Teaching Resource Site For Minecraft?

Minecraft is a game where very little is ever the same. This means you can build a castle in one map with ease, but in the next building the Starship Enterprise is a lot easier. While attracting to a whole range of audiences, from the young to the creative, Minecraft has developed a large following amongst gamers, but this may soon expand as Microsoft are soon to launch a new website with a different focus.

Minecraft In Education is a plan that hopes to bring the talents that Minecraft reinforces to the classroom, enabling teachers to use the game as a teaching tool.

With the option for schools to purchase licenses for a whole classroom at a reduced price, history lessons could soon take place in Minecraft reconstructions of Egypt, while next door an Electronics class are working together to help fix a circuit. With the option to mod in new features the tool could become limitless, and Microsoft want to reinforce this by giving teachers a place where they can share and discuss their resources, lessons and ideas with others so that everyone can benefit from Minecraft.

Are you a Minecraft player? What do you think about being taught something though Minecraft? Should we be encouraging some of the skills games teach us more often?

Thank you Education Minecraft for the information.

Image courtesy of WallPaperUp.

No More Data Roaming Charges in EU from 2017

Nothing can sour the vacation more that roaming charges, but that will soon be a thing of the past in the European Union as a new law will abolish those charges by June 2017 after a 14-month interim period. That is the new deal reached on Tuesday with the aim to bring the Europe Union another step closer.

You’ll of course not get it completely free, but you will be able to use roaming a lot cheaper. With the new rules, telecom operators are only able to charge you €0.05 extra per minute for calls, 0.02 extra per SMS sent, and 0.05 extra per megabyte of data. Whether they charge this or not is up to each individual company, but we should expect to pay the full amount on almost any network.

The new cap would make roaming within the Europe Union up to 75% cheaper during the interim period, the European Commission said. All of this is a culmination of years of campaigning for net neutrality within the EU and partly a follow-up to the US adoption of net-neutrality.

All internet traffic also has to be treated equally, but regulations are possible in situations such as counter-terrorism.

This is great news for anyone who travels a lot, but even more for someone like me that lives right up at the border and travels two countries equally.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Early Bird Steam Hardware Pre-orders All Sold Out

Those looking to get some Steam hardware early are out of luck. Valve has announced that all the Steam hardware for the “get it early” offer with delivery set for October 16 have sold out. Any orders from today onwards for the Steam Controller and Steam Link will ship nearly a month later with delivery on November 10th.

Pre-orders of Steam Machines, custom PCs with the Linux-based SteamOS, have also sold out from most vendors. Again, the delivery date from the likes of Alienware has shifted from October 16th to November 10th. This shortage though is less pressing as SteamOS is available to download and install on any PC really. Some Steam Machine partners also have Windows versions of the same machine so it’s not much effort to simply order one of those and install SteamOS yourself.

No numbers have been given as to how much hardware Valve has sold so far. Given the delivery date has just been pushed back by less than a month, there likely is decent amounts of stock ready for wider availability on November 10th. It will be interesting to see how Valve does on their first foray into the hardware realm, which unlike the digital marketplace, has limited supply.

Uber Accquires Bing Mapping Assets and 100 Engineers from Microsoft

Car-hailing firm Uber is making big strides into the mapping market, acquiring mapping data as well as about 100 image-collection engineers from Microsoft. Uber has been looking to making their mobile app better, mainly in the area of better maps to bring drivers and riders together. While companies transferring data and technology isn’t something new, the movement of about 100 engineers is rare.

With such a large movement of engineers, it looks like Uber actually may have acquired a Bing mapping division or some part of it at least. What is most surprising though isn’t that Uber wanted the data and engineers, but that Microsoft was willing to part with them. Microsoft has spent a lot of money trying to build up their Bing search and mapping platforms and divesting itself of this many experienced engineers is not a sign of confidence.

both Uber and Microsoft are facing tough times ahead of them. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about making tough choices in the near future and getting out of fringe markets not core to the business. Uber is also facing push back to its business model, mainly from taxi organizations and just had two senior officers arrested in France. It will be interesting to see both firms move on from this technology and personnel transfer.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information.

XFX AMD R9 Fury X 4GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


This is what we’ve all been waiting for, the R9 Fury X graphics card is finally here! This particular card has been given a lot of hype in recent weeks and months thanks to rumours and leaked performance benchmarks all pointing towards a ‘Titan X Killer’. These rumours shook the entire enthusiast market and resulted in NVIDIA fighting back with another high-end graphics card; the GTX 980Ti. With the dismissal of a reveal at Computex 2015 by AMD, NVIDIA got the upper hand with the launch of the GTX 980Ti. This meant a huge focus was looming over AMD at the PC Gaming Show event at E3. We covered the event and what it had to provide in terms of graphics cards here!

