Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Microsoft

Make Sure You Understand Before the Deadline

I'm fairly sure that any of our readers who want Windows 10 have already gone through the process to get it, and the rest have made it their mission to block it at all costs (or they don't use Windows).

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Regardless, there has been quite a bit of misunderstanding over the last couple of years, so it's better to explain it now than a week from now. Upgrading to Windows 10 will not destroy your original Windows 7 or Windows 8.x license. What you are doing is using that license to register your machine with Windows 10, which Microsoft will create a digital entitlement for. That digital entitlement will be good “for the supported lifetime of the Windows 10-enabled device”.

There's three misconceptions that kept recurring from the above paragraph.

First, “the supported lifetime of the Windows 10-enabled device” doesn't mean that Microsoft will deactivate Windows 10 on you. Instead, it apparently means that Microsoft will continue to update Windows 10, and require that users will keep the OS somewhat up to date (especially the Home edition). If an old or weird piece of hardware or software in your device becomes incompatible with that update, even if it is critical for the device to function, then Microsoft is allowing itself to shrug and say “that sucks”. There's plenty of room for legitimate complaints about this, and Microsoft's recent pattern of weakened QA and support, but the specific complaint that Microsoft is just trying to charge you down the line? False.

Second, even though I already stated it earlier in this post, I want to be clear: you can still go back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x. Microsoft is granting the Windows 10 license for the Windows 7 or Windows 8.x device in addition to the original Windows 7 or Windows 8.x license granted to it. The upgrade process even leaves the old OS on your drive for a month, allowing the user to roll back through a recovery process. I've heard people say that, occasionally, this process can screw a few things up. It's a good idea to manage your own backup before upgrading, and/or plan on re-installing Windows 7 or 8.x the old fashioned way.

This brings us to the third misconception: you can re-install Windows 10 later!

If you upgrade to Windows 10, decide that you're better with Windows 7 or 8.x for a while, but decide to upgrade again in a few years, then your machine (assuming the hardware didn't change enough to look like a new device) will still use that Windows 10 entitlement that was granted to you on your first, free upgrade. You will need to download the current Windows 10 image from Microsoft's website, but, when you install it, you should be able to just input an empty license key (if they still ask for it by that point) and Windows 10 will pull down validation from your old activation.

If you have decided to avoid Windows 10, but based that decision on the above three, incorrect points? You now have the tools to make an informed decision before time runs out. Upgrading to Windows 10 (Update (immediate): waiting until it verifies that it successfully activated!) and rolling back is annoying, and it could be a hassle if it doesn't go cleanly (or your go super-safe and back-up ahead of time), but it might save you some money in the future.

On the other hand, if you don't want Windows 10, and never want Windows 10, then Microsoft will apparently stop asking Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users starting on the 29th, give or take.

HiFiMAN's high end, high priced Edition X Planar Magnetic Headphones

Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2016 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: audio, hifiman, Edition X, planar

As opposed to the more common dynamic driver, the Edition X uses lighter and more responsive planar drivers.  These tend to provide much better sound but also come with a very hefty price tag, in this particular case an $1800 one.  That puts these headphones soundly into the audiophile and professional market as opposed to being intended for gamers.  In testing TechPowerUp found these to be not quite as clear as the HE-1000 model but they were more comfortable.  If you are looking for high end headphones or just like window shopping you can read the full review here.

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"HiFiMAN's newest high-end headphone, the Edition X, bears a striking resemblance to their flagship HE-1000. It uses the same driver design without the fancy nano materials found in the $1200 more expensive HE-1000, but is, at $1799, still the second most expensive headphone in HiFiMAN's line-up."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

The Red Team is the new black

Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2016 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: amd, profits

It is reasonable to expect more in depth analysis from Josh about AMD's earnings this quarter but the news is too good not to briefly mention immediately.  AMD brought in $1.027 billion in revenue this quarter, a cool $68.7 million higher than expected, mostly thanks to console sales as these numbers do not include the new Polaris cards which are just being released.  This is very good news for everyone, having $69 million in profit will give AMD a bit of breathing room until Polaris can start selling and Zen arrives next year.  It also gives investors a boost of confidence in this beleaguered company, something that has not happened for quite a while.  Drop by The Register for more numbers and a link to the slides from the AMD financial meeting from yesterday.

