Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 16, 2014 - 01:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win8 mobile, win 8.1, nokia, lumia, skype, microsoft, cyan
If you own a Nokia Lumia phone which runs Win 8.1 then there is an update with quite a few interesting features available. US customers will see a Cortana update while all users will gain the ability to search their phone with Bing, an IE11 update, encrypted S/MIME and improved VPN support. There are quite a few app updates and users of the 1520 and Icon get Nokia Rich Recording and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 which improves both audio and video options. Check out Cyan at The Register but don't stop there because according to The Inquirer you will no longer need to be a Premium Skype member to make group calls from your mobile device as it is now a free feature for all.
"Nokia is rolling out Windows Phone 8.1 as an over-the-air update that comes bundled with "Cyan," a special feature package that's exclusive to Lumia devices."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The Linux Supercomputers We Secretly Fear Will Become Sentient @ Linux.com
- Linksys WRT1900AC Dual Band Smart WiFi Wireless AC Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- Can nothing trip up the runaway cash monster that is Intel? Well... @ The Register
- ASMedia, Asustek executives suspected of insider trading @ DigiTimes
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 16, 2014 - 04:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, google play, Android, android l
If you have looked at Google's recent design ideologies, first announced at Google I/O 2014, you will see them revolve around skeuomorphism in its most basic sense. By that, I do not mean that they want to make it look like a folder, a metal slab, or a radio button. Their concept is that objects should look like physical objects which behave with physical accuracy, even though they are just simulations of light.
Image Credit: Android Police (and their source)
Basically, rather than having a panel with a toolbar, buttons, and columns, have a background with a page on it. Interface elements which are affected by that panel are on it, while more global actions are off of it. According to Android Police, who make clear that they do not have leaked builds and readers should not believe anything until/unless it ships, the Google Play Store will be redesigned with this consistent, albeit broad, design metric.
Basically, if you are navigation bar, pack your desk and get out.
If true, when will these land? Anyone's guess. One speculation is that it will be timed with the release of Android "L" in Autumn. Their expectation, however, is that it will be one of many updates Google will make across their products in a rolling pattern. Either way, I think it looks good... albeit similar to many modern websites.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | July 16, 2014 - 03:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: quarterly results, quarterly earnings, quarterly, Intel, earnings
Another fiscal quarter brings another Intel earnings report. Once again, they are doing well for themselves as a whole but are struggling to gain a foothold in mobile. In three months, they sold 8.7 billion dollars in PC hardware, of which 3.7 billion was profit. Its mobile division, on the other hand, brought in 51 million USD in revenue, losing 1.1 billion dollars for their efforts. In all, the company is profitable -- by about 3.84 billion USD.
One interesting metric which Intel adds to their chart, and I have yet to notice another company listing this information so prominently, is their number of employees, compared between quarters. Last year, Intel employed about 106,000 people, which increased to 106,300 two quarters ago. Between two quarters ago and this last quarter, that number dropped by 1400, to 104,900 employees, which was about 1.3% of their total workforce. There does not seem to be a reason for this decline (except for Richard Huddy, we know that he went to AMD).
Image Credit: Anandtech
As a final note, Anandtech, when reporting on this story, added a few historical trends near the end. One which caught my attention was the process technology vs. quarter graph, demonstrating their smallest transistor size over the last thirteen-and-a-bit years. We are still slowly approaching 0nm, following an exponential curve as it approaches its asymptote. The width, however, is still fairly regular. It looks like it is getting slightly longer, but not drastically (minus the optical illusion caused by the smaller drops).
Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2014 - 02:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: solidrun, SFF, Raspberry Pi, iot, i.mx6, Freescale, Cortex A9
SolidRun recently launched a new small form factor PC called the HummingBoard. The new kit is an open source hardware platform that can run a number of open source operating systems. It mimics the physical form factor of the popular Raspberry Pi and as a result is compatible with much of its accessories including cases and add-on boards.
The HummingBoard is comprised of two main pieces; the carrier board which hosts all of the I/O ports and pin-outs and the removable microSOM (Silicon on Module) which is a smaller circuit board housing the processor and system memory.
SolidRun currently offers two reference versions of the carrier board, a base design and a higher-end model with beefier I/O. The HummingBoard Carrier is an open source design and the company allows hardware hackers and product developers to use their own custom carrier boards based on the reference design. Each carrier board has a special connector that the Micro SOM plugs into.
A microSOM (System on a Module) includes the CPU, GPU, RAM, power management, networking, and I/O connectivity hardware.
SolidRun currently offers up three microSOMs for use with the HummingBoard. The microSOMs use Freescale i.MX6 series SoCs (PDF), offer up to 1GB of RAM, and host the power management and networking hardware. Depending on the microSOM chosen, users can get a single or dual core CPU paired with a GPU that is at least OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible (the highest end model supports OpenGL ES 2.0 Quad Shader) and video encode/decode hardware units. The HummingBoard is upgrade-able and may support a microSOM with a quad core CPU in the future (a quad core microSOM already exists but is not currently supported by the HummingBoard).
Users can purchase the HummingBoard as a combo (carrier board+processor module) or in individual pieces. Specifically, SolidRun sells the HummingBoard i1, i2, and i2eX. Both the i1 and i2 use the base carrier board while the i2ex uses the pro version. The i1 comes with a single core i.MX6 CPU, GC880 GPU, and 512MB of system memory. The i2 ups the amount of RAM to 1GB and CPU core count by using the Freescale i.MX6 Dual Lite. Finally, the HummingBoad i2eX features a faster clocked dual core CPU (i.MX6 Dual), GC2000 GPU, 1GB of RAM, and significantly more I/O thanks to the higher-end carrier board and processing capabilities.
At a minimum, users can expect HDMI video out, 10/100 Ethernet, two powered USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card slot, a coaxial S/PDIF audio output, PWM mono audio, a 2-lane MIPI CSI 2.0 camera interface, and GPIO header. On the high end (HummingBoard Carrier Pro/HummingBoard i2eX/custom configs), the HummingBoard supports Gigabit Ethernet (limited to 470Mbps by the SoC), PCI-E 2.0, mSATA II, two additional USB 2.0 ports (via internal header), stereo audio output, microphone input, an IR receiver, and a Real-Time Clock (RTC) with battery backup.
SolidRun is aiming the HummingBoard platform at Internet-of-Things, home automation, and other embedded device developers. I believe that it will also appeal to hobbyists and Linux software developers.
The HummingBoard is rather expandable and is nearly a drop-in alternative to the Raspberry Pi. The open source nature (though, like the Raspberry Pi's BCM2835, the SoC is not fully open source) is nice, and the modular/upgradeable design is sure to appeal to hardware enthusiasts. The HummingBoard starts at $45 and tops out at $99 for the highest end i2eX. It is more expensive than the Raspberry Pi, which is the platform it is most likely to be pitted against, but it features faster hardware (especially the CPU and its ISA: ARMv7 versus ARMv6) and is priced competively with devices like the BeagleBone Black and SolidRun's own CuBox lineup.
The small form factor (and "single board PC") market has really ramped up the last few years and it is exciting to watch it all unfold. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more SFF PC coverage!
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile | July 15, 2014 - 05:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: displaylink, club 3d, 4k
Why would you want a USB 3.0 4K display adapter you might ask? Perhaps you have an ultrabook with limited display outputs that do not output in 4K resolution but somehow you managed to get your hands on a 4K display for work or leisure and have a need for the full resolution. Club 3D now has a family of USB adapters for you, the CSV-2302 USB 3.0 to DisplayPort 4K, CSV-2301 USB 3.0 to DisplayPort 1600p and the CSV-2300D USB 3.0 to DVI-I graphics adapters. This is the first implementation of the DisplayLink DL-5500 chipset and it does indeed support 10bit colour if your display can handle it.
The MSRP for this device when it starts to ship in about 2 weeks will be ~$142.
Club 3D officially launches the next generation of USB 3.0 Graphics adapters capable of outputting high resolutions to DVI-I (2048x 1152p), DisplayPort (2560x 1600p) and the world’s first USB 3.0 to DisplayPort Graphics (CSV-2302) adapter which supports 4K or Ultra High Definition resolution at 3840x 2160p.
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) Port of a desktop computer or notebook is multifunctional and can be used to connect a large variety of (storage) devices, keyboards, mice and and other peripherals like monitors. Back in 2011, Club 3D introduced its first SenseVision USB Graphics adapters. These small external graphics adapters can be used to connect a DVI or HDMI monitor to the USB 2.0 output of a Desktop Computer or Notebook and create a multi screen setup.
The SenseVision USB adapters proved to be very successful across the globe! Not only with travelers but also in (semi) professional environments where more monitors mean more productivity.
The new Club 3D USB 3.0 Graphics adapters are fully ‘Plug and Display’ certified and the USB 3.0 to 4K Graphics Adapter (CSV-2302) is the very first to use the brand new DisplayLink DL-5500 chipset enabling 4K Ultra High Definition output to DisplayPort enabled 4K monitors at 30Hz. The Club 3D USB 3.0 to 4K Graphics Adapter (CSV-2302) is the first device available worldwide with the revolutionary new DisplayLink SoC implemented.
This Graphics adapter uses little resources of your system so it won’t affect performance ensuring at the same time a great image quality. It’s the ideal solution for anyone wanting to expand desktop space in order to use multiple programs simultaneously.
- 3840x2160 output at 30Hz
- Backwards compatible with QHD and HD monitors
- DP 1.2 interface (DisplayPort)
- HDCP 2.0 for protected video playback
- Integrated DisplayPort Audio
Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2014 - 03:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: quantum dots, WLED, carbon dots
Researchers may have found a less toxic alternative to using quantum dots in displays, the so called carbon dot which is a semiconductor that generate a rather cold light, in that they do not emit much yellow or red wavelengths. Previously the CDs were used as the white light which shone through QDs but they contain cadmium or lead which tends to be strictly controlled when used in consumer goods. Nanotechweb is reporting on the successful results of teams which are using cadmium free zinc copper indium sulphide core/shell QDs to produce displays with a significantly higher colour-rendering index than currently available LEDs are capable of, so we may still be on track for better displays in the next few years.
"By combining carbon dots that emit blue light and zinc copper indium sulphide quantum dots that emit in the green and red regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, researchers in China and the US have succeeded in making white light-emitting diodes with a high colour-rendering index of 93."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- OpenWRT 14.07 RC1 Supports Native IPv6, Procd Init System @ Slashdot
- Easy Video Editing with OpenShot on Linux @ Linux.com
- Mediatek unveils 'world's first' 64-bit octa-core LTE SoC with 2K support @ The Inquirer
- Firefox smartphones to be launched in India in July, says Mozilla COO @ DigiTimes
- Two years in the making: Sneak peek at VMware's future VVOL tech @ The Register
- 'Big Internet' wades into 'net neutrality' battle with the FCC @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2014 - 05:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, rosewill, RGB80, mechanical keyboard, Kailh
The Rosewill RGB80 is very much a gaming keyboard, the extras like USB pass through have been eliminated as has the numpad. It also features N-key rollover which can be toggled with a key combo if your computer has difficulty detecting the keyboard. One unique feature are the switches which are made by Kailh as opposed to Cherry, the switches are similar to Cherry MX Blue with a bump and click when you depress a key, perhaps not the best for typing but perfect for gaming. In addition to the PC mode there are five available gaming profiles which you can use to store macros and LED colour settings as this keyboard currently supports 228 colour choices with updated software due in the future to vastly increase that spectrum. Head over to The Tech Report to see more on this brilliant mechanical keyboard.
"Rosewill's RGB80 is one of the first mechanical keyboards with RGB LED backlighting, which can produce a dizzying array of colors. We've taken it through its paces."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- SteelSeries Apex Illuminated Gaming Keyboard Review @ Techgage
- Cherry MX-Board 3.0 MX Blue, Red, Brown & Black Mechanical Keyboard @ eTeknix
- Tesoro Lobera Supreme Mechanical Keyboard Review @HiTech Legion
- Rosewill BK-500 Bluetooth Keyboard Review @ TechwareLabs
- Deck 108 Hassium Pro Mechanical Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- Armaggeddon Alien Craft IV G17 Mouse Review @ TechwareLabs
- Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable @ Legion Hardware
Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2014 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: giveaway, gaming, ea, dice, battlefield 4, amd
For the next month, until August 12th, Battlefield.com, AMD and Sapphire will be giving away video cards, DICE giftcards and BF4 Premium memberships to the best screenshots submitted to their blog.
Daily Prize Package: An AMD Sapphire graphics card, a $50 DICE online store gift code, and a BF4 Premium membership code on your platform of choice.
- Saturday, July 12 – EXPLOSIONS
- Sunday, July 13 – HELICOPTERS
- Monday, July 14 – VISTAS
- Tuesday, July 15 – INFANTRY
- Wednesday, July 16 – TEAM PLAY
- Thursday, July 17 – NAVAL
- Friday, July 18 – PARACHUTES
Why not team up with the Fragging Frogs to play BF4 and work together to make the best screenshot submissions you can?
Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2014 - 01:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, Raspberry Pi B+, DIY
Tinkerers and developers received a nice gift today, an updated Raspberry Pi B+ which adds extra I/O to the existing platform which will allow you more functionality without needed to relearn how to program it. The Broadcom BC2835 SoC is still present and still overclockable along with the 512MB of onboard RAM and most important the $35 price tag remains. What has change is the number of USB ports which have double to four, a click in MicroSD port and an increase in the GPIO header to 40 pin, though it remains backwards compatible with 26 pin by plugging in on the left hand side which means you have not lost the work you put into the previous Pi. Check out the introductory video at The Inquirer and feast your eyes on the new board layout below.
"Although it's not touted as Raspberry Pi Two, but rather "the final evolution of the original Raspberry Pi", the firm has tailored the Model B+ to include all of the additions that Raspberry Pi users have requested."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Satya Nadella: Microsoft's new man presses all the old buttons in LONG memo @ The Register
- Open Source Glucose Monitoring on the Front Lines of Innovation @ Hack a Day
- Critical Vulnerabilities In Web-Based Password Managers Found @ Slashdot
- Microsoft expands coverage of free Windows licensing @ DigiTimes
- Digitimes Research: Global notebook shipments decline 4.9% in 2Q14
- We SO DO support Java on XP, maybe even JDK 8, says Oracle @ The Register
- Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most @ Slashdot
- TP-LINK AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit ADSL2+ Modem Router Review @ Madshrimps
- Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 Phone Camera @ Velocity Reviews
- Win a BitFenix Flo Gaming Headset in the Colour of Your Choice @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2014 - 09:20 PM | Scott Michaud
There have been significant changes in the Top 20 list of most played PC games for June. Raptr, the service for PC gamers to update drivers, stream gameplay, and tune settings, records the number of hours played for each game, compiling it into a monthly list. While not sales figures, it does suggest how popular one game is compared to another -- at least if you want to factor in hours played, not just the number of players.
By far the most funny increase is Battlefield 3. This month, due to EA's Origin "On the House" program, the three-year-old shooter jumped thirty places, from 42nd to 12th. At the same time, Battlefield 4 dropped three places, from 7th to 10th, leaving it with just a 0.04% lead over its previous version. Jokes aside, this probably means that EA has a significant, untapped user base who would be interested in the Battlefield franchise.
Watch Dogs jumped eleven places, from 19th to 8th, which might sound surprising but was actually predicted by Raptr. The bigger surprise is how high it was in the last ranking, being that it launched on May 27th. That was a lot of usage for just a handful of days, almost as much as Team Fortress 2 had for the entire month.
Of course, League of Legends is still in first place, over doubling the game time of DOTA2.
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