Less is more; Microsoft questions the need for people to have a clue when installing an OS

Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2011 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 8, pebkac

It seems that Microsoft sees no problem in letting the non-technical upgrade their operating system without having to answer even the simple questions that were present in the Windows 7 upgrade.  It seems they've decided there is an untapped market of people who are desperate to go out and purchase a copy of the newest Windows so that they can upgrade their own machine by themselves.  For anyone who has had a discussion with a friend or family member who expressed utter shock when told that Windows costs money and doesn't just come for free on new computers; this new market seems unlikely.

Whether a good idea or not, The Register reports Win 8 will install in two different ways.  The first is a streamlined upgrade, which you start from your current version of Windows via an EXE file, instead of having to deal with one of those pesky bootable USB or DVD drives.  Microsoft hopes to reduce the time for even the most extreme upgrade path to under 60 minutes and with hardly any user interaction required.  While this is good for the theoretical market of upgraders scared of reading and understanding messages from their operating system it probably scares most techs who realize they are going to have to support installations in which the user has no idea what when wrong or where.

This also seems to underline the concern many IT professionals feel when looking at Win 8.  Microsoft seems to be ignoring the corporate customers who want the ability to customize Windows installations for their company.  With products like SCCM you can make images which can install essentially unattended over your corporate network, but not without serious work done by people who know exactly what they are installing on.  You don't release a generic build of Windows onto a network where you already know what models of clients are out there, let alone release a build which is intended to work on any machine plugged into the network whatsoever.  There are too many hardware setup permutations to expect that what works on a desktop is going work on a custom Alienware laptop.   It is too early to count Win 8 out yet, as there is a second type of installation which does involve booting from removable media and includes esoteric functions like disk formating, modifiable installation scripts and other scary technical terms that might result in you having to read text and click your mouse. 

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"Redmond said it wants to make the upgrade path easier, since the Windows 7 introduction saw some users complaining that the process was too complicated. To ease the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft will now offer two options for those looking to make the leap to the new OS: a streamlined and an advanced setup. The new format will dramatically decrease upgrade times, Microsoft promised."

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Source: The Register

AMD Facebook Giveaway

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2011 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: contest, amd

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This year AMD is celebrating a gamer’s holiday and offering a gift a day through January 2 including a custom Eyefinity setup valued at over $3,000. A few of the stocking stuffers include:

  • A Custom Eyefinity System valued at over $3,000
  • A FX 8120/990FX/8GB/1TB Super Combo valued at $749
  • 3 Dell UltraSharp 23-inch Monitors with LED
  • 6 AMD FX 8150s
  • 9 Radeon HD 6850s
  • 9 Radeon FleX HD 6870s

Here is the link to AMD’s Gaming Giveaway Facebook tab:

https://www.facebook.com/AMD?sk=app_158415244247092#!/AMD?sk=app_222384104493588

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Source: AMD

More memristor magic

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2011 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: memristor, hp

One of the new technologies we have been keeping an eye on is the memristor, a transistor whose resistance can be altered and used as a storage medium.  The development of this new technology has been headed by HP and they have some new results to announce, which you can catch at Nanotechweb.  We have already seen a recent game changer, with SSDs based on non-volatile flash memory bringing never before seen data access speeds to the desktop.  Memristors could be the next step, bringing storage access speeds measured in picoseconds not nanoseconds and usable lifetimes of a trillion cycles as opposed to flash which is at best measured in hundreds of thousands.  They may also make volatile flash obsolete as the speeds are faster than current DRAM and SRAM, or perhaps see memory and storage unite into one unit.

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"Memristors are promising candidates for future high-density nonvolatile memories given their demonstrated desirable properties such as endurance on the order of 1 trillion cycles, electroforming-free operation, compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processes, and the ability to be integrated in high-density cross-bar arrays. Other envisioned applications include digital logic, synaptic and hybrid circuits. For many of these applications evaluating the high-speed dynamical properties of memristors, including the switching speed, is paramount."

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Source: Nanotechweb

You didn't really need that file, did you?

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: pebkac, oops, backup

Files occasionally go to silicon heaven, no matter how careful you are a mistaken keystroke or hard drive failure or even children both small and large will eventually send your precious data off to where calculators go when they die.  If you've made the move to an SSD, you should really pay attention as the mean time before failure on flash is very different than for platter based drives.  Techware Labs offers you some of the best basic preventative measures, many of which will be familiar even if you haven't got around to doing it yet.  As well they take you through several inexpensive ways to back up your data externally for those who would really like to ensure their data is safe from gremlins, viruses and the ever lurking PEBKAC.

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"If data loss is not on your radar right now it should be. We show you why data loss is 100% avoidable and what free and low cost options you have to ensure the safety of your critical files. TechwareLabs covers everything from online options to physical hardware to backup and protect your data."

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Author:
Manufacturer: Electronic Arts

Introduction, Campaign Testing

Introduction

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As you might have noticed, we’re a bit excited about Battlefield 3 here at PC Perspective. It promised to pay attention to what PC gamers want, and shockingly, it has come through. Dedicated servers and huge multi-player matches are supported, and the browser based interface is excellent.

If we’re honest, a lot of our hearts have been stirred simply by the way the game looks. There aren’t many titles that really let a modern mid-range graphics card stretch its legs, even at 1080p resolution. Battlefield 3, however, can be demanding - and it looks beautiful. Even with the presets at medium, it’s one of the most attractive games ever.

But what does this mean for laptops? Has the resident laptop reviewer at PC Perspective, I know that gaming remains a challenge. The advancements over the last few years have been spectacular, but even so, most of the laptops we test can’t run Just Cause 2 at a playable framerate even with all detail set to low and a resolution of just 1366x768. 

