... and the mod of the year is ...

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 07:55 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, Enderal, Call of Chernobyl

I am with RPS on this one, I voted for and fully expected the Skyrim total coversion Enderal to win Mod of the year at ModdersDB.  However by a slim 1% of the vote is is the Call of Pripyat total mod, Call of Chernobyl who took first place.  This mod can remove the story and allow you to wander through all the maps included in Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and Call of Pripyat, along with the various wildlife and other Stalkers.  The mod also includes a variety of survival options, sleep deprivation and artifact degradation.  If own Call of Pripyat you can download the mod here to find out if it as good as they say or if this is another case of Russian hackers fiddling with votes.

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"Call of Chernobyl is a “freeplay” mod, which means it strips away most of the Call of Pripyat’s plot and linear progression in favour of the ability to roam anywhere and extra focus on the game’s survival elements."

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Sadly, this 'smart' hairbrush is not going to be the dumbest thing out of CES

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: iot

Yes, you read that correctly.  The Kérastase Hair Coach from L' Oréal is an internet connected hairbrush with an accelerometer and a gyroscope inside to measure the quality of your brush stokes through your hair and The Register reports it will start to vibrate if if thinks you are being too brusque.  It also has a microphone so it can listen to you brushing and offer "insights into manageability, frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage".  The internet connection is used to track weather, to warn you about humidity and other supposedly traumatic conditions for your hair.  You should expect to see even stranger IoT products over the next few days.

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"The annual godforsaken hypegasm that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has given an "innovation award" ... to a Wi-Fi-connected microphone-fitted allegedly "smart" hairbrush."

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Source: The Register

CES 2017: Logitech Announces G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 05:01 AM |
Tagged: wireless, Pro-G, logitech, headset, headphones, gaming, DTS Headphone:X, CES 2017, CES, 7.1 channel, 40mm

Logitech's newest gaming headset is the G533, a wireless model that boasts superior sound quality, reliable wireless performance, and long battery life.

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"The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset features professional grade wireless technology, patent pending Pro-G audio drivers and DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, for advanced audio performance and wireless convenience. The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset also features a long battery life and high performance design, for comfort over long gameplay sessions."

The Pro-G drivers were previously found in the flagship Artemis Spectrum gaming headsets, which I was highly impressed by when I reviewed them a year ago. The new G533 model incorporates much of the same functionality as the wireless G933 headset, with advanced driver technology and DTS Headphone:X 7.1-channel surround effects.

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As to the wireless performance, Logitech states that their system is low-latency, completely lossless, and resistant to interference:

"Featuring advanced lossless digital audio transmission, the Logitech G533 delivers wireless convenience and incredible high fidelity sound at a range of up to 15 meters’. The headset maintains a strong connection, even in noisy Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) settings and when there are dozens of wireless signals in proximity."

Specifications for the G533 Wireless Gaming Headset from Logitech:


  • Headphones
    • Driver: Pro-G 40 mm
    • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
    • Impedance: 32 Ohms
    • Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
    • Charging Cable Length: 2m
    • Battery Life: 15 hours
    • Wireless Range: 15m
    • Size: 197 mm x 189 mm x 85 mm
    • Weight: 350 grams (12.5 oz)
  • Microphone
    • Pickup Pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
    • Type: Pressure Gradient Electret
    • Condenser
      • Size: 4 mm
      • Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz  
  • Warranty: 2-year limited hardware warranty

Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset_Image 3.jpg

The G533 Wireless Gaming Headset will retail for $149.99, with availability slated for this month.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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

Source: Logitech

CES 2017: Qualcomm and ODG Announce AR Smartglasses Powered by Snapdragon 835

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 02:10 AM |
Tagged: VR, SoC, snapdragon 835, qualcomm, processor, mobile, CES 2017, CES, AR

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc and ODG (Osterhout Design Group) have announced that the R-8 and R-9 smartglasses will be the first devices powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. ODG is a developer of "mobile headworn computing and augmented reality technologies and products", and these new models leverage the reduced size and thermal requirements of the new Snapdragon 835 processor.

