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Read Oculus Rift Reviews, The FBI Hacks the iPhone… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 29-03-2016

What the Internet is saying about the Oculus Rift, the FBI beats Apple with outside help, the PlayStation 4.5 could be a thing, Tumblr brings back replies, and the cheap alternative to expensive VR headsets.


Oculus Rift Reviews Roundup

After a long fight to get to this point, Oculus (now a subsidiary of Facebook), has finally launched the consumer version of the Oculus Rift How the Oculus Rift Works and Why You Need One Why is there so much excitement over the Oculus Rift? Because it's a technological marvel. Here's how it works and why you're going to love it. Read More . This is a VR headset designed to bring virtual reality to the masses, or at least the small number of people who are a) interested in the technology, and b) able to afford the hefty price tag.

So, what is the tech press saying about the new Oculus Rift?

The Verge suggests, “The high cost of buying and running high-end VR headsets makes them inaccessible to many people, and the Rift in particular is relentlessly focused on gaming. Within these limitations, though, the Rift makes a good case for seated VR, and it lays a solid foundation for what’s to come.” So, while it’s not quite ready for the mainstream, it’s a step closer to it.

Gizmodo states, “What Oculus has accomplished is remarkable. There’s plenty that even the completely uninitiated user can enjoy. More importantly, the Rift is truly immersive in most cases”. However, the price rears its ugly head once again, with reviewer Mario Aguilar admitting, “I still can’t afford the future of virtual reality, but for the first time, I actually want to”.

Engadget admits that, “as with any first-gen product, there are a few flaws with the Oculus Rift” before adding, “it’s also hard to champion the Rift completely when few people can afford it. It’s the very definition of elite technology. Hopefully in a few years, when the hardware gets cheaper, VR will have something for everyone. Right now, though, the important thing is that it actually exists”.


Ars Technica draws parallels to Apple’s hardware, suggesting, “Similar to the first iPhone, which launched nearly 10 years ago with a crappy camera and no app store, the Oculus Rift is as revolutionary as it is still limited.” It goes onto admit reviews of this hardware aren’t enough, saying, “Now that it’s a real consumer product, anyone with even a potential interest in the promise of real, workable virtual reality in the home needs to find a way to at least try it out for themselves, to see if they can really stand waiting for those coming improvements”.

TechCrunch is impressed, calling the Oculus Rift “a crazy device that is more than the sum of its parts”. The reviewer goes onto say, “As the first consumer high-powered virtual reality headset, it deserves props for just existing, but incredibly it manages to kick ass as well”. The review closes with, “The Rift has had an entire industry riding on its back, and more than a handful of skeptics praying for its downfall. It impresses, and signals more good things to come from consumer virtual reality and — more broadly — our technological future”.

The FBI Has Hacked Shooter’s iPhone

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has successfully hacked into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. And all without the help of Apple. This brings to an end the legal battle between the Department of Justice and the Cupertino-based company.


The FBI revealed it had managed to unlock Farook’s iPhone 5c in a court filing which read, “The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires assistance from Apple Inc.” However, the method used and the source of the outside help remains a mystery.

This is a win-win for Apple and the FBI. Apple is seen as the moral victor which stood up for the rights of its users, while the FBI has got the information it needed without risking losing in court Apple Refuses to Help the FBI, Popcorn Time Returns... [Tech News Digest] Apple stands up for personal privacy, the original Popcorn Time gets resurrected, Kanye West learns the price of piracy, Sega gives games away on Steam, and play Pong on your Apple Watch. Read More . What’s less clear is how this affects other iPhones out in the wild FBI Backdoors Won't Help Anybody - Not Even the FBI The FBI wants to force technology companies to enable security services to snoop on instant messaging. But such security backdoors don't actually exist, and if they did, would you trust your government with them? Read More , but Apple is likely to be strengthening the security of its future products regardless.

Sony Could Be Making a New PlayStation

There are rumors that Sony is preparing to launch new PlayStation hardware which the tech press have dubbed PlayStation 4.5 (or PS4K). The rumors began earlier this month, with sources claiming this new PlayStation would be capable of displaying 4K video and powering high-end graphics.

Now, more details have emerged, with The Wall Street Journal claiming the PlayStation 4.5 will arrive before PlayStation VR is released in October Get Paid to Hack a Chromebook, Sony Prices PlayStation VR at $399... [Tech News Digest] Hack a Chromebook for $100k, buy PlayStation VR for $399, be sure to type URLs correctly, switch from HERE Maps to Windows Maps, and listen to Anonymous launch "total war" on Donald Trump. Read More . This suggests that PlayStation VR is the main reason for upgrading the hardware, allowing purchasers to experience the full power of virtual reality.


