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Updated: 5 hours 16 min ago

New iPad Pro range brings Portrait Mode to Apple's tablets

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 07:12

We went a bit Apple-frantic yesterday with the launch of the new iPad Pro 11, iPad Pro 12.9, new Macbook Air and Mac Mini (2018) all getting a once-over from our tech eye.

It was during this run-through that we decided to check out one of the features on the new iPad Pro range - given that it has the TrueDepth camera for Face ID, allowing you to open the tablet with your face, would that mean that selfies are improved too?

After all, that camera was first brought on the iPhone X in 2017, and it allowed Apple to offer selfies with bokeh (background blur) with only a single sensor.

That trick has now come to the iPad for the first time, allowing you to take portrait shots of yourself that look a little bit niftier than just a generic pic of your wonderful visage.

You can also play with the lighting effects, as you can on the iPhone X and its newer 10-monikered bedfellows, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. However, there are only three effects available, with Stage Light and Stage Light Mono (where the background is darkened out) curiously not available.

We say curiously as there's certainly enough power under the hood to allow for it - the A12X Bionic chip is going to be light years ahead of the power of some phones Apple has made, and yet they can handle the Stage Light effect.

While it's cool that you can have extra features on your new tablet - and given the price of the new iPad Pro range, you'd expect that you'd have every single goshdarn option going - we didn't find it that easy to take a snap holding the tablet.

Yes, you've got a massive viewfinder that lets you find your face more easily, but we tried it on the large iPad Pro 12.9 and it wasn't the easiest thing to hold with a single hand.

But, if you're thinking for some inexplicable reason that you'd like a massive screen to take your selfies, at least you can now buy the new iPad Pro with the safe knowledge that option is now open to you.

Categories: Tech News

Custom plans help boost O2 revenues

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:30

O2 is already feeling the benefits of its custom price plans as an increase in handset revenue and 120,000 new contract customers contributed to a 7.9 per cent increase in revenues to £1.5 billion during Q3.

 The new tariffs were introduced at the end of August and allow customers to spread the cost of their device over the course of between three and 36 months at 0 per cent interest and are able to increase or decrease their data, text and call allowance on a month-by-month basis.

There are now 32.3 million users on the O2 network, a figure which also includes Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile customers, with O2 also citing a strong quarter” for its B2B units and an increase in service revenue.

O2 finances

The company recently announced plans to bring 4G coverage to more rural communities in the UK, while it has also been trialling 5G at a testbed at The O2 in London. It’s most recent achievement was its first data test call on 5G using edge computing technology.

“O2 Custom Plans offer customers real choice, by giving them control, flexibility and transparency, and once again has driven the O2 point of difference in the market,” declared O2 CEO Mark Evans.

“Q3 saw us deliver strong commercial performance with continued growth in revenues and profitability as more customers chose to join us, stay with us and spend more with us. Our ongoing commitment to invest in our network includes enhancing 4G connectivity and preparing the ground for 5G.  As champions of Mobile we continue to build for the future, where Mobile is one of the most powerful opportunities to strengthen the UK economy and enrich our society.”

O2 was a bright spot for the wider Telefonica Group, which saw profit rise during the same accounting period. Telefonica abandoned plans to sell O2 following the failed £10.5 billion merger with Three having been impressed by the performance of the businesses during the process.

An IPO was mooted shortly after in 2016, but this was delayed because of an apparent failure to attract investors. Telefonica still plans to take O2 public but will wait until after Brexit due to market uncertainty.

Categories: Tech News

From a start-up to a multinational - make the right business decision by moving to the cloud

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:30

Until some years ago it happened that the majority of companies had to create their own IT based up on their own small on-site data center, and not because it was the best solution, but because it was the only available one. It was due to several reasons, from the low level of the broadband connection to the traditionalism of the technical practice, from the lack of technical standards in the market to the lack of specific technology. Among the several solutions, today the cloud represents an alternative to this ‘on premise’ model that is reliable, affordable and possible on the different purpose. 

That’s why organizations have started moving data centres and software to the cloud: cloud could be seen as the ‘IT-as-a-commodity’, a new way to accelerate and facilitate a business.

As a result, many companies continued to deploy cloud solutions in silos, while maintaining their traditional core systems, but little by little the digital transformation has shifted the argument. There has been a step ahead in the mentality of the companies and now we can see that is the ‘best solution’ and not the ‘cheapest one’ to drive the final choice, overpassing any uncertainty or doubt. 

The cloud is not only an enabler for making businesses more digital, it’s also an essential business driver for growth. 

Moving away from the data centre

Simple, self-service, pay-per-use, scalable - there are many reasons to move to the cloud, and yet 65 percent of enterprise workloads are still running in owned or onsite data centres. Colocation data centres only host 20 percent of systems and just 9 percent are cloud-based.

For a business with an innovative tech-focused model, choosing the right cloud is an important step. By making this choice, you’ll ensure that technology is not a barrier that slows your business down, but rather a springboard for your go-to-market strategy. However, too often, businesses find a reason to convince themselves that moving to the cloud is not the best decision for them. On one hand you have large organizations talking about the supposed complexity, and on the other you have small businesses saying they are too small for the benefits to have a real impact.  

This couldn’t be farther truth. From scalability to disaster recovery and digital transformation, the benefits of moving to the cloud are available to organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Moreover, let’s bear in mind that cloud is one of the possible ideal solution, but there is enough room for colocation, dedicated servers or managed dedicated servers and infrastructures too.  Each provider has to find the right solution and it could also mean to integrate those services and approaches, by taking the best part of each of them, and at the same time, being able to hide their complexity so that the end user should only focus on his own business, and do not take care of the IT.  

Making scalability easier

Moving to the cloud gives businesses the ability to adapt to business growth. With the cloud, scalability can be achieved in two ways: horizontally, by manipulating the infrastructure to add or remove cloud servers and vertically, by increasing or reducing the individual components (vCPU, RAM, HD etc.) of a server. 

Businesses of all sizes can achieve scalability needs, such as start-up CercaOfficina.it – a website through which you can choose a repair shop to fix your car. After only four years in business, CercaOfficina.it crossed the threshold of 100,000 requests. For this start-up, scaling up needed to scale fast and it also was the only way to stay in business. Another example is Tommigame.com, a startup aimed at supporting hospitalized children: it is a business realized by a digital health company using virtual reality and artificial intelligence in order to create immersive VR experience for those little patients. By using cloud solutions, it is possible to collect data about their psychomotor behavior, monitor and personalize their treatments. Also, in this case, the business growth so fast that it was necessary to scale up and provide tools and resources very quickly.

Cloud-based solutions enables businesses to find the perfect solution for every stage of growth. You can expand your IT infrastructure by increasing or decreasing the resources you need, depending on how the business is developing. You can start off with a relatively small infrastructure, then gradually scale up, eliminating latency that results from dormant physical IT infrastructure. 

More effective disaster recovery 

Over two-fifths (43%) of SMEs have no contingency measures in place to deal with an IT crisis. For businesses that don’t have a specialised IT department, disaster recovery (DR) generally means relying on a third-party provider. This is the case for most businesses, either because they think they’re too small to need DR, or because they are not able to justify the cost and resources needed to maintain traditional DR. For businesses that do have DR in place, a recent survey found that one in five (18%) lack confidence in their DR plans and almost half (46%) are not testing those plans on an annual basis. 

Cloud-based DR offers solutions adapted for all types of firms. Whatever your size, cloud based DR offers a way to build up your resilience at a price that’s relative to the size of your business, and with smaller resource overheads when creating, implementing and testing your DR plan. 

Accelerating digital transformation 

As part of an overall five year and 3.5 million Euro investment plan, Nexive, Italy’s number one provider of private postal services, decided to digitize all of its operations, moving from on-site to cloud-based data centers. 

By moving to a cloud-based model, Nexive was able to ensure reliable physical and digital services. This also put Nexive one step ahead of its competition, with a flexible and secure solution for its data.

Before moving to the cloud, Nexive’s data was stored on a private server. This approach was a costly one, requiring significant investment in human resources to manage processes, constant manual upgrades and high maintenance costs. The regulatory requirements and activities involved in ensuring compliance were also significant.

Moving to the cloud eliminated the maintenance and compliance costs from Nexive and offered a solution that could instantly scale up in case of an activity peak.

Moving to the cloud, and staying one step ahead

From start-ups to multinationals, moving to the cloud is the best insurance against downtime – whether that be due to natural disasters, or human errors. It’s also the best way to respond to activity peaks and free business leaders concentrate on running their companies, rather than these potential concerns. 

