Minecraft comes to Oculus Rift

Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey talks virtual worlds at his Connect event in Los Angeles.

Yes, you can place blocks in virtual reality.

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is going to support Oculus Rift, we learned today at Oculus Connect in Los Angeles. Founder Palmer Luckey of Oculus VR announced that Microsoft will bring its block-building phenomenon will support the head-mounted display when it launches in Q1 of 2016.

This is a big get for Rift, which will need high-profile content to help convince people that spending the money to invest in VR is worth it.

Minecraft on Rift is also notable because Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson once called Facebook’s acquisition of the Rift “creepy.” Although, now that Microsoft owns Minecraft, Persson’s opinion on Rift doesn’t matter.

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Oculus unveils $99 Gear VR with Netflix, Facebook and Twitch Support

screen-shot-2015-09-24-at-10-17-43-am
In what is perhaps a long time coming for VR enthusiasts who have expressed faith in Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey’s vision for mainstream consumer hardware, the Facebook-acquired brand is finally putting it all together. Today at the keynote for Oculus Connect 2 in Hollywood, Samsung VP of Mobile Peter Koo announced a $ 99 Gear VR headset that will make use of Oculus technology and be ready in time for holiday shopping. The hardware will be compatible with all of Samsung’s Gear products, including the Note 5, S6 Edge+, S6, S6 Edge. Koo said it will be available to ship on Black Friday. The Gear…

This story continues at The Next Web


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Former NASA Space Shuttle & Mars Rover Engineers Invent a Smart…

New game changing technology, easy to install “smart device” will double the hot water output of any water heater. For home owners this means no more cold showers and endless hot water for…

(PRWeb September 24, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/09/prweb12980737.htm


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IBM lures startups with Silicon Valley hub for Watson supercomputer

Ibm-watson

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SAN FRANCISCO — IBM’s Watson supercomputer is coming to San Francisco to do more business with Silicon Valley startups.

The company will be opening a new cognitive computing hub for Watson, called Watson West, next year in San Francisco. IBM’s Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin announced the news during an event in San Francisco Thursday

The goal of the center is to make it easier for local developers, startups and venture capitalists to tap into Watson’s cognitive computing abilities

As IBM continues to expand its Watson business, opening up an official Bay Area presence represents a big opportunity for the company. Rhodin noted that there are already many startups whose products rely on Watson’s technology.One fantasy sports startup, called Edge Up Sports, for instance, uses Watson APIs to help users make decisions for their fantasy teams Read more…

More about Tech, Ibm, Ibm Watson, Apps Software, and Apps And Software


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In pictures: Apple faithful already forming lines in front of Friday’s iPhone 6s launch

Marcus Barsum waits outside the Apple store in central Sydney Thursday. Reuters/David Gray

Yes, it’s that time again, when the Apple faithful/crazy line up way early to buy the next version of the iPhone, this time the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

This year, people are standing out in the elements — and sleeping there overnight — to buy a phone that looks identical to the one they already have, but with, um, an updated camera and a new kind of screen press.

Here are the lines, in cities around the world.

New York

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.53.45 AM

Above: Waiting in line in NYC (Eli Blumenthal ‏@eliblumenthal)

Apple fans line up at the "Church of Apple" in New York to buy an iPhone 6s Friday.

Above: Apple fans line up at the “Church of Apple” in New York to buy an iPhone 6s.

Image Credit: Eli Blumenthal ‏@eliblumenthal

San Francisco

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 11.58.58 AM

Above: (Justin E. Harris @envisionwithj)

Periscoper Justin Harris reported that around 16 people were already camped out at the downtown San Francisco Apple Store Thursday night. Check it out here.

Boston

(Image: MacRumors)

Above: (Image: MacRumors)

Hamburg, Germany

"Oh man wie arm ist das denn. Wegen einem Telefon?" Daniel Knott ‏@dnlkntt )

Above: “Oh man wie arm ist das denn. Wegen einem Telefon?” (Daniel Knott ‏@dnlkntt )

Sydney, Australia

Marcus Barsum waits outside the Apple store in central Sydney Thursday. Reuters/David Gray

Above: Marcus Barsum waits outside the Apple store in central Sydney Thursday. (Reuters/David Gray)

This buyer, a media exec in Australia, sent a robot proxy to wait in the line. (photo: Mashable)

Above: This buyer, a media exec in Australia, sent a robot proxy to wait in the line. (photo: Mashable)



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Wileyfox is Europe’s newest mobile brand — here’s how its first smartphone stacks up

Wileyfox Swift

Fledgling European mobile phone brand Wileyfox announced its arrival in the smartphone realm a month ago, and now the London-based company is preparing to launch its first ever product: The Wileyfox Swift.

Initially slated for launch this week, Wileyfox revealed that shipping for the $ 200 Android device has been delayed until September 30. But while you wait, VentureBeat has grabbed some serious hands-on time with the phone, and here’s the lowdown on what you need to know.

Vital stats

Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

Above: Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

The Wileyfox Swift is powered by Cyanogen OS, the commercial, customizable Android-based operating system from Cyanogen Inc. It sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, 5″ Gorilla Glass screen (1,280 x 720 pixels), 13MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage (expandable up to 32GB). It also supports 4G, has two SIM card slots, and it will set you back €179 EUR (£129 GBP / $ 205 USD).

As a slight aside, launching a month after the Swift is the souped-up €279 (£199 GBP / $ 315 USD) Wileyfox Storm, which offers a 5.5″ full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, a whopping 20MP rear-facing camera, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of storage (expandable up to 128GB).

From VentureBeat

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Available for preorder now through the Wileyfox website, as well as online retailers such as Amazon, Expansys, and E-buyer, the Swift is pitched squarely at the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) market, with localized call center support, a replacement screen service, and an extended three-year warranty offered for the equivalent of around $ 15 for each service.

That said, the phone can be purchased in other territories, including the U.S., but Wileyfox said the “experience will not be full” elsewhere. For example, in the U.S., data streaming would be limited because the phone uses CDMA — voice and SMS should be fine on the Swift, as would Wi-Fi, but 4G / LTE would suffer. And there won’t be dedicated phone support outside EMEA, either.

Look and feel

Perhaps the most immediately striking facet of the Wileyfox Swift is its looks — it doesn’t resemble a cheap phone, despite what its price would have you believe. The rough-ish, sandstone black rear, embossed logo, and colored brand marking gives it a premium feel.

Wileyfox: Back

Above: Wileyfox Swift (Right): Back

The front side sports a clear screen with no physical buttons, and down the right edge you’ll find the volume control and power button. On the bottom edge is the micro-USB port and two speakers.

Wileyfox Front

Above: Wileyfox Front

Image Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

The Wileyfox Swift is noticeably light in the hand — at 135 grams, it’s 30 percent lighter than my OnePlus 2, though it is also around 0.5″ smaller. While this is good, it does make it feel a little bit cheaper to me — but that’s probably just because I’m used to a heftier handset.

Indeed, many people will like its deftness, and looking at other premium phones on the market, the Swift isn’t actually too light — the marginally larger Samsung Galaxy S6 weighs only 3 grams more, while the slightly smaller iPhone 6 comes in at 129 grams. In other words, the Swift is about the right weight for its size; it’s really just down to what you’re already accustomed to.

Under the hood

With Cyanogen OS on board, Wileyfox brings some useful features to the mainstream market. Cyanogen is already supported by many handsets, but in the West not many actually ship with the OS preinstalled.

Highlights include being able to lock some apps in protected folders on the home screen. Tap on a folder, hit the little padlock icon, enter a code, and voila.

Folder Protection

Above: Folder protection

Other neat little touches include Privacy Guard, which gives users easy access to control what data is shared with which apps. And with Truecaller built in, the Swift can block spam calls and texts from specific numbers — a giant smack in the face to robocallers everywhere.

Truecaller and App Privacy

Above: Truecaller and App Privacy

General performance

One of the downsides of Cyanogen OS is that it is prone to bugs, and at times it’s not the most responsive to touch. For example, occasionally I would attempt to swipe down from the top to access notifications and settings, and literally nothing would happen. This was similar to what I experienced with the OnePlus One, which ran Cyanogenmod 12.

That said, it’s not prevalent enough for it to be a deal-breaker — it just gets a little frustrating at times for those 5 seconds or so I’m desperately trying to swipe the screen.

In terms of juice, the Wileyfox Swift packs a removable (yay!) 2500mAh battery that promises stand-by time of up to 200 hours and talk time of up to 10 hours (2G) or 8 hours (3G).

Of course, nobody really uses their smartphones for calling anymore — they use them for tweeting, WhatsApp-ing, Google Maps-ing, YouTube-ing, and Spotify-ing. I didn’t stress-test the battery; I used it as I would any phone throughout a day (Google Maps, Twitter, BBC News app, and very little media streaming), and it lasted from when I awoke to when I went to bed, at which point there was around 10 percent battery remaining.

Elsewhere, the 13MP camera works pretty well for daylight shots, but I found it lacked somewhat in clarity for low-lighting situations. But at $ 200, this was never promising the best lens on the market. The on-board dual speakers were actually pretty darn good for casual listening at this price point, though you would of course want to use a Bluetooth speaker if you’re hosting a party.

The cherry on the cake, for me, is the display. It may not be full HD, but I found the screen to be clear and crisp. Again, this isn’t going to be for perfectionists who love watching movies on their phone with all the trimmings, but for the price it’s definitely very good.

Wileyfox Display

Above: Wileyfox display

Dual-SIM

This feature gets a special mention. dual-SIM phones are popular in many developing markets, but they’ve never really become much of a “thing” in the West. There’s no real reason why dual-SIM devices shouldn’t be popular in Europe or the U.S. — it was one of the reasons why I upgraded my personal phone to the OnePlus 2.

The use cases for dual-SIM are numerous. You can have one number for all your friends and family, and one for companies that may be inclined to call at inappropriate times. The second SIM slot can basically be your spam line, just like that Yahoo email account you keep for special occasions. You could have one domestic SIM and one business SIM, if you travel abroad often. Or you could have two domestic SIMs — one for calls and SMS, the other for Internet — if you find separate good deals from two companies.

And if you have absolutely no need for two SIMs, you don’t have to use that second slot.

Verdict

In our original assessment, we stated that Wileyfox wants to be the OnePlus of Europe. While the basic sentiment of that still rings true, it doesn’t really tell the whole picture — OnePlus sells premium phones at a knockdown price. The Wileyfox Swift is a decent mid-range device — and excellent value for the money — but it’s definitely not a premium phone.

The Wileyfox Swift should be well received when it finally goes to market. However, it sits in an awkward position for me. The customization options are excellent, but it feels a little like the handset is aimed at a more tech-savvy market, where fine-tuning privacy options are important. It’s a market, perhaps, that would be more inclined to shell out for a proper high-end phone.

That said, the Wileyfox Swift could find a sizable niche in the gift-giving fraternity. It’s the perfect price for someone to buy a family member / significant other for their birthday or Christmas. You probably wouldn’t buy a $ 600 iPhone for your dad, but you’d maybe drop a couple hundred bucks on a Swift.



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