Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2016 - 09:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Java, lwjgl, vulkan
Don't be confused by the date on the LWJGL post -- its release date was June 3rd, as mentioned later in the thread, not February 27th. It looks like they disabled edit timestamps. Regardless, Lightweight Java Game Library (LWJGL) 3.0.0 was just released, which is a library that binds Java code to APIs that are, normally, not directly accessible through that platform.
To be clear: LWJGL is not a library like, say, Qt, which simplifies common tasks into classes. Its goal is to connect you to whatever API you need, and otherwise leave you alone. Unless you're the type who wants full control over everything, or you're actually making a framework yourself, you will want to use existing frameworks, engines, and/or middleware for your projects. The advantage, of course, is that these frameworks, engines, and middleware now have access to newer APIs, and can justify deprecating old features.
This release adds Vulkan support, which will provide a high-performance (and high-efficiency) base to abstract many other graphics and GPU compute tasks on. DirectX 12 and Vulkan are still being worked on, as an industry, but its mechanism is theoretically better, especially with multiple threads (and multiple graphics devices). They basically add a graphics layer to a GPU compute-style API, basing everything on lists of commands that start and end wherever the host code desires.
While Java has been taking a massive hit in public opinion lately, it is still a good platform for some applications. Gaming seems to having a resurgence of native APIs, especially with “AAA” engines becoming available to the general public, but more frameworks isn't a bad thing.
Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2016 - 03:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nes, the witness, the wit.nes, pc gaming
The Witness, from Thekla Inc. and Jonathan Blow, caught the attention of a few of us at PC Perspective... mostly Allyn. Anywho, it's based on an island that you explore and solve puzzles along the way. I'm not talking about puzzles in the “Space Quest”, point-and-click adventure sense, but like, puzzles that you would expect to find in a newspaper, which unlock doors and turn on machinery when solved.
If that sort of game is for you, then you might want to check out a “demake” of it, called The Wit.nes. It is created by an indie developer who goes by the name Dustmop, for NES emulators. Being a game that's based on the NES platform, the entire virtual ROM is currently 40KB. (NES titles varied between ~8kB and ~1MB). It plays from a top-down perspective in its exploration mode, rather than first-person for what should be obvious reasons, but the puzzles are apparently quite faithful to the original style.
It's free and small, so check it out at their Itch.io page if you're interested.
Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2016 - 04:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Lenovo, security, idiots, superfish
At some point they may learn but obviously not yet as Lenovo's Accelerator support application opens two vulnerabilities for systems with the application installed. As it uses unencrypted transmissions during the update process and does not verify the application you receive you are vulnerable to man in the middle attacks. There are 6 notebooks and 25 desktop lines with this issue, although ThinkPads and ThinkStations are not on the list. If you have the software you should remove it immediately. More over at The Register.
"Duo Security researcher Mikhail Davidov reported the holes that would allow eavesdropping attackers to tap into Accelerator's unencrypted update channels to compromise users."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Computex 2016 Live Coverage Day 3 @ Tech ARP
- There's a Stuxnet Copycat, and We Have No Idea Where It Came From @ Slashdot
- Cisco warns IPv6 ping-of-death vuln is everyone's problem @ The Register
- Microsoft releases HoloLens AR versions of Outlook and Calendar apps @ The Inquirer
- Unicode 9 update brings home the bacon with 72 new emojis @ The Inquirer
Podcast #402 - GTX 1070 Review, i7-6950X Review, AMD Radeon RX480, Aftermarket GTX 1080’s, Tiny SSDs, Computex 2016, and more!
Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2016 - 11:11 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: zenfone 3, ssd, Samsung, rx480, ROG Rampage V Edition 10, podcast, PM971-NVMe, i7-6950X, gtx1080, GTX1070, computex 2016, Broadwell, Bristol Ridge, BGA, avalon, 1080, 1070
PC Perspective Podcast #402 - 06/03/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the GTX 1070 Review, i7-6950X Review, AMD Radeon RX480, Aftermarket GTX 1080’s, Tiny SSDs, Computex 2016, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Casper!
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2016 - 12:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: micron, 3d nand, tlc, mlc, DEVSLP
Micron have unveiled their new line of 3D NAND, the SATA 6Gbps TLC 1100 and the NVMe MLC 2100, although they only shared details of the former. The 1100 will introduce DEVSLP mode, where the drives power draw will dip to less than 2mW on the smaller drives, 4mW for the 1TB with the 2TB model requiring 25mW. The TLC used in the drive is rather impressive, the advertised speeds come very close to what their MLC based M600 drives are capable of. Check out the full specs and more over at The Register.
