Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2016 - 06:16 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ubuntu, linux, mediatek, SoC, arm, tablet
Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system, is now offering up its first Ubuntu tablet with Spanish manufacturing partner BQ. The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is a 10-inch tablet powered by ARM and loaded with Ubuntu 15.04.
The tablet features an all black (or white) case with rounded edges and a matte back. Mobilegeeks managed to get hands on with the Android version of the Aquaris M10 which you can check out here. The internals are a bit different on the Ubuntu Edition, but the chassis and design remains the same. It measures 8.2mm thick and weighs in at 470 grams (1.03 pounds). The front is dominated by a 10.1” AHVA touchscreen display that comes in either 1280 x 800 or Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution depending on the model. A capacitive home button sits below along with two 0.7W speakers while a 5MP webcam is positioned above the display. There is an 8MP rear camera, and the sides hold Micro HDMI, Micro USB, Micro SD, and 3.5mm audio ports.
The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is powered by a quad core MediaTek SoC with Mali-T720MP2 graphics, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of eMMC storage (with approximately 10GB usable by end users) that can be expanded via Micro SD cards up to 64GB. The Full HD model uses the MediaTek MT8163A clocked at 1.5 GHz while the HD Aquaris M10 uses the slightly lower clocked MT8163B running at 1.3 GHz.
Wireless capabilities include 802.11n (dual band) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS. It is powered by a 7,280 mAh Li-Po battery. BQ has pre-loaded the tablet with Ubuntu 15.04 which users will likely want to update once drivers are ready as it is End-of-Life.
The Aquaris M10 is available for pre-order now, with expected ship dates in early April. The HD Ubuntu Edition tablet is listed at €259.90 ($295) while the Full HD version will run you €299.90 ($340). Currently, the Full HD tablet comes in black and the HD tablet is all white. Both models come with a screen protector and case as a pre-order bonus.
It is interesting to see an official Ubuntu tablet, but I wonder if this is too little, too late for the open source OS. Canonical is positioning this as a daily driver that can be a tablet when you want to be mobile, a PC when propped up with a case and paired with wireless keyboard and mouse, and a media streamer when connecting it to the big screen with HDMI. I would expect performance to improve over time once the community gets a hold of it and starts tweaking it though the hardware is going to be a limiting factor. I want a Linux tablet to succeed, and hopefully this will open the door for higher end models. I don’t see myself jumping on this particular one though at this price.
Are you excited for the Ubuntu Edition M10?
Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2016 - 04:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dx12, rise of the tomb raider, gaming
DX12 API support has arrived for the new Lara Croft game, for those with the hardware and software to support it. For AMD users that means Fury or 300 family cards, which offer DX12.0 support and for NVIDIA, 980 Ti and all other Maxwell GPUs which offers 12.1 as well as 12.0. The difference in support is likely because of the game, not the hardware in this case. [H]ard|OCP takes a look at how well the cards perform in both DX11 and DX12 and as it turns out the warning below is very accurate and perhaps you should wait for a few more driver updates and game patches before switching over to DX12.
"Rise of the Tomb Raider has recently received a new patch which adds DX12 API support, in addition the patch adds NVIDIA VXAO Ambient Occlusion technology, however just under DX11. In this evaluation we will find out if DX12 is beneficial to the gameplay experience currently and how it impacts certain GPUs."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hitman PC game analysis @ Kitguru
- EVE Valkyrie Blasts Off With Launch Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Far Cry Primal Review @ OCC
- Call of Duty franchise heads for space @ The Inquirer
- Fallout 4 Survival Mode Beta Now Available @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Grand Theft Auto 6 is in production, likely to be set in US @ HEXUS
- The Best ARK: Survival Evolved Mods @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Mass Effect Andromeda Details Slip Out @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2016 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C, amazon
Yes, after much destruction of expensive hardware including the Pixel 2 belonging to Google researcher Benson Leung, you can now source the new USB cables much more safely. Benson has been testing these cables for quite a while and has been trying to convince major suppliers such as Amazon to vet the cables they are selling, and to refuse to sell ones which are not up to spec. According to what The Inquirer has heard this quest has finally been completed and Amazon will no longer sell 'any USB-C (or USB Type-C) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by USB Implementers Forum Inc'. That would include cables that were being sold by the smartphone company OnePlus, whose cables would work only with their phones.
***OnePlus contacted us to clarify that as of January they've restocked their products with Type-C cables and adapters with 56kΩ resistors, which are fully compliant with the standard.***
It has taken far too long to do this and the killer cables are still out there at retail outlets and other online marketplaces, so exercise caution but Type-C is finally safe enough to think of using for charging and the other new capabilities it posesses.
"Amazon has now stepped in to put a stop to the free-for-all on crappy cables. The retailer's list of prohibited electronics items now includes 'any USB-C (or USB Type-C) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by USB Implementers Forum Inc'."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Confirmed: Microsoft and Canonical Partner To Bring Ubuntu To Windows 10 @ Slashdot
- Windows 10 Now Runs On 270 Million Monthly Active Devices @ Slashdot
- Acer Chromebook 14 arrives with aluminium chassis and 14-hour battery life @ The Inquirer
- Monster crowdfunding total raised for Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ @ The Register
- Surface Hub: A Howard Hughes folly, or a cunning Post It Note killer? @ The Register
- Over 1,400 Vulnerabilities Found In Automated Medical Supply System @ Slashdot
- Three-bit quantum gate a step closer to universal quantum computer @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 30, 2016 - 01:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, uwp, microsoft, build 2016, BUILD
When a platform vendor puts up restrictions, it can be scary, and with good cause. Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is the successor of WinRT, which, in the Windows 8 era, forced web browsers to be reskins of Internet Explorer, forced developers to get both their software and themselves certified before publishing, and so forth. They still allowed the traditional, more open, Win32 API, but locked them into “the Desktop App”.
Naturally, UWP carries similar concerns, which some developers (like Tim Sweeney of Epic Games) voiced publicly. It's more permissive, but in a brittle way. We don't want Microsoft, or someone like a government who has authority over them, to flip a switch and prevent individuals from developing software, ban content that some stakeholder finds offensive (like art with LGBT characters in Russia, the Middle East, or even North America), or ban entire categories of software like encryption suites or third-party web browsers.
This is where we get to today's announcement.
Microsoft's Phil Spencer, essentially responding to Tim Sweeney's concerns, and the PC gaming community at large, announced changes to UWP to make it more open. I haven't had too much time to think about it, and some necessary details don't translate well to a keynote segment, but we'll relay what we know. First, they plan to open up VSync off, FreeSync, and G-Sync in May. I find this kind-of odd, since Windows 10 will not receive its significant update (“Anniversary Update”) until July, I'm not sure how they would deliver this. It seems a little big for a simple Windows Update patch. I mean, they have yet to even push new versions of their Edge web browser outside of Windows 10 builds.
The second change is more interesting. Microsoft announced, albeit without dedicating a solid release date or window, to allow modding and overlays in UWP applications. This means that software will be able to, somehow, enter into UWP's process, and users will be encouraged to, somehow, access the file system of UWP applications. Currently, you need to jump through severe hoops to access the contents of Windows Store applications.
They still did not address the issue of side-loading and developing software without a certificate. Granted, you can do both of those things in Windows 10, but in a way that seems like it could be easily removed in a future build, if UWP has enough momentum and whoever runs Microsoft at the time decides to. Remember, this would not be an insidious choice by malicious people. UWP is alluring to Microsoft because it could change the “Windows gets viruses” stigma that is associated with PCs. The problem is that it can be abused, or even unintentionally harm creators and potential users.
On the other hand, they are correcting some major issues. I'm just voicing concerns.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | March 30, 2016 - 08:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: U-Verse, opinion, isp, Internet, FTTN, FTTH, editorial, data cap, AT%26T
AT&T U-Verse internet users will soon feel the pain of the company's old school DSL users in the form of enforced data caps and overage charges for exceeding new caps. In a blog post yesterday, AT&T announced plans to roll out new data usage caps for U-Verse users as well as a ('Comcastic') $30 per month option for unlimited data use.
Starting on May 23, 2016 AT&T U-Verse (VDSL2 and Gigapower/Fiber) customers will see an increase to their usage allowance based on their speed tier. Currently, U-Verse FTTN customer have a 250 GB cap regardless of speed tier while FTTH customers in its Gigapower markets have a higher 500 GB cap. These caps were soft caps and not enforced meaning that customers were not charged anything for going over them. That will soon change, and all U-Verse customers will be charged for going over their cap at a rate of $10 for every 50 GB over the cap. (e.g. Even if you use only 1 GB over the cap, you will still be charged the full $10 fee.).
The new U-Verse caps (also listed in the chart below) range from 300 GB for speeds up to 6 Mbps and 600 GB for everything up to its bonded pair 75 Mbps tier. At the top end, customers lucky enough to get fiber to the home and speed plans up to 1 Gbps will have a 1 TB cap.
|Internet Tier||New Data Caps||Overage Charges|
|AT&T DSL (all speeds)||150 GB||$10 per 50GB|
|AT&T U-Verse (768 Kbps – 6 Mbps)||300 GB||$10 per 50GB|
|AT&T U-Verse (12 Mbps – 75Mbps)||600 GB||$10 per 50GB|
|AT&T U-Verse FTTH (100 Mbps – 1 Gbps)||1 TB||$10 per 50GB|
Uverse customers that expect to use more than 500 GB over their data cap ($100 is the maximum overage charge) or that simply prefer not to worry about tracking their data usage can opt to pay an additional $30 monthly fee to be exempt from their data cap.
It's not all bad news though. General wisdom has always been that U-Verse customers subscribed to both internet and TV would be exempt from the caps even if AT&T started to enforce them. This is not changing. U-Verse customers subscribed to U-Verse TV (IPTV) or Direct TV on a double play package with U-Verse internet will officially be exempt from the cap and will get the $30/month unlimited data option for free.
AT&T DSL users continue to be left behind here as they will not receive an increase in their 150 GB data allowance, and from the wording of the blog post it appears that they will further be left out of the $30 per month unlimited data option (which would have actually been a very welcome change for them).
Karl Bode over at DSLReports adds a bit of interesting history in mentioning that originally AT&T stated that U-Verse users would not be subject to a hard data cap because of the improved network architecture and its "greater capacity" versus the old school CO-fed DSL lines. With the acquisition of Direct TV and the way that AT&T has been heavily pushing Direct TV and pushing customers away from its IPTV U-Verse TV service, it actually seems like a perfect time to not enforce data caps since customers going with its Direct TV satellite TV would free up a great deal of bandwidth on the VDSL2 wireline network for internet!
This recent move is very reminiscent of Comcast's as it "trials" data caps and overages in certain markets as well as having it's own extra monthly charge for unlimited data use. Considering the relatively miniscule cost to deliver this data versus the monthly service charges, these new unlimited options really seem more about seeking profit than any increased costs especially since customers have effectively had unlimited data this whole time and will soon be charged for the same service they've possibly been using for years. I will give AT&T some credit for implementing more realistic data caps and bumping everyone up based on speed tiers (something Comcast should adopt if they are set on having caps). Also, letting Internet+TV customers keep unlimited data is a good thing, even if it is only there to encourage people not to cut the cord.
The final bit of good news is that existing U-Verse customers will have approximately four months before they will be charged for going over their data caps. AT&T claims that they will only begin charging for overages on the third billing cycle, giving customers at least two 'free' months of overages. Users can opt to switch between unlimited and capped options at will, even in the middle of a billing cycle, and the company will send as many as seven email reminders at various data usage points as they approach the cap in the first two months as a warning to the overages.
This is a lot to take in, but there is still plenty of time to figure out how the changes will affect you.
Are you a U-Verse or AT&T DSL user? What do you think about the new data caps for U-Verse users and the $30/month unlimited data option?
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2016 - 07:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, Tobii, EyeX, eye tracking
The Tobii EyeX eye-tracking controller is a small USB 3.0 device which fastens to the bottom of your monitor, more or less permanently, to allow you to control some games and programs with your eyes. The reviewer at The Tech Report discovered something unique about himself while conducting this review, while the five people he had try the EyeX the setup was flawless and easy, however his own eyes proved quite problematic. An upgrade to his glasses seems to have mostly mitigated the issue, however it might be worth remembering if you pick one up and have issues during calibration.
Once the EyeX was set up it worked in game, with some small issues which were not game breaking. Of more interest is the final page of the review, combining the EyeX with the Gazespeaker software form a potent duo to help those who have difficulties communicating in other ways. If you play games which benefit from eyetracking or know of someone who could benefit from Gazespeaker you should check out the full review.
"Tobii's EyeX eye-tracking controller promises to add more interactivity to some games by letting players take over certain in-game actions using nothing but the direction of their gaze. We spent some eyes-on time with the EyeX to see how it works."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master Sentinel III @ Benchmark Reviews
- Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte XM300 Gaming Mouse Review @HiTech Legion
- Bloody ML160 Commander @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro S @ eTeknix
- COUGAR Attack X3 Mechanical @ NikKTech
- QPAD MK-90 RGB Pro Gaming @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2016 - 01:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
As far as Updategate issues go, this one seems less a Microsoft problem and more of a consumer problem; however it does remain a serious problem. For a while now Microsoft have stated that Enterprise Editions of Windows 7 will not be upgraded to Windows 10, nor should they see the nag screens we have all grown to know and despise. The problem is that not every company uses Microsoft's Volume Licensing which is the only way to get the Enterprise Edition and even if they do they often customize the installation which can remove the Enterprise flag which prevents the upgrade prompts from appearing.
In practice what that means is businesses are now starting to see the upgrade nag screens, from doctors offices to roofing companies to large businesses which are not part of the volume licensing. As The Inquirer spotted in one comment, this can be a huge problem as a bronchoscopy cart in a hospital which was needed immediately couldn't be used until Windows Update was finished with it. It has also negatively effected Bootcamp setups or required a system password which no one had used for years. Here we thought U2 giving away music for free was bad; expect to become as bored of this topic as you are of the nag screens over the coming months.
"Qualified computers and devices that are deployed in your organization and that are running Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro are eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade offer and will be able to upgrade through Windows Update."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Electronic Rule-Breakers That Crept into Everything We Use @ Hack a Day
- Verizon plots 28 GHz 5G tests @ The Register
- 3 Challenges Facing Open Networking, and More from Open Networking Summit @ Linux.com
- Truecaller for Android vulnerability put personal data of 100 million users at risk @ The Inquirer
- Amazon issues recipe for baking Alexa speech tech into a Raspberry Pi @ The Inquirer
- iPhone SE vs iPhone 6S specs comparison @ The Inqurier
- Git 2.8 Officially Released @ Slashdot
- Gelid Zentree USB Charging Station @ eTeknix
- Vertagear S-Line SL5000 Gaming Chair Review @ OCC
- Linksys MAX-STREAM EA7500 Router Review @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2016 - 01:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: unreal engine, epic games, art by rens
This work was featured on Unreal Engine's GDC sizzle video as "Photogrammetry", but I've only just now found out where it came from. The creator, Rense de Boer, goes by the consistent online branding of Art by Rens. He worked at DICE from 2011 through 2014, working on the Battlefield franchise, and now he seems to be doing his own thing.
The environment work is stunning. The snow, slightly thawed and refrozen, covers the rocks and leaves in a way that looks absolutely real. Some of the rocks look partially moss-covered, with the plant seemingly breaking it down, and coming up through the cracks. There's only so many ways that I can describe it, but it's definitely worth a look. He targets four Titan-class video cards, but he's aiming for 4K.
He hasn't announced any product yet, so we're not really sure why he's doing it. He did receive a grant from Epic Games, though. I'm not sure exactly how much, just that $500,000 USD was split 30 ways, but not uniformly (some received more than others).
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 28, 2016 - 11:24 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcper, hardware, technology, review, Oculus, rift, Kickstarter, nvidia, geforce, GTX 980 Ti
It's Oculus Rift launch day and the team and I spent the afternoon setting up the Rift, running through a set of game play environments and getting some good first impressions on performance, experience and more. Oh, and we entered a green screen into the mix today as well.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 26, 2016 - 12:11 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: VR, vive pre, vive, virtual reality, video, pre, htc
On Friday I was able to get a pre-release HTC Vive Pre in the office and spend some time with it. Not only was I interested in getting more hands-on time with the hardware without a time limit but we were also experimenting with how to stream and record VR demos and environments.
Enjoy and mock!