[H]ard News

Tuesday January 24, 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda Gets 10-Hour EA Access Trial

This is fantastic news for Mass Effect fans, but I’m going to be "that guy" and suggest that EA has no real interest in giving gamers an early taste of the next chapter in the epic space saga—they are just desperate for you to pay up for EA Access, their subscription service. And I’m probably right, since that is the prerequisite for getting an advanced idea of whether BioWare managed to craft a meaningful adventure, or crashed and burned like the ending of Mass Effect 3. Am I the only one who is hyped about John Paesano’s soundtrack, which has barely been touched upon in Andromeda coverage?

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People who subscribe to EA Access or Origin Access will be able to play Mass Effect: Andromeda for up to 10 hours before the game launches, publisher Electronic Arts announced recently. The trial will go live March 16, five days before Mass Effect: Andromeda’s March 21 release date. EA Access and Origin Access are available on Xbox One and Windows PC, respectively, meaning that as always, PlayStation 4 owners will miss out on the trial. EA also announced the next four games that it will add to the EA Access Vault: Dead Space: Ignition, Madden NFL 17, Skate 3 and Zuma’s Revenge. That will expand the Vault over the 40-game mark "later this year," according to EA.


What Happens When Apple Finds A Child Making Your iPhone

"You’re building it wrong, kiddo!" Okay, no—what really happens is that Apple will not only pay for their education, but also their wages until they graduate from school. Aside from the obvious public relations angle, the point is to get kids back on the right track and convince suppliers to only hire those of working age. Unfortunately, this is one of those plans that looks better on paper, as many of these children would rather make cash now than go read books. And then there are those who aren’t discovered until it is too late. (I just realized this is a pretty old article, but those of you who haven't seen it may find it interesting.)

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…Asia remains the world leader in child labor—though there as in other regions, the phenomenon is declining, thanks to industrialization. (Of the one in 10 children around the world who work, most are subsistence farmers.) In Apple’s most public child-labor incident—and the only one to date where it has named and shamed its supplier—auditors discovered in 2012 that a company called Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics had hired 74 underage workers after a labor agency, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources, helped families forge proof-of-age documents for their children. Apple terminated its contract with the supplier, and made the company return the children to their families, as well as offering them its remediation program. Apple publicized the case, seeing an opportunity to warn suppliers, improve its public image, and ding competitors.


Xbox One's New Guide and Home Screen Demoed

Major Nelson is giving us a look at the Xbox One’s upcoming Creators Update and how the dashboard has evolved—we’ve got a more efficient Guide (Xbox button menu), multitasking improvements, updates to Cortana, and much more. I will admit that the UI looks slick, but I wish they would give me an option for hiding some of the social stuff and store highlights, being someone who misses the minimal and less cluttered system menus of consoles past. If you are invested in audio, you should scroll to the bottom of the article, which reveals that we may very well be getting games with Dolby Atmos. You can also, finally, bitstream Blu-ray audio directly to your receiver (which they should have let you done back in 2013).

…we’re beginning to ship the first wave of Xbox One features for the Creators Update to the Xbox Insider Program members. As Mike Ybarra shared last week, the Creators Update is packed full of new features for gamers who play on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs – in fact, we’re targeting hundreds of improvements across the board, noticeable by gamers and under the hood. Today’s update will start rolling out to a small subset of gamers, with the rest of the Xbox Insider Program receiving these features in the coming weeks. For gamers, the Creators Update is about performance, people, competition and streaming – getting you to the things you care about most as quickly as possible. Today, that will mean a faster Xbox One experience than ever before, connecting you with the applications, games and of course, friends, that you enjoy most.


It's Time To Embrace Wireless Gaming Mice

My Logitech G502 still treats me well, but after a desk upgrade that has pushed my tower away, I am seriously considering delving into a wireless mouse again. Coincidentally, here is an article that not only encourages that idea but also recommends what I had my eye on, a G900. The author suggests that wireless mice are better than ever, coming in at lighter weights and offering response times comparable or even equal to wired varieties. Now, there is still that pesky issue of keeping it charged—but that inconvenience doesn’t outweigh the benefits, does it?

