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The toasters are revolting!

Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2016 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: iot, security, upnp

Over the weekend you might have noticed some issues on your favourite interwebs as there was a rather impressively sized DDOS attack going on.  The attack was a mix of old and new techniques; they leveraged the uPNP protocol which has always been a favourite vector but the equipment hijacked were IoT appliances.  The processing power available in toasters, DVRs and even webcams is now sufficient to be utilized and is generally a damned sight easier to control than even an old unpatched XP machine.  This does not spell the end of the world which will likely be predicted on the cable news networks but does further illustrate the danger in companies producing inherently insecure IoT devices.  If you are not sure what uPNP is, or are aware but do not currently need it, consider disabling it on your router or think about setting up something along the lines of ye olde three router solution

Hack a Day has links to a bit more information on what happened here.

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"Brace yourselves. The rest of the media is going to be calling this an “IoT DDOS” and the hype will spin out of control. Hype aside, the facts on the ground make it look like an extremely large distributed denial-of-service attack (DDOS) was just carried out using mostly household appliances (145,607 of them!) rather than grandma’s old Win XP system running on Pentiums."

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Tech Talk

Source: Hack a Day

The Shiny Chinpokomon of RAM; CORSAIR's DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition DDR4

Subject: Memory | September 28, 2016 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition, corsair, ddr4, ddr4-3200, DHX

Corsair's DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition series comes in 32GB kits, either four 8GB DIMMs or a pair of 16GB DIMMs, in your choice of Chrome or Blackout finishes.  All kits are DDR4-3200MHz but with the 10-layer PCB and DHX heatsinks Corsair feels that reaching 3600MHz will be trivial and higher frequencies possible for talented tweakers.  They will be available directly from Corsair, $330 for the quad-channel kit and $300 for the dual channel.

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You can read the full PR by clicking below.

Source: Corsair

China's Newly Completed FAST Now World's Largest Radio Telescope

Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2016 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: seti, science, radio telescope

The Chinese officially began searching the stars around noon local time on Sunday using the newly completed FAST radio telescope which has surpassed Arecibo in being the world's largest single aperture telescope. Nestled in the natural Dawodang (limestone) depression in the remote and mountainous Pingtang county, Guizhou province, the Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will search the heavens to catalog pulsars, investigate dark matter, gravitational waves, and fast radio bursts, and assist in the search for extraterrestrial life and natural hydrogen in distant galaxies.

The $180 million project has been in development for 14 years with construction beginning in 2011. The massive scientific endeavor required the relocation of several villages and 10,000 people living in the vicinity. Further, the remote area required the telescope to be constructed without the use of heavy machinery and the dish had to be constructed manually. FAST is modeled after the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico and uses 4,450 triangular reflector panels supported by a steel mesh suspended over the limestone valley using large steel towers anchored to the surrounding hills. FAST deviates from Arecibo when it comes to reflecting and receiving radio signals, however. While Arecibo uses a 900 ton movable receiver with a complex set of mirrors that make up a sub reflector, FAST uses 2,250 actuators (winches) that pull on up to 300m sections of the dish to create a parabola that can move in real time to track signals as the Earth rotates and reflect them back to the receiver which is reportedly much lighter and can contain more instruments than Arecibo.

While Arecibo, with its 305 meter dish, can track signals up to 20° from the zenith, FAST can track signals up to 26° from the zenith at 300 meter parabola sizes and up to 40° with smaller parabola sizes making it rather versatile. The massive dish combines the benefits of a large single fixed dish and a smaller dish (or dishes which could be combined to provide higher resolution using interferometry) that can tilt and rotate.

Specifically, Dennis Normile quoted experts in saying:

Single dishes excel at observing point sources like neutron stars and at scanning a multitude of frequencies in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, says astronomer Li Di, a FAST project scientist, who previously worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Another advantage is that, compared with the multiple dishes in an array, single dishes are “relatively cheap and relatively straightforward to upgrade,” says George Hobbs, an astronomer at CSIRO. “You just keep building better receivers.” (Dennis Normile at Science Magazine)

FAST is quite the accomplishment and I am interested to see what the scientists are able to discover using the world's largest radio telescope. Hopefully it will continue to receive adequate funding!

Also read:

You can't keep an X99 down, the Gigabyte X99 Phoenix SLI rises

Subject: Motherboards | September 23, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel X99, Phoenix SLI

The Gigabyte X99 Phoenix SLI certainly sports some unique colours though the design of the board is similar to other G1 Gaming boards.  It sports a rare U.2 port and an M.2 port which [H]ard|OCP describes as being specifically for a wireless NIC.  There are four PCIe 16x 3.0 slots and thanks to the X99 chipset it can run all four at 8x speeds simultaneously.  Along with a variety of other features the board including USB 3.1 is the Ambient Surround LED feature, which is exactly what it sounds like.  Pop over and take a peek.

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"GIGABYTE’s X99 Phoenix SLI is another entry into the G1 Gaming lineup. While there is little to nothing that’s truly unique about the feature set, the combination of features and unique aesthetics are hard to argue with. The X99 Phoenix SLI offers good features and stellar looks at a reasonable price point."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

In Win Launches E-ATX Compatible 509 Full Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 25, 2016 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: In Win 509, in win, full tower, E-ATX Case

In Win recently took the wraps off of a high end mid full tower case called the 509. The new full tower is constructed from SECC steel and uses edge-to-edge tempered glass on the front and side panels. It measures 527mm x 235mm x 578mm (HxWxD) (which is approximately 20.78” x 9.25” x 22.75”) and comes in black with either dark gray or ROG-certified red accents. The case is available now at various retailers (such as Newegg) for a cool $184.99 plus shipping.

