Mozilla Considers Extended Support for Firefox: a Whole Year

Subject: General Tech | January 12, 2012 - 02:40 AM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox

Just seven months after taking their firm stance against supporting back versions Mozilla is considering following a model similar to Ubuntu: every few major versions, flag one as being supported much longer than the rest and support it while innovating on your main versions. I still believe that supporting many enterprise customers is wasteful for a company like Mozila, but now that they have substantially more revenue as of their recent deal with Google I suppose it could help advertise Firefox outside of work as well.

Firefox-LTS.png

Firefox installments versus long running media franchise installments.

Yeah I was VERY conservative with Final Fantasy... I know.

John O’Duinn, current director of Release Engineering at Mozilla, wrote about the proposal in his personal blog last October and discussed attempts to compromise between long-term support and Mozilla’s current release plan. It is still quite early to tell what they will ultimately come up with and whether it will mend relations with their enterprise customers, but it looks as though Mozilla will not follow their original decision to focus on the present and future at the expense of those reliant on the past.

Source: Mozilla Wiki

Microsoft Rereleases Update to Improve Bulldozer... yeah.

Subject: General Tech, Processors | January 11, 2012 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: windows, processor, microsoft, cpu, bulldozer, amd

Let us take a little break from the CES news with a load of bull -- a download of Bulldozer. If you have an eerie sense of being in this situation before then you may in fact have a bad memory as it did in fact happen and it was only about a month ago. Microsoft released an update in mid-December to optimize their operating systems for AMD Bulldozer technology; that patch disappeared without any listed reason. As of today, we have access to both the patch as well as most of the reason for the delay in the first place.

amd_bulldozer_performance boost.jpg

You know: part of me wants to see a Bulldozer go 100MPH, and another part of me fears greatly.

The first order of business is to explain to those who have an AMD FX series, Opteron 4200 series, and/or an Opteron 6200 series processor how to increase their potential performance: KB 2646060 and KB 2645594 each contain a patch which will optimize Windows to the Bulldozer architecture for most users when both are applied.

It turns out that Microsoft pulled the Bulldozer update last month when discussions with AMD revealed that the patch would not provide the promised performance increases for most users. The problem specifically centers on the Core Parking feature within Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: after the hotfix in December was applied, Core Parking would still interfere with Bulldozer’s design by attempting to save power and sleep cores that were unused without understanding that Bulldozer cores are not typical cores. With Core Parking disabled for Bulldozer-based CPUs either through this hotfix or by changing your performance profiles to “High Performance” from the often default “Balanced” you would allow Bulldozer to run as it actually desires to run. According to how these bulletins are worded, should you have been on “High Performance” profile back in December before the hotfix was pulled you would have experienced what should only have been available starting today.

These performance increases are not for every application, however. AMD has stated that applications which are more sparsely multithreaded would benefit most from the update.

Workloads that are moderately threaded have the potential for uplift. This could include virtualization, database, or transactional environments that are “bursty” – a mixture of light and heavy transactions, or legacy applications that are by nature not very threaded. The more heavily threaded the application, the less the likely the uplift.

My intuition knowing this as well as the Core Parking issue is that once Windows finally wakes the Bulldozer core, your experience is maximal with the December patch; applications which only temporarily become multithreaded either do not wake the proper portions of the processor or wake the processor in time to be of maximum benefit.

It appears as if the removal of the hotfix last month was simply because AMD believed that while the patch was effective, it would not be correctly applied to the vast majority of customers without a second hotfix and thus give the appearance of little to no real benefits.

Source: AMD Blogs

LucidLogix Announces XLR8 Tech To Improve Embedded and SoC GPU Performance

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 03:48 AM |
Tagged: virtualization, tegra, Lucidlogix, gpu, gaming, game, embedded, CES2012, CES

Earlier today Lucid (LucidLogix), the company behind quite a few GPU virtualization technologies, announced yet another piece of GPU virtualization software. This time; however, instead of wrangling as much performance as possible from multi-GPU beasts, this technology- codenamed "XLR8"- is aimed at the mobile market of tablets, smartphones, and laptops with integrated graphics. Such products are powered by integrated GPUs in AMD's APUs and Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, and by the GPUs in mobile SoCs (system on a chip) like Nvidia's Tegra and ARM's Mali graphics processors. XLR8 uses "unique CPU multithreading" to feed the mobile GPUs as efficiently as possible.

xlr8_tablet.png

According to Lucid, many of the PC graphics issues are magnified when it comes to embedded GPUS including visual tearing, pipeline inefficiencies, power management, and artifacting. Offir Remez, president of Lucid further stated that most of the big, popular PC games have playability issues on mobile platforms and on computers with integrated graphics. "If it's got a GPU, we can improve the end user experience."

