Deal for May 6th - HP ENVY 14t-3200 Spectre 14" Core i5 Ultrabook w/ 128GB SSD @ $1100

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2013 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: deals

If you are a fan of lightweight notebooks the 3.8" HP ENVY 14t-3200 Spectre is a good choice as not only is it lightweight it also sports a 1600 x 900 Radiance display that provides a much larger colour gamut than your average mobile screen.  The base model features a Core i5-3317U with HD 4000 graphics but you can upgrade to an i7-3667U for an extra $325 if you need the processing power.  Both models come with a 128GB SSD of indeterminate origin.

spectre.jpg

 

To get the base HP ENVY 14t-3200 Spectre deal, follow these steps:

  1. Start here at HP Home direct store
  2. Click Customize button
  3. Click View Summary button at the top, Add to cart
  4. Proceed to final checkout/payment

To get the Core i7 HP ENVY 14 Spectre deal, follow these steps:

  1. Start here at HP Home direct store
  2. Click Customize button
  3. Upgrade to 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3667U Processor + Intel HD Graphics 4000 +$100
  4. Click View Summary button at the top, Add to cart
  5. Apply coupon code: NB84633 in shopping cart and proceed to final checkout/payment This Core i7 ENVY 14 Spectre deal: $1,499.99 - $75 coupon code = $1,424.99 with $9.99 shipping.

Source: LogicBUY

Cloth simulations in Javascript, optimized for asm.js

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 4, 2013 - 06:47 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, javascript, firefox, asm.js

Web browsers are getting really good at being general-purpose application platforms.

You can write most applications in web standards if you are willing to give up some level of performance for the gained ubiquity. HTML5, Javascript, and CSS are very full featured; WebGL and WebCL extend functionality by backing apps with surprising GPU horsepower; WebAPIs such as gamepad, telephony, and accelerometer support also keep advanced hardware-specific features open to web developers.

asmjsdrool.png

I can see the web developers drooling already.

But even though performance lags behind reasonable native environments, the divide is rapidly shrinking. Many applications have reached or exceeded the saturation of useful performance at the same time as browser developers narrow the gap between native performance and themselves.

Javascript is often, simply, good enough.

Mozilla has recently added support for the draft asm.js in their Aurora prerelease channel for Firefox. The specification is designed to permit a subset of Javascript to be flagged for optimization in compatible browsers but otherwise execute as normal everywhere else. It is also possible to compile more native code into Javascript if you can afford the ever-decreasing performance hit. Early implementations of asm.js execute code compiled from C within half of native performance.

asmjs.png

Because... pants.

According to David Herman of Mozilla, one of the lead authors of the ASM.js draft, the specification also allows for multithreading through web workers. Applications can take advantage of multiple hardware threads in this way, and potentially other methods as they continue development. I would expect this is especially relevant for mobile devices which tend to have relatively many cores considering their single threaded performance.

James Long of Mozilla compiled a cloth simulation into this Javascript subset. It will run in multiple browsers but will perform better in Aurora both in cloth precision and, as I have found, responsivity.

Check it out, imagine what you could be doing in your web browser in the near future.

Source: James Long

RIP Hotmail, Long Live Outlook.com

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2013 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: webmail, outlook, microsoft, hotmail, email

Microsoft has completed the transition to its new Outlook.com email service. The successor (and replacement) to Hotmail, Outlook.com now has more than 400 million active subscribers. Microsoft opened the Outlook.com service in beta form last year, and finally took it out of preview mode in February. Since then, the company has been moving everyone’s accounts over to the new service. In all, the company moved more than 300 million accounts from the old Hotmail databases to the new Outlook service. Over a six week period, Microsoft moved more than 150 Petabytes of user data to the new service!

From now on, users will now log in to Outlook.com and interact with the new Modern UI-esque user interface. Users that were part of the company’s Hotmail service will get to keep their existing @hotmail.com accounts and no configuration setting changes will be necessary. New users will only get @outlook.com addresses, however. Any Hotmail Plus users will get to keep their paid status and enjoy a version of Outlook.com without any sidebar ads.

