Tesla to Release Upgraded and Redesigned Model S

Tesla is committed to continually updating their cars and while this usually takes the form of small tweaks and over-the-air software updates. Now, as had been rumoured, Tesla plan to release a newly redesigned and upgraded version of the Model S saloon, which has been on the market for 4 years. This new version of the Model S advances its stylings both in and out in order to bring the popular sporty electric car into line with their newer Model X and Model 3 vehicles.

The starkest change to the Model S is the nose, which has been reshaped to look more like the blunt-nosed Model X as well as including new LED headlights. The interior of the vehicle was also subject to a number of changes, again mostly in the vein of the Model X. Firstly, Tesla’s HEPA-rated air filter that is used on the Model X now makes its appearance on the Model S, complete with the “bioweapon defense mode”. Also included is a new centre console unit as well as two new décor choices, Figured Ash Wood décor and Dark Ash Wood décor both of which are popular choices for the Model X and certainly look good on the Model S too.

Faster charging has also been enabled on the new Model S, the standard charging unit seeing an upgrade to 48 amps from the previous 40 amp charger. There is even an option to upgrade to a 72A “high amperage” charger, compared to the previous offerings of a 40A standard and 80A dual charger.

The price increase for this version of the Model S is surprisingly modest too, with the price looking to be as little as $6000 at the 90D tier. When you consider the upgrades that are rolled into this price that would previously cost more, such as the improved charger and improved centre console, the new Model S may, in fact, cost less than the old one equipped with some of the optional extras that are now standard.

It is great to see Tesla are capable of putting together such a feature-packed new version of the Model S while also working on development and production of their other vehicles. It also gives the older Model S a stronger place in the new Tesla lineup and may tempt some people who were unwilling to buy a car with a 4-year-old design into a purchase. These new vehicles will be going into production at Tesla’s Fremont factory from Tuesday, so if you want one, you may not have to wait long.

Check Out The Raspberry Pi Powered “GameBoy Zero”

Who remembers when the original Game Boy was released? Released by Nintendo back in 1996, the Game Boy was the first handheld gaming device for a lot of people and in recent years, people have looked to emulate the system. While being able to play with your smartphone like it was a GameBoy is nice and all, what about upgrading your Game Boy to play something a little more modern?

The Game Boy Zero may look like a Game Boy with two extra buttons, but in reality, it’s a lot more. Featuring a new colour LCD screen the Zero is actually powered by a Raspberry Pi which runs an emulator, giving you access to all kinds of  games using software called Emulation Station, giving you games all the way from the original platform and the MegaDrive to the GameBoy advance.

By modifying a Game Boy cartridge the creator, Wermy, managed to conceal a micro SD to SD card adapter, meaning you can easily update and change-up the software the Game Boy Zero plays. With two extra buttons (for the X and Y Buttons) and even two (slightly concealed) buttons on the back to act as the L and R buttons, the creation is anything but unimpressive.

Is Sony Developing a 4K-Capable PlayStation 4?

With Microsoft already admitting that they want to make the Xbox One upgradable and Nintendo developing the NX, it should come as no surprise that Sony seems to have future plans for their Playstation 4 in the works. According to developer sources, Sony has begun briefing them on a new version of their popular Playstation 4 console, currently nicknamed the PS4.5 or PS4K, which will include improved graphical output as well as support for 4K resolutions.

Currently, the only things the PS4 is capable of displaying natively in 4K are photos and videos, with all of the current console’s games running at a still-respectable 1080p. Comparatively, 4K resolution includes approximately four times the pixels of 1080p, which requires far more power in order to run. Even many respectable gaming PCs are unable to run many games smoothly at 4K. A more powerful PS4 may also be able to deliver higher quality graphics to the upcoming PlayStation VR headset which may be able to bring its VR resolution and quality closer to that offered by the PC’s VR peripherals. Whether this upgrade to the PS4 will require the existing user-base to purchase all-new consoles or that current consoles will be upgradeable to the newer specification is unknown as details are thin on the ground.

It is important to remember that while a number of sources all support one another in that this new evolution of the PS4 is in the works, it may also just be a rumour. One source went so far as to say that the idea of such a mid-life upgrade for the PS4 is more of an exploratory and vague idea and may never be realized. How well such an upgrade would go down with the community may make this a risky move for Sony, as there would be many tough questions to answer, such as whether games that are “PS4.5 only” start to be released. It may only be rumours at this point, but it is interesting to think that Sony may be planning a revamped PS4 before moving onto a potential PlayStation 5.

Apple Looking at OLED Screens For 2017

Every year we are bombarded with new phones, featuring upgraded parts or new features, they come and go as quickly as the seasons. For several years, Apple has been releasing their iPhones, a series of phones that have received just a bad reputation for being just that, a series of phones that seem very similar to the last. That could change in 2017 with Apple looking at OLED screens for their next generation of iPhones.

Apple is known for their high-end machines, offering quality at a price. Many say the same about their iPhones, with quality coming at a price some consider too high to pay. With a faster processor and 3D touch technology, many were convinced that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were a symbol of Apple’s “repeating” business model, with little changing from phone to phone.

Switching from LCD to OLED would be a big step for Apple. OLED offer thinner, lighter and more flexible screens, which when combined with their high energy efficiency would mean that Apple’s screens would feel better, combined with their more vivid colours would present a whole new generation of viewing for the iPhone.

