AMD Scores Apple Mac Design Wins with Polaris

After many fruitful years of partnerships with Apple, AMD is reportedly continuing the relationship with their latest Polaris based GPUs. Apple has alternated MacBook Pro suppliers between Nvidia and AMD in the past but tended towards AMD more with the Mac Pro. According to the source, the performance per watt of 14nm Polaris combined with the performance per dollar of the chips is what sold Apple.

AMD has long pursued a strategy os using smaller and more efficient chips to combat their biggest rival Nvidia. Prior to GCN, AMD tended to have smaller flagships that sipped less power and had lesser compute abilities. This all changed around with GCN where AMD focused on compute more while Nvidia did the opposite. This lead to Nvidia topping the efficiency charts and combined with their marketing soared in sales. If the rumours are true, Polaris 10 will be smaller than GP104, its main competitor.

With Polaris, AMD should be able to regain the efficiency advantage with both the move to 14nm and the new architecture. We may see Polaris based Macs as soon as WWDC in June, just after the cards launch at Computex. In addition to a ‘superior’ product, AMD is also willing to cut their margins a bit more in order to get a sale as we saw with the current-gen consoles. Perhaps, is AMD plays their cards well, we may see Zen Macs as well.

Patriot Viper V360 PC Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Patriot, a company better known for their high-end memory products are branching out into the gaming world. Today, we have the all new Viper V360 7.1 Virtual Surround Headset in the eTeknix office and given that it’s the first headset from Patriot, we’re certainly eager to see what it can do. Patriot hasn’t gone too crazy with this one, keeping to a budget-friendly end of the market that it’s sure to be easier for them to compete in, giving how fierce some of the more established brands dominate the premium end of the market; it makes sense to walk before you can run.

The Patriot V360 7.1 virtual surround sound gaming headset is designed to provide an enhanced PC gaming experience. Engineered with a closed back and ergonomic ear cups, the V360 blocks out environmental noise and fits comfortably over the ears to keep you relaxed and focused on your game longer. Experience Patriot’s revolutionary Ultra Bass Response (UBR) system; simply flip a switch to enable two powerful subwoofers and achieve even the lowest sound frequencies. Backed by Patriot’s award winning customer service and a two-year warranty the V360 is compatible with nearly every Windows operating system, including Windows 10 and Mac OS X, or higher.” – Patriot

Equipped with powerful 40mm Neodymium magnet drivers, as well as 30mm sub-drivers, a good quality omnidirectional microphone, and a 2.2 meter long braided USB cable, it’s certainly ticking all the right boxes for a good gaming headset. Let’s take a quick look at the Patriot product preview video and then we’ll move on and take a closer look.

A nicely designed box, with a clear image, the specifications and a side window for a sneaker look at the overall design.

While around the back, you’ll find a quick rundown of the main features, such as the UBR switch and LED lighting.

In the box, you’ll find a nice protective pouch for the headset, as well as a small envelope.

In the envelope, there’s a product guide, quick start guide, and a few cool stickers; nothing too crazy, but it’s always nice to have a few small extras.

KeRanger Mac Ransomware Flaw May Allow Recovery of Files

A few days ago, KeRanger, the first Mac ransomware found in the wild was discovered. Now, according to researchers from antivirus firm Bitdefender, KeRanger turned out to be based on a previous piece of ransomware known as Linux.Encoder, which emerged late last year, targeting Linux-based web servers.

The advantage to this is that Linux.Encoder possessed flaws in its cryptographic implementation for at least the first three versions, which allowed Bitdefender’s researchers to develop tools that could decrypt the files affected by the malware. According to Bogdan Botezatu, senior e-threat analyst at Bitdefender, even the latest version of Linux.Encoder (4), has the same flaws that affected the previous versions.

“The infected Mac OS X torrent client update analyzed by Bitdefender Labs looks virtually identical to version 4 of the Linux.Encoder Trojan that has been infecting thousands of Linux servers since the beginning of 2016,” Bitdefender researchers stated in a blog post published on Tuesday. The result of this is that KeRanger also contains the same broken cryptographic implementation.

Bitdefender is yet to publish a tool able to decrypt KeRanger affected files, however, development of such a tool is under consideration, should the demand be sufficient.

The purpose behind KeRanger still remains to be seen, considering the great lengths that those responsible for it have gone to, including stealing a legitimate Apple developer’s certificate and hacking into a popular and trusted open source project’s website, if the ransomware they were distributing had such a crucial known weakness. Whether a newer, more dangerous version of KeRanger will appear in the future could be quite likely, however, those affected by its current iteration should be thankful that this incident was not more serious.

First Mac-Targetting Ransomware Appears in the Wild

Despite the rising amount of ransomware attacks recently, Apple’s Mac OSX has so far remained unaffected by it. Unfortunately, for Mac-users, security firm Palo Alto Networks announced on Sunday that it had discovered the world’s first ransomware that is aimed at OSX computers. Now named “KeRanger”, the malware was discovered through a rogue version of the popular Transmission BitTorrent client.

