Mac Update Disables Ethernet

In this day and age, most laptops and devices come with a wireless adapter built-in, even the latest Raspberry Pi includes wireless. This is lucky for when you can’t get to the router in your house, or the cable just won’t reach your favourite seat, or when your ethernet connection is disabled by an update.

Some people found this out the hard way this morning when Apple published an update over the weekend which disabled the ethernet port in the El Capitan distribution of their operating system. The reason for the disabled port? An update for the System integrity protection system, a system designed to keep your computer secure by disabling malicious kernel extensions (kext) (the equivalent of drivers for Windows or Linux users). Sadly a small update blacklisted the ethernet ports kext.

While an update was quickly released to fix the issue, some people still had the issue of it disabling their system before they were able to update to the latest version. The idea is that it’s all done behind the scenes, without you having to select the update or even know about it, kexts are updated silently. These updates run even if you have disabled the standard automatic update.

Do you use cabled connections or are you constantly on the wi-fi? Could you live with the other? What would you do if someone accidentally disabled the wireless in your computer, laptop or even your phone?

Google Self Driving Car May Have Caused its First Crash

Google have often flaunted the fact that none of its numerous self-driving cars have ever been responsible for a crash it has been in, instead always being put down to outside forces, usually humans. Now this flawless record could be in jeopardy as according to a filing with the Californian DMV discovered by Mark Harris, a self-driving Lexus SUV belonging to Google drove itself into the side of a bus, thankfully at low-speed.

The description of the incident from the report states the following:

The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue. Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus. The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and traveling at less than 2 mph, and the bus was travelling at about 15 mph at the time of contact.

What exactly caused the crash is currently uncertain, either the car made the same assumption as the test driver, that the bus would allow the car into traffic, or there was a blind spot in its sensors. The latter is extremely unlikely due to the large array of sensors packed into the vehicle that covers all 360 degrees around it.

It was only a matter of time until an autonomous car was involved in an accident that was the fault of the car, with the growing number of them on the road for testing. Even one accident doesn’t change the statistics that autonomous cars are far safer than human drivers, especially with the years of testing and improvement ahead of them. Whether this accident shakes confidence in the readiness of self-driving cars remains to be seen, but with Google’s monthly self-driving report due soon, more details of the incident and the future of the car’s development may come to light.

Minecrafts Next Update Is A Combat Upgrade

Minecraft is a popular game, with people building everything from a castle to a self-farming industry with everything from lasers to spells. One thing that has barely changed since the game was released was the combat, with every player dashing around with sword and shield dodging the other players bows. This is all set to change in Minecraft 1.9, the combat upgrade.

Designed to shake up Minecraft combat system, weapons will be getting specific special attacks, a cooldown delay between each swing of a weapon and duel weaponry. Alongside the close-quarters combat, new shields and special arrows will force you to switch up your combat with every battle.

Other changes include The End being extended and the infamous Ender Dragon now being able to return to the world of the living to strike at you once again. Beware, a new mob, the Shulker, joins the battle alongside the skeleton riders, all looking to make you fight harder for greater rewards in a game that were seen as a builders fantasy.

Do you play Minecraft? Are you a creative player, building castles in the sky or someone who likes to hunt down the undead and creepers as they let out their final hiss? Did the combat need updating and if so, what do you want to see updated next?

Microsoft: Windows PCs ‘Do More’ Than Macs

The PC Vs Mac debate has been hotly discussed and analysed for what seems to be since the dawn of time. Over the years, there’s been various arguments which outlines the benefits and drawbacks of both systems which makes for an interesting topic. In the past, Mac users proclaimed Windows was an unstable operating system with poor security. However, Alex Stamos of iSec Partners claimed this was incorrect back in 2011 and said that Mac OS X is “significantly more vulnerable” than Windows 7 when it comes to network-based attacks. On the other hand, David Morgenstern from ZDNet dismissed these theories and believes:

“Searching through F-Secure’s Monthly Security Updates for 2013, I could only find one solitary mention of a Mac or iOS vulnerability, and it was for Microsoft Outlook for Mac. There has be something Windowsy behind it.”

As you can see, there’s still varying opinions on this subject, as people try to defend their purchasing habits. On a personal note, I’ve used Macs, PCs, and even completed a few Hackintosh projects. Both operating systems have their own merits, but I really struggle to understand how easily Apple sells computers with such a low specification for the price point. Furthermore, Apple has a very restricted ethos which revolves around control and prevents the end-user from performing major tweaks. Linux is probably the best option for advanced users wanting total control, but Windows isn’t too shabby in this particular field.

Yesterday, Microsoft unleashed an advertising campaign with the slogan, “PCs do more”. In these videos we see The Bug Chicks teach children about insects using Windows 10 software. As always, these marketing adverts are fairly cringe-worthy but it’s always great to see Microsoft outline the benefits of the PC platform. This is bound to spark a lively debate between PC and Mac users. Here is a complete list of the released videos so far:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6SVsf0k2i0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHoHKjjttvQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln5LU532GuY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOV1tQpgAs8

Image courtesy of A New World Society.

Shuttle Reveals DH110 4K Ultra HD Digital Signage PC

Shuttle has just revealed its brand new Skylake-based Slim PC named DH110, which is based on Intel’s H110 chipset. As a result, the device can be powered by any one of Intel’s 6th generation Core i3, i5, i7, Pentium, and Celeron processors, as long as they feature a TDP rating of 65W. Even though it’s definitely no powerhouse, this slim and portable PC was designed to support interactive commercial applications as well as 4K video content. The 14 nm Intel “Skylake” processors compatible with the DH110 feature built-in new generation Intel HD Graphics that are more than capable of delivering smooth experiences when it comes to internet browsing and other light applications.

The machine’s back panel comes with an HDMI port and DisplayPort for dual-screen displays while the interior of the case can support 2.5″ SATA 6G HDDs or SSDs as well as an M.2 SSD and a WiFi card. As for the I/O interface, it offers a pair of RS232 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. The Dual Intel Gigabit LAN also deserves a mention, as it guarantees high-speed data transfer capabilities as well as improved compatibility for business network environments. The Shuttle DH110 Slim PC is 24/7 certified and features a VESA mountable slim metal chassis that ensures seamless operation at 0-50°C ambient temperatures.

Vive Now Available for Pre-Order

The Vive virtual reality headset – a collaboration between HTC and Valve – is now available for pre-order, with the first shipments to begin on 5th April, 2016. The HTC Vive, which recently won “Best in Show” at CES 2016,  includes two wireless VR controllers, room scale movement, 360° tracking, and an HMD with a built-in camera, to provide “what many critics are calling the most convincing VR experience launching this year,” according to the official press release.

“We are delighted to help usher in the next generation of virtual reality,” Cher Wang of HTC said. “Launching Vive with Valve has helped us ignite the creativity of thousands of content developers around the world.”

Pre-orders will include the games Tilt Brush from Google, Fantastic Contraption from Northway and Radial Games, and Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives from Owlchemy Labs.

“Our collaboration with HTC and the VR development community has allowed us to create the most compelling and complete VR solution,” Valve’s Gabe Newell added. “In the coming weeks, many of these developers will launch an incredible first generation of VR titles to consumers around the world.”

To test whether your system is equipped to run the HTC Vive, Steam has released the SteamVR application.

The HTC Vive is priced at £746.60/$829, including shipping.

Netflix Values HDR Content Over 8K – Has No VR Plans

While Netflix is increasing its output of 4K resolution content, users should not expect the streaming on-demand platform to introduce 8K video any time soon. Instead, the company will be pushing high dynamic range (HDR) content, which increases colour and contrast range in images.

“Something that’s a little bit more out there that we’re really excited about is the notion of HDR or high dynamic range,” Chris Jaffe, Vice President of User Interface Innovation at Netflix said during a media briefing at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona (via CNBC).

“It’s less about packing more pixels on the screen like the move from HD to ultra-HD 4K was, it’s about extending the total range of those pixels … what that means is there’s a much more photo realistic image that you’re watching which is much more representative of the total range that your eye can see when you’re just looking around in real life.”

One visual innovation that Netflix will not be pursuing, though, is virtual reality. “We think there’s a great opportunity for VR in gaming and the gaming space is going to be an interesting place for them to explore it,” Jaffe added. “We don’t see an opportunity right now in the near-term for Netflix and VR, but we do want to watch how great story tellers use this technology, because at the end of the day, what you really see is when consumers really engage with great storytelling there’s a great opportunity and that’s what we really want to see.”

Netflix is aiming to release season one of Marco Polo and season two of Daredevil in HDR later this year.

Beautiful New Photos of Bugatti Chiron Revealed

Bugatti has released a series of stunning photos of its new premier sportscar, the Chiron, ahead of its official unveiling at the Geneva International Motor Show, which begins this Wednesday. The Bugatti Chiron, which is priced at a whopping €2.4 million, is “electronically limited” to a top speed of 261mph, and can hit 125mph in 6.5 seconds, will be limited to only 500 models.

“The development brief for the Chiron can be summarised in one sentence and is probably the shortest in the history of the automobile: we want to make the best significantly better,” Wolfgang Dürheimer, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S, which is owned by Volkswagen, said during the supercar’s unveiling last October. “The Chiron will set new standards in every respect. We will continue to produce the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car. This is the claim of Bugatti and our customers.”

“The feedback from our customers concerning the Chiron is outstanding,” Dürheimer added. “Our order book is steadily filling up. More than 100 customers have already ordered the Chiron despite the fact that they have had no opportunity so far to experience the fantastic driving properties of the Chiron.“

But enough chat. Enjoy the majesty of the Bugatti Chiron:

Microsoft Improves Cyberattack Security Measures

In the modern interconnected world, we rely on technology to complete work, and enjoy various forms of entertainment. Unfortunately, this means there are unscrupulous individuals who try to exploit any loopholes and attack networks. Perhaps, they feel this is a way of exposing a company’s poor security or attempt to ruin people’s free time in a bitter manner. Whatever the case, there’s numerous examples of networks being breached including PlayStation Network. Recently, Xbox Live has suffered from some downtime, due to cyberattacks. This isn’t acceptable for either Sony or Microsoft because they are charging a fee to access a service.

On another note, Steam encountered problems due to a caching error, and allowed access to other people’s accounts. This emphasizes the need for extremely secure networks which involves a great deal of investment. Back in November, Microsoft opened a new facility which brings together around 50 security experts from various divisions including the Office, Windows, Azure, Xbox and other groups. This means they can unify different teams with roughly 3,500 other security employees throughout various offices. Hopefully, this should improve security measures, and help prevent cyberattacks from occurring. While the new facility’s cost is unknown, reports suggest the company has spent $1 billion on security last year. Duncan Brown, research director at IDC Research Inc said:

“Microsoft has been on the fringe of security for some time,”

“Now, they are putting it at the center of operations.”

According to Microsoft, every second matters when dealing with cyberattacks, and it’s essential to have a rapid response. The best form of this is via “machine learning”. So how does this work? Microsoft hired a group of white-hat hackers known as Red Team to attack its networks. The information during these breaches are monitored by programs alongside real attacks to form a database which should help with future cyberattacks. It’s always a difficult task to deal with complicated attacks from criminals, but it’s clear that Microsoft is investing in security infrastructure.

Microsoft Promises to Fix Windows Store VSync Lock

Microsoft’s relationship with the PC gaming audience has been fairly turbulent due to the advent of Games for Windows Live and focus on console development. Many users are still haunted by Microsoft’s atrocious form of DRM, which resulted in lost saves, regional restrictions and a very basic accounts system. Furthermore, they never really showed any interest in the PC platform, and didn’t support it when there were concerns about its future. Thankfully, Valve stepped in and catapulted the popularity of PC games. There’s a certain irony though because Microsoft could be in Valve’s position if they catered to the PC community properly.

Thankfully, times have changed and Microsoft is adopting a more unified approach to mobile, PC and console. This means, the company is open to cross-platform releases and giving the PC key franchises which remained a console exclusive for some time. Admittedly, there’s still no Halo or Forza on the PC platform, but I cannot see an announcement being too far off. Instead of releasing their own games on Steam, Microsoft is pushing the Windows Store and trying to encourage people to upgrade to Windows 10. This makes sense because Valve takes a significant portion of a game’s revenue, simply for allowing a game to be sold on their service.

Sadly, the Windows Store has some major issues and Microsoft has to address them to even consider making PC gamers part with their hard-earned money. For example, a post on Reddit suggests there’s no SLI/Crossfire support, no modding support, no refund policy, and VSync is always on! Not only that, the game files are protected, monitoring software doesn’t work properly, and borderless full screen is your only option. Clearly, these are some very severe restrictions and concerning given Microsoft’s history with DRM.

Mike Ybarra, Partner Director of Program Management, Xbox and Windows Platform at Microsoft addressed some of these concerns and said:

Apparently, SLI/Crossfire is already functional, and depends on the developer. However, I encountered some problems with dual card setups on Rise of the Tomb Raider but only with the Windows Store version. I’m pleased to see the news that VSync will become optional because many people dislike the stutter it creates or use a G-Sync panel instead. Only time will tell if Microsoft creates an open PC platform, but it’s clear that the current store needs a lot of work.

EA Withdraws Ghost Trademark After Dispute With Ubisoft

Ghost Games, formally known as EA Gothenburg, is a video game developer based in Sweden and Romania. The studio is composed of 80 percent of the employees from iconic British company Criterion Games and produces the latest entries in the Need for Speed franchise. EA filed two trademarks for the term ‘Ghost’ (US Serial No. 86/568,852 and 86/568,854) upon its initial formation. However, Ubisoft wasn’t pleased by this move, and decided to launch a complaint in September last year. Only now, the lawsuit has come into effect, and Ubisoft claims the term ‘Ghost’ will be damaging to their business. The company provided a long list of reasons why they object to EA’s Ghost trademarks which reads:

“NOTICE OF OPPOSITION

Ubisoft Entertainment, a French corporation having a principal place of business at 107
Avenue Henri Freville, Rennes, France, and Ubisoft, Inc. (“Ubisoft”), a California corporation
having a principal place of business at 625 Third Street, San Francisco, California 94107, believe
they will be damaged by registration of the mark shown in Application Serial Nos. 86/568,852
and 86/568,854 (the “Applications”) and hereby oppose the same pursuant to the provisions of
15 U.S.C. § 1063. Ubisoft Entertainment and Ubisoft are collectively referred to as “Opposers.”

The grounds for opposition are as follows:

1. Opposer Ubisoft Entertainment is the parent company of Ubisoft. Therefore,
privity exists between Opposers. Both Ubisoft Entertainment and Ubisoft are video game
developers and publishers and also sell various products and services related to their video games
and entertainment services.

2. Since at least as early as 2001, Ubisoft has used the trademark GHOST RECON
in connection with video games and entertainment services in the nature of online video and
computer games. In addition to its longstanding common law trademark rights, Ubisoft owns
several incontestable federal registrations for marks comprising or containing the distinctive
GHOST RECON trademark, including the following trademarks:

[Several Ghost Recon trademarks listed in the filing omitted from here, check the link]

3. Ubisoft Entertainment also owns several federal registrations for marks
comprising or containing the distinctive GHOST RECON trademark, including the following
trademarks:

[Several Ghost Recon trademarks listed in the filing omitted from here, check the link]

Collectively, the marks that set forth in Paragraphs 2 and 3 are referred to as the GHOST
RECON marks.

4. Notwithstanding Ubisoft Entertainment’s and Ubisoft’s prior rights in the
GHOST RECON mark, on March 18, 2015, applicant Electronic Arts Inc. (“Applicant”) filed
two intent-to-use applications seeking to register the mark GHOST (“Applicant’s Mark”): one
was filed in connection with “Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software
via a global computer network and wireless devices; Video game software” in International
Class 9, which was designated 86/568,854, and the other one was filed in connection with
“Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information
relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet” in International Class 41, which
was designated 86/568,852.

5. The Applications were published for opposition on August 4, 2015. Ubisoft
sought, and was granted, two extensions of time to oppose the Applications: one on September 2,
2015 and one on November 30, 2015. As a result, Opposers have until January 31, 2016 to
oppose the Application. Therefore, this Notice of Opposition is timely filed.

6. Opposers began using its GHOST RECON marks in connection with video games
and entertainment services long before Applicant filed the Applications on March 18, 2015 and
long before Applicant’s November 19, 2013 claimed date of first use.

7. Opposers’ common law and statutory priority dates precede the filing date of the
Application and, upon information and belief, any priority date upon which Applicant may rely.

8. Opposers have priority over Applicant.

9. Prior to filing the Applications, Applicant had constructive knowledge of
Opposers’ GHOST RECON marks given Opposers’ federal registrations set forth above.

10. The goods and services identified in the Applications, namely “Computer game
software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless
devices; Video game software” and “Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line
computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the
Internet” are identical and highly related to the goods and services offered by Opposers in
connection with the GHOST RECON marks.

11. Upon information and belief, Applicant intends to market the goods and services
identified in the Applications to the same consumers who purchase the goods and services
offered by the Opposers under the GHOST RECON marks.

12. Applicant’s proposed mark GHOST mark is nearly identical to the GHOST
RECON marks used and owned by Opposers.

13. Applicant’s Mark so resembles Opposers’ GHOST RECON marks alleged herein
as to be likely, when used in connection with the goods and services identified in the
Applications, to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive. Consumers are likely to
believe, mistakenly, that the goods and services Applicant offers under Applicant’s Mark are
provided, sponsored, endorsed, or approved by Opposers, or are in some way affiliated,
connected, or associated with Opposers, all to the detriment of Opposers. Registration of
Applicant’s Mark, therefore, should be refused under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1052(d) and 1063.

14. Registration of Applicant’s Mark would be a further source of damage to
Opposers, as it would confer upon Applicant various statutory presumptions to which it is not
entitled in view of Opposers’ long prior use of the GHOST RECON marks.”

In response to this opposition and the threat of legal action, EA has withdrawn their initial application. Here we can see the documentation which outlines the course of events:

This is an absurd situation and the dispute revolves around Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon brand, which they believe would be negatively impacted by EA’s trademarks. Clearly, Ubisoft isn’t doing themselves any favours, especially when the company could be taken over by Vivendi. EA should have the right to trademark a studio they created without dealing with frivolous lawsuits. Perhaps, publishers should work on creating enriching experiences instead of being embroiled in stupid legal action.

Image courtesy of Collider.

Cyberpunk 2077 User Interface Assets Surface

Even though Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is still receiving plenty of attention from gamers and developers alike, some are already thinking about CD Projekt RED’s next big release, which is going to be Cyberpunk 2077. What we know about this upcoming game so far is that it’s going to be yet another RPG, this time based on the Cyberpunk series of tabletop role-playing games. The game will allow us to explore a dystopian futuristic world that will showcase a degenerated human society as well as impressive technological advancements. Based on REDengine 3, the same used for The Witcher 3, this game is likely to feature impressive graphics, and even though we don’t know much about its gameplay so far, we have stumbled upon a series of images that represent a potential version of Cyberpunk 2077’s user interface assets.

The images were released by a Reddit member named “TheLastWitcher,” and appear to highlight a dialogue system similar to what we’ve seen in Mass Effect. The images were found in the Witcher 3’s files, and according to the user, they were probably stored there by mistake. It’s worth keeping in mind that these might just be nothing more than placeholders, which means that the final product could very well look completely different.

Call of Duty: Ghosts 2 Leaked by UK Gaming Magazine

Call of Duty is one of the most profitable franchises in the gaming industry and continues to set unbelievable sales records. There are many consumers out there who own a console, and play Call of Duty every year without looking into other gaming experiences. The same applies to sports games which seem to hold people’s attention despite each release being fairly iterative. Of course, users can spend their money as they choose, and the hundreds of hours invested into a Call of Duty’s multiplayer provides a great reason to buy each year’s release. Personally, it’s not for me, but I’m pleased to see different games which cater to unique audiences. Call of Duty: Ghosts received fairly disappointing reviews and sparked debate about the lack of innovation in the series.

It’s quite uncommon for a Call of Duty game to have widespread criticism from the press, as most websites usually opt for high scores. However, Call of Duty: Ghosts didn’t offer anything new, and ran extremely poorly on PC. To this day, the PC version is plagued by terrible optimization, a mundane single player and lacklustre gameplay. It’s really not worth bothering with and a waste of your time. Given the negative publicity surrounding Call of Duty: Ghosts, you might expect its sequel to undergo a re-branding exercise. Despite this, a scanned version of the February issue of GamesTM contains Call of Duty: Ghosts 2 in a segment entitled, “2016 Most Wanted Games”. The issue was scanned by Mari Fernett, and sent into the publication FragHero. Here we can see the front cover:

According to the magazine, Call of Duty: Ghosts 2 will launch in November 2016, and be produced by Infinity Ward.

A transcription of the game’s description reads:

“When creative strategist Robert Bowling exited Infinity Ward in 2012, he put the departure down to the studio doing “too much ‘pew pew’ not enough new new.” We got a look at what he meant with the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts – a solid, yet unspectacular next-gen debut for the franchise. Infinity Ward will have had three years to work on a follow up, and it needs to showcase the same creative spark that once put in on the map with Modern Warfare back in ’08 if it wants any chance of standing shoulder to shoulder with Sledgehammer and Treyyarch.”

Are you a fan of the Call of Duty franchise?

SSD Reliability Study Shows SLC No Better than MLC

The first SSDs we had all used SLC or single level cell, holding 1 bit per cell. As SSDs grew more and more common and advanced,  different tech like MLC (multi-level cell) and TLC (triple-level cell) grew more common, with 2 and 3 bits per cell respectively. While consumers have mostly used MLC and TLC due to cost reasons, some, especially in the enterprise have stuck with SLC due to performance or reliability concerns. From a recent study though, it looks like the second factor really isn’t all that different between SLC and MLC.

According to the researchers from the University of Toronto and Google, over a 6 year period, SLC and MLC drives failed at about the same rate. This meant that despite a significantly lower durability to writes for MLC, it was still able to keep up with SLC. The biggest reason for failures was due to the age of the SSD and not the number of writes. This is somewhat expected as many SSD durability experiments have shown, that controller, firmware, NAND defect or other failures are more likely to take place before the NAND actually dies from too many writes.

The study also found that Uncorrectable Bit Error Rate specifications weren’t useful at all while Raw Bit Error Rate was, though the manufacturers were too conservative with their estimates. The biggest concern is that 30-80 percent of SSDs develop at least one bad block and 2-7 percent develop at least one bad chip in the first four years of deployment. This means while SSDs are unlikely to lose all their data at once like HDD failure does, they do tend to lose snippets of data here and there.

All this being said and done, most SSDs should be able to recover data from bad blocks and have enough spare that it doesn’t matter too much. The study was also done with enterprise drives which are used more often and hit harder. One big takeaway is that unless you want speed MLC is the way to go. The biggest takeaway is that instead of worrying about writes to your SSD, worry more about its age and keep a good backup plan going.

New Rumours About The Nintendo NX Have Been Revealed

Nintendo’s upcoming console, codenamed NX, is rumoured to arrive later this year and could feature a revolutionary handheld/home console hybrid design. This is pure speculation though and Nintendo has done their utmost to keep details of the NX confidential. I applaud this approach because it creates a web of intrigue and makes the official unveiling very exciting. Recently, new information regarding Nintendo’s upcoming console was revealed by Geno, and published by the website, DualPixels. Geno accurately predicted the latest Pokemon game announcements which suggests the leaked NX details might be credible. Here’s a detailed run-down of what Nintendo apparently has planned:

“I don’t have many details on the device itself but I do have some background for it and some PR techniques they will use for it. A thing to note about this device is that much of it’s production was started in 2014 and many of the stuff I list here was outlined by the late Satoru Iwata before his passing. Hence in the company, the NX is considered the last project of their late president. Employees since his passing utter a phrase at the end of meetings and during idea brainstorms which is “岩田のために!” which roughly translates “For Iwata!”

“The importance of this is that this “new” Nintendo is highly motivated in delivering a fantastic system and games, something that I quote from an employee “have not seen this much forward momentum on a project since they launched the original Famicom”.

  1. It has a wireless HDMI dongle that attaches flush to the back of the device. A user can pull it out and insert it into any display with a normal sized HDMI output and the devices uses an evolved version of the Wii U’s streaming tech to display in HD to the TV screen.
  2. Allegedly the analog controls for movement has small motors in them for full haptic feedback. Meaning if you control a character and hit a wall, the sticks move away from the direction of that wall to simulate running head first into it. This can also be used for jerking when firing a gun, taking damage, moving over rough terrain, ect.
  3. It can literally Bluetooth synch with everything, especially smart phone and tablets to the point where one feature is that it can answer phone calls and display text messages from your phone onto the screens itself so you don’t have to stop and answer your smart device.
  4. The closest in terms of “power” it gets to is the Xbox One, but an app idea is Wii U x50 and Playstation Vita x100. The key is that all the tech is exactly the same hardware layout as the PS4 and Xbox One which then combine it with the OS’s strong emulation functions and compiler means that any game that can run of a Playstation 4 or Xbox One can easily run on the NX with near-zero modification to the original source code, especially if it runs in Android OS or Unreal Engine 4. This is allegedly why Nintendo has given out the dev kits so late, as one 3rd Party dev put it “It’s the easiest device we’ve ever developed for. You just take your code, compile it and it works.”
  5. Look to Pokemon GO to get the idea of the type of social features that will be in NX that will take multiplayer, AR and the StreetPass concept to a whole new level.
  6. The real strengths of the device is its usability and ease of use. Developers have described to me more than once that it visually and functionally looks as if “Samsung and the Nintendo 2DS” had a baby, in that it looks friendly but unlike what most people visualize a Nintendo device to typically look. The operating system, named NintendOS alone is very powerful and has so many modern features of mobile operating systems today that Nintendo is trying to be very careful in showing it off for fear that it would be mistaken as running Android. It also has a very strong networking functions as it ties into multiple devices and services allowing a very competent and pervasive eco-system designed to constantly involve the consumer’s lives.

As always, this could be pure fabrication, and it’s unknown what Nintendo’s new system entails. However, the source has been known to be accurate in the past. I’m slightly concerned by the power issue though because Nintendo needs to offer some additional graphical grunt to keep it relevant after the current console generation has subsided.

Sony Claims PS4 is More 60% Efficient than PC at VR

With VR headsets nearing launch, the focus has turned to looking at the platforms driving them. For the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the PC is the obvious choice but Sony will be rolling their own with the PlayStation VR. Richard Marks, the head of the PlayStation Magic Lab at Sony has recently shared more information about how VR will work on the PS4. The biggest points, however, are what Marks has to say about the performance.

“The hardware was designed and built for real time. It’s  a video gaming system so the operating system is very low latency and very tunable.”

