Pretty much all post-move wrinkles have been ironed out, touch wood. Now to start seeing how the servers cope under load, and tuning the database software etc.
Here's an interesting but scary video story about battlefield robots. I had no idea their use was so widespread. Serious moral and legal dilemmas are posed by the increasing use of machines to replace solidiers in battle.
Google have a new collaboration tool called Google Wave. Christened Wave, the new system is a combination of email and instant messaging and document-, maps- image- and video-sharing all housed in one spot. There's a preview video here and discussion in this thread.
Rezin noticed a free ramdisk program, which could be interesting for playing around with. Dataram RAMDisk is compatible with all versions of Windows Vista (x86 and x64), Windows XP (x86 and x64), all editions of Windows Server 2003 (x86 and x64), all editions of Windows server 2008 (x86 and x64). Dataram RAMDisk is FREE for disks under 4 GB.
Nintendo have given The Queen a Wii. A gold-plated one, naturally. But we thought that Her Majesty the Queen wouldn't want to play on any old console, so an extra-special gold one was commissioned. We hope that she and the rest of the Royal Family enjoy the game!
With the arrival of WolframAlpha and Microsoft's new "Bing" search engine, it's no surprise that Sergey Brin from Google reckons search is going to get smarter. Google Squared [a new service similar to Wolfram Alpha] combines information from hundreds of pages and put it in a table for you. You're going to see an increasing amount of that kind of smarts going on - you'll feel the search engine is smart.
A guy over on [H]ard|Forums has used an oven to fix dodgy solder points on his video card. sooooooo, i removed all bits from the card including the i/o shield and placed it gpu side down with the card raised up on 3 sides by tiny balls of aluminum foil and placed it on a very thin cookie sheet. i preheated the oven to 385f, put the card in and waited around 8-10 minutes. i carefully removed the cookie sheet and placed it on top of the oven to cool down naturally. waited about an hour and voila! =D
Evangel spotted a video showing Bohemian Rhapsody played by gadgets including scanners etc. Keep in mind the scanner and floppy drive are not musical instruments. These are mechanical devices whose motors tend to drift and can cause some notes to be out of tune.
Aussie visitors to the USA can expect tighter security, particularly when leaving. From 2010, all non-US citizens who enter the country on a visa or the visa-waiver program available to most Australian tourists will be required to follow the revised departure procedure.
The Perth Adult Lego Society (not quite as racy as it sounds) are working on a world record sized bridge. Part of a gigantic Lego train display to be shown at the 2009 Australian Model Railway Expo, this 46-feet self-supporting bridge will attempt to break a world record.
Lots of Pre-Computex updates coming in from various companies. Should be interesting to see what actually gets released at the show!
Intel have unveiled their new Nehalem (a.k.a. Core i7) based 8 core Xeon. HotHardware has lots more info about it. Hardware Zone also has some info about them along with the new Atom/Pine Trail platform
Tweaktown went to Taipei and visited IKONIK's headquarters where they were shown their new range of cases for 2009. Some interesting features that might be worth checking out.
techPowerup has some interesting details on a new ASUS video card in the works. A Dual GTX285 based card with 4GB of ram. Should be quite the beast if it hits the market.
iXBT have done a fairly indepth article about what fsb/memory speeds are the best with Core 2 based CPU's. Read it here. Worth checking out in my opinion.
This is interesting for those who like watercooling. Looks like we are going to start seeing 140mm fan Radiators. Blackice Extreme GT 560 is a quad 140mm fan radiator(link is machine translated). 60cm long though so not going to fit in/on many cases.
This mad man decided to use a 45 year old modem to access the internet. Feel that 300 Baud (~ 0.0003 MBit) power!
HotHardWare spent some time playing around with Windows 7 RC and some SSD's to see if there was much of a performance difference. Read it here.
Microsoft are apparently launching a new search engine "Bing" which they are calling a "Decision Engine". Here is the official site and a news article about it.
If you're reading this, your DNS has updated and you are seeing our new server. Note there's still a few wrinkles to be ironed out, and I haven't finished setting up a few things yet:
I'll continue sorting out things and should have it all finished today. Reply to this thread or drop me an email if you notice any other wierdness.
Server Relocation Underway
(link) Friday, 29-May-2009 13:29:07 (GMT +10) - by Agg
The forums are currently offline while we relocate to another server. We'll be back sometime Saturday. There's no changes needed at your end, you will automatically be directed to the new server after it's ready. Thanks for your patience!
OCAU's Folding@Home team has been working hard this year, but we still need your help. While the team has been contributing over 2.1 Million points per day, we still need your help to increase this number and make sure we hold onto our number #2 spot in the ranking.
The team is looking for Nvidia GeForce 8XXX, 9XXX and 260/28X/295 GPU's (ATI Radeon GPU's Too!) to help increase our output. If you are ready to start, then check out this thread for instructions. Don't have a GPU to spare? Folding@Home works on your CPU as well! There's a guide to getting started here. If you have Sony Playstation 3 you should already have the client pre-installed and ready for you to start producing!
So, if you would like to help scientists learn about diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta - possibly help find a cure for it and put OCAU back in the number one spot - then drop by the Distributed Computing section (open to the public) and see how you can be a part of it.
Remember, every idle CPU, GPU and PS3 counts, so what can you commit to the cause?
Apparently the National Broadband Network Mk 2 might only cost the taxpayer $11B. NBN mark 1, which was based on the premise that fibre to the node would be used to deliver broadband at up to 12Mbps to 98 percent of the population, was slated to cost about $8 billion of which the government promised to provide $4.7b.
Europe has a new fastest supercomputer. With 294,912 CPUs, it's not surprising! “The new Jülich supercomputer will be able to perform a trillion arithmetic operations per second, known as a petaflop/s for short,” explained the Director of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre, Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Lippert. Photos here and here.
TheReg report on a strange inclusion in a product from WD. Warwick Uni's Jaroslaw Zachwieja describes himself as "surprised" to discover that, on unpacking his shiny new Western Digital "1TB MyBook _Essential_ edition", instead of a power supply someone had thrown in five USB cables "and a little note".
A study has shown that one in 12 Australian gamers are addicts. Starcevic said these people also tended to prefer playing open-ended and community-based online computer games such as World of Warcraft. Alternatively, Starcevic pointed to the 92% of gamers who he said had a healthy enjoyment of video games.
Skype have opened an Australian online store. Items available so far include call credit and accessories like headsets, webcams and phone handsets – allowing you to use a traditional-looking handset without tying up your computer.
HotHardware visited an AMD Phenom II hardcore overclocking event in Texas. Armed with AMD's latest Black Edition processor, the Phenom II X4 955, a steady flow of liquid nitrogen (LN2), and several vats of liquid helium (LHe), the stage was set for one of the most impressive overclocking exhibitions of recent memory.
Akamai have released their State of the Internet report for 4th Quarter 2008. Each quarter, Akamai publishes a quarterly "State of the Internet" report. This report includes data gathered across Akamai's global server network about attack traffic, connection speeds, Internet penetration and broadband adoption, as well as trends seen in this data over time.
Tech Report look in more detail at the fresh vs used SSD performance issue. We believe that testing SSDs in this used state is the best way to evaluate their performance. A solid-state drive may post impressive benchmark scores when it's fresh from the factory, but it's more important for SSD controllers to deal gracefully with a lack of empty pages. As we discovered, some do a much better job than others.
As you may be aware we've been very kindly hosted by AusGamers for a few years now. Unfortunately due to changes beyond their control they can no longer host us, so we have to relocate the site by early next month - I've known for a couple of weeks now.
The deadline is fast approaching so I've been scrambling to find somewhere to move our hosting to within Australia, but so far haven't had any luck due to the relatively huge amount of traffic we do. So, for the moment I'm leasing a "virtual rack" setup in the states, which pretty much replicates the setup we have now, but with newer hardware and a bit more room for growth. This is on a month by month basis - we may be there a very long time, or we may end up finding something a bit closer to home. Performance testing and general feel of the forums seems fine on the new servers despite the physical distance.
So, we will probably have an outage this friday night and saturday morning of several hours while the site moves to the new servers. There's a kind've unavoidable phase where the latest backup from the current servers is transferred to the new servers, and given it's about 5GB of data, it takes a few hours, even between datacentres. The DNS will be updated so you should find yourself automatically on the new servers, and given Saturday morning is our quietest time, chances are you won't even notice the move. There may be some wrinkles that need ironing out during the following few days as I fine-tune the servers but hopefully nothing too drastic.
I just want to clarify that there's no bad blood between AusGamers and I. Being able to ride on their coat-tails for the last few years has been a huge advantage to OCAU and a massive part of why we were able to grow into the monster we've become today. Here's to many more years of growth, wherever we end up. :)
Microsoft have released Service Pack 2 for Vista. It may have already appeared in your Windows Update if you use it, but otherwise there's downloads in the link above. Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista is an update to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. It provides customer and partner feedback-driven fixes into a single service pack, minimizing deployment and testing complexity. In addition to all previously released updates since SP1, SP2supports new types of hardware, and adds support for several emerging standards.
OCAU NRL and AFL Tipping Knockout Comp Added
(link) Tuesday, 26-May-2009 16:33:41 (GMT +10) - by Wolfy
A Knockout Comp has been added to the OCAU NRL and OCAU AFL Tipping competitions. Simply select one team you think will win, and if you're correct you stay alive in the Knockout Comp. Pretty simple really, but you cannot select the same team to win two weeks in a row.
Australia's mandatory internet filter may, err, not be mandatory. It's been a bit quiet on that front lately. The Government is currently spending around $300,000 on an industry filtering trial involving nine internet providers. The results of the trial, which are expected to inform its final policy, are expected to be handed to Senator Conroy in late July or early August. Discussion continues in this thread.
MadShrimps report on an 8GHz CPU under LN2 at a recent event. On Friday he started preparing the bench table and his setup. Using gum to fill up the gaps around the socket to prevent condensation, installing the CPU and the cooling tube, he was ready to start benching. The highly rated Dragon F1 Extreme Edition LN2 Cooler made by K|ngP|n was used.
Lenovo have taken the ION platform mobile with their new IdeaPad S12 Netbook. Info here and here. The IdeaPad S12 will feature an Intel Atom N270 single-core processor running at 1.6 GHz and the NVIDIA ION chipset with a much higher performing graphics core than the Intel 945G chipset that other notebooks use.
LegionHW chedked out VGA performance in The Sims 3. The textures are rather bland, while the shadows and lighting are quite simple. There is not even that much detail, at least until you get inside the houses. Still, we want to see how this upcoming blockbuster will perform with the latest ATI and Nvidia graphics cards.
Digitimes say that Intel are delaying the Core i5 launch until September. Intel plans to launch three Core i5 CPUs with frequencies of 2.93GHz, 2.8GHz and 2.66GHz and priced at US$562, US$284 and US$196 in thousand-unit tray quantities. All of them will feature a TDP of 95W. The P55 chipset will be priced at US$40.
A New Zealand toddler has managed to buy a giant earthmover on eBay. When her mother, Sarah Quinlan, woke up and logged onto the computer, she thought the successful bid was for some Lego she wanted to buy. But then she saw the price of the "Lego".
Australia's Defence Department has been criticised over IT maintenance. The restriction on upgrades has alarmed some members of the Defence Force, leaving expensive consultants unable to perform their duties despite being paid on a daily basis.
