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It is time for a new contest, as OCC is giving away three Tesoro mechanical keyboards. Up for grabs are the Tesoro Lobera Supreme, the Tizona G2N with its Numpad attachment, and the Durandal Ultimate. All feature mechanical key switches, plus both the Lobera Supreme and Durandal Ultimate feature LED backlighting. The Lobera Supreme even has full color backlighting, so you can alternate between a variety of colors to suit your mood or game. If you want to try your hand at winning one of these keyboards, head on over to the forums and enter the contest. It is only open to residents in North America, so our apologies to our international friends.

OCC's Tesoro giveaway runs until September 15, so be sure to enter by then! And if you are one of the lucky winners, you have 48 hours to claim your prize, otherwise it gets redrawn!

Hands On with Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries

Belgian studio GRIN is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for its dark fairy tale platformer Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries, and I was fortunate enough to receive access to the alpha demo. Instead of simply posting a gameplay video and writing about my first impressions, I decided to narrate as I play. The footage and audio was recorded using NVIDIA ShadowPlay, but the in-game volume gets quite loud, so I apologize for the narration getting drowned out at times. As this is merely an alpha demo, there are no volume options, so it is what it is. Nothing in this demo should be viewed as indicative of the game's final build quality, especially since a lot of animations and systems aren't implemented yet.

Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is planned for a Q1 2015 release on PC with Closed Beta to begin next month. If you'd like to support the project, the minimum Kickstarter pledge is $15, which grants you the full game upon release along with the Kickstarter-exclusive Toy Soldier Editor; Steam key or DRM-free via GOG.com. Closed Beta access starts at $50 and up, while Alpha access starts at $100 and up. The Kickstarter campaign ends Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 5:55PM EDT.

September 1, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 06:51PM PST by ClayMeow
Team17's Flockers Leaving Steam Early Access September 19; Also Coming to PS4 & XBO

Back on May 6, Team17's twisted and brutal Lemmings-inspired Flockers arrived on Steam Early Access with just 25 levels. Now, after roughly four months, Flockers is set to leave Early Access with over 60 levels. Check out the Official Release Trailer, along with a bunch of new screenshots below:

Flockers will launch September 19 worldwide for PC and in Europe for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. North American PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers will ahve to wait for September 23. The PC version includes a level editor with Steam Workshop support.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 06:03PM PST by ClayMeow
Gearbox Announces Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Season Pass

Considering Borderlands 2 had a Season Pass, along with a plethora of additional DLC, it should come as no surprise that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is getting a Season Pass as well. 2K and Gearbox made the official announcement yesterday, revealing that The Pre-Sequel will indeed be getting a Season Pass that will bundle together four planned add-on content packs at a discounted rate. The Season Pass will sell for $29.99 compared to the $9.99 individual price for each piece. While details are sparse, Gearbox promises "new characters, challenges, missions, and experiences." With Borderlands 2, the two additional characters were never a part of the Season Pass, so their addition this time around is of particular note and should please fans of the franchise.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launches October 14 in North America and October 17 elsewhere. Pre-ordering grants access to the Shock Drop Slaughter Pit, taking place in an old Dahl facility and hosted by TR4-NU. It will be available for purchase at a later date for those that do not pre-order. If you're looking to upgrade your PC, the game is currently being bundled with select NVIDIA GPUs.

Source: Official Site

Comments (0) | Posted at 12:18PM PST by CheeseMan42
Kingston Shows Off New HyperX Memory at PAX Prime

Kingston used the PAX Prime expo this past weekend in Seattle, Washington as an opportunity to demo the next-generation HyperX Predator DDR4 memory kit. This new memory was designed with the Intel X99 chipset in mind and will be available as 16GB sets with 4GB sticks that operate at 1.2V at frequencies ranging from 2133MHz to 3000MHz. HyperX business manager Lawrence Yang said, "With the industry launch of DDR4 memory, the HyperX team is excited to have our Predator DDR4 memory ready for the next generation of PC enthusiasts who continually want the absolute best performance possible from their system."