In Win 509 Full Tower ATX PC Case.jpg

On the outside, the In Win 509 sticks to the basics with simple lines. There are vents along the edges of the front panel and hexagonal honeycomb vents on the right side panel for ventilation in addition to vents along the bottom and rear panels. There are no top exhaust vents on this case which helps maintain the clean look. The left side panel is an edge-to-edge piece of tinted tempered glass that can be removed with four thumb screws. A magnetic system might have been a better looking choice but the screws are likely more secure and help against vibration noise.

Further, the front panel hosts a single right-aligned 5.25” bay, the front I/O (four USB 3.0 and two audio), and a large tempered glass panel. There is an LED-lit In Win logo that can be seen through the glass panel. The LED will light up red by default but if you have an RGB LED controller or RGB LED header on your motherboard you can customize the color.

Cooling is a bit less traditional on the In Win 509 and interestingly there are no included fans with the case. Users can install fans in the following positions:

  • 3 x 120mm in the front
  • 1 x 140mm on the rear panel
  • 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm on the bottom (including the PSU fan).

There is a large removable filter in the bottom (much to Ryan’s dismay), and users can alternatively install 360mm water cooling radiators in the side, front, or middle of the case depending on whether or not they need all the drive cages installed.

Internally, the In Win 509 supports bottom mounted power supplies with grommeted cable routing holes, E-ATX motherboards, CPU towers up to 188mm high, and graphics cards up to 370mm in length. The case offers eight PCI slots and brackets to help secure large and heavy GPUs. On the storage front, the case supports five 3.5” drives (three on bottom and two on top) as well as four 2.5” vertical bays that users can choose to install either SSDs or 120mm fans.

In WIn 509 Full Tower ATX Case.jpg

In all it looks like a well-built case and seems to be backed up by reviews. According to Bit-Tech, the In Win 509 is easy to work in and has excellent water cooling support; however, the lack of fans does hurt its out of the box cooling performance. It is available now with a three year warranty.

Source: In Win

Even more VR gaming; this time it is Sword Master VR

Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: VR, sword master vr, htc vive, gaming

With the amount of VR benchmarks coming out of [H]ard|OCP lately we wonder if they are in danger of becoming the worlds first VR addicts.  They tested the usual suite of two AMD cards and five NVIDIA to determine the amount of dropped frames and average render times in this particular game.  As it turns out the game is harder on the player than it is the GPU, all were able to provide decent experiences when swashbuckling.  The developer recommends you clear a 2x1.5m area to play this game and from what [H]ard|OCP experienced while playing this is no joke; you will get exercise while you are duelling some of the harder opponents.

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"Do you want to fight the Black Knight in a sword fight? There is not exactly a "Black Knight" in Sword Master VR, but you can certainly get that feeling. In fact, you can fight him and a couple of his friends at the same time if you are up to the challenge. Just pull the sword from the stone for $10."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Google Translate Boosted by Deep Learning

Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 07:36 PM |
Tagged: google

Machine translation is quite difficult, especially between certain pairs of languages that vary greatly in how they handle implied context and intonation. At Google, the current translation system picks out known words and phrases, converts them to the target language, and blindly outputs them. This, unfortunately, ignores how the phrases are structured together.

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Google has been working toward a newer system, though. Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) considers whole sentences, rather than individual words and phrases. It lists all possible translations, and weighs them based on how humans rate their quality. These values are stored and used to better predict following choices, which should be a familiar concept to those who have been reading up on deep learning over the last couple of years.

This new system makes use of Google's “TensorFlow” library, released to the public last year under a permissive, Apache 2.0 license. It will also be compatible with Google's custom Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) ASICs that were announced last May at Google I/O. The advantage of TPUs is that they can reach extremely high parallelism because they operate on extremely low-precision values.

The GNMT announcement showed the new system attempting to translate English to and from Spanish, French, and Chinese. Each pairing, in both directions, showed a definite increase, with French to English almost matching a human translation according to their quality metric. GNMT is currently live to the public when attempting to translate between Chinese and English, and Google will expand this to other languages “over the coming months”.

Source: ZDNet

More VR testing, Trickster VR on the Vive

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 27, 2016 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: VR, trickster vr, amd, nvidia, htc vive

[H]ard|OCP continues their look into the performance of VR games on NVIDIA's Titan X, GTX 1080, 1070, 1060 and 970 as well as AMD's Fury X and RX 480.  This particular title allowed AMD to shine, they saw the RX 480 come within a hair of matching the GTX 1060 which is a first for them and shows that AMD can be a contender in the VR market.  Pop by to see their review in full.

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"Arm yourself with a bow and arrows, a magic sword that flies, or if you prefer, a handful of throwing darts. Then get ready to take on the procedurally generated fantasy world full of cartoonish Orcs, and more Orcs, and some other Orcs. Headshots count as well as chaining your shots so aim is critical. Did I mention the Orcs?"

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Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP