Sennheiser's GSX 1000 7.1 USB DAC; audio the way it wants to play

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2018 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: audio, sennheiser, GSX 1000, DAC, 7.1

Sennheiser's GSX 1000 is an external USB 24-bit/96 kHz DAC, using Sennheiser's own 7.1 Binaural Rendering Engine with a headphone amp and a line-out port to connect to active speakers. The only difference between the GSX 1000 and the 1200 is that you will not be able to daisy chain multiple DACs together, a feature not many of us need.  TechPowerUp were more than impressed with the sound, but the DAC fell short of perfection as you cannot modify the preset equalizer choices nor disable the noise cancellation on the mic jack; both of which should be possible on an audio device of this price.

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"The Sennheiser GSX 1000 Audio Amplifier is a beautiful external USB sound card equipped with the best 7.1 virtual surround sound system we've heard so far, and a host of other interesting features primarily aimed towards hardcore gaming."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

LinkedIn and Microsoft find a way to help you need to find a new job ... in a hurry

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2018 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: résumé, microsoft, linkedin, bad idea, résumé assistant

It is so obvious that it is hard to believe Microsoft didn't do this years ago.  Obviously the best time and place to search for a new job is over your current employers network, using Microsoft Word.  Now you can, as Word and LinkedIn will now be joined at the hip.  Yes, that source of bizarre requests to connect with people you have essentially nothing in common with apart from the fact that you may have been employed at some time in your life is coming to O359!  It won't start out as annoyingly persistent as Clippy, it will be buried under the Review tab on your ribbon, but it will be there unless IT decides to block it. 

It is of course referred to as having an AI, to pop up those completely inappropriate job suggestions LinkedIn excels at, as well as scanning the résumés of others to offer you advice on how to best write about your qualifications.  Read more about Microsoft's $25 billion Résumé Assistant over at El Reg.

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"Microsoft has glued LinkedIn and Office 365's Word together so it can automatically help folks write or update their résumés – and find them new jobs at the same time."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Podcast #486 - AMD Mobile APUs, new Xeon-D processors, EPYC offerings from Dell, and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2018 - 11:21 AM |
Tagged: podcast, amd, raven ridge, 2500U, APU, Intel, xeon-d, dell, EPYC, vaunt, Tobii

PC Perspective Podcast #486 - 02/08/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including AMD Mobile APUs, new Xeon-D processors, EPYC offerings from Dell, and more!

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

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

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

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:16:53

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:12:15 Alex: Terraria
  4. Closing/outro
 

Valve Supporting AMD's GPU-Powered TrueAudio Next In Latest Steam Audio Beta

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 7, 2018 - 09:02 PM |
Tagged: VR, trueaudio next, TrueAudio, steam audio, amd

Valve has announced support for AMD's TrueAudio Next technology in its Steam Audio SDK for developers. The partnership will allow game and VR application developers to reserve a portion of a GCN-based GPU's compute units for audio processing and increase the quality and quantity of audio sources as a result. AMD's OpenCL-based TrueAudio Next technology can run CPUs as well but it's strength is in the ability to run on a dedicated portion of the GPU to improve both frame times and audio quality since threads are not competing for the same GPU resources during complex scenes and the GPU can process complex audio scenes and convolutions much more efficiently than a CPU (especially as the number of sources and impulse responses increase) respectively.

AMD True Audio Next In Steam Audio.jpg

Steam Audio's TrueAudio Next integration is being positioned as an option for developers and the answer to increasing the level of immersion in virtual reality games and applications. While TrueAudio Next is not using ray tracing for audio, it is physics-based and can be used to great effect to create realistic scenes with large numbers of direct and indirect audio sources, ambisonics, increased impulse response lengths, echoes, reflections, reverb, frequency equalization, and HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) 3D audio. According to Valve indirect audio from multiple sources with convolution reverb is one of the most computationally intensive parts of Steam Audio, and TAN is able to handle it much more efficiently and accurately without affecting GPU frame times and freeing the CPU up for additional physics and AI tasks which it is much better at anyway. Convolution is a way of modeling and filtering audio to create effects such as echoes and reverb. In the case of indirect audio, Steam Audio uses ray tracing to generate an impulse response (it measures the distance and path audio would travel from source to listener) and then convolution is used to generate a reverb effect which, while very accurate, can be quite computationally intensive with it requiring hundreds of thousands of sound samples. Ambisonics further represent the directional nature of indirect sound which helps to improve positional audio and the immersion factor as sounds are more real-world modeled.

