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+ - Dell XPS 13: Smallest 13-inch Notebook With Broadwell-U, QHD+ Display Reviewed->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Dell's 2015 XPS 13 made a splash out at CES this year with its near bezel-less 13-inch QHD+ (3200X1800) display and Intel's new 5th Gen Core series Broadwell-U processor. At 2.8 pounds, the 2015 XPS 13 isn't the absolute lightest 13-inch ultrabook book going but it's lighter than a 13-inch MacBook Air and only a few ounces heavier than Lenovo's Core M-powered Yoga 3 Pro. The machine's Z dimensions are thin, at .33" up front to .6" at its backside near the hinge. However, its 11.98" width almost defies the laws of physics, squeezing a 13.3" (diagonal) display into an 11.98-inch frame making it what is essentially the smallest 13-inch ultrabook to hit the market yet. Performance-wise, this review shows its benchmarks numbers are strong and Intel's Broadwell-U seems to be an appreciable upgrade with lower power consumption."
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+ - Passengers React To Tesla 'Insane Mode' Button That Delivers 0-60 In 3 Seconds->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Tesla's Model S P85D is a beast; there is no question about it. The all-wheel-drive electric sedan generates 691hp and 687 ft-lbs of peak torque. That's enough to hurtle the 4,900-pound vehicle to 60 mph in roughly three seconds. The vehicle actually lays down a mind-blowing 864 ft-lbs of torque at the wheels. So, what happens when you toss an unsuspecting person into the passenger seat of the vehicle for some wickedly fast takeoffs? The passengers are subjected to "silent fury" courtesy of the car's "Insane Mode" setting which unleashes all of the P85D's power at once and minimizes wheel spin at launch. The reactions are priceless. With the Model S P85D now out in the wild, the next big release from Tesla will come in the form of the Model X crossover that will use a similar AWD setup."
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+ - Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Unexpectedly Large Number of Enhancements

Submitted by Deathspawner
Deathspawner (1037894) writes "Following its huge Windows 10 event last Wednesday, Microsoft released a brand-new preview build to the public, versioned 9926. We were told that it'd give us Cortana, Microsoft's AI assistant, as well as a revamped Start menu and updated notifications pane. But as it turns out, that's not even close to summing up all that's new with this build. In fact, 9926 is easily the most substantial update rolled out so far in the beta program, with some UI elements and integral Windows features seeing their first overhaul in multiple generations."

+ - Alienware Alpha Windows-Based Steam Machine Alternative PC Console Tested->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Valve's Steam Machine was all the rage at CES 2014 but as we enter 2015, the SteamOS gaming platform (and Valve's Steam Controller) are still works in progress. SteamOS hasn't been written off, but Dell, which was one of the first PC makers to build a custom console-sized system for SteamOS, made it clear they weren't waiting around. Dell's Alienware gaming brand launched the Alienware Alpha, which is targeted as a living room gaming PC. The Alienware Alpha plugs the holes left by Valve with standard PC and Microsoft hardware, Microsoft-powered software and a simple 10-ft UI developed in house. Instead of shipping with a Steam Controller, for example, the Alpha features an Xbox 360 wireless controller. The 10-foot user interface, which would have been handled by SteamOS, comes courtesy of Dell's custom Alpha UI. And that software, in turn, runs on Windows 8.1, though you can choose to boot directly to Windows if you wish. You can also boot to Steam Big Picture mode. Prices on the various Alpha models currently available range from $499 to $899. The processor selection includes Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs and 8GB of memory. For graphics, Alpha relies on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The system can handle most modern game titles at 1080p resolution with medium to high image quality. It's a decent little gaming rig that looks good and blends in well with a home theater setup."
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+ - Koch Brothers Budget $889 Million for 2016 Election

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Nicholas Confessore reports at the NYT that the Koch Brothers and their political network plan to spend close to $900 million in the 2016 election, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The group’s budget reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation, which has sought to distinguish itself from other outside groups by emphasizing the role of donors over consultants and political operatives. Hundreds of conservative donors recruited by the Kochs gathered over the weekend for three days of issue seminars, strategy sessions and mingling with rising elected officials. These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. “It’s no wonder the candidates show up when the Koch brothers call,” says David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “That’s exponentially more money than any party organization will spend. In many ways, they have superseded the party.”

