Microsft heals some wounds as it moves to Open Source

Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2018 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: windows, open source, microsoft, edge, chromium, browser, Opera, firefox

One of the big stories this week has been the rumour and confirmation of Microsoft's move to Chromium.  What we hadn't seen until this morning was what the competition thought about it, which we now know thanks to a link from Slashdot.   You will be shocked to learn that Firefox sees this as solid proof you should have been using Firefox all along, or should switch immediately.

Opera and Google both applaud the move; Opera pointing out that they did something very similar about 6 years ago while Google welcomes Microsoft to the open source community it once spurned.  Take a peek at the rest here.

chromium-logo-100751561-large.jpg

"Google largely sees Microsoft's decision as a good thing, which is not exactly a surprise given that the company created the Chromium open source project. "Chrome has been a champion of the open web since inception and we welcome Microsoft to the community of Chromium contributors. We look forward to working with Microsoft and the web standards community to advance the open web, support user choice, and deliver great browsing experiences."

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Source: Slashdot

Microsoft Confirms Edge Browser is Moving to Chromium

Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2018 - 10:02 AM |
Tagged: windows, open source, microsoft, Joe Belfiore, edge, chromium, browser

It's official: Microsoft is indeed moving their Edge browser to Chromium as previously reported. Windows VP Joe Belfiore made the announcement yesterday with a blog post entitled "Microsoft Edge: Making the web better through more open source collaboration".

Microsoft_Edge_logo.PNG

The post begins as follows (emphasis added):

"For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world’s largest supporters of OSS projects. Today we’re announcing that we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.

As part of this, we intend to become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, in a way that can make not just Microsoft Edge — but other browsers as well — better on both PCs and other devices."

Not an immediate move, the under-the-hood changes to the Microsoft Edge browser will take place "over the next year or so", with the transition described as happening "gradually over time". From Microsoft:

1. We will move to a Chromium-compatible web platform for Microsoft Edge on the desktop. Our intent is to align the Microsoft Edge web platform simultaneously (a) with web standards and (b) with other Chromium-based browsers. This will deliver improved compatibility for everyone and create a simpler test-matrix for web developers.

2. Microsoft Edge will now be delivered and updated for all supported versions of Windows and on a more frequent cadence. We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS. Improving the web-platform experience for both end users and developers requires that the web platform and the browser be consistently available to as many devices as possible. To accomplish this, we will evolve the browser code more broadly, so that our distribution model offers an updated Microsoft Edge experience + platform across all supported versions of Windows, while still maintaining the benefits of the browser’s close integration with Windows.

3. We will contribute web platform enhancements to make Chromium-based browsers better on Windows devices. Our philosophy of greater participation in Chromium open source will embrace contribution of beneficial new tech, consistent with some of the work we described above. We recognize that making the web better on Windows is good for our customers, partners and our business – and we intend to actively contribute to that end.

The full blog post from Belfiore is available here.

Source: Microsoft

Nein, Zeneration 3 is best

Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2018 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: amd, Zen 2, Ryzen 5 3600, Ryzen 3 3300, Ryzen 9 3800, leak, Ryzen 7 3700, Ryzen 3000

If the rumours The Inquirer are helping spread are true then AMD really does believe the third time's the charm.  The new series of Ryzen 3000 chips will use Zen 2 cores and will follow Intel's addition of a 9 series, though the quoted price of £400 for the Ryzen 9 3850X is a lot more attractive than Intel's pricing.  That chip will sport a 5.1GHz peak clock on its pair of Zen 2 dies with eight cores apiece, though the 135W TDP will need some taming. 

Check out the variety of other chips in the Ryzen 3, 5, and 7 families which have leaked out.

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"The upcoming third-generation Ryzen chip, slated for release next year, will be based on Team Red's Zen 2 architecture, the successor to its rather successful Zen architecture found in Ryzen 1 and 2 CPUs and EPYC server processors."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #524 - NVIDIA RTX Titan, Snapdragon 855, and Logitech Racing Wheels!

Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2018 - 06:02 AM |
Tagged: thermaltake, snapdragon 855, Silverstone, qualcomm, podcast, pixel, nvidia, logitech g29, chromium

PC Perspective Podcast #524 - 12/5/2018

Our podcast this week features discusion of the new RTX Titan, Snapdragon 855, NVIDIA AI technologies, the new Google Pixel Slate, 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!

Today's Podcast Hosts

Jim Tanous: https://twitter.com/JimTanous
Allyn Malventano: https://twitter.com/malventano
Sebastian Peak: https://twitter.com/sebastianpeak
Josh Walrath: https://twitter.com/JoshDWalrath
Jeremy Hellstrom: https://twitter.com/jeremyhellstrom
Alex Lustenberg

Show Topics

00:04:27 - Logitech G29 Racing Wheel Review
00:14:38 - NVIDIA Titan RTX
00:20:33 - Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
00:39:48 - Intel MESO
00:46:35 - Mineral Oil-Cooled Raspberry Pi
00:50:54 - Google Pixel Slate
00:55:51 - NVIDIA AI Real-World Video
01:00:59 - NVIDIA PhysX Open Source
01:03:43 - New PowerVR Chips
01:08:54 - Microsoft's Chromium Browser?
01:15:36 - SilverStone PTS Compact ATX Power Supplies
01:18:28 - Thermaltake RGB Power Supply
01:21:29 - MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Picks of the Week

Jim - Beneath a Surface
Jeremy - MSI GV62 15-inch Gaming Laptop
Josh - Logitech G29 Racing Wheel
Allyn - NovelLife Electric Screwdriver
Sebastian - MUNT Roland MT-32 Emulator for Classic Games

Source: PCPer

Reactor Online, Sensors Online, Weapons Online, September 2019 release probable

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, mechwarrior 5

Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries has launched ... a trailer and gameplay footage.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have posted a recorded Twitch stream from Mech_Con showing not just gameplay but four person co-op gameplay, which is certainly new for the franchise.  There is quite a bit of building bashing and tromping all over crunchy tanks, as well as plenty of weapons fire.  The game certainly shows graphical improvements over the last time we had a Mech game, and the final touches are nowhere near completed. 

Head over to watch it in all it's glory.

"As the Mercs subtitle denotes, this will continue the mercantile side of MechWarrior by putting us in control of a new mercenary outfit making megabucks by exploding robots. We’ll manage ’em and all that, but most importantly stomp around exploding robots."

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"MESO have very exciting ferromagnetic personality", claims Intel

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2018 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: Intel, meso, CMOS

Intel might have pulled one over on us, after all, assuming the last five years of effort designing a replacement for CMOS design bear fruit.  Their new magneto-electric spin-orbit design not only uses significantly less power than traditional designs, but Intel also claims it offers five times better logic density.  If they are able to bring this technology to fruition, their 10nm woes may not be as much of a setback as it currently seems.  The Register has a link to the Nature article, if you would like to know more.

meso_large.jpg

"Chipzilla claimed its magneto-electric spin-orbit (MESO) technology's important characteristics are low voltage (as much as five times below today's CMOS-based chips) and consequently lower power (between 10 and 30 times lower than CMOS)."

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Source: The Register
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Better With Age

Logitech has been around since 1981 and has produced well over a billion mice during that time. As most companies have found out through the years, if there is no differentiation in products then there is a greater risk of suffering dips due to changes in demand or missed product cycles. Through acquisitions and smart hiring, Logitech has continued to grow and have addressed markets well beyond the mice that they have been famous for.

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The G29 is compatible with the Driving Force Shifter from Logitech. This leather wrapped shifter features 6 speeds and a reverse in a self clamping package.

The move to gaming controllers was started decades ago and Logitech has a pretty significant lineup under the Logitech G brand. These gaming oriented products have proven to be quite popular due to their features, construction, and overall price. Initially Logitech opted for joysticks, but have broadened their reach with other controller types. Eventually they produced their own racing wheels and have found a moderate amount of success there. The earlier G25 and G27 products became quite popular due to their overall featureset and relatively low price. The previous G27 was originally released in 2010 so it was prime time to design a new product that would address the PC and console markets.

In 2015 Logitech released the G29 for the PC and Playstation and the G920 for PC and Xbox. The difference between the two wheels is limited to button placement and functions. The internal mechanism is the same as well as the pedals and mounting. This is primarily due to licensing limitations from Sony and Microsoft. The design philosophy that powered the G25 and G27 wheels is retained for this latest generation. There are some differences though, and they were not exactly positive.

At release the G29 and G920 wheels were priced at $399. This is a significant hike from the $299 price of the G27. Also significant is that Logitech did not include the manual shifter that was packaged with the G25 and G27 models. A far higher initial price which did not include an optional shifter was not a popular decision with consumers. While reviews were generally positive for the wheel, it seems as though Logitech had priced themselves out of the market compared to what the competition could give.

Now that we are a few years from that launch we are taking another look at the G29 now that prices have dropped significantly from $399. On Amazon and Newegg the wheel is listed at $266, and I have seen prices as low as $230. MSRP is still at $399 according to Logitech’s site, but in reality the price is far lower and much more in line with expectations and the competition.

lg29_002.jpg

Packaging is pretty minimal with no styrofoam or extra packing. It arrived in excellent condition with cardboard inserts and good compartmentalization.

 

Click to continue reading about the Logitech G29 Racing Wheel review!

Chrome plated Windows? Microsoft is making like a magpie

Subject: General Tech | December 4, 2018 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: Project Anaheim, microsoft, rumours, chrome, chromium, arm, alphabet

There are two very interesting rumours about Microsoft circulating the intertubes today, both involving Alphabet's Chrome products.  The most shocking is that they have finally internalized the fact that when people refer to Edge as "the one you use to download Chrome with", they are not kidding.  This has lead to the possibility that they may be designing a Chromium-based browser, under the moniker Project Anaheim, to replace Edge as their embedded browser.  They have been trying to get Chrome add-ins to work on Edge with little success, so this would certainly resolve that, unless they intend to focus on making Windows Store apps work with Chrome.

The second rumour signals another big internal change, though in some ways it is less shocking than the previous rumour.  Via Slashdot we have heard more details on Windows Lite, which will replace products like Windows 10 S and RT.  It will be able to run on any processor, up to and including Qualcomm and other ARM based processors and is likely targeting the same market as Chromebooks currently do.  It looks to have a new GUI built off of the mysterious Windows Core OS.  Follow the link for more info on Windows Lite as well as Andromeda, which is not dead yet.

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" As we've previously told you, Microsoft is already working on Chromium in order to help Google port it over to ARM-based Windows machines, such is the power that the world's top browser holds. "

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Source: The Inquirer

NVIDIA Announces PhysX 4.0: Open Source (3-Clause BSD)!

Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2018 - 08:46 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, PhysX, nvidia, physx 4.0, Unity, unreal engine 4

NVIDIA has just announced a new major version to their popular physics middleware: PhysX 4.0. They also announced that it (both 4.0 and 3.4) will be re-licensed as 3-line BSD. In terms of open-source licenses, this is about a permissive as you can get. You are basically free to do whatever you want – commercial, modified, unmodified, whatever – if you follow the guidelines (which are things like “no warranty”, “don’t sue us for liability”, “give us credit by leaving a copy of the license in all binary and source releases”, and “we’re not endorsing your product so don’t pretend that we are”).

For gamers? It will take a little while before this comes around to you. Unity is currently preparing to update to PhysX 3.4 with their upcoming 2018.3 release; that was the first major PhysX update since Unity 5.0 upgraded from PhysX 2.x to PhysX 3.3 back in March 2015. Epic Games seems to be a little quicker to update to a new PhysX version, but there’s nothing announced on their side either as far as I can tell.

On the technical side: this release of PhysX is interesting.

As mentioned, Unity 5.0 was the point when their PhysX implementation jumped from 2.x to 3.3. This was not a clean transition. NVIDIA changed the way that many of their solvers worked, making them much faster but also less stable (as in simulation stability – so, like, oscillating and breaking apart). While this was acceptable (because most simulations are cosmetic and, if it mattered, you had more performance to just increase the physics tick-rate to compensate) it upset developers who relied upon the stability of PhysX 2, forcing them to work around the glitches.

According to NVIDIA’s promotional video, this version is both more stable and faster. This means that it should be less work to setup things like ragdolls and ball-and-chain systems, while also supposedly being faster. In terms of stability, they intentionally showed a simulation of three balls and chains with varying masses. In PhysX 3.x, this tends to be a degenerate case where joints freak out and split (unless you compensate with smaller physics time steps). Even if it’s on-par with PhysX 3.x, this is a huge win for indie game developers.

PhysX 4.0 will be available for developers on December 20th. It’s unclear when any given engine will integrate it, however.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA's new T-Rex; hopefully not a flaming dinosaur

Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2018 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, rtx, rtx titan, turing

The new Titan has arrived for the RTX generation and the specs are as impressive as the $2500 price tag.

  • 576 multi-precision Turing Tensor Cores, providing up to 130 teraflops of deep learning performance.
  • 72 Turing RT Cores, delivering up to 11 GigaRays per second of real-time ray-tracing performance.
  • 24GB of high-speed GDDR6 memory with 672GB/s of bandwidth — 2x the memory of previous-generation TITAN GPUs — to fit larger models and datasets.
  • 100GB/s NVIDIA NVLink can pair two TITAN RTX GPUs to scale memory and compute.
  • Incredible performance and memory bandwidth for real-time 8K video editing.
  • VirtualLink port provides the performance and connectivity required by next-gen VR headsets.

From what The Inquirer saw over a weekend of YouTubing, the card sports a gold-coloured shroud, and requires two eight-pin PCIe power connectors.  As of yet we don't have any benchmarks to show how it performs but from the sounds of the PR this will be of more use to content creators than gamers.  However, that is unlikely to stop some from trying it out; stay tuned for more.

TITAN RTX_T-Rex.jpg

"The Titan RTX, dubbed fondly by Nvidia as 'T-Rex', is based on the same Turing architecture as the firm's RTX 2070, 2080 and bork-prone 2080 Ti GPUs, equipping it with 130 teraflops of deep learning performance and 11 GigaRays of ray-tracing performance. "

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Source: The Inquirer