"Intel, its flash foundry partner, introduced its own 3D SSDs, MLC (2bits/cell) ones, in March with the DC P3320 and P3520, with maximum capacity of 2TB. These had an NVME interface whereas Micron’s 1100 has the slower 6Gbit/s SATA interface."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 5 Takeaways From The Intel Computex 2016 Keynote @ TechARP
- Computex 2016 Live Coverage Day 2 @ TechARP
- Windows 7, Server 2008 'Convenience' update is anything but – it breaks VMware networking @ The Register
- Noble Chairs Epic Real Leather gaming chair @ Kitguru
- FOBO Tire Plus All Bluetooth Smart Tire Pressure Monitoring System Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2016 - 06:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: unreal engine, ue4, unreal engine 4, epic, epic games
Epic Games has released Unreal Engine 4.12, which adds quite a bit, especially cinematic tools. Those who created games or mods in Unreal Engine 3 or 4 will know about Matinee, the interface to animate objects in a scene. It has finally been replaced with Sequencer, which is designed to feel more like Adobe After Effects or Adobe Premiere. They also add a bunch of features to DirectX 12 and Vulkan, but both are still in experimental preview. Vulkan, for instance, only implements rendering features for mobile, not desktop.
Beyond Sequencer, mentioned above, Epic has also added a bunch of new rendering technologies for high-end graphics. This includes High Quality Reflections, Planar Reflections, Grass and Foliage Scalability, and Twist Corrective Animation Node. These are quite interesting for someone like me, who has been getting back into pre-rendered animation recently, but finds that typical, production renderers (such as Cycles) are quite heavy, slowing me down. Epic was interested in bringing Unreal Engine into a video production workflow, even back in Unreal Engine 3, and it's good to see a lot of attention in this area. It might be enough to move me over at some point, especially for animations that don't have a hyper-realistic style. Even better -- this level of visual quality should land in some games, too.
Unreal Engine 4.12 is now available on Epic's Launcher.
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2016 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, Lenovo, hp, dell, crapware, asus, acer
We take a quick break from telling you about all the shiny new things you can't have yet to inform you about problems with things you do have. Bloatware is awful but continues to be popular for sellers of prebuilt systems, both mobile and desktop. It is not just the pop ups telling you to buy the full version of whatever was installed on your system before you bought it, nor the CPU cycles these programs take up; the issue is security. Lenovo and the Superfish issue were in the news recently and now it seems that vulnerabilities have been found in systems sold by Acer, ASUS and Dell as well. 10 devices were tested by Duo Security, all of which had vulnerabilities. Dell and Lenovo had a single problem each, ones which we are already familiar with sadly while Acer and HP both have a pair. You can read about what the vulnerabilities are over at The Inquirer, something to do while you reimage your new machine.
"Duo Security identified 12 vulnerabilities across the vendors' machines. We have approached all of them to see whether they are happy to talk about the problems, which Duo described as significant."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD 7th Gen Bristol Ridge & Stoney Ridge Announcement @ [H]ard|OCP
- Samsung: Don't install Windows 10. REALLY @ The Register
- Windows 10: less than 15 per cent of those who can upgrade have bothered @ The Inquirer
- Don't buy Azure in US dollars – it's cheaper in many other currencies @ The Register
- Microsoft Removes 260-Character Path Length Limit In Windows 10 Redstone @ Slashdot
- Panasonic To Stop Making LCD Panels For TVs @ Slashdot
- Oracle and HP face off in court as $3bn Itanium legal battle kicks off @ The Inquirer
- Free Radio On My Phone @ Hack a Day
- Massive Backlash Building Over Windows 10 Upgrades @ Slashdot
- Systemd Starts Killing Your Background Processes By Default @ Slashdot
- ARM's Cortex-A73 chip and Mali-G71 CPU set for 2017's VR-ready smartphones @ The Inquirer
- Anonabox Tunneler & Pro: Helping You Stay Anonymous Online @ Phoronix
- Intel boosts the high-end desktop with its Broadwell-E CPUs @ Tech Tech Report
- Computex 2016 Live Coverage Day 1 @ TechARP
- NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 - AC5300 Tri-Band Quad-Stream Wi-Fi Router @ MissingRemote
- Netgear Nighthawk X4S D7800 4x4 802.11ac Router @ Kitguru
- Tech ARP 2016 Power Bank Giveaway #4
New Products for 2017
PC Perspective was invited to Austin, TX on May 11 and 12 to participate in ARM’s yearly tech day. Also invited were a handful of editors and analysts that cover the PC and mobile markets. Those folks were all pretty smart, so it is confusing as to why they invited me. Perhaps word of my unique talent of screenshoting PDFs into near-unreadable JPGs preceded me? Regardless of the reason, I was treated to two full days of in-depth discussion of the latest generation of CPU and GPU cores, 10nm test chips, and information on new licensing options.
Today ARM is announcing their next CPU core with the introduction of the Cortex-A73. They are also unwrapping the latest Mali-G71 graphics technology. Other technologies such as the CCI-550 interconnect are also revealed. It is a busy and important day for ARM, especially in light of Intel seemingly abandoning the sub-milliwatt mobile market.
