quantum Break and more

Call of Duty Ghosts

Yesterday saw lots of news about Microsoft’s Xbox One. Now here are lots of trailers for the different games heading our way.

Call of Duty: Ghosts takes the critically-acclaimed franchise into the next generation. New world. New story. New, next-gen engine. 

Infinity Ward Executive Producer Mark Rubin and the Call of Duty: Ghosts development team discuss the all-new world, story and characters, and take you inside the new, next-gen engine.

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Here is the new Xbox One

Xbox One

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One which will go on sale later this year. There is also a new Kinect and controller.

So what is new about the Xbox One?

It has 8 gigs of RAM, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi Direct, a Blu-Ray disc drive, 64-bit architecture and “practically silent operation.” The Kinect camera sensor is now 1080p and “when you’re exercising, it can read your heartbeat,” according to Microsoft.

You’ll be able to use gestures and voice control to interact with the new system. “Xbox, on” starts up the machine. “Xbox, watch TV” will open up your television.

The new console can carry out four times as many calculations a second as the Xbox 360 and 10 times more “animation depth and detail”.

Microsoft also introduced a feature called Snap Mode, for multitasking while watching television. You can use Skype, for example, to chat with friends while viewing something.

There’s a feature called “Xbox Trending” that shows what shows are popular. “This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV.”
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