OCC TECH NEWS
August 29, 2014
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and Monolith Productions has released a brand new trailer for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, entitled "Meet Ratbag". While the majority of Uruks are dynamically generated through the Nemesis System, thus making them unique to each player, Ratbag is a special case. As shown in the trailer, Ratbag plays a critical role in Shadow of Mordor's story, acting as a mole of sorts after you save him from certain death.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is releasing on September 30 in North America and October 3 in Europe for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. A Season Pass will also be available with an exclusive mission and additional content.
Source: Press Release
When it comes to understanding the existence of the Universe, there can be some curious theories. Naturally testing these theories can be an equally interesting endeavor as they push boundaries almost unimaginable. One theory about the Universe is that what we experience and observe is actually a 2D hologram and now researchers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have an experiment to test this idea.
If the Universe is actually a 2D hologram, then the 3D world we seem to live in is just an illusion, akin to how characters we view with 2D screens believe themselves to be in their own three-dimensional worlds. To test this idea, the researchers are exploiting one of the fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics; uncertainty. If the Universe is a 2D hologram then there must exist 2D bits of information, akin to pixels, and the size of these pixels would be on the Planck scale. These bits describing spacetime, if they exist, but obey quantum mechanics like all other particles, which means there is an uncertainty when measuring their position and velocity. To make those measurements, the researchers have built a Holometer, which is comprised of two, closely place interferometers that are sensitive enough to potentially detect the small jitters of the bits.
For the running of the Holometer experiment, the researchers will be working to identify and isolate sources of noise in the measurements, which could be coming from a variety of sources, including nearby electronics. Eventually though, if the holographic theory is correct, there will a noise that cannot be removed, and thus an aspect of spacetime itself.
Source: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
One year ago, almost to the day, Nintendo unveiled the 2DS; an "entry level" handheld gaming device, abandoning the clam-shell design and 3D support of its older brother, the 3DS. Today, during a Japanese-exclusive Nintendo Direct, Nintendo unveiled two new handheld devices, "New 3DS" and "New 3DS LL" ("LL" is the "XL" equivalent in Japan) – because apparently the people in charge of naming Nintendo's products didn't learn their lesson from the Wii U fiasco. Cue the Abbott & Costello routine when outlets start selling "used New 3DS" versus "new New 3DS". Let's hope the name changes by the time it reaches the Western markets, for Nintendo's own good. Skip to approximately the 14:30 mark in the video below for the reveal:
Naming aside, what really matters is the specs. Both versions are receiving a boost in power thanks to an upgraded CPU, but the most exciting new feature is that Nintendo has finally added a second analog stick! Granted it's a small nub and not a full-size analog stick, but it's still a welcome improvement. In addition, both "New" revisions have two additional shoulder buttons situated beside the existing ones, providing two on each side: R/ZR and L/ZL. The ABXY buttons have also received a facelift, matching the color-coding of the original SNES controller in the Japan market. No word on whether the Western markets will feature the same colors or the gray/purple ones.
In addition to the new and altered buttons, both New 3DS handhelds will have a built-in NFC device for amiibo figurine support, removing the need for a separate accessory. Nintendo also claims that the 3D has been improved, allowing for greater viewing angles. Meanwhile both screens on the New 3DS have had their sizes increased by 1.2x, while the New 3DS LL screens remain the same. As a result, the New 3DS is slightly larger and weighs a bit more than the current 3DS, but the New 3DS LL is a tad lighter than the current 3DS LL, though obviously more than both the 3DS and New 3DS.
The New 3DS and New 3DS LL are scheduled to launch on October 11 in Japan, but Western markets will have to wait for 2015. It's an interesting move since it'll likely negatively affect 2DS and 3DS sales in the Western markets this holiday season; especially considering Xenoblade Chronicles will only be supported by these New revisions and not any of the old ones (not even the one-year-old 2DS). While it's just one exclusive game right now with no other titles confirmed, many current Nintendo handheld gamers are already worried about what the future will hold.
