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Monday August 29, 2016

AMD CTO Mark Papermaster and VP of Alliances Roy Taylor Detail Future of VR at IFA 2016

AMD announced today that Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster, will deliver a keynote address " Race to Reality – The Next Billion-People Market Opportunity," on Saturday September 3, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Central European Time (7:00 AM Eastern Time) in CityCube Berlin at IFA consumer electronic shows in Berlin.

"Today’s examples of virtual reality are just starting to show us what is possible. Key improvements in computing hardware, displays and sensors will occur over the next two to five years that will deliver improvements in performance, affordability, mobility of virtual reality solutions and form the foundation for a breadth of exciting new applications of the technology" said Papermaster. "Virtual and augmented reality have the potential to radically change many industries – from entertainment to education to healthcare - as it ushers us into a new era of innovation. The building blocks are all there, now the industry just needs to focus on improving hardware, visualization and software."

The market potential is substantial. A new report from research firm IDC states that the total revenue for virtual reality and augmented reality is projected to increase from $5.2 billion in 2016 to over $162 billion in 2020. Joining Papermaster on stage to discuss VR will be Roy Taylor, AMD Corporate Vice President of Alliances. Taylor was recently appointed chairman of the new virtual reality advisory group within the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The independent advisory group will be tasked with exploring the impact that VR will have on the current landscape of the film, television and games industries, and the opportunities for the next generation of storytellers to work within a new medium. Several VR industry leaders will also be joining on stage to discuss virtual reality developments in vertical areas including entertainment, broadcasting, journalism and education.


Intel Signs White House Equal Pay Pledge

Today, Intel has the pleasure of joining 28 other companies in signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge, a pledge signed by over 50 companies to date. Launched at the 2015 United States of Women Summit on Women’s Equality Day, the pledge encourages U.S. companies to take action to advance equal pay and affirms the key role businesses play in reducing the pay gap. For Intel, signing the pledge is a natural extension of its longstanding commitment to pay employees fairly and equitably at all levels of the organization.

Intel’s leaders believe in driving accountability through data. Driving real progress requires looking at the hard facts and developing strategies to close any gaps. On the issue of pay parity, Intel holds itself accountable with an annual, comprehensive audit in the U.S. that analyzes employees’ pay by gender and ethnicity. In our 2015 Annual Report, Intel disclosed that it achieved 100 percent gender pay parity. And in 2016, the company extended the analysis to look at pay data across race and ethnicities. Intel achieved 99 percent pay equity for underrepresented minorities, a gap company leaders are committed to closing by the end of the year. Intel’s commitment to equal pay, and to diversity and inclusion, comes from its conviction that reaching a critical mass of women and underrepresented minorities in our industry brings ample benefits to many, including increased innovation and a more diverse set of thoughts and perspectives.


Sunday August 28, 2016

Jason Bourne 3D Causes Nausea, Protest In China

Why would anyone convert a Paul Greengrass film to 3D? It’s a good thing that this "special edition" was never released in the States.

...many Chinese moviegoers alleged that the 3D version of Jason Bourne had left them feeling dizzy and nauseous. Others soon joined the chorus to complain that it was too difficult to see the original 2D version, as cinemas were overwhelmingly screening the 3D option. "I really felt sick during the fight scenes when I watched it in 3D," posted a user name azooombie on Weibo, a Chinese social media service, adding: "It was like a low-budget movie. I need to watch again in 2D." 3D is a dominant cinema format in China. The vast majority of China's estimated 37,000-39,000 movie screens were built over the past decade, and some 80 percent are equipped with 3D projection technology.


Tomb Raider's New Director Comes From Battlefield Hardline, Dead Space

Does this mean Lara will die in even more horrific ways in the next Tomb Raider title? The franchise’s new leader served as the creative director for Battlefield Hardline and as the art director for the Dead Space games.

