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TITLE: SHOW TITLE, Virtual Reality is Virtually Here!GUEST CO-ANCHOR: Harry McCracken

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It's Wednesday, March 19, 2014 and this is Tech News Today.

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Welcome to Tech News Today, I'm Mike Elgan. Jason Howell is off today.

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Tech News Today explores the big stories of the day in conversation with some of the world's best journalists.

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Our guest co-anchor today is Harry McCracken, editor at large for TIME who writes the Technologizer blog.Harry McCracken,
Editor at large, TIME @harrymccracken

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CONVERSATION 1SHOWLINKS

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We’d like to turn to Rwanda this morning, where the country is preparing to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the end of the Rwandan Civil War and genocide. An important subject to be sure, but why are we talking about this on a technology show? The reason is that in the past few years, Rwanda has been engaged in a rapid build-up of technological infrastructure and education development. Jean Philbert Nsengimana
Minister of Youth & ICT, Rwanda @nsengimanajp

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With us to talk about the education part of this transformation is Jean Philbert (N-Seng-E-Mana) Nsengimana, who is is the Minister of Youth & ICT in Rwanda.

Q: Before we talk about education, can you tell us about the development of high-speed Internet connectivity in Rwanda?

Q: I’ve read that as an example of the pace of infrastructure development, Rwanda has moved from 2% to 59% penetration for phone service. Is that correct and how long did this take?

Q: I understand you make heavy use of Google+ hangouts. Can you tell us about that?

Q: Can you tell us about the goals of technology education in Rwanda? What does the government hope to achieve?

Q: How many students are currently training, and what are they learning?

Q: How does Rwanda’s technology education programs differ from neighboring countries,

Q: Is Rwanda training people regionally? Are students coming from surrounding countries, or are they mostly Rwandans?

Q: How are these initiatives -- both infrastructure development and education -- related to the country’s economy and things like emergency services?

Q: What is the government doing to encourage entrepreneurship?

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* Alex Lindsay was instrumental in making this interview happen

* Rwandan President = Paul Kagame

* Fiber Optic highways (ducts) run across all the 30 districts.

* Partner: Korea Telecom

* YouthConnekt Hangout sessions

* K-Lab, apart from offering prospective young entrepreneurs opportunity to test out IT solutions we also offer other necessary hands-on skills in marketing, finance and business management.

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myict.gov.rw * @nsengimanajp

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CONVERSATION 4SHOWLINKS

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Sony unveiled a prototype virtual reality system yesterday called Project Morpheus. It works with the PlayStation 4. Oculus, the company that makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, announced that they’re taking pre-orders for their second development kit. The Oculus Rift DK2 costs $350. http://i.imgur.com/NPyh1el.jpghttp://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/03/18/sony-unveils-prototype-for-virtual-reality-game-device/

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Andrew Williams
Features Editor, TrustedReviews.com @wwwdotandrew
Andrew Williams
Features Editor, TrustedReviews.com @wwwdotandrew

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Q: Oculus Rift was announced two years ago and it still hasn’t shipped. How far away is the Morpheus project?

Q: Will virtual reality gaming go mainstream? Doesn’t it make people sick?

Q: Sony says Morpheus has “true spatial sound.” What do you think that means?

Q: Why did they roll this out now when its only a prototype. Drive PS4 sales?


http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/oculus-rift-vs-project-morpheus

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* Looks similar to Oculus Rift

* Sony says it integrates with the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move handheld controller.

* PS4 consoles sold 6 million units worldwide since its launch in November.

* Oculus VR unveiled “Rift” two years ago - hasn’t announced when it will ship

* Unveiled yesterday at the 2014 Game Developers Conference

* current dev kit has a 1080p HD display and a 90-plus degree of view

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CONVERSATION 5SHOWLINKS

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http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/19/5524972/oculus-reveals-virtual-reality-development-kit-2-announced

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* Ship this July for $350

* 2014 Game Developers Conference

* 1080p OLED panel still isn't high enough a resolution to avoid jagged edges

* consumer version will have even higher resolution

* special techniques to reduce blurring and motion sickness

* Much better than first version

* new, custom camera tracks the position of 40 infrared LEDs now mounted invisibly beneath the Rift's translucent shell

* camera tracks in 3D space

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@wwwdotandrew

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CONVERSATION 6SHOWLINKS

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General Electric is jumping deeper into home automation with a new smartphone-controlled air conditioner. Called the Aros, the three hundred dollar A.C. has what is essentially a Nest-like smart thermostat built in. http://blogs.wsj.com/personal-technology/2014/03/19/aros-window-air-conditioner-can-be-controlled-by-your-smartphone/

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Chris Velazco
Associate Editor, Engadget
engadget.com @ChrisVelazco
Chris Velazco
Associate Editor, Engadget @ChrisVelazco

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* A feature called “smart schedule” monitors usage patterns and builds a schedule

* “Smart away” enables Aros to turn itself off when you leave home, then cool down a room before you get back home

* “smart budget” feature will predict future electricity costs based on factors such as your schedule, your previous usage and forecasts of upcoming weather.

* Design and invention company Quirky is involved

* Controlled with the Wink app

* Will also work with other smart home controllers such as SmartThings

* Early adopters can pre-order Aros on Amazon starting today

* Product in late April or early May

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CONVERSATION 7SHOWLINKS

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On yesterday’s show, we told you about Google’s new Android Wear initiative, and about the new watches announced by LG and Motorola that support it. We also talked about the need for apps. Today, BI Intelligence published a study on the state of the wearable app ecosystem -- past, present and future. Edit In and out to ad

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Tony Danova is a Research Analyst for BI Intelligence and joins us today to talk about the report.

Q: Dozens of major companies and possibly hundreds of minor ones have announced wearable computing devices in the past year. But where are the apps?

Q: What are the main reasons for slow app development? Hyper-fragmentation? Lack of consumer interest ?

Q: What will the killer apps be for wearable devices. Is it possible to predict this?

Q: Which wearable categories will dominate? Smartwatches? Smart Glasses? Some other smart thing?

Q: Will most of the smartwatch apps be medical or fitness related? Is there anything for people who are both healthy and lazy and don’t want to track their biological selves?

Tony Danova
Research Analyst, BI Intelligence @tonydanova

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Notes

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intelligence.businessinsider.com @tonydanova

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CONVERSATION 8SHOWLINKS

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CONVERSATION 9SHOWLINKS

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FOLLOW-UP

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We told you yesterday about Google’s new Android Wear program, and mentioned a few of the company that Google says will ship Android smartwatches this year. Samsung was one of them. Android Wear smartwatches connect to smartphones via Bluetooth. But now, a report coming out of Korea says Samsung is also working on a smartwatch that doesn’t need a smartphone -- it takes a SIM card directly, and enables calls and other features as a phone would. The report says Samsung plans to release the product first in Korea through SK Telecom, the country’s biggest carrier. http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140318001136

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IN OTHER NEWSSHOWLINKS

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First Alicia Keys, then Ellen DeGenerus and now… Joe Belfiore? Just as the singer and comedian were caught using iPhones when they were pretending to love BlackBerry or Samsung as paid spokespersons, Microsoft’s Head of Windows Phone Joe Belfiore was caught tweeting pictures from an iPhone. He quickly pointed out in a subsequent tweet quote: “Yes, it’s an iPhone today. Trying out iOS 7.1. No need to alert the media.” unquote. Too late, Joe! The media has been alerted. http://9to5mac.com/community/head-of-windows-phone-joe-belfiore-tweets-from-an-iphone-then-realizes/

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In other, other news... Smartphone cases that do jobs unrelated to the phone itself can be great. For example, one product has tools built in like a swiss-army knife. Another’s got a built-in beer bottle opener. Nice! But a new product aimed at fitness fans is literally the worst smartphone case ever conceived. It’s called the ToneFone, and it’s marketed as the “world’s heaviest iPhone case.” One version weighs 2.2 pounds and another weighs 3.3 pounds. It enables you to use your iPhone as a dumbbell for working out. You can pre-order the ToneFone, and it ships in April. Uh…. April First maybe? http://www.desirablebody.co.uk/fitness-accessories/tonefone-weighted-iphone-5-5s-case.html

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THANK GUEST CO-ANCHOR

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Virtual reality is virtually here!

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