Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2011 - 12:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: laser, DIY, Altoids
Wired offers you several ways to build your own laser, some powerful enough to burn holes in paper and other flammables but all able to ruin the eyesight of anyone you point it at ... so bear that in mind. They range from a build claiming you need no soldering for those less technical people who want a laser to one built in an Altoids tin. The power of the laser varies depending on the build, some even use re-purposed DVD lasers as the light source. Perhaps the most impressive build lacks wattage but being able to project vector graphics with lasers more than makes up for it.
"Even though lasers are as common as dirt now, appearing in everything from DVD players to supermarket scanners to computer mice, there's still a certain appeal to a beam of coherent, monochromatic light. Especially if it's dangerously powerful.
So it's no surprise that people can't resist playing with lasers, building their own, customizing them and, of course, setting stuff on fire with them."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Big data meets big storage: an in-depth look at Isilon's scale-out storage solution @ Ars Technica
- Easier cookie deleting comes to Adobe Flash @ The Register
- Ubuntu Developers Party In Budapest @ Phoronix
- What goes on at Google I/O @ t-break
Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2011 - 04:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: security, PSN
Some of you may have heard of a recent computer break-in to Sony Computer Entertainment involving some total theft of personal information and uniformly increased grades of University final exams. Approximately three weeks and a few missed deadlines later: portions of the PSN are finally back online and awaiting the eager college students who are finished with their finals to scratch the itch on all the games they missed in the outage. Just kidding, they are going to play Call of Duty again.
- Sign in for PSN and Qriocity
- Online gameplay for PS3 and PSP
- Music Unlimited (if you are a current subscriber) for PS3 and PC
- Access to Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and MLB from PS3
- Friends list, chat, trophy comparison, and PlayStation Home
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 10:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: udk, ios, game
Indie videogame developers have a great challenge keeping up with the industry. Technology is advancing quickly, the skills required to output games with the quality of the greatest developers keep diversifying, and the time required to detail each part keeps exploding. Though it is highly unlike that the next Call of Duty will come from a single person there are tool developers aiming to decrease the burden for projects of all sizes.
Do you think that was an onomatopoeia said by indie devs?
Epic Games released UDK in November 2009 to help developers make their own 3D PC games without needing to develop their own engine and associated toolset or needing to pay a hefty license fee up front. Since then, Epic has added support for iOS development to allow developers to create games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. New versions have come out on an approximately monthly basis and May is no different.
This release is incrementally better than previous builds with a few usability tweaks like grouping objects and modifying them together, the ability to copy and paste vertex coloring, and performance importing art assets. As usual a few dozen documentation pages were updated to reflect changes in the game engine. While UDK does not remove the pain of making a good game, it does soften the blow a lot, which is all we got thus far.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 06:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, conference call
NVIDIA made their quarterly conference call on May 12th which consisted of financial results up to May 1st and questions from financial analysts and investors. NVIDIA chief executive officer Jen-Hsun Huang projected that future revenue from the GPU market would be “flattish”, revenue from the professional market would be “flattish”, and revenue from the consumer market would be “uppish”. Huang did mention that he believes that the GPU market will grow in the future as GPUs become ever more prevalent.
How's the green giant doing this quarter? Read on for details.
For the professional market, NVIDIA discussed their intention to continue providing proof-of-concept applications to show the benefit of GPU acceleration which they hope will spur development of GPU accelerated code. Huang repetitively mentioned that the professional market desires abilities like simultaneous simulation and visualization and that a 10% code-rewrite would increase performance 500-1000%, but current uptake is not as fast as they would like. NVIDIA also hinted that GPUs will be pushed in the server space in the upcoming future but did not clarify on what that could be. NVIDIA could simply be stating that Tesla will continue to be a focus for them; they also could be hinting towards applications similar to what we have seen in recent open sourced projects.
For consumers, Huang made note of their presence in the Android market with their support of Honeycomb 3.1 and the upcoming Icecream Sandwich. Questions were posed about the lackluster sales of Tegra tablets but Huang responded stating that the first generation of tablets were deceptively undesirable due to cost of 3G service. He went on to say that the second wave of tablets will be cheaper and more available in retail stores with Wi-Fi only models more accessible to consumers.
nVihhhhhhhhhdia. (Image by Google)
The bulk of the conference call was centered on nVidia’s purchase of Icera though not a lot of details were released being that the purchase is yet to be finalized. The main points of note is that as of yet, while NVIDIA could integrate Icera’s modems onto their Tegra mobile processors, they have no intention of doing so. They also stated they currently have no intention of jumping into the other mobile chip markets such as GPS and near-field communications due to the lesser significance and greater number of competitors.
I think the new owners like the color on the logo.
The last point of note from the conference call was that they expect that Project Denver, NVIDIA’s ARM-based processor, to be about 2 generations away from accessible. They noted that they cannot comment for Microsoft but they do reiterate their support for Windows 8 and its introduction of the ARM architecture. The general theme throughout the call was that NVIDIA was confident in their position as a player in the industry. If each of their projects works out as they plan, it could be a very well justified attitude.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 13, 2011 - 06:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sorry, PC Perspective Forums, friday
After a few weeks hiatus from the Friday Forum Post, as work has been trying to kill me the past few Fridays, we return you to your regularly scheduled link fest.