While the rumours that Apple could introduce OLED screens in 2017, many are sceptical about this time line and think that you may have to wait till 2019 before you see an iPhone with an OLED screen. With companies like Samsung already using OLED technology, waiting several years before introducing it to your iPhone may do nothing more than hinder already dwindling iPhone sales.

Xbox One Hardware Upgrades Could End Console Generations

Xbox Chief Phil Spencer has revealed that he is considering the introduction of hardware upgrades for Xbox One, as part of its “Universal Windows Platform” program, which aims to unify Microsoft’s console with PC platforms, in a move which could spell the end of future Xbox generations. Speaking to Polygon, Spencer explained that Microsoft sees the PC as a platform of innovation for gaming, and so the company wants to shift the Xbox into that sphere.

“We see on other platforms whether it be mobile or PC that you get a continuous innovation that you rarely see on console,” Spencer said. “Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation. Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, stronger. And then you wait for the next big step function.”

“When you look at the console space, I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen,” he added. “You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform.”

Spencer sees the unification of various platforms as a boon to those who want to play older games, too, as the PC ecosystem, and relevant upgrades, would support broader backwards compatibility.

“We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me,” he said. “Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before.”

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.

Preview Build Stops Windows 10 Mobile Charging

There are always risk with upgrading your software, even more so with software that is still in a testing phase. We’ve all been through the pain of updating your computer and having it stop working, now it would seem that some users of the latest build for Windows 10 Mobile are experiencing the same thing.

Despite the single known issue, some users have been reporting that the Lumia 550 has a whole other problem. The error is that it doesn’t pick up when it’s charging, meaning your battery can only go one way, down.

Neowin reports that in their own testing they were not only left unable to charge their phone but it was also no longer recognised when it was plugged into a PC, meaning the default response of using Windows Device Recovery Tool’s was impossible.

There is a major problem with this, if you want to update your phone you require at least 50% battery, so once you fall beneath that not only can you not charge your phone but when a fix comes out, you won’t be able to update and get it.

While there are always problems with the “fast ring”, as Microsoft calls their initial group of testers for new builders, this problem will possibly cause some people to lose their phones altogether, a rather serious problem.

Multiple Motorola Devices Will Not Be Upgraded to Lollipop

These days we are being told that we need to install or swap out software and hardware all the time to keep it up to date. With everything from Windows Updates recommending a whole new operating system to a “security update” locking up your iPhones. When I decided to try out Windows Mobile (when it was first released) I liked the OS, except that it didn’t support anything. To my surprise (or not as the case was) they decided that my handset would be one of the ones that wouldn’t get the Windows 8 Mobile upgrade, leaving my phone outdated and out supported. It would seem that Motorola made the same decision with the Droid Ultra, Maxx and Mini editions regarding the latest Lollipop update.

On their forums Motorola posted the following:

“We apologise that we will not be upgrading DROID Ultra/Mini/Maxx to Android Lollipop, as we had hoped. We know how important software upgrades are to our customers, and we’re very sorry that we are unable to provide the upgrade.”

In an attempt to bring back any customers upset by this those with the Ultra/Mini or Maxx handsets can upgraded to the DROID Turbo 2 for $524 or the DROID Maxx 2 for $334.

The worst part about all of this is that the upgrade was promised and now instead of delivering on that promise they want you to pay for a new handset. No doubt this is going to upset anyone with one of the mentioned headsets, are you one of those people and if so how do you feel about this?

The Pentagon to Upgrade its 4 Million PCs to Windows 10

Microsoft has scored its biggest customer yet, which will see its Windows 10 operating system installed on millions of computer over 2016. The company has announced that the US secretary of Defense has ordered the Pentagon to upgrade its 4 million PC to Windows 10 over the next twelve months, CNN Money reports. The aggressive upgrade strategy – which signals a huge vote of confidence in the security of Windows 10 and its integrated Windows Hello user ID system – will mean 16,000 installs a day.

“Microsoft can now go to its customers and say that if the Pentagon can upgrade all of its PCs to Windows 10 within a year, what’s stopping your company from upgrading?” Bob O’Donnell, Microsoft analyst at TECHnalysis Research, said.

“I see this as a best proof point for Microsoft showing that Windows 10 is certainly more secure than its predecessor and stable enough to be rolled out to millions of people,” said Pat Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

The systems to be upgraded by the Pentagon include computers on submarines, aeroplanes, and battlefield deployments.

According to Terry Halvorsen, chief information officer for the Pentagon, the DoD needs to “deploy innovation faster to ensure systems are more secure, more efficient and cost-effective, and standardized on one platform.”

Nerf’s Fully Automatic Blasters Fire at 30MPH!

Nerf are well-known toys for both grown-ups and children alike. From a fun play around in the back garden to all out warfare (without the bruises) Nerf are the go to for foam projectiles.  From foam bullets to the more recent foam ball based systems you can enjoy the battle in several ways, and it only looks to get better this year!

Nerf’s latest creation is the Rival Blaster series, rather than the traditional pellets that Nerf guns use, the rival series uses small balls more akin to musket balls or giant soft bb’s. The only hold back to the series though was that the first model, similar to the first models of the classic nerf guns, was spring-loaded. This changed in the Zeus, which used batteries to automate the gun to fire at 30MPH, but could still only fire one ball at a time. The next upgrade you can experience is the Khaos, designed for release in late 2016.

The Khaos will be the first fully automatic in the new Rival series. With a 40 round magazine, the gun will fire all of them with a single long press of the trigger. Be warned, you will require six D-sized batteries so it won’t be the lightest or easiest on your arms or your foes!

