Tobii Eye Tracking Showed Impressive VR Headset Integration at CES

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 05:53 PM |
Tagged: VR, virtual reality, Tobii, htc vive, eye tracking, CES 2018, CES

Last month in Tobii's suite at CES I was given a demonstration of a prototype VR headset that looked like any other HTC Vive - except for the ring of Tobii eye-tracking sensors inside and around each lens. While this might seem like a bit of an odd concept at first I was patient as the benefits were explained to me, and then blown away when I actually tried it myself.


As you know, if you have used a VR headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, the basic mechanics of VR interaction involve pointing your head in the direction you want to look, reaching with your hand (and controller) to point to an object, and then pressing a button on the controller to act. I will be completely honest here: I don't like it. After a little while the fatigue and general unnatural feeling of rapid, bird-like head movements kills whatever enthusiasm I might have for the experience, and I was the last person to give high praise to a new VR product. HOWEVER, I will attempt to explain why simply adding eye tracking actually made the entire experience 1000 times better (for me, anyway).


When I put on the prototype headset, the only setup I had to do was quickly follow a dot in my field of vision as it moved up/down/left/right, like a vision test for a driver's license. That's the entire calibration process, and with that out of the way I was suddenly able to look around without moving my head, which made the head movements when they followed feel completely natural. I would instinctively look up, or to the side, with my head following when I decided to focus attention on that area. The amount of physical head movements was reduced to normal, human levels, which alone prevented me from feeling sick after a few minutes. Of course, this was not the only demonstrated feature of the integrated eye-tracking, and if you are familiar with Tobii you will know what's next.


This looks primitive, but it was an effective demo of the eye-tracking integration

The ability of the headset to know exactly where you are looking allows you to aim based on your line of sight if the game implements it, and I tried some target practice (throwing rocks at glass bottles in the demo world) and it felt completely natural. After launching a few rocks at distant bottles I instantly decided that this should be the mechanic of fantastic VR football video game - that I could throw at different receivers just by looking them down.

I also received a demo of simulated AR integration (still within the VR world), and a demo of what eye-tracking adds to a home theater experience - and it was pretty convincing. I could scroll around and select movie titles from an interface by simply looking around, and within the VR world it was as if I was looking up at a big projection screen. Throughout the different demos I kept thinking about how much more natural everything felt when I wasn't constantly moving my head around and pointing at things with my controller.


Finally, there was another side to everything I experienced - and it might have been the most interesting thing from a PC enthusiast perspective: if the VR headset can track your focus, the GPU doesn't have to render anything else at full resolution. That alone could make this something of a breakthrough addition to the current VR headset space, as performance is very expensive (even before the mining craze) and absolutely necessary for a smooth, high frame-rate experience. After 45 minutes with the headset on, I felt totally fine - and that was a change.

So what is the takeaway from all this? I'm just an editor who had a meeting with Tobii at CES, and I walked out of the meeting with a couple of business cards and nothing else. I admit that I am a VR skeptic who went into the meeting with no expectations. And I still left thinking it was the best product I saw at the show.

More information and media about the CES demos are available from Tobii on their CES blog post.

Source: Tobii

It's about damn time; Windows Defender will start removing those bloody registry cleaners

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: registry cleaner, windows 10, microsoft, windows defender, crapware

Have you experienced the sheer frustration of explaining to a friend or family member that the reason their machine slowed down somewhat and is generating popups at a fearsome rate is because of the crapware they downloaded and not your ministrations?  Convincing someone who installed a registry cleaner or supposed driver update tool that that software is the root of their suffering can be as profitable as arguing with a brick wall that it is mostly empty space and thus you should be able to walk through it; in other words an exercise in futility.  Come March, Windows Defender will remove many of the more questionable ones automatically, though The Inquirer suggests some of the more innocuous ones may remain.


