Minecraft hits 1.7 release. Minecraft players hit TNT, not die.

Subject: General Tech | July 1, 2011 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: Minecraft

Videogames are not necessarily a medium about consuming. One advantage of videogames is that they are inherently a platform for creativity. You often see creativity happen haphazardly in terms of strategies and the “water-cooler moments” where an event happens and you just cannot help but discuss it. A second layer of creativity is when videogames support third-party content: you are allowed to modify the game as you desire and create your own game based around the other game. The third layer of creativity is when the game itself is mostly a platform for creativity. Minecraft falls under the vein of a “Spore”, a "Farmville", or a “Lego” where the player is less interested in accomplishing an objective than they are channeling their creativity. Now players of Minecraft have more options to express themselves as it advanced to version 1.7; or just end up piston around.


I’ve got a baaaaahahahahhhhhd feeling about this.

(Screenshot taken from Modacity Minecraft Server)

Changes for this version involve the addition of Pistons which allow you to move blocks, items, players, and mobs. There are two types of pistons: regular pistons which can push items, and slime-upgraded pistons which can push and pull items. Some possible usages include more inventive traps, flood gates, triggered stairs, and so forth. Another addition is that TNT must be lit on fire or triggered with a redstone circuit to allow players to remove potentially misplaced TNT by punching it. Fences can now also be stacked which is useful for those attempting to use them artistically or who just want a really tall fence. The last major change was the addition of shears to trim trees and sheep.

Check out these changes in action with Minecraft’s official 1.7 update video.

It's Friday for us Canadians; we'll let you have a holiday next week

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: friday

It is pretty quiet in the PC Perspective Forums today, probably because everyone is too busy reading up on Llano to post.  That means you should probably get any advice you need on overclocking your Athlon X2s and Phenom Black Edition processors as things are about to change.  With the new motherboards comes UEFI BIOSes which will probably prove to make overclocking easier but will bear no resemblance to the Phoenix and AMI BIOSes we are all used to. 

On the plus side The Trading Post is likely to get very busy over the next few months while people switch out parts.

Podcast #160 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1, OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2, Crysis 2 DX11 update, Llano preview and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: podcast, X1, Thinkpad, revodrive, ocz, nvidia, llano, Lenovo, Intel, dx11, crysis 2, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #160 - 6/30/2011

This week we talk about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2, Crysis 2 DX11 update, Llano preview 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: 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 Malventano

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

Program length: 57:49

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:45 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. 0:02:16 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Review: Thin is In
  6. 0:03:08 Samsung Nexus S 4G Review: Google Bliss.
  7. 0:05:04 Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG
  8. 0:08:37 OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB PCIe SSD Review - Seriously Fast Storage
  9. 0:24:23 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:25:00 Crysis 2: DirectX 11 free update released
  11. 0:31:45 NVIDIA Releases GeForce GTX 580M and 570M, Brings Optimus to Hardcore Gaming Laptops
  12. 0:34:10 Badaboom, the once NVIDIA only transcoding accelerator, now works with Sandy Bridge
  13. 0:38:40 Llano's dance card is available, pick a date with your favourite new AMD APU tomorrow
  14. 0:41:05 Just Delivered: Cost effective AM3+ Boards.
  15. 0:42:30 Show and tell: Llano CPU and MB
  16. 0:44:26 Free games?
    1. http://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/Meet-Medic-Uber-Update-and-TF2-itself-are-freed
  17. 0:48:20 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
  18. 0:50:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Bitcoins?  Ken is testing a LOT of GPUs for this!
    2. Jeremy: I guess I'll shout out to Might & Magic entertaining me for 25 SMEGGING YEARS!
    3. Josh: Eyefinity!  It is a lot of fun.  Surprising capabilities from many modern applications.  Even a lot of older ones...
    4. Allyn: RevoDrive 3!
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. 0:56:35 Closing



Intel's SATA controller problems didn't hurt their market share

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 11:49 AM |
Tagged: Intel, market share

No matter that AMD claimed to be "Ready, Willing and Stable" when the Cougar Point SATA problem was discovered, the market share numbers show that they were not.  Intel's market share grew in the first quarter by 1.6% from last quarter and a 25% increase in revenue when compared to the first quarter of 2010.  That is a bit of a surprise to many tech enthusiasts who expected a drop in market share for Intel or at the most a stable quarter.  It would seem likely that laptop sales, which for the most point avoided the bad SATA ports, helped as well as the various motherboard vendors quick assurance to customers that any and all bad boards would be replaced.  The Inquirer broke the news here.


You sure about that?

"CHIPMAKER Intel came out of its Sandy Bridge chipset recall smelling like a rose, managing to increase its share of the chip market in the first quarter of 2011.

