Starcraft 2: Season 2 nearing end, Season 3 oncoming

Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2011 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: starcraft 2

Multiplayer RTSes are quite a different beast from most other forms of videogames and one of the most popular is Starcraft. Its success makes it subject to dozens of tournaments per year, a UC Berkley School of Business course, a USAF team-building and crisis management training activity, and being an all-around good selling game. Starcraft 2’s multiplayer mode has distinct seasons, your rank immortalized at the end of a season and new maps injected giving maximum time to be accustomed to before the next rank freeze. The current Starcraft 2 season, Season 2, will come to a close on Tuesday morning at 8AM EST to prepare for the launch of Season 3 on the morning of Tuesday the 19th of July.


But Kerrigan only has wings in Zerg form.

(Image from Blizzard)

The third season will bring four new maps to the one-on-one map pool with the 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 getting two new maps each. The one-on-one map pool refresh contains one long-game focused map, one quick-rush focused map, and two neutral-length maps. Blizzard is focusing on destructible debris in most of their maps as a method of directing early and late-game flow similar to Season 2 rather than the somewhat rare usage in the initial release. If you are looking to poke into that next league you would be advised to play your heart out in the next couple of days as this season is about to end. Don’t fear the Reaper!

Source: Blizzard

Minecraft hits 1.7 release. Minecraft players hit TNT, not die.

Subject: General Tech | July 1, 2011 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: Minecraft

Videogames are not necessarily a medium about consuming. One advantage of videogames is that they are inherently a platform for creativity. You often see creativity happen haphazardly in terms of strategies and the “water-cooler moments” where an event happens and you just cannot help but discuss it. A second layer of creativity is when videogames support third-party content: you are allowed to modify the game as you desire and create your own game based around the other game. The third layer of creativity is when the game itself is mostly a platform for creativity. Minecraft falls under the vein of a “Spore”, a "Farmville", or a “Lego” where the player is less interested in accomplishing an objective than they are channeling their creativity. Now players of Minecraft have more options to express themselves as it advanced to version 1.7; or just end up piston around.


I’ve got a baaaaahahahahhhhhd feeling about this.

(Screenshot taken from Modacity Minecraft Server)

Changes for this version involve the addition of Pistons which allow you to move blocks, items, players, and mobs. There are two types of pistons: regular pistons which can push items, and slime-upgraded pistons which can push and pull items. Some possible usages include more inventive traps, flood gates, triggered stairs, and so forth. Another addition is that TNT must be lit on fire or triggered with a redstone circuit to allow players to remove potentially misplaced TNT by punching it. Fences can now also be stacked which is useful for those attempting to use them artistically or who just want a really tall fence. The last major change was the addition of shears to trim trees and sheep.

Check out these changes in action with Minecraft’s official 1.7 update video.

It's Friday for us Canadians; we'll let you have a holiday next week

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: friday

It is pretty quiet in the PC Perspective Forums today, probably because everyone is too busy reading up on Llano to post.  That means you should probably get any advice you need on overclocking your Athlon X2s and Phenom Black Edition processors as things are about to change.  With the new motherboards comes UEFI BIOSes which will probably prove to make overclocking easier but will bear no resemblance to the Phoenix and AMI BIOSes we are all used to. 

On the plus side The Trading Post is likely to get very busy over the next few months while people switch out parts.

Podcast #160 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1, OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2, Crysis 2 DX11 update, Llano preview and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: podcast, X1, Thinkpad, revodrive, ocz, nvidia, llano, Lenovo, Intel, dx11, crysis 2, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #160 - 6/30/2011

This week we talk about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2, Crysis 2 DX11 update, Llano preview and more!

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

The URL for the podcast is: - Share with your friends!

  • 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 57:49

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:45 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or
  4. and
  5. 0:02:16 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Review: Thin is In
  6. 0:03:08 Samsung Nexus S 4G Review: Google Bliss.
  7. 0:05:04 Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG
  8. 0:08:37 OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB PCIe SSD Review - Seriously Fast Storage
  9. 0:24:23 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:25:00 Crysis 2: DirectX 11 free update released
  11. 0:31:45 NVIDIA Releases GeForce GTX 580M and 570M, Brings Optimus to Hardcore Gaming Laptops
  12. 0:34:10 Badaboom, the once NVIDIA only transcoding accelerator, now works with Sandy Bridge
  13. 0:38:40 Llano's dance card is available, pick a date with your favourite new AMD APU tomorrow
  14. 0:41:05 Just Delivered: Cost effective AM3+ Boards.
  15. 0:42:30 Show and tell: Llano CPU and MB
  16. 0:44:26 Free games?
  17. 0:48:20 Quakecon Reminder -
  18. 0:50:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Bitcoins?  Ken is testing a LOT of GPUs for this!
    2. Jeremy: I guess I'll shout out to Might & Magic entertaining me for 25 SMEGGING YEARS!
    3. Josh: Eyefinity!  It is a lot of fun.  Surprising capabilities from many modern applications.  Even a lot of older ones...
    4. Allyn: RevoDrive 3!
  20. and
  21. 0:56:35 Closing



Intel's SATA controller problems didn't hurt their market share

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 11:49 AM |
Tagged: Intel, market share

No matter that AMD claimed to be "Ready, Willing and Stable" when the Cougar Point SATA problem was discovered, the market share numbers show that they were not.  Intel's market share grew in the first quarter by 1.6% from last quarter and a 25% increase in revenue when compared to the first quarter of 2010.  That is a bit of a surprise to many tech enthusiasts who expected a drop in market share for Intel or at the most a stable quarter.  It would seem likely that laptop sales, which for the most point avoided the bad SATA ports, helped as well as the various motherboard vendors quick assurance to customers that any and all bad boards would be replaced.  The Inquirer broke the news here.


You sure about that?

"CHIPMAKER Intel came out of its Sandy Bridge chipset recall smelling like a rose, managing to increase its share of the chip market in the first quarter of 2011.

Following the launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture at CES in January, the firm was left to announce the embarrassing recall of eight million or so Cougar Point chipsets after a bug was found in its SATA controller. At the time The INQUIRER said that Intel handled the recall well by taking a proactive approach, something that Isuppli's figures confirm."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Bumpday 6/29/2011: Cry Moar

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:55 PM |
Tagged: far cry, bumpday

This week Crytek released their DirectX 11 update to Crysis 2 and immediately hushed the crowing of all GPUs everywhere. We have gone through the various advancements in fairly great detail but that was not the first time our GPUs came Crying to us about the monster that goes Polybump in the night. No, our forums were aflame even before Crysis back when Far Cry was about to reach its Beta phase. I guess it is time to bump it up in our memory.



Back in early 2004 our forum-goers rallied around now defunct pre-beta screenshots of the best graphics they have ever seen… in 2004. People were surprised of the novelty of having mutant zombies in your game… in 2004. People were gathered to play with their fellow amdmb members… in 2004. People were gloating about how they cannot show what the beta looked like due to non-disclosure agreements… back in 2004. Of course we now know everything about Far Cry, its official sequel from another developer, and both of its spinoff sequels from its original developer. But obviously, what we know now we did not know then; let us nostalgia at the forum thread long since forgotten.


Source: PCPer Forums

Wish you CUDA had a GPGPU C++ template? Now you can!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 29, 2011 - 08:58 PM |
Tagged: gpgpu, CUDA

If you have seen our various news articles regarding how a GPU can be useful in many ways, and you are a developer yourself, you may be wondering how to get in on that action. Recently Microsoft showed off their competitor to OpenCL known as C++ AMP and AMD showed off some new tools designed to help developers of OpenCL. Everything was dead silent on the CUDA front at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, as expected, but that does not mean that no-one is helping people who do not mind being tied in to NVIDIA. An open-sourced project has been created to generate template file for programmers wishing to do some of their computation in CUDA and wish a helping hand setting up the framework.


You may think the videocard is backwards, but clearly its DVI heads are in front.

The project was started by Pavel Kartashev and is a Java application that accepts form input and generates CUDA code to be imported into your project. The application will help you generate the tedious skeleton code for defining variables and efficiently using the GPU architecture leaving you to program the actual process to be accomplished itself. The author apparently plans to create a Web-based version which should be quite easy with the Java-based nature of his application. Personally I would find myself more interested in the local application or a widget to leaving my web browser windows to reference material. That said, I am sure that someone would like this tool in their web browser, possibly more people than are like-minded with me.

If you are interested in contributing either financially or through labor he asks that you contact him through the email tied with his Paypal account (likely for spam reasons, so I can assume posting it here would be the opposite of helpful). The rest of us can sit back, enjoy our GPU-enabled applications, and bet on how long it will take NVIDIA to reach out to him. I got all next week.

Excited about an interview with the developers of the XCOM reboot? Your age is showing

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:58 AM |
Tagged: xcom, gaming, 2k games

With great fear and much hope, many of the 30+ gamers are awaiting 2K Games' reboot of the XCOM game.  The fear comes for the game being a first person shooter in the style of Mass Effect and not the proper turn based strategy game it once was.  However the developer that Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN interviewed, Jonathan Pelling, described a story line of invasion and alienation which might lend a different kind of depth to the series, something that has been lacking from more recent versions like UFO:Aftermath.  The trailer also implies that research will be important to the game, as you start to reverse-engineer alien technology, but let us hope it is more indepth than a scientist handing you a new gun before a mission.

In case you don't feel old enough remembering the original XCOM, RPS also points out that "The Might & Magic series is twenty-five years old."


"Recently we had a chance to look at 2K’s intriguing reboot of XCOM – and a full XCOM preview is coming up soon – but first there’s an interview which explains a bit about the world, and the intention to tell a story about the origin of the XCOM alien invasion in the setting of 1960s America.

In the depths of a bunker packed with strange humanoids that communicated almost entirely using the words “like”, “totally” and “hella” we spoke to something that claimed to be Jonathan Pelling, Creative Director at 2K Marin, developers of XCOM. Here’s what he had to say…"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:


Llano's dance card is available, pick a date with your favourite new AMD APU tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:29 AM |
Tagged: x79, release, llano, Intel, brazos, APU, amd

DigiTimes has announced that the 32nm Llano we've all be waiting for will be arriving tomorrow with the A75 chipset in tow.  A pair of A8s and a pair of A6's should be available for you over the next few weeks, with a refresh of less powerful A4 APUs set for the Fall/Winter of 2011.  The last quarter will also see AMD flesh out their lineups of A8 and A6 CPUs and the first arrival of the E-series for their Brazos platform. 

You'll have to wait a while longer for Scorpius, it is not scheduled to hit until the beginning of 2012, which means Intel's X79 chipset will be out along with a few new i3 and i5 models and even a new Celeron.



"CPU maker AMD is set to announce its latest 32nm A series APU codenamed Llano on June 30 with motherboard makers including Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI) all having announced products based on AMD's A75 chipset, according to sources from motherboard players.

In early July, AMD will initially supply its FM1-based A8-3850, A8-3800, A6-3650 and A6-3600 APUs with A6-3500, A4-3400, A4-3300, A8-3870, A8-3820, A6-3670 and A6-3620 APUs set for launch in the fourth quarter along with E2-3200. In September, AMD will also announce E-450 and E300 for its Brazos platform.

For the high-end Scorpius platform, AMD will announce the AM3+-based FX-8150, FX8100, FX6100 and FX4100 by the end of September with FX8170, FX8120, FX6120 and FX4140 set for the first quarter of 2012.

For chipsets, AMD will launch A75 (Hudson D3) and A55 (Hudson D2) together with its A series APU, and is set to launch a chipset codenamed Hudson D4 in February 2012.

