NBN Co have released the full coverage footprint showing who will be connected to the National Broadband Network and how. 93% of homes, schools and businesses will be directly connected by fibre. The remaining 7 per cent of Australian premises will either receive next generation wireless services (4 per cent) or satellite services (3 per cent) at speeds of 12 megabits per second – with average data rates more than 20 times higher than most users of these technologies experience today.
Full details on the ALP's website here. Discussion continues in the huge NBN thread here.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around. In there our various sponsors have specials and info on office chairs, games, modding accessories, web hosting, speakers and amplifiers, iPad accessories, media players, SSDs, hard drives, networking equipment and a heap of other goodies. Worth a look!
A few people pointed out this malware email doing the rounds. "Download a FREE 30-day Trial of MCAfee VirusScan Plus and Be Automaticaly Entered to Win.," reads the email. "Installation file attached." The accompanying file is setup.zip. Can't really imagine any OCAU reader falling for that one but maybe warn any n00bs you know. :)
The Government should be releasing its NBN footprint info today. “It will actually be the footprint of the National Broadband Network,” he said. “You’ll be able to see if you’re in the 93 per cent [to get] fibre, you’ll be able to see if you’re in the four per cent to get wireless and you’ll be able to see if you’re in the three per cent [to get satellite].”
PurePain sent in this Apple fanboi quiz on news.com.au, but also notes that it's coded in Flash and therefore won't work on the iPad etc.
TechReport consider DirectX 11 GPU value. Join us for a new round of performance vs. price scatter plots, this time featuring the latest and greatest DirectX 11 graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia.
Apparently there's a torrent out there with the details of 100 million Facebook users. Ron Bowes, of Skull Security, put the information on the internet after using a piece of code to scan Facebook profiles, collecting data not hidden by the user's privacy settings, the BBC reported. He said he took the action to highlight privacy issues. Facebook responded by saying the details were already public information.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Wednesday, 28-July-2010 16:39:48 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Registration closes on August 1st for the Great Aussie Case Mod Competition. Your Mission: To design an “Australia: Past, present and future” chassis modification based on Thermaltake’s outstanding V9 BlacX Edition mid tower system housing.
Wikileaks has revealed 91,000 classified secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, in what seems to be the biggest leak in the history of military intelligence. But taken together, the logs provide a revealing and important picture of how the war is being conducted: the continuing escalation of the conflict; the weakness of much coalition intelligence; and the gap between the polished account of the war offered for public consumption and the messy reality experienced by commanders on the ground. Discussion here.
Telstra have copped an $18M ACCC fine for blocking competitors from using their exchanges. Telstra admitted to contravening the law by refusing access to other telecommunications providers in seven key metropolitan exchanges in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane for the connection of their broadband equipment. Telstra maintained to the companies seeking access that the main distribution frames in these exchanges were "capped", where in fact, there was capacity or it could have been made available. More here.
Apple has a new magic trackpad, as well as some new 6-core Mac Pros. Desktop users, your time has come. The new Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It uses the same Multi-Touch technology you love on the MacBook Pro. And it supports a full set of gestures, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what’s on your screen. Presumably it'll be made to work with a PC soon enough.
Tech Report checked out some 1TB 7200rpm HDDs. Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate, and WD all have two-platter terabytes spinning at 7,200 RPM. We've rounded up all four to find the sweet spot for mechanical storage. Meanwhile EnterpriseStorageForum say that SSDs won't replace platters for a while. I don't think it's going to happen any time soon, and the reasons have to do with lithography limits and disk drive density.
BenchmarkReviews have a cooler roundup. Enthusiast overclockers demand only the best performance from their computer hardware, which is why the aftermarket heatsink industry is thriving with fierce competition. Benchmark Re! views tests the latest Intel LGA1366 heatsinks in this Best CPU Cooler Performance Q2-2010 article.
Intel have made a breakthrough with silicon photonics. Using an integrated transmitter chip, an integrated receiver, and beams of light going through a fiber-optic cable, the prototype can transfer data at a whopping 50Gbps. More exciting still, Intel expects to be able to manufacture the components cheaply enough to make them a staple of both consumer and server I/O by the middle of the decade. More info here.
A few days ago marked the Amiga's 25th birthday. My first home computer was an Amiga 1000 and I've always had a particular fondness for them. You can read the New York Times announcement of the Amiga from 1985. Whether it will sell is another matter. In the currently turbulent computer industry, even a dazzling machine like the Amiga - it has been described as a color Macintosh that works faster than an I.B.M. PC AT -has to fight for display space in the stores and is not guaranteed success. It's purely coincidence that OCAU added a Retro & Arcade forum a few days ago, btw!
BigPond have slashed their broadband prices, but some ISPs consider this unfair. Internode general manager of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs John Lindsay said BigPond's price cuts provided additional evidence of Telstra using its monopoly position to limit competition, and that Internode would now await a response from the ACCC.
Bottle Domains has lost its appeal and is now no longer an accredited registrar. Domain name regulator auDA said it was contacting those customers that were impacted. "The domain names of Bottle Domains' customers are not at risk," auDA chief Chris Disspain said. "auDA is in the process of contacting all those whose domain name is registered through Bottle Domains to provide them with all the information they need."
LostCircuits have an article explaining NAND flash. We've looked at the detailed architecture of NAND flash as the primary building block of SSDs and its advantages and shortcomings based on the architectural idiosyncrasies.
Neotheo pointed out this advertisement for Ubuntu. The video shows off the capabilities of Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Edition/Remix on some pretty Dell netbooks and is a stunning few minutes of Ubuntu-filled win - whether you’ve seen it before now or not. Discussion here.
TBreak report on Tab Candy in Firefox 4. In its simplest form, Tab Candy is just an Exposé style overview of all your tabs. However, it goes much further than just a simple visual representation of all of your currently open tabs. You can drag and drop different tabs into different groups, rename said groups and reorganize them in a convenient way that most suits you. In essence you can create a mind map to keep your daily browsing activities in check.
An interesting ruling in the USA seems to have legalised jailbreaking of mobile phones. Owners of the iPhone will be able to legally break electronic locks on their devices in order to download software applications that haven't been approved by Apple Inc., according to new government rules announced Monday.
The Swiss Jet Man has been testing a new wing, thanks Shaun. That looks like a lot of fun. :) Now that the flight behavior and reliability tests of Jetman's new delta wing have shown it to be much safer and comfortable to fly than all the previous prototypes... it's time to push it a little further and see what it's capable of!
StarCraft II Launch
(link) Monday, 26-July-2010 17:16:36 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Ultife Strife reminds us all that StarCraft II launches officially at midnight tonight. While Brisbane will host the official launch, other EB stores around the country will be open on the evening of July 26 and, according to Blizzard, many of them will also be running special competitions and giveaways. So call your local store and find out what they’re planning. Also, it seems we will be able to play on North American servers as well as more local ones. There's a thread for StarCraft II here and more info in our Wiki here.
The Government has substantially censored a document about the proposed web browser history retention. The move came in response to a Sydney Morning Herald Freedom of Information (FoI) request to see the Government’s consultation papers on the issue. The 16-page document was returned with the vast majority of the contents blacked out. More here from Paul and Tarrith.
Bit-Tech reckon downloads account for 48 percent of PC game sales, thanks Phil. The NPD Group collates information about game sales but, until today, has only collected receipts from retail stores. The group now estimates that around 48 percent of all PC games are sold through digital distributors like Steam.
Meanwhile a study has found nearly 90% of BitTorrent files are illegal. A study, funded by Village Roadshow and conducted by the University of Ballarat's Internet Commerce Security Laboratory (ICSL), sampled a thousand BitTorrent files and found that 89.9 per cent of them were illegal and, of the remainder, 8.2 per cent was porn. TorrentFreak however say the study is bogus.
Feenix sent in this article about proteins increasing computer memory. They found a technique to increase the memory of computers involving the hybridization of proteins from poplar trees, and silicon nanoparticles.
XbitLabs have some multi-GPU testing. We are going to test four Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards in CrossFireX configuration and compare them to a 3-way SLI configuration of three GeForce GTX 480 cards using the newest super-expensive mainboard with seven PCI Express slots onboard, four of which work in 16x mode.
They also checked out some liquid-cooling goodies from Swiftech. Highly efficient water blocks for CPUs and graphics cards, two pairs of radiators, fans, coolant and accessories – everything an overclocker may need to fight the summer heat.
If you have some steampunk artwork, or something big and geekily cool like a tesla coil or similar, and would like to get involved with the UnderTheBlueMoon festival, drop me a note!
This is basically a big ad but it's also very interesting - recently a money tree appeared in Sydney. We secretly filmed people as they passed by a tree covered in $5 notes and asked a psychologist and financial decision-making expert to monitor and analyse responses.
YouTube have an interesting project, Life in a Day. Life in a Day is a historic global experiment to create a user-generated feature film, shot in a single day, by you. On July 24, you have 24 hours to capture a glimpse of your life on camera. The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by kevin Macdonald.
Rupert Murdoch's idea of charging for internet news is being proven or disproven by some sites. Except for the Wall Street Journal, few offline publications have been successful in getting readers to pay for content online. Earlier this year, the New York Observer reported that three months after Newsday put up a paywall, only 35 people had subscribed to its $5-a-week site.
InsideHW compared two powerline networking kits. Another solution which shatters this prejudice, to a greater or lesser extent of success, is networking using the already existing electrical installations. This time around, we’ve taken up DHP-307AV, D-Link’s Powerline AV Network Starter Kit, as well as Devolo’s dLan 200 AVplus Starter Kit, for testing purposes.
Paul spotted this HIPerSpace Wall. In particular the HIPerSpace wall at UCSD's CalIT2 center is a giga-pixel display that combines 70 high-resolution monitors to produce one of the world's largest displays (and a really cool place to watch the Simpsons!).
The Internet Filtering Poll we linked recently has closed, and the ABC have their thoughts on the results, and the filter itself. This morning, an online poll closed with 98% of 38,000 respondents saying they would not vote for a political party that supported the internet filter. While the ALP is unlikely to be worried by a few tens of thousands of votes, the poll is significant in that it was promoted by an unprecedented alliance of almost every major technology publication and community in the country including the Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, PC Authority, Australian Personal Computer, PC User, PC World, Good Gear Guide, ITnews, ITWire, Delimiter, Atomic, Gizmodo, Life Hacker and the large OCAU online community. Discussion continues here.
Sciby noticed that the RAAF has a YouTube channel with some interesting videos including this one about the trusty C-130 Hercules working in the Middle East. Random trivia: I did school work experience as a flight photographer at RAAF Richmond, which at the time was home to many Hercules and a non-destructive testing facility.
Assuming you only read Playboy for the articles, you can now do so safely at work. Playboy Enterprises Inc launched a website today which swears will be safe to browse while at work, eliminating the need for men to throw themselves over their computer screen when the boss walks by. You'll still have to do that while playing WoW at work, though.
FOTW sent in this neato knife made from fibre optic glass. Flint (and glass) knapping is no longer practiced on a large scale, but it used to be the primary method of making weapons for primitive cultures. In this day and age of course, it’s easy to go to the sporting goods store and pick up a quality steel knife, but it wasn’t always so.
Intel are working on augmented reality for shopping. At the Digital Signage World exhibition, which opens in Sydney today, people will see what could end up being the 21st Century version of the store assistant – and it’s not human.
There's currently an ASUS competition open to Australians, thanks Zedd02. Asus are running a competition for people who brought their H55 and P55 motherboards between June 1st and July 31st. So there is still a chance to buy and enter. Speaking of which, Gigabyte are still running their USB333 Lottery contest too.
LegionHW ponder gaming and CPU cores. Today we are taking almost half a dozen games to see how they perform when using one, two and four cores. For this test we will be using not just an Intel Core i7 processor, but also the Core i5, Core 2 Quad and AMD Phenom II X4 processors, which will give us a good idea of just how core dependent each series is in order to deliver maximum performance.
Paul spotted a warning of some malware on Dell motherboards. In response a Dell support staffer said there was an issue with a small number of service motherboard stock - new PowerEdge systems are not infected. He said the malware would not infect non-Windows servers.
JuStDaN sends word that GenConOz 2010 has been cancelled. On the eve of announcing our guest list and event schedule, we have decided that due to the current economic climate and its recent effects around the globe, that it is not financially viable to hold Gen Con Australia in 2010.
Mad Mike sent in this cool physics demo video. Worth full-screening!
Wednesday Night Reviews
(link) Wednesday, 21-July-2010 23:36:34 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Amazon have revealed that e-books are outselling hardbacks. E-book sales overtook sales of hardbacks – as distinct from soft or paperback books – during the past three months, when Amazon sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books. That accelerated in the past month, when the ratio jumped to 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers.
A life-size model of Bloodhound SSC, designed to tackle the land speed record, has been unveiled at the Farnborough International Air Show. But the team believes Bloodhound's superior aerodynamic shape, allied to the immense power of its Falcon hybrid rocket and Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine, will take the blue and orange car beyond 1,000mph (1,610km/h).
NASA are getting involved with Open-Source Cloud Computing, thanks digizone. The goal of OpenStack is to allow any organization to create and offer cloud computing capabilities using open source software running on standard hardware. OpenStack Compute is software for automatically creating and managing large groups of virtual private servers. OpenStack Storage is software for creating redundant, scalable object storage using clusters of commodity servers to store terabytes or even petabytes of data. More info here.
Russia meanwhile have plans for a new spaceport. Russia will invest US $800m (£527m) into a new spaceport in the country's Far East, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced. The move is meant to ease the dependence on the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan, built during the Soviet-era.
The UK's Times newspaper has apparently seen a huge traffic drop since charging visitors, in an unsurprising non-twist. The Times has lost almost 90% of its online readership compared to February since making registration mandatory in June, calculations by the Guardian show.
There's a new Windows security issue which seems to be targeting industrial systems for now but could become more widespread. The attack uses specially crafted shortcut (.lnk) files, which trick Windows into running code of an attacker's choosing. Any Windows application that tries to display the shortcut's icon—including Explorer—will cause exploitation, so even the mere act of browsing a directory with the malicious shortcuts is sufficient for a system to be exploited. Analysis suggests that the shortcuts are not improperly formed; rather they depend on a flaw in the way that Windows handles shortcuts to Control Panel icons. Discussion here.
Deanzo is having more fun with LN2 over on Tweaktown. You see, this rig is going to utilize the twin socket EVGA SR-2 with two Intel X5680s and four GTX 480 video cards. If it wasn’t enough that it already accounts for six liquid nitrogen containers, there will be one more on the chipset. That is seven containers on one rig, making “Epic” the appropriate word of the week.
Biatch spotted these funny videos, The Online Gamer. Warning, very strong language! What if an online gamer played monopoly like he played Modern Warfare? Starring Eric Pumphrey as The Gamer. There's 4 parts and a bloopers video. They seem to have been online for a while but they're new to me.
The ASX Sharemarket Game is open for registration at the moment. # The Game challenge is to increase the value of your share portfolio in a set time frame # Simulates real sharemarket conditions as you buy and sell shares online using "real time" share prices # Total prize pool over $15,000. Discussion here.
Speaking of games, the free Steam game Alien Swarm will unlock today. Alien Swarm is a game and Source SDK release from a group of talented designers at Valve who were hired from the Mod community. Available free of charge, the game thrusts players into an epic bug hunt featuring a unique blend of co-op play and squad-level tactics. With your friends, form a squad of four distinct IAF Marine classes. Discussion here.
Here's a couple of misc videos: firstly touchable holograms might be on the way. Secondly a bizarre explanation of the iPhone 4 saga told by a Taiwanese news station animation, in a style which seems to combine Star Wars and GTA4. The latest scandal to crop up, dubbed 'antennagate', is so-named because the phone's antenna gets poor reception if the phone is held the wrong way. Watch Jobs try and convince the world it's not a big deal in this animation.
That Taiwanese station had better be careful, because it seems Lucasfilm are not keen on things that look like lightsabres. Lucas’s firm Lucasfilm Ltd. has fired off a cease-and-desist letter to Wicked Laser threatening legal action if they do not alter the design of their dastardly device. "It is apparent from the design of the Pro Arctic Laser that it was intended to resemble the hilts of our lightsaber swords,” the letter reads, “which are protected by copyright."
European privacy officials have determined that the way EU Member States have been retaining ISP customer data has been unlawful. The highly controversial 2006 EU Data Retention Directive compels all ISPs and telecommunications service providers operating in Europe to retain telecom and internet traffic data about all of their customers' communications for a period of at least 6 months and up to 2 years. Sounds oddly familiar.
PassMark have some CPU charts, showing best value (dominated by AMD) and best performance (dominated by Intel). This chart comparing the price performance of CPUs is made using thousands of PerformanceTest benchmark results and pricing pulled from various retailers. Benchmark results and pricing is reviewed daily.
If you're wondering how life will be once you're hooked up to the National Broadband Network, ITNews have some comments from some of the first people connected. Craig said 100 Mbps fibre meant he no longer had to "ration simultaneous connections" in the house. It meant he could work from home via VPN while other family members watched iView or played World of Warcraft - with "no lag, no disconnections, [and] no staggered picture".
Apple have posted some impressive photos of their antenna design and test labs, in response to the current iPhone 4 antenna complaints. Apple never releases a product without thoroughly testing it first. To do this, we built our multimillion-dollar antenna design and test labs. These labs feature 17 different antenna characterization chambers (or anechoic chambers) designed to accurately measure antenna and wireless performance.
Valve will be releasing the game Alien Swarm for free via Steam on Monday. Two years ago Valve hired the talented team behind the popular top down co-op mod Alien Swarm. Since then they have been busy working on the Left 4 Dead Series, and now Portal 2. However, we never forgot about Alien Swarm and the team has spent a lot of time bringing the game to Source in between their contributions to the other Valve projects.
Speaking of which, the Steam Hardware Survey provides an interesting snapshot of what configurations Steam gamers are using. Steam collects data about what kinds of computer hardware and software our customers are using. The survey data is incredibly helpful to us in that it ensures that we're making good decisions about what kinds of technology investments to make and products to offer.
The US Senate has approved a funding boost for NASA, including extending the Space Shuttle program by a year. Mr Obama's plan relies on commercial space development in the near future and puts off an immediate decision on a future heavy-lift rocket program that would carry astronauts to asteroids and beyond.
CJ noticed the Windows 7 SP1 Beta is now out, at a whopping 1.2GB. Presumably it contains several versions and will be shrunk down before the final release. It contains quite minor feature updates including a revamped remote Desktop client. However the main purpose of the Service pack is to collate all the updates that have been released since the OS was released to manufacturing on July 22nd last year. Discussion here.
There's a lot of chatter about some leaked pics of an ASUS dual Fermi video card, thanks Matcat. Each of the two GeForce GTX 480 GPUs (GF100-375-A3) on this massive Asus card have 480 stream processors, and are connected to 1,536 MB of GDDR5 memory across a 384-bit wide memory interface.Nvidia's NF200 (A3 version) chip is also used. Is it real? Will it ever hit the market? Who knows. :)
XbitLabs compared three budget CPU coolers from Cooler Master, Nexus and Scythe. They also checked out four Seasonic PSUs. We are going to talk about four power supply units from Seasonic, three of which continue the legendary S12 series, while the fourth is a completely new product, the first flagship model in the X family.
HardOCP have a cooler roundup as well. Upgrading your heat sink may be just the thing to keep your CPU nice and happy. Today we have five contenders of all shapes and sizes vying to be your next choice of cooler.
A few places are reporting how much the RIAA spent on lawyers in order to recover a much smaller amount from file sharers. It doesn't take into account other factors like the effect of deterrence, but still, the numbers seem crazy. So all in all, for a 3 year period, they spent around $64,000,000 in legal and investigative expenses to recover around $1,361,000.
There's quite a cool video here about a New Zealand made robotic exoskeleton for the legs. A formerly wheelchair-bound guy explains and demonstrates how it's changed his life being able to walk again.
Tarrith sent in this story about how internet censorship affected Turkey. In May 2007, Turkey began censoring the internet. It started out innocent enough – according to Al Jazeera, they just wanted to block child pornography, online gambling sites, information on recreational drugs and sites which insult the country’s founding father. Today over 6000 sites have been blocked, including YouTube and parts of Google.
If you liked the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, this might interest you: While plenty of people have played S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, not many of them realise the game takes elements from both a book and a film. The book, Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, has been freely available online for a while now, but it’s taken a little longer for Andrei Tarkovsky’s film adaptation – Stalker – to make it onto the net. Now, thanks to Film Annex, gamers who also like a bit of cinema can sit down and enjoy the movie which inspired the series of open-world sandbox titles.Update: seems to have been removed for now.
It seems to be a day for roundups today, with a AM3 budget mobo shootout on TechSpot and another CPU cooler roundup on HWHeaven. For those who want extra thermal performance from their system there are a plethora of aftermarket coolers out there, tailored to a variety of different needs and today we are going to look at three of these; the Akasa Venom, Noctua C12P SE14 and Xigmatek Balder SD1283.
An attempt at the world record for non-stop gaming will get underway soon. On July 16th at Dixons, the largest chain store in the Netherlands, the marathon session for the Guinness World Records will begin with six champion gamers spending the entire weekend – day and night – playing Red Dead Redemption on the PS3. The gamers will attempt to beat the current World’s Record of 40 hours for gaming in the racing category with the help of Vogel’s TwistDock providing non-stop play by keeping their PS3 controllers continuously charged. There's live streaming here.
In probably the most successful viral marketing campaign ever, the Old Spice Man now has over 100 videos on YouTube, responding to various celebrities, websites and YouTube commenters. Some funny stuff, thanks Phalanx.
Gizmodo have an article about why the filter won't work from a technical standpoint, thanks mpot. So this is a fairly lengthy list of reasons why it can’t work, and we’ve only just scratched the surface. There are many more issues and many more workarounds available to both users and content providers. (And that is without even exploring non-technical issues such as censorship and freedom of speech). Even Enex Labs’ commissioned report on this issue to the government listed 37 different methods by which such a filter could be bypassed.
The NBN Co will spend about $1B on two satellites to deliver broadband to outlying households. “We will cover the whole country with satellite,” he said. “The fact is even within 40 or 50 kilometres of Sydney and Melbourne there are places you can only get to with satellite. Fibre is too difficult to get to them and the terrain is such that you just can’t get propagation of the wireless signal effectively and get a reliable service.”
But for most people, expect to see something like this on a wall near you. Like any ONT, those installed in Australian homes will be capable of feeding an external fibre connection to Ethernet points within the home and, of course, delivering speeds of at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps). However, the ONT has been made specifically for the Australian market, providing four Gigabit Ethernet ports, two telephony ports and a single ADSL2+ simulation connection... that's right - ADSL2+.
iXBTLabs have updated their i3DSpeed guide. i3DSpeed informs you about performance of popular graphics cards and the best price/performance deals in the market. This time we added test results of ATI RADEON HD 5830, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465, factory-overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470/480. On a similar note, PC Perspective have a enthusiast graphics card comparison.
HotHardware have some info on PhysX CPU optimisations, or the lack thereof. About four months ago, we covered the latest round of shin-kicking between ATI and NVIDIA, with ATI claiming that NVIDIA purposefully crippled CPU performance when running PhysX code and coerced developers to make use of it. NVIDIA denied all such claims, particularly those that implied it used its "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" program as a bludgeon to force hardware PhysX on developers or gamers. A new report has dug into how PhysX is executed on a standard x86 CPU; the analysis confirms some of AMD's earlier statements.
Apparently Windows XP is still the most popular version of Windows, thanks Dopefish. In fact, a Microsoft exec admitted today that practically three-quarters of business computers still run the nine-year-old OS on hardware averaging 4.4 years old, and Computerworld's now reporting Microsoft will extend XP's lifespan as a result.
This is easy enough to do, but it's embarrassing on this scale. In an ironic turn of events this evening, it appears that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board has revealed the entire list of email addresses belonging to people who appealed to the ESA's rating group over Blizzard's recently proposed and then retracted Real ID implementation.
PCWorld have a killer budget PC guide. For this exercise, we wanted to build a fast PC that will be used for common tasks at home: watching videos, ripping DVDs, using office software, editing high-resolution photos, running multiple browser windows simultaneously, storing and playing a large number of music and video files, compressing multimedia files — and performing a number of these tasks simultaneously. The only thing we left out is gaming capabilities, since not everyone is interested in playing the latest first-person shooter.
Space nuts might enjoy this WorldWide Telescope program from Microsoft and NASA, which has been updated recently. Now you can use WorldWide Telescope (WWT) to explore the features of Mars as never before, thanks to the addition of more than 13,000 incredibly detailed images of Mars from various NASA spacecraft. Zoom in on the Red Planet and experience the Martian surface in unbelievably lifelike 3-D rendering, and learn more about our planetary neighbor with new interactive guided tours of Mars. And the enhancements to WWT don’t stop there. Now the WWT view of the night sky is even more amazing, with a seamless, high-resolution representation that smooths out the contours between discrete images.
Errol reminds us that it's two weeks until SysAdmin Day. Let's face it, System Administrators get no respect 364 days a year. This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work. But seriously, we are asking for a nice token gift and some public acknowledgement. It's the least you could do.
Australian researchers are working on making mobile phones work with no network. The signal between phones is limited to several hundred metres, the ABC said, but by adding more devices and small transmitters the range can be expanded. Dr Gardner-Stephen said the system had the potential to save lives in a disaster. Discussion here.
If you just can't wait for the national internet filter, or you'd like to have more control over your own or your family's browsing, stmok noticed FamilyShield from OpenDNS. The single easiest way to keep your kids safe online - and away from adult websites - on your home Internet for free. No software to install.
Former QLD Premier Peter Beattie was at E3 recently, and spoke up about Australia's lack of an R18+ rating for games. The politician then used his experience as fodder for a very public championing of the pro-R18+ ratings category for video games, calling on the Australian public to catch up with the rest of the world, protect our kids, and support a growing local industry.
Fans of The Chaser will be happy to hear they are returning to ABC TV, to cover the 2010 federal election. YES WE CANBERRA! is an all-new format which showcases The Chaser in their current occupation - as warm-up guys for the network's current affairs flagship Lateline.
This sounds too bizarre to be real, but apparently Samsung have a mobile phone with a projector in it. These itty bitty projectors are starting to make inroads in compact business devices and other portable devices, but they're still struggling to get a foothold on mobile phones. Samsung has already had a couple of midrange phones with DLP pico projectors built in, and LG had a handset with a snap-on projector for AT&T last year. But the Beam marks the first real smartphone I've heard of to get its own pico projector.
TechCrunch reckon that Google has quietly invested in gaming via Zynga, the company behind mega web hits FarmVille and Mafia Wars, among others. The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures, say our sources, and it’s a highly strategic deal. Zynga will be the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year, say multiple sources.
From Amfibius: Time for another Bake-off! This is a traditional annual OCAU event which tends to attract many entries. As per our tradition, the crazier the cake the better. Previous entries have clearly shown why this subforum is called "GEEK FOOD" with bits of electronics baked into cakes, homages to computers, and so on. Help celebrate our nerdiness with more sugary creations - enter this year's bake-off!!!
The prize is to be immortalized in the OCAU Bake-off wall of fame, with your creation posted every year to remind everyone of what a legend you are.
The Pirate Bay's user information has been hacked by an Argentinean group. Hackers in Argentina have accessed the e-mail and IP addresses and usernames for more than four million Pirate Bay users. A group of three hackers have claimed responsibility for the hack and posted a video detailing just how they did it.
The relationship between China and Google isn't too frosty, with China renewing Google's website license recently. Google opted not to leave China completely so it could pursue its commercial ambitions -- a music service, its mobile phone business, a Beijing development center and a staff to sell ads for the Chinese-language version of its U.S. search engine.
A company called Wet Circuits has released a waterproof power board. Wet Circuits’ waterproof power strip is so brilliant, it feels wrong. Just look at the water splashing all over the electrical outlets! That picture alone sends me quivering, I half-expect it to blow up in a horrific explosion. Asteroid points out that this is old news. ;)
Blizzard have changed their minds about requiring real names in their forums. The maker of "World of Warcraft" and the upcoming "StarCraft II" was bombarded with criticism this week when it announced the real-name requirement. Gamers say it could make them vulnerable to real-life harassment, hurt job prospects and encroach on privacy.
Speaking of which, GamePron report a July 26th launch for StarCraft II in Australia. Announced in partnership with EB Games, the festivities will be held at King George Square, opposite the Albert Street store in the heart of Brisbane.
YouTube now has support for 4K video, or 4096x2304 pixels. Because 4K represents the highest quality of video available, there are a few limitations that you should be aware of. First off, video cameras that shoot in 4K aren’t cheap, and projectors that show videos in 4K are typically the size of a small refrigerator. And, as we mentioned, watching these videos on YouTube will require super-fast broadband. Example videos here, but almost nobody has the hardware to view them properly. :)
Deanzo has been playing with LN2 again over on Tweaktown. I almost feel sorry for the CPU knowing how I am going to torture it with this weapon, and torture it I will. As you know, I’m not one for air testing so I will leave most of that to others. What I want to know is how it rocks when we crank the volts over 1.9vcore and freeze it to below -150degrees celcius."
Futurelooks compared some MicroATX H55 motherboards. However, we now realize that the biggest and baddest computer system isn’t always required to play the latest killer video game, handle the office daily workloads, enjoy the perfect home theater experience or all of the above. In fact, we’re going to have a look at the three popular micro-ATX solutions to show you that this is true. They include the ASUS P7H55D-M EVO, GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3, and MSI H55M-ED55 motherboards.
A couple of interesting snippets: captured lightning from JC, and a giant perfboard from Paul. The unit was built as a prototype Dolby SR noise reduction circuit and was photographed by Mr. Gregory Maxwell at the San Francisco Airport Museum's History of Audio exhibition.
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 10-July-2010 23:39:29 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around. In there our various sponsors have specials and info on amps and speakers, media players, wireless networking, fitness supplements, hard drives, modding gear, iPad accessories, VPS hosting, office chairs and a heap of other goodies!
The proposed internet filter has been officially delayed by the Government, pending a review. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today clarified that the purpose of the review is to ensure that material included in the RC category "correctly reflects current community standards". "As the government's mandatory ISP filtering policy is underpinned by the strength of our classification system, the legal obligation to commence mandatory ISP filtering will not be imposed until the review is completed," Senator Conroy said. In the meantime Telstra, Optus and Primus have agreed to voluntarily block a list of URLs relating to child abuse.
The National Broadband Network company has announced 14 mainland sites which will recieve fibre to the premises. The sites include Bacchus Marsh and South Morang in Victoria; inner north Brisbane; Springfield Lakes and Toowoomba in Queensland, and Gungahlin in the ACT. Modbury and Prospect in South Australia are also included, along with Riverstone and Coffs Harbour in NSW; Victoria Park; Geraldton and Mandurah in Western Australia and Casuarina in the Northern Territory.
A few people pointed out that Brisbane's sewers may carry broadband fibre. At the launch of Macquarie Telecom's new customer service centre in Sydney today, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy wished Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman good luck with his proposal to build a fibre network through Brisbane sewers.
HWSecrets compared Athlon II X4 640 vs. Core i3 530 in the budget CPU arena. If you have between USD 115 and USD 120 to spend on a CPU, you have two choices, the Athlon II X4 640 (which is a quad-core CPU running at 3 GHz) or the Core i3 530 (which is a dual-core CPU running at 2.93 GHz).
People are up in arms over Blizzard's decision to require people to use real names when posting in their forums. The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players -- however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before.
Tech Report wonder about SSD value. Are SSDs worth the extra scratch versus hard drives? Which one is the best value? Our scatter plots have returned to tackle the SSD value proposition.
Boingboing report from Prince that the internet is over. He explains that he decided the album will be released in CD format only in the Mirror. There'll be no downloads anywhere in the world because of his ongoing battles against internet abuses. Unlike most other rock stars, he has banned YouTube and iTunes from using any of his music and has even closed down his own official website.
ASUS have released the much-antitipated ARES HD 5970 video card. This is a dual HD 5870 GPU behemoth with 4GB of GDDR5 memory and a custom cooling solution. If you want the fastest video card around, and you can afford it, this seems to be the one. Coverage on NeoSeeker, HWHeaven, LegitReviews, PC Perspective, TechPowerUp (and CrossFire here), OC3D and Guru3D.
Prime Minister Gillard has explained that Conroy will sort out the filter. "Stephen Conroy is working to get this in the right shape," Gillard said on air, according to 3AW political reporter Latika Bourke, who quoted the PM on Twitter. According to Bourke, Gillard is happy with the policy aims of the filter, but understands concerns.
Meanwhile Mark Newton has taken his complaint about internet filtering trials to the Attorney-General's Department. Network engineer Mark Newton, who has been a vocal opponent of the Federal Government's mandatory internet filter proposal, has been involved in a year-long dialogue with the DBCDE over his claim. It centres on whether the DBCDE, in conducting its filter trials with internet service providers, intercepted customers' internet traffic.
GetUp! have a spoof Election 2010 trailer combining footage from major movies. The goal seems to be to encourage people to enrol to vote.
NASA have released their Moonbase Alpha game for free on Steam. In Moonbase Alpha, you assume the exciting role of an astronaut working to further human expansion and research. Returning from a research expedition, you witness a meteorite impact that cripples the life support capability of the settlement. With precious minutes ticking away, you and your team must repair and replace equipment in order to restore the oxygen production to the settlement.
mpot spotted this worrying report of Big W photo kiosks allegedly not having any virus protection. The Windows-based Fuji photo kiosks located in the company's stores apparently don't run antivirus software, so lovely little bits of malicious software like Trojan.Poison-36 are winding up on customers' USB keys, according to Risky Business listener and blogger Morgan Storey.
Another five Super Hornets have arrived in Australia, making a total of ten so far. The Air Force's $6 billion program to replace its F-111 fleet with high-tech Super Hornets took another step forward today, with five of the next-generation fighter jets arriving at the Amberley RAAF base.
Asetek have a promotional video showing a prototype liquid-cooled all-in-one PC. This prototype shows how liquid cooling overcomes the thermal limitations that have historically forced PC manufactures to use more costly, lower performance mobile processors in their all-in-one designs.
Huntkey, who you may have seen advertising on OCAU, have a new range of (180KB .doc) power supplies. Rated power 350W, 400W, 450W, 550W, 600W comprise Huntkey JUMPER Series,which complies with Intel ATX12V V2.31 (SSI EPS12V V2.92 for JUMPER 550) providing the best compatibility with the most updated Multi-Core CPUs and supporting SLI & Crossfire multi-GPU VGA cards. They are certified by 80PLUS. JUMPER 450B and JUMPER 600B reach 80PLUS Bronze level.
HWBot and Gigabyte are running an overclocking contest. During the month of July, while the FIFA World Cup reaches its climax with the top teams vying for World Cup domination, GIGABYTE brings a different sort contest of skills. Only instead of scoring goals, GIGABYTE is looking for the best overclocker of the AMD 800 series motherboards.
Gigabyte are also running a competition for Australians. Motherboards, discount coupons and gift cards are on offer if you join their online "Gigabyte Club" and play a virtual slot machine.
Mach Xtreme launched new memory with some over-the-top cooling. The HDT family passive memory cooler is designed to effectively cool DDR3 modules working at high clock speeds and raised voltage environments. All kits are strictly hand-selected with focus on stable performance. More info (1.7MB .doc) here and here's a couple of pictures:
click to enlarge
Mittoni are running a case-modding competition to benefit Deaf Children Australia. Your Mission: To design an “Australia: Past, present and future” chassis modification based on Thermaltake’s outstanding V9 BlacX Edition mid tower system housing.
QNAP announced a new App that lets people stream from their QNAP NAS. The QMobile app, when used in conjunction with a QNAP Turbo NAS server and the V3.3 update, allows users to stream music, digital pictures, and videos from their home NAS server and play directly on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch from anywhere, using Wi-Fi or 3G networks. This reduces or eliminates the need to have the files synchronized and stored physically on the device while providing a simple and convenient way for mobile consumers to access their home content from anywhere.
NewScientist report on a USB hardware trojan issue. The trio found they could exploit a weakness in USB's plug-and-play functionality. The USB protocol trusts any device being plugged in to report its identity correctly. But find out the make and model of a target user's keyboard, say, swap it with a compromised device that reports the same information - and that doesn't even have to be a keyboard - and the computer won't realise.
TF2 pokes fun at Australians with a new weapon. For the last forty years the Australians have outpaced the world in technology. And this is confounding, since by all appearances they are a nation of idiots. Teleportation. Cloaking. The entire spectrum of the moustache sciences. Every one of Mankind's innovations now comes from the lager-pickled brain of an Australian. Hey! Some of us drink ale.
This is kind've obvious and I'm sure there's some homebrew solutions out there, but PowerColor have a support rod to hold the weight of modern enormous video cards, thanks Sniper. "The company is full of gamers and modders, so it’s no surprise that we discovered a need for a product like the PowerJack," says Ted Chen, CEO of TUL Corporation. "High performance cards are not going to get any smaller, so we saw a need to bring this to market, where we know it will be fully utilized."
The US Supreme Court is re-examining a law prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors. “It’s very, very surprising that the Supreme Court is hearing the case,” says Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take Two Interactive Software. “I’m worried about it, and I think everybody in our business should be really worried about it.” At issue in the case isn’t whether publishers can make violent games, but rather whether states can impose sales restrictions on those titles—effectively declaring them to be on the same level as pornography and therefore able to legally limit their sale to adults.
Fat245 has been working on a review of Control4 2.0 for a while and it's now finished. Control4 is an IP Based Home automation Solution, With a complete line of products that makes sophisticated control over Lighting / Home Theater / Multi zone Audio (Whole House Audio), Safety and Security Systems. All these Systems can be Controlled by a Single Platform. With all this Control at your fingertips, you will wonder why you didn't know about this sooner.
Leo, Thuban and Raptor
(link) Monday, 5-July-2010 02:33:45 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Dirtyd has an interesting article for us today. He's checked out the Phenom II X6 1090T 6-core CPU from AMD and the "Leo" platform, which couples this CPU with DDR3. He's also taken the 600GB VelociRaptor for a spin:
The Federal Government has launched a new portal for Australia's Space Science and Industry sector. Instead, the unit has been tasked with developing a National Space Policy encompassing civil and defence matters, including climate change, weather forecasting, navigation, and timing applications. Check it out at space.gov.au.
NASA meanwhile are releasing a video game called Moonbase Alpha, thanks Sniper. Moonbase Alpha is a game where players step into the role of an exploration team member in a futuristic 3-D lunar settlement. Their mission is to restore critical systems and oxygen flow after a nearby meteor strike cripples a solar array and life support equipment.
In the latest twist, Sweden's Pirate Party say they will try running ThePirateBay from Parliament. The party has announced today that they intend to use part of the Swedish Constitution to further these goals, specifically Parliamentary Immunity from prosecution or lawsuit for things done as part of their political mandate. They intend to push the non-commercial sharing part of their manifesto, by running The Pirate Bay from ‘inside’ the Parliament, by Members of Parliament.
If you can't get a flying car yet, maybe you'd like to buy your own Tron light cycle? They brought you the Batpod. Now a US company is offering this version of the Lightcycle from the sequel to the cult classic, Tron Legacy. Current eBay listing is here, thanks AirQ.
Gizmodo have info on a multi-layer display using water droplets. Waterfalls have never been this much fun. Sheets of cascading droplets have been turned into a multilayered computer display, suitable for playing Tetris in 3D.
Dorz sent word of a new digital cable standard called HDBaseT, which uses ethernet cabling. HDBaseT Alliance was formed to promote and commercialize the HDBaseT™ technology, enabling a single LAN cable to replace multiple cables and connectors in the home entertainment environment, HDBaseT is optimized for video application and can connect all the entertainment devices at home by providing the 5Play convergence of uncompressed full HD digital video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, power over cable and various control signals. Discussion here.
Today's timewaster is from Pugsley, and it's called Arcade Aid. Stumbled across a cool little game, you have to find the games hidden in the picture. I think we may have seen it before, but it's quite neat.
Quite a few people sent word of this new flying car from Terrafugia. Terrafugia’s award-winning MIT-trained engineers have been advancing the state-of-the-art in personal aircraft since 2006. Now you can streamline your flying experience with the revolutionary integration of personal land and air travel made possible by the Transition® Roadable Aircraft. Discussion here.
ITNews have photos and info on Microsoft's security war room, thanks Kosta. There's a framed photograph of Harvey Keitel as Pulp Fiction's Winston Wolf, the fixer who remains calm in a crisis as others panic. Next door is the Emergency Communications Team War Room, separated by a collapsible wall.
XbitLabs compared some new SSDs. This roundup is going to cover several new SSDs: an inexpensive Intel X25-V, updated Kingston V Series drive and a couple of products from Western Digital.
They also checked out some HTPC video cards. Nowadays almost all modern graphics processing units can easily decode high-definition Blu-ray disc movies almost flawlessly. However, the question is whether the quality of their HD video playback is truly high. In this article we are checking out video quality playback of contemporary graphics cards for HTPCs in HQV 2.0 tests and also glance at CPU load during BD video decoding as well as check out power consumption of graphics boards.
EnglishRussia show us the workings of a television factory. Have you ever been interested in television set manufacture? Today you have a chance to know how your best friend was produced.
Apparently at this weekend's Sydney Gamers League LAN there will be a public demonstration of NVIDIA's 3D Surround. Thanks to ASUS and NVIDIA, Sydney Gamers League (SGL) will be the first public showing of the state of the art, 3D Vision Surround Beta in the world! This brand new technology develops on the previous NVIDIA Surround and 3-Dimensional technology to provide “3D gaming across three 1080p displays for a breathtaking experience”.
They're also showing off the ASUS Ares: Coupled with this, ASUS is showing off its latest and greatest graphics card, the ASUS Ares, and with a price tag of $1999, this card packs a mighty punch! This beast is the sequel to the popular ASUS Mars, and is so powerful, only 1 000 were made, and you can be one of the first Australian’s to see its force at SGL! If you want a sneak preview of this card, check out this video from OC3D.
Australians are being scammed by fake virus phone calls, apparently mostly from India. Strathdee said they use a combination of "high pressure sales tactics" and "social engineering" to scare the victim into paying the money. Unusually, he said the scammers typically did not do anything to infect the victims' machines and simply walked away with the money that had been given up voluntarily.
Games.on.net have got Parts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and 7 of the Portal 2 teaser demos. These show the much more complicated mechanics of the world compared to the original Portal.
Bulletproof used Amazon's cloud as part of their response to Whirlpool's DDoS. IBRS security analyst James Turner told iTnews that "a large number of Australian organisations" are suffering from intermittent DDoS attacks, and that using a reverse proxy is among the most common tools to deal with the problem. But it seems the investigation has been dropped, thanks Kosta.
Australia's Mark Webber and the Red Bull F1 team put on a demonstration pitstop in London recently. A Formula 1 pit stop in Parliament Square! Mark Webber, and the Red Bull Racing team, rocked up in London at 6am for a bit of pit stop practice before the British Grand Prix. The team stunned passers by with a full F1 pit stop in Parliament Square, London.
NASA have a page about the Space Shuttle's computers. "The environment of space is very harsh and unfriendly and not just space, but getting into space," said Roscoe Ferguson, a space shuttle flight software operating system engineer for the United Space Alliance. "Something like a desktop might not even survive all the vibration. Then once you get into space you have the radiation." Even after a major computer upgrade in 1991, the primary flight system has a storage capacity of one megabyte and runs at a speed of 1.4 million instructions per second.
Finland has become the world's first country to make broadband internet availability mandatory for its citizens. Finland has become the first country in the world to force its ISPs to treat broadband like postal services and telephone connections. From July 1 onwards, every citizen will get access to a reasonably-priced connection with a minimum speed of 1Mbps.
Internode have revealed some information about denial of service attacks. The ISP, one of Australia’s largest, can terminate DoS attacks easier than others, Hore claimed, because it owns the physical international network links to Europe and America. That claim was demonstrated this week after the Whirlpool attack was brought under control several hours after it began midnight Tuesday, after Internode and network provider BulletProof isolated the offending IP addresses and terminated access from its international routers.
TechSpot checked out the GPU and CPU performance of the new game Singularity. Singularity is getting released just today for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms, generating a lot of buzz as of late for its supposedly exciting single player campaign (we haven't managed to play the game in full just yet) and the gameplay paradigm that it presents, giving you a "Time Manipulation Device" to play with and use as a weapon.
A lawsuit claims that Dell knowingly shipped 12M faulty PCs. At one point, 1,000 computers that Dell delivered to the law firm that was defending it in the suit started failing, and the computer maker allegedly "balked" at fixing them. Even when Dell did get around to replacing faulty motherboards, a contractor that Dell hired to look into the issue found that Dell's replacements were themselves faulty.
There's new system builder guides on BenchmarkReviews and Tech Report. With new processors and solid-state drives launching left and right these past few weeks, we felt it was prudent to wait for things to settle down before updating our system guide. Now, with the Fourth of July weekend coming up and the great summer lull well on its way, we've finally gotten a breather—and a chance to review our component recommendations.
All original content copyright James Rolfe.
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