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News Archives for November 2014

Additional Radeon R9 290X GPUs with 8GB of RAM are Coming Soon

Posted: November 1, 2014 @ time: 04:56AM
Author: gebraset

While the GeForce GTX 980 is currently dominating most of the GPU market with its low power consumption and excellent performance, AMD is looking to release more of its 8GB Radeon R9 290X GPUs in order to compete with the flagship NVIDIA card. According to SweClockers, AMD is planning to launch more 8GB versions of its Radeon R9 290X with three partners, which include Club3D, PowerColor, and Sapphire. At this time, Sapphire is the only manufacturer of the three to have any Radeon R9 290X 8GB cards available, but with increased quantities of Radeon R9 290X graphics cards with 8GB GDDR5 memory, customers will have more choices than ever. Although the cards are not expected to be released until November 6, 2014, the prices for the 8GB Radeon R9 290X GPUs are expected to be 10 percent higher than the 4GB versions.

Source: VideoCardz.com


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Google Play Movies & TV Now Available on Roku

Posted: November 1, 2014 @ time: 07:18AM
Author: gebraset

The team at Roku has revealed that support for Google Play Movies & TV has been officially added to current generation Roku players, which includes those introduced after June 2011. Google Play Movies & TV provides users with access to new releases and iconic classics, catering to users of all ages and types. New users of Google Play Movies & TV can even access a complimentary HD copy of X-Men for a limited time through the "Gift from Google" section, with new titles available weekly.

Roku users in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada who wish to take advantage of what Google Play Movies & TV has to offer can access the service through the Channel Store on compatible Roku devices.

Source: Roku Blog


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Amazon Appstore Offering $115 of Applications for Free

Posted: November 1, 2014 @ time: 07:35AM
Author: gebraset

Amazon is currently offering Amazon Appstore users with $115 of mobile applications for free. Plenty of excellent game and utility applications are available to download at no charge, such as Plants vs. Zombies, Plex, Visible Body, World of Goo, and Zombie Gunship, just to name a few. Amazon is marketing such an incredible offer to mobile users in order to secure consumers into its own ecosystem, which must continue to be utilized to receive future updates for any downloaded applications.

This special selection of paid applications for free from the Amazon Appstore, which has been available for the past few days, expires today.

Source: TechHive


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Instagram Integrates Video Advertisements

Posted: November 1, 2014 @ time: 08:01AM
Author: gebraset

Although Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has remained commercial free for the majority of its existence, the company has now officially integrated video advertisements into its service. The video advertisements, which are thoroughly reviewed to ensure that they contain fresh and new content, are rolling out to Instagram users over the coming weeks, with some users spotting them starting today. The initial content will include 15 second spots from Activision, Banana Republic, CW, Disney, and Lancome that play automatically. Despite early Instagram advertisers noting that users did not enjoy being marketed to through sponsored images, the aforementioned companies expressed that being the first to push video advertisements bolsters their respective reputations as innovators.

Source: Adweek


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Tactical RPG Valkyria Chronicles Coming to PC via Steam on November 11

Posted: November 2, 2014 @ time: 10:38AM
Author: ClayMeow

Back on Monday, Sega confirmed via a tweet that tactical RPG Valkyria Chronicles was heading to PC after releasing exclusively on PlayStation 3 back in 2008. Sega has now released the details. As is typical with PC ports of older console game, the PC version of Valkyria Chronicles will come bundled with all the DLC that was previously released for the PlayStation 3 version, which includes:

Hard EX Mode (harder versions of skirmish missions in the main game)
Edy's Mission "Enter the Edy Detachment" (a side story campaign)
selveria's Mission "Behind Her Blue Flame" (a side story campaign)
Challenge of the Edy Detachment (six challenge missions)

Valkyria Chronicles will release via Steam on November 11, priced at $19.99 / £14.99 / €19.99, but is currently available to pre-purchase for a 10% discount.

Source: Press Release and Steam


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New Gameplay Video Shows the 18 Fantastically Frantic Tracks of Toybox Turbos

Posted: November 2, 2014 @ time: 10:49AM
Author: ClayMeow

A little over a week ago, Codemasters announced that it was revisiting its miniature racing classics with Toybox Turbos, the spiritual successor to the brilliant Micro Machines games of the 1990s. If the "Super Awesome Announce Trailer" wasn't enough to whet your appetite, Codemasters has released a brand new gameplay video that shows off the game's 18 insane tracks:

Toybox Turbos is coming to Windows PC via Steam, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 11 for $14.99 / £11.99 / €14.99.

Source: Press Release


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New Gameplay Trailer Released as Alone in the Dark: Illumination is Now Available for Pre-order

Posted: November 2, 2014 @ time: 11:03AM
Author: ClayMeow

Atari debuted gameplay for its upcoming survival horror game Alone in the Dark: Illumination during NVIDIA's GAME24 event back in September, but now the publisher has finally released a gameplay trailer for the public to enjoy. In addition, Atari unveiled the pre-order bonuses, which includes a free upgrade to the Eldritch Edition. The Eldritch Edition includes player skins for each of the four playable characters, weapon skins, an exclusive "Old One" achievement, and Closed Beta access beginning in November.

Alone in the Dark: Illumination is coming exclusively to PC via Steam this Fall for $29.99; currently $26.99 during the Halloween Sale.

