Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 12:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mojang ab, Minecraft, microsoft, consolitis
First and foremost, I would like to remind everyone of the Twitch.tv and Google acquisition rumors. Things are not done until they are done and it could be significantly more complicated than it appears on the surface. And yes, I am speaking from the position of someone who was bitten and wrote a news post on the subject.
Regardless, discussion has been circulating that Mojang AB, creators of Minecraft, were in talks to sell their company to Microsoft for $2 billion dollars. First, this tells us that randomly generated diamond and gold is worth a fortune; second, it tells us that Mojang, like Oculus, is twice the company that Instagram was. I guess all it took was those OpenGL filter effects.
Joking aside, two billion dollars is a significant chunk of money, about a third of Computing and Gaming Hardware's annual revenue. Minecraft is definitely a valuable asset, especially with the licensed media and merchandise, and would be a good addition to a publisher's portfolio (along with their employees if convinced to stay on). It is not entirely without basis, either. Competing publisher, Activision-Blizzard, allegedly planned to spend $500 million on Destiny, although Bungie denies that, which Activision claims is the cost of launching a new franchise nowadays.
The most interesting part of the rumor, to me, is the Bloomberg report which claims that Notch initiated the discussions. He was quite outspoken against Microsoft for a while, especially with the licensing requirements for Windows Store. Apparently, current head of Microsoft's Computing and Gaming Hardware division, Phil Spencer, is friends with Notch and has been visiting him and Mojang AB.
But until something official is announced, this is all speculation. That said, Notch has been particularly quiet about the topic on Twitter. To me, that strongly suggests that something is up.
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2014 - 09:25 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 9, microsoft, leak
The Register has linked to two videos which purportedly capture Windows 9, or at least Build 9834, in action and revealing some not so new tricks. The first shows a feature which will be new to anyone who has never used Linux but will be old hat to anyone who has, multiple desktops. This feature will let you have separate switchable desktops which you can run different programs on, it is not a tool to create virtual machines on the fly but is handy if you need a full desktop for development and one for ... entertainment. The second video shows off the Start Menu, tiles and the much improved placement of the power off button.
"New videos of a "Windows 9" variant have emerged, and to this hack's eyes they look to have brought Windows up to speed with tricks that various desktop flavours of Unix have had for a decade or more."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- As three million comment on net neutrality, the FCC adjusts its plans @ The Inquirer
- Apple Watch to come with AMOLED panels from LG Display @ DigiTimes
- Red Hat releases RHEL 5.11, the last minor release of Linux distribution @ The Inquirer
- COMPRO TN1600P Cloud Network Camera Review @ NikKTech
- Win An Incredible Enermax “Ahead of the Game” Upgrade Bundle @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2014 - 11:38 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: FinFET, flexible
We've seen a few examples of OLEDs being used to create flexible displays but they are much slower than their unbending silicon rivals. With conductive ink and thread it is possible to make wearable technology but again the silicon components remain solid and immobile. Researchers in Saudi Arabia have been working on flexible technology which retains the speed of silicon transistors but is able to flex up to 0.5 mm which may sound large until you remember the size of a transistor. They have created these FinFETs by putting a thin layer of a polymer on top of the material they will be etching the transistors into and gently removing the polymer once the process has completed. This results in a FinFET which retains the power saving and performance attributes common to the 3D transistor but with the ability to bend. This won't be marketed for a while yet but in the mean time read all about it on Nanotechweb.
"Researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudia Arabia are continuing with their experiments to transform traditional rigid electronic wafers made from silicon into mechanically flexible and transparent ones."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Tunnelling electrons make new type of transistor @ Nanotechweb
- IBM brings Watson Analytics to all with freemium model @ The Inquirer
- Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD @ The Register
- Amazon Kindle vulnerability lets hackers take over your account @ The Inquirer
- be quiet! Straight Power 10 competition @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2014 - 12:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, xbox, xbone, xbox one, controller, gamepad
A few months ago, Microsoft released 32- and 64-bit drivers for their Xbox One controller on Windows 7 and Windows 8. This was for wireless controllers attached by micro-USB to a PC. Now, Microsoft announced a new controller for Windows: the same controller, only bundled with the required cable. In fact, it can still connect wirelessly... to an Xbox One, not a PC.
