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

[H]ard News

Monday July 24, 2017

Lenovo Folio Bendable Tablet in Bendy Action

This is pretty damn cool if you are into this kind of thing. I see this sort of technology might be better suited to having phones that are a bit more durable in the future.

Lenovo showed off their bendable tablet prototype called Folio at their Lenovo Tech World Expo.


Feds Seize AlphaBay and Hansa Markets in Major Dark-Web Bust

Mystery, suicide, intrigue, and digital currency make a headline over at the hacker news which reads a bit like it came out of an episode of NCIS. Actually I have never seen that show, so what do I know. Thanks to d3athf1sh for the link.

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The raid also resulted in the arrest of Alexandre Cazes, a 26-year-old Canadian citizen who was one of the alleged AlphaBay's operators and was awaiting extradition to the US when a guard found him hanged in his jail cell the next day.

Now, Europol just announced that two of the largest criminal Dark Web markets—AlphaBay and Hansa— have shut down by the authorities, as the infrastructure "responsible for the trading of over 350 000 illicit commodities including drugs, firearms and cybercrime malware."


[H]ardware Roundup


ASUS ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING Motherboard Review @ Play3r


GPU Charts 2017 - NVIDIA GeForce Titan Xp 12GB @ OCaHolic

Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 11Gbps Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix


Meet The Kraken X42 @ Guru 3D

Cryorig H5 Universal CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Slave

Watercool HEATKILLER IV PRO CU-NI CPU Waterblock Review @ Funky Kit

EKWB Water Cooling Kit EK-KIT L360 R2.0 Overview @ Modders Inc.


Corsair’s Carbide 600C Inverted Full Tower Chassis @ TechGage

Raijintek Paean Case Review @ Tech Power Up

Test du boitier BitFأ©nix Portal (French) @ Cowcotland

Cougar Conquer Aluminium/Glass Case Review @ Kit Guru

Enermax GraceMesh Case Review @ Technic3D

Antec Cube Designed By Razer Mini-ITX Case Review @ Nikk Tech

Mice & Keyboard:

Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum Wireless Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews

Speedlink Fieris Illuminated Gaming Mousepad Review @ Play3r


AMD Ryzen Threadripper Packaging and Retail Dates Announced

Lisa Su popped up on Twitter this morning showing off the AMD Ryzen Threadripper packaging. What is of more interest is that it was stated by AMD that, "it will be on the shelf in early August."

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Getting ready to ship @AMDRyzen #Threadripper... super excited! More details on @Radeon Vega and Threadripper at #SIGGRAPH2017.



Make sure you get the latest and greatest WHQL driver from NVIDIA today! Hit the link for Windows 10 64-bit v384.94.

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Game Ready - Provides the optimal gaming experience for LawBreakers, ARK: Survival Evolved, Fortnite Early Access, Dark and Light, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Game Ready VR - Provides the optimal gaming experience for EVE: Valkyrie’s "Ultra" graphics update


The Fastest GTX 1080 Ti Ever - MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z is a monster of a video card. Not inexpensive, but fast as we have ever seen any GPU in real-world gaming. Check out the review.

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With the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z we experienced the highest most consistent out-of-box performance on air cooling. This translated into improved performance while gaming compared to any other GTX 1080 Ti. Even on the default BIOS we managed to overclock this video card to the GPUs maximum frequency. By utilizing a built-in unique BIOS profile, we also managed to push the memory up to new heights.


Utah Developing New Hologram Technology

A team of geeks at the University of Utah is telling the Deseret News that it has come up with a better way to make those holograms you see displayed on packaging and seals. However, they do say that the technology could be applied to live hologram displays as well in VR headsets, movies, and moving 3D video in possibly as few as two years. Bet those guys in Utah have not thought of just how big this will be in the pr0n industry...yet. Surely the Pre-Crime Unit will show up when that happens though.

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Menon and his team discovered a way that borrows from the same principle behind how wings of certain butterflies display their colors. Instead of reflecting only the colors you see while absorbing the rest, all of the white light is redirected so you see the wavelengths of the wing’s colors at different locations. None of the light is absorbed and wasted, he noted.

"Projecting an image before was very inefficient, and you need a massive lamp," Menon said. "Here, you can just do it with just a piece of plastic and a flashlight. It’s much simpler and more efficient this way."

