A few people sent in this story about a homebrewed supercomputer made of PS3s. The challenge these days with supercomputing facilities is that there is a lot of demand for them. So even if I submitted a job that would be expected to take about an hour, it could actually take two days to get started because the queues are so long.
The EU have fined Microsoft a record 1.3 billion dollars for alleged anti-competitive behaviour. The penalty far outweighs a a March 2004 decision that fined Microsoft $613 million and ordered it to share communications information with rivals within 120 days, taking an appeal to an EU court that it lost last September.
We've seen this kind of thing before, but Gizmodo have photos of an "art display" whereby 1,301 flourescent tubes are powered by overhead power lines. It's all a large art project by Richard Box, and if you're really interested in it you can order a DVD of the whole thing from him. If you're cheaper and less interested, just peruse our gallery for the cool shots.
Tech Report look at memory size in mid-range graphics cards. Conveniently, derivatives of the GeForce 8800 GT are available with 256MB, 512MB, or 1GB of memory, making it easy for us to probe the impact of graphics memory size on performance. We've tested a collection of single cards and SLI configurations in a selection of new games, across multiple resolutions, to see where memory size matters, if it does at all.
DriverHeaven compared 19 flash drives to the MAX! No, wait, to the EXTREME! Some of them we not only test but we burn in boiling water up to 100c, and if this wasn't bad enough, we borrow a 14 tonne bus and see if we can crush them.
Here's a bizarre article from Craig. They claim that a large ISP basically DDoS'd a real-life meeting to stop the interested public from having their say. Comcast — or someone who really, really likes Comcast — evidently bused in its own crowd. These seat-warmers, were paid to fill the room, a move that kept others from taking part. The meeting was about the importance of an open internet, too.
Wired report on a plan to find terrorists in World of Warcraft, thanks Chris. The cultural and behavioral norms of virtual worlds and gaming are generally unstudied. Therefore, Reynard will seek to identify the emerging social, behavioral and cultural norms in virtual worlds and gaming environments. The project would then apply the lessons learned to determine the feasibility of automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world.
Intel have revealed a 4 Watt "Diamondville" processor, while IBM break out the 20-core z10. The new z10 is equal to nearly 1,500 x86 servers in performance and requires up to 85% less power and requires up to 85% less floor space.
Dan has more letters. In this edition: CompactFlash versus SD, subwoofer-repair electrocution, humungous electrical conductors, and a motherboard you probably shouldn't buy.
(link) Wednesday, 27-February-2008 17:10:56 (GMT +10) - by Agg
NASA on Monday will broadcast the Beatles' song "Across the Universe" across the galaxy to Polaris, the North Star. Full read here.
BFM links us more information about the whole Pakistani/Youtube issue. A Pakistani blogger yesterday accused Pakistan's President Musharraf and his cronies of banning YouTube in order to suppress criticism and evidence of vote rigging in the country's recent election.
From this article over on ARSTechnica: The towers and offices of mobile phone operators in Afghanistan are being pressured to shut down operations at night by the Taliban. The former rulers of Afghanistan and current insurgent group held "talks" with the four major mobile companies in Afghanistan today, and gave them three days to go dark for 14 hours per day — or else. Thanks for sending that in Craig.
Google is partnering with 5 other companies to build a new high-bandwidth subsea cable system linking the US and Japan. The cable system is known as "Unity". Full info here. Thanks mpot!
There's an interesting read here on Cnet about the possible $2bn Take-Two (GTA publisher) takeover by EA.
Also from AirQ: The industry is just one multi-million-dollar corporate data breach away from waking up to the serious and often-silent threat of corrupted DNS resolution servers, says DNS inventor Paul Mockapetris. Full article here on Dark Reading.
Tech ARP have a Mobile GPU Comparison Guide posted. These days, there are so many mobile GPU models that it has become quite impossible to keep up with the different configurations. Therefore, we decided to compile this guide to provide an easy reference for those who are interested in comparing the specifications of the various mobile GPUs in the market as well as those already obsolescent or obsolete.
And finally, according to this article sent in by AirQ, monkeys pay for sex. :)
You already know OCAU can take care of your geeky needs, but did you know we also have some decidedly non-geeky forums? One example is our Geek Food forum, which has a Geek Grog sub-forum and, perhaps more interestingly, a Geek Recipes one. Here's a few recent tasty threads:
If anyone out there works in the "letting customers buy our stuff" department of Novell in Australia, pls drop me a note. Also, consider making it less difficult for people to give you money. Hint: responding to emails and/or web forms about sales would be a start. On with the reviews:
Here's a cool camera chip that can see in 3D. Instead of devoting the entire sensor for one big representation of the image, Fife's 3-megapixel sensor prototype breaks the scene up into many small, slightly overlapping 16x16-pixel patches called subarrays. Each subarray has its own lens to view the world--thus the term multi-aperture.
Timbot spotted this interesting article about the Large Hadron Collider. Amazingly it says it was printed in March 2008, perhaps due to some pretty cool high-energy physics effect. ;) Starting sometime in the coming months, two beams of particles will race in opposite directions around the tunnel, which forms an underground ring 17 miles in circumference.
A Facebook joke has gone horribly wrong for a Moroccan man pretending to be the King's brother. The court in Casablanca sentenced 27-year-old computer engineer Fouad Mourtada yesterday and fined him 10,000 dinar ($A1400) for "the use of false information and usurping the identity of the prince".
