Monthly Archives: January 2013

World of Warcraft players raised over $2 Million for Hurricane Sandy Relief


World of Warcraft players have raised more than $2.3 million for Hurricane Sandy victims, after embarking on a real-life quest to help with relief efforts last month.

They did this by virtually adopting the “Cinder Kitten,” available in Blizzard’s pet store, for $10.

Blizzard, the company behind the a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), announced that the funds will go toward supporting the American Red Cross’ Sandy relief initiative.

Source: Mashable


iOS 6.1 is with us

img_0178Apple® today updated iOS to version 6.1, adding LTE capabilities to 36 additional iPhone® carriers and 23 additional iPad® carriers around the world, so even more iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPad* with Retina® display users can experience ultrafast wireless performance** to browse, download and stream content at blazing fast speeds. To date, iOS users have uploaded over nine billion photos to Photo Stream, sent over 450 billion iMessages and received over four trillion notifications.

“iOS 6 is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iOS 6.1 brings LTE support to more markets around the world, so even more users can enjoy ultrafast Safari browsing, FaceTime video calls, iCloud services, and iTunes and App Store downloads.”

iOS 6 features include Siri®, which supports more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Maps with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and Flyover view; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud®; and Passbook®, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place. Additional updates in iOS 6.1 include the ability to use Siri to purchase movie tickets in the US through Fandango, and iTunes Match℠ subscribers can download individual songs to their iOS devices from iCloud.

The revolutionary App Store℠ offers more than 800,000 apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch® users, with more than 300,000 native iPad apps. App Store customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps, and Apple has paid over seven billion dollars to its incredible developer community. Customers can choose from apps in 23 categories, including newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, games, business, news, sports, health & fitness and travel.

Source: Apple

jOBS – First clip of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs


While we have known about the Steve Jobs movie starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs we had only seen photos of him. Now we get to see him walking and talking.

Jobs (played by Ashton Kutcher) is raving about the operating system that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played by Josh Gad) created. While Jobs is certain that this will become a ubiquitous product for mass consumption, Wozniak needs convincing

The film follows Steve Jobs’ life from 1971 (the year he met Steve Wozniak) up to 2001 (the year the iPod was released). The film is directed by Joshua Michael Stern.

jOBS also stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons and Matthew Modine.

The film is out on April 19, the 37th anniversary of the founding of Apple.

Source: ET

Millenium Falcon is a PC and a MAC


This Millenium Falcon has both a PC and a MAC inside. Builder Ken Swallow removed the insides of a model ship and replaced them with a Mac Titanium G4 motherboard and a MSI ATX motherboard (PC) while keeping the original sound effects from the toy intact.

This piece was the grand prize winner in the Deconstruct For Good contest sponsored by Good magazine and Vizio.

You can buy it here.

The video below gives you an idea of what to expect.
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Facebook reveal Graph Search

graph searchFacebook had been dropping hints that they would be revealing something big.

That something big turns out to be a new way of searching on Facebook.

Called graph search it allows users to make “natural” searches of content shared by their friends on Facebook. For example you could search for “friends who like Brad Pitt and The Walking Dead.” It finds things that have been shared on Open Graph. That is the feature of Facebook that shares apps you use, photos you comment on, and music you listen to.

Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg stressed that it was not a web search although it would use Microsoft’s Bing search engine for situations when graph search itself could not find answers.

Zuckerberg said that graph search would launch immediately as a beta test, and would roll out “very slowly”. The tool will be usable from the blue banner that sits at the top of every Facebook page.

“We’re going to put an encouragement on the home screen of everyone’s account so that everyone has the chance to look through these tools.

“We’re going to do this before graph search is fully rolled out.”

Of course you could search for things on Facebook using Google. All you have to do for that is us the following:


What are your thoughts on Facebook’s new Graph Search?

Source: BBC

IllumiRoom Projects Images Beyond Your TV


This new IllumiRoom system gives another use for the Kinect. It appears to be a step up from the ambilight system that appeared on some TVs. I am still not sure if this is a good idea or whether it will induce motion sickness.

It is definitely a step closer to the immersive world of virtual reality.

