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SlashGear Week in Review – Week 1 2011

Welcome to the first Week in Review of 2011! I hope your hangover is gone and you had a good time this weekend! Last week was an eventful one leading up to CES 2011 kicking off this month and lots of cool stuff turned up. A British DJ created a cool set of records that when overlapped form the CMYK logo. I want them and I don’t even know what kind of music the artist makes.

A lady took a set of nesting dolls and painted them to look like Dr. Who and they are epic. The dolls have the outer one painted like the Tardis and the other dolls are made up to look like all the people who played Dr. Who. BAE created a concept for war fighting robots that look a lot like the Batman tumbler. The vehicle is dubbed The Raider and is one of seven concepts that are being developed.

I have kids that like to color a lot and they like to break crayons for no apparent reason. The Crayola Crayon Maker will take those broken Crayons and melt them into a new color for your kids to use and give them a reason to break Crayons too. Comcast is considering offering low-cost broadband if the merger with NBC goes through. The access would be offered to homes that fall into a certain demographic, presumably for the poor, if they decide to.

Quirky has a new accessory for geeks in cold climates that wear gloves and use a touchscreen device. The new accessory is called Digits and are like hatpins that are pinned though a glove and allows the touchscreen on the iPhone and other gear to be operated. A successor to the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone is expected to debut at MWC 2011. All we know about the device right now is that it will have a dual-core processor.

A new app called PhoneGuard surfaced this week that blocks the user from being able to text when the phone is going faster than 10mph. The device is aimed at keeping kids and workers safe when driving, but will keep passengers from texting too. Scientists were able to capture the first x-ray image ever of lightning and it looks freakin’ awesome. The bolt was apparently traveling at about a sixth of the speed of light and the camera was still able to capture the image.

Gresso has unveiled a cool new iPad that is probably more than most of us can afford. The thing has a wood back made for 200-year-old wood and a gold Apple logo. France announced that it wants to enact a tablet tax on the iPad and Android tablets, but leave Windows tablets exempt. The tax would apparently add the equivalent of $16 to the cost of the iPad.

Skype blamed the wide-ranging outage of its service on a Windows app bug that killed one of the supernodes it uses. The bug was apparently in IM server and 50% of the people on the service were running that version of the software. Netflix is looking at a wider ranging international push in 2011. Apparently the company is already talking with ad agencies about ad placements for new markets.

The Archos 70 internet tablet with Android debuted this week. It is the first Android tablet to get a 250GB HDD and it uses a 1GHz processor all for $349.99. Apparently, a man on an airline flight punched a 15-year-old boy in the arm for not turning off his iPhone when the flight crew said to. The man was arrested for misdemeanor battery once the plane landed and the kid reportedly had a mark on his arm from the punch.

Sharp announced that its Galapagos Android tablets would be coming to the US in early 2011. The tablets will also be coming to China and India as well. ABI Research has predicted that in 2011 there will be 7 trillion SMS messages sent. That is a lot of messages and included text, MMS, email, and IMs. A video turned up that shows the crazy expensive and cool Leica M9 digital camera getting built on video.

A hacker group called fail0verflow has unvield a new hack that completely bypasses the software security on the PS3. The hack will allow the user to run any software on the console be it pirated games, Linux, or home brew apps no matter the firmware version by generating its own keys. Kindle users gained the ability to loan out eBooks this week. The loan period is only 14 days and the books can only be loaned once if the publisher allows loaning at all.

A cool new accessory for the iPhone that is perfect for anyone with heart issues is debuting at CES 2011. The device is an iPhone 4 case that turns the smartphone into an ECG machine and is called iPhoneECG. The FBI raided ISPs in California and Texas this week looking for details on the DDoS attacked launched by the Anonymous group. Anonymous ran the attacks against big websites like chúng tôi and PayPal as retaliation for the sites not sending funds to WikiLeaks.

NASA discovered more cracks in the tanks on the Discovery this week. The cracks are being repaired and for now the flight remains on schedule for launch in February. Thanks for reading this week’s edition, see you next week!

