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News Archives for August 2014

Properties Separated from Particles in Experiment

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 05:33AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In 2001 an idea was published that under quantum mechanics, particles could behave like the Cheshire Cat and have their properties separated from the particle, like the grin being found off of the cat from Alice's Adventure in Wonderland. Researchers at Chapman University and the Vienna University of Technology have finally demonstrated this phenomenon experimentally using neutrons.

Neutrons are subatomic particles lacking an electronic charge, but possessing a spin, so they are affected by magnetic fields. For some time researchers have been using neutron interferometers to measure quantum mechanics by splitting a beam of neutrons and recombining them. As the neutrons enter a superposition, they will take both paths until a measurement forces a decision. For this experiment the two beams were filtered so that the top beam consisted only of neutrons with spins parallel to the beam, with those in the bottom beam having antiparallel spins. (Returning to the Cheshire Cat, the cats in the top beam are all grinning and those in the bottom are all frowning.) When the beams recombine, the resulting beam contains neutrons of both spin directions, but only those with a parallel spin are counted, therefore they must have taken the top path. (Only grins are being counted, so the only cats being counted travelled the top path.)

To separate the properties from the particles, the researchers bring in a magnetic field to disrupt the spins a little. When applied to the top beam, nothing actually happens, but when applied to the bottom beam, they will actually interfere with the measurement. As only the spin parallel neutrons are being counted and only the spin antiparallel neutrons are being affected, there should be no interference. Unless, that is, the spins of the neutrons in the top beam are actually taking the bottom path, and being affected by the magnetic field such that there is interference when the beams recombine. (Some of the grins must be separated from their cats to take the bottom path, because the count of grins changes when applying the field to the bottom path, despite there being no grinning cats on the bottom path.)

What is any of this good for? Besides adding another cat to quantum mechanics experiments, it could also be used to create high precision experiments that are less susceptible to external perturbations.

Source: Chapman University


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 05:48AM
Author: bp9801

August has arrived, and so has another weekend. To welcome it, we have some items for you to check out today, including a look at the ECZ Z97 Machine motherboard. It is a mainstream board that offers some higher end features, like improved audio and an M.2 slot for SSDs. There's also a review on the Cooler Master N600, which is the top product in the N Series lineup and offers enthusiast-level parts at an entry-level price. Ending things for today is a look at twenty of the worst PC setups seen over the last month, as well as a new podcast looking back at the biggest news and reviews from the past week.

Motherboards
ECS Z97 Machine @ Madshrimps

Cases
Cooler Master N600 @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups - July 2014 @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #311 @ PC Perspective


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New Topological Insulator Confirmed

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 09:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

They say one should not judge a book by its cover, and that is definitely true of some materials as well. Topological insulators (TIs) are interesting materials that will conduct electrons across their surfaces, but not through their insulating volumes, which leads to some curious electrical properties. It has recently been confirmed by researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Paul Scherrer Institute, and the Chinese Academy of Science that one material hoped to be TI is one, but with some very special properties.

Samarium hexaboride (SmB6) has been theorized to be a TI for some time, but the reasons behind it are slightly different from others. The bulk of SmB6 is an insulator due to the Kondo effect, which causes electrons to scatter in a material due to temperature. It also has the effect of protecting electron currents from being disturbed by irregularities in a material. This means that a topological Kondo insulator would be very robust and efficient, even compared to other TIs that can conduct electricity on their surfaces with minimal resistance. To confirm SmB6 is a topological insulator, the researchers fired photons at it with enough energy to knock electrons off of it. These electrons were then measured to provide information on the TI.

One of the reasons topological insulators are of such interest is that electrons traveling on their surface preserve their spin, an intrinsic characteristic giving electrons their magnetic properties. The hope is that computers could one day be built that operate on electronic spin, instead of electronic charge, and TIs will likely help make that possible.

Source: EurekAlert!


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New Shadowgate Cinematic Trailer Unveils the Evil Warlock "Talimar the Black"

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 11:06AM
Author: ClayMeow

Last week we learned that the re-imagining of the 1987 classic Shadowgate was finally set to arrive for Windows and Mac on August 21. Part of the re-imagining is an updated and expanded story complete with cut-scenes. Today, developer Zojoi released a cinematic trailer entitled "Talimar the Black", featuring gorgeous hand-painted sequences from the game. "The trailer unveils the malevolent [warlock] Talimar the Black, his fall from grace, and the power he seeks buried deep within the bowels of Castle Shadowgate." Players take on the role of "The Seed of Prophecy", who is the last hope to defeat this traitorous Warlock Lord.

Shadowgate is launching August 21 for Windows and Mac on Steam and other digital outlets, while the iOS and Android versions will launch Fall 2014. You can pre-order a Steam copy from the official site for $14.99 (25% off), with additional options available with extra goodies.

Source: Press Release


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Klei Entertainment's Invisible, Inc. Coming to Steam Early Access August 19

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 12:34PM
Author: ClayMeow

Originally entitled Incognita, the turn-based tactical espionage game Invisible, Inc. has been in paid alpha since September 2013. Since then, along with the name change this past January, developer Klei Entertainment has released twelve major updates to the game. On June 17, Klei announced that that it was temporarily suspending alpha purchases in preparation for its arrival on Steam Early Access and its biggest update yet. Today, Klei announced that Invisible, Inc. will be coming to Steam Early Access on August 19.

Klei Entertainment founder Jamie "Bigfoot" Cheng made the announcement today in a forum post and highlighted a few of the things the team has been working on for this major update. Invisible, Inc. now has a Mission Map that allows players to select their own locations. An Infinite Mode has also been added, which is as it sounds, allowing you build up your agency and survive as long as possible. The mainframe, Incognita, has received an overhaul with new abilities, and upgrading her will improve hacking efficiency. Lastly, Cheng promises a "huge amount of gameplay and visual improvements [including] dragging bodies, way better Line of Sight and cover visualization, huge improvements to the HUD, the aforementioned map, reusable items, hacking drones allows you to control them... and more."

Sadly, the Steam page isn't live yet, nor is there any new trailer at this time.

Source: Klei Entertainment via Facebook


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Apple Officially Closes Beats Acquisition Deal

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 01:42PM
Author: gebraset

Beats, which was cofounded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre and is comprised of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, has officially been acquired by Apple following the closing of a $3 billion deal. The deal itself was announced earlier this year in May, with the European Union providing final approval earlier this week. Within the deal closing announcement, Apple mentioned that it plans to elevate the experience that music provides listeners and is excited to work with individuals on the Beats team that are so enthusiastic about music. Apple did not disclose just exactly what it plans to do with Beats as a company going forward, however.

