OCC TECH NEWS
September 10, 2014
Weight is a problem for many people, and for those that reach the obese levels it can also become a health hazard with increased risk for multiple illnesses. To address the issue, researchers have been devising many new strategies, and those at Imperial College London are suggesting that social media be leveraged to help people lose weight.
Instead of generating new data through new experiments, the researchers analyzed 12 studies from the US, Europe, east Asia, and Australia. All of these studies were examining how social networking could be used to encourage and support weight loss, and combined had 1884 participants. The ICL researchers compiled the data and found that those who used the social networking services saw a BMI decrease of 0.64. While that value is only modest, it is significant and is definitely an encouraging sign of what could be accomplished.
The idea behind social media for weight loss is to build a network of clinicians and peers that support efforts to lose weight. While you do potentially have reduced costs, thanks to less travel and more people served at once, there are potential privacy issues that will likely have to be addressed. Still, this shows that there is another tool that can be used to fight obesity and the associated illnesses.
Source: Imperial College London
Last month, voice actors Troy Baker and Alastair Duncan discussed their roles in the highly anticipated Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Troy Baker, who plays protagonist Talion, returns in a new video released today, but this time around he's joined by Nolan North, who plays The Black Hand of Sauron. The two discuss what it was like working on performance capture together, and what their relationship is like.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is releasing September 30 in North America for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One; September 30 in Europe for PC; October 3 in Europe for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; November 18 in North America for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; and November 21 in Europe for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A Season Pass will also be available with an exclusive mission and additional content.
Source: Press Release
September 9, 2014
Back in October 2013, Pinkerton Road Studio and Phoenix Online Studios announced that it was remaking Jane Jensen's classic 1993 point-and-click adventure game, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. Today, the studios announced that the remake, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is scheduled to arrive for PC (Windows and Mac) roughly a year after the original announcement, on October 15, 2014. The game is currently available for pre-order on Steam, GOG.com, the Phoenix Online Store, and other retailers with a 15% pre-order discount, knocking the price down to $16.99 from its standard $19.99 price tag. In addition, pre-ordering nets you the official soundtrack by Robert Holmes.
In anticipation of the release, Pinkerton Road and Phoenix Online will be running a "10 Days of Gabriel Knight" countdown beginning on October 6, "with a host of new assets releasing daily, including screenshots, music downloads, cutscenes from the game, and a brand new Gabriel Knight short story by Jane Jensen—the first new addition to the official Gabriel Knight canon since 1998!"
Source: Press Release and Official Site
Thousands of years ago, humanity discovered how to create metallic alloys, which can often have properties superior to the original materials used. One example would be bronze, which is stronger than the copper that it is largely comprised of. Now researchers at Berkeley Lab and ORNL have discovered a new high-entropy alloy that could be of special use in extremely cold situations.
Typically alloys are composed of a few elements, with one representing the primary component, such as copper in bronze and iron in steel. High-entropy alloys however are made of multiple elements, and none is more dominant than another, and it has been theorized that such a material would have special properties. The Berkeley and ORNL researchers have put that to the test with CrMnFeCoNi (chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, and nickel) and were actually surprised by the results. The alloy's tensile strength and fracture toughness are among some of the highest values ever recorded, and actually improve at cryogenic temperatures. The researchers believe it is because of a phenomenon called 'nano-twinning' which involves deformations in one crystalline region to be mirrored in another. This causes continuous strain hardening, which protects against premature failing.
This unique improvement at cryogenic temperature makes the alloy of great interest for making storage tanks for liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, and oxygen. These special mechanical properties have not been optimized yet, so CrMnFeCoNi may improve as research continues.
Source: Berkeley Lab
The JH1800NH2 is the latest motherboard from Biostar and it is a mini ITX solution targeting the Intel Bay Trail chipset. The System on a Chip design of the board allows for the small form factor with a fan-less design and low power consumption. The board presents several options for system configurations including offices, digital signage, thin clients, and kiosks. The small size doesn't limit the functionality of the board as it supports up to 16GB of DDR3, one PCIe 2.0 slot, and two SATA2 connections.
