Verizon And Coinstar Backing New Subscription Redbox + Streaming Movie Service

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2012 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: verizon, subscription service, redbox, movies

Netflix has stood at the top of the hill for quite a while now as the streaming and disc subscription service of choice despite the price hikes and Warner Brothers' stupidity in regards to the 56 day waiting period to get a DVD (although it takes only an hour to pirate...).  They may have a new contender later this year; however, because, Verizon and Coinstar (the company behind Redbox) are teaming up to create a joint venture that will launch a new subscription service offering physical discs through the Redbox kiosks and streaming and download-able movies through Verizon.

verizon_redbox_movies.png

The new joint venture will launch the product portfolio in the second half of 2012, according to Verizon. Further, the joint venture will be a limited liability company with Verizion holding a 65% stake and Coinstar holding a 35% stake.  Neither company was willing to go into details on how much the subscription would cost or how exactly it would work at this time due to "competitive concerns."  They did dole out a few small bits of information about the service, however.  

Verizon's President of Consumer and Mass Business Markets Bob Mudge talked confidently about the new streaming service during a conference call to the press where he talked about putting Verizon's large Fiber to the Home (their FIOS service), DSL, and Wireless 4G LTE networks to work to deliver streaming services "to all consumers across the US" whenever they want and on the devices they want to use. Meanwhile, Coinstar will be using the thousands of Redbox kiosks in malls, grocery stores, Wal-Marts, Walgreens, and gas stations to deliver physical discs to consumers throughout the US. They are planning a single source, multi-platform, national product, and will be releasing more details as they get closer to the launch window.

It is certainly interesting, and the streaming subscription space could really use healthy competition and companies with enough weight to throw around to muscle the studios into entering the 21st century with increased streaming licenses and better contract deals. Redbox has recently revolted against Warner Brothers' 56 day waiting period in favor of obtaining the movies through other means, so the studios are not exactly friendly to renting discs much less streaming rights. Here's hoping that the new joint venture can become profitable and serve as further proof that providing a subscription service is a viable revenue stream to studios while being affordable to consumers. A commenter on another forum suggested that it would be a great idea for Verizon to incorporate the streaming service into its FIOS plans as a value add, which is a move that would certainly spread adoption and give the company a quick influx of users!

Do you think Verizon and Coinstar (Redbox) can take on Netflix?

Source: Verizon

Microsoft Removing Start Orb Button In Windows 8

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2012 - 11:19 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, windows, start orb, start button, microsoft, crazy

Microsoft is continuing full steam ahead with Windows 8 development where they axe many of the familiar features of previous Windows iterations. According to a post over at The Verge, the latest feature to get removed is the start button of all things. In the "Consumer Preview" version of the upcoming operating system, users will be greeted with a desktop that shows application icons and the Super Bar, but no start button in sight.

no_start_button.png

Oddly enough, they are removing the Start button in favor of a small area in the lower left of the screen that, when hovered over with a mouse or swiped over on a touchscreen, a Windows 8 charm (small menu) will appear along with a thumbnail preview of the mode that will be switched to upon clicking the element. For example, when you are in the Metro Start Screen mode, hovering over this area would show a small preview of the full Windows desktop and vice versa.

I'm a bit confused by this move as it doesn't really add anything to the experience, and makes the start "button" hover area harder to hit and find. Tech support people are likely crying now, as it is difficult enough to get people to click on the start button much less have the patience to hover over an area or perform a swipe action in the lower left of the screen! Not to mention that the start button has been a signature of the Microsoft operating system since Windows 95.  At least the Windows key (i hope) still works as expected, but it seems like a non sensical move.  How do you guys feel about the change?  Will you be keeping your relatives and/or employees on Windows 7 (heh)?

