Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2015 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft
Less than a week and a half after publishing 10525, Microsoft has pushed Windows 10 Build 10532 to members of the Windows Insider program that are set to receive “Fast” releases. This version adjusts the context menus for consistency. In the provided screenshot, all I can really notice that is different is the icons for Display Settings and Personalize are now axonometric, rather than face-on. The Feedback app has also been updated to allow sharing.
While Slow Ring users are still on the general public build, 10240, it might not be too long. Gabe Aul mentioned on Twitter that they were evaluating 10525 for Slow Ring. With 10532 being released though, that has almost definitely been put off. The next update is particularly important, as it will be the last chance for Windows Insiders to disable Insider Builds before all of them will be pushed off of 10240. It's about time to decide whether you want to use the stable version that's supported by all manufacturers, or continue with pre-release versions.
To receive 10532, join the Insider program from Windows Update's Advanced options and set it to receive Fast builds. To leave the Insider program, go to the same Advanced options menu and press the button to stop receive Insider builds.
Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2015 - 04:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: google, chrome, flash, apple
The good news from Google is that as of next month, Flash ads will be 'Click to Play' when you are browsing in Chrome. This will be nice for the moving ads but even better for defeating those sick minded advertisers who think audio ads are acceptable. However this will hurt websites which depend on ad revenue ... as in all of the ones that are not behind a paywall which have Flash based ads. The move will make your web browsing somewhat safer as this will prevent the drive-by infections which Flash spreads like a plague infested flea and as long as advertisers switch to HTML 5 their ads will play and revenue will continue to come in.
The news of Chrome's refusal to play Flash ads is tempered somewhat by Google's decision to put advertising ahead of security for Apple devices. The new iOS 9 uses HTTPS for all connectivity, providing security and making it more difficult for websites to gather personalized data but as anyone who uses HTTPS Everywhere already knows, not all advertisements are compliant and are often completely blocked from displaying. To ensure that advertisers can display on your iOS9 device Google has provided a tool to get around Apple's App Transport Security thus rendering the protection HTTPS offers inoperative. Again, while sites do depend on advertisements to exist, sacrificing security to display those ads is hard to justify.
"The web giant has set September 1, 2015 as the date from which non-important Flash files will be click-to-play in the browser by default – effectively freezing out "many" Flash ads in the process."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2015 - 02:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nifty, Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi and its various flavours have been out for a while now and we have heard of a variety of projects developers and hobbyists have come up with but this story from The Register has them all beat. With a little Googling and a lot of creativity and inspiration there are kids out there creating all sorts of new uses for the little device. One 11 year old was a little worried about her Grampa and used a Pi along with PHP and HTML to pair a device with a webpage which can bring up a web browser for him, allow simple texting capabilities and to photos to make sure he is still OK. Others have created a scanner to keep track of scores in netball or to make sure that the sushi they grab from a restaurant's conveyor belt isn't getting too old. Give kids a chance to create and what they come up with will blow you away.
"Completely at home with Raspberry Pis, these kids Google around for the things they don’t know how to do - because when you’re 11, you don’t know what you can’t do. They are inventing the future, and for them it’s just child’s play."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Best Lightweight Linux Distros @ Linux.com
- Your smartphone can be a 3D scanner, say boffins @ The Register
- Amazon Underground offers paid apps for free - but with a sting in the tail @ The Inquirer
- Password 'XXXXairocon' pops Wi-Fi routers from ASUS, ZTE and others @ The Register
- Ins0mnia: iOS flaw lets applications run for ever in a bad way @ The Inquirer
- It's official: Apple's next iPhone will be unveiled on 9 September @ The Inquirer
- Tech ARP 2015 Mega Giveaway #5 : Mi 10400 mAh Power Banks
Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2015 - 12:59 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Nixeus, vue24, freesync, gsync, amd, r9 nano, Fiji, asus, PB258Q, qualcomm, snapdragon 820, nvidia
PC Perspective Podcast #364 - 08/27/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Nixeus Vue 24 FreeSync Monitor, AMD R9 Nano leaks, GPU Marketshare and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:22:36
Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2015 - 04:00 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: logitech, headphones, gaming, G933, G633, DTS Headphone:X, 7.1
Today Logitech is announcing that they have added to their headset lineup with two new products. This is a fairly big announcement as it has been around five years since Logitech did anything with their gaming headset. Units like the recently reviewed G35 and G230 have been around since 2010. Users have been complaining as of late about a lack of fresh products on the scene, even though those previous products have adequately filled their niche.
The two new products coming out are the wireless G933 and the wired G633. These are under the new brand Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headsets. The G633 has a MSRP of $149.99 putting it at the higher end of gaming headsets. Compare this to the G35 which originally shared that MSRP, but is now around $79 at retail. The top end G933 is a pricier option at $199.99 US.
Logitech has done a lot of work in terms of physical characteristics and the software they are using to drive these units. Neither comes as a pure analog solution, but instead utilizes a USB connection to power the wired and wireless units. Logitech continually refines its gaming software and this provides a great amount of flexibility when it comes to usage scenarios and audio features for these headphones.
Powering these cans is a newly designed 40 mm driver that is created from a stiffened fabric rather than paper or plastic. Logitech is branding these as the patent pending Pro-G audio drivers. The engineers worked with materials people to develop the technology that is said to provide audiophile quality sound across a variety of applications. I had asked why Logitech stayed with a 40 mm driver when other companies were utilizing larger 50 mm units which can deliver potentially deeper bass. The answer was that they discovered that 40 mm was the sweet spot for this material to provide a flat curve without diminishing the high end. The 50 mm prototypes just did not have the high end performance of the 40 mm units, so it was decided to sacrifice a bit of the low end to keep things more balanced and brighter.
Previously the Logitech Gaming headphones used Dolby Headphone support to simulate 3D/positional sound. This is changing up with these latest headphones. The new ones do support a virtual 7.1 audio solution as well as the new DTS Headphone: X support. This is an area where Logitech has again done quite a bit of work to improve their HRTF support. Ryan was shown around 30 different ear “models” that were used to measure how sound was reflected, refracted, and tone shifted when audio was played around these models in multiple positions. HRTF stands for Head Related Transfer Function. Humans can recognize sound positioning through a lot of processing in the brain. The brain can recognize when a sound’s tone is shifted due to the individual curves and shape of a person’s ear. Logitech has taken this data and created a software solution that more accurately provides this effect than their previous G35 and higher headphones which features the 7.1 functionality. This functionality will also seem more realistic when combined with a higher end driver, such as what is included with the Pro-G audio drivers.
The boom microphone is very similar to the previous models. It can swing down and provide some decent audio for outgoing. It will not match more professional units, but we can only hope that it is superior to the previous generation of headphones that Logitech has put out.
One area that could potentially be controversial is that of the LED lighting on the headphones. The headsets light up around the cups and can be changed to the tune of 16.8 million colors. The side plates can also be swapped, so potentially custom made plates can be swapped in to show whatever logos or pictures as one desires. One positive of this design is that the LED lights are facing to the rear of the listener’s head, so potential reflections off of a screen (or glasses) will just not happen. The headphones also feature three programmable G-Keys, a feature that was on the previous G35 units. It also features the mute button and the scroll wheel to control volume. These are handy, handy things for those that have already created a dozen macros on their keyboard and could potentially start mashing buttons. Not like I have ever done that before trying to mute some headphones…
These headphones also have a unique feature in that they can dynamically mix multiple inputs. The G633 can mix audio from two different inputs while the G933 can handle three inputs. There are multiple use scenarios for this such as playing on a console while having the headphones attached to a cellphone. Users can mix and match this functionality in a variety of scenarios that will fit their lifestyle. This is slightly more interesting for the wireless G933 as more devices can be connected, and the user can be free of a plethora of cables attached to the base unit.
The G933 also have an option of being a wired unit through analog cables. This does provide some nice flexibility for users, as well as playing for hours more when the batteries of the wireless headphones are recharging. This flexibility was not featured in previous wired headsets and is a nice change of pace.
Certain products have a long lifespan when it comes to product cycles. Headphones are one of these areas (just ask Grado and how many generations they have gone through in the past 25 years). Logitech has done some serious groundwork to make sure that these are competitive and high quality units. The final proof will of course be listening to these cans under multiple scenarios to see if the new drivers are in fact as good as they claim to be. With the laser like focus that Logitech has been aiming at gaming as of late, I am pretty comfortable in the idea that these headsets are the real deal when it comes to quality audio under gaming, movies, and music situations. Individual tastes will of course vary, but Logitech has spent a great deal of time and effort to make these competitive with the industry at large. It is a good step forward and I look forward to hearing the results.
The G633 will be available starting in September while the G933 will come to market in an October timeframe. The DTS Headphone:X support will be a software upgrade with the Logitech Gaming software in October.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 27, 2015 - 12:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, liquid cooling, Intel, ek, AIO
EK (EK Water Blocks) is pouncing on the AIO liquid cooling market with its new EK-Predator series. The new cooler series combines the company's enthusiast parts into pre-filled and pre-assembled loops ready to cool Intel CPUs (AMD socket support is slated for next year). Specifically, EK is offering up the EK-Predator 240 and EK-Predator 360 which are coolers with a 240mm radiator and a 360mm radiator respectively.
The new coolers use copper radiators and EK Supremacy MX CPU blocks the latter of which has a polished copper base so there is no risk associated with using mixed metals in the loop. A 6W DDC pump drives the loop with the pump and a small reservoir attached to one side of the radiator (allegedly using a vibration dampening mounting system). EK ZMT (Zero Maintenance Tubing) 10/16mm tubing connects the CPU block to the pump/radiator/reservoir combo which uses standard G1/4 threaded ports.
EK pairs the radiator with two or three (depending on the model) EK-Vardar high static pressure fans. The fans and pump are PWM controlled and connect to a hub which is then connected to the PC motherboard's CPU fan header over a single cable. Then, a single SATA power cable from the power supply provides the necessary power to drive the pump and fans.
The EK-Predator 360 further adds quick disconnect (QDC) fittings to allow users to expand the loop to include, for example, GPU blocks. EK Water Blocks is reportedly working on compatible GPU blocks which will be available later this year that users will be able to easily tie into the EK-Predator 360 cooling loop.
Available for pre-order now, the EK-Predator 240 will be available September 23rd with an MSRP of $199 while the larger EK-Predator 360 is slated for an October 19th release at $239 MSRP.
If the expected performance is there, these units look to be a decent value that will allow enthusiasts to (pun intended) get their feet wet with liquid cooling with the opportunity to expand the loop as their knowledge and interest in water cooling grows. The EK-Predators are not a unique or new idea (other companies have offered water cooling kits for awhile) but coming pre-assembled and pre-filled makes it dead simple to get started and the parts should be of reputable quality. The one drawback I can see from the outset is that users will need to carefully measure their cases as the pump and reservoir being attached to the radiator means users will need more room than usual to fit the radiator. EK states in the PR that the 240mm rad should fit most cases, and is working with vendors on compatible cases for the 360mm radiator version, for what that's worth. Considering I spent a bit under $300 for my custom water cooling loop used, this new kit doesn't seem like a bad value so long as the parts are up to normal EK quality (barring that whole GPU block flaking thing which I luckily have not run into...).
What do you think about EK's foray into AIO water cooling? Are the new coolers predators or prey? (okay, I'll leave the puns to Scott!).
Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2015 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, VLAN party, fragging frogs
[H]ard|OCP has taken the guesswork out of GPU performance on the current version of Witcher 3 in this round up featuring 10 GPUs, five from each company. Of course only NVIDIA supports lips occluded by PhysX powered mustachios but not everyone is obsessed with perfect hair. Indeed when it takes a $1000 video card just to enable the lowest options on HairWorks at 1440p without disabling every other feature one wonders why HairWorks had gamers tied up in knots. Check out the full review for performance comparisons and even some HairWorks nitpicking.
This weekend also marks the 11th Fragging Frogs VLAN party, which kicks off on Saturday August 29 10:00 AM ET and will go until the last frog has been fragged. Sign up in this thread if you haven't already and if you are new to the Fragging Frogs follow the links to the FAQ threads for information on which patches or mods you will need to apply to your games to get playing as soon as possible.
"We take The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, using the 1.08.2 patch and latest drivers, find the highest playable settings and examine apples-to-apples performance with and without GameWorks across 10 video cards. We put a focus on NVIDIA HairWorks and how it impacts performance and find out which video cards provide the best gaming value."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 14-Way AMD vs. NVIDIA Linux Gaming Performance For DiRT Showdown @ Phoronix
- Super Useful Skyrim Script Extender Now On Steam @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The RPG Scrollbars: The Long Night Of Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (With Clan Quests) @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Customers start to receive Nvidia SHIELD tablet replacements @ HEXUS
- Warm Up The Cerebral Bore: Turok 1&2 Being Revamped @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- YouTube Gaming site and app to launch later today @ HEXUS
- Windows 10 Won’t Run Games Using SafeDisc Or Securom DRM @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Do Corpses Make Darkest Dungeon Too Difficult? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2015 - 06:40 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: GTA5, GTAV, pc gaming
Triple-A games with a long shelf life, regardless of how pretty they are, will probably get a graphics mod on the PC. A ridiculous number of them exist for Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto IV, which make them (arguably at the very least) look better than titles a whole generation ahead of them. Sometimes this raises controversy, as seen in the Watch_Dogs launch fiasco, but most of the time it is just hobbyists remaking the wheel (sometimes literally) to take advantage of newer hardware.
Toddyhancer, which is apparently a mod for Grand Theft Auto V, already looks impressive. It is not yet released, and the developer claims that it has a significant performance impact of ~10-30 FPS, which would be more useful in units of frame time (ms), but it makes its point. The above video seems to focus on shader effects to give a film feel.
Other screenshots exist, but it is difficult to figure out everything that has, and has not, been changed. The developer claims, “Don't go bananaz! its just Reshade Shaders, ENB series, simple tweaks and some tonemapping with class!”. Still, check it out if interested.
Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2015 - 02:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, hot chips, SK Hynix
Thanks to DigiTimes we are getting some information out of Hot Chips about what is coming up from AMD. As Sebastian just posted we now have a bit more about the R9 Nano and you can bet we will see more in the near future. They also describe the new HBM developed in partnership with SK Hynix, 4GB of high-bandwidth memory over a 4096-bit interface will offer an impressive 512Gb/s of memory bandwidth. We also know a bit more about the new A-series APUs which will range up to 12 compute cores, four Excavator based CPUs and eight GCN based GPUs. They will also be introducing new power saving features called Adaptive Voltage and Frequency Scaling (AVFS) and will support the new H.265 compression standard. Click on through to DigiTimes or wait for more pictures and documentation to be released from Hot Chips.
"AMD is showcasing its new high-performance accelerated processing unit (APU), codenamed Carrizo, and the new AMD Radeon R9 Fury family of GPUs, codenamed Fiji, at the annual Hot Chips symposium."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 184: Streaming to the Shield and overrunning VRAM
- Backwards S-Pen Can Permanently Damage Note 5 @ Slashdot
- TSMC growing its 16nm client base @ DigiTimes
- Live Booting Linux @ Linux.com
- Office 2016 for Windows looks set for a 22 September launch @ The Inquirer
- MIT creates file system that will survive unexpected crashes @ The Inquirer
- Samsung smart fridge leaves Gmail logins open to attack @ The Register
- Intel Security hires ex-Cisco and Avaya man to run global channels @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2015 - 03:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
The more we learn about Windows as a Service the less we seem to know. Already many have discovered that a fresh install with license from an upgraded Windows install is not as simple as it sounded, the license has far more to do with your current hardware than the OS license you once purchased. Now it seems that figuring out what updates are being installed on your computer will also be obfuscated, where before you could see the number of the relevant Knowledge Base article now you will simply receive generically labelled updates. This should worry home users as it will make it difficult to avoid Windows Updates with known compatibility issues and terrify any businesses which were considering moving to Windows 10 as releasing untested patches into a production environment is verboten and this makes the testing process more, not less difficult.
Windows Insiders may actually end up knowing more about the updates than the regular users who will only hear details of a limited number of updates. Build 10525 has recently been released to insiders on the Fast Release ring with Microsoft's Gabe Aul went into detail about what changes were made in this new build, as well as the new issues present in this version. Build 10512 of Windows 10 Mobile was also just recently released for those few souls running on Windows Mobile and testing the newest incarnation of the OS. The Register did try out the new version, you can read about their experiences here.
"The Register asked Microsoft for clarification on the policy after the company issued a new cumulative update for Windows 10 and refused to say what it does other than to say it offered “improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10.”"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Coming in 2016: Intel Optane SSDs based on 3D Xpoint memory @ The Tech Report
- Win8 inventory glut? Yep, it's all Microsoft's fault, says HP @ The Register
- Yet another Android app security bug: This time 'everything is affected' @ The Register
- Google reveals OnHub WiFi router, complete with GLOWING RING @ The Register
- Replacing ifconfig with ip @ Linux.com
- Tenda W568R Wireless N900 Concurrent Dual-band Gigabit Router @ eTeknix
- Netis WF2150 N600 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter @ eTeknix
- FBI Informant: Ray Bradbury's Sci-fi Written To Induce Communistic Mass Hysteria @ Slashdot
- Netis PL7500 Kit AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit @ eTeknix
- Get whimsical and win a Western Digital Black 6TB hard drive @ The Register