Source: Press Release
Cooler Master, a leading provider of computer chassis, power supplies, and CPU coolers, has announced that it has brought the CM Storm Mizar gaming mouse to the North American market. The mouse, which was released in the United Kingdom channel roughly six months ago, feature hardware geared directly towards gamers. An 8200 DPI Avago 9800 Laser Sensor enables excellent accuracy and control, while the ergonomic and sculpted design provides reduced nerve compression. The CM Storm Mizar also features seven programmable buttons, as well as a multi-color LED CM Storm logo that can be adjusted by users.
The CM Storm Mizar is available immediately from the CM Store for $59.99, and carries a two-year warranty that includes parts, product replacement, and free technical support.
Source: Press Release
Last month, Nexon announced that it was bringing free-to-play Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies to Steam in Q3 2014. The Steam store page popped up today, and with it came the reveal of its release date: September 23. The game offers some classic Counter-Strike gameplay along with a slew of additional gameplay modes, new guns, new maps, and new characters: the game is more than just about zombies, with over twenty different modes to choose from in both PvP and PvE flavors; there are more guns at your disposal, along with crafting; there are over 60 maps, including classic maps from Counter-Strike; and female characters join the previously male-dominated roster, along with playable zombies. Nexon also promises frequent updates that add even more content over time. Unfortunately, don't expect it to look as good as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as it uses the old GoldSrc engine, not the Source engine.
Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies will be available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, member states of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. You only need a Steam account to play, no Nexon ID is needed. All servers are provided by Nexon, but players can make their own private and public rooms, setting them to their desired maps and modes.
Source: Steam  & 
HighPoint has announced the latest additions to its Thunderbolt 2 offerings in the form of a pair of external docking stations. The first is the RocketStor 6351A, offering multiple connection options. The 6351A offers two USB 3.0 ports, a single 6Gb/s eSATA port, and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. In addition to the connection options, the 6351A can also be used as a charging station and supports Rapid Charging Mode for iOS devices. The RocketStor 5212 is the first Thunderbolt 2 storage dock to hit the market and enables users to attach SATA drives externally using a high speed Thunderbolt 2 connection. The 5212 is compatible with OS X Time Machine and also features external boot support.
Source: Press Release
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus weren't the only pieces of hardware Apple decided to unveil today; the company also unveiled its oft rumored first wearable device. Opting to call the device Apple Watch instead of iWatch, it features a sapphire display with four sensors on the back and is reportedly accurate up to 50ms. Interestingly, it's not touch-only, containing both a power button and what Apple calls a "Digital Crown" – a hardware dial on the side that can be used to navigate menus, zoom into images, and more. It also features inductive (wireless) charging.
The Apple Watch comes in three finishes (aluminum, stainless steel, and 18-carat gold) and two sizes, in addition to featuring a variety of straps to choose from. However, the straps are proprietary and not standard, so don't expect to use one from your existing watch. As expected, the device has a built-in heart-rate monitor and fitness tracker, removing the need for users to carry around additional devices like a Fitbit. That being said, there is a major and unfortunate caveat – it requires an iPhone 5.
The Apple Watch ships with two dedicated apps, Activity and Workout. The Activity app is pretty interesting and acts like your very own personal trainer of sorts. The app measures the quantity of your sitting, standing, and movement on a daily basis and creates a regimen for you to follow. It features three "rings" on the display, each representing a specific task you must complete that day. When you complete a task, its ring disappears. One ring may require you to move at a pace above a brisk walk for more than 30 minutes, while another may require you to stand for one minute out of every hour during a twelve-hour period. If the Activity app notices you vegging out on the couch for too long, it may give you a gentle nudge to get off your lazy bum and do something.
Meanwhile, the Workout app is more like what you'd expect from a fitness tracker, and is obviously for when you truly want to exercise. You can set goals based on target of calories burned, time spent exercising, or distance covered. The app will keep you updated on your progress and monitor your heart-rate and movement activity. Both apps save their data to the Health app on your connected iPhone, where everything is aggregated. Thankfully, Apple allows third-party apps to access that data if you already have one you like to use. In addition, Apple has create a third-party tool called WatchKit, which will help developers integrate compatible apps with the Watch's Glances screen. For example, if you own an electric BMW, you would be able to check the charging status of your car right from your Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is going to sell for $350 and is expected to arrive Early 2015.
Source: Engadget  &  & 
Nest Labs has publically revealed that more products than ever are now compatible with its own lineup of devices. Thanks to the “Works with Nest” developer program, which was announced last year, all Nest products are now compatible with Control4, Crestron, Dropcam, Remote Technologies Incorporated, and Universal Remote Control. Due to the announcement, Dropcam, which was purchased by Nest earlier this year, automates the process of recording and saving video clips when triggered by Nest Protect, a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm currently offered by Nest. According to Nest founder Matt Rogers, "Professional installers are a key market partner for Nest and we’re committed to enabling our products to connect with the home automation systems they trust and install every day.”
Source: The Verge
After months of waiting, Amazon has just made its Prime Instant Video service available to Android users. The news comes after Russell Morris, the marketing director at Amazon Instant Video, revealed this past July that the service would be released for the Google mobile operating system. Amazon has incorporated its video service into its core shopping application, allowing Android users who subscribe to Amazon Prime to download and utilize the Prime Instant Video player to watch movies and television shows on their mobile device. With the service finally available on Android phones, Amazon is ensuring that more customers than ever now have access to it.
The video player that allows Android users to use Amazon Prime Instant Video, which can be accessed immediately, is only available through the Amazon Appstore.
Apple held its live event today, with everyone expecting the official reveal of two iPhone 6 models, among other things. Indeed, Apple did unveil both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Both phones use a 64-bit A8 processor, which is reportedly 50% more energy efficient and 25% more powerful than the A7 in the iPhone 5s. There's also a new M8 coprocessor to help better track activity levels. Unfortunately, those hoping for a beefier camera are out of luck. Both versions come with a mere 8mp iSight camera, though it does feature phase detecting auto-focus, similar to the technology in SLRs. In addition, the Plus contains optical image stabilization.
Both versions will also ship with iOS 8, which will be available to download for iPhone 4s and greater, iPad 2 and greater, and fifth-generation iPod touch beginning September 17. Included in iOS 8 is a newly announced payment processing app called Apple Pay, which uses NFC, Touch ID, and a Secure Element chip to keep your precious credit card info under lock and key, with the ability to suspend payments right from the phone if your card gets lost or stolen, without the need to make a phone call. NFC connectivity is new to both versions of iPhone 6, so it's unclear if the app will be usable by previous generations.
While there are a lot of similarities among the two versions, there are also quite a few differences. The major difference is of course in their size. The iPhone 6 is the 4.7" model with a 1334x750 Retina Display HD screen, coming in at just 6.99mm thick. The iPhone 6 Plus is the 5.5" model with a 1080p Retina Display HD screen, coming in at 7.1mm thick (still thinner than the iPhone 5s). The larger size of the Plus has presumably allowed for a much larger battery as indicated by the battery life numbers Apple revealed: four hours of 3G talk time for the 6, 24 hours for the Plus; ten days standby for the 6, 16 days for the Plus; and 11 hours of video for the 6, 14 hours for the Plus. That's a pretty substantial increase for the Plus model.
Both versions come in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB flavors (no more 32GB). The iPhone 6 is priced at $199 (16GB), $299 (64GB), and $399 (128GB) with a two-year contract. The iPhone 6 Plus is priced at $299 (16GB), $399 (64GB), and $499 (128GB) with a two-year contract. Pre-orders will begin September 12, with units shipping September 19. Meanwhile, for those that wait for the new iPhones simply for the old ones to drop in price, the iPhone 5s will now start at $99 under contract, while the iPhone 5c will be free under contract.
Source: Engadget  &  &  &  & 
That wonder material, graphene has many amazing electrical properties to it, but before it can be used, certain advancements need to be made. Researchers at EMPA have just made one by successfully creating heterojunctions within graphene nanoribbons. The researchers were also able to transfer the graphene piece from a conductive gold substrate to another, nonconductive material, which is vitally important for use in electronics.
Normally graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, is a conductor capable of carrying electrons at very high speeds, but when prepared as ultra-narrow nanoribbons, it becomes a semicondudctor. Semiconductors have what is known as a bandgap, which allows them to be switched from a conductive to a nonconductive state, and that is a needed feature for use in electronic circuits. What the EMPA researchers have discovered is that it is possible to dope graphene nanoribbons with nitrogen atoms and combine them with pure-graphene nanoribbons. This results in a p-n junction, as the nitrogen atoms introduce additional electrons, giving part of the nanoribbon a negative charge, while the remainder has a relative positive charge. This structure forces currents to only flow in one direction.
This kind of junction is a basic building block for many, more advanced electronic structures, such as transistors. The researchers estimate we will not see graphene nanoribbons used to create electronic switches in products for over a decade, but this work is bringing that day closer.
Source: Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
If you are in the market for a new case, then we have a couple of items today that should be of great interest to you. There is a review on the Corsair Graphite 380T Mini ITX case, which offers a rather unique shape and style to keep nearly any component you can think of nice and cool. Our other case for the day is a little step up in size, as the Thermaltake Commander G41 mid-tower gets put to the test to see if it has the potential to house your system. The only non-case we have today is a review on the Deepcool Maelstrom 120 AIO liquid CPU cooler, an all-in-one unit that has some nice features to help set it apart from the rest.
Corsair Graphite 380T Mini ITX @ Benchmark Reviews
Thermaltake Commander G41 Mid-Tower @ ThinkComputers
Deepcool Maelstrom 120 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler @ ThinkComputers
Creative Assembly has released a new video for Alien: Isolation entitled "No Escape", which is the first in a new #HowWillYouSurvive series of videos. This series of videos will feature "new footage showing different areas of the station as Amanda tries to outmaneuver the desperate situations she comes up against." As you might guess from the title "No Escape", it doesn't end particularly well for Amanda this time around...
Alien: Isolation is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 7.
Source: Press Release
The Season Pass craze has infected a LEGO video game for the first time. Today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) announced that LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will be getting a Season Pass containing six DLC packs, with each one containing a unique themed mission level with story and free play modes. The first three packs will be available immediately at launch:
The Dark Knight Pack
Experience the heart-pounding chase scene from the iconic film complete with cool vehicles and explosive action. Play as the legendary Dark Knight and Commissioner Gordon, as well as the Joker and his goons as they chase down Harvey Dent’s police escort. Bane and Catwoman from the third film are also playable.
Man of Steel Pack
Help Jor-El, his wife Lara and their robot Kelex send the infant Superman “Kal-el” into space towards the safety of Earth as Krypton falls into chaos. Find a way inside Jor-El’s home, fight General Zod’s invading forces and battle against Zod himself to save Superman.
Batman 75th Anniversary Pack
Play as Joker and Harley, setting up a variety of celebration set pieces. Be the Batman and play as some of the most iconic faces of Batman through the years, including his first appearance in Detective Comics #27.
The remaining three DLC packs have not been unveiled yet, but WBIE promises over 40 additional characters by the time the Season Pass is complete, along with new vehicles. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham launches November 11 in North America, November 14 in the UK, and November 12 in the rest of Europe for PC (Windows and Mac), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo 3DS.
Source: Press Release
Many researchers have the goal of recreating something in Nature, such as the cells that living creatures are comprised of. Modern cells are very complex though, which is why researchers at Technische Universitaet Muenchen decided to look to what primordial cells were like, with the hope of one day building to complexity from simpler parts. Recently one of these simple parts achieved the ability to move on its own, which is a first for an artificial cytoskeleton membrane.
