Weekend tech reading: How Intel's Oculus robot tests touchscreens, the worst PC games of 2013

By on December 22, 2013, 12:56 PM
intel, oculus

Intel robot puts touch screens through their paces In a compact lab at Intel’s Silicon Valley headquarters, Oculus the robot is playing the hit game Cut the Rope on a smartphone. Using two fingers with rubbery pads on the ends, the robot crisply taps and swipes with micrometer precision through a level of the physics-based puzzler. It racks up a perfect score. It’s a far cry from the menial work that Oculus’s robot arm was designed for: moving silicon wafers around in a chip fab. But it’s not just a party trick. Intel built Oculus to try to empirically test the responsiveness and “feel” of a touch screen to determine if humans will like it. MIT Technology Review

Windows XP: Microsoft's ticking time bomb Shona Ghosh examines the security threat posed by Microsoft’s decision to end support for its 12-year-old OS in April The final deadline for Windows XP support will act as a starting pistol for hackers, as they target hundreds of millions of users on unpatched systems. Microsoft has already granted the 12-year-old OS several stays of execution, but the firm has said it will finally end extended support on 8 April 2014 -- despite the fact that XP remains the second-most popular OS, with almost a third of PCs running it. PC Pro

Utter rot At two hours, a zombie movie provides a bracing shot of nihilism. Zombies aren’t so much monsters as they are math, after all -- seething, surging, interchangeable integers. Some go fast, some slow. Some are funny, some scary. But if the premise stays pure no true happy ending is possible, and, before you’ve even had time to absorb that fact, everyone you loved will be dead or lost in grief forever. AMC’s zombie show, "The Walking Dead," on the other hand, has been grinding on for forty-three hours, something I can attest to, because I watched every episode in less than two weeks. The New Yorker

The 10 worst PC games of 2013 Oh, Gearbox, Gearbox, Gearbox. When you work on your own projects, we get Borderlands 2. Other licenses? Duke Nukem Forever. This. As a supposed in-canon sequel to Aliens, it's bad. What's really sad though is how far it ended up being from the pre-release footage that got fans so excited, with even Gearbox king-of-spin Randy Pitchford struggling to find a positive one on it. He eventually found it by only retweeting scraps of positive tweets, and declaring "As a glass-half-full kind of guy, I only want positive feelings with my personal Twitter. PC Games N

YoVideogames Aliens: Colonial Marines Review (from February 2013)

High-PPI support in Windows 8.1: still not so great Displays with high pixel densities are pretty much standard in tablets, and we're all waiting for them to become standard in notebooks. Take a trip to your local Best Buy, though, and chances are a majority of systems in the laptop aisle will have 1366x768 panels -- even large notebooks that really have no business with a display resolution that low. It's a sad state of affairs. If Google can serve up two megapixels in a $229 tablet, then why can't PC makers do the same in $800 ultrabooks? The Tech Report

AT&T to join rivals with 'transparency report' AT&T said Friday it would join rivals in the tech and telecom sector in publishing a "transparency report" about demands for information from law enforcement agencies. The announcement came a day after a similar announcement from sector rival Verizon, which follow releases from big technology firms including Google, Apple and Microsoft, and intense scrutiny of these firms in light of revelations of wide-ranging US government surveillance programs. Security Week

Server buying decisions: Memory We reviewed several types of server memory back in August 2012. You still have the same three choices -- LRDIMMs, RDIMMs, and UDIMMs—but the situation has significantly changed now. The introduction of the Ivy Bridge EP is one of those changes. The latest Intel Xeon has better support for LR-DIMMs and supports higher memory speeds (up to 1866 MHz). But the biggest change is that the pricing difference between LRDIMMs and RDIMMs has shrunk a lot. AnandTech

The most beautiful snowflake photos you’ll ever see, captured with a cheap DIY camera All of the snowflake photos on this page, believe it or not, were captured using a six-year-old point-and-shoot Canon camera and a standard 58mm SLR lens that was produced in the USSR sometime between 1958 and 1992. Such photography ought to be impossible without a microscope or other expensive gear, but it just perfectly illustrates the photographic and aesthetic ingenuity of Alexey Kljatov... ExtremeTech

The shape of things to come On Alpine Road in Portola Valley, a few miles southwest of the campus of Stanford University, where the flat suburban landscape begins to give way to the vistas of the Santa Cruz Mountains, there is an old wooden roadhouse called the Alpine Inn, where college students drink beer and wine at old wooden tables carved with initials. It’s as if Mory’s, the venerable Yale hangout, were housed in a western frontier tavern out of a John Wayne movie. Vanity Fair

How Britain exported next-generation surveillance It was a cool, quiet monday evening in northeast England when the computer first told them about Peter Chapman. The clock read a little after five, and two officers from Cleveland police were cruising in their patrol car. A screen lit up next to them: the on-board computer was flashing an alert from the local police network. The message told them the target was a blue Ford Mondeo and gave them its registration number. Medium

What is wrong with Steam OS? Steam OS beta was released over the weekend by Valve, the same OS which will be powering Steam Machines. Steam OS is bases on Debian 7 Wheezy, for those who don’t know Debian is an operating system based on Linux and Linux is free to use, modify and distribute, so Steam has forked Debian to develop Steam OS which is in beta right now and can be downloaded from here. Linux Federation




User Comments: 2

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2 people like this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

I think I heard the Imperial March when I saw that snowflake...

wastedkill said:

The article about britains CCTV is actually a interesting read!

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