Plextor M6S 256GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Our look over Plextor’s M6- SSD product line has seen us look at their M6e PCIe based M.2 drive, where the limitations of the SATA interface are no match for top end performance and more recently the M6M, a mSATA drive that packs the same components but in a tiny frame, with speeds that set it apart from many other drives in its class. Today we’re looking at the final piece of the SSD puzzle with a drive that looks much more standard if it were, with a 2.5″ chassis and the same ingredient list that we saw with the M6M and M6e.

Available in capacities ranging from 128GB up to 512GB, the M6S offers IOPs speeds of up to 94K read, 80K write with sequential speeds of 520MB/s read and 440MB/s write. Sat at the heart of the drive is a dual-core Marvell 88SS9188 controller giving the drive around 30-50% drop in power consumption compared to the last generation M5S.

Plextor keep their drive bundles very much to the point – you get the drive and a multi-language guide, no more, no less. The box itself is rather bright, with a bold image of the drive on the front of the box with the capacity stuck on below.

Plextor M6M 128GB mSATA Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


A few months ago I took a look at a drive that has managed to slingshot Plextor right back into the enthusiast market with a drive that took the limitations of the SATA III interface and threw it out of the window, using the supreme bandwidth of a PCIe interface to allow it to stretch its legs out and give us some proper next generation performance. Now if you’ve not guessed which drive I’m on about here, I’m referring their M6e PCIe SSD – which uses the latest M.2 NGFF interface to deliver levels of performance that may have dreamed of for quite some time.

Whilst the M6e is a great product to behold, it is not for everybody. Firstly we have to look at the cost and with a 512GB drive fetching over £500 / $800, it is a heavy investment to made and secondly its compatibility list is somewhat limited, knocking many mATX builds and portable systems out of the question. Fortunately though Plextor were not naive enough to force users on to the M.2 platform to enjoy the performance that is on offer from the components of the M6e. Alongside the next generation drive, Plextor have brought two more drive to market that follow are more traditional approach to storage, using the most commonly used interface, SATA, and its compact alternative mSATA. Whilst both the mSATA and SATA drives are not able to offer the break neck speeds that can be achieved through a native M.2 or PCIe interface, they still play home to the same controller and NAND packages, just with a lower headlining above them.

The drive we’ve got to play around with today come in the mSATA form factor and with the M6M product name (the second M representing mSATA) we can easily point out its association with the highly popular M6e. Built around the same Marvell 88SS9188 controller and custom firmware, the M6M comes in capacities ranging from 64GB right up to 512GB, all within the same 50.8 x 29.8 container, allowing them to fit into virtually any device that houses a mSATA port. Offering sequential read and write speeds of up to 520MB/s and 440MB/s with IOPs ratings of up to 94K read and 80K write, the M6M is by no means a basic solution for mSATA devices – it is a workhorse that delivers just as much of a punch as its bigger brothers which are part of the SATA and M.2 groups.

Where most drives come in a sleek box with a colourful presentation on the front, the M6M uses packaging the like it’s from a value RAM production line. The only indication of which drive is enclosed is found on a single sticker attached to the front of the pack. At the bottom of the sticker we do get a short list of performance ratings so we at least know what type of performance we should be expecting once plugged in.

Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


The SSD market today is bursting at the seams with various types of solid state drives catering for every level of budget and with varying degrees of performance including drives that are now pushing the SATA !! interface to its absolute limits along with drives which pack insane amounts of storage compared to those drives which were around only a year ago. Similarly the number of manufacturers on the market is slowly growing, but those who have been in the business for a number of years are those that stand out above the rest and this includes Crucial, OCZ, Corsair, Plextor, Sandisk and Kingston of whom we’re looking at today.

Like the SSD, the HyperX line of products has been around for some time now and when we look at their SSD line up, we are somewhat limited in choice with only one mainstream HyperX drive available – namely the HyperX 3K, which replaced the first generation HyperX, offering a better price point with good levels of performance. Even though the 3K brings a more attractive price point over the [now end of line] HyperX, it is still somewhat expensive compared to drives from a number of other brands and with the launch of the HyperX Fury product line, Kingston have come up with an even cheaper drive to open up the doors into HyperX to a larger group of users.

Designed purely to offer a lower price tag for the budget conscious buyer, the HyperX Fury SSD is built around a SandForce SF-2281 controller with Kingston’s own MLC NAND. This combination of components allows the drive to offer compressible read and write speeds of around 500MB/s and incompressible speeds of 470MB/s read and 220MB/s write. Kingston stress however that this drive is all about offering a compelling price point for an enthusiast grade drive not its out-and-out performance.

Where we find the HyperX 3K coming in a large box with drive bay adaptors, screws and manuals and this all adds up nudging the price of the drive up as well. The Fury restricts this additional cost by shipping in a slim card packet with a plastic cover holding the drive in place. Inside all we get is a 2.5mm shim for installing the drive into 9.5mm drive bays and a HyperX sticker for your notebook or gaming rig.

Thecus N2520 2-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


In the latter part of last year I took a look at Thecus N2560 2-bay Intelligent NAS – one of only two white systems that Thecus have in their library and as a budget busting system it really stood its ground in a market which is getting more and more competitive as time moves on. Whilst I looked at the N2560, I made a number of references to the N2520 which we have here today, simply because it is slightly more powerful system with double the RAM and a slightly faster SoC processor running at 1.6GHz. It is therefore only fair that at some stage I take a look at the N2520 to see if it is really worth the move to the higher performance model, or if this is still a worthy contender in the market.

At the time of the N2560 review we could see that there was around £40 difference in cost between the two systems and moving forward to today we note that the price gap is still roughly the same – more importantly though, the price of BOTH units has come down considerably. Where the N2560 was retailing previously for around £270, the same unit can now be found for around £210; whilst the N2520 has dropped from £230 to £170.

As a refresh for those who have not had a chance to read my review on the N2560, these two units are the some of the first units that Thecus have to offer which break away from the matte black chassis that is typically associated with a NAS hardware (they have previously built some silver units as well for the consumer market) and further more they pack some of the latest embedded hardware that Intel has to offer in the form of a 1.2GHz SoC – offering good levels of performance with running costs that are much lower than that of a non SoC based unit.

Alongside the chassis, Thecus include a spread of paperwork, a mains adaptor with regional kettle lead, reusable cable ties and network cable and also a pair of plastic rails, giving the N2520 a totally tool-free design – just what the entry-level user wants.

In addition to the typical accessory line-up, the N2520 comes with a flash drive containing the latest version of Thecus OS software, which can be loaded on to the system during its initial setup run. After this you have a free flash drive to use as you wish.

Crucial MX100 256GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Coming off the back of our look at the 512GB model of Crucial’s new MX100 line of drives, our review today focusses on the mid-range 256GB drive which comes in at a level that many users tend to adopt due to the balance between performance and capacity. As we saw with the 512GB though, Crucial have re-written the pricing rule book with a drive that is priced lower per GB than any other drive on the market and overall costing around the same as a 256GB drive from many other brands.

Keeping with the trend of bargain bucket pricing, the 256GB MX100 comes in with a banker approved price of $109.99 in the states and £78.99 over here in the UK, making it once again the ideal solution for the upgrade market; where users want to get a good boost in their systems performance, but without a hefty price that is associated with many performance products.

Similar to the 512GB drive, the 256GB model utilises Micron’s latest 16nm NAND design with a Marvell 88SS9189 controller at the heart of the drive and performance wise we see the same 550MB/s read speeds, whilst the write speed is a little lower at a more modest 330MB/s. The IOPs performance is also down a little from the top line 512GB drive at 85k read and 70k write, however we do still get the same 72TB lifespan and the same three-year warranty as before.

We know the read speeds that the MX100 has to offer are very competitive throughout the market, so our focus in this review will be aimed more at the write performance. This drive may be cheap, but the last thing we want is a drive that is cheap and cheerful.

21 Year Old Earned $1000 A Day By Hacking League of Legends

Being a professional gamer is the desire of many young players, especially when they hear that the money involved can be serious, with league jackpots easily peaking at $5m USD as is the case with the upcoming LoL championships, but some people are not content on playing fair and square and earning their keep in legitimate ways. The latter way of making money is how a 21-year old hacker known as Shane ‘Jason’ Duffy rapidly built up his bank balance.

Earning $1000 per day, Duffy exploited a security breach that he found on an employee account of Riot Games, where the employee had not updated and changed their password as requested when a breach was originally discovered. This flaw though lead Duffy to a hackers gold mine – access to an estimated 24.5 million user accounts of LoL players around the world. On top of this he also had access to League of Legends: Supremacy, which he leaked out on to the public net shortly after.

Following the leak of Supremacy he was arrested and his equipment seized in conjunction with the illegal activities. Released on bail, Duffy soon went back to his old ways, offering a service to knock other LoL players out of games in exchange for cash along with the selling of character skins, which in itself made him $200-800 a time.

All of this activity led Duffy to have a massive bank balance, with over 880 transactions being accrued in one month, earning him well over $1000 a day. This second round of hacking soon brought him another meeting with the police, with another round of equipment getting seized, along with $110,000 worth of Bitcoins.

All of this illegal activity has come to bite him back as he now awaits sentencing in a Queensland court for nine separate charges of illegal activity, five of those for fraud with the others including a charge of hacking the Riot Games servers.

To put of this into context; if you want to earn a tidy living through online gaming, you’re better off in joining a gaming clan or team – this will bring you both money and fame in a legal way.

Source: Tweaktown

Google Fibre Is Not Coming To The UK Anytime Soon

A couple of days ago we heard of a report that Google was looking at a project to bring Google Fibre to the UK, however it appears many people read into the report in the wrong way. Although Google do admit that they have looked at the possibility of having their ultra-fast fibre service here in the UK, a look at the possibility is all it is.

Since the news has flown around the Google is coming here and everyone has got their hopes up, a spokesperson for Google spoke to Engadget saying that people should not read too much into it. His statement goes on to say that they speak to telecoms companies all of the time but they have not had any serious planning discussions for Google Fibre in the UK.

We have informal conversations with other telecom companies all the time, but we’ve never had any serious planning discussions about bringing Google Fiber to Britain.”

Getting their service up and running in the US has not come without its challenges, aside from the fact that the current internet infrastructure has to be worked on so that it can deliver the blazing-fast 1Gbps speeds that Google boast, Google are in a highly competitive market and it does not take that much to get in the way of other providers and push them out-of-the-way. Not surprisingly this is likely to upset a few people along the way. Fortunately UK ISPs such as BT and Virgin Media, who both offer some of the UK’s fastest fibre internet packages,Google are not going to be here for a while yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start coming up with a game plan in the not too distant future to tackle Google Fibre if they do decide to make the move.

Source: Engadget

Dell Announces Bitcoin Payment Trial For US Customers

As more and more small businesses start to accept cryptocurrencies as a recognised form of payment, many large companies are now looking towards the world of digital currencies to draw customers towards them as the world moves forward in its digital ways.

Dell are the latest name to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon as they announce the start of a pilot scheme in the US for both consumer and business users in partnership with Coinbase. During the checkout stages users will be able to select Bitcoin as a payment method after which they will be taken through to a special payment area where you can transfer funds from your Bitcoin Wallet through to Coinbase after which Dell receives payment in Dollars.

As an incentive for users to adopt Bitcoin as their method of payment, a special offer on Alienware systems has been setup, with 10% savings on a number of systems to be made (up to a value of $150) , simply by paying in digital.

Availability of Bitcoin payment in other regions has not been announced as of yet, although we can imagine the services will be rolled out to other regions following a successful pilot scheme in the US.

Source: Dell.com

 

Palit Announce First Passive NVIDIA GTX 750 & 750Ti GPUs

Passive graphics cards are a dream for anyone wanting to build a home-theatre system that has a bit of grunt behind it for a bit of light recreational gaming, but most passive cards until this point have typically been on the entry to mid level end of the performance scale. Palit however are not contempt in this range and as a result have created what they claim to be the first passive entries for the GTX 750 and GTX 750Ti.

Running under the KalmX line, each passive card features a massive double width heatsink with a heatpipe running to either side of the fins, all squeezed into a dual slot form factor. Internally the cards performance ratings and specifications are not too far from those of any other 750 or Ti with the same clock speeds and 2GB VRAM on offer, along with HDMI and dual-DVI outputs.

For users with smaller and more compact chassis, compatibility will have to be checked with the heatsink protruding past the end of the expansion slot, but if the card performs as well as we hope, this could be a cracking solution for even a mainstream gamer.

Pricing and availability is unknown at this moment in time, but with stock specifications we can hope that there is not the much of a premium to be paid by going passive. Ultimately the benchmarks will do the talking and we’ll be sure to grab a sample to push to the limits ourselves in the near future.

Source: Tech Report

3D Blu-Ray Support Finally Coming To The Xbox One In August

Good news is on the horizon for Xbox One users this August. All Xbox One systems will be getting an update that will allow them to playback high-definition content through 3D Blu-ray discs, putting the console one step ahead of the rival Playstation 4 in the never-ending war between Microsoft and Sony.

In addition to the new support for 3D movies, the update which will be available to download towards the end of August will also include a couple of other nifty features, which Microsoft hope will make the entertainment experience better still. These extras include a low battery notification on-screen for your controller to work alongside the existing visual warning on the controller, more possibilities for interaction with your friends from the home page and more importantly the ability to purchase games and DLC from your phone – no matter where you are.

Although there is the ability to purchase games, apps and DLC through the Xbox Live website, in the same way you can with the Xbox 360, the move to the mobile platform fits in with our connected lifestyles and like many of the other update features, it aims to put more selling points on the Xbox One’s already large list versus the Playstation 4.

Source: Xbox.com

Microsoft Pulls The Plug On Xbox Entertainment Studios

It seems that Microsoft has not finished cutting their employee count following an announcement that they are pulling the plug on Xbox Entertainment Studios with immediate effect – around 200 more employees could be losing their jobs.

It is not entirely known at this moment in time if this group of employees are going to be searching for new jobs in the next few months or if Microsoft are going to reallocate them elsewhere within the company, but the axing of the entertainment studios wing will obviously mean that the original TV content for Xbox Live will be coming to an end.

Microsoft has said however that they will be seeing their current TV series through to the end rather than just cutting them off half way through, but for fans of Halo: Nightfall and Signal to Noise will have to say goodbye to the series sooner than expected.

Following the announcement that XES was closing, Phil Spencer, the head of the studios issued a memo to clarify any confusion surrounding the closure:

Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like ‘NFL on Xbox,’ and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates. Additionally, our app partnerships with world-class content providers bringing entertainment, sports and TV content to Xbox customers around the world are not impacted by this organizational change in any way and remain an important component of our Xbox strategy.

Although the studios are obviously not a huge part of Microsoft’s portfolio, they are key to Xbox and it is not entirely known just yet why the division is getting the cut. Cost cutting is one theory whilst pulling resources to other areas to improve their development is another. I guess we will find out soon enough.

Source: Time.com

Apple And IBM Coming Together To Challenge The Business Market

Apple and IBM, two well-known companies around the globe and two that want to take over the business world by working together and using each other expertise to bring the iPad as your next computer. Yes you read it right, your desktop computer, probably a Dell, in the partnerships eyes can be replaced by an iPad.

It looks like the first targets of this overtake venture are to be the retail, heathcare, banking, insurance, travel and telecommunications sectors – or quite a large chunk of the market in other words, with a new series of Apple developed Apps which promise to address issues that each of these sectors may be facing.

Developing the app is obviously Apple’s deal, but getting it right for the business market is something that they are not too sure on and this is where the expertise of IBM comes into play.

To be honest I really can’t tell if this partnership is trying to flog a dead horse or not at the moment. I know Apple is not business driven, with the pocket of the consumer their primary target, but lets look at the wider picture here. iPhones (and iPads) are already used as tools in the business sector, but the infrastructure that has been setup through a Windows environment is massive – really, really massive. If you’re looking at replacing every single desktop system with an iPad, you’ve got to consider the fact that a lot of training is required to use the new systems and I probably won’t be surprised if a major infrastructure change behind the scenes will also be required to cater for the swarm of iDevices.

Simply put the cost of changing the industry over to iOS is not as straight forward as giving everyone an iPad – once you look at all the other costs that have to be factored in, I just see this as a complete waste of time and money. Apple you’ve already got millions of worldwide users and the business markets are set on Windows – lets just leave it that way and save a ton of time and money being wasted.

Source: T3

Image courtesy: Mashable

iPhone 6 Set To Feature A Dual-Core A8 CPU Clocked At 2GHz

News surrounding the iPhone 6 is unsurprisingly fruitful as ever and even though Apple themselves are keeping their cards very close to their chest, so-called leaks and rumours are circulating around very freely.

The latest information that we’re now hearing with the upcoming iHandset is in relation to the processor that will be at the heart of everything. Interestingly enough it seems that, according to Chinese site Cnbeta, the iPhone 6 will follow in the footsteps of its older siblings with a dual-core processor, although the clock speed has been ramped up to 2GHz – a full 700MHz increase over the 5S.

In addition to the faster clock speed, the sources also suggest that the A8 CPU will be running on a 20nm architecture, down from the 28nm architecture of the current A7 – we all know Apple like to save space so why the hell not shrink the CPU.

Even though the A8 processor will be smaller and faster than the A7, it is still only dual-core and with most Android based phones today featuring quad-core chips, deciding whether or not this is a bold more or not is yet to be decided – sure Apple are likely to move to quad-core in the future, but when exactly is anyone’s guess.

As with all rumours and supposed leaks, we don’t know if this is the definite specification that will be seen at launch so lets just continue sitting where we are, looking at information trickle in as we make up a picture of what could be the real deal.

Source: T3

BREAKING NEWS: Malaysian Airliner Shot Down Over Ukraine

Reports and information is currently coming in that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 has been shot down from its cruising altitude of 33,000ft over the Ukraine close to the city of Poltava.

As seen in the image below which was recently tweeted by online flight tracker Flightradar24, the Boeing 777 airliner was flying at a steady altitude of 33,000ft before its tracker stopped transmitting and the plane disappeared off the map.

Cruising at 476kts, the flight was on its way to Kuala Lumpur after shortly taking off from Amsterdam at the moment that it was taken down by a Buk surface to air missile system. Conformation on the missile launch was given shortly after by Ukraine’s interior ministry advisor Anton Gerashchenko. All 295 people on board the flight are presumed dead as the plane fell to the ground.

Source: BBC News

Pinball FX2 Arrival On Xbox One Upsets Xbox 360 Owners

Following its update to run on the Playstation 4 platform, Zen Studios – the designers behind Pinball FX2 have announced the arrival date for the Xbox One, although they have upset a number of players who use an Xbox 360.

Unlike the Playstation platform, Xbox One owners will not be able to import ANY of the tables that they have purchased and downloaded for their 360 consoles. In a response to the disappointing news, Zen Studios have made a statement saying that the lack of an option to import DLC content was not an option that was made available to them and we presume this is down to the way the two systems work. On the other hand though, Playstation users are able to port their content from one generation to another with DLC working on both the PS3 and 4 as well as the Vita.

In a statement about the lack of cross-platform compatibility, community manager ‘BarbieBobomb’ said:

“We know this is very important to fans of the Xbox 360 version, but we are very sorry to say that this was not an option made available to us on Xbox One. We always do our best to take advantage of any platform’s features whenever possible, and if a feature like cross-platform entitlement is an option for us, we will make it an option for our players. Unfortunately in this case, it was not.”

Whilst the lack of DLC will upset a number of users, hopefully the stunning graphics will make up the dismay with 60fps, 1080p gaming on offer as well as updated achievement goals and the option to play in tournaments across the globe. Lastly the game is going to be free to download, but whatever way you look at it all, the lack of a DLC import option is likely to turn a few heads away.

Source: Eurogamer

Michigan Bar Teaches Stock Exchange Principles – Through The Love of Beer

Beer is a globally recognised staple and the price of beer is something that we can all relate to but let’s be honest – we all complain when the price of our chosen brew goes up and cheer when it goes down, but when we see the stock exchange figures scrolling across the bottom of the TV and news channels, generally speaking we have not got a clue what it all means. This is where Kalamazoo, a Michigan beer exchange comes into play with their ever-changing beer prices, all because of the fundamental principles of economics – supply and demand.

Positioned around the bar are a number of monitors giving the drinkers the latest price for their chosen brew and this is where the economics part of it all comes in to play.

The principle behind supply and demand is that as more of one product is consumed, the price will start to rise – this is the demand. The higher price will allow the [hypothetical] supplier to invest more to increase their supply to meet the demand. We can see this from the ‘Arcadia War Craft’ where the price has been driven up to $5.50.

On the other hand, some of the other beers are not consumed as much as others creating a backlog of supply. Bringing the price down step by step will entice people to start consuming that particular product in order to clear the supply backlog.

The same principles as seen in the beer exchange are mirrored in the real world stock exchange and at random intervals the beer market may crash, causing the prices to instantly drop thus giving a great deal on many drinks.

Personally I think that this type of bar is awesome and The Exchange, the people behind the construction of the bar and a few others across the land, should sure has hell get their feet over to the UK so that we can have just as much fun [and subliminal education] as those in the States. If you don’t understand supply and demand now then there is a strong chance you will after drinking there – even if you are slightly inebriated afterwards.

Source: The LAD Bible

Seagate Announce Five New Business NAS Systems With Up To 30TB Storage On Offer

Aside from desktop and enterprise hard drives and SSDs, not many people are aware that Seagate also have a NAS product line that covers every market sector including the SMB market. With the recent announcement that they are updating their NAS hard drive lines to include 5 and 6TB models, Seagate have updated their NAS line with two new products for the SMB market.

The new NAS range includes five systems which are built for environments with up to 50 users and with capacities and prices ranging from £199 for 2TB of storage up to £1,839 for a six bay 30TB system. The five units are broken down into groups known as Seagate NAS and Seagate NAS Pro.

The cheaper NAS line feature two and four bay systems with capacities of up to 16TB based around a Marvell 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, 512MB RAM, with two USB 3.0 ports and dual Gigabit LAN topped off with Seagate’s own OS 4 NAS operating system.

The second line which caters for the higher end of the SMB market is known as NAS Pro and this line coincides with the debut of Intel’s latest C2000 dual-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz. Sat alongside the C2000 CPU, Seagate pack each NAS Pro system with 2GB RAM, two USB3.0 and one USB2.0 port, dual Gigabit LAN and their latest NAS OS 4 operating system.

There is no work on when the systems will be available to buy at this moment in time, however full details on the two system lines can be found over on Seagate’s website: Seagate NAS & Seagate NAS Pro.

Source: Press Release

 

Timberman Becomes The Latest Alternative To Flappy Bird

We all know how popular Flappy Bird was when it hit the App store and Google Play earlier in the year and since its creator pulled it from both stores, users have been begging for its return so that they can fulfil their flappy cravings. The wait for an alternative is not over as a new game known as Timberman has chopped its way to the top of the download charts.

As simple as Flappy Bird was, Timberman is a simple, yet addictive game where you have to chop down trees whilst avoiding branches by tapping on either side of the tree to get as many blocks of wood out as you can; as seen below.

As popular and frustrating as this drop dead simple game is, it has actually been rocking around on the App Store for a good couple of months now, but like many games that sit at the top of the charts, it sometimes takes a bit of time before a game gets recognised and goes viral. In the case of Timberman, this surge in downloads came to be after the games was featured as an Editors Choice by Apple. Not surprisingly, the acknowledgement has sent the downloads rocketing and out of the 2.5 million downloads that have been made, nearly half of these have been done over the last three days.

Addictive or not I’m not one for mobile game downloads, but I’m sure that a number of you readers will be wanting to join the craze, so here’s the links for the App Store and Google Play. Fancy more? a golden version is also available to download for 69p /99 cents.

Source: News for Shoppers 

Synology DS415Play 4-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


In the early stages of this year we saw the arrival of Synology’s DS214Play – a 2-bay system which offers users the ability to stream media connect across the network to everything, including mobile devices thanks to its onboard transcoding capabilities from Intel’s latest Evansport processor. Little did Synology know, this unit has turned out to be one of their most popular 2-bay systems to hit the shelves this year and as users embraced the transcoding power, the demand for a bigger and better system soon followed.

Aside from the obvious extension to four bays, the DS415Play features the same Intel Evansport 1.6GHz CPU, featuring Floating-Point Units, giving the system its popular ability to transcode media on the fly for streaming across to mobile devices as well as processing image thumbnails much faster than that of a typical SoC based system.

Connectivity wise we find an extra two USB2.0 ports on the rear of the system in place of the eSATA port that the 215 features. On paper this means that we should expect to see at least the same levels of performance as on of this years top-selling 2-bay systems, with an easy, too-free setup and a user interface that I consider to be one of the most user-friendly solutions on the market today.

Like a large number of Synology’s systems, the DS415Play comes in a rather non-de-script box, with only a few labels on the outside indicating which unit is inside. From a business point of view this means that on the grander scale we are looking at lower packaging costs – which in turn means a cheaper end product for the consumer. Inside we find a similarly comprehensive bundle with little more than a power cord, patch lead and a quick setup leaflet.

New ‘Super Black’ Material Developed By British Researchers

Hearing of a new material that can perform in ways that push the boundaries of what is actively known is typically heard from the heavily invested teams over at NASA, however a team from Surrey (not too far away from my home in the UK as it happens) known as Surrey NanoSystems have created a new material that is so black, it is supposed to be hard to see if it is actually there. Known as Vantablack, the material is made up of carbon nanotubes – a man-made hollow fibre which measures only 1 nanometre in diameter – hence the name ‘nanotube’. To create the Vantablack material, the team in Surrey build up the nanotubes on a layer of aluminium foil as seen above and as we can see, or not as the case may be, the material is so dark, we cannot tell that it is all crinkled up along with the foil.

The material is so absorbent to light that it has broken a world record, reflecting a mere 0.035% of light shone at it, with the possibility that it can absorb wave of light that sit outside of the range of ‘visible light’ that the naked eye can detect. The rest is the appearance of nothing being where the material is laid and thus giving a black hole effect. Furthermore, researchers state Vantablack is in the region of 10,000 times as strong as steel and it can also conduct heat very well with up to seven and half times the thermal conductivity of copper.

Having already met the requirements for their initial run of orders for this pioneering material, Vantablack has a number of projected uses in highly sensitive pieces of equipment such as space bound telescopes, where the use of current ‘dark’ materials still reflect a small amount of light, having the effect of adding noise to an image. Down here on earth the possible ability to absorb radio waves brings probable military uses in stealth planes and instrumentation, giving the military an advantage against detection.

The  new material will be getting its first public showing later on this week at the Farnborough International Airshow alongside many other bits of military hardware.

Source: Daily Mail

Ritot – A Projection Smartwatch Excels Indiegogo Goals

Smartwatches have been growing in popularity over the last year or so and as more companies join the bandwagon and the technology that they pack increases, it is only a matter of time before something ‘out of the ordinary’ comes about that grabs the attention of the masses. This attention grabbing appeal is where Ritot comes into play. Ritot is a new type of watch that breaks away from the small and compact display that is sat on the top of your wrist and instead it turns your hand itself into the display by projecting the time or a notification right onto the back of your hand simply by shaking your wrist.

Designed by a team over in California, Ritot has been in development for 6 months now and after a number of concept designs and prototype units bein made, the company has made their appeal to the masses to help fund their work and get Ritot into production and with not real effort their appeal has been met and acknowledged. Originally asking for a $50,000 funding, Ritot has already managed to surpass this mark and on to a whopping $152,000 (at time of writing) with 38 days of appealing still to go. In return for their donations, backers of over $120 will receive a free watch (or multiples of) when the smartwatch gets into production.

Besides simply displaying the time from pressing a button on the watch band, or by shaking your wrist, Ritot can connect to your mobile device and display notifications such as Facebook messages, text messages, weather, incoming calls and much more – with proposed support initially for iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms. Charging up the watch is set to be done wirelessly through a special base station through which you can also alter the projection colour of the time. Two type of Ritot are proposed with a thicker design for day-to-day use and a sports option with a slimmer rubberised design to match your sports appeal.

Following the campaign the Ritot projection smartwatch is set to go into production at the end of this year.

If you want to back the Ritot smartwatch you can find their campaign over on Indiegogo or for more information take a look at their website

Source: The Next Web

Driver Of Stolen Model S Becomes First Person To Die In A Tesla

Since its launch in June 2012, the Tesla Model S has been one of Tesla’s top selling cars and with a price tag starting at around $70,000 (or £50,000 here in the UK), it is highly sought after, especially by thieves who want to get their hands on the all-electric car in ways which baffle the mind.

One such person who decided they wanted in on the technical marvel was 26-year-old Joshua Slot who broke into a Tesla service centre in Los Angeles and made off with the high-performance motor. Police were soon on the chase after spotting the vehicle soon after it was taken and gave chase, however their pursuit was short-lived after they themselves were involved in a collision taking them out of the chase. Due to lack of resources at the local police department, the chase was called off as they could not keep up with the vehicle which was reported to be travelling at speeds of nearly 100mph through the L.A. streets.

Slots getaway with his unlawful possession was also short-lived as he  eventually collided with three other vehicles, injuring five people in the process of whom fortunately have all walked away from the incident alive and were discharged from hospital on Monday. Not so fortunate was Slot who, after colliding with two poles and splitting the car in half, died on the way to hospital.

As for the car, the front half came to rest in the road, catching fire soon after, whilst the rear section became airborne and crashed into the side of a nearby Jewish community centre. The force was so great that the car ended up wedged in a doorway to the building.

In a statement to Park Labrea News of Beverly Hills, Congregation Kol Ami’s Executive Director Sadie Rose Stern said:

“We were incredibly lucky. Thankfully, we had a large metal gate that took the brunt of the energy. The car wedged itself in. There was a lot of debris, but thankfully, we did not have a car in our sanctuary. There is some exterior damage, and we are in the process of getting quotes [for repairs].”

LAPD are investigating the theft as we speak and no further reports on the incident have been made at this moment in time. With Slot being the first person to be killed in a Tesla, there may be questions made about the cars safety, but let’s be honest, this incident is no fault of Tesla or the Model S, whatever way you look at it. It was simply down to a thief and his horrendous driving.

Source: Park Labrea News of Beverly Hills

Image courtesy: Associated Press

Scientists Use Sand To Triple Smartphone And Other Devices Battery Life

The battery life of our mobile devices – and anything that contains a battery for that matter is something which ranks quite high in everyone gripe list. Although manufacturers are discovering new ways to design components the need less power to run, there is only a certain amount of power that can be crammed into the battery, thus limiting the overall life of the device. This could all be about to change though as scientists have created a new type of lithium-ion battery that offers three times the life of a standard li-on battery using nothing more than sand.

Naturally we are not talking about pouring sand like we find on the beach into a battery. Instead of using graphite to make the anode end of the cell, refined sand is used to create a pure silicone compound which gives the extended life span.

To create the compound the sand, right in quartz, is ground down to minute particles nanometres in size and then is refined and purified by heating it to remove any oxygen which is present. The pure mixture is added to a salt and magnesium mix to create the pure silicone mix.

Whilst this process may sound like it will result in a battery which costs much more to buy, the resulting product is actually cheaper due to the use of common elements which do not create any harmful waste materials after processing. How long it will take to get this new type of battery into mass production and finally into the market is unknown, but as and when it does we could finally be looking at mobile devices that last days instead of hours before they need plugging in to charge – imagine a smartphone that has the heroic battery life of the old Nokia 3310’s? I know that is something we’d all love to have.

Source: WCCF Tech

Image courtesy: Neptor.com

Volkswagon Eyes on The Road Ad Campaign Sends A Chilling Lesson to Cinema Goers

We all know of the short period in a cinema before a film starts where a number of adverts are displayed, but none of them has sent that much of a chilling message to its watchers compared to a new Volkswagen ad titled ‘Eyes On The Road’. Shown in the MCL Cinema in Hong Kong, the ad runs with a car driving down a quiet road, which doesn’t seem all that interesting; that is, however, until someone working behind the scenes sends a message to the phones of every person in the cinema, causing every single one of them to get their phones out and read the message. What happens next is where the realisation and the chilling message is given as the car crashes into a tree on the side of the road.

This simple ad clearly demonstrates what happens when you take your eyes off the road and look at your phone – you don’t know what is happening ahead. The video [as seen below] shows the silence as the message sinks in to every person in the cinema.

I don’t need to repeat myself when I say that this message says it all – looking at your phone whilst driving IS DANGEROUS and it CAN kill you and others around you. If it is an urgent call or message, pull over to the side of the road and then respond to it. Don’t put other people’s lives in danger for the sake of reading a message.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/JHixeIr_6BM[/youtube]

I hope for that sake of everyone that this advert is shown in more cinemas around the world – the way in which it demonstrates the dangers couldn’t be easier – the chilling feeling that you get from it should get the point across.

