Fresh Off The Block


Feb
23
2017

Join us on Discord!

Because Technically Motivated is designed to be the technology blog everyone can understand and get involved with, whether it’s suggesting articles, leaving comments or just chatting; and because our aim is to keep on the pulse of the latest in technology, I’m always looking into new ways to allow our readers to interact with each other.

In this vein, it is my pleasure to announce that Technically Motivated has now launched its own official Discord server! Now, by clicking on the “Discord” icon found to the right of every page; or by using our permanent quick invite link https://discord.gg/AndKNte, you can join in with a modern chat solution that lets you both text and voice chat with like-minded readers, visitors and contributors to Technically Motivated, with a variety of different channels for all sorts of different topics – whether it’s gaming, tech or general conversation. Be sure to also keep an eye on our #articles channel where you’ll get instant notifications on any new articles posted on Technically Motivated 😉

I’m still setting up the Discord in some areas, but it’s already ready to go and anyone with a valid Discord account is welcome to join. Also, if you have any suggestions for new chat channels, do tell us in the comments, or by leaving a message for Techie Jinji directly on Discord. Enjoy!

What Our Visitors are Talking About


Latest CommentsOn Twitter Right Now
  • “Unlock” Dialogue for Clone System tool in Aomei Backupper 2.5 by William Sims
  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Gamer Repulic's Dorthea
  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Sherman Moya
  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” | The Sanitarium.FM
  • Valve’s Steam Gaming Computer: What we know so far by Valve's Steam Gaming Computer: What we know so far | The Sanitarium.FM
  • Tweet to @TMWeb to have your comments appear here!

    Previous Articles


    Jan
    30
    2017

    Pac-Man Creator and Founder of Namco passes away

    It was announced earlier today that the creator of Pac-Man and founder of Namco (now Namco Bandai Games Incorporated), Masaya Nakamura, has died at the ripe old age of 91. A major pioneer of early video games, without whom many Arcade stalwarts would not exist and who even companies like Nintendo owe a debt to, his life saw him go from humble beginnings to one of the most successful video game legacies in history.

    I ask everyone to join me in paying their respects. You can post your messages of tribute in the comments below, or on the Forum Thread I have created for the purpose.

    Jan
    21
    2017

    Need storage? Seagate 4TB Barracuda on Sale at Amazon and NewEgg

    While Solid State Drives may slowly be taking over the world of computer storage due to their fast speeds and lack of spinning parts, if you're looking to store lots of things – maybe you work in a job where regular backups are key, you edit videos a lot, or you're a heavy gamer – or you want reliability, there's still no better than a traditional Hard Drive. And now Seagate is making it easier to get lots of storage for very little outlay – how about 4 Terabytes for $105 (roughly £85.20)?

    That's how much Seagate's 4TB Barracuda drive is on sale for at Amazon's US site, and at NewEgg, which claims the price will stick until Wednesday. At a price that equates to roughly 2p ($0.03) a Gigabyte, this price pitches the Barracuda even cheaper than the cheapest SSDs.

    Take note that the Barracuda line is intended for "general purpose" storage, and thus doesn't have the highest speed when compared to more performance-focused lines like the Barracuda Pro. That said, when the drive is rated to deliver read and write speeds of 146MB/s on average, with a maximum sustained data rate of up to 180MB/s, in most general situations you're hardly going to complain. The 4TB model also sports 64MB of cache, meaning it should get going quickly for your more regular tasks; and also has a SATA 6Gbps interface.

    As of the time of writing, NewEgg is already out-of-stock, so be sure to act fast when the stock comes back if you want one!

    Jan
    05
    2017

    #CES2017: LG Unveils Range of Robots That Will Clean Airports, Mow Lawns…

    Ever since robotic technology became a mainstream thought, people have imagined a future where robots would deal with all of the housework in the home, or even help clean up in the office environment, so that us humans wouldn't have to. LG Corporation wants to make some of these dreams a reality, today unveiling a trio of intelligent robots at CES in Las Vegas, which together offer attendees a glimpse into a future where robots can help you around the house, make sure you catch a flight on-time, mow your lawn, or clean-up trash at the airport.

