Shopping for a GTX 1060? Hold up a moment will you?

Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2018 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1060, gddr5x

Traditionally it is AMD that releases the silent ones, but today it is apparent that NVIDIA took a page from their playbook after The Inquirer spotted a report that they had released a new version of the GTX 1060.  This being 2018, nothing is simple and you will have difficulty spotting the cards which use GDDR5X.  There are now four versions of this card, a 3GB and a 6GB with the previous 8Gbps spec, a new 6GB model with slightly improved GDDR5 that can hit 9Gbps and finally a 6GB chip with GDDR5X which has yet to have frequency or bandwidth specifications published. 

This will make looking for a GPU in the $250-$300 range more interesting that it should be, especially with the eventual arrival of the RTX 2060.

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"With no official reveal, Nvidia's product page for the GTX 1060 - a rather capable graphics card that can run games full-whack at 1080p and 60 frames per second or push the higher 1440p resolution with a few tweaks - notes the GPU now sports nippier video memory."

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Source: The Inquirer

Even Intel has the occasional Monday

Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2018 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: Intel, micron, imft, 3D XPoint

Micron is planning on buying Intel out of the Intel Micron Flash Technologies group the two companies created back in 2006, along with the three fabs which come with it, for about $1.5 billion.  The writing has been on the wall for a while; to put it nicely, Optane has not sold well.  This also affected Micron's bottom line as they didn't have customers for their own 3D XPoint flash and so by taking over the entire venture they could repurpose the fabs.  According to The Register Micron has not completely given up on the technology and you should see new products launching towards the end of the year. 

Then there are the 10nm rumours, of course.

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"Micron's acquisition of IM Flash demonstrates our strong belief that 3D XPoint technology and other emerging memories will provide a unique differentiator for the company and be an essential solution for new data-hungry applications."

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Source: The Inquirer

Watch Ken and Allyn (eventually) build the Geeek A50 ITX chassis

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2018 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: sffpc, SFF, itx, i7-8086k, geeek, b350-i, a50

Apropos of nothing, we decided to turn the studio cameras on this Friday morning and livestream our assembly of the Geeek A50 Mini ITX chassis for an upcoming review.

Join us as we build, and rebuild the chassis from in all of it's aluminum extrusion and acrylic panel glory while answering questions from the chat room along the way. Just try not to be too frustrated when we obviously are messing it all up.

Source: Geeek

Is your surfing experience Baroque lately? Try out Vivaldi 2.0

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2018 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: web browser, vivaldi, vivaldi 2.0

Vivaldi has been around since 2015, but many have never heard of the alternative web browser.  The browser is built on Chromium 69 but the interface offers far more than others; stacked tabs, dual tab view, control suggestions and even enough keyboard control you don't need to use a mouse.  It is also able to synchronize your bookmarks, preferences,  history and even passwords across systems, though as Ars Technica warns, you should ensure you have created a Vivaldi password so that they can encrypt all of that data.

Intrigued?  Check out the details here.

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"Roughly a year and a half later, Vivaldi has recently hit the 2.0 milestone. You can download the latest version from the Vivaldi site or install it through the app store or package manager of your OS. And at first blush, perhaps the most shocking thing about this release is that it's merely 2.0."

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Source: Ars Technica

Get RGB blinkenlichten on that mousepad! Schnell Cooler Master, schnell!

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2018 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, MP860, RGB, mousepad, blinkenlichten, input

Cooler Master have added RGBs to their new MP860 mouse mat, along with the Portal app to control them.  No longer are you forced to shamefully mouse on a boring old pad, for life without breathing, marquee or random blinking lights is no way for a mouse or gamer to live!  For the boring people who actually want to know how this pad is designed, it measures 36.3x26cm (14x10.3") and has both an aluminium and cloth side you can flip between based on your mood. 

The Tech Report will be more than happy to show it off to you here.

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"Cooler Master's MP860 mouse pad jazzes things up with two separate mousing surfaces and a ring of RGB LED zones around its perimeter. We see whether this RGB LED mousing sandwich enhances the gaming experience."

