Logitech G Intelligent Illumination Shown Using Battlefield Hardline

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:28 PM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, gaming keyboard, gaming, battlefield hardline

Logitech has created an SDK to bring a new concept to PC gaming: in-game illumination integration with G series gaming peripherals. Logitech is calling this "Intelligent Illumination", and they have created a video to show off the new tech from their work with EA on Battlefield Hardline.

Switching sides in the game alternates the keyboard color, and the lights blink when taking damage. It's certainly a novel concept, and in this instance adds additional user feedback by taking advantage of the RGB color capabilities of a modern gaming keyboard (this is the G910 Orion Spark). The possibilities seem endless, but a simple idea like context-specific keyboard mapping through custom illumination would make the controls for some games much easier to learn.

Source: Logitech

Forcing HTTPS Is Being Discussed

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, http, https, firefox

On the Mozilla Dev-Platform Newsgroup, hosted at Google Groups, a proposal to deprecate insecure HTTP is being discussed. The idea is that HTTPS needs to be adopted and organizations will not do it without being pushed. The plan is to get browser vendors to refuse activating new features, and eventually disable old features, unless the site is loaded as a “privileged context”.

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This has sparked a debate, which was the whole point of course, about how secure do we want the Web to be. What features should we retroactively disable unless it is done through HTTPS? Things that access your webcam and microphone? Things that write to your hard drive? Then there is the question of how to handle self-signed certificates to get encryption without verification, and so forth.

Note: Websites cannot access or create files on your hard drive, but standards like localStorage and IndexedDB allow websites to have their own spaces for persistence. This is to allow, for instance, a 3D game to cache textures (and so forth) so you don't need to download them every time.

Personally, this concerns me greatly. I started helping Mozilla a couple of years ago, a few weeks after I saw Microsoft's Windows 8 developer certification program. I do not like the thought of someone being able to stifle creation and expression, and the web was looking like it might be the last bastion of unrestricted development for the general public.

In the original Windows Store requirements, no browser could exist unless it was a skin of Trident. This meant that, if a site didn't work in Internet Explorer, it didn't exist. If you didn't want to play by their rules? Your app didn't get signed and your developer certificate could even be revoked by Microsoft, or someone with authority over them. You could imagine the problems a LGBT-focused developer might have in certain countries, even if Microsoft likes their creations.

This is obviously not as bad as that. In the Windows Store case, there was one authority whereas HTTPS can be authenticated by numerous providers. Also, if self-signed certificates are deemed “secure enough”, it would likely avoid the problem. You would not need to ask one of a list of authorities permission to exist; you could secure the connection yourself. Of course, that is a barrier of skill for many, and that is its own concern.

So we'll see, but I hope that Mozilla will take these concerns as a top priority in their decisions.

Source: Mozilla

A philosophical look at SSD benchmarking

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: ssd, benchmarking, synthetic

[H]ard|OCP will be resuming their benchmarking of SSDs in the near future and wanted to introduce both their new contributor and his thoughts on benchmarking SSDs.  These drives offer several challenges when comparing performance that are not present when benchmarking spinning rust.  For instance some controllers use compression to increase IOPS whenever possible but slow down when incompressible data is passed through the drive, providing a challenge to properly show performance comparisons to similar drives with difference or no compression whatsoever.  Read through the article to see which synthetic benchmarks will remain as well as Chris' thoughts on new tests to accurately contrast the performance of SSDs.

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"Many of our readers embrace our "real world" approach with hardware reviews. We have not published an SSD review for almost 2 years while we have been looking to revamp our SSD evaluation program. Today we wanted to give you some insight as to how we learned to stop worrying and love the real world SSD benchmark."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

USB Type C for you and me

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: usb type-c, usb 3.1, dell, asus

DigiTimes has seen evidence that non-Apple fanatics will have a chance to get their hands on USB 3.1 Type C connectors in the near future.  Dell will be releasing a Windows 10 powered, 11" LCD Venue 11 Pro in the fall which will sport Type-C connectors for the new USB standard.  ASUS will also be releasing gaming laptops with Type-C connectors this year as well although we do not have a specific date nor do we know when they will be included on less expensive models.  If you are wondering when we will start to see USB 3.1 devices on the market you can check the list that ASUS provided The Tech Report here.

