News Posts matching #South Korea

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VR as a Coping Mechanism for Loss: Meet Nayeon

VR has been hailed as the next coming of truly ingenious, engrossing, enveloping experiences, and to some extent, it already does offer those. There are still limitations to the technology and the level of realism it can impart (there is a whole slew of senses we need to trigger for truly enveloping experiences, of course), but I feel we sometimes get somewhat limited in the way we look at VR. Of course, we can all imagine video games built in VR - and when we do, we likely imagine them as they were presented to us in Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One.

Then there are other use-cases, such as real-estate experiences that place you right inside your future home and allow you to see the changes you'd make. Architecture design, engineering, game world design, even strolls through museums, your mind a subatomic particle able to instantly travel to foreign countries and explore their marvels. All for this, mind you, without ever leaving the comfort of our home, without the required expenses and no wasted time with travelling or passport checks - all, however, simulated. But what if VR could go even further? What if VR could be used as a coping mechanism? What if you could meet your dead parents, siblings... Or children? This is the story I bring to you today: of how VR was used to reunite a mother with her deceased seven-year-old girl. This is the story of Ji-sung and her daughter Nayeon.

Minute-long Power Outage at Samsung Plant Damages Millions Worth DRAM and NAND

A tiny minute-long power-outage halted production at a Samsung Electronics plant in Hwaseong, South Korea, according to a Reuters report citing Korean news agency Yonhap. This stopped some production lines of DRAM and NAND flash memory. A source with "direct knowledge of the matter" told Reuters that the outage likely caused millions of Dollars in losses to Samsung. Semiconductor manufacturing in general is a very power-sensitive process, and a stoppage at any of its manufacturing stages can result in wasted batches; not to mention the time lost to recovery. For instance, a 30-minute power outage in 2018 inflicted a $43.32 million loss to Samsung.

The cause of the power outage on Tuesday afternoon (31st December), is said to be a fault with a regional transmission cable. It will take Samsung up to two days (mid-Thursday) to get the production line rolling again. On the flipside, the resulting drop in output could help Samsung push out its swelling NAND flash and DRAM inventory, reports Yonhap, citing an analyst.

Japan-Korea Trade Spat and Toshiba Blackout Hike DRAM Prices by 20 Percent

Prices of DRAM shot up by 20 percent as Japan put in place export curbs that restrict high-technology exports to South Korea, and as Toshiba recovers from a power blackout that temporarily halted production. This could impact prices of end-user products such as PC memory modules, or consumer electronics, such as smartphones, in the coming weeks, as inventories either dry up, or are marked-up at various stages of the supply-chain. The memory industry is inter-dependent between fabrication and packaging units spread across South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Memory and flash industry observer DRAMeXchange reported that spot-pricing of 8-gigabit DDR4 DRAM chips, which is used as a benchmark for DRAM pricing as a whole, closed at USD $3.74 at the end of trading on Friday (19/07). It's up 14.6 percent week-over-week, and 23 percent up pricing as on 5th July. An industry observer who spoke with KBS World notes that the recent hikes are not directly infuenced by the trade-spat between Japan and Korea, but rather a power blackout experienced at a Toshiba DRAM manufacturing facility last month. The observer noted that if the trade-spat affects production at Samsung Electronics or SK Hynix, DRAM prices could "skyrocket."

To Boost or not to Boost: South Korea Looking to Make "Game Boosting" Illegal

Game Boosting refers to the practice of gamers to pay other, more skilled players to "boost them up" to higher ranks, mainly in competitive multiplayer games. The practice sometimes takes the form of paid partnership with a team of skilled players (where the player that's receiving the boost is of much lower skill, but gets pulled along with the remaining members of the team's efforts) or by actually giving a player access to your account, to play as if he/her was you, and cashing in on his/her better "skillz". This practice, it goes without saying, goes against the competitive nature of certain games, and if you know your South Koreans, you know they take competitive gaming very, very (really, very) seriously.

This is why the country is seemingly looking to put an "illegal" tag on game boosting, as in, illegal enough to warrant prosecution and an actual sentence to jail (a maximum prison sentence of two years and a fine of 20 million won ($18,000). This isn't something that has been cooked up overnight: an amendment to the "Law on Game Business Development" bill was first proposed earlier this summer, and has now passed the National Assembly Legislation Review Committee, bringing it one step closer to becoming law.

Samsung Facing Fine of $400 Million Over FinFET Patent Infringement

Bloomberg is reporting that Samsung was hit with a $400 million fine last Friday, (ahem) courtesy of a Texas federal jury. The source of the patent infringement relates to FinFET-specific technology that is being said was "illegally, and willfully taken" from the licensing arm of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the South Korean university. If you're wondering why was such a case between two South Korean institutions settled in Texas, well - KAIST IP US, the university's licensing arm is strangely (or not) based in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, - a venue considered "particularly friendly" to patent owners.

The $400 million is just the initial sum; since Samsung's mishandling of the intellectual property (usage without payment) was found to be "willful", the company could be faced with up to three times those charges. Bloomberg's report says that KAIST claimed in its initial complaint that Samsung was dismissive of the FinFet research at first, believing it would be a fad. Apparently, that all changed when rival Intel Corp. started licensing the invention and developing its own products, according to KAIST IP. Samsung, naturally, disagrees: the company that it helped the university develop the technology in the first place, and that it was "disappointed by the verdict", and "will consider options to obtain an outcome that is reasonable, including an appeal."

Epic Games Sued by PUBG Corp Over "Fortnite" Battle Royale Mode

Epic Games has been dragged to court by PUBG Corporation, developer of "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds" (PUBG) over "copyright infringement" and "plagiarism" in its smash-hit online multiplayer game "Fortnite." PUBG dominated PC gaming in 2017, as its South Korea-based developers raked in hundreds of millions of Dollars in revenues, having sold over 45 million copies of the game. When it released in 2017, "Fotnite" wasn't anywhere near as popular as PUBG, since it only included a tower-defense mode dubbed "Save the World." The game's fortunes turned around when Epic Games introduced the "Battle Royale" mode, which is an open-world free-for-all (FFA). PUBG has a problem with that.

In its complaint, PUBG Corp alleges that "Fortnite" Battle Royale mode copies not just PUBG's gameplay, but also its USP of dropping players in arenas empty-handed, and making them scout out weapons and items so they could both survive and hunt down others. The complaint also includes allegations that the user-interface (UI) is heavily borrowed from that of PUBG. Interestingly, PUBG itself has been inspired by Japanese film "Batoru Rowaiaru," the title of which loosely transliterates to "Battle Royale." This is a fact the defense could bludgeon PUBG's lawyers with.

Samsung to Double NAND Memory Output Capacity in China

Samsung Electronics has announced last Wednesday that they are planning to double their NAND memory output capacity in china. The announcement, done at a groundbreaking ceremony in its Xi'an fabrication facility in inland Shaanxi Province, should see some $7 billion invested over the course of three years. With this investment in both facilities and machinery, Samsung expected production capacity to roughly double from current values to some 220,000, 300 mm 3-D flash memory wafers by 2020.

The motives for this increased Samsung investment in mainland China are being put forward as a way for the South Korean giant to temper relationships with China, one of its greatest importers of NAND memory. Further investment into China likely assuages the country's protectionist policies, since at least it receives something back from its import volume. By investing further into a second assembly line at its Xi'an fabrication facility, Samsung is also looking to reduce risk derived from over-condensed manufacturing facilities in South Korea.

Full Stop: South Korea Not to Ban Cryptocurrency Trading After All

Remember the revived pressure on cryptocurrencies on account of news that South Korea might halt trading in their territory? Well, the country's finance minister, Kim Dong-yeon, who previously said that shutting down exchanges was "a live option but government ministries need to very seriously review it," came on the record this Wednesday to, let's say, set the record straight, clarifying that "There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market)." The minister, then, added that the government's immediate task is to "regulate exchanges". Those two statements certainly leave a lot of space in-between, since the shutting down of some exchanges while some others are left operating would not, in fact, result in an outright ban. Let's call it pruning, shall we?

The intention, it seems, is to be able to cut out the unregulated parts of the market, that take the form of unregulated exchanges, where the country's customs earlier announced it had uncovered illegal cryptocurrency foreign exchange trading worth nearly $600 million. This, it seems, is the real target for South Korea's newfound steam.
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