Your Roomba is spying on you and that fridge sure looks suspicious

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2017 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: security, roomba, irobot, greed

It should be obvious to most that the new generation of Roombas builds up and saves a map of your house, that is how it memorizes how to navigate your floors to vacuum them.  One would also think it was obvious that this information should remain private; unfortunately iRobot does not seem to understand this.  They are in discussion with Apple, Amazon and Alphabet to determine a price at which iRobot will sell them the map of the parts of your house which your Roomba has traversed.  This should be somewhat disturbing to Roomba owners and likely very exciting to anyone who likes to wander univited into other people's homes.  The security of the data is not likely to be difficult to overcome for a motivated and skilled individual so keep that in mind if you are shopping for a robot vacuum.  You can pop by The Inquirer to read iRobot chief executive Colin Angle's bizarre response to tweets from concerned customers.

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"VACUUM CLEANER COMPANY iRobot, responsible for the 'smart' Roomba vacuum, is considering doing something really dumb - selling user mapping data to companies that would hand over how your house is laid out."

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Source: The Inquirer

Mark Papermaster on AMD's tiny things

Subject: General Tech | July 24, 2017 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: amd, 7nm

Over at The Inquirer you can read a condensed version of AMD's Mark Papermaster discussion about the challenges of moving to a 7nm process node.  The size of AMD's design team have prompted them to take a modular approach to design so that circuits can be reused across CPU, GPU and semi-custom designs.  That allows the the same teams to work on multiple projects and for design successes to improve products across multiple lines, a must for a small team with such diverse products.

He also talks about "2.5-D chip stacks", using silicon interposers to connect processors and memory stacks side-by-side as a way to work on reducing to the 7nm node while waiting for foundries like GLOFO to retool to EUV lithography. He ends with a familiar request; that developers switch their focus to taking advantage of high core counts and parallel threads and away from single cores running at high frequencies.

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"Speaking to the EE Times, Papermaster said that, while AMD planned to run its second and third generation Zen architecture x86 microprocessors on 7nm, it would likely be a 'long node', like the 28nm process, "and when you have a long node it lets the design team focus on micro-architecture and systems solutions", rather than simply redesigning standard ‘blocks'."

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Source: The Inquirer

Won't someone think of the children? Corsair will!

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2017 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: corsair, gaming, charity, Save the Children

Corsair will be hosting a Charity Gaming Marathon on July 29th, livestreamed on Twitch and kicking off at 9AM Pacific.  All donations will go to the Save the Children, an international charity which helps children across the globe get off to a healthy start in life.  Corsair will be matching every dollar donated, up to a total of $25,000.  The event will pit two teams against each other in a variety of MOBA, RTS and first person shooters; when donating you can chose which team you support and can cheer them on and choose some challenges they need to overcome.

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During the event there will be giveaways of gear as certain donation goals are reached including GLAIVE RGB mice, VOID USB headsets, and MM800 RGB POLARIS mouse mats.  If the $25K mark is reached Corsair will be giving away a ONE SFF gaming machine. 

You can learn more about Save the Children on Twitter and Facebook.

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Source: Corsair

PCPer Mailbag #1 - 7/20/2017

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2017 - 11:12 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag

Our readers and supporters have asked us to do a mailbag-style video series for a while now and I finally got around to starting it. Welcome to the PCPer Mailbag #1! Thanks to the supporters of the PC Perspective Patreon for making it happen!

Questions addressed this week include:

  • Thoughts on when spinning disks will be replaced by SSDs in lower cost systems
  • Mesh vs Infinity Fabric
  • Will GPU prices return to normal?
  • Short history of PCPer
  • ...and more!

Devil's Ivy, a voyeurs dream come true

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2017 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: iot, Devil's Ivy, cameras, security, gSOAP

gSOAP is a open-source code library which allows hardware to be configured and controlled via web connections and is used by hundreds of companies including Axis, Microsoft, IBM, Adobe and Xerox.  It has a vulnerability which allows an attacker to trigger a stack overflow by sending a specific POST command over port 80 to a device, which in the case of cameras allows you to watch the live feed.  The vulnerability was patched in an update to gSOAP so future products will not have this issue, however any camera built on that library which currently in use is vulnerable.  The manufacturers would have to create an update to their own software and push it out to all the cameras currently in use to resolve this issue, and if there is one thing we know for sure about IoT products, it is that these patches do not tend to be created, let alone pushed out.

For more depressing details you can pop by The Register.