Source: CNET


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Comcast Increases Available Bandwidth in Select Markets

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 01:49PM
Author: gebraset

Comcast customers within select markets in California, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas will notice that their broadband speeds have increased substantially. Although the additional available throughput will vary by plan, Comcast is providing the increased speeds at no cost. Those who are currently subscribed to the Performance plan will now notice speeds of up to 50 Mbps, up from 25 Mbps, while those on the Blast plan will notice speeds of up to 105 Mbps, up from 50 Mbps. The Extreme 105 plan is even being upgraded for free, with bandwidth now being bumped up to 150 Mbps.

At this time, Comcast has not announced any changes to its other plans for customers located within the select markets aforementioned.

Source: PCWorld


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Biostar Announces Hi-Fi B85S2G Motherboard

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 01:55PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The latest motherboard from Biostar uses the Intel B85 single chip architecture supporting fourth generation i7 and i5 processors from the 1150 socket. The Hi-Fi B85S2G has numerous potential applications including personal, business, and Bitcoin mining with three PCI-E slots. The board also has two Gigabit LAN ports and a "Load Balancing" feature to divide traffic between the ports when both are connected. Up to 16GB of DDR3 is supported in two slots with four SATA3 connectors, two SATA2 connectors, 8-channel audio, and seven USB ports.

Source: Press Release


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Plotting Quantum Paths

Posted: August 1, 2014 @ time: 02:04PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Many systems in Nature try to achieve a low state of energy, which can be quite useful by keeping things simple. In quantum mechanics though, simple rarely happens, including when a particle in a superposition just tries to get from one point to another. Finally though, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and University of California, Berkeley have designed and completed an experiment to actually track the path a quantum particle takes, without destroying its quantum nature.

Quantum mechanical phenomena are typically very fragile with observations causing them to collapse down to classical physics. This is true of superposition, which is the phenomenon of a particle existing in multiple mutually-exclusive states at the same time, such as being in two positions at the same time. An electron in an atom will be in just such a superposition when moving between the ground state and an excited state, as it can exist in both states at the same time, resulting in an infinite number of possible paths. Despite that, the electron will still have a desired path, like classical systems do, but observing it is tricky, as observations can collapse the superposition. The researchers got around that though by using microwave photons that would not trigger the electrons to move from one state to another. Being quantum systems, the photons would still collect information about the electrons as it passed by. The researchers also did the work with a superconducting circuit sometimes called an artificial atom, as it can have properties, like quantized electron energy levels, like atoms do.

The results confirmed the researchers' theory by showing that the electrons prefer to move along convex curves, though some had guessed other possibilities including concave curves, a straight line, and even a squiggly line. Given the amount of physics and chemistry that is the result of the behavior of electrons, this research could one day lead to some very interesting discoveries.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 05:18AM
Author: bp9801

It's the start of a new week, and that means some new items for you to check out today. There is a review on the AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU, a new model meant to fill in some of the gaps in AMD's Kaveri line. It is similar to the A10-7850K, just it has nearly half the power usage to make it a prime candidate for an HTPC build. Our other item for today is a giveaway, as you can enter for a chance to win a Phanteks Enthoo Pro case and PH-TC14CS CPU cooler.

CPUs
AMD A10-7800 Kaveri @ LanOC Reviews

Miscellany
Win a Phanteks Enthoo Pro Case & PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler @ ThinkComputers


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New Electrode for Grid-Scale Batteries

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 05:29AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

On the small, personal scale, batteries have enabled many technologies, and on the large scale, they could do the same. One of the outstanding issues of solar and wind panel is their variability throughout the day, which massive batteries could address, but such batteries are expensive, dangerous, and do not always survive long. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory however, have found a way to ease these problems for one class of battery.

Sodium-beta batteries are massive batteries the size of cargo containers that use pure sodium as the negative electrode, with a solid, ceramic membrane made of beta alumina separating the electrodes. Ideally the sodium will completely coat the beta alumina, but molten sodium resists the ceramic if temperatures are below 400 ºC, so the batteries operate at 350 ºC. While this is necessary for operation, it also shortens the lifespan of the batteries, and poses a fire risk. The PNNL researchers found a solution by changing the electrode from pure sodium to a sodium-cesium alloy that will wet the ceramic at lower temperatures.

The new battery has an operating temperature of just 150 ºC and keeps the 420 milliampere-hours per gram capacity of traditional sodium-beta batteries. That capacity last longer in the new battery as well, as one hundred cycles only brought it down to 97%, while pure-sodium batteries are at 70% after sixty cycles. Also the reduction in temperature would allow cheaper materials to be used for the battery, as steel could be replaced by polymers.

Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


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Tennis Meets Street Fighter in Facepunch Studios' Second Unveiled Prototype, Deuce

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 08:22AM
Author: ClayMeow

Last week, despite Rust still being in Early Access, developer Facepunch Studios unveiled a new project codenamed Riftlight. In a follow-up post, Facepunch founder Garry Newman explained that the studio actually had "three other prototypes being worked on." In a new blog entry posted by Facepunch's Ian James, we now know one of those additional prototypes: "an arcade style tennis game with a focus on unique characters and courts."

Referred to as Deuce and described as tennis meets Street Fighter, it appears like any other isometric tennis game on the surface, but with special moves. Four such special moves that currently work in the prototype build "to some degree" include: Ice, which freezes the opponent on returning the ball; Tornado, which sends the ball flying in a random direction; Teleport, which switches the ball position mid flight; and Fireball, which isn't described but appears to be a fast, powerful shot. Balance is a large concern for James though, as the current iteration of Tornado "is almost impossible to return." He's also iterating on ideas about how and when to trigger the special moves and how "in position" a player has to be to be able to return the ball. He's even coded his own physics system instead of simply using Unity's built-in physics engine, allowing for backspin, topspin, or curving along a spline for some of the special moves.

Aside from the special moves, the other unique aspect of the game will be its characters. James plans on a large roster of playable characters, each with their own move set, and each with their own look that's atypical of a tennis player. James and his team "want to build a selection of characters that could star in their own games in the future or perhaps play different sports." Each character will also have a matching location just as you'd expect from a fighting game like Street Fighter, and James is "toying with the idea that elements in the court environment will come in to play during a match."

As with Riftlight, there is no release window provided for Deuce, but the core game is already functional, as is both local and online multiplayer. James plans on providing weekly updates to keep us informed.

Source: Deuce Devblog


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Catching Changing Electrical Behavior in Graphene

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 09:49AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Graphene is an unusual material with its amazing electrical, optical, and mechanical properties. This makes it of particular interest to many people for use in electronics and sensors, but we are still learning new things about it. Researchers at MIT have recently found that the way graphene interacts with light depends on it electron concentration, which serves to explain contradictions in some previous studies.

When a short, bright pulse of laser light strikes a semiconductor, the pulse increases its conductivity, while the same pulse will decrease the conductivity of a metal. Graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon, has been observed to both increase and decrease conductivity under laser pulses, despite the fact that it is typically a metal-like conductor. The MIT researchers discovered that the behavior depends on the electron concentration of the graphene, with a low concentration causing its photoresponse to be like a semiconductor and a high concentration causing it to behave like a metal. To find this result, the researchers placed the graphene on top of an insulator with an electrode beneath it, and then used one laser to provide the pulse and another to measure the conductivity. This all-optical, non-contact approach allowed for the electrical response to be measured within a trillionth of a second.

