[H]ard News

Sunday January 22, 2017

Toshiba To Launch OLED TVs Later This Year

This is good news for those who want to believe that OLED is finally going to make it big. Panasonic revealed their interest last year when they took the wraps off of the 65EZ1000, and we learned that Sony was invested this year when they revealed the XBR-A1E at CES. Now, we have yet another significant player to look to for the highest-quality display technology available. The real story for me will be when someone other than LG starts producing OLED panels, who seemingly have no interest in producing smaller screens. A 40" OLED TV would make for a great monitor for sure.

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Toshiba announced that it will launch its first OLED TV later this year (probably in March). Toshiba will offer 55" and 65" 4K OLEDs in Japan for ¥700,000 (about $6,100) and ¥900,000 (about $7,900) - which is reportedly similar to LG's high-end OLED TVs in Japan. Toshiba will use panels produced by LG Display - which is also supplying OLED TV panels to Japan-based Sony and Panasonic.

Discussion

15% Of U.S. Broadband Households Have Antenna-Only TV Service

Are some people actually going back to over-the-air TV? That is what this study could imply. Broadband-only households with antenna-only TV service have risen from around 8% in 2013 to 15%. Pay-TV subscriptions, on the other hand, continue to decline, which, aside from basic lack of interest, can obviously be attributed to over-the-top services such as Netflix and Amazon Video.

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Parks Associates notes declining pay-TV satisfaction in each of the last three years. Only one-third of pay-TV subscribers are very satisfied with their pay-TV service. According to Parks Associates' OTT Video Market Tracker, 63% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one OTT service and 31% of U.S. broadband households have multiple OTT service subscriptions. "Pay-TV providers are adapting to address a fundamentally different video services market than existed three years ago. Challenges still remain for consumers in aggregating and discovering their favorite content and being able to watch on their preferred screen. Live broadcasts of high-profile events remain a challenge for online delivery, though pay TV and broadcast TV conquered live distribution long ago," Sappington said. "These challenges represent areas in which pay-TV providers, or new entrants, can still win consumer attention, viewership, and revenue."

Discussion

Thinking About Windows 10 Alternatives

It is a little depressing to see a Microsoft-centric website running this sort of article, but there it is. I would have you know that I have no qualms with Windows 10 whatsoever (come at me), but those of you on the other end of the spectrum may find some amusement here. The author suggests that the number one alternative to Microsoft’s newest effort is its predecessor, Windows 8, but there is no way I would ever want to be reminded of what served as the catalyst for the full-screen, Fisher-Priced Start menu.

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With Microsoft looking at new ways of monetizing Windows 10—in many cases, with ever-aggressive advertising in the product itself—I’m getting a lot of questions about alternatives. And while the case for moving off Windows 10 on PCs is not clear, I feel the frustration too. In fact, I spend a lot more time than you may realize exploring those alternatives. This week alone, I’ve done work on macOS, using my MacBook Air, and I’ve installed the latest versions of Ubuntu and Mint Linux. In other recent weeks, I’ve spent time with a surprisingly high-quality Acer Chromebook as well. I do this with no sense of joy. And to be clear I still find Windows 10 to be the obvious winner when I evaluate what it is that I’m looking for personally.

Discussion

Capcom Not Bringing Resident Evil To Nintendo Switch

Following on the heels of developers who have claimed that their biggest games and franchises (e.g., Borderlands 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda) will not be coming to the Switch, Capcom says they have no Resident Evil games planned for the system. Nobody who knows the company well could possibly be taking their comments seriously, however—they are probably readying another port of Resident Evil 4 as I type this. I would imagine that any hype for the new Nintendo system would be for first-party efforts, anyway.

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Capcom has said it is potentially interested in making games for the Nintendo Switch, but it doesn't look like the Resident Evil series is among them, at least not yet. Producer Masachika Kawata told Express Online about the Switch, "I think it's a very unique piece of hardware." However, Capcom isn't bringing Resident Evil to Switch now or anytime soon. "I'm looking forward to the possibilities of the system itself, but we have no plans at the moment regarding Resident Evil on Switch," Kawata said (via NeoGAF). Capcom is among the dozens of development partners for the Switch, so it's possible some Capcom games will come to the console.

