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

[H]ard News

Saturday September 23, 2017

4K iTunes Content Limited to Streaming Only, No Downloads

4K content from Apple can be streamed, but not downloaded directly on a device according to Apple: customers can download a local copy of an HD movie, and on occasion, HD movies that support HDR and Dolby Vision, but 4K movies are not available for download and thus can't be watched without an internet connection.

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It's not clear why Apple is not allowing customers to download 4K content onto their devices, but it could potentially be a licensing issue. Apple is providing 4K content at the same price as HD content, though movie studios were rumored to want to charge more. It's also possible it's a local storage issue, as 4K movies have large file sizes. To stream 4K content to the new Apple TV 4K, Apple recommends a minimum speed of 25Mb/s, according to the support document. If an internet connection isn't fast enough, Apple will downscale the video quality.

Discussion

Superaccurate GPS Chips Coming to Smartphones in 2018

Broadcom announced that it is sampling the first mass-market chip that can take advantage of a new breed of global navigation satellite signals, giving the next generation of smartphones 30-centimeter accuracy instead of today’s 5 meters. Even better, the chip works in a city’s concrete canyons, and it consumes half the power of today’s generation of chips.

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The chip, the BCM47755, has been included in the design of some smartphones slated for release in 2018, but Broadcom would not reveal which. All GNSS satellites -- even the oldest generation still in use—broadcast a message called the L1 signal, which includes the satellite’s location, the time, and an identifying signature pattern. A newer generation broadcasts a more complex signal called L5 at a different frequency in addition to the legacy L1 signal. The receiver essentially uses these signals to fix its distance from each satellite based on how long it takes the signal to go from satellite to receiver.

Discussion

Microsoft and Facebook Complete 160Tbps Transatlantic Undersea Cable

Much of our data and connected services live in the cloud, but most of our access to them from around the world (about 99 percent, in fact ) is actually made possible by submarine cables laid on ocean floors, thousands of feet below sea level. Now, more than 17,000 feet below the ocean's surface lies the "most technologically advanced subsea cable," providing up to 160 terabits (Tbps) of data per second, and it’s all thanks to Facebook, Microsoft, and Spanish telecommunication company Telxius.

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With the Marea project, the two aforementioned tech giants collaborated with Spanish telecom infrastructure firm Telxius to lay an undersea cable that’s 6,600 kilometers (~4,000 miles) long between the Virginia Beach in the US and Bilbao, Spain, to transmit data at a speed of up to 160 terabits per second. For reference, that’s about 20,000 hours’ worth of Netflix HD video. Microsoft says this cable is the most technologically advanced one of the lot and is the highest-capacity cable in the world; it can be upgraded to support higher bandwidth in the future.

Discussion

NVIDIA: Crypto Demand for GPUs Very Strong, but Could Cool in December

Analysts are reiterating the fact that GPU sales this quarter are doing better than expected thanks to crypto-currency demand among those who use GPUs to "mine" bitcoin and other currencies: demand, however, may cool next quarter due to crypto bans and DRAM shortages.

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The GPU/motherboard OEMs noted GPU pricing was up ~25% in the last six months. They also noted zero inventory of GPUs in the channel and constrained short DRAM supply and pricing also affecting GPU shipments. Coming off a very strong SepQ, there are also expectations in the supply chain that DecQ GPU sales could be muted in pricing and demand on recent cryptocurrency bans and DRAM shortages.

Discussion

Synthetic Muscle Breakthrough Could Lead to "Lifelike" Robots

Researchers at Columbia Engineering have developed a 3D-printed synthetic tissue that can act as active muscle. The material, which can push, pull, bend, and twist (thanks to its use of silicone rubber and ethanol-dispensing micro-bubbles) is also capable of carrying 1,000 times its own weight. "Now who's the dipsh*t, you jock douchebag."

Previously, no material has been capable of functioning as a soft muscle due to an inability to exhibit the desired properties of high actuation stress and high strain. Existing soft actuator technologies are typically based on pneumatic or hydraulic inflation of elastomer skins that expand when air or liquid is supplied to them. The external compressors and pressure-regulating equipment required for such technologies prevent miniaturization and the creation of robots that can move and work independently.

