PS4 Update Sneaks in Key New Features

While most people know that the new firmware update for PlayStation 4 allows gamers to remote play via Windows PC (but not Windows 7, sadly), Sony managed to sneak through a number of appealing new features that didn’t make the headlines, including support for 4TB external drives.

Thankfully, A reddit thread has emerged, detailing all the “tweaks” introduced by the update, from those advertised by Sony to ones discovered by PS4 owners during their own investigations:

Detailed Tweaks:

  1. User Scheduled/Created Events;
  2. Play Together button – easily invite people in your party to the same game;
  3. Friend online notifications can be turned on or off on a person to person basis;
  4. Appear offline;
  5. Remote play on PC/Mac;
  6. Dailymotion Live Support for streaming, etc;
  7. Teens (13-17) can now create their own accounts with limited access to play offline games, rather than having to use a sub-account;
  8. Easier to search for communities by text, language, time zone;
  9. You can now share OTHER people’s activities so your friend’s can see it too;
  10. Tweaks to messaging – you can see short replies to messages without jumping to a different screen;
  11. You can TAG other players when sharing video and screenshots (if you have your FB/Twitter permissions enabled, the tags will carry over to the sharing on those sites);
  12. You can check the status of PSN (this is a feature? just use the website…);
  13. USB music player is back;
  14. Improvements to PS+ (improvements to managing online storage and ability to see friends who play the same games as you).

Unannounced Tweaks:

  1. You can disable the screenshot on-screen notification (in Settings under Notifications) allowing you to take multiple screenshots in a row without the screenshot taken pop-up. The sound indicating the screenshot was taken still functions as normal;
  2. Life From PlayStation Improvements:
  • There’s a search field on the game list now. Previously you had to use the “global” search, that’d return matches for everything (pre-recorded, videos, screenshots) and not just live streams;
  • You can pin up to three games that will stay on the top of the list. I watch Bloodborne and DS2 streams all the time, now I don’t have to scroll down every time to find them;
  1. You can set a party member limit now. From 2-8 people;
  2. Issue with early PS4s and >2TB HDDs has (probably) been fixed.

FCC May Have Caused Manufacturers To Lock Down Routers Afterall

Last year we reported that the FCC (US Federal Communications Commission) may be moving to outlaw the practice of adding custom software to routers. The misunderstanding was cleared up with the FCC saying that they wouldn’t ban the practice, enabling people to customise their routers with their own software and tweaks in safety. It would now seem though that one manufacturer has done just that in response to the FCC’s new rules.

TP-Link is one of the largest routers manufacturers, offering hardware choices to people all over the world. Libre Planet, however, found that they may also be the first to start locking down their firmware, their evidence being the support conversation that shows TP-Link are starting to lock down the installation of open source and custom firmware on their devices.

TP-Link state that they are doing this in order to comply with FCC regulations regarding customizations on wireless routers, the very thing we were told wouldn’t happen! The result could be that third-party software, many of which are open-source, would become illegal if you attempted to place them on your router, something many do due to the support, features and quick security updates often found in open source software.

Do you customise your router’s software? Do you think it’s a good idea for people to be able to do this or is it a better idea to ensure everyone uses the same software?

TP-Link to Block Open Source Router Firmware in the US

Popular network hardware manufacturer TP-Link have stated that they will be preventing their users from loading open source firmware such as DD-WRT and OpenWRT onto its routers sold in the United States as part of a move to comply with new Federal Communications Commission regulations.

The rule laid out by the FCC aim to limit the amount of interference with devices, by disallowing user modifications to wireless networking hardware that causes it to operate outside of licensed radio frequency limits. The FCC do not intend to deliberately ban the use of third-party router firmware from use entirely, theoretically allowing router manufacturers to permit the installation of this firmware provided there are controls in place that block devices from operating outside of their specified frequencies, power levels and types of modulation.

With locking out custom firmware being the easiest way to ensure the new FCC regulations were upheld, the open source community feared that this would be the action taken by manufacturers. In this case, they were right.

In all TP-Link routers produced on and after June 2, 2016, TP-Link’s changes will mean that “users are not able to flash the current generation of open-source, third-party firmware.” They also stated that “excited to see the creative ways members of the open-source community update the new firmware to meet their needs.” However, they did not provide any further information as to what would allow future versions of custom firmware to be installed on these routers.

Other router makers are yet to release explicit statements regarding their plans to enforce the FCC’s new rules on their routers would be, however, it is easy to imagine many taking a similar route. Even if custom firmware developers were to rewrite their software, there would be no real assurance that it obeys the restrictions without making the radio controlling software entirely separate so there can be assurance it was not tampered with.

VirusTotal – Anti-Virus For Your Firmware

Malware happens all too often, with it spreading like a wildfire around the world due to the connectivity offered by the internet, with banks and companies being offered money to install it. While not all malware is bad, it’s not something you want to invite into your system and Google’s new VirusTotal service looks  set to provide an anti-virus for your firmware.

Firmware is an often neglected piece of code. It can be found acting as a bridge between your hardware and your software, more than often your operating system. The problem being that it’s often hidden from anti-virus and malware scanning software, even more so due to its notorious ability to survive clean installations and reboots.

VirusTotal will allow people to upload firmware images and then scan them for any signs of malicious code and even mark it as legitimate or suspicious, meaning you can quickly detect if that new BIOS’s image is actually going to help or destroy your new PC.

Being able to scan and detect viruses that have hidden under the radar for so long will come in handy for many. After it was revealed that malware could have been hidden in the firmware for hard drives by the NSA, people have been on guard and this new tool could soon have an array of firmware images to help scan, detect and protect systems around the globe.

Being able to scan everything from files to even URL’s, you can be certain that a site is safe and the files you download are safe before you even hit the link next time.

Hacker Confirms PlayStation 4 Jailbreak

The PlayStation 4 has been on the market for a while now, and since release, you can bet that hackers, modders and more have been tinkering with the hardware and software of the latest Sony console to find a way to run unauthorised software. From homebrew software to piracy, breaking the protection on a console is a huge deal, one that Sony aren’t going to be too fond of, but one that a lot of people are no doubt eager to explore regardless. Naturally, the legalities of such a thing aren’t in the favour of those who do such things.

CTurt, who previously revealed a working PS4 kernel exploit, allowing the running of homebrew content, has now revealed the that PlayStation 4 can be jailbroken using kernel exploits. According to CTurt, the jailbreak allows dumping of the system ram and other processes, which opens the door for custom firmware and software modding. Of course, there’s still a few other security hurdles to get by, but it’s a foot in the door, so to speak.

What happens next remains to be seen, but no doubt will be hearing of further updates on this in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

FCC Speaks Out Regarding Router Hacking Laws

Back in September, the US Federal Communications Commission revealed proposals for new laws governing software requirements for Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices, the draft for which suggested that the government agency could outlaw router hacking, like flashing the device with third-party firmwares DD-WRT, Tomato, and OpenWRT.

The FCC has now spoken out regarding the proposed rules, specifically the section asking router manufacturers to explain “how [its] device is protected from ‘flashing’ and the installation of third-party firmware such as DD-WRT”.

“This particular question prompted a fair bit of confusion – were we mandating wholesale blocking of Open Source firmware modifications?” Julius Knapp, Chief of the Office of Engineering & Technology for the FCC writes. “We were not,” Knapp clarifies, “but we agree that the guidance we provide to manufacturers must be crystal-clear to avoid confusion.”

There we have it: no ban on router hacking. Knapp, however, does acknowledge how misleading the previous draft may have been, writing, “today we released a revision to that guidance to clarify that our instructions were narrowly-focused on modifications that would take a device out of compliance.”

He adds, “The revised guidance now more accurately reflects our intent in both the U-NII rules as well as our current rulemaking, and we hope it serves as a guidepost for the rules as we move from proposal to adoption.”

The revised section now reads [PDF]:

“Describe, if the device permits third-party software or firmware installation, what mechanisms are provided by the manufacturer to permit integration of such functions while ensuring that the RF parameters of the device cannot be operated outside its authorization for operation in the U.S. In the description include what controls and/or agreements are in place with providers of third-party functionality to ensure the devices’ underlying RF parameters are unchanged and how the manufacturer verifies the functionality.”

Image courtesy of Polygon.

Mad Catz Releases XInput Update for C.T.R.L.R Mobile Gamepad

Mad Catz released the C.T.R.L.R. controller a while ago and while it is a great controller for mobile gaming, it wasn’t the best when connected to a PC due to lack of the XInput compatibility. Instead, users were required to reconfigure and map buttons in complicated ways. But that is a thing of the past now as Mad Catz release a firmware and software update for just this controller adding that feature.

The C.T.R.L.R. is now truly a multi-format controller that you can connect to pretty much any devices thanks to the Bluetooth connection. Amazon Fire TV, M.O.J.O., and most other Android platform devices should work well with this controller, and now the same goes for Windows users.

The XInput protocol is widely recognized as the modern standard for PC controllers and is supported by the majority of today’s PC games. Starting now, owners of the C.T.R.L.R can download the free XInput update which will dramatically improve compatibility with PC games and remove the need for time-consuming button remapping. In addition, the XInput update will enable the C.T.R.L.R to be fully compatible with the Steam Big Picture service*, enabling users to play Steam’s library of games and navigate multimedia content on their big screen TV.

The firmware and software update can be downloaded directly from Mad Catz homepage.

QNAP Releases Official QTS 4.2 Version

QNAP started the beta version of their QTS 4.2 operating system a little while ago and it was very successful as well as received with positive feedback from users all around. Now the official version of QNAP’s QTS 4.2 has been released and I can say first hand, it is great. QTS 4.2 doesn’t just feature a refreshed user interface with a flat design, frameless media viewer and a general better browsing experience, it also comes with a row of new features and improvements.

A refined multimedia experience is provided thanks to the multi-zone multimedia controls that allow users to centrally manage media via various streaming protocols and services. The Photo Station got a major UI overhaul too while the HD Station got more useful apps with multilingual and multi-tasking support. The File Station adds remote connections to public cloud services and also shared folders from a remote NAS. myQNAPcloud provides a new dashboard for users to centrally manage multiple NAS with stronger security mechanisms such as myQNAPcloud ID control and SSL certificates.

The Storage Manager adds a snapshot tool for volume/LUN backup and restoration. Several enhancements are included to improve business efficiency and performance such as SSD cache acceleration, QJBOD (JBOD enclosure roaming), cloud sync support for Google Drive and Dropbox. QTS 4.2 also introduces an industry-leading hybrid virtualization solution allowing users to run complete OS VMs with Virtualization Station and lightweight virtualization with Container Station that supports both LXC and Docker. Fewer restrictions and more options are both things we all appreciate. QNAP also added several security mechanisms to ensure data security, including 2-step verification, shared folder encryption, instant notifications to mobile devices, and VPN server with L2TP/IPsec support.

As a storage reviewed it also happens that I’m currently reviewing a QNAP NAS and had the chance to try the new QTS 4.2 myself in its final version, and it is great. It will take you about 2 minutes to get used to the new look after which you’ll love it.

Compatible QNAP models:

  • 24-bay: SS-EC2479U-SAS-RP, TS-EC2480U-RP, TVS-EC2480U-SAS-RP
  • 18-bay: SS-EC1879U-SAS-RP
  • 16-bay: TVS-EC1680U-SAS-RP, TS-EC1680U-RP, TS-EC1679U-SAS-RP, TS-EC1679U-RP, TS-1679U-RP
  • 15-bay: TVS-EC1580MU-SAS-RP
  • 12-bay: SS-EC1279U-SAS-RP, TVS-EC1280U-SAS-RP, TVS-1271U-RP, TS-EC1280U-RP, TS-EC1279U-SAS-RP, TS-EC1279U-RP, TS-1279U-RP, TS-1270U-RP, TS-1269U-RP, TS-1253U-RP, TS-1253U, TS-1263U-RP, TS-1263U
  • 10-bay: TS-1079 Pro, TVS-EC1080+, TVS-EC1080, TS-EC1080 Pro
  • 8-bay: TVS-EC880, TVS-871U-RP, TVS-871, TVS-870, TVS-863+, TVS-863, TS-EC880U-RP, TS-EC880 Pro, TS-EC879U-RP, TS-879U-RP, TS-879 Pro, TS-870U-RP, TS-870 Pro, TS-870, TS-869U-RP, TS-869L, TS-869 Pro, TS-859U-RP+, TS-859U-RP, TS-859 Pro+, TS-859 Pro, TS-853U-RP, TS-853U, TS-853S Pro, TS-853 Pro, TS-851, SS-839 Pro, TVS-871T, TS-863U-RP, TS-863U
  • 6-bay: TVS-671, TVS-670, TVS-663, TS-670 Pro, TS-670, TS-669L, TS-669 Pro, TS-659 Pro+, TS-659 Pro II, TS-659 Pro, TS-653 Pro, TS-651, TS-639 Pro
  • 5-bay: TS-569L, TS-569 Pro, TS-563, TS-559 Pro+, TS-559 Pro II, TS-559 Pro
  • 4-bay: TVS-471U-RP, TVS-471U, TVS-471, TVS-470, TVS-463, TS-470U-SP, TS-470U-RP, TS-470 Pro, TS-470, TS-469U-SP, TS-469U-RP, TS-469L, TS-469 Pro, TS-459U-RP+/SP+, TS-459U-RP/SP, TS-459 Pro+, TS-459 Pro II, TS-459 Pro, TS-453U-RP, TS-453U, TS-453S Pro, TS-453mini, TS-453 Pro, TS-451U, TS-451S, TS-451, TS-439U-RP/SP, TS-439 Pro II+, TS-439 Pro II, TS-439 Pro, TS-431U, TS-431+, TS-431, TS-421U, TS-421, TS-420U, TS-420-D, TS-420, TS-419U+, TS-419U II, TS-419U, TS-419P+, TS-419P II, TS-419P, TS-412U, TS-412, TS-410U, TS-410, SS-439 Pro, IS-400 Pro, TS-463U-RP, TS-463U
  • 2-bay: TS-269L, TS-269H, TS-269 Pro, TS-259 Pro+, TS-259 Pro, TS-253 Pro, TS-251C, TS-251, TS-239H, TS-239 Pro II+, TS-239 Pro II, TS-239 Pro, TS-231+, TS-231, TS-221, TS-220, TS-219P+, TS-219P II, TS-219P, TS-219, TS-212P, TS-212-E, TS-212, TS-210, HS-251, HS-210
  • 1-bay: TS-131, TS-121, TS-120, TS-119P+, TS-119P II, TS-119, TS-112P, TS-112, TS-110

