SXSW Gaming Events Cancelled After ‘Threats Of Violence’

Well this is a mess but here goes, two gaming events have been cancelled at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) festival that is due to take place next year (March 2016), after organisers confirmed they have become victim to continuous threats of violence which includes a direct message of the potential for violent behaviour “on site”.

At first, the content of the discussion panels seem compelling and rather innocuous considering the alleged reaction, the first was coined “SavePoint: A discussion on the Gaming community” while the other was named “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games”  The former was there to primarily analyse the social and political landscape within the ever-changing and diverse gaming community as well as a closer look at the journalistic integrity of gaming journalists themselves; the latter was focussed on data around abuse in larger gaming communities as well as other related topics.

Sounds interesting right? Indeed, the reason this has somewhat blown up in the organisers faces is down to the panels referring to the madness known as “GamerGate” neither panel was officially linked to this subject but did intend to discuss issues associated with both sides of the row. SavePoint was due to feature prominent GamerGate supporters while Level up was likely to feature an argument, sorry discussion against Harassment in games and I would have thought GamerGate would have come up at some point.

So that’s it, no, supporters of the GamerGate campaign suggest that they themselves have been the victim of “abuse after they tried to highlight conflicts of interest in the video games industry. The organisers of SavePoint have announced that they will go ahead with plans to host a panel discussion themselves and will do so by other means.

To add to the complications, media organisation BuzzFeed has threatened to boycott SXSW unless the festival reinstated both parties, which looks unlikely at this time considering both panels are fearful of their safety. Buzzfeed released a statement that reads as follows,

“We will feel compelled to withdraw [our staff] if the conference can’t find a way to do what those other targets of harassment do every day – to carry on important conversations in the face of harassment. We hope you can support the principle of free speech and engage a vital issue facing us and other constituents on the event.”

I have always felt rather non plus with the ideology of threats of violence, granted, if you received one then you are well within your rights to take it with the utmost of seriousness, but, if someone intended to hit you, they probably would not warn you that they intended to do so in the first place, it rather defeats the point. It’s a tough one, free speech should be the number one focus, but, free speech itself does not mean you can say what you want if there is a chance that it could cause major offence.

It does seem silly though that two gaming events have been cancelled because it has caused this reaction, can’t people debate like adults and others listen with respect like adults without the need for threats?

Scientists Are Concerned That Humans May Send Aliens Malware

Space exploration is quite frankly both awe-inspiring and also necessary to the understanding of possible life within the vastness of planets and also galaxies. If you thought our tech could in no way harm these efforts then think again, as scientists at the elitist university of Oxford have warned humans that we in fact could send Mr E.T a Trojan Horse.

Speaking at the British Science Festival Dr Anders Sandberg, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said humans must be extremely cautious about what digital messages they send into space. Dr Sandberg conveyed the security problems which include languages that can hide a lot of information by stating that “We’re worried about malware being sent to aliens”.

Scientists are not usually known for their sense of humour, but Dr Sandberg also quipped that “Some people think we’re already spamming the universe with reality soaps.” This is oh so very true considering the degradation of quality over the last decade or so, which has now seen the destruction reach quite epic proportions with a new show on Channel 4 entitled “The Changing Room” Yes it’s as brain numbing as it sounds considering the premise is watching people change in shop fitting rooms.

Anyway, enough of that tangent, the possibility of communicating with a different species is mind-boggling, but if you had the chance to send a message, virus scanned of course, what would it be? The UK research network for SETI (UKSRN) has envisaged this possibility and has therefore joined forces with the Breakthrough Message Initiative with the aim of inviting the public to have their say on the message to send into space. This intergalactic notion of democracy also has a prize on offer of $1 million dollars for the best ideas.

I believe there are life forms which are different to our own considering the vastness of the universe; it would be foolish to believe that we are the only ones in all of time and space. The question has always remained concerning the outcomes that could happen if we do indeed find extra terrestrial life; will it be a friendly engagement or Independence Day all over again.

Transmitting viruses to aliens at this stage is extremely theoretical, but who knows how different life forms would react to binary numbers and data.

Thank you the telegraph for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of mashable

The GIGABYTE Charity Raffle at I55 Raised £2417 for Zoё’s Place

Gigabyte’s charity raffle for Zoë’s Place, held during Insomnia 55, was a big success and made it possible to hand over a check worth £2417. This isn’t the first time Gigabyte is holding a raffle at the Insomnia event and last time they made £1700, so €2417 is a good step up and a great sign that gamers want to give something back. All the proceeds of the raffle go to Zoë’s Place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

That is all great news and there were also some great prizes up for grab as part of the raffle. The ones entering the raffle had the chance to win AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE themselves sponsored a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets for the raffle. All in all, prizes worth over £5000.

Gigabyte will be back with another Raffle in the future and I hope that even more people will support the cause then. We can do better, we can do more.

GIGABYTE and Partners Hold Biggest Ever Charity Raffle at I55

UK’s biggest gaming festival, Insomnia, is just around the corner and it will open its doors tomorrow for Multiplay Insomnia 55, UK’s biggest gaming festival at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Following up on the last successful charity raffle, GIGABYTE again partnered with others to create the biggest ever charity raffle at Insomnia. There will be around £5000 worth of hardware prizes to win spread out over the two days.

The prizes that you can win include AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE is sponsoring a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets themselves. All this can be won and best of all, everything goes to charity.

There will be two raffles, one held on Friday, the 28th of August and the second the day after, on Saturday, the 29th of August.

Like last time, all the proceeds will be donated to the local charity Zoë’s place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. This is truly a worthy cause and I hope a lot of the gamers attending the Insomnia event will be very generous. The added bonus of  having a chance to win amazing hardware and this really is a no-brainer. Participate!

Try out RAF SkyTech Augmented Reality Screens at Insomnia 55

Insomnia Gaming Festival announced that the RAF will be present at Insomnia 55 and demonstrate some of their really cool technology. At Insomnia 55 you’ll be able to try out the RAF’s augmented reality screens and play a campaign challenge with five missions to complete.

For those who don’t know who RAF is, they are the Royal Air Force and is United Kingdom’s aerial warfare force. They were founded towards the end of World War One on the first of April 1918 and is thereby the oldest independent air force in the world.

This is without a doubt a clever recruiting trip for the RAF, but at the same time it gives normal gamers the ability to try out some of the really advanced training gear that the RAF has at their disposal. Gamers have trained themselves to react in split seconds while they distinguish between friend and foe. They got endurance for long sessions without breaks and have a visual recognition for detail that most other people don’t have. As such it’s just natural for the RAF to take a peek  at Insomnia for new talent. A win-win situation in my opinion.

Will you be heading to Insomnia 55 and if so, will you be trying out the RAF SkyTech?

Highspeed Cows Hit Glastonbury With 4GEE – “It’s Udderly Fast”

One of the most globally recognised music festivals – Glastonbury – has this morning kicked off in the Somerset hills of South-West England and like any other music festival, staying current is a fundamental value that organisers have to take into account. Keeping Glastonbury current is not just about ensuring that the headline acts are secured and that there is enough space to cram in over 135,000 people, as well as the tent space, food, 4000 toilets, 2m litres of water on tap plus the capacity to generate the 30,000 megawatts of electricity that is needed to power everything. In 2014 we need internet, and lots of it.

As social media is more on an integral part of our lifestyle and culture, EE have taken it upon themselves to provide as much of the festival with high-speed 4GEE internet as they can – all for free. Obviously wiring up a mesh network with a ton of access points is not going to be an easy operation so EE have instead created a herd of fibreglass cattle that stand around the site acting as wireless hotspots – allowing anyone with a wireless device to connect to them to upload their favourite photos, video clips and stories to the rest of the world whilst not worrying about a mobile signal.

The cow design came as inspiration from the award-winning herd of cattle that reside at Worthy Farm and keeping in with the Glastonbury ethos, the entire herd have been hand painted by one of the festivals legendary artists – Hank, after which they are placed in key locations around the site to provide high-speed wireless to as many people as they can.

Running from 10am to 10pm each day from Thursday to Sunday, the WiFi enabled cows are just one part of the infrastructure that EE are bringing to this years festival, with 100 contact-less payment terminals stretching across the 25 main bars, along with ‘Cash on Tap’ facilities for EE customers, where they can pay for items up to the value of £20 as long as they have a compatible phone.

Source & images courtesy: EE

iTunes Festival To be Held In the U.S. Alongside SXSW

The iTunes Festival will be held this year as well. The difference between all other years and this year is that Apple will be hosting it in the US, and not the UK. Yes, after seven years, the iTunes Festival will be held in the US, so ‘yay’ for those living in the US and ‘nay’ for brits who wanted to attend and can’t go to the US.

The festival is reportedly being held in Austin starting from the 11th of March and ending on the 15th. A much shorter Festival this year, however it is compensated by including a mix of well-known American and European artists, ranging from Willie Nelson to London Gramma. The other bit of good news is that the iTunes Festival will be held alongisde South by Southwest.

As always, Apple is using a technological showcase for its Festival, therefore you will get to stream live and on-demand performances from the event on both Macintosh and iOS devices. It might be common to people who have used it before, but for most US residents it can be considered a big thing.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

Gran Turismo 6 To Be Playable At Goodwood Festival Of Speed

A demo version of the highly anticipated Gran Turismo 6 will make a high-profile debut at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (11-14 July). By far the biggest motoring event of its type in the world, with a crowd of 185,000+ people, the Festival of Speed provides the perfect setting among motoring and motor sports enthusiasts to showcase the latest developments to ‘The Real Driving Simulator’. Iconic, circular Gran Turismo ‘race pods’ will be positioned at various locations around the sensational Goodwood Park for people to try the new demo in advance of the game going on sale later this year

Gran Turismo is PlayStation’s biggest ever game franchise, having sold more than 70 million copies since launching in 1998. Having recently announced that Gran Turismo 6 will be on sale later in the year, Kazunori Yamauchi, the game’s legendary creator and president of developer Polyphony Digital Inc, was keen to showcase the new game with the discerning Goodwood audience.

The partnership will see GT6 ‘pods’ located at the Goodwood Hotel, the FoS Family area and in the members’ enclosure as well as in the Drivers’ Club and media centre. In keeping with Gran Turismo’s long track record for close and innovative partnerships with a number of automotive manufacturers, pods will also be located on the Nissan and Alfa Romeo stands and in the Nissan, Mercedes Benz and Ford areas of the Moving Motor Show.

Nissan, PlayStation’s partner in the innovative GT Academy programme that aims to take the best Gran Turismo gamers and turn them into real racing drivers, will be hosting a competition at Goodwood for the fastest gamers on the GT6 demo to win places directly into the UK national finals of the competition. GT Academy is currently live online for anyone with a PlayStation to enter. Furthermore, two previous GT Academy graduates very recently achieved a fourth in class and top 10 overall finish at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. The ‘wildcard’ event will take place at Nissan’s Moving Motor Show display, with one person each day winning their ticket to the next round of the Academy.

Kazunori Yamauchi himself will be a welcome visitor to the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed. A keen amateur racer, Yamauchi-san will be donning his overalls and helmet for some high-adrenaline drives up the famous hill climb course in a number of stunning cars. With a reputation as a perfectionist, no doubt his experience behind the wheel will go into further refining some of the expected 1200 cars that will feature on Gran Turismo 6 at launch!

Thank you PlayStation for providing us with this information.