Source: Press Release


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Haunted House: Cryptic Graves Coming Exclusively to PC via Steam This Fall

Posted: November 2, 2014 @ time: 11:52AM
Author: ClayMeow

Alone in the Dark: Illumination isn't the only classic survival horror game Atari has in the works. Atari is revisiting the 1982 Atari classic Haunted House with Haunted House: Cryptic Graves, coming exclusively to PC via Steam. While Alone in the Dark: Illumination is in third-person, Haunted House: Cryptic Graves is in first-person. "Featuring enigmatic puzzles, supernatural entities and paranormal activity, players are gifted with psychic abilities which allow them to communicate with the land of the dead and purge the spirits and monsters that haunt Abaddon Grange."

Haunted House: Cryptic Graves is coming exclusively to PC via Steam this Fall for $19.99 with a 15% off pre-order discount, knocking the price down to $16.99.

Source: Press Release


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Lian Li Announces the PC-D666 Dual System Case

Posted: November 2, 2014 @ time: 04:31PM
Author: bp9801

Lian Li, one of the case manufacturer leaders on the market, has a new entry with a rather unique design (and name): the PC-D666. The Lian Li PC-D666 case was developed in conjunction with IDG's PC Welt for the "Hell Machine 6" PC project. This case has a red and black aesthetic to match the number of the beast it sports, as well as a dual chamber, cube design supporting two different systems. One side of the PC-D666 can fit an ATX/E-ATX build (the "workhorse"), with the other being for a Micro-ATX/Mini-ITX build (the gaming one). Windows are present on both sides of the cash to show off both systems, so you can go all out on the work and gaming sides and still have them seen. Watercooling support is extensive regardless of the side, with the workhorse side capable of fitting a 480mm and 360mm radiator, and the gaming side fitting a 360mm rad. Above the motherboard tray is 100mm of clearance, so there is plenty of room for large CPU coolers, cables, and radiators.

Internally users can equip six 3.5" hard drives and six 2.5" hard drives, with everything but two 2.5" drives fitting into the hard drive cages. Those last two 2.5" drives attach on the bottom of the workhorse side. Hot swap drives are also supported in the cages. Five 5.25" devices can be installed as well, with everything mounting via a tool-less setup. Cables can be hidden inside the case thanks to some removable panels, with large, grommeted cutouts providing easy access for power connections. A total of four 120mm fans in the front and another four 120mm fans in the rear provide plenty of airflow, with dust filters in the front and bottom of the case helping to keep it all clean. Each side supports four USB 3.0 ports and two HD audio connections on the top, which is where you'll also find the cutouts for either six total 120mm fans or the radiators.

The Lian Li PC-D666 will launch early this month for $599.

Source: Press Release


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Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires Coming to PC and Consoles January 27, 2015

Posted: November 2, 2014 @ time: 05:46PM
Author: ClayMeow

KOEI TECMO announced the release date for its tactical action game Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires, and in doing so casually let it be known that the game would also be arriving on PC via Steam. While that may not be such a huge surprise considering Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition arrived on PC in May, it is a bit surprising that the PC version will be arriving on the same day as the console versions and so soon: January 27, 2015.

Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires features 83 unique characters, as well as the ability to create your own original character replete with visual customization options for everything from horses to banners to "normal" officers. Empire mode obviously returns, where players can select from one of many distinct roles. There is also seasons and environmental changes that affect the 40+ dynamic battlefields, meaning enemies aren't the only things players will have to battle against.

Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires will arrive for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PlayStation 3 on January 27, 2015, in the US and January 30, 2015, in the EU.

Source: Press Release and AllGamesBeta


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Bethesda's F2P Multiplayer Action Combat Game BATTLECRY Shown Off at PAX Australia

Posted: November 2, 2014 @ time: 06:59PM
Author: ClayMeow

PAX Australia was this weekend, and Bethesda brought along its upcoming free-to-play multiplayer action combat game BATTLECRY for visitors to enjoy. Exclusively for PC, BATTLECRY features team-based combat for up to 32 players. On the surface, BATTLECRY looks like a third-person Team Fortress 2, until you realize there are no guns. In fact, in the world of BATTLECRY, gunpowder has been outlawed and conflicts are settled in designated WarZones. Yes, the world's superpowers have decided how and where to slaughter each other. This far-fetched concept makes for a great game though.

BATTLECRY takes place in the early 20th century and its world and characters have a very stylized, almost cel-shaded look. A lot of the landscape seems intentionally drab to allow the plentiful blood splatter to really pop. The new pre-alpha gameplay video shows off the game's first three classes: Enforcer, Tech Archer, and Duelist. The Enforcer wields a massive sword that transforms into a shield, making him the perfect tank. The Tech Archer fires bolts and arrows for those who would rather keep their distance. The Duelist wields dual swords and can cloak, making her the lethal, but fragile rogue of the group. There's also The Brawler, who uses his mechanical arms to unleash brutal punches, making him more offensive than the Enforcer, and the Gadgeteer, who wields a magnetic gauss gun for some electrifying results.

BATTLECRY is expected to enter Beta next year, so be sure to head to the official site to sign up.

Source: Bethesda Blog and Official Site


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Speeding Up Ferroelectric Switching

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 06:39AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There are many potential replacements for the current technologies used in computers, each with some rather valuable abilities, but also problems that prevent its adoption. Among these are ferroelectric materials, which could be used for non-volatile memory, but are slow at switching between states. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania, however, have found a general way to at least double current speeds.

Ferroelectric materials have a natural polarization to them, which can be switched by an electric field. Once set, the polarization will persist until another electric field changes it, which is the cause of interest in them for computer memory. Actually switching the atoms in the material from up to down though, is somewhat slow, at least compared to the speed of modern computers. What the researchers have done is looked at switching the atoms not from up to down, but from up to another direction, and then from that to down. Even though there is an intermediary step, the process itself is faster than trying to flip the atoms from up to down, and by manipulating the thin film they were working with, the operational speed was at least doubled.

Thus far the work has only been down with a thin film of lead zirconate titanate, which is somewhat common. As the approach should be applicable to any ferroelectric material, investigating other materials could lead to greater improvements than what have already been found.

Source: University of California, Berkeley


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ID-COOLING Introduces the SE-204K CPU Cooler

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 08:38AM
Author: gebraset

ID-COOLING, a cooling solution provider focusing on thermal dissipation and fan technology research and production, has officially revealed the SE-204K CPU cooler. The latest product from ID-COOLING features four 8mm heatpipes that are soldered to the copper base of the heatsink, and a 120mm PWM fan that features noise levels from 16.2 to 29.2dB, depending on system load. The SE-204K from ID-COOLING is marketed directly at gaming builds, as it features a black nickel plated heatsink and a black fan with red rubber buffers. All modern CPU models are supported by the SE-204K, which features an MSRP of $45, thanks to the variety of accessories and mounting hardware that come included with the cooler.

Source: Press Release


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Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack Coming to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 08:59AM
Author: ClayMeow

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launched just three weeks ago, but it'll already soon have its first add-on pack, introducing a fifth character to choose from. The Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack introduces a fifth playable character, "Jack" the Doppelganger. "As 'Jack,' you'll be able to summon multiple Digi-Jacks, which will join you in battle to mow down enemies and earn you more sweet, sweet loot. Depending on how you spec out your Skill Trees, these Digi-Jacks can earn you bonuses or even get you a Second Wind in Fight For Your Life. 'Jack' can also shoot enemies with wrist lasers, get buffs every time he picks up money (in typical CEO fashion), or even get upgrades for using guns made by specific manufacturers."

The Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack will be available on November 11 as part of the $29.99 Season Pass or individually for $9.99. The Season Pass will also include three subsequent packs, with plans to add another character, a level cap upgrade, a new campaign, and more.

Source: Official Site


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 09:13AM
Author: bp9801

It is the start of a new week, and a new month, which means we have some reviews for you to check out to get it all kicked off right. There is a look at the Tesoro Lobera Supreme full color mechanical keyboard, which has full RGB backlighting for a custom setup. We also have a review on the Tt eSPORTS Ventus Ambidextrous gaming mouse that doesn't exclude the lefties from enjoying a unique mouse. For those needing a compact computer, there is a review on the ECS LIVA 64GB Mini PC, which could be ideal for those with budget and space constraints. Wrapping up today's items is a look at the 20 worst PC setups from the month of October.

Keyboards/Mice
Tesoro Lobera Supreme Full Color Mechanical Keyboard @ LanOC Reviews
Tt eSPORTS Ventus Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse @ ThinkComputers

Prebuilts
ECS LIVA 64GB Mini PC @ TechSpot

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups - October 2014 @ ThinkComputers


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Acer Launches 4K Aspire V Nitro Black Edition Gaming Laptop

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 09:38AM
Author: gebraset

Although the V15 and V17 models of the Aspire V Nitro Black Edition have been available to purchase for less than a month now, Acer has decided to launch another version of the gaming laptop that bumps the display to 4K. While the internal specifications remain the same as the V17 Aspire V Nitro Black Edition, with the laptop including an Intel Core i7-4710HQ, 16GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M graphics, and a 256GB SSD coupled with a 1TB HDD, the 4K version incorporates a smaller 15.6-inch screen that features a 3840x2160 resolution. 

The 4K version of the Aspire V Nitro Black Edition, which will retail for $1,499, will be available within the next few weeks from Amazon, the Microsoft store, and other online retailers located within the United States. Unlike the previously announced models, this new 4K one does not have a download code for Assassin's Creed Unity.

Source: CNET


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Windows 8 Gains Significant Market Share

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 09:58AM
Author: gebraset

While adoption of the latest Microsoft operating system has been quite slow since its initial release, it looks like that trend is beginning to change. According to NetMarketShare, which reports market share for mobile, browsers, operating systems, search engines, and social media, Windows 8 and 8.1 were at 16.8 percent market share combined for the month of October, while Windows XP sat at 17.18 percent. Compared to September, when Windows 8 and 8.1 were at 12.26 percent and Windows XP was at 23.87 percent, Microsoft’s latest operating system has gained considerable market share in just one month. The growth for Windows 8 and 8.1 is likely due to the back to school season, where virtually all new devices are shipping with the current version of Windows.

Source: PCWorld


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Retail Sales of Windows 7 and 8 Stopped by Microsoft

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 10:18AM
Author: bp9801

If you were hoping to still pick up a computer with Windows 7 pre-installed, you are sadly now out of luck. Over the last few days, Microsoft has officially put an end to sales of computers with most copies of Windows 7 pre-installed, and even Windows 8. The only version of Windows 7 that can still be pre-installed is Windows 7 Pro, as Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate have met their fate. In a related move, Microsoft is also cutting out PCs pre-installed with Windows 8. All of this means that the only copy of Windows you can find pre-installed on new PCs, be it desktops or laptops, is Windows 8.1. Older stock that has yet to be moved should still have the discontinued copies on it, but there's no telling for how long.

The move is likely to get people to jump to Microsoft's most recent operating system, and based on recent numbers, looks like Windows 8.1 is starting to gain ground. It can also be to get people ready to move over to Windows 10 when that arrives next year, which is a combination of the best parts of Windows 7 and 8.

Source: BBC


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Nanorobots for Patterning Circuits

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 11:03AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Lithography is the process used for etching circuits onto the silicon wafers that eventually become our computer chips. As component sizes have decreased though, new methods have had to be developed, such as electron beam writing, but it is a somewhat expensive process and not well suited for mass production. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have recently developed a new process that is more compatible with mass production.

Instead of using an e-beam writer to mark out the circuits, this method employs two nanorobots that will trace out the pattern in the photoresist. Both robots are powered by hydrogen peroxide and can be magnetically controlled, but have different shapes. One is spherical and will focus light onto the photoresist, creating a trench, while the other has a rod shape that will block light, leaving a ridge behind. Several of these robots can work together, to create parallel surface patterns.

As the researchers point out, electron beam lithography still has advantages over this approach, but these nanorobots can be used at a fraction of the cost and are much simpler.

Source: University of California, San Diego


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Patriot Launches Supersonic Bolt XT Flash Drive

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 04:46PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Patriot has announced the addition of the Supersonic Bolt XT flash drive to its lineup, combining high performance and hardware encryption "like never before." The drive utilizes FIPS 197 compliant hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption to secure your data and locks down and reformats after ten failed password attempts. The USB 3.0 interface provides for transfer speeds up to 150MB/s in capacities of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. It is compatible with operating systems going back to Windows ME, Mac OS 9, and the Linux 2.4 kernel. Prices for the Bolt XT start at $49.99 for the 16GB model.

Source: Press Release


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Apple Brings Beats Music to Southwest Airlines

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 05:17PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Southwest Airlines has announced a partnership with Apple that will bring the Beats Music streaming service to passengers for free on Wi-Fi enabled flights. Travelers will have access to all aspects of the service including curated playlists and The Sentence playlist creator. The partnership was revealed today onboard a Boeing 737 featuring a Beats Music paint job. Southwest Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Krone described the partnership saying, "We continue to enhance our onboard offerings to remain current as our Customers' needs evolve, and with the addition of Beats Music on our entertainment portal, we're doing just that."

Source: Southwest Airlines


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Android Co-founder Andy Rubin Leaving Google

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 06:54PM
Author: ClayMeow

Andy Rubin, co-founder of Google's Android mobile business and head of its nascent robotics effort, is leaving the company. Sundar Pichai replaced Rubin as head of the Android division last year, while James Kuffner, a research scientist at Google and a member of the robotics group, will replace Rubin as head of that division. According to Google, "Rubin will start a company to support startups interested in building technology-hardware products."

Source: Reuters


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This War of Mine Coming to Steam on November 14

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 07:01PM
Author: ClayMeow

The intriguing survival game about hardship and tough decisions, This War of Mine, is scheduled to arrive November 14 for PC via Steam. "In This War of Mine you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city; struggling with lack of food, medicine and constant danger from snipers and hostile scavengers. The game provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle." Along with the release date announcement comes a new gameplay trailer, entitled "The Things That Take Us Back", showing a 2.5D side-scroller that is reminiscent of Deadlight.

This War of Mine will be available for Windows, Mac, and Linux on November 14 for $19.99. The game is currently available for pre-order on Games Republic (Steam key) with a 10% discount, dropping the price to $17.99. No date has been announced for the mobile version.

Source: Press Release


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Nordic Games Adds Another Former-THQ IP to Its Portfolio: de Blob

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 07:50PM
Author: ClayMeow

Back in April 2013, Nordic Games acquired the Darksiders, Red Faction, and MX vs. ATV franchises from the defunct THQ. Now it seems that the publisher has acquired yet another former THQ IP, de Blob. de Blob is a unique 3D platformer that started off as a student project at the Utrecht School of Arts and Utrecht University, releasing in 2006 for Windows PC. THQ then picked it up and released in on the Nintendo Wii in 2008 to broad critical acclaim, following up with a sequel in 2011 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

"de Blob is just a great and truly unique franchise", comments Reinhard Pollice, Business & Product Development Director at Nordic Games. "We are excited about what the future holds for this polychromatic extravaganza as the newest addition to our portfolio. We will evaluate opportunities with the existing games, as well as potential sequels."

No new de Blob game has been announced, but the acquisition will be handled by Swedish-based Nordic Games Licensing AB, while "the day-to-day business (sales and distribution, evaluation of sequels & new content etc.) will be conducted by Nordic Games GmbH, based in Vienna, Austria."

Source: Press Release


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Plasma Televisions May Be on Their Last Legs

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 08:00PM
Author: ClayMeow

LCD TVs have long been leading the global television market over the once formidable plasma TVs, and now it seems the latter's days are numbered. LG Electronics has announced that its plasma television business will cease by the end of November, which accounted for a mere 2.4% of its 2013 annual revenue. With Panasonic ending its plasma TVs earlier this year, that just leaves Samsung Electronics as the last major player. That being said, sister company Samsung SDI Co Ltd, which supplies Samsung with its plasma panels, are pulling out of the business by the end of November as well, so who knows what's going to happen there.

According to market research firm NPD DisplaySearch, global plasma TV shipments are expected to fall to just 500,000 in 2015, down from 5.2 million in 2014.

Source: Reuters


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Space Hulk: Ascension Edition Arriving November 12 via Steam

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 08:25PM
Author: ClayMeow

Announced back in August, turn-based strategy game Space Hulk: Ascension Edition is now poised to release in just two weeks. Indie studio Full Control promises this new standalone Space Hulk game is a completely new experience, offering ten times the content of the original game and improving upon it in several ways. The features for Ascension include:

  • Huge Amounts of Content - 103 unique missions spread out across 3 campaign chapters
  • New Enemies - new Genestealer variations for you to face in the depths of the Space Hulk.
  • New Mechanics - a complete reworking of the board game rules and mechanics. It’s still the Space Hulk game you love, reimagined for a new experience.
  • Customisation - RPG-style skill progression and player squad management allow you to create your own tailor-made team of hardened veterans
  • New weapons, more complex maps, combi-weapons and flash missions.
  • 10 times the amount of content of the original game, with a playtime of 50 - 100 hours.

Space Hulk: Ascension Edition is currently available for pre-order on Steam with a 10% discount, dropping the price down to $26.99 from its base $29.99. If you happen to own the original game, you'll get an additional 15% off, for a total discount of 25%, dropping the price to $22.49. Ascension supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Source: Press Release


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The Dark Elven Dungeon Faction Becomes the Sixth Faction in Might & Magic Heroes VII

Posted: November 3, 2014 @ time: 09:45PM
Author: ClayMeow

The sixth faction for Ubisoft's Might & Magic Heroes VII has been selected by the community, and unsurprisingly, the Dark Elves of the Dungeon faction won out over the Demons of the Inferno faction. It would have been a lot more interesting if the vote was between Sylvan and Dungeon, pitting elves vs. elves, as fantasy fans clearly tend to flock to anything elven. Nevertheless, the Dungeon join the Sylvan as the voted-in factions.

As with the previous faction win, now members of the Shadow Council gets to select the Dungeon's line-up. This time things are a little different though, with the first vote lasting one week, and then the top two choices battling it out in week two with a brand new vote.

The Blade From the Shadows is the offense-oriented line-up, using its speed for hit-and-run attacks with Skirmishers, Nightmares, Assassins, and Black Dragons. Malassa's Thousand Faces is a balanced army that adds in some tougher units like Troglodytes and Striders alongside Stalkers and Medusas. The Shield of Darkness is the defense-oriented line-up, featuring Troglodytes, Striders, Manticores, Minotaurs, and Hydras.

The first vote ends in two days, and then you'll have another week until the final tally.

Source: Official Site [1] & [2]


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Microsoft Accepting Signups for Skype Translator

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 05:55AM
Author: gebraset

In delivering on its promise to deliver a beta version of Skype Translator to Windows 8 users before the end of this year, Microsoft has revealed that it is now accepting signups for the real-time translation tool. The Skype Translator preview, which is only available for Windows 8.1 computers and tablets, provides real-time translation between participating parties, giving users an on-screen transcript while also reading translations aloud during video chats. While the preview itself only supports a few, unspecified languages at this time, instant message chats in 45 languages can be successfully translated. The list of languages that can be used with the real-time video translation capabilities found in Skype Translator is expected to grow in the near future.

Interested users can sign up for the preview version of Skype Translator through the Skype website.

Source: ZDNet


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Non-Injectable Ebola Vaccine Developed

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 07:06AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you follow national or international news, you are likely aware of the current Ebola epidemic in Western Africa. This virus has a fatality rate as high as 70% and there are currently no licensed vaccines or treatments. There are vaccines in development though, and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have actually created one that can be inhaled.

There are several advantages to being inhalable, including simpler storing, transportation, and administration requirements. Just not having to deal with distributing syringes as well as needle safety and disposal is important. This vaccine has also already proven effective in non-human primates as it improved survival from 67% to 100% when it was challenged, versus just a 50% survival rate, when applied by injection.

With success in non-human tests, the next step is phase I clinical trials, which will test it in human subjects. The researchers are also looking into if it can be administered as thin films placed under the tongue of a non-human primate.

Source: University of Texas at Austin


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HP Introduces the Omen Gaming Laptop

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 08:56AM
Author: gebraset

Although HP has been absent from the gaming laptop market in recent years, despite its acquisition of Voodoo in 2006, the company has decided to release a new gaming laptop in order to gain additional market share. The new gaming laptop, called the Omen, is similar to other gaming laptops currently on the market in the sense that it offers excellent hardware inside of a compact, sleek, and relatively lightweight package. The Omen, which costs $1,499, features an Intel Core i7, an NVIDIA GeForce 860M, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, a 15.6-inch screen, and a red backlit keyboard with six programmable function keys. Customers can double the storage of the SSD for $100 more, and can also get the 4GB version of the GeForce 860M for an additional $100, making the cost of the HP Omen $1,699. All of this hardware comes encased within a black aluminum package that is 20mm thick and weighs 4.68 pounds.

The HP Omen is available immediately for purchase from BestBuy, the Microsoft store, and other online retailers, with the gaming laptop shipping to customers in the coming weeks.

Source: CNET


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NVIDIA Releases GeForce 344.60 WHQL Game Ready Driver

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 09:21AM
Author: gebraset

NVIDIA has just released the GeForce 344.60 Game Ready driver, coming just in time for the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Besides fully supporting the recently released Call of Duty title with an application profile, the latest driver from NVIDIA includes version 6.5 of CUDA, version 16.13.56.0 of GeForce Experience, and version 9.14.0702 of PhysX System Software. The GeForce 344.60 WHQL Game Ready Driver, which can be downloaded from the NVIDIA website, is only available for Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1.

Source: techPowerUp


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 09:56AM
Author: bp9801

It is election day here in the United States, so hopefully everyone eligible has gone and done so. We do have some reviews to keep you occupied today too, including a look at the HIS R9 285 IceQ X2 OC 2GB video card with its custom cooler and factory overclock. There is also a review on the Samsung 850 Pro SSD and what the different speeds are like when the varying capacities are filled up. We even have a look at the AORUS Thunder K7 gaming keyboard, which is the gaming brand from Gigabyte and features Cherry MX Red switches, backlighting, and a detachable number pad. Wrapping things up today is the Icy Dock Black Vortex Hot Swap Module, which enables you to fit four 3.5" drives into a single 5.25" bay.

Video Cards
HIS R9 285 IceQ X2 OC @ Madshrimps

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung 850 Pro Full Capacity Roundup @ PC Perspective
Icy Dock Black Vortex Hot Swap Module @ ThinkComputers

Keyboards/Mice
AORUS Thunder K7 Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews


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Amazon Launches Prime Photos

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 10:24AM
Author: gebraset

In order to better serve the tens of millions of people who already utilize Prime, Amazon has just introduced Prime Photos. The latest addition to the Prime lineup provides free unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive, allowing Prime members to keep their precious memories on a secure storage platform. Users can upload their photos from a variety of devices, including Android and iOS devices, Fire tablets and Fire phone, and Mac and Windows computers. Once uploaded onto Amazon Cloud Drive, the photos can be accessed from nearly any device, including Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and select LG and Samsung smart TVs. The Vice President of Amazon Prime, Greg Greeley, stated that "With free unlimited photo storage, we’re providing one more reason for members to use Prime every day." Greeley went on to say that "Prime has always allowed members to conveniently save time and save money, and now with Prime Photos they can save memories too."

Source: Business Wire


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Logitech Unveils the G302 Daedalus Prime MOBA Gaming Mouse

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 10:43AM
Author: bp9801

If you are a fan of MOBAs like League of Legends or Dota 2, then Logitech has a new mouse coming to the market that should be of interest to you. Dubbed the G302 Daedalus Prime MOBA Gaming Mouse, this mouse is specifically designed to survive even the toughest gaming sessions. A metal spring button tensioning system allows for improved left and right click response, with up to five clicks per second registered by the G302. Intense, rapid-fire clicking shouldn't be an issue with this mouse, as Logitech designed it with the best eSports athletes in mind (and even tested it with the likes of Team SoloMid, Cloud9, CJ Entus Frost, CJ Entus Blaze, and Invictus Gaming). It also designed the mouse to survive 20 million clicks, which Logitech says translates to about 15 hours of gaming a day over two years.

The G302 features six customizable buttons that can be programmed with simple hotkeys or complex macros, four adjustable DPI settings, and Logitech Delta Zero sensor technology for perfectly captured movements. The Logitech G302 Daedalus Prime MOBA Gaming Mouse will be available later this month for $49.99.

Source: Logitech


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Improving Cryptography with New Research

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 11:04AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Data security is of great importance in the modern world, with so much private information being transmitted every day. Many modern cryptographic schemes rely on such complex operations that massive computational resources would be needed to crack them. Researchers at MIT and Maynooth University have recently found that some of these schemes also allow for another kind of security, which could be used to better protect the data.

While computational complexity protects data by requiring prodigious amounts of time and resources to crack, information-theoretic security protects against extracting any useful information, even with unlimited computational power. Information-theoretic schemes are some complicated though, that they are not practical to use. However, the researchers have found that existing cryptographic schemes do have some information-theoretic guarantees. The researchers found this by examining the probability spaces that pieces of plaintext would become certain ciphertexts. By keeping the probability of the different ciphertexts near each other, it becomes much harder to infer what the original plaintext may be.

What this translates to is that while an entire message may not be information-theoretic secured, portions of it could be. Potentially one could design the scheme to make sure select portions are, such as social security numbers, ages, or other particularly important pieces of information.

Source: MIT


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KitKat Now Running on 30 Percent of Android Devices

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 11:38AM
Author: gebraset

Android 4.4 KitKat was released just over a year ago when the Nexus 5 made its debut. Since then, the mobile operating system from Google has continued to grow and cover more devices than ever. According to the latest update to the Android Developers Dashboard, KitKat now covers 30.2 percent of all Android devices, based on the number of devices that visited the Google Play store during a seven day period. Compared to September, KitKat saw a 5 percent growth during the month of October, but still lacks far behind Jelly Bean which currently has 50.9 percent of the market.

As Android Lollipop makes its way to the market, the total number of KitKat devices will likely fall in the coming months.

Source: CNET


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Cooler Master Announces Two New Silencio Cases

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 05:15PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Cooler Master has announced the availability of a pair of new cases, the Silencio 652S and Silencio 352. The 652S is a mid tower case with a solid black exterior that can hold up to nine traditional hard drives or ten SSDs. The case also has intake air filters for an included Silencio FP 120 fan and can accommodate a 120mm or 240mm radiator. The 352 is a mini tower designed for Micro ATX systems that can hold up to three 3.5" hard drives or four SSDs. A 240mm radiator can be installed in the front of the case and graphics cards up to 14 inches in length will fit. Both cases utilize sound dampening panels to keep noise to a minimum and are available immediately.

Source: Press Release


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New Concentrating Solar Power Material Created

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 05:20PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The Sun pours more energy onto the Earth than humanity could ever use, but capturing that energy and putting it to use is not very easy. Naturally many approaches have been developed, and one, concentrating solar power (CSP) has received an important boost. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, as part of the DOE's SunShot program, have created a new material for converting light into heat.

Concentrating solar power works by focusing sunlight onto a material, which absorbs the light and converts it into heat. That heat is then used to heat molten salt, which in turn boils water, creating steam to turn turbines. The absorbing material is obviously key to the process, as it has to be able to hold the energy, instead of radiating it away, and the longer it can survive, the better. Current materials need to be replaced each year, but what the California researchers have created should be able to last multiple years, while also surviving temperatures above 700 ºC and converting over 90% of the light into heat.

