Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Comes Out This Week – And You Should Play It


Childhood and teenage memories, few ring any sweeter than playing Smash Bros. for the first time on your Nintendo 64. This week Smash Bros. Wii U comes out – it’s awesome, and you should play it. This November you’ll be able to play through more Smash characters than ever before – with well over 50 fighters joining the fray. Maps are better tweaked – more grand and expertly crafted, and for the first time ever you’ll be able to play Smash Bros. with up to 8 players. We can confirm that it’s mayhem – absolute video gaming chaos that’s waiting to be unleashed. Now you might be thinking – wait a moment, wouldn’t 8 players just be too ridiculous? Nintendo’s thought about every detail in this game, 8 player Smash is reserved for a selection of bigger maps, as well as some special maps designed specifically for grander battles.

Oh, did we mention the graphics? Nintendo finally got the memo about high definition resolutions – and Smash Bros. looks absolutely stunning running in it at 60FPS. Every hair follicle on Link, tuft of fur on Donkey Kong and lighting blast from Megaman looks superb. Stages are bright and vibrant as you’d expect, but the sheer level of attention to detail that Nintendo’s included makes that game incredibly gorgeous. Prepare for the eye candy ladies and gentlemen, as it’s delivered in droves.

It’s now easier than ever tracking players moving at high speeds across the levels, which should tie in well with the now fully fleshed out online components making it the most rounded Smash Bros. experience to date. On top of this, the game even includes support for GameCube controllers – so if you have any spare controllers from back in the day or just prefer the feel of the GameCube controller you can pickup a cheap adapter for the Wii U and battle it out just like you remember from the Melee days. It’s clear that Nintendo’s thrown their heart and soul behind the title, cut-scenes are beautifully rendered and the game just has a level of polish that’s rare to find today.

Learn 50 facts about Smash Bros. Wii U in Nintendo’s extravaganza video

Nintendo for the first time ever is also manufacturing interactive action figures of characters called ‘amiibo’s‘ – they connect through to the NFC chip found in the Wii U game-pad and open up a variety of unlocks to the player. They look pretty awesome, and are available in retailers with the release of the game. The games packed to the brim with more modes that you can poke a stick at – you’ll be dishing out the damage in no time at all. If you’re after a more in depth read through on some of the in-game content, we suggest checking out our run-through article of features available here.

Smash Bros. Wii U is a jam packed game that will bright joy, tears and laughs to everyone playing. The game is finely tuned and is highly accessible to new players – but incorporates a wealth of depth so that masterful players can really show off their practiced skill and knowledge. There’s so much fun on one disc that we bet you’ll be playing for hundreds of hours to come.

Smash Bros. Wii U is available in stores in North America tomorrow.

Why Didn’t The iPhone 6 Ship with a Sapphire Screen?

For those of you who follow the tech news heavily, you’ll remember that over a year ago Apple signed on an agreement with GT Advanced Technologies – who were at the time a niche sapphire glass manufacturer. Sapphire glass would finally put a true leap forward in mobile screen technology, helping to curb the majority of scratched and cracked phone displays – but as soon as the contractual agreement was reached the relationship between the two companies soured and became a frenzy of problem after problem.

It turns out that Apple was originally interested in purchasing furnaces of it’s own to make the sapphire glass itself – but before it went ahead with the idea, Cupertino changed it’s mind and decided to streamline the process through GT. The Wall Street Journal’s report notes that the problem was is that GT wasn’t able to scale to Apple’s size and demand for the screens, and the two clashed heads over the large issue until it broke the smaller company. GT Advanced Technologies filed for bankruptcy early last month.

On top of this, the entire relationship was marred with incredible mistakes at almost every corner. Just days before the contract was signed between the two companies, GT produced 578 pounds of sapphire – with not even one ounce of the yield being usable. Apple as you’d expect from any large device maker, pushed hard for large scale production at low prices – which made profitability extremely difficult for GT over the span of operation with Apple. Things boiled over pretty horrendously, and the two companies met in court shortly after the release of the iPhone 6 – lacking a sapphire screen – and a bankrupt GT Advanced Technologies blaming Apple for their demise. It’s evident from reading through the Wall Street’s report that both companies have themselves to blame for the fallout.

Sapphire screens would be an incredible addition to any premium smartphone. But if this first major step from Apple is any indication of how difficult it is to try and produce a large panel of it in mass quality, having sapphire displays looks like it’s going to be a long way off.

Thanks to The Wall Street Journal for providing us with this information.

Google Chrome Version 39 Releases with 64-bit OS X Support

We hope you Mac users are ready for some 64-bit software computations from Google! Google Chrome version 39 has released today, with the new update including a number of large features for desktop users across all major platforms. Mac OSX users will now have browser support for 64-bit, with Google Chrome now completely shifting to a 64-bit only variant on OSX.

On top of this, the 64-bit support includes a number of handy security and speed updates to the browser, with improved instruction sets, more registers and improved efficiency in function calling. Because most software already on the OSX platform is now already all 64-bit based, you should find that Chrome now boots faster on a Mac. Desktop users on Linux, Windows and OSX can download the new Google Chrome update through the browser’s built-in silent updater, or can head over to google.com/chrome to manually download the latest version. For a full list of updates that come apart of the Google Chrome 39, please see the full release available on Google’s update blog for the browser here.

 

Thanks to MacRumours for providing us with this information.

Sony Introduces Plane Phase Detection Auto-focus to Smartphones

Everyone who’s in the market for a top notch smartphone always has to consider the shooter that comes attached to it. Most people are after a rear facing camera that gets a great shot, and Sony today announced huge strides in improving camera optics performance for the smartphone market. The Japanese based company announced it’s new Exmor RS IMX230 stacked CMOS imaging sensor – built specifically for smartphone cameras.

Sony’s recent press release gave a little insight into the new image sensors technology. The new sensor will come set for action with a 21-megapixel stills shooter, and will be the first CMOS smartphone image sensor to feature an onboard image plane phase detection AF signal processing function. What does this all mean exactly? Well, Sony’s new smartphone sensor will be able to utilise up to 192 auto-focus points in an image – which should dramatically improve focus on high speed or moving subjects in an image. Improved snap time generally means fantastic image processing, and it’s exciting that high end camera functions are finally trickling down into smartphones. For those who ever shoot scenes with moving objects, such as a sports games for instance, the new Exmor sensor should be right up your alley.

On top of this, the new sensor is also capable of shooting High Dynamic Range still images as well as video. The breakdown is that the lens takes information from two exposure examples and creates a singular image that looks to merge the best of both lighting into one superior coloured image. Video wise, the Exmor RS IMX230 sensor produces 120FPS clips at 720P resolution, 1080P at 60FPS and 4K video at 30FPS. We can expect Sony’s handsets next year starting late April to start shipping with the new sensor.

Thanks to Phandroid for providing us with this information.

[Update] Spotify has Paid $2B to Artists, Taylor Swift Would Have Made $6M

The music industry was in the spotlight earlier this month when Taylor Swift pulled her hot new album release from Spotify’s digital streaming service. Claims were made from Taylor and her record label that the artists weren’t getting a big enough payout from having their music available on the service, but today Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek has hit back. Mr Ek announced that the company has now paid out over $2 billion in royalties to the music industry – which includes record labels and artists and their encompassing surrounds.

Mr Ek also made mention that the services userbase isn’t slowing down either – making note that the first billion dollars of payments came spanning the years of 2008-2013, whereas the second billion was paid just over the last 12 months. Another incredible figure that Mr Ek noted was that Spotify has more paid subscribers than all of it’s music streaming competitors combined.

“[Taylor Swift] is the only artist who has sold more than a million copies in an album’s first week since 2002. In the old days, multiple artists sold multiple millions every year. That just doesn’t happen any more; people’s listening habits have changed – and they’re not going to change back.”

The CEO also went on to exclaim that because Swift had pulled her entire catalogue from the service, she is set to lose over $6M is profits in the short term from not being on Spotify’s streaming service. At the end of the day, it would seem that Swift and her management pulled her catalogue from Spotify because they’re one of the last remaining artists who wields enough power to afford to manoeuvre such a stunt. In the meantime, I’m sure many of you have other tunes and artists to listen to and enjoy.

Thanks to The Verge for providing us with this information.

SanDisk Releases 400GB SSD That Plugs Into Your DDR3 RAM Slot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGfpdciV9B4

Are you ready for the future? Or at least some crazy technology! SanDisk thinks you are. Whilst at the moment it’s intended for enterprise use, SanDisk today announced and released the worlds first 400GB SSD that plugs into your DDR3 RAM slot – standard DIMM slots – in turn reducing latency write times to a mere 5ms. The extreme speeds come at a rather hefty price tag, the 200GB variant will set your company back $1800 USD, and the bigger 400GB model comes in at $2200 USD. The application of such a device is perfect for anything needing almost instantaneous read and write speeds, optimization for server environments, as well as other tasks such as high-speed trading.

Don’t fret for all you home users out there – the technology as always will fall in manufacturing costs, so hopefully we can expect to see this incredible technology powering our rigs in just a few years time. For the meantime, if you’re a person who needs copious amounts of hyperspeed memory with near RAM like speeds – SanDisk has raised the bar yet again in memory storage standards. It’s an exciting future ahead of us! More information about the SSD DIMM SanDisk drive can be found here.

