The Daily Roundup for 01.31.2013

DNP The Daily RoundUp

You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.


King’s Landing Recreated in Minecraft: Pixels are Coming

I know you can’t wait for the third season of Game of Thrones when it hits at the end of March. Me too. Well, here is something to help tide you over until then. This amazingly detailed Minecraft King’s Landing was created by the people at Westeroscraft - who are gradually recreating the entire domain of Westeros using only Minecraft. And even though it is awesome, it makes me sad because we still have to wait for next season.
kings landing
I want to watch it now! I’ll just take a deep breath instead, and absorb all of detail of King’s Landing. Just look at all of those buildings, the docks, the countryside. This city is alive – though we all wish King Joffrey wasn’t.

kings landing minecraft 3

The only thing missing is an immense battle with green wildfire spraying over the ships in Blackwater Bay.

kings landing1
Hit this link for a gallery of hi-res images. They did an amazing job. But I still want to watch the show now!

kings landing2
[reddit via Nerd Approved]

Sony asks us to ‘see the future’ of PlayStation on February 20th (update: WSJ rumors)

Sony asks us to 'see the future' of PlayStation on February 20th

What's this? A Sony invite to "see the future" of PlayStation on February 20th in New York City? From the looks of the very tease-y clip Sony's released (found just beyond the break), it's clearly PlayStation related. Perhaps involving a certain codenamed "Orbis" project? The company's official PlayStation Twitter account says "See the future" and pushes followers to this website, where invitees can sign up and everyone can see the aforementioned video.

We'll find out soon enough what the tease is about, as we've just finished up registration. From the video ... well, the future features the same triangle, circle, square, and cross buttons, apparently. A recent report detailed some specs for Sony's rumored next PlayStation, including an eight core AMD64 CPU and an AMD R10XX GPU -- specs that may change dramatically before we hear anything official. Could this be the first volley in Sony's rollout of the next PlayStation?

Filed under: ,


Source: PlayStation Meeting 2013

OpenKit aiming to fill OpenFeint-sized hole, launches in private beta tomorrow

OpenKit aiming to fill OpenFeintsized hole, launches in private beta today

OpenFeint seed investor Peter Relan is fed up with his former creation's lack of existence -- the open source software once powered the social integration behind many mobile games. After Japanese social gaming giant GREE bought OpenFeint in April 2011 -- primarily to stifle competition with its own, similar service -- the service continued until it was closed this past December. Relan responded in turn, announcing plans for a new, similar service, called "OpenKit," that same month. Tomorrow, that service goes into private beta, with a variety of mobile devs already signed on.

The service can be employed across Android and iOS, implementing cloud data storage, leaderboards, achievements, multiplayer functionality, push notifications, and in-app purchases -- essentially exactly what OpenFeint once aimed to provide. Given the open nature of OpenKit, and Apple's already existing Game Center (which serves very similar purposes), we'd say this is gonna be a bigger hit with Android devices than iOS. Whether it gets adopted at all, however, remains to be seen. For now, it's in private beta, and "over 500 developers" have already signed on -- head to the main site if you'd like to take part. And do it quick, as only another 20 developers can get into the beta starting tomorrow. If you do miss out, there'll be more openings in the future, though Relan wouldn't tell us exactly when just yet.

Gallery: OpenKit

Filed under: , , , ,


Java, Silverlight left in cold as Firefox disables all plugins by default — except Flash

Plugins enabled by default in Firefox, step forward  not so fast, Java and Silverlight

In an effort to prevent "drive-by exploitations," upcoming versions of Firefox will have Java, Adobe Reader and Silverlight disabled by default, according to a recent Mozilla Security blog. All other third-party plugins except Flash will also be disabled, requiring users to enable them using the so-called click to play feature introduced last year. All that is to prevent "poorly designed" Firefox plugins from crashing or recent headline-grabbing exploits involving the likes of Java, with Adobe's Flash player being the one exception that works out of the box -- though versions longer of tooth than 10.3 won't see daylight without your say-so.

