OCC TECH NEWS
February 14, 2014
It hasn't been a good month for anyone who uses bitcoins. Russia declared it illegal, two bitcoin exchanges (Mt. Gox and Bitstamp) were hit by denial-of-service attacks, and now the biggie – over 4400 bitcoins were stolen from Silk Road 2, amounting to roughly $2.7 million USD. Silk Road 2 operators initially blamed the same "transaction malleability" bug that had plagued the other two aforementioned sites, pointing to possible attackers in Australia and France.
However, as more evidence comes to light, it now seems like Silk Road 2 staff may have actually used this bug as a ruse to scam its users out of millions. Considering Silk Road 2 is a marketplace for drugs and contraband, it'll be interesting to see what happens now since I doubt people will turn to law enforcement for help.
Bitcoin at your own risk.
Steam Tags were implemented just two days ago, but it certainly didn't take very long for things to awry. You'd think Valve would have learned its lesson from the Steam Greenlight launch. If you're a frequent visitor of OCC, you may recall that I wrote an editorial back when Steam Greenlight was launched, entitled "Steam Greenlight - From Novel Idea to Train Wreck in Sixty Seconds." I also mentioned that I had considered the title, "Valve Clearly Underestimates the Stupidity and Immaturity of the Human Race." Sadly, both those titles would be apt for Steam Tags.
Suffice it to say, users started abusing the tagging system, some with overdone memes ("Half-Life 3 Confirmed"), some mildly humorous, and some just downright offensive. Well, Valve did call it a beta for a reason, right? Last night, Valve updated the system to hopefully improve it and reduce the trolling. The major change was the addition of a new reporting option. By clicking on the flag option next to a tag (you must click the plus sign to the right of the popular tags first), you can now report the tag as "offensive/abusive tag," "not appropriate for this product," "not a helpful tag," or "spoiler." In addition, tags now require more users before they'll show on the popular tags section.
These are certainly reasonable changes that leaves one wondering why Valve didn't implement them in the first place. While individual persons may occasionally display intelligence, as a whole, society is dumb and cannot be trusted. That's just Humans 101.
While we already know Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios is working on the upcoming Mad Max game, that's not the only game the studio is working on. Speaking to Polygon, Avalanche founder Christofer Sundberg said the studio is also "working on a stylized, tactical game for mobile devices." Before you start to wonder if it'll be based in Just Cause or Mad Max universe, it won't – it's a new IP.
According to Sundberg, the game idea has actually been floating around since 2006. It was pitched to publishers, but they wanted "nice, high-end graphics and photorealistic environments" at the time instead of the stylized look Avalanche was going for, which Sundberg describes as "similar to what Borderlands is today." He goes on to describe the game as "sort of a management fighting game," but not a fighting game in the sense of a brawler, but rather RTS combat like Command & Conquer.
While that's all he has to say about the game for now, he did say that the current plan is to release it some time this year. Since most of the studio's projects take quite awhile to develop, Sundberg felt testing the mobile waters was the right move because the development cycle is shorter. If everything goes well, then Avalanche will "definitely do more mobile games" in the future.
In a recent interview Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford told Polygon that the company isn't working on Borderlands 3 but added the qualifier that, "We have more to do in the franchise." The company is currently busy with several other titles including new entries into the Homeworld and Brothers in Arms franchises, in addition to two games based on completely new IP. Telltale Games, the company behind The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us franchises, is also hard at work on a new game called Tales of the Borderlands, which should be good news for fans of the series. Pitchford added,"We know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don't know what it is yet. But we are doing things in Borderlands that we'll announce soon, that are good, and that I think people will be really excited about if you love the franchise." Follow the link for more details on what is going on with Gearbox and to see the full interview.
The PC-A51 is the latest mid-tower case from Lian-Li that "is a conglomeration of user feedback and Lian Li's time-honed expertise and engineering capabilities." The case is built using a reverse airflow design where air is blown in the back of the case using a 120mm fan and blown out the front of the case with a 140mm fan. Five hard drives can be mounted in individually removable cages or three 2.5" hard drives can be mounted directly to the case by removing the cages, allowing for increased airflow. The case can accommodate CPU coolers up to 175mm in height and GPUs up to 400mm long. Three models will be available, a stock case in either silver or black for $149, a windowed case that is black on the inside for $189, and a red and black case with a window for $199.
Source: Press Release
We have arrived at the end of another week, and to help kick things off before the weekend are some reviews for you to check out. There's a look at the AMD A10-7850K's dual graphics performance, which allows either an R7 240 or R7 250 to be paired up with the APU's on-die graphics component. It should hopefully mean a much better gaming performance, especially for those on a budget who may not be able to afford a higher end card. Speaking of cards that aren't quite high end, we have a review on the Sapphire R7 260X 2GB OC that could be perfect for anyone on a budget. Wrapping up today's action is the BitFenix Flo Gaming Headset, which packs 40mm drivers and a cable that can be used on either PCs or mobile devices.
AMD A10-7850K Dual Graphics Performance @ TechSpot
Sapphire R7 260X 2GB OC @ LanOC Reviews
BitFenix Flo Gaming Headset @ Madshrimps
Last month it was announced that The Witcher series would be getting a tabletop board game entitled The Witcher Adventure Game. Now it has been unveiled that another game franchise is getting the board game treatment - Assassin's Creed. While the fantasy setting of The Witcher is clearly a great fit for a board game, Assassin's Creed certainly wouldn't have been one of the first series to come to mind to make the jump to board games.
Ubisoft has partnered with Cryptozoic Entertainment to create the game, entitled Assassin's Creed: Arena. The game is for 2-4 players, ages 15 and up, with the goal to assassinate targets or other players across Constantinople to rack up Victory Points. Players start each turn by drawing an Event card, which can either affect everyone or just them. Then the player can choose to either Move, Hide, or Attack, with Action cards in your hand determining how many spaces you can move and how many damage points you deal in an attack. The ultimate goal is to attack and kill to acrue points, but hiding allows you to draw a few extra cards, so strategy certainly comes into play.
The ultimate goal is to score 15 Victory Points, which can be done in a variety of ways. Killing patrolling guards nets you points, with the inner sections of the board worth more than the outer sections. There is also treasure you can find, but it only net you points if you can bring it back safely to your home square - if another player character kills you, it drops and can be picked up by anyone. Actually killing a player is difficult though because you can only use one Attack card at a time, as opposed to as many as you want against the guards. Defeating a player only nets you a single Victory Point, but if the player you killed had more Victory Points than you at the time, you get an extra point for a total of two.
It definitely seems like a rather complicated and strategic game, but for the $50 price tag, it's a little disappointing the players and guards are merely cardboard in stands instead of pewter pieces or even plastic. Still, if you're a big Assassin's Creed fan and have a couple of friends to play with, it's not too bad of a deal. The game is currently available for pre-order and will launch on February 26.
For anyone who plays video games, we are familiar with using an avatar to affect the virtual environment. As we play we can also start to be immersed into the game and the avatar. Now researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as reported by the Association for Psychological Science, have found an interesting link between our behavior and virtual avatars.
The researchers got 194 undergraduates to participate in, what they thought were two unrelated studies. The first had them randomly assigned to fight enemies in a video game as Superman, Voldemort, or as a circle for five minutes. Superman is a heroic avatar, Voldemort a villainous one, and a circle is just a neutral circle. The participants were then part of a blind taste test involving chocolate and chili sauce, and an intriguing twist. The participants could choose one of the foods to pour into a plastic dish a future participant would have to consume. Those who played as Superman poured out almost twice as much chocolate as chili sauce, and significantly more chocolate than anyone else. Those who played as Voldemort behaved similarly, but with the chili sauce instead of the chocolate. Interestingly the participants' identification with the avatar did not seem to affect their behavior.
Currently these findings are preliminary, but could have some interesting impacts for social behavior. After all, in video games and other virtual environments, one can do almost anything, and whatever we do is behind a virtual mask.
Source: Association for Psychological Science
The highly anticipated survival horror The Evil Within has finally received a release date – August 26 for North America and August 29 for Europe. While this is developer Tango Gameworks' first game, founder Shinji Mikami is no stranger to the survival horror genre. In fact, Shinji Mikami is considered by many to be the father of the survival horror genre, having created Resident Evil, the first game to take on that term.
While the Resident Evil series has moved more toward pure action than survival horror, The Evil Within promises to bring gamers back to the days of true survival horror. "Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story are combined to create an immersive world that will bring you to the height of tension. With limited resources at your disposal, you'll fight for survival and experience profound fear in this perfect blend of horror and action."
