Windows 10 November Update Released...ish

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 11:21 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Microsoft has published the November 2015 Update for Windows 10, which brings it to the logical version number: 1511. It is not available to everyone though. The update is apparently being rolled out to users slowly, and manually pressing “Check for updates” will not fix it either. I've been doing that all day and still haven't got it. Those who want to receive it before Windows Update graces you with its existence will apparently need to either download the ISOs, or use the Windows 10 update tool. It was designed to bring Windows 7 and Windows 8.x to Windows 10, but it (apparently) can also be used on older versions of Windows 10 to update them to newer, public versions. It might remove the ability to go back in case of problems though, so be careful.

windows-10-bandaid.png

The update itself shouldn't be too surprising if you have been following our periodic check-up with the Windows Insider program. This is essentially the most recent build, although it apparently is installed without the big in-place upgrade process (although I have yet to do it myself, as stated above).

In the foreground, users will likely notice a handful of changes in the interface. It should be better behind the scenes, too. Microsoft Edge has been upgraded to include many new Web technologies, which should enable peer-to-peer networking for websites and very high-performance numerical math in JavaScript. The OS's memory manager has been updated too. Build 10240 had the compressed memory feature that first appeared, as far as I can tell, around the 10074 era, but Microsoft clearly wasn't done with it. The first Insider preview after the July launch updated the memory manager, although they wouldn't specify exactly how. Likely this means that Microsoft merged the changes that they knew they could clean up by July, and left the rest to hang in a private branch (until the post-launch Fast Ring preview).

And, of course, WinBeta did a video walkthrough that highlighted the visible differences between July and November. I guess that's something to watch while you continually click “Check for Updates”. Or not.

Note that if you have only recently installed Windows 10, Microsoft will not push the new version to you just yet. They do not want the new build overwriting the image to bring you back to Windows 7 or 8.x, so they are waiting for it to expire.

Source: Microsoft

Bose's 2015 SoundTouch speakers; is name recognition enough?

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: audio, bose, SoundTouch 10, wireless speaker

Bose has recently released a monaural wireless speaker, the SoundTouch 10 and at the same time refreshed their existing SoundTouch 20 and 30 speakers.  The chances are that the Bose name is enough for you to either desire or dismiss the speakers immediately, regardless of what the product actually is.  For those who do not immediately cringe away from the brand, this speaker utilizes the Waveguide technology found on new Bose products to attempt to compensate for the monaural design of the SoundTouch 20.  They have incorporated a remote into the package as well as support for streaming from sources such as Spotify or Pandora.  The speaker requires mains power, you won't be taking this on the road as it does not have a battery inside of it as many wireless speakers do.  If you are interested you can drop by NitroWare to check out the full review.

bose_soundtouch_family.jpg

"Bose's 2015 SoundTouch speakers offer internet music streaming connectivity, precision audio design and ease of use. With the compact SoundTouch 10, Bose is trying to appeal to an audience who may be new to the brand. Does Bose's efforts warrant your hard earned money? We discuss this in a preview of these new speakers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: NitroWare

Podcast #375 - Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Yoga 900, R9 380X and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, qualcomm, snapdragon 820, Lenovo, yoga 900, be quiet!, amd, r9 380x, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 14nm, FinFET, nvidia, asus, Maximus VIII Extreme, Thrustmaster, T300

PC Perspective Podcast #375 - 11/12/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Yoga 900, R9 380X and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

 

Remember Beyond 2000? The internet does, much to NEC's dismay

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: wearable computing, amusing

If you are under the age of 30 then this post will be lost on you but for those of us conscious, or at least semi-conscious of the heady times which were the 90's there was an Aussie show called Beyond 2000 (or Towards 2000) which was picked up by Discovery Channel back when before it became a reality show channel.  They tried to predict the technologies which would be commonplace in the new millennium and was very interesting to those of us interested in technology.  Of course, like all other shows which try to predict the future, looking back on them from 20 years into the future is cringe-worthy and more than a little amusing.  Grab a beverage and a snack and check out the shows predictions on wearable tech and fashion over at MAKE:Blog.  Then feel shame at how cool you thought these were back in the 90's.

