Mars Opportunity Rover – 10 years and going strong

On July 7th, the Mars Opportunity Rover celebrated the 10 year anniversary of it’s launch from Earth along with it’s sister rover Spirit, which sadly died on Mars in 2010.

Originally expected to operate for only 3 months, Opportunity is well past this mark and shows no signs of letting up.

The little rover that could is on it’s way to a new crater, a 1.2 mile (2 kilometer) trek from the area it’s been studying for the past 22 months. It’s mission clock is at 9 years and counting, it will celebrate it’s 10 year mark on it’s mission timer in January 2014 (having landed January 2004).

Opportunity has traveled over 22 miles currently, and is well on it’s way to breaking the worldwide extraterrestrial driving record set by the Soviet robotic moon rover Lunokhod 2 in 1973 of 26 miles.

As stated right here on Nerditronics previously, it was believed that Lunokhod 2 traveled 23 miles, however new data shows that it traveled about 3 miles further than previously thought.

Not too bad for a little rover that was supposed to go offline over 9 years ago.

Original article on space.com

Zynga Hires Former Xbox Head

That’s right folks, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division is now the CEO of all your favorite Facebook games. Don Mattrick was recruited by Zynga founder Mark Pincus personally.

Now Pincus will still be the chairman, chief product officer and controls 61% of the stock thanks to a two-tiered stock structure. Which brings up the questions who will really be in control of the company?

Well according to Reuters, Mattrick will be in charge of the day to day business and green-lighting new games.

My biggest question is the timing of everything, it may just be me, but it seems a little odd that he leaves this close after the pounding Microsoft and the Xbox took at E3. Is he really “leaving” or is he being forced to leave?

Also, what happens with Microsoft’s Xbox division? Some are saying that Steve Ballmer wants to create a “Devices” division that may include Xbox, Surface Tablets and maybe the Phones divisions.

For more info check out the article on Reuters.

Could a Live Action Zelda Movie Actually Work?

Now, those of us that were born in the 80′s will remember the god awful Super Mario Bros. movie. Ever since then, Nintendo hasn’t really been the most trusting of Hollywood, and many would say for good reason.

Most Video Game Movies have sucked, thank you Uwe Boll, however as a Kotaku article shows, some people are proving that a live action Zelda movie might actually work.

Now there’s no appearance of Zelda, but still a cool video.

Check it out here.

Is this how we’ll look in 100,000 years?

Found a cool article on forbes.com the other day talking about how some people think we’ll look as Humans in 20,000, 60,000 and even 100,000 years. It’s very interesting because they take into consideration the fact that we’ll soon be able to fully adjust the genetics of how we look before we’re born.

Now this article doesn’t go into the ethics of if we will modify these genes or not, it’s written with an understanding that we will.

They say out eyes will become larger, to help us with low light space colonies. Our skin will be more pigmented to assist with much of the same.

There are a few other things think will change, such as instead of wearing our technology on the outside, we will have it implanted on the inside.

Check out the article here.

 

48 Announced Games so far for the PlayStation 4

PlayStation Exclusives are in bold. PlayStation And PC only Exclusives are in italics.

* Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
* Basement Crawl
* Battlefield 4
Blacklight: Retribution [Free-to-Play]
* Call of Duty: Ghosts
Carmageddon: Reincarnation
* Cyberpunk 2077
DC Universe Online [Free-to-Play]
Daylight
* Deep Down
* Destiny
Destiny of Spirits
* Diablo III
* Doki-Doki Universe [Free-to-Play]
DriveClub
* Dying Light
* EA Sports UFC
* The Evil Within
* FIFA 14
* Final Fantasy (Untitled)
* Hohokum
* inFAMOUS: Second Son
Killzone: Shadow Fall
* Knack
* Lords of the Fallen
* Madden NFL 25
* NBA 2K14
* NBA Live 14
* Need for Speed Rivals
* The Pinball Arcade
* Planetside 2 [Free-to-Play]
* Primal Carnage: Genesis
* Rocketbirds 2: Evolution
* Shadow Warrior
* Silent Enemy
* Skylanders Swap Force
* Sniper Elite 3
* Super Motherload
* Super Stardust (Untitled)
* (Another Housemarque game in development)
* Thief
* Tiny Brains
* The Walking Dead: Season 2
* War Thunder: Ground Forces [Free-to-Play]
* Warframe [Free-to-Play]
* Watch Dogs
* The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
* The Witness
* Wolfenstein: The New Order