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:48AM PST by CheeseMan42

HighPoint has announced the addition of some new products to the RocketStor 6300 line of Thunderbolt 2 storage solutions. The RocketStor 6328AS is an 8-bay RAID solution that gives users a choice between RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and JBOD configurations. An easy to use web interface simplifies configuration and also allows for e-mail notifications and remote access. The 6328AS has an MSRP of $1,299. The 6324LS and 6328LS provide JBOD storage through the Thunderbolt 2 interface with capacity for four and eight drives, respectively. These solutions were designed to "host mid-scale backup applications, digital libraries and archives for digital assets." The 6328LS has an MSRP of $999 and the 6324LS costs $649.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:09AM PST by ClayMeow
Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries Kickstarter Successfully Funded; Adds a Bonus to All Tiers and Four Physical Add-ons

With roughly four days left, dark fairy tale platformer Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries reached its $50,000 Kickstarter goal at some point yesterday. As a thank you to every backer, developer GRIN has added an additional reward to every tier: a digital copy (PDF) of a Woolfe tabletop/fantasy RPG. While the details are still being ironed out, the PDF will include "a Game Master Guide, Character sheets, and templates for creating dungeons and maps."

In addition, GRIN had always said it avoided including physical goods in Woolfe's tiers because it would dilute the actual funds earned during the campaign and not actually be indicative of how much money could be put toward the game's development budget. Now that the campaign is successful, the studio has announced four physical add-ons any backer can tack on to their existing pledge: a Poster Pack at $32, which includes four beautiful posters (one even signed by the Woolfe team) measuring 707x500 mm or 27.83x19.69 inches; a Hardcover Artbook at $39, "containing at least 80 pages of concept art, high-quality 3D character and environment renders, level design sketches, story extracts, character back-stories, and selected fan art"; a Boxed version at $39, which includes a DRM-free PC DVD containing the game and a separate CD for the soundtrack; and a Deluxe Boxed version at $120, which includes the same DVD and CD, but in a rather unique and visually striking 3D-printed box. Be sure to check out the images below to see what each add-on looks like. All pricing includes shipping.

Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is planned for a Q1 2015 release on PC with Closed Beta to begin next month. If you'd like to support the project, the minimum Kickstarter pledge is $15, which grants you the full game upon release along with the Kickstarter-exclusive Toy Soldier Editor; Steam key or DRM-free via GOG.com. Closed Beta access starts at $50 and up, while Alpha access starts at $100 and up. The Kickstarter campaign ends Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 5:55PM EDT, and is approaching 2,000 backers!

Source: Kickstarter Update

Comments (0) | Posted at 10:34AM PST by bp9801

Intel has refreshed its Extreme Edition CPUs with the new Haswell-E parts, which includes the Core i7 5960X Extreme. It is a powerhouse of a CPU, as it packs in eight cores and 16 threads to deliver some amazing numbers. It also means a new socket and chipset, as the new CPUs require Intel X99 motherboards and socket 2011-v3. Intel really went all out with the 5960X, and we have a selection of reviews for you to check out to see just what this processor is capable of.

Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Edition @ OCC
Intel i7-5960X Haswell-E @ LanOC Reviews
Intel Core i7-5960X @ ThinkComputers
Haswell-E: The Intel Core i7-5960X 8-core Processor @ PC Perspective
Core i7 5960X Haswell-E @ Bjorn3D
Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme @ Benchmark Reviews
Intel Octacore i7-5960X Haswell-E @ Madshrimps

Comments (0) | Posted at 10:24AM PST by bp9801

The dawn of a new month is upon us, and with it comes plenty of items for you to check out. We have some looks at the Intel X99 motherboards for the new Haswell-E CPUs, including the ASUS X99 Deluxe and the MSI X99S Gaming 9. There is also a review on the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX USB 3.0 128GB flash drive, which could function as a portable SSD. The Tt eSPORTS Verto gaming headset gets put to the test to see how well it can help you out in your games. We also have some other items, including a look at 20 of the worst PC setups, how to disable DirectWrite in Google Chrome, five free image editing solutions to consider, and a new podcast.

ASUS X99 Deluxe @ LanOC Reviews
ASUS X99 Deluxe @ Bjorn3D
MSI X99S Gaming 9 @ Bjorn3D

Storage/Hard Drives
Corsair Flash Voyager GTX USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive @ Madshrimps

Tt eSPORTS Verto Gaming Headset @ ThinkComputers

How to Disable DirectWrite in Google Chrome @ NGOHQ.com
5 Free Image Editing Solutions Worth a Look @ TechSpot
20 of the Worst PC Setups - August 2014 @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #315 @ PC Perspective

Comments (0) | Posted at 08:43AM PST by ClayMeow
Resident Evil Revelations 2 Revealed in Live-action Teaser Trailer

The Resident Evil re-remaster isn't the only Resident Evil game coming Early 2015. Capcom has revealed that Resident Evil Revelations 2 will also be arriving around that time, but the publisher did so in a rather unconventional way: with a live-action trailer. Not exactly the best way to announce a game, but I guess it's better than simply having a ten-second teaser with just a logo.

