Stepping Up the Simulation Game

I don’t exactly remember when I first heard about Fanatec, but it likely was sometime after the release of DiRT 2.  I was somewhat into racing games before that, but that particular title sold me on the genre and I have not looked back since.  Before then I used a Microsoft Sidewinder FFB stick for my racing, but it was D2 that convinced me to purchase a wheel for the full fledged experience.  The initial impression of Fanatec was of course “high priced, but really nice gear”.  These were products that I did not think I would ever see in any personal capacity as they were out of my price range and my driving passion was just not amped up enough to rationalize it.

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My dog is quite suspicious of the amount of boxes the set came in.

I know I probably talk about it too much, but the introduction of DiRT Rally really supercharged my interest in driving accessories due to the work they did on physics and Force Feedback effects.  My older Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 wheel featured a meager 270 degrees of rotation and clunky FFB that did not translate well with this particular title.  It may have done OK with older, more arcade based racers, but with the latest generation of sims that focus on accuracy in experience it just did not cut it.  Purchasing a Thrustmaster TX based unit was a night and day experience for these latest titles.

The next few months after that I spent time with multiple other wheels and accessories and provided a few reviews based on them.  My level of interest grew exponentially about what the industry offered.  I was able to contact Fanatec and they agreed to put together a bundle of products based on their latest ClubSport V2 products.  This would include the ClubSport V2 Base,  ClubSport Universal Hub for Xbox One, ClubSport Pedals V3, ClubSport Shifter SQ, and the desk mounting hardware for the units.

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Fanatec is not for the faint of heart when it comes to pricing.  The total package I received is worth 1800 Euro, or about $2016 US.  This is a pretty tremendous amount of money for racing gear, but it is about average for higher end products that exist in this market.  People will question why it costs so much, but after my experience with it I now know why.

Click here to read the rest of the Fanatec Review!

Think you can handle the Wang? NVIDIA is giving away $50,000 worth of Shadow Warrior 2 codes

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2016 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: shadow warrior 2, nvidia, geforce, geforce experience 3.0, giveaway

Shadow Warrior 2 is out today, bringing Lo brow humour and procedural gore back to PC gaming.  For those of you who have created a user at GeForce.com, you have a chance to win a copy of the game for free, all you need to do is install GeForce Experience 3.0 on your machine and you are entered to win.  If you haven't the desire you can pick the game up on GOG or Steam, but you will have to pay for it.  This new incarnation adds four player co-op to the game and the levels are described as procedural, theoretically places you have previously visited will not be the same if you head back.  More info on the contest in the PR below

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Shadow Warrior 2 launched today, and GeForce gamers using GeForce Experience may be getting it free. We will be giving away $50,000 worth of codes for the over the top first person shooter Shadow Warrior 2 to random gamers registered with GeForce Experience 3.0. This marks the second game code giveaway this month and more are coming soon. Just download and log in to the new GeForce Experience 3.0 to be eligible. Shadow Warrior 2 is highly anticipated first person shooter that is focused on fun. But not to be missed behind the numerous weapon choices, over-the-top gore, and edgy sense of humor is an indie release that is loaded with next generation technology thanks in part to a collaboration between NVIDIA and Flying Wild Hog, the game’s independent Polish developer.

The developer of Shadow Warrior 2, Flying Wild Hog, along with Devolver sister company Gambitious, were a part of the NVIDIA Indie Spotlight Program launch with their game Hard Reset: Redux. So naturally working with them on Shadow Warrior 2 to expand the indie game partnership between Devolver and NVIDIA seemed like the natural next step.

PC Gamers count on GeForce Experience to get the most from their games. It keeps drivers up to date. It automatically optimizes game settings for more than 300 games. And it’s the easiest way to capture gameplay video, stream it to Twitch or YouTube, or share it with another player over the Internet using the easy-to-use in-game overlay tool.

And now it rewards you for playing on GeForce. Dating back to July, NVIDIA has thanked their loyal GeForce Experience gamers by giving away: MSI VR-Ready Notebooks, HTC Vive Systems, GeForce GTX 1080s, SHIELD Android TVs, alpha access codes to the game LawBreakers and $200,000 worth of codes for Dead by Daylight.

More than 75 million gamers can’t be wrong--GeForce Experience is the gateway to great PC gaming.

Source: NVIDIA

Microwave your RAM to make it faster?

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2016 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: terahertz, research, memory

You have probably recently heard of terahertz radiation used to scan physical objects, be it the T-Rays at airports or the the researchers at MIT who are reading books through the covers.  There is more recent of news on researchers utilizing the spectrum between frequencies of 0.3THz and 3THz, this time pertaining to RAM cycles and the possibility of increasing the speed at which RAM can flip between a 0 and 1.  In theory a terahertz electric field could flip bits 1000 times faster than the electromagnetic process currently used in flash memory. This could also be used in the new prototype RAM technology we have seen, such as MRAM, PRAM or STT-RAM.  This is still a long way off but a rather interesting read, especially if you can follow the links from The Inquirer to the Nature submission.

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"Using the prototypical antiferromagnet thulium orthoferrite (TmFeO3), we demonstrate that resonant terahertz pumping of electronic orbital transitions modifies the magnetic anisotropy for ordered Fe3+ spins and triggers large-amplitude coherent spin oscillations," the researchers helpfully explained."

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Source: The Inquirer

It's time for another Fragging Frogs VLAN! Saturday Oct 29 @ 10:00 AM ET - Virtual LAN party #14

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 07:10 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, gaming, fragging frogs

It's time to load up your Flak Cannon, squirrel away a Redeemer, tune up your Rocket car and feed your pet dinosaur because the Fragging Frogs are hosting their 14th VLAN party on the last Saturday of this month.  There will be games, there will be prize giveaways and there will be fun!  If you have attended a VLAN in the past you know the drill but if you have yet to take part in one of these events with the best group of gamers around then you can follow these steps to ensure you have a spot.

  • You must be a registered member at the PCPer forums (register here)
  • You must post to this thread stating your intention to attend the VLAN event
  • You must meet the eligibility requirements (if any) of the individual sponsors below
  • Your shipping address must be in the Continental United States or Canada (for prizes)
  • Lastly, you must join Teamspeak and participate in the VLAN event by playing games with us and having fun !!

You will need to supply your own snacks and beverages so make sure to stock up as the party kicks off at 10AM Eastern and doesn't stop until the last Frog drops, which is often sometime on Sunday.  The games we play are up to you, post suggestions in the thread if you don't see your favourites already listed, if we can find interested bodies we are happy to play anything. 

Prizes are not yet announced but you can expect some great hardware, software and possibly even some interesting collectibles.  Keep your eyes on the thread for more announcements and make sure to thank Lenny for all the effort he puts into organizing these events. 

Join up and have some fun on Saturday, you might just find yourself becoming a regular participant in the Fragging Frogs weekly gaming sessions too!

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Introducing the XG-U2008 switch – 10G networking for only $249

Subject: General Tech, Networking | October 12, 2016 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: asus, XG-U2008, unmanaged switch, 10 gigabit

Planning an upgrade to your network or looking to build one that will last into the next generation of NICs?  ASUS has just made an unmanaged 10 gigabit switch available at a price far below the average asking price of the devices currently on the market.  $250 is still a steep investment for a switch but is less than half of the competitions, albeit without the management features found on those switches.  The LEDs on the front will glow amber if the cable you use is not up to the new standard, otherwise expect green for go.  It will support Jumbo Frames of up to 16 KB just like the more expensive models.  It is a compact 9.44x4.92x1.06", so you should easily be able to find a home for it.  PR below the snazzy product shot, technical details from ASUS here.

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Fremont, CA (October 10th, 2016) -- Outside the enterprise market, the transition from Gigabit to 10-Gigabit Ethernet has been rather slow. While there are growing small-business and prosumer demands for the additional bandwidth that 10G networking provides, the cost of entry is high. Until now, the availability of compliant devices has been limited to enterprise-class products that are built with corporate networks in mind, with pricing for 10-Gigabit switches starting at $800. That certainly isn’t expensive by corporate standards, but for the rest of us, it relegates adoption to cases of absolute necessity and the upper echelon of enthusiasts.

While it’s advisable to plan ahead and overprovision your network for scalability, paying extra money for ports or features that you’ll never use doesn’t make sense. So, there’s a clear need for 10G networking devices that are suitably tailored for the small business, prosumer, and enthusiast markets. Cue the ASUS XG-U2008, an unmanaged 10G networking switch available for only $249.99.

Source:

The VR Pool game has finally arrived

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 03:43 PM |
Tagged: VR, unreal engine 4, pool nation vr, htc vive, gaming

Pool Nation VR for thr HTC Vive is an Unreal Engine 4 game and takes advantage of one of that engine's NVIDIA only features, Multi-Res Shading.  This gives NVIDIA a performance advantage at high settings over AMD, though not so much that the GTX 1060 gets a recommendation from [H]ard|OCP.  Unfortunately, neither thev R9 Fury X nor RX 480 managed decent performance from this game, if you want to shoot VR pool you are looking at a GTX 1070 at the very least.  Check out the full review and hope that mods arrive to make the game more interesting.

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"If shooting pool is a passion of yours, then Pool Nation VR should be on your list if you own an HTC Vive. Even if you are not a pool shark, this title will likely lure you in to spending many hours shooting stick. But to make it look stunning, you will need a heavy duty GPU up to the task. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Internet of Things can make you a cup of tea ... in 11 hours or so

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: iot, iKettle

If there is one thing that the IoT excels at, it is making simple things more complex.  It opens up new toaster based DoS attacks and can turn the act of boiling water into a day long activity.  An English software developer had a very interesting time attempting to make his morning cup of tea and being a technically inclined individual he was not about to simply give up; instead he started troubleshooting the issue.  The issue started with the iKettle dropping its connection necessitating the rest of the of the base station for the kettle but escalated to the point it was interfering with the Hadoop cluster he happened to be running in his garage.  The Register captured his debugging trials in the search for a substance that was  almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.  To ensure that there was salt added to his wounds, his Hue decided to perform a firmware update later that evening.

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"Our story starts simply enough: a kettle. The iKettle to be precise, an IoT device that is coveted by most INQ writers for reasons they cannot entirely explain."

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Source: The Register

Turn that Note 7 off, it won't work in your Gear VR

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2016 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, recall, gear vr, galaxy note 7

It is official, Samsung has called a halt to production of the Note 7 and not just because it is likely impossible to insure a building in which they are manufactured or stored.  The recall of 2.5 million handsets was damaging to the company and its reputation but the incidents of replacement batteries suffering the same catastrophic failure have spelled the end of this device.  Samsung suggests you immediately power down your device and contact your provider or retailer for a refund or for credit on a different handset.

Ars Technica also spotted a pertinent message on the current update to the Gear VR headset which states that support for the Note 7 has been discontinued and you are no longer able to install the app on a Note 7.  Thankfully there have been no reports of a battery failure while a Note 7 was inside of a Gear VR and this move should prevent that from ever happening.  Expect more statements from Samsung on this topic throughout the week.

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"Oculus and Samsung have obviously realized this and has pushed out an update preventing the volatile phone from working with the Gear VR headset."

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Source: Ars Technica

Ubisoft Has Some Games for Free

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2016 - 07:33 AM |
Tagged: ubisoft, pc gaming, free games, free

This has apparently been going on since June, but I just found out that Ubisoft was giving away some of their older titles for free. Like EA's “On the House” promotion, you can keep the title, but only if you add it to your UPlay account before the cut off date. We're just before the change in months, so, for the next few days, you can add The Crew. Then, starting on October 12th, you can pick up the original Beyond Good and Evil for free.

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As expected, you will need to have a UPlay account for this to work. Still, it's an otherwise free game, and a cult classic at that. While this promotion is officially for Ubisoft's 30th anniversary, and two games will go free after Beyond Good and Evil, Ubisoft took the opportunity to announce that a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil is being developed. I guess this means that we'll only have a couple more E3s where journalists write top ten “I want to see announced” lists containing Beyond Good and Evil 2. Yet another thing that will probably be released before Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

Source: Ubisoft

Like matte rubber on your mice? Check out the Dream Machines DM1 Pro

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2016 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: dream machines, gaming mouse, DM1 Pro

Dream Machines is not a well known brand but do have a line of computer equipment including the newly released DM1 Pro gaming mouse.  The mouse uses a Pmw3310dh optical sensor with DPI ranging from 400 to 5000 and indicates your current setting in a unique way, the colour displayed by the LED indicates the current sensitivity.  There are six buttons present, including the sensitivity toggle, with thumb buttons positioned for right handed users.  Kitguru liked the mouse but were disappointed by the complete lack of software to customize the mouse, take a peek and see what you think.

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"The latest mouse to come in for review is the Dream Machines DM1 Pro. A Polish company, you would be forgiven for not having heard of them. However, they supply laptops, speakers and mice so we were pleased to be sent the DM1 Pro mouse. Priced at £39 in the UK, it sports an ambidextrous design and optical sensor – but how does it fare in the real world?"

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Source: Kitguru