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The Week In Tweaks: 1Password Integration, Per

Here’s a look at some of the most fun or useful jailbreak tweaks that came out this week. If you like these tweaks, but don’t have a jailbroken iOS device, you can check out chúng tôi to learn more about how to jailbreak your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

We love 1Password here at 9to5Mac. Unfortunately, due to the lack of plugin support in Safari for iOS, if you run across a page that requires a login, you have to switch from Safari to 1Password, copy the password you need, switch back to Safari, and then paste the password into the field.

PassIt solves this slightly annoying problem by adding a button the Share Sheet which opens the current page in 1Password’s in-app browser. You can then use 1Password’s built-in auto-login feature to quickly login and continue what you were doing.

PassIt is available for free on the BigBoss repo.

iMessage is great (when it works), but I routinely see people say that they wish certain people couldn’t see their read receipts. If you’ve ever found yourself saying that, Selective Reading is the tweak for you.

Selective reading adds a new field to each contact card allowing you to choose whether they can see read receipts or not, and it actually works. I did have some trouble with the “Ask” option (it never asked me what I wanted to do), but the on and off toggles work perfectly.

There’s also a default option which sets that contact to follow the universal setting that you’ve assigned in the Settings app.

If you’d prefer only a few people get read receipts, just turn them off in the Settings app and enable them on a contact-by-contact chúng tôi the other hand, if there are only a few people that you don’t want seeing read receipts, but would prefer the majority of your contacts be able to see them, just do the opposite: turn on read receipts in Settings and disable them for individual contacts.

SelectiveReading is only $.99, and is available now on BigBoss.

Many Twitter clients now include the option to quickly attach your most recent photo to a post, and I’ve come to rely on this button almost every time I tweet a photo. Tweak developer Filippo Bigarella realized that most people probably attach their most recent photo to MMS and iMessages most of the time, too, and created a tweak to do just that.

LastPic adds a single button to the photo selector in the Messages app that automatically attaches the most recent inage in the Camera Roll.

It works just like you’d expect, but I have noticed that it adds the button to the sheet that pops up when you press “add contact” (while messaging an unkown contact). Pressing the button on that sheet will crash the Messages app. Hopefully this will be resolved in a future update, but even if it isn’t, you almost certainly won’t actually have an issue with it.

LastPic is available for free on the BigBoss repo.

Readr is another Share Sheet plugin for Safari. This one adds two new buttons: “Read Now,” and “Read Later.” The “Read Now” button functions similarly to Safari Reader: it strips out everything except the main contents of the page for improved readability. Unlike Safari Reader, this is powered by the Readability service.

Readr is available for $1.99 on the BigBoss repository.

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This Week In Games: Dota 2 Co

Looking for something to play this weekend and determined not to crack open your wallet? The best sports game ever made a.k.a. Rocket League is free-to-play through Steam until Sunday morning Pacific time. Head here to install it or buy the game for a 30 percent discount.

That news, plus Rocket League is free for the weekend, Oculus shuts down its acclaimed Story Studio team, Valve opens up about receiving 75,000 support requests a day, Remedy confirms “Project 7,” The International 2’s funding campaign kicks off, Darksiders III comes back from the dead, and more.

The Witcher 3 in 8K. Eight. K. I can’t even believe it. Not too long ago 4K was just a glimmer on the horizon, then I laughed when people started talking about 5K. Now we’re at 8K? What happened? Where did 6K and 7K even go? And when can we stop talking in Ks?

Provided you don’t bear a grudge against Uplay, you can also try out The Division for free through Sunday. It doesn’t look like the DLC is included, but the somewhat decent story mode is available to burn through if you’d like.

Fury

When THQ died I thought this day would never come, but five years later here we are: Darksiders III exists, and will release in 2023. The game stars whip-wielding Fury, third horseman horselady of the apocalypse, and is made by Gunfire Games, comprised of multiple ex-Vigil employees. IGN has the details through its “IGN First” program, and you can check out the first trailer below.

8K Geralt

What do you do with four of Nvidia’s monstrous Titan Xp graphics cards? Apparently you use them to churn out The Witcher 3 on Ultra at a stupid-high 8K resolution. You can see for yourself with this video from YouTuber Thirty IR, though the effect will no doubt be lost on your probably-not-8K monitor. (Via Kotaku )

Prepare to diiiiine

3C3C1D119440927

Speaking of over-the-top Japanese RPGs, Nier: Automata’s first DLC released this week, and it’s titled (wait for it) “3C3C1D119440927.” Seriously. There’s a launch trailer below, but all you really need to know is that the CEO of Square Enix Yosuke Matsuda is a boss character and you have to fight him.

