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Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 11:42 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, thailand, flooding, western digital, Samsung
According to SemiAccurate both Western Digital and Samsung will cease shipping hard drives to suppliers and retailers because of the devastating flooding in Thailand. Both companies need to find a new source for head stacks and drive motors and Western Digital will need temporary manufacturing facilities while they wait for the flood waters to recede and repairs to start on their damaged factory. Expect to see this have large effects on the industry as major suppliers like Dell, Acer, ASUS and HP do not tend to keep large supplies of hard drives lying around in storage which means that only the models with SSDs inside will be able to be manufactured and shipped out. That reduction in production in turn will effect motherboard, GPU and CPU manufacturers as the demand for their products drop. While you will not convince the 11,000+ Thai people who have been displaced by the flooding that the fate of Western Digital's factory is the biggest impact of this disaster, for many in the western world it is the only reason they are paying attention to this story.
"According to sources that we have spoken with in the Taiwanese market both Samsung and Western Digital have decided to suspend shipments of disk drives to PC makers in Taiwan due to a parts shortage."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- VIA suffers continued net loss in 3Q11 @ DigiTimes
- Real iPad 3 reportedly to launch in 3Q12 @ DigiTimes
- Japanese supercomputer breaks the world record @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 03:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mobile, lending, kindle, ebook. book, devices
Amazon has launched a new service to augment its existing Amazon Prime subscription service this week that is sure to please ebook fans who happen to own a Kindle e-Reader. The new service dubbed the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library adds a free ebook renting option for Kindle devices.
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a subscription service like the Amazon Prime Instant Video service, except that instead of videos, Amazon will let you rent one book from the lending library for free. And as long as you maintain the Prime membership, you can keep the book for as long as you need to finish it. Once you’re done, you are able to turn in the book and exchange it for another ebook. Another plus is that any highlighting and bookmarking done to the borrowed books will remain persistent across rentals, meaning if you ever re-borrow the book all of your markups will remain intact.
There are some caveats to the rental service, however. You may have noticed that I emphasized the term “lending library” when describing the service. I did this because (again, much like instant video rentals) the ebooks that you are allowed to rent will be from a smaller subset of the library of Kindle books that you are able to purchase outright. Amazon is looking to expand the library of books that you will be able to rent; however, in some respects book publishers can be more restrictive (and old fashioned) than members of the RIAA and MPAA are in allowing their content on subscription services. According to Tom’s Hardware, amazon is, in some cases, being required to buy a title outright from the publisher every time it is rented (!). The company has said that it is even going to these extremes to try and show publishers the benefits of incremental growth in audience and revenue that can be achieved with such a lending (subscription) service.
The other caveat is that Amazon is currently only offering free rentals to Prime members who own Kindles, meaning that users of the smartphone and Kindle PC applications are out of luck. Further, there are restrictions on the Prime accounts that are eligible. Naturally, a full Amazon Prime account is required, meaning that you must be the primary account holder to use this service. It is unclear at this point whether the discounted student versions of Prime will be able to use this service (I’ve hear conflicting reports where some are saying they’ve gotten it to worth and some people have reported that it is not working for them).
Despite the caveats listed above, should Amazon’s subscription service be a success (I think it will be), it will likely entice other platforms to adopt similar subscription services. Once Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Amazon all integrate some sort of subscription services, book publishers will (hopefully) be forced to make more content available. For now though, the Amazon juggernaut will have to brute force it’s way into a decent subscription library. If you are curious about the titles offered, you can see the selection here. There are a few top 100 bestseller books as well, and the library can only grow from here. Will you be checking out the new rental system with your Kindle?
Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 3, 2011 - 08:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: layoffs, amd
We have been discussing AMD’s condition and future outlook over most of recent memory. Since the lawsuit versus Intel and the subsequent trying by the Big Blue Giant: AMD’s apparent jab-haymaker combo of lawsuit-Sempron to push heavily in the consumer market seems to have been mostly dodged and countered by Intel. While this last quarter has been positive there is little time for positive press; AMD has, today, removed 1400 employees from their company.
There was a time that AMD said they could beat anything Intel could throw at them.