KeRanger was first noticed on Saturday on the Transmission forums, where some users posted unusual reports that copies of Transmission downloaded from the main site were infected with malware. This means that the Transmission site itself was compromised, as the KeRanger infected versions of the client were served over an HTTP connection instead of the usual HTTPS used for the remainder of the website. Transmission later published a message stating that: “Everyone running 2.90 on OS X should immediately upgrade to 2.91 or delete their copy of 2.90, as they may have downloaded a malware-infected file.”

When a computer is infected with the KeRanger ransomware, through installing a compromised version of Transmission, the installer runs an embedded executable file on the system. It then waits 3 days before connecting to its command and control (C2) servers over the Tor anonymizer network. From there, it begins the process of encrypting certain types of files and documents on the system before issuing a demand of one bitcoin (around $400) to a specific address in order to restore access to their files. The current version of KeRanger was also reported to still be under development, with future iterations of the malware potentially able to encrypt Time Machine backups too, in order to prevent restoration.

It was only a matter of time before ransomware came to the Mac, however, it is worrying how vulnerable usually trustworthy open source projects are to unwillingly carrying malware. While the infected version of Transmission has since been pulled from their site, if you believe you have been infected, Palo Alto Networks’ report includes steps on how to identify and remove KeRanger.

Palmer Luckey Comments On Why Oculus Rift Doesn’t Support Mac

It would seem like Mac-using fans of the Oculus Rift may just be out of luck. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey spoke to ShackNews at an Xbox event and had some harsh comments about the popular Apple computers. His response to the question of whether the upcoming Oculus Rift would ever be compatible with Mac OS was simply “That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it.”

While this may immediately seem like a comment aimed squarely at insulting Macs, it actually refers to Apple’s reluctance to utilize high-performance GPUs in their computers, instead settling for the anemic Intel integrated chipsets in the majority of their computers.

“You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn’t match our recommended specs,” Luckey stated. “So if they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it.”

The result is that despite the high cost of Macs pricing them at or above many powerful gaming PCs capable of handling VR. Regular and power users simply do not need the power of high-end GPUs and a Mac capable of handling the Rift would likely just inflate the price even further. Will Apple ever make a Mac capable of handling the Oculus Rift, or other VR headsets? It seems likely,  as they wouldn’t want to be left behind the curve on VR and AR products, though whether they later come out with their own specialist hardware instead of compatibility with existing products remains to be seen.

Sony Brings PS4 Remote Play Streaming to PC and Mac

Streaming is becoming ever more a necessary feature and Sony is expanding the number of compatible devices for the PS4. Starting with the PS4 System Update Version 3.5, PS4s will now be able to stream to PC and Mac devices access an in-home network. The new feature will hit beta very quickly and will roll out to the rest of the PS4 install base by the end of the month.

Before this update, Sony had only allowed PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV as well as certain Xperia phones, all Sony made, to utilize the streaming feature. By expanding to all PC and Mac devices, Sony will be able to counter Microsoft’s move last year that enabled streaming Xbox One games to Windows 10 and Valve’s own Steam streaming. In fact, Sony’s system is more flexible than Microsoft as it is not limited to just Windows 10, but all PCs and Macs assuming they can run the application.

With the big 2 console makers already in on the streaming game, one could expect that the Nintendo NX will probably allow for streaming as well. Of course, streaming still requires a robust home network with good WiFi speeds and high-speed router. What application that playing device needs remains to be seen.

PlayStation 4 3.50 Update Introduces PC and Mac Remote Play

Sony has revealed its latest firmware update for PlayStation 4 – version 3.50, codenamed MUSASHI – which is getting a beta release tomorrow. While the update introduces new social features, such as notifications when your friends come online and the option to appear invisible, but the most exciting addition is the ability to Remote Play your PS4 on PC or Mac.

Full list of updates and new features:

New Social Features

  • Friend Online Notification – Want to know the moment your friends come online? With this update, you can, as we’ve added an option to be notified when members of your friends list sign on the network.
  • Appear Offline – Sometimes you want to play a game or watch a movie without being bothered by friends. Now it’s easier to go incognito as we’ve added the option to appear offline. You can designate if you would like to appear offline when you log-in or at any time from your Profile or the Quick Menu.
  • User Scheduled Event – Time for a play date! We’ve added the ability to schedule a future gameplay session with your friends on the system. When your event starts, users who registered for the event will automatically be added to a party so you can start playing right away.
  • Play Together – This features allows all members of a Party to see what each person is playing so that you can easily join a friend’s game, or start a new game together.

Other New System Features

  • Remote Play (PC/Mac) – We’re bringing PS4 Remote Play to Windows PC and Mac. This feature won’t be available to test in the beta, but you can look forward to it soon.

  • Dailymotion – With this update, you’ll be able to live stream directly to Dailymotion on PS4. We’ll also support archiving live broadcasts, like we do for other streaming services.

 

 

Mac Malware Implies HackingTeam Has Returned

HackingTeam has been quiet recently, following the hack against them last July that revealed embarrassing amounts of their private data, emails, and code. Now researchers have discovered a piece of newly developed malware affecting the Mac OSX operating system that has led to a belief that the group has returned.

A sample of the malware was uploaded to Google’s VirusTotal scanning service on the 4th of February which at the time wasn’t detected by any major anti-virus products (now according to Ars Technica, it is detected by 10 out of 56 AV services.) SentinelOne researcher Pedro Vilaça demonstrated on Monday some functions of the malware which was shown to last be updated around October or November with an embedded encryption key dated October 16th. The malware works by installing a copy of HackingTeam’s Remote Code Systems compromise platform, with these two pieces of evidence implying that the malware is built upon old and unexceptional code from the team, instead of the entirely new code that the group promised they would return with following their compromise.

“HackingTeam is still alive and kicking but they are still the same crap morons as the e-mail leaks have shown us,” Vilaça wrote. “If you are new to OS X malware reverse engineering, it’s a nice sample to practice with. I got my main questions answered so for me there’s nothing else interesting about this. After the leak I totally forgot about these guys :-).”

Another examination of the sample by Patrick Wardle, a Mac security expert at Synack, found that while the malware appears to be built upon the old HackingTeam code it has several tricks up its sleeve for evading detection. This includes using Apple’s native encryption scheme to protect its binary file, which is the first of its kind seen by Wardle.

Exactly how the malware gets installed is yet to be discovered, with top possibilities are users being deceived into installing it thinking it is benign software, or that it is bundled with another piece of malware that executes its installer. While this malware isn’t enough proof alone to show that HackingTeam is active again, Vilaça found through the Shodan search engine and a scan of the IP address in VirusTotal’s sample show that the control server has been active as recently as January, which means this malware, regardless of its origin, should be treated as more than a hoax.

Mac Update Disables Ethernet

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

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

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

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

Microsoft: Windows PCs ‘Do More’ Than Macs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of A New World Society.

What if McDonald’s Advertised like Apple?

 

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

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

“what happens when machinery meats meat”.

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

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

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

F.lux Coming To Android

There are certain pieces of software you just feel like you need. From using an email client like Outlook, or Office tools like Microsoft Office, there are some things you just have to install when you get a new PC. When it comes to the Office the same can be said, we’ve even written an article regarding the go-to software for remote team collaboration. One of the items on that list was F.lux, a piece of software that I have on a memory stick ready to install on any PC I own at a moments notice, it would seem that PC aren’t the only one to benefit though as it looks like the popular tool is coming to Android soon.

F.lux is simple in its premise. As you use a computer late into the night, the light in your house tends to get dimmer and you are left staring at a screen with no backing light up to the moment when you collapse in bed. F.lux runs in the background of your computer, adjusting your screen colours so that when you come to look away from your screen before sleep you are in “sleep mode”, where your brain is better suited to let you rest and sleep.

F.lux does this by altering information from your GPU, slowly removing blue from your screen, ultimately creating a more red “sunset” kinda appearance on your screen. I have been using f.lux for years now and can safely say that you don’t really notice the difference, except when you want to go to bed.

The problem is that we use so many devices these days, the creators behind f.lux have realised this and currently, if you head over to the forums, you can sign up to the beta program for the app on your phone. Say goodbye to the late nights because you’ve watched that “one more episode” on your phone before wanting to go to bed. Sadly though you will need a rooted device to take part in the beta, so maybe the app isn’t ready for everyone just yet.

Adobe Creative Cloud Bug Deletes User Data on Mac

A recently published update for the Adobe Creative Cloud graphics service has been pulled by Adobe following reports that the Mac version of the software may delete important user data with no warning.

Backblaze, a data backup service, has been hit hardest by the bug, with their official providing some insight into the issue. Whenever a user signs into the Adobe Creative Cloud service after the update, a script is run that automatically deletes the first folder found in the root directory of the Mac. Due to Backblaze’s reliance on a hidden folder named .bzvol, it has been hit harder than many other software or services, as this required folder is likely to be the first directory in the root.

In an email, Backblaze Marketing Manager Yev Pusin wrote “This caused a lot of our customers to freak out. The reason we saw a huge uptick from our customers is because Backblaze’s .bzvol is higher up the alphabet. We tested it again by creating a hidden file with an ‘.a’ name, and the files inside were removed as well.” A number of Backblaze officials have posted videos of the bug in action online. The only version that seems to be causing the unwanted deletions is 3.5.0.206.

Even those who don’t use the Backblaze service are suffering effects potentially dangerous to their system with the.DocumentRevisions-V100, which is required for Mac autosave and version history to function, being high up alphabetically. Folders with spaces are also at risk, and as a result, the data of users who store important files in them, with OSX sorting said folders to the top entry on the hard drive.

Adobe has already addressed the issue, with an Adobe spokesperson stating “We are aware that some customers have experienced this issue and we are investigating in order to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We are stopping the distribution of the update until the issue has been resolved.” Anyone who is yet to install the update should refrain from doing so, and those who have should avoid logging in to the service until a fix is published. For those who already have the update have a workaround available, by creating a folder sorted higher alphabetically than any other on the drive. An obvious example would be “.aaaaaa”, but Backblaze has suggested the more amusing “.adobedontdeletemybzvol.”

It is amazing how a bug this major can be allowed to go live without being spotted and there is always the possibility of sabotage with an unscrupulous employee or hacker hiding the script in the code. Until Adobe releases more news on the issue and a fix, we don’t know, but it should certainly make many users a lot more wary of the service.

Apple to Replace Faulty USB Type-C Cables

USB type-C seems great in theory, being more easily usable and set to be as universal as micro USB in future. Unfortunately, once again, problems have been found with the cables, this time, ones sold by Apple who has announced a replacement program for cables distributed between April and June 8th, 2015. This includes both the cables that shipped with the 12-inch Retina Macbook and those sold separately in Apple Stores.

According to Apple, the affected cables “may fail due to a design issue.” The result of this design issue is that “your MacBook may not charge or only charge intermittently when it’s connected to a power adapter with an affected cable.” Due to the limited set of cables that are to be replaced, it would seem that Apple has been selling revised cables for months, which makes you wonder why it took them so long to replace the faulty ones. Those customers who provided Apple with their address during either product registration or via the Apple online store are expected to be receiving replacement cables by the end of the month, with a replacement process set up for others affected. Users can visit the Genius Bar at an Apple Store, an authorized Apple service provider or contact Apple customer support, in all cases providing their MacBook’s serial number to prove eligibility for the program. For those who already purchased a replacement cable themselves, a refund may be available through Apple support. You can check whether your cable is one of those affected by the design issue using the image below.

This new design of USB cable is really running into a lot of teething trouble, as it seems like many manufacturers have failed to get them right first time, now including the mighty Apple, typically known for the reliability of their products. Maybe one day picking up a charging cable for your new phone or another device won’t seem like such a gamble, until then, many devices are still using the venerable micro USB.

ADATA Launches HD650X and HD710M USB 3.0 Hard Drives

We already had a little view on ADATA’s new drive line-up during our visit at CES 2016 in Vegas last month and now two of the new portable drives have been officially launched. The two new drives are both from the rugged series and can withstand quite a bit of mistreatment. The two newly launched drives are the HD650X designed for use with the Xbox 360 and Xbox One as well as the HD710M camouflage-styled drive.

The Xbox One currently ships with a 1TB hard drive built-in, but considering the fact that a game these days easily take up 50GB and subscribers keep getting games for free, that 1TB can quickly end up full and leave you with the decision on what to delete to make room for something else. That is where the ADATA HD650X comes into play as it adds 2TB extra storage directly to the gaming console via the USB 3.0 port. The colour scheme has also been made to match the console with its green and black. Being that this basically is a normal USB drive, it’s also compatible with Windows XP and newer as well as Mac OS X 10.6 or later and Linux Kernel 2.6 or later.

The ADATA HD710M is designed for general usage and comes in two capacity options: 1TB and 2TB. The camouflage coloured enclosure is made from the same concept that we’ve seen in previous models such as the HD720 that we recently reviewed. It is waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof to keep all your data as safe as possible. It doesn’t just have the basic IP6X cerification, but also the IPX8 and the US Army MIL-STD-810G 516.6 certification. These in combination allow the drive to be completely dust proof, extremly drop and shock resistant, and waterproof in up to 1.5 meters of water for an hour without damage to your drive or data.

ADATA didn’t reveal an official pricing, but you can expect these new drives to have a similar price to the other rugged ADATA HD drives already on the market.

Warner Brothers Scraps Plans For Batman: Arkham Knight Linux And Mac Versions

Batman: Arkham Knight will go down in history as one of the worst PC ports ever released. The PC version is marred by atrocious optimization with sudden frame-drops, bugs, instability and a host of other inexcusable problems. The reason behind this catastrophe revolves around money, and Warner Brothers decision to cut costs on the PC development. The publisher hired Iron Galaxy, a studio without much PC experience, and this clearly was a project which overwhelmed their small team. Since the game’s release, Warner Brothers has proudly proclaimed that the PC port is now a top priority, and promised to rectify the poor performance.

However, this doesn’t seem likely due to the abandonment of SLI support, and minor changes from the latest patches. Not only that, some reports have suggested that the latest patch has actually resulted in worse performance. As you can see, Batman: Arkham Knight is a shambles on the PC platform and for that reason, we’ve stopped using it for benchmarking purposes. It’s a terrible indicator of GPU performance, and there’s no consistency in the numbers whatsoever. According to a recent Steam post, the studio has cancelled plans to launch Mac and Linux versions. The announcement reads:

“We are very sorry to confirm that Batman: Arkham Knight will no longer be coming to Mac and Linux. If you have pre-ordered Batman: Arkham Knight for Mac or Linux, please apply for a refund via Steam.”

This is extraordinary and even though these operating systems are niche for PC gaming, it’s not doing Warner Brothers’ reputation any favours. Furthermore, SteamOS is slowly increasing in popularity, and it’s disappointing to see a major game remain exclusive to Windows. Although, I wouldn’t be too concerned because the Windows version barely functions and requires either luck or brute force to run properly. Warner Brothers hasn’t shown much respect for PC players of late and it’s a worrying trend.

ASUS Cerberus Gaming Peripherals Review – A Full Gaming Setup for Under £100!

Introduction


Picking the right gaming peripherals can be a tricky endeavour as there is a huge range of products from an equally large selection of gaming brands out there to choose from. Asus are one of the most established and recognisable gaming brands on the market today, and while they may be better known for their high-end graphics cards and motherboards, they’ve proven time and time again that they can make some great gaming peripherals too.

Today we’ll be taking a look at their Cerberus range, a budget friendly but feature packed range of peripherals that are sure to appeal to a wide range of PC gamers. We’ve got a mouse, a headset and a keyboard here today and what’s great about these devices is that all of them can be picked up for a total under £100, making them an attractive option for those on a tighter budget, with the added peace of mind of them being from a well-established brand name.

As you can see below, we’ve got a well-equipped membrane keyboard, with macro keys, LED lighting and more. As well as an optical mouse, which features an ambidextrous design, adjustable DPI and LED lighting. Finally, a powerful gaming headset equipped with 60mm drivers, support for PC, Man and PS4 and a detachable microphone. All of which can be snapped up for a total of just £96.89 (prices from Overclockers UK).

Cerberus Keyboard – LED backlit USB gaming keyboard with splash-proof design

  • Full SECC metal plate – Rugged durability
  • Splash-proof design with drain hole – Protects against spilled liquids
  • 12 macro keys – Tactical flexibility
  • Fully rubberized feet – Enhanced friction for strong movements
  • Price – £39.95

For more information, check out the official product page here.

Cerberus Mouse – Ambidextrous optical gaming mouse with four-stage DPI switch and convenient LED indicator

  • Agile DPI control – Four customizable DPI levels with an LED color indicator
  • Stylish ambidextrous design – Designed for both right and left-handed gamers
  • Improved rubber side grips – Reduces sweating and slipping
  • Price – £21.95

For more information, check out the official product page here.

Cerberus Headset – Gaming headset with large 60mm neodymium drivers, designed for both PC gaming and mobile use.

  • Large 60mm neodymium-magnet drivers deliver unrivaled punch and ultimate immersion
  • Compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation® 4 and smart devices for gaming and mobile fun
  • Dual-microphone design: detachable boom mic for clear in-game communication and an in-line mic for on-the-go chat
  • Comfortable 100mm full-size cushions offer great noise isolation for undisturbed gaming and music enjoyment
  • Price – £34.99

For more information, check out the official product page here.

The packaging on each product is really nice, with a large window on the headset and the mouse, allowing a good look at the design of each, while the box for the keyboard has a big image of the keyboard and its LED lighting. There’s a few technical details around each box, but nothing we haven’t already covered above.

Apple Recalls Two-Prong Adapter Over Shock Concerns

Nevermind VR or high-tech PC gear, it seems like power adapters and their cables are the hardest things for companies to do right. This is the case with Apple who has started voluntarily recalling their two prong AC power adapters from Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina and Brazil. According to Apple, the defective Mac and iOS power plug may break and have the potential to cause electric shock; adapters from 2003-2015 are effected.

Luckily users of the Type-A and Type-G adapters are not affected. This means users areas like North America, UK and Japan won’t have to worry about their adapters shocking them. Affected users will have their adapters replaced free of charge. In order to determine if a unit is a defective model, the inside slot of the adapter will either have a 4 or 5 digit code or no code at all. Redesigned and unaffected models will have a region code (e.g. EUR) there instead.

In order to not get shocked, it is probably best to get and defective adapters replaced as quickly as possible. This snafu comes after Microsoft launched their own recall for defective Surface Pro AC cables. For more detailed instructions, check out Apple’s page here.

Which Companies Had The Most Security Vulnerabilities In 2015?

Cyber security is a hot topic and the rise of attacks which looks to exploit security flaws within a company’s software is becoming increasingly commonplace within the tech world. CVE Details have thus released its rundown of the most security vulnerabilities in a variety of software products for 2015 and it contains a top five that includes Mac OS X, iOS, Flash, Adobe Air and Air SDK.

Below is an image which details the number of vulnerabilities per software product, as you can see, the reports suggest that Mac OSX had a reported total of 384 vulnerabilities with IOS just slightly behind on 375, Adobe Flash player makes up the top 3 with 314 that have been officially disclosed. There is, however, one or two caveats behind these stats, for example, CVE Details Lists every version of Mac OSX as one entry, while the many multiple editions of Windows are listed separately, this means that while OSX is at the top, if you look down you will see Windows has a higher count of vulnerabilities when you take into account versions from Windows 8.1 all the way back to Vista etc.

The second image of the bar graph also conveys the vulnerabilities of the top 50 products by vendor, as you can see, Microsoft edges out Adobe while Apple is third.

In 2014 the list of the top five were IE browser, Mac OS X, Linux Kernel, Chrome and iOS, it is also worth noting that not every software company has the same policy when it comes to disclosing security vulnerabilities within their software. 

Image courtesy of businesscomputingworld

Private Collector Opens Apple Museum in Prague

Apple’s style and appeal are now iconic worldwide, with their products enjoying a strong market share across the globe. Not all nations have access to official Apple stores, one such country being the Czech Republic. This hasn’t stopped an Apple fanatic and private collector opening an Apple Museum in their capital city, Prague.