Microsoft Outlook Webmail.jpg

Now that the transition is complete, Microsoft is working on adding new features to Outlook.com. Right now, the company is working on introducing deeper integration with SkyDrive as well as tweaking the sending of email from alternate accounts. Both new features will be gradually rolled out to users over the next few weeks.

The SkyDrive integration will be bolstered by adding a new attachment option when sending an email that will allow users to attach files stored on SkyDrive. Outlook will then add a link to the email and automatically assign the correct permissions to allow the email recipient to download the file. If you attach a photo from SkyDrive, it will automatically create a thumbnail or gallery of photos within the email body.

The new SMTP send feature tweaks the way Outlook sends mail via an alternative email account (for example, if you added an old Gmail or Yahoo mail account to your Hotmail or Outlook.com email account) such that it no longer shows your Hotmail address “on behalf of” your alternative email. Once the new features is rolled out, email recipients will only see your alternative email address and your Hotmail/Outlook email will not be revealed.

If you are curious about the new Outlook.com interface, check out my Outlook.com preview article.

Source: Microsoft

Deal for May 3rd - Dell UltraSharp U2413 1920 x 1200 24" IPS @ $450

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2013 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: deals

Dell's UltraSharp U2413 1920 x 1200 24" IPS claims a 6ms response time which makes it suitable for gaming, as well as offering superior colour support.  As it is a new model it supports HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, DVI-D and mini DisplayPort inputs as well as acting as a 4-port USB 3.0 hub. 

dellus.jpg

Dell UltraSharp U2413 1920 x 1200 24" IPS Monitor (2013 model)
Dell Works is offering newest 24-inch UltraSharp U2413 Monitor (2013 model) for $449.99 with FREE shipping. Use $100 instant savings and extra 10% coupon code: 0Q0C74SWNZC42$ to get final price. Backed by 3-Year Advanced Exchange Service and Premium Panel Guarantee.

Source: LogicBUY

Micron puts a suit and tie on its newest PCIe SSD

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2013 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: micron, PCIe SSD, P420m, 25nm, mlc

Soon to be available in 350GB, 700GB and 1.4TB capacities, the Micron P420m PCIe SSD will be in a half-height and half-length form factor perfect for use in racks.  DigiTimes mentions it will use a custom ASIC controller from Micron but does not specify the model.  As will it will use 25nm MLC flash and XPERT, which is Micron's eXtended Performance and Enhanced Reliability Technology which should guarantee a decent lifespan for your storage.  Production will not start until June so it will be a while before we finally see performance results.

micron-p420.jpg

"The new Micron P420m combines consistent performance with the inherent power efficiency of an all-flash system to deliver improved economics for enterprise data centers. The drive accelerates performance of today's demanding data center applications, including online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing and virtualization, Micron said."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

LG Launches Optimus F5 Android Smartphone

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2013 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: smartphone, optimus f5, LG, jelly bean, Android

LG has launched a new Android smartphone with 4G LTE connectivity. The new LG Optimus F5 is available in France now, and will be rolled out worldwide later this month. It measures 126 x 64.5 x 93mm and comes in either glossy white or piano black. Its specifications are not anything surprising, but this is not a new flagship smartphone. Rather, LG is positioning the mobile device as an affordable LTE smartphone.

On the outside, the LG Optimus F5 features a 4.3” IPS qHD display with a resolution of 960x540 (256 PPI). Above the display is a 1.3MP webcam while the rear of the smartphone hosts a 5MP camera with autofocus.

LG Optimus F5.jpg

Internally, the LG Optimus F5 is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. LG is using a beefy 2,150 mAh battery which should give it decent battery life even when connected to 4G LTE networks. The phone also supports microSD cards for expandable storage up to 32GB. The Optimus F5 is running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.

The new Optimus F5 smartphone will be available soon in France and worldwide towards the end of May. LG has not yet released specific pricing information, however.

Enermax Power Supplies Are Ready For New Haswell CPU Sleep States

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2013 - 08:59 AM |
Tagged: zero load, PSU, Intel, haswell, enermax, cpu, c6, c5

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Intel’s upcoming Haswell processors would feature new C6 and C7 sleep states that draw as little as 0.05A on the 12V rail. Such low power draw on the 12V rail may cause problems for existing power supplies, which are not accustomed to facilitating such low power draw (especially on the 12V line). In an attempt to clear up a bit of the confusion for its customers, Enermax has put together a list of its mid-range and high-end power supplies that meet the standards required to support the new low-power processor states.

