Tuesday, May 12, 2015

IT News Head Lines (TweakTown) 5/13/2015


Apple reportedly testing nanowire material for the iPad Plus display
We've been reporting on the larger iPad Plus from Apple for a while now, but the latest rumor on the iPad Plus is that Apple has requested silver nanowire material samples from various display suppliers.

Panels that use nanowire material are more flexible than the usual touch panels, which could allow Apple to provide similar Force Touch technology found on the Apple Watch, to their upcoming business-focused iPad Plus. Not only that, but it looks like Apple is thinking about providing a stylus on the new iPad Plus, which would pit the larger iPad against the likes of Samsung's various Galaxy tablets.

The iPad Plus is expected to feature sapphire glass over the entire display, NFC connectivity, a USB Type-C connector, an 11,000mAh battery and much more. We should expect Apple to reveal the iPad Plus later this year.

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Dishonored: Definitive Edition rumored to be coming to Xbox One, PS4
With a few Definitive Edition games made already, it looks like Dishonored is going to join the growing list of titles being 'remade' for the Xbox One and PS4 thanks to the additional horsepower in the now current-gen consoles.

"According to an industry insider", Dishonored: Definitive Edition will be shown off before we get a look at Dishonored II, reports WCCFTech. We are still expecting Dishonored II to be unveiled at E3 2015 next month, or at least a trailer. We should expect more details and a deeper look at the sequel to Dishonored at Gamescom later in the year.

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Reddit is down 'for emergency maintenance'
Update #2: And it's back up! Your day can go on like usual, we can breathe normally again now that Reddit is back!

Update: According to @redditstatus on Twitter, there was some scheduled maintenance for four hours ago, with a tweet that said: "We'll be performing some database maintenance that will require the site to be in read only mode for May 11, 22:00 - 22:30 PDT". The next tweet which was from around 52 minutes ago read: "Investigating: We're investigating a database master that's gone unavailable". Then, just 38 minutes ago, @redditstatus tweeted: "Identified: Turns out it was good we were preparing to replace a database tonight -- it's the one that just fai...".

Breaking: Reddit, otherwise known as "the front page of the Internet" is down. Visiting the website will result in a nice little blue page that says "Reddit is down for emergency maintenance".

We don't know if this is something that was planned, but as a very daily Reddit user, I haven't read anything about it. It could've been attacked, which is why the 'emergency maintenance' is required. Sites like Reddit don't just run from a single server in an ISP, they have many thousands of servers with companies like Amazon so that this type of thing never happens.

We'll report back when we find out more.

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Fallout 4 details leak as a 'broken NDA' appears to have taken place
After thinking Fallout 4 might not be shown off at E3 2015, it looks like it could actually happen. According to the LinkedIn profile of a 3D contract artist, who has listed "Fallout 4 cinematic trailer" on the Experience section of their profile.

The person said they worked on the Fallout 4 cinematic trailer for four months, between December 2014 and March 2015 in LA. This person has also worked on the Far Cry 4 cinematic trailer, the Forza series, Elder Scrolls series, and even Underworld Awakening and The Avengers. Where it gets messy, is that Bethesda hasn't publicly confirmed the existence of Fallout 4.

Normally rumors are just that... rumors, but this is pretty solid. This LinkedIn profile points to someone who has worked on various large AAA titles like Far Cry 4, and much more. We'll find out soon with E3 2015 taking place between June 16-18, 2015.

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Nintendo's next-gen console will be revealed next year, no region lock
It was expected of Nintendo to talk about its next generation console at E3 2015 next month, but the company has confirmed that it will not be talking about its "NX" console at the show.

But, Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata said that the Japanese company will be talking about its NX console sometime in 2016. The Nintendo boss teased that they are calling it a new concept, with the team not considering the NX console a replacement of the Wii U. At this point, there's no clue what Nintendo could be working on, but if it's anything like the Wii, we could expect a big change to the game console.

The new NX console will also reportedly not be held back by region locking, as the company has been listening to customer feedback and proposals from the market.

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Ex-Naughty Dog developer says 8GB RAM is enough for the Xbox One, PS4
Both of the current generation consoles have 8GB of RAM, which "should be plenty for the remainder of this console generation" according to ex-Naughty Dog developer and founder of Filmic Worlds, John Hable.

During a recent interview with GamingBolt, Hable said: "In general, I would not worry about the consoles becoming outdated. Remember, the PS3 and Xbox 360 have only 512MB of RAM, but the PC versions of the same games usually require 2GB or more. On consoles you have more control over memory allocations. The 8GB of RAM in both the Xbox One and PS4 should be plenty for the remainder of this console generation".

When Hable was still with Naughty Dog, he was in control of the HDR lighting technology found in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Current generation games are now using much more complicated lighting technologies such as global illumination and physical-based rendering, so GamingBolt wanted to know where Hable thought lighting technology in games would be going next.

Hable replied: "For me, my major complaint these days with games is light leaking. It is too expensive to have a shadow on every light that you make in a game so you have this effect where light seems to bleed through objects. As an example, you might see a character with a bright light behind him or her. Then you will see these bright lights on the creases of his or her clothes which should not be there. That is light leaking and it drives me crazy. You also see it a lot on muzzle flashes. That is the next thing that I would like to see improved".

He finished off by saying: "Global Illumination still needs some work too. In many games with Global Illumination I still feel like objects lack good contact shadows in ambient light. And the falloff often does not look natural to me. Good baked lighting in a video game is still not a solved problem".

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Get 'Dumb and Dumber' in our Blu-ray giveaway
To celebrate this week's release of the sequel to one of the funniest comedies of all time; 'Dumb and Dumber To' on Blu-ray HD, DVD and Digital, we have copies of the Blu-ray to give away to ten lucky readers.

The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what he could do with 1%. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their signature roles as Lloyd and Harry in the sequel to the smash hit that took the physical comedy and kicked it in the nuts: Dumb and Dumber To. The original film's directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, take Lloyd and Harry on a road trip to find a child Harry never knew he had and the responsibility neither should ever, ever be given. Along for the ride are co- stars Kathleen Turner, Laurie Holden, and Rob Riggle.

To go into the running to take a Blu-ray home, simply answer the following question in 50 words or less:

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done?

To enter, simply 'like' this post and share via Facebook or Twitter and send your answers, along with your postal address to ben at TweakTown dot com before the competition closes on May 15th.

'Dumb and Dumber To' is available on Blu-ray HD, DVD and Digital from Australian retailers from May 14th.

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Google says its self-driving cars have been involved in 11 accidents
Google self-driving vehicles have had 11 minor traffic accidents during six years of testing, but the vehicle and human passenger were not at fault. Following reports that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has received accident reports from three Google-equipped Lexus SUVs since September 2014.

Most reported accidents were caused by another vehicle rear-ending the Google autonomous test car, according to Google.

"Not only are we developing a good understanding of minor accident rates on suburban streets, we've also identified patterns of driver behavior (lane drifting, red-light running) that are leading indicators of significant collisions," said Chris Urmson, director of the self-driving car program at Google, in a blog post. "Those behaviors don't ever show up in official statistics, but they create dangerous situations for everyone around them."

In a survey released in late 2014, 65 percent of drivers said they think self-driving vehicles are "a dangerous idea," and automakers need to continue informing the public about technology developments.

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'The Witcher' 3 Xbox One footage reveals video at 900p to 1080p
CD Projekt Red released game play from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt running on the Microsoft Xbox One, which uses a dynamic scaling feature to ramp up game resolution. The game will be released on Tuesday, May 19 for the PC, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4.

The resolution jumps between 900p and 1080p, with dynamic scaling helping push the resolution based on what is happening during current game play.

"The video you're now watching is grabbed directly from an Xbox One console," the game studio said. "We've been working to give gamers an even better experience on Xbox One and, on day one, we'll bring you dynamic scaling from 900p to 1080p. We're not much more than a week before launch, but we're still fighting for every line of code. We want gamers to get the best possible experience we can deliver."

CD Projekt Red has found ways to increase technical performance of its soon-to-be-launched game title weeks ahead of the Xbox One launch.


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Analyst: Apple Watch could help finally kill off luxury watches
Luxury watch manufacturers already had to deal with slowing sales, largely caused because of the euro, and it looks like the Apple Watch could cause further financial stress.

"That watch business, which was great for the last six years, was slowing down before the [Apple Watch]," said Jan Kniffen, retail consultant, and CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen Worldwide Enterprises, in a statement published by CNBC. "This is the nail in the coffin, the new Apple Watch. I don't think it's taking over the world. But it's a negative to those sellers."

Kniffen also said the true market could be for watches from $300 up to $600, and Apple has two models that fit into the price range.

The Apple Watch is expected to give the smartwatch market a major boost, with rival manufacturers saying they welcome additional attention. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Apple Watch quickly top the sales charts, but could have a major fight on its hands later down the road.

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IDC: 3D printers continue to gain interest, with satisfaction rising
It looks like 3D printers are one step closer to widespread mainstream adoption, with 90 percent of respondents from companies saying they are "very satisfied" with their 3D printing experience, according to IDC.

Price, ease of use and service/support are critical to help drive adoption among business users, the survey found. In addition, non-users have a curiosity with 3D printing, and momentum will continue to build even further in the future.

"These printers are typically acquired for a specific creation workflow, but once in place the usage expands rapidly to other types of applications," said Keith Kmetz, VP of hardcopy peripherals solutions and services at IDC. "The early adopters who recognized the substantial cost and time-to-market benefits of 3D printing have carried the day, but it's their overall satisfaction and the ability to expand usage that will ultimately drive 3D printing to the next level."

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Ex-BioShock devs pull the plug on 'The Black Glove' game title
The Day For Night Games studio has pulled the plug on The Black Glove video game, after a disappointing Kickstarter campaign and inability to bring a publisher onboard.

The "eerie, surrealistic, first-person game experience" from several former developers at Irrational Games, which brought us BioShock, had some gamers interested. However, the Kickstarter campaign collected just $216,517 of a $550,000 fundraising campaign - with other "potential opportunities" also falling flat.