While this makes perfect sense in some regards, it means there would be two classes of PS4 owners A Gift Guide for the Ultimate PlayStation 4 Fan Buying a gift for a PlayStation 4 gamer this holiday season? Here's a great list of gifts that they'll love. Read More , which is a risky move. If the rumors prove to be true they suggest Sony strongly believes in the power of virtual reality Why Virtual Reality Technology Will Blow Your Mind in 5 Years The future of virtual reality includes head, eye and expression tracking, simulated touch, and much more. These amazing technologies will be available to you in 5 years or less. Read More to change gaming forever, as it’s risking splitting its userbase in order to accommodate the emerging technology.

Tumblr Brings Backs Replies

Tumblr has reactivated replies, and improved the experience in the process. Replies, which previously allowed readers to reply to authors, disappeared in November 2015 as the company succumbed to the appeal of removing criticism from its platform. However, having listened to its users, replies are now returning.

Authors now have more options when it comes to replies, as they’re able to choose from three different settings. The first lets everybody reply, the second lets people you follow or who have been following you for more than one week to reply, and the third only lets people you already follow reply. This should help prevent harassment Online Harassment Is Your Fault; Here's How To Fix It What happens to harassment victims who aren't good at interacting with the press, or do or say unpopular things? Read More .


Who Needs Expensive VR Headsets?

And finally, all of the new virtual reality headsets Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive vs. Playstation VR: Which Should You Buy? Virtual reality is right around the corner and there are three systems to choose from. Here's what you need to know to make an informed, smart decision. Read More are expensive to buy, and that’s before you have even thought of upgrading your PC hardware so it’s up to the task. However, there is a cheaper (read free) alternative, although it’s only really an option for gullible children.

This free alternative to VR is shown in the video above, as a father in Hong Kong treats his young daughter to some downhill mountain-biking. Not only is this method of immersive entertainment affordable, it also helps build fitness levels 8 Fitness Experts On The Web With The Best Health Advice For You The last thing you want to do is take fitness advice from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. These experts are the ones to follow for tested veteran advice. Read More in the person doing the hard work. [H/T The Awesomer]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be buying an Oculus Rift? How do you feel about the FBI successfully hacking the iPhone? Is a PlayStation 4.5 a brilliant idea or a ridiculous idea? Do you actively use Tumblr? Do you have any interest in virtual reality?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

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  1. Mr_Know-It-All
    March 31, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Hello, all.
    This article states: "Apple is seen as the moral victor which stood up for the rights of its users".
    Are you young and idealistic? Naive? Only "merely foolish"? [d) All of the above?]
    Apple "stood up" to the FBI for PROFITS, clearly.
    Apple products are generally perceived to be better quality than many competitors' products, and are therefore priced higher, but the perceived quality difference is not nearly as elevated as are Apple products' prices.
    Apple is a very poor corporate neighbor, in that it has literally billions of U.S. dollars stored in overseas institutions that it refuses to bring back to the U.S., in an effort to avoid paying it's "fair share" of corporate taxes.
    During it's standoff w/ the FBI, Apple used the so-called "news media" to advertise the level of 'personal security' Apple products supposedly offer.
    Those claims boil down to Apple intimating that criminals, I.E., drug dealers, child pornographers and terrorists, don't have to worry that the FBI can get those criminals' data, and that Apple will do it's dead level best to stop law enforcement from accessing the incriminating evidence on their phone, as long as those phones are APPLE iPhones.
    In general, journalists are supposed to be somewhat objective, certainly not acting as shills for unsavory commercial interests; So, how much did Apple pay you to advertise for them?

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbor!

    • Dave Parrack
      March 31, 2016 at 9:22 am

      I'm neither young, naive, or foolish. And sadly I have never been paid a bean by Apple. Hell, they have never even sent me a free iPad. Screw those guys.

      If you were a regular reader of this column you would know I'm critical of Apple on many occasions. But on this particular one I think they did the right thing, regardless of their reasons for doing so.

  2. Anonymous
    March 29, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Do you have any source for the assertion that Tumblr removed replies because they were succumbing to the appeal of removing criticism from its platform? Not that I don't believe it, but the official explanation they always gave users was that they took down replies because they were working on a new improved replies system. To be honest, that explanation always seemed strange to me. Why remove a feature completely before you have the improved version ready to go?

    • Dave Parrack
      March 31, 2016 at 9:19 am

      No, to be honest that was conjecture. The official line was, as you say, that they removed replies in order to replace it with something better, but that makes absolutely no sense.