ARM previously announced the Cortex-A72 in February, 2015. Since that time it has been seen in most flagship mobile devices in late 2015 and throughout 2016. The market continues to evolve, and as such the workloads and form factors have pushed ARM to continue to develop and improve their CPU technology.
The Sofia Antipolis, France design group is behind the new A73. The previous several core architectures had been developed by the Cambridge group. As such, the new design differs quite dramatically from the previous A72. I was actually somewhat taken aback by the differences in the design philosophy of the two groups and the changes between the A72 and A73, but the generational jumps we have seen in the past make a bit more sense to me.
The marketplace is constantly changing when it comes to workloads and form factors. More and more complex applications are being ported to mobile devices, including hot technologies like AR and VR. Other technologies include 3D/360 degree video, greater than 20 MP cameras, and 4K/8K displays and their video playback formats. Form factors on the other hand have continued to decrease in size, especially in overall height. We have relatively large screens on most premium devices, but the designers have continued to make these phones thinner and thinner throughout the years. This has put a lot of pressure on ARM and their partners to increase performance while keeping TDPs in check, and even reducing them so they more adequately fit in the TDP envelope of these extremely thin devices.
Subject: General Tech | May 27, 2016 - 01:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, lapdog
You may remember the Nerdytec COUCHMASTER Ryan tested back in 2013? Kitguru received a similar device recently, the Corsair Lapdog for use with K70 and K65 keyboards and with enough space on the side for mousing. Unfortunately the setup is only comfortable for right handed users, lefties will have to hope a sinister model comes out. It has a built in 4-powered port USB 3.0 hub, not just for your peripherals as it supports quick charging for your portable devices. Check out their video review to see if you might want to upgrade from what you currently use when sitting on your couch.
"The Corsair Lapdog is grandly described as a ‘Gaming Control Centre’, however that doesn’t explain things very well as Lapdog is unlike anything we have seen before."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- From ATI to AMD back to ATI? A Journey in Futility @ [H]ard|OCP
- Facebook starts tracking non-users to shove ads in their face @ The Inquirer
- HP Inc-eption: Our new 3D printers print themselves, says CEO @ The Register
- Foxconn to obtain 66.67% stake in Canada-based Smart Technologies @ DigiTimes
- Dropbox wants access to PC and Mac kernels despite developer outrage @ The Inquirer
We’ve probably all lost data at some point, and many of us have tried various drive recovery solutions over the years. Of these, Disk Drill has been available for Mac OS X users for some time, but the company currently offers a Windows compatible version, released last year. The best part? It’s totally free (and not in the ad-ridden, drowning in popups kind of way). So does it work? Using some of my own data as a guinea pig, I decided to find out.
The interface is clean and simple
To begin with I’ll list the features of Disk Drill as Clever Files describes it on their product page:
- Any Drive
- Our free data recovery software for Windows PC can recover data from virtually any storage device - including internal and external hard drives, USB flash drives, iPods, memory cards, and more.
- Recovery Options
- Disk Drill has several different recovery algorithms, including Undelete, Protected Data, Quick Scan, and Deep Scan. It will run through them one at a time until your lost data is found.
- Speed & Simplicity
- It’s as easy as one click: Disk Drill scans start with just the click of a button. There’s no complicated interface with too many options, just click, sit back and wait for your files to appear.
- All File Systems
- Different types of hard drives and memory cards have different ways of storing data. Whether your media has a FAT, exFAT or NTFS file system, is HFS+ Mac drive or Linux EXT2/3/4, Disk Drill can recover deleted files.
- Partition Recovery
- Sometimes your data is still on your drive, but a partition has been lost or reformatted. Disk Drill can help you find the “map” to your old partition and rebuild it, so your files can be recovered.
- Recovery Vault
- In addition to deleted files recovery, Disk Drill also protects your PC from future data loss. Recovery Vault keeps a record of all deleted files, making it much easier to recover them.
- Disk Drill For Windows - Free download here
The Recovery Process
(No IDE hard drives were harmed in the making of this photo)
My recovery process involved an old 320GB IDE drive, which was used for backup until a power outage-related data corruption (I didn’t own a UPS at the time, and the drive was in the process of writing) which left me without a valid partition. At one point I had given up and formatted the drive; thinking all of my original backup was lost. Thankfully I didn’t use it much after this, and it’s been sitting on a shelf for years.
There are different methods that can be employed to recover lost or deleted data. One of these is to scan for the file headers (or signatures), which contain information about what type of file it is (i.e. Microsoft Word, JPEG image, etc.). There are advanced recovery methods that attempt to reconstruct an entire file system, preserving the folder structures and the original files names. Unfortunately, this is not a simple (or fast) process, and is generally left to the professionals.