Jamming WiFi on the cheap

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2015 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: security, Raspberry Pi

With a Raspberry Pi and a cheap WiFi dongle a researcher has shown an effective way to completely block 2.4Ghz transmissions in a 120 metre radius.  By disabling the backoff wait time, aka Short Interframe Space (SIFS), which is accomplished by firmware modification the WiFi dongle will continually resend a frame and block any device with a higher bitrate.  This will block WiFI, Bluetooth and most IoT devices including security systems.  They did not provide the source code used in this procedure, so you won't be able to block your friends for your own amusement but security researchers can reach out to the inventor for access to see if there are ways to circumvent this vulnerability.  The story at The Register also has some information on TKIP vulnerabilities and possible ways to block transmissions on the 5GHz band.


"The wireless security boffin presented his work at the BruCon conference last week and revealed his weapon of choice is a bargain WiFi dongle bought off Amazon that, when paired with a Raspberry Pi and a small amplifier, can block 2.4Ghz transmissions for up to 120 metres."

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Source: The Register
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Lenovo

It's like Legos for the working man

Way back in January of 2015 at CES we were shown a new line of accessories from Lenovo called ThinkPad Stack. The company is targeting the professional user on the go with a collection of four devices that can be used together in a stackable form that offers up some impressive capability and function in a small package, though it does come with a business-user markup. 


Last week Lenovo sent us a full set of the ThinkPad Stack devices including a portable router, external USB 3.0 hard drive, Bluetooth speaker and external battery. With a price tag totaling nearly $400 for the entire set, there is a pretty high expectation for functionality, build quality and usability that Lenovo needs to hit, and they do a better job than I expected (honestly) to hit it. You don't have to buy all of the available Stack accessories, and that is part of the charm of the new product line - you can customize them to your own needs. 

Though it's not for everyone, I do find myself enjoying the idea of Lenovo's ThinkPad Stack products and how it enables the mobile professional. Let's take a look at what it is, how it works and if it's something you need.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo ThinkPad Stack Accessories!!

Another hard quarter for PC sellers

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2015 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: pc sales, Q3 2015

73.7 million units, including desktops, laptops and ultrabooks were sold in the third quarter of 2015, down 7.7% from this time last year.  In the EMEA, Japan and Latin America this could be in part because prices have risen by about 10% but is also likely due to a lack of any convincing reason to upgrade.  The recent security problems revealed on Lenovo machines do not seem to have hurt their sales in North America , they saw a 22% increase in sales with the launch of their various 2 in 1 portable devices.  Gartner feels this may change in the latter half of the year as many companies do not get out of the red until holiday sales start driving consumers, but also because machines shipping with Windows 10 will start to hit the markets.  Skylake product refreshes should also help out and we can all hope to see bargains on older kit that distributors want off their shelves as well as the numerous holiday sales start to ramp up.  You can follow the links from The Inquirer for more detailed information.


"FIGURES FROM GARTNER show that PC shipments declined a further 7.7 percent year on year during the third quarter of 2015, despite the release of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system during the period."

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Source: The Inquirer

A keyboard joins the G.SKILL Ripjaws family; meet the colourful KM780

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 06:02 PM |
Tagged: cherry mx brown, G.Skill, ripjaws, KM780, input, mechanical keyboard

G.SKILL has extended their Ripjaws family beyond RAM with the introduction of the KM780, a mechanical keyboard sporting some unique features.  For lighting enthusiasts the Cherry MX Brown keys are clear instead of black which allows the backlighting to show through significantly more than on other boards.  There is a bar at the back of the keyboard which adds an interesting aesthetic and allows for a cord holder to be incorporated into the design.  As well, not only can you program macros using the software there are keys which can be depressed to allow you to program a macro on the fly while playing a game.  The lighting is perhaps a bit much for some but if you are a fan of keyboards that are seen and not heard you should check out the full review at Overclockers Club.


"Upon first look at the KM780, I was taken aback by the design. The bars looked odd to me, but in use they didn't bother me, in fact I had many ideas as to possible uses for them including using them as tie downs for traveling, such as to LAN parties, and for locking the keyboard down to a surface using clamps on the bars – great for systems where the keyboard will move a lot such as gaming PC chair rigs."

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Podcast #370 - Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1, New Microsoft Surface products, NVIDIA Pascal Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, gigabyte, z170x gaming g1, Skylake, microsoft, surface pro 4, surface book, Android, ios, iphone 6s, Samsung, 840 evo, msata, dell, UP3216Q, nvidia, pascal

PC Perspective Podcast #370 - 10/08/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1, New Microsoft Surface products, NVIDIA Pascal 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:31:05

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:30:00 This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Audible, the world's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 180,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature including fiction, nonfiction, and periodicals. For your free audiobook, go to audible.com/pcper
  3. News item of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: iPhone 6s Stallion
  5. Closing/outro

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

Soft Machines' VISCy business

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: VISC, Soft Machines, Shasta

A year ago The Tech Report talked with a representative from a company called Soft Machines who were designing processors using their new VISC architecture.  We are all familiar with CISC and RISC based designs, this new Virtual Instruction Set Computing is a new architecture designed after multicore processors became the norm.  The architecture is designed from the ground up to take advantage of multiple cores and is able to virtualize both cores and threads across multiple physical cores.  That means a demanding process that is still only a single thread could be run on a virtual core across multiple hardware cores, increasing the speed at which that task can be completed. 