Now armed with this information, researchers can develop and improve advanced, highly sensitive light detectors made of graphene. These detectors could have ultrafast response times and respond to a broad spectrum of frequencies.

Source: MIT


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The Sims 4 is a Very Emotional Game

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 03:30PM
Author: ClayMeow

If you're like me, you only really care about the Create A Sim and Build Mode tools, but for those of you that actually want to "play the game," The Sims 4 is chock full of emotions. I'm not talking about the sadness you feel when your favorite sim dies or the satisfaction you get when you trap a sim in a burning building (I won't judge...). No no, I'm talking about the sims themselves, as displayed in this "New Emotions Official Gameplay Trailer":

The Sims 4 is coming exclusively to PC on September 2, with pre-orders currently available for the standard Limited Edition ($59.99) and the Digital Deluxe Edition ($69.99).

Source: Official Site


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ECS Announces White LIVA Mini PC

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 04:44PM
Author: CheeseMan42

ECS first announced the LIVA Mini PC early last month and the small form factor system has "received all the positive feedback from users as well as many awards from media globally." ECS has decided to expand the line with a white version of the system with a 64GB eMMC storage capability. The eMMC storage option represents an upgrade over the previous model and was intended "to fulfill the high storage requirement and to enjoy the quick Read/Write Speed."

Source: Press Release


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Ultralight Foam Made from Atom-Thick Sheets

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 04:52PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Two-dimensional materials have been of great interest since their discovery, as they can possess many interesting mechanical and electrical properties. Sometimes those properties will not translate to 3D forms of the material, but other times they will. Researchers at Rice University have recently devised a way to grow foam made of graphene oxide and white graphene that could find possible use as electrodes and structural components.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon, with graphene oxide (GO) being a close relative that is actually easier to produce. White graphene is not related to either material though, except by having the same flat, hexagonal structure, as it consists of boron nitride. Because both GO and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) have the same structure, they can form seamless connections, creating a hybrid material many researchers are investigating. Those at Rice discovered that they could combine the two with certain catalysts and then freeze-dry the mixture to create a foam of the 2D materials. The structure resembles an office building with multiple floors and walls supporting them.

When stress tested, the researchers found the foam stood up very well to compression and stretching. How well it survived depended on the ratio of GO and h-BN, which the researchers intend to optimize through additional experiments, while also testing how large a sample they can grow.

Source: Rice University


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Tt eSports Announces Battle Dragon Power Bank

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 04:58PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Battle Dragon Edition Power Bank is the latest accessory from the Tt eSports line from Thermaltake. It carries up to 8,800 mAh of charge and can power multiple mobile devices on a single charge. A high efficiency design provides for up to 90% power conversion to provide the fastest charging times. Four LEDs indicate the amount of charge remaining on the device and a pair of USB ports provide for normal charging or fast charging through a 2.1A port. The Battle Dragon Edition Power Bank will retail for $39.99 and is available now.

Source: Press Release


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China Bans Kaspersky Lab and Symantec Corporation Products

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 05:54PM
Author: gebraset

In an effort to limit its use of foreign technology, China has excluded anti-virus vendors Kaspersky Lab and Symantec Corporation from its approved vendor list. At this time, only five anti-virus brands are approved for use, all of which are developed within China. The announcement from the state-controlled People's Daily shows that Beijing is intent on using domestic information technology products, which is no doubt related to documents that were released by Edward Snowden last year that unveiled United States surveillance programs. Although Symantec officials were not available for contact, Kaspersky spokesman Alejandro Arango noted that the company is working closely with Chinese authorities about the exclusion of its software.

Kaspersky Lab and Symantec are not alone in this challenge to be listed as an approved vendor, as companies like Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft have all reportedly faced challenges with China since the release of documents pertaining to United States surveillance programs. China has even banned governmental use of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, for personal computers.

Source: Reuters


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Walmart Launches Redesigned Website

Posted: August 4, 2014 @ time: 06:31PM
Author: gebraset

Walmart has just launched a redesigned version of its online storefront thanks to Walmart Labs, its research and development team located in Silicon Valley. The new design incorporates many improvements that were based on input received directly from Walmart customers. These improvements include a mobile-based layout, an improved personalized search engine that utilizes past purchases and search history, and more in-depth product pages. Additionally, larger buttons and a larger search box are now featured on the Walmart website. Overall, the new design is tailored towards making Walmart more competitive against other online retailers such as Amazon. 

According to Walmart, the new personalization feature is currently available to roughly half of all its customers, though plans are in place for it to be rolled out to all of its customers by the end of this month.

Source: CNET


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Capturing Audio Information from Video

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 05:56AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Sound waves can be described as vibrations in a medium, whether that is air, water, or another material. Though you cannot see it with the naked eye, those vibrations can be translated to objects like bags, aluminum foil, and the surfaces of water. Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have recently developed an algorithm that can identify these vibrations in a video and recreate the sounds that caused them.

For the most accurate reconstructed audio, the video needs to have a frequency greater than the audio signal, so the researchers employed high speed cameras to film at 2000-6000 frames per second. They were also able to use video from more typical cameras that record at just 60 FPS by exploiting how some sensors will actually record a row of pixels at a time, instead of recording a full frame. This means that quick movements can be seen as an object moves between recording one row and the next. To overcome the very small size of the vibrations, which are smaller than the size of a pixel, the algorithm watches for color shifts, indicative of a border moving in the image. The pixel covering the border would be a blend of the colors on either side of the border, so if the border moves, the color will shift one way or the other.

As it is now, this technology can capture intelligible audio signals from video of some objects, or provide information concerning how many people are speaking, and their identity. Naturally there are possible applications in law enforcement and forensics, but like any new technology, it could have a variety of uses not yet imagine.

 

 

Source: MIT


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New Mortal Kombat X Gameplay Video Walks Us Through Raiden's Character Variations

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 09:07AM
Author: ClayMeow

Last month, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and NetherRealm Studios surprised nobody by revealing that franchise mainstay Raiden would be in Mortal Kombat X. Today, WBIE released a new video narrated by NetherRealm Studio's creative director Ed Boon, describing Raiden's character variations and play styles, along with some new images:

  • Thunder God — "The Thunder God Variation enhances Raiden's lightning attacks. This allows him to extend and perform combos that are unique only to this Variation. Thus giving Raiden the potential to do more damage."
  • Displacer — "In his Displacer Variation, Raiden gains the ability to teleport to multiple attack zones. This tactic can be used to move into close range, attack from behind, or even escape rushdowns, making Raiden difficult to contain and significantly more mobile."
  • Storm Lord — "The Storm Lord Variation gives Raiden the ability to create lightning traps. These traps can be used defensively or as a method to corner opponents. They can be used to affect wide areas, allowing Raiden to control the entire battlefield."

Mortal Kombat X will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in 2015.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 10:07AM
Author: bp9801

We are moving right along with August, with plenty of items for you to check out. There is the ASUS R9 270 Direct CU II OC video card, which may not have as high stock clocks as a 270X, but that custom cooler could easily help surpass those numbers. If you're into water cooling and reside on the NVIDIA half, we have a look at the EKWB ASUS GTX 780 Ti DCII OC full cover water block that also comes with a rear plate for maximum cooling. To house your computer, and have it look good while doing so, there's a review on the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe, a fancier version of the Enthoo Pro. Thecus' N2560 Dual-Bay NAS gets put to the test to see how well this affordable option performs. If you need a new mouse pad, maybe the XTracGear Ripper is the one for you. Rounding out today's assortment is the ASUS MeMO Pad 7, an Android tablet powered by Intel.

Video Cards
ASUS R9 270 Direct CU II OC @ Madshrimps

VGA Cooling
EKWB ASUS GTX 780 Ti DCII OC Full Cover Water Block @ Madshrimps

Cases
Phanteks Enthoo Luxe @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
Thecus N2560 Dual-Bay NAS @ PC Perspective

Mouse Pad
XTracGear Ripper @ Benchmark Reviews

Laptops/Tablets
ASUS MeMO Pad 7 @ TechSpot


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Wireless Communication without Power Consumption

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 10:20AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

An easy way to extend the battery life of devices like smartphones is to turn off their wireless radios. Broadcasting signals is an energy expensive process, which is one of the reasons we have not yet achieved an Internet of Things that will connect non-traditional devices. Researchers at the University of Washington though have developed a technology that drops the energy required for wireless data transfer to negligible levels by taking advantage of the signals already there.

Traditional wireless communication relies on a transmitter to put out a signal for a receiver to pick up. Previous research has demonstrated that the energy of those signals can be captured and used to power some small devices, but typically the power acquired this way is not enough to send a signal. The Washington researchers solved this problem by not sending signals but by using Wi-Fi backscatter, which alters signals already in the air, instead of producing new ones. Doing this is so much simpler that the device using this technology would not need a battery to communicate.

So far the researchers have demonstrated communication at 1 Kbps with a two meter distance between devices, which they hope to increase to 20 meters. While that is a relatively slow connection, the idea here is not to download webpages and videos but to provide simpler data, like temperature information on a room or your workout statistics to an online spreadsheet.

Source: University of Washington


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Assassin's Creed Rogue Infiltrating PS3 and 360 on November 11

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 01:19PM
Author: ClayMeow

When Assassin's Creed Unity was announced for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, word got out that a last-gen Assassin's Creed game was also in the works, codenamed Comet. Today, Ubisoft has officially announced Assassin's Creed Rogue, coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 worldwide on November 11 (two weeks after Unity). Whereas Unity takes place in 18th century Paris during the French Revolution, Rogue concludes the North American trilogy, transporting us to new locations across North America during the Seven Years War, also in the 18th century. These locations include "the frozen North Atlantic, the Appalachian River Valley and New York," and the game will feature a naval component with a new ship called the Morrigan.

Assassin's Creed Rogue marks the first time players will be able to take on the role of a Templar. "After a mission for the Assassin Brotherhood goes terribly wrong, Shay Patrick Cormac leaves the Order, prompting his former brothers to make an attempt on his life. Of course, what doesn’t kill you turns you into a hunter. Now Shay is on a path of vengeance, tracking down the Assassins and systematically eliminating them. Assassin’s Creed Rogue will be the darkest chapter in the franchise as you take off your Assassin hood and step into the role of a Templar."

Assassin's Creed Rogue is being developed by Ubisoft Sofia, in collaboration with Ubisoft's Singapore, Montreal, Quebec, Chengdu, Milan, and Bucharest studios. Pre-ordering grants you the Ultimate Hunter Pack (an exclusive collection of Templar weapons and items) and The Siege of Fort de Sable Mission (a bonus fort-raiding mission). The standard edition is priced at $59.99. A collector's edition will also be available with an art-book, three lithographs, the original soundtrack, and two additional single player missions, but pricing was not disclosed. Of course, the real question is, how long before an "HD Version" comes to PC, PS4, and XBO? We all know it's going to happen eventually; it's a matter of when, not if.

Source: Press Release and UbiBlog


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Comcast Reworks its Internet Essentials Program

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 01:42PM
Author: gebraset

Comcast has been offering its Internet Essentials program, which provides 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds to low-income families, for just under two years. While it has successfully connected 350,000 eligible families since its launch, Comcast is looking to bring more of the 2.6 million people that are eligible nationwide onboard. Today the company announced that it is reworking Internet Essentials by  making it even more enticing for those who have not signed up for the program. Comcast is providing new subscribers that sign up between today and September 20, 2014, with six months of complimentary service. The company is also providing families with an amnesty program, in which outstanding bills owed to Comcast that are more than one year old are forgiven, allowing even more low-income families to be eligible for Internet Essentials.

Comcast plans to utilize many public service announcements to promote its six months complimentary offer while also engaging parents, teachers, non-profit partners, and elected officials about the Internet Essentials program.

Source: Press Release


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The Original Resident Evil is Being Remastered (Again) for PC and Consoles

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 01:52PM
Author: ClayMeow

The Resident Evil series has sold over 61 million units to date, but the last few iterations of the franchise have been a far cry from the original ones, which defined what true survival horror was all about. Originally released way back in 1996, the original Resident Evil was actually remade in 2002 "from the ground up with new visuals, gameplay elements, environments and story details while retaining the survival horror atmosphere the series had become synonymous for." Today, Capcom announced that it will be revisiting the classic once again, remastering the remaster.

Planned for release in early 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, Resident Evil will feature upgraded visuals, with increased resolutions and textures, enhanced 3D models, and 1080p support for the new-gen consoles. Sound effects are also being fully remastered with 5.1 surround support. Most interestingly, players will be able to toggle between two visual options and two control scheme options at any time. Visually, you can try out the classic 4:3 ratio or switch to the stunning 16:9 widescreen mode. For controls, "Purists can choose to play with the classic control scheme or enjoy a new alternative scheme in line with current standards where the character moves in the direction of the analogue stick."

If you got into the Resident Evil series late and never experienced where it all began, soon you'll be able to do so without your eyes bleeding! The screenshots below are from the PS3/360 version, not PC or new-gen. Here's hoping Capcom plans on giving the remaster treatment to Resident Evil 2, my favorite survival horror game of all-time.

Source: Press Release


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Open-Air Acoustic Bottle Developed

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 02:03PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For years now, people have been fascinated by metamaterials, which can make light and sound waves do the unexpected, including creating invisibility cloaks. The fact that these are actual devices though limits their effectiveness, so researchers have been looking for ways to replicate the results without special mediums. Those at Berkeley Lab have recently discovered how to create an acoustic bottle in open air.

An acoustic bottle, like the name suggests, is a bottle of sound with the sound waves travelling around a space, instead of passing through it. As the center is pressure neutral, whatever is in it will not interact with the sound waves, like how an invisibility cloak works. To achieve this without a metamaterial for the sound to pass through, the researchers used an array of speakers and carefully tuned the sound's phase profile across it. Phase is a property of waves that represents the position of the crests and troughs, and by changing it one can control how waves will interfere with each other. In this instance the interaction creates a high pressure wall around a space that will actually pull sound waves into the wall, and around from the space.

Potentially acoustic bottles could be used for routing sound waves around objects, cloaking an object from sonar detection or avoiding obstacles to ultrasound imaging. Also it could be used for achieve acoustic levitation, which can manipulate millimeter-sized objects.

Source: Berkeley Lab


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Sony Abandons E-Readers

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 02:04PM
Author: gebraset

Sony has revealed that it does not currently have any plans to develop a successor Reader model, effectively ending its efforts to successfully grab and maintain a portion of the e-reader market. The announcement comes a few months after the company made its last batch of Reader devices, the PRS-T3, outside of Japan. As such, the PRS-T3 will continue to exist as long as supplies remain within Europe. Sony Reader owners within North America can continue using Kobo for book purchases, while owners located in Japan can continue to make use of the Sony Reader Store.

Source: BBC News


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Turtle Rock's Evolve Pushed Back to February 10, 2015

Posted: August 5, 2014 @ time: 02:34PM
Author: ClayMeow

Take-Two Interactive Software published its fiscal first quarter 2015 financial report today, and in it listed all the games currently on the docket. Grand Theft Auto V, Battleborn, Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, WWE 2K15, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and NBA 2K15 are all still right on schedule, but apparently Turtle Rock's Evolve is not. No explanation was given, just an unceremonious sentence that said: "The title is now planned to launch globally on February 10, 2015." This past weekend was a big alpha stress test for the game, which may have impacted the decision to push the game back, but again, no reason has been provided.

Take-Two Release Dates

When the original release date of October 21, 2014 was announced, it had a lot of competition that month: Alien: Isolation, Batman: Arkham Knight, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Of those games, now only Alien and Middle-earth remain in October. Delays are an inevitable part of the video game industry. In the meantime, if you didn't get to play in the Evolve alpha test and aren't patient, you can always print out your own figurines and make up your own matches in the real world like you did when you were a kid.

UPDATE: The Evolve Facebook page has confirmed the new release date.

Source: Take-Two


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Using What We Know to Manipulate Images in 3D

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 05:55AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Image editing has become quite prolific with companies and individuals using software tools to do everything from removing blemishes to creating practically new scenes. These tools are generally limited to just acting in two dimensions. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University though have developed software that allows for 3D manipulation of objects in 2D images, by leveraging archives of computer models.

The idea behind the system is to manipulate images based on what we know, instead of just what we see. An object captured in a scene, like a taxi, may only be seen from one angle, but we can recognize that it is a taxi, and from that interpret what it looks like from other angles. The software does essentially the same thing as it semi-automatically aligns 3D models to objects in an image. It also estimates the illumination and the appearance of the hidden portions, so it appears to be seamless, as the object is manipulated.

Of course this technique has limitations, including that there are only so many 3D models for it to draw from, and even as the number increases, it will have to be able to find these new models.

 

 

Source: Carnegie Mellon University


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Dark Fairy Tale Platformer Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries Arrives on Kickstarter

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 09:06AM
Author: ClayMeow

At the end of June, Belgian studio GRIN unveiled the first look at its upcoming 2.5D side-scrolling platformer, Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries. As the name subtly suggests, Woolfe uses the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood as its backdrop, but adds a dark fantasy twist. "Following the death of her father, Red dons a cape, picks up an axe and faces her worst fears in a bloody vendetta against the evil B.B. Woolfe, CEO of Woolfe Industries." No, this is most certainly not the Little Red Riding Hood story you grew up with.

As announced back during that June unveil, Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries will be playable for the first time publicly at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from August 13-17. In fact, according to GRIN, "the core gameplay is already in place," so why the need to turn to crowdfunding? The answer is cliche, but important nonetheless: to make it even better.

While at this point much of the core gameplay is in place and with the current funding at our disposal, we could continue through development as-is. But, we want Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries to be something truly special. Kickstarter gives us the opportunity to include some excellent features that would otherwise have to be sacrificed and the opportunity for our supporters to (quite literally) be a part of the game.

Before we get into what the Kickstarter funding will allow the studio to accomplish, let's first delve into what the game entails. GRIN broke the game down to five core features: 2.5D action-platforming; fast, axe-wielding combat with skillfully executed combos (mindless hack-'n'-slash this is not); deranged fairy tale bosses, such as The Pied Piper, a monstrous Pinocchio, and a Creeping Beauty; a rich, visual experience inspired by Tim Burton and Dutch painter Anton Pieck; and a twisted fairy tale story. Over the course of the adventure, players will navigate across four main environments: The City, The Forest, The Mines, and The Factory. Each locale will not only offer a unique aesthetic, but of course unique enemies to overcome, like scary fairies or evil dwarves.

A successful Kickstarter campaign will allow GRIN to add two additional key features. The first is having Red Riding Hood harness magical abilities, "blessed with superhuman skills that help her overcome opponents" instead of simply having her relying on her axe. Four such abilities GRIN would like to include are: Animal Instinct, providing heightened senses, such as vision and smell, that help you detect environmental clues; Shadow Trance, which allows you to submerge in your surroundings and become almost invisible; Smoke Teleport, which allows you to disappear and reappear at a different location, even moving through objects and closed doors; and Wolf Power, containing a set of attack modes using a mystical shadow wolf. Most importantly, GRIN doesn't want to just tack these powers on, but rather seamlessly integrate them into the game, "ensur[ing] that magic is incorporated into level designs, enemy encounters, puzzles and the story in ways that feel natural and exciting to the player." This means extra challenges and workload for the writing department, programming and level design, and of course the concept art and 3D modelling department.

The second major feature GRIN plans on adding is one of the coolest things I've ever seen a Kickstarter campaign promise – every single backer actually having a personalized part in the game. If you watched the trailer, you probably noticed that Red Riding Hood has to fight her way past thousands of Toy Soldiers in the game. At the moment, each Toy Soldier has the same generic stats; rather boring. Instead of GRIN tweaking or randomizing each Toy Soldier on its own, the studio is going to put that power in the hands of every single backer. Everyone backing the game will receive access to the Online Toy Soldier Editor, providing each backer with his or her own "in-game enemy to pimp and personalize." Not only is your creation guaranteed to be encountered somewhere within your game, but every other Toy Soldier you encounter will be some other backer's creation. "Every time your soldier is victorious against Little Red Riding Hood or gets killed the stats will be logged. Your soldier will receive skill points for every battle he fights and a bonus for every battle he wins." You'll then be able to log into the Editor and spend your skill points to buff up health, strength, speed, aggression, evasion, and armor. As such, every time you do so, you're strengthening the Woolfe Army and thus gradually making the game harder for everyone playing, including yourself. If that's not worth the minimum $15 pledge, I don't know what is!

