The Huawei defence; it ain't cheatin' if everyone does it!

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, dirty pool, Honor Play, P20, performance mode

In a move reminiscent of the old Quack.exe debacle, Huawei has been caught enhancing benchmark results.  Their recent phones are able to detect a running benchmark and will switch to "Performance Mode" which uses "AI to optimize the performance of hardware, including the CPU, GPU and NPU" because everything has an AI in it now, apparently.  This would be much worse if not for two things, they are correct in stating that their local competitors do the same thing and they have agreed to allow users to access this Performance Mode on their own.  That will increase the performance of the phone but you can expect the battery life to plummet. 

If you are interested in diving deeper into this, you can check out that link to The Inquirer.

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"Earlier this week, AnandTech revealed that the Chinese phonemaker has benchmark detection software installed on the Huawei P20, Honor Play, and possibly other devices packing its homegrown Kirin 970 processor, which makes the chip perform better by raising its power limit."

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Source: The Inquirer

Athlon rides again!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 6, 2018 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: amd, athlon, Zen, Vega, 200GE, PRO 200GE, ryzen, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700X, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700, Ryzen 5 PRO 2600

AMD is returning the Athlon name to active service with the arrival of the Athlon 200GE, combining their current Zen core with three Radeon Vega 3 GCUs and a GPU core of 1GHz.  The dual core, multithreaded processor will run at 3.2GHz with a TDP of 35W, which should give you an idea of where you will find this new chip. 

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Along with the new Athlon comes four new Pro chips, the AMD Athlon PRO 200GE, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700X, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700 and Ryzen 5 PRO 2600.  These will be more traditional desktop processors with enterprise level features to ensure the security of your systems as well as offering flexibility; with a cost somewhat lower than the competitions.

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Source: AMD

Das Keyboard Launches Q-Series Cloud Connected RGB Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 09:31 AM |
Tagged: X50Q, smart keyboard, RGB, q series, Omron, mechanical, keyboard, key switches, iot, das keyboard, connected, cloud, 5Q

Das Keyboard has introduced their Q-series of "smart, cloud-connected keyboards" which use the company's Q-software to bring notifications directly to key backlighting. It's an interesting concept, and the software connects to both IFTTT and Zapier services "to light up the 5Q and X50Q keyboards with notifications - all color-coded and displayed on keys determined by the user", according to Das Keyboard.

The first of the two announced models is the 5Q, shown here with its silicon-padded wrist rest attached:

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"The Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-enabled, open API, RGB mechanical keyboard that helps boost productivity through dazzling performance and the industry’s fastest electronics."

What are these fast electronics? Exclusive to the 5Q is 'Real-Time One' (or RTO) which is an analog technology that Das Keyboard states "detects key presses in 0.4 milliseconds and reports it to the computer within 1 millisecond—up to 45 times faster than other keyboards". RGB lighting is onboard, naturally, and here Das Keyboard is offering what they call "RGB+", which is a ultra-bright solution they claim to be "many times" as bright as other keyboards:

"Extra-bright RGB backlighting electronics called Das Keyboard RGB+, along with custom surface-mount LEDs, optimized lens and ultra-clear light guide—making the 5Q keyboard many times brighter than any other RGB keyboard currently on the market."

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These are mechanical keyboards, both of which offer Omron Gamma Zulu switches, as the company describes:

"A modern best-in-class, soft tactile key switch that provides users with faster, effortless typing and gaming sessions. Das Keyboard’s Gamma Zulu switches have a 1.5mm actuation point, a total travel of 3.5mm and can withstand an unsurpassed 100 million actuations..."

Next we have the X50Q:

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The X50Q adds a swappable top plate design (and includes alternate textured WASD keys), but does not have the RTO analog system - and costs $50 less than the 5Q. Pricing for these keyboards is at the high end of the premium keyboard market, with MSRPs of $249 for the 5Q and $199 for the X50Q. Both models are available now.

Full press release after the break.

Source: Das Keyboard

Battlefield beta benching

Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield V, open beta

Techspot spent more time benchmarking the Battlefield V beta than they did playing it for fun, which is how they published a quick performance review so quickly.  We know the minimum specs required but that gives us little insight into what performance we will actually see.  As it turns out, DX12 has the same difficulties that BF1 had on launch and so the testing was done on DX11 for the most part.  For 1080p gamers the news is great, with even a lowly GTX 1060 able to provide 60fps at Ultra settings, at 1440p a Vega 56 or a GTX 1070 will do you just fine.  Check out the full review for the 4k performance.

