Archive for January, 2016

Augmented Reality Rock Climbing Turns a Sport Into a Videogame

All you need is a little code and a projector to make climbing a super competitive sport.

The post Augmented Reality Rock Climbing Turns a Sport Into a Videogame appeared first on WIRED.

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Despite a 22 percent increase in revenue, the e-commerce company’s shares fell after its fourth-quarter profit failed to meet analysts’ lofty expectations.

Quarterly results underscored Microsoft’s good and bad trends as software floundered while the cloud business continued to grow.

The Air Force, Navy and Marines will be patching F-35 software bugs for years after they take delivery (if they’re lucky). (credit: Dan Stijovich @ Flickr)

The F-35’s flight plan appears to have delays written all over it. A previously unreleased memo from Michael Gilmore, the Department of Defense’s director for Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E), details a list of problems that will likely hold up the testing of the final configuration of the aircraft—and will mean the “Block 2B” aircraft now being delivered to the Marine Corps soon will continue to be full of software bugs for years to come. But officials with the F-35’s Joint Program Office (JPO) have downplayed the seriousness of Gilmore’s concerns, with one military member of the office taking to the Facebook page of a defense publication to call the memo “whining.”

The concerns center largely on testing of software components—many of which the JPO has deferred to keep the program close to its schedule, and which JPO leadership has suggested would be a waste of time and money to fix now—since they are in interim releases of the F-35’s systems and an entirely new set of software will be completed for the final version of the F-35. But with the Marine Corps and Air Force scheduled to fly as many as five F-35A and F-35B aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show this summer, and production of the aircraft ramping up, so much uncertainty about the software could lead to even more complications down the road—particularly as weapons systems are added to the aircraft.

“The current ‘official schedule’ to complete full development and testing of all Block 3F capabilities by 31 July 31, 2017 is not realistic,” Gilmore wrote in the memo dated from December, which was first obtained by Aviation Week. Making that schedule would require dropping “a significant number of currently planned test points, tripling the rate at which weapons delivery events have historically been conducted, and deferring resolution of significant operational deficiencies to Block 4″—a software upgrade the aircraft won’t see until at least 2021.

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Microsoft posted revenue of $23.8 billion in the second quarter of its 2016 financial year, down 10 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Operating income was $6.0 billion, a 23 percent drop, and net income was $5.0 billion, a 15 percent fall. Earnings per share were $0.78, representing a 13 percent decline.

Just as it has done for the past few quarters, and mirroring Apple’s earnings release earlier this week, Microsoft attributed a substantial part of the decline to the strong dollar. With prices outside the US being increased to preserve their dollar value, non-US sales are becoming decreasingly valuable to Microsoft. This depressed revenue by an estimated $1.2 billion. The company also reports that there was a further $1.9 billion impact from revenue deferrals related to Windows 10 and bundled software.

The cloud annualized revenue run rate—a conjectural number that former CEO Steve Ballmer described as “bullshit“—across all commercial offerings now stands at $9.4 billion, reflecting growth both in Office 365 and Azure. Current CEO Satya Nadella says that the opportunity represented by the enterprise cloud market is “larger than any market [Microsoft] has ever participated in.”

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