DTNS 2285 – Oculus Riffed

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comTim Stevens is on the show. We’ll reminisce about the great PlayStation Network outage of 2011 and posit just what the heck Oculus is up to.

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Show Notes

Today’s Guest: Tim Stevens, editor-at-large at cnet.com

HEADLINES

Them whippersnappers are nippin’ at yer heels: IDC released its estimate for the worldwide tablet market for the second quarter of 2014. 49.3 million tablets were shipped, an 11% rise over last year although a decline of 1.5% from Q1. While Apple’s shipment and market share declined, it still leads with 26.9%, followed by Samsung, whose tablet market is also declining to 17.2%. The rise in the market is powered by the smaller tablet makers Lenovo, Asus and Acer in that order, although a whopping 44.4% of the market comes from tablets made by even smaller producers.

Pay up, Sony: Remember the great Sony PlayStation Network outage of April 2011? Well, Ars Technica reports Sony has agreed to a court settlement in the Southern District of California that could hold it liable for up to $15 million in damages, plus nearly $2.75 million in attorney fees. What does it mean for you? A free downloadable PS3 or PSP game (from a selection of 14 titles), three PS3 themes (from a selection of six), or a three-month subscription to PlayStation Plus. You have to pick one if you already took part in the “Welcome Back” promotion back in 2011, otherwise you can choose two. If you’re identity was compromised as a result of the breach, Sony will pay up to $2,500. 

Too. Much. Data. Re/Code reports HP will invest $50 million in Hortonworks, the Hadoop startup spun out of Yahoo. Big Data is a big problem for big companies. Hadoop is open source technology designed to make it easier to work with large collections of data in a distributed computing environment.

Happy birfday, Chromecast: One year ago today, Google unleashed the Chromecast dongle on the world out of nowhere. Users have pressed the cast button on an app 400 million times since that day. Chromecast is now available in more than 30,000 stores worldwide, and repeated that more than 6,000 developers have signed up.

It’s a go for shipping: Oculus has begun shipping its DK2 virtual reality headset for developers. The DK2 costs $350 and is not a consumer version of the hardware, but a refined version of the Crystal Cove headset that won a Best of CES award. It features lower latency, a low persistence OLED screen and positional tracking as well as simplified cords. Oculus plans to ship 10,000 DK2 units in July, though as of April it had sold 25,000 headsets.

“You’re walking too slow”: The Next Web reports Razer’s Nabu smartband will integrate WeChat alongside the usual fitness tracking applications. Messages could show up on the band’s screen, but apparently things like ‘high five to exchange contact info’ might also be in the works. Nabu will debut in international markets over the next few months and make it to China before the end of the year. It’s meant to retail for less than $100. 

Color me surprised: The Telegraph has a look at Twitter’s new diversity report which reports 30% of the company’s workforce is female. That’s the same as Google, 1 percent worse than Facebook and 7% behind Yahoo. The drag on balance comes from Twitter’s tech division which is 90% male and leadership which is 79% male. Twitter’s also revealed that 59 per cent of its global workforce was white, 29 per cent Asian. Less than 7% are Black, Hispanic, Latino or other.

Nerd alert: Microsoft has released the first trailer for its upcoming “Halo: Nightfall” live-action TV series, which Ridley Scott is working on as an executive producer. The trailer reveals a new element that can selectively wipe out humans, which protagonist Jameson Locke, an agent for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and his squad must seek out and destroy. It takes place between “Halo 4” and “Halo 5: Guardians.”

Earnings: Amazon reported Q2 earnings including a 27 cents per share loss on revenue of $19.34 billion. Amazon was expected to only lose 15 cents on revenue of 19.34 billion. Still, Amazon’s revenue grew 23% year over year. 

Earnings: Also, Pandora announced Q2 earnings topping expectations slightly with $218.9M in revenue, also announcing it has 76.4M active listeners

News From You: 

jeff_rose submitted the Engadget report that you can now place phone calls directly from the Google Voice website using hangout. You don’t need to have enabled hangouts in Gmail or even have a G+ account. 

Inge_Aning pointed us to the MIT Technology Review article on Resistive Random Access Memory that could let you score ten to a hundred times as much data on a smartphone. RRAM already is being developed by several companies, but researchers at Rice University have shown how to make it easier and cheaper at room temperature and with lower voltage. RRAM stores bits using resistance and retains data without power just like Flash memory. It can operate a hundred times faster though, and can concentrate a terrabyte into the space of a postage stamp. The new method uses a layer of silicon dioxide poked full of holes, sandwiched between thin layers of metal. 

Discussion Section Links: Oculus What? Where? 

http://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-rift-dk2-pre-orders-now-shipping-breaking/

http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/2bjnlm/just_got_charged_and_received_an_email_its_about/

http://www.cnet.com/news/facebooks-oculus-teams-with-samsung-for-mobile-virtual-reality-push/

http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/24/5933039/we-piloted-a-giant-robot-from-pacific-rim-using-oculus-rift

http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/23/oculus-rift-tuns-x-men-into-a-vr-head-trip/

http://www.oculusvr.com/dk2/

https://support.oculusvr.com/hc/en-us/articles/201835987-Oculus-Rift-Development-Kit-2-FAQ

http://www.entertherift.fr/en/fiche-45-oculus-rift-dk2.html

Pick of the Day: Autohotkey via Conrad Lawrence

Autohotkey for PC. On the surface it is a hotkey generator, capable of reading abbreviations or key combinations and outputting long strings of text or data. For example type in “dtns” and get “Daily Tech News Show”.

Beneath the surface though, it is an easy to learn scripting language capable performing long, complex operations using data from a variety of sources, including user input. To easily enter this data and view the results Autohotkey also allows the creation of GUI windows.

I work in the Test Department of a hardware/software tech company, and in the year or so since discovering Autohotkey, I have created dozens of custom GUIs designed to facilitate testing and increase productivity. A signature check of almost 60 modules would once take hours. I can now perform the same task in just a few minutes.

Autohotkey is fully documented and supported at http://www.autohotkey.com/ and it can be downloaded for free for both personal and commercial use. It does not require a compiler but includes one so that applications can be shared with PCs where Autohotkey is not installed.

 

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