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"This week we were finally able to jump into Battlefield V for the first time, and of course, we spent more time benchmarking than we did enjoying the gameplay, so we have a few results for you... which we'll call a preview since we are testing the 'open beta' version of the game. The full thing is slated for release across major platforms in two months' time."

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Source: TechSpot

Logitech’s G305 LIGHTSPEED, a gaming mouse housed in a very portable form factor

Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: lightspeed, logitech, wireless mouse, input, g305

Logitech's Lightspeed G305 is a small wireless mouse perfect for shoving in your laptop bag and possibly forgetting all about it.  The mouse will run for 250 hours on a single AA battery so when you do pull it out after a few months it will still work.  The battery compartment also provides storage for the Nano receiver so you won't have to worry about it disappearing on you when you need it most.  Techgage were impressed that Logitech installed their HERO sensor in the mouse, so you can set the DPI all the way up to 12,000 if you so desire and the polling rate goes from 125Hz up to 1000Hz though you can expect diminished battery life at the top end.  Drop by for a closer look.

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"Wireless mice are one of those things that rarely meets expectations, but Logitech seems to have cracked it with its LIGHTSPEED mice. The G305 under review today might be on the low-end, but we soon find out it’s a solid performer with an absurd battery life. Dig in for more details."

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Source: Techgage

Microsoft is slowly reverting Skype back to usefulness

Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2018 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: skype, microsoft

Microsoft seem to have actually listened to some of the feedback they have been receiving from users of the new Skype.  Two of the new features, Highlights and Capture will be discontinued as it seems no one wanted to use them instead of continuing with WhatsApp or SnapChat.  The interface will remain a compromise between the clown vomit version released earlier this year and the simple interface many new and loved.  As well, the newest versions of Skype, barring the Skype UWP app on Windows 10, will now natively support call recording which is something we have not been able to do since Microsoft killed support for third party applications.  The staff at The Inquirer are still not planning on switching back yet however.

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"Here's the thing. Skype hasn't "just worked" for a long time and people will take some convincing that there's been much of a change. INQ abandoned Skype some time ago for office use because it was so appallingly unreliable."

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Source: The Inquirer

GOG Back-to-School Sale 2018 Begins!

Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, sales

After summer comes back-to-school. What is the relevance for video games? Well, students will probably need to cut back on them, so might as well use it as an excuse for big sales.

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The Back-to-School sale at GOG.com is actually pretty big this year. The gimmick, which is common for the site, new deals come and go. Specifically, it looks like one new deal occurs every hour, on the hour, and it lasts for six hours. These can go up to 90%-off. There is also another batch of sales that are not time limited. In total, over 500 games will be reduced for the event.

Two highlights that got me to click the buy button is Yooka-Laylee ($8.59 USD, 75%-off – Note: NOT Digital Deluxe Edition, although that’s all extras, such as a manual and an art book) and Homeworld: Remastered Collection ($5.29 USD, 85%-off). The former title was one that I was looking forward to during its Kickstarter, but never quite pulled the trigger on. I’ll give it a silly purple Canadian ten-dollar-bill, though.

Find a buried treasure? Let us know in the comments!

Source: GOG.com

What is a GPU Market?

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: jon peddie, gpu market share

The findings from Peddie Research for Q2 2018 are in and they show a bit of shrinkage, with the JPR reports, overall PC market decreasing 4.9%, and GPU shipments decreasing 1.5% when compared to Q2 2017.  When you break it down into the three competitors you see AMD dropping 12.3%, NVIDIA shrinking 7% and Intel seeing an increase 3%.  Intel's increase likely indicates lower cost systems which do not ship with a GPU but instead rely on Intel's HD graphics.  This is evidenced by the finding that discrete GPUs were in a mere 32.83% of PCs sold, dropping over 6% and actual discrete GPU sales were down almost 28%  from last quarter.

There is a silver lining to this cloud as these sharp drops could very well indicate the end of the mining craze which has been driving GPU sales and prices higher recently.

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"The PC market is showing more stabilization, and now seems to have shaken off the gold rush fever of crypto-mining, overall volume slipped, albeit with bright spots for the market here and there."

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Source: Jon Peddie

Award-Winning Logitech G502 Gaming Mouse Gets an Upgrade

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2018 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: logitech, gaming mouse, G502 hero, input

The new Logitech G502 HERO is almost more button than mouse, with 11 of them, all fully customizable to your preference, with up to five switchable profiles.  The improved HERO sensor inside the mouse has a sensitivity ranging from 100 to 16,000 DPI and a maximum speed of 400 IPS if you find yourself playing Spank the Monkey again.

