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Gadget Ogling: Smarter Smartphone Gaming, Modular Watches, and Vampiric Charging Cables
October 17, 2015
I don't enjoy playing complex games on a smartphone. Using the screen as both input and output device makes matters complicated, so I tend to steer clear of any game that requires more than single taps or simple swipes. There are a number of game controllers around for smartphones, however, and the Satechi Wireless Gamepad, a Bluetooth device, is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows phones.
Ingress Maker Niantic Scores $20 Million for AR Gaming
October 16, 2015
Niantic on Thursday announced that it was the beneficiary of a big bet pooled together by benefactors Google, Nintendo and The Pokémon Co. Niantic, which develops augmented reality games, will receive $20 million in the Series A funding round and could receive another $10 million if it realizes certain undisclosed goals. The company was founded by Google Earth cocreator John Hanke.
Sony Shears PS4's Price
October 12, 2015
Sony last week knocked $50 off the price of the PS4, putting it on par with the $349 Xbox. A cost cut also went into effect in Canada, where the price dropped from the recommended CA$449.99 to $429.99. Touting upcoming multiplatform games Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Star Wars: Battlefront, SCEA CEO Shawn Layden said there never has been a better time to pick up the PS4.
Samsung Gear VR to Test Virtual Reality's Mass Appeal
September 28, 2015
Samsung last week unveiled a consumer version of a virtual reality headset adapter that converts Samsung smartphones into head-mounted displays. The move represents a first strike -- ready or not -- as top tech industry players begin to push virtual reality hardware into consumer markets. Samsung and partner Oculus VR have imparted several improvements to the consumer version of Gear VR.
GameStop Swims Against the Digital Download Tide
September 22, 2015
GameStop has signaled resistance to the trend of bundling game consoles with digital downloads rather than physical copies of games. The company ships more than half of all PlayStation 4 and Xbox One software. GameStop worked with its partners to sell the physical version of Madden 16 in its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One bundles, Chief Operating Officer Tony Bartel recently told investors.
Gadget Ogling: Fresh Fires, Tablet Touches, and Underwater Drones
September 19, 2015
In case you didn't already know it, Amazon has designs on taking over your television, and Fire TV seems a strong competitor to the refreshed Apple TV. Fire TV's big advantage is that it can stream video in ultra high-def 4K, while Apple TV cannot. Nor can Roku or Chromecast. There already are some fine games available for Fire TV, and there's a gaming edition available with a controller.
Pokémon GO Steps on the Mobile AR Gas
September 17, 2015
Nintendo and The Pokémon Company teamed up with Niantic on an augmented reality project, complete with a wearable Poké Ball that just might be the next best thing to filling Pokédex with pocket monsters. Pokémon GO players will have the opportunity to catch, trade and battle Pokémon characters wandering the wilds of the real world when the game launches next year.
Devs Shine Light on Halo 5's Overhauled Engine
September 17, 2015
Weeks away from the launch of Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries and Microsoft have revealed some of the technical ingenuity behind what's expected to be the biggest Xbox One game of the 2015 holiday season. The game's developers have been raving about their playtime with the upcoming sci-fi shooter. For starters they're promising first-class digital tourism in Halo 5: Guardians.
Nintendo Inaugurates New President
September 15, 2015
Tatsumi Kimishima emerged as president of Nintendo, following a meeting of the board held Monday. Kimishima, 65, has taken up the positions of representative director and president. Taking the seat of beloved Satoru Iwata, who earlier this year died from cancer, Kimishima now holds the reins of a company that has been preparing to push several bold new initiatives.
Gadget Ogling: All About Apple
September 12, 2015
Apple's latest iPhones -- the 6s and 6s Plus -- are faster, stronger and smarter than the previous models. A zippier processor and faster Touch ID, LTE, and WiFi feature among the incremental upgrades. There are a couple of interesting new features with this generation, primarily 3D Touch. This makes the screen receptive to pressure beyond lightly tapping or holding one's finger on an icon.
Apple Levels up with tvOS
September 10, 2015
The refreshed Apple TV, tvOS and the Siri Remote Apple presented during Wednesday's "Hey Siri" event may not have been game changers, but the people pushing Apple's renewed focus on gaming are. Television's future lies in apps, proclaimed Apple CEO Tim Cook as he drew the curtain on the Apple TV's new iOS 9-powered operating system: tvOS. That line drew a chuckle from owners of Fire TVs and Rokus.
Xbox One Elite Bundle Conquers Space
September 1, 2015
Microsoft on Monday unveiled a new version of its Xbox One console. The Xbox One Elite Bundle includes the console, with a 1-TB drive that fuses the performance of flash memory with the economy of a hard disk, and a new Elite wireless controller. The controller is fully customizable, with interchangeable paddles, hair-trigger locks, and high-performance construction, the company said.
Amazon's Underground Unshackles Freemium Android Apps
August 31, 2015
Amazon last week freed a selection of Android apps of the in-app payment requirements necessary to enjoy them to their fullest. The value of the goodies in the apps labeled "Actually Free" comes to more than $10,000, Amazon said. The Actually Free apps can be accessed via Underground, a new app available from Amazon. Amazon Underground is essentially an expansion of the company's core mobile shopping app.
YouTube Opens Video Game Floodgates
August 27, 2015
It's alive! YouTube Gaming, a hub that's home to over 25,000 video game pages, on Wednesday began broadcasting live and on-demand streams, let's play videos and the like. The gaming hub is accessible on desktop PCs, and on Android and iOS devices. YouTube's new hub is likely to offer a serious challenge to Twitch, the video game streaming service Amazon bought last year.
