Realme 5 Pro vs Vivo Z1 Pro: Which is the best smartphone under Rs 15K – Moneycontrol.com

Since the launch of the first Realme device over a year ago, the company has continuously pushed the boundaries of price-to-performance. The Realme 5 series pushes those boundaries even further. And, while there are several good smartphones in the sub-Rs 15K price range, only one can go head-to-head against the Realme 5 Pro.

Realme CEO Madhav Sheth compared the Realme 5 Pro with the Galaxy A50 and Redmi Note 7 Pro. However, since these phones were released a little while ago, they don’t make for a fair comparison. But we found a phone that does- the Vivo Z1 Pro.

Model Realme 5 Pro Vivo Z1 Pro
Chipset Snapdragon 712 AIE Snapdragon 712 AIE
Display 6.3-inch FHD+ LCD 6.5-inch FHD+ LCD
RAM 4GB/6GB 4GB/6GB/8GB
Storage 64GB/128GB 64GB/128GB
Battery 5,000 mAh, 18W fast charging 4,035 mAh, 20W fast charging
Rear Camera 16 MP, f/1.8 + 8 MP, f/2.2 + 2 MP, f/2.4 48MP, f/1.8 + 8MP, f/2.25 + 2MP + 2MP
Front Camera 32MP, f/2.0 16MP, f/2.0
OS Android 9 Pie, Funtouch 9 Android 9 Pie, ColorOS 6
Starting Price Rs 14,990 Rs 13,999

Design – Vivo Z1 Pro

Both the Realme 5 Pro and Vivo Z1 Pro have an excellent look at feel to them. However, the punch-hole notch on the Z1 Pro looks more modern than the more traditional waterdrop notch on the 5 Pro.

Camera – Realme 5 Pro

In terms of optics, the Realme 5 Pro just about pips ahead. The top-end 48-megapixel sensor coupled with ultra-wide, portrait and ultra-macro lenses offer more functionality than the triple camera array on the Z1 Pro. However, the 32-megapixel selfie camera Vivo uses does trump the 16-megapixel camera on the 5 Pro.

Battery – Vivo Z1 Pro

When it comes to the battery, the Vivo Z1 Pro has the upper hand with its 5,000 mAh battery. While the battery capacity on the Realme 5 Pro is less than that of the Z1 Pro, the Realme device gets 20W VOOC 3.0 quick-charge support.

Display – Vivo Z1  Pro

The only aspect of the Vivo’s screen which gives it the edge over the Realme 5 Pro is the size of the screen. For LCD panels, both screens are pretty much what you’d expect.

Price – Realme 5 Pro

Both the Realme 5 Pro and Vivo Z1 Pro offer excellent value for money. In terms value, Realme just about edges it, coming in at 1K less than the Z1 Pro.

To conclude, both the Vivo Z1 Pro and Realme 5 Pro are excellent value for money buys. There’s not a device on the market that can compete with the two in terms of sheer “value”. However, if you are a rear camera buff and operate with a tight budget, you may want to go with the Realme 5 Pro. But the Z1 Pro does do better in the battery, front camera, and design areas.
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Thousands of cosplayers, gamers visit Gamescom in Germany – Global News

Connected devices are challenging consoles at the world’s largest online gaming fair, as hundreds of thousands of fans jostle to see top e-sports stars in action and give feedback that can decide whether a new release is a hit or a flop.

The Gamescom Fair in Cologne, Germany, opened to the general public on Wednesday after a series of sneak-peek events to whet the appetite of a rising generation of enthusiasts who spend more time on gaming than they do watching television.

Fans got an up-close look at their heroes demonstrating forthcoming releases, with developers and industry analysts observing queues and interviewing visitors to assess which might turn out to be hits.

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Google is killing Play Music subscription gifting and Messaging in YouTube – XDA Developers

It has been well established that Google is not afraid to kill services and features. Most of the time they get rid of things that few people use, but occasionally something really popular will get the cut. This week, Google is killing two features that, thankfully, fall into the former category: Google Play Music gifting and YouTube Messaging.

