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+ - Chinese State Media Declares iPhone A Threat To National Security->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden came forth last year with US government spying secrets, it didn't take long to realize that some of the information revealed could bring on serious repercussions — not just for the US government, but also for US-based companies. The latest to feel the hit? None other than Apple, and in a region the company has been working hard to increase market share: China. China, via state media, has today declared that Apple's iPhone is a threat to national security — all because of its thorough tracking capabilities. It has the ability to keep track of user locations, and to the country, this could potentially reveal "state secrets" somehow. It's being noted that the iPhone will continue to track the user to some extent even if the overall feature is disabled. China's iPhone ousting comes hot on the heels of Russia's industry and trade deeming AMD and Intel processors to be untrustworthy. The nation will instead be building its own ARM-based "Baikal" processor."
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+ - Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth The Investment?->

Submitted by MojoKid
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."
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+ - Gamestop's Brilliant Idea: Require Preorders To Unlock Custom Game Content->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "One of the great universal truths of modern gaming is that preorders suck. The term refers to the practice of ordering a title at some point before it actually ships in order to get access to a variety of minor outfit tweaks, a few starting weapons, or boosts to early game play. Today, some publishers take this practice to truly ridiculous levels; the recent game Watch Dogs has no fewer than nine pre-order options. GameStop, perhaps sensing that there's pressure building against the model, wants to turn the dial up to 11 — and create preorder-locked, GameStop-specific content. According to financial analyst Colin Sebastian, "[GameStop] indicates that software publishers are more enthusiastic about partnering with it. For example, by offering exclusive content on each major game release and longer term, future models may include GameStop offering exclusive gameplay." GameStop is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment. The company has captured a greater share of the Xbox One and PS4 market than it held at this point in the console cycle last time around and it's clearly looking to increase the attractiveness of its own business. That's fine but this kind of arbitrary lopping off of content to boost sales at particular shops simply isn't going to sit well with most gamers."
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+ - Watch Dogs Graphics And Game Play: PC vs. Xbox One With, Surprising Results->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Normally, the question of whether a game runs better on the PC or a console is a no-brainer, at least for PC users. Watch Dogs, however, with its problematic and taxing PC play, challenges that concept. And since the gap between consoles and PCs is typically smallest at the beginning of the console generation, HotHardware decided to take the Xbox One out for a head-to-head comparison against the PC with this long-awaited title. What was found may surprise you. Depending on just how much horsepower your PC has, the Xbox One (and possibly the PS4 though that wasn't compared) might be the better option. There's no question that the PC can look better, even before you factor in the mods that have been released to date, but unless you've spent $300 or more on a fairly recent GPU, you're not going to be able to run the game at sufficiently high detail to benefit from the enhanced image quality and resolution. If you have a Radeon HD 7950 / R9 280 or an NVIDIA card with greater than 4GB of RAM or a GeForce GTX 780 / 780 Ti, you can happily watch Watch Dogs make hash out of the Xbox One — but statistically, only a minority of gamers have this sort of high-end hardware."
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+ - ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "One of the trickiest aspects to launching a new platform update is the chicken and egg problem. Without any hardware to test on, developers are leery of committing to supporting new hardware features. Without software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities, customers aren't willing to pay for new equipment. This is the crux of the issue with respect to the ARMv8 architecture and enabling development for 64-bit Android platrforms. As such ARM is readying their Juno development platform that combines several of ARM's most advanced technologies on a single board. The product supports big.Little in an asymmetric configuration; each board ships with two Cortex-A57s, four Cortex-A53s, and a modest Mali T-624 core. All this hardware needs an OS to run on — which is why ARM is announcing a 64-bit port of Android as part of this new development board. By including AOSP support as well as additional hooks and features from Linaro, ARM wants Juno to be a sort-of one-stop shopping product for anyone who needs to test, prototype, or design a 64-bit product for the ARM ecosystem. The Android flavor that's coming over is based on Linaro Stable Kernel 3.10. At launch, Juno will support OpenGL-ES 3.0, on-chip thermal and power management, up to 8GB of RAM (12.8GB/s of bandwidth), an optional FPGA, and USB 2.0. OpenCL 1.1 will be added in a future product update. The project is positioned as a joint ARM / Linaro launch with ARM handling the hardware and Linaro taking responsibility for the software stack."
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+ - Microsoft Wants To Keep The NSA Out Of Your OneDrive And Outlook Accounts->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Ever since Edward Snowden leaked details on how the government had forced various IT companies to disclose information (or secured their willing cooperation), companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have been desperate to regain their users' trust. Six months ago, Microsoft announced that it would re-engineer its products and services to provide a much higher level of security — today, the company revealed that it has reached an important milestone in that process. As of now, Outlook.com uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) to provide end-to-end encryption for inbound and outbound email — assuming that the provider on the other end also uses TLS. The TLS standard has been in the news fairly recently after discovery of a major security flaw in one popular package (gnuTLS), but Microsoft notes that it worked with multiple international companies to secure its version of the standard. Second, OneDrive now uses Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). Microsoft refers to this as a type of encryption, but PFS isn't a standard like AES or 3DES — instead, it's a particular method of ensuring that an attacker who intercepts a particular key cannot use that information to break the entire key sequence. Even if you manage to gain access to one file or folder, in other words, that information can't be used to compromise the entire account."
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+ - Samsung Launches First SSD With 3D Stacked NAND And It's Fast, 10 Yr. Warranty->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Samsung has just unveiled its latest series of solid state drives for consumer applications, the SSD 850 PRO. Like the previously-released SSD 845 EVO series, the 850 PRO leverages Samsung's tri-core MEX controller, but these new drives also feature bleeding-edge, 32 layer, 3D V-NAND flash memory that offers better power, endurance, and performance characteristics than traditional MLC NAND. Other features of the Samsung SSD 850 PRO series includes "Device sleep" (DEVSLP), which can maximize battery life in mobile devices and support for Samsung's RAPID mode technology, which leverages system RAM to boost performance. The SSD 850 series drives put up impressive numbers in a variety of benchmarks, besting many other drives in its class, but they also carry a long 10 year warranty."
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+ - Facebook Alters 689K User Feeds In 'Emotional Contagion' Experiment->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Here's an interesting psychological factoid: Emotional states can be transferred to other people via text-based messages on social media, such as Facebook. That means that if, for instance, you view a bunch of sad posts, you're more likely to pen a sad post yourself shortly thereafter even though you don't realize that the sad posts made you sad. Here's a snippet from the "Significance" section of the paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS): "We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness." That's almost 700,000 people that Facebook experimented on. The social network purposely manipulated the Newsfeeds of hundreds of thousands of people. Shouldn't Facebook have had to notify those users that it was doing--something? The research itself is significant because, according to its authors, "emotional contagion" can happen not just in real-world interactions, but also from social media interactions. Thus, a social network could be a vehicle for massive, large-scale emotional contagion."
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+ - LG Innovates With 2560x1440 G3 Smartphone Display And Frickin' Laser Beams->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "LG is probably getting a little tired of scraping for brand recognition versus big names like Samsung, Apple and Google. However, the company is also taking solace in the fact that their smartphone sales figures are heading for an all-time high in 2014, with an estimated 60 million units projected to be sold this year. LG's third iteration of their popular "G" line of flagship smartphones, simply dubbed the LG G3, is the culmination of all of the innovation the company has developed in previous devices to date, including its signature rear button layout, and a cutting-edge 5.5-inch QHD display that drives a resolution of 2560X1440 with a pixel density of 538 PPI. Not satisified with pixel overload, LG decide to equip their new smartphone with 'frickin' laser beams' to assist its 13MP camera in targeting subjects for auto-focus. The G3 performs well in the benchmarks with a Snapdragon 801 on board and no doubt its camera takes some great shots quickly and easily. However, it's questionable how much of that super high res 2560 display you can make use of on a 5.5-inch device."