The material consists of silicon boride-coated nanoshells that vary in size from 10 nm to 10 micrometers. That range is what allows it to absorb so much light and survive such high temperatures.

Source: University of California, San Diego


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NVIDIA Partners With Ubisoft For Pick Your Path Promotion

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 05:22PM
Author: CheeseMan42

NVIDIA has worked with Ubisoft to create game bundles for three upcoming games paired with the latest GPUs from the company as part of the Pick Your Path promotion. Consumers that purchase a "GeForce GTX 980, 970, 780 Ti or 780, or a notebook with GeForce GTX 980M or 970M" will have their choice of The Crew, Far Cry 4, or Assassin's Creed: Unity. The games were likely chosen as they all feature NVIDIA GameWorks integration to deliver a "better gaming experience."

Source: NVIDIA


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Become a Murdering Lunatic in Far Cry 4

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 07:33PM
Author: ClayMeow

With Far Cry 4's highly anticipated release only two weeks ago, Ubisoft has decided now is a good time to delve a bit deeper into the game's story. Are you the son who has come to Kyrat to spread his mother's ashes or the lunatic who has murdered his way to the top of the mountain? Choices matter in Far Cry 4.

Kyrat is a remote region located high in the Himalayas: from vast plains and thick lush forests to snowy mountain peaks, players will travel through settings as diverse as they are detailed. However, these beautiful locations have been devastated by civil war. Long after Pagan Min’s rise to power the struggle between his army and the rebels continues. Even the Golden Path, the group opposed to Pagan Min’s dictatorship, isn’t free from internal conflicts as Sabal defends more traditional practices while Amita fights to open her country to modernity. Players will control Ajay, a young man whose ties to Kyrat’s history run deeper than he initially realises. He returns to his homeland to fulfil his mother’s last wishes, but the decisions made during his journey will have major consequences on the ongoing conflict.

Far Cry 4 is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 18. A Season Pass is also available, featuring a co-op escape from the aforementioned prison.

Source: Press Release and UbiBlog


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The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Now Available on PC, PS4, and Vita

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 08:08PM
Author: ClayMeow

It's taken nearly two years, but The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally released for PC via Steam, PlaySation 4, and PlayStation Vita. And while it certainly has a lot in common with the original game, Rebirth is no mere remake. Just take a look at the "long, solid, healthy list" following the Launch Trailer:

  • Over 500 hours of gameplay
  • 4 BILLION Seeded runs!
  • 20 Challenge runs
  • 450+ items, including 160 new unlockables
  • Uber secrets
  • 10 Playable Characters
  • 100+ enemies with new designs
  • Over 50 bosses, including tons of new and rare bosses
  • Rooms FULL OF POOP!
  • Mystic Runes
  • Upgradeable shops
  • Integrated controller support for popular control pads
  • Analog directional movement and speed
  • Tons of feature film quality animated endings
  • Poop physics
  • Over 100 specialized seeds
  • 2-Player local co-op
  • Over 100 co-op characters
  • Dynamic lighting, visual effects, and art direction
  • Did we mention poop?
  • All-new game engine @60FPS 24/7
  • All-new soundtrack and sound design
  • Multiple Save slots
  • The ultimate roguelike
  • A bunch of achievements

Source: Press Release


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Samsung and LG Looking Toward Quantum Dot Technology For Their Next-gen Televisions

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 08:27PM
Author: ClayMeow

While plasma televisions may be on their way out, it looks like a new type of television is ready to take their place, and it's expected to be the next big thing. Both Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have announced that they plan to use quantum dot technology for their next generation of televisions. Sony is currently the only major electronics manufacturer selling quantum dot TVs. The reason is not actually related to plasma TVs, but rather OLED TVs, which continue to cost way too much to produce, which in turn makes it tough to find mass market appeal.

The appeal of quantum dot displays is that they provide superior quality over traditional LCDs, but at a fraction of the cost of OLED displays. "One industry analyst estimated a 55-inch quantum dot TV could be priced 30 to 35 percent more than a current LCD TV, while an OLED TV could be 5 times more expensive." The problem comes down to supply. Currently, there are only a few suppliers of quantum dot material, including Quantum Materials Corp and Nanoco Group PLC. The latter is partnering with Dow Chemical Co to build a South Korean plant that will start quantum dot production in the first half of 2015.

According to research analyst DisplaySearch, 1.95 million quantum dot TV shipments are expected next year, increasing to 25.5 million by 2020. While next year's number only accounts for 0.8 percent of the market, OLED TV shipments are only estimated at 600,000 in 2015 according to IHS Technology, with that increasing to 7.8 million by 2019. That being said, LCD TVs will continue to dominate the market for the foreseeable future, providing the best bang for buck.

Source: Reuters


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Gameplay Footage and Eighteen New Screenshots for Resident Evil Revelations 2

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 08:59PM
Author: ClayMeow

Announced back in September, Resident Evil Revelations 2 will be bringing back fan favorite Claire Redfield in four episodic adventures. While the Launch Trailer showed off some gameplay footage, there's now some leaked gameplay footage from the Japanese demo, along with eighteen new screenshots.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 is planned for an Early 2015 episodic release for PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

Source: Press Release and AllGamesBeta


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Dragon Age: Inquisition is All About Choice & Consequence

Posted: November 4, 2014 @ time: 10:48PM
Author: ClayMeow

Dragon Age: Inquisition went gold on Friday, and now Electronic Arts and BioWare have released the final entry in the "Gameplay Features" video series. Entitled "Choice & Consequence", the trailer explains how the consequences of your choices as the Inquisitor can be both big and small, starting from the moment you choose your gender, race, and class.

