Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2015 - 10:40 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: windows 10, Raspberry Pi, microsoft, iot, developers
Microsoft has announced that a version of Windows 10 will not only run on the Raspberry Pi 2, but that the OS will be available free of charge to members of its IoT (Internet of Things) developer program.
Microsoft made this announcement on their Dev Center website:
We’re excited to announce that we are expanding our Windows Developer Program for IoT by delivering a version of Windows 10 that supports Raspberry Pi 2. This release of Windows 10 will be free for the Maker community through the Windows Developer Program for IoT.
Windows 10 is the first step to an era of more personal computing. This vision framed our work on Windows 10, where we are moving Windows to a world that is more mobile, natural and grounded in trust. With the Windows for IoT developer program we're bringing our leading development tools, services and ecosystem to the Raspberry Pi community!
We see the Maker community as an amazing source of innovation for smart, connected devices that represent the very foundation for the next wave of computing, and we’re excited to be a part of this community.
We are excited about our partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and delivering a version of Windows 10 that supports Raspberry Pi 2, and we will be sharing more details about our Windows 10 plans for IoT in the coming months.
For the last six months we've been working closely with Microsoft to bring the forthcoming Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft will have much more to share over the coming months. The Raspberry Pi 2-compatible version of Windows 10 will be available free of charge to makers.
Though Microsoft has effectively killed WinRT after revealing that it would not be upgraded to Windows 10, the support for the ARM-powered Pi demonstrates that the upcoming version of Windows still has more than just potential to run on ARM devices. This only makes sense considering the strategy of unifying Windows with a single version, and it is possible that the fork available for the Pi is more akin to mobile than to the desktop variant. Either way it sounds like it's worth the $35 to find out!
Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2015 - 03:19 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows, OEM, microsoft, crapware
Advertising is a powerful business model, and is there any better medium than demos that are directly embedded inside your users' systems? Yes. Yes there are. That is actually a terrible idea. Why would you do that? Oh. Right. Money. You know what? Fine. If it lowers the cost of commodity devices, then it is not entirely horrendous. Advanced users should have some method of opting-out, though.
Sure enough, Microsoft might have made that possible.
Paul Thurrott has compiled a little article that describes what you need to do to get clean installation media for your device. The procedure is fairly simple for Windows 8.1, although the Digital River download links for Windows 7 are good to know. The post is really more of a checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row before attempting. Probably the most important advice (besides BACK UP!) is, especially if this is your only internet-capable device, make sure you have functioning network drivers. Also, if you have Windows 8.1 with Bing... sorry, you're stuck. Also, sorry in general.
Otherwise? Congratulations! You're now an enthusiast. Actually enjoy Windows.
Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2015 - 11:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: x-plane, programming, development
“The Hacks of Life” is a blog from some developers at Laminar Research, which created the X-Plane franchise. Ben Supnik, the company's graphics lead, wrote an interesting and fairly lengthy blog post about optimizing for software performance, and it applies to more than just games.
In software development, the typical concept is: “write it, then profile it and fix what needs it”. This comes from the fear that developers will spend the majority of their time fixing the wrong problems. A profiler can tell you the chunks of code that hogs resources when you experience stutter, hitches, or hangs. They can also tell you how much of your overall performance is being used by specific parts of your application. These places have the most room for optimization, which allows you to budget more time for them. If you squeeze even a 100x performance increase out of code that runs for a tiny fraction of a millisecond per frame, then you spent all that time recovering at most a tiny fraction of a millisecond. All of that time could have been spent even doubling the performance of an 8ms effect, saving you 4 whole milliseconds per frame, which is the difference between 50 FPS and 60 FPS.
What I get from Ben's post is that, while not all of your code needs to run well, you cannot skip the design phase. The profiler can end up being an excuse to charge blindly into development. In a construction analogy, there is a difference between creating blueprints for your entire life, and building a house without any plans -- but that's okay, we can cut holes in the drywall if we need more windows and doors.
It's an interesting post, and is the eventual result of mantras being taken too literally.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 1, 2015 - 03:17 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mt6753, mediatek
We do not talk about MediaTek's higher-end products too often. Part of that is because they use stock architectures, ARM's Cortex CPU, ARM's Mali GPU, and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR GPU, rather than designing their own CPU and/or GPU portion. Likewise, their design wins are also not covered too much on this site, such as the new Amazon Fire HD tablets, for their own reasons. They still make some interesting chips, though.
