Silverlight Developers revolt against Open Standards

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 9, 2011 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, silverlight

Microsoft announced their new User Interface to Windows 8 last week. The interface is very tablet-minded and uses a Windows Phone 7-like tile architecture with widgets based on HTML5 and Javascript. Silverlight developers took that as a slap in the face and flooded Microsoft’s developer network forums to voice their opinions. Microsoft has not confirmed or denied that they will continue support for Silverlight in Windows 8; Microsoft has thus also not stated if they do support Silverlight on Windows 8, how much ongoing support will be provided to Silverlight.

That interface doesn’t look very silvery, or light.

I think the real message here is that when you invest (through time, money, or otherwise) in a proprietary infrastructure you need to expect that you have no real recourse should the owner work against you; you voided all recourse except for what is explicitly contractually bound to you. In the case of an open, particularly copyleft, platform: should support from the original owners be absent or insufficient you are legally allowed to take over provided that right is also granted by you. Often it may still be worthwhile to invest in proprietary platforms, but remember, you give up your right to maintain your dependencies. All your dependent art is relying on your trust in the platform owner, and you have no legal recourse, because you gave it away.

Do you have any comments on this? Discuss below.

Source: itnews

GamersGate Offering Free Ad-Supported PC And Mac Games

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2011 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: PC, gaming

You may remember versions of Far Cry and Psi-Ops being released a few years ago that were free-to-play and supported by advertisements. In the case of Psi-Ops, at the start of the game you were presented with a 30 second video ad, after which you were able to jump right into the full game. Far Cry also saw a similar ad-supported version for a time that made the game free.

GamersGate is looking to continue in a similar manner with their upcoming FreeGames service. This new service, which is set to release this fall, will allow gamers to “download, install, and play up to five titles at once” for free. These games will be preceded by a short advertisement before the game launches. Gamers will further have the option to add additional game slots, possibly for a monthly subscription fee according to the FreeGames website.

GamersGate CEO has been quoted by Tom’s Hardware as saying “the new service offers the best of both worlds for both gamers and publishers.” Further, he believes that the ad-supported free-to-play model will be a great way for gamers to test out a new game before they buy the non-ad-supported version as well as a cheap way to catch up on game series. The company expects that the majority of its current catalog will be available on the free-to-play ad-supported service in the fall. The website currently has a countdown timer to the launch as well as a beta sign up via email option.

GamersGate, and its FreeGames service’s popularity will largely depend on the catalog, ad relevance and ad length. If GamersGate can provide a wide selection of new PC and Mac games as legally free-to-play, I suspect that it will see a good amount of adoption and will likely replace the once popular but now rare demo. On the other hand, the long-term success of the service will depend on publisher cooperation and DRM. The service will need a fair bit of stable DRM in order to dissuade casual pirates from stripping out the ads, because if this happens than ad and game publishers will pull back from the service and legal gamers will lose out.

You can find more information by following PC Perspective as well as the FreeGames website itself. Do you feel that the service can succeed? Would you use it?

Razer announces better mouse, better trap in question

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2011 - 07:48 PM |
Tagged: razer, E3

You may have noticed a slew of gaming-related news flooding from various cracks in the internet this week. E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is currently in progress in Los Angeles and much news spawned from its presence. PC Gamers are not left out of the expo, however, as companies like Razer announce their latest wares and technology. While a standard mouse is sufficient for most users there are some who desire extra sensitivity and extra buttons and those are precisely the customers for companies like Razer. Today, Razer announced that two of their upcoming mice would have two independent sensors, one optical and one laser, for enhanced tracking.

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If they announce a five sensor Razer, The Onion won. (Image by Razer)

Razer listed a series of benefits to adding a second sensor to their next generation Mamba and Imperator mice:

  • One sensor can calibrate the other to the surface you are using.
  • The user will be able to determine how far away from the surface the mouse will stop tracking.
  • Less latency tracking the surface you are operating on.
  • Higher tracking precision.

While it is possible that you may appreciate those extra features on your mouse the largest factor in your gameplay will not be your hardware. The largest benefit I received switching from a three-button Microsoft mouse to a gaming mouse was the extra thumb buttons which I bound to an AutoHotkey script for single-button scrolling up and down large documents. (Available here if that's something you desire.) If these features speak to you however, check out Razer’s website.

