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Sunday October 23, 2016

The Best Seat In Any Movie Theater

The best seat is probably your own living room, but if you do get dragged out to a cinema, you should probably aim for two thirds of the way back (and center, obviously). That would be where primary audio calibration takes place. The more you know…

…it's based on how engineers typically calibrate a theater’s sound system. According to Steve Martz, director of global technology at audio company THX, technicians will take microphone measurements at several locations throughout the theater. "These measurements are averaged together in order to better evaluate what each person hears when they are watching a movie," he says. This bundle of microphones includes a "primary microphone" that is used to set playback levels, speaker timing, and other parameters that require a single location for measurements and calibration.


Bike Lock Makes Thieves Immediately Vomit

Someone decided to make a bike lock that shoots out a gas when it’s cut. Uh, what happens when there are other people around it? My solution was to just buy a bike that didn’t cost hundreds of dollars.

With his co-inventor, Yves Perrenoud, Idzkowski created a U-shaped lock of carbon and steel with a hollow chamber to hold one of three pressurized gases of their own concoction, including one called "formula D_1". When someone cuts about 30% of the way into the lock, Idzkowski said, the gas erupts in the direction of the gash. "It’s pretty much immediately vomit inducing, causes difficulty breathing," Idzkowski said. "A lot of similar symptoms to pepper spray." The inventors have not yet tested the device on an actual would-be thief, but have tested it on themselves and volunteers at distances of two feet (60cm), five feet, 10ft and 20ft. "At two feet it was pretty bad. It was absolutely vomit inducing in 99% of people.


Amazon May Account For 20% To 30% Of All U.S. Retail Goods Sold Online

Amazon, apparently, is a lot bigger than we think. While the company itself would suggest 15% of total U.S. consumer online sales, the number may be double that after considering all of the goods that it also handles for third parties.

Gene Munster, a senior analyst at Piper Jaffray, estimates Amazon touches 30% of total e-commerce in the United States, and its share is growing. "Amazon’s just going to slowly grab more and more of your wallet," he said. Given its growth, it's possible to contemplate a future with Amazon as the nation’s largest single retailer, though what that looks like is unclear. Walmart was massively disruptive when it came on the scene, laying waste to local retail districts with each megastore it opened. Amazon, which increasingly can offer delivery in one to two hours, promises to be even more disruptive, said Jason Goldberg, senior vice president of commerce at Razorfish, an e-commerce marketing agency.


Google Quietly Drops Ban On Personally Identifiable Web Tracking

While you can still opt out of this stuff, Google has made some changes where web browsing records from other owned services (namely DoubleClick) could be integrated into your account. This means your browsing habits, interests, etc., would be paired with your name and other personal information, making it easy for the company to get an extensive profile of you.

The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct. The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.


Galaxy Note 7 Owners May Get Galaxy S8 At Lower Cost

This news is out of Korea and may or may not apply to other countries, but anyone who exchanged their Note 7 with an S7 or Edge may be able to do so again for a Galaxy S8. Let’s hope their next flagship is trouble free.

Samsung Electronics announced on October 21 a new compensation program for those who have purchased a Galaxy Note 7. Under this program, Samsung will allow those who exchange their Galaxy Note 7 with Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge to exchange them again with a Galaxy S8, scheduled to be launched in March 2017 without paying much. Samsung officials said, "The new compensation program is designed to make it easier for those who exchange their Galaxy Note 7 with existing Samsung smartphones, to shift into our next model coming in next year." They added, "We think this could an effective program since it also provides some incentives to smartphone vendors."


Try Star Citizen’s Alpha For Free Until The End of the Month

If you want to see how Star Citizen runs on your PC but don’t want to chalk up $45, now’s your chance. You can check out the alpha for free until the 30th with a promo code.

Cloud Imperium Games announced today that Star Citizen‘s alpha will be free to access for everyone starting today and until October 30th. The alpha includes a large chunk of content, from dogfighting to free flight and a glimpse on the persistent universe in the Crusader system. While it’s by no means content-complete, it’s a good way to give a look to what Star Citizen is all about if you never had a chance to see it running on your own PC. All you have to do is to create an account on the official website, insert the code "FALL2016" in this page, download the client and you’re good to go.


AMD Drops Radeon RX 460, RX 470 Prices

Due to the impending launch of the GTX 1050, AMD is taking 10 bucks off on some of its RX 400-series cards. Competition is good…

As of today, the Radeon RX 460’s "suggested e-tail price" will start at $100 and the Radeon RX 470 will start at $170 "with new holiday programs." An AMD representative couldn’t clarify what "new holiday programs" meant, exactly, but those adjusted costs represent a $10 discount from the launch-day SEPs for both cards. Scanning Newegg this morning, a couple of Radeon RX 460s indeed clock in at $100, while PowerColor’s Red Dragon RX 460 will set you back just $95 after rebate. Most 4GB versions of the RX 460 have also settled down at AMD’s stated $140 SEP for the card after months of pricing inflation.after rebate. Most 4GB versions of the RX 460 have also settled down at AMD’s stated $140 SEP for the card after months of pricing inflation.