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Samsung has scratched the 7nm itch

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2018 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, 7nm

A few short years ago 7nm was a holy grail, something to be sought for but unlikely to be successful.  The richest knight in the kingdom is still seeking their goal, while the squires have already got one.  AMD is doing well with their process but it is Sir Samsung whom has met with the most success.  Their trusty EUV proved up to the task and they are no longer seeking a 7nm process and have moved onto sharing the benefits of their quest with the world.  The new chips will be Low Power Plus, and find their way into smartphones, and cell providers, IoT devices and many other applications in the small endian market.  The Inquirer posted a look at how they got there, as well as some definitions if this is all Gallic to you. 

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"Normally argon fluoride immersion tech is used for chip lithography. But Samsung is touting the advantages of EUV in cutting down the number of masks needed to allow for the stencilling of transistors on silicon in a certain pattern, and thus cuts down on the time and costs of producing chips."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #518 - Join us this week for discussion on the NVIDIA RTX 2070, ARM Neoverse, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2018 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: rtx 2070 black edition, rtx 2070 armor, RTX 2070, podcast, nvidia, Neoverse, msi, evga, arm

PC Perspective Podcast #518 - 10/18/18

Join us this week for discussion on the NVIDIA RTX 2070, ARM Neoverse, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Ken Addison, Jim Tanous

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 59:46

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 0:51:10 Allyn: Flashlights. Have them.
    2. 0:52:45 Ken: Cheap VESA Arm
  4. Closing/outro

A new player arrives to sow Discord in the game streaming market

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2018 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: gaming, game streaming. discord nitro, discord

Discord, the popular online communications software have finally moved their game shopping and streaming service into beta.   For a $10/month fee you gain access to quite a few games, ranging from the absurd, through old classics to relatively new releases.  If there is a game you are looking for not covered under the subscription fee you may be able to find it for sale in their online store.  If you are interested you can check it out for a month, or subscribe for a whole year to save a bit of cash.  Cheers to [H]ard|OCP for spotting that this morning.

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"Discord Nitro now includes a growing library of critically acclaimed games that we think you and your friends should play. Subscribing to Nitro now costs $9.99 a month. As of today, there's over 60 curated games for you to download and play at a total value of over $1000."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Do Not Track is no more effective than placebo

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: do not track, placebo, fooled you, security

To the cynics among us it will come as no surprise that the Do Not Track option on your browser does almost nothing to protect your privacy.  The option was conceived as an additional string sent out with your metadata, DNT:1, which the website you connected to would receive and honour.  That, of course, is the rub.  You have to trust sites which depend, at least in part, on advertising revenue to refrain from targeting you with advertisements.  This does not happen apart for a very few exceptions which has led Mozilla to consider incorporating stronger protections in their browser. 

Follow the links from Slashdot to learn more.

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"According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a quarter of American adults use "Do Not Track" to protect their privacy. (Our own stats at Gizmodo Media Group show that 9% of visitors have it turned on.) We've got bad news for those millions of privacy-minded people, though: "Do Not Track" is like spray-on sunscreen, a product that makes you feel safe while doing little to actually protect you. "

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Source: Slashdot

ARM Unveils "Neoverse" Infrastructure

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2018 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: UMC, TSMC, Samsung, Neoverse, cosmos, cortex, arm, Ares, A76, 7nm, 7+nm, 5nm

This morning ARM is announcing their new design and technology push called "ARM Neoverse". Neoverse is aimed at providing scalable solutions utilizing ARM technology from the edge to the core datacenter. ARM obviously is well known for the end user solutions that we see in phones, tablets, and now laptops. What most do not realize is that ARM has a significant reach in much of the infrastructure that powers the entire user experience. ARM currently holds around a 30% marketshare for powering high end routers and switches used at the enterprise level. The type of equipment we are talking about here are not the home routers or generic switches, but rather the heavy lifting units that literally power the internet after the requests get out of users houses or from their mobile devices.
 
