It's a working pulse laser pistol ... and you can build one for yourself

Subject: General Tech | March 10, 2011 - 11:43 AM |
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Thanks to Hack a Day we now know it is possible to build your own pulse laser pistol, all you need is a little help from the inventor sourcing parts and about 70 hours of work.  At the end you get a frickin' laser gun.  This particular model can fire off 50 shots from a full charge and is able to lay waste to balloons, puncture thin plastic and metal and like you would expect from a working laser pistol, the beam is invisible.

 

"German hacker [Patrick Priebe] recently constructed a laser pulse gun that looks so good, it could have easily come off a Hollywood movie set. Its sleek white and black exterior adds intrigue, but offers little warning as to how powerful the gun actually is.

Fitted with a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, it fires off a 1 MW blast of infrared light once the capacitors have fully charged. The duration of the laser pulse is somewhere near 100ns, so he was unable to catch it on camera, but its effects are easily visible in whatever medium he has fired upon. The laser can burst balloons, shoot through plastic, and even blow a hole right through a razor blade."

 

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Source: Hack a Day

Sure Unreal Engine 3 looks good but that's not gameplay

Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2011 - 01:33 PM |
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For a wee bit of frustration and a whole lot of drool-worthy graphics quality, drop by The Tech Report for a look at the newly released demo footage of the Unreal Engine 3 powered tech demo called "The Samaritan". 

Screenshots are nice, a full tech demo is better but how about some gameplay footage!

"If you thought those next-gen Unreal Engine 3 screenshots from the Game Developers Conference were impressive, wait 'til you see the engine in motion. Admittedly shaky-cam footage made its way online earlier this month, much to the dismay of Epic Games Design Director Cliff Bleszinsi. Today, however, we see that IGN has posted a proper, high-definition clip of the demo ..."

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Gaming

Powerful new SandyBridge notebooks hitting the market

Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2011 - 12:24 PM |
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ASUS and Gigabyte have some new SB based notebooks hitting the market soon, or in ASUS' case already on the market.  Their flagship model sports a discreet GTX460 so you can expect some impressive 3D performance though the battery life will by lowered accordingly.  DigiTimes also reports on a lower powered all-in-one PC from ASUS that will be built into a 23" touchscreen LCD.

 

"Asustek Computer has recently started selling its latest PC products with Sandy Bridge chipsets in retail channels, and Gigabyte Technology is also set to release its Sandy Bridge notebooks in March.

Asustek has launched three new notebook models based on improved Sandy Bridge chipsets including the flagship CG8350 with an Intel Core i7-2600 processor, 6GB DDR3 memory and a Nvidia GeForce GTX460 discrete graphics card at NT$46,900 (US$1,597), targeting the high-end market; and the mainstream CM6650 with an Intel Core i5-2300 processor and 4GB of memory plus support of USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB at between NT$17,900-26,900.

Asustek also launched a new all-in-one PC, the ET2400 IGTS, adopting an Intel Core i5-2400s processor and a 23.6-inch touchscreen display with USB 3.0 support at about NT$40,000.

Meanwhile, Gigabyte is also set to launch its in-house-designed 15.6-inch P2532 notebook featuring improved Sandy Bridge platform in March.

Gigabyte also announced February revenues of NT$2.74 billion, down 45.36% from NT$5.01 billion in January."

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Source: Digitimes

Adobe will get 'em in the end; Wallaby converts Flash to HTML5

Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2011 - 11:25 AM |
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No matter the reason the Jobs-ian crew decided to abandon support for the most popular way to stream video over the web, today it was proven that there really is no escape from Adobe.  Their new converter is called Wallaby and will convert .FLV files into HTML5 for display on iThings, though not in real time.  This is a developer tool which not only will allow you to convert existing Flash content into HTML5 but also to let you edit it afterwards.  The tool is not perfect, you can read about the limitations by following the link at Slashdot.

"Adobe has released its Flash to HTML 5 conversion tool, codenamed 'Wallaby.' Wallaby is an application to convert Adobe Flash Professional CS5 files (.FLA) to HTML5 and its primary design goals were to get the best quality and performance on browsers within iOS devices like iPhone and iPad."

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Source: Slashdot

MEElectronics M9 Earphones, maybe not the best but certainly a great deal

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2011 - 01:18 PM |
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At under $20 the MEElectronics M9 Earphones are certainly not priced in the range an audiophile would look for, but what about those just looking for sound quality that is just "good enough".  You can even pick up a different package with a microphone for an additional $5.  Think Computers rated the sound quality of these haeadphones on par with $80 models they have reviewed in the past, so if you want decent headphones without investing a lot check these ones out.

