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Sunday February 07, 2016

Windows 10 Subscriptions Aren’t Happening

This writer is convinced that Microsoft has no plans for introducing a subscription fee. If that did actually happen, what would your reaction be?

…large enterprises, including corporate customers and government agencies, actually have been paying for Windows subscriptions for many years, thanks to a volume licensing program called Software Assurance. That annual fee gives them a slew of enterprise features and usage rights that consumers and small businesses don't need and certainly won't pay for. I'm not even sure how a Windows 10 subscription for consumers and small businesses would work. What features in the operating system would Microsoft charge extra for?


Quad-Core 4.2GHz, 64GB, 5TB SSD RAID 10 Laptop

The Eurocom Sky X9 lays claim to being the most powerful "desktop laptop" ever made. For shits and giggles, I was able to get the configurator to go over $11,000.

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...the company's released the Sky X9W complete with a quad-core, eight-thread, Intel Core i7 6700K capable of operating at 4.2GHz and nestled amidst an Intel Z170 Express (Skylake) chipset. The NVIDIA Quadro M5000M dwarfs the CPU for core count: it's got 1,536 of its own. Pack in 64GB of DDR4-2133, 2400 or 2666 RAM, if you please, then throw in up to four NVME SSDs and give them the RAID 10 treatment for data protection. There's also a 17.3 inch 4K screen at 3840 x 2160.


The Division SweetFX Mod

YouTube member Xenthor Xi has a couple of videos showing what The Division should actually look like. I assume that any dislikes came from Ubisoft.


Google May Release Gear VR Competitor This Year

This is great news for Nexus fans who want a VR headset that doesn’t look like it was made by a homeless person.

In addition to a new plastic casing, it's said that the headset will support a far wider range of smartphones than the Gear VR. Sources also tell the paper that it will feature "better sensors" and "lenses," suggesting that it won't be wholly reliant on the equipment built into your smartphone. The report mentions that "most of its processing power" would come from the smartphone. Google Cardboard, which has been around for over a year and a half, provides two plastic lenses and just holds your smartphone in the right position to function as a VR device.


Centriphone: An iPhone Video Experiment

Apparently, you can get over 1.5 million YouTube views just by waving an iPhone around your head.


First Recorded Human Fatality Due To Meteorite

A meteorite has reportedly killed someone. I thought that getting hit by one was supposed to give you superpowers.

Indian officials say a meteorite struck the campus of a private engineering college on Saturday, killing one person. If scientists confirm the explosion was due to a meteorite, it would be the first recorded human fatality due to a falling space rock. According to local reports, a bus driver was killed on Saturday when a meteorite landed in the area where he was walking, damaging the window panes of nearby buses and buildings. Three other people were injured.


Man Arrested After Drone Hits Empire State Building

I’m getting the impression that we're going to start seeing statutes specifically for drone-related incidents.

The police said that Mr. Riddle was flying his drone in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday when it crashed into the building’s 40th floor. The device fell from the sky after striking the building, landing on a ledge four floors down. Mr. Riddle then entered the building to ask security guards for help. The guards agreed to help, but called the police instead. The police said they did not know if the drone was ever retrieved from the ledge.


Is The Price Of A Video Game Really Right?

Well, is it? My answer leans toward "no," based on all of the half-assed ports and DLC-prone titles out there.

…video games have no fixed running time; what takes one player an hour to complete may take another five…The conscientious fix a price that reflects the complicated cat’s cradle of costs that go into making a modern video game. Regardless, as any struggling artist will tell you, price and value don’t always correlate. Hopefully, however, as pricing becomes ever more flexible, the gap between the two will close.


Titanfall 2 Will Have Single-Player Campaign

I’ll be checking the sequel out, then. There is also a TV spinoff show in the works, though I imagine the Titans will only have a limited appearance due to budgets and all.

…the first Titanfall didn't have a proper story mode, players didn't get all the answers they were looking for. "One of the shortcomings of the first game was we just did not have the mechanism to tell everyone 'Here's who you are, here's where you are and who's around you,'" Stern said. "We knew all the answers, we just could not deliver it."


Intel Skylake Non-K Overclock Dropped By ASRock

This is the first evidence of Intel pushing motherboard vendors to remove the overclocking of non-K Skylake processor capabilities from their feature lists.

…ASRock has updated its Intel Z170 motherboards with two tweaks; 1. Update CPU microcode to 0x76, and 2. Remove SKY OC function. There is no explanation of either tweak in a BIOS read-me file or similar, or any blog or social media post. An earlier BIOS update from ASRock, just a fortnight ago, included a microcode to fix the Skylake complex workloads bug. Older BIOS versions remain on the ASRock website.


Nvidia Wins Trial Brought By Samsung Over Memory-Chip Patent

It appears that Nvidia can now continue using Samsung memory chips in its GPUs.

Samsung filed the complaint in November 2014 in retaliation for patent-infringement claims lodged by Nvidia. While this trial was over memory chips, the dispute began after two years of licensing talks failed over graphics processors needed to play games and watch movies on smartphones and tablet devices, Nvidia has said. Nvidia is trying open up new revenue streams by forcing rivals to pay for what that company says are unique products its researchers invented and designed. Samsung is countering by arguing that Nvidia is using its inventions in memory chips without permission.


World’s Internet Traffic To Surpass One Zettabyte This Year

That’s one billion terabytes. Or one trillion gigabytes. Or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000000 bytes.

Global internet traffic will pass one zettabyte for the first time this year, after increasing fivefold in the last five years. Cisco, the networking company that supplies much of the world’s internet infrastructure, says that the total amount of traffic will reach around 1,060 exabytes, or just over one zettabyte.


Google Wants Its Driverless Cars To Be Wireless

Filings reveal that Google has been testing two wireless charging systems for its driverless cars.

What’s the point of having a self-driving car if you still have to get out to plug it in? That’s a good question, says Alphabet, Google’s parent company. With that in mind, it is testing wireless charging systems for its electric self-driving cars. Documents filed at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggest that Google is working toward cutting its robocars’ charger cables and beaming power to them instead.


Saturday February 06, 2016

Doom’s Box Art Is Terrible

There seems to be a unanimous hatred toward the cover art for the Doom reboot. I have not been following the game’s development and am surprised at how the main character is a Master Chief reject.

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That art is painfully boring and dull. You have a generic-looking robot soldier in front of what appears to be fire. It looks like something you'd find in the portfolio of a talented artist who was trying to show they could do a particular style without trying to use the imagery of any specific game. It's lifeless and dull.


Morocco Unveils Massive Solar Power Plant In The Sahara

Even if you don’t know a thing about solar technologies, you can probably appreciate the level of symmetry that went into this.

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The Noor I power plant is located near the town of Ouarzazate, on the edge of the Sahara. It's capable of generating up to 160 megawatts of power and covers thousands of acres of desert, making the first stage alone one of the world's biggest solar thermal power plants. When the next two phases, Noor II and Noor III, are finished, the plant will be the single largest solar power production facility in the world.


Zuckerberg: Facebook Will Have 5 Billion Users By 2030

That is an impressive estimate, but how many of those will be fake accounts?

By 2030, Facebook aims to have 5 billion of the world’s 7 billion humans connected to its social network, a 3.5-billion jump that could be accomplished in part by deploying autonomous planes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the comments Monday during an event at the company’s new Frank Gehry-designed headquarters designed to celebrate Facebook’s 12th anniversary Thursday, which it has dubbed Friends Day.


Batman v. Superman: The Batman Suite Music Sample

Hans Zimmer tasked Junkie XL with composing a new Batman theme since he already did that to death for the Nolan films. As I expected, Zimmer’s original work with Newton Howard is way better.


Teen Sues TV Station For Broadcasting His Genitals

"Ars has been unable to locate the offending footage…" Why would you even go looking for it?

