Get Your System Back From Petya Without Paying a Penny!

When it comes to security threats and risks, the community as a whole is at its best when it has a common goal. An example of this was two weeks ago when a new ransomware was found going by the name Petya. Petya didn’t act like normal ransomware but instead decided it would go after your master boot record, often locking people out their entire system until they received their password after paying a nice little fee. That was until some clever people got together to create some tools to get your system back from the ransomware without paying a single penny!

The original web tool came from the twitter account @leostone and lets you retrieve your file by providing it with a selection of data from the infected hard drive. Getting the data may seem like something difficult but a separate researcher went and created a tool titled Petya Sector Extractor that can find and retrieve the required data in seconds.

By removing the hard drive and plugging it into another computer, these tools can work together to retrieve the password required to unlock your master boot record from the clutches of Petya. The sector extractor tool is hosted by Bleeping Computer, a computer self-help forum, and reports that not only does the technique work but has also provided a step-by-step tutorial for anyone who isn’t 100% regarding how to return all their family photos at zero cost.

Security Flaw Allowed The FBI To Create The iPhone Cracking Software

Apple vs the FBI looks liked it would never end, originally starting with the FBI requesting (and then a federal judge ordering) Apple’s support in unlocking and gaining access to an iPhone in a court case. Apple looked to defend itself and ultimately the FBI recalled its actions when it received support from an outside party. It has now been revealed how the tool used by the FBI gained access to the iPhone through the use of a security flaw.

The security flaw, one that was previously unknown to Apple, allowed the creation of a tool to crack the four digit pin used to protect the phone from 10 failed attempts to gain access to a phone. The group that provided the tool to the government was a group of “grey hat” hackers who actively seek out flaws in software to then sell on to groups such as the government.

The exposed flaw affects both the iPhone 5 and iOS 9 iPhones, and may not affect work on newer versions of both iPhones and the iOS operating system. With FBI director James B. Comey saying that they may or may not disclose the security flaw to Apple, but with the latest leak revealing where they need to focus, Apple may now fix the problem before others are able to exploit it.

Bitdefender Releases Free Tool to Fend Off Ransomware

Ransomware is a growing vector of attack in recent times and very few are truly safe from it and the potential loss of their personal data. Now antivirus firm Bitdefender have published a free tool that is capable of preventing computers from being infected by some of the most common strains of ransomware including Locky, TeslaCrypt and CTB-Locker.

The Crypto-Ransomware Vaccine works a lot like a biological vaccine of sorts against these types of ransomware, similar to a previous Bitdefender tool that was designed to stop CryptoWall infection. That tool may have been rendered useless by changes to CryptoWall, but the principle of how it works remains effective for other types of ransomware. It works by tricking the ransomware into believing that the system it is targeting has already been infected by the same strain and in order to avoid nested encryption on a single system, many ransomware authors engineer their software to ignore already infected machines.

Of course, it is always best to avoid ransomware in the first place than rely on this tool, and as such it is recommended that users also ensure that their operating system, browsers and other software such as flash player, which is notorious for its vulnerabilities are kept up to date. The tool may be very effectual at defending against a specific set of ransomware, but it is a complimentary measure to users not running a full security suite or wishing to ensure defense from malware as part of it.

Microsoft to Offer Tool for Porting Chrome Extensions to Edge

With the release of their new operating system, Windows 10, Microsoft has been keen on getting users to use their new software. Not just their operating system is new, though, with Edge replacing the demonised Internet explorer. One thing that has kept users from accepting and using the new browser is its lack of extensions, something that is set to change this year thanks to a tool Microsoft is currently working on.

It’s been clear for a while that rather than open another market for extension developers to create their tools in, Microsoft would look to bring Chrome’s extensions to Edge. In a tweet from Jacob Rossi, an engineer working on Edge, the picture becomes a little clearer on how they want to do this.

So it would appear that they are working on a tool that will enable you to port your favourite Chrome extensions over to the Edge browser. While a further response showed that they would still be working on creating a list of extensions directly for Edge.

Would you be willing to swap out your current browser for Edge? Are you an Edge user and if so how much would extensions change your everyday experience with the browser? Give us your thoughts below

Youtube Adds Handy Blurring Tool to Video Editor

We all use Youtube. We watch everything from funny cats playing musical instruments to the latest music videos. The problem being is that once it’s uploaded to Youtube you can sometimes quickly find that you’ve left something important in. From your friends license plate, to maybe even your address or phone number on a piece of paper hiding in the corner of the screen. What could you do? For just that scenario Youtube has added a Blurring Tool.

While they previously had a blur tool, it was only really built for people who wanted to hide their faces, but now you can go all out and blur anything you feel might require a little bit of privacy. The cool part of the feature is it’s pretty much automated, all you need to do is draw a box around the part of the video you want to hide and the software will do it all for you. If that’s not what you were after you can just lock the box in place and blur even just a part of the screen.

Understanding that the tool has many uses, Amanda Conway, the privacy lead for this tool, stated that they “built the feature with visual anonymity in mind”. Blocking everything from number plates and faces to phone numbers and bank cards, the new tool could save people time with their post video editing.

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

$99 PC Bricking Device ‘USB Killer’ hits Indigogo – Genius or Stupid?

A new crowdfunding campaign has hit Indiegogo, which is effectively someone charging you money for a product which is intended to damage your computer. USB Killer is a nasty bit of technology, you simply plug it into your USB port and the intention of the device is to load the port with volts to break the USB port, preventing people from accessing your device and stealing your files, but it’s not that simple, these things never are.

Bad USB is something we’ve covered before, USB Killer is little more than a rebranding of a PC killing bit of kit, that’s more likely to be used maliciously than as a preventative measure, which the creators are advertising it as. Check out the video below to see what a USB device like this can do. Please keep in mind that the video is a demonstration of a similar device and not of the device being listed on Indiegogo.

The idea is that USB Killer will destroy your USB ports, this prevents people from breaking in and stealing your data. However, I think it’s more marketed at people who do illegal activities and need a quick way to brick the PC to prevent people, the police for example, from checking their computer. As the disclaimer on the device reads, this could wreck your motherboard and brick the entire computer. In our opinion, that’s not a disclaimer, that’s exactly what will happen if you use this.

Whatever the intentions of the Russian creators of USB Killer, you can find out more about this $99 PC killing device, however dodgy the campaign may seem, on the Indiegogo page.

Of course, these promotional videos may help convince you that this is the right device for you…

Still not convinced that Killer USB is the right device to thwart mobsters stealing your data? What about a pesky family member? Again, I guarantee this is nonsense, it will kill the whole computer, not just the USB ports.

So, USB Killer, is it genius or stupid?

Scoutee Measures Pitch Speed Using Your Smartphone

Slovenia-based Scoutee, not sure I can remember the last innovation which came courtesy of a team from Slovenia, has launched a $50,000 Kickstarter campaign for a smart radar that can measure the speed of a baseball pitch while also having the ability to transfer the data to a smartphone via Bluetooth. This tool would enable baseball coaches and also players the ability to track their games and training sessions.

Instead of relying on a speed gun to measure the quickness of a particular pitch, Scoutee radar utilizes Doppler technology and also claims to support accuracy within ±1 mph. The accompanied App for iOS and Android platforms allows coaches to make quick notes regarding each tracked pitch. A secondary feature is the ability to record data which relates to the speed of said pitch, this graphic is then overlaid onto video within a smartphone as a kind of augmented reality.

Scoutee radar is about the size of a soap bar and can be held by hand as well as hung on a fence or put on a tripod. Its rechargeable battery lasts up to six hours of continuous measurement within a 130 feet (some 40 meters) range. As of writing the Kickstarter funding page stands at $10,783 and has 33 days to go.

This is noteworthy for aficionados of Baseball and it certainly has the potential to track data which could then be analysed for a wide range of performance purposes. Scoutee is also offering the first 100 backers a reduction in price of $129 (£82.96) for the device which is down from £299 (£192.29) The Release date is expected to be around April 2016 and shipping will be available anywhere in the world.

Thank you kickstarter for providing us with this information.

 

 

Witcher 3 Gets Mod Support With New Tool

Those of you who were eagerly awaiting to mod CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 should be interested in this. The developer has announced that it released a new tool, named ModKit, which grants you everything you need to mod the title as you see fit.

ModKit seems to come with a lot of options, from modding the appearance of in-game objects with texture import and export, to making your own scripts and fiddle with the gameplay mechanics. I haven’t modded anything in a long time, but the tools given here are almost everything you need to change the whole game. If we are to talk about something more complex than this, we are already talking about a fully fledged game engine development kit.

However, ModKit is not an actual mod editor or game engine, but a set of tools to get you started. But with all these options and features offered, I think more experienced modders will surprise us with their craftsmanship in no time. I personally can’t wait for the first one to be released!

You can download ModKit from here, but we also want to hear about what you think. Are you excited for the upcoming mods? Will you test your skills too? Let us know!

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

New Tool Challenges Windows 10 Privacy Issues

So far the brand spanking new Windows 10 OS has been a huge success compared to the mishmash that was Windows 8, which tried to do its best to annoy consumers with the deletion of the Start Menu in favour of Metro.  The default option for privacy on the other hand is far less forgiving, from stealing user’s bandwidth for updates to Webcam and Microphone access, Microsoft have shifted their position.

But users could in theory attempt to shift it back again with the development of a new free app by the name of “Do Not Spy 10” This enables the user to disable the grand total of 37 Windows privacy issues with a single click. The software has been designed by German developer pXc-coding, who have developed a centralized interface which allows for easy tinkering of settings.

There are noteworthy caveats with this software, this lies with your Antivirus product which may detect this tool as malicious in nature because it can modify Windows settings, which is to be expected. Also the developer is using an advertisement campaign within the software which is mentioned in its end-user licence agreement; this means that Anti-Virus vendors may flag this as an Adware or Pup.

A quick run through Virus Total generates a report of 10/55 services which class this exe file as suspicious, 9 class it as a pup while Symantec classifies it as a Trojan. Technically this software is not malware and you can uninstall after using it once, it’s better to use good judgement and if you have any doubts, give it a miss, also check out the below links which convey details of the product.

Thank you The Hacker News and pxc-coding and facebook

Here’s Why We Won’t See DirectX 12 in Action This Year

Thinking of upgrading your graphics card for the new Windows 10 and DirectX 12? Well, I think you should wait a bit longer. While everyone is hyped to see what devs can do with the latest DirectX version, we are forgetting the most important thing, which is the platform.

What this means is that DirectX 12 is locked to Windows 10 exclusively, which limits the platform and titles released for it. I mean sure, I am a PC gamer myself, but don’t expect everyone to switch to a PC or Xbox One just because there’s a new version of DirectX rolling out. Statistics also proved that most gamers are happy with their PlayStation 4 right now, so devs don’t really have a reason to switch their development and focus on DirectX 12, at least not until next year.

Also, another thing to take into account is that most people haven’t even upgraded to DirectX 12 compatible hardware, meaning that it will take some time until we see a lot of consumers ready for DirectX 12 games. But let’s see why it will take time to switch from the current version of DirectX to the new one, because I know most of you are wondering why it will take this long and maybe even argue that DirectX 11 was adopted faster.

When taking a look at DirectX 11, the main reason it was adopted so fast by consumers as well as developers is the next-gen platforms and native development tools. DirectX 11 got released in the same year as the Xbox One and PS4, while we also had Epic and other developers release Unreal Engine 4 with native DirectX 11 support. This meant that the tools and hardware have been out there for everyone, from big to small, to use and explore the new tech.

In contrast, DirectX 12 currently looks like the old DirectX 10. We see a new thing added, but there’s hardly enough support for it both for development as well as hardware to run it. This is why DirectX 10 failed to deliver such a hype in the gaming industry and why developers focused more on DirectX 9 back in the day. However, we won’t see the same fate bestowed on DirectX 12 as we saw for DirectX 10, but we will see the same slow movement towards the new tech.

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

We Could Be Teaching Computers How and What to Learn in the Near Future

We’ve seen a lot of projects and methods involving machine learning up until now, but the truth is that no matter how efficient and quick a computer is, the software will always be its limit. However, Microsoft plans to change that and is working on a new tool that would allow you to teach computers new things.

There is a lot of information about the project and tool on Microsoft’s website, but let’s get straight to what the Microsoft Research team wants to do. Take a jigsaw puzzle for example, where every piece of it fits somewhere and contributes to the big picture once complete. This seems to be the approach Microsoft hopes people will take, where each jigsaw puzzle piece is created by someone knowledgeable in his or her field. This means that a doctor can teach a computer how to search for specific patient details in a database, while a chef can teach it how to make the best dish according to a recipe.

However, to get a lot of people from different fields together in this project, Microsoft also needs to build the tool as simple and understandable as possible. This means that Microsoft is looking for a way to make the tool more autonomous and offer a simple and understandable user interface. I mean developers know how to use such tools, but they can’t expect a doctor to know how to use a complex development tool.

The tool, named Language Understanding Intelligent Service or LUIS for short, is part of the Oxford Project. Though it still is in its early stages, it may prove to be a strong and useful tool for complex AI development. You can view more details about the project over at Microsoft’s Blog. The tool can also be found over at its website here, but you will need to get an invitation first to try it out.

Image courtesy of Radio1.be

Teaching Resource Site For Minecraft?

Minecraft is a game where very little is ever the same. This means you can build a castle in one map with ease, but in the next building the Starship Enterprise is a lot easier. While attracting to a whole range of audiences, from the young to the creative, Minecraft has developed a large following amongst gamers, but this may soon expand as Microsoft are soon to launch a new website with a different focus.

Minecraft In Education is a plan that hopes to bring the talents that Minecraft reinforces to the classroom, enabling teachers to use the game as a teaching tool.

With the option for schools to purchase licenses for a whole classroom at a reduced price, history lessons could soon take place in Minecraft reconstructions of Egypt, while next door an Electronics class are working together to help fix a circuit. With the option to mod in new features the tool could become limitless, and Microsoft want to reinforce this by giving teachers a place where they can share and discuss their resources, lessons and ideas with others so that everyone can benefit from Minecraft.

Are you a Minecraft player? What do you think about being taught something though Minecraft? Should we be encouraging some of the skills games teach us more often?

Thank you Education Minecraft for the information.

Image courtesy of WallPaperUp.

GitHub’s Text Editor Finally Receives Its First Stable Release

A great development text editor comes from the guys over at GitHub. Its name is Atom and if you’ve never heard of it, I suggest you download it and give it a try. I’ve been using it for some time now and for what it has to offer, I don’t think I’ll change to another IDE any time soon.

Atom has been getting a lot of beta releases up until now, but even with its stable 1.0 release, the GitHub development team still says it’s not quite ready yet. The software is completely customizable and modular. This means you can tweak its interface and theme as much as you want and even add packages and third-party plugins to make it work with your projects.

In addition to the above, it features a development-friendly API, so you can contribute to the vast pool of packages it offers yourself. However, the best part about it is that the piece of software is free and available under the MIT license.

Should you decide to use it, I would recommend downloading the Script package as a ‘must have’ tool. The package lets you compile script on-the-fly directly in the text editor, which is what makes Atom so powerful. It does have compiling limitations on some coding languages, but it extremely useful and constantly updated. While Script works well with Atom on Mac, I got it to compile on Windows too, but there’s some work to be done on the latter OS before you can get it to compile.

If you are interested in downloading the Atom text editor, head on over to its website where you can also get some extra info on it.

Thank you LifeHacker for providing us with this information

Crucial Releases New SSD Software With Momentum Cache

A good toolbox for your storage drive is something that’s worth just as much as the drive itself and Crucial has just released an upgrade to their software, the Storage Executive tool.

The new version is 3.20 and it now features Momentum Cache, an intelligent caching feature that can enhance the drives burst performance by up to ten times. The caching software uses your idle system memory to cache redundant writes and in return it also helps to increase the overall lifetime of your storage drive. Only the writes that need to go to the drive are actually written and frequent read data is stored in your memory for quick access.

Anyone owning a Crucial SSD can take advantage of this, but the ones that made the switch to DDR4 more than the rest. We’ve recently seen what DDR4 is capable off, with memory running around 4GHz. That speed will be equally returned when used as RAM disk or caching area.

In addition to the new features, Storage Executive also allows users to update the drives to the latest firmware, monitor the drive’s temperature and health, reset the drive’s encryption password, and easily check how much storage has been used.

“We want everyone to enjoy the benefits of solid state storage,” said Jonathan Weech, storage marketing manager, Crucial. “Software that optimises performance and keeps Crucial SSDs running efficiently is another example of how we make upgrading easy.”

You can download Crucial’s Storage Executive from the official website and it is compatible with Windows 7 and newer operating systems and Crucial’s M500, M550, MX100, MX200, and BX100 SSDs.

Crucial is part of Micron and users with Micron drive can take advantage of the same benefits, they just need the Micron version that can be downloaded from Micron’s website.

Kaspersky Develops Ransomware Decryption Tool

Ransomware is becoming more prevalent and taking user’s data hostage and demanding money for the release. Now with crime fighters getting their hands on a server Kaspersky has been able to make a decryption tool by using the decryption keys found on the machine.

Netherlands’ National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) recently got ahold of a Coinvault command-and-control server. Coinvault is a type of ransomeware that has been infecting computers from around the world since last November. On that server, they found a database of decryption keys, which they shared with Kaspersky. Kaspersky took those decryption keys and used them to build Noramsomware decryption tool. The tool is a work in progress that should get more effective with more keys that the law enforcement community finds. This may possibly help you to take back your data from a Coinvault ransomware if you are lucky since the app isn’t fully effective yet.

Be proactive and take steps to prevent viruses and ransomware in the first place, use security tools and make sure that you do not open attachments of email that you do not know the sender. If you are one that torrents files be sure to use a virus scanner and check items regularly as well as looking at other user’s notes on the files to make sure they are clean.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of The University of Arizona

SDD-Z Utility Tool Upgraded to Version 15.03.15b

Most people know CPU-Z and GPU-Z, but SSD-Z might still be relatively unknown. It is however a very useful utility and the new tool just got another upgrade to version 15.03.15b, but it still resides as a beta version. The new version brings along a list of bugfixes as well as a long list of new supported drives.

SSD-Z does what a lot of other apps also do, but in a familiar look as well as doing more than most apps. It can show you all your drives relevant information including what NAND is used, the controller, firmware and features. SMART and partition information are also available and so is a benchmark function. The benchmark function is still being developed, but it’s a great start. It will give you relevant information such as access times as well as random and sequential performance figures.

Main Features

  • Details of the controller and processing tech of NAND chips (for known devices).
  • Verify that TRIM is enabled for your system and SSDs.
  • S.M.A.R.T. status and full list of all the device’s available attributes.
  • List of all partitions. Including hidden, unmapped and boot partitions.
  • Benchmark IOPS, transfer speed and random access time (work in progress)
  • View the raw device identify data words.

Changelog

  • The current user locale is now used to determine if Celcius or Fahrenheit should be used to display the temperature. If you wish to switch, click on the temperature panel on the device tab.
  • The program is now DPI aware, meaning that using a DPI other than 100%, will scale the interface accordingly. This may require a little more tweaking.
  • Many more devices have been added.
  • Better SMART attribute interpretation based on the SSD controller.
  • The minor ATA version is now reported in the ATA Standard tooltip.
  • The actual model name is now shown in the program title. For most drives, this is different than the model name reported by the device itself. If an SSD is not in the internal database, no name will not appear in the program title.
  • Fixed Kingston devices from being detected properly.
  • Fixed an issue where “Samsung 840 PRO” would be detected as “Samsung 840”.

Thanks to Aezay for providing us with this information

Want to Know if Superfish is on Your PC?

Superfish, the adware that Lenovo was found to be installing on consumer PCs, has the potential to wreak havoc on your computer. While it can simply plaster webpages with unwanted ads, it’s also capable of spying on encrypted connections.

