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Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2016 - 04:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, recall, gear vr, galaxy note 7
It is official, Samsung has called a halt to production of the Note 7 and not just because it is likely impossible to insure a building in which they are manufactured or stored. The recall of 2.5 million handsets was damaging to the company and its reputation but the incidents of replacement batteries suffering the same catastrophic failure have spelled the end of this device. Samsung suggests you immediately power down your device and contact your provider or retailer for a refund or for credit on a different handset.
Ars Technica also spotted a pertinent message on the current update to the Gear VR headset which states that support for the Note 7 has been discontinued and you are no longer able to install the app on a Note 7. Thankfully there have been no reports of a battery failure while a Note 7 was inside of a Gear VR and this move should prevent that from ever happening. Expect more statements from Samsung on this topic throughout the week.
"Oculus and Samsung have obviously realized this and has pushed out an update preventing the volatile phone from working with the Gear VR headset."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Yahoo Disables Automatic Email Forwarding Feature, Making It Difficult For Users To Leave @ Slashdot
- Steve Jobs' thermonuclear showdown with Samsung reaches US Supreme Court @ The Register
- Security bod to MSFT: PowerShell's admin-lite scheme is an open door @ The Register
- Nerdytec Couchmaster Cycon @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2016 - 11:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ubisoft, pc gaming, free games, free
This has apparently been going on since June, but I just found out that Ubisoft was giving away some of their older titles for free. Like EA's “On the House” promotion, you can keep the title, but only if you add it to your UPlay account before the cut off date. We're just before the change in months, so, for the next few days, you can add The Crew. Then, starting on October 12th, you can pick up the original Beyond Good and Evil for free.
As expected, you will need to have a UPlay account for this to work. Still, it's an otherwise free game, and a cult classic at that. While this promotion is officially for Ubisoft's 30th anniversary, and two games will go free after Beyond Good and Evil, Ubisoft took the opportunity to announce that a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil is being developed. I guess this means that we'll only have a couple more E3s where journalists write top ten “I want to see announced” lists containing Beyond Good and Evil 2. Yet another thing that will probably be released before Half-Life 2: Episode 3.
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2016 - 06:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dream machines, gaming mouse, DM1 Pro
Dream Machines is not a well known brand but do have a line of computer equipment including the newly released DM1 Pro gaming mouse. The mouse uses a Pmw3310dh optical sensor with DPI ranging from 400 to 5000 and indicates your current setting in a unique way, the colour displayed by the LED indicates the current sensitivity. There are six buttons present, including the sensitivity toggle, with thumb buttons positioned for right handed users. Kitguru liked the mouse but were disappointed by the complete lack of software to customize the mouse, take a peek and see what you think.
"The latest mouse to come in for review is the Dream Machines DM1 Pro. A Polish company, you would be forgiven for not having heard of them. However, they supply laptops, speakers and mice so we were pleased to be sent the DM1 Pro mouse. Priced at £39 in the UK, it sports an ambidextrous design and optical sensor – but how does it fare in the real world?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Fnatic Gear Rush Keyboard @ techPowerUp
- Roccat Skeltr Multi-Format RGB Gaming Keyboard
- Zalman ZM-K900M Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2016 - 05:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: oculus rift
The Rift just got a lot more expensive to set up for those of you who prefer it to the Vive. The kit has expanded its requirements and prices for those who would like the ability to move around in VR and those who want something more accurate than the basic remote. To upgrade your remote is $199 and the additional sensor to track your body movement is $79. While that is not too bad as they are additional features it seems that Oculus had the incredibly bad taste to use a proprietary audio connector. That means if you want upgraded audio that is receiving from the same source as your video you need to fork over an additional $49. As The Register points out, this is somewhat more than the originally quoted $350 price tag for a functional VR headset.