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The R-8 smartglasses, seated next to a glass mug for scale

"The premium Snapdragon 835 processor was designed from the ground-up to support new and innovative products and experiences beyond mobile phones, and it’s great to see that the first announced Snapdragon 835 devices will be ODG’s smartglasses," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Thermal dissipation on a heavy compute but small device is very difficult so higher power efficiency is a must. The Snapdragon 835 processor, with our unique SoC design expertise on a 10nm process node, enables ODG to meet their design goals and develop lighter, smaller and sleeker smartglasses that take advantage of the new processor’s superior performance and power efficiency."

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The R-9 smartglasses

The Snapdragon-powered R-8 smartglasses are "lighter, smaller and sleeker than any other device in ODG’s portfolio", which should make their use a more attractive option for those interested in AR, VR, and Mixed Reality overlay capabilities. For their part the larger R-9 smartglasses are "based on ODG’s award-winning 50° FOV and 1080p Project Horizon platform". The company's previous smartglasses, the R-7, were powered by a Snapdragon 801 SoC.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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

Source: Qualcomm

Leak alert - Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 runs Windows 10

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2017 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, snapdragon 835, leak

Someone fired out a press release a little early and MSPoweruser spotted it in time to post it.  We now know the new 10nm ARM based design will include the new Kryo 280 CPU, Adreno 540 GPU, and a Hexagon DSP.  We do not have specific core counts or frequencies but you can't expect everything in a single leak.  Also new on this chip is the Qualcomm Haven Security Platform, offering you security baked right into the device which is a good thing when running Android.  The new design is touted as offering impressively reduces power usage,  a full day of talk time, five days of music playback, and 7+ hours of 4K video streaming; the Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 feature will supposedly charge five hours of battery life in five minutes.

Take a look at their post and the full PR right here.

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"According to the leaked press release, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 sports the Qualcomm Kryo 280 CPU (quad-core), Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU, and Qualcomm Hexagon DSP to manage the different workloads. All of this combined together will result in a 27% increase in performance when compared to the previous generation."

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Source: MSPoweruser

CES 2017: Lenovo's Smart Assistant, Smart Storage, and Multimedia Controller

Subject: General Tech, Networking | January 3, 2017 - 08:01 AM |
Tagged: wireless keyboard, Smart Storage, smart home, Smart Assistant, Lenovo, connected, CES 2017, CES, Alexa, 500 Multimedia Controller

Lenovo is announcing a trio of new connected devices beginning with the Amazon Alexa-powered Smart Assistant.

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“The Lenovo Smart Assistant with Amazon Alexa is like having your own digital assistant at home. Featuring Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, this voice-controlled high-definition speaker with far field microphones, is there to lend a hand whenever you need it. Want to know what the morning traffic is like? Forgot to order that book from Amazon? Longing to hear your favorite playlist? Simply ask Alexa. She has all the answers to help simplify your life. What’s more, she can even help remotely with the Amazon Alexa App, which is free to download for Android and iOS.”

The Smart Assistant offers high definition sound with a speaker system that combines a 5W treble and 10W bass speaker,  and the Harman Kardon Edition takes this further with a ported design for enhanced sound.

Next we have Lenovo’s Smart Storage, which provides up to 6 TB of connected storage over a wireless (or wired) home network.

Lenovo Smart Storage 2.jpg

“Despite this remote storage center’s compact size, the Lenovo Smart Storage comes with a big challenge: How will you and your family fill it? Capable of storing up to 6 TB of photos, movies, and other digital files, this dual-band WiFi storage system can connect wirelessly to almost any smart device you own, worldwide. You’ll maintain absolute administrative control, ensuring your data and content are secure and safe—and with Auto Sync enabled, your data will back-up automatically when within WiFi range. DLNA support also ensures you’ll be able to enjoy your movies and music on any device, anytime.”

Finally we have the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, which combines a compact keyboard and touchpad in a small wireless control device for the living room.

Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller-2.jpg

“Want to browse the web from your couch? Or turn on your favorite playlist from the dining table? We’ve got you covered with the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller. It’s not only a mouse and keyboard in one, it’s also a remote control optimized for your Windows operating system. With an ergonomic design and up to 8 months battery life, the versatile Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller will make your life easier.”