Rezin spotted this page about Windows 7 and SSDs. This post looks at the way we have tuned Windows 7 to the current generation of SSDs. This is a rapidly moving area and we expect that there will continue to be ways we will tune Windows and we also expect the technology to continue to evolve, perhaps introducing new tradeoffs or challenging other underlying assumptions.
In case your wimpy 1200W PSU just isn't cutting it anymore, perhaps this upcoming 1500W one from Silverstone is what you need. The page is in Swedish but the slides etc are in English. Or, maybe this upcoming 850W from XFX is more realistic.
Thailand's criminal court has ordered 72 websites to close. The court order follows the death of a 12-year-old boy who jumped from the sixth-floor balcony of his school building on Thursday after he was banned from playing computer games by his father.
Lardman sent in this article about licensed memory in Vista. That 32-bit editions of Windows Vista are limited to 4GB is not because of any physical or technical constraint on 32-bit operating systems. The 32-bit editions of Windows Vista all contain code for using physical memory above 4GB. Microsoft just doesn’t license you to use that code. Hrm, interesting claim.
Mashable interviewed Dr Stephen Wolfram, the creator of WolframAlpha. For 45 minutes we discussed the concept of Wolfram Alpha, the difficulties of parsing language, how social media helps filter information, and even the ability to analyze multimedia. Dr. Wolfram also revealed that Wolfram Alpha is set to exceed 100 million queries. Below is an analysis of the interview. If you’re interested in the full audio, we’ve provided it at the end, embedded via Yahoo Media Player.
PCPerspective say a new Intel Atom is on the way. With this new technology Intel is hoping to continue to keep a firm hold on the netbook market that has grown from basically zero to tens of millions of units in just a couple years time.
Also on the mini-CPU front, Dell are using VIA's Nano for servers. The XS11-VX8, which was known as the "Fortuna" platform during development, sees 12 full servers in a 3.5” high case. “That’s three times as many servers as Dell usually squeezes into similar, compact systems.” [NYTimes] The 2U form factor server chassis provides shared power and cooling to all twelve servers inside.
HardOCP looked at real-world gameplay CPU scaling. We are going to answer such questions as: Is the Core i7 920 really faster in games than a Core 2 Quad? Is there really any difference in gameplay performance between the triple-core AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE compared to the quad-core AMD Phenom II X4 810? Intel or AMD? Clock speed vs. multi-core? Finally, what value does each CPU bring, and can overclocking help?
A modified version of Necrovision, which had previously been banned in Australia, is now available according to GoN. The Board notes that blood detail appears throughout the game as a grey “dust” effect when enemies are hit. Zombies fly into the air or their bodies jerk when bullets impact. However no further injury or wound detail is visible. There's a review (presumably of the non-modified version) here on GamingHeaven.
Attack of the Fake USB Sticks
(link) Friday, 22-May-2009 04:31:56 (GMT +10) - by Agg
I recently bought a 64GB Corsair Flash Voyager from DealsDirect.com.au. I've got a couple of smaller Corsair ones already and I've been recommending the 16GB Voyager GT to people wanting a speedy thumbdrive, so when I got an email about a special deal 64GB one for about $100 AUD delivered, it seemed like a deal too good to miss. And maybe in hindsight, too good to be true.
The drive had issues from the start - very slow and corrupting data. It also felt and looked slightly different to the other ones I own, and less well made. So I asked on the Corsair support forums what they thought about it. The official word: The 64 Gig in your picture is a counterfeit product. Seems I'm not the only one with an issue, either.
click to enlarge
Apparently the email and listing mentioned that the drives are refurbished and carry a 12-month warranty, although I admit to not noticing that, perhaps in my impulse-buying speed-clicking frenzy. Well, Corsair say they don't sell refurbished drives and their products have a 10 year warranty (update: although there are apparently some genuine refurbished drives out there, which is confusing). But most importantly, they simply don't make a 64GB Flash Voyager that looks like this. The 64GB model is longer and has a chain for the cap:
click to enlarge
So, what's the lesson here? Well, we already know that fake memory cards are pretty widespread, but it seems even brand-name USB sticks can be impersonated, and a fairly reputable vendor can sometimes pick up a bad batch. But if your spidey sense is tingling, it's worth checking the manufacturer's website to see if the product on sale even exists in their lineup. I haven't heard back from DealsDirect as yet, but I'm sure there'll be no issue with a refund or replacement. They've already pulled the product page, but I'll be keen to hear how this all happened from their end.
It will be Towel Day soon. Towel Day is an annual celebration on the 25th of May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001). On that day, fans around the universe proudly carry a towel in his honour.
Apparently the GPS system is in trouble. THE US Government has warned that the worldwide network of satellites that makes up the Global Positioning System could fail by next year, affecting millions of people around the globe. More info here, thanks Jason.
Cory Doctorow has posted some thoughts on Net Neutrality in Europe. If politicians want to effect economic recovery, national competitiveness, good public health and high civic engagement, they have a duty to keep the internet free and open. But politicians around the world seem willing to sacrifice their national interest to keep a few powerful phone and telcoms companies happy.
Dell have released a cheap Linux-based netbook in Australia, report APC. It’s going to have to stand up to a lot of abuse. It’ll go into a student’s backpack and you look at how the the kids on the bus or train put all their bags in the middle of the aisle and then someone’s going to end up standing on it. It’s got to be able to take that. Discussion here.
Australian scientists have massively boosted DVD capacities. A team of researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, have used nanotechnology to boost the storage potential nearly 10,000-fold compared to standard DVDs, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.
