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+ - Sony Comes To A Screeching Halt Targeted By Massive Ransomware Hack->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "It appears that Sony has become the victim of a massive ransomware hack which has resulted in the company basically shutting down. An unnamed source has noted this, claiming that the company shut down after its computers in New York and around the nation were infiltrated. The source is an ex-employee of Sony Pictures who has a friend that still works for the company. According to the source's friend, allegedly, every computer in Sony's New York Office, and every Sony Pictures office across the nation, bears an image from the hacker with the headline "Hacked By #GOP" which is then followed by a warning. The hacker, or group, claims to have obtained corporate secrets and has threatened to reveal those secrets at 11:00 PM GMT tonight if Sony doesn't meet their demands. What those demands are and what is #GOP has yet to be determined."
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+ - Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "After years of working on prototype vehicles, multiple car companies have announced a major push for hydrogen fuel cell automobiles. At the LA Auto Show last week, Toyota showed off its Mirai, a four-door passenger sedan with a $57,500 base sticker price and a hydrogen-only fuel system. Honda recently delayed its hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle until 2016, while Hyundai is planning to build 1000 fuel-cell powered Tucson's by the end of the year. Currently, most proposed hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are actually combined hydrogen-electric designs. Hydrogen gas, under enormous pressure, is used to drive a generator, which then charges a lithium-ion battery. Toyota plans to sell up to 3,000 Mirai a year by 2017, which would put it well below Tesla's own sales projections for its Model S — but at a lower overall price point. The pressurized fuel tanks in the Mirai can hold a total of 122 liters of hydrogen for an estimated range of 300 miles. A standard gasoline-powered car with a 122L capacity at 30mpg would be capable of traveling 960 miles. Proponents of hydrogen point to the vastly improved fueling time (roughly equal that of gasoline) as opposed to the 20-60 minutes required to recharge a vehicle like Tesla's Model S."
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+ - Three-Way Comparison Shows PCs Slaying Consoles in Dragon Age Inquisition->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "BioWare's long-awaited Dragon Age Inquisition has dropped in for the PS4, Xbox One, and PCs. To say folks are excited would be an understatement. What's really interesting, however, is a comparison of the visuals in key scenes between all three platforms (Xbox One, PS4 and PC) shows that while the PC variant clearly looks the best in multiple areas (as it should), there's evidence of good, intelligent optimization for consoles and PCs alike. After the debacle of Assassin's Creed Unity, Inquisition could provide an important taste of how to do things right. As expect though, when detail levels are increased, the PC still comes away with the best overall visuals. The Xbox One and PS4 are largely matched, while PC renders of characters have better facial coloring and slightly more detailed textures. The lighting models are also far more detailed on the PC version with the PS4 following behind. The Xbox One, in contrast, is rather muddy. Overall, the PC and PS4 are closest in general detail, with the Xbox One occasionally lagging behind."
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+ - Intel Announces Major Reorg To Combine Mobile And PC Divisions->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "For the past year, Intel has pursued what's known as a "contra-revenue" strategy in its mobile division, where product is deliberately sold at a loss to win market share and compete effectively. This has led to a huge rise in tablet shipments, but heavy losses inside Intel's mobile division. Today, the company announced that it would take steps to fold its mobile and conventional processors into a single operating division. While this helps shield the mobile segment from poor short-term results, it also reflects the reality that computing is something users now do across a wide range of devices and multiple operating systems. Intel may not have hit anything like the mobile targets it set out years ago, but long-term success in laptops, tablets, and smartphones remains integral to the company's finances. Desktops and conventional laptops are just one way people compute today and Intel needs to make certain it has a robust long-term presence in every major computing market."
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+ - Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X-> 1

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "One of the disadvantages to buying an Apple system is that it generally means less upgrade flexibility than a system from a traditional PC OEM. Over the last few years, Apple has introduced features and adopted standards that made using third-party hardware progressively more difficult. Now, with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the company has taken another step down the path towards total vendor lock-in and effectively disabled support for third-party SSDs. We say "effectively" because while third-party SSDs will still work, they'll no longer perform the TRIM garbage collection command. Being able to perform TRIM and clean the SSD when its sitting idle is vital to keeping the drive at maximum performance. Without it, an SSD's real world performance will steadily degrade over time. What Apple did with OS X 10.10 is introduce KEXT (Kernel EXTension) driver signing. KEXT signing means that at boot, the OS checks to ensure that all drivers are approved and enabled by Apple. It's conceptually similar to the device driver checks that Windows performs at boot. However, with OS X, if a third-party SSD is detected, the OS will detect that a non-approved SSD is in use, and Yosemite will refuse to load the appropriate TRIM-enabled driver."
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+ - Wolf In Sheep's Clothing: Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Agrees On Net Neutrality->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Comcast is one of two companies to have earned Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" title on more than one occasion and it looks like they're lobbying for a third title. That is, unless there's another explanation as to how the cable giant can claim (with straight face) that it's in agreement with President Barack Obama for a free and open Internet. Comcast issued a statement of its own saying they back the exact same things, it just doesn't want to go the utility route. Comcast went on to list specific bullet points that they're supposedly in wholehearted agreement with, such as: Free and open Internet. We agree — and that is our practice. No blocking. We agree — and that is our practice. No throttling. We agree — and that is our practice. Increased transparency. We agree — and that is our practice. No paid prioritization. We agree — and that is our practice. Really? Comcast conveniently fails to address the giant elephant in the room whose name is Netflix. Earlier this year, Netflix begrudgingly inked a multi-year deal with Comcast in which the streaming service agreed to pay a toll to ensure faster delivery into the homes of Comcast subscribers, who prior to the deal had been complaining of frequent buffering and video degradation when watching content on Netflix. Comcast would undoubtedly argue that it's not a paid fast lane, but it's hard to see the deal as anything other than that."
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+ - Ubisoft Points Finger At AMD For Assassin's Creed Unity Poor Performance->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Life is hard when you're a AAA publisher. Last month, Ubisoft blamed weak console hardware for the troubles it had bringing Assassin's Creed Unity up to speed, claiming that it could've hit 100 FPS but for weak console CPUs. Now, in the wake of the game's disastrous launch, the company has changed tactics — suddenly, all of this is AMD's fault. An official company forum post currently reads: "We are aware that the graphics performance of Assassin's Creed Unity on PC may be adversely affected by certain AMD CPU and GPU configurations. This should not affect the vast majority of PC players, but rest assured that AMD and Ubisoft are continuing to work together closely to resolve the issue, and will provide more information as soon as it is available." There are multiple problems with this assessment. First, there's no equivalent Nvidia-centric post on the main forum, and no mention of the fact that if you own an Nvidia card of any vintage but a GTX 970 or 980, you're going to see less-than ideal performance. According to sources, the problem with Assassin's Creed Unity is that the game is issuing tens of thousands of draw calls — up to 50,000 and beyond, in some cases. This is precisely the kind of operation that Mantle and DirectX 12 are designed to handle, but DirectX 11, even 11.2, isn't capable of efficiently processing that many calls at once. It's a fundamental limit of the API and it kicks in harshly in ways that adding more CPU cores simply can't help with."
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+ - Nvidia Shield Tablet Gets Android Lollipop Update, Half Life 2 EP1 And GRID->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Nvidia's Shield Tablet is only a few months old, but Nvidia is already updating the device with a freshly minted OS, a refreshed Shield Hub and access to the company's newly upgraded GRID Game Streaming service. A number of new Tegra K1 optimized games are arriving as well, as well as a new game bundle which includes Half Life 2 Episode 1. The SHIELD Tablet Android Lollipop update will feature Android's new "material design" interface and improved app performance, according to Nvidia. The update will also come preloaded with a new version of Nvidia's own Dabbler drawing and painting app (Dabbler 2.0). In addition to a new interface inspired by Lollipop's design language, Dabbler 2.0 will offer full support for layers and it'll allow users to share their sessions over Twitch. Previously, accessing the Nvidia's GRID beta meant streaming games from a GRID server cluster on the west coast, but Nvidia is expanding the service with server clusters located in Virginia, Europe and Asia. For the best possible user experience, streaming games from the cloud must incur minimal latency, and adding more servers in strategic locations not only affords Nvidia greater capacity, but minimizes latency as well. Nvidia says the GRID service will be available in North America this month, Western Europe in December and Asia sometime next year. The company's GRID service gives gamers access to 20 top titles currently, including Batman Arkham City, Borderlands 2 and Psychonauts, among others, and Nvidia is planning to add new games every week."
