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App Pick - Grumpy Cat Weather

Weekly Tech Update #392 - Occulus Banned from VR Code

We have just posted up Episode #392 of Weekly Tech Update. In this episode we are discussing the arrival of Ryzen, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge named best of Mobile World Congress, and brace yourselves people, Yahoo gets hacked again, not for the second time, for the third time. We have those stories and more at the links below...

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Oculus Rift and Touch price drops

Oculus has announced they'll be dropping the prices of their Rift and Touch products by $100 each which brings the bundled price down to $598 USD. Individually you'll be seeing the Rift for $499 USD and the Touch controller for $99. The price is still a bit steep for someone curious about VR but it is getting closer for some. Unfortunately for Oculus, these products are flying off the shelves like they were hoping so there could even be potentially more price cuts in the near future. Engadget has more on this story.

We're just a few weeks away from the one-year anniversary of Oculus shipping the Rift to consumers, so now would be a good time for the company to drop some news. And here it is. Starting today, Oculus will begin selling Rift and Touch bundles on its store for $598 -- about a $200 price cut. On their own, the Rift headset is now $499 while the Touch controllers are $99, meaning that each saw a price drop of $100. Oh, and the cost of an extra Oculus sensor is now $59, which is $20 less than before.

Yahoo discloses 3rd data breach

Yahoo has revealed yet another data breach, however, in comparison to the first 2, this one was pretty minor with only 32 million user accounts being accessed over the past 2 years. Their 2013 breach saw 1 billion accounts accessed, and then another 500 million in 2014. At this point I think users probably just have to assume that their Yahoo data has been breached at least once and if they are really lucky they might have been hit 3 times. Long story short, probably want to change your Yahoo passwords, again, or maybe weekly.

9to5Mac has more on this story.

Continuing the ongoing trend, Yahoo today revealed that some 32 million accounts have been accessed by intruders over the past two years. These accounts are in addition to the accounts affected by the two data breaches the company had previously disclosed.

According to Reuters, the accounts were compromised using forged cookies. Yahoo is currently of the belief that the accounts were accessed by the “same state-sponsored actor beloved to be responsible for the 2014 hack.” For those keeping track, the 2014 hack was the one that affected at least 500 million accounts.

Ryzen: Good, but is it Great?

The Ryzen benchmarks are finally hitting hitting the internet and overall the performance isn't bad at all and in some tests it's really good. Unfortunately the gaming benchmarks aren't blowing everyone away head-to-head with some Intel chips (which granted are more expensive) but overall I think the results are probably what we should have been expected as the hype did seem to grow and grow as people were excited to finally have an alternative in the CPU market. Don't believe me? Check out ArsTechnica's coverage of the new Ryzen 1800x.

It's finally happened. Over a decade after Intel's Core architecture launched and began a period of market domination that few would have predicted, competition at the high end of the desktop market is back.

AMD Ryzen—a line of desktop CPUs that will soon range from four-core lightweights to eight-core monsters like the Ryzen 7 1800X—aren't the fastest processors in terms of pure instructions per clock (IPC). Nor does every application take full advantage of their multicore prowess. And if you're a gamer, Ryzen in its current state is not the CPU to buy.

PCWorld also takes a look at the Ryzen over here:

Admit it. You love underdog tales. The Cleveland Cavaliers coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors. The New York Giants defeating the 18-0 New England Patriots, and the Average Joes beating the heavily favored Purple Cobras in the dodgeball finals.

Well, you can now add AMD’s highly anticipated Ryzen CPU to that list of epic comebacks in history. Yes, disbeliever, AMD’s Ryzen almost—almost—lives up to the hype. What’s more, it delivers the goods at an unbeatable price: $499 for the highest-end Ryzen 7 1800X, half the cost of its closest Intel competitor.

 

YouTube Will Offer Live & On-Demand TV

YouTube is coming out with Live and On-Demand TV in the near future for a mere $35 a month. Ok, that's not a "mere" $35, and the price is about what some people pay for their standard TV subscription. It's not 100% clear yet as to the selection and library that will be offered, but if they have Live Sports, it might be a really nice option to subscribe for playoff season.

