Leak alert - Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 runs Windows 10

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2017 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, snapdragon 835, leak

Someone fired out a press release a little early and MSPoweruser spotted it in time to post it.  We now know the new 10nm ARM based design will include the new Kryo 280 CPU, Adreno 540 GPU, and a Hexagon DSP.  We do not have specific core counts or frequencies but you can't expect everything in a single leak.  Also new on this chip is the Qualcomm Haven Security Platform, offering you security baked right into the device which is a good thing when running Android.  The new design is touted as offering impressively reduces power usage,  a full day of talk time, five days of music playback, and 7+ hours of 4K video streaming; the Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 feature will supposedly charge five hours of battery life in five minutes.

Take a look at their post and the full PR right here.

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"According to the leaked press release, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 sports the Qualcomm Kryo 280 CPU (quad-core), Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU, and Qualcomm Hexagon DSP to manage the different workloads. All of this combined together will result in a 27% increase in performance when compared to the previous generation."

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Source: MSPoweruser

CES 2017: Lenovo's Smart Assistant, Smart Storage, and Multimedia Controller

Subject: General Tech, Networking | January 3, 2017 - 08:01 AM |
Tagged: wireless keyboard, Smart Storage, smart home, Smart Assistant, Lenovo, connected, CES 2017, CES, Alexa, 500 Multimedia Controller

Lenovo is announcing a trio of new connected devices beginning with the Amazon Alexa-powered Smart Assistant.

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“The Lenovo Smart Assistant with Amazon Alexa is like having your own digital assistant at home. Featuring Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, this voice-controlled high-definition speaker with far field microphones, is there to lend a hand whenever you need it. Want to know what the morning traffic is like? Forgot to order that book from Amazon? Longing to hear your favorite playlist? Simply ask Alexa. She has all the answers to help simplify your life. What’s more, she can even help remotely with the Amazon Alexa App, which is free to download for Android and iOS.”

The Smart Assistant offers high definition sound with a speaker system that combines a 5W treble and 10W bass speaker,  and the Harman Kardon Edition takes this further with a ported design for enhanced sound.

Next we have Lenovo’s Smart Storage, which provides up to 6 TB of connected storage over a wireless (or wired) home network.

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“Despite this remote storage center’s compact size, the Lenovo Smart Storage comes with a big challenge: How will you and your family fill it? Capable of storing up to 6 TB of photos, movies, and other digital files, this dual-band WiFi storage system can connect wirelessly to almost any smart device you own, worldwide. You’ll maintain absolute administrative control, ensuring your data and content are secure and safe—and with Auto Sync enabled, your data will back-up automatically when within WiFi range. DLNA support also ensures you’ll be able to enjoy your movies and music on any device, anytime.”

Finally we have the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, which combines a compact keyboard and touchpad in a small wireless control device for the living room.

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“Want to browse the web from your couch? Or turn on your favorite playlist from the dining table? We’ve got you covered with the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller. It’s not only a mouse and keyboard in one, it’s also a remote control optimized for your Windows operating system. With an ergonomic design and up to 8 months battery life, the versatile Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller will make your life easier.”

The controller is designed for Windows PCs (support for Windows 7 through 10), and uses a nano USB dongle for its 2.4 GHz wireless connection. The touchpad DPI is adjustable for user preference, and the unit offers up to 8 months of battery life from a pair of AAA batteries. At 5.71 x 3.37 x 0.74 inches (and 141 grams) this is a pretty small device, but certainly larger than some of the smart TV remote keyboards certain models have shipped with.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo

Mate, those optical switches are Bloody loud on that B840 keyboard of yours!

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2017 - 08:09 PM |
Tagged: bloody, B840, gaming keyboard, input, A4Tech

The Bloody B840 is a bit of a chimera, having optical switches which incorporate a metal knob in each key to produce a click when a button is fully depressed like a mechanical keyboards keys.  Their LK Sound Creator Tech makes the keys similar to Cherry Blue in terms of travel distance and actuation force, but the actual keystroke is registered with the infrared beam that comprises the optical switch.  TechPowerUp is working on proper testing for keyboard response times, the tests they tried showed that the optical technology on the Bloody keyboard is technically faster to register a keypress, but not so much that they noticed it during use.  You can see their full review here.

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"Bloody is a new gaming peripherals brand A4Tech recently introduced. Today, we take a look at their new B840 keyboard with the new optical Bloody LK2 switch. It promises a long lifespan, extremely fast response times, and a clicky response, which is new for optical switches."

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Source: TechPowerUp!

Annoy the neighbours from the comfort of the couch; 3D printed remote controlled snowblower

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2016 - 06:24 PM |
Tagged: DIY, 3d printing

Snowblowers are noisy and not as effective as a shovel, but when it is remote controlled it certainly becomes an attractive solution.  Over at Hack a Day there is a link to a 3D printing project which gives you the plans to print out your own snowblower.  The project does encompass the entire machine, it might be prudent to look the project over and see if standard snowblower parts can be included in the build; especially if you already own one.  3D printing is growing in utility as well as popularity.

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"This year’s model features a slipper clutch — combined with a differential from a heavy RC truck — to forestall damage to the attachment if you happen to hit any rocks or ice chunks. The blades are also thicker and lack teeth in this iteration, as they would catch on anything hard and shatter the blade more often than not."

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Source: Hack a Day

Windows 10 "Game Mode" Library Spotted

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2016 - 07:19 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

A new version of Windows 10 was leaked, and it apparently contains a file called “gamemode.dll”. Some people are speculating that this could be API hooks for applications to request higher priority with CPU and GPU resources, increasing performance. Microsoft gave a "no comment" to PC Gamer about the issue, but Windows Central cites anonymous sources claiming that this is the case, and it is either related or analogous to how the Xbox One multitasks.