Previous to this, AMD held multiple conference calls and events to slowly unveil what they had planned for the GPU marketplace. The most notable nugget of information was the ‘Ace’ up AMD’s sleeve; High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). This is the idea of an engineer at AMD and has been in the pipeline for around 7 years. GPU memory technology up until now has been referred to as GDDR memory and in the most popular state, GDDR5 is the current standard of memory technology. HBM hopes to completely demolish what GDDR5 is and bring in a new standard; the key is in the name, High Bandwidth. Compared to traditional GDDR5, the bandwidth will increase from approximately 28BG/s per chip to over 1000GB/s per stack. The key difference between HBM and GDDR5 is the placement of the DRAM chips, in GDDR5, they are laid out around the GPU; in HBM, they are stacked directly onto the GPU die. This massively decreased distance to travel not only increases bandwidth, but also decreases the overall footprint of the PCB. One of the limitations with HBM however, is that HBM v1 will be limited to 4GB, or 1GB per stack; when compared to what NVIDIA has to offer or even the R9 390X, it doesn’t look very appealing.

In our recent news coverage, we have had to gather our information from other sources. This has led us to be portrayed as being critical to AMD due to only primary issues being brought forward. Problems such as poor HBM production speeds have affected the overall availability of the R9 Fury range, undoubtedly annoying water pump buzzing and what can only be described as a poor choice of review linking on the AMD Facebook page; have been the main stories, with very few pro-AMD articles. Due to the poor availability of the R9 Fury X samples, we were skipped over, however, we purchased our own and now we can figure out for ourselves if these issues are in fact issues at all.

The XFX box is very simplistic, with a diamond pattern in the background, it allows focus on the main points of the box.

Inside the box, we find a warranty card, driver disk, manual and screws.

The card is a lot longer than I thought it was going to be, despite all of the pictures I’ve seen already. It has a metal box frame across the entire card with soft touch panels on each side. It is completely closed off apart from a small gap where the pipes enter the card.

Along the top, we see both Radeon logos and the 2x 8pin PCI-e Power connectors; the Radeon logo on the side illuminates when turned on.

A key feature on the R9 Fury X is the load LEDs. These light up depending on how much load the GPU is currently under.


AMD have given the tubing and fan cable extra attention with the addition of dense weave sleeving.

It enters the card so you cannot see any heat shrink or fraying ends.

The radiator is a standard 120mm size design with an addition lip along the top; The OEM for the AIO cooler is Coolermaster.

At the business end of the card, we see no vents for air cooling. However, there is an etched Radeon logo should you forget the manufacturer. The card is also equipped with 3 x DisplayPort and 1 x HDMI.

CodePhage Fixes Software Bugs With Patches from Different Programs

A whole new level can be explored of what could be achievable when both Science and Tech meet; this time around the geniuses at MIT have developed a way to fix bugs in source code by using a system to import functionally from other programs.

The system is called CodePhage and it functions by analysing an applications execution, by undertaking these procedures, it is able to characterize the types of security checks with which it performs. As a result of this, the system can import checks from applications written in programming languages which differs from that of the one in which the program it’s repairing was written.

Once the fix has been imported, CodePhage offers a further layer of analysis which guarantees that the bug has been repaired. If this was not impressive enough, this system was tested on seven common open-source programs which were identified as having bugs. CodePhage was able to patch the vulnerable code with the estimated time calculated between two and 10 minutes per repair.

The ability to borrow code from one application in order to fix another could be revolutionary and the time which it takes in testing is phenomenal. Further experimentation and development is required, but it’s certainly an impressive start which has the potential for real world applications which are wide.

Thank You MIT for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of brightlandcollege

Malwarebytes Offers Free Reprieve to Pirates

Oh the conundrum of pirated software, on one hand, it’s better to support the product, on the other hand it’s free, but loyalty is what counts, yeah but it’s free. Software companies have tried many avenues to stop pirates, from banning individuals from using particular online games to as in Microsoft’s case, offering free copies of Windows 10 to cracked software owners only to change their minds around 50 times.

Popular and successful Anti Virus Company Malwarebytes have taken a different view and are offering an amnesty to pirated keys in exchange for legitimate licences. How does it work? Well according to the Malwarebytes website, if you try, well not you, but if someone attempts to activate a pirated licence key, a message will appear informing them of two options. One is to contact Malwarebytes for a new 12 months key before its disabled with the second option being for paid customers of legitimate licences.

