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Music

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment? 430

Posted by timothy
from the won't-fit-in-my-phone dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Back in the day (which is a scientific measurement for anyone who used to walk to school during snowstorms, uphill, both ways), integrated audio solutions had trouble earning respect. Many enthusiasts considered a sound card an essential piece to the PC building puzzle. It's been 25 years since the first Sound Blaster card was introduced, a pretty remarkable feat considering the diminished reliance on discrete audio in PCs, in general. These days, the Sound Blaster ZxR is Creative's flagship audio solution for PC power users. It boasts a signal-to-noise (SNR) of 124dB that Creative claims is 89.1 times better than your motherboard's integrated audio solution. It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies. While gaming there is no significant performance impact or benefit when going from onboard audio to the Sound Blaster ZxR. However, the Sound Blaster ZxR produced higher-quality in-game sound effects and it also produces noticeably superior audio in music and movies, provided your speakers can keep up."
Operating Systems

CentOS Linux Version 7 Released On x86_64 120

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the keeping-costs-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, CentOS project unveiled CentOS Linux 7 for 64 bit x86 compatible machines. CentOS conforms fully with Red Hat's redistribution policy and aims to have full functional compatibility with the upstream product released in last month. The new version includes systemd, firewalld, GRUB2, LXC, docker, xfs instead of ext4 filesystem by default. The Linux kernel updated to 3.10.0, support for Linux Containers, 3d graphics drivers out of the box, OpenJDK 7, support for 40G Ethernet cards, installations in UEFI secure Boot mode on compatible hardware and more. See the complete list of features here and here. You can grab this release by visiting the official mirror site or via torrents. On a related note there is also a CentOS Linux 7 installation screencast here."
NASA

NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever 146

Posted by timothy
from the because-rockets dept.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, NASA has given a green light to the production of a new motor, dubbed the Space Launch System, intended to enable deep space exploration. Boeing, prime contractor on the rocket, announced on Wednesday that it had completed a critical design review and finalized a $US2.8-billion contract with NASA. The last time the space agency made such an assessment of a deep-space rocket was the mighty Saturn V, which took astronauts to the moon. ... Space Launch System's design called for the integration of existing hardware, spurring criticism that it's a "Frankenstein rocket," with much of it assembled from already developed technology. For instance, its two rocket boosters are advanced versions of the Space Shuttle boosters, and a cryogenic propulsion stage is based on the motor of a rocket often used by the Air Force. The Space Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group and frequent NASA critic, said Space Launch System was "built from rotting remnants of left over congressional pork. And its budgetary footprints will stamp out all the missions it is supposed to carry, kill our astronaut program and destroy science and technology projects throughout NASA."
Perl

Damian Conway On Perl 6 and the Philosophy of Programming 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the secretly-being-developed-by-blizzard dept.
M-Saunders writes: Perl 6 has been in development since 2000. So why, 14 years later, hasn't it been released yet? Linux Voice caught up with Damian Conway, one of the architects of Perl 6, to find out what's happening. "Perl 6 has all of the same features [as Perl 5] but with the rough edges knocked off of them", he says. Conway also talks about the UK's Year of Code project, and how to get more people interested in programming.
Data Storage

Samsung Release First SSD With 3D NAND 85

Posted by timothy
from the turning-up-the-volume dept.
Vigile (99919) writes "As SSD controllers continue to evolve, so does the world of flash memory. With the release of the Samsung 850 Pro SSD announced today, Samsung is the first company to introduce 3D NAND technology to the consumer. By using 30nm process technology that might seem dated in some applications, Samsung has been reliably able to stack lithography and essentially "tunnel holes" in the silicon while coating the inside with the material necessary to hold a charge. The VNAND being used with the Samsung 850 Pro is now 32 layers deep, and though it lowers the total capacity per die, it allows Samsung to lower manufacturer costs with more usable die per wafer. This results in more sustainable and reliable performance as well as a longer life span, allowing Samsung to offer a 10 year warranty on the new drives. PC Perspective has a full review with performance results and usage over time that shows Samsung's innovation is leading the pack."
Graphics

Apple Kills Aperture, Says New Photos App Will Replace It 214

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-shop-outside-the-company-store dept.
mpicpp (3454017) writes Apple told news website The Loop that it has decided to abandon Aperture, its professional photo-editing software application. "With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture," Apple said in a statement to The Loop. "When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS." The new Photos app, which will debut with OS X Yosemite when it launches this fall, will also replace iPhoto. It promises to be more intuitive and user friendly, but as such, likely not as full featured as what Aperture currently offers.
Android

Google I/O 2014 Begins [updated] 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the hot-off-the-presses dept.
Google I/O, the company's annual developer tracking^wdevelopers conference, has opened today in San Francisco. This year the company has reduced the number of conference sessions to 80, but also promised a broader approach than in previous years -- in other words, there may be a shift in focus a bit from Google's best known platforms (Chrome/Chrome OS and Android). Given its wide-ranging acquisitions and projects (like the recent purchase of Nest, which itself promptly bought Dropcam, the ever smarter fleet of self-driving cars, the growing number of Glass devices in the wild, and the announcement of a 3D scanning high end tablet quite unlike the Nexus line of tablets and phones), there's no shortage of edges to focus on. Judging from the booths set up in advance of the opening (like one with a sign announcing "The Physical Web," expect some of the stuff that gets lumped into "the Internet of Things." Watch this space -- updates will appear below -- for notes from the opening keynote, or follow along yourself with the live stream, and add your own commentary in the comments. In the days to come, watch for some video highlights of projects on display at I/O, too. Update: 06/25 17:41 GMT by T : Updates rolling in below on Android, wearables, Android in cars, Chromecast, smart watches, etc.Keep checking back! (Every few minutes, I get another chunk in there.)
Graphics

Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Steps Up Its Game & Runs Much Faster 143

Posted by timothy
from the when-factors-combine dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the Linux 3.16 kernel the Nouveau driver now supports re-clocking for letting the NVIDIA GPU cores and video memory on this reverse-engineered NVIDIA driver run at their designed frequencies. Up to now the Nouveau driver has been handicapped to running at whatever (generally low) clock frequencies the video BIOS programmed the hardware to at boot time, but with Linux 3.16 is experimental support for up-clocking to the hardware-rated speeds. The results show the open-source NVIDIA driver running multiple times faster, but it doesn't work for all NVIDIA hardware, causes lock-ups for some GPUs at some frequencies, and isn't yet dynamically controlled. However, it appears to be the biggest break-through in years for this open-source NVIDIA driver that up to now has been too slow for most Linux games."
Intel

Intel To Offer Custom Xeons With Embedded FPGAs For the Data Center 80

Posted by timothy
from the bitcoin-obviously dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes For years, we've heard rumors that Intel was building custom chips for Google or Facebook, but these deals have always been assumed to work with standard hardware. Intel might offer a different product SKU with non-standard core counts, or a specific TDP target, or a particular amount of cache — but at the end of the day, these were standard Xeon processors. Today, it looks like that's changing for the first time — Intel is going to start embedding custom FPGAs into its own CPU silicon. The new FPGA-equipped Xeons will occupy precisely the same socket and platform as the standard, non-FPGA Xeons. Nothing will change on the customer front (BIOS updates may be required), but the chips should be drop-in compatible. The company has not stated who provided its integrated FPGA design, but Altera is a safe bet. The two companies have worked together on multiple designs and Altera (which builds FPGAs) is using Intel for its manufacturing. This move should allow Intel to market highly specialized performance hardware to customers willing to pay for it. By using FPGAs to accelerate certain specific types of workloads, Intel Xeon customers can reap higher performance for critical functions without translating the majority of their code to OpenCL or bothering to update it for GPGPU.
EU

EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
jfruh writes The European Commission and the South Korean government announced that they will be harmonizing their radio spectrum policy in an attempt to help bring 5G wireless tech to market by 2020. While the technology is still in an embryonic state, but one South Korean researcher predicts it could be over a thousand times faster than current 4G networks.
Hardware