The bundle will cost $59.95 (MSRP) and be available starting in November. As far as I can tell, the PC cannot update the Xbox One Controller's firmware; for that, you apparently need an Xbox One handy. It is possible that Microsoft will implement this, or already has and no-one is talking about it, but you might want to hold off until we know for a fact. One update adjusts analog stick sensitivity; this could be important, especially if you have multiple controllers at different patch levels. Yes, some PC games allow local multiplayer.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2014 - 03:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows, mobile, microsoft, keyboard, ios, Android
Let me share a story. There was a time, around the first Surface launch, that I worked in an electronics retail store (and the several years prior -- but I digress). At around that time, Microsoft was airing ads with people dancing around, clicking keyboards to the Surface tablet with its magnetic click or snap. One day, a customer came in looking for the keyboard from the TV spots for their iPad. I thought about it for a few seconds and realized how terrible Microsoft's branding actually was.
Without already knowing the existence of their Windows 8 and RT tablets, which the ads were supposed to convey, it really did look like an accessory for an iPad.
Doing Microsoft's job for them, I explained the Surface Pro and Surface RT tablets along with its keyboard-cover accessories. Eventually, I told them that it was a Microsoft product for their own tablet brand and would not see an iPad release. The company felt threatened by these mobile, touch devices and was directly competing with them.
So Microsoft is announcing a keyboard for Windows, Android, and iOS. Sure, it is very different from the Type and Touch Covers; for instance, it does not attach to these devices magnetically. Microsoft has also been known to develop hardware, software, and services for competing platforms. While it is not unsurprising that Microsoft keyboards would work on competing devices, it does feel weird for their keyboard to have features that are specialized for these competing platforms.
There are three things interesting about this keyboard: it has a built-in stand, it has special keys for Android and iOS that are not present in Windows, and it has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 6 months. The peripheral pairs wirelessly with all of these devices through Bluetooth.
The Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard is coming soon for $79.95 (MSRP).
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 10:04 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: idf 2014, western digital, hgst, Intel, dell
The Tech Report have been busy scribing up the various announcements and product releases that Intel and others are revealing at this years IDF. The HDD is staying alive by offering larger capacities than were available previously, from Western Digital's 6.3 TB archival model to HGST's 10TB helium filled monster with a 3.2TB SSD also available for frequently accessed data. From Intel comes information on Skylake systems and their wireless charging to the first benchmarks we've seen for Core M ultraportables. Also present were Dell, which allowed TR some hands on time with their Venue 8 7000 and of course a small announcement from that other company.
"Somewhat surprisingly, the initial model's capacity is listed as 6.x TB. The Ae is based on an "innovative Progressive Capacity model" that allows WD to increase the capacity of shipping drives as yields improve and the company gets better at squeezing more data onto the platters. The gains will be small—capacities of 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 TB are listed as examples—but WD says the folks who need drives like these are hungry for even incremental improvements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 161: Haswell extremes, FX redux, and Tonga devil magic
- Intel demos Skylake silicon; production expected in 2H 2015 @ The Tech Report
- IDF: Intel announces A-Wear to push big data apps via Internet of Things @ The Inquirer
- Whopping 10TB disks spin out of HGST – plus 3.2TB flash slabs @ The Register
- Intel Publishes Initial Skylake Linux Graphics Support @ Phoronix
- Intel Core M 5Y70 Broadwell-Y Benchmarked At IDF 2014 @ Legit Reviews
- Use home networking kit? DDoS bot is BACK... and it has EVOLVED @ The Register
- Quanta lands half of Acer notebook orders for 2015 @ DigiTimes
- Robotic Arm Control from the BeagleBone Black @ Linux.com
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 17, 2014 - 02:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, Android, android one
In much the same way as FirefoxOS is targeting foreign markets with low-cost phones, with the Intex Cloud Fx as the extreme example, Google is pushing for the overseas markets with Android One. Based on Android 4.4 and updated as new versions launch, for up to two years at least, the devices will not be old and outdated.
In terms of hardware, the platform is said to feature front and rear cameras, a quad-core processor, a microSD card slot, and dual SIM slots. Google has several partners involved with the initiative: Acer, Airtel, Alcatel, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Karbonn, LAVA, Lenovo, MediaTek, Cromax, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Spice, and Xolo. Besides a baseline standard, and a bit of marketing, there does not seem to be much to the platform itself.
