Rosewill expands into audio with a pair of earbuds

Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2017 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: rosewill, EX-500, EX-700, earbuds, audio

Earbuds do not seem as popular as gigantic RGB sporting over the ear headsets, but there are still a few who prefer a more subtle approach to mobile audio.  The Rosewill EX-500 and 700 look similar but hide some differences inside.  The EX-500 uses a ceramic driver and a 10 mm dynamic driver while the EX-700 has a balanced armature driver and an 8mm dynamic driver.  That means there is a difference in impedance, 33 Ohm and 26 Ohm respectively though both retain a range of 20-40 kHz.  TechPowerUp tried both of these $40 earbuds out, read on to see what differences they found in the audio.

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"The recently launched Rosewill EX-500 and EX-700 aim to take on the usual brands that dominate the price range by offering high-quality craftsmanship coupled with a nice accessories pack and - of course - better sound. We listen closely to see whether they can hold up on these promises."

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Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

Have a 3D printer? Why not set up a Kinect based 3D scanner to go with it?

Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2017 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: kinect, 3d scanning, microsoft

You may have seen a similar project in the past, if not this might be something you should check out.  If you have seen it, the process has matured somewhat and the quality of the imaging has improved.  In addition to the Kinect and a decent PC, you will need to install the The Kinect SDK and Kinect Explorer, along with Reconstruct Me, AutoDesk 123D Catch  and Skanect.  Drop by Techware Labs to read through the setup instructions and see if this project catches your imagination, or if there are updates to the process your own Kinect scanner might benefit from.

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"How many times have you sat there and thought about getting a 3D Scanner? If you are in to 3D printing then it’s probably a lot. If you go online and look for a 3D scanner you will find a lot of them with extremely high price tags. From $120 - $32,000. Seems a bit crazy on the high end but you are paying for the resolution. The idea behind a 3D scanner is that you use a laser that bounces back to a camera to tell it the contours of the model. Well what does a Kinect do? It scans a body for motion tracking using lasers and a camera. BINGO, there is a 3D scanner waiting to be used."

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Tech Talk

That's not ominous; so called crimeware installed in 10 industrial plants

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2017 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: security, siemens, crimeware

This story at The Register raises more than a few concerns, the first of which being that Dragos, the industrial cybersecurity firm which detected the infection called it crimeware.  This is a lovely term for the media to try to explain why computer security is important but carries little valuable information for those wondering exactly this breach entails.  We are all well aware that malware and viruses are used for criminal purposes; not for the benefit of the users who get infected.

It gets better, the infected code was first detected in 2013 and was flagged a false positive.  This infected software has been installed on the Siemens programmable logic controllers of at least 10 industrial plants and in some cases for at least four years.  The insecurity of Internet of Big Things is much scarier than the issues with the IoT, a hacked camera can ruin a person or families day, a hacked power grid has ruined the day of entire countries.

"The cyber-nasty is packaged as software to be installed on Siemens programmable logic controllers (PLC), we're told. At least 10 industrial plants – seven in the US – were found running the infected software, a study by industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos claims."

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Source: The Register

X-Factor versus Delta Force; does your DX version matter right now?

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2017 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dx11, dx12

We are finally starting to see a diverse enough field of games capable of running in both DX11 and DX12 which makes it much easier to see performance pattern differences.  [H]ard|OCP tested out Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, BF1, The Division, Sniper Elite and AotS on AMD's RX480 and NVIDIA's GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti.  In almost all cases the difference between the two APIs were negligible and neither offers significant performance benefits to owners of these cards.  The one exception was Sniper Elite 4 which did see some performance deltas, especially on the RX480.  Check out the full review to see for yourself.

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"We play latest games with DX12 support and find out which is faster, DX12 or DX11? We use the latest drivers from NVIDIA and AMD to find any advantages in this GPU focused review. We’ll get to the bottom of the question, "Should I be running this game in DX12 or DX11 in order to get the best real world gaming performance?"

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Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Is your Joy-Con joyless? The fix is in

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2017 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, Joy-Con

The Nintendo Switch seems to be rather popular around these parts but it would seem that not all is wonderful in the land of Zelda.  There have been a slew of reports that the Joy-Cons which Nintendo shipped initially have wireless connectivity issues which interfered with users abilities to use them.  Some enterprising minds cracked the controller open and added a wire to enhance the range and reliability of the Joy-Con's connection.  Ars Technica reports that Nintendo is now offering a fix to customers who are experiencing this issue, they will pay for the shipping back and forth to the repair depot and at least in one case the turnaround was five days.  The fix is a piece of metal-coated conductive foam which should allow you to enjoy your new toy; Nintendo have modified the new models they are shipping to ensure new customers do not run into this problem.

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"Opening up the fixed controller showed that Nintendo didn't have to do much to correct the connection issue. The only apparent difference is a small piece of black foam sitting on top of the corner of the controller board that houses the Bluetooth antenna trace."

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Source: Ars Technica

A call to ARM in the server room

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2017 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: server, SBSA, arm

As we mentioned last week, Qualcomm's new Centriq 2400 Platform will run Microsoft server operating systems on ARM chips, however there are those who believe it is already too late for that to save Microsoft's hold on the data centre.  A few years ago ARM started work on developing what they called Server Base System Architecture, essentially creating a standardized way in which any OS can communicate effectively with an ARM chip, the same sort of standardization which originally won the server room for x86 based chips.  With ARM's DynamIQ Technology, which Josh discusses in depth, just around the corner their hardware is also becoming more attractive.  Pop by The Register for more details on this possible industry sea change.

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"Cutting to the heart of it, it doesn't actually matter if Microsoft releases Windows Server for ARM. Windows isn't the future and even Microsoft knows it. The upcoming availability of SQL server on Linux is all the proof we need that the game is over and, in the data centre at least, Microsoft didn't win."

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

New "Fabric" for ARM

It is not much of a stretch to say that ARM has had a pretty impressive run for the past 10 years since we started paying attention to the company from a consumer point of view.  It took 22 years for ARM to power 50 billion chips that had been shipped.  It took another 4 years to hit the next 50 billion.  Now ARM expects to ship around 100 billion chips in the next four years.
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Last year we saw the introduction of multiple technologies from ARM in the shape of the latest Cortex-A CPUs and a new generation of Mali GPUs.  ARM has been near the forefront of applying their designs to the latest, cutting edge process technologies offered by Samsung and TSMC.  This change of pace has been refreshing considering that a few years ago they would announce a new architecture and expect to see it in new phones and devices about 3 years from that point.  Intel attempted a concerted push into mobile and ARM responded by tightening up their portfolio and aggressively pushing release dates.
 
This year appears no different for ARM as we expect new technologies to be announced again later this year that will update their offerings as well as process technology partnerships with the major pure-play foundries.  The first glimpse of what we can expect is ARM's announcement today of their DynamIQ technology.
 
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DynamIQ can be viewed as a portfolio of technologies that will power the next generation of ARM CPUs, GPUs, and potentially accelerators.  This encompasses power delivery, power control, connectivity, and topologies.
 
 

HyperX's Alloy FPS, available in a wide variety of your favourite flavours of Cherry

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2017 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: hyper x, HyperX ALLOY FPS, Cherry MX

If you are a gamer with a very specific definition of what a proper key switch is then check out HyperX's new Alloy.  You can choose between Cherry MX Blue, Brown, or Red switches, depending on your particular preference.  The design is not particularly ostentatious, the bezel has been lowered to fully expose the keys, handy for those who like to swap caps as well as aiding in cleaning.  The Tech Report gave this keyboard high marks at the $100 MSRP and even higher at the $80 price tag it is frequently available at.

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"HyperX's Alloy FPS keyboard delivers a no-nonsense typing experience with Cherry MX switches. We put this pared-down mechanical keyboard under our fingers to see whether HyperX struck the right balance of solidity and simplicity."

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Topre

Ultimate Topre

There are cars that get you from point A to point B, and then there are luxurious grand touring cars which will get you there with power, comfort, and style - for a price. Based on the cost alone ($269.99 MSRP!) it seems like a safe bet to say that the REALFORCE RGB keyboard will be a similarly premium experience. Let’s take a look!

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There is as much personal taste at issue when considering a keyboard (or dream car!) as almost any other factor, and regardless of build quality or performance a keyboard is probably not going to work out for you if it doesn’t feel right. Mechanical keyboards are obviously quite popular, and more companies than ever offer their own models, many using Cherry MX key switches (or generic ‘equivalents’ - which vary in quality). Topre keys are different, as they are a capacitive key with a rubber dome and metal spring, and have a very smooth, fast feel to them - not clicky at all.

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“Topre capacitive key switches are a patented hybrid between a mechanical spring based switch, a rubber dome switch, and a capacitive sensor which, combined, provide tactility, comfort, and excellent durability. The unique electrostatic design of Topre switches requires no physical mechanical coupling and therefore key switch bounce/chatter is eliminated.”

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Continue reading our review of the Topre REALFORCE RGB Keyboard!

Hack a Day Prize kicks off today for those with creative spirits and skills

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: hackaday prize, contest

The 2017 Hack A Day Prize kicks off today and for anyone thinking of joining, or who has a project they have started or are thinking of starting then you should sign up as there is a huge list of prizes.  In addition to the grand prizes are prizes awarded in five different categories, the first of which is for project design, you don't need a physical product to win this category, a best design plan with details on how the project could help change the world from the better will walk away with the first prize.  The design purpose also matters, your plan might not compete in the IoT category but could soar in the wheels, wings, and walkers or assistive technology portions of the contest.  Check out the rules and regulations and pop a bookmark into your browser to see what the winners and runners up have created!

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"We have over $250,000 in cash going out to hundreds of entries this year. The Grand Prize of $50,000 is joined once again this year by the Best Product Prize of $30,000. Four other entries will place second through fifth and receive $20k, $15k, $10k, and $5k respectively."

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Source: Hack a Day