Philips V800 Flip Phone Is in the Pipeline

Remember when the flip mobile phone design was all the rage? For some of you, this may seem an impossibility owing to the now ubiquitous smartphone look. Well, it looks as if Dutch Electronics Company Philips is set to release a new product by the name of the V800 flip phone to consumers.

Below is a summary of the key features along with a selection of images to convey this product.

  • The Phone Weighs 206g
  • The casing size is 8x60x19.1mm
  • It utilizes a Quad-core 1.5GHz processor
  • The Phone has two identical screens and a IPS LCD touch screen with a resolution of 1280×720
  • It is equipped with 13 Mega Pixel rear camera and 5 Mega Pixel front camera
  • The Phone runs on Android 5.1 system.

Below are images of this phone, as you can see, it looks noteworthy, the colours are atmospheric dark gray for the outer casing while the keyboard has a gold colour design which gives the phone a more luxurious feel.

There is no word as yet as to the pricing or release date, but it could be on the horizon when you consider it has passed through the TENAA (China’s wireless regulator). The phone may also have a limited appeal when you consider the flip phone design is now predominately sold within the Far Eastern market.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

Oculus Confirms Rift Compatible PC Bundles

 

The range of potential possibilities concerning the forthcoming Oculus Rift headset promises to be both exciting and also worth the wait, in theory, the problem lies with headset compatibility for the extensive array of PCs that are currently on the market. It seems Oculus have already thought of this and have recently released details of specially crafted PC bundles that have been tested to ensure the headset will work with the machine.

Oculus have announced the first set of machines from well-known computer manufacturers ASUS, Alienware and Dell; these PCs have been tested and also certified by Oculus. The headset manufacturer has also confirmed that the first bundles will be available to pre-order for consumers starting from the 16th February 2016 at 8 am pacific time.

Other confirmed details include the stockists that will be able to accept pre-orders for the bundle, these are, Best Buy, Amazon and the Microsoft Store. There is no word as yet if the UK will receive these bundles as the company has stated that it will “ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions”  One would have thought these bundles would eventually be available within the UK when you consider the size and also profitability of the market.

Below is a selection of Oculus-ready’ PCs that the company has announced, it has also been stated that consumers who were excited enough to purchase an Oculus Rift without yet owning a compatible PC, the company said pre-order customers will be able to purchase a discounted PC at a later date.

 

The price of these bundles will start at $1,499, for that you will receive an “Oculus-certified PC and everything that comes with Rift – the headset, sensor, remote, an Xbox One controller, EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack, and Lucky’s Tale”.

 

Sky Mile Tower Aims To Reinvent The Skyscraper

The evolution of the humble skyscraper has been nothing short of amazing over the last half a century, from the US and its range of towering buildings that have included the “Trump international Tower” which stands at an eye- watering 423 metres tall (1,389ft) to the current king which is situated in Dubai and goes by the name the “Burj Khalifa“, this structure stands at an incredible 829.8 metres (2,722ft).

Surely this will not be beaten? Well, apparently it might well be after it was recently announced that a new structure is in the planning stage and goes by the name the “Sky Mile Tower”, below is a summary concerning this proposed building.

  • The Sky Mile Tower will have a hexagonal design.
  • The Sky Mile Tower building will be around 1 mile high
  • The Sky Mile Tower is expected to house 55,000 people
  • The Sky Mile Tower will be surrounded by a series of hexagonal designed man-made islands.

Below is the concept computer generated designs for this new building, as you can see, they are certainly exciting. The islands will also be used with the aim of both protecting the city from flooding and also acting as a foundation for homes with the potential to house 500,000 people, the building is also earmarked for the city of Tokyo.

There will also be various multilevel sky lobbies that will house among other things restaurants, gyms and various health clinics. This all sounds amazing, but, there is one slight caveat when you consider the estimated completion of construction is expected to be around 2045.

Below is the current world’s tallest building, in case you’re wondering, it is the one on the left.

It will be interesting to note if there will ever be a limit to how far a skyscraper can go, after all, there surely has to be a ceiling.

Images courtesy of burjkhalifa and metro

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The “Political Machine” Lets You Run For President

The various campaigns from hopeful candidates aiming to be the next president of the United States feels as if it has been going on forever, from Donald trump and his controversial views to Hillary Clinton and her private email scandal, it really feels like Groundhog day. Hoping to harness the political interest is a games developer by the name of “Stardock Entertainment” who has both developed and also released a game by the name of “The Political Machine”.

Below is a summary of the key features of this game along with a selection of screenshots,

  • Mudslinging – Use your power and money to purchase ads and influence voters.
  • The game has over a dozen political candidates – Play as one of the several pre-made candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
  • Scandals – the game includes such real-life scandals as email hacking, affairs and also natural disasters.
  • Custom built candidates – Create your own custom front-runner and race for the White House.

Below is the first screenshot, as you can see, it’s not the most high-tech game in the world in terms of graphics, although it does capture Donald Trump.

The next screenshot is below and conveys how your chosen political figure will perform in terms of how many votes will be gained and also who will win each state.

Below is a trailer video to convey the style of this game,

The specifications for this game are below, if your thinking of running this title then it should be pretty straightforward.

  • Operating System – Windows 10 / 8 / 7 SP1 / Vista SP2
  • RAM –  1 GB RAM
  • Graphics – 64 MB DirectX 9.0c 3D Video Card with Pixel Shader 2.0 Support
  • CPU –  1 GHz Processor
  • Hard Drive Space – 1 GB HD space
  • Sound Card – DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound card

The game is priced at $7.49 and is available through Steam, Stardock themselves and also a digital download.

Super Mario Cluttered Chaos-Calculator Level Anyone?

Creativity is never more alive than when the gaming community decides to invent whole levels based on various creative influences. The Super Mario Maker title has been an exciting and imaginative vehicle that aims to open up a range of possibilities for all kinds of creative mischief, one such level involves a working calculator within the super Mario Universe.

Want to know more? Of course  you do, the project is coined “The Cluttered Chaos Calculator” and has been created by Mario Level Maker  “Giant”, it works out a maths equation (6+6) and is demonstrated by the video below, luckily, there is a reddit guide to explain exactly what is going on.

To put it simply, “this Super Mario Maker level lets you select two numbers between 0 and 7, it lets the player choose their way up and then computes and displays their sum automatically”.

There is also an image via sharing site imgur which reveals the logic behind this fantastic project. It has been noted that similar adding machines have been created in the past using Super Mario Maker, but, this looks to be the “first one with a decimal conversion and proper display of the result”.

It’s an incredibly complex yet educational tool all rolled into one, just reading the extremely detailed breakdown is fascinating, hopefully, we will see many more creative examples as in this case within the future.

Energy-Friendly Chip Could Boost Neural Networks

The quest to gain a greater insight into artificial Intelligence has been exciting and has also opened up a range of possibilities that have included “convolutional neural networks”, these are large visual networks of simple information-processing units which are loosely modelled on the anatomy of the human brain.

These networks are typically implemented using the more familiar graphics processing units (GPUs). A mobile GPU might have as many as 200 cores or processing units, this means that it is suited to “simulating a network of distributed processors”. Now, a further development in this area could lead to the potential for a specifically designed chip that has a sole purpose of implementing a neural network.

MIT researchers have presented the aforementioned chip at the “International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco”. The advantages of this chip include the notion that it is 10 times more efficient than an average mobile GPU, this could lead, in theory, to mobile devices being able to run powerful artificial intelligence algorithms locally, rather than relying on the cloud to process data.

The new chip, coined “Eyeriss” could, lead to the expansion of capabilities that includes the Internet of things, or put simply, where everything from a car to a cow, (yes apparently) would have sensors that are able to submit real-time data to networked servers. This would then open up horizons for artificial intelligence algorithms to make those important decisions.

Before I sign off I wanted to further delve into the workings of a neural network, the workings are that it is typically organised into layers, each of these layers contains a processing node. Data is then divided up among these nodes within the bottom layer, each node then manipulates the data it receives before passing it on to nodes within the next layer. This process is then repeated until “the output of the final layer yields the solution to a computational problem.” It is certainly fascinating and opens up a world of interesting avenues with which to explore, when you combine science and tech, the outcome is at the very least educational with the potential for it to be life changing.         .

TMZ Falls Victim to Malvertising Campaign

Malicious online activity in the form of hacks, malware and viruses have seen an exponential increase over the past 5 years, the rise in the number of consumers online coupled with a lax understanding concerning the dangers of the many cyber threats has led to more and more victims. Malvertising is one such example of how online advertisements could be hijacked and used to spread Malware through Malicious ads.

This technique has now found a new victim after online gossip site TMZ was found to be harbouring malicious online advertisements. For those who are unfamiliar with the site, TMZ is a hugely popular website that features expose, gossip and general breaking news concerning the world of celeb, the site pulls in over 30 million visitors a month and is a major attraction for online revenue, below is a summary of the attack.

It has been observed that the attack has the same ad chain pattern; this is from “ContextWeb (PulsePoint) to Smarty Ads and eventually various rogue advertisers”. The latter is leveraging CloudFlare’s infrastructure with the aim of hiding the servers location as well as encrypting the advertisement delivery to consumers via the website.

 

 

The malicious ad is pretty cheap to deliver when you consider it costs “$0.19 (£0.12) for one thousand user impressions (CPM)” 

These attacks are designed to be as cheap as possible with the aim of targeting high impact traffic targets, on a side note, many websites try to discourage users from using popular ad blockers when accessing their sites, perhaps malicious advertisements leading to exploit kits is not the best deterrent.

