OCC TECH NEWS
September 11, 2014
Android users have long complained about the 15 minute window that they were given to request a refund for paid applications and games purchased from Google Play. Although Google has unofficially offered refunds past this 15 minute window, which has been in effect for quite some time, the technology giant never made any time extension official, until today. Google has updated its Google Play support page to reflect that it is now allowing Android users to request a refund for a paid application or game within two hours from the time of purchase. With games sometimes requiring additional files after purchase, the new two-hour time limit will more than likely be welcomed by virtually all Android users, especially those who were previously unable to request a refund within the 15 minute window.
Source: Android Central
The highly acclaimed RPG Fable Anniversary is set to arrive on Steam tomorrow, and just in case you weren't sure whether the PC version was the definitive version... oh, it is. While the PC version unsurprisingly features advanced graphics settings that allow the visuals to be pushed further than the Xbox 360 version, that's not all that sets the PC version apart.
Producer Craig Oman of Lionhead told Eurogamer that the PC version "comes with a version of the Unreal Engine 3 editor, which lets users edit all of the existing art and animation in the game." Unfortunately, because of the way the original Fable was created, new content such as quests, characters, and weapons are not supported, but Oman added that, "we are working with some of the modding community already as part of our beta testing and we will continue to do what we can to support them post launch." Part of that post-launch support will be full Steam Workshop integration, though there's no specific timetable on when that will be available.
In addition to mod support, the PC version will also feature a new "Heroic Mode" for those advanced players that really want a challenge. Heroic Mode increases the line of sight for enemies, reduces the damage of ranged weapons, and reduces player armor levels.
Fable Anniversary arrives on Steam tomorrow for Windows PC with a 20% pre-order discount currently available, dropping the price to $27.99 from its original $34.99. Pre-ordering also includes the Scythe Content Pack, which includes fourteen outfits and weapons.
Source: Eurogamer and Steam
After a successful Kickstarter campaign ended back on May 2, 2013, Worlds of Magic has finally arrived on Steam Early Access today for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with a planned official release of Q1 2015. If you were a Kickstarter backer, you should have received an email last week detailing how to obtain your Steam key. For non-backers, the game costs $39.99, which will remain the same when it leaves Early Access (barring sales).
Worlds of Magic is a turn-based 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) strategy game set in a fantasy universe that is procedurally generated. Developed by Wastelands Interactive and Lucid Dreamers, it's meant to be a spiritual successor to the PC classic Master of Magic. But unlike that game, Worlds of Magic isn't strictly relegated to single-player, it also supports online and local multiplayer. The game features: eight playable races; seven planes of existence up to 128x128 tiles apiece, each with their own special features; over ten terrain types; over 40 world features to explore and conquer; nearly 30 world resources to exploit; over 80 military units; over 40 wandering and summon-able units; 40 heroes and champions; over 400 spells divided into 13 spell circles; and the ability to make your own Sorcerer Lord or choose from 13 pre-made ones.
Source: Press Release and Steam
On its own, bread is nice, and on their own, cold cuts, hamburgers, sausages, peanut butter and jelly are nice, but combining them can give us something even better. (They can also make me hungry as I write about them.) Just as this is true for foods, advanced materials can also become more than what they were before when sandwiched together. Researchers at the University of Manchester have recently found that by manipulating a sandwich of graphene and white graphene, it is possible to tune the properties of the resulting crystal.
Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon that is extraordinarily conductive, while so-called white graphene, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is actually a semiconductor. Some are hopeful that combinations of these two materials could result in new materials with superior properties to both, which could then be used in electronics. What the Manchester researchers have found is that when hBN is sandwiched between layers of graphene, the properties of the resulting hetrostructure can be controlled by altering the alignment of the layers.
With careful alignment of the graphene layers, conservation of energy and momentum can be achieved, which could allow for devices to operate with ultra-high frequencies. The next step, according to the researchers, is for someone to find a way to produce these multilayer materials using growth methods, instead of mechanical transfer.
Source: University of Manchester
Last week, Focus Home Interactive posted a video for Styx: Master of Shadows that it said would be the first in a series of gameplay trailers the publisher would releasing over the coming weeks until the October release of the game. Holding true to its word, Focus Home released a new video today entitled "Attack of the Clone". As the name implies, this video showcases Styx's ability to generate a clone, which is one of his four Amber-fueled powers. Using the clone is almost like playing co-op with yourself, and the ending to the video is a perfect example of how to use your clone to good effect.
Styx: Master of Shadows will arrive on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this October, but no specific date has been announced.
