Cyber Monday 2016 Deals
Holiday shopping savings are heading to the web! There are a lot of Cyber Monday “deals” out there, we want to help you find the ones that are actually deals!
Major ‘No Man’s Sky’ update arrives with surprises
That promised Foundation Update for No Man’s Sky? It’s already here for both PC and PS4… and it includes much, much more than Hello Games hinted at just a couple of days ago. The centerpiece remains base building, which turns out to be simple but helpful. If you find an uninhabited base, you can use modular structures to make it your own — including automated resource farming and storage so you don’t have to traipse across the planet harvesting items. You can also hire aliens to research technology, and teleport to and from space stations. And did we mention that you can buy freighters, which serve as spaceborne bases that you can summon anywhere in the galaxy? If you hated the forced mineral-gathering marches that you experienced on launch, you might be happy with this alone. Thankfully, there’s more.
The update also introduces Creative and Survival modes, in case you want to either remove restrictions or add an extra challenge on hostile worlds. You’ll see new biomes and star-specific resources, along with new equipment to collect rare goods. The interface has received a healthy makeover, too. There’s a smart quick access menu that helps you quickly switch to and interact with items (say, charging your mining beam). You can stack more items in a given inventory slot, get a clearer view of which minerals are nearby, quickly view your objectives and get a heads-up when pirates are nearby.
Visuals are also getting a boost: there’s both motion blur and temporal antialiasing options (at least on PCs), and lower-end PCs can enable texture streaming to lighten the burden on their systems. On the PS4, there’s a photo mode to preserve scenic views for posterity.
It’s too soon to say if the Foundation Update will please all the players upset that they didn’t get the game they expected. Base building and the Creative mode should eliminate some of the drudgery, but will they be enough? This is just the first of a string of promised upgrades, however, and it’s important enough that historically quiet company chief Sean Murray has stressed that it’s extremely “meaningful” for the team. If nothing else, it shows that Hello Games hasn’t been deaf to complaints — it just wanted to have an answer ready before it spoke up.
Source: Hello Games, Sean Murray (Twitter)
The world’s fastest electric car, and more in the week that was
Tesla finally sealed the deal on its acquisition of SolarCity this week, and the merger is already producing incredible results. The two companies just completed a project to power an entire island on solar power. In other energy news, researchers in Israel developed found a way to make solar panels 70 percent more efficient. Two Chinese companies are building a massive solar plant in the exclusion zone near the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. And Sweden announced plans to cut its tax on solar energy by 98 percent.
China-based automaker NextEV just unveiled the fastest electric car in the world. It’s called the NIO EP9, and it has a whopping 1,360 horsepower and 4,670 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, Uniti Sweden raised $1.3 million through crowdfunding to launch a tiny, high-tech electric car. And Motor Trend officially named the Chevy Bolt the 2017 car of the year.
Stephen Hawking has some alarming news for residents of planet earth: Humanity only has about 1,000 years left. Hawking believes that the only way to escape mass extinction is to find another planet. Last year Studio Roosegaarde hatched a crazy plan to install a smog-sucking vacuum tower in the middle of Beijing — and it turns out it’s actually working. According to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, the air around the tower is 55 percent cleaner than it was before. In other design and technology news, researchers developed an inexpensive LED foil that quickly and easily purifies water. And Adidas debuted a biodegradable sneaker made from artificial spider silk.
After Math: Let’s get lost in space
It’s been a stellar week for our space-faring future. NASA unveiled its theoretical EM Drive, UCSF researchers successfully placed mouse embryos into suspended animation, a team from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research stumbled upon the roundest object in the universe and Michelle Yeoh has signed on to help lead the next Star Trek crew. Numbers, because how else are we going to count down to launch?
These are the Black Friday deals you should be buying
Black Friday is in full swing with loads of offers across a full range of devices. For tech fans, there are a huge range of offers available, but these are the devices you should be snapping up in the sales.
Sonos Play:1, £139 – click here to buy the Sonos Play:1
The Sonos Play:1 is the smallest speaker in the Sonos family, but it still has the power to fill a room with good quality audio. Sonos devices are rarely discounted, so this is a good chance to either expand your system, or get in on the Sonos action.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, £79.99 – click here to buy the Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite is the hottest model in the Kindle range. It’s not as fancy as the Oasis, not quite as featured as the Voyage, but it delivers the same experience at a fraction of the price. If you’re yet to get an e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite is our top recommendation.
Amazon Echo, £119.99 – click here to buy the Amazon Echo
The arrival of the Amazon Echo in the UK has gone down a storm. If you missed the Prime member’s 50 per cent discount, there’s some relief from this discounted connected marvel. Snap it up and join the voice-controlled party.
Xbox One S with Minecraft and Forza Horizon 3, £199.99 – click here to buy the Xbox One S
Jump into the next-gen with the Xbox One S. You’ll get an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, access to HDR gaming, as well as two great games, all for under £200. You’d be foolish not to snap one up.
Sony PS4 with Uncharted 4 and FIFA 17, £199.99 – click here to buy the PS4 bundle
If you’re a PlayStation rather than Xbox fan, then this is the deal for you. The Slim version of the PS4, with Uncharted 4, the best game of 2016, as well as FIFA for loads of entertainment.
Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2, £139 – click here to get this deal
If you’re after a great pair of headphones, then dive in and grab the B&W P5’s. These unique headphones are so comfortable and look great and are currently £60 off.
Mars hides a gigantic ice sheet that may help astronauts
As a rule, the truly large deposits of ice on Mars are at the poles… right? No. Researchers using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s ground-penetrating radar have discovered that the planet’s Utopia Planitia basin is hiding a thick (260 to 560 feet) ice sheet larger than the state of New Mexico. It’s at least 50 percent pure, too. Observers had long suspected that the area had water thanks to surface cracking and depressions, but the previous explorer, the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, couldn’t study much deeper than the surface.
