OCC TECH NEWS
February 25, 2014
The comedic team behind the hit movie Superbad, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, is currently in line to write a movie based on the upcoming book Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation, written by Blake Harris. The material for the book is based on "hundreds of interviews to present the first full account of this titanic corporate battle, which transformed computer games into a global industry that last year recorded sales of $50bn (surpassing the film and music businesses combined)." I am eager to read the book and perhaps see the movie afterward as this was right around the time that I first got into gaming.
Source: The Guardian
Team Group announced a partnership with the HKEPC Laboratory on February 23rd in an attempt to set the record for the Super Pi 1M benchmark. The two groups were able to successfully break the record that had stood for 17 months with a new time of 5.078 seconds. The end goal of the collaboration, dubbed "ProjectX", is "to enhance the overclocking and stability features of memory products." The record was achieved using an Intel i7-3770K CPU on an ASRock Z77 OC motherboard paired with the Xtreem Series DDR3-2000 CL8 2GBx2 memory set. An overclock on the CPU of 7.136GHz was made possible through the use of Liquid Nitrogen cooling and the memory was overclocked to DDR3-2719 CL-7-11-7-24 1T timings.
Source: Press Release
It's been over ten years since the last Age of Wonders game was released, but turn-based strategy game Age of Wonders III has finally been given an official release date of March 31, 2014. Despite the "III" in the name, this is actually the fourth game in the series, with an Age of Wonders Trilogy Pack available on Steam that contains the previous games.
Age of Wonders III is currently available for pre-order on Steam and GOG.com, with pre-ordering getting you the Elven Resurgence Scenario, "which takes the series' back to its roots in the ancient Heartwood Forest." This standalone scenario is available versus AI or in multiplayer with up to six players. There is also a Deluxe Edition that grants you access to the Dragon's Throne Scenario and the two-hour original soundtrack. As with the Elven Resurgence Scenario, the Dragon's Throne Scenario can be played versus AI or in multiplayer, but this time the latter supports up to eight players like the rest of the game.
As with most (good) strategy games, Age of Wonders III is exclusive to the PC. Developer and publisher Triumph Studios released an Official Gameplay Trailer that shows off the game's unique blend of fantasy RPG and turn-based strategy. Be sure to also check out all the screenshots and artwork below (though keep in mind that some of the screenshots are from an earlier build).
Source: Official Site
Risen 3: Titan Lords was leaked by German magazine PC Games on Friday, but today comes the official announcement from publisher Deep Silver, along with some details about the game, platform availability, and an expected release window.
"The world of Risen 3 is abandoned by all gods and suffers from the Titan Wars when a new threat rises from the soil. A young warrior is attacked from the shadows and deprived of his soul. He sets off to reclaim what is lost amidst the darkness that is spreading throughout the world. The banned Mages could be powerful allies on his quest. To get their help, he needs to find the Mage sanctuary on Taranis, also known as the Island of Thunder. Protected by the Guardians, the Mages search the mines of Taranis for crystals loaded with magic energy. Will the player join the Guardians to get in contact with the Mages? Or will he choose one of the other guilds in Risen 3 to reach his goals?"
As alluded to in the description above, the freedom prevalent in the previous two Risen games returns in Risen 3. Developer Piranha Bytes says that exploration and discovery is a key aspect of the game. In addition, the game is "handcrafted" so that "every decision changes the course of the story," though the impact and significance of such changes has not been stated. Regardless, at least there should be a ton of replayability.
Risen 3: Titan Lords is set to release in August 2014 for Windows PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360.
Source: Press Release
Implemented in November, 2010, the Facebook email system has been available to all users of the social networking site for quite some time. It was initially intended to provide a singular mailbox for Facebook related communications, traditional emails, and SMS messages. The email system, which provided users with a @facebook.com email, has had a poor track record for adoption since its initial implementation however. Due to this, along with the restructuring of communications that Facebook is taking with its recent purchase of WhatsApp, the company has informed users that their Facebook email address will no longer be available starting early March of this year.
After a recent web networking security hole was found within OS X platforms, Apple has released an update to OS X Mavericks to fix the issue. The update to 10.9.2 not only fixes the security flaw, but also tailors in a few new features, such as the ability to make and receive FaceTime audio calls, the ability to block incoming iMessages from specific senders, and call waiting support for audio and video based FaceTime calls. Multiple improvements have also been made available, such as improved accuracy of unread counts in Apple's mail application, improved AutoFill compatibility in Safari, and improved reliability when connecting to a file server using SMB2. While the update is only available to OS X Mavericks, it will be released to other OS X versions shortly.