Source: The Verge

Dropbox Offering An Extra 5 GB of Free Storage Space to Beta Testers

Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2012 - 09:32 PM |
Tagged: storage space, share files, free storage, free space, free, dropbox 1.3.13, dropbox, cloud storage, backup files

Update: Dropbox is still running the beta testing extra space promotion.  The latest Experimental Forum Build is version 1.3.15 1.3.19. Dropbox is still running the promotion; however, users from here on out will be limited to 3 GB total extra space.  Anyone that got in before 1.3.19 and earned 5 GB will continue to keep the full 5 GB of extra space.  More information is available here.

I recently needed some video files from the PC Perspective office, and we decided to use the Dropbox file sharing service to get them to me.  i hit a bit of a snag; however, when I realized that I had nowhere near the amount of storage needed.  Fortunately, I was able to download the individual files from the shared folder on the Dropbox website.  It was sort of a nod at the idea that one can never have too much storage space, however.

That got me searching around the Internet for ideas on how to increase my available storage space for free, and fortunately came across a forum post on the Dropbox website for a beta version of the program wherein they were offering 5 GB of extra (and free!) storage space to those adventurous enough to test out the program by uploading 4.5 GB of photos or videos (which you can rename, move, or delete afterwards if you wish).  The extra free space you get will remain even if you move or delete the uploaded photos and after the beta period, barring any unforseen decision change on Dropbox's part.  Further, I found the process easy enough that it was worth sharing with our readers who may use the file sharing and backup service themselves.  

According to their latest forum post, the new Dropbox beta application is version 1.3.13 (though the beta started at version 1.3) which fixes a few bugs, but more importantly, adds a new feature that automatically uploads photos and videos from SD cards (and other storage devices that store photos and videos in a "DCIM" folder) and other storage devices on the PC application and your Android smart phone using a beta of the Dropbox Android app.  The first photo or video upload imported into Dropbox grants you a 500 MB "bonus," and then for every 500 MB of photos and videos that you allow Dropbox to import, they will give you an additional 500 MB of free additional storage space, up to a total of 5 GB (including the starting bonus).  Let's get into exactly how you go about auto-importing photos.

dropboxincreasetips.png

On the Windows PC side of things, you will need to download the latest Dropbox beta build which is currently version 1.3.13.  Once download from the link in the previous sentence, install it (if you already have the program installed, just install over the previous install), and then log into your account (or create a new one*).  Next, make sure that you have AutoPlay enabled via Windows Control Panel (it should be by default).  You should be all set to import as many photos and videos as your internet connection can handle to get all your free space.  Pop in an SD card or other USB storage device into your computer via USB.  Windows should open up an AutoPlay dialog box in response.  There should further be a new option in the AutoPlay window titled "Import pictures and videos using Dropbox."  Select that and Dropbox will begin uploading them to their cloud storage servers in a new folder called "Camera Uploads."  Once the batch of photos are uploaded, Dropbox pops up a notification in notification area (lower right of the window) as seen in the photo above.

dropboxincrease.png

You can also use a beta of the Dropbox client on your Android powered smartphone to upload photos and videos to the service, and to apply towards your free Dropbox space.  While not yet on the Android Market, you can download the beta application as a .apk file to your phone, and then install it from that downloaded file.  The apk package in question is the Dropbox Experimental Android Forum Build 2.0.9 and can be downloaded via a link at the bottom of this article.  All that's needed on the Android side of things (at least on my Samsung Infuse 4G), is to start up the application and log in.  After that, any photos or videos I take with my phone's camera are automatically uploaded to the dropbox service.  Although Google already has a similar automatic uploading service to its Google+ website, the Dropbox application is even a bit more useful because they are not only "in the cloud" but sitting on my desktop at home.

screen_20120204_1908.png

The Android Dropbox beta application

Unfortunately, Linux and Macintosh users are out of luck on the extra free space; however, I'm sure they will get a chance at it when the beta Dropbox application is closer to completion.  Now that you know how to get your hands on some free space, go forth and beef up those Dropbox accounts!  Some other methods for free space include adding a .edu email account to your account (to make it a Student Account) for an extra 500 MB of storage space an an increase referral bonus of 500 MB per referral, completing the various tutorials and quests on the Dropbox website, and getting referral sign ups.  Do you use Dropbox, and if so what do you like (or hate) about it?  Community discussion engage!

