Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 05:50 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, final fantasy xv, final fantasy xiii, final fantasy
Square Enix is "very interested" in the PC platform. They acknowledge that the Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII Steam re-releases were quite popular. These titles were originally released on the PC in 1998 and 2000, respectively. They are now interested enough to bring the three titles in the Final Fantasy XIII universe to Steam that were Xbox 360 and PS3 exclusives. Also, the first title is launching for $16, $14.39 on pre-order, so they are not even gouging us with a full-price tag.
The first title will be available in two and a half weeks (October 9th). The other two are expected to roll out by Spring 2015. Also, Final Fantasy IV was released on September 17th. They are actually releasing them faster than most people can probably play them. The flood gates are open. In their Final Fantasy XIII news post, PC Gamer muses about the rest of the franchise reaching the PC, such as FFX and FFX-2. It would make sense. I mean, they released (or are working on) seven remakes, not even counting the two MMOs. That is already a large chunk of the main franchise.
Personally, I wonder if this is testing the waters for Final Fantasy XV.
Final Fantasy XIII is being released on October 9th for about $15, give or take a dollar.
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 05:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, google+
I cannot help but feel like this is a step on the eventual phasing-out of Google's most recent attempt at a standalone social network, Google+. Until just recently, the company was doing all that they could to force it into each of their services; now, they give you a "no thanks" option when creating a Google account (for GMail, Google Docs, and so forth).
Image Credit: Marketing Land
Marketing Land claims to disagree. They expect that Google will "continue making subtle changes to the service" such as enhancements to Hangouts and Hangouts on Air, or even spinning out Google+ Photos. The thing is, these initiatives will not mean that they are supporting Google+; rather, it says that they are supporting the parts of it that worked. The article did not even mention actual Google+, the social network, as something that Google might consider updating -- just Hangouts and other sub-products.
This all depends on what you consider "Google" to be. Not having a profile on a message-sharing service does not really change much, despite how it feels. The real point should be reducing the barrier-to-entry for cross-promotion. A unified login helps in reducing effort to acquire new users without any real risk. Forcing users into your ecosystem could help, if it does not shove them away.
And Google seems to care even less about keeping users in their eco-system with a limited communication and microblogging platform.
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 02:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, cooler master, NovaTouch TKL, gaming keyboard, topre
Cooler Master’s NovaTouch TKL using something called Hybrid Capacitive switches, which you can see illustrated below. These Topre keys use electric capacitance changes to register a keystroke as opposed to the mechanical actuation on Cherry MX switches but retain a similar feeling thanks to the spring used to return the key to it's initial position as opposed to relying on the rubber dome. TechGage compared this keyboard favourably to the Logitech G710+ with CHERRY MX brown switches which they had used previously, a lack of clicking noises and motion that felt better to them overall garnered this keyboard a recommendation. However as the keyboard will be released at $200, you should probably try it yourself before investing in it.
"Cooler Master’s no stranger to peripherals; when mechanical switches became the hottest thing overnight, it wasted no time getting into the lab to make sure it created products people yearned for. The company’s just-released NovaTouch TKL highlights that goal, with its “Hybrid Capacitive” switch – one that really, really surprised us."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard Review @ OCC
- Corsair Gaming K70 RGB @ HardwareHeaven
- Roccat Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Keyboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- ZOWIE FK1 Competitive Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- Tt eSports Ventus Gaming Mouse Review @ Modders-Inc
- GAMDIAS Hades Extension Laser Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- COUGAR 700M Mouse and Speed Mouse Pad Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 01:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, input, corsair, K95 RGB, K70 RGB, K65 RGB, M65 RGB, H2100, H1500
Corsair is launching a new website focused on their gaming products, along with new products and a contest. The contest has a grand prize of a complete system while three runners up will get a set of Corsair peripherals including the ones announced below. Those colourful peripherals below include three different keyboards ranging from the largest with additional macro keys to the smallest with no numpad. There is a new mouse and a pair of headphones, with the H2100 offering wireless performance while the H1500 will still need an umbilical. Check the hole list after watching their lauch video.
Fremont, CA — September 22, 2014 — Corsair, a leader in PC hardware, today launched Corsair Gaming, a new division within the company dedicated to the elevation of PC gaming and the development of high-performance PC peripherals. Forged from Corsair’s engineering know-how and developed alongside eSports professionals and gaming enthusiasts, Corsair Gaming products are driven by a philosophy of performance, style, and comfort. Corsair Gaming’s first salvo is the immediate world wide release of the much-anticipated range of RGB keyboards and mice.
