redletterdave writes: Back in 2013, a 25-year-old Miami resident ordered a Microsoft laptop. But Microsoft didn't send him a laptop â" instead, the company accidentally sent him a heavily-disguised Xbox One game console, which wouldn't even be announced to the public for another two months, or released on store shelves for another eight months.
redletterdave writes: The PlayStation 4 has a few notable advantages over the Xbox One: The PS4's graphics chip is roughly 50% more powerful than the Xbox One, and the difference in RAM gives a huge bandwidth advantage for Sony's console as well. Microsoft tried to close the performance gap in the Xbox One last year, unlocking more graphics bandwidth for developers, as well as the 7th core in its 8-core processor. But Microsoft was forced to make trade-offs in order for that to happen. And despite those improvements, the frame rate and resolution of many Xbox One games doesn't match the quality on the PlayStation 4 on paper. And that was before Sony unlocked the 7th core in its 8-core processor for developers, which the company quietly rolled out in a new software development kit (SDK) update last week.
redletterdave writes: Buried in a story about iPads, Appleâ(TM)s CEO Tim Cook hinted at a new medical product in an interview with The Telegraph. "We donâ(TM)t want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process," Cook said. "I wouldnâ(TM)t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it â" maybe an app, maybe something else." Apple already has several apps designed to help share important medical data between hospitals, health institutions and health insurance companies; it also has a platform dedicated to improving communication between doctors and researchers. But a new medical device, not an app, could be something else entirely. Tech Insider offers one idea: earbuds that can measure your health, and deliver that data to your phone.
redletterdave writes: The editor of gaming blog VG247 published an apology on Wednesday for an article published on September 30. In the article in question, a VG247 reporter played what he thought was "Uncharted 4" at the Tokyo Game Show, but he was actually playing a new version of "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" in Naughty Dog's recently-released "Uncharted Collection." The serious mistake in the article, called "Is Uncharted 4 too formulaic?" was only discovered once the story was already live. The site editor takes responsibility and apologizes in this open letter, but says "none of that excuses the fact that we seriously fucked up."
redletterdave writes: At Oculusâ(TM) annual developer conference on Thursday, Oculus' chief scientist Michael Abrash took the stage to offer a few anecdotes and a ton of information about the current state of virtual reality, and where it needs to go in order to be truly great. Getting to the next level of virtual reality, Abrash said, will require coordinated advances in several different technologies. Specifically, Abrash believes the future of virtual reality will be built on three pillars: driving the human perceptual system, sensing and reconstructing reality, and interaction.
redletterdave writes: Tech Insider got an exclusive first look at the world's first virtual reality theme park, The Void. The Void is a new age playground that seamlessly blends virtual reality experiences with physical environments, using effects like wind and water to make those virtual worlds feel even more convincing â" anything from jungles to caves to fantastic environments you could only dream of. This is what the experience looks and feels like, according to a first-hand account from the first reporter to try The Void.
redletterdave writes: The Void is the first company to create a virtual reality theme park, where virtual experiences are layered on top of physical, real world environments. Tech Insider was the first media outlet to visit The Void's headquarters in Utah, filming the company's first creations. These experiences are still far from final, but the footage is impressive and entertaining.
redletterdave writes: A new patent filed last April but published by the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month suggests Samsung might be working on a smartphone that can bend in half like a flip phone. The biggest problem, according to the patent, is all the strain that accumulates by continually folding the display, or keeping the display folded for a long period of time, which can result in deformations and imperfections, Samsung notes. But Samsung's patent also describes how the phone could keep track of how long it's been in the folded and unfolded states, so as to alert the user of any strain that needs to be relieved. This could help extend the lifetime of the phone and its display.
redletterdave writes: Though its competitors are more experienced and better funded, 9to5Mac has established itself as the go-to website for Apple news. It's regularly cited by the most influential news outlets in the world, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. But 9to5Mac can also ruffle the feathers of its competition — namely, other Apple blogs. 'It is pretty cut throat behind the scenes, and you can imagine how rough it is,' says Seth Weintraub, 9to5Mac's founder, and publisher.
redletterdave writes: Google on Monday announced it would pull its support from The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) due to the organization’s ongoing denial of climate change. 'The facts of climate change are not in question anymore, everyone understands that climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place, and we should not be aligned with such people,' Google chairman Eric Schmidt said in a statement. But why did Google ever support this organization in the first place?
redletterdave writes: Police discovered Rex Chapman, the former Kentucky Wildcats star and NBA player, had stolen over $14,000 worth of goods from an Apple Store in Scottsdale, Ariz., and offloaded the lifted items at a nearby pawn shop. Chapman was arrested Friday on nine counts of organized retail theft and five counts of trafficking stolen property. According to police, Chapman, 46, repeatedly visited the Apple Store in the Scottsdale Quarter retail center and made it seem like he was paying for items with his iPhone’s Apple Store application, which contains a self-checkout system called 'Easy Pay' so customers can buy Apple products without an employee. Chapman, however, would then leave the store without actually paying for the items, and visit a local pawn shop to exchange the goods for cash. Police said these occurrences happened over period of 'a few months.'
redletterdave writes: Apple’s various executives have reportedly discussed a $400 price point for its wearable device, possibly called 'iWatch' or 'iBand,' which is expected to debut at the company's Sept. 9 event — although the price may not be announced at that time. A $400 price point would certainly fall into the high-end range for current wearable devices, but sources close to the company say 'consumers should expect a range of prices for different models including lower priced versions.'
redletterdave writes: Microsoft announced on its Windows blog Wednesday that it’s removed more than 1,500 apps from its Windows Store in a bid to clean up the store and restore trust with Windows 8 and Windows Phone users. Microsoft’s new certification process, in particular, asks for clear and accurate names that 'reflect the functionality of the app,' more accurate categories, and differentiated icons to ensure apps aren’t confused with one another. Microsoft reached out to developers with apps that violated its policies; some agreed to make changes to their software, while those who were 'less receptive' saw their apps removed from the Windows Store.
redletterdave writes: Remember beepers? Those little clip-on electronics that allowed you to communicate with others without using a telephone? Well OnBeep, a San Francisco startup, just raised $6.25 million to make a dedicated piece of hardware so groups can talk to one another with the press of a button without having to fiddle with a smartphone. In other words, they're making a beeper.
redletterdave writes: When Steve Ballmer announced he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board of directors, he cited a fall schedule that would 'be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season.' It turns out Ballmer will teach an MBA class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in the fall, and a class at USC’s Marshall School of Business in the spring. Helen Chang, assistant director of communications at Stanford’s Business School, told Business Insider that Ballmer will be working with faculty member Susan Athey for a strategic management course called 'TRAMGT588: Leading organizations.' As for the spring semester, Ballmer will head to Los Angeles — closer to where his Clippers will be playing — and teach a course at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. We reached out to the Marshall School, which declined to offer more details about Ballmer’s class.