The earliest cells were just membranes with a few molecules inside, which is a functional if simple design. What the researchers created has a membrane similar to modern cells, with vesicals of microtubules, and kinesin moecules. Kinesins act as molecular motors in real cells, moving particles around along microtubules. In the artificial cell though, they instead move bundles of microtubules around, creating a constantly moving liquid crystal layer under the membrane. Thanks to a piece of mathematics figuratively called the 'hairy ball' theorem, we know that there must be a point that a bundle of microtubules are perpendicular to the other bundles, and the membrane. By varying the water content of the cell through osmosis, causing the membrane to collapse, and spiked extensions to form. These spikes, like those of living cells, can be used for movement.
Thanks to the minimalistic approach used here, this cell model could be used in the future to recreate living cells with a modular approach. Also, because the behavior of the artificial cell can be described by physics, it could be used to improve our understanding of how cells deform.
Source: Technische Universitaet Muenchen
September 8, 2014
With Assassin's Creed Rogue concluding the North American trilogy on Novemeber 11, Ubisoft has decided to bundle together all previous America-based AC games in Assassin's Creed The Americas Collection (titled Assassin's Creed Birth of a New World - The American Saga in Europe). The bundle contains Assassin's Creed III, its spin-off Assassin's Creed Liberation HD, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The Americas Collection will be available October 28 in North America for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Birth of a New World - The American Saga will be available October 3 in Europe for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It's unknown whether all previously released DLC will be included in the bundle.
Source: Press Release and UbiBlog
As revealed last month, last-gen Assassin's Creed Rogue marks the first time in franchise history that players take on the role of a Templar instead of a member of the Assassin Brotherhood. A new trailer entitled "Assassin Hunter" describes a bit of the backstory that causes assassin Shay Patrick Cormac to turn on his former brothers.
Assassin's Creed Rogue will be arriving November 11 in North America and November 13 in EMEA territories for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before an "HD Version" arrives on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Pre-ordering nets you the Ultimate Hunter pack and the Siege of Fort de Sable mission.
Source: Press Release and UbiBlog
Back in June, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) announced that the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight would not hit its October 14, 2014, target release date, but rather be pushed back to an undisclosed date in 2015. It's taken over three months, but WBIE has finally announced the new release date: June 2, 2015. Along with the release date announcement comes the reveal of not one, but two collector's editions: Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition and Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition.
Both editions contain the following: an 80-page, full color art book showcasing the concept art for the game; a limited edition SteelBook case and game disc; a limited edition DC Comics Batman: Arkham Knight #0 Comic Book; and a Skin Pack containing three unique skins from DC Comics' New 52 series. Where the two editions differ is in the statue they contain. Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition includes a Batman Memorial Statue, depicting the Dark Knight himself. Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition includes a fully transformable Batmobile Statue designed by TriForce. Check out the images below.
Both will be available in limited quantities in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition will also be available in Europe, Australia and New Zealand for PC, but it seems PC gamers in North America are being snubbed. The Steam store page has yet to be updated, so it's unknown whether the Skin Pack will be available with digital pre-orders. The Limited Edition is priced at $99.99 / £89.99 for consoles and £74.99 for PC. The Batmobile Edition is priced at $199.99 / £169.99. The vanilla version is priced at $59.99 / £44.99, regardless of platform.
Source: Press Release and Facebook
Braintree, an online and mobile payments platform currently owned by PayPal and the go-to developer platform for the company, has announced that it is undergoing Bitcoin integration The integration of the crypto-currency will take place with the help of Coinbase, an international digital wallet that has assisted companies such as Dell, DISH, Overstock.com, and Reddit in bringing Bitcoin services to customers. The availability of Bitcoin-based payments is expected to launch in the coming months, and developers that utilize the Braintree software development kit will even be able to add Bitcoin payment options to their own services and websites.
With Braintree supporting large partners such as Airbnb, Dropbox, and Uber, Bitcoin is gaining even more traction than ever with its integration into the PayPal online and mobile payments platform.
Electrons and photons are two particles that are commonly used to transmit information, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Electrons are slower the photons, for example, but at small scales, electrons are decidedly easier to work with and manipulate. By using plasmons though, one could get the best of both worlds, and researchers at the University of Rochester have made a discovery that could have quite an impact.