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+ - Intel Claims Chip Suppliers Will Flock To Its Mobile Tech But Can They Deliver?->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "It has been over six years since Intel first unveiled its Atom CPUs and detailed its plans for new, ultra-mobile devices. The company's efforts to break into smartphone and tablet sales, while turning a profit, have largely come to naught. Nonetheless, company CEO Brian Krzanich remains optimistic. Speaking to reporters recently, Krzanich opined that the company's new manufacturing partners like Rockchip and Spreadtrum would convert entirely to Intel architectures within the next few years. Krzanich has argued that with Qualcomm and MediaTek dominating the market, it's going to be tougher and tougher for little guys like Rockchip and Spreadtrum to compete in the same spaces. There's truth to that argument, to be sure, but Intel's ability to offer a competitive alternative is unproven. According to a report from JP Morgan, Intel's cost-per-wafer is currently estimated as equivalent to TSMC's average selling price per wafer — meaning TSMC is making money well below Intel's break-even. Today, Intel is unquestionably capable of building tablet processors that offer a good overall experience but the question of what defines a "good" experience is measured in its similarity to ARM. It's hard to imagine that Intel wants to build market share as an invisible partner, but in order to fundamentally change the way people think about Intel hardware in tablets and smartphones, it needs to go beyond simply being "as good" and break into territory that leaves people asking: "Is the ARM core just as good as the Intel chip?""
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+ - Samsung Sues Nvidia, Velocity Micro; Nvidia Fires Back With Hilarious Retort->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "A few months ago, Nvidia sued Samsung and Qualcomm for alleged infringement on various GPU patents, despite the fact that these patents were ancient, extremely broad, and could easily be used to sue anyone in the mobile industry. Samsung responded this week by counter-suing Nvidia over an equally broad set of patents — and then upped the ante by suing Velocity Micro. Velocity Micro, if you haven't heard of them, is a small boutique builder in Richmond Virginia. This isn't a case of "David vs. Goliath" so much as a case of Goliath ambushing David in high school and beating him up for his lunch money. If Nvidia's lawsuit just "happened" to target the two firms who have stolen its market share thanks to repeated delays in Nvidia's own products, Samsung just "happened" to target a tiny company with a fast time to trial and convenient jurisdiction. So far, this is all the kind of pointless arguing that enriches trial lawyers and not much else. What makes it amusing is that, buried in Samsung's filing, is the following claim: "Nvidia's claim that the Nvidia Shield tablet has the world's fastest mobile process is a false and misleading statement of fact. Rather, standard benchmarking tools such as Primate Labs' Geekbench 3 reveals that the Tegra K1 SOC is not the world's fastest mobile processor. The Exynos 5433 SoC, as used in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 mobile computing device, scores higher in both the single-core and multi-core Geekbench 3." You know you've gotten desperate to make a point when you ask the court to rule on the finer points of mobile SoC marketing. As expected, Nvidia had more than a few datapoints to show Tegra K1's performance that were counter to Samsung's claim."
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+ - Imagination Technologies Announces Scalable PowerVR Series7 GPUs->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Imagination Technologies envisions its new PowerVR Series7 architecture powering the next billion mobile and embedded GPUs, at least according to their announcement today. As the latest generation of the PowerVR Rogue GPU architecture, the PowerVR Series7 represents a robust lineup that's scalable from 16 to 512 arithmetic logic units (ALUs), which translates into 20+ GFLOPS to near 1.5TFLOPS of performance, depending on configuration. The company is targeting a wide range of products, everything from wearables and IoT (Internet of Things) devices (Series7XE GPUs), to next-generation servers and 3D gaming consoles (Series7XT GPUs). For lower end and embedded devices, Series7XE GPUs fit the bill. They're based on a single scalable cluster of up to 32 multi-threaded multi-tasking ALU cores. The PowerVR Series7XT family of GPUs, on the other hand, are performance oriented for 3D gaming and GPU compute chores. These GPUs target mid-range to high-end applications, including smartphones and tablets, though also extend on up to Ultra HD TVs, game consoles, and high-performance server compute chores. According to Imagination Technologies, the Series7XE and Series7XT offer up to 100 percent and 60 percent performance increases, respectively, compared to equivalent configurations in the PowerVR Series6 line."
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+ - CNN Anchors Caught On Camera Using Microsoft Surface As An iPad Stand->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Since the release of its Surface Pro 3 tablet, Microsoft has pushed their new slate hard. It's as if the company wanted it to overwrite that part of our memory that recalls the Surface RT and it's monumental losses. This past August, we saw the company make a big move by deploying a boatload of Surface Pro tablets to every team in the NFL, gratis. All season so far, coaches and even players have made use of them to plan their next course-of-action, and for the most part, they seemed to be well-received. Unlike some of the products Microsoft tries to get us to adopt, the Surface Pro 3 really is a solid tablet / convertible. Unfortunately, at least where the CNN political team is concerned, Microsoft hasn't one over a few anchors, like they have in NFL, when they were supplied with brand-new Surface Pros. In recent shots captured and tweeted about, a Surface Pro 3 can be seen acting as an "iPad stand" and quite an expensive one. As humorous as this is, it might not seem that interesting if it were just one correspondent who pulled that stunt. Let's be honest, some people just like their iPads. That wasn't the case, though. There were at least two commentators using an iPad on the same set, despite having the Surface right in front of them and seemingly hiding it behind Microsoft's darling Windows 8 slate."
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+ - Mac OSX Users Report iCloud Uploads Local Temp Data, Even Confidential Stuff->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "There's a fine line to balance when it comes to providing users with a comprehensive backup service and providing that service in a manner that fundamentally compromises the security of the people it's supposed to be protecting. According to security researchers, iCloud has thoroughly breached that barrier thanks to unwelcome changes baked into OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). Here's the problem: Prior to now, if you were working in an application, even a basic application like TextEdit (the Mac version of Notepad), and you quit the application, the machine would automatically save your documents and open the application with your previously-entered information when you relaunched it. It turns out that in the latest version of OS X, previous working states aren't just saved to your local system, they're saved to documents and uploaded to iCloud. That might seem like a way to help users synchronize documents across a system but it's also a gaping security hole. Unsaved documents in plaintext, as well as images are now uploaded to Apple's servers."
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+ - Intel To Expand Core M Broadwell Line With Faster Dual-Core Processors->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel didn't waste much time following-up on its initial Core M lineup launch. The company has added 4 more Core M models to its roster. Like the launch chips, these four are dual-core designs that support HyperThreading to enable an effective four logical threads for processing. Also like those earlier chips, these are spec'd with a TDP of 4.5W. These new chips, however, are generally faster than the launch models, with a new top-end processor called the M-5Y71. This chip has a base clock speed of 1.2GHz, but is burstable through Turbo up to 2.9GHz. What really sets these chips apart from the initial Core M models is that their TDP is scalable, based on what the builder is looking to do with it. If the chip is set to be used in a notebook with very little free space, the OEM could opt to drop the chip down to 3.5W and lose 600MHz in the process. By contrast, a bulkier notebook could handle a hotter chip better, so a higher TDP could be decided upon. If that route's taken, any one of these new chips could peak at 6W and add 200MHz to the base and top-end clocks."
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+ - Alienware's Triangular Area-51 Re-Design With Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 980, Tested->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "For some folks, Alienware gaming PC designs can be an either "you love it or hate it" affair. Along these lines, Dell's Alienware division recently released a radical redesign of their Area-51 gaming desktop. With 45-degree angled front and rear face plates, that are designed to direct control and IO up toward the user, in addition to better directing cool airflow in, while backside warm airflow is directed up and away from the rear of the chassis, this triangular-shaped machine grabs your attention right away. In testing and benchmarks, the Area-51's new design enables top-end performance with thermal and acoustic profiles that are fairly impressive versus most high-end gaming PC systems. The chassis design is also pretty clean, modular and easily servicable. Base system pricing isn't too bad, starting at $1699 with the ability to dial things way up to an 8-core Haswell-E chip and triple GPU graphics from NVIDIA and AMD. The test system reviewed at HotHardware was powered by a six-core Core i7-5930K chip and three GeForce GTX 980 cards in SLI. As expected, it ripped through the benchmarks, though the price as configured and tested is significantly higher."
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