Subject: General Tech | March 10, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zenimax, Lawsuit, john carmack
According to Dallas News, John Carmack is suing ZeniMax for monies owed after he sold his company, id Software, to them. He claims that the company promised $45.1 million USD, half of which was used to buy stock in ZeniMax; specifically, the lawsuit states that “sour grapes is not an affirmative defense to breach of contract,” which... not so loosely implies that ZeniMax is just mad about the whole situation. ZeniMax, on the other hand, said that this was already rejected by a court in a previous filing.
As our readers probably know, this comes on the heels of ZeniMax suing Oculus VR, including John Carmack, over ownership of virtual reality technologies. While ZeniMax was awarded $500 million in prior damages by the jury decision, none of these damages were attributed to John Carmack.
Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2017 - 12:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kaspersky, antivirus, security, Threat de Toilette
If you are not aware of the story of John McAfee, who created the popular antivirus software before leaving to live a far more interesting life you should read up on it. Those who work in online and information security will have some sympathy for his decision as the job is rather thankless and not exactly something you can effectively use as a topic of conversation at a party. Kaspersky Labs may now be showing signs of distress after launching their new perfume line, Threat de Toilette. Yes, perfume.
There is a method to their madness if you read past the first few paragraphs on The Register. The perfume line is being advertised by fashion bloggers, who have reason to want their online information to be secure as it is the source of their livelihood and who have an audience which is not particularly knowledgeable about keeping themselves safe online. It is an intriguing way to try to spread the word about online security; here's hoping it helps at least a few people.
"The thing is, while Kaspersky is possibly talking crap about the perfume, it does manage to squeeze in a lot of good advice about security and the personal protection of it. Why it would send this to us is another mystery."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- IBM Researchers Prove It Is Possible To Store Data In a Single Atom @ Slashdot
- Microsoft: Can't wait for ARM to power MOST of our cloud data centers! Take that, Intel! Ha! Ha! @ The Register
- Apache Struts 2 needs patching, without delay. It's under attack now @ The Register
- Microsoft is adding 'adverts' for OneDrive in Windows 10's File Explorer @ The Inquirer
- Video intercom firm Doorbird wants $80 for device password resets @ The Register
- The 32-Core AMD Naples CPU Tech Report @ TechARP
- Uber Admits Its Ghost Driver 'Greyball' Tool Was Used To Thwart Regulators, Vows To Stop @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2017 - 04:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Honestly, I haven’t heard much from WebAssembly in several months, so I was figured they were still quite a ways off. Several big engines, like Unreal Engine 4, not really putting their weight behind HTML5 as much as they were about three years ago, during the Windows 8- and iOS-era. Now I see the above video, which starts with Tim Sweeney and goes on to include others from Mozilla, Autodesk, and Unity, and I am starting to assume that I just wasn’t looking in the right areas.
According to the video, though, it sounds like application startup time is the primary reason for shipping WebAssembly. That could just be what they feel the consumer-facing message should convey, though. I should probably poke around and see what some web and game developer contacts think about WebAssembly.
Firefox 52 is now available.
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2017 - 01:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Kickstarter, system shock, unreal engine 4, Nightdive Studios
It was just announced to backers and the public that the System Shock reboot from Nightdive Studios has moved from Unity to Unreal Engine 4 and they have a pre-alpha video that shows off what that will look like. The reasoning they gave was perhaps poorly worded, suggesting that this is because the choice was solely to make the game look good in the console version. They gave backers, such as myself, reassurance that "PC is the main target for everything we do" and that the console version was already planned in Unity. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN feels the change makes the quality of the visuals better, but perhaps not as true to the original as the previous example they showed using Unity. Check out the pre-alpha video below to see for yourself.
"In this matter at least, I am confident my sanity is unaffected. For as well as an apparent shift in its art direction to something more traditionally sci-fi/horror, SSR has hopped from Unity to the Unreal engine, resulting in a very different-looking game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Inkle’s Heaven’s Vault: a stunning sci-fi archaeology adventure @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- How does Nintendo Switch actually stack up at a party? @ Ars Technica
- Gearbox show off a little new Borderlands technology @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Humble Comics Bundle
- Ghost Recon Wildlands: Performance Analysis @ techPowerUp
- GOG’s big spring sale has started, is great @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dawn of War 3 is a best-of mashup of Warhammer 40k @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 8, 2017 - 12:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dell, hp, Lenovo, docking station, usb 3.1, thunderbolt 3, Type-C
Wave goodbye to your old docks as they sail away thanks to a thunderstorm. The Register reached out to Dell, HP, Lenovo and ASUS about the rumours that the docking station will be a thing of the past and all but the latter responded. It seems the vendors feel that as USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 have united under the Type-C plug it is time to cover up that slot in the bottom of your PC and use a wire to connect you to docks. Lenovo will also persist with their WiGig docks, for those who don't want to have to remember to 'undock' a cable. Their post also has some tidbits on some of the features to expect on laptops from these three companies, so check it out for more info.
"When you shop for PCs this year your theme tune may well be “Ding, dong, the dock is dead” because now that USB 3.1, USB-C connectors and Thunderbolt all play nicely together there's much less need for dedicated hardware to connect a laptop to peripherals."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Firefox 52 Is The Last Version of Firefox For Windows XP and Vista @ Slashdot
- Troubled Avaya takes Extreme option, flogs network biz for $100m @ The Register
- Redmond's on fire, your 365 is terrified: Microsoft email outage en masse @ The Register
- The NVIDIA Jetson TX2 (Pascal) Tech Report @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 8, 2017 - 12:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: qualcomm, OCP, microsoft, falkor, centriq 2400, azure, arm, 10nm
Last December Qualcomm announced plans to launch their Centriq 2400 series of platforms for data centres, demonstrating Apache Spark and Hadoop on Linux as well as a Java demo. They announced a 48 Core design based on ARM v8 and fabbed with on Samsung's 10nm process, which will compete against Intel's current offerings for the server room.
Today marks the official release of the Qualcomm Falkor CPU and Centriq 2400 series of products, as well as the existence of a partnership with Microsoft which may see these products offered to Azure customers. Microsoft has successfully configured a version of Windows Server to run on these new chips, which is rather big news for customers looking for low powered hosting solutions running a familiar OS. The Centriq 2400 family is compliant with Microsoft's Project Olympus architecture, used by the Open Compute Project Foundation to offer standardized building blocks upon which you can design a data centre from scratch or use as an expansion plan.
Enough of the background, we are here for the specifications of the new platform and what can be loaded onto a Centriq 2400. The reference motherboard supports SOCs of up to 48 cores, with both single and dual socket designs announced. Each SOC can support up to six channels of DDR4 in either single or dual channel configurations with a maximum of 768GB installed. Falkor will offer 32 lanes of PCIe 3.0, eight SATA ports and a GbE ethernet port as well as USB and a standard 50Gb/s NIC. NVMe is supported, one design offers 20 NVMe drives with a PCIe 16x slot but you can design the platform to match your requirements. Unfortunately they did not discuss performance during their call, nor any suggested usage scenarios. We expect to hear more about that during the 2017 Open Compute Platform US Summit, which starts today.
The submission of the design to Open Compute Project ensures a focus on compatibility and modularity and allows a wide variety of designs to be requested and networked together. If you have a need for HPC performance you can request a board with an HPC GPU such as a FirePro or Tesla, or even drop in your own optimized FPGA. Instead of opting for an impressive but expensive NVME storage solution, you can modify the design to accommodate 16 SATA HDDs for affordable storage.
Qualcomm have already announced Windows 10 support on their Snapdragon, but the fact that Microsoft are internally running Windows Server on an ARM v8 based processor is much more impressive. Intel and AMD have long held reign in the server room and have rightfully shrugged of the many times in which companies have announced ARM based servers which will offer more power efficient alternatives. Intel have made huge advances at creating low power chips for the server room; AMD's recently announced Naples shows their intentions to hold their market share as well.
If the submission to the OPC succeeds then we may see the first mainstream ARM based servers appear on the market. Even if the Windows Server instances remain internal to Microsoft, the Centriq series will support Red Hat, CentOS, Canonical and Ubuntu as well as both GCC and LLVM compilers.
(click to seriously embiggen)
ARM may finally have reached the server market after all these years and it will be interesting to see how they fare. AMD and Intel have both had to vastly reduce the power consumption of their chips and embrace a diametrically opposite design philosophy; instead of a small number of powerful chips, servers of the future will consist of arrays of less powerful chips working in tandem. ARM has had to do the opposite, they are the uncontested rulers of low powered chips but have had to change their designs to increase the processing capabilities of their chips in order to produce an effective product for the server room.
Could Qualcomm successful enter the server room; or will their ARMs not have the necessary reach?
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VR, steamvr, LG
While SteamVR is practically synonymous with the HTC Vive, Valve intends it to be an open platform with multiple OEMs. At this year’s Game Developers Conference, GDC 2017, LG was showing off one of their prototypes, which the folks at Adam Savage’s Tested got some time with. The company repetitively said that this is just a prototype that can change in multiple ways.
There are some differences between this and the HTC Vive, though. One change that LG is proud of is the second app button. Apparently, the company found that developers liked to assign buttons in pairs, such as a “forward” button to go along with a “back”. As such, they added a second app button, and placed all three above the touchpad for less accidental presses. The weight distribution is, apparently, also adjusted slightly, too. The difference that Tested seems most interested in is the pull forward and flip up hinge holding the mask, allowing the headset to be moved out of the way without fully taking it off the head, and for it to be easily moved back into place around glasses. (Thankfully, I’m far-sighted, so I can just take off my glasses when I use my Daydream headset, which I assume holds true for other VR devices.)
It’s unclear when it will come to market. Tested speculated that it could happen sometime later this year, which would put it just before when we expect the HTC Vive 2, but... speculation.
Introduction and Specifications
The G533 Wireless headset is the latest offering from Logitech, combining the company’s premium Pro-G drivers, 15-hour battery life, and a new, more functional style. Obvious comparisons can be made to last year’s G933 Artemis Spectrum, since both are wireless headsets using Logitech’s Pro-G drivers; but this new model comes in at a lower price while offering much of the same functionality (while dropping the lighting effects). So does the new headset sound any different? What about the construction? Read on to find out!
The G533 exists alongside the G933 Artemis Spectrum in Logitech’s current lineup, but it takes most of the features from that high-end wireless model, while paring it down to create a lean, mean option for gamers who don’t need (or want) RGB lighting effects. The 40 mm Pro-G drivers are still here, and the new G533 offers a longer battery life (15 hours) than the G933 could manage, even with its lighting effects disabled (12 hours). 7.1-channel surround effects and full EQ and soundfield customization remain, though only DTS effects are present (no Dolby this time).
What do these changes translate to? First of all, the G533 headset is being introduced with a $149 MSRP, which is $50 lower than the G933 Artemis Spectrum at $199. I think many of our readers would trade RGB effects for lower cost, making this a welcome change (especially considering lighting effects don’t really mean much when you are wearing the headphones).Another difference is the overall weight of the headset at 12.5 oz, which is 0.5 oz lighter than the G933 at 13 oz.
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2017 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, outlook, office 365, skype, hotmail
Many users of Hotmail, Outlook and Skype are finding themselves unable to log in to their accounts and some are complaining about access to their XBox accounts. The problem is being described as an authentication issue, something that users of Exchange Online are all too familiar with. Microsoft is currently working on a solution and the incident count on Down Detector seems do have dropped in the past few hours but there are still some problems. The professional side also seems to be suffering as well, with several performance issues effecting a variety of services. If you are one of those currently suffering, you can follow the link from The Register to report it on Down Detector, if you wish.
"Naturally, users of Microsoft's cloud services have taken to Twitter and Reddit to moan about the downtime, with some complaining that Xbox online services have also been hit by the downtime."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Where minimum-FPS figures mislead, frame-time analysis shines @ The Tech Report
- AMD Naples: 32-core Zen-based SoC takes the fight to Intel Xeon @ The Inquirer
- Nintendo Switch Owners Complain About Dead Pixels, Nintendo Says They're 'Normal' @ Slashdot
- Chatbot that Overturned 160,000 Parking Fines Now Helping Refugees Claim Asylum @ Slashdot
- Spam-slinging outfit leaks 1.37 billion email addresses after failed backup @ The Inquirer
- Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings @ The Register
- RadioShack bankruptcy savior to file for, you guessed it, bankruptcy @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2017 - 07:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, hololens
When Michael Abrash moved from Intel to Valve, according to his post on the latter company’s blog, he suggested that he should help optimize Portal 2. The response from Jay Stelly was interesting: “Yeah, you could do that, but we’ll get it shipped anyway.” That’s... not something you’d expect from a company that is getting ready to ship a huge, AAA title.
He took that feedback as a license to think outside the box, which led to their “wearable computing” initiative that eventually formed the basis of Steam VR. One key part of this blog post was the minor parenthetical, “think Terminator vision”.
Apparently, Microsoft’s HoloLens team has. As a cute little Unity demo, they are overlaying text and post-processing shaders atop the camera feed. It’s not just baked 2D text, though; they are also pushing the feed through object- and text-recognition, suggesting that users take the source (available on GitHub) and extend it through translation or text-to-speech.
The demo is primarily written in C#, which makes sense, because Unity.