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The Neoverse roadmap consists of four platforms stretching from now til 2021. Each platform is expected to receive around a 30% increase in overall performance due to a combination of architectural changes as well as process technology improvements. The current architecture is codenamed "Cosmos" and it is based on current 16nm parts. This is followed by the "Ares" platform which will utilize the latest Cortex A76 designs and 7nm process. In 2020 this will transition to the "Zeus" platform which will leverage the latest improvements in 7nm+ process technologies. Finally they expect to release the "Poseidon" platform in 2021 which will be based on a cutting edge 5nm process.
 
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ARM has been slowly building up their technology base through the past several decades to include more and more functionality and features across their entire portfolio. Of great interest is how seriously ARM considers security. The latest designs include some of the most robust security measures integrated on chips. From TrustZone to CryptoIsland, ARM has a very well thought out and implemented security suite that is absolutely necessary for the next generation of connected devices. This again extends from handheld devices to the depths of the data center. We are surrounded by stories of compromised devices and software, so having the extensive security measures designed from the ground up available to partners helps to cement ARM's place in trusted computing.
 
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The amount of IP available to partners is impressive. ARM not only offers the core technologies of CPUs and GPUs, but also the latest machine learning units and encryption accelerators. The fabric that holds it all together is also flexible and scalable from mobile solutions to 100G+ ethernet. This also includes memory controllers that can scale up to 8 units delivering TBs/sec of bandwidth.
 
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It really is impressive to see how far ARM has come in the past decade since the launch of the first iPhone. What was once considered a small, but still important CPU design firm is now the power behind billions of shipping products that power the mobile experience and beyond. ARM has taken the momentum from its first big successes and is now a major force for change that stretches far beyond those initial mobile and low power products. The Neoverse only adds to this. ARM has already found success in powering much of the infrastructure of our modern day networks, but this is looking to take things to another level. Partners will have access to cutting edge IP and solutions to quickly bring specialized and high performing products to market in very short periods of time.
 
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Going forward we will start hearing more about these Neoverse implementations starting with current Cosmos products and spreading quickly throughout the next year with Ares. ARM has so far continued to execute on their roadmaps and provide new and compelling products to their partners on a yearly basis. This does not look to change anytime soon.
Source: ARM

but ... it's only illegal for the other printer companies to disable ink cartridges!

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2018 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: dirty pool, ink, epson

Unsatisfied with charging more for ink by weight than a variety of rare metals, once again a printer maker is disabling your ability to use third party ink cartridges.  The most recent attempt at this was by Lexmark, who blocked the use of refilled cartridges until the US Supreme Court ruled this to be illegal and forced them to stop.  Before them it was HP who attempted this, though at least they backed off before a court case was filed; not that they don't attempt to do it again occasionally.

Today it is Epson attempting these shenanigans, after sneaking in a way to block the use of third party cartridges in an update they claimed was actually to improve the security of their printers.  Apparently they are hoping that this time they will succeed in monopolizing their ink, even with the previous failures mentioned.  The EFF have already sent a letter to the Texas Attorney General and are looking for customers in other locations to lodge complaints so they can file in other districts.

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"Printer maker Epson is under fire this month from activist groups after a software update prevented customers from using cheaper, third party ink cartridges. It's just the latest salvo in a decades-long effort by printer manufacturers to block consumer choice, often by disguising printer downgrades as essential product improvements."

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Source: Slashdot

Meet TCL's Palm Palm, a kitten like phone

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2018 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: palm, tcl, mobile phone

As strange as it seems, TCL is launching a new Palm product which is thankfully not running a new version of WebOS but instead has gone with Android 8.1.  The phone is very cute, with a tiny 3.3" display, and a body of 96.6x50.6mm (3.8x2") in total.  Inside you will find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, 3GB of RAM, and an 800mAh battery, for connectivity USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE.  This Palm will fit in your hand and you won't get a lot of things done with the minimalist hardware, providing the similarity to a kitten, including the powerful attraction some will feel towards it.

Ars Technica has the rest of what is known about the Palm Palm here, including what TCL imagines you will use it for.

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"If you recall, Palm, creator of the Palm Pilot and WebOS, bombed out of the smartphone market and was purchased by HP. Palm died at HP after a short run of tablets and smartphones, and eventually Chinese smartphone company TCL snatched up the rights to the Palm brand in 2014, and things have been quiet since then."

