Minecraft Brings Cake to Raspberry Pi

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 24, 2012 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged:

You might like pie, you might be a terrible person who likes cake, I will not judge.

One of Minecraft’s many features is the ability to craft a cake to use as food despite being wholly inferior to a couple of pork chops or steaks. You are not able to craft a pie. Soon you will be able to craft the game on a Raspberry Pi, however.

Mojang made an announcement on their blog recently which outlined their plans to port Minecraft Pocket to the cheap Raspberry Pi computer. While this might be exciting for those who use the Raspberry Pi as a cheap home theatre PC, there is something special about this build.

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If you close a Windows, someone will open a source.

The Raspberry Pi was designed by David Braben to be an educational device. Its intent was to provide students with a cheap device loaded with much of the software development tools they would require to learn and develop their own applications.

Mojang is also interested in this ideal.

This version of the game, called Minecraft: Pi Edition, is said to be available in multiple programming languages. The intent is for users to learn to program by modifying and extending Minecraft. The game certainly is popular enough with students and would be an engaging way to frame the skills they require in the context of an existing game. I hope it will also help perpetuate the oft threatened ideal that third party game modifications should be promoted and preserved.

Minecraft: Pi Edition will be provided completely free.

Source: Mojang

Fujifilm Working On New Optical Disc Tech, Will Scale To 1TB Discs By 2015

Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2012 - 10:48 AM |
Tagged: optical disc, laser, 1TB disc

As flash drives become more ubiquitous and software installers increasingly moving to online downloads, optical drives have lost most of their relevancy. Even so, Fujifilm’s engineers are hard at work on new optical disc technology. The new technology would allow discs to store up to 1TB of data by 2015 with the expectation that it can scale to 15TB in the future with multi-layer, double sided discs.

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With the new discs, Fujifilm is using a multi-layer disc that has recording and material layers sandwiched between each other. The company is using a Ti/S laser rated at 405nm to write the data to the disc. The laser heats the surface of the disc, and a two-photon absorption method is used to record data using a conves shapes. To read the data, the drive measures the reflectivity of the recording layer as the laser hits the convex shapes. It uses the reflectance ratio of the laser hitting the recorded area versus the non-recorded areas on the recording layer to get the 1 and 0s necessary to store and read the binary data.

Fujifilm has stated that the technology currently acheives 25GB per layer, which is similar to existing Blu ray discs. However, Fujifilm’s discs can pack many more layers. As many as 20 layers per side of the disc are believed possible, which would provide 500GB for a single-sided disc or 1TB for a double-sided optical disc. The company is aiming to produce commercially available 1TB discs by 2015, and plans to pursue scaling the technology to 15TB (and beyond) discs in the future. One of the major issues is that it is currently a write-once technology, which means that it is not rewriteable like current disc technologies.

It is an interesting technology that might be handy for businesses looking for an alternative to tape, but the drives and discs will likely be expensive. Especially since high-capacity flash drives are continually dropping in price. Are you still using an optical (DVD, Blu ray) drive, and would you use a 1TB if they were available?

Tech On has put together an article that explains the intracacies of the new optical technology that is worth a read if you are interested in the nitty-gritty details.

Image courtesy Dwayne Bent via Flickr Creative Commons.

Source: Tech On

Razer Updates Its DeathAdder Mouse With Better Sensor, Texturized Grips

Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2012 - 10:31 AM |
Tagged: synapse 2.0, razer, mouse, gaming mouse, deathadder

Razer recently announced an update to its DeathAdder gaming mouse. Orginally released in 2006, the company is refining the design with a better sensor, improved grips, and support for its latest Synapse software.

New Razer DeathAdder1.jpg

On the outside, Razer has kept the same right-handed optimized design, but it added rubberized side grips with texture that the company believes will improve grip and control. The internals of the mouse have also been updated as Razer has included an improved 4G infrared sensor. According to Razer, the new sensor is capable of 6400 DPI resolution. Other specifications of the sensor include 200 inches per second and 50G acceleration ratings. The new DeathAdder also supports Razer’s new Synapse 2.0 firmware software which allows cloud syncing of your mouse settings.

