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Tag Archives: software

A new ‘Fable’ game is reportedly in the works

A brand new Fable game is in the works, or so says a number of sources close to the rumored project. According to Eurogamer, UK developer Playground has been given the job of creating a new, big-budget revisit to the fantasy world of Albion, and while franchise owner Microsoft said in a statement that it does not comment on rumor or speculation, all signs seem to give the reports credibility. For a start, November 2017 saw Playground openly reveal its plans for its first ever non-racing game, described only as an open-world action RPG. Meanwhile, Xbox boss Shannon Loftis has made no secret of Microsoft's fondness for the franchise.

According to Eurogamer, the new Fable will be something of a clean break from the previous iterations developed by former studio Lionhead. Original assets exist, but it's likely that Playground will start again from scratch. Don't expect its arrival any time soon, either. Sources say it's still early days for the project, but the pay-off should be massive. Around 200 people have been drafted in to work on the game at Playground's UK-based Warwickshire offices, which suggests Microsoft is throwing significant investment at the endeavour, and that Albion will return more fantastical than ever before.

Source: Eurogamer

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This cryptocurrency correction is a good thing


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If you own Bitcoin, Ethereum, or pretty much any other cryptocurrency, your portfolio isn't looking very good today. And you've probably gotten your share of smug looks from folks in the office who'd always said this crypto thing is a scam. And I bet you're also sick of the crypto-faithful telling you to HODL (aka "hold"). 

My portfolio is also a sad sight today. But as I'm looking at the double digit red numbers next to the names of the coins I own, I mostly feel relief.  Read more...

More about Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, and Cardano

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Utah’s Kickstart raises $74 million seed fund for Mountain West startups

Kickstart Seed Fund, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced today that it has raised a fresh $74 million fund. By Silicon Valley standards, a $74 million seed fund is not a powerhouse. Sequoia Capital, for example, is reportedly raising a $180 million seed fund, according to Axios. But the size of Kickstart’s latest fund — it […]

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AI Everywhere: Surprising ways we already interact with artificial intelligence


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If someone were to say to you that you’ve spent all day interacting with artificial intelligence, you’d probably stop and try to recount any instances of accidentally running into a robot

Despite what’s constantly being hammered into our brains via science fiction movies and television, AI comes in many forms, which may surprise you. Not only has artificial intelligence become integrated within a number of industries, but it’s teaching people how to streamline business and optimize their lives.

From social media to public service, some people are interacting with artificial intelligence every single day and it may surprise you how broadly it is being adopted. Here are some ways we’re already using AI on the daily.  Read more...

More about Supported, Artificial Intelligence, Chatbot, Deep Learning, and Virtual Assisstant

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Circle Pharma Announces Publication in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry of Results from Collaboration with Pfizer Inc.

Circle Pharma, Inc. today announced that results from its collaborative work with Pfizer Inc. to develop a potent and orally bioavailable macrocycle modulator of the chemokine receptor, CXCR7, have been published in the Journal of Medicinal...

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Siri’s news bulletin feature goes live in the UK and Australia

Brits can now ask their iThings to give them a brief update on what's happening in the world with the command: "Hey Siri, give me the news." Siri doesn't actually read the news, though, and instead will automatically play the latest podcast from a trusted source of your choice. I was treated to a 2-minute bulletin from BBC News when I said the magic words to Siri this morning, which also offered Sky News and LBC up as alternative sources.

As Apple prepares Siri for life inside its HomePod smart speaker, it first added the news briefing feature to the beta version of iOS 11.2.5 -- limiting it to the States at that point, too, where The Washington Post, Fox News, NPR or CNN provide the updates. In a matter of weeks, however, it's now graduated out of beta to become a standard Siri feature in iOS 11, whilst rolling out to new territories. So far the UK and Australia are confirmed, but there could be other countries the feature is also live in.

Via: 9to5Mac

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Google denies launching optimized version of Maps for China

Google's presence in China has increased marginally in recent times, but those excited about a rumoured optimized version of Maps for the country will be disappointed to learn the claims are untrue. Earlier this week Japan news site Nikkei reported that Google had launched a China-specific version of Maps for the first time in eight years, along with an accompanying app for Chinese iPhones, but Google quickly shot this down. "There have been no changes to Google Maps in China. Maps has been accessible on desktop for years, but does not have an official presence in Android or iOS app stores in China," a spokesperson said.

The full Google Maps app was withdrawn from the Chinese market in 2010, after the company refused to self-censor its search results. It's maintained a limited presence in the country since, although there have been signs of softening attitudes lately. The Google Translate app was made available in the country last year, and a Go tournament was held in eastern China. More recently, Google announced its plans to set up an AI research center in Beijing. So while an incoming Maps app would be a significant step, at this juncture it wouldn't be entirely unbelievable.

