[H]ard News

Sunday March 29, 2015

Congratulations to Our Own HardOCP Sebring iRacing Team

Team HardOCP did us proud on Saturday by taking the checkered flag in the iRacing 12 hours of Sebring endurance race, part of the Road Warrior Endurance series. The three man HardOCP team comprised of forum members OEM, MrMitch and JohnDub, powered their way into the winners circle in a nail-biting iRacing squeaker of a finish. If you are unfamiliar with iRacing, check out the video, it’s as close to the real thing as you are ever going to get.

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Broken Age Act II Arrives April 28

The second installment of Broken Age finally has a release date after a year’s delay. Act II is a Kickstarter-funded project and will be released on April 28th on all major platforms.

While the second act was supposed to come out in 2014, its release date slipped, as release dates often do. Earlier this year we reported that the conclusion to Broken Age would arrive this spring. It turns out that Double Fine was right this time.

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Tennessee Sues the FCC to Stop City-Run Internet

The State of Tennessee wasted no time in bringing suit against the FCC to halt implementation of city/county rights to construct and operate their own broadband services.

It (Tennessee) claims that the FCC "has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State's own political subdivisions," calling it "arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion."

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Speed Up Your Chrome Browser and Save Bandwidth

Google released a beta extension this week called Data Saver that saves bandwidth and improves connectivity by routing traffic through the cloud. Data Saver works with Chrome 41 and up.

Data Saver for Chrome reduces bandwidth usage by compressing the pages you visit. Google servers act as traffic intermediaries, intercepting and optimizing websites before they reach your browser.

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 Will Support Up to 8K Displays

With the adoption of Windows 10 this year, Microsoft is looking ahead by supporting resolutions up to 8K from day one release. Not only is Microsoft planning to meet the software needs of the future, the company is also planning for Windows 10 to have longevity in the same vein as Windows XP.

Baking these kinds of features into Windows 10 is a smart move for Microsoft. The company is well aware that its operating systems tend to be used for 5-7 years these days, particularly in the corporate desktop market.

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Saturday March 28, 2015

Samsung Rumored to Be Acquiring AMD

There has been a persistent rumor making the rounds in the news channels this week and we must emphasize the rumor part: Samsung is considering the acquisition of chip manufacturer AMD.

More and more computing workload is getting shifted from CPUs to GPUs, and therefore AMD’s Radeon tech makes a tempting target for companies like Samsung.

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Samsung Rumored to Be Acquiring AMD

There has been a persistent rumor making the rounds in the news channels this week and we must emphasize the rumor part: Samsung is considering the acquisition of chip manufacturer AMD.

More and more computing workload is getting shifted from CPUs to GPUs, and therefore AMD’s Radeon tech makes a tempting target for companies like Samsung.

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PS 4 Gets Suspend And Resume, External HD Backups

Sony has rolled out an update for the PlayStation 4 which will bring a smile to the faces of many PS4 gamers. Part of the update is devoted to a suspend and resume feature that will pause the action and resume play seamlessly.

Another anticipated new feature coming with Yukimura (PS4 software version 2.50 if you want to get technical) is the ability to back-up and restore console HDD content to an external USB drive.

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Nintendo NX: A Closer Look at the Mystery Console

Every large tech corporation has at least one product that failed the grade and Nintendo’s was/is the Wii U. The best remedy for a less-than-successful-product is to replace it as quickly as possible with one that will wow the masses and set the cash registers singing. Nintendo’s hopeful new contender in this endeavor will be the NX.

Well, that didn't take long. Less than two-and-a-half years after Nintendo launched the Wii U, the console stalwart has revealed plans for a new console, codenamed Nintendo NX.

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Download the ISO image of Windows 10 Build 10041

If you have not joined the Windows Insider Program, didn’t care to go through the download and install process or were waiting on a clean install option, now you can get the ISO image of Build 10041 directly from Microsoft.

If you need to perform a brand new install -- either on a spare PC, or to run in a virtualized environment -- then grabbing the ISO image file is the easiest, not to mention quickest option.