"We've all been there - warnings of out of date drivers, thousands of registry errors, and usually with a message claiming "we'll fix 30 for free, then you pay". Most of it is utter twaddle and won't affect your computing experience at all. In fact, in a lot of cases, they do more harm than good."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #485 - Intel and AMD Earnings, Samsung Z-NAND, GDDR6 and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: Z-NAND, western digital, supernova, ssd, Samsung, podcast, NVMe, K68, Intel, evga, earnings, corsair, amd, 760p

PC Perspective Podcast #485 - 02/01/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including Intel and AMD Earnings, Samsung Z-NAND, GDDR6 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: - Share with your friends!

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

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:23:43

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:11:15 Ryan: APC 1500VA UPS
  4. Closing/outro

Seagate Announces Quarterly Earnings for Q2 FY2018

Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 1, 2018 - 03:07 AM |
Tagged: Seagate, quarterly earnings, Hard Drive, financial results, enterprise

Seagate Technology has announced its quarterly earnings for the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 (the quarter ending 12/29/2017). The Cupertino-based company has reported quarterly revenue of $2.9 billion, net income of $159 million, and diluted EPS of 55 cents. On a Non-GAAP reporting basis, Seagate saw Q2 FY2018 net income of $431 million and earnings per share of $1.48.

Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB.jpg

Seagate's revenue remained flat year-over-year, but increased 11.5% versus the previous quarter. Net income decreased 12% QOQ and 46% YoY using GAAP accounting methods, but on a non-GAAP basis Seagate reports a 54% increase versus the previous quarter and 4.6% increase versus the same quarter last year so it's not all bad news. The company is also managed to amass quite a bit of cash including $850 million from operations and $773 of free cash flow.

  Q2 FY2018 Q1 FY2018 Q2 FY2017 QOQ YoY
Revenue $2.9 billion $2.6 billion $2.9 billion +11.5% =
Net Income (GAAP) $159 million $181 million $297 million -12% -46%
Diluted Earnings Per Share (GAAP) 0.55 0.62 1.00 -11.5% -45%
Net Income (Non-GAAP) $431 million $279 million $412 million +54% +4.6%
Diluted EPS (Non-GAAP) 1.48 0.96 1.38 +54% +7.2%

Seagate manufactures both mechanical hard drives and solid state drives, and while the company cranks out many internal and external drives for consumers, the company is very much focused on the enterprise market, especially where its solid state storage is concerned. Seagate states in its press release that it is heavily focused on cloud storage with its 60TB 3.5" SAS drive and NVMe add-in-card (which it demonstrated at FMS 2016). The company has partnered with Facebook to build its 1U Lightning storage solution (up to 120TB of flash storage using 60 2TB M.2 NVMe drives) and continues to target the enterprise and exascale/HPC markets with their absolutely massive and ever-growing data demands for big data analytics of financial and user data, uploaded and user-generated media, cloud backup, and research/simulation data for supercomputers. Further, the company continues to push mechanical enterprise storage to ever higher capacities with Barracuda Pro and also has its Ironwolf NAS and sequential-optimized Skyhawk drives for surveillance systems. On the flash storage front, Seagate has its Nytro M.2 NVMe and Nytro SAS SSDs.

Seagate Facebook Lightning JBOF System.jpg

Facebook's 1U Lightning JBOF System using 60 Seagate XM1440 M.2 SSDs.

I am interested to see where Seagate (STX) will go with its flash storage (Will they ever bring it to the consumer market in a big way? They do have a few products, but their focus seems to be mostly on enterprise.) and if they will manage to match or surpass Western Digital and Toshiba this year in the enterprise HDD capacity war. Currently, the company's Barracuda, IronWolf, and Exos drives top out at 12TB including the second generation Helium-sealed versions.

Also read:

Source: Seagate

Simply NUC Announces Dawson Canyon NUCs Powered By Kaby Lake R

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 12:44 AM |
Tagged: simply nuc, nuc, Dawson Canyon, 8th generation core, Intel, fanless, SFF

Intel partner Simply NUC has announced its new commercial NUC lineup powered by Kaby Lake R vPro processors. The lineup includes the NUC7i7DNKE thin chassis, NUC7i7DNHE with tall chassis and 2.5" drive support, the board-only NUC7i7DNBE, and NUC7i7DNFE which features a fanless design.


