Intel is hoping to find a way to kill the disease slightly more quickly than the patient

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2018 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: Broadwell, haswell, Intel, security, meltdown, spectre

Spectre and Meltdown are about as bad as vulnerabilities can get, offering significant security issues on a wide variety of processors with only a band aid solution currently available.  It seems Intel is asking many clients to rip that band aid off as the supposed cure is now causing more widespread harm than the vulnerabilities it is to protect against.  This is not a case of performance decreases due to the patch but instead, as Intel executive vice president Neil Shenoy puts it, the patch "may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behaviour."  This means that not only new machines powered by Broadwell or Haswell are unprotected but also that many of your service providers will also not be installing these patches.

There is no good news out of this today, the difficulty a widespread attack is high but a targeted attack; not so much.

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"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior."

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Source: Slashdot

... and there's the AMD suit

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2018 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, spectre, meltdown, Lawsuit

The lawsuit against Intel was launched last week and yesterday a similar case was launched against AMD by a shareholder, alleging that the company knew about their vulnerability to Spectre and hid that information causing detrimental affects to stock prices.  There were several interesting points in the way the two cases differ, which The Register highlighted.  The first is the timing, Intel's case encompasses the time from 27 July 2017, to 4 January 2018 while AMD's lawsuit starts the day of their last end of year report, 21 February, 2017.  Not only does this encompass a longer period of time that the suit against Intel, it starts well before 1 June, 2017 when Project Zero first informed AMD of the vulnerability.  Also worth noting is that AMD's stock prices are higher than they were at the beginning of 2017 which makes any damage to share prices hard to demonstrate.

The various companies that are vulnerable to Spectre, Meltdown or both need to make right by this but it is somewhat interesting to see the disparity between these two specific cases.

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"Responding to the class-action lawsuit, an AMD PR rep told The Reg: "We believe these allegations are without merit. We intend to vigorously defend against these baseless claims."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #483 - News from CES: Kaby Lake G, Zen+, and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2018 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: Zen+, Vega, spectre, podcast, meltdown, Kaby Lake G, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #483 - 01/18/18

Join us this week for a recap of news from CES 2018! We talk about Intel's Kaby Lake G processor featuring Vega graphics, Zen+ CPUs, the performance impact of Meltdown 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: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

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

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison

Program length: 1:52:54

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:42:20 Thanks to HelloFresh for supporting our podcast. Go to HelloFresh.com and use the code pcper30 to get $30 off your first week of deliveries.
  3. News items of interest:
    1. CES 2018
      1. AMD
      2. ASUS
      3. Lenovo
  4. 1:40:20 Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: GPU Price suck.
  5. Closing/outro
 

Sapphire snazzes up the Vega 56

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2018 - 05:31 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, NITRO+ Radeon RX Vega 56 Limited Edition 8GB HBM2, RX Vega 56, amd

The Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX Vega 56 Limited Edition 8GB HBM2 with Tri-X dual ball bearing fans and Vapor Chamber cooling bears a name almost as long as the card itself.  There are some interesting physical features, such as easily removable Tri-X dual ball bearing fans for cleaning and the ability to connect case fans to your card.  The improved cooler design is not able to defeat the overclocking limits which both Vega cards seem to have, however it does ensure very quiet operation which may be a more attractive benefit to some users.  Drop by Overclockers Club for performance details.

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"To make sure that this card performs well under a load, Sapphire slapped a massive Vapor Chamber-based cooling solution on the card. The combination of Sapphire's Tri-X dual ball bearing fans and Vapor Chamber cooling solution make this card one of the coolest running cards I have tested, both stock and overclocked. What makes this cooling performance that much more impressive is that the power consumed by the card is in excess of 300 watts stock and overclocked. Impressive indeed."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

 

That's no moon! Stellaris adds planet killers plus the chance to mine the corpse of your enemies home

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2018 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, stellaris, paradox

In the not too distant future new DLC will arrive for Stellaris, likely in conjunction with the new free patch that Paradox will be releasing as that is their style.  The new DLC will include two new ship classes, Titans, which outweigh battleships and come with specific weaponry only available to that class of ship as well as the colossus.  A colossus is only marginally a fleet ship, it does not have much in the way of hull or conventional armament but is specifically designed to go after planets while your fleet protects them.  There are several different weapons you can install, from the aforementioned planet cracker to a shield generator which forever seals a planet off from the universe to a God Ray you can use on your own planets to increase spiritualist ethics attraction.

As well, the free 'Cherryh' patch will make some huge changes to the base gameplay; restricting all races to hyperspace pathways, changing how borders work and adding starbases and more detailed ground combat. 

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"Too many worlds. That’s the problem with space. You develop interstellar flight and hope to find a big emptiness that you can coast around in until all of the stars fade to black, but there’s all this stuff scattered about. Planets and asteroid belts and big alien jellysquids."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Don't have a meltdown boss; I really do need a new phone

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2018 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: security, cellphones, spectre, meltdown

The fact that Spectre and Meltdown combined affect 72% of Android and Apple devices on the market offers a compelling reason to request a new work phone.  In many cases the devices being used in large enterprises are old enough that there is no patch coming, the story Slashdot linked to suggests almost 25% of the devices in use will fall into that category.  Since those devices have also missed out on numerous security features which were added in newer operating systems, you should have enough reasons to justify the expenditure.  The next time you are banking or dealing with a service provider in your own personal life you might want to peek at the phone they use and make sure they aren't endangering your own information.

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"Analysis of more than 100,000 enterprise mobile devices shows that just a tiny percentage of them have been protected against the vulnerabilities -- and some simply may never be protected. Security firm Bridgeway found that just 4 percent of corporate phones and tablets in the UK have been patched against Spectre and Meltdown."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

The Spectre of control system Meltdown

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2018 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: security, spectre, meltdown

The various patches released to ameliorate the damage which can be inflicted to computer systems is slowing down or crashing some systems, up to and including industrial control systems according to The Register.  These issues are not specific to Windows machines, many control systems run on Linux, the vulnerabilities stem from an architectural issue and so any operating system could suffer slowdowns.  Seeing your VMs slow down on Azure or AWS is rather frustrating, slow response from critical systems in a power plant could be much more than just an inconvenience.  The story also has a link to a compiled list of Meltdown patches if you would like to see what is currently in development.

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"Rockwell Automation revealed that the same patch had caused issues with Studio 5000, FactoryTalk View SE, and RSLinx Classic (a widely used product in the manufacturing sector). "In fairness [this] may be RPC [Remote Procedure Call] change related," said cybersecurity vulnerability manager Kevin Beaumont."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Hear the roar of the Cougar Immersa Pro gaming headset

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2018 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: virtual 7.1, Immersa Pro, gaming headset, Cougar, audio

The Cougar Immersa Pro offers virtual 7.1 sound when plugged in via USB to a machine with the driver installed, you will only hear stereo from the 50mm drivers if plugged into an audio jack.  On the other hand plugging it into the audio jack also disables the RGB features on the headset, if you don't feel like forcing the driver to disable them.  The Guru of 3D appreciated the comfort of the earcups as well as the overall quality of sound but felt somewhat let down by the quality of the microphone; a common complaint on gaming headsets.

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"They recently sent us a box full of goodies, including the new Immersa Pro, their top headset. If you thought you’d forgotten about RGB all the things, well, Cougar is here to remind you with the Immersa Pro."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Guru of 3D

Google's 'free' Spectre patch

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2018 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: google, spectre, retpoline, security

Google have released their own patch for the second Spectre vulnerability and claim that there is no noticeable performance hit after installation.  The patch isolates indirect branches from speculative execution, similar in effect to what the Microsoft patch does but without the extra trampoline overhead.  Intel responded to The Inquirer's contact and confirmed Google's patch is both effective and more efficient than the patch currently being distributed but do mention there is a microcode update which must also be installed for the patch to be fully effective.  This is good news for those who use Google and hint at updated patches for Spectre which might mitigate any performance hits it causes.

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"The fix, called 'Retpoline' uses software patches rather than disabling the affected CPU features, which Google claims resulted "in no performance degradation across the different mitigation techniques they have developed."

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Source: The Inquirer

Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 Raised Over $2.26 Million

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2018 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: speedrun, pc gaming, gdq, charity

This winter’s event set another new record for Games Done Quick. The current total, although they leave the donation form open a little while after the event for late entries, is $2,263,633.19 USD. This is the sum of 44471 donations from 32286 unique donors. The previous record was set a year ago at January’s AGDQ 2017: $2,222,791.52 USD. The current record set for a Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) event, typically held in July, is $1,792,342.37 USD.

AGDQ 2018, like the previous eight AGDQs, benefits the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

gdq-2016-sgdq logo.png

The premise of these events is simple – the organizers bring in enough video game speedrunners to run a 24-hour stream for almost a solid week. These segments can be several hours or just a handful of minutes, depending on how long it takes to accomplish the set goal. While most are typical speedruns for a well-known category, some of them are races, some of them are glitch expositions, and some of them even force the runner to play in a non-typical way, such as blind-folded or two different games on a single controller.

If you're interested in the runs, then check out their YouTube channel.

Wi-Fi Alliance Bringing Improved WPA3 Security To Wi-Fi Devices This Year

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2018 - 10:27 AM |
Tagged: WPA3, wifi alliance, wifi, wi-fi, networking, encryption

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced an update to its Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security suite in the form of WPA3. The first major update in more than a decade, WPA3 is a very welcome and much needed refresh with four new features aimed at both personal and enterprise networks.

Cyber Security.jpg

Image courtesy Blue Coat Photos via Flickr Creative Commons.

The standards body did not go into many details on the new security suite, but did tease a few upcoming features in addition to closing known security vulnerabilities like KRACK. WPA3 uses a new 192-bit security suite "aligned with the Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) suite from the Committee on National Security Systems" which is a collection of encryption techniques and algorithms that are reportedly up to the task of maintaining confidentiality on personal, enterprise, and industrial networks. Open Wi-Fi networks in particular will get the biggest boost from moving to WPA3 with support for individualized data encryption so that communication channels between the access point and users' devices are secured on a per-device basis. Personal networks also get improved security in the form of protections to protect users against themselves and maintain strong encryption even when they choose weak passwords. Setting up these security configurations is also being considered, and the Wi-Fi Alliance is promising easier configuration on devices with limited or no displays.

I am looking forward to more information on WPA3 as an update to WPA2 has been a long time coming. WEP has long been a joke and WPA2 has been vulnerable for a while so I hope that WPA3 lives up to its promises! What is not clear from the announcement is that if new hardware will be required or if WPA3 could be implemented through firmware and software updates. End user devices may be trickier to get updates from manufacturers, but perhaps wireless routers and access points can be upgraded without needing to buy new hardware. I suppose it depends on if radio and other hardware like the hardware accelerators / co processors need upgraded to support the new algorithms or not. In any case if you have been eyeing a new Wi-Fi AP or wireless router, maybe hold off for a few months to see how this shakes out.

Stay tuned for more information as it develops. What are your thoughts on WPA3 and the Wi-Fi Alliance's promises?

Also read:

CES 2018: Samsung Plans To Launch Galaxy S9 at MWC Next Month

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 11, 2018 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 845, Samsung, MWC, galaxy s9, galaxy, exynos 9810, CES 2018, CES

Samsung confirmed to ZDNet at CES that it plans to launch its new flagship Galaxy S smartphone at Mobile World Congress next month. The company has managed to keep a tight lid on the new devices, which are expected to be named the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, with surprisingly few leaks. Samsung will reportedly show off the smartphone and announce the official specifications along with the release date and pricing information at its MWC keynote event.

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Thanks to the rumor mill, there are potential specifications floating about with a few conflicting bits of information particularly where the fingerprint scanner is concerned. Looking around there seems to be several corroborated (but still rumored) specifications on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Allegedly the Galaxy smartphones will feature curved Super AMOLED displays with QHD+ (3200x1800) resolutions measuring 5.8" on the Galaxy S9 and 6.2" on the Galaxy S9+. Further, Smasung is equipping them with dual rear-facing cameras, USB-C, and 3.5mm headphone jack. There are conflicting rumors on the fingerprint scanner with some rumors stating it will feature a fingerprint sensor embedded in the display while other rumors claim that Samsung ran into issues and instead opted for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

Internally, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US and Samsung's own Exynos 9810 SoC outside of the US. Cat 18 LTE support is present in either case with faster than gigabit download speeds possible (though less in real world situations). The Galaxy S9 will allegedly be offered with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB of 128GB of storage while the S9+ will have 6GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal flash storage.

In any case, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are set to be powerhouses with the latest SoCs and (hopefully) large batteries for those infinity displays! It seems that we will have to wait another month for official information, but it should be out within the first quarter which is actually pretty fast considering it seems like the Galaxy S8 just came out (although it was actually last March heh). Mobile World Congress 2018 is scheduled from February 26th to March 1st in Barcelona, Spain.

What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S9 rumors so far? Do you plan to upgrade? This year may be the year I upgrade my LG G3 since the display is dying, but we'll see!

Also read:

 

Source: Ars Technica

Forget the Wallendas; get a charge out of doing it without a wire

Subject: General Tech | January 11, 2018 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: Energous, Qi, wireless charging, Powermat

Wireless charging has been present on several popular phone models and occasionally in demonstration models of laptops, but somehow it is more popular on toothbrushes than mobile devices.  The Qi standard was declared the winner when Apple bailed on the Airfuel Alliance late last year, but according to what The Register is seeing that doesn't mean there isn't going to be competition for selling you charging hardware.  Recently Powermat joined up with the Qi standard, Energous announced the WattUp Mid Field charger and their partnership with Apple and even Intel has joined in with Ossia Inc and their magnetic resonance charging tech.  Get a brief overview of the players here.

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"Last week wireless charging company Powermat quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium, which certifies Qi-compatible products. Apple built Qi charging into all three new iPhones in September, having already supported it in its Watch since it launched in 2015."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

The best way to share your game streams online

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, relive, ShadowPlay, gaming

[H]ard|OCP are comparing AMD and NVIDIA's exhibitionist software to see which offers streamers the best experience.  The two applications are superficially similar but they both offer different features and performance, not to mention only supporting their own hardware.  From a performance standpoint, NVIDIA's ShadowPlay is slightly ahead in efficiency but not in any meaningful way, you would not be able to discern between the two in a blind test.  When you look at features, AMD's ReLive is the clear winner.  You can set your bitrate between 1-100Mbps at every resolution, from 360p to 2160p while NVIDIA maxes out at 50Mbps at any resolution and only supports up to 1440p.  There are several other features AMD included which surpass NVIDIA's offerings, read about them all here.

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"We take AMD ReLive in the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition and NVIDIA ShadowPlay as part of GeForce Experience and find out which one is more FPS and CPU-efficient for recording gameplay. We will compare features, specifications, and find out which better suits content creators for recording gameplay."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

CES 2018: HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: wireless, kingston, hyperx, headset, headphones, gaming, Cloud Flight, CES 2018, CES, 2.4GHz

HyperX has announced their first wireless headset with the Cloud Flight, and with it the promise of a whopping 30 hours of battery life on a single charge using its 2.4 GHz connection.

HyperX Cloud Flight Headset.jpg

"With a solid, gaming-grade wireless connection, incredible 30-hour battery life, and signature HyperX comfort, Cloud Flight allows you to play uninterrupted for longer. The closed cup design helps keep you immersed, while the durable steel slider and high-quality construction mean it’s built to withstand daily wear and tear."

The new Cloud Flight headset is compatibile with PS4/PS4 Pro as well as PC, and the optional wired connection allows use with anything that supports a 3.5 mm connection. Other features include 90° earcup rotation, adjustable lighting effects, and the detachable noise-cancelling mic is certified by TeamSpeak and Discord.

Specifications from HyperX:

Headphone

  • Driver: Dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
  • Type: Circumaural, Closed back
  • Frequency response:
    • Wireless: 20Hz–20,000Hz
    • Analog: 15Hz–23,000Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sound pressure level: 106dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
  • T.H.D.: < 2%
  • Weight: 300g; 315g with mic
  • Cable length and type: USB charge cable (1m) + Detachable 3.5mm headphone cable (1.3m)

Microphone

  • Element: Electret condenser microphone
  • Polar pattern: Noise-cancelling
  • Frequency response: 100Hz-7,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: -45dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
  • Battery life:
    • LED off: 30 hours
    • Breathing LED: 18 hours
    • Solid LED: 13 hours
  • Wireless Range: Up to 20 meters

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The HyperX Cloud Flight wireless gaming headset is available now for $159.99, and our testing is already underway so expect the full review soon!

About that AV registry key needed for Meltdown and Spectre patches

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: meltdown, spectre, security, antivirus, patch

If you are curious about the details behind the registry key that your Antivirus program needs to create in order to receive Windows Updates, The Register describes its purpose here.  In essence, modern AV programs regularly access the kernel to look for suspicious activity and become quite upset when they are not allowed to access it after the patch places the kernel in isolation, upset enough to continually crash your computer.  Ensuring your AV software has updated itself to ensure that this does not occur before allowed the Windows patch to install is a good thing, however there is a serious problem with the way Microsoft decided to deal with the situation.  Until that key is present, you will not be able to install any new security patches; something which should be changed ASAP as it could help spread other infections simply because you had the temerity not to use Windows Defender.

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"Microsoft's workaround to protect Windows computers from the Intel processor security flaw dubbed Meltdown has revealed the rootkit-like nature of modern security tools."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

CES 2018: Corsair Introduces New Wireless Gaming Peripherals

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 07:19 PM |
Tagged: MX Red, mechanical, keyboard, key switches, K63, gaming, corsair, Cherry MX, bluetooth, 2.4GHz, CES 2018, CES, wireless

Corsair continues the expansion of their peripheral portfolio at CES, and the focus here is wireless. The new products include a new wireless keyboard and mouse (Corsair's first wireless mouse) along with a Qi wireless charging mousepad and new lap board.

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K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

First up is the K63 keyboard, a wireless TKL design with a trio of connection options. In addition to Corsair's 2.4 GHz connection which offers 1 ms latency, there is also the option of connecting via Bluetooth 4.2 (with a latency of 7.5 ms) or use a standard wired connection via USB (which also charges the keyboard).

The K63 keyboard has Cherry MX Red key switches (no option for other colors, currently), individual backlighting, and battery life that ranges from 15 hours of continuous use with default backlighting (default brightness is 66%), up to a whopping 75 hours of continuous use without backlight. AES 128-bit encryption is also supported, and for gamers who do not want the additional latency this adds (total of 1.08 ms), encryption can be toggled on and off via software.

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DARK CORE RGB Wireless Mouse

Corsair's first wireless mouse offers the same three connectivity options as the K63 keyboard, with 2.4 GHz or BT 4.2 wireless in addition to USB, and there is an SE version of the mouse that also supports the Qi wireless standard with its integrated charging coil, and that is complimented by the MM1000 Qi wireless charging mousepad.

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Not only did Corsair announce the new keyboard and mouse, but also the K63 Lapboard for your slick new wireless peripherals. It's a lightweight design that features memory foam padding and a built-in wrist rest, and the mouse pad is removable for cleaning/replacement.

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All of these new wireless peripherals and accessories are available now, with pricing as follows:

  • Dark Core RGB Mouse: $79.99
  • Dark Core RGB SE Mouse: $89.99
  • MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mousepad: $79.99
  • K63 Wireless Keyboard: $109.99
  • K63 Wireless Gaming Lapboard: $59.99
  • K63 Wireless Gaming Keyboard/Lapboard Combo: $159.99
Source: Corsair

CES 2018: Lenovo Announces Mirage VR Camera and Untethered Motion-Tracking Daydream Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: VR, lenovo mirage, Lenovo, daydream, CES 2018, CES, camera

UPDATE (2018-01-09 7:38 PM EST): Lenovo has announced new pricing information for its Mirage Solo headset and Mirage VR Camera. In lieu of the specific pricing originally reported, the Mirage Camera will now start at "under $300" while the Mirage Solo will start "under $400." Original article follows below.

Lenovo today announced the Mirage Solo, the first standalone headset compatible with Google's Daydream virtual reality platform. In addition to keeping the processing power, display, and power all confined to the headset for a completely untethered experience, the Mirage Solo also supports "WorldSense," a motion tracking technology that lets users move within a 1.5-meter range of compatible Daydream experiences without the need for external cameras or sensors.

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The Mirage Solo is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR platform with 4GB of RAM. On-board storage is provided by microSD and can be expanded up to 256GB. The 256x1440 display offers a 110-degree filed of view, and the whole headset weighs in at 1.42 pounds.

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The headset's 4000mAh battery is good for up to 7 hours per charge, although Lenovo notes that this number may vary based on the complexity of the Daydream content and the amount of motion involved.

The Mirage Solo includes a wireless Daydream controller and will start at $449.99 "under $400" when it ships in the second quarter.

Mirage Camera

In addition to the Mirage Solo headset, Lenovo is also launching a product for those who wish to create and share virtual reality experiences. The Mirage Camera is a compact VR capture device that records 180 degrees of video via two 13MP fisheye lenses.

lenovo-mirage-camera-1.jpg

Once captured, the camera features integrated uploading to Google Photos and YouTube for easy sharing. The videos are recorded in the VR180 format, which allows for immersive 3D playback with compatible devices, or controllable 2D video for those without a headset.

