Tech

Facebook acquires Oculus VR for $2 billion

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Facebook acquires Oculus VR for $2 billion

Only a week after displaying its newest tech on the GDC expo floor, Oculus VR has reached a “definitive” agreement with Facebook. The social giant will acquire the VR manufacturer for apprximately $2 billion in combined cash and Facebook stocks.

Both Facebook and Oculus VR have commented on the deal, Facebook in their official press release and Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey on Reddit. Luckey was optimistic in his post, reassuring fans:

In the end, I kept coming back to a question we always ask ourselves every day at Oculus: what’s best for the future of virtual reality? Partnering with Mark and the Facebook team is a unique and powerful opportunity. The partnership accelerates our vision, allows us to execute on some of our most creative ideas and take risks that were otherwise impossible. Most importantly, it means a better Oculus Rift with fewer compromises even faster than we anticipated.

Very little changes day-to-day at Oculus, although we’ll have substantially more resources to build the right team. If you want to come work on these hard problems in computer vision, graphics, input, and audio, please apply!

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Investors Call For Microsoft To Drop Xbox

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Investors Call For Microsoft To Drop Xbox

The CEO of Microsoft is being pressured by investors to drop the company’s Entertainment & Devices division, which produces the Xbox gaming system and the Surface tablet. While the Xbox business is several billion dollars in the red, investors are less concerned with the Xbox and more with the search engine Bing, which is currently making a loss. Investors argue that the company should focus on software and services only.

This latest development has been a long time coming. Entertainment & Devices was losing money until 2008, and while Microsoft has yet to release a detailed report of what is responsible, it’s now making profits (presumably thanks to the Xbox). However, the aforementioned profits have been negligible compared to Microsoft’s other divisions (see the graph below).

According to the Washington Post, even the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, thinks the Xbox should be sold to another company so that Microsoft can focus on its declining Windows business. And compounding this is the fact that current CEO Satya Nadella does not have a hardware background.

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Tech Review: Roccat Kone XTD – Mac OSX

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Tech Review: Roccat Kone XTD – Mac OSX

Gaming has finally made it’s way to the Mac, and between the App Store and Steam there is a rather large selection of games to choose from. What’s even nicer is to see developers starting to add the Mac support to their gaming peripherals.

Roccat has tossed their hat into the ring adding support for the Kone XTD. Having previously used the Kone+ on the PC, I was even more eager to see that type of support for my Mac. House does this mouse hold up? Is it the ultimate in gaming mice of the Mac OSX.

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Review: “Tales of Phantasia” for iOS

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Review: “Tales of Phantasia” for iOS

The classic RPG Tales of Phantasia has long been revered by those in the know. Released for the Super Famicom in 1995, it boasted incredible graphics, an not particularly original but still entertaining story, and an innovative real-time battle system. Sadly, the original version never made it to the U.S.. Over time it built a following. In 2003 readers of the renowned Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu crowned it as the best Namco game of all time. Finally a port for the Game Boy Advance saw an American release in 2006. The port received mixed reviews.

Now the game has found its way onto the App Store – for free, no less, and longtime fans – and many such as myself who’ve never played it – were quite excited. But as it turns out, there’s nothing free about this game.

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Fears of FCC Overreach Overblown and Misleading

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Fears of FCC Overreach Overblown and Misleading

This Tuesday, A District of Columbia court of appeals ruled against certain key elements of “net neutrality.” The court opinion takes a bit of reading, but can be summed up thusly:

That said, even though the Commission has general authority to regulate in this arena, it may not impose requirements that contravene express statutory mandates. Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such.

Free speech and net neutrality advocates have criticized the decision as a concession to ISPs, and rightfully so. But Wired’s recent article on the subject by think-tank advocates Berin Szoka and Geoffrey Manne argues the real danger lies not in corporate restriction but a more sinister force yet: the tyrannical authority the decision grants to the FCC to regulate the contents of the Internet.

It shouldn’t be surprising, since both Szoka and Manne are leaders for think-tanks (TechFreedom and the International Center for Law and Economics, respectively) fiercely opposed to “inefficient” government regulation. While anyone who’s kept up with recent news knows concerns over government invasion of privacy and freedom of speech are real and pertinent, Manne and Szoka’s arguments rely on questionable, misleading anti-government fear-mongering and free-market evangelism.

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Online Company Starts Kickstarter Campaign For 3D Printed Miniatures

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Online Company Starts Kickstarter Campaign For 3D Printed Miniatures

Nerd culture may be the current zeitgeist, but there is still one major pastime of nerds everywhere that’s gotten short shrift – tabletop gaming. Just the phrase conjures images of geeks with huge glasses sitting in a dark basement playing Dungeons & Dragons. This is, of course, inaccurate and unfair. Even less known than tabletop gaming is the potential hobby that accompanies it: painting the miniature heroes and monsters used to play the game. In years past players were required to purchase small predesigned minis – usually metal but occasionally plastic. Now, a new company called Hero Forge has started a Kickstarter campaign to produce custom 3D printed miniatures. You choose your race, gender, build, facial expressions, weapons, armor, equipment and hairstyle and Hero Forge will create that mini especially for you with a 3D printer. For imaginative tabletop fans, the possibilities are endless.

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Razer premieres high-concept modular computer at CES 2014

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Razer premieres high-concept modular computer at CES 2014

News of Razer’s ambitious Project Christine, a high-concept modular PC described as “a PC for everyone,” has been sweeping the web for the past few days.

It’s certainly a distinctive-looking chassis, less a tower than a rack with slots for components. The potential user doesn’t need to know anything about putting together a conventional system or even open up a case. Specially-designed modules allow the user to plug in a variety of PC components, from GPUs and CPUs to memory, hard drives, or power supply units.  Each component is contained within its sealed module, alongside active liquid cooling systems and noise cancellation. Razer’s official site boasts that this interchangeable design will allow on-the-fly swapping and automatic syncing between components.

It’s no surprise Project Christine earned “Best PC” from official CES awards partner Endgadget. Certainly a Lego-style swapping approach between standardized components offers a highly intuitive upgrade and construction model for average users. According to an enthusiastic but skeptical ExtremeTech article covering the subject in great detail, Razer hopes to have a finalized version ready for CES 2015.

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Tech Review: Total Finder – Mac OSX

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Tech Review: Total Finder – Mac OSX

It was time to go to art school, and I was in need of a computer on the go. While my Compaq Presario had served me well, I made a pit stop at the Apple store to make a pretty expensive purchase. From that moment, I’ve been using the Mac OS X, and while I’ve always found it to be my operating system of choice, it felt like there was something missing.

It was how Finder operated, which was largely based around the dragging and dropping of files, but you always had to have multiple windows open to do so. That was when I was introduced to Total Finder. While there are many additional features, Total Finder offers tabbed finder windows. So popular that Apple included tabbed windows in the latest build of Mac OS X Mavericks. So how does Total Finder compare to Apple’s version? How much time can be saved with this program?

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Tech Review: MonkeyOh

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Tech Review: MonkeyOh

While mobile phones are getting smarter, they still require power to run. Plugging your smartphone in before bed has almost become just as important as brushing ones’ teeth. And one thing to be said about charging devices: it never looks pretty.

Generally you’ll find a power strip overloaded with a metric ton of chargers and a mess of wires. That’s where the MonkyOh from felix swings in, promising a little humor and slick design to offset the madness. Now how does this device hold up on the general day-to-day? Is it the ultimate tool for smartphone charging?

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