Source: Nintendo Direct via Neoseeker
For years I was told how important a strong vocabulary is, and it took me years to realize just how true that is. Of course you can grow your vocabulary by reading books, newspapers, and hardware review websites. Now researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Karlstad University have proven that playing video games can also strengthen your vocabulary.
For their study, the researchers had 76 children from 10 to 11 years old fill out questionnaires and a language diary, to track encounters with English, outside of school. The boys reported spending an average of 11.5 hours a week playing video games, compared to the girls' 5.1 hour average. The girls however did spend, on average, 11.5 hours a week on online language-related activities, primarily Facebook, while the boys only spent 8 hours a week, on average. It is important to note that for many of these children, their first language was Swedish and they were learning English as a second language. The gamers of the group demonstrated a significantly better English vocabulary than the others, which may be the result of English being commonly used in the games they played, while on Facebook the children could use Swedish instead.
Along with finding the positive impact of playing games, the researchers also identified that MMORPGs were the most effective at developing English vocabulary, thanks to the number of players of interaction between them.
Whenever you take a picture, the photons that are captured were actually reflected or scattered by the objects in the image. This is how cameras have always worked, but could it be possible to take a picture with photons that never interacted with the imaged object? It must be as researchers at the University of Vienna, Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, and the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology have done so.
To achieve this seemingly impossible task, the researchers turned to quantum mechanics and the phenomenon entanglement in particular. Entanglement is when particles are so tightly bound together that the properties of one can affect and determine properties of the other, even when separated over great distances. To create the entangled particles, the researchers fired a laser into a pair of nonlinear crystals, with the imaged object in the middle. Both crystals created pairs of entangled photons, but one would be an infrared photon while the other would just be red. The optics of the experiment made sure all of the infrared photons from the first crystal took the path that would have them interact with the target, a sketch of a cat, while the red photons would remain clear of it. The infrared photons would then enter the second crystal, combining with any infrared photons made there. All of these infrared photons were then discarded, while the red photons were captured by a camera that could not even see the infrared photons.
Despite the red photons never interacting with the sketch of the cat, the beams still recreated it in bright and dark patterns, because the information of the infrared photons was preserved by the red photons. This research could see some very interesting applications in the future, including in medical and biological imaging where low light imaging is important.
Source: University of Vienna
August 28, 2014
Valve recently added support to the Steam client for hardware encoding on NVIDIA GPUs, allowing gamers to "play remotely from your PC connected to any Steam-enabled system in your home at resolutions up to 1080p at 60 fps." Sam Lantinga of Valve described the effort saying, "We’ve worked closely with NVIDIA to support hardware encoding on GeForce cards with our Steam In-Home Streaming technology, and the result is nothing short of amazing." The NVIDIA hardware encoder is able to encode the frames in real time and allows gamers to play with no noticeable lag.
PowerColor has announced the latest addition to its stable of video cards, the TurboDuo R9 285 OC. The card is being offered as "a cost-effective choice for those who are looking for the best bang for their buck." The card has 2GB of GDDR5, a factory overclocked core speed of 945MHz, and a memory clock of 1375MHz. A pair of 80mm fans help to power the namesake TurboDuo cooling system with patented Double Blades design that offers 20% more airflow. The heatsink is made of pure copper and has a U-shape heat pipe design. The features of the card are rounded out with DirectX 12 support, 7-phase power design, and multiple connection options.
Source: Press Release
When the Kickstarter campaign for Planetary Annihilation came to an end on September 14, 2012, it raised over $2.2 million, smashing its $900k goal and solidifying six stretch goals in the process. Since that time, it's been a long and tumultuous road for developer Uber Entertainment. On June 13, 2013, the game entered Steam Early Access with a price of $90, which created quite the stir. But it made complete sense because that was the price of the lowest Kickstarter pledge tier to receive alpha access, with the price lowering over time as the game entered new phases of development, all the way down to its current price of $29.99. People with common sense understood the pricing and accepted it, but of course naysayers and trolls are always the loudest. Nevertheless, Uber didn't buckle under the pressure and instead buckled down to push out update after update.