A few people sent in this liquid-cooled desk PC. A quick bit of brainstorming determined that there were essentially two ways to accomplish this: old-school (a classic oak executive's desk with components hidden behind false backs in the drawers); and new-school (transparent surfaces with components on display). The old-school approach was classy and definitely appealing (we won't rule it out for the future), but the new-school approach was both less practical and more ostentatious, which made it our natural choice.
MadShrimps have an i7 Water Block Roundup for May 2009. We take a look at seven CPU water blocks from EK, Enzotech, Koolance, OCZ, XSPC and Swiftech to see if they can tame the i7 heat monster, also known as Nehalem.
Bigi spotted this cool unboxing of an 1800's medical kit. I come from an era of medicine where much of the equipment tends to be plastic and throw-away. The first time I set eyes on some of the older surgical instruments, I was bowled over by the incredible workmanship and the painstaking effort which someone had lavished on them. Some scary old technology there, though. :)
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Wednesday, 20-May-2009 06:39:43 (GMT +10) - by Agg
A quick snapshot of what's going on. You can also find new interesting things you might have missed via the Who's Online page, the New Posts page and the Live forum view. Also something a lot of people don't know about is the Today's Posts link (find it on the Quick Links menu).
ATI Radeon HD 4890 in CrossfireX
(link) Wednesday, 20-May-2009 01:07:22 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Dirtyd has been playing around with ATI's firebreathing Radeon HD 4890 in CrossfireX. So, with not one, but two 4890’s on hand, an unlocked triple-core CPU and a 790FX chipset, the plan is to whip up a frenzy of CrossFireX-powered, polygon-pushing fun! Read on to see how it turns out.
Linux geeks will be interested to know there's a Kernel Conference Australia 2009 coming up in July, in Brisbane, thanks Iroquois. Some of the finest minds in Open Source operating systems are coming to Brisbane for the first Kernel Conference Australia - come and hear keynote presentations from Jeff Bonwick, Bill Moore from Sun Microsystems Inc and Max Alt from Intel USA - learn about other operating systems' features - be inspired to contribute. Kinda pricey to attend, though.
AFACT is apparently saying that iiNet should admit its customers are pirates and stop wasting the Court's time. The remaining claim against iiNet is that the ISP is liable for the copyright infringing actions of its subscribers, something it denies.
MadShrimps compared thirty 120mm fans. Today we have a guest article from Martin who tested 30 different 120mm fans when mounted on a water-cooling radiator. He measured generated noise, cubic feet per minute of air moved with each fan, allowing for some impressive comparative result charts.
Matcat pointed out this article about the history of 3D accelerators for the PC. Join us as we travel back in time and relive releases like 3dfx's Voodoo3 and S3's ViRGE lineup. This is one nostalgiac ride you don't want to miss!
Slipkord spotted an interesting patent attempt from Microsoft, on a "magic wand". Although it was only made public a few days ago, the application was originally filed in November 2007 -- about a year after Nintendo launched the Wii, with its distinctive, wand-style controller.
Tech Report compared six solid-state drives. Intel shook the SSD world when it introduced the X25-M last year. So how does the market look today? We've gathered six SSDs from Corsair, OCZ, Samsung, Super Talent, and Transcend and pitted them against the X25-M's latest firmware to find out, with interesting results.
Meanwhile HotHardware have some SSD Raid on PCI-Express. That said, we will offer one very large caveat that what you're about to see is a VERY early stage design prototype of OCZ's upcoming Z-Drive SSD RAID PCI Express card. In other words, drool for now but you can't and won't ever be able to buy this little gem as you see it here. However, the product's base design approach will remain largely unchanged when it hits the market (soon we hope).
HWZone looked at some AM3 boards. AMD has been catching up with some of Intel's more powerful processors with its latest AM3 Phenom II offerings. This is aided in part by the competitively priced mainstream boards of which the 790GX chipset plays a major role. We cover three of the top Socket AM3 790GX boards available now from ASUS, BIOSTAR and MSI.
The Folding@Home Chimp Challenge is in full swing; while we are holding our own ground, we still need more people to help to see us through until we hit the 20 million mark. It's a simple competition between a few of the major Folding@Home teams to sprint to 20,000,000 points. To be part of it, either change your existing Folding@Home clients username as Monkey_Bollocks and team as 24, or if you aren't folding yet, grab the client from here and get folding with those details.
You can keep track of each teams progress during the challenge here.
The new Wolfram Alpha search engine launched recently and seems fairly impressive, thanks slipkord. This web presentation gives a pretty wide-ranging overview of what it's capable of. There's a video here with more info about the launch. But really, the best idea is just to play with it. It's a little slow at the moment, presumably due to the rush of interest after its public launch. Discussion thread here.
A Dutch usenet community is taking an anti-piracy group to court. Downloading movies, TV shows and music from the Internet for your own personal use is completely legal in Holland. Making copies of original material you own for your own use is also completely legal. Even making copies of pirated material you don’t own is legal, provided it is exclusively for your own use.
HWZone take a look back at 10 years of mobile phone development, from the old brick phones to the space-age smartphones of today. Predictions, as far as one goes, are varied for the future of mobile devices. Phones with 3D holographic projection or phones small enough to be utilized as an in-ear device, or even devices that are self-charging and require no external power source - these are just a few wild cards that can manifest in the years to come.
Timbot sent in this article about Windows 7 using Hyper-Threading better but I dunno, from reading the article it sounds more like a general statement about multi-threading rather than Intel-specific Hyper-Threading. Still, using more cores more effectively would be fine by me.
IGN wonder about visuals vs gameplay in game design, while Tweaknews wonder a similar thing. I was inspired to write this article because I became engrossed in a video game, Silent Hill: Homecoming to be exact, and ultimately I just couldn't shake the idea that video games must be something more than mindless entertainment.
Fujitsu have a new CPU called Venus. It's really fast but you'll probably never see one unless you buy yourself a supercomputer in a few years. :)
An OCClub forums member has compared some strange thermal pastes, including peanut butter and toothpaste. Yes these are the best (and worst) things I could find to replace conventional TIM. I will be rating them based on convenience, ease of procurement, thermal conductivity and longevity, all the things you look for in a high end thermal compound. DansData did a similar thing a long time ago.
Story of the week would have to be Intel being slapped with a 1.45 billion USD fine by the European Commission. Intel “went to great lengths to cover up its anti-competitive actions” and “harmed millions of European consumers” to maintain its dominance of the global market for the chips, which is worth about 22 billion euros a year, Ms. Kroes said. Another report here. What I want to know is, what happens to that money? Who actually gets it? Discussion here.
Meanwhile a shot of Intel's Larabee processor was shown recently, spurring much speculation, including some on Tech Report. If you look closely at this high-res version of the die shot, you'll see that the chip is laid out in three rows. The design of the chip looks to be fairly modular, with repeating areas of uniform structures of several types. The most common unit of the chip is most likely the x86-compatible Larrabee shader core, and the dark areas at the ends of its long, rectangular shape are probably cache of some sort, either L1, L2, or both.
Here's a cool solar-powered motorcyle. “People look at me at the stop light and just say, ‘What is that?” Gryzch said. “I just shrug my shoulders and tell them, ‘it’s solar powered.”‘
George spotted this single-PCB GTX 295, with more info here. The change of PCB makes the card require more in cooling performance. Single-PCB GTX295 features reference cooler which is 22.61mm thick. The two large heatsinks can effectively cool down the GT200 chips as well as PCB board, and the 88.5mm-diameter turbo fan is capable of delivering heat outside. You know, the previous GTX295 can’t vent the heat out of chassis, which is a big problem.
A few people pointed out this Apollo 11 Owner's Workshop Manual coming out soon. This is the story of the Apollo 11 mission and the ‘space hardware’ that made it all possible. From the evolution and design of the Saturn V rocket, the Command, Service Modules, and the Lunar Module are described. Launch procedures are described, ‘flying’ the Saturn V, navigation, course correction ‘burns’, orbital rendezvous techniques, flying the LEM, moon landing, moon walk, take-off from the moon, and earth re-entry procedure.
Speaking of spacey stuff, this has to be one of the most awesome photos ever. More info and another view here. On Wednesday, May 13, two, tiny, fast moving spots crossed an otherwise featureless solar disk. Not sunspots though, the dark blemishes were silhouettes of the shuttle orbiter Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope side by side. Also, the lady who named Pluto died recently, thanks JM.
HotHardware have a four-way SSD roundup. Due to all of the recent activity in the SSD space, we thought it was a good time to round-up another assortment of solid state drives to get a better feel for the current landscape.
A popular flight sim site called Avsim has apparently been destroyed by hackers, thanks "the scotsman". The attack took down the site's two servers and the owners had not established an external backup system. Ouch. :(
iXBT look at Phenom II with DDR3. Many reviewers and interested users said that it made no sense to upgrade from DDR2 to DDR3. So it must be really hard for the new memory type to justify its existence, even if there are some technical prerequisites for it already. We decided to publish a thorough analysis of the situation.
Zotac have unveiled their new Atom/Ion board, which comes in a standard Mini-ITX form-factor, to make it easier for DIY enthusiasts to build their own machines around it. The IONITX-A features a dual-core Atom N330 processor running at 1.6GHz. Since Hyper-Threading grants this config four hardware threads, the N330 should be much faster than a single-core Atom CPU with multitasking or with sufficiently multithreaded applications.
The Folding@Home Chimp Challenge kicked off last week; while we are holding our own ground, we still need more people to help to see us through until we hit the 20 million mark. It's a simple competition between a few of the major Folding@Home teams to sprint to 20,000,000 points. To be part of it, either change your existing Folding@Home clients username as Monkey_Bollocks and team as 24, or if you aren't folding yet, grab the client from here and get folding with those details.
So if you can spare a CPU, GPU or Playstation 3 for the challenge, please check this thread for the official details and links to the appropriate clients. You'll also find a few handy setup guides located in the Distributed Computing section and lots of friendly people, happy to help answer any questions.
Want to start straight away? Then just click the CPU or GPU links below to download the client* you want. Insert the username as Monkey_Bollocks and team as 24, and away you go.
*While the graphical client is somewhat easier to install, the console client is recommended for best point output.
The world's first tweet from space has occurred, with astronaut Mike Massimino reporting from Earth orbit, thanks John. From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!
Apparently the small business investment allowance I mentioned recently has been enlarged and extended in the Federal Budget. It's now 50% until 31 Dec 2009. Confirm with your accountant, of course! More Budget discussion here.
Iro spotted this beer-cooled system which looks to be pretty oldschool. Conclusions: with the current state of the computer industry, unfortunately, beer cannot be used as the ultimate cooling solution due to the very rapid rate of the coolant depletion.
Issue #5 of TheOverclocker is out now. In this issue we examine how live overclocking is getting more and more like poker. Discussion here. Edit: seems to be asking for a login at the moment, so check back later maybe.
Engadget have the latest volley in the Mac vs PC videos. According to Apple, there aren't any PCs with fast processors and big screens that work without viruses, crashes or headaches. But folks, this isn't reality, this is advertising. In fact, this is Apple's first jab since Microsoft took off the gloves with its Laptop Hunters series of pokes against Apple.
Tweaktown meanwhile wonder if upgrading a laptop to SSD is worthwhile. We decided to run some tests and see if it would be worthwhile or not upgrading our notebook from a standard notebook hard disk drive to a shiny new SSD - in particular, the Intel X25-M 80GB SATA drive. And don't worry, we upgraded to the latest Intel firmware for its X18 and X25 series of SSD drives, which is designed to improve performance.
Tonight's timewaster is ConFusebox 2, pointed out by Tony_L. Join up the links in three different modes.
CeBIT Australia opens today in Darling Harbour in Sydney, thanks JoeJoeinc. CeBIT Australia is a 3 day Exhibition and Conference covering the full spectrum of business technologies.
SearchEngineLand have posted their thoughts on Wolfram Alpha, thanks SiliconAngel. Where’s all this information coming from? Unlike Google or a traditional search engine, Wolfram Alpha isn’t crawling the web and “scraping” information, a process where you try to extract data from a web page. Instead, it’s working with a variety of providers to gather public and private information.
From Revenger: Now that Windows 7 RC is out and everyone is in the full swing of testing. You might want to check out the Windows 7 game compatibility list in the wiki and add every game you test to the list even if they work perfectly to let others know your experiences.
The Government is using the NBN to encourage Telstra to split, thanks Daviesh. THE federal Government will offer Telstra the chance to buy up to 49 per cent of its national broadband network, if it agrees to voluntarily hive off its wholesale arm.
A proposed cyberbullying bill in the USA is worrying some people. According to the text, individuals who bully others via any electronic means could face fines, two years in prison, or both. This, of course, could include those nasty text messages you sent to your ex on Saturday night, the questionable e-mail you sent to your brother, or those forum posts you made in which you called for someone who liked the new Star Trek movie to jump off a building.
Rainwulf spotted this in-game footage leaked from DNF. Again, its quite unfortunate to see Duke go like this, maybe they should considering selling the game to another developer to finish up or let the public create the ultimate Duke Nukem. Techgage meanwhile pause to remember 3DRealms and Apogee Software.
Over on Tech Report there's a blog post about Windows 7's XP Mode. The XP mode beta is now publicly available alongside the Windows 7 release candidate. I was eager to take it for a spin, because I regularly use Virtual PC in Vista for a similar purpose.
Peter sent in this WoW Pod. It's every game addict's dream and mum and dad's worst nightmare - a self-contained World of Warcraft pod that includes a computer, toilet and kitchen for the 24/7 gamer. Ideally suited to Facebook too, no doubt. More pics here.
I saw the new Star Trek movie today. As a Next Generation and Original Series fan from way back, I was fully prepared to be disappointed.. but I wasn't. It's a little silly in places, but really, it's not bad at all, amazingly enough. I'm looking forward to the next one. See what other people are saying about it in this thread.
The Folding@Home Chimp Challenge kicked off last week; while we are holding our own ground, we still need more people to help with the challenge to see us through till the end. It's a simple competition between a few of the major Folding@Home teams to sprint to 20,000,000 points. To be part of it, either change your existing Folding@Home clients username as Monkey_Bollocks and team as 24, or if you aren't folding yet, grab the client from here and get folding with those details.
You can keep track of each teams progress during the challenge here.
I've just received some terrible news - Anthony Rumble, the founder of EverythingLinux and one of the original Sydney Linux User Group members, has passed away in a household accident. I have no URLs with any further information as I was informed via email. "SmilieZ", as I knew him, since the days of chat BBSs back in the early 1990's, was a true one of us - a computing enthusiast and great promoter of Linux, as well as a genuinely warm and funny guy. It's truly shocking that he has left us at the age of 37, and he will be missed by many.
I found an article here from 2002 that gives you some insight into Anthony's history.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis has the green light for launch tomorrow (Monday). Veteran astronaut Scott Altman will command the final space shuttle mission to service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and retired Navy Capt. Gregory C. Johnson will serve as pilot. This mission had been delayed since September to allow extra repairs to be made to Hubble. Because of the difficulty of getting a stranded Shuttle from Hubble to the ISS in the event of a problem, Endeavour is also positioned for launch in case a rescue is required.
HWZone have a browser showdown. With growing complexity of the web and its rich media content, Internet browsers are ever-changing to keep up with both technical and personal needs. We check out the latest builds of IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome to see how they are shaping up in compatibility, features and performance. Cue the fanboy flamewars!
Wired have a little more on the new Wolfram|Alpha search engine, which could end up being surprisingly good news for Google. It seriously needs a more catchy name, though.
TrustedReviews have a headphone roundup. Welcome to the third and probably last of our full-sized headphone round-ups, covering established classics that - whether new or old - are widely considered to be the best in their price-range.
TechReport went and spoke to GlobalFoundries, the chip foundry spinoff from AMD. Although much is new about GlobalFoundries, including the company's name and mission, key parts will be familiar to industry observers, because they include many assets and personnel formerly from AMD. Those assets include two chip fabrication plants in Dresden, Germany.
DigitalTrends have an article about home servers. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been testing three new home servers, two from HP and a potential revolutionary concept called a nano-plug server.
From slipkord: A team of coders at the Georgia Institute of Technology used the open-source Atari 2600 emulator Stella and tweaked its graphics routines to successfully emulate the visual characteristics of CRTs on today's LCD screens - including effects such as RF noise, phosphor glow-induced afterimages, colour-bleeding between scanlines and sprite edges. The GIT team is working closely with the Stella developers in order to get their modifications incorporated into the official Stella release.
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 9-May-2009 13:37:13 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around. In there many sponsors have special offers and deals on media players, laptops, netbooks, office chairs, web hosting, photography gear and a range of PC components.
A few people sent word that an all OCAU member photography exhibition called Raw Convergence is starting today. We’re going to have a huge opening night tonight (Friday 6th) from 6pm. We would LOVE as many ocau members to come along and say hi to us photographers. ... The gallery is open from 11am - 6pm daily from May 8th to 13th. The Art Factory Gallery is located at 84 Merivale Street, South Brisbane.
Atlantis will launch in a few days to service the Hubble Space Telescope. There's quite an interesting astronaut blog on Gizmodo, too. First stage on the Space Shuttle is shaky. You can't really read the instruments and screens very well. At T-Zero it feels like someone kicks the back of your seat really hard, the Shuttle seems to leap off of the pad. You hear the wind noise build into a high-pitched whine. You see the blue sky start to get dark, fairly quickly.
Telstra has chosen a new CEO, thanks Sniper. Mr Thodey will take the reins of the telco on June 30 when outgoing chief executive Sol Trujillo departs for his homeland in the US.
Meanwhile Dodo is under fire from the ACCC for apparently misleading ads. The ACCC was concerned that claims contained in the ads -- that the items were free -- would mislead consumers as the cost of the items was reflected in the higher price for subscription plans.
Intel have quite a funny little ad on their YouTube channel. Some other interesting stuff on their channel too.
Apparently 3D Realms has gone bust, taking the bloated corpse of Duke Nukem Forever with it, we assume. More info on Shacknews. 3D Realms webmaster Joe Siegler has commented on the shut down, stating: "It's not a marketing thing. It's true. I have nothing further to say at this time."
PC Perspective on the other hand report on a RAM-based PCI-E SSD. The DDRdrive was purpose built for pure unadulterated random IO, and from what I have seen, it absolutely delivers. The only thing holding it back from decimating the competition is the single channel PCI-E bandwidth.
Exetel have said no to internet filtering after a trial. Linton also said he did not believe that launching a ‘clean feed' service would be a commercially viable proposition for Exetel. "I wouldn't sell it because I'd be the first person to say it probably wouldn't work," Linton said.
Harry sent word of a competition on TheAge where you can win a Core i7 Upgrade Kit. Simply add a reply on this thread and tell us in 100 word or less why do you want to upgrade to Intel Core i7. We are looking for the most creative answer.
Gigabyte have a couple of competitions related to their GOOC 2009 championship. #1 Guess the winner of GIGABYTE GO OC 2009. #2 Predict the BEST 3DMark score at the GO OC event
Panasonic are having a competition to win a TV if you buy a camera, so check it out if you're in the market. The promotion is available to anyone who picks up a LUMIX DMC-FT1 or a LUMIX DMC-TZ7 between May 1 and July 31 this year. The TV on offer is a 32-inch TH-L32X10A Viera LCD worth $1,319.
Check out this cool pretzel slot-car track project someone has made under their house. I made several terraces to make the natural slope more useful (drops over 3 metres from one side of the house to the other). Moved about 10 tons of dirt out and used 60 bags of readymix!
There's a new search engine on the way, which sounds interesting. The new system, Wolfram Alpha, showcased at Harvard University in the US last week, takes the first step towards what many consider to be the internet's Holy Grail – a global store of information that understands and responds to ordinary language in the same way a person does.
Believe it or not, the game Myst is now available on iPhone. But don’t get too excited just yet, you’ll need some patience, Myst for the iPhone is over 700MB! And due to the way iPhones install apps, you’ll need at least 1.5GB of free space on your iDevice to successfully install.
There's some amazing scenes from Blade Runner and other movies re-created in CryENGINE 2. A group of three talented artists have put together an amazingly accurate scene from the science-fiction movie classic Blade Runner using Sandbox 2 World Editor. More here.
The Folding@Home Chimp Challenge has kicked off. It's a simple competition between a few of the major Folding@Home teams to sprint to 20,000,000 points. To be part of it, either change your existing Folding@Home clients username as Monkey_Bollocks and team as 24, or if you aren't folding yet, grab the client from here and get folding with those details.
You can keep track of each teams progress during the challenge here.
Good luck to all the teams participating in this year's Chimp Challenge!
Tuesday Night Reviews
(link) Tuesday, 5-May-2009 13:53:36 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Windows 7 Release Candidate
(link) Tuesday, 5-May-2009 05:13:43 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Microsoft has made the Windows 7 RC available for download. Welcome to Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) testing. We're on our way to Windows 7, and if you like trying out pre-release software, now’s your chance. You get to see what's coming, and we get to see if our changes and fixes from the Beta testing are working correctly.
While some may not believe in the Folding@Home cause or can't dedicate PC's to folding 24/7 which is understandable, I ask YOU to at least help out during this Chimp Challenge and show that team spirit OCAU is renowned for.
We are competing against teams from the USA, Great Britain and even Russia. If you won't do it for folding, and not for OCAU, do it for Australia! Lets show them what we're capable of!
After we reach a goal of 20 million points, you can choose to continue folding under your own name and help the Folding@home cause, or stop folding after you're finished helping us win this year's Chimp Challenge.
So if you can spare a CPU, GPU or Playstation 3 for the challenge, please check this thread for the official details and links to the appropriate clients. You'll also find a few handy setup guides located in the Distributed Computing section and lots of friendly people, happy to help regarding any issues or questions.
Want to start straight away? Then just click the CPU or GPU links below to download the client you want. Insert the username as Monkey_Bollocks and team as 24, and away you go.
Good luck to all the teams participating in this year's Chimp Challenge!
IEEE Spectrum list 25 microchips that took the world by storm. In microchip design, as in life, small things sometimes add up to big things. Dream up a clever microcircuit, get it sculpted in a sliver of silicon, and your little creation may unleash a technological revolution. It happened with the Intel 8088 microprocessor. And the Mostek MK4096 4-kilobit DRAM. And the Texas Instruments TMS32010 digital signal processor.
MaximumPC has published a blue screen of death survival guide. Though Blue Screens are difficult to decipher, all the information you need to figure out what caused it is right there in front of you in blue and white—and that's where we come in. We're going to show you how to dissect the blue screen error details, so you can fix the problem that's causing them.
