Foxmulder881 sends a reminder to de-dust your PC now the weather is heating up again. It's hard to say if dust was what killed his PSU, but it's a good reminder anyway. :) Small paintbrush and vacuum cleaner are my tools of choice.
Dasuperham noticed Microsoft moving away from Silverlight and going to the more standard HTML5. More info here. Regardless, Silverlight will now be mainly known as the development platform for Windows Phone going forward. In other words, the way to make native apps for those devices. But for just about everything else, it will be HTML5 or bust. And that’s great news for all end users. It’s one less plug-in to download. And it’s another step towards a unified web. I've never installed the Silverlight plugin and don't think I've missed anything important without it.
AMD have chatted with XbitLabs about the GPU market in Q3. Shipments of graphics adapters in Q3 2010 were below expectations and below shipments in the second quarter. What is it? A sign of new weakness in the global economy? Or just a temporary correction caused by local factors? Let us try to find it out with a vice president of the leading supplier of standalone graphics processors - Advanced Micro Devices - who kindly answered questions of X-bit labs.
The Mars Rover Spirit isn't doing too well, but despite being stuck in one spot it has found possible evidence of liquid water under the surface. None of these soluble minerals are exposed at the Martian surface, which indicates the soil interacted with water recently, and probably continuously. Because the Martian surface is constantly being sculpted by wind, these layers would have eroded away if they were laid down long ago. Discussion here.
Tech Report have been overclocking 6850 and GTX 460 video cards. What we found is tremendous headroom in of both of the major mid-range GPUs, especially when combined with custom coolers.
OC3D meanwhile compared offerings from HIS and EVGA for midrange gaming. Time for the Middleweight Championship of the world. In the red corner the HD6850 and HD6870. In the Green corner the GTX460 768MB and 1GB.
Also from dasuperham, Russia looking into a Linux-based Windows alternative to reduce their U.S. tech dependence. Russia [System operates you!] won't be the first country to work on a national operating system either: China's Red Flag Linux first appeared back in 1999, and only last week India announced its plans to build a proprietary, hyper-secure operating system.
Tweaktown checked out OCZ's SSD toolbox. If you follow the solid state drive market, you may have heard some of the reviewers talk about a tool released by OCZ called the OCZ Toolbox. OCZ released this tool for reviewers many months ago and asked us to keep it under wraps while they perfected this application. On October 20th OCZ released an updated version of the Toolbox for the public. The public release is missing a couple of the features found in the beta editions, but all of the useful tools are present. Let’s take a look at the software and see what all it does.
Overclockers.com have an article about ghetto extreme overclocking. What started as an OCF Benching Team forum goof, and then morphed into a MythBuster’s style mystery, turned into the following laugh filled, sub-zero experiment. The proper way, if there is such a thing, to take a GPU to sub-zero temps is with a purchased or custom built DICE/LN2 GPU pot. There are many fine examples of such pots readily available on the internet. The problem is that most of them can be a fairly expensive purchase for the average fellow who just dumped all his money into new hardware, or the average bencher who just killed half of his.
Finally, it looks like Thermaltake are running a video competition to show off a new case.
Mpot noticed this gummi-bear fingerprint scanner bypass trick. If it sounds familiar, it was done back in 2002 as well, and I think MythBusters even covered it. Strange that it's still an issue, then! The department said the decision to adopt the technology is up to the school, and participation in the scheme is optional. Fingerprints can be lifted from a variety of surfaces, and then scanned, printed and applied to receptacle mediums which are used to trick scanners.
Four driverless electric vans have driven themselves from Italy to China. Though the vans were driverless and mapless, they did carry researchers as passengers just in case of emergencies. The experimenters did have to intervene a few times — when the vehicles got snarled in a Moscow traffic jam and to handle toll stations. The project used no maps, often traveling through remote regions of Siberia and China. At one point, a van stopped to give a hitchhiker a lift.
Speaking of China, they've apparently topped the supercomputer charts with some help from nVidia. Tianhe-1A combines 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 graphics processing units (GPUs) with 14,336 Intel Xeon central processing units (CPUs). Nvidia is not only claiming the performance crown but a greener supercomputer, as well. The machine consumes only 4.04 megawatts, making it three times more power efficient than a CPU-only system, Nvidia said in a statement.
BugsBunny spotted this promotional video from Red Bull, showing what an F1 designer would get up to if anything was allowed, to make the fastest race car on Earth. Created by Polyphony Digital, working with us at Red Bull Racing and our chief technical officer Adrian Newey, the result goes far beyond the startling new look. Fortunately it's all within the virtual world of Gran Turismo 5, otherwise it looks like the driver would be squished against the side windows in the turns.
TheReg are reporting that Firefox 4 has been delayed. Mozilla has pushed back the planned release of Firefox to sometime in "early 2011." Previously, the open source outfit had said its latest desktop browser would be officially released next month. "As discussed in today’s Firefox delivery meeting, release candidate builds are now scheduled to ship in early 2011, with the final GA release shortly after," a Mozilla representative tells The Register.
If you're mourning the loss of GeoCities, you'll be happy to hear some furious last-minute leeching before it all went down has resulted in a 900GB archive torrent of many of the sites. What we were facing, you see, was the wholesale destruction of the still-rare combination of words digital heritage, the erasing and silencing of hundreds of thousands of voices, voices that representing the dawn of what one might call “regular people” joining the World Wide Web. A unique moment in human history, preserved for many years and spontaneously combusting due to a few marks in a ledger, the decision of who-knows for who-knows-what.
HotHardware checked out some wireless HDMI technologies. Though there are two camps firmly entrenched in the market (Intel's WiDi and WHDI), the bottom line is lag-free full HD 1080p HDMI wireless video/audio transmission is now a reality. No longer does that HTPC need to be shoehorned into the confines of your entertainment center. And that desktop replacement notebook you have perched on the coffee table just got a major display upgrade, seamlessly connected to your HDTV; look Ma, no wires. Stay with us as we take you through a tour of two WHDI standard-based wireless HDMI transmitter kits--the Asus WiCast and the briteView HDelight.