The same security hole was also present in iOS devices, however, a separate update was released by Apple a few days ago to remedy the issue.
Dragon Age: Inquisition isn't the only game BioWare is currently working on. According to a blog post by London-based indie studio Failbetter Games, the two studios have "been working in absolute secrecy" on an unannounced project. I am not familiar with Failbetter Games, but according to Gamasutra, the studio is "best known for narrative-heavy games like Fallen London and Sunless Sea." In addition, Failbetter Games "has worked with BioWare in a smaller capacity before, providing consultation on narrative projects, and visiting BioWare Edmonton to give a session on Failbetter's approach to interactive narrative."
Failbetter says the project isn't quite ready to be unveiled, but "that it's a Failbettery one, down to its bones," which makes it sound like it's much more than simply "providing consultation" this time around. Despite not personally being familiar with Failbetter Games, with BioWare involved, I will certainly be keeping my eyes out for more information.
Source: Failbetter Games Blog via Gamasutra
Available for immediate download from the Microsoft website, as well as through Windows Update, the first service pack for Office 2013 has been released. The first service pack for the latest office suite offered by Microsoft is a milestone for the company, as it marks the period where most users will consider upgrading from previous versions of Microsoft Office. As with other service packs offered by Microsoft, all of the updates previously pushed out to Office 2013 have been rolled into the one download. The update is available for both 32 and 64-bit variants of the software, and ranges in size from 643MB to 774MB, dependent solely on installation options.
BioWare has really gone out of its way to support and embrace the Dragon Age community over the past month. First it started with the release of highly detailed character kits (Morrigan, Cassandra, and Varric) to make life easier for artists and cosplayers. Now for something equally unique - the opportunity to voice a character in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
BioWare has provided provided two scripts on its blog for prospective voice actors to choose from, and entering is as simple as recording your performance, uploading it to YouTube, and emailing the link to [email protected]. Entries are due by 12:01 A.M. PST on March 24, 2014, with the winner chosen after the judging process ends on April 14, 2014.
To be eligible to enter, you must be a legal resident of "Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United Stated (including the District of Colombia) who [is] at least as old as the minimum age of majority in the jurisdiction from which [you] enter the Contest." The winner will be flown to one of BioWare's recording studios (Los Angeles, Edmonton, or London) to have his or her voice recorded in a professional recording booth.
This is a rather unique opportunity for any Dragon Age fan, so start practicing. Watch Lead Community Manager Jessica Merizan explain the contest in the video below:
Source: BioWare Blog
The ASUSTOR Data Manager 2.1 operating system has been in beta form for just over a month since its initial offering. Today, ASUSTOR has announced that its cloud storage experience, known as ADM 2.1, has been officially released and is available immediately. The new version of the ADM operating systems brings along new features to owners of ASUSTOR NAS 2, 3, and 6 series devices. Some feature include the ability to use hard disks as removable storage archives, the ability to drag and drop files between a NAS and a computer, the ability to stream music from a NAS to mobile devices, VPN server technology, a streaming video download application, and support for Bluetooth devices. Overall, ADM 2.1 expands the functionality and of all NAS devices supported while supporting home and business users alike.
All ASUSTOR NAS 2, 3, and 6 series devices will be automatically upgraded to ADM 2.1.
Source: Press Release
We have a nice selection of items for you to check out today, however only one really benefits the DIY crowd. The Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro water cooling system gets reviewed, which is an all-in-one system with a 120mm rad, dual 120mm fans, and a redesigned pump to help keep your overclock from burning up. We have a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X240 Ultrabook that may not sit entirely well with the ThinkPad purists, but has plenty of innovative features to set it apart from the other Ultrabooks. There's an article on what is at risk when mobile devices are introduced to the workplace, and another on various mobile messaging clients and how they compare to each other.
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro Water Cooling System @ ThinkComputers
Lenovo ThinkPad X240 Ultrabook @ PC Perspective
Mobile Devices in the Workplace: What is at Risk? @ Benchmark Reviews
Mobile Messaging Clients Compared @ TechSpot
For many technologies and devices a lot of energy is lost as heat, which is why we have been working to somehow capture that heat and make use of it. Thermoelectric materials, which can convert between electrical and thermal energy, could be especially useful here, but materials with optimal properties have proven hard to find and hard to produce. Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder have taken a different approach to the problem and have found a solution that could significantly improve the situation.
Thermoelectric materials produce an electrical current when there is a heat differential across it and the stronger the differential, the stronger the current. The problem is that typically electrical and thermal conductivity go together, so a material that would transmit an electrical current well would also dissipate a temperature differential quickly. What the researchers have suggested is to add nanoscale pillars on a sheet of a thermoelectric material. Heat is carried through a material as phonons, which are the quanta of vibrational energy, and these pillars will interfere with those vibrations, slowing their movement.
According to the researchers' estimates, the pillars may impair heat flow by up to half, which is pretty significant. The actual effect of the pillars may be greater than that though, as the researchers describe their calculations as very conservative.
Source: University of Colorado, Boulder
Bow users will be getting a little love when Path of Exile: Sacrifice of the Vaal launches next week. That love comes in the form of eight new quiver base types, but only if you play the new Ambush or Invasion challenge leagues. The eight new quivers completely replace the old ones, but the latter will still drop in Standard and Hardcore for the time being.
The Ambush and Invasion challenge leagues are essentially being used as a test bed. When those challenge leagues end four months later, on July 5, the old quivers "may stop spawning altogether" in all leagues. Presumably, that decision will be impacted by player feedback. So far the feedback seems generally positive, though the absence of a +dex quiver worries some. The new base types are as follows, with the level requirement in parentheses:
- Serrated Arrow Quiver: (0) Adds 1-4 Physical Damage
- Two-Point Arrow Quiver: (4) 23% Increased Accuracy Rating
- Sharktooth Arrow Quiver: (10) +3 Life Gained for Each Enemy Hit by Your Attacks
- Blunt Arrow Quiver: (16) 34% Increased Stun Duration on Enemies
- Fire Arrow Quiver: (22) Adds 4-8 Fire Damage
- Broadhead Arrow Quiver: (28) Adds 6-12 Physical Damage
- Penetrating Arrow Quiver: (36) 10% Chance of Arrows Piercing
- Spike-Point Arrow Quiver: (45) 29% Increased Global Critical Strike Chance
You can check out the visual designs below (in the order they appear in the list above), with each quiver sporting a unique, distinct look. While the visual look of the arrows in the quiver designs are also unique, there is no word whether the arrows shot in-game take on the associated look (it would certainly be cool if they did). There will also be "several new Unique quivers planned that use the new base types," while Grinding Gear may even port over some of the old Unique quivers if the new quiver bases are here to stay.
After more than a week of teasers (1,2,3,4,5,6), it's nice to see a Sacrifice of the Vaal update that was less tease and more factual.
Sacrifice of the Vaal goes live March 5, 2014.
Source: Official Site
Currently only available on mobile devices (iOS and Android), Deus Ex: The Fall will be making its way to PC via Steam on March 25. The game had been generally well-received on mobile devices, though most critics cited awkward, frustrating combat. That was of course due to the limitations of touch controls, so it'll be interesting to see if that complaint is no longer valid when it makes the jump to PC with full keyboard/mouse controls and gamepad support (check out the attached images for default control mapping).
Thankfully, this isn't just a straight port, and the new control scheme isn't the only major change to the game. Square Enix has provided a "complete feature list, compared to last year's mobile version of the game:"
- No in-game purchase options
- 28 Steam achievements
- Adjusted AI
- Steam Trading Cards, Badges and (TBC)
- Revised tutorial
- Full keyboard and Mouse control optimisation
- Rebalanced game economy taking into account no IAP
- Microsoft Controller support
- Reduction in aiming recital [sic] size
- Choice in cover style as DXHR (HOLD or Toggle)
- Resolution options
- Anti Aliasing option
- Control maps for keyboard and gamepad
Deus Ex: The Fall will launch on Steam for a price of $9.99 USD. Pre-ordering the game (or purchasing it for "a limited time after launch") will also get you the original Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition for free, which is giftable if you already own it. The price seems right for any Deus Ex fan looking for something to hold them over until the next AAA release, which Square Enix confirms Eidos-Montreal is continuing to work on.
Source: Square Enix Blog
Heat is a problem for our computers as it can degrade our components, but while we are typically concerned with our processors overheating, they are not the only components that can suffer. Hard drives and eventually magnetic-RAM will suffer from heat issues as an electric current is required to flip the magnetic fields within them, and that current will generate heat. Researchers at the University of Miami however, have found a way to change the direction of a magnetic field using an electric field, which can be produced without heat.