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"Security researchers investigating internet-connected video cameras have uncovered a bug that could conceivably leave millions of devices open to easy pwnage."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #459 - Threadripper Pricing, Liquid Cooled VEGA, Intel Rumors, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2017 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: zenbook, z270, wireless charging, water cooling, VR, video, Vega, TSMC, thermaltake, SILVIA, podcast, Pacific, Oculus, Kabby Lake-R, corsair, Contac, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #459 - 07/20/17

Join us for Threadripper Pricing, Liquid Cooled VEGA, Intel Rumors, 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, Alex Lustenberg, Jim Tanous

Program length: 1:46:03

 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:36:30 Jeremy: Deal on a Ryzen 7 1700
    2. 1:41:04 Allyn: Still using WMC? You need EPG123!
  4. Closing/outro

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

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It's dangerous to go alone; gaming on a Lenovo X1 Carbon ultrabook

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2017 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: gaming, ultrabook, Lenovo, ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Techspot recently investigated the ability of current generation ultrabooks to game, without external assistance.  They tested using a Lenovo X1 Carbon, similar to what Ken utilized when he benchmarked the AKiTiO Node external GPU.  Techspot's model had a Core i5-7200U as opposed to the 7300U both chips have the same HD 620 iGPU, but only Ken's had help. 

Techspot focused on the performance the ultrabook could provide in 34 different games, from current and past AAA games as well as eSports and even 2D indie games.  Take a look through their results to see just how far we have come since the original generations of Intel iGPUs which simply could not game at all.  The results show that there is indeed a market for Thunderbolt based external GPUs.

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"With this in mind, we've tested 34 games on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon: from current AAA titles to older 2D platformers, to give you an idea of what games are actually playable on modern ultraportables."

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Source: Techspot

You've got to go deep before you can be extreme, TSMC is moving to 7nm

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2017 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, 7nm, duv, N7, euv

TSMC is preparing for the move to a 7nm process by expanding suppliers and tooling up for Deep UV equipment.  Unlike Samsung, who will be using Extreme UV tools for their initial launch of 7nm product in 2018 TSMC have chosen to delay the move to EUV until the technology matures.  They will instead use DUV for its launch of their 7nm products, dubbed 7N, in 2018.  The difference between the two types of UV is the wavelength, DUV can be produced at 248 and 193 nm while EUV is an impressive 13.5nm, which is why the industry (and ourselves) depend on this process maturing and being adopted by manufacturers.  The EUV equipment that is being tested is still relatively new but should produce a better chip in theory, though perhaps not as many usable ones per wafer when first rolled out.  You can pop by DigiTimes for a list of the suppliers TSMC is adopting as well as a bit more detail.

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"Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is expanding the number of suppliers of equipment for its 7nm process in a bid to maintain an ecosystem pricing balance, according to industry sources."

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Source: DigiTimes

Rumor: Corsair Could Be Purchased for >$500 Million USD

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: corsair

According to Reuters, who claims to have two anonymous sources, Corsair “is in advanced discussions” to be acquired by EagleTree Capital. They claim that the transaction, if it goes through in its current form, will be worth more than $500 million USD. EagleTree has several backers, including Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, and BNP Paribas.

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From my perspective, this would be an interesting transaction. The company, being private, hasn’t published their finances recently, but annual revenue was as high as $455 million in 2011. Their catalog has since diversified heavily, especially with their seemingly successful power supply, case, and liquid cooling product lines. At first, the rumor felt a little high, because half-of-a-billion dollars is a lot of money, but they’re certainly selling a lot of stock. At the same time, they don't do a lot of their own production, but they do spend a lot of effort in their designs and making them fit a unique niche in one way or another.

Thanks to TechSpot for noticing this!

Source: Reuters

HyperX types again, the Alloy Elite

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2017 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: input, hyperx, Alloy Elite, cherry mx red, cherry mx brown, cherry mx blue, mechanical keyboard

As with the previous model, HyperX has chosen a metal body for the Alloy Elite.  This one is larger than that model, at 17.5" x 6.6" which leaves space for a light bar containing 18 red LEDs as well as media keys.  HyperX offers you the choice between MX Blue, Brown, or Red switches, optional silvery WASD keycaps and a removable wrist rest.  The Tech Report had a good experience with the keyboard, however if you consider custom macros, profiles, and lighting features to be critical then perhaps this board is not for you.

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"HyperX has made a name for itself with gaming gear that forgoes frills in favor of function. Its Alloy Elite mechanical gaming keyboard takes a different tack by adding flourishes and dedicated controls to the formula. We got the Alloy Elite under our fingers to see whether HyperX struck the right balance."

