EVGA have an EvE-themed PC up for grabs in a new contest, thanks Bullus. You do not have to be an EVE Online subscriber to win, and this promotion is open to our global community! Sign up today, fill out the short questionnaire and you're eligible to win!
South Australia, once the stumbling block for the R18+ games debate, now say they will have adult ratings for games regardless of what the other states and territories do. O'Connor hinted at the possibility that each state and territory could adopt different arrangements should consensus not be reached. This is exactly what South Australia has now done.
Gigabyte have a video demonstrating their new touchscreen BIOS. With Touch BIOS™, GIGABYTE engineers have completely re-imagined how users can interact with their BIOS, allowing for a more familiar icon-based user experience. In fact, with a touch screen monitor, GIGABYTE Touch BIOS™ is as easy to use as most apps on your iPhone. Hrm, I'm not sure if system-pwning settings should be made too easy for newbies to fiddle with.
Sniper meanwhile spotted this video about uranium maybe being useful for data storage in the future. Would you buy a hard drive containing uranium? One of our team has made a significant breakthrough involving a uranium compound which acts as a molecular magnet.
HardOCP have some 3-way action from both sides of the video card camp. We've seen what a Radeon HD 6990 can do when paired with a Radeon HD 6970 for "Tri-Fire" performance. Now it is time to find out what three NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 video cards in 3-Way SLI game like in comparison. We will look at A2A performance comparisons and discuss which setup offers the best gameplay experience. Discussion here.
ArsTechnica have a cool article testing if racing games make you a real racer or not. All of this has been great fun for racing fans, but is any of it really true-to-life? What do racing video games teach you about racing real cars? I was recently able answer to this question when I got the opportunity to go ChumpCar racing.
NeoWin remind us that Microsoft's anti-trust shackles lift soon. Thirteen years later a federal judge has ruled that on May 12, 2011 the antitrust case will expire. Since 2002, U.S District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has dealt with the case and today said that "May 12 will close an important chapter in the history of antitrust law."
Check out this zombie-proof house. Also quite an effective response to religious/political doorknockers, I imagine.
Microsoft's talking paper clip is back, in a way. After killing off the cartoon paper clip, Microsoft decided to revive him (I guess it's a him?) in limited fashion as part of a learn-how-to-use-Office game called "Ribbon Hero 2: Clippy's Second Chance."
The Chaser weren't allowed to put their live spin on the Royal Wedding as it progressed, but sabz spotted these sample clips so you can still get your fix.
The Space Shuttle Endeavour is preparing to launch in 3 hours or so for its final mission, and the second-last ever Shuttle mission. Atlantis is flying that one in late June.
During the 14-day mission, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre.
Remember, the annual Chimp Challenge is starting soon. This is a Folding@Home competition between 9 online communities, including OCAU. I'm sorry to report that last year we came dead last in the competition. Surely this year we can do better, with your help? :)
The SETI project has had to temporarily shut down due to financial difficulties. The array has been put into hibernation mode, with a skeleton crew to keep it from deteriorating, while SETI looks for new sources of cash. With that and the second-last Shuttle mission ever launching on Friday, it's a kinda depressing week to be a space nut.
But cheer up, because Australia's internet is the world's 4th most free, apparently. US-based research and civil liberties advocacy group Freedom House studied connectivity barriers, content restrictions and user rights in 37 countries between January 2009 and December 2010.
The BBC have an interesting video about gaming experiences when colourblind. The BBC technology journalist is colour blind and unable to detect the difference between red and green. The colours are used to identify players in some of the world's most popular games. He has discovered that some developers are introducing options to help people with his condition, while other games leave him confused.
XbitLabs checked out the performance of a few graphics cards in Crysis 2. Today we are going to take a look at one of the most highly anticipated ??? titles of 2011 - Crysis 2 First-Person Shooter video game. The predecessor is still the benchmark to beat even for the latest AMD Radeon HD 6990 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 dreadnoughts and the second part is expected to raise the performance bar even higher.
There's a report doing the rounds of an innocent man busted for kiddy porn after leaving his wireless unlocked. Plenty of others would agree. The Sarasota man, for example, who got a similar visit from the FBI last year after someone on a boat docked in a marina outside his building used a potato chip can as an antenna to boost his wireless signal and download an astounding 10 million images of child porn, or the North Syracuse man who in December 2009 opened his door to police who'd been following an electronic trail of illegal videos and images. The man's neighbor pleaded guilty April 12. So, password-protect your router. Or, don't, and blame everything you do on some guy who was parked in a van outside your house.
If you've got $100M spare, you could buy MySpace. Seems expensive? Not when you consider News Corp paid $580M for it in 2005. Parties reportedly interested in acquiring MySpace include private equity firm THL Partners, Redscout Ventures and Criterion Capital, owner of social network Bebo. Chinese Internet holding company Tencent is also reportedly interested as is Myspace co-founder Chris De Wolfe. What’s not yet clear is what any of these companies plan to do with MySpace if a sale goes through.
BrightSideofNews have some info on AMD's upcoming "Bulldozer" cores. Now a Chinese website published excerpts from datasheets explaining the technical specifications of various Bulldozer samples. These are not the usual engineering samples we are talking about here (those are ticking at 1.8 and 2.6GHz), but samples of actual products that are going to be launched on June 7, 2011 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Tech-Report checked out Dell's R810 server, which moves on a bit from the R610 currently powering OCAU. They also look at the Intel Nehalem-EX 8-core CPUs it uses. Crammed into the EX are fully eight CPU cores and 24MB of L3 cache—enough elements that the processor's architects decided the simpler internal communications arrangement in quad-core Nehalems wouldn't suffice. Instead, they gave the EX an internal ring bus, a high-speed, bidirectional communication corridor with stops for each key component of the chip.
Meanwhile VR-Zone explore the SSD caching feature of Intel's upcoming Z68 Express chipset. Of course, those who can't wait for the official launch can already purchase the Gigabyte Z68X-UD7-B3 board from the retail market, first available in Taiwan and then the rest of the world in the coming weeks. Other brands like ASUS and ASRock are set to hit the retail next. Those enthusiasts hoping they can overclock their Sandy Bridge better on Z68 than the P67 will probably be disappointed but there is one important feature of Z68 that matters, and that is the SSD caching.
HardOCP visited Globalfoundries Fab 8 which is under construction. What you will see in our film is an hour long tour of the Fab 8 module 1facility condensed into about 8 minutes. You will get to see is a lot of the building's infrastructure that will be walled up soon. Just seeing a glimpse of what is going into the engineering and building of such a behemoth is something to behold first hand.
PSN Data Theft
(link) Wednesday, 27-April-2011 03:09:08 (GMT +10) - by Agg
PlayStation users will probably have noticed that the PSN has been down for a few days, and now Sony has explained why - a huge theft of personal data has occurred, possibly including credit card details. Despite its PlayStation Network being knocked offline for the past week, Sony waited until today to notify its 77 million customers that an "illegal and unauthorised person" gained access to their names, addresses, email address, birthdates, usernames, passwords, logins, security questions and more. The company also could not rule out credit card numbers and expiry dates being stolen. But even if no credit cards were stolen, the other details are enough to cause significant identity theft issues.
Here's a behind-the-scenes video of a Google datacentre. This video tour of a Google data center highlights the security and data protections that are in place at our data centers. Also, Valve's snack bar. Valve discusses their fantastic snack bar.
If you were worried about your Google Videos vanishing into the ether, Google have decided they will help you move them to YouTube, and may be even moving it all over automatically. Google Video users can rest assured that they won't be losing any of their content and we are eliminating the April 29 deadline. We will be working to automatically migrate your Google Videos to YouTube. In the meantime, your videos hosted on Google Video will remain accessible on the web and existing links to Google Videos will remain accessible.
Mpot spotted this slightly embarrassing story about the hazards of using stock photography. The US Postal Service regrets issuing a stamp featuring a photo of a Las Vegas casino's replica Statue of Liberty rather than the original in New York harbour, a spokesman has said.
Dailytech report on AMD's return to profit, largely thanks to Fusion. After a couple years of losses, AMD finally appears to be turning the corner this year. The company reported [press release] an impressive net income of $510M USD on revenue of $1.61B USD.
Meanwhile Sniper spotted a story about Intel maybe using liquid cooling for next-gen enthusiast processors. For many years Intel has been bundling rather simple cooling solutions with its boxed chips, but recently the company started to offer coolers with heat-pipes for microprocessors in LGA1366 and LGA1156 form-factors. At the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, China, Intel’s engineers presented a paper called “Overclocking Intel Processor Based Desktop and Mobile Platforms”, where they discussed past, present and future of the company’s support of overclocking as a phenomenon.
If your router is too hot, maybe you need a router cooler. Or you could cut a hole in the top and install a fan, like many people do already. Not to be outdone, Scythe have a new crazy-huge CPU cooler called the Susanoo. Susanoo measures 210 x 210 x 160 mm, weights 1,565 grams and features a D.B.S (Double Block Structure) design with no less than 12 copper heatpipes. Also included are four 100mm Slip Stream fans which can operate at 500 to 2,000 RPM, and have a sound output of up to 37.69 dBA.
Oh Smeg has more info on the USA's Internet ID plan. There's "no reliable way to verify identity online" at the moment, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said, citing the rising tide of security threats including malware and identity theft that have grown increasingly prevalent over the last few years. "Passwords just won't cut it here."
He also noticed that the Australian Pirate Party is looking for details of negotiations between copyright holders and the federal government. "We want to see what figures they're giving to the government because we believe in transparency and the right for people to know what representations are being made. If (the government) is basing policy direction on (content industry supplied) figures it's especially important that we can scrutinise those figures," Mr Serkowski said.
