Steam readies update to download system, just in (Valve) time

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2011 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, downloader

Steam is not known to be the most reliable when it comes to updating; this is particularly true during the launch of a high-profile game when network traffic is at a peak. One such of those times happened for the last week-or-so during Valve’s fairly epic summer sale. Valve has, as usual, promptly addressed the issue and will be rolling out this new system starting today with a new client update forthcoming to support this new infrastructure.

steambusy.png

If other people are any indication: complain profusely while browsing more discounted bundles.

One method that the update will utilize to improve your downloading experience is to switch to the standard HTTP protocol for data transfers. There are two main benefits of HTTP: In the event that you are in a particularly nasty firewall environment, HTTP is more readily permitted than other ports for users with sane network administrators. The second benefit of HTTP is that data that protocol is potentially cached, thus if you and another user share some stretch of the internet between you and Valve, it is possible that you will not need to fetch the data all the way from Valve as the other request brought a copy of the data closer already. Besides HTTP, the other method of improving performance is the ability to perform differential synchronization. If a 2GB file is edited by 4KB, you will soon only need to receive the 4KB difference.

Valve, not being able to resist a troll, closed by teasing that DOTA 2 will be delivered using Steam’s new delivery system. They also claim that if you want to try out the new system, download a 1280x720 trailer from the Steam store because they already rolled out the new update to that part of the system. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: Valve

Microsoft May Be Dropping the Windows Branding In Future Operating Systems

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2011 - 10:14 AM |
Tagged: windows, microsoft, branding

Microsoft and their Windows brand have always been synonymous where it comes to Operating Systems. As someone who grew up with Windows 3.1, I have grown up seeing Microsoft through the proverbial Window(s). As such, Windows has been a brand that has always been around, and one that I assumed would always be around. In a surprise twist; however, This Is My Next reports that Microsoft may be dropping the Windows brand for their future operating systems after Windows 8.

windowslogos.png

Look how far the MS OS logo has come.  What does the future hold?

Windows 8 is already incorporating tile elements of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Xbox elements in the form of a re-branded Games For Windows Live service. It seems logical; therefore, that Microsoft would want to even further integrate their mobile, gaming, and computing platforms into one cohesive unit. This Is My Next reports that the future OS will present a single Operating System and UI features across all devices and platforms. They further quote Andy Lees in stating that the single ecosystem would facilitate consistency across all Microsoft powered platforms and “the goal isn’t just to share UI, but also core technologies like Internet Explorer.”

You can read more about the “Next Next” OS over at This Is My Next. What are your opinions on the proposed branding theme? Do you have any fold memories of the Windows brand?

Sony: Back on track with their tablet ad campaign

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 15, 2011 - 11:39 PM |
Tagged: sony, S2, S1

It was just under a month ago when we reported on Sony’s “Two Will” campaign to promote their pair of upcoming Android Honeycomb tablets. The first video was part of a promised five-part series which started with a Rube Goldberg-esque machine casting shadows which either spell stuff or look like they are part of a city for Echochrome 2 people. It was unclear whether the next videos would have entirely different themes or if they would continue down that aesthetic. Now that the second video is released it appears like rails are here to stay.

S1S2.jpg

Barely hanging on the tail of a big cat. Nice metaphor -- but not iOS’ naming scheme.

(nor flattering for an ad)

This time around, Sony opens with a colorful fountain, a typing plunger device, and a jingle that is so familiar I have been racking my brain over it for hours trying to figure out where I heard it before expecting it to be some grand clue. There seems to be a lot of hidden metaphor in this ad campaign, much like what was seen in the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads that were pulled because they were panned by critics who could not see where they were headed thus making us all unsure of where they were actually headed because the rest is left unaired. Hopefully Sony will make it through all five of their episodes and we can find out exactly what Sony is trying to make us think about.

What do you think? Best ad ever or has Sony lost their marbles? See more metaphors?

Comment within.

