Plus: how university students rushing to upgrade to iOS 7 are crashing their campus networks.
By Jason Imms on September 20, 2013 at 11:16 am
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your 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 the PS4′s current performance advantage over Xbox One, the immense effort involved in un-capsizing a ship twice the size of the Titanic, and a cheap smartphone attachment out to get your optometrist.
The PS4 is currently around 50 per cent faster than the Xbox One
According to a report over at Edge, the PlayStation 4 is currently around 50 per cent faster than the Xbox One. Numerous “high-level game development sources” claim that the difference between the two next-gen consoles is “significant” and “obvious.” This may cast an interesting light on the two recent clock speed improvements made by Microsoft to the Xbox One, but one of the sources states that “the clock speed update is not significant, it does not change things that much, of course, something is better than nothing.”
It seems that the difference lies in memory read speed, and the ALU, both of which are reportedly 40-50 per cent faster on the PS4. Of course, the gap may close significantly between now and when the consoles finally ship. Both Sony and Microsoft are still working on the graphics drivers for their respective platforms, with Microsoft “lagging behind in this regard.” While many factors play into the overall performance of a console, it seems that the Xbox One has some catching up to do between now and November.
iOS 7 reportedly takes down university campus networks
The release of Apple’s iOS 7 has been anecdotally linked to multiple college campuses in the US suffering major network outages. iOS 7 represents a bold new visual design, as well as a number of functionality refinements and additions, which has had Apple fans slavering since its announcement back in June. The Post, Ohio University’s student newspaper, reported that “In a university-wide email, students were asked to wait to download iOS 7, Apple’s new software upgrade, to potentially prevent further delays.”
“On the odd chance that this is related to the iOS 7 update release, please consider waiting to download your copy until the current issues are resolved,” said an OU spokesperson. This seems to support the widely-held assumption that iOS 7 is the culprit, with students from multiple universities, such as NYU and West Connecticut State, taking to social media to report similar outages on their respective campuses.
An inexpensive smartphone attachment aims to take the place of your optometrist
A startup called EyeNetra is developing a $2 smartphone add-on device and a custom app, to perform eye exams similar to the kind usually performed by qualified optometrists using equipment costing more than $5000. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin-off company hopes to “empower millions and millions around the world by bringing eye care to people’s homes in a way that was never possible before,” according to EyeNetra founder and CEO, David Schafran in an interview with NPR.
The Netra-G is capable of performing a series of tests, the results of which provide a measurement of “refractive error,” which is what optometrists need to produce a pair of prescription glasses. Obviously, without the ability to manufacture the glasses themselves, self-administration of eye tests is unlikely to change the world by itself. EyeNetra hopes that a network of providers would rise up around the Netra-G, willing to provide glasses to users based only on the results of the automated exam.
How to un-capsize the Costa Concordia, a ship twice the size of the Titanic
The world’s largest salvage operation is currently underway to raise the immense Costa Concordia passenger liner from the sea bed off the coast of Isola del Giglio, Italy. In January 2012, the Costa Concordia struck a rock and sank, fully loaded with thousands of litres of heavy fuel oil, more than enough to foul the beaches of Isola del Giglio and cause serious damage to the local ecosystem.
As well as raising the ship from the sea bed with cranes, ropes, pulleys, hydraulic jacks and 100 foot-tall metal containers, the salvage crew is faced with extracting multiple metric tonnes of foodstuffs, that has spent the last 18 months rotting in the bowels of the ship, intermixed with seawater and debris. The salvage operation involves attempting to lift the ship from the reef, and onto an artificial reef made of six steel-cement platforms. The Costa Concordia will then be towed away and scrapped.
Google Coder and Raspberry Pi: a simple and safe environment for learning to code
Google Creative Lab have released a tool called Google Coder, which when used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi, provides a “simple place to write code, and a miniserver to run it on.” The open source tool can be downloaded onto an SD card and inserted into a Raspberry Pi, creating a personal web server and development environment in as little as ten minutes. Google Creative hopes that the tool will help parents and schools introduce kids to coding at a much younger age, thanks to the inexpensive nature of the setup, or as a way in for those hoping to train themselves via Khan Academy or Codeacademy.
Coder isn’t finished. Google Creative Lab’s Jason Striegel, creative technologist, and Jeff Baxter, designer, commented on the Google Developers Blog about launching Coder now, rather than later with more features, “We thought about all the stuff we could do to make Coder a more complete package, but we have a hunch that the sooner this gets into the open source and maker communities, the more we’ll learn about how it might be used.” Check out the launch video below, replete with Google’s trademark jaunty tone.