He said the technology could be used on currency notes with security holograms that produce more life-like images. Currently, holograms on some foreign currency or on credit cards look like shimmering monochromatic images, he explained, but the new holograms would resemble full-color photographs.

The technology could also be used for identification badges, drivers’ licenses and security documents like passports, Menon noted. Typically, an officer could simply use a flashlight to authenticate security documents or badges with the new technology rather than an infrared scanner as is now required.


Horribly Coded Website "Hacked" Teen Goes to Jail

So you go to a website that is so horribly coded, that you can change the company's pricing when purchase its product. Then you change the price, buy the ticket as proof of the problems, and report it to the company. Then what happens, the company has you arrested. Wow. The company, BKK, which had less than a total of 500 reviews on Facebook, now has a total of 45K one-star reviews. Well deserved I would suggest. I am not even sure how this counts as "hacking." There is a site admin somewhere that should in jail instead.

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The young man discovered that he could access BKK's website, press F12 to enter the browser's developer tools mode, and modify the page's source code to alter a ticket's price.

Because there was no client or server-side validation put in place, the BKK system accepted the operation and issued a ticket at a smaller price.

As a demo, the young man says he bought a ticket initially priced at 9459 Hungarian forints ($35) for 50 Hungarian forints (20 US cents).


Sunday July 23, 2017

Nexus 6P Bootloop Fix Found

Those of you with a Nexus 6P affected by bootloops can now dust it off, as a fix is now available for fully booting up your device again. In order to revive your Nexus 6P, you’ll need to flash modified files that disable the root of the problem: the big clusters of the Snapdragon 810 SoC. For some reason, these "A57 performance cores" prevent the phone from booting when active, so they need to be turned off completely. Flashed (fixed) phones will run on the "A53 little cores" instead, which are slower but more power efficient.

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Near the end of 2016, we saw a volley of reports from multiple users claiming their Nexus 6P units were inexplicably entering random bootloops, a problem seemingly separate from the early shutdowns that plagued the phone around the same time. This was different, and while reduced battery life is certainly bad, the bootloops essentially turned the smartphone into paperweight. Users who faced this issue quickly sunk into despair as there was no remedy in sight. No amount of data wiping or re-flashing of factory images seemed to solve the problem, indicating that the issue was hardware-related, possibly a problem in the SoC.


Ethereum Miners Are Selling Their Graphics Cards

This writer suspects that the Ethereum craze may be slowing down, at least a little bit, based on the rapidly increasing sales of used mining rigs on eBay. While sellers could simply be moving more mining rigs to meet demand, being that interest in Ethereum remains high, those who were queried claim that they are, in fact, getting out of the market. Of course, nobody knows for sure when the exorbitant markups on certain GPUs will officially end.

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...ethereum mining gets more difficult over time, causing any particular hardware setup to gradually earn less money every day. Based on the RX580's processing ability, power consumption, the drop in trading price, and the increase in mining difficulty, I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations. According to my math, the same graphics card that used to earn about $5 a day now earns less than roughly $2 a day. A $300 graphics card that might have paid for itself in 2-3 months (after electricity costs) will now take over 6 months, at best. A sizable mining operation can stomach that sort of long-term investment, but there aren't a lot of hobbyists who are willing to stick it out.


Sony Remains Unsure Whether Console Refreshes Are the Way Forward

Will there be another PlayStation 4 Pro? Your guess is as good as Sony’s: Jim Ryan, Global Head of Marketing and Sales at PlayStation, has suggested that console refreshes are still in an experimental phase. That isn’t too surprising, being that the Pro only launched late last year. My reading on this is that it may be safe for those who want a PS4 (but are afraid it will be replaced in short time) to just jump in, as Sony may opt for a true generational leap with a PS5, which will take a longer time to get ready.

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It’s a very interesting question. The cultural phenomenon of regular updates to smartphones and tablets is without question, perhaps subliminally, coloring mindsets. And the days of a 13-year PlayStation 2 cycle will almost certainly never repeat themselves. But equally, a platform is a very delicate ecosystem, and if that platform is to succeed, you’ve got to give those who make content for it the chance to recoup on it. At the end of the day, like it or not, these are businesses.


