Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2013 - 12:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
This Dell Inspiron 15 Dual-core 15.6" Laptop is at such a low price it almost counts as a stocking stuffer. The dual core Celeron 1017U @ 1.6GHz isn't going to top out the benchmark charts but should run rings around most tablets and the 4GB DDR3 memory and 320GB HDD will give it more flexibility. It runs Windows 8 64-bit and has an attractive list of I/O ports.
- Dell Inspiron 15 Dual-core 15.6" Laptop for $279.99 with Free Shipping (normally $379.99 - use coupon code: DMG5HG3LJW2JF9).
- XFX Core Edition Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card for$104.99 with Free Shipping(normally $199.99 - use coupon code: MASTERPASS).
- ViewSonic 27-Inch Screen LED-backlit Monitor (VX2770SMH-LED) for $224.99 with Free Shipping(normally $339.99 - use coupon code: GREENMD118).
- Dell 1210S DLP Projector for $325.00 (normally $369.00).
- Night Owl 4-Camera 500GB HDD DVR Surveillance System for $179.99 with free shipping(normally $269.99 - use coupon code: MASTERPASS).
- ThinkGeek Coupon: 25% off Orders of $40 or more
Subject: General Tech | December 4, 2013 - 02:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mmorpg, gaming, elder scrolls online
Long time fans of The Elder Scrolls series have not been jumping on the online version in great numbers, partly due to the changes that were made to the game to make it an MMORPG but also because that particular market is rather saturated. Over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN is a short video intended to offer an enticing look at the skills that you can develop over time. They are much more in depth than the constellation of skills available in offline TES games and can be gained in more ways that just levelling up. As well they can be tweaked and modified in such a way as to make your character much more personalized, take a peek and see if it convinces you to give the game a try.
"When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be a fireman and an astronaut and a cowboy and a monster truck and Batman and a shoe and a barn and a machine that could produce infinite popsicles and the head of a moderately successful middle management firm. Eventually, however, I realized that I’d have to settle on just one thing, so I decided that I hated money and became a games journo."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New PlanetSide 2 Progression Won’t Involve Gear Or Power @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Give It A Trya: Maia Lands On Steam Early Access @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Steam’s concurrent user record breaches 7 million @ HEXUS
- Super Mario 3D World @ The Inquirer
- A Flippin’ Good Time: The Pinball Arcade PC Review @ Techgage
Subject: Storage | December 5, 2013 - 05:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hgst, SAS, ssd, SSD800MM, enterprise ssd
For Enterprise level performance nothing beats SAS as it can sustain transfer speeds of up to 12Gbps if your storage media is fast enough. The partnership of Intel and HGST bring you just such a drive, rated at 700MB/s and 1150MB/s for sequential reads and writes and IOPS of 145K and 70K for random reads and writes respectively. If that isn't enough to make you jealous, The SSD Review also had a chance to test this SSD as part of an eight disk RAID.
"If you have been following The SSD Review in 2013, you are probably familiar with our coverage of 12Gbps SAS. Throughout the year we have covered HBAs, RAID Adapters, Enclosures and SSDs. We have been incredibly busy reviewing new products, but one product in particular has stood out. In all of our 12Gbps SAS reviews we have sung the praises of the HGST SSD800MM. Since the SSD800MM was more of a means to an end when reviewing the LSI SAS 9300-8e, we never really gave it its proper due. With this update, we wanted to put this SSD into perspective after nearly a year’s worth of 12Gbps SAS testing."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Toshiba PX02SS 12Gbps SAS Enterprise (400GB) @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vector 150 240GB @ Legion Hardware
- M.2 NGFF PCIe SSD Adapter @ SSD Review
- ioSwitch Raijin M.2 NGFF PCIe @ SSD Review
- VisionTek Data Fusion PCIe (480GB) @ SSD Review
- Western Digital RED 4TB Hard Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Western Digital Red (WD40EFRX) 4 TB NAS Hard Disk Drive @ TechARP
- Synology DS1513+ Scalable NAS for SMB Review @ Madshrimps
- Western Digital My Cloud 2TB @ eTeknix
- Thecus N2560 NAS Server @ NikKTech
- Western Digital Black² Dual Drive Review – Two drives in one! @ TechwareLabs
- Western Digital Black² 1TB Dual Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
- WD Black² Dual Drive @ Legion Hardware
- iStarUSA BPN-2535DE-SA SATA 6Gb/s Hot-Swap Cage @ NikKTech
- Lexar JumpDrive P10 32 GB USB 3.0 @ techPowerUp
- Buffalo LinkStation LS421DE Enclosure @ Kitguru
- ADATA HE720 500GB Slim External Hard Drive Review @HiTech Legion
- ADATA DashDrive HV620 External Hard Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sales, pc sales, market share
The PC market has eroded over the past few years to the point where sales are only slightly above what they were in 2008, roughly 300 million sales. Even more worrisome for vendors is the predicted 10.1% decline predicted for the overall sales in 2013. DigiTimes cites a lack of reasons to upgrade being a root cause and to an extent that makes sense, a first generation i5 laptop will still compete with a current generation laptop with an equivalent Haswell model. Another reason is the changing market, with tablets and phones providing good enough connectivity for many who previously would have had to purchase a 'traditional' computer. Commercial sales are not declining as quickly yet but that could change with the spread of the BYOD disease.
"Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by 10.1% in 2013, slightly below the previous projection of 9.7%, and by far the most severe yearly contraction on record, according to IDC. Interest in PCs has remained limited, leading to little indication of positive growth beyond replacement of existing systems. Total shipments are expected to decline by an additional 3.8% in 2014 before turning slightly positive in the longer term."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Someone’s Been Siphoning Data Through a Huge Security Hole in the Internet @ Wired
- PS4 @ The Inquirer
- EMC on XtremIO SSD brickup ballsup: Its LIFETIME downtime is under 3 minutes @ The Register
- Exclusive interview with LN2 OC Guru Petri Korhonen @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2013 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows, microsoft, threshold, win 8.2
Two rumours about Microsoft are making the rounds right now, the first about the impending death of one their OSes is pretty easy to understand; there is no polite way to describe WinRT. The second is both more interesting and also harder to believe, Project Threshold could possibly see the return of a fully functional Start button to a newly updated desktop version called Windows 8.2 as apparently Service Packs are no longer cool. Project Threshold is bigger than just a button as the rumours have this updating Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox One with the possibility that WinRT gets rolled into the Windows Phone OS. While there are ways to modify Win 8.1 to allow a more classical interface it will be a big step forward in usability if it becomes native. You can follow the links at The Register to the source of these rumours.
"According to Winsupersite, Microsoft is planning the return of the Windows Start button under the codename "Threshold", and this will be the first time we'll see it in its original form since Windows 7."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How to build a memcomputer @ Nanotechweb
- 'Leaked Intel roadmap' promises... er, gear that could die after 7 months @ The Register
- Qualcomm announces a gimmick-free 64-bit processor @ The Inquirer
- Futuremark 3DMark v1.2.250 Released @ NGOHQ
- CyanogenMod Integrates Text Message Encryption @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 03:03 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, valve, SteamOS, hsa foundation, hsa
Valve may very well produce one of the near future's most popular non-mobile, consumer, Linux distributions. SteamOS will be marketed for gaming PCs (some very compelling ones at that) starting next year. CES will definitely be interesting. With such a popular distribution, and as an existing member of the Khronos Group, it makes sense for Valve to join the Linux Foundation... and they just did.
It is still unknown to what extent Valve joined Linux (members are classified by level of contribution from Platinum to Silver) and we likely will not know until their list is updated. While they probably will not be hanging out with Intel and others in the platinum category, Silver is not the most noteworthy of statuses... alongside Barnes and Noble (likely because of the Nook) and Twitter.
Another addition is the HSA Foundation. AMD is already a Gold member (y'know... HSA's faja) and ARM is Silver so I cannot see HSA being much more than that. Still, Linux will be an important focus for the heterogeneous computing architectures to endorse: both in terms of back-end server optimization and customer-facing devices.
Of course I am not belittling any contribution. Still, there is that desire to see Valve lead the pack. Ultimately, though, it is not the size of the badge: it is how you wear it.
