Plus: NVIDIA's new GTX 780 looks like it's going to be really, really pricey.
By Jason Imms on May 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm
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 NVIDIA’s GTX 780, the man who took a year off from the Internet, and Virgin Galactic’s plan for relatively affordable commercial space travel.
Nvidia’s GTX 780 is probably going to be really expensive
The upcoming Nvidia GTX 780 is due for release in the US this month, and while it is iterative on the Kepler design, it includes some new features and optimisations that promise to make it a serious contender in the market.
Despite its basis in existing architecture, Swedish graphics card aficionados SweClockers have reported sources claiming that the GTX 780 may well be significantly more expensive than the opening price of the GTX 680, and could well end up being priced akin to the GTX Titan at around US$1000.
Through the Google Glass: Explorer Edition units reviewed
The prevailing response seems to be positive, but also hopeful that future revisions will make good on the promise of this early prototype. By most accounts, the experience of actually using Glass’ refractive display is really exciting. Google have released a one-minute video that shows how the home interface works, and how basic functionality is performed via the touch panel on the right arm of the device.
Skype shedding local installations in favour of a browser-based plugin
Microsoft are trialling a browser-based Skype plugin, which allows users to make Skype calls from within an Outlook.com inbox, removing the necessity for the locally installed application. Those for whom Skype and other VoIP/video calling services were to spell an end of our reliance on phone providers, should find the release of a browser-based plugin interesting. The reason that Skype and its ilk haven’t become the first port of call for world communication is a lack of ubiquity — the mobile phone system is already incredibly well established, and integrated into most of our lives.
Skype remains something that needs to be organised in advance via “hey can I call you on Skype?” where SMSs and phone calls simply work. If Microsoft are to achieve ubiquity, they need Skype to be an easier alternative to pulling out your phone. The browser plugin is currently being rolled out in the UK, and should see release in Australia sometime between September and November 2013.
Paul Miller returns to the Internet after a year
One year ago, Paul Miller of The Verge decided that he wanted to see who he could be without the Internet. He felt that the Internet could be the reason for his procrastination habits, the restriction of his creativity, and perhaps even a significant factor of his self-confidence and depression issues.
Well, a full year later he has returned and has captured his experience in text and video. The article is really interesting, as it helps to address and deflect some of the vilification that the Internet receives. The experiment has helped Paul to come to the conclusion that the Internet is a one-stop-shop for many of our bad habits, habits that people are perfectly capable of fulfilling to the same or even a greater extent when disconnected, despite the inconvenience of not having them piped directly to our lap, pocket, or desktop.
Virgin Galactic hope to make space travel affordable to everyone
In a recent interview, Sir Richard Branson spoke with a strange mix of care and candour to Engadget’s Michael Gorman about their plans for consumer space travel, and the realities of making the practice commercially viable and more than mere dream fulfilment. Sir Richard was careful to avoid forecasting pricing for commercial flights in the future, but he is confident that the current price of US$250,000 will come down.
“[Our first thousand customers will] help us effectively fund the program. They’re the people who can afford to pay it, and we’re enormously appreciative of their support,” said Branson. “By the time you get to an age where you want to go to space, you’ll be able to afford it.”
As well as the exorbitantly priced initial 1000 flights, Virgin Galactic also plan to subsidise prices by offering a comprehensive satellite delivery service to businesses that wish to launch low-orbit satellites relatively cheaply and quickly. “We’re also going to be able to put more satellites in space in one month — three and a half thousand satellites in one month — than have been put up in the last 10 years,” Branson claimed. Virgin Galactic plan to be capable of launching low-orbit satellites within 24 hours instead of the current period of one year, which Sir Branson believes will be “transformative.”