Qualcomm is going for a drive

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2016 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, billions, nxp

Qualcomm will obviously be expanding into the automotive industry with their purchase of NXP Semiconductors. You may not have heard of them but if you own a car you likely have a few of their products, they supply the chips which handle keyless entry, entertainment systems, RF comms and even the USB chargers.  They generally utilize ARM chips and while this is unlikely to change, Qualcomm will add their own special sauce to upcoming generations of vehicular electronics.  The mobile phone industry is very large but also slowing down and this purchase should help Qualcomm stay at the forefront of the market.  Pop over to Slashdot for links and reactions.

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"San Diego-based Qualcomm agreed to pay $110 a share in cash for NXP, the biggest supplier of chips used in the automotive industry, or 11 percent more than Wednesday's close, the companies said in a statement Thursday. The deal will be funded with cash on hand as well as new debt. Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf is betting the deal, the largest in the chip industry's history, will accelerate his company's entry into the burgeoning market for electronics in cars."

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Source: Slashdot

Podcast #422 - Samsung 960 Pro, Acer Z850 Projector, Surface Studio and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2016 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: z850, x50, video, tegra, switch, surface studio, Samsung, qualcomm, podcast, Optane, nvidia, Nintendo, microsoft, Intel, gtx 1050, Fanatec, evga, acer, 960 PRO, 5G

PC Perspective Podcast #422 - 10/27/16

Join us this week as we discuss the Samsung 960 Pro, Fanatec racing gear, an Acer UltraWide projector, Optane leaks, MS Surface Studio 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!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom

Program length: 1:47:11

  1. Join our spam list to get notified when we go live!
  2. Patreon
  3. Fragging Frogs VLAN 14
  4. Week in Review:
    1. 0:06:00 Fanatec ClubSport V2 Ecosystem Review: What is Realism Worth?
    2. 0:25:20 Samsung 960 PRO 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD Full Review - Even Faster!
    3. 0:45:35 Acer Predator Z850 UltraWide 24:9 Gaming Projector Review
    4. 0:54:28 EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G2L Power Supply Review
  5. Today’s episode is brought to you by Harry’s! Use code PCPER at checkout!
  6. News items of interest:
    1. 1:00:50 GTX 1050 and 1050Ti
    2. 1:05:30 Intel Optane (XPoint) First Gen Product Specifications Leaked
    3. 1:11:20 Microsoft Introduces Surface Studio AiO Desktop PC
    4. 1:21:45 Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update Formally Announced
    5. 1:25:25 Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon X50 5G Modem
    6. 1:31:55 NVIDIA Tegra SoC powers new Nintendo Switch gaming system
  7. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: Chewbacca Hoodie
    2. Jeremy: The Aimpad R5 is actually much cooler than I thought
    3. Josh: Solid for the price. Get on special!
    4. Allyn: Factorio
  8. http://pcper.com/podcast
  9. http://twitter.com/pcper
  10. Closing/Outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Speaking of 3D Applications: Blender 2.78a Released!

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2016 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: Blender

Blender 2.78 released not too long ago, but a few major bugs were discovered since then, despite a strong internal QA push before it launched. As such, Blender has released 2.78a. In a way, it has some benefits. NVIDIA wasn't able to release the final CUDA 8 SDK in time, so Blender 2.78 shipped with the RC SDK, and it was only enabled for Pascal-based cards. This extra month allowed them to roll it in and enable it for all cards, although it probably won't affect the end-user in any major way.

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The release notes claim that 69 bugs were fixed, several of which were crashes and hangs. I have never really experienced any of these, but those who do should, obviously, appreciate the patch. As always, Blender is free, so enjoy creating.

Seriously. If you have free time and the slightest bit of interest: Go do it.

Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update Formally Announced

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2016 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, paint 3d, Minecraft

At a press event today, Microsoft was promoting their platform with a focus on creativity. The show opened with a video that highlighted upcoming changes in accessibility. For instance, they are adding a preview mode to Microsoft Edge developer tools that help developers make their application accessible to people with impaired vision, who are reliant upon screen-readers. Immediately following that few-minute video, Terry Myerson gave a speech and announced that the next feature release of Windows 10, which was codenamed Redstone 2, will be officially called the Windows 10 Creators Update.

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Naturally, Microsoft wanted to associate the creative potential of PCs with... MS Paint. This application is used by over 100 million poor, unfortunate souls per month, because it is simple... and, of course, pre-installed on basically every Windows machine ever. This transitioned to an announcement of Paint 3D, which is actually quite interesting. 3D applications tend to be a daunting mountain of tools for countless use cases, which helps professionals but somewhat hinders the hobbyist.

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Paint 3D tries to strip it down to the use cases of home users, especially children, who want to goof around with creating stuff. Take a photo, remove the background, and place it in a sand castle that you scanned with your Windows Phone (just kidding, we all know you'll be using it on Android or iOS) into a 3D model. Position the 3D camera just right, and you have a summer holiday postcard. They also have a service, Remix 3D, that allows sharing of 3D content, even from Minecraft. You can then order 3D prints of these objects, seemingly from the service although I haven't been able to see an explicit announcement of that.

Moving on, Microsoft has also released a few videos of this event. In a couple of them, they included a short clip of another, otherwise unannounced application, Groove Music Maker. It appears to be a competitor to Apple's GarageBand, mixing recorded and generated tracks to create music. On the PC side, there really isn't much apart from Fruity Loops and a handful of open source applications to solve this need, and music is definitely a creative avenue. I assume that we'll see something announced about this in the near future.

The Windows 10 Creators Update will be available in “early 2017”. Rumors point to March, based mostly on its expected 1703 version number; still, the early August release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update was listed 1607, so it could vary a bit.

I mean, I hope they will release it when it's stable enough this time.

Source: Microsoft

An analogue mechanical keyboard?!? The Aimpad R5

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2016 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: Aimpad R5, mechanical keyboard, analog

The Tech Report took a look at a prototype device which seems completely nonsensical at first glance, but by the end of the review may just capture your interest.  The Aimpad R5 analogue keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical switches just the same as you would find in most mechanical keyboards but it also has something unique under the keycaps, an IR LED and sensor.  This means that the travel distance of your keypress can be measured and used as input, similar to a joystick or gamepad.  This seemingly useless feature is quickly shown to be useful in their first game test, DayZ.  A light press on the W key moves you forward at a walking pace, pressing slightly harder changes that to a run and bottoming the key out switches you to sprint; no other keypresses required.  This can also be useful if flying, in a game such as ARMA which emulates control surfaces properly or in games like Battlefield which offer a more arcade like flying experience.  Check out the full reivew to see what you think of the idea.

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"Aimpad offered us a first look at the analog input technology it hopes will become commonplace in future mechanical keyboards. We've spent a lot of hands-on time with its analog secret sauce, and we're ready to say whether this technology is something every keyboard should have."

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So it was foretold; the time of the Fragging Frog's VLAN is nigh!

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2016 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, gaming, fragging frogs

That's right, kicking off at 10:00 AM ET, this Saturday and ending when the the last gamer drops is the 14th Fragging Frogs VLAN party.  So far we have 55 participants signed up for the even in this thread; make sure to drop your name in if you have not yet.  AMD has generously donated some of the prizes to be given away during the VLAN, as have Ryan and the lads here at PC Perspective.  You might want to think about clearing up some space for Battlefield 1 as it is likely to be a major hit.

Grab your snacks and beverages and be prepared for a great time.

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ARM plans to mbed itself into the IoT, for better or worse

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2016 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: arm, Mbed OS, iot, security

Is a single point of failure more or less secure than multiple points?  That is the question IoT designers should make when considering ARM's new mbed OS, designed to rein in the fiasco which is the current state of security in the IoT market.  On the one hand this OS will run on just about any device you could want, even if you prefer your device remain on MIPS, Linux or another OS and regardless of your back end provider.  It will allow encrypted updates to be pushed out to devices software or firmware from a single source and the companies which use it will be charge on a pay per use scheme as opposed to a fixed cost.

On the sinister hand, this means that when someone manages to exploit an unforeseen vulnerability in mbed, the communications between ARM and the devices or the factory set private keys, they will be able to own every single mbed device out there.  That is unfortunately merely a matter of time and so we wait to hear from ARM as to how they plan to partition the devices which use mbed and other measures they will develop to prevent a worse DDoS than the Dyn DNS attack last week.  You can take a deeper look at mbed's structure as well as ARM's new Cortex-M33 and Cortex-M23 microcontrollers over at The Register.

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"So ARM has come up with mbed Cloud, a software-as-a-service platform that securely communicates with firmware in devices to install fixes and feature updates. Product makers pay to remotely manage all their sold kit. Crucially, they pay for what they use – whether it's pushing updates, or connecting millions of units, and so on."

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Source: The Register

Ignore the corpse of Nokia in the corner and check out my HoloLens!

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2016 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, hololens, nokia, windows 10 mobile, satya nadella

Windows Mobile 10 powers 1% of the mobile devices on the market, so when Satya Nadella states that Microsoft missed the mobile phone he is not exaggerating. The $7.6 billion write off of Nokia earlier this year signals a change in focus for Microsoft and Nokia phones will run Android instead of waiting for a proper release of the new Windows Mobile or a reincarnated version of an older mobile OS.  From what The Inquirer gathered from Satya's recent speech the new focus will be on something vague called the Ultimate Computer as well as their much more concrete HoloLens and the new VR market.  Surface Phone and Surface Mini are likely to fall by the wayside as HoloLens becomes the focus, hopefully we will see some models for testing in the near future as Microsoft has hinted at something happening tomorrow.

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"Speaking at the opening dinner of Wall Street Journal Live, Mr Nadella said, "We clearly missed the mobile phone, there's no question," adding. "Our goal now is to make sure we grow new categories."

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Source: The Inquirer

Awesome Games Done Quick 2017 Schedule Available

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2016 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming

January's Awesome Games Done Quick is coming up, and the organization has published the schedule. As usual, most of the week is grouped together into blocks that will keep a slice of their overall viewership watching for multiple titles in a row. For a PC Gaming-friendly instance, one of the Tuesday blocks ties Doom (2016), System Shock 2, Daikatana, Half-Life: Blue Shift, and others into an FPS segment. It runs 24 hours a day for a week, and it is quite family friendly (within the limits of any given game).

gdq-2016-sgdq logo.png

For some added commentary, SpikeVegeta has posted his opinion on the whole schedule, form beginning to end. He is one of the regular announcers at various speedrun events, especially the Games Done Quick line, and he knows about all the different niches within the hobby.

HyperX Now Shipping ALLOY FPS Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2016 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: cherry mx blue, kingston, HyperX ALLOY FPS, mechanical keyboard, input

The PR below the picture has the full details but we will cover the highlights in brief.  The Kingston HyperX ALLOY FPS uses Cherry MX Blue switches with red LEDs underneath the keys that can be set to a variety of brightness and responses.  It has a small footprint, 442x129x36mm and ships with a travel bag to make it easier to transport, which makes sense considering the eSports focus of the keyboard.  You should be able to find it for sale at around $100 online if you are in the market.

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Fountain Valley, CA – Oct. 24, 2016 – HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the HyperX ALLOY FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is now shipping in the U.S. and Canada. The full-size mechanical gaming keyboard has a space-saving layout allowing gamers to maximize desktop real estate for FPS mouse movement. The HyperX ALLOY FPS keyboard features Cherry MX Blue Mechanical switches to provide the tactile feedback and performance to support extreme gameplay and enable players to be the best gamers possible.

Built with a solid steel alloy frame, the HyperX ALLOY FPS keyboard features Cherry MX Blue Mechanical switches, HyperX red LED backlighting and six preset LED modes – including a custom mode. The keyboard also offers Game Mode to easily disable the Windows key to prevent game play interruptions, along with 100 percent anti-ghosting and full N-Key rollover functionality. For added flexibility and performance, HyperX ALLOY FPS features an easy access USB charging port located on the back of the keyboard, additional HyperX red-colored WASD/1234 keys, a detachable braided cord, and mesh travel pouch for protection and storage on the move.

“After extensive research and hundreds of hours of gameplay testing, HyperX developed a mechanical keyboard from the ground up to withstand the most intense gameplay, featuring a small footprint that is vital for FPS gamers. With its solid steel alloy frame and Cherry MX Blue switches, this keyboard is designed for over 50 million keystrokes per key,” said Marcus Hermann, senior business manager, HyperX. “Gamers who play FPS classics like CS:GO or Overwatch will appreciate its compact yet sturdy design. The HyperX ALLOY FPS keyboard design gives gamers more space to setup their desktop surface to execute intricate mouse actions.”

One of the eSports teams HyperX works with is Echo Fox, owned by Rick Fox, who previously played professional basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers. CS:GO player Sean “sG@res” Gares, Echo Fox, tested the new keyboard and said: “The HyperX Alloy is the perfect keyboard for me due to the excellent feedback of the Cherry MX Blue switches, it's compact size, and the extremely durable steel alloy frame. I also love the unique detachable cord for easy portability and the USB charging dock for my phone!”

Source: Kingston