Since I never played the first Revelations, I'll leave it to our sister site Neoseeker to break it down a bit:

So we actually don't know much about this sequel to Resident Evil Revelations, but the teaser video might have a few hints for eagle-eyed gamers. The most obvious one can be seen about 29 seconds in, at which point we see an individual wearing a TerraSave t-shirt. For those unaware of the significance, TerraSave is a fictional human rights group in the Resident Evil universe, and its most prominent member is Claire Redfield, Chris Redfield's sister.

One viewer also pointed to a figure in the background, appearing at around the same mark. A woman is seen leaning against the wall, her hair reminiscent of Rachel Foley's. Of course, that might be reading a little too much into it, but you can never be too sure with teasers these days. Developers can be amazing trolls too, after all.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 is planned for Early 2015 release for PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. There has been no mention of Nintendo platforms, despite the first Revelations game originating on the 3DS.

Source: Press Release and Neoseeker

Comments (0) | Posted at 08:21AM PST by ClayMeow

Back in the beginning of August, Capcom revealed plans to revisit the original Resident Evil once again, remastering the 2002 remaster of the 1996 classic. With PAX Prime upon us, Capcom has released the first official trailer, along with a few new "current gen" screens.

The Resident Evil re-remaster is planned for Early 2015 release for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 07:01AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

To know what is trending, Twitter scans its library of tweets and counts up the number of times certain hashtags are used. While this definitely succeeds in identifying what is being talked about the most, it does not tell us what is actually being said. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia decided to change that by developing a system that actually analyzes the words being used, to extract meaning.

To start off, the researchers used tweets associated with the Super Bowl and World Series and provided their system with a small library of words they expected to be present. The system then looked for those words as well as their placement within the tweets. The result is an analysis of what is happening at a micro or local level, beneath the clutter of hashtags.

The researchers see this system potentially being used to help provide information to people about what is happening in any given situation, such as after a disaster. It could even be used to predict future events.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Comments (0) | Posted at 04:40AM PST by CheeseMan42
Corsair Works With ASUS To Create New Memory Kit

Corsair has announced a new memory kit, the Dominator Platinum DDR4, developed in collaboration with ASUS. The memory will be available at speeds of 3300MHz, 3200MHz, and 3000MHz and is being touted as the "world’s fastest production memory kits." The fruits of the collaboration can be seen when pairing the memory with ASUS motherboards that use the X99 chipset, specifically the X99 Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme, as Corsair tuned the "memory timings to take advantage of the optimized DRAM layout and UEFI firmware." Corsair Chief Operating Officer Thi La said, "Our rigorous validation with ASUS has enabled us to make Dominator Platinum 3300MHz the fastest desktop DDR4 memory available at launch."

Source: Press Release

August 30, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 06:14AM PST by CheeseMan42
Trio of New R9 Video Cards Announced by Sapphire

Sapphire has announced three video cards based on the R9 Graphics Core Next architecture from AMD. The R9 285 Dual-X pairs an R9 core with the Sapphire Dual-X cooler. The cooler uses a multi heatpipe design with two aerofoil fans. The R9 285 OC takes stock core and memory clocks of 916MHz and 1375MHz, respectively, and factory overclocks them to 965MHz and 1400MHz. An innovative option is also presented with the R9 285 ITX Compact OC edition, a card built for small form factor systems. It is just 171mm in length with an "efficient heatpipe cooler with a single fan." The cards will be available starting September 2.

Source: Press Release

August 29, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 09:57PM PST by ClayMeow
Gameplay Teaser for The Behemoth's Game 4 Reveals a Hex Strategy Game

Last week, The Behemoth teased its fourth game, codenamed Game 4, stating that a demo will be playable at PAX Prime from August 29 thru September 1. Not much was divulged other than saying it was a genre the studio never covered before, but based on the hexagonal title screen for the teaser trailer, I made an educated guess that it would be a turn-based strategy game of sorts. Today, The Behemoth released a Gameplay Teaser video, providing a sneak peek at Game 4, and it is indeed a hex-grid, turn-based strategy game, but with the unique aesthetic The Behemoth's games are known for. Apparently, "It was first revealed at the end of the game demo we brought to PAX Prime 2014--thus the appreciative 'thank you for playing' at the beginning of this video."