Now, nearly two years after its campaign ended, Planetary Annihilation is set to exit Early Access and officially launch on September 5. "The launch edition of the game includes a number of upgrades, including enhancements to both single-player and multiplayer. It will also include two new features: resource-rich gas giants and the "Annihilaser," a celestial laser of doom that obliterates planets with each tremendous blast." While the official date may be September 5, the game will actually be updated "shortly" with these new features, and the release build will be playable at PAX Prime from August 29 through September 3.
Source: Kickstarter Update and Steam
Over 13,000 years ago, many great animals lived in North America, including mastodons, saber-toothed cats, and even American horses, but they all disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene period. The exact cause of this mass extinction has been a matter of debate for some time now. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara however have new evidence that may solve the mystery.
Studies of prehistoric times often require looking at the many layers of materials beneath us. Each layer was deposited at a certain time and the materials of each layer can tell us about the Earth's situation at the time, and about certain events. Across what is called the Younger Dryas boundary, the researchers have found many nanodiamonds. These small carbon crystals are found in their cubic forms, like those we use for jewelry, and as hexagonal crystals. What makes these particular diamonds important though is that they could only have been formed by a massive event, such as a cosmic impact.
The only other barrier that has had more than one identification of nanodiamonds is the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. The nanodiamonds in this barrier are the result of the cosmic impact that killed off the dinosaurs and many other species on Earth, 65 million years ago.
Source: University of California, Santa Barbara
Quartz glass is not an unfamiliar material for most of us, though we likely do not consider its electrical properties. Under normal circumstances, it is an insulator, but researchers at the Vienna University of Technology and Tsukuba University have found that it can be made into a conductor. The catch is that a femtosecond laser pulse is required.
For years now, femtosecond laser pulses have been in used to measurement quantum effects in small particles, because at such a small time scale of 10-15 seconds, even quantum mechanics can be caught. What this new research demonstrates is that these pulses can also be used to trigger significant changes in a material, and thanks to computer simulations, we now know when. When the pulse strikes the quartz, it pumps electrons bound to the oxygen atoms to another atom. This allows them to behave like free electrons and the electric field of the light then drives them in one direction, creating a current. This current only exists for a very short amount of time, but does persist a little after the pulse has faded.
This process is among the fastest in solid state physics, even beating the speed of transistors, which operate on picoseconds; a thousand times slower. Next the researchers want to test other materials and potentially find one that allows a more efficient use of the effect.
Source: Vienna University of Technology
Try to contain your shock...another AAA title has been delayed. This time around the victim is Assassin's Creed Unity, which was originally scheduled to drop on October 28, but will now arrive November 11 in North America and November 13 in EMEA territories. Considering the ambition of this new-gen-only game, a mere two-week delay is actually rather minimal. According to Senior Producer Vincent Pontbriand, "It's always hard to be precise and to quantify exactly how much work is involved. So as we get close to the finish we often realize we're near the target but we're not quite there yet."
So now Assassin's Creed Unity will be arriving on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on the same date Assassin's Creed Rogue arrives on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The US date for Rogue was already set at November 11, but the EMEA date has been moved to November 13 to match Unity's release.
Founded in 2008 by CD Projekt RED to provide DRM-free "Good Old Games" to the PC, the site has since expanded into selling brand new titles alongside the classics. Yesterday, GOG.com introduced a brand new, sleeker look to its website along with a slew of new features. The most surprising new feature is GOG.com's first foray into non-gaming avenues with DRM-free movies. Most movies will be available at 1080p, with some at 720p, but also have 576p versions for those with limited bandwidth. Users can either download their movies or stream them directly from GOG.com, and as with the site's games, expect bonus goodies for each movie.
As of now, GOG.com's movie section is simply "starting with 20 documentaries about Internet and gaming culture," but the site's already in discussions with "most of the big players in the movie industry" to bring classic movies and television series. All the movies right now except one are priced at $5.99, and that's the main price point GOG.com is aiming at for most future releases as well. If you'd like to test the movie distribution features, two movies are currently being made available for free: The Art of Playing and TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard.
