Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 01:04 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: private equity, investments, corsair
Corsair recently reached out to the technology community to clarify the news of a new investor interested in the company. It turns out that Corsair is in talks with a private equity firm called Francisco Partners. The PC peripherals company wants to expand by making strategic acquisitions of smaller companies in the gaming and audio industry. In order to do that, Corsair needs cash, and without going public, one way to get that is to go with a private equity firm.
Although it will not be official for a couple of weeks, according to Corsair, Francisco Partners will invest as much as $75 million in Corsair and become a shareholder in the privately-held company. The deal is simply a monetary one, with Francisco Partners providing needed cash in exchange for a share of the company. No management changes are planned, and the new investor will not become the majority shareholder according to Corsair.
Corsair recently acquired both gaming peripheral company Raptor Gaming and Simple Audio, a company that provides multi-room streaming audio solutions. Corsair plans to further aggressively pursue the gaming and music/audio markets in addition to its existing case, power supply, fan, and other PC peripheral lineups aimed at enthusiasts. I'm excited to see where Corsair goes from here as it grows and diversifies its business and product lines.
Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 05:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows, thin client, remote desktop, mohoro, microsoft, cloud computing, azure
Microsoft may be working on its own cloud-based desktop service according to sources speaking with ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. The rumored service codenamed “Mohoro” would build the Windows desktop SaaS (Software as a Service) solution on top of the company’s Windows Azure cloud computing platform. With Mohoro, Microsoft would provide Azure virtual machines running the Windows operating system. Users would then be able to remote into the desktop on any Internet connected computer or mobile device (with remote desktop support) and get access to their own desktop and applications.
The Windows desktop... coming soon to a cloud near you?
Windows Azure users can already run virtual machines with Linux or Windows OSes, but in the case of Windows Microsoft only allows server versions to be run. Incensing restrictions prevent users from loading consumer operating systems such as Windows XP, 7 or 8 onto the virtual machines. The rumored Mohoro service would apparently relax the licensing restrictions and allow businesses or consumers to deploy client operating systems running on the Azure VMs. It would basically take the need for enterprises to run their own hardware and move it to “the cloud” behind a Microsoft-run subscription service.
It is an interesting idea that I could see universities and businesses looking into. The Azure platform is actually pretty good, from what little testing I've done on it. However, I think that for many consumers a local install is preferable. Although syncing applications and files can be a pain if you have multiple machines, you retain control of your data and are not bound to needing an always-on Internet connection to access that data and run applications. Further, latency issues and bandwidth caps with home Internet connections make a paid-for Azure desktop less appealing to home users. I think Microsoft would have a hard-enough time selling users a subsciption for a local/traditional Windows installation, much less a subscription for an OS requiring an always-on Internet connection to use their computer.
Would you use an Azure-powered desktop as your main OS?
Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 02:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Privacy, eff, data privacy, consumer rights
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released its annual Who Has Your Back report, which highlights Internet companies that (do or do not) defend user’s online privacy rights. The EFF looks at the policies and actions of several major Internet companies, including ISPs, cloud storage, email, and social networks (among others). The companies are graded on various criteria such as whether the companies require a subpoena or warrant before releasing information, lobby congress for stricter data privacy laws, and defend their users’ privacy rights in court.
This year, the EFF found some surprising results. Google is no longer the leader of the pack due to no longer providing transparent data requests to users on the same level that it did in the past. Twitter and ISP Sonic.net are actually the top ranked companies. In a less surprising twist, Verizon is actually the worst company of the bunch along with MySpace with failing grades in each category! And that is just the tip of the spear, with companies like Apple and AT&T being worse than I thought and Foursquare and WordPress doing better than I expected.
Data privacy is of supreme importance, and i hope that these EFF reports prod all companies to do better (and note the companies that are doing right by their users). It is definitely worth a read. You can find the full report in PDF form here.
Do you use any of these services, and are you happy with their data privacy efforts?
Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 03:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, mod, duke nukem, obsessive
You might think you expressed your disappointment about the pile of garbage that was Duke Nukem Forever by posting scathing reviews online, but you have nothing on these modders who attempted to create the Duke we were all promised by modding Duke Nukem 3D. If you still have the DN3D kicking around, or at least the DUKE3D.GRP file you can head to ModDB and download a 30MB mod which will expand Las Vegas far beyond the original game. Don't expect miracles, they can only reuse existing assets but they certainly impressed Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN who posted a trailer-ish movie of the mod in action.