"It's bad enough that the basic system costs $599 – almost double the expected price of $350. Today, the Facebook-owned biz revealed a range of accessories that will push its cost even higher."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Never explain, never apologize: Microsoft silent on Outlook.com email server grief @ The Register
- Radeon Vulkan Driver Added To Mesa, Fresh Radeon Vulkan vs. OpenGL Benchmarks + AMDGPU-PRO @ Phoronix
- The FBI wants to unlock another iPhone and is making big deal out of it @ The Inquirer
- Kaby Lake and VR to push PC market to growth in 2017 @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2016 - 03:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: supercomputer, microsoft, deep neural network, azure, artificial intelligence, ai
Microsoft recently announced it would be restructuring 5,000 employees as it focuses its efforts on artificial intelligence with a new AI and Research Group. The Redmond giant is pulling computer scientists and engineers from Microsoft Research, the Information Platfrom, Bing, and Cortana groups, and the Ambient Computing and Robotics teams. Led by 20 year Microsoft veteran Harry Shum (who has worked in both research and engineering roles at Microsoft), the new AI team promises to "democratize AI" and be a leader in the field with intelligent products and services.
It seems that "democratizing AI" is less about free artificial intelligence and more about making the technology accessible to everyone. The AI and Research Group plans to develop artificial intelligence to the point where it will change how humans interact with their computers (read: Cortana 2.0) with services and commands being conversational rather than strict commands, new applications baked with AI such as office and photo editors that are able to proof read and suggest optimal edits respectively, and new vision, speech, and machine analytics APIs that other developers will be able to harness for their own applications. (Wow that's quite the long sentence - sorry!)
Further, Microsoft wants to build the world's fastest AI supercomputer using its Azure cloud computing service. The Azure-powered AI will be available to everyone for their applications and research needs (for a price, of course!). Microsoft certainly has the money, brain power, and computing power to throw at the problem, and this may be one of the major areas where looking to "the cloud" for a company's computing needs is a smart move as the up front capital needed for hardware, engineers, and support staff to do something like this in-house would be extremely prohibative. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will win out in the wake of competitors at being the first, but it is certainly staking its claim and does not want to be left out completely.
“Microsoft has been working in artificial intelligence since the beginning of Microsoft Research, and yet we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible,” said Shum, executive vice president of the Microsoft AI and Research Group. “Today’s move signifies Microsoft’s commitment to deploying intelligent technology and democratizing AI in a way that changes our lives and the world around us for the better. We will significantly expand our efforts to empower people and organizations to achieve more with our tools, our software and services, and our powerful, global-scale cloud computing capabilities.”
Interestingly, this announcement comes shortly after a previous announcement that industry giants Amazon, Facebook, Google-backed DeepMind, IBM, and Microsoft founded the not-for-profit Partnership On AI organization that will collaborate and research best practices on AI development and exploitation (and hopefully how to teach them not to turn on us heh).
I am looking forward to the future of AI and the technologies it will enable!
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2016 - 11:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: virtual reality, htc vive, assistive technology
As technology continues to advance, virtual reality is slowly but surely becoming more of a reality. For many readers, VR is the next step in gaming and achieving an immersive (virtual) experience. However, for Jamie Soar virtual reality is being used to allow him to experience what it is like to have "normal" vision in the real world. Mr. Soar lives with a genetic and progressive eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa as well as diplopia (or double vision) which means that he has severely limited night and peripheral vision. Jamie uses a white cane for mobility and needs to get close to things like computer monitors and signs in order to read them.
EIC Ryan Shrout using the HTC Vive to enter a VR world (Job Simulator) during a live stream.
Enter the HTC Vive and its dual lens solution that puts the displays (and the vitrual world) front and center. After donning the virtual reality headset at a PC World demo in the UK, Jamie was amazingly able to experience the virtual world in a similar way to how many people see the real world. His eyes were able to refocus on the close up displays, and thanks to the illusion of depth created by the dual lenses, he was able to look around the virtual world and see everything clearly and in brilliant color both near and far!
Via Blindness.org: An example of what vision is like with Retinitis Pigmentosa in an advanced stage. Peripheral and night vision are generally the first aspects to be lost as photoreceptors (rods) on outer edges of retina die.
In an interview with Upload VR, Mr. Soar had this to say to those with similar visual impairments:
“Try VR . Find a means to try it because I went so long without ever knowing that this extra dimension existed that you can see. Try out as many experiences as possible. It might not be for everyone but it might give people a lot more freedom or independence in what they do.”
This is a very cool story and I am excited for Mr. Soar. The aspiring music producer plans to continue experimenting with VR and I hope that as it continues to advance it can help him even more. My first thought jumped to Scott's desire to use VR for productivity work using an infinite desktop and how it could help Jamie compose and produce his music and get the same – or better – benefits most people get from having mutiple monitor setups without having to lean in to each monitor. I do not have nearly the vision loss that Mr. Soar has, but I can definitely empathize with him on many points. I think that it is awesome that he was able to test out VR and explore how he can use it to help him!
In my case I am more looking forward to AR (augmented reality) and future products built on things like Or Cam, Microsoft's Seeing AI project (which I thought I wrote about previously but can not find it via Google heh), and even things like and AiPoly (iOS) that use neural networks and can identify objects, people and their facial expressions, and even describe what is happening in natural language (we are not quite there yet but are definitely getting there).
Regardless of whether AR or VR, the advances in technology in just my 26 years have been amazing and the assitive technology available now is unbelievable. The future is exciting, indeed and I can't wait to see what comes next!
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2016 - 09:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toughpower DPS G RGB, thermaltake, RGB, modular psu, 850W
Enough is enough marketing departments! The Toughpower branding is recognizable but when it becomes an RGB to the DPS G-unit one starts to wonder if this a PSU or a new professional gaming team. Oh, lest we forget to mention it, the box proclaims this is indeed a VR Ready PSU; perhaps it provides 3D virtual electrons? Aparently the DPS G portion indicates it is compatible with your cellphone as the PSU provides both modular and mobile features. Lastly the RGB portion of the branding; if you guessed it has a fan capable of producing 256 different colours then you got it! It is even possible it creates airflow at the same time.
Does it actually work as a PSU? Does anyone even care when it has all of these wonderous features? Only [H]ard|OCP knows.
"Flashy lights are cool if you are into that kind of thing, but we want to know about the new Thermaltake power supply beyond the pretty hues of red, green, and blue. Toughpower units have weighed in well in the past, but how about in today's market as it is a lot more competitive now."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Seasonic Flagship PRIME 850W @ [H]ard|OCP
- InWin Classic Series 750W Fully-Modular 80 Plus Platinum @ eTeknix
- Cougar GX-S 550 W @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2016 - 07:26 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Xavier SoC, video, Silverstone Strider Platinum 550W, REVEEN JUSTICE, podcast, logitech, GTX 1050 Ti, Drobo 5C, Crimson 16.10.1, C922
PC Perspective Podcast #420 - 10/06/16
Join us this week as we discuss the REVEEN JUSTICE Air Cooler, Silverstone Strider 550W PSU, NVIDIA Xavier SoC, Google Pixel, Logitech C922, 1050Ti, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:21:45
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2016 - 04:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: blackberry, Android, licensing
The Register sat down with Alex Thurber, a BlackBerry senior VP, to discuss the companies plans to license their particular flavour of Android to other phone manufacturers. Thurbur has worked at Cisco, McAfee after Intel's purchase of the company as well as a firewall company called WatchGuard so he has had some experience with locking down kit. We will still see two more BlackBerry devices before they finally stop selling hardware but you should expect to see other brands running Blackberry licensed versions of Android soon. They will have NIAP (National Information Assurance Partnership) certification, the same certification that Samsung's KNOX and LG's GATE qualify for. Drop by for deeper look into what they discussed.
