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That ThinkPwn vulnerability extends beyond Lenovo as the fault is with the motherboard

Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2016 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: ThinkPwn, Lenovo, gigabyte, 68-UD3H, z77x-ud5h, Z87MX-D3H, Z97-D3H, Intel, SMM

The ThinkPwn vulnerability which has been in the news lately, which allows attackers to disable Secure Boot and bypass Virtual Secure Mode on Win10 Enterprise as well as disabling flash write protection turns out not to be yet another questionable Lenovo feature.  Instead the problem lies with the motherboards UEFI, specifically the Intel System Management Mode implemented on Gigabyte motherboards.  So far the issue has been located on Z68-UD3H, Z77X-UD5H, Z87MX-D3H, and Z97-D3H but it is possible that the vulnerability exists on far more motherboards, perhaps even beyond Gigabyte as the flaw is in the Intel code.  The Register also postulates this could effect HP Pavilion machines as they use these boards as well.

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"Gigabyte has been swept into turmoil surrounding low-level security vulnerabilities that allows attackers to kill flash protection, secure boot, and tamper with firmware on PCs by Lenovo and other vendors."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Thrustmaster

The New Corinthian Leather?

I really do not know what happened to me, but I used to hate racing games.  I mean, really hate them.  I played old, old racing games on Atari.  I had some of the first ones available on PC.  They did not appeal to me in the least.  Instant buyer’s remorse for the most part.  Then something strange happened.  3D graphics technology changed that opinion.  Not only did hardware accelerated 3D help me get over my dislike, but the improvements in physical simulations also allowed a greater depth of experience.  Throw in getting my first force feedback device and NFS: Porsche Unleashed and I was hooked from then on out.

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The front of the box shows the lovely Ferrari 599XX supercar with the wheel in the foreground.

The itch to improve the driving experience only grows as time goes on.  More and more flashy looking titles are released, some of which actually improve upon the simulation with complex physics rewrites, all of which consume more horsepower from the CPU and GPU.  This then leads to more hardware upgrades.  The next thing a person knows they are ordering multiple monitors so they can just experience racing in Surround/Eyefinity (probably the best overall usage for the technology).

One bad thing about having a passion for something is that itch to improve the experience never goes away.  DiRT 2 inspired me to purchase my first FFB wheel, the TM Ferrari F420 model.  Several games later and my disappointment for the F420’s 270 degree steering had me pursue my next purchase which was a TX F458 Ferrari Edition racing wheel.  This featured the TX base, the stock/plastic Ferrari wheel, and the two pedal set.  This was a tremendous upgrade from the older TM F420 and the improvement to 900 degrees of rotation and far better FFB effects was tremendous.  Not only that, but the TX platform could be upgradeable.  The gate leading to madness was now open.

The TX base can fit a variety of 2 and 3 pedal systems, but the big push is towards the actual wheel itself.  Thrustmaster has several products that fit the base that feature a materials such as plastic, rubber, and leather.  These products go from $120 on up to around $150.  These are comprised of three GT style wheels and one F1 wheel.  All of them look pretty interesting and are a big step up from the bundled F458 replica that comes standard with the TX set.

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The rear shows the rim itself at actual size.

I honestly had not thought about upgrading to any of these units as I was pleased with the feel and performance of the stock wheel.  It seemed to have fit my needs.  Then it happened.  Thrustmaster announced the Ferrari 599XX EVO wheel with honest-to-goodness Alcantara ™ construction.  The more I read about this wheel, the more I wanted it.  The only problem in my mind is that it is priced at a rather dramatic $179.  I had purchased the entire TX F458 setup on sale for only $280 some months before!  Was the purchase of the 599XX worth it?  Would it dramatically change my gaming experience?  I guess there is only one way to find out.  I hid the credit card statement and told my wife, “Hey, look what I got in for review!”

Click here to read the entire Thrusmaster 599XX EVO Alcantara Edition Wheel Review!

Vive, DisplayPort, and GP104 Apparently Don't Mix For Now

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2016 - 07:15 AM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, htc vive, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, GP104

NVIDIA is working on a fix to allow the HTC Vive to be connected to the GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 over DisplayPort. The HTC Vive apparently has the choice between HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, but the headset will not be identified when connected over that connection. Currently, the two workarounds are to connect the HTC Vive over HDMI, or use a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter if your card's HDMI output is already occupied.

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It has apparently been an open issue for over a month now. That said, NVIDIA's Manuel Guzman has acknowledged the issue. Other threads claim that there are other displays that have a similar issue, and, within the last 24 hours, some users have experienced luck with modifying their motherboard's settings. I'd expect that it's something the can fix in an upcoming driver, though. For now, I guess plan your monitor outputs accordingly if you were planning on getting the HTC Vive.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Denies Rumor that RX 480 Has Disabled CUs

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2016 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: rx 480, Polaris, amd

Apparently, some people think that AMD will be releasing an RX 490 based on Polaris 10 with an extra four compute units, bringing the total number of stream processors to 2560. I'm guessing that people expected it to be a nice, round number or something, but that's not the case. According to Evan Groenke, Senior Product Manager at AMD, the die has 36 compute units, and there is “nothing else hidden on the product that end users might be looking forward to unlocking”.

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Really, this kind-of makes sense. AMD seems to have designed this chip around the performance target of VR, which the RX 480 hits. I don't think that it would really make sense to push about 11% more compute processors into the design, decreasing their yield per wafer for such a relatively small gain.

We are expecting an RX 490 card to land at some point though, thanks to a mistake in publishing on AMD's part. It won't be Polaris 10 or 11.

Razer Announces BlackWidow X Tournament Edition

Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2016 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: razer, mechanical keyboard, Cherry MX

Well this is interesting. Razer has announced the BlackWidow X Tournament Edition, which is a new tenkeyless mechanical keyboard that uses Cherry MX Blue switches. This is interesting, because it does not use Razer's own switches -- not even as a customization (like the BlackWidow X Ultimate). You must use Cherry MX Blue. It's an interesting change, and I'm not sure why they did that, but they did.

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Beyond that, it's a fairly standard keyboard. It doesn't have a number pad, but it does have a button to record macros on it. I personally do not like those ever since my original Razer BlackWidow. I would accidentally press the button, not realize it, then have everything I typed get spammed out for the next half hour, including passwords. I would assume Razer has fixed that issue in the last four-or-so years, but I haven't used their keyboards in a while. There might have even been an option to prevent it back then, but I never found it. Also, for some, a macro button is probably a nice feature, seeing as they've consistently included it.

The talk about Cherry Switches and Macro Keys aside, the keyboard seems like a pretty decent value. The Razer BlackWidow X Tournament Edition costs $69.99 and ships next week.

Source: Razer

Xbox Play Anywhere Has Been Formalized

Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2016 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: xbox, windows 10, microsoft

Microsoft is launching Xbox Play Anywhere this fall, which allows games that are purchased on Xbox Store and Windows Store to be available on the other for no additional cost.

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To our site, this means that these games will also be available on Windows 10. Moreover, Microsoft has announced that “every new title published from Microsoft Studios will support Xbox Play Anywhere and will be easily accessible in the Windows Store.” So this means that, starting with Re-Core, Microsoft should publish all of their games on the PC.

Update (July 6th @ 3:33pm EDT): Turns out that it was updated to clarify "at this year's E3". So the list of games on XboxPlayAnywhere is all they're announcing so far.

That said, it will all be done through Windows Store, and so we'll need to remain concerned about the openness of that platform. The obvious example is when Games for Windows Live was shut down, bricking all software that the developer didn't patch out (or patch over to Steam). There's also concern about people being able to distribute software independently and anonymously as well.