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"AMD's share price is up more than seven per cent in after-hours trading to $5.60 at time of writing. That's agonizingly close to the magic six-buck mark for the troubled semiconductor giant that this time last year was struggling to look viable."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

EA Continues to Give Away Battlefield 4 Expansion Packs

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2016 - 09:03 PM |
Tagged: ea, origin, pc gaming

EA's “On the House” promotion is basically a 100%-off sale, with the intent of periodically bringing you back to their store. Whatever you acquire is free forever, but you only have a handful of days to claim it. Even if you're not interested in downloading it at the moment, it's good to poke in, press download, and just not actually download it until later. Maybe you'll buy something, too, while you're there. Either way.

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This time is Battlefield 4: Naval Strike. If you have Battlefield 4, but do not have the Premium subscription, then this is your chance to grab a portion of its exclusive content for free. As the name suggests, it includes four, navy-focused maps, a hovercraft, and a new game mode. If you've played 2142, you might remember the Titan mode, where you would capture missile launchers throughout the map to weaken a flying carrier, and eventually destroy it. Similar idea, but with an aircraft carrier.

Also, the Westwood-developed action RPG, Nox, is “On the House” as well.

Source: EA (Origin)

Oh the things you see in VR presentations; the RX 460 for instance

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2016 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: rx 460, polaris 11, oculus rift, amd

TechARP spotting something unexpected at the Radeon RX 480 launch in Malaysia, a Radeon RX 460.  One suspects that the picture below does not represent its final form but it does give you an idea of the dimensions and the outputs which seem to include DVI, DP and HDMI.  TechARP were given some of the specs of this AMD Polaris 11 GPU based card, 14 Compute Units, 2 GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit memory bus. 

The biggest takeaway is what AMD was doing with it, this was powering an Oculus Rift VR demo so it is safe to say this card meets at least the minimum specs for the headset.  Drop by for more pictures and a video.

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"We just stumbled upon an actual Radeon RX 460 graphics card. AMD was using it to power a virtual reality demo on an Oculus VR headset. That was our first encounter with the Radeon RX 460, so we had to take off the perspex cover to take a closer look!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

NVIDIA Partners with SMI for Eye-Tracking VR Rendering Tech

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2016 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged:

NVIDIA is announcing a "new technique" for VR using eye-tracking technology from SMI, and with this NVIDIA's researchers are working to "match the physiology of the human eye to heighten visual fidelity in VR".

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Image credit: NVIDIA

NVIDIA provides this description and video demo of the new tech:

"The demo - which we’re bringing to the annual SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Anaheim, Calif., July 24-28 - is simple. Strap on a head-mounted display with integrated eye tracking. Look around the virtual scene of a school classroom with blackboard and chairs. Looks good, right?

Now gaze at the teacher’s chair, turn off the eye tracking and look around again. Only the area around the chair is rendered in detail. In your periphery the demo was rendering a less detailed version of the image — and you couldn’t tell."

NVIDIA further explains the technology:

"Human vision can be thought of as having two components: foveal and peripheral vision. The small region of your retina called the fovea is densely packed with cones — a type of photoreceptor cell — providing sharp and detailed vision. Peripheral vision covers a much wider field of view but lacks acuity.

This acuity difference has inspired foveated rendering systems, which track the user’s gaze and seek to increase graphics performance by rendering with lower image quality in the periphery. However, foveated rendering taken too far will lead to visible artifacts, such as flicker, blur or a sense of “tunnel vision.”

Our researchers used SMI’s prototype eye-tracking HMD to perform a careful perceptual study of what people actually see in their peripheral vision in VR. Our researchers then used those insights to design a new rendering algorithm that enables much greater foveation, or reduction in rendering effort, without any discernible drop in visual quality."

There's a lot more information about this new VR technology in NVIDIA's blog post (source), and the company also has a project page up for this "Perceptually-Based Foveated Virtual Reality" technique.

Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #409 - GTX 1060 Review, 3DMark Time Spy Controversy, Tiny Nintendo and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2016 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: Wraith, Volta, video, time spy, softbank, riotoro, retroarch, podcast, nvidia, new, kaby lake, Intel, gtx 1060, geforce, asynchronous compute, async compute, arm, apollo lake, amd, 3dmark, 10nm, 1070m, 1060m

PC Perspective Podcast #409 - 07/21/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the GTX 1060 review, controversy surrounding the async compute of 3DMark Time Spy 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!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Casper!

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

Program length: 1:34:57
  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:51:17 This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Casper!
  3. News items of interest:
  4. 1:26:26 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: Sapphire Nitro Bot
    2. Allyn: klocki - chill puzzle game (also on iOS / Android)
  5. Closing/outro

Remember when Fallout was an isometric RPG? Want a Fallout 1.5?

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2016 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: fallout resurrection, kick ass, fallout 1.5

The crew over at Resurrection Team have been working for a decade on a new Fallout game based on the Fallout 2 engine.  Originally released in Czech, they have recently released the English translation, for free for anyone to use as long as you have Fallout 2.  That should not be overly hard, GoG gave it away for free not too long ago and currently sell it for $10, Steam about the same.  The mod sounds fairly big, the original version had 2,471,214 text characters, 80 maps and 736 scripts. 

If you haven't already started downloading it, check out what Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN thought about it and see if that convinces you.

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"We’ve worked on Resurrection for more than 10 years. We worked for two-and-a-half years on the English translation after that. All of us have worked on Resurrection in our free time."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Ya, so our IoT enabled toasters need patching ... oh, only around 5 million, why is that a problem?

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2016 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: iot, security, amazon, Intel

The Register brings up the issue of IoT security once again today, this time looking at the logistics of patching and updating a fleet of IoT devices.  Amazon is focusing on dumb devices with a smart core, the physical device having the sensors required and a connection to the net to send all data to be processed in large database which would be much easier to maintain but does offer other security issues.  Intel on the other hand unsurprisingly prefers end devices with some smarts, such as their Curie and Edison modules, with a smarter gateway device sitting between those end devices and the same sort of large server based computing as Amazon. 

Intel's implementation may be more effective in certain enviroments than Amazons, El Reg uses the example of an oil rig, but would be more expensive to purchase and maintain.  Take a look at the article for a deeper look, or just imagine the horrors of pushing out a critical patch to 1000's of devices in an unknown state when you go live.

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"Internet of Things (IoT) hype focuses on the riches that will rain from the sky once humanity connects the planet, but mostly ignores what it will take to build and operate fleets of things.

And the operational side of things could be hell."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Killer Networks, Alienware and Logitech Summer Giveaway!

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2016 - 11:36 AM |
Tagged: rivet, logitech g, logitech, killer networks, giveaway, contest, alienware

The temperature is heating up across the US and we're starting to lose our minds around here. As a result, we have convinced our friends at Killer Networks, Alienware and Logitech G to give some incredible hardware packages to our readers and fans!

How does an Alienware 15 Gaming Laptop with an MSRP of $1199 sound to you? Pretty nice, right? And if you aren't the lucky winner of that, how about one of five packages worth $390 each from Logitech that include a G633 headset, G810 keyboard and G502 mouse?

Winning is easy - you can enter through one or methods, each of which is worth its own entry. We are open to anyone, anywhere in the world, so enter away! Entries close at midnight ET on July 31st when we'll draw the winners at random.

Killer Networks, Alienware and Logitech Summer Giveaway!

A HUGE thank you goes out to our friends at River/Killer, Alienware and Logitech for supplier the goods for this contest! Good luck!