So, what can you do to ensure you don’t get caught out by it? Well, as we previously reported, Microsoft has updated its definitions in Windows Defender to remove it, and Lenovo itself has released a tool that rids people’s machines of it too. However, both of these involve a process for which you might not have the time. So how about a quick and easy tool on the web that detects if you have it?

Well, that’s exactly what we have here. This page, “built in a frenzy by Filippo Valsorda“, immediately checks if you’ve got the offending piece of software on your machine. So, visit it now and in no time at all, you’ll know whether Superfish is on your machine.

Samsung Has Released a Fix for the Evo 840 Slow-down Bug

It has been about 3 weeks since we first reported on the slow-down bug happening on the Samsung Evo 840 drives. Samsung was quick to react on the issues and promised a fix for today. That fix has now been released and you can apply it to your own drives.

“SSDs usually calibrate changes in the statuses of cells over time via the flash management software algorithm. Due to the error in the software algorithm, the 840 EVO performed read-retry processes aggressively, resulting in a drop in overall read performance. This only occurs if the data was kept in its initial cell without changing, and there are no symptoms of reduced read performance if the data was subsequently migrated from those cells or overwritten.”

Samsung said the problem is unique to the 840 EVO drive and not an artefact of that drive’s TLC NAND. The older TLC-based 840 series is unaffected and so is the upcoming 850 EVO which will use the three-bit version of 3D V-NAND.

Samsung has released a tool with the very fitting name “Samsung SSD 840 EVO Performance Restoration” that can be downloaded from the official support site. Once you have downloaded and installed the tool, launch it. It will update your firmware to the new version (EXT0CB6Q) before you’ll need to reboot your system. The actual restoration begins after the reboot and will take quite some time depending on the size of your drive.

I’ve just patched my personal Samsung EVO 840 with 1TB capacity and it worked like a charm. I can also report that it works fine on a AMD based system, just for those worried about updating the firmware of the drive on a non-Intel SATA port. The patching of the drive took several hours, so be patient and don’t worry if the progress-bar doesn’t move for a while. It might be a good idea to run it over night if you have one of the big models.

Thank you Samsung for providing us with these information

Kingston Launch Web Assistant For Storage & Memory Upgrades

When it comes to working out the specification of your new gaming system or when you’re looking to boost the performance of your existing setup, memory and storage are two of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of getting the most out of what you’ve got. Since the launch of the solid state drive only a few years back, we’ve seen desktop performance rocket up to a whole new level and as the processors and graphics cards progress to new heights, the memory kit is for most of the time forgotten about or underestimated. Whereas selecting the right graphics card for example is pretty easy, selecting the right memory kit for your needs is not as clear cut. When we take every memory kit that is on offer on the market (as well as the SSDs )and throw it all into one basket, the number of hardware combinations and possibilities, as well as price points that there are to choose from is monumental. With such a huge number of products on offer, how are you sure that the kit you’re choosing is the right one for you?

One way of filtering out the select products that would be suitable for your system would be to look around the review sites such as ourselves, where we show you some of the latest performance, mid-range and budget options that there are on the market, giving you an idea of what product you want to be ordering next. Whilst this is all fair and well, we have to be fair and honest and say that not everyone is going to want to go through piles and piles of reviews to see what is best for their needs, either because of the time it takes to read reviews, or because they’re not that technically minded. We therefore see numerous users taking to our forums to ask what would be the best drive or memory kit for them to get for their system for XYZ price bracket, but what if there was an even easier option out there which could guide you through the selection process, showing you only the products which are best suited for your needs; a user with a gaming motherboard would ideally like a gaming memory kit to compliment the performance, whilst a typical home office user may want a budget kit which does what it needs to without burning a hole in the wallet.

Fortunately though Kingston have been busy working away over the last few months to develop a massive database of every motherboard, server, notebook and more; after which they individually select which of their memory kits and SSDs is best suited for that particular users needs with the option on offer to then purchase the hardware directly from Kingston and have it delivered to your door. These selection pages don’t just cover the Windows platform, as Apple systems more commonly than not use very similar desktop components to those used in the rest of the market, we find Kingston offering up a good range of suitable kits for Mac users.

