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?

Microsoft Will Not “Force” Consumers to Upgrade to Windows 10… Or Will They?

Microsoft has been somewhat pushy concerning the adoption of Windows 10, from the many “forced upgrade” attempts, relentless hidden updates to the secretive file downloading system which launches an installer without explicit user acceptance, the tech giant has clearly overstepped its remit. Well, apparently no, no it has not, if a statement from the corporation is anything to go by.

“Windows Update is trusted for important updates through an official channel, while Windows 10 has been added in order to facilitate an easier way to find an upgrade to your system, you will receive a significant prompt before you choose to continue” said Microsoft.

Sounds reassuring, unfortunately, many users have found their systems being upgraded to Windows 10 without permission.  Microsoft has also found workarounds regarding third-party tools which aim to disable pop-up ads through the system tray, by automatically re-enabling any upgrade prompts. Furthermore, reports have been circulating concerning changes to the update system that will classify Windows 10 as a “recommended Update” from early 2016; this means users who think they will be installing a regular update will, in fact, be downloading the latest OS.

Then there is the latest scenario concerning the “Upgrade Now or Upgrade Tonight” prompt within Windows update for Win 7 and 8 users, but there does not seem to be an option to refuse the upgrade altogether.

I do think Microsoft have overstepped the mark concerning its relentless pursuit of upgrading every system to its latest OS, consumers have a right to decline any major updates if they wish to through a clear and transparent scheme.  Sticking by an older OS is perfectly legitimate for a variety of reasons, hopefully, I say that word without expectation, Microsoft will see sense and leave consumers be, if not, I can see a backlash to the point where many consumers have no other option but to ditch the brand before migrating to a different OS altogether, whether that be Mac or a variety of Linux distributions.

On a sidenote, I do think it seems slightly odd concerning Microsoft’s current upgrade policy, there seems to be an unprecedented push for all users to install the latest OS, Why? Is it purely marketing or is there something else, such as tracking, privacy, etc.

Is There a Connection Between ISIS and UK Government IP addresses?

Information has been both circulating and updating over the last 48 hours concerning a possible link “that a number of Islamic State supporters’ social media accounts are being run from internet addresses linked to IP addresses from the Department of Work and Pensions” This possible connection has been traced and subsequently exposed by well-known hacking group VandaSec.

Reports have also stated that, as is the norm in the digital age, been unearthed by four teenage computer hackers who claim to have traced “IP addresses from their supposed Saudi Arabia location back to the United Kingdom’s Department of Work and Pensions after using a set of specialized tools to track the IP addresses”. These accounts are at first glance noteworthy due to being utilised to recruit new ISIS members online.

It’s a conspiracy! Probably not, after further analyses by an external source, it has so far been concluded that these IP addresses were part of an unpublicized set of transactions between Britain and Saudi Arabia. It has been discovered that the British government sold a large number of IP addresses to two Saudi Arabian firms (Saudi Telecom and the Saudi-based Mobile Telecommunications Company). After the sale had been finalised around October of this year (2015) extremists piggybacked onto these and utilized the protocol to spread the standard message synonymous with the group.

Jamie Turner, an expert from a firm by the name of PCA Predict, confirmed the trace back to the UK government was more obvious than first thought owning to the fact that records for the IPs had not as yet been fully updated.

At the very least it’s certainly embarrassing for Whitehall, yes, as the government has stated it had no control over what happened to the IP addresses after they had sold them, but, perhaps further vetting of potential clients needs to take place in order to mitigate against unlawful use at the extreme end. I wonder where other sold IP addresses will end up in the future?

Image courtesy of wired

Valve Improves Dota 2 Reborn and You Can Play the Beta Now

The long wait for Valve’s latest Dota 2 title, Dota 2 Reborn, is now over. Despite the many bugs and features which are not fully functional just yet, fans and curious gamers can now play the beta version alongside Dota 2 on Steam.

Dota 2 Reborn brings a lot of features and improvements to its predecessor, including the Source 2 Engine. What this means is that Dota 2 will have a lot of rendering improvements, performance optimizations, higher fidelity content, and not to mention enhanced physics. Valve says that they will further improve cloth and simulation physics in the future too, but they are still awesome as they are now.

