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March 3, 2015
Comments (0) | Posted at 04:55PM PST by bp9801

The Khronos Group has taken the wraps off its next-generation OpenGL API and have given it a name: Vulkan. Vulkan, previously known as glNext, is a low-overhead API to enhance multi-threaded 3D development, so different threads can prepare batches to send to the GPU at the same time. Developers will now have more control over creating commands, with things like memory and thread management handled by the developer instead of the video driver. This will let the driver do less work than it does now, which could help overall performance. Vulkan is made with modern hardware in mind, with complex GPUs and CPUs that have multiple threads to handle more load.

Vulkan, like OpenGL, will work across operating systems and hardware vendors, so everyone can benefit from what it offers, including mobile users. One thing different between OpenGL and Vulkan is how the latter handles shader programs. OpenGL would require every driver to have a full shader compiler for things written in the GLSL shader language. However, Vulkan takes a page from Direct3D, and has the shaders compiled into SPIR-V, which is then what the drivers will use for shaders. SPIR-V is an update to SPIR 2.0 and has been developed alongisde Vulkan. SPIR-V combines graphics and computation; so regardless if its a graphical shader written using GLSL, a computational shader using OpenCL C, or any other language, SPIR-V compiles them all and is the only thing the video driver has to use.

Valve and other developers will show off early engines built using Vulkan during GDC 2015 this week. The final specification and drivers for Vulkan won't appear until later this year. Even with the advent of Vulkan, OpenGL isn't going away, as Vulkan is a lower level control that may not be a good fit for everything used by OpenGL. It's kind of like DirectX 11 and 12, where both will exist at the same time based on which developers need what aspects. However, as seen yesterday, AMD's Mantle is effectively going away, since both DirectX 12 and Vulkan do what Mantle did, just not restriced to only AMD GPUs.

Sources: Khronos Group and Ars Technica

Comments (0) | Posted at 04:51PM PST by CheeseMan42

Sony has announced an updated design and hardware specifications for the PS4 powered virtual reality headset known as Project Morpheus. The hardware updates center around the viewing apparatus with a larger 5.7" screen operating at 1920x1080 with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The field of view has also been increased to 100 degrees with latency lowered to 18 milliseconds. Project Morpheus has an expected release date sometime in early 2016 with no price announced.

Source: Engadget

Comments (0) | Posted at 04:38PM PST by CheeseMan42

Geometrics, a company owned by ARM, revealed its next generation lighting engine, Enlighten 3, at the Game Developers Conference. The third iteration of the software "offers a unique method of implementing advanced dynamic lighting inside of digital content, which not only improves the image visually as compared to the older Enlighten technology, but also offers significant performance gains." Developers will be able to create realistic lighting effects in their games while also giving a "greater amount of control over the direction, angle, and lighting level as a result." As part of the engine, Geometrics has also released a tool called Forge to make it easier to include the new features in games. Forge is currently compatible with the Unreal Engine 3 and 4 with plans to expand to other engines in the future.

Source: Toms Hardware

Comments (0) | Posted at 03:23PM PST by Guest_Jim_*
Wave-Particle Duality Imaged for First Time

Even though Einstein is best known for his theories of relativity, it was his paper on the photoelectric effect that earned him his Nobel Prize. A central concept to this paper was that light exists as both a particle and a wave, which was actually a matter of debate for centuries as different experiments can show it as one or the other. That limitation of experiments to show either the wave or the particle nature has continued until recently as researchers at EPFL have finally designed an experiment that shows both.

To finally catch light as both wave and particle, the researchers turned to electrons to capture the image. First a laser pulse was fired at a nanowire, causing its electrons to become excited and radiate light around the wire as a standing wave. Next the researchers fired a beam of electrons near the wire, because as they pass through the light, they will speed up or slow down. The image the researchers took showed the standing light wave, confirming the wave nature, but at the same time showed quantized energy packets. This indicates that the electrons were interacting with photons, the quanta or particle of light.

This is the first time the paradoxical nature of quantum mechanics has been directly demonstrated by an experiment, and will definitely impact fundamental science. It could also have applications with future technologies, like quantum computers, with its ability to image and control quantum phenomena.



Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:06AM PST by gebraset
HyperX Releases FURY DDR4 Memory and Additional Predator DDR4 Kits

HyperX, the high-performance product division of Kingston Technology, has just released its FURY DDR4 memory line. The latest product line from HyperX offers value oriented consumers with high performance, maximum reliability, and great aesthetics. The FURY DDR4 memory line is compatible with the Intel X99 chipset, is available in 2133MHz, 2400MHz, and 2666MHz frequencies, comes in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB kits, and features a low profile, black heat spreader color and matching PCB. FURY DDR4 memory operates at 1.2V for maximum power efficiency, is completely factory tested to ensure reliability, and comes with a lifetime warranty that includes free technical support.

Along with the release of FURY DDR4 memory, HyperX has expanded its high-end Predator DDR4 family, which was recently overclocked to a world record, with 32GB and 64GB kits in order to cater to performance driven enthusiasts.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 06:57AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

We have all grown used to QR codes, most likely, as these codes are used in a variety of places to provide useful information or links to whoever pulls out their smartphone. They may be getting a new use in the future though, thanks to researchers at the University of Connecticut who want to use them to secure computer chips.

Believe it or not, but there are counterfeit computer chips being made out there, possibly with the purpose of making money but also to compromise security systems. Just a few years ago over 100 cases were revealed by a Senate Armed Services Committee report and fixing the issues of the counterfeit, Chinese electronics cost some $2.675 million. To try to prevent that from happening again, the Connecticut researchers suggest encoding vital statistics about computer chips into QA codes that are placed on the chips. By encrypting the data and compressing it all into the code, so an Internet connection is not required, the chips can be authenticated.

To further improve security, the researchers used a random phase photon-based encryption system to make the image hard to duplicate without knowing the appropriate codes. Instead of the white and black designs we may find around us, the resulting image can be microns in size and resemble a night sky with a few dots of pixelated light.

Source: University of Connecticut

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:17AM PST by gebraset
Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC Graphics Card Introduced by Sapphire

Sapphire has officially introduced its latest graphics card offering, the Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC, that is aimed at valued oriented builds. This graphics card includes a full length, dual-slot cooler and offers a cooling solution that features a copper core base, a plethora of aluminum fins, and an 80mm fan. The Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC comes with 896 Graphics CoreNext stream processors, a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, core clock speeds of 1050MHz, and 2GB of memory clocked at 5GHz. The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCIe power connector and includes one DisplayPort 1.2a, one dual-link DVI, and one HDMI 1.4a.

Source: TechPowerUp

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:02AM PST by gebraset

ECS, a motherboard manufacturing company based out of Taiwan, has announced its first ever worldwide "How do you LIVA" short film contest. The contest is centered on the company’s LIVA X desktop, a Mini PC that has been available for roughly two months and features an incredible amount of technology packed into a small and efficient package. The contest is open to virtually anyone and seeks to find the most creative individuals who can portray in just 90 seconds how LIVA X can make life better. Participants in the "How do you LIVA" short film contest are competing to win a grand prize of roughly $4774.87 and an invitation to participate in Computex 2015 in Taiwan.

Details about the ECS LIVA short film contest, including contest stages and additional award information, can be found on the official contest website.

Source: Press Release

March 2, 2015
Comments (0) | Posted at 08:59PM PST by bp9801

AMD's experiment with its Mantle API may be nearing its end, as a recent blog post by AMD urged developers to focus on DirectX 12 and next-generation OpenGL (glNext). Raja Koduri, Vice President of Visual and Perceptual Computing at AMD, wrote a blog covering the future of Mantle and APIs in general. Koduri went over the levels Mantle reached, with five game engines and ten premium applications making use of it, but also focused on the future for Mantle. And the future, it seems, is rather bleak.

AMD will no longer release the Mantle SDK to the public, but Koduri did not say that Mantle is completely dead. It will live on, albeit in a seemingly reduced role. The company will be making a 450-page programming guide available later this month as a sort ofsmall consolation prize. AMD hopes the guide gives developers the chance to see what Mantle could do and possibly generate ideas to be used in the future for other APIs.

The upcoming Battlefield: Hardline will still make use of Mantle, with AMD providing EA all the resources it can to make it a success. Koduri also said the openness of Mantle will broaden, but full details of that will come this Thursday at GDC 2015. Even though the Mantle SDK won't see a public release, AMD will still make it available for partners that register in the co-development and evaulation program to figure out APIs in the future. For everything else, there's DirectX 12 and glNext.

Mantle may be at its end, and while it never saw the major support the likes of DirectX and OpenGL garnered, it has been successful in some aspects. One in particular was getting DirectX and OpenGL to innovate and get with the times. AMD saw an inefficiency in how DirectX was using the CPU, which Mantle corrected. The upcoming DirectX 12 addresses that and other shortcomings, so in that regard Mantle was a success. GlNext hasn't been fully unveiled yet (should happen this week), so we'll have to see exactly what all that incorporates, but it's supposed to be a complete reworking of OpenGL to make it modern.

Source: AMD Gaming Blog

Comments (0) | Posted at 04:38PM PST by CheeseMan42

Mushkin first unveiled the STRIKER line of solid state drives at CES 2015. The STRIKER line is powered by the Phison PS3110-S10 quad-core SSD controller, offering read and write speeds up to 565MB/s and 550MB/s, respectively. The drives are available in capacities of 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB from authorized retailers such as Newegg. Director of Product Development Brian Flood described the drives stating, "STRIKER is aptly named for its purpose: to mark its place as the premier high-performance solid-state drive series. The STRIKER will allow its users to experience highly-accelerated application load times, boot performance, multimedia editing, and general usage."

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 04:30PM PST by CheeseMan42

Google is finally addressing the rumors that it was going to become a wireless carrier by confirming the speculation at the Mobile World Congress earlier today. Senior VP Sundar Pichai said the company would enter the market on a "small scale" as a mobile network virtual operator (MNVO). As an MNVO, Google would purchase access from larger carriers like Sprint and then sell its own plans. Google will treat the new project as an experiment similar to the Nexus phone, with plans to expand the service likely contingent on its success. Pichai also mentioned that Google will launch its first drones as part of Project Titan later this year. Project Titan and Project Loon, which uses balloons instead of drones, are efforts to help spread Internet access to the more than four billion people without it.

Source: Mashable

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:51AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

You read the title correctly, Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to download, and future updates will also be free. Previously the engine was available by a $19 per month subscription, but now anyone can use it and the various resources about it. This includes access to the source code. All Epic Games requires is a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3000 is earned by a shipped game or application.

The reason behind this strategy change, as explained in the blog post linked below, is that Epic Games has been so impressed by the creativity of those using UE4 so far, that the company chose to remove the "last barrier to entry." When the company asked for projects to show off at this year's GDC, it received over 100 that were "good enough to show," but had to pick just eight. Current subscribers are going to be issued a pro-rated refund for their most recent month's payment, and everyone who has ever paid will receive a $30 credit to the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

Source: Unreal Engine

Comments (0) | Posted at 10:09AM PST by bp9801

A new week and a new month is here at last, with some items along the way to get your Monday started right. There is a review of the SilverStone Raven RV05 case, which once again features a unique internal configuration and an exterior design that resembles the first Raven. We also have a look at the Corsair Carbide Series 100R case, an inexpensive unit that still comes loaded with plenty of features. If you need a way to keep your CPU cool, then perhaps the Cooler Master Nepton 240M all-in-one liquid cooler is the one for you. For those in the market for a new keyboard, the Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL with its Topre switches provides a unique typing experience. Rounding out today's items is the Dell Venue 8 7000 Intel-powered Android tablet.

SilverStone Raven RV05 @ PC Perspective
Corsair Carbide Series 100R @ ThinkComputers

CPU Cooling
Cooler Master Nepton 240M All-in-One Liquid Cooler @ PC Perspective

Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Gaming Keyboard @ Madshrimps

Dell Venue 8 7000 @ TechSpot

Comments (0) | Posted at 07:53AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Efficiency is important for just about all electronics, and that is not going to change any time soon. In fact if we do see the Internet of Things become a reality, efficiency is going to be key to connecting all of our various devices and appliances. To that end, researchers at MIT have developed a way to significantly improve the efficiency of radio chips by reducing off-state leakage.

Semiconductors are interesting electronic materials as they possess both conductive and insulating properties, which can be switched on and off. Because they are not perfect insulators, the transistors made of them can leak some energy when they are in their off-state. To improve the insulating properties, the researchers push a negative charge into a wire running across the transistor, as this stops the electrons that would otherwise leak out. A charge pump is used to create the negative charge.

As you may have guessed, this negative charge does take some power to produce, but at the cost of 20 picowatts, some 10,000 pW can be saved. If devices are going to start having sensors and transmitters built in to build an Internet of things, such efficiency will practically be a necessity.

Source: MIT

Comments (0) | Posted at 06:13AM PST by gebraset
SanDisk Reveals 200GB microSD Card

SanDisk has revealed its latest microSD card that packs a total of 200GB of storage, making it the highest capacity microSD card ever produced worldwide. According to SanDisk, the latest storage breakthrough was made possible by utilizing a proprietary design and production process that allows for more bits of memory per chip. Although the company did not reveal details of the production process, the ability to store 200GB of information on a device so small is quite a technological feat, since the latest microSD card offers 56 percent more storage than a 128GB microSD card, the highest capacity currently available. SanDisk notes that the card offers data transfer at up to 90MB per second, which is the equivalent to roughly 1,200 photos per minute, making it ideal for a wealth of applications.

The 200GB microSD card from SanDisk is expected to be available in the second quarter of this year and will retail for $400 at launch.

Source: PCWorld

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:57AM PST by gebraset
Enthoo EVOLV ITX Chassis Announced by Phanteks

Phanteks, a developer of CPU coolers, fans, and chassis, has officially announced the Enthoo EVOLV ITX chassis, a Mini ITX case that fits directly within the EVOLV lineup in the Enthoo Series. The latest case by Phanteks, which is quite similar to the already available Enthoo EVOLV case, offers a minimalistic design along with a wealth of premium features, such as a side panel window, a metal exterior, multiple fan filters, top mounted radiator support, and a multi-functional mid plate bracket for a reservoir, pump, and SSD/HDD. The Enthoo EVOLV ITX, which measures 9.1 x 14.8 x 15.6-inches, supports videos cards up to 13-inches in length and comes included with one PH-F200SP fan and a front I/O port.

The Enthoo EVOLV ITX will be available to purchase sometime this month and features an MSRP of $79.99.

Source: TechPowerUp

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:33AM PST by gebraset

According to data listed within a new report by International Data Corporation, Android successfully claimed 81.5 percent of the global smartphone market last year. The report notes that Samsung shipped more units that the next five vendors combined, allowing the company to remain the top original equipment manufacturer of Android-powered smartphones. Last year alone, the mobile operating system by Google saw a total increase of 2.8 percent in regards to global market share. Despite Android dominating the smartphone market on a global scale for 2014, iOS was able to secure 14.8 percent market share, down slightly from its 15.1 percent share in 2013. Unfortunately for Windows Phone and BlackBerry, both did very poor overall, as the mobile operating systems only made up 2.7 percent and 0.4 percent market share for the global environment, respectively.

Source: IDC

March 1, 2015
Comments (1) | Posted at 11:07AM PST by bp9801

A recent rumor is now reality, as Valve has unveiled a new virtual reality called Vive. This VR headset is designed by HTC (dubbed a "strategic partnership" between the two) and will be available later this year, however a developer edition launches this spring to get games supported as fast as possible. The developer edition headset uses two 1200x1080 displays with a 90 frames per second refresh rate, which HTC says helps to eliminate jitter in order to produce lifelike scenes. The displays work together to give you a 360-degree field of view, with HTC claiming the Vive is the first headset capable of a "full room-scale" experience. Users can explore their environment by walking around, interacting with objects, and actually feel like they're in the virtual environment.

Each Vive headset has a gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor to track your movement to give that full experience, with head movements tracked to within one-tenth of a degree. The headsets work in tandem with SteamVR, a base station that enables you to walk around the environment instead of moving a joystick. Movements are tracked in an area up to 15 feet by 15 feet, which should be plenty big enough for nearly any room it will be in. HTC does say the Vive is lightweight so wearing it for long periods of time won't tire out users, and while the developer edition features headphone jacks, the consumer edition may have built-in audio. Accomplishing that and staying lightweight will be interesting to see, but it looks like HTC and Valve are getting things figured out.

A pair of wireless controllers come with the developer edition (and presumably the consumer edition) to track hand movements, which can let you do tasks like opening doors and picking up objects to firing a weapon. The Vive is meant to enhance games, but it can also be used for other things, like watching movies or TV shows, or even navigating the Web to view concerts, museums, and more.

More information on the Vive virtual headset will be available during the Game Developers Conference, which runs all this week in San Francisco. HTC and Valve will have some units on hand for attendees to check out.

Source: The Verge

February 27, 2015
Comments (0) | Posted at 10:58AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

The prospect of materials being able to carry electrical currents without resistance has been of great interest to people for a long time now, but achieving it has proven very difficult. Superconductivity is a somewhat fragile state, as many things can disrupt it, so we need to find ways to either remove these disruptions, or control them. Researchers at John Hopkins University have done the latter by trapping electron vortices.

Electron vortices occur in superconductors when they are exposed to magnetic fields, and they can disrupt the resistance-free supercurrents as they move around. Along the edge of the superconductor, the vortices will be pinned in place, but in the bulk of a material it is much harder to stop them from moving. The researchers' solution to the problem was to make an aluminum nanowire, as it is mostly edges. This caused the vortices to become trapped on the edge and form a single row, which the supercurrent was able to avoid.

Besides demonstrating a way to stop these vortices from interfering, this research could also prove useful in other ways. Some day we could see the vortices used to transmit information, like how electrical charges are used today.

Source: John Hopkins University

Comments (0) | Posted at 09:49AM PST by bp9801

It is the end of the week and very nearly the end of the month, and we have a couple of items for you to check out to welcome in the weekend. There is a look at 20 of the worst PC setups seen during the month of February, with some that may leave you scratching your head at how it all somehow doesn't fall down during anything more than checking email. We also have a new podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

20 of the Worst PC Setups - February 2015 @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #338 @ PC Perspective

Comments (0) | Posted at 07:14AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

I am starting to wonder if graphene is more amazing or ridiculous as its number of applications continues to increase. Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that graphene oxide could be used to treat cancer. More specifically it can target cancer stem cells and prevent them from forming tumor-spheres.

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are exactly what they sound like; cancer cells that can differentiate into other cancers and are what causes cancer to spread. They also have to do with cancer recurring after treatment. Graphene oxide has been investigated for use in biomedicine before, because it is able to enter or attach to cell surfaces, but this is the first time it has been shown to work as an anti-cancer drug on its own. It appears it attaches to the surfaces of the CSCs and blocks the pathways used to form tumor-spheres. The researchers also observed it triggering the differentiation of the CSCs into non-cancer stem cells. The tests were done with six different cancer types (breast, pancreatic, lung, brain, ovarian, and prostate) and it was effective against all of them, suggesting it could work with a larger number of cancers, and perhaps even all of them.

Normally CSCs are unaffected by radiation and chemotherapies, which kill bulk cancer cells, so a means to target them directly is very important. Of course a lot of work will have to be done before graphene oxide flakes could be used for treating cancer, but this is still a very significant discovery.

Source: University of Manchester

Comments (0) | Posted at 06:05AM PST by gebraset

Social media services like Twitter are taking the safety of its users very seriously. Facebook is doing the same, as it has just announced updated tools that are able provide a wealth of resources, advice, and support to people who may be struggling with suicide. The updated tools come after the company partnered with a variety of mental health organizations such as Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Save.org, as well as people who have dealt with self-injury or suicide thoughts. Users of Facebook who see a direct threat of suicide are being urged to contact their local emergency services immediately, of course, but the social networking service is touting that it has teams that work every hour of every day to review any report that comes in. The team is able to send resources to those in distress, and Facebook now allows users who flagged the self-harm post to call or message their distressed friend in order to let them know that they care.

The updated tools are expected to roll out to Facebook users located in the United States in the coming months, and the social networking service remains committed to improving its tools for users located outside of the United States.

Source: Facebook

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:34AM PST by gebraset

Last December, Twitter revealed a variety of product updates that were aimed directly at user safety and protection. Now, the social networking website has announced a slew of additional improvements that go even further to protect its users. According to Tina Bhatnagar, the Vice President of User Services at Twitter, the website has made it even easier to report behaviors such as impersonation, self-harm, and the sharing of confidential and private information. Besides these improved user safety features, it has also been revealed that Twitter has overhauled how it handles abuse reported by users. The company claims that it now reviews five times the amount of user reports than it previously did, with its support team that focuses on handling these issues now triple in size.

Source: Twitter Blog

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:23AM PST by gebraset
Venturi Series Fans Announced by Fractal Design

Fractal Design, which brings consumers products that feature Scandinavian design and quality, has just introduced its Venturi series fans. The latest performance fan series from Fractal Design comes in two different configurations, high flow and high pressure, which are both available in 120mm and 140mm fan sizes. Both versions of the Venturi series fans offer true FDB-bearings, aerodynamically shaped thin stator struts that are angled perpendicular to the blades, a "trip wire" on the rear side of the blades, a powerful and reliable motor, and vibration-dampening corners. The high flow and high pressure versions differ in that the former is equipped with a counter-balancing magnet in the hub and comes with a low-speed adapter, while the latter is equipped with a counter-pull magnet and comes with a PWM signal splitter wire.

Source: TechPowerUp

February 26, 2015
Comments (0) | Posted at 03:04PM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Many people want to see a future filled with superconductors, because these materials are capable of transmitting electricity without resistance. One of the reasons why we are not currently using them much is that they require being cooled to very low temperatures; some near absolute zero. Researchers at the University of Southern California however have recently discovered a potentially new class of superconductors based on superatoms.

Superatoms are homogenous clusters of normal atoms, so even though they consist of many atoms, they will act as one, though a rather large one. This made the researchers wonder if some phenomena, such as Cooper pairs, could by exhibited by the superatoms. Cooper pairs are pairs of electrons that form in superconductors and help achieve that superconductivity. To test this hypothesis the research built superatoms containing 37, 44, 66, and 68 atoms of aluminum and then shot lasers of increasing energy at them. Normally laser pulses of higher energy will cause more electrons to be ejected, but at certain energy levels the electrons resisted.

One explanation for this resistance is that the electrons had formed Cooper pairs, which is supported by fewer electrons being knocked at as the temperature dropped, with the critical point around 100 K. While that is still a pretty cold temperature, it is only the beginning so with more work, the researchers think they may be able to create superatoms with higher superconducting critical points.

Source: University of Southern California

Comments (0) | Posted at 01:43PM PST by CheeseMan42

Google Flights is the latest tool from the Internet giant, taking aim at companies in the travel space and offering some interesting features. Google will highlight the cheapest flight on each day and will also offer an easy comparison across months of the year to find what season is best for travel. Flights will show users the flight prices given a time, origin, and destination, but also gives users the ability to specify a time and origin and receive suggestions on where to go. According to Google, more than half of all travelers "don’t know where they’re going to travel when they sit down to plan." Users can search by regions rather than specific cities with queries like "Flights to Europe" or "Flights to Mexico." Flights will also offer a best flights metric that factors in price along with convenience, such as direct flights rather than layovers, for users that don't necessarily need the cheapest flight.

Source: Google

Comments (0) | Posted at 01:35PM PST by CheeseMan42

Apple has sent out invitations to an event being held March 9 in San Francisco, where the company is expected to finally reveal its newest device, the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch will be the first new product developed under the watch of CEO Tim Cook, a move that will help Apple branch out into new market segments. The invitation simply says "Spring forward," a reference to the occurrence of Daylight Savings Time the previous day. Cook had previously announced that the Watch will begin shipping in April at prices starting at $349 for the basic version.

Source: Bloomberg

Comments (0) | Posted at 12:27PM PST by bp9801

In a vote that passed by the narrowest of margins, 3-2, the FCC has approved net neutrality rules to ensure an open Internet. The passing of net neutrality effectively guarantees no single corporation will control access to the Internet, and basically means no ISP, even cellular carriers, can throttle or block traffic. So if you want to watch Netflix yet are on Comcast, Comcast cannot throttle your speed because you aren't using the Xfinity App to watch a TV show or movie. The FCC has reclassified fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service, meaning it falls under the same Title II regulations as phone and cable companies (namely, it treats them as public utilities). FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, "the Internet is the ultimate vehicle for free expression," and ISPs should not be the ones making the rules for it. Now it looks like free and open Internet will be available for everyone, and that should be a very good thing.

The net neutrality rules ban throttling or blocking Internet traffic, ban paid prioritization, and require ISPs to disclose network management practices. ISPs cannot throttle or block access to any legal content, apps, services, or non-harmful devices, and cannot pay to force traffic to favored devices/services over others. Exceptions for heart monitoring and VoIP services that do not use "public Internet" are in place, as well as for "reasonable network management." Some other Title II requirements include provisions to investigate consumer complaints, privacy rules, and protections for people with disabilities. Content providers and network operators that connect to an ISP can tell the FCC about any unjust or unreasonable interconnection rates and policies. ISPs will also have access to utility poles and other infrastructure to make it easier to enter new areas.

One thing the net neutrality rules do not impose is unbundling, where ISPs would have to provide Internet access by itself. It means competition does not see a boost, but it does mean current ISPs should not be able to harm others in the area that compete against its services.

Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon may sue the FCC to prevent the new net neutrality rules from taking place, but when Verizon won its lawsuit back in 2010, it effectively opened the door for stricter rules. Wheeler believes the FCC is in a stronger position now than it was in 2010 thanks to the Title II classification, with net neutrality equally applied to both fixed and mobile broadband. Time will tell if that helps weaken or even curtail any lawsuits, but it may. Republicans lost the FCC vote (the two dissenting votes were by Republican chairmen) and may vote to eliminate the FCC's Title II classification, so we'll see where that leads. Some ISPs both big and small oppose the ruling, as to be expected, but others are in favor of it. Even cellular companies like Sprint and T-Mobile are in favor of net neutrality, along with the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The full net neutrality order is not yet available on the FCC website, as it needs to provide the Republicans' dissents in the order. It should be up before too long, however.

Sources: Ars Technica and NPR

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:24AM PST by bp9801

We are almost to the end of February, but there are some items for you to check out before that happens. There is a review of the Gigabyte GTX 960 video card to see if it should be the one to get for a budget a build. We also have the ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti, which packs a lot of power in a quiet video card. For those wanting a unique computer case for their new build, perhaps the Raijintek Metis Classic is the one for you. Finishing off today's items is the Divoom Voombox Outdoor Rugged Bluetooth Speaker, which can survive water and dust while still pumping out your music.

Video Cards
Gigabyte GTX 960 @ LanOC Reviews
ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti @ PC Perspective

Raijintek Metis Classic @ Benchmark Reviews

Divoom Voombox Outdoor Rugged Bluetooth Speaker @ ThinkComputers

Comments (0) | Posted at 08:15AM PST by gebraset
Gungnir Black Optical Gaming Mouse Announced by Tesoro

Tesoro, a manufacturer of high-tech gaming products, has officially announced the Gungnir Black optical gaming mouse. The Gungnir Black, which is named after the spear Odin used in Norse mythology, offers gamers with a wealth of premium features such as full color programmable LED illumination, fully independent and programmable buttons, and a 3500 DPI optical sensor. Tesoro has also incorporated Omron Switch technology and smooth Teflon feet into the Gungnir Black, which together provide gamers with enhanced precision and tactile feedback. Gamers can utilize the latest Tesoro UI to adjust the DPI, record macros, set profiles, and change the illumination color of the mouse.

The Tesoro Gungnir Black features an MSRP of $29 and is set to be available to purchase in North America sometime next month.

Source: TechPowerUp

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