Google Play Music has been put into limbo as the company focuses on YouTube Music. Eventually, YouTube Music will replace Play Music. The latest update to the Android app removed the “Send gift” feature. This allowed people to give the gift of 1, 3, or 6 months of a Play Music subscription from inside the app. The support page says “Google Play Music subscriptions can no longer be purchased as gifts, but you can still gift subscriptions from the web app. YouTube Music doesn’t have an equivalent feature at this time.

messages on youtube

Next up is Messages on YouTube. Added in 2017, the messaging features in YouTube allowed people to share videos and have conversations directly in the YouTube app. This was never a terribly popular feature as most people rolled their eyes at Google adding yet another messaging service. YouTube Messaging will be removed on September 18th, 2019. Google recommends using the “Share” button on videos to send videos going forward.

Are you upset about the removal of these two features? Did you Google Play Music gifting or YouTube messaging?


Source 1: 9to5Google | Source 2: Google

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Poll: Should Microsoft make an Xbox Phone? – OnMSFT

With all the news coming out of Gamescom 2019 this week, one question begs an answer; Should Microsoft make an Xbox Phone? Imagine Windows 10 Mobile coming back but with ridiculous specs similar to the Asus ROG Phone 2. But instead of being another attempt at Windows Phone, you use your phone to play Xbox games. No need for game streaming to your phone from the Xbox One, just sign directly into your Xbox Live account from your phone and start playing games.

Should Microsoft make an Xbox Phone?

ASUS ROG Phone 2 (screenshot from Unbox Therapy)

An Xbox Phone is likely an idea that will never come to fruition; instead, Microsoft may look to release their own mobile gaming device similar to the Nintendo Switch. Provided the phone specifications are there, Xbox Phone would be a better choice for gamers if they want to experience Project xCloud and play Xbox games natively, without the need for using another app or mobile operating system. Don’t get me wrong, the Nintendo Switch is a great gaming platform, but I think people would love to have the regular features of a smartphone too.

Even if Windows Phone is dead, Microsoft could decide to release an Android phone with a focus on Microsoft apps. While there are endless rumors about the Surface Phone, it appears doubtful that such a phone would ever be released. Microsoft has made it clear that Windows Phone is dead, as Microsoft continues to push out their apps on Android and iOS. Microsoft wants people playing Xbox games. Microsoft keeps buying developers left and right and makes Xbox more accessible to everyone with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Xbox Play Anywhere, and Project xCloud. Microsoft makes it easier to play games on your Windows 10 PC, Xbox One, and your smartphone.

Project xCloud 

We’ve seen what Project xCloud can do on Android and iOS, but what if Microsoft could find a way to make happen with an Xbox Phone? While Microsoft already has a patented gaming controller, I believe Microsoft and Xbox could work together and quickly figure out a way to integrate its own unique controller scheme into their own phone. I think Microsoft can figure out a way to make an Xbox Phone without the need to carry around extra accessories.

As we found out with our hands-on comparison of Project xCloud, playing Xbox games on a phone is weird. Personally, I think the logical next step for Microsoft is to make an Xbox Phone. I doubt there are many people out there that want to carry a controller with them any time they want to play games on their phone using Project xCloud. What do you think? Take our poll below

Should Microsoft make an Xbox Phone? Let us know in the comments.

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A team of designers wants to build an iceberg-making submarine to pop out ‘ice babies’ and combat sea-level rise – INSIDER

Running out of ice? Make some more.

That’s the idea behind a new proposal for a submarine that could freeze seawater to create new icebergs. The concept, from a team of designers from Indonesia, won second place in an international design competition through the Association of Siamese Architects.

The goal of the submarine is to replace sea ice as it melts, inspired by efforts to tackle rainforest loss by planting trees.

“If we could cover more polar surfaces again with ice, it would certainly prevent the absorption of heat by the oceans, which would also affect global temperatures,” Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha, an architect who led the team, told Business Insider in an email. “The ultimate goal is to respond [to] sea-level rise with the different way of thinking.”