The iPod Turns 15: A Visual History

Even if you hate the fruit company, you can’t deny that products like the iPod had a profound impact on their industries. Today is its 15th birthday of the "king of MP3 players," and here is a rundown of all the models from the first-generation iPod to the latest iPod Touch.

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Fifteen years ago today, on October 23rd, 2001, Steve Jobs stood up on stage and announced the original iPod. Since that day, the iPod has changed the way people buy and listen to music, sold millions of devices, and laid the foundation for the powerhouses that Apple has had with the iPhone and iPad. And while the classic iPod design was finally retired two years ago, and the remaining members of the iPod line are less important to Apple’s strategy today than they were years ago, it’s still an integral part of history, both for the company and the larger tech industry.


Google Pixel Scratch, Bend, Burn Test

Remember the drama from JerryRigEverything’s Nexus 6P test? Well, we don’t have much of that this time around, as Google (HTC) did a much better job of building this guy. The main complaint only seems to be that the earpiece mesh is made of cloth.


Saturday October 22, 2016

Director Tim Miller, Ryan Reynolds Part Company On "Deadpool 2"

Tim Miller seems like a pretty talented guy, considering Deadpool was his first major movie, which not only got positive reviews but ended up being the highest-grossing R-rated feature ever. Too bad he won’t be coming back for the sequel since he and Deadpool himself aren’t seeing eye to eye. But while they are citing creative differences, I get the sense there is a monetary struggle somewhere.

After a series of creative differences between Deadpool director Tim Miller and star Ryan Reynolds, Miller has exited Deadpool 2. He hadn’t formally signed a deal to continue, but he was developing the script and by all accounts had planned to return behind the camera for a film Fox will release in 2018. I’ve confirmed from studio insiders this exit was over mutual creative differences, but this all ended amicably and the studio is very high on Miller and the expectation is the filmmaker will jump right into another big Fox project: Influx, an adaptation of the Daniel Suarez novel that has a Mark Bomback script and is expected to launch a film trilogy.


Additional Nintendo Switch Details Dribble Out

What’s Nintendo thinking by being so secretive? While price, tech specs, battery life, and more may be a mystery until next year, we do have some idea of what it will or will not support. It is weird how they showed Skyrim on the system when it hasn’t even been confirmed yet.

Nintendo confirmed to IGN that "the main unit of Nintendo Switch is the unit that has the LCD screen." The dock's main functions are TV output and power/charging, Nintendo said, which suggests the dock won't actually have much in the way of additional hardware to enable higher-fidelity play on an HDTV. The Switch can't play physical 3DS or Wii U games: This Destructoid translation of a Japanese Famitsu story confirms that the Switch will not play physical games from Nintendo's most recent consoles.


Blizzard Finally Introduces Native Voice Chat Across All Its Games

Blizzard gamers have an alternative to Skype or Ventrilo now, as the company has launched a built-in voice chat service. The article claims that the voice quality is "remarkable," but you can judge for yourself by simply updating Battle.net to get the feature.

The company has been trying to introduce some form of voice chat into its ecosystem for a while now. There’s been a decent but limited voice chat implementation in World of Warcraft for a long time, but that was only available inside of the MMORPG. But as of right now, everyone using the latest version of the Battle.net app can jump in and use voice chat with friends across all of Blizzard’s titles – and outside of them as well. All a user needs to do is update the Battle.net app to version 1.5.1, Build 8098, or newer. After logging in, you’ll be prompted with a new pop-up informing users that Voice Chat is now available. To enable it, simply head over to the friends list, create a channel with some friends and click on headphone icon.


LG Reportedly Abandoning Modular Phone Strategy After One Try

Those of you with high hopes for modular phones can only count on Motorola now, as LG is giving up on the concept like Google did with their Ara project. LG’s current G5 phone lets you add modules that include camera and DAC add-ons, but the G6 will supposedly drop all of that.

LG seemed to have big plans for its G5 phone, with a nice collection of modules out of the gate and the promise of an ecosystem. We liked some things about the phone, but also found a lot of compromises thanks to the modular design. In June we learned that the phone wasn't doing very well, partly due to the complication of building it... and due to the fact that nobody really wants a modular phone. Then in September Google cancelled Project Ara, so that modular dream is dead. Now that LG has given up on the G5, the (actually good) Moto Z now owns this not-the-greatest-idea-in-the-first-place market.