For those that only care about games, do not fret; that's still the main focus of GOG.com and the other new features may appeal to you more. Four new currencies are now supported alongside US Dollars: Euro, Pounds Sterling, Australian Dollars, and Russian Roubles. Three new payment methods have also been added: Sofort, Giropay, Webmoney, and Yandex. Users in countries with those new currencies aren't forced to pay via them though, as they can always switch to USD if that's their preference. GOG.com tries to price games differently per region because it knows that "$1 does not equal 1€," but where it can't for whatever reason, it'll eat the difference via the Fair Price Package: "If you end up paying more for a game than its standard US Dollar price, we'll refund you the difference out of our own pocket. The refunded value will be added to your account in Store Credit in the currency of your purchase." Yes, that leads us to the next new feature: Store Credit.
Lastly, GOG.com is removing 35 games from the site, but before it does, it's offering them all for up to 80% off until Tuesday, September 2, at 3:59AM GMT. As always, any game you buy will remain in your collection forever even after it's removed from the catalog.
Source: GOG.com  and  and 
By combining nanoplasmonics and optical resonators, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new, microscopic optical amplifier. The amplifier may find some interesting uses in medicine, as a means for implanted sensors and devices to communicate with networks outside of a patient's body.
When the researchers started this work, they knew it would be difficult because of the diffraction limit of light, which puts a lower limit on the size of a device. To get around this limit, the researchers turned to plasmonics, which link photons and electrons in such a way that metal objects can break the limit. The amplifier consists of a nano-structured surface with microspheres made of polystyrene or glass on top. When a beam of light strikes the microsphere, a narrowband optical signals is created within it, and molecules on the outside of the sphere amplify it. Because of how the spheres interact with the plasmonic nanostructures on the surface, a red or green light is created with a bandwidth matching the internal signal.
Among the potential applications for this technology are power-on-a-chip systems, as it could be used to route power on a chip. Also, as the initial light signal is of a frequency that can pass through skin, these amplifiers could be used for communication between devices inside and outside of a patient.
Source: University of Illinois
The end of the week is nearly here, as is the end of August, and we have some items for you to check out before the month goes away. We have a review on the Corsair HX750i power supply, which features a fully modular cable design and 80Plus Platinum certification. There is also a look at the ROCCAT Kone XTD gaming mouse, an improved version of the Kone[+] thanks to an 8200DPI laser sensor and a 32-bit ARM CPU, among other features. For those desiring a new gaming laptop, perhaps the MSI GS70 Stealth Pro, with its powerful internals yet slim design, is the one for your. Lastly we have an article examining why smartphone battery life soon won't matter when deciding which phone to buy.
Corsair HX750i @ ThinkComputers
MSI GS70 Stealth Pro @ TechSpot
ROCCAT Kone XTD Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
Soon No One Will Care About a Phone's Battery Life @ TechSpot
August 27, 2014
If you were hoping to join three friends in Gauntlet next week for some frenetic hack-and-slash combat, sadly you're going to have to wait a little longer. Earlier today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) announced that Gauntlet will be slightly delayed, now arriving on September 23. "The additional time was needed to fine-tune details in order to bring gamers an even more robust multiplayer experience." Aside from extra polish, the good news is that WBIE is adding a new in-game item for everyone who pre-orders the game: The Spawn of Kerthull, "a special Wizard's Robe made from dead imps, who are children of the greater demon, Kerthull." An image of the item can be found below.
In addition to the new release date, WBIE and developer Arrowhead Game Studios released a new "Official Gameplay Walkthrough Trailer", which takes an in-depth look at the game modes and various heroes.
Gauntlet will launch for Windows PC on September 23, while support for SteamOS will come in 2015.
Source: Press Release
Nearly two months ago, Deep Silver announced a new entry in the Dead Island franchise, a "third-person single-player survival mystery spin-off" from developer Fatshark called Escape Dead Island. Today, Deep Silver released a brand new trailer entitled "Unraveled" and announced the game's release date: November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe.
Escape Dead Island will be available for Windows PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Source: Press Release
Sharkoon has announced its latest line of cases, the VS4 series, combining an all black interior and exterior with mini-ITX, micro-ATX, and ATX compatibility. The case is available with or without a window and has dimensions of 445 x 200 x 430 mm. It is able to accommodate CPU coolers up to 16cm in height and graphics cards up to 31cm in length, or up to 38.5cm with the removal of the SSD cage. A single 120mm fan is pre-installed with space for an additional two. There is enough space to hold two 5.25" drives, three 3.5" drives, and four 2.5" drives.
Source: Press Release
It is time for a new contest, as OCC is giving away three Tesoro mechanical keyboards. Up for grabs are the Tesoro Lobera Supreme, the Tizona G2N with its Numpad attachment, and the Durandal Ultimate. All feature mechanical key switches, plus both the Lobera Supreme and Durandal Ultimate feature LED backlighting. The Lobera Supreme even has full color backlighting, so you can alternate between a variety of colors to suit your mood or game. If you want to try your hand at winning one of these keyboards, head on over to the forums and enter the contest. It is only open to residents in North America, so our apologies to our international friends.
OCC's Tesoro giveaway runs until September 15, so be sure to enter by then! And if you are one of the lucky winners, you have 48 hours to claim your prize, otherwise it gets redrawn!
Practically since it was first discovered, graphene has been considered a wonder material for its many special properties. For perhaps not as long, researchers have been looking for other materials that replicate some of graphene's properties, but add some other, valuable properties into the mix. Researchers at Berkeley Lab have recently discovered a new contender for graphene that could see use in photonic and optoelectric technologies.
Called MX2 materials, these two dimensional semiconductors are made of a layer of a transition metal, like tungsten or molybdenum, with a chalcogen, like sulfur, sandwiching it. The result is a structure with the same hexagonal design of graphene and its highspeed electrical conductance, but also a band gap. Band gaps are the energy difference between conducting bands and non-conducting, valence bands in a material. As graphene lacks a band gap, it lacks a means to switch its conductivity on and off, like a semiconductor. By combining layers of different MX2 materials, it is possible to control their properties and now the researchers have found that they can have very short charge transfer times of under 50 femtoseconds.
A short charge transfer time, and thereby efficient charge transfer, impacts the ability to separate charges in a material. This is important in materials for photodetectors and solar cells, because if the charges recombine too early, what energy they had would be lost.
Source: Berkeley Lab
While the Xbox One has been available for quite some time now without the Kinect sensor, the Kinect itself has been unavailable to purchase separately at a later time. Microsoft is looking to change that, as it will soon offer the Xbox One standalone Kinect sensor to customers who initially purchase the Xbox One console by itself. The Xbox One Kinect will be available starting on October 7, 2014, and will come with Dance Central Spotlight, the latest video game in the dance series from developer Harmonix. The sensor allows for voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes, and enhanced features only available with Kinect games.
The standalone Xbox One Kinect will cost customers $149.99. At that price point, it seems that if a customer has any intention of purchasing the Kinect for the Xbox One at a later time, they might as well purchase the bundled version of the Xbox One upfront.
Source: Xbox Wire
More and more it looks assured that we will see silicon be replaced in electronics with flexible and transparent materials. Researchers at the University of Washington have recently created a heterojunction between a pair of two-dimensional semiconductors that could find use in future technologies.
Heterojunctions are where two different materials meet and combine, and because of the combination, the junction itself possesses different properties than the two materials. In this case the two materials were molybdenum diselenide and tungsten diselenide, which are both monolayer materials and have similar structures. The similar structures greatly helped in forming the junctions without any distortions or discontinuities. To create the composite material, the researchers put a powder mixture of both materials in a chamber heated to 900 ºC and passed hydrogen gas through it. This caused some of the evaporated atoms to move over to a cooler part of the chamber, where they could form single-layer crystals. Thanks to the different properties of the materials, they evaporate at different times, so they go to the cooler region at different times as well. After the first material cooled and former triangular crystals, the second came over and attached to the edges, forming the heterojunction.
While this experiment only used molybdenum diselenide and tungsten diselenide, the process could be used to combine other two-dimensional materials to achieve a variety of properties for use as LEDs, photovoltaics, in-line quantum wells, and more. No matter the use though, the process should be fairly easy to scale up for mass production, by using a large furnace.
