CERN Releases 300TB of LHC Data to the World

Do you remember the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) run by CERN? The device that people feared would create a black hole? In a move that’s rarely done, the organisation has now released terabytes of data onto the web for everyone to use.

The large release is explained by Kati Lassila-Perini, a physicist working on the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, who explained the data release simply by saying “Once we’ve exhausted our exploration of the data, we see no reason not to make them available publicly”. That simple, they’ve done what they can with the data and they want to see what others can do, hoping that it can benefit others by “inspiring high school students to the training of the particle physicists of tomorrow”.

If you want to view the data it’s easy enough to get your hands on from here, but CERN has also provided a bunch of tools to help you analyse the data (both raw data from the detectors within the LHC and the datasets they created). Not stopping there they’ve even provided a custom CERN Linux environment ready for use on a virtual machine, alongside scripts and apps that you can find on Github.

While the data is from 2011, that doesn’t stop it being amazing information that normally you could only read in press releases and journals. So who is going to study the universe and particles this weekend?

AMD Teases Possible External GPU Standard

Gaming is a lot of fun and small computer systems are a joy because they are easier to carry around, but what if you want the graphics performance to be optional? For that to be an option we need some proper external graphics card support and it looks like AMD is working on just that, again.

We have seen multiple external graphics card solution over time such as Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier or MSI’s Gaming Dock that solve the problem with lack of graphics power in portable systems without increasing the size and weight of the ultrabook or laptop itself, but they’ve been limited to specific devices and that can be an issue that holds the adoption rate back.

AMD’s Robert Hallock teased us with something new via Facebook that indicates that AMD could be working on just such a solution. This isn’t the first time that AMD’s graphics department wants to do something like that, although they still were called ATI at the time. Some might remember the ATI XGP (eXternal Graphics Platform) from 7-years ago that already attempted this, but it never gained the large traction due to its natural limitations.

Ultrathin notebooks are awesome for their portability, but nobody in their right mind would use them as a gaming notebook. Those are some heavy items that while still portable, weigh as much as a stationary mITX system. This is where external graphics solutions come into play and we’re able to get the same graphics performance from a small portable system when needed while keeping it light enough to take everywhere for normal usage.

“External GPUs are the answer. External GPUs with standardized connectors, cables, drivers, plug’n’play, OS support, etc.”

AMD is a big believer in open and free standards and the way everything is worded points in the same direction rather than a single locked down product with an AMD branding. Standardization could make a huge difference here as long as the manufacturers adopt it and bring it to the market. Oh and just to clarify, none of the shown examples of external graphics solutions here is the new deal. Robert himself teased with a Razer Core graphics enclosure equipped with an AMD Radeon Nano card.

The teaser ends with the words “More info very soon”, maybe GDC? Only time will tell, but we’ll stay on the ball and keep you informed.

Cooler Master Launched Case Mod World Series 2016

Case modding has become very popular again and it isn’t just something that a few select sponsored people do. A lot of people take it upon themselves to make their existing or new rigs just a little more fly. If you should be among those people, then you might want to pay attention to this as you could end up being one of the people walking away with 30,000 USD in cash and prizes. Cooler Master has launched the Case Mod World Series 2016 which is sponsored by ASUS, Avexir, Dremel, NVIDIA, and OCZ. Those are all some familiar names with some quality products.

The Case Mod World Series is designed to connect modders everywhere and 2016 is the seventh time it is being held where Cooler Master expanded the scope of the series to include local meet and greets, and modding sessions. The participants will be judged in four equally weighted areas that are complexity, design, originality, and overall look. The judgement will be done by the sponsoring companies as well as an international panel of judges: Ermanno Bonandini from Italy, Ronnie Hara from Brazil via Japan, Richard Keirsgieter from The Netherlands, Antony Leather from The UK, Richard Surroz and Brian Farrell from the USA.

“Modding has exploded in recent years and is taking root in every corner of the globe. The Case Mod World Series is about fuelling that growth. It’s about igniting the modding spirit – the maker spirit – on the web and right in your community,” said Michelle Wu, Global Community Manager. “This year, we will be running local events to involve modders everywhere. Together, with the generous support of our sponsors, we hope to enable the modding community the world over. ”

The registration is open now and will run until June the 12th, 2016. You need a Cooler Master Forum account to get going, but it is free and the Case Mod mini-site has all the details in that regard. The Info Hub will keep you updated with posts along the way and as previously mentioned, you can win a lot of prizes.

