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General News News (1385)

Offline Viewing Comes to Netflix

Category: General News
Posted: November 30, 2016 02:56PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Online streaming service Netflix is finally going to allow users to download and watch some of its content while offline, just in time for the next big holiday travel season. Users can gain access to this feature on Android or iOS devices with an update to their app. The amount of content available for download is currently limited, and I would imagine that Netflix original content is the most likely to be immediately available.

Source: Coming Soon



Future Amazon Echo to Include Touch Screen

Category: General News
Posted: November 29, 2016 04:01PM
Author: Nick Harezga

The latest rumors about the next iteration of the Amazon Echo digital assistant indicate that it is expected to have a 7" touchscreen, a significant difference from the current cylindrical design of the Echo and Echo Dot. Sources familiar with the matter have said the screen would make it "easier to access content such as weather forecasts, calendar appointments, and news." The screen is said to tilt upwards, allowing for viewing while standing. Also to be included are upgraded speakers to provide better quality sound. It is believed that an official announcement could come as soon as the first quarter of 2017.

Source: Bloomberg



Ubisoft VP Describes Change to DLC Plans for Publisher

Category: General News
Posted: November 22, 2016 12:38PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Like it or not, downloadable content is here to stay in the game industry as it is a means to rejuvenate and grow player bases with the additions, and in turn bring in more revenue. There are different kinds of DLC though, with some potentially fragmenting the community between those with it and those who lack access to the additional content. According to a GamesIndustry.biz interview with Ubisoft's VP of Live Operations, the publisher has decided it will no longer sell DLC that is required for gamers to get the whole experience.

The VP uses an analogy of an amusement park, where you are able to enjoy all the rides and then purchase food or various merchandise if you want. If all you want is to ride the rides, they are all accessible to you. This approach to DLC is already being used in Rainbow Six: Siege where extra maps are available for free, while character customization and new characters are what can be purchased.

According to this interview, Ubisoft intends to support its games for five to ten years, which will require keeping players engaged for that entire time. Achieving this will require the right balance of monetization methods, but will not include any DLC that needs to be purchased for the full experience.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz



Windows 10 Now Supports 4K Netflix Streaming on Some Systems

Category: General News
Posted: November 21, 2016 03:13PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Netflix has been available to stream at 4K resolution through set-top boxes and televisions for a while now, and some Windows 10 systems are getting ready to join the party. Users will need a seventh generation Intel Core processor and will also need to use the Microsoft Edge browser. Content producers are hesitant to make the 4K streams available on computers due to piracy fears and the Intel Kaby Lake chips are the first to have the requisite support for the 10-bit HEVC video codec. Users that don't wish to shell out for the costs associated with a new system still have plenty of low cost options for enjoying the latest 4K content.

Source: The Verge



Google Plans to Add GPUs to Cloud Computing Services

Category: General News
Posted: November 16, 2016 04:40PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Google is planning to match other popular cloud computing services by making GPUs available to Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud Machine Learning users next year. Google will differentiate its offering from competitors by making the GPUs available on a per minute basis, rather than the hourly model used by others. Users will have access to the AMD FirePro S9300 x2, NVIDIA Tesla K80, and NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs, each of which offers advantages in different applications.

Source: Info World



NVIDIA Ansel Support Added to Unreal Engine 4

Category: General News
Posted: November 15, 2016 04:05PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Epic Games has added support for NVIDIA Ansel photography to Unreal Engine 4.14, providing users with "amazing new ways to capture in-game photographs." With Ansel, users can capture in-game photographs by altering camera angles, applying filters, capturing in 360 degrees, and using super resolution. Developers can easily enable support by upgrading to the latest Unreal Engine version, granting gamers the ability to use the feature and also providing developers a tool to capture "imagery for the promotion of your work in UE4." Epic is working on adding Ansel support to the free-to-play MOBA Paragon.

Source: NVIDIA



Microsoft Securing Chess Champion Data Ahead of World Championship

Category: General News
Posted: November 7, 2016 10:01AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In various sports it is not surprising to hear about the different methods a team may employ to protect game plans and practice routines. This is no less true of chess, where every preparatory measure can be closely guarded from any kind of leak. To that end, Magnus Carlsen has turned to Microsoft Norway to secure the computers, communications, and tools he is using to prepare for the approaching the World Championship against Sergey Karjakin. This preparation includes using powerful chess computers and a team of advisors who examine previous matches to find anything that might help or even a new move. Any of this information leaking could cost the chess master a victory as surprise is that important in the game.

Source: The Telegraph



Futuremark Releases VRMark: Are You Ready?