    The trio of robots are part of the company's movements in developing Internet of Things objects; and are designed to showcase LG’s advancements in artificial intelligence. Leading the pack is the Hub Robot, a robot designed to interact with a household through voice-recognition technology and an anthropomorphic design. Hub's "face" is an interactive display which can show a wide variety of information; and even express emotions using a digitised face.

    The LG Hub Robot

    The LG Hub Robot (Image Courtesy LG Newsroom)

    The Hub Robot connects to other smart appliances you own; then, using Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition technology, the robot can be instructed using simple voice commands to perform tasks such as turning on air conditioning, setting a washing machine, or any other task made possible by the smart gadgets in the home. The robot can also "speak" to guide you through recipes or provide you with information in addition to what's on screen; and the robot can even respond using simple body language like nodding. The Hub Robot also contains a built-in camera; and can be programmed to recognise different family members and respond to them in different ways, for that more personal touch.

    But LG isn’t just interested in building robots to help you around the house; and for the second part of its technology triple-punch, the company has unveiled two robots designed for use in the Airport. The Airport Guide Robot is exactly what the name suggests – already being prepared for deployment in Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, this robot is designed to help travellers by answering their questions in English, Chinese, Japanese or Korean; and can offer directions, provide detailed flight information like boarding times or the gate location, scan a passenger's ticket or escort you to the gate itself. It can even tell you what weather to expect when you arrive at your destination.

    Joining it is the Airport Cleaning Robot, which LG describes as "a super-sized robot vacuum". Using a combination of smart light sensors, multiple cameras, and sensitive bumpers, the Airport Cleaning Robot offers enough cleaning power to clean everything from carpeted floors to tiles – all while avoiding obstacles and passengers to provide the most effective performance in crowded airports.

    On a very similar tangent, the company's final offering is the Lawn Mowing Robot, which uses the same advanced sensors and bumpers as the Airport Cleaning Robot to map out a user's garden and avoid obstacles, hedges and trees as it trims the grass. According to LG, this robot is ideal for all types of yards and uses its fast-moving blade to trim grass safely and accurately.

    All of these robots are now on display at LG's CES booth in Las Vegas, alongside other gadgets such as a smart refrigerator with Amazon Alexa voice-recognition tech and a razor-thin television set. Needless to say, 2017 may prove to be a stellar year for technological advances.

    Nov
    08
    2016

    Is Pokémon GO About To Expand Its Pokédex?

    Pokémon GO has proven popular with nostalgic Android and iPhone users worldwide, and Niantic has shown a strong willingness to maintain that popularity with special events, daily rewards and other updates – but for many players, one thing has held back the game's fun. With the game's Pokédex currently limited only to Pokémon from the original crop of 151 First-Generation species (and no Legendaries or Ditto), many Players have already exhausted all there is to catch. However, there's evidence this is finally about to change.

    Data miners from The Silph Road, looking at the most recent v0.45.0 release of Pokémon GO on Android, claim to have found references to the names of all 100 Pokémon from the franchise's Second Generation – from Chikorita to Celebi. However, while the Pokémon may be referenced, the game currently lacks models for the additional 100 Pokémon or any data for their movesets, suggesting that a full Johto-flavoured update is still a while away.

    There may be one Pokémon coming in even sooner though: Ditto. The only non-legendary from the first 151 not available in-game, Ditto has so far been held back from Pokémon GO due its single attack, Transform. After all, coding a Pokémon that can transform into other Pokémon is a tough job. However, v0.45.0 introduces new code for the move, complete with its own in-battle animation, suggesting that Niantic may be planning to introduce Ditto's special move – and possibly Ditto itself – very soon. If so, it would mark the first new move since the game's release.

    Would the introduction of Johto-era Pokémon to Pokémon GO excite you? And what about Ditto? Sound off in our comments!

    Oct
    07
    2016

    Forum and Mobile Updates, and minor fixes

    For the last few months, I have been inviting users to help Beta Test a new Forum to replace our long-standing one, which has been found to cause performance issues for our server. Although the new Forum works well, something that personally disappointed me was that the new Forum Software did not have the capability to enable guest posting. The current Technically Motivated forum has a public "Site Troubleshooting" section which permits all visitors, whether registered or not, to post if they have any problems using our website; and unfortunately, this was not something the new Forum would allow.

    However, the Forum we have been using for the Beta has since received updates; and a recent new feature will allow us to enable guest posting, allowing us to restore this functionality for the new Beta forum. We will continue to keep the new Forum as a Beta while we test how well this works and whether it is secured enough to not enable abuse; but if all goes well, it is my plan to announce an official time-frame for phasing out the old Forum and switching to the new solution.

    On a related note, you may have been aware of the boxes on our homepage showing the latest conversations people have been having here on Technically Motivated, be it on our comment boxes, our forum or on Twitter. However, in recent months, you may have noticed only the Twitter feed was properly working. After some investigation, I've been able to restore the latest comments pane, which had been broken by a glitch. However, the Forum pane has been completely removed, as it turns out the current Forum has broken this feature, and the new Beta Forum does not yet offer a replacement. You can still however see the latest Forum posts for the non-Beta Forum on our sidebar.

    In other news, we have recently upgraded our Mobile site, which should now offer an even better experience when viewing us on your mobile or smartphone. You'll now find a much easier-to-navigate menu, as well as easy sharing links atop each article; as well as links to our social pages in the footer. We have also changed the colour scheme to better match our desktop site; and updated the copyright notice. Whether you visit us on your mobile or your PC, we hope you enjoy your time here at Technically Motivated.

    May
    04
    2016

    Notice: Technical Issues With Our Email Inbox

    I would like to apologise to anybody who has been sending email to our public Inbox and patiently awaiting a response. Unfortunately, due to a software glitch, Technically Motivated's Email Inbox has been failing to load on multiple occasions recently, and our Staff have found themselves unable to read any emails we have received.

    We would appreciate everyone's patience while we try to resolve this matter. As the Contact Form on our website also sends emails to this inbox, we ask that you do not use the Contact Form to send us any messages for which you desire an immediate response. Instead, you can contact us via the Forum or any of our Social Networking links, shown to the right throughout our site.

    My humble apologies for this inconvenience.

    Apr
    27
    2016

    Nintendo announce planned launch date, Zelda game for NX

    Over a year since it was first teased, we still don’t know what it looks like, plays like, or even what its final name will be – and Nintendo don’t plan to spill the beans until later this year. But now, thanks to a Tweet by Nintendo of America (based on information discreetly hidden in Nintendo of Japan’s annual financial report), we DO finally have one piece of concrete information about the upcoming Nintendo “NX” console – it’s launch date:

    March 2017. Just under a year away from the date of this article’s publication. For Nintendo, however, the launch likely can’t come soon enough. The Wii U has failed to resonate with players, with the GamePad being seen as a gimmick and games such as Splatoon and Bayonetta not doing enough to pull people on side; and the console’s lack of power compared to the XBox One and PS4 has seen its third-party support dwindle into near-nothingness. That Nintendo has taken a hit for the console’s failure was apparent in the annual fiscal report, revealing that Nintendo as a whole made 45.3 billion yen less in the last 12 months than the previous financial year, though this still equates to 504.5 billion yen or roughly £3.116 billion British Pounds.

    Importantly, however, Nintendo’s operating income came in at 32.8 billion yen last year, an increase of 8 billion yen. The company predicts that its move towards smartphones, combined with the launch of the NX, will pay off in the next year and aim to hit 45 billion yen in operating income by the end of the 2016/17 financial year.

    Of course, Nintendo may also have another ace in the sleeve to get people back on-side – a dynamite launch title. Nintendo also announced today, in a separate announcement to the fans, that the long-awaited Zelda Wii U title has once again been delayed to 2017, for “further quality testing”; and that the game will now launch simultaneously for both the Wii U and the NX – meaning that a new Zelda title may well be a launch title for the next console as well as a swansong for the current generation, paralleling the launch of Twilight Princess for Wii and GameCube ten years ago. 2017 may well be an interesting year for Nintendo fans.

    This article first appeared on Sanitarium.FM

    Join the forum discussion on this post
    Apr
    19
    2016

    Ditch QuickTime on Windows – Apple Drop Support for Vulnerable Plugin

    A recent version of the Quicktime logo.

    A recent version of the Quicktime logo.