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: BioWare [1] & [2]


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Tesoro Introduces the Excalibur RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Posted: November 5, 2014 @ time: 06:20AM
Author: gebraset

Tesoro, a manufacturer of high-tech gaming products, has officially announced the Excalibur RGB LED backlit mechanical keyboard. The keyboard, which is a full color version of the previously released Excalibur LED backlit mechanical keyboard, features four levels of LED backlighting with dimming capability, and can be set to breathing mode, color loop mode, and two gaming modes. The Excalibur RGB provides gamers with a 1000Hz polling rate and the option to choose USB 6 N-Key Rollover or N-Key Rollover. Users can store five sets of profiles, 300 macro keys, and 2000 macro key presses per profile thanks to the 512KB of onboard memory. Longevity of the Excalibur RGB is ensured with the use of gaming grade mechanical switches that are engineered for 60 million key strokes.

The Tesoro Excalibur RGB LED backlit mechanical keyboard features an MSRP of $119, and will be available next month from Amazon, NCIX, Newegg, and Tesoro Gaming USA.

Source: Press Release


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Coating Makes Batteries Safer

Posted: November 5, 2014 @ time: 06:41AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Every year about five billion button batteries, those that are found in hearing aids, toys, calculations, and more, are made and about 4000 children are taken to emergency rooms after swallowing one. While you may not expect such small batteries to be a serious danger, they can cause burns to the esophagus, tears in the digestive tract, and even death. Researchers at MIT, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital have come up with a novel way to preventing these injuries.

The threat the batteries pose is from water or saliva allowing a current to flow. That current can then produce hydroxide ions, which damages tissue, causing chemical burns. To defeat this, the researchers turned to quantum tunneling composite (QTC), which is an off-the-shelf material used in keyboards and touchscreens. What it does is block electrical currents, except when pressure is applied to it. This causes the conducting particles within it to be close enough together to allow a current to flow. The researchers tuned the QTC to need more force than a digestive tract will apply to conduct electricity. A battery coated in QTC will therefore not produce an electrical current, or hydroxide, if accidentally swallowed.

As QTC is already a fairly common material, and it just needs to coat the battery, it should not add much cost to battery production. The researchers are now working on scalable methods to create the coating and getting companies to use it.

Source: MIT


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: November 5, 2014 @ time: 09:42AM
Author: bp9801

It is the middle of another week, with a few items to check out that should be of interest to you. First up is a review on the Crucial MX100 512GB SSD, which comes with 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write speeds, as well as a fairly affordable price. There is also another look at the Noctua IndustrialPPC and Redux fans that feature a new color scheme and some solid performance. Lastly the Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone gets put to the test to see how this smaller version of the Galaxy S5 stacks up.

Storage/Hard Drives
Crucial MX100 512GB SSD @ ThinkComputers

Cooling
Noctua IndustrialPPC and Redux Fans @ LanOC Reviews

Mobile
Samsung Galaxy Alpha @ TechSpot


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Premium Version of SoundCloud Coming in 2015

Posted: November 5, 2014 @ time: 11:49AM
Author: gebraset

SoundCloud is best known for offering music from undiscovered artists, remixes of popular songs, and unreleased material from established acts. A few months ago, audio and video advertisements were implemented into the service, and according to Alexander Ljung, the CEO of SoundCloud, users will have to wait until next year to be able to remove them from their listening experience. Ljung has revealed that an ad-free subscription service will launch in the first half of 2015, thanks to a licensing deal with Warner Music Group. Additional details about the premium version of SoundCloud were not revealed, but the Wall Street Journal noted that the service may be offered through several subscription tiers that would feature a range of prices.

While a premium version of SoundCloud is definitely on its way, the free version that supports advertisements will continue to be offered for the foreseeable future.

Source: TechHive


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New Material for Energy Storage and Hydrogen Production

Posted: November 5, 2014 @ time: 12:10PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Hydrogen is a fairly useful material, thanks to the number of compounds it is in and the ease with which it reacts. One hope for it is as a fuel for fuel cells, but before that can happen, we need an efficient means to produce hydrogen. Researchers at Rice University have recently created a new catalyst for pulling hydrogen from water, and this new material may have another use as well.

Molybdenum disulfide can be made into almost two-dimensional sheets, like graphene, but is three atoms tall. While a three-atom edge may not seem like much, it is actually a good catalyst for taking the hydrogen out of water. To that end, some groups have suggested using arrays of sheets to do just that, but the Rice researchers have developed a different plan. They have found a way to make porous sheets of molybdenum disulfide and with each pore comes more edge to react with.

This structure gives the material another application though, as a supercapacitor. Supercapacitors can quickly store and discharge electricity, making them of great interest for future energy technologies and energy-using devices.

Source: Rice University


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Google Maps Receives Various Improvements

Posted: November 5, 2014 @ time: 12:12PM
Author: gebraset

Google has just updated its Maps application for Android and iOS devices. The latest update for Google Maps includes the company’s material design, which has made its way to virtually all other Google applications, and also features easier access to a plethora of information about any place. Users can tap on an information sheet for any location in order to view photos, reviews, and more, and can even explore other places around them by tapping the Explore button. Google Maps also supports table reservations directly within the application itself, allowing users within the United States to reserve tables at restaurants found on OpenTable. Uber has also been integrated, with information about Uber services available directly within Google Maps while getting directions to a location.

Users of Google Maps will receive the update over the coming days as it rolls out to compatible devices.

Source: Google Maps Blog


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