GPU Convolution Performance versus CPU.png

GPU versus CPU convolution (audio filtering) performance. Lower is better.

In addition to the ability of developers to dedicate a portion (up to 20 to 25%) of a GPU's compute units to audio processing, developers can enable/disable TrueAudio processing including the level of acoustic complexity and detail on a scene-by-scene basis. Currently it appears that Unity, FMOD Studio, and C API engines can hook into Steam Audio and the TrueAudio Next features, but it remains up to developers to use the features and integrate them into their games.

Note that GPU-based TrueAudio Next requires a GCN-based graphics card of the RX 470, RX 480, RX 570, RX 580, R9 Fury, R9 Fury X, Radeon Pro Duo, RX Vega 56, and RX Vega 64 variety in order to work, so that is a limiting factor in adoption much like the various hair and facial tech is for AMD and NVIDIA on the visual side of things where the question of is the target market large enough to encourage developers to put in the time and effort to enable X optional feature arises.

I do not pretend to be an audio engineer, nor do I play a GPU programmer on TV but more options are always good and I hope that developers take advantage of the resource reservation and GPU compute convolution algorithms of TrueAudio Next to further the immersion factor of audio as much as they have the visual side of things. As VR continues to become more relevant I think that developers will have to start putting more emphasis on accurate and detailed audio and that's a good thing for an aspect of gaming that has seemingly taken a backseat since Windows Vista. 

What are your thoughts on the state of audio in gaming and Steam Audio's new TrueAudio Next integration?

Also read:

Source: Valve

Dell's Epyc package

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2018 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: amd, dell, EPYC, R6415, R7415, R7425

Dell has released three new PowerEdge server models, all powered by one or two of AMD's new EPYC chips.  The R6415 is a single socket, 1U server which supports 1TB of RAM, though The Register does point to a PR slide that implies 2TB might be achievable.  The R7415 is larger at 2U because it can hold up to 12 SAS/SATA/NVMe + 12 NVMe drives or up to 14 3.5" drives.  Last up is the dual socket R7425 with either 32 SATA/SAS drives or 24 NVMe flash drives and up to 4TB of RAM.  Check out more specs at The Register.

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"There are three PowerEdge AMD-powered servers: the R6415, R7415, and R7425. These accompany the PowerEdge 14G R640 and R740 Xeon SP servers in the Round Rock company's server portfolio, and they inherit general PowerEdge management and feature goodness."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Intel flaunts their Vaunt and its fricking laser beams

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2018 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: Intel, vaunt, AR

Intel recently showed off a prototype of their Vaunt smart glasses, which have a significant advantage over Google's failed Glass, no visible camera.   Instead these glasses fire a laser into your eyeholes, something you usually are told to avoid but in this case should be perfectly safe.  The laser projects small monochrome images or text at the bottom of your field of vision, which does not interfere with your line of sight and is mostly invisible until you look down.  So far the amount of information able to be displayed is limited on the prototype and it is a long way off of hitting the market so you should expect changes.  If you have some sort of minor vision problem, The Inquirer assures us that you will still be able to see the information the Vaunt displays.

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"Instead, the Vaunt glasses use a low-powered class one laser to project a monochrome 400x150 resolution image on to the retina of your eye. Yeah, if you find eyes queasy you might want to get yourself a cup of tea."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft Launches Cheaper Surface Book and Surface Laptop

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2018 - 12:46 AM |
Tagged: surface laptop, surface book, surface, microsoft

Microsoft is introducing lower-end versions of its Surface Book 2 and Surface Laptop thin and lights in a very good news/bad news way. The good news is that customers will not have to give up much in the way of specifications, but the bad news being that these new SKUs are not much cheaper than their predecessors as a result. If you were hoping for a budget Surface Book, this is not the device you are looking for.

Tech Report reports that Microsoft is now offering a Surface Book 2 with the same Core i5 7300U (dual core with Hyperthreading) and 8GB base RAM as the exiting i5 model, but with half the storage at 128 GB. All other specifications remain the same including the 13.5” 3000x2000 resolution display, 23mm thick chassis with 2-in-1 folding hinge, and the same USB 3.1 Gen 1, headphone, SD card, and Surface Dock I/O ports. The new “budget” model starts at $1,199 which is $300 cheaper than the i5 7300U model with 256 GB storage. Not bad considering you are only giving up storage space but still priced at a premium.

Microsoft Surface Laptop.jpg

In addition to the Surface Book 2, Microsoft is also adding a cheaper Surface Laptop which cuts the cost to entry to $799. Customers will have to settle for the silver version however, as that is currently the only color option at that price point. Performance as well as storage take a hit on this cost-cutting endeavor as well with the previous Core i5 base CPU (2c/4t up to 3.1 GHz) replaced with a Core m3-7Y30 (2c/4t up to 2.6 GHz). The new budget model further includes 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. Fortunately, the 13.5” 2256x1504 touchscreen display remains the same. The price difference between the Core m3 SKU and the previously base Core i5 7200U SKU is only $200 and you are giving up more than storage this time to get there.

It appears the Surface Laptop still comes with Windows 10 S while the Surface Book 2 comes with Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft provides 1-year warranties on these machines.

Are the new lower-cost versions enough to get you to buy into the Surface and Windows 10 ecosystem? 

Also read:

Source: Tech Report

Windows S is now just an awkward phase which your PC can grow out of

Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2018 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: windows s, windows 10, microsoft

Microsoft is changing how they will distribute Windows S, their Chrome-like locked down OS.  It will now become an option on all Windows 10 installations, allowing you to enable it if you feel the need to set up a computer which can only run apps from the Microsoft Store and only surf via Edge.  The Inquirer cites an interesting fact, 83% of users who do not disable Windows S mode in the first week remain with that OS permanently.  Perhaps they don't know any better, or perhaps they were one of those who were satisfied with the original Surface's Windows RT?

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"Now, the company has confirmed that it will instead offer an "S Mode" on standard versions of Windows 10 instead, locking the machine down to a walled garden of apps from the Microsoft Store, and blocking traditional Win32 programs. And, of course, restricting you to using bloody Edge browser. "

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Ripping out cryptocurrency with AMD's 1950X

Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2018 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: cryptocurrency, amd, Threadripper, 1950x

For the next little while at least, you should be able to pay off the purchase of a Threadripper 1950X by mining with it.  [H]ard|OCP did some testing using Monero and found that Threadripper is quite efficient at mining.  When mining full tilt the system, including a GTX 1080, used only 335W which could keep your energy bill somewhat lower than alternative systems.  Of course, with Bitcoin's value wobbling drunkenly might want to move quickly ... or skip it altogether.

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"If you could have your AMD Ryzen Threadripper pay for itself over time, would you? No matter your feelings towards cryptocurrency mining, you can get your Threadripper mining today, and paying for itself. The process could not be much easier either. The big kicker is the actual wattage load on your system is likely much less than you would guess."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Tobii Eye Tracking Showed Impressive VR Headset Integration at CES

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 05:53 PM |
Tagged: VR, virtual reality, Tobii, htc vive, eye tracking, CES 2018, CES

Last month in Tobii's suite at CES I was given a demonstration of a prototype VR headset that looked like any other HTC Vive - except for the ring of Tobii eye-tracking sensors inside and around each lens. While this might seem like a bit of an odd concept at first I was patient as the benefits were explained to me, and then blown away when I actually tried it myself.

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As you know, if you have used a VR headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, the basic mechanics of VR interaction involve pointing your head in the direction you want to look, reaching with your hand (and controller) to point to an object, and then pressing a button on the controller to act. I will be completely honest here: I don't like it. After a little while the fatigue and general unnatural feeling of rapid, bird-like head movements kills whatever enthusiasm I might have for the experience, and I was the last person to give high praise to a new VR product. HOWEVER, I will attempt to explain why simply adding eye tracking actually made the entire experience 1000 times better (for me, anyway).

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When I put on the prototype headset, the only setup I had to do was quickly follow a dot in my field of vision as it moved up/down/left/right, like a vision test for a driver's license. That's the entire calibration process, and with that out of the way I was suddenly able to look around without moving my head, which made the head movements when they followed feel completely natural. I would instinctively look up, or to the side, with my head following when I decided to focus attention on that area. The amount of physical head movements was reduced to normal, human levels, which alone prevented me from feeling sick after a few minutes. Of course, this was not the only demonstrated feature of the integrated eye-tracking, and if you are familiar with Tobii you will know what's next.