If you've had a bad day at work recently, be thankful you didn't lose control of nuclear weapons. Since LCCs ping out of sequence on occasion, missileers tried quick fixes. But as more and more missiles began to display error settings, they decided to take off-line all five LCCs that the malfunctioning center was connected to. That left 50 missiles in the dark.
Time to tidy up some loose ends from the recent contests. Firstly the Lunarmorph contest was won by Tantalum. I had announced that previously, but it's worth mentioning that Under The Blue Moon is currently on in Enmore in Sydney, and continues this weekend.
The Pagnian Imports contest winner was scorpydude, who scores a Porsche 911 Turbo wheel and pedals. The two runners up who each get a couple of OCAU stubby holders are mariomart and Marius M who needs to check his email!
The Loudspeaker Kit contest winner was Crash Dummy, with runners up Kruzty and scumrat. I also awarded a "lateral thinking award" to NanoDuke and malloc for their interesting entries.
I think that's everything. If you've won something and haven't yet PM'd me your postal details, please do so ASAP. Scorptec's Gainward Quiz is also still running until the end of this weekend, so get your entry in!
I had one of those dodgy "your computer needs maintenance" scammers ring me up yesterday, so it seems they're still trying it on. I told the lady in no uncertain terms what I thought of her little scheme and she said "you too!" and hung up. Anyway, it reminded me I need to get back onto the Do Not Call Register, although I doubt overseas scammers pay much attention to it. It seems to cover faxes also now, though.
NASA are preparing for Discovery's final launch on Monday. During space shuttle Discovery's final spaceflight, the STS-133 crew members will take important spare parts to the International Space Station along with the Express Logistics Carrier-4. Discovery has been moved to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. STS-133 is slated to launch Nov. 1.
A few people sent word of this iPhone security glitch. A commenter at MacRumors posted late Friday that he or she had found a bug in iOS 4.1 that would allow anyone to bypass the password protection on Apple’s smartphone simply by accessing the “emergency call” option and then typing a seemingly-random series of keys. Though the commenter’s phone was jailbroken, others on the forum with unaltered phones confirmed the bug, as does Websense security researcher Patrik Runald in his twitter feed.
Telstra have had a privacy issue of their own, accidentally sending out people's personal info. TELSTRA has apologised for a botched mail-out that saw the personal details of more than 220,000 Australians sent to the wrong addresses. The letters, which were posted in the past week to explain fixed-line price changes, contained the name, phone number and telephone plans of other customers. More than 23,500 of the letters were for customers with silent phone lines.
Engadget report on a PlayStation Phone running Android, thanks mpot. The device snapped up top (and in our gallery below) is sporting a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 (a chip similar to the one found in the G2, but 200MHz faster), 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches. Looking almost identical to the mockup we hit you with this summer, the handset does indeed have a long touchpad in the center which is apparently multitouch, and you can see in the photos that it's still bearing those familiar PlayStation shoulder buttons.
Razer have a new MMO keyboard, thanks dasuperham. GamePron have some more info. Promising an “unprecedented slew of MMO functions and features”, the keyboard includes dedicated thumb modifier keys and some pretty impressive macro functionalities. Mmm, unprecedented slew.
File-sharing site LimeWire has been Shut Down, thanks FOTW and Thalfura. In an order Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan entered a permanent injunction, ordering the service to disable the searching, downloading, uploading or file trading of its software and to block the sharing of unauthorized music files. The lawsuit was brought in 2006 on behalf of the major record labels by the Recording Industry Association of America.
SilentPCReview are working on mid-tower home servers. Our Silent Home Server Build Guide continues with configurations using a mid-tower case and an ATX motherboard for even higher storage capacity with the same ultra-low noise objective. A system with nine hard drives was set up and tested... and a gaming variant of the same with an overclocked Radeon HD 5870 video card. Just how quiet can these systems be? Much quieter than you might think.
Sounds like there's a game coming out based on the Back to the Future trilogy, and Anthrox spotted how you can get episode 1 for free. Telltale are offering completely free pre-orders of the very first episode. That's right, you'll get to pre-order the first episode in full price for a grand total of zero dollars. All you need to do is head over to Telltale's promotional website and follow the instructions to either create a Telltale account, or log-in with an existing profile.
Today's timewaster is from Dylan - it's the sequel to Electric Box, cunningly named Electric Box 2.
Cassius sends word that tonight's episode of Insight on SBS at 7:30pm is about the National Broadband Network. So along with these criticisms this INSIGHT will examine and debate whether we should toss out the existing telecommunications network, just how enthusiastic the takeup will be in homes and what impact this high speed network will have on the delivery of health and education services.
Sony is discontinuing the iconic Walkman after 30 years. A batch of Walkman cassette players produced back in April in Japan is now officially the final run ever, as Sony has announced that it won't make any more. Since first landing in 1979, the Walkman line has accounted for 200 million sales over the decades.
Italy's privacy regulator has told Google they have to give people 3 days warning of where their Street View cars will be mapping out. Plenty of time for people to dream up whacky things to be doing when the car rolls by.
Australia's telephone number system may be reorganised. Use of area codes, free-call numbers and special numbers set aside for satellite services and early-adaptors of internet telephony will be examined in an historical shake-up of the telephone numbering plan outlined in a discussion paper released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority this morning.
Raymond Kurzweil has some thoughts on the future. He said: 'I believe that within the next 20 years we will have thousands of nanobot computer machines in our blood that will heal our bodies, improve our performance, and even be able to back up all the contents of our brains, just as you backup your files on a computer.
Here's an interesting video, a power company has opened a gym where all the machines are hooked up to generators. The more you exercise, the more power you generate, and the more is deducted from your power bill.
This afternoon the Korean round of the F1 championship is on. So if the normally late-at-night timing of F1 races puts you off watching them, or you've nothing else to do on this (very rainy here) afternoon, you might want to check it out. Australia's Mark Webber is currently leading the championship by a narrow margin and there's not many races left, so it's very exciting. The race is on One HD at 4:50pm Sydney time.
A war of words is underway between The Australian newspaper and Senator Conroy. Today The Australian fired back at Conroy, publishing a slew of stories attacking various aspects of the NBN and rejecting the Minister’s claims about its lack of integrity.