Their current design, named Shasta is fabbed on a 16nm FinFET process, uses a generic 256-bit interconnect bus for compatibility with a wide variety of infrastructures and currently runs at 2GHz.  The Tech Report doesn't have any benchmarks per se, but you can read more about how this new architecture works here.


"Soft Machines presented details about its intriguing VISC CPU architecture, along with a roadmap for VISC CPUs and SoCs, at the 2015 Linley Processor Conference today. We spoke with Soft Machines founder and CTO Mohammad Abdallah and the company's VP of marketing and business development, Mark Casey, to learn more about these chips."

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Far Cry Primal will be released ... eventually

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: gaming, far cry primal, ubisoft

Far Cry Primal was announced and it is even more console-centric than the previous release, seeing as how the PC launch will be a month after its initial release.  We can only hope that Ubisoft does spend time making sure that high end PCs do have graphic features that take advantage of the power provided by new GPUs.  As for the gameplay it should be interesting as there will be no more machine guns and fancy pistols, you will be stabbing mammoths with pointy sticks and running for your life from sabretooth tigers.  It also sounds as though eating enough food and other features common to the plethora of survival sims will be included, making this very different from previous games.  Check out the trailer and screenshots at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN if you haven't seen them yet.


"Ubisoft attempted to announce Far Cry Primal [official site] with a tantalising livestream, which was rather spoiled by a brief leak of the game’s name and basic details. Now we know more, including proper trailers, screenshots, and a release date… which will see the game land on PC the month after it’ll arrive on console."

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On-die watercooling

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: watercooling, nifty

These researchers are skipping the waterblock altogether and have made channels in surface of the die its self for de-ionized water to flow through and cool the chip.  The 28-nanometer Altera FPGA they tested this cooling method on had numerous channels cut into it which were then sealed up with a layer of silicon.  With a flow rate of 147 ml/minute they kept the chip to a comfortable 24C, a mere 4C higher than the temperature of the water and significantly lower than the 60C the chip would run at using air cooling.  Neither Hack a Day nor PCPer encourage you to try to cut micron sized channels in your brand new processor, however we all hope to see this cooling technique incorporated into heatspreaders in future generations of processors.


"Researchers at Georgia Tech have been working on cutting fluid channels directly into the back of commercial silicon die (an Altera FPGA, to be exact). The tiny channels measure about 100 micron and are resealed with another layer of silicon. Water is pumped into the channels to cool the device efficiently."

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Source: Hack a Day

MSI Releases GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: msi, GK-701, gaming keyboard, cherry mx brown

MSI has a new mechanical gaming keyboard available, and the GK-701 features MSI’s black and red "Dragon" styling with red LED backlighting for each key, and uses Cherry MX Brown switches.


MSI is emphasizing the quality of their build with this new keyboard, stating that each key “is created with precision laser etching for extra resistance to wear and tear”, and the red LED backlight for each key is rated for “over 50 million key presses”. Additionally, the GK-701 offers a braided USB cable with a 18K gold plated connector, and there is a set of multimedia hotkeys and a game mode that disables the Windows Key. As this is a mechanical keyboard one of the biggest aspects is of course key switch selection, and the Cherry MX Brown switches MSI has chosen for the GK-701 offer a tactile “non-clicky” feel that some prefer.

GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard specs from MSI:

  • Cherry MX Brown switches
  • Red LED Backlight
  • Windows Key Lock
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Multimedia Hotkeys
  • Anti-slip Rubber Feet
  • Ergonomic Design
  • USB 2.0 connection
  • Braided wire and gold-plated connector
  • Switches lifetime: 50 Million Clicks
  • Dimensions: 450 x 165 x 38mm, 1200g weight


The MSI GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available now and currently selling on Newegg.com for $119.99.

Source: MSI

Quick! Win 1 of 20 Star Wars Battlefront Beta keys from Logitech G and LucasArts!

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2015 - 10:53 PM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, gleam, giveaway, contest

Look, time is short, and we want to get you these keys SOON!

Sign up using the form below to enter to win 1 of 20 keys for the PC version of Star Wars Battlefront beta on-going RIGHT NOW. I played for a couple of hours today and I have to say the game is looking very impressive - both visually and in terms of fun gameplay.


Our thanks to Logitech G and LucasArts for the key for our readers!!

SW Battlefront Keys