Holding almost every Apple product ever made, dating back to 1976, as well as paraphernalia relating to visionary Steve Jobs, the Apple Museum comprises of a whopping 472 exhibits spread across three buildings in Prague’s old town. As well as the museum itself, there are plans to open “Steven’s Food”, a raw vegan restaurant, likely serving meals that would appeal to Steve Jobs himself.

The museum may not be a permanent affair either, with its website stating that Prague is “the first city where you can see this unique exhibition.” Whether this means that the museum is planned to go on tour or not is ambiguous, but there could be even more chance to show these pieces of Apple history to its fans if it were available in other locations too.

While this is far from the only Apple museum in the world, with other such as the Italian “AllAboutApple” also boasting an extensive collection, Apple has no official museum of their own history, with Jobs closing the last one back in 1997.

If you’re in Prague or planning a holiday, the price to see these pieces of computing history is £8/€11, with all the proceeds going to charity purposes.

See more photographs from their trip to the Apple Museum here.

Silicon Power Introduces the Complete Lineup of Apple Storage Solutions

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

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

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

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

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

ASUS Strix 2.0 Multi-Platform Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


It’s been almost a year since we put the feature-packed ASUS STRIX DSP Gaming Headset through its paces, and it certainly did well in our review. The latest from ASUS, the STRIX 2.0 may not have as many features as its big brother, but with a more affordable price and multi-format support, it’s certainly an attractive option for those looking for a new gaming headset, so we’re eager to see what it can do.

Picking the right headset can make or break your gaming experience, not to mention they can also be great for general multimedia use. The STRIX 2.0 is equipped with support for PC/MAC, mobile devices and PlayStation 4, although in all fairness it’s also widely compatible with a lot of things, so long as the have a 3.5mm jack. It’s certainly great if you game on multiple devices, and this setup could save you money as you wouldn’t need to buy multiple headsets.

“STRIX 2.0 is powered by 60 mm neodymium-magnet drivers to deliver punchy, high-fidelity sound. In addition to providing fantastic gaming audio, STRIX 2.0 is a great way to enjoy listening to music. Connect STRIX 2.0 to your desktop, laptop, PS4 or smart device and experience superb sound with brilliant details and punchy bass from games, music, and more.”

The hardware certainly seems promising, with a pair of powerful 60mm neodymium drivers, which are quite simply massive for any headset, so I’m expecting some good bass performance here. There’s also a uni-directional boom microphone, which is also fully detachable should you not need it.

The packaging for the STRIX 2.0 is absolutely massive, the box looks big enough to house two of these headsets. There’s a large window section showing off one of the ear cups of the headset, as well as a few major specifications dotted on the front of the packaging.

Around the back, more details about the 60mm drivers, dual microphones and cross-platform support.

In the box, you’ll find the quick start guide, warranty information, a detachable boom microphone, as well as some good quality braided adaptor cables for PC and mobile devices.

Sony Officially Bringing PS4 Streaming to PC and Mac

That PlayStation 4 has been gaining a lot of interest this week, with one developer working hard to create his own PS4 to PC streaming app, allowing desktop remote play similar to that of how the Xbox One can stream to Windows 10. Now it seems that Sony is to take the wind out of the sails of this developer, as they’ve revealed they’re officially working on a remote play function for both PC and Mac.

This is great news for me personally, as I love using my Xbox One via the streaming function, it frees up the living room TV, but allows me to play games from my comfortable gaming chair. Being able to do the same thing from the PlayStation 4 is going to be great, as it never hurts to have more options on how and when you can play your games.

Remote play is nothing new for Sony of course, the Vita can take streamed PS4 games, as can a range of Xperia devices and the PlayStation TV mini-console, so hopefully it won’t take too long for Sony to catch up and get the functionality to desktop systems. There’s no official timeline just now, but I would expect this to be launched sometime in the new year.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50 PC Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Picking the right headset is no easy task, although it may seem quite simple. There’s a huge range of products on the market to pick from, so many that it can be quite daunting trying to find the one that will best suits your needs, or your bank balance. The latest from Turtle Beach, the Recon 50, is targeted at the budget-friendly end of the market and with an RRP of just £29.99, it’s certainly going to appeal to a large part of the market. Obviously, that low price does mean it’s not going to be as amazing as some of the more expensive products on the market, but I am eager to see just how much you can get for such a small price tag.

“Experience the sleek, lightweight design and crystal clear audio of the Ear Force Recon 50 gaming headset. With 40mm Neodymium speakers and in-line controls, the Recon 50 conveniently places Mic Mute and Master Volume at your fingertips, and you can use the high-sensitivity adjustable boom mic for in-game and online chat, and then remove it when listening to music and watching movies. The Ear Force Recon 50 connects to virtually any PC, Mac and mobile/tablet device, and is also compatible with the PlayStation 4 controller, the new Xbox One controller with the 3.5mm headset jack, and other Xbox One controllers via the EAR FORCE Headset Audio Controller (sold separately).”

