News Hightech

NASA's Cassini probe bids farewell to Saturn with epic image

NASA's Cassini spacecraft was always destined to be a doomed hero. After two decades in space, diligently exploring Saturn and its many strange and beautiful moons, operators deliberately crashed the spacecraft into the planet to make sure the moons...

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CBS TV channels are back on Dish

Following an intentional three-day blackout, CBS channels are available once again for Dish customers, as the two companies have reached an agreement in a financial dispute. CBS and Dish have been feuding for months: CBS wanted Dish to pay higher fe...

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EFF tool tells your members of Congress to fight for net neutrality

The FCC may be bent on killing net neutrality, but that doesn't mean you have to stay silent or offer mostly symbolic protests. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a web tool that makes it easy to ask your members of Congress to fight for...

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Budweiser is blasting barley into space to brew Mars beer

Settlers could arrive on Mars as soon as 2024, if SpaceX gets its way. And, those newcomers to the red planet are going to need supplies, like...beer. While Elon Musk and co. are aspiring to send (useful) cargo to Mars two years ahead of the first vi...

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HBO's interactive 'Mosaic' series arrives on Android

Despite all the high profile TV shows currently on the air, HBO and Steven Soderbergh have found a way to make Mosaic stand out in the age of binge-watching: hand over narrative control to the viewers. Billed as "interactive storytelling," the 7.5-ho...

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NASA's Cassini probe bids farewell to Saturn with epic image

NASA's Cassini spacecraft was always destined to be a doomed hero. After two decades in space, diligently exploring Saturn and its many strange and beautiful moons, operators deliberately crashed the spacecraft into the planet to make sure the moons...

Read more »


Video games

Sega Releases Earnings Report

Sega has released its financial report for the nine-month period ending Dec. 31, 2016, and it was a profitable period for the Japanese company. Sega sold 8.13 million games in that period, up from last year's 6.12 million, including a new Football Manager title and Yakuza 6. In its report, Sega said that consumers are expecting higher-quality mobile games, and as such the development time and cost is expected to increase. Net revenue in Sega's Entertainment Contents Business, which includes game software as well as arcade games and films, is at 155.4 billion Yen (about $1.4 billion) – a jump of about 14 percent. The division's operating income is at $15.4 billion Yen (about $137 million), which Sega says is an increase of 449 percent over the same period last year. [Source: Sega] Our TakeThere weren't any major revelations here, but it's nice to see that Sega appears to be doing well. The past few years have been tumultuous in the gaming industry, and I'll take anything approaching normalcy and stability as a good sign. 

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PSA: Free Elder Scrolls Online Homestead Update Available Now

Elder Scrolls Online is getting a free update today that allows players to own their own homesteads. The first major DLC of 2017 for the massively multiplayer game will allow players to buy and own their own estates, apartments, and even islands in Tamriel. With more than 40 instances homes based on the game's 10 playable races, there are plenty of options for players looking to set down some roots in Tamriel.   Homes can be bought either using in game gold, or through microtransactions via Elder Scrolls Online's Crown Store. Players can also customize  their property with more than 2,000 decorative items including furniture, books, and more.  The Homestead update is available now on PC and Mac, and will be coming to PS4 and Xbox One on February 21.  For info on Elder Scrolls Online's next big expansion, Morrowind, you can click right here. [Source: ESO Online Website]

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Square Enix Profits Up In 2016

Square Enix has released its earnings report for the nine-month period that ended Dec. 31, 2016. And thanks in part to releases including Final Fantasy XV and the PlayStation 4 version of Rise of the Tomb Raider, the company's profit and revenue are both up over last year. The company pulled in a total of 190 billion Yen (about $1.7 billion), which is up from the 152 billion in revenue it earned in the same period the year before. That's an increase of a little more than 24 percent. From that total, Square Enix's profit was 17 billion Yen (about $151 million) – a 26-percent jump from the previous 13.5 billion. In its report, Square Enix cited the Final Fantasy and Rise of the Tomb Raider releases, as well as "strong download sales of catalogue titles released previously" as having led sales on console. Its MMO revenue is steady, despite major content updates during the reported period. Additionally, mobile and browser-based games have been enjoying significant earnings increases. [Source: Square Enix]   Our TakeSquare Enix has a fairly long post-release plan for Final Fantasy XV, so it should be interesting to see if it helps pull its weight as we move into the next fiscal period.

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Elite Dangerous Dev Signs Game Deal With Hollywood Studio

Elite Dangerous (shown) and Planet Coaster developer Frontier Developments has announced that the company's third video game franchise will be based on an "enduring movie franchise of global renown" from a Hollywood studio. "We have chosen to license this particular IP to work with as our third franchise, because we believe we can create something very special. It is creatively stimulating, already has a high worldwide profile, and is a perfect match for our expertise." [Source: London Stock Exchange via Gamasutra]   Our TakeAny guesses?