Samsung Debuts Thin Galaxy Tab S With Super AMOLED 2560X1600 Display 176

Posted by samzenpus
from the brand-new dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes Samsung unveiled its latest flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S, at an event in New York City tonight, and the new device is thin, lightweight, and sports a killer Super AMOLED display. Samsung boasts that the Galaxy Tab S's 2560x1600 display has 73% better color reproduction than conventional LCD displays and can match colors up to 94% of "nature's true palette" with deeper blacks and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The 10.5-inch device weighs just 467g and measures a mere 6.6mm in thickness (and there's an 8.4-inch version, too). Under the hood, the Galaxy Tab S features Android KitKat 4.4, 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage with a microSD slot that supports up to 128GB. The front camera is 2.1MP and the rear 8MP camera has an LED flash. No word on the exact processor on board just yet, other than it's a quad-core SoC. It's likely a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 though an Exynos variant or perhaps even Tegra 4 wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility.
Firefox

Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the 30-is-over-the-hill dept.
Today Mozilla made Firefox 30 available, a relatively minor release after the massive redesign in version 29. According to the changelog, new features include VP9 video decoding, support for Opus in WebM, and horizontal volume control for HTML5 video and audio. Developers got support for multi-line flexboxes and hang reporting for background threads. There were also a number of security fixes. The Android version of Firefox received better support for native text selection, cutting, and copying, as well as predictive lookup for Awesomebar entries. The availability of Firefox 30 coincides with the launch of Firebug 2.0, which features an updated UI and a new debugging engine called JSD2. Significant new features include JavaScript syntax highlighting and de-minifying, improved code auto-complete, and the capability to hide or show individual Firebug panels.
Graphics

Grand Theft Auto V For Modern Platforms Confirmed 133

Posted by timothy
from the spree-killing-for-everyone dept.
jones_supa (887896) writes 'Since the release of the extremely successful Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, rumors about PC — and later also an Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — version have been floating around. Now it's official: Grand Theft Auto V will be released on Windows PC and Xbox One, in addition to PlayStation 4, this fall, publisher Rockstar Games announced today with a trailer. A post on Rockstar Newswire tells us that the ports will offer visual and technical improvements such as "increased draw distances, finer texture details, denser traffic and enhanced resolutions." All of the new GTA Online content that has been created and released since launch will be available also on the modern platforms. The PC version will exclusively include a video editor to allow players to put together their own clips of in-game action.'
IOS

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking 323

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the waiting-for-obvious-patents dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes 'It wasn't touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy.As spotted by Frederic Jacobs, the changes have to do with the MAC address used to identify devices within networks. When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize the MAC address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network.'
Transportation

Tesla Makes Improvements To Model S 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-and-better dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a lull between product launches Tesla intends to keep making improvements to the Model S according to Elon Musk. Tesla will automatically push software to the Model S fleet that will help the car learn the driver's habits and the navigation system will offer directions to avoid traffic jams. 'This year, Tesla is offering only the single model, the Model S that is EPA rated at up to 265 miles on a single charge, the most of any electric car. The company's next model won't come until next year, when the delayed Model X crossover goes on sale. Musk says the holdup has centered on making sure its signature design element, gullwing doors to make it easier to get in the rear, works properly and is leak-proof. "Getting the door right is extremely difficult," he says.'"
Windows

Microsoft Fixing Windows 8 Flaws, But Leaving Them In Windows 7 218

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-not-fixing-them-in-win-95-either dept.
mask.of.sanity sends this news from El Reg: "Microsoft has left Windows 7 exposed by only applying security upgrades to its newest operating systems. Researchers found the gaps after they scanned 900 Windows libraries using a custom diffing tool and uncovered a variety of security functions that were updated in Windows 8 but not in 7. They said the shortcoming could lead to the discovery of zero day vulnerabilities. The missing safe functions were part of Microsoft's dedicated libraries intsafe.h and strsafe.h that help developers combat various attacks. [Video, slides.]"
Intel