Dell Is Reportedly Selling Monitors with "Fake" HDR

Dell launched the U2518D this week, a 2560x1440 IPS panel that includes "Dell HDR." Unfortunately, the high dynamic range feature appears to be more of a marketing ploy: while the monitor is capable of 99% sRGB coverage, it only features a maximum brightness of 350 cd/m2, which does not meet industry-wide standards such as HDR10 or Dolby Vision. Additionally, the panel only offers 8-bit color, whereas HDR10 displays should be full 10-bit.

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...the monitor offers support for "Dell HDR" (High Dynamic Range), but here is the conundrum: it is a simulated/software-based HDR mode that responds to HDR10 content, so this display doesn’t support the color gamut, peak luminance, or bit depth required for a true HDR experience. It could still make HDR10 content better looking, but it seems to be just a marketing gimmick.


Watch the Hulk Speak in New Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

Marvel’s latest trailer for Thor: Ragnarok is currently the #1 trending video on YouTube, and I can see why people are excited: the Incredible Hulk will be joining Thor, Loki, and other franchise staples to battle Hela, the goddess of death in a stylized context reminiscent of what we saw in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. There seems to be a bit of Zack Snyder here, too, based on those ultra-artistic, slow-motion shots.


YouTube Is Shutting Down Its Video Editor and Photo Slideshow Tools

YouTube’s video editor and photo slideshow tools will be terminated on September 20, 2017. The probable reason for this is that nobody used them: web video editing is inferior to native applications, such as Premiere and Final Cut Pro. Google even notes that there are many free and paid third-party editing tools available for anyone in need of new editing software.

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Enhancements will continue to be available and accessible through Video Manager. You can still improve your uploaded videos in Video Manager using Enhancements to make edits such as trim, blur and filter. If you’re currently using Video Editor or Photo slideshows, you have until September 20, 2017 to finish and publish your projects. After this date, your projects will no longer be accessible. Any videos published with the Video Editor or Photo slideshows before September 20, 2017, will not be affected.


NASA Warns That Your Eclipse Glasses May Be Unsafe

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America, and NASA has prepared an early PSA for viewers who wish to stare into the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun: doing so with the naked eye is obviously a terrible idea, but those who already have eyewear or handheld viewers prepared should thoroughly inspect whether they meet the basic proper safety viewing standards. These should include an ISO 12312-2 designation and lenses that are less than three years old.

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The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as "eclipse glasses" or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. To date, five manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.


Samsung Galaxy S9 to Retain Screen Size of S8

Next year’s Galaxy phone has been tipped to sport the same size and shape of Infinity Display as the current model: that means a 5.77-inch and 6.22-inch display for the S9 and S9 Plus, respectively. The Note 9 is also expected to use a 6.32-inch screen, just like the Note 8, which will be unveiled next month. Are designers finally beginning to realize that phones are getting too big?

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The S9 will have a 5.77-inch display screen, while the bigger S9 Plus will come with a 6.22-inch screen. The same size as the S8 lineup launched in April. The so-called "infinite" shape is also expected to curb the right and left sides with no home button. The report said Samsung is likely to attempt again to feature on-screen fingerprint scanning that is missing from the S8 due to technical immaturity. In the meantime, Samsung has also tentatively decided to use the same 6.32-inch display screen for the Galaxy Note 9 as the upcoming Note 8 that is expected to be unveiled on Aug. 23 in New York.


College Students Are Flocking to Computer Science Majors

Computer science programs are blowing up in popularity: figures from Boston, Dartmouth, and Stanford are showing that declared CS majors have quadrupled, or even quintupled, within the last decade. While enrollments will inevitably level off, academics suggest interest will remain high, which isn’t surprising, based on today’s tech-oriented climate and increasing demand for new grads who know their way around code, data analytics, and so on.

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The bursting of the bubble in 2000 prompted students to reject computer science programs. Enrollments plummeted with the crash. But colleges are now scrambling to keep up with the major’s year-after-year enrollment growth. Take Stanford University. In the 2007-08 academic year, Stanford had 87 declared undergraduate computer science majors. That was near the trough of the great decline in computer science enrollments. But since then, the number of declared majors at Stanford has grown in each year and by the 2016-17 academic year, Stanford counted 353 majors. This is now the school's top undergraduate major.


Say Goodbye to These Windows 10 Features in the Fall Creators Update

Microsoft has published a support document revealing what features will be removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: these include the Paint application, Outlook Express, screen saver functionality in Themes, System Image Backup (SIB) Solution, and Windows PowerShell 2.0.

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The following features and functionalities in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update are either removed from the product in the current release ("Removed") or are not in active development and might be removed in future releases ("Deprecated"). This list is intended to help customers consider these removals and deprecations for their own planning. The list is subject to change and may not include every deprecated feature or functionality.


Fukushima Disaster: Robot Finds Possible Melted Nuclear Fuel

An underwater robot investigating the inside of reactor 3 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has captured what is believed to be the first images of melted nuclear fuel deposits. Obviously, this is very bad news: melted nuclear fuel is one of the most toxic substances known to man, and it’s been pouring into the North Pacific for some time at an uncontrolled rate, affecting much of marine life.

This is the first time Tepco has found something likely to be melted fuel. When the utility sent a different robot into reactor 2 in January, it found black lumps sticking to the grating in the primary containment vessel but said they were difficult to identify. The objects spotted this time look like icicles hanging around a control rod drive attached to the bottom of the pressure vessel, which holds the core, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said at an evening news conference Friday.


2017’s Top 10 Programming Languages: Python Ranks No. 1

IEEE Spectrum released their fourth interactive ranking of programming languages this week, and Python has earned the top spot, nudging out C and Java, which took second and third place respectively. Ruby has dropped out of the list completely, while Swift has entered at tenth place.

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Python has continued its upward trajectory from last year and jumped two places to the No. 1 slot, though the top four -- Python, C, Java, and C++ -- all remain very close in popularity. Indeed, in Diakopoulos’s analysis of what the underlying metrics have to say about the languages currently in demand by recruiting companies, C comes out ahead of Python by a good margin.


Saturday July 22, 2017

Firefox Can Now Open a Ridiculous Number of Tabs in Seconds

A tab hoarder at Mozilla decided to document the performance of the latest versions of Firefox and found that the engineers responsible for improving the browser’s responsiveness have actually been doing their jobs: while Firefox 51 took nearly 8 minutes to open a profile comprising 1691 tabs, the same only took Firefox 55 and 56 a couple of seconds. Another bar graph shows that memory usage is significantly reduced in the latter versions.

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Graph of startup time with 1691 tabs across Firefox versions 20, 30, 40 and 50 - 56. The Y axis is minutes. Yes, Firefox 51 took almost 8 MINUTES to start up. However, as of Firefox 55 it only takes 15 seconds. For 1691 tabs. Really. I no longer fear restarts. Lately, I just restart Firefox for fun sometimes. It's interesting that Firefox startup time got consistently worse over time until Firefox 51. It'd be interesting to do this test with varying numbers of tabs and find out at what point these types of regressions become noticeable.


Justice League Trailer Debuts at Comic-Con

As expected, Warner Bros. released the full-length Justice League trailer during their panel today at the San Diego Comic-Con. Say what you will about Zack Snyder, but nobody is able to create visuals quite like him: the Themyscira shots alone look leaps and bounds above what we saw in the Wonder Woman film. Sadly, Joss Whedon is reportedly reshooting numerous scenes for the movie, so there might be some level of inconsistency.


Intel’s Principal Engineer Quits after 20 Years

Francois Piednoel has announced that he will no longer be working at Intel. According to his Linkedin profile, Mr. Piednoel had been with the company since 1997, where he worked on a slew of processors including Katmai, Conroe, Penryn, and Nehalem, as well as SoCs in Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell, Skylake, and Kaby Lake. No, he isn’t leaving for AMD (or so he claims).

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Electric Car Sales Reach 40% Growth in the US

The rise of electric cars seems inevitable: while countries like Norway have already witnessed EVs comprising 42% of total new car sales, the latest figures suggest that the US is slowly but surely following suit. Some say that EV sales could reach 20% by 2025, while others are even more optimistic due to the impending launch of vehicles such as the Model 3, Nissan Leaf, and Audi E-Tron Quattro.

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Peter O’Connor of the Union of Concerned Scientists noted this week that the US electric vehicle market saw a 32% annual growth rate between 2012-2016 and it is now reaching 40%. He makes a projection based on the growth rate: "But what if the market were actually hitting a "tipping point" such that this recent growth could continue? If a 40% growth rate could be sustained for the next six years, then we would see EVs reach 10% of US vehicle sales in 2023, and possibly near 20% by 2025." That’s encouraging, but as we previously reported, the current growth is likely to be dwarfed by what’s coming in the next 2 years.


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