Sniffing Around CES2014 in Vegas!

CES2014

Consummer Electricla Show 2014 in Vegas

I have always wanted to put that as a title. However sadly we are not at CES 2014 in Vegas but we are sniffing around some of the reports that are appearing online to see what is being displayed and demoed this year.

The news if heavy with all sorts of reports from all our favourite electrical companies, Samsung stealing a lot of the press with their Ativ Book 9 2014 edition and of course their curved televisions 50-inch OLED.

LG have released their curved phones, which use OLED technology. They have also been showing off their Fireweb Firefox driven phone and not to be left out of course have launched and showed of their 4K curved OLED TV, 77-inch in size with a picture that is stunning.

Sony is producing facts and figures about sales of the new PS4 against the Xbox One and it looks like Sony is in the lead now and if the figures are to be believed, well in front.

Other news, is that Android devices are to top 1 billion in 2014, so not much slow down there.

One of the most interesting facts is that there are more wearable devices than ever before and a lot of talk about Intel moving in this direction. This is firing up rumours that Intel might be giving up on its mobile ambitions to pursue the wearable market. Time will tell.

Lenovo are still prominent this year with their Lenovo Thinkpad 8, they claim this newest offering,  “will put a full PC in the palm of your hands.”

Other memorable news feeds are talking about the progress of self-driving vehicles, again this technology is developing fast and the computers are now able to handle more data than ever before, so watch out for the self-driving vehicle coming your way soon, no pun intended.

I will leave you with this link to a 3D food printer that has appeared at CES this year, it prints chocolate and candy….now there’s a printer for the office……

3D Food Printer

Yes, CES 2014 has once again not let any of us GEEKS down. There are developments from the hardware manufacturers like Tegra and snapdragon showing off where things are going next right down to new travel experiences and viewing delights.

Check out some of the feeds online and start to get excited about what is happening in the world of tech.

What would you like to see come sooner rather than later, let us know?

Ian Thomson
IT Turning Point

Why is Minecraft so popular?

minecraft

Welcome to our Guest Blogger for this article, Chris Hinton of Geek-Speak.co.uk and Chris Hinton IT.

I want to admit something – I’m approaching 35 years old and… I play Minecraft. I know, I know… I just tried it one day to see what the fuss was, and one mining session led to another and, before I knew what I was doing, I was hooked.

I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of Minecraft but, just in case, here’s the deal. The game takes place in a world of low resolution blocks (or voxels). You spend your time mining for stone, metals, or just plain old dirt and, when you’ve done some mining, you make things from the materials you’ve found. There are elements of danger, like the monsters that spawn in the dark, and you need to consider your food needs by farming animals, plants, or chopping down trees and hoping you find some apples. In a nutshell, though, Minecraft is all about mining and crafting. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

The thing is it’s an incredibly popular game and I sometimes wonder why. Even while I’m playing it, I find myself thinking, “What am I doing? Why do I keep coming back to this?” Well, believe it or not, I think Minecraft taps into something at the heart of being human: the desire to create.

Think for a minute of a child who’s just produced a drawing – the air of excitement as they come to you and say, “Look daddy! Look what I did!” We still have a castle made out of a cardboard box that my daughter won’t let me throw out, even though it’s a couple of years old and definitely looking past its best. Why can’t we get rid of it? “Because I made it”, is the reply.

From pretty early on in life, we want to exercise our imagination and creativity. I think that’s why a big bucket of LEGO is a great way to pass an afternoon (and, yes, I still play with LEGO too). The chance to just sit down and create something is both great fun and very satisfying.

Coming back to Minecraft… it’s like a virtual LEGO bucket. There’s pretty much no limit to the structures you can create and you don’t have to go to the bother of extending the garage to accommodate particularly large models.

So far so good, but my Minecraft playing eventually tailed off until I decided to have a look at a multiplayer server (I play on Sublimity Gaming). Suddenly I got to see what other people had built, got ideas of what I could do, and got to build with other people. It kind of spurred me on to build bigger and better things as other people’s creativity informed my own.

It was about this time I started to encounter Redstone – an electrical conductor from Minecraft that can be used to build some pretty complex circuits. Redstone can be used to automate functions in the game, build dynamic mazes, and even some very complex multiplayer dungeons. I haven’t really got into building Redstone circuits but some of the players I’ve spoken to have build some amazing contraptions. And they’re proud of what they’ve created.

Interestingly, I’ve also spoken to the son of a family friend who is learning circuit design through experimenting with Redstone. He’s coming out with concepts and ideas that I didn’t engage with seriously until university, and he’s only just gone to High School. I’m not about to pretend that Minecraft is an educational tool, but it’s interesting to see that it is bringing some real benefits!

The creative desire spills over into other areas of life outside of play, of course. Have you ever tried baking a cake and just been so proud of the result? Or perhaps you’ve repainted the house and, on top of the fact that the house now looks nicer, proudly thought, “I did that”. Perhaps you’re an honest to goodness artist – in which case creativity is your lifeblood.

My main line of work is as a freelance IT consultant, and I love it when I get the chance to be creative. Whether it’s building a mobile phone app, designing a website, or writing an IT department’s newsletter, I relish the opportunity to make stuff. And I’ll freely admit that I’m the sort of person who looks at the result and says, “I made that”.

This post isn’t intended as an advert for Minecraft – some people will love it and some will think it’s a complete waste of time. But this is the result of me thinking about why it’s such a popular game. My answer? I think it gives people the opportunity to create, and that desire is built in to each and every one of us.

What do you think?

Chris Hinton is a freelance IT Consultant from Fife, Scotland. He is married with two young children, and writes at www.geek-speak.co.uk.

Ubisoft hacked and warns everyone to change their passwords

transparent-binary1.jpgHi guys, just a quick one this time, Ubisoft the massive games distributor and creator of my favourite series the Assassins Creed brand has had a major security hack and passwords have been compromised. They have emailed all their account holders and advised them to change their passwords for Ubisoft and for others areas where they may have used the same password.

Here is what IT Portal posted on it after I had received my email and changed my password.

http://www.itproportal.com/2013/07/03/email-addresses-and-passwords-stolen-in-ubisoft-hack/#1

There seem to be a good number of these breaches to peoples details, should we be more paranoid or are these occurrences rarer than we think? What do you think?

 

Microsoft Changes their mind on XBox One, DRM and Internet

xbox oneWe thought we would give you an update on what Microsoft is now doing, they have litterally done a Uturn on the game sharing DRM and Internet connection always on scenario. They will no longer be inforcing either of these, so matching Sony with the PS4 announcement. The only negative thing seems to be that the new Xbox One won’t be backward compatible with Xbox 360 games due to the change in internal architecture.

So your old game library will not work, not even for digital copies they are stating.

Check this article out on Techradar,

http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/consoles/xbox-one-will-not-play-any-xbox-360-games-physical-or-digital-1153283

Here is a link to PC Advosiors take on the Uturn and what Microsoft are up to.

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/game/3453824/microsoft-changes-mind-on-xbox-one-drm/

What are your thoughts on the whole thing?

We are still undecided here at IT Tech Point.

Xbox ONE is launched

xbox oneWell unless you have been living in a cave and not managed to catch any of the tech talk then you will be aware that yesterday was the day that Microsoft launched and demoed the new Xbox ONE. As a follow up to our previous article on the rumour mill we were about to do the firmed up version of what is now in the new Xbox ONE. But our friends at Geek-Speak have already done it and again we will give you the link to pop over there and check it out. Feel free to comment here or on Geek-Speak. We would both like to hear your comments.

 

http://www.geek-speak.co.uk/2013/05/microsoft-reveals-the-xbox-one/

The only thing Microsoft did not touch on yesterday was the DRM game copying protection on the new box and the rumour mill is still a flurry with what this may look like, from loading games onto the hardrive under your account and then if you sell them whoever buys them will have to pay a price to load them onto their hardrive under their account. The rumour is full price. No one at Microsoft has confimed this yet.

What do you gamers think?

Happy reading and lets see what they show at E3 in June.

 

Xbox Durango or is it the 720 … we will know on May 21st

xbox 720 rumoursI have been planning to write this for quite a while, as the rumour mill keeps feeding my excitement factor. There has been a steady stream of small snippets of what we can expect from the next incarnation of the Xbox.

I will be honest and say that I have been an Xbox owner for some time now, and have not really been wooed by the PS3 or its predecessors. This means any Xbox news gets me looking around like a meerkat to see what is happening.

I thought for this post I would trawl the net and try and see what all the various rumours were. I can then sum them up here before the Xbox’s arrival – which is the 21st of May by the way … be still my beating heart.

So here we go:

What will it be called?

The name is the first thing the net is filled with suggestions for. What I have found varies greatly,  but here are some of the best efforts.

Durango          Seems to be the development name for the project

Xbox 720         This seems to be the most popular and has stuck

Xbox Next       This was found a number of times.

Xbox Infinity    Only read this once?

Xbox                Two sources are suggesting that they will go back to just calling it the Xbox.

What about the specs?

Once again rumours abound, and I have picked what seems to be the most consistent info. Here it is for all you hardware buffs and gaming freaks.

Xbox 720’s CPU          AMD Jaguar-based CPU clocked at 1.6GHz

Xbox 720’s Graphics   A revision of AMD’s 7000 series graphics

Xbox 720’s Memory     8GB of general system memory and separate graphics memory

Xbox 720 Drive            A Blu-ray has been rumoured and seems a no brainer.

 Internet and Gaming?

One of the more disturbing rumours doing the rounds is the suggestion that you will have to keep the Xbox connected to the Internet all the time to be able to play any games – a rather nasty form of DRM.

Here is an excerpt from Expertreviews.co.uk,

“The news that the Xbox 720 would include DRM that requires an always-on internet connection, without which games simply won’t play, was all but confirmed earlier this month by Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth who took to Twitter to defend his company’s decision. Sadly, Orth appeared to be speaking out of turn: after mocking those who had stated they wouldn’t buy the Xbox 720 if it required an always-on internet connection, he left the company under a cloud and Microsoft, after a weekend of Xbox Live outages that would have left the next-generation console useless, issued an apology.

That apology did not come with details of how the DRM system, designed to prevent piracy, would operate in the next-generation Xbox – but sources speaking to Polygon claim that the always-on requirement will be set by each game’s publisher individually, rather than by Microsoft. As a result, the console will support requiring an always-on internet connection, without which games won’t run for more than three minutes, but publishers can choose to ignore the feature and allow gamers to play single-player titles entirely offline should they so choose.”

If Microsoft, or the games manufacturers, enforce this – I can only see it as being detrimental to what they are trying to achieve. Many gamers will want to take their Xbox out and about, even away on holiday with them, and as a result they may not always have Internet. Should that mean they can’t game?

Will the controller change?

Again there are a number of suggestions as to what we will end up with, and some of them are quite intriguing indeed. Here is a brief roundup:

Kinect

The strangest rumour seems to be that the next version of Kinect will be launched with the new console – ‘Kinect 2’ if you like. This will be at the very heart of the new Xbox’s sales drive to increase and enhance the motion control we already have.

However, here is the most intriguing rumour/fact I found. Microsoft has recently filed a patent relating to projecting augmented reality images onto the walls of the room when you are gaming. An attempt, no doubt, to fully immerse you in the game. The codename for this project is ‘Fortaleza’. Is this the fore runner of the Star Trek Holodecks?

Control Pad

The control pad, as far as I can determine, is likely to remain pretty much the same – the current design being well received by the majority of gamers. The only extra item rumoured is the possibility of Microsoft including a touch sensitive strip on the controller, something which is rumoured for the PS4.

To sum up!

Having trawled the Internet and found many potential facts about the next gen Xbox, there seems to be a lot of information out there. However, what it will eventually be called, and what a production unit will look like, is still very much a mystery. I guess we will just have to wait until the 21st May launch date to find out!

What is your favourite gaming system and does the new Xbox excite you?