Peter Molyneux divulges DLC details for Curiosity, we apply for a loan

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By Alexis Santos posted Jun 8th 2012 1:47PM

Peter Molyneux divulges DLC details for Curiosity, we apply for a loan

Peter Molyneux’s first post-Lionhead game, Curiosity, holds a big mystery and now it promises DLC with a colossal price tag. The game — the first of 22 experiments — will reveal a secret to the gaming guinea pig who deals the final blow to a single black cube. Shortly after its release, chisels that pack a mightier punch to the monolith will arrive as DLC for those who long to crack the container open. Prices for the downloadable tools will start around $1 (59 pence) for an iron implement and reach up to roughly $78,000 (£50,000) for a one-of-a-kind diamond version that hits 100,000 times harder. Once the secret is revealed, 22 Cans will use social media to study how the winner proves the milestone and spreads the news. Curiosity is expected to drop in about six weeks for iOS and PC, but feel free to begin pondering the secret of life, the universe and everything that lies inside the digital fortune cookie.

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Metro-style Hotmail turns up in leaked screenshots

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By Donald Melanson posted Jun 9th 2012 7:50AM

Metrostyle Hotmail turns up in leaked screenshots

It certainly wouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Microsoft would finally bring Hotmail into the Metro fold, but until now we haven’t had much evidence that such a change was actually in the works. If a set of leaked screenshots obtained by WinFuture are any indication, however, it looks like the nearly sixteen-year-old email service could soon be getting one of its biggest redesigns to date. As you’d expect, it all looks very Metro, but also very unfinished, with a number of features reportedly still missing or not working properly. Of course, there’s no indication when or if it’ll actually roll out to the millions of Hotmail users (though the Windows 8 launch would provide a convenient fit), but there’s plenty more screenshots where this one came from at the source link below.

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Arthur P. Stern, instrumental in inventing the color television and GPS, passes away

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By Darren Murph posted June 8th 2012 7:08PM

Arthur P Stern, instrumental in inventing the color television and GPS, passes away

Engadget learned that Arthur P. Stern passed away on May 24th, 2012, but just this week, The Los Angeles Times has published a laudable look back at a man that had an enormous impact on the technology that we rely on — and, quite frankly, take for granted — each and every day. Born in 1925 in Budapest, Hungary, Arthur went on to obtain an M.E.E. from Syracuse University, joining General Electric in 1951 and making a near-immediate impact in the realm of television. He’s widely credited with pioneering the color TV that we’re familiar with today (and holding a related patent — number 2920132 — granted in December of 1953), while also publishing initial technical papers on transistor radios. As if that weren’t enough, he was also instrumental in the progress of GPS, spearheading the development of key elements in the latter portion of his career.

As fantastic as Stern was as an inventor, he was also a beloved grandfather to Joanna Stern, one of the industry’s premiere technology reporters. Currently, Joanna works at ABC News, though she has spent time at LAPTOP Magazine, The Verge and right here at Engadget prior. From the entire staff, our deepest sympathies go out to a wonderful colleague and peer. The world has lost a brilliant mind, but on a personal level, a friend has lost much more.

web coverage

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Twitter post-to-Facebook integration adds photos, tags and links, makes wild nights more regrettable

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Twitter posttoFacebook integration adds photos, tags and links, makes wild nights more regrettable

Twitter has long had the option to send updates to Facebook, but most of what makes Twitter unique has been stripped out while cross-posting the night’s escapades. That’s been fixed just in time for the weekend. As of now, Twitter has confirmed to The Next Web that updates will automatically display the first photo as well as link Twitter users’ names and any hashtags. The change isn’t automatic and will require a quick on-and-off flick of the cross-posting setting before the gobs of extra information make the trip to Facebook. It’s just as well — we’d really rather not make it any easier for Aunt Mildred to see photos of our weekend benders.

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Canadian government appoints Jean-Pierre Blais as new CRTC head

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By Donald Melanson posted Jun 8th 2012 6:02PM

The past five years have certainly been an eventful time for the CRTC — with broadband controversies and foreign ownership issues garnering plenty of headlines, to name just two examples — and we now know who will be leading the Canadian regulatory agency for the next five. The Prime Minister’s Office announced today that it has appointed longtime civil servant Jean-Pierre Blais as Chairperson, with his five-year term set to begin on June 18th. Blais comes primarily from a legal background, and has previously held positions at Canada’s Treasury Board, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the CRTC itself — all of which Prime Minister Harper says makes him “well qualified” for the job, and gives him a “comprehensive understanding of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors and the role of the CRTC.” He replaces Konrad von Finckenstein, who’s term ended in January, at which point the government indicated he would not be reappointed for a second term.

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Astro Gaming A50 wireless surround sound headset hands-on (video)

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Astro Gaming A50 wireless headset handson video

If you’re serious about your sound when it comes to gaming, chances are you’ve at least heard of Astro Gaming. Back in 2008, the company introduced its pro gaming-focused headset solution, the A40 audio system, and since then it’s been actively adding to its lineup with lifestyle headsets like the A30, and various improved refreshes of the A40 itself. In the lead-up to E3, the company announced the $300 A50 wireless audio system, marking its second major push away from the competitive gaming scene and into the living room. If you’ll recall, Astro first dabbled in specifically bringing its tournament headset chops to the living room last year with its first wireless solution, the MixAmp 5.8.

Although we were pleased with the 5.8′s performance and versatility — namely that it worked with any 3.5mm-equipped headsets across the Xbox, PS3 and PC like the wired MixAmp Pro — we worried some users would be put-off with having to deal with the three-piece setup. Basically, you had a wired headset that plugging into a belt pack, which wirelessly connected to a transmitter base. It appears that Astro took note as well, opting to get rid of the belt pack and cram its controls and radios inside of an A40, along with some other tweaks, including KleerNet lossless audio, to create the A50 — something we’d been hoping to see for a very long while. We spent some time with Astro’s Marketing Director, Aaron Drayer, to talk about the headset and try it for ourselves, and you’ll find it all detailed just past the break.

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Although this is Astro’s first embedded wireless gaming headset solution, it should be mostly familiar to anyone who has used the A40. The headsets are nearly identical from a distance, aside from the A50 having a red trim on its inner cabling and more matte accenting. The materials on both headsets are mostly the same as well, save for the headband which has extra padding. Naturally, it’s because the A50 is a bit heavier from now having all the MixAmp tech jammed inside of its earcups. Still, the headset pretty much has the tried-and-true comfort and fit that the A40 is known for — something that’s only rivaled by that of the Sennheiser PC 360 to our heads.

Among the main things that’ve changed, the earcups don’t support removable speaker tags and are now of the closed back variety, offering better isolation and bass response. Furthermore, the noise cancelling boom mic is nearly the same as the a40s, but it’s now non-removeable and affixed to the left earcup. This allows it to function like the PC 360′s boom mic, whereby muting is handled by simply flipping the boom upright instead of an inline mute switch like the A40′s. Moving along, the lower rear edge of the earcup houses a Xbox 360 chat cable port and Mini-USB for charging the unit’s battery. Estimated battery life is slated for 10-12 hours per charge, with an average lifespan of over three years. We’re told a service replacement program will be offered if the battery dies out, as it’s not user replaceable. The left earcup also packs its 5.8GHz KleerNet-equipped wireless radio, which is said to be compatible with newer HP Beats-enabled laptops out of the box.

