Rock Simulator, coming to a PC near you soon

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Jun 25, 2014 11:27 PM CDT

A new project has hit Steam Greenlight, ramping up from #69 on the list to #9 very rapidly thanks to its popularity online - Rock Simulator. Yes, we're not joking - a game, about rocks.

Rock Simulator is sitting on Steam Greenlight, and according to its makers, it's "a genuine rock simulator". The introduction explains: "For a long time, there has been one game missing from the market. This simulator is a rock enthusiasts dream. You can watch beautiful rocks in any location in the world. From grass plains to salt flats, there are dozens of hand designed BEAUTIFUL environments".

You can check out Rock Simulator right here.

Continue reading: Rock Simulator, coming to a PC near you soon (full post)

Opera and wireless company Avea give away 100,000 weeks of Internet

Web company Opera Software has teamed up with Russian Internet company Yandex and Turkish wireless carrier Avea to give away 100,000 weeks of free Internet. The summer celebration will give away one week of free mobile Internet access each, so Opera Mini users on the Avea network will be able to snag their free service.

For Internet users interested, they simply need to be an Avea subscriber, launch Opera Mini, and click on the "web pass" option in Speed Dial. Opera Web Pass gives wireless users without a data plan the opportunity to access the Internet and other Web-based products using a time-metric system instead of megabytes/gigabytes.

"This offering, 100,000 weeks of free Internet to Avea's users, is a pretty exciting way to show what Opera's new web pass technology can offer to operators and adviters," said Jan Standal, Opera Software VP for Product Partnerships, in a statement. "With Opera Web Pass, the relevant ad is associated directly with something very positive - free Internet access. The reach of consumers on Opera Mini is large, about 250 million consumers use Opera Mini every month, and Opera Software works with more than 130 operators on various projects around the world."

Continue reading: Opera and wireless company Avea give away 100,000 weeks of Internet (full post)

Cybercriminals update Pony Loader malware to steal your bitcoins

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Jun 25, 2014 8:36 PM CDT

The Pony Loader malware has been updated to v2.0 and has nasty new tricks to help compromise users and steal bitcoins. The updated version is able to compromise a large group of different cryptocurrency wallets, including Litecoin, Namecoin, Terracoin, Goldcoin, Junkcoin, and Anoncoin.

To counter this new malware threat, it's recommend users update to the newest bitcoin client, which gives users a way to encrypt private keys with passphrases.

"Given the capability to steal stored credentials from a wide variety of software, users should consider storing their passwords and bitcoin private keys using these programs risky," said Isaac Palmer, Damballa malware reserve engineer, in a blog post.

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Google orders a pizza on the Android Wear-powered Moto 360 smartwatch

Anthony Garreffa | Wearable Computing & Fashion | Jun 25, 2014 12:16 PM CDT

Google I/O 2014 - There's a meme here, surely? I don't always order pizza, but when I do, it's from my smartwatch. Well, Google did just that at Google I/O when it showed off the Moto 360 smartwatch.

The Moto 360 smartwatch is powered by Google's upcoming Android Wear OS, which has some nifty tricks up its sleeve. Whenever you update an application on your smartphone, the smartwatch will update the counterpart app on your smartphone. But ordering a pizza from what your watch? Now that is something I've never seen before.

The Moto 360 will be available for sale later in the summer, but Google also took the time at the event to announce that LG's G Watch will be available to order later today from the Play Store.

Continue reading: Google orders a pizza on the Android Wear-powered Moto 360 smartwatch (full post)

Rumor suggests larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will get OIS

Shane McGlaun | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Jun 25, 2014 11:13 AM CDT

Apple rumors float around the web constantly and a new one has turned up this week. This rumor claims that one of the differentiating features between the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and the smaller version of the phone will be optical image stabilization (OIS) for the camera. The rumor comes from analysts at Pacific Crest Securities.

The cost premium for the OIS chip is said to be very small, in the area of $4 to $5, compared to a traditional autofocus solution. The smaller iPhone 6 is believed to have a 4.7-inch screen. OIS is able to reduce shake when an image is taken making the image clearer.

A number of smartphones on the market have OIS integrated into their cameras today. The analysts said: "We believe the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 smartphone camera will support optical image stabilization (OIS) and anticipate that it will represent one of several opportunities at Apple that will benefit InvenSense. In our analysis, we believe Apple chose to only include OIS camera technology in the larger iPhone 6 given that there is still a significant cost premium ($4 to $5) over standard auto focus solutions and that it provides a point of differentiation between the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the step-up model (5.5-inch)."

Continue reading: Rumor suggests larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will get OIS (full post)

AMD to soon unveil the Radeon R9 295X, the full Hawaii XTX GPU

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | Jun 25, 2014 5:05 AM CDT

It looks like AMD is preparing itself a new GPU, the Hawaii XTX. Right now we have the Hawaii PRO, which is the Radeon R9 290, and the Hawaii XT, which arrives to us in the form of the high-end Radeon R9 290X.

The new Hawaii XTX will arrive in retail form as the Radeon R9 295X, and will feature the full 48 Compute Units - compared to the 40 on the R9 290 and 44 on the R9 290X. Better yet, there will be 3072 cores, this is an increase from the 2816 cores found on the already fast R9 290X. When it comes to TMUs, this will be increased from the 176 on the 290X to 192 on the 295X. The ROP count will stay at 64.

The question now sits with pricing - will AMD be competitive, because these specs will allow the company to compete directly with the GeForce GTX TITAN BLACK Edition, as well as the GTX 780 Ti. Because of the increased specs, we should expect the Radeon R9 295X to arrive with custom cooling from AMD's various partners in SAPPHIRE, MSI, and more.

Continue reading: AMD to soon unveil the Radeon R9 295X, the full Hawaii XTX GPU (full post)

Micron to introduce Hybrid Memory Cube in 2015, 15x faster than DDR3

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh | RAM | Jun 25, 2014 4:31 AM CDT

Micron is planning for the near-future by preparing a 'Hybrid Memory Cube' that will provide 15 times more bandwidth compared to traditional DDR3 memory sticks that you get today. Even with the newer DDR4 implementation, like the one in Japan retail shelves, the HMC is still going to provide fives times more bandwidth.

Along with the bandwidth boost, the new memory type will also draw 70 percent lesser energy. Micron plans to achieve this by stacking memory as stacked chips using a connection type called 'Through Silicon Via'. That said, the memory will be required to be soldered on the motherboard near the CPU.

HMC will also have other features that are not present in DIMM-type DDR implementations. These include debug, more error correction features and also have logic layers.

Continue reading: Micron to introduce Hybrid Memory Cube in 2015, 15x faster than DDR3 (full post)

BlackRock VR teases Horizon V, the 'world's first true 4K VR headset'

With the Oculus Rift taking most of the VR glory right now, even before we have a consumer edition in our hands, it's hard to get noticed in the world if you're a VR headset. Well, that's not the case for BlackRock VR, which just announced the Horizon V - the "world's first true 4K virtual reality headset".

The 4K Horizon V uses dual 7-inch 4K low-persistance OLED panels, which will take up 96% of your eye's FOV, which according to BlackRock will take "over the brain's neuro-optical system". The dual 4K displays will be pumping out over 8 million pixels of content to your eyes, with a massive 629PPI for crystal clear VR.

Better yet, the Horizon V will feature dual 4K front-mounted pass-thru cameras. These two cameras are activated by pressing the one-click "X-vision" button that is found on the top of the VR HMD, allowing you to see the world in front of you in 4K 3D. The Horizon V has a 17-point motion-tracking system, a proprietary system called V-motion. This will work well with the low-persistance screen, as there will be no ghosting, motion blur or motion sickness according to BlackRock.

Continue reading: BlackRock VR teases Horizon V, the 'world's first true 4K VR headset' (full post)

Machine Games 'would really love to do a sequel' to Wolfenstein

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Jun 25, 2014 12:42 AM CDT

Wolfenstein: The New Order was a smash hit for Machine Games, and while the company hasn't announced a sequel to the first-person shooter, it is already plotting the sequel to the game.

Machines Games' Creative Director, Jens Matthies talked with Giant Bomb earlier in the week, where he said: "We would love to do a sequel. We have a very, very clear idea of what we accomplished with this game, and what we want to accomplish with a sequel". Matthies explained that the studio will focus on the pre-production side of things if it ends up working on a Wolfenstein sequel.

He continued: "[B]ecause these projects are so long in terms of development -- this was three-and-a-half years for [The New Order] -- and given how long it takes to make a game these days, this kind of game, and whenever you design in terms of preproduction, what becomes the plan for all of those years, has to be a flawlessly polished diamond," he explained. "If it isn't, you end up paying for that further down the line. You have to react to it, change, and do stuff".

Continue reading: Machine Games 'would really love to do a sequel' to Wolfenstein (full post)

Oculus VR scoops up the team that helped make the Xbox 360 controller

Carbon Design Group, the company that helped make the Xbox 360 controller (and its transforming d-pad) and the Kinect for Microsoft, has been acquired by Oculus VR. Better yet, Oculus VR has said that it has been working with Carbon "for nearly a year on multiple unannounced projects".

Oculus VR said on its website: "We're thrilled to announce that we've agreed to acquire the Carbon Design team, one of the premier industrial design and product engineering teams in the country, with over 50 awards to their name. As part of the deal, the team will officially become a key component of the product engineering group at Oculus, operating from the Carbon studio in the Seattle area. They'll also be working closely with the Oculus R&D team based out of Redmond".

Carbon Design Group has been in business for over 20 years, and in that time has been a product design and development consultancy firm that has developed consumer, industrial and medical products for companies all across the world. Carbon hasn't just been working on video game consumer electronics, it has helped design computer mice, air purifiers, medical imaging equipment and much more.

Continue reading: Oculus VR scoops up the team that helped make the Xbox 360 controller (full post)