Demo_01.jpg

This looks primitive, but it was an effective demo of the eye-tracking integration

The ability of the headset to know exactly where you are looking allows you to aim based on your line of sight if the game implements it, and I tried some target practice (throwing rocks at glass bottles in the demo world) and it felt completely natural. After launching a few rocks at distant bottles I instantly decided that this should be the mechanic of fantastic VR football video game - that I could throw at different receivers just by looking them down.

I also received a demo of simulated AR integration (still within the VR world), and a demo of what eye-tracking adds to a home theater experience - and it was pretty convincing. I could scroll around and select movie titles from an interface by simply looking around, and within the VR world it was as if I was looking up at a big projection screen. Throughout the different demos I kept thinking about how much more natural everything felt when I wasn't constantly moving my head around and pointing at things with my controller.

AR.jpg

Finally, there was another side to everything I experienced - and it might have been the most interesting thing from a PC enthusiast perspective: if the VR headset can track your focus, the GPU doesn't have to render anything else at full resolution. That alone could make this something of a breakthrough addition to the current VR headset space, as performance is very expensive (even before the mining craze) and absolutely necessary for a smooth, high frame-rate experience. After 45 minutes with the headset on, I felt totally fine - and that was a change.

So what is the takeaway from all this? I'm just an editor who had a meeting with Tobii at CES, and I walked out of the meeting with a couple of business cards and nothing else. I admit that I am a VR skeptic who went into the meeting with no expectations. And I still left thinking it was the best product I saw at the show.

More information and media about the CES demos are available from Tobii on their CES blog post.

Source: Tobii

It's about damn time; Windows Defender will start removing those bloody registry cleaners

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: registry cleaner, windows 10, microsoft, windows defender, crapware

Have you experienced the sheer frustration of explaining to a friend or family member that the reason their machine slowed down somewhat and is generating popups at a fearsome rate is because of the crapware they downloaded and not your ministrations?  Convincing someone who installed a registry cleaner or supposed driver update tool that that software is the root of their suffering can be as profitable as arguing with a brick wall that it is mostly empty space and thus you should be able to walk through it; in other words an exercise in futility.  Come March, Windows Defender will remove many of the more questionable ones automatically, though The Inquirer suggests some of the more innocuous ones may remain.

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"We've all been there - warnings of out of date drivers, thousands of registry errors, and usually with a message claiming "we'll fix 30 for free, then you pay". Most of it is utter twaddle and won't affect your computing experience at all. In fact, in a lot of cases, they do more harm than good."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #485 - Intel and AMD Earnings, Samsung Z-NAND, GDDR6 and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: Z-NAND, western digital, supernova, ssd, Samsung, podcast, NVMe, K68, Intel, evga, earnings, corsair, amd, 760p

PC Perspective Podcast #485 - 02/01/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including Intel and AMD Earnings, Samsung Z-NAND, GDDR6 and more!

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

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

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:23:43

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:11:15 Ryan: APC 1500VA UPS
  4. Closing/outro
 

Seagate Announces Quarterly Earnings for Q2 FY2018

Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 1, 2018 - 03:07 AM |
Tagged: Seagate, quarterly earnings, Hard Drive, financial results, enterprise

Seagate Technology has announced its quarterly earnings for the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 (the quarter ending 12/29/2017). The Cupertino-based company has reported quarterly revenue of $2.9 billion, net income of $159 million, and diluted EPS of 55 cents. On a Non-GAAP reporting basis, Seagate saw Q2 FY2018 net income of $431 million and earnings per share of $1.48.

Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB.jpg

Seagate's revenue remained flat year-over-year, but increased 11.5% versus the previous quarter. Net income decreased 12% QOQ and 46% YoY using GAAP accounting methods, but on a non-GAAP basis Seagate reports a 54% increase versus the previous quarter and 4.6% increase versus the same quarter last year so it's not all bad news. The company is also managed to amass quite a bit of cash including $850 million from operations and $773 of free cash flow.

