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ESA Rosetta probe target identified as a binary comet

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 2:05 pm

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched a probe to study the surface of a comet and the comet that probe is targeting is known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. An unexpected discovery was made recently that could affect the mission that Rosetta is on, its target comet isn't a single body as previously believed.




67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been discovered recently to be what scientists call a contact binary. This means that the nucleus of the comet is made up of not one, but two bodies. The team believes that the comet came to be configured like this in one of two ways. The first is that a single large nucleus might have fractured at some time in the past creating the contact binary configuration.


The second way the comet could have come to this configuration is by the collision of two comets to form one. Rosetta is supposed to actually land on the surface of the comet and with this discovery, the discussion has now turned to which part of the comet would be the best to land on. The sequence of images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko seen here were taken last Friday. Rosetta is set to rendezvous with the comet August 6.

Slingbox M1 lands July 20, smallest and cheapest Sling device yet

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 1:03 pm

Sling has been making set top boxes for a long time now that are able to shoot your favorite content at home to a portable device outside the home for viewing on the go. The company has announced a new set top box that will launch later this month that is its smallest and cheapest unit to date. The new set top box is called the M1 and it will sell for $149.99 when it launches July 20.




That makes it about $30 cheaper than the old Slingbox 350 it replaces and the new M1 is considerably smaller. The smaller footprint of the new device makes it easier to find space for the M1 in your crowded entertainment center.


The M1 is designed to work with the Sling apps for iOS, Android, and desktop apps for Mac and Windows computers. Despite being smaller and cheaper than its predecessor, the M1 still has the component and composite connectivity that the larger and older box offered. Sling also fits the M1 with Wi-Fi connectivity and ditches the Ethernet cable needed for the older set top box.

Google+ ditches real name requirement three years after launch

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 12:00 pm

One of the things that irritated many people who wanted to try out the Google social network Google+ since the service launched was that you had to use your real name. For many of people using their real names wasn't such a big deal, but for those who aren't known by their real name is was a problem.




That requirement to use your real name became even more annoying when Google started to use Google+ credentials to leave comments on YouTube videos. The reason for this was the idea that people would be less likely to troll if they had to use their real name.


Google has now made an about face three years after the launch of Google+ and issued an apology to users and is now letting people sign up with whatever name they want to use. You can now register an account with most any name you want; presumably, Google will still block names with naughty words in them.

Microsoft may shed 1000 Nokia workers at Finnish HQ

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 11:02 am

We mentioned yesterday that a rumor was going around that claims Microsoft is set to shed a significant number of workers in one of the largest rounds of layoffs in years. A new rumor suggests that a large percentage of the workers cut in this round of layoffs by Microsoft will be at the Finnish headquarters of Nokia. Microsoft acquired the Nokia HQ and all the workers Nokia had when the deal closed.




In that acquisition, Microsoft ended up with about 25,000 Nokia employees. The rumor suggest that as many as 1000 of those 4700 workers at Nokia HQ are going to be let go when Microsoft starts layoffs.


The layoff rumors suggest that overall Microsoft could be shedding more than the 5,000 workers that were terminated in 2009, the last major round of layoffs for Microsoft. Microsoft is also expected to close the Oulu R&D labs in Finland, which is responsible for developing software for feature phones.

Yahoo Ending deletes data for the deceased in Japan

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 10:23 am

Japan is known as the place to go if you want odd gadgets and other quirky items and Yahoo has a service that sounds like something you would find in Japan called Yahoo Ending. Yahoo Ending is a portal that has a place to go to get all your final affairs in order with the ability to deal with your worldly remains and delete your online data as well.




The new portal launched this week and a video that is making the rounds shows a family getting messages on mobile phones from a dad who just died. When Yahoo receives an official notification that someone has died, it deletes all the Yahoo Japan data, cancels all charges to the Yahoo digital wallet, deletes files from the Yahoo Box online storage, and sends out farewell messages to loved ones automatically.


Some of the services on Yahoo Ending are premium and require payment. Among the services is the ability to set up a memorial space with invitations to the funeral and the ability to send messages to family and friends, show personal movies, and share information on the deceased's favorite films and music. The service also offers full funeral packages costing up to $18,000.