It has been known for some time that an electric field can affect a magnetic field, but this new work adds to our understanding. It takes advantage of a phenomenon called Rashba spin-orbit coupling, which comes from the interaction of an electric field and electron's spin. Magnetism comes from the spin of electrons. What the researchers discovered is that by creating a capacitor, in which one element is magnetic, the orientation of the magnetic field can be changed by charging the capacitor.
Potentially this could lead to denser magnetic memory, as the reduction in heat will allow individual elements to be placed closer together. It may also impact electromechanical devices including actuators, which convert an electrical signal into mechanical motion.
Source: University of Miami
The Mobile World Congress kicked off today, with plenty of new smartphones and tablets expected to be unveiled during the show. One of the biggest names in the market, Samsung, started things off with a bang, as it officially announced the Galaxy S5 smartphone. If you get flashbacks to the Galaxy S4 and SIII when looking at the S5, you aren't alone. Samsung is sticking with the same rounded rectangle shape on the outside (just with an improved back for extra grip), however it's all the interior components that really set this new flagship phone apart. The S5 features a 5.1-inch, 1920x1080 Super AMOLED display (slightly larger than the S4's 5-inch screen), is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor (faster CPU, GPU, and memory bus speeds), and runs Android 4.4.2, albeit with Samsung's TouchWiz skin on top.
Samsung has outfitted the Galaxy S5 with 2GB of RAM, either 16 or 32GB of storage that can be expanded to 128GB via microSD, and 802.11ac MIMO for download speeds up to 867MBps. The Category 4 LTE can do 150Mbps down and 50Mbps, provided your carrier is even capable of those speeds. You can even download over WiFi and LTE at the same time for even faster speeds, just try not to blow past your monthly data allotment in a single sitting. Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC are included on the S5, as is an IR blaster to control your Samsung TV. A 2800mAh battery powers the whole thing, with up to ten hours of Internet browsing on LTE and 12 hours of video playback promised. Charging the phone is handled via a micro-USB 3.0 port, just like the one on the Galaxy Note 3.
A 16-megapixel camera with LED flash sits on the rear, while a 2-megapixel one sits up front. Samsung has outfitted the camera with a hybrid autofocus lens and an improved image sensor, with the company promising a 0.3 second autofocus time and "advanced HDR" capabilities. The camera interface itself has been revamped, so hopefully that means an even easier time taking pictures. Next to the rear camera's LED flash is a heartbeat sensor; just hold your finger over it and see what your heartbeat is after a workout or run (or other activities).
Samsung's Galaxy S5 is scheduled to arrive April 11 in the U.S., but no word on which carriers (probably all the major ones) or at what price. It'll come in black, blue, gold, and white, with other "designer colors" and patterns arriving later.
Source: Ars Technica and Time Tech
February 24, 2014
When Bananasaurus_Rex completed a record-setting 3,105,850-point run in Spelunky last week, I was rather impressed. It seems Spelunky creator Derek Yu was also impressed because he didn't think a score of over three million was even possible. In fact, he was so confident, prior to a recent patch, the game would detect you as a cheater if you submitted a score over three million. As Yu so eloquently put it, "He [Bananasaurus_Rex] achieved the impossible!"
The cap was set at three million because at the time, the world record on Xbox was "something like 2 million [and] getting another million seemed pretty far-fetched." Luckily for Bananasaurus_Rex, that cap no longer exists. As if breaking a world record in such a difficult game wasn't impressive enough, achieving something that even the game's creator thought couldn't be done just makes it an even greater feat.
Intel announced a trio of products this morning at the Mobile World Conference 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The Atom Z34 and Z35 systems-on-a-chip are also known under the Merrifield and Moorefield code names, respectively. The 22nm tri-gate transistors are paired with the Power VR Series 6 integrated graphics chipsets to create power efficient devices for use in Android smartphones. Merrifield features a number of improvements over previous mobile chips from Intel including "higher peak clock speed, an architecture with out-of-order execution and 64-bit compatibility, faster integrated graphics processor programmable with the OpenCL and RenderScript APIs, support for LPDDR3 memory, an improved image signal processor, and a brand-new video signal processor that supports hardware VP8 encoding and decoding." Moorefield offers an additional two cores, support for faster memory, and higher resolution displays. According to Intel, the two chips compared favorably to the Apple A7 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 in a number of benchmarks. Rounding out the announcement from Intel is the XMM 7260 LTE modem that offers transfer speeds up to 300 Mb/s.