Other improvements can be seen in the UI, having Dota 2 Reborn come with a new and improved interface. Players area able to quickly and efficiently search for matches, stay in touch with their friends through newly added party and chat features, as well as see the what your friends (or enemies) are up to.

Now we all know how frustrating it is to have problems connecting or maintaining a connection to a server sometimes. This is why Valve worked hard to offer more reliable network connections through a new backbone and relay protocol. In addition to the latter, a lot of effort has been put into DDoS protection and we know that is a major problem nowadays.

Last but not least, Custom Games is also a nice addition to the series, having it come with better developer tools for modders. While regular users get to play other modes and maps made by fans, modders get the chance to expand their ideas a bit with new tools. The new Hammer Level Editor lets you quickly prep your map, while the Material, Model and Particle editors help shape it to look how you imagined it to be. Also, Valve now offers better debugging with their new Developer Console.

More details about the latest title can be found on their website here, or if you want to get straight into the action, you can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Install Dota 2 if you haven’t already
  2. Start up Dota 2
  3. Go to the Play tab and select Dota 2 Reborn Beta
  4. Click Install to begin your download

Sony Is Planning to Upgrade the PlayStation 4’s GPU Performance

Sony looks like it wants to update its devkits and is currently looking for an experienced programmer to work on GPU Profiling and Debugging tools used by the PlayStation 4 developers around the world.

The current job description, as Sony states, “offers the opportunity to work on all aspects of the GPU Tool” and it aims at assisting game developers get the best GPU performance from their titles.

The programmer is said to have the responsibility to improve features of the PlayStation 4 graphics profiling and debugging tools, design and implement systems that will enable game development teams to profile and optimize their titles, as well as support game development teams analysing the GPU performance of their titles.

Looking at what Sony wants from its future programmer, it’s safe to say that the company wants to fully exploit the performance from the AMD chips it installed in the consoles.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Minecraft Diamonds Are 11 Times More Rare Than Real Ones

Minecraft players know how rare and extremely useful diamonds are in the game. They can be used to build the most durable tools and weapons. However, what few people know is that diamonds in the game are ridiculously scarcer than in real life.

An infographic from a metallurgy consulting firm shows that real diamonds form 0.02% to 0.18% of the Earth’s crust, while Minecraft gems have a ratio of 0.016% of the world.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Autodesk Game Development Suite Gets More Tools for Devs to Play With

Autodesk has apparently launched its new 3D animation and modelling software for professional indie game developers, the Autodesk Maya LT 2016. This comes as a result of the company previewing their new Stingray Game Engine at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Stingray was build using Bitsquid technology and received an amazing demo at GDC, demonstrating a lot of features that lend it more power and give creators access to mode flexible tools.

“Bitsquid has been a part of the Autodesk family since the acquisition last summer and both teams have been hard at work to update, improve and add features to the engine,” said Martin Wahlund, CEO, Fatshark. “We are excited to announce that we are actually using the new Stingray engine to build our upcoming ‘Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide game.'”

The major highlights of Autodesk’s new software are:

  • Simultaneous Platform Deployment:
    • A live link between Stingray and multiple target devices allows game designers to evaluate their game simultaneously on multiple platforms
  • Integrated Workflow:
    • A more efficient pipeline to export 3D content
  • Modern Data-Driven Architecture and Powerful Rendering Capabilities:
    • A data-driven core architecture makes it easier for a user to change the look of a game without having to rewrite and re-compile the engine

Better Visuals and Modding Tools Promised in Latest Wasteland 2 Engine Update

Unity’s latest release, Unity 5, is nearly here and since more and more games are being developed with its Game Engine, a lot of developers will receive new and improved tools to tweak their games. The release promises more flexibility and power, as well as a more simplified process of developing games for a variety of platforms.

inXile Entertainment is one of the companies which are already keen on using Unity 5’s power and is currently planning on ways to upgrade its Wasteland 2 title. Chris Keenan, the project lead for Wasteland 2, posted what to expect in the near future from the title, having significant “visual improvements” and “better tools for modders” as a result of the new changes.

“…one task we’re working on right now is migrating the Wasteland 2 codebase from the Unity 4.5 engine to Unity 5, which will enable some new possibilities for us. A major benefit of moving to Unity 5 is that 5 will include many of the tools from Unity 4.x Pro. We relied on many of these tools during our development (like creating and building navigation meshes), and they will be available to modders without having to pay thousands of dollars for a Pro Unity license … Unity 5 offers physically based shading, which is already starting to look amazing in the scenes we’ve touched up.”

inXile stated that it has a few unique features planned as well, but it isn’t ready to reveal them. However, since modding and better visuals are the main topic, it’s hard to imagine the ‘unmentioned’ features being a disappointment.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Finalwire Released AIDA64 v5.00

FinalWire announced the release of version 5.0 in all the AIDA64 software products: Engineer, Extreme, Business and Network Audit. AIDA64 is a very popular piece of software that offers a wide variety of tools for monitoring and benchmarking your systems.

The latest AIDA64 update introduces wireless remote monitoring of sensor values on smartphones and tablets via RemoteSensor and Logitech Arx Control and it also provides detailed information on system certificates, supports Aquaero and Aquaduct sensor devices.

The existing LCD module has been extended to support wireless remote monitoring of sensor values on smartphones and tablets via two new interfaces: RemoteSensor and Logitech Arx Control. CPU and memory utilization, network traffic, temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, and power draw measurement can now all be monitored on mobile device LCD screens, inside a WiFi network or even over the internet. Logitech Arx Control supports Android and iOS devices; while the new web server based RemoteSensor supports virtually any mobile devices, including but not limited to Amazon, Android, BlackBerry OS, Chrome OS, Firefox OS, iOS, MeeGo, Windows Phone, and Windows RT.

A brand new operating system information page to display various details on installed system certificates. Certificate Authorities, My Certificates, Root Certificates and Software Publisher Certificates enumeration with compression and encryption algorithm identification for both signatures and public keys.

Multi-threaded OpenCL GPGPU benchmarks, graphics processor, OpenGL and GPGPU details, temperature and cooling fan monitoring for the latest GPUs: AMD Radeon R5, R7, R9 Series; nVIDIA GeForce 700, 800, 900 Series. Improved support for Crucial SSDs have all been added as well, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as you can see below.

New features & improvements

  • RemoteSensor smartphone and tablet LCD integration
  • Logitech Arx Control smartphone and tablet LCD integration
  • System certificates information
  • Support for Gravitech, LCD Smartie Hardware, Leo Bodnar LCD devices
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9888 support
  • Improved support for Intel “Skylake” CPU
  • Preliminary support for Intel “Braswell” SoC
  • Aquaero and Aquaduct sensor devices support
  • Improved support for Crucial SSDs

What’s new since AIDA64 v4.00

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows Server 2015 Technical Preview support
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update 1 support
  • OpenCL GPGPU Benchmark Suite
  • AMD Mantle graphics accelerator diagnostics
  • Multi-threaded memory stress test with SSE, SSE2, AVX, AVX2, FMA, BMI and BMI2 acceleration
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for AMD Kaveri, Bald Eagle, Mullins, Beema APUs
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel Atom C2000 “Avoton” and “Rangeley” SoC
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel “Bay Trail” desktop, mobile and tablet SoC
  • Full support for the upcoming Intel “Haswell Refresh” platform with Intel “Wildcat Point” PCH
  • Support for 47 new LCD and VFD devices
  • Improved support for Intel “Broadwell” CPU
  • Preliminary support for AMD “Carrizo” and “Toronto” APUs
  • Preliminary support for Intel Quark X1000 “Clanton” SoC
  • Preliminary support for Intel “Skylake”, “Cherry Trail”, “Denverton” CPUs
  • Improved support for Intel “Haswell-E” CPU and DDR4 memory modules
  • Support for DDR4 XMP 2.0 memory profiles
  • Intel H97 and Z97 chipset based motherboards support
  • LGA2011-v3 motherboards support
  • Socket AM1 motherboards support
  • SMTP SSL support
  • Improved handling of XSL files
  • Revamped Direct3D Compute Shader devices enumeration
  • CUDA 6.5, OpenGL 4.5, OpenGL ES 3.1 support
  • Improved support for OpenCL 2.0
  • Support for VirtualBox v4.3 and VMware Workstation v10
  • AData SP610, AData SP910, A-Data SP920, Corsair Force LX, Corsair Neutron, Corsair Neutron GTX, Crucial M550, Intel 730, OCZ Arc 100, OCZ Vector 150, OCZ Vertex 460, Plextor M6M, Plextor M6S, Samsung 845DC Evo, Samsung 850 Pro, Samsung
  • XP941, SanDisk Extreme Pro, SanDisk X300s, Seagate 600 SSD support
  • GPU details for AMD Radeon R5, R7, R9 Series
  • GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce 700, 800, 900 Series

Version 5.0 of AIDA64 is available for download and purchase now. The price depends on what version you want, but the Extreme version is most likely the one a consumer will go for. There are also trial versions available, but I think they have limited functionality.

Thanks to FinalWire for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of FinalWire

Microsoft Research Reveals Incredible Hyperlapse Video Technology

GoPro and other popular first-person video equipment has given us many unique looks into our world, allow us to see what others see like never before. The only downside is that the cameras are mounted on people running, jumping, climbing and quite often the camera suffers a lot of shaking, making the footage a little rough around the edges.

Microsoft Research think they have the answer, and their new Hyperlapse technique uses some incredible software calculations to turn that shaky footage into one smooth motion through an event and the end result is unlike any other time lapse footage I’ve ever seen.

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

By usinging a 3D representation of the video’s path, moving the camera around in a virtual environment to find the optimal spot, then linking those spots together, the teams software completely re-tools the source video and it’s certainly a lot more advanced that the image stabilization we see on YouTube videos.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/sA4Za3Hv6ng[/youtube]

Thank you VB for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of VB.

CryEngine Now Available To Everyone With Monthly Subscription

CryTek is apparently looking to take the same approach as Epic Games did this year, making their Unreal Engine 4 available on the market to everyone from casual game developers to professionals with an affordable monthly subscription method.

The company is making CryEngine available to anyone willing to register for one of three available subscriptions. The three subscriptions consist of a $9.90 month-to-month model for those who are testing out its features and do not require a monthly work subscription, a $9.00 subscription for a three-month subscription paid upfront, or a $8.30 subscription for professionals and enthusiasts alike who want to sing up for at least a period of six months.

All of the above mentioned subscriptions include full access to the latest CryEngine build, with additional notifications received as soon as new updates are available, in addition to having access to CryEngine-related graphical features and tools. CryEngine will be available via Valve’s Steam platform and the most important news so far is that there is no royalty cut involved, therefore everything earned using CryEngine will go exclusively to the individual or organisation developing the game.

Having development tools such as Unreal Engine 4 and CryEngine is significantly simplifying game development. However, having a tool such as CryEngine will also ensure that everything earned with the game goes solely to the developer, making it one of the best development tools on the market.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Spot

Tim Peake Uploads Images Of International Space Station Toolbox

Everyone loves a good tool, no matter who we are, there is a tool that we prefer or can’t live without. Many people can’t live without WD-40 and Duct tape, this combination will help you do a quick repair on just about anything. For the International Space Station or ISS you will need a little bit more to do repairs.

European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake, photographed and uploaded several photographs of the toolbox located on the ISS to share this interesting toolbox to us civilians.

When you look in a mechanics personal tool box sometimes they are organized, sometimes they are not, this toolbox is very well organized and labeled. Another thing you might notice when you look in a mechanics toolbox, you are likely to one brand of tools. With the toolbox on the ISS you will notice that they use multiple brands, Craftsman, DMC and Snap-on tools.

Tim Peake uploaded these images to his personal Flickr.com account, and are not the greatest quality, but they give us the opportunity to see the tools that are used and trusted by astronauts.

Personally I would have loved to see a full list of the tools that they use, unfortunately there was not a list of tools uploaded with the photographs, so I will ask you, the readers; What tools do you see?

Images courtesy of Flickr