The researchers discovered a curious interaction between a silver nanowire and the thin layer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) it was placed on. When a laser was aimed at the nanowire, plasmons were created on the wire, which then travelled along the wire and caused the MoS2 to emit the absorbed photons at the far end of the wire. The researchers also found that excited electrons within the MoS2 were entering the nanowire, where they became plasmons that then traveled back along the wire, to emit light of the same wavelength.
Normally plasmons do not get very far before they lose a substantial amount of energy, but in this experiment they had enough energy to make a round-trip on the wire. Such an accomplishment could prove invaluable for integrating high-speed photonic circuits onto semiconductor chips, by enabling an efficiency means for guiding light through the circuit.
Source: University of Rochester
TiVo, a company known for its digital video recorders that support streaming media services, has officially introduced the TiVo Mega. The Mega features the same hardware as the current top-of-the-line TiVo Roamio Pro, but comes packed with 24TB of storage, which is eight times larger than the 3TB that the Roamio Pro comes with. With the TiVo Mega, the company is boasting that users can store 26,000 hours of standard definition programming as well as 4,000 hours of high-definition video, with the included 24TB of hard disk space. The newly introduced unit will also feature the infamous guide recommendation service and search features by TiVo for the life of the product.
TiVo Mega is slated to ship in the first half of 2015, and is suggested to cost roughly $5,000, according to company officials. A prototype of the unit is expected to be shown this week at CEDIA in Denver, CO.
Whenever there is a hotly anticipated piece of hardware coming, you can expect leaks about it. Of course such leaks may or may not be trustworthy, but they are always interesting to see. Over at VideoCardz.com, 3DMark performance numbers for the upcoming GeForce GTX 980, 970, and 980M have been compiled into a graph, against other GPUs.
As VideoCardz.com points out immediately in its post, it does not have final specifications for the GPUs yet, which is why the GTX 980 is actually listed three times in the graph, for three different clock speeds. These speeds are 1127 MHz, 1178 MHz, and 1190 MHz for the core clock. However, the site has concluded that the GTX 980 will have 4 GB GDDR5 memory on a 256 bit bus, and a 7 GHz memory clock. According to the graph, the GTX 980, even at the slowest of the three clocks, should beat out every single-GPU option available today. In SLI, a pair of GTX 980s beats every multi-GPU option except the Radeon R9 295X2, as it appears the two cards only had 59.5% scaling.
The GTX 970, according to the graph, comes in between the GTX 780 and GTX TITAN.
Just as interesting as the desktop GPUs are the mobile options, the GTX 970M and 980M. According to the graph both the 970M and 980M beat out other single-GPU mobile options, with the GTX 780M SLI only 8% ahead of the 980M. The 980M SLI though trounces everything with 95+% scaling.
Again, these numbers have been compiled from leaks, and so they may not be reliable, but they still are fun to hope for.
Part of what makes social networks appealing to many people is their ability to connect people from various groups, who can then share opinions and information with each other. With so many people in a network though, an easy question to ask is how can they ever form a consensus? That is what researchers at the University of Miami have been wondering, so they developed a new model to describe the process.
For consensus to be reached, opinions will have to be changed to a degree, and the agents of these changes can be other people, sensors, databases, or abstract entities. While hard, empirical data can be easily analyzed and processed in a model, opinions or soft data are much trickier to interpret. To account for this, the new model uses a 'belief updating mechanism,' unlike previous studies that were dependent on how agents change their opinions, which would mean that different updating schemes would change a model's results. Instead this model considers how close an agent's opinion is to the consensus opinion, in order to judge credibility.
One advantage to this approach is that the model works even when the ground truth is not available to the network, attempting to reach a consensus concerning the truth. Next the researchers want to expand the model to consider the formation of opinion clusters, in which the agents share similar opinions.
