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Days before the Game Developers Conference (GDC) kicks off in San Francisco, news has hit the wire that a collective of companies working on virtual reality (VR) technology is rebranding itself.
The Stereoscopic 3D Gaming Alliance is now known as the Immersive Technology Alliance (ITA), and will continue to "foster a vibrant and diverse industry that content makers can support on a wide scale." The ITA has under its wings: EA, Panasonic Epson, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and smaller companies like Technical Illusions, Gameface Labs and Oculus VR.
Today, the Central Bank of Singapore announced that it will now regulate all virtual currency intermediaries that operate and do business within the country's borders. The country says that this move will address concerns over money laundering, and terrorism funding. Starting today, Bitcoin Exchanges, virtual currency ATM's and vending machines that accept Bitcoins or other virtual currencies will have to verify the identity of its customers and report all transactions that seem suspicious in nature.
This aligns Singapore with US efforts to bring regulation to the wild west that is cryptocurrency, but this regulation does not mean that there will be any form of safeguards extended to investors like their are in traditional investments made with analog money. This means that while regulators wish to control the currency, they do not wish to protect its investors against collapse, theft, or loss due to natural disasters.
I think most of us know if you hang out with someone that is in a bad mood, you are more likely to get that bad mood for yourself. A new study has been published that looked at if the same holds true for online moods via status updates.
The study was conducted by Facebook, Yale, and the University of California San Diego. The results of the study found that your online mood could spread to others just as your offline mood can. The researchers looked at 100 million Facebook users in the US.
They also studied more than a billion posts. Using an algorithm they created, they were able to filter the posts based on a positive or negative mood. The results found that the mood of one user could affect the moods of their online friends. The researchers say that they knew moods were contagions, but this is the first study to look at how the process works online.
Tabu is a company that makes some very interesting LED light bulbs that are controlled via an app on your smartphone and Bluetooth. The Bulb is green since it uses LEDs that consume less power. The coolest part about the bulb is that you can use the smartphone app to control the color of the light.
With RGB LEDs inside and a fourth white LED, the original Lumen smart bulb can make any color you can think of. Tabu has announced a new project that is on Kickstarter right now. This project is for a smaller version of the original Lumen called the LuMini.
The goal with this smaller light bulb is to be able to fit it inside a lamp or other small fixture where the original couldn't go. Other than the size and the lack of a white LED inside, the LuMini is the same as the original.
Of all the tech in my home, the thing I would be least willing to give up is the DVR. I like my DVR even more now that it use a Dish Hopper Whole home DVR. With that DVR, I can watch any show on any TV in the house and it has three tuners for recording lots of stuff at once.
I still have conflicts on occasion with three tuners because we record lots of shows. Dish has announced that the Super Joey that goes with the Hopper Whole Home DVR system is now available. The Super Joey only works with the Hopper DVR and adds two more tuners to the mix.
With the Super Joey, you get a total of five tuners to use. Between those five turners you can record eight shows at once. If you are wondering how that happens, one tuner is dedicated to Primetime shows and they all come across a single feed letting one tuner record four primetime shows at once.
Apple has been operating a series of very successful retail stores around the world for a number of years. The stores Apple operates are so successful that Microsoft and others have tried to offer their own retail locations with varying degrees of success.
Last year rumors started to pop up that Google was eyeing its own permanent retail stores. The rumors suggested that the retail stores would begin to show up at the end of 2013. Those stores never materialized, but a new rumor suggests that Google's first retail store might go up in Manhattan.
Google is tipped to be looking at a retail space at 131 Greene St that is about 4100 square feet and located near high-end retailers in the popular SoHo district. Sources claim that Google is close to signing the lease on the space and if it does this will be the first permanent brick and mortar store for the firm.
During a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Sprint's chairman, Massayoshi Son said that he would like to see his company purchase T-Mobile in a effort to truly compete with AT&T and Verizon in the mobile phone marketplace. Sprint is currently running at the number 3 position with T-Mobile following closely behind and gaining more traction every month.
Reports suggest that Sprint has been planning the acquisition of T-Mobile for months now and has been working with OEMs in the industry, and has even secured banks to help provide the financing needed to make such a large acquisition. One major hurdle is those at the Securities and Exchange Commission who might see the acquisition as bordering on Antitrust laws, but executives from both T-Mobile and Sprint have told regulators that a merger would be beneficial to consumers as it would allow more fair competition with AT&T and Verizon.
SXSW is in full swing in Austin, Texas and music fans from around the world are at the show and needing a way to get around. That means that cabs and public transport in Austin are very busy. Austin PD recently tweeted a warning to visitors at SXSW telling them to only use approved transport providers.
The core of the post is that most Uber services aren't approved and therefore SXSW attendees shouldn't use Uber even though there may be some drivers signed up in the Austin area. The Austin PD was later specifically asked if Uber rides were permitted, and responded, "No, they are not."
Uber has been on hand at SXSW the last few years and has skirted rules in Austin that prevent its service from operating normally. One way it has skirted the rules is by offering free rides. Austin PD says that any for hire service driver must have an operators permit, commercial insurance, and a chauffer's permit.
If you surf the web and read news on just about any topic, you are apt to run across little disclaimers saying that an image came from Getty Images or Shutterstock. Images from both these places cost money to license and use for commercial activities.
Not too long ago, Getty Images announced that it was allowing non-commercial use of some of its images at no charge. The catch to the free use of these images was that you can't use them for commercial purposes and Getty gets to serve ads over the top of the images.
The announcement from Getty sent stocks tumbling a bit for Shutterstock. Shutterstock CEO Jon Oringer has come out and said that the free Getty Images aren't a concern for him. He says that his firm gets 99.9% of its business from the commercial sector and that it will keep working that sector.
The Japanese government want to tax purchases made with bitcoins, following the public demise of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Japan's national tax agency and finance ministry are researching methods to try and tax residents in Japan using bitcoin to make sell and make purchases.
Trying to find the appropriate manner to battle bitcoin has been difficult for governments - and trying to ban the cryptocurrency wouldn't be successful - and since it's not an official currency, many banks and insurers aren't yet interested in trying to protect it.
"However, many countries including Japan do not have concrete frameworks to levy taxes (on bitcoin transactions),"the Japanese newspaper reported.