Of course, delivering a quality standard, at an affordable price, to places which normally cannot obtain smartphones at all is noteworthy.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2014 - 11:59 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: PSU, corsair, HXi Series, HX1000i, kilowatt, 80 Plus Platinum, Corsair Link
Before even delving into the specifications there are two very attractive features about the Corsair HX1000i modular PSU, it has an 80 Plus Platinum rating and a 7 year warranty. The 12V rail is capable of delivering 999.6W @ 83.3A and once a small bug in Corsair Link is solved you can actually program the PSU to either provide a single 12V rail or multiple rails. With eight 6+2 PCIe power connectors you can power even the most demanding of video cards and the dozen SATA power connectors also make it perfect for those with a storage fetish. At $230 it is not that expensive for a PSU of this power and one of TechPowerUp's favourite things about the PSU was the quiet performance even under load. Check out the review to get the full picture.
"Corsair just introduced the new HXi series, comprised of members with Platinum efficiency and full compatibility with the Corsair Link software. Today, we will take a look at the second-strongest unit of the line with 1 kW capacity, ideal for a power-hungry system with up to four VGAs."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- be quiet! Straight Power 10 CM 800W Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- be quiet! Straight Power 10 CM 600W @ Kitguru
- Antec Edge 650W Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Antec EDGE 550W Power Supply Review @ NikKTech
- XFX TS650 650W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- XFX PRO 1250W Black Edition Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- XFX XTS 460W Passive Fully Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- DeepCool Quanta DQ1250 1250W Power Supply Review @ NikKTech
- eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Update
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2014 - 11:29 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, ancient space, space sim, rts
On September 23rd a new space strategy game by the name of Ancient Space will drop, giving those of us impatiently awaiting the Homeworld Remasters release something to tide us over. One particularly interesting feature of the game is the voice acting which will include Ron Glass from Firefly, Dina Meyer from Starship Troopers and other series, Aaron Douglas from Battlestar Galactica and several other names immediately recognizable to Sci-Fi fans. The trailer below shows off some of the gameplay which also looks to be as impressive as the cast. Hopefully this will be as enjoyable for the story as it is for the gameplay. You can follow the links from Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for more information.
The Fragging Frogs have been up to quite a bit lately, which you would have completely missed had you not the wisdom to have already joined the best gaming group on the web. For those few who have yet to join up, once you've checked out the previous link there is a new thread to help introduce yourself and your collection of games to the group. Try it, you just might like it!
"I feel like I’ve written about quite a few space RTSs in recent times, but none of them are releasing quite as soon or look quite as promising as Ancient Space. The latest trailer thankfully does more than show up Adam’s lack of sci-fi TV knowledge with its voice cast. It’s actual game footage, UI and all, and interspersed with comments from the developers about how the ship customisation and campaign systems will work."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Seven Year Humble Bundle
- End of Summer Sale @ Humble Bundle
- Celebrate GOG.com's 6th Birthday: 20+ Titles up to 80% off Each Day!
- Editorial: Some Subjective Thoughts On Objectivity @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Commander Keen: Keen Dreams Source Code Released @ Slashdot
- The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming @ Giant Bomb
- Slap my Imp up: Bullfrog's Dungeon Keeper @ The Register
- Ferguson media coverage inspires game about modern journalism @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Risen 2: Dark Waters 2-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Gleaming: Icewind Dale’s Enhanced Edition @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Latest Far Cry 4 trailer introduces the mighty elephants of Kyrat @ HEXUS
- Smell The Glove: The Magicka Devs’ Gauntlet Revamp @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 17, 2014 - 11:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LIVA, ECS, case mods, case mod contest
ECS USA is holding a competition for North American users to design mods for the LIVA mini PC kit. The contest consists of three phases and round one, whose winners will advance to the second phase, ends on September 30th. If you want to enter in the contest, you will need to submit your first phase entry before then to be eligible for the second phase. Check out Morry's post for a second opinion.
What are the phases?
Round 1 (Ends September 30th): You will need to publish the "soft copy" of your design draft to Facebook. This will consist of six illustrations: Front, Rear, Left Side, Right Side, Top, and 45-degree 3D illustration. See the image below for an example. The top ten participants, based on Facebook likes, will be provided with a white LIVA mini PC kit to modify in Round 2.
Round 2 (Ends October 31st): The winners of Round 1 will, using the provided LIVA kits and your design draft, implement their customizations. Photographs of these modified cases will be sent to ECS (I assume by Facebook) for a team of judges to rank them first, second, third, or runner-up.
Round 3 (November 7th): Sit back, relax, and wait for the judges to select winners. The Champion will receive $1000 USD for their trouble, second place will get $500 USD, and third will get $300 USD. The honorable mentions will get various swags.
The contest is open to residents of the USA and Canada. Do it fast! It's less than two weeks and, as I understand it, the later you enter, the less time you will have to accumulate Facebook likes.
- 3 of 3
Get notified when we go live!