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It's time for PC gamers to embrace wireless. If you haven't followed wireless mice in recent years, this might sound crazy. But believe me: things are so much better than they used to be. The G900's wireless signal is strong enough to punch through a LAN party without interference, and it supports the same 1 ms response time as any wired gaming mouse. I literally can't tell the difference—except that I'm free from the weight and distraction of a cable. You almost don't notice, at first, but when you go back, suddenly being tethered feels so old-fashioned. Usually the cable is no problem, but when desk clutter builds up or a kink works its way into the line, that cable can tug your mouse somewhere you don't want it to go. Wireless is so freeing.


Monday January 23, 2017

Microsoft's DirectX Shader Compiler Now Open Source

Looks like Microsoft today made their compiler for DX12 shaders open source. It makes me wonder why it would be in their interest to do such a thing. They claim it is to foster greater adoption resulting in the "faster creation of more complex shaders in apps and games," but I would think that more than anything else, the winners from this move are projects such as Wine, SteamOS and developers porting games for Linux. Gift horses, and mouths, and all those things.

It's probably not going to usher in a new era of Linux gaming, but it surely can't hurt, right? What do you guys think?

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Yes, the source is public. Because the source is available, developers can check to see how the compiler works at the smallest level of detail. You can download it, modify it, and make it a part of any system you are building. You can port it to other platforms. You can also contribute your ideas and code to the project directly, or collaborate with other partners (including hardware vendors) on new contributions.


Get Ready for AMD Ryzen and Bent Pins Again

Rejoice! It is time again for this to happen right in middle of that new and greatly anticipated system build. You go to ever-so-gently place your new CPU into its socket and then it slips out of your monkey-hands onto the floor, and then you step right on it while you jumping around orangutan-style in a simian outburst of fear and rage.

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Well, if that happens, you are likely screwed. However, like most of us have experienced, every once in a while, one of our "old timey" CPU with pins gets a little abused and the pins are not where those should be as we were discussing in the forum this weekend. This did however prompt me to find a video I made 8 years ago that directly addresses this and a simple way to fix it.

Now I am not sure if with 1,300 pins if it will work out exactly this same, but is something to keep in mind if your monkey-hands forsake your CPU hardware. And keep in mind bent pins in Intel sockets are no fun to deal with either and require a bit better tool set and steady hand to fix, so we are not picking on AMD here. I imagine a lot of us would rather have CPUs with pins than sockets with pins.

I did happen to steal the picture above from this site and he was using hypodermic needles to achieve the same ends, which might actually work better depending on Ryzen CPU pin size and density.

Google Publishes List of Chrome OS Systems Supporting Android Apps

For some time now we have been talking about the melding of Chrome OS and Android. Google has now published a list of which systems will be supporting Android applications, and while I'm no expert on Chromebooks, that looks like damned near all of them to me.

I don't own any Chrome OS devices, but I imagine having the added flexibility of running Android apps could be rather useful. What Android applications would you use on your Chrome OS device?

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Android apps are now available on:

- Asus Chromebook Flip.

- Acer Chromebook R11 / C738T

- Google Chromebook Pixel (2015)

All Chromebooks launching in 2017 and after as well as the Chromebooks listed below will work with Android apps at a time to be announced in the future*:


Google Voice Gets First Update in Five Years

Seems that Google Voice has just gotten it's first update in 5 years. The update adds group functionality to messaging, and MMS for all major carriers. It now has picture MMS support and divides your inbox into separate tabs for text messages, calls, and voice mails. They even added in Spanish translation! If you're used to using Hangouts, it's fine to keep using that, but you're welcome to try the new Google Voice apps. Also they are promising to update Google Voice more often.

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When we first introduced Google Voice our goal was to create "one number for life"—a phone number that’s tied to you, rather than a single device or a location. Since then, millions of people have signed up to use Google Voice to call, text and get voicemail on all their devices. It’s been several years since we’ve made significant updates to the Google Voice apps (and by several, we mean around five 😉wink , but today we’re bringing a fresh set of features to Google Voice with updates to our apps on Android, iOS and the web.


Damn Good Deal on Prebuilt i5-6600K - RX 480 CrossFire System

We are not real big fans of pre-built computer systems, since we are generally a snotty bunch of assholes and better than the common PC peasant, but every now and again you see a deal. This ABS system at Newegg has an Intel Core i5-6600K, CrossFire AMD RX 480, and even a small SSD. It is listed for $899.99 for the next 10 hours or so and there is a $50 Promo Code in the forums that worked for me. I did a quick tally using PC Hound, and while you could build it yourself for close to $900, it would be cutting it close.

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[H]ardware Round-Up II

All Your Kaby Lake CPU Are Belong to this Chart @ OCaHolic

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Keyboard Review @ LAN OC

Corsair K95 Platinum Keyboard Review @ TechPowerUp

Cougar ATTACK X3 RGB Gaming Keyboard Review @ Mad Shrimps

Review: Synology Router RT2600ac @ Hexus

DRDY Timing – The BIOS Optimization Guide @ TechARP

NAS Synology DS216 (French) @ CowCotLand

Sprint Takes 33% Stake in Jay Z's Tidal for $200M

Reports of the demise of high end music streaming service Tidal have been greatly exaggerated it seems. In Jay Z's song, "U Don't Know" he boasts that he can sell water to a well. Today, he sold 33% of the company to Sprint for $200 million, thus giving the company an evaluation of $600 million. Jay-Z completed the purchase of the music service from Aspiro for $56 million in March of 2015. This deal will add 45 million Sprint customers to the service where artists such as Neil Young exclusively stream content. If net neutrality laws are relaxed, I wonder if they will get data cap friendly streams of the robust Tidal lossless Master recordings catalog as those downloads are extremely large in size. I suppose that Sprint didn't put much merit into the recent reports of Tidal wildly inflating subscriber numbers.

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As part of the partnership, Sprint will make Tidal available to all of its 45 million customers, including pre-paid users, giving them full advantage of the many exclusives on the streaming site, which is one of the biggest selling points the platform has. In just over a year, Tidal has launched new albums from the likes of Rihanna, Kanye West and Beyoncé, as well as new songs, remixes, playlists, concerts and music videos from those artists and many others. The ability to watch or listen to these exclusives are limited to paying subscribers, as Tidal doesn't have a free tier.

Sprint's CEO will join Tidal’s board of directors, but Tidal says it will still be run by the many famous musicians who have helped bring so much attention to the company in the year-plus since it launched.


Resident Evil 7 Errors, Crashes, Performance, FPS, Sound, Bugs and Related Problems

As a sign of the times, I think we've all become used to various bugs and other problems in games on launch day. Resident Evil 7 may not even be out yet, but SegmentNext already has a list of the top 8 issues they have been having, and how to fix them. They also state it is a work in progress, and will be adding to it as needed.

So, if you are a fan of the series, and can't make yourself wait until Capcom gets around to patching everything, head on over there for some good suggestions on how to work around some common problems.

I wish we could just go back to the good old days of games being fully functional at launch.

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The game will be available on PC along with other platforms and as far as PC version is concerned, it's not a bad one. Performance wise, the game works great and most of you are expected to have a smooth experience. However, it's a PC game so yes, there are going to be issues due to the diversity of this platform. So if you are facing any Resident Evil 7 errors or any other issues, feel free to browse through the following issues and their possible fixes/workarounds.


Samsung Announces Cause of Galaxy Note7 Incidents in Press Conference

As we reported at the beginning of the month Samsung was planning on releasing their investigation into the fiery Galaxy Note 7 issues this month. Today they came through. The main issue appears to have been damage to separators allowing negative and positive electrodes to make contact inside the "jelly roll" of the battery. They do - however - point to several contributing causes that allow this to happen.