What’s more, having the right cloud solution provides protection for IT resources, the data the business holds and for the business processes it supports. 

As the cloud becomes an everyday part of how we live and work, it will become increasingly difficult to not have it as an essential part of your business process. Businesses that fail to take this leap risk missing out on the many opportunities that cloud presents. And ultimately, they risk losing their customers, many of who now expect cloud-transformed experiences as the norm, to competitors that provide these experiences. 

Stefano Cecconi, CEO of Aruba S.p.A

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft fixes Windows 10 October 2018 Update ZIP file bug in latest cumulative update

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:26

Microsoft has just released a cumulative update for Windows 10 Insiders in the Slow and Release Preview rings which addresses several problems, including the ZIP bug in Windows 10 October 2018 Update that was causing people to lose data.

The update is Build 17763.107 (KB4464455), and is available for Windows Insiders who have signed up for early versions of Windows 10.

While the ZIP file bug, which allowed people to accidentally overwrite existing files when moving .ZIP files into folders with files of the same name without warning, is the headline fix in this update, another problem has also been addressed.

Roaming profiles

According to Microsoft’s release notes for the cumulative update, “We fixed an issue causing roaming profiles to not work correctly.” For anyone who has encountered issues with their profile when logging into Windows 10, this fix should hopefully sort that out.

Other fixes include fixing wrong details being shown in Task Manager, compatibility issues with anti-virus software and driver compatibility problems.

If you’re a Windows Insider you can install the update by going to Settings > Windows Update and checking for updates.

Hopefully these fixes will be brought to regular users soon.

Via Wccftech

Categories: Tech News

Cybersecurity: The latest news and statistics

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:24

In our increasingly digital world, cyberattacks are a daily risk for businesses and consumers alike. 

While installing an antivirus is an essential first step for staying safe online in 2018, being informed regarding the latest cyberattacks will ensure that you’re prepared for when not if the next attack comes.

We’ve compiled a collection of recent security headlines and statistics to keep you up to date with the latest developments. The list will be regularly updated, so be sure to check back often.

Got an addition for us? Contact mike.moore@futurenet.com

"Cyberattacks against businesses rise 55 per cent during last three months"

While the first half of 2018 was relatively uneventful in terms of cyberattacks, Malwarebytes identified a 55 per cent increase during the last three months as cybercriminals increased the number as well as the severity of their attacks. This includes a major rise in the number of ransomware attacks carried out as well as an 84 per cent increase in banking trojans compared to the previous quarter...

Read more here

"One in six businesses unprepared for data breaches"

A significant portion of organisations are ill-prepared for the event of a cyberattack and four in ten have gone through such an event in the last 12 months according to a report by BSI’s Cybersecurity and Information Resilience division...

Read more here

"4.5bn files compromised in first half of 2018"

New data from Gemalto found that 4.5 billion records were compromised during the first half of 2018 as businesses were busy preparing for GDPR to go into effect. The US was hit the hardest with 3.25bn of breached data entries while the UK was the highest country in Europe with 22 data incidents during the first half of 2018...

Read more here

"Two thirds of German manufacturers have fallen victim to a cyberattack"

A survey published by Bitkom found that two thirds of the country’s manufacturers have fallen victim to a cyberattack costing Europe’s largest economy around $50bn. A third of the companies reported having their employees phones stolen while a quarter said they had lost sensitive data...

Read more here

"Quarter of cyberattacks hit ordinary users"

Research from Positive Technologies revealed that cyberattacks increased by 47 per cent during Q2 2018. Data theft has grown in popularity as hackers move away from mass campaigns with personal data (30 per cent) and credentials (22 per cent) being the most attractive targets...

Read more here

CipherTrace: Almost $1 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen in 2018

Cryptocurrency thefts have risen to almost $1 billion over the course of 2018 according to a study by cybersecurity firm CipherTrace. The majority of thefts come from cryptocurrencies and trading platforms being hacked, with smaller, more frequent attacks becoming increasingly common...

Read more here

"Worldwide AI investment to top $200bn by 2025"

A new report from KPMG estimates that investment in AI, along with machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) technology, is set to reach $232bn by 2025. This is a significant increase from the $12.4bn spen today as more and more organisations adopt AI in their business...