To find out if mobile gamers were given consideration by the developers of Battlefield 3, I installed the game on three different laptops. The results only go to show how far mobile gaming has come, and has far it has to go.

Continue reading our article on mobile Battlefield 3 performance!!

Just Delivered: Rosewill RK-9000 mechanical keyboards

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2011 - 03:57 AM |
Tagged: RK-9000, mechanical keyboard

This afternoon, I received a 17 lbs. box at the door branded by the good ‘ole Newegg.

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Despite knowing the contents, I could not help but crack it open for all to see. Inside a tree’s worth of brown paper are stacked four Rosewill RK-9000 keyboards. Each keyboard contains a different mechanical switch -- one blue, one red, one brown, and one black; together, they make up the entire RK-9000 product line.

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The Rosewill RK-9000 was in its first revision, and I believe still is, manufactured by CoStar. CoStar also produces, and is most famous for, the majority of Filco's mechanical keyboards. They are known to be typically high quality as was the original RK-9000; the difference is that now there is more choice in how we want the keyboard to respond.

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Awww, a family photo. Jimmy, stop slouching!

There is not much else to say about the delivery except to keep your eyes peeled for a roundup in the near future. What’s your favorite color? Find out soon.

Remember it is important to keep your interns well oiled

Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2011 - 06:29 PM |
Tagged: friday, oily ken

Maybe it is the upcoming Black Friday sales, maybe it is the Christmas season starting up but it seems a lot of members are out shopping.  From a new gaming mouse to heatsinks and partial upgrades or tablets the forums are in a buying mood, except for one Grinch-like SSD

The Processor Forum is buzzing with talk about the new Sandy Bridge E chip but the cool kids are hanging out in the Cases'n'Cooling Forum.  The observant might have noticed a strange thread appear, where our fearless leader is soliciting members opinions of Antec.  You can bet there is a good reason for that, so toss in your two cents. 

In the Storage Forum, the SSD experiment hits its third week,  while another user is shopping for a SATA 6Gb/s add in cardYou might hear crickets chirping in the Gaming Forum, but between Battlefield 3 and Skyrim, who has time to post! 

You should be able to see the PC Perspective Podcast video by now, it seems a lovely little group called Symbolic Digital Movies beleives they own the bucket head video and so claimed copyright and had the video blocked.  Hopefully at some point they remove their heads from a completely different place.

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Corsair offers your ears two kinds of Vengeance

Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2011 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: audio, gaming headset, corsair, vengeance, vengeance 1300, vengeance 1500

The Vengeance 1500 USB gaming headset is the higher end model of their newly released headsets, with 5.1/7.1 channel sound, a 50mm driver and Dolby Digital support.  The Vengeance 1300 uses analog plugs, not USB but still offers 5.1 surround and 50mm drivers.  As the 1300 is analog it does not require drivers whereas the 1500 does require software in order to emulate 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound.  From Neoseeker's findings, you need a discrete sound card that supports Dolby Surround in order to get the most out of the 1300, while the 1500 will sound the same regardless thanks to its USB connection and software.

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"We've got two of Corsair's newest headsets in the Neo labs today, the Vengeance 1500 and Vengeance 1300. The higher-end model, the Vengeance 1500, supports audio formats such as Dolby Digital and Virtual 7.1 Surround. The Vengeance 1300 on the other hand is an analog headset that performs best when paired with a high-end audio card that can push the unit to its threshold. Find out if any of these options are suitable for your audio headphone needs while you're camping in front of the computer (or in your game)."

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Source: Neoseeker

More rumours on AMD's multi-aliased next generation GPU

Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2011 - 12:22 PM |
Tagged: amd, GCN, southern islands, HD7000

 Over at SemiAccurate you can find some information on AMD's next generation of GPU, some call it Graphics Next Core, HD7000 is likely and Southern Islands is common parlance as well ... just don't call it Tim.  The biggest news is the 384-bit memory bus which continues AMD's opposition to NVIDIA's lowered RAM size; there will be 3GB cards for those with monitors large enough to benefit from the larger memory size.  They also have pricing; subject to much change of course.

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"AMD logoIt looks like AMD (NYSE:AMD) is planning on launching desktop HD7000 GPUs in January, and SemiAccurate just got a few more bits about them. There isn’t much new, January launch for Tahiti XT, followed by Tahiti Pro a month later, then Pitcairn XT in March, Pro in April."

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Source: SemiAccurate

Microsoft's Surface is almost here and it is less than $10,000

Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2011 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: surface

You may remember news about Microsoft's Surface, a large sized touchscreen PC intended originally for use as a point of sales device, drop a smart device on Surface and it would bring up all the available information on that device.  It didn't take long for the rest of us to realize just how incredibly spiffy this large scale table was.  From taking pen and paper role playing games to a level old DMs have only dreamed of to bringing a Star Wars game to the next level.

Well, according to DailyTech you can start making preorders for the 40" Microsoft Surface at the low low price of $8,400.   It looks to be a big win for AMD, this Surface is powered by a Athlon X2 245e, a 2.9GHz low power chip and the graphics are provided by an HD6570M.  It is running Windows 7 and Surface 2.0 software though surely future products will sport a Win8 interface.  No word on the shipping date unfortunately.

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"Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) surface multi-touch slab (slab = huge tablet) first showed up in prototype form in May 2007, more than a year before Apple, Inc. (AAPL) was rewarded a patent for multi-touch gestures, and a full three years before the market launch of the iPad.

But the device is finally here (dubbed the "SUR40"), and you can buy one for the lowly price of $8,400 USD (roughly 17 10-inch iPads)."

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Source: DailyTech