No sequel to Rise of the Tomb Raider has been announced yet, but on Oct. 11, Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20-Year Celebration launches on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, which includes the game and all of its previously released DLC, plus a new story chapter and other in-game content. Milham's title with Crystal Dynamics is game director. ""Adventure games have always been my first love," Milham said in a statement. "I've admired Crystal's work for a while now, as they continue to deliver top notch narrative and spectacle, coupled with deep systems and player choice."


Princeton University Researchers Unveil 25-Core Piton Processor

This guy was built specifically for data centers. What is most commendable about this chip is how scalable it is—designs can be built that go from a dozen to several thousand cores, and the architecture enables thousands of chips to be connected into a single system containing millions of cores.

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It's called "Piton," named after the metal spikes rock climbers hammer into cracks or seams of mountainsides to anchor their position, and it's built after a scalable architecture that could boost processing speed while cutting back energy use. Piton represents several years of research and development by David Wentzlaff, a Princeton assistant professor of electrical engineering and associated faculty in the Department of Computer Science, and his students. It's also a rare thing—Wentzlaff says it's not often that a physical piece of hardware is created in an academic setting.


ZeniMax Lawsuit Against Oculus Directly Accuses John Carmack Of Theft

ZeniMax is now accusing Carmack of stealing (copying) thousands of VR-related documents and a customized development tool from their offices shortly before and after he stopped working for them. The company also insists that Palmer Luckey is a liar and that he didn’t invent Rift’s VR technology.

"For many years, ZeniMax invested tens of millions of dollars in research and development, including research into virtual reality and immersive technologies. In 2011 and 2012, John Carmack, a singularly experienced and highly proficient ZeniMax programmer who was at that time Technical Director for ZeniMax’s Texas-based subsidiary, id Software, conducted research to address technological issues associated with virtual reality," the complaint reads. "Carmack and other ZeniMax employees conducted that research at ZeniMax offices, on ZeniMax computers, and using ZeniMax resources."


U.S. Government Wants To Electronically Limit Truck Speeds

If the administration has its way, trucks and buses would be capped at 60, 65, or 68 mph. All of the horrendous standstill traffic jams I’ve recently dealt with involved turned-over trucks, but it’s hard to say whether the trucker was reckless or some jackass cut him off.

…all newly manufactured trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds would be required to come equipped with devices limiting their speeds to 60–68 mph. That would cover big rigs, dump trucks, refuse haulers, many buses, and other large work trucks. The new rule is being touted by the feds as an important step toward fighting the rise in traffic fatalities across the country, as well as a key ingredient in lowering CO2 emissions.


HBM3: Cheaper, Up To 64GB On-Package, And Terabytes-Per-Second Bandwidth

Here is some talk about the next iteration of High Bandwidth Memory, which Samsung and Hynix are working on. HBM is basically a stacked RAM configuration, meaning space savings and bandwidth improvements. The third generation is expected to not only increase the density of memory dies but have more stacked on a single chip.

HBM1, as used in AMD's Fury graphics cards, was limited to 4GB stacks. HBM2, as used in Nvidia's workstation-only P100 graphics card, features higher density stacks up to 16GB, but is prohibitively expensive for consumer cards. HBM3 will double density of the individual memory dies from 8Gb to 16Gb (~2GB), and will allow for more than eight dies to be stacked together in a single chip. Graphics cards with up to 64GB of memory are possible. HBM3 will feature a lower core voltage than the 1.2V of HBM2, as well as more than two times the peak bandwidth: HBM2 offers 256GB/s of bandwidth per layer of DRAM, while HBM3 doubles that to 512GB/s. The total amount of memory bandwidth available could well be terabytes per second.


Ramin Djawadi Is Scoring Gears Of War 4

Mr. Djawadi should be a familiar name to anyone who has even a minor interest in film scores, as he has provided the music for movies such as Iron Man and Pacific Rim, as well as shows that include Game of Thrones and Prison Break. As an aside, I don’t mind suffering through a bad game or movie as long as it has a good soundtrack.


Price Of Solar Declining To Unprecedented Lows

Solar installations are rising while prices have been steadily declining since 2010. The article points out that lower costs are due to factors ranging from less costly inverters to cheaper installation and permitting.

…the latest data show that the continued decrease in solar prices is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, with total installed prices dropping by 5 percent for rooftop residential systems, and 12 percent for larger utility-scale solar farms. With solar already achieving record-low prices, the cost decline observed in 2015 indicates that the coming years will likely see utility-scale solar become cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity generation.


Sony And Panasonic Partner To Sell 8K TVs By 2020

Technically, the article is more about Japan wanting to broadcast the 2020 Olympics in 8K, but it does allude to that year as a potential springboard for 4K’s successor. I feel like 4K just came out yesterday; this may play out similarly to the initial switch to HDTV and the mingling of 720p/1080p sets.

Nikkei reports that Sony plans to start selling its own 8K TVs in 2020, while Panasonic did not disclose a date. The two companies are reportedly happy to work together for the time being to develop the technology, simply because there is no existing market for them to compete over. NHK meanwhile reportedly wants to start full-scale broadcasting of 8K TV in 2018. But even if Japan is ready for 8K by 2020, it's unlikely the rest of the world will be entirely caught up.


AMD Rockets Past 100 FreeSync Displays

AMD just broke a record with Lenovo’s Y27f, which happens to be the 101st display released that supports their FreeSync technology. As you probably already know, these monitors provide a stutter- and tear-free experience.

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AMD’s game-smoothing FreeSync monitors launched a full year after Nvidia’s rival G-Sync displays, but they’ve been coming fast and furious ever since. Late Thursday, the company revealed that its technology surpassed not one, but two major milestones with the launch of the 27-inch Y27f ($400 on Amazon) earlier this month. This curved, 144Hz 1080p display is both Lenovo’s first-ever FreeSync display, as well as the 101st FreeSync display released overall. FreeSync and G-Sync monitors synchronize the refresh rate of your graphics card with your display. That eliminates stutter and tearing, resulting in gameplay so buttery smooth that you’ll never be able to use a traditional non-variable refresh rate monitor again.


No Man’s Sky Players Are Getting Refunds From PSN And Steam

And the bad publicity for No Man’s Sky continues. It seems that even Steam and Sony have accepted the belief that the developer misled players and are letting people, some of which have already accumulated plenty of hours, get full refunds.

While the refund request isn’t being processed for everyone, some of the users who were eligible for the refund have actually played the game for a while including one on PSN, who claims to have played more than 40 hours of No Man’s Sky yet he was granted a refund by Sony on PSN. There is currently a huge outcry for No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games for misleading marketing. There was never any clear cut answer about the lack of multiplayer but it was implied that there would be some interaction between the players at launch, which never turned out to be the case.


Saturday August 27, 2016

RIAA: Library Of Congress May Become Piracy Hub

The Copyright Office is considering mandatory deposit of electronic, online-only media (e.g., music tracks not available on disc and through streaming only), yet the RIAA is concerned that the library’s systems can be hacked, resulting in millions of records being leaked to the public and loss of revenue. I am not sure what the fuss is, since practically all commercial digital media inevitably gets leaked anyway.

According to the RIAA, there is a risk that content hosted by the Library may be exploited by pirates, who could copy the music and share it on various pirate sites. This could then crush the major record labels’ revenues. "It is well-established that the recorded music industry has been inundated with digital piracy," the RIAA writes. "If sound recordings available through the Library – whether on-premises or online – were managed in a way that patrons could use those recordings for uploading to pirate web sites and unlicensed streaming services or if the Library’s collection of sound recordings were made electronically available to the public at large, that could have a devastating impact on our member companies’ revenues."


3D Printing The Matrix Of Leadership

This probably makes for a way better Creation Matrix than whatever cheap plastic Hasbro is peddling.


EU: Internet Companies May Have To Pay Publishers For News

I can’t imagine how much a company like Google would have to pay up if something like this was passed and they didn’t just go ahead and shut down their aggregator. Basically, publishers believe they deserve compensation whenever internet companies display their content.

The possible EU move to pave the way for potentially lucrative agreements between publishers and web giants could be a boon to news publishers who have been hurting from falling revenue as more readers consume news online. But the draft rules could be a blow to internet companies like Google who may now have to negotiate individual deals with publishers if they want part of the newspaper articles to appear in their news search service.


An Alarming Number Of Scientific Papers Contain Excel Errors

What’s worse? The notion that many geneticists don’t proofread their data, or that it took this long for someone to realize this was going on?

…genes are often referred to in scientific literature by symbols — essentially shortened versions of full gene names. The gene "Septin 2" is typically shortened as SEPT2. "Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase" gets mercifully shortened to MARCH1. But when you type these shortened gene names into Excel, the program automatically assumes they refer to dates — Sept. 2 and March 1, respectively. If you type SEPT2 into a default Excel cell, it magically becomes "2-Sep." It's stored by the program as the date 9/2/2016.


Halo 5: Forge Requires 16GB Of RAM For 4K At 60FPS

343 Industries has revealed the requirements for Halo 5: Forge on PC, and it seems pretty demanding. You’ll also need Windows 10 Anniversary Edition in order to run the game.

Halo 5: Forge launches on September 8 and brings the full Forge map editor to PC. Alongside the game, 343 Industries is also releasing a Halo app that acts as a hub for all the Windows 10 PC games (Halo 5: Forge, Spartan Strike, Spartan Assault, Halo Wars, and Halo Wars 2). In addition, Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One is getting a new DLC pack on September 8. Called Anvil's Legacy, it adds a new Arena map and a new Warzone map, as well as new weapons and weapon attachments.


BioShock's Breathtaking First 14 Minutes, Remastered

I hate the fact that the BioShock remaster is part of a collection you’ll need to pay $60 for, but the first game does look worthy of a revisit. The commentary, most of which is just annoying, does point out some minor differences from the original, such as the addition of a jellyfish swarm in the intro.


Apollo Lake Laptops May Ditch Replaceable RAM

Is not being able to replace a laptop’s memory a deal breaker for you? You’ll probably be avoiding the majority of Apollo Lake portables then, as it is being reported that manufacturers are opting for onboard soldered designs.

…replacing the memory sticks with higher-capacity models wasn’t an impossible feat for consumers using a screwdriver and the wondrous unlimited power of Google. However, if the memory is now on-board, the chips are soldered into place on the motherboard itself and cannot be replaced. As a result, notebook motherboards supporting Apollo Lake won’t have any memory bank slots whatsoever, reducing the overall amount of hardware packed into the super-thin form factor. This slightly reduces manufacturing costs for the OEM, as well.


MIT Develops Groundbreaking Wi-Fi That's Three Times Faster

MIT scientists claim to have created a new wireless technology that can triple Wi-Fi data speeds while also doubling the range of the signal. The technology basically combines multiple transmitters and receivers that work simultaneously, which allows for the sending and receiving of more than one data signal at the same time.

MIT claimed that during tests, MegaMIMO 2.0 was able to increase data transfer speed of four laptops connected to the same Wi-Fi network by 330 percent. Paper co-author Rahul said the technology could also be applied to mobile phone networks to solve similar congestion issues. The system is similar in size to a standard Wi-Fi router and could prove particularly useful at high-capacity events where large numbers of people are fighting for bandwidth space, such as concerts and football matches.


Facebook Fires Entire Trending Stories Editorial Staff

I was wondering why Facebook was no longer showing those small story snippets. The company is now using an algorithm to select trending topics and articles, so they can now blame a program instead of people when something goes wrong.

Quartz confirmed from multiple sources that Facebook has laid off the entire editorial staff on the Trending team—15-18 workers contracted through a third party. The Trending team will now be staffed entirely by engineers, who will work to check that topics and articles surfaced by the algorithms are newsworthy. Facebook maintains that trending items have always been selected by algorithms; the former editorial staff was only responsible for writing the story descriptions seen in the Trending section, according to the company. This was disputed by former contractors hired by the tech giant who told Gizmodo in May that they were instructed to manually add some stories by hand.