 

*Speaking of referrals, this is a referral link that costs you nothing and will give me and you an extra 250 MB of storage space.  If; however, you're not into that sort of thing (for some odd reason), you can create a new account by heading over their main website at dropbox.com

Source: Dropbox

Not just a FAD, AMD aims at the market ultra-thin laptop-like device

Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2012 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, amd, Financial Analyst Day, trinity

While Intel struggles to find a away to reduce costs to hit their self imposed $1000 limit on the price for ultrabooks without comprimising the quality of the machine, AMD is leveraging an old strength and a new one.  The old strength is familiar to any long time PC fan, AMD's chips are less expensive than Intel's which gives them some nice monetary leeway when creating low cost systems.  The new strength is Trinity, the next generation Llano, and the impressive graphics performance packaged in the same substrate and the smooth way it can integrate with a discreet GPU to give desktop like performance. 

One of the benefits Trinity will bring is what AMD called 'All day' battery life, with a 12 hour lifespan predicted.  Trinity uses half the power of Llano as well as featuring an improved graphics core which they predict to be half again as powerful as Intel's HD Graphics.  They also predict the new Bulldozer architecture will increase general computing power.  Check out the slides at SemiAccurate for more information.

SA_Ultrabook-Win.png

"Much has been said about Intel’s new Ultrabook form factor. But new details from AMD’s Financial Analyst Day are radically changing the prospective competitive landscape that 2012 has to offer. During Intel’s Q3 conference call certain Intel executives were confident that AMD would always be offering a lower cost alternative to Intel products. But it seems that thing are not turning out the way that the cunning marketeers behind Intel’s “visibly smart” 2nd generation Core processors had hoped."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

Podcast #187 - Our thoughts on Ultrabooks, the Radeon HD 7950, ASUS DirectCU GTX cards, and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 2, 2012 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, radeon, podcast, patriot, nvidia, Intel, gtx, arm, amd, 7950

PC Perspective Podcast #187 - 02/02/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our thoughts on Ultrabooks, the Radeon HD 7950, ASUS DirectCU GTX cards, 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: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 58:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:20 Ultrabooks: Intel Knows What's Good For You
  6. 0:08:30 Patriot Pyro and Wildfire SSD Review - IMFT Async vs. Toshiba Toggle-mode Flash
  7. 0:14:20 AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB Graphics Card Review
  8. 0:25:50 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:26:38 Asus DirectCU II Roundup: ENGTX560, ENGTX570, and ENGTX580 Review
  10. 0:40:35 Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Will Have Fast GPU For The Price
  11. 0:44:20 If you thought Intel did well wait until you see ARM
  12. 0:47:00 AMD 7700 and 7800 Release Dates Leak To Web
  13. 0:51:20 Live Blog: AMD Financial Analyst Day
  14. 0:52:20 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Radeon HD 7950 Cards
    2. Jeremy: I'm giddy as a schoolgirl, albeit a very mercenary one
    1. Josh: And it is on sale! $770 off!
    2. Allyn: Corsair Force 3 - very good pricing.
  15. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  16. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  17. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  18. Closing

Source:

A Texas sized party with Kyle and the [H] gang

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | February 2, 2012 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: amd, Texas GamExperience

While we at PC Perspective wait for Quakecon before heading to Texas, [H]ard|OCP hosts the AMD GamExperience in Dallas during January.  This is the third year in a row they've given gamers the chance to experience the newest in games and gaming peripherals and it must have been a good one since they only managed to recover enough to post the pictures today.  As you can see below they are just as hard on the audience as Ryan and the crew, but with $55,000+ worth of prizes to give out it is possible to get gamers to do pushups.  Check out what you missed here.

Hup.jpg

We did have a man on the scene, if you haven't seen Steve's coverage you really should.

