Epic Games updates indie developers with May 2011 UDK

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | May 14, 2011 - 02:34 AM |
Tagged: udk, ios, game

Indie videogame developers have a great challenge keeping up with the industry. Technology is advancing quickly, the skills required to output games with the quality of the greatest developers keep diversifying, and the time required to detail each part keeps exploding. Though it is highly unlike that the next Call of Duty will come from a single person there are tool developers aiming to decrease the burden for projects of all sizes.

14-UDK.png

Do you think that was an onomatopoeia said by indie devs?

Epic Games released UDK in November 2009 to help developers make their own 3D PC games without needing to develop their own engine and associated toolset or needing to pay a hefty license fee up front. Since then, Epic has added support for iOS development to allow developers to create games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. New versions have come out on an approximately monthly basis and May is no different.

This release is incrementally better than previous builds with a few usability tweaks like grouping objects and modifying them together, the ability to copy and paste vertex coloring, and performance importing art assets. As usual a few dozen documentation pages were updated to reflect changes in the game engine. While UDK does not remove the pain of making a good game, it does soften the blow a lot, which is all we got thus far.

Source: UDK

Tidbits from NVIDIA's Q1 conference call

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 10:49 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, conference call

NVIDIA made their quarterly conference call on May 12th which consisted of financial results up to May 1st and questions from financial analysts and investors. NVIDIA chief executive officer Jen-Hsun Huang projected that future revenue from the GPU market would be “flattish”, revenue from the professional market would be “flattish”, and revenue from the consumer market would be “uppish”. Huang did mention that he believes that the GPU market will grow in the future as GPUs become ever more prevalent.

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How's the green giant doing this quarter? Read on for details.

For the professional market, NVIDIA discussed their intention to continue providing proof-of-concept applications to show the benefit of GPU acceleration which they hope will spur development of GPU accelerated code. Huang repetitively mentioned that the professional market desires abilities like simultaneous simulation and visualization and that a 10% code-rewrite would increase performance 500-1000%, but current uptake is not as fast as they would like. NVIDIA also hinted that GPUs will be pushed in the server space in the upcoming future but did not clarify on what that could be. NVIDIA could simply be stating that Tesla will continue to be a focus for them; they also could be hinting towards applications similar to what we have seen in recent open sourced projects.

For consumers, Huang made note of their presence in the Android market with their support of Honeycomb 3.1 and the upcoming Icecream Sandwich. Questions were posed about the lackluster sales of Tegra tablets but Huang responded stating that the first generation of tablets were deceptively undesirable due to cost of 3G service. He went on to say that the second wave of tablets will be cheaper and more available in retail stores with Wi-Fi only models more accessible to consumers.

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nVihhhhhhhhhdia. (Image by Google)

The bulk of the conference call was centered on nVidia’s purchase of Icera though not a lot of details were released being that the purchase is yet to be finalized. The main points of note is that as of yet, while NVIDIA could integrate Icera’s modems onto their Tegra mobile processors, they have no intention of doing so. They also stated they currently have no intention of jumping into the other mobile chip markets such as GPS and near-field communications due to the lesser significance and greater number of competitors.

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I think the new owners like the color on the logo.

The last point of note from the conference call was that they expect that Project Denver, NVIDIA’s ARM-based processor, to be about 2 generations away from accessible. They noted that they cannot comment for Microsoft but they do reiterate their support for Windows 8 and its introduction of the ARM architecture. The general theme throughout the call was that NVIDIA was confident in their position as a player in the industry. If each of their projects works out as they plan, it could be a very well justified attitude.

Source: NVIDIA

Did you know there are 17 year olds who've never seen Johnny Carson live on TV?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 13, 2011 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: sorry, PC Perspective Forums, friday

After a few weeks hiatus from the Friday Forum Post, as work has been trying to kill me the past few Fridays, we return you to your regularly scheduled link fest.

In the Tech Talk Forum you can peruse a variety of topics, from decent printers to electric screwdrivers.  The Networking & Security folks are researching suspicious problems on a modem while the Hardware Leaderboard Forum is attracting suggestions from readers as well as comments about the Leaderboards its self.  Suggestions for PC builds is not the only user generated content on the Forums, though some posts are longer than others.

If you want to see how you rate against others, there is now a thread in the Overclocking Forum to post your PCMark 7 scores.  Try it out and see if you should be giving pointers or keeping an eye out for hints you can apply, assuming your GPU will cooperate

Even if you have been ridiculously busy that is no reason to neglect the Trading Post, where not only do you get a chance to pick up great kit at even better prices from your fellow PCPers there is the Great Give and Take thread to consider ... or for a completely different kind of give and take, The Lightning Round is still blowing up a storm that you can jump right into!

Interview with Kris Moore, Founder and Lead Developer at PC-BSD

Subject: Editorial | May 13, 2011 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: pc-bsd, open source, freebsd, bsd

In an effort to embrace the open-source community and to bring to light some of the latest up and coming projects and their advances, PC Perspective has attempted to reach out. We have contacted some of the hottest and most interesting Open-Source projects out there with the intentions of trying to find out more. This week we selected PC-BSD and their Lead Developer and Founder Kris Moore.

 

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(Image courtesy of PC-BSD)

 

PC-BSD is a FreeBSD based Unix-like distribution that has been made very easy to install with lots of software pre-installed like Flash and an easy to install package called, pbi's. PBI's can be installed just like a Microsoft Windows EXE files, by using a click to install.

The PC-BSD is self described as:

PC-BSD is a complete desktop operating system, which has been designed with the "casual" computer user in mind. It offers the stability and security that only a BSD-based operating system can bring, while at the same time providing a comfortable user experience, allowing you to get the most out of your computing time. With PC-BSD you can spend less time working to fix viruses or spyware and instead have the computer work for you.

Installing the system is simply a matter of a few clicks and a few minutes for the installation process to finish. Hardware such as video, sound, network and other devices will be auto-detected and available at the first system start-up. Home users will immediately feel comfortable with PC-BSD's desktop interface, with KDE 4.x running under the hood. Software installation has also been designed to be as painless as possible, simply double-click and software will be installed.

PC-BSD also lists the features as the following:

  • Fully functional desktop operating system, running FreeBSD 8.x® under the hood.
  • Optional 3D desktop effects and acceleration
  • Graphical system installer, makes the system installation process effortless.
  • Support for many native languages.
  • Stability & Performance that only UNIX offers.
  • Safe from Viruses and Spy-ware that plague other systems.
  • Self-Installing software packages, makes loading programs a snap!
  • Graphical tools for system administration and support.
  • Professional E-mail and Phone Support from iXsystems available.
  • Friendly and helpful support community.
  • Online Update Manager - Downloads and installs updates for your operating system, without touching your installed programs.

 

pcbsd.png

(Image courtesy of Distrowatch)

 

I have personally used PC-BSD for a little over a year now and can say that the operating system is very stable, with a few minor hiccups along the way that is not unlike any other distribution. The community is very gracious and courteous and any questions that you may have can either be answered by the forums, via the handbook, or by their IRC (Internet Relay Chat)[#pcbsd].

Now that you have a brief idea of what PC-BSD is lets get into our interview:

(Hit that Read More link for the details!!)

Piracy costs the industry $59 Billlion, BSA reports

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 12, 2011 - 11:40 PM |
Tagged: piracy, bsa

Piracy is a sore spot for the entire intellectual property production industry. The infinitely reproducible nature of information creates real challenges for collecting revenue particularly if taken from the mindset of a time where content was much more difficult to copy and theft had to occur for content to be in someone else’s possession.

Slightly NSFW, and Monty Python wouldn't have it any other way.

The Business Software Alliance released last year’s report on software piracy through 2010 and found that piracy has reached the highest level yet. Their report, based on a survey of 15,000 business and consumer PCs (servers were excluded from this survey), claimed that the difference between sales and estimated total dollar value of installed software was $59 Billion.

The sharp increase in piracy shows just how impossible it is to survive in the current mindset of acquiring content for free. Piracy affects content creators both big and small. Analysts fear that a continued mindset of acquiring content for free will devaluate the amount spent on content.

The biggest hurdle towards tackling piracy is confusion between revenue and control. Control is a resource that is not free and implicitly paid for by potential market share. A business model that limits your market without increasingly monetizing the control you gain with that model is a total loss. An unfortunate consequence of this confusion is that lost revenue as attributed to a lack of control rather than a superabundance of it. As Gabe Newell discussed with Tippecanoe Valley High School, businesses need to experiment with their business models because theory cannot necessarily be grafted to any given situation. If you are not seeing what you are expecting, it might be because your expectations are incorrect and you should test the market to determine what you should expect.

Source: PCMag

Podcast #154 - Intel Z68 Chipset release, Intel SRT SSD caching technogy, OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3 and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 12, 2011 - 06:30 PM |
Tagged: z68, ssd, srt, solid, smart response technology, smart response, podcast, ocz, Intel, agility

PC Perspective Podcast #154 - 5/12/2011

This week we talk about the Intel Z68 Chipset release, Intel SRT SSD caching technogy, the OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3, Viewer Questions and more!

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

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

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:15:39

Program Schedule:

Source:

The Unity Linux GUI Controversy and Linux Mint's Decision to Stick With Gnome 2

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 10, 2011 - 01:06 AM |
Tagged: OS, linux, GUI

With the release of Ubuntu 11.04, a new desktop environment called Unity was released. Unity promised to revamp the Linux operating system’s desktop GUI to be more user friendly and intuitive. There are a multitude of noticeable changes that Unity brings to Ubuntu’s GUI compared to the classic Gnome environment. A new Windows 7 like task bar stretches along the left side of the screen where small icons of running and pinned applications reside. This new application dock is used instead of the traditional Gnome task bar that ran along the bottom of the screen. Also present is a new Ubuntu button that acts as an application launcher where installed programs can be sorted and searched for. Further, there are improvements to the workspace switcher and changes in window management with new hover-to-reveal scroll bars and each application’s (context sensitive) file menus being relocated to the top of the screen. These and other minor changes in the latest Ubuntu release have caused a flood of controversy among both reviewers and users alike.

Pictured:  Unity GUI (Insert:  Ubuntu Classic GUI)

On the positive side of the issue, there are a number of new and long time users of Ubuntu that have embraced the new GUI for it’s new features and design. Many people migrating from Windows 7 or Mac OS will become accustomed to the interface quickly as it works in much the same manner. Further, users of convertible tablet PCs have an easier time of navigating to applications and windows thanks to the larger icons. Touch and digitizer controls on the Dell Latitude XT worked well out of the box without a need to much with drivers, for example.

In contrast, as a newly developed desktop environment, it is less customizable from a user standpoint than the traditional Gnome GUI. Because of this (at the time of writing) restriction on customizability, many self-proclaimed power users have called Unity a step backwards in the aspects that make Linux a desirable OS--the ability to customize. Mainly, they dislike the constraints that Unity places on their ability to customize the operating system to their liking.

Read on for more...

Netflix Employee Terminated For Accessing Customers' Credit Card Information

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 03:31 AM |
Tagged: Netflix, Customer Data, Corporate theft

It seems as though this Spring season is just a bad time for customers' personally identifiable information. Especially in the wake of the Sony PSN and SOE attack fiasco, to have yet another large corporation found to be involved in compromised customer data is rather disheartening for customers who trust companies with their private information.

Update:  LastPass has also reported a data breach, resulting in customers' emails being compromised.  Luckily; however, users' passwords were salted and hashed so users accounts on other sites should not be compromised in contrast to the Sony case where the passwords were compromised.

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Fortunately, in the case of Netlfix, they have determined who the responsible party was and have moved swiftly to address the issue. Maximum tech reports that an un-named call center employee for Netlfix was terminated for accessing customers' information without permission.  On April 4, 2011 Netflix discovered that one of their call center employees had been accessing confidential information of a number of customers that he had spoken with over the phone.  He was found to have accessed the name and credit card information of two customers in New Hampshire.

According to the article, Netflix is now in the process of notifying the two customers in question.

The amount of private data that customers entrust will be kept private by the companies that they do business with everyday is rather daunting.  When large corporations like Sony and Netflix run into problems with keeping information secure, one has to wonder how much compromised information goes under the radar of the majority of people.  While there is not much one can do to stop others accessing their data without permission once information has been lost in a data breach or as a result of corporate theft, people do have control over what information is given to compainies to begin with.  

It may seem rather paradoxical for me to quote Sony of all people; however, they have definitely seen the consequenses and thus can assuredly recommend that customers stay vigilant and protect themselves from fraud.  Using one time credit card numbers (if your bank/card provider offers this) or reloadable visa debit cards with just enough money on them fro the desired transactions can help to protect you from data breaches such as this.  Further, only provide the minimum amount of information necessary for a transaction, especially if it's to a company that you're unsure about.  While various forms of fraud protection can help, preventing yourself from ever needing to use fraud protection in the first place is the best thing you can do for yourself and your private data.  "Remain vigilant."

Source: Maximum Tech

Podcast #153 - Dell UltraSharp U3011 monitor, AMD Phenom II X4 980, 3D transitors and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: ultrasharp, u3011, podcast, Phenom II X4 980, Intel, dell, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #153 - 5/05/2011

This week we talk about the Dell UltraSharp U3011 monitor, AMD Phenom II X4 980, 3D transitors and more!

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

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

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:23:01

Program Schedule:

Source:

Recent Study Finds Students In US Are Not Properly Prepared To Protect Themselves Online

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: Internet, Education, Cyber Security

 Microsoft recently posted a press release detailing the results of its sponsored study by the NCSA (National Cyber Security Alliance). The study sought to determine whom people believe bears the responsibility for teaching children how to protect themselves on the Internet, as well as what the current situation is as far as K-12 students’ level of preparedness and education. The executive director of the NCSA, Michael Kaiser, had this to say:

“Just as we would not hand a child a set of car keys with no instruction about how to drive, we should not be sending students out into the world without a solid understanding of how to be safe and secure online."

According to Microsoft, the NCSA advocates for a “comprehensive approach” to teaching children from K-12 how to stay safe and secure online. While the consensus seems to be that students do need educated in Internet security, people are divided on exactly who bears the primary responsibility for teaching children. Children’s teachers, parents, and even government leaders and law enforcement have all been raised as possible responsible parties. The majority of teachers (80 percent) and school administrators (60 percent) surveyed are proponents of parents being responsible for teaching their kids about “digital safety, security, and ethics.” On the other hand, more than 50 percent of the IT coordinators surveyed believe that teachers are the ones that bear the most responsibility of educating kids. From the survey, one area where all groups do seem to agree is on the question of government responsibility in educating kids. Microsoft states that less than one percent believe law enforcement and government officials should bear the responsibility.

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While cyber security is important for students to learn, as 97 percent of school administrators believe schools should have courses and an educational plan for students throughout their K-12 grades, only 68 percent of administrators “believe their schools or school districts are doing an adequate job of preparing students...”

The situation of adequate education looks even bleaker when teachers where surveyed. When asked whether they feel prepared to teach students adequately, 24 percent believed they were adequately prepared to talk about and educate kids on protecting personal information on the Internet, and 23 percent are comfortable teaching the risks of cyberbullying. Further, only one-third of teachers surveyed believe they are prepared to educated students on basic Internet security skills “such as password protection and backing up data.” The low numbers are attributed to the lack of professional development training that teachers are receiving. Microsoft states that “86 percent received less than six hours of related training.” Microsoft quotes Kaiser in saying that “America’s schools have not caught up with the realities of the modern economy. Teachers are not getting adequate training in online safety topics, and schools have yet to adopt a comprehensive approach to online safety, security and ethics as part of a primary education. In the 21st century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math.”

In all of this, there is a ray of hope. Comparing the 2010 study to the NCSA’s 2008 study which you can read here, an increasing number of teachers believe cyber security and professional development training is a priority.More than 60 percent of school officials and teachers are interested in pursing further security training. This interest in training among teachers is up to 69 percent from 55 percent in 2008. IT coordinators and administrators are also becoming more interested in revamping the educational curriculum to better teach their students and workers.  Further improvements in interest among educators pursuing further security training can be seen between the 2010 and the 2011 NCSA study.  Also, slightly higher percentages exist across the board for teachers who have tought aspects of security in their classrooms compared to both the 2010 and 2008 studies.

On the other hand, while interest in training is increasing for teachers, from 2010 to 2011, security topics taught in clases have actually dropped.  This is in addition to a decrease in teachers' beliefs that they bear responsibility in educating kids.

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A comparison paper between the 2008 and 2010 study can be downloaded here (PDF).

What are your thoughts on this issue; who bears the primary responsibility in educating children on the importance of Internet safety?

 

Image 1 courtesy 2011 NCSA study.  Image 2 courtesy 2008 to 2010 NCSA comparison study.  Material is copyright NCSA, and used according to fair usage guidelines for the purpose of commentary and reporting.

Source: Microsoft