Discussion

Study Claiming Video Games Make Players Better Real-Life Shooters Gets Shot Down

Apparently, there was a study some years back that claimed FPS games made you a better shooter in real life. I am not sure why it took four years to be discredited, as that idea seems like a stretch once you go past the basic correlation of one simulating certain aspects of the other—the last time I checked, using a mouse and keyboard or controller is, you know, pretty different than shooting a live weapon. I guess there is an argument to make when you introduce the concept of hand-eye coordination, but plenty of things beyond video games affect that.

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Essentially, the study argues that players who played a violent video game focusing on headshots with a digital handgun were able to accurately score headshots on mannequins with real handguns afterward. As Retraction Watch notes, though, the study's been under fire since 2015 from Villanova University's Patrick Markey and Malte Elson at Germany's Ruhr University Bochum. Their own findings regarding video game violence run contrary to Bushman's, to the point that Markey has a book coming out in March titled Moral Combat: Why the War on Video Games is Wrong.

Discussion

James Cameron To Godfather New "Terminator" With "Deadpool" Helmer Tim Miller

I consider the first Terminator and Judgment Day to be two of the greatest sci-fi action films ever made. The sequels that followed were, at least comparatively, garbage, and the reason is rather obvious—Jim wasn’t around to write and direct. I really thought Cameron was done with the franchise, but he is reportedly getting involved again, although he is leaving much of the work up to Deadpool director Tim Miller. That’s no surprise, since he’s doing…what, ten Avatar movies?

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…the franchise seemed out of gas when the $155 million film grossed $440 million worldwide, but didn’t do nearly well enough in the U.S. Perhaps Cameron was foreshadowing his own future return to the franchise. Much the way that Sony used to rush Spider-Man movies to stay ahead of a rights-reversion ticking clock, it was always known that Cameron would regain clout eventually. It didn’t seem that Skydance or Paramount had much interest continuing the creative track of the last film, but real creative involvement by Cameron, even if he doesn’t direct, changes the whole ballgame. One only has to look at Aliens, True Lies, Titanic or Avatar to see what he is capable of creatively when he puts his mind to something.

Discussion

Meet The Man To Blame For Comic Sans

Batman? Watchmen? Microsoft Bob? I thought Comic Sans was invented in like, a day, just because they needed a font to amuse little kids, but it turns out there is a more interesting history behind it. The inventor, Vincent Connare, claims it is the best thing he has ever done.

You remember Comic Sans. You know, that irreverent, off-kilter font that came pre-programmed on 90s versions of Microsoft Word? In fact, you probably have very strong feelings about that font. Here’s the story behind the most polarizing font ever made.

Discussion

Tidal May Have Been Wildly Inflating Subscriber Numbers

Remember when Tidal bragged about having millions of subscribers last year? It turns out that Jay Z’s high-quality music streaming service may have exaggerated numbers just a tiny bit—which would definitely be putting things lightly, as the company reported having 3 million subscribers when its actual report to labels suggested 1.2 million. Being quite happy with my FLAC collection, I haven’t had any real reason to give Tidal a try, but it does make me wonder why the major players haven’t started selling lossless audio, as there is a clear interest in it and more people have access to greater storage these days.

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…Tidal, the music streaming service co-owned by Jay-Z and more than a dozen other music stars, has persistently inflated its subscriber numbers in statements to the media, the public, and investors. The authors of the investigation, Markus Tobiassen and Kjetil Saeter, based their findings on interviews with Tidal staff and internal documents (Tidal began life as part of Aspiro, a Norwegian company). "In April 2016, one month after [a] press release issued by the company claiming three million members, Tidal made payments to the record labels for around 850,000 subscribers," reads a translation of the report provided to Digital Music News. "The figure reported internally by Tidal in April is 1.2 million subscribers."

Discussion

Apple Exploring Facial Recognition System For iPhone 8

Ming-Chi Kuo is at it again with the Apple leaks—this time, he is advising that Apple may revolutionize biometric identification in smartphones with facial recognition capabilities. The company is currently revamping Touch ID out of necessity due to the new form factor of the next-generation iPhone, which requires an optical, not capacitive, system. But even if the facial recognition system does take off, it will likely work in tandem with the fingerprint reader for added security.