Images courtesy of malwarebytes and nickcannon

Imperia by Oswalds Reimagines Audio Speakers

The way audio is transmitted to the consumer has evolved over the past decade or so, from higher quality headphones, well, some brands more than others, to the diverse sound systems that have incorporated today’s modern MP3 players, Smartphone’s and also transformed the flat audio from paper-thin Televisions into a Cinema experience. Audio company OMA (Oswalds Mill Audio) have decided that modern speakers are just too rudimentary in their design and have therefore announced a product by the name of the “Imperia”.

Below is an image and also a summary of this eye-catching product.

  • The Imperia has a four-way horn system with a vertical array of conical horns covering 100 Hz to 20 kHz.
  • Two rear loaded subwoofer horns using a massive 21″ neodymium woofer handling 20 Hz-100 Hz.
  • A special OMA sub is 104db 1w/1m and is powered by its own solid state amplifier.
  • The system as a whole is extremely efficient at 105db 1w/1m and is entirely time aligned.
  • The 100hz and 300hz wooden conical horns are made from a choice of solid Pennsylvania Black Walnut, Cherry or Ash.
  • The Dimensions are H 86″ D 60″ (max depth at horn) W 41″ Base footprint 41″ x 41″

OMA have stated that they are the “only manufactures to use the straight-edged cone speaker design, this is due to the fact that such a design will not add to the sound wave deformity”

I know what you’re thinking, how much? Answer is too much when you consider this product is expected to retail for around $280,000 dollars (£191,744) The product is certainly unique and provides a new dimension to sound systems, but I think I will stick to my current audio setup for the time being until this design is available at a considerably cheaper price.

The US Snowfall Captured Through a Lense

The recent US snowfall has absolutely hammered the East Coast of America in terms of size and ferocity which has led to the cancellations of thousands of flights as well as leaving tens of thousands without power, below is a selection of stats which conveys the extent of this force of nature.

  • 40 inches of snow – Has been recorded in Glengary, West Virginia; 39 inches fell in Philomont, Virginia; and Redhouse, Maryland, received 38 inches.
  • 11 states declared states of emergency – Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. Washington, D.C., has declared a “snow emergency.
  • 8,569 flights – Have been cancelled for Saturday and Sunday
  • More than 74,000 people – Without power.

Below is a selection of beautiful, fantastic yet thought-provoking images that conveys just how disruptive this storm has been for residents as well as the country as a whole.

Below is the first image of “Henry Street in the Chinatown neighbourhood of New York”, as you can see, this bustling street has rather ground to a halt.

Next Image below is of a “snowball fight at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC”, this image has been captured in pretty good detail.

The next image below conveys a gentleman by the name of “John Mexner who tries to make headway by shoveling  his vehicle out in Washington”. The morning commute looks rather in vain after the size of disruption from the storm.  

The next image below certainly conveys the amount of snow that has been dumped on the US, the gentleman within the photo is “Ben Osborn who walks with a shovel past a line of snowed-in cars in northeast Washington”, each car looks similar to a giant snowball.

The next image below is beautifully shot and conveys an individual who is producing a “snow angel in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C”, the blueness of the sky is a striking contrast to both the memorial and also the snow.

The last image is certainly thought-provoking and shows “Gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia”  being almost completely hidden from snow.

The last image may not be relevant to the US, but it is certainly stunning, it conveys a frozen mast within Fujian Jiuxian China, wow.

Image courtesy of BBC

Breathtaking Images From an Astronaut Aboard the ISS

Space has always provided a glimpse into many a fascinating world over the years, from research that has been undertaken by NASA to the Astronauts who have boarded the International Space Station as well as successfully landing on the moon. One such Astronaut, Scott Kelly, has been posting breathtaking images on social media that have included Twitter (1,158 photos and counting) and Instagram (684 posts and counting) during his yearlong visit to the ISS, below is a snapshot of these images.

The first image represents the massive blizzard passing over Chicago on Saturday 23rd January 2016, the image looks awe-inspiring.

The next image below is of what is known as “thundersnow” from the blizzard and was captured, again, on the 23rd January 2016.

The next image below, wow, is of an aurora and was captured on the 27th August 2015, this looks akin to a science fiction film.

The next image below is of Spain, well, more specifically Barcelona and was captured on the 28th July 2015, this is both a stunning and a detailed image.

The next image below is the Astronauts latest Twitter post as of writing (26th January 2016) and has the caption “Day 304. That’s 4,864 orbits a’round’ our beautiful planet #Earth. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace”, it is certainly a brilliant image.

The last image is of Scott Kelly undertaking a Q&A on Reddit from space, well, yes, as you do, this image was posted on the 23rd January 2016

Computer Completes a Rubik’s Cube In A Spellbinding Time

There are many things in life that are quite annoying and include inventions such as Predictive Text; however, the Rubik’s Cube certainly adds a new dimension to the word “Frustrating”. But, what happens if you mix a homemade computer with arguably the world’s most difficult game?

Well, two software engineers from Kansas, US, decided to find out and it becomes apparent this computer was able to successfully complete the iconic puzzle in a mind-bending 1.047 seconds, this means that it successfully found the correct permutations quicker than it would have taken for you or me to say the word Rubik’s Cube.

The current Guinness World Record is a rather poor 2.3 seconds while humans are currently well behind on a snail-like pace of 4.9 seconds, although, that is still pretty fast. If you’re wondering, this record is held by a 14-year-old who goes by the name Lucas Etter in November 2015.

Below is the video, as you can see, the cube is being held within a 3D printed frame via “drilled holes with four USB cameras pointing at the puzzle. The robot is then hooked up to a Linux-based computer running a Kociemba Rubik’s cube-solving algorithm that takes the information delivered from the cameras and then works out in milliseconds which moves to make”.

The creators, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose uploaded the video and are currently applying for it to be officially recognized as a new world record, one would assume this would be a time which stands for a long while, although, you know what assumptions are.

Exquisite Eggshell Carving Artwork Is No Yolk

Artists are always finding exciting and fresh ways to promote their artwork; this is, well, no exception, after the China Youth Network recently reported concerning a craftsman who conveys his artwork on eggshells. The artist in question is based in China and goes by the name Huangwei Xiang; he is 64 years old this year and below are images of this quite amazing yet delicate artwork.

As you can see, the first image below is of this gentleman’s latest series entitled “108 Water Margin Heroes” these were carved in 108 days. the fragility of the eggshell means the need for a delicate hand when applying pressure.

The next image below is of a phenomenal carving within a hollow eggshell, the intricate patterns and imaginative design certainly opens the door for a range of possibilities. On a side note, not long ago a “Hong Kong business person spent 30,000 yuan (£3,195.89) with the aim of buying two hollow egg carvings as well as 12 zodiac egg carvings”.

Below are two images which convey a close up of two of the Margin Heroes, patience is certainly needed when attempting to sculpt the artwork within the shell.

It is certainly unique and also requires a high level of skill to achieve these results, I would not have thought this would have been possible when you consider how fragile an eggshell is, but, it just goes to show what can be achieved within the world.

Garmin Unveils The “Quatix 3” Luxury Watch

The humble watch is seen as somewhat old-fashioned compared to the digital life that nearly all consumers live these days, tech companies on the other hand, have been looking to integrate various digital features within so-called smart watches with the aim of marketing the product for the 21st century. Global GPS brand Garmin who are synonymous with Sat Navs have unveiled a new watch by the name of the Quatix 3.

Below is a quick rundown of the announced specifications.

  • Physical dimensions – 2.0” x 2.0” x 0.6” (51.5 x 51.5 x 16.0 mm)
  • Display Size – 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter
  • Display resolution – WxH – 218 x 218 pixels; transflective MIP colour; sapphire lens
  • Weight – 3.0 oz (85 g)
  • Battery life – Up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 20 hours in GPS training mode; up to 6 weeks in watch mode

The watch also comes equipped with a “protective stainless steel EXO bezel and buttons”.

If you happen to be a fisherman or an avid race boat enthusiast, the Quatix 3 has you covered, below is a quick summary of these targeted features.

  • Saltwater fishermen – Will have features available to them that include navigational as well as NMEA 2000 data including depth, speed, water temperature etc.
  • Sailors – Will have the option to receive data that includes a virtual starting line feature that lets you set up a starting line between 2 marked GPS waypoints, e.g., a buoy and the committee boat
  • The watch also contains an Altimeter, Barometer and Compass.

The watch is expected to be released within the first quarter of April 2016, prices are expected to be $599.99 (£420.54).

It will be interesting to see if this watch has a great appeal within the general consumer market when you consider many of the features are targeted at a specific audience. Garmin will hope this watch will be able to hold its own, it makes sense for Garmin to implement its knowledge within a new smartwatch.

Could Hypersonic Air Travel Become a Reality?

Air travel has become the norm within today’s fast past society, from the extremely affordable ticket prices coupled with the package holiday’s that have become part of many people’s yearly quest for adventure. But, what is next for air travel? Can it be developed to the point whereby consumers are able to fly to for example Australia from the UK in less than 22 hrs?

Well, a potentially sizeable development is on the horizon after Orbital in conjunction with NASA has developed and preliminarily tested what is known as a “3D printed hypersonic engine combustor at NASA’s Langley Research Centre in Virginia”. This could potentially facilitate air travel at amazing speeds of up to 3,425 mph (5,500km/h) or 4.5 times the speed of sound, which is fast.

Below is an image of a concept hypersonic plane which has been modelled within design software that is used for the purposes of aerodynamics, it certainly looks fascinating for a ground level design. The combustor was created through a manufacturing process known as “powder bed fusion” (PBF). Within this is a layer of “metal alloy powder that is printed before a laser fuses areas together based on the pattern which is fed into the machine by a software program

The combustor has as you would expect been put through a series of hypersonic flight conditions over the course of 20 days. Orbital have also stated that one of the most complex parts with which to develop is the Scramjet combustion system which needs to maintain stable combustion within an extremely volatile environment. This technique could also have the potential to be used within future versions of NASA’s X-43 experimental hypersonic aircraft which is pictured below alongside the Langley Research Centre in Virginia.