Friday August 26, 2016

[H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews

Today is Friday and you know what that means! It is time once again for the [H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews! For anyone that might have missed them, we like to take a quick look back on the hardware evaluations and articles we posted earlier in the week. We kicked the week off with our AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: Google's Tilt Brush article, followed by our evaluation of the SilverStone SX700-LPT 700W SFX-L power supply. Finally, we wrapped things up our Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Performance and IQ Preview and our AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: Project Cars article.

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Sign Up To Watch AMD IFA Keynote On VR

Those of you interested in watching AMD's IFA keynote can sign up here. The keynote will be delivered by AMD CTO and SVP Mark Papermaster in Berlin, Germany on September 3rd.

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses us in an entirely computer generated world, enabling experiences beyond our wildest dreams, where we can see and do things unimaginable now. An increasing chorus of pundits predict VR will dramatically change the landscape of every industry, from healthcare to entertainment, education, fashion, and business. This new era will connect the world of our imagination, our senses and even our intuition. The fact VR is now possible is due to tremendous advancements in computer processing power, graphics and display technologies, and software development tools. This visionary keynote provides unique insights as to where The Immersive Computing Era may take us…today and tomorrow.


HTC Vive at Gamescom 2016

HTC partnered with AMD this year to show off the power of the Vive at Gamescom 2016. In addition to AMD, developers such as Croteam, Mifcom, Narayana Games, VR Unicorns, and others all had VR games and simulations on display at the show. Watching people play VR games in a room scale environment gives you a good idea why we like to use the HTC Vive in our VR reviews.


[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: Deepcool DUKASE WHV2 @ FunkyKit

Cooling: CM MasterLiquid Maker 92 @ techPowerUP!

ETC.: Cooler Master Devastator II @ OCInside

SteelSeries Rival 700 Mouse @ APH Networks

Video: Custom GTX 1080 Round-Up @ HotHardware

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC @ LanOC

Self-Driving Uber Spotted In Pittsburgh

Remember when we told you that Uber would be rolling out its self-driving fleet in Pittsburgh later this month (here)? Well, it is later this month and self driving Uber cars are being spotted in downtown Pittsburgh.

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Bummer: Binge Watching Is Bad For Your Boner

Seriously folks, you can't make stuff like this up. Researchers claim that we are having less sex because we are binge watching Netflix. Oh yeah, before I forget, binge watching TV also leads to depressions and chronic disease. So much for your plans to binge watch Family Guy. frown

In the 1990s, says David Spiegelhalter, a professor and statistician at Cambridge University, couples had sex about five times per month. Today it's down to three — and Spiegelhalter says binge watching is partially to blame. (In fairness, he also points to people's obsessions with their phones and other digital distractions.) A seeming combination of obsessive watching of shows and the ensuing lack of sleep results in a lowered libido.


Apple Zero-Days Mark A New Era Of Mobile Hacking

But....but...iPhones are invulnerable to these types of attacks. How can this be? All joking aside, three zero-days chained together to form a one-click jailbreak is just craziness. eek!

On August 12, a week after Krstic’s announcement, Apple’s fears about an unknown vulnerability came true. Ahmed Mansoor, an activist based in the United Arab Emirates, showed strange text messages he’d received to the human rights and technology organization Citizen Lab. The text messages contained a suspicious link, and analysis by Citizen Lab and the security firm Lookout determined that the link delivered a highly sophisticated packet of three zero-days that could take total control of Mansoor’s phone and spy on his calls, emails, text messages and contact lists.


FBI-Controlled Megaupload Domain Now Features Soft Porn

The U.S. Government is doing a fantastic job of making sure the seized Megaupload domains are safe and secure. Just kidding, the sites are now home to soft porn advertisements. That's gotta be embarrassing.

As part of its criminal case against Megaupload, the U.S. Government seized several domain names belonging to Kim Dotcom's file-hosting service. Nearly five years later the authorities still control the domains but they haven't done a very good job of securing them. Megaupload.org now links to a soft porn portal.


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