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Tuesday Afternoon (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 9-April-2013  16:51:26 (GMT +10) - by Agg

The Federal Opposition have revealed their NBN policy. Australia's Liberal Opposition announced its policy for building a national broadband network today, junking the ALP's fibre-to-the-home plan in the hope of connecting Australians at a lower cost. Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull fronted a news studio owned by Fox Sports today to confirm that a Coalition Government, if elected, would build a cut down version of the Governmentís national broadband network for $29 billion with a completion date of 2019, compared to Laborís $44 billion and 2021 end date. Discussion continues in this enormous thread.

Intel have announced their next-generation Thunderbolt. But let's talk about the real news: the next-gen Thunderbolt tech (code-named Falcon Ridge) enables 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously in addition to running at 20 Gbps. It will be backward-compatible with previous-gen Thunderbolt cables and connectors, and production is set to ramp up in 2014. An on-stage demo with fresh-off-the-press silicon showed the new Thunderbolt running 1,200 MBps, which is certainly a step up from what's currently on the market.

There's an interesting video here about a tactile-feedback controller. At GDC 2013, a company called Tactical Haptics showed off a tactile-feedback system, called Reactive Grip, for motion-controlled input devices. The prototype I got to use consisted of a hacked up Razer Hydra built into a 3D printed housing with four sliders that move up and down in your hand as you grip the unit. For certain situations, like swinging a sword or flail, the system creates an impressively convincing sensation that could bring us one step closer to immersive virtual reality. More here.

SiSoftware (makers of the Sandra benchmark) have an article about using GPUs for financial analysis. Financial analysis algorithms are complex, floating-point (of different precision) workloads that represent "real-life" examples of workstation use that stress FPUs and FP accelerators. They use a variety of non-basic mathematical functions (e.g. exp, log, sqrt, etc.) while processing a good amount of data that stress memory and cache sub-systems. Some of these functions (e.g. exp, log, transcendentals) are GPU-accelerated as they are used extensively in graphics (shaders) while CPUs do not accelerate them as they are relatively "rare". However, as historically GPUs "cut corners" and did not implement them in full accuracy (as this was not required for graphics) higher precision may needed or slower, non-accelerated versions may need to be used.

Forbes report on the richest tech billionaires in 2013. Bill Gates is still on top! Bill Gates, the world's most generous person, has already given more than $28 billion, but said in his fifth annual letter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that the total amount invested is less important than precise measures of impact, like child mortality rates. Gates' net worth increased $6 billion to $67 billion in the past year - with no help from the company he cofounded, Microsoft, in which he still has a 5% stock.

Meanwhile PC World look back at beloved PC game studios which have fallen by the wayside. With the shuttering of LucasArts this week, we're taking a look back at some of our favorite PC game developers and publishers that are no longer around. Some of these companies introduced us to PC gaming, while others helped to define a genre that's still popular today.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.