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Scribbly Shooter Drawn To Life Gets April Release Date, In-Depth Dev Video

Drawn to Death is an usual-looking game, to be sure, but what sets it apart from other hero shooters on the market today is more than skin deep. Designer David Jaffe talks about the game's frantic four-player action, explaining why a pared-down player count helps keep the action more strategic than a twitchy free-for-all. In the video below, Jaffe explains how having fewer opponents lets you get a better sense of where your enemies are and what they're capable of – even getting a sense of the kind of player they are. He readily admits that it may seem like a turn off initially, but that players who have gotten their hands on the game have grown fond of both the game's finely tuned (and over-the-top) action. (Please visit the site to view this media) In addition to showing off the game, Jaffe and his studio, The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency, have announced a release date for the game: It's coming to the PlayStation 4 on April 4. For more on Drawn to Death, take a look at a preview we wrote way back when the game was first announced.

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Sega Releases Earnings Report

Sega has released its financial report for the nine-month period ending Dec. 31, 2016, and it was a profitable period for the Japanese company. Sega sold 8.13 million games in that period, up from last year's 6.12 million, including a new Football Manager title and Yakuza 6. In its report, Sega said that consumers are expecting higher-quality mobile games, and as such the development time and cost is expected to increase. Net revenue in Sega's Entertainment Contents Business, which includes game software as well as arcade games and films, is at 155.4 billion Yen (about $1.4 billion) – a jump of about 14 percent. The division's operating income is at $15.4 billion Yen (about $137 million), which Sega says is an increase of 449 percent over the same period last year. [Source: Sega] Our TakeThere weren't any major revelations here, but it's nice to see that Sega appears to be doing well. The past few years have been tumultuous in the gaming industry, and I'll take anything approaching normalcy and stability as a good sign. 

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News in brief

Mnangagwa to be sworn in as Zimbabwe president

Zimbabwe's Emmerson Mnangagwa was set to be sworn in as president on Friday, marking the final chapter of a political drama that brought an end to Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule.

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South African court more than doubles 'shockingly lenient' Pistorius sentence

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal increased Oscar Pistorius’ murder sentence on Friday to 13 years and five months after the state argued that his original sentence of six years was “shockingly lenient”.

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'Explosion' dashes last hopes for missing Argentine submarine

Argentina's navy confirmed Thursday that an unusual noise heard in the Atlantic near the last known position of a missing submarine appeared to be an explosion, dashing the last hopes of finding the vessel's 44 crew members alive.

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Pope Francis wades into diplomatic mire on Myanmar visit

Pope Francis plunges into a diplomatic minefield next week with visits to under-fire Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh amid mounting outrage over the plight of persecuted Rohingya Muslims.

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Pakistan releases militant blamed for 2008 Mumbai attacks

Pakistani authorities acting on a court order released a US-wanted militant who allegedly founded a banned group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 168 people, his spokesman and officials said.

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Mnangagwa to be sworn in as Zimbabwe president

Zimbabwe's Emmerson Mnangagwa was set to be sworn in as president on Friday, marking the final chapter of a political drama that brought an end to Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule.

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Sport

Gilles and Poirier hope to solve the Shib Sibs at Skate America

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier hope their seductive gumshoe-meets-siren free dance can put them past the Shibutani siblings this week at the Skate America Grand Prix event.

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Skeleton's alphabet-soup man once lived off peanut butter

His name is tough to spell, but Dave Greszczyszyn has never shied away from a challenge. Like the time he quit his comfy teaching job to chase his Olympic dream.

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Bo Levi Mitchell looks to become 1st Stamps QB to win 2 Grey Cups

The beginning of Bo Levi Mitchell in the Canadian Football League can be traced back to one pivotal play five years ago at BC Place Stadium, during the 2012 West Final. He hasn't looked back since.

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Oscar Pistorius's sentence more than doubled to 13 years, 5 months

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday increased Oscar Pistorius' murder sentence to 13 years and five months after the state argued that his original sentence of six years was "shockingly lenient."

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The Olympics have a host-city problem

Faced with a huge price tag for hosting what amounts to a two-week party, cities around the world are no longer clamouring for the Olympics. Now the IOC is trying to rein in costs to make the Games more attractive.

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Gilles and Poirier hope to solve the Shib Sibs at Skate America

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier hope their seductive gumshoe-meets-siren free dance can put them past the Shibutani siblings this week at the Skate America Grand Prix event.

Read more »

Odd news

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