Discussion

AMD Radeon Phases Out the CrossFire Brand

AMD’s longstanding brand for multi-GPU (mGPU) solutions has been terminated: PCWorld reached out to a representative after noticing that their latest drivers lacked any mention of CrossFire, and they said that the branding is no longer relevant because it technically refers to DX11 applications. "In DirectX 12, we reference multi-GPU as applications must support mGPU, whereas AMD has to create the profiles for DX11. We’ve accordingly moved away from using the CrossFire tag for multi-GPU gaming."

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That’s a surprising twist to come out of the blue -- CrossFire is a firmly established brand with a meaning ("multiple Radeon graphics cards") that enthusiasts are very familiar with. With AMD pushing DX12 so heavily though, establishing the distinction in marketing copy may be worthwhile. And yes, this is a branding change, not a technical one. AMD is correct that enabling mGPU support in DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games are very different. Developers need to build multi-GPU support into DirectX 12 engines and games, explicitly telling the software how to control the hardware.

Discussion

Apple: iPhones Are Too "Complex" to Let You Fix Them

Apple's top environmental officer says that the company’s devices are designed for durability, but if repairs are required, authorized shops are advised due to complexity. She suggests that these locations are readily accessible, but that isn’t necessarily true, especially in rural areas. Worse, many of these places are not allowed to do certain repairs.

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If you live in, say, Valentine, Nebraska and want your phone repaired by an "authorized" Apple store or partner and you want same-day service (i.e., you don't want to stay overnight in a hotel while someone fixes your cracked phone screen), you need to travel to Omaha, 250 miles away. This is not an "accessible" repair. Apple Stores and Apple authorized service centers are also not capable or, in the case of authorized stores, allowed to fix many problems one is likely to encounter on their phone or iPad.

Discussion

T-Mobile, Sprint Close to Agreeing on Deal Terms for Merger

In a transaction that would significantly consolidate the US telecommunications market, T-Mobile is close to joining forces with Sprint: the union is attractive because of the scale and potential for cost-cutting it would bring, allowing the bigger company to increase investments in areas like 5G, thus gaining an edge on the larger wireless carriers.

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A merger would create a business with more than 130 million subscribers, just behind Verizon and AT&T. Revenues would top $70 billion and analysts say there would be massive scope to cut costs. Sprint shares were up 5 percent in afternoon trading in New York on Friday to $8.44, giving the company a market capitalization of close to $34 billion. T-Mobile shares were up 0.4 percent to $63.66, giving that company a market capitalization of around $53 billion.

Discussion

John Gruber: DxO Ratings Are Horsesh*t

The author of Daring Fireball has declared that "no one should give a sh*t" about DxO’s camera ratings: the image processing software company assigns precise numbers to gauge photo and video quality, but Gruber insists that these give a false illusion of scientific rigor, noting that the overall quality of a camera is "utterly subjective."

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Particularly with their "overall" score, DXO is pretending to assign an objective scientific-looking measurement to something that is inherently subjective. It’s horsesh*t, but everyone in the media falls for it. I said it was horsesh*t last year when they named a Pixel their "highest rated ever", and I say it’s bullsh*t now when they said that about an iPhone.

Discussion

Windows Store Is Being Rebranded to Microsoft Store

Microsoft is changing the name of their store so they can sell more than just apps, games, and other content for Windows 10 devices: the "Microsoft Store" is rolling out to Windows Insiders in the Release Preview ring with an app update. Aside from a new logo, nothing else appears to have changed in the app.

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Microsoft could be rebranding the Windows Store to give users access to more products in Windows 10. It’s possible the company could soon allow users to buy things like its Surface hardware, or third-party products like the Fitbit from within the Microsoft Store app. The rebranded store in Windows 10 could also lead to Microsoft finally making it cross-platform -- making TV shows, and movies purchased from the Microsoft Store available across different devices and the web.

Discussion

Walmart Wants to Deliver Food and Put It in Your Fridge

Would you let a stranger come into your house to put away food? Walmart is doing just that: the company is testing a so-called straight-into-your-fridge service that lets you watch the delivery happen on your phone with cameras installed in your house. What could go wrong?

...a Deliv driver will retrieve my items and bring them to my home. If no one answers the doorbell, he or she will have a one-time passcode that I’ve pre-authorized which will open my home’s smart lock. As the homeowner, I’m in control of the experience the entire time -- the moment the Deliv driver rings my doorbell, I receive a smartphone notification that the delivery is occurring and, if I choose, I can watch the delivery take place in real-time.

