Pokemon Go UPDATE – Niantic drops BIGGEST hint yet for Gen 3 release | Gaming | Entertainment

Pokemon Go developer Niantic has dropped its biggest Gen 3 hint yet.

Niantic CEO John Hanke recently told Taiwanese magazine Business Weekly what the game’s next secret weapon will be new Pokemon.

“There is a lot of Pokemon that have not yet been launched,” Hanke revealed (via Comicbook).

“So I think the next secret weapon will be launch of the next Pokemon generation. I hope the players will soon see them.”

Fans have already discovered Gen 3 Pokemon in the game files, while a new update suggests that everything is in place for an imminent release.

In fact, the only thing missing are the sound files needed to replicate the new Pokemon.

Check out a selection of our favourite Gen 3 Pokemon in the gallery below…

A recent Pokemon Company statement suggested that spooky new gen 3 Pokemon would join the app at Halloween.

“The Halloween season is a special time in Pokemon Go,” the post reads.

“Plenty of good stuff is coming to the game later this October, and we can’t wait to get out and about to see what sort of excitement we can scare up while catching new Pokemon to fill out our Pokedex.”

Gen 3 Ghost Types include Shuppet, Banette, Mega Banette, Duskull and Dusclops, which is a nice selection for a limited time Halloween event.

One Pokemon that definitely won’t be joining the game is Oh-Ho.

A leaked Niantic email supposedly confirmed plans to add Oh-Ho to the game as part of an imminent Legendary Raid.

Unfortunately, the email wasn’t actually sent out by Niantic, so you’ll have to wait a little longer for Oh-Ho Raids.

That’s according to a Niantic employee, who told Reddit users: “I reviewed our support ticketing system and I can confirm that our support team did not send this erroneous message.”

It’s been speculated that a new Legendary Raid will launch alongside Gen 3 Pokemon and the upcoming Halloween event.

Argos website crashes after Minecraft XBox One drops in price from £300 to £89.99 and thousands of gamers try to snap them up

HUNDREDS of bargain hunters tried to snap up a new  Xbox games console for £89.99 after a glitch on  Argos’s website.
The pre-order Minecraft Xbox One S 1TB should cost £300.

 Hundreds of bargain hunters crashed the Argos website after it accidentally listed a Minecraft Xbox One S at £89.99 rather than £300

PA:Press Association

Hundreds of bargain hunters crashed the Argos website after it accidentally listed a Minecraft Xbox One S at £89.99 rather than £300
Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition crashes Argos website after price

The store’s site crashed  for several hours after marketing agency PTM Media flagged up the price on its Facebook page “Extreme Deals, Bargains, Discounts”.

It understood that several hundred bargain hunters were able to order the console today for the heavily discounted price – before the deluge of traffic caused it to crash.

PTM Media director Daniel Dalley said: “We posted the offer on our Facebook page – which has more than 60,000 followers – and we know that thousands of people clicked on it.

“We estimate around 200 to 300 people may have actually managed to buy one for this price.

“By the time I had got into the office this morning I decided to try to redeem the offer myself, but when I tried to get on the Argos website it was completely offline.”

Daniel said these errors are known as “retailer glitches” and are often caused by employees incorrectly entering prices.

He said: “We see this quite often with lots of online retailers.

“Some will honour the deal, others won’t. It all depends on each particular websites terms and conditions.

“But some people may have got themselves a bargain this morning.”

 The gamers were hoping to grab a bargain special edition Mincraft Xbox One

Minecraft

The gamers were hoping to grab a bargain special edition Mincraft Xbox One

Argos store confirmed on twitter its website was down due to a pricing glitch.

Yesterday the retailer confirmed all wrongly priced orders will be cancelled and apologised to customers “inconvenienced by the technical error”.

The website’s, terms and conditions state under point “4.3 a” what the website does when it comes to pricing errors.

It reads: “If we discover an error in the price of goods ordered or reserved, we will inform you as soon as possible (e.g. prior to the goods being dispatched or in store prior to the collection of good).

“We will provide you with the option of reconfirming your order at the correct price or cancelling it. If we are unable to contact you we will treat the order as cancelled.