The Evil Within will be available for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Sadly there is no new trailer released, but if you haven't checked out the game before, here's the extended gameplay trailer released late last year:
Source: Press Release
Grinding Gear Games has announced the first major update for its free-to-play action-RPG Path of Exile, a mini-expansion called Sacrifice of the Vaal. While details are spare, Grinding Gear Games did post a rather interesting teaser, outlining the background surrounding the events that will take place when Sacrifice of the Vaal goes live on March 5, 2014. It focuses on the story of Queen Atziri, the Queen of Sacrifice. She has risen from the grave after two thousand years and now seeks to corrupt the land of Wraeclast to restore her beauty.
"The Vaal influence has corrupted equipment, skill gems, maps and even areas of Wraeclast itself," which should make for some interesting new gameplay mechanics. In fact, the teaser leaves us with the question, "How much will you sacrifice to defeat Atziri?" The whole page is quite blood-soaked and there appears to be four broken fragments of a mask, which may indicate that the main quest is retrieving them.
More details are supposed to be posted next week alongside screenshots, while a gameplay trailer will be released on February 28. If you haven't played Path of Exile, now's a good time to start in preparation of this mini-expansion. Starting with Sacrifice of the Vaal, Grinding Gear Games plans on releasing mini-expansions every four months.
Source: Official Site
February 13, 2014
Although the Xbox One set sales records for the Microsoft Xbox product line during last year, recent data reveals that the PlayStation 4 was the most purchased console for the month of January, 2014. No numerical values were noted from research firm The NDP Group when comparing PlayStation 4 sales figures to that of the Xbox One, however, the group did state that the PlayStation 4 sold more consoles than its main competitor. A separate Bloomberg report stated that the PlayStation 4 gaming console sold nearly twice as many units as the Xbox One during the first month of this year.
Data released shows that hardware sales as a whole were up 17 percent when compared with the same time last year, totaling $241 million.
Last week, developer Facepunch Studios removed zombies from its game Rust. Unbeknownst to its players at the time, Facepunch also secretly implemented its own anti-cheat program called CheatPunch. CheatPunch was run over the weeked and discovered 4,621 cheaters, banning them from official servers. Facepunch founder Garry Newman was fairly blunt:
"If you get kicked from the official servers with the message that you've been banned then you have been caught. You're a naughty boy. You know what you have done. You won't get unbanned. We know it was your 9 year old cousin. We know your computer got hijacked. We know that the CIA is getting you banned from all your games on Steam so you will join them in the hunt for aliens. We're aiming to get a site set up for people that have been banned so they can go and see proof that they've been caught."
Newman states that CheatPunch is merely a "stop gap solution" and is aware that cheaters will get around it. Nevertheless, if server owners want to run it on their own servers, after updating to the latest version of Rust, they can run it with "-cheatpunch" on the command line.
Source: Official Site
Two days ago, Capcom released a Strider Retrospective video, which provided a brief history of the series. Today, Capcom released a Behind-the-Scenes video for the new Strider game, which provides some interesting insight into why Strider is making its return and what went into its development.
Strider launches February 18 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, and February 19 for Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
In a new update to the popular BlackBerry Messaging application, known simply as BBM, a variety of new features are being brought to Android and iOS users. A few key features that can be found within BBM 2.0 include BBM Voice, which allows voice calls to be placed over Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection, and BBM Channels, which provides a forum or chat room like environment. Other features that are included within the BBM update include larger BBM groups, location sharing, attachments, Dropbox integration, and new emotions.
While the new BBM 2.0 update applies to only Android and iOS users, all of the aforementioned features will also be available for BlackBerry OS 10 phones through BBM 10.3.
Many recognize nuclear fusion as the ultimate power source, as it could one day deliver prodigious amounts of power from relatively cheap hydrogen isotopes. While many facilities around the world have been working on a variety of fusion projects, none have yet achieved ignition, which is when more energy is released than was used to confine the fuel. Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory using the National Ignition Facility (NIF) however have achieved 'fuel gains' for the first time, which is when more energy is released than was put into the fuel.
Instrumental in achieving this was triggering a bootstrapping with alpha particles. Alpha particles consist of two protons and two neutrons (a helium nucleus), and are released as a result of the fusion process. The bootstrapping process is when those particles deposit their energy back into the deuterium-tritium fuel, heating it further and increasing the rate of fusion, which then releases more alpha particles. The researchers also modified the laser pulse that compresses the fuel to prevent the breakup of the polymer shell around it, and help the bootstrapping occur. This led to more than an order of magnitude increase in performance.
Along with achieving fuel gains, the researchers also found that their results matched computer simulations better than ever before, which is very important for NIF. The primary purpose of NIF is to provide experimental insight for the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which works to keep the nation's nuclear weapon stockpile safe, secure, and reliable without directly testing them.
Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
In a move that has received a relatively positive response, Facebook has implemented additional terms that can be used to describe the gender of an individual. In all, around 50 new terms have been added to the social media website in order to describe gender, and include but are not limited to terms like gender fluid, intersex, and transsexual. Facebook has also integrated additional pronouns that users can select to be addressed as, such as he or his, she or her, and they or their. In working with multiple leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations, Facebook publically announced that it wants users to feel comfortable expressing who they are. While the new gender options are available to all Facebook users immediately, the ability to keep gender private is still an option for those who choose to do so.
Source: USA Today
In the latest update released for Skype, the development team for the service has reported that many improvements have been brought to the software. Before the update, users were reporting synchronization problems, where messages read on one device would still show as unread on other devices connected to the same account. The update promises to resolve this issue, making sure that messages are properly synched across all devices to include tablets, smartphones, computers, televisions, and more. The update also features improved loading times for Skype across various devices, along with an improvement in regards to how much battery the application uses. Elaine Ansell, the senior product marketing manager at Skype, also noted that Skype will now correctly deliver messages sent to contacts, even if the contact is offline at the time of the message being transmitted.
Source: Skype Blog
Yesterday LG announced its new G Pro 2 smartphone, but information at the time was kind of light. Luckily that has all changed, as now we have a lot more details on this 5.9-inch superphone. For starters, the G Pro 2's screen resolution is 1920x1080, which is the same as other superphones from its competition. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor comes in at 2.26GHz, has 3GB of RAM, either 16 or 32GB of storage (expandable via microSD), the same rear buttons that debuted on the LG G2, and runs Android 4.4 (KitKat). A 2.1-megapixel camera is on the front, while a 13-megapixel one is on the rear. That camera is actually something rather special, as not only has LG outfitted it with optical image stabilization and an improved flash, but the ability to shoot 4K videos too, if you're in a mood for ultra detail and own a display capable of the immense resolution. If 4K isn't your thing (yet), then perhaps shooting Full HD videos at 120 frames per second is more appealing
The LG G Pro 2 will be on display at Mobile World Congress later this month. However, there's still no information on when it'll arrive outside of Korea nor what it'll cost, but we do know the G Pro 2 comes in white, silver, and black colors. Have to start somewhere, right?
Source: PC World and Press Release
Last month, Cyanide Studios unveiled its next game, Styx: Master of Shadows, and today, publisher Focus Home Interactive released the game's first teaser trailer. Styx is a stealth game with RPG elements, where players control the titular Styx. Styx is a "goblin anti-hero, master assassin and part-time thief" who is seeking the "Amber" from a mystical tree atop the miles-high Tower of Akenash.
Levels in Styx are open and provide you with the freedom to tackle objectives in a variety of ways. Because your ultimate goal is to battle your way to the top of the tower, levels feature a lot of verticality. Along the way, you'll face off against humans, elves, orcs, and "other, stranger creatures." Enemies "will adapt their behavior dynamically, depending on your actions," so you'll have to utilize your various skills and plan accordingly.
Although your only choice is to play as Styx, you do gain experience to level up and spend skill points in six different talent trees. Though exact details on the talent trees have not been divulged, it was stated that you'll be able to gain new skills, combat moves, and even new weapons. The Amber from the tree also apparently imbues you with "extraordinary powers," such as invisibility or decoy-generation. The levels also reward exploration, not only providing clues about your past, but also valuable treasure, which presumably would provide extra experience points.
As of now, Styx: Master of Shadows has only been announced for PC, with no release window stated.
Source: Press Release
AAA first-person shooters often get live-action trailers, but usually that's because they're already steeped in reality (for the most part). I certainly never would have expected a live-action trailer for a game like Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, but that's exactly what Electronic Arts delivered today. The trailer is entitled "Chum Rush" and I must say, it's possibly one of the greatest live-action trailers I've ever seen. Hopefully I didn't just overhype it for you, but go ahead and check it out for yourself and tell me if you agree...
According to Innodisk, DRAM modules with conformal coatings provide "greater reliability, superior service life, improved performance, and reduced total cost of ownership." Conformal coatings, in this case HumiSeal, are protective chemical layers applied to the surface of DRAM modules with thickness varying from .03mm to .13mm. With the exception of the gold conductor interface, the DRAM module surface is completely covered with the coating.
