Mariner 1 is down

Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2011 - 05:49 PM |
Tagged: friday

The biggest mistake you can make, next to admitting you know about computers, is offering tech support to family.   Paying a backyard mechanic in beer, food or both is well ingrained in most peoples mind as is the fact that the repair will not be instantaneous.   Such is not true of the lowly PC tech, not only are you unlikely to be offered anything for your efforts there is usually about a 5 minute time limit for you to finish rebuilding the smoking and infected ruin that once was a loved ones PC.  On the other hand you can't say no to Mom, nor should you go for fancy repairs like you would do for yourself

Not that you can win by keeping things secret of course, nothing will protect you from equipment that shows up dead on your doorstop or works but is just plain recalcitrant.  Sometimes asking for advice before you buy is your best bet, just speculating on unreleased hardware is probably safer.  Even safer would be to just listen to us talk and speculate on hardware in the latest installment of the PC Perspective Podcast ... the last one from the TWiT Cottage.  Next week we should be broadcasting from the new Brick TWiT house.  Then we may be doing something from QuakeCon, don't miss it if you have a chance to go!

 

Bulldozer will be on time, missing CEO or not

Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2011 - 11:42 AM |
Tagged: amd, bulldozer, finance, release

AMD has a lot to happy about today, even if both they and GLOBALFOUNDRIES are one CEO short of a full board.  This time last year AMD was talking up Bulldozer as a product 12 months or more out of market and facing a $43 million loss under “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles”, as Josh explained fully.  Long story short it was money being paid for GF; the unadjusted profit for the quarter was actually $83 million, . This quarter it was a $61 million profit, $70 million non-GAAP, thanks to AMD focusing on keeping the costs down, with a bit of help from the recent release of Llano. 

On the processor side, AMD is pegging the 16-core "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 Bulldozer CPU for servers and the Zambezi FX series will both come out at the same time, at least as far as revenue is concerned.  We may not have them in hand for a while longer than that, but not too long.  Drop by the Register for the full picture.

scroogemcduck.jpg

"The hybrid CPU-GPU chips for mobile PCs gave Advanced Micro Devices some breathing room in the second quarter, but it's going to take continued ramping of these APU processors and an upswing in Opteron server sales to get the company back to the profit levels it should be enjoying during a retooling phase in the IT market – and it looks like AMD and its server partners won't have to wait too much longer."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

18,592 Academic Papers Released To Public Via Torrent

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 07:29 PM |
Tagged: torrent, tech, networking, jstor

In light of Aaron Swartz’s recent legal trouble involving charges being brought against him for downloading academic papers from the online pay-walled database called JSTOR using MIT’s computer network, a bittorrent user named Greg Maxwell has decided to fight back against publishers who charge for access to academic papers by releasing 18,592 academic papers to the public in a 32.48 gigabyte torrent uploaded to The Pirate Bay.

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Maxwell claims that the torrent consists of documents from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society journal. According to Gigaom, the copyrights on these academic papers have been expired for some time; however, the only way to access these documents have been through the pay-walled JSTOR database where individual articles can cost as much as $19. While Maxwell claims to have gained access to the papers many years prior through legal means (likely through a college or library’s database access), he has been fearful of releasing the documents due to legal repercussions from the journal’s publishers. He claims that the legal troubles that Swartz is facing for (allegedly) downloading the JSTOR library has fueled his passion and changed his mind about not releasing them.

Maxwell justifies the release by stating that the authors and universities do not benefit from their work, and the move to a digital distribution method has yet to coincided with a reduction in prices. In the past the high cost (sometimes paid by the authors) has been such to cover the mechanical process of binding and printing the journals. Maxwell further states that to his knowledge, the money those wishing to verify their facts and learn more from these academic works “serves little significant purpose except to perpetuate dead business models.” The pressure and expectation that authors must publish or face irrelevancy further entrenches the publisher’s business models.

Further, GigaOm quoted Maxwell in stating:

“If I can remove even one dollar of ill-gained income from a poisonous industry which acts to suppress scientific and historic understanding, then whatever personal cost I suffer will be justified . . . it will be one less dollar spent in the war against knowledge. One less dollar spent lobbying for laws that make downloading too many scientific papers a crime.”