If you're attending PAX Prime this weekend, head on over to Booth 3003 to take your crack at the demo of Game 4.

Source: Twitter

Comments (0) | Posted at 03:43PM PST by ClayMeow
Costume Quest 2 Now Available for Steam Pre-order; Releasing October 7

Back in March, Double Fine Productions announced that Costume Quest 2 was in full production and would be arriving in time for Halloween 2014 for PC and consoles. Today, publisher Midnight City announced that beginning today, Costume Quest 2 is available to pre-order on Steam for $14.99 with four exclusive costumes from the original game: Robot, Unicorn, Eyeball, and Pumpkin. There's also a bundle available for $19.99 that includes the game and aforementioned costumes along with a copy of the first game with its Grubbins on Ice DLC, essentially providing that first game at half price.

Costume Quest 2 is arriving for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) via Steam on October 7. The game is also coming to consoles, but it is unclear whether those will be arriving on that same date. Costume Quest 2 will be playable at PAX Prime this weekend at both the Midnight City Booth (#6808) and Double Fine Booth (#117).

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 03:21PM PST by ClayMeow
New Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Trailer Introduces Us to Ratbag

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and Monolith Productions has released a brand new trailer for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, entitled "Meet Ratbag". While the majority of Uruks are dynamically generated through the Nemesis System, thus making them unique to each player, Ratbag is a special case. As shown in the trailer, Ratbag plays a critical role in Shadow of Mordor's story, acting as a mole of sorts after you save him from certain death.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is releasing on September 30 in North America and October 3 in Europe for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. A Season Pass will also be available with an exclusive mission and additional content.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 02:11PM PST by Guest_Jim_*

When it comes to understanding the existence of the Universe, there can be some curious theories. Naturally testing these theories can be an equally interesting endeavor as they push boundaries almost unimaginable. One theory about the Universe is that what we experience and observe is actually a 2D hologram and now researchers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have an experiment to test this idea.

If the Universe is actually a 2D hologram, then the 3D world we seem to live in is just an illusion, akin to how characters we view with 2D screens believe themselves to be in their own three-dimensional worlds. To test this idea, the researchers are exploiting one of the fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics; uncertainty. If the Universe is a 2D hologram then there must exist 2D bits of information, akin to pixels, and the size of these pixels would be on the Planck scale. These bits describing spacetime, if they exist, but obey quantum mechanics like all other particles, which means there is an uncertainty when measuring their position and velocity. To make those measurements, the researchers have built a Holometer, which is comprised of two, closely place interferometers that are sensitive enough to potentially detect the small jitters of the bits.

For the running of the Holometer experiment, the researchers will be working to identify and isolate sources of noise in the measurements, which could be coming from a variety of sources, including nearby electronics. Eventually though, if the holographic theory is correct, there will a noise that cannot be removed, and thus an aspect of spacetime itself.

Source: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Comments (0) | Posted at 02:05PM PST by ClayMeow
Nintendo Unveils the 'New 3DS' with More Power and a Second Analog Stick

One year ago, almost to the day, Nintendo unveiled the 2DS; an "entry level" handheld gaming device, abandoning the clam-shell design and 3D support of its older brother, the 3DS. Today, during a Japanese-exclusive Nintendo Direct, Nintendo unveiled two new handheld devices, "New 3DS" and "New 3DS LL" ("LL" is the "XL" equivalent in Japan) – because apparently the people in charge of naming Nintendo's products didn't learn their lesson from the Wii U fiasco. Cue the Abbott & Costello routine when outlets start selling "used New 3DS" versus "new New 3DS". Let's hope the name changes by the time it reaches the Western markets, for Nintendo's own good. Skip to approximately the 14:30 mark in the video below for the reveal:

Naming aside, what really matters is the specs. Both versions are receiving a boost in power thanks to an upgraded CPU, but the most exciting new feature is that Nintendo has finally added a second analog stick! Granted it's a small nub and not a full-size analog stick, but it's still a welcome improvement. In addition, both "New" revisions have two additional shoulder buttons situated beside the existing ones, providing two on each side: R/ZR and L/ZL. The ABXY buttons have also received a facelift, matching the color-coding of the original SNES controller in the Japan market. No word on whether the Western markets will feature the same colors or the gray/purple ones.

In addition to the new and altered buttons, both New 3DS handhelds will have a built-in NFC device for amiibo figurine support, removing the need for a separate accessory. Nintendo also claims that the 3D has been improved, allowing for greater viewing angles. Meanwhile both screens on the New 3DS have had their sizes increased by 1.2x, while the New 3DS LL screens remain the same. As a result, the New 3DS is slightly larger and weighs a bit more than the current 3DS, but the New 3DS LL is a tad lighter than the current 3DS LL, though obviously more than both the 3DS and New 3DS.

The New 3DS and New 3DS LL are scheduled to launch on October 11 in Japan, but Western markets will have to wait for 2015. It's an interesting move since it'll likely negatively affect 2DS and 3DS sales in the Western markets this holiday season; especially considering Xenoblade Chronicles will only be supported by these New revisions and not any of the old ones (not even the one-year-old 2DS). While it's just one exclusive game right now with no other titles confirmed, many current Nintendo handheld gamers are already worried about what the future will hold.

Source: Nintendo Direct via Neoseeker

Comments (2) | Posted at 11:30AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

For years I was told how important a strong vocabulary is, and it took me years to realize just how true that is. Of course you can grow your vocabulary by reading books, newspapers, and hardware review websites. Now researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Karlstad University have proven that playing video games can also strengthen your vocabulary.

For their study, the researchers had 76 children from 10 to 11 years old fill out questionnaires and a language diary, to track encounters with English, outside of school. The boys reported spending an average of 11.5 hours a week playing video games, compared to the girls' 5.1 hour average. The girls however did spend, on average, 11.5 hours a week on online language-related activities, primarily Facebook, while the boys only spent 8 hours a week, on average. It is important to note that for many of these children, their first language was Swedish and they were learning English as a second language. The gamers of the group demonstrated a significantly better English vocabulary than the others, which may be the result of English being commonly used in the games they played, while on Facebook the children could use Swedish instead.

Along with finding the positive impact of playing games, the researchers also identified that MMORPGs were the most effective at developing English vocabulary, thanks to the number of players of interaction between them.

Source: EurekAlert!

Comments (0) | Posted at 06:45AM PST by Guest_Jim_*
Object Imaged with Light that Never Touched It

Whenever you take a picture, the photons that are captured were actually reflected or scattered by the objects in the image. This is how cameras have always worked, but could it be possible to take a picture with photons that never interacted with the imaged object? It must be as researchers at the University of Vienna, Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, and the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology have done so.

To achieve this seemingly impossible task, the researchers turned to quantum mechanics and the phenomenon entanglement in particular. Entanglement is when particles are so tightly bound together that the properties of one can affect and determine properties of the other, even when separated over great distances. To create the entangled particles, the researchers fired a laser into a pair of nonlinear crystals, with the imaged object in the middle. Both crystals created pairs of entangled photons, but one would be an infrared photon while the other would just be red. The optics of the experiment made sure all of the infrared photons from the first crystal took the path that would have them interact with the target, a sketch of a cat, while the red photons would remain clear of it. The infrared photons would then enter the second crystal, combining with any infrared photons made there. All of these infrared photons were then discarded, while the red photons were captured by a camera that could not even see the infrared photons.

Despite the red photons never interacting with the sketch of the cat, the beams still recreated it in bright and dark patterns, because the information of the infrared photons was preserved by the red photons. This research could see some very interesting applications in the future, including in medical and biological imaging where low light imaging is important.

Source: University of Vienna

August 28, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 03:31PM PST by CheeseMan42

Valve recently added support to the Steam client for hardware encoding on NVIDIA GPUs, allowing gamers to "play remotely from your PC connected to any Steam-enabled system in your home at resolutions up to 1080p at 60 fps." Sam Lantinga of Valve described the effort saying, "We’ve worked closely with NVIDIA to support hardware encoding on GeForce cards with our Steam In-Home Streaming technology, and the result is nothing short of amazing." The NVIDIA hardware encoder is able to encode the frames in real time and allows gamers to play with no noticeable lag.

