A Cooler Master MasterMouse to attach your your MasterCase, young master

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2019 - 07:20 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, mastermouse, MM830, RGB, PixArt PMW3360, input

If you have fallen in love with the various types of MasterCase which have appeared on the market over the past couple of years, then why not plug in a new MasterMouse to it?  The MM830 was announced some time ago but hadn't made it to the NA market until recently and TechPowerUp grabbed one for review.  That funky design you can see on the side functions somewhat like a D-Pad, with each of those points being a programmable button.  The Cooler Master Portal app allows you to program them as well as one Tactix button, essentially a shift key which allows you to bind a second set of commands to your buttons.

Drop by for a look at how well that works, and a peek at the light show that OLED on the top can produce.

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"Cooler Master revealed the MM830 about a year ago at CES 2018, and it just became available for purchase. It features a top-of-the-line optical sensor, PBT main buttons, an OLED display, a unique D-pad, and many more interesting features—and it of course has RGB lighting as well."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Pre-order to get a severed arm skin ... tempting Bloodlines 2, tempting

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2019 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: vampire the masquerade, paradox, gaming, bloodlines 2

When last we visited The World of Darkness, it was a list of mods for the original Bloodlines game which was released back in November of 2004.  You can try but an antediluvian game such as this is still going to look rather graphically dated, what we really needed is a new game.  That is exactly what we are getting from Paradox Interactive, with the announcement of Bloodlines 2 as well as the release of a trailer.  The development team includes Brian Mitsoda, who was a designer and writer for the original. 

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN got a look at the demo, and like anyone whom spent some of their younger years playing in White Wolf's World of Darkness should be, they are rather stoked.

"More than that, I have seen, hands off, the first half an hour of it and have spoken to senior writer Cara Ellison (late of this RPS parish), as well as Hardsuit Labs co-founder Andy Kipling, and narrative lead Brian Mitsoda. "

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Today it's Huawei, let's hope tomorrow doesn't bring a new one

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2019 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, PCManager, security

ASUS have addressed the issue reported yesterday, if you hadn't seen the updated post, today it is Huawei that is the problem.   As part of the latest update to Windows 10, Microsoft deployed new tools which can detect software accessing the kernel in less than auspicious ways and they immediately spotted an issue with Huawei's PC Manager app, which updates drivers on their products.  All an attacker need do is create malicious instance of the MateBookService.exe and even without running it with full admin privileges they could still gain control of the machine.

The good news, as The Inquirer points out, is that this was patched back in January so unless you haven't updated in a while you are safe.

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"Security boffins from Microsoft discovered a pretty nasty local privileged execution vulnerability in the Huawei PCManager driver software, found in machines like the MateBook X Pro, after new kernel sensors were brought into Windows 10 through the much-maligned October 2018 Update."

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Source: The Register

MAXON Cinebench R20 Officially Available Outside of Microsoft Store

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2019 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: uwp, portable, Microsoft Store, maxon, download, Cinebench R20, benchmark

MAXON has reversed course with the new Cinebench R20 benchmark, which is now available for standalone download directly from MAXON's website, no longer requiring the use of Microsoft's UWP platform. This author did his due diligence and has downloaded this new file, which is indeed a portable version in a ZIP file as we had been accustomed to with previous versions.

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Cinebench R20, captured after running the portable download version from MAXON

Rather controversially, the new version of Cinebench was exclusive to the Microsoft Store when it was released, and Guru3D reported being threatened with legal action for hosting a standalone version for download on their site, which they took down at that time. With today's reversal the how-to guides on creating a portable version of the UWP app have, thankfully, become obsolete.

Source: TechPowerUp

Intel Micron Fight Time

Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2019 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: Intel, micron, 3D XPoint, sueball, imft

If you thought the story of Intel and Micron breaking their developmental partnership to create 3D XPoint was over, you didn't take into account how odd and incestuous the tech world really is.  Micron stated their intentions to buy out Intel's remaining stock in IMFT, Intel Micron Flash Technologies, a move that Intel expected.   What Intel didn't expect was a former engineering manager by the name of Doyle Rivers leaving Intel and joining Micron, possibly with a USB drive full of tasty trade secrets.  According to what The Register have found when going over the various documents, the secrets in question are "a spreadsheet with the contact details of more than 3,000 Intel ... 110 Perl scripts, which have sentimental value, but no practical use outside of the development environment".