AI Traffic Signals Will Make Driving Less Boring

It’s only a matter of time until conventional pre-programmed traffic lights are replaced with smarter versions that will intelligently signal based on actual conditions, and this may be the first significant step. Getting to where you need to go faster is well and good, but I really like the emissions-reducing aspect of such technology.

Smith is developing smart artificial-intelligence-fueled traffic signals that adapt to changing traffic conditions on the fly. His startup Surtrac is commercializing the technology. In pilot tests in Pittsburgh, the smart traffic-management system has gotten impressive results. It reduced travel time by 25 percent and idling time by over 40 percent. ...The researchers also estimate that the system cuts emissions by 21 percent. It could also save cities the cost of road widening or eliminating street parking by boosting traffic throughput.


Samsung 8GB Micro-RAM Headed For Mobile

Having 4GB of RAM in a flagship device should be old news soon, as Samsung is ready to offer twice that much in LPDDR4 form. Thanks to a 10nm process, these only take up 15 x 15 x 1 mm and can be stacked above or under other chips.

We should start seeing 8GB appearing as standard in flagship mobile phones soon thanks to Samsung’s new silicon that packs 8GB of DRAM in a single tiny package. The RAM uses LPDDR4 technology and the 10nm process. The arrival of 64-bit processors has allowed phone RAM to increase beyond 4GB but few manufacturers could be bothered. Even Samsung passed on it. However, now it seems that with the new generation of RAM Samsung thinks it is worthwhile and will be jumping directly from 4 to 8GB by next year. LPDDR4 is currently the fastest type of low power memory in the mobile market. Samsung says it is the same as PC-class DDR4 RAM and has twice the speed, operating at 4,266 Mbps, versus the PC’s 2,133 Mbps.


iPhone 7 Units With Intel Modems Perform Worse Than Qualcomm Models

If you’ve got an iPhone 7 with an Intel modem, your signal won’t be as great in weak or spotty areas. Analysis would suggest that the Qualcomm modems provide 30% better signal performance.

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...the iPhone 7 Plus with the Qualcomm modem had a significant performance edge over the iPhone 7 Plus with the Intel modem. We are not sure what was the main reason behind Apple’s decision to source two different modem suppliers for the newest iPhone. Considering that the iPhone with the Qualcomm modem is being sold in China, Japan and in the United States only, we can not imagine that modem performance was a deciding factor.


Razer Unveils Blade Pro, The "Ultimate Gaming Laptop"

If you’ve got four grand to blow on a laptop, this is probably it. Razer’s new Blade features a GTX 1080, 3840x2160 display, i7-6700HQ CPU, 32GB of DDR-2133 memory, and a keyboard with mechanical switches.


PS4 Pro Has Replaceable Hard Drive

If the 1TB hard drive that comes with the PS4 Pro isn’t enough storage for you, swapping it out for something bigger and faster will be easy enough. It should also be worth noting that the Pro uses SATA III, so an SSD upgrade may be much more sensible than it was with the original console, which used a slower interface.

As is the case with the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 3, you will be able to swap out the internal hard drive for the PlayStation 4 Pro if you want to. The company told GameSpot that the PS4 Pro uses a SATA III interface, which supports solid-state drives that users can manually swap in to replace the existing hard drive, to scale up to 6 Gb/s. This is double the speed of the original PS4's SATA II interface, which scales up to 3 Gb/s. Microsoft's Xbox One and Nintendo's Wii U do not support swapping out internal hard drives, though you can add extra storage space with external hard drives on those consoles.


Donald Glover Cast As Lando Calrissian In Young Han Solo Movie

I’ve only seen the guy in The Martian, but most people think Glover will do great as the smooth-talking smuggler. The film will reportedly reveal how Lando lost the Falcon to Han.

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Billy Dee Williams first inhabited the role of Calrissian, who made his appearance as the head of Cloud City, a floating city above the planet Bespin, in The Empire Strikes Back. He has a competitive and strained friendship with Solo, having lost the starship Millennium Falcon to the smuggler and future Rebel commander in a card game. The upcoming film will explore a previously unseen side of Calrissian, with Lucasfilm saying it will show "his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld." Sources say the film will show how the character lost the Millennium Falcon to Solo.


Google Pixel XL Teardown Review

The Pixel phones are beginning to ship out, and iFixit has a look at the innards of the bigger guy. They found that the display assembly could have been better put together, but many components are modular and simple to replace.


The Last Guardian Has Finally Gone Gold

After being almost nine years in development, the successor to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus is finally complete. Let’s just hope the quality of the final product is reflective of the time spent on it.

Development on PlayStation 4 game The Last Guardian is finally complete, according to a producer on the game who tweeted today that the long-in-development project has finally "gone gold." Sony Interactive Entertainment producer Jun Yoshino tweeted out the news earlier today, saying "Gone gold. Waddup." Yoshino’s tweet spread quickly, given apprehension that The Last Guardian will actually make its Dec. 6 release date. Given that the game has been in development since 2007, shifted platforms from PlayStation 3 to PS4 and missed its only officially confirmed release date, PlayStation fans were understandably excited that the game was finally done.


Friday October 21, 2016

mGPU Working in Serious Sam VR

Talked to the crew at Croteam today and they let us know that they have mGPU working for AMD GPUs and LiquidVR in Serious Sam VR! It is awesome to see this technology come to life. I have done some quick testing and do have it working. Here is a sneak peek.

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[H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews

Today is Friday and you know what that means! It is time once again for the [H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews! For anyone that might have missed them, we like to take a quick look back on the hardware evaluations and articles we posted earlier in the week. We kicked the week off with our AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: H3VR article, followed by our evaluation of the GIGABYTE XP1200M 1200W power supply. Finally, we wrapped things up with our AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: Serious Sam VR:TLH article.

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Silverstone Primera PM01 Case Review

There is a review of the Silverstone Primera PM01 ATX case posted today at Hardware Asylum. According to the review, classic car enthusiasts will most certainly appreciate the styling of this chassis. Here's a quote:

Looking back at previous Silverstone designs you can see that the PM01 is one of their more unique undertakings that can rival some of the early Raven cases. The front bezel looks to be inspired by an automobile. Silverstone clams "supercar" but I would lean more towards 1934 Chevy or custom street rod. Either way the angled look of the metal grill and lighted fans behind give the case a very unique style that is difficult to miss.


[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: Case Mod Friday @ ThinkComputers

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ATX Tempered Glass @ APH Networks

Gaming: Civilization VI: Performance Analysis @ techPowerUP!

Storage: QNAP TS-451+ 4-Bay NAS @ LanOC

Video: XFX RX 470 RS Black Edition @ TechARP

Facebook Allowing Graphic Content In Timelines If 'Newsworthy'

So Facebook says it will allow 'newsworthy' graphic content in timelines but who decides what is newsworthy? This should be interesting considering Facebook's own algorithm currently can't tell the difference between real and fake news stories.

Facebook rightly came under fire for censoring the iconic, Pulitzer-winning "napalm girl" photo THe Terror of War not that long ago. Now, the social network is altering its course as a direct result. "In the weeks ahead, we're going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest -- even if they might otherwise violate our standards," VP of Global Public Policy for the site Joel Kaplan writes.


Executive Accidentally Reveals Layoffs After Hitting 'Reply All'

Well, we can add one more person to the layoff list....this dumb ass. It still sucks to be one of the people affected by the layoffs to find out you are getting the axe via an accidental "reply all" e-mail gaffe.

The email Gerry Baker just sent about wsj buyouts says that dj is offering 1.5x the standard buyout package. Are we planning to go to the employees we are laying off at Barron’s next week and offer them 1x the standard package. That could create some problems. Please advise.


Court Rules Users Can't Demand Refunds After Retrans Blackouts

Crap like this is why you should always read the fine print. I guess it also depends on which cable company you are with as well. When Cox in Las Vegas had a dispute with CBS earlier this year, the company issued a credit to its affected customers.

"You are not entitled to any refund because of deletion, rearrangement or change of any programming, programming packages or other Services" and "Neither we nor out third-party billing agents will be liable for any interruption in any service or for any delay or failure to perform, including without limitation, if such interruption, delay or failure to perform arises in connection with the termination or suspension of DISH network's access to all or any portion of services."


iPhone 7 Bursts Into Flames, Destroys Vehicle

Apple's response will probably be: "The car was holding it wrong." All kidding aside, it's getting to the point now where I don't even want to carry a cell phone in my pocket unless it is in a bomb-proof case.

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Mat Jones says he had left the phone under clothes in his car while taking a surf lesson. When he returned, he was shocked to discover the vehicle filled with smoke. The tech giant Apple wouldn’t comment but said they were aware of the complaint and they are investigating.


Firmware Updates Available For GTX 1070 Memory Issues

After a little detective work by the folks at Guru3D, it looks as though some manufacturers are rolling out firmware updates to address memory issues on graphics cards equipped with Micron memory.

GeForce GTX 1070 cards fitted with Samsung memory do not have any issues, however some manufacturers have or switched towards Micron chips, and these are the culprit of the reported issues. Especially during overclocking of the graphics memory problems will appear fast with bad results like checkerboard patterns. The problem is was found in the the speed of the voltage adjustment from the low power idle P-States to support the memory voltage requirements under load. If you can keep the idle voltage above 0.800V before you apply the overclock you never see the issue.


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