Friday, June 11, 2021

WWDC winners are digital grinners: As WWDC wraps up for Apple developers, the Apple Design Awards have been announced, a great promotion for some of the best apps across iOS and macOS. I’m quite sure most people don’t browse the App Stores like they once did, so checking out these lists is a great way to find some new gems. There’s lots of games, plus powerful and helpful concepts like ‘Be My Eyes’ that helps identify objects in the camera view, a sleepscape app called Loóna, and other winners for categories like Inclusiveness and Social Impact. Shout outs to Aussie Sp!ng from SMG Studio for being a finalist.

Xbox EVERYWHERE: Microsoft held another pre-E3 video event overnight, with Head of Xbox Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella walking us through the future of Xbox gaming – which very much includes the end of needing to own an Xbox to play. Xbox has foregrounded new options like Xbox Cloud Gaming a lot recently, and it will officially launch locally later this year. They also announced efforts to get Xbox streaming built into smart TVs so that all you’ll need is a controller and an Xbox Game Pass subscription to play, with Microsoft’s global data centres playing a big role in delivering this new cloud focus for Xbox.

Great deals on HyperX hardware: We don’t often do shout outs about hot tech deals, but the HyperX end of financial year prices look really good if you’re after some new gaming peripherals. Prices include a 55% discount on HyperX Alloy Origins keyboards, down to $104, and 50% off the HyperX Cloud Flight wireless headset making it $145. They deals are all at JB Hi-Fi. On a related note, Kingston, the former owner of HyperX, has launched the new name for its gaming focused memory chips for PC hardware – look for the Fury brand if you liked HyperX components in your PC builds.

Wacom heart Chromebook: In other product updates, Wacom Intuos drawing tablets now have ‘Works with Chromebook’ certification, which is a super helpful option for people who are in Chromebook land in school environments or just like the price-performance ratio you get on those devices. Wacom has always been the leader in creative input tablets so this is a nice step for the Chromebook platform to get these in the mix.

Because gamers hate interruptions: In software, the latest updates to Norton’s security software sees the Norton Game Optimiser claim some big upgrades. For years Norton has silenced notifications and other nuisance activity when it detects gameplay is happening, and now Norton claims Game Optimiser will isolate resource-hungry apps running in the background, including pushing them ti a single CPU core to ensure games get everything else for themselves. These days Norton can also do things like monitor the dark web for signs of your usernames, email addresses and even gamertags, so there’s lots going on here. There’s even a new Crypto mining mode coming if that’s your passion.

Meet ‘The DoorDash LCO’: Australia’s League of Legends Circuit Oceania had a great first season to kick off the year, and now the competition has partnered with Doordash as the naming rights sponsor for the second half of the 2021 championship. The sponsor will also be attached to replay and other segments during broadcasts, but overall a positive for the upstart competition that has kept the scene alive and thriving in 2021.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater is an esport: If you’re looking for something to participate in this long weekend, there’s an ongoing Tony Hawk Pro Skater Ultimate Jam competition taking place, run by Order esports in partnership with Activision and 7+, for anyone who thinks they’ve got skills to show off in the classic skating game. You can enter speed runs, combo runs and straight up ‘score the most points’ runs, with top performers qualifying for finals next month. Entries close 29th June.

Brain food

AI system outperforms humans in designing floorplans for microchips

This is a huge breakthrough, as chips are still largely designed with human decision making on the ‘best’ layouts. Now Google has found that machine learning excels at an early step in microchip design.

www.nature.com  •  Share

Nvidia acquires hi-def mapping startup DeepMap to bolster AV technology

Chipmaker Nvidia is acquiring DeepMap, the high-definition mapping startup announced. The company said its mapping IP will help Nvidia’s autonomous vehicle technology sector, Nvidia Drive.

techcrunch.com  •  Share

Byteside

E3 2021 hype preview: what's looking worthy?

What’s looking good already and what’s still in store? From Xbox to PlayStation, the indies and more, we get on the virtual E3 hype train.

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Cool

Samsung pushes pixel size even further with new camera sensor

Samsung has announced a new smartphone camera sensor with the smallest pixel size in the industry. The 50-megapixel ISOCELL JN1 has 0.64μm pixels and is currently in mass production.

www.theverge.com  •  Share

Netflix online shop to sell products tied to shows

You streamed it. Now you can buy it at Netflix.shop, a new site that will offer everything from a “Lupin” side table to a “Yasuke” clock.

www.nytimes.com  •  Share

On this day...

1955: The Le Mans disaster saw 83 people killed and 180 injured, the worst motorsport incident in history. The track was not suited to cars that could travel at 200kph speeds, and the incident led to Mercedes-Benz exiting motorsport until the 1980s.

Trivia

Which tech standard is named after 10th Century Scandanavian King Harald Gormmson?

Yesterday’s answer: 118

By Byteside

Curated news and insights on tech, science and digital culture.

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