Mad Mike sent in this story about a new 5 gigabit wireless chip developed in Melbourne. The "GiFi" was unveiled today at the Melbourne University-based laboratories of NICTA, the national information and communications technology research centre.
Tweaktown have a guide to installing Linux on your PS3. There was a lot of noise in the beginning of the PS3's marketing-hype-launch that the console would have Linux pre-loaded, but Sony came to their senses when they realized how much more work that was going to be for them. So we are left to figure this one out for ourselves.
OC3D have been playing with triple SLI. Take 3 x XFX 8800 Ultra's, 1 x XFX 780i SLI motherboard, some 3D benchmarks and add a load of games.
EA are apparently making another installment in the Battlefield series, but this time it will be free to download and ad supported. So, presumably it'll be Battlefield Pizza Hut or similar. :) The company hopes the game will generate revenue through advertising and small in-game transactions that allow players to spend a few dollars on new outfits, weapons and other virtual gear.
Speaking of which, Bit-Tech consider the whole "advergaming" phenomenon. We've got used to sports games especially having real brands advertised on billboards (the FIFA games have been doing this since 1994) and for the most part this doesn't offend and perhaps even adds to the immersion. Unfortunately, if not carefully implemented, product placement can be jarring.
Phoronix have an editorial about ATI/AMD's Open Source Plans. Among the interesting comments made were that TexturedVideo/X-Video support for the R500/600 may be coming quite soon, DRM and Mesa work forthcoming, open-source multi-GPU CrossFire support is on the road-map, and they will be re-releasing R200 programming documents.
Dan has more letters. In this edition: Killer Tasers, ticking hard drives, phono cable extension, network splitters, photo hosting, magic spark plugs, and the mysteries of fuel consumption.
Carlos notes that WinXP SP3 RC2 is now available via Windows Update. It is recommended that you apply the resulting update package to an activated, genuine copy of Windows XP, in a test environment. As with any pre-release software, it is also recommended that you back up files and settings on your machine before applying this update package.
However Craig spotted a list from Microsoft of things that are broken by Vista SP1. "Windows Vista Service Pack 1 contains many security, reliability, and feature updates for Windows Vista," the company said. "A program may experience a loss of functionality after you install Windows Vista SP1. However, most programs will continue to work as expected after you install Windows Vista SP1."
R-Rated video games may be on shelves in Australia at some point. But a spokeswoman for the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, confirmed the issue of whether or not to allow an R18+ classification for games would be discussed at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting on March 28. It will be the first time the issue is discussed since November 2005.
AudioSurf is an interesting-sounding game that visualises your MP3 collection. DriverHeaven and TrustedReviews checked it out. Whether you can call it a fully-fledged game or not, Audiosurf is a compulsive, habit-forming activity, and one that really does let you experience music in a new and interesting way.
And for something completely different, Gibbon sent in these photos of a cheeseburger in a can. Mmm, convenelicious:
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around for a good deal. In there our many sponsors have threads featuring video cards, headphones, web hosting, mp3 players, tv tuners, digital photo frames, notebooks, energy drinks, motherboards and loads of other goodies. Worth a look. :)
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 23-February-2008 11:16:08 (GMT +10) - by Agg
APCMag have an article about how to rent movies from iTunes in Australia. I also notice the printed March 2008 issue of APC has, on the cover, "Sex in Second Life - A step-by-step guide on how to get lucky!" So if the news page is quiet this weekend you'll know where I'll be.
The Dilbert comic is running a series based on the true story of a guy who got fired for posting a Dilbert comic in his workplace. The casino's human resources director, Steve Morley, testified that "upper management" was offended by the cartoon. "Basically, he was accusing the decision-makers of being drunken lemurs," Morley testified.
Apparently there's going to be a Warner Brothers remake of Akira.. starring Leo DiCaprio. A.. Ki.. Raaaaaa! We're excited about the films, if just for the opportunity to see live-action reworkings of the original motorcycles and chase scenes. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that they don't go all unbelievable Matrix-style on us. Haven't seen the original in years, must check it out again.
Here's a PC modded.. into a toilet. Not a bathroom PC, the actual toilet. What happens when a normal person finds a toilet along a street? Most probably he wouldn't even notice it and for sure he wouldn't pick it up...and bring it home...BUT that's what insane Apple addicted nerdz would do.
A few people pointed out this mind-control gaming headset. A NEUROHEADSET that allows the wearer to play videogames simply by thinking has been unveiled at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and will go on sale later this year. More info here.
TechwareLabs ponder what's wrong with Media Centre PCs and why they're not more widespread. Microsoft wasn't the first to introduce the concept of the Media Center PC. In fact it was the average user that was responsible for the inception and creation of the Media Center PC.
AirQ spotted a Lego-based MMO game, but it won't be out for a couple of years. Still, sounds like a cool concept, building up your own virtual world from lego blocks. :) That is, the game will be just the latest part of the huge ecosystem. Practically, Hansen said, this means that players--or their parents--will be able to order actual, physical, sets of their creations.
NVIDIA have officially unveiled their GeForce 9600 GT. This mid-range GPU is based on their new G94 core at 65nm with a 256-bit memory bus. The NVIDIA® GeForce® 9600 GT GPU offers a powerfully immersive entertainment experience designed for extreme high-definition gaming and video playback. Play the hottest DirectX 10 games with awesome speed and watch the latest HD DVD and Blu-ray movies with brilliant clarity. Featuring next generation GeForce and PureVideo® HD technologies, the GeForce 9600 GT GPU puts amazing graphics performance within your reach.