With powerful drivers, a detachable microphone, multi-format support, a lightweight design, and even a basic in-line controller, the Recon 50 isn’t exactly shy on the features you’re actually going to need. Let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what this headset has to offer.

The packaging is typical Turtle Beach, bright colours and a stylish picture of the headset, with a few of the main specs detailed down the side.

Around the back, we have more information detailing the 40mm drivers, mobile support and detachable microphone.

In the box, you’ll find the headset (obviously), as well as a quick start guide, detachable boom microphone and a 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole adapter cable.

The Recon 50 comes hard-wired, making it plug and play ready with most devices, including mobile. Just remember that you’ll need the adapter cable (see above) to use the microphone and audio on PC.

What is a little worrying is that the cable is quite thin, especially the part that goes from each driver to the in-line controller. They’re no thicker than most in-ear headphone cables and while they’re going to do the job just fine, extra care should be taken as they could be a little more prone to breaking if you’re a bit rough with them. The in-line controller is a bit basic, but it does have a master volume control and a microphone mute switch, so it’s certainly a welcome addition to the setup.

At first glance, the headset looks to follow the design of most other Turtle Beach headsets. It still has that oval ear cup shape and mounting system, as well as a semi-open back design. However, a few things are slightly different, such as some cheaper materials being used, which is no doubt a requirement for the price to be brought down lower.

The headband is quite thin and while there is an extension slider on each side, the interior components are also plastic. They’ll do the job, but I’d be careful not to sit on your headset any time soon.

On the bottom edge of the headset, there’s a jack socket for the boom microphone. I do like that the microphone is detachable, as it means the headset can double up as headphones for mobile devices.

The ear cups fold inwards, which is great for when you’re wearing the headset around your neck between games.

There’s a good amount of padding on the ear cups, which does provide a snug fit while the leather coverings help block a lot of external noise. They’re a little uncomfortable at first, but as it often the case with this type of padding, it takes time to wear-in to the user. The 40mm drivers in this headset are quite surprising, they’re quite powerful at max volume, have a good amount of  base and bright and clear treble. There could ideally be a little more punch to the mid-ranges, but for gaming, watching movies and listening to music, they sound on par or above most headsets in this price range.

The headband on the Recon 50 is quite thin, with a grippy rubber coating on the top and a little bit of Turtle Beach branding.

There’s minimal padding on the interior, with a rubber grip coating. This isn’t great for comfort, but the headset is lightweight, so you can get away with it. The main issue is that the red rubber coating grips your hair, sure it keeps the headset in place, but trying to adjust the headset during use can feel a little uncomfortable.

The microphone boom isn’t the most flexible, but you can bend it a bit to get a more ideal speaking position. Much like the drivers, I was pleasantly surprised by the microphone performance. It’s bright and clear with no distortion and at this price, that’s more than enough to make me happy.

Astro A40 TR + Mix Amp Pro & Mod Kit Multi-Format Pro Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


We’re big fans of Astro here at eTeknix, time and time again they’ve delivered absolutely jaw dropping products, and for me personally, the best of the best when it comes to gaming headsets. Their latest headset, the Astro A40 TR is their latest and greatest wired headset, while also coming paired with their premium grade MixAmp Pro TR, offering a huge amount of features and performance enhancements that will no doubt please the gaming masses, eSports teams, Twitch streamers and so many others.

“Immerse yourself in Call of Duty: Black Ops III on Xbox One with the new A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR and the Call of Duty: Black Ops III Mod Kit. We’ve worked with both professional gamers and top audio designers to deliver pristine Dolby Headphone Surround Sound. Transform the A40 TR Headset from open-back to closed-back in moments with noise-cancelling ear cushions, a voice isolating microphone, and closed-back Speaker Tags. The MixAmp Pro TR takes absolute control, allowing you to adjust your Game:Voice balance, or use the stream output to capture your audio for livestreaming.”

To get the full Astro experience, they’ve been kind enough to supply us with one of their fantastic mod kits too. This is a completely optional addition, but it’s a prime example of how you can really make each Astro product your own. You can change backplates on the drivers, have your own made to match your team logos, or pick from the selection available on the Astro site. The Mod Kit goes one further, however, adding a new microphone, head support, ear pads and backplates, giving you a very different look for your headset of choice.

Equipped with the Mix Amp Pro, the Astro A40 TR comes with a vast amount of cool features. You can customise every input every output, the EQ, tweak streaming audio to suit your needs and your audience’s needs, and best of all, you can link multiple Astro headsets for high-quality team chat, with zero lag!

“Free ASTRO Command Center software for PC and Mac users allows the customization of every input and output, as well as the creation of your own EQ settings.” “Control what your stream audience hears, including chat and game audio levels. Broadcast in 2-channel Dolby Surround Sound.” Reads the Astro website. “Faster than the speed of sound, this fully digital connection enables interference and lag-free local voice communications.”

With high-quality components throughout, this is certainly a well spec’d headset, let’s go take a closer look at what it has to offer.

First, here’s Astro to take you through some of the innovative features of the A40 TR, Mix Amp Pro and their new Mod Kits.

The packaging is really nicely designed, with clear images of the headset and mix amp, giving off a nice premium product vibe already.

Around the back of the box, a quick breakdown of all the major features and component specifications, but we’ll take a closer look at those ourselves in a moment.

As I said before, Astro also included their completely optional, but seriously cool Mod Kit for the A40 TR. This includes a new headband padding, backplates, microphone and driver padding.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation covering warranty and the setup process, although there’s also some very handy videos on the Astro YouTube channel for this, which we’ll take a look at shortly.

All of the included cables are finished to a high standard, with soft rubber tangle free coatings. There’s a long optical cable (TosLink), 4-pole 3.5mm for the headset, with in-line controller, a propriatory link cable for daisy chaining multiple Astro headsets for team chat, and a long USB cable for primary power to the Mix Amp Pro.

There’s a fully detachable microphone, with a flexible boom.

It’s finished with a very durable metal housing around the gold jack-lug, as well as a metal finish on the head.

Mad Catz Announces TRITTON Katana HD 7.1 Wireless Headset

Mad Catz didn’t just have a new mouse to present us today, they’re also ready with a new headset under the TRITTON brand. The new headset is called the Katana and it is a HD 7.1 Wireless headset, but it isn’t an ordinary one. The Katana is the world’s first headset to draw its audio signal directly through HDMI to deliver eight channels of uncompressed sound for pure high-definition audio quality. With near-universal compatibility across gaming consoles, PCs and smart devices, the Katana HD features state-of-the-art DTS Headphone:X audio technology that faithfully recreates the spatially accurate immersive sound experience from your favorite game.

The TRITTON Katana is the new flagship headset and comes with a flagship pricetag too. It can currently be pre-ordered for $249 and is expected to ship during December 2015.

The headset itself features 50 mm drivers and crystal clear interference-free chat through an omnidirectional boom mic. The earpieces feature intuitive controls to control your audio, mute the mic, tweak the volume or change the EQ settings. The drivers have a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz and the microphone has a frequency response from 20Hz to 5kHz.

Along with the Katana HD 7.1 Wireless Headset and the omnidirectional boom mic, you also get the heart of the operation, the headset nase station with a 1 meter long USB to Micro USB Power Cable. The HDMI pass through is truly a great idea and one that makes the setup a lot easier. No need to worry about multiple audio devices any more.

A 1 meter HDMI cable is also included as you’ll need one extra when using pass through than without. Mad Catz also added a USB to Micro USB headset play-and-charge cable that is 1.5m long and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm chat cable for Xbox One users. No matter what platform you’re using, you’ll be able to use the TRITTON Katana HD Wireless Headset.

 

Specifications

  • Wireless Range: 33ft (10m)
  • HDMI with Full Pass-Through
  • Driver Size: 50mm
  • Headset Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Microphone Frequency Response: 20Hz – 5kHz
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
  • Battery Life: 20 Hours

The Katana headset is available in black and orange as well as white and orange version.

Turtle Beach Ear Force PX24 Multi-Format Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


The latest headset from Turtle Beach is here at last! The market may be packed with brands and products right now, but from a consumer perspective, it never hurts to have more choice. The PX24 is certainly an appealing product, not only because it comes from a well-known brand name, but because it promises exceptional value for money that simply cannot be ignored.

“The Ear Force ® PX24 is a multiplatform gaming headset featuring Turtle Beach’s innovative Ear Force SuperAmp battery powered in-line amplifier which delivers amazing audio from all devices.”

With a feature packed in-line controller, audio processing, multi-format support and so much more, you would expect this headset to be quite expensive, but it’s actually a perfectly reasonable £69.99, so colour me very interested, let’s see what this headset can do!

There’s a great range of features on offer here, especially the multi-format support and the Ear Force SuperAmp.

  • Multiplatform compatible with the PlayStation®4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and mobile/tablet devices with a universal 3.5mm jack
  • The innovative Ear Force SuperAmp battery powered in-line amplifier offers fingertip control and amazing amplified sound from any device
  • Experience Turtle Beach Virtual Surround Sound on PlayStation®4, Xbox One and mobile/tablet devices
  • Superhuman Hearing audio preset gives players the competitive advantage of hearing enemies before they come into view
  • Variable Bass Boost enhances powerful rumbling lows
  • Variable Mic Monitoring lets you hear your own voice in the headset to avoid shouting
  • Large, high-performance 50mm Neodymium speakers deliver Immersive audio
  • Adjustable, high-sensitivity boom mic picks-up your voice loud and clear
  • Lightweight design and mesh ear-cups for hours of comfort

On the front of the box, we’ve got a stylish image of the headset, as well as a picture of the SuperAmp; you’ll also find a quick rundown of the major features and device support.

Around the back, a more detailed look at the PowerAmp, it’s a rechargeable device and can operate for up to 30 hours on a single charge, or simply be powered via USB cable if you need to. That much will depend on which device you’re trying to use the PowerAmp with; mobile device will use battery mode PC can use USB power.

In the box, you’ll find the usual assortment of documentation, the USB to Micro USB charging cable for the PowerAmp and the PowerAmp unit its self.