The winners of the first stage of The HackaDay Prize

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: hack, DIY, nifty

The first of the five rounds of The Hackaday Prize has completed and the winners announced.  This stage is the Design Your Concept stage, often the most important factor in determining the success of the build project you intend to sit out on.  The winners are an eclectic bunch, from heart monitoring devices to printing bones on a 3D printer to a hand portable braille printing press.  It is worth taking a look at these, even if the project does not strike your fancy you can learn a lot on how the create an effective design of a concept for your own projects.  There are still four more rounds to go so expect even more interesting designs over the coming weeks,

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"Today we’re excited to announce the winners of the Design Your Concept phase of The Hackaday Prize. These projects just won $1000 USD, and will move on to the final round this fall."

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Source: Hack a Day

Dell Executive Projects Five-Year Growth in Gaming PCs

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2017 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, dell

DigiTimes published a couple of statements from Dell’s senior vice president of Consumer Product Marketing, Raymond Wah, regarding the company’s view on the PC gaming industry. We’ll start with the two quotes, below.

Electronic sports (e-sports) and VR (virtual reality) are main growth drivers for gaming PCs, Wah said, adding gaming is becoming e-sports and this is a global trend. Continual gaming content updates push hardware developers to upgrade the specifications of gaming PCs, Wah indicated. The number of e-sports fans will increases to 145 million in 2017.

In line with gaming PC marketing, Dell has sponsored e-sports events and cooperated with movie producers, Wah indicated. Dell has also begun to set up gaming PC retail outlets at Best Buy chain stores in the US and plans to set up 50 outlets in total.

The article also mentions that he expects that the demand for gaming PCs will continue for five years, unlike the rest of the PC market, which is projected to shrink. It goes on to add that the company is pushing gaming products under two brands now, both Alienware and their general public-focused Inspiron line.

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Many of our readers are probably comfortable assembling their own PCs, but getting OEMs involved adds the whole segment of users who would be comfortable sacrificing cost or performance to offload that hassle. That’s a positive note that I think is often lost on PC enthusiasts. Just because shaving out middle-people makes the transaction more efficient, doesn’t mean that there’s no valid reason to pay a big OEM, or even a small business, local computer store, to handle it.

If he’s right, the next five-plus years should be good for us, too.

Source: DigiTimes

Rocket League Free Weekend and Sale

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2017 - 07:13 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming

Just a quick note for our readers: Rocket League is having a free weekend, accompanied by a 30%-off sale. If you haven’t played the game, Steam says that you currently have one day and twenty hours (and 45 minutes) left to download, install, and play the title.

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The 30%-off promotion applies equally to the base game, the four-pack, and the Game of the Year edition. Each of these deals outlives the free weekend by a day, so you can spend Sunday afternoon deciding whether rocket-powered car-soccer is worth your hard-earned cash.

The free weekend ends at 4PM EDT on Sunday, while the sale goes until 1PM EDT on Monday.

Source: Steam

CORSAIR Announces GLAIVE RGB Mouse

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: corsair, glaive rgb, gaming mouse

A new mouse, with Omron-based mechanical switches, has been announced by CORSAIR. The GLAIVE RGB is right-handed asymmetric, so lefties (like myself) who are looking for a left-handed or ambidextrous mouse will need to look elsewhere. For right-handed users, however, it includes three different thumb grips, giving it a few different feels, although they don’t state the specific styles that each is supposed to cater to (if you are very particularly about your hand position during gaming). You will want to check out reviews to find that sort of info out.

The switches are rated to 50,000,000 clicks.

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The sensor is created by PixArt, model PMW3367 that, according to CORSAIR, has been customized in some way. The DPI ranges between 100 and 16,000, with the specific values stored on the mouse, within its 8MB of memory. This storage also saves lighting effects and macros, which should mean that, unlike Razer Synapse, you won’t have your button bindings flip a handful of seconds after boot. There are six programmable buttons on the device and the mouse wheel is made of aluminum with a rubber grip.

The CORSAIR GLAIVE RGB is available now. It’s currently listed for $69.99 on Amazon.

Source: CORSAIR

Google doesn't seem to mind SilverPush and your phones surreptitious addiction to advertisments

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2017 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: fud, silverpush, security

In 2015 we learned enough about SilverPush to worry security wonks about its ability to track your phone without your knowledge.  Several hundred apps available on the Google Play store have SilverPush and do not inform users that the apps utilize that software to track your whereabouts without your knowledge which would seem to be in direct contravention of Google's stated requirements.  That is more upsetting than the actual tracking.

SilverPush laden apps listen for tones broadcast at 18kHz to 20kHz which is inaudible to the vast majority of humanity.  When they receive that tone the app which has SilverPush sends out a signal which can be used to locate you, to track your progress through a store or to verify that you are watching a particular advertisement.  The creators of the software stopped development back in 2015 and have found this revelation rather confusing according to Ars Technica.

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"Almost a year after app developer SilverPush vowed to kill its privacy-threatening software that used inaudible sound embedded into TV commercials to covertly track phone users, the technology is more popular than ever, with more than 200 Android apps that have been downloaded millions of times from the official Google Play market, according to a recently published research paper."

