Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2011 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fud, security, SSL
SSL and secure data transfer are wounded, but not dying quite yet if you use an elderly encryption protocol called RC4 or ARC4. Current AES is suggested as the preferred way of encrypting data transfers, but the BEAST (Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS) attack is capable of defeating AES encryption. Unfortunately there are attack methods which are able to defeat RC4, specifically as it is implemented for WPA and WES in wireless networks. Google informed The Register that they have been using RC4, although clients that attempt to connect which don't support that encryption method are offered the vulnerable AES method. Google also pointed out the latest developer version of Chrome protects against the BEAST attack but don't mention when the main version of Chrome will protect users.
"The recommendations published Friday by two-factor authentication service PhoneFactor, suggest websites use the RC4 cipher to encrypt SSL traffic instead of newer, and ironically cryptographically stronger, algorithms such as AES. Google webservers are already configured to favor RC4, according to this analysis tool from security firm Qualys. A Google spokesman says the company has used those settings "for years."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Rick Bergman leaving AMD has no up side @ SemiAccurate
- MS denies secure boot will exclude Linux @ The Register
- Avast buys Android thiefbuster developer @ The Register
- Ubuntu 11.04 vs. Ubuntu 11.10 Benchmarks @ Phoronix
- A case for better keyboards @ The Tech Report
- ThinkComputers and Thermaltake YouTube Contest
- Win a Samsung Galaxy SII @ t-break
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2011 - 03:49 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: The Old Republic, Star Wars, MMO, BioWare
WOW there is a lot of anticipation building up towards EA’s The Old Republic. The MMO Star Wars fans seem to be swooning over after each successive trailer release has released yet another trailer. Made entirely in-game (with the likely exception of a few title sequences) the new trailer shows the breadth of the MMO: Ton-Ton to Wookie; Droid wars to Space battles. Then, with a final unexpected jolt of music, it is finally revealed to be released December 20th, 2011 in North America and December 22nd, 2011 in Europe. And the floor be once again littered with passed out piles of PC Gamers.
Those three Jawa got messed up!
While I am personally not an MMO player it looks to me like BioWare will do Star Wars fans justice with this offering. Few companies can spread their focus and make massive games like BioWare and that is one of the main attributes required to recreate an entire world for many different viewpoints to explore. Many were nervous about the fate of The Old Republic; BioWare was very cagey with disclosing their release dates which led to speculation of behind the scene troubles developing a game as massive as they promised. Now that a date is official and is as nearby as it is, it seems like BioWare was simply just keeping the mantra: “It is done when it is done.”
Subject: General Tech | September 25, 2011 - 06:56 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, windows, Utility, ui, tweaker, microsoft, Metro, developer preview, beta
Are you trying out the Windows 8 Developer Preview that was released earlier this month and finding the new Windows Explorer Ribbon and Metro UI start menu frustrating? If so, Lee Whittington has just the tweaking utility for you!
A freeware tool developed for The Windows Club dubbed Metro UI Tweaker (for Windows 8) is the first third party tweaking tool for the upcoming operating system. It provides several tweaking options to make the transition to the Metro UI more palatable including the ability to completely disable (or enable) the Metro Start Menu and new Ribbon interface in Windows Explorer (which can also be easily hidden without the need for this tool via an icon in the corner). When disabling the Metro Start Menu and Ribbon, the Metro style Task Manager and new lock screen will also be disabled.
Such sweeping changes are not the only tweaks possible, however. The Windows 8 utility also lets you add power options including sleep, restart, and full shutdown to the Metro interface (when clicking on your user name’s picture), as well as adding any application or file to the Metro Start Menu.