Malwarebytes aims to roll out a new licensing system which is stronger and also hopes to determine which keys are for which owners. The offer is for a limited time only but as of writing, there is no defined end date to which this offer will end. It’s a brave move to offer a free key to pirates, but in turn the company is not threatening users with legal action etc which might build a stronger reputation with users in the long run.

Or this could be just the case of spreading a huge net to see who bytes, bites, I am speaking in tech, either way it will be interesting to follow the progress of this offer.

Thank you Malwarebytes and Forum for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of degreedix

Iraq Prevents Exam Cheating by Cutting the Entire Internet

There are many ways to prevent cheating in exams, there is the honour system, extra checks, and verifications – or you can go all out like Iraq did last week where it cut off the internet for the entire country for a couple of hours.

What first looked like something that is reminiscent of censorship in the Islamic state, that wasn’t the case according to Dyn Research. Their data showed that the data streams were interrupted between 5:00 and 8:00. The simple answer to why this happened is cheat prevention.

The nationwide school enrollment tests were going on at that time and the internet cut-off was simply to prevent sharing of the papers. The test is crucial for the continued education and thereby a position in the country which highly increases the incentive to cheat, and the simple way to prevent modern cheating is to simply disable the methods of doing so.

It certainly is an effective way of doing so but is it also the right one? What do you think? Is this maybe a method we should start applying in our parts of the world too or is that just taking it all a step too far? Let us know in the comments.

Prolimatech All for Extreme Basic 81 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Prolimatech have been growing in popularity since they formed in 2008, offering a sturdy range of coolers for reasonable prices and that’s something that certainly caught my attention. Today is the first time I get to review a Prolimatech product, so I’m eager to see what all the fuss is about. Their new Basic 81, as the name would imply, isn’t anything overly fancy, but on the other hand, the Prolimatech range is branded “All for Extreme”, so rather than bargain bin performance, Prolimatech seem to be aiming for the bare essentials of high-end cooling, so it’ll be interesting to see what this cooler has to offer.

“The Basic Series offers competitive solid performance at a budget level price! They are designed to be affordable while still maintaining the reliable quality you’ve come to expect from us. They are an excellent option for replacing stock coolers in any system, for improved cooling, quieter operation, and even overclocking! Check out the 5 different models to find the perfect cooler for your hardware, be it small media centers to massive hungry processors!” – Prolimatech

There are six 6mm heat pipes on this cooler, which is a lot of heat pipe for a cooler of this size. One thing that is super important to point out is that this cooler is for Intel platforms only, sorry AMD fans, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.

  • Dual tower design offers massive cooling surface area.
  • Six high quality heat pipes for superior cooling.
  • Quick and easy installation.
  • Mounting Kit for Intel socket LGA 1156/1155/1150/2011.
  • Includes a PWM 120x120x25mm Double-Ball Bearing Fan for longer life ( 600 to 1600 RPM).

“The Basic 81 features six high-quality heat pipes and one PWM 120mm Double-Ball bearing fan. Its large size offers excellent cooling ability and is capable of providing intensive heat dissipation. Intel-compatible only.” – Prolimatech

In the box you’ll find an Intel backplate, mounting plates, high-quality screws, fan retention clips and a small tube of thermal grease.

The fan seems of a good quality and comes with an 11-blade design.

The fan comes with a double ball-bearing motor, so it should be reasonably quiet. There’s also a braided cable, although you can see the coloured cables on the back of the fan, these will be hidden once it is mounted on the cooling tower.

First impressions of the cooler are very good. The fin stack feels pretty durable and there’s clearly a lot of surface area on offer to help with heat transfer.

There’s a total of 6 heat-pipes with a “U” shaped design that has the pipes pass through each side of the cooling tower.

The cooler has a split design, with a channel through the middle to help with airflow. This means that the leaf and right side of the heat pipes cool relatively independent of each other.

The left and right side of the cooling tower has deep grooves cut into it, these are for the fan retention clips, which fix directly onto the sides of the cooler.

The top plate is very nicely finished with a polished top section and an embossed design; the design reminds me of the Transformers logo.

6 x 6mm is a lot for a cooler of this size, so I would expect performance to be pretty good. You can see the heat pipes give nearly 100% coverage of the copper base plate, so heat transfer should be pretty good.

The copper contact plate is polished to a mirror shine and is nice and smooth, which should mean a nice clean fit over your CPU.

With the fan mounted, the cooler is still quite slim, so ram compatibility should be high. Now, let’s get this thing mounted on our motherboard and put it to the test!