PlayStation 4 Information from E3

So yesterday both Microsoft and Sony had their keynote conferences yesterday. Early, and continued, reactions to the two is not going well for Microsoft. Thanks to their conference a couple weeks ago we know a bunch of details about the Xbox One (still hate that name) than we do the PS4. So here on Nerditronics we’re going to cover the PS4 announcements first, well that and I don’t like Microsoft, and I’m in charge of the blog!

First off, Sony went into full beast-mode in it’s attack on the Xbox One. If you’re squeamish, might want to look away now. NAW who am I kidding keep reading!

Sony’s first jab to the Xbox One is it’s price, at $399 (In Europe, it’ll be €399 and £349.) PS4 will be priced a full $100 cheaper than Microsoft’s offering. This is a very welcomed change to the $600 launch of the PlayStation 3, which for the record, yes I still paid it. Though it does not appear that this will include the new PlayStation Eye camera.

At the console launch in February Sony didn’t show the actual console, however at E3 they fixed that quickly. I’ll be honest, I’m not psyched about the look, granted it doesn’t look like an old boxy VCR like the Xbox One does, but it does look like an italicized original PS2.

 

The system will include a 500GB hard drive similar to the X1 (hate that name too), however they’ve already announced that it will be upgradeable similar to the original PS3′s.

Now here’s where it gets a little ugly for Microsoft.

Jack Tretton, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment America said, ”We’re equally focused on delivering what gamers want most, without imposing restrictions or devaluing their PS4 purchases.” Soon after this Sony start launching bombs that were not subtle at all.

Kotaku’s summary of what happened next said it best I think.

“PlayStation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on the use of PS4 games.” Twenty-second applause break. “When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game, they can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.” Twenty-second applause break, with “Sony” chant.

 

“PlayStation 4 disc-based games don’t need to be connected online to play.” Twelve-second applause break. “If you enjoy playing singleplayer games offline, PS4 won’t require you to check in online periodically.” Eight-second applause break. “And it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours.” Ten-second applause break.

These were obviously directly aimed at Microsoft’s ‘clarifications’ the other day, which has not sat well with gamers. Sony knew this and played into it beautifully.

Now all the cheering and brownie-points that Sony gained with the last announcements made this next bit of news go off oddly well:

The PlayStation 4 will now charge for Online Multiplayer, unlike with the PS3. You can pay $50 for a year’s subscription ($4.17-ish per month). However you will get multiple free games for your subscription and it’s good for every PlayStation device.

Now obviously this is very early on, and both systems are VERY far from launch, both slated for Holidays 2013. But at this point if Microsoft backs out on their announced plans they’ll run the risk of dropping more face with the customers by admitting that Sony was “right”. Also there’s no saying that Sony won’t change their mind about certain things between now and then. However as it stands now, Sony is swinging for the fences and Microsoft is leaving itself open for every shot.

Now for one last shot at the Xbox One, Sony released the following video.

Announcement turns into Bad Day for neXt Box

Today Microsoft tried to clarify some of the confusion from their Xbox One launch announcement  last month. However the early reaction to most of what they “clarified” today has been less than positive for Microsoft and the neXt Box, as I call it.

Here’s a good recap, thanks to Kotaku.com along with my comments.

  • The console must connect to the internet once every 24 hours in order for you to play games.

Now I know most people that will own an Xbox One will have an “always on” broadband connection. However not everyone will. What about the military members who take their neXt Box with them? Sometimes they can’t get online for multiple weeks! Or students who can’t afford the always on connection? Will they not be allowed to play their games after 24 hours? Or what about if the Microsoft servers go down? Oh, wait I forgot… that NEVER happens right?

Here’s a bit from the Xbox Wire statement:

With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies.

  • The Xbox One will allow the sale of used games, at “participating retailers”, but only if the publisher allows it. Publishers being the very people opposed most fiercely to used video game sales.