The company's new Dawson Canyon NUCs are all based on the same 4" x 4" motherboard platform and the Intel Core i7 8650U vPro processor. Save for the taller model, the small form factor PCs share the same external I/O including four USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI 2.0 (4k@60Hz) video outputs, and an Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet port. Specifically, networking is handled by an Intel i219-LM Ethernet controller and Intel 8265 802.11ac wireless (2x2 at up to 867 Mbps) + Bluetooth 4.2. The wireless module comes pre-installed in all except the board only SKU where it is optional. At a minimum the Simply NUC PCs (except board only) come with a 4GB SODIMM for RAM and a 128GB M.2 SATA solid state drive. Before OS or any other upgrades, the NUC with active cooling chassis systems start at 709.95. Pricing for the board only NUC7i7DNBE and fanless NUC7i7DNFE has not yet been released but I would expect the board only SKU to go for around $550 and the fanless model to come in around $750.

Users can add their own hardware or configure them from Simply NUC with up to 32 GB of RAM, 2TB of NVMe PCI-E storage (for a more than pretty penny!), and an additional 2TB of 2.5" SATA hard drive storage on the NUC7i7DNHE model.

The Core i7 8650U used in these Dawson Canyon NUCs is a quad core Kaby Lake R processor with a 15W TDP that runs at a base clockspeed of 1.9 GHz and can boost to up to 4.2 GHz. It supports Intel's vPro and AMT management technologies, has 8MB of cache, and features Intel UHD Graphics 620 running at up to 1.15 GHz. 

The Dawson Canyon NUCs are available for pre-order now and are expected to ship as soon as March 2018 (though the Simply NUC website lists April 6th at time of publication). I am interested to see the fan-less model, but these machines seem very much targeted at the business and industrial markets rather than home PCs so expect to pay a premium for the small form factor if you are interested in them.

Source: Simply NUC

Western Digital Announces Second Quarter Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2018

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: western digital, quarterly earnings, financial results

Western Digital has reported its quarterly earnings for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2018 (the quarter ending 12/29/2017). The San Jose-based storage company reported revenue of $5.3 billion and an operating income of $955 million. Under GAAP reporting, Wester Digital is reporting a net loss of $823 million (-$2.78/share) which includes $1.6 billion tax charge resulting from Western Digital repatriating foreign assets under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Western Digital SSDs.jpg

Under non-GAAP reporting, Western Digital had operating income of $1.4 billion and net income of $1.2 billion ($3.95/share). The company is reporting 9% revenue growth year over year and 2% growth versus last quarter. Operating income increased 72% versus the same quarter last year and 3% compared to the previous quarter (Q1 FY2018). Using non-GAAP numbers, Wester Digital saw operating income increase 47% and net income increase 78% year-over-year. Versus Q1 FY2018, operating income stayed the same (1.4 billion) and net income increased 9%.

Western Digital announced a 50-cent per share cash dividend on January 16th. Western Digital has a positive outlook for following quarters now that it has resolved negotiations with Toshiba to secure flash production and withdrawn its litigations. The company stated that it is on track to sample MAMR hard drives in the second half of this year and is ramping up production of 96-layer BICS 3D NAND X4 flash later this year. Western Digital's positive numbers are reportedly heavily influenced by its performance in the enterprise market with its large capacity hard drives and the continued growth of its flash product stacks.

Also read:

GooBang drops a Doo on your desk, the ET-8178 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: unfortunate, GooBang, Doo ET-8178 RGB, gaming keyboard, mechanical keyboard, input, outemu

The unfortunately named GooBang Doo ET-8178 RGB is a mechanical keyboard which uses Outemu Blue switches which Kitguru discovered to be very similar in feel to Cherry Blue switches.  It ships without a numpad nor any software, the RGBs are controlled by function keys which allow you to swap between a half dozen modes.  The keyboard itself compares favourably to more familiar brands such as Corsair and Thermaltake but at around ~$50US it is significantly less expensive.  It currently seems to be limited in availability in NA, but worth investigating if you are on the other side of the pond.


"While there is no chance that the name is familiar to you, GooBang does have a number of products listed on Amazon and has been trading for at least a couple of years. The company’s web site itself is tragic, so we had no idea what to expect when offered the ‘Doo’ keyboard."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Kitguru

EA didn't announce a Battlefield game nor speak of post-launch monetisation

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: ea, battlefield, lootboxes, dice

EA mentioned a new Battlefield game in passing, during a presentation in which they described how delaying BioWare's Anthem to early 2019 is not a delay.  To make things even more unclear they replied to a question about lootboxes by describing "a need to tailor monetisation and content additions to each game" and not wanting to "bifurcate the community". That second comment seems to refer to the paid expansion DLC which EA has historically released for Battlefield games and implies we may not see that model used in this mysterious new, totally not announced, game.  Pop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for more prognostication.


"Will it be set in the past, near-past, present, near-future, or future? Battlefield 5? Bad Company 3? Hardline 2? 1944? 2143? Hut hut! It’s all a big mystery for now. Assuming EA follow their traditional Battlefield behaviour, they’ll likely formally announce the game in May or June then release it in mid-to-late October."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Why won't anyone believe there really are subliminal messages corrupting young digital assistants?

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: siri, security, google, Alexa

Some of us are old enough to remember when certain parties were convinced there were subliminal messages in the music which kids listened to which they creatively blamed for a wide variety of behaviour.  This belief turned out to be as ridiculous as it sounds, though that doesn't stop it from recurring every couple of generations.  There is a somewhat similar and very real issue which The Register talks about here; using a deep neural net they were able to modify songs in such a way that digital assistants such as Echo, Siri and others would hear and execute a command while the humans in the room would only hear a slight distortion in the audio.  This particular method is much harder to protect against than the previously discovered vulnerability which was ultrasonic commands which a microphone could pick up but was well beyond the range of human hearing. 

You do need to reverse engineer the audio processing software of the digital assistant before you will be able to craft your hidden commands, however once that is done this is a very effective attack.


"The researchers tested a variety of in-song commands delivered directly to Kaldi as audio recordings, such as: "Okay Google, read mail" and "Echo, open the front door." The success rate of these was 100 per cent."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: The Register

CORSAIR's water resistant K68 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2018 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, corsair K68 RGB, RGB, cherry mx blue, cherry mx red

Hey, Mr. Spillypants, are you going through keyboards like crazy thanks to the variety of liquids you have fed them?  Corsair has a solution with their K68 RGB mechanical keyboard, available with Cherry Red or Blue switches.  It is rated at  IP32 water and dust resistant shielding, which means you won't be able to hurt the keyboard by jabbing it with thick wires and it will not be harmed if water is dripped on it flat or up to a 15° angle. 


The RGBs are controlled by CORSAIR's Utility Engine to allow you to program a variety of lightshows.  The keyboard is reputed to offer 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover and the switches are rated for over 50 million key presses so this board will be with you for a while.  Full PR below.


FREMONT, CA, January 30th, 2018 - CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the release of the new CORSAIR K68 RGB water-resistant mechanical gaming keyboard. Equipped with 100% CHERRY MX RGB keyswitches, every key on the K68 RGB is individually backlit and programmable, giving PC gamers virtually unlimited lighting customization in a vivid array of colors. Every keyswitch is also individually shielded from dust and liquid spills to an IP32 protection rating, defending against accidents so that gameplay never has to stop. Loaded with extras, from a removable wrist-rest to dedicated multi-media keys, and fully programmable with CORSAIR Utility Engine Software, the CORSAIR K68 RGB offers ultra-durable RGB gaming.    

Like all CORSAIR mechanical keyboards, the K68 RGB uses only German-made Cherry MX gold-contact keyswitches for the utmost in reliability and consistency. Each switch is rated to over 50 million key presses, ensuring that the 50 millionth key press feels just as good as the first. Available with Cherry MX RGB Red switches, which provide a smooth, quiet and linear action, the K68 RGB’s keys feel instantly familiar, whether you’re typing or gaming.

With stunning RGB lighting embedded into every keyswitch, it’s easy to light up K68 RGB in almost any way you can imagine, from smoothly shifting colors and transitions to dynamic reactive effects. Choose from dozens of pre-programmed presets, thousands of user-made downloadable profiles, or create a unique custom lightshow, all from with the powerful CORSAIR Utility Engine (CUE) software. CUE also offers complete lighting synchronization between compatible CORSAIR mice, headsets and accessories with a single click, making it easy for gamers to make all their gear match. Every key is also fully programmable in CUE, from simple re-maps to complex multi-function macros, giving gamers the crucial edge when they need it the most.

CORSAIR has long been the industry leader in RGB mechanical keyboards, and K68 RGB adds a new dimension with the addition of IP32 water and dust resistant shielding. Each Cherry MX RGB key is surrounded by a rubberized shield that stops liquids and blocks dust, without blocking the RGB lighting from shining brightly beneath. Late night soda slip or snack spill? No problem.

With an affordable MSRP of $119.99, you’d be forgiven that K68 RGB’s features stop there, but instead it’s fully loaded with all the CORSAIR extras gamers have come to expect. A removable full-length wrist rest provides complete comfort, dedicated volume and multi-media controls made audio adjustments instant and a Windows Key Lock Mode prevents those game-breaking interruptions. K68 RGB is also 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover, ensuring every key press registers faultlessly.

Equipped with the best in CORSAIR lighting, customization and durability, the K68 RGB ensures that whatever happens while you game, you’ll be able to play on.


Source: Corsair

What could possibly go wrong? Microsoft may be looking to buy EA, Valve and PUBG

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2018 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, ea, valve, pubg, rumour, xbox

This one needs more than a few grains of salt but it is possible the Microsoft store might be looking at a significant expansion.  Phil Spencer, once head of XBone and now Executive Vice President of Gaming is taking his role seriously and may be looking to grow Microsoft's presence in gaming.  The company certainly has enough money to purchase all three companies, and in the case of EA they may actually improve the usefulness of Origin.  Valve on the other hand has already mastered the art of online game distribution, unless Microsoft is willing to go with something 'not invented here' that Steam library of yours may be in some peril.  This is pure rumour but that doesn't mean you can't fan the flames at The Inquirer, Polygon or below.


"SOMEONE HAS GIVEN the rumour mill an almighty kick as it's been suggested that Microsoft is considering buying-up game publishing behemoths EA and Steam, along with PUBG Corp."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: The Inquirer

Estranged Demo in HTML5 (Indie Title in Unreal Engine 4)

Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2018 - 08:12 PM |
Tagged: ue4, html5, webassembly, estranged

Compiling from C++ to WebAssembly is a thing now. This allows browsers to circumvent JavaScript (or integrate with it if the developer wants to) for high-performance applications. It also does this with relatively low compile times, especially on browsers like Firefox Nightly.


Proof that it’s running Unreal Engine: A toilet.
Also, the seat works. I tried.

It’s also a supported feature with Unreal Engine 4 as of 4.18.

As such, we’re beginning to see a few games built into the technology. One such demo, Estranged, is about an indie title about a fisherman. The demo currently has the Prelude level and a shooting range. Performance isn’t the best, but it’s interesting to see running in a web browser. It will continue to get better than WebAssembly (and browsers) support multi-threading, too.

Source: Estranged

Fun Little Shader Programming Quiz

Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2018 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: webgl, glsl

People tend to fear shader code for some reason. This is the little script that runs on the GPU once per primitive, vertex, pixel, or some other driving value (audio sample???). These are all run in parallel, with hundreds or thousands of little workers running the same code just with slightly offset data until it’s all done. When put together, it’s quite impressive what can be done.


Enter Fragment Foundry by Hugh Kennedy. The project’s a little over a year old at this point, but it’s a series of quizzes that are done in WebGL. They provide you with sample code and a GLSL shader editor, and you edit the code on the fly. If you get a parsing error, it will flag the line with a red dot. If you come up with the correct answer, often by changing a single line, it will automatically validate your response.

If you have a few moments, it’s a fun group of brain puzzles, and it’s free.

A quick lesson in bad optics from Intel

Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2018 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: Intel, spectre, meltdown

This story has initiated a lot of guesswork and is likely not as bad as it is being made out to be, however it is a great example of how not to react to a major flaw.  Without even delving into the selling of Intel stocks, it is already easy to point out how bad the Spectre and Meltdown flaws have been handled; from the initial Microsoft patches offering possible performance degradation to the Intel microcode patches rebooting machines and the final official recommendation to avoid the patches altogether for now.

As Slashdot linked to today, Intel reached out to their major customers before alerting the general public about the issue.  This is a common practice in the industry, to inform vendors, resellers and manufacturing partners about major changes that they will be required to implement to mitigate a patch.  However in these days of 'cyberwarfare', there is some cause for concern that foreign companies may have communicated this information knowingly or not, to their respective governments.  Intel chose not to inform governments directly about the flaws, something which seems like it really should be done in today's world.  It is unlikely anything horrible has happened on a widespread basis because of this flaw and the playing field is now level again; however this remains a great example of how not to deal with the discovery of a major architectural flaw which continues to cause grave security concerns globally.


"According to The Wall Street Journal, Intel initially told a handful of customers about the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, including Chinese tech companies like Alibaba and Lenovo, before the U.S. government. As a result, the Chinese government could have theoretically exploited the holes to intercept data before patches were available."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Slashdot

Epic Games Handed Out Another $200,000 in Dev Grants

Subject: General Tech | January 28, 2018 - 01:42 AM |
Tagged: epic games, ue4

On January 16th, Epic Games announced handing out a total of $200,000 USD across thirteen recipients. This is a part of their Unreal Dev Grants program, which donates money to people that they think are doing cool things with (or alongside) their engine, no strings attached. It’s a simple bursary to let cool people do cool things in the realm of Unreal Engine.


Of this round of winners, twelve are listed in the blog post: ten are games, one is a feature film, and one is a game development tool. I don’t know what the thirteenth is, unless they’re counting one of the entries as two for some reason.

I will not be covering the games in this post – feel free to check the blog.

This leaves me with two: and Allahyar and The Legend of Markhr.

The latter is a feature-length film that is rendered in Unreal Engine. It is from 3rd World Studios in Pakistan, and it has a bit of a Pixar-esque art style. Epic Games has in their EULA that capturing linear video from Unreal Engine 4 does not require a royalty, because the software is not being distributed, just the imagery produced by it is, which makes UE4 an interesting choice for video production. It is fast and high-quality, although it adds an extra stage in the content pipeline… but it’s a stage that you’re used to if you do UE4 work. Honestly, I’ve been considering UE4 as a render system for the animations I’ve done earlier, but I settled on Blender Cycles just because I had too many other things to worry about. I did know that the Paragon trailer was done in-engine, though. Maybe in the future.


As for, it is a tool that allows users to copy and paste blueprint networks into a web-based flow chart editor. Users can then add comments and share the logic with others. As far as I can tell, you cannot directly manipulate the blueprints in the editor, and they have not said that this feature is in development – but I’d be surprised if they haven’t at least thought of it.

Check out all the entries on the Unreal Engine blog.

Source: Epic Games

Epic Games Shutting Down Paragon with Refunds

Subject: General Tech | January 27, 2018 - 11:20 PM |
Tagged: epic games, paragon

Paragon was a MOBA, based on Unreal Engine 4, that played in a third-person action style. Typically, these sorts of games are played top-down, which is probably due to the genre’s most popular, early entries being mods of Blizzard games (WarCraft III and StarCraft). While applying the formula to a different player controller is not unheard of, such as the first-person Minecraft mod that we mentioned back in 2012, Epic Games decided to try their hand at it, too.

Unfortunately, it’s being shut down. The servers are going offline on April 26th.

IIRC -- Epic Games said that this cinematic was made with LOD0 assets.
Sure, the game didn’t look as good as a directed cinematic, but the assets were in-game assets.

That said, you won’t be out anything. If you made any purchase in Paragon, on any platform, Epic Games will provide a full refund. On the one hand, it’s sad to see that the game was a total loss for a good company, apart from the engine research it drove.

On the other hand, it’s good to see that Epic isn’t forcing their fans to carry this burden.

Source: Epic Games

The sound of the Phontum Cougar

Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2018 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: audio, Cougar, phontum, gaming headset

Cougar have come up with a brand new word to go with their new headset, unless they are referring to a certain old geographical location in Thailand.  At ~$50 it does not represent a major investment even with its 53mm drivers and the two pairs of earcups included in the box.  Neoseeker found the microphone to be decent enough for conversational usage and were thoroughly happy with sound reproduction when listening to music or gaming.  If you are in the market for a headset but can't justify spending $100 or more, this is worth a look.


"The Cougar Phontum gaming headset incorporates a 53mm driver to provide more audio output across multiple situations than the standard 50mm driver. Next, Cougar utilizes a dual-chamber design to achieve a profound distinction between bass, midrange and treble frequencies. Finally we have a graphene diaphragm to reduce distortion due with their lighter and stiffer construction – making for faster response with less unwanted flex of the cone."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: Neoseeker

Intel will be melting down the spectre of insecurity later this year

Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2018 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: Intel, spectre, meltdown, rumour

Brian Krzanich, still the lead at Intel, announced that new Intel chips will arrive in 2018 which are immune to Spectre and Meltdown.  This is interesting in several ways, and may offer the first really compelling reason to upgrade an Intel system in quite some time.  It is unlikely this new processor will be Cannon Lake as it has been taped out for long enough there are accusations that Intel is purposely holding it back.  It could indicate that Ice Lake will arrive earlier than expected, both to resolve their architectutal flaws and as a counter to AMD's Ryzen and ThreadRipper or possibly only refer to a certain family of mobile or server chips.  It is also unknown what effect the changes will have on the performance of these chips.  The Inquirer would like to know ... about a few things, in fact.


"INTEL CEO Brian Krzanich, he of the conveniently well-timed stock sale, has told investors that the company will launch chips immune to the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities later this year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #484 - New Samsung SSDs, Spectre and Meltdown updates, and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2018 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: spectre, Samsung, podcast, plex, meltdown, Intel, inspiron 13, dell, amd, 860 pro, 860 evo

PC Perspective Podcast #484 - 01/25/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including new SSDs from Samsung, updates on Spectre and Meltdown, and building the ultimate Plex server, 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: - Share with your friends!

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

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison

Program length: 1:28:56

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:41:30 Thanks to Casper for supporting our channel. Save $50 on select mattresses at code: pcper
  3. News items of interest:
  4. 1:14:10 Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan:
  5. Closing/outro

The Quirks of quantum computation

Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2018 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: quantum computing, Q Experience, IBM, quirk

Quantum computing is up there with deep learning, adaptive AI and other over-hyped terms as having been so heavily marketed that they have lost much of their meaning.  Hack a Day  observed enough of this to want to enact a chance by detailing what a quantum computer is as well as how to program a simulated one.  The first misunderstanding they clear up is what computing actually means in this case; it more closely resembles an old analogue style computer which is purpose built to provide a the result to a specific question.  They also explain how the answers provided are probabilistic and not the preferred 100% certainty which the movies imply is always necessary.  Read on for more general details as well as a close look at a web application which allows you to build simulated quantum computers.


"So before we get to the real quantum hardware, I am going to show you a simulator written by [Craig Gidney]. He wrote it and promptly got a job with Google, who took over the project. Sort of. Even if you don’t like working in a browser, [Craig’s] simulator is easy enough, you don’t need an account, and a bookmark will save your work."

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Source: Hack a Day