“For 20 years, Corsair has equipped gamers with high performance, precision hardware to build their dream PCs. Corsair Gaming now introduces new ways for PC gamers to optimize how they play,” said Andy Paul, Corsair President and CEO. “We’ve brought together our engineering expertise and our passion for gaming to build a line of products that delivers performance, customized for however you play.”
K95 RGB, K70 RGB, and K65 RGB Gaming Keyboards
With their color-customizable, 16.8 million color backlighting, the K95 RGB, K70 RGB, and K65 RGB are the headliners of the Corsair Gaming brand. All three keyboards use only German-made Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches as part of an exclusive-to-launch partnership with Cherry.
Each key switch is built with the exacting precision of Cherry’s self-cleaning, corrosion-proof Gold-Crosspoint electrical contacts, and with over five billion sold, Cherry MX mechanical key switches are the premier choice of professional gamers and enthusiasts who demand uncompromising reliability and performance. Combined with Corsair Gaming’s distinctive aircraft-grade aluminum baseplate, Cherry MX RGB key switches deliver a professional-level gaming keyboard that ensures both consistency and accuracy with the touch of every key.
The K95, K70, and K65 RGB keyboards exhibit Corsair’s hallmark features: sleek design, ultra-precision components, and sturdy aircraft-grade aluminum construction that guarantee long-lasting performance.
Powerful Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software enables the creation of unlimited lighting effects and macros, from solid colors that can highlight key groupings, to smooth gradients, dramatic waves and captivating ripple patterns. These customization options let gamers match their PC system lighting, find gaming keys faster, and provide critical visual feedback for executing in-game objectives.
Corsair Gaming understands that gamers demand choice when it comes to their hardware, so the K95, K70 and K65 RGBs cater to you every need – including size. All three support complete macro programmability on any key, with the K95 RGB offering an additional array of 18 dedicated macro keys and dedicated media-keys. In contrast, the compact 10-keyless K65 RGB removes the number pad and media keys for a desk-space-saving design, while the K70 RGB offers the standard keyboard layout and media keys that has already made its predecessor the choice for serious gamers.
- 100% German-made Cherry MX RGB mechanical Red, Blue or Brown key switches (K65 RGB available with Red key switches)
- 16.8 million multicolor per-key backlighting for virtually unlimited customization
- Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) enables users to create and customize their own lighting patterns, animations, and macros
- Aircraft-grade black anodized brushed aluminum for superior rigidity
- 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover on USB
- Onboard memory stores performance and lighting settings
- Two-year warranty
- K95 RGB: $189.99 MSRP
- K70 RGB: $169.99 MSRP
- K65 RGB: $149.99 MSRP (available exclusively from Best Buy in the US, and other retailers worldwide)
M65 RGB Gaming Mice
The M65 RGB gaming mouse – available in black or white – continues Corsair Gaming’s focus on RGB color customization. This high-end gaming mouse goes beyond the industry standard with built-in three-zone 16.8 million color backlighting. Housed on a durable aluminum unibody chassis, the 8,200 DPI, gaming-grade laser sensor helps gamers make their mark, with a sniper button ensuring the most critical of shots stays on target. Charging the battlefield with a rubber-grip metal high-mass scroll wheel, eight programmable buttons, and adjustable weight turning zones, the M65 RGB mouse balances precise control and intelligent tracking with innate comfort and style.
- Three-zone backlighting with up to 16.8 million colors for virtually infinite customization
- Custom-tuned 8,200 DPI gaming-grade laser sensor for pixel-precise tracking
- High-capacity Omron switches rated for 20 million clicks for years of precise triggering
- Aircraft-grade aluminum baseplate for light weight and durability
- Adjustable weight system helps set the center of gravity to match play style
- Eight strategically placed buttons, including a dedicated sniper button with improved positioning
- On-the-fly DPI switching to instantly match mouse speed to gameplay demands
- Two-year warranty
- $69.99 MSRP
H2100 and H1500 Gaming Headsets
The Corsair Gaming H1500 and H2100 Headsets are part of Corsair’s new line of high-performance gaming equipment. Joining the K95, K70, and K65 RRB Keyboards and M65 RGB Mice, the H1500 and H2100 Headsets fully immerse gamers – and their ears – in battle. In both wired and wireless options, the Corsair Gaming Headsets offer Dolby 7.1 surround sound for accurate positional audio that captures the acoustic environment of every moment of gameplay. The H1500 keeps gameplay closer to the system, while the H2100 enables gamers to play for over 10 hours with up to 40 feet of unrestricted movement, combining epic audio and optimum comfort without the hassle of wires.
- Genuine Dolby 7.1 surround sound for complete immersion
- Micro-fiber wrapped memory foam earpads for comfortable gaming sessions
- Advanced unidirectional noise-cancelling microphone
- Oversized 50mm neodymium drivers for crystal clear audio
- H2100 headset offers wireless freedom up to 40 feet and over 10 hours per charge
- 2-year warranty
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 12:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win 8, dell, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, hp, touchscreen, IDC
The International Data Corporation's latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker shows that there were a mere 32.5 million touchscreen monitors shipped in Q2 2014, which accounts for 0.4% of the discrete monitors sold. This may have been a direct influence on the pitiful market penetration of Win 8 in SMB and Enterprise, as the much touted touchscreen support was meaningless to their users interaction with computers. The mobile side is a bit better but not much; DisplaySearch pegs the percentage of laptops with a touchscreen sold in 2013 was about 11% with a predicted 40% share by 2017 which still falls short of representing half of the market. You can pop by The Register for a link to some of the findings.
"Market monitor IDC's latest word on monitors goes some way to explaining limp enthusiasm for Windows 8: people just aren't buying touch-screen monitors.
Windows 8's user interface was designed to work on mouse-driven and poke-enabled devices. It's racked up plenty of sales, but not much love."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A Li-ion Battery Charging Guide @ Hack a Day
- Understanding and Using Systemd @ Linux.com
- New Video Series Teaches Kids About Linux @ Linux.com
- Michael Dell says Dell might use ARM chips in servers @ The Inquirer
- Asustek, Gigabyte unlikely to achieve motherboard shipment goals for 3Q14 @ DigiTimes
- Cloudflare creates keyless SSL encryption for better security @ The Inquirer
- Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com @ The Register
- TSMC confident of keeping global market share of over 80% for 28nm processes in 2015, says CFO @ DigiTimes
- Oracle's Larry Ellison quits as CEO – new bosses are Hurd'n'Catz @ The Register
- 4chan hoax leads idiots to microwave their iPhones @ The Inquirer
- Large-scale malvertising campaign hidden in online ads hits Last.fm @ The Inquirer
- Cryogenic Machining: Custom Rubber Parts @ Hack a Day
- Mio MiVue 568 Touch Dash Cam Review @ NikKTech
- A Tour Of The New Phoronix Office For Linux Benchmarking @ Phoronix
- Nvidia GAME24 event coverage @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GAME24 Coverage @ OCC
- NikKTech & Tt eSPORTS Worldwide Giveaway
- Tech ARP 2014 Mega Giveaway Contest
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 03:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: onedrive, microsoft
OneDrive has a base storage limit of 15GB for a free account. Microsoft, in promotion of a setting to automatically upload photos to their storage service, is offering an extra 15GB if you enable this feature before the end of the month. That is 30 total GBs! As of their September 10th blog post, they will also allow files of up to 10GB (!!) in size. That is a pretty big picture or movie.
Through this initiative, Microsoft hopes that more people will sign up for OneDrive and those with accounts will integrate it into their lives. Large storage capacities, mobile apps, applications for Windows and OSX, large file support, and affordable storage tiers definitely make a compelling platform, one that puts pressure on Google and Dropbox.
The question is whether you trust Microsoft with every photo or video that comes off of any given device. While some could find it compelling to have up to 30GB of extra storage for their cameraphone, without the need to manually sync, I could see others who want to be more selective.
You can enter this promotion before "the end of the month" (which is a little vague).
Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 21, 2014 - 08:41 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, kingston hyper x, kingston, endurance, corsair neutron gtx, corsair, 840 pro
Many drives have died over the last year and a bit. The Tech Report has been torturing SSDs with writes until they drop. Before a full petabyte of data was written, three of the six drives kicked the bucket. They are now at 1500TB of total writes and one of the three survivors, the 240GB Corsair Neutron GTX, dropped out. This was a bit surprising as it was reporting fairly high health when it entered "the petabyte club" aside from a dip in read speeds.
