Deactivate! Deactivate! Windows 10 will be deactivated!

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2018 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, oops

If you were greeted by a message today indicating that your Win10 Pro is no longer activated or needs to be reactivated as Win10 Home, you are not aloneMicrosoft have acknowledged an issue with their licensing servers which is having a rather noticeable effect on machines in several countries.  The issue seems to arise most often on machines which were upgraded from a previous version of Windows, or installed fresh using a key from a previous version, which Microsoft has supported from the get go.  The problem is unlikely to last for long, so do not start downgrading or reinstalling until we have an update from Microsoft, unless you really get off on reinstalling OSes.

It is a toss up between the link to Slashdot and the one to Microsoft Answers as to which provides the most amusment; the comments in both are everything you would expect and more!

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"If you're having trouble activating your Windows 10 Pro computer today, you're not alone. Forums and social media networks are getting flooded with complaints from users who say their machines have automatically become deactivated. Users say they are having trouble connecting with Microsoft's activation servers, with some saying they are being prompted to downgrade to Windows 10 Home."

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Source: Slashdot

Your recommended weapons loadout for BFV

Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2018 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield V, just cause 4

The required and recommended system specs for BFV have been announced, and unless you are hoping to enable ray tracing they are not too daunting.  A Ryzen 3 1300X or i7 4790, with 12GB of RAM and a GTX 1060 or RX 580 seem reasonable and the 50GB install seems almost small compared to some current generation games.  For RTX you will of course need to invest in a RTX 2070 at the least, as well as a better CPU. 

HEXUS also posted the specs to play Just Cause 4, while lacking ray tracing the requirements to run at 4K are still fairly impressive, drop by to see if you are ready to play or if you should be looking for an upgrade.

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"Back in early September we revealed the PC system requirements from the Battlefield V beta. Now EA/DICE has officially revealed the PC system requirements for Battlefield V - including a set of reqs for DXR (DirectX Raytracing) gaming (or 'RTX On' in Nvidia lingo). A quick look back and forth reveals the minimum specs have been raised a little, as have the recommended specs."

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Source: HEXUS

Apple's special sauce, the A12X SoC

Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2018 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: apple, SoC, A12X

Apple made a lot of claims with their new USB-C carrying iPad Pro and the A12X inside of it, stating it offer 90% better multicore performance of the previous A10X as well as twice the graphical power, they describe it as equivalent to the GCN 1.0 GPU in the XBone S, and finally that it is faster than 92% of all portable PCs.  That last claim is the one to raise the most eyebrows but in at least some cases it is not completely inaccurate. 

Ars Technica sat down with Anand Shimpi and Phil Schiller from Apple to discuss how the A12X is capable of so much more than the A12 and other previous generation SoCs.  As is common with Apple they don't offer a lot of specifics on the design but there are certainly some interesting tidbits revealed.

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"Apple's new iPad Pro sports several new features of note, including the most dramatic aesthetic redesign in years, Face ID, new Pencil features, and the very welcome move to USB-C. But the star of the show is the new A12X system on a chip."

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Source: Ars Technica

Meet the AMD Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 accelerators

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2018 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: AMD Radeon Instinct, MI60, MI50, 7nm, ROCm 2.0, HPC, amd

If you haven't been watching AMD's launch of the 7nm Vega based MI60 and MI50 then you can catch up right here.

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You won't be gaming with these beasts, but for those working on deep learning, HPC, cloud computing or rendering apps you might want to take a deeper look.  The new PCIe 4.0 cards use HBM2 ECC memory and Infinity Fabric interconnects, offering up to 1 TB/s of memory bandwidth. 

The MI60 features 32GB of HBM2 with 64 Compute Units containing 4096 Stream Processors which translates into 59 TOPS INT8, up to 29.5 TFLOPS FP16, 14.7 TFLOPS FP32 and 7.4 TFLOPS FP64.  AMD claims is currently the fastest double precision  PCIe card on the market, with the 16GB Tesla V100 offering 7 TFLOPS of FP64 performance.

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The MI50 is a little less powerful though with 16GB of HBM2, 53.6 TFLOPS of INT8, up to 26.8 TFLOPS FP16, 13.4 TFLOPS FP32 and 6.7 TFLOPS FP64 it is no slouch.

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With two Infinity Fabric links per GPU, they can deliver up to 200 GB/s of peer-to-peer bandwidth and you can configure up to four GPUs in a hive ring configuration, made of two hives in eight GPU servers with the help of the new ROCm 2.0 software. 

Expect to see AMD in more HPC servers starting at the beginning of the new year, when they start shipping.

 

Source: AMD

SSD's firmware encryption is pretty floppy

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, encryption, crucial, bitlocker

The hardware world is full of badly thought out implementations, from the inconvenient to the utterly incompetent, and today we have one of the latter.  Bitlocker and other popular encryption tools can use software or hardware to encrypt and store the data encryption key, with many opting for the accelerated hardware encryption baked into many SSDs.  This has turned out to be a bad idea, as tests on a variety of models show you can grab an encrypted disk, plug into the debug ports and convince it to accept any value as an authorized DEK and give you full access to the data on that drive.  This is in part due to the hardware not using the owner's password for encryption ... at all.  The Register's article offers a suggestion, which is to make use of software encryption methods which do incorporate the users password and can be set to actually not use the same DEK across the entire drive. 

Read on for suggestions on solutions which should mitigate this flaw and which can coexist peacefully with hardware encryption.

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"Basically, the cryptographic keys used to encrypt and decrypt the data are not derived from the owner's password, meaning, you can seize a drive and, via a debug port, reprogram it to accept any password. At that point, the SSD will use its stored keys to cipher and decipher its contents. Yes, it's that dumb."

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Source: The Register

Have you ever heard Audeze headphones before?

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2018 - 07:07 PM |
Tagged: audio, Audeze, mobius, gaming headset, planar magnetic

It is certainly possible that you have heard of Audeze headphones before, but for the vast majority of readers, your experiences with high end audiophile headphones may not include them.  You probably also read the title in a way that almost makes sense, which means you are pronouncing it as incorrectly as I.  They've recently added a Mobius gaming headest model, connecting via Bluetooth or USB.  The controls are somewhat impressive with dials, buttons and hybrids all present, some for wireless connectivity and some for wired.  Even if a $400 gaming headset isn't on your list, the review at [H]ard|OCP is worth checking out ... for reasons.

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"Audeze is a well known name in the headphone world, and it recently used crowdfunding to fund its first foray into the world of gaming headsets. We are reviewing the Mobius headset that promises us that it is more than a headphone, "it's an experience." For $400 we want to know exactly what kind of experience it gives us when it comes to gameplay."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Surpassion of the Cougar

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2018 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: input, Cougar, Surpassion, gaming mouse, PMW3330

The interesting bit about the Cougar Surpassion mouse is hidden on the bottom, an LCD which will tell you the CPI, polling rate, lift-off distance, and angle snapping settings currently applied to the mouse as well as two buttons to let you change those settings.  This allows a fair amount of control over how your mouse will perform, without requiring any software installation whatsoever.  TechPowerUp takes their mouse reviews seriously, so if you want to see how the mouse looks once skinned or the accuracy of the rated nominal maximum tracking speed, check out the full review.

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"Top optical sensor, Omron switches rated for 50 million clicks, an LCD display, and, of course, RGB lighting. All of these fit into a relatively small mouse shell that is mainly meant for palm gripping. This is the Surpassion, one of Cougar's high-end mice to compete in the sub-$40 price category."

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Source: TechPowerUp

The future of storage will still have HDDs in it if Seagate has anything to say about it

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2018 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, hdd, HAMR, 100TB

Seagate is looking to create its own law about the increase of density in its products, aiming to double capacity every 30 months on its hard drive families.  They may not be as fast and sexy as an NVMe drive, but for long term storage which you don't expect to be constantly accessed, the price is very attractive.  They will no longer be using perpendicular magnetic recording, with all lines moving to HAMR, which should allow them to create a 20TB or greater drive by 2020 and perhaps reach 100TB by 2026.  Other companies are investigating different recording technologies, which The Register briefly mentions here.

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"Seagate has set a course to deliver a 48TB disk drive in 2023 using its HAMR (heat-assisted magnetic recording) technology, doubling areal density every 30 months, meaning 100TB could be possible by 2025/26."

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Source: The Register
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Steelseries

Slay your rivals

Steelseries is one of the leading accessory makers in the world. Today, we have a pair of their highest-end gaming mice in for review with the Rival 650 Wireless and Rival 710. The Rival 650 Wireless is the more exciting refresh of the two models, severing the cord while still offering wired-like performance. The Rival 710 has its own unique set of features to excite gamers, including the new TrueMove 3+ sensor, an OLED screen, and haptic feedback. Retailing for $119 and $99 respectively, let’s see what these two mice have to offer. 
 
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Specifications
⦁ Design: Right handed
⦁ Core Construction: Fiber Reinforced Plastic
⦁ Sensor System: Steelseries TrueMove3
⦁ Tracking Accuracy: 1:1
⦁ Sensitivity: 12,000 CPI
⦁ Maximum Speed: 350+ IPS
⦁ Maximum Acceleration: 50G
⦁ Polling Rate: 1000Hz (1ms)
⦁ Buttons: 7 programmable
⦁ Switch: Steelseries, 60-million click rated
⦁ Finish: Black soft touch
⦁ Cable Length: 2m/6.5ft
 
Rival 650
⦁ MSRP: $119.99
⦁ Lift-off Distance: 0.5 - 2.0mm 
⦁ Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wireless/Wired USB
⦁ Battery Life: 24+ hours
⦁ Fast Charge: 15 min = 10+ hours
⦁ Lighting: 8-zone RGB
⦁ Dimensions (mm): 124.8 (H) x 68.5 (W) x 42 (D)
⦁ Adjustable Weight: 121g - 153g
 
Rival 710
⦁ MSRP: $99.99
⦁ Modular Design: Swappable cover plate, sensor, and cable
⦁ Lighting: 2-zone RGB
⦁ Dimensions (mm): 124.8 (H) x 68.5 (W) x 42 (D)
⦁ Short Cable: non-braided, 1m/3.3ft
⦁ Weight: 136g
 
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The Hackaday Prize finalists have been announced

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2018 - 05:08 PM |
Tagged: hackaday prize, hack, DIY

The final twenty projects for the five categories in the Hackaday Prize have been announced, for Open Hardware, Robotics, Power Harvesting, Interfacing and Music.  Those topics cover a gamut of projects, from building your own motion tracking system through running electronics off of the energy leaked from your microwave to setting up a semiconductor lab in your garage.  As these designs are all open source and part of the competition was to create detailed build instructions you can look through all the submissions for ideas of your own, or a useful project to build for yourself.

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"Over the last eight months, we’ve been deep in the weeds with this year’s Hackaday Prize. It’s five challenges, with twenty winners per challenge. That’s one hundred projects that will make it to the semifinals in the hopes of becoming the greatest project this year."

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Source: Hackaday