Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

[H]ard News

Thursday June 22, 2017

Microsoft Admits to Disabling Third-Party Antivirus Code

Responding to Kaspersky’s accusations that antivirus programs are being mistreated on Windows, Microsoft acknowledges that their OS does disable third-party AV - but it is strictly for compatibility, not competitive, reasons. Based on what Windows and Devices’ director of security had to say, it seems that the fault lies with AV makers if their solutions get flagged: when third-party code expires or becomes outdated, Redmond’s security software will kick in.

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"Microsoft’s application compatibility teams found that roughly 95 per cent of Windows 10 PCs had an antivirus application installed that was already compatible with Windows 10 Creators Update," said Rob Lefferts, director of security in the Windows and Devices group. "For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed. To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began."


PlayStation 4 "Is like a Five-Year-Old PC"

Josef Fares, lead developer for co-op prison-escape game A Way Out, had some "harsh words" about the power of the PS4, who compared it to a five-year-old PC. Considering that the console is, in fact, many years old, this isn’t too shocking - but I suppose this serves as more ammunition for the argument that consoles are holding back gaming: Fares notes that we would see "all different games" if consoles were actually comparable to PCs.

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"You want the honest truth? This machine is not so strong as you think," Fares said. "This is like a five-year-old PC. If consoles were as powerful as PCs are today, you would see all different games. Most of the work developers put out there is to make them work on consoles." To be fair to Sony, the PS4 basically is a five-year-old PC: It was announced in early 2013 and released in November of the same year. But the basic design spec, including an eight-core 1.6GHz AMD Jaguar-based CPU, 8GB of RAM, and Radeon GCN-based GPU, would obviously be even older than that.


LG's Latest OLED Display Is Flexible, Transparent, and Gargantuan

LG has developed the world’s largest flexible, transparent display: it measures 77" and offers a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, a transparency level of 40 percent, and a curvature radius of 80 millimeters. One potential application, as pictured, is a giant "smart desk," which seems like a neat alternative to a traditional monitor setup. The company already had a 55" version of the screen last year, so it seems like they are making speedy headway on producing bigger and bigger transparent screens.

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...LG thinks the display has a future in digital signage, desks and in-car infotainment systems. Flexible screens could also be used in augmented reality applications and public spaces, such as aquariums and museums. For now, however, this enormous display is strictly a research project. Bendy panels have been used in smartphones and wearables before, but larger applications are still fairly uncommon. Price is likely the biggest issue - LG made this display, for instance, after beating Samsung to a government contract in 2012.


New World Record Set for Longest Sniper Shot

Apparently, a Canadian sniper in the elite special forces, JTF 2, set the record for the longest confirmed kill shot at a distance of 3,450 meters (2.14 miles) away from the target, beating the old record by almost a 1,000 meters. The sniper used a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle, firing from a high-rise killing an Iraqi insurgent in a matter of 10 seconds preventing an attack on Iraqi security forces. That's an amazing feat including taking into account of the Coriolis effect with excellent work between the sniper and his observer partner. And I thought my deteriorating no-scope awping skills were good in Counter-Strike.

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"Hard data on this. It isn't an opinion. It isn't an approximation. There is a second location with eyes on with all the right equipment to capture exactly what the shot was," another military source said.

A military insider told The Globe: "This is an incredible feat. It is a world record that might never be equalled."


Google Glass Updated After 3 Years

I've only seen Google Glass in person twice in my lifetime. The first was on the streets of Los Angeles after leaving a late-night concert, every street taco vendor thought the guy was a cyborg I'm presuming. The other time was a day stroll walking the hills of San Francisco and noticing there were more than one dork wearing the accessory.

For the cyborgs and dorks out there still using one or crime fighter, Techcrunch reports of the firmware update as well as one to the MyGlass app after nearly 3 years of nothing. There's seems to be very little improvements, but Android Police reports of bug fixes for the MyGlass app include the ability to disable battery optimizations and notification sync without turning of Android Wear.

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So, Glass is alive? Well, yes, but it never really died. Despite seeming to go the way of the Dodo (you can’t buy it anymore and Google shut down the website in 2015), it never really left us, it just "graduated" from Google X after failing to capture consumer attention. Google then quietly moved it into the enterprise. But, apparently, someone at Google is still working on the dork-inducing consumer version.


Wednesday June 21, 2017

Dish Networks Looking to Make Examples of Pirate Addon Authors

Many times when we see copyright lawsuits erupt, once the pirates turn tail and run since they know they have no legs to stand on, the lawsuits "go away." That does not however seem to be the case with Dish Network looking to shut down Kodi pirate addons from Zem and TVAddons. While Dish is not aware of the identities of the person(s) behind these addons, a District Court here in Texas is granting subpoenas to Disk in order to try and find out the identities of the offenders.

