Daily Report: Live-Streaming Apps Aspire to Be Next Big Thing in Social Media
Apps that help users broadcast themselves live from their phones are catching the eye of tech heavyweights and venture capitalists. Periscope is Twitter’s big entry into this realm. Other apps include Meerkat and Camio.
Facebook Sees Oculus Virtual Reality Headsets Shipping This Year
Michael Schroepfer, Facebook's vice president of engineering, told developers that the company's Oculus VR unit would get its PC-based virtual reality headset to consumers this year. That puts a lot of pressure on Oculus.
Ellen Pao loses Kleiner case, but says if she helped women and minorities in VC, then ‘battle was worth it’
A defiant Ellen Pao said this afternoon that although she had lost her gender discrimination case against her former firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the “battle was worth it” if she helped women and minorities. The technology world was riveted by the developments in the five-week-long case this afternoon. An initial verdict read in […]
Follow these 7 steps if you’re talking to a possible acquirer
Guest:A call from another company's CorpDev team can signal they're interested in acquiring you. But it could also lead to costly dead-ends. If you do decide to take the call, here are seven steps I recommend for converting those conversations into potential business.
Martech, meet salestech: HubSpot’s acquisition of Rekindle pushes marketing automation out to sales
VB Insight:HubSpot recently announced the acquisition of Rekindle, a startup that helps sales intelligently leverage the “contact graph” to find relevant business contacts. This move is indicative of yet another level of integration between marketing and sales, between martech and salestech. And for HubSpot, it’s an extension of its value from the top of the funnel right down […]
Top 10 Android app updates this week: RunKeeper, Plex
Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the [...]
Google adds support for viewing My Maps within Google Maps
Google has announced that Google Maps for Android now supports viewing and use of My Maps within Google Maps. My Maps is a Google creation that allows you to create, share and view custom maps that you or others have created. The feature has been extremely handy to [...]
OnePlus has announced that it will not be releasing its custom ROM, OxygenOS, as it had planned to do today. The company announced OxygenOS in January and had planned to have it finished and released by today, March 27. Unfortunately, the [...]
Unannounced LG smartphone shown in newly-leaked photos
It’s time for a good ol’ smartphone mystery.
Several images of an unannounced LG smartphone have been posted to xda-developers by user s3rv1cet3ch. The device looks a lot like the LG G3, but there are a few small differences to note. For example, the rear power/lock key on this [...]
Top 10 new Android games this week: Fotonia, Syberia 2
Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we’re playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any [...]
A new company called Olio is introducing its first smartwatch, the Model One. With the smartwatch market expanding rapidly, Olio is a company that’s creating its own smartwatch that’s compatible with both iOS and Android 4.3 and up. Olio itself is a company that’s steeped in a long history of product design, with CEO Steve [...]
NSA's reported Huawei hack gives glimpse of agency's role in 'cyber Cold War'
The latest report based on leaks by Edward Snowden has it that the NSA hacked into the servers of a Chinese router company that had itself been accused by the US of potentially aiding government espionage.
Twitter battle in Turkey heats up, spreads to YouTube -- reports
The fight over a Twitter ban in the country intensifies, as the government reportedly blocks a workaround, the White House weighs in, and Google refuses to yank YouTube vids critical of the prime minister.
Our favorite posts on Giz this week cover everything from the surprising history of brands to the human lab rats researching nootropics on Reddit. We fucked around with some gadgets, baked a laptop in the oven, and paid a drunk guy to evaluate our web design. Then we swung a hatchet around. Enjoy!
What's James Bond's Darkest Secret? First Teaser Trailer For SPECTRE!
The first teaser trailer for the new James Bond movie, Spectre, raises more questions than it answers. What's the secret that James Bond won't share with anyone, because he won't trust anyone? And why is James Bond venturing into the shadowy world of secret organizations?
We don't usually think of talking to ghosts as a high-tech activity. But one guy is making a living off of ghost hunting apps, and his story from homelessness to app entrepreneur is actually pretty extraordinary.
You Can Buy HTC's Latest Flagship Online Right Now
HTC's latest revision to its One smartphone might not be all that revolutionary, but it's still a damn good phone. If you prioritize great design over the latest and greatest features, the One M9 might be the Android handset you need in your life. And, if you have $650 and an internet connection, you can make that a reality right now.
In a post-iPhone world, saying that apps are useless will probably get you beheaded in the startup community. But the (brave) designers behind Olio, a gorgeous new smartwatch with a minimalist feature set are saying exactly that.
The ultimate expression of the lazy smart home is probably turning the lights off from your phone. It's not necessary, and it probably doesn't even save any time; but damn it's cool. This switch will let you do that, without needing to be an electrical engineer.
Global smart wearable entertainment devices and services market will top US$9.4 billion by 2019, says Technavio
As the popularity of entertainment devices increases, the global smart wearable entertainment devices and services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 37.09% from 2014-2019, according to Technavio.
Global wind power installations increase 42% in 2014, says Navigant
Fueled by the policy-driven acceleration of installations in three key countries - China, Germany, and the US - the global wind industry staged a remarkable comeback in 2014. Expansion in second-tier countries, such as Brazil, Turkey, France, and Canada also helped sustain a strong foundation for the industry as it matures into a significant global source of reliable, renewable energy. According to Navigant Research, worldwide wind power installations grew by 42% on year in 2014.
Worldwide integrated infrastructure and platform revenues rise 19.4% in 4Q14, says IDC
According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Integrated Infrastructure and Platform Tracker, vendor revenues for the worldwide integrated infrastructure and platforms market increased 19.4% on year to US$2.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. The market generated 1.2EB (exabytes) of new capacity during the year, which was up 42.2% compared to same period a year ago. For the full year 2014, worldwide integrated systems revenues increased 28.9% on year to US$9.4 billion, while new storage capacity shipments grew 52.8% to 3.5EB.
Patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) maker Rigidtech Microelectronics is seeing strong orders in March and expects continued growth into April, with 4-inch units expected to be at the forefront, according to company president Hung Wen-ching.
Digitimes Research: Tianma expects new high-end display fabs to enter production in 2H15
Based on recent product displays and talks with representatives at Tianma Optoelectronics at the FPD China 2015 exhibition, the company is actively pursuing OLED and LTPS TFT LCD production and expects new facilities to enter production by late 2015, according to Digitimes Research.
Prospects of IC backend service industry remain promising: Q&A with UTAC Holdings CEO William John Nelson
The IC backend service industry was capped by a flurry of merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the fourth quarter of 2014: China's Zhangjiang Electronics acquired Singapore-based STATS ChipPAC, Taiwan's ChipMOS merged with fellow Thailin Semiconductor, Micron Technology partnered with Powertech Technology (PTI) to set up a packaging plant in Xian, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) took up Qualcomm's backend packaging/testing facilities in Taiwan.
Digitimes Research: Microsoft to push 2 inexpensive notebooks in mid-2015 to counter Chromebook penetration
Although the launches of inexpensive Chromebooks using Rockchip's solutions were postponed recently, Google is not giving up plans to release such products in 2015,l forcing Microsoft, which has been closely monitoring Chromebook development, to release two new inexpensive projects targeting the education and consumer markets. The projects are 11.6-inch clamshell-type notebooks priced at US$149-179 and set for release in mid-2015, at the earliest.
Foxconn to cooperate with SK C&C to tap China IT service market
Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) on March 26 announced cooperation with SK C&C, a South Korea-based IT service provider, to establish a joint venture for tapping the China's IT service market. The joint venture will start operations in May 2015.
Laser Technology and the National Law Enforcement Challenge help improve traffic safety programs
Top Priority Sector:
Centennial, CO, March 26 – Since 2013, Laser Technology (LTI) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police's (IACP) National Law Enforcement Challenge (NLEC) have hosted several informative webinars for law enforcement agencies who are interested in participating in the NLEC and improving their traffic safety programs. In preparation for the 2015 Challenge application deadline, the final LTI hosted NLEC webinar in this years’ two-part series will air on April 9, at 9:30 AM MDT.
NTSB to host first ever multimodal roundtable on distractions in transportation
Top Priority Sector:
Washington, March 20 – The National Transportation Safety Board will host a multi-modal roundtable to discuss the dangers of distractions in transportation. The roundtable, “Disconnect from Deadly Distractions,” will be held on March 31, 2015, in Washington, DC.
Automakers surpassing light-duty greenhouse gas standards
Top Priority Sector:
Washington, March 26 – For the second consecutive model year, the automotive industry outperformed the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards by a wide margin. Overall industry compliance in model year 2013 was 12 grams/mile – or 1.4 miles per gallon – better than required by the 2013 standard.
Create your own Sense 7 themes for the HTC One M9 using their handy web tool
If you've got a little time to kill this weekend, why not create a theme for the now available HTC One M9? HTC recently launched a handy web tool which allows anyone -- both novices and pros alike -- to build their own Sense 7 theme.
YouTube is now teasing Android users with 4K 60fps K-pop videos
Technology moves fast and the folks at YouTube are doing their best to stay ahead of the curve. Today, they've launched 4K 60fps videos -- not that you probably own anything capable of running this smoothly.
HTC One M9 teardown shows how difficult it is to repair a broken display [VIDEO]
By now we all know HTC will repair the One M9 during the first year of purchase, but what if you break it again? Those wondering how difficult it would be to repair something like the One M9's display will want to check out this post.
First photos of the alleged LG G4 Note leaked in the wild, complete with fancy new stylus
An XDA member has leaked, what appear to be photos of the the upcoming LG G4 Note. At least that’s what he’s calling it. The photos show a phone unlike previous LG devices we’ve seen, mainly the fact that it’s now got a Galaxy Note-like stylus up on top.
The Nexus Player is now officially available for purchase in the UK via the Google Store
After launching in the US late last year, the Nexus Player is now officially available in the UK via the Google Store. Yours for only £80, the set top box gives your television full access to the Google Play Store thanks to Android TV.
New Screenshots Detail Spartan Web Browser For Windows 10 Smartphones
MojoKid writes One of the most anticipated new features in Windows 10 is the Spartan web browser, which will replace the long-serving Internet Explorer. We've seen Spartan in action on the desktop/notebook front, but we're now getting a closer look at Spartan in action on the mobile side thanks to some newly leaked screenshots. Perhaps the biggest change with Spartan is the repositioning of the address bar from the bottom of the screen to the top (which is also in line with other mobile browsers like Safari and Chrome). The refresh button has also been moved from its right-hand position within the address bar to a new location to the left of the address bar. Reading Lists also make an appearance in this latest build of Spartan along with Microsoft's implementation of "Hubs" on Windows 10 for mobile devices.
Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad Thinks He Doesn't Use E-mail
Earthquake Retrofit writes The Washington Post reports the governor of Iowa denying he uses e-mail, but court documents expose his confusion. From the article: "Branstad's apparent confusion over smartphones, apps and e-mail is ironic because he has tried to portray himself as technologically savvy. His Instagram account has pictures of him taking selfies and using Skype... 2010 campaign ads show him tapping away on an iPad. 'Want a brighter future? We've got an app for that.' Earlier this month, the governor's office announced that it had even opened an account on Meerkat, the live video streaming app." Perhaps he's distancing himself from e-mail because it's a Hillary thing.
Notel Media Player Helps North Koreans Skirt Censorship
An anonymous reader writes A small portable media device, costing roughly $50, is allowing North Koreans to access and view foreign media despite tight government censorship, according to a Reuters report. The 'Notel', a mashup of notebook and television, is being described as a symbol of change in the repressed society. Used to watch DVDs and shared content from USB sticks and SD cards, the media player can be easily concealed and transported among families and friends. According to correspondents in the region, as many as half of all urban North Korean households have a notel and are swapping a broad range of banned media such as soaps and TV dramas from South Korea and China, Hollywood blockbusters, and news clips — all of which is strictly forbidden by Pyongyang law.
Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Gender Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins
vivaoporto writes As reported by the New York Times, USA Today and other publications, a jury of six men and six women rejected current Reddit Inc CEO Ellen Pao's claims against her former employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Ms. Pao's suit, that allegged employment discrimination based on gender, workplace retaliation and failure to take reasonable steps to prevent gender discrimination, asked $16 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. The jury decided, after more than two days of deliberation and more than four weeks of testimony, that her formed employer neither discriminated against the former junior partner for her gender, nor fired the complainant because of a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against the firm in 2012. She alleged that Kleiner Perkins had promoted male partners over equally qualified women at the firm, including herself, and then retaliated against her for raising concerns about the firm's gender dynamics by failing to promote her and finally firing her after seven years at the firm after she filed her 2012 lawsuit.
Robobug: Scientists Clad Bacterium With Graphene To Make a Working Cytobot
Zothecula writes By cladding a living cell with graphene quantum dots, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) claim to have created a nanoscale biomicrorobot (or cytobot) that responds electrically to changes in its environment. This work promises to lay the foundations for future generations of bio-derived nanobots, biomicrorobotic-mechanisms, and micromechanical actuation for a wide range of applications. "UIC researchers created an electromechanical device — a humidity sensor — on a bacterial spore. They call it NERD, for Nano-Electro-Robotic Device. The report is online at Scientific Reports, a Nature open access journal."
Nerval's Lobster writes Millennial tech workers are entering the U.S. workforce at a comparable disadvantage to other tech workers throughout the industrialized world, according to study earlier this year from Educational Testing Services (PDF). How do U.S. millennials compare to their international peers, at least according to ETS? Those in the 90th percentile (i.e., the top-scoring) actually scored lower than top-scoring millennials in 15 of the 22 studied countries; low-scoring U.S. millennials ranked last (along with Italy and England/Northern Ireland). While some experts have blamed the nation's education system for the ultimate lack of STEM jobs, other studies have suggested that the problem isn't in the classroom; a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau suggested that many of the people who earned STEM degrees didn't actually go into careers requiring them. In any case, the U.S. is clearly wrestling with an issue; how can it introduce more (qualified) STEM people into the market?
Win Or Lose, Discrimination Suit Is Having an Effect On Silicon Valley
SpzToid sends word that the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers discrimination case wrapped up yesterday. No matter what the outcome turns out to be, it has already effected how business is being done in Silicon Valley. "'Even before there's a verdict in this case, and regardless of what the verdict is, people in Silicon Valley are now talking,' said Kelly Dermody, managing partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, who chairs the San Francisco law firm's employment practice group. 'People are second-guessing and questioning whether there are exclusionary practices [and] everyday subtle acts of exclusion that collectively limit women's ability to succeed or even to compete for the best opportunities. And that's an incredibly positive impact.' Women in tech have long complained about an uneven playing field — lower pay for equal work, being passed over for promotions and a hostile 'brogrammer' culture — and have waited for a catalyst to finally overhaul the status quo. This trial — pitting a disgruntled, multimillionaire former junior partner against a powerful Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm — was far from the open-and-shut case that many women had hoped for. More gender discrimination suits against big tech firms are expected to follow; some already have, including lawsuits against Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc."
GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman
schwit1 writes In a report as well as at House hearings today the GAO reported that Northrop Grumman has denied them one-on-one access to workers building the James Webb Space Telescope. "The interviews, part of a running series of GAO audits of the NASA flagship observatory, which is billions of dollars overbudget and years behind schedule, were intended to identify potential future trouble spots, according to a GAO official. But Northrop Grumman Aerospace, which along with NASA says the $9 billion project is back on track, cited concerns that the employees, 30 in all, would be intimidated by the process." To give Northrop Grumman the benefit of the doubt, these interviews were a somewhat unusual request. Then again, if all was well why would they resist? Note too that the quote above says the cost of the telescope project is now $9 billion. If the project was "back on track" as the agency and Northrop Grumman claim, then why has the budget suddenly increased by another billion?
Sprint: LG G Flex Will Launch Online on January 31 for $299 on Contract
Starting today, Sprint customers can pre-order the unique LG G Flex smartphone for $299 online with a two year contract. By pre-ordering between now and January 31st, customers will receive a complimentary Quickwindow Folio Case, which is valued at $60. Sprint…
Motorola Announces Moto X Launch in UK, France, and Germany on February 1
Certain European consumers interested in the Moto X smartphone from Motorola will soon have their chance to purchase the excellent handset. Expected to launch on February 1st, Motorola will sell its iconic Moto X device in Black or White in…
Bits Blog: Facebook Sees Oculus Virtual Reality Headsets Shipping This Year
Michael Schroepfer, Facebook’s vice president of engineering, told developers that the company’s Oculus VR unit would get its PC-based virtual reality headset to consumers this year. That puts a lot of pressure on Oculus.
The Wii U's lack of flagship games - or many games at all, if we're being honest - is no secret to owners of the console and non-owners alike.
So it stung even more when Nintendo revealed today that the Wii U Legend of Zelda game has been pushed back into 2016.
There's at least a good reason for not putting the next Zelda game out in 2015 like Nintendo promised, and producer Eiji Aonuma went into detail about the choice in a Facebook update.
Bad news, good reasons
"The directors and the many members of the development team have been working hard developing the game to make it the best it can be," he says in the video. "In these last three months, as the team has experienced firsthand the freedom of exploration that hasn't existed in any Zelda game to date, we have discovered several new possibilities for this game.
"As we have worked to turn these possibilities into reality, new ideas have continued to spring forth, and it now feels like we have the potential to create something that exceeds even my own expectations."
He said he'd rather focus on making a good game than meeting a strict schedule, and therefore the Wii U's Zelda game won't arrive this year.
Nintendo of America added on Twitter that the game won't even appear at E3 2015, suggesting there's a major overhaul underway, and from the vague hints that Aonuma gave it seems the game could be legitimately fantastic.
But despite Nintendo and Aonuma's optimism about how hard the team is working and how good the next Zelda game will be, this is a blow for Wii U owners - the poor things - who are perpetually waiting for a new game to buy.
This is hardly the first big Wii U game that's been delayed, and indeed, the challenges of HD development seem to have thrown a wrench in the development of every major Nintendo game since the console came out.
Over that time plenty of great Wii U games have actually been released, and the system now has a respectable library of solid Nintendo games, a considerable advantage that the Xbox One and PS4 obviously lack.
But the damage done to Nintendo's reputation in this time - especially among the company's most ardent fans - may be hard to overcome, no matter how great the Nintendo NX turns out to be.
IN DEPTH: Creative much? How Surface Pro 3, not iPad, is Adobe's best canvas
Microsoft Surface Pro 3's Adobe Touch Workspace
Already five years old, Apple's innovative iPad is often dismissed as a device more focused on consumption than creation, despite the wide variety of apps available for photographers, designers, musicians, writers and other creative types.
For all the things iPad may be capable of, the tablet isn't running a robust, desktop-class operating system like Mac OS X or Windows, meaning developers are often forced to reinvent the wheel when existing software launches on the device.
That gives Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 a major advantage for those who prefer fewer compromises, since it's already running a full version of Windows 8.1 powered by the same fourth-generation Intel Core processors found inside desktop and notebook computers – but with the convenience and all-day battery life of a tablet.
However, what works great with a keyboard and mouse doesn't always necessarily translate to the best experience on a tablet, which is why Adobe recently introduced touch-friendly updates for two of its classic design applications, offering designers the best of both worlds in a single hardware package.
Touch me, babe
Adobe calls this initiative Touch Workspace, available now free of charge to existing Creative Cloud subscribers and Surface Pro 3 owners with the latest versions of Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 and Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 installed. (Adobe also offers a free 30-day trial prior to committing to a monthly or annual subscription.)
Designed for multi-touch gestures and pressure-sensitive stylus pen input alike, Touch Workspace streamlines the design user interface, making it more responsive to fingertips, while optimizing a number of new or existing software tools with touch interaction in mind.
Adobe has also implemented support for touch gestures already familiar on other tablet devices. Using two fingers, artists can pinch and zoom or pan around the digital canvas, rotating or scaling objects without a mouse or touchpad; one or more elements can be selected simply by dragging a finger around them.
For now, Adobe offers a more fully immersive Touch Workspace experience on Illustrator CC 2014, merely dipping their toes into the touch waters with Photoshop CC 2014, as well as recent updates to motion graphics and video editing solutions After Effects CC 2014 and Premiere Pro CC 2014.
Born to draw
To activate Touch Workspace on Illustrator CC 2014, tap the icon at the top of the screen, or select Window > Workspace > Touch. The user is presented with a streamlined UI that doesn't stray too far from the application's familiar look and feel, but pushes lesser-used tools out of sight to keep the focus on drawing and editing.
An exit button in the upper right corner switches back to the classic UI, while the adjacent Touch pull-down menu can be used to jump directly into any of Illustrator's other full-featured workspaces.
Longtime iPad users will want to remember to use two fingers (instead of just one) while panning around the artboard – in Adobe's new workspace, a single finger gesture is used for drawing and selection tools, which takes a little getting used to at first.
Despite Adobe's best intentions, some traditional tools lend themselves to pen input rather than touch, which lacks the precision of a stylus. But in general, Touch Workspace does a good job of making Illustrator more finger-friendly.
Surface Pro 3 with Adobe: tools and retooling
The right tools
Among the new drawing tools Adobe introduced for Illustrator CC 2014 is Curvature, which allows artists to create smooth curves by tapping once, or corner points and straight lines with two taps instead. (The same trick can also be used on Windows or Mac desktop systems.)
Likewise, the new Join tool makes it insanely easy to connect paths that failed to intersect or overlap while drawing. In addition to adding the necessary connections, Join is also capable of removing overlapping segments as well – tasks that previously required more advanced skills on the desktop.
Adobe also incorporated a couple of new features that first debuted on the company's iPad apps, and they're quite cool. Using the Shapes Ruler and Stencil tool, artists can make short work of straight and parallel lines, angles or even complex French curves by controlling a virtual ruler on-screen with two fingers.
Going one step further, the Shape Builder tool allows artists to combine or remove shapes from an object with ease, turning a cluster of seemingly random lines into a much cooler lightning bolt, for example.
By comparison to Adobe Illustrator CC 2014, legendary image editor Photoshop CC 2014 takes a somewhat smaller step into the future. Rather than introducing a dedicated Touch Workspace for the legacy application, Adobe has instead introduced little enhancements all over the existing UI, making it easier to use on touch or pen-equipped devices like Surface Pro 3.
One of the bigger improvements involved increasing the size of icons and touch targets by 200 percent over the previous version, which makes tools and buttons far easier to tap on. Drawing lines or strokes with a pen is also more accurate and natural, thanks to a combination of higher frequency sampling on hardware and software alike.
Of course, the biggest advantage of the Touch Workspace and Surface Pro 3 combo is the ability to place a crisp, colorful 12-inch display right into your hands or lap. Designers are no longer chained to the desktop or encumbered by a notebook keyboard and trackpad separating them from the work.
A few caveats
Unfortunately, the Touch Workspace experience hasn't been totally streamlined with this initial release. For starters, opening an existing Illustrator document throws the user straight back into the Desktop's trusty old open and save dialog box, rather than the more Modern (formerly "Metro") environment found on Windows 8.
Other niceties like Save As are also missing from Illustrator CC's Touch Workspace mode, so artists will need to temporarily switch back to the classic user interface whenever they want to save alternate versions of the currently open document.
Despite these few UI nitpicks, Touch Workspace makes for a compelling addition to Adobe Creative Cloud, and makes Surface Pro 3 a must-have for anyone who spends time drawing or painting with Illustrator CC. (For the moment, Photoshop CC users have less reason to cheer, but the additional features do make the application easier to use while disengaged from a keyboard and mouse.)
Better PowerPoint collaboration expected with LiveLoop acquisition
Microsoft has signalled its intention to further diversify the Office productivity suite after acquiring LiveLoop for an undisclosed fee.
A spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed the acquisition to ZDNet, and the LiveLoop for PowerPoint program is expected to be the first to play a part in the Office of the future.
"Microsoft is excited to welcome the talented team from LiveLoop to help build great collaboration across Office applications, as part of our strategy and vision to reinvent productivity," confirmed a spokesperson from Microsoft.
LiveLoop for PowerPoint, its primary offering, is a program that allows teams to work on presentations inside PowerPoint at the same time as fellow employees in a similar way to Google's Slides program. It eliminates the need to use a separate meeting program, such as GoToMeeting, as you can simply share the URL and kick a meeting off from there.
A message on the LiveLoop website confirmed that it will be shutting down permanently as of April 24, 2015 and all data, including presentations, must be removed by then or face being permanently deleted.
PC Gaming Week: What it takes to run the biggest space MMO
Like some grand old dame, her youthful charms supplanted by the calculated sophistication of age, Eve Online is wading gently into her second decade. Created by Icelandic developers CCP Games, the massively multiplayer online game is set within the distant universe of New Eden, a place of immortal space pirates and larger-than-life politics, of players who think nothing of setting 6 a.m. alarms to patrol the lawless galaxies.
Eve Online isn't an easy game to get into. It comes packaged with heavy expectations of commitment. Skill and ISK (the in-game currency) need to be accumulated gradually through weeks of mining, trading and player-on-everything combat. And there's a lot of everything given that the online world is a thriving galactic jungle swarming with more than 500,000 citizens.
From a year-long war to elaborate Ponzi schemes, none of Eve's intricate happenings would be possible without the appropriate hardware. Eve Online's massive world is built in the bones of Tranquility, a centralized server cluster based in London.
The technical specifications are unsurprisingly hefty. In a 2013 interview, CCP Chief Technical Officer Halldor Fannar revealed Tranquility featured 3,936GB of RAM and 2,574GHz worth of processing power. To put that in perspective, that's like having the computing power of 858 high-end processors or roughly 1,838 iPhone 6's combined into one block.
But even that isn't enough to fully accommodate the strenuous loads that Eve Online's growing number of players puts on Tranquility.
In the heat of battle
To keep this massive online realm running,, there is constant co-operation between CCP Games' operation and development teams as they monitor the nodes for activity levels and migrating solar systems when necessary. One example of this was the Bloodbath of B-R5RB, which saw more than 5,000 total combatants and losses amounting to $300,000 (about £201,213, AU$385,822) in real-world value.
During the event, developers relocated unrelated systems away from the affected node, freeing space for the carnage and temporarily disconnecting anyone not otherwise related to the fight.
"It's a choice we need to make," shrugs Senior Virtual World System Administrator
Guðmundur Jón Viggósson when I spoke with him at the 2015 Eve Fanfest. "We have a battle of 5,000 players. Let's disconnect 100 players so the battle can continue."
Compromise is a familiar theme in the day-to-day operations of Eve Online. The game was never designed for 500,000 players: it began life on a handful of computers.As such, CCP is still figuring out how best to adjust to the needs of its user base, and problems still arise whenever unexpected giant fleet fights break out.
Given sufficient notice, the operation team will transfer the conflagration to a node dedicated to such purposes. But that doesn't always happen, resulting in disconnected players, population caps and lag.
Lag is a nuisance in any online game but the company's most ingenious solution so far is something called "time dilation." Introduced in 2010, the code adjusts the passage of time incrementally depending on the load, scaling up and down in symphony with the action.
It keeps constant tabs on itself, the size of the execution queue, and other variables within the game environment. Although its presence is most vividly felt during fleet battles, its function isn't unique to combat and can activate even when a player is merely moving items around.
Fascinating as it might be, CCP Senior Development Director Erlendur Þorsteinsson describes time dilation as a "band-aid," a temporary answer as opposed to a true resolution.
"We're not really solving the underlying symptoms. What we're sort of doing is extending the range with which we can accommodate people," Þorsteinsson declares. "There's a certain range, maybe up to 1,000 people roughly, that we can solve without time dilating. After that, up till 5,000 people, we're handling with time dilation. Beyond that? Things will simply queue up and you will experience what is known as lag."
The way forward
The CCP developer also touches briefly on a collaboration between the company and the University of Reykjavik, which is something of a research project that Þorsteinsson is quick to note is not actively being worked on.
He explains that the related professor and his students looked into whether it was possible to predict an encroaching fight by examining logistics movement and counter-fleet movement. The experiment was reportedly quite successful for a university project, although CCP chose not to embed the idea in their code.
"What we did instead is, based on the discussion we had around this project, was change how we map solar systems. We did it in a different manner that we think now balances the load throughout the cluster, which makes the cluster better able to take on unexpected loads. Then we allocated more hardware to nullsec, so that unexpected load will have much more room."
While CCP iterates on the software that keeps Eve Online functional, the operations team continues the Herculean task of keeping the single-shard (single-server) universe afloat. "It's a constant battle figuring out what hardware works with the game," explains Viggósson. "The market is slowly trending into reducing clock speeds and increasing cores. And it just doesn't really have much. We just need the power of the CPU."
That necessity for raw power is made abundantly clear in the existence of the Everest node, Jita's current home and the workhorse handling the most system-intensive processes.
"At the time when we bought it, only places like the New York Stock Exchange had it," chuckled Viggósson.
Purchased from IBM four years ago, the computational behemoth sports a 4.12Ghz processor and 64gb memory. According to Viggósson, Everest was not available commercially at the time and it contained CPUs that were overclocked by IBM itself. The warranty was only applicable for 12 months; Viggósson postulates it was because the technology company's staff had no confidence in it lasting longer than a year.
Nonetheless, Everest continues to persist, and with it Tranquility. The two sit tethered together by a patchwork of old code and new ideas as a work in progress. In some ways, this is reflective of CCP's approach as a whole: tackling problems head-first, without allowing the impossibilities of a dream dissuade ambition.
Updated:The devices for Presto and Netflix, Stan and Netflix shows, Netflix movies and the verdict for Stan, Presto, Quickflix and Netflix. Also the price for Netflix in Australia.
Netflix may be the leading internet TV service in the US, but the streaming giant has some stiff competition down under, and not just from incumbent Quickflix.
Netflix joined the ranks of acting players in the Australian streaming market on March 24th, following the official launch of Stan on Australia Day this year, and the release of the Presto TV entertainment package only a week or so before that.
We will update this comparison as further device connectivity and new content deals are rolled out. In the meantime, this is TechRadar's assessment of how these subscription streaming services stack up and which ones you should be keeping an eye on in 2015.
StreamCo's streaming service with an awkwardly weird name is confirmed to cost $10 per month with a 30-day free trial.
Foxtel's Netflix rival comes in a few flavours. $14.99 per month with a 30-day free trial will get you both movies and TV content, although you can also choose between the Movie pack or TV pack for $9.99 each.
Australia's oldest surviving SVOD service starts at $9.99 with a 14-day free trial. The streaming service can be packaged with a DVD delivery service for $19.99, or the DVD service alone is available for $12.99. Quickflix also has a premium service where purchase new release titles can be purchased individually as pay-per-view.
Last to the race and keeping quite about pricing, Netflix was able to undercut all the other streaming products, starting at $8.99 per month. This entry-level Netflix price only gets you a single stream in standard definition. $11.99 per month will get you an extra stream and access to high definition resolution. Four streams and access to Netflix's 4K content will mean your monthly subscription price lines up with the cost of the presto service at $14.99 per month.
StreamCo's service is accessed via iOS and Android apps. Android users can then view content on their TV via the Chromecast dongle, while Apple AirPlay enables iOS enthusiasts to stream content to their Apple TV.
On a Mac, the service can be accessed via Safari or Firefox, but it is not compatible with Google Chrome at this point in time.
Firefox, Chrome and some iterations of Internet Explorer are compatible with Stan on various Windows operating systems.
Users can link up to six devices to any one account, and once this is full, swap over one device each month. There are no stand alone applications available on TVs or consoles just yet, although there are plans to launch these at a later date.
Presto recently released apps for smartphones including, iOS devices (later than the iPhone 5) and selected Android devices from Samsung (HTC, LG, Sony and ZTE). These smartphone apps can stream to your TV via Chromecast in the same way as the existing apps for iPads and selected Android tablets, which have been available since Presto's launch.
It is also possible to use your computer's AirPlay externally, to cast from your Mac to an Apple TV but this option is not optimised for Presto. There is a Presto Anytime app for your iPad, but you can't use that to Airplay content to your Apple TV.
Presto sets a limit of four devices per account. After that you can again only change one device per month, although you can use 2 devices on each account to stream different programs simultaneously.
Unless you plan on using just your computer to watch films, Presto is likely to be the most restricted in terms of usability, but if you're worried about exceeding your data allowance, Presto has announced that Foxtel Broadband subscribers will receive no data limit when streaming Presto's content.
Available directly through Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Sony smart TVs, Quickflix is also compatible with PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360.
It's also available on a range of smartphones and tablets including iOS, both Google and Samsung Androids, Kindle Fire and Windows phone. As well as Chromecast, Quickflix can be connected through media devices such as TiVo, HUMAX, Kobo and Oppo.
As Quickflix has been available in Australia for some time now, it's not surprising that this service has the most comprehensive device accessibility.
Netflix will be available on Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips and HiSense, smart Televisions from launch. The US heavyweight has also brokered a deal with the australian set top box and alternate cable TV provider, FetchTV to have an app directly on the device.
Neither Stan nor Presto have apps available on a device that is directly plugged into your television, cutting a whole step of relaying video via WI-FI and speeding up the stream significantly.
The Fetch TV app not only adds another new option for accessibility but also puts Netflix in front of the hundreds of thousand of Australians currently subscribe to Fetch.
These combine with existing apps on Apple TV, Google Chromecast, iOS devices and both Android tablets and phones. Netflix will also be unique in offering apps on gaming consoles like the PS3, PS4, Nintendo Wii U and microsoft's Xbox 360 and Xbox One. New Xbox One consoles purchased at selected stores will also receive three months prepaid access to the streaming service.
Kid's Programs and TV Content
Stan's core children's programming comes from deals with the ABC and Viacom, the latter of which has the rights to the Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. channels.
Some of Viacom's kids programs include the hit shows Avatar: The Last Airbender; Octonauts, Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, Bubble Guppies, and popular live-action shows like iCarly, VICTORiOUS, and Drake & Josh.
Stan also offers a decent collection of ABC favourites like The Wiggles, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Guess How Much I Love You and Justine Clarke, as well as overseas titles like Octonauts, Angelina Ballerina, Bob the Builder, Thomas and Friends, Fireman Sam, Sesame Street and Mister Maker.
The BBC also gives Stan access to the show Charlie and Lola and documentaries from David Attenborough. Stan has great TV content for kids, but doesn't offer the Disney movie titles that will be available on Netflix and Presto.
The Seven and Foxtel venture also has a content deal with Viacom, so it shares recognisable children's titles including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Deals with other big children's program distributors Saban, DHX Media and Hasbro Studios add an extensive range of shows that are suitable for the whole family. Classic Disney films like Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and Tarzan are also present, complementing the newer family hits like Frozen, Ice age 2, UP, and A Night At the Museum.
Quickflix has a decent collection of children's films, though most of them are older titles. There are a few contemporary children's programs from the ABC and the BBC thrown in as well, but in terms of TV, Quickflix isn't thorough.
Paddington Bear, Sesame St and '90s Australian young adult favourite Around The Twist are the type of programs that define the Quickflix offering. There are some great movies included but on the whole there is less new content for kids to engage with than the other services we sampled.
Netflix had the movie premiere of DreamWorks Animation's The Adventures of Puss in Boots in January, for its more established streaming regions around the world, and it intends to maintain its reputation for a solid level of kids content in Australia.
Netflix has also announced deals with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm for the distribution of children's titles in Australia.
Netflix has brought over its specific settings that allow children to browse content by themselves without accidentally bumping into something inappropriate.
The child-friendly interface that allows kids to peruse a massive catalogue of titles ordered by their favourite mermaid or Pokemon character, offers a unique and engaging experience for kids.
With popular shows like Mako Mermaid and great children's flicks like UP, Wall-E and Alice in Wonderland, Netflix has a lot of desirable content for the little ones.
Stan's content lineup features the fruits of deals with Sony Pictures Television, CBS (includes SHOWTIME), MGM, BBC, ABC, Viacom, and SBS and World Movies making its TV offering one of the most robust of the three live services.
Following in the footsteps of Netflix, Stan has announced that it is working on original locally-produced content including a six part TV series based on the film Wolf Creek and a mini-series called Enemies of the State. New shows like Gallipoli and a solid range of Aussie films combine to show the local streaming service's commitment to quality Australian content.
Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent and Better Call Saul are new and acclaimed TV titles that will be exclusive to Stan for the entire life of each series. There's also a good mix of popular and up-and-coming shows available on the service.
Presto brokered a deal with HBO for its launch in 2015, which includes access to 13 popular premium shows. The latest seasons of Boardwalk Empire (currently only pay-per-view on Quickflix) will be exclusive to the Presto service.
Presto has also confirmed a deal with Showtime giving subscribers access to shows like Dexter, Californication, Deadwood and Ray Donovan. This content is complemented by selected shows from Seven West Media and Foxtel making Presto's selection decent, but still comparatively slim on its range, and with notably less exclusives.