The proposed iceberg-making submarine as it might look in the Arctic.
Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha

Melting ice is certainly a problem in need of a solution: Greenland saw record ice melt last month, and Antarctica is losing ice faster than ever in recorded history. Both Greenland’s ice sheet and one of Antarctica’s biggest glaciers are approaching a threshold of irreversible melting.

If they were to collapse, rising seas would swallow coastal cities.

A submarine that births an ‘ice baby’

According to the team’s design, the ice-making submarine would dip below the ocean surface to fill with seawater, then rise back to the surface and close the hatch of its hexagon-shaped well. Reverse osmosis would then filter salt out of the water so that it could freeze faster.

The submarine would dump the concentrated salt back into the sea, while the remaining fresh water would freeze inside a hexagon-shaped cast surrounded by turbines to insulate it with cold air.

After a month, the submarine would reopen its hatch, sink below the water, and pop out an 82-foot-wide, 16-foot-thick hexagonal ice chunk. The ship could then push that “ice baby,” as the team calls it in the video below, next to other hexagonal icebergs to build an ice sheet.

The team calls the process “re-iceberg-ization.” An animated video illustrates the process:

But Mark Serreze, the director of the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center, told NBC News that he saw the submarine idea as little more than “a Band-Aid.”

“What are you going to do, put out a flotilla of 10,000 submarines?” Serreze said, highlighting that such submarines would have to be deployed on an enormous scale to affect the rate of sea-level rise.

Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State, told NBC that the concept was “like trying to save the sand castle you built at the beach using a Dixie cup as the tide comes in.”

More sea ice could help indirectly, if done right

To really lower sea levels, the icebergs this proposed submarine could make would have to end up on land, Serreze said. That’s because melting sea ice does not directly contribute to sea-level rise, since the ice is already in the ocean regardless of whether it’s liquid or solid. Melting land ice — like glaciers and ice sheets — is the real threat.

Ice melts during a heat wave in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, on August 1.
Caspar Haarloev from “Into the Ice” documentary via Reuters

Sea ice does play a crucial role, however, since it reflects more sunlight (and its warmth) away.

In the video, the design team says new sea ice could also help restore polar ecosystems suffering from the loss of ice habitats.

“If the ice formed is large and broad enough to reflect more sun, and if global temperatures have become cooler, the ‘ice babies’ can again be produced as permanent ice on the Arctic,” Kotahatuhaha said.

The submarines could also serve as research centers, living spaces, and hubs of eco-tourism, the team said.

The proposed ice-making submarines could serve as research centers or hubs of eco-tourism.
Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha

Lingering questions about an ice-making submarine

Some details about how an ice-making submarine could come to fruition are still unclear.

“Who’s going to build them and how much energy does it take, and how are the submarines powered?” Serreze told NBC.

Kotahatuhaha said his team still needed to conduct more research and get outside expertise to iron out those details, but he’d want the submarine to be a “zero-emission vehicle” that harnesses power from the sun or tides. If the vessel were powered by fossil fuels, it would contribute to sea-level rise by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. (The heat those gases trap leads ice to melt and ocean water to expand in volume.)

Right now, Kotahatuhaha said, he’s hoping to build collaborations and study the project’s feasibility.

“The biggest challenge is not about the research itself but investment to support the research project,” he said.

Geoengineering as a last resort

The submarine as it would look in action, with people for scale.
Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha

The ice-making submarine is far from the only proposed geoengineering solution to the climate crisis. Scientists and startups have also suggested cannons that would shoot fake snow across Antarctica and a balloon that could pump aerosols into the atmosphere to deflect sunlight.

The most common critique of all these ideas, however, is that they don’t address the root problem: greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change.

“There has been a lot of work on geoengineering, and it should continue,” Serreze told NBC. “We never want to go in that direction. But if it’s a last gasp, then you try it.”

