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Google teases Chrome developers, posts picture of pallet of boxes ahead of Google I/O

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 11, 2013 12:35 am

Google is teasing Chrome developers ahead of this year's I/O. Posted to the Google Chrome Developers' Google+ page, the picture simply shows a pallet of boxes with the caption, "Boom. Chrome swag has arrived. #io13" Of course, there is no way to tell what's inside, though we can tell you what Google has given away before.

 

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Previous Google I/O's have seen attendees getting everything from smartphones to tablets and notebook PCs. It could be the rumored upgraded Nexus 7 or simply shirts, though it's much more likely to be the former. We shouldn't have to wait too much longer to find out what is actually inside those boxes as Google I/O takes place next week.

Activision CEO warns PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 sales might start slow like Wii U

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 11, 2013 12:06 am

During Activision's recent earnings call, CEO Bobby Kotick warned that the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 might suffer slow sales, much like the Wii U has been experiencing since its launch last November. Kotick adds that new competition from smartphones and tablets could play into customer demand.

 

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We continue to face the uncertainties of the console transition. There are still many unknown factors, such as pricing, launch dates and quantities, the level of first-party support and, importantly, consumer purchase intent in a world where consoles are no longer just competing with each other, but also with new platforms, such as smartphones and tablets.

 

In addition, the newest console, the Wii U, has had a very slow start. All of these factors further heighten our concerns heading into the back half of the year, particularly during the very competitive fourth quarter.

 

It's worth noting that NVIDIA's upcoming Tegra 4 is capable of running games with graphics similar to those that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 launched with. And with NVIDIA's Grid technology, those graphics can be improved to levels higher than the next-generation consoles are believed to be capable of.

 

Ultimately, the consoles' success depends on launch games and customer reception. Sony and Microsoft need to provide features that aren't available on alternatives at a price where consumers don't have to think too much about their budget.

Apple's two-step verification rolls out to additional countries

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 10, 2013 11:24 pm

Apple has rolled out its new two-step verification process to several new countries. Now Apple users in Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Germany Netherlands, Russia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, and Poland have access to the feature that will ultimately make their Apple ID much more secure.

 

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Two-step authentication is often thought of as a holy grail for security. Instead of just requiring a password to log in on an unidentified device, websites will send a code to an e-mail, mobile phone, or other piece of technology that must then be entered. This makes phishing much harder to do successfully.

 

Users are required to opt-in to the two-factor verification and are greatly encouraged to do so. Users can find out more about Apple's two-step verification here.

Disney jumps on 3-D printing bandwagon, offers to print 3-D Storm Trooper with your face

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: May 10, 2013 11:02 pm

3-D printing has been making headlines the past few years and Disney is ready to jump on the bandwagon. They've announced that they will be hosting several Star Wars weekends at their Hollywood Studios. For $99.95 plus tax and shipping, you can have your face 3-D printed onto a Storm Trooper, just what any Star Wars fan would want.

 

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The 10-minute experience uses the world's highest-resolution, single-shot 3D face scanner created by our Imagineering scientists with Disney Research labs. That captured image is later sent to a high resolution 3D printer to create the figurine. The completed figurine will arrive within 7-8 weeks after the experience if shipping domestically (it takes a little longer if shipping internationally). Guests will also receive either a Carbon-Freeze Me light-up band or a collector button depending upon which option they choose. The Star Wars - D-Tech Me experience is $99.95, plus shipping and applicable sales tax.

 

The experience is available over several weekends: May 17-19, May 24-26, May 31-June 2, and June 7-9. Customers will also have the option of being frozen in Carbonite, an option that was provided last year during Disney's Star Wars Weekends. For more information, check out Disney's announcement.

RumorTT: Sony i1 coming with 20MP camera, arriving in August

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 10, 2013 10:32 pm

Rumors of a new Sony smartphone have emerged. These rumors say Sony is working on a new flagship device that will feature a massive 20-megapixel camera. If these rumors prove true, the Sony i1's camera would be one of the highest resolution cameras ever put into a phone. The only higher megapixal smartphone that comes to mind is Nokia's PureView 808.

 

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The new Sony i1 is said to be slated for an August launch, putting the launch near the rumored launch of the new iPhone. The i1 is said to feature a Qualcomm 800 and Adreno 330 processor, 1080p 5-inch display, and 3,000mAh battery. It's said to be coming to the US only, though this could always change.

Chrome and Chrome OS get Google Cloud Messaging

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: May 10, 2013 10:01 pm

Google has announced that Chrome and Chrome OS are getting Google Cloud Messaging. Cloud Messaging is Google's implementation of push notifications and allows notifications, updates, news, and other alerts to be sent to an app even when running in the background. It pushes the update rather than the app having to go out and check for updates.

