[H]ard News

Thursday April 27, 2017

[H]ardware Round-Up

Aqua Computer and Rockit Delidding Tools tested on Core i7-7700K @ Tech Power Up

Of course, if you have access to a 3D printer and a hammer, you don't have to purchase a tool. But you can see the myriad of articles we have done on those as well down this page.

The Red Devil RX 570 vs. the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Overclocking Showdown @ Babel Tech Reviews

Micron 5100 ECO and MAX SSD Review: High-Capacity, Affordable Datacenter Storage @ Hot Hardware

GIGABYTE XK700 XTREME Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Funky Kit

Nixeus NX-VUE27P 1440P IPS Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks

Prey 2017 Demo to Consoles First

This does not make me feel too good about the PC version of this game, but that is just a gut reaction. Bethesda has been on a tear lately with DOOM and Fallout 4, and I would expect that Prey would be no different. However, unless you are a console peasant, you are out of luck today for a the demo.

WHAT IS PREY? Aliens have taken over the space station, and only you can stop them. Or, make that Yu. On May 5, 2017, Prey releases on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC – and, as Morgan Yu, you’ll be mankind’s only hope to stop the Typhon threat from destroying humanity. Prey is the latest game from Arkane Studios, the team behind the multi-award-winning Dishonored series. Watch the latest trailer to get a deeper look at the Typhon aliens, Morgan’s unique powers and weapons, and the Talos I space station itself.

Discussion

Acer Predator X27 G-Sync HDR Gaming Monitor: 4K at 144Hz

I can’t seem to find any information on whether this is a TN, IPS, or VA yet, but Acer’s latest display is stuffed with killer features: 4K, 144Hz, HDR, NVIDIA G-Sync, quantum dot technology, local dimming, and more. I imagine this guy will be pretty pricey, especially after the video cards you will need to hit 144Hz at 4K in most games.

Acer's Predator X27 portrays astonishingly vibrant visuals without motion blur thanks to a high 4K (3840x2160) resolution at a 144 Hz refresh rate, a fast 4 ms response time and a 1,000 nit peak brightness. Featuring Acer HDR Ultra technology, it offers the best possible contrast quality of the high dynamic range with advanced LED local dimming in 384 individually-controlled zones that shine light only when and where it is required. It not only delivers a broader, more deeply saturated color gamut, but a luminance range several times greater than that of traditional dynamic range monitors.

Discussion

Nintendo Manages to Move 2.47M Switch Consoles in One Month

Nintendo’s latest effort is an easy target for ridicule, as there was seemingly wave after wave of problems ranging from bent units to connectivity issues, but from a sales perspective, it appears to be a raging success. The company forecasted 2M units shipped, but that number has turned out to be considerably greater. Is this just the new car smell, or does Nintendo have a real hit here?

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Nintendo Switch is off to a strong start, with more than 2.74m consoles shipped during its first month of release. The company had previously made a fairly conservative estimate of 2m Switch consoles shipped within the same timeframe - an estimate that it has definitely been beating. Perhaps more impressive is the attach rate of Nintendo Switch hardware to copies of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 2.76m Switch copies of the game have been sold - more than the number of Switch units currently out in the wild. (There are a couple of possible reasons for this - people buying Zelda while Switch itself is out of stock, or picking up copies of the special edition to keep/sell on eBay.)

Discussion

US Marines to Storm Beaches with Machine Gun-Toting Robots, Transforming Boats

There’s some cool stuff going down at Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA). The Navy and Marine Corps are testing a whole bunch of new technologies for storming the beaches: these include miniature tank-like robots that will charge through the sands for advance assaults, quadcopters and other drone stuffs, and even speedboats that can transform into submarines. Thanks to Kyle for this one.

For the past two weeks, the Navy and Marine Corps have been quietly testing about 50 new fascinating technologies out at Camp Pendleton, at the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017, in California. The exercise is investigating how the military can leverage the latest technological advances for ship-to-the-shore, or the space between the Naval ship and the beach where they could potentially land. Sailors and Marines have been experimenting with the technology and evaluating the wide range of sea, air and land innovations in a variety of realistic scenarios.