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"After Apple's adoption of the USB Type-C port on its 12-inch MacBook, Dell also recently announced to use the technology for its 11-inch tablet and Asustek Computer is planning to launch gaming notebooks with USB Type-C support in the second half at the earliest, according to a Chinese-language Apply Daily report."

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Source: DigiTimes

Move over Fatal1ty, the cool kids want ocelote peripherals now

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2015 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: ocelote, input, gaming mouse

Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez was a competitive LoL player who recently retired from competition but is using his fame to promote a gaming mouse and mat from Ozone.  You will recognize the shell of the mouse from previous links to reviews of the Argon, with a new colour scheme and logo.  It uses an ADNS 9800 laser sensor that can be adjusted from 800 to 8200 DPI and sports 128kb of memory onboard to help you program those 9 OMRON buttons in different profiles.  The weight is adjustable thanks to the four 4.5g weights which ship with the mouse and lefties will be glad to know this mouse goes both ways.  Also make sure to check out the rather unique aluminium mouse mat in KitGuru's review found here.

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"Even though a lot of pro-gamers are endorsing gaming peripherals these days, it is rare that you see one named after a particular player. Still, that is exactly what has happened with Ozone’s latest hardware, which is named after one of the highest earning eSports gamers in the world: Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez."

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Source: KitGuru

A quiet upgrade to Linux 4.0

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2015 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: linux, Linux 4.0

The upgrade to version 4.0 of the Linux kernel happened quietly over the weekend, less a huge step forward than an incremental improvement.  The most interesting feature for those who support Linux boxes will be the non-disruptive kernel patching, allowing you to apply patches without causing downtime; assuming you properly tested the patches that is.  As well support for Intel's new Quark processor has been added and support for the Z13 found in IBM machines has also been improved.  It was hinted to The Inquirer that version 4.1 is likely to see far more changes incorporated in its release.

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"The new number isn't a sign of a major upgrade. As we've chronicled, Torvalds thinks that it looks a bit silly when version numbers go beyond x.19. He therefore decided it would be best to tick over from 3.19 to 4.0 for the sake of neatness, rather than to celebrate any particular milestone in the kernel."

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Source: The Register

Stacking NAND higher means stacking prices higher

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: 3d nand

SSDs using traditional planar NAND have seen a nice price reduction curve over the years with costs per gigabyte often well under $0.50.  This may not hold true for 3D NAND if the number crunching over at The Register is accurate.  The scaling is quite intense when fabbing 3D NAND, planar NAND can require up to three deposition layers for charge trap or four for floating gate style flash.  Multiply those numbers by the 128 layers present on Intel's 3D NAND and you can see why the fabrication is going to be more expensive, be produced more slowly and be more prone to errors.  That will all add up to expensive SSDs whose price is unlikely to fall as quickly as did planar.  Currently about 5% of NAND produced is 3D but Sandisk is quoted as expecting that to climb to 50% by 2018, hopefully the process will have matured significantly by then.

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"Stifel MD Aaron Rakers bas been crunching numbers and comparing foundry capital costs for NAND over the next few years with those for disk drive fabs."

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Source: The Register

Windows 10 Build 10056 Leaks

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, windows, microsoft, build 10056

Moving up five steps from the 10051 leak that was published just a few days ago, another build was leaked: 10056. The first thing Neowin, who reported on the WZor leak, noticed is the new Recycling Bin icon. People were not a fan of the change that occurred with 10041, which honestly looked like it was out of a Mike Judge cartoon. It is now a semi-transparent, almost prism-shaped bin from a dimetric viewpoint. That should make some people happy.