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The various RGBs embedded in the mouse can be controlled and synced with the LIGHTSYNC software, included in Logitech's Gaming Software.  The weight of the mouse is adjustable with five removeable 3.6g weights in a compartment in the bottom of the mouse.  Physically the mouse is 132mm long, 75mm wide and 40mm tall.

Keep an eye out for it in October, when it should hit retail at about $80.  The full PR lurks below. 

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NEWARK, Calif. & LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Aug. 30, 2018 — Logitech G, a brand of Logitech, (SIX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) today announced the Logitech G502 HERO Gaming Mouse, an upgraded version of the iconic Logitech G502 Gaming Mouse. Retaining the same iconic shape as the original, the new mouse has been updated with the latest technologies, including Logitech G’s next-generation HERO (High Efficiency Rated Optical) 16K sensor, the highest performance and most accurate sensor available today. Coupled with Logitech G’s exclusive LIGHTSYNC RGB technology, 11 programmable buttons, five optional weights and braided cable, the world’s best-selling gaming mouse just got even better.

“The original G502 is a fan favorite, but we’ve developed some incredible sensor technology since it first launched,” said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech Gaming. “Adding HERO 16K to G502 makes it even more awesome, and we think people are going to love it.”

The ultimate sensor for speed, accuracy and responsiveness, the Logitech G502 HERO boasts Logitech G’s industry-leading HERO 16K sensor, the highest performing and most efficient gaming sensor Logitech has ever made. Featuring an all-new lens and updated tracking algorithm to deliver ultra-precise tracking with no acceleration, smoothing or filtering over the entire DPI range, Logitech G’s revolutionary HERO 16K sensor is capable of exceeding 400 IPS and delivering 16,000 DPI tracking with pixel-precise accuracy.
With the same iconic design as the original, the Logitech G502 HERO is the ultimate in comfort, with textured rubber side button grips and an updated braided cable for optimal feel and performance through long gaming sessions. The mouse’s upgraded mechanical switch, developed in partnership with Omron, delivers extreme performance and a 50M click durability. The overall weight of the Logitech G502 HERO, and the mouse’s center of balance can be adjusted based on the placement of the adjustable weights.

Pricing and Availability
The Logitech G502 HERO Gaming Mouse, available in black, is expected to be available at global retailers in October 2018 for a suggested retail price of $79.99

Source: Logitech

The case of the routers-in-law

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2018 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG Rapture, Blue Cave, Lyra Trio, router

Over at The Tech Report is a close look at three high end pieces of consumer network kit from ASUS.  The ROG Rapture will be familiar to anyone who has glimpsed its six legs, the Blue Cave resembles an electronic donut and the pyramidal Lyra Trio allows any of the three devices to become the main router with the other two acting as extenders.  These three network devices go up against the household of a tech reviewer and his visiting in-laws.  Which managed the huge amount of traffic best?  You can find out over at The Tech Report.

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"Six months of real-world use. Six bandwidth-hungry youths and six tech-savvy adults, all under one roof. Any wireless networking device would cower in fear before such a demanding gauntlet, but Asus let us put three of its latest wireless routers to the test against this grueling menagerie."

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Podcast #511 - IFA 2018, StoreMI, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2018 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: podcast, xps13, StoreMI, Samsung, radeon pro, nvidia, Intel, ifa 2018, freesync, Azulle, amd, acer

PC Perspective Podcast #511 - 08/30/18

Join us this week for discussion on IFA 2018, StoreMI, 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:24:43

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. IFA 2018
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:27:09 Jeremy: NordVPN deal
    2. 1:29:00 Josh: 3 free games!
    3. 1:33:25 Alex: http://paletton.com/
  4. Closing/outro
 
 
Source:

Witcher in the 21st Century

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2018 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: CD Projekt RED, cyberpunk 2077

If you haven't already seen the beta gameplay footage of Cyberpunk 2077 it is well worth checking out, though not at work considering the mature nature of the game.  While still a work in progress with no release date, the basics are there for you to see.  We get a glimpse of character creation, consumables for boosts and even special abilities.  CD Projekt Red have a long history of delayed launches but so far they have always delivered in the end.  Ars Technica gives a brief description of the footage if you don't have 45 minutes to spare.

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"The upcoming video game Cyberpunk 2077 took this summer's E3 by storm with a behind-closed-doors reveal that set tongues wagging. Now, two months later, the game's developers at CD Projekt RED have deemed this hour-long gameplay slice worthy of public consumption."

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Source: Ars Technica

A teaser on executive migrations and GLOFO's refusal to shrink from their strengths

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2018 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: Jim Anderson, amd, lattice semiconductor, GLOBALFOUNDRIES

There will be a bit to talk about on tonight's podcast as we have seen two big changes in the industry this week.  Most recently Jim Anderson, the GM and SVP of AMD's Computing and Graphics section handed in his resignation to become CEO of Lattice Semiconductor.  The 35 year old FPGA company has had quite a history, from filing for Chapter 11 to grabbing IP from Silicon Image to having their purchase by a Chinese corporation blocked by the US Government.  You may have never heard of them but there is a good chance you have seen or used some of their products.  It will be interesting to see what this means for both companies.

The second big change comes from GLOBALFOUNDRIES and is right up Josh's 7nm alley.  They will be abandoning their 7nm process to focus on their 14 and 12nm FinFET as their CEO, Tom Caulfield stated that this move makes sense as many companies have no interest in the new and more expensive fabrication process.  This argument was undermined by AMD's immediately announced they will be moving the production of their next CPUs and GPUs to TSMC.  There are several other companies, one of which being ARM, who are also narrowly focused on moving to 7nm and beyond.  Intel has been quiet so far, for fairly obvious reasons.

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"Anderson hails from AMD where he was senior veep and GM of the chip flinger's Computing and Graphics Business Group. He joined AMD in May 2015, following stints at Intel, Avago and LSI, and directly replaces Glen Hawk, who was interim boss and will remain as special advisor to the CEO until the end of October."

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Source: The Register

Sure you have GigaRays, but can you power 32 VMs per card? Meet the Radeon Pro V340

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2018 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: Vega, Radeon Pro V340, radeon pro, amd

The new Radeon Pro V340 is designed in a way we haven't seen from AMD in a while, with dual Vega 56 GPUs sharing the same PCB with 32GB of HBM2.  The card is not aimed at the same market segment as NVIDIA's new RTX cards, instead AMD is talking up its virtualisation abilities.  One card can support 32 VMs, which means AMD could have perhaps picked a better name, but that does not detract from this impressive ability.  This could position AMD to compete effectively against NVIDIA's GeForce Now game streaming service and offer their own service to allow you to play games over the net, independent of your own hardware.  You can check out the announcement video over at The Inquirer to see how AMD is planning on positioning themselves.

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"Essentially squashing two Vega 56 graphics cards together, the Radeon Pro V340 sports 112 compute units and 7,168 stream processors. It also makes use of high-bandwidth memory totalling in 32GB of HBM2, which touts a bandwidth of 512GB/s"

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Source: The Inquirer

Join the Battlefield V Open Beta with the new GeForce Game Ready 399.07 WHQL drivers

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2018 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: Switchblade, Strange Brigade, Pro Evolution Soccer 2019, open beta, nvidia, Immortal: Unchained, geforce 399.07, F1 2018, battlefield V

The open beta for Battlefield V begins on September 4th for those want to ruin everything or who are Origin Access Premier, Origin Access Basic or EA Access members. The rest of us, especially those who have learned the evils of pre-ordering have to wait until September 6th to try it out.

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What you don't have to wait for is the GeForce Game Ready 399.07 WHQL driver, which you can snag through GeForce Experience or from the driver page here.  This driver will enable RTX ray tracing in BFV as well as offering optimized performance in F1 2018, Immortal: Unchained, Pro Evolution Soccer 2019, Strange Brigade, and Switchblade.  There are other fixes as well (PDF), including a resolution to those experiencing stuttering in Windowed G-Sync games after ye olde Win10 Spring Update. 

Today NVIDIA released a new Game Ready Driver for the Battlefield V Open Beta. This driver will also provide the best game play experience for F1 2018, Immortal: Unchained, Pro Evolution Soccer 2019, Strange Brigade, and Switchblade.

Ahead of Battlefield V’s general release on October 19th, you can participate in an open beta featuring Conquest on the Rotterdam and Arctic Fjord maps, and Grand Operations on Arctic Fjord, with Airborne mode on Day 1, and Breakthrough mode on Day 2. The Battlefield V Open Beta begins on September 4th for those who pre-ordered, and gamers who are Origin Access Premier, Origin Access Basic and EA Access members. And then on September 6th for everyone else. GeForce gamers are Game Ready today.