A majority of players have shifted away from traditional content and have bolstered their brand with their own original content. Although YouTube is a monster when it comes to streaming, it hasn't really made many moves to offer paid content to its viewers. The streaming service will now begin to offer live and on-demand streaming TV service.

Source: Neowin

Google Cardboard Ships over 10 Million Units

Google's Cardboard has sold more than any other VR headset and the reason for that is simply it is cheap. While VR is pretty neat for a demo, there aren't a lot of practical or even entertainment uses for VR with the software and "gamers" as limited as they are. While Cardboard is far from a premium experience, it does give people a taste of what they could be wasting their money on, and thankfully Cardboard is the first and last headset that many peole buy.

It’s hard to say how much this tells us about demand for Cardboard headsets, since many were given out for free as promotional tools. The New York Times, for example, mailed over a million of them to print subscribers in 2015, then another round in 2016. But it's useful to know how many are out there, especially right after Sony gave some hard numbers for its far more expensive PlayStation VR headset.

Source: TheVerge

Xbox Game Pass - Subscription Games from Microsoft

Microsoft has gone the way of Origin Access with their latest announcement called Xbox Game Pass. This will give you access to download and enjoy more that 100 games in the Xbox library. The library is quite limited and there aren't likely to be a lot of currect A+ game titles in the bucket, it gives you an option as Origin Access is also pretty limited. If you want to spend $9.99 a month for the game list, it might be worth your time and money.

One of the best things about Xbox Game Pass is that you can discover and download the full titles directly on your Xbox One. That means continuous, full-fidelity gameplay without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues. In addition, all Xbox One games in the catalog - and related add-ons - will be available to purchase at an exclusive discount for Xbox Game Pass members, so you can make the games you love part of your permanent library to play whenever you want.

Source: Xbox

 

Google Pulls the Plug on Pixel Laptops

It's a busy week in tech as MWC congress news is flowing in and GDC is now in full swing. Amid all of that, Google has revealed that they won't be pushing out anymore Pixel laptops. While they are not done with the Pixel brand, that will be reserved for smartphones and tablets. The shows the lack of success with high-end Chromebooks. Chromebooks are only popular for their price.

As TechCrunch notes, Google is trimming down the Pixel line to just the smartphones and the Pixel C tablet for now. Although there may be other devices carrying the name in the future, Osterloh said it was unlikely that its own laptops would be one of them. And don't hold your breath if you were in the market for a Pixel 2 yourself: the company sold out of them back in August and has no plans to restock them.

Source: Engadget

ASUS Toutes Expedition Line Products

Ever want to game non-stop? Well if you do then ASUS has some parts for you. ASUS launched a new line of GPUs and Motherboards called the 'Expedition' line which was built for non-stop gaming. The claim to be in the Expedition line comes from the parts themselves along with a combined 144hr compatibility test and burn-in sequence as well as stress testing the GPUs. Prices are said to be reasonable though ASUS did say they planned to market these to gaming cafes and the like which are popular in Asia.

The higher performing card in the lineup is the ASUS Expedition GeForce GTX 1070 OC Edition 8 GB GDDR5 (EX-GTX1070-O8G) that uses the company’s own PCB design (24 cm/9.45” in length) and slightly taller cooling system (13.1 cm/5.16”) with two heat pipes and two fans.

Source: AnandTech

Amazon Productivity Apps

Although the information is a bit lean, the rumor is that Amazon is working on their own office productivity programs to run in competition with Google and Microsoft. There are a few other companies that product office software, and I'm not sure if the market can handle - or even needs, anymore free or subscription office software, but if anyone can do it, Amazon will be able to pull it off. I'm actually looking forward to seeing what they have to offer. 

Speaking to The Information, sources in the know have said that Amazon’s plans are still in their infancy, but the first steps will include improving AWS’s existing WorkMail and WorkDocs applications. These apps, which offer calendar and file storage functionality, have yet to catch on with customers, and in their current form pale in comparison to what’s available from Microsoft and Google.

Source: SlashGear

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