Quickflix currently has back catalogues of HBO shows like True Blood, Entourage, The Sopranos, and The Wire available on its subscription service.
There are also BBC titles like Sherlock, Little Britain, Faulty Towers, The Office and Torchwood, SBS titles like The Killing and Wilfred, and a huge range of films available on the $9.99 per month plan.
Netflix had a major win negotiating the Australian rights to its flagship original title: House of Cards, resecuring the title from Foxtel and they will also have the first two seasons of their other hugely-successful original show: Orange is the New Black.
The company has also shifted its focus to a global content acquisition strategy, which will allow it to avoid negotiating local distribution rights in the future. This means that, over time, the Netflix content available in each country will begin to converge.
So far, Netflix has announced shows including Marco Polo, Bloodline (featuring Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Chelsea Handler, Marvel's Daredevil, Sense8, BoJack Horseman, Virunga, Mission Blue, and Uganda Be Kidding Me.
A recent deal with Beyond Distribution also will bring local stand-up comedy from Carl Barron, Arj Barker, Kitty Flanagan, Jimeoin and the Umbilical Brothers to the service. At launch, Netflix already had a solid content offering, with a number of highly desirable titles and a thorough back catalogue.
Movies, Quality and Verdict
Stan's recent Roadshow Entertainment deal secured some desirable titles that are available immediately including The LEGO Movie, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Wolf of Wall Street, Edge of Tomorrow, The Inbetweeners 2, A Walk Among the Tombstones, John Wick, The Judge, and Australian films Wolf Creek 2 and Felony.
The Imitation Game, the comedy St. Vincent, and Golden Globe winning biopic Big Eyes will also be available later in the year.
Stan already had a competitive lineup of titles from its MGM deal, that will see titles like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 21 Jump Street and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appearing.
MGM will also contribute a number of classic films like When Harry Met Sally, The Silence of the Lambs, West Side Story and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Stan also has content from SBS World Movies including films from over 45 countries in more than 70 languages and big Australian titles like Animal Kingdom.
Presto's movie service precedes the new Entertainment package and has already accumulated a decent collection of movies.
Since the start of 2015, Presto has given its customers access to new titles such as Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor the Dark World, American Gangster, Philomena and Layer Cake. The movie selection is decent, but it should be when you consider that it's the same price as the other services combined.
Quickflix offers a somewhat eclectic mix of films. Because there's a pay-per-view movie streaming option on Quickflix, the newest home rental titles are placed there first, meaning what ends up in the subscription movie basket is either good but old or seems as though it's scraping the barrel in terms of quality.
Because it boasts a tonne of films, this service is more suited to movie buffs looking for a comprehensive back catalogue rather than access to the very latest releases.
Netflix also has a deal with Village Roadshow Entertainment, meaning it will share a number of movie titles with Stan, including; The Lord of the Rings, Oceans Eleven and The Matrix trilogies.
So far, the titles available in March will include Marvel''s Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Disney's Saving Mr. Banks.
Other than this the Netflix film collection seems to sit inline with Stan and Presto, but Netflix stands out in the amount of documentaries it has.
Stan gives you the option of using its automated bit-rate adaption technology to peg the display quality to the speed of your internet connection. Alternatively you can choose to watch titles in HD, and SD if you're watching on portable devices.
Presto only offers SD streaming, making it the lowest of the four in the image quality stakes.
Quickflix offers standard definition videos with HD options on selected titles.
Netflix has various prices for access to the different definitions available on the service. Purely SD is the least expensive at $8.99 per month and access to 4K is $14.99 per month.
Netflix also has an automatic bit-rate monitor that will optimise picture quality according to internet speed. Unlike Stan though, Netflix streams won't have to re-buffer at the new image quality, so there is no interruption when changing definition.
Watching movies online will use a decent amount of your monthly bandwidth and if you're contemplating signing up to one of these subscription video services, you may want to look into the different deals that each have made with ISPs. These deals allow unmetered downloads through specific ISPs on home broadband plans.
Unfortunately Stan has no partnerships with ISPs. It has announced a deal with Vodafone, although no details have been confirmed about what's included in the partnership at this time.
Telstra fixed line broadband and Foxtel Broadband will not charge you for downloaded Presto content.
Also lacking in ISP love.
A deal with iiNet that excludes satellite, NBN wireless, business accounts and mobile internet plans will give all other iiNet plans access to unmetered Netflix. iiNet subsidiaries internode, Westnet and Adam also offer unmetered Netflix.
From April 17th, Optus' fixed home broadband plans will offer unmetered Netflix. Optus will also give new customers a free 6 month subscription to Netflix until July 5th.
If you are already subscribed to the Apple ecosystem with an Apple TV and an iPhone, iPad or Mac, then it would be hard not to give Stan a solid recommendation.
Its compatibility with Apple products makes it easy to use and the service offers a good selection of titles from new releases to classics in both film and TV.
Stan has a unique number of Australian movies, local TV and has planned two original television series – including a mini-series of Wolf Creek and Enemies of the State (a drama about the controversial Australian politician Lionel Murphy that will be partly written by Australian journalist Tony Jones).
Stan's major downfalls are; a lack of ISPs deals that offer unmetered downloads and limited device connectivity that relies on less consistent casting technology.
As a whole, Stan offers users access to a great range of TV and Movies that can be viewed in in high definition for $10 per month and it's the only Australian service that, in ways, really challenges Netflix as the best streaming service.
Presto has a great movie selection and the buffering on the systems work well, but it's hard to really experience the prestige of the titles on your television when you can only watch content in SD.
While Presto has a number of noteworthy TV shows, it's considerably more expensive than Stan and the equivalent Netflix tier. Netflix does have an equally priced option, but it is for 4k content – a file quality that can be projected onto a cinema sized screen without quality loss.
Overall the TV catalogue seems slightly less extensive, with fewer exclusives and a number of partial shows offerings.
Although Presto's recent release of apps for smartphones makes the platform more versatile, the only way to stream to the Television is through Chromecast. The service does have plans to release an app for Telstra's digital set top box, the T-Box, making a little headway towards direct connectivity, but it isn't there yet.
Presto offers a decent range of content at a price that many Australians would find surprisingly inexpensive, but it's still some way off the value offered by Stan and is likely to feel glitchy and fickle once Netflix launches in March.
Quickflixhas a decent selection of TV shows available, and there are apps for a wide range of devices.
The premium service means that if you really want to watch a particular show then you'll have the option to pay for it. Furthermore, if you're the organised type and don't mind the effort, forward planning and extra monthly cost required to have DVDs mailed to you, then you can actually save a decent amount of money on highly desirable shows like the Game of Thrones series.
Purely in terms of its subscription streaming, Quickflix's TV selection is the weakest on offer, and the company seems to be losing the awareness war with the arrival of these other newer competitors.
While Presto, Stan and Netflix all celebrate new content on an almost weekly basis, Quickflix seems to have little to celebrate.
What's more, its UI is slow, and counter-intuitive on many devices, leaving it well behind the settled dust of the likes of Netflix.
Netflix has been the dark horse in this race, holding off on details about pricing until the last minute and scooping two deals with Aussie ISPs that will give a broad range of users access to unmetered downloads.
The service has some amazing original content. Shows like House of Cards, Bloodline and the new Daredevil series, hold their own against the best new television shows available anywhere in the world. Content deals with Warner Bros., BBC, FOX, NBC Universal, Village Roadshow Entertainment, Beyond Distribution, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and The Walt Disney Company, mean that it also has access to an enormous amount of TV shows and movies.
Netflix is unique in offering access to 4K content and overall device compatibility surpasses the best of the Australian services, Quickflix.
The most dramatic advantage for Netflix is its superior streaming technology. Years of experience in delivering subscription television to a diverse range of countries has allowed the company plenty time to iron out glitches and deliver a consistent hassle-free service.
Though Stan and Presto are tweaking their streaming tech every day (Stan has developed a lot since launch when it had problems with progress bars not disappearing and inconsistent apple TV casting) Netflix still has the technological edge.
This care free user experience is complemented by a unique back-end algorithm that takes great effort to find and suggest personalized lists of titles you may want to watch next.
This may seem trivial if you are not familiar with streaming services, but consistently knowing exactly what you want to watch next, can be tricky and searching through a ton of titles is not an overly appealing experience.
The list of Australian movies and TV shows available on Netflix isn't as comprehensive as Stan, but that is really the only area that the service was found lacking.
The fact that it has multiple unmetered ISP deals will mean it is a far less expensive option initially (provided you're with a compatible ISP) and the different subscription options offer competitive rates for quality services.
If you already have a large home broadband plan, Apple devices and really care about Australian content, then Stan sneaks in as the better service for you. In almost every other case though Netflix is currently the best streaming service you can get.
That said, Stan, Presto and Netflix are all services that offer a completely new TV and movie experience, which is significantly more competitive than anything we've seen before in Australia.
It's worth some private investigation into the content of each service, as personal preference of shows is likely to be the determining factor, at the end of the day.
Periscope vs Meerkat: which is the better live streaming app?
Live streaming or let die
Live from your mobile phone, it's either Periscope for Meerkat. The two video streaming apps are the latest social media sensations to broadcast real-time video.
Turning everyone into an on-the-scene reporter, Meerkat made its officially debut at SXSW Interactive Festival this month. It links to your Twitter account for easy sharing to existing followers.
Periscope launched today with the same basic purpose, only it has official Twitter backing. It was purchased by social media company for a reported $100 million (about £67m, AU$128m).
It's difficult enough to broadcast with one of these new apps without distraction, so using both at the same time is out. It's time for our Periscope vs Meerkat comparison.
What are Periscope and Meerkat?
Both video streaming apps let you see through someone else's eyes. This makes them ideal for large, but distant events, like protests, or as we saw today, New York City building fires.
Of course, for every critical-viewing event, there are a dozen meaningless salad making or one-second "Test" live streaming videos for the new services. That's to be expected.
It reminds me of the advent of cable news. CNN founder Ted Turner was once asked "Aren't you, with live all the time...gonna wind up covering a lot of one-alarm fires?"
He responded, "Until it's over, you never know whether it was a one-alarm fire or the fire that burned down Chicago." Meerkat and Periscope could be the next-generation version of this.
Periscope vs Meerkat: Compatibility
Both Periscope and Meerkat have launched iOS apps, and the developers behind these two live video streaming services are promising Android support "soon."
Periscope has the backing of Twitter and Meerkat has solid funding behind it, so there's an urgency to follow through on this promise. After all Google-powered now dominate phones.
Whichever app gets there first may win this live streaming video space race.
Meerkat is a lot busier looking than Periscope. A lot busier. The interface displays the broadcaster's name, their Twitter handle and viewer count in the top left corner. The city they're streaming from and the title of their broadcast are in the top right corner.
That's not all. There's also an always-present sliding menu of every watcher's profile pic. It conveniently brings the broadcaster and viewers together, streaming-face to still-face.
Comments look congested on Meerkat, but can be more engaging. That's because you can scroll back through the black-outlined text. On Periscope, comments quickly disappear.
One thing that people dislike is Meerkat's deeper Twitter integration, which can SPAM your Twitter page with a bunch of @ replies, as every comment is tweeted. That's not fun.
Periscope has launched with a cleaner interface, which looks great for capturing live video. But it may be a little too clean for my liking.
As a viewer, there's only an easy-to-miss X in the top corner to close a stream. The viewer list and broadcaster information are hidden within a menu access via a left swipe.
Comments and viewer count are tucked away at the bottom, and comments disappear after a few short seconds. It's harder to disappearing text as a broadcaster.
Hearts can be "given" to a Periscope broadcaster when a viewer taps the screen. It seems meaningless, but it's a really helpful way to instantly tell the host that you like what you see.
Periscope vs Meerkat: Features
The biggest advantage to Periscope is that you can archive clips for viewing them on the web. This isn't completely automatic, however, as I sadly found out in my first, now-lost broadcast.
Meerkat did give me the option to save my broadcast to my iPhone 6 camera roll, but it doesn't support sharing these clips within the app beyond the live stream.
I expect this to change. For now, though, Meerkat is a bit like Snapchat. Video of your broadcast is unlikely to get out there, but it's still possible for other people to capture it nefariously.
Meerkat does let you schedule broadcasts, which is very helpful for fans finding broadcasters and broadcasters reaching new fans. It's easier to build an audience. It also lets you use the iPhone's flash to light dark videos.
Periscope vs Meerkat: Video quality and connection
Video quality on Meerkat and Periscope greatly depend on your connection. With so many videos taken on the road, it's obvious that LTE isn't ready to live streaming the masses.
This is further complicated by dropped frames (and audio) when switching between front and back cameras on both apps, as all talking heads like to do. Both apps are guilty of this.
Periscope also had the distinct problem of hiding battery life and WiFi connection icons at the top of my iPhone. I found it hard to tell when I switched from WiFi to LTE unless viewers asked me if that just happened. Smart TechRadar viewers.
Periscope vs Meerkat: Broadcasters
Periscope looks a little more refined, and so far its early adopters are less annoying. That can of course change beyond day one of the app's existence.
Meerkat is chock full of whinny people with first world problems, but that may be because it has been available since the top of the month.
Periscope has time to catch up. Pretty soon it too will be full of people complaining about their day on the way home from work, broadcasting and driving at the same time. Why?!
You'll find more legitimate news organizations on Meerkat right now because of the newness of Periscope. A lot of cutting-edge publications are using both apps side-by-side.
Periscope vs Meerkat wrap-up
Today's Periscope vs Meerkat comparison reminds me of 2013's Vine vs Instagram launch. Both services ushered in short-form video capturing apps with back-to-back launches.
These are two very experimental apps that will likely be tweaked based on user feedback. Periscope, for example, has already toned down the mass notifications it sends.
It'd be nice for Meerkat is get a cleaner interface and Periscope to figure out a way to keep comments longer without cluttering the screen space.
In a perfect world, in the words of TechRadar's Michelle Fitzsimmons, we'd have Meerscope. Or Perikat.
Updates to some third-party apps to make them Apple Watch ready are rolling out today, even though the Watch itself won't be on sale until the end of April.
You can, however, download these apps on your iPhone and then wait patiently until April 24 (when the Apple Watch goes on sale) to tap their full capabilities.
Most developers have to wait until the Apple Watch release before they can push out app updates, but Apple has seemingly given the green light to a select number.
Among the apps with Watch-compatible updates arriving in the App Store are Babbel, ECB Cricket, Evernote, Expedia, MLB.com At Bat, Sky Guide, The New York Times, Target and Twitter. More apps appear to be receiving updates as well, 9to5Mac noted.
Those who visit an Apple Store beginning April 10 can try out a Watch for 15 minutes, or 30 minutes if it's an Apple Watch Edition you're after. Could be the perfect time to test the apps you already downloaded.
Check out our video breakdown of everything you need to know about the Apple Watch below.
PC Gaming Week: How Lotus Turbo Challenge II blended arcade thrills with racing realism
Lotus Turbo Challenge II gave you the chance to drive a beautiful Lotus Elan or Esprit at insane speeds, through exotic locations, without the slightest possibility of either crashing or being stopped by the law. Buckle up and drift into the original Amiga Power review from 1992 below.
Game: Lotus Turbo Challenge II
Authors: Shaun Southern with the Magnetic Fields team
Release: Out now
Lotus Turbo Challenge II gives you the chance to drive a beautiful Lotus Elan or Esprit at insane speeds, through exotic locations, without the slightest possibility of either crashing or being stopped by the law.
As such you can't help but recommend it in the fun stakes – the Amiga Power team are well known for their liberal interpretations of the speed limit at times, but this is real wish fulfilment stuff. If we really drove like we drive Lotus II, we'd all have been locked up long ago.
Of course, you could say similar things about hundreds of other driving games, couldn't you? Well, no, not really – they may or may not be fun (depending on the game), but almost universally they bear precious little relation to the actual act of driving itself. If they've (deservedly, by the way) come in for some stick for being a little bit samey lately, they equally deserve to be slagged for how unrealistic they all are.
Lotus II, on the other hand, while sharing plenty of surface similarities with its peers – the action is presented from your standard behind-view, pseudo-3D perspective, for instance – succeeds in being both great fun in an arcade-style way, as well as remarkably true to real driving. In look, feel and ambition it quite confidently leaves its rivals munching on exhaust fumes.
Make no mistake then – this is one much-hyped game which actually turns out to deserve its pre-release reputation. Cynical readers (and of course, cynical journos like ourselves) – even those who enjoyed the first game – will have taken all the pre-release hype with a lorry load of road salt, but it seems we needn't have bothered after all. Gremlin have mixed speed with convincing graphics, imagination, a good feel and simple care to produce, I'd say, the best sprite-based driving game ever on the Amiga.
It's a pleasant surprise that this isn't a game in which you're forced to race against dim-witted computer opponents. You can either slog it out with the elements – much like in real fast driving, where you're not actually racing anyone, just trying to get somewhere fast – or take on one, two or even three (!) pals in the split screen or computer link version (more on that later). There's no racetrack as such – this is all out on the open road, and the only way to progress is to get to the checkpoints in time (Out Run-style, in fact).
In the first levels, this is easy-peasy, but later on, with furious weather conditions to cope with, it gets altogether more challenging. Of course there are other cars on the road, but they seem to be about as intelligent as the oil slicks and felled trees that litter the roads. Really they exist to get in your way rather than to try and beat you.
One trouble with the first Lotus was that, despite being a graphically excellent drive, it was badly flawed in the crash recovery department. If you got tangled up with an obstacle, the car would slow to a halt (it wouldn't actually flip upside down though, Out Run-style) making getting back into the race a real pain because the blasted car took so long to get itself started again.
Lotus II has fixed that, but in doing so has created some problems of its own. Now you don't stop at all – Lotus (the company) have apparently insisted that none of their expensive kit gets damaged even in computer simulation (the softies) – so instead of bringing you to an abrupt halt, hitting something just makes the control go wibbly and slows you down a bit.
This makes the game faster and saves the getting-started-again problem, but equally it makes it difficult to judge just how appalling your mistake was without your keeping an eye on the speedo. It's a moot point, but in the end I think I'd say this non-stopping is a good thing – though, of course, it's pretty hard to take a game totally seriously when slamming into a lorry at 140 just slows you down to 20 mph (instead of simply mashing you).
Still, that's all part of what makes it such an unusual game – it's so very arcade-like in speed and smoothness terms, while much of the actual driving experience it's trying to emulate (the way the two different cars handle, say) is so realistic. Unusual, but it works.
The other really unusual thing about the game is the style and range of the weather conditions presented – and how they really affect the way your car handles and you play the game. Throughout, though, the cars handle a treat (just different enough from one another to be noticeable), the sweeping descents into valleys and blind hilltops (as in the first game) are as exciting as ever, and, of course, the programmers have made no mistake with the parallax scrolling. As a one player game it's simply excellent.
That said, though, the best, best thing about it is the ability to play against your pals. As we've often said before, computer games are always best when you're trying to whip your buddies, and I reckon this applies especially to driving games.
The horizontally split screen option (carried over from the first Lotus game) puts you head-to-head against a pal using the same computer without any loss of speed – I would say that this is the best way to play the game, except that a) Stuart beat me every time we played, so there MUST be something wrong, and b) if you link two computers with a lead you can either play a friend with a full screen each, or split both screens for four (four!) simultaneous players. It's quite something.
So is it worth buying? Well, yes, of course – it may not be perfect, but it's probably the most atmospheric game of its kind, and most certainly the most fun. Definitely recommended.
Uppers – Gorgeous graphics, lashings of speed, and that hard to capture real driving atmosphere – especially when you're up against human opponents. The most together traditional-style driving game yet.
Downers – Suffers a little from Lotus' insistence on banning any crash sequences. And there aren't any decent maps to tell you how close you are to the next checkpoint, either.
The bottom line – The Amiga has suffered from plenty of disappointments when it comes to driving games. Lotus II is not one of them. (In fact, it's rather excellent).
Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office to 'leave you quivering with excitement'
Acting head appointed, but 2017 delivery date softened to 'goal'
Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed a little more about his Digital Transformation Office (DTO), the agency he's tasked with making it possible to perform all interactions with the federal government online.…
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- The popularity of dark chocolate throughout the world has surpassed just being a flavour of the month. The rapid growth in demand for fine flavour cocoa, primarily used in the sought-after dark chocolate, over the past five years, is set to continue bringing lucrative benefits...
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – The prime minister of Curacao, Ivar Asjes, summoned the Venezuelan consul Marisol Gutierrez de Almeida on Friday morning in connection with a petition against US President Barack Obama, which is not only being promoted bt Venezuela in Curacao, but also in other countries.
Commentary: Singapore has lost a loving and effective founding father
It is very rare that a founding father could have lived long enough to document the realizations of his struggle to bring his people not only to statehood but also to the actualization of well-being for the majority of the population of his country. In a world where national heroes are often assassinated...
Letter: Isn't it time to control our Caribbean media?
For the last few years the comrades who have bravely taken us into the midst of the Caribbean social revolution ‘ALBA’ have worked diligently to try and get some semblance of control over the media. There has been a continual onslaught against them which has almost certainly damaged the...
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The Expedia group, one of the world's largest online travel companies, has reported significant expansion in the Haiti market in 2014, including increased travel demand, hotel partner acquisitions and a surge in mobile and package bookings for the burgeoning destination.
Trinidad no confidence debate suspended; adjourned to April 8
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- The debate on the motion of no confidence in Trinidad and Tobago opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley was suspended on Wednesday just after 6 pm and adjourned to April 8. Leader of Government Business Dr Roodal Moonilal kicked off the debate.
America's Cup rule changes to reduce operational costs
HAMILTON, Bermuda -- The competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup due to take place in Bermuda are planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat. “After reviewing prototypes of the new AC45 sports boats...
Commentary: Lee Kuan-Yew's Caribbean rescue in the Commonwealth
Lee Kuan-Yew, who led Singapore for three decades, died on March 23rd. He was a remarkable man who is best remembered for courageous leadership that converted a tiny island with virtually no natural resources into one of the wealthiest countries in the world. This commentary recalls...