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+ - Google Now Brings Voice Control To Nest Smart Thermostat->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Earlier this year, Google made a big splash with its $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs. In the months following the announcement, Google tossed around less interesting ideas of displaying ads on your thermostat or fridge and began the process of harvesting data from Nest Thermostat users. However, the Google-Nest Labs hook-up is beginning to make more sense as the couple closes in on one year post-acquisition. Google just announced that voice control is coming to the Nest Thermostat via Google Now for both Android and iOS users. All you have to do is say "OK Google" to being the process. Once prompted, you can say, "turn the thermostat to 67 degrees" and your command will be sent directly to the internet-connected Nest Thermostat. At this time, you don't appear to be able to issue voice commands for anything other than changing the temperature, so saying something like "set system to away" or "turn system off" doesn't appear to be in the cards, yet."
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+ - Google Now Brings Voice Control To Nest Smart Thermostat->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Earlier this year, Google made a big splash with its $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs. In the months following the announcement, Google tossed around less interesting ideas of displaying ads on your thermostat or fridge and began the process of harvesting data from Nest Thermostat users. However, the Google-Nest Labs hook-up is beginning to make more sense as the couple closes in on one year post-acquisition. Google just announced that voice control is coming to the Nest Thermostat via Google Now for both Android and iOS users. All you have to do is say "OK Google" to being the process. Once prompted, you can say, "turn the thermostat to 67 degrees" and your command will be sent directly to the internet-connected Nest Thermostat. At this time, you don't appear to be able to issue voice commands for anything other than changing the temperature, so saying something like "set system to away" or "turn system off" doesn't appear to be in the cards, yet."
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+ - Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Samsung just took the wraps off a new family of mainstream solid state drives, targeting the market segment previously occupied by its popular SSD 840 EVO series. The new Samsung SSD 850 EVO series is the follow-up to the company's current flagship SSD 850 PRO, but the new EVO is Samsung's first to pack 32layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash memory. The move to 32layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash brings pricing down to the .50 to .60 per GiB range, but doesn't adversely affect endurance because the cell structure doesn't suffer from the same inherent limitations of planar NAND, since the cells are stacked vertically with the 3D VNAND. The new 850 EVO drive performs well with large sequential transfers and also offered very low access times. The compressibility of the data being transferred across the Samsung SSD 850 EVO had no impact on performance and small file transfers at high queue depth were fast. Small file transfers with low queues depths, which is what you'd expect to see with most client workloads, were also very good. The Samsung SSD 850 EVO drives also put up excellent numbers in trace-based tests like PCMark 7."
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+ - Sony Employees Receive Email Threat From GOP, 'Your Family Will Be In Danger'->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "It appears that things are going from bad to worse when it comes to the recent Sony Pictures Entertainment breach. Sony experienced a security breach last month and the fallout from the attack continues to mount. Not only has sensitive financial information been released — including the salaries of high-ranking Sony executives — but more damaging personal information including 47,000 Social Security numbers of employees and actors have been leaked to the internet. We're now learning some even more disturbing details, unfortunately. Guardians of Peace (GOP), the hackers claiming responsibility for infiltrating Sony's computer network, are now threatening to harm the families of Sony employees. GOP reportedly sent Sony employees an email, which just so happened to be riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, that read in part, "your family will be in danger.""
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+ - Australian Target Stores Ban GTA V For Depictions Of Violence Against Women->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "There's no such thing as an official Grand Theft Auto game until there's been a bit of controversy leading to its removal from at least one set of store shelves. It's a right of passage for the GTA series, if you will, and GTA V just earned its place among the franchise's previous titles by ruffling feathers in Australia, leading to its ousting from Target stores. At issue this time around is the "game's depictions of violence against women." Jim Cooper, general manager of corporate affairs for Target, explained that customers have voiced a "significant level of concern about the game's content." Separate reports say Target Australia received a petition with nearly 40,000 signatures demanding the game be removed. According to the petition, the game gives players plenty of "incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'health' points.""
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+ - Dragon Age: Inquisition Possibly The Best RPG In A Decade, Reviewed, Benchmarked->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "To say that BioWare has something to prove with Dragon Age: Inquisition is an understatement. The first Dragon Age: Origins was a colossal, sprawling, unabashed throwback to classic RPGs. Conversely, Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn't just tell an epic story, it evolves in a way that leaves you, as the Inquisitor, leading an army. Creating that sense of scope required a fundamentally different approach to gameplay. Neither Dragon Origins or Dragon Age 2 had a true "open" world in the sense that Skyrim is an open world. Instead, players clicked on a location and auto-traveled across the map from Point A to Point B. Thus, a village might be contained within a single map, while a major city might have 10-12 different locations to explore. Inquisition keeps the concept of maps as opposed to a completely open world, but it blows those maps up to gargantuan sizes. Instead of simply consisting of a single town or a bit of wilderness, the new maps in Dragon Age: Inquisition are chock-full of areas to explore, side quests, crafting materials to gather, and caves, dungeons, mountain peaks, flowing rivers, and roving bands of monsters. And Inquisition doesn't forget the small stuff — the companion quests, the fleshed-out NPCs, or the rich storytelling — it just seeks to put those events in a much larger context across a broad geographical area. Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the best RPGs to come along in a long time. Never has a game tried to straddle both the large-scale, 10,000-foot master plan and the small-scale, intimate adventure and hit both so well. In terms of graphics performance, you might be surprised to learn that a Radeon R9 290X has better frame delivery than a GeForce GTX 980, despite the similarity in the overall frame rate. The worst frame time for an Radeon R9 290X is just 38.5ms or 26 FPS while a GeForce GTX 980 is at 46.7ms or 21 FPS. AMD takes home an overall win in Dragon Age: Inquisition currently, though Mantle support isn't really ready for prime time."
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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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+ - 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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+ - 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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+ - Acer Launches First 4K Panel With NVIDIA G-Sync Technology On Board->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Save for a smattering of relatively small, 3K and 4K laptop displays, we haven't quite gotten to the same type of pixel density on the PC platform, that is available on today's high-end ultra-mobile devices. That said, the desktop display space has really heated up as of late and 4K panels have generated a large part of the buzz. Acer just launched the first 4K display with NVIDIA G-Sync technology on board. To put it simply, G-SYNC keeps a display and the output from an NVIDIA GPU in sync, regardless of frame rates or whether or not V-Sync is enabled. Instead of the monitor controlling the timing and refreshing at say 60Hz, the timing control is transferred to the GPU. The GPU scans a frame out to the monitor and the monitor doesn't update until a frame is done drawing, in lock-step with the GPU. This method completely eliminates tearing or frame stuttering associated with synchronization anomalies of standard panels. There are still some quirks with Windows and many applications that don't always scale properly on high-DPI displays, but the situation is getting better every day. If you're a gamer in the market for a 4K display, that's primed for gaming, the Acer XB280HK is a decent new option with this technology on board, though it does come at a bit of a premium at $799 versus standard 28-inch panels."
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+ - Euclideon Teases Photo-Realistic Voxel-Based Game Engine->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Not many would argue that current console and PC graphics technologies still haven't reached a level of "photo-realism." However, a company by the name of Euclideon is claiming to be preparing to deliver that holy grail based on laser scanning and voxel engine-based technologies. The company has put together a six-minute video clip of its new engine, and its genuinely impressive. There's a supposed-to-be-impressive unveil around the two minute mark where the announcer declares he's showing us computer-generated graphics rather than a digital photo — something you'll probably have figured out long before that point. Euclideon's proprietary design purportedly uses a laser scanner to create a point cloud model of a real-world area. That area can then be translated into a voxel renderer and drawn by a standard GPU. Supposedly this can be done so efficiently and with such speed that there's no need for conventional load screens or enormous amounts of texture memory but rather by simply streaming data off conventional hard drives. Previously, critiques have pointed to animation as one area where the company's technique might struggle. Given the ongoing lack of a demonstrated solution for animation, it's fair to assume this would-be game-changer has some challenges still to solve. That said, some of the renderings are impressive."
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+ - Users Report Warping Of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus And It's Not A "Feature"->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Apple's iPhone 6 Plus packs a bevy of improvements into its phablet-sized frame — its battery life dwarfs all previous iPhones, its screen quality and resolution are excellent, it's just six ounces, and a scant 7.1mm thick. As an added bonus, according to a number of users, it has a hidden feature — it bends! And no, we don't mean it bends in a "Hey, what an awesome feature!" sort of way. More like a "Hey, the entire phone is near to snapping" kind of way. What's even more troubling is that many of the users who are reporting bent devices also claim that they were carrying it in front pockets or in a normal fashion as opposed to sitting on it directly. Either some of the iPhone 6 Plus hardware is defective (the vastly preferable option) or it's because the tests run by other venues are putting different kinds of stress on the chassis.It's not clear what the story is. Hopefully Apple will clarify in the very short term."
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+ - NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 And GeForce GTX 970 GPUs->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "NVIDIA has launched two new high-end graphics cards based on their latest Maxwell architecture. The GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 are based on Maxwell and replace NVIDIA's current high-end offerings, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, GTX 780, and GTX 770. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 are somewhat similar as the cards share the same 4GB frame buffer and GM204 GPU, but the GTX 970's GPU is clocked a bit lower and features fewer active Streaming Multiprocessors and CUDA cores. The GeForce GTX 980's GM204 GPU has all of its functional blocks enabled. The fully-loaded GeForce GTX 980 GM204 GPU has a base clock of 1126MHz and a Boost clock of 1216MHz. The GTX 970 clocks in with a base clock of 1050MHz and Boost clock of 1178MHz. The 4GB of video memory on both cards is clocked at a blisteringly-fast 7GHz (effective GDDR5 data rate). NVIDIA was able to optimize the GM204's power efficiency, however, by tweaking virtually every part of the GPU. NVIDIA claims that Maxwell SMs (Streaming Multiprocessors) offer double the performance of GK104 and double the perf per watt as well. NVIDIA has also added support for new features, namely Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR), Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA), and Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI). Performance-wise, the GeForce GTX 980 is the fastest single-GPU powered graphics card ever tested. The GeForce GTX 970 isn't as dominant overall, but its performance was impressive nonetheless. The GeForce GTX 970 typically performed about on par with a GeForce GTX Titan and traded blows with the Radeon R9 290X."
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+ - Latest Logitech Harmony Remotes Can Now Control Smart Home Devices Too->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "In an ongoing effort to put every device in your house under the control of a Harmony Remote, Logitech is also now claiming they're ready to take over other devices in addition to those that reside in your living room. The company stepped into the home control market, releasing two high-end home remotes and the Logitech Harmony Home Hub, which manages the traffic between the remotes and your home's door locks, garage door opener, thermostat, lights and window shades, among other devices. Interestingly, the most important part of the Logitech Harmony Home series is also one of the cheapest. The Logitech Harmony Home Hub, which will set you back $99.99, use a variety of connectivity options (including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) to send commands from your wireless remote to your thermostat and other devices. It's compatible with home automation tools from industry brands, including August, Honeywell, Kwikset, Schlage, and Sylvania (to name just a few). For controlling those devices, you have three options: an app for your smartphone, the Logitech Harmony Home Control ($149.99), or the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home ($349.99)."
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