Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | April 14, 2012 - 08:09 PM |
Tagged: valve, wearable computers

Valve has been under the public eye since rumors of The Steam Box broke. To put out the rumors, Michael Abrash -- now at Valve -- announced their mystery project investigates computing devices that you can wear.

Great, that is just what we need, more Steam punks and their costumes.

Valve has traditionally been somewhat of a quiet company accustomed to public speculation. In a change of pace from the typical cries to release Half Life 2: Episode 3, Valve has recently been subject to rumors about breaking into the hardware business. In another change of pace, Valve has announced their hardware project is wearable computers and publicly solicited for job applicants to join in the research.

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Want me to show you my knife collection?

(Photo Credit, Giant Bomb)

Michael Abrash wrote in his blog on Valve’s website what his work is based on and it is quite similar to what Google is looking at with their augmented reality glasses.

By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision).

While this is very interesting, it still remains to be seen where Valve intends to be involved with this project. Steam is pushing out from the desktop PC to the home theatre with their Big Picture UI and what that could potentially spread out into.

It is entirely possible that Google and Valve both see some link between Steam/Google TV and Wearable Computers/Augmented Reality glasses that we are just unable to perceive yet and are lunging for the same target. While the blog posting is very interesting, it still reveals little about the technology itself.

Also, this announcement does not mean that Valve is not working on a hardware platform to accompany The Big Picture, it just says more about what Valve is currently working on in secret. The previous rumors could still have some shred of truth in them.

As for when we will see wearable computing? It’s still a long ways out in Valve time.

To be clear, this is R&D – it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. It’s an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development.

So, which will we see first? Valve augmented reality devices, or the stunning conclusion to Gordon Freeman’s story-arc? That is a bet that will require one heck of a patient bookie to make.
Source: Valve

Valve denies Steam Box, posts job for Hardware Engineer

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 13, 2012 - 05:58 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Box

Doug Lombardi of Valve denied rumors of the Steam Box console last month, but fell short of denying future possibilities and so forth. Recently, Valve has posted a job opening on their website for an electronics engineer.

When Valve’s Doug Lombardi responded to rumors of a “Steam Box” console, he used the following words which were posted all over the internet as Valve denies Steam Box console rumors:

We're prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we're building boxes to test that on. We're also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we've talked about a fair amount, […] All of that is stuff that we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware.

GabeNewellTrollFalse.png

That is not a denial!
(Image created with Memegenerator.net)
(And yes, I know that's Gabe Newell, not Doug Lombardi)

 

As it turns out Valve has just recently posted a job position for a Hardware Engineer with the following duties:

Work with the hardware team to conceive, design, evaluate, and produce new types of input, output, and platform hardware

Join our highly motivated team that’s doing hardware design, prototyping, testing, and production across a wide range of platforms. We’re not talking about me-too mice and gamepads here – help us invent whole new gaming experiences.

While that hardware engineer position could be any number of things including peripheral development, it is clear that Valve wants to get into hardware more than they let on. This looks to be more than just development hardware.

Source: Valve

Microsoft's product leak - it's not wrong, just don't trust it

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2012 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, leak, office 15, internet explorer 10

Microsoft had a very atypical reaction to the leak of slides which you can catch at The Register this morning.  While most companies disavow any knowledge of leaks and refuse to either confirm or deny the veracity of the leaks, Microsoft came out and confirmed that the plans and dates are correct but that no one should bank on them actually meeting those deadlines.  March of next year is when Office 15 is slated to arrive, along with Exchange, SharePoint, Visio and Project updates.  Office 360 should continue to receive updates every quarter, so users of that SaaS may be the first to encounter any changes that will be incorporated into Office 15.  Any users of IE should expect a new version this summer, but after that it will be two years before the next major rehaul of the browser occurs.

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"Maarten Visser, CEO of Dutch cloud developer consultancy Meetroo, posted the plans, which were issued by Redmond at the end of last year, on his Twitter stream and they include launch dates for product as Office 15, Windows Phone and IE 10. Microsoft has confirmed the veracity of the images, but warns you shouldn't bet the bank on them."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Podcast #197 - Z77 Motherboards, GTX690 Rumors, and the truth behind the new Indilinx controller

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2012 - 07:46 PM |
Tagged: Z77, ssd, podcast, nvidia, Marvell, Ivy Bridge, Intel, Indilinx, gtx690

PC Perspective Podcast #197 - 04/12/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Z77 Motherboards, GTX690 Rumors, and the truth behind the new Indilinx controller.