In the Tech Talk Forum you can peruse a variety of topics, from decent printers to electric screwdrivers. The Networking & Security folks are researching suspicious problems on a modem while the Hardware Leaderboard Forum is attracting suggestions from readers as well as comments about the Leaderboards its self. Suggestions for PC builds is not the only user generated content on the Forums, though some posts are longer than others.
If you want to see how you rate against others, there is now a thread in the Overclocking Forum to post your PCMark 7 scores. Try it out and see if you should be giving pointers or keeping an eye out for hints you can apply, assuming your GPU will cooperate.
Even if you have been ridiculously busy that is no reason to neglect the Trading Post, where not only do you get a chance to pick up great kit at even better prices from your fellow PCPers there is the Great Give and Take thread to consider ... or for a completely different kind of give and take, The Lightning Round is still blowing up a storm that you can jump right into!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 13, 2011 - 05:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, GTX560, graphics
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 is due to release on May 17th. As the release date approaches, vast speculation and rumors have flooded the Internet. GeForce.com has stepped up to preview what the card looks like and how it fairs in three soon to be released PC games versus the 9800GT at the popular 1080p resolution. GeForce chose the 9800 GT for comparison because they found the card to be one of the most popular used on Steam. As games are becoming more advanced graphically and 1080p monitors are becoming more popular, they wanted to compare what the GTX 560 is capable of versus a card that many people are familiar with.
While they were unable to share exact hardware specifications and performance numbers (due to NDA), they were able to show what graphics detail settings the card was able to run at 1080p and at least 35 frames per second. The stated "Optimal Playable Settings" for the GTX 560 were then compared to the 9800 GT in three games. These three soon to be released games were each chosen because of their ability to showcase what high resolution, high PhysX detail, and Nvidia Surround looked like. The GTX 560 was able to handle all three of those features with ease, whereas the older but popular 9800 GT ran into issues playing games with those features smoothly. The system configuration they used to test both cards is as follows:
|Motherboard||ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 2600K @ 3.4GHz|
|RAM||8GB DDR3 1333MHz, 9-9-9-24|
|Operating System||Windows 7 x64|
The first game they showcased was Duke Nukem Forever. GeForce states that Duke Nukem will support both NVIDIA 3D and PhysX. The graphics details they were able to achieve with Duke Nukem Forever are:
|Shadows||World & Characters|
|Post Special Effects||On|
The GTX 560 managed to pull off at least 35fps. Conversely, the game was not playable at these settings with the 9800 GT. Specifically, the 3D feature was not practical with the 9800 GT.
Alice: Madness Returns was the second game GeForce showed off. One interesting aspect of Alice is the useage of PhysX. The graphics quality is much improved by the graphics textures and particles added by PhysX, as you can see in the comparison screenshot below.
The GTX 560 managed to run the game at the following setttings:
The 9800 GT that they compared the GTX 560 to was a "slide show" by comparison. The demands of PhysX were especially responsible for the reduced performance. The 9800 GT simply was not capable of processing both high resolution graphics and the high PhysX calculations. The GTX 560 was; however, capable of running the game at maxed out settings (at 1080p).
GeForce finally showcased the GTX 560 running Dragon Seige III. In this test, they utilized 3 monitors in an NVIDIA Surround configuration. The graphical settings that they were able to get out of the GTX 560 included:
|Visual Effects Quality||High|
Their results are as follows:
"On these settings, which were near maximum aside from anti-aliasing which tops off at 16x, the average framerate was again consistently smooth and playable. Here, the ultra-wide experience allowed us to immerse ourselves into some deep dungeon crawling. Unfortunately for the 9800 GT, the GPU in SLI does not support NVIDIA Surround, making it impossible to play at the 5760x1080 resolution. "
The GeForce GTX 560 is reported to be positioned between the Geforce 460 and 560Ti on the NVIDIA side, and the 6870 and 6950 (1GB) on the AMD side. When it comes to 1080p resolution, so far it has been a toss up for many DIY enthusiasts between buying the AMD 6950 (2GB) and the NVIDIA GTX 560Ti for maximum performance. If GeForce's preview holds true for other games, the GTX 560 may well provide an another option for enthusiasts after the bang for the buck price and performance at 1080p resolutions.
As for speculation and rumors on the graphics card's hardware, there have been many floating around the Internet. For example, Tech Connect states that the GTX 560 will feature 336 CUDA cores, 56 Texture Units, and 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus. Further, Tech Connect maintains that the card is rumored to be priced at approximately $200. From Nvidia's statement that the graphics card will be positioned between the GTX 460 and the GTX 560Ti in terms of performance, the GPU will likely be clocked somewhere between the 675Mhz of the GTX 460 and the 820Mhz of the GTX 560Ti, with the RAM being slightly lower than the GTX 560Ti's 4008Mhz.
Unfortunately, (until the NDA is lifted) only NVIDIA can tell us what the real specifications of the GTX 560 will be, and they are not talking. You can; however, find further details as well as a video of the soon to be released card in action over at GeForce.com, and PC Perspective will have a review up with benchmarks gallore and the official hardware specifications as soon as the NDA is lifted on May 17th.
Will the GTX 560 power your next gaming rig?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 12:05 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Netflix, Internet, Android
It has been a long time coming; however, Netflix Instant Streaming is finally coming to a select number of Android powered smart phones. Engadget has the scoop, stating that
“Netflix explains that while the app is currently limited to phones with ‘requisite playback support,’ it anticipates that many of the ‘technical challenges will be resolved in the coming months,’and that it will be able to ‘provide a Netflix application that will work on a large majority of Android phones.’”
The following phones will be able to use the streaming feature of the Netflix application: HTC Incredible, Nexus One, Evo 4G, G2, and Samsung Nexus S.
While Nitdroid users and owners of older Android phones are currently out of luck, this move by Netflix is a good sign that Netflix on the open source operating system is possible, and can work well.
If you own one of the supported Android phones, you can download the application from the Android Market today!
Subject: General Tech | May 13, 2011 - 11:28 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pcmark, benchmarking, win7
Well, for one thing the advanced tests have all been renamed to Entertainment, Creativity, Productivity, Computation and Storage replacing the older benchmark names. There will be three flavours, from the already widely available free edition, a $30 Advanced version and the $1000 Professional, with the $30 version being almost the same as the free version barring the lack of advertisements. Techgage is happy that the benchmark takes less time than the previous version as the extra time will add up after a few thousand run throughs.
"Futuremark has launched the latest version of its popular PC benchmarking tool, PCMark, and as its "7" name suggests, it's designed exclusively for use with Windows 7. A couple of notable changes were made to both the test organization of the program, and also its pricing schemes. Join us as we take a quick look to see what's been added or refined."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Call Interception Demonstrated On New Cisco Phones @ Slashdot
- Five Clever Ways To Make Dropbox More Useful @ TechSpot
- ASUS RT-N56U Dual-band Gigabit Wireless-N Router Review @ ThinkComputers
- Windows 7 malware is camouflaged using unicode filename trickery @ The Inquirer
- Nuovoyance and Samsung demo ultra-high resolution touchscreens @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 12, 2011 - 09:32 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: subscription, mobile, Chromebook
Maximum PC recently reported details regarding just what the Google Chromebook subscription will cost for the various models and what each subscription entails. While you can read about the Chromebook and the various subscriptions in this previous article, specific pricing for the subscriptions for each of the launch models are detailed below:
|Enterprise (monthly)||Education (monthly)||
Consumer (no subscription)
|Acer Chromebook (WiFi)||$28||$20||$349|
|Acer Chromebook (3G)||$31||$23||$TBA|
|Samsung Series 5 (WiFi)||$30||$20||$429|
|Samsung Series 5 (3G)||$33||$23||$499|
Futher details that were clairified regarded mobile data and minumum orders. Each subscription will include 100MB of 3G data with those Chromebooks that have 3G hardware. Also, in order to recieve a subscription contract, both businesses and schools must order a minimum of 10 devices.
Just as with cell phone plans, there are early termination fees for those schools and/or businesses that wish to back out of their contracts. Google has stated that the early termination fee will be equal to the remainder of their contract. For example, if a small business has twenty users and five months left on their contract, in order to get out of said contract, the business would need to pay $2800 if their users all had the base Acer WiFi model.
Needless to say, it would be smarter to just ride out the contract (if possible for the institution), because at least then the business would still retain support for the devices versus buying out the contract for the same amount of money and losing all support for their devices. It will be interesting to see if Google will hold businesses and schools to this ETF or if they will renege and change their policy to appear more enticing to the market.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 12, 2011 - 07:40 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: piracy, bsa
Piracy is a sore spot for the entire intellectual property production industry. The infinitely reproducible nature of information creates real challenges for collecting revenue particularly if taken from the mindset of a time where content was much more difficult to copy and theft had to occur for content to be in someone else’s possession.
Slightly NSFW, and Monty Python wouldn't have it any other way.
The Business Software Alliance released last year’s report on software piracy through 2010 and found that piracy has reached the highest level yet. Their report, based on a survey of 15,000 business and consumer PCs (servers were excluded from this survey), claimed that the difference between sales and estimated total dollar value of installed software was $59 Billion.
The sharp increase in piracy shows just how impossible it is to survive in the current mindset of acquiring content for free. Piracy affects content creators both big and small. Analysts fear that a continued mindset of acquiring content for free will devaluate the amount spent on content.
The biggest hurdle towards tackling piracy is confusion between revenue and control. Control is a resource that is not free and implicitly paid for by potential market share. A business model that limits your market without increasingly monetizing the control you gain with that model is a total loss. An unfortunate consequence of this confusion is that lost revenue as attributed to a lack of control rather than a superabundance of it. As Gabe Newell discussed with Tippecanoe Valley High School, businesses need to experiment with their business models because theory cannot necessarily be grafted to any given situation. If you are not seeing what you are expecting, it might be because your expectations are incorrect and you should test the market to determine what you should expect.