Other releases this year will include the Mastodon, a Mega blaster that will fire all 24 of the extra-large Nerf darts at the press of a button.

The Modulus series lets you chop and change your weapon based on your needs and preferences, but the Tri-Strike will let you do more than that. Supporting not just the elite darts, the Tri-Strike lives up to its name and lets you also fire four Mega darts and even a foam missile for those really tight spaces!

If you are not one for the strategic or modular approach then maybe the Hyper-Fire will tickle your interest. Featuring a drum which will hold 25 darts the Hyper-Fire will unleash up to five darts per second while in its fully automatic mode. Ouch.

So the only question we have left is where do we pre-order?

Microsoft Calls Sticking With Windows 7 a Security “Risk”

At the end of December, NetMarketShare reported that Windows 7 is the most popular operating system in the world, taking a huge 55% of the market share, compared to Windows 10’s meagre 9.9%, despite being installed over 200 million times since its release in July 2015. Microsoft has been pushing Windows 7 and 8.1 users to take advantage of its free upgrade scheme to graduate to the Windows 10, and its latest tactic seems to be to cast doubt on the security of Windows 7 in an effort to scare that 55% into migrating to the new operating system.

During the latest Windows Weekly podcast (via Forbes), Microsoft’s Marketing Chief Chris Capossela claimed that Windows 7 users should know that they use the old OS “at [their] own risk, at [their] own peril.”

“We do worry when people are running an operating system that’s 10 years old that the next printer they buy isn’t going to work well, or they buy a new game, they buy Fallout 4, a very popular game, and it doesn’t work on a bunch of older machines,” Capossela told hosts Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley, and Paul Thurrott. “And so, as we are pushing our ISV [Independent Software Vendor] and hardware partners to build great new stuff that takes advantage of Windows 10 that obviously makes the old stuff really bad and not to mention viruses and security problems.”

Capossela added that it is “so incredibly important to try to end the fragmentation of the Windows install base” in order to get users to a “safer place”.

I am one of many PC users who upgraded my copy of Windows 7 to Windows 10 before rolling back to my old operating system. I did so safe in the knowledge that Windows 7 is just as secure as 10 – Microsoft will maintain official support for the operating system until 2020, and any security update it develops for 10 will be applied to 7 – and the only compatibility issues I ever encountered were during my one month using Windows 10.

Capossela then intimated that Microsoft could adopt a more aggressive strategy to force Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade, saying, “We think every machine that is capable of running Windows 10 we should be doing everything we possibly can to get people to move to Windows 10…We are going to try to find that right balance, but we just know there’s a lot of people out there who constantly kick the can down the street without a little bit more of a, frankly, a push.”

“And so,” he continued, “there’s no doubt with a base as big as ours, it is hard to move anyone to a new model without angering some people. We don’t want to anger anybody, but we do feel a responsibility to get people to a much better place, and Windows 10 is a much better place than Windows 7. We will always give you a way out, but we’re trying to find the right threat balance.”

 

Microsoft Will Not “Force” Consumers to Upgrade to Windows 10… Or Will They?

Microsoft has been somewhat pushy concerning the adoption of Windows 10, from the many “forced upgrade” attempts, relentless hidden updates to the secretive file downloading system which launches an installer without explicit user acceptance, the tech giant has clearly overstepped its remit. Well, apparently no, no it has not, if a statement from the corporation is anything to go by.

“Windows Update is trusted for important updates through an official channel, while Windows 10 has been added in order to facilitate an easier way to find an upgrade to your system, you will receive a significant prompt before you choose to continue” said Microsoft.

Sounds reassuring, unfortunately, many users have found their systems being upgraded to Windows 10 without permission.  Microsoft has also found workarounds regarding third-party tools which aim to disable pop-up ads through the system tray, by automatically re-enabling any upgrade prompts. Furthermore, reports have been circulating concerning changes to the update system that will classify Windows 10 as a “recommended Update” from early 2016; this means users who think they will be installing a regular update will, in fact, be downloading the latest OS.

Then there is the latest scenario concerning the “Upgrade Now or Upgrade Tonight” prompt within Windows update for Win 7 and 8 users, but there does not seem to be an option to refuse the upgrade altogether.

I do think Microsoft have overstepped the mark concerning its relentless pursuit of upgrading every system to its latest OS, consumers have a right to decline any major updates if they wish to through a clear and transparent scheme.  Sticking by an older OS is perfectly legitimate for a variety of reasons, hopefully, I say that word without expectation, Microsoft will see sense and leave consumers be, if not, I can see a backlash to the point where many consumers have no other option but to ditch the brand before migrating to a different OS altogether, whether that be Mac or a variety of Linux distributions.

On a sidenote, I do think it seems slightly odd concerning Microsoft’s current upgrade policy, there seems to be an unprecedented push for all users to install the latest OS, Why? Is it purely marketing or is there something else, such as tracking, privacy, etc.

Silicon Power Introduces the Complete Lineup of Apple Storage Solutions

Apple devices are highly popular, but they do in most cases come with one flaw and that is the upgradability. Luckily there are ways to increase this for the most part and Silicon Power has now introduced a new complete line of Apple storage devices for all sorts of different devices. With USB flash drives, expansion cards, portable hard drives and external SSD, the SP Apple Series is about to satisfy all kinds of memory expansion needs.

The need for extra storage on apple devices is great, especially considering the markups you pay for the models with more storage and the number one complaint from Apple users is “not enough storage available”.