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 03:59 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: GCC, Rust, mozilla
Rust is an interesting language in that it aims to be safe and concurrent. It was discussed frequently at Mozilla Summit back in early October both on its own and in terms of the experimental HTML5 rendering engine, Servo. From how it was describe to me from other attendees, it prides itself on its task-based architecture. Basically, your application is (or, at least, is often) set up like a bunch of tasks that get scheduled concurrently and pass messages to one another if they want to communicate. This concept allow for efficient multithreading because each task is inherently independent.
This may remind you of the experiments John Carmack did with Wolfenstein and Haskell.
Apparently at least one developer from the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is also paying attention. Philip Herron has been working on the "gccrs" branch to create a GCC front-end for Mozilla's language.
We will need languages like Rust in the near future as processors continue to ramp up in thread count. Just look at the Xeon Phi story from last week: a bootable 288-thread standalone processor based on the Silvermont architecture. If you want this processor to be used efficiently then you better be light on the main thread otherwise your 6 TFLOPs (3 TFLOPs double-precision) will only be quick to behave like an Atom.
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 02:26 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pcga, certification
Okay, so we all know I hate certification. Art platforms should be as open as possible to allow small businesses, hobbyists, and even casual users to share their expressions and ideas. Certification is the basis for my distrust of Windows Store and the "modern" Windows platform altogether. When you have someone between you and sharing, terms will be dictated for every transfer.
I am reminded of Harvest Moon which was pressured with ESRB certification (unclear where the pressure was coming from, however) to remove same-gender relationships in a North American release. If you build censorship, they will come. This is not censorship... but keep that in mind.
That said, the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) should only get between you and an advertising logo. They will not prevent you from sharing your app, unlike Windows Store, but rather just not say you have a satisfactory title.
Testing will not be free, of course. A non-PCGA member will need to pay $500 per game to be submit their title for certification; another $2000 will be required to request help with certification from the organization.
Metrics that the certification looks at is whether it runs at a smooth 30FPS at 720p medium settings on some reference platform and whether it supports gamepad and couch use cases (if those users would reasonably expect that environment for the title... ex: StarCraft would probably be exempt).
I can see this being... okay. It is a bit pointless for users who do the slightest bit of research before they purchase a title. That said, under the condition that it will not be a mandatory certification, it might be beneficial for smaller companies to market their goods. Cheap endorsement for small businesses is not a bad thing as long as it does not lock the art, itself, in any way.
Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2013 - 08:59 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, consolitis
This is why certification is bad, folks.
How bad? In this specific case it is not too annoying but it does limit both freedom of expression as well as business opportunities. On the Xbox 360, indie developers were required to be published by Microsoft and give their console exclusivity or launch date parity. Things are a bit more relaxed on the Xbox One with ID@Xbox permitting self-publish releases. Microsoft will work "on a case-by-case" for games that have already been released on other platforms.
But Australian developer, Witch Beam, is unable to launch on the Xbox One. They had enough resources for a PC release in January followed by PlayStation 4, Vita, and WiiU. They did not have enough manpower to include Xbox One in that second window. As such, unless Microsoft gives them a waiver based on press attention, "Assault Android Cactus" will not appear on the Xbox One.
Microsoft has been improving their policies since the Xbox 360. Still, because of the precedent they set, they can always change their agreements at any time. Retail certification? Yeah, that can be useful for end users. Platform certification? Big problems.
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 01:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mozilla, webgl
Tools for web developers are pretty astonishing these days. You are able to investigate the driving elements and objects as they are being executed within the browser -- and even modify them. This typically means that you can play around with the various functions and parameters while the app is loaded. You receive immediate feedback about your changes.
Web Standards continue to encompass 3D and other game-related tasks. As a result, developer tools are beginning to take advantage of their browser's managed architecture making it easier to tweak and debug content. In other words: you can poke your 3D scene as it is being rendered.
Now this is quite interesting. Basically all of the GPU's involvement in drawing a 3D scene comes down to two scripts (at least for WebGL 1.0): a vertex shader and a fragment shader. These are operations that run once for every vertex in a scene and once for every pixel an object in a scene occupies, respectively. Together they form a "program" which gives an object's geometry something tangible for users to see.
Here is an example of Unreal Engine 3 being modified at runtime.
The developer tools within Firefox 27 will allow you to modify these scripts at runtime and even turn specific draw calls on or off. This should vastly speed up the rate at which developers modify their effects especially when it comes to fine tuning specific variables such as the rate that waves flow in a water material.
Firefox 27 is expected to be the release version in early February; it is currently in the Aurora channel.
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 01:32 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: elder scrolls online
The Elder Scrolls Online is coming and one of the hooks of the franchise is its character customization. Hours can be spent preparing and building characters into whatever the player desires. Many factors can be tweaked to make the perfect archer, mage, or thief. Some versions even allow the player to be infected with vampirism or lycanthropy to become a vampire or a werewolf.
Bethesda has just released a video outlining various possible customizations. Yes, there will be quests to infect your character with the two aforementioned diseases. I am sure that is what you all really wanted to know.
Basically the levelling system is as follows: when you gain a level you gain a point to add to your stats and another point to add to your skills. Attribute (stats) points let you choose whether to increase your health, magika, or stamina. Skill points allow you to learn spells or abilities; using these skills pushes that skill further down its "line". You can then branch ("morph") that ability's skill tree out in some direction. The example given is a friendly restoration skill: at some point you will be allowed to choose whether to heal three (instead of one) allies or have it replenish some of your magika. A common mechanic but, now, one confirmed in the game.
The Elder Scrolls Online is expected to be released this spring for PC, Mac, PS4, and Xbox One.
Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2013 - 12:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: interconnect, fibre optics, 32 Gbps, HPC
With new emphasis on building modular HPC machines from multitudes of low powered processors working in parallel interconnect technology needs to provide immense amounts of bandwidth. This is becoming much closer to reality as 32 Gbps channel is undergoing standardization and will likely be quickly accepted and certified. Products using this standard are still a year or more from market but will likely be quickly adopted by companies who depend on large arrays of VMs. According to the roadmap on The Register 64 Gbps is already starting development with 2016 as a possible goal for its standardization process to begin.
"The Association has let it be known that the “INCITS T11 standards committee has recently completed the Fibre Channel Physical Interface - sixth generation (FC-PI-6) industry standard for specifying 32 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Fibre Channel and will forward it to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for publication in the first quarter of 2014."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Apple, Microsoft, Google and others ask for less NSA snooping @ The Inquirer
- $40 Lens Hack Gives Your FLIR Higher Resolution @ Hack a Day
- AT&T strikes deal to offer LTE data roaming in Canada @ Engadget
- My best Oculus Rift experiences to date @ Kitguru
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 10, 2013 - 02:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: enermax, iVektor, atx case
The Enermax iVektor is an ATX case with quite a few drive bays, all tool-less installation and space at the top of the case for a radiator if you prefer watercooling. Three 5.25" bays and seven 3.5" of which four can be converted to 2.5" for SSDs ought to give you enough space for storage and controllers. Up to six 120mm fans can be installed, that number drops to four if you install a 240mm radiator at the top of the case. [H]ard|OCP were impressed with both the thermal performance and low noise of the case as well as the with customization possible, earning this ~$80 case a Gold Award.
"Enermax has long been an enthusiast brand associated with some of the best computer power supplies made in the industry. Over the last couple of years it has also developed a very strong following in computer case arena with DIYers. Today we look at the iVektor case designed by Enermax and it looks to be a strong contender for your next build."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Enermax iVektor Casemod @ Hardware Asylum
- Cooler Master Cosmos SE Case Review @ Modders-Inc
- SilverStone Fortress FT04 @ Phoronix
- BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Case @ SPCR
- Chenbro SR30169 Mini-ITX Server Chassis @ SPCR
- Fractal Node 304 White Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- CaseLabs Mercury S5 Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Corsair Graphite Series 230T @ Kitguru
- Fractal Design Define XL R2 Computer Case @ NikKTech
- Corsair Graphite 230T Battleship Grey Mid Tower Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- BitFenix Prodigy M mATX Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Aerocool GT-S Black Edition @ techPowerUp
- 120mm Water Cooler Round Up w/ Cooler Master, Scythe and Zalman @ Legit Reviews
- 120mm Water Cooler Round Up Part 2 - Looking Inside @ Legit Reviews
- Scythe Kaze Chrono @ Funky Kit
- Noctua NH-U14S Heatsink Review @ Frostytech
- Noctua NH-U14S @ [H]ard|OCP
- Scythe Mugen 4 @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2013 - 12:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Dell's UltraSharp U2412M is a 16:10 format 1920x1200 24" IPS display with a response time of 6ms which makes it quite acceptable for gaming duties. The colour gamut is good enough for some professional work and is quite good for the asking price. It also comes with a 3 year warranty which might make it more attractive than ordering a display from Korea for anyone worried about dead pixels or other possible issues.
- Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24" 1920 x 1200 LED-backlit IPS LCD Monitor for $249.99 with Free Shipping (normally $369.99 - use coupon code: VRK785QMF?V1T4).
- Creative Fatal1ty Circumaural Gaming Headset for$24.99 with Free Shipping(normally $49.99).
- Western Digital 4TB Red IntelliPower SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive for $179.99 with Free Shipping(normally $219.99 - use coupon code: EMCWVWX49).
- Acer G226HQLBbd 21.5" LED-backlight LCD Monitor for $99.99(normally $219.99 - use coupon code: EMCWVXP87).
- Pinnacle MB10000+ 1000-Watt Audiophile 5.1 Speaker System for $299.99 with free shipping(normally $1,299.99).
- Samsung UN46EH5000 46" 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV for $597.99 with free shipping(normally $699.99).
- ThinkGeek Coupon: 50% off 12 Best-Selling Items(use coupon code: 10ONSALE).
Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2013 - 01:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: flying car, e-volo, octadecacopter
You may remember a video featuring an unholy combination of an excercise ball and a quadrocopter from a company called e-volo. Over the past two years they have made a lot of progress towards creating a real electric flying car by teaming up with a variety of companies each with their own technical specialties. The carbon fibre composite frame and props were developed by an established sail plane company while the fail safe ballistic parachute was designed by a German aviation company. Many other companies have tried developing everything in house which is likely why you don't see M400X's everywhere by now. As you can see by the design the VC200 is similar to a scaled up quadrocopter with brushless electric motors powering the 18 props; far more than are actually needed so that you will remain in the air even if some fail. Other safety features include a backup battery which can only be used to land and the aforementioned parachute which does not have to worry about rotor placements like on a traditional helicopter. You can see some of the development history at Hack a Day.
"The e-volo VC200 has made it’s maiden unmanned flight. Does the craft above look a bit familiar? We first reported on the e-volo team back in 2011. Things have been going great for the team since then. They’ve created an 18 motor (Octadecacopter?) prototype dubbed the VC200."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel Labs cooperates with Asustek to improve cloud computing storage @ DigiTimes
- Xbox One Headset 2.5 mm Plug Adapter @ Hack a Day
- Exploits no more! Firefox 26 blocks all Java plugins by default @ The Register
- How's it going, Microsoft users? Patching your PCs? You SHOULD be @ The Register
- Nvidia ShadowPlay Gameplay Recording Software @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2013 - 01:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Just look at that elegant flip-hinge design on the new Dell XPS 12 with it's 1080p touchscreen for use with Windows 8. It is powered by an i5-3317U, 4GB DDR3-1600 and a 128GB SSD which will be perfect for mobile usage. Plenty of wireless connectivity is available and if you wish you can upgrade to a more powerful model.
- Dell XPS 12 Core i5 Convertible 1080p Touchscreen Tablet w/ Windows 8 for $849.99 with Free Shipping (normally $1,199.99 - use coupon code: WD0RTDJWM4QC1F).
- Corsair Raptor M40 Wired Optical 4000 DPI Gaming Mouse for $35.99 with Free Shipping(normally $59.99).
- Symantec Norton 360 Version 2013 (3-PC DL) for $28.00 with Free Shipping(normally $59.99).
- Samsung S27C390H 27-Inch LED-Backlight LCD Monitor for $179.99(normally $219.99 - use coupon code: MASTERPASS).
- Kingston HyperX 3K 2.5" 240GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD for $143.99 with free shipping(normally $204.99 - use coupon code: MASTERPASS).
- VIZIO E320I-A0 32" 720p Smart LED HDTV for $288.00 with free shipping(normally $328.00).
- Star Wars Darth Vader USB Hub for $23.99 with free shipping(normally $34.99).
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