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Wow, is the week over already? It seems like only yesterday we were upgrading our iPhone software to iOS 6.

Perhaps you skipped the update altogether, and decided to camp out and get yourself a shiny new iPhone 5. Or maybe you just spent the week playing video games in your underwear, and watching reruns of Lost. Don’t worry, we’re not here to judge.

What we are here to do is keep you updated on all the resources around the Internet you may have missed. Much of the content this week focused on updates, both to Apple’s mobile software and Twitter profile layouts.

There were also some tips for you movers and shakers in the business world. We had advice on how to avoid job scams, how to get a good job and how to maximize your performance once you get that job.

Gadgets galore, apps aplenty and advice that’s nice — There’s all of this and more in this week’s features roundup.

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/22/62-digital-resources-you-may-have-missed/

Mit-uses-microsoft-kinect-to-keep-firefighters-out-of-danger-0a8910d7df

With the help of a laser-range finder, a laptop and a Microsoft Kinect, researchers at MIT have created a wearable piece of equipment that can map out a building in real time.

The prototype, called SLAM (short for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), was announced today.

Essentially, SLAM operates as a second pair of eyes by generating a virtual map of the user’s location (think: real-time strategy video games.) Creators of the device say they hope firefighters and emergency personnel will use the device to help them more easily navigate through thick smoke during fire emergencies.

Watch the video above to learn more. How else can real-time mapping be used? Let us know your thoughts below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, GEEK ASiA

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/26/mit-microsoft-kinect-mapping/

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Microsoft’s Surface 2 unveiling on Sept. 23, 2013, was the first event where the Surface Mini was expected. Microsoft instead killed the product months later.
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

Microsoft has confirmed it cancelled plans to release a Surface Mini tablet in the spring.

During Tuesday’s quarterly earnings call, CFO Amy Hood said that part of the reason revenue from the company’s line of Surface tablets took a hit was because it had decided to kill an unreleased product.

“During the quarter, we reassessed our product roadmap and decided not to ship a new form factor that was under development,” Hood said. While she doesn’t identify the Surface Mini by name, other reports claimed Microsoft has scrapped plans to release the tablet late in the game, then the company accidentally confirmed the product’s existence in a user manual that referenced the Mini directly.

The decision to take the ax to the Surface Mini was reportedly influenced by CEO Satya Nadella, whose bid to reshape Microsoft includes a clear focus on productivity. While the company has many consumer-facing products (notably Xbox), Windows devices have been criticized as not serving small-screen tablet market as well as iPads and Android models, and market statistics reflect this.

The small-screen tablet market has grown quickly over the past two years, but Windows didn’t support those designs until fall 2013 with the release of Windows 8.1. It appeared inevitable that the Surface line would get a Mini version after that, but since smaller tablets are inherently more about consumption than productivity, such a product wouldn’t fit with Nadella’s vision of the new Microsoft.

When Microsoft held the next Surface product launch in May, it instead announced the Surface Pro 3, a 12-inch tablet that runs full Windows 8.1 Pro, powered by an Intel Core processor.

Other manufacturers have filled the void with small Windows tablets, and most run Windows 8.1, powered by Intel Atom chips. Lenovo was reportedly going to stop selling small Windows tablets in the U.S. due to lack of demand, but the company quickly reaffirmed its commitment to different-size tablets and said it would bring a new small Windows tablet to the American market before the end of 2014.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/07/23/surface-mini-killed/

E3-show-floor-sony

This year’s E3 showed off a myriad of new technology intended to enhance our gaming experiences. The impending release of two powerful next generation gaming consoles this holiday season means games are going to become more advanced.

These advancements will not only improve the quality of the games’ looks onscreen, but also allow them to interact with the players unlike ever before. From motion controls to second-screen gaming, E3 offered a glimpse of the bright, innovative future to come in gaming.

Of all the technology on display, we’ve highlighted the five trends we expect to change gaming in the next few years or so. See something we missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

1. Motion Controls Get Smarter

While Nintendo’s Wii pioneered motion controls for gaming and Microsoft’s Kinect brought a whole body sensor to the Xbox 360, the current offerings on the market are far from perfect. Motion controls are often gimmicky or added in unnecessarily. Additionally, Kinect’s camera often requires exaggerated movements to follow the player’s action.

Microsoft’s new Kinect for the Xbox One is much more precise than the demos shown at E3. Microsoft’s tech demo showed how it could detect more precise movements. In order to raise your shields and deflect bullets during a first-person shooter style match, you would simply tilt the controller upward. To activate your night vision goggles, you would tap the side of your head, and simply tilt your body left or right to literally lean around corners.