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Source: Ars Technica

Contest: Win an ASUS GTX 1070 8GB or GTX 1050 Ti Dual-fan OC Card!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 5, 2017 - 10:14 AM |
Tagged: gtx 1070, GTX 1050 Ti, giveaway, geforce, contest, asus

With spring filling us with happy thoughts, our friends at ASUS are gracing us with some hardware to giveaway - that's right, it's time for a contest!

Here's what's on the docket for our readers and fans:

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The ASUS Dual-fan line is a great option for gamers that want to balance performance and value and are quieter, cooler, and faster than reference specs. 

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How do you enter? Use the form below!

Win an ASUS GeForce® GTX 1070 8GB Dual-fan OC Edition!!

I do have to apologize - this contest is open to US and Canada (except Quebec) residents only. Sorry!

A HUGE THANKS goes to our partners at ASUS for supporting PC Perspective and our raders with this great contest! Good luck to everyone!

Blender 2.8 Progress: Viewport and Cycles

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2017 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: Blender

The Blender Foundation is currently working on two different branches of their popular 3D suite, Blender 2.79 and Blender 2.8. We have discussed the former quite a bit, which is expected to code freeze within the next month or so, but the latter has been making noteworthy progress all along, too. It is focused on workflow changes, which includes updating the viewport renderer, both for preview as well as fast rendering of scenes that don’t require full ray-traced quality.

In this case, Blender Developers has released a video showing off how Cycles and Viewport can be combined. While you can preview what Cycles will output in the viewport already, enabling that rendered shading mode disables UI elements, like the movement widget. They are now being combined, and the Blender Foundation is aiming to make it fast enough for practical use.

Preview builds of Blender 2.8 are available now, and the Blender Foundation wants users to play around with them. Be careful using it for critical projects, though, because save files might not be 100% compatible, forward or backward, above and beyond the obvious stability concerns.

The Qualcomm and Apple spat heats up

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2017 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, apple, sueball

Qualcomm and Apple are already at loggerheads over the possible dirty trick played in the iPhone7 to ensure that Intel powered iPhone models performed the same as the ones with Qualcomm inside.  Slashdot and other sources have reported on a somewhat related feud taking place, which has lead Qualcomm to reach out to the US based ITC to block the import of iPhones into the US.  It seems that last month Apple decided not to pay Qualcomm royalties on their phone sales, which is owed due to core patents Qualcomm holds on mobile communications chips.  Apple's defence is the fact that Qualcomm gets a cut even in devices without a single Qualcomm component while Qualcomm points out the it is their patents which generate the fee, not their hardware.

It will be interesting in this current environment to see how the US based Qualcomm fares against Apple and their products, which are made in Asia.

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"Qualcomm is preparing to ask the International Trade Commission to stop the iPhone, which is built in Asia, from entering the country, threatening to block Apple's iconic product from the American market in advance of its anticipated new model this fall, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private."

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Source: Slashdot

The all new and improved version of the new and improved S.T.A.L.K.E.R.; the Lost Alpha gets a Directors Cut

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2017 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, stalker, lost alpha, kick ass, directors cut

Many many moons ago, the lost Alpha version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., which included vehicles and some rather interesting new fauna to chew on your innards was released to the world to allow them to revisit the Zone as it was originally imagined.  The released game was much smaller, as the habit developers have of initially overreaching the scope of their games is nothing new.  What is new is the Developer's Cut of the Lost Alpha which you can now get hold of to play, though the installation process is a little intricate as you can see from the instructions Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have provided. 

The original Lost Alpha now incorporates game mechanics which were added in Call of Pripyat as well as updates to the engine and various other features.  If you have fond memories of the Zone, you should head back in to see what is new.

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" You might remember Dezowave reluctantly released 2014’s unfinished (but still great) version after scamps leaked a rough development build. Now they’ve launched what they’re calling the Developer’s Cut of Lost Alpha, fixing bugs and making it even bigger. Have a look."

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Vega's specs grow less vague

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2017 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: rumour, amd, VGA, DRM

DRM finally did something good for us; revealing detailed information on AMD's new GPU.  In this case the DRM is a portion of the Linux kernel which interfaces with the GPU and some inquisitive minds dug through the code to find details on Vega, which will be supported by this new version of DRM.

This is still in the realms of rumour, but the source is very good as AMD would not likely enter the wrong specifications into this update.  According to the specs which wccftech compiled from the code, Vega features 64 compute units, each containing 64 GCN stream processors, the 4096 SPs will be split into four Shader Engines.  A little math, based on the stated performance figures of 12.5 TFLOLPS for FP32 and 25 TFLOPS for FP16 operations, the GPU should clock above 1.5GHz.  There were no details on the memory frequency though as it uses HBM2 we know it will have a 2048-bit interface which could lead to some interesting performance numbers.

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"Thanks to the latest Linux graphics driver update submitted by AMD we now have detailed specifications of the upcoming Radeon RX Vega GPU. The DRM, Direct Rendering Manager, update to Linux was issued yesterday and it’s the first update to date that adds comprehensive Vega feature support to Linux. No doubt in preparation for Vega’s launch which is expected to take place at the end of the month."

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Source: wccftech