 

With the next generation of motherboards and processors only a short time away now, the time to upgrade is also very close and if you’re not too sure on how to actually do the upgrade, fear not as Kingston have also got you covered. In addition to the massive web database and product selection tools, they also have a library of setup guides and videos on offer which take you through the upgrade process step-by-step, clearing any doubts or worries that you may be doing something wrong. With technology so far advanced compared to where it was a number of years ago, it is actually far easier to upgrade your system than it used to be.

Kingston don’t just supply the retail market with components, they also cover the OEM market, providing a number of manufacturers products for direct use in their systems and to reflect this, Kingston also list the relevant upgrade kits for each of their OEM partners. Here are just a few of Kingston’s partners:

So if you’re a budding enthusiast who wants to know that they are giving their system the very best, or a non-technically minded home user who wants some guidance, head over to Kingston’s Memory and Storage Search Page where you can find the right product and how to get the best out of your system – oh and did I mention that this information and help is TOTALLY FREE? Surely that deserves us giving Kingston a huge thank you to making your tech experience as good as possible.

Futuremark Releases The Basic and Advanced Versions Of PCMark 8

 

Futuremark has finally released the basic and advanced version of its latest PCMark 8 benchmarking engine. PCMark 8 is similar to the well-known 3DMark, having a modified UI which is reported to be touchscreen friendly. It also breaks up the benchmark into five tests, which are Home, Creative, Work, Storage, and Applications.

The Creative test is a superset of the Home and Work tests, and likewise Home is a superset of Work, but the overall scores in each category can still vary depending on the capabilities of the device being tested. Storage focuses on your storage device, and it can take a while to run on an SSD never mind waiting around for a hard drive. The Applications suite is said to require Microsoft Office 2010 or newer and Adobe Creative Cloud in order to run. Also included as part of the overall package are battery life tests for the Home, Creative, and Work suites.

The Basic edition only includes the Home, Creative, and Work benchmarks, along with the battery life tests, while the Advanced version adds the Storage and Applications suites. PCMark is likely to be the most common choice of every gamer and enthusiast for the most accurate benchmarking statistics, having following in the steps of 3DMark. The Advanced version of PCMark 8 can be bought at a price of $49,95 (or from Steam at a limited 20% off sale – $37,49), while the Basic version can be downloaded from Futuremark’s website.

Thank you Anandtech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Futuremark

Adobe Photoshop Update Brings 3D Printing and Perspective Warp

Adobe has launched its latest update to its Creative Cloud suite. Among the update, Photoshop notably received an interesting feature, namely the addition of a tool for making changes to a photo’s perspective and 3D printing.

Photoshop was not a tool made for 3D models, and Abode confirms this. Its reputation comes from the ability to import third-party models and then finishing the final touches, namely the image manipulation, inside the Photoshop tool. But thanks to a new partnership with MakerBot, Photoshop can now natively print to that company’s 3D printers.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCq0mKuJbYg#t=73[/youtube]

And because of a similar partnership with Shapeways, users can also easily print their designs on the various materials and color options available on that service. Photoshop will even estimate the price for these prints and provide users with previews based on the color and material that users choose. The company is also adding 3D model support to Behance. By default, Behance only displays JPEGs, but Adobe has partnered with Sketchfab to bring embeds for 3D models to Behance.

Besides 3D modelling, the new Perspective Warp feature is also a great tool to have at your disposal. While Photoshop already has a number of warp tools in its arsenal, none of them work very well for changing the perspective of an image without also turning straight lines into curves. With this tool, you simply draw the general outline of the object that aligns with the perspective. Once Photoshop knows the current perspective, you switch from the markup mode to the warp mode and adjust the perspective.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Images and video courtesy of TechCrunch

iOS 7.0.4 Jailbreak for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch From Evasi0n Has Been Released

The Evasi0n 7, iOS 7.0.4 jailbreak for Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch has just been released, and just in time for Christmas Too! The move is quite surprising since we are just a few days away from Christmas and nobody thought we were going to see something like this until next year at least, but it seems that Evad3rs released the latest evasi0n jailbreak for Apple devices as a Christmas gift for all to enjoy. The latest evasi0n7 can jailbreak devices running iOS 7 through iOS 7.0.4.

The jailbreak tool is available for both Mac and Windows and the requirements posted on Evasi0n website are:

  • 5 minutes of your time!
  • A computer, running Windows (XP minimum), Mac OS X (10.6 minimum) or Linux (x86 / x86_64)
  • iTunes installed if you’re running Windows
  • An iPhone, iPad or iPod running iOS 7.0 through 7.0.4 (you may check in Settings / General / About => Version)
  • A USB cable to connect the device to the computer

But do not forget about the precautionary measures as well, since we don’t want to write an urgent letter to Santa for a new iPhone this year if something goes wrong. Therefore, Evasi0n posted the steps to avoid such misfortunes:

  • Backup your device using iTunes (or iCloud) before using evasi0n. If something breaks, you’ll always be able to recover your data.
  • Please disable the lock passcode of your iOS device before using evasi0n. It can cause issues.
  • Avoid all iOS and iTunes related tasks until evasi0n is complete. Why not just enjoy a brief break from the computer to stretch your legs?
  • If the process gets stuck somewhere, it’s safe to restart the program, reboot the device (if necessary by holding down Power and Home until it shuts down), and rerun the process./li>
  • If you get an error on OS X 10.8 saying that evasi0n can’t be opened, control-click (or right-click) the app and on the revealed context menu, choose ‘Open.’ On the ensuing dialogue box, choose ‘Open’ as well.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of WCCF

Havok Physics To Power Up Latest Ubisoft Titles

The Havok Physics Engine has been announced to power a number of next-gen Ubisoft titles such as the new Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. With the help of the Havok Physics, Ubisoft Montreal development team was able to bring a high level of immersion to the massive world of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.

“Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag had many specific challenges related to physics that Havok has been instrumental in solving – first and foremost was simulating early 18th-century ships on a roaring ocean,” said Sylvain Trottier, associate producer at Ubisoft. “Making use of Havok Physics, we were able to ensure that the player’s gameplay experience was just as rich and enthralling on sea as it is on land.”

But Havok’s technology is not limited to the latest Assassin’s Creed title. It is also being used in a variety of future Ubisoft games, including action games such as Watch Dogs and Tom Clancy’s The Division which are due to be release on the next-gen consoles. Ubisoft is using the Havok technology multi-platform based to ensure a consistent gameplay experience to users, whether it is on the next-gen PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, or PlayStation 3 – Xbox 360 – Wii U consoles, or even the PC platform.

“Ubisoft consistently delivers compelling titles that rely on immersive experiences to draw players in, and we’re honored to work with them to bring our comprehensive physics solutions to their popular franchise,” said Brian Waddle, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Havok. “Havok’s support stretches to every major console, PC and portable system, so it’s perfectly tailored to massive titles – like Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Watch Dogs and Tom Clancy’s The Division – that are being adapted to multiple platforms.”

The Havok Physics Engine is considered an industry-leading tool offering robust collision detection and physical simulation technology, which has been used in more than 400 released titles from leading game developers as well as scores of in-development projects.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Teratrend (SilverStone) TS231U 2 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


The storage markets are growing rapidly at the moment and this is certainly clear from the large number of home and small office users that are jumping onto the NAS bandwagon to increase their storage capacity to satisfy their needs. For some people though the prospect of setting up network devices is still either a daunting process or even more simply, too much hassle. Having a solution that is virtually plug and play is still the main choice of many users and as a result there is a market flooded by USB enclosures for both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives.

Teratrend is a name that some may look at and turn away as its not recognised, but the sooner its realised that their a sub-brand of SilverStone – the same people of manufacture many great looking chassis and power supplies as well as coolers, the attention is soon brought back with the prospect of a high quality, well build unit.

As storage is not the main focus of SilverStone, the Teratrend brand was brought in to distinguish the new line of products a few years ago and since then we have seen a number of two and four bay options that take the effort out of storage expansion with say to use and simple devices that look good at the same time on any desk.

Like many other drive enclosures on the market, the contents are rather simple and alongside the enclosure itself we find a kettle lead, eSATA and USB3.0 data cables and a simple manual that outlines the RAID selection and drive installation process.