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!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:19:45

Program Schedule: 

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. iPad 2012 vs. Transformer Prime
  6. Kingwin Lazer Platinum 1000W
  7. Asus ROG Maximus V GENE
  8. Raspberry Pi passes EMC Compliance
  9. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. Will the real Indilinx controller ...
    1. please make themselves known to the staff
  11. NV Tegra 4 Specifications Leak
  12. Maingear Shift System: Just Delivered
  13. ZOTAC Intel 7 Series Mobos
  14. Leaks about NV GTX 690
  15. Epic talks storm of Bullets
  16. http://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/NVIDIA-Introduces-Two-New-Rebranded-600-Series-Cards
  17. http://www.pcper.com/news/Systems/PCAudioLabs-Editing-PC-Sweepstakes-Winner
  18. This week: Still working on watercooling from Antec
  19. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan:  thermite 
    2. Jeremy:  Scotch in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!
    3. Josh:  Morrowind Overhaul
    4. Allyn:  IDE USB Dock!
  20. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  21. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  22. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  23. Closing

Source:

We are going to need a word describing people obsessed with mechanical keyboards and switches

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2012 - 05:00 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Vengeance K60, Vengeance K90, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx red, input

If you haven't mastered the ability to identify the difference between mechanical keyboard switches then you should check out Scott's primer on the four main flavours of Cherry.  Then you can cheek out a review of Corsair's Vengeance K60 and K90 keyboards at The Tech Report which both utilize the Cherry MX Red variety and are considered a great choice for gamers.  The big difference between the two models is the array of programmable macro keys which exist on the left hand side of the K90 as well as the rubber dampers which are added.  The Tech Report were not impressed with the dampers, they felt it muddied the keystroke and made it feel more like a membrane type keyboard.  Check them both out in the full review.

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"Join us as we rattle away on the lovely mechanical keyswitches of Corsair's aluminum-clad Vengeance K60 and K90 keyboards."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Intel Centerton; the next big thing in Micro Machines

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2012 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: microserver, Centerton, seamicro, atom, low power

Microservers are the newest old idea to hit the PR flacks, anyone who remembers the original blade servers already has a good idea what a microserver is.  Intel has once again tried to take ownership of a form factor, in this case defining what they feel the market should consider a microserver.  In some ways, the single socket design seems to run counter to current low power servers, which tend towards large arrays of low powered APUs but at the same time when you no longer have to worry about the interconnects between those APUs you can drop the price significantly.

AMD has had several forays into this market and while Intel has never put much effort into this segment vendors like Dell and HP have been creating microservers using an Intel processor for some time.  This heralds a change in Intel's strategy when taking on ARM and AMD in the server room, with the 6W Atom Centerton chip they announced at IDF.  The Inquirer was also told of 10W and 15W parts which would be more powerful although they could also require a bit more space than what the 6W part could survive in.  It seems that those looking for inexpensive servers which require very little infrastructure will have a lot of choices to spend their money on by the end of this year.

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"CHIPMAKER Intel dropped an Atom bomb on the second day of IDF in Beijing, announcing its 'Centerton' microserver chip that will draw just a miserly 6W of thermal design power (TDP).

It defines a microserver as a computer with one socket, error correction, 64-bit processing, and minimal memory and I/O. The Atom Centerton platform will have two cores, Hyperthreading and support for ECC DDR3 as well as VT-x virtualisation technology. Intel said the Atom Centerton chip will be available in the second half of this year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Wait, copy/pasting levels is a bad thing? Dragons Age 3 reputed to be much less like Halo

Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2012 - 08:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dragon age 3, BioWare

If you can believe the hints that BioWare is dropping, Dragon Age 3 should feel a lot less like a very expensive, poorly designed add on and more like an actual new game.  Of course, this comes from a very quick talk given at PAX about an unannounced game which might or might not be in development, so your sodium intake for the day should be adjusted to compensate.  They also implied that your choices would Effect the ending of the game ... now where have we heard that before?

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"Rumours are flying that Dragon Age 3 might be something more like the sequel to Dragon Age we’ve been hoping for. After Dragon Age 2 came out feeling more like a side-project, BioWare have dropped some hefty hints that they’re looking to redress much of that in an unannounced third game for the series. At a PAX East panel, as spotted by Eurogamer and recorded by Gamespot, Dragon Age developers discussed what a hypothetical game might contain, were it to exist, which it currently doesn’t, but obviously does. It’s to be a far more varied game, with new locales, and decisions that carry over from previous games."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Seems that CPU-less video streaming is not NP-Hard

Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2012 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, NPEngine, video streaming

The NPEngine from Toshiba has a big future for content providers who would be interested in streaming thousands of concurrent videos and save on space and power requirements.  The quote from the article at The Register claims a 70% reduction in size and a 77% reduction in power consumption for a provider who could provide 100,000 separate streams.  That savings demonstrates the benefit of purpose built hardware, what it lacks in versatility it more than makes up for in savings.  The server version is due out this year, with the possibility of a single chip version for laptops and SFF machines which will take the CPU completely out of the picture when playing HD video.

elreg_toshiba_npengine.jpg

"Toshiba's NPEngine hardware directly streams video from SSDs to IP networks without using host server CPU cycles or memory.