The "toxic satellite" has been successfully blown to bits by a missile launched from a US warship, thanks Timbot. Left to its own devices, about half of the spacecraft would have been expected to survive the blazing descent through the atmosphere, scattering debris in a defined "corridor" which runs across the Earth's surface. Of course, plenty of people feel it was just a chance to show off their anti-satellite capability, and others think it was to destroy top-secret components.
Also on the BBC website, it seems End User License Agreements are under attack. The National Consumer Council (NCC) has accused 17 firms, including Microsoft, Adobe and Symantec, of using unfair "end user licence agreements" (EULAs).
James sent in this link about free web-based Quake Live on the way. In-game advertising specialists IGA and id Software have partnered to bring you the next iteration of the classic Quake franchise, Quake Live, and it's definitely not your normal web-based, free-to-play game.
Techgage describe how to build an affordable "Skulltrail" system. Intel's new dual-socket enthusiast platform is in every sense impressive, but due to the price of the recommended CPUs, owning one is a dream for many. We're taking a look at a few ways to build your very own full-featured 8-core "Skulltrail" machine for a price that's a lot easier to manage.
Metko show how to add animation and colour to your engraved case mods. Most of the engravings today are done to a single sheet of acrylic but there is no reason why one couldn't use several of them. Added layers give some interesting possibilities like adding different colors to the design, make the design feel more 3D and finally, they enable animation.
PCPerspective have a preview of AMD's Quad-CrossFire. After successfully releasing the Radeon HD 3800-series last year based on the RV670 GPU, AMD promised support for three and four-GPUs working in a single system. The new CrossFireX software is finally evaluated at PC Perspective as they put one, two, three and four GPU configurations through a good set of gaming tests.
Digit-Life meanwhile checked out the Phenom X4 in RightMark. In this article we shall analyze the key features of the new AMD Family 10h Processors architecture. We'll compare those with features of a typical AMD K8 processor -- Athlon 64 X2 5200+ for the AM2 platform or, officially, NPT (New Platform Technology).
It's short notice, but if you're a space geek and up anyway, keep an eye on NASA TV for the next 40 minutes or so. The Space Shuttle Atlantis is returning from its latest trip to the International Space Station and should touch down at 7 minutes past the hour. Thanks mpot!
Dailytech report on a 64GB SATA II solid-state drive from Samsung. Instead of the 65 MB/sec read and 45 MB/sec write speeds of the previous PATA SSD drive, the SATA II flavor will produce a maximum write speed of 120 MB/sec read and 100 MB/sec write speeds. It's still annoyingly difficult to get much info about these things tho.
Having said that, BenchmarkReviews checked out OCZ's 64GB SATA 2.5" SSD. While Solid State Disks can now finally promise the best of both worlds (speed and capacity), they are still extremely expensive. OCZ is very well known for their drive towards high performance, yet in this article you will see a different side to them with their SSD product line. We have tested and used the new OCZ 64GB SATA Solid State Drive OCZSSD64GB, and we're ready with the results.
Shay spotted this boat attempting the world circumnavigation record. The goal of Earthrace is to set a new world record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe, running 100% renewable biodiesel fuel, and with a net zero carbon footprint.
From Dohzer: I thought this analysis of an external harddrive with "128-bit AES hardware encryption" was pretty interesting. It turns out the encryption method was simply XORing the data with a 512 Byte key. More on slashdot here.
Yif sent in this gallery of DIY modded cars to be more aerodynamic and hence more fuel efficient. Turner spent $400 on hardware store materials including aluminum bars and sheeting; polycarbonate, corrugated plastic; screws; and pop rivets.
Tech Report checked out three-way SLI. Three GeForce 8800 Ultras. Two grand worth of video cards alone, yielding over 1.7 teraflops of raw shader arithmetic. But will they run Crysis smoothly? We decided to find out.
Craig noticed some info about Olympic blogging. The International Olympic Committee on Friday gave the green light to allow blogging at the Olympics for the first time, issuing guidelines for this August's Beijing Games. Athletes have long demanded they be allowed to write their blogs -- online journals of personal opinion or reflection -- during the Games but the IOC was concerned these could potentially infringe on copyright agreements and private information.
He also spotted this DSLR movie mode patent article. The patent addresses many of the technological hurdles that have prevented incorporation of a movie mode into DSLRs.
Phoronix benchmarked 11 versions of WINE, a Windows emulator for Linux. We had used two versions of Futuremark's 3DMark suite for testing, and with that we had found the performance to be stable in some cases while in later WINE releases we had found some performance losses. With the WINE project on a consistent two-week release cycle, we are looking at the WINE 3D performance and this time going back with the past eleven releases.
Today's very addictive timewaster is Spin The Black Circle, from Lando. Gah, if I have enough speed to get past the flames I hit the spikes.. (tries again)
Toshiba and HD DVD Bow Out
(link) Tuesday, 19-February-2008 12:40:12 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Well, it seems the rumours were true. Toshiba have released an official statement now. TOKYO--Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD and has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Monday, 18-February-2008 08:25:46 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Just a snapshot of what's going on in the forums at the moment:
Next-Gen DVD War Over?
(link) Monday, 18-February-2008 02:34:21 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Things continue to look grim for HD-DVD, with as yet unconfirmed reports that Toshiba is dropping production, basically surrendering in the war against Blu-Ray. Toshiba is expected to suffer losses amounting to tens of billions of yen (hundreds of millions of dollars) to scrap production of HD DVD players and recorders and other steps to exit the business, Japan's NHK said on its website. More info here, here, here, here and here.