Beyond-2000-off-the-shoulder.jpg

"This segment on wearable computing is from a 1992 episode of the Australian tech futurism show Beyond 2000 (and replayed in the states on the Discovery Channel for those of you that remember). It starts with a fashion show (like you do) featuring a number of wearable computing devices designed by Hideki Takamasa of Japanese company NEC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: MAKE:Blog

NVIDIA Jetson TX1 Will Power Autonomous Embedded Devices With Machine Learning

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 02:46 AM |
Tagged: Tegra X1, nvidia, maxwell, machine learning, jetson, deep neural network, CUDA, computer vision

Nearly two years ago, NVIDIA unleashed the Jetson TK1, a tiny module for embedded systems based around the company's Tegra K1 "super chip." That chip was the company's first foray into CUDA-powered embedded systems capable of machine learning including object recognition, 3D scene processing, and enabling things like accident avoidance and self-parking cars.

Now, NVIDIA is releasing even more powerful kit called the Jetson TX1. This new development platform covers two pieces of hardware: the credit card sized Jetson TX1 module and a larger Jetson TX1 Development Kit that the module plugs into and provides plenty of I/O options and pin outs. The dev kit can be used by software developers or for prototyping while the module alone can be used with finalized embedded products.

JX08_JetsonTX1_topBlack_04_v001_jw_wht.jpg

NVIDIA foresees the Jetson TX1 being used in drones, autonomous vehicles, security systems, medical devices, and IoT devices coupled with deep neural networks, machine learning, and computer vision software. Devices would be able to learn from the environment in order to navigate safely, identify and classify objects of interest, and perform 3D mapping and scene modeling. NVIDIA partnered with several companies for proof-of-concepts including Kespry and Stereolabs.

Using the TX1, Kespry was able to use drones to classify and track in real time construction equipment moving around a construction site (in which the drone was not necessarily programmed for exactly as sites and weather conditions vary, the machine learning/computer vision was used to allow the drone to navigate the construction site and a deep neural network was used to identify and classify the type of equipment it saw using its cameras. Meanwhile Stereolabs used high resolution cameras and depth sensors to capture photos of buildings and then used software to reconstruct the 3D scene virtually for editing and modeling. You can find other proof-of-concept videos, including upgrading existing drones to be more autonomous posted here.

From the press release:

"Jetson TX1 will enable a new generation of incredibly capable autonomous devices," said Deepu Talla, vice president and general manager of the Tegra business at NVIDIA. "They will navigate on their own, recognize objects and faces, and become increasingly intelligent through machine learning. It will enable developers to create industry-changing products."

But what about the hardware side of things? Well, the TX1 is a respectable leap in hardware and compute performance. Sitting at 1 Teraflops of rated (FP16) compute performance, the TX1 pairs four ARM Cortex A57 and four ARM Cortex A53 64-bit CPU cores with a 256-core Maxwell-based GPU. Definitely respectable for its size and low power consumption, especially considering NVIDIA claims the SoC can best the Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K in certain workloads (thanks to the GPU portion). The module further contains 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and 16GB of eMMC flash storage.

In short, while on module storage has not increased, RAM has been doubled and compute performance has tripled for FP16 compute performance and jumped by approximately 40% for FP32 versus the Jetson TK1's 2GB of DDR3 and 192-core Kepler GPU. The TX1 also uses a smaller process node at 20nm (versus 28nm) and the chip is said to use "very little power." Networking support includes 802.11ac and Gigabit Ethernet. The chart below outlines the major differences between the two platforms.

  Jetson TX1 Jetson TK1
GPU (Architecture) 256-core (Maxwell) 192-core (Kepler)
CPU 4 x ARM Cortex A57 + 4 x A53 "4+1" ARM Cortex A15 "r3"
RAM 4 GB LPDDR4 2 GB LPDDR3
eMMC 16 GB 16 GB
Compute Performance (FP16) 1 TFLOP 326 GFLOPS
Compute Performance (FP32) - via AnandTech 512 GFLOPS (AT's estimation) 326 GFLOPS (NVIDIA's number)
Manufacturing Node 20nm 28nm
Launch Pricing $299 $192

The TX1 will run the Linux For Tegra operating system and supports the usual suspects of CUDA 7.0, cuDNN, and VisionWorks development software as well as the latest OpenGL drivers (OpenGL 4.5, OpenGL ES 3.1, and Vulkan).