“If you choose to cancel and have already paid for the goods, you will receive a full refund.”


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Racist Daily Stormer goes down again as CloudFlare drops support

Matthew Prince, cofounder and chief executive officer of CloudFlare.

All week, the infamous hate site Daily Stormer has been battling to stay online in the face of a concerted social media campaign to shut it down. The site lost its “dailystormer.com” domain on Monday after first GoDaddy and then Google Domains blacklisted it from their domain registration services

The site re-appeared online on Wednesday morning at a new domain name, dailystormer.ru. But within hours, the site had gone offline again after it was dropped by Cloudflare, an intermediary that defends customers against denial-of-service attacks.

Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin reported Cloudflare’s decision to drop the site in a post on the social media site Gab. His post was first spotted by journalist Matthew Sheffield.

Theoretically, you don’t need a service like Cloudflare to publish a website. In practice, however, a site as controversial as the Daily Stormer is going to be swamped by distributed denial of service attacks if it doesn’t enjoy the protection of a service like Cloudflare.

The Daily Stormer, which takes its name from a newspaper published by the Nazis from 1923 until World War II, is one of the most openly racist sites on the Internet. It regularly attacks Jews and celebrates the Holocaust. Attacks on racial minorities, feminists, and gays and lesbians are common.

The current controversy began over the weekend, when Anglin wrote a vulgar post attacking Heather Heyer, a woman who died during this weekend’s violent protests in Charlottesville. Anti-racism activists convinced GoDaddy, and then Google, that the post amounted to incitement to violence and therefore violated the companies’ terms of service.

Cutting off service to the Daily Stormer appears to represent a significant change of position for CloudFlare, which until now has adopted a position close to free-speech absolutism. “A website is speech. It is not a bomb,” CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince said in 2013. “One of the greatest strengths of the United States is a belief that speech, particularly political speech, is sacred.”

The company re-affirmed that position as recently as May 2017. “I’d be deeply troubled if my ISP started restricting what types of content I can access,” Prince wrote in a blog post. “As a network, we don’t think it’s appropriate for Cloudflare to be making those restrictions either.”

Update: Prince explained the change of heart in a blog post on Wednesday afternoon:

Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology.

Our team has been thorough and have had thoughtful discussions for years about what the right policy was on censoring. Like a lot of people, we’ve felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.

Later in the post, Prince acknowledged that “after today, make no mistake, it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they don’t like.”

The UE Roll 2 Bluetooth speaker drops to $50

LucidSound LS30 Wireless Gaming Headset

Street price: $135; MSRP: $150; Deal price: $97

At $97, this is the best price we’ve seen on the LucidSound LS30 wireless gaming headset and it’s a nice opportunity to pick one up in black (the white is only $3 more, matching our previous low of $100). The LS30 headset usually sticks close to a $150 price with sales down to $130 or $120. While we’ve seen more sales on this headset recently, it is still very much a deal at this new low price. Shipping is free.

The LucidSound LS30 is our wireless pick in our guide to the best gaming headsets. Kimber Streams wrote, “The one thing that all of the aforementioned headsets have in common is that they’re wired. A small percentage (15 percent, to be exact) of the Wirecutter readers we surveyed about gaming headsets insisted that wireless was the only way to go in this category. Last time, our testers struggled to fully embrace any of the wireless models we tested. This time, we all fell in love with the LucidSound LS30 due to its solid performance, especially intuitive controls, sleek design, and cross-platform compatibility. Although it doesn’t officially support PCs, we tried this headset with two different desktops and didn’t have any issues.”

Netgear CM500 Cable Modem

Street price: $70; MSRP: $70; Deal price: $50

Clip the on-page coupon to get the deal price of $50 on this recommended cable modem. We’ve seen a number of deals on the CM500 of late, with it hitting a low of $48 in early to mid-July. At just $2 more, this is a nice deal and definitely one we wouldn’t hesitate to grab as this modem is often over $70. Shipping is free.

The Netgear CM500 modem is our runner-up pick in our guide to the best cable modem. Patrick Austin and David Murphy write, “If the SB6183 is out of stock or too expensive, or you use Time Warner Cable and need IPv6 support (which that ISP currently doesn’t support on the SB6183), consider the Netgear CM500. The CM500 is a DOCSIS 3.0 16×4 cable modem compatible with nearly the same number of ISPs as our pick. It’s well-reviewed and popular (if not quite as widely liked as the SB6183), but has only a one-year warranty.”

L.L.Bean Stowaway Day Pack

Street price: $40; MSRP: $40; Deal price: $32 w/ code KIDS20

A good, easily stow-able day pack is a necessity for travel and useful in a number of other situations as well. Use code KIDS20 in cart to get $8 off this recommended packable day pack, the L.L.Bean Stowaway. This day pack is usually $40, but with the use of the code you can get it for $32. The one downside – a number of colors are presently backordered, but all but one are scheduled to be back in stock by next week, so as long as you’re willing to wait a short time, this is a good opportunity to pick one up cheaply. Shipping is free. This deal ends 8/27.

The L.L.Bean Stowaway Day Pack is the top pick in our guide to the best packable day pack for travel guide. Jean Yoon writes, “Among the backpacks in our test group, the L.L.Bean Stowaway Day Pack offers the most versatile combination of comfort and organizational features. Fully unpacked, the Stowaway Day Pack performs almost as well as a dedicated backpack thanks to its ventilated and comfy straps and back panel, yet it still compresses down to the size of a 99¢ chip bag. While it isn’t the smallest or lightest of the daypacks we picked, it is one of the few equipped with a waist belt and sternum strap—which help with heavier loads—and the only one to combine that design with an external kangaroo pouch that can accommodate a pair of shoes, rain gear, or anything else you wouldn’t want to muck up the inside of the bag. Its ripstop-nylon construction sheds rain and resists wear better than cheaper polyester, but should anything go wrong, it’s covered by L.L.Bean’s legendary lifetime satisfaction guarantee.”

UE Roll 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Street price: $75; MSRP: $100; Deal price: $50

Here’s a great deal on our top portable Bluetooth speaker, matching the lowest price we’ve seen. While we’ve seen it hit this price before and more often over the past few months, it’s still a great deal to pick up this speaker. These sales are still usually pretty brief, so it’s unlikely this deal will stick around for more than a day. Currently only available in blue, purple, and a black & gray pattern. Shipping is free.

The UE Roll 2 is our top pick in our guide to the best portable Bluetooth speakers. Brent Butterworth writes, “The original UE Roll was our unanimous pick for the best portable speaker when we tested 30 new models last year, and we feel just as strongly about its replacement, the UE Roll 2. Like the original, the UE Roll 2 sounds full, with smooth reproduction of everything from bass notes to cymbals, and it plays loud enough to fill a hotel room or a spot at the beach with sound. It’s so watertight, it will survive being dunked 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes. Seven months of worldwide traveling with the original Roll have only confirmed our love of this design. The only real downside is that it lacks a speakerphone function.”

Because great deals don’t just happen on Thursdays, sign up for our daily deals email and we’ll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.

The Moto Z2 Force’s screen survived 28 drops without shattering

Twenty-eight. That’s how many times we dropped the Motorola Moto Z2 Force to test the claims of its shatter-resistant screen. ShatterShield, the name for Motorola’s hardcoat layer, promises that the display won’t shatter or crack when dropped at a height of 4 or 5 feet.

And it didn’t, even after smacking it face-down nearly 30 times total against wood, plexiglass, ceramic, concrete and rock. That doesn’t mean the screen emerged scratch-free. In fact, the surface was festooned with scratches, gouges and pitting, especially after hitting hard onto concrete and skidding and tumbling over rocks. 

Since the outermost surface isn’t glass, the screen is still completely usable after dinging it up; you won’t slice your finger the way you can on an especially bad glass screen crack.That said, some gouges were so deep, the peeled-back parts of the top layer do rough up the surface and would get in the way. Hopefully most people won’t be as butterfingered as we intentionally were, but the outcome could happen.

Motorola advertises that ShatterShield has a four-year warranty, and a screen replacement costs $30 on the Z Force and Droid Turbo 2, two other phones that also used the material.

Here’s what we found in our tests.

The Z2 Force after 28 drops. The first major scuff, at the top right edge, came from smashing face-down onto the sidewalk.


Josh Miller/CNET

Wood

We wanted to establish a baseline, so we started by dropping the Moto Z2 Force face-down on a wooden floor in our office, from 3, 4 and 5 feet (we repeated some tests). Along the way, we noticed some subtle damage along the edges. The material looked like it was starting to ever-so slightly pull away from the phone’s aluminum frame, but it didn’t completely separate.

Ceramic

Stop pretending you don’t take your phone into the bathroom; we know you do. And we also know that the ceramic tile flooring in many bathrooms is particularly device-slaying. We knocked the Z2 Force off the bathroom sink a few times, 3 feet high, and off a paper towel dispenser twice, about 5 feet. It survived both scenarios.

Concrete

Holding a phone in one hand while glamming it up for the camera can be awkward, and when grips are awkward, phones can take a tumble. We fumbled the Z2 Force at different selfie heights onto the sidewalk and the hard plaza of CNET’s San Francisco headquarters. On the ninth drop (out of all 28), the screen got its first major ding, a scrape on the phone’s top right corner that peeled away a portion of the ShatterShield topcoat. No other scrapes in subsequent drops.

Plexiglass

We set up a layer of hard plexiglass between two boxes and dropped the phone face-down on that several times. This was mostly done to set up a video shot. After the pummeling on concrete, the Z2 Force escaped this relatively mild surface casualty-free.

Most of this damage came from skidding and bouncing over rock. It’s scraped up, but crack-free.


Josh Miller/CNET

Rock

I love hiking, and taking photos of outdoor walks with my phone. So our video team traipsed down to the coast to simulate some tumbles onto the rugged sandstone and rocks at one of San Francisco’s harshest bits of beach. We dropped the Z2 Force 10 times in four different spots, purposely saving these most punishing drops for last. Punishing, it was. The loose rocks immediately scratched, scraped and scuffed the Z2 Force’s display — but the screen was, for the most part, usable until the damage really added up. In real life, you’d probably only drop it in this environment once.

Drop 28: Bonus round

This was a drop test, not a torture test, so we didn’t go out of our way to see what it would take to crack the screen. (So no nails, hammers, pickaxes, etc.) But we did want to know what would happen if the phone fell from a greater height, because in the real world, phones fall from a variety of heights, not all of them 5 feet or under. 

We dropped the Z2 Force from a rocky outcropping about 30 feet tall, watching it tumble over more rock to the hard-pack dirt below. It picked up more dings, but the screen didn’t crack or shatter.

The take-away

ShatterShield does what it says. After a beating, the Moto Z2 Force was absolutely roughed up, but the screen upheld Moto’s promise. 

Is it worth its high $730 price? That’s a tougher question to answer. It’s a great phone right now, but we’re on the cusp of seeing the keystone competitors in the phone market: The Galaxy Note 8, the next iPhone (or iPhones), the Google Pixel 2 and a new LG flagship are all expected to be unveiled before the end of October. While the Z2 Force is great now, it may not be so high on our list in a couple months. 

If you buy the Moto Z2 Force because of its screen protection alone, we’d instead recommend buying a case and glass screen protector for the cheaper $400, very good Moto Z2 Play, and put the savings to good use.

Motorola Radically Drops $80 Off The Moto Z2 Pressure Cost

Motorola has slashed the price of its most recent flagship, the Moto Z2 Pressure, by $80, in accordance to the company’s official internet site. At the time of start, the Moto Z2 Pressure was priced at $799. The fall in price will surely be welcomed by prospective purchasers, as the authentic $100 increase in price above past year’s Moto Z Pressure was definitely not welcomed.

Moto Z2 Force
Image Resource: Motorola.com (screenshot)

Former Moto Z2 Pressure price was an “error”

Motorola’s final decision absolutely arrives as a shock because the cell phone is however in the pre-purchase phase. In the United States, the handset will turn out to be offered by August 10. In contrast to the former significant price tag of $800, now the cell phone can be pre-ordered for about $720. Motorola is however providing the projector method for free of charge with a pre-purchase.