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To find out more, the company requested a broad range of subpoenas from the court, targeting Amazon, Github, Google, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, and several hosting providers.

Dish is looking to get companies like Google and Twitter to roll over on information about the account holders associated with the Kodi addons. I would suggest that this case could get even more interesting and bring up a whole host of privacy questions since many of the companies were in no way associated with the actual pirating activity. However I think that PayPal, if any, will be the one forced to roll over by the courts if it comes to that.


NBC Sports Televising Rocket League

I'm not a big soccer fan, but I sure do love to play a good game of Rocket League. Nothing like rocket-powered cars doing flips and moonsaults while chasing a humongous ball around a giant stadium, unless you count Rocket Jockey. For you fans of the game, NBC Sports Group is bringing the eSports to you this summer. You can now turn off your twitch stream and share with the family the hobby you use to spend time alone doing away from them. The company plans to broadcast the $100,000 2v2 tournament in July on streaming competitor Faceit eventually broadcasting the grand finals on NBC Sports Network in August. Rocket League's "sports DNA" could potentially draw in new viewers such as sports fans unlike the FPS and RTS genre.

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Counter-Strike has already been featured prominently on TV through Turner Broadcasting's esports division, ELeague, which has also broadcast Street Fighter and Overwatch tournaments in the past year.


[H]ardware Roundup


AGESA Update tested - DDR4-3200 easy @ OCaHolic

Gigabyte Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe @ LAN OC Reviews


AMD Launches EPYC Enterprise CPUs Available Today @ HardOCP

AMD EPYC 7000 Series Processor Set To Change The Game @ Legit Reviews

AMD EPYC Architecture & Technical Overview @ Tech Power Up


AMD RX 570 & 580 Graphics Cards (French) @ CowCotLand

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP Review (German) @ Hardware Mag


Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 AIO Cooler Review @ Play3r

EK Waterblocks Monoblock MSI Z270 Gaming RGB (German) @ Hardware Overclock


Cougar Panzer @ Tech Power Up



Patriot Hellfire 240GB PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive @ CDRLabs

Mice & Keyboard:

Roccat Leadr Gaming Mouse Review @ Benchmark Reviews

Cherry MX 6.0 Red Switch LED @ Techware Labs

Mouse Corsair Glaive RGB (French) @ CowCotLand


Noontec's Zoro II Wireless Limited Edition headphones reviewed @ Tech Report

Gaming Furniture:

Arozzi Verona Pro V2 Gaming Chair Review @ Nikk Tech

Newegg Special Deals & Promotions - 06/21/2017

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Sega Releases Classic Games Free On Mobile

Sega has released it's "Sega Forever" service on iOS and Android, making nearly every Sega game available for free. The program is ad-supported, with the option to purchase games for $1.99 to remove them. While there is a limited number of games on the service now, Sega is planning to release more titles bi-weekly.

This is outstanding, mobile games are usually terrible, and here is a lineup of some of the best games of all time coming to the platform. I hope they hurry out with some of the Dreamcast stuff, Crazy Taxi, all the "Virtua" games. I hope they bring Seaman over as well, having a weird fish-monster voiced by Leonard Nimoy asking you personal questions while you're on the toilet would be incredible.

SEGA Forever is a free and growing classic games collection of nearly every SEGA game ever released from every console era - Master System, Genesis/Mega Drive, Dreamcast, and more. Available on iOS and Android mobile devices


Vulkan Renderer Coming to CryEngine

The guys over at CryEngine have had issues with getting updates posted to GitHub, but they seem to have gotten beyond that now. The big note on it is CryEngine 5.4 release is that every gamer's favorite Vulkan is coming to town. The Vulkan renderer is not live yet, but CryEngine has included the code for those of you that want to geek-out on its hopeful goodness.

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Following on from the renderer refactoring and DirectX 12 implementation, the team has been hard at work implementing a Vulkan renderer. The code can be seen in Code/RenderDll/XRenderD3D9/Vulkan/… although the feature is not functional, yet. We want to make these changes available to you for review whilst we are currently stabilizing the engine for our 5.4 release. So you can track our progress on GitHub until 5.4 is finally here by the end of July.


ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte And MSI Release X299 Motherboards

HotHardware has compiled a roundup of the upcoming X299 motherboards from ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI with some pricing. Most of these boards are available to pre-order now to get ready for your new i9 build.

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Ever since hearing that Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors would share the same socket and chipset, I've been thinking that motherboard pricing was going to be fairly high in order to incorporate all the various technologies onto the same board. It appears my worries were correct when in the lineup the cheapest motherboard is $260, and we have no pricing on high end enthusiast boards.

Preorders are currently underway for Intel's new Core X-Series processors, which range from the quad-core, quad-thread Core i5-7640X ($242) to the 8-core, 36-thread Core i9-7980XE ($1,999). These new Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors require a brand-new chipset, the X299, and motherboard manufacturers have responded by providing a number of new offerings hitting multiple price points.