Now at version 1.0, the Metro UI Tweaker is available for download from here for those adventurous enough to use a beta tweaking tool on a beta operating system. How do you feel about the new Windows 8 interface? Will you be checking out this tool? Let us know in the comments.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 24, 2011 - 04:08 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VIA, Patent, htc, apple
Do not let the title deceive you: we probably also find Apple and Patent Infringement stories as boring as you do; this case on the other hand makes it through our tightly meshed sift and into our news feed. VIA is best known for chipsets and specialty x86 processors. VIA’s influence was recently felt through the introduction of the netbook craze as a result of their VIA Nano CPU line which lead to the rise of the Intel Atom processor line. Recently VIA decided that they would set their sights on Apple and sue them over three patents. This is one of those cases where the what is not nearly as funny as the alleged why.
Did Apple take a bite out of VIA’s forbidden fruit?
(Image from Wikipedia, modified)
If it seems to you that VIA is suing Apple over seemingly no reason then you probably are correct. There does not appear to be any public reason for VIA to go after Apple. HTC on the other hand has many reasons to sue, technically counter-sue, Apple. For those wondering where HTC came from in this discussion: the chairperson for HTC is the wife of the CEO of VIA Technologies. It very much seems like the whole reason for the VIA lawsuit is to protect his wife's company in their own lawsuits. If these patent lawsuits continue on their current trajectory then we might just be forced to sit every company down and settle like we did with similar issues back in the 90’s: Springer.
Did Apple bite off more than they could chew? (Registration not required for comments)
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2011 - 06:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, gaming, beta, battlefield 3
PC Perspective’s own Scott Michaud has been eagerly awaiting the launch of Battlefield 3, and was kind enough to keep me in the loop on the important aspects of the upcoming multi-platform multiplayer shooter. One aspect that many gamers (including myself) worldwide are likely salivating over is the imminent Battlefield 3 beta launch next week. Specifically, the Battlefield 3 beta will be available for download starting September 29th, 2011 for the general public and the 27th for those who pre-ordered or purchased the Limited/Tier 1 edition of Medal Of Honor.
The beta will be available on all major platforms, including PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. In order to play the beta on the Xbox 360 and PS3, the game will show up automatically in the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network respectively. On the PC side of things, gamers will need to download EA’s Origin client first, and then download the Battlefield 3 beta from the free games section of the Origin client.
The open beta will last until October 10th, and until then there are no caps or time limits regarding how far you can rank up or how often you can play. The map in question will be the “Op: Metro” map from the Alpha. Unfortunately, any ranks or stats you gain from the beta will not carry over into the final game.
While many gamers will be playing the beta on Xbox 360 and PS3, there will likely be a good number of gamers who will play it on the PC for the PC experience. During the EuroGamer expo, DICE General Manager Karl Magnusson spoke to NVIDIA, and stated that 1.5 million copies of Battlefield 3 had been pre-ordered and that DICE was happy to be back on the PC. Further, he stated that they are enjoying the feedback from gamers and whether it is the visuals, audio, or game play that they are enjoying, “all the feedback we get is really freakin’ cool.”
The minimum (and recommended) system requirements for the PC are as follows:
|OS||Windows Vista SP2 32 bit||Windows 7 64 bit|
|Processor||2 GHz dual core||quad core|
|Memory (RAM)||2 GB||4 GB|
|Hard Drive||20 GB||20 GB|
|Graphics (GPU)||DirectX 10 with 512mb RAM||DirectX 11 with 1GB RAM|
|Sound||DirectX compatible||DirectX compatible|
|Peripherals||Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM||Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM|
Have you been following the development of Battlefield 3 and are you looking forward to the open beta? Let us know in the comments.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | September 23, 2011 - 05:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcper live, m17x, hd 6990, alienware
UPDATE: Shows over folks! Thanks to those of you that stopped by and we'll be doing more of these types of things in the very near future. Feel free to watch the reply hosted on YouTube if you want.
So, here we go. After weeks of screwing around with a complely new studio setup at the PC Perspective office, we are going to try something new. Consider this an ultra-alpha-beta if you will. Come stop by our Live Stream channel below to watch us unbox and play around with the new Alienware M17x gaming laptop complete with Radeon HD 6990 graphics! You can even use the Justin.tv chat located at http://justin.tv/pcper to talk with us live and ask questions, etc.