Battlefield V will be one of the first games enhanced with NVIDIA RTX Real-Time Ray Tracing on our newly-unveiled GeForce RTX graphics cards, bringing a new level of fidelity and realism to the already-stunning game.

Available on or before launch day, NVIDIA Game Ready Drivers provide the best experience for GeForce gamers because NVIDIA engineers work up until the last possible minute to optimize performance and perfect gameplay. And as an additional verification of quality, every Game Ready Driver is WHQL-certified by Microsoft.

Source: NVIDIA

Photographers are flipping over mirrorless cameras

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2018 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: camera, DSLR, slr, sony a9

The Tech Report offers a brief history of SLR and DSLR cameras as well as reasoning as to why they might be permanently consigned to the past thanks to new technology.  In the heart of a single lens reflex camera, digital or otherwise, is a mirror between the rear of the lens and the film or sensor which allowed you to see what the picture you were about to take looked like.   However the mirror adds some problems to fine tuning things such as wide angle shots, as well as requiring larger lenses to allow this trick to work.  Recently mirror-less designs have been appearing, which are able to display a preview directly from the sensor such as the Sony A9, which also allow you to do things you cannot on a SLR.  Check out the link up top to learn more about this.

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"The single-lens-reflex camera has dominated interchangeable-lens camera designs for the better part of a century, but mirrorless cameras are coming to the fore. We examine some history behind the SLR and why its reign is likely to end."

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Of Intel, Foreshadow, horses and barn doors

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2018 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: Foreshadow, Intel, hyperthreading, L1TF, spectre, security, patch

In a move which should not come as a shock to anyone, Intel removed the wording which was revealed yesterday along with their Foreshadow patch for desktop CPUs prohibiting publishing comparative performance results.   The reason Intel would rather you didn't post performance comparisons, pre and post patch, is that along with the microcode update HyperThreading needs to be disabled which has a noticeable effect on any multi-threaded application.  Debian were of great help with this, refusing to deply the microcode patch with the gag order in place. 

Red Hat foreshadowed what you will see with their results from the server chip patches, The Register notes as being "from a +30 per cent gain, to -50 per cent loss and beyond. Most HT testing, however, showed losses in the 0-30 per cent range."

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"Intel has backtracked on the license for its latest microcode update that mitigates security vulnerabilities in its processors – after the previous wording outlawed public benchmarking of the chips."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #510 - NVIDIA 2080 Launch, blockchain gaming, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: Volta, video, turing, Threadripper, rtx, podcast, nzxt, nvidia, logitech, arm, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #510 - 08/23/18

Join us this week for discussion on NVIDIA 2080 Launch, blockchain gaming, 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:24:43

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:14:15 Jeremy: I love 14cm fans!
  4. Closing/outro
 
 
Source:

Chrome's anonym-ish incognito mode

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2018 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: chrome, google, incognito, obvious

To cut straight to the chase, if you are browsing anonymously and log into one of your accounts, you are no longer anonymous; a seemingly obvious fact which is making headlines today.  A Google rep feels this is being pushed by Oracle who are hoping to turn public opinion against Google, though how that would affect their ongoing legal battles is unclear.  The timing is rather unfortunate as the publics opinion of Google plummeted after being reminded that Google Maps always knows where you are if you have it installed. 

The Inquirer does remind us what is worth getting upset about; Google's unsubstantiated claim that they offer tools to prevent their products from tracking you and a way to delete your entire history. 

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"A researcher from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee found that although the data collected appears to be anonymised, in reality, Google can retroactively identify it from the usernames and other account data used during the session."

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Source: The Inquirer

High-ish end, in-ear headphones from Etymotic

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2018 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: in-ear, Etymotic, ER3XR, audio

In-ear headphones are generally a compromise between convenience and quality; short of some royal sized ears no one will be introducing a 40mm driver into their ear canal.  Etymotic does not follow this assumption however, the $180 ER3 series is not their high end earphones, a set of ER4s would set you back almost twice that much.  TechPowerUp have tried both, and sing their praises so it seems there must be something to this design.  Check out their full review of the ER3XR here, if you feel your ears might be worth of such ostentatious treatment.

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"Etymotic's ER3-series in-ears aim to bring their ER4 design into a lower price category. Priced at $179, the ER3s are nearly half the price of the ER4-series in-ears, and their specification sheets show that they are not far off. We take a good look at the new in-ears to see how they fare against their bigger brethren."

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Source: TechPowerUp