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Submission + - Big Telecoms Strangling Municipal Broadband, FCC Intervention May Provide Relief (

MojoKid writes: With limited choice and often dismal upstream speeds, it's no wonder many people are excited to hear that newcomers like Google Fiber are expanding super-fast gigabit internet across the country. But some Americans also have access to other high-speed fiber internet options that compete with the big guys like Comcast and Time Warner Cable: municipal internet. In the case of the small town of Wilson, NC, town officials first approached Time Warner Cable and Embarq, requesting faster Internet access for their residents and businesses. Both companies, likely not seeing a need to "waste" resources on a town of just 47,000 residents, rebuffed their demands. So what did Wilson do? It spent $28 million dollars to build its own high-speed Internet network, Greenlight, for its residents, offering faster speeds and lower prices than what the big guys could offer. And wouldn't you know it; that finally got the big telecoms to respond. However, the response wasn't to build-out infrastructure in Wilson or compete on price; it was to try and kill municipal broadband efforts altogether in NC, citing unfair competition. NC's governor at the time, Bev Perdue, had the opportunity to veto the House bill that was introduced, but instead allowed it to become law. However, a new report from indicates that the FCC is prepared to side with these smaller towns that ran into roadblocks deploying and maintaining their own high-speed Internet networks. The two towns in question include aforementioned Wilson, and Chattanooga, TN. Action by the FCC would effectively strike down the laws — like those that strangle Greenlight in Wilson — which prevent cities from undercutting established players on price.

Submission + - 6 Terabyte Hard Drive Round-Up: WD Red, WD Green And Seagate Enterprise 6TB (

MojoKid writes: The hard drive market has become a lot less sexy in the past few years thanks to SSDs. What we used to consider "fast" for a hard drive is relatively slow compared to even the cheapest of today's solid state drives. But there are two areas where hard drives still rule the roost, and that's overall capacity and cost per gigabyte. Since most of us still need a hard drive for bulk storage, the question naturally becomes, "how big of a drive do you need?" For a while, 4TB drives were the top end of what was available in the market but recently Seagate, HGST, and Western Digital announced breakthroughs in areal density and other technologies, that enabled the advent of the 6 Terabyte hard drive. This round-up looks at three offerings in the market currently, with a WD Red 6TB drive, WD Green and a Seagate 6TB Enterprise class model. Though the WD drives only sport a 5400RPM spindle speed, due to their increased areal density of 1TB platters, they're still able to put up respectable performance. Though the Seagate Enterprise Capacity 6TB (also known as the Constellation ES series) drive offers the best performance at 7200 RPM, it comes at nearly a $200 price premium. Still, at anywhere from .04 to .07 per GiB, you can't beat the bulk storage value of these new high capacity 6TB HDDs.

Submission + - Dell-Alienware Revamps Area-51 Gaming PC With Unique Trapezoid Chassis Design (

MojoKid writes: Dell's enthusiast Alienware brand has always stood out for its unique, other-worldly looks (sometimes good, sometimes, not so good) and there's such a thing as taking things to the next level, this might be it. However, there's more to this refresh than just shock value. It's actually a futuristic aesthetic with a rather purposeful design behind it. Today Alienware gave a sneak peek at their completely redesigned Alienware Area 51 desktop system. This refreshed system is unlike any previous Alienware rig you've seen. With a trapezoidal shape to its chassis, Dell-Alienware says you can place the Area-51 against a wall and not have to worry about thermals getting out of the control. That's because there's a controlled gap and a sharp angle to the chassis that ensures only a small part of the system actually rests near the wall, leaving extra room for hot air to escape up and away. This design also offers users easy access to rear IO ports. Despite the unique design, there's plenty of room for high end components inside. The retooled chassis can swallow up to three 300W double-wide full-length graphics cards. It also brings to the table Intel's latest and greatest Haswell-E in six-core or eight-core options, liquid cooled and nestled into Intel's X99 chipset. No word from Dell on the price but the new Area-51 is slated to start shipping in October.

Submission + - UK media now allowed to report secret trials.

hazeii writes: Following some pretty heroic efforts here in the UK, we are now allowed to know a secret trial is taking place. We aren't allowed to know who is being tried, or for what (except it's "terrorism related"). And the media are still barred from reporting the outcome (even if the unnamed defendants "AB" and "CD" are found innocent).

More from the BBC, the Guardian, and plenty of other sources.

Submission + - 500GB To 1TB On An mSATA Stick - Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA Tested (

MojoKid writes: Shortly after 2.5-inch versions of Samsung's SSD 840 EVO drives hit the market, the company prepared an array of mSATA drives featuring the same controller and NAND flash. The Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA series of drives are essentially identical to their 2.5" counterparts, save for the mSATA drives' much smaller form factor. Like their 2.5" counterparts, Samsung's mSATA 840 EVO series of drives feature an updated, triple-core Samsung MEX controller, which operates at 400MHz. The 840 EVO's MEX controller has also been updated to support the SATA 3.1 spec, which incorporates a few new features, like support for queued TRIM commands. Along with the MEX controller, all of the Samsung 840 EVO mSATA series drives feature LPDDR2-1066 DRAM cache memory. The 120GB drive sports 256MB of cache, the 250GB and 500GB drive have 512MB of cache, and the 750GB and 1TB drives have 1GB of cache. Performance-wise, SSD 840 EVO series of mSATA solid state drives performs extremely well, whether using synthetic benchmarks, trace-based tests like PCMark, or highly-compressible or incompressible data.

Submission + - Under Siege: VFX Studios Rise-Up Against Ruthless Industry Exploitation (

MojoKid writes: Over the past 20 years, special effects houses (known as VFX studios) have risen from an occasional tool used in science fiction or fantasy movies to a mainstay of the entire industry. Given that most Hollywood movies now rely so heavily on VFX, you'd think that VFX studios would be the toast of the town. Instead, they've been under increasingly desperate pressure. Rhythm and Hues, the Oscar-winning studio behind Babe, the Golden Compass, and Life of Pi filed for bankruptcy last year after winning an Oscar for the latter film. Hollywood studios have viciously pressed VFX houses — refusing to pay for multiple renders of a scene, refusing to pay for weeks of overtime, and threatening to use foreign VFX businesses if domestic ones won't compete on contract costs. Hollywood has gone to great lengths to keep this problem under the radar, deliberately cutting off Bill Westenhofer's acceptance speech for the Life of Pi's Oscar in an attempt to silence him. The VFX industry's fight against unfair off-shoring of their talent, however, has just gotten an unintentional boost from the unlikeliest source imaginable — the MPAA. In a recent amicus filing to a court case involving 3D printers, the MPAA strongly argued that goods transmitted digitally as "articles" should be considered to be governed by US trade laws and subject to strong protections against foreign subsidies and unfair pricing. According to the letter, "The use of electronic means to import into the United States infringing articles threatens important domestic industries such as the motion picture and software industries, as well as U.S. consumers and the government at all levels.

Submission + - Megan Fox Cameo in Call of Duty: Ghosts Trailer, Ol' Blue Eyes On Soundtrack (

MojoKid writes: Frank Sinatra was one of the coolest singers singers to have ever lived and I refuse to debate this. Megan Fox is a 27-year-old actress who's easy on the eyes and may have a fine career ahead of her if she picks more movies like Transformers and less flicks like Johah Hex. What happens when you pair the two with a live action trailer for Call of Duty: Ghosts? You get a catchy video tease with Megan Fox shoving aside suitors to shoot down drones with a handgun and Frank Sintra's classic "Ol' Blue Eyes is Back" providing the suave soundtrack. It's a triple dose of cool (Frank Sinatra's voice, Megan's beauty, and CoD: Ghosts' action) all wrapped neatly in a 1 minute and 44 second video clip. CoD: Ghosts is the tenth main installment in the wildly popular CoD franchise and the sixth developed by Infinity Ward. It comes out in two days (November 5, 2013) for PC (with better graphics), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. It will also be the first CoD game available for the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles later this month.

Submission + - EFF Slams Google Fiber for Banning Servers On Its Network ( 3

MojoKid writes: Anyone who has tried to host their own website from home likely knows all-too-well the hassles that ISPs can cause. Simply put, ISPs generally don't want you to do that, preferring you to move up to a business package (aka: more expensive). Not surprisingly, the EFF doesn't like these rules, which seem to exist only to upsell you a product. The problem, though, is that all ISPs are deliberately vague about what qualifies as a "server". Admittedly, when I hear the word "server", I think of a Web server, one that delivers a webpage when accessed. The issue is that servers exist in many different forms, so to target specific servers "just because" is ridiculous (and really, it is). Torrent clients, for example, act as servers (and clients), sometimes resulting in a hundred or more connections being established between you and available peers. With a large number of connections like that being allowed, why would a Web server be classified any different? Those who torrent a lot are very likely to be using more ISP resources than those running websites from their home — yet for some reason, ISPs force you into a bigger package when that's the kind of server you want to run. We'll have to wait and see if EFF's movement will cause any ISP to change. Of all of them, you'd think it would have been Google to finally shake things up.

Submission + - Fuel3D Start-Up Promises Affordable Point-and-Shoot 3D Scanner (

MojoKid writes: Fuel3D Inc. is a new start-up that recently arrived to Kickstarter, promising an 'affordable point-and-shoot 3D scanner' that will allow anyone to easily take 3D images for rendering and ultimately production on standard 3D printing platforms. The Fuel3D is a fully 3D surface scanner that samples a large number of physical and color measurements including geometric stereo and photometric stereo data, which it then combines to create the image. The kicker is that the device—which kind of resembles a Roomba--costs under $1,000, and it works just like a point-and-shoot camera. You simply attach a tag called a target to the person or object you want to scan and snap the picture. Then, you can work with the image and export it in a variety of formats.

