NVIDIA Introduces AI Interactive Graphics Research: 3D from Real-World Video

Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2018 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: ue4, nvidia, NeurIPS, deep learning, ai, 3D rendering

NVIDIA has introduced new research at the NeurIPS AI conference in Montreal that allows rendering of 3D environments from models trained on real-world videos. It's a complex topic that does have potential beyond scientific research with possible application for game developers, though this is not to the "product" stage just yet. A video accompanying the press release today shows how the researchers have implemented this technology so far:

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"Company researchers used a neural network to apply visual elements from existing videos to new 3D environments. Currently, every object in a virtual world needs to be modeled. The NVIDIA research uses models trained from video to render buildings, trees, vehicles and objects."

The AI-generated city of a simple driving game demo shown at the NeurIPS AI conference gives us an early look at the sort of 3D environment that can be rendered by the neural network, as "the generative neural network learned to model the appearance of the world, including lighting, materials and their dynamics" from video footage, and this was rendered as the game environment using Unreal Engine 4.

"The technology offers the potential to quickly create virtual worlds for gaming, automotive, architecture, robotics or virtual reality. The network can, for example, generate interactive scenes based on real-world locations or show consumers dancing like their favorite pop stars."

Beyond video-to-video this research can also be applied to still images, with models providing the basis for what is eventually rendered movement (the video embedded above includes a demonstration of this aspect of the research - and yes, dancing is involved). And while all of this might be a year or two away from appearing in a new game release, but the possibilities are fascinating to contemplate, to say the least.

Source: NVIDIA

Chalk up another one for Chromebooks

Subject: General Tech | November 30, 2018 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: pixel slate, google, chrome

The new Pixel Slate has an impressive 12.3", 3000x2000, 293ppi touchscreen, powered by the UHD 615 GPU on the Core i5-8200Y.  You will also find 8GB and a 128GB SSD, what you will not find is Thunderbolt on the 2 USB-C ports nor a headphone jack.  You do pay for the components and design, a Slate with those specs will cost you $1000.  Ars Technica were impressed by the Chromebook, especially the inclusion of fingerprint authentication.

Check it out here.

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"The Pixel Slate may not share a silver-and-white aesthetic with the Pixelbook, but it still has a clean design, now just with a darker hue. The all-metal back sports a deep navy color with a slightly lighter blue "G" on the top-left corner."

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Source: Ars Technica

Mineral oil flavoured Pi

Subject: General Tech | November 30, 2018 - 03:43 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, mineral oil

Feast your eyes on the fastest Raspberry Pi on the planet, thanks to it being immersed in mineral oil.  In order to ensure it can still be used, the modder you can call Timm removed the various connectors such as the GPIO and USB headers and reattached them with wired extensions that extend outside of the case.  Check out the video over at Hackaday and think about Ken while you do.

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"The computer in question here is a Raspberry Pi, and it’s being housed in a purpose-built laser cut acrylic case full of mineral oil. As a SoC, it’s easier to submerge the entire computer than it is to get a tiny liquid-cooled heat sink for the processor."

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Source: Hackaday

Incoming friendly fire! Microsoft is launching more patches!!!

Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: patch, terror, microsoft, windows 10

The seemingly endless barrage of patches attempting to patch the issue the previous patches attempt to patch after needing a patch to patch the patch ... continues ad nauseam.  If you are running Server 2016 or Windows 10 1709 or newer then you are about to receive a gift you probably don't want; though one fix in Server 2016 is worth it as it fixes something that left many technically inclined people, including The Register, scratching their heads.

You should consider a setting a shortcut to "About your PC" to keep tabs on your Windows version as Win10 has made this necessary for the first time.  Case and point, Windows 10 1703 is no longer receiving updates unless you are running Enterprise or Education versions, so unless you install one of the roll ups, you ain't even getting basic security updates!

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"Tucked innocuously among a swathe of fixes ranging from dealing with Russian time zone changes to fixing wobbly Hyper-V servers is the text: "Addresses an issue in File Explorer that sometimes deletes the permissions of a shared parent folder when you delete the shared child folder."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #523 - RX 590, 860 QVO, Drobo 8D

Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2018 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: Z390, windows 10, Samsung, rx 590, podcast, gigabyte, EVGA SuperNOVA, evga, ECS, drobo, amd, 860 QVO

PC Perspective Podcast #523 - 11/28/18

Our podcast this week features reviews for the new AMD Radeon RX 590, Drobo 8D, the Samsung 860 QVO, a new fanless mini PC, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Jim Tanous, Allyn Malventano, Sebastian Peak, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 2:15:34

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. For a limited time, get 3 months of Audible for just $6.95 a month:  audible.com/PCPER or text PCPER to 500500.
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: It’s better than bad, it’s Alexa on Big Mouth Billy Bass
    2. Allyn: Ring Alarm deals on Amazon (8 piece kit cheaper than 5 piece kit)
  5. Closing/Outro

Forget custom keycaps, what about your mouse feet?

Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2018 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: input, corepad, skatez, mouse feet

If you have a mouse that conforms comfortably to the contours of your hand, but just doesn't perform like it used to, perhaps it is time to replace your feet.  Corepad Skatez Mouse Feet are made of high-quality PTFE and cost $7-8US so even if they don't change your life, you aren't out much money.  The feet work with the majority of mice on the market and TechPowerUp did feel they added new life to their Dream Machines DM1 Pro S. 

Check out the whole process here.

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"Do your mouse feel slow and sluggish on your mouse pad? Is the glide scratchy? Your mouse feet might be totally worn out, but it is also very probable that they're simply bad and cheaply made. There is a solution for this problem with aftermarket replacement skates, and Corepad offers some of the best ones around."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Mechs dancing for their lives; what a feeling!

Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2018 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: battletech, flashpoint, gaming, kick ass

A 100 tonne mech may not qualify as it's own Steel City but that hasn't stopped them from learning some sweet new moves.  The 1.3 patch is accompanied by the Flashpoint expansion, marking some major changes to the game.  If you didn't update to the 1.3 beta to test the new Mechwarrior skills you will have the chance to respec your entire squad with the new special skills, otherwise your crew will remain as it was.

The addon introduces three new mechs, a new environment to stomp through and Flashpoints, which are random missions, with several battles strung together, with no chance to rest or repair between them.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN enjoyed the ones they saw, as they include new characters and choices unlike the missions you generally undertake.  Check it out here.

"Flashpoint, the first expansion for wonkily-explained, slow-burn stomp-o-strategy gem BattleTech, does exactly what I wanted it to: gives me a cast-iron reason to keep playing indefinitely. "

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ARM, AMD, AWS and Annapurna Labs

Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2018 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: arm, amd, AWS, Annapurna Labs, graviton

You may have never heard of Graviton before, but chances are you've interacted with one on Amazon.  The current chip which powers many AWS instances is based on a Cortex-A72 design and runs 2.3GHz and was almost designed by AMD.  Instead, AMD was focusing on Zen design and were not able to commit enough resources to the development of the ARM chip, which is why Amazon chose to buy Annapurna Labs outright and have the chip designed in house.  We did see that AMD ARM chip, the A1100, which did not see much market success.

There is quite a story behind this, catch up on it over at The Register.

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"Up until early 2015, Amazon and AMD were working together on a 64-bit Arm server-grade processor to deploy in the internet titan's data centers. However, the project fell apart when, according to one well-placed source today, "AMD failed at meeting all the performance milestones Amazon set out."

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Source: The Register

Mobile Coffee Lake Sssssss leak

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2018 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, coffee lake s, i7-9550U, i5-9250U, i3-9130U, Intel

Lenovo let a secret out today, the model numbers of mobile Coffee Lake S chips, of which we have only officially seen desktop parts so far.  The i7-9550U, i5-9250U and i3-9130U will be available in their new  IdeaPad family and while Lenovo may have labelled them 8th gen, they are very obviously 9th gen parts; this could imply they are also build on their 14nm++.  The Inquirer did not find much more information than the part names, we do not know frequencies or TDPs but as this is a refresh you can expect an iterative improvement in both.

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"While Intel has revealed desktop variants of its ninth-generation Core CPUs, which are effectively a refresh of its Coffee Lake S architecture found in eighth-gen processors, it has yet to reveal details of laptop variants."

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Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft continues to toss patches against the wall to see what sticks

Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2018 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, oops, october update, windows 10

A new week brings a new Win10 bug from Microsoft to start you on your way.  This one is far less serious than previous ones, merely removing your ability to use the seek bar on Windows Media Player.  While this will not prevent you from getting work done, it is yet another blow to the confidence of anyone who has managed to retain even a slight belief in the success of Windows as a Service.  The Inquirer offers information on this bug as well as one that will interfere with your iTunes as well.

Roll-up your patches to win, eh?

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"This time, its an issue with media playback, and specifically the "seek bar", which we're given to understand is the bit that lets you find the specific bit of a song. This only applies to the default player. That iTunes borkage? Separate bug."

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Source: The Inquirer