Source: University of Miami
A new week has arrived, and with it comes a couple of items for you to check out. We have another look at the Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Edition CPU, with its eight cores and sixteen threads for some truly impressive performance numbers. It does require one of the new X99 motherboards, but if performance is what you need, then the Core i7 5960X is the one to consider. Our other item for today is the Fractal Core 1100 computer case, which is a highly affordable option for those needing a no-frills case.
Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E @ TechSpot
Fractal Core 1100 @ Madshrimps
September 6, 2014
During E3 2014, Square Enix surprised everyone when it announced that Final Fantasy Type-0, a PSP game that only ever released in Japan, would be give the HD treatment and brought to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Now, in a lengthy interview with GameSpot, Final Fantasy director Hajime Tabata hinted at a PC release. Here's the exact quote:
First and foremost, with the Vita version, we wanted to quickly release the PS4 and Xbox One HD version overseas, so we really prioritized optimizing it for those platforms. In terms of the PC version, it’s still up for discussion. It is a possibility, but it’s up for discussion. And it's running it on the PC right now, so...
It sounds to me like that's pretty much an unofficial guarantee Type-0 HD will indeed be coming to PC. We know that developing for the new consoles is pretty much like developing for PC, plus a bunch of Final Fantasy games have been released on Steam over the past year or so, all of which seem to have been very well received. It seems that all Square Enix needs is a slight nudge from PC gamers, and Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will most definitely make its way to PC via Steam.
September 5, 2014
If you follow the tech industry, you're probably aware that NVIDIA has spent billions of dollars on R&D over the years; over $9 billion since its inception in 1993 apparently. Thanks to that R&D, NVIDIA has built up quite the patent portfolio over its 21-year span, and in turn, the company licenses out those patents, which is pretty common for the industry. But according to a recent post by NVIDIA, Samsung and Qualcomm have deployed its patented GPU technology without proper compensation, and now it seeks an injunction against the two companies.
Yesterday afternoon, NVIDIA filed patent infringement complaints against Samsung and Qualcomm with both the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court, in Delaware. NVIDIA is "asking the ITC to block shipments of Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and tablets containing Qualcomm's Adreno, ARM's Mali or Imagination's PowerVR graphics architectures [and] also asking the Delaware court to award damages." NVIDIA has chosen seven of its patents to assert in these cases, which you can read about at the source below.
This is apparently the first time NVIDIA has ever filed a patent lawsuit, so it's certainly not a company that is lawsuit-happy like some other companies :cough:Apple:cough:.
Source: NVIDIA Blog
Thanks to our understanding of the bacteria E. coli, it has been given a tremendous number of uses, beyond food poisoning. It appears another ability can be added to the list, as researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Turku have successfully used the bacterium to create propane. Normally this hydrocarbon is acquired from oil and natural gas wells and could be used as a fuel.
Many processes are required for a cell to survive, and we have learned how to manipulate those processes well in E. coli. In this case the researchers interrupted the mechanism that converts fatty acids into cell membranes using a variant of a particular enzyme. This resulted in the butyric acid, which is a precursor for propane production. With another enzyme the acid was converted into butyraldehyde, and a final enzyme called ADO was then used to actually create the propane. Previous attempts to use ADO to create chemical fuels were disappointing, but the researchers found that stimulating it with electrons increased production.
Currently this research is just proof-of-concept, as little propane was actually produced. With additional work though, the researchers hope to refine their synthetic process and make it a commercially viable source of propane.
Source: Imperial College London
As more and more devices make their way towards utilizing Android Wear, it is inevitable that the platform will improve overtime, showcasing new and exciting features as updates are released. One of the updates that brings forth a few changes has just been announced by Google. The latest Android Wear update, which will be available in the coming months for the Moto 360, Asus Zen Watch, LG G Watch R, Sony SmartWatch 3, and smartwatches unveiled earlier this summer, brings offline music playback, GPS support, and the option of downloading customized watch faces. Smartwatch owners will be able to listen to music stored on their device via Bluetooth headphones, while devices with built-in GPS sensors will be able to track location, recording information such as distance and speed. With the downloadable watch faces, smartwatch owners can change what type of information is presented on the home screen.