Personally, I’m torn on the ethics of the issue. On one hand, these academic papers should be made available for free (or at least at cost of production) to anyone that wants them as they are written for the betterment of humanity and pursuit of knowledge (or at least as a thought provoking final paper). On the other hand, releasing the database via a torrent has it’s own issues. As far as non-violent protests go, this is certainly interesting and likely to get the attention of the publishers and academics. Whether it will cause them to reevaluate their business models; however, is rather doubtful (and unfortunate).

Image courtesy Isabelle Palatin.

Source: GigaOm

Gmail Now Supports Multiple Calls and Placing Calls On Hold

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: networking, voip, google

The Gmail blog recently showed off a new feature that allows you to put one call on hold while accepting another, a feature that standard phones have had for a long time now. Inside Gmail, you are able to start a call to another computer or a physical phone and then you are free to place this call on hold by hitting the “hold” button. When you wish to return to the call, you simply hit the “Resume” button- just like a normal phone. When a second person calls you, you will be asked to accept or reject it, and if you accept the call the first call will automatically be placed on hold.

multiplecalls.png

According to Google, the call hold feature “works across all call types (voice, video, and phone)” and the only caveat is a limit of two outgoing calls to physical phones can be active at a time. The only feature I see missing from this function is integration with Google Music that would allow me to set up custom hold music to the chagrin to telemarketers and customer support everywhere. After all, it is almost a Friday and everyone would just love to hear some Rebecca Black, right!?

Source: Gmail Blog

Podcast #163 - Mini ITX Z68 Motherboard, PDXLAN coverage, Sandy Bridge-E rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: vellamo, podcast, nvidia, Intel, eyefinity, Android, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #163 - 7/21/2011

This week we talk about a Mini ITX Z68 Motherboard, PDXLAN coverage, Sandy Bridge-E rumors 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 and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:22:27

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:31 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:20 BlackBerry PlayBook Review: Good Hardware Seeks Great Software
  6. 0:04:10 Eyefinity and Me - An Idiot's Guide to AMD's Multi-Monitor Technology
  7. 0:05:05 Qualcomm Vellamo Browser Benchmark and Results - Android Web Performance
  8. 0:10:45 Zotac thinks small with their new Z68 motherboard
  9. 0:15:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:16:20 One Billion work units down and the FLOPs are still rising - team ranking page 
  11. 0:20:05 Intel Sandy Bridge-E Processors Just In Time For Christmas But With Some Features Removed 
  12. 0:25:02 Steam readies update to download system, just in (Valve) time
  13. 0:29:25 PDXLAN Custom Cases Round 1
  14. 0:34:15 Overclockers Achieve Impressive Llano Overclocking Results, Come Close to 5GHz
  15. 0:38:30 Intel and AMD be warned; ARM could grab up to 20% of the laptop market in the next 4 years 
  16. 0:44:00 Southern Island is ahead of the pack, but it is set to low power for now  
  17. 0:48:02 FPS games have hit the innovation wall? Not so says John Carmack 
  18. 0:56:35 With Intel's recent purchasing habits, could crossdressing be in their future? 
  19. 1:03:00 New Apple Hardware overview
  20. 1:09:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
    1. Tshirts, prizes, stuff!
  21. 1:12:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Spotify
    2. Jeremy: sweet RAM deal
    3. Allyn: http://www.passwordcard.org/en
  22. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  23. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  24. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  25. 1:20:55 Closing

Source:

Steelseries' subtle gaming keyboard

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: input, steelseries, steelseries 6G V2

Many gaming keyboards feel the need for glowing keys, LED screens or even fans to cool your palms while you game.  The SteelSeries 6G V2 goes a completely different way to satisfy those who want a good quality keyboard without any extravagant bells or whistle.  It is a mechanical keyboard which can handle 6 simultaneous keypresses over USB and an unlimited amount over PS/2.  The evil Windows key that lives under your keft palm has been replaced with a SteelSeries Key that will activate the sparse media keys sharing space with your function keys.  At $120ish it may be a bit rich for some gamer's blood, Funky Kit recommends it for those who are willing to pay the price.