Filed under: ,


Source: Mozilla Security Blog

Microsoft releases Bing-powered apps for Office 365 Home Premium

Microsoft releases Bingpowered apps for Office 365 Home Premium

Because no corporate monolith can resist a good play at synergy, Microsoft's leveraging its properties to intro a suite of free Bing-powered apps for Office. If you've signed up for the company's recently released, cloud-based Office 365 Home Premium, you'll now be privy to five distinct Excel and Word applications that rely on the search engine for the insertion of dynamic data. For Excel, users can choose amongst Bing Maps, used to embed location data, and Bing Finance, which allows for the creation of a portfolio table. While Word-oriented Office 365 users will now have the added benefit of dedicated Image and News Search apps, letting them trawl the web and insert relevant info from within a document. There's also a Dictionary app that'll monitor your typing and make suggestion from within a right rail. It's all live in the Office Store now, so head on to the source to start your installs.

Filed under: , ,


Source: Bing

Russian Guy Builds Creepy Walking BirdBots – Run for Your Lives!

An engineer in Russia has decided that building humanoid robots has been done enough, so he decided to go and build his own two-legged ‘bots to take on Honda’s Asimo and other bipedal machines. Despite being built in Russia, what you’re looking at here is something I like to call “TurkeyBot.”


If I’m understanding the specs correctly, creator Konstantin Ivanov claims this 180kg (~396 lb.) birdbot can walk at speeds up to 5km/h (~3MPH) while carrying a passenger on its back. He also calls it the “Robot Ostrich of Jurassic Period,” so I was completely wrong about that turkey thing. I love how its feet look like the bases of office swivel chairs. Here, check it out in action:

As you noticed in the video, there’s also another birdbot which appears to be much skinnier, and capable of pulling a carriage. In fact, the skinny ostrichbot supposedly hits speeds up to 70km/h (~43mph)! If that’s really true, it could even outrun a cheetah (robot.) Though until I see the ostrichbot running at full speed, I’ll reserve judgment. Still, I wouldn’t want to run into these things in a dark alleyway.

Pocket for iOS gets native sharing to Facebook, simpler option to delete articles

Pocket for iOS gets native sharing to Facebook, easier option to delete articles

Good news are in for those who are avid users of Read it Later Pocket on iOS, as the handy application's been updated with some social tools and a few UI improvements. For starters, version 4.3 now allows readers to share content directly to Facebook (Sina Weibo, too) without ever having to leave the app, while a "Delete" option was added to the Archive button in order to make it easier for folks to trash any article. Pocket also announced it beefed up the text preferences in the article viewer by including an increased font size, as well as noting that it's taken care of some known Evernote-related bugs, among others. The Pocket refresh can be downloaded now from the App Store link below, or, what's likely the easier route, folks could just grab it straight from their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Filed under: ,


Source: Pocket, App Store

E-Ink Keyboard Concept: Optimus Monochromus

The Optimus Maximus keyboard from Art Lebedev was cool, but it was way too expensive for most people, especially since keyboards are used so often and can break over time. I can only imagine what repetitive typing would do to all of those expensive little OLED displays. The E-inkey concept keyboard uses more cost-effective E-ink displays instead.

e inky

This changeable electrostatic keyboard is the brainchild of designers Maxim Mezentsev and Aleksander Suhih. The keycaps could contextually adapt their display depending on what you are doing, and which application you are using. The tiny energy efficient displays on the keycaps could possibly be made without ending up with a keyboard that costs as much as a computer.

e paper keyboard 2

Admittedly, if you’re a touch typist, the added displays wouldn’t be that useful, but it would look plenty good. Again, like many cool things, the E-inkey keyboard is still just a concept. Hopefully, somebody will put it into production in the not-too-distant future.

e paper keyboard 3

[via Yanko Design]