PCPer Live! Aimpad Analog Keyboard Technology Discussion

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: lance madsen, keyboard, analog, aimpad

If you missed the live stream, we have the VOD below! This is a compelling discussion about the benefits of having an analog keyboard - definitely worth watching if you are a dedicated PC gamer!

You might not have heard of the company or the technology yet, but Aimpad is set to bring about another drastic change to the world of gaming keyboards. Lance Madsen will join us from Aimpad to talk about the idea of an analog keyboard, and why having keys that aren't simply on or off can benefit gamers as they strive to find the best possible experiences.

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In our live stream we will be talking about the technology that makes it work, how it will be integrated into future keyboards, and walk through a handful of demonstrations of the technology at work on a prototype keyboard integration. 

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Aimpad Analog Keyboard Live Stream

1pm PT / 4pm ET - May 23rd

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!

The event will take place Tuesday, May 23rd at 4pm ET / 1pm PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Lance to answer live. 

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If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Tom or I?

So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Tuesday at 4pm ET / 1pm PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!

DOOM Guy gets hot and bothered

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: doom, gaming, hack, mod

It's the May Two-Four so you have probably turned down your furnace* and your thermostat has very little to do, so why not play a game of DOOM on it?  Over at Hack a Day you can get a port of Chocolate DOOM which you can set up and run on a Honeywell Prestige thermostat.  The colour may be better than the original but for now you will have to play it without sound, still it is impressive how far hardware has come, even in simple appliances.

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*offer may not be valid in Wyoming

"In his video, [cz7asm] shows us the game running quite nicely on the 480 x 272 LCD with an NES controller plugged into the USB port originally intended for software updates. The thermostat runs on a STM32F429 which is an ARM9 processor that has the juice to pull it off."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: Hack a Day

New AMD products with go forth July

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: amd, Vega, ryzen 3, rumour

On a recent investors call AMD's head, Lisa Su, let it slip that the Radeon RX Vega family will be arriving on the market this July, shortly after we see the Frontier Edition launch.  The Inquirer also mentions that this is likely to indicate a similar launch time for the Ryzen 3 family, which seems a sound presumption.  During the call she set some dates for AMD's next generation of processors, they will be taping out their 7nm products later this year with Zen 2 scheduled for 2018 and Zen 3 in 2020.  It is also likely we will not be seeing mobile Zen parts at Computex; next year is far more likely to be their target.  Still, this has been an exciting year for enthusiasts with a wide variety of parts launched already and more on the way.

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"Su revealed that the company was planning a late-June release date for the Frontier Edition of the company's next-generation graphics card, with the more mainstream Radeon RX Vega coming out the following month."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Win-ning friends in the workplace and hoping you hate group policy

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2017 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Win 10, enterprise

Microsoft is continuing with their policy of self inflicted hurdles for Enterprise adoption of Windows 10.  We have known for a while that Group Policy no longer works as expected on the new version of Windows and today The Inquirer posted more exact information this particular issue.  A security researcher locked down a machine using Group Policy settings and found that even with policies in place to prevent certain protocols and services, the machine continued to attempt connections.  The most damning proof of all was on a machine set to extreme security, with all but connections to Microsoft Update blocked, that still happily attempted to connect to advertising servers.  The marketshare of Win 10 devices in the workplace does not look to be on the rise any time soon.

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"On Monday, we revealed that a security researcher had used a packet sniffer to show that many settings designed to prevent access to the internet were being ignored with connections to a range of third party servers including advertising hubs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Sit back and read about the Vertagear Triigger 350 Special Edition Gaming Chair

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2017 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: vertagear, Triigger 350 Special Edition, gaming chair

We now know the real reason Kyle agreed to getting a red stripe in his hair; so he can match the chair he is sitting in.  He has been resting his laurels on the Vertagear Triigger 350 Special Edition for the past few months and has published a review of his experiences.  This 55lb beast is constructed of aluminium, mesh and calf leather with hubless caster type wheels which turned out to work and look good.  If you are in the market for a high end gaming chair you should check out the full review, especially the last page where he answers numerous questions asked by his forum members.

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"What happens when you rope yourself in to doing a gaming chair review? You take your time, do it right, and make sure your butt spends at least a few months in the chair before you write your review. My butt has been in the VertaGear Triigger 350 Gaming Chair for over 3 months, and here are my thoughts."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Add an ARM to your cortex

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2017 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: cyborgs, arm

Researchers at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering are working on a way you can truly have SoC on the brain, partnering with ARM to develop chips which can be implanted in the brain.  The goal is not to grant you a neural interface nor add a couple of petabytes to your long term memory but to help treat people suffering from paralysis due to stroke or other damage to the brain.  There is the small problem of heat, brain tissue will be much more susceptible to damage from implanted devices than an organ in the torso; a pacemaker has space in which to dissipate excess heat.  We are still a long way off but you can read up on the current state of the research by following the links at The Inquirer.

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"CHIP GIANT ARM is teaming up with US researchers on a project develop human brain implants aimed at helping paralysed patients as well as stroke and Alzheimer's patients."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Good news Battletech fans, Paradox will publish Harebrained Schemes new game

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2017 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged: battletech, paradox, gaming, Kickstarter

The Kickstarter for the new turn based Battletech gaming was wildly successful with 41,733 backers pledging $2,785,537 and now we have even more good news.  Paradox Interactive, they of the continual updates and addins to published games have agreed to publish the new Battletech game.  Not only does this ensure solid support for players after release but could mean we see a long lineup of expansions after release, Paradox just added another major expansion to EU4 four years after its release.  For backers there is even more news, the closed beta will kick off in June and there is a new video of multiplayer gameplay you can watch.

"The long life of these internally developed games is a core part of Paradox’s business model, but the company is also expanding as a publisher. That includes not only third-party originals like Battletech, but ports of existing titles such as Prison Architect on tablet."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Dating Intel and AMD in 2017, we're going out for chips

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2017 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, rumour, release dates, ryzen, skylake-x, kaby lake x, Threadripper, X399, coffee lake

DigiTimes has posted an article covering the probable launch dates of AMD's new CPUs and GPUs as well as Intel's reaction to the release.  Not all of these dates are confirmed but it is worth noting as these rumours are often close to those eventually announced.  Naples will be the first, with the server chips launching at the end of June but that is just the start. July is the big month for AMD, with the lower end Ryzen 3 chips hitting the market as well as the newly announced 16 core Threadrippers and the X399 chipset.  That will also be the month we see Vega's Founders Frontier Edition graphics cards arrive.

Intel's Basin Falls platform; Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X along with the associated X299 chipset are still scheduled for Computex reveal and a late June or early August release.  Coffee Lake is getting pushed ahead however, it's launch has been moved up to late August instead of the beginning of next year. 

Even with Intel's counters, AMD's balance sheet is likely to be looking better and better as the year goes on which is great news for everyone ... except perhaps Intel and NVIDIA.

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"Demand for AMD's Ryzen 7- and Ryzen 5-series CPU products has continued rising, which may allow the chipmaker to narrow its losses to below US$50 million for the second quarter of 2017. With Intel also rumored to pay licensing fees to AMD for its GPUs, some market watchers believe AMD may turn profitable in the second quarter or in the third."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: The Khronos Group

It Started with an OpenCL 2.2 Press Release

Update (May 18 @ 4pm EDT): A few comments across the internet believes that the statements from The Khronos Group were inaccurately worded, so I emailed them yet again. The OpenCL working group has released yet another statement:

OpenCL is announcing that their strategic direction is to support CL style computing on an extended version of the Vulkan API. The Vulkan group is agreeing to advise on the extensions.

In other words, this article was and is accurate. The Khronos Group are converging OpenCL and Vulkan into a single API: Vulkan. There was no misinterpretation.

Original post below

Earlier today, we published a news post about the finalized specifications for OpenCL 2.2 and SPIR-V 1.2. This was announced through a press release that also contained an odd little statement at the end of the third paragraph.

We are also working to converge with, and leverage, the Khronos Vulkan API — merging advanced graphics and compute into a single API.

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This statement seems to suggest that OpenCL and Vulkan are expecting to merge into a single API for compute and graphics at some point in the future. This seemed like a huge announcement to bury that deep into the press blast, so I emailed The Khronos Group for confirmation (and any further statements). As it turns out, this interpretation is correct, and they provided a more explicit statement:

The OpenCL working group has taken the decision to converge its roadmap with Vulkan, and use Vulkan as the basis for the next generation of explicit compute APIs – this also provides the opportunity for the OpenCL roadmap to merge graphics and compute.

This statement adds a new claim: The Khronos Group plans to merge OpenCL into Vulkan, specifically, at some point in the future. Making the move in this direction, from OpenCL to Vulkan, makes sense for a handful of reasons, which I will highlight in my analysis, below.

Going Vulkan to Live Long and Prosper?

The first reason for merging OpenCL into Vulkan, from my perspective, is that Apple, who originally created OpenCL, still owns the trademarks (and some other rights) to it. The Khronos Group licenses these bits of IP from Apple. Vulkan, based on AMD’s donation of the Mantle API, should be easier to manage from the legal side of things.

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The second reason for going in that direction is the actual structure of the APIs. When Mantle was announced, it looked a lot like an API that wrapped OpenCL with a graphics-specific layer. Also, Vulkan isn’t specifically limited to GPUs in its implementation.

Aside: When you create a device queue, you can query the driver to see what type of device it identifies as by reading its VkPhysicalDeviceType. Currently, as of Vulkan 1.0.49, the options are Other, Integrated GPU, Discrete GPU, Virtual GPU, and CPU. While this is just a clue, to make it easier to select a device for a given task, and isn’t useful to determine what the device is capable of, it should illustrate that other devices, like FPGAs, could support some subset of the API. It’s just up to the developer to check for features before they’re used, and target it at the devices they expect.

If you were to go in the other direction, you would need to wedge graphics tasks into OpenCL. You would be creating Vulkan all over again. From my perspective, pushing OpenCL into Vulkan seems like the path of least resistance.

The third reason (that I can think of) is probably marketing. DirectX 12 isn’t attempting to seduce FPGA developers. Telling a game studio to program their engine on a new, souped-up OpenCL might make them break out in a cold sweat, even if both parties know that it’s an evolution of Vulkan with cross-pollination from OpenCL. OpenCL developers, on the other hand, are probably using the API because they need it, and are less likely to be shaken off.

What OpenCL Could Give Vulkan (and Vice Versa)

From the very onset, OpenCL and Vulkan were occupying similar spaces, but there are some things that OpenCL does “better”. The most obvious, and previously mentioned, element is that OpenCL supports a wide range of compute devices, such as FPGAs. That’s not the limit of what Vulkan can borrow, though, although it could make for an interesting landscape if FPGAs become commonplace in the coming years and decades.

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Personally, I wonder how SYCL could affect game engine development. This standard attempts to guide GPU- (and other device-) accelerated code into a single-source, C++ model. For over a decade, Tim Sweeney of Epic Games has talked about writing engines like he did back in the software-rendering era, but without giving up the ridiculous performance (and efficiency) provided by GPUs.

Long-time readers of PC Perspective might remember that I was investigating GPU-accelerated software rendering in WebCL (via Nokia’s implementation). The thought was that I could concede the raster performance of modern GPUs and make up for it with added control, the ability to explicitly target secondary compute devices, and the ability to run in a web browser. This took place in 2013, before AMD announced Mantle and browser vendors expressed a clear disinterest in exposing OpenCL through JavaScript. Seeing the idea was about to be crushed, I pulled out the GPU-accelerated audio ideas into a more-focused project, but that part of my history is irrelevant to this post.

The reason for bringing up this anecdote is because, if OpenCL is moving into Vulkan, and SYCL is still being developed, then it seems likely that SYCL will eventually port into Vulkan. If this is the case, then future game engines can gain benefits that I was striving toward without giving up access to fixed-function features, like hardware rasterization. If Vulkan comes to web browsers some day, it would literally prune off every advantage I was hoping to capture, and it would do so with a better implementation.

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More importantly, SYCL is something that Microsoft cannot provide with today’s DirectX.

Admittedly, it’s hard to think of something that OpenCL can acquire from Vulkan, besides just a lot more interest from potential developers. Vulkan was already somewhat of a subset of OpenCL that had graphics tasks (cleanly) integrated over top of it. On the other hand, OpenCL has been struggling to acquire mainstream support, so that could, in fact, be Vulkan’s greatest gift.

The Khronos Group has not provided a timeline for this change. It’s just a roadmap declaration.

CORSAIR Launches T1 RACE Gaming Chair

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2017 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: gaming chair, corsair, T1 RACE

Corsair have jumped into the gaming chair market, a product we did not see much of which has recently taken off in a big way.  The T1 RACE is made of PU leather, also known as bicast leather, so the shiny finish should last quite a while though the feel will not quite the same as a true leather chair, nor will the price be as astronomical.  Depending on the type of polyurethane leather they used, this product might be vegan.  You can choose between yellow, white, blue or  red trim to highlight your chair, or if you prefer you can choose to forego the colours for a purely black chair.  It can recline 90° to 180° if you need a moment to lie back, the arm rests can be adjusted for height, width, position and angle and neck and lumbar PU leather pillows are included. 

Check out Corsair's page here or the PR just below.

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FREMONT, CA – May 16th, 2017 - CORSAIR®, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the launch of its first gaming chair, the T1 RACE. Inspired by racing, crafted for comfort and built to last, the T1 Race joins CORSAIR’s award-winning range of mice, keyboards, headsets and mousepads to complete the ultimate gaming experience. Built using a solid steel skeleton and dense foam cushions, the T1 RACE has the strength to ensure a lifetime of sturdiness, while it’s 4D-movement armrests raise, lower, shift and swivel to put gamers in the most comfortable position every time. Styled to turn heads and finished with immaculate attention to detail, the T1 RACE is the gaming chair your desk deserves.

Upholstered in luxurious PU leather on seating surfaces and available in five different colors, T1 RACE lets you choose your seat to match your style, in either Yellow, White, Blue, Red or Black trim, finished with automotive color-matched stitching and base accents. Nylon caster wheels, often an optional upgrade on office and gaming chairs, are included with T1 RACE as standard, ensuring stability and smooth movement on any surface.

T1 RACE’s sculpted race-seat design and included neck and lumbar PU leather pillows provide adjustable support for day-long gaming sessions, while its 4D-moment armrests effortlessly adjust in height, width, position and angle to put your arms precisely where they need to be. A steel construction Class 4 gas lift provides reliable height adjustment, while the seat itself tilts up to 10° and can recline anywhere between 90° to 180°, lying completely flat for when you need to take a break from the action. Finishing the T1 RACE’s attention to detail, the CORSAIR logo is tastefully embroidered into the rear of the chair, and lightly embossed into the headrest for maximum comfort.

Source: Corsair