Got a bunch of old disposable cameras? Why not turn them into a clip for a pulse laser gun?

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2011 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: pewpew, laser, DIY

There are a lot of instructions on the net covering the steps to build yourself a laser, from the large scale models at Power Labs which are not portable to smaller scale ones using DVD/Blu-ray lasers which can't be used for much more than driving the family pet insane.  Over at Hack a Day is a detailed project on how to build your own hand held pulse laser which can certainly burn holes through thin metals and other unsuspecting inanimate objects.  This particular build is powered by scrounged capacitors from disposable cameras and as long as you keep an even number and ensure the capacitors are all the same rating you can make it even more powerful.


"Self-declared Mad Scientist and Instructables user [Trevor Nestor] recently built a pulse laser pistol and decided to share his build process, so that you too can build a ray gun at home. The gun is made up of mostly scavenged components, save for the Neodymium:YAG laser head, which he purchased on eBay for about $100. He does say however, that you can score an SSY-1 laser from an old rangefinder, providing you hang out near a stockpile of decommissioned Abrams tanks."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Hack a Day

Nook who’s on top now: Color e-Reader surpasses Kindle

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 11, 2011 - 03:53 AM |
Tagged: nook color, kindle

Amazon did not create the eBook reader market but they created the vastly most popular product in the category, the Kindle. Amazon gained such a popular status over main competitor, Sony, due to their content and the ubiquity of their service across multiple platforms adjacent to the Kindle device itself. Rumors flew for quite some time now, and from various sources, that Amazon would be jumping into the Android tablet space to likely complement their Kindle line. In a humorously ironic twist, an eBook reader based on an Android tablet just unseated the Kindle as the most popular e-reader.


A little hot under the collardron?

Barnes and Nobel entered the eBook reader market in late 2009 fighting an uphill battle against Amazon and a juvenile pun on their name (hehehe, “Nook eBook”). A year later they launched the Nook Color, an Android 2.1 tablet locked into a certain subset of applications available either pre-loaded or their application store. This tablet brainwashed to be an eBook reader overtook Kindle recently, finally shushing naysayers to Barnes and Nobel's entry to the tablet market. Heh – “Nook eBook”. It will be interesting to see how Amazon’s business will evolve in the coming year or two as a result of competitive pressures and an evolving marketplace.

Source: VentureBeat

A PC Macbook Air: Can Intel has?

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Systems | July 10, 2011 - 02:45 AM |
Tagged: Intel, ultrabook

Intel has been trying to push for a new classification of high-end, thin, and portable notebooks to offset the netbook flare-up of recent memory. Intel hopes that by the end of 2012, these “Ultrabooks” will comprise 40% of consumer notebook sales. What is the issue? They are expected to retail in the 1000$ range which is enough for consumers to buy a dual-core laptop with 4 GB of RAM and a tablet. Intel is not fazed by this and has even gone to the effort of offering money to companies wishing to develop these Ultrabooks; the OEMs are fazed, however, and even with Intel’s pressing there is only one, the ASUS UX21, slated to be released in September.

Asus sticking its neck out. (Video by Engadget)

For the launch, Intel created three processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture: the i5-2557M, the i7-2637M, and the i7-2677M. At just 17 watts of power, these processors should do a lot on Intel’s end to support the branding of Ultrabooks having long battery life and an ultra-thin case given the lessened need for heat dissipation. Intel also has two upcoming Celeron processors which are likely the same ones we reported on two months ago. Intel has a lot to worry about when it comes to competition with their Ultrabook platform though; AMD will have products that appeal to a similar demographic for half the price and tablets might just eat up much of the rest of the market.

Do you have a need for a thousand dollar ultraportable laptop? Will a tablet not satisfy that need?

(Registration not required for commenting)

Source: ZDNet

122 years ago the Wall Street Journal put out it's first; conversely News of the World may have put out it's last

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 06:46 PM |
Tagged: friday

If there is one piece of advice you can glean from our Forums this week, it is that letting an 8yr old relative play with any piece of technology you value is a very bad idea, at best you will end up with a Miley Cyrus infection.  If you are looking at setting up a new system and going for a nice overclock with your AMD or Intel CPU, maybe you should investigate some of the air coolers that Forum members have used successfully.  That's not all, don't you hate whining PSUs, naughty SSDs and overly picky RAM?

 As well you can catch the 161st iteration of the PC Perspective Podcast, or get in an argument in the Lightning Round, trade kit in the Trading Post or just go off the wall in the Off Topic Forum, the choice is yours.