    Apple are dropping support for Quicktime, a plugin for viewing and streaming video, on Windows on account of no longer being useful.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has confirmed it'll no longer update or support Quicktime 7 for Windows.

    Way back when, QuickTime was a requirement to run iTunes, as the Quicktime code was used in part to provide the music streaming capabilities of the software, which resulted in many people who had iPods – and later, the iPhone – installing the plugin to their Windows PCs when they wanted them to properly work with their computers. As Apple notes on its support page, however, this situation changed in later versions of iTunes, and Quicktime has not been a requirement to run iTunes since October 2011.

    Despite not being relevant for iTunes any more, Quicktime continued to be useful to serve up video on the web. However, with HTML5 encouraging browsers to support video directly as part of the standard language of the internet, having a separate plugin for the ability now appears redundant. The combination of these two factors appears to have encouraged Apple to have made the decision to no longer support the plugin on Windows.

    The announcement comes a week after the Department of Homeland Security recommended Windows users uninstall Quicktime because of potential security holes, making Quicktime potentially vulnerable and use of it on Windows PCs a major security risk (these flaws do not affect the Mac OS version, which remains in support). Given its status as a potential security threat and the lack of any updates coming from Apple, many sources, including us at Technically Motivated, now recommend that Quicktime is removed from all Windows PCs as soon as possible.

    For those who are unsure how to, Apple's official support pages offer a guide for how to remove Quicktime from Windows PCs. Apple have been reached for comment to confirm the Wall Street Journal's report.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2016
    Acknowledgements: Quicktime and The Quicktime Logo is a more...
    Some Rights Reserved
    Mar
    09
    2016

    3DNes is a NES Emulator with an added dimension

    Nintendo rose a fair few eyebrows in technology circles when it announced the 3D Classics line – classic games from older consoles such as the NES and Game Boy with a 3D graphic upgrade, offering a unique way to show of the power of the Nintendo 3DS handheld. While the idea has its merits, with a number of classic Nintendo titles getting the 3D Treatment – and persuading SEGA to join in and do the same to some classic SEGA titles – it has to be said that there are actually very few titles that have had the 3D Classic treatment.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you could take a NES game of your own choosing, and add 3D? If you’ve found yourself thinking that, you may want to check out Geod Studio’s new project, 3DNes – a work-in-progress Unity-based emulator that, as the name suggests, converts NES games into 3D.

    3dmario

    Considering the simplicity of NES games, translating them into 3D is actually a difficult task. Unlike SNES games, which have four background layers, NES games have a single layer for the entire background. Imagine a diorama or a board game – everything in the background is printed on one board, while all the sprites – like your character the ground, enemies, items – are all just pieces on top. To allow the entire game to look 3D, 3DNes uses an algorithm that analyses the flat background and cuts it up into the pieces that make it up, then attempts to turn each piece into a 3D Object. The software is even clever enough to turn round objects into spheres or tubes, so for example, a ball will actually look like a ball instead of just a circle.

    Exactly how well this works depends on the game in question, with things getting messier as the backgrounds get more complex. Games like Mega Man are translated well and benefit greatly from the effect, but games such as Contra or Castlevania somewhat struggle. Perhaps the best-emulated game is the original Super Mario Bros., which the developer admits was the main focus of the emulator and the most tested, which may explain the gap in quality between it and other games.

    This having been said, Geod Studio hopes to improve the number of games that work well through subsequent beta releases, with head of the project Trần Vũ Trúc aiming for one-tenth of the entire NES library as his marker for success. He also suggests that there might be the potential for users to individually tailor the emulator for certain games, but is quick to state this is not currently the case, as he wants to ensure there’s “a strong emulation engine as the backbone” first.

    At the moment, the emulator exists only online, as a WebGL game playable through the Unity Player. This means it only properly supports Mozilla-based browsers, such as Firefox or Seamonkey. It’s also extremely unstable, particularly when not using a AMD Graphics card, and may fail to go beyond loading the ROM, or even fail to work at all. However, Trần states that future releases of the emulator will be made available as software downloads, so it should only be a matter of time before we all get to try it properly.

    3DNes is a NES Emulator with an added dimension" /> 3DNes is a NES Emulator with an added dimension" />
    Join the forum discussion on this post