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China finally lifting ban on game consoles, just in time for next-gen

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 28, 2013 9:31 am

After a massive 13-year ban on gaming consoles, it looks like China is about to open the flood gates to all consoles. Rewinding the clock back to 2000, we saw the country put a ban on gaming consoles because of the influence violent and mature games could have on the youth of China.

 

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We heard about the Shanghai free-trade zone, which the console ban being lifted is all a part of. In order for gaming consoles to be sold in China, game developers and console retailers will need to set up shop in the free-trade zone in Shanghai, pending official approval they can sell their products to the mainland market.

 

Microsoft has already sprinted to the market, striking a deal with Chinese company BesTV in order to develop games in the free-trade zone. The free-trade zone is opening up in Shanghai on September 29, which should see billions upon billions of dollars being pumped into the industry.

NSA: we used our tech to spy on our love interests

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Sep 28, 2013 8:24 am

It looks like some NSA agents would be hanging their heads in shame, if they weren't already over the PRISM scandal, after it has been outed that some of them used their powers to spy on love interests.

 

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The Hill reports that the US spy agency admitted in a letter to Sensor Chuck Grassley (R - Iowa) that it's "identified 12 incidents since 2003 in which analysts intentionally misused their intelligence gathering powers" to spy on love interests. The NSA also admitted that it has opened two investigations into similar abuses of intelligence, and a third is being reviewed as another possible investigation.

 

This all reminds me of Men in Black, the movie, when K used the technology he had at his disposal to use a satellite to spy on his ex-wife. I can see it now, the NSA is using its vast technology - of which the US tax payer funded - to spy on love interests, the next-generation of Facebook stalking.

Microsoft's Xbox One tour begins on October 1

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Sep 28, 2013 7:28 am

Microsoft has announced that its Xbox team will take the Xbox One on a tour around the world, starting on October 1. If you're near one of these tour cities, you'll be able to see the Xbox One "through a series of experiential events."

 

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You'll be able to get some hands-on time with Microsoft's next-gen console, as the Redmond-based giant will be bringing along seven (and possibly more) of its launch titles: Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3, Crimson Dragon, Max: Curse of the Brotherhood, and LocoCycle.

 

The company has called this tour the "Area One" tour, with the following cities and dates below:

 

  • Philadelphia: 10.3-10.6
  • Paris: 10.10-10.13
  • Toronto: 10.10-10.13
  • Chicago: 10.17-10.20
  • Vienna: 10.17-10.20
  • Atlanta: 10.24-10.27
  • Dallas: 10.31-11.3
  • Berlin: 10.31-11.3
  • Phoenix: 11.7-11.10
  • San Francisco: 11.14-11.17
  • Dublin: 11.14-11.17
  • Los Angeles: 11.21
  • London: 11.21-11.24

Delta will provide all pilots with a Surface 2 within two years

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 28, 2013 6:00 am

After Delta Airlines looked to be providing all of its pilots with iPads in 2011 through its Electronic Flight Bag program, the airline has gone in a totally new direction.

 

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WindowsITPro is reporting that the airline was going to adopt Nokia's unreleased and rumored Sirius tablet, but has since changed its mind and will now see pilots using Microsoft's Windows 8.1 RT-based tablet, the Surface 2. Flight attendants will also use Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones, which will be used for processing payments and tracking passenger information.

BlackBerry's failed Z10 cost the company almost $1 billion in losses

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 28, 2013 3:35 am

We are finding out why BlackBerry decided to cancel its investors call this afternoon. The company has released its financial report that suggests that it lost almost $1 billion due to its flagship Z10 failing to excite customers. Last quarter, the Z10 accounted for more than $934 million in losses with an overall loss of $965 million.

 

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The BlackBerry Z10 is not solely responsible for the company's downfall, however. Years of stagnant progress and lack of innovation led up to the once king of smartphones being rendered a beggar peasant among kings. The company reported only $1.6 billion for the quarter, which was off by almost 50 percent from last year. It did manage to ship 3.7 million smartphones, which pales in comparison to Apple who claimed 15 million iPhones last weekend alone.

DICE releases list of maps and modes for Battlefield 4 release

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Sep 27, 2013 9:28 pm

DICE has just unveiled what multiplayer maps and game modes will be playable on day one for Battlefield 4. The list of maps is quite impressive and includes the impressive looking Zavod 311 map that is set inside a Cold War era Soviet tank factory. The factory has been abandoned for decades and is now being reclaimed by nature.

 

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Returning gameplay modes include: Conquest, Team Deathmatch, Rush, Squad Deathmatch, and Domination. Two additional modes will be launched on day one as well, which includes Obliteration and Defuse. The first will involve planting a bomb to blow up key targets within the map, while defuse is only a ten person game. Each team of five players will be tasked with eliminating the other team. Each player has a single life and no respawns.

Continue reading 'DICE releases list of maps and modes for Battlefield 4 release' (full post)

Flooding once again threatens Thai industrial park

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Sep 27, 2013 8:33 pm

Some of you may remember the flooding in Thailand back in 2011 that caused the prices of hard drives to skyrocket. A similar situation could arise again, if rainfall continues. A recent report says that flooding is already "encircling" the Thai industrial park, but the Government promises a repeat of 2011 will not happen.

 

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During the flooding in 2011, more than 800 people lost their lives across Thailand, and enough damage was done to the tech industry to cause hard drive prices to skyrocket to levels not seen in years. It took more than a year for tech prices to level off, but more importantly, Thailand has yet to recover fully from the damage. We will be keeping a close eye on flooding reports and our storage gurus Paul Alcorn and Chris Ramseyer will alert us of any breaking news.

Beats buys back final half of HTC partnership, cost $265 million

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 27, 2013 8:02 pm

The partnership between headphone manufacturer Beats and handset giant HTC has finally came to an end. This morning, Beats announced that it has bought back the remaining stake held by HTC for $265 million. The two companies partnered up back in 2011, when HTC picked up a 50.1 percent controlling interest for $300 million.

 

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Just a year later, Beats bought back half of that stake for $150 million. With today's buyback, HTC has profited over $115 million from the deal, not including any royalties and unseen payments that have taken place. No reason was given for the split, but with HTC in financial trouble, we are sure that the sudden influx of cash is a welcomed one.

LeakedTT: Images of a gold iPad mini with fingerprint scanner surface

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 27, 2013 7:04 pm

New images have surfaced of what appears to be a new Apple iPad Mini that features the new anodized color that has is featured on the iPhone 5S. The new iPad mini also features the same Touch ID fingerprint scanner we saw on the recently released iPhone 5S.

 

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Other than the color change and new fingerprint scanner, the pictured iPad Mini appears to be of the same form-factor and trim of its predecessor. With Apple's recent trend of rehashing existing products with minimal changes, this is no surprise. Apple will be hosting an event on October 15 during which it is expected to launch a new iPad and iPad mini, so all will be revealed then!.

Half-Life 3 not announced, Valve introduces Steam Controller instead

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Sep 27, 2013 5:52 pm

Well it has happened folks, Valve has made its third and final announcements of the week and unfortunately no mention of Half-Life 3 was made. We did, however, get a thorough rundown of the final piece of the puzzle to a unified Steam gaming experience for the living room.

 

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The final announcement was centered around the all new Steam Controller, a very funky looking peripheral that features not one but two touch sensitive trackpads, an LCD-based touchscreen that doubles as a button, and multiple triggers / buttons. The new Steam Controller is said to work with every game in the Steam library, even the ones that were never designed to support a game pad. Valve says that they achieved this by tricking the game into thinking the controller is actually a mouse and keyboard.

 

We set out with a singular goal: bring the Steam experience, in its entirety, into the living-room. We knew how to build the user interface, we knew how to build a machine, and even an operating system. But that still left input - our biggest missing link. We realized early on that our goals required a new kind of input technology - one that could bridge the gap from the desk to the living room without compromises. So we spent a year experimenting with new approaches to input and we now believe we've arrived at something worth sharing and testing with you.

Continue reading 'Half-Life 3 not announced, Valve introduces Steam Controller instead' (full post)

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