According to Marks, the PS4 will be a better platform for VR. Most of the benefits are the usual ones that the console has, mainly the uniform hardware, setup and accessories that all PS4 owners will have. This will make it easier for developers to create games for the console. Performance is also better as the PS4 OS is designed for real-time gaming and is able to have much lower latency, in the area of 18ms. Low latency as we know is very critical to have an optimal VR experience.

“This isn’t my number, this is some middleware people said, that a console about the same specs as a PC, the console is about 60% more powerful, because of all that kind of direct access you have and knowing every piece as it should be and not having variability like this is a different process here and things like that. You can just tune things and get effectively 60% more performance.”

Finally, the main point Marks hammers home is that consoles simply perform better at VR than PCs. According to middleware vendors he has talked to, the PS4 should be 60% faster than a comparably specced PC.  This is due to the OS and the direct access to hardware the PS4 offers. Furthermore, the PS4 should be in the realm of a GTX 970 equipped PC in terms of VR.

It’s well-known that consoles are more tunable due to the direct hardware access it offers. A 60% boost might even be believable. The claim about the PS4 matching the GTX 970 though is pretty outlandish, though. That would entail an 110% boost in performance which is incompatible with the 60% figure. With DX12 and Vulcan coming as well, the PC may very well catch up to consoles very soon.

Tesla Can Sell Direct-To-Consumers With Indiana Bill Amendment

Tesla is probably the world’s most known electric cars, with everything from everyday vehicles to supercars, all powered by electricity without a drop of petrol in their engines. Tesla is unique though in that they sell directly to customers, skipping out middlemen and offering its models and services without any additional costs. This very practice is the backbone of Tesla’s sales, and it has received criticism in some states in the U.S. where dealers have been less than pleased with the model. In a recent battle with the state of Indiana, Tesla once again comes out on top as they can continue to sell direct-to-consumers.

The recent battle focuses on an amendment to a bill that would make it illegal for any manufacturers to sell cars directly to a consumer, an amendment which has now been removed from the bill in question. Tesla stated that rival company GM, who released an elective vehicle that would complete with the Model 3, pushed the bill through the state legislature, a move that would have effectively crippled Tesla’s current model for selling its cars. A spokesman for GM even stated that they supported the amendment and that “All industry participants should operate under the same rules and requirements on fundamental issues that govern how we sell, service, and market our products”.

Tesla is obviously happy about the removal of the amendment saying that their store at Keystone will “remain open indefinitely”. While happy, you have to argue, who does it benefit other than the resellers and dealers when a company can’t provide you with the equipment directly?

EKWB Predator AIO Now AMD Compatible with new Upgrade Kit

EK Water Blocks Predator AIO is probably one of the best AIO cooling solutions you can get at the moment despite the minor hiccup that resulted in full callback a few months ago. However, so far they have been limited to Intel users as that were the only CPU sockets supported by the mounting brackets. AMD users also want liquid cooling, especially those that run the high TDP processors and there is good news for them.

EK Water Blocks released a new EK-XLC Predator AMD Upgrade Kit that will fix this and allow pretty much any AMD CPU user to install the Predator AIO cooling solution in their system. The EK-XLC Predator AMD Upgrade Kit is a set of mounting plates with backplate and screws that will work with every EK-XLC Predator revision 1.1. After upgrading the Predator AIO with the new mounting brackets, it will be fully compatible with AMD Sockets 939, 754, 940, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, and FM2+, which covers pretty much any AMD CPU.

The new AMD upgrade kit is available now and early pre-orders should be on route and arrive very shortly. This isn’t a free upgrade, but won’t cost you a whole lot either, but the EK-XLC Predator Upgrade Kit will set you back €6.95.

Overall the Predator AIO is one of the most expensive AIO solutions, but it’s also one of the best as previously mentioned. With the quick disconnect feature you’re able to expand the loop with extra units such as pre-filled graphics card blocks and have a system that comes very close to a custom loop setup, but with a lot less hassle when upgrading, maintaining, or just fiddling with your system.

What’s your take on AIO cooling solutions and especially EKWB’s Predator? Do you love it or would you rather go for a custom loop despite the added workload? Let us know in the comments.

UK Needs Faster Internet Says Business Leaders Group

Buffering, downloading, pausing, even trying to make out the shapes on a low-resolution video have become common place for so many people as their internet speed caps out, normally before they are anywhere near their advertised (and purchased) speeds. It seems that we aren’t the only ones annoyed by this though as a group of business leaders have spoken out now, accusing the UK government of creating a “poverty of ambition” for internet speeds.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is formed from business leaders within the UK, and in their report titled Ultrafast Britain, they state that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to enabling faster broadband connections. The government states that 90% of UK properties have access to superfast speeds, with that reaching 95% by next year.

The IoD don’t think this is good enough, with them calling for speeds of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2030. Currently, the government wants just 10 megabits per second by 2020, a speed which many are already getting.

This isn’t the first time that the internet as a structured provision has been discussed this week, with Ofcom telling BT that its cable network should be opened up to other companies. Currently, BT contains two parts, the core company and Openreach, the part of the company responsible for the cable, fibre and network infrastructure that the UK relies on for its internet.

What is your internet speed? Is it ever what you were actually advertised to be getting? Do you know anyone with super fast/slow internet and does it have a big impact on them?

Sony Hack Revealed New Blu-Ray Protection Details

When it comes to digital content, companies both love and hate the ease at which they and others can copy and distribute content, with everything from your favourite games to the latest movies being stored in memory smaller than your finger nail. In a move to help protect their content, companies are looking at new ways to stop people from copying their content. Documentation found by Wikileaks points that Sony may be looking to take Blu-Ray protection to a whole new level.