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USB 3.1 Set to Reach Desktops

The new USB 3.1 standard is ready for prime time and has already begun its rollout in higher end motherboards. The new standard will be at least twice as fast as its 3.0 predecessor with a transfer speed of 10Gbps.

New technologies like USB 3.1 usually first appear in high-end laptops and desktops, then make their way down to low-priced PCs, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst of Mercury Research.

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Steven Spielberg to Direct Sci-Fi Cult Favorite ‘Ready Player One'

If you have read the sci-fi book Ready Player One, you understand how difficult it would be to bring the multiple virtual world experience to the big screen. Warner Bros. has an immediate solution to the problems by bringing in a first rate director who is no stranger to virtual scenarios and technical manipulation.

The book takes place in 2044 and follows the story of a virtual-reality game creator who offers up his entire company to the best player who can find an Easter egg in one of his many virtual worlds via a game called OASIS.

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Microsoft Confirms Project Spartan as Default Browser for Windows 10

The King is dead (well almost), long live the King. It’s confirmed now; Project Spartan is now the official default browser of Windows 10 when it’s released later this year. Internet Explorer 11 will remain in place as the legacy browser for the foreseeable future to provide support for older operating systems.

The latest update from a special Project Spartan developer workshop yesterday suggests that Microsoft has finally settled the matter: Project Spartan is the future and will be the default browser for all Windows 10 customers.

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Samsung Gear VR Released to Best Buy on Friday

If you were shopping in Best Buy yesterday, you might have stumbled on Samsung’s virtual reality headset, already on the shelves for consumer purchase. Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition went on sale yesterday at 100 select Best Buy locations across the US.

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Xbox One Instant On Is Costing Gamers $250M a Year

Every so often environmental groups look into the energy wasting propensities of always on devices. The Natural Resources Defense Council environmental group turned its Sauron-esque gaze upon the Xbox One and its Instant On mode and the report isn’t very favorable for Microsoft.

It’s not like Microsoft is completely ignoring this issue. It has managed to reduce the power consumption for "Instant On" from 18 watts to 12.5 watts. But that’s not enough for the NRDC.

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Grand Theft Auto V Update Will Fix Graphics Quality Issue

Murphy’s Law paraphrased: The harder you try to improve something, the greater the chance that you will screw it up. This law was not lost on Rockstar Games recently when the company released update 1.08, which immediately screwed up the graphics quality of GTA 5 on both Xbox One and PS4. Ruh-Roh Shaggy, the bad news is there is no immediate fix from the gaming company at the moment other than reverting back to v1.00. Murphy was right. big grin

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Google Glass Is Far from Dead

To quote Mark Twain: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." The same can be said of the media inspired death and burial of Google Glass. The fact is Google Glass is still alive and kicking in the R&D Department, but will not be seen in public again until all of the kinks have been addressed.

We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us canceling the whole project, which isn’t true.

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Netflix Wants to Make VPN Piracy Obsolete

Hollywood is a Catch-22 partner in the growing VPN piracy issue, according to Netflix, being both the cause and the cure of the problem. Netflix is pointing back to Hollywood as the cause by requiring geographical restrictions on content and can be remedied by dropping the restrictions, removing the need for a VPN to gain content from Netflix. Yes siree, Catch 22. big grin

According to Hastings the VPN issue is a relatively small problem compared to traditional forms of piracy, and relatively easy to make obsolete.

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Microsoft Will Require Suppliers to Give Workers 15 Days of Paid Leave

Microsoft has dictated to its suppliers that all Orange Badge workers, the contract employees that work for Microsoft’s suppliers, will be given 15 days of paid leave per year. The requirement will affect tens of thousands of contract workers with companies employing 50 or more employees. Apparently the Tin Man got his heart. big grin

The paid leave of 15 days will consist of 10 days of paid vacation and five days of paid sick leave, or 15 days of unrestricted paid time off.

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9 Games That Are Far Better on PC Than on Consoles

All video games are not created equal as far as the gaming platform is concerned, we all take that as gospel fact. The gaming advantage is on a sliding scale moving back and forth from consoles to PC and then back. TechRadar picked out nine video games that just look and play so much better on the PC platform. Check them out and feel free to disagree.

But there are some game franchises which, irrespective of the console's accessibility and the PC's grunt power, are just better on PC. They have more content, they have better controls, they have mods, they have user-generated content.

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Sling TV Adds A&E, History Channel, Lifetime and More

Dish Network’s Sling TV is sticking to its growth paradigm and is continuing to incrementally add channels to its lineup. This week Sling added The History Channel, H2, Lifetime and A&E, bringing the standard streaming package up to 20 channels, while still keeping the base price at $20 bucks. cool

Sling TV is available through the service’s iOS and Android apps, as well as apps on the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Roku streaming boxes and Xbox One.

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Watch Team [H] Compete in iRacing's 12 Hours of Sebring

Make sure you guys watch iRacing's 12 hours of Sebring today at 9am EST to see Team [H] race. Good luck to OEM, MrMitch and JohnDub, we are all rooting for you!

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Friday March 27, 2015

[H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews

Today is Friday and you know what that means! It is time once again for the [H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews! For anyone that might have missed them, we like to take a quick look back on the hardware evaluations and articles we posted earlier in the week. We kicked the week off with our evaluation of the ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC video card, followed by our editorial on Where the SSD Market is Headed in 2015. Finally, we wrapped things up with our GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 7 LGA 1150 motherboard review.

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Amazon Robot Contest May Accelerate Warehouse Automation

Help Amazon build robots and the company will give you $25,000. Not that you would be able to spend any of it because the robots will KILL US ALL!!!!

Participating robots will earn points by locating products sitting somewhere on a stack of shelves, retrieving them safely, and then packing them into cardboard shipping boxes. Robots that accidentally crush a cookie or drop a toy will have points deducted. The people whose robots earn the most points will win $25,000.

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[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cooling: Scythe Ashura CPU Cooler @ NikKTech

ETC.: ECS LIVA X Mini PC @ OCC

Intel NUC Kit NUC5i3RYK @ Vortez

LUXA2 Lavi D Bluetooth Headphones @ ThinkComputers

PC Perspective Podcast #342 @ PCPer

Storage: Patriot Blaze 240GB SSD @ APH Networks

Video: XFX R9 270X DD Black Edition @ pcGameware

Amusing Nightmare IT Stories

Gizmodo has put together a list of some pretty amusing nightmare IT stories. This is one of my favorites:

I once witnessed a co-worker use Bing to find Google to do a search. She was on the Support team.

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Ellen Pao Loses Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Well, it's all over but the crying. Ellen Pao, reddit's interim CEO, lost her gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins.

Ellen Pao lost her gender discrimination lawsuit against former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Friday, a closely watched trial that’s captivated Silicon Valley and served as a referendum on the challenges women have faced in the world of technology and business.

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Report Highlights Critical Importance of Non-Microsoft Patches

I'm surprised that Chrome had the most vulnerabilities in 2014....by a long shot. Five times as many vulnerabilities than Windows 8? Yikes. eek!

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Apple CEO Plans To Donate His Fortune To Charity

Why not donate your money to charity? I mean, it's not like you can take it with you.

Tim Cook has big plans for his vast wealth: It's all going to philanthropy, he revealed in a Fortune interview. The Apple CEO -- who's currently worth around $112 million, and holds restricted stock that could be worth up to $665 million -- said he's already been making donations quietly, but he's also looking forward to taking a deeper approach to the whole endeavor.

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Safari Users Win Right To Sue Google Over Privacy

The United Kingdom's Court of Appeals has dismissed a request by Google that would have prevented people from suing the company over privacy violations.

A group of users claim that Google bypassed security settings on the Safari browser to install tracking cookies on their computers in order to target them with advertising. Google said it was "disappointed with the court's decision".

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