Enermax Platimax 1000W PSU.jpg

According to the press release (seen below), the Enermax power supplies use so-called Zero Load technology that uses a DC to DC converter to support low wattage power draw. This technology has been in Enermax power supplies since the Revolution85+ series which was launched in 2008. The company claims that the power supplies deliver “rock solid voltages” down to 0W load, which is within the Intel specification of 0.05A for the CPU alone.

The list of compatible Enermax power supplies is as follows:

  • Enermax Platimax Series
    • Platimax 500W (EPM500AWT)
    • Platimax 600W (EPM600AWT)
    • Platimax 750W (EPM750AWT)
    • Platimax 850W (EPM850EWT)
    • Platimax 1000W (EPM1000EWT)
    • Platimax 1200W (EPM1200EWT)
    • Platimax 1500W (EPM1500EGT)
  • Enermax Revolution87+ Series
    • Revolution87+ 550W (ERV550AWT-G)
    • Revolution87+ 650W (ERV650AWT-G)
    • Revolution87+ 750W (ERV750AWT-G)
    • Revolution87+ 850W (ERV850EWT-G)
    • Revolution87+ 1000W (ERV1000EWT-G)
  • Enermax MaxRevo Series
    • MaxRevo 1200W (EMR1200EWT)
    • MaxRevo 1350W (EMR1350EWT)
    • MaxRevo 1500W (EMR1500EGT)
  • Enermax Triathlor Series
    • Triathlor 385W (ETA385AWT)
    • Triathlor 450W (ETA450AWT)
    • Triathlor 550W (ETA550AWT)
  • Enermax Revolution85+ Series
    • Revolution85+ 850W (ERV850EWT)
    • Revolution85+ 920W (ERV920EWT)
    • Revolution85+ 950W (ERV950EWT)
    • Revolution85+ 1020W (ERV1020EWT)
    • Revolution85+ 1050W (ERV1050EWT)
    • Revolution85+ 1250W (ERV1250EGT)
  • Enermax Modu87+ Series
    • Modu87+ 500W (EMG500AWT)
    • Modu87+ 600W (EMG600AWT)
    • Modu87+ 700W (EMG700AWT)
    • Modu87+ 800W (EMG800EWT)
    • Modu87+ 900W (EMG900EWT)
  • Enermax Pro87+ Series
    • Pro87+ 500W (EPG500AWT)
    • Pro87+ 600W (EPG600AWT)

The list includes power supplies from a number of series over the past few years that range from 500W to 1250W. I'm sure between now and the launch of Haswell in the first week of June that other PSU manufacturers will be announcing which models are compatible and which are not. Stay tuned to PC Perspective as more information becomes available!

Source: Enermax

Podcast #249 - Corsair 350D, Frame Rating in 4K, the Oculus Rift and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, Indiegogo, corair, obsidian, 350d, mATX, frame rating, 4k, titan, 7990, 690, Oculus, rift, VR, 3d, amd, amd fx, vishera, hUMA, hsa

PC Perspective Podcast #249 - 05/02/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair 350D, Frame Rating in 4K, the Oculus Rift 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!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, Scott Michaud and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:04:02

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. Ryan: Windows Movie Maker lets you record webcam videos!
    2. Jeremy: anti-pick - hotels that don't offer a RJ45 jack in the rooms!
    3. Allyn: Ventev USB charging stuff (home / auto)
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. Closing/outro

 

Deal for May 2nd - Samsung Galaxy S4 [AT&T] @ $168

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: deals

Are you in the same boat as Howard Hughes and can't stand the thought of touching anything?  Samsung's new Galaxy S4 is right up your alley then, as you don't even have to touch the screen to use the phone, simply gesturing near the screen works just as well as touching it.  Not only that but you can benefit from the long list of new features integrated with the new Galaxy, for less than you would otherwise pay.

samsungs4.jpg

Samsung Galaxy S4 [AT&T]
Amazon now offers for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone for AT&T starting at just $168 with free shipping (2-4 weeks).  Requires new or upgrading two year contract.  Available in White Frost (pictured) and Black Myst.  You save about $32 off the retail price.