Scientists tell the New York Times that the sheet likely accumulated as part of a Martian ice age and was buried before it could melt into a lake or evaporate into space.
The findings are important for our understanding of Mars’ past. However, they could also have a very practical role in the future. Spacefarers could establish a long-term settlement in a more convenient place than the poles while knowing that they’d still have steady local supplies of drinking water and rocket fuel. That, in turn, could reduce the supplies that astronauts have to carry to the Red Planet and make Mars exploration that much more realistic.
Via: New York Times
Source: Geophysical Research Letters
First ‘Titanfall 2’ DLC includes a no-nonsense skins store
Respawn made it a point with Titanfall 2 to ditch some of the more annoying business models of modern games (such as charging for important add-ons), and you’re about to find out how well that works in practice. The studio has revealed that its first downloadable content pack, Angel City’s Most Wanted, will arrive on November 30th… and this is not the usual case of charging a small fortune for a handful of extra gameplay. The extension not only gives you a ‘new’ map (surprise: the original game’s Angel City), a new pistol and several titan kits completely free of charge, but introduces an in-game skins store that is the opposite of what you frequently see in other blockbuster titles.
As Respawn notes, the store simply involves buying what you like with cold, card cash, and it’s strictly cosmetic items like Prime Titans (robots with different looks and assassinations) and camouflage. There are no arbitrary in-game currencies or loot boxes, and nothing you buy is a shortcut to victory. To put it another way: you shouldn’t have to grind for days just to get something for free.
The company is also promising a few treats in what’s left of 2016. In keeping with the young company’s traditions, you’ll see “twists” periodically show up in certain game modes. There will also be double-experience weekends and public recognition for top teams. You’ll have to wait until 2017 for more DLC, but this and Angel City at least show that Respawn is determined to avoid the drop in players that affected the first Titanfall (where paid DLC was the rule). This promises to be a constantly evolving game, and you won’t have to keep shelling out money to get the full experience.
‘Deus Ex Go’ is now ready for your puzzle creations
If you’ve ever wanted to create puzzles for mobile games rather than playing whatever the developer gives you, you’re about to have a field day. Square Enix has released a promised Puzzle Maker update for Deus Ex Go that lets you craft your own challenges on Android and iOS. As the studio told us back in June, this isn’t considered a throwaway feature — the aim is to have a genuinely practical, easy-to-use level editor that you’d want to try on your phone. You can share your work with the community, as well, so this could extend the life of the game even if you hardly touch the creative tools yourself.
The update includes a few other welcome tweaks, too. You now have an undo feature to rewind your move, and a profile page that lets you earn rewards as you gain experience points. There’s also a daily challenge if you’ve run out of levels to play. The main gripe, assuming you like Deus Ex Go in the first place, is that this puzzle editing isn’t coming to Hitman Go or Lara Croft Go. Like it or not, you’ll have to pay for the newer game (and accept its sci-fi trappings) to express yourself.
Source: App Store, Google Play, Square Enix Montreal (Twitter)
CERN introduces Large Hadron Collider’s robotic inspectors
Since the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) needs to be in tip-top shape to discover new particles, it has two inspectors making sure everything’s in working order. The two of them are called TIM, short not for Timothy, but for Train Inspection Monorail. These mini autonomous monorails that keep an eye on the world’s largest particle collider follow a pre-defined route and get around using tracks suspended from the ceiling. According to CERN’s post introducing the machines, the tracks are remnants from the time the tunnel housed the Large Electron Positron instead of the LHC. The LEP’s monorail was bigger, but not quite as high-tech: it was mainly used to transport materials and workers.
As for what the machines can do, the answer is “quite a few.” They can monitor the tunnel’s structure, oxygen percentage, temperature and communication bandwidth in real time. Both TIMs can also take visual and infrared images, as well as pull small wagons behind them if needed. You can watch them in action below — as you can see, they’re not much to look at with their boxy silver appearance. But without them, it’ll be tough monitoring a massive circular tunnel with a 17-mile circumference.
Via: The Verge
Mobile shopping reaches an all-time high on Black Friday
Did you get some of your holiday gift shopping done on your phone, instead of your PC? You’re far from alone. Adobe has determined that mobile shopping (both phone and tablet) was responsible for $1.2 billion in US online sales on Black Friday — the first time it has ever crossed the $1 billion mark, in fact. It’s still in the minority, representing 36 percent of the total $3.34 billion, but that’s still a huge 33 percent spike over the shopping frenzy from last year.
Those mobile users actually outweighed their PC counterparts in terms of viewing, racking up 55 percent of visits. In other words, some of those people shopping from their PCs still checked on their phones before committing to a purchase. As for what Americans bought? In terms of tech, the highest-grossing gadgets were iPads, Samsung 4K TVs, MacBooks (particularly the 13-inch Air), LG TVs and the Xbox One.
Adobe’s data lines up with what the retailers themselves are saying. Amazon is shy on numbers, as usual, but says its mobile orders on Thanksgiving alone topped what it saw last year. Target reports that over 60 percent of its record-setting online sales came from mobile, while over 70 percent of Walmart’s web traffic was from mobile devices.
The figures were likely helped by incentives. Amazon, Target and Walmart all offered perks for shopping from your phone, such as exclusive discounts and early access. Still, it’s clear that online stores ignore the mobile crowd at their peril — they’re leaving a lot of money on the table if they assume you’ll buy gifts at a computer.
Source: Adobe, Target, Walmart