"We recently put on the third "GamExperience" here in Dallas, TX! We invited 600 of our closet friends and 20 companies that crank out some of the best computer hardware in the world and put them all in one room together for some gaming and geek talk. And yeah, free stuff too, about $50,000 worth!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

FirefoxX: Coming soon to a TF2 user handle near you!

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2012 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox

Firefox is my default browser. I often complement Firefox with Google Chrome due to habits introduced in the dark ages where Flash and crash were more ironic rhymes for Firefox users, but I stuck with it. I watched as it grew from a suite and innocent Mozilla build into the standalone browser it is today. Could Firefox be ten already? It seems like it was just yesteryear -- it was just four and we were out in the textfield try{}ing to play catch(){}.

firefoxX.png

Yeah that got creepier as I went on, I apologize.
It’s easier to try{} and ask forgiveness than debug permissions.
… I prefer to recycle my jokes rather than rely on garbage collection.

 

If you are a developer -- and if you are still reading then you probably are -- this version of Firefox has a lot to offer you. While a lot of the features touted as new are not, they are certainly much upgraded from what we are used to. Allow me to put it like this: you may be able to finally uninstall Firebug. You may infer what you like from that statement. Some highlights of the developer features include a built-in page inspector, a web console interface, and scratchpad.

The page inspector allows developers to examine their own websites as well as study the websites of others in a much friendlier interface than Firebug. For quick tweaks, you can edit the CSS from within page inspector and turn whole properties on and off and immediately see its effect.

The web console interface allows you to edit your site as it is temporarily rendered from a command-line interface. This appears to be mostly useful for smaller Javascript tweaks and additions if you have a small change that you would like to iterate upon quickly. The web console also allows you to see network requests which should help greatly with optimizing load times.

Scratchpad is a new developer feature for Javascript which is just too complicated to test upon with the console interface. Scratchpad is somewhere between Notepad and Notepad++ and is used to quickly experiment with full Javascript scripts on the website you currently have loaded.

Don't just take my word for it, see it!

More general enhancements were, of course, also made with this version: WebGL is now antialiased; security, performance, and stability fixes were introduced; and add-on compatibility is much less annoying. The experience feels much more responsive and clean than it has recently, continuing on the advancements started with Firefox 7.

What do you think? Looking forward to new WebGL content now that it will not be as jaggy? Excited about the developer tools or performance enhancements? Let us know!

Source: Mozilla

You aren't done playing Skyrim yet, the official Mod tools are on their way

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2012 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: skyrim, gaming, creation kit, bethesda

Attention all modders and Elder Scrolls fans, the official Bethesda Creation Kit for Skyrim is coming down from the mountain to give a shout out to the community.  It will be a free download via Steam under Tools and will not only give you the tools to mod the game but it can also replace the Nexus Mod Manager for updating and enabling or disabling mods.  From the description of the Creation Kit those familiar with previous versions from Elder Scrolls games and Fallout 3 will be familiar with the interface. If you want to see a video of this tool in action head to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and feast your eyes on the newest drain on your free time.

CK01.jpg

"Bethesda is soon to release the Creation Kit for Skyrim, that’ll allow official modding to begin, along with some really powerful-looking tools. It will also plug directly into the Steam Workshop, which will make adding user-created mods to your game over 39024% easier. You can see a video giving an overview of those features below."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

If you thought Intel did well wait until you see ARM

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2012 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: RISC, quarterly earnings, earnings, arm

For total dollar revenue over 2011 the only company that can touch Intel's earnings would be Apple, who actually contributed to Intel's growth over the past year.  When you talk about percentage growth over last year however ARM actually beat Intel's 21% growth, although not by much.  Their pre-tax growth approached 50% for the year and they blew away analyst's predictions both quarterly and yearly.  This probably has to do with the 2.2 billion ARM-powered chips sold globally over the past year, not just the new chips that power your phones and tablets but also chips they've been making for a long time which appear in vehicles, appliances and toys.  ARM's way of doing business is different from Intel who prefer to tie you into an all Intel hardware or no Intel hardware contract, ARM is happy if their chips co-exist with others on a device; they just want a chip in there.  As The Register points out, this flexibility as well as the release of an ARM compatible version of Windows 8 could make the coming years rather interesting.

poster__man_with_the_golden_arm_the_02_0.jpg

"ARM, the eponymous designer of the chip architecture, had a stonking 2011 with revenue and profits up as it tightened its hold on both embedded and generic computing.