A South Carolina teenager has sued a Colorado television station over allegations the station broadcasted a picture of his erect penis taken from a cell phone video uploaded to YouTube. The case, known as Holden v. KOAA, asks for $1 million in damages and accuses the station, its reporter, its parent companies (NBC and Comcast), and other defendants of violating federal child pornography laws, invasion of privacy and negligence, and other allegations.


Twitter To Introduce Algorithmic Timeline As Soon As Next Week

In light of this news, the hashtag "#RIPTwitter" is currently trending. Why can’t they introduce features that actually make sense, like an easier way to search within a specific user feed?

Say hello to a brand new Twitter. The company is planning to introduce an algorithmic timeline as soon as next week, BuzzFeed News has learned. The timeline will reorder tweets based on what Twitter’s algorithm thinks people most want to see, a departure from the current feed’s reverse chronological order. It is unclear whether Twitter will force users to use the algorithmic feed, or it will merely be an option.


Street Fighter V Live-Action Dance Battle

Capcom UK has decided to celebrate the impending release of Street Fighter V with poor cosplay. At least the music is tolerable.

…Capcom UK…hired London-based Hip-Hop dance theatre troupe ZooNation to perform a live round-robin-style dance battle called "Street Fighter V Hits London" at a launch event for their game Wednesday. The group dressed up as six fighters, including four classic characters — Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Cammy — and newcomers Laura and Rashid. The fighting is … Well, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a promotional dance performance inspired by a video game.


Is Steve Ballmer The Unsung Hero Of Microsoft’s Resurgence?

This editorial argues that Microsoft is still very much what it was under Ballmer’s leadership, despite Satya Nadella’s "recalibrations."

…despite Nadella's eschewing of that mantra and repositioning the company as "mobile first, cloud first," Microsoft still looks a lot like the company Steve Ballmer left behind: bursting with hardware inspiration that’s leading a once reluctant, usually monolithic and boring OEM contingent into a new era. Just look at the improved hybrid hardware from Dell, HP, Lenovo and even Asus. Moreover, Dell and HP have agreed do the unthinkable: resell and support Microsoft Surface in the enterprise. And Apple made the iPad Pro, a conspicuous Surface follower.


Film Coating Transforms Contact Lenses Into Computer Screens

Societal detachment continues with the possibility of future contact lenses doubling as electronic displays. At least no one will call you a Glasshole.

Scientists from the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute have successfully completed "proof of concept" research on a polymer film coating that conducts electricity on a contact lens, with the potential to build miniature electrical circuits that are safe to be worn by a person. UniSA researcher from the FII, Associate Professor Drew Evans said the technology was a "game changer" and could provide one of the safest methods to bring people and their smart devices closer together.


Verizon Betrays Net Neutrality By Excluding Video App From Data Caps

Verizon’s go90 video platform will no longer count against customers’ data caps, but this decision is regarded by many to be a violation of the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

Verizon and other carriers have argued that zero-rating programs, like the one snuck in today, are beneficial to consumers and do not violate the FCC's net neutrality rules — but their arguments are based on a market of artificial scarcity they have created, and now intend to exploit.


iPhones "Disabled" If Apple Detects Third-Party Repairs

It seems that Apple is now your only option if your iPhone needs repair. Apple has already hit back, claiming that the decision was made to protect your security.

Thousands of iPhone 6 users claim they have been left holding almost worthless phones because Apple’s latest operating system permanently disables the handset if it detects that a repair has been carried out by a non-Apple technician. Relatively few people outside the tech world are aware of the so-called "error 53" problem, but if it happens to you you’ll know about it. And according to one specialist journalist, it "will kill your iPhone".


Malware Museum Lets You Run Old MS-DOS Viruses

The Internet Archive has published a collection of old viruses that you can run under emulation to see their effects.

The Malware Museum is a collection of malware programs, usually viruses, that were distributed in the 1980s and 1990s on home computers. Once they infected a system, they would sometimes show animation or messages that you had been infected. Through the use of emulations, and additionally removing any destructive routines within the viruses, this collection allows you to experience virus infection of decades ago with safety.


Intel Says Chips To Become Slower But More Energy Efficient

This comes straight from the company’s Executive VP, who said that "the best pure technology improvements we can make will bring improvements in power consumption but will reduce speed."

Intel has said that new technologies in chip manufacturing will favour better energy consumption over faster execution times – effectively calling an end to ‘Moore’s Law’, which successfully predicted the doubling of density in integrated circuits, and therefore speed, every two years.


Friday February 05, 2016

H1Z1 Money Grab Begins with Game's Split?

TechLarry, long time cynical [H] reader, makes the point that the H1Z1 developers are out to grab more money for the stupid and wandering lifeless masses...and you too. Actually what is happening is that the makers are splitting its yet-to-really-be-released game H1Z1 into two games, each costing $20 in the very near future. However, if you buy H1Z1 before February 18th, you still get both versions of the game for $20

So, we’ve decided to do just that – we’re excited to announce that the survival game will now be called H1Z1: Just Survive, with a renewed focus on truly delivering a persistent, open-world zombie survival experience where scavenging, crafting, and base building are the difference between life and death.

We’re also excited to announce that the fast-paced shooter comprised of multiple, fight-to-the-death game modes, including Battle Royale, will be called H1Z1: King of the Kill (KotK).

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Thermaltake Launches 3DMakers Site

Can't find the exact part you are looking for in your latest PC build? Thermaltake is looking to make that a situation that will never happen again. 3DMakers.com allows users to upload and download free 3D printable PC mods of all kinds. If you are into 3D printing, and you might be soon, you will be glad to learn that all of the files are in a 3D-print-ready STL format. While this is in its infancy, I can see this getting big in the coming years. You know, before the death of the PC. Thermaltake already has a some files ready for download to 3D print that you can use to further modify your new Core P5 Thermaltake chassis.


Rise of the Tomb Raider Patch

I have yet to get into a good gaming session of Rise of the Tomb Raider, but I do know that Brent is working on an article right now to look at gaming performance. However it looks like all of his work just got pushed towards File 13 since this ROTR patch was just released and it does address a lot of graphics issues. While there are many more fixes listed than just these, these are the ones that stuck out to my eye.

New graphics option 'Specular Reflection Quality' to enhance resolution and reduce aliasing of specular reflections, at some performance cost.

New graphics option to disable film-grain independently from 'Screen Effects'.

Improved HBAO+ quality, including better occlusion for distant objects.

Improved NVIDIA SLI performance. (Steam only)

Fixed SLI glitches during water/snow effects. (Steam only)

Then I got to thinking, "What about Laura Croft...naked?" And I found this to share. Thank you ObsoleteGamer.com page with nothing on it, but bigger thanks to Google for the image cache. (Possibly NSFW, but SFW if no one is looking, you know what I mean.)

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Custom Lego Computer Chassis

This is not even close to the first time we have seen this done, but Mike Schropp over at TotalGeekdom has put together one of the most elegant Lego computer chassis examples I have ever seen. Typically the builders go with a bit of an overbright or corny look. Mike has not done that at all. I like this guy because he has gone beyond just putting bricks around his components, but also is custom re-building some of his components to work better in his system. Build you own PC in seconds at PC Hound, don't think you can prebuy a Lego case though you lazy bastard!

My thinking therefore took a turn to the "what if…" What if the design of the case was built to try to match the hardware better, to be more efficient in its packaging and system cooling? So I started looking into where improvements could be made. The thing that really stood out to me the most at this point was the inherent design drawbacks in system cooling. Here the standard box cases are, again, adequate. They rely on convection and usually an intake and exhaust fan (or more) cycling air through the system, exchanging fresh air for heated air. The downside of this system is that it doesn’t really control where the air is directed, and in most cases you end up with a lot of localized hot spots within the case because they do not have direct airflow. This allows for certain components to run hotter and, as a result, be less stable in a highly stressed system and more prone to failure.

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