The controller is designed for Windows PCs (support for Windows 7 through 10), and uses a nano USB dongle for its 2.4 GHz wireless connection. The touchpad DPI is adjustable for user preference, and the unit offers up to 8 months of battery life from a pair of AAA batteries. At 5.71 x 3.37 x 0.74 inches (and 141 grams) this is a pretty small device, but certainly larger than some of the smart TV remote keyboards certain models have shipped with.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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

Source: Lenovo

Mate, those optical switches are Bloody loud on that B840 keyboard of yours!

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2017 - 08:09 PM |
Tagged: bloody, B840, gaming keyboard, input, A4Tech

The Bloody B840 is a bit of a chimera, having optical switches which incorporate a metal knob in each key to produce a click when a button is fully depressed like a mechanical keyboards keys.  Their LK Sound Creator Tech makes the keys similar to Cherry Blue in terms of travel distance and actuation force, but the actual keystroke is registered with the infrared beam that comprises the optical switch.  TechPowerUp is working on proper testing for keyboard response times, the tests they tried showed that the optical technology on the Bloody keyboard is technically faster to register a keypress, but not so much that they noticed it during use.  You can see their full review here.

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"Bloody is a new gaming peripherals brand A4Tech recently introduced. Today, we take a look at their new B840 keyboard with the new optical Bloody LK2 switch. It promises a long lifespan, extremely fast response times, and a clicky response, which is new for optical switches."

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Source: TechPowerUp!

Annoy the neighbours from the comfort of the couch; 3D printed remote controlled snowblower

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2016 - 06:24 PM |
Tagged: DIY, 3d printing

Snowblowers are noisy and not as effective as a shovel, but when it is remote controlled it certainly becomes an attractive solution.  Over at Hack a Day there is a link to a 3D printing project which gives you the plans to print out your own snowblower.  The project does encompass the entire machine, it might be prudent to look the project over and see if standard snowblower parts can be included in the build; especially if you already own one.  3D printing is growing in utility as well as popularity.

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"This year’s model features a slipper clutch — combined with a differential from a heavy RC truck — to forestall damage to the attachment if you happen to hit any rocks or ice chunks. The blades are also thicker and lack teeth in this iteration, as they would catch on anything hard and shatter the blade more often than not."

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Source: Hack a Day

Windows 10 "Game Mode" Library Spotted

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2016 - 07:19 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

A new version of Windows 10 was leaked, and it apparently contains a file called “gamemode.dll”. Some people are speculating that this could be API hooks for applications to request higher priority with CPU and GPU resources, increasing performance. Microsoft gave a "no comment" to PC Gamer about the issue, but Windows Central cites anonymous sources claiming that this is the case, and it is either related or analogous to how the Xbox One multitasks.

microsoft-2016-window10xboxplayanywhere.png

While I believe the DLL exists, of course, I’m skeptical about its function -- but I would bet that it’s true (given how sure everyone seems to be). Also, I’ve seen GPGPU compute times fluctuate wildly by leaving other windows open, so there is probably some overhead that the OS can reduce. It just seems weird that this has come out of nowhere.

We’ll probably find out soon, because the Creators Update (Windows 10 1703) is coming out in a few months. Whatever this DLL is, it seems targeted at that feature update.

You can also check out other features of the leaked 14997 build, listed by Paul Thurrott.

Kingston's value priced HyperX Cloud Stinger headset

Subject: General Tech | December 29, 2016 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming headset, Cloud Stinger, hyper x, kingston

Kingston's HyperX's Cloud Stinger headset is good for those who would only occasionally need a headset for gaming or a quick Skype call.  Built mainly of plastic and vinyl, it does contain 50mm drivers which offer decent bass response for gamers and action movie viewers.  The microphone offers reasonable sound reproduction and the noise cancellation feature operated acceptably when The Tech Report tested it.  If you are looking for a headset that is comfortable after extended wear or which can reproduce subtle melodies you should look elsewhere but for occasional gaming or travel duties this headset is worth investigating.

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"HyperX is making its hit gaming headsets more accessible with the $50 Cloud Stinger, a budget pair of cans that relies on a tried-and-true design and no gimmicks to promise a solid essential gaming experience. We put on the Stinger to see whether it left us buzzing."

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Audio Corner