Following the cancellation of next week's planned release of 'The Interview', multiple theatres in the United States vowed to show matinee screens of 'Team America: World Police' including the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, the Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and the Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta as a replacement, but according to 'The Daily Beast', the studio asked them to stop their plans.
The 2004 marionette comedy 'Team America: World Police', co-directed by "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone courted controversy by it's depictions of Kim Jong Il and some of Hollywood's biggest stars, although it was a financial disappointment which grossed less than $20 million more than it's production budget. The film was released on Blu-ray in the United Kingdom and Australia last year, but not in the United States.
Poor economy got you down? Well, you can always just cook up some crystal meth. Reality is stranger than fiction, and that trend continues with the news that North Korea is manufacturing crystal meth in industrial facilities. This isn't your garden variety crystal meth either, according to the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. US officials have verified that the meth, which landed in the US cities of New York and Boston, tests at 96-98% purity. That's a benchmark even the characters on Breaking Bad would consider impressive.
North Korea is no stranger to resorting to illegal activities to cover budgetary shortfalls. Kim Jong-un inherited this illicit lineage from his forefathers, who began dabbling in international crime in the 1970's. During the 1990's a famine engulfed the reclusive country, and over a million people died. During the famine North Korea turned their attention to growing opium, instead of the staples that might have saved innumerable lives. The rationale was that opium could generate far more money for the beleaguered regime, which at the time had just began a round of tough sanctions.
The transition to crystal meth began as the popularity of the drug increased in the international market in the 2000's . North Korean crystal meth has been found in China, Japan, and the US. The drugs are distributed through organized crime syndicates, but apparently North Korean officials have no issue with delivering the goods themselves. Several of their ambassadors have been expelled from host countries due to smuggling activities.
Rockstar answered a bunch of questions on its blog about Grand Theft Auto V, questions which ranged from the previous generation consoles, right up to the upcoming PC version of GTA V.
When asked "where the heck is GTA5 PC" the developed replied with "We're presently in the final stages of development on the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 5 and hope to have confirmed official system requirements to share soon ... in the coming week." Another good question was asked, where if you could transfer your GTA Online progress over to the PC, which you can. Rockstar said "Yes and from any platform" which is great to hear.
Grand Theft Auto V for PC reaches us on January 27, 2015.
PMC-Sierra has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, which is dedicated to developing advanced server, networking, storage and acceleration technology, along with open source software. The open source movement is radically altering the design of hyperscale and cloud data centers by providing more efficiency at lower cost.
The OpenPOWER group makes POWER hardware and software available to open development for the first time, as well as making POWER intellectual property licensable to others, greatly expanding the ecosystem of innovators on the platform. PMC will leverage their deep knowledge of SAS and NVMe controllers to help develop new I/O interfaces by sponsoring a new I/O workgroup, along with IBM, Emulex, QLogic and Mellanox.
"Participating in the I/O workgroup with IBM and integrating our products into the OpenPOWER platform ensures that our customers have access to the latest cloud and big data storage technology," said Kurt Chan, vice president of storage technology and strategy for PMC's Enterprise Storage Division. "As a market leader in SAS and NVMe controllers, working with the industry to define new I/O interfaces and being at the forefront of new developments enables PMC to deliver the most advanced products for open architectures."
"The development model of the OpenPOWER Foundation is based on collaboration and represents a new way of innovating around processor technology," said Brad McCredie, OpenPOWER president and IBM fellow and vice president. "OpenPOWER Foundation members like PMC will be able to add their own innovations on top of the POWER processor technology to better serve their customers' needs, as well as create new products to address new markets. PMC's deep I/O expertise will benefit our collective efforts and further strengthen OpenPOWER's growing ecosystem."
Valve has just kickstarted its annual Steam Holiday Sale, which will run all the way through to January 2, 2015. There are countless games on sale, all of which will change every 12 hours.
Right now, the current sales include:
- Civilization: Beyond Earth for $29.99, down 40% from its original $49.99 price.
- Euro Truck Simulator 2 for $3.74, down 85% from its original $24.99 price.
- Sniper Elite III for $24.99, down 50% from its original $49.99 price.
- Dark Souls II for $14.79, down 63% from its original $39.99 price.
- Rocksmith 2014 Edition for $20.39, down 66% from its original $59.99 price.
There are many more games on sale, so go and check them all out!
