SanDisk joins the hard drive haters with the release of their Ultra SSDs

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2011 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandisk, sandisk ultra

SanDisk is releasing a line of SSDs, called the Ultra series.  They are not aimed at the high end market, they use the older SATA 2 interface and claim sequential transfer speeds of 280MB/s read and 270MB/s write.  The prices should range from $130 for the 60GB product to $450 for the 240GB model, which puts them about middle of the road for pricing.  They also list expected lifetime in terms of the amount of data written to them; 40TB of data written for the 60GB up to 120TB of total data written to the 240GB.  The Register covered the release here.

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"SanDisk has a new Ultra line, a cruise flash missile aimed at taking out PC and notebook hard drives and replacing them with much faster SanDisk SSDs.

These are 2.5-inch format, 2-bit multi-level cell flash drives, coming in 60, 120 and 240GB capacity points. The Ultra brand is used by SanDisk for consumer flash products such as SDHC cards, and now a trio of SSDs will be sold under the Ultra name."

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Source: The Register

Sony: Lighthearted and Colorful Ads for Tablets

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 28, 2011 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: sony, S2, S1

So part one and part two of Sony’s “Two Will” campaign went off to advertise the upcoming launch of the S1 and S2 Honeycomb tablets over the last couple months with promise of three more on the way. Recently Sony made good on that promise and posted the third last “Two Will” video to Youtube and this one was substantially different from the ones before it. Titled “Filled with fun”, this one has much less of a dark and bleak atmosphere trading the harsh shadowing with light and color.

I don't think it's legal to romance a tablet; well, maybe in Japan.

While rails still play an important role, there is much less emphasis on impressing you with perfectly timed plungers pressing the touchscreen as it zips past. Instead, “Filled with fun” passed by various stations which symbolize the various roles of the tablet: music, movie consumption, literature consumption, and games. There is also a strong emphasis on portability and love in the themes of each of their videos.

Why do you think Sony keeps referencing love in these videos? What is the significance of the couch just before the domino “to be continued”? (Registration not required to comment.)

Source: Sony

Bumpday 7/27/2011: Yo dawg, I heard you like bumps

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 09:26 PM |
Tagged: bumpday, DOSSHELL

This week (actually today) Jeremy went back in time and drug out the old DOSSHELL out of the 80’s and early 90’s and recounted Microsoft’s rise as a software platform company. The personal computer caught on quickly with DOSSHELL getting replaced for Windows, then Windows 95 and so forth to the present. And while Jeremy has fond memories of Wing Commander I just cannot help but see his Kilrathi raise him a Privateer.

Bumpday2.png

… so I installed a bump in your bump so you can bump while you bump.

Just ten days before Halloween 2003 the fifth stepson of Newton had an important report to write for his history class, so we think. Xzibit then proclaimed that Microsoft pimped DOS Auto. Wait, what is this? Did Jim put the bump in my bumping bumpday bump? (Who put the RAM in the eighty-eighty-six slot?) But yes it is true, it is amazing to see how far we, especially the old farts, have come.

BUMP

Source: PCPer Forums

We've got gold! Deus Ex 2 is on time.

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: deus ex 3, gaming

The news out of Montreal is good, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is off to the production lines as the gold DVD has been stamped.  That means that come August 23 you will be able to pick it up at stores or use the copy you pre-ordered through Steam.  That doesn't give us any guarantees as to the quality of the game, though the trailers seem good and more importantly the gameplay previews do as well.  With Eidos it is hard to say how good the dialog and story will be as they've been the makers of some of the worst and some of the best examples over the years.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN better not have been lied to!

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"Humans! The promised day has arrived. Some said it wasn’t possible. Some said rude, badly-spelled things in capital letters. Others were simply impatient. No matter: it has happened. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the third game in the series that has an awful lot to do with why an awful lot of us remain faithful, unswervingly loyal PC gamers to do this day, has gone gold. And I’m not just talking about its colour pallete. It is finished, Eidos Montreal have just revealed. Complete. Ready. Well, ready as it’ll ever be – and that means its release date on August 23 is actually happening."