"These coatings protect against moisture, contaminants, dust and acid or alkaline materials, in line with IPC-A-610 standards for electronic components. They also protect against issues caused by electrical or thermal conduction, static electricity, and heat." The coatings conform to MIL-I-46058C standards, basically meaning they can withstand harsh environmental factors commonly encountered in the Defense & Aerospace sector.
Source: Press Release and Softpedia
AMD recently released the $100 Radeon R7 250x, and now Videocardz reports that AMD has also launched the Radeon R7 265 and will bring the Radeon R9 280 this June.
The Radeon R7 265 is a Radeon HD 7850 refresh. It features a Pitcairn core with 1024 stream processors, 64 TMUs, 32 ROPS, and has 2GB GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus at 4.8GHz clock speed with 153.6 GB/s bandwidth. The card is powered by a single 6-pin connector with a max TDP of 130. The card is already available and priced around $159.99.
The Radeon R9 280 is essentially a rebranded Radeon HD 7950 with similar specifications. It's still using the same 28nm Tahiti Pro GPU core with up to 1792 stream processors, 112 TMUs, 32 ROPS, and has 3GB GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus to create a clock speed of 5.0 GHz with 224GB/s bandwidth. While the exact core clock is unknown, it is expected to have a large TDP of 200W and requires 6+6 connector pins. This card is expected to launch in June, priced at $249.99.
If you've ever observed a next-gen console fanboy flame war, you're probably aware that the biggest argument Xbox One has in its corner is Titanfall (even though it's also coming out for PC and Xbox 360). So it really shouldn't be any surprise that if Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment requests a change to the Xbox One (or in this case, the controller), Microsoft is going to listen.
According to Titanfall's design lead Justin Hendry, Microsoft will be releasing a software patch to make the analog sticks a bit more precise than they currently are. As he told The Verge, "It's just fixing the controller input, really. It wasn't really where we felt it should be; it was a little overly twitchy with the current controls. Now it's fixed. We're happy with it."
Microsoft stated that the "fix" will come with the Xbox One's February update, and will automatically take effect when the controller syncs with the console. The exact change is that it will "increase the sensitivity of the outer boundaries of the thumbsticks on the Xbox One controller," so it's something all games will benefit from, not just Titanfall.
In addition, Microsoft and Respawn Entertainment are working on a new version of the console's upscaler, which would hopefully help convert sub-1080p resolutions to full 1080p. However, details on that are sparse, nor is it known whether that is specific to Titanfall or if it will be applicable to all Xbox One games. According to a recent Titanfall Blog post, the Titanfall Beta currently runs at "792p" resolution on the Xbox One, with the final build expected to be around 900p. As such, upscaling to 1080p would be very important to Respawn Entertainment (and Microsoft).
PC gamers obviously don't have to worry about any of this.
Source: The Verge and Titanfall Blog
This week saw the release of the fourth Headhunter DLC for Borderlands 2, Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre, just in time for Valentine's Day. When that was officially unveiled, 2K also stated that the fifth and final Headhunter DLC would be called Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax, arriving in April. Today, 2K let the
cat crab out of the bag with its official unveil.
Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax takes place on the seemingly peaceful Wam Bam Island. But in true Borderlands fashion, everything soon goes awry. As Sir Hammerlock, Brick, Mordecai, and Lilith are enjoying a little R&R, Sir Hammerlock is kidnapped and dragged underground by none other than Crawmerax Jr., the son of Crawmerax from the original Borderland's The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC – considered by many to be the first "raid boss" in the series. Apparently Crawmerax Jr. isn't very happy at Lilith, Brick, and Mordecai "for brutally defeating his father over and over again."
As with all the Headhunter DLC, beating the final enemy earns you a new head and skin for each character class. In this case, defeating Crawmerax Jr. earns you his head to wear, shrunk down to a reasonable size, of course. The skins don't turn you into a crab though; they're beach-themed.
Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax will arrive on April 15th for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 for $2.99 USD. This may be the last Borderlands 2 DLC ever, though the official blog post doesn't make that perfectly clear (the title says it's the "final adventure," while the article simply refers to it as the "final Borderlands 2 Headhunter add-on").
As with the last Headhunter DLC, IGN posted an exclusive preview video to enjoy:
Source: 2K Blog and IGN
Futuremark, the company behind the 3DMark and PCMark benchmarking tools, has recently announced it is developing Servermark, as benchmarking tool for servers. The software is being designed for measuring and comparing the performance of x86-based, Linux-running servers, and is to be well suited for testing virtual machines. It will include benchmark tests for web servers, file servers, database servers, media servers, and more.