Revenue for the last quarter of 2011 was up by more than 20 per cent on the previous year, to £137.8m, while profit before tax jumped more than twice that percentage to £69m. For the whole of 2011 the numbers are very similar, revenue hitting £491.8m ($773m) and profit topping £229.7m ($362m), rather better than analysts had predicted."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Microsoft Says No To Next Generation Xbox In 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2012 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: xbox next, xbox 720, xbox, gaming, 2012

The Internet has seen quite a few Xbox Next / Xbox 720 (or whatever it will end up being called) rumors over the past few months, and many gamers were likely hoping for the next generation console refresh to come in time for a holiday launch. According to Microsoft Marketing Director Cedrick Delmax; however, this is just not going to happen. Tom's Hardware quoted, from an interview with LePoint.Fr, Delmax in further stating that the "Xbox 360's cycle is not at all finished." He further tried to prove his point by saying that the Xbox 360 is not dead yet because the company did not see a need to cut the price of the current console this year. When pushed with questions about the console's competition in the Wii U (launching this Christmas season) and the eventual successor to Sony's PS3, the Microsoft spokesperson said that they would not be making any "hasty moves" and the next Xbox would come in its own time. More information including a statement from sony can be found in this separate Lepoint.fr interview.

2362822.png

Sticking around until at least 2013!

Well, it looks like Microsoft is really riding this horse (the Xbox 360) until it dies. Hopefully they know what they are doing and the next Xbox rises from the ashes like a Pheonix instead of crumbling because they waited too long to enter the next generation. Game developers are already starting to hit a wall in how far they can push the current consoles and will start to turn to the PC (finally) to show off their graphics prowess. What are your thoughts on this, are you satisfied with your Xbox 360, especially when compared to the graphics on current PCs (for example, Battlefield 3)?

If 7 new Sandy Bridge processors arrive and Intel says nothing, does anyone know they exist?

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2012 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: core i5, core i3, celeron, sandy bridge, Intel

With absolutely no fanfare, Intel has released seven new Sandy Bridge processors of which two lack a graphics core.  Three quad-core Core i5 arrived, the Core i5-2550K is a normal chip running at 3.4GHz, while the i5-2380P and i5-2450P lack GPU cores; all are rated at a 95W TDP however so don't expect power savings from those two chips.  On the low powered end the dual core Celeron B720 and single core B815 will both sport TDPs of 35W and for mobile users the Celeron 797 and 867 will both have a TDP of 17W.  The Inquirer picked up this information from Intel's newly release price list; one which does not feature a single drop in the price of a CPU.

Core-i5-chip.jpg

"CHIPMAKER Intel has quietly released seven Sandy Bridge processors, with two of the chips not having built-in graphics cores.

Intel's Sandy Bridge range is already packed but that didn't stop Chipzilla from releasing seven chips, three of which are branded as Core i5 and two featuring a new 'P' suffix. According to our man at Intel the suffix denotes chips that do not come with Intel's integrated graphics core."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Ubuntu versus OSX ... Fight!

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2012 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: apple, osx, ubuntu, linux

We've all seen the various Windows verus Apple comparisons, so let us head to Phoronix for a fight of a different flavour.  They've taken the new OS X and pitted it against the new Ubuntu on SandyBridge hardware to see how they compare.  From the start it looks bad for Apple, as it detected the dual Core i5 2415M as a single core CPU with hyperthreading where as Ubuntu detected the processor correctly.  They did help Apple out a bit by adding in LLVM/Clang 3.0 into the Xcode4 package as GCC 4.2.1 performs less impressively.  The results were mixed, with each system excelling at certain tasks but not others proving once again that the choice between Apple and PC is generally based on specfic task and not a general performance decision.