Razer USA president Robert Krakoff had the following to say abou the updated design:

"We didn't want to fix anything that wasn't broken," said Robert "RazerGuy" Krakoff, president of Razer USA. "We focused instead on enhancing and optimizing the proven merits of the Razer DeathAdder, utilizing next generation technologies and further ergonomics tweaks to make a perfect gaming mouse even better."

Of course, the DeathAdder features five programmable buttons, Razer’s Ultraslick mouse feet, gold-plated USB connector, and a seven foot braided cable.

Dimensions of the updated DeathAdder are 1.27 mm (L) x 70 mm (W) x 1.73 mm (H). Further, it weighs in at 105 grams or approximately 0.23 pounds.

The new version of the DeathAdder is available now worldwide for $69.99 in the US or €69.99 in the EU.

Source: PR Newswire

Deals for November 23rd - Black Friday!

Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2012 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: deals

Top deal

LogicBuy Black Friday Deals HERE.

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Laptops

17.3" Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition 3rd Gen Core i7 Quad-core Laptop w/1080p LCD, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD + 32GB SSD, 2GB Graphics for $849.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $1,099.99 - use coupon code ND$5L3354XFGCP).

15.6" Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition 3rd Gen Core i7 Quad-core Laptop w/1080p LCD, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD for $849.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $999.99 - use coupon code DGB4DGV2F3G4DV).

15.6" Toshiba Satellite C850D-BT3N11 AMD Dual-Core Laptop w/4GB RAM, WebCam for $279.99 with free shipping at ToshibaDirect (normally $509.99 - use coupon code BFC850D).

15.6" Lenovo IdeaPad U510 Core i7 Ivy Bridge Ultrabook w/1TB HDD + 32GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 1GB GeForce GT 625M for $879 with free shipping at Lenovo (normally $1,099.99 - use coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY).

14" Toshiba Satellite U845-S402 Core i3 Ultrabook for $499 with free shipping at Toshiba (normally $749 - use coupon code: FU845).

14" Toshiba Satellite U845-S402 Core i3 Ultrabook for $499 with free shipping at Toshiba (normally $749 - use coupon code: FU845).

13.3" Dell XPS 13 Core i5 Ultrabook w/4GB RAM, 128GB SSD for $749.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $949.99 - use $200 coupon code DGB4DGV2F3G4DV ).

Desktops

Dell Vostro 270s Core i5 Ivy Bridge Desktop w/4GB RAM, 1TB Hard Drive & Wireless-N for $424 with free shipping (normally $849 - use coupon code: 051348KD$Z8QDB ).

Dell Vostro 270s 2.9Ghz Dual-Core Slim Desktop w/20" Dell LCD Monitor for $349 with free shipping (normally $558).

Dell XPS 8500 3rd Gen Core i7 Quad-core Desktop w/12GB RAM, 2TB Hard Drive + 24" Dell UltraSharp U2412M 192x0 x 1200 IPS LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $863.09 with free shipping (normally $1,318.99 - use coupon codes: WD2174T65B2G2C and VJ7$295NPV28MN).

Dell Inspiron 660s 2nd Gen Core i3 Dual-core Slim Tower w/6GB RAM, 1TB HDD & Windows 8 for $349.99 with free shipping (normally $479.99 - use coupon code DGB4DGV2F3G4DV ).

Alienware X51 3rd Gen Core i7 Quad-core mini Gaming PC w/16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, Blu-ray, GeForce GTX 660 for $1,249 with free shipping (normally $1,499 - use coupon code ZQKX676QF8LJ2V ).

23.6" HP Spectre ONE 23-e010se Core i5 Ivy Bridge Slim All-in-one PC w/ Trackpad for $974.99 with free shipping at HP (normally $1,299.99 - use 25% coupon code DT1261 ).

Computer Components

30" Dell UltraSharp U3011 IPS-Panel LCD monitor w/2560x1600 for $1,049 with free shipping at Dell (normally $1,399).

29" Dell UltraSharp U2913WM panoramic 2560 x 1080 LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $629 with free shipping at Dell (normally $699.99 - use coupon code: VJ7$295NPV28MN ).