Among the new products is the SP xDrive Z30 Lightning USB drive that features a dual-interface design with both USB 3.0 and Lightning for easy connection to iOS handsets as well as desktop systems. Not every device has a lightning connector and that is where the second new flash drive comes into play, the SP Mobile C80 dual USB drive that features a USB 3.0 and a Type-C USB connector.

The storage issue isn’t limited to portable iOS devices, Mac computers have the same issue. For this, SP introduced the xDrive Series expansion cards L12 and L13 as well as the rugged external Armor hard disk drives. The xDrivev expansion cards are tailored to fit seamless with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models while the A65M and A85M external hard disks offer a shockproof and waterproof design for users on the go.

The final category is for those who need that extra speed and where every second counts. We’re naturally talking about external SSDs for Mac systems. SP’s Thunder T11 external SSD offers a two-channel Thunderbolt interface with a data transmission of up to 10GB/s throughput in each direction. Sadly that doesn’t result in the blazing fast speeds one could hope for with a rating of just 340MB/s reading and 280MB/s writing, but it should improve the latency and access times over the slower USB 3.0 interface.

Dying Light Enhanced Edition Will be a Free Upgrade Barring The Expansion

Dying Light is a tense, zombie survival game created by Techland and features a surprisingly enticing storyline. Furthermore, the day and night cycle produces such a dramatic contrast and emphasizes the dangers of a zombie apocalypse in complete darkness. On another note, the game’s magnificent first-person perspective and ability to ascend buildings heightens the adrenaline levels as you attempt to fend off hordes of zombies. In my opinion, it’s Techland’s greatest achievement so far and worthy of your time. Even better, the studio plans to release a massive update next year with a whole host of improvements. Here is a list of the enhancements in full:

  • Nightmare difficulty setting
  • Legend system
  • Bounties system
  • New Parkour moves
  • New enemy attacks and behaviours
  • Enhanced facial expressions
  • New NPC models
  • Improved human enemy AI
  • Improved volatile AI
  • Greater firearm variety
  • HUD and video filter customisations
  • Audio upgrades
  • Gameplay quality improvements
  • Console performance upgrades
  • Overall game look and feel improvements
  • #DrinkForDLC Content

Originally, it seemed like this would be only available to season pass holders or require some kind of payment. However, Techland clarified on Twitter that the update would be free to all owners of the game:

This follows a similar pattern to the enhanced edition upgrade in The Witcher 3. Please note, the upgrade does not include any expansion packs, so there is still a legitimate reason to purchase the season pass.

Self-Healing Gel Now Carries Electrical Charge

We’ve all had that moment when we’ve heard the crack, the snap or the crunch. Be it your favourite USB drive, your screen or even your laptop, accidents happen and things get damaged. The worst part about this is it’s normally one or two small things that stop you from using that technology again, but what if that changed? What if when you saw your USB stick crunch into a weird shape, you held it together and found it still worked?

Thanks to research scientists at Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, you could soon see that happening with technology and more. Revealed as the first of its kind, the researchers have managed to develop a self-healing gel that not only repairs and connects electronic circuits but can also carry a charge within itself. The gel not only carries a charge but also repairs itself without external stimuli, such as having to shine a light or heating up the gel, meaning that you wouldn’t have to put your phone on the radiator to fix it. The image shows the gel even holding its own, after being cut in half.

Guihua Yu, a mechanical engineering assistant professor at Cockrell School, stated the gel could be used at ‘soft joints’. The gel could even be applied overtop of traditional joins in hardware, allowing you to continue using old technology while allowing the self-repairing gel to go to work.

Imagine if we had these in the old sliding phones, the ones where the ribbon connecting the screen broke every few months. That’s just the tip of the gel pack for this technology, what would you like to see this technology used for?

Dell and HP Tech Support Discouraging Customers to Update to Windows 10

The adoption of Windows 10 has occurred at a blistering pace as many users take advantage of the free upgrade promotion. On the whole, Windows 10 has received a fairly positive reception, but there are concerns regarding privacy and the lack of polish. As part of a research programme, Laptop investigated various comments made by customer service representatives working for Dell and HP and the company’s advice about Windows 10. One HP Support Agent adviser said:

“I really don’t recommend [that] customers upgrade to Windows 10.”

Since the research paper was published, HP and Dell have clarified that the advice was intended to rectify customer problems in the fastest possible time. Since Windows 10 is still a fairly new operating system, the support teams believe there is a greater chance of undocumented errors occurring. Despite this, it seems a number of vendors are pushing customers away from Windows 10 for the time being, and this is a PR disaster. How can Microsoft expect people to upgrade if vendors like HP and Dell are influencing their opinion of the operating system?

On another note, Rescuecom, a third-party support service, divulged that more than 56 percent customer calls during Q3 revolved around Windows 10 problems. This doesn’t paint the operating system in a good light and it’s quite embarrassing. However, the roll-out of any operating system is usually marred by bugs, and user complaints. In reality, it takes a great deal of testing on a huge scale to find out how polished Windows 10 really is. Dell, HP and others have a long-term plan to support Windows 10, but in its current form, it appears to be resulting in a high influx of calls.

If you could only use one word to describe Windows 10, what would it be?

EKWB Launch Pre-Filled Graphics Blocks for Predator AIO

The mighty impressed EKWB Predator AIO is a revolution in terms of water cooling, offering you all the ease of an AIO, with all the thrills of custom loop cooling. Aside from looking gorgeous, the cooler can be quickly modified to add additional cooling components to the loop, such as a GPU block.