NVIDIA is continuing to push for CUDA Everywhere, and the Jetson TX1 looks to be a more mature product that builds on the TK1. The huge leap in compute performance should enable even more interesting projects and bring more sophisticated automation and machine learning to smaller and more intelligent devices.

For those interested, the Jetson TX1 Development Kit (the full I/O development board with bundled module) will be available for pre-order today at $599 while the TX1 module itself will be available soon for approximately $299 each in orders of 1,000 or more (like Intel's tray pricing).

With CUDA 7, it is apparently possible for the GPU to be used for general purpose processing as well which may open up some doors that where not possible before in such a small device. I am interested to see what happens with NVIDIA's embedded device play and what kinds of automated hardware is powered by the tiny SoC and its beefy graphics.

Source: NVIDIA

Thrustmaster Offers T300 Servo Base as a Standalone Product

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:39 PM |
Tagged: wheel, tx f458, TX, Thrustmaster, T500, T300RS, t300 base, T300, 599XX Alcantara

Seems we have been on a bit of a Thrustmaster kick as of late?  We are not really complaining as there are certainly some interesting products that the company offers.  The latest product is not new, but how it is presented is.  Thrustmaster has traditionally bundled all of the different parts of the wheel together, but for the past few years they have worked on expanding the wheel ecosystem so users can upgrade certain pieces at will.

T300 Servo Base.png

This is all well and good, but users might find that they are throwing their money away by not recycling or reselling the parts they were upgrading.  Bought the TX F458 and want to purchase the shifter?  Go for it, but you need to buy the 3 pedal unit as the F458 kit only includes a two pedal unit.  Upgrade to the leather GT wheel or the new 599XX Alcantara edition?  Might as well throw the stock wheel in the closet, never to be seen again.

Choice is a good thing, so Thrustmaster is now offering its more moderately priced base unit, the T300, as a standalone part.  This will allow users to purchase a good quality base all the while picking and choosing what other components to use.  The base price is $249 US.

The T300 base unit features a strong brushless motor with the dual belt pulley system.  This base unit is an upgrade from the TX base that is included with my previously reviewed TX F458 Italia Edition wheel set.  It features the full 1080 degrees of rotation vs. the TX’s 900 degrees.  The motor also looks to be larger and stronger than the TX.  The base unit is compatible with the PS3/PS4, and the PC.  It also features the H.E.A.R.T sensor that utilizes the Hall Effect to provide a contact-less sensor that should last nearly forever.  It features the 16 bit sensor giving over 65,000 values around the axis.  Xbox 1 users will have to rely on the TX base unit as the T300 is not compatible with that system.

T300 Servo Base Ecosystem.jpg

Thrustmaster's competitor Fanatec has been selling the base units by themselves for quite some time, so it is nice to see Thrustmaster offer customers the same flexibility.  One thing must be noted though, the T300 is significantly less expensive than the lowest priced Fanatec base units that are currently available.

Click here to read the entire press release.

 

Source: Thrustmaster

Fallout 4 performance at the high end

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:36 PM |
Tagged: R9 FuryX, nvidia, GTX 980 Ti, gaming, fallout 4, amd

[H]ard|OCP tested out the performance of the 980 Ti and FuryX in single card configurations as multiple GPU support is non-existent in Fallout 4, some have had moderate success with workarounds which [H] mentions at the end of the review.  At launch it seems NVIDIA's card offers significantly better performance overall, hopefully that delta will decrease as patches and drivers are rolled out.  As far as features go, enabling godrays has a huge effect on performance for both cards and FXAA is the best performing AA when displaying a wide variety of terrain, close forested areas allowed TAA to narrow the gap.  As to the game itself, as of yet they do not sound overly impressed.