Category: General News
Posted: November 3, 2016 06:56AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*


Today Futuremark has finally released its new VR benchmark, VRMark. It contains two benchmark tests that can be run without a head mounted display and an Experience mode that you can use to free-roam in the tests' environments.

The first test is the Orange Room and is meant to show what can be achieved with the recommended hardware for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. You may recognize a number of its scenes from previous benchmarks. The Blue Room however almost exclusively features scenes from the game Shattered Horizon, which I at least have fond memories of. This is a much more demanding test for comparing systems that already surpass the Vive and Rift recommended hardware. Passing this test indicates you are ready for the latest VR games at the highest settings, and perhaps future VR headsets.

VRMark Basic Edition is available as a free download at the Futuremark website and on Steam while the Advanced Edition has a price of $19.99. For this first week though, the Advanced Edition is 25% off.

 

 

Source: Futuremark




New Record Set in 3DMark Fire Mark Extreme

Category: General News
Posted: October 19, 2016 02:07PM
Author: Nick Harezga

A new record has been set in the 3DMark Fire Mark Extreme benchmark by K|ngp|n, who became the first person to break the 40,000 point mark. In order to hit the mark, four GeForce Titan X cards were overclocked to 2200MHz with an Intel Core i7-6950X running at 5227MHz. Other components of note were an EVGA X99 FTW K motherboard, 32GB G.Skill DDR4, and an EVGA SuperNova NEX 1600W PSU. The use of a custom liquid nitrogen cooling setup was required to keep everything running while pushed so far above the stock speeds.

Source: PC Gamer



THX Purchased by Razer

Category: General News
Posted: October 18, 2016 07:03AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

I can remember seeing and hearing the THX logo and sound at the beginning of movies since I was a young child, and I have to admit, I would not have expected then that I would be writing news like this. THX has been purchased by Razer. The company will operate independently from its new parent, but both companies are going to take advantage of the other to enter into new product categories. This means Razer will be able to reach out into other areas of entertainment besides gaming and THX intends to expand its certification program to include several new technologies, including immersive audio, HDR, headphones, and eventually even augmented reality and virtual reality. The financial details of this transaction have not been disclosed.

Source: THX



Automatic Email Forwarding Disabled by Yahoo

Category: General News
Posted: October 11, 2016 02:39PM
Author: Nick Harezga

In the wake of the recent Yahoo email scandal, an increasing number of users are looking to change providers. However, these users are finding that difficult as Yahoo disabled the automatic email forwarding option earlier this month. The feature appears to be working for users that had set it up prior to the disable date, and Yahoo says that the "automatic email forwarding feature is under development and has been temporarily disabled."

Source: Reuters



Yahoo Allowed the Government to Read All of Your Incoming Emails

Category: General News
Posted: October 7, 2016 11:05AM
Author: bp9801


Recently, Yahoo revealed evidence of a hack that affected around 500 million people, making it the largest hack so far. However, there's something else that has recently come to light that is even more shocking and disturbing. Yahoo has been revealed as the first US company to allow US Intelligence officials to read every single incoming email from all of its customers. This isn't some of the emails, but every single incoming email for all Yahoo Mail users. It was part of a classified government demand to allow the access, with either the FBI or National Security Agency pushing for it. It is not known exactly what either agency was looking for, other than certain characters in an email or attachment, but the fact they were able to view all incoming emails and not stored emails is highly alarming.

This is the first time a US Internet company has agreed to such a demand, with it being unprecedented and possibly unconstitutional. It isn't known what Yahoo handed over either in terms of data, or if the NSA or FBI approached any other companies to scan incoming emails. Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Apple, and Facebook have all pushed out statements saying they didn't receive or comply with any government demands, and if they did it would be met with a, "no way."

It appears Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer complied with the demand, which prompted the company's Chief Information Security Officer, Alex Stamos, to resign in 2015 when he found out about it. Stamos now works at Facebook and did not say the reason for his departure at the time, but now it's quite clear he and other executives disagreed with Mayer's decision, but were powerless to do anything about it.

Yahoo issued a statement saying it abides by government laws, since it's a law abiding company, but did not say anything further. Like why exactly it allowed the government to scan all incoming emails, denied it had done so, or addressed any security and privacy concerns that are a direct result of this blatant disregard for customer trust. It's a major issue, and one I feel is only going to get worse for Yahoo as a result, especially with the upcoming sale to Verizon, which complies with the NSA, too, on information gathering. The massive hack and now this email scanning raises serious questions about Yahoo's security level and whether it actually cares to implement something to protect its customers. We'll have to see if anything changes, or if there's a mass exodus to other services. There probably should be a departure from Yahoo anyway, but that's up to you to make.

