Network drives? You don't need no steenking network drives!

Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2018 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, idiots

The latest update for Windows 10 is the gift that just keeps on giving; for those for whom snark is a joy to express.  The October 2018 Update, aka Build 1809, was pulled after users expressed a surprising dislike of having their files deleted without their consent and from the results of those testing the new build, that feature is still present.  That hasn't stopped Microsoft's innovations however as the new build also expresses an extreme dislike of mapped network drives.  As you should obviously be using SharePoint Online, which doesn't function well as a mapped folder or drive by design, this should obviously not be a problem.

Strangely, The Inquirer and various Microsoft users do not appreciate this new feature for some reason and have expressed some disappointment.  There is no fix as of yet, nor will there be for quite some time, apart from avoiding the update like you would a homeopath's office.

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"This borkage isn't quite so bad - but it's enough to be a huge problem for sysadmins, SMBs and in fact, anyone with a NAS drive, because mapping of network drives is still not working properly."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #522 - Intel i9-9980XE, Secure HDDs, RTX in BFV, and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2018 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: RTX 4000, quadro, podcast, nvidia, Intel, i9-9980XE, dxr, BFV, 7980xe, 2990wx

PC Perspective Podcast #522 - 11/15/18

Join us this week for discussion on Intel's new i9-9980XE, Hardware Encypted HDDs, RTX in BFV 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: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison, and Sebastian Peak

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:12:08

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: A book on retro console stuff - all disassembled (‘The Game Console’)
    2. Jeremy: A robot arm named Dexter, what could go wrong?
  4. Closing/outro

Buy an RX Vega, RX 590, RX 580 or an RX 570 and get free sequels

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2018 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: rx vega, rx 590, RX 580, RX 570, The Division 2, resident evil 2, devil may cry 5

Along with the release of the new RX 590 comes a new deal to get yourself some free games ...  eventually.  The three games, Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry 5 and Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 are not available until early 2019 but you can get your key now. 

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If they are free, it's not really a pre-order after all.  The deal kicks off today and ends February 9, 2019 or until the keys run out.  You have until April 6, 2019 to claim your game so don't sit on it too long.

 

Source: AMD

That is not dead which can eternal lie; Spectre rises again

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2018 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: meltdown, spectre, amd, arm, Intel

Happy Thursday, here's some new Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities to cheer you up, including the first Meltdown flaw to which AMD chips are vulnerable to delayed exception handling.  That brings the tally to seven Meltdown and 14 Spectre flaw variants which effect modern processor architecture; the only good news is not all chips are vulnerable to all flaws.  Intel told The Register that these flaws can be mitigated with software while the researchers pointed out that these vulnerabilities were successfully carried out on patched systems; AMD declined to comment.

Of course, that doesn't matter if you choose not to install the software patches due to the performance hit which is a side effect to many of those mitigations.

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"Computer security researchers have uncovered yet another set of transient execution attacks on modern CPUs that allow a local attacker to gain access to privileged data, fulfilling predictions made when the Spectre and Meltdown flaws were reported at the beginning of the year."

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Source: The Register

Keeping a low profile with Corsair's K70 MK.2

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2018 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: corsair, K70 Mk.2, mechanical keyboard, RGB, input, cherry

It takes a lot to stand out in the keyboard market today, as everybody have released numerous models with mechanical switches and RGBs behind them. Someone at Corsair may have been listening to War as they have come up with a low profile version of their K70 keyboard.  These switches reduce your total keystroke from 4 mm to 3.2 mm as well as a shorter actuation travel, the length depending on the specific flavour of switch you purchase.  The model that The Tech Report reviewed was a Rapidfire, which sports LP Speed switches which require a mere 1 mm to actuate. 

If you are looking for the minimum of travel when typing consider this new K70.

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"Corsair and Cherry have teamed up for another mechanical key switch debut, and this time, the star of the show is the MX Low Profile Speed switch on board the K70 MK.2 Low Profile Rapidfire keyboard. We got these slim switches under our fingers to see whether they're a shortcut to gaming and typing bliss."

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A possible successor to Jagged Alliance?

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, jagged alliance, iron sight, end state

The world would probably be a better place if the last few 'reboots' of Jagged Alliance had never happened.  To describe them as lacklustre is being far too polite to truly convey the disappointments which have been released over the past few years.  Developer Iron Sight have been working on a tactical squad combat game called Iron Sight for a while; it was originally started back in 2014, and it should soon hit early access.  The mechanics that they show off in the trailer over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun display a game that looks far more like the old games than any that have been released since Sir Tech stopped making them. 

Take a look here.

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"It’s somehow been lurking around for years, but today developers Iron Sight put out a fancy new features trailer in preparation for an early access release in the near future. Sneak a stealthy peek at the game in the video below."

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Intel wants you to stick it to deep learning

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2018 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: neural compute stick 2, Intel, deep learning

If you are interested in delving into the world of computer vision and image recognition then the new Neural Compute Stick from Intel is something you should be aware of.  For a mere $100 you get a system on a stick with a Movidius Myriad X VPU, which can be used with Intel's version of the OpenVINO toolkit to develop machine vision applications.  You don't need any special hardware, just plug this into a USB 3.0 port and get programming.  If this seems up your alley you can follow the links from The Inquirer for more details.

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"Intel claims this is the first stick to feature a neural compute engine for dedicated hardware neural network inference (essentially the technique of putting AI smarts into action) accelerator."

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Source: The Inquirer

A new Chromium plated web?

Subject: General Tech | November 13, 2018 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: tcp, QUIC, http

The third iteration of the hypertext transfer protocol may be running without TCP packets interrupting those aloof UDP packets as it will be replaced by QUIC.  That protocol was designed by Google and used in their OS, in fact you can play with it on a test server if you so wish.  The idea is to replace TCP with a lower latency protocol which is built with encryption in mind, it supports the new TLS 1.3 as well as older protocols and it is able to handle HTTP/2, TCP and UDP.  You can get more information on Quick UDP Internet Connections at Slashdot as well. 

UDP may or may not have sent out a reply; it is not clear.

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"The HTTP-over-QUIC experimental protocol will be renamed to HTTP/3 and is expected to become the third official version of the HTTP protocol, officials at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have revealed," writes Catalin Cimpanu via ZDNet. "This will become the second Google-developed experimental technology to become an official HTTP protocol upgrade after Google's SPDY technology became the base of HTTP/2."

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Source: Slashdot

Final Fantasy XV Gets Reduced Ongoing Support

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2018 - 11:28 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, square enix, final fantasy, final fantasy xv

Square Enix has announced that plans to update Final Fantasy XV (15) are much smaller than they used to be. The game was supposed to be receive four DLC episodes, Aranea, Lunafreye, Noctis, and Ardyn, but will now only get Ardyn in March 2019; the other three are canceled for both console and PC.

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Off into the sunset...

The biggest news for PC gamers: no RTX or Vulkan support (outside that benchmark).

There is also a bit of confusing, self-contradictory discussion about the future of the co-op multiplayer expansion, Comrades. As far as I can tell, it will be split into a $10 (free if you own Final Fantasy 15) separate game on the consoles, but it will remain an in-game option on the PC.

The reason for these changes is that the game’s director, Hajime Tabata, has left the company and the studio that he made less than a year before leaving, Luminous Productions, have been reassigned to a new title within Square Enix.

Source: DSOGaming

RTX RDX; Tracing the troubles with the Ti

Subject: General Tech | November 9, 2018 - 12:53 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, RTX 2080 Ti

More evidence of issues with the Founders Edition of the RTX 2080 Ti appeared on a screen over at [H]ard|OCP while Kyle was relaxing with a little Hunt: Showdown.  Earlier hints of issues occurred, with some initial BSODs and a lacklustre overclocking experiment when trying to push the card beyond it's factory overclock.  A new driver just dropped yesterday and Kyle is going to keep testing as there are always numerous variables in these sorts of things but it is worth keeping up with.

On the plus side the crash unlocks a new colourful version of Centipede!

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"This case is not in any way running "hot" with a single RTX 2080 Ti. Even this evening I was running its two 280mm fans at high to make sure I was giving it the airflow it needed. This case has been home to dual Titan X cards, as well as Radeon 290X Crossfire, and never had an issue."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #521 - Zen 2, 7nm Vega, SSD Vulnerabilities, and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2018 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: Zen 2, xeon, Vega, rome, radeon instinct, podcast, MI60, Intel, EPYC, cxl-ap, chiplet, cascade lake, amd, 7nm

PC Perspective Podcast #521 - 11/08/18

Join us this week for discussion on AMD's new Zen 2 architecture, 7nm Vega GPUs, SSD encryption vulnerabilities, 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: Jim Tanous, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison, and Sebastian Peak

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:42:27

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. Thanks to Casper for supporting our podcast! Save $50 on select mattresses at http://www.casper.com/pcper code pcper
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. Jim: N7 Day! Amazon - Origin

Deactivate! Deactivate! Windows 10 will be deactivated!

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2018 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, oops

If you were greeted by a message today indicating that your Win10 Pro is no longer activated or needs to be reactivated as Win10 Home, you are not aloneMicrosoft have acknowledged an issue with their licensing servers which is having a rather noticeable effect on machines in several countries.  The issue seems to arise most often on machines which were upgraded from a previous version of Windows, or installed fresh using a key from a previous version, which Microsoft has supported from the get go.  The problem is unlikely to last for long, so do not start downgrading or reinstalling until we have an update from Microsoft, unless you really get off on reinstalling OSes.

It is a toss up between the link to Slashdot and the one to Microsoft Answers as to which provides the most amusment; the comments in both are everything you would expect and more!

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"If you're having trouble activating your Windows 10 Pro computer today, you're not alone. Forums and social media networks are getting flooded with complaints from users who say their machines have automatically become deactivated. Users say they are having trouble connecting with Microsoft's activation servers, with some saying they are being prompted to downgrade to Windows 10 Home."

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Source: Slashdot

Your recommended weapons loadout for BFV

Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2018 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield V, just cause 4

The required and recommended system specs for BFV have been announced, and unless you are hoping to enable ray tracing they are not too daunting.  A Ryzen 3 1300X or i7 4790, with 12GB of RAM and a GTX 1060 or RX 580 seem reasonable and the 50GB install seems almost small compared to some current generation games.  For RTX you will of course need to invest in a RTX 2070 at the least, as well as a better CPU. 

HEXUS also posted the specs to play Just Cause 4, while lacking ray tracing the requirements to run at 4K are still fairly impressive, drop by to see if you are ready to play or if you should be looking for an upgrade.

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"Back in early September we revealed the PC system requirements from the Battlefield V beta. Now EA/DICE has officially revealed the PC system requirements for Battlefield V - including a set of reqs for DXR (DirectX Raytracing) gaming (or 'RTX On' in Nvidia lingo). A quick look back and forth reveals the minimum specs have been raised a little, as have the recommended specs."

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Source: HEXUS

Apple's special sauce, the A12X SoC

Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2018 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: apple, SoC, A12X

Apple made a lot of claims with their new USB-C carrying iPad Pro and the A12X inside of it, stating it offer 90% better multicore performance of the previous A10X as well as twice the graphical power, they describe it as equivalent to the GCN 1.0 GPU in the XBone S, and finally that it is faster than 92% of all portable PCs.  That last claim is the one to raise the most eyebrows but in at least some cases it is not completely inaccurate. 

Ars Technica sat down with Anand Shimpi and Phil Schiller from Apple to discuss how the A12X is capable of so much more than the A12 and other previous generation SoCs.  As is common with Apple they don't offer a lot of specifics on the design but there are certainly some interesting tidbits revealed.

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"Apple's new iPad Pro sports several new features of note, including the most dramatic aesthetic redesign in years, Face ID, new Pencil features, and the very welcome move to USB-C. But the star of the show is the new A12X system on a chip."

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Source: Ars Technica

Meet the AMD Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 accelerators

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2018 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: AMD Radeon Instinct, MI60, MI50, 7nm, ROCm 2.0, HPC, amd

If you haven't been watching AMD's launch of the 7nm Vega based MI60 and MI50 then you can catch up right here.

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You won't be gaming with these beasts, but for those working on deep learning, HPC, cloud computing or rendering apps you might want to take a deeper look.  The new PCIe 4.0 cards use HBM2 ECC memory and Infinity Fabric interconnects, offering up to 1 TB/s of memory bandwidth. 

The MI60 features 32GB of HBM2 with 64 Compute Units containing 4096 Stream Processors which translates into 59 TOPS INT8, up to 29.5 TFLOPS FP16, 14.7 TFLOPS FP32 and 7.4 TFLOPS FP64.  AMD claims is currently the fastest double precision  PCIe card on the market, with the 16GB Tesla V100 offering 7 TFLOPS of FP64 performance.

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The MI50 is a little less powerful though with 16GB of HBM2, 53.6 TFLOPS of INT8, up to 26.8 TFLOPS FP16, 13.4 TFLOPS FP32 and 6.7 TFLOPS FP64 it is no slouch.

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With two Infinity Fabric links per GPU, they can deliver up to 200 GB/s of peer-to-peer bandwidth and you can configure up to four GPUs in a hive ring configuration, made of two hives in eight GPU servers with the help of the new ROCm 2.0 software. 

Expect to see AMD in more HPC servers starting at the beginning of the new year, when they start shipping.

 

Source: AMD

SSD's firmware encryption is pretty floppy

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, encryption, crucial, bitlocker

The hardware world is full of badly thought out implementations, from the inconvenient to the utterly incompetent, and today we have one of the latter.  Bitlocker and other popular encryption tools can use software or hardware to encrypt and store the data encryption key, with many opting for the accelerated hardware encryption baked into many SSDs.  This has turned out to be a bad idea, as tests on a variety of models show you can grab an encrypted disk, plug into the debug ports and convince it to accept any value as an authorized DEK and give you full access to the data on that drive.  This is in part due to the hardware not using the owner's password for encryption ... at all.  The Register's article offers a suggestion, which is to make use of software encryption methods which do incorporate the users password and can be set to actually not use the same DEK across the entire drive. 

Read on for suggestions on solutions which should mitigate this flaw and which can coexist peacefully with hardware encryption.

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"Basically, the cryptographic keys used to encrypt and decrypt the data are not derived from the owner's password, meaning, you can seize a drive and, via a debug port, reprogram it to accept any password. At that point, the SSD will use its stored keys to cipher and decipher its contents. Yes, it's that dumb."

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Source: The Register

Have you ever heard Audeze headphones before?

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2018 - 07:07 PM |
Tagged: audio, Audeze, mobius, gaming headset, planar magnetic

It is certainly possible that you have heard of Audeze headphones before, but for the vast majority of readers, your experiences with high end audiophile headphones may not include them.  You probably also read the title in a way that almost makes sense, which means you are pronouncing it as incorrectly as I.  They've recently added a Mobius gaming headest model, connecting via Bluetooth or USB.  The controls are somewhat impressive with dials, buttons and hybrids all present, some for wireless connectivity and some for wired.  Even if a $400 gaming headset isn't on your list, the review at [H]ard|OCP is worth checking out ... for reasons.

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"Audeze is a well known name in the headphone world, and it recently used crowdfunding to fund its first foray into the world of gaming headsets. We are reviewing the Mobius headset that promises us that it is more than a headphone, "it's an experience." For $400 we want to know exactly what kind of experience it gives us when it comes to gameplay."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Surpassion of the Cougar

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2018 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: input, Cougar, Surpassion, gaming mouse, PMW3330

The interesting bit about the Cougar Surpassion mouse is hidden on the bottom, an LCD which will tell you the CPI, polling rate, lift-off distance, and angle snapping settings currently applied to the mouse as well as two buttons to let you change those settings.  This allows a fair amount of control over how your mouse will perform, without requiring any software installation whatsoever.  TechPowerUp takes their mouse reviews seriously, so if you want to see how the mouse looks once skinned or the accuracy of the rated nominal maximum tracking speed, check out the full review.

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"Top optical sensor, Omron switches rated for 50 million clicks, an LCD display, and, of course, RGB lighting. All of these fit into a relatively small mouse shell that is mainly meant for palm gripping. This is the Surpassion, one of Cougar's high-end mice to compete in the sub-$40 price category."

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Source: TechPowerUp

The future of storage will still have HDDs in it if Seagate has anything to say about it

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2018 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, hdd, HAMR, 100TB

Seagate is looking to create its own law about the increase of density in its products, aiming to double capacity every 30 months on its hard drive families.  They may not be as fast and sexy as an NVMe drive, but for long term storage which you don't expect to be constantly accessed, the price is very attractive.  They will no longer be using perpendicular magnetic recording, with all lines moving to HAMR, which should allow them to create a 20TB or greater drive by 2020 and perhaps reach 100TB by 2026.  Other companies are investigating different recording technologies, which The Register briefly mentions here.

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"Seagate has set a course to deliver a 48TB disk drive in 2023 using its HAMR (heat-assisted magnetic recording) technology, doubling areal density every 30 months, meaning 100TB could be possible by 2025/26."

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Source: The Register

The Hackaday Prize finalists have been announced

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2018 - 05:08 PM |
Tagged: hackaday prize, hack, DIY

The final twenty projects for the five categories in the Hackaday Prize have been announced, for Open Hardware, Robotics, Power Harvesting, Interfacing and Music.  Those topics cover a gamut of projects, from building your own motion tracking system through running electronics off of the energy leaked from your microwave to setting up a semiconductor lab in your garage.  As these designs are all open source and part of the competition was to create detailed build instructions you can look through all the submissions for ideas of your own, or a useful project to build for yourself.

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"Over the last eight months, we’ve been deep in the weeds with this year’s Hackaday Prize. It’s five challenges, with twenty winners per challenge. That’s one hundred projects that will make it to the semifinals in the hopes of becoming the greatest project this year."

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Source: Hackaday