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TechAmok News Archive

Wednesday 14 (Mar 2018)

Google Home Lets People Set Reminders That Ping Their Phone - [briefly]
06:05 PM EDT - Mar,14 2018 - post a comment

Google has this week added several new features to Google Home that make the product more useful. First, people can now set reminders on their Google Home that are triggered by their phone's location. For example, at home, say, "Hey Google, set a reminder to pick up more coffee at the grocery store," and Google Assistant will remind you on your phone when you're actually at the grocery store. This is an expansion of a feature Google first announced last month. Second, routines are now more widely available. Routines string together a handful of actions that are triggered by a specific catch phrase. For example, people can ask Google to tell them about their day and get the news, weather, and traffic information they need first thing in the morning. Routines can now proactively turn off mobile devices' silent mode, and even interact with Assistant-powered appliances. Google is offering a half dozen routines to start, including morning, leaving home, bedtime, and so on. Users can easily customize the routines, and even ensure Google Assistant recognizes individual users for personalized routines. The new tools are free to use.

Smartphone Camera Shoot-Out: iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, Galaxy S9+ - [briefly]
05:57 PM EDT - Mar,14 2018 - post a comment

Is photography your passion? If so, and you're in the market for a new phone, the Apple iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 XL, and Samsung Galaxy S9+ should be at the top of your list. Here's a rundown of the features offered by each and how the three devices compare in a head-to-head shoot-out
All three phones deliver outstanding results on average, and generally outperform competing models from other phone makers. That said, I think the Pixel 2 XL is the winner here, but only by the slightest margin. The S9+ comes in second. These two clearly offer better exposure and color than the iPhone X across a variety of shooting conditions.

The Pixel 2 XL wins because it maintains detail in low-light shooting that the S9+ sometimes lacks, and because the camera app itself is much easier to use. The iPhone X is still a great camera, but it trails the Pixel 2 XL and S9+ mostly due to the tone of images, which I found to be consistently less accurate. The iPhone X also managed to underexpose a lot of photos that the Pixel 2 XL and S9+ got right.

How can you choose between these phones? There are myriad other factors that go into selecting the best phone for you (read our full reviews of the iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, and Galaxy S9+ for all the dirt), but if you're choosing on camera alone, go with the Pixel 2 XL.

GeForce Partner Program Coverage Intensifies - [briefly]
04:32 PM EDT - Mar,14 2018 - post a comment

If you have not aware of the our coverage on NVIDIA GPP, I would highly suggest reading our GeForce Partner Program Impacts Consumer Choice article. I have been informed that NVIDIA is putting pressure on traditional tech "journalists" to not cover this story as it is nonsense and not worth the digital ink to print it. However, there are more than a few YouTubers reacting to the story in the last 24 hours - Tech of Tomorrow - Hardware Unboxed - Joker Productions - The Good Old Gamer - The Good Old Gamer #2 - Gamers Nexus - Frenerth.

It's an invasion into your mind. Don't rewind! - [briefly]
03:29 PM EDT - Mar,14 2018 - post a comment

To rewind, or not to rewind: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?

Stephen Hawking has died aged 76 - [briefly]
01:43 AM EDT - Mar,14 2018 - (1 comments)

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said. The Briton was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time. At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease. The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.

Monday 12 (Mar 2018)

Galaxy S9 Durability Test! - Upgraded Aluminum?! - [mobile]
04:15 PM EDT - Mar,12 2018 - post a comment

Even if you care less about the next greatest thing in the world of smartphones, Zack Nelson and his durability test is always a good watch.

Saturday 10 (Mar 2018)

Windows 10 Finally Adds Tabs to File Explorer - [briefly]
04:59 PM EST - Mar,10 2018 - post a comment

Better late than never: Microsoft has finally added tab support to File Explorer in the latest Insider Preview Build, allowing users to open multiple, different folders in a single window. It is part of Windows' new "Set" feature, which also allows for adding applications as a tab.

Elon Musk tweets video of the "urban loop" transport system - [technology]
04:21 PM EST - Mar,10 2018 - post a comment

Elon Musk has released a video which gives more insight into the potential plans for the transport system now being called the "urban loop" by some. In the video, people can be seen boarding a largely transparent vehicle that descends into a tunnel system filled with other fast moving vehicles. This video shows the development of the traffic beating sled transport system that was largely the inspiration for the Boring Company's start in 2017. Back then the idea was for people in cars to be able to drive onto one of these high speed electric sleds and then be whisked off underground avoiding all the conventional traffic.