Quite a few thought that just one possible cause for the unexpected slash in the price could be sluggish pre-orders at the $800 price place. However, in accordance to Motorola, the preliminary pricing of the Moto Z2 Pressure was an mistake.

“The $799 was an mistake when the internet site originally introduced. The pricing for Moto Z2 Pressure Version begins at $30/month and generally has, and could differ depending on which provider is chosen,” the organization mentioned in a statement to GSM Arena.

At the time of start also, Motorola made it obvious that carriers could promote the cell phone for $30 for each month, which functions out to about $720. However, the company’s own internet site mentioned it as $800 at that time, notes TechRadar.

Meanwhile, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are providing a free of charge Moto Mod projector, even though T-Mobile is also providing a purchase just one, get just one free of charge deal on the handset.

Is it well worth the price?

The Moto Z2 Pressure is a good cell phone with several good functions, but the substantial price was absolutely not good information, specially provided that the monitor is shatterproof and not scratchproof.

Ryan Whitwam of Android Law enforcement mentioned, “On the Z2 Pressure, a fingernail is more than enough to scratch the exhibit. This is not genuine of past year’s Z Pressure. I can’t imagine of any cause Motorola would downgrade the products, but that’s what it did.”

Motorola later on responded to the doubts stating that shatterproof does not indicate scratchproof. Thus, Motorola suggests the use of 3rd-celebration protective monitor guards to be utilised. Further more, the organization mentioned that it has generally thought in evolving the structure, and this time it is the 3D structure which helps make it far more competitive in contrast to phones made by other models.

The Motorola Z2 Pressure runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and has 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The cell phone runs on Android 7.1 and will be upgraded on a common basis when Android O arrives. The organization has utilised 7,000 collection aluminum in the handset to be certain that its svelte frame does not bend below tension.

The Moto Z2 Pressure is significantly thinner than its predecessors, but it has surely taken a toll on the battery capability of the cell phone, which stands at 2,730 mAH in contrast to the substantial 3,500 mAH battery in the former Moto Z Pressure. And not only is the battery capability smaller sized, but the organization has also dumped the headphone jack from the Moto Z2 Pressure.

Musk Drops Propulsive Landing Plans for SpaceX Crew Dragon

Artists concept for sending SpaceX Red Dragon spacecraft to land propulsively on Mars as early as 2020. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX is dropping its original plans to propulsively ground land the advanced crewed version of their Dragon spacecraft planned for missions carrying astronauts returning from the International Space Station (ISS) – in a decision that potentially impacts future plans for Mars landings as well.

The announcement came directly from SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk while speaking at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, D.C. on July 19.

For “safety” reasons, Musk said the SpaceX Crew Dragon will no longer have the ability to use its built in Super Draco thrusters to accomplish a soft landing on land while extending a quartet of landings legs. The SuperDraco thrusters function as the launch abort system to save the astronauts lives in case of a launch emergency.

“It was a tough decision,” Musk said when asked about his latest plans at the conference. “Technically it still is. Although you’d have to land it on some pretty soft landing pad because we’ve deleted the little legs that pop out of the heat shield.”

ISS Conference photos herein courtesy of Trevor Mahlmann / http://photos.tmahlmann.com/

Musk spoke to a packed house numbering over 500 in the conference room at the Omni Sheraton Hotel.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses crew Dragon at the 2017 International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington with ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman. Credit: Trevor Malhmann

SpaceX initially developed the cargo version of the Dragon spacecraft under contract to NASA to conduct resupply missions to the ISS.

In 2014, SpaceX won a follow on $2.6 Billion NASA commercial crew contract to develop and manufacture a significantly upgraded and human rated Dragon vehicle capable of ferrying astronauts to and from low Earth orbit and the space station.

Simultaneously, Boeing also won a $4.2 Billion commercial crew contract to develop the CST-100 Starliner vehicle.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (left) announces the winners of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program development effort to build America’s next human spaceships launching from Florida to the International Space Station. Speaking from Kennedy’s Press Site, Bolden announced the contract award to Boeing and SpaceX to complete the design of the CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft. Former astronaut Bob Cabana, center, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Kathy Lueders, manager of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, and former International Space Station Commander Mike Fincke also took part in the announcement. Credit: Ken Kremer- kenkremer.com

Both Starliner and Dragon can transport four of more astronauts to the ISS and back.

The unpiloted Dragons return to Earth via parachute assisted splashdowns in the Pacific Ocean using a trio of parachutes.

When Musk unveiled the Crew Dragon, SpaceX had designed it also to initially return via ocean splashdowns using four parachutes for the initial missions, but would eventually transition to the propulsive land landings in the not to distant future.

Musk also announced plans to develop another version dubbed ‘Red Dragon’ to conduct unmanned landings on the Red Planet using supersonic retropropulsion – as soon as 2020.

However Musk has now nixed those propulsive landing efforts for both the Crew and Red Dragon spacecraft for reasons of time and safety.

The inaugural launches of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner have both been postponed has been postponed multiple times as the firms work to satisfy NASA’s strict certification requirements and deal with funding cutbacks from the US Congress that slowed development.

“The reason we decided not to pursue [propulsive landings] heavily is it would have taken a tremendous amount of effort to qualify that for safety, particularly for crew transport,” Musk said.

“There was a time when I thought that the Dragon approach to landing on Mars, where you’ve got a base heat shield and side-mounted thrusters, would be the right way to land on Mars, but now I’m pretty confident that is not the right way, and that there’s a far better approach.”

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at the 2017 International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, DC. Credit: Trevor Malhmann

He didn’t elaborate the details about the alternate approach.

“That’s what the next generation of SpaceX rockets and spacecraft is going to do, so just the difficulty of safely qualifying Dragon for propulsive landings, and the fact, from a technology evolution standpoint, it was no longer in line with what we were confident was the optimal way to land on Mars,” Musk said. “That’s why we’re not pursuing it. It could be something that we bring back later, but it doesn’t seem like the right way to apply resources right now.”

SpaceX is focusing on the crew Dragon with a maiden launch with astronauts slated for mid-2018.

“It’s been way more difficult than cargo, for sure,” Musk said. “As soon as people enter the picture, it’s really a giant step up in making sure things go right. For sure, the oversight from NASA is much tougher. I thought it was tough for cargo, but it’s really intense for crew.”

“It can be a bit tough on the men and women at SpaceX, but I know where its coming from,” Musk elaborated.

“It’s the right motivation, and there will be some debates going into next year about some of the technical details. Is this right or that right? But I think we really want to make everything humanly possible to make sure it goes well, and triple check everything.”

Currently, SpaceX recovers the Falcon 9 first stage booster by deployed four landing legs in the final moments of the precision guided propulsive touchdown either on land or on ocean going platforms.

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster deploys quartet of landing legs moments before precision propulsive ground touchdown at Landing Zone 1 on Canaveral Air Force Station barely nine minutes after liftoff from Launch Complex 39A on 3 June 2017 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the Dragon CRS-11 resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com

To date SpaceX has successfully demonstrated the recovery of thirteen boosters.

Furthermore SpaceX engineers have advanced to the next step and successfully recycled, reflown and relaunched two ‘flight-proven first stages this year in March and June of 2017 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk and SES CTO Martin Halliwell exuberantly shake hands of congratulation following the successful delivery of SES-10 TV comsat to orbit using the first reflown and flight proven booster in world history at the March 30, 2017 post launch media briefing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com

Watch for Ken’s onsite space mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Blastoff of 2nd flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 with 1st geostationary communications for Bulgaria at 3:10 p.m. EDT on June 23, 2017, carrying BulgariaSat-1 to orbit from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida- as seen from the crawlerway. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

Fb Drops Price Of Oculus Rift VR Headset To $400 in Summer months Sale

Fb is dropping the selling price of its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset—at minimum briefly.

The social network’s virtual reality organization unit Oculus is holding a 6-7 days summer sale of its flagship headset starting Monday. Throughout the sale, the Rift and its accompanying contact controller will value $400 alternatively of $600 for the two objects.

The momentary selling price reduce follows a former selling price reduce in March, when Fb completely reduced the Rift’s value to $500 and its motion controllers to $100, alternatively of $200.

Get Information Sheet, Fortune’s technology publication.

At minimum for the time staying, Facebook’s Oculus Rift is now the lowest priced substantial-close VR headset on the market place when bundled with a motion controller. The HTC Vive expenses $800 and includes motion controllers whilst the Sony PlayStation VR expenses $400, but does not include things like motion controllers and a obligatory sensor camera—those extras bump the PlayStation VR’s selling price to $460.

“This is a great time to take a look at a mass-market place selling price,” explained Oculus vice president of content material Jason Rubin, with regards to the summer year when folks have time off from perform and more time for enjoy.

Considering that substantial-close VR headsets like the Vive and Rift very first debuted a 12 months in the past, revenue of VR headsets have generally been underwhelming. Though HTC and Fb do not expose revenue of their headsets, analysis companies like Superdata approximated that the two companies bought 420,00 and 243,000 of their headsets respectively in 2016.

Sony, on the other hand, explained in June that it had bought above one particular million PlayStation VR headsets considering that they debuted in October.

Among some of the reasons analysts believe that VR headsets haven’t been a major hit with people is mainly because of the substantial-selling price of the headsets that demand impressive computer systems to work. The PlayStation VR, it must be famous, involves a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro console to functionality.

Rubin agrees with the sentiment that the substantial selling price of VR headsets make them less appealing to acquire.

“What we acquired with the [March] selling price cuts is that selling price matters,” explained Rubin, who declined to say how numerous headsets Oculus has bought considering that these selling price cuts.

Will This Be the Yr That VR At last Goes Mainstream?

Rubin also declined to share stats that indicate no matter if more folks are using the Rift than before or distinct aspects about how their utilization has been altering. On the other hand, Rubin explained there has been an “an acceleration of revenue that has maintained” and that, anecdotally, Oculus has observed that more folks are using their Rift equipment and playing more video games.

Rubin defined that there are now more VR video games readily available on the Oculus platform than when it very first debuted, which must make it more powerful for people.

“The earth seems to be at this and claims ‘why didn’t you get thousands and thousands of models into residences very last 12 months?’” explained Rubin. “My reply: A large amount of these would be in the closet,” he explained referring to the idea that there wasn’t adequate powerful VR content material very last 12 months to preserve folks engaged.

He explained Oculus is working with major-name gaming publishers like Ubisoft and Epic Game titles on VR titles, which suggests there will be more major titles hitting Oculus in the close to potential, like a current activity based mostly on the hottest Spiderman motion picture.

“Content drives this kind of organization,” explained Rubin. “It’s not a fan where you transform it on and it functions.”

Oculus will be seeing how the summer selling price reduce performs before it makes a determination to completely drops the selling price, Rubin defined.

This short article is made up of affiliate inbound links.

Waymo drops most patent claims in Uber self-driving car lawsuit


There were a few big breaks in the case between Waymo and Uber over self-driving car technology today. As a result, the scope of the case is starting to come into focus as both companies prepare for a trial set to begin in October.

First of all, Waymo has narrowed its case, dropping three out of four patent claims it originally made against Uber. Meanwhile, Uber has been granted the ability to depose Alphabet CEO Larry Page about why his company decided against partnering with Uber as part of its autonomous vehicle program.

Waymo, the self-driving technology arm of Google parent Alphabet, filed the lawsuit in February, alleging theft of trade secrets that Uber planned to use in its autonomous vehicles. The case centers around engineer Anthony Levandowski, who Waymo claims stole 14,000 documents before leaving the company and founding Otto, a self-driving trucking company which Uber later acquired.

Waymo decided to drop its claims on U.S. Patent Nos. 8,836,922; 9,285,464, and 9,086,273, noting that they were related to an earlier version of Uber’s autonomous lidar design nicknamed “Spider” that the company was no longer using. The remaining patent claim targets a newer version of lidar technology called Fiji, which is still in use by Uber.

An Uber spokesperson issued the following statement: “Waymo’s retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can’t deliver. Not only have they uncovered zero evidence of any of the 14,000 files in question coming to Uber, they now admit that Uber’s LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs. Faced with this hard truth, Waymo has resorted to floating conspiracy theories not rooted in fact, doing everything they can to put the focus on sensation rather than substance.”

In addition to the patent news, U.S. District Judge William Alsup asked Waymo to narrow its theft of trade secret claims from more than 100 down to 10 which could be put in front of a jury.

Over the course of the last several months, the judge has urged both parties to simplify the scope of the case so that each could be adequately prepared to argue the merits of the strongest claims post-discovery. This has been happening at the same time that Uber and Waymo have been arguing over what evidence can be admitted during the trial.

On that front, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, who has been overseeing the discovery process of the case, granted Uber’s lawyers the ability to depose Alphabet CEO Larry Page ahead of trial. Those lawyers are expected to question Page over why the company chose not to partner with Uber, a company it had invested in, as part of its autonomous driving efforts.

The company has also seeks to depose Alphabet chief legal officer David Drummond, who served as a board member to Uber from August 2013 through August 2016. Corley ruled that Uber will also be able to depose Drummond, unless Waymo plans to call him as a witness.

Waymo, for its part, continues to argue that Uber was aware of the confidential information Levandowski took before leaving Google. In a statement issued today, a spokesperson said:

“Anthony Levandowski led Uber’s self-driving car program for over a year after stealing 14,000 confidential Waymo files. While Uber has decided it is now advantageous to disavow him, the truth is Uber supported Levandowski’s 5th Amendment claims to avoid self-incrimination well into this litigation and continues to obstruct the production of key documents every step of the way. We initiated legal action because we came across evidence showing stolen Waymo files made their way into Uber’s technology, and despite Uber’s attempt to distract with constantly changing storylines, Waymo has continued to build its case with more evidence uncovered during expedited discovery. We look forward to sharing this evidence in court.”

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Alphabet drops all but one patent claim in its case against Uber

The patents are not actually Waymo’s main concern in this lawsuit — the company claims Uber stole trade secrets relating to its self-driving LiDAR technology when it hired former Alphabet employees last year. Waymo says former self-driving leader Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential design files before leaving Alphabet and founding his own self-driving start-up, which was swiftly bought out by Uber.

US District Judge William Alsup asked Waymo in June to streamline the patent side of its case from 121 claims of theft to fewer than 10, so as not to overwhelm a jury. He even suggested Waymo drop the patents from its case entirely.

Waymo today ditched any claims against Uber’s Spider LiDAR design, noting the ride-hailing company stopped using that particular model. Waymo now claims just one instance of patent infringement against Uber’s Fuji LiDAR technology.

“We found after fighting for discovery a device created by Anthony Levandowski at Uber that infringed Waymo patents,” a Waymo spokesperson tells Engadget. “Uber has assured the court in statements made under penalty of perjury that it no longer uses and will not use that device, so we have narrowed the issues for trial by dismissing the patent claims as to that device, with the right to re-file suit if needed. We continue to pursue a patent claim against Uber’s current generation device and our trade secret claims, which are not at all affected by this stipulated dismissal. We look forward to trial.”

Uber, meanwhile, is framing Waymo’s move as a win.

“Waymo’s retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can’t deliver,” an Uber spokesperson says. “Not only have they uncovered zero evidence of any of the 14,000 files in question coming to Uber, they now admit that Uber’s LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs. Faced with this hard truth, Waymo has resorted to floating conspiracy theories not rooted in fact, doing everything they can to put the focus on sensation rather than substance.”

While Alsup said Waymo’s patent claims were not “worth the salt,” the Judge has said its trade-secret case has legs.

“The bottom line is the evidence indicates that Uber hired Levandowski even though it knew or should have known that he possessed over 14,000 confidential Waymo files likely containing Waymo’s intellectual property; that at least some information from those files, if not the files themselves, has seeped into Uber’s own LiDAR development efforts; and that at least some of said information likely qualifies for trade secret protection,” he said in a decision.

Uber claims Levandowski downloaded those 14,000 files during a dispute with Waymo over his bonus. “Uber believes that the downloading was done in relation to Levandowski’s employment at Google, specifically to ensure the expected payment of Levandowski’s $120 million bonus from Google,” Uber said in a June 28th filing. “Of that total bonus, approximately $50 million was payable as of October 2015, but was paid in late December 2015, and approximately $70 million was paid in August 2016.”