Rage pointed out this Minecraft-like game called Ace of Spades. Ace of Spades is a freeware, multiplayer Minecraft-alike that takes Minecraft’s cuboid building mechanics and drapes a World War 1 setting on top of it, with the end result being a huge, immersive, dynamic game of capture the flag. Some discussion here but it seems a bit problematic.
Carl sent in this 3D scanner app for iPhones etc. Trimensional works by using the iPhone’s screen to shine four different lighting patterns on the subject while also using the device’s front-facing camera to snap photos. It produces a full 3-D model that you can zoom into, pan around and view from any angle.
The annual Chimp Challenge is starting soon. This is a Folding@Home competition between 9 online communities, including OCAU. I'm sorry to report that last year we came dead last in the competition. Surely this year we can do better, with your help? :)
NanoDuke pointed out that Skynet attacked us yesterday. Skynet was now implemented on April 19, 2011 and will begin its attack against humanity on April 21. So keep an eye on your gadgets.. just in case.
Next up, concerns about wake/sleep cycles in certain WD HDDs under certain conditions. This sounds oddly familiar, but I can't remember if it was WD last time. Anyway, more info here on NGOHQ. Western Digital has released a DOS-based utility to modify the behavior of the HDD to wait longer before invoking idle mode. However, since most of their latest HDDs still ship with the default setting of 8 seconds, we strongly recommend users with affected HDDs to use the utility immediately. Discussion here.
Sniper spotted these photos of the NBN rollout in Brunswick. We consider this one of the best photo galleries we’ve seen of the actual NBN, as it goes into great detail about the actual NBN equipment, as well as the fibre being rolled out in the street and so on.
Hulu are coming to Australia. I've only ever seen their stuff on YouTube and didn't really get the point of it at the time. Hulu, which offers free ad-supported on-demand streaming of TV shows and movies, has been a runaway hit in the US, where it garners hundreds of millions of streams a month on desktop computers and internet-connected TVs.
Samsung are planning to counter-sue Apple, apparently. "We think Apple has violated our patents in communications standards," Chung Jae-woong, a spokesman at Samsung Electronics, said by phone. "We are considering a counterclaim."
MaximumPC report on tonnes of e-waste. Ultimately, one can say with some confidence that literally billions of cell phones have been discarded over the course of the last three decades, all of which are now in the process of breakdown.
There's a special OCAU Iron Chef contest this weekend, thanks mrs_dan77: The theme for this Iron Chef is - Easter. The theme must be referenced in the dish. You can opt for a dish that you typically cook at easter, take advantage of all the available chocolate and seafood, or cook something of cultural/traditional significance to you. As it is that time of the year, you may also submit a dish with the theme ANZAC. If that is open to loose interpretation, please explain your thought process in selecting the dish you choose for submission. Thread here.
Thursday Night Reviews
(link) Thursday, 21-April-2011 12:56:36 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Whirlpool have published the results of their 2011 Australian Broadband Survey. The Australian Broadband Survey for 2011 was conducted over a four week period — from 1 January 2011 to 1 February 2011, during which the survey was successfully completed and verified a total of 23,513 times.
MSY have been fined over $200k following a court case with the ACCC, over warranty concerns. In early November, the ACCC alleged MSY Technology sold computers, components, software and other tech products to customers, and made a number of false or misleading representations about consumer warranty rights. The ACCC alleged that by making the representations, MSY and each of its related companies breached sections 52 and 53(g) of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Samsung have been my preferred HDD brand for a little while now, so I'm not super-thrilled to hear they're going to be selling their HDD business to Seagate. Just last month, Seagate rival Western Digital Corp. agreed to buy Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for $4.3 billion. Wedbush Morgan analyst Kaushik Roy said that once both deals are completed, Western Digital would own about half of the hard drive market and Seagate roughly 40 percent. Toshiba Corp. would be a distant third with 10 percent of the market. More here, discussion here.
Apple meanwhile are suing Samsung over patent infringements, thanks dasuperham. In the latest intellectual property suit to hit the smartphone industry, Apple is suing Samsung, alleging the Galaxy line of phones and tablets infringe on a number of the company’s patents and trademarks.
It seems one man's plans to make a functioning AT-AT from Star Wars have been derailed. Or tripped by oversized hamsters with vines? Anyway, at least we can have the toilet of the future, thanks Carl. This bathroom bad boy has a motion-activated lid and seat; integrated air dryer; a heated seat; feet warmers; ambient lighting; built-in speakers with FM radio and an MP3 player input jack. Still not convinced this is your next toilet? It's all controlled by a detachable touch screen remote that can save settings for up to six users.
Also the sci-fi front, some Aliens replica guns have been stopped from entering QLD. Ms Stilgoe said Mr Beckett considered the guns to be artefacts, pieces of movie memorabilia, or perhaps novelty items, but not weapons in any real sense of the word. The police, without the benefit of an inspection, had classified them as weapons. "When viewed from Mr Beckett's perspective, his frustration at the bureaucracy is understandable," Ms Stilgoe said. Seems he's not the only one with that issue.
GoPro HD HERO Camera
(link) Monday, 18-April-2011 06:05:09 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Something a little different from me today. I've reviewed the GoPro HD HERO video camera. This is a tiny, tough, HD camera, intended for filming all kinds of extreme sports. So how extreme can a thirtysomething geek get? Not very, as it turns out. :)
The release of Portal 2 is looming, and there's essentially a giant internet treasure hunt going on during the leadup. You can catch up on the previous stages on this Wiki page, with more info here, and see the current status here. Discussion continues here.
Online poker fans are in dismay today, with some of the largest sites taken offline by the FBI. Eleven people, including the owners of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars, were charged with violating U.S. anti-Internet gambling laws, according to charges filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. More info here.
The FBI have also pulled the plug on another Botnet. Coreflood is the latest botnet to get the axe. The FBI used bold, precedent-setting maneuvers to take the Corefloood botnet offline--reducing the volume of spam polluting your Inbox, and making the Internet a little safer.
If you have favourite or personal videos in Google Videos, be aware that they will soon disappear when Google shuts down the site, presumably in favour of the vastly more successful YouTube, thanks Rage. On April 29, 2011 videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. We’ve added a Download button to the Video Status new window page, so you can download videos that you want to save. If you don’t want to download your videos, you don’t need to do anything.
Facebook have a new enormous datacentre in Oregon, and here's an interesting look inside. Today I was very fortunate to have gotten a tour of Facebook’s new datacenter up in Prineville, Oregon (map). This datacenter is the most energy efficient in the world and only a handful of press got a look.
Today's timewaster is this surreal but amusing Sushi Cat 2, from Loop Goose. Pinball with a sushi-eating ever-expanding cat, and something about a pig.
There's a security advisory for Adobe Flash Player, Reader, etc - thanks Thexder. This vulnerability (CVE-2011-0611) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being exploited in the wild in targeted attacks via a Flash (.swf) file embedded in a Microsoft Word (.doc) file delivered as an email attachment, targeting the Windows platform. At this time, Adobe is not aware of any attacks via PDF targeting Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Adobe Reader X Protected Mode mitigations would prevent an exploit of this kind from executing.
Intel will be opening up Thunderbolt to developers soon, but won't ignore USB 3.0. We were just pondering this very thing yesterday -- would Intel dedicate itself to Thunderbolt and give USB 3.0 the cold shoulder -- and now we have our answer from the Santa Clara crew, albeit delivered from Beijing.
Intel's Developer Forum is on at the moment in Beijing, with Day 0, Day 1 and Day 2 coverage on Funkykit. Meanwhile the Gadget Show is also on, with coverage from OC3D and some booth babes on XSReviews.
On the other hand, a recent "Reality Rocks Expo" for fans of reality TV had almost nobody bother to turn up. Though our friend Andy Dehnart at Reality Blurred reports that the staff projected an audience of 15,000 attendees, come convention weekend, nobody actually showed up. Seriously -- check out these photos of the event from B-Side blog, featuring crowds as large as 12 amassing to watch former 'Idol' finalist Andrew Garcia, empty autograph lines for 'Paranormal Files' hosts, and a 'Big Brother' panel with the same amount of panelists as audience members.
Just when I thought the internet held no more surprises, Rezin discovers unboxing porn. I'm here to unbox some sexy products and kick ass, and I don't have it in me to hurt a fly.
Paul sent in these pics and info on the new Mars rover. This week, Boing Boing was invited to visit NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the first and only opportunity for media to enter the Pasadena, CA clean room where NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, and other components of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft have been built for launch in late 2011 from Florida.
Google has invested a truckload in the world's largest solar-power plant, thanks Simon. Google has chipped in a US$168 million investment in what will be the world's largest solar power tower plant. To be located on 3,600 acres of land in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) will boast 173,000 heliostats that will concentrate the sun's rays onto a solar tower standing approximately 450 feet (137 m) tall.
Overclockers.com have a watercooling beginner's guide, while Techgage wonder how things are going with overclocking on Intel motherboards. I used to think that doing my taxes was more fun than overclocking on an Intel motherboard, but since it's been a while, I decided to spend some honest time with the DP67BG this past weekend to see if my mind could be changed.
From Kieran: The Federal Government razor gangs are out, and are looking for soft-targets to cut spending in the forthcoming federal budget. It seems, from cabinet discussion leaks, that the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) budget could be cut by $400 million over 3 years, from an annual budget of $768million. As the major medical granting body in Australia, this will massively affect the research capacity of Australia. More info here, photos from a rally here and discussion here.
I think we've seen today's timewaster before, but it looks fun, so here's IndestructoTank AE, thanks Sam.
New Zealand has passed a controversial file-sharing law. The new law will allow copyright owners ask for a six-month suspension of internet service to homes that have been found to have repeatedly infringe on copyrighted material. It will also introduce a “three strikes” regime, an introduction of a Copyright Tribunal that will impose a maximum penalty of NZ$15,000. ISPs will also be legally required to send notices of copyright infringement.