Source: Tech Report
Thermaltake is releasing wireless charging stations for a number of Samsung devices through the LUXA2 line of products. Consumers will be able to use the TX-P1 and TX-200 devices to recharge Galaxy S3 and S4 and Note 2 and 3 devices. The two devices pack 5000 mAh of power to spare and will begin to charge your device as soon as it is placed on the charger. Some mobile devices are already compatible with the charging stations while others will require an additional charging receiver. The TX-P1 has an MSRP of $64.95, the TX-200 will cost $69.95, and the receiver will cost $9.99.
Source: Press Release
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is not the Ninja Gaiden game from our youth – it's an over-the-top, insanely brutal hack-and-slash game infused with dark comedy, mature content, and a dose of Quentin Tarantino DNA. Yaiba is to Ninja Gaiden what Blood Dragon is to Far Cry 3 – a ridiculous spin-off that must have been conceived during a night of heavy drinking.
The Yaiba demo shown at E3 2013 ended with a giant two-headed zombie baby stumbling into view. Now publisher Tecmo Koei has released a new Combat Trailer and screenshots that show off this abomination known as The Terrible Two – and apparently there can be more than one! One of the features of the game is using body parts of your defeated enemies as weapons, and defeating The Terrible Two allows you to brandish its Shoulder Blade as a giant club. The Combat Trailer definitely captures the chaotic, over-the-top atmosphere quite well.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z comes to PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on March 21, 2014.
Source: Press Release
Muscles are a critical part of our lives, as they are what provide the force and power to move about our world. Recreating that ability has been proving difficult though, as motors and engines can be too large, and artificial muscles can be expensive to produce. Researchers across the world, including those at that University of British Columbia, have recently developed an artificial muscle that utilizes materials commonly found in fishing lines and thread.
Artificial muscles have to have the ability to expand and contract, producing so much force in the process, similar to our natural muscles. Metal wires and carbon nanotubes have been used before to make artificial muscles, but both materials can be difficult to work with and expensive to produce, making them less-than-ideal. What the researchers developed is instead based on fibers of polyethylene and nylon, which have been twisted into tight coils. To make them expand and contract, the researchers had to change their temperature, which can be accomplished with an electrical heating element. Compared to a human muscle of equal size, it can lift objects 100 times heavier.
Being a common material, artificial muscles based on this material could be cheaper and easily deployed. Potential applications include robots as well as low-cost devices to assist those of reduced mobility.
Source: University of British Columbia
Wolfenstein: The New Order is still three months away from release, but several members of the gaming press got some hands-on time with the game last week. All Games Beta has not only compiled a list linking to each site, but also collected all the screenshots and artwork. As such, we get to enjoy some intense screenshots, along with some highly impressive character models.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on May 20, 2014.
Source: All Games Beta
With the recent release of BlackBerry Messenger 2.0 earlier this month, BlackBerry is showing that it is fully committed to supporting its free messaging application across multiple devices. Currently, BlackBerry Messenger is available for BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices. A new announcement made by BlackBerry at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona notes that the messaging application will be coming to Windows Phone devices this summer. Users of the Windows Phone operating system will be able to download BlackBerry Messenger through the Windows Store. The application will allow for free voice calls over Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection with BlackBerry Messenger contacts, provide chat capabilities with one other person or groups of up to 50 individuals, and more.
Also announced by BlackBerry is that the messaging application will be available for the Nokia X once it officially launches.
Although Titanfall experienced a server resolution bug within its beta release, the title has been amazingly popular with gamers ever since its initial announcement. Microsoft has just announced a new limited time bundle for its Xbox One gaming console that will undoubtedly increase the awareness of Titanfall as a major title. In partnership with Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts, an Xbox One Titanfall Special Edition Bundle will be available for purchase starting March 11, 2014. The newly announced bundle will offer gamers the standard Xbox One console, Kinect sensor, wireless controller, and chat headset, but will also include one free month of Xbox Live Gold along with a download code for a digital copy of Titanfall.
Microsoft has announced that the limited time Titanfall bundle will be available from select retailers for $499.99 ERP, which represents a stellar value for consumers looking to purchase an Xbox One.