Philips Has Released a New 4K Ultra HD Monitor

It’s safe to say that Philips is one of the world’s most renowned tech companies, and so it makes sense that it would be heavily invested in 4K technology. The company has just unveiled a brand new 4K monitor named BDM3275UP, which comes with a generous selection of high-end features that are meant to ensure an irreproachable working and gaming experience. Featuring an IPS-AHVA panel with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, Philips’ new offering flaunts 178°/178° viewing angles, dynamic mega-contrast ratio, a maximum brightness of 350 cd/m² as well as 30-bit color (1.07 billion colors).

As far as video input is concerned, the monitor includes DisplayPort 1.2, dual-link DVI and HDMI 2.0, but we should also mention the 4-port USB 3.0 hub as well as the headphones output that puts out audio using HDMI/DP audio channels. Philips has not released any information regarding pricing or availability just yet, but judging by its premium features, this product is bound to have a worthy price tag. 4K is rapidly gaining ground right now, especially with AMD and NVIDIA releasing powerful graphics cards that can handle the increased resolution without issues.

Have you switched to 4K yet or are you still waiting for the technology to become more affordable?

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Nvidia Preparing GeForce GTX 950 Graphics Cards

We’ve heard a lot of news about high-end graphics cards lately on all fronts, Nvidia GTX 980 Ti as well as AMD’s new Fury line-up, but not everyone can afford nor need the best and fastest graphics card. There is a large customer base that wants a more affordable, yet good mid-ranged card.

Nvidia are working on a new GM206-base product that could very well result in the GTX 950 and GTX 950 Ti cards aimed more at the mid range of systems. The information is still sparse, but what is known so far is that the new graphics processor is codenamed GM260-250, it is a GeForce product, and it is a full GTX product.

That really isn’t a lot of information at all, but it is what a lot of people have been waiting for. Something to replace their current GTX 650 or 750 series with and it looks like they don’t have to wait that much longer.

The GM206-250 is a cut-down version of the GM206-300 that is used in its full capacity on the GTX 960 cards. Looking over to the red side and we’ve seen that AMD compares their R7 370 and R7 360 to the GTX 750 series, meaning that these new cards could cause a stir in the low-end pool, if priced properly.

Thank You VideoCardz for providing us with this information

Amazon Prime Now Opens One-Hour Delivery in London

Amazon launched their one-hour Amazon Prime Now delivery last December in Manhatten US and later expanded the experiment to Dallas, Baltimore, and Miami. Now Amazon has reached over the big pond to open up the service outside of the US for the first time and in a timely fashion compared to their usual expansion times that take a lot longer.

Amazon Prime Now is now available to several postcodes in central London. Zone 2 and zone 3 postcodes couldn’t get the speedy delivery yet, but several Zone 1 postcodes can now take advantage of this new delivery method.

Amazon says that Prime Now can deliver thousands of products in London, but you need to order for at least £20 each time and it will cost you £6.99 per order for this speedy delivery method. If you don’t need it that fast, you can get the delivery for free within a two-hour window between 8am and midnight.

The service is of course geared towards products that you’d need last-minute, but you can get anything from inkjet printers to microwave ovens and Apple TV devices. You can pick products from 27 of Amazon’s departments.

Users can also choose to tip the delivery courier if they wish too. You can read a lot more about Amazon Prime Now on the official page, download the mobile app, or check your postcode for availability.

Thank You TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Greeks Are Flocking to Bitcoin as Banks Close Doors

Banks in Greece stayed shut on Monday as officials scrambled to prevent the country’s financial system from collapsing. Account holders were facing tough limits on what they can withdraw from ATMs, and trading in Greek stocks and bonds was also halted as measures to prevent Greece from sliding entirely out of the euro zone.

As that happened, the Greek population was looking for alternative currencies and it looks like they’ve found Bitcoin. International Bitcoin marketplaces all around the world are noticing increased traffic from Greece. Ten times as many Greeks are registering to trade Bitcoins on the german marketplace Bitcoin.de than usual and LakeBTC in China also saw a 40% increase in visitors from greece IP addresses.

Over the weekend, the Polish exchange Bitcurex also got flooded with emails from Greeks that wanted to know if Bitcoin is legal currency in the EU, if they can use it as a bank account and where in Greece they can find a Bitcoin ATM.

And while Bitcoins are a perfectly legal currency in the EU, getting them, using them, and trading them for other currencies is where the trouble starts. There is only one Bitcoin ATM in Greece at a bookstore in Athen. Generally just spending the Bitcoin can be difficult too as there only are half a dozen spots in Athens that accept Bitcoin as payment. Among them are a family restaurant, a head-and-neck surgeon, and a yacht rental company – maybe not the optimal choices for a country in trouble.