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Kuo believes the fingerprint recognition system will "ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system" for enhanced security. "However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution." Assuming the technological challenges are not too great and adoption this year isn't too soon, Kuo suggests Apple's new system will usher in a "paradigm shift" for the application of biometric identification in smartphones. Kuo's latest report builds on previous predictions regarding this year's "10th anniversary" iPhone, which is expected to feature a radical redesign with an embedded home button in an edge-to-edge display, a glass body, and potentially wireless charging.

Discussion

Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X Processors Launching In August 2017

Coinciding with the world’s largest gaming conference, Intel will be releasing its latest high-end desktop assortment for their new Basin Falls X-Series platform later this year. The chips, all of which will be labeled as Core i7-7000s, include 4-core models, utilizing Kaby Lake architecture, all the way up to 10-core models, which will be Skylake-based. However, there is a suggestion that these are actually "K" chips and not "X" chips, which means there won’t be an Extreme Edition at launch.

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The Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors will launch at Gamescom 2017, which will take place in Cologne, Germany. The launch lineup will include at least four SKUs that will make their way to the X299 platform. All processors will utilize the 14nm process node; however, the Kaby Lake-X chips may have a slight edge due to the process optimizations. This would result in better clock speed with reduce power consumption, adding to the efficiency. The four SKUs will include a 10 core, 8 core, 6 core and 4 core model. The 10, 8 and 6 core models will be based on Skylake architecture. The 4-core model will be based on the Kaby Lake architecture, which launched on mainstream platforms earlier this month. All Skylake-X chips will feature a rated TDP of 140W, while the Kaby Lake-X chip will feature a TDP of 112W. All chips will be marketed as the Core i7-7000 series processors.

Discussion

Tesla Autopilot Update Now Rolling Out With New Semi-Autonomous Features

Tesla vehicles with second-generation Autopilot hardware installed should be getting an update today that includes brand-new safety features such as a collision warning system, as well as refinements to steering and other pre-existing, autonomous functions. In a related article, Musk reveals that Tesla hardware revisions will likely be delivered annually.

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Among the changes are better navigation for Autosteer, the feature meant for use on roads with clearly visible lane markers, such as highways. Autosteer is now limited to speeds of 45mph and below, while traffic-aware cruise control (TACC), which makes small adjustments to the car’s speed based on the vehicle ahead, can be used up to speeds of 75mph. Other features include automatic lane changing for situations with slow-moving highway traffic. Tesla’s HW2 models are also getting the Forward Collision Warning (FCW) safety feature, which warns drivers with audio and visual alerts that the car will soon collide with an object. This is not to be confused with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), the feature that can automatically apply the brakes to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision, which is not part of this update.

Discussion

Scientists Can Sequence DNA With A Smartphone

Anything that helps in the fight against cancer is a welcome development, and now we have a potential solution for making screenings cheaper and more accessible. Scientists have created a lightweight optical attachment that works with a smartphone camera to detect cancer cells and perform other diagnostics. As it can be mass produced for $500, this contraption would be particularly attractive for underdeveloped countries. Thanks to scojer for this story.

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"A typical microscope with multiple imaging modes would cost around $10,000," lead researcher Aydogan Ozcan, UCLA professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering, said in a statement. "Whereas higher-end versions, such as the one we used to validate our mobile-phone microscope, would go for $50,000 or more." The research team's cheap, 3D-printed alternative plugs into a smartphone to record multi-mode images at the same quality as a traditional light microscope. It then feeds data to an algorithm for automatic analysis. According to UCLA, the gadget can even detect small amounts of cancer cells hidden among a large group of normal ones.

Discussion

Epic Games CEO Getting Lifetime Achievement Award

Each year at the Game Developers Conference, a Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to "recognize the career and achievements of a developer who has made an indelible impact on the craft of game development and games as a whole." This year’s lucky recipient will be the head of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, who, arguably, is most famous for the Unreal franchise and the Unreal Engine. Past Lifetime Achievement Award winners include John Carmack and Hideo Kojima.

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Game Developers Conference organizers announced today that Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney will receive a Lifetime Achievement award at its upcoming awards show. …Sweeney founded Epic MegaGames in 1991, with ZZT being its first release. The studio later changed names and became simply Epic Games. The Unreal Engine is one of the most widely used in all of gaming; some franchises that leverage it include BioShock, Assassin's Creed, and Batman: Arkham. He has no doubt had a major impact on gaming, but that doesn't mean he's much of a gamer himself. "I have a clinical separation from it, like a doctor would have with a patient," he told Glixel about actually playing games.

Discussion

Saturday January 21, 2017

Overwatch Will Celebrate Chinese New Year For Its Next Seasonal Event

It is going to take a lot more than new skins to get me hyped, but while Blizzard hasn’t gone into specifics, I think it’s safe to assume there will be other stuff to look forward to like new themed loot boxes and at least one unique brawl event. We do have a peek at what the new outfits may look like here. What's your Chinese Zodiac animal sign, anyway? I’m a...pig.

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Overwatch’s next seasonal event looks like it will be themed around the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival), according to a tweet from the game’s official account. Overwatch’s Year of the Rooster event will kick off next Tuesday, Jan. 24, a few days ahead of Chinese New Year. While Blizzard didn’t provide much in the way of detail on Overwatch’s next event, it did include a tease of a much-needed new character skin: something new for climatologist Mei to wear. Players will be able to admire her new duds as they stand in front of her, frozen and screaming in frustration as they welcome a sharpened icicle into their skull.

Discussion

AT&T Raises Phone Activation Fee Another $5, Now Charges $25

Let’s take bets on how high AT&T is willing to go in gouging its customers. The phone activation fee is now officially $10 higher than what it was in its inception. What is really notable is that it didn’t even take 12 months for another increase; the last bump happened only in April ’16.

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...in July 2015, AT&T started charging a $15 activation fee to customers who don't sign two-year contracts. (AT&T also raised the activation/upgrade fee for contract customers from $40 to $45 in July 2015.) The activation fee for non-contract customers was raised from $15 to $20 in April 2016 and was just raised again to $25, PhoneScoop reported today. The $25 fee is charged for new activations or upgrades when customers purchase devices on installment agreements, AT&T says. Customers who bring their own phone to the network are charged the $25 fee when they activate a new line of service, but not when they upgrade phones on an existing line. "We are making a minor adjustment to our activation and upgrade fees. The change is effective today," AT&T told Ars.

Discussion

Trump VR: Meet Your New President In Virtual Reality

Those of you who own an HTC Vive may now make a virtual visit with the President. The facial rendering is pretty impressive—but what’s the gun on the desk for?

As the phone rings, it's hard to tell if he's sitting back in reflection, or preparing to spring off the desk into action. The ambiguity seems intentional. "We see Trump in VR as art," co-creator John MacInnes explains. "A tableau vivant, in the American tradition of artists like Edward Hopper in painting, Gregory Crewdson and Cindy Sherman in photography." Indeed, Wide Awake serves as a living picture -- it's as frozen as a painting, but a light in the player's hand gives them some control over how the scene looks. And while the subject is frozen, the world around him isn't. The ringing phone continues to add tension to the scene. Who is this new president? What is his reaction to a middle of the night emergency?

Discussion

How Many Frames Per Second Can The Human Eye Really See?

This is a pretty relevant topic, as high-refresh monitors become increasingly popular and some of us are on the fence as to whether we should upgrade to one or not. Beyond doing the obvious and just scoping one out in person, you can read about what some experts have to say about motion. One guy even claims you cannot see over 20 Hz, although the actual implication seems to relate to gameplay and performance, not visuals. There is also an argument there that resolution and contrast ratios are considerably more important than refresh rates. Many thanks to Gigantopithecus for sharing this one.

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"Certainly 60 Hz is better than 30 Hz, demonstrably better," Busey says. So that’s one internet claim quashed. And since we can perceive motion at a higher rate than we can a 60 Hz flickering light source, the level should be higher than that, but he won’t stand by a number. "Whether that plateaus at 120 Hz or whether you get an additional boost up to 180 Hz, I just don’t know." "I think typically, once you get up above 200 fps it just looks like regular, real-life motion," DeLong says. But in more regular terms he feels that the drop-off in people being able to detect changes in smoothness in a screen lies at around 90Hz. "Sure, aficionados might be able to tell teeny tiny differences, but for the rest of us it’s like red wine is red wine." Chopin looks at the subject very differently. "It’s clear from the literature that you cannot see anything more than 20 Hz," he tells me. And while I admit I initially snorted into my coffee, his argument soon began to make a lot more sense.

Discussion

Totaling The Hidden Costs Of Owning A Nintendo Switch

Polygon has provided an estimate as to how much prospective Switch buyers should expect to spend for Nintendo’s latest, tallying up costs of the system and "essential" accessories. They claim that gamers will be paying over $500 when all is considered, although it is hard to say if you really need everything listed (such as the Pro Controller) to enjoy the system. What’s the right price for a console these days, anyway?

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…let’s do the math. $299.99 console + $27.49 microSD card + $79.99 Joy-Con controllers + $69.99 Pro Controller + $29.99 Joy-Con Charging Grip + one $59.99 game = $567.44. That doesn’t even take into account accessories such as a second Switch Dock — which costs a whopping $89.99, even though it doesn’t seem to do much — if you want to use the system with multiple TVs in your home. And it also doesn’t include whatever Nintendo will charge for the Switch’s paid online service starting this fall; PlayStation Network and Xbox Live each cost $59.99 a year. It’s not surprising that people are complaining about the accessory offerings and pricing for the Nintendo Switch.

Discussion

Microsoft Has Added Another Advertisement Inside Of Windows 10

For those who are keeping count, Microsoft is back with another system tray ad. This one urges Chrome users to install the "Personal Shopping Assistant" extension, which lets you add product pages and get notified on price changes. Things aren’t looking too bright, though—just hit up the Chrome extension’s review page, which is linked in the article. In other news, Microsoft is laying off 700 employees next week.

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Microsoft has started to advertise its Personal Shopping Assistant (PSA) extension for Chrome to Windows 10 users. Users of Microsoft’s latest operating system now receive a small notification above the Chrome icon stating, "Quickly compare prices online. Get Microsoft’s Personal Shopping Assistant for Chrome". Previously Microsoft mainly focussed on convincing Chrome users to switch to Edge. It appears that this has been unsuccessful and the software giant now hopes to convince Chrome users to at least use an extension developed by Microsoft. Microsoft’s Personal Shopping Assistant is an extension available for Chrome, Edge, Opera and Firefox. The extension is able to organize visited product pages, favorite products, notify users on price changes and compare products across sellers. It’s currently installed by nearly 11,500 users.

Discussion

PC Gaming Hardware Market Mints Billions, Exceeds $30 Billion

For the first time ever, the PC gaming hardware market has exceeded $30 billion, which is pretty damn impressive. The approach of this research firm provides quite a bit of interesting insight, as data on all three major hardware segments (mainstream, performance, enthusiast) is provided. What we can learn is that there is particular growth in the mid-range and high-end pool, and that PC sales owe a ton to gaming these days.

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Comprised of pre and DIY built gaming computers, upgrades, and accessories such as input devices and audio/communication systems, the market exceeded $30 billion in 2016 and is forecast to grow at a 6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2019. Due of an entrenched PC gaming culture, large population, and a lack of significant console traction, the Asia Pacific Region is noted as leading the world in both growth and market size with a forecasted 7% CAGR to 2019 from a TAM (total addressable market) of almost $11.3 billion in 2016. However, North America and Western Europe both individually lead Asia Pacific for High-End hardware, albeit at lower growth rates of 5.78% and 6.63% vs. 9.61% respectively. The western appetite for PC gaming systems costing thousands of dollars is indeed strong (though we didn't need a JPR report to tell us that, now did we).

Discussion

Pointing Laser At Police Helicopter Lands Kansas City Man In Prison

If you’re going to screw around with a laser pointer, keep it to cats and movie screens, not aircraft. This outstanding citizen received three years in federal prison for lighting up a police helicopter, which wasn’t the smartest move due to his pre-existing criminal history. As noted in the article, the coverage of a laser expands dramatically in a cockpit, giving pilots quite the debilitating lightshow.

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In the 2013 incident, Rogers pointed the laser at the helicopter three times and the pilot later reported that he suffered "eye strain" for several hours, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors asked for a 4-year prison term, arguing that Rogers was "generally aware" that pointing a laser at moving vehicle was dangerous, and he "recklessly disregarded those dangers when he intentionally and repeatedly pointed a laser at a police helicopter." Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Casey also noted that Rogers has an extensive prior criminal history. "Put simply, this defendant’s criminal history is horrendous," Casey wrote in a sentencing memorandum, and he went on to say this should be factored in when determining the sentence.

Discussion

Axanar Productions, Paramount, and CBS Settle "Star Trek" Copyright Lawsuit

Star Trek fan film Axanar will now be going through substantial changes after an admission of guilt by producer Alec Peters, who has acknowledged that his company "crossed copyright boundaries." While Peters did not get screwed by the studios financially, the fans who donated $1.4 million did, as the fan film is getting dramatically neutered—the full-length feature will now only comprise two 15-minute "films." Additionally, court documents reveal that all the money is gone; Peters spent it all on personal expenses and a (now incomplete) studio.

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…a joint statement from Axanar and the plaintiffs noted that the defendants "acknowledge that both films were not approved by Paramount or CBS and that both works crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law." A spokesperson from Axanar told Ars Technica in an e-mail "we’re not paying anything," with respect to the settlement. The settlement will also require the fanfic producer to "make substantial changes to Axanar to resolve this litigation." According to a statement from Axanar, this includes changing the proposed feature-length film into two 15-minute short film episodes, which will be posted on YouTube without advertising from which Axanar could earn revenue. The 20-minute Prelude to Axanar will be allowed to stay on YouTube.

Discussion

3D and Curved Screen TVs Fade Away

I don’t have much experience with curved screens when it comes to near-field usage (i.e., PC monitors), but I can tell you that the curved display on my OLED TV has been nothing more than a distraction. And as for 3D, well, I totally forgot my display even supports that feature. It turns out that the industry holds a similar disinterest, as these technologies either saw sharp decline or were nowhere to be found in upcoming products by big players such as LG. Do either still interest you?

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While there are fewer curved TVs at CES as compared to the past couple years, when it came to 3D capable flat panel displays from major TV makers, there was nothing at all to see at CES. Last year I said that 3D for TV is dead and some commenters thought I was being a bit hasty. Well, in 2017 it’s a fact: Nobody in the TV industry is supporting 3D now that the focus is on HDR. So, if you happen to be the owner of a curved screen 3D capable TV, take good care of it. For all you know, in a few decades it’s possible it’ll be considered a priceless historical artifact. Especially if it comes with a working Blu-ray player and a copy of Pacific Rim 3D. When it comes to sentiment, a vocal contingent of AV enthusiasts will miss 3D. But best I can tell, there’s nobody complaining about the decline of the curve. It already has me wondering if we will see any curved options—at all—at CES next year.

Discussion

Apple Sues Qualcomm For $1 Billion, Alleging Extortion

What is it like to get sued by three major entities within a month’s time? Ask Qualcomm, as Apple has just joined the FTC and the Korea Fair Trade Commission in taking the telecommunications company to court for its sly patent-licensing practices. The fruit company’s lawyers accuse Qualcomm of charging royalties for new, innovative technologies they did not develop, resulting in payments amounting to five times more than what other licensors get. I suppose the lesson here is that if you’re trying to create a monopoly, try to be discrete about it.

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Apple sued Qualcomm today, alleging that the chip company charges billions in patent royalties "for technologies they have nothing to do with." In its complaint, Apple says that Qualcomm actually withheld $1 billion in payments it owes to Apple because Apple cooperated with the Korea Fair Trade Commission, or KFTC. Apple lawyers go on to make an extraordinary claim: that Qualcomm "attempted to extort Apple into changing its responses and providing false information to the KFTC in exchange for Qualcomm's release of those payments to Apple," but Apple refused. Apple's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages while stating it has been "overcharged billions" by Qualcomm.

Discussion

Friday January 20, 2017

Get Your VR on for Cheap!

Now I will argue that Samsung Gear VR is nothing like the experience you can have with the HTC Vive and I have got a good bit of experience on that front, but if you want to dip your toe into the sparkling VR water to see what is going, the latest version of Samsung Gear VR is on sale at Amazon with Prime shipping for $52. This version supports a bunch of smartphones.

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Samsung Gear VR 2016 - Virtual Reality Headset Black (SM-R323) - Latest Edition for Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Note 5, S6 edge+, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge (International Version)

Looks to be a bit better deal over on eBay.

Discussion

You're Doing it Wrong

I just saw this over on Twitter. I don't really know what to say about this. Uh. At least they took the protective sticker of the cold plate? Nope, not making this up either.

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Discussion

Zenimax v Oculus Raging with Carmack

UploadVR has a bit wider coverage on the Zennimax v Oculus case going on in Federal Court here in Dallas. Carmack copped to taking the files in question but does not cop to "stealing" those files. I know if I walk out of the Stop-N-Rob down on the corner with a 40oz, the cops are not going to cut me a lot of slack just because I have not popped it open. Of course this is a civil case about damages, not a criminal trial. Still, it will be interesting to see what decisions are made based on the fact that he had the files in question in his possession.

According to Gizmodo, Carmack said, "I copied files that I shouldn’t have. I think stealing is an uncharitable way to look at it since I didn’t benefit and ZeniMax didn’t lose, but I shouldn’t have done it, and I did." Beth Wilkinson, Oculus’ lawyer, also said Carmack shouldn’t have copied the files, and that he turned everything in within a year of the litigation being filed.

This is what is at the crux of the matter.

Sammi’s questions focused on the allegations that Carmack used ZeniMax-owned computers to work on the Oculus Rift, took thousands of files and emails via USB drive upon leaving the company in 2013, played a role in soliciting five employees from id Software, and used "VR testbed" code to benefit the Oculus Rift. Carmack said he found a MacBook in his closet which contained code from id’s RAGE, and copied files and emails owned by ZeniMax.

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Of course, the fact that RAGE is involved somehow is enough for me to suggest they lock him up. It's been 5 years and I still want my money back.

Discussion

Keyboard Snobs Rejoice

I posted this link in the [H]ardware Roundup previously, but there is something about this keyboard that appeals to me, even though I am far and away from a keyboard snob, like I know many of you are. Its got a bit of throw-back, a lot of minimalism, and a whole bunch of ugly. Its confusing, and I like it. TechPowerUp has a full review of the Vortex CORE Keyboard.

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My main takeaway from this keyboard has been to not underestimate or dismiss any keyboard immediately. As I am typing this review on this very keyboard, I am getting more and more comfortable with it. There are still enough things to where I personally will probably not use this as a daily driver, but I will definitely make a place for this in my travel bag for when I need to transport a PC- there is not much better in such a compact size.

Discussion

[H]ardware Round-Up

ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1060 Review @ Vortez

Z270/Z170 Motherboard Charts: 24 Models tested @ OC-a-Holic

Jonsbo UMX4 Case Review @ TechPowerUp

Fnatic Gear Clutch G1 Mouse @ OC Lan Reviews

Creative Sound BlasterX Siege M04 Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknix

Phanteks Eclipse P400 Tempered Glass Chassis Review @ Funky Kit

Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Edition Review @ NikkTech

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L Review @ aph networks

SteelSeries' Apex M500 keyboard reviewed @ Tech Report

Building Your Own Classic Game Console @ Hot Hardware

Test SSD Samsung 960 Pro 1 To (French) @ CowCotLand

Legit Reviews the Old AMD Iron

The AMD FX-9590 is sort of like an old Monster truck. It is huge and menacing, gets 2 miles to the gallon, and can do about anything...if you give it enough time. Seriously though, it was doing 5GHz, before 5GHz was cool. Killer Nathan Kirsch at Legit Reviews has the scoop, with one last look before Ryzen.

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AMD’s flagship FX Series processor is the FX-9590 Eight-Core CPU that came out during the summer of 2013. This processor was a beast when it came out as it had 8-cores along with a 220W TDP rating, a 4.7 GHz base clock and a turbo clock of 5.0 GHz. The bad news is that they were extremely hard to get at the time due to only a handful of processors being able successfully hit those speeds not to mention only a handful of AMD 990FX boards supported a 220W TDP processor and you needed water cooling.

Discussion


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