Source: University of Washington
Belgian studio GRIN is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for its dark fairy tale platformer Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries, and I was fortunate enough to receive access to the alpha demo. Instead of simply posting a gameplay video and writing about my first impressions, I decided to narrate as I play. The footage and audio was recorded using NVIDIA ShadowPlay, but the in-game volume gets quite loud, so I apologize for the narration getting drowned out at times. As this is merely an alpha demo, there are no volume options, so it is what it is. Nothing in this demo should be viewed as indicative of the game's final build quality, especially since a lot of animations and systems aren't implemented yet.
Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is planned for a Q1 2015 release on PC with Closed Beta to begin next month. If you'd like to support the project, the minimum Kickstarter pledge is $15, which grants you the full game upon release along with the Kickstarter-exclusive Toy Soldier Editor; Steam key or DRM-free via GOG.com. Closed Beta access starts at $50 and up, while Alpha access starts at $100 and up. The Kickstarter campaign ends Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 5:55PM EDT.
If multiplayer could be added to the third iteration of Mass Effect, why not the third iteration of Dragon Age? Electronic Arts and BioWare have unveiled four-player co-op will be present in Dragon Age: Inquisition, and in a lot of ways, they're handling it similarly to what they did with Mass Effect 3. Instead of co-op being seamlessly integrated into the main campaign, Inquisition's multiplayer mode will feature cooperative quests that are separate from the single-player world. Three such quests will be available at launch, but randomness will ensure replayability. Each campaign randomly generates a large map that is comprised of smaller sections. Those smaller sections are chosen from ten pre-designed areas, but each have distinct variables that change things up, like different enemy encounters or breakable walls.
Unlike Mass Effect 3, BioWare states that multiplayer in Inquisition will have no impact on single-player progression or story; it's a completely standalone experience. In fact, even the characters you choose are completely separate. At launch, players can unlock up to twelve characters across the three classes: Legionnaire, Reaver, and Mage. You can checkout a screenshot of the character selection screen below. Each will play different and are leveled separately with a level cap of 20. You'll also be able to collect loot, salvage items, and craft new weapons and armor, but there will be no auction house and no trading amongst players.
Everything in multiplayer will be accessible simply by grinding, but if you want to speed things up, you can purchase Platinum, which can in turn can be used to buy some unlocks a bit quicker; but again, everything will be purchasable via in-game gold. BioWare never intends to sell items or multiplayer content. BioWare's Scylla Costa told IGN that there will be new heroes, levels, and additional content added to multiplayer over time, but that "it's all free DLC for everyone."
Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch on November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The Standard Edition costs $59.99 for all platforms, while a Deluxe Edition is available for $69.99 and includes the following bonus content: Flames of the Inquisition Armor, Flames of the Inquisition Armored Mount, Skyhold Throne, Red Hart Halla, Bog Unicorn, and the digital soundtrack. Pre-ordering either version grants you some nice fiery weapons from the Flames of the Inquisition Arsenal.
Source: Press Release and Official Site and IGN
Dropbox has revealed that it has consolidated its three Pro account options, which previously included 100GB, 200GB, and 500GB of storage, priced at $9.99, $19.99, and $49.99 per month, respectively. The new Pro plan offers quite a bit of value compared to the old storage options, as it includes 1TB of storage for just $9.99 per month. Dropbox Pro also includes various features that will surely appeal to potential subscribers, such as password protection for links and documents, time expiration options for links, and view-only permissions. Dropbox is aiming its latest Pro plan at customers who need more storage than its Basic plan, which starts at 2GB, but do not need as much storage or as many tools that Dropbox for Business offers.
Source: Dropbox Blog
One day we may use electrical wires and cables capable of transmitting currents without resistance. The key to this future is understanding superconductivity, the phenomenon that enables it. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University have recently made an interesting discovery concerning iron-based superconductors that challenges some long held beliefs.