The Blu-Ray disc association is responsible for anything to do with the format, and it would seem that they are now working on an Advance Access Content System (AACS) which would feature not just advanced cryptography in hopes of preventing people from uploading your favourite movies online, but from version 2.0 in their Ultra HD collection would require an internet connection for the “enhanced” protection.

It should be noted that the internet connection is only required for the first time you play the disc on a select device, the idea being that it would download its “key” for later use to the hardware, acting as an authorization token for playing the movie. There are also notes regarding the Digital Bridge device, a device that creates “managed copies” of your favourite movies meaning you can place it on your phone or tablet and still be protected by AACS.

GALAX Teases Upcoming HOF PCI-E SSD

GALAX, formerly known as GALAXY, is well-known for their amazing graphics cards that push the hardware to the limits of what’s possible and we have also seen them create the same great things with memory modules. The next logical step for the company is to branch out and enter the SSD market.

During our visit to CES in January, we had a first look at the HOF PCI-E SSD although the details were sparse at the time and we didn’t find out when it was to be released either.

What we do know is that it is a PCIe Gen3 x4 interface and the drive is using NVMe rather than AHCI for its connection. This in return results in a much better performance and the officially given ratings will allow the drive to read with up to 2600 MB/s and write with up to 1300MB/s. The random performance is equally impressive with 300K IOPS at 4K read operations and 200K at write operations.

The PCB itself was hidden from us at the time and we could only see the beautiful casing with signature HOF engravings. That changed today as GALAX published more photos, renderings, and real benchmark results on their Facebook page. While the information still is sparse, we get some more information from just looking at these newly shared pictures.

While the finished product is a full-sized card, the PCB itself seems to fit the HHHL standard (half-height, half-length) which should make it compatible with low-profile brackets. Whether such a solution will be released is another matter, but it does open up the options for modders.

Below are the officially released benchmark results which look pretty good to me, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be tweaked a little more with firmware optimizations. There’s still a little work to be done by GALAX and the HOF PCI-E SSD is now officially classified as “near completion”.

Are you looking forward to this storage drive or do you prefer something less extravagant and smaller such as the newer M.2 type drives? Let us know in the comments.

BBC Micro Bit Shipping Date Revealed

BBC’s Micro Bit pocket-sized and programmable computer is an amazing little piece of technology, but the best of all is that one million of them will be given free to any year 7 pupils across the UK. Originally the BBC Micro Bit should have started shipping out October last year, but there were issues with the power and the project release got pushed back. At first, it was said that teachers should have the new units in December last year with students receiving them early this year. But that didn’t happen and it got pushed once again. Last month we got another minor delay as teachers already should have had their units ahead of the February half term, but that didn’t happen either.

Enough with the old bad news, time for the good news. The Micro Bit is ready and broadcaster has confirmed a countrywide roll-out of the one million devices for pupils will begin before easter. Naturally they won’t send out all at once, but they will start to ship officially on March the 22nd. So mark your calendars if you got children of that age, you might have new toys to play with soon.

Sinead Rocks, head of BBC learning, said: “It has been a joy to see these micro:bits make their way to educators across the country over the last couple of weeks. It feels like this adventure into the world of coding is really gaining pace. And so it’s with great excitement that we will be starting our delivery to pupils on March 22.”

The Micro bit (micro:bit) is a handheld and fully-programmable computer that encourages children to get creative with technology. The 4cm by 5cm device is the successor to the popular 1980s home computer, BBC Micro, and includes a Bluetooth antenna, USB plug and a processor, linked to a printed circuit board with 25 red LED lights which flash messages.

The BBC is yet to announce when the Micro Bit will be available for the public to buy and how much it will cost us ordinary mortals.

YouTube Create Team to Deal With Takedown Mistakes

YouTube is known as much for its community content as it is for the paid content it wants to introduce. Community content can be anything from the cute cat playing piano video to an action packed music video featuring your favourite movie and video game clips, the latter of which don’t last long online sadly. The reason the video wouldn’t last long is due to the automated copyright system flagging even the smallest piece of content, ending up with videos being taken down for any reason provided. This is set to change with YouTube creating a team to deal with these takedown mistakes.

User created content is the backbone of YouTube and when people are finding their videos being removed, even though they have a genuine right to publish them, they would more likely to leave for one of YouTube’s rival services. The new team will have the purpose of “minimizing mistakes”, with the hopes that with fewer mistakes more content will be left on the site without any legal issues regarding their content.

Alongside the new team, there will also be some new initiatives rolled out in the coming months designed to “strengthen communications between creators and YouTube support”. Including increased transparency for the status of monetization claims, the features you’ll see coming seem to be focused on supporting and developing YouTube content creators as much as the service itself.

 

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980Ti Xtreme Gaming Graphics Card Review

Introduction


NVIDIA’s cogent strategy to launch the Titan X at $999 and subsequently release the GTX 980Ti with similar performance at a significantly reduced price was a master stroke. This made the 980Ti compelling value and a great choice for high-end consumers wanting the best possible experience at demanding resolutions. Admittedly, there isn’t a GPU on the market capable of driving a 4K panel at maximum details but you can attain 60 frames-per-second with reduced settings. Evidently, the 980Ti has proved to be a popular choice especially when you take into consideration that factory overclocked models can easily pull away from NVIDIA’s flagship graphics card. While there is some competition from the Fury X, it’s not enough to dethrone custom-cooled 980Ti models.

