Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2015 - 04:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ea, free to play, battlefield
Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play4Free, Need for Speed World, and FIFA World are set to disappear in three months. According to the site for one of these games, Battlefield Heroes, that corresponds to Tuesday, July 14th, 2015. The other three might be plus or minus a little bit, but it sounds like it will be a simultaneous shutdown. Refunds will not be provided, even if you have premium credit remaining unspent on your account. I guess that means that you should burn whatever you have left over while the servers are still running; EA will not accept new accounts or payments though.
The announcement, made by Executive Vice President of EA Studios, Patrick Söderlund, assures players that other EA free-to-play titles are growing in player base and content. He uses Star Wars: The Old Republic as an example, which will receive updates over the year, including ones that build on its narrative.
But this is one of the problems with “free-to-play” and other genres with an authoritative online component: timed life. These titles are not going to be critiqued and celebrated in University courses over the upcoming decades and centuries. It is a difficult balance. On the one hand, it is interesting to create a universe that evolves and possibly mutates based on player interaction. Those experiences disappear though (and so does the money you tie into it). That doesn't mean “don't play them” -- just be aware what you're investing your time, money, and self-expression into.
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2015 - 02:36 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x99-soc, video, Skylake, Samsung, podcast, nvidia, msi, motorola, Moto E, Intel, GTAV, gs30, gigabyte, Broadwell, amd, 840 evo
PC Perspective Podcast #345 - 04/16/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the MSI GS30 Shadow, Gigabyte X99-SOC, Skylake Leaks and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:20:07
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2015 - 01:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, maxwell, Nouveau, open source
The initial benchmarks that Phoronix and other Linux tech sites ran on the new Maxwell cards from NVIDIA were using the proprietary binary drivers, the same as with all AMD cards. Unlike AMD who have always released signed binary-only firmware blobs which could not be reverse engineered and modified for use, previous generations of NVIDIA cards did not require signed firmware images, only a lot of dev work. Maxwell is locked down and the current open sourced Nouveau driver can now only be used to set up display outputs, it has no ability to use the card for hardware accelerated graphics.
NVIDIA states that the new requirement is to prevent shady characters from modifying slower cards to look like new Maxwell GPUs but Phoronix feels that they have gone overboard. It is sad to see NVIDIA taking a step backwards in supporting the open source community, mimicking AMD's procedure of only offering binary-only firmware blobs though AMD is at least updating the blobs and open source driver relatively frequently. That said, the new Maxwell cards do perform very well with the proprietary Linux driver so users should not feel they have to avoid NVIDA; unfortunately for developers the same is not true.
"While NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 900 series is dominating for Linux gamers with excellent performance with their $1000+ GPU as well as great Linux OpenGL/OpenCL performance out of their lower-cost GPUs with excellent power efficiency, that's only when using the proprietary driver... NVIDIA's newer GTX 900 / Maxwell hardware is less open-source friendly than their previous generations of hardware. "
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- iFixit: Apple's 12in MacBook is near impossible to repair @ The Inquirer
- Talk is FINNISHed: Nokia to buy Alcatel Lucent for €15.6 billion @ The Register
- Businesses are not using apps from the Windows Store @ The Inquirer
- Calling Out a GAO Report That Says In-Flight Wi-Fi Lets Hackers Access Avionics @ Slashdot
- Kwikset SmartCode 916 Electronic Deadbolt @ Benchmark Reviews
- Win an MSI GS60 Ghost Pro laptop @ KitGuru
Subject: General Tech, Storage | April 16, 2015 - 06:47 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: uefi, SSD 750, PCI-E 3.0, NVMe, Intel, ACHI, 750 series
UPDATE: ASUS has pointed us towards a poll they are running to gauge what platforms people are most anxious for NVMe Boot support on. So if you have an ASUS board and are interested in buying an Intel SSD 750 Series, head to their poll to voice your opinion!
Last week, the Intel 750 Series SSD was unveiled the the public as the first consumer SSD to feature the NVMe or Non-Volatile Memory Express interface. NVMe was designed from the ground up for flash storage, and provides significant advantages in latency and potential top transfer rates over the aging AHCI standard. Check out our review of the Intel SSD 750 Series to find out why this is such an important step forward for storage technology.
Even if you aren't necessarily concerned about the merits of a new storage interface, the throughput numbers from the 750 series are hard to ignore. With peak speeds over 2.5GB/s read and 1.5GB/s write, it's hard not to be interested in this new drive.
However, all this new speed doesn't come without a few complications. NVMe is an all-new standard which means it might not be supported on all platforms. Intel themselves only point to official support for Z97 and X99 chipsets. In order to get a better idea of the landscape of NVMe compatibility, I took it amongst myself to start testing the add-in card version of the 750 Series in just about every modern motherboard I could get my hands on at the office.
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2015 - 12:04 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: take-two, layoffs, 2k games, 2k australia
UPDATE (April 16th, 4:12pm EDT): Within an hour of publishing, IGN received a statement from 2K Games confirming the studio closure. Thanks to Penterax in the comments for the tip.
According to a tip sent to Kotaku Australia, and currently no other source, 2K Australia has been closed down. The studio is most recently known for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but they have also contributed to all three BioShock titles and, when they were a formal division of Irrational Games, worked on SWAT 4 and Tribes: Vengeance. And yes, it is very tempting to call it “Police Quest: SWAT 4”.
At the time of writing, we are still waiting on an official statement from 2K Australia or its parent companies, 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive. The source claims that all staff members will lose their jobs and the entire studio will be closed. There are also not too many alternatives in the continent. EA has a subsidiary that develops mobile titles, Firemonkeys Studios, which has about 60 employees. They are about 400 miles away from where 2K Australia was though. A Google Doc is being maintained with many prospects, although about half of the openings are in North America and New Zealand.
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 05:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, build 10041, build 10049, microsoft, trillian, cerulean studios
Since the release of Windows 10 Build 10041, Trillian, the instant messenger client, suffered some issues regarding window sizing (along with Firefox, Chrome, and a few other applications). Basically, the window would progressively shrink every time you type and the resize controls would hang about five pixels outside the window edge. Some windows would also “be open” but cannot be unminimized, requiring you to close them in the task bar and reopen them by double-clicking on the contact.
Cerulean Studios has just released Trillian 5.6 Beta, along with its associated release notes, which seem to address both of these issues. I say seem because the latter issue (chat windows staying minimized forever) was intermittent, so I can't tell whether my testing is simply luck. That said, I tried to make it happen and I couldn't. Either way, the chat window shrinking bug was vastly more annoying.
Before this update, Trillian was just about useless on Windows 10. The only way to get it somewhat function was to maximize the window to a full monitor. Even snapping it to the left side of the screen would not prevent it from slowly shrinking itself.
I hope this news helps some of our readers as much as it helps me!
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 01:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED
Every trailer of the Witcher 3 so far has made the game look larger and more complex and the latest trailer continues along that vein. Some scenes will be familiar, such as a certain griffin's head but others are completely new, especially the in town scenes. The voiceover implies a much greater breadth of choice in how you play the story than the binary elves or humans choice of Witcher 2 but we have been disappointed by other franchises in the past. Hopefully this game will not disappoint, it has a very devoted team who are not afraid to include uncomfortable choices or nasty dialogue in the world they have created. It will also be interesting to see how the size of the open world translates into interesting gameplay, especially once you have cleared an area and civilians move in to settle it. Check out the trailer below and catch additional coverage at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN ... and maybe even here, you never know.