Source: Press Release
Yesterday, Capcom revealed that Resident Evil Revelations 2 would be released in four weekly episodes, as fan favorite Claire Redfield makes her dramatic return. Today, Capcom released the game's first official trailer, which shows Claire waking up in an abandoned prison, obviously overrun by infected. Revelations 2 seems poised to continue the true survival horror feel of its predecessor, unlike the recent non-Revelations games in the franchise, which have been more action-oriented.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is planned for an Early 2015 episodic release for PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Graphene has often been described as a material that could revolutionize many technologies, but so far it has yet to escape the lab and enter consumer products. Thanks to a partnership between the University of Cambridge and Plastic Logic though, that may change sooner than ever. Together the two organizations have created a flexible display that uses graphene for its electrodes.
Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms that has extraordinary electrical and physical properties, including being strong, flexible, transparent, and highly conductive. All of these contribute to why we want to see it used in our devices. The prototype display uses solution-processed graphene electrodes to replace the sputtered metal electrodes normally found in Plastic Logic's devices. This allows the display to be more flexible than if indium tin oxide were used, and more transparent than metal films would allow. It was also created at temperatures below 100 ºC.
The display itself may not be impressive beyond its flexibility and use of graphene, as it is only150 ppi and monochrome, like ereader displays. However the researchers are working to achieve full color and video by incorporating LCD or and OLED technologies.
Source: Rice University
We have just a couple of items today to help get you closer to that weekend, but both are rather interesting. There is a review on Metro Redux, the revamped versions of both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light. The review looks at how the games perform on a number of systems, so regardless of what you are running, you should have a good idea of how these games should appear. Our other item for the day is a look at the UMI C1 smartphone, a fairly large yet affordable phone packing a quad-core processor and a 720p resolution.
Metro Redux Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Performance @ TechSpot
UMI C1 Smartphone @ Madshrimps
September 10, 2014
Western Digital recently announced that it will be releasing an 8TB hard drive under the Hitachi brand. The Ultrastar He8 uses a helium filled design that uses the pressurized helium to allow the drive to use perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology. The upcoming 10TB drive will also be released under the Hitachi brand but will use shingled magnetic recording (SMR), "a technology that partially overlaps data tracks like roof shingles." The drive won't be suited for typical desktop applications, but will instead be a great choice for "writing log files, storing a constant stream of images, or handling “big data” stores like Hadoop." SMR will provide for far greater storage density at three trillion bits per square inch, while PMR is only capable of 200 gigabits per square inch.
Source: Ars Technica
Legit Reviews has obtained two screenshots that allege to contain the specs for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970. The first screenshot depicts a card with a core clock of 1051 MHz boosted to 1178 MHz and 4GB of GDDR5 running at 1753 MHz, an effective frequency of 7012 MHz. A second screenshot shows a core clock of 1050 MHz and effective memory clock of 7254 MHz with a total of 1664 CUDA cores. Follow the link for a full view of the screenshots. At this point the specs are just a rumor, but it will be interesting to see if they are close to the final specs.
Source: Legit Reviews
Drums are an important part of any orchestra and each one fills a specific role, based on its mechanical properties. Thanks to researchers at the Delft University of Technology, drums, though not of the musical kind, could see an interesting use in future quantum computers.
The drum in question is a multilayer sheet of graphene covering a hole in a silicon chip just four microns wide. What makes the drum special is that next to it is a superconducting microwave cavity. This cavity produces microwave photons that can move between the two structures and actually beat the drum. This beating is possible because photons do carry a small amount of momentum, despite being massless. In the macroscopic world, this momentum does not have much of an impact, but it is enough to move the very light sheet of graphene. Provided the movement is greater than 17 femtometers, (approximately ten thousand times smaller than the diameter of an atom) it can be measured by the interference of the photons reflecting off of it.
This is the first time a mechanical resonator has been shown to be coupled to a superconducting microwave cavity, and such a setup could have many uses, such as amplifying microwave signals and even storing microwave signals for up to 10 ms. It could also be used as RAM for quantum computers, by having the drum enter a superposition with its beat, being both up and down at the same time.
Source: Institute of Physics
Ubisoft has posted a new video today for Assassin's Creed Unity, featuring a co-op Heist mission. The video is narrated by Creative Director Alex Amancio, providing a great look at co-op gameplay and some unique co-op skills. Heists feature a constantly changing goal placement and variable number and location of guards, making them highly replayable. Your rewards are tied to how often you and your teammates are seen. If you want the highest rewards, you'll have to work together to be as stealthy and hidden as possible.