Wii U to Become Pokken Tournament Playing Field
August 25, 2015
Nintendo and The Pokemon Company last week announced that Pokken Tournament -- the Pokemon fighting game developed by Namco Bandai -- will expand from arcades in Japan to a worldwide launch on the Wii U in the spring of 2016. Instead of just issuing commands to use special attacks, players of the fighting game can direct the blows their Pokemon deliver.
Intel: Putting Innovation Back in the Hands of the Innovators
August 24, 2015
We are living in an amazing time, but many of us seem to take it for granted. We have private spaceships. Self-driving cars are on the road, even though we can't buy them yet, and there are plans for a 12-mile-high inflatable building. Granted, a number of us are convinced it will end up looking like a giant version of the inflatable fan blown stick man often seen outside of car dealerships.
Razer Can't Wait to Intro Its Unnamed VR Camera Baby
August 20, 2015
Razer has introduced a camera that incorporates Intel's RealSense technology, suggesting use cases as a depth-sensing accessory in PC gaming and beyond. The company described its camera concept at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, which was chock-full of big announcements. Intel updated developers on its efforts in the wearables market, and it introduced its solution for IoT security.
Qualcomm Ups the Ante With Next-Gen Processor Innovations
August 12, 2015
Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled its Adreno 5xx GPU architecture next-generation visual processing technology and its 14-bit Spectra image signal processing unit at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. The first two GPUs to use the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and 510, will be integrated in Qualcomm's forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and 620/618 processors. The Snapdragon 820 also will feature the 14-bit ISP.
Everybody Can Run - Not Walk - to the Rapture
August 12, 2015
With the post-apocalyptic adventure game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Sony may have a cult classic on its hands. The PlayStation 4 exclusive became available Tuesday. The Chinese Room, a game development studio that previously worked exclusively on PC and Mac titles, developed Everybody's Gone to the Rapture with the support of Sony and SCE's Santa Monica Studio.
Teens Find Real Friends in the Online Jungle
August 7, 2015
Teens have been using digital media to create bonds that extend well beyond playing games or tweeting, according to a study Pew Research released Thursday. Along with likes and shares and tags and retweets have come beefing, berating, trolling and blocking. Although a lot of social activity appears superficial, that's not always the case. Some long-term friendships have been forged online.
Microsoft Aims to Meet Gamers' Great Expectations
August 5, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday launched the Rare Replay collection -- the best games lineup in Xbox History, according to Xbox Chief Phil Spencer -- at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. Even some loyal Xbox fans might disagree with that proclamation, but Microsoft attempted to back up its assertion with a content-rich presentation bedazzled with exclusive games.
Autodesk's Stingray Gets Into Video Game Guts
August 4, 2015
Tired of serving as just a pretty face, Autodesk on Monday announced that it's putting its muscle into the business of making video games. The new Stingray engine, introduced at the Game Developers Conference, pulls together Autodesk's efforts in the games space. Stringray is a cross-platform engine that supports Xbox One, PlayStation 4, the Oculus Rift, Windows, Android and iOS.
Angry Birds 2: Freemium Clips Its Wings
July 31, 2015
Angry Birds 2 -- the 13th installment of Angry Birds and the original game's first proper sequel -- on Thursday became available for iOS and Android. The free-to-play model is a call to players beyond its base. However, those new players may slip through developer Rovio's fingers if the game's features fail to motivate them to play with real money
Nintendo's Sleep Monitor Is More Than a Dream
July 28, 2015
A patent application published last week has revealed more information about Nintendo's plans to build out its hardware ecosystem with contactless sleep monitoring technology. The device will assess individuals' emotions by using array of microphones and cameras to keep track of the noises and movements they make while getting some shuteye, according to the description in the patent application.
Twitch Yanks Player Controls From Flash
July 24, 2015
Game-streaming service Twitch on Thursday joined Apple and other tech companies in swearing off its dependence on Adobe's Flash. The move away from Flash will happen in stages, but Twitch has promised its community that the gradual rollout will advance at a steady pace. Twitch began the transition to the more secure HTML5 and JavaScript by hybridizing its streaming video player.
A New Challenger Pounds the Street Fighter V Pavement
July 21, 2015
Capcom has introduced a new character for its upcoming Street Fighter V, as it continued a reveal that promises a more connected, less confusing experience for players of the next installment in the decades-old series. Whether in a dark alley or a sunny park, any encounter with Necalli would trigger the run-and-hide side of the fight or flight response.
Angry Birds 2 Set for Late July Landing
July 20, 2015
Six years and more than a dozen spinoffs after Angry Birds first took flight, the game finally will receive a proper sequel on July 30, Rovio announced last week. The details are scant, but Angry Birds 2 apparently will be "bigger, badder and birdier," going by a tweet from Rovio. It's likely that Angry Birds 2 will launch on both Android and iOS.
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata Leaves Legacy of Charm
July 14, 2015
After more than a decade of shaping fan-forward Nintendo philosophies, President Satoru Iwata died Saturday at 55. Iwata had been struggling with cancer for about a year. The one-time programmer and long-time video game enthusiast worked his way through the Nintendo ranks. He succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002, becoming the first Nintendo president who wasn't a member of the Yamauchi family.
Gunpoder Malware Masquerades as Lesser Evil
July 9, 2015
Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 team on Tuesday published a report on Gunpoder, a family of Android malware that can evade detection scans by pretending to be adware. Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu authored the report. The team discovered the new Android malware last November. Its new report aims to spur cooperation within the security community to mount defenses against the threat.
Microsoft Anchors Minecraft Strategy to Education
July 5, 2015
Microsoft wants to find ways to assist the pioneering teachers who have taught pupils through the sandbox construction game Minecraft. The company earlier this week launched its Minecraft in Education initiative to turn the pioneers into pillars. There was puzzlement over Microsoft's end game last September, when it purchased Mojang, the studio behind the multiplatform hit.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.