EKWB have now launched their Predator ready GPU blocks, which come pre-filled, making them ready to plug and play. You just fit it to your graphics card, hook up the quick-disconnect couplings and you’re good to go.

The Predator-enabled GPU block comes bundled with an EK-AF Angled 90° G1/4″ fittings, two EK-ACF Fitting 10/16mm – Nickel fittings, one quick-disconnect coupling, EK-Tube ZMT Matte Black tubing, and clear coolant, which comes fully assembled, making this seriously high-end pro cooling hardware as beginner friendly as possible.

The new AIO coolers and the GPU blocks are certainly (no pun intended) cool, but they’re obviously not going to be cheap. The pre-filled EK-FC980 for example, is $149.99 and another $29.99 for the interconnect tubing. This is on top of the $199 for the EK-Predator 240 or the $239 for the larger 360mm model. Even then, it’s Intel only until early 2016 when we expect to see an AMD version being launched.

Microsoft Offer Tools to Help You Upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft is both parts eager and keen in its attempts to upgrade everyone from the older systems to the latest, Windows 10. From offering free upgrades for windows 7 and 8 users, to automatically downloading the materials needed to install Windows 10 without warning the user, it’s clear that staying on the older systems may not be a choice for many.

In the new year, they intend to make that step a little easier for users. Currently, Windows 10 as an “Optional Update” for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. This means that if you wanted to, you could install it. In a blog on their site, Microsoft recently announced that early next year this will be changed and Windows 10 will become a “Recommended Update”, meaning the update process will automatically start. They have clarified that when this happens you will be given the prompt asking if you wish to continue or not, with the option to revert back within 31 days if you are not happy with windows 10.

Alongside this, the tool used to create DVD ISO’s and USB installers is being updated to create a single image that will cover everything, such as the 32 and 64-bit versions of both Home and Pro copies of Window 10. All within one installation media, this means that you can install on any PC, regardless of the wanted version without having to create separate installation media.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10? Did you revert back? Give us your story in the comments below.

Linksys’ AC1900 Wireless Router Just Got Better With New CPU and More Memory


Linksys already had a pretty impressive router in their WRT1900AC router and now they are ready with an upgrade to that model called the WRT1900ACS. The router keeps the same design and shape, but Linksys gave the hardware inside an impressive update.

The CPU is now a 1.6GHz Marvell dual-core chip where the old model only had a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The RAM was doubled from the previous model and the new WRT1900ACS features 512MB DDR3 RAM as well as 120MBB flash memory for the firmware.

The WRT1900ACS is fully OpenWRT compatible, allowing you to customize the firmware to your liking, that is if you don’t like the one that it’s already shipping with. With more CPU power, more RAM, and more storage space, you got even more possibilities to create the perfect router setup for yourself.

The rest of the features stay the same. You get four external high-performance antennas with beamforming technology, a USB 3.0 port for storage and a combined USB 2.0 and eSATA port for printers, storage, and other legacy devices. There are four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port for the wired connections while the wireless part can perform with up to 1300Gbps on the 5GHz and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

“We just made the best performing Linksys AC1900 router even better,” said Mike Chen, vice president product management and engineering for Linksys. “We are committed to making the Linksys WRT lineup the most advanced and best-in-class router line for the prosumer so they can get more out of the network they use in their home and office environment. We improved on the original WRT1900AC because we were able to incorporate better components such as a faster processor to make the router perform at higher clock speeds and providing more RAM for advanced users. Adding more memory enables our customers to build more off the open source platform as well as enabling us to provide more enhancements in firmware as we innovate and create more features.”

Features:

  • 1.6GHz Dual-Core ARM-based Processor, 128MB Flash, 512MB DDR3 RAM.
  • Full Open Source Ready, OpenWrt Chaos Calmer Support.
  • Open VPN Server, PPTP VPN Support, IPSec Pass-thru.
  • 4x Gigabit LAN Ports, 1x Gigabit WAN Port.
  • 1x USB 3.0 Port, 1x eSATA/USB 2.0 Port. (FAT, NTFS, and HFS+ file system support)
  • 2.4GHz and 5GHz Simultaneous Dual-Band.
  • 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2-Personal and Enterprise.
  • 3 spatial streams, 4 external adjustable and removable antennas. Implicit and Explicit Beamforming.
  • UPnP, DLNA

Despite the improvement in hardware, the new Linksys WRT1900ACS comes at a better MSRP. It will be available directly from Linksys’ store on October the 15ths for £179.99.

Virgin Media Upgrading Broadband Speeds For Free

Virgin Media has announced a substantial speed upgrade for existing customers across various package tiers. Those on 50Mbps, 100Mbps or 152Mbps will receive a speed boost to 70Mbps, 150Mbps and 200Mbps, respectively. The initial roll-out will begin on October 1st but it could take until the year end to reach the majority of customers. According to Virgin Media, 90% of its users should have received the upgrade by the end of 2015. Gregor McNeil, managing director of consumer at Virgin Media explained:

“Our message is simple: if you want to be certain that you are signing up to true ultrafast broadband speeds of 100Mbps and above, Vivid from Virgin Media is the new standard,” 

“The speed of a customer’s broadband connection matters; when you have more you can do more.”

Currently, Virgin Media has no plans to increase the monthly fee for any of its broadband services. This applies a great deal of pressure on BT as their top package is a mere 76Mbps. Of course, BT is working on its infrastructure to improve things, but Virgin Media’s top package is more than double that of its leading competitor. Therefore, BT has a lot of catching up to do.

Image courtesy of Simply-Communicate.com

Thank you V3 for providing us with this information.

Microsoft is Forcing Windows 10 to Download without User Consent

Microsoft has admitted that Windows 10 is being downloaded on to computers that are eligible for free upgrade without the consent of the user. An investigation launched by The Enquirer revealed that users of Windows 7 and 8.1 who have chosen not to upgrade to Windows 10 have found the #BT folder that contains the new operating system appear on their computers.

An Inquirer reader told the website:

“The symptoms are repeated failed ‘Upgrade to Windows 10’ in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled ‘$Windows.~BT’. I thought Microsoft [said] this ‘upgrade’ was optional. If so, why is it being pushed out to so many computers where it wasn’t reserved, and why does it try to install over and over again?”

“I know of two instances where people on metered connections went over their data cap for August because of this unwanted download. My own internet (slow DSL) was crawling for a week or so until I discovered this problem. In fact, that’s what led me to it. Not only does it download, it tries to install every time the computer is booted.”

When asked to comment on the matter, Microsoft responded:

“For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

The move certainly feels like a middle finger to user choice and autonomy. On the plus side, however, at least it’s not a U2 album.

Thank you The Inquirer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of ITPro.

Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5 Chassis Review

Introduction


I wonder how many of you have noticed how Cooler Master stopped launching new products for quite a while? It’s been ages since they brought out a new chassis, a new power supply, a new peripheral. If you didn’t notice, we certainly did and it wasn’t until Computex 2015 when we finally found out why the team at CM had gone so quiet; they were cooking up something big, very big! 2015 marks the year when Cooler Master take the PC component market by storm with their Maker concept. They’ve re-tooled everything they do, getting back to their core concepts of design, function and a whole lot more.

Why have one chassis when you can have all the chassis you need in one? The Maker series is moddable by its very nature, need it for NAS, need it for a gaming system, HTPC, LAN rig, office rig, rendering station, its really up to you. Cooler Master will provide you with the parts and configuration options you need to achieve a more personal build all by yourself and really make your rig yours. At least, that’s the promise, but we’ll find out today just how much of this has been achieved.

Cooler master said they channeled their MAKER SPIRIT to design a case that:

1. Gives absolute control over how a case looks and functions through a flexible, modular system.
2. Introduces an eco-system of accessories and add-ons that provide the ability to Customize. Adjust. Upgrade.
3. Was designed in collaboration with a community of makers and power users to inspire self-expression.
4. Redefines the way PCs are designed, made, bought, and used

There’s three editions of this chassis, each with their own unique features and of course, the ability to upgrade any of the lower models to the higher models by buying the extra bits.

Brace yourself, specification overload is coming! The MasterCase 5, Pro 5 and no doubt the TBD Maker 5, come with support for extensive water cooling, air cooling, motherboard sizes, lots of storage, long graphics cards, dust filters and more!


Check out the very interesting video below for more information on how “Maker” works.

We have in our hands today the MasterCase Pro 5, which means we have the same core chassis as the 5, but with the Pro parts pre-fitted. That’s right, you can buy the base model and upgrade anytime! Or you can jump right in and buy the Pro. Of course, the whole concept here is that you can tweak either of them to suit your needs and make the MasterCase into whatever you like.

First impressions of the chassis are very promising and despite the design featuring a lot of strong angles, the chassis still manages to look smart and sleek. There’s a huge side panel window on the left side, perfect for showing off your build.

The right side panel is just a blank panel, but just like the left panel, it is mounted with a pair of easy access thumb screws.

The angular design of the front panel looks really nice, still fresh and modern, but still unmistakably a Cooler Master design. There’s a pair of 5.25″ drive bays, as well as a huge ventilated section for any front mounted cooling.

Around the back, you’ll see a handle section at the top, matching the one near the front of the top panel; should make carrying you rig to LAN events a lot easier! This is an ATX chassis, so you’ll also find 7 expansion slots on offer; more than enough room for a multi-GPU configuration.

There is a 120/140mm fan mount at the back, with height adjustable mounting and a 140mm fan pre-installed.

There’s a removable bracket at the back to help with mounting the PSU from the rear of the chassis,

As well as a slide out dust filter, which will help provide your PSU with clean air.

The top panel is very sleek-looking and slopes gently towards the back of the chassis. There’s a huge amount of ventilation here and that’ll be great for any top mounted cooling, or removing heat from your system passively.

The front panel is nicely laid out with an almost symmetrical appearance. There’s a pair of USB 3.0 ports, but there’s also quite a lot of space here that could have been put to use; more USB ports perhaps?

The underside features two extra-large and full-width feet, which means the Master Case feels very stable overall. It’s helped even further by four tough rubber strips; two on each of the feet.

The PSU dust filter is a good size and fits in pretty snug. It’s washable too, so maintenance of the filter will be nice and easy.

Naive Man Upgrades PC To Windows 10 And Has A Photo Problem

By photo problem you are probably imagining the upgrade to Windows 10 has deleted some unlucky person’s valuable images of life’s memories. Oh no, this is much less captured family time and more caught out with NSFW pics.

A Reddit user which goes by the username FalloutBoS, started the process of upgrading his PC to the shiny new Windows 10 OS, he went to bed satisfied in the knowledge that he would have a pleasant surprise the next morning. He had a surprise all right, when he was abruptly woken by his slightly confused wife who questioned why there were blue images rotating on his desktop.