Some users might argue that the upcoming Pascal architecture built on the 16nm manufacturing process and utilizing HBM2 ultra fast memory is reason enough to hold off buying a top-tier Maxwell solution. However, the current estimate suggests Pascal won’t launch until Q2 this year, and there’s no indication regarding pricing. As always, any new product has a price premium and I expect enthusiast Pascal cards to retail at a high price point. This means purchasing a Maxwell-based GPU right now isn’t a terrible option unless you require additional power to enjoy 4K gaming and have deep pockets. One of the best custom-designed GTX 980Ti cards on the market is the Gigabyte G1 Gaming. This particular GPU rapidly gained a reputation for its overclocking ability and superb Windforce triple fan cooling hardware.

The latest addition to Gigabyte’s graphics range is the GTX 980Ti Xtreme Gaming sporting a 1216MHz core clock, 1317MHz boost, and memory running at 7200MHz. One major improvement is the use of illuminated RGB rings behind the fans which creates a very unusual, and stylish appearance. Gigabyte’s GPU Gauntlet is a binning process which selects the best performing chips with impressive overclocking headroom. Once discovered, the top chips are incorporated into the Xtreme Gaming series, and G1 Gaming. By default, the Xtreme Gaming is bundled with a hefty overclock and should offer sensational performance. Although I expect to see some further gains due to the excellent cooling and stringent binning procedure. Could this be the best 980Ti on the market thus far?

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The product comes in a visually appealing box which outlines the extreme performance and gaming focus. I really like the sharp, dynamic logo with bright colours which draws you into the packaging.

On the rear side, there’s a brief description of the Windforce X3 cooling system, RGB illumination, GPU Gauntlet, and premium components. The clear pictures provide a great insight into the GPU’s main attributes and it’s presented in such a slick way.

In terms of accessories, the graphics card includes a driver disk, quick start guide, case badge, sweat band and PCI-E power adapter. It’s quite unusual to see a sweat band, but I’m sure it could come in handy during a trip to the gym or intense eSports contest.

Donald Trump Retweets Quote From Benito Mussolini

American presidential candidate Donald Trump has found himself on the receiving end of an online frenzy after he retweeted a quote attributed to the founder of fascism, Benito Mussolini. The original tweet was from an account named @ilduce2016, which is a Twitter bot belonging to the American blog site Gawker.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/703900742961270784

The ilduce2016 account was set up by Gawker’s Ashley Feinberg who created a bot in late 2015 that would periodically tweet quote from Mussolini’s speeches and political writings, but instead attributing them to Donald Trump and tweeting them solely at Trump himself. The account’s name is a reference to Mussolini’s title during his time in power, “Il Duce” translates from Italian as “the leader”, describing his dictatorial position and went on to inspire other fascist dictators to assume similar titles. More amusingly, the image used on the Twitter account is one of Mussolini with Donald Trump’s wig edited onto it.

Gawker admitted ownership of the bot on Sunday, as part of a plan to answer the question “Is Donald Trump a fascist?” Trump has been known to retweet comments and quotes from his fans and supporters, with the presidential candidate using the platform as his go-to for social media, flaunting his own greatness and putting down his detractors. With the name, image and quotes, the bot was anything but a subtle trap, but, after only a few months, Trump had been caught out. It is unknown whether Trump knew the original source of the quote, but social media was quick to catch onto it.

This is far from the first time that Trump has made careless gaffes on Twitter. One such incident, which resulted in the creation of a Trump Retweets bot which shares the profile of everyone he retweets, followed him retweeting a user named “@WhiteGenocideTM”.

What if McDonald’s Advertised like Apple?

 

Imagine if a McDonald’s advertisement looked as captivating as one produced by Apple. Picture a Big Mac and fries marketed with minimalist type, a white background, and CEO rattling off terms like “refined,” “complexity,” and “extraordinary.”

Well, Buzzfeed have done it. Their team has made and released a Mcdonalds advert in the style of an Apple advert. The advert features several standard features of an Apple advert. White backgrounds, a high-level member describing the new product whilst using lots of buzz words.

“what happens when machinery meats meat”.

Chicken is never mentioned as an ingredient in the ad, however, it explains:

“To change the way we experience chicken is to change chicken itself.”

In the video, the fake advert tells us about three new products. Fri, Nugget and Mac. All of which are being described as now “refined” and much better than the last version. The advert is very clever and well made by the team at BuzzFeed. It’s very impressive how by using a white background and some clever words, they make me crave a McDonalds now. Maybe I’ll be able to utilise their “Smart Grease” to help me find that chip from the other night, it’s here somewhere…

Run a Game Boy Emulator in Your Terminal

For many, the days of the terminal are long over, much like the original Game Boy. Now one developer has brought the two together, allowing those with nothing but a terminal to hand to pass the time with some Game Boy classics. The entire emulator runs on PHP, requiring PHP 5.6 or 7 to be installed, but beyond that, it is just a single piece of software to install and then you can get started playing some of your old favourites.

There’s not a lot of reasons for such a program to exist, especially not in PHP, however, the developer himself stated that he simply did it to see what PHP could do and because he thought it was funny. He even implies that PHP could be able to emulate other systems with the performance increases brought in by PHP 7, so we could see more terminal emulations down the line from him or any other intrepid PHP developers looking to explore what PHP is truly capable of.

For those who are interested in trying out this emulator, you can head over to the project’s Github page where you will find all the instructions you need to get started, as well as all of the code it is built upon for those who are interested in just how it works. It’s great to see that the old classics are still capable of inspiring such unusual projects and makes you wonder just what fans will come up with next!