That means that what AMD is releasing now is as-good or better than where they thought CPUs would be.
Food for thought.
It is not very uncommon to see layoffs during restructuring in the 10% range when a new CEO enters a company. The sad part of restructuring is that there is often little consideration about which employees comprise that 10%; rather, their job descriptions. These layoffs in isolation do not say much about AMD’s health in the upcoming time but should tint in one way or another how to perceive their upcoming actions. Where the future is positive or negative depends on how this ties into that.
Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2011 - 12:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, vector computing, exascale, APU
Chuck Moore, CTO of AMD's Technology Group, gave a talk this week about AMD's plans for the future of their architecture. As you might conjecture the focus was on the further integration of the CPU and GPU, with an eye on power consumption. The hurdle he feels will be the tallest is the bandwidth for passing data back and forth between the two processors and he sees 3D stacks of memory sitting between the main system memory, the GPU and the CPU. Once developed he feels that the stacks of memory should be able to increase the amount of available communication bandwidth to the point where tasks can be handed smoothly back and forth between the two processors depending on which is more effective at certain tasks. Performance is not everything however, when The Register quotes Moore when he discusses the power requirements of a mid-range exascale class machine costing $200 million just to power and cool over a year, you begin to see the importance of bringing down power consumption and heat production.
"Because Advanced Micro Devices has not yet announced its 16-core "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 processors, it has to talk about something, and in situations like that, it is best to talk about the far-off future. And so AMD rounded up a bunch of its partners on Wednesday in San Francisco for a shindig to talk about the challenges of exascale computing."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- JPR Reports Q3 Graphics Numbers @ SemiAccurate
- Western Digital and Samsung will not supply hard drives to Taiwan channels in November @ DigiTimes
- Facebook's "Open Compute" Server tested @ AnandTech
- HIS Desperate Upgrade GPU Competition @ XSReviews
- HiTechLegion Founder's Birthday Contest
Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2011 - 01:18 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming
The PC Gaming Alliance is not the most beloved industry body lately. The goals of the PC Gaming Alliance are to create an agency which addresses the issues with PC Gaming in an attempt to further it. What ultimately occurred was a stack of news stories chronicling who is no-longer a member of the PCGA for any given day and a series of jeers toward the group and the users of said platform. Occasionally they release studies -- like an upcoming one as announced on Intel’s software blog -- about a specification for cross-platform gaming.
United we stand, divided we prone.
Intel’s blog teased at the contents of a webinar that is scheduled to happen on the 9th:
During this webinar discussion we’ll be outlining a couple of key proposals that should not only help PC Gaming, but most other gaming ecosystems as well. A couple of the key trends we’re seeing in the research from the PC Gaming Alliance, and in discussions with Game Developers, is an increased desire to support and adopt various ‘Cloud gaming’ scenarios that are accessible across a wide spectrum of devices and displays. (aka. Compute Continuum, 3 screens, etc). This ‘Cloud Gaming’ movement is critical to comprehend in tandem with another key trend as games increasingly move towards a games-as-a-service (aka GAS) model. Due to the global popularity, massive install base, and extensibility of Personal Computers as gaming devices, the PCGA’s set of proposals will be largely targeted at addressing the PC Ecosystem.
What do you guys think of the upcoming webinar? What does Intel and the rest of the PCGA have in store for their specification?
Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 2, 2011 - 05:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: overclock, bulldozer, amd
Remember back in September when Ryan was all excited about seeing AMD exceed Intel with their Liquid Helium-cooled overclock? 8.429 GHz bulldozed past the 8.309 GHz record set upon Intel’s Celeron and all rejoiced at AMD’s 130 MHz triumph. Well out with the old and in with the new: there is a new overclocking king and it goes by the name of -- well it is also the AMD FX-8150. That is irrelevant, however, as the new record (if validated before someone beats it too) has become 8.461 GHz.
Someone’s the new king in town… the current king.
The new world record was set by Andre Yang, an overclocked from Taiwan, with an ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard. Benchmarks were not possible as when you get overclocking to this level: successfully running CPU-Z just to query the specifications of a CPU is generally considered sufficiently stable to be qualified as an overclock. Do not be surprised if SuperPi blows a hole through your chassis. It was not stated which method of cooling was used to allow the processor to reach those specifications.