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Based on what the company learned from the investigation, Samsung implemented a broad range of internal quality and safety processes to further enhance product safety including additional protocols such as the multi-layer safety measures and 8-Point Battery Safety Check. Samsung also formed a Battery Advisory Group of external advisers, academic and research experts to ensure it maintains a clear and objective perspective on battery safety and innovation.


Asus Tinker Board is a Much More Powerful Alternative to the Raspberry Pi 3.

The Asus Tinker Board is Asus's answer to the Raspberry Pi 3. In typical Asus fashion, the CPU benchmarks twice as fast as the Raspberry Pi 3, and even boasts of support for HDMI H.264 / 4K video decode while the Raspberry Pi is relegated to standard HDMI 1080p High Resolution. Having all these extra features requires 25% more power draw and drives the cost to $57; nearly double the amount of a Raspberry Pi. The first thing that popped into my head was does it support the latest emulation like RetroPie, and is there a version being worked on for it. The short term answer to that is "No", and "No" according to RetroPie, but this may change in the future.

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Discussing the reasoning behind the creation of the 'Asus Pi', the Taiwanese computer firm said "Raspberry Pi has been in the market for so long, we're here to expand users' choices with more options. And this board has 4K support, higher SoC performance, faster Ethernet transmission, and flexibility for the memory size." For software Asus says that it has released its own OS for the Tinker Board, based upon Debian like the Raspberry Pi OS. It also claims to be working on wider OS support, considering the likes of ubuntu and OpenSUSE, as well as Kodi support.


First Windows 10 RTM Version Gets Support Dropped Soon

ghacks.net has passed along that Windows 10 v1507 is going End of Servicing on January 26th. This was the first official RTM version that customers could purchase or upgrade to. For those of you "cold dead hands" folks, you might look at getting your OS bumped up so you are getting needed security updates.

What this means is that this particular version of Windows 10 will no longer be supported by Microsoft after that grace period. Windows 10, version 1507 reaches end of support on March 26th, 2017.


Lavabit Email Back and Better than Ever

If you are not familiar with Lavabit email, the story surrounding it for the last couple of years is interesting on its own.

The Lavabit service was shut down several years ago after it was forced by the US Government to hand over SSL keys to Edward Snowden's email account allegedly. Last Friday, Lavabit again opened its doors to paying customers with a new cryptology technology.

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Today, we start a new freedom journey and inaugurate the next-generation of email privacy and security. In 2014, with Kickstarter funding, I started the development of the Dark Internet Mail Environment (DIME), a revolutionary end-to-end encrypted global standard and Magma, its associated DIME capable free and open source mail server. Today, I am proud to announce that we are releasing DIME and Magma to the world. DIME provides multiple modes of security (Trustful, Cautious, & Paranoid) and is radically different from any other encrypted platform, solving security problems others neglect. DIME is the only automated, federated, encryption standard designed to work with different service providers while minimizing the leakage of metadata without a centralized authority. DIME is end-to-end secure, yet flexible enough to allow users to continue using their email without a Ph.D. in cryptology.


Go with the Re-Flow

This is one of my favorite threads on the HardForum and I have been watching it since 2009. Many folks have found that using a home-brewed re-flowing method to fix dead video cards often works. The quick explanation is that reflow soldering can reconnect broken connections on an old card, or other electronics as well. However, this is very much one of those Try It At Your Own Risk sort of scenarios. And I would I highly suggest doing this while your significant other is out of the house and I would suggest you have a fire extinguisher on hand as well.

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This is the 1,150th post in the thread from today.

My 37" flat panel TV is STILL hanging in the workshop and kicking ass after oven baking. From 2009!