Has the PlayStation 4 Update 3.0 Made Some Games Unplayable?

Sony released its new firmware update for the PlayStation 4 this week, version 3.0, which introduced user enhancements, Twitter video sharing capabilities, YouTube streaming refinements, and a dedicated PlayStation Plus section. However, reports have emerged from PS4 users on reddit and gaming forums that the update has stopped the console from running certain games.

One reddit user complained:

“Since updating this morning, my system refuses to start disc based games past the game’s initial boot screen where returning to the home screen is disabled. The only way out of this hang is to pull the plug because if I use the power menu and shut down it will sit there infinitely with the flashing white LED and do nothing. Download games work fine, discs do not. Rebuilt the database now three times with zero results, reinstalled the update now four times with zero difference.”

Other users have echoed the problem above, with some suggesting that uninstalling and reinstalling games solves the issue in some cases.

The reported problems are only anecdotal at present, with no official acknowledgement from Sony on the matter, but if the problem proves to be as widespread as user testimony seems to suggest, the company is sure to patch it soon.

Thank you SegmentNext for providing us with this information.

Intel 750 Series SSD Firmware Update Improves Boot Times

Intel’s 750 series SSD incorporates astonishingly high read/write speeds but encountered slow boot times compared to traditional SATA storage devices. Thankfully, Intel has released a firmware update today which addresses the prolonged boot problems. To upgrade your SSD to the latest version, all you have to is download the Intel Solid-State Drive Data Center Tool. Once downloaded, launch the installer and you should encounter much more consistent boot speeds.

However, PCIe drives require a longer period to initialize and it’s highly doubtful if the boot speeds will match SATA SSDs. Despite this, the drive’s extra few seconds on boot isn’t going to be a major issue as NVME SSDs are mainly used for professional situations and these machines are on for days at a time. I’m also pleased to see Intel addressing this and PCIe SSDs offer such an enormous performance boost that they could replace SATA drives in the future. Although, the average end-user isn’t going to notice a distinct difference in consumer tasks like games.

If you’re interested in a 750 series SSD, feel free to check out our comprehensive review here

What size of SSD do you currently have and is it M.2, SATA or PCIe?

Thank you The Tech Report for providing us with this information.

D-Link Inadvertently Publishes Its Private Code-Signing Keys

Hackers are viewed within the media and by films as master genius’s who are able to hack into protected systems with the intention of stealing a vast array of information. There is some truth in this assertion considering even multinational companies have been caught napping by cyber thieves, but, what happens if I don’t know, a tech firm accidentally publishes its private signing keys? Well, D-Link has managed to do this in what is known scientifically as stupididiotness.

Taiwan-based networking equipment manufacturer D-Link has published its Private code signing keys inside the company’s open source firmware packages. This was spotted by a user by the username “bartvbl” who had bought a D-Link DCS-5020L security camera and downloaded the firmware from D-Link which open sources its firmware under the GPL license.

All seemed well for “bartvbl” until they inspected the source code, only to find four private keys which are used for code signing. To test this, the user-created a windows application which was able to be signed by one of the four keys which appeared to be valid. Not only this, the user also discovered pass-phrases which are needed to sign the software,

It is yet unclear if any of these keys were used in attacks by malicious third parties, meanwhile, D-Link has seen the light and has responded to this embarrassment by revoking the certificate in question and subsequently releasing a new version which does not contain any code signing keys, which is good.

Thank you tweakers via Google Translate for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of thehackernews.

NVIDIA Releases SHIELD and Tegra NOTE 7 Firmware Updates

NVIDIA has rolled out firmware updates for a number of its devices, including the SHIELD Portable, SHIELD Android TV (and TV Pro), and the Tegra NOTE 7, bringing with them a plethora of performance enhancements and an Android update.

The NVIDIA SHIELD Portable is receiving Software Upgrade 106, bringing with it security updates, NVIDIA button Voice Search for the SHIELD Hub, and a revision to the Start/Play button functionality that returns the same behaviour as with KitKat.

Update 1.4 for Android TV implements optimisation for a host of new apps and games. The full list of apps and games follows:

New Apps

  • FXNOW – Watch critically acclaimed dramas, hit comedies, and blockbuster movies.
  • WWE Network – Get WWE pay-per-view LIVE plus WWE on-demand collection.
  • Fox Sports Go – Enjoy live sports and great shows from FOX Sports.
  • CBS Sports – Watch sports content for NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, Golf and more.
  • CBS News – Watch 24/7 video news plus on-demand programs like 60 minutes.
  • The Weather Network – Weather information and forecast details at your fingertips.

New Games

  • This War of Mine – You play as a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city.
  • Xenowerk – A top-down action shooter in an underground science lab.
  • Windward – An action-filled multiplayer sandbox game that puts you in control of a ship.
  • Killing Floor: Calamity – A re-imagined Arcade Shooter version of the original Killing Floor.
  • Flyhunter Origins – A sci-fi platformer game developed by former Pixar artists.
  • Twin Runners 2 – A stunning and very challenging try and die game.
  • Pure Pool – The most authentic Pool experience from the comfort of your couch.

The Tegra Note 7 is getting the 3.0.0 OTA Firmware, which improves overall performance and stability. Since it’s “Over-the-Air”, there is no need for a manual download, but a recovery image for the Tegra NOTE 7 LTE can be downloaded here.

Image courtesy of NVIDIA.

Researchers Create Silent Mac Worm

Macs have often be heralded as safe, or rather safer than Windows PC’s. This has often been accredited to the fact that unlike windows, developing applications on a Mac requires you have a particular license. With fewer people able to program, it is said to lead to even fewer people programming nasty stuff. In a recent study Mac, OS and iOS actually came up as more vunerable than Windows, once again attacking at this belief that Windows based systems are the most dangerous computers to own. Ahead of a presentation though, Xeno Kovah, Trammell Hudson and Corey Kallenberg have demonstrated that Mac’s are still vulnerable to the same problems windows PCs suffer from.

Firmware is the software in your computer that controls how it interacts with the hardware you own, so for example when you buy a new USB stick and it starts to download the drivers, these are examples of firmware. The problem being that most security systems don’t check these while wiping your computer and reinstalling your operating system will not touch the firmware, they will still be present on your computer. In this example it means you could be sent to a site to download drivers to help you play your latest game, and along comes a virus that will hide in plain sight and probably not get picked up by your security software, meaning you’ve installed a virus over the internet and won’t even know about it till it’s too late.

The researchers have alerted Apple and they have already fixed one vulnerability and are working on the next now.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

PlayStation 4 Gets New Hack That Allows Users to Install Pirated Games

As security measures and tech advances, so do methods to take them down or work around them. This is the case for a new hack recently discovered for Sony’s PlayStation 4 consoles, which allows users to install pirated games on their consoles.

Reports say that the hack might be coming from a Russian Website that Brazilian retailers use to install games on customers’ PS4 consoles, charging between $100 and $150 for 10 games and $15 for extra games, should they choose to get more than 10.

Sony was faces with a similar hack for its PS3 consoles, but the method used on the PS4 appears to be different. Unlike the PS3 hack which required users to have a modified firmware to allow installation and play of pirated content, the PS4 version seems to use some sort of NAN/BIOS cloning that will keep Sony scans from shutting you down.

The war on piracy has been raging on for ages now, but there’s still a long way to go before it will end (if ever). However, though it has been mentioned before, it is useless to use a lot of funds to try to take down piracy methods due to the fact that other ones will just crop up in their place again. Nevertheless, Sony will not turn a blind eye to this hack and will eventually find a way to plug it as it did with the PS3.

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information

Samsung Released Magician 4.6 and New EVO 840 Firmware

Samsung has released the new Magician version 4.6 software as well as the latest firmware for the EVO 840 SSD that should resolve the performance issues once and for all. But you should be aware of a couple of things before you apply the patch and update.

There are mixed feelings between both users and professionals in how far this actually is a fix or not. One thing is for certain, it will restore the performance of your drive back to the original.

First let us take a little trip back and revisit what this bug actually is, what it does, and what the previous fixes did and didn’t do. The issue was with files that were older than 6 months without being modified and those files would result in incredible slow reading speeds, at times even slower than mechanical drives.

At first the issue was ignored and when it was acknowledged, we did get a fix after a while. That first fix was called the Samsung SSD 840 EVO Performance restoration tool and it looked like it was working the way it was supposed to.

