Microsoft prepares Skype to be preinstalled on Windows 7 PCs They also ignore the latest version of Skype

Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 31, 2012 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: skype, OEM, bloatware, crapware

Just after their $99 Signature service has been announced, Microsoft has provided OEMs with a version of Skype to be pre-installed on Windows 7 PCs. I wonder if they will take it off again if you pay them?

Just… give me a minute…

So Microsoft hates bloatware unless it is theirs. OEM partners have been paid by software vendors to provide demos of products integrated and pre-installed for the end-user. Commonly you will see a few game demos, the Kindle software, an antivirus trial, and Skype. Earlier in the month Microsoft created a service at their retail outlets to scrub computers clean of the bloat for $99.

And now that they own Skype they desire for OEMs to integrate it with Windows 7…

Skype.png

Here’s my dotted line for your Signature.

More humorous is that they will integrate Skype 5.8 rather than the newer Skype 5.9. Granted, it is unsurprising that a company would be slightly behind in versions particularly since the latest dot-release is less than two months old. Skype has been known to be slightly less desirable as you increase in version number and as such makes me crack a smirk either way. The latest release in particular has allegedly been the cause of minor glitches in recent podcasts with TWiT studios recommending rolling back to 5.8.

If anything this makes me slightly curious about Windows 8.

Source: ZDNet

Leaking low end Kepler specs

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2012 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: leak, nvidia, kepler, gt610, gt620, gt640

We will have to wait until the scheduled Computex release for verification but for right now Kitguru seems to have an idea of just what the lower end of NVIDIA's Kepler line will be like.  They are not sure of the connectivity options, especially the number of displays a single card can manage but as far as the size of the memory interface, clock speeds and size of the cards Kitguru seems fairly certain they are at least close to the actual specs.  Check out the whole list they published here.

geforce-gt-640-3qtr-682x342.png

"So far, nVidia’s launch of the Kepler range has gone smoothly. The only real hiccups have come with stock and the re-branding for some of the old 5xx cards into the 610 and 620. With the low and high ends sorted, focus for Bryan Del Rizzo moves to the mid-range and those pesky 7000 cards hanging out below £100. KitGuru spies hang around outside nVidia’s favourite KFC to see what can be overheard."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Kitguru

Microsoft Releasing Windows 8 Release Preview May 31st

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2012 - 11:37 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, windows, software, release preview, operating systems, microsoft

Update: The Windows 8 Release Preview is now official. You can download the ISO images here. If you are following our installation guide, you will need to use the following CD Key to complete the installation: TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF.

According to The Verge, Microsoft fans will be getting a nice surprise tomorrow when the company releases the Release Preview of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system. What was first set to debut in early June, sources are indicating that Microsoft will officially release it tomorrow–a week early.

Windows-8-Start-Screen.png

The Release Preview is Microsoft’s third official build for public consumption, following the Developer and Consumer previews respectively. This build is said to include hints at what the aero-less desktop will look like (though users won’t see the full UI changes until the final retail build) as well as built-in Adobe Flash in the Metro UI version of Internet Explorer. Although I can’t say I’m thrilled about the many changes in Windows 8, I’ll still be downloading the new Release Preview to give Microsoft another chance to make me like Windows 8 (hopefully they can). If you do download it, don’t forget about our Windows 8 Virtual Machine installation guide.

Will you be checking out the Release Preview?

In other Windows 8 news:

Source: The Verge

Noctua Announcing PC Fans With Active Noise Cancellation

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2012 - 09:58 PM |
Tagged: quiet, pc case, noise cancellation, noctua, fans, air cooling

Enthusiast PC fan manufacturer Noctua has announced a partnership with RotoSub to produce fans with active noise cancellation technology. They two companies have already developed a prototype chassis fan that uses fan blade modulation and a series of stationary blades in addition to the moving fan blades to improve performance while keeping the noise down. The noise canceling fan prototype will be shown off at Computex 2012 in Taipei next month (booth J1312 in Exhibition Hall 1F).

In a recent press release, RotoSub and Noctua have announced a “strategic partnership” to develop and market a line of Noctua fans with a new noise cancellation technology from RotoSub. The technology in particular is called the RotoSub Acive Noice Control (R-ANC). It uses phase cancellation principles to cancel out the annoying hum (or whine in those smaller server fans that sound like jet engines) given off by the fans. The fans do this by slightly modifying how the blades spin using proprietary algorithms (hopefully they will release more information on exactly what is going on there), and by including physical features like the stationary set of fan blades behind the moving set of blades.

noctua_nf_f12_rotosub_anc_testing.jpg

The prototype Noctua NF-F12 fan that will be on display at Computex 2012.