That said, Microsoft is free to publish their own software however they like, and it's nice to see them supporting the PC again. I just want to make sure a strong, alternative platform exists (like Win32 or a strong Web standard) that cannot be (legally or technically) pivoted into Windows RT (or iOS), which forced all browsers to be re-skins of Internet Explorer (or Safari in iOS's case), forced content guidelines on games, etc. Someone will abuse any restrictions that are made, now or in the future.

Toshiba's HK4R Enterprise SATA SSD, 2TB of speedy reading

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2016 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, HK4R, TC58, sata ssd

If you are looking for large sized storage and can accept the SATA 6Gbps bottleneck, the 1920GB Toshiba HK4R SATA SSD certainly has some room for files.  It uses Toshiba's own TC58 controller with 15nm MLC NAND and sports an endurance rating of 1 Drive Write Per Day for the duration of the 5 year warranty or up to 3520TB written.  The testing done at The SSD Review showed sequential read and write speeds of 524MB/s and 503MB/s respectively making the drive a great choice for consumers or enterprise as the drive has many features required in the data centre.  There is a distinct lack of pricing information, we shall see what these drives sell at some time in the near future.

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"SATA SSDs are all the rage in data centers. Unlike their PCIe bothers, these SATA SSDs don’t often need to have high endurance figures and lightning fast IOPS performance. Instead, they typically just need to be cheap, reliable, and what is becoming more important lately, high capacity."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

MSI Reference Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Out of Stock Currently but Returning Soon

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 5, 2016 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: rx 480, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, Polaris, msi, gcn4

It appears that MSI will be one of the first AIB partners to get a reference version of the AMD RX 480 graphics card out. Available as soon as next week, the MSI Radeon RX 480 8G pairs AMD’s Polaris-based GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 memory on a reference platform and cooler.

The MSI card uses the AMD reference cooler with a blower style fan and measures 9.45” in length. It is a dual slot design with a red and black aesthetic. Rear IO includes three DisplayPort and one HDMI ports. It is powered by a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector.

MSI Radeon RX 480 8G.png

There is not much to say with regards to clocks on this GCN4-based card as there are no factory overclocks to speak of. The base clock sits at 1120 MHz (which is an average expected clock, not necessarily the minimum) and the GPU can boost up to a maximum of 1266 MHz out of the box. MSI is clocking the memory at the full 8 GHz though, which is good (AMD stated that partners could clock memory anywhere from seven to eight GHz).

Looking around various retailers, it appears that you will be able to get your hands on it as soon as July 9th from Newegg for $240. 

Watch out for pricing before clicking that buy button though, because some sites that allow third party sellers have jacked up the prices quite a bit! If you are looking for a reference design, this card should be as good as the rest. Personally, I am looking forward to MSI and other AIB partner’s custom RX 480 cards which should have much higher overclocking potential and a better power phase setup that should alleviate any power consumption concerns of the reference design’s VRM setup. That is not to say that the reference MSI is going to blow up your PC or anything, but from a buyer's perspective I would rather wait for the custom boards with better coolers that I can push further and faster for only a fairly slight premium. If you need a blower style cooler, this card should work.

Also read:

Source: MSI

Yes, some of your users phones are infected

Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2016 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: security, Malware

Managing mobile devices in an enterprise environment is a nightmare, even with properly set up security polices and some sort of Mobile Device Manager.  Security firm Skycure recently estimated one in every 200 devices is infected with some form of malware, which seems a bit low especially considering that some the devices tested had 290 apps installed.  Infections of Android devices are most common but do not think for a moment that your iOS device is safe, it may only be half as likely to be compromised but it does indeed have serious vulnerabilities as well.  Drop by The Register for a look at the numbers of bad apps on various stores.

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"Researchers found enterprises have three unique infection instances with devices sporting an eye-watering average of 290 apps a piece."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Subject: Systems, Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Specifications

Lenovo made quite a splash with the introduction of the original X1 Carbon notebook in 2012; with its ultra-thin, ultra-light, and carbon fiber-infused construction, it became the flagship ThinkPad notebook. Fast-forward to late 2013, and the introduction of the ThinkPad Yoga; the business version of the previous year's consumer Yoga 2-in-1. The 360-degree hinge was novel for a business machine at the time, and the ThinkPad Yoga had a lot of promise, though it was far from perfect.