"BlackBerry says it won’t license its brand and security hardened Android “to any Tom Dick and Harry” as it tries to maintain the value of its brand."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New Linux Kernel 4.8 -- Plus a Kernel-Killing Bug @ Linux.com
- Microsoft releases patch for Windows 10 Anniversary Update installation borkage @ The Inquirer
- Intel-backed boffins demo long-lived silicon qubit @ The Register
- Micron scrambling up wall of revenues pit @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2016 - 04:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, hack, iot
The good news about this hack is that you would need good timing and physical proximity to the wireless remote which instructs the pump to administer insulin; the bad news is that this is all that is needed and it could result in the death or hospitalization of the target. The vulnerability stems from the usual problem, the transmission between the remote and pump is done in the clear letting anyone who is looking retrieve serial numbers and codes. With that information you can then trigger a dose to be delivered or quite feasibly change the default amount of dosage the pump delivers, as was done previous with a different model.
IoT security as it applies to fridges and toasters is one thing; medical devices quite another. News of unauthorized access to pacemakers and other drug delivery systems which could result in death is not uncommon, yet companies continue to produce insecure systems. Adding even simply encryption to transmissions as well as firmware based dosage sizes should be trivial after the release of a product and even easier before it is released. Keep this in mind when you are seeking medical care, choosing devices which are less likely to kill you because of shoddy security makes sense. You can pop by Slashdot for links to some stories or wade into the comments if you so desire.
"Johnson and Johnson has revealed that its JJ Animas OneTouch Ping insulin pump is vulnerable to hackers, who could potentially force the device to overdose diabetic patients -- however, it declares that the risk of this happening is very low."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Let's not meet up with JPEG 2000 – researchers find security hole in image codec @ The Register
- Apple's Use Of 'Sapphire' in iPhone Camera Lens Questioned in New Tests @ Slashdot
- DRAM contract prices to rise nearly 30% in 4Q16, says DRAMeXchange @ DigiTimes
- Win Loot with the Enlightened Raspberry Pi Contest @ Hack a Day
- Lenovo exec: Nope, not building Windows Phones @ The Register
- KNOXout: Samsung Knox vulnerabilities give hackers 'full control' of devices @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2016 - 03:47 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb-c, Snapdragon 821, pixel, Kryo, google, android assistant, adreno 530, 802.11ac
Google introduced its own premium smartphone today in the form of the Pixel and Pixel XL. Running Android Nougat 7.1, the Pixel smartphones will not only run the latest operating system but will be the new premium experience with the best Android features including Google Assistant and Smart Storage with unlimited cloud storage of photos and videos.
Google is definitely taking a greater interest in promoting Pixel than they have with even their Nexus devices. It will be interesting to see how other Android manufacturers react to this news but I would imagine that they are not all that pleased and Google will be in a similar position to Microsoft with its Surface products and Nvidia with it's Founder's Edition graphics cards.
Google's Pixel lineup includes the Pixel (5.6 x 2.7 x 0.2-0.3") and the Pixel XL (6 x 2.9 x 0.2-0.34") that wrap their respective 5-inch 1080p (441 PPI) and 5.5-inch 1440p (534 PPI) displays in a full aluminum and glass unibody design that will come in one of three colors: Very Black, Quite Silver and Really Blue. The smartphones feature curved corners and rounded edges with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and half of the back. Google has put a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone and power, volume, three microphones, a USB-C port, and, yes, a 3.5mm audio jack.
There are both front and rear cameras and Google is claiming that the rear camera in particular is the best smartphone camera yet (with a DxOMark score of 89 points). The rear camera (which sits flush with the back of the phone) is rated at 12.3 MP with a f/2.0 aperture, and 1.55µm pixels. The camera further features an IMX378 sensor. electronic image stabilization, and both phase detection and laser auto focus. The Pixel can take HDR+ photos and videos at up to 4K30, 1080p120, or 720p240. Users can adjust white balance and use automatic exposure or auto focus locking. The front camera is less impressive at 8MP with fixed focus lens and f/2.4.
Internally, Google has opted to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (MSM8996) which is a 2+2 design that pairs two Kryo cores at 2.15 GHz with two Kryo cores at 1.6 GHz along with an Adreno 530 GPU, an impressive 4GB of LPDDR4 memory, and either 32GB or 128GB of internal storage which is regrettably non-expandable. The smartphones can tap into up to Category 11 LTE (Cat 9 in the US), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC. Sensors include GPS, proximity, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer, and hall sensors.
The Pixel features a 2,770 mAh battery and the Pixel Xl uses a slightly larger 3,450 mAh battery. In either case, Google rates the Pixel and Pixel XL at 13 hours and 14 hours of internet browsing and video playback respectively. Further, the batteries are able to be quick charged enough for up to "seven hours of use" after just 15 minutes of charging time using the included 18W USB-C charger.
Pricing works out to $649 for the 32GB Pixel, $749 for the 128GB Pixel, $769 for the 32GB Pixel XL, and $869 for the 128GB Pixel XL. In the US Google has partnered with Verizon for brick-and-mortar availability in addition to it being available on the Google store and other online retailers.
Google is banking a lot on these devices and asking a very premium price tag for the unlocked phones. It is certainly a gamble whether users will find the unique features enough to go with the Pixel over other flagships. What do you think about Google's increased interest in the smartphone space with the launch of its own hardware? How well will Pixel fit into the existing environment – will Pixel lead Android hardware and the OS to success or simply fragment it more?
I do like the look of the Pixel (especially the blue one) and the feature lists sounds good enough that maybe I could live without a removable battery and non-expandable storage (I'll be holding onto my old T-Mobile unlimited plan for as long as possible! heh). Pricing is a bit steep though and I think that will trip a lot of people up when searching for their next device.
Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2016 - 09:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: powerlink, pascal, evga, deals
EVGA sent along a newsletter which is worth mentioning as there are a few good deals to be had, even if you have already picked up one of their cards. Anyone who recently bought a Pascal based EVGA card or is planning to in the near future can get up to four EVGA Powerlink cable management ... thingies. It is for your PCIe power connectors and wraps around your GPU, allowing you to power your card without exposing those wires and connectors, great for modders or those who prefer a clean looking build. You do need to create an EVGA account and register your card, do keep that in mind.
The PCIe power connectors on the Powerlink are adjustable, no matter which card you purchased you will be able to use the adapter. There are capacitors inside which are intended to help ensure smooth power delivery, so this not simply an extenstion cord. They also have some deals on previous generation NVIDIA cards as well as their TORQ mouse.
There is also a rather unique deal for those who game on the go as well as at home. As it says below, every purchase of an EVGA SC17 980m laptop (758-21-2633-T1) comes with a free GTX 1070 FTW as long as supplies last.
Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2016 - 08:28 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: google, chromecast, media streaming, 4k, hdr, google home
During Google's #madebygoogle event (embedded below), the company introduced a number of new pieces of hardware including a new Chromecast. The Chromecast Ultra is aimed at owners of 4K televisions and supports both 4K Ultra HD and HDR content from the likes of Netflix, YouTube, and other apps. Like previous models, the Chromecast takes input from Android, iOS, Mac OSX, and Windows devices that "cast" media to the TV. Additionally, it can be paired with Google Home where users can use voice commands such as "Ok, Google. Play the sneezing panda video on my TV."
The Chromecast Ultra is a small circular puck with a Micro USB port and a short flexible flat HDMI cable that is permanently attached to the device. The Micro USB port is used for both power and data. One neat feature about the new Chromecast Ultra is that the power adpater has an Ethernet port on it so that users can hook the streaming device up to their wired network for better performance (important for streaming 4K content). Not to worry if you rely on WiFi though because it does support dual band 802.11ac.
Google has not yet revealed what hardware is under the hood of its new 4k capable Chromecast, unfortunately. They did release pricing information though: the Chromecast Ultra will be $69 and is "coming soon". If you are interested you can sign up to be notified when it becomes available.
Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2016 - 08:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: media streaming, fire tv, amazon
Later this month Amazon will be releasing a new Fire TV Stick with upgraded internals and Alexa Voice controls. The refreshed media streamer features a 1.3 GHz MediaTek MT8127 SoC with four ARM Cortex A7 cores and a Mali 450 GPU, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage (for apps mainly, and not expandable), and support for newer 802.11ac (dual band, dual antenna) Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1 wireless technologies.
While that particular SoC is ancient by smartphone standards, it is a decent step up from its predecessor's dual 1GHz ARM A9 cores and VideoCore 4 GPU. It supports h.265 and HEVC decode along with 1080p60 output. The inclusion of 802.11ac WiFi should help the streaming device do its job effectively even in areas littered with WiFi networks (like apartment buildings or townhomes).
The big change from the old Fire TV Stick is the integration of Alexa Voice control and a new remote control with microphone input. Using voice input, users can control media playback, open apps, search for content, and even order pizza. There is no 4K support or expandable storage here (for that you would have to move to the $99 Fire TV) but it is less than half the price.
The refreshed Fire TV Stick will be available on Amazon for $39.99 on October 20th. Pricing along with the additional voice input makes it a competitive option versus Roku's streaming stick and Google's Chromecast.
- Amazon Takes On Apple TV, Roku, and Ouya With $99 Fire TV Streaming Box
- Amazon Echo Overview (video) @ PC Perspective
Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2016 - 06:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, server 2016
Ars Technica have put together an overview of the new Windows Server, three pages which broadly cover the new features you will find. As has often been discussed there will be three ways of installing the new Server OS, the familiar Desktop experience as well as Core and Nano. Nano is similar to the Core installation which we saw introduced in Server 2012 but further reduces the interface and attack surface by removing the last remnants of the GUI, no support for 32bit apps and the Microsoft installer; all you get is a basic control console. The Core and Desktop versions remain the same as in the 2012 version.
If you are curious about the inclusion of Docker features such as the Linux-like containers and changes to Hyper-V or deployment techniques drop by for a read.
"Like a special breed of kaiju, Microsoft's server platform keeps on mutating, incorporating the DNA of its competitors in sometimes strange ways. All the while, Microsoft's offering has constantly grown in its scope, creating variants of itself in the process."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Memristor behaves like a synapse @ Nanotechweb
- Google Fiber Is Now a Fiber and Wireless ISP @ Slashdot
- A year living with the Nexus 5X – the good, the bad, and the Nougat @ The Register
- Researchers Develop System To Send Passwords, Keys Through Users' Bodies @ Slashdot
- Apple takes tips from Microsoft as macOS Sierra becomes an automatic download @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft Azure sets up shop in France @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2016 - 07:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kingston hyper x, kingston, gaming headset, Cloud Stinger, audio
Kingston have updated their line of gaming headsets with the new HyperX Cloud Stinger, available already for ~$50. This makes them attractive for those who do not often use a gaming headset but might want one around just in case. The low price could make you underestimate the design, Kingston used 50mm drivers and the microphone mutes itself the moment you swing it away from your voice hole. That said, Overclockers Club were not in love with the quality of the sound compared to expensive headphones, but for this price point they have no qualms about recommending these for casual use.
"Overall, I'm quite impressed with the HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset. A mouth full just to say that – but after disliking the HyperX Cloud Revolver as much as I did – I'm actually quite happy with this drop in price and slight redesign. With closed ear cups I would have expected a little more in the bass-land, it wasn't the end of the world. The overall sound is nice and flat, and movies, music, and games are all quite tolerable in the closed environment."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger @ Modders Inc
- HyperX Cloud Revolver Gaming Headset @ Custom PC Review
- Jabra ECLIPSE Wireless Headset Review @ NikKTech
- Sennheiser PC 373D 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound Gaming Headset @ Kitguru
- OZONE TriFX In-Ear Pro Gaming Headset Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2016 - 05:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Windows 7, windows 10, microsoft, market share
A change of one percent may seem tiny at first glance but historically it is an incredibly large shift in market share for an operating system. Unfortunately for Microsoft it is Windows 7 which has gained share, up to 48.27% of the market with Windows 10 dropping half a point to 22.53% while the various flavours of Windows 8 sit at 9.61%. This would make it almost impossible for Microsoft to reach their goal of
two one billion machines running Windows 10 in the two years after release and spells bad news for their income from consumers.
Enterprise have barely touched the new OS for a wide variety of reasons, though companies still provide significant income thanks to corporate licenses for Microsoft products and older operating systems. It should be very interesting to see how Microsoft will react to this information, especially if the trend continues. The sales data matches many of the comments we have seen here; the changes which they made were not well received by their customer base and the justifications they've used in the design of the new OS are not holding water. It shouldn't be long before we here more out of Redmond, in the mean time you can pop over to The Inquirer to see Net Applications' data if you so desire.
"The latest figures from Net Applications’ Netmarketshare service show Windows 7, now over seven years old, gain a full percentage point to bolster its place as the world’s most popular desktop operating system with 48.27 per cent (+1.02 on last month)."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HUDWAY Glass Head-Up Display Review @ NikKTech
- AMD prepares Zen for CES 2017 launch; aggressively clearing inventory for platform transition @ DigiTimes
- How to steal the mind of an AI: Machine-learning models vulnerable to reverse engineering @ The Register
- Linus Torvalds Officially Announces the Release of Linux Kernel 4.8 @ Slashdot
- Security analyst says Yahoo!, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Tumblr all popped by same gang @ The Register
- Source code for 'record-breaking' Mirai IoT botnet released online @ The Inquirer
- iPhone 7 Finishes Last In New Test of Battery Life @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | October 1, 2016 - 02:58 AM | Scott Michaud
Blender 2.78 has been a fairly anticipated release. First off, people who have purchased a Pascal-based graphics card will now be able to GPU-accelerate their renders in Cycles. Previously, it would outright fail, complaining that it didn't have a compatible CUDA kernel. At the same time, the Blender Foundation fixed a few performance issues, especially with Maxwell-based GM200 parts, such as the GeForce 980 Ti. Pre-release builds included these fixes for over a month, but 2.78 is the first build for the general public that supports it.
In terms of actual features, Blender 2.78 starts to expand the suite's feature set into the space that is currently occupied by Adobe Animate CC (Flash Professional). The Blender Foundation noticed that users were doing 2D animations using the Grease Pencil, so they have been evolving the tool in that direction. You can now simulate different types of strokes, parent these to objects, paint geometry along surfaces, and so forth. It also has onion skinning, to see how the current frame matches its neighbors, but I'm pretty sure that is not new to 2.78, though.
As you would expect, there are still many differences between these two applications. Blender does not output to Flash, and interactivity would need to be done through the Blender Game Engine. On the other hand, Blender allows the camera, itself, to be animated. In Animate CC, you would need to move, rotate, and scale objects around the stage by the amount of pixels on an individual basis. In Blender, you would just fly the camera around.
This leads in to what the Blender Foundation is planning for Blender 2.8x. This upcoming release focuses on common workflow issues. Asset management is one area, but Viewport Renderer is a particularly interesting one. Blender 2.78 increases the functionality that materials can exhibit in the viewport, but Blender 2.8x is working toward a full physically-based renderer, such as the one seen in Unreal Engine 4. While it cannot handle the complex lighting effects that their full renderer, Cycles, can, some animations don't require this. Restricting yourself to the types of effects seen in current video games could decrease your render time from seconds or minutes per frame to around real-time.
Subject: General Tech | October 1, 2016 - 02:07 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
I've been seeing a lot of people discussing how frequently Windows 10 seems to be getting updated. This discussion usually circles back to how many issues have been reported with the latest Anniversary Update, and how Microsoft has been slow in rolling it out. The thing is, while the slow roll-out is interesting, the way Windows 10 1607 is being patched is not too unusual.
The odd part is how Microsoft has been releasing the feature updates, themselves.
In the past, Microsoft has tried to release updates on the second Tuesday of every month. This provides a predictable schedule for administrators to test patches before deploying them to an entire enterprise, in case the update breaks something that is mission-critical. With Windows 10, Microsoft has declared that patches will be cumulative and can occur at any time. This led to discussion about whether or not “Patch Tuesday” is dead. Now, a little over a year has gone by, and we can actually quantify how the OS gets updated.