Source: NVIDIA

Comments (0) | Posted at 03:19PM PST by CheeseMan42
PowerColor Announces TurboDuo R9 285 OC

PowerColor has announced the latest addition to its stable of video cards, the TurboDuo R9 285 OC. The card is being offered as "a cost-effective choice for those who are looking for the best bang for their buck." The card has 2GB of GDDR5, a factory overclocked core speed of 945MHz, and a memory clock of 1375MHz. A pair of 80mm fans help to power the namesake TurboDuo cooling system with patented Double Blades design that offers 20% more airflow. The heatsink is made of pure copper and has a U-shape heat pipe design. The features of the card are rounded out with DirectX 12 support, 7-phase power design, and multiple connection options.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 02:36PM PST by ClayMeow
Planetary Annihilation Shedding Early Access Status on September 5

When the Kickstarter campaign for Planetary Annihilation came to an end on September 14, 2012, it raised over $2.2 million, smashing its $900k goal and solidifying six stretch goals in the process. Since that time, it's been a long and tumultuous road for developer Uber Entertainment. On June 13, 2013, the game entered Steam Early Access with a price of $90, which created quite the stir. But it made complete sense because that was the price of the lowest Kickstarter pledge tier to receive alpha access, with the price lowering over time as the game entered new phases of development, all the way down to its current price of $29.99. People with common sense understood the pricing and accepted it, but of course naysayers and trolls are always the loudest. Nevertheless, Uber didn't buckle under the pressure and instead buckled down to push out update after update.

Now, nearly two years after its campaign ended, Planetary Annihilation is set to exit Early Access and officially launch on September 5. "The launch edition of the game includes a number of upgrades, including enhancements to both single-player and multiplayer. It will also include two new features: resource-rich gas giants and the "Annihilaser," a celestial laser of doom that obliterates planets with each tremendous blast." While the official date may be September 5, the game will actually be updated "shortly" with these new features, and the release build will be playable at PAX Prime from August 29 through September 3.

Source: Kickstarter Update and Steam

Comments (0) | Posted at 02:07PM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Over 13,000 years ago, many great animals lived in North America, including mastodons, saber-toothed cats, and even American horses, but they all disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene period. The exact cause of this mass extinction has been a matter of debate for some time now. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara however have new evidence that may solve the mystery.

Studies of prehistoric times often require looking at the many layers of materials beneath us. Each layer was deposited at a certain time and the materials of each layer can tell us about the Earth's situation at the time, and about certain events. Across what is called the Younger Dryas boundary, the researchers have found many nanodiamonds. These small carbon crystals are found in their cubic forms, like those we use for jewelry, and as hexagonal crystals. What makes these particular diamonds important though is that they could only have been formed by a massive event, such as a cosmic impact.

The only other barrier that has had more than one identification of nanodiamonds is the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. The nanodiamonds in this barrier are the result of the cosmic impact that killed off the dinosaurs and many other species on Earth, 65 million years ago.

Source: University of California, Santa Barbara

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:49AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Quartz glass is not an unfamiliar material for most of us, though we likely do not consider its electrical properties. Under normal circumstances, it is an insulator, but researchers at the Vienna University of Technology and Tsukuba University have found that it can be made into a conductor. The catch is that a femtosecond laser pulse is required.

For years now, femtosecond laser pulses have been in used to measurement quantum effects in small particles, because at such a small time scale of 10-15 seconds, even quantum mechanics can be caught. What this new research demonstrates is that these pulses can also be used to trigger significant changes in a material, and thanks to computer simulations, we now know when. When the pulse strikes the quartz, it pumps electrons bound to the oxygen atoms to another atom. This allows them to behave like free electrons and the electric field of the light then drives them in one direction, creating a current. This current only exists for a very short amount of time, but does persist a little after the pulse has faded.

This process is among the fastest in solid state physics, even beating the speed of transistors, which operate on picoseconds; a thousand times slower. Next the researchers want to test other materials and potentially find one that allows a more efficient use of the effect.

Source: Vienna University of Technology

Comments (0) | Posted at 09:21AM PST by ClayMeow
Assassin's Creed Unity Slips to November 11

Try to contain your shock...another AAA title has been delayed. This time around the victim is Assassin's Creed Unity, which was originally scheduled to drop on October 28, but will now arrive November 11 in North America and November 13 in EMEA territories. Considering the ambition of this new-gen-only game, a mere two-week delay is actually rather minimal. According to Senior Producer Vincent Pontbriand, "It's always hard to be precise and to quantify exactly how much work is involved. So as we get close to the finish we often realize we're near the target but we're not quite there yet."

So now Assassin's Creed Unity will be arriving on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on the same date Assassin's Creed Rogue arrives on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The US date for Rogue was already set at November 11, but the EMEA date has been moved to November 13 to match Unity's release.

Source: UbiBlog

Comments (0) | Posted at 08:37AM PST by ClayMeow
GOG.com Introduces a Fresh New Look, New Features, and DRM-Free Movies

Founded in 2008 by CD Projekt RED to provide DRM-free "Good Old Games" to the PC, the site has since expanded into selling brand new titles alongside the classics. Yesterday, GOG.com introduced a brand new, sleeker look to its website along with a slew of new features. The most surprising new feature is GOG.com's first foray into non-gaming avenues with DRM-free movies. Most movies will be available at 1080p, with some at 720p, but also have 576p versions for those with limited bandwidth. Users can either download their movies or stream them directly from GOG.com, and as with the site's games, expect bonus goodies for each movie.

As of now, GOG.com's movie section is simply "starting with 20 documentaries about Internet and gaming culture," but the site's already in discussions with "most of the big players in the movie industry" to bring classic movies and television series. All the movies right now except one are priced at $5.99, and that's the main price point GOG.com is aiming at for most future releases as well. If you'd like to test the movie distribution features, two movies are currently being made available for free: The Art of Playing and TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard.

For those that only care about games, do not fret; that's still the main focus of GOG.com and the other new features may appeal to you more. Four new currencies are now supported alongside US Dollars: Euro, Pounds Sterling, Australian Dollars, and Russian Roubles. Three new payment methods have also been added: Sofort, Giropay, Webmoney, and Yandex. Users in countries with those new currencies aren't forced to pay via them though, as they can always switch to USD if that's their preference. GOG.com tries to price games differently per region because it knows that "$1 does not equal 1€," but where it can't for whatever reason, it'll eat the difference via the Fair Price Package: "If you end up paying more for a game than its standard US Dollar price, we'll refund you the difference out of our own pocket. The refunded value will be added to your account in Store Credit in the currency of your purchase." Yes, that leads us to the next new feature: Store Credit.

Lastly, GOG.com is removing 35 games from the site, but before it does, it's offering them all for up to 80% off until Tuesday, September 2, at 3:59AM GMT. As always, any game you buy will remain in your collection forever even after it's removed from the catalog.

Source: GOG.com [1] and [2] and [3]

Comments (0) | Posted at 07:58AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

By combining nanoplasmonics and optical resonators, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new, microscopic optical amplifier. The amplifier may find some interesting uses in medicine, as a means for implanted sensors and devices to communicate with networks outside of a patient's body.

When the researchers started this work, they knew it would be difficult because of the diffraction limit of light, which puts a lower limit on the size of a device. To get around this limit, the researchers turned to plasmonics, which link photons and electrons in such a way that metal objects can break the limit. The amplifier consists of a nano-structured surface with microspheres made of polystyrene or glass on top. When a beam of light strikes the microsphere, a narrowband optical signals is created within it, and molecules on the outside of the sphere amplify it. Because of how the spheres interact with the plasmonic nanostructures on the surface, a red or green light is created with a bandwidth matching the internal signal.

Among the potential applications for this technology are power-on-a-chip systems, as it could be used to route power on a chip. Also, as the initial light signal is of a frequency that can pass through skin, these amplifiers could be used for communication between devices inside and outside of a patient.

Source: University of Illinois

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:51AM PST by bp9801

The end of the week is nearly here, as is the end of August, and we have some items for you to check out before the month goes away. We have a review on the Corsair HX750i power supply, which features a fully modular cable design and 80Plus Platinum certification. There is also a look at the ROCCAT Kone XTD gaming mouse, an improved version of the Kone[+] thanks to an 8200DPI laser sensor and a 32-bit ARM CPU, among other features. For those desiring a new gaming laptop, perhaps the MSI GS70 Stealth Pro, with its powerful internals yet slim design, is the one for your. Lastly we have an article examining why smartphone battery life soon won't matter when deciding which phone to buy.

Power Supplies
Corsair HX750i @ ThinkComputers

MSI GS70 Stealth Pro @ TechSpot

ROCCAT Kone XTD Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews

Soon No One Will Care About a Phone's Battery Life @ TechSpot

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