Source: LogicBUY

Corsair Clarifies Upcoming Investment Deal With Francisco Partners

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: private equity, investments, corsair

Corsair recently reached out to the technology community to clarify the news of a new investor interested in the company. It turns out that Corsair is in talks with a private equity firm called Francisco Partners. The PC peripherals company wants to expand by making strategic acquisitions of smaller companies in the gaming and audio industry. In order to do that, Corsair needs cash, and without going public, one way to get that is to go with a private equity firm.

Corsair Logo.gif

Although it will not be official for a couple of weeks, according to Corsair, Francisco Partners will invest as much as $75 million in Corsair and become a shareholder in the privately-held company. The deal is simply a monetary one, with Francisco Partners providing needed cash in exchange for a share of the company. No management changes are planned, and the new investor will not become the majority shareholder according to Corsair.

Corsair recently acquired both gaming peripheral company Raptor Gaming and Simple Audio, a company that provides multi-room streaming audio solutions. Corsair plans to further aggressively pursue the gaming and music/audio markets in addition to its existing case, power supply, fan, and other PC peripheral lineups aimed at enthusiasts. I'm excited to see where Corsair goes from here as it grows and diversifies its business and product lines.

Microsoft Rumored To Be Working On Cloud-Based "Mohoro" Windows Desktop Service

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 05:07 AM |
Tagged: windows, thin client, remote desktop, mohoro, microsoft, cloud computing, azure

Microsoft may be working on its own cloud-based desktop service according to sources speaking with ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. The rumored service codenamed “Mohoro” would build the Windows desktop SaaS (Software as a Service) solution on top of the company’s Windows Azure cloud computing platform. With Mohoro, Microsoft would provide Azure virtual machines running the Windows operating system. Users would then be able to remote into the desktop on any Internet connected computer or mobile device (with remote desktop support) and get access to their own desktop and applications.

Windows 8 Desktop.jpg

The Windows desktop... coming soon to a cloud near you?

Windows Azure users can already run virtual machines with Linux or Windows OSes, but in the case of Windows Microsoft only allows server versions to be run. Incensing restrictions prevent users from loading consumer operating systems such as Windows XP, 7 or 8 onto the virtual machines. The rumored Mohoro service would apparently relax the licensing restrictions and allow businesses or consumers to deploy client operating systems running on the Azure VMs. It would basically take the need for enterprises to run their own hardware and move it to “the cloud” behind a Microsoft-run subscription service.

It is an interesting idea that I could see universities and businesses looking into. The Azure platform is actually pretty good, from what little testing I've done on it. However, I think that for many consumers a local install is preferable. Although syncing applications and files can be a pain if you have multiple machines, you retain control of your data and are not bound to needing an always-on Internet connection to access that data and run applications. Further, latency issues and bandwidth caps with home Internet connections make a paid-for Azure desktop less appealing to home users. I think Microsoft would have a hard-enough time selling users a subsciption for a local/traditional Windows installation, much less a subscription for an OS requiring an always-on Internet connection to use their computer.

Would you use an Azure-powered desktop as your main OS?

Source: ZDNet

EFF Report Outlines Which Companies Stand Up For Users' Data Privacy Rights

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 02:01 AM |
Tagged: Privacy, eff, data privacy, consumer rights

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released its annual Who Has Your Back report, which highlights Internet companies that (do or do not) defend user’s online privacy rights. The EFF looks at the policies and actions of several major Internet companies, including ISPs, cloud storage, email, and social networks (among others). The companies are graded on various criteria such as whether the companies require a subpoena or warrant before releasing information, lobby congress for stricter data privacy laws, and defend their users’ privacy rights in court.

Who has your back.jpg

This year, the EFF found some surprising results. Google is no longer the leader of the pack due to no longer providing transparent data requests to users on the same level that it did in the past. Twitter and ISP Sonic.net are actually the top ranked companies. In a less surprising twist, Verizon is actually the worst company of the bunch along with MySpace with failing grades in each category! And that is just the tip of the spear, with companies like Apple and AT&T being worse than I thought and Foursquare and WordPress doing better than I expected.