FK_Steelseries.jpg

"Revolutionary designs for keyboards dont exaclty pop up all the time. The old saying "if it isn't broken..." holds true to the basic keyboard design. Sure there are fancy things thrown in there like backlit keys, LCD screens, and macro buttons. But does that really matter for most people? Not really.

Steelseries has taken that if it isn't broken formula, but tweaked it a bit. This particular keyboard, the "6G V2 gaming keyboard" gives a basic design look of a $10 keyboard you can buy at any big retail store but packs some cool stuff under the hood. Read more ahead ..."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Funky Kit

Corsair Announces New Modular Power Supplies

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: PSU, modular, corsair

Corsiar has recently introduced a new line of modular power supplies based on the popular TX V2 Enthusiast Series. The new modular PSUs have an attached ATX 12V cable and a full compliment of flat, detachable cables. Being 80+ Bronze certified, the new PSUs are able to deliver at least 85% efficiency at 50% load. Available from authorized retailers in July, the models range in wattage from 550 watts to 850 watts.

tx550m_psu_backangle_300.png

The Corsair TX550M is based on the TX550 V2 and is able to support the following connectors in addition to the non-modular ATX 12V cable.

Model Corsair TX550M
Wattage 550W @ 50°C
EPS 1
PCI-E 2
Molex 6
SATA Power 6
Floppy 2
MTBF 100,000 Hours
MSRP $109 USD

 

On the voltage front, the PSU is capable of delivering 45A on the +12V rail and 25A on the +5V rail.

Read more about the new power supplies.

Source: Corsair

Quakecon isn't the only party in Dallas

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | July 21, 2011 - 11:35 AM |
Tagged: Texas GamExperience, amd

You still have a while to wait before the start of Quakecon in Dallas, and then even longer to wait until the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop starts of and you can act like the maddest fool around in order to win prizes.  That doesn't mean that Houston is quiet, indeed [H]ard|OCP and AMD just hosted the Texas GamExperience there this past weekend.  They posted pictures of the event, including an awe inspiring EyeFinity Experience.  Click through to see the rest of the pictures.

H_Eyefinity.jpg

"AMD and HardOCP got together this past weekend in Dallas to put together an event that was focused on giving back to the enthusiast computer hardware community that has given so much to us."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Bumpday 7/20/2011: 3D Glasses not available in all areas

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 20, 2011 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: bumpday, 3d

This week LG unveiled their glasses-free 3D LCD display with only a minimal amount of LG employees trying to pet a poorly Photoshopped Formula One race car. 3D is quite heavily promoted lately with the hype machine apparently being fueled by anthropomorphic blue cats and Box Office records. 3D on the PC has been around for much longer, however. NVIDIA and ELSA had support for 3D glasses over a decade ago for 3D effects in games of the time. There really has not really been much said about 3D between then and the rush of publicity now so I guess it is time to bump it up in our memory.

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This week’s intermission… in the third dimension

In August 2002 the epitome of threads on ATI’s lack of 3D stereoscopic support was born with a simple message: give your greens to the green. Of course whenever you mention one brand over another there immediately becomes a three-way comparison between the market leaders: ATI, nVidia, and Matrox (wha-what!?! Actually another article will be posted soon; an old Matrox technology has a spiritual successor… because the body’s long since dead.) Even back then, however, we had people who bashed 3D technology long before it was cool to dislike 3D technology. Some people like it a lot though, enough to drop down 1600$ on a pair of 3D VR glasses, but no money on an ATI card.

BUMP!