Following the launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture at CES in January, the firm was left to announce the embarrassing recall of eight million or so Cougar Point chipsets after a bug was found in its SATA controller. At the time The INQUIRER said that Intel handled the recall well by taking a proactive approach, something that Isuppli's figures confirm."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Bumpday 6/29/2011: Cry Moar

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:55 PM |
Tagged: far cry, bumpday

This week Crytek released their DirectX 11 update to Crysis 2 and immediately hushed the crowing of all GPUs everywhere. We have gone through the various advancements in fairly great detail but that was not the first time our GPUs came Crying to us about the monster that goes Polybump in the night. No, our forums were aflame even before Crysis back when Far Cry was about to reach its Beta phase. I guess it is time to bump it up in our memory.



Back in early 2004 our forum-goers rallied around now defunct pre-beta screenshots of the best graphics they have ever seen… in 2004. People were surprised of the novelty of having mutant zombies in your game… in 2004. People were gathered to play with their fellow amdmb members… in 2004. People were gloating about how they cannot show what the beta looked like due to non-disclosure agreements… back in 2004. Of course we now know everything about Far Cry, its official sequel from another developer, and both of its spinoff sequels from its original developer. But obviously, what we know now we did not know then; let us nostalgia at the forum thread long since forgotten.


Source: PCPer Forums

Wish you CUDA had a GPGPU C++ template? Now you can!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 29, 2011 - 08:58 PM |
Tagged: gpgpu, CUDA

If you have seen our various news articles regarding how a GPU can be useful in many ways, and you are a developer yourself, you may be wondering how to get in on that action. Recently Microsoft showed off their competitor to OpenCL known as C++ AMP and AMD showed off some new tools designed to help developers of OpenCL. Everything was dead silent on the CUDA front at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, as expected, but that does not mean that no-one is helping people who do not mind being tied in to NVIDIA. An open-sourced project has been created to generate template file for programmers wishing to do some of their computation in CUDA and wish a helping hand setting up the framework.


You may think the videocard is backwards, but clearly its DVI heads are in front.

The project was started by Pavel Kartashev and is a Java application that accepts form input and generates CUDA code to be imported into your project. The application will help you generate the tedious skeleton code for defining variables and efficiently using the GPU architecture leaving you to program the actual process to be accomplished itself. The author apparently plans to create a Web-based version which should be quite easy with the Java-based nature of his application. Personally I would find myself more interested in the local application or a widget to leaving my web browser windows to reference material. That said, I am sure that someone would like this tool in their web browser, possibly more people than are like-minded with me.

If you are interested in contributing either financially or through labor he asks that you contact him through the email tied with his Paypal account (likely for spam reasons, so I can assume posting it here would be the opposite of helpful). The rest of us can sit back, enjoy our GPU-enabled applications, and bet on how long it will take NVIDIA to reach out to him. I got all next week.

Excited about an interview with the developers of the XCOM reboot? Your age is showing

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:58 AM |
Tagged: xcom, gaming, 2k games

With great fear and much hope, many of the 30+ gamers are awaiting 2K Games' reboot of the XCOM game.  The fear comes for the game being a first person shooter in the style of Mass Effect and not the proper turn based strategy game it once was.  However the developer that Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN interviewed, Jonathan Pelling, described a story line of invasion and alienation which might lend a different kind of depth to the series, something that has been lacking from more recent versions like UFO:Aftermath.  The trailer also implies that research will be important to the game, as you start to reverse-engineer alien technology, but let us hope it is more indepth than a scientist handing you a new gun before a mission.

In case you don't feel old enough remembering the original XCOM, RPS also points out that "The Might & Magic series is twenty-five years old."


"Recently we had a chance to look at 2K’s intriguing reboot of XCOM – and a full XCOM preview is coming up soon – but first there’s an interview which explains a bit about the world, and the intention to tell a story about the origin of the XCOM alien invasion in the setting of 1960s America.

In the depths of a bunker packed with strange humanoids that communicated almost entirely using the words “like”, “totally” and “hella” we spoke to something that claimed to be Jonathan Pelling, Creative Director at 2K Marin, developers of XCOM. Here’s what he had to say…"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:


Llano's dance card is available, pick a date with your favourite new AMD APU tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:29 AM |
Tagged: x79, release, llano, Intel, brazos, APU, amd

DigiTimes has announced that the 32nm Llano we've all be waiting for will be arriving tomorrow with the A75 chipset in tow.  A pair of A8s and a pair of A6's should be available for you over the next few weeks, with a refresh of less powerful A4 APUs set for the Fall/Winter of 2011.  The last quarter will also see AMD flesh out their lineups of A8 and A6 CPUs and the first arrival of the E-series for their Brazos platform. 

You'll have to wait a while longer for Scorpius, it is not scheduled to hit until the beginning of 2012, which means Intel's X79 chipset will be out along with a few new i3 and i5 models and even a new Celeron.