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2011 - 04:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, pc exclusive, Mechwarrior, free to play
If you were a long-time PC gamer it is quite possible that some revision of Mechwarrior was installed to your C-drive at some point. If you are me, you likely had multiple of them. While the web of who owns what part of Mechwarrior and its larger Battletech universe is complicated to say the least, Smith and Tinker owns what Microsoft formerly acquired from FASA and is using it to make a new Mechwarrior game exclusively for the PC.
A ComStar faction should be an amusingly terrible idea.
Image from Piranha Games
The original announcement for Mechwarrior Online was quite different than where we are today. Mechwarrior Online, then called Mechwarrior, was scheduled for release on the Xbox 360 and Windows PC as a full retail game. That decision has since been overturned: Xbox 360 support has been dropped and the game is slated as a Free-To-Play PC release. Constant DLC is planned but free for players. The time-frame has also been shifted from 3015 to 3049 with each real day translating to a full day in game. You will also be able to select your Inner Sphere House when you launch and control over each planet is persistent. Like all free-to-play games, the ultimate question is how they plan to encourage their players to make small purchases leading to how successful the game will be when it is launched sometime in 2012.
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2011 - 03:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, battlefield 3, tweaks
[H]ard|OCP has been spending a lot of time looking at the same level of the Battlefield 3 single player game, in order to test the performance of 8 GPU setups. Three AMD cards and three NVIDIA cards were tested, with the top two cards also being tested in multiple GPU setups to show the current upper limits of performance. Before they started the testing they also put together a nice guide describing the various settings on the graphics page to ensure you understand what you are tweaking before you start. Gaming at 1920x1200 you can expect to not only get good performance on any of the cards they tested but also have quite a few of the eye candy options turned on. See the actual results at [H].
"Battlefield 3 was released last week to throngs of anxious, eager gamers. The PC version shows PC gamers some love with some awesome lights and DirectX 11 effects. In this article, we're looking at Single Player Campaign gameplay performance and image quality with 8 of the best video card solutions on the market right now."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- MechWarrior Online announced as free-to-play game for 2012 @ Ars Technica
- Battlefield 3 (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link DLC PC Review @ eTeknix
- Contemporary Graphics Accelerators in Might and Magic Heroes VI @ X-bit Labs
- Halloween Masterpiece: Fatal Frame 2 is the scariest game ever made @ Ars Technica
- PC Battlefield 3 multiplayer: the evolution of aggression @ Ars Technica
- Battlefield 3 Benchmarked: GPU & CPU Performance Test @ Techspot
- AMD Recommends Using Nvidia's FXAA in Battlefield 3 @ NGOHQ
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception @ HEXUS
- Crusader Kings II Beta @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- "Making Of" The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim trailer surfaces @ HEXUS
- The GTA V Trailer Features Cars, Guns @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Final BlizzCon 2011 Coverage @ Legit Reviews
- Into the Anomaly @ The Tech Report
- A Look at Frozenbyte's Trine 2 @ Techgage
- Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One @ HardwareHeaven
- The House of the Dead Overkill Extended Edition (PS3) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2011 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: A*STAR, hdd, STT-MRAM
A*STAR Data Storage Institute was in the news two weeks ago with the results of their experiment of doping hard drive storage medium with salt allows a 6 fold increase in storage density thanks to much tighter sputtering of magnetic grains on the platter. They are back in the news with another development in a different kind of storage medium altogether. With Micron partnering in the development they are working on a new type of resistive RAM, which will bring speeds better than you can get with flash and in a non-volatile form. The technology is referred to as spin transfer torque magnetic random access memory or STT-MRAM. Drop by The Register for a look at what they are up to, as well as what the competition is working on to bring us the next generation of NAND.
"NAND suppliers and technology developers are anticipating this by developing follow-on technologies centred around the idea of non-volatile, resistive RAM (RRAM), which is faster to access than flash and has a longer working life. There are a variety of ways of altering the resistance of a memory cell and Micron is entering into a joint research and development agreement with Singapore's A*STAR Data Storage Institute (DSI) to develop spin transfer torque magnetic random access memory or STT-MRAM."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Simple earphone repair saves a big chunk of cash @ Hack a Day
- AMD Bulldozer With GCC, Open64, LLVM/Clang Compilers @ Phoronix
- Critical Windows zero-day bug exploited by Duqu @ The Register
- Duracell 5 Hour Mobile Phone and MP3 Portable USB Charger @ kitguru
- The opposite of virtualization: Calxeda's new quad-core ARM part for cloud servers @ Ars Technica
- Here’s your flying car @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 01:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, earbuds, v-moda, vibrato remote headphones
It is hard to imagine just why you would need Kevlar reinforced cords on a pair of earphones, but that is exactly what V-MODA did with their Vibrato Remote Earphones. There is also no indication what is remote about the headphones, but that is enough attention paid to the marketing. Think Computers wanted to know how they sounded, not what the package said which is why the earphones were quickly out of the package and into their ear canals. One of the more noticeable features was the length of the cable, at a total of 45" you won't feel restricted while wearing the headphones. Another nice touch was the inclusion of a microphone on the volume control so that you can use the Vibratos with a cell phone or digital recorder. You'll have to read the full review to see if as much thought went into the audio quality.
"I only started using earphones or earbuds as many people call them a few years ago. So many people think that all earphones are the same and will use the ones that come with their device. I did that for quite some time before I tried a different set of earphones and since then I’ve been trying all different types of earphones. Today we have a set of earphones on the more expensive end coming in at $130. These zinc-alloy earphones feature 8mm V-MASQUE drivers, BLISS 3.0 (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) hybrid silicone fittings, Kevlar reinforced cables and a 24K gold plated plug. Le t’s check them out and see if they will be the next earphones you own."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- NoiseHush NX80 Stereo Headphones Review @ TechReviewSource
- SpeedLink Medusa NX 5.1 Headset Review @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Sirus 5.1 Headset @ Kitguru
- Corsair Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset @ kitguru
- Jabra SUPREME Bluetooth Headset Review @ Real World Labs
- Arctic Sound E461 Earphones @ reviewstash
- Tt eSPORTS Isurus In-Ear Gaming Headset Review @ HardwareHeaven
- KitSound Xdock iPhone / iPod Clock Radio Dock Review @ Tech-Reviews
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 12:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, netbook, tablet, ultrabook
ASUS seems to be sitting in a very nice place in the market, with several flavours of 'killer' products, so that which ever ends up winning the form factor battle ASUS will come out with a profit. In this high tech game of rock, paper, scissors we have The Ultrabook, with their newly released Zenbook, The Netbook, their Eee series being the best known and The Tablet, being that nice looking Eee Pad Transformer. They even still sell laptops for those who prefer to exercise their arms and core. Which ever form factor becomes dominant ASUS already has a model out now, with new ones on the way, which explains the 11% growth in profit they recorded this quarter.
One major benefit ASUS has with these smaller form factors is that they all use flash memory for long term storage. With the devastation hitting Thailand as flood waters cover homes and businesses, the tech world also watches the stocks of platter based HDDs plummet. In fact ASUS reported to The Inquirer that they expect to be out of hard drives by the end of the month. That will only effect the larger form factors, ASUS may still hit the 1.8 million tablets shipped target that they are aiming for by the end of 2011.
"ASUS managed a slight increase in profit for the third quarter of this year, despite the global slowdown in PC sales.
ASUS is still shipping notebooks, but has also been strong in netbooks and has launched its own fondleslab range, all siblings to its popular Eee PC netbook, led by the Eee Pad Transformer, but to eventually include the Eee Memo, Slider and Slate."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel 8-core server Atom gets a name and date @ SemiAccurate
- "Devil Robber" Trojan Infects Macs, Leeches Their GPUs for Bitcoin Profit @ DailyTech
- How to make sure your computer (and the internet) survives a nuclear holocaust @ ExtremeTech
- Google search and Gmail users can block advertisers @ The Inquirer
- Weekly Giveaway #14: BitFenix Outlaw Chassis @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 08:25 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, software, kal-el, hardware, Android
With Asus’ previous tablets being a success, the company has decided to push forward with four new tablets that are slated to debut next year. The new tablets will join the ranks of the Transformer and soon to be released Transformer Prime tablets under the Asus Eee Pad lineup. Of the four new devices, two tablets will be running Google’s Android OS (Operating System) while the remaining two tablets will run Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS.