"There are a lot of contenders in the earphone market. The prices range from $10 up into the $200s or more for those simple little speakers folks plug into their ears for a few hours at a time, listening to a variety of forms and genres of music. Some folks can’t tell the difference between the low-end ones and the high-end ones, and prefer affordability over demonstrable sound quality. After all, if you can hear something, the earphones are working well, right? Clearly, we audiophiles know there is a difference. However, we, too, fancy ourselves frugal, so we’ll find the highest-quality au dio devices we can afford. Enter the MEElectronics M9 earphones, a $20 set of earphones which sound like $80 earphones."

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The second wave of SandyBridge is very security conscious

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
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Palladium, Trusted Platform Management and all of the other hardware based security solutions Intel and others have demonstrated will arrive with vPro which will be included in the new batch of SandyBridge chips that will be hitting the shelves by April.  The Vpro Core i5 and i7 and Xeon E3 processors are targeted more towards business applications with advanced support for virtualization and supposedly more compatibility with cloud computing.  The speed improvements Intel told The Inquirer about guarantee that these chips will find a home with some enthusiasts.

"CHIPMAKER Intel has announced its Vpro Core i5 and i7 and Xeon E3 processors that use the Sandy Bridge architecture and are designed to support virtualisation and cloud computing.

The first Vpro powered products from the likes Dell, Fujitsu, HP and Lenovo are expected with the next month, Intel told The INQUIRER."

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Source: The Inquirer

A big day for Constitutional law and exploding vehicles

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2011 - 06:51 PM |
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If you are looking for a cheap way to build a home NAS or file server then there is a thread over in the Networking forum you should keep an eye on as there are already several suggestions to help you on your way.  Predictably the Motherboard Forum is all about the new non-broken B3 versions of SandyBridge boards.  You will be able to keep up to date on which companies are shipping them out and where you can find them.  That little problem has made the Processor Forum fairly quiet, with only overclocking existing systems or speculations on AMDs upcoming Bulldozer platform as the topics of the day.  That is not a problem that the Graphics Forum is experiencing, new GPUs are coming out at an incredible pace. 

Those who'd rather give their mousing finger a break and still keep up on the latest and greatest news will be glad to hear that PC Perspective Podcast #144 is up a ready for you to stream.  Grab a beverage sit back and enjoy.

SteelSeries Xai Laser, a serious no-frills gaming mouse

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2011 - 01:39 PM |
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If you are not a fan of LEDs glowing between your fingers or strange pinkie finger rests on mice but are a fan of high DPIs and macro support then check out the SteelSeries Xai Laser gaming mouse.  It is capable of quite a bit thanks to some very deep software support and lacks any fancy features that do not impact its performance.  Avoid silly marketing tricks with the SteelSeries; find the full review on Hardware Canucks.

"Gaming mice are usually known as feature rich yet slightly tacky looking peripherals which sometimes cost a small fortune. SteelSeries’ attitude towards this niche is slightly different since they offer the same features as their competitors’ products but do so without resorting to designs that stick out like a sore thumb. Their newest Xai laser mouse takes a wonderfully understated approach but can it be successful in such a competitive market?"

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Poulson Pictures and Particulars

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2011 - 12:54 PM |
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The Register got a good look at the Poulson die and had a chat with Reid Riedlinger, the chief chip engineer for the processor, to get a good idea what the technology behind the chip.  From transistor counts to closeups of the die and the breakdown of tasks, you can feast your eyes on some new eight core silicon.

 

"ISSCC Intel has released some additional about its future eight-core "Poulson" Itanium processors.

The Poulsen chips are the first Itaniums to have a new microarchitecture and core redesign since the "McKinley" cores a decade ago. As previously reported, the processor has a total of 3.1 billion transistors and is implemented in Intel's current 32 nanometer wafer baking technologies, which includes strained silicon."

 

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Source: The Register

Browser spoofs for the rest of us

Subject: General Tech | March 3, 2011 - 11:58 AM |
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It is not very convincing if you are browsing the web with Firefox and suddenly have an Internet Explorer themed window pop up and inform you that your PC is infected.  The chance of you clicking on that malware is fairly low but now the nasty folks out there have broadened their horizons with new personalized looks.  According to The Register you can get personalized fake anti-virus pop ups in Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

 

"For years, ads pimping malware disguised as legitimate antivirus programs have gone to great lengths to mimic the look and feel of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and Windows operating system. Now Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari are getting the same treatment."

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Source: The Register