27" Dell S2740L 1080p LED-backlit LCD Monitor w/Ultra Wide Angle for $309.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $369.99).

Seagate Expansion 3TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive (STBV3000100) for $126 with free shipping (normally $140 - Use coupon code VJ7$295NPV28MN).

Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 for $84.99 with free shipping (normally $100 - use coupon code: P83Q8GXNJK9Q0R).

 

Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800 for $79.99 with free shipping (normally $94.99).

Tablets

Toshiba Excite Tablet for just $249 with free shipping (normally $529 - use coupon code: BFBLA4).

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Convertible Ultrabook for $679.20 with free shipping at Lenovo (normally $849 - use coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY).

Entertainment

73" Mitsubishi WD73C12 1080p DLP Home Cinema TV for $849.99 with free shipping (normally $1,199.99 - use coupon code TLNN6MFH?GNXVH ).

60" Sharp LC-60E69U 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV for $798.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $1,099.99 - use coupon code ?09?5SH5X7J81P).

50" LG 50PA5500 1080p 600Hz Plasma HDTV for $549.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $999.99).

42" Sharp LC-42SV50U 1080p LCD HDTV for $299.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $479.99 - use coupon code TQCF4?6SN5XZD0 )

Pinnacle 700-Watt MB10000 Audiophile 5.1 Speaker System for $369.99 with free shipping at Dell (normally $1,099.99 - use coupon code P2VFB55S4JHML3 )

Samsung BD-E5400 Wi-Fi Blu-ray Disc Player for $67.99 with free shipping (normally $99.99).

Sony HT-CT150 5.1 3D Sound Bar System for $189 with free shipping (normally $248).

Office Items

Herman Miller Aeron Chair for $534.65 with free shipping at Office Designs (normally $629.99).

Herman Miller Envelop Desk for $816 with free shipping (normally $960).

Herman Miller Embody Chair for $934 with free shipping at Office Designs (normally $1,099.99).

Portables

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 16-MP Digital Camera (black) w/16GB Memory Card for $88 with free shipping (normally $158).

Samsung WB150F Wifi 14-MP Digital Camera w/ 18x Optical Zoom for $129.99 with free shipping (normally $229.99).

Samsung HMX-W300 Waterproof 5MP HD Pocket Camcorder for $140 plus free shipping (normally $160).

Samsung NX1000 Mirrorless Wi-Fi 20MP Digital Camera w/20-50mm Lens for $450 plus free shipping (normally $700).

Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth Portable Speaker for $154 with free shipping at BuyDig (normally $179 - use coupon code: DigFallSave5).

Bose AE2 Audio Headphones for $134.99 with free shipping at Abt (normally $150).

Misc

20% off everything Reebok.com (use coupon code: BF20).

Nescafe Dolce Gusto Creativa Plus Coffee Maker (EDG716R) for $129.95 plus free shipping at BuyDig (normally $219.99).

Philippe Starck Men's Digital Watch (PH1111) for $59 plus free shipping (normally $125).

Source: LogicBuy

Too good to be true; bad coding versus GPGPU compute power

Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2012 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: gpgpu, amd, nvidia, Intel, phi, tesla, firepro, HPC

The skeptics were right to question the huge improvements seen when using GPGPUs in a system for heavy parallel computing tasks.  The cards do help a lot but the 100x improvements that have been reported by some companies and universities had more to do with poorly optimized CPU code than with the processing power of GPGPUs.  This news comes from someone who you might not expect to burst this particular bubble, Sumit Gupta is the GM of NVIDIA's Tesla team and he might be trying to mitigate any possible disappointment from future customers which have optimized CPU coding and won't see the huge improvements seen by academics and other current customers.  The Inquirer does point out a balancing benefit, it is obviously much easier to optimize code in CUDA, OpenCL and other GPGPU languages than it is to code for multicored CPUs.