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While I believe the DLL exists, of course, I’m skeptical about its function -- but I would bet that it’s true (given how sure everyone seems to be). Also, I’ve seen GPGPU compute times fluctuate wildly by leaving other windows open, so there is probably some overhead that the OS can reduce. It just seems weird that this has come out of nowhere.

We’ll probably find out soon, because the Creators Update (Windows 10 1703) is coming out in a few months. Whatever this DLL is, it seems targeted at that feature update.

You can also check out other features of the leaked 14997 build, listed by Paul Thurrott.

Kingston's value priced HyperX Cloud Stinger headset

Subject: General Tech | December 29, 2016 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming headset, Cloud Stinger, hyper x, kingston

Kingston's HyperX's Cloud Stinger headset is good for those who would only occasionally need a headset for gaming or a quick Skype call.  Built mainly of plastic and vinyl, it does contain 50mm drivers which offer decent bass response for gamers and action movie viewers.  The microphone offers reasonable sound reproduction and the noise cancellation feature operated acceptably when The Tech Report tested it.  If you are looking for a headset that is comfortable after extended wear or which can reproduce subtle melodies you should look elsewhere but for occasional gaming or travel duties this headset is worth investigating.

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"HyperX is making its hit gaming headsets more accessible with the $50 Cloud Stinger, a budget pair of cans that relies on a tried-and-true design and no gimmicks to promise a solid essential gaming experience. We put on the Stinger to see whether it left us buzzing."

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Frog Fractions 2 finally uncovered!

Subject: General Tech | December 27, 2016 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: frog fractoins 2, gaming, kick ass

If you missed the wonderfully brilliant insanity which was Frog Fractions you can still play it over here, and you should!  It won't make sense at first and frankly you will still be befuddled at the end, but the trip is worth it, no matter how odd the task you are required to perform happens to be.  In order to play the second you must pick up Glittermitten Grove, as Frog Fractions 2 is now hidden within the game; the was released a while back but as of Christmas you can now find Frog Fractions 2 hidden within.  Cheers to Ars Technica for the news; have fun trying to figure out the new Frog Fractions and keep an eye out as it may appear in other places.

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"Crawford took Frog Fractions 2 in a different direction from Frog Fractions, explaining that its release would be a complex and hidden process—there might be multiple games that came together to form Frog Fractions 2, like some kind of weird Voltron; or the game might be released and hiding in plain sight for months before anyone discovers what it really is."

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Source: Ars Technica

Microsoft finally reaches step 1; admission

Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2016 - 05:54 PM |
Tagged: windows, microsoft, windows 10

Chris Capossela, Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, was on Windows Weekly recently and admitted, for the first time, that Microsoft may have gone a bit too far during their "Get Windows 10" extravaganza.  This shocking revelation supposedly occurred a short while after they released the version in which the red X in the popup window broke with their GUI's standard and no longer closed the window and cancelled the installation.  According to Slashdot this is the first time Microsoft have admitted to the use of excessive rendition techniques on Windows 7 and 8 users.

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"It's no secret that Microsoft has been aggressively pushing Windows 10 to users. Over the past year and a half, we have seen users complain about Windows 10 automatically getting downloaded to their computer, and in some cases, getting installed on its own as well. The automatic download irked many users who were on limited or slow data plans, or didn't want to spend gigabytes of data on Windows 10."

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Source: Slashdot

Ben Heck Show Virtual Boy Mod Complete

Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2016 - 07:12 AM |
Tagged: virtual boy, Nintendo

A few weeks ago, The Ben Heck Show tore down and repaired a Virtual Boy, with plans on making it smaller and head-mounted in a future episode. While I am a couple weeks late on sharing the second video, Ben Heck and Karen Corbeill have completed their mod, and the device is now attached to a face shield mount. They call the new device “Virtual Man”, which of course they did.

One of the best parts about The Ben Heck Show (and other DIY video worklogs) is the tricks that you’ll see. In this case, Ben Heck explains how a typical scanner can be used to get fairly accurate 2D measurements of devices, because the image is formatted in inches. (He still verifies with a caliper, though, especially since they can have slight distortion on one axis.) This could be quite useful, especially if I end up doing more animations like my Cherry MX switches.

UploadVR Tries Wireless Vive Accessory by TPCAST

Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2016 - 03:33 AM |
Tagged: VR, vive, pc gaming, htc

A little over a month ago, we reported on HTC’s announcement of the wireless upgrade kit for their Vive. It was created by TPCAST, which was a participant in HTC’s VR startup accelerator. The actual upgrade kits won’t ship until early 2017, but UploadVR was given some time with the wireless accessory. The video was shot in the UploadVR office, which makes this the first public usage outside of a controlled event as far as I am aware, but TPCAST was present.

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Image Credit: UploadVR

It apparently works. The previewer didn’t have any real complaints about its performance versus wired, and they were satisfied with its tracking, despite doing flips and other maneuvers to try to break communication with the wireless bases. This is promising, as the 60 GHz signal, used by the wireless adapter, can be picky about anything except direct line-of-sight. That said, the video base station is designed to be placed on the ceiling, with a 160-degree FOV, so it shouldn’t be too obstructed in almost any scenario.

According to UploadVR, TPCAST claims that it adds less than 2ms of delay.

While we are on this topic, there have been rumors that HTC might announce (probably just announce) a replacement to the original VIVE unit. One possibility is that it is basically the same system, just with the wireless functionality built in, making this upgrade kit sufficient for first-generation adopters. That would probably be the only scenario, at least that I can think of, which doesn’t involve a bunch of angry 2016 buyers, though.

We’ll see when CES rolls around.

Source: UploadVR