The two remaining drives are the Samsung 840 Pro (256GB) and Kingston HyperX 3K (240GB).
Two stand, one fell (Image Credit: Tech Report)
Between those two, the Samsung 840 Pro is given the nod as the Kingston drive lived through uncorrectable errors; meanwhile, the Samsung has yet to report any true errors (only reallocations). Since the test considers a failure to be a whole drive failure, though, the lashings will persist until the final drive gives out (or until Scott Wasson gives up in a glorious sledgehammer apocalypse -- could you imagine if one of them lasted a decade? :3).
Of course, with just one unit from each model, it is difficult to faithfully compare brands with this marathon. While each lasted a ridiculously long time, the worst of the bunch putting up with a whole 2800 full-drive writes, it would not be fair to determine an average lifespan for a given model with one data point each. It is good to suggest that your SSD probably did not die from a defrag run -- but it is still a complete waste of your time and you should never do it.
Subject: General Tech, Displays | September 21, 2014 - 01:55 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oculus, VR, crescent bay, oculus connect
As they progress toward a consumer product, Oculus announced another prototype at their Oculus Connect developer conference. Dubbed Crescent Bay, the headset contains a new display, with a higher refresh rate and higher resolution, better optics, and 360-degree head tracking. It is also lighter and includes built-in speakers.
Of course, these features were not quantified with hard specifications.
Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus, stressed that this is not the consumer product yet. He claims that this is an increase over DK2 that is equivalent to the increase DK2 saw over the original Oculus Rift. It is not all about hardware, though. This company is engaged in hardware and software, video and audio. This should make sense considering their early acquisition of John Carmack and hundreds of other engineers. They, rightly, see themselves as a platform and, while they see game engines as necessary for VR, due to the ability to reposition the camera in milliseconds of notice, compared to film's never, they are not limiting themselves to just "games" (but yes they consider it a big part of it).
Honestly, months ago, I was sitting at my desk with its five monitors, each with bits of news posts, chats, reference material, and maybe a StarCraft tournament live stream, and Oculus was being discussed. I started to wonder if monitors, especially multiple displays, are just an approximation -- our current best effort -- of how to receive video cues from a PC. I could see a VR platform take on entertainment and even productivity with its infinite, virtual environments.
Currently, there is not even a hint about pricing and availability (as far as I found).
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | September 20, 2014 - 06:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xeon, Haswell-EP, ddr4, ddr3, Intel
Well this is interesting and, while not new, is news to me.
The upper-tier Haswell processors ushered DDR4 into the desktops for enthusiasts and servers, but DIMMs are quite expensive and incompatible with the DDR3 sticks that your organization might have been stocking up on. Despite the memory controller being placed on the processor, ASRock has a few motherboards which claim DDR3 support. ASRock, responding to Anandtech's inquiry, confirmed that this is not an error and Intel will launch three SKUs, one eight-core, one ten-core, and one twelve-core, with a DDR3-supporting memory controller.
The three models are:
|E5-2629 v3||E5-2649 v3||E5-2669 v3|
|Cores (Threads)||8 (16)||10 (20)||12 (24)|
|Clock Rate||2.4 GHz||2.3 GHz||2.3 Ghz|
The processors, themselves, might not be cheap or easily attainable, though. There are rumors that Intel will require customers purchase at least a minimum amount. It might not be worth buying these processors unless you have a significant server farm (or similar situation).
Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2014 - 02:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: chrome os, chrome, google, Android
Last week, we reported on Google's App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) beta release. Its goal is to bring apps from the Google Play Store to ChromeOS through an Android stack built atop Native Client. They are sandboxed, but still hardware-dependent for performance. Since then, vladikoff on GitHub has published ARChon, a project which brings that initiative to desktop OSes.
Image Credit: ARChon Project
To use Archon, you will need to use an x86-64 version of Chrome 37 (or later) on Windows, Mac, or Linux. This project is not limited to the handful of ARC-compatible apps that Google officially supports. The Android apps need to be converted into Chrome extensions using a tool, also available, called chromeos-apk. In fact, the example app is an open source version of the game, 2048, rather than just the four launch apps from Google.
Whether Google intends to offer this, officially, with their Chrome browser is the most interesting part for me. I would prefer that everything just works everywhere but, failing that, having a supported Android platform on the desktop without dual-booting or otherwise displacing the host itself could be interesting. And yes, Bluestacks exists, but it has not been something that I would recommend, at least in my experience of it.