Servermark, like every Futuremark benchmark, will be developed in partnership with leading hardware companies.
We're almost through the second week of February, and we have several reviews for you to check out today. There's a look at the AMD Radeon R7 265, which is built on the Pitcairn core and seeks to fill the gap between the R7 260X and the R9 270. We also have a review on the rather unique In Win 904 case, since it's made entirely out of aluminum and glass. For your audio needs, the CM Storm Ceres-500 gaming headset can be used on either the PC or consoles, so you shouldn't be left in the dark for whichever one you prefer. We finish today with a look at the QNAP HS-210 Silent and Fanless 2-bay NAS for anyone needing a solid home server.
AMD Radeon R7 265 2GB @ PC Perspective
In Win 904 @ ThinkComputers
QNAP HS-210 Silent and Fanlass 2-bay NAS @ Madshrimps
CM Storm Ceres-500 Gaming Headset @ LanOC Reviews
A problem faced by some or all tech companies is how to make their products cool, to improve sales. After all, the cooler the product, the more it is talked about and name recognition is important. Researchers at Penn State University have recently completed a series of studies into what makes something cool, and found there is more to it than previously thought.
Many people would say that a product is cool if it looks good, is original, and if it is edgy, but according to this research there is more to it than that. The product also has to appeal to the appropriate subculture (such as overclockers). Typically a subculture is the first group to adopt a product and it does not reach mainstream adoption if the subculture does not like it. Assuming that happens, if the product becomes uncool to the subculture, it can lose ground in the mainstream. Fortunately such products can become cool again, by regaining popularity within a subculture. To keep a product cool though, the company behind it has to be continually innovating.
Altogether, the researchers found that four elements contribute to coolness: subculture appeal; attractiveness; usefulness; and originality. Interestingly though, usefulness is not as important as initially thought, as participants rated some products both as cool and as low utility. Hopefully companies will not decide to produce products of low utility, hoping to capitalize on the other elements to succeed.
Source: Penn State University
February 12, 2014
One of the oldest names in motherboards is back at it again. Biostar's new Hi-Fi A88W FM2+ motherboard is based on the AMD FM2+ socket to support AMD multi-core socket FM2+/FM2 processors, AMD A-series, and E3-series processors. The motherboard has four DIMM DDR3 slots capable of memory speeds up to 2600+ MHz, two PCI-E 3.0 x16, two PCI-E x1, two PCI legacy slots, several USB 2.0 front headers, a single USB 3.0 front header, and eight SATA 6GB/s ports. The rear I/O has dual USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, DVI, HDMI, PS/2 port and 7.1 surround sound audio jacks.
The highlights of the motherboard have to be the AMD A88X chipset, which features Biostar Puro Hi-Fi 3D technology for audio enhancement. One aspect of the audio enhancement is a built-in amplifier that "can drive major high-end headphones with over 100dB loads and up to 600 ohm impedance." The technology also provides "higher audio output of 24bit/192KHz than the 16 bit/48KHz from the normal MB" for superior sound quality. Another feature is that the board is made of 100% X.D.C solid capacitors and uses a moisture-proof PCB to ensure durability.
The only things not known are the availability date and price.
Source: Press Release and Product Page
Robots can, or soon will, make many aspects of our lives a whole lot easier. However, there's just one problem: the robots act too intelligent. That's right, our future robot overlords are too smart for their own good, and would actually benefit from dumbing down their speech when talking to us meatbags. A study by both Cornell and Carnegie Mellon University scientists discovered that humans react better if the robots use filler words and aren't so authoritative in their actions. The study was based on teaching inexperienced bakers how to make cupcakes, with two human instructors leading the way. One instructor was precise in their speech, while the other added in words like "maybe," "um," and various other fillers. Duplicate videos were then made with a robot superimposed over the human instructor, and the subjects of the study took a questionnaire on which was the easier one to follow.
The results? Well the human and robot instructors using the filler words were liked a whole lot more than the clinical ones. It makes sense when you think about it, because wouldn't you rather follow someone who's a little more relatable than technical? After all, Bender from Futurama acts and talks like a human, and he's one of the more popular characters from that show. So, our future robot overlords should take note: if you want to really be our overlords, dumb down your speech.
Source: Cornell University
Klei Entertainment released an Autumn Teaser and Winter Teaser last month for Don't Starve's first DLC, Reign of Giants. Today, Klei posted the next season's video, the Spring Teaser. Just one more season to go – then hopefully we'll get some actual gameplay and details.
Source: Klei Entertainment