Elon Musk Proposes Using Solar Reflectors Instead of Nukes to Warm Up Mars – NDTV

Elon Musk is pushing a new idea to make the Mars atmosphere more hospitable to humans. The Tesla CEO believes that it makes more sense to place thousands of satellites (essentially as giant mirrors) to reflect Sun’s rays, rather than nuking the poles of the planet. Musk has been positing the “Nuke Mars” idea for the last few years and in fact, he very recently showcased Nuke Mars t-shirts on Twitter. But now, it looks like he may have had a change of heart.

“Might make sense to have thousands of solar reflector satellites ???? to warm Mars vs artificial suns (tbd),” Musk tweeted on Tuesday. By artificial suns, he is referring to his Nuke Mars theory which he explained in a subsequent tweet.

“Nuke Mars refers to a continuous stream of very low fallout nuclear fusion explosions above the atmosphere to create artificial suns. Much like our sun, this would not cause Mars to become radioactive,” Musk wrote.

Musk hopes that by blowing up poles of Mars, enough CO2 will be released to help with heating up the planet and making it more hospitable to humans.

He even defended the “Nuke Mars” theory and called it “not risky.”

“Not risky imo & can be adjusted/improved real-time. Essentially need to figure out most effective way to convert mass to energy, as Mars is slightly too far from this solar system’s fusion reactor (the sun),” he explained.

A research paper published in July last year noted Musk’s nuclear weapons theory won’t work as there is simply not enough CO2 left on Mars in any known reservoirs, including the poles to significantly increase the temperature of the planet. The researchers hope to get a better idea about the presence of hidden CO2 on Mars using the data from ExoMars rover (scheduled for launch in 2020) and the NASA Mars 2020 rover (also launching in 2020).

The tbd (to be discussed) bit in his Tuesday tweet indicates that he hasn’t completely given up his “Nuke Mars” theory but he is certainly looking at other options but apart from the one tweet, he hasn’t shared any details at this point.

Interestingly, Musk is not the first to propose using some kind of reflectors to heat up Mars surface. In 2006, a University of Arizona undergraduate Rigel Woida won a fellowship to study “study the use of large aperture, lightweight orbital mirrors for ‘terraforming’ an area of the martian surface so humans could affordably colonize the Red Planet.”

Unlike Musk, Woida was looking to heat a limited area on Mars surface to be able to build a human colony. He planned to “establish a segmented global reflector in orbit around Mars, a 1.5-kilometer diameter array made up of 150 segmented, 150-metre-diameter mylar balloons that would collect sunlight and shine it down over a one-square kilometre area of Mars’ surface.”

Hopefully, over the coming days and weeks, Musk will elaborate on his idea of using solar reflector satellites.

‘Starman’ Pilots Tesla’s Space Roadster 766 Million Miles As It Completes First Orbit Of Sun – Forbes

Starman pilots his Tesla Roadster away from Earth.

Starman pilots his Tesla Roadster away from Earth after launching aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy in 2018.

SpaceX

The hype was almost overwhelming, but fortunately for SpaceX and its brash boss Elon Musk, the 2018 launch of the first Falcon Heavy rocket system went perfectly, and a most unusual satellite was placed into a near-immortal orbit about the Sun: A brilliant red Tesla Roadster (the original model), piloted by a space-suited mannequin known as Starman.

So where is Starman and his electric space car now? Back home, relatively speaking.

Outlets which track the position of the planet-trekking Tesla report the car and its passenger have now come full circle and completed one orbit of the Sun. But don’t look up into the night sky to try and spot it flying by; Starman is now on the opposite side of the Sun from where Earth is now in orbit, but he’s on cruise control at over 24,000 miles an hour.

Starman and his red Tesla are in an elliptical orbit that swings the duo out past the orbit of Mars, before it cycles back to Earth’s orbital distance and perihelion – its closest point to the Sun, which is where it is now. Since Starman’s elliptical path around the Sun is not the same as Earth’s (or Mars’) orbit, it takes more than a year to drive the whole orbital racetrack.

So how far has Starman driven the red Roadster? Almost 800 million miles so far. You can get an exact running total here. And while Starman will have some close encounters with the Earth, Mars and perhaps some other objects in the near (and far) future, he’s not coming back to Earth anytime soon – unless someone goes out there to get him.

The initial video feed from cameras aboard the Roadster was an internet sensation (and pretty zen as well), but the batteries for those cameras and have long died (ironic, considering how much battery power could have been on board), and the car is too far away for the signal to now reach us anyway.

Why Did Musk Do It?

What’s the point of launching an electric convertible sports car with “Don’t Panic” on the center screen, besides a bit of ego scratching and showmanship? There are actually some good – if simple – rocket science reasons. During rocket flight testing, flight engineers use a “dummy” cargo (usually some boring weights or a research sensor package) to test the rocket’s capabilities, rather than risk blowing up a spendy commercial satellite or precious human cargo. It was the first launch of the Falcon Heavy, and the rocket needed some sort of payload to accurately test it under flight conditions. While the Falcon Heavy can lift a load much, much heavier than the Roadster, using the car was both a useful payload and a bit of whimsy (and brilliant marketing), which we’ve come to expect from Musk, who heads SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity and other ventures.

What Will Happen To Starman And His Roadster?

Left alone, Starman could likely drive the Roadster around the Sun for the life of our solar system, which should keep spinning around for another five to seven billion years. However, if humanity can manage to survive its technological adolescence, we may someday rendezvous once again with Starman and his by then very vintage Tesla Roadster to see what the effects of billions or even trillions of miles of unprotected space travel close to the sun might be.

Since the Tesla wasn’t “prepped” for the rigors of space travel like a purpose-built satellite or manned spacecraft, the weathering effects on the car should be significant. In astronomical terms, Starman and the Tesla are very, very close to the sun, as is Earth and Mars. Temperatures on the sunlit surfaces of the car can soar to well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, while shaded areas can be a frosty 250 degrees below zero.

Since the car is slowly tumbling though space, every part of the car’s exterior will be exposed to this endless and relentless heating/cooling cycle, which will expand and shrink metal surfaces to the point where fatigue may split them off of the car’s frame. Paint, tires, fabrics and most anything else not metallic will likely be slowly boiled away over time, and cast upon the solar wind. Indeed, the most “spaceworthy” part of the whole venture may be Starman’s SpaceX space suit, which was designed, of course, for use in space. How will it hold up? Only a very, very long time will tell.

Drive safe, Starman. Don’t panic and enjoy the view.

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The hype was almost overwhelming, but fortunately for SpaceX and its brash boss Elon Musk, the 2018 launch of the first Falcon Heavy rocket system went perfectly, and a most unusual satellite was placed into a near-immortal orbit about the Sun: A brilliant red Tesla Roadster (the original model), piloted by a space-suited mannequin known as Starman.

So where is Starman and his electric space car now? Back home, relatively speaking.

Outlets which track the position of the planet-trekking Tesla report the car and its passenger have now come full circle and completed one orbit of the Sun. But don’t look up into the night sky to try and spot it flying by; Starman is now on the opposite side of the Sun from where Earth is now in orbit, but he’s on cruise control at over 24,000 miles an hour.

Starman and his red Tesla are in an elliptical orbit that swings the duo out past the orbit of Mars, before it cycles back to Earth’s orbital distance and perihelion – its closest point to the Sun, which is where it is now. Since Starman’s elliptical path around the Sun is not the same as Earth’s (or Mars’) orbit, it takes more than a year to drive the whole orbital racetrack.

So how far has Starman driven the red Roadster? Almost 800 million miles so far. You can get an exact running total here. And while Starman will have some close encounters with the Earth, Mars and perhaps some other objects in the near (and far) future, he’s not coming back to Earth anytime soon – unless someone goes out there to get him.

The initial video feed from cameras aboard the Roadster was an internet sensation (and pretty zen as well), but the batteries for those cameras and have long died (ironic, considering how much battery power could have been on board), and the car is too far away for the signal to now reach us anyway.

Why Did Musk Do It?

What’s the point of launching an electric convertible sports car with “Don’t Panic” on the center screen, besides a bit of ego scratching and showmanship? There are actually some good – if simple – rocket science reasons. During rocket flight testing, flight engineers use a “dummy” cargo (usually some boring weights or a research sensor package) to test the rocket’s capabilities, rather than risk blowing up a spendy commercial satellite or precious human cargo. It was the first launch of the Falcon Heavy, and the rocket needed some sort of payload to accurately test it under flight conditions. While the Falcon Heavy can lift a load much, much heavier than the Roadster, using the car was both a useful payload and a bit of whimsy (and brilliant marketing), which we’ve come to expect from Musk, who heads SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity and other ventures.

What Will Happen To Starman And His Roadster?

Left alone, Starman could likely drive the Roadster around the Sun for the life of our solar system, which should keep spinning around for another five to seven billion years. However, if humanity can manage to survive its technological adolescence, we may someday rendezvous once again with Starman and his by then very vintage Tesla Roadster to see what the effects of billions or even trillions of miles of unprotected space travel close to the sun might be.

Since the Tesla wasn’t “prepped” for the rigors of space travel like a purpose-built satellite or manned spacecraft, the weathering effects on the car should be significant. In astronomical terms, Starman and the Tesla are very, very close to the sun, as is Earth and Mars. Temperatures on the sunlit surfaces of the car can soar to well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, while shaded areas can be a frosty 250 degrees below zero.

Since the car is slowly tumbling though space, every part of the car’s exterior will be exposed to this endless and relentless heating/cooling cycle, which will expand and shrink metal surfaces to the point where fatigue may split them off of the car’s frame. Paint, tires, fabrics and most anything else not metallic will likely be slowly boiled away over time, and cast upon the solar wind. Indeed, the most “spaceworthy” part of the whole venture may be Starman’s SpaceX space suit, which was designed, of course, for use in space. How will it hold up? Only a very, very long time will tell.

Drive safe, Starman. Don’t panic and enjoy the view.

Astronomers might have spotted a black hole gobbling up a neutron star – MIT Technology Review

Scientists have spotted the most exotic gravitational waves on record yet, after a black hole probably lunched on a neutron star.

The news: On August 14, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the US and the Virgo observatory in Italy detected new gravitational waves rippling through spacetime. They were  produced 900 million light-years away by a black hole devouring what is either a neutron star or some object we never thought was possible.

1% uncertainty: The team has an automated system that instantly classifies gravitational wave events. This one was unusual. It showed that one object smaller than three solar masses had plunged into another object larger than five solar masses. We’ve never seen a neutron star larger than 2.2 solar masses, nor a black hole smaller than five solar masses, so scientists are 99% certain this event was caused by a neutron star being swallowed up by a black hole. However, there is still a very slim chance the neutron star is just a black hole—the smallest on record—and that this event is just another merger of two black holes.

What’s next: Soon after detection, Australia’s SkyMapper Telescope scanned the sky for a visual sign of the merger (such as the neutron star’s insides that had been ripped out by the black hole) but found nothing. Other telescopes, like NASA’s Swift instrument, might spot some telltale evidence later.

Gotta catch ’em all: Before this exotic signal, dubbed S190814bv, we’ve only ever seen gravitational waves produced by black hole mergers or neutron star mergers. If the findings hold, they will complete the holy trinity of gravitational wave events scientists have pursued all this decade, and confirm the existence of a bizarre new kind of star system.

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Wasteland 3 is a prettier, more polished post-apocalypse – Polygon

Wasteland 3 looks like a snowier, sleeker, and more substantial version of its five-year-old predecessor, Wasteland 2. I played a slice of the game earlier this week — based on a demo sent out to backers who helped crowdfund the game — and enjoyed the various tweaks and additions that have been added to the series’ team-based role-playing formula. This game’s budget, according to developer InXile, is three times larger than the last game.

The post-apocalyptic story moves on from Wasteland 2’s arid locations of Arizona and Los Angeles to the freezing heights of Colorado. Its story centers around a local boss called The Patriarch, who leads a society founded by formerly mega-wealthy Armageddon preppers.

Presented in overhead view, I play as a group of rangers who plough through flurried roads, from one dangerous location to another, seeking out The Patriarch’s outlandish adult-children. They’ve gone rogue, threatening to fracture the boss’s power.

My team of seven fighters now includes a vehicle that gets me to blizzard-bound outposts. I enjoy how the vehicle cuts through snowy roads, kicking up slush and dirt. In the overmap, I explore mountain roads until I come across a story beat, often in the form of a fight.

The game is built around a series of encounters between my raggedy rangers and gangs of enemies, including the usual post-nuclear roughnecks as well as robot dogs and other nasties.

Combat plays out XCOM-style. Each member of my party is a specialist such as a sniper or a close-quarters shotgun shooter. They carry two weapons as well as an extra piece of kit, like a grenade or a stand-alone gun turret. As the game progresses, they earn upgrades in their combat abilities and collect new weapons and armor. They also improve various skills such as mechanics and lock-picking and they bolt on social skills that help during narrative conversation tree sections.

The overarching aim is to nurture team members so that their skills become sufficiently advanced to progress, while also complementing one another. Non-combat solutions are often the best way forward, but these can only be accessed by characters who have unlocked specific skills.

Combat has been overhauled since the last game and feels more user-friendly. Instead of team members forming an orderly line to take their turns, I can pick and choose between my people, using action points to create the most effective tactical plays. Action points, as before, include ambushing enemies and shooting specific body parts as well as reloading or making use of consumables like health packs. Inventory (in single-player mode) is now shared among all characters, simplifying life enormously.

Usually, there are various access points and potential cover spots to use. Cover, sight-line, and elevation are all extremely important to successful combat, which works on the basis of statistical likelihood. If I try to shoot an enemy with a tiny percentage chance of hitting them, I’m likely to regret my folly.

My vehicle is a character in its own right, which adds mightily to combat situations, where it takes its turn in the fighting by shooting and squishing enemies, as well as removing obstacles and creating diversions. But it’s barred from some combat sections.

In the overmap, actions have also been simplified. If I need a player to, say, pick a lock, I click on the problem and the team member most able to deal with the task shows up. This helpful piece of user interaction was much demanded by players after the launch of Wasteland 2, and was added in the later Director’s Cut release.

Much of the extra budget has been spent on voice-acting and conversational scenes, in which various characters offer optional story paths. In my demo, I tracked down The Patriarch’s mad son, Victory, to the ruins of Aspen. Once cornered, we had a bit of a chat. I had an opportunity to either kill him, capture him, or allow him to join my team. Each of those options creates a different outcome when I next encounter The Patriarch. The story looks engrossing, as is often the case with InXile games.

Wasteland 3 is being published by Deep Silver and is coming out in spring 2010 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Intel launches first artificial intelligence chip Springhill – The Hindu

Intel Corp on Tuesday launched its latest processor, its first using artificial intelligence (AI), designed for large computing centres.

The chip, developed at its development facility in Haifa, Israel, is known as Nervana NNP-I or Springhill and is based on a 10 nanometre Ice Lake processor that will allow it to cope with high workloads using minimal amounts of energy, Intel said.

Intel said its first AI product comes after it had invested more than $120 million in three AI startups in Israel.

“In order to reach a future situation of ‘AI everywhere’, we have to deal with huge amounts of data generated and make sure organisations are equipped with what they need to make effective use of the data and process them where they are collected,” said Naveen Rao, general manager of Intel’s artificial intelligence products group.

“These computers need acceleration for complex AI applications.”

It said the new hardware chip will help Intel Xeon processors in large companies as the need for complicated computations in the AI field increases.