At this time PC Perspective is not seeking access to a certain Mr. Shrout's files and residence, but does note the pockets in the cargo pants he was wearing during the sign over were obviously full of something ... and that Mr. Shrout does not habitually wear cargo pants.

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"Mr. Rivers doesn't have anything to return," he said. "We continue to take the position that Intel's claims are greatly exaggerated."

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Source: The Register

Hop on a Silt Strider and quick travel to Bethesda, Morrowind is free for the next few hours

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2019 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: morrowind, elder scrolls, bethesda, gaming, kick ass

If you haven't grabbed Morrowind already via a Steam sale or just being old enough you bought it and still have the disks lying around then you should head over to Bethesda.NET.  The reason is that today is the 25th Anniversary of the Elder Scrolls, with the release of The Elder Scrolls: Arena, a celebration which Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have been looking forward to with glee

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You can also grab the Season of the Dragon expansion for Elder Scrolls Online if you delved into that set of Dwemer ruins; if you haven't you can try out the base game for free from March 28the to April 3rd.  Card enthusiasts can grab three packs and a special card for The Elder Scrolls Legends or if you are playing Skyrim Special Edition you can treat yourself, or Lydia if you somehow kept her alive, with the Nordic Jewelry Creation set.

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You might ask yourself,  why would I want to get Morrowind, especially with the required creation of a Bethesda account to get it?  That is easily answered, as you need the Morrowind assets to get hold of Skywind when it finally arrives.  This ambitious project is recreating Morrowind using the engine from Skyrim, which while not a huge change does look a lot better and gives you a shot at bringing your own favourite mods into the remake.

Here is a comparison of what the changes have done, for below you will find the original  trailer which amazed us back in 2009... dialogue wheel not included.

 

Report: Supply Chain Attack ShadowHammer Leveraged ASUS Live Update

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2019 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: ShadowHammer, security, Kaspersky Labs, asus

Update, 3/26/19: As reported by TechRadar this morning ASUS has responded to the issue and implemented a fix to the latest version of Live Update (version 3.6.8) which provides "an enhanced end-to-end encryption mechanism" for the software. ASUS states that they "have also updated and strengthened our server-to-end-user software architecture to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future”. The company has also released a software tool to see if your system is affected, available directly from ASUS here (ZIP file).

Further, Bloomberg reports today that ASUS has disputed the numbers from the Kaspersky report, stating the attacks impacted only several hundred devices - and not "over a million" as had been estimated by Kaspersky. An ASUS spokesperson also said that "the company had since helped customers fix the problem, patched the vulnerability and updated their servers," in a statement quoted in the Bloomberg report.

The original news post follows.


Today, unfortunately, we have a perfect example of a supply chain attack posted at Slashdot and a very good reason for anyone using ASUS products to do a full scan on their systems as soon as they can.  It seems that attackers compromised the ASUS update server, forged two different ASUS digital certificates and pushed out malware to about a half million customers when their machines ran an auto-update. Kaspersky Labs published details on their findings this afternoon as well, cautioning that "the investigation is still in progress and full results and technical paper will be published during SAS 2019 conference in Singapore".

What makes this even more interesting is that the infection was looking for 600 specific MAC addresses, when it found one it would immediately reach out to another server to install additional payload.  This does not mean those without one of the listed MAC addresses is safe, the infection could still be there and modified to install additional nastiness on all infected machines.  According to the information from Motherboard, Kaspersky first detected this in January and have reached out to ASUS several times, as did Motherboard who "has not heard back from the company".

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"The researchers estimate half a million Windows machines received the malicious backdoor through the ASUS update server, although the attackers appear to have been targeting only about 600 of those systems. The malware searched for targeted systems through their unique MAC addresses."

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Source: Slashdot

A USB-C Headset Powered by an ESS Quad-DAC

The ROG Delta is a gaming headset from the Republic of Gamers division of ASUS that offers a Hi-Res audio certification thanks to its ASUS Essence 50 mm drivers with a 20-40,000 Hz frequency response and implementation of a high-end ESS Quad-DAC, and offers custom lighting effects via the circular RGB lighting on each ear cup. A wired headset exclusively, it connects via USB-C or standard USB 2.0 for use with PCs as well as compatible consoles and smartphones.

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“ROG Delta is the world's first gaming headset with the industry-leading, hi-fi-grade ESS 9218 quad DAC, which delivers impeccably clear and detailed sound to give serious gamers the edge they need to win. ROG Delta features a USB-C connector and comes with a USB-C to USB 2.0 adapter to let you game on your PC, console and mobile device without changing headsets. A one-of-a-kind, circular rainbow RGB lighting effect provides a stylish look to set you apart on the battlefield.”

Features from ASUS ROG:

  • Industry-leading hi-res ESS quad-DAC for impeccably detailed and true-to-life audio
  • USB-C connector for true multiplatform support, including PCs, Mac, mobile phones and PS4
  • Customizable, multi-color circular RGB lighting lets you shine in style
  • Exclusive ASUS Essence drivers, airtight chamber and audio signal diversion technology for immersive audio experiences
  • Upgraded comfort with ergonomic D-shape and ROG Hybrid ear cushions

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Why a quad-DAC design? When ESS released the ES9218 they pointed to these “internally connected parallel quad DACs” as the key to delivering its rated 124dB DNR and -112dB THD+N, in addition to signal-to-noise of up to 130 dB, with ASUS stating that their implementation with the ROG Delta makes the headset “capable of achieving an unprecedented signal-to-noise ratio of 127 dB, a level untouchable by single-DAC gaming headsets.”

Another aspect of the ultra-low noise of the ROG Delta is a design feature that ASUS calls “Hyper-Grounding”, which is an ROG-exclusive technology with an intelligent multi-layer PCB design that prevents interference and shields the audio signals from any RGB lighting-related PWM switching noise.

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So how does this very impressively-specified hi-fi gaming headset sound? I’ll offer my impressions after we check out the design and talk about fit and comfort.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG Delta gaming headset

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HyperX

HyperX Enters the USB Microphone Arena

HyperX has released the Quadcast USB microphone today and we had a chance to test it out early for this launch-day review. Introduced at CES in January, this new condenser mic offers four selectable polar patterns (stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional) and offers real-time monitoring via an onboard 3.5mm headphone jack. The mic also ships with a shock mount and desktop stand, and can be mounted to your choice of mic stands and boom arms with an included adapter that fits 3/8” and 5/8” threads.

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Other features of the QuadCast are the large gain control on the bottom of the mic and the touch-controlled mute switch on the top, with mic status instantly evident via the integrated red lighting which is illumiated when you are "live", and turns off when you have muted the mic.


Specifications

Microphone

  • Power consumption: 5V 125mA
  • Sample/bit rate: 48kHz/16-bit
  • Element: Electret condenser microphone
  • Condenser type: Three 14mm condensers
  • Polar patterns: Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Bidirectional
  • Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -36dB (1V/Pa at 1kHz)
  • Cable length: 3m
  • Weight:
    • Microphone: 254g
    • Shock mount and stand: 364g
    • Total with USB cable: 710g

Headphone Output

  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Maximum power output: 7mW
  • THD: ≤ 0.05% (1kHz/0dBFS)
  • SNR: ≥ 90dB (1kHZ, RL=∞)

Continue reading our review of the HyperX QuadCast USB microphone

Razer Nari Ultimate THX Wireless Chroma, like a musical boot to the head

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2019 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: razer, nari ultimate THX wireless chroma, wireless headset, Hypersense, audio

Many moons ago several companies released headsets with what was essentially force feedback and as it turned out, not many people enjoyed it. Razer is bring that back with their Razer Nari Ultimate THX Wireless Chroma headset, that comes with a price as large as its name.  They called this feature HyperSense and as you might expect turning it on in tandem with the blinken-lighten significantly reduces the amount of time the battery lasts.  On the plus side, the headset uses 50mm neodymium magnets and a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

You can see them in use over at KitGuru, or at least take a look at the freeze frame as it is worth the click.

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"Ever wished your headset vibrated and you could feel what was happening in game? The Razer Nari headset was released back in September and in this review we take a look at the recently released Razer Nari Ultimate that has all the features of the original plus Hypersense technology."

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Source: Kitguru