Around the IT Industry 6/17-6/21

by Modis on June 21, 2013

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Xbox 180: Microsoft Reverses DRM Features, Always-On Kinect Features

Microsoft announced Wednesday its nearly full reversal its very controversial DRM features built into the Xbox One. Among these changes are that the console will no longer require an online connection, or need to ping the Microsoft servers every 24 hours to enable its users to play games or access its services. There will be no regional limitations on the Xbox One’s gameplay, nor any limits to trading discs with friends. This announcement was met with skepticism by the gaming community, wondering if Xbox is making this move for profit rather than the interest of its customers.

Firefox to Block Web Tracking, Despite Advertiser Protests

Mozilla is moving full steam ahead with its plans to block the most common forms of Internet tracking, allowing for millions of its users to limit who watches their movements on the Internet. The technology Mozilla is adding to Firefox leans heavily on Apple’s code for its Safari browser, which inherently blocks all third-party cookies. Mozilla plans to limit the amount of cookies that a site can place on its visitors, allowing them to prevent following users when they log off of sites and visit others. This has many advertisers less than thrilled with Mozilla’s new plans for Firefox, as ads target sites users visit through use of cookie technology. Mozilla has stated that this technology will be tested in the coming months, though no firm release date has been set.

3D Printers Capable of Creating Micro Batteries

3D printing can now be used to print lithium-ion microbatteries the size of a grain of sand, according to a research team at Harvard University. The printed microbatteries could theoretically supply electricity to tiny devices in fields from medicine to communications, including many that have lingered in production without a battery small enough to fit the device in question. The team at Harvard demonstrated their technology in a rigorous test, and the results of their venture are available for viewing online. These micro batteries may change the future of technology, and their existence is a testament to how far 3D printing has come.

Private Search Engine DuckDuckGo Sees Record Traffic After NSA Leaks

DuckDuckGo has seen a record increase in the number of searches it is receiving. Since PRISM has caught the attention of the nation, private search engines such as DuckDuckGo have been seeing over 3 million hits for the first time ever. Though Google, Yahoo, and Bing have their own strict privacy measures in place many citizens are seeking alternatives to the “big names” in search. DuckDuckGo launched in 2008, gaining popularity and a fan base by not tracking what its individuals are searching. DuckDuckGo did not see its first million searches until 1,445 days after its site launched. Since PRISM, it took them only 8 days to go from 2 million searches to 3 million. Time will tell whether DuckDuckGo can maintain its momentum.

Opportunity Mars Rover Rolls On

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity now offers a one billion pixel view of the red planet to those who wish to examine it in minute detail. Enabling viewers to examine rock formations, access a panoramic view of its perch at “Rocknest”, and view Mount Sharp looming on the horizon NASA’s images bring together over 900 exposures, adding up to over 1.3 billion pixels. The images were all taken by cameras on-board Curiosity and show viewers breathtaking, although bleak details of the landscape along the rover’s route. Users can view the images, zoom in on the images for further examination, and download favorites for easier viewing.

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