The best pics on the Internet #251 - [off-topic]
02:20 PM EST - Mar,10 2018 - post a comment

All pictures are carefully handpicked

Friday 09 (Mar 2018)

This Hands-Free, Seated Backflip Is Absolutely Unreal - [off-topic]
03:44 PM EST - Mar,09 2018 - post a comment

We've seen a number of videos of people doing backflips from a sitting position, but using their hands to spring themselves upwards halfway through. But University of Michigan gymnast Brandon Burns doesn't need his hands.

Google Assistant Lets Device Makers Create Custom Actions - [briefly]
03:43 PM EST - Mar,09 2018 - post a comment

Google today introduced new Custom Device Actions for Google Assistant that will give devices native functionality specific to their hardware. Custom Device Actions build on the Assistant's existing Actions tool for issuing specific commands. Google says, for example, washing machines that include Google Assistant will let owners ask the machine to activate specific wash cycles simply by asking. Google is showcasing some of these new customized actions at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin this week, including a machine that sorts socks and a beer-ordering system. Google isn't stopping there. Assistant is gaining more functionality. For example, people will be able to subscribe to notifications via Actions. For example, Assistant can alert people to changes in stock prices in real time, or help them subscribe and then listen to Forbes' quote of the day. Moving forward, Google Assistant includes better media playback controls. Actions will support media playback on speakers and Android phones, meaning people will be able to pause or replay audio with simple voice requests. When using a phone, Actions will display a media player when listening to mediation sessions, relaxing sounds, or clips from TV shows. For example, Google says the new Daily Show Action lets people listen to the latest show and control playback via voice commands. Last, Assistant gains access to more brand-based Actions. Brands that have added the ability to interact via voice queries include American Idol, The Mindfulness App, and more. People will be able to launch and control these apps and/or experiences via Google Assistant on their home speaker or phone. Google says these new Actions for Google Assistant are rolling out over the next few days.

Google Maps Adds Mario Time for Navigation - [briefly]
03:42 PM EST - Mar,09 2018 - post a comment

Google today updated Google Maps for Android and iOS with a fun feature: Mario. Once users update to the latest version of Maps, they'll be able to turn on Mario Time for navigation. When activated, Mario will appear in place of the navigation arrow while driving, walking, or commuting. Google says the bonus feature is rolling out starting today and will be available for about a week.

Microsoft Selling Customized Variants of Samsung Galaxy S9 - [briefly]
03:42 PM EST - Mar,09 2018 - post a comment

Microsoft has added the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ to its online store. The devices are pre-configured with Microsoft apps and services. "A Microsoft customization is applied to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ Microsoft Edition when the devices are unboxed and connected to WiFi," explained Microsoft. When users first boot the device, they will be prompted to download Microsoft apps such as Office, Outlook, OneDrive, Cortana, and Microsoft's launcher for Android. Other than the software, the specs and features of the S9 and S9+ are unchanged from other versions of the phone. When purchased from Microsoft, the S9 and S9+ are unlocked. The S9 costs $720 and the S9+ costs $840.

Honor 7C shows off facial recognition feature in new leaked ad - [mobile]
03:14 AM EST - Mar,09 2018 - post a comment

The Honor 7C will be the firm's latest smartphone and will arrive with a 5.99-inch 18:9 720p display, dual cameras comprised of a 20MP and 13MP sensors, and a design that looks identical to the Honor 7X. If the ad is any indication, one of the handset's main attractions will be its ability to recognize a user's face and unlock the phone.

Thursday 08 (Mar 2018)

Charlize Theron Takes a Rorschach Test While Eating Spicy Wings | - [off-topic]
06:20 PM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

Charlize Theron is an Oscar-winning actress, humanitarian, and Hollywood superstar. But how is she with hot food? Find out as the Gringo star tests her spice credentials against the wings of death on Hot Ones. As she struggles through the Scoville onslaught, Theron teaches Sean some South African slang, breaks down her reality-TV obsession, and takes the spiciest Rorschach test in history.

This Is How The Foley Artist Behind 'The Bachelor's' Kissing Sounds - [off-topic]
06:18 PM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

We had no idea so much artistry goes into making the sounds in the fantasy suite.

Robot Solves Rubik's Cube Puzzle in 0.38 Seconds - [briefly]
06:15 PM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

A robot can solve a Rubik's cube puzzle in 0.38 seconds

California enters Right to Repair movement with new proposal - [crime-law]
06:10 PM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

Right to Repair legislation has been sweeping the country. It has become something of a movement spurred on by worldwide lawsuits and controversy over the practice of planned obsolescence. So far 18 states have introduced Right to Repair bills.

California is the latest state to get on board yesterday when it announced the California Right to Repair Act. The bill is being proposed by Democratic Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, who believes consumers should have the right to choose where to have their devices repaired.

"The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence," said Eggman.

Silicon Valley, which is located in California, is deeply opposed to such legislation making the introduction of the bill somewhat ironic. Big tech firms including Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, and others have vehemently contested and lobbied against similar proposals in other states.

One would think that such a law would not have much chance in California. However, other than Turkey, California is the only place where electronics manufacturers are required to service devices for at least seven years as opposed to five years everywhere else. This is reflected in Apple's own support policies.

Those Wacky Japanese Develop VR Headset to Feed You Candy - [briefly]
03:18 PM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

Just when you thought nothing could ever surprise you again I offer up this "unique" use of VR technology brought to us by those crazy Japanese inventors. Case in point is a VR headset that has an arm on it that will feed you candy while displaying your favorite Japanese idol handing you the candy.

Google Releases First Preview of Android P - [mobile]
11:10 AM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

Google today made the first preview of Android P available to developers. The revised version of Android adds a number of user-facing features as well as tools for app writers. For example, Android P tackles notifications for messaging. Users will be able to see image previews in notifications, as well as better see who sent the message and select auto-responses. A new API for developers gives them more power over devices with dual rear- or front-facing cameras, and Android P adopts supports for the HDR VP9 Profile 2 and HEIF multimedia formats. Android P brings with it support for "display cutouts" similar to the notch on the iPhone X. This will let developers build apps that natively fit around notches or cutouts in device displays without losing information or features. Android P makes significant improvements to indoor tracking. It adopts the WiFi Round-Trip Time (RTT) protocol which helps narrow down users' location when inside by using WiFi-based triangulation. This will let apps add features such as indoor voice-guided navigation. Android P adopts a new version of the Neural Networks API for more AI-based operations; makes multiple improvements to the autofill framework; introduces a unified fingerprint authentication dialog and high-assurance user confirmation for better security; makes it easier for developers to add accessibility features to their apps; and ensures that Android P devices will be better able to decode various image types. In the Play Store, developers will find they can no longer use private APIs beginning in November 2018. All apps submitted to the Play Store will need to target Android 8 Oreo or higher. Android P Developer Preview 1 is available for download from Google's developer portal. Developers will need to manually flash the operating system to their phone from a computer. The over-the-air public beta is not available yet and won't be until later this spring. Android P is compatible with the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL handsets. Google expects to release the full version of Android P in the fall.

Hardcoded Password Found in Cisco Software - [security]
11:08 AM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

Cisco is constantly releasing security advisories for their products, but the recent advisory has an interesting little tidbit about a hardcoded password. Believe it or not their Prime Collaboration Provisioning software app has a hardcoded password that can be exploited by a local attacker. There is no mitigation for this and Cisco customers are advised to patch the PCP application ASAP. In this day and age I just can't fathom a hardcoded password......you're supposed to be better than that Cisco.
The reasons are that an attacker can infect another device on the same network and use it as a proxy for his SSH connection to the vulnerable Cisco PCP instance, allowing for remote, over-the-Internet exploitation.

Furthermore, there is a large number of elevation-of-privilege exploits affecting the Linux operating system that an attacker can use and gain root access. Hence, Cisco's decision to classify this flaw as "critical" even with a CVSS score of 5.9 out of a maximum of 10.

Upcoming Windows 10 update will bring a dedicated AI - [briefly]
04:52 AM EST - Mar,08 2018 - post a comment

Microsoft seems interested in kicking things up a notch as far as AI goes if their latest blog post is anything to go by. In the post, the company said the next "major update" for Windows 10 will arrive with a dedicated AI platform for developers. To be clear, making use of AI is nothing new for Microsoft. The company already uses machine learning for services like Windows Hello and Office 365. However, a developer-oriented AI platform could lead to some pretty significant improvements for many third-party Windows apps. This new AI platform, dubbed "Windows ML," will allow developers to take advantage of a user's PC resources to perform AI processing tasks, reducing or, in some cases, eliminating the need to use potentially expensive cloud processing solutions. According to Microsoft, this platform will be supporting the "industry standard" ONNX format for machine learning models, a format "driven by Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon Web Services." In addition to reducing operating costs, the upcoming ML platform could allow for much quicker, lower-latency AI processing. As Microsoft says in the blog post, "results can be delivered quickly and efficiently for use in performance-intensive workloads like game engines, or background tasks such as indexing for search." Developers will also be able to use some of Microsoft's pre-created machine learning systems to speed up generic AI tasks, further contributing to the aforementioned reduction in development costs.

Microsoft hasn't announced a official launch date for this upcoming update, though, so developers may have to wait a while to take advantage of these new AI tools.

Wednesday 07 (Mar 2018)

Cortana gets Outlook integration - [briefly]
06:08 AM EST - Mar,07 2018 - post a comment

Although Cortana lacks many features its mainstream competitors had for many years, email integration will no longer be one of them. The company has officially rolled out Outlook integration for the Halo-inspired virtual assistant on Windows 10, and the Invoke. With this, it will allow you to ask if you received any new emails, and it will then respond with a list of senders and the message sent by them. Beyond that, it offers deeper functionality, that allows you to ask it for emails from a specific person or entity. Adding to this, it will also let you respond to these messages via dictation. Outlook integration for Cortana rolled out to a limited base for the time being, with those using the U.S. English language setting on Windows 10 getting access to it. Unfortunately, it does not function alongside iOS or Android devices yet. However, with it being Microsoft, this should change in due course.

Lost in Space - Official Trailer - [briefly]
05:59 AM EST - Mar,07 2018 - (2 comments)

The Robinson family, part of a highly trained mission to establish a new colony in space, is unexpectedly pulled off course forcing them to crash land on a lost planet. Danger will find them. Lost in Space premieres April 13, 2018.

Lindsey Pelas is a hot - [off-topic]
05:51 AM EST - Mar,07 2018 - post a comment

She definitely is interesting to look at!

Tuesday 06 (Mar 2018)

AMD Radeon Adrenalin 18.3.1 driver - [briefly]
03:53 AM EST - Mar,06 2018 - post a comment

AMD today released its first Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition drivers for this month, version 18.3.1 beta. The drivers come with optimization for "Final Fantasy XV," and "Warhammer: Vermintide II." It also includes some fine-tuning for Dota 2 that delivers up to 6 percent higher frame-rates than 17.12.1 drivers, at 4K Ultra HD, when tested with an RX 580 graphics card. The drivers also fix application crashes with "Sea of Thieves," multi-GPU flickering seen in "Middle-earth: Shadow of War," and some color-corruption noticed with "World of Tanks" in certain multi-GPU configurations.
Support For
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Warhammer: Vermintide II
  • DOTA2
  • Up to 6% faster FPS using Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.3.1 on the Radeon RX 580 (8GB) graphics card than with Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 at 3840x2160 (1440p).RS-218
Fixed Issues
  • Radeon Chill hotkey may fail to reset when Radeon Settings is restored to defaults.
  • Sea of Thieves may experience an intermittent application hang or crash during gameplay.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War may experience texture flickering on trees or hills when using multi GPU enabled system configurations.
  • World of Tanks may experience color corruption when changing some game settings in multi GPU enabled system configurations.
Known Issues
  • A random system hang may be experienced after extended periods of use on system configurations using 12 GPU's for compute workloads.
  • Destiny 2 may experience an application hang in the mission "Heist" on some Radeon GCN1.0 products.
  • Destiny 2 may experience long load times when the application has been open for long periods of time.
  • Radeon Overlay may intermittently fail to enable when toggled in some games.
  • FFmpeg application may experience corrupted output for H264 video streams.
  • Resizing Radeon Settings may cause the window to intermittently stutter.
  • Final Fantasy XV may experience minor stutter during some particle effects. A workaround is to disable the "Geomapping" setting in game.

Monday 05 (Mar 2018)

Microsoft Says It Optimized Skype for Older, Slower Android Devices - [briefly]
03:28 PM EST - Mar,05 2018 - post a comment

Microsoft recently released an updated version of Skype for Android meant for older smartphones. Specifically, this down-tuned variant of Skype is intended for Android devices running 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich to 5.1 Lollipop. Microsoft says Skype for these phones uses less memory and less storage, allowing the app to run faster while also improving audio and video quality even in challenging network conditions. Microsoft is rolling out this update worldwide over the next few weeks. Those who want to download the app immediately can do so via the Skype Insiders Program. Skype is free from the Google Play Store.

Sunday 04 (Mar 2018)

How a TV Works in Slow Motion - The Slow Mo Guys - [guides]
03:44 AM EST - Mar,04 2018 - post a comment

If you are reading this, you've seen a screen with your eyes. But have you REALLY seen it though? Like real proper seen it? Don't worry, Gav is here to help you out. This is How a TV works in Slow Motion

Saturday 03 (Mar 2018)

Why Literally (Almost) Every Price Ends in 99 Cents - [briefly]
06:28 PM EST - Mar,03 2018 - post a comment

The 99 cent pricing, however, isn't the only psychological trick companies are using to persuade you to buy their products.

Thieves Steal 600 Powerful Bitcoin-Mining Computers in Huge Heist - [crime-law]
01:49 PM EST - Mar,03 2018 - post a comment

Hundreds of servers designed to mine bitcoin have been stolen in Iceland, and authorities have been unable to track down a single system. The missing hardware includes 600 graphics cards, as well as 100 processors, 100 power supplies, 100 motherboards, and 100 sets of computer memory. Law enforcement is hoping for an energy surge somewhere, as they appear to be out of leads. According to The Associated Press and Visir, those are the items a coordinated group of Icelandic thieves has stolen. And though 11 people have reportedly been arrested and at least two are still in custody, none of the stolen computers have yet been found by police.

The thefts, which occured between late December and early January, were reportedly captured on surveillance cameras by Advania, the server company hit by two of the three thefts. (The graphics cards, processors and so on were allegedly stolen from a home.) Advania had been offering its customers access to bitcoin-mining rigs, and it sounds like those were the type that were stolen. The Associated Press reports that the stolen computers are worth nearly $2 million.

The AP reports that police are tracking energy consumption across Iceland in case the thieves turn on their new computers and place a strain on the grid, since that could potentially lead them back to the stolen computers' location.

Watts Zap 2018 Best Funny Sports - [off-topic]
11:23 AM EST - Mar,03 2018 - post a comment

Haha nice love these vids!

Friday 02 (Mar 2018)

PCPer Male Bag Reaches 33# - [briefly]
04:09 PM EST - Mar,02 2018 - post a comment

Ryan's bag is heavy this week and hanging low. This week the bag is full of Thunderbolt 3 usages, AMD stuffs, and the lack of DX12 games.

Xiaomi's upcoming Mi Mix 2S teased in new video - [mobile]
08:41 AM EST - Mar,02 2018 - post a comment

Earlier today, Xiaomi teased the newest addition to its bezel-less flagship series, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, in a video it released on MiaoPai, a Chinese streaming platform. It doesn't feature much in the way of engrossing content, outside of confirming the presence of the latest Snapdragon 845 SoC in the device through hand signs. While no other internals are confirmed, the rumor mill suggests that the Mix 2S will sport a 6" OLED screen in the newer 18:9 aspect ratio, along with a whopping 8GB RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. Some sources also say that it may feature a fingerprint sensor under the screen much like Vivo's recently announced handset, though again, this isn't officially confirmed.

AT&T Matches Sprint's Samsung Galaxy S9 Offer - [mobile]
08:40 AM EST - Mar,02 2018 - post a comment

Preorders for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ start today and AT&T hopes its promotion will score with customers. Similar to Sprint's offer, AT&T will give customers up to $500 in account credits through combined promotions. First, customers who port in a number from a competing carrier will be rewarded with a $150 bill credit. Further, those who trade in a smartphone will receive a minimum of $200, and possibly as much as $350, in bill credits. Phones worth $350 on trade are the Apple iPhone 8, 8 Plus or iPhone X; LG V30; Google Pixel 2/XL Phones. Phones worth $300 on trade include any of the Samsung Galaxy S7 variants. With these offers combined, AT&T says the S9 price drops to as low $290, while the S9+ drops to $415. By way of comparison, Sprint is offering $350 off its S9/S9+ lease program and $150 via Visa gift card. The S9 is also sold by T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Thursday 01 (Mar 2018)

Alexis Ren Will Blow Your Pants Off - [off-topic]
03:22 AM EST - Mar,01 2018 - post a comment


Wednesday 28 (Feb 2018)

Bill Gates: cryptocurrencies are killing people - [briefly]
05:26 PM EST - Feb,28 2018 - post a comment

Cryptocurrency tends to split opinion. Some people believe in digital currencies like bitcoin and maintain that their value will keep rising, while others call them Ponzi schemes beloved by criminals. After his Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session yesterday, it seems Bill Gates falls firmly into the latter camp. The former Microsoft CEO even said the technology "has caused deaths in a fairly direct way."

When asked for his opinion on cryptos, Gates said their main feature was the anonymity they offer, and he doesn't think this is a good thing. The Governments ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way, he explained.

Nvidia's GTX 2070 and 2080 cards could be unveiled next month - [hardware]
05:19 PM EST - Feb,28 2018 - post a comment

Speaking to TweakTown, a "well-placed source" in the industry said the first public showing would take place at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC), which begins on March 26. The new cards will follow the current Pascal-based 10-series with either an 11-series or 20-series naming system, which means we could see the GTX 1180 or the GTX 2080. Whatever they're called, these new gaming GPUs are said to be based on the 12-nanometer Ampere architecture. It was thought that the new GeForce cards would use the same Volta architecture found in the Titan V and Tesla V100, but it now looks as if Volta will be reserved for Nvidia's top-end cards built for AI, high-performance computing (HPC), and deep learning. Some suspect that Ampere could actually be a version of Volta for gamers. Making the situation even more confusing is Turing, which Reuters calls 'The new gaming chip' that is expected to be unveiled next month. This is a completely new GPU architecture and may be used in the GeForce GTX 11-Series/20-series cards instead of Ampere. It could, however, be for something else entirely.

Russian TV shows Arma 3 clip as actual footage of Syrian war - [briefly]
01:27 PM EST - Feb,28 2018 - post a comment

Not for the first time, Russia has used footage taken from a video game and used it in a report on real-life military action. In this instance, a clip from Arma 3 briefly appeared in a segment on the war in Syria. State-run Channel One TV's weekly Voskresnoye Vremya program was airing a segment celebrating Russia's armed forces, to commemorate last week's Defender of the Fatherland Day. Roman Filippov, a Su-25 ground attack aircraft pilot killed in Syria earlier this month, was one of those honored. In a sequence showing Su-25 jets in action, one scene contained what appears to be a truck being attacked from the perspective of a sniper. It's on the screen for less than a second, but a closer look reveals the clip is from the 2015 military simulator game, Arma 3

After viewers spotted the game's inclusion and highlighted it on Pikabu, Russia's version of Reddit, Channel One said that 'the use of this frame was a mistake by the video editing director.' They allegedly took it from the video archive, where it came from a previous story on computer games. But not everybody is convinced that the clip's inclusion was accidental, especially as this isn't the first time video games have been used this way. Back in November, Russia's Ministry of Defense posted images of what it claimed was "irrefutable evidence" of cooperation between US troops and ISIS, but in reality, it was a screenshot from a trailer for a mobile game. And in May 2016, the Russian embassy in the UK posted a screenshot from classic PC strategy game Command and Conquer: Generals to warn of extremist activities. It's not just Russia that uses games in this way. In January 2017, CNN used Fallout 4 to illustrate Russian hacking activities, while in 2011, a report by British TV station ITV showed footage of a helicopter being shot down using weapons allegedly supplied by the IRA, but the clip was taken straight from Arma 2.

Tuesday 27 (Feb 2018)

Throwing a Needle Through Glass in Slow Motion - [off-topic]
01:51 PM EST - Feb,27 2018 - post a comment

The Slow Mo Guys can make anything look cool, but they barely needed to do anything with this one - the needle doesn't shatter the glass pane, it literally goes straight through it.

T-Mobile Is Building 5G in 30 Markets This Year - [mobile]
12:51 PM EST - Feb,27 2018 - post a comment

T-Mobile today provided more details concerning its forthcoming 5G network. It will be building 5G across 30 cities in the U.S. this year. It will start with New York City in the 600 MHz and mmWave spectrum bands. Other named cities include Dallas, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. The company has been fortifying its LTE 4G network with technologies such as carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, License Assisted Access, and FD-MIMO with 64 antennas (32 transmit, 32 receive). The company is not going to cap its LTE network in any form, continuing to use it for the foreseeable future. All these technologies have helped the company prepare for 5G. T-Mobile says 5G and 4G are going to coexist and live together. T-Mobile reiterated that it will first use its 600 MHz spectrum for 5G, though it is also eyeing the 3.5 GHz mid-band and 28 GHz mmWave spectrum. The FCC expects to auction off 28GHz later this year. T-Mobile didn't specify what mmWave spectrum it will us for its 5G network. T-Mobile sees 5G encompassing fixed broadband (routers), mobile service (phones, AR/VR, wearables, drones), and IoT (sensors, industrial automation). It will cover every inch of the U.S. with some 5G service by 2020 with equipment from Nokia and Ericsson. The company is already deploying 5G NR-capable hardware in its base stations. T-Mobile expects to debut the first 5G smartphones and other products during the first quarter of 2019.

Planet of the Apes Goes VR - [gaming]
12:49 PM EST - Feb,27 2018 - post a comment

Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR, is a virtual reality game available April 3, 2018 on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.

Apple Confirms It Uses Google's Cloud for iCloud - [briefly]
06:05 AM EST - Feb,27 2018 - post a comment

In a report from CNBC, a file on Apple's website called the iOS Security Guide confirms that it is relying on Google's public cloud for storage for iCloud Services. Previous versions of the guide had stated that Apple was relying on Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft Azure for data storage, however in the newest report the Azure reference is now gone with Google in its place. Anyone want to take bets on when Google gets investigated for being a monopoly? It seems you can't do anything without them.

Fahrenheit 451 - first full-length trailer - [briefly]
06:04 AM EST - Feb,27 2018 - post a comment

HBO announced last summer that it was developing a movie based on Ray Bradbury's classic dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451. The network dropped a teaser for the flick last month and now, we've got a proper trailer to salivate over. A staple you probably read in grade school, Fahrenheit 451 was originally published in 1953. It is set in a future where "media is an opiate" and "firemen" are tasked with finding and burning books to suppress the ideas within. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. News. Fact. Memoirs. Internet of old. Burn it," says protagonist Guy Montag's mentor, Captain Beatty. Fahrenheit 451 is set to premiere on HBO in May.

Monday 26 (Feb 2018)

iTunes Store Dropping Windows Vista and XP Support on May 25th - [briefly]
05:39 PM EST - Feb,26 2018 - post a comment

Apple has stated on a support page post that it will be dropping support for Windows Vista, XP, and the first generation of Apple TV on May 25th. Apple states that on Vista and XP machines, you will still be able to use older versions of iTunes without support, however you will not be able to make any purchases from the store.

Apple is more blunt about the 1st generation Apple TV, stating that "Security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes."

NVIDIA GeForce 391.01 WHQL driver - [briefly]
03:10 PM EST - Feb,26 2018 - post a comment

NVIDIA just released GeForce  Game Reader Driver 391.01 for Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition. This driver also offers performance improvements of up to 7% in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, along with being optimized for Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and Worlds of Tanks 1.0. NVIDIA's driver development team work continues well after a game launches and this is an example of why is so very important. NVIDIA was able to get performance boosts ranging from 3% all the way up to 7% on 391.01 drivers and that will give you an even-faster, even-smoother experience in the world's most popular action game. You can download GeForce 391.01 graphics card drivers here.

Sunday 25 (Feb 2018)

Samsung Galaxy S9 And S9+ Hands-On - [mobile]
03:36 PM EST - Feb,25 2018 - post a comment

Samsung has announced the Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones, updates to last year's S8 models. The devices bear a striking resemblance to their predecessors and make only modest changes to the hardware. The S9/S9+ feature 2:1 screens with slightly reduced bezels and glass panels front and back. Most significantly, Samsung rotated the camera/fingerprint module so the reader is in a central location on the rear. The phones also adopt stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos and produce louder sound than the S8/S8+. The S9/S9+ carry over features such as the waterproof chassis, USB-C port, headphone jack, and dedicated Bixby button. Samsung made significant improvements to the camera. The 12-megapixel cameras now include switchable aperture, from f/1.5 to f/2.4, to help with low-light situations. The camera sensor includes embedded DRAM memory - similar to Sony's premium phones - that allows the S9/S9+ to capture 960fps slow-motion. The slow-mo mode includes a motion detection function so it knows when to slow down the video for maximum effect. Each phone also includes an 8-megapixel selfie camera, along with face and iris scanning for security. Samsung added AR Emoji, a tool that echos the Animoji feature on the iPhone X to a certain degree. Users record their face which is then turned into a cartoon avatar and applied to 18 different personalized GIFs. The AR Emoji also let users animate faces such as a devil, and even apply (and purchase) various types of makeup. Further, S9/S9+ owners can easily save and share the AR Emoji with most other devices. Samsung says the S9/S9+ include a more refined version of Bixby that is now able to recognize more actions. More importantly, Bixby Vision now works in real-time, allowing for instant language translation and searches when viewing items through the camera. The devices ship with Android 8 Oreo, the Samsung SmartThings app, and the latest version of Samsung's DeX software. Samsung's SmartThings will allow the S9/S9+ to interact with other connected Samsung devices, such as refrigerators. The DeX software now works with a new dock that lets the phone act as a virtual mouse and/or keyboard. The S9 includes a 5.8-inch quad HD+ screen and 3,000mAh battery, while the S9+ includes a 6.2-inch quad HD+ screen and 3,500mAh battery. The only other difference in the hardware is found on the rear of the S9+, which features a second camera for 2x telephoto images. Both phones rely on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The phones support microSD cards up to 400 GB. Preorders for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ kick off March 2 and the phones will reach stores March 16. Samsung is offering up to $350 for trade-ins when put toward the purchase of an S9/S9+. The phone will be sold in black, purple, and blue in the U.S. AT&T, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Xfinity Mobile all plan to carry the phone. It will also be available form Best Buy, Amazon, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. Pricing is about $799 for the S9 and $899 for the S9+.

Saturday 24 (Feb 2018)

PAPERS, PLEASE - The Short Film (2018) 4K SUBS - [briefly]
05:59 PM EST - Feb,24 2018 - post a comment

That's amazing. I love that kind of movie almost silence where the face mimic is more important than dialogs. Thats a masterpice how you can even make a short from a inide game with a basick story linie and with no advanced game mechanics.

PCPer Mailbag #32 - Meltdown, GPUs, Data Recovery - [briefly]
11:56 AM EST - Feb,24 2018 - post a comment

This week it is full of Meltdowns, naked GPUs, data recovery, and redefining display technologies.

The best pics on the Internet #250 - [off-topic]
05:38 AM EST - Feb,24 2018 - post a comment

All pictures are carefully handpicked

Friday 23 (Feb 2018)

Midrange, high-end graphics card prices to rise - [hardware]
05:42 PM EST - Feb,23 2018 - (2 comments)

Things are not looking good for everyone wishing to build a new gaming PC. As we all know, the prices for all modern graphics cards have sky-rocketed over the past few months. And according to NVIDIA, this situation will not be resolved soon as the prices will continue increasing through Q3 2018
NVIDIA was here at Massdrop HQ a couple of weeks ago re-confirming what we already know. There is a couple of reason why there is a shortage and also such a high demand of cards.

First the shortage.
All new cell phones coming out by Apple and Samsung (and others) last year started using the same memory as graphics cards. Apple and Samsung are willing to pay more for this memory to make sure they get it first and all of it that they need. This has created a shortage of memory for the much smaller companies like MSI, Gigabyte, Asus, and EVGA to make graphics cards.

Next the demand
This is obvious as the mining craze thats been going on has created a huge demand in the market as miners are goblin up just about every card available on earth.

These two things combined has just made it a tough time for any system builder out there that just wants a card or two for their rig.

While NVIDIA was here they also let us know that the pricing in the market will continue to go up through Q3 of this year most likely before we start seeing any type of relief. So, unfortunately the end to this is not right around the corner and we have not seen the worst of it yet.

Let me finish by telling everyone on Massdrop this. I will continue to list graphics cards that I can for the community if I am able to offer a competitive price. Also, as I have mentioned in other graphics cards drops we are selling this for right above our cost just barely covering back end expenses.

Why should Massdrop offer these cards above MSRP? Well, there are still customers who want to build computers now and not wait 6, 9, 12 months for the market to stabilize. So as long as I can bring them a better deal than what is currently available I will continue to do so. That being said MSRP is kind of out the window at this point so keep your eye on market price VS Massdrop as you will not see any cards out there anywhere close to MSRP for a while to come.
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