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News Archives for April 2015

Persistent Player Included with Twitch Mobile App Update

Posted: April 1, 2015 @ time: 04:25AM
Author: gebraset

A new update has been released for the mobile version of the popular streaming service known as Twitch. The update, which is available for immediate download from the App Store and the Google Play Store, includes a persistent player that allows viewers to watch a video while simultaneously browsing other content. The feature is quite similar to how YouTube currently offers its content, as users can even swipe away the persistent player if they want to stop watching a video. The latest update for the Twitch mobile application also brings an audio only mode to Android users, allowing them to listen to broadcasts while their device is locked or while Twitch is running in the background. The feature does need to be turned on through the video options menu, but should prove to be highly utilized by individuals who enjoy the audio side of Twitch streams.

Source: Twitch Blog


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Limited Edition Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 Bundle Revealed

Posted: April 1, 2015 @ time: 04:50AM
Author: gebraset

John Koller, the Vice President of Platforms Marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, has just revealed a limited edition Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundle. The bundle, which features an MSRP of $449.99, includes a limited edition Steel Grey PS4 system chassis with a custom Batman: Arkham Knight faceplate, a matching DualShock 4 wireless controller in Steel Grey, and Batman: Arkham Knight. In addition to the limited edition bundle, Koller also announced that a standard edition of the Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundle will be available for $399.99. This cheaper option includes a PS4 system and DualShock 4 controller in Jet Black, as well as Batman: Arkham Knight.

The standard and limited edition Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundles will launch on June 23, 2015, but can be pre-ordered starting today.


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Using Wearable Technology to Help with Public Speaking

Posted: April 1, 2015 @ time: 06:11AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Many say that public speaking is the scariest thing to them, and while I cannot say that is the case for me, I know I could be better at it. Knowing how to improve public speaking skills is tricky though, especially if you are up there, in front of a crowd. Researchers at the University of Rochester, however, have developed a system to help in that situation, using the wearable technology Google Glass.

For those who do not know, Google Glass is a wearable piece of technology with an optical head-mounted display. What the Rochester researchers have done with it is added a piece of software they developed named Rhema; the Greek word for 'utterance.' Rhema is able to record a speaker talking, send the information server, and then present results about the speaker's volume and rate to them, in realtime. After much testing, the researchers discovered it was best for the display to tell the speaker what to do in words every 20 seconds, so it would tell the person to be louder or slower. They also tried displaying graphs and colors like a traffic light at different intervals, but found these were not preferred.

The speakers overall stated that they did feel it helped them, and the Mechanical Turk workers used as an audience reported back that their performance appeared to be undiminished by the feedback. The researchers are planning to put it to a more rigorous test in the future though, with members of Toastmasters International. For now though, Rhema is freely available to download.

 

 

Source: University of Rochester


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Facebook Introduces Scrapbook Feature for Children

Posted: April 1, 2015 @ time: 06:31AM
Author: gebraset

After conducting research that revealed that a wealth of parents tag their partner in pictures of their children in order to share the photographs with friends and family, Facebook has introduced a new feature known as Scrapbook. The feature allows parents to choose a tag for their children and share it with others in a customizable scrapbook. The scrapbook, which can be co-owned with a partner on Facebook and can only feature tags from parents, allows memories to be shared in a single environment that various people can view. In order to get started, Facebook users simply need to go to the "Family and Relationships" section of the social networking service, and click on the invitation to create a scrapbook.

The new scrapbook feature offered by Facebook is available for immediate use in the United States on desktop, iPhone, and Android platforms.

Source: Press Release


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Apple Reverses Reversibility

Posted: April 1, 2015 @ time: 07:24AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Apple has modified the reversible USB Type-C port and made a new USB 3.1.X standard, which features a directional bias. That's right, while you can still plug in a device up or down, you will get different speeds for which way the data is going. For faster uploads to the device, make sure the top is up, and for faster speeds taking from the drive, just flip it over. The port and device will still transfer data in both directions, no matter the alignment, but by dedicating additional resources to just one side, Apple claims it can ensure a better experience. The company said that as most people only use their devices for one thing at a time, this bias seemed only natural. Power transfer is unaffected, so you can plug in the Apple Watch whichever way you wish, as often as needed.

What has not yet been specified is if special USB Type-C adapters/devices will be required, or if this feature of USB 3.1.X is compatible with standard USB 3.1 devices. If you are concerned about knowing the best way to connect a USB 3.1.X-supported device, Apple says not to worry. The company revealed that the port will monitor the behavior of the device and will instruct the user to try it the other way, if it will improve performance.

Source: Reply hazy, try again


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: April 1, 2015 @ time: 09:14AM
Author: bp9801

April Fool's Day is here, as is the middle of the week, but today we have reviews for you and not pranks. We start with a look at the ASRock Fatal1ty X99X Killer motherboard, which has uniquely designed heat sinks and the promise of high overclockability. There is also the BitFenix Colossus mini-ITX case that has a clean look about it and a small size to fit jus about anywhere. A new article examines how we still have 28nm GPUs and why none have switched over to 20nm yet. Finishing off for the day is the Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum gaming keyboard, with its Kailh mechanical switches and full RGB backlighting.

Motherboards
ASRock Fatal1ty X99X Killer @ Bjorn3D

Video Cards
28 nm GPUs Extended Through 2015: 20 nm Planar a Bust @ PC Perspective

Cases
BitFenix Colossus Mini-ITX @ Bjorn3D

Keyboards/Mice
Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum Gaming Keyboard @ ThinkComputers


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AMD Supposedly Working on an APU with 16 Zen Cores and a Greenland GPU

Posted: April 1, 2015 @ time: 09:41AM
Author: bp9801

The AMD news has been coming out fairly often of late, and today is no exception. A new APU is supposedly in the works that will use up to 16 Zen cores and a Greenland GPU to bring the gaming potential. Greenland was mentioned yesterday as the rumored codename of part of the RX 400 series, maybe the high-end line. However, with this new APU, Greenland and maybe the entire Arctic Islands line will be reserved for APUs, as this new APU is said to use HBM, just like Greenland. As for the capability of 16 Zen cores, this doesn't mean it will use all 16, but could. The new APU may be that rumored HPC APU, but it could also be in the running for a server product. Zen is the codename for AMD's APU line launching sometime next year or in 2017, and is said to have PCIe 3.0 and quad-channel DDR4 support.

It all sounds like the makings of a high-powered APU, but remember all of this is just rumor, and this 16 core APU could just be for the server market. The desktop market would probably top out at 8 cores, but you never know what could change in the next year or so.

Source: Fudzilla via WCCFTech


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GIGABYTE Overtakes ASUS as Leading Motherboard Vendor

Posted: April 2, 2015 @ time: 04:37AM
Author: gebraset

According to recently released data that compares motherboard shipments between four different motherboard players, GIGABYTE has officially overtaken ASUS has the leading motherboard vendor. GIGABYTE successfully shipped roughly 4.7 million motherboards in the first quarter of this year, while ASUS managed to deliver around 4.5 million motherboards. While demand for motherboards in areas such as China has been steadily declining, GIGABYTE and ASUS, which together make up 80 percent of the motherboard market in China, are expected to ship nine million units each in the first half of this year alone. This number is quite different than the target of 20 million units slated by each company for the same time period, but when compared to MSI and ASRock, which are estimated to ship roughly 3 million units each in the first half of this year, GIGABYTE and ASUS are doing quite well as motherboard vendors.

Source: DIGITIMES


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ASUS Unveils GTX 980 20th Anniversary Gold Edition

Posted: April 2, 2015 @ time: 04:58AM
Author: gebraset

It was recently reported that ASUS was actively developing a new GTX 980 that would be known as the ROG Matrix Gold Edition. The development of the card seems to be complete, as ASUS has officially unveiled the actual name of the card, the GTX 980 20th Anniversary Gold Edition. The ASUS GTX 980 20th Anniversary Gold Edition, which marks the company’s 20 years of presence in the PC graphics card market, features a black and gold color scheme, a DirectCU II cooler with matte-black aluminum fins and matte-black copper heat pipes, and two 100mm fans that only spin once the card reaches 65-degrees Celsius. The card also features a 14-phase Digi+ VRM by ASUS that draws power from two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, an independent 4-pin Molex-powered defrost circuit, and a water-repelling material applied to the PCB.

ASUS is claiming that the GTX 980 20th Anniversary Gold Edition card is the fastest GTX 980 currently available, with its ability to avoid temperature-triggered clock-speed throttles on its 1317MHz core clock, 1431MHz boost clock, and 7.00GHz memory.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Building Encryption to Withstand Quantum Computing

Posted: April 2, 2015 @ time: 06:46AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Quantum computing is being developed in large part because quantum computers would be able to perform computations traditional computers simply cannot. This includes algorithms that could be used to defeat commonly used encryption standards. To protect against this, researchers at Washington State University have been working on an old code that even a mighty quantum computer may struggle to crack.

Public key encryption is a somewhat standard tool in protecting data today, as the computational power needed to defeat it is far beyond what a normal computer could achieve of thousands if not millions of years. Quantum computers however, with special algorithms could crack these codes very quickly, which could be a problem one day. To secure our data for the future, the Washington researchers turned to the past and resurrected the knapsack code. The knapsack problem was first developed in 1897 and asks that if you have one large number (the knapsack) and many smaller numbers, what subset of these smaller numbers would fill the sack? In the 1970s it was considered for encryption, but the knapsack code was broken by two methods, so people moved on. These researchers however are fixing its weaknesses.

With those fixes, the new knapsack code should be able to stand against more attacks, and potentially even those of a quantum computer. Outside testing is still needed to confirm these fixes, but it still could be promising for future security systems.

Source: Washington State University


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60 FPS GTA V Trailer Released

Posted: April 2, 2015 @ time: 07:53AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The title says it all; Rockstar has released a new trailer for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V that runs at 60 frames per second. This is the latest example of the upgrades the game is receiving for its PC release. Just last week 4K screens were released, and while they are wonderfully detailed, this may be what more of us hope to experience, come April 14, when the game releases.

Make sure you are using a browser or device new enough to render 60 FPS video. Video options are 360p60, 720p60, and 1080p60.

 

 

Source: Rockstar Newswire


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: April 2, 2015 @ time: 08:48AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is here, with some new reviews to help you pass the time. There is a look at the SilverStone Kublai KL05B-Q case, which is a budget model that still features plenty of advancements and options for expansion. If you need plenty of storage and at a fast speed, then perhaps the Patriot Ignite 480GB SSD, with its Phison quad-core, eight-channel PS3110-S10 controller, is the one for you. Finishing up for today is the Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse, which is the replacement for the MX Performance mouse that offers high-end performance without any gaming-centric features.

Cases
SilverStone Kublai KL05B-Q @ Benchmark Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Patriot Ignite 480GB SSD @ LanOC Reviews

Keyboards/Mice
Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse @ TechSpot


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Playtime, Not Games Played Linked to Behaviors in Children

Posted: April 2, 2015 @ time: 02:41PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Do video games cause people, especially children, to act violently has been a debated question for years, and will likely continue to be debated for years to come. Both sides have evidence they turn to, and researchers at the University of Oxford have contributed a little more. This research though falls somewhere in the middle though.

The main point of the debate is if violent video games cause people to act violently, or at least if there is a link between in-game violence and real violence. The Oxford researchers did fail to find such a link with gameplay, but the time spent playing was linked to problem behavior. This problem behavior includes hyperactivity, getting in fights, and a lack of interest in school. However, the researchers note that while this link is statistically significant, it is still a minor factor on a child's academic progress and emotional wellbeing. The researchers also found that playing for less than an hour a day could encourage better behavior, and that some kinds of gameplay seemed to discourage emotional and social problems.

The findings support the recommendation that parents pay attention to the amount of time children spend playing games. To perform the study, the researchers had some 200 students from 12 to 13 years old fill out a survey on their gaming habits, and had their teachers report on their behavior.

Source: University of Oxford


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Comcast Announces 2Gbps Fiber Internet

Posted: April 2, 2015 @ time: 04:02PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Comcast has announced its latest entry into the growing fiber to the home Internet market with Gigabit Pro, a 2Gbps service. The service will debut in Atlanta, GA to more than 1.5 million customers, with plans to expand to 18 million homes by the end of the year. The 2Gbps speed is double the speed of Google Fiber, which has plans to add Atlanta to its growing number of supported markets. Installation of new equipment will be required, though pricing for the equipment and service were unavailable at this time. Executive VP for consumer services Mercien Jenckes described the strategy stating, "Over the coming months and years you can expect us to be aggressive, but deliberate, about rolling out gigabit and multi-gig services across the country."

Source: Computer World


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NVIDIA SHIELD Portable 2 Pops Up in Online Database

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 12:12AM
Author: bp9801

Two years ago during CES, NVIDIA showed off its Project Shield device that married a controller with an Android gaming device. Six months later it arrived, and in the intervening months NVIDIA has launched the SHIELD Tablet, Wireless Controller, and Android Gaming Console. The original SHIELD was renamed the SHIELD Portable, but otherwise has been the same since it arrived. However, it looks like that is about to change, as a SHIELD 2 has been spotted on a database, with a Tegra X1 SoC providing the power. This appears to be the SHIELD Portable 2, and with NVIDIA's latest and greatest Tegra chip running the show, should be quite the powerhouse. The Tegra X1 has 256 Maxwell cores for the GPU and a 64-bit, eight-core ARM CPU, and can display 4K video at 60Hz. Oh, and it supports DirectX 12. It's the same chip that runs the SHIELD Android Gaming Console, so its inclusion in a smaller device should be quite stunning.

Unfortunately there is not a whole lot else to go on, as outside of the Tegra X1, wireless bands (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), and is evidently codenamed Loki, we don't have any other details. A full reveal could potentially come during Computex or E3 in June, but until then we just have rumors. Be sure to keep watch here for when NVIDIA officially takes the wrap off the SHIELD Portable 2!

Source: WCCFTech


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NVIDIA Releases Version 350.05 of GeForce Hotfix Display Driver

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 04:36AM
Author: gebraset

Yesterday, NVIDIA released a GeForce hotfix display driver that successfully fixes two important issues surrounding Battlefield: Hardline and Dragon Age: Inquisition. For Battlefield: Hardline, version 350.05 of the GeForce hotfix display driver fixes a crash with a DirectX error message on some systems, and for Dragon Age: Inquisition, the latest driver from NVIDIA solves a TDR crash.

Version 350.05 of the GeForce hotfix display driver is available for immediate download for GeForce notebook and desktop GPUs running in 32-bit and 64-bit environments.


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Intel Releases SSD 750 Series Drives

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 04:59AM
Author: gebraset

In an effort to provide enthusiasts and high-performance users with consistent performance and ultimate reliability, Intel has unleashed its latest SSD 750 series solid-state drives. The new drives from Intel utilize the PCI-e 3.0 x4 and NVM Express standard and feature the company’s latest 20nm 128Gbit MLC NAND. The SSD 750 series drives are available in two form factors, which include the standard 2.5-inch bay drive as well as a half-length PCI-e slot add-in-card, and come in 400GB and 1.2TB variants. The 400GB flavor of the Intel SSD 750 series features sequential read speeds of 2200MB per second and sequential write speeds of 900MB per second, while the 1.2TB flavor features sequential read speeds of 2400MB per second and sequential write speeds of 1200MB per second.

The 400GB and 1.2TB versions of the Intel SSD 750 series include a five-year warranty and feature an MSRP of $389 and $1,029, respectively.

Source: WCCFtech


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Understanding Error to Prevent it in Quantum Logic Gates

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 07:42AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Error is a problem all computers have to deal with, and if we want to see new kinds of computing technologies in the future, the sources of error must be removed or mitigated. This is especially true for quantum computers, which are especially sensitive to error, by the nature of quantum mechanics. As reported by Springer, researchers at the University of Basel and Harvard University have learned how some error-inducing factors come to be in a potential logic gate.

One of the possible ways to avoid errors is to build networks of nanowires in a braid-like pattern, because the tight pattern helps keep them stable. The catch is that local defects can still exist on the nanowires. To gain an understanding of these defects, the researchers build a 2D network of nanowires that quasi particles would move along in a braided pattern. In this situation, the spin of the electrons involved interact with their own movement, creating a spin-orbit interaction, but because the direction of this interaction is not uniform in the network, the local defects arose.

Through their analysis the researchers found that the nanowires where the spin-orbit interaction changed contained Fermionic Bound States. These are what cause the qubits to destabilize and become a source of error. With this knowledge of the bound states' characteristics though, it may be possible to found ways to avoid their effects.

Source: Springer


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New GTA V TV Spot Shot on PC

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 07:57AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

It may not be as impressive as the 60 FPS trailer released yesterday but a new Grand Theft Auto V TV spot is out now. The focus of the video is on the Heists for Grand Theft Auto Online, and not on any specific version of the game, but it was shot entirely in the PC version. Heists and all the other Rockstar-created GTA Online content released since it first went live will be included with the release on April 14.

 

 

Source: Rockstar Newswire


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 08:40AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week is here, and if you are in need of storage, you're in luck today. We have a few different looks at the new Intel SSD 750 Series, which makes use of Non-Volatile Memory Express, or NVMe, to help limit the amount of CPU overhead. The new series comes in both PCIe and 2.5" form factors, and luckily both types get reviewed today, with the 1.2TB PCIe model and a 400GB 2.5" model that connects via an M.2 port and Mini-SAS connector. There is also a review of the Crucial BX100 1TB SSD, with its fast speeds and surprisingly affordable price for such a large SSD. Ending the week is our non-storage review for the day, as the Blackview Omega smartphone gets put to the test.

Storage/Hard Drives
Intel SSD 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe and 2.5" SFF @ PC Perspective
Intel SSD 750 Series PCIe SSD @ LanOC Reviews
Intel SSD 750 Series @ TechSpot
Crucial BX100 1TB SSD @ ThinkComputers

Mobile
Blackview Omega @ Madshrimps


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NVIDIA Working on a Liquid Cooled GTX TITAN X Ultra?

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 08:55AM
Author: bp9801

NVIDIA's new GTX TITAN X video card is one massive beast, as it pairs a GM200 core with 12GB of GDDR5 for some 4K gaming on a single card. Now it looks like a new version may be coming out, as a GTX TITAN X Ultra with a closed-loop liquid cooler has been spotted. NVIDIA typically does not allow for its board partners to modify the TITAN series in any way, but this model is apparently done by the company itself. The TITAN X Ultra, if it keeps that name, has the liquid cooler keeping the GM200 core cool, while air cooling handles the VRAM. That liquid cooler apparently allows for a 250MHz overclock to the core, which already comes in at 1000MHz stock. The Boost clock would then jump to the 1325 to 1375MHz range and would be downright impressive.

This is, of course, simply a rumor, but with AMD's flagship card potentially being a dual GPU monster, NVIDIA may just want to have an ace up its sleeve.

Source: WCCFTech


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Sony Purchases, Shuts Down OnLive

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 11:55AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Sony has announced that it has acquired gaming service OnLive, and has immediately announced plans to shut down the service. OnLive is planning to keep the service running at no charge to subscribers until the end of the month. The company has also announced that refunds will be issued to consumers that purchased the OnLive system or controller after February 1. Unfortunately for users, those "who purchased the company's PlayPass games won't be able to play them after the service shuts down, nor will they be able to use its OnLive game system or controller peripheral on any other platforms."

Source: The Verge


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Intel Launches Several New Braswell and Broadwell Processors

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 12:59PM
Author: bp9801

Intel recently did a fairly quiet launch of several new processors, with some Braswell SoCs and Broadwell CPUs rolling out. The Braswell SoCs have either one or two CPU modules, with two Airmont cores per module. They also use the 14nm manufacturing process and have some fairly low TDPs that would be a replacement for a Bay Trail-M or Bay Trail-D SoC. The Celeron N3000 and N3050 are both dual-core models with 1MB of L2 cache, with the N3000 featuring a 1.04GHz to 2.08GHz speed and a 4W TDP, while the N3050 has a 1.6GHz to 2.16GHz speed and a 6W TDP. The Celeron N3150 and Pentium N3700 are both quad-core SoCs with 2MB L2 cache and a 6W TDP, with the N3150 running between 1.6 and 2.08GHz, and the N3700 at 1.6 to 2.4GHz.

On the Broadwell side, all three are mobile CPUs with Hyper Threading support, and could likely appear in Ultrabooks or even tablets. The Pentium 3825U, Core i3 5015U, and Core i3 5020U are all dual-core CPUs with 3MB of L3 cache and a 15W TDP. The Pentium runs at 1.9GHz and has Intel HD Graphics (the exact type wasn't listed), the Core i3 5015U at 2.1GHz with an HD 5500 providing the graphics, and the i3 5020U at 2.2GHz with the HD 5500.

All the SoCs and CPUs range in price between $107 and $281, but as these are most likely for trays of 1,000 units, actual retail prices will be a bit higher. Considering these will undoubtedly appear in pre-built devices, hopefully things aren't too outrageous. Exactly when Intel will have these parts ready for retail is not known, but expect word on that before long.

Source: Maximum PC


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Finding How Electrons Behave in High Temperature Superconductors

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 03:08PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

One day the electricity coming to our or our descendants' homes may be carried by superconducting cables that transmit electrical currents without resistance. This has been a dream of many for a long time, and continually we are working to achieve it. There are many avenues to this work and researchers at LANL have been focusing on understanding how electrons act in high temperature superconductors.

The theory explaining how low temperature superconductors work was put together in 1957, and while it works well for those materials, it does not explain high temperature superconductors, like yttrium barium copper oxide. Besides the higher critical temperature to set them apart, these materials can also have the temperature they superconduct at changed by doping them. To understand how this works, and if it is related to a quantum critical point, the LANL researchers used a range of dopings and exposed the superconductors to high magnetic fields in excess of 90 Tesla. The magnetic fields had the effect of suppressing the superconductivity, so that the electrons could be observed before superconducting.

The results of the study indicate that the quantum critical point, which is the doping value where electron interactions are strengthened by quantum fluctuations, does in fact drive the transition temperatures of these superconductors. This has been a question for some time, and once finally solved could explain how the electrons pair up to become superconducting, in high temperature superconductors.

Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory


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ASUS Announces the GTX 970 Turbo with a White Shroud

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 03:11PM
Author: bp9801

Yesterday came the news that ASUS was releasing a GeForce GTX 980 20th Anniversary Gold Edition video card. It is a high-end card with a custom cooler and a huge factory overclock, but that isn't the only thing ASUS is working on. The company also has the GeForce GTX 970 Turbo video card, which has a 1008MHz core clock and a 1228MHz boost clock. The revised stats on the GM204 core features 1664 CUDA cores, 112 texturing units, 56 raster units, and 4GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit interface, with that VRAM split into two sections just like all the other GTX 970s. However, this GTX 970 Turbo makes use of a mini PCB and a white cooling shroud for an altogether unique appearance. The cooler has some red on it echo the company's ROG line, and is a blower-style cooler to help push the heat out of the case. The rear I/O is not the standard affair on a GTX 970, as ASUS has equipped the Turbo with dual DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. Up top are two SLI connectors for some Quad-SLI action, and both 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connections to drive the card.

Like the GTX 980 20th Anniversary Gold Edition, ASUS did not reveal a price or release date for the GTX 970 Turbo.

Source: Videocardz via WCCFTech


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Surprise, Facebook May Track Your Online Activity Even Without an Account

Posted: April 3, 2015 @ time: 03:25PM
Author: bp9801

Facebook is finding itself in a little bit of hot water, as a report from two Belgian universities alleges the social networking website can track online activity even if you do not have a Facebook account. The report comes from the Belgian Privacy Commission, which tasked the University of Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel to research Facebook's new privacy policies that were updated in January. In the report, Facebook uses cookies to track people's online activities without their consent, regardless of being logged out of Facebook, having a deactivated account, or specifically opted out of online advertising. Apparently it centers around Facebook's "Like" button, which can be found on more than 13 million websites. Cookies can be placed when anyone visits any site on the facebook.com domain, even if you're not logged in or use Facebook. All of this points to a potential violation of European privacy law, which explicitly states that cookies cannot be used without giving consent and that websites must advertise their cookie usage.

A spokeperson for Facebook denied the claims, as the Belgian report contained "factual inaccuracies" and its authors did not contact anyone at Facebook. The inaccuracies were not specified, so right now it is anyone's guess as to what may be incorrect. The spokeperson also said Facebook is in compliance with European privacy law, although the report says otherwise. For right now, it may be best to just keep watch of the cookies and what all information you share, regardless of being on Facebook or not.

Source: The Guardian via CBC News


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XTracGear Releases Carbonic XXL Desk Mat

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 06:03AM
Author: gebraset

XTracGear, a company that offers an entire line of precision mouse surfaces and other computer gaming accessories manufactured by PCXMods, has released its latest desk mat, the Carbonic XXL. The Carbonic XXL features an HD repeating carbon fiber print, a polished textile surface, overlock edge stitching, and Sure Grip open cell rubber backing. With its large size of 36-inches by 13-inches, XTracGear boasts that the Carbonic XXL can benefit all types of consumers, from computer gamers and digital artists to video editors and even military.

Designed in the United States, the Carbonic XXL desk mat includes a six-month warranty and retails for $29.95.

Source: Press Release


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Quantum Teleportation System Made to Fit on a Chip

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 07:06AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There are many quantum mechanics phenomena that people wish to exploit for future computing and communication technologies, but the equipment needed to produce them can be an issue. One of these phenomena is quantum teleportation, and in 2013 researchers were able to realize perfect teleportation using equipment that covered several square meters. Now researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Tokyo, Southampton and NTT Device Technology Laboratories have recreated that perfect teleportation in a device just millimeters in size.

Quantum teleportation could be used to transfer the quantum information in qubits across distances, and is thus necessary for connecting quantum computers on a network, or for building a communication network secured by quantum mechanics. In either case, multiple tables full of optical equipment is too much. By using state-of-the-art nano-fabrication techniques, the researchers were able to build a complete teleportation system onto a silicon chip, which has never been achieved before.

The importance of this research is obvious as it represents a significant step toward practical quantum technologies.

Source: University of Bristol


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AMD Must Face Claims Surrounding Securities Fraud

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 07:08AM
Author: gebraset

According to United States District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, AMD must now defend itself against plaintiffs who have successfully supported their claims in a lawsuit against the company. Last year, AMD was accused of inflating the company’s share price by making false statements about Llano, with officials noting that there we no problems with supply even though Llano was only shipping to specific computer manufacturers due to supply constraints. By the time supply was where it was supposed to be, demand for Llano was drastically reduced, and as such, the company wrote down that $100 million of Llano inventory was not salable. The case seeks damages on behalf of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, KBC Asset Management, and other investors who purchased AMD shares between April 2011 and October 2012.

Source: Reuters


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 08:39AM
Author: bp9801

A new day and a new week is upon us, as we have a few items to help get you going this Monday. There is a review of the Antec P70 case, a budget friendly model that should appeal to those in need of both performance and silence. We have a comparison of the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 lines, and what exactly you get by going with each one. Lastly there's a case mod focused around a Parvum Systems S2.0 MicroATX model that looks rather good, with the fixed pipe liquid cooling system and individually braided power cables.

Cases
Antec P70 @ ThinkComputers

CPUs
Intel Core i3 vs. Core i5 vs. Core i7: What do you get by spending more? @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Orange Horizon @ ThinkComputers


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Choose Your Destiny! Mortal Kombat X Launch Trailer Lands

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 09:11AM
Author: bp9801

It is nearly time to text your might in Mortal Kombat X, and to get your blood pumping we have the launch trailer. System of a Down's Shavo Odadjian directed the trailer and sets it to the band's iconic "Chop Suey!" song, which has plenty of moments that line up perfectly with the game action. A huge cast of fighters appear in the trailer, with everyone from the familiar to the brand new showcased. The fights themselves look to be action-packed, and the story mode seems rather intriguing as we get glimpses of it. Raiden shows off his lighting attacks, Scorpion and Sub-Zero are once more locked in a duel, Liu Kang seems to be sporting some spiffy new armor, Reptile is on the prowl, and several characters appear to have some kind of afflicition that makes their skin distort and open up glowing cracks. It all looks quite promising.

Mortal Kombat X arrives on April 14 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, and iOS, with the PS3 and 360 getting it on June 2. There's still time to pre-order and get heavy hitter Goro.

Source: YouTube


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Experience the First 15 Minutes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 02:25PM
Author: bp9801

One of the year's biggest RPGs has yet to arrive, with CD Projekt's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt scheduled to launch on May 19. If you're eagerly looking forward to continuing Geralt's adventure, we may have a way to help hold you over. IGN recently did a playthrough and have showcased the first 15 minutes of The Witcher 3, and boy, is it looking good. Granted, the game is being played on an Xbox One so it is only running at 1600x900 and not 1920x1080, so the PC and even PS4 versions will look that much better. The exact build date for the playthrough isn't known either, but at any rate, things are looking good for the game. Geralt's hair looks glorious as it flows in the breeze, the backgrounds are mesmerizing, and the dialogue sections feature expressive faces and smooth transistions. Oh, and before you're worried, the video below does not contain the opening cinematic, which is perhaps the most spoiler-filled section, so it is good to have that excluded.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt arrives on May 19 for the PC, PS4, and XBO. If you want to know just what kind of a PC you need to make Geralt look his best, the specifications were released a little while ago. Plus there's still time to pre-order and save a bit of cash if you own either or both previous games from GOG. You can also get a new GeForce video card and get the game included for free.

Source: IGN via WCCFTech


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Advanced 3D Imager Made on Millimeter Scale

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 02:37PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With the price of 3D printers coming down, and their capabilities constantly increasing, many believe the time will come when many homes have one. Once in the home, they could be put to use building objects found online and possibly duplicating items around the home. In order to duplicate an object though, an accurate 3D image will have to be made, which has become easier thanks to researchers at Caltech.

Technologies for creating 3D images have existed for decades, but typically require bulky and expensive equipment. What the Caltech researchers have created, however, is just a square millimeter in size, yet still capable of micron resolution. It is known as a nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI) and uses LIDAR to capture 3D information with each pixel. It works by sending out a beam of laser light, which is coherent, and then recording the phase and frequency of the light when it returns. Those properties will shift compared to the original beam, depending on the distance the target object is from the sensor.

By shrinking all of the necessary components onto a silicon chip, the researchers were able to fit 16 of these imagers into an array just 300 microns by 300 microns. While 16 pixels is pretty low, it could be scaled up to hundreds of thousands, and because the imager will still be so small and inexpensive, it could lead to many new uses for the technology.

Source: California Institute of Technology


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Microsoft Completes Previously Announced Layoffs

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 03:48PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Last July Microsoft announced that it would be laying off 18,000 employees in its "largest ever layoff," which has now been completed. The company informed the remainder of the effected employees last week, with the majority of cuts in the information technology group. CEO Satya Nadella said the cuts were part of an effort to "streamline the company and integrate its newly purchased phone-hardware business."

Source: Seattle Times


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AMD Asynchronous Compute Engines Improve DirectX 12 Performance

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 04:23PM
Author: CheeseMan42

AMD claims that its Graphics Core Next based GPUs improve DirectX 12 performance by up to 46% by leveraging the Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACE) built into the architecture. The ACE units take advantage of the thousands of stream processors found on the GPU through the use of Asynchronous Shaders. Proper multi-threading support wasn't available in DirectX 11 as the amount of complexity involved was high and the necessary hardware was unavailable. The use of Asynchronous Shaders "allows for tasks to be simultaneously processed independently of one another." In order to take full advantage of the Shaders, the GPU must be designed with the support in mind, and the ACE units on AMD GPUs fulfill this purpose. In a LiquidVR demo with post-processing enabled, 158 FPS were obtained with Shaders disabled and 230 FPS when enabled, an increase of 46%.

Source: WCCF Tech


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Red Dead Redemption 2 on Track for E3 Reveal?

Posted: April 6, 2015 @ time: 06:39PM
Author: bp9801

Gamers have been clamoring for a PC release of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption, which is something that probably won't happen. However, there may be hope for a sequel, and we could have something solid on that soon. Now, take everything that follows with a heavy dose of salt, but a Redditor by the name of AnonDN1978, supposedly a former Rockstar developer, claims to have information on Red Dead Redemption 2. The game is known as Red Dead Redemption 2: Legends of the West, and is a prequel to the events of Red Dead Redemption. RDR2 is set in the same area as RDR1, but 12 years before (so 1899).

Like Grand Theft Auto V, RDR2 will have three main characters, with two returning from the previous title. Those two characters, Seth and Irish, are who players will be able to control during single player, with the third character as a "gun for hire" working with them. More stranger missions appear in RDR2, along with roughly 30 campaign missions. The third character is apparently a user-created one, with appearance, clothing, and horse all customized by the player.

The two "main" characters are Irish and Seth. Irish will be brought up in Ireland and will move to the Americas when he is fifteen and moves to the game setting when he turns twenty one. Seth is from Kansas City and works as a teller in a bank. He then hears of a treasure and uses his life savings to bring his family to Texas in the town of Tumbleweed. Throughout the story we experience him unraveling to his state of mind in the original game, losing his wife, children, home, and possessions to his treasure.

The third person is a character you create similar to multiplayer in GTA V. You choose his clothes and horse. Although you can unlock outfits for Seth and Irish, the third person (Who you name) can acquire all different kinds of Western tops, bottoms, boots, gloves, and hats.

It sounds like an interesting experience, and especially more so when AnonDN1978 says horses can have different saddles to boost various stats, purchasable and customizable safe houses, and the fact that all of this carries over into a multiplayer mode. Multiplayer is centered on the created character, with Seth and Irish as computer-controlled companions. Many of the characters met in RDR1, even protagonist John Marston, will appear in multiplayer.

A gang system plays a central role in RDR2, with players able to join different gangs through the game. If you're feeling up to it, you can even join the side of good, although this restricts aspects like robbing, naturally. Robbing is a dangerous thing to pull off in the gang, as it may even cost you your life, but it could have some sweet rewards. A posse between four and eight players can even be brought into the single player mode and turn it into co-op, with some side and campaign missions able to be completed that way.

Red Dead Redemption 2: Legends of the West is supposedly slated to arrive on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with Rockstar planning to reveal it at E3 this year. Rockstar typically does not announce games at E3, so like with everything else stated, take it with some salt. It sounds exceptionally promising and enjoyable, but until we have some confirmation one way or the other, this remains an enticing rumor.

Source: Dark Side of Gaming


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Aluminum Battery Created with Improvements Over Lithium Batteries

Posted: April 7, 2015 @ time: 06:59AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Battery technology is a big deal as so much of our life uses devices that rely on them, in one form or another. While we may rely on them, there are some aspects to these batteries we dislike, such as slow charging speeds and potential safety hazards. Researchers at Stanford University may have developed a solution though by creating a rechargeable aluminum battery.

Aluminum is actually the most common metal on Earth, so it is very cheap, and because it has great potential for storing electrical charge, many have tried to make a battery with it before. One of the challenges preventing these batteries from existing has been the search for materials to produce a useful voltage from such a battery. The Stanford researchers were lucky in that regard as they accidentally found that a simple solution of graphite could act as a very effect cathode. They then built a prototype battery consisting of an aluminum anode, graphite cathode, and liquid electrolyte, all inside a flexible polymer-coated pouch. This design has many useful properties to it, including the electrolyte being liquid at room temperature and the components not being flammable, unlike lithium ion batteries. In fact the researchers drilled a hole through the battery, and it still functioned, and were also able to bend and fold it, while it worked. Besides these mechanical properties, the prototype battery can also be charged in just a minute and survive 7500 cycles before losing capacity. Lithium-ion batteries tend to last about 1000 cycles, for comparison, and previous aluminum batteries only survived about for 100.

While there are definitely more than enough properties to warrant further research into this technology, it does still have one significant flaw. The aluminum battery can match and exceed the voltage of AA and AAA batteries, but comes to only half that of a lithium-ion batteries. The researchers believe that improving the cathode can raise the voltage and energy density enough to compete with modern batteries.

 

 

Source: Stanford University


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: April 7, 2015 @ time: 08:43AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is here, and if you're looking for a new CPU cooler, you're in luck as today we have both air and liquid models up for review. On the air cooling side there's the Scythe Ashura SCASR-1000, which is a tower-style cooler with a 140mm fan and a 162mm height. For the liquid coolers, we have a roundup of the Asetek 510LC, 550LC, 570LX and 591LX, which are all used in pre-built rigs from CyberPowerPC and iBUYPOWER, or even rebranded by other companies. All four make use of 120mm fans, but while the first two are just a single 120mm radiator, the 570LX is a double radiator, and the 591LX a triple to fit up to six fans in a push/pull setup.

CPU Cooling
Scythe Ashura SCASR-1000 @ Frostytech
Asetek 510LC, 550LC, 570LX and 591LX Liquid CPU Coolers @ ThinkComputers


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NVIDIA Receives Good News Ahead of Patent Lawsuit

Posted: April 7, 2015 @ time: 03:32PM
Author: CheeseMan42

NVIDIA currently finds itself in a patent lawsuit with Samsung and Qualcomm regarding its GPUs filed with the United States International Trade Commission and US District Court in Delaware. The trial is set to take place in June, but a recently held Markman hearing has given NVIDIA favorable rulings on six of seven definitions. The purpose of a Markman hearing is "to make sure the actual trial is done on the basis of merit and facts – not needless arguing over legal definitions and context." NVIDIA Chief Administration Officer and Secretary David Shannon addressed the outcome stating, "We are very pleased with the outcome of the ruling, in which claim constructions favorable to Nvidia will be applied to six out of seven disputed claims when the judge considers the question of Samsung’s and Qualcomm’s infringement. This further strengthens the patents we have asserted, and we look forward to a full hearing in late June."

Source: WCCF Tech


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Amazon Rumored To Have Licensed CryEngine From Crytek

Posted: April 7, 2015 @ time: 03:44PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Multiple sources have told Kotaku that the previously reported licensing deal made by Crytek that bailed it out of financial troubles was with Amazon. When the deal was announced Crytek co-founder Faruk Yerli stated "It was a huge one, probably the biggest one. I can’t say anything more in detail, but hopefully we’ll be able to announce it with the partner soon." The deal was reported to be worth between $50 and $70 million though it remains unknown what Amazon plans to do with the license. Amazon has made a number of previous moves in the gaming world including hiring top developers from Portal and Far Cry 2, purchasing studio Double Helix, and launching the Fire TV and this move could indicate that Amazon "has grander ambitions for gaming."

Source: Kotaku


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World's Smallest Optical Gyroscope Developed for Navigation

Posted: April 7, 2015 @ time: 04:07PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Gyroscopes are used in a variety of places for measuring movement, and without them many vehicles, like rockets and satellites, would not be able to guide their flights as necessary. Especially in those two examples, it is very important to keep size and weight down to a minimum, but accuracy also cannot be sacrificed. As published in The Optical Society's journal Optica, researchers have developed a new optical gyroscope that is the world's smallest, at just microns across.

Optical gyroscopes are not a new technology and operate very differently from the classic gyroscopes we have probably all encountered in school. Where those gyroscopes rely on Newton's laws, optical gyroscopes use the Sagnac effect, which describes a color shift when light splits and recombines as it exits a spinning system. The problem has been that both of the two basic designs, using either an optical cavity of optical fiber, have degraded performance as they are made smaller, so as much as six kilometers of optical fiber may be used. The researchers got around that though by changing what they were looking for. Instead of trying to sense a change in color, they instead watched for the small, but still measurable relativistic effect of rotating a light source bending spacetime. The resulting distortion can then be analyzed to determine the speed the cavity was rotating at.

By bringing the size down to potentially just 10 microns across, this new optical gyroscope design could be fit into a number of technologies, and integrated into optical circuit boards. More work needs to be done though, to take different optical modes into consideration and to enable measurements of full 3D movement.

Source: The Optical Society


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Windows 10.1 Expected to Launch in 2016

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 04:09AM
Author: gebraset

While Microsoft has yet to release Windows 10 to manufacturers, the company is already working on what will be known as Windows 10.1. The recently unveiled version of the Windows operating system, which is codenamed Redstone, is expected to be similar to what Windows 8.1 was to Windows 8. Features that get cut from the RTM version of Windows 10 will likely be featured within Redstone, which is expected to roll out to Windows Insiders before it makes its way to the general public in two phases. The first phase is scheduled to begin in June 2016, while the second phase is expected to take place in October 2016, although the time frames could change due to Redstone being over a year away and included features and bug fixes being unknown at this time.

Source: Neowin


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Netflix Frowns Heavily Upon VPN Use

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 04:57AM
Author: gebraset

Netflix has officially updated its terms and conditions, in which it outlines that accounts can be restricted or terminated if a customer of the service is found to be utilizing a VPN. The stand against VPN use comes as more and more restrictions are placed on content for customers residing in different parts of the world. Netflix is attempting to punish users who circumvent these content restrictions by using a VPN, but may find itself in hot water with users who choose to use a VPN for privacy concerns or to remove speed restrictions imposed by ISPs.

Source: Forbes


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N-Type Polymer Created and Could Lead to Fast Organic Batteries

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 06:31AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Batteries are an essential technology for modern life, which is why so many are working on ways to improve them. Potential improvements include ways to reduce cost and accelerate their charging, amongst many other goals. Researchers at the University of Houston appear to have succeeded with those two when they discovered how to create an N-doped polymer.

For quite some time now, researchers have been interested in electrically conductive polymers. What the Houston researchers found is that naphthalene-bithiophene can be doped with lithium ions, making it very conductive, and will remain stable and reversible for thousands of charge/discharge cycles. This is a pretty big deal as polymers are much cheaper and easier to produce than the materials needed in conventional, in-organic batteries. The polymer has previously been used in solar cells and even as transistors, but this is the first time anyone has made a battery from it.

Currently, modern in-organic batteries can still store more energy, but the organic battery has them beat in charging rate as it reached 80% in just 6 seconds, and was fully charged after another 18. The researchers are going to continue to work on the polymer and try to learn more about it.

Source: University of Houston


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 08:51AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here and we have some items for you to check out. There is a look at the NZXT Source S340 mid-tower case, which offers premium features and styling without breaking the bank. We also have the Samsung 850 EVO mSATA SSD that offers plenty of storage in a fairly small package. If you need an audio boost, perhaps the Creative Sound Blaster E3 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier is the one for you. Finishing off today's items is the LG G Flex 2 smartphone, which features a 5.5" 1080p screen and that same curved style as the original.

Cases
NZXT Source S340 @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA SSD @ Benchmark Reviews

Gadgets
Creative Sound Blaster E3 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier @ ThinkComputers

Mobile
LG G Flex 2 @ TechSpot


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New Screenshots Appear for Unreal Engine 4-Powered The Lost Pisces

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 09:50AM
Author: bp9801

Epic's Unreal Engine 4 offers a wealth of advancements, not to mention some stunning visuals, for any games that use it, but right now there aren't a lot to go on. However, one of the upcoming UE4 games is The Lost Pisces from Sirenum, and recently some new screenshots and details of the game have appeared. The Lost Pisces, or rather just PISCES, is "an experiment in connecting a gamer with an artificial intelligence," according to an interview with designer and artist Dan Rutkowski, just in a way that's different from past instances. PISCES draws its inspirations from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," where the mermaid is taken away and replaced with a machine that is simply terrified of disappearing. Rutkowski says this machine, the woman seen in the screenshots, is in search for a soul, much like in the original version of "The Little Mermaid," and wants to find that her life will go on after death.

Sirenum wants players to feel emotinally connected with the protagonist, especially since she learns from the players actions and becomes unique to each player. The team wants to create believable AI in PISCES, one that starts off as a blank slate, but learns and adapts from the player. The AI takes what we do and changes based on that, and if you happen to use a Kinect while playing, the faces you make while playing will reflect on the character. Playing with a Kinect isn't required, but perhaps recommended to get an even better connection with the AI.

PISCES takes place in a technological Atlantis, but the end of it when the water levels are rising and people are heading higher up into the mountains. There's a lot of snow and a lot of water, but no tropical paradise or anything of the sort. The action in the game takes place across three territories and there are loading areas between each one, but Rutkowski says PISCES is not linear. It is instead an open-world title in the sense of players are able to go wherever they like, climb rocks, dive with sharks, and explore any number of paths. If the AI were to follow a linear path, it would kind of take away from the whole point of the game, so it is good that Sirenum is doing just that.

There is combat in PISCES, but it is not the main focus of the game. Nevertheless combat cannot just be approached without a care, as it takes careful planning to survive the encounters. Some of the enemies are simply massive, and require a certain level of strategy to come out on top. Think more Shadow of the Colossus in that regard, where you need to plan the attack in some way in order to survive.

Originally the game was built in Unity, but made the switch to Unreal Engine 4 when it launched last year. Some elements may still be a little rough around the edges, but the developer is hard at work at making PISCES live up to some of the gorgeous games built with Unreal Engine in the past. The graphics need to match the story, and from the ones below, it is certainly well on its way to delivering a visually compelling ride.

Sirenum is planning to launch a Kickstarter for The Lost Pisces before long to help get the necessary funding to make everything a reality. It will also appear on Steam Greenlight to reach even more people. The game is currently planned for the PC and potentially more depending on how the Kickstarter goes. You can read more from the interview at the source below.

Source: OnlySP


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Two Huge Expansions Announced for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 10:10AM
Author: bp9801

The story of Geralt of Rivia will not end in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt after all, as CD Projekt has announced two new expansions for the upcoming RPG. Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine will both expand on Geralt's tale and offer plenty for gamers to experience, yet CDP is quick to point out that gamers do not need to purchase either expansion until they are confident in the game itself. Hearts of Stone is a 10-hour adventure that takes Geralt into No Man's Land and Oxenfurt as he tries to complete a contract from the Man of Glass. Unfortunately there is a bit of mystery and even deceit to it all, with Geralt needing to use his cunning and strength to unravel the story and survive.

Blood and Wine is even bigger, at 20 hours, and introduces the all-new region of Toussaint. This region is untouched by war and appears to be all about "carefree indulgences" and "knightly rituals," yet those all hide an ancient and bloody secret. What exactly Geralt finds there isn't even being hinted at right now, but it should hopefully prove exciting.

CD Projekt is offering an expansion pass to pick up both Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine for $24.99 on GOG. Hearts of Stone is expected to arrive this October, while Blood and Wine isn't due until early next year. None of this will take away from the already planned 16 pieces of free DLC, but rather offer a paid option for those wanting even more of The Witcher 3. CDP said it only wanted to do paid content if it could do it right, namely offer a real value for the amount provided. Considering both expansions can take longer than even some full games, it looks to be following that philosophy.

Source: Press Release


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Adam Jensen Returns in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 10:41AM
Author: bp9801

Last year Eidos said the Deus Ex universe would be expanding, and over the weekend a teaser site went up for a new Square Enix project that showed something was on the way from a Western studio. Then a leak appeared and soon the official reveal: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. This sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution once again comes from Eidos Montreal, and is set two years after the events of DX:HR. Adam Jensen is back and this time is teamed with Interpol's new Task Force 29, a branch aimed at cutting off augmention-based terrorism at its knees. This government-backed group means Jensen has access to a whole suite of new augmentions and weapons, which includes his arm blades that can now be fired like a crossbow, a non-lethal PEPS gun in his arm to knockout enemies, a Titan Shield to turn him into a walking tank, and plenty more.

However, even with Jensen doing field missions for Task Force 29 against the Illuminati, he isn't entirely sold on them being the only option. He feeds information to a loosely affiliated group of hackers, activists, and international spies called The Juggernaut Collective that is trying to expose the Illuminati's machinations, and it's this group that Jensen belives has vital information to his mission. Like in typical Deus Ex fashion, both Task Force 29 and The Juggernaut Collective give Jensen missions that conflict in their goals, with neither group being 100% trustworthy. Jensen acts as a double agent and must decide on who to side with, and ultimately which one to trust and believe more than the other. There are, of course, people to talk to in order to get an even better picture of what's going on, and these stories may influence your choices, not just in missions, but overall.

The exact ending Eidos Montreal is using in Mankind Divided isn't narrowed down, since the developer isn't disclosing which one it feels is canon. It's stringing together aspects from all of Human Revolution's endings in order to create the cultural landscape of DX:MD. It is worth pointing out that in official lore, Panachea was destroyed and crashed into the Arctic Ocean, with augmented people being blamed for "terrorist" attack. The augmented people, transhumans, were quickly treated as second-class citizens, and it is this world that we find in Mankind Divided.

The rather poor boss fights of DX:HR are gone for good, as boss fights in Mankind Divided allow for players to approach them however they wish. Side quests, while optional, are meaningful and may impact the story later on. Early on, if Jensen decides to deal with a criminal organization, for example, the mob boss may call in a favor later on that could take Jensen away from his main mission. Likewise, if someone Jensen helps early in the game mentions there's a risk to it, later on that NPC could explain just what the consequences of your actions were for them.

In terms of gameplay, you should be happy to know Eidos Montreal reworked Mankind Divided to better integrate combat with stealth. Combat was not a strong element of DX:HR, but over the last several years the developer has changed it to become just as rewarding and polished as stealth. Everything that happens is unscripted, and the improved AI should help to make sure encounters do not play out the same. Enemies will coordinate attacks, their flanking positions, and require players to adapt on the fly to whatever the AI throws at them. Weapon customization has been improved as well, with  silencers, firing types, scopes, and more able to be switched out as the situation requires.

Deux Ex: Mankind Divided looks brilliant already, which is apparently thanks to the new Dawn Engine and DirectX 12. It also makes use of AMD's TressFX for the hair, as Eidos Montreal is teaming up with AMD to get the game looking its best.

More details on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be coming later on, but right now things are shaping up to be an excellent follow-up to the events of Human Revolution. If you're a Game Informer subscriber, you can read the cover story in the upcoming May issue, which is already out for digital subscribers. The magazine can also be bought on Kindle, Nook, and Zinio starting today. An exact release date is not known at this time, but Mankind Divided is slated to arrive for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Source: Game Informer, WCCFTech, and Game Informer May Issue (Digital Copy)


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Device to Slow Plasmons for High-Speed Data Transmission Developed

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 01:59PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Chances are we will never stop demanding faster devices, even if physics prevents some technologies from giving us those increases. Naturally then, other technologies need to be developed, which is why some, like plasmonics, are being worked on. Plasmons can provide the best of both electrons and photons, and now researchers at NIST have created a device that could help bring plasmonics to future computers.

Plasmons exist as a coupling of light and electrons, allowing the information of the light to be carried on metal wires far smaller than a photon could fit in. What the researchers developed is a plasmonic phase modulator, which acts like a speed bump for plasmons, though it is inverted. It consists of eleven strands of gold spanning 23 micrometers, positioned 270 nanometers above a gold surface below them, with the plasmons traveling through the gap between them. When a voltage is applied, the gold strands will bend down, toward the gold surface, constricting the plasmons and slowing them down. This also shortens their wavelength, potentially allowing another half plasmonic wave to enter at maximum voltage, which could be used to selectively cancel out the plasmon wave.

This ability to cancel out the waves means that the device can act as an optical switch, which would be of great use in plasmonic devices. Currently the prototype is pretty large, compared to modern electronics, but according to their calculations, it could be scaled down by a factor of 100 without increasing optical loss.

Source: NIST


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Twitter Rumored Target of Takeover

Posted: April 8, 2015 @ time: 03:33PM
Author: CheeseMan42

According to "chatter," Twitter has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it as it attempts to "fend off a takeover offer" from a pair of interested companies. One of the companies is reported to be Google, which along with Facebook attempted to acquire Twitter in the past. The news sent Twitter stock up 3.5% to $52.62 earlier in the day, giving it a market capitalization of roughly $33 million.

Source: Barron's and LA Times


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