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Also visible is a new “Virtual Desktop” icon and a relocation of the power menu button from the top right to the bottom left. This shift puts it alongside every other control except the Start menu's fullscreen button, which remains in the corner. To me, this looks a lot more organized.

On the topic of future builds, Gabe Aul seems to be implying that Slow Ring users would not get 10049. This likely means that Fast will get another build soon, which we would expect to trickle down to the “Slow” users on 10041. The proximity to Build confuses that slightly though. It is possible that Microsoft will do what they did with 9926 and delay Fast builds so they can have a highly-tested preview build (“Technical Preview 3” or something) pushed to both Fast and Slow rings to surprise attendees of the conference. Well, as much as they can hide stuff given that every few builds are being dissected online. I'm sure they have a lot of work being done in external branches though.

Either way, we'll find out soon... even if that's by not finding out soon.

Source: Neowin

Square Enix Announces Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: tressfx, square enix, eidos montreal, dx12, DirectX 12, deus ex: mankind divided, deus ex

Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out in 2011 as a prequel to Ion Storm's Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War. Human Revolution was made after Warren Spector left the company and Eidos closed down the Austin, Texas developer, leaving the franchise to Eidos Montreal. By the time of Human Revolution's release, Eidos was already purchased by the Japanese publisher, Square Enix. Deus Ex was set in 2052 and Invisible War was set in 2072. Human Revolution, being a prequel as mentioned earlier, rewound the clock to 2027 and introduced a new main character, Adam Jensen. It explored the rise of machine-human augmentations that formed much of the lore in the original titles.

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Timeline and theme established, Square Enix has just announced Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to the prequel with a great looking (albeit a little bloody) trailer. It is set in 2029, which is just two years after events of Human Revolution. It will be coming to the PC, as well as the two most-next-gen consoles. As expected, Adam Jensen returns as the main character. Now that Square Enix and its subsidiary, Eidos, spent so much to build him up as a brand, it makes sense that they would continue with the consumer recognition. Makes sense from a business perspective, although it probably means the franchise will meander less through time. I will leave that up to the reader to decide whether that's good or bad.

AMD Gaming has also tweeted out that Mankind Divided, or its PC version at the very least, will utilize both DirectX 12 and TressFX. I am curious whether TressFX has been updated to take advantage of the new API, given how important GPU compute is to the new graphics standards. No release date has been set.

Source: Square Enix

Would you pay Youtube to remove its ads?

Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2015 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: youtube, subscription, google, adblock

YouTube sent out an announcement to official YouTube Partners informing them of a new program they will be rolling out on June 15th of this year.  While they failed to specify two key points, the gist of the announcement is that a new advertisement free subscription service will be offered to YouTube users.  Unfortunately we do not know if this will be offered to a small group initially or to all YouTube users and more importantly there was no mention of what the monthly fee will be.  What was revealed was the benefit to content creators, YouTube will pay them 55 percent of the total net revenues from these new ad free subscription fees.

This being the internet the initial reaction will of course be to similar to the comments on Slashdot; to consider this a stupid move since ad blocking plugins are free and for the most part effectively remove any ads on YouTube.  The use of those plugins means that for all the hard work that goes into the content on our page, we receive absolutely no revenue from your views.  Using this service would give you the same experience but at the same time increase our revenue stream to allow us to continue to produce our reviews, news and videos. 

If you do not wish to see ads and for whatever reason do not want to participate in the program perhaps you could consider reaching out to Ryan to discuss other ways of contributing directly to PC Perspective's continued existence or maybe even subject yourself to ads once and a while to provide us with the associated micropayments?

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"YouTube announced today its plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service by way of an email sent out to YouTube Partners. The email details the forthcoming option, which will offer consumers the choice to pay for an "ads-free" version of YouTube for a monthly fee."

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Source: Slashdot