Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is a weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of how Google is getting ready to deploy their new Glass tech in a public test (for an enormous price), more on the upcoming stoush between AMD and Intel, and how one day — maybe soon — we’ll actually be able to lick the internet.
Google Glass is available for limited, spendy pre-order
On Wednesday, Google released a new preview of Google Glass, their augmented reality head-mounted display tech that is set to turn us all into somewhat less capable simulacrums of Geordi La Forge. This isn’t the first time that Google have demonstrated Glass to the public, but their “How It Works” video below gives a far clearer impression of how the device could be used in the real world, and even shows off some previously unannounced features, such as real-time phrase translation.
Anyone interested in getting their hands on Google Glass early needs to jump through some pretty stringent hoops. First, apply for selection by freely advertising Glass on social media. Second, give Google $1500USD. Third, be living in the USA.
Steam for Linux officially released
As of Friday 15th, Steam for Linux is officially released from beta. While the catalogue of games available with full Linux support is rather limited at the moment, Valve’s store-level support, and partnership with Ubuntu developer Canonical proves that they are committed to making Linux a far more viable and widespread gaming platform. Speaking at the DICE summit earlier this month, Gabe Newell called Linux a “get out of jail free pass for our industry, if we need it.” Newell clearly sees Linux as a way to get out from underneath the heel of closed-platform operating systems, “we’ll come out with our own [Steam Box] and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box,” he claimed in January. Time will tell whether or not Valve’s vote of confidence will prove to be enough for Linux to gain a greater user following against Apple and Microsoft.
If you’re interested in giving Steam for Linux a try, don’t forget that Ubuntu is available from our very own file mirror.
Former head of AMD has his say on the fight with Intel in upcoming book
According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, former AMD CEO Hector Ruiz’s upcoming novel Slingshot “comes with heavy doses of David versus Goliath imagery,” which isn’t surprising given that it is subtitled “AMD’s Fight To Free An Industry From The Ruthless Grip Of Intel.” According to Ruiz, AMD took the risk of filing a major antitrust case against Intel after previously excited U.S. and Asian PC manufacturers began backing away from their commitments to AMD, after alleged Intel financial inducements or threats. Though the case itself is old news, the insights included in the novel shed some light into how AMD structured their case, the $1.2 billion settlement, and the spinoff of their manufacturing division into what is now known as Globalfoundries. Slingshot will be available for purchase from April 23.
Steve Ballmer is “super-glad” Microsoft built Surface
Jason Pontin, Editor-in-Chief of MIT Technology Review, recently had an opportunity to speak with Steve Ballmer on the topic of Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface. Pontin questions about the adoption rate of Windows 8, which Ballmer handled with confident aplomb, going on to assert that “the adoption rate is perfect.” When the conversation turned to Microsoft Surface however, Ballmer’s repeated sweaty insistence that “Surface is a real business,” seems to imply that despite less than stellar sales, Microsoft plan to continue to push the Surface in a market dominated by their competitors.
Hopefully one day we will be able to lick the Internet
Given the number of senses available to the average human body, it is odd that we generally only use three of them to accept input from our digital devices. Our eyes look at screens, our ears listen to speakers, and our hands respond to rumbling controllers. Gershon Dublon of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has had enough, and hopes that his project Tongueduino will give us an opportunity to put our flappy mouth bits to work in the digital realm.
Tongueduino is a “display” which rests on the tongue, and uses a three by three grid of electrodes to impart information to the user. The electrodes are individually identifiable to the user, despite their proximity, thanks to the high sensitivity of the human tongue. Dublon believes that Tongueduino could lead to “open-ended sensory augmentation that anyone can access,” and asks enviously during the video below that “sharks have electro-reception, why can’t we?”