This gun can shoot down drones but don't try it at home

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2015 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: drone, electro-magnetic cannon

The concept sounds easy to duplicate, a so called "electro-magnetic cannon" which sends radio signals powerful enough to interfere with communications between a drone and its controller that then triggers the drone to automatically land but you probably shouldn't build one.  As with WiFi and cell signal disruptors, it are considered illegal for civilian usage, a pity for movie goers who would be far happier without the jerk in front of them talking on their phone during the main feature.  Battelle's gun has as range of 400 metres and if put into practice will prevent future incidents such as the recent grounding of waterbombers during a forest fire because numerous drones were occupying the air space in order to take pictures.  The drones would be unharmed and emergency services would not be interfered with.  Take a peek at The Register for more information, but stop those dreams of intercepting Amazon drones to see what they are carrying.


"US biz Battelle boasts it has found a way to rid our skies of annoying drones without breaking the flying machines' hardware."

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Source: The Register

Western Digital PiDrive Kit Easily Adds 1TB of Storage to Your Raspberry Pi

Subject: General Tech, Storage | October 15, 2015 - 09:05 PM |
Tagged: western digital, Raspberry Pi, external hard drive

Western Digital recently made storage simpler when it comes to the Raspberry Pi micro computer. The aptly-named PiDrive Kit allows you to easily pair the company’s 1TB 2.5” hard drive with the SFF PC.

Released last week, the PiDrive Kit consists of a 1TB laptop-style mechanical hard drive, a custom Micro USB cable, a microSD card, and a 5V USB AC power adapter. The hard drive has a micro USB 3.0 port (though the Raspberry Pi only supports 2.0 speeds) for data and power. One end of the cable connects to the drive. The cable then breaks out into three cables which connect to one of the Pi’s USB ports, the Pi’s micro USB power input, and the USB wall adapter. This allows the drive and Raspberry Pi to be powered off of one USB connection.

WD Labs PiDrive Kit.jpg

Looking up the model number from the WD website, it looks like the hard drives are part of the company’s Passport Ultra line. The biggest bottleneck is likely to be the USB 2.0 interface, especially when it comes to burst speeds though. The included micro SD card (WD does not specify capacity or speeds) can be used to test out alternative operating systems or to test out setting up the external storage in Linux without messing with your main development install.

If you are using a Raspberry Pi Model B+ or a Pi 2 Model B and need a hefty terabyte of storage, WD has a simple option that is currently for sale on their website for $52. I’m sure enthusiasts will find uses for the massive storage upgrade beyond what micro SD can offer (at the moment). 

Is it time to dust off the Pi?

Podcast #371 - MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G, ROG Product Announcements, Ultrawide G-Sync and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2015 - 04:21 PM |
Tagged: xps15, xps13, video, uhs-2, uhs-1, thinkpad stack, sd cards, ROG, podcast, msi, Maximus VIII, Lenovo, gx700, gt72s, G752, dell, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #371 - 10/15/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G, ROG Product Announcements, Ultrawide G-Sync and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
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  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:39:38

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:42:55 This week’s podcast is brought to you by Casper. Use code PCPER at checkout for $50 towards your order!
  3. News item of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  5. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Hacks in Spaaaaace!

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2015 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: hack, nasa, skylab

Figuring out and successfully executing a hardware hack is fun in and of itself, not to mention that you end up with a working device at the end but for the pinnacle of this craft you should check out this article at Hack a Day.  NASA has pulled off some very inspired hardware hacks in the most inhospitable place for humans imaginable, with serious repercussions if the kludges don't work.  Skylab was launched unmanned but before the crew was even prepping for launch numerous problems began to plague the space station, including an internal temperature of 77C.  These issues needed a workable solution in place before humans could set foot in the station, preferably ones that could be enacted remotely without any humans on the spot.  That is only one of the examples in the article, check out the other examples of ingenuity under extreme pressure by clicking that link.


"From the repairs to fix the blinded Hubble Space Telescope to the dodgy cooling system and other fixes on the International Space Station, both manned and unmanned spaceflight can be looked at as a series of hacks and repairs."

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Source: Hack a Day

In the continental US and want to win NewEgg's Game Like a Pro contest?

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2015 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: zotac, western digital, vertagear, seasonic, ocz, nzxt, newegg, Intel, hyperx, contest, asus

There is a contest on NewEgg right now for those living in the continental US with a Grand Prize of a full high end gaming system, including a chair as well as two other prizes from Zotac, a ZBox Magnus EN970 and a TX 970 AMP! edition GPU.  Tweet #GameLikeAPro and fill in the email form for a chance to win, 20 entries max at one per 24 hours.



Thanks to our friends at Seasonic for pointing us to this contest!!

Source: NewEgg

Bringing new life to J.C. Denton; Deus Ex: Revison

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2015 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, retro, deus ex revision, mod

Have you tried to play the original Deus Ex in the past few years only to find the resolution and overall quality of the textures so painful that you stopped after the first mission?  Have you though about doing it but never quite managed to start it up?  Perhaps this new revamp of the game will change your opinion, with all new assets, music and graphics tweaks.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN would like you to know about  Deus Ex: Revision, a mod available on Steam for those who own the game which brings new life to the old classic.  Thanks to the Stealth Sale the GotY version is a steep $1.55(ish) on Steam, so pick it up and see if this update is enough to convince you to replay or to introduce you for the first time to the game which was significantly better designed than its sequel. 

"Deus Ex: Revision [official site] is a project that overhauls “the environments and soundtrack” of Ion Storm’s classic, and it’s out now on Steam. The release has the backing of Deus Ex’s current publishers and developers (Square Enix and Eidos Montreal), and is designed to work exclusively with the Steam release of the original."

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Canon shows off its 8k prototypes

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2015 - 12:17 PM |
Tagged: 8k, Canon, 7680x4320

Canon is showing off some impressive kit at its Global Expo 2015 in Paris, a camera which records in 8k resolution along with displays capable of the same impressive pixel count of 7680x4320.  None of these products are close to being released but do show what the next generation of video technology holds for us.  It is probably good that we won't have these cameras soon, you don't want to see any of the crew here at that level of detail.  It is of course impossible to show off just how beautiful the video The Inquirer saw on lesser monitors such as we mortals possess but it is still worth popping over for a peek.


"CANON has shown off its latest range of ultra-high definition imaging technologies, including 8K cameras, displays and projector demonstrations."

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Source: The Inquirer

Jamming WiFi on the cheap

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2015 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: security, Raspberry Pi

With a Raspberry Pi and a cheap WiFi dongle a researcher has shown an effective way to completely block 2.4Ghz transmissions in a 120 metre radius.  By disabling the backoff wait time, aka Short Interframe Space (SIFS), which is accomplished by firmware modification the WiFi dongle will continually resend a frame and block any device with a higher bitrate.  This will block WiFI, Bluetooth and most IoT devices including security systems.  They did not provide the source code used in this procedure, so you won't be able to block your friends for your own amusement but security researchers can reach out to the inventor for access to see if there are ways to circumvent this vulnerability.  The story at The Register also has some information on TKIP vulnerabilities and possible ways to block transmissions on the 5GHz band.


"The wireless security boffin presented his work at the BruCon conference last week and revealed his weapon of choice is a bargain WiFi dongle bought off Amazon that, when paired with a Raspberry Pi and a small amplifier, can block 2.4Ghz transmissions for up to 120 metres."

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Source: The Register
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Lenovo

It's like Legos for the working man

Way back in January of 2015 at CES we were shown a new line of accessories from Lenovo called ThinkPad Stack. The company is targeting the professional user on the go with a collection of four devices that can be used together in a stackable form that offers up some impressive capability and function in a small package, though it does come with a business-user markup. 


Last week Lenovo sent us a full set of the ThinkPad Stack devices including a portable router, external USB 3.0 hard drive, Bluetooth speaker and external battery. With a price tag totaling nearly $400 for the entire set, there is a pretty high expectation for functionality, build quality and usability that Lenovo needs to hit, and they do a better job than I expected (honestly) to hit it. You don't have to buy all of the available Stack accessories, and that is part of the charm of the new product line - you can customize them to your own needs. 

Though it's not for everyone, I do find myself enjoying the idea of Lenovo's ThinkPad Stack products and how it enables the mobile professional. Let's take a look at what it is, how it works and if it's something you need.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo ThinkPad Stack Accessories!!

Another hard quarter for PC sellers

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2015 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: pc sales, Q3 2015

73.7 million units, including desktops, laptops and ultrabooks were sold in the third quarter of 2015, down 7.7% from this time last year.  In the EMEA, Japan and Latin America this could be in part because prices have risen by about 10% but is also likely due to a lack of any convincing reason to upgrade.  The recent security problems revealed on Lenovo machines do not seem to have hurt their sales in North America , they saw a 22% increase in sales with the launch of their various 2 in 1 portable devices.  Gartner feels this may change in the latter half of the year as many companies do not get out of the red until holiday sales start driving consumers, but also because machines shipping with Windows 10 will start to hit the markets.  Skylake product refreshes should also help out and we can all hope to see bargains on older kit that distributors want off their shelves as well as the numerous holiday sales start to ramp up.  You can follow the links from The Inquirer for more detailed information.


"FIGURES FROM GARTNER show that PC shipments declined a further 7.7 percent year on year during the third quarter of 2015, despite the release of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system during the period."

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Source: The Inquirer