When you say the name Oculus, the product that we all think of right away is the Rift VR headset. That headset allows you to play some of the most immersive games we have seen in a long time. Oculus plans to offer more to the gamers out there than the headset alone.
Oculus is also working on motion controllers that will work alongside the Rift headset. The controllers will allow you to manipulate objects in games via hand and body movement according to people familiar with the products.
The goal of the motion controllers according to these sources is to make for more immersive games and simulations. Some developers out there that aren't directly associated with Oculus are already working on motion controllers to go with the Rift. The move into first party controllers by Oculus will likely upset these firms. Exactly when Oculus will rollout those motion controllers is unknown.
Facebook has launched a new app called mentions that is very exclusive. In fact, we normal folk can't get our hands-on the app at all right now. The Mentions app is aimed only at actors, musicians, and other influencers and it is designed to help them discover and join conversations on Facebook.
Facebook only allows people who are verified public figures to get their hands-on the app and it is designed to display mentions to let the famous person know what the public is saying about them. Mentions also gives tools to make status updates, post photos, and videos like the normal Facebook app.
Another big feature for the famous person is the ability to host live Q&A session from within the app right from their iPhone. Facebook does have plans to make mentions more widely available in the future.
We have all been in a situation where we need our phones for one reason or another and the area lacks enough signal for a connection. If you are in an emergency, that lack of a signal can be life threatening. A new device called the GoTenna has debuted that promises to be able to keep you in touch even in areas where cellular signal strength is weak or not available.
The GoTenna is a small 2-ounce wand that can be connected to a backpack or belt loop that is able to connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth low energy. Once connected and powered on, users of GoTenna are able to send messages and GPS coordinates to other people who are also connected by a GoTenna.
High-resolution offline maps are offered by the company allowing users to reference transmitted location data. GoTenna isn't able to give high-speed data or voice capability, so there is no surfing the web or using Facebook with the device. It creates a low frequency radio wave network for iOS and Android devices that is good for about a mile in a dense urban area or about 9 miles in outdoor conditions. Pre-orders are underway now with a pair of the devices selling for $149 before going to $299 per pair later.
Twitter has announced that it has purchased a new company called CardSpring that it will use to power ecommerce sales in tweets that users and companies share. CardSpring allows companies to build card-linked offers, electronic coupons, loyalty cards, virtual money, and more that works with credit cards.
Twitter has no plans to shutter the service and use the technology for itself at this time.
CardSpring writes, "At Twitter, we will continue to grow the adoption of our platform and work with our publisher, financial, and retail partners to create new, innovative commerce experiences for consumers."
One way that Twitter can use the CardSpring tech is to enable things like discounts offered via a tweet where you would enter your credit card details on Twitter and then pay with the same card at the local store to get the discount. Merchants would get analytics allowing them to see how effective their purchases are.
Rumors have been swirling all week that Microsoft was set to make some significant cuts to its workforce. The rumors suggested that the layoffs could slash more workers from the Microsoft payroll than has been cut in years with many predicting over 5,000 jobs lost. Today Microsoft has made the job cuts official, and the numbers are huge.
Microsoft has announced that it is eliminating 18,000 jobs over the next year. Microsoft plans to strengthen its core video game business and is shedding things that aren't beneficial to that focus. Among the cuts is the entire staff of the Xbox Entertainment Studios that would have been responsible for original TV shows.
Reports indicate that the majority of the 200 people who work for the studio will be let go, exactly how many will remain is unknown. The upside is that the Halo series based on the incredibly popular Microsoft game lives on.
Facebook is trying to increase its position in the ecommerce world in the US with testing kicking off on a new buy button that lets people buy products on the social network. Facebook says that the buy button is being testing with a few small and medium size businesses in the US right now.
The button will be available on both the mobile and desktop versions of the website. The social network says that none of the credit card data shared with Facebook will be shared with other advertisers when completing a transaction. For now, Facebook isn't taking a cut of the money made during the purchase for itself according to a source.
A third party processing company processes all credit card transactions made on Facebook. Presumably, in the future once the test of the buy button proves effective Facebook will want a cut of the money.
The Apple iPhone 6 smartphone, with a 4.7-inch screen, is reportedly going to enter mass production starting next week. Not surprisingly, Apple's manufacturing partners have remained fairly silent about the iPhone 6, but the rumor mill continues to stay busy.
Earlier in the year, it was rumored Apple reportedly ordered 90 million iPhones from Foxconn, which will hire as many as 100,000 temporary works to help meet expected demand. Another Apple partner, Pegatron, has hired 10,000 temporary employees for its manufacturing facilities, also expecting to be slammed with orders.
Apple plans to launch the 4.7-inch device by the end of the year - in time for the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season - while the 5.5-inch iPhone "phablet" could be released at the same time,[del][/del] but may face production problems.
Following tragic news that Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down in Ukrainian airspace on Thursday morning, details of the incident continue to flood out. The Boeing 777 had 298 people aboard and went down near Torez, located in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region. The airplane was traveling almost 33,000 feet and was at cruising altitude before being struck by a surface-to-air missile.
It's still unknown what type of surface-to-air missile brought the craft down, but there are only limited options. It seems likely that the powerful Buk missile is responsible; a missile that is 16 feet long and weighs about 1,500 pounds, equipped with a 154-pound warhead - and includes a maximum speed of 2,684 mph. Even if it was fired towards MH17 from a distance of 30 miles, it still would make impact within just 40 seconds, military experts note.
Almost 200 bodies have been recovered, but the crash scene is so large, it's unknown how long it will take to recover the remaining victims.
It's not uncommon to walk into a restaurant and see customers using their smartphones, taking photos of the dinner party and of their food, or communicating via phone, text, or email. However, there is some concern that heavy smartphone use can be a disruption that interferes with how the restaurant runs smoothly.
Some chefs and restaurant managers have complained that smartphones and social media "ruin the dining experience," and some establishments have banned patrons from using phones while at the table. However, being so heavy handed could drive patrons to other restaurants, because banning smartphone use seems a bit over the top, restaurant industry experts warn.
Restaurants need to find a way to ensure they are able to cater to customers, while also ensuring service runs smoothly. As Patrick Duxbury, TAO Downtown restaurant general manager noted: "Those pictures go up on social media, some of them instantly on Instagram and Facebook, and it gets out there."
In a day that saw a Malaysia Airlines flight shot down in Ukrainian airspace, and the Israeli military invading Gaza, a "suspicious package" near the White House in Washington, D.C. temporarily prevented President Barack Obama from returning.
The package was located near the North Lawn of the White House's grounds, and was cleared as the Metropolitan Police Department and Secret Service swept the area. The lockdown was originally reported with staff and members of the press told to remain inside and secure - and after Air Force One landed after 10 p.m. EST, with Obama onboard, he remained on the aircraft for at least 30 minutes. Obama was able to return to the White House a little bit after 11:00 p.m., media reports indicate.
This type of news would be broadcast on U.S. media and splashed all over the Internet, but was largely lost in the shuffle after a busy international day of chaos.