“We tried to make the motions more natural to what a gamer would do,” Yusef Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of marketing and strategy for Interactive Entertainment Business branch, told Mashable.

This may include any natural moves by intense gamers. For example, in a racing game, a player might lean his body into the turns, which this upgraded Kinect would detect.

Harmonix, a company adept at working with the Kinect for its Dance Central games, showed how motion controls could operate in a more abstract way during the demonstration of its upcoming title Fantasia: Music Evolved. In the game, players conduct music with motions, enhancing the world around them. It’s a unique game, and we haven’t seen a control scheme quite like it before.

2. The Evolved Second Screen

At this year’s E3, we saw more second-screen integration from not only console makers, but also from game publishers.

Microsoft revealed much more information on the interaction between tablets running SmartGlass and Xbox One games. In Roman action-adventure game Ryse, for example, players can use tablets to watch friends’ concurrent progress through different levels, along with videos of their conquests. In Xbox One’s Project Spark, a game-creation game, players can use tablets in concert with the controller to create your game world.

Publisher Ubisoft released two titles with their own apps designed for tablets, both which added value for players. In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, an Android and iOS app functions like a GPS device, allowing players to use it as a map in-game for their quests. When the game isn’t running, the app allows players to send their fleet to quests while they’re not playing.

Tom Clancy’s The Division is a multiplayer, third-person action game that challenges players to control a pandemic in New York. The drop-in/drop-out co-op allows for players to quickly join one another’s games, and also allows for players to join via tablet. That tablet player operates a drone in the game, which can aid its team by marking enemies for takedown, healing allies and surveying the area well. It’s impressive because the player on the tablet is actually taking part in a real-time game session.

Of course, the Wii U tried to bring this idea to fruition last year with its touchscreen GamePad controller. While third-party games take full advantage of the screen’s ability to convey extra information to the player, the screen hasn’t been very widely adopted. Some of Nintendo’s newer first-party titles use the feature frequently, such as in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Wii U remake, which uses the GamePad screen to swap items rather than forcing the user to pause the game to access a menu.

3. Virtual Reality

Developers have only been working on Oculus Rift for a few months, but already the virtual reality headset shows promise in creativity. Virtual reality often feeks like a gaming pipe dream hallmarked by goofy accessories and poorly functioning technology — but that’s about to change.

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Lucky said his company has come a long way since last year’s E3, when the headset was only being shown off by former id Software co-founder John Carmack. With 10,000 developer kits in the wild (and more shipping), creators from all backgrounds have been working on virtual reality games, and now, Oculus Rift is working with some of the most commonly used engines such as Unreal 4 and Unity.

We played five or six Oculus Rift games at E3. The biggest of note was EVR, created by CCP Games, the makers of EVE Online. This space fighting game was only a tech demo, according to CCP developers, but it still demonstrated the awesome, immersive power of virtual reality.

Other indie titles featuring the Oculus Rift were playable at the IndieCade booth, and each provided a different take on the benefits of virtual reality. Soundself, a game created by Robin Arnott, focused on meditative chanting; the player’s tonal hums made the dizzying spirals in front of his eyes spin and pulse along with the sounds he made.

Oculus Rift continues to expand. The company announced Monday that it received $16 million in venture funding to continue hardware development, and OculusVR showed off its new HD Rift at E3 — a first for the platform.

4. Game DVR and Streaming

It’s hard to ignore the growing trend of gaming as a spectator sport, with the rise of Major League Gaming and Twitch as places for fans to watch live streams of games.

Both Sony and Microsoft have recognized that gamers want to share their content, so they integrated methods in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to simplify a previously complicated process. Both consoles feature the ability to broadcast gameplay live with minimal work; the Xbox One streams to Twitch, while the PS4 sends live video to Ustream. Both consoles also capture gameplay continuously via game DVR, and both allow players to edit and share key moments with friends.

5. Cloud Computing

Console makers have turned to cloud computing as a way to extend the life of gaming consoles and ensure players get more out of the hardware in their living rooms. Instead of the console acting as the entire workhorse for processing, some will be handled by remote servers.

This isn’t a new idea to gaming. The now-defunct OnLive started a few years ago on the premise that players could harness server power to play a wide variety of games that weren’t on their home computers — and it wasn’t the only company working on that idea. In 2010, Sony purchased streaming company GaiKai, and its technology is now helping power the PlayStation 4’s cloud services.

Sony detailed streaming in its February press conference, sharing that it would be used to eventually bring older PlayStation games to the next-generation console (which are currently incompatible due to radical architecture changes from previous generations). Sony also plans to use cloud computing to allow PlayStation 4 games to stream on the handheld PlayStation Vita.

In an Xbox One demo, Microsoft software engineers harnessed the console’s internal processor to render 40,000 of the asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, displaying their movement in real time. Then, they showed that with help from Microsoft’s 300,000 servers, the Xbox One could render 330,000 asteroids in that same belt. The engineer explained that this technology could make games look better, increase the map size and decrease load times.

These technologies are the biggest examples of trends found at this year’s E3, but they aren’t the only ones. Gaming is evolving rapidly with the launch of new consoles, new players getting involved in the field and the rise of mobile gaming. I’m sure we’ll see great things in the future, even as soon as next year’s conference.

Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/06/19/gaming-tech-trends/

Apple-wins-patent-for-noise-reducing-iphone-case-08a0debf5e

Apple has won a patent for a removable iPhone case that cuts down on background noise.

Touting what the company is calling a “windscreen” design, the concept aims to reduce distracting sounds picked up by the device’s microphone that may make it hard to hear a phone conversation.

“The windscreen is designed to reduce wind noise, air blasts, vocal plosives and other noise,” Apple said in its patent application. “This may enable the speech of a user of the device to remain intelligible despite the presence of such noise during a call, and without requiring the user to shout into the device’s microphone.”

Although the patent was filed on Jan. 11, 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the application last week. The patent is good for all portable electronic devices that enable users to participate in a real-time two-way conversation.

Apple Windscreen Mobile Case

As shown in the image above, device calls for a windscreen sealed across an opening of the case that aligns with a microphone port built into the device (number 11). This would allow the passage of sound to go through the internal microphone and not pick up surrounding sound.

It is unknown if and when Apple will launch the windscreen case. Meanwhile, since the patent was filed before the launch of the current iPhone 4S and judging by the rendering, it looks like the iPhone will stay the same shape and size for some time.

“Handheld mobile communications devices, particularly mobile phones, have enabled users to engage in real-time two-way conversations while walking, running, riding in a car or during other activities,” Apple noted. “In a number of these situations, a user may be conducting a conversation in a noisy environment, such as outside in the wind or inside a moving car with its window down.”

Would you buy a noise-reducing removable iPhone case? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, LoooZaaa

BONUS: 10 Intriguing Apple Patents to Get Excited About

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Attention all parents: Disney, the company that wants to absorb all childhood happiness, both past and present, is planning to replace you with robots. Unsatisfied with the secondary love and attention they receive from controlling your favorite characters and cartoons, Disney means to spend quality time with the world’s children in an attempt to feel what it’s like to have a child of its own. (No, having subsidiaries like ABC and ESPN doesn’t count.)

Although the Mom-and-Pop-a-Tron 5000 isn’t ready to hit the street yet, Disney’s making serious progress. For example, the robotics experts at Disney’s lab in Pittsburgh have created a humanoid robot that can play a game of catch.

When I say “play a game of catch”, I don’t mean it an ultra-efficient robot kind of way. This guy can lob a ball to you and, when you throw it back, can find, register, and catch it. The robot uses a Kinect to sense and track the trajectory of an object thrown directly at it, adjusting so that it can catch it with one hand.

The creepy part? When the robot catches the ball, it looks down at its hand, as if it were tracking the ball with its eyes. If it misses the catch, the robot will react, looking around for the ball or shaking its head in dismay. The robot is very attentive: It has sensors to track and follow the direction of whomever it’s playing with, so it will turn and face its partner if they move out of the way.

This may not seem remarkable at first glance — most robots do things better than most people — begging the question: Why would you bother making it? The answer is, of course, that Disney means to get in on the time-honored American pastime of catch between parent and child.

This article originally published at Geekosystem
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/25/disney-robots-catch/

Airbridge-promises-to-seamlessly-wirelessly-connect-your-ipad-and-tv-bbd6102f06

Ever dreamed your TV could mirror exactly what you’re looking at on your iPad without having to connect it physically? That dream is closer to becoming reality thanks to a new Kickstarter project called Airbridge.

Airbridge is a hardware add-on for Apple devices that will allow you to stream whatever is on your gadget screen via wireless. All you will have to do, according to the creators, is plug the dongle to your iPad or iPhone and snap the base to the TV and the two devices will automatically connect to each other. No need to deal with cables; no need to set up or configure anything. Airbridge will even create a Wi-Fi network if needed. The goal is seamless and completely effortless plug-and-play.

“We want technology to play effortlessly well with other technology,” says the project’s Kickstarter page. “We want it to act like a silent servant — reliable, durable, and making lives easier, and in a way that’s not frustrating, unnecessarily difficult or complicated to use.”