Submission + - Lenovo 'Rips and Flips' The ThinkPad with the Convertible Helix Design (

MojoKid writes: Convertible laptops and ultrabooks had a big presence this year with the release of Windows 8. At CES, Lenovo revealed its ThinkPad Helix which it marketed as having a "groundbreaking 'rip and flip' design" that enables this 11.6-inch ultrabook to transform into a powerful Windows 8 tablet with Intel vPro technology for the enterprise. The ThinkPad Helix lets you work in four different modes: laptop, tablet, stand, and tablet+. When attached to the Enhanced Keyboard Dock in laptop mode, you’ll get additional battery life and additional ports as well as Lenovo’s ThinkPad Precision keyboard, a five button trackpad that supports Windows 8 features, and a traditional ThinkPad TrackPoint mouse. By docking the Helix backward on the enhanced keyboard, you can use it in stand mode for business presentations or watching movies. Folding it down from stand mode enables tablet+ mode which gives you a tablet with extended battery life and additional ports. The ThinkPad Helix features an 11.6-inch Full HD 1080p IPS (In-Plane Switching) 10-point multi-touchscreen with pen touch input and Gorilla Glass for protection. Lenovo claims the ThinkPad Helix will run for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Performance-wise, the new ThinkPad tablet convertible doesn't have a ton of horsepower, but the machine will get by well enough handling light multimedia and office app use with relative ease.

Submission + - I Was Raped in China (An American's Perspective) (

An anonymous reader writes: This writer was raped while studying abroad in China. Here, she addresses sexual assault in traditionalist cultures and how to survive in a culture that deems rape a woman's fault.

Submission + - FairSearch attacks Open Source/GPL (

An anonymous reader writes: Google achieved its dominance in the smartphone operating system market by giving Android to device-makers for ‘free.’ But in reality, Android phone makers who want to include must-have Google apps such as Maps, YouTube or Play are required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone, the complaint says. This disadvantages other providers, and puts Google’s Android in control of consumer data on a majority of smartphones shipped today.

Google’s predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform, the complaint says.

Submission + - New Analysis Casts Doubt On Intel's Smartphone Performance vs. ARM Devices (

MojoKid writes: A few weeks ago, the analyst company ABI Research published a report claiming that Intel's new CloverTrail+ platform (dual-core Medfield) for smartphones was significantly faster and more power efficient than anything ARM's various partners were shipping. If you follow the smartphone market, that was a very surprising claim. Medfield was a decent midrange platform when it launched in 2012, but Intel made it clear that it's goal for Medfield was to compete with other platforms in its division — not seize the performance crown outright. Further investigation by other analysts has blown serious holes in the ABI Research report. Not only does it focus on a single, highly questionable benchmark (AnTuTu), the x86 version of that benchmark is running different code than the ARM flavors. Furthermore, the recently released Version 3.3 of the test is much faster on Intel hardware than on any of the other platforms. But even with those caveats in place, the ABI Research report is bad science. Single-source performance comparisons almost inevitably are.

Submission + - NVIDIA SHIELD Specs Finalized, Pre-Orders To Begin May 20 (

bigwophh writes: NVIDIA’s Android-based, portable gaming system and media streaming device, originally known as Project SHIELD, was a big hit at CES. NVIDA has since dropped "Project" from the name and it appears the device is about ready to ship. If you’re unfamiliar with SHIELD, it is essentially a game controller with a built-in, flip-up 5” multi-touch screen. It is powered by NVIDIA’s own Tegra 4 quad-core SoC (System-on-Chip) with ARM A15 CPU cores, 72 GPU cores, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 802.11n 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS support, among a number of other features. In addition to offering an array of Tegra-optimized games, part of SHIELD’s allure is the ability to wirelessly stream games and other media from a GeForce GTX-powered PC to any TV connected to SHIELD. Pricing for the device is set at $349 and pre-sales begin on May 20.

Submission + - NVIDIA CEO Unveils Volta Graphics, Tegra Roadmap, GRID VCA Virtualized Rendering (

MojoKid writes: "NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang kicked off this year’s GPU Technology Conference with his customary opening keynote. The focus of Jen-Hsun’s presentation was on unveiling a new GPU core code named "Volta" that will employ stacked DRAM for over 1TB/s of memory bandwidth, as well as updates to NVIDIA's Tegra roadmap and a new remote rendering appliance called "GRID VCA." On the mobile side, Tegra's next generation "Logan" architecture will feature a Kepler-based GPU and support CUDA 5 and OpenGL 4.3. Logan will offer up to 3X the compute performance of current solutions and be demoed later this year, with full production starting early next year. For big iron, NVIDIA's GRID VCA (Visual Computing Appliance) is a new 4U system based on NVIDIA GRID remote rendering technologies. The GRID hypervisor supports 16 virtual machines (1 per GPU) and each system will feature 8-Core Xeon CPUs, 192GB or 384GB of RAM, and 4 or 8 GRID boards, each with two Kepler-class GPUs, for up to 16 GPUs per system. Jen-Hsun demo’d a MacBook Pro remotely running a number of applications on GRID, like 3D StudioMax and Solidworks, which aren't even available for Mac OS X natively."

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing