Website can Identify Birds Through Photos

A new website has crept up recently, created in a collaboration between Cornell University and Visipedia research project.

The website isn’t fully automated just yet; it current works off an image that you upload and then asks you to pinpoint certain features such as the beak, tail and eye(s). From here it will search through the millions of archived images from eBird.org and find matching images with known species. Along with other images and the possible species, it will give you sounds and songs that the bird is known to make

Along with other images and the possible species, it will give you sounds and songs that the bird is known to make. The only drawback is that the service only currently works on birds found in North America and Canada.

The system uses machine-learning technology, which betters itself the more it is used; Science professor Serge Belongie said:

“Computers can process images much more efficiently than humans—they can organize, index, and match vast constellations of visual information such as the colors of the feathers and shapes of the bill. The state-of-the-art in computer vision is rapidly approaching that of human perception, and with a little help from the user, we can close the remaining gap and deliver a surprisingly accurate solution.”

I tested out the service, but because I have zero knowledge on North American or Canadian birds; it didn’t work. However, the service did present me with similar images. The service is free to use but is currently unavailable on smartphones and tablets. It will be added to the Merlin app once all of the kinks have been sorted.

Are you an avid bird watcher? or do you have an image of a bird that you want to know the species of? Then head over to Merlin Bird Photo ID and take a look at what it has to offer.

Thank you to engadget for providing us with this information.

Batman: Arkham Knight Will Not Have a Physical Release for Windows in the UK

Rocksteady Studio’s latest Batman: Arkham franchise title has been announced not to have a physical release for the Windows platform outside of North America. This means that Windows users in the UK will not have an option to buy the game as a physical copy.

After being delayed twice now, the game is scheduled to be released on the 23rd of June in the UK. Warner Bros. confirmed that a physical release is in the books for North America, but the UK will only see Xbox One and PlayStation 4 physical copies on shelves; Windows fans will have to stick to purchasing a digital download with no option for a physical disk.

Warner Bros. and Rocksteady have yet to comment on why the UK market is being restricted to digital download, but one guess is that it would serve as a test market for the future withdrawal from physical distribution. Previous Warner Bros. titles, including those in the Batman: Arkham franchise, have come with in-box redemption codes designed to restrict second-hand sales, pointing to a shift from resellable physical copies to account-locked downloads is a logical next step.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information

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

Explore the South Park World with Oculus Rift!

If you are a fan of South Park and wanted to get even more involved in the world consisting of many scraps of construction paper moved around a flat surface, then you are in luck. The North American production team has apparently built the Colorado town from South Park for users to experience using Oculus Rift.

The team has stated that they wanted to build a ‘core piece’ that would make full use of the Oculus Rift technology, having an open-world with ‘a bit of an edge and a beautiful simplicity’. This idea landed on the South Park world, which the team stated to be ‘a perfect blend of everything’. The process of converting the South Park town into a 3D virtual reality game did not take long as well, having the team building it in “just a few short weeks in June”.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/99378287[/vimeo]

Users are said to be able to explore the town’s streets, interact with characters and even find easter eggs inside the piece of software. An example of such easter egg is said to be found when entering the town’s church, having users ‘fall’ into Hell, bumping into Saddam Hussein who is said to be able to take you back to the town. Also, although the experience is best suited for Oculus Rift owners, the landscape is said to be available inside the browser too.

For those who are interested in experiencing the South Park town, its characters and even Saddam Hussein himself (from the cartoon series, that is) can head over to the tool’s website here.

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

First PlayStation Now Details Emerge From Beta Testers

The PlayStation Now Beta is live to a lucky few in North America, who can test out Sony’s cloud gaming service. While the Beta is still under NDA, this is the internet and leaks are everywhere. Of course Sony must know this stuff will leak, but judging by initial impressions, their getting some pretty great PR right now and the service actually seems rather promising. There were some videos posted online, but unfortunately they’re getting taken down so quick that it’s hardly worth linking to them, however I’m sure our readers are versed enough in the ways of the internet to find them on YouTube easily enough.

The compression Sony are using must be fairly good, given that services such as OnLive required a fairly snappy connection the user reporting on the Now beta was using a non-too fast 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up internet connection. Check out some of the comments the tester left over at GameFAQ ;

“I have some craptacular internet (for some reason my router decided to change nat2 to nat3)”

“So for even running it on my internet and still be playable is a big plus. Also just came back from my friend’s house where i tested it there as well.”

“At its worse… You can see some compression (i.e. My connection) at my friend’s house with proper working internet. It looks exactly like running it off the disc.”

The user even tried out online gaming, in which both players were using the cloud based service;

“Just got done playing Dead or Alive 5 against someone over the internet and there was no problem with the other guy being able to kick my ass a few times”

“Lol… Next up, going into Killzone 3 to get shot up online”

His final insight came in regards to the UI, stating that it runs smooth and more like the one on the PlayStation 4, but in comparison it’s not hard to beat the navigation speed of the PS3, which is pretty clunky in the menus these days, especially so in the PS Store.

“It’s more like the PS4 which runs a lot smoother than the PS3 store.”

It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Sony expand on the service and we look forward to checking it our ourselves when it becomes available in the UK. Want more information on the games available in the beta? click here.

Thank you Gear Nuke for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gear Nuke.

Two Variants Available For The Nexus 5, The D820 And D821

As it comes in most cases, the Nexus 5 is not just one handset and model. It comes in two different variants, the D820 and D821 as they are called. The D820 is manufactured for the North America region and the D821 is distributed in the Rest of The World. Of course, externally both models are the exact same, from the case, buttons, camera and design are indistinguishable. You have the same options of storage and colors as well, which is great.

On the inside there are a couple of minor differences. First of all, you will find the same spec sheet for the screen, processor, RAM, sensors, Wi-Fi and everything else. All of this points out that both the D820 and D821 run the exact same software build as well, which means that Google have pushed and worked hard trying to bring a “one phone” to the entire world. The only tangible difference between the two models is the mobile network bands. It is to be expected as it’s basically impossible to fit every necessary radio into just a single model.

North America (D820) model:

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
  • LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

Rest of World (D821) model:

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
  • LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20

Out of the box, the D820 model will work just fine for 2G, 3G and LTE data on T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. Any MVNO that operates on the T-Mobile or AT&T network will be good to go as well, but things turn into a bit of a grey area once you go beyond there.

Outside of North America, the Rest of World D821 model should have no issues connecting to 2G, 3G and LTE throughout Europe and beyond. Things again get into a grey area when you head over to Asia where different and unique networks are run. It is advisable to double, triple and quadruple check the bands your carrier of choice runs on before you make a purchase.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information