Thank You CNN for providing us with this information

Uber Launches a Water Taxi Service in Istanbul

Istanbul is a beautiful and important city, no doubt about it, but it can become quite crowded at times, which is why its citizens often have difficulties crossing from its European to its Asian side and vice versa. Fortunately, American international transportation network company Uber has recently announced a brand new boat service in Istanbul that will allow people to traverse the city quickly and comfortably. Dubbed UberBOAT, the service is marked as a separate option in the primary Uber app, and it is based on a small fleet of speedboats operated by a Turkish firm named Navette.

The speedboats can accommodate six to eight people each, and they will carry passengers along a few popular routes across the Bosphorus. As far as pricing is concerned, Uber said that it will be calculated based on the route’s distance, and while no final fares have been announced just yet, estimates indicate prices between $18 to $161 USD. Obviously, these are quite a bit higher when compared to those practiced by regular ferries, not to mention the fact that the Bosphorus can be crossed by car using one of the two bridges that span the strait. However, if they want to avoid road traffic and crowded ferry lines, Istanbul’s citizens now have a quicker and more convenient alternative.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Halo 5 May Remove Split Screen and LAN Play

Halo 5 developers, 343 Industries, is making waves with some dramatic changes to the way the Microsoft title will be played. Local co-op campaign had previously been officially removed earlier this month, with co-op campaign games requiring Xbox Live Gold to hook players together. Now 343 appears to have confirmed that local multiplayer will also be missing from the title as well, and there are some indications that local LAN play will also be removed as well.

A Halo fan took to Twitter with a screen cap for the Xbox One Halo 5 pre-order page showing a single player limit on one Xbox One, asking if it meant split screening has been removed. 343 head Josh Holmes responded with a vague statement, saying that “All MP modes use full screen on dedicated servers, incl Coop Campaign, Arena and Warzone.” 

This can be taken to mean that all multiplayer modes use full screen when connecting with dedicated servers. It can also be phrased to mean exactly what it says, that all multiplayer modes will use full screen and dedicated servers. The first interpretation is nothing new but the second one is more troubling. While similar FPS games have lost co-op campaign in the past, local multiplayer is a mainstay of many games, allowing a few friends to come together to and challenge each other.

All previous Xbox Halo titles featured local multiplayer as well as local LAN play and losing both will be a shame. Loss of local LAN may become a huge problem for large parties and tournaments in particular. Microsoft has been pushing users to adopt a more online environment but removing well-used features that previous titles had is not the way to go about this.

Free Game for Batman: Arkham Knight Early Adopters

The aptly named, No Bull Intentions indie studio has decided to provide a free copy of their satirical comedic game, The Supreme League of Patriots to Batman: Arkham Knight purchasers. This even applies if you have already filed for a refund and able to send a proof of purchase. Although, doing so would be taking advantage of this kind gesture. Cynical folk might argue this is nothing more than a PR exercise from a small studio to gain publicity and help lackluster sales figures. However, I will give No Bull Intentions the benefit of the doubt and applaud their passionate plea to PC Gamers. In a Tumblr post, the developer said,

“We think that PC gamers get taken for granted far too often. Those who choose to play on PC are often subjected to shoddy console ports, driver problems, poor optimisation and game-breaking bugs, not to mention invasive DRM and launch delays of weeks or even months for some titles. We’re making this offer to show our support for PC gamers.”

“As such, we’re offering anyone who bought Arkham Knight for PC before midnight PST on 30th June, 2015 (digital or retail) a free copy of the entire first season of Supreme League of Patriots. While we have every confidence that Rocksteady and Warner Bros. will keep patching Arkham Knight until it’s the amazing game we all anticipated, that doesn’t take away the disappointment that gamers felt. We recognise that our little superhero caper can’t do that either, but we hope the comical adventures of The Purple Patriot will bring a smile to their faces while they’re waiting.”

Supreme League of Patriots is a traditional point-and-click adventure game designed to mock popular culture, politics and rely on self-referential humour. The leading protagonist isn’t familiar with political correctness and runs amok as a freak accident turns him into a superhero! To take advantage of this offer, you need to e-mail supremeleagueofpatriots@gmail.com and attach an image showing the purchase confirmation.

On another note, there are some rumours circulating about Batman: Arkham Knight customers being offered a free WB game or season pass. This would follow a similar pattern to Assassin’s Cred Unity but the current time frame for this occurring is unknown and there’s still doubts if this will be offered at all. Another factor to consider is, will this offer or anything from WB games in the future apply to those who received a free copy with their NVIDIA 900 series GPU.