Source: Razer

Announcing the XFX PSU Contest

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2011 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: xfx, PSU, easy rail, contest

PSUContest_Image_100.jpg

XFX is giving away 10 PSUs, one each day, to a lucky winner who has registered for their giveaway.  Each day they zero out the applications so you must re-enter the contest every day, though only one entry per day will count.  Winners will get an email and have 24 hours to respond otherwise XFX will pick a new winner.  You can also read more about XFX 's PSUs on this page in case you aren't convinced that getting one for free is a good enough reason to try them out.

XFXcontest.jpg

Click here to enter ... every day until the Monday the 13th!

Official Rules

  • Contest Period: June 6-10, 2011 and June 13-17, 2011.
  • Everyone that registers from 12:01 AM to 12:00 PM on the contest period above will be drawn each day for a daily prize.
  • Please register only once a day. Duplicate entry on the same day will be taken out to give everyone equal winning chance.
  • Winners will be chosen in a daily drawing. If you don’t win today, you can register again tomorrow for a chance to win tomorrow’s prize.
  • Winners will be contacted via email. You have to reply back to us within 24 hours of the time of receiving the notification to be able to win the prize. If 24 hours are past, we will contact the next eligible winner of that day.
  • Once winners are confirmed, we will announce their name on this contest page. This contest is open to North America residents only
  • You must be 18 years old and up to be qualified for this contest. You must register with a valid email address and mailing address in order to qualify to win. You are not qualified to enter the contest again if you are already win the prize in this same contest.
Source: XFX

It's not Invisible War 2, we promise!

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2011 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: deus ex, gaming

About the only thing more dissapointing than Deus Ex 2:Invisible War would probably have to be Daikatana.   Eidos Montreal however promises that Deus Ex 3 will be nothing like that and will try to focus on what made the first game so enjoyable.  Many sites, including Ars Technica, were given a 10 hour preview of the game and so far the feedback has been quite positive.  That is no guarantee of a good game but it does bode well for fans of the original.

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"There are few games with both the respect and baggage of Deus Ex. The original PC game is considered by many to be a masterpiece, and the sequel—Invisible War—is considered by many to be one of the most disappointing games ever released. Eidos Montreal has been working on a new Deus Ex title that is part prequel and part reboot, with Square Enix as the publisher."

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Gaming

Source: Ars Technica

It's world IPv6 Day

Subject: General Tech, Networking | June 8, 2011 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: what could go wrong, networking, ipv6, 404

On February 3 of this year, the last block of IPv4 addresses were allocated which brought IPv6 to the forefront of the minds of many network heads.  NAT and internal LANs can extend the usage of IPv4 for quite a while and many of the allocated addresses are not actually in use which is a good thing as not many OSes support IPv6 natively, nor do many network appliances.

That brings us to today, where many major websites are cumulating all of the internal testing they have been performning by doing a 24 hour dry run of IPv6.  Companies like Juniper and Cisco have been working to ensure their portion of the Internet's backbone will be able to handle the new addressing scheme so that clients can connect to the sites that are testing IPv6.  Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Bing have all turned on IPv6 as have several ISPs including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, with Verizon's LTE mobile network are also testing IPv6.  You can see a full list of the participants here.

This will of course involve a little pain, as new technology does tend to have sharp edges.  You may well see a few 404's or have other problems when surfing the net today but overall it should not be too bad, Google predicts about a 1% failure rate.  The hackers will also be out to play today, likely using the larger sized packets for DDoS attacks.  Since the IPv6 packets are four times larger than an IPv6 packet, a flood of the new protocol will be super effective at DDoS attacks.  As well, most of the IPv6 packets will be bypassing companies current deep packet inspection hardware and software, IPv6 is not backwards compatible with IPv4 so the network appliances used for that type of scan simply cannot inspect IPv6 packets.  That is not to say that these devices cannot inspect IPv6 packets, simply that for a one day test major providers are reluctant to completely reprogram the devices.   In the case of an attack, most of the participants have a plan in place to revert immediately back to IPv4.