Mute-a-Laylee

Maybe I’m just less susceptible than other people, but I didn’t find the gibberish voices in Yooka-Laylee particularly annoying. If it drives you up a wall though, good news: An upcoming patch will allow you to “skip dialogue faster, bypass cutscenes, or reduce those pesky gibberish voices,” according to Playtonic. Camera tweaks are also incoming.

Give me the cure The Long Development

It’s something of a joke that Early Access survival games will never actually be finished, but The Long Dark is looking to prove critics and naysayers wrong later this year. That’s right, The Long Dark is actually going to add in its much-touted story mode starting with two episodes in August of this year and concluding with three more sometime in 2023, hitting 1.0 “full release” during that same stint.

Your move, DayZ.

Outside Oculus

Oculus is shutting down Oculus Story Studio, its internal dev team that made critically-acclaimed VR short films Henry, Lost, and Dear Angelica. The plan, according to Oculus’s Jason Rubin, is to “support more external production,” but it’s a damn shame—Story Studio made some of the highest-quality VR content, went to Sundance multiple times, and even developed Oculus’s amazing Quill art tool as an offshoot of Dear Angelica production.

Oculus also announced (via VentureBeat) that it won’t have a booth at E3 this year. Again, it’s hard to tell if it’s skipping E3 because it feels there’s no point (as with EA and Wargaming) or if it’s indicative of more serious problems at the company. Time will tell, I guess.

International, again

Dota 2 is winding up for The International 2023, its annual tournament, and Valve’s officially started selling the Battle Pass for this year’s iteration—the proceeds of which go to fund The International’s prize pool. Less than day in and the prize pool already sits (as of writing) at $2.5 million.

For the record: $20.7 million is the target to beat from last year’s prize.

“This all-new campaign calls upon you to party up with three friends or queue-met allies to battle through a diverse landscape of loathsome monsters, cunning traps, and other lethal terrors. With the fate of Dark Reef and the safety of the free seas hanging by a fish-gut thread, you’ll need to work together if you’re to find any hope for survival.”

Take a breath

More Valve news as we close out the week. If you’ve ever submitted a support request to Valve and been annoyed you received a canned reply, Valve wants you to take a breath and consider this: Apparently the company receives 75 thousand support requests every single day, mostly related to refunds.

If you want to dig into the numbers, Valve’s given support requests their own stats page. I still think Valve’s support should be better, given the importance of Steam, but oof—75 thousand requests a day sure does sound like a ton.

Half-Left 3

And one more Valve tidbit: Half-Life 2/Portal/Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek departed Valve this week, making him the third high-profile writer to leave the company in the last year or so (along with Erik Wolpaw and Marc Laidlaw). Best of luck to him, and best of luck to Valve. Seems like writers must be in short supply over there at this point.

This Week In Games: Look At This Terminator

When the AI grows sentient and Skynet becomes a reality, at least we’ll have been prepared by the nonstop onslaught of Terminator tie-ins this year—not least of which is the custom Xbox One X that Microsoft revealed this week. Look upon its eye and despair, for there is a new red ring of death to contend with.

This is gaming news for October 28 to November 1.

Halloween hangover

Halloween’s over, which for me means getting ready for Thanksgiving, and for department stores means it’s time to bust out Christmas ornaments. But before we get too far into the holidays, Epic is still celebrating the spookiest season with a pair of giveaways this week. Both Soma and Costume Quest are modern classics, and you owe it to yourself to grab both even if you’re burned out from a month-long horror binge.

Next week is Nuclear Throne and Ruiner, which doesn’t sound very Thanksgiving-y to me. Then again, I can’t think of any Thanksgiving games off the top of my head. An underserved market, maybe.

Beta bonanza

If you’re okay with less-finished fun, there are also multiple betas running this weekend. Warcraft III: Reforged is running a multiplayer beta, with rolling waves of invites going out first to those who preorder the “Spoils of War” edition and later to anyone who pre-orders period.