There are three categories with three places in each. The first place winner in the Tower Mod contest will walk away with $3000 USD in cash, any Cooler Master case of their choice, a V1200 PSU, MasterAir Maker 8 cooler, QuickFire Xti keyboard, Sentinel III mouse and Sirus headset. The motherboard is sponsored by Asus and is a Maximus VIII Formula while the GPU power comes from two GTX 980 Ti cards. Along with that, the first place winner gets OCZ SSD, Avexir Memory and a Dremel 8050 Micro tool. You can also see the full list of prizes for the different categories on the mini-site.

GCHQ Releases Open-source Spy Tool on GitHub

Open source surveillance has changed the ball game somewhat after British Intelligence security service GCHQ has created an account on well-known code repository site, and one of the fairly recent targets of China’s Great Cannon attack tool, GitHub.

What has exactly been created? It’s an open sourced tool by the name of “Gaffer”, which according to Google is a British slang term for boss; anyway, the tool is written in Java and according to the tools official GitHub page, is a framework that simplifies the storage of “large-scale graphs in which the nodes and edges have statistics such as counts, histograms and sketches,” not exactly Spectre, but hey ho.  The tool has been primarily developed as a graph database with the aim of offering the capability to retrieve data on nodes of interest.

Below is a summary of the tool and its key features

  • Allow the creation of graphs with summarised properties within Accumulo with a very minimal amount of coding.
  • Allow flexibility of statistics that describe the entities and edges.
  • Allow easy addition of new types of nodes and edges.
  • Allow quick retrieval of data on nodes of interest.
  • Deal with data of different security levels – all data has a visibility, and this is used to restrict who can see data based on their authorizations.
  • Support automatic age-off of data.

Gaffer is being distributed under the Apache 2.0 licence which allows you and me to modify and distribute the code in any way, as long as the original copyright notice and disclaimer are preserved.

For those who are excited about updates to this tool, anyone? The official GitHub page for this tool also announces that Gaffer 2 is in development and aims to “create a more general framework that offers the best of Gaffer with improvements”

It will be rather worthwhile to follow this tool through various developments and applications to see how it’s being utilized in the wider world; it would not surprise me if it’s in the news very soon.

Image courtesy of theregister

Rainbow Six Siege Open Beta Postponed

Rainbow Six is a long series containing both books and games. Rainbow Six is a fantasy group formed from numerous armed forces and groups from around the world all with the intention of forming a united front against terrorist and organised crime around the world. Primarily strategy based shooters meaning that just running in and firing would end badly for your teams, strategies that have pulled Rainbow Six into a unique category of gaming. The problem is though that the game has been plagued by doubts in regards to several areas, such as announcing microtransactions or the large price or even the lack of single player. The latest problem though is a recent announcement on their forum, stating that their open beta will be postponed.

In the post, Ubisoft stated that due to “matching making times and connection on all platforms” they will be postponing the open beta until a later time. Just in case you were wondering why this might be an issue, the primary issue is that not only will the game remain on closed Beta for now but PC Gamer have received confirmation from Ubisoft that the release date will not be pushed back.

The release date is currently set for December 1st, meaning that the game has less than a week to go from closed Beta to full release. With them already having issues for a multiplayer only game, are you worried about what could become of the game?

“2G Tuesdays” Arrives For Facebook Employees.

Facebook is launching a new initiative by the name of 2G Tuesdays, sounds like a tech version of TFI Friday, which will give all employees a taste of a super slow connection to better emphasize the current speeds in countries including the developing market place of India. While this implementation is certainly essential to a better understanding of the parameters for designing and testing the Facebook App in areas that offer atrocious speeds, I can see a text-book example of slow connection rage.

Surely the speeds cannot be that slow, well engineering director Tom Alison remembers the first time he opened Facebook on a phone with a 2G connection, he exclaimed that “It definitely tested my patience — it felt like parts of the product were just broken”. While US citizens are accustomed to a faster 3G or even 4G, millions of people are accessing the World Wide Web with 2G where a single webpage can take around 2 minutes to load, or as western audiences would say $@%$@.

This is why Facebook’s team of “emerging market engineers”, yes, apparently they have a division dedicated to this, have spent an extensive amount of time re working Facebook’s News Feed for slow connections.

So, how will 2G Tuesday work? Well, when a Facebook employee logs into the app on a Tuesday of every week, “they’ll see a prompt at the top of their News Feed asking whether they want to try out the slower connection for an hour”. For that hour their computer experience will be akin to a person residing in India or any other slow connected country.

A better understanding of varying speeds throughout the world has led to some fascinating projects including an Open-Sourced Network Connection Class System, (sounds like a citizen reviewed social class status), that lets Facebook and its app figure out how fast your connection is with the aim of then conveying a different news feed depending on the speed.

Facebook reckons a large proportion of employees will opt into this experiment, what mood they will be in by the end is another matter. On a side note, while many tech employees enjoy the freedom to develop with a comparable connection for their area, they may fall into the mindset that the whole world is the same, by slowing them down it speeds up a unique process with the aim of benefiting consumers who suffer from appalling speeds to the web.

Star Wars Battlefront Beta Date Confirmed

The sounds, the lasers firing and hitting everything but their target, the zoom of the speeder bike and pod racers as they flew past you. Everyone remembers them, once you have seen them (if you liked them or not) you were drawn to the shows as lights swirled around from the iconic weapons of the Jedi and Sith clashed. With the classic game series Star Wars Battlefront due an update courtesy of EA, the latest revelation is that the beta for the new release will be open to everyone, online and offline gameplay.

Included in the beta will be three distinct modes set on three planets, two of which are fairly iconic. First up you have 40 players fighting as Rebels vs the Empire on Hoth fighting to either destroy or protect respectively, then a quick flash across to Tatooine for a survival experience on your own or with friends to fight off everything from AT-ST’s to Tie Fighters. Finally set on the Sullust (a volcanic planet in the outer rim) will have two teams of 8 fighting over control of drop pods.

Excited yet? Then you will be overjoyed to hear that on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Origin will all get access to the beta on October 8th, with the companion app giving you access to a strategic card game called Base command, with the ability to unlock weapons and credits for Battlefront.

Are you excited? Will you be supporting the Rebels or the Empire?

Thank you Star Wars EA for the information and the image.

XCOM 2 Will Be a Modders Dream

It’s barely a week ago that we could tell you the great news, a new XCOM game was in the works and set for a November release. Part of the news was also the fact that it will be a PC exclusive, something that I openly cheered at. I got absolutely nothing against consoles and I think they are great for the casual gamer, but a cross-platform development will limit the game’s capabilities in comparison.

One of the things that was missing in the last XCOM: Enemy Unknown game was the ability to mod it, a thing Creative Director Jake Solomon states as a “missed opportunity they don’t intend to repeat”. Firaxis intends to release a full suite of modding tools, an Unreal Development Kit, and the editor the developers use to create content. You can run absolutely wild with it, “It is yours now; do with it what you want”.

“People will see the gameplay source, all the scripting,” he promised. “This is the code that makes the game what the game is. Here is the editor and all the assets that went into this game.”

Supporting modding isn’t just great for us as gamers, just see what has been done to games such as Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto V, but it is equally great for the people behind it. They will not only have a game that is played now, but for a very long time.

XCOM 2 modding will be available through Steam Workshops, making it easy to use and apply as well as distribute.

Thank you IGN for providing us with this information

New Crypto Dooms Open Smart Grid

It has been three years since the invention of the Open Smart Grid Protocol, and in that time it has found its way into over four million smart meters and devices worldwide.

It’s very similar to its brethren as it is full of security issues. Two researchers, Philipp Jovanovic of the University of Passau in Germany and Samuel Neves of the University of Coimbra in Portugal, published a paper exposing encryption weaknesses in the protocol.

The paper explains how the encryption scheme used in the OSGP is open to several attacks, the paper only demonstrates a few that can be exploited with minimal effort.

“This function has been found to be extremely weak, and cannot be assumed to provide any authenticity guarantee whatsoever,” the researchers wrote.

Adam Crain, a security researcher said the home made function is a “big red flag”.“Protocol designers should stick to known good algorithms or even the ‘NIST-approved’ short list”

The weaknesses discovered by Jovanovic and Neves enabled them to recover private keys with relative ease: 13 queries to an OMA digest oracle and negligible time complexity in one attack, and another in just four queries and 2^25 time complexity” “A different approach only requires one arbitrary valid plaintext-tag pair, and recovers the key in an average of 144 message verification queries, or one ciphertext-tag pair and 168 ciphertext verification queries” 

Sounds like this is quite a nasty vulnerability!

Thank you to ThreatPost for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of WPA

Update: FrozenCPU to Remain Open!

An update following our earlier coverage of this story, which can be found here, it turns out FrozenCPU is not shutting up shop after all. Following a sympathy/reminiscing thread over on HardForum.com, Mark Friga, the owner of FrozenCPU had contacted the admin team of the forum to express his concern for this subject and nipped it as soon as he could.

Taken directly from the forum post:

EDIT: We just heard back from Mark Friga, the owner of FrozenCPU.com, a long time enthusiast community supplier, and he explained to me that FrozenCPU is in fact not going out of business as rumored earlier today. He said that FrozenCPU is currently running a skeleton crew and to please bare with his company while the it is ramping back up to 100% employee capacity.

More questions are being raised now as to why they have cut down on hours recently and exactly how long before they reach “100% employee capacity” with no information as of yet published to the homepage. As soon as we know, we will update.

Australia Wants To Cut Internet Connection for People Downloading from Torrent Websites

There have been some talks about the high number of pirates in Australia, having the government worried about what to do in response to the piracy activity. Earlier this year, Australia is said to have had the highest number of illegal downloads of Game of Thrones: Season Four.

A leaked document entitled “Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper” appears to show some of the government’s future consideration towards piracy. The document is said to point out the main reasons why Australians choose to download content illegally, which are cost and availability. The government however appears to be more keen on enforcing the law instead of addressing the real reason which leads to piracy in the first place.

The document is also said to be discussing the role of the ISPs to place restrictions, such as lowering downloads speeds or blocking internet availability in some cases, on customers who are accessing and downloading content illegally. The ISPs however cannot do anything about it, according to the paper, since if they were to allow their customers access to pirated content without punishing them, it is said that rights holders can then take legal action against the ISPs themselves.

“The Copyright Act would be amended to enable rights holders to apply to a court for an order against ISPs to block access to an internet site operating outside Australia, the dominant purpose of which is to infringe copyright.” the paper states.

Experts say that the options outlined in the paper are too harsh compared to international standards and are not addressing the problem of Australians being unable to access content legally when it is currently available in other markets. They say that the law enforcement underlined in the paper would only give power to copyright owners over consumers, while also having large-ranging impacts on the free and open internet.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Linksys WRT1900AC Dual-Band Wireless Router Review

Introduction


Over the last few years there have been many products that have come to market that have had the ability to grab our attention for one reason or another. In some instances this has been due to the new technologies and levels of performance that they bring or in other instances it may have been a radical design that changes the way in which we look at type of product. The product that we’re looking at today though has me buzzing in a completely different way and one which I doubt will happen again any time soon.

Linksys’ WRT1900AC is a router that, as anyone into their networking would know, is built on the legacy of the WRT54G, which came to market back in December 2003 and it’s range of substrates that followed, including the WRT54GS. Of all the features that made the original WRT so unique and legendary, the Open-source platform and performance for the time were the two biggest selling points. To show how successful this router was and believe it or not, still is, the WRT54G and GS have been used for so many applications aside residential network applications, with open-source firmware playing a major part in these unique applications.

As the years have moved on and the world of networking advanced considerably, the WRT range has slowly started to drop in numbers as 802.11n and more recently 802.11ac wireless connectivity and also the 5GHz band have become the new industry standard along with Gigabit LAN on the wired side of the network. Following their acquisition by Belkin, Linksys have been looking at ways in which they can bring the brand back into the front line, alongside the likes of Netgear who are one of today’s industry leaders, and the choice was made last year to rekindle the essence of what was then their most iconic product – the result of months of work sees us looking at what could quite possibly be another iconic product and for anyone who is into their networking, this is a very exciting product to see launched.

