Virtually ready: Diving into VR’s most promising PC launch titles For years it feels like we’ve done the same thing. At tech and gaming trade shows across the country, we journalists have engaged with impressive technical demos that demonstrate the capabilities of this long-promised, soon-to-come wave of new virtual reality hardware. But as the first of those PC-compatible headsets get closer to launch (the HTC Vive is still planned for this year, Oculus Rift in early 2016), such tech demos are quickly giving way to time with actual games that real developers are planning to release alongside the hardware. Ars Technica

Why Facebook’s $2 billion bet on Oculus Rift might one day connect everyone on earth The first time Mark Zuckerberg put on the awkward headset he knew. This is ready, he thought.This is the future. On the outside, the Oculus Rift didn’t look like much: a matte-black box, roughly the size of a brick, that hung from his face like giant ski goggles, a tangle of cords running from the back of his head to the back of a small desktop computer. Vanity Fair

First new cache-coherence mechanism in 30 years In a modern, multicore chip, every core — or processor — has its own small memory cache, where it stores frequently used data. But the chip also has a larger, shared cache, which all the cores can access. If one core tries to update data in the shared cache, other cores working on the same data need to know. So the shared cache keeps a directory of which cores have copies of which data. That directory takes up a significant chunk of memory: In a 64-core chip, it might be 12 percent of the shared cache. MIT

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your machine ‘just in case’ Microsoft has confirmed thatwindows 10 is being downloaded to computers whether or not users have opted in. An Inquirer reader pointed out to us that, despite not having ‘reserved’ a copy of windows 10, he had found that the ~bt folder, which has been the home of images of the new operating system since before rollout began, had appeared on his system. The Inquirer

What ever happened to Google Books? It was the most ambitious library project of our time — a plan to scan all of the world’s books and make them available to the public online. “We think that we can do it all inside of ten years,” Marissa Mayer, who was then a vice-president at Google, said to this magazine in 2007, when Google Books was in its beta stage. “It’s mind-boggling to me, how close it is.” The New Yorker

What’s next after 25 years of Wi-Fi? In 1997, the first version of Wi-Fi appeared. (The same year saw about half of U.S. homes using AOL as their Internet Service Provider, Netscape with the most web browser users, and Microsoft rescuing Apple from the verge of bankruptcy.) Today, the the Wi-Fi standard known as IEEE 802.11 celebrates its 25th anniversary in a world where many people take Wi-Fi access for granted while streaming high-definition video and checking in on social media through their smartphones and laptops. IEEE

This face changes the human story. But how? A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor, scientists announced Thursday in thejournal eLife. Homo naledi, as they call it, appears very primitive in some respects — it had a tiny brain, for instance, and apelike shoulders for climbing. But in other ways it looks remarkably like modern humans. When did it live? Where does it fit in the human family tree? Nat Geo (Nova documentary)

Testing old tapes for playability Audio recordings are a huge part of the world’s cultural history — and some are in danger of degrading so much that they’ll be lost forever. Now researchers report that infrared spectroscopy offers a quick, noninvasive way to separate magnetic tapes that can still be played from those that can’t. This could help archivists know which tapes need special handling, and soon, before they get any worse. C&EN (also, The last audio cassette factory)

Translucent li-ion battery charges itself by using sunlight A Japanese research group prototyped a translucent lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery that can charge itself by using sunlight. With the battery, the group aims to realize a “smart window,” which is an almost transparent window that functions both as a large-area rechargeable battery and as a photovoltaic cell (when the window receives sunlight, it is pigmented, lowering light transmittance). Nikkei

Honda gets California approval for self-driving cars on roads Honda Motor Co Ltd has received a permit from the state of California to drive its autonomous vehicles on public streets, joining companies ranging from Google Inc to Volkswagen AG in testing the fast-growing technology. The California Department of Motor Vehicles on its website listed Honda as the most recent of 10 companies that had received the self-driving permits as of Friday. Reuters

Russian gas stations ordered to provide chargers for electric cars​ Gas stations all across Russia have been ordered to adapt their facilities to provide chargers for the country’s electric vehicles — which number just a few hundred in total. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on Aug. 27 requiring the owners of gas stations to equip their facilities with chargers for electric cars by Nov. 1, 2016… The Moscow Times

“Flat design”? destroying Apple’s legacy… or saving it No argument here: Jony Ive has produced some of the best industrial design in the history of consumer products. He’s done it by cutting out all the extraneous parts. By eliminating edges, by smoothing and streamlining. But what works beautifully for hardware does not work for software. Cheerfulsw

Democratizing the Maker Movement The fact that millions of Americans are building airplanes in their garage, meeting at makerspaces to work with strangers on customized robots, and collaboratively solving society’s problems at hackathons, is a beautiful thing. To its advocates and participants, the Maker Movement resonates with all of those characteristics that we believe makes America great: independence and ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness. Huffington Post

Time to patch your firmware! Backdoor discovered into Seagate NAS drives If you have not recently updated the firmware for your Seagate wireless NAS drives, now is the time to do so. Researchers at Tangible Security have discovered a series of vulnerabilities in a number of devices produced by Seagate that could allow unauthorized access to files and settings. BetaNews