Oh, and we are going to give away some random stuff sitting around the office to those of you that comment in the Justin.tv chat too, so there is that as well. :)
Just as a side note: this is our first attempt at something like this so it might be perfect but it is more than likely going to be a bit rough arond the edges. I am most curious though to get some feedback on what you liked, didn't like or would like to see additional or changed in this kind of process. We aren't going to focus only on "unboxings" and stuff - far from it. Instead expect to see live demonstrations of hardware, overclocking attempts, multi-display gaming setups and more. If you can, please leave some feedback in the comments below!!
Note: We should be underway by 5:25pm ET or so!
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2011 - 10:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Internet, Comcast, computer
This week saw the national launch of Comcast’s internet connectivity program for low income families. As a result of the Comcast-NBC merger, the company was required to create a low cost option for families in the US to connect to the internet. Dubbed the Internet Essentials program, it is undoubtedly a good thing to come out of the deal despite the more nebulous aspects.
The Internet Essentials program entails a $9.95 plus tax per month cable connection with 1.5 Mbps download speeds and 384 Kbps upload speeds, which is a good value compared to more expensive DSL or slower dial up connections. In addition to the Internet connection, families who sign up will receive a voucher through Acer or Dell for a computer in the amount of 149.99 plus tax. While specific specifications of the computer have not been given, Comcast describes it as a netbook computer with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and the Windows 7 Starter operating system. It may also be bundled with productivity software when available. Families will also have access to free training materials in print, online, or in person. The service will be available throughout the Comcast service area for eligible families. In order to qualify for the service, families must have at least one student eligible for free lunches through the National School Lunch Program, must not have any overdue Comcast bills or unreturned equipment, and the household must not have had Comcast service for the past 90 days. Unfortunately, those families with students who only qualify for reduced price (but not free) lunches will not qualify for the Internet Essentials program.
The ISP will begin taking customers starting in the 2011 to 2012 school year, and will continue taking on new customers for three years following the initial roll out. Customers who are already using the Internet Essentials service will continue to be eligible for it so long as at least one child is eligible for free lunches, they do not close their Comcast account, and they do not violate the company’s residential ISP service agreement.
I for one am glad to see Comcast offering this service as the Internet is becoming increasingly important for students as a learning, collaboration, and productivity tool. Students can now be on a more level playing field in their school work, and this is great news, even if Comcast was forced to offer it as a condition of their merger approval. If you are interested in or know a family that might benefit from the Internet Essentials service, please head over to the company’s website or call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) for an application.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | September 22, 2011 - 04:42 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcper, giveaway, drobo, contest
UPDATE: Just a couple more days left on this contest - we are closing entries for this Drobo at 12:01am EST on September 26th!
So you know here at PC Perspective we are big fans of backing up your data. And one such brand of devices that helps users do that efficiently and safely is Drobo. We are still working on our Drobo FS review here internally, but should probably check out Allyn's previous review of the 8-bay Drobo Pro to get an idea of the technology and reliability of Drobo.
But, back to the point, did we say you could win a brand new Drobo for yourself? Yes, you can get your hands on a free Drobo FS unit by simply filling out a form and using your Twitter and Facebook accounts to spread the good word of data security!!
What do you have to do? It's a simple three step process:
- Follow @Drobo on Twitter and send a message to all your friends with the hash tags #drobo and #pcper telling them about your love of both!
- OR .... hit up Drobo on their Facebook page and leave a note on YOUR wall for your friends on the same topic - backing up your data and how Drobo gets it done.
- Finally, fill out the form at http://bit.ly/pcperdrobo to finish the job.
You will be emailed a coupon for a Drobo even if you don't win the free one, so you can still get something out this deal, right?!?