It's worth noting that, despite the huge explosion of media coverage, the official word from Toshiba has not yet been released. So this is still a rumour, altho an extremely strong one. Keep an eye on this thread for more info as it unfolds.
Apparently EA are offering refunds to Australian customers who bought Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 expecting there to be network multiplayer available. Jenkins would not say why Australians were forced to miss out when the online component was present in the North American, European and Japanese versions.
LegitReviews have more info about mixing different video cards in CrossFire. This goes to show that ATI has made great improvements to their CATALYST drivers as taking an ATI Radeon HD 3870 and running it in CrossFire mode with an ATI Radeon HD 3850 was found to be stable and offered great improvements over a single card of either model.
Another game has been refused classification in Australia, which means it can't be sold here. This time it's Dark Sector, report IGN. After all, while the Board is simply making a decision based on its own guidelines, in a country where the average gamer is in his or her mid twenties, it seems a little strange for a game to be refused classification because it is "unsuitable for a minor to see or play".
Mr_insideout spotted this story about the world's smallest bodybuilder. Pint-sized Romeo is well-known in his hometown of Phagwara, India - for his ability to lift 1.5kg dumbbells - despite his overall 9kg body weight. My 1yo son weighs over 10kg and he's not a particularly big baby!
Bit-Tech have an interview about Spore. Hmm, the press machine does seem to be slowly grinding into action again about Spore, after not hearing anything for months. We have just published an interview with Thomas Vu, one of the lead producers on Will Wright's Spore. During the interview, we asked him about the female gaming market, DirectX 10, creationism and, um, probing. In fact, Dopefish noticed the current launch date is September this year.
Tech Report have a bit more about the plans to port PhysX to GeForce 8 GPUs. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made no announcements regarding the deal until asked in the question-and-answer session, but he was happy to divulge a decent number of details.
Tech Report also have a hardware survey running. The survey is based on our brand-new poll engine, and it includes 15 questions pertaining to anything from your primary computer's processor and chipset type to your main operating system and the aspect ratio of your monitor.
MYSRH sent in a link to some upcoming Xbox360 rumours. There is not one but two secret Xbox cats that Microsoft has kept in the bag. Currently there are three more Xbox 360 motherboards in the works right now. They are.. dun dun dun.. Jasper, Opus and Valhalla.
HWZone conducted an Avivo / PureVideo HD Showdown. With Blu-ray taking a major step towards outright winning the HD format war, we take a look at how graphics cards today can reduce the workload on your CPU. Read on for the ultimate comparison between ATI's Avivo HD and NVIDIA's PureVideo HD solutions.
Meanwhile Bit-Tech have a watercooling fluid shootout. But all of this was for one worthy goal – is there a fluid that reigns supreme? Does anything do water's job better than water? The numbers don't lie – nothing is better than pure, straight up water so far, at least where temperatures are concerned.
First up, an article about the biggest tech aquisitions of the decade. Most people have never heard of the big tech companies. Hell, I've never heard of some of them. SDL? JDS Uniphase? Veritas? Aspect Development? I have no idea what they do. But you don't need to be a household name to be worth billions. Here are the 15 biggest tech deals since 1998.
Tech-Report rounded up 16 mid-range graphics cards. We are living in perhaps the most exciting time in recent history for PC graphics. What's particularly striking about this latest flurry of excitement is that it isn't tied to a new standard in performance set by high-end "halo" cards that few enthusiasts can actually afford. These cards don't incite as much geek lust as those higher up the line, but they're far more attainable and often boast a better value proposition than the latest flagships.
The Pentagon has authorised shooting down a dead satellite. That busted spy satellite that was going to fall to Earth and hopefully not kill anyone? Well, the Pentagon has decided to not let it just assume it'd land in an ocean somewhere and take matters into their own hands. That's right: they're going to blow the thing right out of the sky.
At least one analyst thinks NVIDIA might aquire AMD, despite it possibly costing them their x86 license. American Technology Research analyst Doug Friedman believes NVIDIA could acquire Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) despite AMD’s x86 license from Intel being non-transferable. Friedman believes that AMD and Intel’s long term roadmaps are a threat to NVIDIA and cites mounting pressure from AMD’s stock holders as a reason for its vulnerability to a buyout from NVIDIA. AMD’s recent troubles with its quad core processors and ATI’s recent weakness in the high end graphics market have only exacerbated this pressure. Friedman sees AMD and Intel’s plans for integration of CPUs and GPUs as a threat to NVIDIA and believes NVIDIA anticipates this future competition as well.
Electronic Arts has announced Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Developed by EA Los Angeles, the same studio that handled Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, Red Alert 3 will add co-op campaign play, new units, and a new faction to the alternate history strategy series. According to the executive producer Chris Corry, naval combat has been brought "into the heart of the game design."
Apparently GeForce 8 Cards will Gain PhysX Engine Support. During a financial call, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hseun Huang revealed that the ported engine will bring enhanced physics capabilities to all of the company's existing GeForce 8 cards, as it will be programmed in CUDA. "Finally [developers are] able to get a physics engine accelerated into a very large population of gamers," explained Huang. "[It's] just gonna be a software download. Every single GPU that is CUDA-enabled will be able to run the physics engine when it comes...Every one of our GeForce 8-series GPUs runs CUDA."
Tech.tm report that the Next-gen DVD format war is hampering sales, unsurprisingly. Purchasers are likely to stick with traditional DVDs and other formats until a next-gen DVD format leader emerges, according to new market research. Blu-ray and HD-DVD have been locked in mortal combat for the last year, although Sony's format appears to be moving ahead now.