  Q2 FY2018 Q1 FY2018 Q2 FY2017 QOQ YoY
Revenue $2.9 billion $2.6 billion $2.9 billion +11.5% =
Net Income (GAAP) $159 million $181 million $297 million -12% -46%
Diluted Earnings Per Share (GAAP) 0.55 0.62 1.00 -11.5% -45%
Net Income (Non-GAAP) $431 million $279 million $412 million +54% +4.6%
Diluted EPS (Non-GAAP) 1.48 0.96 1.38 +54% +7.2%

Seagate manufactures both mechanical hard drives and solid state drives, and while the company cranks out many internal and external drives for consumers, the company is very much focused on the enterprise market, especially where its solid state storage is concerned. Seagate states in its press release that it is heavily focused on cloud storage with its 60TB 3.5" SAS drive and NVMe add-in-card (which it demonstrated at FMS 2016). The company has partnered with Facebook to build its 1U Lightning storage solution (up to 120TB of flash storage using 60 2TB M.2 NVMe drives) and continues to target the enterprise and exascale/HPC markets with their absolutely massive and ever-growing data demands for big data analytics of financial and user data, uploaded and user-generated media, cloud backup, and research/simulation data for supercomputers. Further, the company continues to push mechanical enterprise storage to ever higher capacities with Barracuda Pro and also has its Ironwolf NAS and sequential-optimized Skyhawk drives for surveillance systems. On the flash storage front, Seagate has its Nytro M.2 NVMe and Nytro SAS SSDs.

Seagate Facebook Lightning JBOF System.jpg

Facebook's 1U Lightning JBOF System using 60 Seagate XM1440 M.2 SSDs.

I am interested to see where Seagate (STX) will go with its flash storage (Will they ever bring it to the consumer market in a big way? They do have a few products, but their focus seems to be mostly on enterprise.) and if they will manage to match or surpass Western Digital and Toshiba this year in the enterprise HDD capacity war. Currently, the company's Barracuda, IronWolf, and Exos drives top out at 12TB including the second generation Helium-sealed versions.

Also read:

Source: Seagate

Simply NUC Announces Dawson Canyon NUCs Powered By Kaby Lake R

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 12:44 AM |
Tagged: simply nuc, nuc, Dawson Canyon, 8th generation core, Intel, fanless, SFF

Intel partner Simply NUC has announced its new commercial NUC lineup powered by Kaby Lake R vPro processors. The lineup includes the NUC7i7DNKE thin chassis, NUC7i7DNHE with tall chassis and 2.5" drive support, the board-only NUC7i7DNBE, and NUC7i7DNFE which features a fanless design.

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The company's new Dawson Canyon NUCs are all based on the same 4" x 4" motherboard platform and the Intel Core i7 8650U vPro processor. Save for the taller model, the small form factor PCs share the same external I/O including four USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI 2.0 (4k@60Hz) video outputs, and an Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet port. Specifically, networking is handled by an Intel i219-LM Ethernet controller and Intel 8265 802.11ac wireless (2x2 at up to 867 Mbps) + Bluetooth 4.2. The wireless module comes pre-installed in all except the board only SKU where it is optional. At a minimum the Simply NUC PCs (except board only) come with a 4GB SODIMM for RAM and a 128GB M.2 SATA solid state drive. Before OS or any other upgrades, the NUC with active cooling chassis systems start at 709.95. Pricing for the board only NUC7i7DNBE and fanless NUC7i7DNFE has not yet been released but I would expect the board only SKU to go for around $550 and the fanless model to come in around $750.

Users can add their own hardware or configure them from Simply NUC with up to 32 GB of RAM, 2TB of NVMe PCI-E storage (for a more than pretty penny!), and an additional 2TB of 2.5" SATA hard drive storage on the NUC7i7DNHE model.

The Core i7 8650U used in these Dawson Canyon NUCs is a quad core Kaby Lake R processor with a 15W TDP that runs at a base clockspeed of 1.9 GHz and can boost to up to 4.2 GHz. It supports Intel's vPro and AMT management technologies, has 8MB of cache, and features Intel UHD Graphics 620 running at up to 1.15 GHz. 

The Dawson Canyon NUCs are available for pre-order now and are expected to ship as soon as March 2018 (though the Simply NUC website lists April 6th at time of publication). I am interested to see the fan-less model, but these machines seem very much targeted at the business and industrial markets rather than home PCs so expect to pay a premium for the small form factor if you are interested in them.

Source: Simply NUC

Western Digital Announces Second Quarter Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2018

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: western digital, quarterly earnings, financial results

Western Digital has reported its quarterly earnings for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2018 (the quarter ending 12/29/2017). The San Jose-based storage company reported revenue of $5.3 billion and an operating income of $955 million. Under GAAP reporting, Wester Digital is reporting a net loss of $823 million (-$2.78/share) which includes $1.6 billion tax charge resulting from Western Digital repatriating foreign assets under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Western Digital SSDs.jpg

Under non-GAAP reporting, Western Digital had operating income of $1.4 billion and net income of $1.2 billion ($3.95/share). The company is reporting 9% revenue growth year over year and 2% growth versus last quarter. Operating income increased 72% versus the same quarter last year and 3% compared to the previous quarter (Q1 FY2018). Using non-GAAP numbers, Wester Digital saw operating income increase 47% and net income increase 78% year-over-year. Versus Q1 FY2018, operating income stayed the same (1.4 billion) and net income increased 9%.

Western Digital announced a 50-cent per share cash dividend on January 16th. Western Digital has a positive outlook for following quarters now that it has resolved negotiations with Toshiba to secure flash production and withdrawn its litigations. The company stated that it is on track to sample MAMR hard drives in the second half of this year and is ramping up production of 96-layer BICS 3D NAND X4 flash later this year. Western Digital's positive numbers are reportedly heavily influenced by its performance in the enterprise market with its large capacity hard drives and the continued growth of its flash product stacks.

Also read:

GooBang drops a Doo on your desk, the ET-8178 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: unfortunate, GooBang, Doo ET-8178 RGB, gaming keyboard, mechanical keyboard, input, outemu

The unfortunately named GooBang Doo ET-8178 RGB is a mechanical keyboard which uses Outemu Blue switches which Kitguru discovered to be very similar in feel to Cherry Blue switches.  It ships without a numpad nor any software, the RGBs are controlled by function keys which allow you to swap between a half dozen modes.  The keyboard itself compares favourably to more familiar brands such as Corsair and Thermaltake but at around ~$50US it is significantly less expensive.  It currently seems to be limited in availability in NA, but worth investigating if you are on the other side of the pond.

Goo-Bang-Doo-RGB-Gaming-Keyboard-Review-on-KitGuru-Full-Width.jpg

"While there is no chance that the name is familiar to you, GooBang does have a number of products listed on Amazon and has been trading for at least a couple of years. The company’s web site itself is tragic, so we had no idea what to expect when offered the ‘Doo’ keyboard."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Kitguru

EA didn't announce a Battlefield game nor speak of post-launch monetisation

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: ea, battlefield, lootboxes, dice

EA mentioned a new Battlefield game in passing, during a presentation in which they described how delaying BioWare's Anthem to early 2019 is not a delay.  To make things even more unclear they replied to a question about lootboxes by describing "a need to tailor monetisation and content additions to each game" and not wanting to "bifurcate the community". That second comment seems to refer to the paid expansion DLC which EA has historically released for Battlefield games and implies we may not see that model used in this mysterious new, totally not announced, game.  Pop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for more prognostication.

EA-Logo.png

"Will it be set in the past, near-past, present, near-future, or future? Battlefield 5? Bad Company 3? Hardline 2? 1944? 2143? Hut hut! It’s all a big mystery for now. Assuming EA follow their traditional Battlefield behaviour, they’ll likely formally announce the game in May or June then release it in mid-to-late October."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Why won't anyone believe there really are subliminal messages corrupting young digital assistants?

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2018 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: siri, security, google, Alexa

Some of us are old enough to remember when certain parties were convinced there were subliminal messages in the music which kids listened to which they creatively blamed for a wide variety of behaviour.  This belief turned out to be as ridiculous as it sounds, though that doesn't stop it from recurring every couple of generations.  There is a somewhat similar and very real issue which The Register talks about here; using a deep neural net they were able to modify songs in such a way that digital assistants such as Echo, Siri and others would hear and execute a command while the humans in the room would only hear a slight distortion in the audio.  This particular method is much harder to protect against than the previously discovered vulnerability which was ultrasonic commands which a microphone could pick up but was well beyond the range of human hearing. 

You do need to reverse engineer the audio processing software of the digital assistant before you will be able to craft your hidden commands, however once that is done this is a very effective attack.