Tosh claims the dedicated hardware delivers up to 64,000 x 40Gbit/sec video streams – way more than the 20,000 or so an average 2U server is said to be able to stream. The Toshiba hardware, a server card, can replace at least two video-streaming servers and enable its host server to do other work."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Epic talks a storm of bullets. Piracy hurt the sequel?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 11, 2012 - 02:45 AM |
Tagged: piracy, epic games, bulletstorm

Mike Capps of Epic Games, among many other developers and publishers, completely misses the point about piracy. No-one can control piracy, they can only control factors which influence it -- but controlling those factors is meaningless if sales are sacrificed in the process. No-one gets paid by not being pirated; people get paid by making sales.

Frequent readers of my editorials are probably well aware that I am quite vocal about many topics including piracy, the consumables model of art, censorship, and used content sales. I take a very mathematical approach to a lot of complicated topics. Unfortunately, a lot of what is considered common truths is based on fundamentally invalid statistics. It gives me a lot to write about.

Mike Capps of Epic Games was interviewed by GameSpot during PAX East and at some point in the discussion the topic floated across Bulletstorm. On the topic of its lower-than-expected sales, Capps added that the PC version was adversely affected by piracy.

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Piracy gnashing its teeth?

Similar statements have been made for countless other games at countless other times. Each of those statements makes a subtle but gigantic mistake in formulating the problem: piracy is not something which does, piracy is something which is. Piracy does not affect your sales, but whatever affected piracy might also affect sales in one way or another.

The intuition is that sales decrease as piracy increases and vice versa. That assumption is nullified by counter-example: do not release a product. Piracy and sales, if you do not release a game, will trend in the same direction: to zero. It is now obvious that sales and piracy do not always inversely correlate.

As Mike Capps also stated in the interview, Bulletstorm had a very rough launch and lifespan on the PC. Bulletstorm required for Games for Windows Live, encrypted its settings, and did other things to earn a reputation since launch as a bad console port to the PC. Customers complained about the experience on the PC which fueled an inferno of uncertainty and doubt for potential buyers.

Being pirated is not losing a sale, but losing a customer before their purchase is.

I was personally on the fence about Bulletstorm and this negative word-of-mouth lead me to ignore the title. I did not purchase the game, I did not pirate the game; I ignored the game. Perhaps those who pirated your title did so because they were interested, became discouraged, but were not discouraged enough to avoid giving it a chance with piracy?

What I am saying is -- piracy cannot reduce your sales (it cannot do anything, it is a measurement), but perhaps whatever combination of factors reduced your sales may also have increased your piracy?

Piracy is an important measurement to consider -- but it, like sales, is just that, a measurement, nothing more. Strive to increase your sales -- keep an eye on your piracy figures to learn valuable information -- but always exclusively strive to increase your sales. It is the measurement that will pay your bills.

Source: GameSpot

More leaks about NVIDIA's Dual-GPU GTX 690? May be?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 10, 2012 - 11:18 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, leak, GTX 690

More information has surfaced about NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 690 video card. While other tidbits came to light, perhaps most interesting is the expected May release.

NVIDIA has suffered from quite a few leaks near their launch of the GeForce GTX 680 GPU and its associated cards. Benchmarks were accidentally published early and product pages were mistakenly posted premature. The hot streak continues.

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It may be time to just reset fate and skip to the GTX 700-series. I mean they will eventually be rebranded 700-something anyway.

I kid, I kid.

Not many specifications were leaked, although there is not much left that cannot already be assumed about the card due to the similarities with its sister part.

The reference model GTX 690 will require two 8-pin power connectors and output via three DVI ports as well as a mini DisplayPort. The already released GTX 680, by contrast, requires two 6-pin connectors and outputs by two DVI, an HDMI, and a full size DisplayPort.

The new card will require more power for its dual GK104 GPUs as the larger power connectors would suggest. While the GTX 680 is happy with 550W of total system power, the GTX 690 would like a system power supply of at least 650W. Since the 680 is expected to draw a maximum of 195W, an extra 100W would put estimates for the 690 power draw at somewhere around 295W.

Unfortunately estimates based on rated total system power are very inaccurate as power supply requirements are often raised to the nearest 50W. Really, the 690 could be anywhere between 245W and 295W and even those figures are just estimates.

Still, it looks as though my 750W power supply will survive past May when the leak claims that the GTX 690 is expected to arrive. Yay! May!

Source: EXPreview