Astro Gaming A50 wireless surround sound headset handson video

The right earcup is where the MixAmp magic takes place. Rather than having the MixAmp’s balance dial for chat and game volume, the earcup is now a two-way rocker switch. Pressing forward gives you more game volume, while pushing back mixes in more voice volume. Thankfully, audio cues are given to inform you when you’ve maxed out in either direction or set the two to an even balance, however, we do wish there was a beep for every increment. If we had to nitpick, the rocker makes a bit of a hollow wom sound when pressed, but it does have a nice tactile click to it when pressed. The rear edge of this cup features a click-wheel for the overall volume, as well as a three-way audio preset switch (details in a bit). The wheel’s position made it lineup our thumb, making it easy to adjust volume quickly. Better yet, there was absolutely no static while adjusting it unlike previous MixAmps.

The three-way switch we mentioned is another first for Astro headsets. Out of the box, it has a Pro mode for shooters with toned down bass and enhanced highs, a Core mode mixed for a flat response and a Media mode that adds extra bass and mids for movies and music. Like Turtle Beach’s programmable headsets, Astro plans to offer software so that users can make custom presets down the line.

You’re might still be confused as to how sound gets to the headset itself. The unit has a transmitter base that’s functionally similar the MixAmp 5.8 TX, but it can only connect to A50 headsets because the 5.8 RX belt packs don’t use KleerNet lossless audio processing. It’s a bummer for those with A40 and A30 wireless systems, but understandable given that newer DSP is at play. The transmitter features an optical input with a pass-thru for your other home theater gear, a 3.5mm aux. input for chat connection to the PS3 or a music line-in with the Xbox 360, USB ports for charging and potential accessories, along with an input for a power cord. On it’s top there’s a button for power and Dolby Headphone switch for toggling between stereo and surround sound. By the way, the plastic stand shown is included to cradle headset for charging and storage while also holding the transmitter base. Conveniently enough, it can also hold a MixAmp Pro, but there’s no word on when it’ll be offered as a standalone accessory.

Astro Gaming A50 wireless surround sound headset handson video

A quick round of Call of Duty let us test out the sound inPro mode, and unsurprisingly, it essentially sounds like an A40 with more isolation and added warmth. The Dolby Headphone-enabled virtual 7.1 gave us a good sense of the battlefield around us, and we didn’t feel as though the soundstage was drastically affected by the closed back earcup design. If anything, we felt more immersed since we were fairly isolated from everything around us. We didn’t notice any crackling or distortion either cranking the headset’s volume up, which is notable as Astro claims this headset is its loudest yet. Overall, the A50′s smooth and punchy voicing seemed very suited for the task at hand. As far as the microphone is concerned, we couldn’t gauge how it would sound to others, but the MixAmp-supplied voice monitoring is actually useable this time around. In past MixAmps the feature was distorted and barely audible, but now it’s clear enough that would could talk without shouting despite all the noise-isolation from the ear cups.

The A50 audio system is set to hit pre-order status in about two weeks, priced at 300 bones, with the first shipments set to hit doors in July. Rest assured that we’ll bring you our in-depth impressions once we get a unit in for review in the coming weeks.

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NHK lays out Olympic broadcast plans, Super Hi-Vision test viewing locations in Japan

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By Richard Lawler posted Jun 9th 2012 4:37AM

NHK lays out Olympic broadcast plans, Super HiVision test viewing locations in Japan

We’ve already run down Olympic broadcast plans in the US and UK, and now Japanese broadcaster NHK has unveiled some information. Similar to the others there is not only the TV production including data about ongoing competition, but also an online component complete with live video access on mobile devices, but also support for the acTVila video on-demand portal. The other notable information is that it’s locked down locations and details for those trial Super Hi-Vision broadcasts, listing four spots where people can get their eyes on some sweet 8K UHDTV action. While most of them will be displayed by projectors, including a 520-inch screen in Shibuya, while Akihabara’s Studio Park will feature a 360-inch LCD. The details for UK and US are a bit more vague, but if we have to track where in Washington D.C. NBC is letting the 33MP resolution video and 22.2ch sound out for a trial just by its scent, then that’s what we’ll have to do.

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