IllumiRoom is a proof-of-concept system from Microsoft Research. It augments the area surrounding a television screen with projected visualizations to enhance the traditional living room entertainment experience.
IllumiRoom uses a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector to blur the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in allowing us to combine our virtual and physical worlds. For example, our system can change the appearance of the room, induce apparent motion, extend the field of view, and enable entirely new game experiences.

The video below gives an idea of how it will look and work.
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3D Print: Atlas from Portal 2

Atlas Psychobob

The world of 3D printing has still yet to break on through to the mainstream consciousness. While many of what we hear about the process is about making pieces of machinery or medical items there is also lots of work being done in other fields.

One such use is to make cool action figures or statues. This gives the whole 3D printing process more of a Wow factor and results in some amazing pieces.

Case in point, YouTube user Psychobob put together this amazing sculpture of Atlas from Portal 2.

He also talks about 3D printing over on his blog.

3D printing is said to be “cheap” and affordable, but unfortunately that’s not something I would completely agree with. It’s at it’s lowest and most affordable price to the public consumer, but it’s still expensive enough to be something you can’t afford to do every week (especially when you add up the material costs for post-printing work) and it’s something that can quickly become expensive once you get over a certain sized print. So I wanted to see if I could bring the costs down by ‘scratch building’ certain parts instead of 3D printing the entire thing.

It looks absolutely incredible and the videos below show the work that went into it.
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Valve’s Steam Box details emerge

Xi3's modular computer.

Xi3’s modular computer.

There have long been rumours that Valve were working on a new console. The aptly named Steam Box would be a modular system making it easy to upgrade and would make it possible to play PC games on your TV.

Tie it in with the Steam store and the gaming potential is incredible.

At CES 2013, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell spoke about the new system to The Verge.

“The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simultaneous game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors — now we’re saying lets expand that a little bit.”

“That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that a controller that has higher precision and lower latency is another interesting thing to have.”

A recent announcement from Xi3 show that they are also working on a similar system that will also support Steam. Named Piston it has a quad-core 64-bit x86-based processor, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, an SSD as large as a terabyte, supports up to three displays and resolutions of up to 4096×2160.

However, it could be retailing for $999 which makes it rather expensive. There is no word yet on how much Valve’s Steam Box would retail for.

The press release below has all the details.

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Tech Review: Sony SRS-BTM8 Wireless Speaker

Sony-SRS-BTM8-portable-speakersI was recently sent the Sony SRS-BTM8 Wireless Speaker to review.

It was actually good timing as my previous stereo had packed in so I had been looking at other stereos and speakers to get back in the game. The wireless ones were something that intrigued me. The idea was great, but I just was not sure whether the sound quality and link would be any good.

Then the Sony speaker arrived.

Taking it out the box I noticed how stylish it looked although it does have a bit of the hand bag vibe to it. That is mainly due to the handle which makes it so easy to carry around wherever you want it.

There was a mains adapter, but I went for the full wireless thing and put in the 4 AA batteries required. They give approximately 20 hours of playback which is not too shabby.

A quick scan of the instructions and I had linked up my iPhone with the speaker via Bluetooth. Between taking it out of the box, hunting for batteries and pressing play it had taken about 5 minutes.
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Ubuntu Phone Heading Our Way

ubuntu-phoneOn 2nd January 2013 (Happy New Year by the way) news of an Ubuntu phone was announced.

Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution and distributed as free and open source software, using its own desktop environment. It is named after the Southern African philosophy of ubuntu (“humanity towards others”). Another translation could be: “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”- Wiki

Canonical, the developers of Ubuntu, say that Ubuntu Phone will have a new edition of the Ubuntu operating system derived from Debian GNU/Linux and targeted at smartphones and tablets.

“We are defining a new era of convergence in technology, with one unified operating system that underpins cloud computing, data centers, PCs, and consumer electronics,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and products VP at Canonical.

“When you turn on the Ubuntu phone you’ll see something strikingly different. You’ll see a beautiful reflection of yourself, a visualization of your life crafted by an artist, ever-changing, totally personal, and completely unique, just like you.”

Shuttleworth described how the OS makes full use of a phone’s screen, providing access to content and apps from every edge. For example, he demonstrated how a short swipe from the left edge reveals a user’s favorite apps. What’s more, a full left-to-right swipe opens a screen showing all the applications that are running. Swiping up from the bottom edge of the phone reveals app controls.
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