 

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Push notifications are commonplace in the mobile app world. It looks like they are finally crossing the divide and will start showing up in Chrome apps.

 

Event pages keep apps and extensions efficient by allowing them to respond to a variety of events such as timers or navigation to a particular site, without having to remain running persistently. But what if you need to respond to something that occurs outside of Chrome, such as a news alert, a message sent to a user or a stock hitting a price threshold? Until now, you had to do this by repeatedly polling a server. This process consumed bandwidth and reduced the battery life of your users' machines. For a more efficient solution, starting today you can use Google Cloud Messaging for Chrome (GCM) - across all channels of Chrome.

 

One of the main benefits of push notifications is reduced battery life, as noted above in the quote from yesterday's announcement. You can expect that Chrome application developers will start to make use of this new service very quickly. Battery life of notebooks should increase as a result of developers switching over and I don't t

Continue reading 'Chrome and Chrome OS get Google Cloud Messaging' (full post)

Amazon debuts Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS, provides access to pictures on Amazon Cloud

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: May 10, 2013 9:29 pm

Amazon has released a rather specialized app for iOS. Cloud Drive Photos allows iOS users to access to their Amazon Cloud storage, but only to their pictures. The app also allows iOS users to easily upload pictures to their Amazon Cloud.

 

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- Store and secure thousands of photos in your Amazon Cloud Drive

- Protect your memories - photos from your iPhone or iPod touch are automatically saved to Cloud Drive whenever the app is running

- Have access to your entire photo collection in the Amazon Cloud, even those that aren't in your Camera Roll

- View your photo albums in stunning layouts from your iPhone or iPod touch

- Share your Cloud Drive photos on Facebook, Twitter, and through e-mail

 

One cool feature available in the app is the ability to queue uploads and downloads of pictures to and from the Cloud Drive. It's not really clear why users would need an app like this, but Amazon seems to think there is a market for it. The app is a free download from the Apple App Store, so it doesn't hurt anything to give it a try.

AMD launches new 2133MHz Gamer Series RAM

By: Trace Hagan | More News: RAM | Posted: May 10, 2013 9:01 pm

AMD has announced their new 2133MHz Gamer Series of RAM is now available. AMD has been venturing into different markets so that they can build an AMD Platform, much like Intel used to push that "Intel is better together." The new 2133MHz RAM comes as a 4x4GB kit, totaling 16GB of RAM.

 

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It runs at 1.65v and comes with a CAS10 latency. One thing that you wouldn't expect about the RAM is that it comes programmed with Intel's XMP profiles, meaning it can be used and overclocked in nearly any system. The RAM also comes with AMD's own RAM profiles known as AMP (AMD Memory Profiles).

 

The RAM is also shipping with AMD's RAMDisk software. For those who don't know, a RAM disk is a disk created in the RAM. It allows for much faster transfers as the bandwidth from RAM is much higher than that of an SSD.

 

The RAM will set you back $154.99 at Newegg.

Google Drive experiences brief bug that causes list of files to be blank

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 10, 2013 8:37 pm

Google's cloud storage system known as Drive experienced a bug earlier today. Some users reported that their list of documents, spreadsheets, and other synced files were blank. Many hearts collectively sank as they thought that their files were gone for good. However, it turned out that the files were still available locally, if synced to their computer, and could be found using the search bar.

 

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Google quickly resolved the issue, but it still brings up the interesting question about cloud storage and file security. What would these users have done had they actually lost all of their files? What could have been done by Google to fix the problem or right the wrong? One tip that can be provided is always have your file in at least two separate locations.

 

12pm PST: We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Drive. We will provide more information shortly.

 

12:12pm PST: The problem with Google Drive should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.

iPhone 5 camera compared to predecessors, shows progression of camera abilities

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Cameras | Posted: May 10, 2013 8:03 pm

Camera+ managed to get one of each of the previous iPhones and take the same picture with each. The resulting images were lined up side-by-side to show the progression of the iPhone's camera abilities. The original iPhone and iPhone 3G are massively behind what the iPhone 5 is capable of. Look for yourself:

 

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As you can see, the iPhone experienced several jumps in ability, thought the largest jump has to be from the 3G to the 3GS. Even still, Apple has continually made the camera better every iteration. With the iPhone 5S, Apple will likely again increase the camera's capabilities.

 

It's amazing to consider what the iPhone camera is capable of. Especially impressive is how far the camera is come in just six years. It's starting to approach the same quality of image produced by DSLRs, though it still has a bit to go. What are your thoughts on the progress of the iPhone camera?

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