Finally, here's one analyst's thoughts on next-gen gaming. Talking about EA's bullish revenue projections, Wilson let slip to Gamespot that he believes Nintendo will launch first, followed by Microsoft later in the year (no word on when the assumed PS4 will come). On the portable side, Wilson also predicts the next round of Nintendo DS and Sony PSP hardware will appear sometime in 2010, though it's not clear whether he's calling for a new chipset or just another redesign.
It seems the writers's strike is officially over, thanks PraiseB. On Tuesday, members of the Writers Guilds East and West voted by a 92.5% margin to lift the restraining order that was invoked on November 5th. The strike is over.
Mpot noticed some strange behaviour from a Beta Google Toolbar when it encounters a 404. But it turns out it's no big deal after all, and will only display the "surprise" 404 page when the server sends the small default and generally unhelpful 404 page. Actually, I encountered the 512 byte behaviour when making OCAU's custom 404 pages and testing them with IE a long time ago, and I found lots of people who were annoyed at MS for making IE behave that way. But it seems that now it will happen with Firefox too, assuming you have this beta Google Toolbar installed. Anyway, apart from confusing webmasters occasionally, I don't think it's a bad thing.
The USAF is setting up a Cyber Command. In the 21st century, Wynne wrote, America's enemies would contest America in a new range of theaters, and the armed forces must be ready to meet them and, if necessary, "destroy them" there. Henceforth, he vowed, the Air Force would "fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace."
Turns out that trying to steal a 11,000V power line while it's live is a bad idea. At the very least putting the hacksaw through the cable would have created an almighty bang and the line would have burned for quite a few seconds, showering them with molten copper.
TrustedReviews look back at the history of Lara Croft. Within a year, it was clear that Tomb Raider was more than just another hit game. Lara started to appear in newspapers and mainstream magazines, culminating in a June 1997 cover feature in UK style bible, The Face. Eidos played up the hype, hiring a string of starlets to pose as Lara at events and trade shows.
CPU3D have been crossfiring different cards together. ATi's latest Catalyst v8.1 drivers have been released, and the word on the street is that you can Crossfire two totally different Radeon HD38xx cards. What's even better, is that the results you get is almost as good as, if you had two matching HD3870 cards. So, is this true?
Digit-Life have a large video card comparison. The i3DSpeed, a project of iXBT.com and Digit-Life.com, is dedicated to informing you about performance of a large number of graphics cards under Windows XP and Vista. This issue #3 (92) is dedicated to drivers released from December 15, 2007 to January 15, 2008.
Phoronix investigate AMD Phenom 32-bit vs 64-bit in Linux. Since publishing our Linux review of the AMD Phenom 9500 on the Spider platform a month ago, we have continued in our investigation of this first AMD desktop quad-core processor that has been very problematic with Ubuntu 7.10 Linux.
DDSD spotted this interesting door mod. Door in your house, not in your case. :) Meanwhile PCPerspective checked out a Van-Puter. One of our long-time readers submitted a story about modifying his desktop PC, complete with LCD monitor and printer, to fit in his Dodge Caravan mini-van.
Bit-Tech took a hands-on look at Spore. Just when I'd started to forget about that game, too. Frankly though, even if the game doesn’t prove to be as redefining as I think it will be, then it’s still shaping up to be a fantastic game and clearly shows how even the most complex of tasks can be accomplished with enough persistence.
It's been a while since I've mentioned OCAU's Wiki. This of course is a database of information on a huge range of topics, that can be added to and updated by anyone with an OCAU Forums account. Here's a few interesting pages:
Most of these are in our Worklogs and PCDB Entries forum, which as of now is open to guest viewing (like the Photography Gallery). So even if you're not a member, you should be able to view those threads. And then become a member! ;)
We mentioned this earlier, but bigteethygrin sent in another link about the mysterious removal of online multiplayer ability from the Australian version of Medal of Honour Heroes 2 for Wii. The EA and Nintendo game pages both state that the game supports online play. The box art on the Australian version, however, does not have the Wi-Fi logo, and is missing a section of text from the description on the back. Thread about it here.
From Ambush: Mobile Firefox will be coming to your Windows Mobile PDA or Smartphone soon after the release of Firefox 3.0 for the PC. Doug Turner, the Firefox Mobile product manager, recently released two more prototype UI (user interface) designs for feedback. In the meantime, the predecessor to Firefox Mobile, Minimo 0.2, is available for download to WM5.0 and WM6 devices. For those living in the past on WM2003SE and prior, Minimo 0.16 can be downloaded here.
NASA have called for suggestions of names for a future telescope, because GLAST sounds a bit boring I guess. "We hope someone will come up with a name that is catchy, easy to say and will help make the satellite and its mission a topic of dinner table and classroom discussion."
This German site (machine-translated to English) has a simple guide to enabling portrait mode on your Samsung SyncMaster 245B LCD monitor. It is not bad language at all if we say that Samsung screwed us - or rather our 24" LCD monitor 245B. It happens quite often that manufacturers use the same parts for their low cost products and their much more expensive offerings. Most of the time some features will be disabled, like Pivot on the 245B. The Samsung 245T uses the same stand but has Pivot, the only difference is a screw (back to our initial pun). And we'll show you how to get rid of it ;).
Shaun noticed some progress in the writer's strike affecting American TV shows. By calling for separate votes on ending the strike and accepting the new three-year deal, the union cleared the way for the entertainment industry to return to work almost immediately.
Adam pointed out the Titan Amanda heatsink with inbuilt 50W peltier, reviewed here, here and here. Great way for people to try out peltier cooling with a small wattage (50watt) peltier.
A global day of protest against Scientology happened yesterday, with demonstrations kicking off in Australia. About 150 people gathered at the Church of Scientology building in the Sydney CBD this morning, most of them carrying picket signs and wearing costumes or masks.
Dan wants to talk about SATA controllers and trayless bays. It's now possible to use 500Gb drives like floppy disks... with a couple of caveats. And I tell another reader the easy way to make monster JBOD volumes.
Speaking of which, a company called BitMicro networks is talking about 1.6TB solid-state drives being available soon. The Altima Ultra320 SCSI model is expected to ship in volume by the third quarter this year, the company spokesman said. "These models are targeted towards military, enterprise, and industrial applications requiring rugged high capacity and high performance," he said.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around for a good deal. In there our many sponsors have threads featuring TV tuners, video cards, coolers, web hosting, memory, LCD monitors, energy drinks and loads of other goodies. Worth a look. :)
Online Users Record Attempt
(link) Sunday, 10-February-2008 16:36:28 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Vulkanyaz is organising another online users record attempt in the forums tonight. So, at around 8:30pm ADST, if you remember, jump in and be counted. If you notice things slowing down a bit around then, that's why. :)
These tests do actually have a useful function, which is that I can observe the servers during this extreme load and work out what optimisations or changes would help us sustain that kind of load in future. I've made some configuration changes since the last time and it'll be interesting to see how things go.
Here's an interesting gallery showing the evolution of company logos. You’ve seen these tech logos everywhere, but have you ever wondered how they came to be? Did you know that Apple’s original logo was Isaac Newton under an apple tree? Or that Nokia’s original logo was a fish?
TBreak compared 3870 Crossfire vs 8800GT SLI. We found out that the 8800GT was the card of choice but ended the article by promising a showdown of these cards in dual card modes. Today we do just that- compare the 8800GT is SLI mode to the HD3870 in Crossfire mode. Lets find out if AMD can turn the tables.
Sniper spotted this article about nuclear fusion. "Within five years, large companies will start to think about building fusion reactors," Wal Van Lierop, CEO of Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, said in an interview at the Clean Tech Investor Summit taking place in California this week.
YouGamers wonder if the PC games market is really as bad as people are saying. Various things have been blamed along the way: piracy, buggy releases, steep system requirements, cost of upgrading and so on. However, all of those factors have been prevalent for at least 3 or 4 years, so has it really been that bad recently? We look at the revenue figures for the top 3 publishers to see what the score really is.
This chocolate-inspired USB HDD looks like a cool idea until you lose all the bits. The central hub is a touchscreen to help you view and organize your collective files. In theory it sounds clever and usable but would this really work in the real world?
A little bit behind the times, but there's still lots of fun to be had overclocking a Q6600, as 3DGameMan report in their latest video. Overclocking the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz (Socket 775) CPU. See how far Rodney pushed this processor!
Apparently cheaper PS3s may be on the way, due to IBM shrinking the Cell processor to 45nm, thanks flatout. he greatly reduced power budget will cut down on the amount of active cooling required by the console, which in turn will make it cheaper to produce and more reliable (this means fewer warrantied returns).
Ben sent in this $6M home theatre setup. When it comes to home theaters, I thought I'd seen it all. But nothing's come close to this. First, I'm going to try to describe the sheer magnitude of Jeremy Kipnis' theater. His Stewart Snowmatte laboratory-grade screen is the biggest I've ever seen in a home, and in the back of the theater, there's a Sony ultra-high-resolution (4,096-by-2,160) SRX-S110 digital projector.
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 9-February-2008 12:25:25 (GMT +10) - by Agg
India and Middle Eastern countries should have their Internet back up and running at full speed this weekend after three main communication cables were disabled over the last week. More information and theories on how the cables were originally 'cut', here.
TCMagazine have just posted seven pages of reviews and screenshots, plus download links to a heap of free, full, legal games. Also, in our Games forum here, we have a heap of free games posted as well.
Travis noticed this Canon Super Telephoto 1200mm f/5.6L EF Lense, and you can own one yourself for only USD$99,000. At 36lbs, 33" long and 9" wide at the front element, calling this lens a 'tele' is like calling King Kong a monkey.
Digital Trends has their 2008 PMA Wrap-up posted. Digitaltrends.com covered many of the announcements made prior to the event which ran from January 31 to the day before the Super Bowl-which everybody watched on those flat panel TVs! What follows are our picks for the best in show-along with a few thoughts about the wild world of digital imaging.
According to this article on IGN, the Wii version of MoH Heroes 2 has had all online and multiplayer elements removed from the Australian version, where the US and UK copies remain unaltered.
Techreport have tested eight 700-1000w power supplies from a range of different manufacturers and hooked them up to their very power hungry test rig. Full round-up posted here.
Velicoma would just like to let you all know about an online radio show for the Australian Counter-Strike Source Community. It's aired live from 7:30pm (AEST) Thursdays, but can be downloaded as a podcast shortly after the show finishes. The hosts interview current players from the Australian CEVO league, event organisors (Gamerthon, Anything Interactive National Cup and the Got Games Nationals), team managers and a host of others. The show is trying to raise awareness of not just CSS but Australian Gaming in general by covering major events such as Gamerthon (March 31st to April 6th in Melbourne). More information, here.
Gecko noticed this timewaster from Ebay, where you dunk the scammer to win money.
Digit-Life checked out the AMD 770/790 Chipsets. There are three chipsets in this family, which differ only in the number of graphics ports (and PCI-E lanes) and consequently in supported CrossFire modes. All these chipsets support Hyper-Transport 3.0 (backward-compatible with Hyper-Transport 1.0). Maximum bus clock rate has grown from 1000 MHz to 2600 MHz. Thus, its throughput has grown from 6.4 GB/s to 20.8 GB/s.
US Customs are apparently searching through laptops and mobiles now, which is making a lot of people upset. Full article here, on Washington Post, thanks mpot.
Cas from Scalegamer had an interview with Dci (Anthony), the creator of EeeCTL and also did some testing with the software, with some interesting results.
James also spotted this new "Modu mobile", which is smaller than the current iPod Nano, and only weighs 43 grams, but it appears to be a GPRS (non-3G) unit. The jackets that will come with the Modu look like mobile phones, with standard numeric keypads and other features like cameras. But they lack they lack the antenna and chips that communicate with a wireless network, and this is where the Modu comes in - it pops into a slot, turning the jacket into a fully functional phone.
I just spotted this article on Digg, which covers some pretty cool Google search tricks, number ten being pretty damn cool.
Sniper sent word of a fire at Lite-On's LCD factory in China. A Top-5 Taiwan LCD monitor maker, Lite-On Technology expects to ship 20 million units in 2008, the sources indicated. It is still uncertain whether Lite-On Technology can reach its shipment goal, but due to the fire, some OEM orders will be shifted from Lite-On to other makers such as TPV Technology, Qisda and Innolux Display, the sources predicted.
From Worm628: The Register has a pretty cool article about the new IBM supercomputer project, with a computing power equivalent to 67.1 million core, and a theoretical I/O bandwidth of 10 petabytes/second.
XbitLabs have a think about the future of AGEIA, now that NVIDIA is buying them. DriverHeaven took the opportunity to review a PhysX card from them too.
ReviewSpring checked out the state of 3D monitors. 3D LCD technology has existed since the very first commercial monitors were on sale, but they were prohibitively expensive and lacked the image quality of the current panel generation. The most popular form of 3D LCD technology is called “autostereoscopic technology” and is able to provide a 3D image without any glasses!
YouGamers have a 3DMark Vantage dev diary. The Futuremark benchmark developers have pushed out the first Developer Diary video, discussing about 3DMark Vantage. This video is the first piece of additional "stuff" hinted at around the release of the first screenshots of 3DMark Vantage. Looks like that YouGamers site is actually run by FutureMark, interesting.
Marc spotted this email flag project to tell you when you have mail. Mine would be pretty much constantly up thanks to the spam.
Dan has more questions. One of my readers is wondering whether SLIed 8800s is the way to go. Maybe a couple of HD 3870X2s on a SkullTrail board. Another is considering stepping up to an AGP GeForce FX 5500. It's only a matter of time before someone asks me where they can get a new tape-punch for their PDP-8 teletype.
From Pugsley_21: Just a couple of things, probably not news anymore: Windows Server 2008 Releases to Manufacturing. Also RTM’d today was SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. Also, the Eye-Fi Card is a wireless memory card. It automatically uploads pictures from your digital camera to your PC or Mac and to your favorite photo sharing, printing, blogging or social networking site.
ThePirateBay's leadership are now facing conspiracy charges, and treating them with the usual disregard they seem to enjoy. The Pirate Bay will keep operating just as always. We've been here for years and we will be here many more,” writes an unnamed administrator on the site’s official blog, before pointing out that Swedish police could have “saved a hell of a lot of trees” by posting the 4,620 pages of legal documents against Sunde and friends – available for approximately $1000 USD – in a PDF torrent on the site.
From Trevor68: Hi all, just thought I’d post up the results from our Wallpaper Competition. News Post here. And you can check out the actual Wallpapers here. Congratulations to all the entrants, and a BIG thankyou to THQ for supplying the prizes. The Comp was fun to do, and we look forward to seeing all of you in game on release. :)
Anandtech have an editorial about Futuremark, benchmarks and gaming. While there are occasions where the performance metrics generated by the Futuremark tools correlate well to certain real-world games, very few people are going to be interested in purchasing hardware based solely on 3DMark performance.
Bit-Tech checked out three Home Theatre PC motherboards from ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI. The boards are based on three different IGPs from Intel, AMD and Nvidia and we examine performance in real-world 2D tasks before looking at audio output quality, video playback performance and video image quality.
XbitLabs compared 8 GPU coolers on a GeForce 8800 GT. Today we shall examine 8 graphics card coolers from Arctic Cooling, Thermalright, Thermaltake, Zalman, and Zerotherm (including a liquid cooling unit). These will be tested with the reference NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT. After that we'll analyze test results from a computer enthusiast's point of view.
From Karl: There's a very popular story on Whirlpool's front page "Telstra pulls ISDN but users unhappy with options". I'm one of the 23,000 regional and rural affected ISDN Home users, who with no other viable alternative even close to 128/128 look like being forced back to a 56K modem in 2009. Telstra's new slogan seems to be "Yesterday's Technology Tomorrow". :(
Phoronix took a look at Sun's Project Indiana. A week ago we reported that a second preview release of Project Indiana, Sun's attempt at creating an operating system for the desktop based upon OpenSolaris and led by Ian Murdock, was on track to be released in the near future. Thursday afternoon that became true with the test image surfacing for Developer Preview 2 of Project Indiana, or what will formally be called OpenSolaris.