Source: PCPer Forums

Apple brings OS X Lion to the masses

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2011 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: osx, macbook, mac, lion, imac, apple

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Mission Control (Courtesy of Apple)

Apple released their latest operating system dubbed OS X Lion today that includes more than 250 new features the company states will make dramatic improvements to how users interact with Apple's entire line of computer systems. The $29.99 upgrade includes several new features like multi-touch gestures, full-screen apps, a new Mission Control section, and a new location for Mac apps called LaunchPad.

whatsnew_launchpad_screen.jpg

LaunchPad (Courtesy of Apple)

Apple expanded OS X's ability to view installed applications through a new program called Launchpad. Launchpad allows users to see all of their apps on one screen gives you instant access to all the apps on your Mac. Previously, loaded apps were viewed in a smaller window and now Launchpad will use all the screen real estate more efficiently to show users all their apps at one time. 

mail_screen1.jpg

Apple Mail (Courtesy of Apple)

OS X Lion also showcases a redesigned Mail program that uses a widescreen view to show message lists in modular sections that are more intuitive to read and use. Another section called Conversations gives users a basic timeline to show threads of messages from specific people. The revamped program also includes search suggestions and search tokens to make finding archived or buried e-mails alot simpler than clicking around for them.

whatsnew_server_screen.jpg

Apple Server (Courtesy of Apple)

Another interesting feature Apple added is the OS X Lion Server that provides more control over user and administerator permissions versus the previous Server app. This program can basically turn almost any Mac into a basic server with secure options for remotely managing computers running Lion and other iOS devices like iPhones and iPad2s. Server admins can also send updates to all their users wirelessly through push notifications. Apple also made many improvements to the OS's file sharing options and to other programs like Wiki Server, iCal Server and Mail Server.

The OS X Lion upgrade can be purchased from the Mac App Store or online at Apple.com for $29.99. The entire download weighs in at around 3.49GB, which is a pretty significant update that should give many users more flexibility in how their use and interact with their Apple systems.

Source: Apple

FPS games have hit the innovation wall? Not so says John Carmack

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2011 - 12:54 PM |
Tagged: john carmack, gaming

In a recent interview John Carmack seemed quite annoyed by a question implying that the current generation of first person shooters are all carbon copies of each other.  He picked one of the favourite targets of game critics, Call of Duty, citing the fact that if people were sick of the game and its general game play that it would not sell the way that it does.  He also touched on the cinematic opportunities offered by 3rd person game play; when you watch a movie it is very rare for the director to choose a first person view as that limits their creative choices for effects and environments.  Follow the link from Slashdot for more information.

carmack-flying.jpg

"id Software co-founder John Carmack defended the creativity of first-person shooter games in a recent interview. The legendary programmer, who was a pioneer in the shooter genre with Doom and Quake, said he doesn't like hearing from developers that shooters aren't good because they're not reinventing the wheel. 'I am pretty down on people who take the sort of creative auteurs' perspective. It's like "Oh, we're not being creative." But we're creating value for people — that's our job! It's not to do something that nobody's ever seen before. It's to do something that people love so much they're willing to give us money for... you see some of the indie developers that really take a snooty attitude about this,' he lamented."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: Slashdot

Southern Island is ahead of the pack, but it is set to low power for now

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2011 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, nvidia, gpu, amd, 28nm

Thanks to some information garnered by SemiAccurate we have a very good idea of AMD's release plans for their new GPU family, what we have been referring to as Southern Islands.  The confusion that we felt from AMD's announcement that Southern Island parts would be ready sooner than expected arose from the reported difficulties that TSMC was having with their 28nm HKMG process.  Thankfully someone had a chance to take apart some 28nm TSMC field programmable arrays and inside found a HKMG design modified for lower power states than the original specs.  That doesn't mean cellphone level graphics performance but certainly means that the first GPUs we see from Southern Islands will not be the high end cards.  AMD did the same thing with previous generations of GPUs, so the release schedule is becoming a habit, even if not what would be preferred.

There are other side effects to this choice by AMD and TSMC which are probably going to hurt NVIDIA, who are hoping to get full power Kepler based GPUs out at the beginning of next year.  Since NVIDIA tends towards more aggressive clocks, the experience that TSMC has with what is called the HPL 28nm process will not necessarily help NVIDIA's HKMG 28nm process.  SemiAccurate has more.