Intel Core i7-4790K Devil's Canyon Increases Clocks By 500 MHz, Lowers Temps 57

Posted by timothy
from the free-lunch dept.
Vigile (99919) writes "Since the introduction of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors there was a subset of users that complained about the company's change of thermal interface material between the die and the heat spreader. With the release of the Core i7-4790K, Intel is moving to a polymer thermal interface material that claims to improve cooling on the Haswell architecture, along with the help of some added capacitors on the back of the CPU. Code named Devil's Canyon, this processor boosts stock clocks by 500 MHz over the i7-4770K all for the same price ($339) and lowers load temperatures as well. Unfortunately, in this first review at PC Perspective, overclocking doesn't appear to be improved much."
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Confirms Disconnecting Kinect Gives Devs 10% More GPU Horsepower 174

Posted by timothy
from the remove-airbags-install-rollcage dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes 'Microsoft confirmed a development rumor that's been swirling around its next-generation console ever since it announced Kinect would become an optional add-on rather than a mandatory boat anchor. Lifting that requirement will give game developers 10 percent additional graphics power to play with and help close the gap between the Xbox One and PS4. The story kicked off when Xbox head Phil Spencer tweeted that June's Xbox One dev kit gave devs access to more GPU bandwidth. Further, another Microsoft representative then confirmed that the performance improvement coming in the next version of the Xbox SDK was the result of making Kinect an optional accessory. No matter how Microsoft may try to spin it, cancelling Kinect isn't just a matter of giving game developers freedom, it's a tacit admission that game developers have no significant projects in play that are expected to meaningfully tap Kinect to deliver a great game experience — and they need those GPU cycles back.' Also on the Xbox capabilities front: Reader BogenDorpher (2008682) writes 'In August of last year, a Microsoft spokesman confirmed that the Xbox One controller will be compatible for PC users sometime in 2014. That time has finally come. Windows gamers can now use the Xbox One controller to play games on their computer. If a game supports a USB gamepad or the Xbox 360 controller, it will also support the Xbox One controller.'
Intel

Intel Announces Devil's Canyon Core I7-4790K: 4GHz Base Clock, 4.4GHz Turbo 157

Posted by timothy
from the let-the-bleeding-edge-do-the-bleeding dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Last year, Intel launched two new processor families based on the Haswell and Ivy Bridge-E based Core i7 architecture. Both chips were just incremental updates over their predecessors. Haswell may have delivered impressive gains in mobile, but it failed to impress on the desktop where it was only slightly faster than the chip it replaced. Enthusiasts weren't terribly excited about either core but Intel is hoping its new Devil's Canyon CPU, which launches today, will change that. The new chip is the Core i7-4790K and it packs several new features that should appeal to the enthusiast and overclocking markets. First, Intel has changed the thermal interface material from the paste it used in the last generation over to a new Next Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material, or as Intel calls it, "NGPTIM." Moving Haswell's voltage regulator on-die proved to be a significant problem for overclockers since it caused dramatic heat buildup that was only exacerbated by higher clock speeds. Overclockers reported that removing Haswell's lid could boost clock speeds by several hundred MHz. The other tweak to the Haswell core is a great many additional capacitors, which have been integrated to smooth power delivery at higher currents. This new chip gives Haswell a nice lift. If the overclocking headroom delivers on top of that, enthusiasts might be able to hit 4.7-4.8GHz on standard cooling."
Transportation

Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S 106

Posted by timothy
from the silent-upgrades dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Tesla won't reveal its production figures every quarter, but it has now likely built about 50,000 all-electric Model S luxury sport sedans. Unlike other automakers, Tesla doesn't group its changes to a model year, rather it makes running changes to cars whenever updates are tested, validated, and ready to roll out. Which raises the question, are model year 2012 Model S sedans already outdated? The answer is it depends how you look at it. From a powertrain perspective, no. There are still two battery-size options and the shape is still the same. But under the surface of the car there are a surprising number of updates and new options. Not including software changes (of which there are dozens already pushed to the car), changes range from power folding mirrors and a new cold-weather package (which cannot be retrofitted) to a new ultra-high-fidelity sound package and three-zone, three-mode rear seat heaters. It's worth noting that none of these are mandatory changes — there are merely options that have been added to the roster of available equipment."

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