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.
redletterdave writes: Nintendo has never released a Pokémon game in Chinese. This is a bit of a surprise because Pokémon is Nintendo's second-most lucrative franchise after Mario, has been around for almost 20 years now. It's even more surprising since Nintendo doesn't ignore the Chinese market. Nintendo has released China-specific DS and 3DS handheld consoles in the country, under the company’s 'iQue' brand, but the Kyoto, Japan-based company has never offered Chinese language support in any of its Pokémon games. Fans are looking to change that: According to SCMP, nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition (English version here) calling for Nintendo to translate its latest series, Pokemon X and Y, into Chinese.
redletterdave writes: Thousands of fans quickly responded to a petition asking game developer Activision-Blizzard to insert Robin Williams into one of his favorite video games, 'World of Warcraft.' In less than 16 hours, organizer Jacob Holgate found 10,000+ fans to sign his petition, and the company responded in kind: “World of Warcraft” technical game designer Chadd Nervig responded to Holgate on Twitter: 'Yes. We're taking care of it.' Many have expressed a Robin Williams NPC to perform some of the late comedian's best jokes within the Worlds End Tavern, 'so that he may continue making us smile long after his passing.'
redletterdave writes: Marques Brownlee is just 20 years old, but there’s arguably no one better on the internet when it comes to explaining new technologies to the average consumer. Even former Google VP Vic Gundotra called him 'the best technology reviewer on the planet right now.' YouTubers have taken notice of the young man: Brownlee's YouTube channel 'MKBHD' has more than 1.5 million subscribers and nearly 130 million total views on his 640+ videos. Still, he’s no overnight success: Brownlee has been working tirelessly for over five years, honing his craft by constantly producing and self-critiquing his videos to make the next ones easier to both make and watch.
redletterdave writes: Nintendo posted its third loss in four quarters on Wednesday. Even though Mario Kart 8, its big first-party game released in May, shipped more than 2.82 million copies by the end of June, the Mario-themed racing game was not enough to help Nintendo’s struggling Wii U console perform in this particular quarter. The company said it lost $97 million between March and June. Nintendo shipped 510,000 units of the Wii U in the June quarter, bringing the total to 6.68 million consoles sold — it’s a big jump from the 160,000 units it sold in the same quarter a year ago and a small improvement over the 310,000 units it sold in the March quarter. Still, the Wii U is still lagging behind the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, and Nintendo must also contend with mobile games available on Apple and Google’s app stores, which cost but a fraction of a Nintendo game.