Source: Xbox Wire
"Blood is Family. Blood is Power. Blood is Everything." That's the message behind the official launch trailer for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, the sequel to the highly acclaimed re-imagining of the Castlevania franchise. Considering you play as Dracula, the theme of blood shouldn't be too surprising.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 launches tomorrow (February 25) for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Seagate, a world leader in storage technology, has revealed its latest hard drive offering for video surveillance systems, the seventh-generation Surveillance HDD. The newest update to the surveillance hard drive is engineered to support the storing and accessing video year-round, while keeping up with the high write workloads that surveillance systems require. Seagate ensures that any video resolution used by video surveillance systems is supported as well. The drive features rotational vibration sensors, which enables it to perform reliably in a multi-drive system. The Surveillance HDD supports up to 32 channels, as well as flexibility to scale with a surveillance system. Seagate provides a 1 million hour MTBF rating and has engineered the drive for low heat emissions and low power consumption.
The new Surveillance HDD by Seagate is offered in a 3.5-inch form factor while providing up to 4TB of storage.
Source: Press Release
COUGAR has released its new GX V3 series power supplies that are targeted towards gamers and high-performance computer owners. The new power supplies incorporate a black coating along with a gold vent grill while also using minimal space within a computer chassis. COUGAR has ensured that GX V3 series power supplies are fully compliant with the 80-PLUS Gold standard, which allows the power supply units to feature peak efficiency of up to 93 percent. Efficiency is further emphasized, as the power supplies are ENERGY STAR 5.0 compliant and are also compliant with the latest Eco-Friendly EuP regulation, known as ErP Lot6 2013. COUGAR has implemented Rapid Switch Technology, DC to DC technology, and a CLC filter design, all which enhance the overall stability and efficiency of the GX V3 power supply series. The modular cabling system that is featured with the new GX V3 series utilizes flat cables, which provides less air flow restriction than traditional cabling and helps simplify installation.
The COUGAR GX V3 series power supplies are available in 600, 800, and 1050 watt models and MSRP for $109, $149, and $189, respectfully.
Source: Press Release
The backbone of the Internet is comprised in large part by lasers and optical fiber, as optical communication can transmit prodigious amounts of data rapidly and efficiently. As the world demands greater bandwidth though, the technology is approaching its limits. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology however, have developed a new laser which could potentially increase optical data transmission rates by orders of magnitudes.
For forty years, distributed-feedback semiconductor (S-DFB) lasers have been used to send the optical signals along the cables. The reason it was first used and continued to be used is its spectral purity. The light it produced was very near a single frequency, and the more pure the light is, the faster digital bits can be transmitted. Unfortunately part of the laser's design limited its spectral purity, and while it was satisfactory in the past, it may not be in the future. The problem was that the III-V semiconductors used to produce the light also absorbed some of it, which degrades the spectral purity. The Caltech researchers have found that this absorption can be prevented by adding a layer of silicon to act as a concentrator. The silicon will pull the light away from the III-V semiconductor, but will not absorb the light itself.
This new laser could reduce the spread of frequencies to be 20 times narrower than that of the S-DFB lasers in use today. Such an improvement could greatly help the Internet keep pace with our demands for higher speed.
Source: California Institute of Technology
According to Eurogamer, the mastermind behind DayZ, Dean Hall, will be leaving Bohemia Interactive and stepping down as leader on DayZ by the end fo the year. His plan is to go back to his home country of New Zealand and start his own studio, though there is some flexibility in his schedule if the DayZ team needs him to stay on longer.
Hall explains that he's "really good at risk-taking and making other people take risks," and he can explain something to the point of talking people up a ledge and over it. The problem, as he sees it, is that a person like that is eventually bad to have around - that eventually someone like that in a leadership role will "be a disaster for the project." That being said, Hall will always be involved with DayZ; he's not walking away from it completely, he'll simply step down from a leadership role.
As for what Hall plans to produce with his as-yet-unformed new studio back in New Zealand, he told Eurogamer that he "has three game ideas written already, [...] plus another two that need more work." Ultimately, he'll be chasing after the elusive "perfect multiplayer experience," which he admits DayZ is not. He's fascinated by multiplayer games and very interested in survival games, so he says a lot of his current ideas have "similar DNA" to DayZ. I'm sure whatever his future studio produces, DayZ fans will support him.
Last week, the news broke that Facebook had purchased WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion. Today, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said the company will be adding voice calls to its app in the second quarter of this year. Whether this was already in the works prior to the Facebook deal is unknown, but regardless, this is big news for both sides.
With over 450 million users worldwide, WhatsApp's free mobile messaging service has already dealt a blow to the telecommunications industry, which has tried to keep text messaging more expensive than it should be. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Koum said that, "We are driven by the mission that people should be able to stay in touch anywhere and affordably. Our goal is to be on every mobile phone in the world." He also said that the acquisition by Facebook will not alter the roadmap and there will be no advertising added to the service.