1447201224JcH13vVZ7d_1_1.gif

"Fallout 4 is out on the PC, in this preview we will take a look at performance between GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X as well as some in-game feature performance comparisons. We'll also take a look at some in-game feature screenshots and find out what settings are best for an enjoyable gaming experience."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

NVIDIA's new Tesla M40 series

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:12 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Tesla M40, neural net, JetsonTX1

There are a lot of colloquialisms tossed about such as AI research and machine learning which refer to the work being done designing neural nets by feeding in huge amounts of data to an architecture capable of forming and weighting connections in an attempt to create a system capable of processing that input in a meaningful way.  You might be familiar with some of the more famous experiments such as Google's Deep Dream and Wolfram's Language
Image Identification Project
.  As you might expect this takes a huge amount of computational power and NVIDA has just announced the Tesla M40 accelerator card for training deep neural nets.  It is fairly low powered at 50-75W of draw and NVIDIA claims it will be able to deal with five times more simultaneous video streams than previous products.  Along with this comes Hyperscale Suite software, specifically designed to work on the new hardware which Jen-Hsun Huang comments on over at The Inquirer.  

At the end of the presentation he also mentioned the tiny Jetson TX1 SoC.  It has 256-core Maxwell GPU capable of 1TFLOPS, a 64-bit ARM A57 CPU, 4GB of memory and communicates via Ethernet or Wi-Fi all on a card 50x87mm (2x3.4)" in size.  It will be available at $300 when released some time early next year.

hyperscale-datacentre-nvidia-540x334.jpeg

"Machine learning is the grand computational challenge of our generation. We created the Tesla hyperscale accelerator line to give machine learning a 10X boost. The time and cost savings to data centres will be significant."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Toshiba's new Skylake powered Portégé series

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 9, 2015 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, portege, Skylake

The Inquirer hasn't received a model for review yet but they did get a quick peek at the new line of Portégé business laptops from Toshiba.  The new models are the 13.3" Portégé Z20t-C, 14" Portégé Z30-C, 14" Tecra Z40-C, and 15.6" Tecra Z50-C and will ship running either Windows 7 or Windows 10 depending on your preference.  From what they were told only the small Z20t-C will have the new USB 3.1 Type-C port, other models will sport USB 3.0.  One nice feature with the new Z series is that they will all use the same docking station, handy for when you are managing multiple models.  If you are looking for a new business laptop or your company is fishing for vendors then you might want to wait to check out Toshiba's new line when it officially launches.

portege-z20t-c-laptop-540x334.jpeg

"TOSHIBA HAS UNVEILED fresh iterations of its flagship business laptop range, the Z Series, adding Intel's latest 6th-gen Core processors."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

You got air in my LiOn battery! Oh wait ...

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2015 - 12:48 PM |
Tagged: Li-air, battery

Many great discoveries happen accidentally, when a scientist is attempting to create a new material or upgrade an existing one, only to stumble upon something different or to achieve the desired results in an unexpected way.  Such was the case for K M Abraham who was trying to improve the performance of LiOn batteries when one of his batteries sprung a leak and allowed air into the cells.  Over the past twenty years we have barely managed to triple the power of batteries so any advancement in battery technology is welcome even ones which seem at first to have serious drawbacks.  The problem with this particular battery design is in the formation of Li2O2 deposits as the battery discharges which will eventually render the battery nonchargeable and useless.   Read on at The Register to see how that problem has been overcome and the possible uses of this new type battery.

tesla-model-s-battery.jpg

"Rather than try to fix the leak, Abraham investigated and discovered the first rechargeable lithium-air (Li-air) battery. So far this discovery hasn’t led to any technically viable products, but a paper published in Science from a University of Cambridge research group may be about to change that."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Be careful where your USB Type-C cords come from

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2015 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C

The introduction of USB 3 Type C has been welcomed by everyone who has to twist a USB cable three times before it will plug in but that reversible functionality could also pose a risk.  An engineer from that Alphabet company warns that because the new plugs and cords provide 3A power supply the cords have to have the correct resistor present to make sure that the correct amount of power flows through the cord.  After testing a variety of cables from Amazon, Benson Leung discovered some of the cheaper cables consider that resistor optional, skipping it or putting one in which cannot handle that amount of amperage.  This results in magic smoke being released from your shiny, new and expensive machine at worst and flaky connections at best.   Catch up with his testing at The Inquirer and make sure you are picking up cables with a reputable name attached to them.