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Now we fast-forward again, to the present day. It's 2016, and Lenovo has merged their ThinkPad X1 Carbon and ThinkPad Yoga together to create the X1 Yoga. This new notebook integrates the company's Yoga design (in appearance this is akin to the recent ThinkPad Yoga 260/460 revision) into the flagship ThinkPad X lineup, and provides what Lenovo is calling "the world's lightest 14-inch business 2-in-1".

Yoga and Carbon Merge

When Lenovo announced the marriage of the X1 Carbon notebook with the ThinkPad Yoga, I took notice. A buyer of the original ThinkPad Yoga S1 (with which I had a love/hate relationship) I wondered if the new X1 version of the business-oriented Yoga convertible would win me over. On paper it checks all the right boxes, and the slim new design looks great. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one for some real-world testing, and to see if my complaints about the original TP Yoga design were still valid.

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As one would expect from a notebook carrying Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 branding, this new Yoga is quite slim, and made from lightweight materials. Comparing this new Yoga to the X1 Carbon directly, the most obvious difference is that 360° hinge, which is the hallmark of the Yoga series, and exclusive to those Lenovo designs. This hinge allows the X1 Yoga to be used as a notebook, tablet, or any other imaginable position in between.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (base configuration, as reviewed)
Processor Intel Core i5-6200U (Skylake)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 520
Memory 8GB LPDDR3-1866
Screen 14-in 1920x1080 IPS Touch (with digitizer, active pen)
Storage 256GB M.2 SSD
Camera 720p / Digital Array Microphone
Wireless Intel 8260 802.11ac + BT 4.1 (Dual Band, 2x2)
Connections OneLink+
Mini DisplayPort
HDMI
3x USB 3.0
microSD
Audio combo jack
Dimensions 333mm x 229 mm x 16.8mm (13.11" x 9.01" x 0.66")
2.8 lbs. (1270 g)
OS Windows 10 Pro
Price $1349 - Amazon.com

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Notebook!!

MSI DUKE GTX 1080 and 1070: More GP104 Versions!

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 5, 2016 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: msi, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, GP104, duke

Getting a custom-cooled GTX 1080 (for around its MSRP) basically involves monitoring Newegg for a good business week or two, several times per day, pouncing on whatever isn't marked-up. Whether it's low supply or high demand, add-in board vendors haven't stopped announcing new models.

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Image Credit: EXPReview

The MSI GTX 1080 8G DUKE is a three-fan (“TriFrozr”) design with an 8-pin and a 6-pin PCIe power connector, which provides 75W more headroom than the Founders Edition. EXPReview claims that it slides between the AERO and the GAMING lines. Although they don't claim how it matches up to ARMOR, which is also between AERO and GAMING, it looks like it's slightly above it, with its RGB LEDs. The GTX 1080 GPU is factory overclocked to 1708 MHz and boosts to 1847 MHz, and the GTX 1070 is overclocked to 1607 MHz with a 1797 MHz boost.

Launch regions are not listed for the cards, but the launch price is supposedly 5399 Chinese Yuan (which converts to $810 USD) and 3499 Chinese Yuan ($524.70 USD) for the GTX 1070. This is quite a bit higher than we would expect, but I'm not sure how regional pricing on electronics works between the USA and China.

Source: EXPReview

The 8-Bit Guy (and Friends) on Cassette Tapes for PCs

Subject: General Tech, Storage | July 5, 2016 - 02:52 AM |
Tagged: cassette, tape

Some old PCs didn't have storage, so users needed to add programs manually by typing in the source code. As The 8-Bit Guy explains, one of the first consumer solutions was to attach a cassette tape to the computer through analog audio cables. They would actually be programmed by pulsing electrical intensities, which would be interpreted as binary data, within the audio range. Near the end, he even plays a clip of normal data, and “fast loader” data.

He, and his co-hosts, talk about their experiences with the medium, such as using a two-deck cassette player to copy programs and share them with friends. It doesn't go too deep into the technology or the time period, unlike some of his previous videos, but it's still entertaining none-the-less.

More Examples of Why AV Software Can Be Bad

Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2016 - 02:13 AM |
Tagged: symantec, security

I know that I've mention this in the past, and I'm not advocating running no antivirus software, but it's good to remember that you're using high-privileged software to load untrusted data. While mistakes can happen in any reasonably complex software, some companies are more complacent than others, and some design choices fail to respect the trust you have in them. Symantec, as far as I know, has one of the better reputations of security companies, but this flaw is terrible.

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Basically, to detect malware that has been obfuscated by executable compression, antivirus software unpacks it themselves and looks. Symantec's solution runs in the kernel, allowing any malware that targets it to have kernel permissions. They were also using “at least” seven-year-old forks of open source libraries. Well... crap.

The bugs have been privately disclosed to Symantec, and fixed before Google went public. If you have any Symantec, or their consumer brand, Norton, software, then make sure it's up to date. Consumer software will have the fix pushed through LiveUpdate, but some some products, like Symantec Endpoint Protection and Symantec Protection for SharePoint Servers might require administrator action.

Source: Google

Gigabyte Shows Off Bite Sized GTX 1070 Mini ITX OC Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 5, 2016 - 01:49 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, gtx 1070, pascal, mini ITX, factory overclocked

Custom graphics cards based on NVIDIA’s GTX 1070 GPU have been rolling out from all the usual suspects, and today small form factor enthusiasts have a new option with Gigabyte’s Mini ITX friendly GTX 1070 Mini ITX OC. As the name implies, this is a factory overclocked card that can hit 1746 MHz boost with the right checkboxes ticked in the company’s vBIOS utility.

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The new SFF graphics card measures a mere 6.7-inches long and is a dual slot design with a custom single 90mm fan HSF. It is a custom design that uses a 5+1 power phase design which Gigabyte claims is engineered to provide lower temperatures and more stable voltage compared to Nvidia’s reference design which is a 4+1 setup. The cooler on the dual slot card uses an aluminum fin array that is fed by three direct touch heatpipes. The 90mm fan is able to spin down to 0 rpm when the card is not under load which would make it a good candidate for a gaming capable living room PC that also doubles as your media center. Gigabyte further claims that their "3D stripe" ridged fan blade design helps to reduce noise and improve cooling performance.

Rear IO on the card includes two dual link DVI connectors, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort output. The graphics card is powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector.

As far as the nitty gritty specifications are concerned, Gigabyte has the GTX 1070 GPU clocked out of the box at 1531 MHz base and 1721 MHz boost. Using the company’s Xtreme Engine utility, users can enable the “OC Mode” which automatically clocks the card further to 1556 MHz base and 1746 MHz boost. The OC Mode in particular is a decent factory overclock over the reference clocks of 1506 MHz base and 1683 MHz boost respectively. The 8 GB of GDDR5 memory remains effectively untouched at 8008 MHz.

Unfortunately as is usually the case with these kinds of launches pricing and availability has not yet been announced. From a cursory look around Newegg I would guess that the card will be somewhere around $465 (both the factory overclock and SFF premium).

Source: Gigabyte

The custom GTX 1080's are starting to appear, here's the ASUS ROG GTX 1080 STRIX GAMING

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 4, 2016 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG, GTX 1080 STRIX GAMING, GTX 1080, factory overclocked

It is rather difficult to rate the cost to performance ratio of GTX 1080's as the prices and availability are in a constant state of flux but we can certainly peg the overall performance of the cards.  [H]ard|OCP recently strapped the new ASUS ROG GTX 1080 STRIX GAMING GPU to their testbed to see how it performs.  Right out of the box the cards base clock is 1759MHz with a boost clock of 1898MHz and 10GHz GDDR5X, which [H] successfully raised to 1836MHz base, 1973MHz boost with in game frequencies reaching 2139 MHz and the GDDR5 running at 11.3GHz.  This had an effect on performance.

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"Today we review in full detail our first custom GeForce GTX 1080 video card. ASUS has decked the ROG GTX 1080 STRIX GAMING out with a factory overclock, the STRIX cooling system, and a fully customizable lighting system. Let's see this beast overclock and compare it to the previous gen's GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte's 17" P57W laptop thinks you should go big or go home

Subject: Mobile | July 4, 2016 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, P57W, GTX 970M

Gigabyte's 17" laptop contains some decent hardware although the GPU is somewhat questionable; with that much room inside they still opted to go with a GTX 970M and one with only 3GB of available VRAM.  On the other hand the i7-6700HQ is a strong choice, paired with 16GB of Crucial DDR4-2133, storage is handled by a 256GB LiteOn SATA SSD and a 1TB Hitachi HDD.  The screen is a 1080p panel and while the NVIDIA card can handle upscaling on some games, The Tech Report saw performance drops on many intense games when using that feature.  Check out more details in their full review.

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"17" laptops have long been maligned for their bulk, but the onward march of technology means one can now get a big machine like Gigabyte's P57W that's slim and trim. We put this large laptop to the test to see whether gamers on the go should go big."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Your encrypted Android phone's Keymaster will settle for anyone, not just Sigourney

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2016 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: andriod, keymaster, qualcomm, snapdragon, encryption

The only good news about this particular decryption hack requires physical access to your phone and as you should be aware once someone has your device in their hands all bets about security are off.  The vulnerability exists on ARM-compatible Snapdragon system-on-chips and the TrustZone, a secure part of the chip which runs outside of the operating system and passes information pertaining to the encryption on your phone via the Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment.

It is possible to to exploit an Android kernel security vulnerability to load your own QSEE application which can then query the TrustZone for your unencrypted blob and RSA key.  From there it is simply a matter of brute forcing the phones PIN or password which then allows you access to all the encrypted data on the device.  The Register explains not only the vulnerability but also how TrustZone and KeyMaster work on your devices in this article.

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"Essentially, if someone seizes your Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered phone, they can potentially decrypt its file system's contents with a friendly Python script without knowing your password or PIN."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

CoolChip Technologies Teases New Kinetic Cooler For Skylake Processors

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 4, 2016 - 02:11 AM |
Tagged: Skylake, passive cooling, kinetic cooling, kinetic cooler, hsf, coolchip

Early last year startup CoolChip Technologies partnered with Cooler Master to show off a prototype kinetic cooler at CES 2015. The two companies were allegedly working on a new processor heatsink that would be priced in line with current heatsink + fan designs but would be smaller, quieter, and less prone to collecting dust! Unfortunately that revolutionary HSF product never materialized (just like the Sandia Labs prototype), and while we may still see that cooler some day it appears like it is not going to be anytime soon. With that said, it is not all bad news for fans of these promising processor coolers, because if a recent social media tease by the startup is any indication CoolChip technologies has decided to move forward with its own branded kinetic cooler!

Specifically, CoolChip teased a new and upcoming product launch aimed at cooling Intel Skylake CPUs with up to 70W TDPs. Along with the statement that the kinetic cooler is “coming soon!” the company posted three images of the new cooler, and it looks awesome.

CoolChip 1U Low Profile Kinetic Cooler.jpg

Resembling something a Predator might be using to cool their PC, the CoolChip cooler has a stationary base plate with a motor that spins a small array of fins in a manner that facilitates heat transfer from the base plate to the spinning heatsink (which is in lieu of a fan -- the heatsink is the fan) via a very thin layer of air that keeps the heatsink balanced as well. That spinning heatsink portion is then further surrounded by stationary rings of fins likely connected to the base plate using heatpipes for that extra bit of cooling potential. The inner impeller (vertical) fins are angled one direction while the outer stationary ring of horizontal fins are angled the opposite direction. The impeller pulls cool air in and pushes it outwards through the stationary fins and out into the case where case fans will then exhaust that hot air out of the case. CoolChips has an animated illustration of how this impeller design cools versus a traditional heatsink and fan design which is available on their website.