Read more here

Categories: Tech News

Nokia 7.1 is the smartphone you need for your perfect holiday

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:09

Forget “poolside poses” and “hotdog legs”. According to a recent survey commissioned by Nokia, over half of 1500 millennials believe creative selfies and landscapes attract the most engagement from followers. 

Perhaps that's why over a third of those millennials are found to be jealous of other people’s holiday snaps. After all, a landscape says a lot more about a holiday than a hotel swimming pool.

Getting those snaps right can be a challenge, though, particularly if you don’t have the right hardware in hand, and that’s why the new Nokia 7.1 is the ideal holiday smartphone. 

Its sharp, fast ZEISS optics, high-quality dual rear cameras and Auto HDR processing let you shoot carefree with high quality images. 

The Nokia 7.1 feasts on sunsets, handling low-light conditions with ease, while its quick autofocus helps capture spur of the moment action shots. 

If you’re struggling to take a picture of a friend or loved one—don’t worry, 55 percent of millennials admit they get help from tools and apps to improve their photos—extra features like Live Bokeh mode use the rear depth camera to blur out backgrounds. 

Live Bokeh is similar to using a big DSLR camera with an expensive lens, except in a pocket-friendly (and wallet-friendly: the Nokia 7.1 costs just £299) format. It’s like shooting in a studio, wherever you are. Live Bokeh works with the front camera too, bringing your selfies into even sharper focus.

Advanced camera skills

The Nokia 7.1 is also a master of sharing, which is ideal for the 56 percent of millennials that post their holiday snaps right there and then, rather than waiting to get back home. You can live stream to Facebook (which is still commands over 40 percent of photo shares) and YouTube directly from the camera app. 

With Google Photos as your built-in gallery, you get unlimited free storage for all your memories. Plus, the app can help you effortlessly search and share memories instantly. 

Google Photos recognises a meaningful moment like a summer BBQ or a wedding, selects your best shots and even suggests who you may want to share them with. So go ahead, search for a photo you took years ago with just a single word.  

The Nokia 7.1 is a great phone for holidays—but it’s not just about the camera. 

To keep your battery going, Android One phones such as the Nokia 7.1 prioritise background activity for your most important apps and even reduce power usage while in your pocket.  

With just 30 minutes of charge, it replenishes 50 percent of the battery. Even if you use the Nokia 7.1 to keep you entertained on a long flight, give it a quick boost once you land and it’s ready to carry on all night.

As an Android One phone, the Nokia 7.1 comes with Google’s latest mobile software built in. This combination of high-quality hardware and software generates an experience that’s smart, secure, and easy to use. 

The Google Assistant enables you to get things done quicker and easier while on the go. Google Photos allows an unlimited number of images to be stored in the cloud at high quality. You can also make use of Google Maps for directions and local information and use Google Pay for your purchases.

The price for all this reliability and creativity? In case you missed it: the Nokia 7.1 costs just £299 SIM-free, and you can head to Nokia.com to find out more.

Categories: Tech News

We could see a Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III in early 2019

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:00

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is one of our favorite pocket compacts, but it looks like we could see a replacement in early 2019 if the rumors are to be believed. 

According to CanonRumors.com, it's possible we'll see a PowerShot G7 X Mark III as early as CES 2019, with the camera aimed at both those seeking a premium compact camera as well as those who want to vlog on a budget.

This means that the new camera will get 4K video capture (the Mark II only has 1080p), along with Canon's Dual Pixel AF system. 

Some of the other rumored specs include a new 24.1MP 1.0-inch CMOS sensor and the ability to shoot at 10fps. There could be a slightly longer zoom range than the Mark II's as well (currently 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8), though a detailed spec list hasn't been leaked just yet.

As well as rumors of a new PowerShot G7 X Mark III, we could also see a replacement to the PowerShot G9 X Mark II at the same time. We'll keep you posted as soon as we get more news.

Categories: Tech News

Google denies claims of Home Hub security issues

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:00

There's no doubt that we are living in the age of the smart home, and despite misgivings around security issues, the public has largely accepted connected devices with open arms (and wallets).

Unfortunately, it seems some of those misgivings aren't completely baseless, as developer Jerry Gamblin found he was able to hack into his new Google Home Hub with relative ease.