"A group of modders have been busily attempting to rewrite history – by recreating the game that 2001 trailer suggested in good old Duke Nukem 3D. Given they suffered a degree of 3D Realms-esque hubris in their struggle to finish the thing, are these the first Method Developers?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hurrah! – Defense Grid 2 Funded By Secret Investor @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- New GTA V trailer details the lives of the three protagonists @ HEXUS
- Impressions: Neverwinter @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- BioShock Infinite PC @ eTeknix
- Chapter & Verse Of Space Hulk @ Rock, PAper, ShHOTGUN
- God of War: Ascension PlayStation 3 @ eTeknix
- Injustice: Gods Among Us Xbox 360 @ Tweaktown
Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 02:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, G1.Sniper 5, G1.Sniper 5M, AMP-UP Audio
Slow but surely teases of the next generation of motherboards for Intel processors are showing up, such as Tweaktown's preview here. You don't get to see much of the board its self but you do have a chance to learn about the new AMP-UP audio that will be featured on these motherboards. This will be a removable OP-AMP paired with Creative's Sound Core3D to bring high end audio performance to your onboard audio. It will be removable so that audiophiles can choose their favourite OP-AMP to install if they prefer it to the one included. Take a peek right here.
"The NDA is starting to come off the 4th Generation Intel Core series and today we'll show you what to expect from GIGABYTE in its new AMP-UP audio feature on the G1.Sniper 5 and G1.Sniper M5."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft Exchange rival Icewarp says selling Linux to Windows customers is easy @ The Inquirer
- Samsung making 20nm 4Gb LPDDR3 DRAM for mobile devices @ DigiTimes
- Is it me or did cloud marketing suddenly get really weird? @ The Register
- Intel LANFest SoCal 2013 – Local Gaming & Fun @ Legit Reviews
- Kitguru MEGA graphics card giveaway
- Noctua Joint Giveaway - NH-D14/NH-U14S/NH-U12S Up For Grabs Globally @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 02:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
If you are looking for a very inexpensive way to stream HD video the Roku 2 is a great choice as it offers flexibility and an easy to use interface. The only better deal would be to pick up a Roku 2 at $20 off the retail price, which is exactly what the deal for today is. There are quite a few units available but you might not want to spend too much time debating the purchase as they are not unlimited.
Roku 2 XD 1080p Streaming Player (Refurbished)
Groupon is offering refurbished Roku 2 XD 1080p Streaming Player for $59.99 with free shipping. That's 25% off the price of brand new model and backed by 90-day limited warranty.
Our first thoughts and impressions
Since first hearing about the Kickstarter project that raised nearly 2.5 million dollars from over 9,500 contributors, I have eagerly been awaiting the arrival of my Oculus Rift development kit. Not because I plan on quitting the hardware review business to start working on a new 3D, VR-ready gaming project but just because as a technology enthusiast I need to see the new, fun gadgets and what they might mean for the future of gaming.
I have read other user's accounts of their time with the Oculus Rift, including a great write up in a Q&A form Ben Kuchera over at Penny Arcade Report, but I needed my own hands-on time with the consumer-oriented VR (virtual reality) product. Having tried it for very short periods of time at both Quakecon 2012 and CES 2013 (less than 5 minutes) I wanted to see how it performed and more importantly, how my body reacted to it.
I don't consider myself a person that gets motion sick. Really, I don't. I fly all the time, sit in the back of busses, ride roller coasters, watch 3D movies and play fast-paced PC games on large screens. The only instances I tend to get any kind of unease with motion is on what I call "roundy-round" rides, the kind that simply go in circles over and over. Think about something like this, The Scrambler, or the Teacups at Disney World. How would I react to time with the Oculus Rift, this was my biggest fear...
For now I don't want to get into the politics of the Rift, how John Carmack was initially a huge proponent of the project then backed off on how close we might be the higher-quality consumer version of the device. We'll cover those aspects in a future story. For now I only had time for some first impressions.
Watch the video above for a walk through of the development kit as well as some of the demos, as best can be demonstrated in a 2D plane!
AMD announced its third annual Developer Summit last week. Dubbed “APU13,” the upcoming summit is the AMD equivalent to NVIDIA’s GTC and is an annual event that brings together industry analysts, researchers, programmers, academics, and software/hardware companies pursuing heterogeneous computing technologies.
In previous years, the AMD Developer Summit has been the launchpad for C++ AMP and the HSA Foundation. This year’s Summit will continue that trend towards heterogeneous computing as well as look back over the year and provide updates on where the various HSA member companies are at as far as goals to move towards standards-based heterogenous computing.
In addition to keynote speeches from AMD and some of its partners, expect a great deal of presentations and workshops from researchers and programmers that are working on new programming models and hardware solutions to efficiently use CPU and GPU processors. More information on hUMA is one of the likely topics, for example. Discussion about upcoming hardware, process nodes, and products may also be on the table so far as it relates to the HSA theme. Considering the summit is called “APU13,” I also expect that AMD will reveal additional details on the company’s Kaveri APU as well as a look into its future product road map.
AMD is currently asking for presentation proposals from researchers in a number of HSA and technology-related fields including heterogeneous computing, cloud computing, web technologies, programming languages, gaming and graphics technologies, and software security. The lineup of presenters for the summit is still being worked out, and proposal papers will be accepted until May 10th with the winners being notified over the summer.
In all, AMD’s APU13 should be an exciting and intellectual event. Last year’s AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) was an interesting and fun event to cover, and I hope that APU13 will keep up the same momentum and interest in heterogeneous computing that AFDS started.
Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2013 - 01:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Steamroller, piledriver, Kaveri, Kabini, hUMA, hsa, GCN, bulldozer, APU, amd
AMD may have united GPU and CPU into the APU but one hurdle had remained until now, the the non-uniformity of memory access between the two processors. Today we learned about one of the first successful HAS projects called Heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access, aka hUMA, which will appear in the upcoming Kaveri chip family. The use of this new technology will allow the on-die CPU and GPU to access the same memory pool, both physical and virtual and any data passed between the two processors will remain coherent. As The Tech Report mentions in their overview hUMA will not provide as much of a benefit to discrete GPUs, while they will be able to share address space the widely differing clock speeds between GDDR5 and DDR3 prevent unification to the level of an APU.
Make sure to read Josh's take as well so you can keep up with him on the Podcast.
"At the Fusion Developer Summit last June, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster teased Kaveri, AMD's next-generation APU due later this year. Among other things, Papermaster revealed that Kaveri will be based on the Steamroller architecture and that it will be the first AMD APU with fully shared memory.
Last week, AMD shed some more light on Kaveri's uniform memory architecture, which now has a snazzy marketing name: heterogeneous uniform memory access, or hUMA for short."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD’s new heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access
- hUMA; AMD’s Heterogeneous Unified Memory Architecture @ Hardware Canucks
- Compro TN50W Cloud Network Camera @ Tweaktown
- Wifi Pineapple project uses updated hardware for man-in-the-middle attacks @ Hack a Day
- New OpenWRT Drops Support For Linux 2.4, Low-Mem Devices @ Slashdot
- HP mashes up ProLiant, Integrity, BladeSystem, and Moonshot server @ The Register
- Acer selling tablet using Intel Y series processor @ The Register
- CERN Celebrates 20 Years of an Open Web (and Rebuilds 1st Web Page) @ Slashdot
- BitFenix 5K YouTube Subscriber Giveaway @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2013 - 12:57 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wubi, Unity, ubuntu 13.04, ubuntu, openstack, linux, canonical
Canonical released its the Ubuntu 13.04 “Raring Ringtail” Linux distribution earlier this week. The updated operating system incorporates a new Linux kernel, newer pre-installed applications, and a tweaked Unity desktop environment. Enterprise and server users also have updated server software stacks to look forward to, including the latest juju and OpenStack (Grizzly) releases.
Ubuntu 13.04 continues in the direction of convergence set in motion by Canonical and its founder Mark Shuttleworth. It is the first step towards Ubuntu running on many types of devices (including mobile) as it includes an updated Unity interface. The 13.04 release still uses the X window system, but Canonical has made tweaks to Unity and is offering up an optional download of the new Mir display backend that users can install. Mir is the display server that Ubuntu will be switching to with its next LTS release and that will reportedly enable a cross-platform Ubuntu/Unity experience. The Unity tweaks include disabling Workspaces and the “show desktop” button on the desktop (though they can be re-enabled in settings). There have also been tweaks to Ubuntu’s Dash UI, including a typo-tolerant search function and new result sorting options. It will not be until the next release that users will really start to see Ubuntu’s plans of convergence come together (heh), but even with the small changes present in 13.04, the traditional desktop OS is making considerations for mobile devices.
While the visual changes are minimal on Ubuntu 13.04 compared to 12.10, the new release does update a lot of the underlying software.At least on the outside, Ubuntu 13.04 has not changed much from its 12.10 predecessor. Ubuntu 13.04 is based on the upstream 3.8.8 Linux kernel, and incorporates a number of updates to the pre-installed applications and core software. The updates include Unity 7, LibreOffice 4, and Python 3.3 (future versions of Ubuntu will remove Python 2 completely, though it will still be available as a downloadable package). Gwibber has also been replaced with a new service called “Friends” that takes all of your social networking accounts and combines them under your Ubuntu Online account.
Additionally, Ubuntu 13.04 also no longer includes the Wubi installer, which allowed users to install Ubuntu as a program within Windows and got around the need to mess with partitioning. Although there was a bit of overhead in doing the install this way, it was noticeably easier for new users than other methods. Canonical suggests that users interested in trying out the new operating system should simply use the live media, but installing it in a VM such as VirtualBox or VMWare may be more appropriate as some of the functionality is missing from the Live DVD environment in my experience (at least if you also want to try out functionality or other Linux software that would require a restart). Canonical has also cut the support time in half for Ubuntu 13.04 (and all future interim releases) from 18 months to 9 months. Hopefully the development team puts the reduced support workload to good use by investing the time in quick and stable releases.
So far, Ubuntu 13.04 has been getting positive reviews, though some users have run into issues running the operating system on their particular hardware (a bit of instability is expected with a new release, however).
If you are interested in Ubuntu 13.04 “Raring Ringtail,” you can read more about the changes in the official release notes and grab a download of the OS from the Ubuntu website or the updater if you are currently running Ubuntu 12.10.