mGcPM.jpg

"A GOOGLE ENGINEER has warned people to beware of cutting corners with the purchase of the new USB Type-C cables which are set to become the standard over the coming years."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #374 - Cases for the R9 Nano, Thrustmaster T150, The End of AMD Catalyst and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2015 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, r9 nano, Lian-Li, q30, q33, Thrustmaster, T150, amd, catalyst, radeon software, crimson, game ready, GFE, ECS, LIVA X2, Braswell, Intel, fallout 4, CRYORIG

PC Perspective Podcast #374 - 11/05/2015

Join us this week as we discuss cases for the R9 Nano, Thrustmaster T150, The End of AMD Catalyst and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:21:59

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:35:50 This episode of PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Braintree. Even the best mobile app won’t work without the right payments API. That’s where the Braintree v.0 SDK comes in. One amazingly simple integration gives you every way to pay. Try out the sandbox and see for yourself at braintree­payments.com/pcper
  3. News item of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: Coin 2.0
    2. Jeremy: Rebel Galaxy … soon to be on sale
    3. Allyn: Key Ring (stop carrying around bar codes)
  5. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Steam Launches "Item Stores"

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: valve, steam, Rust

Team Fortress 2 switched from a paid game, first seen in The Orange Box bundle, to a free-to-play title. Financially, you could say that it was supported by tips... ... tips of the hat. Some responded with a wag of their finger, but others with a swipe of their credit card. Where was I going with this? Oh right. This game put Valve on the path of microtransactions, which fuels games like DOTA 2 that aren't supported in any other way.

valve-2015-steam-item-store.png

Each of these item payments are done in game however, even Valve games, except for one. Rust has been chosen to introduce Item Stores on Steam. If you go to Rust's store page, you will see a category called “Items available for this game”. Clicking on it brings you to “Rust Item Store”, where you can buy in-game clothing, weapons, and sleeping bags with real money. This feature is not even available on Team Fortress 2 or DOTA 2.

While there has been some parallels drawn between this and the backtracked paid mods initiative, I don't see it. This is not attempting to take third-party content, some of which was plagiarized from free, existing mods, and sell it. This is an attempt to provide a platform for in-game purchases that already exist. If there's a story, I'd say it's how the initiative launched with a third-party game, and not one of Valve's two, popular, free-to-play titles.

Source: PC Gamer

Bethesda Blogs Fallout 4 Graphics Features

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 4, 2015 - 09:37 PM |
Tagged: fallout 4, bethesda

Fallout 4 is just a few days from release, and the hype train is roaring into the station. Bethesda titles are particularly interesting for PC hardware websites because they tend to find a way into our benchmarking suites. They're relatively demanding, open world titles that are built with a unique engine, and they are popular. They are very, very popular. Skyrim is still in our lineup even though it launched four whole years ago (although that is mostly because it's our last DirectX 9 representative).

bethesda-2015-fallout4-official-2.jpg

Being a demanding, open world title means that it has several interesting features. First, it has full time-of-day lighting and weather effects, which were updated in this release with enhanced post processing effects. A bright, daytime scene will have blue skies and a soft fog that scatters light. Materials are developed using a “Physically Based Shading” model, which is more of an artist feature, but it tends to simplify asset creation and make it much more consistent.

They also have “dynamic dismemberment using hardware tessellation”. In other words, GPUs will add detail to models as they are severed into smaller chunks. Need I say more?

bethesda-2015-fallout4-official-1.jpg

A lot of these features are seen in many other engines lately, like Unreal Engine 4, so it shouldn't be too surprising. Bokeh Depth of Field is a blurring technique to emulate how camera apertures influence out-of-focus elements. This is most obvious in small highlights, which ends up taking the shape of the camera's aperture. If a camera uses a six-blade aperture, then blurred point blooms will look like hexagons. This is very useful to emulate film. They also use “filmic tonemapping”, which is another post process effect to emulate film.

Fallout 4 seems to be making use of high-end DirectX 11-era features. While this means that it should be about the best-looking game out there, it also holds a lot of promise for mods.

As you're well aware, Fallout 4 ships on November 10th (and screenshots have already leaked).

Source: Bethesda

Fallout 4 PC Screenshots Leaked (1080p Ultra)

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2015 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, fallout 4, bethesda

Someone on NeoGAF got their hands on Fallout 4 screenshots. These ones are from the PC, captured at 1080p with supposedly Ultra settings. I can believe it.

bethesda-2015-fallout4-ultra.jpg

Image Credit: RoboPlato on NeoGAF

Not much to be said about these, apart from “go to NeoGAF to see the rest of them”. From the spoilers side of things, near the bottom of the page, there's an image that lists a bunch of perks. It's small enough that you cannot read it unless you right-click and “view image”, so don't worry about accidentally seeing it. Otherwise, there isn't really any spoilers on that page, although I didn't check the other ones. Be careful if you start browsing the other pages of the thread.

bethesda-2015-fallout4-ultra-2.jpg

Image Credit: RoboPlato on NeoGAF
(See the rest of the screenshots there)

They posted their system specs, but it's kind-of irrelevant. We don't know how old their build is.

Fallout 4 launches on Tuesday (the same day as StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void -- which is irrelevant to this post, but I want you all to know my pain).

Source: NeoGAF

Welcome to the Inner Sphere; Battletech makes it

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2015 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield, harebrained schemes

This will not be the Mechwarrior of old, the new Battletech game will be turn based and resemble the tabletop version of the game in more ways than the faster paced Mechwarrior and Mech Commander series.  As mentioned in the interview by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN with Jordan Weisman, the main creator of this world the turn based play allows you to delve far deeper into managing your mechs heat, ranges, and armor exposure in combat .  Battles will also focus more on mixed forces with crunchies and quite possibly air support present on the theater in addition to your mechs.  Read the full interview for more information on what this game will look like.  It has been fully funded and all the extra tiers were reached, including an extended single player campaign and PvP battles in the Arenas of Solaris VII, you can still get in on the action on their second chance pledge page.

"This is a turn-based game, and that allows us to dive a little deeper into what makes a mech a mech. When you’re real-time, you have to kind of… not allow the player to dive into that kind of depth because there’d be too much information overflow and decision paralysis,” Weisman said."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

The fight for a wireless power standard is down to two

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2015 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: Qi, wireless power, Airfuel Alliance, Wireless Power Consortium

We have seen several solutions for wirelessly charging your mobile devices emerge recently which cause some to worry this would create an ecosystem of incompatible solutions.  Today two of the major players in Wireless Power merged to form the Airfuel Alliance.  Those two players were supported by Broadcom, Intel, Samsung and several others while the WPC is backed by big names such as Microsoft, Motorola, Philips and Qualcomm.  WPC's branding is Qi, while AA's members use a mix of magnetic resonance and induction systems with Rezence being their widest known branding.  Currently there are products such as the Apple watch which use Qi, with Intel prototyping charging stations using AA's solutions.  With only two major players left there is much less chance of this particular market fragmenting and becoming frustrating for consumers.  Read on at The Register for more.

WPC-consortium-logo-website.gif

"The battle for wireless power supremacy is now a straight fight between two groups following the merger of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) into the Airfuel Alliance."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Roccat Kiro Is Very Ambidextrous

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2015 - 07:32 AM |
Tagged: roccat, gaming mouse

While it used to be next-to impossible to find ambidextrous mice with thumb buttons, it's fairly common these days. This is coming from a left-handed PC gamer. We now have several options, including a few options that are exclusively for south paws. This one is a little different, though. Roccat decided to make an ambidextrous mouse with removable covers for the thumb buttons. This change allows the user to convert the mouse from left-handed thumb buttons, to right-handed thumb buttons, to both, to neither.

roccat-2015-kiro-buttons.jpg

Unfortunately, Roccat doesn't say exactly how many buttons there are. I'm looking specifically at the front middle. It looks like a simple scroll wheel with a single button behind it. Roccat calls the wheel a “2D Titan Wheel” but, as far as I can tell, and I've searched for quite a while about this, it's just their brand name for a high-quality, one dimensional scroll wheel. Physically speaking, a “2D scroll wheel” should have tilt, but it doesn't seem to. 2D is up, down, left, right; 1D is up and down; 0D is a point, which I guess would be a button?

Anyway, the customization feature sounds nice, but I'm not sure how useful it is in practice. It could be nice for a family, where some users are right-handed and others are left-handed. A single person is going to stick with a single handedness, though. This makes me consider other uses cases, where a single user would want to adjust their button layout for reasons other than handedness. Perhaps the user doesn't want to feel buttons under their pinky and ring finger when playing certain genres, but want it for some reason (DPI adjustment?) in other games. It's a struggle, but maybe there's a potential market for it.

roccat-2015-kiro-nobuttons.jpg

This is the same mouse as above, just with its sides replaced.

On the other hand, Roccat plans to release “3D print support”. Maybe the draw was never intended to be the four included panels. Perhaps the goal is to provide a platform for users to create their own sides, and the ambidextrous nature was just the default for non-enthusiasts (or until the user gets around to making their own)?

Pricing and availability have not been announced on their website, but Tom's Hardware seems to think it's $49.99, and available November 27th. It's probably in a newsletter or press release that I missed.

Source: Roccat

Microsoft Updated Windows End of Sales Dates

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2015 - 07:05 AM |
Tagged: Windows 8.1, windows 8, Windows 7, windows 10, microsoft

Officially, the only version of Windows that you can purchase standalone is Windows 10. Sales of Windows 7 ended on October 31st, 2013, and retail availability Windows 8.x ended on September 1st. Unofficially, you can find SKUs available on Amazon and elsewhere for both of these versions, and in several different editions.

16-ShatteredWindows2.jpg

PCs with Windows pre-installed follow their own calendar, though. Almost two years ago, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 PCs will be available until October 31st, 2014, with an extension for Windows 7 Professional that will be at least 12 months after... whenever they decide to announce the date. They announced the date a few days ago and, you guessed it, it's 12 months from then: October 31st, 2016. They also announced that PCs with Windows 8.1 pre-installed will have the same end of sales date.

So basically, you can only purchase Windows 10 now, and PCs will only have it pre-installed after October 31st, 2016... officially.

Source: Microsoft

Another Video About the Early Days of PC Audio

Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2015 - 09:22 PM |
Tagged: sound blaster 16, Sound Blaster, pc gaming, Creative, audio, ad lib

About two weeks ago, we highlighted a video by “The 8-Bit Guy” about the earliest computer audio implementations. It focused on the engineering side, how a series of channels, made up of square waves, triangles waves, noise, and occasionally PCM recordings, could be mixed to generate sound.

This video discusses a similar era from a slightly different perspective. Beep is a documentary video and book series that started on Kickstarter. This segment is an interview with Rich Heimlich, the person behind the company Top Star. They did third-party QA for video game companies. He was approached by Martin Prevel, a professor at Université Laval in Quebec, who had the idea of an add-in sound card. It used the Yamaha YM3812 sound chip, which you might remember from The 8-Bit Guy's video.

The interview delves into the more business aspects of the industry, though. For example, one of Ad Lib's biggest issues was that PCs did not have a lot of room for expansion. It was difficult to convince the consumer to give up a whole ISA add-in slot for audio. Heimlich remembers a strong consumer backlash against dedicated audio that they needed to overcome. Gamers needed to choose between sound, clock, storage, and so forth. Beyond that, the PC, with software like LOTUS 123, brought hardware that wasn't just considered “a toy” into the home. It brought a huge wave of hardware in, but it wasn't considered a serious gaming platform until titles like Myst came out for them.

creative-2015-logo.png

At some point, Creative noticed this whole situation. They contacted Rich Heimlich and showed them the “Killer” (later “Sound Blaster”) card. The switch in power from Ad Lib to Creative was interesting, which Heimlich says had nothing to do with the digital audio feature, since that was not even used until two years after Creative surpassed Ad Lib in market share. He attributes it to the initial problem, which is a lack of add-in card real estate. The Sound Blaster had a GamePort, which let users justify filling that socket with both audio and a joystick port, which would be two sockets with Ad Lib's solution. It was also cheaper than the Ad Lib.

The interview goes on to discuss the Ad Lib vs Creative war to their next-generation product, Ad Lib Gold vs Sound Blaster 16. He alleges that, since Creative had better connections within Yamaha, they kept Ad Lib's card out of certification until Sound Blaster 16 was in the market. It then continues to talk about reverse-engineering “Sound Blaster-compatible” and so forth. It then continues for a while, even talking about OS/2 at the end of it.

It is definitely worth a view.

Source: Beep