Now let me gets this straight, you can trade in your games (yay!) but it’s not up to you, nor is it up to where ever you want to trade them in at. It’s up to the very companies that want to get rid of used games all together because they don’t get any money off the used games? While this is a smart move for Microsoft, in that they can wash their hands of this whole thing and just blame the game makers, it seems to really just screw over the gamers.

  • There are restrictions on how you can “give” and “loan” your games away. What’s more, lending won’t be available at launch, with Microsoft still “exploring the possibilities with our partners”.

Now the “restrictions” are less than clear, again according to Xbox Wire:

Give your games to friends: Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.

So you can give your games to your friends, but only if their disc based, only if you’ve had them on your friends list for a month AND only if it’s never been given to anyone before? Gee thanks for making it so easy. Am I the only one that remembers when you could just hand someone the disc, they’d take it home and DONE… that’s it, no restrictions, nothing, just your friend enjoying some sweet sweet game action!?

This next one isn’t on the Kotaku list of “bad things” but it’s on the Xbox Wire and it’s something that I’ve debated with my friends *cough* Marshal *cough*:

Access your entire games library from any Xbox One—no discs required: After signing in and installing, you can play any of your games from any Xbox One because a digital copy of your game is stored on your console and in the cloud.  So, for example, while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.

So, you buy the game (disc or digital), install it and then your disc, if you bought it that way, is done. Here’s my question, Microsoft stated that the “stock” Xbox One will have a 500GB Hard Drive. I say stock because there’s no word on if you can upgrade that on your own or not like the PS3. But, they want you to install Blu-Ray disc games (up to 50GB+ per disc) yours and any friend’s that you “borrow” mind you, load your music, videos and other media you have because it’s a “media center”, not to mention if they add the ability to use your system as a DVR. That Hard Drive is going to fill up really damn fast. Which they’ve never gone into how it would handle uninstalling/reinstalling/file management etc.

Even some of the “good” news mentioned just seems like they’re avoiding the issue honestly:

  • Responding to fears over privacy issues surrounding the “always on” Kinect, Microsoft says you can turn the Kinect off.

Now being able to turn it off is well and good, however it doesn’t really do anything to make me, or others, feel good about the fact that it CAN watch you all the time.

Now the seemingly lone good news in all this relates to family:

  • You can have up to ten people in your Xbox One “family”, and can share all your content among them, regardless of which console they’re using.

I got nothing bad to say about this, this sounds honestly really cool. However I would like to know if you have 2 different consoles accessing the same “family” of content, can you both play a game at the same time?

Questions like that last one and many many more were asked of Microsoft by Kotaku and numerous other journalists. However, Microsoft refused to provide any further questions simply saying that today’s information is ”everything we can share today”.

Now to me, this merely raises the question of if Microsoft even KNOWS any further information at all.

Stay Tuned to Nerditronics for more information!

Samsung announces new tablets

Samsung has announced a few new tablets, confirming to The Verge that they will release a new 8-inch and a new 10.1-inch tablets.

Now the 8-inch tablet will have 1.5 GHz Exynos dual-core processor, WXGA TFT 1280 x 800 (189 PPI) display, 1.5GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear-facing and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, a 4,450 mAh battery, and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

As we previously reported the new 10.1 inch tablet will be dropping their old ARM chips for  an Intel 1.6 GHz dual-core processor. It will also have 1280 x 800 (149 PPI) WXGA TFT display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, and a 6,800 mAh battery. However it will only have a 3-megapixel rear camera and the same 1.3 front camera.

They’ll both be available in June, no prices announced yet.

Check The Verge for the full story.

Mars pebbles prove water history

BBC News has an article stating that scientists now have definitive proof that many of the landscapes seen on Mars were indeed cut by flowing water.

Researchers have found rounded pebbles in the Gale Crater on Mars.

“Big deal they found rounded rocks!” you might be saying. Well these pebbles’ smooth appearance is identical to pebbles found in rivers here on Earth. Now when rock fragments roll on the bottom of of a stream of water will have their edges knocked off, thus rounding them. Eventually they will come to a rest in a characteristic overlapping pattern.

The Curiosity rover has photographic proof of rocks with these exact characteristics; thus proving that flowing water had a part in shaping the martian landscape.

Check the full article here.