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Move over HoloLens, enterprising new Glassholes are on the scene

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2017 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: hololens, AR, google glass, alphabet

Google Glass is back, but this time the users should be safely contained in manufacturing facilities and corporate buildings.  The initial launch lead to what many felt was a breach of public etiquette as there were many people who did not like the idea of being recorded with the AR glasses.  The new incarnation, Glass Enterprise Edition has an improved 8MP camera and a new red light that turns on when the glasses are recording video.  The WiFi bandwidth has been increased but Alphabet has not yet released the technical specifications publicly.  The Inquirer has a bit more information but nothing on the price, you will need to negotiate with Alphabet or one of it's partners to find that out, but you can expect it to be similar to the price of Microsoft's HoloLens.

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"This is good news, as it means you won't see glassholes wandering the streets in the space-age spectacles. Instead, Google Glass Enterprise Edition is being used by more than 50 businesses in the US, including AGCO, DHL, Dignity Health, NSF International, Sutter Health, The Boeing Company and Volkswagen. "

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Source: The Register

Motherboards are not always your friend

Subject: General Tech | July 17, 2017 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: pain

Over at [H]ard|OCP is a painful walk down memory lane for those who have been working with computer components for the last few decades, specifically the worst five motherboards they have reviewed.  It is a reminder to those who lived through this time and perhaps an eye opener for those who are only now encountering things such as RAM incompatibility.  It is somewhat of a surprise that the ALi based A7A-266, with its hybrid RAM controller which allowed you to have issues with both SDRAM and DDR as well as the need to use a graphite pencil or conductive ink to adjust settings as the DIP switches were not present on all boards.

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"We have been reviewing motherboards here at HardOCP for about 20 years now. And in that time, many have been flush with horrible features and bugs of all kinds. Dan takes a stroll down a very painful memory lane and rehashes his top five..as instructed by his therapist. Let it out Dan...let it out."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Oculus Pacific, bringing VR to the masses?

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2017 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: oculus rift, VR, Pacific, xiaomi, snapdragon

Coming right after the announced reduction in the price of the Oculus Rift is a rumour about a new VR headset from the company which will cost significantly less than the current model.  The Oculus 'Pacific' will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon of some description and will be manufactured by Xiaomi.  The smaller headset will sell for around $200, and be announced in October, likely during the Oculus Connect 4 event.  From what The Inquirer has learned, the headset will not require additional hardware to run which will make this VR headset much more accessible to the average consumer.

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"FACEBOOK-OWNED Oculus is reportedly working on a standalone virtual reality (VR) headset that'll cost just $200 (around £155)."

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Source: The Inquirer

You can now get a Dell laptop that charges wirelessly, but it will cost you

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2017 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: dell, Latitude, Latitude 7285, wireless charging

It will set you back $1800 or more once you have purchased the requisite extra components but once set up your Latitude 7285 will charge.  The wireless charging mat puts out 18.5V which will keep you going even when working hard.  They specifically mention that it is not for use on metal desks, so keep that in mind unless you really need a jolt to wake you up.  The 2880 x 1920 12" tablet and comes with an i7 or i5 processor, an SSD of 128GB or 256GB and your choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM.  Keep in mind the price estimate above would be for the low end model.  Pop by The Register to see more.

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"Which is where things get a bit weird, because the Latitude 7285 starts at US$1,199, but the Wireless Charging Keyboard costs $379.99 and the Charging Mat is another $199.99. That's an extra $579.98 for the convenience of wireless charging (with a wire for the charging mat)."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #458 - Intel Xeons, ThunderBolt 3 GPU chassis, Affordable 10GbE, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2017 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: xeon, x299, video, thunderbolt 3, sapphire, RX470, rift, radeon, podcast, nand, Intel, HDK2, gigabyte, external gpu, asus, 10GbE

PC Perspective Podcast #458 - 07/13/17

Join us for Intel Xeon launch, external ThunderBolt3 GPUs, 10Gb Ethernet, 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, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:38:08
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: ASUS XG-C100C lol
    2. Jeremy: Um, well I keep meaning to play Deserts of Kharak
  4. Closing/outro

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

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Fnatic Gear Duel TMA-2, build your own headset

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2017 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: audio, fnatic gear, Duel TMA-2, headset

Fnatic Gear found something unique to offer with their new headset, swappable components to let you assemble the headset you want.  It comes with both on-ear cups and over-ear cups and you get to choose which you prefer to use, or one supposes you could have different cups on each ear if you so choose. You can also choose between a 2m boom mic cable or a 1.2m cable with an in-line mic.  As to how they sound?  Drop by Kitguru to look over what they thought about the quality and the differences between the cups.

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"The Fnatic Gear Duel TMA-2 headset is pretty unique for a gaming headset as it is actually modular. This means it comes disassembled and you can put it together yourself using different combinations of the supplied components to create a headset that best suits you."

