Google I/O: Google Glasses Made Available to Developers

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 11:12 PM |
Tagged: project glass, google+, google io, google glasses, google, explorer edition

One of the cooler presentations during today’s Google I/O Keynote events was the surprise reveal of Explorer Edition Google Glasses (the hardware emerging from Project Glass). They kicked off the presentation by live streaming a wing suit flight from a blimp using – you guessed it – Google Glasses and a Google+ Hangout. Extremely cool! The video of the event is embedded below for those that missed the live stream.

The Google Glasses have a built in camera and small transparent display mounted over the rim of the right glasses and is visible when looking slightly upwards. They have been constructed so that they are balanced, with the majority of the weight spread out behind and around the ears instead of being front-heavy and pushing down on the bridge of your nose. The Explorer (developer) Edition glasses are WiFi and Bluetooth only, and feature a touch pad on the right side and camera button on the top of the glasses rims. They further are able to locally store images or videos with the option to offload some or all of the media to your computer. (a 3G/4G modem would probably affect battery life too much to be useful).

GoogleGlass.jpg

Despite feeling a bit like a Universal Soldier, I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a pair of Google Glasses. The catch is that they are only available to Google I/O attendees, won't ship until early 2013, and will run $1500 each. That’s a high price for what would amount to a toy for me, but it is not out of the question to expect from a developer – who in turn gets early access to the hardware and can get a head start at developing applications for it.

My only real problem with the idea of wearing Google Glasses is that the company already has a mountain of data about me (Google+, Google search history, Analytics, Adsense, Drive, Play, Android, Chrome... wow I never really have Google-fied my browsing is!), and Google Glasses sound like a device that is a bit /too perfect/ of a tool for gathering data on me and presenting me with “relevant ads” for Google to ignore! (hehe)

What do you think of Google Glasses? Could you see yourself wearing them? And if so, what would you use them for?

Source: CNET

Careful with that, you'll poke an eye out, Max Payne 3 in 3D

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 07:47 PM |
Tagged: max payne 3, gaming, 3d vision

We've seen a few reviews of Max Payne 3 go by, focusing on performance and the effects various graphical options have on the look and feel of the game, but so far little has been said about its 3D mode.  For those who have the gear it is possible to add more artificial depth to Max's character and as it happens Hi Tech Legion had the display, glasses and the NVIDIA Beta 304.48, which would be the needed checklist for enabling 3D.  They were quite impressed with the implementation and had no issues apart from a bit of blurry text.  If you have the desire and the equipment you can examine a few of their screen captures here, otherwise you shall have to content yourself with reading the review.

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"Max Payne 3 is the latest chapter in the 3rd person shooter title which debuted over 11 years ago for the PC. Max Payne is now living thousands of miles away from the grit and grim of New York and working in private security detail for a power Brazilian family in Sao Paolo. It is not all sunshine, beaches, and babes in bikinis for Max however, as he finds himself in the middle of a sprawling conspiracy involving all manner of Brazilian scum from the crevices of the Favela, the swampland militias as well as the ivory tower of ambitious politicians who would stop at nothing to add a few more zeroes to their paycheck. Max Payne 3 for the PC boasts detailed DirectX11 graphics and resurrects the "bullet time" gameplay everyone enjoyed in the original title that debuted over a decade ago now."

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Good work if you can get in, Intel starts researching wetware-hardware interaction

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: Intel Science Technology Center, social, research, Intel

Intel has earmarked $15 million to be spent over the next 5 years researching how people interact with their machines.  They will be focusing on the social aspect as opposed to hardware and software; trying to discover how people interact with their machines, from cell phones to servers as well as investigating how people would like to interact with their machines.  The Register believes that this is an attempt to work on the next generation of patents and to avoid the fate of Xerox's PARC.  While they invented many of the communications technologies which we take for granted today they never managed to capitalize on them successfully enough to survive in the market.  Since Intel has the money to invest in research and a demonstrated ability to capitalize on their intellectual property this expenditure makes sense and should help Intel remain at the top of the technological heap for quite a while.  In the mean time, it sounds like a great project to be working on.

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"The new Intel Science Technology Center is a $15m program funding five years of research into social and anthropological research into how people use technology. Rather than focus on how hardware and software are used, the new center will be looking at how human wetware interacts with the resulting data."

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Source: The Register

Meet the Pyromania

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: valve, tf2

The last of the Team Fortress 2 Meet the Team videos has been released. Is the Pyro a male or a female? Who knows, I wrote this article the morning before it aired. And let us be honest -- we probably did not get that question answered anyway… or the gender is revealed as “Pyro” or there are two videos or something like that. We also get new items but that is common these days.

