JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey mall Easter bunny who got into a scuffle with a father last month has had a criminal charge against him downgraded.
NJ.com reports (http://bit.ly/21jO9eB ) a Hudson County judge Wednesday downgraded the aggravated assault charge against Kassim Charles to the disorderly persons offense of simple assault. The case also was sent to the Jersey City Municipal Court.
Charles is from Jersey City. He had been playing the role of the Easter bunny. Authorities say Juan Jimenez-Guerrero attacked Charles when his toddler daughter slipped from a chair while getting her photo taken.
A video posted online shows them exchanging punches at the Newport Centre.
Charles’ defense attorney says they look forward to vindicating “the bunny.”
An update on an aggravated assault charge against Jimenez-Guerrero is unavailable. Jimenez-Guerrero’s wife says he was trying to protect their child.
Information from: NJ Advance Media.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Virtual reality, oddly enough, isn’t immune to the problems that arise in practical reality. Just ask would-be fans of the Oculus Rift headset, many — possibly most — of whom are still waiting for their $600 gadgets more than four weeks after they started shipping .
The delay, naturally, has sparked online grousing and even some data-based activism, including the creation of a crowdsourced spreadsheet for tracking who received their prized VR gear and when. Some longtime supporters of Oculus have declared themselves alienated by the company’s inability to deliver; others have defected to rival VR systems, or are at least considering it.
Christian Cantrell, a software engineer and science-fiction author in Sterling, Virginia, put in his pre-order roughly 15 minutes after Oculus started accepting them in January — and is still waiting. It’s been a “bummer,” he says, because he passed up buying a rival headset, the HTC Vive, hoping to be part of a VR “renaissance” with Rift.
“I’ve been kind of like an Oculus believer,” he says. “But if they bump it again, I might just order a Vive.”
It’s too soon to say how the delays will affect Oculus, much less the overall acceptance of VR, a technology that submerges users in realistic artificial worlds. (Early VR “experiences” consist primarily of video games .) In other contexts, big companies like Apple have managed to weather shortages and shipping delays for products such as the Apple Watch and its new iPhone SE.
But some find the Rift delays intolerable, especially given that Oculus is no fledgling startup, but part of Facebook — the social network bought it two years ago for $2 billion. “There’s an element of inexcusable incompetence going on,” says J.P. Gownder, a Forrester Research analyst, who placed his preorder in the first 10 minutes but doesn’t expect his Rift until mid-May.
Experienced hardware manufacturers would have set up suppliers months or years in advance to avoid these types of problems, Gownder says. The fact that Oculus managed to bungle its launch with more than three years to prepare, plus the backing of Facebook, is “scandalous,” he says.
Oculus, which has blamed the delays on an “unexpected component shortage,” declined to comment on specifics. It told the AP in a statement it has moved to address the shortage and expects deliveries to accelerate in coming weeks. By way of apology, Oculus said it will offer free shipping to customers who ordered before April 1.
Few have been as disappointed as some of the company’s earliest supporters. Back in January, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey announced that 5,600 of the company’s first Kickstarter backers would be eligible for a free headset. He then tweeted on the eve of first deliveries that the gifts would “start arriving” two days before others, giving the impression Kickstarter backers would get theirs first.
It didn’t happen. Unhappy customers gathered on Reddit to complain and to figure out where they stood in line; one poster catalogued the frustration on a crowdsourced spreadsheet. While not necessarily representative of the entire Oculus customer base, that data shows that of the 131 early Kickstarter backers who submitted responses, only 28 report receiving a unit. Of 1,399 pre-order customers, just 165 say they got a Rift.
The virtual reality boom is just getting going, and the competition is growing. Sony will release its PlayStation VR headset later this year. Google is expected to expand on its primitive Cardboard viewer, and recent Apple acquisitions suggest that it may also be jumping into the field soon.
Meanwhile, the Rift is losing some of its first-mover appeal. Some games originally designed to be Oculus exclusives have now been hacked to work on the HTC Vive, which launched about a week after the Rift, but hasn’t experienced shipping delays. Customers who bought Rift games before receiving their headset can now get digital keys so they can play the games in real reality, on a regular PC.
Bill Ellis, a 30-year-old computer engineer in Houston, has been playing with his Vive since it arrived April 5, and may not keep the Rift after it arrives. His plan, he says, was always to buy both, and sell the one that didn’t live up to expectations: “The one that hasn’t shown up is the one that hasn’t lived up to my expectations so far.”
Follow AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima at https://twitter.com/rnakashi . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/ryan-nakashima
LONDON (AP) — It helps to have friends in high places when you’re promoting an athletic event.
That’s certainly the case for Prince Harry, who released a video Friday promoting the upcoming Invictus Games for wounded veterans. The cast includes his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II as well as Barack and Michelle Obama, who Harry and his brother Prince William had over for dinner last week in London.
The video starts with Harry and the queen looking at an Invictus brochure when they get a video phone message from Mrs. Obama. It shows the Obamas accepting Harry’s challenge to the Invictus Games, with a man in uniform behind them saying “Boom!”
The queen, bemused by the Americans, says, “Oh really? Please.” Harry then says “Boom!” with a wicked grin.
Elizabeth also made a widely-viewed promotional video with 007 star Daniel Craig for the 2012 London Olympics.
PARIS (AP) — French radio says a small blaze broke out in a building under renovation near a major Paris train station.
France Info says Friday that the fire was quickly controlled by workers and there were no injuries. Video posted to social media showed black smoke pouring from the top of a building. Its authenticity could not immediately be determined.
Messages left with Paris’ fire service were not immediately returned.
Paris sees thousands of fires every year.
NEW YORK (AP) — Digital TV listing company Rovi is buying TiVo in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $1.1 billion.
Rovi Corp. said Friday that it will pay $10.70 in cash and stock for each TiVo Inc. share. Rovi will pay $2.75 per share in cash, or about $277 million. The rest, $7.95 per share, will be paid in stock.
Once the deal closes, the combined business will use the TiVo name. TiVo is a digital video recording company.
Rovi CEO Tom Carson will serve as CEO of the new company. The executive said in a written statement on Friday that the buyout will help to extend services across platforms and expand its customer base. The transaction will add more than 10 million TiVo-served households to Rovi’s current customer base of about 18 million households using its guides globally.
The companies anticipate at least $100 million in annual cost savings. The transaction is expected to add to Rovi’s adjusted earnings per share within the first year after closing.
Both companies’ boards have approved the deal, which is targeted to close in the third quarter. It still needs approval from both companies’ shareholders.
Shares of TiVo, based in San Jose, California, added 17 cents to $9.59 in premarket trading. Shares of Rovi, based in Santa Clara, California, surged $1.15, or 6.6 percent, to $18.50.
LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Authorities in Hawaii have made an arrest in connection with an attack on an endangered monk seal that was caught on video.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources says that 19-year-old Shylo Akuna of Eleele, Kuaui, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon.
The department says in a statement late Thursday that the video, supported by witness accounts, led to Akuna’s arrest.
He is being held on suspicion of “taking a monk seal,” a charge that includes harassing, hunting, or capturing an endangered animal.
KHON-TV reported earlier that Kauai County police responded Tuesday to a report of the man attacking the well-known, pregnant seal while she was trying to rest in the water. Officials identified the seal as RK-30, who is easily identifiable by scars from shark bites, boat propellers and a neck entanglement.
In the dark video made around sunset, a man is shown wading into the water, swinging at the seal and possibly throwing sand at the endangered animal. It’s unclear from the video if the man had a weapon. NOAA said the seal, believed to be about 17 years old, had no apparent injuries from the attack.
Information from: KHON-TV, http://khon.com