There seems to be a pattern that starts with each major version release, which has (thus far) been builds 10240, 10586, and 14393. Immediately before and after these builds start to roll out to the public, Microsoft releases a flurry of updates to fix issues.
For instance, Windows 10 version 1507 had seven sub-versions of 10240 prior to general release, and five hotfixes pushed down Windows Update within the first month of release. The following month, September 2015, had an update on Patch Tuesday, as well as an extra one on September 30th. The following month also had two updates, the first of which on October's Patch Tuesday. It was then patched once for every following Patch Tuesday.
The same trend occurred with Build 10586 (Windows 10 version 1511). Microsoft released the update to the public on November 12th, but pushed a patch through Windows Update on November 10th, and five more over Windows Update in the following month-and-a-bit. It mostly settled down to Patch Tuesday after that, although a few months had a second hotfix sometime in the middle.
We are now seeing the same trend happen with Windows 10 version 1607. Immediately after release, Microsoft pushed a bunch of hotfixes. If history repeats itself, we should start to see about two updates per month for the next couple of months, then we will slow down to Patch Tuesday until Redstone 2 arrives sometime in 2017.
So, while this seems to fit a recurring trend, I do wonder why this trend exists.
Part of it makes sense. When Microsoft is developing Windows 10, it is trying to merge additions from a variety of teams into a single branch, and do so once or twice each year. This likely means that Microsoft has a “last call” date for these teams to merge their additions into the public branch, and then QA needs to polish this up for the general public. While they can attempt to have these groups check in mid-way, pushing their work out to Windows Insiders in a pre-release build, you can't really know how the final build will behave until after the cut-off.
At the same time, the massive flood of patches within the first month would suggest that Microsoft is pushing the final build to the public about a month or two too early. If this trend continues, it would make the people who update within the first month basically another ring of the Insider program. The difference is that it is less out-in, because you get it when Windows Update tells you to.
It will be interesting to see how this continues going forward, too. Microsoft has already delayed Redstone 2 until 2017, as I mentioned earlier. This could be a sign that Microsoft is learning from past releases, and optimizing their release schedule based on these lessons. I wonder how soon before release will Microsoft settle on a “final build” next time. It seems like Microsoft could avoid many stability problems by simply setting an earlier merge date, and aggressively performing QA for a longer period until it is released to the public.
Or I could be completely off. What do you all think?
Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2016 - 04:25 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: webcam, skype, Pro Stream Webcam, logitech, C922x, C922, C920, 720p/60
Logitech has announced the successor to the popular C920 with the C922 Pro Stream Webcam, and this new model includes a 720p/60 mode, along with the 1080p/30 capability of its predecessor.
“C922 Pro Stream Webcam offers full HD quality and features for all streaming needs. At either 1080p 30 FPS or 720p 60 FPS, C922 is the perfect solution for streaming to Twitch, YouTube and any other video streaming application imaginable. Advanced 20-step autofocus through a full HD glass lens with F-stop F 2.8 and 78-degree field of view means no matter what action is happening, C922 can capture those crucial moments in perfect HD clarity.”
Logitech lists these specs for the C922:
- Video streaming or recording: 1080p30 FPS / 720p60 FPS / 720p30 FPS with supported apps
- Video calling: Full HD 1080p with the latest version of Skype for Windows or 720p with
- supported clients
- H.264 video compression (Skype only at this time)
- Full HD Glass lens (F=2.8) with 20-step autofocus
- 78° horizontal field of view
- Dual stereo microphone with automatic noise cancellation
- Automatic low light correction
- Tripod ready universal clip fits laptops and monitors (C922 SKU only)
- Width: 95mm
- Depth: 24mm - 71mm including clip
- Height: 29mm - 43.5mm including clip
- Weight: 162g
- USB cable: 6-ft
The C922 includes a tripod, while the C922x does not
There will be two SKUs of the C922, each of which retail for $99.99:
- C922 - exclusive to Best Buy and bestbuy.com, includes tripod and a 3 month XSplit license
- C922x - available on Amazon.com - does not include the tripod but includes a longer 6 month XSplit license
Both versions are available now.
Full press release after the break.