On the other hand, Intel is also prepared to launch its high-end X79 chipset after September along with 11 upgraded CPUs including Core i5-2320, Core i3-2120T, Core i3-2130 and G540.

The sources pointed out that AMD is targeting Llano at the entry-level and mainstream markets, competing mainly against Intel's Core i3 and Pentium, while E-450 and E300 will target Intel's G440, 540 and 530 series."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Badaboom, the once NVIDIA only transcoding accelerator, now works with Sandy Bridge

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2011 - 11:34 AM |
Tagged: transcoding, quick sync video, nvidia, Intel, badaboom

When we first met Elemental Technologies Badaboom video transcoding accelerator it would only work with NVIDIA CPUs.  Ryan tested version 1.1 of the program, taking various movies and recorded TV and transcoding it into formats able to play on Blackberrys, iPhones, YouTube and a wide variety of other formats. 


The testing showed nice improvements when utilizing an NVIDA GPU and the ability to use multiple GPUs, each able to do their own transcoding simultaneously would help anyone who needed a couple of Blu-ray movies transferred to their mobile device in a hurry.  The quality of the transcoding was of high quality and Ryan did not see any of the issues that were present when using AMD's Avivo, as there is little point in quickly transcoding video if it ends up painful to watch.

We hadn't heard much else about Badaboom until today, when it was announce that version 2.0 will support Intel's new Quick Sync Video as well as NVIDIA's cards.  We don't have any benchmarks to show you how effective Sandy Bridge parts will be at accelerating transcoding but you can see the long list of pre-processing filters and learn a bit about Intel's media SDK on this page at Intel.


"Intel Quick Sync Video, built right into 2nd generation Intel Core processors, is breakthrough hardware acceleration that lets the user complete in minutes what used to take hours. Create DVDs or Blu-ray discs, cover video files for your media plater, and convert video for upload to your favorite social networking sites - all in a flash.

Badaboom uses Intel Quick Sync Video technology to transcode video files in just minutes. Why do videos need to be transcoded? In order for a video to play back on a device such as a smartphone or a tablet, it needs to be formatted to correct specifications. With so many different devices out there, odds are low a video from a camcorder will automatically play on all of them. That's where Badaboom comes in: it transcodes video files to play on hundreds of the most popular devices available today-and it does so quickly and easily."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: Intel

Windows 8 build leaked from D9 conference; screenshots.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 27, 2011 - 09:12 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, leak

Update: 6/28/2011 - One of our commenters suggested that the screenshots were fake. Upon looking at ZDNet's sources -- it appears as if at least the first screenshot is fake (the tile screen) as well as their onscreen keyboard (which we did not link to). The other screenshots we linked follow a completely different aesthetic to the other screenshots on the fake portfolio (shape and color of close button, for instance) so they in fact appear to be genuine. Fooled me. -Scott

So Windows 8 was shown off at the All Things Digital D9 conference and surprise it was leaked. Naturally Microsoft did not show all aspects of the Windows 8 build at the conference; they must leave some cards hidden that are either not yet ready or otherwise not designed to be shown. Ziff Davis got a hold of someone who either had a leaked build of Windows 8 or otherwise access to screenshots that Microsoft did not intend to show. And what good are screenshots that are not in a slideshow?

Care to take a spin around the leek?

So we start off with the well-known start overlay with the typical tiles including weather, calendar, Computer, email, and Internet Explorer. The next image makes us feel immediately guilty for exactly a half of a second. The new interface extends all the way to the installer where you read the EULA and enter your personalization information. The windowing look and feel has changed with Windows 8 at least temporarily exaggerating the close button and minimizing the, well, minimize and full screen buttons. The ribbon UI is also seen exploding all across the interface including the file browser. Installations, at least of Windows software, are more integrated into the operating system. Lastly, the task manager is getting a facelift which may or may not be a bad thing.

What do you think of the leaked build? What would you do differently if you were Microsoft? (Registration not required to comment.)

Source: Ziff Davis

Crysis 2: DirectX 11 free update released

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 27, 2011 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: dx11, crysis 2

Last Wednesday we reported on the announcement of the Crysis 2 DX11 patch and high resolution texture pack upcoming for the 27th of June. Looking at the calendar it appears as if your graphics card just ran out of time to rule the roost. Clocking in at 546 megabytes for the DirectX 11 update and 1695 megabytes for the high resolution texture pack the new updates are not small especially since that does not include the size of the 1.9 patch itself. The big question is whether these updates will push the limits of your computer, and if so, is it worth it?


Can you run me now? … Hello?

VR-Zone benchmarked the new updates on an Intel Core i7-965 system paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580. We believe they accidentally mislabeled their Extreme Quality benchmark with their Ultra Quality benchmark as the ultra is the more intensive of the two settings; also, ultra should have the biggest difference between DX9 and DX11 settings as DX11 effects are not enabled at the extreme settings. ((Update: 6/28/2011 - That's exactly what happened. VR-Zone fixed it; it is correct now.)) Under that assumption you are looking at approximately 40 FPS for a 1080p experience with that test system and all the eye-candy enabled. That is a drop of approximately 33% from its usual 60 FPS under extreme settings.

But how does it look? Read on for all of that detail.

Source: VR-Zone

If you are going to get a discreet sound card then go all out with the ASUS Xonar Xense kit

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2011 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: xonar, xense, audio, asus

The ASUS Xonar Xense Premium Gaming Audio Set is more than just a soundcard you pick up to take a bit of load off of your CPU, it is an audiophile class sound card with replacable op-amps.  The list of supported technology reads like a sound techs dream, Dolby Headphone, Dolby Prologic IIx, Dolby Digital Live, Xonar GX2.5 and ASIO 2.0. and it can process up to 192kHz/24bit bit stream.  There is nothing minimalist about the software controls that come with the card, you have significantly more control over your audio than with just about any other sound card and the screenshots that Think Computers posted show a fairly intuitive interface.  The only potential drawback is the Sennheiser PC350 Xense headset that the card ships with, which Think Computers was not overly impressed with. 


"When you first see the ASUS Xonar Xense’s EMI shield, you get a sense that this isn’t anordinary soundcard. The non-ironic conclusion is, you’re right. ASUS has put together another great soundcard and bundled it with a great pair of headphones, the Sennheiser PC350 Xense Edition. The Xonar Xense offers a myriad of inputs and outputs, and can chug out high definition audio up to 192kHz/24bit without breaking a sweat. It easily is one of the coolest pieces of hardware you can add to your rig. Need more convincing? Continue reading to check out all of the details of the ASUS Xonar Xense."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Linux has been having power management problems and this is why

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2011 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: linux, ASPM, battery

The recent release of the 2.6.38 Linux kernel has lead to many complaints from mobile users who find their battery life noticably reduced.  Phoronix noticed the issue a while back but until now had not completed enough investigation to be able to pinpoint the cause.  With the arrival of a power monitor they are now willing to point a finger at Active-State Power Management for PCI Express and BIOS compatibility as the cause.  While the desktop users enjoy an increase in speed in certain applications that require their PCIe lanes to be going full out, mobile users notice the drain on the battery as the PCIe lanes take as much power as they can whether they need it or not.  For mobile users whose top priority is power savings, it is recommended that you stick with a pre-2.6.35 kernel as there are also power issues related to that build.  Phoronix does offer a possible solution for some users in their article if you do need to use the latest build.


"Mobile users are urged to seriously consider these results, and possibly even avoid the Natty Narwhal...I hate to say it, especially in an Ubuntu review, but the mobile edge goes to Windows for now...There are also compelling reasons for folks to avoid [Ubuntu 11.04] at all costs. Linux gamers should see substantial improvements, while mobile users suffer a dramatic loss in battery life," were among the critical comments that Tom's Hardware had in their Ubuntu 11.04 review as they were referencing the power regressions I discovered nearly two months ago within the mainline Linux kernel. As I mentioned on Sunday, the Phoronix Test Suite stack and I have now nailed this major power regression in the Linux 2.6.38 kernel that is affecting a significant number of mobile Linux users. Here is what is happening and a way that you should be able to workaround the serious regression should it affect your computer system(s)."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix

So... looks like Mozilla is a home-user company. Yep.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 25, 2011 - 02:09 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, enterprise

For enterprise users looking to introduce Firefox to their business: you may wish to reconsider. Businesses are notorious for being substantially behind in version numbers, occasionally (or a lot) trading even security for compatibility. Mozilla had a staggered release schedule: a minor version number was little more than a security update; a major version number was a fairly-large overhaul. Enterprise users were able to upgrade minor version numbers and be reasonably assured that compatibility would be maintained. There were no such assurances for a major version number, thus requiring rigorous testing before applying. Mozilla has ended their policy of supporting back versions with security updates and are also moving between full versions much more rapidly, causing dissension amongst enterprise users.


Moving the world forward, not backwards, and always twirling towards freedom.

Ed Bott took the opportunity to prod Mozilla during his Thursday evening column. He contends that shutting out enterprise will assist in the impending implosion of Firefox and allow Microsoft and Google to pick up the pieces. I seriously disagree with that statement and applaud Mozilla for staying focused on their goal. True, Mozilla will be vastly less attractive to the enterprise; however, if Microsoft did not have Windows and Office to push with Internet Explorer, would search ad revenue and donations cover the long-term development cost incurred supporting enterprise users? And really, I would have thought Ed Bott of all people (ok, except maybe Paul Thurrott) would respect a company that can make a decision like Mozilla just did and stick by it after covering Microsoft for so long.

Source: ZDNet

Thankfully John Isner and Nicolas Mahut's match is not still going

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2011 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: friday, forum, eliza effect

Upgrading anything on your PC is great fun but it can also invites great pain into your life as you give the sadistic side of your 'puter a chance to mess with your head.  Even if the upgrade is external, your internet connection for instance, there is still a chance that somewhere, somehow, the PC will find a way to make you miserable.  Here in the the PC Perspective Forums, we don't see this as a reason to leave forehead prints in your desk, we consider it a learning experience, and we do it to ourselves on purpose ... or possibly accidentally?  It is not just PCs ether, our mobile devices are getting smart enough to mess with us as well and the customer support can be worse. 

If you are looking for something more than jsut sharing tech advice, you can blow people away or blow their arguments away.  If you are feeling more altruistic you can Fold@Home and try to save lives or pick up a BOINC project or 12 and contribute to our scientific knowledge.  Then again if you want to be entertained while you learn, we didn't quite make the length of a double podcast but Epsiode 159 of the PC Perspective Podcast runs 1:27:10.



Intel learns from Sandy Bridge mistakes, but is it enough?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | June 24, 2011 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: linux, Ivy Bridge, Intel

Back when Sandy Bridge launched, Intel had some difficulty with Linux compatibility due to their support software not being available long enough ahead of launch for distribution developers to roll it in to their releases. As a result, users purchasing Sandy Bridge hardware would be in for a frolic in the third-party repositories unless they wished to wait four or five months for their distributions to release their next major version. This time Intel is pushing code out much earlier though questions still remain if they will fully make Ubuntu’s 11.10 release.


You mean there's Intel... inside me?

Intel came down hard on themselves for their Sandy Bridge support. Jesse Barnes, an open-source Linux developer at Intel, posted on the Phoronix Forums his thoughts on the Sandy Bridge Linux issue:

"No, this is our job, and we blew it for Sandy Bridge. We're supposed to do development well ahead of product release, and make sure distros include the necessary code to get things working … Fortunately we've learned from this and are giving ourselves more time and planning better for Sandy Bridge's successor, Ivy Bridge."

Now, six months later as support for Ivy Bridge is getting released and rolled into their necessary places, Intel appears to be more successful than last time. Much of the code that Intel needs to release for Ivy Bridge is already available and rolled in to the Linux 3.0 kernel. A few features missed the deadline and must be rolled in to Linux 3.1 kernel. While Phoronix believes that Fedora 16 will still be able to roll in support in time it is possible that Ubuntu 11.10 may not unless the back-port the changes to their distribution. That is obviously not something Intel would like to see happen given all their extra effort of recent.

Source: Phoronix

What an odd time to be a .NET programmer

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: .net, longhorn, microsoft, windows, winfx

Way back in the beginning of the 00's, before Win7 was Win7, Microsoft announced the development of a new OS that was named Longhorn.  This was an ambitious plan to move from the old Win32 programming interface to a newcomer called .NET which Microsoft had designed to be an alternative to both Win32 and VisualBasic.  There would still be backwards compatiblity with Win32 apps but no more extensions to the API would be created.  Of course as we know this project never saw the light of day and Win7 remained dependant on the two old, if familiar APIs.

As if that was not bad enough for those programmers who chose .NET for their specialty, a few weeks ago Microsoft gave them another kick when they announced the upcoming Windows 8 OS will utilize HTML5 and JavaScript, not .NET nor even the old pair that programmers are familiar with.  This was not well recieved by those who had spent significant time and money becoming adept programming .NET applications.

Now, in a move that is hard to judge if it is a mean trick or an honest attempt to placate the hoards of fuming .NET programmers, Microsoft has announced that Longhorn is not dead; it was just resting.  Windows 8 will ship with a pair of runtimes, .NET 4.5, and a C++ implemention which will be called WinRT and do everything Win32 could do and more and will work with the new user interface design tool they're calling DirectUI.  Even Silverlight is being integrated into the APIs, which means all that training in Microsoft programming may pay off in the end.  Drop by Ars Technica and decide if this is bull or not.


"Early this month, Microsoft dropped something of a bombshell on Windows developers: the new Windows 8 touch-friendly immersive style would use a developer platform not based on .NET, which Microsoft has been championing for the past decade. Instead, it would use HTML5 and JavaScript. Since then, the company has refrained from making any further comment on the issue. In particular, the question that has many Windows developers particularly concerned—how can I make use of my existing skills and experience when developing these new applications?—remains unanswered; the company plans to reveal nothing until its BUILD conference in September."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

Meet the Medic, Uber Update, and TF2 itself are freed

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 11:13 PM |
Tagged: valve, tf2, free to play

All week long Valve has been teasing about their largest content update to date with 8 of the 9 classes getting one to three items each and a new map for the expanded mayhem to rage on. Their tease wrapped up today with the release of a 4 minute cinematic trailer for the game, “Meet the Medic”, which is the first released in over two years. Meet the Medic displays the gruesome and dark nature of the character and shows the historical inception of the Ubercharge to the Team Fortress universe. If you wish to experience the new content but do not own Team Fortress 2 you can simply fire up Steam and get it, forever; Valve has decided to release it for free.



Yes, it is. While Steam sales of days past have placed the price of the game as close to the free territory that a game could reasonably be, Valve has decided to outright waive the entry cost for the game in lieu of optional item micro-transactions. Last September during the Mann-Conomy Update, Valve inserted a system where users can purchase official and community-created content (the creators of each mod receive commission from said transactions) as an alternative of earning it through achievements or receiving them randomly in “drops” as an incentive to play the game. Valve decided that for the length of the game being on the market and for the volume of sales from the item purchase system that it would be no longer necessary to collect money from the game itself.


But… shouldn’t he be holding two pistols?

So with the update today: load up your Steam, even if you never had purchased Team Fortress 2 before, and go practice medicine. Do go harm.

Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel

Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.

The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"


Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy

The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.

You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.

Source: EE Times