And Halo: Reach enters its third round of testing this week. You’ll need to sign up as a “ Halo Insider” and then hope for an invite, but those selected will get to test two missions (“Noble Actual” and “Winter Contingency”) and play a handful of multiplayer maps. You can also check out the minimum specs for running Reach in 2023. As you’d expect, they’re pretty damn low. A GTX 770 will get you to 4K, albeit barely, while a GTX 560 Ti is listed as the minimum for 1080p play.

A Hideo Kojima Game

Redder and Deader

Speaking of PC ports, Red Dead Redemption II finally hits PC next week. I’m sure you can imagine the improvements for yourself, all those glorious horse testicles growing and shrinking at 4K resolution. But if you want to take a peek ahead of time, Rockstar’s put out a very pretty PC launch trailer to entice you into buying a (second) copy.

Sleeker Steam

Go ahead, admire it. It’s been a long time coming.

Eggs

Wishlists are also coming soon, per Epic’s announcement. And while Epic still seems against user reviews, it did reveal a partnership with OpenCritic to surface review scores on the storefront. You can find more details here.

Avengers

Square’s Avengers game is due out May 15 and I feel like we’ve barely seen it still. Or rather, we’ve seen the same section over and over, the prologue battle on the Golden Gate Bridge. For a second I feared this latest trailer would recap that for the umpteenth time, but it does dive deeper into the loot system and such in the back half. Still not much given the looming release date, but at least it’s something.

Battlefield…6?

Battlefield’s been on an every-other-year schedule for a while now, but don’t expect Battlefield VI to come knocking anytime soon. EA’s Andrew Wilson got out there in an investor’s call this week and said we won’t see the next Battlefield until sometime in 2023 or maybe even 2023. That’s a three- or maybe even four-year gap between releases, which hopefully allows DICE to make more substantial changes—and maybe even a longer campaign? I can dream.

Breaking point The horror

Okay, one last bit of Halloween-adjacent news: Red Barrels, developer of Outlast, used the day to tease its next project. All we got was one image, two hands clasped together and the words “Where freedom ends.” Is it Outlast 3? Maybe. I promise, you know just as much as I do. We’ll keep an eye out for more, because as much as I felt disappointed by Outlast 2, I’d still love to see Red Barrels recapture the oppressiveness of the original.

Terminated

Forget the next Xbox. All I want is the ridiculous Terminator-themed Xbox that Microsoft revealed this week. Usually these tie-ins are bland affairs, a color-swap and maybe an alternate logo to promote some game or another. The Terminator: Dark Fate Xbox is a full custom mold though, with a melty-faced and red-eyed robot sticking out from the top. It is so ugly and so dumb and I’d love to put one in my house—but they only made one, and you have to win it in a contest. Damn them.

Xbox

Bathtub blues

We’ll finish out this week the only way we could possibly finish out this week: with the debut trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher. Does it look better than I first expected? Slightly. Is bathtub-Geralt a neat nod to fans? Definitely. But does it look good? I’m…still not sold. At times it looks like the Game of Thrones spiritual successor it so desperately wants to be. Other points, it looks like The Witcher by way of The CW.

The Week In Drones: Shotgun Salesmen, Contraband Couriers, And More

Here’s a roundup of the week’s top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.

Cyber Pigeons For Future Shotguns

In “Johnny Dronehunter,” a low-rent Mad Maxian hooligan travels desert highways to a metal soundtrack. Spotted by cheap quadcopters, he does the only logical thing: shoot them. A lot. With a silenced shotgun. The video is listed as a trailer, subtitled “Defender of Privacy,” and at the end it says “Coming Fall 2014,” alluding to a larger feature. It also looks like an ad for SilencerCo, the company that made it. Requests for clarification from SilencerCo were not immediately returned. Regardless of the videos’ true purpose, it at least captures at least a part of the zeitgeist: a fear of invasive drone surveillance, and resorting to violence to stop it. Last summer, the town of Deer Trail, Colorado, debated selling drone hunting licenses. While that failed, the idea that the answer to drone surveillance comes at the end of a gun persists. It’s also misguided.