Mårten Oretorp, RotoSub CTO stated that the company is aiming to achieve 80% more airflow and 120% greater static pressure than the Noctua NF-F12 fan by incorporating the company’s ANC technology. Noctua is licensing the RotoSub technology, which is claimed to deliver better noise-per-performance ratios than can be accomplished by physical aerodynamic improvements alone.

Further, Noctua CEO Roland Mossig stated “it has always been our goal to push the boundaries of acoustic optimisation and this partnership will allow us to reinforce our technology leadership in the field of premium grade PC cooling equipment.”

RotoSub hasn’t detailed the algorithms but they do have hints of information on their page including a video demonstration of the fan and an animation that shows the “anti-sound” being generated by the fan itself to cancel out the annoying fan noises that it produces. The video can be seen below.

It is an interesting concept, and I hope that it works. While moving to watercooling has cut down on the number of fans I’m using in my desktop, it is still not anywhere near what I would call quiet. Stay tuned for more information once the prototype is shown off at Computex 2012.

Source: Rotosub

Know CPUs were made of sand? Yes, but I like your video.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors | May 30, 2012 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: Intel, fab

Intel has released an animated video and supplementary PDF document to explain how Intel CPUs are manufactured. The video is more “cute” than anything else although the document is surprisingly really well explained for the average interested person. If you have ever wanted to know how a processor was physically produced then I highly recommend taking about a half of an hour to watch the video and read the text.

If you have ever wondered how CPUs came to be from raw sand -- prepare to get learned.

Intel has published a video and accompanied information document which explains their process almost step by step. The video itself will not teach you too much as it was designed to illustrate the information in the online pamphlet.

Not shown is the poor sandy bridges that got smelted for your enjoyment.

Rest in got

My background in education is a large part of the reason why I am excited by this video. The accompanied document is really well explained, goes into just the right amount of detail, and does so very honestly. The authors did not shy away from declaring that they do not produce their own wafers nor did they sugarcoat that each die even on the same wafer could perform differently or possibly not at all.

You should do yourself a favor and check it out.

Source: Intel (pdf)

It's like Spore in space... even though that was in space too. Kinetic Void Kickstarter almost over but not at goal yet.

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2012 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: Kickstarter

Kinetic Void is a PC single player space adventure game looking for funding on Kickstarter. They are currently at $47,000 out of their $60,000 goal with approximately 6 hours to go. If you have a 2GHz CPU and GeForce 8800 GPU or better and would like to back the project then do so like -- right now. You will only be billed for your pledge if they reach their $60,000 goal.

Update (5/30/2012): They're funded -- but if you want to keep donating to give them more development funds I'm sure they could use it.

Yet another awesome looking indie project is looking for crowd-funding.

There are probably a bunch of fans of space sims in our audience -- and I know there are a bunch of fans of PC games in our audience. Most of these games will only be possible with crowd funding and Kinetic Void is teetering on the edge of expiring. If you like it -- the next 6 hours is basically your last chance to back it so do not wait.

When I started writing this article it was at $46,000… so it’s possible. Hop to it if you want it.

The expected system requirements for the game is quite lean with just a 2.0 GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM, and GeForce 8800 GPU needed to play. They recommend a multi-core CPU which is still very reasonable these days to say the least. It is not the prettiest game but that is not the point.

$10-or-more will get you the full game when it is launched in late 2012 or early 2013 -- or if you spring for $20+ you can get Beta access as well.

But only if it is funded… so go to Kickstarter if it seems interesting to you.

Source: Kickstarter

Pedestrians, you have 30 seconds to reach safety; Stainless Kickstarts Carmageddon Reincarnation

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2012 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: cunning stunt, carmageddon reincarnation

The game that was condemned by the Pope and used by the media as the posterchild for how violent video games should be strictly controlled is back thanks to the love of the original creators and help from a very successfull Kickstarter campaign.  Soon you will be able to run amok among pedestrians, setting them on fire, zapping them with your Electro-Bastard Ray or even colliding into them with your car.  They have a lot of work to do if they want this game to live up to its predecessors as this was the first game featuring damage to your car and physics processing to handle collisions.  You have until June 6th to donate funds to the Carmageddon Reincarnation kickstarter, with a variety of rewards available depending on how much you donate ... $15 to get the game.