"Hi, you. That’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Watch this new trailer, it’ll explain. This shiny new five-minute trailer’s a broad overview of the game, its basic premise, the lay of its land, a few japes, and the sort of larks you’ll get up to."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Is Deus Ex Still The Best Game Ever? Part One: Memories And Hardware Renderers @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Bundle Me Up: GOG Sale Starts With RPGs & Adventures @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Grand Theft Auto V Performance Analysis @ techPowerUp
- Humble Origin Bundle 2 launched @ HEXUS
- Hands On: StarCraft II – Legacy Of The Void @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Bang: Arma 3 Fires Big Update Alongside Marksmen DLC @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 12:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: drone, linux, 3DRobotics, Cortex A9, solo
The 3DR Solo drone is powered by a Cortex A9 processor running at 1GHz which gives the Pixhawk 2 autopilot feature some power to work with, a good thing as some pilots will be too busy watching the HD video stream. If you buy the model with the GoPro gimbal or knock one up yourself, the Solo is capable of wireless streaming 720p video up to a distance of 1.2 miles (1.9km) with a delay of about 180ms. You will have a flight time of 25 minutes unladen, 20 minutes if you are hauling a GoPro or any other equivalent payload. It will not be cheap, it is being released on May 29th at a price of $1000 or $1400 with a GoPro gimbal, but you can check out more of the stats at Linux.com if you are still interested.
"3DRobotics today announced its first Linux-based drone, a Solo quadcopter touted as the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to support full control of GoPro cameras and deliver live-streaming HD video to mobile devices."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Huawei Ascend P8 arrives with full-metal case and octa-core chip @ The Inquirer
- Chrome version 42 will pour your Java coffee down the drain: Plugin blocked by default @ The Register
- Microsoft points at Skype, Lync: You two, in my office – right now @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:28 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, gaming keyboard, gaming, battlefield hardline
Logitech has created an SDK to bring a new concept to PC gaming: in-game illumination integration with G series gaming peripherals. Logitech is calling this "Intelligent Illumination", and they have created a video to show off the new tech from their work with EA on Battlefield Hardline.
Switching sides in the game alternates the keyboard color, and the lights blink when taking damage. It's certainly a novel concept, and in this instance adds additional user feedback by taking advantage of the RGB color capabilities of a modern gaming keyboard (this is the G910 Orion Spark). The possibilities seem endless, but a simple idea like context-specific keyboard mapping through custom illumination would make the controls for some games much easier to learn.
Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mozilla, http, https, firefox
On the Mozilla Dev-Platform Newsgroup, hosted at Google Groups, a proposal to deprecate insecure HTTP is being discussed. The idea is that HTTPS needs to be adopted and organizations will not do it without being pushed. The plan is to get browser vendors to refuse activating new features, and eventually disable old features, unless the site is loaded as a “privileged context”.
This has sparked a debate, which was the whole point of course, about how secure do we want the Web to be. What features should we retroactively disable unless it is done through HTTPS? Things that access your webcam and microphone? Things that write to your hard drive? Then there is the question of how to handle self-signed certificates to get encryption without verification, and so forth.
Note: Websites cannot access or create files on your hard drive, but standards like localStorage and IndexedDB allow websites to have their own spaces for persistence. This is to allow, for instance, a 3D game to cache textures (and so forth) so you don't need to download them every time.
Personally, this concerns me greatly. I started helping Mozilla a couple of years ago, a few weeks after I saw Microsoft's Windows 8 developer certification program. I do not like the thought of someone being able to stifle creation and expression, and the web was looking like it might be the last bastion of unrestricted development for the general public.
In the original Windows Store requirements, no browser could exist unless it was a skin of Trident. This meant that, if a site didn't work in Internet Explorer, it didn't exist. If you didn't want to play by their rules? Your app didn't get signed and your developer certificate could even be revoked by Microsoft, or someone with authority over them. You could imagine the problems a LGBT-focused developer might have in certain countries, even if Microsoft likes their creations.
This is obviously not as bad as that. In the Windows Store case, there was one authority whereas HTTPS can be authenticated by numerous providers. Also, if self-signed certificates are deemed “secure enough”, it would likely avoid the problem. You would not need to ask one of a list of authorities permission to exist; you could secure the connection yourself. Of course, that is a barrier of skill for many, and that is its own concern.
So we'll see, but I hope that Mozilla will take these concerns as a top priority in their decisions.