Oculus VR Grabs Google Glass Electrical Engineer

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 18, 2014 - 03:19 AM |
Tagged: oculus vr, Oculus, facebook, google glass

Who would have thought that John Carmack would have opened the flood gates of talent to Facebook. Apparently, not only was he the first in a long list of people to join Oculus, a large chunk of his coworkers at id Software followed him over (if a Glassdoor review is to be trusted) in Februrary. Their latest grab is Adrian Wong, former senior hardware engineer for Google's Glass Explorer program.

Okay...

oculus-ryan.jpg

Didn't see that one coming...

Clearly, something is happening at Oculus VR. This acquisition by Facebook is giving them a warchest to grab as much top talent as possible. Ironically, without Oculus, I doubt that most of these hires, if any, would happen. Without knowing the internal structure of Facebook and Oculus, it is hard to predict how much benefit the parent company can gather, but the acquisition could be paying for itself in raw talent.

The Oculus Rift DK2, announced at GDC, is currently a $350.00 pre-order and expected to ship in August.

Source: TechCrunch

Now Valve Doesn't Have Michael Abrash OR Jeri Ellsworth

Subject: General Tech, Displays | March 28, 2014 - 04:21 PM |
Tagged: VR, valve, Oculus, facebook

Today, Oculus VR issued a statement which claims that Michael Abrash has joined their ranks as Chief Scientist. Abrash was hired by Valve in 2011 where he led, and apparently came up with the idea for, their wearable computing initiatives. For a time, he and Jeri Ellsworth were conducting similar projects until she, and many others, were forced out of the company for undisclosed reasons (she was allowed to take her project with her which ultimately became CastAR). While I have yet to see an official announcement claim that Abrash has left Valve, I have serious doubts that he would be employed in both places for any reasonable period of time. With both gone, I wonder about Valve's wearable initaitive going forward.

Abrash at Steam Dev Days

This press statement comes just three days after Facebook announced "definitive" plans to acquire Oculus VR for an equivalent of $2 billion USD (it is twice the company Instragram was). Apparently, the financial stability of Facebook (... deep breath before continuing...) was the catalyst for this decision. VR research is expensive. Abrash is now comfortable working with them, gleefully expending R&D funds, advancing the project without sinking the ship.

And then there's Valve.

On last night's This Week in Computer Hardware (#260), Patrick Norton and I were discussing the Oculus VR acquisition. He claimed that he had serious doubts about whether Valve ever intended to ship a product. So far, the only product available that uses Valve's research is the Oculus Rift DK2. Honestly, while I have not really thought about it until now, it would not be surprising for Valve to contribute to the PC platform itself.

And, hey, at least someone is not afraid of Facebook's ownership.

The Rift between Oculus, Kickstarter and you

Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2014 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: oculus rift, Kickstarter, john carmack, facebook

You've heard by now that Facebook has purchased Oculus and you likely have an opinion on the matter.  There are quite a few issues this sale raises for the technologically inclined.  For the Kickstarter backers, the question of the propriety of Vulture Capitalists benefiting monetarily from a project which began in part because of their donation made on Kickstarter; which still did net them a device.  For those hoping that Oculus was going to be a project designed and lead by Palmer Luckey and involving John Carmack with little oversight or pressure from a company that wants an immediate return on their investment.  For some the simple involvment of Facebook is enough to sour the entire deal regardless of any other factors.

KitGuru offers some possible benefits that could come of this deal; Facebook cannot afford to slow development as competitors such as castAR will soon arrive, nor can they really push Carmack around without risking his involvement.  Before you start screaming take a moment to think about everything this deal involves and then express your opinion ... after all you don't get reality that is much more virtual than Facebook.

oculus.jpg

"I know guys. I know. I’m mad too. I’m sad, disappointed, even betrayed, but these are all things I’m feeling and I bet you are too. We’re having an emotional reaction to two companies worth multiple billions of dollars doing a business deal and though I can’t help but wish it hadn’t happened, I know that if I look at it logically, it makes sense for everyone."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: KitGuru

Facebook Inplementing Cold Storage Media Archive In New Datacenter

Subject: General Tech | February 22, 2013 - 07:31 AM |
Tagged: servers, facebook, exabyte, data centers, cold storage, cloud computing

Facebook is planning to construct a new cold storage facility to house archived and less-frequently-used media files. The new data center will reside in a new 62,000 sq. ft. building on the company's existing 127-acre property in Prineview, Oregon.

As cold storage, the data center will house servers with up to 3 Exabytes of total data capacity. The machines will be in a sleep state the majority of the time, but will be automatically turned on to serve up media files when accessed on the social network. Because the servers are normally in a lower-power sleep state, there will be a slight delay when users request files. According to Oregon Live, Facebook has stated that the delay will be as much as a couple of seconds and as little as several milliseconds.
The new cold storage facility will enable Facebook to save a great deal on electrical usage and hardware wear and tear (though primarily power bill savings). The company claims that its users upload 350 million photos each day, but that 82% of the social networking site's traffic focuses on a mere 8% of available photos.

 

Frozen Hard Drive.png

Err, not quite the cold storage Facebook has in mind...

 

Considering Facebook's existing Prineview data center used a whopping 71 million Kilowatts of power in the first 9 months, moving to a new cold storage system for infrequently accessed files is an excellent idea. The photos will still be available, but Facebook will save big on the power bill--a fair compromise for retaining all of those lolcat and meme photos, i think.

The new data center will be rolled out in three phases, each measuring 16,000 sq. ft. in the Prineview facility. The first phase of cold storage servers should be up and running by Q4 2013. There is no estimate on the power savings, but it will be interesting to see how beneficial it will be--and whether other cloud service providers will adopt similar policies.

Also read: Amazon Glacier offers cheap long-term storage.

Source: Oregon Live

Enter the 'Ultimate Overclockers Dream Xmas Giveaway' - GIGABYTE, KINGPIN Cooling and G.SKILL

Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: contest, overclocking, prizes, facebook, gigabyte, G.Skill, Kingpin

uOC.jpg

Running from December 13th to 27th 2012, the ‘Ultimate OverClockers Dream Xmas Giveaway’ is a prize draw open to all Facebook users. Participation couldn’t be easier; simply ‘Like’ the GIGABYTE, KINGPIN and G.SKILL Facebook fanpages, share the event with your friends, and you could win a range of prizes including a GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H motherboard.

The Ultimate Overclockers Dream Giveaway - Prizes:

Ultimate Prize:

  • Intel® Core™ i7 3770K Processor
  • GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H Motherboard
  • G.SKILL Trident 2600MHz Cl10 8GB Memory Kit
  • KINGPIN Memory Cooler
  • GIGABYTE Key Chain and G.SKILL Lanyards

Runner-Up Prize

  • GIGABYTE Z77-HD4 Motherboard
  • G.SKILL RipjawsX 2133MHz CL9 8GB Memory Kit
  • KINGPIN Memory Cooler
  • GIGABYTE Key Chain and G.SKILL Lanyards

3rd, 4th and 5th Places

  • KINGPIN Memory Cooler
  • GIGABYTE Key Chain and G.SKILL Lanyards

How to Enter
To take part in the ‘Ultimate OverClockers Dream Xmas Giveaway’ follow these two simple steps:

1. Show that You ‘Like’ Us

Make sure that you ‘Like’ the GIGABYTE Motherboard, KINGPIN Cooling and G.SKILL Facebook fanpages. See the links below.

2. Invite your friends.
There are three simple ways to invite your friends to take part. Simply select invite, publish on your Facebook wall or send a recommendation message.

For more details, and full Terms and Conditions, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/kingpincooling?v=app_154581087931912

Z77X_UD4HGIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H Motherboard – World Class Memory Performance

The new Z77X-UD4H motherboard features a broad range of exclusive GIGABYTE features including GIGABYTE All Digital Power Engine, GIGABYTE 3D BIOS, UEFI DualBIOS™ and Ultra Durable™4 technology, which includes a range of exclusive technologies that guarantee DIY PC builders the absolute best protection for their PC.

uocmonbo.png

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H is a world class performer when it comes to high speed memory, with a record submission pushing past the 4GHz barrier using a G.SKILL TridentX CL11 8GB kit.

Source: Gigabyte

NVIDIA Teases Another Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2012 - 09:22 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, facebook, kepler

NVIDIA is using its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NVIDIAGeForce to tease another upcoming graphics cards with the following image and the subtitle of "It's Coming."

nvidiafacebook.jpg

While there are zero details and the photo is about as ambiguous as it gets, we have several speculations about it.  It could be another Kepler-based graphics card like the GTX 670 or GTX 660 but more likely, we are seeing something higher end that NVIDIA wants us to get excited about.  Is NVIDIA already prepping the dual-GPU variant we are guessing as the GTX 690?

Like I said, it's basically impossible to tell based on the photo, but apparently we'll know "soon".

Source: NVIDIA

More from Black Hat 2011; Facial Recognition Book

Subject: General Tech | August 12, 2011 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: facebook, black hat 2011

A presenter at Black Hat 2011 put forward their research on using Facebook as a facial recognition database.  Not only do people upload a lot of pictures of themselves and their friends, they also tag them with the names of the people in the pictures.  This means that there is a large sample of data to be used, with the same face available from multiple angles, lighting conditions and backgrounds.  The findings; nearly perfect recognition and re-identification of people in the database with a photo taken from a smartphone in under 3 seconds. Thank Techware Labs for the chill that just headed down your spine.

facebook.jpg

"Every month Facebook users upload 2.5 Billion photos. With each upload users may identify and tag not only themselves, but everyone in the photo. What if we could use this massive attendance sheet of the world in a larger way. Say with facial recognition and location information? Today Alessandro Acquisti presented his research and attempts at doing just that."

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