 

"Max Damage is back! Carmageddon: Reincarnation is going to reintroduce the gaming world to the original freeform driving sensation, where pedestrians (and cows) equal points and your opponents are a bunch of crazies in a twisted mix of automotive killing machines. It’s the racing game where racing is for wimps."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

A very specialized but completely open source CUDA-like program for image manipulation

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2012 - 12:11 PM |
Tagged: CUDA, open source, opengl

Hack a Day linked to a program that could be of great use for anyone who manipulates and processes images, or anyone who wants to be able to make fractals very quickly.  Utilizing the OpenGL Shader Language Reuben Carter developed a command line tool that processes images using NVIDIA GPUs.  As we have talked about in the past on PC Perspective, GPUs are much better at this sort of parallel processing than a traditional CPU or the CPU portion on modern processors.  Below is one obvious use of this program, the quick creation of complex fractals but this program can also process pre-exisiting images.  Edge detection, colour transforms and perhaps even image recognition tasks can be completed with his software at a much faster speed than CPU bound image manipulation programs.  If you are in that field, or looking to decorate your dorm room,  you should grab his software via the GitHub link in the article.

RJC_Mandelbrot.jpg

"If you ever need to manipulate images really fast, or just want to make some pretty fractals, [Reuben] has just what you need. He developed a neat command line tool to send code to a graphics card and generate images using pixel shaders. Opposed to making these images with a CPU, a GPU processes every pixel in parallel, making image processing much faster."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Hack a Day

OCZ launches Agility 4 SSD based on Indilinx Everest 2

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 29, 2012 - 08:45 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, Agility 4

OCZ Technology Group launched their latest entry in the Agility 4 line of Solid State Drives. The drive will make use of the Indilinx Everest 2 controller over a SATA 6Gbps interface. It is rated to provide 400MB/s reads with up to 85,000 write IOs per second. Unlike its 5-year Vertex 4 brethren the Agility 4 will be backed by a 3-year warranty.

Just a couple of months ago Al posted his review of the OCZ Vertex 4 solid state drive which he found to be aggressively priced and with good potential depending on firmware support.

OCZ has just released the Agility 4 to complement their new product line with a slightly cheaper and slightly lower performance option compared to the Vertex. Both drives are based on the same Indilinx Everest 2 controller with transfer rates being the main divisor between the two products. Retail price of the Agility 4 is placed much more aggressively and flirts even closer with the $1 per gigabyte line than the Vertex 4.

OCZAgility4.png

Almost time to get change our metric to cents per gigabyte. ... Yay!

The Agility 4 is rated to perform with consistent read bandwidths of 400MB/s which is below the Vertex 4’s rated 535 MB/s sequential reads throughput. The write IOPS is rated at 85,000 random transactions per second and exactly matches that metric with the Vertex 4.

OCZ is covering the Agility 4 with a 3-year manufacturer warranty. It is on back-order from NCIX with an expected retail value of $259.20 for the 256GB version which might as well be called a dollar per gigabyte. Newegg has yet to list the product or its expected value.

Source: OCZ

Take the PC Perspective Survey - Win Prizes!

Subject: General Tech | May 29, 2012 - 06:53 PM |
Tagged: survey, ocz, giveaway, corsair, contest

Every once in a while take an opportunity to learn about YOU, our faithful fans of PC Perspective.  Today is one of those days as we have setup a small survey to help point us in the right direction for the future of the website.  We can learn a lot from your help with this:

  1. We learn about you.
  2. We learn what you want to read on PC Perspective.
  3. We learn what you don't want to read on PC Perspective.
  4. We learn what you want to see as the future of PC Perspective.

As you can see, YOU have a lot of power over what is going to happen here, so wield it wisely.  If you write in the comments section that we should fire Josh then we'll probably do it probably not do it. 

Other than the obviously great feelings you'll receive from helping out your friends at PC Perspective, we decided that to entice you to spend the 5 minutes on the survey that it will require we are going to offer up a handful of prizes as well!

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1 x OCZ 128GB Vertex 4 SSD

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1 x Corsair Vengeance C70 Military Green Chassis

survey-gigabyte.jpg

1 x Gigabyte Z77 G1.Sniper M3 Motherboard

All you have to do to win one of these great prizes is:

  1. Fill out our survey.
  2. Wait for us to pick you as a winner.

Man, we pride ourselves on making our contests and sweepstakes easy, but this is ridiculous!  The competition is open to ALL people around the world though you can ONLY enter one time!  The survey will run through the 8th of June, so get your entries in!

Good luck and thank you so much for being a part of PC Perspective!

Continue on to the survey for your chance to win and support PC Perspective while doing it!