The Performance Restoration tool restored the performance back to the old and most users were happy, but not for that long. The issue resurfaced again about half a year later with users reporting of new slow downs. Thanks to the internet with forums, Reddit, and technology sites such as us reporting and investigating the issue, Samsung couldn’t just ignore it.

They took their thinking caps back on and came up with the current fix, a new firmware and a new Magician software with refresh function.

The update is being released as a staged rollout, meaning that the servers limit the amount of possible downloads and you might get a timeout or message that no new firmware is available. This is a normal way to release firmware for such a crucial component as a storage drive. It makes sure that any possible new bugs only affect a small percentage of users before it can be fixed, or the download halted again. The new firmware is the EXT0DB6Q where you currently probably run either the B or C version.

So why is this both a fix and not a fix at the same time you may ask. As it is, it isn’t a fix at all. But it keeps an eye on the symptoms and refreshes the files when it happens and on a schedule. It doesn’t actually fix the issue, it only puts a temporary band-aid on it. You will get the performance back that the drive should have, but you’ll also put extra wear and tear on your drive with regular refreshing processes.

The common rule is as always: if it works fine for you and you don’t notice speed drops, just leave it. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. If you do wish to apply the new fix, then head right on over to Samsung’s official download site and grab the Samsung Magician 4.6 software. The new firmware can be downloaded through the Magician tool.

Final Fix for Samsung EVO 840 Slow-Down Bug Is Upon Us

You might remember the Samsung slow-down bug that plagued the EVO 840 drive last year, the one that we thought already had been fixed. And it had, at least for some people, other still reported the bug to happen despite applying the patch.

The good news is that Samsung now have fixed the issue completely in a new firmware and it doesn’t even need the extra restoration tool that it did the first time. Whether you have tried the previous fixes or your drive is as it came out of the box, you just have to flash the new firmware and the drive will work as it should.

“Samsung revised the firmware algorithm to maintain consistency in performance for old data under exceptional circumstances. Therefore, read performance was restored without the need for Magician. This algorithm is based on a periodic refresh feature that can maintain the read performance of this older data. The algorithm does not affect normal user scenarios (i.e. occasional PC performance degradation due to background work of SSD) or the lifespan of an SSD and can actively maintain its performance without the help of Magician. However, this algorithm does not operate when the power is off.”

You’ll have to have a little more patience as the new firmware won’t be available until “later this month”, but at least it is coming. The guys over at PC Perspective had their hands on the beta version of Magician 4.6 and the new EXT0DB6Q firmware to test how this pans out in the real world and outside of Samsung’s own laboratories. They can confirm that it actually does work and restores the drive to the performance it should have.

Samsung struck a double-deal with their fix as it works by having a firmware that does its own periodic refreshing of data, along with an Advanced Performance Optimization that can be triggered from within Samsung SSD Magician. This is basically the same effect as a defrag where data strings will be placed together, resulting in a better performing drive.

A sad side to this news is that Samsung still ignores issues with their other TLC SSDs such as the plain 840 SSD that has the same issues. But we can hope that they’ll release a fix for those drives at a later time.

Thank you PC Perspective for providing us with this information.

Thecus Releases New Firmware Update for ThecusOS 5.0

Thecus just released a firmware update for the ThecusOS 5.0 software that runs on its NAS servers. The new version 2.05.08 addresses several vulnerabilities and exposures and updates some features.

The new version 2.05.08 is compatible with the following NAS servers:

  • N16000, N12000, N16000PRO, N12000PRO, N16000V, N12000V, N8900V, N8900
  • N6850, N8850, N10850
  • N7710, N7710-G, N8810, N8810-G, N7700PROV2, N8800PROV2
  • N2800, N4510U, N4510UPRO, N4800, N4800ECO, N5550, N7510

Also from the press release:

The newest version, 2.05.08, includes Disk Clone and Wipe for seamless data replication and destruction, enhanced security with VPN server and Kodi (select devices) for optimal media streaming. Also included is support for 4K native HDD, VAAI UNMAP, VPN and PPTPclient/server as well as compatibility with D-Link’s DXE-810S 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ adapter.

Updates for 2efsprogs (1.42.12), Xfsprogs (3.2.2), Thecus ID wording, and Linux kernel (3.10.66) are available along with improvements for the booting process, IE browser and WD60EFRX compatibility, and Japanese UI language.

Several vulnerabilities and exposures are also addressed with the new firmware including email notification password, jumbo frame, Samba Recycle Bin and share folders, as well as several other issues that are described in the release notes included with the download.

The new firmware is now available to download direct from the Thecus website (here). As is always recommended, backup all data before updating to the new firmware to avoid any data loss.

