Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | May 5, 2011 - 10:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: usb computer, Education
In case you did not get enough solder for one day: you are in luck! David Braben, previously known for his work developing such games as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Thrillville, and Kinectimals, created an extremely low cost PC for educational use. His goal is ultimately to have computers like the one he created be accessible such that there would be functionally zero barriers to entry for students to pursue studying computing. A charity was created, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, under these beliefs to distribute this device hopefully sometime within the next 12 months.
Am I the only one who finds it weird that an affordable PC uses HDMI?
Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 06:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: security, lastpass
One of the most important parts of security is authentication. A lot of our methods of authentication online revolve around passwords. There is an expectation these days that you are required to remember large passwords composed of completely random characters including numbers and symbols each unique from each other in the event that one source compromises the password you provide it. This necessity confronts our human nature of having terrible memory. Many programs have made attempts at solutions by storing and generating secure passwords for you.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 5, 2011 - 06:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mod, microSD, atari 810
It is common knowledge that technology gets smaller as time advances. There is, however, a point where a certain level of advancement trots along the border to absurdity and makes you think about exactly what is possible with modern technology and occasionally an innovative spirit. Leave it to the hackers to consistently push that boundary and entertain the rest of us less talented individuals.
Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 06:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mouse, wireless, gaming, gigabyte
Gigabyte has joined in the attempts of many companies to convince gamers that wireless mice are cool. With 50 hours of battery life and 6500DPI sensor the Aviva M8600 sounds good on paper but until you get it on the mat you will never know how well it performs. Hardware Secrets were certainly impressed by its ambidexterity, they were just as uncomfortable using it with the left hand as with the right. No complaints about input lag though.
"Gamers usually shun wireless peripherals, always wary of a possible energy loss. No one wants to rummage around for a cable and lose an online match. With that in mind, Gigabyte has released a wireless gaming-grade mouse with a long lasting 50 hour battery that comes with an extra battery that you can rapidly switch. Besides those characteristics, the Aivia M8600 reaches 6,500 DPI and features a design for both right- and left-handed users, plus ten reprogrammable buttons. Let's talk first about its physical aspects and then test its wireless operation."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft Express Mouse @ Maximum CPU
- Roccat Kone [+] Review @ t-break
- ROCCAT Alumic Gaming Mousepad Review @ Madshrimps
- Razer Onza Tournament Edition Controller Review @ t-break
- Razer Onza Tournament Edition XBOX 360 Controller Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 08:35 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Internet, Education, Cyber Security
Microsoft recently posted a press release detailing the results of its sponsored study by the NCSA (National Cyber Security Alliance). The study sought to determine whom people believe bears the responsibility for teaching children how to protect themselves on the Internet, as well as what the current situation is as far as K-12 students’ level of preparedness and education. The executive director of the NCSA, Michael Kaiser, had this to say:
“Just as we would not hand a child a set of car keys with no instruction about how to drive, we should not be sending students out into the world without a solid understanding of how to be safe and secure online."
According to Microsoft, the NCSA advocates for a “comprehensive approach” to teaching children from K-12 how to stay safe and secure online. While the consensus seems to be that students do need educated in Internet security, people are divided on exactly who bears the primary responsibility for teaching children. Children’s teachers, parents, and even government leaders and law enforcement have all been raised as possible responsible parties. The majority of teachers (80 percent) and school administrators (60 percent) surveyed are proponents of parents being responsible for teaching their kids about “digital safety, security, and ethics.” On the other hand, more than 50 percent of the IT coordinators surveyed believe that teachers are the ones that bear the most responsibility of educating kids. From the survey, one area where all groups do seem to agree is on the question of government responsibility in educating kids. Microsoft states that less than one percent believe law enforcement and government officials should bear the responsibility.
While cyber security is important for students to learn, as 97 percent of school administrators believe schools should have courses and an educational plan for students throughout their K-12 grades, only 68 percent of administrators “believe their schools or school districts are doing an adequate job of preparing students...”