Thanks to SanDisk for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of SanDisk.

Chinese Man Successfully Installs Working Windows 98 OS onto iPhone 6 Plus

 

Ah – the old and familiar 90’s Window boot up sound has just trickled through your eardrum. But wait – what’s this? Windows 98 running on an iPhone!? Blasphemy!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen – a Chinese man who goes under the forum alias of ‘xyq058775‘ has just successfully installed a functional Windows 98 onto an iPhone 6 Plus. It’s awesome, it’s crazy – and we love it.

The man posted a set of images accompanied by short descriptions of the process and problems installing and running the operating system on the iPhone 6 Plus. Running EXE binary files is currently out of the question on the Apple device, but he was successfully able to alter and change the input methods of Windows 98 to allow navigation of the operating system, as well as the ability to open the start menu and fire up Internet Explorer. It’s an awesome feat – and is one that seems to have been accomplished through what we’re guessing is DoSBox – a program used to emulate x86 platforms and games.

Be sure to checkout the forum post by xyq058775, available for reading here.

Thanks to feng.com for providing us with this information.

Silk Road 2.0 Shutdown after FBI Arrests Suspected Operator

After law enforcement agencies shutdown Silk Road back in late 2013, Silk Road 2.0 sprouted out of the ground and rose to prominence. However, it would seem that the FBI alongside the Department of Homeland Security in the United States has arrested and is holding in custody the owner of Silk Road 2.0. The alleged man behind it all is a 26 year old by the name of Blake Benthall – who is said to have operated under the alias of Defcon. The authorities have said that Mr Benthall was running the site through the anonymity network known as Tor.

It’s alleged than an undercover agent working for the authorities managed to weasel their way into the sites support staff, and was able to access restricted areas and content of the site – which allowed conversation between undercover authorities and Mr Benthall. The FBI is claiming that the site had approximately 150,000 active users, and was estimated to be making sales profits of around $8 million USD per month. Things aren’t looking great for Mr Benthall – he’s since been charged by authorities with with one count of conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking, one count of conspiring to commit computer hacking, one count of conspiring to traffic in fraudulent identification documents and one count of money laundering.

Thanks to Wired for providing us with this information.

Get An Invite into Google’s Inbox App – Be Quick

So you’ve probably heard about Google’s new Inbox application, it’s a new cross-platform app that works for Gmail. Inbox automatically highlights important emails, allows you to sift through them with a clean and intuitive interface and tries to remove all of the clutter that surrounds most inbox’s. The application thus far has been invite only, however for today between the hours of 3PM and 4PM PT if you email Google at inbox@google.com – Google promises that you’ll receive an invite by 5PM PT.

We’re hoping Google’s servers are able to hold onto the influx of emails that will be coming their way, as obviously with any major order back-end servers take an incredible hit. We have confidence that Google will be able to hold down the fort so to speak. Inbox allows for easy and streamlined managing of your Gmail, and automatically looks for important messages and sends them to the top of your inbox – things like flight details, bills, or shipping and tracking information for packages. Whilst the news today is fantastic for those looking on-board, some people are as always unfortunately going to miss out – and there’s still no specific word on when we can expect to see the invite only limitations lifted off of Google’s Inbox application.

GeForce 344.60 WHQL Driver Releases with Launch of “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”

If you’re playing the latest instalment of Activision’s Call of Duty on an NVIDIA card, it might be time to once again update your drivers.

The company has just released its GeForce 344.60 “Game Ready” drivers, which come packed with performance tweaks and optimizations for SLI and stereo stereoscopic 3D profiles for ” Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”.

On top of this, the new drivers also include a bunch of updates for other titles. There are performance improvements for Assassin’s Creed Unity, Dead Rising 3, Sleeping Dogs, FIFA 15, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth and more.

The new drivers can be downloaded here. Happy gaming to all you PC enthusiasts!

YouTube Launching Streaming Music Service, Ad-free Video Subscription a Possibility

Are you ready for YouTube’s music streaming service? The cats been let out of the bag by YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki during a recent interview. Wojcicki told re/code that the company had been working on the music streaming service for quite some time, but the launch of the platform won’t be ready to go by the end of the year.

A YouTube music streaming service has been a long time coming, with many rumours of the service having frequented headlines on and off for nearly two years. Originally codenamed Music Key – the project was seemingly on track, at least until public backlash was made over an internal decision at YouTube to block indie labels that didn’t wish to submit their material to the site. The outcry over the internal decision at YouTube was so immense that the then product manager at YouTube Chris LaRose stood down from his position at the company.

On top of the music streaming announcement from YouTube, Wojcicki also hinted at an ad-free video subscription service. However, the CEO kept her cards close to her chest when asked for more information regarding such a subscription model. YouTube is currently ‘thinking about how to give users options’ as to how the platform can be viewed.

For more information on YouTube’s upcoming plans – you can find the full stage interview here.

Thanks to re/code for providing us with this inforation.

Image courtesy of re/code.

Comcast and Verizon Lowered Speed to Cogent below 0.5Mbps

New detailed measurements have been released displaying exactly how much throttling of traffic was done by major US ISP’s Comcast and Verizon through to Cogent – a backbone operator of Netflix traffic. As almost everyone in the United States discovered over the span of the last year, traffic through to Netflix got bad – really flipping bad. A new study released by M-Lab data has a detailed analysis of just how terrible the throttling from both Verizon, Time Warner and Comcast made it for traffic passing through to Cogent. The study reveals a detailed insight into traffic through the ISP’s over the span of a 5 year period, of which between late May through to February of this year – traffic trickled down to a ludicrously slow 0.5mbps speed. It’s no wonder Netflix was failing to stream for most US citizens.

“Using Measurement Lab (M-Lab) data, and constraining our research to the United States, we observed sustained performance degradation experienced by customers of Access ISPs AT&T, Comcast, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon when their traffic passed over interconnections with Transit ISPs Cogent Communications (Cogent), Level 3 Communications (Level 3), and XO Communications (XO),” researchers wrote. “In a large number of cases we observed similar patterns of performance degradation whenever and wherever specific pairs of Access/Transit ISPs interconnected. From this we conclude that ISP interconnection has a substantial impact on consumer internet performance—sometimes a severely negative impact—and that business relationships between ISPs, and not major technical problems, are at the root of the problems we observed.”

“The three degraded Access ISPs [Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon] failed to achieve median download throughputs above 4Mbps when connecting over Cogent in New York City for most of the period between Spring 2013 and March 2014,” M-Lab wrote. “While daily median download throughput overall hovered around 4Mbps, performance degradation was much worse during peak use hours. For much of the time between Spring 2013 and March 2014, download speeds during peak use hours remained well below 4Mbps. By January 2014, the download throughput rate during peak use hours for Comcast and Verizon traffic over Cogent’s network was less than 0.5Mbps, the minimum rate necessary for web browsing and email according to the FCC. Note that only between 2:00 AM and 1:00 PM were the three affected Access ISPs able to attain speeds above 4 Mbps across the Transit ISP Cogent.”

The full dataset of information from M-Lab has been published online, and is available for viewing here. One thing is for certain after going through the findings – the internet is in for a bumpy ride if strong net neutrality laws and regulation checks aren’t brought into place. The wild west could start to get a lot wilder.

Thanks to M-Lab for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Slate.

Google Constructing a Play Store for Project Ara

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Google’s ambitious fully modular smart phone; Project Ara. The cell-phone can be chopped, changed and modified according to the users desires and specification needs. Reports are swirling that Google’s moving ahead with the project and the company has confirmed that it’s in construction stages of creating a Google Play store for Project Ara.

The marketplace like web-store will allow developers to sell custom components directly to consumers exactly like apps are sold today. It’s an incredibly big dream that Google’s trying to bring to life and the road forwards is certainly not going to be an easy path. There are many looming technical risks associated with Project Ara that still need to be overcome.

We still don’t have a lot of specific information on how much modules will cost or how many will be available through the store. It’s been rumoured that Project Ara will allow users to swap out components without having to even power down the device (except the display and CPU).

Big questions still face the team behind the modular smart phone – nothing like this has ever come to consumers before in the mobile space. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress in the coming months as Google moves forward with Project Ara; we expect to hear more details soon.

Thanks to Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Elon Musk – Artificial Intelligence is Akin to ‘Summoning the Demon’.

Telsa CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk believes artificial intelligence (AI) is like summoning the demon, and that humanity should tread with caution. We all know the AI apocalyptic novels and movies – with robots and artificial life taking a hold of power and dominating life over the planet. During a Q&A session at an MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Centennial Symposium, Musk made it clear he wasn’t keen on leading us down such a path for artificial intelligence; warning us of the dangers AI could lead us to.  We need to make sure “we don’t do something very foolish,” Musk said. “If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that.” Musk continued stating that within “all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.”

One thing is for certain, Musk is a firm believer that AI is a real and potential threat – warning us earlier in the year on Twitter that “we need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.” Musk was so caught up in the question of AI that he actually failed to take in the next audience members question. He apologised with “sorry can you repeat the question, I was just sort of thinking about the AI thing for a second.” eTeknix readers, where do you stand on the topic of artificial intelligence?

Thanks to MIT for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Den of Geek.

Australian ISP asked to Hand Over Customer Personal Information over BitTorrenting

‘Not Our Kind Of Club’ is the stance Australian ISP iiNet is taking against American studio Dallas Buyers Club LLC – which asked the service provider for sensitive customer details of those it suspected infringed copyright laws through illegally obtaining its Dallas Buyers Club film. The Aussie ISP outlined in a lengthy and detailed blog post about its opposition to the discovery order that was submitted through the Australian Federal Court. In its blog post, iiNet states that the company “would never disclose customer details to a third-party, such as movie studio, unless ordered to do so by a court. We take seriously both our customers’.

iiNet claims that the ISP is gravely concerned about bullying tactics used by movie studios to intimidate and make pirates pay up big time for their actions, and follows up by saying that it has seen third-party alleged infringement notices ordering up to fines of $US7000. Copyright holders attempt to collect evidence of infringement via IP address tracking and tracing, whereby they monitor and analyse addresses that are illegally sharing content. Once the links been recorded, the copyright holder starts applying through courts for what’s called a preliminary discovery process, which asks for personal information and details of account holders that are routing through infringing IP addresses. The consequences of losing the hearing are rather dire – as it could lead to a flood gate of copyright infringement notices from major studios.

iiNet’s blog calls into question fair trials and processing;

It might seem reasonable for a movie studio to ask us for the identity of those they suspect are infringing their copyright. Yet, this would only make sense if the movie studio intended to use this information fairly, including to allow the alleged infringer their day in court, in order to argue their case.

In this case, we have serious concerns about Dallas Buyers Club’s intentions. We are concerned that our customers will be unfairly targeted to settle any claims out of court using a practice called “speculative invoicing”.

Because iiNet has opposed the discovery order, the ISP will be forced to meet in court with the Dallas Buyers Club LLC. The hearing is expected to be dated for next year. For more information on this topic, see the full blog post by iiNet – available here.

Thanks to iiNet for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Killing Off Nokia Branding, Calls it Microsoft Lumia

The brand the world over once knew as the biggest mobile phone manufacturer on the planet is gone. After Microsoft’s recent acquisition of the company, reports are swirling that Redmond is about to make the death of the Nokia brand official. ‘Nokia’ mobile phones will be replaced with ‘Microsoft Lumia’ moving forward. Technology site The Verge is reporting that process will start in France, with localised social accounts renaming through to the new moniker first and then a transition period over a few weeks for the rest of the globe. One things not for absolute certainty yet – we’ll have to wait for the official word before we know if Microsoft will be dubbing the Windows Phone devices to just ‘Lumia’, ‘Microsoft Lumia’ or ‘Microsoft’.

Back in 2013 when Microsoft finalised the acquisition, the then CEO of Nokia had stated that he didn’t expect Microsoft would be pushing the Nokia brand for an extended period of time. It would seem that this is indeed going to be the case, as it should be noted that many Windows Phone Store applications have in fact already removed the ‘Nokia’ branding from their application titles in recent months. The juggernaut that once was Nokia Mobile is after many decades finally coming to a close.

Thanks to The Verge for providing us with this information.

Google Updates Search Algorithm, Demotes Piracy in Favour of Legal Content

We’ve all been told time and time again that the internet has the capacity to be the Wild West of all digital content, potentially harming the back pockets of media groups and movie studios. Google today took new steps in measures against pirated content available on the web, and has updated its search algorithm to systematically remove and demote rankings of illegitimately sourced content in favour of legal content. The changes come in addition to steps Google took back in 2012 to down-rank companies and sites which received a large quantity of valid DMCA notices.

Whenever a user inputs terms such as “free” or “watch” and searching – Google’s algorithm will now point toward legally obtainable sources of the material. The testing for the update is currently live and running in North America, but the company says it’s expecting to push an international expansion of the updated algorithm worldwide sometime in the near future. On top of this, Google says it’s also removing a number of auto-complete terms from the engine as well  that are similarly aimed at demoting any auto-complete topic that directs towards pirated content.

Thanks to Google for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of The Times.

Apple Wants Cheaper Streaming Deals from Record Labels

With Music streaming services taking the world by storm – Apple’s iTunes is after more than a decade losing a sizeable chunk of ground to competing services. Spotify and Pandora, among others are all in the hustle to offer the worlds leading music streaming platforms, and the big fruit has some catching up to do. Just like the 99 cent revolution that was iTune’s pricing model, streaming services offer free or extremely affordable pricing options to consumers. It’s a new cut-throat pricing war for record labels and musicians, as services that offer free of charge listening frequently subsidize costs through advertisements.

As you could expect, competition in the space is fierce and the crowded market isn’t looking at slowing down any-time soon. Reports from Re/code suggest that Apple’s newly acquired Beats – founders of Beats Music streaming service – are looking at pushing music labels into a cheaper licensing agreement with the intention of passing the savings directly onto the consumer. It’s expected hat the deal will be ready for launch sometime next year, and will allow Beats Music to offer a starting price point of just $5 per month.

We’re not going to lie – the dawn of music streaming is offering some rather incredible deals for consumers. If you love listening to all your favourite artists, it looks like Apple’s once again making big motions to win back listeners in the forever changing digital landscape of music.

Thanks to Re/code for providing us with this information.

Disney Renders Its New CGI Film on a 55,000-Core Supercomputer.

Prepare your CPU’s – the new bad boy in computer animation processing has arrived at Disney’s studio – a 55,000-core monster supercomputer, and it’s pumping out over 400,000 high level computations per day. What’s it currently at work at you ask? Disney’s new animated film Big Hero: 6. The film tells the tale of a young boy and his soft robot and is said to be a mishmash of varying super powers (think Marvel or DC Comics) crossed with a technology infused fantasy city called “San Fransokyo”.

The visual workings of the film are staggering, the movie’s been created from the ground up using Disney’s new software engine known as Hyperion. Hyperion accurately analyses and calculates lighting from multiple sources of indirect lighting – allowing artists and graphic designers to create scenes with more realistic and creative atmospheres digitally than ever before. Disney’s offered a few looks into the scenes and lighting that’s being rendered – and we have to say that it’s absolutely stunning. To put the power of Hyperion into perspective Disney’s Animation CTO Andy Hendrickson said that Hyperion “could render Tangled from scratch every 10 days.” The fantasy city of San Fransokyo will feature over 260,000 individually rendered trees, 83,000 buildings, 215,000 streetlights and over 100,000 vehicles. This is on top of literally thousands of crowd extras that have been poured into the animation through a special generational tool called Denizen.

The funny thing about it all is that the extreme envelope pushing technology isn’t the kind of stuff that will ever excite your typical moviegoer. The incredible details and calculations Hyperion deliver are just your typical norms that people associate with the moving pace of technological advancements – however, with that said, the hardware and software powering them is just as staggering and mind blowing as always. With the backbone of the film being rendered via a 55,000-core supercomputer, Hendrickson estimates that most of the fancy effects that will be seen on screen will be taken for granted by most audiences.

Thanks to Engadget for providing us with this information.

Google and ASUS Opened up Nexus Player pre-orders Before Having FCC Certification

Just last week Google launched their bevy of new Nexus oriented devices, which included their new approach on tackling the TV – the Nexus Player. It’s basically a slick new TV media and entertainment hub that taps into Android’s new 5.0 Lollipop OS and features the rich world of the Play Store right at your fingertips. The launch of Mountain View’s new 2014 line-up was going smoothly until it was revealed that the Nexus Player hadn’t yet received certification from the FCC – rendering sales of the device illegal in the United States. As such, Google’s had to shut down pre-orders almost as quickly as they opened – and has since released a statement saying “This device has not been approved by the Federal Communications Commission. It is not for sale until approval of the FCC has been obtained.”

According to sources close to Google – the Nexus Player has already been submitted to the FCC for review – and as of October 19th, the device has actually received approval. The problem is that Google received approval two days after it opened up pre-orders for the device. What this should mean is that the Nexus Player will still come out and ship on the original November 3rd release date – it’s just a bump in the road for the moment for those wanting to pre-order the new TV device. With the FCC’s Certification of the Nexus Player – Google should have no problems opening up pre-orders once more in the very near future.

Thanks to Google for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Politico.com.

 

Google’s Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 expected to Launch Tomorrow

Exciting news for Android smart phone and tablet fans – Forbes is reporting that Google’s HTC constructed Nexus 9 and Motorola built Nexus 6 will be launching tomorrow, and are expected to be the first devices running the new Android L operating system.

The tablet – codenamed the HTC Volantis, will be made available for pre-order on the 17th of October – and is said to be going on sale from November the 3rd. Forbes’ source has let loose that Google was originally intending on hosting an official launch event for the device – but decided against such after the company was still hard at work on tweaking and optimising Android L. As such, the Nexus 9 and 6 will be announced through a blog post from Google.

On the specification frontier, the Nexus 9 is expected to be packing Nvidia’s Kepler GPU, an 8.9 inch 2048×1440 display as well as a 64 bit dual-core CPU. On the front face, sources are reporting a 3MP camera – with the main rear shooter clocking in at 8MP. Pricing of the tablet isn’t going to be cheap – with reports stating that the 16GB model will start at $399 USD and ramping up to $499 USD for the 32GB LTE version. Good news however, is that the Nexus 9 is said to include expandable memory – so those wanting to save money this festive season can breathe a sigh of relief.

Over on the smart phone side of things, the new Nexus 6 is expected to look extremely similar to the design of the new Moto X (2014). The Nexus 6 is said to include a gigantic 5.92 inch display – which may in fact be too large for many. Sources have indicated that Motorola’s had to move the volume adjustment and screen lock buttons down the device to allow for a more manageable experience. Pricing and models haven’t yet been leaked for the Nexus 6.

Stay tuned to eTeknix – as tomorrow’s shaping up to be a big day for Mountain View and the Android operating system.

Thanks to Forbes for providing us with this information.

YouTube Has Paid $1 Billion to Rights Holders through Content ID

Since its introduction back in 2007, Content ID has provided rights owners access and permission to either take-down or place ads on a video and make money off of views – and so far, it’s paying up big. The Financial Times reported this week that YouTube has paid out over $1B USD to copyright holders through the system forthe monetization of unauthorized copyright material.

There is said to be over 5,000 copyright holders who use the auto-detection system – ranging from TV and movie studios through to music labels. Content ID has since become a rather important revenue stream for rights holders – with many making big pay cheques off of YouTube viewers. The system is working great for the studios – but for many of YouTube’s content creators, it’s proven inefficient, inaccurate and at times, downright maddening. Content ID over it’s past 7 years of operation has repeatedly come under scrutiny for inaccurate flagging of material. With countless incorrect forced and automated take-down notices for content creators, as well as it’s inability to distinguish between parody, educational or commentary content.

When a video is flagged by Content ID for infringement – the appeals process is weighted towards the rights holder, which in turn makes legitimate appeals a difficult and often gruelling process to progress through. One things left for certain – major copyright holders aren’t complaining.

Thanks to The Financial Times for providing us with this information.

Belkin Firmware Update Crashing Routers

A firmware update pushed last night from Belkin through to customers using older routers has sent router connections into a spiral of crashes and disconnects.  The firmware update reportedly caused a mass interruption of services, with the company working fast to resolve the malfunctioning firmware. For almost a day many consumers using older model Belkin routers were unable to establish a connection with other networks – successfully sending packet information but failing to receive. Forum boards exploded with diagnosis’ and explanations as to what went wrong – with workarounds through DNS manual adjustment assisting people’s connections and getting them back online.

The positive light is that Belkin worked overtime to resolve the issue, and updated their support page as progress was made through correcting the botched firmware update. A transcript of the support blog reads:

Update – We have identified a workaround that will enable some users to get back online. The workaround requires that you set a static DNS address on the device trying to access the internet. Below are some steps to do this on the most popular devices:

iOS
First, enable WiFi on your device and connect to the WiFi network you want to use. Then, tap the blue arrow button on the right side of the network name to tweak its settings. Now, select the DNS field and enter 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4. Separate different DNS addresses with commas

Android
Open the Settings on the device.
Select “Wi-Fi”.
Long press your current network, then select “Modify network”.
Mark “Show advanced options” check box.
Change “IP settings” to “Static”
Add the DNS servers 8.8.8.8 to the “DNS 1”, and 8.8.4.4 “DNS 2” fields.
Press “Save” button, disconnect from the network, and reconnect for changes to take effect.

Windows
Begin by clicking Windows Logo > Control Panel.
Click Network and Internet.
Click on Network & Sharing Center.
Click the name of the connection you wish the edit, to the right of Connections.
Click Properties.
Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
Click the radio button next to Use the following DNS server addresses:. This will allow you to enter the DNS server addresses.
The DNS addresses are as follows:
Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8
Alternate DNS server: 8.8.4.4
Click OK on each of the windows and close the Control Panel. Your computer is now configured to use statically assigned DNS server addresses.
Mac OSX
You’ll need to first head into the System Preferences…
Then click on the Network icon…
Then you’ll want to select your network card on the left—you’ll see in my example that I’ve got an AirPort card—and then select the Advanced button near the bottom right corner.
Once you’re there, switch over to the DNS tab, and you can start adding in DNS entries into the list. If you see entries that are grayed out, just ignore them, and click the + symbol at the bottom to add new ones.
You can add the following two items to the list:
8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4
Oct 7, 10:49 PDT

If you happened to have had any outages with your Belkin router – let us know! To all you tech heads out there – remember to lend a hand to any friends or family members who you know might be in a spot of bother with their connection. Having a dead Internet connection is never a fun experience for anyone!

Thanks to Belkin for providing us with this information.

Bug in Bash Shell Creates Major Security Hole for Linux Users

A major security bug has been discovered in the GNU Borne Again Shell (Bash) – a  command-line shell that’s used across a wide array of Linux and Unix operating systems. The bug leaves systems running these OS’s open to the attack, and is centred around how Bash handles environmental variables that are passed by the operating system or through a program that calls a Bash-based script. What’s even more worrying is those who are running networks with these affected operating systems, as if Bash has been configured to be the default system shell – it’s capable that network-based attacks can be launched against servers and linked systems via web requests, secure shell, telnet sessions – or any other programs that utilises Bash to execute scripts.

This is a deep and widespread conundrum – one that’s potentially on the same scale as the Heartbleed bug that was discovered earlier this year. The global scale of systems and networks that are potentially compromised by the newly discovered security hole is enormous. Thankfully there is a rather easy method to determine if your particular Linux or Unix system is vulnerable. Simply open up your command line and enter:

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable’ bash -c “echo this is a test”
If the system is vulnerable, the output will be:

vulnerable
this is a test
An unaffected (or patched) system will output:

bash: warning: x: ignoring function definition attempt
bash: error importing function definition for `x’
this is a test

System administrators are urged to update their versions of Bash to the latest version to ensure resistance against the bug. Downloading the patched builds are available here for CentOS, Ubuntu and Debian.

Thanks to TheVerge for providing us with this information.

Vizio Introduces $1000 4K P-Series TV

Resolutions; How it was not so long ago that we all viewed content on our television sets at 640×480 pixels – long gone is that resolution in today’s digital world. Today US based television manufacturer Vizio announced a 4K resolution “P-Series” TV – looking to bring 4K resolution screens to the masses. Through extremely cut-through pricing models, Vizio have established themselves as a fresh and upcoming household name in the United States. The 4K TV was first spotted back in CES earlier in the year – with the company proud to announce today that pricing will start at just $999.99 for the 50″ model. The P-Series is built on a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels and features a whopping 240Hz refresh rate, full-array LED back-lighting across the entire panel, a 50 million to 1 dynamic contrast ratio as well as a total of 1.07 billion colours.

The P-Series is completely wall mountable, and includes the standard Ethernet, USB and HDMI inputs you’d expect. What’s also nice to acknowledge is the attention to the little things. You’re still capable of plugging in your old devices as the P-Series has inputs for composite cables as well as analogue audio  – whilst this might sound a little outdated and old hat, it’s still always nice being able to hook up your old gaming console whenever you want to.

On top of this, the P-Series line also includes a bigger 55″, 60″, 65″ and an enormous 70″ model – with values ranging from the bigger sets of $1,399 through to $2,499. Vizio thus far have really impressed with their picture quality at CES this year as well as design – so people who are in the market to upgrade their ageing television sets should really have something to look forward to here. 4K is without question the future resolution that we’re shifting towards, so if pixels and resolution mean a lot to you – now is looking better than ever to make the swap.

Competition such as LG and Samsung are going to have a tough battle ahead with Vizio – who currently offer the same resolution and size of screens for around $500 more. The new Vizio sets are available to purchase in the United States now.

Thanks to Vizio for providing us with this information.

iBend – New iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Reportedly Bending in Pockets.

If you’ve just picked up one of Apple’s hot new smartphones, we’ve got some very bad news. Reports are swirling that the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models have a major design flaw – the framework of the phone seems to be able to bend with extreme ease; permanently altering and damaging the devices shape and stature. Hundreds of people have taken to Twitter to post about their experiences with their bent iPhone, with many claiming their device became bent simply by storing it for long periods of time in their front jeans pocket.

MacRumours highlighted one particular forum board post that stated:

Yesterday, I left at 10am with the iPhone in my left FRONT pocket of my suit pants. I drove 4 hours to a wedding, which also involved a lot of sitting during dinner etc but also 2-3 hours of dancing. I left at 2am and went to bed, driving home 4 hours back.

So in total, the 6 Plus was about 18 hours in my pocket while sitting mostly.

As I lay it on the coffee table and sat down on the couch to relax from the drive (yes, sitting again ), I saw the reflection of the window in the iPhones slightly distorted.

A popular YouTuber ‘Unbox Therapy‘ also posted a fairly in-depth look at the strength and build of the iPhone 6 Plus. The video is available below for viewing. The reports of iPhone 6’s and 6 Plus’ bending so easily and drastically has the potential to lead to an unprecedented level of recalls for Apple’s iPhone device – and to be honest we’re extremely surprised to see a fault as major as this this slipping through Apple’s renowned build quality, engineering and testing procedures. One thing is for certain however – Cupertino looks like it might be in for a very rough set of months ahead, and it will be extremely interesting to see how the company reacts to the shocking reports. At the time of writing we don’t have any iPhone 6’s on us to test the construction out – and even if we did, we’d be very weary breaking such an expensive piece of technology. For those of you who have picked up Apple’s latest iPhone – handle with care.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znK652H6yQM[/youtube]

Thanks to DailyDot for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Twitter Users @nelsoncardoz and @FlorianP123