Voice Messaging Feature Arrives This April for the Xbox One

Microsoft is planning to get a voice messaging feature up and running on its Xbox One, which is due to arrive with the new firmware this April. Xbox One dashboard preview testers are said to be able to test the new feature this week, having them be the first to leave audio clips in their friends’ inboxes.

An interesting aspect of this feature is that it will allow Xbox One as well as Xbox 360 owners to exchange voice messages. Aside from the latter, Microsoft is said to be adding a new ‘What’s On’ section for the dashboard that would feature games and series tailored to a user’s preferences, as well as providing dedicated servers for users struggling with party chat connections.

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

New PS4 Firmware Brings Suspend/Resume and USB Backup Functions

Sony is releasing a long-overdue software update for the PlayStation 4, which will include the oft-promised suspend/resume function, plus the ability to backup and restore user settings and data via an external USB drive.

The 2.50 system update, codenamed ‘Yukimura’, brings the suspend/resume function that was promised to accompany the PS4’s launch back in 2013. It allows gamers to set their console to hibernate during gameplay with a push of the console’s power button. Another push, and the PS4 boots back up, allowing the player to resume their game right where they left it.

The second notable feature is the USB backup function. All user data and saved games can be backed up to an external USB drive so that if the machine breaks, or the user wants to move data to another PS4 console, it can be done through the USB drive.

The update also brings new social features, such as linking your PS4 account with Facebook so you can see which of your Facebook friends share the same console as you, game recommendations with the “Friends Who Play This” option, and gameplay clip uploads to DailyMotion.

The 2.50 system update for PlayStation 4 is due to go live on 26th March.

Source: The Verge

Playstation 4 2.50 Firmware Reduces the Suspend/Resume Time

It looks like Sony has been working in getting players into their game faster with its latest 2.50 firmware update for the Playstation 4. A beta tester has released a video from Vimeo showing the new feature in action.

It is said that players now wait only 15 seconds to reload or resume the Grand Theft Auto 5 title after the console has been suspended. It is not lightning-fast speed, but it does look like Sony might be heading in the right direction and cutting time spent in loading up users’ games. The question is, will it be able to achieve a better time?

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

PS4 2.04 Firmware Update Suffering CE-32937-4 and SU-30709-9 Errors

Users have reported two specific errors while attempting to download the 2.04 PlayStation 4 firmware update. The SU-30709-9 error happens before the download begins, while the CE-32937-4 error halts the download after it has started. It is advised that users do not attempt to download the update until the issue is fixed.

Sony engineers are currently working on the problem, so it should be resolved soon:

Source: Gamechup

QNAP Updates Mobile NAS QGenie with File Station Lite and FTP Server

QNAP’s QGenie pocket NAS and power bank is an awesome little device and now it just got better with the latest firmware for it, version 3.2.0. It adds File Station Lite and support for FTP servers.

“We are pleased to introduce File Station Lite for QGenie. It provides a simple way for users to upload, download, and share a large number of files to and from their QGenie,” said Hanz Sung, product manager of QNAP, adding “File Station Lite is a great utility for easily managing the files on a QGenie from a web browser, and by adding this new feature we hope that every QGenie user can take full advantage of its file management to enhance their digital life.”

FTP transfers were one of the few things missing from this little device so far, and that has also been added – making it even easier to transfer files to your PCs and other devices.

QGeneie Firmware 3.2.0 can be downloaded from the official support site.

Thanks to QNAP for providing us with this information

Belkin Firmware Update Crashing Routers

A firmware update pushed last night from Belkin through to customers using older routers has sent router connections into a spiral of crashes and disconnects.  The firmware update reportedly caused a mass interruption of services, with the company working fast to resolve the malfunctioning firmware. For almost a day many consumers using older model Belkin routers were unable to establish a connection with other networks – successfully sending packet information but failing to receive. Forum boards exploded with diagnosis’ and explanations as to what went wrong – with workarounds through DNS manual adjustment assisting people’s connections and getting them back online.

The positive light is that Belkin worked overtime to resolve the issue, and updated their support page as progress was made through correcting the botched firmware update. A transcript of the support blog reads:

Update – We have identified a workaround that will enable some users to get back online. The workaround requires that you set a static DNS address on the device trying to access the internet. Below are some steps to do this on the most popular devices:

iOS
First, enable WiFi on your device and connect to the WiFi network you want to use. Then, tap the blue arrow button on the right side of the network name to tweak its settings. Now, select the DNS field and enter 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4. Separate different DNS addresses with commas

Android
Open the Settings on the device.
Select “Wi-Fi”.
Long press your current network, then select “Modify network”.
Mark “Show advanced options” check box.
Change “IP settings” to “Static”
Add the DNS servers 8.8.8.8 to the “DNS 1”, and 8.8.4.4 “DNS 2” fields.
Press “Save” button, disconnect from the network, and reconnect for changes to take effect.

Windows
Begin by clicking Windows Logo > Control Panel.
Click Network and Internet.
Click on Network & Sharing Center.
Click the name of the connection you wish the edit, to the right of Connections.
Click Properties.
Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
Click the radio button next to Use the following DNS server addresses:. This will allow you to enter the DNS server addresses.
The DNS addresses are as follows:
Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8
Alternate DNS server: 8.8.4.4
Click OK on each of the windows and close the Control Panel. Your computer is now configured to use statically assigned DNS server addresses.
Mac OSX
You’ll need to first head into the System Preferences…
Then click on the Network icon…
Then you’ll want to select your network card on the left—you’ll see in my example that I’ve got an AirPort card—and then select the Advanced button near the bottom right corner.
Once you’re there, switch over to the DNS tab, and you can start adding in DNS entries into the list. If you see entries that are grayed out, just ignore them, and click the + symbol at the bottom to add new ones.
You can add the following two items to the list:
8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4
Oct 7, 10:49 PDT

If you happened to have had any outages with your Belkin router – let us know! To all you tech heads out there – remember to lend a hand to any friends or family members who you know might be in a spot of bother with their connection. Having a dead Internet connection is never a fun experience for anyone!

Thanks to Belkin for providing us with this information.

New PlayStation 4 Update Incoming, Finally Adding More Media Features

A fresh leak has escaped from the Sony camp and while I always take rumours with a pinch of salt, it does come from a reliable source. Tidux broke the news on Twitter around the same time that Fed Dutton, SCEE Representative teased something similar on the PlayStation Blog, that the PlayStation 4 firmware would be getting an update very soon, bringing with it a range of features, many of which exist on the PlayStation 3, but not on the PlayStation 4. So can we finally expect DLNA network streaming, MP3 playback and 3D Blu-Ray support? I hope so!

When pushed for more details on Twitter, Tidux responded that we can expected something before or around GamesCom, which makes sense given that the show is only next month and Sony would like to have some announcements for the show. With Microsoft revealing that 3D Blu-Ray support will be hitting the Xbox One, it’s likely that Sony will be looking to follow suit ASAP to stay ahead of the game.

Thank you Gamepur for providing us with this information.

Xbox One Update Brings More GPU Bandwidth and Better Performance Ratios

The Microsoft Xbox One update released this week is said to bring features such as extended hard drive support, Twitter, HBO Go and other social media applications, along with other significant tweaks and updates. According to a tweet from Microsoft’s executive, Phil Spencer, the new Xbox One update surprisingly brings more GPU bandwidth to the Xbox One along with additional features aimed at developers as well.

The continuous dispute between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One performance since their launch last year has not affected Microsoft is any way, having the company telling developers to make the most of its performance. With this performance boost, which is about a 10% increase, Microsoft is apparently giving developers the ability to “choose how they want to utilize the extra GPU performance”.

A statement from a Microsoft representative however might shed some light on how the performance boost is achieved, reading that the update “will include new options for how developers can use the system reserve as well as more flexibility in our natural user interface reserve (voice and gesture).” This might point to the fact that developers should deliberately stop using Kinect and gesture technology in order to further boost game performance.

Whether the boost is achieved by slicing Kinect features or just by improving the drivers, Xbox One users will be happy either way with the performance boost.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

Western Digital Release System Update for My Cloud EX4 NAS

When I took a look at Western Digital’s My Cloud EX4 NAS a few months back I found the system to be a strong contender in the SOHO and SMB markets, offering up not only the ability to access your data from anywhere on the globe with the confidence that it is not being scanned by any third parties, but also the security of redundant storage. Whilst the EX4 has heaps of features on offer, the local network performance that was experienced left the EX4 a little behind other 4-bay systems in the same market segment.

Since our review on the EX4, Western Digital have been continuing to improve the My Cloud range and for the EX4 this has meant a major firmware update. Granted this is not something that I would normally cover in a news article, but for the EX4, WD state that the performance increase that is on offer from the update is quite considerable, bringing the system up and in line with the systems that previously left it standing behind. In addition to the read and write performance experienced over the network, the update also pays attention to the reliability of network connections, correcting the issue where some users were observing dropped connections when working remotely, better sustained file transfer rates, faster backups, faster build and recovery times of the systems RAID array(s) and finally improved CPU utilisation to improve the overall speed of the admin panel.

The firmware update is being rolled out to EX4 systems with a flag that a the new firmware revision is available for download, or alternatively users can download the latest firmware directly from WD at http://support.wd.com/product/download.asp?groupid=905&lang=en.

Source: Press Release