Update: For the machinima fans -- the Source Filmmaker has also been announced with sign-ups available to their Beta. You can use the same tools that Valve has used for all over their Meet the Team videos for your own stories.

Forget the Spy: the Pyro is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Who is the -- man? -- who can rock the old propane tank, car muffler, and gas pump nozzle fashion all year round? Who is not satisfied with an axe until it is wrapped in barb wire? The answer is of course that we do not know. What we do is that they might just be more of a handy”man” than the Engineer.

Pyromania.png

Agent 00 Leet.

The Pyromania update introduces a new map and game mode. Each team fights to deliver rocket fuel so that Poopy Joe the space chimp can deliver a recalled Australium suitcase nuke to the Soviets. Apparently Australium was always radioactive -- who knew. Eleven new achievements accompany this new game mode.

A half dozen new items will also be made available including a speed booster for the scout that charges with successful hits and discharges completely when you jump. Also available is a multirocket launcher for the Soldier which should be familiar to Unreal Tournament fans.

There will be cauterized wounds.

And the reason why you are all here… apart for indepth and reliable computer hardware news… is that Meet the Pyro is now available. Enjoy.

Google I/O 2012: Day One

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 10:48 AM |
Tagged: tablet, google io, google drive, google, developers, conference, chrome, asus, Android

Every June, the tech world lights up with numerous tech conferences that pack dense information into a couple days (and takes weeks to fully decompress). One of the bigger conferences (by a single company, Computex is its own beast) is Google I/O.

The biggest rumor to come out concerning this year’s Google I/O announcements is an ASUS manufactured 7-inch Nexus Tablet. It is allegedly packing some high end hardware with the Tegra 3 Soc, up to 16GB of memory, IPS display, and an extremely attractive price at less than $200. Beyond that, we can expect Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) information, developer talks, software demos, and more talk of Google Wallet, and NFC technology. Heck, Google may even make a second attempt at pushing Android@Home (or maybe not heh).

io-live.png

Being June 27th, it is the first day of Google I/O and that means it is time for keynotes! On the schedule for today, Google has talks on the new aspects of Android, Google Play, cloud computing, Youtube cloud rendering, Google+ (including Hangouts), and new features of Google Maps. They also have talks scheduled with Google Drive information that should demo some of the things developers can do with the Drive SDK.

We are excited to see if the Nexus tablet rumors are true or not, as well as learning more about the latest version of Android. If you are interested in watching the event, check out the Google I/O schedule where you can tune into the most of the events live. The first event starts soon at 9:30am PST!

Check back later today for updates!

Update: (9:00 PST) A leaked screenshot indicates that the Nexus tablet may be called the Nexus 7.

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Update: (9:30 PST) Vic Gondotra stepped on stage to kick off the Google I/O conference. He stated that there are more than 30,000 people in attendance.

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What are you excited about at Google I/O? Let us know in the comments below!

See more updates after the break.

 

Source: Google I/O

EA Releases “Extended Cut” DLC for Mass Effect 3

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: origin, mass effect 3, gaming, ea, dlc

Today Electronic Arts made the Extended Cut DLC available for users to download. Reportedly, it would wrap up plot holes, explain the Reapers further, and actually be influenced by all the choices that you made throughout the game.

I’ll admit that I eagerly downloaded it and went in with high hopes for a better and more personalized (and meaningful) ending. I won’t spoil it for you but the new DLC adds a couple cut scenes to each of the three traditional ending choices and even adds an alternate ending as well.

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The download is a bit over 800 MB, and even around 10PM CST I was able to max out my Internet connection to download the full game and the DLC pack. To get the DLC, open up Origin, click on the “My Games” tab, then click on the little “i” icon in the lower left of the Mass Effect 3 icon. It will now open the Mass Effect 3 game details panel. In the upper right-hand corner, click on the “Shop for add-ons” button. Find the Extended Cut pack (free), and download it.

Once downloaded and installed, you will be able to start up the game and load a save just before you enter the Citadel in the final level. The steps needed to find and install the download were not as intuitive as the simple instructions EA provided, so I hope my path to the DLC will help you (I spent quite a few minutes trying to find the area they said to go to... may be related to a different version of the Origin client and me not being very familiar with the interface, but still).

Warning Spoilers after the break. You’ve been warned!

Source: EA

A little something for the budding musician, the Behringer Guitar Link

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: audio, recording, guitar

If you have musical aspirations and are looking for a way to record your guitar, bass or vocals then the Behringer Guitar Link.  This $65 device allows you to plug in an instrument as well as a pair of headphones in one end of the device, with the USB end going directly into your PC for recording and manipulation.  The headphones ensure that you can hear what is being recorded as you are taking your amp out of the loop.  Techware Labs takes you through the software, which includes an amp simulator from Native Instruments called AC Box Combo a freeware multi-track DAW tool called EnergyXT2.  Check out the full review here.

TWL_guitarlink026.jpg

"The Behringer Guitar Link is positioned to be an inexpensive recording solution for guitar, but can be used for bass and microphone as well."

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Just when you thought that books would stop being ultra

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Ivy Bridge, hp, dell

About the only nice thing to be said about the Ultrabook is that it is doing better than the previous CULV form factor Intel tried.  While there are a group of consumers who praise the Ultrabook, the machines never actually lived up to the specifications Intel used to define an Ultrabook.  Battery life and size have for the most part lived up to the design specifications but boot time and price certainly have not ... at least at the same time.  The inclusion of an SSD capable of quickly resuming from sleep tends to move the price north of the $1000 price limit, as do the materials used in the chassis to keep the size and weight down. 

Ivy Bridge is helping, as the price of the processor comes down as does the thermals but DigiTimes suggests that this may be overshadowed by a shortage of both thin screens and metal chassis which will offset any reduction in processor expense.  That hasn't stopped Dell who have announced two new Ultrabook models, the XPS 14 base model has an i5-3317U, 4GB DDR3-1333 and a 500GB HDD for about $1200 or the larger XPS 16 whose base model has an i5-3210M and a GT 630M as well as a HDD which will go for roughly $750-800USD.  Both models are over 2kg and neither truly fits the definition of an Ultrabook nor does The Inquirer find anything more attractive about them than a Macbook.  They are better than the HP Envy which was recently released at $600 which is inexpensive but as Matt Smith pointed out, that AMD A-Series in that Envy sleekbook is going to disappoint a lot of buyers when it comes to performance. 

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"Dell's range of XPS laptops, which are now labeled as ultrabooks in order to keep in step with Intel's latest branding, has been headed by the well received XPS 13, however the company has significantly updated its XPS 14 and introduced the XPS 15. According to the firm the XPS 14 is all about battery life while the XPS 15 is pitched at those who want to do content creation and video playback."

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Source: The Inquirer

Dell Crafting Ubuntu-based Notebook for Developers With Project Sputnik

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 09:27 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, sputnik, software, programming, linux, dell, computing

Dell recently announced that it is turning to an open source Linux OS to craft a developer focused operating system. Enabled by Dell’s incubation program (and accompanying monetary funding), the pilot program – named Project Sputnik – is based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS OS.

Ubuntu_XPS13.jpg

The Project Sputnik program will run for six months. Its goal is to create the ideal hardware and software platform for software developers. Currently, that means using Dell’s XPS13 laptop and a customized version of the Ubuntu 12.04 Linux OS. The team behind the initiative are working closely with Canonical (Ubuntu developers) to put together a custom Ubuntu image with stripped down software, custom drivers, and only the software packages that developers want.

The team wants to make it easy for software programmers to get a hold of the programing languages and environments that they need to do their jobs. It will have integration with GitHub for coding projects as well.

In the video below Barton George, Director of Marketing for Dell, talks about the Project Sputnik program and how they hope to craft a laptop aimed directly at developers.

It is an interesting program, and I hope that it does well. You can find more information about Project Sputnik and how you can get involved at the Dell website.

Source: Dell

AMD's new ultra low power CPU, the G-T16R

Subject: General Tech | June 25, 2012 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: low power, geode, G-T16R, embedded, amd

The new embedded processor from AMD replaces the old Geode series and brings new performance to the ultra low end as this is a 4.5W TPD processor.   The G-T16R APU supports Windows 7 Embedded Compact 7, Green Hills Integrity and Express Logic Thread X operating systems which makes the lack of support for DirectX 11 a moot point as these OSes are not about to need that support to begin with.  The ultra low TDP means that no fan is required to use this processor and so you can expect an average draw of 2.3W from the system.

AMD-G-T16R.jpg

DirectX 11 might be missing but looking below you can see that there is a lot of other features included with this chip, from SATA 6Gbps to HD audio as well as HDMI out and support for PCIe 2.0 4x cards, you can get quite a bit from this little chip.  Check out the ASUS press release here or just read the summary available at The Inquirer.

AMD-G-T16R2.jpg

"CHIP DESIGNER AMD launched its lowest power accelerator processing unit (APU) yet with the 4.5W TDP G-T16R.

AMD's G series embedded GPUs have been offering some of the lowest power DirectX 11 capable chips for some time and now the firm has brought the TDP down even further with the G-T16R. Although the G-T16R doesn't support DirectX 11, it claims considerable performance benefits over the almost archaic but popular Geode LX embedded processors."

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Source: The Inquirer