AMD EPYC Event in Case You Missed It

AMD has put up a video of the the entire EPYC Launch Event that we attended yesterday in Austin, TX. We have an editorial published here if you care to give that a read along with pictures of all the 55 relevant slides if you are in a non-video friendly environment.

Welcome to the start of a new era for the datacenter with the launch of AMD EPYC. Footage taken from the launch event in Austin, Texas on June 20th, 2017.

Ongoing Discussion

C Seed Releases 262 Inch 4k TV

Austrian based C Seed has released the cleverly named "C SEED 262", the worlds largest 4k TV. Weighing in at 1,763lbs and sporting an integrated media server, ten speakers, and a custom motorized fabric cover to hide the screen; the 262 will set you back $539,000, with an extra $38,500 for installation. While there is no direct mention, there are hints in the specs that point to it supporting HDR and 16-bit video.

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And here I was sitting here thinking my 73" was impressive. I wouldn't even know where to put something 19 feet wide, but I suppose of you have that kind of money, you probably have that kind of wall as well. Also noted, the maximum power consumption is listed as 11,400 watts, and typical of 2,850 watts. Not to mention I don't even know if a concrete block wall is rated to hang that much weight. Pure insanity.

C SEED changes this game, introducing the 262, an enormous 6144 mm by 2574 mm 4k LED TV display with black LED technology for higher contrast, latest UHD technology for a really dynamic picture and a color spectrum far beyond conventional TVs, and ultra-high 800 nits brightness for the perfect viewing experience even in bright daylight conditions.


Ebay to Price Match 50,000 Items

Hot on the trails of the battle between Amazon and Walmart in becoming the world's largest retailer, eBay is launching a new Price Match Guarantee in an attempt to keep customers and lure new shoppers. However, only over 50,000 "trending" items across the site will be eligible through its trusted sellers with deals ranging at 20 percent to 90 percent off. I can't imagine how things will shape up come the busy holiday shopping season as the major players have been making sizable moves this year. Either way, it's just good news for the consumer.

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The company says it will match the prices of some of the largest online retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, (also Walmart), Home Depot, Sears, Target, Best Buy, and Wayfair.

These sellers include both smaller merchants looking to grow their customer base as well as major consumer brands. At any time, eBay says there are "tens of thousands" of items offered through the Deals site, with featured deals updating at least once per day, beginning at 8 AM PT.


Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Resigns Under Investor Pressure

Reuter reports the CEO for Uber and co-founder, Travis Kalanick has resigned due to pushback from investors over his leadership. During the recent weeks, the company was under scrutiny from facing rape allegations among workers and firing 20 employees amid investigation into its workplace culture. The report comes in a week after chief business officer, Emil Michael's resignation and reports of Kalanick contemplating to take time away from the company. Investors seek to get the company back on track towards "building rather than be distracted with another fight," Kalanick said earlier this morning.

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Kalanick, 40, has faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks following an investigation into the culture and workplace practices at a company he helped start in 2009 and is now the world's most highly valued startup.


Cliffy B Prefers Quake Controls

Adding more fuel to the fire of the great Quake vs. Unreal debate nearing two decades, Cliffy B otherwise known professionally as Cliff Blezinski, admitted to the greatness that is Quake's movement system during an interview with Shacknews. The developer is attempting to adapt a similar type of feel for his upcoming game LawBreakers, which is releasing in August of this year.

I've been a Quake player since the beginning, but did switch teams for awhile after the Q3A era to UT99 for few years, leading up to UT2k3. However, I do agree with the sentiment, Quake has always had the great gameplay-feedback-loop for everything that has to do with it. The wizards at id Software back then performed miracles.

For all you Tribes fans, I'm sorry for everything in general.

Check out the video below, beginning at the 23:20 mark.

"Quake's movement always felt better," he said, "so I went in and studied why it felt better." He said it goes back to classic code taken for Team Fortress 2. He said that movement in UT was binary, full speed or stop. In TF2 and Quake, there is an acceleration, and when you stop there is a deceleration, and when gravity is applied you get "a buttery smooth experience."


Most Consumer ISPs are Still Dreadful 2017 Edition

Good news for everyone with terrible internet service, you're not alone in thinking it! Thanks to DSL Reports for this, according to Consumer Reports' latest telecom survey, most consumers have a less-than-pleasant feeling towards their own service providers.

The ratings are based on responses of more than 210,000 Consumer Reports subscribers rating 32 internet service providers. Of course, Comcast and Spectrum rank towards the bottom, earning low scores in value and customer service. Topping the list are Google Fiber catering to a smaller amount of markets, Armstrong and Consolidated Communications both operating in several states.

I guess we can tell, Kevin the service guy, to hurry up since we can't wait any longer between the hours of 7am-9pm to run the coax back into the house.

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"Though consumer dissatisfaction with their cable companies has been simmering for quite some time, it's now starting to boil over in terms of actual cord-cutting from traditional pay TV providers," said Jim Willcox, Senior Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports. "The good news is that there are now more alternatives, so it's possible for consumers to get the shows and movies they want, often at a lower price than a traditional pay TV plan."


Tuesday June 20, 2017

AMD Reveals EPYC 7000 Server CPUs

Earlier leaks revealed what AMD’s new server processors would be packing, but the EPYC line is now official: the company showed off the new chips at an event in Austin, Texas, which feature up to 32C/64T Zen cores, 2TB RAM, and 128 PCI-E lanes. The AMD channel has a number of new EPYC-related videos up, one of which describes the transformative power of their processors in one-socket and two-socket servers.

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Studio at Center of Netflix Leak Breaks Silence

Here is a disclosure of what went down with that Orange Is The New Black leak. Larson Studios ended up paying $50,000 in Bitcoin so the hacking group responsible, the Dark Overlord, wouldn’t ruin their reputation, but the episodes went out anyway, and it could have all been avoided if it weren’t for an "old" computer running Windows 7. How has a studio that has been in business since 2002 not learned to patch their systems yet? Or, better yet, why didn’t the hackers leak a show that was actually good?

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...the Larson Studios principals are breaking their silence on an incident that threatened the existence of their family-owned audio post-production business. An incident that led them to quietly wire more than $50,000 in extortion money to a group of hackers, only to see some of the most valuable works of their clients, including 10 unreleased episodes of Netflix drama series "Orange Is the New Black," leak online. Both Larsons got another message from the same number on Christmas Eve. They still weren’t too concerned - but quickly changed their minds when the email arrived a day later. A hacking group calling itself the Dark Overlord told them it had broken into Larson’s server, and was threatening to leak all of the company’s data.


Steam Summer Sale Starts in Two Days

Courtesy of PayPal, which has made leaking Steam sale dates a tradition, we can expect to get our wallets out this Thursday for yet another round of "stuff my backlog up." More precisely, the Summer Sale will begin at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. I am hoping to get a good deal on Resident Evil 7, myself.

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PayPal's UK Twitter account today sent out a message revealing that this year's Summer sale kicks off at 6 PM BST (10 AM PT / 1 PM ET) on Thursday, June 22. It claims, "It's official," though, as noted above, Valve has still not made an actual announcement itself. Dubious as this may seem, PayPal appears to have a promotion (at least in the UK) where spending آ£20 on Steam with PayPal during the sale will save you آ£5.


Hitman's First Episode Will Be Free to Everyone Later Today

IO Interactive has gone generous: the first episode of Hitman (two story missions [including all cut-scenes], two Escalation Contracts, more than 40 challenges, 17 achievements and trophies, plus thousands of player-created missions in Contracts Mode) will be completely free to download and play at 6PM CEST. Progress will be fully retained if you decide to upgrade to the full version, which will supposedly be discounted.


198 Million Americans Hit by "Largest Ever" Voter Records Leak

Are you a registered voter? Bad news for you, then: a careless data firm has probably leaked your personal information. Apparently, the data measures 1.1TB in size and includes names, home addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth. Statements suggest that the sensitive data was left unchecked and accessible due to an incorrect server setting. I could swear that there is a ton of voter information already floating around on the web, though...

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It's believed to be the largest ever known exposure of voter information to date. The various databases containing 198 million records on American voters from all political parties were found stored on an open Amazon S3 storage server owned by a Republican data analytics firm, Deep Root Analytics. UpGuard cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery, who found the exposed server, verified the data. Through his responsible disclosure, the server was secured late last week, and prior to publication.


NVIDIA GeForce Prices Skyrocket as Cryptocurrency Miners Snap up Supply

NVIDIA cards are "drying up" just like certain Radeon cards due to increased interests in mining. The article points out that certain GTX 1060 models are going for $20 or $30 more than MSRP, which doesn’t seem that bad, but then it notes that a GTX 1070 has increased from $380 to $472, with some going for more than $600 - so I suppose "skyrocket" is an appropriate title after all. Have any of you managed to make good profit on this situation yet?

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Searching Newegg for the GeForce GTX 1060 shows only two 3GB versions available, and they’re going for $20 to $30 over the card’s $200 MSRP. You can find many more 6GB GTX 1060 cards, but they’re all selling at wildly inflated prices as well. The 6GB cards dipped down to $240 or less around the time the Radeon RX 580 launched, but now every model except one sells for $270 to $310 - and that lone exception still sells for $260. A similar situation exists on Amazon, with only a single backordered EVGA 3GB GTX 1060 going for anything near MSRP.


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