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Source: Kitguru

Give Me retro Deus Ex

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2017 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: gaming, deus ex, mod, GMDX

Like many gamers you likely have very fond memories of the original Deus Ex and have replayed the first level in the last few years, only to abandon it because it really isn't that pretty compared to what you are used to.  This could change as of today, with the official release of the Give Me Deus Ex mod.  Not only do the textures and lighting effects look much better, there are a variety of bug fixes and AI enhancements to make the game more interesting.  You will need the GoTY Edition of the first Deus Ex, grab it from Steam or GOG depending on your preference.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has links to the ModDB download page as well as a link to the Deus Ex: Revision mod, a different non-compatible projects which adds extra gameplay features.

Take a peek at the Humble Bundle link just below the video as well, it is a decent bargain and you help us keep the lights on too!

"After years of development, the overhaul mod Give Me Deus Ex has launched its final version. GMDX shakes things up with more-advanced AI for a tougher challenge, improved mantling for agile Dentons, expanded physics for fancier mayhem, and new textures and bits for people who say “Ew, is that a pixel?”"

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The Dark Knight returns, the ASUS RT-AC1900P wireless router

Subject: General Tech, Networking | July 12, 2017 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: RT-AC1900P, asus, wireless router

If you are more interested in quick wireless networking than you are in upgrading to a 10Gbps wired network then perhaps this review over at The Tech Report will catch your fancy.  It is similar in design and size to the RT-AC68U, at 6.2x8.6x3.2" but it hides some upgrades inside.  The processor has been upgraded to a dual core Broadcom BCM4709C0 running at 1.4 GHz and the internal memory has been doubled to 256MB though the radio remains the same with rated transfers of 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band.  Testing showed some improvements compared to the previous model when it came to range and broadcasting through obstacles, with some increase in transfer speeds as well.  Check it out here.

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"Asus' RT-AC1900P carries on the legacy of the company's popular RT-N66U "Dark Knight" router. This time around, the unit comes armed with an 802.11ac radio for faster performance on the 5GHz band. We fired up this router in our crowded wireless airspace to see whether it can stand above the rest."

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Tease us once, shame on us. Tease us twice, shame on you Gaben. Tease us thrice ...

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: half life 3, valve, Gabe Newell

If you haven't spotted it yet, prepare to have your hopes dashed once again for there is a new Half-Life ... patch.  Yes, the original game, which is old enough to drink in all of Canada, just received some patches to fix gameplay bugs and save issues.  To add salt to the wound, most who want to revist the original will do so with Black Mesa which uses the updated Source engine.  Considering that the original Half-Life was done on the Goldsource engine, it is hard to lend credence to the theories that this is in preparation for a launch of the third chapter of Gordon Freeman's really long and bad day.  If you wish to torment yourself you can drop by The Inquirer for a link to the comment thread under the patch notes on Steam.

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"LEGENDARY GAME Half-Life has just got an update, but naturally, users are not entirely satisfied and many would have preferred Half-Life 3 apparently. Valve announced the update on the Steam Blog and it is in the comments that the calls for the third version of the game come to life. We will come back to that though"

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Source: The Inquirer

Razer HDK2 Is $399 (and Even Less for Some)

Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2017 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: VR, razer, osvr

Last night, we reported on Oculus dropping the price of their Rift + Touch being reduced to $399 USD ($549 CDN). In the comments of that story, mLocke, who is a regular in our IRC chat, mentioned that Razer’s HDK2 is also $399. Even better, if you are a developer or involved in an educational institution, you can also apply to receive an addition 20% discount, which would bring the cost down to about $319 USD. There is also something about a “2 for 1 promotion” for academics and researchers, but you need to email them for that.

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That said, the OSVR HDK2 doesn’t come with a controller, unlike the Oculus Rift + Touch. Also, while OSVR is expected to form the basis of OpenXR, because Razer donated the API to the Khronos Group, it doesn’t support as much as Oculus or the HTC Vive. That said, if you’re a developer that only cares about your own content, it works with Unreal Engine 4 and Unity, and you can probably add support to other engines yourself. (Update @ 7:47pm: I just realized that this previous sentence doesn't mean what I intended it to. There's a lot of engines that already support OSVR, including Lumberyard and CryEngine. I meant that if you're working on your own, then the SDK is available as well. I didn't mean that Unity and Unreal Engine were the only ones with available plug-ins.)

So, for a consumer that is torn between both deals, I would probably point you to the Oculus one. If you’re a developer, educator, or researcher, then you might want to reach out to OSVR and see. It might be your best option.

Source: Razer