In “Johnny Dronehunter,” the targets are DJI Phantom drones. These are commercial products, aimed for the casual customer, and their limited flight time of about 25 minutes makes them a poor choice for chasing people down. Shotguns are used for sport shooting, with targets around 50 feet away, but their accuracy and effectiveness suffers when the target is farther away. Hobbyist drones, like the quadcopters seen in the video, can usually fly up to 400 feet, and are hard to shoot down when moving even with a bunch of machine guns. Drones used by the U.S. military and flown by Customs and Border Protection fly many thousands of feet higher, well beyond the range of most small arms.

That’s beside the point for “Johnny Dronehunter.” SilencerCo made the video, and their Salvo 12 shotgun silencer is visible throughout. Here’s the clip:

Contraband Courier

The South Carolina Corrections Department says they found a crashed drone outside a prison, surrounded by prison contraband of cell phones, marijuana, and tobacco. Drones smuggling things into prison is a marked contrast from Ohio, where police are considering drone patrols to prevent the inflow of contraband.

Aristocrat’s Accessory

Media mogul and convicted felon Martha Stewart is a big fan of drones. This week she took to Time magazine, penning an ode to the beauty of magnificent estates photographed by drone. In her own words:

To Stewart’s credit, she addresses the long history of aerial photography, and how it goes into the design and appreciation of both urban spaces and palatial estates. This is true! Owning a vast estate may remain an aristocratic privilege, but photographing from the sky is no longer a pleasure limited only to the very elite.

A Slice Of Versailles From Above

Academic Outcry

Unprecedented Expansion of FAA Jurisdiction

Unreasonably Broad Definition of “Aircraft”

Unwarranted Distinction between Recreational and Commercial Model Aircraft

Absence of Stakeholder Participation in the Rulemaking Process

Conflicts with Institutional Safety Policies and Municipal Ordinances

There’s also a question to how much of the air it’s reasonable for the FAA to regulate:

If the FAA truly wants to integrate more unmanned aircraft into the skies, it might do well to consider starting from a position of “first, do no harm” when regulating existing drone use.

What Is A Drone, Really?

The words used to describe “controlled flying thing without a person on board” can convey a lot of different things about the specific flying machine. As might be clear, Popular Science uses “drone” as a useful generic term for a large range of remote controlled flying machines. While the term is fairly ubiquitous, the meaning of the term is still debated, as are the implications of the technology. In the video below, produced by hobbyist drone site Flite Test, four drone users with a range of experience and background debate the meaning of the term, and what it means for laws, hobbyists, photographers, and everyday people.

The Week In Numbers: China Lands On The Moon, Nasa’s Deep

NASA Chamber A

40 tons: the weight of the door to NASA’s Chamber A, a room that recreates the deadly conditions of deep space and, because it can reach 11 Kelvin, is the coldest place on Earth

4: the number of spiral arms that make up the Milky Way, according to a new study (previous observations give our galaxy just two arms)

The Milky Way

1 trillionth of a second: the time it should take scientists to heat water to 600 degrees Celsius using a clever new heating method

Illustration of a Cloud of Water Molecules Heated to 600 Degrees Celsius

$11,720: the money raised via Indiegogo for an absurd device that claims to translate dog thoughts into English

No More Woof

$2 million: the top prize of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, a Pentagon-funded competition to develop robotic first responders

$1 million: the prize the Methuselah Foundation is offering the the first research group to make a bioengineered liver

2 centimeters: the average amount of space between penguins in a huddle, according to researchers who created a mathematical model of penguin huddles

Emperor Penguin Huddle

1.2 million: the estimated number of Americans who get salmonella infections each year (but don’t worry, your eggnog is safe)

$199: the price of the Canary home security system, which includes a wide-angle HD camera, infrared motion sensor, temperature and humidity sensors, and microphone

Canary

1903: the year the Wright brothers first piloted a heavier-than-air craft. Read the story of their famous first flight in the September 1925 issue of Popular Science.

Orville piloting the flight at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903.

1976: the year of the last soft landing on the moon, until China’s Chang’e 3 spacecraft touched down last week (video)

14,838: the number of pieces of large debris orbiting Earth (see where they are)

10 kilowatts: the power of a recently tested, truck-mounted Army laser that can zap incoming drones and mortar shells

HEL MD Set Up Outside

This truck has a freakin’ laser on it.

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