As expected NVIDIA's next generation GPU release schedule was a bit optimistic

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, amd, 28nm, kepler, maxwell

TSMC's 28nm wafer yields are having a negative effect on NVIDIA's scheduled release of their next generation of GPUs, no matter what the PR coming out of NVIDIA might suggest.  That news is coming from graphics card manufacturers who were hoping to release cards but have since seen NVIDIA's scheduled releases delayed by a year.  While it may be true that TSMC is partly to blame for the delay there is also talk about the chips performance being lower than was expected and is needed to challenge AMD.  The news for NVIDIA gets even worse as DigiTimes confirms that AMD is still on schedule with it's 28nm chips.  This may seem like a bit of deja vu, as we saw similar production problems from TSMC's initial 40nm chips; though that effected both major GPU makers more or less equally.

nvidia jensen.jpg

"Despite Nvidia CEO Huang Jen-hsun previously saying that the company is set to announce its new 28nm GPU architecture at the end of 2011 and 22/20nm in 2013, sources from graphics card makers have pointed out that Nvidia has already adjusted its roadmap and delayed 28nm Kepler and 22/20nm Maxwell to 2012 and 2014.

The sources believe that the delay is due to unsatisfactory yield rates of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) 28nm process as well as lower-than-expected performance of Kepler.

TSMC originally expected its 28nm capacity at Fab15 to be available in the fourth quarter of 2011 and was set to start pilot production for its 20nm process technology in the third quarter of 2012.

However, TSMC's other major client Qualcomm, currently, still has not yet adjusted its 28nm process schedule and is set to launch three new products, 8960. 8270 and 8260A using dual-core Krait architecture in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Meanwhile, AMD will follow its original schedule and enter the 28nm era in the first half of 2012. The company's next-generation graphics chips Southern Island as well as Krishna and Wichita processors, which will replace the existing Ontraio and Zacate processors, and will all adopt a 28nm process from TSMC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: DigiTimes

New Firefox 7 Aurora Build Promises To Fix Memory Leak Issues

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 06:02 AM |
Tagged: memory leak, firefox, bug fix, aurora

With the recent change in Firefox's browser release schedule, they have been able to accelerate the release of bug fixes and new features. One bug that has plagued a number of Firefox users for a long time is a memory leak bug that could see Firefox eating up a good chunk of memory that is much more than it is supposed to be using.


Fortunately, a new version 7 build available to download on the Firefox Aurora channel promises to (finally) fix (or at least mitigate) this memory bug. Specifically, the new build promises up to 30 percent memory usage reduction, a JavaScript garbage collector that will run more often to free up memory when the browser is idle, and enhanced responsiveness.

In addition to mitigating the memory issues, the new build promises a faster start-up time on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, Firefox Sync, and enhanced font rendering.

You can download the latest Aurora build here.  Are you running the Aurora channel builds?  Is memory usage improved for you?  Let us know in the comments or forums.

Source: Firefox

Sony's Once Open Optical Port Is Now Proprietary In Ironic Twist

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 04:35 AM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, sony, pci-e, optical



See that blue port that looks like USB 3.0?  It actually has some optical prowess up its sleeve

Sony is well known among technology enthusiasts as being a company that loves to take the proprietary route; however, in a rather paradoxical twist Sony's new optical port on the VAIO Z did not start proprietary.  In fact, it was only made proprietary after Intel and Apple changed the design of the connection that became named Thunderbolt.

Both Thunderbolt and the new Sony connection are based on Light Peak, the optical standard championed by Intel that promised up to 100Gbps optical connections over 100 meter cables (though this was only in lab conditions).  OEMs influenced Intel into postponing the optical variant of Light Peak in favor of a cheaper electric variant, which is what today's Thunderbolt implementation is.  Thunderbolt uses an electric connection over copper using active cables to promises 10Gbps (20Gbps bidirectional) transfers.  The original design for the connector for Light Peak was a connection that looked like a USB connection and would be able to support USB connections as well as accommodate the Light Peak cables.  However, Apple and Intel decided a few months before what would become Thunderbolt launched to change the connector to a mini-Display Port connection.  

The Sony connection on the other hand, employs the USB-like connector, and is capable of handling USB 2.0, USB 3.0 devices as well as the Sony VAIO Z's Power Media Dock which uses the optical connection that is "based on Light Peak," according to This Is My Next.  While Thunderbolt devices will not be able to plug into the VAIO Z's new optical connector and Sony has not released any specifications on what it is capable of, the inclusion of a Blu Ray drive, lots of I/O options in the form of VGA, DVI, HDMI, one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and a discrete 1GB AMD HD 6650M graphics card the connection (whatever its specific transfer capabilities) seems to be no slouch in the transfer speed(s) department.

This Is My Next has the full story on how Sony's (now) proprietary connection joined the companies lineup of proprietary technology despite Sony's efforts to use an non propriety standard (surprisingly) which you can read here.  It is certainly an interesting tale of karma and surprise.  What are your thoughts on the new connection?

Battlefield 3: No plans for mod tools

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 12:29 AM |
Tagged: mod, battlefield 3

The Battlefield franchise has had a somewhat indecisive history with the mod community. Battlefield 2 was developed in part by a mod team for the first game, Battlefield 1942, and mod tools were provided for several of their releases. Recently they shifted their focus on to the console spinoff, Bad Company. While the second in the franchise was created for the PC neither featured mod tools. Now that DICE has returned to the original canon with Battlefield 3 there were hopes that mod tools would return with the franchise but according to DICE that is not the case.

These tools are hard, just look at the destructibility, you wouldn’t like it

German gaming site GameStar met up with DICE’s CEO Patrick Soderlund to discuss Battlefield 3. Soderlund answered an array of questions from the community about the Bad Company 2 friends list, alternatives to the commander mode, and the potential future of Mirror’s Edge. When questioned about the mod tools: Soderlund did not rule out the possibility of mod tools in the future but might as well done so. He contends that Frostbite 2 is too difficult to deal with for modders (which historically means: “the tools barely work for us, we are not going through the effort to polish them for public use”).

Surprisingly, to those who know me, I can agree with DICE’s stance on the issue. If your mod tools do not fit your level of polish required to release, then do not release them; provided, of course, you do not actively harm the creation of mods. With that in mind, the mod community is what will keep your game flowing with new content, for a little upfront cost. If your tail is shorter than you anticipated: this should be the first place to look.

Source: GameStar

Tritton managed to stick 8 speakers in their PC 510 HDA 5.1 headset

Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2011 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: tritton, audio, 5.1 headset

Some 5.1 surround sound headsets emulate extra speakers through software but you find the occasional set that actually have a hardware solution in the form of multiple speakers.  Tritton's PC 510 HDA's speakers range from 23mm in the centre to 30mm for front and back and a sub of 40mm.  It connects to your 5.1 sound card via the numerous RCA jacks present and a USB connector to handle power and the controller.  MektuMods had a great time gaming with these but felt that the audio quality was not up to snuff when it came to enjoying music.  Read the full review here.


"This time we will take a closer look at a gaming headset from Tritton - an American manufacturer established in 2000. The new model they sent us for a review is PC 510 HDA, and it's a gaming headset of the 5.1-variety. Now lets see how it compares to the audio gear we've reviewed earlier."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: MektuMods

PC Perspective Podcast #161 - AMD Llano Desktop review, the Samsung Droid Charge, RevoDrive 3 X2 and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2011 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: podcast, llano, Intel, APU, amd, a8-3850

PC Perspective Podcast #161 - 7/07/2011

This week we talk about our AMD Llano Desktop review, the Samsung Droid Charge, RevoDrive 3 X2 and more!

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: - 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 Malventano

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

Program length: 1:13:13

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:01:03 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or
  4. and
  5. 0:01:45 AMD A8-3850 Llano Desktop Processor Review - Can AMD compete with Sandy Bridge?
  6. 0:25:15 Samsung Droid Charge Review: The Droid Brand Goes 4G
  7. 0:26:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:27:15 RevoDrive 3 article comments
  9. 0:35:25 VIA Technologies To Sell Of Its Stake in S3 Graphics
  10. 0:38:15 Meet Hondo, AMD's soon to arrive 2W TDP Brazos chip for tablets ... and Apache servers?
  11. 0:45:50 Just Delivered: ASUS ROG MATRIX GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB Graphics Card
  12. 0:50:20 Video Perspective: Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Case
  13. 0:52:45 Video Perspective: AMD A-series APU Overclocking and Gaming Performance
  14. 0:59:25 Quakecon Reminder -
  15. 1:01:24 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: AMD A-series APU system ~ $430
    2. Jeremy: Kogan offers free hdmi cable to cut the UK cable con
    3. Josh: Cheap!
    4. Allyn:
  17. and
  18. 1:10:20 Closing