Boingboing have footage of a next-generation prosthetic arm. It's a big deal, because it provides a level of small motor skills that hasn't previously been available in prosthetic limbs. Hopefully there aren't too many incidents like this. Or if you're fortunate to have both your arms still, try a DIY keyglove.
The browser speed wars continue, with Mozilla saying Firefox 4 is faster than Chrome, thanks dasuperham. For the first time, Mozilla’s “Are We fast Yet?” charts are showing the combined Firefox TraceMonkey and JaegerMonkey build to be faster than Chrome in Webkit’s Sunspider test. Firefox is listed with a time of 350.8 ms, Chrome with 356.5 ms and Webkit with 369.7 ms.
The domain sex.com has sold for $13M USD. The price is among the highest ever paid for a domain. In 2006 when Escom bought sex.com it is thought to have paid up to $14m for it. The highest price ever paid for a domain was $16m, which marketing firm QuinStreet paid for insure.com in 1999.
NASA have released a report about the balloon mishap in April when a launch from Alice Springs went wrong. The scientific payload inadvertently separated from a mobile crane being used for the launch, and it was dragged approximately 150 yards by the airborne balloon. Spectators narrowly escaped injury when the payload hit an airport fence and a car.
Slashgear report on an expandable PCI-E SSD controller. This is sort of a combination of normal SSDs and PCI-E SSD storage. The incremental awesomeness as the maker calls it comes when you add more of the firm’s expansion cartridges. Those cartridges add more storage capacity and increase the speed.
BlizzCon is underway, with a million massed fans celebrating WoW, StarCraft and Diablo, etc. Coverage on LegitReviews and GamePron. Blizzard is giving everyone who attends this year’s BlizzCon or purchases the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket an exclusive set of murlocalyptic in-game items for World of Warcraft and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. These are some of the most highly coveted items in the Blizzard world.
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 23-October-2010 12:23:20 (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 furniture, fitness supplements, media players, SSD's, iPad accessories, data recovery, web hosting, driving wheels, headphones and a range of other goodies. Check 'em out!
AMD Radeon HD 6870 and 6850
(link) Friday, 22-October-2010 02:46:24 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Much to nobody's surprise, AMD unveiled their Radeon 6850 and 6870 products today. According to the HotHardware review: The new Radeon HD 6870 and Radeon HD 6850 are the first cards to arrive utilizing AMD’s second-generation DirectX 11 architecture. The cards are designed to offer Radeon HD 5800-class performance at much lower price points, with lower power consumption and with smaller dies, which make them more economical to produce.
Futuremark have released another 3DMark 11 Tech Demo video, giving us another sneak peek of their upcoming DX11 benchmark. LostCircuits have posted some thoughts about it.
A Russian guy has a worklog of building a 90TB plywood PC. It doesn’t make much noise. Sitting next to it you can communicate almost in a whisper. Coolers on 1200 are spinning even more slowly as they plow on 9 volts. Any professional solution of this volume will be much more expensive and many times more noisy.
XbitLabs compared five Mini-ITX cases. Our today’s roundup will be covering five miniature system cases designed to accommodate mini-ITX mainboards. We will discuss the products from such well-known manufacturers as Antec and Thermaltake as well as a few products from not very familiar brands.
They also checked out the full range of Radeon HD 5xxx GPUs. While we are about to welcome the sixth generation of AMD Radeon graphics products, let’s look at the full Radeon HD 5xxx series graphics cards in the latest tests using newest drivers.
TechCrunch report on Apple now shipping recovery software on a USB stick. When you get your MacBook Air and you open the box, you will find exactly zero optical discs inside. Normally, Apple includes at least one back-up DVD to reinstall OS X and other software if your computer fails. But now, that has been replaced with a super-slim USB stick. This stick, packed in with your manual, is all you need to reinstall your system now.
Wired report on a lego building robot. Software engineer by day, Lego maniac by night Will Gorman has created the MakerLegoBot, a machine that can take a virtual 3-D model and assemble it using Lego bricks. The machine is itself built entirely out of the Lego system, which raises the possibility — theoretically at least — that the machine could, with some modifications, build a copy of itself.
It's only been a year since Windows 7 came out, and they've managed to sell 240 million copies, thanks dasuperham. Turns out the little OS has done pretty well for itself, with 240 million licenses sold, giving it a 17 percent global operating system market share, and making it a healthy chunk of the 1.2 billion Windows PCs out there.
IntelInside spotted that the Dead Sea Scrolls are going online. "This is the most important discovery of the 20th century, and we will be sharing it with the most advanced technology of the next century," IAA project director Pnina Shor told reporters in Jerusalem.
Telstra have backed NBN legislation. The government says the bill will allow NBN Co to access Telstra's pits, ducts and other infrastructure and lead to a more “efficient and cost effective rollout of the NBN”. The government has said the passing of the bill will “cut billions of dollars from the cost of rolling out the NBN”. In a statement, Telstra chief executive David Thodey said: “On balance we support the passage of the bill.
Delimiter meanwhile report that the Internet Filter project is not being worked on by Federal Government staff currently. According to a departmental official who took questions on the matter in a Senate Estimates Committee hearing in Canberra today, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is not working directly on the filter project at the moment.
Facebook and eBay have shared some tips for datacentre efficiency. Facebook was able to reduce its costs by $230,000 a year at a 56,000-square-foot data center in Santa Clara, California, largely through better air flow management, Park said. It also got a $294,000 rebate from its electric utility, Silicon Valley Power, to offset the cost of investments it made in energy efficiency.
Wired's Gadget Lab take us inside a clean room. To get inside, you must suit up in a bunny suit, with a face mask and goggles, two pairs of gloves, and shoe-covering footies. We couldn't even take a reporter's notebook inside: Instead, Applied's staff gave us a shrink-wrapped, specially sanitized clean-room notebook and clean-room pen to use.
Microsoft have announced Office 365, a "cloud productivity" suite. I guess it's competing with Google Apps? Dasuperham noticed they've also released Windows Live Essentials 2011. Do more with Windows on your PC with free programs from Microsoft for photos, movies, instant messaging, email, social networking, and more. Get it all in one simple download.
A Swedish professor was the victim of a somewhat kind thief, who sent him the data from his stolen computer on a USB stick. About a week after the theft, the professor returned home to find an envelope containing a USB memory stick which had been taken along with the computer. The professor was shocked to discover the thief had copied all the documents and personal files from his laptop to the memory storage device, a process which likely took hours.
JC sent in this Cracked article about multiplayer games to destroy your marriage, from a girl's perspective. With games spreading into every niche these days, even couples that found Pac-Man "too technical" might find themselves picking up a Wii, popping in a goofy innocent-looking game they can play together, like Super Mario Bros. Wii, and transforming into another divorce statistic within the evening. I am oversimplifying, of course. There are some rare exceptions that end in murder-suicide instead.
AOLNews have an interview with Hank Keirsey, the real soldier behind Call of Duty. But six years ago, the retired lieutenant colonel found himself an unlikely addition to the gaming community. He's been the military adviser on all six of the "Call of Duty" games, including "Modern Warfare 2," which set the record for the highest grossing entertainment launch ever. If the defensive perimeter is set up properly or if the soldiers move and sound as they should, he's why.
Book piracy may be about to take off, claims Adrian Hon. I don’t need to learn how to use Bittorrent, because I already use that for TV shows. And Apple has made it very easy for me to add ePub files to my iPad and iPhone. So really, there is nothing stopping me from downloading several hundred books other than the fact that I already have too much to read and I think authors should be paid.
Those who think the whole Twitter thing is pointless - it can be used to predict the stock market, at least. Measurements of the collective public mood derived from millions of tweets can predict the rise and fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average up to a week in advance with an accuracy approaching 90 percent, Indiana University information scientists have found.
Western Digital also have an announcement: 2.5TB and 3TB internal HDDs are now shipping. Western Digital has today introduced two new Caviar Green 3.5-inch internal hard drives, 2.5TB and 3TB models which make use of 750GB platters, the Advanced Format technology, and are bundled with a PCIe x1 controller enabling operating systems to correctly 'see' and address their capacity. Reviews on LegitReviews, HotHardware and PC Perspective. Discussion here.
If you're planning to build a spacecraft which will dock with other internationally standard craft or the International Space Station, you'll need to conform to the International Docking Standard which has just been released. The international standard will provide guidelines for a common interface to link future spacecraft ranging from crewed to autonomous vehicles and from low-Earth orbit to deep-space exploration missions.
Check out this amazing slot-car track. The custom track design was actually routed on a CNC machine and the 1/32 scale course is 145 feet long with 19 Formula1 worthy turns. And with a setup like this at home, I’m pretty sure James-Michael doesn’t give a crap about how often Gran Turismo 5 has been delayed.
Overclockers.com have a visual history of video cards. GPUs always fascinated me and left me hungry for more information, specifically about the evolution of the graphics card over the years. After searching the internet for hours, I failed to find the data I was seeking in a simple, informational chart complete with history and release dates. Finally about five months ago, I decided to create one myself and now I’m sharing it with you.
Mpot spotted a slideshow from Google's Creative Labs showing lots of interesting things. One of them is this augmented reality concept video. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.
I have no idea how I stumbled across this, but the Lazarus Reflex is the most bizarre thing I've heard of in ages, and I bet it's terrified a few people over the years. The arms then begin to flex at the elbows before lifting to be held above the sternum. They are often brought from here towards the neck or chin and touch or cross over. Short exhalations have also been observed coinciding with the action.
TechEye have an editorial about Linux having missed its chance on the desktop, thanks dasuperham. While Ubuntu had received high marks for usability from every player in the technology press and was completely accessible, these Open Source fan boys were doing their best to undermine it. They complained that it made too many concessions to closed source by daring to run programs which were closed. Cue flamewar in three, two..
Dasuperham also spotted this strange ad from Telstra. Telstra Launched a new campaign to promote its Next G™ network's poll position as the world's fastest national mobile broadband service, with the release of the new Telstra Ultimate USB Modem.
Tuesday Night Reviews
(link) Tuesday, 19-October-2010 12:06:04 (GMT +10) - by Agg
OCAU Major Sponsors Scorptec are running a competition to give away two Gainward video cards. Starting from now, you have a chance to WIN the most popular Gainward GTX460 “GS-GLH” or GTS 450 “GS-GLH” Graphics Cards and start the realistic and intense DirectX® 11 gaming experience. Gainward GTX460 “GS-GLH” or GTS 450 “GS-GLH” are equipped with the most innovative and award winning Fermi Architecture, that boosts your machine with the extreme over-clocked ability and brings you the ultimate gaming experience. Discussion here.
I'm sorry to have to report that ezee, a long-standing forum member, recently succumbed to lung cancer and passed away. He was a much-liked and active member of our forums, particularly in the Team OCAU forum, having been a founding member of the Grumpy Old Men sub-team in our Folding team. He'll be missed and remembered by the Folding team and our wider community.
IBM are to build a research lab in Melbourne and have named the NBN as a major selling point for Australia. Gillard said that the ALP Government's investment in a National Broadband Network and in the education sector attracted IBM's investment. Her sentiment was shared by Glen Boreham, managing director of IBM Australia, who said that the nationwide network plan "underpins the investment. "I want to stress that Australia rolling out a ubiquitous national broadband network attracted this investment," he said.
Sony have further delayed the much-anticipated racing game Gran Turismo 5. We sincerely apologize to GT fans for the delay, however, creator Kazunori Yamauchi and the team at Polyphony Digital want to make certain they are creating the perfect racing experience, and we are confident that this ambitious game will exceed expectations when it launches. We’ll have more information for you in the near future, but said that it will be coming this "holiday season."
ArsTechnica have benchmarked Windows browsers. This is not meant to be an exhaustive performance rundown, as we have not tried every test in existence nor did we run them on every browser for Windows. Also, please keep in mind that we have yet to identify a test that measures all the factors that influence the performance of a browser.
SilentPCReview have a guide to building a silent home server. The unique selling proposition (to borrow a phrase from marketing 101) of our Silent System Build Guides is that not only will we provide suitable lists of up-to-date recommended components for a particular type of computer, but we will actually build these computers, and run and test them acoustically under tough actual-use conditions in our anechoic chamber.