Image Credit: A Weibo user via GSM-Arena
The MediaTek MT6753 is a true eight-core, 64-bit ARM SoC. Its press release makes the rest of its details... confusing. The release claims that it is clocked at 1.5 GHz and contains an ARM Mali-T720 GPU that is capable of OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL 1.2. The ARM Mali-T720 is actually capable of OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL 1.1. This leads some sites to report that the MT6753 actually contains a Mali-T760, which is newer and can utilize OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL 1.2 (it is also used in the MT6752 that was released several months ago). Other sites report what MediaTek claims.
GSM-Arena, one site that claims the (more-sensible) Mali-T760, also claims that the Cortex CPU cores can be clocked up to 1.7 GHz. This might not be inaccurate either, because it could be intended to run at ~1.3 to 1.5 GHz with a 1.7 GHz peak for vendors that want to take it to eleven. Alternatively, they could be wrong and it could peak at 1.5 GHz. We don't know, and MediaTek should be more clear about these important details.
Everyone seems to agree on the chip's networking capability, though. It will directly support LTE protocols for both China and western markets. This is expected to make them more competitive against Qualcomm, which might lead to more interesting designs.
Devices containing the MT6753 are expected to ship next quarter.
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2015 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, aoris, thunder k7, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx red
Aorus is expanding the mechanical keyboard market with their Thunder K7 which uses Cherry MX Red switches and has a removable numpad which you can attach to the left or right of the board, or completely separated from the main board if you so desire. The 20 keys on the numpad can all be programmed with macros, to help you copy and paste the UbiSoft game keys given away during our podcasts. The brightness of the keyboards backlighting can be adjusted with the wheel located at the top of the keyboard and the numpad as well. Modders-Inc found themselves liking this board, you can read about it right here.
"What do you look for in a keyboard? Do you look for items such as mechanical switches, dedicated macro keys, and LED backlighting? Do you want silent keys or loud keys? There are plenty of keyboards on the market with more features than you can shake a stick at. Some are useful, while others are gimmicky."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cougar 700K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Kitguru
- COUGAR 600K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ OCC
- Speedlink Parthica Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Quickfire Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard @ eTeknix
- Cougar 600K Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- orsair Gaming Sabre Optical RGB Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte FORCE M63 FPS Laser Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Cougar 600M Black Edition Gaming Mouse @ Modders-Inc
Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 30, 2015 - 03:03 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: visionx, SFF, radeon, m270x, haswell, asrock, amd
ASRock has unleashed an update to its small form factor VisionX series. The new VisionX 471D adds a faster Haswell processor and dedicated Radeon mobile graphics to the mini PC.
The 7.9” x 7.9” x 2.8” PC chassis comes in black or silver with rounded corners. External I/O is quite expansive with a DVD optical drive, two audio jacks, one USB 3.0 port, one MHSL* port (MHL compatible port that carries both data and video), and a SD card reader on the front. Further, the back of the PC holds the following ports:
- 5 x Analog audio jacks
- 1 x Optical audio out
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet jack
- 802.11ac (2 antennas)
- 5 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB 2.0
- 1 x eSATA
ASRock has gone with the Intel Core i7-4712MQ processor. This is a 37W Haswell quad core (with eight threads) clocked at up to 3.3GHz. Graphics are handled by the AMD Radeon R9 M270X which is a mobile “Venus” GCN-based GPU with 1GB of memory. The 28nm GPU with 640 cores, 40 TMUs, and 16 ROPs is clocked at 725 MHz base and up to 775 MHz boost. The PC further supports two SO-DIMMS, two 2.5” drives, one mSATA connector, and the above-mentioned DVD drive (DL-8A4SH-01 comes pre-installed).
The VisionX 471D is a “barebones” system where you will have to provide your own OS but does come with bundled storage and memory. Specifically, for $999, the SFF computer comes with 8GB of DDR3 memory, a 2TB mechanical hard drive, and a 256GB mSATA SSD (the ASint SSDMSK256G-M1 using a JMF667 controller and 64GB 20nm IMFT NAND). This leaves room for one additional 2.5” drive for expansion. Although it comes without an operating system, it does ship with a Windows Media Center compatible remote.
This latest addition to the VisionX series succeeds the 420D and features a faster processor. At the time of this writing, the PC is not available for purchase, but it is in the hands of reviewers (such as this review from AnandTech) and will be coming soon to retailers for $999 USD.
The price is on the steep side especially compared to some other recent tiny PCs, but you are getting a top end mobile Haswell chip and good I/O for a small system with enough hardware to possibly be "enough" PC for many people (or at least a second PC or a HTPC in the living room).
Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2015 - 02:43 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: windows 10, wetbench, video, Samsung, Primochill, podcast, nvidia, microsoft, GTX 970, gtx 960, DirectX 12, 840 evo
PC Perspective Podcast #334 - 01/29/2015
Join us this week as we discuss GTX 970 Memory Issues, Samsung 840 Evo Slowdown, GTX 960 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
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:27:38
Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2015 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vexbox, Kickstarter, 56k
The VexBox will bring tears to the eyes of parents and children, though only for the parents will they be tears of joy. It is a device being Kickstarted which will connect to your main router and provide a separate connection, both wired and wireless, to the devices you assign to it. You can then throttle the connection when you feel it is needed, all the way down to 56K modem speeds while leaving your connection unaffected. You will need to have a tiny bit more technical savvy than your children, if they can guess your password or the main router password then obviously they can circumvent the VexBox but as long as you can manage to keep a step ahead you can slow your internet down for anyone that isn't living up to your expectations. The KickStarter is here, one of their stretch goals is to be able to limit speeds depending on the URL being accessed so that actual online research can be performed at full speed. You will also need to block or confiscate 4G devices to avoid excess data charges if attempts are made to circumvent the VexBox. Join The Inquirer and "retro enthusiasts and people of a certain age" in bringing this beautiful device to the market.
"You can't shut kids in cupboards under the stairs these days, as it just leads to Harry Potter fantasies. So parents have had to come up with new ways of getting someone to mow the lawn."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 169 video: Win10, Elon's musk, and the gimpy GTX 970
- Intel launches 5th-gen Core vPro chips for the wireless office of the future @ The Inquirer
- Embedded Development with ARM mbed on Linux @ The Inquirer
- Boffin finds formula for four-year-five-nines disk arrays @ The Register
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU dumped from flagship smartphone @ The Register
- Linksys WRT1900AC AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router Review @ NikKTech
- [Tech ARP] The Samsung NX1 Masterclass Event by Yaman Ibrahim
Subject: General Tech | January 28, 2015 - 05:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, kingston, hyperx cloud II pro, gaming headset
Kingston's HyperX Cloud II Pro Gaming Headset can work as just a normal over the ear headset thanks to the removable microphone and 3.5" jack but provides more functionality when you use the inline 7.1 audio DSP connected to a USB port. The speakers are rated at a frequency response of 15Hz–25,000 Hz and the microphone at 50–18,000 Hz but be aware that the quality of your voice is significantly better when not connected via USB. The 7.1 audio emulation software works as advertised although the reviewer at Modders Inc prefers to use stereo. Check out the full review right here.
"Two years ago, I walked into the Emperor's Ballroom in Caesar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas Nevada wearing khakis and a golf-shirt, feeling woefully underdressed for the venue as I did not exactly pack a ball gown nor do I look good in one. The room had high ornate coffered ceilings, triumphal arches, elaborate carpeting and real marble floors, all …"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kingston HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS STRIX 7.1 @ Kitguru
- Asus STRIX DSP Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- BitFenix Flo PC Gaming Headset Review @ Techgage
- UE MEGABOOM portable bluetooth speaker @ Kitguru
- Inateck Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Portable Keyboard @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | January 28, 2015 - 02:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: old school, inxile, interplay, gaming, bards tale
Ah the sweet days of exploring Skara Brae on an Apple ][e, trying to figure out how to make it down a street or corridor without being teleported back to where you started and trying to figure out if you want to promote your magic user to a sorcerer or wizard. InXile, the same company that brought Wasteland into the modern era will now be working to bring back The Bard's Tale. This will hopefully be a much better implementation than UbiSoft's disappointing Might & Magic X: Legacy, the change from Wasteland to Wasteland 2 is vast but has been well done. Check out Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for more and watch the fall of Baron Harkyn and his four groups of 99 berserkers below.
"Brian Fargo and the inXile team’s next project will be another revival of an Interplay oldie. Following the success of Wasteland 2, the studio is now turning its attention to The Bard’s Tale, the fantasy dungeon crawling series last seen in 1988."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- I’m A Lover, Not A Fighter: 3 Hours With The Witcher 3 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wot I Think: Grim Fandango Remastered @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Unreal Engine 4 tech demo shows ultra-realistic apartment interior @ HEXUS
- EA's Need for Speed: No Limits has petrol as an in-app-purchase @ HEXUS
- Shock: Levine’s New Game Is Open Worldish Sci-Fiish RPG @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN