Tomb Raider 2013 Heading to Linux and SteamOS?

Are you a fan of gaming on SteamOS or Linux? Although admittedly the two operating systems aren’t mutually exclusive anyway. Well, it looks like the 2013 release of Tomb Raider may be heading to the platform in the not too distant future, as the game was recently discovered in the SteamDB. We’ve heard of a lot of games being leaked via SteamDB, so there’s certainly some credibility to the rumour.

It’s a great game and one that I’m sure a lot of gamers on Linux would be eager to enjoy. There’s still a lot of work to be done to make SteamOS and/or Linux a more establish gaming platform, but it’s nice to see bigger titles, albeit a few years old, heading that way at a steady pace. With the new Tomb Raider game having just launched on PC, it’s a shame the new one isn’t already available to the open source part of the gaming community, but perhaps if the 2013 release does well, we could see Rise of the Tomb Raider ported over as well.

Not a lot is known about the port to Linux at this time, only that it has cropped up on the SteamDB, so for all we know, it may never see the light of day. We don’t know who’s doing the port either, so it could either be an in-house project or something that has been leased out to another studio, but hopefully we’ll find out soon enough. With SteamOS seemingly falling into obscurity this last few months, it may be too little too late to start moving more games to the platform, but Linux is still growing in popularity, slowly but surely.

Do you play games on SteamOS or on Linux? Are you looking forward to hopefully being able to play Tomb Raider (2013) on these platforms? Let us know in the comments section below.

TalkTalk Warned of Possible Data Breach in 2013

The data breach of TalkTalk customer information raised a number of serious questions about the company’s security and encryption measures. Embarrassingly, it appears to be the work of a 15-year-old boy, and customers are livid as new information suggests the poor security was known as early as 2013! According to The Guardian, TalkTalk’s chief executive’s office was warned of a data breach in July 2013.

One customer, Keith Aldridge subscribed to TalkTalk’s phone and broadband service in 2013, and lost £110 as part of a data scam. He said:

“The fraudsters called me on my brand new landline, on a new number that I had been given as part of the switch. It was so new that I had only passed it on to two family members, and yet the fraudsters had that number – and knew all about the technical problems I had had,”

“In my view the company did not address it in anything approaching an adequate manner. Perhaps if they had done so there might not have been these newer issues,” 

The scammer, contacted Alridge’s new TalkTalk landline and pretended to be from the company. It’s pretty startling how quickly his details were accessed by a fraudulent individual but this wasn’t taken seriously by TalkTalk’s management. They didn’t deem it to be a credible risk and drastically underestimated the scale of their network security flaws. Now we are beginning to hear about past mistakes, it doesn’t help TalkTalk’s reputation and makes them appear pretty reckless.

Tomb Raider Scores Global Franchise Record with Over 8.5 Million Copies Sold

While we all knew that Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider was a big success back in 2013, we did not know how big up until now. It seems that Tomb Raider has been classified as the IP’s biggest success and even surpassed other series’ sales with over 8.5 million copies sold.

“Crystal Dynamics, a Square Enix studio, today announced that the award-winning TOMB RAIDER® (2013) has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide, more than any other game in the legendary Tomb Raider franchise’s history. Originally released in March 2013, the game also set franchise sales records for its first day and month.”

The title still sells for a fair £14.99 price on Steam or other sources, but the sales record essentially means that Microsoft has potentially secured a next big hit with their Xbox One exclusivity agreement for the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider title.

Thank you PixelGamerUK for providing us with this information

3DMark Update Coming With a New Test Scenario For Mid-Range Systems

Futuremark’s 3DMark benchmarking suite is one of the biggest benchmarking suites that is out on the market for the testing and comparative positioning of gaming systems and as the outer reaches of performance grow on a near day-to-day basis, the benchmark tests that we run have to mature as well. To keep up with the growing demand of the consumer markets, Futuremark are introducing a new test environment in to their ever popular 3DMark suite. Set to be positioned between the Cloud Gate and Fire Strike scenarios for typical home setups and high performance gaming systems, Sky Diver focuses on the mid-range market, where gaming notebooks and average gaming systems cross paths, both in terms of cost and specification.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/GV5jjUQDNdw[/youtube]

Scheduled for release after Computex, where the new test environment will be on display on a number of manufacturer’s stands including Asus, Gigabyte and G.Skill, Sky Diver will be introduced into the 3DMark test suite by means of a software update, meaning there is no need to purchase and download new bits of software.

Jukka Makinen, Futuremark CEO said, “Some people think that 3DMark is only for high-end hardware and extreme overclocking. Yet millions of PC gamers rely on 3DMark to choose systems that best balance performance, efficiency and affordability. 3DMark Sky Diver complements our other tests by providing the ideal benchmark for gaming laptops and mainstream PCs.”

As and when the 3DMark update is made available, we will be introducing the additional test scenario into our review methodology, giving the most update benchmark results that we can. If you don’t already have the 3DMark test suite, head over to http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark , where you can find more information along with links to Futuremark’s other benchmarking suites.

Source: Press Release

Top 25 Passwords of 2013 Still Reveal Security Risk Concerns

It appears that not even 2013 has been a revelation for users to come up with better passwords. With all the cyber attacks and malware floating around, users are still inclined to use extremely simple passwords. According to a list from SplashData, users are as naive as ever, given the passwords found in use on some accounts.

The list has been compiled from the millions of stolen passwords last year that were ultimately made public. The list was heavily influenced by the massive Adobe breach in October which explains some of the newcomers and for the first time ever, “password” was dethroned as the most common password… by “123456.”

Here is a list of the weakest passwords found so far:

  • 123456
  • password
  • 12345678
  • qwerty
  • abc123
  • 123456789
  • 111111
  • 1234567
  • iloveyou
  • adobe123
  • 123123
  • admin
  • 1234567890
  • letmein
  • photoshop
  • 1234
  • monkey
  • shadow
  • sunshine
  • 12345
  • password1
  • princess
  • azerty
  • trustno1
  • 000000

Besides “adobe123” and “photoshop”, a top choice made by Adobe users has been also been in favour for the “123456” and “123456789” password formats. SplashData CEO Morgan Slain stated the fact that “adobe123” and “photoshop” on the Adobe website is a strong reminder that using your password as the name of the website or application you are accessing is not exactly a good idea.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Spot

PC Sales Dropped In 2013, Statistics Say

PC sales have soared last year, especially during the Christmas holidays, where Gartner reported it being the worst decline in sales since PCs and laptops became a necessity in people’s homes. The reason, as we all are probably aware of, is the appreciation of mobile devices, and Gartner states that during the holidays it marked the seventh consecutive quarter of decreasing PC sales.

PC sales went down 10 percent, while shipments of desktop and laptop computers had never slipped by more than four percent in any other previous year. The other annual declines occurred in 2001, in the midst of a technology bust driven by a collapse in the Internet sector, and in 2012, which marked the early stages of the migration to tablet computers

Around 316 million PCs were shipped last year, according to Gartner. That means PCs have backtracked to roughly the same level as in 2009 when the worldwide economy was struggling to get back in track after the Great Recession. Even more, Gartner predicts that PC sales are expected to drop this year even further than last year.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

CES 2014 – What Is Going To Be This Year’s Big Thing?

CES is back for yet another year, but before we start on the meetings and the laborious task of looking around the exhibitions that span thousands of square meters, I want to take a step back and make a few predictions on what will be the biggest technologies to be seen. Last year at CES 2013, talk of the show with out a doubt was 4K. With televisions and home entertainment now one of the key focal points for our digital lives, having a more immersive experience in the home and especially with a picture that has more definition to it, is paramount. At last years show we saw 4K screens all over the show floor and sizes up to a jaw dropping 100″ across.


Since the show last year we have seen 4K screens and monitors appear in greater numbers through the consumer channels from all the big names such as LG, Sony and Samsung to name only a few and the price has considerably dropped down as well.

The other big talk of the show was ultrabooks. Communication and working whilst on the move is one of the biggest focus points that as reviewers we have been seeing change in the last two years and the mobile and smart phone markets have exploded which only proves that we are demanding more and more from the technology that fits in our hands. Whilst tablets are a key item that we all look to have as part of our tech inventory, the creation of smaller, more powerful and most importantly lighter laptops has changed the way in which we think about how we work whilst on the go. Since Intel released their Haswell line of CPUs, the amount of power that can be packed into a small footprint has vastly improved and due to their impeccably low power consumption, the era of the ultrabook has well and truely set in.

Looking forward and on to this years show, I have been thinking long and hard over what could possibly be the must see items at this years show. 4K monitors and ultrabooks are certainly going to be an important aspect, but I’ve got a feeling that there is something even more close to home that changes the way in which we interact with our data.

Over the last few months the need to get access to our data – no matter where we are – has appeared as a growing need. Naturally what I’m referring to here is Cloud storage. Services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and Skydrive have been around for a good couple of years now, however as we know they can get expensive when the need for large capacities becomes a factor and to top this off, there is the underlying worry that you don’t know exactly where your data is and if the providers are snooping around your data. Consequently we have seen vendors such as Western Digital change the way we think about Cloud storage with the release of the MyCloud and the EX4 cloud storage units which sit in your own home and give to you total control over who has access to your data – and when!

As a result, I’ve got a strong feeling that we are going to be seeing a lot of people advertising and talking about their cloud storage solutions, but moving away from the computer and data side of things we have a feeling that we are going to see more advanced technology in the car being shown off. Hybrid cars are by no means anything new, but what I’m referring to here is the way in which we interact with our cars and the intelligence they have to prevent accidents and help us to navigate our way through the world with a more ‘connected’ feel. At this moment in time we have to set our destinations from the sat nav in the car, but imagine if we could set all this from our phone or desktop before we even set off and by the time we get to the car, it already knows where you want to go etc. – imagine a world where the car can monitor your driving performance and if it senses that you are over intoxicated or tired it will alert you to pull over and take a break? The amount of lives that could be saved would be monumental.

There is only one real way to find out what is going to be this years buzz word and that is to get to the exhibition halls and discover it for real. What are your thoughts? What do you reckon will be this years talking points? Does Cloud storage and a safer driving experience tickle the taste buds, or would you like to see other new technologies making their way though to the rapidly growing digital world? Let us know your thoughts below. For now though we can only but wait until the show doors open in a matter of hours.

Some Of The Weirdest Patents Of 2013

Since we are closing in on the last days of 2013 we thought it would be interesting to look back on some of the most weird and unusual tech patents of this year.

Motorola’s Throat Tattoo

The patent by Google owned Motorola was filed in May 2012 and published on the 7th of November 2013. The patent describes an application of an electronic tattoo, that would be tattooed on a users neck and would be able to be used as a mobile microphone, lie detector and digital display. How exactly does would this work? Well the tattoo would capture vibrations or sounds straight from the users throat, this way eliminating any background noise that often occurs with conversations over mobile phones. The system or tattoo would be powered by it’s own power supply and would then be transferred via Bluetooth or near-field communication (also known as NFC).

An example of the Patent for Motorola’s Throat Tattoo

 

Sony’s Smart Wig

Are we sensing a theme here yet? Not one to be out done Sony released a patent this year for a “Smart Wig” which would be able to everything from alerting the user via head taps to incoming messages, it would have GPS system for leading people around tailored routes via head taps which Sony said “would be excellent for the blind”. It would also be able to monitor blood pressure, body temperature and brain waves via built in sensors, it would also be able to “change power point slides” via a tug of the sideburns making it also a controller. According to analysts this may not be such a crazy idea, with some expecting “Smart Textiles” to be around 10 years away.

 

Sony’s Patent for a “Smart Wig”

Google’s Ad Tracker

Something that sounds a little bit more attainable in the coming years is Google’s pay-per-gaze ad tracker. We by now all know that Google is an expert in the two fields of technology and advertising, which is why this patent seems more viable than the others. The idea is that a head mounted camera tracks what advertising materials the user is viewing throughout the day, then it would measure pupil dilation to determine how effective certain ads are at catching different users attention. This idea sounds like it would be a perfect fit for Google’s upcoming release of Google Glass, however at this stage the company has a rule against advertising on internet powered eyewear. This may change in the close future though.

A patent by Google that could work hand-in-hand with Google Glass, if they relax the rule of advertising on internet powered eyewear

Microsoft’s Smart Bra

Microsoft were reportedly looking at merging technology with lingerie in a hope that it will help you lose weight. You read that correctly, the bra would measure things like heart rate, breathing, skin activity and movement to assess when the user would be going through moments of stress and in turn would be more likely to turn to “comfort food”. The bra would then transmit via Bluetooth data to the users smartphone alerting them and providing them with exercising to help them overcome the urge to eat “comfort food”. According to Microsoft for the Smart Bra to be viable, they would need to look at a better battery as apparently battery life has been an issue.

Microsoft’s patent for a “Smart Bra”

 

So it looks like this year a lot of companies were looking into integrating technology into everyday life. It will be interesting to see if any of these patents actually make it to production, however the future of integrating our lives and immersing ourselves in technology could soon be here and not a thing of the future and dreams.

Thanks to The Sydney Morning Herald for the information provided.

Images courtesy of The Sydney Morning Herald

BlizzCon 2013 Begins Now

Today marks the day for the 7th Annual BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2013. Where fans celebrate and hear about everything Blizzard. WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo! Brought to us from Anaheim, California.

Tickets sold out in just seconds earlier this year. But you can check out the live stream or on DirecTV by getting the Virtual Ticket.

We can expect an expansion announcement.

Two trademarks have been floating around for possible games or products being offered by Blizzard this year.
The Dark Below and Warlords of Draenor, we don’t know what we will hear about either one of these just yet, perhaps a new race or even two different expansions announced at one time!

Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, StarCraft II and Diablo III.

There are a ton of computers setup this year, with demos of all the different games. This is a huge weekend for Blizzard. BlizzCon is the largest event that Blizzard has for the year.

There will be tons of panels today, Question and Answer sessions. Hearing about new game releases and expansions to be expected. Don’t forget about the different contests and eSports.

Tomorrow night we will be able to watch the closing concert, which will be performed by Blink 182.

If you are a fan of Blizzard, this is the place to be! Make sure you check it out!

Friday’s Schedule

11AM PT OPENING CEREMONY

12:30PM PT WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WHAT’S NEXT

2:15PM PT HEARTHSTONE: WHATS NEXT

3:30PM PT DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS: PREVIEW

4:45PM PT HEROES OF THE STORM: OVERVIEW

6:30PM PT FAN CONTESTS

Thank you to BlizzCon for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Blizzcon.

Blizzard Entertainments “BlizzCon 2013” Approaches

We only have two days before the beginning of BlizzCon 2013. We have only been waiting 2 years for it to be here, and here it is. If you are a Blizzard Entertainment fan, then this is huge news for you. Bringing us new information on their franchises Diablo, StarCraft, WarCraft.

If you didn’t get a chance to pick up tickets to BlizzCon when they were on sale, you can still pick up your virtual ticket so that you can watch all of the fun and excitement from the two full days of information, contests, concert and more.

Blizzard Entertainment has three primary franchises Diablo, StarCraft and Warcraft, all of which we will hear about during BlizzCon 2013. There are a few other projects that we will likely hear about as well, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Warcraft Movie and perhaps even the Titan Project.

Diablo 3 has been out for about a year and a half, and we will likely hear all about their expansion that will be released sometime in 2014. We can only hope that we get a nice demo, and hear about some of the awesomeness to come with this newest expansion. Will they give us a release date?

The StarCraft franchise will likely give us news on their next expansion, rumored to be called Legacy of the Void. Perhaps they will let us know about some cool new changes that we can see coming in later patches.

WarCraft has gotten itself bundled with World of Warcraft since I don’t really see Blizzard bringing WarCraft 4 to us any time soon, if ever. I am sure that we will hear about new changes that are evolving in Azeroth, and I am sure that the World of Warcraft team has some really interesting changes that are taking place, we may even hear about their next expansion. Will it be called Warlords of Draenor?

Hearthstone, still in closed beta we have heard very little about what is taking place in this card based video game, I hope that they will open the beta up so that I can play, because I would really like to give this game a run.

Blizzard DOTABlizzard All-Stars, Heroes of the Storm… Will Blizzard make up their mind already on what they are going to call this game? I mean we first heard about this in 2010 and it still isn’t released, though at first it was going to be a StarCraft 2 mod, now it sounds like it is going to be a freestanding game.

Warcraft the Movie, we have been hearing about this since 2006, and it looks like they might actually have some news for us, but will it ever really be released?

We can’t forget about “Project Titan”, in which Blizzard is creating an all new Massive-Multiplay Online Role Playing Game, in which they have given us little to no information on over the past few years. Though I doubt that they will tell us anything, they are going to be tight-lipped on the subject mater until it is further along in development.

What are you looking forward to at BlizzCon 2013? Question & Answers, Lore, Contests or Competitions?

I want to give a big thank you to Blizzard Entertainment for putting on this event this year.

Images courtesy of BlizzCon.com

Apple Product Recall On MacBook Air Flash Storage

Apple have announced a product recall on flash drives that have been installed into their ever popular MacBook Air Ultrabooks. More specifically, the systems that may have affected drives were sold between June 2012 through to June 2013, so for anyone with the latest generations of Air need not worry about any problems.

The systems in question will have either a 64GB or 128GB of flash storage on-board so this issue does only affect a limited number of systems, Apple have released information on how to check to see if your MacBook is affected and instructions on what to do if you do find out that your drive is one of those in question.

Apple have advised that users head over to the MacStore, click on Updates and download the MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 and this will check to see if the drive is one of those affected. Users with affected drives will be promoted during the update that their drive needs to be recalled and Apple have given guidelines on what to do in this situation.

 

Replacement Process

If your MacBook Air has an affected flash drive, please contact one of the Apple service providers below to schedule an appointment to get your drive replaced:

  • Apple Retail Store – Set up an appointment with a Genius.
  • Apple Authorized Service Provider – Find one here.
  • Apple Technical Support – Contact us for local service options.

Before you bring your MacBook Air in for service, please back up your data. Learn more about backup options.

 

Whilst Apple are regarded for having some of the most reliable hardware available to buy, following the recent debates over why users have to pay the privilege of owning an Apple product, this recall is less a fault of Apple in all fairness , but one of the storage vendor.

If you have one of the affected drives, give us your thoughts on the recall below.

Source: Apple

Image Courtesy: Macrumours

 

New Codemasters F1 Game to Be Revealed Today!

Thanks to a sneaky posting on Twitter it looks like we can expect  the announcement of a brand new F1 games later today, namely F1 2013 and while that’s nothing to gasp about in the sense that it was pretty much inevitable, we didn’t really know when it would be coming out and this will no doubt be great news to both F1 fans and gamers alike.

While we do not have official confirmation of the platforms available we do know that it will NOT be coming to next-gen, not unless the developers lied right to our faces a little while ago when they stated they have no plans on bringing the series to next-gen until 2014 and it’s unlikely they will change their tune on that one given the larger install base of current gen hardware and the niche of the market that F1 fills in terms of games sales.

A safe bet of course will be Xbox 360, Ps3, PC and perhaps even Wii U although I wouldn’t hedge too many bets on that one as the Wii U does tend to miss out on a lot of the really hot stuff. Some mobile editions or perhaps handheld console editions may also be announced.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/LukeSpringUK/statuses/356400775175475200″]

Steam Weekend Sale 12-4-13

Steam are at it again! This time they are bringing some insane options to the table that couldn’t be any different from one another, in my opinion at least. As some might be aware, Steam do love a good barging for the weekend and this time they are offering a huge Half Price deal on two rather successful games, and if you have been eyeing up one of these games for a while, now is the time to buy them!

First off we have a very unique simulator game – Farming Simulator 2013, the name pretty much is a dead give away for what it is and that is being a Farmer, I won’t lie – I haven’t played the game at all so wouldn’t feel just in talking about it or even commenting on it but if you enjoy something a bit different they you can get this game for under £10 which ain’t to bad a price for a game that came out this year.

The other one is something that has had huge ravings and people love it in general, I didn’t though. But hey, I know I am among the minority when I say that as the game known as Dishonoured received nothing, but raving reviews before it even hit the shelves, slapping it squarely at just under £15 it is pretty much a steal to anyone who would be remotely interested in a fantasy, steam punk stealth game. So what are you waiting for people? IT’S GAME TIME!

AOC Showcase Their New 24″ Gaming Monitor at CeBIT 2013

CeBIT 2013: AOC have unveiled a new monitor at CeBIT aimed purely for gamers. The is new 24″ panel has been sample tested and influenced by professional gamers directly to give them exactly what they need. The 1920×1080 panel hosts a whole variety of display inputs, a hight adjustable stand that also rotates through 90 degrees and a brushed metal finish.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOxFodOSJ6U[/youtube]