Assassin's Creed Unity will release on November 11 in North America and November 13 in EMEA territories for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Source: Press Release
One of the consequences of the recent switch over from analog to digital of broadcast television was an opening up of spectrum blocks. Some hope to use these now available frequencies to serve wireless data over large areas, but typically increased range means decreased speed. By applying some modern wireless transmission methods, Rice University researchers hope to reach an acceptable balance.
One of the technologies being employed is MIMO or multiple-input, multiple-output, which uses multiple antennae to increase data rates without using for channels or power. This is a somewhat standard technology now that many devices now use. It is not enough to reach the needed balance though, which is why the Rice researchers developed the first open-source multiuser MIMO system. Instead of using the technology to provide a single user a better experience on a single channel, this multiuser system would serve multiple users all on the same channel.
The researchers have already tested their multiuser MIMO UHF system against 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz WiFi in both indoor and outdoor environments. The new system performed well with low-overhead wireless access and high spectral efficiency.
Source: Rice University
Last week, Capcom revealed that Resident Evil Revelations 2 is in development and scheduled to release Early 2015. Now comes word that Revelations 2 will actually be released in episodes. Instead of releasing the full game at once, Capcom announced today that Revelations 2 will feature four individual episodes rolled out as a weekly series. "Each of the four episodes will feature hours of terrifying gameplay ending with dramatic cliff-hangers that will leave players fully engrossed and anticipating the next twist in the gripping horror story."
The four episodes will be available as individual downloads for $5.99 apiece. A digital-only Complete Season will also be an option for $24.99, featuring all four episodes plus additional content to be detailed in the coming weeks and months. Disc-lovers will be happy to know there will also be a full retail disc version for $39.99 that contains all four episodes, the additional content of the Complete Season, and further content beyond that. It's rare (maybe even a first?) that a "season pass" costs more than the individual episodes, so it'll be interesting to see just how much additional content is offered.
The beginning of the Resident Evil Revelations 2 tale sees fan favorite Claire Redfield make a dramatic return to the horrors that haunted her in the past. Survivor of the Raccoon City incident depicted in previous Resident Evil games, Claire now works for the anti-bioterrorism organisation Terra Save. Moira Burton, new recruit and daughter of Resident Evil legend Barry Burton, is attending her welcome party for Terra Save when unknown armed forces storm the office. Claire and Moira are knocked unconscious and awaken later to find themselves in a dark and abandoned detention facility. Working together, they must find out who took them and to what sinister end. With the terrifying Afflicted enemies waiting around every dark corner, players will need to use their ammo and weapon supply wisely, in classic survival horror style. Will Claire and Moira make it out alive and discover what’s led to them being taken to this remote island? Who else will they come across? A story of twists and turns will have players guessing the next step at every turn.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is planned for Early 2015 release for PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Capcom also released some lovely new screenshots and artwork, which you can see below. For those worried that the PC version will be a mere port, you'll be pleased to know that screenshots were provided in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions, but unfortunately our system doesn't allow me to post such large images. You'll just have to take my word that they look gorgeous.
Source: Press Release
Although Hangouts has long been able to facilitate voice calls and video chats between its own users, the ability to call to landlines and mobile phones within the United States and Canada for free has been primarily utilized by Gmail users. Google is changing that today, as it has announced that the latest version of Hangouts, version 2.3, now supports free voice calls within the United States and Canada on Android, iOS, and the web. International calls still cost money just as before, but Google boasts that its rates are incredibly low, generally beating leading Internet telephony providers.
Free voice calls via Hangouts will be available for Android users over the next few days as the new version of the communication service rolls out, while iOS and web users can access the newly announced capability immediately.
Thermaltake, a leader in computer chassis, thermal solutions, and power supply units, has released its latest Core series chassis, the Core V51. With the Core V51 being a mid-tower case, it fits right in the middle of the Core lineup, which also consists of the Core V1, a small form factor case, and the Core V71, a full-tower chasses. The Core V51 is truly a case for computer enthusiasts, as it supports the latest X99 motherboards, including E-ATX, ATX, and Micro ATX, along with all high-end GPU cards. The latest Thermaltake case comes with a 3.5-inch and 5.25-inch tool-free drive bay, as well as a fully modular design, which allows users to fully remove the 3.5-inch and 5.25-inch drive bays, creating even more interior space. A transparent side window, perforated top and front panels, and heightened case stands all assist in displaying the premium design of the Core V51 while enhancing cooling potential.
The Thermaltake Core V51 is set to be released on September 15, 2014, and is available for pre-order now.
Source: Press Release
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