ph_linbuntu.jpg

"After delivering benchmarks last week that were comparing the Intel Sandy Bridge performance of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" vs. Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" when it came to the Sandy Bridge OpenGL graphics performance, here's a comparative look at the performance of Ubuntu 11.10 against Mac OS X 10.7.2 from the Intel Sandy Bridge-based Mac."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Phoronix

Stability brings ARMy of Developers: Windows on ARM Stable

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2012 - 04:24 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, arm

I will be honest with you; I was not, personally, paying attention to Windows 8 let alone Windows on ARM. I often like to push the newest and obscure releases of Windows falling prey to both Windows XP 64-bit as well as the not-nearly-as-bad-as-people-make-it-out-to-be Windows Vista; Windows 7 seems to suit my needs and I do not expect to push past it any time soon unless something shows me otherwise. If you, on the other hand, were awaiting Windows on ARM to be stable -- which frankly I thought it already happened, but apparently not -- and on their way to developers? Not now.

16-ShatteredWindows2.jpg

Intel's starting to drop bricks?

Brooke Crothers of CNET reports Windows 8 for ARM processors has reached a stable build and is expected to be in the hands of developers in February. Despite the seemingly late deployment, one source did not expect Windows 8 on ARM to be released later than the x86 version; that source also admitted to not being given information from Microsoft to support that assertion. I am skeptical of that source, to say the least, but I keep an open mind.

As for legacy applications, Microsoft Office has not been seen running on ARM devices. Intuitively, if Office were to be fully operational on ARM then Microsoft would likely have shown it off by now. Whether or not intuition holds true is yet to be seen, though CNET heard from a source of a source that Office is “running fine” on ARM.

Despite Microsoft’s demonstrations of Windows 8, there is little information circulating about Windows 8 on ARM. Even at CES, there was little that was shown to sate the questions asked about the new platform. Perhaps once it is in the hands of developers we might discover more concrete information?

Source: CNET

NVIDIA Updates CUDA: Major Release for Science Research

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 29, 2012 - 02:53 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, gpgpu, CUDA

NVIDIA has traditionally been very interested in acquiring room in the high-performance computing for scientific research market. For a lot of functions, having a fast and highly parallel processor saves time and money compared to having a traditional computer crunch away or having to book time with one of the world’s relatively few supercomputers. Despite the raw performance of a GPU, adequate development tools are required to bring the simulation or calculation into a functional program to execute on said GPU. NVIDIA is said to have had a strong lead with their CUDA platform for quite some time; that lead will likely continue with releases the size of this one.

MOD-9981_CUDAVisualProfiler.jpg

What does a tuned up GPU purr like? Cuda cuda cuda cuda cuda.

The most recent release, CUDA 4.1, has three main features:

  • A visual profiler to point out common mistakes and optimizations and to provide instructions which detail how to alter your code to increase your performance
  • A new compiler which is based on the LLVM infrastructure, making good on their promise to open the CUDA platform to other architectures -- both software and hardware
  • New image and signal processing functions for their NVIDIA Performance Primitives (NPP) library, relieving developers the need to create their own versions or license a proprietary library

The three features, as NVIDIA describes them in their press release, are listed below.

New Visual Profiler - Easiest path to performance optimization
The new Visual Profiler makes it easy for developers at all experience levels to optimize their code for maximum performance. Featuring automated performance analysis and an expert guidance system that delivers step-by-step optimization suggestions, the Visual Profiler identifies application performance bottlenecks and recommends actions, with links to the optimization guides. Using the new Visual Profiler, performance bottlenecks are easily identified and actionable.

LLVM Compiler - Instant 10 percent increase in application performance
LLVM is a widely-used open-source compiler infrastructure featuring a modular design that makes it easy to add support for new programming languages and processor architectures. Using the new LLVM-based CUDA compiler, developers can achieve up to 10 percent additional performance gains on existing GPU-accelerated applications with a simple recompile. In addition, LLVM's modular design allows third-party software tool developers to provide a custom LLVM solution for non-NVIDIA processor architectures, enabling CUDA applications to run across NVIDIA GPUs, as well as those from other vendors.

New Image, Signal Processing Library Functions - "Drop-in" Acceleration with NPP Library
NVIDIA has doubled the size of its NPP library, with the addition of hundreds of new image and signal processing functions. This enables virtually any developer using image or signal processing algorithms to easily gain the benefit of GPU acceleration, with the simple addition of library calls into their application. The updated NPP library can be used for a wide variety of image and signal processing algorithms, ranging from basic filtering to advanced workflows.
 

Source: NVIDIA

Intel pays good money for bad software

Subject: General Tech | January 27, 2012 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: RealPlayer, Intel, patents

The idea that RealPlayer lives on to this day may not sit well with some techs who remember the times where the product degenerated into a virus that would some times let you play movies.  However, not only were they still in business yesterday, Intel paid them $120 million to acquire the rights to 90 patents and 170 patent applications as well as a codec which seems to have been their main project focus recently.  There must be some value there, it might look like Intel occasionally tosses money around but that is deceiving as Intel did not become as profitable as it is through inauspicious purchases.  According to the story at The Register, this deal is not the death knell for RealNetworks, they retain rights to some patents and seem to be looking forward to working with Intel in the future.  It will be interesting to see if this cash can help RealNetworks regain at least part of what used to be a large share of the online video codec market.

RealPlayer.png

"In the latest maneuver of the tech industry's ongoing patent wars, Intel has struck a $120m deal with RealNetworks to purchase 190 patents and 170 patent applications, along with what both companies define as "next-generation video codec software"."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

There is an elegance in simplicity; Cooler Master's QuickFire Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2012 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: quickfire rapid, mechanical keyboard, input, gaming, cooler master

If you prefer keyboards with built in fans, sirens, LEDs and a key count somewhere north of 200 then you might as well skip this review.  Cooler Master not only eschews extra function keys on the QuickFire Rapid gaming keyboard, they've also dropped the numpad.  The keyboard features CHERRY MX blue switches which are intended more for typists, with the red and black varieties more for usage by gamers.  Sporting a quick response time in USB mode and true n-key rollover in PS/2 mode, you won't find yourself dying because the game didn't register a keystroke.  If you are interested in a mechanical gaming keyboard and don't mind paying $80 then check out the review at Techgage.  If you want to shop around then check Scott's reivews on out front page.

TG_cmqfr_01.jpg

"CM's QuickFire Rapid gaming keyboard is unlike any other. It's not flashy, it doesn't have a bunch of bright LEDs, it has no macro support and... it has no numpad. So what is it that sets it apart? Its sturdy design and use of CHERRY MX blue mechanical key switches. Let's see if those features make up for what's lacking."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Techgage

Frankenmalware, an antiviral boss fight

Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2012 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: fud, Malware, Virus, Worm

Back in the ancient days of gaming and repeated in Skyrim's Draugr your enemies started out simple, a simple zombie or leever becoming a Infected Death Lord Zombie of Fiery Devastation.  Another way to look at is a supervillain origin story where exposure to something that should have killed them instead grants them powers beyond mere mortals.  There may have also been a dozen decent SciFi novels written about the topic (well, probably more like a gross) ... however you look at it, computer worms are mutating!

It seems that systems infected with a worm are being hit by certain viruses which inadvertently infect the worm, creating malware with twice the command and control servers, twice the backdoors and twice the methods to spread its self.  The Register cites a specific example of the Rimecud worm which steals passwords becoming infected by Virtob which creates a backdoor on a system.  At this moment BitDefender has found that 0.4% of the infected systems they detected had an infected worm present, a number you can expect to grow. 

Be careful out there!

The-special-infected.jpg

"Viruses are accidentally infecting worms on victims’ computers, creating super-powered strains of hybrid software nasties.

The monster malware spreads quicker than before, screws up systems worse than ever, and exposes private data in a way not even envisioned by the original virus writers.

A study by antivirus outfit BitDefender found 40,000 such "Frankenmalware samples" in a study of 10 million infected files in early January, or 0.4 per cent of malware strains sampled. These cybercrime chimeras pose a greater risk to infected users than standard malware, the Romanian antivirus firm warns."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Will Have Fast GPU For The Price

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 26, 2012 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, htpc, hd, gpu, broadcom

As reported earlier, the Raspberry Pi is a small computer intended to run Linux and is made to be portable and able to be powered by USB. The small board is based on the Broadcom BCM2835 chipset, which includes an ARM 11 CPU and a dual core VideoCore IV graphics card co processor. The Raspberry Pi further includes connections for HDMI, component output, and USB ports. The higher tier $35 model will further feature an Ethernet jack and twice the RAM (512 MB).

Raspberry Pi.jpg

The Raspberry Pi will soon be available for sale and if the company behind the device- The Raspberry Pi Foundation- is to be believed, the GPU in the little Linux computer will pack quite a punch for its size (and cost). In a recent Digital Foundry interview with Raspberry Pi Executive Director Eben Upton reported on by Eurogamer, Upton made several claims about the Raspberry Pi’s graphics capabilities. He explained that the Broadcom BCM2835’s VideoCore IV GPU is a tile mode architecture that has been configured with an emphasis on shader performance. Upton said “it does very well on compute-intensive benchmarks, and should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content."

The comparison to the iPhone 4S relates to his further claims that the Raspberry Pi GPU is the best on the market and can best both the iPhone 4S’s PowerVR (Imagination Technologies) based graphics and even the mighty Tegra 2 in fill rate performance. Rather large claims for sure; however, we do have some independent indication that his claims may not be wholly inflated. The coders behind XBMC, open source media center software that allows users to play a variety of media formats, have demonstrated their XBMC software running on the Raspberry Pi. They showed the Raspberry Pi playing a 1080p blu ray movie at a smooth frame rate thanks to the Broadcom GPU being capable of 1080p 30 FPS H.264 hardware accelerated decoding. You can see the Raspberry Pi in action in the video below.

The little Raspberry Pi is starting to look quite promising for HTPC (and even light gaming) use, especially for the price!  At $25 and $35 respectively, the Raspberry Pi should see quite the following in the modding, enthusiast, and education community.

Source: Eurogamer

New Xbox (Next Box / Xbox 720) To Be Six Times More Powerful Than Xbox 360

Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2012 - 01:34 AM |
Tagged: xbox 720, xbox, rumors, radeon hd 6670, next box, microsoft, gpu, gaming, console, amd

Microsoft's Xbox 360 is coming up on seven years old, and the company has sold more than 66 million units. Naturally, as graphics techniques and software has advanced, the aging hardware is starting to hold back game developers from implementing higher detail settings and larger maps with more players. Both developers and gamers are clamoring for the next Xbox to be released so that they can advance to the next stage of gaming. PCs are way ahead in the graphics quality race as the hardware has greatly advanced in the interim, and console gamers and game developers are starting to take notice and want for the features. Bring on the Next Box (or Xbox 720 or whatever it will eventually be called). With updated hardware, it should give console gamers some new (to them) shiny graphics to look at and smoother frame rates at the same quality settings we have now.

Xbox Logo.jpg

According to IGN, sources have confirmed that the next generation gaming console will have six times the processing power of the current generation Xbox 360. This increase in processing power is due in part to the updated graphics card that is akin to the AMD Radeon HD 6670 GPU, which while only a budget/HTPC card on the PC side of things, is a nice step up from the Xbox 360's ATI Xenos graphics chip.

The card will support 1080p, DirectX11, multiple display outputs, and 3D. Unfortunately, pricing for the upcoming gaming system was not revealed nor were any other details about the specific underlying hardware. If you are in the mood for more speculation on what might be inside the next Xbox, Tech Radar has compiled a list of the various gossip around the net about the console.

Source: IGN