The diagnostic/benchmarks suite Lavalys Everest has been renamed to AIDA64, and OC3D checked it out. Returning to the present day with Lavalys in tatters the core engineers returned to their beginnings and Everest has transformed back into AIDA, although as AIDA64 under the banner of FinalWire Ltd. With the coding gurus having their own publishing arm the future of AIDA64 is now secure.
A couple of German satellites are flying in tight formation to take the most detailed ever 3D map of the Earth's surface. TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X have moved to within 350m of each other as they sweep around the planet at 7km/s. The pair will soon begin an intense observation campaign that will pin down the variation in height across the globe to an accuracy of better than two metres.
Here's a fairly neat self-balancing unicycle. The electric motor of this one-wheeled Segway puts out 1,000 watts (against 350 watts in the original), and three gyroscopes make for easier and smoother turning. This, along with lowered foot pegs, makes it easier both to learn and to ride. Finally, the battery has been bumped to 5 amp-hours for an average 12-mile range, and a maximum speed of 10 mph. Regenerative braking helps conserve juice by charging the battery as you slow down.
Envador.com has a cool arcade laptop dock project. odding doesn't have to be inventing time travel or warp engines; it's about taking something and changing it to suit your needs. What I did here was take a ready-to-assemble kit and modify it to become a docking station for my laptop.
GamePron have a video interview with some of the Duke Nukem Forever team. At today’s event at the Mana Bar, Randy and Steve explained that the game pokes fun at itself, with Duke Nukem Forever set twelve years after the events of Duke Nukem 3D. The Duke himself is now one of the richest men in the world, who owns (and lives in) a casino, and enjoys all the finer things of life… including a video game made in his honor based on his battle with the martians. He’s observed to quip that – after twelve years – it better be good!
Benoit Mandelbrot, the "father of fractals", has died aged 85. In a seminal book, “The Fractal Geometry of Nature,” published in 1982, Dr. Mandelbrot defended mathematical objects that his colleagues had dismissed as “monstrous” and “pathological.” Using fractal geometry, he argued, the complex outlines of clouds and coastlines, once considered unmeasurable, could now “be approached in rigorous and vigorous quantitative fashion.”
Ray Ozzie found some Windows 1.0 material, and realised it's nearly 25 years since Windows appeared. November 20, 2010, the 25th anniversary of Windows.
Timbot sent in this amazing video of a projector overlay on a clock tower. Mapping during 600 years anniversary of the astrological tower clock situated at Old Town Square in center of Prague. Tzorst spotted a similar idea on a smaller scale.
Interestingly, the becoming-popular domain extension .ly is actually for the country of Libya, and they seem to be paying more attention to what the domains are being used for, thanks Jimmy. The domain was seized by the Libyan domain registry for reasons which seemed to be kept obscure until we escalated the issue. We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law. Meanwhile URL shortening services such as bit.ly should be used with caution for different reasons, say PC Authority.
Scoobth spotted self-aiming sniper rifles. Damn aimbots! Lockheed Martin won a $6.9 million contract this week for the second phase of DARPA’s One-Shot system, which will provide direct observations of a target, measure every variable that influences a bullet’s flight, and calculate the aim offset in a sniper’s rifle scope.
From petercr: Just got news that EVGA are running a competition where you can win a flight in a jet trainer and potentially be one of 150 people to 'buy' a GTS450 for only USD65. Details here. Seems an odd promo/contest thing, and I'm not sure if Australia would be considered one of the "Asia/Pacific Islands" for eligibility anyway.
HotHardware have a value SSD roundup. So today we take a look at models from Corsair and Crucial, as well as two low cost alternatives from Intel and OCZ to establish whether they are worthwhile purchases for those looking to try an SSD.
RamblingThoughts meanwhile consider Ebook readers for Australians. All of the devices in the photo below (Amazon Kindle DX, Kobo reader, Sony Reader Touch Edition, Samsung Galaxy S android smartphone with Borders ebook application and Kogan ebook Reader) as well as others like the Apple iPad have strengths accompanied with flaws. Which ebook reader device you buy depends on the flaws you can live with.
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 16-October-2010 11:15:48 (GMT +10) - by Agg
(link) Thursday, 14-October-2010 12:13:31 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Some people who bought Borderlands on Steam have been surprised by a Duke Nukem Forever Demo Key turning up unannounced, thanks Avatar. To check and see if you have a key, find Borderlands in your Steam Library and click the "CD Key" link in the game pane. If you've got the key, it should show up as "Duke Nukem Forever First Access Club Code". If you're out of luck, you can still check out DNF at the Mana Bar in Brisbane this Saturday, thanks Blinky.
NASA is dismantling Shuttle infrastructure at Pad 39B. Workers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have begun removing pieces of the space shuttle’s Rotating Service Structure at Launch Pad 39B as part of an ongoing demolition project aimed at creating a clean, multi-use pad for future government and commercial vehicles.
Moda spotted this case mod with heat-activated louvres. When the Arduino detects the temperature changing, it automatically actuates the servo to raise or lower the louvers accordingly, and the rig features a pair of supercapacitors that can store enough power to close the vents even if power is lost.
Western Digital are celebrating their 40th Anniversary by looking for Australia's oldest working WD drive. In line with Western Digital’s 40th anniversary, WD in Australia is showcasing a unique collection of WD products compiled in Australia over the past decade. This Australian collection is exceptional with a near complete range of WD’s hard drives, since the year 2000. Assembled by a long-time consultant and fan of the company actual photos and details of the collection have been unveiled at the new WD Australia Facebook page.
The struggle to introduce Australia's ACTA continues. The release of what has been described as the 'final draft' of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) came as some relief to the service provider community, particularly after some of the more draconian suggestions in previous drafts appeared to have been scrapped.
I recieved a bizarre press-release from Gigabyte: they have opened the world's highest RMA centre in Lhasa, Tibet. As the political, economic, cultural and religious center of Tibet, Lhasa is famed as ‘the City of Sunshine’ and is a hot spot for tourists. However, its remoteness and traffic-laden roads often make life difficult for locals because services such as RMA need to be sent to distant Chengdu as part of a process that can take longer than a month.
Thursday Night Reviews
(link) Thursday, 14-October-2010 11:41:02 (GMT +10) - by Agg
OCAU Major Sponsors Scorptec are running a competition to give away two Gainward video cards. Starting from now, you have a chance to WIN the most popular Gainward GTX460 “GS-GLH” or GTS 450 “GS-GLH” Graphics Cards and start the realistic and intense DirectX® 11 gaming experience. Gainward GTX460 “GS-GLH” or GTS 450 “GS-GLH” are equipped with the most innovative and award winning Fermi Architecture, that boosts your machine with the extreme over-clocked ability and brings you the ultimate gaming experience.
Fill out their quiz and you're in the draw to win a card. Discussion here.
(link) Wednesday, 13-October-2010 02:49:55 (GMT +10) - by Agg
ASUS Crosshair Formula IV vs Crosshair Extreme IV
(link) Tuesday, 12-October-2010 08:56:27 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Youngpro has compared the ASUS Crosshair Formula IV and Crosshair Extreme IV motherboards, with a focus on CrossFire vs Lucid Hydra for multi-GPU performance. For some time now the Crosshair Formula series from ASUS has been the premier board of choice for those pushing the AMD platform. It has had superior efficiency, superior performance and in all but some subzero scenarios has provided better clocking of AMD cpus. Now ASUS have brought a new player to the market, the Crosshair 4 Extreme, with a bunch of new features to boot.
Scaling Down AMD's Phenom II 1090T
(link) Tuesday, 12-October-2010 04:17:27 (GMT +10) - by Agg
DiGiTaL MoNkEY has another article for us today, and it's an interesting one. Starting with the 6 cores of AMD's Phenom II 1090T CPU, he disables two and then four of the cores. Using a zillion benchmarks we can then clearly quantify the real-world advantages of having more cores.
Voting has opened in our Loudspeaker Kit Contest. The theme was "a self-portrait of you enjoying your favourite music just a little too much" - there's some hilarious entries. Go vote!
Virgin Galactic's spaceship has taken its first solo flight. The spaceship was carried to an altitude of 45,000ft (13,700m) by an aeroplane and then dropped to glide back to the Mojave Air and Space Port. Enterprise will soon be taking people prepared to pay $200,000 (£126,000) on short hops above the atmosphere.
Meanwhile if you have one the other Enterprises, you might need this new Haynes manual when you're crawling through the Jeffries tubes, on the way to modify the main deflector dish to send an inverse tachyon pulse and collapse the warp bubble. This fascinating Haynes Manual features cutaway drawings, technical illustrations and photographs along with comprehensive background information and specifications on the technology used on board the USS Enterprise, in all its various incarnations.
Sniper sent in this story about the Government considering offering NBN incentives for ISPs to move their customers over. Worryingly for NBN Co, fibre take up rates in Tasmania have stayed sluggish at around 50 per cent. Achieving high rates of take-up is critical to the commercial viability of the NBN and last week Telstra chief executive David Thodey upped the pressure with a warning that the carrier wouldn't tolerate being forced to keep its copper network alive for transition delays or fibre laggards.
Khalil spotted Engadget's coverage of Microsoft's Windows 7 phone launch. So, that is my demo, before I leave I want to add a little information about a feature... our phones support updates and so our phones can be updated. I wanted to announce today we've heard feedback, and early in 2011 we're going to add copy and paste. Everyone who buys a phone now will get that update.
Here's a very bizarre ASUS advertisement from the USA. Although it might just be a contest entry, not an official ad. Possibly not work safe, I guess?
Final Fantasy fans might enjoy this upcoming concert at the Sydney Opera House. With fan-favourite composer Nobuo Uematsu and conductor Arnie Roth, the Sydney Opera House will swell with the award-winning music from the FINAL FANTASY video game series as it’s performed by a full orchestra, with state of the art videos and stills shown on massive screens highlighting the games most memorable sequences.
Odje sent word of an upcoming documentary on the electronics industry in Australia. After several months of researching, interviewing and filming, I’m excited to present the first public Trailer to my new Documentary “State of Electronics” – A discussion on the Electronics Industry in Australia. Even though the documentary is focused on Australian Electronics Design and Manufacture, much of it applies to all countries from around the world. Discussion here.
Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine could be to be built for the first time, hopefully. The drawings held in the Science Museum reveal the ungainly machine as the forerunner of the modern electronic computer. It contained a central processing unit, which Babbage called a "mill", and 1.7 kilobytes of expandable memory, which he referred to as "the store". It was fully programmable via punched cards used to input data.
Recently it was 10/10/10, which is (kinda) binary for 42. This made Ubuntu go a bit strange and release version 10.10 of their OS. Accordingly, the distribution designed a set of successors, marked by a circle of friends...to ultimately bring Unity to all things living...Ubuntu 10.10, to find the question to the ultimate answer. HotHardware have more info.
Wired report on a student who found an FBI tracking device on his car. The FBI would like it back now, please. The answer came when half-a-dozen FBI agents and police officers appeared at Yasir Afifi’s apartment complex in Santa Clara, California, on Tuesday demanding he return the device.
From petercr: The IT Crowd is back with season 4 that started on Wednesday night on ABC1 at 9pm. If you missed the first episode, it's available on iView here.
PC Authority Best Tech Awards
(link) Saturday, 9-October-2010 04:27:37 (GMT +10) - by Agg
PC Authority are accepting votes for their annual awards. PC Authority are holding their yearly awards for tech again, where you can let the tech manufacturers know what you really think about their hardware and products - and you might even score a prize! There's heaps of cool stuff to win like a Phenom II X6 and mobo, plenty of storage from WD, and a buttload of wireless Belkin gear.
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 furniture, fitness supplements, media players, SSD's, iPad accessories, data recovery, web hosting, driving wheels, headphones and a range of other goodies. Check 'em out!
Fans of motorsport should stock up on beer and settle into the comfy chair this weekend, as the V8 Supercars head to Mt Panorama, Bathurst. There's also a round of Formula One and MotoGP. Alas, soon the motorsport season will be over and it'll be month after month of cricket..
Sandforce have released an updated SSD controller which seems to raise the bar. Read and write speeds will go up to 500MB/s while sustained random read/write performance gets a boost to 60,000 IOPS. To keep up with this blistering speed the new controllers will also support SATA 6Gbps, giving drives plenty of room to breathe. Unfortunately the maximum capacity is still limited to 512GB, though this won't be a problem for the vast majority of prospective purchasers. Discussion here.
HardOCP report on nvidia direct-selling video cards at Best Buy in the USA. I fully think that NVIDIA would be better off to use this capital to support its current partners instead of getting into the business itself. And if it is going to get into the business, I hope it does not pussy foot around. NVIDIA should clean house in North America and simply change its overall business model . But competing with your current customer base does not seem to be a smart idea. Discussion here. Another story here on PC Perspective.
Cisco have a new livingroom videoconferencing product called Cisco Umi, thanks mpot. Cisco Systems on Wednesday unveiled Cisco Umi, its consumer-focused telepresence offering that lets people connect to each other using videoconferencing on their HD television in their living rooms. Cisco Umi (pronounced YOU-me) is a telecommunications system that requires a mix of Cisco hardware and hardware you'll already need to own.
If you're twitching for your Duke Nukem Forever fix, Blinky sends word that you can play it at the Mana Bar in Brisbane next weekend. Details on a poster here.
Tech Report checked out an amazing-looking form fitting mouse, thanks Justin. So, how much time do you spend with a mouse in hand? If you're a PC enthusiast, probably quite a lot—if not at work, then certainly at home. Wouldn't it be nice to have a mouse with a custom fit? That's what Cyborg Gaming, a subsidiary of Mad Catz, has created with its Rat 7 gaming rodent.
dasuperham spotted the world's fastest laptop on Anandtech. Dual GTX 480M is only the starting point; for the OS and performance-oriented applications, they RAIDed a couple of Crucial RealSSD C300 256GB SSDs together, then tacked on a Seagate Momentus XT 500GB drive for mass storage.
Anthony Fordham is leaving PC PowerPlay magazine after nearly 10 years. Cheers to all, and thanks most of all to the readers who not only kept reading the mag, but kept being PC gamers. In the face of the commoditisation of gaming, that's the most important thing of all.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Thursday, 7-October-2010 11:09:53 (GMT +10) - by Agg
A quick snapshot of what people are up to in the forums:
If your iPhone is being annoying after the change to daylight savings, you're not alone. It's happening to me, too! The bug appears to affect only those with a "recurring" alarm, which is useful for when you want to be woken up at the same time each and every day of the week.
Speaking of iApps and wotnot, Intel have a boxed CPU decoder app to help you compare CPU features etc. Search and compare processors by brand or socket. Identify key differences, such as frequency, cache size, number of cores/threads, thermal design power and more. No link on that page, presumably it's in the app store if you want it.
XbitLabs ponder personal computers in 2020. In this editorial we will try to find out how the new usage models, technologies, business approaches and other factors will impact the major building blocks of personal computers. Our guesses are based on our knowledge of the industry and the mechanisms that change the trends of its development.
Rob lets us know Iron Photographer voting is now open. The theme was "Black and White" and there seem to be a huge number of entries!
mpot noticed that Google's Chrome OS is now running on iPads. A coder who downloaded the Chrome OS source code on the chromiumos.org website managed to tweak the source of the Google operating system to work on an iPad, and compiled it. The result? A Chrome OS powered iPad, a hack that most engineers in Cupertino must be cringing about.
The National Broadband Network will be connected by default in Tasmania, unless people specifically ask to not be connected. The Tasmanian Government is preparing to make joining the National Broadband Network an opt-out rather than opt-in process. It is aiming to become the first state in Australia to do so.
ArsTechnica checked out a 12-core Mac Pro. Twelve cores and twenty-four threads—that's what I'm sitting in front of. Even after owning an 8-core Nehalem Xeon Mac Pro, I just wasn't prepared for the 8 extra threads in my new shiny new 12-core Westmere Xeon Mac Pro. It's just that crazy.
Western Digital have given a sneak peek of their upcoming 3TB drive, by including it in an external drive, in a similar way to Seagate a little while ago. More here and here. Buried deep in the official press release is the revelation that the My Book Essential uses a single Caviar Green hard drive to reach the 3TB mark. No further details are provided, but a component version of the drive will be "available in distribution shortly." Like its forebears, the 3TB Green likely has a spindle speed in the 5,400-RPM range.
Meanwhile dasuperham spotted an an optical drive with SSD from Hitachi. SATA promise 6.0GBps data transfer and add on top of this a little SSD and you have the ultimate Drive for any companies looking to build up the slimmest PC ever. Not much info, but an interesting idea.
A British teenager has been jailed for not disclosing his password. Police seized his computer but could not access material on it as it had a 50-character encryption password. Drage was convicted of failing to disclose an encryption key in September. He was sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Monday.
One consequence of iiNet's acquisition of AAPT is the removal of the "unlimited" plan. It's as though a million leechers cried out at once, and were silent. IiNet will end AAPT's high-volume plan ending the heyday of bandwidth "leechers", some of whom boast of downloading more than 75 terabytes of data.
Apple is facing (and challenging) a $625M patent infringement verdict against them. Closely held Mirror Worlds, founded by Yale University computer-science Professor David Gelernter, sued in 2008, claiming Apple’s iPod music device, iPhone and Mac computers infringed its patents for a way documents are displayed on a computer screen. Apple challenged the validity of the patents and whether they were infringed, according to court records. Some claims were thrown out before the case went to the jury.
GamePron have another episode of their gaming video blog. This time around, we look at a whole lotta zombies – in Red Dead Redemption, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Dead Rising 2. There’s a quick peek at Guybrush Threepwood’s appearance in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, and the amazing voice actor lineup for Fable III – and in console news, the latest in PS3 jailbreak attempts, and of course, plenty of news on the Nintendo 3DS.
A Census of Marine Life has been completed. These numbers only begin to describe the scope of the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year international effort undertaken in to assess the diversity (how many different kinds), distribution (where they live), and abundance (how many) of marine life—a task never before attempted on this scale. The Census stimulated the discipline of marine science by tackling these issues globally, and engaging some 2,700 scientists from around the globe, who participated in 540 expeditions and countless hours of land-based research. The scientific results were reported on October 4, 2010. There's some amazing images of critters from the deep.
Gords sent word of some trouble brewing in the forum software community, with ex-vBulletin developers Kier, Mike and Ashley creating new forum software called xenForo. It seems the (relatively recent) owners of vBulletin, Internet Brands, are suing xenForo and the ex-VBB guys in response. The lawsuit is about these claims: infringement of our copyrighted intellectual property, breach of contract, and unfair business practices. The suit is simple: we claim that Kier, Mike, and Ashley have infringed and violated contracts they signed with us to gain unfair business advantage.
The case between the ACCC and Optus continues, with some amusing comments from the judge. Advertising unlimited broadband gave customers the impression they were getting a Ferrari, ''but what is disguised is the fact that the steering wheel disintegrates after 10 kilometres,'' Justice Tony North said in the Federal Court in Melbourne.
Timbot sent in this submerged PC in an aquarium, which is nice, but there's not a huge amount of detail in the video.
Dasuperham noticed the US Government mandating their agencies move to IPv6 by 2012. We have the administrative infrastructure to issue IPv6 addresses,” added Curran. “I’ve been informing Internet backbone companies, content providers, enterprises, and governments that we’re going to be running out of IPv4 addresses for 15 years. It’s now taking those plans and realizing them promptly over the next 18 months that will be essential for success. More info here.
Today's timewaster is QWOP, a tricky running-physics game from MadHatter.
Tuesday Night Reviews
(link) Tuesday, 5-October-2010 10:56:47 (GMT +10) - by Agg
I doubt this affects anyone outside the USA, but a few people have sent it in, so anyhoo, there's a settlement from NVIDIA over faulty GPUs. According to a class-action lawsuit, Nvidia was charged with selling defective and faulty graphics processing units (GPUs) and certain communication devices that adversely affected performance for certain laptops -- Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch, 15-inch; Dell and HP laptops primarly sold between 2007 and 2008. People with affected units can get free repairs. More info here and the official page for the settlement is here.
If you do have a laptop, it's suggested that having it heating up your lap is a bad idea (and not just for your sperm count). Another case involved a Virginia law student who sought treatment for the mottled discoloration on her leg. Dr. Kimberley Salkey, who treated the young woman, was stumped until she learned the student spent about six hours a day working with her computer propped on her lap. The temperature underneath registered 125 degrees.
Check out this amazing lego aircraft carrier, nearly 7M long. When complete, this model will depict the USS Intrepid as she appeared in February 1945, immediately after her second major refit.
Dasuperham sent in a story about IE dropping below 50% of market share, but also notes that's not the case in corporate Australia. And it gets worse — often those desktops aren’t even running the latest version of Internet Explorer. In June this year, one of Australia’s largest departments, Defence, confirmed it would upgrade its 90,000 desktop PCs from version 6 to version 7 of Internet Explorer — almost four years after the software was first released. Most of OCAU's readers use Firefox, unsurprisingly.
TBreak think that when TVs become smart enough, it will kill the HTPC. The TV uses an application called Plex that I have used for a few months when I had the Mac Mini connected to my TV. Plex started off as a branch of XBMC focusing on the Mac platform but over the years, has become its own product. Meanwhile AirQ spotted Foxtel's internet TV head-start. The pay-TV operator will remotely switch on web access to 850,000 internet-ready iQ and iQ2 set-top boxes already in households, which could make it the biggest internet protocol television (IPTV) player.
Meanwhile there's a video of live gameplay in Duke Nukem Forever from the Firstlook gaming convention in Amsterdam. Nothing happens for the first 2 and a half minutes or so, btw. Grargh, when is the freaking demo coming out for me to actually play?!
Sniper sends word of an easier way to get yourself Folding@Home. FAH GPU Tracker V2 is a interface for running multiple clients and a stats tracking system. Using the Tracker is the about easiest way to start folding. Installing F@H just got much easier thanks to Jedi95. Remember, OCAU is Team 24!
From Gabe: Politicians love to bash games, right? But what if a (Gen X) politician grew up during the classic gaming era, and kept playing till the present day? What if he isn't just an MP? ...what if he's actually a state premier? What if he lives in Australia, and you'd never read about him? A gaming-oriented interview with Tasmania's premier David Bartlett here.
There was a huge theft of hard drives in Malaysia recently. What was shocking was that there were no security guards on duty at the warehouse, enabling the thieves to cooly drive away an eight-tonne lorry packed with 542 boxes containing about 10,800 units of Western Digital hard disks worth an estimated RM4 million at 5.20am.
Progress continues towards getting rid of BIOS, and having an almost-instant boot process, thanks dasuperham. The problem emerges, he said, because Bios expects the machine it is getting going to have the same basic internal set-up as the first PCs. As a result, adding extra peripherals - such as keyboards that connect via USB rather than the AT or PS/2 ports of yesteryear - has been technically far from straightforward.
From OhSmeg: Free software activist and GNU founder Richard Stallman spoke with iTnews following his unexpected appearance at a World Computer Congress patent discussion this week. Armed with a placard that read "Don't get caught in software patent thickets", Stallman warned that the European Patent Office was campaigning in favour of software patents in Australia.
If you're considering a career change, the NSW Fire Brigades are looking for permanent firefighters. The 2010 Permanent Firefighter Recruitment Campaign was launched on Friday 1 October 2010. As part of our ongoing commitment to building a more diverse organisation, this campaign will focus on attracting women as recruits. A number of smaller, more frequent recruitment campaigns will follow in the future.
Unfortunately NASA is laying off 1,200 staff, many from the Space Shuttle program, despite approval from Congress for an additional launch. The bill authorizes an additional shuttle launch, extending the retirement date of the shuttle program from February 2011 until June 2011. The NASA administrator said an additional shuttle mission could help stock additional supplies on the international space station. The bill extended the space station's life five additional years, until 2020.
OhSmeg also spotted an interesting FAQ about Stuxnet, a Windows worm that seems to be targeting Iranian infrastructure. Siemens announced last year that Simatic can now also control alarm systems, access controls and doors. In theory, this could be used to gain access to top secret locations. Think Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible. Discussion on Stuxnet here.
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 2-October-2010 11:39:53 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Daylight Saving begins tonight in NSW, VIC, SA, TAS and ACT. So at 2am, set your clocks to 3am, if they don't adjust automatically.