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"Both AMD and Nvidia have been using real-world code examples and projects to promote the performance of their respective GPGPU accelerators for years, but now it seems some of the eye popping figures including speed ups of 100x or 200x were not down to just the computing power of GPGPUs. Sumit Gupta, GM of Nvidia's Tesla business told The INQUIRER that such figures were generally down to starting with unoptimised CPU."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Intel CEO Paul Otellini Resigns in May 2013, Two Years Early

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | November 23, 2012 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: Intel, CEO

Intel has not had any financial or directional problems nor have they experienced a revolving door in upper management, at least to my knowledge. Paul Otellini was expected to remain at the helm of the chip giant until he turned 65 at which point he would enjoy a wonderful retirement. He would have commanded the company for a full decade.

Intel recently announced that Otellini will leave the company and retire at 62.

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Possibly the most important part of the story might be the non-story piece: there does not appear to be any reason for him to leave. The board apparently did not want him to go. ARM holds a large lead in momentum over Intel, during Paul’s watch, in the mobile market but even then the future looks promising with early commentaries about Clover Trail. If I had to guess I would posit that his decision to step down is entirely for personal and possibly sudden circumstances. That was just a guess, however.

To further speculation about its abruptness, Intel does not seem to have anyone in mind as a replacement in just 6 months’ time. For the first time Intel will consider fulfilling the position from outside the company.

In related news, Intel’s stock made a slight dip in value after the abrupt announcement. While the decline was slight it does echo the reluctance mentioned earlier and shows that even the stock market approved of Intel’s performance over the last eight years.

Razer's Taipan can strike from the left hand or the right

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2012 - 06:38 PM |
Tagged: ambidextrous, gaming mouse, razer, taipan, input

The stats on the packaging of the Razer Taipan Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse are impressive, an 8200 DPI 4G dual sensor system, 1000MHz ultra-polling and nine programmable buttons make this a serious gaming mouse but for many it will be the fact that this mouse can be comfortably used with either hand.   Of course since it is symmetrical there is no way to adjust the length, width or height of the mouse as some other companies have been experimenting with.  MadShrimps like the performance of the mouse in office applications as well as gaming but were not as impressed with Razer requiring you to create an account to have access to their software suite and, for some reason, they wanted more LEDs.

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"The new Taipan ambidextrous mouse from Razer weights no more than 132 grams, comes with a high performance 4G Dual Sensor System with 8200DPI and makes use of the Razer Synapse 2.0 software for easy customization of the 9 programmable Hyperesponse buttons."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: MadShrimps

What are the best Black Friday tech deals?

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2012 - 05:16 PM |
Tagged: deals

Hopefully by now, at least for those of you in the United States, you are in the middle of OR recovering from a turkey-induced coma.  That means there is only one thing left to focus on for the rest of the weekend: Black Friday and shopping. 

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See?  Crazy.

That crazy time of year where crazy people go to crazy places at crazy times of day to buy stuff.  Man oh man, capitalism. 

Any way, that made the staff of PC Perspective curious: what are the best tech deals on Black Friday? 

To find out, I thought we would ask YOU, our faithful PC Perspective readers!  Leave us some comments below with your favorite deals you have found (online or in-store) and we'll update this news post with some of them as the day progresses.

 

Refurbished EVGA GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB for $299

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180GB Intel 330 Series SSD for $99

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Gigabyte GTX 660 Ti for $279 (after rebate)

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240GB Samsung 840 Series SSD for $159

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256GB OCZ Agility 4 SSD for $114

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16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 Memory for $78

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3TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM HDD for $89

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Mozilla ... you do know 64-bit OSes aren't going to disappear soon, right?

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2012 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox, dumb, 64-bit

Once upon a time was a little company called Mozilla who had a browser that knew some tricks no other browser did.  After a while the Mozilla foundation decided to split up several projects and the Firefox browser was born, again capable of things that no other browser was doing at the time.  The other browsers were quick to pick up on these tricks and to emulate them, but Firefox held onto a respectable share of overall usage which slowly eroded as other browsers came onto the scene to steal away some of that share.  Apparently this depressed Firefox as it decided to start on a steady diet of add-ons and stuffing extras in below the belt which eventually caused such bloating as to make those who cared about Firefox suggest it might want to think about slimming down a bit or at least wear something a little larger, maybe a size 64. 

Instead, according to various sources such as DailyTech, Firefox has decided to dump all development of a 64-bit version of its browser.  IE10 supports 64-bit, Opera supports 64-bit and Chrome does on Linux and is working on a Windows version for the near future, leaving Firefox in the company of Lynx.  While the news stories are specific to the Firefox browser, it leaves one suspicious about the Firefox OS which is being developed for mobile devices; just what features are going to be abandoned as too hard to continue developing for.

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"Fans of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation have waited... and waited... and waited more still, for Mozilla's popular Firefox browser to add 64-bit support. With pickup of 64-bit SKUs of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows operating system rapidly accelerating, it certainly seemed a 64-bit browser would be just around the corner.

Instead Mozilla has made the curious decision to pull the plug on the long-delayed project, while offering only small clues as to why the decision was made."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DailyTech

Star Wars: The Old Republic Goes Free To Play

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2012 - 07:14 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars, pc gaming, gaming, free to play, F2P

Bioware announced on Friday that its Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO is now Free 2 Play. As a result, my productivity over the weekend suddenly dropped dramatically (heh). The subscription option is not gone entirely, but players are now able to create characters up to level 50 without paying anything. This approach is similar to the way World of Warcraft and Star Trek Online handle the Free to Play model.

Star Wars The Old Republic Screenshot.jpg

Installation is simple, and is just a matter of walking through a few standard steps and accepting the EULA. While the initial download for the installer is small, you cannot jump into the game until you download all of the assets -- and Star Wars: The Old Republic is far from a lightweight game with an asset download of about 25GB required to play (plus future smaller patches).

SWTOR.jpg

As a free subscriber you get access to the entire game, but there are several other limitations that might just annoy you into purchasing a subscription. If you are vigilant, it is possible not to pay anything. Some of the larger restrictions include XP-rates, number of characters per account, medical probes, reduced reward choices, and not being able to sprint until level 15 of all things (!). After level 10, the rate at which you gain experience points is reduced compared to paying subscribers. As an alternative, you can purchase XP boosters to make up the difference. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase it with in-game currency. At least it’s another one-time charge instead of paying every month for a subscription. The number of characters per account is restricted to two, so you will need to delete one or pony up for a subscription if you want to play as additional classes to get their stories. That’s unfortunate, but not a deal breaker and something that Star Trek Online also does. Medical probes allow you to respawn in the same area as opposed to respawning at a medical center. This would not be so bad if it was not for the biggest issue I have with the Free To Play version: getting around the game takes forever! With a quick travel that has a 2 hour cooldown and not being able to sprint until level 15, it takes a long time to get from mission areas and back again. This became especially evident on Coruscant where walking from the taxis to the senate tower in particular was a slog.

With all the major limitations out of the way, I will say that the game is just as good as my friend has been trying to tell me since launch. In particular, SWTOR is really fun, and I would even go as far as saying it is addicting. While it is not KOTOR 3, it is really close and definitely fills in a gap. It definitely encourages you to go for the subscription option but it is enoyable enough that the restrictions are worth putting up with, however annoying.

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When I started out, the combat took a bit of getting used to, as you move around with WASD, aim the camera with the mouse, and also right click to attack. With ranged weapons it will likely not be an issue but when you are running in with a lightsaber, it may take a bit of training before you hurt the enemies more than yourself (heh). I wish that there was a keyboard key to auto-target the nearest enemy, especially since my companion just loves to walk in front of me when I'm trying to target someone with the mouse (KOTOR did combat that way, from what I remember). The force abilities of the Jedi Consular are satisfying indeed.

(Hint, if you go with the Jedi Shadow option as I did when you chose an advanced class, you get a free double bladed lightsaber in a backpack that shows up in your inventory--the game doesn’t make this clear at all and it took me reading on a forum after looking around the game for a couple hours trying to find a double bladed saber that is required for some of the Jedi Consular’s abilities... It ended up being in my inventory the whole time, d’oh).

You can grab the game from Bioware’s SWTOR website. If you are a Star Wars fan, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. The download is huge but ultimately worth it. Just keep an eye on the time as otherwise you may look up and notice it’s 5 AM and you missed all the Black Friday deals!

What do you think of SW:TOR?

Source: SWTOR