Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mozilla, http, https, firefox
On the Mozilla Dev-Platform Newsgroup, hosted at Google Groups, a proposal to deprecate insecure HTTP is being discussed. The idea is that HTTPS needs to be adopted and organizations will not do it without being pushed. The plan is to get browser vendors to refuse activating new features, and eventually disable old features, unless the site is loaded as a “privileged context”.
This has sparked a debate, which was the whole point of course, about how secure do we want the Web to be. What features should we retroactively disable unless it is done through HTTPS? Things that access your webcam and microphone? Things that write to your hard drive? Then there is the question of how to handle self-signed certificates to get encryption without verification, and so forth.
Note: Websites cannot access or create files on your hard drive, but standards like localStorage and IndexedDB allow websites to have their own spaces for persistence. This is to allow, for instance, a 3D game to cache textures (and so forth) so you don't need to download them every time.
Personally, this concerns me greatly. I started helping Mozilla a couple of years ago, a few weeks after I saw Microsoft's Windows 8 developer certification program. I do not like the thought of someone being able to stifle creation and expression, and the web was looking like it might be the last bastion of unrestricted development for the general public.
In the original Windows Store requirements, no browser could exist unless it was a skin of Trident. This meant that, if a site didn't work in Internet Explorer, it didn't exist. If you didn't want to play by their rules? Your app didn't get signed and your developer certificate could even be revoked by Microsoft, or someone with authority over them. You could imagine the problems a LGBT-focused developer might have in certain countries, even if Microsoft likes their creations.
This is obviously not as bad as that. In the Windows Store case, there was one authority whereas HTTPS can be authenticated by numerous providers. Also, if self-signed certificates are deemed “secure enough”, it would likely avoid the problem. You would not need to ask one of a list of authorities permission to exist; you could secure the connection yourself. Of course, that is a barrier of skill for many, and that is its own concern.
So we'll see, but I hope that Mozilla will take these concerns as a top priority in their decisions.
Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, benchmarking, synthetic
[H]ard|OCP will be resuming their benchmarking of SSDs in the near future and wanted to introduce both their new contributor and his thoughts on benchmarking SSDs. These drives offer several challenges when comparing performance that are not present when benchmarking spinning rust. For instance some controllers use compression to increase IOPS whenever possible but slow down when incompressible data is passed through the drive, providing a challenge to properly show performance comparisons to similar drives with difference or no compression whatsoever. Read through the article to see which synthetic benchmarks will remain as well as Chris' thoughts on new tests to accurately contrast the performance of SSDs.
"Many of our readers embrace our "real world" approach with hardware reviews. We have not published an SSD review for almost 2 years while we have been looking to revamp our SSD evaluation program. Today we wanted to give you some insight as to how we learned to stop worrying and love the real world SSD benchmark."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vector 180 480GB SSD @ eTeknix
- Crucial MX200 250GB SSD @ Hardware Canucks
- Kingston HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 @ The SSD Review
- Intel SSD 750 Series 1.2TB @ Legion Hardware
- 8 Facts You Never Knew About Western Digital's Hardware Encryption @ Tech ARP
- Western Digital My Passport Ultra Metal / Anniversary Edition (2 TB) @ Tech ARP
- QNAP TS-431+ @ Legion Hardware
- RaidSonic ICY BOX IB-RD3680SU3 External RAID Enclosure Review @ NikKTech
- QNAP TVS-863+ AMD Turbo vNAS Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Mobile | April 14, 2015 - 03:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy s6, Android 5.0
Samsung's new Galaxy S6 is unique in that it has metal sides and Gorilla Glass on both the back and front of the phone. The body is 143x71x6.8mm and it weighs a total of 138g, compared the the iPhone 6 at 138x67x6.9mm and 129g. The screen is 2560x1440, a density of 577PPI which compares favourably to the iPhone's 1334x750 at 326 PPI. The Inquirer was impressed by the quality of the screen as well as the colour calibration that they felt was significantly better than on the S5. As far as performance, the phone was tested by playing three hours of XCOM and it did so without stuttering or becoming uncomfortably warm. They tested the non-removable battery by looping a video, which the phone could manage for just over eight hours, slightly better than the competition though they lose the benefit of battery swapping thanks to the new design. Check out the images taken with the new camera and answers to other specific questions in their full review.
"Aware of customers' and reviewers' complaints, Samsung made a sweep of reforms in its smartphone division and "went back to the drawing board" with the 2015 Galaxy S6."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus ZenFone 5 LTE @ Kitguru
- Blackview Omega Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
- Adam Elements Bella Power 6000mAh Portable Power Bank Review @ NikKTech
- XMG A505 Gaming Laptop @ HardwareHeaven
- Razer Blade Pro @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | April 19, 2015 - 02:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: moores law, Intel
While he was the director of research and development at Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon E. Moore predicted that the number of components in an integrated circuits would double every year. Later, this time-step would slow to every two years; you can occasionally hear people talk about eighteen months too, but I am not sure who derived that number. In a few years, he would go on to found Intel with Robert Noyce, where they spend tens of billions of dollars annually to keep up with the prophecy.
It works out for the most part, but we have been running into physical issues over the last few years though. One major issue is that, with our process technology dipping into the single- and low double-digit nanometers, we are running out of physical atoms to manipulate. The distance between silicon atoms in a solid at room temperature is about 0.5nm; a 14nm product has features containing about 28 atoms, give or take a few in rounding error.
It has been a good fifty years since the start of Moore's Law. Humanity has been developing plans for how to cope with the eventual end of silicon lithography process shrinks. We will probably transition to smaller atoms and molecules and later consider alternative technologies like photonic crystals, which routes light in the hundreds of terahertz through a series of waveguides that make up an integrated circuit. Another interesting thought: will these technologies fall in line with Moore's Law in some way?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 15, 2015 - 02:01 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mid-tower, In Win 503, in win, enclosure, case
In Win has announced an affordable new mid-tower option with the 503, and there is no shortage of the company's trademark style even at this low price point.
A steel enclosure is to be expected for the $49.99 asking price, and though the company is known for its aluminum construction there is enough tempered glass to keep In Win fans happy. In fact, not only is the front of the In Win 503 made from glass, but it slides down to reveal a 5.25" optical drive bay. To say this is unexpected in a $50 case is a severe understatement.
In Win has posted a short product video which touches on the basic features of the 503:
Drive bays are toolless, and there seems to be a lot of room inside the case. The enclosure will be available in both black/red and white/black color schemes. I personally can't wait to get my hands on one of these and see if it lives up to the lofty standards of prior In Win cases, or if more was compromised than just material selection to meet the low price target.
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 01:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED
Every trailer of the Witcher 3 so far has made the game look larger and more complex and the latest trailer continues along that vein. Some scenes will be familiar, such as a certain griffin's head but others are completely new, especially the in town scenes. The voiceover implies a much greater breadth of choice in how you play the story than the binary elves or humans choice of Witcher 2 but we have been disappointed by other franchises in the past. Hopefully this game will not disappoint, it has a very devoted team who are not afraid to include uncomfortable choices or nasty dialogue in the world they have created. It will also be interesting to see how the size of the open world translates into interesting gameplay, especially once you have cleared an area and civilians move in to settle it. Check out the trailer below and catch additional coverage at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN ... and maybe even here, you never know.
"Hi, you. That’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Watch this new trailer, it’ll explain. This shiny new five-minute trailer’s a broad overview of the game, its basic premise, the lay of its land, a few japes, and the sort of larks you’ll get up to."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Is Deus Ex Still The Best Game Ever? Part One: Memories And Hardware Renderers @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Bundle Me Up: GOG Sale Starts With RPGs & Adventures @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Grand Theft Auto V Performance Analysis @ techPowerUp
- Humble Origin Bundle 2 launched @ HEXUS
- Hands On: StarCraft II – Legacy Of The Void @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Bang: Arma 3 Fires Big Update Alongside Marksmen DLC @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 12:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: drone, linux, 3DRobotics, Cortex A9, solo
The 3DR Solo drone is powered by a Cortex A9 processor running at 1GHz which gives the Pixhawk 2 autopilot feature some power to work with, a good thing as some pilots will be too busy watching the HD video stream. If you buy the model with the GoPro gimbal or knock one up yourself, the Solo is capable of wireless streaming 720p video up to a distance of 1.2 miles (1.9km) with a delay of about 180ms. You will have a flight time of 25 minutes unladen, 20 minutes if you are hauling a GoPro or any other equivalent payload. It will not be cheap, it is being released on May 29th at a price of $1000 or $1400 with a GoPro gimbal, but you can check out more of the stats at Linux.com if you are still interested.
"3DRobotics today announced its first Linux-based drone, a Solo quadcopter touted as the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to support full control of GoPro cameras and deliver live-streaming HD video to mobile devices."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Huawei Ascend P8 arrives with full-metal case and octa-core chip @ The Inquirer
- Chrome version 42 will pour your Java coffee down the drain: Plugin blocked by default @ The Register
- Microsoft points at Skype, Lync: You two, in my office – right now @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | April 20, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft
According to WinBeta, the internal builds of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system have jumped from the 10060s-range to the 10100s. This mirrors the activity before January's consumer event, which led to the release of 9926. What this likely means is that Microsoft has forked internal development ahead of their BUILD 2015 conference, which takes place between April 29th and May 1st.
I expect that they will release a new, highly-tested build in the 1006x-1008x range to both Fast and Slow rings, like 9926 was, at or around the time of the event. Meanwhile, new and experimental features will land on the 10100 branch. The interesting question is: when will we see that later fork?
If Microsoft dedicates themselves to rapid releases, it might not be too long for users in the Fast ring, or a faster-than-Fast ring that they could potentially announce at the event. With the visibility of BUILD, it would be a good time for them to shake up their release cycle. They really cannot afford to relax quality control any more significantly than they did with 10041 without assurance that Insiders get the message. The journalist attention of the conference would likely do it though.
Alternatively, the released build might be classified as a developer preview that is expected to stick around for a while. If I needed to guess though, I doubt it. As stated earlier, it will probably be a highly QA-tested build for Slow ring users, but I see little reason for Microsoft to throttle down the more enthusiastic users. When 10049 was the last build for Fast users, you could say that they were not wanting to overshadow BUILD. That obviously does not apply after the conference is over, and I cannot see anything else further on the horizon.
That is, of course, unless they are getting cold feet about releasing not-fully-baked builds to the public.
Subject: General Tech | April 20, 2015 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, seamicro, HPC
Just over three years ago AMD purchased SeaMicro for $334 million to give them a way to compete in HPC applications against Intel who had recently bought up QLogic and the InfiniBand interconnect technology. The purchase of SeaMicro included their Freedom Fabric technology which was at that time able to create servers which could use Atom or Xeon chips in the same infrastructure. AMD developed compatibility with their existing Opteron chips and it was thought that this would be a perfect platform to launch Seattle, their hybrid 64bit ARM chips on. Unfortunately with the poor revenue that AMD has seen means that the SeaMicro server division is being cut so they can focus on their other products. Lisa Su obviously has more information that we do on the performance of AMD but it seems counter-intuitive to shut down the only business segment to make positive income, but as The Register points out the $45m which they made is down almost 50% from this time last year. AMD will keep the fabric patents but as of now we do not know if they are looking to sell their server business, license the patents or follow some other business plan.
"Tattered AMD says it's done with its SeaMicro server division, following a grim quarter that saw the ailing chipmaker weather losses beyond the expectations of even the gloomiest of Wall Street analysts."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD: Windows 10 will launch in late July @ The Inquirer
- Exchange Server 2016 will be mostly Cloud Exchange ported back on-premises @ The Register
- MSI Preparing SFF-8639 Adapter Card for Motherboards @ Kitguru
- TSMC to open new fab for 10nm manufacturing in mid-2016, says chairman @ DigiTimes
- GNOME 3.16: The Sleekest Linux Desktop to Date @ Linux.com
- Trials & Tribulations: Installing Gentoo Linux With GNOME & Systemd @ Techgage
- Tech ARP 2015 Mega Giveaway
- NikKTech & FSP Group Spring Worldwide Giveaway
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 20, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Red Hat, Khronos
With a brief blog post, Red Hat has announced that they are now members of the Khronos Group. Red Hat, one of the largest vendors of Linux software and services, would like to influence the direction of OpenGL and the upcoming Vulkan API. Also, apart from Valve, they are one of the only Linux vendors that contributes to the Khronos Group as an organization. I hope that their input counter-balances Apple, Google, and Microsoft, who are each members, in areas that are beneficial to the open-source operating system.
As for now, Red Hat intends to use their membership to propose OpenGL extensions as well as influence Vulkan as previously mentioned. It also seems reasonable that they would push for extensions to Vulkan, which the Khronos Group mentioned would support extensions at GDC, especially if something that they need fails to reach “core” status. While this feels late, I am glad that they at least joined now.
Subject: Systems | April 20, 2015 - 06:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows, SoC, mini-pc, Intel, ECS, Bay Trail-M
When Sebastian reviewed the LIVA X he focused on the performance of the device as an HTPC running Ubuntu ... before attempting to determine its effectiveness in creating a peanut butter and banana omelette, but that is a different story.
Overclocker's Club took a different tack, examining how it would perform for light gaming duties. On default settings the LIVA X managed 517 in Sky Diver, 1198 in Cloud Gate, 14200 in Ice Storm, and 9598 in Ice Storm Extreme. This would make it effective at playing mobile games or even playing through legacy games available through GoG or the Internet Archive; they tested CivV as a more modern title and while playable it wasn't great. Check out the full review for the other benchmark results.
"The ECS LIVA X surprised me with its small size and completely silent operation. I was able to surf the internet and do work on it very quickly. I enjoyed using it and experienced no problems with browsing the internet, using Office applications, or watching streaming videos on Netflix. Amazon Prime would occasionally lag a little – usually when the HUD would pop up."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Get Your Old Rig Gaming Ready on a Tight Budget @ eTeknix
- Intel NUC 5I3RYH (DinoPC) @ Kitguru
- OcUK Ultima Finesse Blackhole Gaming PC @ Kitguru
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