Source: Reuters

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IBM and shipping giant Maersk launch blockchain company for global logisics

IBM and Danish transport conglomerate Maersk announced today they are launching a joint venture to redefine the global shipping industry for the blockchain age. The new company, which hasn’t yet been named, will focus on simplifying the complex process of moving goods across different trade zones. The company initially plans to market two capabilities built […]

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Facebook’s Hugo Barra says standalone headsets are key to social VR

Even though Oculus didn't have an official presence at CES this year, its leader, Hugo Barra, made a surprise appearance at Qualcomm's press conference to make an important announcement: Xiaomi would be its global hardware partner for Oculus Go, its first standalone VR headset. What's more, Xiaomi would also be making a special variant of the Go, the Mi VR Standalone, especially for China. In an interview with Barra following the press conference, he explained the reason for the push in standalone headsets: social VR.

"This is a product category that will help us bring the most number of people into VR and really start unlocking these opportunities for social presence," said Barra. "It's the idea of having a completely self-contained product that you can just put on and start using it. You can do everything in one step."

"Everything is integrated together in one device," he continued. "That is the best experience that we think can be created."

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood on stage at last year's Oculus Connect and said that he wants to bring VR to a billion people, he really meant it. And a key reason for doing so is not just to sell hardware or games -- although that's obviously a pretty good incentive as well -- but it's to further Facebook's agenda of connecting the world via social VR.

"The vision that we have is for VR to enable people to spend time together and to do things together that they otherwise wouldn't be able to," said Barra. "It could be something as simple as Facebook Spaces, where you get in a place together with your avatars and interact. But it could also be watching something together, or playing a game together or doing any number of things together."

"And, of course, the more people we have in VR, the more people are going to start spending time together [in VR]. Which brings us back to why standalone VR is a huge focus for us."

In 2016, Oculus first showed off Project Santa Cruz, a prototype of its higher-end standalone headset, to a select group of reporters. But last year, it announced that it was working on a lower-end and much more affordable version of it called the Oculus Go. It'll be priced at just $199, and importantly, it's the product that Facebook hopes will drive the VR category to the masses.

The other part of Oculus' quest to spread VR to as many people as possible is its new partnership with Xiaomi. "[Xiaomi] is a very exciting, innovative company," said Barra of his former employer. But more important, he said, Xiaomi has a history of making high-quality products at very affordable prices. Also, while the Mi Standalone VR does share the same core features as the Oculus Go, Barra said there are aspects to its hardware and, more importantly, its software, that makes it highly localized to the Chinese market.

"It was very important for us to work with a partner who could bring a lot of leadership and expertise about the Chinese market," he added. "It's a market that is very important for us because we want to bring VR into as many hands as possible."

There's certainly evidence to suggest China's importance in the VR industry. According to a Canalys report, China accounted for 40 percent of VR shipments in 2016, while an IDC report suggests that China is on pace to become the world's largest market for virtual- and augmented-reality headsets by 2020. This is in part due to China's billion-plus consumer base, but also the rapid growth of VR-related startups in the country in recent years.

Facebook isn't the only company investing in standalone VR. Google, for example, unveiled a standalone Daydream headset, the Lenovo Mirage Solo, at CES. The Mirage Solo sets itself apart from the Oculus Go with Google's WorldSense technology, which gives it six degrees of freedom and positional tracking without external cameras or sensors. But the Mirage Solo is also tentatively priced at around $300, which is $100 more than the Oculus Go.

Barra doesn't seem worried about the competition. "We pride ourselves first and foremost on being the leaders in VR," he said. "We've been doing this for a very long time. We have a pretty high degree of confidence that the Oculus VR experience is the best, by a wide margin, from anything else you see out there."

Facebook's heavy investment in standalone headsets doesn't mean that it's giving up PC or mobile-based VR. "Standalone is the newest one, and is obviously one that we're really excited about," said Barra. Mobile VR is still very important, because it's the lowest barrier to entry, while the Rift offers the highest-quality VR. "We believe in all three," he said.

But in the end, Barra believes that standalone headsets are the future. It will be, he says, the easiest way to get people to use VR. "The Oculus Go will be our most successful VR product on the market," he said. Whether or not that will ultimately lead to mass social VR adoption, however, remains unclear.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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Bidgely Closes $27 Million Series C to Grow Disaggregation Solutions for Utilities

Bidgely announced today that it has closed a $27 million Series C round of financing - the largest round of investment to date for energy disaggregation technology. Georgian Partners, an investment fund known for its focus on high-growth...

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