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+ - Google Cardboard, A DIY VR Headset You Can Build, Fold And Recycle->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Google's I/O developer conference has had a large number of announcements, some a little more interesting than the others. Then there are some that are down-right strange — at least at first. Google's "Cardboard" easily falls into that category. Imagine sitting at I/O, watching a keynote, and then being told to pick up some cardboard on the way out. You might begin to think that Google had lost it. Well, that really did happen, and event-goers were handed a sheet of corrugated cardboard on their way out of the auditorium. Of course, this wasn't an ordinary piece of cardboard — it could be unfolded, and reconstructed into a Virtual Reality housing unit for an Android smartphone. A device like this would be useless without an app, so don't worry, Google has one. With it, you can take a tour of different locations through Google Earth, watch YouTube videos on a "massive screen", walk down the street with Street View, and partake in some other fun activities, while the app takes advantage of a phone's head-tracking functionality."
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+ - NVIDIA Tegra K1 At Google I/O, Unreal Engine 4 "Rivalry Demo" On TK1 Impresses->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "NVIDIA is claiming that its Tegra K1 low power SoC has "led the charge" at I/O with Android-based products on the way that target the gaming, TV, automotive, and robotics markets. K1, for example, is the first processor to support Google's upcoming Android L release. Making this even more important is the fact that Google will have a 64-bit version of L, which not so surprisingly will suit NVIDIA's upcoming 64-bit Tegra K1 variant as well. That same K1 variant will be the backing CPU in Android's Project Tango devkit. As if that wasn't enough, K1 is also the first processor to support the new Android TV development platform. In conjunction with all of these announcements, NVIDIA showed once again what their new Tegra K1 SoC can muster from a gaming standpoint. The company had the Unreal Engine 4 "Rivalry" demo and running on Tegra K1 with effects like tessellation, image-based lighting, HDR tone-mapping, and so forth all running on a mobile platform. The demo simply looks awesome by any measure but especially when you consider it was targeted to run on a mobile device like a tablet."
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+ - Intel And Micron Build New Xeon Phi Processor With Hybrid Memory Cube Technology->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel today made a splash at the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany by revealing new details about its next-generation Xeon Phi processor technology. You may better recognize Xeon Phi by its codename, Knights Landing. No matter what you call it, this represents a significant leap in High Performance Computing (HPC) that will deliver up to three times the performance of Intel's previous generations while consuming less power. A big part of the reason for this is the construction of a new high-speed interconnect technology called Intel Omni Scale Fabric, which Intel has been a bit cagey about, though reportedly it is comprised of silicon photonics interfaces as well as IP from Cray and QLogic. This will be integrated into the next generation of Xeon Phi processors as well as future general-purpose Xeon chips. At launch, more than 60 HPC-enhanced Silvermont-based cores will connect with up to 16GB of on-package, high-bandwidth memory designed in partnership with Micron, which leverages the fundamental DRAM and stacking technologies found in Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) product."
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+ - How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The transistor is one of the most profound innovations in all of human existence. First discovered in 1947, it has scaled like no advance in human history; we can pack billions of transistors into complicated processors smaller than your thumbnail. After decades of innovation, however, the transistor has faltered. Clock speeds stalled in 2005 and the 20nm process node is set to be more expensive than the 28nm node was for the first time ever. Now, researchers at NASA believe they may have discovered a way to kickstart transistors again — by using technology from the earliest days of computing: The vacuum tube. It turns out that when you shrink a Vacuum transistor to absolutely tiny dimensions, you can recover some of the benefits of a vacuum tube and dodge the negatives that characterized their usage. According to a report, vacuum transistors can draw electrons across the gate without needing a physical connection between them. Make the vacuum area small enough, and reduce the voltage sufficiently, and the field emission effect allows the transistor to fire electrons across the gap without containing enough energy to energize the helium inside the nominal "vacuum" transistor. According to researchers, they've managed to build a successful transistor operating at 460GHz — well into the so-called Terahertz Gap, which sits between microwaves and infrared energy."
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