The company further expanded that the XLR8 technology works by disabling unnecessary and redundant processes in addition to "unique multithreading" to improve system (gaming) responsiveness up to 200 percent. The XLR8 software monitors battery drain and power draw while shutting down background processes to increase CPU frame generation and minimizing redundant GPU rendering processes.

If this sounds a lot like marketing speak, it certainly does. On the other hand, Lucid has been able to push some useful virtualization technology into desktops, so maybe mobile platforms are just the next step for the company. The company is currently demonstrating the XLR8 software in private at CES and is being tested by hardware partners.  Mobile SoC are getting faster and more powerful, and on battery powered devices there is always room for efficiency improvements.  Once reviewers manage to get their hands on some actual hardware, and XLR8 is past the concept/testing stage you can bet that people will have a better understanding of what exactly XLR8 is capable of.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Reddit Planning Blackout To Protest SOPA

Subject: General Tech | January 11, 2012 - 02:57 AM |
Tagged: SOPA, reddit, protect ip, forum

Popular forum and social website discovery site Reddit is very much against SOPA. They fear that the ease to which the possible law could be abused to censor free speech and take down entire website solely based on allegations without needing to prove anything in court. We reported earlier that some websites were considering the "nuclear option" of protesting SOPA by shutting down their sites and displaying messages imploring users to contact their congressmen and beg them to stop SOPA and Protect IP (the Senate version of SOPA).

sobrave.png

Viva la Reddit! (Source: Reddit blog)

Well, it seems as if Reddit is joining the fight to stop SOPA and will be blacking out the Reddit website from 8 am to 8 pm EST on January 18th 2012. They state in their blog that the choice to blackout the website was a difficult one; however, it is a necessary measure to force people into action. "We feel focusing on a day of action is the best way we can amplify the voice of the community."

While Reddit is a popular website with a lot of fans, a good number of them are internet savvy enough to have likely already complained to their congressmen. Until a mainstream site with as much reach as Facebook joins the blackout campaign, I fear that money will continue to speak louder than the words of constituents. More information on the blackout can be found here.

Source: Reddit

CES 2012: Razer's Project Fiona -- PC Gaming tablet PC tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 08:24 PM |
Tagged: razer, CES 2012, CES

If you believe our title to be awkward, please glance downward a little at the concept image. While I do not want to lash on Razer for trying something that no-one has it must be said that aesthetically the concept must be altered. Hardcore PC Gamers are a unique breed, but I expect that even the most bold of gamers would be shy at holding this around in public. Now that we are past the design, let us look at what Razer claims in terms of expected hardware.

razer-fiona.jpg

It looks like Razer is fitting a bit into Booth Category One.

Razer is being very careful about giving out too many specific details due to the concept nature of the device, but they suggested that they aim for the following:

  • Intel Core i7
  • 10.1” 1280x800 display
  • Full Screen interface supporting multi-touch “hybrid” for PC Gaming.
  • 3-axis gyro, magnetometer, accelerometer
  • Force feedback
  • Dolby 7.1 surround sound
  • Wifi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0

You should notice a lack of information about the expected video card but the screen resolution paired with the CPU choice should slightly indicate their intent.

What do you think? What changes, if any, would you request before you hand over your wallet?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: RazerZone

CES 2012: EVGA parties like it's socket 2011 in Viva Las Vegas. Dual-socket SR-X mobo, UV Plus+ 39 video out for USB3, PSUs

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: evga, CES 2012, CES

There are most commonly three types of booths in CES: a display of one or more new and innovative products to hope to blaze their very own trail, a display of one or more intriguing iterations on existing product lines, or a display of some sort of pasta or alcoholic beverage. This year EVGA appears to fit mostly into the middle category; I hear they make good chips, however. The three major iterations this year quite possibly could not be more diverse: a new dual-socket Xeon motherboard, new power supplies, and an update to their UV Plus+ USB video adapter.

EVGA-logo.jpg

There’s something ironic about HDMI and DVI products by EVGA.

Dual-Socket 2011 SR-X Xeon motherboard

EVGA-mobo.jpg

Not to be outdone by their old pizza box-sized components, EVGA announced their new SR-X motherboard to bring a product like the SR-2 to socket 2011. This time around they retain their 12 DIMM slots update their PCI-E slots to the third generation with 4-way SLI possible. You can also expect 8 SAS/SATA ports to connect a large number of hard drives at 6Gbps to your computer. It is clear that EVGA has aimed this PC motherboard at enthusiasts who want what they want and have the credit to get it.

1500W, 1000W, 750W power supplies

EVGA-psu.jpg

EVGA has made a few power supplies in the past so why not add a few more products to their portfolio? Partially pictured above is the 1000W unit that can provide 82A over the 12V rail -- which should be useful to pair with a Quad-SLI SR-X rig; and if not, there’s the 1500W one with a stated “customizable number of 12V rails” whatever that actually means.

UV Plus+ 39 video out by USB 3.0

EVGA-UV.jpg

The general masses regularly ask for methods to connect their computers to their HDTV through their USB ports and are routinely shocked to find that it is not a simple cable solution. Ponder that, USB cannot do everything… or can it? EVGA updated their UV Plus+ 19 with their UV Plus+ 39 to add support for dual-monitor output and USB3.0 for higher bandwidth, though USB 2.0 is still supported. There is no word on whether the maximum resolution would be reduced in dual-monitor mode. If you are worried about graphics acceleration over a USB device, the driver created links to your real video card thus you still have access to your GPU for processing.

Now we just need to find out about their video cards.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: PCPer

You call that a steering wheel SteelSeries?

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: input, steering wheel, steelseries, Simraceway SRW-S1

One tends to think of a steering wheel as a fairly simplistic device, with perhaps a few controls on it that do not directly relate to steering a vehicle, but for the most part it simply allows you to steer.  SteelSeries obviously thinks differently as you can see on their Simraceway SRW-S1 below.  It seems to possess more buttons than a gamepad, with speakers and a camera built in and accelerometres to allow you to use it in mid air.  Legit Reviews had fun reviewing the wheel and driving around tracks and their shoulders are much broader after a few hours of gameplay as well.

LR_Simraceway_SRW-S1_4.jpg

"I have a been a real-world racing fan for all of my life, growing up in earshot distance from a famous dirt racetrack in Southern California. I’ve always enjoyed NASCAR and more recently have come to love Formula 1 and World Rally Championships so when SteelSeries announced a new peripheral – their first ever racing wheel – I was more than a little skeptical. A racing controller without pedals for less than $120?!? What does SteelSeries, a manufacturer who is best known for headsets and professional mice know about racing? At this point I was thinking that a good comparison for the SRW-S1 might be my kid’s Mario Kart Wii wheel..."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Shocking news! Intel is talking up Ultrabooks at CES

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: CES, Intel, ultrabook, Ivy Bridge

It might be hard to believe but the form factor everyone loves to talk about is on the lips on Intel reps everywhere at CES including the GM of the PC Group, Mooly Eden.   The new ultra-thin form factor introduced by Intel this follows the design theory of the Macbook Air while trying to stay a PC at heart and has been received with mixed feelings.  While it is nice to have an ultra-thin, ultra-light machine which is capable of running office productivity tasks at a good level of performance the attached price tag has discouraged potential distributors and buyers alike; the under $1000 specification cannot be reached without sacrificing quality.  That is in part do to the materials used to make an ultrathin laptop that is still rigid enough to stand up to normal usage and in part to the philosophy of 'instant on' which requires an SSD to be used as the main storage medium.  Eden tells The Inquirer that he sees Windows 8 offering huge potential to the ultrabook thanks to its touchscreen friendly design.  He describes devices similar to the ASUS Transformer, a product usable as a touch device like a tablet but with a full keyboard available for when you are doing more than just surfing the web.   New Ivy Bridge internals will probably help as well, bringing increased performance and lowered power usage, though probably not doing anything good to the sticker price. 

hpspectre14-3.jpg

"CHIPMAKER Intel gave its attention at the CES conference to promoting the real-world benefits of ultrabooks.

The company highlighted a design and marketing effort to shift its focus from benchmarks and statistics to examples of real-world capabilities and applications that will be improved by what it hopes will become a growing ultrabook market."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Inquirer

CES 2012: GIGABYTE unveils Z77 -- big, small, gigabytesized

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:45 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, CES 2012, CES

The first day of CES is nearly to a close and while I escape the blisters on my feet due to my location a few time zones and one border away from the organized chaos, the callusing of my fingertips has just begun. Allow us to each stretch our hands out, loosen our wrists, and prepare to indulge on distilled product announcements and testimony of how awesome various TVs look. Since we are a computer hardware website, how about indulging in a jackpot of information about Gigabyte’s next generation of Z77 Ivy Bridge motherboards?

gigabyte-vegas.png

So… uh… did I win?

The Z77 chipset will be Intel’s higher-end platform for the upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs as well as support for the previous generation of Sandy Bridge processors. While there are some 60-series chipsets that support Ivy Bridge with a BIOS update I am sure Gigabyte, for one, hopes you upgrade to a motherboard more suited for the CPU.

Perhaps you would like a 3D BIOS with that?

gigabyte-3d.png

Gigabyte decided to attack the user-interface within the BIOS and chose its weapon to be 3D graphics with their X79 motherboards for Sandy Bridge-E. Tim wrote a little piece on it last November and it looks like the product had enough potential to continue pressing the issue with their Z77 line. The 3D BIOS can also be dropped down into Advanced Mode for those who are not afraid of the more traditional BIOS layout; the advanced mode will apparently still be prettied up, just not at the sacrifice of functionality.

Big sniper, little sniper, green sniper, Killer sniper.

gigabyte-sniper.png

Two motherboards announced during CES stem from the G1.Sniper product line: one ATX (3), and one Micro-ATX (M3). BigFoot Systems has their Killer (brand name, not adjective) technology present in these products with the larger board also containing a second Intel Gigabit network adapter.

Motherboards for small businesses.

gigabyte-smallbusiness.png

Gigabyte ended their press release with a few notes about their small business products. As expected, they focused their motherboard on the core needs of what a small business would desire: remote monitoring, backup, and durability.

Setting its sights on the small business market, GIGABYTE will demonstrate the B75M-D3H motherboard that represents a new product range featuring the ability to remotely monitor and manage PC health, installed software, data backup, energy saving and connectivity. This allows system integrators to add value to their products by offering these services to small businesses with between 1 and 6 PCs. Key features and selling points for these models will be manageability, affordability and GIGABYTE’s Ultra Durable design quality.

What do you think about Gigabyte’s product line? Do you desire a Micro ATX gaming machine for your desk or perhaps your home theatre cabinet? Do you own a small business? 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: PCPer

Sony Shows Off Bloggie Live Video Recorder At CES

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 04:03 AM |
Tagged: CES, sony, bloggie, bloggie live, camera, camcorder, streaming, qik

Among the Crystal LED televisions Sony had a small pocket camera on display, the Sony Bloggie Live. The successor to the original Bloggie, the stylish camera fits in your pocket and somewhat resembles a smartphone in design.

Sony Bloggie Live.png

The Bloggie Live features 8 GB of internal storage space, a 3" touch screen LCD, and a water resistant exterior. The ExmorCMOS sensor is capable of recording 1080p or 720p video, and the Wi-Fi radio is able to upload photos and videos to the various sharing services including Facebook, YouTube, Dailymotion, Flickr, and Picassa. The Bloggie Live has an LED flash and a stereo microphone. In addition to video, the camera is able to take 12.8 megapixel still photos. In addition, the camera is able to stream video to the internet over Wi-Fi using the Qik streaming service. Using the PlayMemories application, users are also able to wirelessly transfer files from the Bloggie Live to a smartphone.

Sony Bloggie Sport.png

Alternatively, Sony also showed off the Bloggie Sport, with is a bit smaller than the Bloggie Live and is waterproof up to 16 feet of water. This camera features 4 GB of internal memory, and is capable of shooting HD MP4 video and 5 megapixel still shots. An "Underwater Mode" further adjusts the white balance automatically.

The Bloggie Live is available for purchase immediately for $250 USD while the Bloggie Sport will cost $180 and will be available in February. The price tag is a bit steep considering the storage is not expandable and there is no external mic jack. Still, aesthetics wise, the new pocket camcorder looks slick.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSNBC