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Thursday October 27, 2016

Intel Capital Expands Diversity Fund

Today, at its 17th annual Global Summit in San Diego, Intel Capital announced its Diversity Fund will expand beyond its initial focus on startups led by women and underrepresented minorities to also include U.S.-based entrepreneurs from the LGBTQ community, entrepreneurs living with disabilities and military veterans. This $125 million fund – the largest of its kind by a significant margin – provides selected tech startups with access to Intel Capital’s business development programs, global network, technology expertise and brand capital.

New Diversity Fund leaders Trina Van Pelt and Christine Herron also announced all Intel Capital investors will scout and bring forward startups led by diverse teams and will encourage existing portfolio companies to support diversity. And, in a further demonstration of Intel’s commitment to diversity, Herron noted more than 60 percent of the new startups in the Intel Education Accelerator program are led by women and/or underrepresented minorities.


Wednesday October 26, 2016

Deal of the Day: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Under $145

If you have Amazon Prime NOW in your area, you can find some amazing deals right now on cards like this EVGA GTX 980 4GB FTW GAMING ACX for $144.43 and this EVGA GTX 980 4GB SC GAMING for just $131.25.

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Obviously these deals will depend on the stock in your area, availability and so on, but earlier this evening there were deals on EVGA GTX 980 Ti Classified 6GB cards going for as little as $155 in Houston, so who knows? Give it a try, see how it goes. Don't forget to post your results in the comments. Thanks to NmCRooK for the heads up.

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Ongoing Discussion

H3VR: Halloween Horror Free Update Coming October 28th

The folks at Rust Ltd. have passed on word that its H3VR: Halloween Horror free update will go live on October 28th at 7pm PST. If you are new to Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, make sure you read our VR performance review here.


Google’s Neural Networks Invent Their Own Encryption

Researchers from Google Brain have discovered that machines can learn how to use basic encryption to keep their messages private. The obvious next step is machines learning how to secretly dispose of human bodies. Don't laugh, they are probably working on that as we speak.

Researchers Martيn Abadi and David Andersen demonstrate that neural networks, or "neural nets" – computing systems that are loosely based on artificial neurons – can work out how to use a simple encryption technique. In their experiment, computers were able to make their own form of encryption using machine learning, without being taught specific cryptographic algorithms. The encryption was very basic, especially compared to our current human-designed systems. Even so, it is still an interesting step for neural nets, which the authors state "are generally not meant to be great at cryptography".


[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: AeroCool P7-C1 Tempered Glass @ NikKTech

Cooling: Deepcool Gamer Storm Captain 240 EX @ Play3r

ETC.: ExpressVPN Services and Routers @ RealHardwareReviews

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB Keyboard @ techPowerUP!

Storage: Plextor S2C 256GB SSD @ CDRLabs

Video: ZOTAC GTX 1050 Mini @ Vortez

Even Downloaders Can Be Considered Repeat Infringers

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the definition of "repeat Infringer" includes people that repeatedly upload or download copyrighted material, even if it's just for personal use and never shared.

"Copyright infringement is a strict liability offense in the sense that a plaintiff is not required to prove unlawful intent or culpability, and a user does not have to share copyrighted works in order to infringe a copyright," its opinion reads. "In the context of this case, all it takes to be a ‘repeat infringer’ is to repeatedly upload or download copyrighted material for personal use," adding "that a ‘repeat infringer’ does not need to know of the infringing nature of its online activities, or to upload rather than download content."


French Apple Store Smasher Sentenced

As funny as it was watching this guy walking through an Apple store smashing everything, I'll be he's not laughing now that he has to pay Apple over $19,000 for his little temper tantrum.


The PC Has Become Part Of The Furniture

To be fair to the author of this article, he is talking about pre-built, off the shelf computers, not the bad ass custom built system that you poured all of your spare time and money into. The thrill definitely isn't gone in the enthusiast community, that's for sure.

But, to steal from the late, great B.B. King: for most people, the thrill is gone. And that’s because the PC has become the furniture of our digital lives. It’s absolutely necessary. You wouldn’t want to be without it. But you don’t get very excited about it, don’t brag about it, don’t replace it very often, and don’t expect revolutionary new features when you do.


Apple Delays AirPod Rollout

Remember when Apple said that its AirPods would be available mid-October? Well, October is almost over and nary an AirPod is to be found. According to TechCrunch, the sure-to-be-lost-immediately wireless headphones have been delayed with no new release date given.

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Apple did not say whether hardware or software updates are what is at the heart of the delay so I couldn’t conjecture which. My experiences with the AirPods have been very positive this far but the pre production units that were given out to press are not without their foibles and bugs. I have seen a variety of small software/hardware interaction issues that have caused some frustration – but have taken them in stride because they are not final products.


Dealing With Harassment In VR

The developers of QuiVr have come up with a simple solution for people that feel they are being harassed in their game called a Personal Bubble. With your own "superpower" activated, other players dissolve as they get close to you making it impossible to virtually "touch" anyone.

Now, though, activating your Personal Bubble is more like engaging your own superpower. You can still turn it on via the settings, but you can also activate it by what we’re calling a "power gesture" – putting your hands together, pulling both triggers, and pulling them apart as if you are creating a force field. No matter how you activate it, the effect is instantaneous and obvious – a ripple of force expands from you, dissolving any nearby player from view, at least from your perspective, and giving you a safety zone of personal space.


Counter-Strike GO Adds Stiffer Penalties For Repeat Offenders

In the "about damn time" category, Valve is finally doing something more about repeat offenders when it comes to griefing. According to patch notes released yesterday, it is now two strikes you are out. Here's the bit from the notes:

A temporary griefing conviction assigned by Overwatch will now be elevated to a permanent conviction if the suspect had a previous temporary griefing conviction.


Gaming [H]eadlines

Craft Keep VR Early Access Next Month @ Blue's News

Nintendo: Switch To Ship 2M Units By March @ Shacknews

PS4 Adding Classic Neo Geo Games @ GameSpot

Skyrim: Special Edition Steam Pre-Load Available @ VG24/7

NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready 375.63 WHQL Drivers

The folks at NVIDIA send word that the brand new GeForce Game Ready 375.63 WHQL drivers are out now. According to the release notes, these drivers provide an optimal experience for Battlefield 1, Civilization VI, Titanfall 2, and VR experience for Eagle Flight and Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope. Hit the link above for the new drivers and this link for release notes.


Reeven Okeanos CPU Cooler Review

The crew at Modders Inc. have the Reeven Okeanos CPU cooler on the test bench today. According to the review, this cooler features a slimmer design than other dual-tower offerings from Reeven, making it more compatible with motherboard components and memory slots.

Unlike other dual-tower designs which are deliberately bulky ignoring clearance concerns or have the heatpipes offset for improved component compatibility, the Reeven Okeanos is a slimmer titan than most at 110mm deep without fans installed but still relatively larger than other heatsinks at 163mm tall. For active cooling, it is equipped with a 140mm fan that ramps up to 1700 RPM and a 120mm fan that operates up to 1700 RPM.


[H]ardware Round-Up

Cases: EVOLV ATX Tempered Glass @ APH Networks

ETC.: AVerMedia Live Gamer HD Lite @ FunkyKit

Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G2L @ PCPer

Video: MSI GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X @ Guru3D

ZOTAC GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme @ Technic3D

Component Shortages Expected In PC market After November

According to this article, the increased demand for smartphone memory caused by the Galaxy Note 7 recall could impact the production of PC memory, leading to delays unless suppliers increase capacity to meet demand.

With smartphone vendors having been aggressively placing short-term orders for the fourth quarter, several component suppliers have been delaying their shipments to PC vendors recently and the action could relatively impact these PC vendors' shipments in the quarter. To satisfy demand from its smartphone clients, many memory component suppliers have shifted their capacity for PC memory to produce memory for smartphones, which has seriously delayed their delivery schedules from 10 weeks to over 20 weeks. Since memory components require a series of certifications and testing, the suppliers are unlikely to be able to shorten the delay.


Best Geek Halloween Costume 2016 Edition

This Halloween costume is a perfect example of what happens when your dad is a geek. Tell me little Princess Cumulus isn't the most adorable / nerdy costume you've seen all day.


Microsoft Surface 2016 Event Liveblog

The Microsoft Surface 2016 event is in full swing in New York this morning. The big expectation is a new Surface tablet and probably more HoloLens news. The event is now live by following the link above. We will post a link to a replay of the even once it becomes available.

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Google Fiber Pausing Expansion; CEO Stepping Aside, Layoffs Coming

This post on the Google Fiber Official Blog from CEO Craig Barratt says that not only is the company putting a halt on future expansion, it will also be "reducing its employee base" and he will personally be "stepping aside" as CEO. Damn, I guess hopes of getting Google Fiber in my area any time soon just went out the window.

For most of our "potential Fiber cities" those where we’ve been in exploratory discussions — we’re going to pause our operations and offices while we refine our approaches. We’re ever grateful to these cities for their ongoing partnership and patience, and we’re confident we’ll have an opportunity to resume our partnership discussions once we’ve advanced our technologies and solutions. In this handful of cities that are still in an exploratory stage, and in certain related areas of our supporting operations, we’ll be reducing our employee base. As for me personally, it’s been quite a journey over the past few years, taking a broad-based set of projects and initiatives and growing a focused business that is on a strong trajectory. And I’ve decided this is the right juncture to step aside from my CEO role. Larry has asked me to continue as an advisor, so I’ll still be around.


Official Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Live Action Trailer

I wasn't really feeling this new live action trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare until the very end. The bit with Michael Phelps and Danny McBride made the trailer worth watching.


Apple Is 19% Less Profitable In Q4 Of 2016 Than In Q4 Of 2015

Apple made nineteen percent less profit this quarter compared to the same quarter last year. I'm not sure how any company can get by on only $9 billion and a profit margin of almost forty percent but, I guess all we can do now is pray that things turn around for Apple.

Apple made $9 billion in profit and $46.9 billion in revenue, compared to $11.1 billion in profit and $51.5 billion in revenue in Q4 of 2015. Its gross margin was 39.4 percent. These results beat Apple's guidance for the quarter, which predicted revenue between $45.5 billion and $45.7 billion and a profit margin between 37.5 and 38 percent.


NVIDIA CEO Envisions AI Enabling Cars to Customize Driving Experience

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told the WSJD Live conference today that he envisions cars using artificial intelligence to customize the driving experience, so vehicles automatically adjust themselves to each individual’s preferences. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s flagship event, which features dozens of tech luminaries, including Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Huang said that AI will become a co-pilot that can also effectively see around corners and warn drivers of risks ahead. As well as making cars dramatically safer by eliminating scope for human error, AI capabilities will enable cars to anticipate the needs of their drivers.


AMD Collaborates with Arka Media Works to Create Stunning VR Experiences

Today at the Mumbai Film Festival organized by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI), AMD showcased new technology that can bring 360 video and Virtual Reality to millions through a bleeding edge Virtual Reality capture instrument with up to 32 cameras and the AMD’s renowned GPU-accelerated video stitching software. Used in conjunction with Radeon™ Pro Graphics, the new technology is being used initially to develop content to promote the upcoming Baahubali: The Conclusion, a movie directed by SS Rajamouli scheduled to premiere on April 28, 2017.


New Intel Atom Processor E3900 Series: Enabling Next Generation of Smart and Connected IoT Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) is linking billions of smart and connected devices to each other, creating a wave of change in how we live and work. The number of connected machines is expected to dramatically increase – by 2020, 50 billion devices (Cisco IBSG) will create 44 zettabytes (of 44 trillion gigabytes) of data annually, and will require much more processing power at the edge, and in the fog to network in order to maintain viability. To support these experiences, today at IoT Solutions World Congress, Intel is announcing the latest generation of the Intel® Atom™ processors for IoT applications. The new Intel Atom processor E3900 series is designed from the ground up to support the rapid development and the growing complexity of IoT businesses. The result is a processor exceptionally capable of delivering on performance, processing and scalability.


Tuesday October 25, 2016

AMD Will Be #1 In Visual Computing In The Next Three Years

AMD released a slide deck in conjunction with their 2016 Q3 earnings call earlier this week and one of the more interesting slides talked about the company's focus over the next three years. As you can see from the slide below, AMD has set some fairly lofty goals, including becoming #1 in visual computing.

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Bethesda Sending Out Games For Review One Day In Advance

Bethesda announced today that, just as it did with DOOM, the company will be sending out review copies of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2 to the media one day in advance. Obviously this means that you are just going to have wait for reviews to come out before you buy, positive word of mouth from your guinea pig friends or roll the dice and plop down your cash on day one. Yay.

With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.


[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: Riotoro CR1080 Case @ Neoseeker

ETC.: ASUS ROG Strix Wireless Headset @ FunkyKit

Inpute: HyperX Alloy FPS Keyboard @ Vortez

Storage: Crucial MX300 1.050GB SSD @ HT4U

Video: MSI GTX 1050 Ti 4GB @ Legit Reviews

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 @ Tech Report

AT&T Sells Your Phone Use Data To The Police

I sure need to brush up on the law because none of this seems legal at all. I know the EFF, Electronic Privacy Information Center and the ACLU have all said this is unconstitutionally invasive but how come nothing has been done about it yet?

However, AT&T’s own documentation—reported here by The Daily Beast for the first time—shows Hemisphere was used far beyond the war on drugs to include everything from investigations of homicide to Medicaid fraud. Hemisphere isn’t a "partnership" but rather a product AT&T developed, marketed, and sold at a cost of millions of dollars per year to taxpayers. No warrant is required to make use of the company’s massive trove of data, according to AT&T documents, only a promise from law enforcement to not disclose Hemisphere if an investigation using it becomes public.


My First Virtual Reality Groping

Here we go again. I have to bite my tongue on this one so I am going to just leave my thoughts on this in the comments.

Suddenly, BigBro442’s disembodied helmet faced me dead-on. His floating hand approached my body, and he started to virtually rub my chest. "Stop!" I cried. I must have laughed from the embarrassment and the ridiculousness of the situation. Women, after all, are supposed to be cool, and take any form of sexual harassment with a laugh. But I still told him to stop. This goaded him on, and even when I turned away from him, he chased me around, making grabbing and pinching motions near my chest. Emboldened, he even shoved his hand toward my virtual crotch and began rubbing.


VR Headsets Blamed For Spread Of Eye Herpes

Yes, you read that correctly, VR headsets are being blamed for the spread of eye herpes. Not surprising, the forward-thinking folks at NVIDIA saw this coming a long time ago (pun intended) and took appropriate precautions.

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Virtual reality might not be catching on with consumers as rapidly as some companies hoped, but one thing that definitely will catch on with some who tries out a VR headset is herpes—ocular herpes, to be exact. The risk of passing on illness and infections at public conventions has always been real, and that risk is amplified when visitors are sharing objects like game controllers. The same is true for VR headsets, where countless individuals handle, wear, and potentially contaminate the gear before handing it off to someone else.


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