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The clicky keyboard is back in a big way

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, input

Once you had to go digging through old keyboard graveyards to get your hands on a mechanical keyboard, or track down the rare and elusive Das Keyboard.  Now many different peripheral companies offer mechanical keyboards, for instance Razer's new BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate.  This new breed of keyboards are not the familiar buckling-spring switches, instead they a combination of springs and metal clips to provide tactile feedback, the click being an optional feature.  These two keyboards not only give you enough travel and resistance to provide tactile feedback for your fingers, they also included the click so that your ears don't feel left out of your typing experience.  The difference in these two models lies in the Ultimate's programmable macro buttons which the basic model lacks.  Read on to see if the Tech Report had heard enough by the end of the review, or would never go without the click again.

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"We've tested both of Razer's clicky mechanical gaming keyboards to figure out whether they're worth the money—and hearing loss."

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Older than DOS ... but not dirt

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: qdos, msdos, microsoft

Back in the ancient days before the comment "Drop to command prompt" made sense as the command prompt a little known company called Microsoft bought QDOS and renamed it as MS DOS.  That was also back when IBM was the be all and end all of 8086 (and 8080) processors and planned for their newly designed Personal Computer to run an OS called CP/M-86 but couldn't get a good enough deal on the licensing; which lead to Microsoft's product being adopted.  It also lead to the Personal Computer catching on much more quickly and thoroughly than anyone predicted.

From that humble beginning came what was first used to slow your 386DX based computer enough to be able to control Wing Commander and now controls almost 90% of the PCs currently running and keeps techs employed world wide.. 

DosShell.png

"Thirty years ago, on July 27 1981, Microsoft bought the rights for QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) from Seattle Computer Products (SCP) for $25,000. QDOS, otherwise known as 86-DOS, was designed by SCP to run on the Intel 8086 processor, and was originally thrown together in just two months for a 0.1 release in 1980."

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Source: ExtremeTech

'Anonymous' Raids: List of 1000 IPs

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2011 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: paypal, Anonymous

Recently there was a lot of news about alleged members of Anonymous getting arrested by the FBI across America. 40 search warrants were served against people accused of attacking Paypal from a list, provided by the company, of one-thousand IP addresses carrying the most traffic during the time period of Anonymous’ “Operation Payback”. Wired also has the affidavit from the July 19th search of a couple from Arlington, Texas and their son which includes the ability to seize electronic devices either allegedly used in the attack or contains evidence of the attack.

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The importance of living up to your name.

While these searches did not necessarily lead to arrests and were with warrant the concept of linking an IP address with a person is often hotly debated. The “LOIC” tool, a program designed to direct a large amount of traffic at a computer often with the intent of diluting system resources from what the computer is supposed to do, gets its name from the Command and Conquer super weapon, the Low Orbit Ion Cannon. In many cases, traffic from LOIC is easily identifiable as it contains vanity strings as its attack payload and often comes from the user’s personal IP address (not very anonymous); that said, there is nothing to say that the same effects could not be caused by one person controlling an army of a thousand or more virus-infected computers. While I am not commenting on the situations themselves, I do hope that the FBI had more evidence for their 40 warrants than just a random selection of addresses on that list.

Source: Wired

Developer Watch: CUVI 0.5 released

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 26, 2011 - 08:39 PM |
Tagged: gpgpu, Developer Watch, CUVI

Code that can be easily parallelized into many threads have been streaming over to the GPU with many applications and helper libraries taking advantage of CUDA and OpenCL primarily. Thus for developers who wish to utilize the GPU more but are unsure where to start there are more and more options for libraries of functions to call and at least partially embrace their video cards. OpenCV is a library of functions for image manipulation and, while GPU support is ongoing through CUDA, primarily runs on the CPU. CUVIlib, which has just launched their 0.5 release, is a competitor to OpenCV with a strong focus on GPU utilization, performance, and ease of implementation. While OpenCV is licensed as BSD which is about as permissive a license as can be offered, CUVI is not and is based on a proprietary EULA.