If you are intrigued by the game’s concept, here is the official trailer:

TOP GUN 2 Will Explore Drone Warfare

Top Gun 2 has been in development for coming up to 5 whole years now, when the first plans were released Tom Cruise was to play a small role in the film. But now the project has taken off Cruise is to have a starring role in the latest film.

The film should be released in 3D and IMAX, David Ellison stated:

“Absolutely, I think this is a movie that should be in 3-D and in IMAX, and again something that you can shoot practically. As everyone knows with Tom, he is 100% going to want to be in those airplanes shooting it practically.”

Ellison also said:

” It is very much a world we live in today where it’s drone technology and fifth generation fighters are really what the United States Navy is calling the last man-made fighter that we’re actually going to produce so it’s really exploring the end of an era of dogfighting and fighter pilots and what that culture is today are all fun things that we’re gonna get to dive into in this movie.”

From this it’s clear that they’re going to explore the world of drones in the new film. I’m not sure if it will be on par with Good Kill. I guess we’ll see.

Thank you to Collider for providing us with this information

AMD Releases R9 Fury X Faceplate 3D Model

AMD looks to have mods in mind with their R9 Fury X graphics card. Many readers may have noticed that the faceplate for the Fury X might be removable. AMD has now noted that the move was partially intentional, allowing easy customizability. With that in mind, AMD has released the STP file for CAD software, allowing owners to easily create their own faceplate. I am sure many enterprising makers will create all kinds of designs for their Fury X.

Given the water cooling featured on the Fury X, there is very little need to say mod a fan bracket or something like that. More likely are some AMD inspired designs or maybe a clear window, though the faceplate of the Fury X usually won’t be seen in a regular build. Given some complaints about coil whine and pump buzzing, maybe those impacted can add some sound dampening material to help counter that as well.

As expected from most hardware, AMD will not be covering any damage to the card, faceplate or system caused by removing the faceplate. AMD is urging certain precautions like not tinkering with the card while it is powered, operating, installed in a system, and proper ESD protection. While I’m sure most users are well aware of the risks or lack thereof, you can never be too careful.

Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R Micro ATX Motherboard Launched

ASRock is mostly known for their consumer products, but they also have a range of server equipment in the ASRock Rack branding. Just that division has just announced the latest motherboard in their lineup and it is a unique little board.

The new EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a rare form factor for an E5 motherboard and it can be considered the first mATX motherboard with support for Intel’s Xeon E5 v3 series with its LGA2011-3 single socket.

It further comes with four DDR4 DIMM slots for quad-channel memory and eight SATA 3.0 ports for storage. It further comes with an LSI 3008 controller with support for eight SAS3 ports. With two full PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and one x8 slot, you can expand the capabilities even further.

They haven’t skimped on the network connectivity either with Intel’s X540 that supports two 10Gbased-T connections. All of this put together makes up one very powerful motherboard for an high-end processor in a very compact form factor.

Key Specification

  • Micro ATX 9.6″ x 9.6″
  • Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866/ ECC DIMM, R DIMM, LR DIMM
  • Intel® C612: 6 x SATA3 6.0Gb/s(support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10); 2 x sSATA3 6.0Gb/s(support RAID 0, 1)
  • Supports 8-port SAS 3 by LSI:3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports 1 x Intel®X540

This motherboard won’t come cheap and will set you back around 500 bucks at the time of writing. We’ll also have a full review of this board ready for you soon, so stay tuned.

Mafia 3 Domain Registrations Indicate Upcoming Announcement

Take-Two Interactive has secured four Mafia 3 domain names which might suggest an official announcement is on the horizon. Mafia 2 was synonymous for its engaging story, beautiful setting and catchy soundtrack featuring artists such as Bing Crosby and Doris Day. While the game was extremely linear and without a free-roam option, it provided an enthralling experience based on a number of memorable characters. As a huge fan of the original Mafia game, I was surprised to see how well this sequel was done and distinguished itself from other GTA style games.

In January 2015, the voice actor of Vito Scaletta hinted at the series’ revival and proclaimed,

“Might have some Mafia news very soon!”

While domains can be faked or purchased from unofficial parties, the registration actually came from Take-Two Interactive’s genuine accounts. Usually, domains are the first step before announcing a new title and I can see Mafia 3 being shown off at Gamescom which begins on the 5th August. There is already speculation about the crime caper being set in Louisiana if a recent casting call is to be believed. This does tie in with the overall theme of the franchise and would be the perfect landscape to continue the story.