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"The final piece of the TSMC 28nm HKMG process puzzle was put in place at SemiCon last week, it now makes sense. Chipworks got ahold of a Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA, and it revealed a few secrets on the operating table.

If you recall, AMD is on track to put out Southern Islands chips much earlier than most people, SemiAccurate included, expected, possibly even this quarter. The real question is what process they are going to make it on, the TSMC 40nm SiON or 28nm HKMG? 40nm would be big, hot, and limited, think volcanic island more than Southern, while the 28nm SHP HKMG process wasn’t supposed to be ready until late Q1, best case. The short story is that Southern Islands is very likely not on either one."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: SemiAccurate

Chris Blizzard, Mozilla Blogs: The process of multi-process

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 19, 2011 - 11:59 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox

One side-effect of splitting a program up into multiple processes is that instructions do not inherently have a specific order. One of the most evident places for that to occur is during a videogame. I am sure most gamers have played a game where the controls just felt sluggish and muddy for some inexplicable reason. While there could be a few problems, one likely cause is that your input is not evaluated for a perceivably large amount of time. Chris Blizzard of Mozilla took on this and other issues with multithreaded applications and wrapped it around the concept of Firefox past, present, and future.

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Firefox is getting Beta all the time.

One common misconception is that your input is recognized between each frame, which is untrue: many frames could go by before input affects the events on screen. John Carmack in a recent E3 interview discussed about iD measuring up to 100ms worth of frames occurring before a frame occurred which recognized the user’s command. This is often more permissible for games with slower-paced game design where agility is less relevant; if your character would lose to a Yak in a foot race, turns about as quick as one, and takes a hundred bullets to die: you will not notice that you started to dodge a few milliseconds earlier as you would expect to die in either case. In a web browser it is much less dramatic though the same principle is true: the browser is busy doing its many tasks and cannot waste too much time checking if the user has requested something yet. This aspect of performance, along with random hanging, is considered “responsiveness”. Mozilla targets 50 milliseconds (one-twentieth of a second) as the maximum time before Firefox rechecks its state for changes.

Chris Blizzard goes on to discuss how hardware is mostly advancing on the front of increases in parallelism rather than clock speed and other per-thread advancements. GPGPU was not a topic in the blog post leaving the question for the distant future centered on what a multithreaded DOM would look like – valuing the classical multicore over the still budding many-core architectures. Memory usage and crashing were also addressed though this likely was more to dispel the Firefox stereotype of being a memory hog starting later in the Firefox 2 era.

GPGPU-Trail.png

The GPGPU trail is not Mozilla's roadmap.

The last topic discussed was Sandboxing for security. One advantage of branching off your multiple threads into multiple discrete processes is that you could request that the operating system assign limited rights to individual processes. The concept of limited rights is to prevent one application from exploiting too much permissions for the purpose of forcing your computer to do something undesirable. If you are accepting external data, such as a random website on the internet, you need to make sure that if it can exploit vulnerability in your web browser that it gains as little permission as possible. While it is not a guarantee that external data will be executed with dangerous permission levels: the harder you can make it, the better.

What does our readers think? (Registration not required to comment.)

Source: Mozilla Blog

CoolerMaster's new Storm headphones have nothing to do with JK Rowling

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2011 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: CoolerMaster Storm Sirus, audio, 5.1 headset

Naming a product Sirus right now might attract an odd crowd, then again maybe it is best that they are using headphones to watch or listen to their favourite series.  CoolerMaster's newest member of the Storm lineup is not a case, mouse or fan, it is a 5.1 surround headset.  One of the more interesting features is that there is only one wire coming from the headset, connecting to a small round controller.  From there you connect to the PC using USB, or preferably, 4 of the analog jacks on the back of your PC.  The controller allows you to adjust the levels of each channel separately, which is a very nice touch.  Unfortunately however Neoseeker adjusted it they couldn't bring it up to audiophile standards, but they have no reservations recommending it for gamers.

