Modulate all the things! EpicGear's Defiant modular gaming keyboard

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: modular, mms, mechanical keyboard, input, epicgear, defiant

Move over modular PSUs and mice, the Epicgear Defiant is a modular keyboard.  What that actually means is that you can swap the actual switches on the keyboard, as long as they are Modular Matrix Structure switches.  The MMS switches as described as analogous to Cherry MX switches, though the colours do not translate directly and The Tech Report found them to be of equivalent quality.  In their testing they found that gaming with mismatched switches was somewhat unpleasant, so make sure to get a full set of the ones you plan to use.  The full review can be found here.

defiant.jpg

"Some gaming keyboards offer customizable backlighting and key caps to change up the feel of the keys underneath one's fingers. EpicGear's Defiant keyboard goes one better and lets gamers change out its key switches themselves for a different tactile experience. We switched around the Defiant's clickers to see if the feature upped our game."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Windows 10 Releases Target ~September and ~March

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Now that Microsoft has pushed their third major version of Windows 10, the Creators Update, the company has decided to settle on a six-month rotation. This is similar to how the Ubuntu distribution of Linux pushes updates, although Windows 10 will be targeting September and March rather than Ubuntu’s October and April (and Ubuntu has a different long-term support model, as we’ll discuss below). More importantly, it’s designed to occur at the same time as Office 365 ProPlus updates, so IT departments can certify and roll out both at the same time.

windows-10.png

The previous release cycle was a little… chaotic. The November Update occurred about three and a half months after the initial release, followed almost nine months later by the Anniversary Update. Seven months after that, the Creators Update landed, which brings us to today.

Each version will be supported for eighteen months.

Source: Microsoft

Windows 3.11 in WebVR

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: Windows 3.11, webvr

One of the latest WebVR experiments puts an emulated Windows 3.11 terminal in a virtual space. In it, you can play Minesweeper, Solitaire, and generally mess around. Because it’s a WebVR demo, certain browser, OS, and VR headset combinations will also work, in case you wanted to feel like you were actually in front of a beige box.

webvr-windows31-new.jpg

If you’re using it without WebVR, then it will appear as a static 3D scene. Make sure you enable mouse pointer lock, because you will need to use the virtual mouse pointer, not your actual mouse pointer. It will ask you when it’s loaded and focused, but your browser will probably require you to click allow or something.

Source: Metacade

Interesting Blender Updates for Upcoming Versions

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 02:49 AM |
Tagged: Blender

The Blender Foundation and volunteers have been quite busy, especially over the last few weeks. Two major changes that are prepared for Blender 2.79: near-parity between CUDA and OpenCL, and an implementation of the Disney PBR shader.

Aside: A physically-based (“PBR”) shader allows modeling a bunch of common materials, such as plastics, ceramics, metals, and so forth, using parameters that are independent of lighting. This means that you can reuse the same object and material in all of your scenes, and it will behave like we expect it would given the environment. For instance, PBR materials account for conservation of energy, so objects get shinier as they get smoother, but they also look darker off-axis because less light is being diffusely scattered.

blender-2016-caminandes3-llama.jpg

While it was always possible to render in Cycles with a PBR workflow, you needed to create your own node setup, which typically consisted of about seven or eight elements connected in a specific way. When this new version lands, you will just need to connect the appropriate textures and colors to their corresponding pins in this node. The Disney-based Principled BSDF accounts for albedo (base color), subsurface scattering, metallic, specular, roughness, anisotropic reflections, sheen, clearcoat, index of refraction, and transparency.

blender-2017-openclperf.png

Update (April 21st @ 5:35pm): Blah! I forgot to embed the chart. Here it is.
Image Credit: Blender Foundation

Now we get to “near-parity between CUDA and OpenCL”. According the Blender Foundation, OpenCL can support all features found on CUDA with the exception of correlated multi jitter. This is accompanied by a graph, embed above, showing the RX 480 beat the GTX 1060 in a variety of benchmark scenes. Unfortunately, at the same time, GPU-accelerated rendering in Cycles now requires GCN 2.0 and up, which is the AMD R9 290 and later. Blender will still work on older cards, like the R9 280 or, heck, probably even the Radeon HD 4890, but the final render will need to be done on the CPU.

Blender 2.79 doesn’t have a firm release date, but the code freeze schedule has it expected for some time in either May or June.

Joe Macri on Ryzen

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2017 - 08:05 PM |
Tagged: video, amd, Joe Macri, ryzen

TechARP just posted a video of AMD's Joe Macri discussing the new Ryzen processors from AMD.  It is not quite 20 minutes long which gives you a chance to quickly hear from AMD about what they feel the new architecture means for the company, as well as the impact it will have on gamers and enthusiasts.  He does mention the HSA Foundation and how AMD is working towards a basic change in how PCs utilize resources. They also embedded a link to a video featuring AMD's Radeon Product Marketing Manager, Adam Kozak, on the new 500 series if you have time.

Ryzen-New-Era-slide-01.jpg

"AMD Corporate Vice President, Product Chief Technology Officer and Corporate Fellow, Joe Macri, flew in to brief us on the disruptive nature of the new AMD Ryzen processors. Join us for his full tech briefing!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: TechARP

There are a couple of ways to enjoy Dawn of War III

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2017 - 07:57 PM |
Tagged: dawn of war III, open beta, giveaway, relic, gaming

Dawn of War III will not be released until the 27th of this month but you can take a look at it already.  Relic are hosting an open beta which kicks off this Friday and encompasses the whole weekend.  You will be able to play as any of the three races, with a somewhat shortened line up, in 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 multiplayer games.  You will not be able to play on your own against an AI player and there are only three maps but if you can't wait until the launch or desire a closer look at the game before deciding to pick it up on release day you can get a quick peek.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have posted a video of gameplay you can check out, with a commentary track.

Also worth noting is that recent NVIDIA cards coming from Amazon, at least of the ASUS STRIX variety, now include a game key for DoW 3 as opposed to the For Honor or Ghost Recon: Wildlands offer currently advertised.

19dow3.jpg

"The multiplayer open beta test for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III is starting Friday but ugh, waiting! For those who want to see 40K real-time strategy action right now, Relic have released a video of a full 3v3 match with commentary from some of the folks who made the game."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Logitech Announces the G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2017 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: romer-g, mechanical, magnesium, logitech, keyboard, gaming, aluminium

Logitech has announced the G413, a mechanical gaming keyboard with the company's exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches and premium construction (including an aluminum-magnesium upper panel).

Logitech G413 Carbon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.jpg

"Engineered for precision and performance, the keyboard delivers unrivaled performance in a thoughtfully balanced, modern design. The Logitech G413 features Logitech’s exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches, offering 25 percent faster actuation than standard mechanical keys, as well as a brushed anodized aircraft-grade aluminum top case, USB passthrough port and precision key backlighting for an affordable price."

High_Resolution-G413 Carbon Keycaps.jpg

Logitech lists these features for the G413 mechanical gaming keyboard:

  • Romer-G Mechanical Switches: Logitech’s exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches are purpose-built for professional-grade performance, responsiveness and durability. With a short-throw actuation point of 1.5 mm, Romer-G switches register key presses up to 25 percent faster than standard mechanical switches, so you can get your shots off faster than your opponent. Designed to enhance gameplay, Romer-G switches offer the perfect blend of speed, precision and quiet performance.
  • Precision Key Lighting: Romer-G mechanical switches are also purpose-designed for precise and clean lighting through the keycaps. This means keys are always visible and never distracting, especially during late night gaming sessions. The Logitech G413 Carbon features elemental red backlighting and the Logitech G413 Silver features iconic white backlighting, for a premium, focused look.
  • Aircraft-Grade Aluminum Alloy: A brushed 5052 aluminum-magnesium alloy top case serves as the keyboard’s backbone. The result is a minimal design balanced with a full set of features. With a focus on high-end finish and performance, the Logitech G413 is crafted from the highest-grade materials.
  • USB Passthrough: Convenience and speed are directly within reach. The additional, dedicated USB cable connects the USB passthrough port to its own input for full power throughput and data speed. 
  • Full Function Keys: Media control is built-in so you can use the FN key to control volume, play and pause, mute, game mode, lighting, etc. The FN toggle feature in the Logitech Gaming Software (LGS) configure the keys to perform media commands by default.  
  • Programmable Macros: Use LGS to program custom functions and macro commands on F1-F12 buttons. Execute complex commands, or unleash a timed series of actions or spells with the press of a button.
  • Performance Keycaps: Laser-etched cylindrical keycaps come standard plus a set of 12 optional performance faceted keycaps designed by esports pros are included.

High_Resolution-G413 BTM Carbon.jpg

With an MSRP of $89.99 the G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard goes on sale this month in two versions, with a black finish (shown here) and a silver finish that is exclusive to Best Buy.

Source: Logitech

Sounds like a roundup, headphones and speakers galore

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2017 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: audio, Fugoo, sennheiser, jabra

Over at The Inquirer is a roundup of new audio devices they have seen and were impressed by.  They cover headphones, bookshelf speakers and wireless speakers with interesting features that might tempt you to open your wallet.  If you are planning an outdoor party now that the weather is starting to change, the Fugoo XL speaker offers waterproofing to ensure a shower won't ruin your day as well as a reinforced casing if you tend to be hard on your electronics.  They also list several in-ear headphones, including a wireless model from Sennheiser which might attract fans of a certain phone.

fugoostyleXLangleleft-540x334.png

"IT'S BACK for 2017, our never quite ending (that is to say regularly updated) guide to the best speakers and headphones that you can get your paws on, including some familiar names and some that could save you a ton by being awesome noobs. Keep checking back, we'll be adding more as the year progresses."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: The Inquirer

I knew him; IDF, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy

Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2017 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: Intel, idf

It is not a post-PC world but it is now officially a post-IDF world as Intel announces they are too diverse to host such a PC-centric conference.  It was 20 years ago today that the first IDF was held in Beijing and Intel announced some time ago the cancellation of this years event in China, however until today they had still planned to hold their scheduled event in San Francisco.  The rationale offered is Intel's expansion into FPGAs, Optane storage, IoT devices, wireless communications and other fields pushes them beyond the scope traditionally represented at the IDF.  Why cancellation of the event in preference of broadening the scope is not explained in their announcement.  Ars Technica has related links here.

idf16-sf-lockup-date-full-transparent16x9.png.rendition.intel_.web_.480.270.png

"While the company earlier said that it would not have a Chinese event, the San Francisco IDF was still being planned, albeit with a "new format," in the early months of 2017. It appears now that this 'new format' is in fact 'non-existence.'"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

Syberia II Is "On The House"

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2017 - 09:57 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, microids, ea

I’m apparently about a month late on this one, but it’s better than never for those who, like me, missed the news the first time around. Syberia II is a point-and-click adventure title from 2004 and it is currently “On The House” through EA’s Origin service. These promotions would be the same as if EA had a timed, 100%-off sale: claim it before it’s over and it’s yours for free, permanently.

ea-2016-origin-on-the-house-logo.png

It might not be around for long, though. I’m guessing this deal is to promote the upcoming Syberia III, which was originally announced in 2009 and should launch in about a week or two (depending on your region). If this sort of game interests you in any way, and especially if you have an active Origin account, then it’s a good idea to add Syberia II to your games library, even if you don’t plan on installing it right away.

Source: EA (Origin)