Imagine that, the love of your life walks past the PC for only to then see nude images, this man is unlucky. So how did this happen? It looks as if yet another controversial feature has befallen him, which is Win 10 fetches images from a users default pictures gallery before playing them on repeat on the screen.

The gentleman stated the following

“Woke up to wife asking why I set it to rotate all my adult images right on the desktop view. I have no idea how to shut that feature off and that computer is staying shut down until I do.”

Let this tale be a lesson to any individuals who may have NSFW images in their default picture folder, if you don’t want your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband to confront you about it, then move them, FalloutBos wife apparently understood, your other half might not be so sympathetic, if he/she is, then you will in all probability be together forever.

Thank You Reddit for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of slashgear

Windows 10 Hits 14 Million Upgrades in Just 24 Hours

Many Windows users look like they’re jumping right onto the Windows 10 bandwagon right away. According to Microsoft, more than 14 million devices have upgraded to and are using Windows 10. Given that many users on Windows 7 and 8/8.1 that are eligible for upgrading but have not yet gotten their prompt, that number is likely to balloon for the near future.

These early adopters are sure to face a whole slew of issues though. Microsoft’s touted personal assistant Cortana is currently limited to a select few countries and even then, sometimes it has trouble activating. Other bugs like the app store and other Metro apps crashing have also popped up. For instance, I was unable to install any of the Universal apps and have multiple app store crashes. Along with some other issues and privacy concerns, it’s probably not quite that time for an upgrade yet.

For those that are eager to try out Microsoft’s new OS but have not yet gotten their upgrade option, you can find our guide to download Windows 10 here. Having tried Windows 10 myself yesterday, Microsoft really should have spent a bit more time fine tuning the OS in improving the UI and bug fixes before launch. Overall though the OS is largely fine but still feels rough around the edges. It will take a while yet till we know how the public at large responds to Windows 10.

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to Windows 10 Today

Introduction


The launch date of Windows 10 has finally arrived after an extensive Beta testing period for users in the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft’s latest operating system is designed to be light on system resources and implement the Metro user-interface in a less obnoxious way. Windows 8 was heavily criticized by Microsoft customers, game developers and even Valve who became so concerned, they pushed their own Linux-based operating system. Microsoft’s strategic direction was too focused on mobile devices and tried to implement touch functionality at the expense of Desktop PCs.

Microsoft made a catastrophic error in trying to enforce full-screen applications through the Metro user-interface. As a result, it was extremely awkward to arrange multiple Windows and the OS felt pretty cluttered. Furthermore, navigating to newly installed programs, the Control Panel or advanced settings seemed counter-intuitive and hidden behind too many sub-menus. The end result was a terrible operating system for power users or customers opting for a traditional keyboard and mouse control scheme.

Windows 8.1 alleviated some of these concerns but kept the garish Metro system and Microsoft were unwilling to admit defeat. Many users derogatorily refer to Windows 8 as “the next Vista” and refuse to upgrade from the highly acclaimed Windows 7 operating system. Given the amount of disdain Windows 8 received, you might be a little perplexed about not upgrading today. However, there are a number of factors which you should take into consideration before upgrading.

Slow Download Servers


As with any digital product launch, the download servers are being hammered and resulting in extremely slow download speeds. This can create a rather frustrating experience as the queues grow and Microsoft struggles to keep up with demand. Perhaps waiting a few days is a more cogent option so you can download the update when the servers aren’t overpopulated. Also, the free download only applies to existing customers. Subsequently, you cannot legitimately acquire an ISO from a fast mirror and apply the update yourself. Personally, I would perform a re-format of my existing operating system, then install Windows 10; unless you have a boot SSD and few programs, this may take a while.

Windows 10 Could Suffer From Undocumented Compatibility Problems


Despite undergoing a thorough Beta testing phase, Windows 10 hasn’t been adopted on such a widespread scale. This means various third-party programs, games or hardware could experience teething problems. For example, older printers using a Parallel to USB converter might no longer work until the manufacturer releases a fix. Of course, this is a very small percentage of people but emphasizes what kind of problems you might run into. More commonly, many older games could become unstable or fail to detect the platform being used. It shouldn’t be a major issue due to Windows’ compatibility mode, but it’s something to be wary of.

Additionally, mods or unofficial game patches are untested and it’s sensible to let others be the guinea pig. Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of old games like Wing Commander which already struggle on modern operating systems. Windows 10 is brand new, so the amount of threads with information to get the game running will be minimal. Hopefully, the Windows 8.1 fixes work on Windows 10, but this is still an unknown entity.

DirectX 12 is Here, the Games are not


In terms of potential, DirectX 12 is one of the most revolutionary changes to PC Gaming in over a decade. This new low-level API reduces CPU overheads and theoretically increases the performance of games by an estimated 20%. However, there are no games on the market able to leverage this extra performance and it’s up to developers to begin supporting the new API. Realistically, this could take at least a year before modern games are reworked to use DirectX 12.

A large quantity of older games were produced by defunct studios and unable to implement DirectX 12 functionality. I highly doubt this could be done by a modder since the engine needs to be reworked. The data on DirectX 12 is quite new and we need to wait until the API has matured before analyzing its significance. Make no mistake, DirectX 12 will be a monumental change, but gamers shouldn’t expect to see this anytime soon.

Windows 10 Will be Free for a Year


It’s remarkably easy to get into the hullabaloo of a product launch and be disappointed by the final result. There’s no need to rush if you want to upgrade because Windows 10 will remain free for an entire year. As such, you could wait a month to see how well the operating system has been received and until the launch bugs are patched. Perhaps Windows 10 doesn’t offer enough of an improvement from Windows 7 and isn’t worth the hassle of learning a new visual style. This will be fairly prominent with those who aren’t technically minded and struggle to navigate around an operating system.

The Metro UI Still Exists


For all Windows 10’s posturing about returning to its Desktop roots, the Metro UI is still an integral component, albeit in a less obtrusive manner. In Windows 10, clicking the Start icon brings up the familiar Start menu. Unfortunately, this takes up a lot more space as the Metro icons are positioned adjacent to the Start menu. Once pressed, the menu can take up to 50% of your screen space instead of the narrow 20% seen in Windows 7. Microsoft’s ideology revolves and integrating all their services together including mobile, PC and Xbox. This sounds like a good idea, but I strongly believe Microsoft should release two versions of Windows 10; a Metro-based tablet edition and PC version which drops the Metro UI completely.

Windows 8 or 8.1 users can download an invaluable tool called Classic Shell which removes the Metro UI and replaces it with a simple, yet customizable Start menu. I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t take greater notice of this software which creates a much better experience than Windows’ 10 default setup. While the tool should work on Windows 10, this is just another example of how previous operating systems can be made more intuitive than Microsoft’s latest effort.

Final Thoughts


Windows 10 is shaping up to be a highly successful release, as Microsoft attempts to transfer individuals from older operating systems through the free upgrade incentive. Despite this, launch dates are always marred with a wide array of problems. In this case, the servers are almost at breaking point and I wouldn’t recommend downloading the update right now. Furthermore, DirectX 12 games could be some time off, and the Metro user-interface is still an integral part of the user-experience.

There’s no need to rush out and instantly download the update either as the average user will not majorly benefit from upgrading today. This doesn’t apply to technology enthusiasts or tweakers who want to play with the latest operating system. I’m still wary about the lack of mature drivers for unusual peripherals and wonder if they will work without any complications.

Microsoft has hinted that this could be the last version of Windows formally released. After that, Windows could possibly become a service platform which evolves without reselling the operating system as a product revision. Windows 10 is here and you should definitely upgrade, but now is probably not the best time for everyone.

Windows 10 Rolls Out – Upgrade Available to Install Now

Windows 10 has officially arrived for Windows users. For a lucky few who have already reserved their copies of the new Microsoft OS, Windows Update is already offering a 2.699 GB download to upgrade from your current OS. The rollout is staggered so don’t fret if you don’t see it for a while yet. For those that are more impatient to get their free upgrade, ISO images are available. These will allow in-place upgrades, but they will also allow for a fresh install for those that want to do that.

Given that Windows 10 is free for upgrades for the next year, there really is no need to rush and upgrade right away. For those who haven’t tried Windows 10 during the beta test, it might be a good idea to hold off installing the new OS on a production machine and let others be the guinea pigs. There are some concerns about incompatibilities and automatic updating though Microsoft has addressed these concerns somewhat.

For those who aren’t eligible for an upgrade, you should be able to pick retail boxed CDs and USBs relatively soon. Windows 10 is set to receive support for the next 10 years and pioneer Microsoft’s new focus on Software as a Service. Microsoft attempted to address some of the concerns users had for Windows 8 and we shall soon see how the public receives this new OS.

Where Your PC Goes When It Becomes Obsolete

Once upon a time each Personal Computer had a price point which was both prohibitively expensive and was also the domain of a relatively small selection of people, who in turn kept their machines for years. These days the time is relatively short from manufacture to scrapping of each individual PC. It’s mind-blowing to contemplate the extent of materials which would need to have been used for each run of a particular model, for it to be only then thrown out within a period of 1 – 3 years by the end consumer.

But what happens when PC’s are obsolete? Well below is a selection of images that illustrate the scale.

This first image is of a photo of three large green electronic waste bins which was snapped by a resident of San Francisco by the name of “Ariel” As you can see; there is both a wide selection and the potential for any model to be in there. I wonder if each individual remembered to securely erase their documents.

This next image is of a wall of old CRT monitors and was taken in 2014, by EnMin Ser who snapped this thought-provoking black-and-white photo while touring a junkyard in Malaysia. The destination of these screens is somewhat unknown considering the structure of recycling in Malaysia.

Now this image is the problem which is all too often the case, a photographer by the name of “Anna Vignet” stumbled across this scene in San Francisco in 2008. These computer towers were dumped behind a local school and were left exposed to the elements. which could have caused all types of chemicals to leak onto the streets. This somewhat annoys me considering the local authority should have put in place protocols to deal with such types of waste.

Where do less reputable companies dump old and broken PC’s? Yep, the third world as this picture illustrates and was taken by a photo product entitled iGarbage by an Italian non Profit organization. This toxic waste is shipped to places for example Ghana where it is sold for residents to harvest the raw materials without any protection; the end outcome is the waste poisons the residents. All in the name of the mighty Pound, Dollar and Euro, etc.

It just goes to show the scale of throwable PC’s in today’s expendable society, if you’re in need of upgrading and decide to throw away your PC. Check with local authorities for possible recycling centres, or indeed pass your unwanted PC to a friend or relative in need of one. Make sure you securely erase your files as you don’t want your aunty to find your selfies in a folder entitled “work”

Thank You to PC Mag and The Daily Mail for providing us with this information