The UpStream

Ghostbusters World AR Game Coming to Make You Catch All of the Ghosts

posted Saturday Feb 24, 2018 by Scott Ertz

Ghostbusters World AR Game Coming to Make You Catch All of the Ghosts

The last 2 years have been good for augmented reality and mixed reality content. From holographic medical tools to the infamous Pokémon GO, there are many ways to interact with augmented reality content. With Microsoft, Apple and Google all having AR development kits, making the process of adding information to the real world far easier than just 2 years ago, more of this type of content is expected to come to market.

Some of the biggest supporters have been major franchises looking to enter the AR gaming field. While Pokémon GO is the obvious market leader, Harry Potter has an entry into AR gaming in the works, as well. Both of these high profile games are developed by the same development house: Niantic. This week, a new franchise wants to compete for your AR attention, with a new developer involved.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Consumer Products is looking to bring a Ghostbusters AR game to mobile, titled Ghostbusters World. In the trailer, available after the break, you can see that the game will stay true to the themes of the films and TV shows, with ghost hunting, and even the familiar trap imagery.

What do we know? There will be a myriad of ghosts available, and the game will include battles with said ghosts and the ability to capture them, presumably using the trap imagery we see in the trailer. We also know that the game is planned for release in 2018 for both iOS and Android. Unfortunately, that's about all we know. How will battles work? What new ghosts will be available? What does the game's UI look like? All of these are questions we will have to wait until later in the year to find out the answer to.

With the all-female reboot of the franchise and the heavy reliance on the costumes in the past season of Stranger Things, it is no surprise Ghostbusters is getting the AR treatment. Are you looking forward to the game? Let us know in the comments.

Check out the teaser trailer for Ghostbusters World after the break.

AT&T to Introduce Powerful New 5G Network in First 3 US Cities

posted Saturday Feb 24, 2018 by Scott Ertz

AT&T to Introduce Powerful New 5G Network in First 3 US Cities

Over the past few months, a lot of discussion has surrounded the future of cellular technology, the 5th generation, or 5G networks. Intel was showing off the possibilities at CES 2018, with their entire booth being powered by a localized 5G network. At the Winter Olympic Games, Samsung used the opportunity to show off the possibilities with localized 5G setup around the venues and the Olympic Village. While it's clear that the technology is ready for small-form setups, a lot of question has surrounded whether or anyone is ready for a large deployment test.

It would appear that AT&T, one of the largest mobile providers in the US, is ready to see what happens when an entire city is lit up with the LTE replacement. While the 5G roadmap has been in place since 2016, almost exactly 2 years later the company has announced the first of their 12 test cities, and one of them might surprise you. In addition to Dallas, Texas (9th largest city) and Atlanta, Georgia (38th largest city, major travel hub), they will also being testing in Waco, Texas (197th largest city). Obviously, one of these things is not like the others, with Waco being a bit of a surprise test site.

It does make sense to want to test the technology in a smaller location and not just a larger city, for a variety of reasons. While stress tests on the towers is an important aspect of the process, it is also important to see whether or not idle time causes any issues. If the network is understressed, it could potentially cause its own issues. In addition, a smaller city, like Waco, could allow them to run larger device tests without as much disruption to the existing network.

Just because AT&T wants to begin the rollout of 5G in a big way, that doesn't mean that you will have any access to it for a while. Even if you are in a launch city, and the technology becomes publicly available, you will still need a few things. Most importantly, you will need a 5G-capable device. If you are an Apple customer, it will likely take several generations before they adopt the technology, based on their speed to adopt 3G and 4G radios. The best bet for getting a 5G compatible device will be a Samsung, as Samsung is involved with developing the standard, and has been demoing the technology at the Olympics.

5G networks are designed for more than just phones, though. With lower power consumption and much higher bandwidth capabilities, 5G could mean that your next-generation smarthome and other IoT devices could have radios built-in, meaning that Wi-Fi setup could be a thing of the past. It would seem that something as simple as bandwidth upgrades could be this impactful, but 5G could change the way computing is done.

YouTube Releases Official Guidelines After Latest Logan Paul Disaster

posted Saturday Feb 10, 2018 by Scott Ertz

YouTube Releases Official Guidelines After Latest Logan Paul Disaster

It seems like no major brand is having quite the level of public outcry that YouTube has faced in the past few months. Whether it be inappropriate content in YouTube Kids, or ads with drive-by crypto miners, or their ongoing battle with Amazon, or of course the years-old demonetization scandal, YouTube seems to be unable to just catch a break. Recently, however, the company has come under fire for its uneven response to controversial content on the site.

For example, almost exactly a year ago, then-popular YouTuber PewDiePie paid a group of people to hold a racist sign in a video. YouTube and Disney's reactions were swift and harsh, with Disney dropping him entirely and YouTube terminated his Preferred status and canceled his YouTube Red series within hours of the video's release. More recently, another popular YouTuber and Preferred partner, Logan Paul, uploaded a video in which he openly mocked Japanese people in their home country. He then uploaded a video from a forest in the country known for suicides, where he encountered a body.

The response from the public was equally swift, but the response from YouTube was not. In fact, it took some time before the company removed Paul's Preferred status, which it did a few days after the video was published, despite the content of the video being far more inflammatory than PewDiePie's content had been. After an apologetic video shortly after the idiotic incidents, Paul took a break from YouTube, but temptation is a harsh mistress, and he returned this week with his trademark nonsense. In fact, he returned with a video in which he used a Taser on a rat and pulled a live fish from the water, suffocating it.

Clearly he hasn't learned anything from his experiences. This time, however, YouTube's response was quick, terminating all of Paul's advertising on his channel, which accounts for roughly $1 million per month for the 22-year-old. But PewDiePie and Logan Paul are not the only idiots on YouTube producing this kind of content, so what is YouTube's plan? Apparently trying to solidify their policies in writing - sort of.

When one creator does something particularly blatant-like conducts a heinous prank where people are traumatized, promotes violence or hate toward a group, demonstrates cruelty, or sensationalizes the pain of others in an attempt to gain views or subscribers-it can cause lasting damage to the community, including viewers, creators and the outside world. That damage can have real-world consequences not only to users, but also to other creators, leading to missed creative opportunities, lost revenue and serious harm to your livelihoods. That's why it's critical to ensure that the actions of a few don't impact the 99.9 percent of you who use your channels to connect with your fans or build thriving businesses.

So, the company recognizes the problem, but does not quite offer a solid solution. As is normal for Google-owned properties, the policies are open to interpretation at a level that is difficult to work with. For example, what is a "heinous prank" or what constitutes "cruelty" and to whom? It's fine that YouTube believes they want to censor content, it is their site after all, but with such vague descriptions, it will be hard to know where the moving line will be at any moment. But this is the problem you always encounter when you begin to censor content.

Charter Introducing Gigabit Internet Speeds to Over 40 Million Homes

posted Saturday Feb 10, 2018 by Scott Ertz

Charter Introducing Gigabit Internet Speeds to Over 40 Million Homes

It would appear that 2018 is going to be the year of gigabit. While Google Fiber may have made the concept mainstream, it has not been a priority for the company. However, if you have been watching the Pyeongchang Olympic Games in the US, you have likely seen the "Gig-speed Internet" commercials from Comcast, whether or not you have their service.

Comcast, as the largest cable provider in the US, implementing the technology in a widespread manner is a big move. Not to be outdone, though, Charter, the second largest provider, has announced that they will be bringing gigabit speeds by the end of the year to over 40 million households. This move is following the company upgrading the minimum speed for customers in some markets to 200 Mbps late last year.

Unfortunately, these new offerings do not seem to be offering symmetrical uploads and downloads, a feature in which you get the same speed up and down (in this case gigabit). Rather, the offering from Charter will include only 35Mbps upload speed, which is what the company currently offers on their higher-tier plans. Comparatively, services like Google Fiber and FiOS both offer symmetrical speeds on their plans. This is a limitation of the technology standard that cable companies use for their internet services.

The implementation may not be ideal for some who want gigabit speed, like myself, but the idea that cable companies are feeling the consumer pressure to bring this technology to their users is a good start. With a pipeline reaching the premises that is capable of supporting gigabit speeds, however, it will be easy for them to implement future industry standards which will add symmetrical speeds to the mix. This will all be a benefit, whether you are watching Netflix and want 4K UHD picture quality, or you are streaming videogames, either up or down.

Yeti is Google's Hope to Challenge Sony in Videogame Streaming

posted Saturday Feb 10, 2018 by Scott Ertz

Yeti is Google's Hope to Challenge Sony in Videogame Streaming

Ah, the elusive videogame streaming service. It is a market that seemingly every company wants to participate in and everyone thinks they stand a chance at succeeding, and yet as of today, only one has, and it took an acquisition to make it happen: PlayStation Now. Companies both big and small have given it a shot: we saw a new entrant at CES, and there is the infamous OnLive debacle.

This week, a report suggests that another company wants to get into the space: Google. Their project, codenamed Yeti, is a game streaming service intended to go where only PlayStation Now has gone before: success. While the company has a place in the gaming industry thanks to Google Play Games and their Twitch competitor YouTube Gaming, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome to stand a chance at success.

Obviously Google has something going for them that companies like OnLive didn't: domain expertise. Between the search engine and YouTube, Google is one of the largest content distributors on the internet and knows how to build an infrastructure to support large format content. But domain expertise is only enough to build a functional service, not enough to make it commercially attractive or successful.

For the service to be possible, they need a platform, of which they currently have 2. While Android is obviously a popular platform for phones, the demand for a streaming service on a phone is questionable at best. They also have ChromeOS, which could have some potential for demand (PlayStation Now is available on PC), the platform is not popular enough outside of schools to support it. That leaves either bringing the service to someone else's platform, such as Xbox or PlayStation, which is unlikely, or Windows, which is possible, or they have to build a platform for it.

Building a gaming platform from scratch to compete against Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony is beyond difficult. If you need a litmus test, as Valve just how well their market leading position in PC gaming helped them build a console business in Steam Machines. Google isn't even a market leader in the industry, and would be trying to do something that Valve failed at, while also limiting the capabilities beyond what even SteamOS did.

So, you have to wonder how serious Google is about entering this market. According to the report, they are serious enough that the company considered releasing the service (with or without accompanying hardware) for the holiday 2017 season, though there is no explanation as to why it was delayed or canceled. My guess would be that Google thought better of trying to compete against Nintendo, in particular, during a time when the holiday hype machine was in full effect for the company.

Perhaps Yeti will see the light of day within the year. Would a Google-powered streaming-only dedicated console be an attractive product for you? Let us know in the comments.

New iPhone Models Are Less Affected by Controversial Feature

posted Saturday Feb 10, 2018 by Scott Ertz

New iPhone Models Are Less Affected by Controversial Feature

Ever since Apple admitted to throttling their users' older iPhones, the company has been in hot water. A handful of lawsuits have been filed, with class action status being considered. All of this was expected, though, considering Apple had hidden the practice from the public. The one thing that was uncertain, however, was how future devices would be affected by the practice, if at all.

Apple revealed the answer to that question by way of the support document for the new Battery Health feature, introduced in iOS 11.3 beta this week. The feature in the operating system is to officially notify users of Apple limiting the capabilities of their devices, and to give users the ability to disable Apple's control over their phones. While there is a lot of information contained within the document, the most interesting paragraph deals with the current generation iPhones.

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery's power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown. As a result, the impacts of performance management may be less noticeable on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Over time, the rechargeable batteries in all iPhone models will diminish in their capacity and peak performance and will eventually need to be replaced.

This means that Apple, who was aware of the power management issues long enough ago that they shoehorned a stopgap solution into iOS, was also able to compensate for the issue in their current devices. Obviously this is a major step in the right direction, as the issue that Apple has been "trying to solve" with their throttling program is one that BlackBerry OS, Palm OS, webOS, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Symbian and Android have never experienced, across hundreds of manufacturers, despite Apple's assurances that this is a natural issue.

Obviously this is not going to make owners of older devices feel any better, though being able to disable the "feature" might, and it certainly won't make the lawsuits go away. It will, however, make current and future generation owners feel a little better about the longevity of their devices.

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