After investing over $500 million into the franchise, it should come as no surprise that Activision has greenlit a sequel to Bungie's Destiny. Destiny has been the largest new franchise launch in gaming history, with work already started on its sequel.
Bungie is already hard at work on various expansions for the game, but Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said during Activision Blizzard's earnings call: "Work has also begun on future expansion packs as well as on our next full game release. We're very pleased with the launch and continuing engagement". With over 9.5 million registered users on Destiny, with active players averaging around three hours of game time per day, Destiny 2 should be something that will continue this success.
Everyone is wondering when Oculus VR will launch their consumer Rift headset, with its current broad ETA being 'sometime in 2015'. But after his speech at the Web Summit 2014 in Dublin, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe said that the Rift is months away from a consumer launch, not years away.
He said: "We're all hungry for it to happen. We're getting very close. It's months, not years away, but many months. We've gone out there and set this bar and said, 'We want to get it right.' We don't want it to be four or five years. We're eager for this to happen". Many months could still see it being released late next year, and during an investors meeting last week, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and owner of Oculus VR said that the Oculus Rift could only be "meaningful" as a computing platform if it sold 50 million to 100 million units over the next 10 years.
3DMark has been a staple of PC enthusiasts all across the world for over a decade, but the company behind it, Futuremark, has just been acquired by Underwriters Laboratories. Underwriters Laboratories is a safety testing organization, based in the US with offices in 46 countries, which analyzes the safety of technological products and their components.
General Manager of UL's Consumer Technology Division, Stephen Kirk, talked about the acquisition: "Embedded software is now an important part of product design. With an increased focus on mobility, we see more and more products being connected, making the Internet of Things a reality. Consequently, software quality is a significant driver of product safety and performance; and we believe that benchmarking is an important way to help our customers to improve the performance of their products". He continued: "This acquisition provides us with an opportunity to build a new business line in testing a wide variety of technological devices so they offer the performance, safety and privacy that consumers expect".
What does UL have planned for future Futuremark products? We should see more professionally-orientated packages, similar to what PCMark's suite offers. Futuremark's Chief Executive, Jukka Mäkinen, said: "In recent years, we've expanded on to new platforms, our software has been adopted by the European Commission and national governments, and we've welcomed more of the world's leading technology companies into our Benchmark Development Program. We've accomplished a lot on our own, but with UL, we're in an even better position to achieve our goals".
Convicted hacker Cameron Lacroix, 26, will serve four years in federal prison for his cybercrimes, and recently apologized to Paris Hilton for stealing her nude photographs when he was a teenager.
The incident took place in 2005, when Lacroix was 15, as he hacked Hilton's Sidekick, stole photos and published her phonebook and messages.
"Paris, I'm sorry I put your information online," Lacroix recently said. "I should never have done it. I wouldn't want it done to me. It all started because I wanted a T-Mobile phone. Once I got in there, I realized, 'Hey, I have access to everybody's stuff! Sure enough, it was under her name. I went into it and was shocked at what I saw."
The British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has a new leader, and not surprisingly, he believes privacy isn't an "absolute right" for Internet users. Robert Hannigan believes governments and technology companies need a "new deal" that can be used "in the area of protecting our citizens," and added that "privacy has never been an absolute right" on the Internet.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed widespread surveillance campaigns by the NSA and the GCHQ, much to the dismay to security experts on both sides of the pond.
The European Union says privacy actually is an ingrained right for Internet users, and governments should act legally and ethically when conducting any surveillance operations.
Southwest Airlines will introduce Apple's Beats Music for free on all aircraft that have Internet connectivity, in an effort to give travelers something to do while traveling. Using the free in-flight Wi-Fi network, travelers can listen to the Beats Music catalog using their smartphones, tablets, or laptops - with a Beats Music button displayed after passengers connect to the Wi-Fi network.
"Southwest connects our customers to what is important in their lives, and in this case, it's music," said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer, in a press release. "We continue to enhance our onboard offerings to remain current as our customers' needs evolve, and with the addition of Beats Music on our entertainment portal, we're doing just that."
This is a unique marketing ploy by both companies, especially from Apple, which hopes passengers will turn into future subscribers.
The North Korean military is still likely years away from successfully launching a ballistic missile with nuclear capabilities, but the country now has a Soviet-era submarine that can fire ballistic missiles. South Korean and US military experts are concerned North Korea continues to develop a nuclear weapons program, and utilizing ballistic missiles is an important step in that process.
"While the potential threat from a future North Korean capability to launch ballistic missiles from submarines should not be ignored, it should also not be exaggerated," said Joseph Bermudez, a military analyst. "While the development of submarines carrying ballistic missiles could provide North Korea with a survivable second-strike nuclear capability... it also assumes that Pyongyang would entrust an operational nuclear-armed missile to the captain of a submarine who would, in time of war, most likely be out of communication with the leadership."
It appears North Korea is a step closer to the miniaturization of nuclear warheads that could be fitted to ballistic missiles - but whether or not the country could accurately aim these missiles towards South Korea or Japan - remains a frightening unknown. However, fitting a nuclear weapon aboard a submarine opens up new challenges to South Korea, Japan, and the United States, with launch tubes and installation of a fire system possible within the next two years.
Enmotus has announced the general availability of their FuzeDrive server software, which provides software-defined storage acceleration for server-side SSD and NVDIMM deployments, which are becoming more popular in clustered servers and hyper-converged architectures. FuzeDrive's MicroTiering storage algorithms load-balance data across devices, and allows the use of standard SSDs to provide seamless caching for server-side flash deployments.
Andy Mills from Enmotus demonstrated the actual use of FuzeDrive software for us at the 2014 Flash Memory Summit. FuzeDrive provides easy management capability integrated into the operating system's native file browsing tools. FuzeDrive also allows for file-pinning in the cache, which keeps desired data constantly in the SSD cache to deliver maximum performance acceleration for critical files. Users can also use a real-time at-a-glance visual mapping tool to monitor performance. FuzeDrive differentiates itself from caching solutions by providing low-impact acceleration that doesn't eat CPU cycles. In come configurations caching software can chew up to 50% of the host CPU cycles running cache management tables and algorithms, and also have limits on the amount of addressable flash capacity. Enmotus is currently working with a select number of solution and channel partners to make the technology available.
Marrying the capacity of HDDs with the performance of flash is one of the most common use-cases for server-side flash deployments, specifically because it can reduce network traffic, or even take the SAN out of the picture entirely. Samsung recently purchased Proximal Data to expand its base of technology, and other players in this space have already made significant investments in various caching/tiering software companies. It wouldn't be entirely surprising to see Enmotus acquired in the near future.
Rising electronics powerhouse Xiaomi plans to invest $1 billion in providing more online TV content to subscribers, which will complement Xiaomi TV and the company's set-top box.
China has more than 600 million Internet users, with a growing number watching online video via smartphones - and Xiaomi wants to compete against Alibaba, Tencent, and others in the growing market. The country was the second largest movie market in 2012, trailing the United States, with continued growth expected over the next several years, analysts predict.
Here is what Chen Tong, a recent Xiaomi hire and former Chinese Sina Internet company executive said: "We want to repeat the success of Xiaomi's hardware integration model in the television industry."
HGST has added another design win to the long list of FlashMAX design wins. StoneFly, a leading supplier of SAN systems, has announced integration of the HGST FlashMAX II into the flash-based version of their USS Hyper-Converged appliances. StoneFly's USS solution can be configured as iSCSI, Fibre Channel, or NAS (CIFS/SMB and NFS), and the hypervisors allow multiple VM's to run on a single physical host.
StoneFly runs all control logic as a software-based service on HGST FlashMAX II SSDs. The virtual storage controllers run on each cluster node to improve scalability and resilience. StoneFly USS appliances can begin with a single node configuration and then nodes can be added in increments as small as 2U (12 drive bays) to 4U (24 Drive bays). Each appliance can be scaled up to support a total of 256 drives per node. Cluster nodes and their expansion nodes can be seamlessly added one at a time with zero downtime. This provides a time to value deployment of under 30-minutes, with no disruption to ongoing operations.
The HGST FlashMAX II is a great fit for this type of deployment, we recently posted in-depth competitive performance analysis in our HGST FlashMAX II 2.2TB Enterprise PCIe SSD Review. One of the strongest features of the FlashMAX II lies in their enhanced software offerings that radically redefine typical expectations from a PCIe SSD. Advanced software features provide a host of new capabilities, which we cover in great detail in the article.