While those two additional features are certainly reason enough for the Kickstarter campaign, the extra funding will of course also be used to improve the quality of the game. The two main areas of attention will be combat and animation – creating "smarter AI and more realistic and challenging combat/combo experiences" and hiring a talented professional to rework the in-game animations and cut-scenes. GRIN provided a pie chart that breaks down where the money would go, with nearly half focused on some aspect of magic and a quarter going toward the "quality upgrade."

While GRIN plans to eventually bring the game to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the initial launch platform for Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is PC via Steam. The game was greenlit after just five days, so Steam is already a guarantee, and that is the key backers will receive. The studio still has to figure out the logistics of console download keys, but stated that, "if it is possible, you will receive a console version too (when released)." Only Windows support is guaranteed, but the studio will look into supporting Mac as well, if it doesn't prove too difficult; Linux is out of the question though, due to the use of Unreal Engine 3. The current time table is that Woolfe enters Closed Beta this September, with the full PC Steam release planned for Q1 2015. The console release would then follow in Q2 2015.

As stated earlier, the minimum pledge is $15 ($10 via early bird), which grants you a copy of the game upon release and the Toy Soldier Editor. If you'd like Closed Beta access, that starts at $50 and up, while Alpha access starts at $100 and up. There are of course a lot of other tiers in between and after, so take a look to see which one appeals to you the most. If you're on the fence, set a reminder and come back to it after we get some impressions from gamers at Gamescom next week. I'm certainly looking forward to learning more!

Source: Press Release and Kickstarter


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Controlling Fluids and Particles with Active Surfaces

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 10:04AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Dirty windows and glasses can be annoying and even dangerous in some situations, and in others, such as with solar panels, dirt can compromise efficiency. The only way to address the problem is to clean the surface, and researchers have been working on developing better ways to do this, possibly making it automatic. Now researchers at MIT and in Saudi Arabia have found a way to make a surface that grants control over what covers it, which could lead to advanced cleaning methods or new biomedical devices.

Typically surfaces are just a passive object that other things rest on, so getting those things off requires some external force. By putting a microtexture on the surface and a magnetic fluid in the bumps and ridges, the researchers have made it active. When something, like a water droplet or small particle falls on this surface, the magnetic fluid made of oil and magnetic particle, will actually coat it, and being magnetic, enables a magnetic field to manipulate the droplet. As the surface is also low friction, the droplet is easily moved by an external field, unlike in other experiments which required powerful magnets to work.

Potentially this technology could be used to quickly clean off solar panels with less labor and less water, which is very important for solar panels in desert environments. We could also see active-surface systems being used to manipulate biological fluids, which are usually difficult to manipulate.

 

 

Source: MIT


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Thermaltake Introduces Urban S71 World of Tanks Edition Chassis

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 01:04PM
Author: gebraset

In partnership with Wargaming Public Company, Thermaltake has just introduced the Urban S71 World of Tanks Edition full tower windowed chassis. The latest case by Thermaltake provides an unmatched experience for gamers, offering an innovative and stylish design while also providing proper usability. The Urban S71 World of Tanks Edition features a top-mounted hard drive docking station that supports either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives, a tool-free drive bay design, a wide cable routing gap for easy cable management, and one rear 120mm turbo fan and two 200mm speed control fans. The connectivity panel on the front of the case provides gamers with two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and HD microphone and headset jacks.

No information has been released by Thermaltake in regards to pricing or an expected release date of the Urban S71 World of Tanks Edition chassis.

Source: Press Release


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PAPAGO! Unveils GoSafe 200 Video Contest

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 01:21PM
Author: gebraset

PAPAGO!, an electronics company established in Taipei, Taiwan, has just unveiled a video contest in which three selected participants will win a GoSafe 200, with one of the three winners also receiving a $400 gift card of the company’s choice. The GoSafe 200 is the first slide out dashcam on the market and features a 140-degree angle of capture while supporting 1080 high-definition video. Those who would like to participate need to follow three steps, which can all be found within the PAPAGO! promotional video below. Contest rules and guidelines do apply, so potential participants should be sure to read them thoroughly on the PAPAGO! video contest website.

Source: Press Release


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New Material for Ultra-Thin Solar Cells

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 01:57PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

They say 'thin is in' for electronics, but actually achieving that can be very difficult, depending on what it is you are trying to do. For solar cells, making something thin requires the right material and the right connections to keep the energy from being lost before it is used. Tungsten diselenide would work for converting light to electricity, but actually using it to harvest power would have been very difficult, but researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have recently found a way to do it.

Tungsten diselenide is a semiconductor just three atoms thick, with a layer of tungsten between two layers of selenium. It has previously been shown that it can convert light into electricity and back, but for use in a solar cell, it would need electrodes to be attached to it every few micrometers. Without these electrodes, the electrons excited by the light would just fall back into their holes, losing their energy. The researchers found that if a layer of molybdenum disulphide were placed on top though, the electron-hole pairs would not recombine, because the holes would remain in the semiconducting tungsten diselenide while the electons would migrate to the molybdenum disulphide. Electrodes would then be able to pull the electrons away, to be put to use.

As these materials are just atoms thick, the resulting solar cell is considered ultra-thin and is so light weight that 300 m2 of it would come it at one gram. It is also thin enough to make it transparent and very flexible, though the former may change as the researchers try adding more layers to generate more electricity.

Source: Vienna University of Technology


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Amazon Expands Same-Day Delivery to Six More Cities

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 02:34PM
Author: gebraset

In an effort to improve the lives of its customers, Amazon has expanded its Same-Day Delivery service to six additional cities within the United States. The latest cities that can now receive items within the same day of ordering include Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC metro areas. Customers within these newly announced regions, as well as Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle metro areas, can browse Amazon with an applied “Get It Today” filter that reveals items that qualify for Same-Day Delivery. Amazon Prime members pay just $5.99 for all the Same-Day Delivery items they can order, with the online retailer touting more than a million items that qualify for the expedited delivery service.

Amazon Same-Day Delivery is available on orders that are placed as late as noon, seven days a week.

Source: Press Release


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Google Acquires Emu

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 02:49PM
Author: gebraset

Emu, a mobile text-messaging application with a built-in virtual assistant, has been officially acquired by Google. While terms regarding the acquisition were not revealed by either company, Emu did make it known that the application will soon cease to exist. As of August 25, 2014, Emu will no longer be available for download within the App Store, and its existing users at that time will no longer be able to send, receive, or download messages. The company did offer an apology for this inconvenience, but noted that it is quite excited to begin its journey with Google going forward.

Emu was founded in 2012 and the application has been available on Android devices since late last year and iPhone devices since April of this year.

Source: PCWorld and Emu


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Mad Catz Releases S.T.R.I.K.E. M Wireless Keyboard

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 03:05PM
Author: gebraset

Mad Catz has just launched its latest keyboard offering, the S.T.R.I.K.E. M Wireless Keyboard. The compact keyboard features innovative technology packed into a unique design such as a rechargeable battery with up to 45 hours of battery life, illuminated backlighting, dedicated media buttons, and on board memory that is used to store multiple macro commands. Mad Catz has also included an Optical Finger Navigation Mouse Sensor that provides the familiarity of moving a mouse cursor on a computer screen to users of the keyboard. This unique feature can be utilized on a plethora of devices, as the S.T.R.I.K.E. M Wireless Keyboard features universal Bluetooth compatibility.

The Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. M Wireless Keyboard retails for $99.99 and is available in gloss black, gloss white, and gloss red.

Source: Mad Catz and techPowerUp


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Sprint Declares Marcelo Claure as New CEO

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 03:39PM
Author: gebraset

After abandoning its plans to acquire T-Mobile, Sprint has named Marcelo Claure as its new Chief Executive Officer. Claure is the founder and CEO of Brightstar, a subsidiary of SoftBank, which owns Sprint, and joined the Sprint board of directors last January. Claure has seen his fair share of success throughout his career, as Brightstar, a wireless distributor and provider of services to the wireless industry, grew into a global business worth $10.5 billion under his leadership. According to Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son, “Marcelo is a successful entrepreneur who transformed a start-up into a global telecommunications company.”

Marcelo Claure will replace Dan Hesse, who became the president and CEO of Sprint in 2007 and was with the wireless carrier through a series of acquisitions, as president and CEO of Sprint starting August 11, 2014.

Source: PCWorld


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League of Legends Championship Boasts $2 Million Prize Pool

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 04:20PM
Author: CheeseMan42

With group stages set to begin on September 16, the prize pool for the League of Legends World Championship Series has been revealed to be $2 million. The tournament pits 16 of the best League of Legends teams in the world against each other with the top eight teams sharing the prize pool. The first place team will receive $1 million, second will get $250,000, third and fourth get $150,000, and teams five through eight will get $75,000.The top two teams will meet in a best of five finals in Seoul, South Korea on October 19.

Source: IGN


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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Will Be Available on Linux

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 04:26PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Gearbox Software has announced that the next game in the popular Borderlands series, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, will be released for the Linux operating system. The game was given a release date of October 14 prior to E3 and will take place between the in-game events of Borderlands 1 and 2. Linux availability was first revealed in the quarterly financial statements of Take Two Interactive and was later confirmed by Gearbox.

Source: IGN


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New The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria Details Emerge; Will Be Playable at Gamescom

Posted: August 6, 2014 @ time: 05:16PM
Author: ClayMeow

Back in June, Ubisoft announced The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria, the first proper The Settlers game since 2010's The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom. Today, Ubisoft released ten screenshots and offered up some details on this new iteration of the classic city building and real-time action strategy franchise:

Players will work to build up, control and optimise their production chains and economy to unlock building upgrades and new sectors, resulting in kingdoms growing larger than ever before. They will also have the opportunity to face-off against fierce enemies and frightening bosses in tactical battles to earn resources and special loot as they level up. Players can choose the champion class and skill set that best suits their play style from the thousands of different combinations possible.

Players can also team-up with up to three friends to dive into adventures that will help them collect loot while discovering the secrets of the untamed lands of Anteria. They can also visit and trade resources with friends to create a healthy supply chain and economic growth. No matter what players prefer, they will be able to focus gameplay on their favourite feature, either developing the Settlers’ kingdom and optimising the economy or seeking tactical fights and new adventures.

The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria is scheduled to arrive later this year for PC, but a closed beta will be launching soon, so be sure to head on over to the official site to sign up. If you happen to be in Cologne, Germany next week, the game will be playable during Gamescom from August 13-17 at Ubisoft's booth in Hall 6.1, Stand B020.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 05:51AM
Author: bp9801

We have a nice selection of items for you to check out today, including a look at the ASUS Strix GTX 780 6GB video card. This card has a completely custom PCB to ensure better power delivery, a large cooler to help with temperatures, and even a new fan controller design to keep things quiet during an intense gaming session. For a couple of different items, there's the LUXA2 GroovyW Bluetooth Speaker and Wireless Charging Station, and the Striker Capsule Task Light. The first one is a different take on the Bluetooth speaker market, as LUXA2 has included touchscreen controls, a microphone to take calls while paired to an Android phone or iPhone, and that charging station to provide more power. The second one is a multipurpose tool that can provide some extra light in a variety of configurations. Our final item for the day takes a look at former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and why his personality might have been misunderstood.

Video Cards
ASUS Strix GTX 780 6GB @ PC Perspective

Speakers/Headphones
LUXA2 GroovyW Bluetooth Speaker & Wireless Charging Station @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
Striker Capsule Task Light @ Benchmark Reviews
A Steve Ballmer Story That Helps Explain Microsoft @ TechSpot


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Ion Duet Entangled with Electric Field

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 05:57AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With quantum mechanics, we can make particles to all sorts of otherwise impossible things, but also because of quantum mechanics, this is very difficult to achieve and maintain. Scaling a quantum effect up is even more difficult, as so often the technology required is difficult to produce. Researchers at NIST though have recently managed to entangle a pair of ions electrically and using technology found in computers.

Entanglement is a quantum mechanics phenomenon which has the properties of multiple particles so strongly correlated that knowing the state of one particle, determines the state of the other(s). It is also one of the phenomena that are crucial to quantum technologies now and in the future. To entangle the beryllium ions they were first put in an electric-field trap, in different zones. By holding the ions in different zones, it is possible to tune the interactions between the particles, which is an important feature for quantum technologies. The researchers then forced the ions to exchange a single quantum of vibrational energy and entangled the ions' spins using lasers and microwaves.

The use of an electric field to trap the ions is important to this research as the technology involved could potentially be fabricated similarly to modern computer components, making it possible to scale up the system. Potentially a scaled-up version could be used to create quantum simulators, precise sensors, and even be used in quantum computers.

Source: NIST


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King Arthur and Van Helsing Developer NeocoreGames Teases New Game, Deathtrap

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 07:53AM
Author: ClayMeow

While we know The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing series was planned as a trilogy, and thus the third game is likely already well into development, it seems developer NeocoreGames will be showing off an entirely different game at Gamescom next week: Deathtrap. Today, the Hungarian studio released a teaser trailer entitled "Deathtrap - Monster Training Academy, Episode 1" with just a simple message to visit its booth at Gamescom in Hall 8. The name and trailer imply that it may be some sort of tower defense game. Van Helsing and Van Helsing II have tower defense mini-games, which were well received, so this wouldn't be out of the ordinary.

Based on NeocoreGames' history, it's safe to assume that Deathtrap will be coming to PC, but beyond that, we just don't know yet. It sounds like we'll learn more details during Gamescom.

Source: Press Release


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Zombie Outbreak About to Hit Counter-Strike in New F2P Title

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 08:28AM
Author: ClayMeow

If you don't reside in one of Nexon's Asian markets, you may not be aware of the free-to-play Counter-Strike Online (CSO) series. Developed by Nexon in collaboration with Valve, the original CSO was released back in 2008. While a sequel, CSO2, was released in December 2013, the original game is still going strong thanks not only to the classic CS modes, but also some unique modes, including four different Zombie Infection modes. Now it seems that Valve and Nexon are ready to take that zombie theme and create a new free-to-play game for the other regions of the world. Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies is set to arrive Q3 2014 on Steam for players in Europe, North America, Oceania, and the CIS Region, with English, German, French, Italian, Polish, and Russian language options.

Now, the CS world is about to be infected with the introduction of the ultimate game-changer: zombies. Fast-paced, frenetic action awaits, as a wide variety of new weapons are added to the fray, with diverse game modes available, featuring countless undead. The zombies in the game are quick, aggressive, and dangerous, which makes for a completely new experience.

In addition to the new zombie based experience, players can also have the original Counter-Strike experience, through modes like Hostage Rescue and Bomb Diffusion, which makes strategic intelligence more important than ever. All modes of play feature the now legendary, adrenaline-pumping CS action.

While no screenshots or trailer have been released for Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies just yet, here is a trailer for "Counter-Strike Online Zombie 4: Darkness" (one of the four Zombie Infection modes in CSO), which may give us a hint of what to expect when this new title arrives.

Source: Press Release and CSO Site (for video)


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Xbox One Loses Another Exclusive; Ryse: Son of Rome is Heading to PC This Fall with 4K Support and All DLC

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 09:17AM
Author: ClayMeow

Crytek's recent troubles have been well documented, but things may be looking up thanks to another co-publishing partnership with Deep Silver. Today, Crytek announced that former Xbox One exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome will finally be coming to PC this Fall, shortly after Capcom's Dead Rising 3 makes the jump. While the Xbox One launch title received mixed reviews, one thing almost every critic and user agreed upon was that it was a visual masterpiece, despite Ryse's sub-1080p resolution (900p, to be exact). So as amazing as it looked on Xbox One, just imagine how it'll look on PC, especially if you have a beastly machine with a 4K monitor.

Carl Jones, Director of Business Development at Crytek stated, "4K gaming is another leap in graphics quality for PC gamers and Ryse is the perfect showcase for what's now possible in high-end PC games. We've given our team the opportunity to show what CRYENGINE can really achieve, without compromising quality, thanks to the incredible hardware available now to PC gamers. Ryse will be a benchmark PC graphics showcase this year and probably for a long time in future. Our community asked for a Ryse PC version, and we have the means and technology to deliver this title with the highest quality possible."

Along with 4K support, the PC version of Ryse will contain all the DLC packages that have been released since launch, including: The Colosseum Pack containing two character skins and two Arena maps; the Mars’ Chosen Pack containing one new character skin, four Arena maps, and the new Survival mode; the Duel of Fates Pack containing two character skins, two Arena maps, and one additional Survival map; and the Morituri Pack, with three new Arena maps, two Survival maps, and five solo Arena maps. In addition, the Ruins multiplayer map and "Legionnaire's Trust" sword will also be included, which had previously only been available as part of a special edition package.

The screenshots below are 1080p shots from the PC version!

Source: Press Release and Official Site


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Potential New Material for Future LEDs

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 10:02AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Light emitting diodes have been growing in popularity in recent years, thanks to their relatively high efficiency. Compared to more traditional light sources though, they can be quite expensive though, so many are searching for ways to bring down costs. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have recently discovered a form of perovskite that is inexpensive, but is still a very clean semiconductor.

Perovskite is a class of materials with a special structure made of cuboid and diamond shapes, which also have superconducting and ferroelectric properties. In this research, it was organometal halide perovskites, consisting of lead, carbon-based ions, and halides, that were used. These materials easily dissolve in common solvents and form crystals when dried, which makes them very cheap and easy to produce, especially compared to the materials traditional used to make LEDs. The key discovery to this research though was that the crystals that formed had very clean semiconductor properties, and would not need to be run through purification processes to be useable for LEDs.

Another aspect of perovskite that makes LEDs based on them interesting is that they can be easily tuned to emit different colors, potentially enabling them to be used in future displays. The researchers estimate it may be five years before we may see perovskite-based LEDs being commercially available though.

Source: University of Cambridge


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Rise of the Tomb Raider Will Bring Motion Capture to the Next Level

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 02:19PM
Author: ClayMeow

If you thought the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot and its subsequent Definitive Edition version looked good – and yes, it looked quite good – just wait until the sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider comes out. Earlier today, actress Camilla Luddington, who voiced Lara Croft in the reboot and will be reprising her role in the sequel, tweeted out a photo "to show you just how awesomely detailed/realistic the next game will be." The photo shows a headshot of Camilla with "florescent paint that is sprayed all over my face to give 7000 points of ref!!!" For comparison, Camilla said that normal mocap dots marked on a face are only 90 point of reference; so yes, if you do the math, this new method is more than 77 times greater. Only visible under black light, Camilla said it takes just under an hour to apply all that paint.

Tomb Raider was my personal 2013 Game of the Year. While the gameplay was solid, what really made it shine was the emotional, well-scripted story. Capturing that emotion on Lara's face even more should make Rise of the Tomb Raider even better, as long as they don't skimp on the textures. Thank god Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics are putting last-gen behind them! In the meantime, since Rise of the Tomb Raider was unveiled during Microsoft's E3 2014 Press Conference, I never posted the Announcement Trailer...enjoy!

Rise of the Tomb Raider is expected to arrive Holiday 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Source: Twitter via IGN and Official Site


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Prototype Origami Robot Built

Posted: August 7, 2014 @ time: 03:19PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

To see some of the constructions you can make with origami, it is almost unbelievable that they started off as simple sheets of paper. This ability to assemble complex structures from simple materials has been of interest to many, in part because of the re-configurability of the structures. Now researchers at MIT have succeeded in creating a prototype origami robot that will actually assemble itself upon batteries being attached.

The robot is comprised mostly of parts produced with a laser cuter, similar to the bakable robots MIT demonstrated a couple months ago. Instead of using the heat of a hot plate though, this robot's joints fold when heated by electrical leads. This is an important distinction as the built-in microprocessor can order the folding in a sequence, instead of having joint fold together, providing greater control over the structure. Once assembled though, the motor or motors (different designs have been tested) were able to power the legs and get the robot moving.

It is interesting to envision the possibilities for this technology as the robots are effectively printable, making them very inexpensive. What is more, we know that hollow-shell structures can be very strong, as they give insects their ability to carry objects many times their own weight.

Source: MIT


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