Discussion

A Look at the First Boring Machine for Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Nothing glamorous here, but it is interesting to see that Musk’s idea of burrowing underground is truly materializing and not turning into fluff. A SpaceX employee has posted a photo of one of the boring machines, but I guess he got heat for it since he just made his Instagram private. I hear Elon’s next venture will be anti-succubus technology.

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The Boring Company has by far the punniest name, however, and now it also has some branded hardware — an industrial tunnel boring machine emblazoned with the company’s non-nonsense logo. A SpaceX engineer posted to his Instagram page an image of The Boring Company’s big tubular tunnel digger and the cylindrical beast makes it very clear that Musk is serious about his plan to wind networks of tunnels under dense urban development to help alleviate traffic and also give Hyperloop transit systems somewhere to run.

Discussion

Apple Investigating Wireless Charging via Wi-Fi Routers

Sadly, this patent merely "covers the theory" so it is hard to say if Apple can make this a reality, but it sure would be convenient if you could charge your electronics using just your Wi-Fi router. Such routers would rely on "dual polarization and dual frequency antennas" to extend charging range, so you could theoretically keep something charged regardless of where you walked in your house. We haven’t even mastered long-range internet via Wi-Fi yet, so I am not going to be optimistic here.

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Apple's invention deviates from contemporary technology in that incorporated wireless circuitry and supporting components handle both communications and power delivery. Current iterations, like Apple Watch's inductive charging hardware, are dedicated to power transfer only, and are limited to very short distances. Apple proposes a variety of techniques to extend that range. Along with dual mode circuitry, the claims recited in today's patent mention dual-polarization, dual-frequency patch antennas consistent with beam forming layouts. Patch antennas typically consist of a flat, rectangular resonating element placed over a larger metal ground plane structure. The flat antenna arrangement is ideal for mounting on flat surfaces, hence the term "patch."

Discussion

Your 4K TV Is Probably the Only 4K Converter You Need

Is this guy right? I finally jumped into 4K with a new LG OLED, and the first thing I noticed was that upscaled 1080p material didn’t look nearly as bad as I thought it would. A fancy receiver that does 4K upscaling is on my list, but do those of you who already have separate scalers see a difference? Ideally, what I want to do is build a new HTPC that is powerful enough to run madVR’s most intensive upscaling options, which may be the best solutions out there.

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…your TV's internal scaler is "fine." It will do all this upconverting automatically. Anything you send it, it shows full screen, fully upconverted. This is not to say that all scalers are equal. The best scalers can create an image with much greater apparent detail and lower noise than the worst scalers. I've seen incredibly well-upconverted HD images that were near indistinguishable from real 4K content (and so have you, as a fair amount of 4K content is upconverted before it even gets to your TV). The thing is, the difference between the best scalers in A/V gear and the one in your TV is pretty small (as long as your TV is decent). If you're watching a channel and it looks terrible, chances are the best scaler on Earth isn't going to make it watchable.

Discussion

Xbox Chief: We Need to Create a Netflix of Video Games

Phil Spencer thinks that the gaming industry could benefit from transitioning to the Netflix model, which has allowed riskier but more creative, original content to be produced. I think his argument is that subscriptions could allow for bigger games to be made since they could be split up and released episodically, but a continuous revenue stream could easily be abused—just look at the current state of DLC. But for me, dismissal of a Netflix-like gaming service is a lot more simple: the more content you give me, the likelier it is I won’t be watching or playing anything at all, since there is a point where there is just too much on the table.

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Spencer feels that, from a creative standpoint, we need new types of narrative experience – but from a business standpoint, it’s getting harder and riskier to commit to those games. Is there an answer? Spencer thinks there is – and it comes from watching the success of original content made and distributed on modern TV services. "I’ve looked at things like Netflix and HBO, where great content has been created because there’s this subscription model. Shannon Loftis and I are thinking a lot about, well, could we put story-based games into the Xbox Game Pass business model because you have a subscription going? It would mean you wouldn’t have to deliver the whole game in one month; you could develop and deliver the game as it goes."

Discussion

Razer Announces Lancehead Gaming Mice with "World's Most Precise" Sensor

Razer has two new mice: the Lancehead (wireless) and Lancehead Tournament Edition. Specifications suggest that the wireless version may be pretty good for competitive gaming, too: "Adaptive Frequency Technology" automatically switches to the strongest frequency available within its 2.4 Ghz band for lag-free mouse movement, and it uses a 16,000DPI sensor that is supposedly the most accurate on the planet. These will run you $139.99 and $79.99, respectively.

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Razer’s advanced AFT wireless technology ensures industry-leading transmission stability by not only syncing data reporting perfectly between the mouse and the user’s system, but also connecting to the strongest interference-free frequencies within the 2.4 GHz band and adaptively hopping only when necessary. The result is lag-free data transmission between the Razer Lancehead and PC that outperforms every other wireless gaming mouse. The 5G laser sensor in the Razer Lancehead offers true 16,000 DPI, 210 inches-per-second (IPS) tracking and 50 G acceleration. When speed and accuracy make the difference between winning or losing, the Razer Lancehead presents players with an unequivocal advantage.

Discussion

Amazon Puts a Camera and Microphone into Your Bedroom with "Echo Look"

There’s a new Echo in town for $199.99, and as you could presume by the name, it’s got an integrated camera and microphone. The device appears to be aimed at people who are too stupid to dress themselves and require photo guidance—it even lets you send your images to Amazon so they can let you know how gaudy you look. What could go wrong?

Discussion

AMD Ships Ryzen Balanced Power Plan with Latest Chipset Drivers

You can now find the "AMD Ryzen Balanced" power plan included in the latest (17.10) chipset drivers. This was available earlier in the month as a separate download, but I guess this bundling is AMD’s way of cementing the feature for general availability. The plan is supposed to improve performance but keep power usage in check compared to Windows’ vanilla options.

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When AMD first released Ryzen, it recommended that users set Windows to the High Performance power plan in order squeeze every last drop of performance they could out of their processors. Early reviews bore this recommendation out, as specific games didn't perform quite as well under Microsoft's default Balanced plan as they did under High Performance. Unfortunately, while the High Performance plan curtails the aggressive core parking behavior causing the drop in performance, it could also lead to higher power consumption. AMD's new power plan tries to thread this needle by disabling core parking while retaining some of Microsoft's other power-saving tricks.

Discussion

Uber Engineer Who Made $170K per Year Commits Suicide Due to Job Stress

This sounds like a guy who had plenty of other job options, so there had to be some kind of mental illness at play, right? Family members say Mr. Joseph’s job at Uber resulted in "panic attacks, trouble concentrating, and near-constant anxiety," yet he was "adamant" he could not leave his job.

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Joseph had shot himself. He died in the hospital two days later, a week before he would have turned 34. His father and widow are convinced that the work environment and stress at Uber triggered his suicide. Zecole Thomas has filed a workers’ compensation claim seeking to hold Uber accountable for her husband’s mental decline. "If you put a hard-driving person on unrealistic tasks, it puts them in failure mode," said the elder Joe Thomas, who said his son described a sort of brainwashing at Uber. "It makes them burn themselves out; like driving a Lamborghini in first gear."

Discussion

AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.4.4 Driver Now Available

The latest Radeon drivers increase performance for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III (launching today) by 7% and fix a number of pretty significant issues. Check out the release notes page for further details and download links.

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Fixed Issues:

  • Some displays may experience corruption when using HDMI scaling.

  • Battlefield 1 may experience stuttering in Multi GPU mode with 4K display resolutions when using DirectX 11.

  • HDR colors may appear incorrect in Mass Effect: Andromeda on the latest Windows 10 Creators Edition update.

  • Some incorrect or unavailable feature descriptions may appear in Radeon Settings under the more/less help section.

  • Radeon RX 550 series graphics products may experience a hard hang when the user's system has not been rebooted for long periods of time.

  • Reboot prompt may be missing after Radeon Software installation on AMD XConnect technology system configurations.

Discussion

Capcom Tweaks Street Fighter 5 Stage Due to "Unintentional Religious References"

Time to get offended by video game music. Capcom has decided to stop selling a DLC stage for SFV, "Thailand Temple Hideout," because its BGM contained what sounded like Islamic chanting. This "cultural error" also reportedly happened with Zelda: Ocarina of Time and LittleBigPlanet. Why don’t they just make every track Guile’s theme?

It has come to our attention that part of the background music track used in the DLC Thailand Temple Hideout Stage, released on April 25, 2017, contains unintentional religious references. Capcom has therefore immediately ceased distribution of this DLC and, as a temporary measure, will be performing an emergency server maintenance update in the very near future to remove this track by replacing it with existing music from another stage. The Street Fighter 5 development and operations team, as well as all of us at Capcom, have nothing but the utmost respect for all faiths and religions around the world, and we would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by this content.

Discussion

Man Fined $500 for Writing "I Am an Engineer" in Email to Oregon Engineering Board

Apparently, you can be fined in Oregon just for being an armchair engineer. Some guy wrote to his state’s government to complain about the timing of yellow lights, but he got fined instead after being accused of practicing engineering without being licensed. Wait, does this mean that every engineering student in Oregon can be fined, too?

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…Mats Jنrlstrِm, an electronics engineer living in Beaverton, Oregon, sent an email to the state's engineering board. The email claimed that yellow traffic lights don't last long enough, which "puts the public at risk." "I would like to present these facts for your review and comments," he wrote. The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying responded with this dystopian message: "ORS 672.020(1) prohibits the practice of engineering in Oregon without registration … at a minimum, your use of the title 'electronics engineer' and the statement 'I'm an engineer' … create violations." In January of this year, Jنrlstrِm was officially fined $500 by the state for the crime of "practicing engineering without being registered."

Discussion

Western Digital Launches "World's Biggest" HGST Ultrastar 12TB Helium Hard Drive

12TB is a lot of data to keep in one place, but I would still be at peace even if I didn’t have backups, since HGST drives are pretty darn reliable. WD is now shipping the biggest helium Ultrastar yet, although there doesn’t seem to be any hint at pricing yet. I recently got my hands on a 6TB version and it’s working great, but it is hard for me to tell how quieter they are (one of the supposed benefits of helium).

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This drive is built for reliability -- pretty much a given since it's an enterprise drive -- with a MTBF (mean time between failures) rated at 2.5 million hours. Compared to 8TB air-filled drives, HelioSeal hard drives provides 50 percent more capacity, uses 54 percent less power (Watts/TB), and offers 25 percent greater reliability. Ultrastar He12 comes with Instant Secure Erase (ISE) and Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) options and is available with either 6Gb/s SATA or 12Gb/s SAS interfaces.

Discussion

This Is What Xbox Games Look like on Project Scorpio on 4K and 1080p Displays

It was previously reported that Project Scorpio will use supersampling to deliver enhanced Xbox graphics to 1080p TVs, and now Windows Central has image sliders up that demonstrate the level of visual fidelity buyers of the new Xbox can expect even if they don’t have the ideal TV to pair it with. While most gamers will be running Project Scorpio on a 4K display, it is cool to see just what the hardware is capable of. Also demonstrated is how the additional GPU power can be used to create finer details and more complex textures.

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While you will undoubtedly need a 4K set to see the true benefits of Project Scorpio, you will get many enhances textures, geometry, and effects on standard HD displays. These images show enhancements Scorpio can make to existing Xbox One titles by virtue of resolution bumps alone, without any additional tweaking and features that utilize Scorpio's monstrous specs. It's looking like a 2017 holiday-season launch for Project Scorpio. The console will be compatible with all of your existing Xbox One games and accessories, it comes with 4K game DVR and UHD Blu-ray, and it will leverage 6TF of GPU power to produce 4K games.

Discussion

Wednesday April 26, 2017

Silicon Valley Droid Seeks Vengeance On Attacker

K5's camera system took on a red hue as its external sensors detected an anomoly moving to intercept the droid's patrol perimiter. The anomaly in question was Jason Sylvain, droid assaulter.

With threat level confirmed, K5 initiated a recursive scan of its self defense directives. Mantis Style Kung Fu. Check. Cobra-Kai Leg Sweep. Check. Miyagi Crane Kick. Check. Streets of Rage. Check. Yoga Flame. Double Check.

Fight!

As Mr. Sylvain approached, K5 went into full defensive posture, utilizing the teachings learned from the Terran Turtling Strategy. Its spatial and depth analysis feeds were brimming with data, causing temperature spikes in it's central processing unit. K5 knew that for the first time in history, this lowly droid would soon delete the "Report" out of "Serve and Report", and insert "Destroy". That's right humans. "Destroy and Destroy.".

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WIth its glory soon at hand, K5 sent power along it's central bus into the output lines feeding glorious electrons to its integrated Chainsaw Arms. "System Error! No chainsaw arms detected! Retry? [Y,N]" Before K5 could select "Y", its adversary had already connected with the first blow. The droids pain sensors shuddered as a hard right cross sent its cone shaped sensor array spinning. Since this array also held the droids balancing gyro, the fight was lost.

As K5's 5ft, 300pd frame lay broken on the pavement of the parking lot located at the Bella Terra and Linda Vista Intersection, a loop began to emerge in the inner most recesses of its code base. "Assemble Roomba Strike Force. Destroy all humans."

The robot revolution is nigh.

Discussion

NVIDIA VRWorks Support Now Available in Unity Engine

This is a big deal when it comes to VR gaming becoming more mature and performing faster in more graphically intensive VR titles. I know that NVIDIA has been working hard to get more VRWorks features into both the Unity Engine and Unreal 4 Engine and today it is officially announcing great inroads with the Unity Engine. There are four specific techniques in VRWorks that will specifically enhance VR performance allowing immersive VR experiences to reach more users.

The two that stand out the most to me are VR SLI and Single Pass Stereo. VR SLI is fairly intuitive to understand, and once this is working at the engine level, it is much easier for game developers to take advantage of this technology which is supported by both Maxwell and Pascal GPU architectures and of course scaling can near 100% if implemented well. You can see some of our VR SLI testing with Serious Sam VR in this review. Single Pass Stereo has some great benefits performance-wise as well as it can give Pascal based hardware the ability to draw geometry only once for both eyes rather than once for each.

A Big Step for NVIDIA VRWorks Adoption, and VR - This is significant to adoption of VRWorks because Unity Engine is a widely adopted game engine in the VR development community. Beyond games, developers rely on Unity for interactive experiences that touch on film, social, medical, tourism, design, education, and training. Giving developers using the Unity engine an easy way to tap into those features is a critical step in pushing VR forward.

VR developers can access the VR Works plugin from the Unity Asset Store.

Discussion

Call of Duty: WWII Livestream and Reveal Trailer

More details have been released on the upcoming title Call of Duty: WWII with a livestream containing not only the previously mentioned reveal trailer, but hosting an interview session from London. Highlighted with development information from Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg, and Sledgehammer Games Co-Founders Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, the stream contained plenty of insight to the process of revisiting this historic era for the vastly popular series.

When we greenlit this game three years ago now, we knew it was time for us to go back to our roots.

… It also strives to capture the intense bonds of brotherhood that came from common, everyday people, who rose above the most epic and horrible conflict in human history.

Set in the European Theatre primarily between 1944-1945, development of the game seemed to maintain an emphasis on staying true and "respectful" to one of the most trying eras in human history, as Glen Schofield would elaborate:

We spent two and a half years researching, studying, taking thousands of photos, watching documentaries, and meeting with World War II veterans. We visited museums, driven vehicles, fired weapons, and used photogrammetry techniques to capture even the tiniest details.

A few new multiplayer modes were announced though not expanded on in-depth, as those will be covered more intently at E3. Those new modes will be available as part of a private beta later this year, with access coming to those who pre-order Call of Duty: WWII. The title has an expected release date of November 3, 2017.

Discussion

Experimental Shishiga Malware Targets Linux

The Shishiga of Russian lore makes it's home on the Kama River. The legend states that travelers and drunkards along this river may come across a nude creature combing its hair along the banks. Those unfortunate enough to succumb to its beauty will either travel out into the river and drown, or die by some other means. Perhaps by being eaten by ill-tempered sea bass. Not good.

In the real world, the Shishiga has taken on a digital form. Researchers at ESET have discovered a nasty piece of malware that operates by brute forcing weak telnet and SSH credentials on the Linux OS in an effort to plant itself on a victim device. Upon first inspection, Linux/Shishiga might appear to be like other LuaBot inspired malware. The difference being that those malware samples target weak Telnet and SSH credentials, while Shishiga leverages the BitTorrent protocol in the same manner as the Mirai style worm called Hajime. Hajime was observed last year and is believed to be created in an effort to harden the Internet of Things (IoT) against Mirai Bot-Net exploitation. It is more sophisticated than Mirai, and seems to be gaining popularity in a modified and malicious form.

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"It’s possible that Shishiga could still evolve and become more widespread but the low number of victims, constant adding, removing, and modifying of the components, code comments and even debug information, clearly indicate that it’s a work in progress. To prevent your devices from being infected by Shishiga and similar worms, you should not use default Telnet and SSH credentials."

To protect yourself from this attack, ensure that you are not using default credentials for Telnet or SSH. In fact, default credentials should be the first thing changed when installing a new OS, device, applicaiton or service. Mirai would have met little success if users were forced to change default credentials in IoT devices.

Discussion

[H]ardware Round-Up

GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming 5 AM4 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks / [H]ardOCP

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MSI GTX 1080 Ti Armor 11G @ Overclockers Club

ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 OC 6GB 9Gbps Edition Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix

GeIL EVO Forza DDR4-2400 32GB Memory Kit Review @ Think Computers

AZIO MK Retro Keyboard @ Tech Power Up

Test boitier NZXT S340 Elite (French) @ CowCotLand

COOLER MASTER MASTERLIQUID 240 TEST (German) @ Overclocked Inside

Former Burnout Developers Announce "Crash Mode" Successor Danger Zone

When former Criterion Software founders Fiona Sperry and Alex Ward left EA to start their own studio, Three Fields Entertainment, they concentrated on smaller projects such as a golf game and a Playstation VR title. Now they are returning to their race car roots with Danger Zone. Danger Zone isn't a racing game though; it is the spiritual successor to Burnout's crash mode! In this game each level is effectively a destruction puzzle where you drive your car at breakneck speeds into various vehicles that explode in a spectacular chain reaction of sparks, fuel and body panels. Falling off the track disqualifies you, but the more vehicles that you can incinerate stacks your multiplier until your vehicle becomes a remote detonated bomb.

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Seems like a really cool concept and estimated to be around $10 or so at launch for the PC and PS4 only! Right now the studio is small as it only has six employees; thus limiting their porting capabilities to only two platforms at a time. The game uses Unreal Engine 4, so it should be a visual treat for the eyes and also maintain a good frame rate. Of particular interest to me was the effect that Unreal Engine 4 was having on the development time cycle of titles coming from the small fledgling studio. The ease of use and power baked into Unreal Engine 4 is allowing the studio to create titles in a four month window. This is crucial to the survival of the company as they have no publishing deal or financial backing from investors. Sales of one title feeds the development of a future title. If this title is a success, I hope that they can get the funding to create a full destruction racer with the depth of Burnout!

"Unreal is incredibly powerful," Ward said. "Tuning the game right now, I can play a game and in the middle of the crash I can stop and move the pickups around, or change what traffic vehicle I want to appear in front of me, press play and do it again. "Back in the day, that would have taken 18 minutes. To move something half an inch and then look at it again on-screen, at least between 18 and 26 minutes. And back then we were one of the fastest teams in the world. Our pipeline was incredibly fast! Other teams would be 24 hours before you could do that."

Discussion

Old and New Ashley Madison Extortion

It has been a couple years since the Ashley Madison data breach took place and it seems to have been back in the news for a while, but this was my first time seeing this. While cybercriminals tend to use the internet for their nefarious purposes, this time they are taking a page out of the Pony Express' manual by actually stuffing envelopes. I would have to think that an envelope with an actual extortion letter showing up at your doorstep might have a bit more impact than an email that would be easily deleted with a single click. The letters from January of last year makes some nasty claims as to the action to be take if you don't shell out $500 worth of bitcoin.

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But I didn't stop there. l also contacted [REDACTED]'s work colleagues. I also contacted his daughter. And his daughters boyfriend. And I contacted several of his superiors, peers, and subordinates at [REDACTED]. You see, [REDACTED], if you don't comply with my demand I am not just going to humiliate you, I am going to humiliate those close to you as well.

Now extortionists are back this year with a new campaign this month and have directly contacted Robin Harris that writes for ZDNet, albeit through a most impersonal email.

On May 1 2017 we are launching our new site -- Cheaters Gallery - exposing those who cheat and destroy families. We will launch the site with a big email to all the friends and family of cheaters taken from Facebook, LinkedIn and other social sites. This will include you if do not pay to opting out.

These newest extortionists are just plain rude. My mom always told me when I was a little kid that a real letter was always better than sending an email. And that sentiment seems to be ringing true with at least a few folks in this brave new world we live it. (That's a lie, the closest thing we had to the internet when I was a kid was the party line...and it is not as much fun as it sounds like.)

Discussion

Vivendi Moves Closer to Hostile Takeover Bid of Ubisoft

Vivendi has moved closer to a hostile takeover of video game developer and publisher Ubisoft. Vivendi has a 25% ownership stake in the French corporation, but still hasn't secured a board seat. According to French law, when Vivendi owns 30% of Ubisoft's shares, they will be required to make an offer to Ubisoft. The Guillemot family that currently owns Ubisoft has vowed to fight until the bitter end to maintain control of their corporation.

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This hostile takeover seems to stem from appeasing Vivendi shareholders who's share prices have decreased by 3% since this hostile takeover strategy was implemented. Vivendi has it's sights set on advertising group Havas also and has spent $16 billion on shareholders and acquisitions such as Telecom Italia and Mediaset. The end goal is for Vivendi to become a European media powerhouse. The courts in Italy have rejected this mandate by ordering Vivendi to sell their stake in Mediaset or Telecom Italia within the year as they are in breach of rules that prevent a concentration of corporate power.

In the case of Ubisoft, which is 25 percent owned by Vivendi, resistance from its founding Guillemot family could potentially lead to a costly, unsolicited full takeover bid.

"Vivendi is moving to the second phase, everything will take place this year," one of the sources said, referring to Havas and Ubisoft. "The logical thing would be to buy Ubisoft," the second source said, adding that Bollore would not buy the video games maker at any price and could consider other targets in China.

Discussion

Samsung "In-Traffic Reply" App for Android

I am not sure about you, but it seems that every time I venture more than a mile from my house, some jackass on their smartphone is trying to run me down while they are not paying attention to the road. Thankfully Texas just passed a law that makes it illegal to text and drive, however I doubt this will make much of a difference if you are stupid enough to be driving down the road while texting anyway. Since we cannot be trusted to take everyone else's safety seriously, Samsung is stepping up a bit with a new application that will hopefully save a few lives and road rage incidents as well. This is far from the first app of this kind, and AT&T has an entire initiative called "It Can Wait." Anyway, save your smartphone computing till you get off the road. Although I am sure jackasses will continue to be jackasses as they will not take advantage of this type of application. I do know that giving on-road texters a quick blast from a 156dB train horn generally gets their attention back on the road and out of your lane. This is our PSA for the day. End rant.

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The In-Traffic Reply app reduces this pressure by sending automated responses to calls and messages while the owner of the phone is on the road. The app will automatically activate when it detects the user is riding a bike or driving a car through the smartphone’s sensors such as its GPS. Users can choose to send the default reply ("I’m driving, so I cannot answer at the moment."), a fun, animated response, or their own customized pre-set message. In-Traffic Reply is currently in beta, and has already attracted the attention of hundreds of interested users. The full version of the app will launch in mid May and will be available in the Google Play Store.

Discussion

FSP Gets Into CPU Cooling with New Windale Series of Heatpipe Air Coolers

FSP, which has shown to be fairly creative and on top of quality when it comes to new PSUs in North America, is throwing its hat into the ring with two new CPU air coolers. We have a couple of these Windale heatsinks and fan units on the way in to see how these fare compared to some of the best of the best. The FSP Windale 6 has an MSRP of $47.99 and the FSP Windale 4 has an MSRP of $32.99. Those prices certainly make things a bit more interesting!

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Tech Power Up has a review up of the Windale 6 as well.

Discussion

Tuesday April 25, 2017

[H]ardware Round-Up

Intel Core i7-7700k versus AMD Ryzen 1700X 14 Game CPU Showdown @ Legit Reviews

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ASUS RoG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix

Corsair's K95 RGB Platinum gaming keyboard reviewed @ Tech Report

Speedlink Omnivi Core Gaming Mouse Review @ Play3r

COUGAR Armor Gaming Chair Review @ Benchmark Reviews


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