The situation of adequate education looks even bleaker when teachers where surveyed. When asked whether they feel prepared to teach students adequately, 24 percent believed they were adequately prepared to talk about and educate kids on protecting personal information on the Internet, and 23 percent are comfortable teaching the risks of cyberbullying. Further, only one-third of teachers surveyed believe they are prepared to educated students on basic Internet security skills “such as password protection and backing up data.” The low numbers are attributed to the lack of professional development training that teachers are receiving. Microsoft states that “86 percent received less than six hours of related training.” Microsoft quotes Kaiser in saying that “America’s schools have not caught up with the realities of the modern economy. Teachers are not getting adequate training in online safety topics, and schools have yet to adopt a comprehensive approach to online safety, security and ethics as part of a primary education. In the 21st century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math.”
In all of this, there is a ray of hope. Comparing the 2010 study to the NCSA’s 2008 study which you can read here, an increasing number of teachers believe cyber security and professional development training is a priority.More than 60 percent of school officials and teachers are interested in pursing further security training. This interest in training among teachers is up to 69 percent from 55 percent in 2008. IT coordinators and administrators are also becoming more interested in revamping the educational curriculum to better teach their students and workers. Further improvements in interest among educators pursuing further security training can be seen between the 2010 and the 2011 NCSA study. Also, slightly higher percentages exist across the board for teachers who have tought aspects of security in their classrooms compared to both the 2010 and 2008 studies.
On the other hand, while interest in training is increasing for teachers, from 2010 to 2011, security topics taught in clases have actually dropped. This is in addition to a decrease in teachers' beliefs that they bear responsibility in educating kids.
A comparison paper between the 2008 and 2010 study can be downloaded here (PDF).
What are your thoughts on this issue; who bears the primary responsibility in educating children on the importance of Internet safety?
Image 1 courtesy 2011 NCSA study. Image 2 courtesy 2008 to 2010 NCSA comparison study. Material is copyright NCSA, and used according to fair usage guidelines for the purpose of commentary and reporting.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 5, 2011 - 08:28 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Hard Drive, Areal Density, 1TB Platter
In an amazing feat of data density, Seagate has once again made a leap to the next level of storage technology unveiling 1 Terabyte per platter drives. WIth an areal density of 625 Gigabytes per square inch, Seagate claims the new drives are capable of storing “virtually countless hours of digital music,” and “1,500 video games.”
The move to 1TB per platter drives is an especially important step for high capacity drives. Current 1TB+ drives are using two 500 GB platters, while current 3TB drives are using either four 750 GB platters in the form of the WD Caviar Green 3 TB that PC Perspective has reviewed here, or the five 600 GB platters. With Seagate’s new technology, they will be able to cut the number of platters in their highest capacity 3 TB drives almost in half. By moving from five platters to three, their drives will run cooler, faster, and with less power draw. Improved areal density also reduces the number of moving parts, and thus decreases the points of failure, even with the inclusion of newer and more sensitive read heads.
The place in the market where this new technology will make the most noticeable difference is in the mobile segment. With just a single platter, mobile users will have close to 1.5 terabytes of internal storage in a two platter drive, or 750 GB in a one platter drive while using less power and being capable of faster reads. This means that road warriors will be able to keep more of their files with them without reducing battery life compared to the current crop of mobile hard drives.
Unfortunately, mobile users will have to wait, as Seagate has only announced 3.5” desktop and external drives. These drives will be branded under both the Seagate Barracuda XT and GoFlex lines respectively.
For desktop users, they can currently expect capacities ranging from 1TB to 3TB drives. In a RAID array, these new lower power and potentially faster drives would make for a great addition to an HD video editing rig. Call me crazy, but I’m going to hold onto my old school 320 GB Seagate drives until I can jump straight to 4 TB. So, where’s my 4 platter, 4TB drive Seagate?
Are you excited about this new platter technology? What would you do with 3 terabytes of storage?
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Storage | May 4, 2011 - 06:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, everest, benchmarking, benchmark, aida64, aida
BUDAPEST, Hungary - May 04, 2011 - FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.70 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.70 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises.
The new AIDA64 release further strengthens its solid-state drive health and temperature monitoring capabilities, and implements support for the latest graphics processors from both AMD and nVIDIA.
New features & improvements
- LGA1155 B3 stepping motherboards support
- Preliminary support for AMD “Bulldozer” and “Llano” processors
- Intel 320, Intel 510, OCZ Vertex 3, Samsung PM810 SSD support
- GPU details for AMD Radeon HD 6770M, Radeon HD 6790
- GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, GT 520M, GT 550M, GT 555M, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 590
Pricing and Availability
AIDA64 Extreme Edition and AIDA64 Business Edition are available now at www.aida64.com/online-store. Additional information on product features, system requirements, and language versions is available at www.aida64.com/products. Join our Discussion Forum at forums.aida64.com.
Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2011 - 05:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mse, Malware, antivirus
One of the major drawbacks of having general purpose computation devices is malware. Your computers are designed to manipulate and store instructions and information and they do that amazingly. Your computers, however, cannot tell who gave what instruction; they follow a set of instructions until it links to another, which they follow, ad infinitum. When someone who wants to use your computer can get their series of instructions run by your computer: that is when you got a problem.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 4, 2011 - 02:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tablet, kindle, amazon
Amazon certainly has a knack for causing a ruckus in just about any industry they step into. Their inception placed them in stiff competition with bookstores and mail-order catalogs; since then they have branched out even as far as rental computing and storage, content production and publishing, and consumer electronics.
A recently rumored OEM order to Quanta Computer, already an OEM partner of RIM and Sony, proposes that Amazon is looking to beef up their portfolio to include Tablet PCs.
Could Amazon be Kindling for a much bigger fire?
Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 4, 2011 - 01:55 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: transistor, Intel
"After a decade of research, Intel has unveiled the world's first three dimensional transistor" states Mark Bohr, a Senior Fellow for Intel. Silicon based transistors in computers, mobile devices, vehicles, and embedded equipment have only existed in a planar, or two dimensional, form until today.
The new three dimensional transistor, dubbed "Tri-Gate," is now ready for high volume production, and will be included in Intel's new Ivy Bridge 22nm processors. This new Tri-Gate transistor is a huge deal for Intel as it will enable them to maintain the pace of current chip evolution as outlined by Moore's Law. If you are not familiar with Moore's Law, it states that approximately every 18 months, transistor density will double, bringing with it increases in performance and yeild while decreasing cost of production. Intel states that "It has become the basic business model for the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years."
As processors become smaller and smaller, the electric current becomes more and more difficult to contain. There are hundreds of thousands of minute connections and switches inside today's processors, and as manufacturing processes shrink, the amount of current leakage increases. With Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, Intel created a new "high-k"(high dielectric constant, which is a property of matter relating to the amount of charge it can hold) metal gate transistor using a material called Hafnium. The new material replaced the silicon dioxide dielectric gate of the transistor to combat the current leakage problem at 32nm. This allowed the chip process to shrink while scaling to produce less current leakage and heat. To be more specific, Intel states that "because high-k gate dielectrics can be several times thicker, they reduce gate leakage by over 100 times. As a result, these devices run cooler."
Unfortunately, at the much smaller 22nm process, Intel was not achieving results congruent with Moore's Law using even their high-k gate transistors. In order to maintain the scaling predicted in Moore's Law, Intel had to once again re-invent their transistors. In order to create a smaller manufacturing process while overcoming current leakage, Intel had to develop a way to use more of what little space they had available to them. It is here that they entered the third dimension. By designing a transistor that is able to control the electrical current on three sides instead of a single plane, they are able to shrink the transistor while ending up with more surface area to "control the stream" as Mark Bohr puts it.
The proposed benefits of Tri-Gate lie in it's ability to operate at lower voltages, with higher energy efficiency, all while running cooler and faster than ever before. More specifically, up to 37 percent increases in performance at low voltages versus Intel's current line of 32nm processors. Intel further states that "the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2-D planar transistors on 32nm chips." This means that at the same performance level of the current crop of Intel CPUs, Ivy Bridge will be able to do the same calculations either while using half the power needed of Sandy Bridge or nearly twice as fast (it is unlikely to scale perfectly as there is overhead and other elements of the chip that will not be as radically revamped) at the same level of power consumption. If this sort of scaling turns out to be true for the majority of Ivy Bridge chips, the overclocking abilities and resulting performance should be of unprecedented levels.
The use of Tri-Gate transistors is also mentioned as being beneficial for mobile and handheld devices as the power efficiency should allow increases in battery life. This is due to the chip running at decreased voltages while maintaining (at least) the same level of performance as current mobile chips. While Intel did not demo any mobile CPUs, they did state that Tri-Gate transistors may be integrated into future Atom chips.