27 Jan 2012

IGN is reporting from sources close to the Microsoft project, that the next version of the Xbox will be derived from AMD 6000 series GPU's, a 2011 released GPU, not a newer AMD 7000 series.  It will be a GPU similar to that of the Radeon HD 6670, with DirectX11, 1080p, multi-display output and 3D.  Mass production of the GPU is supposed to occur in late 2012, followed by the console launch in October or November of 2013.

Such specs give the next Xbox, six times the processing power of the Xbox 360 and performance of around 20 percent greater than the forthcoming Nintendo Wii U.  The Wii U is supposed to have the R770, a chip that should be stronger than that of the 360 and PS3.

Other rumors derived from uncovered Microsoft resumes indicate the new Xbox will have gesture and voice input, possibly a type of integrated Kinect.

Either way, a next generation Xbox has been long over due, this is good news and a hint of what is to come.

Source:  IGN

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27 Jan 2012

Last night on the CNN Florida debate, Newt Gingrich stated: "We want Americans to think boldly about the future," he also outlined a space policy initiative that would cut Nasa's bureaucracy and expand on private space programs.  "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon," Gingrich also stated.  He mentioned the idea of there being 10,000 colonists and a granting of the 51st state to the colony.  We should note that this statement could conflict with Extraterrestrial real estate agreements that are in the works or that have been established at least military wise.  He goes on to state "We will have commercial near-Earth activities that include science, tourism and manufacturing, because it is in our interest to acquire so much experience in space that we clearly have a capacity that the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching."

Newt's suggestion is not really that shocking considering he has had many other ideas in the past such as a plan to build a space mirror system that would provide light of many moons to illuminate highways on Earth.  This is definitely thinking outside the box, something which seems to be rare these days in America.

27 Jan 2012

 NASA and the Kepler space telescope has found 11 new planetary systems.

This brings the Kepler discovered planet count to 60.  Overall, NASA has confirmed 729 extra-solar planets to date.  Kepler works by monitoring the changes in light emitted from a star to determine if a planet is causing the change.  Kepler is monitoring more than 150,000 stars in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra.  There are 2,300 other planets candidates still to be confirmed with more being added all the time. 

One of these planetary systems is called Kepler-33.  It has a star which is bigger and older than our own sun, with five known planets.  All five planets orbit the star at a distance that is closer than that of Mars to the Sun.  The size of the planets range from 1.5 to five times the Earth's diameter.  It isn't known at this time if they are rocky planets or gas giants.

Source:  Telegraph
Image Source:  NASA

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19 Jan 2012

Romibo is a "do-it-yourself robot for therapy, education and fun" that is being introduced by Aubrey Shick, CEO of Origami Robotics of Pittsburgh, PA, developed at Carnegie Mellon University via the NSF-funded Quality of Life Technology Center (QoLT).

Origami Robotics is a startup company from QoLT that showcased their products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year.

Robots such as Romibo have been shown to be highly therapeutic to children and other individuals with social, emotional and developmental disorders.  Robot therapy has been largely unavailable to the public due to the cost involved in the past.  This is where Romibo steps in.  Romibo can inspire kids to build social robots that are "pet-like" in nature and that are also affordable and able to adapt by making programming changes.

Later in this year, Romibo will be available as a kit online.  The kit will contain all the parts needed to create the system, which uses the Arduino open source microcontroller.  It will be able to operate autonomously or with remote control and also feature integration with Android and iPad systems. 

Thanks to its low cost and other innovative features such as viral distribution with online help as well as community workshops, Romibo should help start a new trend in social robot therapy and future innovation.

Read more on Romibo from their official press release here.

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18 Jan 2012

One day you may walk into work, sit down on your cubicle and spin around to do note taking and other work on your very own Smart Window, rather than an old school whiteboard.  Perhaps you will hop into your car and augmented reality information will pop up on the screen as you are speeding down the highway at 55 mph.  You may just simply gaze out your window and information related to the weather and your days events will appear.

Samsung is hoping Smart Window technology will do all this and more.  They have increased the LCD transparency by 20 percent more.

Below are two links showing the technology.  Especially interesting is the ability to switch the window to shutter mode, blocking out light.  The technology can also work as a one-sided panel, preventing an outside user from seeing the person/display on the other.

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18 Jan 2012

There is another game in the growing list of Free-to-Play MMORPG's out there, a new trend that is catching on.  Star Trek Online is set in the year 2409 (for reference, Star Trek Nemesis was set in the year 2379).  You can captain a Starship as a Federation or Klingon captain and go on missions and combat.

I've played the game and can tell you that its really a lot of fun.  They have expanded the content over the years as well.  You will find mixed reviews out there, but now that it is free, nothing to lose in trying it.  So fire up your warp drive engine, set your mouse to stun and prepare to engage with Star Trek Online.

You can download the game to get started, from here.
As a side note, if you are interested in checking out the Star Trek Timeline, look at this link for details.

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18 Jan 2012

Windows 8 Server will feature a new file system, built from the ground up called “Resilient File System” or ReFS.  NTFS has been the gold standard for years, now ReFS expands on NTFS using it as the foundation.  By using NTFS’ API and semantics engine, it should maintain compatibility with NTFS features.

ReFS will have a new storage engine that should protect against latent disk errors, resist data corruption, uphold metadata integrity, have large volume, file and directory size support and have the ability for shared storage pools across machines for additional fault tolerance and balancing.

Windows Server 8 appears to be the main pilot program for ReFS initially.  Some other notes include the fact that Windows 8 Server, currently will not boot a ReFS partition, its meant more as a storage volume.  Microsoft does note that Windows 7 will have the ability to read a ReFS volume.  ReFS also doesn't support second level caching/hybrid storage using SSD is another thing that many may find disappointing as well, at least in this first iteration of the file system.  This approach of introducing a new file system is how Microsoft has done things in the past and with ReFS its long term goal is to replace NTFS, however NTFS won't be gone any time soon.

See this link if you want more on the gritty details.

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09 Jan 2012

OnLive, as we have reported in the past, is known for its streaming of console/PC quality graphics to your devices, including mobile ones, but now OnLive is branching out into the area of streaming your favorite Windows 7 apps as well.

It uses the same technique it does (well) for games.  Essentially the video from what would be your PC Monitors is streamed from a remote server where everything gets rendered in the cloud as you work, say in an Excel spreadsheet.  The result of all this gets streamed back to you.  It will work for presentations and HD video as well. 

This app will be available for iPad on Thursday.  It will come with 2GB of cloud storage and access to Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and a few utilities as well as some games to start.  They will have a Pro option with 50GB of storage and priority access along with additional PC apps and features for $9.99 per month.  The OnLive Desktop app will be available on Android soon.

OnLive will also bundle a built in web browser, which they tout can render web pages faster than the built in Tablet versions, due to their proximity to the internet backbone.

OnLive is also coming out with "OnLive Enterprise" for delivering customized apps for organizations of any size in the near future.

This makes for a pretty powerful combination with the ability to do multi-touch gesturing and control of apps such as Excel, bringing the power of Windows essentially into the Tablet realm.  A keen eye should be kept on OnLive, as in time I'm sure we are bound to see more exciting things coming from this company as they grow.

UPDATE:  The launch of the app has been delayed until January 13th.  Apparently they had to work a few bugs out prior to release.

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