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Source: Ars Technica

Up is down in the PC market

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2018 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: desktop market share, gartner, IDC

Gartner and IDC have released their quarterly look at the PC market and they do not agree on whether sales gew or shrunk.  One thing they do agree on is that the market did not change all that much.  Gartner's 0.1% growth and IDC's 0.9% shinkage represent a few thousand machines at most, so saying the market is relatively unchanged seems fair.  Lenovo continues to hold the lead, though HP is close on their heels with Dell lagging behind.  You can see the individual numbers over at The Register.

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"Gartner reports global PC sales of 67.2 million units for Q3 2018 showed a slim growth of 0.1 per cent over the same period in 2017. Meanwhile IDC said volumes of 67.4 million units is down 0.9 per cent year-on-year."

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Source: The Register

It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if 50% of a battery works out for them

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2018 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Surface Pro, battery

Microsoft have added an interesting feature to their new Surface Pro, the ability to limit the battery charge to a maximum of 50%.  Now, before you start tossing things, this is specifically for scenarios where the Surface Pro will be plugged into mains power all day long.  Limiting the charge should increase the lifespan of the battery, though woe to the user that forgets to change that setting in the UEFI it before heading out on the road.  As The Register points out, Microsoft have had a spotty past with batteries; hopefully they've learned from their mistakes.

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"The setting is only recommended for scenarios where a Surface Pro is constantly connected to a power supply – "all day long" as Microsoft put it, such as in a kiosk situation or perhaps permanently wedged in a desktop dock."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #517 - 9th Generation Intel processors, Threadripper Dynamic Local Mode, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2018 - 11:05 AM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, 9th generation, Threadripper, dynamic local mode, razer, huntsman, gigabyte, Z390

PC Perspective Podcast #517 - 10/11/18

Join us this week for discussion on 9th Generation Intel processors, Threadripper Dynamic Local Mode, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:24:03

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:18:38 Cat, interrupted
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:00:30 Allyn: Check out Sears closeout sales (before they are gone)
    2. 1:07:25  Jeremy: Commie64?
    3. 1:16:25 Alex: Noctua NH-D15S
  4. Closing/outro
 

Time for some fun! Fragging Frog's 17th VLAN is this Saturday!

Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2018 - 09:44 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, kick ass, gaming, fragging frogs

It's time once again to strap on your rocket launchers and get ready for a full day of gaming with the amazing Fragging Frogs!  Starting at 10AM ET on Oct. 13th the servers will be live, TeamSpeak will be abuzz with chatter and, well we will be shooting each other with a variety of weapons across a plethora of different games!

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Head over to the Gaming Forum to let Lenny and the gang know you will be attending and to make sure your favourite games are on the list of activities.  If you have never joined us, or lost your saved logins since the last VLAN, check out this thread on how to connect to the TeamSpeak server so you can truly get in on the fun.

You should also take a quick peek at this thread to make sure all your patches and mods are up to snuff ... it can take a while to restore UT2K4 to working order and you don't want to waste precious gaming time on the day!  The thread also contains links to previous VLANs so you can see some of the past highlights of this Froggy tradition. 

We hope to see you there for a fun day of gaming, it won't stop until the last connection stops and some of our members are from across the pond so expect fun until very late ... early depending on how you look at it!

 

Source: PCPer Forums

I want to put on my my my my my cyber-shoes

Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2018 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: gaming, VR, cybershoes, Kickstarter

There is a very successful Kickstarter project by Cybershoes which are offering the first pair of ... well, cybershoes for walking around in VR games.  The shoes strap over any normal pair of shoes and have a roller on the bottom which allows you to mimic walking while seated and provides accurate movement input to the game you are playing.  The idea seems interesting although the videos on Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and the campaign page are pure gold to watch as it takes the absurdity of watching someone playing in VR to a whole new level.  Considering the limited application of the common 'point and teleport' solution in games like Skyrim this could make VR more intriguing for enthusiasts. 