NS_CM_Storm_Sirus.jpg

"Not one to be left out, Cooler Master enters the PC audio market with a 5.1 surround sound headset of its own that can connect to your audio source via analog jacks or USB port. See how well the Sirius stacks against more specialized headsets in our latest audio review."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Neoseeker

Intel and AMD be warned; ARM could grab up to 20% of the laptop market in the next 4 years

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2011 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, arm, mali, low power

Those who ignored Microsoft's announcement that Windows 8 will support ARM processors will perhaps take note of Isuppli's claim that ARM could grab 1 in 5 of the laptops sold by 2015.  The extremely low powers System on a Chip design that they have been selling were at the opposite end of the market from AMD and Intel's X86 chips, but with the rise of the APU the market has undergone a fundamental change.  While the X86 makers are trying to lower the power requirements of their APUs, ARM is busy trying to ramp up the power of their chips.  There are already several vendors establishing a relationship with ARM, up to and including Apple

ARM's Cortex A9 and Mali are impressive, but ARM is already talking about console level graphics quality from their next generation of chips which we will see in roughly 18 months.  This improvement will also encompass their next generation of power efficency research, which should keep power consumption and heat well below what Intel and AMD will be trying to reach.  As well, it might provide an interesting opportunity for NVIDIA as the lack of a license to integrate chips with the new X86 based architecture will not stop them from developing graphics enhancements for ARM based laptops.  Drop by The Inquirer for more on this topic

ARM_Mali-T604 Architecture_675.jpg

"CHIP DESIGNER ARM could power over 20 per cent of all laptops shipped in 2015, according to analyst outfit IHS Isuppli.

IHS Isuppli has forecast that the domination of X86 chips in the laptop market will start to diminish as Microsoft releases its Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8 will be the first desktop operating system from Microsoft that will support the ARM architecture that is found in just about every smartphone in existence."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

NVDA Cum Laude-ing Stanford a CUDA Center of Excellence

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 17, 2011 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: stanford, nvidia, CUDA

NVIDIA has been pushing their CUDA platform for years now as a method to access your GPU for purposes far beyond the scopes of flags and frags. We have seen what a good amount of heterogeneous hardware will do to a process with a hefty portion of parallelizable code from encryption to generating bitcoins; media processing to blurring the line between real-time and non-real-time 3d rendering. NVIDIA also recognizes the role that academia plays in training the future programmers and thus strongly supports when an institution teaches how to use GPU hardware effectively, especially when they teach how to use NVIDIA GPU hardware effectively. Recently, NVIDIA knighted Stanford as the latest of its CUDA Center of Excellence round table.

GPUniversity.jpg

It will be 150$ if you want it framed.

The list of CUDA Centres of Excellence now currently includes: Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard School of Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering at Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Taiwan University, Stanford Engineering, TokyoTech, Tsinghua University, University of Cambridge, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland, University of Tennessee, and the University of Utah. If you are interested in learning about programming for GPUs then NVIDIA has just graced blessing on one further choice. Whether that will affect many prospective students and faculty is yet to be seen, but it makes for many amusing puns nonetheless.

Source: NVIDIA

PDXLAN Custom Cases Round 1

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | July 16, 2011 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: pdxlan, pdx, case mods

Yes, I am still gaming away and getting destroyed in some StarCraft II but at least we are having fun.  In between ass-whoopings I have been wandering around the BYOC looking for some interesting case mods.  Here are a few I found interesting.

 

cases01.jpg

These aren't really mods but I like the idea of bringing a BYOC stand that puts the case and computing components over the display in use, saving space on the table and moving the heat closer to the ceiling.  

 

cases02.jpg

Here is another example of the design but with a brightly lit overclocked and water cooled SLI configuration.

 

cases03.jpg

Probably my favorite for the event has been this Lego case that took about 2 years to create according to the owner.  The crane on the left is fully workable and controllable via some software running on the system.  My favorite part though: the HDD LED is routed to look like a Lego guy's welding light on the front!!

 

cases04.jpg

This Gigabyte branded case mod uses the company's new G1 Killer branded motherboards and focuses heavily on the green motif.  The skull shape reservoir really completes the ensemble.  

