Amazon.JP Delivering Japanese Video Games Worldwide!

We all like that new game smell. Opening up the post to find that new game, the case screaming for you to open it up and slide in the disk. Sometimes the game you want to play isn’t available in your country, a case that is most common with Japanese releases. Don’t worry, as Amazon.JP has started delivering Japanese video games worldwide.

With select games and even consoles now available for international shipping, you can enjoy some of those releases that you’ve missed out over the years. Currently, the offer only applies to items sold directly by Amazon.jp with international shipping.

In order to do this, you may want to view Amazon.jp in English, an option that you can find on the right-hand side of a product page (shown below).

With fair prices for games like Dark Souls 3 costing just ¥ 6,473 (around £41 without shipping), you could soon find yourself building up an international collection of games. Some consoles these days don’t care about the region of the game, for example, the PS4 and Xbox One while others you may have to reorder to enjoy the Japanese releases (the Wii U and 3DS among them).

Are you looking forward to ordering your first game from Japan? What games are you going to pick up? Tell us your experience in international games and delivery services in the comments below.

World Drone Prix to be Hosted in Dubai This Month

Drones are amazing little devices. From flying in the air to underwater, people enjoy using them for a wide range of reasons, the most traditional of them being drone racing. With the creation of the Drone Racing League, it was only a matter of time before people went that one step further. This month it will go further in the form of the World Drone Prix, hosted in the sunny city of Dubai.

These drones won’t be your off the shelf variety, with speeds exceeding 62MPH the drones will be competing in qualifiers on March 7th and 8th before the final 32 will face off on the 11th and 12th.

The winning prize stands at $250,000, with a total cost of all the prizes coming to a million dollars.

With an introduction video putting a drone against a McLaren, you can see how keen they are to bring interest into the drone racing scene. The World Drone Prix will be streaming online, meaning if you can’t make it to Dubai in time you can still enjoy the event, and the site featured a very detailed FAQ section for anyone with ideas or queries about the next generation of racing.

Would you like to see Drone Racing? My question is when will Amazon enter their drone?

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.         .

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

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.

CS:GO Gets TV Spot On Fox Sports 1

E-sports are becoming more and more of a publicly known event, it used to be that players would gather around with their friends and watch their teams fight out through their web browser. There have been documentaries about e-sports in the cinema and now tournaments are also backed by crowd funding events, making their prices and people’s interest in the events seem to grow day by day. Now it would seem that you may soon be able to watch your favourite teams fight out on your TV.

Fox Sports, one of the main broadcasters of sports in Australia, have hidden in their schedule a slot for none other than the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament that starts on Tuesday. While it is common for e-sports to have some representation in the media, it will be the first time that Counter-Strike matches have been shown in full, and not just in a highlight reel, on TV.

With international tournaments picking up speed, with games like Heroes of the Storm and Smite joining the likes of Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Dota with large prize pools and even larger audiences, could you soon see a mainstream channel dedicated to all of your favorite e-sports games?

Thank you Kotaku for the information.

Indian Airport Paves The Way For a Solar Power Future

The world’s resources are becoming more and more finite in its capacity to provide for an ever-increasing population. Countries which previously had been considered as small and unassuming are now experiencing their version of an industrial revolution. As the planet becomes more hi tech, so the need for electricity becomes greater to the point where it is unsustainable and alternate solutions are in need of implementation.

This is where a pioneer of solar panels arrives with the aim of powering a whole airport using this technology. The airport in question is located in India and is called the Cochin International airport and has become the first airport in the world which completely operates on solar power. The feat is quite impressive considering the implementation of 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres near the cargo complex, which in turn generates a staggering 50000 to 60000 thousand units of electricity per day. This is with the aim of being consumed for all its operational functions, which in turn allows the airport to be power neutral.

This project is without a doubt a step in the right direction for the use of renewable energy, I am slightly surprised that India would be the first country in the world to envisage such a project which started way back in 2013, when CIAL ventured into the Solar PV sector by installing a 100 kWp solar PV Plant on the roof top of the Arrival Terminal Block, which turned out to be the first of many additions. Let’s just hope there are not any glitches in the system as passengers really do not like the idea of waiting for the sun to appear before landing.

Thank you cial for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of engadget

Amnesty International Tracked By UK Goverment

Amnesty International is an organisation dedicated to promoting human rights and defends victims who have been abused. They have recently forayed into the world of digital rights, with the release of an Anti-spyware programme  designed to track down and alert you to common signs that your computer may be observed or accessed remotely. Ironically, the latest news is that members of Amnesty International have been observed by GCHQ (the Governmental branch within the UK that overlooks digital security).

On Wednesday, Amnesty International announced they received an email outlining that their information had been intercepted, accessed and recorded. The time frame that this information was obtained from and stored from has yet to be disclosed. The revelation was revealed by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), who are in charge of monitoring and making sure that government agencies follow the policies involved in surveillance. Following from these investigations Amnesty International has requested that the IPT hold a public hearing into the claims, allowing for the scope and detail of the surveillance to be revealed in the open.

With the scope of the surveillance unknown and the detail unclarified to both the public and Amnesty International itself, it’s hard to disagree that there should be more open and public discussions when it comes to the level that digital surveillance is used (even illegally).

Thank you Amnesty International for the information and the image.

Google Launches Fi, a New Way to Say Hello

Google have launched another massive project today; the American based company have announced that they are now releasing a new wireless service.

The service, called Project Fi will be will be the first wireless network to seamlessly change between wi-fi and LTE, constantly working out which is strongest and selecting that one to transfer calls and data; two of the networks that currently support this feature are T-Mobile and Sprint. To use the new service you will need a Nexus 6 device as it requires a special sim card. Don’t be worried about this though, Google have hinted that the nexus will be first of many devices.

Google posted this on their blog earlier today:

“Project Fi works to get technology out of the way so you can communicate through whichever network type and device you’re using. Wherever you’re connected to Wi-Fi—whether that’s at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wifi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat”

Thats pretty neat eh? The company has also said that they are changing the way phone numbers work on their service. Phone numbers will be hosted in the cloud so you can talk and text with your phone number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop providing it can run Google Hangouts.

Googles new service is going to be well priced too, for $20 per month you can get all of the basics (talk, text, wifi tethering and international coverage in 120+ countries) and an additional $10 per GB of cellular data used while in the US or internationally. 1GB is $10 per month, 2GB is $20 a month and so on. The clever part of this is that you only pay for what you use. For example if you pay for 3GB with $30 and only use $1.4GB you’ll get $16 back.

Google have also released a short video about the project.

Google are currently running an early access program to invite people to sign up to the service. If you have coverage and live in the US you can request an invite at fi.google.com; to check your fi coverage you can visit here.

Thank you to The Google Blog for this information.

Images courtesy of The Google Blog.

Apple Increases Prices of Its Products in Non-US Countries

While Apple has discounted the price of its Apple TV in North America to $69, the company seems to be doing the exact opposite to a lot of its products around the world. This comes as a result of the US Dollar gaining some ground and becoming stronger in the market.

Apple products which suffered an increase in pricing include the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt Display, and are now more expensive in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and other countries to reflect currency adjustments.

For example, the Canadian Apple Store shows an increase in unlocked iPhone 6 from between $749-$969 to $839-$1,099, Thunderbolt Displays from $999 to $1,199, and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros from between $2,099-$2,699 to $2,449-$3,049. Apple also upped the price on its 15-inch MacBook Pro in France, with the base model now starting at €2,249 up from €1,999, and the higher-spec model up to €2,799 from €2,499.

Apple is said to continue to make the adjustments in order to ensure that its products and services are as consistently priced as possible throughout the world. However, in some cases, international prices will remain higher than North America prices as a ‘safety’ against currency fluctuations.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information

Skype Releases Preview of Translator App

Microsoft has today released a preview version of its Skype Translator app. The app uses a technology the company demoed some months ago now, where Sype has the ability to translate speech in realtime.

The app is essentially that – while someone speaks, you receive realtime text-to-speech translations of the speech from the person at the other end. At the moment only English and Spanish is support for audio translation, while text chat provides support for over 40 languages. The app is the result of years of R&D from Microsoft Research, where efforts have been focused on making the app reliable enough for anyone to use with pretty much any microphone. Efforts have also been centred on making the translations accurate – unlike the often humorous results you can receive from a service like Google Translate.

Currently the preview is open on an invite only basis, with Microsoft asking those who’d like to test the app out to visit this site. 

Source: The Verge

See Earth Live From Space via Webcam

Want to view earth from space but haven’t got the time to train as an astronaut? Well now you can, via a webcam on the web.

The ISS High Definition Earth Viewing Experiment allows you to get a view from a window on-board the International Space Station as it circumnavigates the earth.

The project, which has been viewed by 32 million people since April, aims to give people a 24 hour view of the ISS on its daily orbit around earth. It is also a NASA experiment, which has been designed to test the effect of space on video cameras, with the objective of finding the best way to record video in zero gravity.

Source: Business Insider

Dota2 Makes the Front Page of The New York Times

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – eSports is becoming mainstream. Whether you agree with video games being classified as a ‘real sport’ or not, there is no denying that through recent developments in the eSports scene, it’s becoming something very big and very real.

We reported recently of Valve’s Dota 2 international tournament being aired on ESPN which was only fitting given it’s massive 10 million dollar prize purse. But now eSports has reached another pinnacle – Dota 2 finds its way to the front page of the New York Times.

The story reported covers the rise of eSports and marks the beginning of a series detailing how computer games are being developed into a serious spectator sport.

Alongside Twitch.tv being recently purchased by Amazon for $970 million, ESPN airing The International finals on cable television and the amazing numbers that video game sales are generating today, we’re extremely keen to see where eSports is headed next.

Do you classify eSports as a real sport? What would change your view?

Image courtesy of Premium Times

Google’s $1 bn Aquisition of Twitch Said to be Confirmed

Most gamers have dreamt about it – wouldn’t it be great to be paid to play video games all day in my room? In this day and age, that is quite a logical possibility – all you need to do is stream it to others at the same time.

Twitch.tv is the current common vehicle for such people to broadcast their games, tournaments or practise out to the world – with their main competition, own3D.tv being shut down recently after quite a stint of drama.

There have been many jokes made online about Google’s apparent upcoming world domination with them reportedly accounting for 40% of the whole internet, this claimed acquisition may be bringing them one step closer to controlling our feeble minds.

As reported today on Venturebeat, their ‘sources’ have confirmed the take-over although no official statements have been found from either of the concerning parties.

“We don’t know everything about this deal, such as when it will be announced and the exact purchase price. We do know that Twitch investors who participated in past rounds are pleased that they will be getting significant returns that are multiple times the amount they originally invested.” Venturebeat

This deal is no big surprise to us, given how much Twitch has grown over the past few years. Since distancing itself from its parent, Justin.tv, Twitch has been the mainstay for all large streaming personalities and tournaments throughout the world.

For example, Twitch recently was the official streaming partner (alongside ESPN) for Valves latest International Dota 2 tournament boasting a massive prize pool of over $10m USD, more than that of some world-class sporting events. Unfortunately, the International 4 (2014) viewership hasn’t been yet released to the public, but from reports, the Twitch streams were garnishing over 250k concurrent viewers throughout the group stages.

Interested in some more mind-blowing stats?

“Twitch has more than 50 million monthly active users and more than 1.1 million members who broadcast videos each month. Back in June 2011, Twitch had just 3.2 million monthly active users. Twitch also distributes shows from partners including CBS Interactive’s GameSpot, Joystiq, and Destructoid, all gaming-news sites. More than 13 billion minutes of video are watched per month on Twitch.” Venturebeat

Where are we going with this? Gaming is getting massive. Huge! It only makes sense for Google to get on board now as we believe gaming is on the tipping point of exploding into the ‘mainstream’.

Google and Twitch are currently silent on the matter, but they’re booked to be speaking at the GamersBeat 2014 event coming this September – here’s hoping for more information.

Stay tuned for more Twitch and Google partnership news in the near future on eTeknix.

 

Cover image courtesy of TERA Today

Inset image courtesy of Uloop

ESPN to Air 10 Million USD Dota 2 Gaming Tournament

As released today, Valve has announced ESPN will be showing live coverage of their 10 million dollar electronic sports tournament, simply labeled ‘The International’.

The International has been run yearly since 2011, with Valve pitting 1.6 million dollars of funded prize pool in recent times. To help increase this incentive, Valve pitched it to their Dota2 community for further support. For $10 USD, any player can purchase a ‘compendium‘ which delivers $2.50 into the prize pool directly and also give the user a bunch of in-game items, skins and benefits. Doing the math, this means roughly 8.4 million was raised directly from the communities donation, with a ton more going directly to the game manufacturer.

Currently, the International has just finished its playoff stages and has come up with a final eight teams all fighting for the trophy. As according the Valves press release, ESPN are now set get in on the action:

“Valve today announced that coverage of The International Dota 2 Championships will be presented in collaboration with ESPN on its live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3. In addition, an exclusive show previewing the final match will be presented on ESPN2 on Sunday at 8:30 pm Pacific. Live access to ESPN2 is also available on digital platforms via WatchESPN.” Steampowered

Valves Erik Johnson commented on the partnership:

“From the success of the Compendium to the collaboration with ESPN, this year’s International really demonstrates how much competitive gaming has grown to rival traditional sports. We believe the teams have also pushed to a new level of play this year and will further demonstrate the incredible advances made across this tournament since it first began three short years ago.” Steampowered

This is huge news for the eSports community, whom are always pushing for their favorite pastime (or in some cases, occupation) to be pushed into the mainstream-media spotlight. Another positive note is that this years 10 million dollar prize pool is a massive jump to that of 2013, which grossed only 2.8 million in comparison. This may be just the push that eSports needs to make its way into more homes.

Wondering how this 10 million dollar prize pool matches up with ‘regular’ sporting events? Thanks to Tournament.com we’ve had it laid out easily for us.

For those who don’t have the ability to watch on ESPN, Twitch.tv will be running multiple online streams of the finals.

Is there anything else valve have up their sleeve? We’re waiting with twitching anticipation for any further announcements.

Image courtesy of Gosu Gamers

Google Voice Search Receives An International Upgrade

Google responds to their users’ requests to add multiple languages to their Google Search engine for other parts of the world. By tapping the microphone icon in the search bar, French, German and Japanese speakers can ask Google any number of questions and have their smartphone respond in their native language.

Google also gives some examples, with asking for some coffee in Munich: “Wo bekomme ich Kaffee in München?” and users will get a list of local options, or the height of the Eiffel tower by saying: “Quelle est la hauteur de la Tour Eiffel?”, as well as who invented the transistor in Japanese: “トランジスタを発明したのはだれ?”, giving you the answer to the latter question.

Given the localization standards, we can see languages such as Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and even Netherlands added to the search engine, give or take. But as Google did not make any official announcements on this matter, it should be taken with a grain of salt. At least German, French and Japanese users can enjoy searching in their native language so far.

The changes will not require a new update, as the feature is to be implemented server-side. Download the application for your iPhone, iPad or Android from their respective stores if not already done so and ask away. Or you could use the traditional way and type your question as well to get you answer. The means is entirely up to you.

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