TMBG_JOHNHENRY_VINYL.png

"The researchers tested a variety of in-song commands delivered directly to Kaldi as audio recordings, such as: "Okay Google, read mail" and "Echo, open the front door." The success rate of these was 100 per cent."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

CORSAIR's water resistant K68 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2018 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, corsair K68 RGB, RGB, cherry mx blue, cherry mx red

Hey, Mr. Spillypants, are you going through keyboards like crazy thanks to the variety of liquids you have fed them?  Corsair has a solution with their K68 RGB mechanical keyboard, available with Cherry Red or Blue switches.  It is rated at  IP32 water and dust resistant shielding, which means you won't be able to hurt the keyboard by jabbing it with thick wires and it will not be harmed if water is dripped on it flat or up to a 15° angle. 

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The RGBs are controlled by CORSAIR's Utility Engine to allow you to program a variety of lightshows.  The keyboard is reputed to offer 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover and the switches are rated for over 50 million key presses so this board will be with you for a while.  Full PR below.

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FREMONT, CA, January 30th, 2018 - CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the release of the new CORSAIR K68 RGB water-resistant mechanical gaming keyboard. Equipped with 100% CHERRY MX RGB keyswitches, every key on the K68 RGB is individually backlit and programmable, giving PC gamers virtually unlimited lighting customization in a vivid array of colors. Every keyswitch is also individually shielded from dust and liquid spills to an IP32 protection rating, defending against accidents so that gameplay never has to stop. Loaded with extras, from a removable wrist-rest to dedicated multi-media keys, and fully programmable with CORSAIR Utility Engine Software, the CORSAIR K68 RGB offers ultra-durable RGB gaming.    

Like all CORSAIR mechanical keyboards, the K68 RGB uses only German-made Cherry MX gold-contact keyswitches for the utmost in reliability and consistency. Each switch is rated to over 50 million key presses, ensuring that the 50 millionth key press feels just as good as the first. Available with Cherry MX RGB Red switches, which provide a smooth, quiet and linear action, the K68 RGB’s keys feel instantly familiar, whether you’re typing or gaming.

With stunning RGB lighting embedded into every keyswitch, it’s easy to light up K68 RGB in almost any way you can imagine, from smoothly shifting colors and transitions to dynamic reactive effects. Choose from dozens of pre-programmed presets, thousands of user-made downloadable profiles, or create a unique custom lightshow, all from with the powerful CORSAIR Utility Engine (CUE) software. CUE also offers complete lighting synchronization between compatible CORSAIR mice, headsets and accessories with a single click, making it easy for gamers to make all their gear match. Every key is also fully programmable in CUE, from simple re-maps to complex multi-function macros, giving gamers the crucial edge when they need it the most.

CORSAIR has long been the industry leader in RGB mechanical keyboards, and K68 RGB adds a new dimension with the addition of IP32 water and dust resistant shielding. Each Cherry MX RGB key is surrounded by a rubberized shield that stops liquids and blocks dust, without blocking the RGB lighting from shining brightly beneath. Late night soda slip or snack spill? No problem.

With an affordable MSRP of $119.99, you’d be forgiven that K68 RGB’s features stop there, but instead it’s fully loaded with all the CORSAIR extras gamers have come to expect. A removable full-length wrist rest provides complete comfort, dedicated volume and multi-media controls made audio adjustments instant and a Windows Key Lock Mode prevents those game-breaking interruptions. K68 RGB is also 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover, ensuring every key press registers faultlessly.

Equipped with the best in CORSAIR lighting, customization and durability, the K68 RGB ensures that whatever happens while you game, you’ll be able to play on.

 

Source: Corsair

What could possibly go wrong? Microsoft may be looking to buy EA, Valve and PUBG

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2018 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, ea, valve, pubg, rumour, xbox

This one needs more than a few grains of salt but it is possible the Microsoft store might be looking at a significant expansion.  Phil Spencer, once head of XBone and now Executive Vice President of Gaming is taking his role seriously and may be looking to grow Microsoft's presence in gaming.  The company certainly has enough money to purchase all three companies, and in the case of EA they may actually improve the usefulness of Origin.  Valve on the other hand has already mastered the art of online game distribution, unless Microsoft is willing to go with something 'not invented here' that Steam library of yours may be in some peril.  This is pure rumour but that doesn't mean you can't fan the flames at The Inquirer, Polygon or below.

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"SOMEONE HAS GIVEN the rumour mill an almighty kick as it's been suggested that Microsoft is considering buying-up game publishing behemoths EA and Steam, along with PUBG Corp."

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Source: The Inquirer