Mojang has announced Minecraft: Story Mode, a new story-based single-player mode for the super-popular game, which will be made by the developer of The Walking Dead game, Telltale Games. Minecraft: Story Mode will launch next year on "Xbox consoles, PlayStation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS and Android-based devices."
On the official Mojang blog, they write "Minecraft: Story Mode will be released episodically, just like The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead or the recent Tales from the Borderlands, which is another developer-collaboration series between Telltale Games and Gearbox Software. We're not intending on creating an 'official' story for Steve, or explaining the world of Minecraft in detail. It will be a cool game."
The folks over at Telltale provide even more details, teasing "Minecraft: Story Mode will be an all-new narrative-driven game series developed by Telltale in collaboration with Mojang. Set in the world of Minecraft, the series will feature an original story, driven by player choice." The developer continues "It will not be an add-on for Minecraft, but rather a separate stand-alone product that will premiere in 2015 on consoles, computers and mobile devices."
Netflix has come out talking about an offline feature for its media streaming service, saying that the offline feature was "never going to happen." It was being reported that the company would unveil the offline feature to certain tablets, but the company has come out slamming down the rumor.
During a recent interview with TechRadar, Cliff Edwards from Netflix talked about offline playback being a short term fix for something that was a much bigger problem thanks to the lack of widespread, and varying speeds of Internet.
Crossbar has recently made some encouraging gains in the path to commercializing 3D RRAM by 2016. 3D Resistive RAM (RRAM) promises to break the barriers associated with the reduced endurance of NAND as the lithography shrinks. While the best-in-class SLC NAND can pull off 100,000 write-erase cycles, 3D RRAM can deliver an exponential gain to a mind-boggling 100 million write cycles. 3D RRAM is also denser, up to 10X per chip compared to NAND, and provides speeds up to 20 times that of flash. As an added bonus, it draws less power. Seems to be too good to be true, right? Basically unlimited endurance, faster performance, lower power consumption, and it's all wrapped up in one amazingly dense 1TB chip the size of a postage stamp? Providing a product with the performance of RAM, but the persistence of NAND, is the Holy Grail. But is it feasible?
Crossbar believes they are on the cusp of delivering this almost too good to be true product. Crossbar outlined some of the latest advancements at the 2014 International Electron Devices Meeting. Crossbar has patented their Field Assisted Superlinear Threshold Selector, which overcomes the limitations of a sneak path current issue. Sneak path current disrupts the reading of data from RRAM's cells. By eliminating the problem Crossbar has made a huge breakthrough that will see wearable products entering the market in 2016, at least by their estimates, and SSDs roughly 18 months after. We would assume they mean late 2016.
Toshiba has announced the release of their latest datacenter HDD, the 6TB MG04 series. The MG04 comes in SAS and SATA flavors and also touts a 30% increase in the sustained data rate. The models also feature Toshiba's persistent write cache technology. This technology persists data to the storage medium by utilizing the rotation of the disk platters during a power loss event to generate enough power to flush the data. This power loss protection technique lends another layer of protection for key business-critical storage systems.
The MG04 spins at 7,200 RPM to deliver nearline-class seek performance, and the increased storage density delivers 50% better power efficiency, on a watts-per-TB basis, than previous 4TB models. The drives use 4K native and 512e sector lengths, and models are available with ISE (Instant Secure Erase) functionality. The SAS drives also sport a 12Gb/s connection for compatibility with the latest hardware. The competition in the HDD arena is heating up as we move to denser HDD storage solutions, and the continued advances in HDD technology compliment Toshiba's vast flash-based product portfolio.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is fully embracing the looming storm connected devices, with students creating dozens of connected devices in its custom Internet of Things Lab. Students have created a smart kitchen inventory, smart tech football helmet able to detect injuries, and other cutting-edge products - all part of a unique effort that isn't for a class, so students set aside their own time to learn more.
Sandra Bradley, the lab's research director for consumer and retailer applications, broke down IoT: "Imagine everything you touch could have an Internet connection with sensing and data, and it could do more. Your refrigerator keeps things cold. What if it could give you shopping lists or monitor spoilage of food? This is about things people touch every day, and say, 'What if?'"
Preparing students for IoT research, engineering and programming is an important effort - analysts believe there will be 50 billion connected devices in our lives by 2020. The job market should boom around connected technology, so this is an innovative program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.