SMH have an article tipping Bing to overtake Google next year. I.. don't share their confidence. Google still clearly leads Bing more than 2 to 1. But when you consider that that ratio was 3 to 1 last fall, the gap appears to be closing. Bing is growing by five or six percent each month, whereas Google is losing two to three percent.
GillR sent in this promotional video about the future of glass and the high-tech ideas it allows. Watch "A Day Made of Glass" and take a look at Corning's vision for the future with specialty glass at the heart of it.
An interesting legal outcome has someone promising not to visit a specific Facebook page for 20 years. Yesterday morning, Ms Grierson arrived at the Melbourne Magistrates Court seeking to have the temporary intervention order extended. A few hours later she left after agreeing in an out-of-court settlement not to ''look at [Mr Cox's] Facebook page'' or ''cause her servants or agents to look at or otherwise monitor [Mr Cox's] Facebook page'' for a period of 20 years.
Warcom have an open day this Friday to check out some of their networking and telephony goodies. You will be able to get a hands on experience with some of the latest and great VoIP products currently available in Australia.
There's another Humble Bundle available. You can support charity. Choose exactly how your purchase is divided: Between Frozenbyte, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or the Child's Play Charity. Also, if you like this deal, a tip to the Humble Bundle itself would be much appreciated! More info here.
Speaking of which, video game soundtracks will now be able to win Grammy Awards. The Recording Academy has revealed that it will put videogames on the same level as television and film by adding them to the descriptors of four awards. Prior to the change, games were lumped in with "other visual media" while movies and TV got top billing, which only helped to discourage videogame music from being submitted.
Apple have apparently ordered 12 petabytes for iTunes storage. And you thought YOUR mp3 collection was big, thanks David. Apple placed the order with Isilon Systems for videos on iTunes, according to StorageNewsletter.com. The information was attributed to an "inside source" at EMC, which announced its intention to acquire Isilon for $2.25 billion in late 2010.
Also on the impressive storage front, StorageReview checked out an enterprise SSD from LSI. With features like 300GB of SLC flash, six SF-1500 controllers, and a SATA6 533Mhz LSI RAID controller tying it all together, this card promises extremely high transfer speeds, extremely low latency, and an extremely high high price tag. LSI promises up to 1,400MB/s sustained throughput, .5 microsecond seek time, 240,000 4K read IOPS, and 200,000 4K IOPS for the low, low MSRP of $11,500 ($7700 street), which puts it firmly out of reach of most power users.
Intel have launched their Oak Trail tablet processor. The new microchip is smaller and uses less power than other models in its Atom range. Despite being the world's largest manufacturer of microprocessors, Intel has been largely pushed out of the growing tablet market.
Sony have settled their lawsuit against GeoHot, for jailbreaking the PS3. Sony dropped its jailbreaking lawsuit against PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz on Monday in exchange for promises the New Jersey hacker would never again tinker with the game console or any Sony product, records show.
Twitter has been banned from the Logies, thanks John. Invitations to the ceremony at Crown carry, in very small print, the words: ''Please note, mobiles will not be permitted. Your co-operation is appreciated.'' ''It is because of the tweeting,'' a Logies source confirmed yesterday. ''I think we saw the tweeting in the past as being a bit mean-spirited and felt it detracted from the evening.''
I had a few days away at my nephew and godson's 18th birthday this weekend - congrats again, Jared. Thanks to DM for keeping the news page busy. Anyway, at one point during the weekend I finally succumbed to the pressure and checked out Angry Birds.. and Quite Some Time passed before I put the phone down again. :) If you haven't checked it out there's a few free versions (original, RIO and Seasons) in the App Store, but if you don't have an iphone or similar, then this browser game (and many others no doubt) are a similar idea.
If you're a user of games.on.net, they have a quick survey to help them improve things.
A few people sent word that News Corporation are in hot water for allegedly hacking people's mobile phones to get information for news stories. Rupert Murdoch's UK news arm faces a flood of fresh compensation claims and could be exposed to criminal prosecution after admitting its role in a long-running phone hacking scandal, lawyers say.
Harvey Norman has joined the daily deals battle, with their own website. The unveiling of the site is a reversal for the head of electronics and furniture chain Harvey Norman, who in November lashed out at the government for allowing consumers to import merchandise, bought online and costing less than $1000, GST free.
Marty has a 2011 Web Browser Roundup on his site. We at TurnedOn have decided to find out exactly that, ‘which web browser is the best?’ Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of web browsers online, we have decided to only test the most popular browsers and a couple others. Needs some proof-reading, Marty! :)
Wired have a gallery of microscopic art inside computer chips. But it’s not all business inside a chip fab, as these microscope photos reveal. In fact, the designers of microchips frequently hide tiny cartoons, drawings and even messages alongside the super-tiny circuits and semiconductors they create.
This Chinese USB drive is a amusingly dodgy. A couple of days ago a customer has brought a broken 500Gb USB-drive that he had bought in a Chinese store across the river, for an insanely low price. But the drive was not working: if you, say, save a movie onto the drive, playing the saved movie back resulted in replaying just the last 5 minutes of the film.
Tech-Report explore the world of multi-monitor computing. My favorite thing about living with so much screen real-estate is having a place for everything, with everything in its place. Outlook and Winamp (I kick it old school) go side by side on one monitor, while another is occupied by Skype, Pandora One, and various other widgets that display stock quotes, calendars, and vital system information. This arrangement frees up the bottom two displays for the main course - whatever I happen to be working on at the time. I certainly couldn't go back to one monitor now I've gotten used to two.
Callan and Aaricus sent in today's timewaster, a drag/click musical sandbox thingy.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials forum if you're shopping around. In there our various sponsors have threads with deals on arcade cabinet gear, plasma TVs, VPS hosting, fitness supplements, office chairs, toner cartridges, media players, photo studios, notebooks and a range of other goodies. There's even some competitions in there!
Eva2000 has been playing with a 64-CPU server (well, 32 cores with HT) and has some database benchmark results. At work managed to get remote access to this beast of a server for a few days of benchmarking and testing Linux applications - particularly MySQL related.
Apparently a security breach at a marketing services provider has exposed personal info including the email addresses and real names of customers of many large companies. Epsilon sends over 40 billion emails annually and counts over 2,500 clients, including 7 of the Fortune 10 to build and host their customer databases. Discussion here.
This article is a year or so old but still interesting, with a look inside 10 large datacentres, thanks Embercide. As demand for cloud services increase these centers comprise tens or sometimes hundreds of thousands of servers, multi-petabyte storage systems and increasingly are situated in locations where cheap energy is plentiful.
eyeLikeCarrots sent word that there are new Commodore computers yet again. Commodore USA has opened a new Web store and is now taking pre-orders for its new Commodore 64, VIC-Pro, and VIC-Slim models that are based on the originals. The new Commodore 64 is the home of a mini-ITX PC motherboard featuring a Dual Core 525 1.8GB Atom processor and a Nvidia Ion2 graphics card with 512MB of DDR3 memory.
HotHardware have some info on Intel's new 10-core Xeons. It's been just over a year since Santa Clara released its Nehalem-based octal-core Beckton processors. Whereas Beckton was focused entirely on performance and architectural efficiency, these new Xeons are more balanced. The new chips boost the core count to ten (up to 20 threads with HT enabled) and will be offered at a wide range of TDPs.
GamePron have the scoop on why Mortal Kombat was banned in Australia. We all know that the game’s appeal was denied, meaning that the upcoming brawler from Warner Bros. remains effectively banned Down Under, but the Board’s decision shows that this wasn’t a simple decision – nor a unanimous one.
Sniper spotted this report on free antivirus performance. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of free antivirus solutions, West Coast Labs has been running ongoing performance capability tests against a large number of samples from their ‘Real Time Project’, which leverages a geographically dispersed honeypot network to capture and provide a set of streaming samples 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Time for some news catchup! Firstly a reminder that the Facebook Connect thing on Friday was of course this year's April Fools gag. So you can probably lay off the angry emails now, heh.
Gizmodo chuckle at some silly conditions on Australian websites. I kept the idea basic. Find Australian websites that had Terms & Conditions that either banned or inanely denied you linking to their website. I did not have to go far. And yes I am breaking their terms & conditions by linking their terms & conditions pages here. The irony does not escape me.
Kotaku meanwhile dismay at the state of the R18+ debate. Sadly, there is no such thing as a rational debate when it come to the R18+ issue in Australia. When it comes to R18+ rationality is dead. When someone, in the face of overwhelming evidence, refuses to adjust his or her opinions, you have to ask yourself – is this really a discussion?
Internode's CEO is concerned about anti-competitive impacts of the NBN, thanks BeanerSA. Last week, I stood up at a conference and described the NBN’s pricing model as “insane” for small Internet service providers. I said that the NBN’s pricing model would only be feasible for ISPs with desires for national coverage if those ISPs already have more than 250,000 customers – specifically limiting the potential directly attached national customer base for the NBN to little more than Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet and Internode.
Bohemyth sent word that the NBN's construction boss has resigned. Now in the latest blow to NBN Co's efforts to deliver the project on time and on budget, the company's experienced head of construction, Mr Flannigan, tendered his resignation yesterday.
If you like cracking codes, maybe you can help the FBI crack a murder mystery. Ricky McCormick, who was murdered and dumped in a field in St. Louis, Missouri, had two encrypted notes stuffed in his pockets when police found the body.
Google recently launched a +1 system, similar to Facebook's "like". More here. In order to +1 things, you first need a public Google profile. This helps people see who recommended that tasty recipe or great campsite. When you create a profile, it's visible to anyone and connections with your email address can easily find it.
There's two Duke Nukem videos out. Contains bad language and general bad behaviour. Here's another video, of a kinda clever ad for a wooden mobile phone. Also check out this LCD monitor disassembly. Bill takes apart an LCD monitor and shows how it works. He explains how it uses liquid crystals, thin film transistors and polarizers to display information.
Here's a new one on me, bacn, which is email that's better than spam, but not as good as real mail. Bacn differs from spam in that it has intentionally been signed up for, even though this could be sometimes construed as a misinformed decision. Bacn is not necessarily sent in bulk. Some examples of common bacn messages are news alerts, periodic messages from e-merchants one has made previous purchases with, messages from social networking sites, and wiki watch lists.
Speaking of which, PETA are offering $1M for in vitro meat. Scientists around the world are researching or seeking the funds to research ways to produce meat in the laboratory—without killing any animals. In vitro meat production would use animal stem cells that would be placed in a medium to grow and reproduce.
Sony are the latest to draw fire from Anonymous, thanks JD. The hacking collective known as Anonymous has successfully taken down Sony’s official PlayStation website in revenge for the company’s lawsuit against George Hotz. Earlier today, the coordinated assault knocked Sony.com and PlayStation.com offline, with more attacks promised to come.
Tuesday Night Reviews
(link) Tuesday, 5-April-2011 12:48:50 (GMT +10) - by Agg
MSI are running their Master Overclocking Arena 2011 qualifier for AU and NZ, right here in our forums. MSI is proud to announce the AUNZ qualifier for MOA. MSI is calling upon overclocking aficionados from Australia and New Zealand to push their systems to the limit and submit their scores as the AUNZ qualifiers will start as of today! 2 of the best overclockers from Australia and New Zealand will earn flights, accommodation and hardware to compete and represent AUNZ in Jakarta at the APAC MOA finals in July.
So, get cracking with 3DMark Vantage and post your results here.
I love Sunday when you're full from lunch, and it's kinda quiet in the neighbourhood. It's even kinda quiet on the news front - I guess everyone's all tuckered out after the fun of April's Fools news posts.
Speaking of which, you may have seen Google's effort, the Gmail Motion. Well, researchers at USC have responded with the real deal. As one of the comments says for the second video, there's nothing worse than someone making your April Fools joke into reality.
If you've ever wondered about the testing behind hard drive reviews, Tweak Town have expanded on testing SSD drives:"It would be difficult for most people to imagine the amount of testing that goes into a product review. I think most reading this have run a benchmark on their system before, but few can really grasp what it means to systematically run test after test without varying order or timeline. We run a lot of tests, several more than what makes it into a final review. Once you master the art of testing and the discipline of keeping a dedicated test machine, certain patterns emerge. Some of these show up in the tests that are published and sometimes they show up in others. When a test shows something of value and isn't redundant with another test, we typically bring that test into the review. This can sometimes be to explain something we saw in another test or at times add a way to look at a product."
If you're really not clued-in about CPU's, cores, hyperthreading and all that, you should read Funky Kit's article about just that: "When researching processors these days one runs into talk of Cores, Threads, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost, Turbo This, Hyper That, HT, mhz, ghz, it's a mess! This article aims to be a basic guide to what it all means, in as simple of terms as possible."
Ars Technica had a good look at high performance computing on gaming PC's this week:"It is hard to imagine performing research without the help of scientific computing. The days of scientists working only at a lab bench or poring over equations are rapidly fading. Today, experiments can be planned based on output from computer simulations, and experimental results are confirmed using computational methods. For example, the Materials Genome Project is currently plowing through the periodic table looking for structures and chemistries that may lead to enhanced materials for energy applications. By allowing a computer to perform most of the work, researchers can concentrate their valuable time on synthesizing and characterizing a small subset of interesting compounds identified by the search algorithm." The article should be particularly interesting for a lot of OCAU'ers involved in distributed computing, in our ever-popular Folding@Home Team 24.
MegaTech News have released small "Robo showcase":"It’s not uncommon for articles to be written over persons of valor. If someone does a good deed or meets a historic achievement, they will be praised, held up on the shoulders of the printed word for all the world to see. Extraordinary acts and those responsible are often showcased to set examples and instill hope in others. That isn’t what I’m doing here. This isn’t for showcasing weak humans and their paltry accomplishments. I’m here to talk about robots, our soon-to-be masters and overlords." I just want one that can serve drinks on my sail barge.
Finally, we've got another article from Ars Technica, but this one is a photoessay, collating the first images from various probes that we've sent to other planets in the solar system."This week, NASA released the first images that its Messenger probe sent back after it went into orbit around the solar system's innermost planet, Mercury. These weren't the first images taken of Mercury from a spacecraft, nor even the first images of Mercury taken by Messenger, which had passed by the planet several times as it maneuvered into orbit. So why is entering orbit a big deal?"
If you're suffering some clock-related confusion this morning, it might be because Daylight Saving ended last night. So, 3am became 2am, and you got an extra hour's sleep-in. As always, if you notice the timestamps in the forums are wrong, check your timezone and daylight saving settings in UserCP.
Well, thank god we avoided that Facebook disaster. Anyway, news!
First up, you may have read in the last few days that Samsung had been installing keylogger software on their freshly built laptops. Well, it seems that the anti-spyware software used to detect the alledged keylogger actually generated a false-positive."Samsung has denied allegations it installed secret spyware software on its laptops that monitors and records users' activity - including their keystrokes - without their consent. Further, the security firm whose antivirus software was used to detect what it thought was spyware has published a statement on its blog apologising to Samsung." I say "Derp" on behalf of the anti-spyware people.
Most of us want to save as many pennies as we can when building a new computer and Benchmark Reviews have written a "Fast-Enough" budget PC article to show how it's done. "Just to be clear: I'm not trying to build the ultimate gaming box; rather, my goal is to build a gaming system that will play most modern games at an average frame rate of 30fps or higher at a resolution of 1680x1050 pixels for the least amount of money. A secondary goal is that the system should be easily upgradeable to increase its performance so that it can last at least a few years without requiring major expenditures."
Amazon recently announced their new "cloud" service for their digital music customers, Digital Trends have taken a closer look at the offering:"Music may have kicked off the digital media revolution with the rise of the MP3, but in recent years audio has taken a major backseat to video and communications. The more devices we pile up, the more fragmented our music collections become. Some don’t even bother downloading music at all anymore, instead opting for unlimited monthly services or radio alternatives like Pandora. Well, Amazon has taken a step toward changing that."
Know nothing about Intel's Core i7 products? Want to know more? Love obsessessing about obscure tech specs? (don't we all?) Then Hardware Secrets have you covered with a perusal of Intel's i7 chips currently available. I wanted to include a nice intro quote from the article, but it's just *bang* straight into the meaty techy stuff, so just go read it. Trust me. It's full of numbers.
TweakTown US have done an analysis of the AMD Catalyst v11.3 drivers:"I knew this driver was going to come, but I have to admit I was a little worried that for the first time in a few years AMD might just miss it. Of course they didn't, and today we're looking at the latest version of the Catalyst drivers - the 11.3s." Normally I'd write more, but it's kinda hard to jazz up a link about driver analysis.
While we're in a testing mood, Phoronix have looked at using Gallium3D on AMD FirePro Workstation GPUs: "How well do AMD's FireGL/FirePro workstation graphics cards work with the open-source graphics drivers for Linux? It's something we never have really focused on up to this point, since after all, most workstation users are satisfied with using proprietary display drivers on Linux. It is the workstation market that drives the proprietary Linux driver development after all for AMD and NVIDIA, and that is really the focus of development, not Linux gamers or enthusiasts. But curiosity got the best of me, so here's what happens if you try to use an expensive FirePro graphics card with the open-source driver stack and the Mesa Gallium3D driver."
While we're with Phoronix, they've also looked at the continuing improvement of Sandy Bridge performance:"At the beginning of the month I reported on a small patch to Mesa that resulted in a huge performance improvement for Intel Sandy Bridge graphics, but Intel's OSTC developers have bumped up the performance of the latest-generation graphics processors even more. With the LLC caching patch-set, which should be committed to the Linux 2.6.40 kernel (not the current 2.6.39 cycle), there are measurable OpenGL performance improvements."
Back into video card testing and performance, nVidia have released a "Subpixel Reconstruction Antialiasing Demo" - Er, righto. "Subpixel Reconstruction Antialiasing (SRAA) combines singlepixel (1x) shading with subpixel visibility to create antialiased images without increasing the shading cost. SRAA targets deferred shading renderers, which cannot use multisample antialiasing." Sounds great. Will it make the bodies in my games explode more prettily?
In an interesting move, nVidia are going to officially unlock SLI on AMD 990-chipset motherboards."For so long, AMD enthusiasts have to resort to unofficial patches to make SLI work on their boards but not anymore. NVIDIA has finally agreed to make their SLI technology available for AMD 9-series chipsets boards supporting the Zambezi processors based on Bulldozer architecture. Only 990FX and 990X will be supported though so no luck for 7 and 8 series boards owners."
Onto portable computing and Techspot have taken a look at the latest in notebooks:"The year kicked off to a good start in the laptop sector with AMD finally delivering its promised Fusion chips -- five years in the making -- and Intel launching its Huron River platform powered by Sandy Bridge processors. Fusion is doing well at the entry level market with limited competition from the Atom, but things didn't go so smoothly for Intel. The company discovered a design flaw in its 6 Series chipset, which resulted in product launch delays across the board for new Sandy Bridge-based notebooks."
Finally, if 2011 just isn't to your liking, you can always buy yourself a DeLorean and drive off to a different year!"In 1995, a Texas business man bought the rights for the DeLorean brand and all the inventory of the short-lived company. Through the DeLorean Motor Company you can buy an original 1982 DeLorean DMC-12, buy a brand new DeLorean, built from scratch using new parts, or repair your used DMC-12. If this story wasn't amazing enough, a guy built a replica of the DeLorean used in the Back to the Future movies and is selling at eBay for USD 450,000." That's a lot of bucks just to be able to drive around and rant incoherently like Doc Brown.
All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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