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  • Switched On: Extreme takeover, home edition

    Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

    DNP Switched On Extreme takeover, home edition

    Facebook’s management doesn’t see any dichotomy in the phrase, “Go big or go home,” at least as far as it might pertain to Facebook Home. After being dogged for years with questions about whether the Land o’ Likes would create its own smartphone despite consistent denials, the company explained that its own phone wouldn’t give it the reach it would need for its more than 1 billion members. With the exceptions of the iPhone and the Galaxy S series, a successful handset today might sell 20 million units. That’s a number that many services would dream of reaching, but it’s just one-fiftieth of Facebook’s user base.

    And yet, Facebook Home will start out factory-installed on only one device: the HTC First, a mid-range Android device available exclusively from AT&T. Home is also available as a download from Google Play for a handful of other popular Android handsets, including the Galaxy S III.

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  • Oculus Rift's Tuscany demo scores unofficial support for Razer Hydra (video)

    Oculus Rift's Tuscany demo scores unofficial support for Razer Hydra (video)

    Oculus Rift’s Tuscany demo was built with a good ol’ fashioned keyboard and mouse setup in mind, but now it’s unofficially scored support for motion controls. Sixense, the outfit behind Razer’s Hydra, has cooked up a custom version of the Italian-themed sample for use with their controller, and it gives gamers a pair of floating hands to pick up and manipulate objects. Originally shown at GDC, the tweaked experience is now up for grabs, and can even be played by those who don’t have a Rift — albeit with just the controller’s perks.

    Booting up the retooled package offers users a new 3D menu, giving them options for arm length, crouching, head bobbing and a crosshair. It’s not the first project to combine Rift with Hydra, but it certainly helps illustrate the potential of such a setup. Sixense says it plans to release updates and the source code, and it recommends folks sign up for their project-specific email list and keep an eye on their forums for word on availability. Hit the source links below for the download, or head past the break to catch Road to VR’s hands-on with the Hydra-friendly Tuscan villa.

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    Via: Road to VR

    Source: Sixense (1), (2)

  • The After Math: beer, lasers and $5K 4K TVs

    Welcome to The After Math, where we attempt to summarize this week’s tech news through numbers, decimal places and percentages

    The After Math Samsung's literal Mega phone, lasers and 4K TVs for $4K

    In a bid to neatly wrap up this week’s events, we gaze at some high-priced 4K gear at NAB 2013, figure out whether we can physically… pocket either of Samsung’s Galaxy Mega variants and think about lasers: sometimes beautiful, sometimes deadly and sometimes fighting the future war against drones. We’ve got the numbers — and a few dollar signs — right after the break.

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  • Inhabitat's Week in Green: algae-powered building, ionic wind thrusters and 3D-textured solar cells

    Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

    DNP Inhabitat's Week in Green TKTKTK

    This week, Inhabitat reported that the world’s first algae-powered building officially opened its doors in Hamburg. It’s called the BIQ House and it features an impressive bio-adaptive algae facade that controls day lighting while generating a steady stream of renewable energy. It makes sense that the self-sufficient building is located in Germany; the European country is leading the way in clean tech. Despite ditching its nuclear power plants, Germany has quadrupled its energy production in the past two years, largely due to its rapidly growing alternative energy portfolio. Not to be outdone, England just flipped the switch on the world’s largest wind farm, and in Paris, Schneider Electric set up kinetic energy-harvesting tiles that generate power from runners in the Paris Marathon. Meanwhile at the International Space Station, astronauts are installing a new type of 3D-textured solar cell that will soak up 16 sunrises every day.

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