Espousing a political worldview that protects free speech and individual and property rights with equal protection for everyone under the law Koch says: “It is up to us. Making this vision a reality will require more than a financial commitment. It requires making it a central part of our lives.” Told of the $889 million goal, Mark McKinnon, a veteran GOP operative who has worked to rally Republican support to reduce the role of money in politics, quipped: “For that kind of money, you could buy yourself a president. Oh, right. That’s the point.”"

+ - Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn (898314) writes "A turnover in the Greek government resulted from recent snap elections placing SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) in power — just shy of an outright majority by two seats. Atheist and youngest Prime Minister in Greek history since 1865 Alexis Tsipras has been appointed the new prime minister and begun taking immediate drastic steps against the recent austerity laws put in place by prior administrations. One such step has been to appoint Valve's economist Yanis Varoufakis to position of Finance Minister of Greece. For the past three years Varoufakis has been working at Steam to analyze and improve the Steam Market but now has the opportunity to improve one of the most troubled economies in the world."
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+ - Vivaldi - New Web Browser Looks a Lot Like Opera.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With Microsoft touting its upcoming new browser for Windows 10, codenamed Spartan, it's interesting to see that yet another web browser entering the already crowded market. For most, there's only three browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Vivaldi, as the proposed new browser is called, has a very Opera-like feel to it. And, there's good reason for that, considering that former CEO and co-founder of Opera, Jon von Tetzchner, is the creator of the new project."
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+ - Windows 10 IE With Spartan Engine Performance vs. Chrome and Firefox->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "In Microsoft's latest Windows 10 preview build released last week, Cortana made an entrance, but the much-anticipated Spartan browser did not. However, little did we realize that some of Spartan made the cut, in the form of an experimental rendering engine hidden under IE's hood. Microsoft has separated its Trident rendering engine into two separate versions: one is for Spartan, called EdgeHTML, while the other remains under its legacy naming with Internet Explorer. The reason Microsoft doesn't simply forego the older version is due to compatibility concerns. If you're running the Windows 10 9926 build, chances are good that you're automatically taking advantage of the new EdgeHTML engine in IE. To check, you can type 'about:flags' into the address bar. "Automatic" means that the non-Spartan Trident engine will be called-upon only if needed. In all other cases, you'll be taking advantage of the future Spartan web rendering engine. Performance-wise, the results with IE are like night and day in certain spots. Some of the improvements are significant. IE's Sunspider result already outperforms the competition, but it has been further improved. And with Kraken, the latency with the Spartan-powered Trident engine dropped 40%. Similar results are seen with a boost in the Octane web browser test as well."
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+ - NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Over the weekend NVIDIA sent out its first official response to the claims of hampered performance on the GTX 970 and a potential lack of access to 1/8th of the on-board memory. Today NVIDIA has clarified the situation again, this time with some important changes to the specifications of the GPU. First, the ROP count and L2 cache capacity of the GTX 970 were incorrectly reported at launch (last September). The GTX 970 has 52 ROPs and 1792 KB of L2 cache compared to the GTX 980 that has 64 ROPs and 2048 KB of L2 cache; previously both GPUs claimed to have identical specs. Because of this change, one of the 32-bit memory channels is accessed differently, forcing NVIDIA to create 3.5GB and 0.5GB pools of memory to improve overall performance for the majority of use cases. The smaller, 500MB pool operates at 1/7th the speed of the 3.5GB pool and thus will lower total graphics system performance by 4-6% when added into the memory system. That occurs when games request MORE than 3.5GB of memory allocation though, which happens only in extreme cases and combinations of resolution and anti-aliasing. Still, the jury is out on whether NVIDIA has answered enough questions to temper the fire from consumers."
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+ - DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "After last Wednesday's Windows 10 event, early adopters and IT types were probably anxious for Microsoft to release the next preview build. Fortunately, it didn't take long as it came out on Friday, and it's safe to say that it introduced even more than many were anticipating (but still no Spartan browser). However, in case you missed it, DirectX 12 is actually enabled in this Windows 10 release, though unfortunately we'll need to wait for graphics drivers and apps that support it, to take advantage of DX 12 features and performance enhancements."