Samsung rumored to acquire SmartThings, a home automation startup

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 9:27 am

TechCrunch is reporting that Samsung is looking to acquire SmartThings, a home automation startup for a massive amount of money - ballooning out at a rumored $200 million.




This number might change, as TechCrunch's sources aren't concrete on the deal, or the proposed amount for the acquisition just yet. Samsung is starting to see a drop in revenue from its smartphone business, so we could see the South Korean-based giant move into home automation with a big acquisition like this.

Dishonored 2 rumored to be unveiled at Gamescom next month

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 8:32 am

Gamescom 2014 is only weeks away, with a tease arriving that we could see Dishonored 2 unveiled at the event. NowGamer has come out running with some details from their anonymous insider source, who says that the game is in development at Arkane Lyon, with Harvey Smith as lead.




Dishonored 2 will reportedly feature a new protoganist, but his (or her) identity is still under wraps. Arkane has also been rumored to be thinking of allowing players take the role of empress Emily Kaldwin, which could see the game taking place at a later time period than the original game. Then news from an anonymous tipster said that "Dishonored 2: Darkness of Tyvia" was coming to the PC, PS4 and Xbox One sometime in November 2015.


This tipster said we should expect an unveiling of Dishonored 2 at Gamescom 2014, supplying some alleged PS4 pre-order box art (in the above above). We should find out more on Dishonored 2 in the near future.

Intel reports record quarter thanks to strong PC sales

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 7:31 am

Intel has just reported a great quarter, something that the PC market has helped the chipmaker achieve. The company has reported second quarter earnings of $2.8 billion, or 55 cents per share across revenues of $13.8 billion.




Wall Street had pegged Intel at earnings of 52 cents on revenue of $13.7 billion, so we have a slight increase on those predictions. Leading this revenue increase was the PC client group from Intel, which saw a huge $8.7 billion in revenue, setting a new quarterly record for unit sales. Last month was when Intel began teasing that it had stronger than expected PC demand, adding a massive chunk of money (around $700 million) to its quarterly revenue. This is a big note here, as its the first increase for that group since late 2009, some five years ago.


Intel has said that the increase of PC chip purchasing on multiple fronts: from around 600 million PCs being four years or older, new prices for its processors, and the retirement of Windows XP. Intel has said that it expects to see this trend continue throughout the year, but whether it continues into 2015 is unknown.

Continue reading 'Intel reports record quarter thanks to strong PC sales' (full post)

Star Citizen is on the verge of hitting $50 million in funding

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 6:30 am

The last time we heard about Star Citizen, it had hit $44 million in funding. Nearly two months on, it has acquired another $4 million in funding to top $48 million, with a new bomber unveiled.




The new bomber is a work-in-progress, with the Retaliator to soon receive an in-game commercial, similar to what was created last year for the 2944 Aurora. The next stretch goal is $49 million, which should be hit very soon, where a new plant will be unveiled. That's not a typo, it's not planet, it's an actual plant.


The official description of the upcoming Xi'An Space Plant reads: "Similar to a bonsai tree, the Centennial Bloom is a very famous Xi'An plant indigenous to Eealus III that blossoms for one night every one hundred years".

Ex-Infinity Ward developers announce Reload Studios, VR-focused studio

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jul 16, 2014 5:25 am

First we had Respawn Entertainment, founded by the co-founders of Infinity Ward, and now ex developers from the studio have formed Reload Studios, a new studio that is focusing on a VR-based first-person studio.




Reload Studios is based in Los Angeles, and was co-founded by James Chung and Taehoon Oh. There are currently 12 developers working on game development for virtual reality, mobile and home console platforms. Former Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Series Producer, Pete Blumel, Infinity Ward developer Hougant Chen and Disney Animator, Nik Ranieri join the two co-founders at the VR-focused studio.


Chung said in a press release: "When I first saw what the latest round of VR devices could do, I realized these were not just peripherals but brand new platforms that could transform the way we experience, interact with and create media. It was the perfect time to follow my passion and bring together the most talented people I know under one roof to form a development culture that promotes creativity and collaboration". Right now, Reload Studios is working on a VR-enabled first-person shooter that will hit mobile and next-gen systems, something that we should see next year.