Our thanks go out to Drobo for the donations and to our loyal reader base for support PC Perspective over the years!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 22, 2011 - 02:26 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: skyrim, rage, pc gaming, diablo iii, consoles, battlefield 3, batman
During a conference call with NVIDIA this week some interesting information from DFC Intelligence, "a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and portable game markets" according to their webiste, was revealed that paints the world of PC gaming in a much more positive light than previously expected. By anyone's account, the coming fall and winter release schedules are going to be packed with fantastic releases:
Several of these games, including DOTA 2, Diablo III and The Old Republic are going to be PC-only titles with others (like Battlefield 3, RAGE and Skyrim) that will without question look better and play better on the PC. This sets up a great time for hardware companies like NVIDIA and AMD to sell system upgrades in order to maximize user experience in these titles.
And while most gaming pundits have been telling us for years that PC gaming is dying, the report from DFC tells a different story:
Based on revenue alone, estimates show PC gaming to surpass the sales of console games by 2014 with steady growth. How can this be? Have you stopped by your local Gamestop or Best Buy and seen the shelf space devoted to PC games compared to that devoted to the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii?
Here is the key and it is something we have always suspected but haven't really been able to nail down: packaged sales are dying while digital distribution methods and new monetary game mechanics are increasing. Because the industry's most prolific digital sales platform is notoriously tight with sales numbers (Valve's Steam), we have to depend on third party reports from DFC and others. According to this chart, the digital sales of gaming on the PC are skyrocketing and will take PC revenues past consoles in just a few years time.
One note here: this does NOT just include downloaded games in the traditional sense. Instead, new pay models like the monthly subscriptions of World of Warcraft and "free to play" models that charge for upgrades and additional features are really going to be pushing the industry forward. Looking at titles like League of Legends that claims 15 million PC gamers worldwide and others like World of Tanks and World of Planes, this trend is growing and though it differs from the "traditional" PC gaming mentality, it appears to be dominating our future.
Many a PC gamer has lamented about the "console port" generation of games and this graph demonstrates how the power of the PC and the power of the current generation of consoles have diverged over the years. By NVIDIA's estimates we are now about 8-9x the performance level of the Xbox 360 when compared to the GTX 580 that currently sells for about $450. But if you look at the quality difference between something like Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the PC and the consoles, you do NOT see anything close to that kind of improvement. Game developers have always had their hands tied by having to develop for the lowest common platform and while the PC market (when dominant) meant an upgrade cycle of 2-3 years we are now hitting a 6th year of static console gaming power.
If we want to see games that look like THIS, a screenshot from the Unreal Engine Samaritan demo, then we need to boost the baseline and soon.
But the numbers that DFC Intelligence provided give hope to those die-hards in the enthusiast and PC gaming community that with the expanding reach and positive growth of the PC market as a whole, developers will see this as their chance to move the medium forward beyond the status quo.
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2011 - 02:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hyperformance, lucid
The Tech Report sat down with Offir Remez from Lucid to talk about their horribly named new product, HyperFormance. Don't dismiss the actual technology because of the name however, instead think of it as Smarter V-Sync for your games. This is intended to help with the tearing that can be present as frames are dropped by the video card trying to match the 60Hz refresh rate of an LCD monitor. This is rather important when you consider the attention reviewers are now paying to those tears and dropped frames as a better way of measuring the in game performance of various GPUs. Read on to learn about HyperFormance as well as Lucid's other recent products.
"Lucid's new 'HyperFormance' tech may have an unfortunate name, but it still has the potential to change the way we think about GPU performance by delivering a vastly improved gaming experience through a single intelligent software algorithm."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung has started mass production of 20nm DDR3 @ SemiAccurate
- Modifying DD-WRT’s protected GUI @ Hack a Day
- Adobe rushes out emergency fix for critical bug in Flash @ The Register
- The Web's rapid release cycle—and how IT departments can tame it @ Ars Technica
- Canon EOS 600D Review @ t-break
- Sony Bravia KDL-55NX720 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Win a Sapphire HD6870 Dual Fan Overclock Edition @ kitguru
- Real World Labs And Plextor Joint Contest