At $188 for the shoes they are not the least expensive peripheral you can grab but they are certainly unique.  They also offer suggestions on rugs and seats which will work best in conjunction with the shoes if your interest is piqued. 

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"Imagine stepping into cyberspace in meatshoes. The horror. All the cybermen will point at those useless nonvirtual feet flapping all jigglephysicsed at the end of your legs and laugh. The cyberbouncer won’t even let you jack in: no shirt, no cybershoes; no net service."

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The Commies are coming back! For free, on the Internet Archive

Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2018 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: Internet Archive, commodore 64

Perhaps you fondly remember the days when 64 meant 64 kilobytes, not 64-bit and you had an opinion about whether the Trash80 or Commie64 was the better machine?  Well, for better or worse you can revist those days thanks to the Internet Archive.  The upload of over 15,000 peices of software and an emulator include not just classic games but the old zines and various bits of software that were created by that generation.  Some memories will be wonderful, some may be best left unexplored.  Thanks to The Inquirer for pointing it out.

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"The Commodore 64 becomes the third in-browser collection after the Commodore Amiga and a range of arcade games from LCD pocket to full cabinet were released over the last few years."

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Source: The Inquirer

G.Skill Reveals Trident Z RGB DC Double Capacity UDIMMs for ASUS Z390 Motherboards

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2018 - 09:46 PM |
Tagged: Trident Z RGB, samsung b-die, G.Skill, double capacity DIMM, ddr4, DC DIMM, 64GB

G.Skill has joined forces with ASUS to release a new series of Trident Z RGB DC DDR4 memory modules aimed at ASUS’ Z390 motherboards and take advantage of “double capacity DIMM” technology that  uses taller form factors to allow twice the memory ICs per stick.

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The new Trident Z RGB DC memory modules feature 16 Samsung B-die memory ICs for a total capacity of 32 GB when using 8Gb chips. Initially, G.Skill will offer the new double capacity modules in 64GB kits (32GB x 2) clocked at 3000 MHz and 3200 MHz. As part of the company’s Trident Z RGB family, the new DC series continue to support RGB LEDs which can be customized by software including Asus Aura Sync. The 3000 MHz kit comes with 14-14-14-34 timings. There are two 3200 MHz kits (both 64 GB) that come either with 14-14-14-34 or 14-15-15-35 timings. All three kits operate at 1.35V out of the box.

The double capacity DIMMs will work with select ASUS motherboard based around the Intel Z390 chipset including the ROG Z390 Maximus XI APEX, ROG Maximus XI Gene, and ROG STRIX Z390-I Gaming.

The Mini ITX Strix Z390-I Gaming board would benefit the most from the double capacity DIMMs at they will allow enthusiasts to pack more than the 32 GB limit of today’s JEDEC standard UDIMMs into the only two memory slots on the board. Meanwhile, the larger Z390 boards will be able to host even more memory enabling workstation workloads to be run (or a big ass home virtual lab environment heh).

G.Skill has not yet released pricing or availability information for these new memory kits. I am curious whether the double capacity DIMM standard will catch on and if it will be adopted by other motherboard manufacturers or if it will stay an ASUS exclusive feature. At least on paper, it appears the only tradeoff is having to accommodate taller modules when considering which CPU cooler to purchase.

Source: G.Skill

You shall not patch! Microsoft has blocked the new Windows 10 update.

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2018 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, oops

It's hard to find users who upgraded to the new Win10 update that enjoyed the experience; so much so that Microsoft has actually pulled it and it is no longer available to install automatically or manually.  They also warn anyone who downloaded it to hold off on installing the update for now.  If you have upgraded and are missing files, stop using the machine and give Microsoft support a ring as they should be able to recover your files; something much harder to do if you have been writing new data to the drive.  If you have a Microsoft store in your neighbourhood you can visit it for a fix as well; perhaps you will be their first actual customer! 

You can see a glorious tweet and more info over at The Inquirer.

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"Microsoft has taken the unprecedented step of pulling a Windows 10 release a mere four days after its arrival amid a clamour of users complaining about files not being where they had left them."

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Source: The Register