Bungie's Destiny could top GTA 5 as most expensive game ever

Charles Gantt | Gaming | May 6, 2014 1:46 PM CDT

When it comes to entertainment budgets, video games reign king in development cost with budgets routinely surpassing $100 million. In the last few years we have seen that trend skyrocket with some games costing upwards of 1/4 of a billion dollars to develop. GTA V was a prime example of this, with development and marketing costing Rockstar $256 million.

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V may not hold the title of most expensive video game ever for much longer though. During a conference last week, Activisions CEO, Bobby Kotick, said that his company will be investing $500 million into Bungie's upcoming title, Destiny. While Bungie has already sunk $140 million into Destiny, this $500 million infusion will be used to set-forth a massive marketing push which could accelerate Destiny to more than $1 billion in sales after its launch on September 9th.

Unfortunately, for Activision to see a return on this investment, Destiny will have to sell just over 16 million copies. Activision and Bungie have entered into a 10-year publishing deal which will help Activision get a return on this investment in the long run, but will it come fast enough to make up for dwindling Call of Duty revenue? If Destiny is anywhere close to the popularity Call of Duty and Halo saw over the past decade, then it could keep both companies around for the next decade or two.

Continue reading: Bungie's Destiny could top GTA 5 as most expensive game ever (full post)

NASA is looking for a new way to kill bacteria

NASA takes a lot of time to kill bacteria and other contaminants on spacecraft that it sends into space. It's particularly important to kill off any bacteria that might be on a spacecraft that will land on the surface of another planet to prevent contamination. The problem NASA is having is that some of the bacteria on spacecraft are nearly impossible to kill.

In fact, some have proven so resilient that NASA is looking for new ways to kill bacteria on future spacecraft. Some of those bacterial spores can survive space and NASA fears that it might be sending life out into space away from Earth. This poses problems for future missions that may send probes to other world's.

One specific bacterium called Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 has a high resistance to the techniques used to clean spacecraft such as peroxide treatment and UV radiation. Those spores can also survive in the vacuum of space. NASA placed these spores outside the ISS and they survived for 18 months. One of the big challenges for NASA is to develop methods of killing bacteria on smaller spacecraft that can't survive the heat of NASAs currently approved dry heat microbial reduction. Some believe that in the near term this is a moot point because bacterial exchange between mars and Earth has been going on for millennia.

Continue reading: NASA is looking for a new way to kill bacteria (full post)

GeForce GTX 880 engineering sample features 8GB of RAM

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | May 6, 2014 3:08 AM CDT

The last time we heard about the GeForce GTX 880, we heard it would have 4GB of RAM - well, how does 8GB of RAM sound on NVIDIA's next generation flagship GPU? Beautiful, just as I thought.

Well, an engineering sample (ES) card has been intercepted on its way from NVIDIA's development center in India, on its way to China. The shipping manifest was found by Chinese press, with "GM204" and "8 GB GDDR5" plastered all over it. We know that GM204 is the successor to the GK104, which should pack 3200 CUDA cores, a 256-bit memory bus and a massive 8GB of RAM.

If NVIDIA is about to launch the GTX 880 with 8GB of RAM over a 256-bit bus, it must be using some very high density memory chips. Better yet, the price should be under $800. I would've liked to have seen a 512-bit bus with 8GB of RAM, but I would just be greedy there, wouldn't I?

Continue reading: GeForce GTX 880 engineering sample features 8GB of RAM (full post)

Data breach costs increasing, as companies left clueless

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | May 5, 2014 10:38 PM CDT

The average cost of a data breach to U.S. companies averaged $3.5 million and is a 15 percent increase year-over-year, according to a new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM. Each lost record reportedly cost $201 each, an increase from $188 per record in 2013, as cybercriminals find success targeting select industries.

Not only are companies finding data breaches to be more costly, but retailers need to worry about customers possibly leaving if a security issue occurs. Everything from university and medical records to debit and credit card information have value among criminals, trying to steal information which can later be exploited, sold, or traded in underground forums.

From the Ponemon press release: "As a preventive measure, companies should consider having an incident response and crisis management plan in place. Efficient response to the breach and containment of the damage has been shown to reduce the cost of breach significantly. Other measures include having a CISO in charge and involving the company's business continuity management team in dealing with the breach."

Continue reading: Data breach costs increasing, as companies left clueless (full post)

Oculus VR could release a VR MMO that supports one billion players

Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe was at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014 technology conference, where he teased that the company could release a massive VR MMO that would support one billion people simultaneously.

Iribe said that the VR MMO would require "a bigger network than exists in the world today," but considering the world's biggest social network now owns the VR startup, this could be an easy achievement. Before we see a VR MMO, Oculus VR wants users to be convinced they're talking to "real" people - so we have to have the graphics and ground work laid out over the next couple of years.

Continue reading: Oculus VR could release a VR MMO that supports one billion players (full post)

Unmanned areial vehicles now banned from all national parks

Charles Gantt | Current Affairs | May 5, 2014 2:08 PM CDT

As multi-rotor aircraft and First Person Viewing RC flying becomes more popular, more rules and restrictions are being applied to the hobby. This morning the US National Parks Service issued a statement that clarified its stance on unmanned aerial vehicles within its parks boarders. The National Parks Service says that all unmanned aerial vehicles (AKA: Drones) are banned from use inside any national park's boundaries.

"Drones can be extremely noisy, and can impact the natural soundscape. Drones can also impact the wilderness experience for other visitors creating an environment that is not conducive to wilderness travel," the Park Service said in a statement. "The use of drones also interferes with emergency rescue operations and can cause confusion and distraction for rescue personnel and other parties involved in the rescue operation. Additionally, drones can have negative impacts on wildlife nearby the area of use, especially sensitive nesting peregrine falcons on cliff walls."

As a person new to the multi-rotor hobby, this news hits me pretty hard. I have actually been planning a trip to Yellowstone or Yosemite and had planned on packing in my quad-copter and GoPro in hopes of documenting the trip in a unique and amazing way. Unfortunately, I will have to stick to my DSLR now, and will never be able to enjoy the majestic views of some of our nations most beautiful landscapes from the air. I would like to point out that these parks belong to every US citizen, and as such, we have rights that allow us to voice our opinion on this topic, and I will be writing my congressmen to urge them to change this ruling.

Continue reading: Unmanned areial vehicles now banned from all national parks (full post)

1:1 scale Minecraft model of Denmark destroyed by griefing players

Charles Gantt | Gaming | May 5, 2014 12:55 PM CDT

Leave it to griefers to ruin a good thing in Minecraft. Last week Denmark proudly announced the unveiling of a 1:1 scale replica of its country that was built-in Minecraft by a Danish geodata firm. The model was truly a thing of beauty and was built out of more than 4,000,000,000,000,000 blocks which equated to a file size of 1TB. Unfortunately, the firm failed to disable certain features on the server, and griefers soon began blowing up the remarkable digital replica.

"We consider that as a nature of playing Minecraft - elements are broken down and new are being created," the firm said in a statement. "Therefore we will not reboot the demonstration of Denmark in Minecraft. But occasionally we will rebuild minor areas if buildings are removed and nothing new is being created. We are very happy to see so many players around the world creating fancy nice things and have fun."

While many of you are face-palming right now, and stating obvious responses, one of the more hilarious aspects of this griefing is the fact that the destruction of Denmark was made to look like an invasion from the united states. Blocky flags were raised and some tanks even made an appearance.

Continue reading: 1:1 scale Minecraft model of Denmark destroyed by griefing players (full post)

Nomad 883 CNC Mill surges past Kickstarter goal in just days

Charles Gantt | Modding | May 5, 2014 12:07 PM CDT

As the maker and DIY movement continues to grow, so does the availability of less expensive, high-precision CNC machines. We have seen this trend already prove itself in the 3D printer market, and today desktop machining is cheaper than ever thanks to a company called Carbide 3D who launched its first Kickstarter campaign last week. The new Nomad 883 CNC Mill is designed be as easy to use as a 3D Printer, and will fit on most desktop surfaces, or to fit on top of any workbench in your shop.

"We designed the machine from the ground up to address the complaints we've heard about CNC machines - from designing our own spindle to adding automation like tool length probing and custom fixtures to simplify common job setups," said Grzesek, co-founder of Carbide 3D. "We think this is the next step in the recent Digital Manufacturing trend started by low-cost 3D printers."

Carbide 3D says that the Nomad 883 is designed to fill in the gap between huge milling machines that cost upwards of $100,000 and the more affordable desktop 3D Printers which range between $300 and $3000. The CNC Milling Machine is built with a rigid aluminum frame, and is capable of milling parts from wood, plastic, metal, foam, and wax thanks to its custom designed, brush-less spindle head. Getting your hands-on one of these awesome milling machines is as easy as a $1500 pledge on Kickstarter.

Continue reading: Nomad 883 CNC Mill surges past Kickstarter goal in just days (full post)

EMC kicks off EMC World 2014 with major SDS announcement

Kalen Kimm | IT/Datacenter & Super Computing | May 5, 2014 11:04 AM CDT

EMC World 2014 begins today in Las Vegas with a flurry of announcements from the storage giant. The most interesting announcement today is EMC's quickly expanding entrance into the software-defined storage market with the release of the EMC ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage) Appliance. For a company that has very deep roots in selling big iron, this is another strong indicator that EMC is taking the SDS market very seriously.

The ECS Appliance allows customers to create hyper-scale cloud capabilities and capacities in either private or hybrid cloud environments. The new solution combines the best features of public and private clouds at a price point between 9%-28% lower total cost of ownership (in object storage implementations) than leading public cloud offerings from Amazon or Google. The appliance is a modular, scale-out solution built on commodity hardware with up to 2.9 petabytes in a single rack, but can be clustered to exabytes.

EMC is basing many of their announcements, including the ECS Appliance, around the term "3rd Platform". This term refers to the convergence of technologies such as smartphones and mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, big data analytics, and similar technologies that are redefining workloads in modern data centers. These new applications present unique challenges in regards to security, availability, and scale. Software-defined storage solutions built on commodity hardware, such as the EMC ECS Appliance, are built to provide a solution that addresses all the technical challenges associated with the 3rd platform, but at a price point and flexibility never before offered by EMC.

Continue reading: EMC kicks off EMC World 2014 with major SDS announcement (full post)

Facebook anonymous login feature limits sharing of information

Shane McGlaun | Internet & Websites | May 5, 2014 10:02 AM CDT

Many users of Facebook have quite a love/hate relationship with the social network. They love using it to keep up with friends and family they don't get to see that often, but many hate how much data they have to share with Facebook. The social network has reportedly unveiled a new anonymous login feature that allows users to log into apps without sharing any personal information.

Along with the anonymous login feature also comes a new version of Facebook Login with improved privacy controls. The goal of anonymous login is to let the user try apps without sharing personal details. The feature is currently in testing with developers and will be rolled out to more developers in the future. It's unclear when users will gain access to anonymous login.

"Sometimes people want to try out apps, but they're not ready to share any information about themselves. For this, we're introducing a way to log in to apps anonymously. Anonymous Login lets people log in to apps so they don't have to remember usernames and passwords, but it doesn't share personal information from Facebook. People can decide later if they want to share any additional information, once they understand more about the app,"� the company said in a statement.

Continue reading: Facebook anonymous login feature limits sharing of information (full post)