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Valve Releases Steam Controller
September 30, 2013
Valve Software has announced the Steam Controller, the third part of its trio of initiatives designed to bring Linux-based gaming to the living room. Valve dubbed the controller "a different kind of gamepad." It features dual circulator trackpads driven by the player's thumbs. Each has a high-resolution haptic pad at its base, which is clickable, allowing the entire surface to act as a button.
France to Follow Through on Tiny Google Fine
September 30, 2013
In France, data protection officials announced that they will impose sanctions against Google for the company's failure to stick to a three-month deadline to tweak its privacy policies. The fine stems from Google's melding of different privacy policies in Europe into a single policy that applies to all its platforms -- Gmail, YouTube, Google+ and so on.
Valve: The Linux Steam Engine That Could?
September 30, 2013
Valve cofounder Gabe Newell has made no secret of his disdain for Windows 8 and his newfound love for Linux as a gaming platform over the past year or so. It seems fair to say, however, that few here in the Linux community expected the colossal bear hug of support Valve gave our favorite operating system last week. First, it announced SteamOS; then it was the hardware side.
The Secrets of GTA's Massive Mainstream Success
September 28, 2013
It's not every day that a video game becomes a mainstream tech story. Then again, it's not every day that a video game promptly records $1 billion in sales. Grand Theft Auto V did just that, however, eclipsing the 10-figure mark three days after its Sept. 17 release. The game's success is an emphatic declaration that the GTA brand -- first introduced in 1997 -- is still going strong.
Valve Beta Boosts Linux Gaming Full Steam Ahead
September 26, 2013
Valve Software will later this year beta test 300 hardware boxes running its Linux-based SteamOS, a standalone operating system for entertainment appliances in consumers' living rooms. The prototype box for the Steam platform, which is optimized for gaming in the living room, is completely upgradable and open. Beta testers are encouraged to hack or mod the box.
Valve's SteamOS Arms Linux Gaming for Living Room Wars
September 24, 2013
After bringing its Steam gaming service to Linux earlier this year, Valve on Tuesday unveiled SteamOS, a new, Linux-based operating system that is designed to deliver PC entertainment in the living room. The new OS will connect with the Steam gaming service, offering all of the features PC-based Steam users are accustomed to, and yet is designed with the big screen in mind, Valve said.
China Un-Bans Facebook, Twitter in Shanghai
September 24, 2013
China is lifting its ban on a handful of heretofore banned websites within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Included among those now considered acceptable are Facebook and Twitter. The Shanghai Free Trade Zone, announced in July, has more free market-friendly policies than China at large. To that end, the Shanghai Free Trade Zone will entertain bids from foreign telecommunications companies to provide Internet services.
Sony Predicts Gangbuster PS4 Sales
September 20, 2013
Sony on Thursday went on a media blitz in Tokyo, disclosing more details and outlining ambitious sales targets for its upcoming PlayStation 4. The gaming device is due to arrive on shelves in the United States Nov. 15, and Sony aims to sell 5 million PS4s by March 31, it reportedly said at the Tokyo Game Show. As of August, 1 million PS4s had been preordered online.
China's Web Crackdown Gives Mobile Chat a Boost
September 20, 2013
Tencent Holdings' WeChat mobile messaging service stands to gain more users as China makes it more and more risky to vent opinions online. Long a hotbed for censorship, China has been turning up the heat even further on netizens believed to be spreading "rumors." China's Supreme Court recently ruled that jail was in the cards for anyone who posts a rumor that is viewed 5,000 times or re-posted 500 times.
South Korean Skyscraper Will Disappear Daily
September 19, 2013
In a loud declaration of, "Because we can!" plans have been hatched to build a skyscraper in South Korea that will be able to turn invisible. The skyscraper's invisibility function will work by having cameras on the tower take pictures of the sky behind it. Those images will then be transmitted to the front of the building, thereby fooling the eyes of people standing in a designated area.
Syrian Rebels Use iPads to Target Weapons
September 18, 2013
Syrian rebels have taken to using an iPad app to help guide mortar fire. Rebels were photographed using an iPad reportedly equipped with the iHandy Level Free app, deployed as a method for ensuring that the mortar tube is level. Novel though this may be, reporter Paul Szoldra, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nine years, is dubious of the iPad's effect.
Valve Chief: All Gaming Roads Lead to Linux
September 17, 2013
The future of the gaming industry is Linux, Valve CEO and founder Gabe Newell told the crowd during his keynote address at LinuxCon on Monday. Newell also hinted at a Valve announcement next week that will bring Linux into the living room. The company could be planning to release Steam Box, a Linux-based device designed to connect with TVs to play Steam-based games.
Iran Briefly Loses Grip on Social Media
September 17, 2013
Facebook and Twitter were widely available to Iranian netizens on Monday. Come Tuesday, however, things were back to normal: The sites were blocked. Faulty Internet filters reportedly caused the sites to become available -- not some newfound progressive streak in Tehran. Western-born social media sites were blocked during protests over former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election victory in 2009.
New Titles Buoy Video Game Sales
September 13, 2013
Video game sales showed their first increase in almost two years last month, NPD Group reported on Thursday. Gaming hardware sales weren't so fortunate -- they were down 40 percent compared with August 2012, according NPD's August report on sales in the physical retail sector of the video game industry. Total new physical software sales, however, were up 21 percent.
Sony Tiptoes Into TV Set-Top Box Territory
September 09, 2013
Sony announced the PlayStation Vita TV for release in Japan at Monday's Sony Computer Entertainment Japan press conference. This small set-top box, which measures 6cm x10cm, is designed to serve as a multimedia streaming device that connects to Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 game console. It will allow gamers to play titles from the PS4 remotely via the DualShock 3 controller.
Video Game Rejuvenates Brains of Older Adults
September 06, 2013
A multitasking 3D video game that helped some older adults show neurological activity similar to much younger adults could shed light on the plasticity of the older brain. A UCSF research team recently tested a 3D-driving game on a group of adults. The game play was designed to elicit a multitasking response, which generates a certain interference in the brain that increases with age.
MS Powers Up Xbox One for Nov. 22 Blast-Off
September 04, 2013
Microsoft will launch its Xbox One video game console on Nov. 22 in 13 countries, the company announced on Wednesday. Among the first nations to receive the widely anticipated device are Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the United States. Other markets will follow in early 2014.
Apple's Got Algorithm
August 29, 2013
Apple has acquired AlgoTrim, a Swedish software developer that specializes in compression algorithms for mobile phones. AlgoTrim developed algorithms for "lossless" compression, whereby processing instructions in operating systems and applications are not only sped up but require less flash memory. The company will create solutions for "modern computational photography," it says.
Nintendo 2DS: It's a Flat World After All
August 29, 2013
With an eye toward the upcoming holiday season, Nintendo on Wednesday announced a $50 price cut on its Wii U gaming platform and rolled out a brand-new portable gaming system priced at just $129.99. Slated for release on Oct. 12 in red or blue, the new Nintendo 2DS is an entry-level gaming system that plays all Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS games in 2D.
Face Plus Gives Digital Characters Heart and Soul
August 29, 2013
Mixamo on Wednesday launched Face Plus, a new tool that lets developers and filmmakers convert human facial expressions recorded by a webcam into high-fidelity 3D animation to enliven their digital characters. Face Plus works with any ordinary webcam, making it possible to produce short scenes, commercials or games that feature animated characters without having to bring actors into a studio.

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