Discussion

iPhone 8 Faster than a Core i5 13-Inch MacBook Pro in Geekbench

The iPhone 8 supposedly has a MacBook Pro Intel-level processor inside that "leaves the Samsung S8 for dead": on the multicore portion of one test, the iPhone 8 hit 10,170, edging out the score from the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with a 7th-generation Core i5 processor (9,213). They say that the impressive performance won’t necessarily make a massive difference in everyday use when it comes to simple tasks like opening apps, however. Thanks gritan.

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Geekbench comparisons between phones and laptops used to be pretty meaningless, as the tests were not directly comparable, but that hasn’t been the case for some time now. Founder John Poole confirmed that it is legitimate to directly compare scores across platforms, though he did add an important caveat: "Laptops are better at delivering sustained performance over a longer period of time, as opposed to the shorter max burst performance that benchmarks like Geekbench 4 are designed to measure. In other words, the iPhone 8 simply doesn’t have the thermals and heat dissipation necessary to replace your laptop."

Discussion

Red Dead Redemption 2 Announcement Coming Next Week

Rockstar Games has announced that they will release something on Thursday, September 28: based on the design of the announcement, it will have something to do with Red Dead Redemption, the company’s western action series. I suspect that it’ll be a trailer to get the hype machine going.

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The much-hyped return to America's outlaw west was recently delayed to Spring 2018. Rockstar says that it will tell "an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland, the game's vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience." Leaks have previously suggested that the game will be a prequel to the 2010 classic, and that its map will include New Bordeaux, the setting of Mafia 3.

Discussion

Lenovo’s Retro ThinkPad 25 Laptop Leaks Ahead of Rumored October Debut

German blog WinFuture.de has gotten their hands on some leaked images and specs for the ThinkPad 25, which Lenovo is releasing to celebrate the brand’s 25th anniversary: naturally, the retro laptop has visual touches from its ancestor (e.g., a multicolored logo and blue "Enter" key), but it will be based on the modern 470 series.

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...WinFuture notes that the ThinkPad 25 will come equipped with a 14-inch 1080p IPS display. On the inside, the laptop is expected to pack an Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. An NVIDIA 940MX discrete GPU is also said to be on board, as is LTE support. In terms of ports, there's plenty to look forward to here as well, with USB-C (with Thunderbolt 3 support), HDMI, three USB 3.0 ports, and SD card reader, and ethernet.

Discussion

Intel Core i7 8700K Reportedly Reaches 4.8 GHz Easily, 5 GHz+ Requires Delid

Users should expect Intel's 8700K 6-core processor to easily clock up to 4.8 GHz with conventional cooling methods: according to one report, the chip will not need much voltage to achieve this feat. Those who want to push things further will likely have to delid, however, due to the higher core count and increased thermals.

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Intel is still using their much chagrined (and divisive) TIM as a heat conductor between the CPU die and the CPU's IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader), which has been proven to be a less than adequate way of conducting said heat. However, we all knew this would be the case; remember that Intel's HEDT HCC processors also feature this TIM, and in that case, we're talking of up to 18-core processors that can cost up to $1,999 - if Intel couldn't be bothered to spend the extra cents for actual solder as an interface material there, they certainly wouldn't do so here.

Discussion

Forza Motosports 7 Intentionally Runs on One Core

Gearing up to not break a sweat with the console port on your multi-core CPU for the newly released Forza Motosport 7 demo? Don't get your hopes up, apparently the game mostly utilizes only one CPU core causing frame pacing issues. Confirmed in a post by a community liaison for Turn 10 on the Forza forums, the limitation is too minimize input latency.

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By playing the demo, though, it's readily apparent that while the average frame rate is not a problem at all, there is a lot of stuttering due to frame pacing issues. This immediately reminded PC gamers of early issues in Forza Horizon 3, which were eventually fixed with an update by Playground Games...

Discussion

Road Redemption Release Trailer

It's been years since the last Road Rash was released and even longer since a decent one came out. Old school fans can check out Road Redemption, a spiritual successor to the bike-brawling racer. While the game looks rough around the edges and still in Early Access, it will release on Oct. 4 on Windows PC, Mac and Linux. Now when will Microsoft release a new Motocross Madness.