Benchmark KLT - CUVILib from TunaCode on Vimeo

Benchmark KLT - OpenCV from TunaCode on Vimeo.

The little plus signs are the computer tracking motion. CUVI (top; 33fps), OpenCV (bottom; 2.5fps)

(Video from CUVIlib)

Despite the proprietary and non-free for commercial use nature of CUVI they advertise large speedups for certain algorithms. For their Kanade-Lucas-Tomasi Feature Tracker algorithm when compared with OpenCV’s implementation they report a three-fold increase in performance with just a GeForce 9800GT installed and 8-13x faster when using a high end computing card such as the Tesla C2050. Their feature page includes footage of two 720p high definition videos undergoing the KLT algorithm with the OpenCV CPU method chugging at 2.5 fps contrasted with CUVI’s GPU-accelerated 33fps. Whether you would prefer to side with OpenCV’s GPU advancements or pay CUVIlib to augment what OpenCV is not good enough for your needs at is up to you, but either future will likely involve the GPU.

Source: CUVIlib

A little something for the audiophile; M-Audio Studiophile Reference Monitor

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2011 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: audio, studio quality, audiophile

There are speakers and then there are studio monitors, with the difference being quality.  For most gamers and movie watchers there is no point in picking up a pair of studio quality monitors, not only because of the lack of a discerning ear but also because the audio source is unable to provide the quality these monitors need to perform.  Much as Scotches or wines taste similar to the untrained palate, studio quality speakers are for professionals with professional level needs.  If you are one, or simply want the best possible sound reproduction and are willing to spend $300+ for a pair of monitors then you should check out the M-Audio Studiophile CX5 Active Studio Reference Monitor review at ModSynergy.  With a proper audio card and file as a source these monitors will equal a $1000 pair of monitors and are a great deal for those with the ears to enjoy them.

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"Today I will be providing a long-term review on a different beast. Today you will be reading the review of one of M-Audio’s latest offerings on the market within their Studiophile lineup, the CX5 High-Resolution Active Studio Reference Monitor. Read on to see how this 90-watt near-field studio monitor performs and holds up. Will this be your next investment?"

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Source: ModSynergy

OCZ wraps both its ARMs around a new SSD controller and gives it a little TLC

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2011 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, arm, tlc, sata 6Gps, Indilinx Everest

OCZ is never satisfied with the performance of their SSDs in general and their controllers specifically.  After purchasing Indilinx to ensure that their controllers would be of high quality and designed to OCZ's specific needs, they've now been pushing Indilinx to improve on their controllers.  That has lead to Everest, which has a dual core ARM processor and 400MHz DDR3 cache that can support up to 512MB.  The controller is optimized for 8K writes which is perfect for the current flash utilized in SSDs.  OCZ has also optimized the flash memory, developing Triple Level Cell (TLC) which has three layers as opposed to MLC which sports two.  The controller will be backwards compatible, which is a good idea if OCZ wants to license the controller to other manufacturers, which makes sense as Everest should hit 200MT/s as compared to SandForce's current 166MT/s.  There is more that this controller can do, click on over to The Register to read about it.

Holysh.jpg

"OCZ is sampling a new flash controller that gives a picture of future solid state drives.

The company bought Indilinx for its solid state drive (SSD) controller technology in March this year and has now unveiled the Indilinx Everest controller platform.

It has a 6Gbit/s SATA III interface, a dual-core ARM processor and a number of enticing features, such as 3-bit multi-level cell (MLC) support. This is going to be called TLC, for triple-level cell, to distinguish it from today's MLC, which is 2-bit MLC."

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Source: The Register