BOOM! Headshot

Posted this weekend already, but worth repeating since retractions very rarely get the exposure of the original article... You guys may or may not remember that "study" from about 3 or 4 years ago, but it claimed that people that played video games were better real life shooters in terms of accuracy. Well, it has been recently retracted due to "irregularities" with its data. I have been a fairly avid shooter over the last decade, and I can tell you this, video games in no way have made me personally a better shot. That said, I will tell you that the recent VR shooters we have seen, like Hot Dogs, Horseshoes, and Hand Grenades, will absolutely make you more informed when it comes to how weapons function in the real world.

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Essentially, the study argues that players who played a violent video game focusing on headshots with a digital handgun were able to accurately score headshots on mannequins with real handguns afterward.


Windows 10 vs Linux OpenGL Performance on Kaby Lake

It is the ultimate showdown of hipster neckbeards and nerds, and will surely end in a bloodbath. Then again maybe not. There are a lot of us interested in Linux as a gaming platform however, and phoronix has a bevy of benchmarks that address exactly that when compared to Microsoft's latest and greatest OS. OK, maybe there are not a lot of benchmarks either, but they do have data on CS:GO and Team Fortress 2!

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Under the Furmark stress test the Windows 10 installation commanded a significant lead while under the basic triangle test was the only OpenGL benchmark in this article where Windows 10 lost. GpuTest's triangle workload tends to be limited just by video memory performance.


[H]ardware Round-Up

ASRock X99 Taichi Motherboard Review @ Funky Kit

Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB 850W Power Supply Review @ Funky Kit (750W @ [H])

Thecus N4810 4-Bay SMB and Enthusiast NAS Review @ eTeknix

Noontec TerraMaster D4-310 4-Bay USB Type-C DAS Review @ eTeknix

Asustor AS3102T 2 Bay NAS @ Technoyard

Roccat Kone EMP Gaming Mouse @ TechPowerUp

Corsair MM800 RGB Polaris Review @ aph networks

Turtle Beach Multi-Format Stream Mic Review @ eTecknix

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L Review @ aph networks

AeroCool Project 7 Case (German) @ Technic3D

Sunday January 22, 2017

Toshiba To Launch OLED TVs Later This Year

This is good news for those who want to believe that OLED is finally going to make it big. Panasonic revealed their interest last year when they took the wraps off of the 65EZ1000, and we learned that Sony was invested this year when they revealed the XBR-A1E at CES. Now, we have yet another significant player to look to for the highest-quality display technology available. The real story for me will be when someone other than LG starts producing OLED panels, who seemingly have no interest in producing smaller screens. A 40" OLED TV would make for a great monitor for sure.

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Toshiba announced that it will launch its first OLED TV later this year (probably in March). Toshiba will offer 55" and 65" 4K OLEDs in Japan for ¥700,000 (about $6,100) and ¥900,000 (about $7,900) - which is reportedly similar to LG's high-end OLED TVs in Japan. Toshiba will use panels produced by LG Display - which is also supplying OLED TV panels to Japan-based Sony and Panasonic.


15% Of U.S. Broadband Households Have Antenna-Only TV Service

Are some people actually going back to over-the-air TV? That is what this study could imply. Broadband-only households with antenna-only TV service have risen from around 8% in 2013 to 15%. Pay-TV subscriptions, on the other hand, continue to decline, which, aside from basic lack of interest, can obviously be attributed to over-the-top services such as Netflix and Amazon Video.

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Parks Associates notes declining pay-TV satisfaction in each of the last three years. Only one-third of pay-TV subscribers are very satisfied with their pay-TV service. According to Parks Associates' OTT Video Market Tracker, 63% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one OTT service and 31% of U.S. broadband households have multiple OTT service subscriptions. "Pay-TV providers are adapting to address a fundamentally different video services market than existed three years ago. Challenges still remain for consumers in aggregating and discovering their favorite content and being able to watch on their preferred screen. Live broadcasts of high-profile events remain a challenge for online delivery, though pay TV and broadcast TV conquered live distribution long ago," Sappington said. "These challenges represent areas in which pay-TV providers, or new entrants, can still win consumer attention, viewership, and revenue."


Thinking About Windows 10 Alternatives

It is a little depressing to see a Microsoft-centric website running this sort of article, but there it is. I would have you know that I have no qualms with Windows 10 whatsoever (come at me), but those of you on the other end of the spectrum may find some amusement here. The author suggests that the number one alternative to Microsoft’s newest effort is its predecessor, Windows 8, but there is no way I would ever want to be reminded of what served as the catalyst for the full-screen, Fisher-Priced Start menu.

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With Microsoft looking at new ways of monetizing Windows 10—in many cases, with ever-aggressive advertising in the product itself—I’m getting a lot of questions about alternatives. And while the case for moving off Windows 10 on PCs is not clear, I feel the frustration too. In fact, I spend a lot more time than you may realize exploring those alternatives. This week alone, I’ve done work on macOS, using my MacBook Air, and I’ve installed the latest versions of Ubuntu and Mint Linux. In other recent weeks, I’ve spent time with a surprisingly high-quality Acer Chromebook as well. I do this with no sense of joy. And to be clear I still find Windows 10 to be the obvious winner when I evaluate what it is that I’m looking for personally.


Capcom Not Bringing Resident Evil To Nintendo Switch

Following on the heels of developers who have claimed that their biggest games and franchises (e.g., Borderlands 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda) will not be coming to the Switch, Capcom says they have no Resident Evil games planned for the system. Nobody who knows the company well could possibly be taking their comments seriously, however—they are probably readying another port of Resident Evil 4 as I type this. I would imagine that any hype for the new Nintendo system would be for first-party efforts, anyway.

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Capcom has said it is potentially interested in making games for the Nintendo Switch, but it doesn't look like the Resident Evil series is among them, at least not yet. Producer Masachika Kawata told Express Online about the Switch, "I think it's a very unique piece of hardware." However, Capcom isn't bringing Resident Evil to Switch now or anytime soon. "I'm looking forward to the possibilities of the system itself, but we have no plans at the moment regarding Resident Evil on Switch," Kawata said (via NeoGAF). Capcom is among the dozens of development partners for the Switch, so it's possible some Capcom games will come to the console.


Study Claiming Video Games Make Players Better Real-Life Shooters Gets Shot Down

Apparently, there was a study some years back that claimed FPS games made you a better shooter in real life. I am not sure why it took four years to be discredited, as that idea seems like a stretch once you go past the basic correlation of one simulating certain aspects of the other—the last time I checked, using a mouse and keyboard or controller is, you know, pretty different than shooting a live weapon. I guess there is an argument to make when you introduce the concept of hand-eye coordination, but plenty of things beyond video games affect that.

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Essentially, the study argues that players who played a violent video game focusing on headshots with a digital handgun were able to accurately score headshots on mannequins with real handguns afterward. As Retraction Watch notes, though, the study's been under fire since 2015 from Villanova University's Patrick Markey and Malte Elson at Germany's Ruhr University Bochum. Their own findings regarding video game violence run contrary to Bushman's, to the point that Markey has a book coming out in March titled Moral Combat: Why the War on Video Games is Wrong.


James Cameron To Godfather New "Terminator" With "Deadpool" Helmer Tim Miller

I consider the first Terminator and Judgment Day to be two of the greatest sci-fi action films ever made. The sequels that followed were, at least comparatively, garbage, and the reason is rather obvious—Jim wasn’t around to write and direct. I really thought Cameron was done with the franchise, but he is reportedly getting involved again, although he is leaving much of the work up to Deadpool director Tim Miller. That’s no surprise, since he’s doing…what, ten Avatar movies?

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…the franchise seemed out of gas when the $155 million film grossed $440 million worldwide, but didn’t do nearly well enough in the U.S. Perhaps Cameron was foreshadowing his own future return to the franchise. Much the way that Sony used to rush Spider-Man movies to stay ahead of a rights-reversion ticking clock, it was always known that Cameron would regain clout eventually. It didn’t seem that Skydance or Paramount had much interest continuing the creative track of the last film, but real creative involvement by Cameron, even if he doesn’t direct, changes the whole ballgame. One only has to look at Aliens, True Lies, Titanic or Avatar to see what he is capable of creatively when he puts his mind to something.