Bit-tech take a look at the Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX motherboard. We've got one of the first ever mini-ITX Nvidia Ion motherboards direct from Zotac's Macau office. To our surprise, it's far more than just a dual core Atom N330 with Nvidia 9400M mGPU. Discussion on the forum.
Arctic Cooling has announced the introduction of the Accelero L2 Pro for mainstream GPU's. The flexible mounting is designed for fitting a wide range of nVIDIA and ATI cards – from GeForce FX5700 to the 9800 series; and Radeon X1300 to HD4850 series. The Accelero L2 Pro is surely a perfect cooling solution for these graphics cards at a very competitive price.
Nvidia has released version 185.81 beta of their Forceware drivers for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. This beta adds support for the new GeForce GTX 275 GPU. Adds support for Ambient Occlusion, support for CUDA 2.2 for improved performance in GPU Computing applications. Expands GPU hardware acceleration for the NVIDIA Video Encoding library to GPUs with less than 32 cores. Direct links and discussion can be found here.
MadShrimps round-up 23 Heatsinks for Intel/AMD processors. After 200 Hours of testing we are proud to present our first CPU Cooler Roundup of 2009, featuring a 23 different products compared to the best out there; make use of our dynamic chart generator to compare up to 72 Intel/AMD heatsinks.
Lifehacker compiled a list of the five best free data recovery tools. While the best defence against data loss is redundant and real-time backup, we understand that sometimes data loss sneaks right up on you. Whether your vacation pictures didn't make it safely from your camera to your computer or a bumbling roommate deleted the paper you've been working all week on, having emergency data recovery tools handy is crucial to getting your data back before it's gone forever.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat has been announced for release in autumn 2009. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat will become a third stand-alone game in the highly-acclaimed Survival FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military "Fairway" operation aimed to take the CNPP under control.
Dave wants to remind everyone participating in the 2009 Chimp Challenge to change their Foldinh@Home clients over to the username "Monkey_Bollocks" (and leave team number as 24) this morning sometime.
Meanwhile OCAU Iron Chef April is open for voting. Some great-looking entries, don't read that one with an empty stomach!
FutureLooks have an AMD platform showdown. So the marketing message for Spider ended up being “Performance per watt”. That’s OK if you’re a lightbulb but not when you’re building a top end gaming system or workstation.
Impression spotted this DIY Ariel Atom car project. Instead of trying to find a way to pony up to the $50,000+ for an Ariel Atom, Proximacentauri decided to build his own, dubbed the “Z59” – in his garage, out of spare parts.
Steve sent word that Commodore are making laptops. Yes, Commodore as in C64 and Amiga etc. Commodore is back and better than ever and we've made it our business to provide our customers with cutting edge technology in our new mini Netbooks. Experience the Commodore Evolution! Are you keeping up with the Commodore? :)
iXBT compared a few different configurations in the real world. What typical tasks does a home computer perform, if it's not used for gaming or runs them very seldom? It's usually web surfing, email, and editing documents. But these tasks don't need a high speed computer, any modern system can cope with them.
Over on AusForums they're talking about some advanced prosthetic limbs, thanks JJ. It's a grim thought, but apparently there's a lot of research in this area at the moment due to the number of injuries being sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Check out this cool stealth Skoda. Ms Watson, a second year student, said: "I was experimenting with the whole concept of illusion but needed something a bit more physical to make a real impact."
This is perhaps an unusual thing for the news page, but I saw my accountant earlier this week and he mentioned something interesting. The Federal Government has another economic stimulus which doesn't seem to be getting much coverage - it's the Investment Allowance which is available until the end of June 2009. Basically under certain circumstances it allows small businesses to claim a one-off 30% tax rebate of the cost of a depreciable asset.
The example they give is: A small business that buys and installs a $2,000 computer before the end of June 2009 can claim an additional $600 deduction in its 2008-09 tax return. It also applies to things like tools and even cars apparently, as they are depreciable assets.
So, if you're part of a small business and have been considering buying some computer equipment (perhaps from our excellent sponsors ;) ), it might be worthwhile looking into doing it before the end of June. That's generally a good idea anyway in terms of tax benefit, but at the moment there seems to be extra incentive. Check with your accountant and read the webpage for details.
Discussion here and it seems to have been noticed by the Photography crowd too.
Edit: apparently the details are not finalised yet, so as always, check with your accountant!
As mentioned earlier, AMD unveiled their Athlon X2 7820 BE earlier this week. This is a budget-minded dual-core 2.8GHz AM2+ part with unlocked multiplier. Coverage on BenchmarkReviews, OCClub and NeoSeeker.
Oosh pointed out this article with more details on the recent TIME online poll results. The poll announces (perhaps subtly) to the world, that the most influential are not the Obamas, Britneys or the Rick Warrens of the world, the most influential are an extremely advanced intelligence: the hackers.
If you're worried about Swine Flu, there's now a hotline for info. The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing has set up a new, national hotline for the public to receive health information about the outbreak overseas of Swine Flu. The number is 1802007.
XbitLabs compared a couple of LGA775 Mini-ITX motherboards. We tested two LGA775 mainboards designed in Mini-ITX form-factor: Intel DG45FC and Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi. These boards based on Intel G45 Express and Nvidia GeForce 9300 chipsets can become an excellent base not only for an HTPC system, but also for a compact high-performance platform.
Windows 7 will apparently be here next week, thanks IntelInside. Microsoft said on Thursday that a nearly-final version of its next-generation Windows 7 operating system will be publicly released on May 5 The Windows 7 release candidate (RC) was made available to developers on Thursday.
Today is AMD's 40th Birthday. May 1, 2009 will mark the official 40-year anniversary of AMD’s founding by Jerry Sanders and seven co-founders in 1969.
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