Keeping some of the bold lines and colours and translating them into a 2014 design, the WRT1900AC retains the blue and black plastic body and the desktop orientation what the original WRT featured and inside Linksys have packed in a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM processor, 256MB of RAM and 128MB flash memory, dual-band wireless with speeds of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band on offer, with a unique 4×4 external antenna array, which work with the latest beamforming technology to deliver fast and precisely directed wireless connections to any part of the home, with the aim to deliver faster and stronger wireless connections than any other router on the market. It’s certainly a tall order and an ambitious claim to make, but if Linksys have done their homework right and kept hold of the WRT magic that we saw years ago, this could quite possibly be one of the greatest routers that we have seen to date; so the pressure really is on.

The front of the box is very simple and to the point with a bold image of the router laid out across it and a line of feature highlights set below. Around the rest of the box we get more information on the router with detailed specifications, insights into the wireless coverage and what the WRT has to offer over all else.

Opening up the box, the essence of quality is instantly apparent with the router set into a foam lined interior and each of the bundled accessories having its own dedicated compartment to protect it from damage during shipping.

Battlefield Hardline Open Beta Available for PlayStation 4 and PC Gamers

Electronic Arts has previously bragged about its upcoming Battlefield title, namely Battlefield Hardline, having emphasised the radical changes regarding the story, which is now focused on ‘cops and robbers’, as well as giving the project to Visceral Studio instead of DICE.

Fans and curious gamers alike should be happy to know that EA has just opened the beta to PC and PS4 gamers, which can now sign up on the Battlefield Beta website. No need to wait in line for approval to enter the game, just a quick sign-up and Terms & Conditions agreement to check are required before adding the game to Origin.

Unfortunately, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners have a bit of bad luck, since EA has not made the game available for the aforementioned platforms (yet). Instead, users of the latter console types can sign up to be notified when the beta will open for their console, being greeted with the following message:

“The Battlefield Hardline closed beta is only available for PC and PS4. But don’t worry, we wouldn’t leave you hanging. We’ll have an open beta available this fall on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC. On top of that, we are hooking you up with these rewards in Battlefield Hardline and Battlefield 4. Log into your Origin Account below to be granted access to your rewards. The Battlefield Hardline gear will be available when the game releases. The Battlefield 4 unique dog tag will be available in the game next month.”

For PC and PS4 players, the game is stated to have some interesting content unlocked to tinker with as well, including weapon skins and camp, weapon sights, additional Battlefield Hardline content and a unique dog tag in order to give a taste of what the new title has to offer.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Naruto Spirit Starts Grand Open Beta Period

The game which successfully replicates the world of Naruto will officially start its Open Beta on December 26, 2013 at 10 a.m. Those who are interested can now sign up and try the game.

Naruto Spirit is a cherished product as its creation consumed a lot of resources and manpower of Young World Technology. With young employees filled with enthusiasm and passion, Young World has made this game the most successful web-game in Vietnam with more than 10,000 players in the game at the same time. Its success in Vietnam inspired Young World to reach more Naruto fans by going global. And on December 18, the company kicked off its Close Beta for the English version of Naruto Spirit, which was its first step to becoming a global game publisher.

In the game, users can use the “Transformation” feature to transform into any of their Favorited characters and freely use their unique skills however they want. This feature has been voted as one of the top 5 interesting aspects of the game. The other four are good actions and effects, several massive combat events, QTE feature, and the Tailed-Beast series.

On the Open Beta start day, Naruto Spirit will open 3 more Servers:

  • (Server 4) KAKASHI – 11:00 AM, GMT+8 (Oceanic)
  • (Server 5) ROCK LEE – 02:00 PM, GMT+0 (Europe)
  • (Server 6) NEJI – 02:00 PM, GMT-3 (US)

Together with the opening of new servers are many big events such as King of Arena, 5 Days Action, Warmish Christmas, and a lot more. This is a great chance to hunt for valuable rewards. For more information check out the official site, or to get a promotion code, head on over to the official Facebook page.

Thank you Naruto for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Naruto.