"We'd like to thank everyone who lent their support to the project," according to a statement posted on the Day For Night Games website. "Whether you checked out the project on Kickstarter, wrote a news story about it, created awesome fan art, gave advice, or even just RTed, thank you a thousand times."

Even though development on The Black Glove has stopped, the development team is involved in other projects.

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Symantec: New Breaking Bad-themed ransomware now causing problems
A new form of ransomware infecting users in Australia has been discovered by Symantec, with the "Los Pollos Hermanos" malware encrypting documents, images, videos, and other files on compromised PCs.

The Trojan.Cryptolocker.S demands a payment of almost $800 for the encrypted files to be decrypted, with malware authors pulling information from Breaking Bad protagonist Walter White. Much like other ransomware attacks, it appears social engineering is responsible for infecting users, with a malicious zip file that appears to be from a delivery courier.

"Based on our initial analysis, the threat appears to be using components or similar techniques to an open-source penetration-testing project, which uses Microsoft PowerShell modules," Symantec noted in a blog post. "This allows the attackers to run their own PowerShell script on the compromised computer to operate the crypto ransomware."

Ransomware attacks remain a popular tool for cybercriminals, as business workers tend to quickly pay ransoms - and would rather get back to daily work operations, instead of taking time to try to restore systems. Cybersecurity experts warn that there must be more focus on training employees to spot - and avoid - social engineering attempts by cybercriminals.

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Four self-driving vehicle accidents in California since September
There are around 50 self-driving cars traveling in California, with four of them reportedly involved in auto accidents since September, according to reports. Three of the accidents involved the Google-equipped Lexus SUVs, while the other was an Audi SQ5 Delphi self-driving vehicle.

All four accidents were low-speed incidents, at 10 miles per hour or less, with Google and Delphi saying their vehicles were not at fault in any of the reported accidents. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) didn't offer a public statement, though the DMV is now tracking self-driving vehicles.

Earlier in the year, a Delphi self-driving vehicle successfully completed a cross-country journey - and Google has tested its autonomous vehicle on California roads since late 2014

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Prior Elite: Dangerous gamers will be given free Steam code
Gamers who purchased Elite: Dangerous through the online store hosted by Frontier Developments will be given a free Steam key, the company has announced. Elite: Dangerous game runs on Frontier's servers, but the studio is working with Valve so current accounts can be connected to Steam.

"We always appreciate it when you buy direct from our store because it means we can put more into supporting and developing Elite: Dangerous," said Edward Lewis, community manager for Frontier Developments, in a forum post. "But we know a number of long-time players and backers like to play through Steam and we think it's fair everyone has that option, not just new players."

The Steam code will be available to existing owners starting on May 28. Elite: Dangerous is available via Steam for $59.99.

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Etekcity RoverBeats T3 Wireless Mobile Speaker Review


As mentioned in the summary, the T16's big brother, the T12, absolutely blew us away in testing. We rated this $25 speaker with a high score and plastered an award along with it. The T16 gave a similar response, but took off a speaker and added in a nice carry pouch.

Although once again charged through mini USB, this product looks to be solid and is of similar shape and design to the T16. Read on to find out our thoughts on this product.


This product contains a single 3W speaker in order to deliver you music or phone call audio. This driver has a frequency response of 80Hz - 20KHz, which is a slightly larger range than offered with the previously reviewed T12 and the same as the similarly specified T16.

Connectible to your device of choice through Bluetooth 2.1 or 3.5mm AUX options, this product measures 2.52 x 2.52 x 2.64 (inch) and weighs in at 6 ounces which is slightly less than the T16. The internal battery will provide you with a claimed 7 hours of playback time, however, I would say that this is for AUX only and the Bluetooth playback to be closer to 4.5 hours in total. It's unfortunately not listed exactly what size the battery is, but given similar models, you could comfortably say it is 400mAh.

Charged through mini-USB, this device comes with a supplied cable, which is an improvement on the T12 that came with an outdated wall charger (who does that anymore?), but it's still annoying that it's mini-USB at all as you're likely to have micro-USB cables coming out of your ears for other products.


Pricing & Availability

The Etekcity RoverBeats T3 will set you back a $19.99 plus shipping costs from Amazon. Add this speaker as another to the cheap Etekcity product range - cheap doesn't necessarily mean low quality either, from our experience.

What's in the box?

This speaker comes complete with a soft carry pouch, the mini-USB charging cable, the user guide and an AUX 3.5mm cable.

The AUX and charging cables are of adequate length and ensured I breathed a sigh of relief when untangled. Many companies are providing ridiculous 2-inch charging and AUX cables giving you no room to adapt or move and ensuring pain when trying to charge or play music through your newly purchased product. There's an included anti-skid pad attached to the bottom of the frame. There's also the soft pouch, which is always a great inclusion in my books, as I feel all accessories that will be constantly on the move should feature a carry case.
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Available Tags:Apple , iPad , Xbox , PS4 , Blu-ray , Google , 3D , gamers , Steam , Wireless

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