 

games01.jpg

Finally, here is a random shot of some people lining up to play a game of "LAN Pong" involving tossing tennis balls into a bucket.  The prizes were impressive though: a pair of NVIDIA Tegra 2 powered tablets.  

Source: PCPer

Steam readies update to download system, just in (Valve) time

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2011 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, downloader

Steam is not known to be the most reliable when it comes to updating; this is particularly true during the launch of a high-profile game when network traffic is at a peak. One such of those times happened for the last week-or-so during Valve’s fairly epic summer sale. Valve has, as usual, promptly addressed the issue and will be rolling out this new system starting today with a new client update forthcoming to support this new infrastructure.

steambusy.png

If other people are any indication: complain profusely while browsing more discounted bundles.

One method that the update will utilize to improve your downloading experience is to switch to the standard HTTP protocol for data transfers. There are two main benefits of HTTP: In the event that you are in a particularly nasty firewall environment, HTTP is more readily permitted than other ports for users with sane network administrators. The second benefit of HTTP is that data that protocol is potentially cached, thus if you and another user share some stretch of the internet between you and Valve, it is possible that you will not need to fetch the data all the way from Valve as the other request brought a copy of the data closer already. Besides HTTP, the other method of improving performance is the ability to perform differential synchronization. If a 2GB file is edited by 4KB, you will soon only need to receive the 4KB difference.

Valve, not being able to resist a troll, closed by teasing that DOTA 2 will be delivered using Steam’s new delivery system. They also claim that if you want to try out the new system, download a 1280x720 trailer from the Steam store because they already rolled out the new update to that part of the system. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: Valve

Microsoft May Be Dropping the Windows Branding In Future Operating Systems

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2011 - 10:14 AM |
Tagged: windows, microsoft, branding

Microsoft and their Windows brand have always been synonymous where it comes to Operating Systems. As someone who grew up with Windows 3.1, I have grown up seeing Microsoft through the proverbial Window(s). As such, Windows has been a brand that has always been around, and one that I assumed would always be around. In a surprise twist; however, This Is My Next reports that Microsoft may be dropping the Windows brand for their future operating systems after Windows 8.

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Look how far the MS OS logo has come.  What does the future hold?

Windows 8 is already incorporating tile elements of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Xbox elements in the form of a re-branded Games For Windows Live service. It seems logical; therefore, that Microsoft would want to even further integrate their mobile, gaming, and computing platforms into one cohesive unit. This Is My Next reports that the future OS will present a single Operating System and UI features across all devices and platforms. They further quote Andy Lees in stating that the single ecosystem would facilitate consistency across all Microsoft powered platforms and “the goal isn’t just to share UI, but also core technologies like Internet Explorer.”

You can read more about the “Next Next” OS over at This Is My Next. What are your opinions on the proposed branding theme? Do you have any fold memories of the Windows brand?

Sony: Back on track with their tablet ad campaign

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 15, 2011 - 11:39 PM |
Tagged: sony, S2, S1

It was just under a month ago when we reported on Sony’s “Two Will” campaign to promote their pair of upcoming Android Honeycomb tablets. The first video was part of a promised five-part series which started with a Rube Goldberg-esque machine casting shadows which either spell stuff or look like they are part of a city for Echochrome 2 people. It was unclear whether the next videos would have entirely different themes or if they would continue down that aesthetic. Now that the second video is released it appears like rails are here to stay.

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Barely hanging on the tail of a big cat. Nice metaphor -- but not iOS’ naming scheme.

(nor flattering for an ad)

This time around, Sony opens with a colorful fountain, a typing plunger device, and a jingle that is so familiar I have been racking my brain over it for hours trying to figure out where I heard it before expecting it to be some grand clue. There seems to be a lot of hidden metaphor in this ad campaign, much like what was seen in the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads that were pulled because they were panned by critics who could not see where they were headed thus making us all unsure of where they were actually headed because the rest is left unaired. Hopefully Sony will make it through all five of their episodes and we can find out exactly what Sony is trying to make us think about.

What do you think? Best ad ever or has Sony lost their marbles? See more metaphors?

Comment within.

Source: Sony