Other features of the small kinetic cooler include a braided cable with fan header to get power from the CPU_Fan header on the motherboard. It is not clear if this connector is 4 pin and supports PWM or not though. One of the more promising bits of this teaser is the photo of the cooler in retail packaging which adds at least a little bit of credence that we might actually see this product launch at some point. The package appears to include the 1U Low Profile Kinetic Cooler itself, a motherboard backplate, and a small tube of thermal paste (TIM).

Possibly the coolest (heh) part of this teased product is the third photo which suggests that there will be multiple color options for the impeller which would allow users to customize the heatsink color to match their PC’s design scheme.

CoolChip 1U Low Profile Kinetic Cooler Color Options.jpg

You can check out the post for yourself here. I am really excited to finally see new information on kinetic cooling, and this CoolChip cooler in particular looks really interesting and I hope that it actually materializes and I can finally read some reviews on it! What are your thoughts on kinetic cooling for PCs?

Also read:

Microsoft Will Still Be More Polite... But First...

Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2016 - 10:38 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

So, despite announcing that they will reskin the Get Windows 10 notification four days ago, Microsoft will release another annoying Get Windows 10 campaign. Based on what looks like a Windows 8.x modern, full-screen prompt, Microsoft will post “Sorry to interrupt, but this is important. Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends July 29th.” It then has two buttons, Upgrade now and Remind me later, and two links, Notify me three more times and Do not notify me again.

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It's interesting to see that this prompt looks like Windows 8.x, but will also appear on Windows 7 machines. It will probably be very jarring to a Windows 7 user to see the entire screen turn a slightly purple-ish blue in a UI style that you've never seen before, asking you to essentially flip your PC upside down. I would expect them to customize it for each platform, but meh.

Interestingly, Microsoft also lists the conditions that will prevent this prompt from occurring. If you have already tried Windows 10 on the machine, it will not ask you to upgrade back. This is what I would have expected all of Get Windows 10 to do, but, from experience, previous prompts didn't care if you already tried (and even activated) Windows 10. No, it would ask you again to go back. It will also honor all the other ways that you can disable Get Windows 10. They also say it will not appear if “You have a recent version of the Get Windows 10 app installed.” This confuses me, but I'll leave it here regardless.

Anywho, prepare to be annoyed one last time... or not. I don't know.

Source: Microsoft

HTC Vive Currently Dominating Oculus Sales

Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2016 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: valve, htc, steam, steamvr, vive, Oculus, oculus rift

Thanks to Keith of WCCFTech for tweeting this out.

According to the Steam Hardware Survey, the HTC Vive is dominating the Oculus Rift by more than a factor of two (0.15% to 0.06%). More-so, its rate of change is also double that of Oculus (0.06% to 0.03%). If these numbers are accurate, this means that the SteamVR is massively overtaking Oculus SDK in terms of both amount and rate of change.

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Now the questions are “why?” and “what does that mean?”

The most obvious reason, to me, is that HTC has much better availability than Oculus. For the last month, they announced that the Vive ships within two-to-three business days. If you look at Oculus? The website tells you to expect it in August. It is currently the second day of July. While a month is not too long of a time to wait, it would make sense that a consumer would look at the two options and say “Yeah, the this week one, please.”

If that's the case, then the platform battle could be decided simply by retail availability. It wouldn't be decided by a Valve-developed first-party game. It wouldn't be decided by DRM locking games into an exclusive deal. It would simply be decided by “you can buy this one”. That is, unless Oculus ramps up production soon. At that point, we'll need to look back at hardware surveys (not just Steam's) and see what the split is. They could catch up. They could be left behind. Who knows? It could be another factor altogether.

For now, the Vive seems like it's the crowd favorite.