Superconductivity arises in certain materials when they are brought down below some critical temperature. For the earliest superconductors, this temperature was just above absolute zero, but since then we have discovered high-temperature superconductors that have critical temperatures significantly higher, though still far from room temperature. Some of these superconductors are iron-based materials, which was unexpected initially as these materials also have magnetic properties. Large-range magnetism is known to suppress superconductivity, but now it has been discovered that local magnetic moments do not disrupt it In fact these isolated areas of magnetism within the material may assist superconductivity, as they are at their maximum when superconductivity is. The researchers also discovered that the number of electrons in the moments was the same for different kinds of iron-based superconductors, though their distributions differed.
Beyond the potential for understanding superconductivity better, this research could also have an impact on other technological materials and devices. To do the study, the researchers had to develop a way to measure the local moments, which had not been done before as previous research always looked at the bulk average.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
August 26, 2014
Seagate has announced that it has begun shipping the worlds first 8TB mechanical hard drives. The extremely large capacity drives will benefit consumers of large amounts of data such as data centers and enterprise servers. As more storage will be able to fit into a smaller space, power and cooling requirements can be lowered. VP of Marketing Scott Horn described some of the motivations behind the move, "As our world becomes more mobile, the number of devices we use to create and consume data is driving an explosive growth in unstructured data." In addition to the massive amount of offered storage the drives also offer "enterprise-class reliability and support for archive workloads" with "multi-drive RV tolerance for consistent enterprise-class performance in high density environments."
Bloomberg is reporting that the next Apple iPad will feature its largest ever screen, measuring 12.9", which beats current offerings of 7.9" and 9.7". Sources indicate that production will start by the first quarter of next year and that the design process has been ongoing for more than a year. Apple could be looking to breathe new life into the product line as sales have been decreasing for the past few months. Apple may be looking to target the enterprise market with the larger tablets, a sentiment shared by Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at IDC, who said "We’re expecting larger tablets to do better” in the enterprise market."
Just about every cancer can be a big problem, and all are dangerous when they spread, which makes it vitally important to know if it is. Catching cancer cells in a patient's blood is very difficult though, because of how few cells there can be, and that many methods for sorting cells are complicated or can damage the cells. Researchers at MIT, Pennsylvania State University and Carnegie Mellon University however, have developed a device for sorting cells with great accuracy, and relative ease.
Instead of relying on chemical tags or strong mechanical forces, this method utilizes sound waves to gently guide cells. By using two acoustic transducers on either side of a microchannel, a standing wave can be made with a pressure node parallel to the flow. This much has been accomplished before and did demonstrate that cells of different size, compressibility, and other properties, would be pushed around differently. What has been added now is a tilt, putting the pressure node at an angle, relative to the flow. This causes the cells to pass through multiple nodes, and be slightly pushed to one side, and cells of different physical properties are still affected differently.
The researchers have already tested it with plastic beads 9.9 and 7.3 microns in size, demonstrating 97% accuracy, and were able to recover 71% of cancer cells in a sample that included those and white blood cells. They also created a computer model that can predict how cells will be affected based on its properties and the angle of the sound waves, which opens up the possibility of device customization.
Google has just released a stable build of Chrome 37, which is now available in a 64-bit version for Windows. The 64-bit version of Chrome offers plenty of enhancements over the 32-bit version, such as a 15 percent improvement in decoding performance when using the VP9 codec, as well as greater engine stability when handling typical web content. Security is also improved, as the 64-bit version of Chrome is more effective at defending against vulnerabilities that rely on controlling the memory layout of objects.
The 64-bit version of Chrome 37 is only available through a new download link on the Chrome download page, with the only known issue being that it lacks 32-bit NPAPI plugin support.
Source: Chromium Blog
Wearable technology is gaining popularity at an alarming rate as technology giants continue to reveal and release products, such as smartwatches, that fit into the category. ASUS has decided to follow in the footsteps of others, such as LG, Motorola, and SAMSUNG, and market its own smartwatch. The company has posted a teaser image of its upcoming smartwatch across various social media platforms. The sketching of the forthcoming smartwatch shows hints of a leather strap, stainless steel elements, and a screen that is slightly rounded on the corners. More details about the ASUS smartwatch will be revealed by the company at IFA in Berlin, which is set to take place on September 3, 2014.