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+ - Leatherman Tread Wearable Multi-Tool Helps Channel Your Inner MacGyver->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Say what you will about the inconvenience of security checks, but this year alone the TSA found thousands of loaded guns, a hand grenade, and an enchilada with an 8-inch knife inside the carry-on baggage of forgetful (or not) travelers. Some of the people who lost knives and other items to these checks simply forget them, or didn't consider them to be knives because the blade was part of a larger tool. To give travelers some piece of mind (and style), Leatherman created the Tread multi-tool. Meant to be worn like a bracelet, the Tread hides its tools inside its stainless steel links. Each link has multiple tools, including hex drives, screwdrivers, a carbide glass breaker, and a cutting hook. The links are designed so a user can rearrange them and resize the bracelet to fit his or her wrist. The clasp of the bracelet also has tools, including a square drive and bottle opener. The Tread is pretty darn slick as a bracelet, but people who would prefer it as a watch will have that option, too."
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+ - NVIDIA Launches New Midrange Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 960 Graphics Card->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "NVIDIA is launching a new Maxwell desktop graphics card today, targeted at the sweet spot of the graphics card market ($200 or so), currently occupied by its previous gen GeForce GTX 760 and older GTX 660. The new GeForce GTX 960 features a brand new Maxwell-based GPU dubbed the GM206. NVIDIA was able to optimize the GM206's power efficiency without moving to a new process, by tweaking virtually every part of the GPU. NVIDIA's reference specifications for the GeForce GTX 960 call for a base clock of 1126MHz and a Boost clock of 1178MHz. The GPU is packing 1024 CUDA cores, 64 texture units, and 32 ROPs, which is half of what's inside their top-end GeForce GTX 980. The 2GB of GDDR5 memory on GeForce GTX 960 cards is clocked at a speedy 7GHz (effective GDDR5 data rate) over a 128-bit memory interface. The new GeForce GTX 960 is a low-power upgrade for gamers with GeForce GTX 660 class cards or older that make up a good percentage of the market now. It's usually faster than the previous generation GeForce GTX 760 card but, depending on the game title, can trail it as well, due to its narrower memory interface."
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+ - Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint And T-Mobile->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Is Google trying to win the wireless wars? There's a new report suggesting Google is partnering with select wireless carriers to sell its own branded wireless voice and data plans directly to consumers. According to sources and the "three people with knowledge of the plans," Google will tap into networks belonging to Sprint and T-Mobile for its new service, buying wholesale access to mobile voice and data in order to make itself a virtual network operator. That might sound disappointing on the surface. Had Google struck a deal with Verizon and AT&T, or even just Verizon, the deal could potentially have more critical mass, with great coverage backed by a company like Google and its services. The former might be a winning combination but at least this is a start. The project will be known as "Nova," which is reportedly being led by Google's Nick Fox, a longtime executive with the company. Apparently Fox has been overseeing this for some time now, and it seems likely a launch will take place this year."
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+ - Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Across All Platforms With Universal Apps, Cortana->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Microsoft has learned from its Windows 8.x mistakes and even skipped right over "9" to further distance itself from the controversy with the next version of Windows. The result is Windows 10, which Microsoft first announced in late September and today on a webcast event proclaimed is "most comprehensive platform ever." When Microsoft says "comprehensive," apparently they weren't kidding. Windows 10 will run on platforms ranging from smartphones to tablets, notebooks and desktops. On the subject of upgrades, Microsoft is doing something almost unprecedented. Customers that already have Windows 7 or Window 8.1 installed will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 during the first year of its availability. Likewise, smartphones running Windows 8.1 will also receive a free update to Windows 10. "Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we'll be keeping it current for the supported lifetime for the device,"; said Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Windows Chief. Cortana has also made her way from Windows Phone to your PC or tablet's desktop with Windows 10. The AI interface has been upgraded to perform searches and interact with the activities that are prevalent on the PC side of things. That means that Cortana can search your local documents and photos and even items stored on your OneDrive."
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+ - First Look At Dell Venue 8 7000 And Intel's Moorefield Atom Performance->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Dell has been strategically setting-up their new Venue 8 7000 tablet for cameo appearances over the past few months, starting back at Intel Developer's Forum in September of last year, then again at Dell World in November and at CES 2015. What's interesting about this new device, in addition to Intel's RealSense camera is its Atom Z3580 quad-core processor, which is based on Intel's latest Moorefield architecture. Moorefield builds upon Intel's Cherrytrail Atom feature set and offers two additional CPU cores with up to a 2.3GHz clock speed, an enhanced PowerVR 6430 GPU and support of faster LPDDR3-1600 memory. Moorefield is also built for Intel's XMM 7260 LTE modem platform, which supports carrier aggregation. Overall, Moorefield looks solid, with performance ahead of a Snapdragon 801 but not quite able to catch the 805, NVIDIA Tegra K1 or Apple's A8X in terms of graphics throughput. On the CPU side, Intel's beefed-up quad-core Atom variant shows well."
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