The Mirage Camera includes 16GB of built-in storage and can be expanded with up to 128GB of additional storage via a microSD card. The removable battery offers up to two hours of continuous recording per charge.

lenovo-mirage-camera-2.jpg

The Mirage Camera starts at $299.99 "under $300" and will launch in the second quarter. A model with integrated LTE is also planned, but Lenovo has not yet revealed pricing or release window for that version.

Source: Lenovo

Bold move Cotton; Intel promises patches by the end of the week

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 12:52 PM |
Tagged: spectre, security, meltdown, krzanich, Intel

If you were worried about the reports you've heard of Athlon processors crashing after the Windows updates pushed to mitigate Spectre and Meltdown or about the performance hits these may cause certain workloads, consider the poor sysadmin that listened to Intel's keynote speech at CES.   Brian Krzanich has promised patches for 90% of the affected processors by the end of the week, with the remainder by the end of this month.   Such a quick response is wonderful from a security standpoint but one wonders how much stability and compatibility testing could have been done in just a few days.  The acronym for the Intel Product Assurance and Security team may be very appropriate for some companies.  Let us hope it does indeed go smoothly.

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"Krzanich has promised that the firm will patch "90 per cent" of affected processors made in the past five years by the end of this week, adding that the remaining 10 per cent would see fixes by the end of the month."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

CES 2018: NVIDIA Opens Up GeForce NOW Beta To PC Gamers

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 8, 2018 - 11:35 PM |
Tagged: pc game streaming, nvidia, geforce now, game streaming, cloud gaming, CES 2018, CES

NVIDIA is opening up its Geforce NOW cloud gaming service to PC gamers who will join Mac users (who got access last year) in the free beta. The service uses GeForce GTX graphics cards and high-powered servers to store, play, and stream games at high settings and stream the output over the internet back to gamers of any desktop or laptop old or new (so long as you have at least a 25Mbps internet connection and can meet the basic requirements to run the Geforce NOW application of course - see below). Currently, NVIDIA supports over 160 games that can be installed on its virtual GeForce NOW gaming PCs and a select number of optimized titles can even be played at 120 FPS for a smoother gaming experience that is closer to playing locally (allegedly).

GeForce NOW.jpg

GeForce NOW is a bring your own games service in the sense that you install the Geforce NOW app on your local machine and validate the games you have purchased and have the rights to play on Steam and Ubisoft's Uplay PC stores. You are then able to install the games on the cloud-based Geforce NOW machines. The game installations reportedly take around 30 seconds with game patching, configurations, and driver updates being handled by NVIDIA's Geforce NOW platform. Gamers will be glad to know that the infrastructure further supports syncing with the games' respective stores and save games, achievements, and settings are synched allowing potentially seamless transitions between local and remote play sessions. 

You can find a list of currently supported games here, but some highlights include some oldies and newer titles including: Borderlands 2, Bioshock Remastered, various Call of Duty titles, League of Legends, Left 4 Dead 2, Kerbal Space Program, Just Cause 3, StarCraft II, Resident Evil 7, KOTOR, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Dirt 4 (just for Josh), Project Cars 2, Fallout 4, XCOM 2 (a personal favorite), PUBG, WoW, Civilization VI, and more.

While many of the titles may need to be tweaked to get the best performance, some games have been certified and optimized by NVIDIA to come pre-configured with the best graphics settings for optimum performance including running them at maximum settings at 1920 x 1080 and 120 Hz.

If you are interested in the cloud-based game streaming service, you can sign up for the GeForce NOW beta here and join the waiting list! According to AnandTech, users will need a Windows 7 (or OS X equivalent) PC with at least a Core i3 clocked at 3.1 GHz with 4GB of RAM and a DirectX 9 GPU (AMD HD 3000 series / NVIDIA 600 Series / Intel HD 2000 series) or better. Beta users are limited to 4 hours per gaming session. There is no word on when the paid Geforce NOW tiers will resume or what the pricing for the rented virtual gaming desktops will be.

I signed up (not sure I'll get in though, maybe they need someone to test with old hardware hah) and am interested to try it as their past streaming attempts (e.g. to the Shield Portable) seemed to work pretty well for what it was (something streamed over the internet).

Hopefully they have managed to make it better and quicker to respond to inputs. Have you managed to get access, and if so what are your thoughts? Is GeForce NOW the way its meant to be played? It would be cool to see them add Space Engineers and Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion as while me and my brother have fun playing them, they are quite demanding resource wise especially Space Engineers post planets update!

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Source: NVIDIA