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Microsoft Buys MinecraftEDU, Announces Minecraft: Education Edition

Posted: 20 Jan 2016 03:01 PM PST

Minecraft Education Edition

After Norway announced a couple of weeks ago that it would bring eSports to high-schools, it’s now time for Finnish company TeacherGaming to make the news. Microsoft announced today the acquisition of MinecraftEdu off them, as well as the plan to bring Minecraft: Education Edition to classrooms.

Nordic countries really seem to be in a world of their own as far as gaming and eSports are concerned. Whereas some view video games as the root of all evil, Nordics are firmly convinced that these could play an important role in education. Microsoft acquired Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, back in 2014, and it has now complemented that by buying MinecraftEDU off TeacherGaming.

“One of the reasons Minecraft fits so well in the classroom is because it’s a common, creative playground,” said Vu Bui, COO of Mojang. “We’ve seen that Minecraft transcends the differences in teaching and learning styles and education systems around the world. It’s an open space where people can come together and build a lesson around nearly anything.”

MinecraftEDU, the version of the sandbox game that’s built specifically for the classroom, is now being used by thousands of classrooms from over 40 countries across the globe. Microsoft’s plan is to expand on that, and to bring the game to even more countries, starting this summer.

To jumpstart things, Microsoft is going to grow a community of educators at education.minecraft.net. The community pages will be home to very helpful resources and lesson plans. On top of that, the Minecraft Mentors page will bring together educators who are familiar with this sandbox game with the ones who are just getting into it.

As a sandbox game, Minecraft is incredibly versatile, so it’s no wonder that it has been used in classrooms for teaching anything from STEM subjects to poetry and other forms of art.

“In education, we are constantly seeking pathways to explore learning beyond the confines of a textbook. Minecraft allows us that opportunity,” added Rafranz Davis, Executive Director of Professional Development and Learning, Lufkin ISD. “When we see our kids enjoying the process of learning in this way, it’s a game changer.”

Anyone interested in finding out more details about Minecraft: Education Edition, or on how to sign up and become part of the educator community should check education.minecraft.net. The title will be available as a free trial this summer, so that educators can decide whether the game is fit for their classrooms. After that, teachers and children need to pay an annual fee of $5. It is also required to own an Office 365 ID in order toa access the service. MinecraftEdu customers can keep using it for as long as they want, and in addition to that, they will get the first year of M:EE for free.

Such announcements make you wonder how the education system will look like 20 years from now. Personally, I think that more games that promote creativity should be added to the curriculum.

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Take a Nap on the Go with the Ostrich Pillow Light

Posted: 20 Jan 2016 01:24 PM PST

Ostrich Pillow Light 01

Ostrich Pillow Light, the miniaturized version of the original Ostrich Pillow power-napping device, lets you catch some sleep while traveling.

The world first got a taste of Studio Banana Things’ Ostrich Pillow Light back in November 2013, when the Kickstarter project got fully funded within 72 hours of launch, and ended up exceeding funding requirements by 377%. Back then, the pillow could be had for £28 ($44 at the time, $39 now), and in the meantime, the product has made it to retail with a price tag of around $45. In our store, Walyou Deals, the device is offered with a 13% discount for the next three days, so if the idea of power napping strikes a chord with you, keep reading.

Because of our hectic lifestyles, we rarely get enough sleep, and just to pour salt on the wound, we now have sleep trackers that can attest to that. It’s no wonder that we’re often caught snoozing in transit, regardless if we’re talking about a bus, train, or plane. Ostrich Pillow Light, despite not being one of those hi-tech devices inspired by biology, it does take its name from the African flightless bird that was believed (and wrongly so) to bury its head in the sand to avoid danger.

Ostrich Pillow Light could definitely come in hand for urban commuters who spend an average of one hour per day going to and coming back from work. Statistically, it seems that a power nap of 20 minutes can increase productivity by up to 30%, so it really wouldn’t hurt to take a nap while heading to the office, just so long as you don’t miss your station.

What makes this sleeping mask so effective at blocking sound is its filling. The polystyrene microbeads found inside the fabric shell are great at reducing noises. These also make it very light, as even the name of the product suggests, as the Ostrich Pillow Light weighs only 10.6 ounces, despite measuring 13.6″L x 5.7″W x 3.1″H. Add to that the fact that it’s very soft and plushy (being composed of 95% viscose, 5% elastomer), so not only will you benefit from noise-dampening materials, but do so while being very comfortable.

The Ostrich Pillow Light also features an elastic strap that is used for adjusting the pillow to your head’s diameter. Of course, when you’re not using it as a sleeping mask, you can loosen the strap and leave it around your neck, either for support or as protection against wind.

To buy Studio Banana Things’ Ostrich Pillow Light, head over to Walyou Deals and get it for $39, a 13% discount from the original price. The sleeping mask is only available in midnight gray, and comes with free shipping to continental US addresses. Deliveries are expected to take place between January 29 and February 1. Once you get one, you’ll be able to take power naps whenever, wherever, but especially in airports, trains, airplanes, buses, and cars, so long as you’re not the driver.

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Intel Revolutionizes the Workplace with 6th-gen Core vPro CPUs

Posted: 19 Jan 2016 03:35 PM PST

Intel Core i7 vPro CPU 01

Ultrabooks, all-in-ones and desktop PCs used by small and large businesses alike are about to perform better and become more secure thanks to the new 6th-generation Core vPro processors that Intel announced today.

The newly-launched Skylake Core vPro processors marked the introduction of a new security technology called Intel Authenticate. Even though the software for it is yet to be finalized by Intel, there is a version that can be previewed and tested by users. The software, which is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10, relies on multiple authentication factors to guarantee that the person accessing the computer is the right one.

“With incredible, new, eye-catching designs, added performance, and longer battery life, the 6th Gen Intel Core and Intel Core vPro processors are setting a new standard for business computing,” said Tom Garrison, vice president and general manager for the Intel Business Client division. “By also adding enhanced security capabilities in the hardware, Intel has helped to make these newest PCs an integral part of a business’ overall security solution, making users more secure and productive than ever before.”

Basically, Intel Authentication includes three layers of security. One of the factors is an item that the users own (“something you have”), such as a smartphone or a ring. Next, there is biometric authentication that requires users to scan either their retina or a fingerprint (“something you are”), in order to gain access to the computer. Not at last, to bypass the last factor, users have to rely on their memory (“something you know”), as this is going to be a password or a pass phrase. It is up to each user how many of these three factors they choose to employ each time someone tries to access their computer.

Skylake vPro CPUs are available as of today in systems made by such OEMs as Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic and Toshiba. These are definitely worth looking forward to, as they promise 2.5 times the performance and 30-times the graphics performance of devices from five years ago. Enterprise buyers can expect to see a wide variety of 2-in-1s, ultrabooks, ultrathin clamshells, mini PCs, and All-in-One desktops that will meet all of their business requirements.

Intel has also announced today two other solutions for businesses, namely Intel Unite and Intel Small Business Advantage (Intel SBA). While the first provides a seamless meeting experience in the workplace by improving extended display support, and by adding auto-disconnect and integration with Skype for Business, the latter helps business owners protect and grow their company.

It may look like all of the new products announced by Intel today are targeted towards business users, but soon enough, such technologies will find their way to consumers, as well. And even if these won’t be implemented in regular CPUs in the very near future, the price of business products is the only thing that can stop you from buying them.

Be social! Follow Walyou on Facebook and Twitter, and read more related stories about the Intel Atom-powered ASUS Zenfone 2, or Stephen Hawking’s Intel Speech System.

Equip Your Ride with Walyou Deals’ Car Essentials

Posted: 19 Jan 2016 02:00 PM PST

Walyou Deals Car Essentials

The car gadgets that you can find in our store, Walyou Deals, either act as accessories for other devices, or serve a function of their own. Either way, having them at all times in your glove department can save you from a lot of frustration.

Out of the numerous car gadgets that are featured in our store, here are three that could come in handy more often than the others: an air purifier, a charger/locator, and a universal car mount.

ExoMount Touch iPhone Car Mount

Originally $30, but sold through Walyou Deals for $19.99, EXOGEAR’s ExoMount Touch universal car mount can accommodate smartphones or navigation devices of various sizes.

Click to view slideshow.

This versatile gadget is extremely easy to install, as it can be attached or released with a single touch. Besides that, it can be mounted on any flat, smooth, curved, textured or rounded surface. Check out the following video to get an idea about the real-life uses of ExoMount Touch.

Zus Smart Car Charger & Locator

Up next is Nonda’s Zus smart car charger and locator, which relies on ultra-fast USB that charges batteries twice as fast as regular chargers.

Click to view slideshow.

Zus also has a companion app that you can use if you simply cannot remember where you’ve parked your car. The device uses Bluetooth 4.0 LE, so don’t expect to be able to locate the vehicle from a mile away. As long as you’re in the car’s general vicinity, you’ll be able to find it using the Zus and the app.

On Walyou Deals, Zus is discounted from $50 to $29.99, but the offer expires in two days, so hurry up and get one, if you feel like you need it.

Car Plug-In Air Purifier

The car plug-in air purifier developed by RAWtronics plugs into your car’s 12V outlet and employs a built-in ionizer to improve air quality within minutes. This tiny gadget has many upsides, but one of the most important aspects is that it doesn’t produce any fragrance while cleaning the air. That’s particularly important since a lot of people can’t stand the smell of car deodorants, and covering the foul odors with other smells is certainly not a solution.

Click to view slideshow.

Foul odors and allergens can be quite irritating, and the vehicle’s own air ventilation system may not be always the best solution for getting rid of these. All odors left behind by pets, sweat, food, exhaust, can be easily dealt with using this air purifier. Cigarette and cigar smoke doesn’t stand a chance, either, but it’s probably for the best that neither you, nor your passengers smoke while in the car. Or ever.

For the next three days, you can get the car plug-in air purifier on Walyou Deals for $16.99 instead of $89.

By referring a friend or subscribing to the store’s newsletter, you can get an additional $10 off, a discount that you can use on any of these three devices.

Be social! Follow Walyou on Facebook and Twitter, and read more related stories about the ODiN Aurora laser projection mouse, or the Coolest cooler giveaway.

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