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[H] Enthusiast Archives: February 2016Archive Listing

Sunday February 28, 2016

Dota 2 Host Fired By Gabe Newell Tries To Explain Himself

I am no expert at Dota 2 nor eSports, but my take is that Valve wants a clean, professional act—yet that doesn’t correlate with the actual attitude of the fan base and its promoters. Gabe seemed annoyed enough to publicize this personally on reddit.

It’s hard to evaluate Harding’s view of events given that Valve have offered so little detail about their reasoning behind his firing, beyond Newell’s Reddit post. Watching the panel segments from the two days that Harding hosted, there are certainly a lot of things that Valve could have found objectionable: Harding was also fairly provocative throughout his time with the tournament, from his bizarre opening segment to his repeated declarations that he no longer follows nor knows anything about Dota, which could read as disdainful or indifferent toward the event he was supposed to be covering.


Nintendo NX Allegedly No More Powerful Than Xbox One

Based on the company’s track record, I guess we should be happy the console is even as powerful as this rumor suggests. The greater news is that the architecture supposedly allows for very easy ports, so we should see more games on the system.

…all the tech is exactly the same hardware layout as the PS4 and Xbox One which then combine it with the OS’s strong emulation functions and compiler means that any game that can run of a Playstation 4 or Xbox One can easily run on the NX with near-zero modification to the original source code, especially if it runs in Android OS or Unreal Engine 4. This is allegedly why Nintendo has given out the dev kits so late, as one 3rd Party dev put it "It’s the easiest device we’ve ever developed for. You just take your code, compile it and it works."


Sprint Resurrecting Two-Year Wireless Service Contracts

This news comes only weeks after Sprint terminated two-year contracts. The company’s original plan was to kill contracts back in 2015, but now it seems that they’re doing a complete reversal.

Indeed, Sprint's website this morning shows four options for customers to buy a new phone: They can lease devices, pay for them in monthly installments, ink a 24-month service contract, or pay for the full price for the gadget. For example, Sprint is selling the 16 GB iPhone 6s under a leasing model ($26.39 monthly), an installment model ($27.09 for 24 months), a contract model ($199.99 through a two-year contract), and full price for $649.99.


Battlefield 5 Set During World War I, Releasing October?

According to a retail listing, the Battlefield franchise is revisiting history and will take place during the Great War. I am not sure if I can believe this, since a large part of the appeal with these games seems to be fancy, modern weaponry.

Rectifying slow-firing weapons and excruciating trench warfare with the fast-paced, vehicle-focused Battlefield model sounds nearly impossible, so I would be very surprised if this listing turns out to be accurate. Have you seen what tanks looked like back then? You'd have a tough time launching off a ramp and shooting down a helicopter with one of these, I'll tell you that much.


Disney Asking Employees To Help Fund Copyright Lobbying

This seems pretty legit—after all, Disney is a relatively small company whose CEO only managed to earn a paltry $45 million in the last fiscal year.

The Walt Disney Company has a reputation for lobbying hard on copyright issues. The 1998 copyright extension has even been dubbed the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" by activists like Lawrence Lessig that have worked to reform copyright laws. This year, the company is turning to its employees to fund some of that battle. Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC.


The Universe Could End In 2.8 Billion Years

This is just a heads up so you guys can get your things in order in time before the universe rips itself apart.

Observations of stars and galaxies indicate that the universe is expanding, and at an increasing rate. Assuming that acceleration stays constant, eventually the stars will die out, everything will drift apart, and the universe will cool into an eternal "heat death". But that’s not the only possibility. The acceleration is thought to be due to dark energy, mysterious stuff that permeates the entire universe. If the total amount of dark energy is increasing, the acceleration will also increase, eventually to the point where the very fabric of space-time tears itself apart and the cosmos pops out of existence.


3D-Printed Vertebrae Implanted In World-First Surgery

Medical professionals hope that this is just the beginning, as the capability of manufacturing bones, joints, and organs would be "the holy grail of medicine."

To make the part, Mobbs worked with an Australian medical device company named Anatomics. In addition to constructing the titanium implant, the company also printed the doctor a number of models of the patient's exact anatomy so he was able to practice the surgery before walking into the operating theatre. While surgeons have been using 3D-printed implants for a number of years, Mobbs believes the surgery is a world first for these particular vertebrae in the neck.


Xbox Exec Promises To Improve PC Gaming

This story is based entirely around a tweet with no real specifics, so for all I know, Mr. Spencer was just killing time on the can. But what some gamers are hoping for is that Microsoft will improve games sold through the Windows Store, which have serious limitations in terms of making full use of your graphics hardware.

This isn't the first time Spencer has admitted shortcomings in Microsoft's PC gaming efforts. In June 2015, Spencer acknowledged "we weren't fully committed as a company" to the PC gaming space in recent years. But that is changing now. "I can tell you definitively that our team has never committed more resources to making Windows better for game developers and gamers, and that means any gamer on Windows 10, regardless of storefront or device," Spencer explained at the time.


Google Seeks New Disks For Data Centers

Google doesn't believe that current hard drive offerings are ideal for cloud-based storage. For this purpose, the company hopes for new disk technologies that prioritize collection, rather than capacity or performance.

The rise of cloud-based storage means that most (spinning) hard disks will be deployed primarily as part of large storage services housed in data centers. Such services are already the fastest growing market for disks and will be the majority market in the near future. For example, for YouTube alone, users upload over 400 hours of video every minute, which at one gigabyte per hour requires more than one petabyte (1M GB) of new storage every day or about 100x the Library of Congress. As shown in the graph, this continues to grow exponentially, with a 10x increase every five years.


Apple Most Preferred Smartphone Brand In US

I think everyone could have already guessed that, but this new report also suggests that rapid growth in the smartphone market is over.

Smartphone penetration has hit 65 percent in the U.S., 74 percent in the "EU5" (U.K., Spain, Germany, France, and Italy) and 72 percent in urban China, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. In 2016, there will be two main factors that will drive even further adoption: stubborn feature-phone owners finally giving in to buying a smartphone and convincing current smartphone owners that they need the latest generation of handheld technology, according to Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.


Saturday February 27, 2016

J.J. Abrams: Gay Characters Coming To Star Wars

Meanwhile, there will never be a significant Asian character despite the fact that Jedi are based on samurai and Shaolin monks.

By Abrams’ logic, the sprawling Star Wars universe couldn’t possibly exist without a gay populace—even if we haven’t seen a single character identified as gay thus far. "I would love it," he said. "To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world."


Daredevil Season 2 Episode 1 Review

The new season of Daredevil is still three weeks away, but those of you who want to know what goes down in the premiere can check this article out.

Yes, The Punisher's officially arrived and the premiere episode gets right into it. A very strong start to what looks to be an action-packed, drama-filled season of excitement. In the wake of Wilson Fisk's arrested, several gangs have tried to muscle in and fill the void. The Cartel. Bikers. The Irish mob. Nature abhors a vacuum. There's territory to claim. And that idea alone makes for a good starting point.