Meet The Man To Blame For Comic Sans

Batman? Watchmen? Microsoft Bob? I thought Comic Sans was invented in like, a day, just because they needed a font to amuse little kids, but it turns out there is a more interesting history behind it. The inventor, Vincent Connare, claims it is the best thing he has ever done.

You remember Comic Sans. You know, that irreverent, off-kilter font that came pre-programmed on 90s versions of Microsoft Word? In fact, you probably have very strong feelings about that font. Here’s the story behind the most polarizing font ever made.


Tidal May Have Been Wildly Inflating Subscriber Numbers

Remember when Tidal bragged about having millions of subscribers last year? It turns out that Jay Z’s high-quality music streaming service may have exaggerated numbers just a tiny bit—which would definitely be putting things lightly, as the company reported having 3 million subscribers when its actual report to labels suggested 1.2 million. Being quite happy with my FLAC collection, I haven’t had any real reason to give Tidal a try, but it does make me wonder why the major players haven’t started selling lossless audio, as there is a clear interest in it and more people have access to greater storage these days.

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…Tidal, the music streaming service co-owned by Jay-Z and more than a dozen other music stars, has persistently inflated its subscriber numbers in statements to the media, the public, and investors. The authors of the investigation, Markus Tobiassen and Kjetil Saeter, based their findings on interviews with Tidal staff and internal documents (Tidal began life as part of Aspiro, a Norwegian company). "In April 2016, one month after [a] press release issued by the company claiming three million members, Tidal made payments to the record labels for around 850,000 subscribers," reads a translation of the report provided to Digital Music News. "The figure reported internally by Tidal in April is 1.2 million subscribers."


Apple Exploring Facial Recognition System For iPhone 8

Ming-Chi Kuo is at it again with the Apple leaks—this time, he is advising that Apple may revolutionize biometric identification in smartphones with facial recognition capabilities. The company is currently revamping Touch ID out of necessity due to the new form factor of the next-generation iPhone, which requires an optical, not capacitive, system. But even if the facial recognition system does take off, it will likely work in tandem with the fingerprint reader for added security.

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Kuo believes the fingerprint recognition system will "ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system" for enhanced security. "However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution." Assuming the technological challenges are not too great and adoption this year isn't too soon, Kuo suggests Apple's new system will usher in a "paradigm shift" for the application of biometric identification in smartphones. Kuo's latest report builds on previous predictions regarding this year's "10th anniversary" iPhone, which is expected to feature a radical redesign with an embedded home button in an edge-to-edge display, a glass body, and potentially wireless charging.


Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X Processors Launching In August 2017

Coinciding with the world’s largest gaming conference, Intel will be releasing its latest high-end desktop assortment for their new Basin Falls X-Series platform later this year. The chips, all of which will be labeled as Core i7-7000s, include 4-core models, utilizing Kaby Lake architecture, all the way up to 10-core models, which will be Skylake-based. However, there is a suggestion that these are actually "K" chips and not "X" chips, which means there won’t be an Extreme Edition at launch.

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The Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors will launch at Gamescom 2017, which will take place in Cologne, Germany. The launch lineup will include at least four SKUs that will make their way to the X299 platform. All processors will utilize the 14nm process node; however, the Kaby Lake-X chips may have a slight edge due to the process optimizations. This would result in better clock speed with reduce power consumption, adding to the efficiency. The four SKUs will include a 10 core, 8 core, 6 core and 4 core model. The 10, 8 and 6 core models will be based on Skylake architecture. The 4-core model will be based on the Kaby Lake architecture, which launched on mainstream platforms earlier this month. All Skylake-X chips will feature a rated TDP of 140W, while the Kaby Lake-X chip will feature a TDP of 112W. All chips will be marketed as the Core i7-7000 series processors.


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