The two tablets running Android are slated for release in the first quarter of 2012. While Asus has not released any specific hardware specifications, they will likely be powered by the quad core Nvidia Kal-El ARM processor like the upcoming Asus Transformer Prime (or the Kal-El’s successor).
On the other hand, quarter 3 of 2012 will see the release of two tablets running Windows 8. Interestingly, Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors are also supposed to launch in 2012, which would make for a nice match of technology. Whether we'll see Ivy Bridge powered tablets; however, will depend on how soon Ivy Bridge launches and how quickly Asus can turn around and roll out a product designed around it.
The marketing speak in the above slides indicates that at least the marketing department is excited about the prospect of what they have dubbed hero products. They are striving to win mind share and achieve a “perfect” product. Whether they will achieve that or not remains to be seen; however, having more Windows 8 tablets isn’t a bad thing! More information can be had here.
Are you still holding out for your “perfect” tablet, and if so what are you looking/waiting to see from a tablet?
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 04:15 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, gaming, fps, ea, bf3, battlefield 3
As many readers of the site will know, the PC Perspective guys have been a “bit” interested in EA’s latest multiplayer first person shooter (FPS) Battlefield 3. Ryan for one has been “testing” Battlefield 3 extensively since the game’s release as he admitted on the latest TWICH podcast.
According to EA, the PC Per staff are not the only ones to enjoy the game (despite some game issues; I’m looking at you Origin) as Battlefield 3 has sold a whopping 5 million copies. It seems as though Battlefield 3 has emerged from the battle against stability issues to win the war and be a successful release. Battlefield 3’s sales have also impressed Electronic Arts who claimed the 5 million copies have surpassed their “best expectations.” Unfortunately, they have yet to release the numbers (that I want to see) concerning the percentage of sales of the PC versus the consoles.
Another bit of positive BF3 news is that almost 99 % of the game stability issues have been fixed. M ore information on the game issues can be found here. Until next time, feel free to hit up the PCPER BF3 platoon and play with some fun people!
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 03:58 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: webOS, software, hp, hardware, computers
In a move by HP that is becoming less surprising by the day, the company has reconsidered (yet again) its position on WebOS and will be keeping WebOS hardware and software around for the foreseeable future (or at least until their next announcement).
Although several tech sites reported last week that WebOS would soon be getting a final nail in the coffin and abandoned by HP, Vice President (for the Personal Systems Group) Todd Bradley stated the exact opposite sentiment in an interview recently.
3 heads of a dragon all going different directions... sound familiar HP?
Specifically, Mr. Bradley appeared on the television show Bloomberg West to talk about the company’s plans to keep the PSG (Personal Systems Group) part of the company. When questioned about WebOS, he stated that the various reports on HP shutting down the WebOS division were “unfounded rumor(s).” He further stated that HP is in fact continuing to invest in WebOS software and WebOS hardware. You can see a video of the full interview here (fair warning: the video is set to auto-play on the site).
Speaking of WebOS, Best Buy has recently snagged Touchpads while HP itself has depleted its inventory. Unfortunately, Best Buy is only willing to sell the HP Touchpads to customers who also purchase a HP or Compaq laptop or All-In-One computer, at least if you want a reasonable price on the units. More information on that can be found over at Maximum PC.
Any bets on how soon it will be before HP changes directions yet again and I have to eat my words?
Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2011 - 06:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: zenbook, ux31, ultrabook, asus
Finally a reviewer has managed to get their hands on an Ultrabook; The Tech Report gives the low down on ASUS' Zenbook UX31 in their lateset article. It is every bit as pretty as the pictures implied and is not too bad looking on the inside with a Core i5-2557M, 4GB DDR3-1333 on Intel's QS67 chipset with a 128GB Adata XM11 SSD for storage with the 1600x900 TN display powered by the SandyBridge processors onboard graphics engine. Interestingly, The Tech Report finds its physical characteristics to match or beat the 13" Macbook Air, which costs $200 more so perhaps there is hope for this form factor. Throughout the review are the inevitable comparisons to Apple, who have already mastered this form factor, as well as mention of the soon to be available IvyBridge books which should be about half the price.
"The first 13" ultrabook from Asus looks extremely tantalizing on paper—not to mention visually. Is it as good as it seems, and is it worth the $1,099 asking price?"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP ProBook 4430s Review @ TechReviewSource
- ontemporary Netbook Platforms Comparison @ X-bit Labs
- Dell Vostro V131: A Budget Business Laptop @ AnandTech
- Asus Zenbook UX31 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Spire Cassi SP316PL @ CoD
- hermaltake Massive23 GT & Cooler Master NotePal U Stand Cooler @ kitguru
- Tablets of 2011: Holiday Season Update @ Techspot
- Rooting Sony PRS-T1 lets you get at the Android goodies @ Hack a Day
- HTC Titan Review: Windows Phone 7.5 on a Giant Screen @ techspot
- Samsung Galaxy SII Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Samsung Galaxy Fit Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Nokia Lumia 800 hands on @ The Inquirer
- Griffin Beacon Universal Remote for iPhone Review @MissingRemote
Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2011 - 11:57 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cortex, ARMv8, arm, 64bit
We've now some more detailed information on ARMs new 64 bit ARMv8 processor and its strengths and weaknesses. For the most part it resembles the 64 bit architecture that Intel and AMD use, an extended 32 bit architecture with several hold overs. Perhaps the most disappointing is that ARM has the same 48 bit limit to virtual address space that the competition has. If ARM had managed to overcome the limitations of canonical form addresses, they would have something that neither Intel nor AMD could bring to the server room. ARM desperately needs somthing to offer that the competition cannot if they are to convince admins to move from a familiar architecture to a brand new ARM architecture; power savings probably won't be enough. Drop by The Inquirer to read up on the improved exception levels and encryption acceleration of the new ARMv8 architecture.
"At the ARM TechCon conference in Santa Clara on Thursday, the top brass at ARM Holdings, the company that controls the core designs and licenses them to a slew of chip makers for modification in smartphones, tablets, and other embedded devices, showed off the new ARMv8 architecture. It's an incremental improvement over the current v7 architecture, just like the 64-bit extensions to the original 32-bit x86 processors from Intel and AMD were."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Quantum dots to revolutionize flat panel displays @ SemiAccurate
- Microsoft plans a commercial Kinect SDK next year @ The Inquirer
- Intel SNA Acceleration Architecture Continues To Mature @ Phoronix
- The Weight of an e-Book @ Slashdot
- The seed of something great: Acorn 3.1 reviewed @ Ars Technica
- Ubuntu 11.10: Xen vs. KVM vs. VirtualBox @ Phoronix
- LSI Purchase of SandForce - Our Discussion With VP Gary Smerdon @ The SSD Review
- The TR Podcast 99: New PC builds for a new Battlefield
Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2011 - 02:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, Portal 2, editor
Now do not get me wrong, I have no problems with complicated modding tools that give you nearly endless power over your creations: I just think this is cool. Valve has announced on their official Portal blog that they are soon releasing a simplified puzzle creator for their popular crate dating sim, “Portal 2”. Along with the new editor for the mod creators themselves, mod consumers will have an easier time acquiring the puzzles they desire through Valve’s Steam Cloud service. According to the screenshots released by Valve, the puzzle creator looks startlingly like something out of the Sims -- potentially introducing more people into videogame modifications as a whole.
Be honest… how many of you will search the item repository for cake?
Image from Valve Software
This news comes on the heels of free DLC released for Portal 2’s co-op mode earlier this month. As a part of the Steam Cloud integration, community features will allow you to follow certain mod developers that you find make levels that speak to you (like the companion cube) and keep up to date with their works. Unfortunately, with Valve, the duration between announcement and release could be Half of your Life so there is no guarantee when we will see the tools and features. If only they could give us our personal Jonathan Coulton bundled with the editor.
Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2011 - 05:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: software, pdf, open source, mozilla, firefox, browser
One of the most useful features in Google’s Chrome web browser is the built in PDF reader. It is a feature that I use almost every day, and although I keep an install of Firefox’s Aurora browser as a backup I have yet to return to using Firefox as my main browser since first checking out Chrome.
For now though, the team has released PDF.js as a browser extension for the open source browser. In addition to the extension download, the source code is available on GitHub for anyone to view and edit.
PDF.js displaying a Dell service manual in PDF format.
As it is now, the PDF.js add-on rather basic, but is definitely off to a good start. You are able to navigate by sections or page thumbnails accessible by a mouse-over pop-up menu on the left of the window. Along the top are buttons for previous and next page, navigating to a specific page, zooming in and out, downloading, printing, and searching the PDF document.
During some informal testing using a 94 page Dell service manual in PDF form, scrolling was smooth enough until hitting a new page upon which there was a bit of lag. Navigating to specific pages was rather quick, however.
The PDF reader is off to a good start and I may have one more reason to switch back to Mozilla’s browser soon enough. What do you guys and gals think about built in PDF support, is it something you find useful during your daily browsing? If you're interested in checking it out for yourself, the extension is available for download here. Simply download this "pdf.js.xpi" file and install it (choose the Firefox or Aurora executable for installation if Windows does not assign the .xpi extension to Firefox automatically) using Firefox. Now navigate to a PDF file on any webpage to have it automatically open using PDF.js.
Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2011 - 02:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zelda, starcraft 2, starcraft, mod
So you may be aware by now that PC gamers often like to mess with their game and customize it as they desire. Sometimes you even see the magical situation where one game gets grafted into another like a turducken you can play with. You do not play with your food, do you? Regardless of your eating habits it is perfectly reasonable to play with a videogame in your videogame and could be reasonable in the near future to play some Zelda in your Starcraft.
Technically a turducken would be a Portal Gun inside Link to the Past inside Starcraft…
The mod appears to have made quite a bit of progress judging by three of their released videos. According to what I can tell: multiplayer is being worked upon, soldiers are related to zerglings by death, and chickens are no longer the most deadly beings of the land. Unfortunately, being that Link and the soldiers are the only units with attacks right now (so it would seem) it suffers from classic Starcraft 2 issues: Terran imba.
What do you think?
A few months ago, there was talk coming from Hewlett-Packard regarding their Personal Systems Group, which is the OEM/PC Manufacturing aspect of the company. Management talked and seemed to decide that they would pull and IBM and sell off their PC division to become a services company. This plan was pushed by the (now) former CEO Leo Apotheker who came from a services background. The company stopped rolling out WebOS devices including the HP Touchpad, and was further considering getting rid of the whole PC division.
A surprising "whoops" emanated from HP today as the new CEO Meg Whitman reversed the previous plans to spin off the PC or Personal Systems Group division. According to Ars Technica, HP’s PSG isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The site quoted the new HP CEO in stating “it’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers, and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees.” She believes keeping the Personal Systems Group makes HP stronger.
Not only is HP keeping the OEM aspects of the company alive, they are planning on expanding their current lineup in the mobile space with, and you guessed it, an ultrabook of all things! While this is likely much to the chagrin of our own Jeremy Hellstrom who would rather have 2 X79 motherboards duct taped together than an ultrabook, consumers and fans of a certain other fruit flavored slim form factor computer will likely appreciate some more competition in the ultrabook space to bring down prices a bit.
HP’s Executive Vice President over the PSG, Todd Bradley, has been quoted by several sites in a conference call yesterday as saying an HP Ultrabook is coming very soon.
"We’re very focused on having a suite in that ultramobile space. And you’ll see that very soon."
-via Maximum PC
What do you think of this move? Does HP need a lesson in moderation in a time when they are either all on or all off on decisions (that are further flip flopping back and forth), or will jumping into the Ultrabook game be a good thing for the company?