If you're interested in deleting your Yahoo account, first you should transfer or back up all your data, and then head here to begin the deletion process.

Sources: Reuters and Fight for the Future



AT&T Fiber Internet on the Way to 11 More Cities

Category: General News
Posted: October 5, 2016 02:50PM
Author: Nick Harezga

AT&T Fiber Internet is already bringing gigabit speeds to 29 metro areas around the country including Atlanta, Austin, and Orlando. The company has added 11 more cities to the list that will be getting the service soon, bringing that number to 38. These new areas are concentrated in the Southeastern United States and a single location in Texas. AT&T made no indication of when these areas can expect the service to be completed, but plans to be fully rolled out to 45 cities by the end of the year. AT&T needs to offer fiber Internet to at least 12.5 million customers by mid-2019, a condition of its purchase of DirecTV. The monthly cost for the service is $70 in areas where AT&T faces competition from Google Fiber and $90 where it does not.

Source: Ars Technica



Thermaltake Announces First Gaming Chairs

Category: General News
Posted: October 4, 2016 03:12PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Thermaltake has announced its first set of entries into the growing gaming chair market with four products released under the Tt eSPORTS brand. The four chairs are the GT FIT, GT COMFORT, X FIT, and X COMFORT and are available in a range of color options. The chairs were designed with an anti-fatigue design, high quality materials, and a "stunning streamlined gaming aesthetic." Ergonomic features for proper posture include a backrest with lumbar support, seat with dense foam padding, adjustable armrest, seat height adjustment, and recline and tilt capability. The chairs have an MSRP of $329.99 for the GT FIT, $399.99 for the GT COMFORT, $349.99 for the X FIT, and $419.99 for the X COMFORT.

Source: Press Release




Microsoft and Disney Cited as Potential Buyers for Twitter

Category: General News
Posted: September 27, 2016 03:22PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Twitter has found itself at the center of buyout and acquisition talks for some time now, and the latest round of rumors are pointing to Microsoft and Disney as being potential suitors this time. Facebook is not seen as being interested at this time. The latest talk stems from David Faber of CNBC who reported on the Closing Bell show that "the social media giant is moving closer to a formal sale process for the company," but also pointed out that it didn't mean the process was currently underway.

Source: CNBC



Microsoft to Make Edge Run in Virtual Machine for Improved Security on Windows 10 Enterprise

Category: General News
Posted: September 27, 2016 12:43PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A sad fact of modern times is that any computer is at risk of being attacked by malware, but just because we are all targets does not mean we have to make it easy. There are several ways to protect our machines and Microsoft will be rolling out a new one for Windows 10 Enterprise users that use the company's Edge browser. In the future, Edge will be made to run within its own virtual machine, isolating it from the rest of the operating system, so even if the browser is comprised, your computer can still be safe.

For those who do not know, virtual machines allow someone to run one operating system from within another by virtualizing a second machine. For example, you could have a distribution of Linux running within a version Windows, but because of how the virtual machine exists, the Linux OS will not have full access to your files or even your hardware. The virtual machine Edge will be running in will not be a complete operating system but just the features necessary for Internet browsing. This feature is called Application Guard and no, there will not be an API released for other applications to utilize. There are too many variables to consider for that to be a realistic possibility, at least in the foreseeable future. As it is, Edge with Application Guard is going to lose certain features, such as the ability to keep persistent cookies, as each virtualized session is destroyed when it is done, and even the clipboard might not be accessible. A system administrator will be able to set certain websites as trusted of course, and allow them to be accessed without the virtual machine in place.

Application Guard is expected to be added to Insider Builds of Windows later this year, so we may see it release for Windows 10 Enterprise next year.

Source: Ars Technica



Roku Refreshes Hardware Lineup

Category: General News
Posted: September 26, 2016 03:22PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Roku announced a new streaming stick earlier this year and has now updated the rest of its streaming boxes. The Roku Express is 75% smaller than the Roku 1 while doubling the processing power to handle HD video at a cost of $30. If you want composite cables with the box it will cost you an extra $10. The Roku Premiere and Premiere+ take over for the Roku 2 and 3 and offer support for 4K video at 60fps. The Premiere+ adds HDR support and an enhanced remote with a headphone jack, an Ethernet port, and a microSD slot. The Premiere will cost $80 while the Premiere+ will cost $100. The Roku Ultra replaces the Roku 4 and adds an "even more advanced" remote and the ability to play media from a thumb drive to the features of the Premiere+, at a cost of $130. The new boxes will be available sometime in October.

Source: The Verge



Twitter Possibly Received Expression of Interest From Other Companies

Category: General News
Posted: September 26, 2016 10:12AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

While nothing is definite, there is a possibility that by the end of the year, Twitter may be under new ownership. Supposedly the company has received expressions of interest from others, including Google and Salesforce.com, which resulted in Twitter's shares rising on Friday. This is still just rumor though, but Twitter's board of directors is open to being purchased supposedly, so if this is true and the momentum builds, we could see a deal made by the end of the year. If such a purchase is made, the buyer would not just be receiving the social media platform, but all of the data it generates, which could prove very valuable for some businesses.

Source: CNBC



Microsoft Looks to Return Value to Shareholders

Category: General News
Posted: September 21, 2016 02:57PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Microsoft has announced a pair of moves designed to share the wealth with shareholders, a $40 billion share buyback and 8% dividend increase. A similar buyback announced in 2013 is expected to complete this year, with no target completion date set for this buyback. The dividend increase is smaller than the past two years increase of 16% and 11%, and it represents a 2.7% yield at current prices. Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Brad Reback wasn't worried about the lower dividend increase as it was "in line with expectations given the LinkedIn acquisition."

Source: Wall Street Journal



Amazon Leaks Cheaper Echo Dot on Twitter

Category: General News
Posted: September 13, 2016 03:15PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Amazon appears to have leaked the price of a cheaper Echo Dot on its Twitter account before deleting the Tweet. The original Dot has been a hot seller since its release in March, with it being sold out since July at a price of $89.99. The Tweet contained the apparent price of $49.99 but didn't have any information about a potential release date. For anyone that has been waiting for the current model to come back in stock, it may be worth it at this point to wait for the new model to come out.

Source: Recode



Raspberry Pi Celebrates 10 Million Units With New Starter Kit

Category: General News
Posted: September 8, 2016 03:02PM
Author: Nick Harezga

The Raspberry Pi is one of the most popular tiny and cheap computers on the market, and this is now backed up by the sale of the 10 millionth Raspberry Pi. The creator of the Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton, is just as surprised as anyone by this sales milestone, stating "we thought our lifetime volumes might amount to ten thousand units – if we were lucky." The Pi started out of a desire to get more students in the United Kingdom interested in computers, but quickly exploded into a platform that appealed to users of all ages. To mark the occasion, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has unveiled a $130 starter kit that includes a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, 8GB NOOBS SC card, carry case, power supply, HDMI cable, optical mouse, keyboard, and a book.

Source: Venture Beat



Corsair Shows Off Several RGB Products at PAX West

Category: General News
Posted: September 2, 2016 09:02AM
Author: Nick Harezga

Corsair has decided to use PAX West as a stage for unveiling the latest additions to its line of products featuring RGB lighting. The SP120 RGB and HD120 RGB are fans with "ultra-thin frosted" blades and multiple lighting modes powered by a three-function controller. The SP120 has four LEDs while the HD120 has twelve. The SP120 spins at 1400 RPM while the HD120 can range from 800-1725 RPM through PWM. The Crystal 460X RGB is a case enclosed by two-panel tempered glass with tool free installation, dust filters, and three SP120 RGB fans. The MM800 Polaris RGB Mouse Pad has 15 LEDs that can be controlled individually using the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software. The pad is powered through USB and has a USB pass-through port to connect your mouse to. It has a surface area of 285mm x 272mm x 5mm. Corsair has also updated the CUE software to version 2 as a "ground-up redesign of the software optimized for high resolution and 4K displays."

Source: Press Release




Prototype Apple 1 Sold for $815,000

Category: General News
Posted: August 29, 2016 09:07AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Recently a prototype Apple 1 computer put up for auction, and while it was expected to sell for one million dollars, the winning bid came in at $815,000. Only 200 Apple 1s were made in 1976, before Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak turned their attention to the Apple 2, but this particular computer is actually one of an even smaller group. This is one of the "celebration editions," which are not part of either production run but instead had its components manually soldered onto a blank PC board. That means, as an Apple historian explained in a promotional video, this is one of the first, if not the first Apple computer.

The winners of the auction, Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, intend to take it to schools and universities to inspire younger generations. Ten percent of the auction's proceeds will go to the New York based Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Source: BBC



Amazon Planning Two Music Streaming Services

Category: General News
Posted: August 23, 2016 03:22PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Earlier this year Amazon announced a standalone video streaming service at a cost of $8.99 per month. It now appears that Amazon is planning a pair of music streaming services similar to services like Spotify. The first service would have a $10 per month cost and would allow for streaming on all platforms. A second service is expected at a cost of $4 or $5 per month with the caveat that it will only work with the Amazon Echo. Amazon hopes to have several million Echo devices in circulation by the end of this year, but that number still falls far short of the available users that utilize similar services on their smartphones.

Source: Recode



Netflix Takes a Hit on Lower Than Expected Growth

Category: General News
Posted: July 19, 2016 03:42PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Netflix reported quarterly earnings after the market closed yesterday and the outcome was not the best news for investors. The company added 1.54 million subscribers, falling far short of its projection of 2.5 million. The numbers miss led to a 14% drop in stock price in after-hours trading. Netflix believes that it hit its target for new signups but lost too many subscribers due to the "completion of two years of grandfathering" which some members may have misinterpreted as a price increase. Netflix is confident that it can weather the storm caused by the last stages of grandfathering as it will allow the company to continue to invest in new content. It continues to put out well received original content and I will gladly pay the modest increase to keep that momentum going.

Source: The Verge



Thermaltake Announces Battle Dragon Backpack

Category: General News
Posted: July 11, 2016 02:42PM
Author: Nick Harezga


The Tt eSPORTS brand from Thermaltake has made quite the splash in the gaming peripheral market, and the company has now announced a new method for transporting your devices around with you. The Battle Dragon Utility Backpack is made from polyester and woven nylon with a tear-proof exterior. The interior has a padded compartment to accommodate laptops up to 17" and enough additional space for any accessories you may need. A media pocket has a cable port to allow for connection of headphones or a power cord. The Battle Dragon has an MSRP of $59.99.

Source: Press Release




New 60Tbps Cable Connects United States and Japan

Category: General News
Posted: July 4, 2016 11:33AM
Author: Nick Harezga

Google has worked with five Asian telecom companies to create "the highest-capacity undersea cable ever built," capable of speeds up to 60Tbps. The 9,000km cable was built by NEC at a cost of $300 million and connects Oregon to two locations in Japan. Google plans to use its share of the bandwidth "to support our users, including Google Apps and Cloud Platform customers. This is especially exciting, as we prepare to launch a new Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo later this year. Dedicated bandwidth to this region results in faster data transfers and reduced latency as GCP customers deliver their applications and information to customers around the globe." In the world of computing where the fastest technologies don't stay the fastest for long, Microsoft and Facebook are already working on a 160Tbps cable that will connect the United States to Europe.

Source: Ars Technica



Office 365 Users Hit With Ransomware

Category: General News
Posted: June 29, 2016 02:51PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Starting on June 22, a massive attack was launched against users of the Office 365 service with more than 57% of total users receiving at least one infected e-mail. The zero-day attack utilized a variation of the Cerber ransomware and was able to bypass Microsoft security checks until just over 24 hours ago. Cerber has been on the rise since first being detected in March, now ranked as the third most detected form of ransomware. In the most recent incident, the attackers were looking for around $500 in Bitcoin, and considering the use of AES-256 and RSA encryption "which is currently unbreakable," users should hope they weren't unlucky enough to become infected.

Source: WCCF Tech



Intel Looking to Unload McAfee

Category: General News
Posted: June 27, 2016 01:38PM
Author: Nick Harezga

It is being reported that Intel is planning to sell its cyber security division, which came about with the 2011 purchase of McAfee for $7.7 billion. McAfee is probably most widely known as the company behind the popular antivirus software. The move follows previous indications from Intel that it was looking to distance itself from the PC market, as well as announced plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs.

Source: Reuters



Sunway TaihuLight Dethrones Tianhe-2 as Fastest Supercomputer

Category: General News
Posted: June 20, 2016 03:35PM
Author: Nick Harezga

For the first time in three years there is a change at the top of the Top500 supercomputer rankings. The Sunway TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in China has taken over from Tianhe-2, also located in China. The TaihuLight has maximum computational power of 93 petaflops per second, dwarfing the 33.9 petaflops per second of Tianhe-2. The system has 10,649,600 cores across 40,960 nodes with 32GB of RAM per node, for a total of 1.3PB of RAM. TaihuLight manages to also be more power efficient than Tianhe-2 despite having more than triple the number of cores, with power utilization of 15.37MW compared to 17.8MW for Tianhe-2. All of the CPUs in TaihuLight are the ShenWei SW26010, a 260 core 1.45GHz 64-bit RISC processor developed a China, a move that is likely unrelated to the United States embargo of high-end processors to Chinese supercomputing centers. According to Top500, TaihuLight will be put to use "in research and engineering work in fields including climate, weather and Earth systems modeling, life science research, advanced manufacturing, and data analytics."

Source: Ars Technica



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