In case you’re wondering, the definition of a Scramjet is an air-breathing aircraft that carries only “hydrogen fuel, the aircraft pulls the oxygen needed and burns it from the atmosphere; this is instead of the traditional method of fuel and the required oxygen to provide acceleration

These developments could pave the way for a future whereby consumers could, in theory, be whizzing around the globe by hypersonic power.

Bank of China Releases a Laser Blasted “Monkey” Coin

Tech is always advancing in new and exciting ways. With the aim of developing and modernizing techniques for the 21st century, the coin production process at The People’s Bank of China placed into circulation a $10 dollar limited edition of at least 500 million coins, but when you consider China has a current estimated population of at least 1.357 billion, this may well be a limited laser blasted and multilevel “Monkey zodiac coin”.

The coins in question use materials including a Brass Alloy for the outer ring, which is illustrated by the first image below, this is coupled with a Nickel Alloy composite which is implemented for the inner core and is conveyed by the second image. The technique used to make these commemorative coins changes the traditional moulding process in favour of a lower yet more efficient manufacturing footprint.

The coins have the word “SHIYUAN” which is located next to the selected domination, this word comes from the  Chinese phonetic alphabet. The coins, released to coincide with the 2016 Lunar New Year are also decorated to include a floral pattern as well as a traditional decorative monkey and also a lantern.

Collectors who wish to collect such a coin will be able to reserve a maximum of five coins, the date by which the coins will become available will be from the 16th January 2016.

UK Market Gaming Stats Revealed For 2015

The games industry is the same as any other market when it comes to analysing the performance of titles, consoles and revenue with the aim of finding trends in consumer preferences and company performance. GfK Entertainment has made a wide range of information available concerning the shape of the UK gaming scene in 2015 via trade paper MCV, the results are quite interesting and I have conveyed a snapshot below,

First up is the total revenue for 2015, as you can see below it shows there has been a slight decrease in all categories except that of gaming accessories, which have seen a rise in overall revenue.

  • 2015 total revenue – £2,112,750,781   (2014: £2.3bn)
  • Entertainment Software – £927,663,843 (2014: £948 Million)
  • Console Hardware – £689,473,076 (2014: £915 Million)
  • Gaming Accessories – £495,613,862 (2014: £431 Million)

Next up is the software market percentage share by console (units) stats, these convey a picture of the PS4 dominating the UK scene with a market share of 36.3%, Microsoft’s Xbox One is second while the ageing last gen Xbox 360 is third, not surprisingly, the PlayStation Vita does not fare as well.

  1. PlayStation 4 – 36.3%
  2. Microsoft Xbox One – 29.7%
  3. Microsoft Xbox 360 – 12.5%
  4. PlayStation 3 – 7.1%
  5. Nintendo 3DS – 4.8%
  6. PC – 3.6%
  7. Nintendo Wii U – 3.5%
  8. Nintendo Wii – 1.0%
  9. Nintendo DS – 0.7%
  10. PlayStation Vita – 0.7%
  11. Others – 0.1%

Next is the software market share by console (Revenue). As you can see, the PlayStation 4 is again the winner with a substantial slice of 41.6%, second is again not surprisingly the Xbox One followed by the Xbox 360 in third.

  1. PlayStation 4 – 41.6%
  2. Microsoft Xbox One – 34.1%
  3. Microsoft Xbox 360 – 9.0%
  4. PlayStation 3 – 4.9%
  5. Nintendo 3DS – 3.7%
  6. Nintendo Wii U – 3.2%
  7. PC – 2.3%
  8. Nintendo Wii – 0.5%
  9. PlayStation Vita – 0.4%
  10. Nintendo DS – 0.2%
  11. Others – 0.1%

Next up is the software market share by publisher (revenue) top 10, as you can see Electronic Arts (EA) is not far off having twice the market share from second place; Activision Blizzard.

  1. Electronic Arts – 23.3%
  2. Activision Blizzard – 14.0%
  3. Warner Bros – 9.9%
  4. Take – Two 7.4%
  5. Bethesda – 7.1%
  6. Ubisoft – 6.7%
  7. Nintendo – 5.7%
  8. Microsoft – 5.2%
  9. Sony Computer Entertainment – 4.9%
  10. Bandai Namco Entertainment – 3.5%

Next up is a combined look at the top-selling games for all formats within 2015, this shows that FIFA 16 is the number one selling title on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360. This is what you would expect when you consider the release date of this title compared to that of say Fallout 4. It makes me chuckle to think that the highest selling game in terms of units for the PC is The Sims 4 followed by Football Manager 2016 and 2015.

Last up is the top 20 physical games of 2015 for all formats, the list is 50, but, I did not want to go on forever.