So, if possible on your machine, fire up IPv6 and give it a whirl.  There is a simple test here to see if you are IPv6 compliant and if it is enabled or a more comprehesive test here.

ipv6.png

"Sponsored by the Internet Society, World IPv6 Day runs from 8 p.m. EST Tuesday until 7:59 p.m. EST Wednesday. The IT departments in the participating organizations have spent the last five months preparing their websites for an anticipated rise in IPv6-based traffic, more tech support calls and possible hacking attacks prompted by this largest-ever trial of IPv6."

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Tech Talk

AMD, IBM, Nintendo: Over ten years of The Wii U nit.

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2011 - 03:06 AM |
Tagged: Nintendo, E3, amd

Nintendo’s hardware manufacturers have been pretty stable for the last two generations of consoles. Following the NEC and SGI pairing of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo roped in the talents of IBM and AMD to create the hardware for the GameCube. With the transition to the Wii, AMD and IBM remained as the hardware producers for Nintendo’s console and with the announcement of the Wii U (the successor to the Wii) that will still remain true.

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HOOOOOOOO Wii! (Image by Nintendo)

AMD published a press release to state that the Wii U will contain AMD Radeon HD graphics to power Nintendo’s first entry to the high definition club. AMD touted their experience in multiple display support during their Wii U press release which would be suitable for the LCD monitors embedded in their controllers. IBM also released a statement confirming that they are shipping multi-core 45nm parts for the Nintendo’s next-generation console but did not state any more details such as how many cores or their clock speed.

Nintendo is rarely ever vocal about the specifications of their consoles and this version is no different. For their entire press conference Nintendo did not even show the console itself opting to focus on the controller and software. Beyond the controller, the hardware looks to be comparable to Microsoft and Sony’s offering from the limited info and screen shots we have seen. More info should come up as we approach the Wii U’s launch in a little over a year.

Source: marketwire

4 GHz Wall? TurboBoost to ramming speed!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | June 7, 2011 - 05:25 PM |
Tagged:

Intel has been pushing for higher clock rates for ages now. While 4 and even 5 GHz is not entirely uncommon for those wishing to step outside Intel’s specifications and push the frequency as high as it can go, Intel has yet to allow their parts at that frequency in any supported fashion. That has recently changed with Intel’s Xeon line.

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I don’t know, does Turboboost count as stock speed?
 

Tom’s Hardware noted from Intel’s spec sheet that Intel’s Xeon E3-1290 is clocked at 3.6Ghz with its Turbo Boost rating on single-threaded applications spiking to 4 GHz. Their original intention with their Netburst architecture from 2004 was to peak to ridiculously high frequencies but they quickly found their scalability ended below the 4 GHz line killing their plans for a 4 GHz SKU. With the Xeon architecture quite close to the higher-end Sandy Bridge parts it is possible that we might see 4 GHz in the desktop soon.

Sub $100 sound from Corsair

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2011 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: audio, corsair sp2200, corsair

To match the higher end SP2500 2.1 speaker kit Corsair has released the SP2200 2.1 kit, with a much lower price and hopefully a similar quality of audio reproduction.  The size of the speakers have been significantly reduced, but the general usage remains the same as they are obviously intended for use by someone directly in front of the PC.  [H]ard|OCP found problems pairing these speakers with the Realtek ALC889 audio chip and could not get them to sound anything other than underpowered when using it.  They did sound better from a full soundcard but still fell short the expectiations [H] had after reviewing the SP2500s.

H_sp2200.jpg

"Corsair's new line of audio products have quickly made the company a worthy brand choice for consumers and a strong competitor for its rivals in the PC audio market. Can the company's first budget entry continue the trend?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

A tease from Research@Intel Day

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2011 - 12:52 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Research@Intel Day, CMOS

Intel has been obsessed with shrinking all of their processes recently, be it flash storage or their processors and the basic transistor inside their CPUs.  They have a new success story that they will be sharing during their Research@Intel Day, they are the first to shrink their analog CMOS technology below 65nm.  The new process will be 32nm, the same process as their current CPU generation which brings several benefits but the most important one being that they can move that circuitry directly onto the same die as the digital circuitry.  Read more at SemiAccurate.

researchatintel.jpg

"It’s June and for those of you following the computing industry you know that Intel is having its yearly Research Day. This year Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) shows off about 40 different research projects – and we will dig more into them tomorrow after the doors have opened.

However, we thought that you should have a sneak peek at one of the most interesting research projects: 32nm analog CMOS design."

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Source: SemiAccurate