Source: Youtube

Germany v Brazil World Cup Thrashing Broke Twitter Records

The Germany Vs Brazil Semi-final match in this year’s World Cup has certainly caught the attention of any football fan or anyone involved in football after their 7-1 thrashing against the home team a couple of days ago. The thrashing on the pitch was not the only top score to grab people’s attention as twitters servers also got a thrashing through a record-breaking 580,000 tweets per minute being sent around the world.

In a statement following the match, Twitter reported that the new record washed out the previous record which was set earlier this year during the Super Bowl which stood at 24.9m tweets. In comparison this match topped 35.6m tweets.

This new record has been great advertising for Twitter, showing that their growth is still going strong. Other events over the last few years that have stood out on twitter include Beyoncé’s half time performance during last year’s Super Bowl at 268,000 TMP (Tweets per minute), Miley Cyrus’ MTC VMA performance at 360,000 TMP and this year’s Brazil Vs Chile World Cup match, which during penalties topped out at 388,985 TMP.

Although some analysts say Twitter is a dying trend and social media such a Facebook is more popular, this record-breaking event has shown that this is far from the case. With the World Cup final now only a few days away, if Germany give their opponents yet another trashing there is a chance that we could see the current record being broken once again.

Source and Image courtesy: The Guardian

Record Breaking 10Gbps Broadband Speed Over Copper Lines Achieved By Bell Labs

Bell Labs, part of Alcatel-Lucent have achieved a jaw dropping world record of 10Gbps over a standard copper telephone line. Achieved as part of a research project to investigate the possibility of bringing Gigabit internet to broadband networks that encompass copper lines along with high-speed fibre, Bell Labs were able to maintain the 10Gbps speeds over a distance of 30 metres using two pairs of lines in a bonded connection.

Although the top speed was recorded over a 30 metre stretch of standard telephone cable, past this distance and particularly past 70m, the speed drops down to 1Gbps, however this is still good news as it means that 1Gbps connections in both directions may be possible for broadband users who have FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) type connections.

High speed connections over short runs of copper cables are a common sight these days thanks to the above mentioned FTTC type connections, with speeds in the region of 80Mbps possible depending on your proximity to the nearest cabinet. To go past this level of speed and on to the 1Gbps barrier, Bell had to rethink how data is sent across the copper and this meant using a new DSL standard known as G.fast. Further more Bell Labs have developed an extension of the G.fast standard known as XG-FAST allowing the faster speeds to be obtained over shorter distances – say 10Gbps over 30m.

Following the new record, Federico Guillén, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks gave a statement saying:

“The Bell Labs speed record is an amazing achievement, but crucially in addition they have identified a new benchmark for ‘real-world’ applications for ultra-broadband fixed access. XG-FAST can help operators accelerate FTTH deployments, taking fiber very close to customers without the major expense and delays associated with entering every home. By making 1 gigabit symmetrical services over copper a real possibility, Bell Labs is offering the telecommunications industry a new way to ensure no customer is left behind when it comes to ultra-broadband access.”

Simply put, this news means that the prospect of having 1Gbps internet connections without the need for a FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) type connection is on the horizon and in the next few years Google (who currently offer Gigabit Fibre internet in the US) are likely to have a whole lot more competition to deal with. Should we be excited? Simply put yes – especially if you struggle to get high-speed internet right now.

Source: Alcatel-Lucent

Fancy a PC That Can Fit In Your Pocket? Tango PC Is On The Way

Small Form Factor systems are making a comeback as we seek cleaner desktops and workspaces, but a new system dubbed the Tango PC will make even the smallest SFF chassis seem big considering you can fit it into your pocket.

Built around an AMD A6-5200 2GHz quad-core processor that typically resides within laptops, along with 2-8GB of DDR3 memory and a mSATA drive ranging from 32GB to 1TB, the unit that is not much larger than an iPhone 5 slots into a docking station that provides users with 3 USB2.0 ports, 1 USB3.0 port, HDMI output, a headphone jack and WiFi.

Following a successful Indiegogo campaign earlier this year, the Tango PC creators have got a second campaign currently running on Kickstarter to boost the funding needed to get the system into the mass production stages.

The small dimensions and gaming levels of performance don’t carry a heavy price tag either with prices starting at $99. The creators also stress that this system is upgradeable as well so even if you order a system with 2GB RAM and 64GB SSD, the option is there to upgrade down the line. OS support is just the same as any laptop with Windows 7 and 8.1 capable of running along with any Linux distro along with Chrome and Steam OS.

With just over 24 hours to go until the Kickstarter campaing ends the Tango PC has exceeded the minimum pledge needed and this means that Tango PC can make the next step towards production and hitting the retail market.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/OuhPlhICG2I[/youtube]