  1.  FIFA 16 (EA)
    2.  Call Of Duty: Black Ops III (Activision Blizzard)
    3.  Fallout 4 (Bethesda)
    4.  Star Wars: Battlefront (EA)
    5.  Grand Theft Auto V (Take-Two)
    6.  Batman: Arkham Knight (Warner Bros.)
    7.  FIFA 15 (EA)
    8.  Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Activision Blizzard)
    9.  Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (Ubisoft)
    10. Lego Jurassic World (Warner Bros.)
    11. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Bandai Namco)
    12. Battlefield Hardline (EA)
    13. Minecraft: Xbox 360 and Xbox One Edition (Microsoft)
    14. Minecraft: Story Mode (Telltale Games)
    15. Halo 5: Guardians (Microsoft)
    16. Minecraft: PlayStation 3, 4, and Vita Edition (Sony)
    17. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami)
    18. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (Sony)
    19. Dying Light (Warner Bros.)
    20. The Elder Scrolls Online (Bethesda)

Mark Zuckerberg’s Neighbours Unhappy Again!

Mark Zuckerberg is not really ingratiating himself with his neighbours within the local but admittedly expensive community that is Liberty Hill in San Francisco. The extensive construction and the accompanied noise and disruption has not been a favourite with the fellow residents and now a parking dispute has again caused friction between the Facebook founder and his neighbours.

The aforementioned parking dispute involves Mark Zuckerberg’s security team “permanently’ and illegally occupying desirable parking spots in the area with two silver SUVs”. Below is an image to illustrate the alleged problem that has annoyed the fellow residents, as you can see, these vehicles are stationed next to the social network founder’s house.

It has annoyed the community to such an extent that it has distributed a letter to residents urging them to “complain to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) about the vehicles and also contact Zuckerberg’s residential security manager, Tim Wenzel” Below is an image of the letter that was obtained.

In response, a spokesperson for Mark Zuckerberg states “The security team’s cars are parked in accordance with local parking laws. The team strives to be sensitive to neighbour’s concerns and regrets any inconvenience.”

Disputes, in this case, can be perceived as rather silly with the potential to escalate out of all proportion, I think this has evolved from allegations in 2014 of persistent and noisy construction work followed by further allegations involving an apparent restraining order which had reportedly been filed by Mr Zuckerberg’s security team against a 62-year-old local man, leaving him temporary homeless in 2015. I do think there is also a perception that “rich” individuals do not respect the social etiquette within the community, but rather zoom in and develop an area without any consideration for residents.

It will be interesting to see if there are any further reports of alienation between both parties in the future.

Image courtesy of dnaindia

Azimuth “SP-1 Crazy Rider” Designed Watch Unveiled at CES

Mechanical wristwatches are seen as rather antiquated when you consider the development and ubiquitous use of both Smartphone’s and also the new breed of smartwatches. Who would want a timepiece that is able to tell the current time when these new gadgets are able to surf the Internet, keep track of your workout routine and also able to let you know the time in Australia. Luxury Swiss watchmaking company Azimuth is proving there is still a large market for expensive timepieces after unveiling a new watch at CES.

The watch in question goes by the name of the “SP-1 Crazy Riderand is quite nifty when you consider it is able to convey the correct time within the 24-hour clock. A normal watch is as you know, designed for the 12-hour clock, the Azimuth watch takes its inspiration from a motorcycle drive chain. Below is an image to convey this new watch as well as a quick summary of the design behind this new product.

  • Inside the watch housing is a chain which is wrapped around two sprockets which turn in unison.
  • A watch hand is attached to the chain, it makes its way around the watch face indicating the hour
  • A more traditional watch hand in the centre of the watch indicates the minute.
  • As the time goes on, the hour hand is carried along by the chain while the minute hand appears to be linked to the chain.

I know what you thinking, you would like one of these, well, there might be a slight problem considering the watch is estimated to have an RRP price of $5,200 (£3,581.14), which is a lot. Still, the design is certainly creative and will have both consumer appeal and also a market within today’s watch aficionados. Would you buy one?

Image courtesy of ablogtowatch

New Form Of “SmartShoe” Shown Off At CES

The tech industry is focused on pushing forward with the notion of “Smart Tech” from washing machines, self-driving cars and also intelligent fridges, gadgets are quickly moving forward, but a SmartShoe? It is not too unusual when you take into consideration Nike’s inspiration for a Back to the Future-style smart self-lacing trainer which was shown off by Marty Mcfly himself, Michael J Fox in 2015.

Now, a new SmartShoe has been conveyed to audiences at CES and includes functions to warm your feet, which is handy, tighten automatically and are controlled by an app. The company in question goes by the name Digitsole and below is an image to convey this SmartShoe.

As you can see, they look futuristic but I feel the design looks rather clumsy and dated, perhaps they will be refined before launch. The company stated that the warmest these shoes can be heated to is 38 degrees, now, when I read this I thought Fahrenheit, erm, no, it has been reported that it is Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Hopefully, the companies inbuilt thermostat will be able to control the heat within the shoes, otherwise, one can see you will also need an inbuilt fire extinguisher.

The price for these shoes will be around $450 dollars or (£307) and are likely to contain Digisoles heated insoles which are already on sale for $198 dollars or (£130)

The company also plans to launch both a slightly more stylish pair of trainers and also a smart high-heeled shoe, both these styles will also come with the hot heated sole function as well as motion tracking and also other options, below are images to convey both these styles of SmartShoe.

Smart shoes will have a market as tech involves into this sector, it will be noteworthy to see how fast consumers are willing to adopt such tech within their daily lives.

Images courtesy of Mashable and digitsole

A Look At Time Magazines Selected Space Images Of 2015

Long lasting American magazine “Time” has recently announced a selected list of 55 space images that have captured the imagination of readers and experts alike, below is a look at just a few of these amazing and awe-inspiring pics.

Below is a fantastic image that was captured by The Hubble Space Telescope of the Eagle Nebula “Pillars of Creation”, this was published in January 2015 and it is an incredible image, the detail certainly captures the imagination of space for both budding and also veteran astronomers.   

The image below was captured by the New Horizons spacecraft of Pluto in July 2015, “The New Horizons mission is helping NASA understand worlds at the edge of the solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation”.   The image is fantastic and conveys a world that has previously been out of reach for explorers.  

Below is an image that was captured of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket which exploded just after launching from Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, on Oct. 28, 2014. The rocket was carrying an unmanned Cygnus spacecraft filled with NASA cargo, this image was finally released in 2015.  The image feels as if it has just been lifted from a blockbuster movie set or a newly released video game, certainly a spectacular image.

This image below is of Astronaut Scott Kelly who re-entered the International Space Station (ISS) after a space walk, as you do, the image is again spectacular and was released in October 2015. 

The final image was released in December 2015 and is of the Vega rocket that was launched with the aim of testing a variety of methods to detect gravitational waves, the image was released in December 2015. The image certainly conveys the power needed to propel a rocket into space.

Tesla Model 3 Will Be Released

Tesla has been pioneers in the electric car field, this has helped by charismatic CEO Elon Musk who has pushed Tesla firmly into the mainstream with innovations that capture consumer imagination. Tesla now plans to launch the “Model 3” with speculation that it will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1st, 2016; this new model will sit alongside the current range that includes the model S and X.

Tesla’s chief designer Franz von Holzhausen had stated that the Model 3 will be conveyed to journalists and the public alike at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, but that year has well and truly passed without a sign of Tesla’s new model. Now, Tesla’s spokesman Khobi Brooklyn has confirmed that the Model 3 will follow the original plan of it being released in March of this year, a slight caveat to this is that the car is not expected to be on general sale until around 2017.

As for the price, reports suggest that it will be around the $35,000 mark (£24,103.85) or around £30,000 once various taxes have been added on. Reports also suggest that this car will be limited to 300,000 units, although, this could change depending on the popularity etc.

 

Tesla’s projects are always worth following and this one should be no different.

Peanut Shells Used To Design a New Air-Purifying Filter

A hot topic within society today is the quality of air that we breathe; major cities including London have found that pollution is quickly on the rise and this has led to the associated health problems for citizens. Air purification research is always advancing to the point whereby the research team at the centre for Advanced Biotechnology Studies within the National University of Mexico have developed an air-purifying filter that implements Peanut Shells.

Under the leadership of biotech expert Raul Pineda Olmedo, the team have found that the Biofilter specifically relies upon micro-organisms such as Fusarium fungi and Brevibacterium bacteria which typically grow in peanut shells. The research and studies have found that these microbes are able to absorb harmful substances in the air before converting them to carbon dioxide and water.

It takes 28 days before an effective amount of the organisms are able to colonize one of the filters. As yet, the only created prototype is in the form of a kitchen hood, however, the university hopes to further develop this project with the aim of bringing this innovation to market.

It is a fascinating insight into how a previously thought of disposable and ignored ingredient as in this case, could in fact be utilized in such a manner.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Fantastic Sand Dunes Of Mars

Space exploration is a fascinating subject which encompasses a wide selection of avenues which include the search for other life forms to new discoveries both concerning known and also unknown distant plants. NASA has recently released images from the Curiosity Mars rover which show a fantastic selection of images of Sand Dunes from the red planet.

Below is a selection of images of Sand Dunes which have been both snapped and also transmitted back by Curiosity, it conveys an extremely steep surface where “cascading sand has sculpted very different textures”  Researchers are implementing the rover with the aim of examining examples of the Bagnold Dunes, “this is a band of dark sand dunes lining the northwestern flank of Mt. Sharp”. 

