OCC TECH NEWS
September 5, 2014
If you follow the tech industry, you're probably aware that NVIDIA has spent billions of dollars on R&D over the years; over $9 billion since its inception in 1993 apparently. Thanks to that R&D, NVIDIA has built up quite the patent portfolio over its 21-year span, and in turn, the company licenses out those patents, which is pretty common for the industry. But according to a recent post by NVIDIA, Samsung and Qualcomm have deployed its patented GPU technology without proper compensation, and now it seeks an injunction against the two companies.
Yesterday afternoon, NVIDIA filed patent infringement complaints against Samsung and Qualcomm with both the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court, in Delaware. NVIDIA is "asking the ITC to block shipments of Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and tablets containing Qualcomm's Adreno, ARM's Mali or Imagination's PowerVR graphics architectures [and] also asking the Delaware court to award damages." NVIDIA has chosen seven of its patents to assert in these cases, which you can read about at the source below.
This is apparently the first time NVIDIA has ever filed a patent lawsuit, so it's certainly not a company that is lawsuit-happy like some other companies :cough:Apple:cough:.
Source: NVIDIA Blog
Thanks to our understanding of the bacteria E. coli, it has been given a tremendous number of uses, beyond food poisoning. It appears another ability can be added to the list, as researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Turku have successfully used the bacterium to create propane. Normally this hydrocarbon is acquired from oil and natural gas wells and could be used as a fuel.
Many processes are required for a cell to survive, and we have learned how to manipulate those processes well in E. coli. In this case the researchers interrupted the mechanism that converts fatty acids into cell membranes using a variant of a particular enzyme. This resulted in the butyric acid, which is a precursor for propane production. With another enzyme the acid was converted into butyraldehyde, and a final enzyme called ADO was then used to actually create the propane. Previous attempts to use ADO to create chemical fuels were disappointing, but the researchers found that stimulating it with electrons increased production.
Currently this research is just proof-of-concept, as little propane was actually produced. With additional work though, the researchers hope to refine their synthetic process and make it a commercially viable source of propane.
Source: Imperial College London
As more and more devices make their way towards utilizing Android Wear, it is inevitable that the platform will improve overtime, showcasing new and exciting features as updates are released. One of the updates that brings forth a few changes has just been announced by Google. The latest Android Wear update, which will be available in the coming months for the Moto 360, Asus Zen Watch, LG G Watch R, Sony SmartWatch 3, and smartwatches unveiled earlier this summer, brings offline music playback, GPS support, and the option of downloading customized watch faces. Smartwatch owners will be able to listen to music stored on their device via Bluetooth headphones, while devices with built-in GPS sensors will be able to track location, recording information such as distance and speed. With the downloadable watch faces, smartwatch owners can change what type of information is presented on the home screen.
Although many Xperia owners were hoping that Sony would add a 2K display to the Z3, which is the successor to the Xperia Z2 that features a 1080p display, Sony decided that battery life is more important than screen resolution. According to Calum MacDougall, Sony’s Director of Xperia Marketing, a 1080p screen was used for the Xperia Z3 because Sony believes that battery life is key. Many of the latest smartphones fail to deliver decent battery life, but thanks to Sony maintaining a Full HD display, the battery within the Xperia Z3 is able to provide enough power for the phone to last two days. Besides battery life, MacDougall noted that Sony utilized a Full HD screen within the Xperia Z3 because humans seem to have a hard time discerning between a 2K display and a 1080p display on a device so small.
Source: Trusted Reviews
Ever since Dead Rising 3 was announced as "exclusive" to Xbox One, the vast majority of gamers knew it would eventually make its way to PC. That inevitable day is now upon us. Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition is now available on Steam for $49.99/€39.99, and as previously unveiled, includes all four "Untold Stories of Los Perdidos" add-on packs, as well as Steamworks integration (Steam Achievements, Steam Leaderboards, Steam Cloud, and Steam Trading Cards). In honor of its release, Capcom has published a Launch Trailer along with a slew of new screenshots (shown below).
If you do happen to grab the game, it should be noted that by default the frame rate is capped at 30FPS, matching Xbox One. If you'd like to unlock the frame rate, Capcom posted very simple instructions to do so.
Source: Press Release
After nearly two years, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is finally set to arrive! Developer Nicalis has unveiled that Rebirth will be arriving on Steam (Windows, Mac, & Linux), PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita on November 4. In fact, the game is already up on Steam to pre-purchase, and those that already own the first game gets to enjoy a 33% discount, dropping the price to $10.04 from its usual $14.99. Meanwhile, PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive the PS4/PSV versions for "free" as November IGC.
According to the Steam page, Rebirth includes: over 500 hours of gameplay; 4 billion seeded runs; 20 challenge runs; 450+ items, including 160 new unlockables; over 100 specialized seeds; two-player local co-op; over 100 co-op characters; dynamic lighting, visual effects, and art direction all at 60FPS; multiple save slots; poop physics!; ten playable characters; 100+ enemies, with new designs; over 50 bosses, including tons of new and rare bosses; mystic runes; and upgradeable shops. In addition, it has been confirmed that seeds can be shared across all three platforms, as they're simply text codes.
Warning: So very, very NSFW!
Source: PS Blog and Steam
The largest land animal alive today is the African elephant and comes in at about 11 feet tall and 5.5 tons. While that is definitely quite big, there have been larger, especially when dinosaurs still dominated the planet. Researchers, including some from the National Science Foundation, have recently discovered and identified a gigantic dinosaur that would have weighed as much as 65 tons.
The bones of Dreadnoughtus schrani were discovered in Argentina across multiple expeditions from 2005 through 2009, and, surprisingly, constitute 70% of the full skeleton. Such complete skeletons are very rare to find and actually make this the largest land animal that we can accurately calculate body mass for. With such a complete specimen, a great deal can be learned about the anatomy and biomechanics of this and other large animals. One thing we know already about this 85-foot long behemoth is that this particular skeleton is from a dinosaur that was not full grown when it died. It is also a member of the titanosaurs, which is a group of large plant eaters.
Source: National Science Foundation
Tesoro Technology USA Inc., a manufacturer of high-tech gaming products—and the company kind enough to sponsor our current giveaway—has just announced a brand new mouse pad designed for gamers in mind. To design the very best gaming mouse pad it could deliver, Tesoro teamed up with renowned professional e-sport organization Virtus.Pro and used the latest 3D fabric techniques. The result? The Tesoro Virtus.Pro, featuring a high-texture density and ultra smooth surface great for both optical and laser mice, a soft touch providing excellent wrist support and comfortable mousing, and an anti-slip design thanks to a rubber base.
The Tesoro Virtus.Pro measures in at a rather large 14.2" (L) x 11.8" (W) x 0.12" (H), and features the Virtus.Pro logo prominently displayed along with the Tesoro logo. The mouse pad will be available in the United States at the end of September via Tesoro Gaming USA, Newegg, Amazon, and NCIX, for an MSRP of US$24.
Source: Press Release
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) has announced that the highly anticipated Mortal Kombat X will be releasing April 14, 2015, worldwide for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Along with the release date announcement comes a rather interesting reveal: Goro, the feral, four-armed Shokan warrior, will be making his first appearance in more than eight years as a retail pre-order exclusive, playable immediately at launch. There has been no trailer released for him, nor mention of his three variations, just a single image shown below.
The news that this is a retail pre-order exclusive is rather troublesome, particularly for fans planning on getting the PC version, as digital game sales accounted for a whopping 92% of all PC game sales in 2013; and that number is only expected to rise. Hopefully WBIE decides to expand the offer to Steam purchases.
Source: Press Release
Unless you recently moved, there is a good chance you know your street address pretty well, but how about your address in the Universe? We should all know we are in the Milky Way galaxy and some of us likely know we are the Local Group galaxy cluster. Until now though we have not been sure about which galactic supercluster we call home, but researchers using the NSF's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have recently completed a survey that answers the question.
Galactic clusters are often comprised of about a dozen galaxies that are gravitationally linked together. A supercluster can contain hundreds of these clusters, making them among the largest structures in the Universe. Due to their immense size, it is difficult to know their exact boundaries, but the researchers using the GBT came up with a new way to find them. This method involves measuring the velocities of galaxies, to determine how other structures impact their movement, and the supercluster with the greatest impact must be the galaxy's home.
The result of this work is the identification of the Laniakea supercluster, which is Hawaiian for "immense heaven." Our own galaxy is near the edge of this supercluster, which is 500 million light years across, and contains 100,000 galaxies totaling roughly one hundred quadrillion solar masses. Previously it was believed that we were a part of the Virgo supercluster, which is now just a part of the Laniakea supercluster.
Source: National Radio Astronomy Observatory
The end of the week is here, and with it comes plenty of items to keep you satisfied until the weekend hits. We have another look at the AMD FX-8370 and 8370E, as well as the FX-9370 and 9590 CPUs. For the Intel side there is a review on the Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Edition, which packs eight cores and sixteen threads for some serious performance. A couple of different motherboards for that new Intel processor get reviewed, too, with the ASUS X99-Deluxe and EVGA X99 Micro being put to the test. On the storage front, the Corsair Force LX 256 and 512GB SSDs get reviewed to see how they stack up to the competition. We also have a look at a Shuttle Barebone PC, how Apple and Google tablets are moving into Microsoft territory, and a new podcast.
AMD FX Refresh FX-8370, FX-8370E, FX-9370, and FX-9590 @ LanOC Reviews
Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme @ Benchmark Reviews
ASUS X99-Deluxe @ PC Perspective
EVGA X99 Micro @ ThinkComputers
Corsair Force LX 256GB and 512GB @ PC Perspective
Shuttle Barebone XS35V4 @ Madshrimps
Apple and Google Tablets Moving to Microsoft Territory @ TechSpot
Podcast #316 @ PC Perspective
September 4, 2014
It appears that publisher Aksys Games wants to bring the PlayStation Vita exclusive RPG Mind Zero to PC via Steam, as a Steam Greenlight page popped up earlier today out of nowhere along with a string of videos. The Vita version released in Japan in August 2013, while the North America and Europe release didn't occur until this past May. The game received some decidely mixed reviews, with many critics and users comparing it to the Persona series, of which the Vita has the highly acclaimed Persona 4 Golden. While the Vita may have a ton of JRPGs, Steam does not, so fans of the genre are already quite excited at the prospect of Mind Zero on Steam.
There's no doubt in my mind that the Steam Greenlight campaign for Mind Zero will be successful. The real question is, if the game sells well, will Aksys consider bringing additional games to Steam? BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, please!
Source: Steam Greenlight via Siliconera
Back in the beginning of August, Crytek revealed that former Xbox One exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome would finally be coming to PC this Fall with all DLC included and 4K support. Today, the Steam store page appeared for Ryse, and with it came the reveal of the release date, price, and system requirements. Ryse will be launching on October 10 via Steam and is priced at $39.99. Pre-purchasing the game nets you the 25-track soundtrack for free (no word on whether it'll be available for purchase after launch).
Ryse requires 64-bit Windows (Vista or later) and 26GB of hard drive space, with minimum specs listed as: Intel Dual-Core 2.8GHz/AMD Dual-Core 3.2GHz or better; 4GB RAM; and DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB video RAM. Recommended specs are: Quad-Core or Six-Core CPU; 8GB RAM; and DirectX 11 graphics card with 2GB video RAM. For thoes that want to run 4K, Crytek unveiled the recommended 4K specs in the Steam forum as the following: Quad-Core or Eight-Core CPU (SSE1-3, 8+ logical processors); 8GB RAM; DirectX 11 graphics card with 4GB video RAM; and of course, a 4K monitor running 3840x2160 resolution.
Ryse: Son of Rome also includes full Steamworks integration, including Steam Achievements, Steam Leaderboards, Steam Cloud, and Steam Trading Cards.
Source: Steam  and 
Last week, G.SKILL broke the DDR4 speed record, running a set of Ripjaws 4 series DDR4 modules at 4004MHz using LN2. It's unclear the stock speeds of the module used, but today the company unveiled the world's fastest stock DDR kit with speeds of 3333MHz. The new 3333MHz Ripjaws 4 series DDR modules come in a 16GB (4x4GB) kit with a latency of 16-16-16-36, and will be available beginning September 5. You can pre-order the modules on Newegg for $699.99. 3300MHz and 3200MHz 16GB (4x4GB) Ripjaws 4 series kits will also release that same day, priced at $579.99 and $469.99, respectively.
Source: Press Release
Monster, which is primarily known for creating the original Beats headphones, has just announced SoundStage, a wireless music system that combines innovative technology with sleek design. Monster SoundStage incorporates the AllPlay media-streaming platform from Qualcomm, enabling the speaker to be used with a SoundStage application that allows users to access media across their network. Besides Wi-Fi connectivity, Monster SoundStage features Bluetooth, digital optical, a USB charging port, and a 3.5mm stereo input.
Monster SoundStage, which uses software algorithms to make music sound like it is coming from a larger speaker than it actually is, is expected to be released on October 25, 2014. SoundStage will be available in three different models, which include the S1, S2, and S3, retailing for $200, $300, and $400, respectively.
Nest Labs has just released Protect 2.0 for its Nest Protect smoke alarm. Although Nest has not fixed the gesture issues that have plagued Nest Protect, causing it to be recalled and removed from store shelves last April, the updated software does provide additional features that improve the device. One of the main features that Protect 2.0 brings to the table is called Smoke Check, which utilizes a built-In humidity sensor that is able to distinguish between smoke and steam. According to Nest, Smoke Check is supposed to eliminate nearly half of all false alarms that are caused by steam. Protect 2.0 allows Nest Protect owners to tweak the brightness of the Pathlight motion-activated LED nightlight. The updated software also enables the device to work on hidden wireless networks. Additionally, the Nest Android and iOS application now shows CO levels, alarm history, and can even help families build an emergency escape route through What To Do 2.0.
GOG.com, a marketplace of DRM-free games and now movies, is about to start streaming regular shows on Twitch.tv. The goal of the shows will be to connect with GOG games by entertaining them, spotlighting games, and occasionally provide some early looks. Each show will have a guest host and the first one is BaerTaffy who will be playing the newly released Hatoful Boyfriend. The stream starts at 8:00 PM GMT (4:00 PM EST), September 4 (today), and there will be new streams every Thursday, at that time.
There are some places where power is not available, but where we need to place an energy-using device. In some cases the device can use solar power or even harvest energy from radio waves, but neither is possible in some locations, like inside structures. Researchers at the University of Washington however, have developed a new device that could operate in these places, by converting temperature changes to electricity.
The idea the researchers are using was developed centuries ago to power a clock and exploits pressure changes due to pressure. When gases are heated, they will expand and exert a force that can be converted into electricity. In version of the technology, the temperature sensitive gas is contained in a metal bellows, which expands and contracts with temperature changes around it. Small cantilevers capture this motion to generate enough electricity to power sensors and a wireless transmitter. Just a 0.25 ºC change is enough to send a signal five meters to a receiver.
The researchers see this device being used to monitor buildings for water leaks and weaknesses inside of walls. Changes in temperature from the building's air conditioning or from the course of the day, would be sufficient to power the sensor.
Source: University of Washington
With Wasteland 2 set to leave Early Access and officially launch on September 19, inXile Entertainment has released an official Combat Trailer that shows what it takes to succeed in battle and survive the harsh wasteland. Perhaps the most important part is composing the right squad, so inXile takes roughly the first two minutes to show us the character creation system, as the narrator creates a Heavy Weapons Guy. After that it's all about the turn-based combat tactics, from outfitting your squad to adapt to the situation at hand, using the terrain to your advantage, taking cover, and even recruiting denizens to temporarily join your squad and aid you in battle.
As previously stated, Wasteland 2 officially launches on September 19. While the Early Access version simply took place in Arizona, the full game will also include a second act in California.
Source: Press Release
If you're a Mac or Linux gamer and a fan of the Tropico series and/or city-building strategy simulations, you'll be pleased to know that Tropico 5 will be arriving on said platforms September 19 via Steam and the Mac App Store. If you already own the game on Steam, then you'll gain access to these versions for free. Best of all, Tropico 5 features cross-platform multiplayer via SteamPlay for up to four players, along with Big Picture Mode and controller support.
Tropico 5 was publisher Kalypso's most pre-ordered game in the history of the company.
Source: Press Release
It's been over a month since Focus Home Interactive published a video for the infiltration RPG Styx: Master of Shadows, but that changes today with a video entitled "Assassin's Green". Today's video is the first of a series of gameplay trailers Focus Home will be releasing over the coming weeks until the October release of the game. As the name implies, this new video shows various methods titular protagonist Styx can employ to assassinate his foes.
Styx: Master of Shadows will arrive on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this October, but no specific date has been announced.
Source: Press Release
Modern electronics are based on the charge of electrons, but in the future devices that operate on another property, called spin, could become the new standard. Spin is not as easy to work with though, as special materials and conditions can be required to do so. Researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz and others from around the world however have discovered how to create a spin-charge converter with gallium arsenide (GaAs) that operates at room temperature.
Part of what makes working with spin difficult is that magnetic fields are often required, as opposed to electric fields. A spin-charge converter is able to convert charge currents to spin currents and back, which would allow electric fields to be used. The catch is that previously only platinum, a rare heavy metal, had been identified as a viable material for creating a converter. By discovering that GaAs can also be used, spintronics are significantly closer to reality.
As it turns out, the advantages of GaAs are not limited to being cheaper and already widely used. The researchers found that it is possible to tune the efficiency of the converter and move the spin currents between different lanes, by varying the strength of the applied electric field.
Source: Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
We have just a couple of items for you to look over on this Thursday, but both should be rather interesting. First up is a look at the ASUS X99-DELUXE motherboard, which is an ethusiast motherboard for those looking to run Intel's new Haswell-E chips. If things like 5-way optimization, Crystal Sound audio, 802.11ac wireless, and plenty more are what you desire, then perhaps this board will do the trick. Our other item for the day is a review on the Western Digital My Passport Wireless, a WiFi enabled portable hard drive that packs 2x2 N MIMO antennas for up to four simultaneous HD streams, plus an SD card offload, USB 3.0 fast charge, and a host of other features.
ASUS X99-DELUXE @ Benchmark Reviews
Western Digital My Passport Wireless @ PC Perspective
September 3, 2014
Google has announced a partnership with the University of California Santa Barbara with the goal of building "new quantum information processors." Google's Quantum Artificial Intelligence team will be working with UCSB researchers led by physicist John Martinis, who recently won the London Prize for work in the field. The Google team is currently "studying the application of quantum optimization to difficult problems in Artificial Intelligence." Google director of engineering Hartmut Neven described the partnership saying, "With an integrated hardware group the Quantum AI team will now be able to implement and test new designs for quantum optimization and inference processors based on recent theoretical insights as well as our learnings from the D-Wave quantum annealing architecture." Google hopes to develop an advanced artificial intelligence system that will be capable of solving advanced problems and analyzing complex patterns.
Source: PC Magazine
It was recently revealed that the founder of the Consumer Electronics Show, Jack Wayman, died over the weekend at the age of 92 from natural causes. The first CES was organized by Wayman in 1967 when he was part of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and featured 100 exhibitors and 17,000 attendees. The event has since grown to 3,600 exhibitors and 160,000 attendees. Wayman was also involved in the Sony-Betamax case which "paved the way for the introduction of breakthrough technologies," was elected to the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame, and received the Electronics Industries Association Distinguished Service Medal. CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said, "Jack’s contributions to our association and our industry are numerous and momentous. We stand on his shoulders. From leading the creation of the association that eventually became CEA to founding the International CES to leading the fight for critical legislative and public policy victories that helped drive industry growth, Jack truly was one of the fathers of the contemporary CE industry."
Source: Press Release
When Ubisoft unveiled the Watch Dogs Season Pass, the highlight was undoubtedly the inclusion of a new single-player campaign that put players in control of eccentric hacker T-Bone. Today, Ubisoft unveiled that said DLC, entitled Watch Dogs Bad Blood, will be released to Season Pass holders on September 23 and available for purchase for all other players on September 30. Bad Blood takes place shortly after the events of the main campaign, and "explores T-Bone's story through 10 new missions set in new locations throughout Chicago." As T-Bone, you'll have access to exclusive weapons, perks, and outfits, including the remote-controlled car "Eugene", which can be upgraded with offensive and defensive perks. Oh, and you'll be able to play as T-Bone in the online modes "Hacking" and "Tailing", as well as the ctOS Companion app.
In addition to the new story campaign, Bad Blood introduces "Street Sweep" contracts, "a dynamic new system of side missions that offers players endless hours of challenges." All Street Sweep contracts can be tackled solo or in two-player co-op, a first for the game.
Source: Press Release and UbiBlog
In an effort to prevent attacks that involve invalid SSL/TSL certificates, Firefox 32 has incorporated Public Key Pinning. According to Sid Stamm, the senior manager of security and privacy engineering at Mozilla, key pinning allows website operators to specify which Certificate Authorities are able to issue valid certificates. Within Firefox 32, a normal lock icon will be displayed if a certificate is able to be matched with a pinned certificate. If the certificate cannot be verified, Firefox will reject the connection with a pinning error. This provides an additional layer of security for Firefox users by preventing connections to illegitimate website, in which a hacker could intercept critical data.
The first stage of pinning roll-out includes protection for Mozilla sites and Twitter, while later Firefox versions will include protection for Google sites, Tor, Dropbox, and others.
Source: Mozilla Security Blog
Everybody is stressed at some point and for some reason, and how we manage that stress can be very important for our health. To help reduce stress, researchers at the University of Southampton have created an Android app to see if managing notifications can help manage stress.
The app is named Healthy Mind and will periodically provide the user with a notification about stress management, and, if opened, will provide more information. Exactly when the notification will appear is based on time of day, physical activity, and location, which is data the app monitors. The app is currently available on the Google Play store in the My Life Guide Toolbox and those who install it will be asked to join the five month study. For those that agree, they will be placed into one of three groups. One group will receive up to three notifications a day, based on the collected data, while the other two groups will receive one a day from 5 PM to 8 PM, or two a week, again from 5 PM to 8 PM.
Part of the thinking behind this app and study is that most people who are stressed do not seek professional help, but have their smartphones with them constantly. By leveraging the technology at our fingertips, the researchers hope to help people with stress.
Source: University of Southampton
HyperX, the high-performance product division of Kingston Technology, has recently announced HyperX Savage memory which replaces HyperX Genesis memory. This latest memory by HyperX features a low-profile design as well as a unique, red aluminum die-cast heat spreader with a diamond cut finish. While HyperX Savage memory is aesthetically appealing, it also boasts unparalleled performance. HyperX Savage is available in high-speed frequencies including 1600MHz, 1866MHz, 2133MHz and 2400MHz, and features timings of CL9 and CL11.
HyperX Savage memory is available immediately for purchase in 4GB and 8GB single modules, as well as 8GB to 32GB dual-channel or quad-channel kits, and comes with a lifetime warranty and free technical support.
Source: Press Release
If you're a smartphone user who doesn't have an unlimited data plan, but who loves to check Facebook constantly, you may want to keep reading. By default, videos in your Newsfeed play automatically when they get into view. This isn't much of a problem when browsing on a PC, but when browsing on your phone, such an action can quickly wrack up the data usage if you're on 3G/4G instead of Wi-Fi. Many mobile phone users have reported data overage charges and are blaming this Facebook feature, especially because of the influx of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos over the past couple months.
Thankfully, auto-play can be set to only activate when on Wi-Fi or even disabled completely. For iOS devices, go to Settings > Facebook > Settings, and then select either "Auto-play only on Wi-Fi" or "Off". For Android devices, go to your Facebook account Settings > App Settings, and then under General Settings select between those same two options.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com, users who feel they've been hit with unfair overage charges should contact their mobile provider explaining the situation and asking for a refund. "If this doesn't work, you can take your complaint to the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) or to the Ombudsman Services – which one depends on who your provider is signed up to."