He claims he was able to do this due to an undocumented API, which allowed him to reboot  the Home Hub, erase the wireless network setup, and disable notifications, which is fairly alarming for Home Hub owners. 

Gamblin also released a video, which appears to show him rebooting the Home Hub remotely:

Hackers gonna hack

Google has denied Gamblin's claims, telling Android Authority that "all Google Home devices are designed with user security and privacy top of mind and use a hardware-protected boot mechanism to ensure that only Google-authenticated code is used on the device. In addition, any communication carrying user information is authenticated and encrypted."

How concerned we should be about the security of our Home Hubs and other smart devices is unclear. Are we really surprised that a hacker was able to hack into a smart device? 

Of course, it's worrying when you bring things like personal data including voice searches, photos, and bank details into the mix, but we wouldn't suggest throwing your Home Hub out the window just yet. 

Via Android Authority

Categories: Tech News

Your Huawei Watch is about to get faster with new Wear OS

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 05:57

The original Huawei Watch and Huawei Watch 2 are two of the best Wear OS watches (originally Android Wear) products released on Google's operating system, and each is about to get a touch better.

A new version of Wear OS (version 2.17) is coming to both the original device and the latter watch from the company. If you own one, you should be able to download the Wear OS update now.

It brings with it a variety of new UI changes for both watches as well as overall improved speed. That's according to the first few who received it and noted so to Android Police as Huawei hasn't included a change log with the new update.

Years of support

The improved interface means you're now able to swipe right on the watch face to access Google Fit and left to find the Google Assistant. There may be other improvements that haven't been discovered by users yet.

Considering the original Huawei Watch came out in 2015, it's both surprising and reassuring to know the company is continuing to support software updates now the devices have switched from Android Wear to the newer Wear OS platform.

Huawei just announced another new smartwatch called the Watch GT, but this doesn't run Wear OS and instead includes the company's own software.

Categories: Tech News

With a new branding, 1&1 IONOS wants to be more than just a hosting provider

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 05:40

1&1 recently announced that it would be joining forces with ProfitBricks, the German specialist for cloud infrastructure solutions, to form a new united brand called 1&1 IONOS. 

The change is meant to accelerate the firm's ambitions to move beyond just web hosting and it will give customers the opportunity to use a personal consultant free of charge as their central contact person for all questions related to products.

TechRadar Pro sat down with 1&1's Achim Weiss (the founder/CEO of ProfitBricks) to learn more about 1&1 IONOS and how the new entity will benefit its customers.

Categories: Tech News

Alexa gets new navigation skills for the Fire TV Cube

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 05:20

Amazon's Alexa smart assistant is no stranger to updates to expand its range of skills or functions. The latest, however, is bringing in some new directional functionality to better navigate streaming apps and services through the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Users are now able to use voice commands to move up, down, left, or right across a selection screen, mimicking the Fire TV remote's d-pad and moving closer to a truly hands-free viewing experience.

Commands like 'Alexa, go up' or 'Alexa, move left' can replace the basic remote functionality and make it all that easier to start your weekend TV binge - with the option to use Alexa to 'select' specific content seen on screen, rather than every search query being run through the app's entire content library.

The feature has been quietly rolling out over the past few weeks, but has now reached all Amazon Fire TV Cube devices. 

This girl is on fire

There's currently no word on when the feature will be coming to less premium streaming devices like the Fire TV Stick, but we'd be surprised if Amazon didn't bring it across its entire Fire TV range eventually. 

Amazon is going full throttle on smart home connectivity, with a widening range of streaming devices and an increasingly flexible smart assistant appearing in everything from Sonos One hi-fi systems to Alexa-enabled microwaves.

Via TechCrunch

Categories: Tech News

Hyper-Reality: the UK’s first VR haunted house pops up for Halloween

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 05:00

As Halloween creeps closer, you’re probably thinking of what you can do to give yourselves a good fright. Sure, you can pick out an old-fashioned horror film or game, but if you want to take it to another dimension, virtual reality is the way forward.

While a home set-up can have its thrills and chills – such as the on-rails ghost ride of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood on Playstation VR – there are limits to just how immersed you can get before an annoying cable or long loading screen breaks the illusion.

This is where Hyper-Reality comes in. Billed as the UK’s first VR haunted house, the pop-up venture opens this week in Shoreditch, London and uses the latest cutting edge technology to offer a number of creepy curated experiences.

Explore and survive

There are four in total split into two categories: two free-roaming haunted houses and two more of the arcade survival shoot-em-up variety. Visitors can even book one of each for the same evening for £20 (for a 40 minute slot). That’s a pretty good deal for experiencing room-scale VR when high-end blockbuster fare like The Void’s Star Wars experience can cost over £30 a pop.

Hyper-Reality’s founder, Yu-Jen Chen, believes this fills a specific gap in the current VR market. “There’s the upper expensive end – big brands like Star Wars, Ghostbusters – that isn’t something a small team can do,” he explains. 

“There are also VR arcades that use a framework where I as a customer basically book a timeslot and I can play whatever I want. The problem is there’s no curation, there’s no experience... You’re just renting a room and playing games off Steam. As a gamer, there’s not a lot of differentiation; if I buy the equipment, I can still play that at home.”

For its opening, Hyper-Reality aims not only to offer a curated Halloween-themed experience, but also with the kind of content that you can’t just buy from Steam – the kind that sees you actively walking through a physical space, and not just a virtual one. Chen’s VR inspiration comes at least partially from his native home of Taiwan, where HTC opened its VR theme park Viveland in 2016. Like all of Viveland’s most popular attractions, each Hyper-Reality game also supports multiple players.

Free-roaming VR will be powered by state-of-the-art MSI backpack PCs designed specifically for VR

Hyper-Reality will be using Vive headsets, but it won’t just be a case of setting up Lighthouse sensors in a rented space. For starters, visitors won’t be tethered to a computer in the conventional sense. For the shooting games, the cables are tethered to the ceiling so that you can freely move around and blast away the undead without fear of tripping up. Meanwhile, to enable free-roaming for the haunted houses, you’ll simply be wearing the tech in the form of light and sophisticated PC backpacks.

Asian horror

There’s a distinctly Asian flavour to the selection, owing to Chen entering the VR industry through Taiwan’s AR/VR association TAVAR, who put him in touch with the local developers. 

And by far the most unusual game available for Hyper-Reality has you and another player fending off against waves of ‘jiangshi’, a zombie-vampire hybrid from Chinese folklore dressed in Qing dynasty garments – and one that became a cult phenomenon in the 1980s thanks to Hong Kong horror hit Mr. Vampire. 

According to Chen, the developers were actually formed of that film’s production team, quoting them as saying, “we have all these assets on our hands, so let’s make a VR game out of this!”

Chinese Terror

Instead of guns, you need to cast spells on strips of yellow paper before flinging them back at the jiangshi as they menacingly hop towards you. It’s certainly different from usual zombie-shooting fare we come to expect from horror games, and should take people a bit further out of their comfort zone.

As well as one haunted house that essentially has you walking around a burnt-out Victorian house, Chilling Japanese Adventures has you exploring a mystical realm that feels one part Spirited Away and a strange mixture of Shinto mythology and neo-Tokyo aesthetics. He stresses, however, that this particular experience is accessible even for children aged 12 to try: 

“It’s more like an exciting adventure where you meet Japanese monsters or ghosts,” he says. “I worry people will associate it with Ring, which is just terrifying!” 

Each game comes with a scare rating, but hopes are that nothing is too intense to cause someone to want to rip off their headset midway.

Chilling Japanese Adventures

Pop-up party

As a lapsed gamer himself, it’s the possibilities of VR that has pulled Chen back in to the industry. As such, he also wants Hyper-Reality to attract a wider audience beyond the usual gaming crowd. He’s therefore not really comparing his concept with other existing VR arcades but more with the unique activities that pop up in London all the time. 

“There’s things like Secret Cinema, the Ghost Bus Tours, events that people are willing to try as a date night. That’s the way I’m pitching this – something you can do with your friend or date, and do as a set of experiences,” Chen says.

Having already researched and curated a selection of other VR titles, Chen hopes that, if this Halloween pop-up proves successful, he will be in a position to offer a wide variety of Hyper-Reality locations in the future, such as an esports-themed one. “Ideally, if people have an amazing time, they’ll think, ‘I want to try more, so what is there to try?’ That’s how I hope to get people to get more engaged with VR.”

Hyper-Reality opens in Shoreditch from October 19th until November 29th. More information and advanced booking can be found on their website.

Categories: Tech News

Sounds you can smell: Panasonic Aromation adds aromas to your arias

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 23:24

Do you like your music to smell Katy-Perry-candy-sweet? Or how about Sex-Pistol-peppery? It’s a consideration that Panasonic thinks music fans might have to make alongside their choice of streaming services in the future.

During the company’s centenary celebrations in Tokyo at the Panasonic Innovation Forum, it let visitors have a sniff at their favourite sounds with the Aromation concept.

A tabletop touchpanel designed within the company’s new Game Changer Catapult incubator group, it features an aroma diffuser in its centre that uses algorithms to match the wave patterns of your songs to a smell that suits the mood. 

Sound and smell-o-vision

To illustrate the idea, Panasonic offered two sliding points on a scattergraph-like grid, pitting a mood against sonic intensity. Softer, calmer tunes would give off a rose-like scent, while livelier, heavier beats released peppery, citrusy smells.

As a concept piece, the Aromation is as much an experiment as it is any device with an end-user or market spot in mind. But look to the way we enjoy our tunes now, with noise-cancelling headphones designed to fully immerse the listener in their favourite songs.

Whether the Aromation can further that sense of immersion, or act as an extra distraction, will probably be determined by your olfactory prowess or nasal sensitivity. But if a sense of synaesthesia is top of your list when it comes to that full entertainment experience, there may be room for an Aromation system in some shape or form in your home yet.

Categories: Tech News

Panasonic AMP display is part TV, part picture frame

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 23:16

The idea of having a TV act as more than just a movie-viewing slab in your room has taken off in recent years, with Samsung’s the Frame TV positioning itself as much as an interior design piece as a display, presenting works of art when it’d otherwise be in standby mode.

At the Panasonic Innovation Forum, celebrating the company’s 100th anniversary, it showed its own intentions to spruce up your living room with a new type of display, the Panasonic AMP.

As much a picture frame as it is a TV, the AMP can be free standing, balanced against a wall or hung, displaying both static works of art and video art works. In fact, the Panasonic engineers on hand to explain the purpose of the screen spoke of how it was not really intended as a product to view shows or movies on – and that’s in part due to its unusual size.

Picture perfect

The work of a new internal incubator project for fast-tracking design concepts at Panasonic, the AMP is unique in its screen ratio, being a near-perfect square, rather than the 16:9 widescreen displays we are more familiar with.

A 4K-equivalent LCD panel, its size allows for varied types of art to be displayed, as well as giving it just as varied options for placement in your home.

As an incubator project, there’s no street date for the AMP yet – it’s more an opportunity for Panasonic to gauge interest in the idea. And there’s room for some seemingly obvious features to be included – though the screen also includes speakers designed to disperse audio in a wide stage to envelope a room in relaxing ambient sounds, there’s no way to upload your own pictures or videos. All content is piped in over the internet from Panasonic’s archives – which seems a missed opportunity for a piece that would work wonderfully as a large-scale digital picture frame.

But it remains an interesting idea that would be well worth exploring for the company – though that early rush for digital photo frames was let down by cheap, low quality screen technology (and equally primitive smartphone camera tech), it’s now possible to make slimline 4K panels of excellent quality with relative ease. And, with smartphones offering near-pro level cameras in our pockets, there’s no end of personal, high-quality imagery with which to populate them.

Categories: Tech News

Xbox One X bundle with Red Dead Redemption 2 going cheap and fast

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 22:59

If you missed out on the sweet Xbox One X bundle deal from JB Hi-Fi earlier on, then now’s your chance to get one almost as cheap.

The Gamesmen are having a limited 10% off storewide sale, which brings their wicked Red Dead and Forza bundle for the latest Microsoft console down to $539.95. Considering the console itself is still running at a retail price of $649, this is a hell of a saving considering you'll also be receiving Red Dead Redemption 2, Forza Horizon 4, and Forza Motorsport 7.

Be sure to enter the code TRICKORTREAT at checkout to nab the discount, and get in quick as the sale is only on from 2pm until 10pm on 31/10.

As The Gamesmen only has one physical store location (in Penshurst, NSW) you're likely going to have pay for shipping. You can use the calculator on the product page itself to get a quote on how much it will cost you, or check out their delivery page for further details.

Categories: Tech News

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