Source: Sony

Battlefield 3 Battlelog: Call of Dutied all over Call of Duty

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 08:31 PM |
Tagged: battlefield 3

Battlefield has to my knowledge always allowed services to track your statistics to some degree and display them on their site. While I was off in the Unreal, America’s Army 2, and Halo PC universe during the age of Battlefield 1942 I was very active in Battlefield 2 upon its launch in 2005. Members of the couple clans I played with spent quite a bit of time browsing each other’s stats tracker pages from various services including BF2S. Call of Duty’s announcement earlier this year was that they would bring a deep level of stat tracking for a subscription fee, and now DICE announced that Battlefield 3 will roll a lot of that tracking which formerly was piped to independent services into their official web services.

battlefield3-collapse.jpg

Battlefield can topple buildings, but can it topple Call of Duty?

P.S.: That Helicopter is screwwwwed.

The blog Battlefieldo found a few screenshots of Battlefield 3’s online service and posted them before the official German Battlefield site removed them. One of the largest advancements is to the inter-player chat which appears to transcend inside and outside of game similar to Steam’s service and, again like Steam, allows you to join on a player’s server directly. There are no screenshots showing the depth and detail of statistic tracking however what we can see suggests they are at least as detailed as what is currently available through third-party services in the previous Battlefield games.

Do you care about statistics? Comment within.

(Registration not required to comment)

Source: Battlefieldo

24,000 Files Stolen From Pentagon In Cyber Attack

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 05:37 PM |
Tagged: pentagon, hack, Cyber Security, cracking

If we thought that the antics of LulzSec and Anonymous were bad, the recent admission by the Pentagon that 24,000 files were stolen by an as yet identified to the public attacker is not good news at all. Exactly what was taken has not been released; however Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said that the Pentagon believes the attacker was a foreign government and according to Fox News, Lynn stated that “’we have a pretty good idea’ who did it.”

pentagon.jpg

The Pentagon attack was revealed to the public during a speech on Thursday as a preface to a newly proposed more active cyber-defense. The Pentagon believes that the threat of retaliation is not enough of a deterrent to stop attackers, and a more active defense is needed. The strategy includes a greater focus on defense rather than offensive measures, improving its workers’ computer habits to mitigate the risk of succumbing to viruses and malware, and calls for collaboration with other federal agencies, contractors, and foreign allies.

You can read more about the attack and the proposed defense to further attacks here.

Source: Fox News

Samsung needs to pump up their tiny ARMs

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: arm, Samsung, 20nm

Good news for those into shrinkage, as Samsung has rolled out a proof of concept 20nm chip based on the ARM Cortex SoC.  The process used includes High-k metal gates in addition to silicon on insulator, neither of which are new technology to CPU enthusiasts, however the process size is.  That lends credence to the rumour that Apple might be considering switching to an ARM architecture since they already use Samsung as a major provider and this would allow them to continue that relationship.  Then again GLOBALFOUNDRIES is looking at a partnership with ARM as well, so don't count them out.  This should also give doubters of Intel's scheduled process shrinkage some reassurance; if Samsung is already doing it then it is hard to doubt Intel's abililty to do so.  SemiAccurate has the scoop here.

pumpyouup.jpg

"Samsung Foundry, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SEO:005930) is currently testing its entire 20nm process flow and has just taped out a complete test processor that is based on an ARM Cortex-M0 processor that has been combined with ARM Artisan prototype libraries (both 12-track high performance and 9-track high density versions), custom memories, GPIO, and test structures."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: SemiAccurate

64 Bit Flash Support Returns To Linux With Flash Player 11

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 02:50 AM |
Tagged: linux, flash, Adobe

Linux, once the beholder of 64 bit versions of the Adobe Flash plug-in, has been without any form of 64 bit support for the past few iterations (since version 10.1 to be more specific); however, Adobe has finally reinstated support for the 64 bit Linux version with the newly announced Adobe Flash Player 11 Beta. Currently only available on the desktop (Adobe claims the mobile version is coming soon), the new beta brings a new method of 2D and 3D rendering dubbed the Stage 3D API. This new API uses GPU-acceleration to speed up rendering across “multiple screens and devices.” Support for H.264/AVC SW camera encoding and Native JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) are also features of the beta.

flashlinux.png

The announcement also briefly covers the improved security measures, specifically those that relate to GPU-acceleration. The new Stage 3D rendering API includes a new simple shader language dubbed AGAL (Adobe Graphics Assembly Language) that prohibits loops or functions inside shaders. Further, Adobe has added restrictions to the API to limit the number of calls per frame in an attempt to mitigate DDoS attacks.

The new desktop beta is available now for download. 64 bit Linux users rejoice, for the necessary evil that is Flash has returned to you.

Source: Adobe

Podcast #162 - Adventures in Bitcoin Mining, the Eyefinity experience, Ultrabooks and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2011 - 04:38 PM |
Tagged: podcast, bitcoin, mining, gpu, gpgpu, amd, nvidia, eyefinity, APU

PC Perspective Podcast #162 - 7/14/2011

This week we talk about our adventures in Bitcoin Mining, the Eyefinity experience, Ultrabooks 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: 1:16:40

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 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. 0:02:10 Bitcoin Currency and GPU Mining Performance Comparison
  6. 0:22:48 Bitcoin Mining Update: Power Usage Costs Across the United States
  7. 0:34:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:34:50 Eyefinity and Me
  9. 0:45:00 Video Perspective: AMD A-series APU Dual Graphics Technology Performance
  10. 0:47:02 As expected NVIDIA's next generation GPU release schedule was a bit optimistic
  11. 0:49:40 A PC Macbook Air: Can Intel has?
  12. 0:53:00 PC: for all your Xbox gaming needs
  13. 0:56:06 Email from Howard
  14. 1:00:28 Email from Ian
  15. 1:03:00 Email from Jan
    1. In case you're interested, here are almost 150mpix of HDR: http://rattkin.info/archives/430
  16. 1:08:55 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
  17. 1:09:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Dropped the ball
    2. Jeremy: I NEED FLEET COMMANDER
    3. Josh: Finally getting cheap enough for me to buy
    4. Allyn: http://gplus.to/
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. 1:15:15 Closing
Source:

The Bulldozer has sprung another leak, get a peek at the upcoming FX series

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2011 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: zambezi, leak, fx series, bulldozer, amd

Turkish site Donanim Haber got the scoop on Bulldozer and the news is good.  Compared to the first silicon we saw, which had 32 cores running at 1.8GHz, with this new leak we see seven models all running at much more respectable speeds.  There are three 8 core FX CPUs of which the high end FX-8150 runs at 3.6GHz, 4.2GHz under boost.  One of the two six core FX Bulldozers runs at 3.3/3.9GHz, the second called FX-6120 remains mysterious and similarly we know the quad core FX-4100 runs at 3.6/3.8GHz with the FX-4120 still having undetermined clock speeds.  All are based on the 32nm Zambezi core and all will be unlocked Black Edition and support DDR3 up to 1866MHz.  The actual performance when compared to SandyB is up for debate, a good starting point is this article at Real World Tech, which gives you educated guesses based on the leaked benchmarks.  Part of the uncertainly lies in the new architecture and trying to interpret how 4 modules, each module with a single shared FPU/MMX/SIMD unit and two ALUs from an engineering sample.

Hopefully, we should only have to wait 2 or 3 more months to find out for sure.

amdbulldozersaathizi_dh_fx57.jpg

"According to recent information from AMD, two quad-core, two and three of the six-core, including the 8-core processor for 2011 Bulldozer-based model to the market poised to offer 7 different FX. AMD's most powerful processor will be the standard 8-core 3.6GHz FX-8150 processor at 2.0 technology will serve and Turbo Core 4.2GHz operating frequency of up to increase. AMD's 8-core processor, the second how quickly the standard 3.1GHz FX-8120 has been working in the technology and the Turbo Core 2.0 4GHz can go up automatically."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Life is unfair: Giant touchscreen Star Wars game edition

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2011 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: TacTile, Star Wars, gaming

Look at those kids, they aren't even smiling, yet they are controlling a giant fleet battle in the Star Wars Universe by touch!  Arthur Nishimoto was a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and this is what he designed as part of his course.  It is hard to say exactly what the pop up menus signify exactly, but don't you desperately want to find out?  You can glean quite a bit about the Fleet Commander game and the interface called TacTile which was used at his personal site here.  The full size HD YouTube link also contains interesting comments, an almost unique occurance for that site.

 

 

Thanks to BoingBoing for first finding it.

"It's probably the level of concentration required, but these kids do not look nearly as excited about what they are doing as I think they should.

For the last two years, University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Arthur Nishimoto has been working on this incredible-looking video game based around a multi-touch interface."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: BoingBoing