For something a little different, Kotaku tried out several energy drinks. I'm borderline addicted to these things. Game harder, faster, and longer with the help of various sugars and herbs in a tiny tin can - but which tiny tin can is the best?
Thermaltake have a survey where you can win stuff. Seems to be open to international entries. This survey will take approximately 3 minutes and 38 seconds to complete. That's a pretty specific approximation. :)
NVIDIA to aquire AGEIA
(link) Monday, 4-February-2008 23:45:04 (GMT +10) - by Agg
NVIDIA have announced that they are acquiring AGEIA Technologies. "The AGEIA team is world class, and is passionate about the same thing we are—creating the most amazing and captivating game experiences," stated Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. "By combining the teams that created the world's most pervasive GPU and physics engine brands, we can now bring GeForce®-accelerated PhysX to hundreds of millions of gamers around the world."
Futuremark are teasing us with preview info about 3DMark Vantage, the latest in their 3DMark range of benchmark/eyecandy programs. The word on the street is that it's for DirectX 10 (and 10.1) only, so it will only work on Vista. It's also just "coming soon" for the moment. Here's some teaser screenshots of the "in progress" version:
Larger screenshots on the 3DMark Vantage site here. Discussion in our forums here.
HWZone compared 45nm Wolfdale and Conroe 65nm CPUs. It should not take pages of benchmark results to convince you that the E8500 is a better buy than the E6850 as that clearly is the case. However, those currently in possession of an E6000 series processor or even older Intel or AMD processors, may still be quite interested to see how much faster these new E8000 series CPUs are, and if they are worth upgrading to. The non-race is on then!
Quadbox noted that Brazil have now banned EverQuest and CounterStrike. Both Counter-Strike and EverQuest, each now nine-years old, were said to promote "the subversion of public order, were an attack against the democratic state and the law and against public security" by the judge enacting the ban.
HWZone spotted some bizarre items from 2007. What's a towel to do with the Xbox 360 game console you ask, or for that matter, it being tech-related? After all, a towel's nothing but fluffy absorbent cotton that you dry yourself with, yes? Well, in early January last year, the humble towel started becoming the savior of Xbox 360 users everywhere.
MadShrimps checked out six high-end water blocks. In this group test we compare the performance of six high end water blocks from Koolance, Danger Den, D-Tek, Swiftech and EnzoTech on an overclocked Intel Quad Core Processor. Which one keeps the CPU running the coolest? Read on to find out.
PCPerspective ponder Skulltrail and multi-GPU configurations. As it would seem, after all the excitement and buzz around Intel's motherboard being the first to support SLI, NVIDIA is holding back 3-Way SLI support from the platform. Is this REALLY a technical issue or simply a billion-dollar PR cage match?
Microsoft are apparently taking a look at taking over Yahoo as part of their attempt to tackle Google, thanks Joanna. Yahoo said it was examining the "unsolicited proposal" and added that its board "will evaluate this proposal carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximise long-term value for shareholders". More info here, thanks Seb.
RnR sent in this Intel press-release where they announce they are now the single largest corporate purchaser of green power in the USA. Intel's REC purchase, which includes a portfolio of wind, solar, small hydro-electric and biomass sources, will be handled by Sterling Planet, a leading national supplier of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon solutions.
Sony join the ranks of people announcing new cameras, with their Alpha 300 and 350 DSLRs. Sony is bringing live-view shooting to its digital SLR camera line with today’s introduction of a 14.2-megapixel a (alpha) DSLR-A350 camera and 10.2-megapixel a (alpha) DSLR A300 model. Both cameras feature new technologies that make picture taking faster, easier, and more familiar for first-time DSLR users. Discussion thread here.
NordicHW checked out the KillerNIC network card for gaming. It has been questioned in many ways, so we decided to test it as thorough as we could imagine and then bring out some statistical calculations to get some scientific proof. We've summarized 2,400 ping values together with FPS statistics from 40 test sessions in this review. And yes, it does work. Sometimes.
A few people sent in these cool hand-blown light bulbs. Describing them as the “restoration of dialogue between filament and bulb,” Roelofs created the lights partly as a reaction against the soulless glow of low-energy bulbs.
Dan has more letters. In this edition: Liquid helium for PC cooling, the Amazing Boiling-Point Pentium 4, magnetic screwdrivers versus your data, and putting a smoke machine in a computer.
XbitLabs have a dual-core CPU shootout. We tested 17 contemporary dual-core processors from AMD and Intel to answer the most important question the users ask these days: what solution is the best choice from the consumer standpoint basing on their price, performance and power consumption.
From Craig: Not sure if you've heard of this (I certainly hadn't, but intend to try it out shortly). "MojoPac Freedom" is the free edition of the MojoPac desktop virtualization software. It allows you to install a Windows XP environment on a portable hard drive, Ipod, or other device that, when plugged into any PC, behaves as a self-contained Windows XP environment that can have the programs that you need installed and the desktop customizations that you are used to." Point 2 is somewhat concerning though - Information We Collect And How We Use It. Hmm, sounds like fairly standard privacy agreement stuff to me.
Matt sent in this article about the ugliest building in the world. In 1987, Baikdoosan Architects and Engineers put its first shovel into the ground and more than twenty years later, after North Korea poured more than two percent of its gross domestic product to building this monster, the hotel remains unoccupied, unopened, and unfinished.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Friday, 1-February-2008 10:10:27 (GMT +10) - by Agg