Mafia 2’s PC version was also sublime and a visual masterpiece which ran fairly well on a wide range of systems. As a result, my expectations for the sequel are quite high and I hope to encounter another stylish gangster game but one which adopts a more open-world approach.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information.

Uber Leaders Arrested In France

Uber has been in the news a lot recently. From having accounts sold on the dark net to being banned in countries due to its drivers behaviors. All of these have been large problems for a company which relies on the public not only using their app but also providing the cars for people to use. Today it all changed as two officials in Uber’s French branch were taken into custody.

Uber France CEO Thibaud Simphal and Uber Europe GM Pierre-Dimitir Gore-Coty were taken into custody in Paris today, this follows on from a raid that took place in its Paris office back in March. The two executives were charged with different allegations, the first of which being the running of an illegal taxi operation. This is a problem they have encountered in a few countries, with some debating if Uber can be considered a taxi service and others debating if their drivers are contractors or indeed employees.

The second allegation was concealing digital documents following on from the March raid, which in turn was slowing down the investigation.

France already has a strict stance on Uber, banning UberPOP (the equivalent of Uber in France) which allowed people to sign up and become Uber drivers without professional licenses. In response to this ban police have been issuing fines, these fines would be paid for by Uber.

So after being fined and possibly having their vehicles taken away they are still willing to drive for an app which considers them “contractors” (this avoids a lot of legal implications, such as providing health insurance in certain countries). After having two of its senior members taken into custody maybe Uber will have to rethink how it does business, or maybe France will have to go one step further and ban UberPop with a Justice Court ban on the service?

Thank you Tech Crunch for the information.

EK Water Blocks Introduced EK-XRES MX Reservoir and Pump Combo

EK Water Blocks is a top player when it comes to liquid cooling and they prove again that a great liquid cooling setup doesn’t has to be neither complicated nor expensive. They introduced the new EK-XRES MX reservoir and pump combo that is available both as a complete standalone unit powered by Laing DDC 3.2 PWM pump as well as a separate upgrade for any Laing DDC series liquid cooling pump.

The EK-XRES 100 DDC MX is a reduced cost variant of EK-XRES 100 DDC reservoir that has been designed to lower the production costs yet still offer premium hydraulic performance at the best price. This unit is a high-performance aftermarket pump top with an integrated reservoir for Laing DDC series water pumps. It is made from injection-moulded ABS material and 60mm OD Acrylic glass cylinder. The hydraulic performance has been increased up to 15% compared to the factory top.

The EK-XRES 100 DDC MX comes with an anti-vibration mounting mechanism based on a dampening rubber mount system that effectively de-couples the pump from the rest of the chassis. The reservoirs can easily be upgraded with longer reservoir cylinder tubes as well as additional DDC upgrades such as Heatsink Housing.

All products are already available for purchase where the EX-XRES 100 DDC MX 3.2 PWM with pump will set you back €106.95, the EK-XRES 100DDC MX Acetal €34.95, and the EK-UNI Holder DDC Spider €4.95.

Engineers Break Capacity Limit for Fibre Optic Communication

Electrical engineers from the University of California’s Qualcomm Institute have developed a solution to capacity limits inherent in fibre optic cabling, increasing the maximum distance and power at which optical signals can be sent through conventional cabling, allowing for record-breaking data transmissions that could be a huge boost to internet, cable TV, wireless, and landline networks, a new study has revealed.

“Today’s fiber optic systems are a little like quicksand,” Nikola Alic, research scientist at the Qualcomm Institute and co-author of the study said. “With quicksand, the more you struggle, the faster you sink. With fiber optics, after a certain point, the more power you add to the signal, the more distortion you get, in effect preventing a longer reach. Our approach removes this power limit, which in turn extends how far signals can travel in optical fiber without needing a repeater.”

Trials conducted in San Diego transmitted information across 12,000km via fibre optic cable without data degradation, making it the furthest distance across which information has been sent using optics without amplifiers or repeaters.

“Crosstalk between communication channels within a fiber optic cable obeys fixed physical laws. It’s not random. We now have a better understanding of the physics of the crosstalk. In this study, we present a method for leveraging the crosstalk to remove the power barrier for optical fiber,” eStojan Radic, Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC San Diego, and senior author of the paper, added. “Our approach conditions the information before it is even sent, so the receiver is free of crosstalk caused by the Kerr effect.”

The breakthrough follows Huawei’s recent achievement of reaching one terabits per second – the equivalent of sending 33 HD movies in a single second – data transmission through super-channel optical cable in Nice, France recently. How long until these phenomenal speeds reach our homes?

Thank you UC San Diego for providing us with this information.

Rumours Surround Acquisition of AMD by Microsoft

Word has spread that in an effort to start its own chip design operations Microsoft is planning to buy Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). It appears that Microsoft initiated the talk several months ago, if this move is true, will hit a vast swath of industry major players across the globe as AMD itself is the only hardware supplier to Microsoft’s own Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. Apple also uses AMD tech when it comes down to the professional graphics cards included in Mac pro and some MacBook models.

As this is an unofficial rumour, we can only state that current negotiations remain unclear, especially regarding Microsoft’s exact proposal to AMD. However, it’s good to keep in mind that Microsoft has operating funds of $95.3 billion, while AMD is capitalised right now at somewhere around $41.81 billion; so the possibility of an offer that AMD can’t refuse from Microsoft is still very much possible.

This is just how very fragile the balance of the IT industry is at the present moment. It is held only at the will of the big contenders such as Microsoft and Samsung if a similar move were to be played by Samsung or even Sony, this would cause chaos with smaller companies and even larger companies that depends on companies like AMD to provide excellent products with enough profit to build a solid brand.

We have heard many stories regarding the acquisition of AMD lately, do you think this rumour is true?

Thank you SOFTPEDIA for the information

Silicon Power Introduced High Capacity Power Banks

Nothing is worse than having your mobile gadget run out of power while you’re on the go and that is where mobile power banks come into play. An extra large battery to charge your batteries. Silicon Power has just introduced their newest two power banks, the Power S102 and the Power S82.

The Power S102 features an impressive 12000mAh while the Power S82 comes with an 8000mAh capacity. Both come with two charging ports, allowing you to charge two devices simultaneous with up to 2.1A each.

When fully charged, the Power S102 has enough juice to charge an iPhone 6 around 4.4 times which in return means that you can go a long time without having to be near an outlet.

S102 and S82 offer a 10-second Power Saving Mode so that the power bank will turn off automatically in ten seconds when devices are fully charged and conventional protections such as over current protection under voltage, over voltage and SCP are built in to provide safety for both the power bank and your mobile devices. A 4-level LED indicator lets you easily see the charging status at any time.

They S102 and S82 both come with a warranty of 13 months and product liability insurance up to USD 10 Million.

Facebook Rainbow Flag May Have Been Another Big Experiment

It seems that once again, Facebook has made us the focus of another ultra-large-scale social media experience, although technically, that’s pretty much all Facebook is anyway. You’ve no doubt seen the wash of colours on your news feed, as people have changed their profile picture by adding rainbow colours. This is of course in support for the US Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is now legal in the US, a pretty big achievement if I do say so myself.

The Celebrate Pride tool on Facebook was launched to coincide with the ruling and millions of people have taken part and changed their pictures. But critics have accused the social network of using this as another on of Facebook’s psychological experiments. It quickly became apparent that more people are likely to change their picture, if more and more of their friends did, to fit in if you will. It looks like Facebook are testing if people more likely to change their views on political issues, human rights and other subjects, based on the reactions of those around them?

A Facebook spokesman told the Atlantic that it’s “not an experiment or test – everyone sees the same thing”. In the past it’s shown different people different results to see which messages were more effective.

Of course, it seems Facebook’s intent for support Gay Pride in genuine, but it stands to reason that they would also use this as a social experience, after all, sharing information is the entire basis of the site and the campaign has likely given them one of their biggest data pools to date.

“I’d be surprised if Facebook did this as an experiment first and then celebrating the historical change second,” he told Mirror Online.

“It’s really difficult and unpredictable. Facebook carries out experiments the whole time and it would make sense to use this opportunity to see how rainbow pictures spread,” he said.

It’s no secret that Facebook track everything that happens, they need to, that’s how the site works. What Facebook could do with this data remains to be seen, but they’ve likely learned a lot about how sharing can influence huge numbers of people.

What do you think? Have you seen some interesting changes in your news feed, or groups reacting differently after the rainbows appeared on virtually every corner of the social media network?

Gizmodo reached out to Facebook to find out more. “Facebook finally responded to our request for clarification. However, the clarification sounds more like a confirmation that the social network is tracking people who use the tool. Facebook used the word “not” three times but still did not deny tracking.”

Facebook responded ‘This was not an experiment or test, but rather something that enables people to show their support of the LGBTQ community on Facebook. We aren’t going to use this as a way to target ads and the point of this tool is not to get information about people.'”

Thank you Mirror for providing us with this information.