The game will exit Early Access on October 4. It has a single-player campaign fully playable in multiplayer; 4-player splitscreen cooperative play; lots of RPG-esque skill trees and "tons of brutal weapons".

Discussion

Hacked Websites Mine Cryptocurrencies

With the popularity of cryptocurrencies on the rise and value increasing, A current trend is injecting some malicious code into websites by unscrupulous webmasters and blackhats using JavaScript cryptocurrency miners. Sucuri blog takes a look into one of the more popular platforms being used, CoinHive which have been stealing precious cpu cycles from unsuspecting website visitors.

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While the cryptocurrency miners for websites is a very new thing, there is nothing new in approaches that hackers use to abuse it. If something can be installed on a web site and monetized, hackers will do it on websites they compromise. Thus one of the best security practices for webmasters is to monitor integrity of their sites.

Discussion

Friday September 22, 2017

Adobe Tries to One-Up Equifax...Fails

So, Adobe has made a feeble attempt to one-up Equifax' lunicy, and while Adobe gets points for trying, it still falls short...like Adobe usually does. But it is still not a good idea to leak your PRIVATE PGP key to the world.

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It goes without saying that the disclosure of a private security key would, to put it mildly, ruin a few employees' Friday. Armed with the private key, an attacker could spoof PGP-signed messages as coming from Adobe. Additionally, someone (cough, cough the NSA) with the ability to intercept emails – such as those detailing exploitable Flash security vulnerability reports intended for Adobe's eyes only – could use the exposed key to decrypt messages that could contain things like, say, zero-day vulnerability disclosures.

Discussion

Some Guy is Digitizing the VHS History of Video Games

Kudos to Chris Scullion for making an effort to catalog the VHS history of video games. Older millennials and classic console game fans should appreciate this. All videos will be captured in HD through a 1080p upscaler and so far, the videos look a bit better than most those up on other YouTube channels.

"These tapes are part of my childhood and that of many others, but they may also be of interest to international gamers," Scullion told me in a Twitter DM.

Discussion

One Lone Dude in Line for the new iPhone 8

CBS Los Angeles thought it was sort of odd not to see a line wrapping around the building at the Apple Store this morning due to the new iPhone 8 release. Guess all the fanboys will be waiting on the X. Warning, autostart video. Meh. Screencap below of the excitement.

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PASADENA (CBSLA) — There was something missing at Pasadena’s Apple Store for the Friday release of the iPhone 8 – a line of eager fans. Previous releases of the iPhone attracted hundreds of Apple fans waiting in the early morning hours at several stores across Southern California.

Discussion

Amazon Alexa Literally in your Head

The audiophiles will have and issue with this because I understand that the sound quality of your head actually sucks. However, I am all on board with not having to listen to your asinine conversation with Alexa in public if I do not have to. Bone-conduction...I thought this was continuation of the Palmer story below when I first read it. Thanks cageymaru.

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Developers at Amazon's secret Lab 126 have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa, the Financial Times reported Wednesday. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users' smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device before the end of the year, according to the report.

Discussion

Falling Out in VR

Bethesda just released a video with an interview showcasing the experience of Fallout 4 in VR. That said, I have yet to see any flat-screened video that truly showcased the VR experience. I am however very much looking forward to spending some time in and around Diamond City for sure.

Fallout 4 VR has been a powerhouse at every convention where it’s been demoed, with hundreds of eager attendees lining up to get up-close-and-personal with the Commonwealth and all of its inhabitants. Fallout 4 VR even won Best VR Game award at Gamescom this year. But what makes it so S.P.E.C.I.A.L? We spoke to Lead Producer Andrew Scharf about crafting the ultimate VR experience for Fallout 4 and how it feels to actually be inside this incredible world.

Discussion

Uber Gets Tubed in London

This is likely the biggest crock of steaming BS that I will read today. With all the "things" that happen in London lately, Uber is now considered too dangerous to the public and it has lost its license to act as a cab service. This will impact 3.5 million folks that use Uber, and over 40,000 Uber drivers. I don't know, I can't think of it right now, but I know there is something else going on in London that has been having a bigger impact on its citizens' safety...I just can't put my finger on it. Thanks cageymaru.

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Uber will not be issued a new private hire licence, Transport for London (TfL) has said. TfL concluded the ride-hailing app firm was not fit and proper to hold a London private hire operator licence. It said it took the decision on the grounds of "public safety and security implications".

Discussion


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