Data privacy is of supreme importance, and i hope that these EFF reports prod all companies to do better (and note the companies that are doing right by their users). It is definitely worth a read. You can find the full report in PDF form here.

Do you use any of these services, and are you happy with their data privacy efforts?

Source: EFF

A Duke Nukem obsession like no other

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 03:03 PM |
Tagged: gaming, mod, duke nukem, obsessive

You might think you expressed your disappointment about the pile of garbage that was Duke Nukem Forever by posting scathing reviews online, but you have nothing on these modders who attempted to create the Duke we were all promised by modding Duke Nukem 3D.  If you still have the DN3D kicking around, or at least the DUKE3D.GRP file you can head to ModDB and download a 30MB mod which will expand Las Vegas far beyond the original game. Don't expect miracles, they can only reuse existing assets but they certainly impressed Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN who posted a trailer-ish movie of the mod in action.

dn3.jpg

"A group of modders have been busily attempting to rewrite history – by recreating the game that 2001 trailer suggested in good old Duke Nukem 3D. Given they suffered a degree of 3D Realms-esque hubris in their struggle to finish the thing, are these the first Method Developers?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

A sneak peek at Gigabyte's upcoming audio for the Sniper5 series

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, G1.Sniper 5, G1.Sniper 5M, AMP-UP Audio

Slow but surely teases of the next generation of motherboards for Intel processors are showing up, such as Tweaktown's preview here.  You don't get to see much of the board its self but you do have a chance to learn about the new AMP-UP audio that will be featured on these motherboards.  This will be a removable OP-AMP paired with Creative's Sound Core3D to bring high end audio performance to your onboard audio.  It will be removable so that audiophiles can choose their favourite OP-AMP to install if they prefer it to the one included. Take a peek right here.

TT_5431_01_gigabyte_amp_up_audio_4th_generation_intel_core_feature_preview_full.jpg

"The NDA is starting to come off the 4th Generation Intel Core series and today we'll show you what to expect from GIGABYTE in its new AMP-UP audio feature on the G1.Sniper 5 and G1.Sniper M5."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Tweaktown

Deal for May 1st - Roku 2 XD 1080p Streaming Player (Refurbished) @ $60

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: deals

If you are looking for a very inexpensive way to stream HD video the Roku 2 is a great choice as it offers flexibility and an easy to use interface.  The only better deal would be to pick up a Roku 2 at $20 off the retail price, which is exactly what the deal for today is.  There are quite a few units available but you might not want to spend too much time debating the purchase as they are not unlimited.

rocku2.jpg

Roku 2 XD 1080p Streaming Player (Refurbished)
Groupon is offering refurbished Roku 2 XD 1080p Streaming Player for $59.99 with free shipping. That's 25% off the price of brand new model and backed by 90-day limited warranty.

Source: LogicBUY

AMD Planning APU13 Developer Summit In San Jose, California

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 07:08 AM |
Tagged: hUMA, hsa, apu13, APU, amd, AFDS

AMD announced its third annual Developer Summit last week. Dubbed “APU13,” the upcoming summit is the AMD equivalent to NVIDIA’s GTC and is an annual event that brings together industry analysts, researchers, programmers, academics, and software/hardware companies pursuing heterogeneous computing technologies.

In previous years, the AMD Developer Summit has been the launchpad for C++ AMP and the HSA Foundation. This year’s Summit will continue that trend towards heterogeneous computing as well as look back over the year and provide updates on where the various HSA member companies are at as far as goals to move towards standards-based heterogenous computing.

AMD Logo.png

In addition to keynote speeches from AMD and some of its partners, expect a great deal of presentations and workshops from researchers and programmers that are working on new programming models and hardware solutions to efficiently use CPU and GPU processors. More information on hUMA is one of the likely topics, for example. Discussion about upcoming hardware, process nodes, and products may also be on the table so far as it relates to the HSA theme. Considering the summit is called “APU13,” I also expect that AMD will reveal additional details on the company’s Kaveri APU as well as a look into its future product road map.

AMD is currently asking for presentation proposals from researchers in a number of HSA and technology-related fields including heterogeneous computing, cloud computing, web technologies, programming languages, gaming and graphics technologies, and software security. The lineup of presenters for the summit is still being worked out, and proposal papers will be accepted until May 10th with the winners being notified over the summer.

In all, AMD’s APU13 should be an exciting and intellectual event. Last year’s AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) was an interesting and fun event to cover, and I hope that APU13 will keep up the same momentum and interest in heterogeneous computing that AFDS started.

Source: AMD

hUMA has come with a weapon to slay the memory latency dragon

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2013 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: Steamroller, piledriver, Kaveri, Kabini, hUMA, hsa, GCN, bulldozer, APU, amd

AMD may have united GPU and CPU into the APU but one hurdle had remained until now, the the non-uniformity of memory access between the two processors.  Today we learned about one of the first successful HAS projects called Heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access, aka hUMA, which will appear in the upcoming Kaveri chip family.   The use of this new technology will allow the on-die CPU and GPU to access the same memory pool, both physical and virtual and any data passed between the two processors will remain coherent.  As The Tech Report mentions in their overview hUMA will not provide as much of a benefit to discrete GPUs, while they will be able to share address space the widely differing clock speeds between GDDR5 and DDR3 prevent unification to the level of an APU.

Make sure to read Josh's take as well so you can keep up with him on the Podcast.

huma_02.jpg

"At the Fusion Developer Summit last June, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster teased Kaveri, AMD's next-generation APU due later this year. Among other things, Papermaster revealed that Kaveri will be based on the Steamroller architecture and that it will be the first AMD APU with fully shared memory.

Last week, AMD shed some more light on Kaveri's uniform memory architecture, which now has a snazzy marketing name: heterogeneous uniform memory access, or hUMA for short."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

New Ubuntu 13.04 Release Upgrades Unity, Ditches Wubi, and Updates Applications

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2013 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: wubi, Unity, ubuntu 13.04, ubuntu, openstack, linux, canonical

Canonical released its the Ubuntu 13.04 “Raring Ringtail” Linux distribution earlier this week. The updated operating system incorporates a new Linux kernel, newer pre-installed applications, and a tweaked Unity desktop environment. Enterprise and server users also have updated server software stacks to look forward to, including the latest juju and OpenStack (Grizzly) releases.

Ubuntu Logo.jpg

Ubuntu 13.04 continues in the direction of convergence set in motion by Canonical and its founder Mark Shuttleworth. It is the first step towards Ubuntu running on many types of devices (including mobile) as it includes an updated Unity interface. The 13.04 release still uses the X window system, but Canonical has made tweaks to Unity and is offering up an optional download of the new Mir display backend that users can install. Mir is the display server that Ubuntu will be switching to with its next LTS release and that will reportedly enable a cross-platform Ubuntu/Unity experience. The Unity tweaks include disabling Workspaces and the “show desktop” button on the desktop (though they can be re-enabled in settings). There have also been tweaks to Ubuntu’s Dash UI, including a typo-tolerant search function and new result sorting options. It will not be until the next release that users will really start to see Ubuntu’s plans of convergence come together (heh), but even with the small changes present in 13.04, the traditional desktop OS is making considerations for mobile devices.

While the visual changes are minimal on Ubuntu 13.04 compared to 12.10, the new release does update a lot of the underlying software.At least on the outside, Ubuntu 13.04 has not changed much from its 12.10 predecessor. Ubuntu 13.04 is based on the upstream 3.8.8 Linux kernel, and incorporates a number of updates to the pre-installed applications and core software. The updates include Unity 7, LibreOffice 4, and Python 3.3 (future versions of Ubuntu will remove Python 2 completely, though it will still be available as a downloadable package). Gwibber has also been replaced with a new service called “Friends” that takes all of your social networking accounts and combines them under your Ubuntu Online account.

Additionally, Ubuntu 13.04 also no longer includes the Wubi installer, which allowed users to install Ubuntu as a program within Windows and got around the need to mess with partitioning. Although there was a bit of overhead in doing the install this way, it was noticeably easier for new users than other methods. Canonical suggests that users interested in trying out the new operating system should simply use the live media, but installing it in a VM such as VirtualBox or VMWare may be more appropriate as some of the functionality is missing from the Live DVD environment in my experience (at least if you also want to try out functionality or other Linux software that would require a restart). Canonical has also cut the support time in half for Ubuntu 13.04 (and all future interim releases) from 18 months to 9 months. Hopefully the development team puts the reduced support workload to good use by investing the time in quick and stable releases.

So far, Ubuntu 13.04 has been getting positive reviews, though some users have run into issues running the operating system on their particular hardware (a bit of instability is expected with a new release, however).

If you are interested in Ubuntu 13.04 “Raring Ringtail,” you can read more about the changes in the official release notes and grab a download of the OS from the Ubuntu website or the updater if you are currently running Ubuntu 12.10.

Source: Ubuntu

Deal for April 30th - Dell UltraSharp U2711 27" 2560 x 1440 @ $630

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2013 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: deals

Only slightly less impressive than the flagship 30" model and significantly cheaper, though not as cheap as Ken's favourite Korean monitors, the deal for today is the 27" Dell UltraSharp U2711.  You still get the high resolution and variety of inputs including HDMI 1.3, DisplayPort, two DVI, Component and Composite along with USB connectivity.  As it is an IPS display it will function well as a professional display and the response is fast enough to serve a gamer as well.

dellu2711.jpg

Dell UltraSharp U2711 27" 2560 x 1440 LCD Monitor
Dell Home is offering 27-inch UltraSharp U2711 LCD Monitor for $629.99 plus FREE shipping. Use $299.01 instant savings and extra 10% coupon code: ?K0N8$SDH1ZF0P to get final price.

Source: LogicBUY

New Linux Kernel 3.9 Adds New Features Including KVM on ARM and SSD Caching Support

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2013 - 09:46 AM |
Tagged: ssd caching, operating system, linux, kernel 3.9, kernel, arm, 802.11ac

Linus Torvalds recently released a new version of the Linux kernel -- version 3.9 -- that advances the core of the GNU/Linux operating system with a number of new features. Among other tweaks, the new kernel rolls in new drivers, improves virtualization support, adds new hardware sleep modes, and tweaks file system and storage support.

The new kernel has added quite a few new experimental features, but developers/enthusiasts will no longer have to employ the CONFIG_EXPERIMENTAL flag when compiling the kernel in order to enable them. The kernel development team has decided to remove that option, enable the features by default, and merely tag those experimental features in the documentation. One of the experimental features is SSD caching that allows a solid state drive to cache both reads and writes. The SSD can cache frequently accessed data on the faster solid state drive as well as take the write cached data and write it to the hard drive when the IO subsystem isn’t being heavily utilized. The feature is not new to Linux distributions, but the caching support has now been moved to the kernel. Furthermore, the kernel is now RAID-aware when using the btrfs file system and RAID 5 or RAID 6.

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On the driver front, Linux Kernel 3.9 now supports Intel’s upcoming 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapters, improved HD audio codec, AMD’s Oland (8500/8600) and Richland GPUs, and additional NVIDIA GPU support. The new kernel also rolls in a power-optimized driver for Intel’s Haswell GPU and several more track pads.

Kernel 3.9 also adds a new suspend/sleep mode. It will use more power than the traditional S3 (suspend to memory) sleep mode because components are not completely powered down (merely at their lowest sleep mode), but the system will be almost-instantly accessible upon exiting the new suspend mode as a result. According to H-Online, this "lightweight suspend" mode would be ideal for mobile devices or hardware used in network appliances. Also interesting is support for a KVM hypervisor on ARM Cortex A15 SoCs as well as some software tweaks to the kernel to improve web server workloads by allowing multiple networking sockets (and associated CPU processes) to listen on the same network port.

In all, version 3.9 looks to be a worthy upgrade, and one that I hope Linux distro makers will opt for in upcoming releases. I think the new drivers and the SSD caching being rolled into the kernel are the most important features for desktop users, though the networking stack improvements also sound interesting.

For more details, Thorsten Leemhuis has written up an extensive article on the new kernel.

Source: H-Online