The Curiosity rover “conveys the downwind side of a dune at around about 13 feet high within the Bagnold Dunes field on Mars”. Below is an image which really does capture both the steepness and also the varying textures, The mission’s dune-investigation campaign is designed to increase understanding about how “wind moves and sorts grains of sand in an environment with less gravity and much less atmosphere than well-studied dune fields on Earth”

Below is another incredible image, the Curiosity rover has been stationed on Mars since August 2012 and had managed to reach the base of Mount Sharp in 2014. This image was also taken from the “telephoto-lens camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, this reveals fine details of the downwind face of Namib Dune. Sand on this face of the dark dune has cascaded down a slope of about 26 to 28 degrees”.

 

It’s certainly impressive and what space discoveries are all about, it also makes you wonder what else will be found within the near future, perhaps there really is life on Mars, if not, the advancement within this area of tech will make it a possibility of deeper and more detailed space exploration.

Logan Streondj Warns That Robots Will Declare War By 2040

The continual advancement of AI is compelling at the very least; the notion that machines will have the ability to experience human emotions and abilities has opened the door to a whole new world of potential possibilities. But, are machines really a threat to mankind? Sci-fi author Logan Streondj thinks so and has detailed his vision in a blog post.

The aforementioned author suggests that a potential conflict could happen as intelligent robots are predicted to outnumber humans. The acclaimed author references the fact from “World Counts” that there are around 350 thousand human babies born each day or 130 million a year; the growth rate is 1%. According to the International Federation of Robotics, there were around 5 million robots being produced in 2014 with a growth rate of 15%. Within the same year there were approximately 11,000 military robots being produced and this could be significantly higher if you take into consideration the many top-secret projects which are being developed by governments etc.

This suggests that if growth statistics stays the same, in 25 years time or (2040) parity will be reached. Mr. Streondj also conveys the notion that there is a growth rate of 13% of military robots and by 2053, there will be around a million produced each year.

Is this possible or indeed believable? It really depends on the advancements of AI intelligence, the biggest fear among the human race is that robots will be able to decide their own destiny; if this is the case then it is conceivable that robots may not agree with us. An interesting point has been released by the World Fact Book which states that humans have a life expectancy of around 70 years globally, this compares with around 10 years for robots, this means that robots would need to produce approximately 7 times more a year in order to have the same population as humans.

It is really up to us, if we continue our path and develop a robot that is able to think for itself then we may technically see a revolt within the distant future, if not and we contain the abilities with which machines can reach, then we can control our own future.

Image courtesy of corbisimages

Google Translates Russia as “Mordor”

Google Translate is an extremely useful albeit slightly confusing tool at times, the freedom to translate any foreign web page or language with a degree of accuracy has been widely used by a huge array of consumers and companies alike.  However, there are instances when Google translates something completely different as in this case whereby the Russian Federation had been accidentally translated as “Mordor”

Reports confirm that Google has patched a bug within the “translation from Ukrainian to Russian service”.  Below is a screenshot to illustrate this rather awkward yet slightly apt re-imagining of the translation, the company stated this error was introduced automatically and, therefore, did not come from user input.

The search giant also stated that its software was able to operate by analyzing patterns within hundreds of millions of documents, this sounds impressive but the translations are not always perfect when you consider both the complexity and also the context of language which can vary depending on the circumstances.

It is interesting to note that “Mordor” is defined as a “fictional universe of Middle-earth and was the region occupied and controlled by Sauron,” when you consider the fairly recent activity by Russia in Crimea, it makes the translation all the more relevant.

Image courtesy of  the dailymail

Mathematical Equations In The Form Of Arty Animations

And now for something completely different, there has always been a drive for new and innovative tech applications, from transformers style political illustrations to the latest in gaming titles, tech is always moving in different directions.  This avenue is an educational yet quite fun way to convey mathematical Equations and formulas in the form of a moving map art display.

Below is the first GIF, this is, well, a sumo wrestler if I am not mistaken, now, I have had to research these as I am not a mathematical genius and it turns out this is an “epicycloid or a plane curve that is produced by tracing the path of a chosen point of a circle.  This is therefore called an epicycle which rolls without slipping around a fixed circle

 

Next up below is what appears to be an early 2000s music player pattern, this in fact conveys “Fermat’s Spiral” or also known as a “parabolic spiral” and follows this equation or the below image follows this equation r(θ) = a*sqrt(θ)

 

 

 

Next up below is what looks to be a hypnotizing eye, it’s not thankfully but represents a Hyperbolic Spiral and is also known as a “transcendental plane curve or in this case a Reciprocal Spiral“. If you’re wondering what that is then it is defined as a “spiral in which the length of the radius vector is inversely proportional to the angle through which it is turned”, The polar equation of a reciprocal spiral is r = 1/θ”.

Last up below is what video games looked like years ago, anyway, this is defined as “Grid Art using Equations and Inequalities” in basic terms an “inequality means finding all of its solutions. A “solution of an inequality is a number which when substituted for the variable makes the inequality a true statement”.

In layman terms, it’s a mathematical ghost.

Even though these are slightly complicated they are pieces of artwork that are fascinating and present a subject in an engaging way, If I had not found these then I would not have naturally searched for high-end mathematical equations.

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