"CPU maker AMD is set to announce its latest 32nm A series APU codenamed Llano on June 30 with motherboard makers including Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI) all having announced products based on AMD's A75 chipset, according to sources from motherboard players.

In early July, AMD will initially supply its FM1-based A8-3850, A8-3800, A6-3650 and A6-3600 APUs with A6-3500, A4-3400, A4-3300, A8-3870, A8-3820, A6-3670 and A6-3620 APUs set for launch in the fourth quarter along with E2-3200. In September, AMD will also announce E-450 and E300 for its Brazos platform.

For the high-end Scorpius platform, AMD will announce the AM3+-based FX-8150, FX8100, FX6100 and FX4100 by the end of September with FX8170, FX8120, FX6120 and FX4140 set for the first quarter of 2012.

For chipsets, AMD will launch A75 (Hudson D3) and A55 (Hudson D2) together with its A series APU, and is set to launch a chipset codenamed Hudson D4 in February 2012.

On the other hand, Intel is also prepared to launch its high-end X79 chipset after September along with 11 upgraded CPUs including Core i5-2320, Core i3-2120T, Core i3-2130 and G540.

The sources pointed out that AMD is targeting Llano at the entry-level and mainstream markets, competing mainly against Intel's Core i3 and Pentium, while E-450 and E300 will target Intel's G440, 540 and 530 series."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Badaboom, the once NVIDIA only transcoding accelerator, now works with Sandy Bridge

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2011 - 11:34 AM |
Tagged: transcoding, quick sync video, nvidia, Intel, badaboom

When we first met Elemental Technologies Badaboom video transcoding accelerator it would only work with NVIDIA CPUs.  Ryan tested version 1.1 of the program, taking various movies and recorded TV and transcoding it into formats able to play on Blackberrys, iPhones, YouTube and a wide variety of other formats. 


The testing showed nice improvements when utilizing an NVIDA GPU and the ability to use multiple GPUs, each able to do their own transcoding simultaneously would help anyone who needed a couple of Blu-ray movies transferred to their mobile device in a hurry.  The quality of the transcoding was of high quality and Ryan did not see any of the issues that were present when using AMD's Avivo, as there is little point in quickly transcoding video if it ends up painful to watch.

We hadn't heard much else about Badaboom until today, when it was announce that version 2.0 will support Intel's new Quick Sync Video as well as NVIDIA's cards.  We don't have any benchmarks to show you how effective Sandy Bridge parts will be at accelerating transcoding but you can see the long list of pre-processing filters and learn a bit about Intel's media SDK on this page at Intel.


"Intel Quick Sync Video, built right into 2nd generation Intel Core processors, is breakthrough hardware acceleration that lets the user complete in minutes what used to take hours. Create DVDs or Blu-ray discs, cover video files for your media plater, and convert video for upload to your favorite social networking sites - all in a flash.

Badaboom uses Intel Quick Sync Video technology to transcode video files in just minutes. Why do videos need to be transcoded? In order for a video to play back on a device such as a smartphone or a tablet, it needs to be formatted to correct specifications. With so many different devices out there, odds are low a video from a camcorder will automatically play on all of them. That's where Badaboom comes in: it transcodes video files to play on hundreds of the most popular devices available today-and it does so quickly and easily."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: Intel

Windows 8 build leaked from D9 conference; screenshots.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 27, 2011 - 09:12 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, leak

Update: 6/28/2011 - One of our commenters suggested that the screenshots were fake. Upon looking at ZDNet's sources -- it appears as if at least the first screenshot is fake (the tile screen) as well as their onscreen keyboard (which we did not link to). The other screenshots we linked follow a completely different aesthetic to the other screenshots on the fake portfolio (shape and color of close button, for instance) so they in fact appear to be genuine. Fooled me. -Scott

So Windows 8 was shown off at the All Things Digital D9 conference and surprise it was leaked. Naturally Microsoft did not show all aspects of the Windows 8 build at the conference; they must leave some cards hidden that are either not yet ready or otherwise not designed to be shown. Ziff Davis got a hold of someone who either had a leaked build of Windows 8 or otherwise access to screenshots that Microsoft did not intend to show. And what good are screenshots that are not in a slideshow?

Care to take a spin around the leek?

So we start off with the well-known start overlay with the typical tiles including weather, calendar, Computer, email, and Internet Explorer. The next image makes us feel immediately guilty for exactly a half of a second. The new interface extends all the way to the installer where you read the EULA and enter your personalization information. The windowing look and feel has changed with Windows 8 at least temporarily exaggerating the close button and minimizing the, well, minimize and full screen buttons. The ribbon UI is also seen exploding all across the interface including the file browser. Installations, at least of Windows software, are more integrated into the operating system. Lastly, the task manager is getting a facelift which may or may not be a bad thing.

What do you think of the leaked build? What would you do differently if you were Microsoft? (Registration not required to comment.)

Source: Ziff Davis