The applications for a device like this are endless. It could be used to give Powerpoint presentations, saving you the trouble of connecting your computer to the TV or the projector. Actually, you don’t need those, either. Via Wi-Fi, Airbridge will allow you to share your presentation to other iOS devices that have the Airbridge App installed. Those users will also be able to take notes, snap screenshots and even record video.

Once Airbridge is plugged into your iOS device, you will be able to easily share files via drag-and-drop to other devices in a 40-foot range.

Airbridge could be a powerful entertainment tool, too. You will be able to stream movies and video games with no loss of quality with a resolution of up to 1080p, its creators say.

Airbridge will come in two versions: Lite and Pro. The Pro version will give users more connectivity options and better network capabilities.

Launched on Wednesday by a Utah-based group of technology enthusiasts called Artifex Touch, Airbridge has already raised more than $20,000. With 43 days to go, it could be hard to reach its ambitious goal of $500,000 (at this pace, it will only raise around $300,000). The creators explain in the Kickstarter page that they will use the money to finish developing the app, improve the prototype they’ve already built and work out other details. Even though they acknowledge that all this work “sounds like a mouth full,” they promise they can deliver in four months.

Watch the video above to see what Airbridge will be capable of doing.

Do you think this is a useful project? Are you excited about its applications? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/08/airbridge/

Playstation-3-sales-hit-70-million-0a0f635938

PS3

Sony has sold more than 70 million PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, the company has announced. Sony also claims it has sold more than 15 million PlayStation Move motion controllers to date.

The milestone comes almost exactly six years after November 2006, when PS3 was launched. PlayStation Move was launched in September 2010.

Sony has updated the PS3 several times in those six years — most recently, in September 2012, it launched a thinner version of the console.

There’s no word, however, about PS3’s successor. For comparison, PlayStation 2 was launched in March 2000, meaning it took a little over six years for Sony to launch a new version of the platform.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/16/playstation-3-sales-hit-70-million/

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Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Image: Sony

BERLIN — When it comes to tablets, Sony has so far kept things relatively simple — the company made fairly large but very thin, waterproof Android slates, such as the 10.1-inch Xperia Tablet Z and Z2.

Now, at IFA, Sony has launched its first 8-inch tablet: the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, calling it the “world’s slimmest and lightest” in its category.

At 0.25 inch thick and 9.5 ounces, the device is indeed compact, especially compared with its obvious competitor, the 7.9-inch iPad mini from Apple, which in its latest iteration measures 0.29 inch and weighs 11.6 ounces.

And, just like its predecessors in the Xperia Tablet range, it’s waterproof and dust-proof to IP65/68 specifications.

As far as internals go, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is essentially the same device as the Z3 smartphone — a quad-core, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Adreno 330 graphics, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage memory (expandable up to 128GB via microSD cards).

The main difference is the camera — the Z3 Tablet Compact sports an 8.1-megapixel imager — and, of course, the 8-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel screen and 4,500 milliamp-hour (mAh) battery, courtesy of the tablet’s larger form factor.

Just like the Z3, the Tablet Compact supports PS4 Remote Play, meaning you can use the tablet to connect and control the games you play on a PlayStation 4.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Sony’s 8-inch tablet supports the company’s audio upscaling technology, which — in theory — makes your MP3s and AACs sound better.

Image: Stan Schroeder, Mashable

Other software tidbits from the Z3, such as Sony’s DSEE HX tech that “upscales” the quality of your MP3 and AAC files, are present on the Tablet Compact as well.

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will be available globally in autumn 2014. The device will be available in black or white, either as an LTE or a Wi-Fi-only device.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/09/03/sony-xperia-z3-tablet-compact/

Microsoft-sweetens-surface-deal-offers-free-xbox-music-at-retail-stores-1775aa0fb5

It’s rapidly starting to look like your best chance at getting a Surface tablet in the next couple weeks is to head over to a Microsoft retail store, unless your order’s already in. For those of you planning to make the trek, Microsoft has revealed an additional incentive to help sweeten the deal, offering some customers a year’s worth of premium Xbox Music service.

We talked about Xbox Music a little last week, when Microsoft announced the cross-platform streaming service. While it’s going to be free as an ad-supported edition on Windows 8 devices, a premium $10 monthly subscription is needed to access the service through Xbox consoles and smartphones.

As part of Friday’s launch event, the first 100 people in line at any Microsoft retail store will be eligible for the free Xbox Music Pass. Microsoft seems to imply that the purchase of a Surface tablet is required for the offer, but the terms and conditions leave a bit more leeway; you might just be able to get away with any purchase in the store — but don’t quote us on that.

The offer should be good at both full Microsoft retail stores and its pop-up kiosks erected for the Surface launch.

This article originally published at Pocketnow
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/23/microsoft-surface-xbox-music/