News en This Is How Verizon Bullshits You <!--paging_filter--><h3>Verizon plays you for a fool; hopes you won't dig too deep.</h3> <p>Today was arguably a landmark event for the FCC and net neutrality. The <a href="">FCC successfully passed a vote</a> that classifies Internet service as a public utility under Title II regulations, which makes ISPs become what's otherwise known as a "common carrier." If you want to read the actual rules from the FCC, <a href="">check this out</a>.</p> <p>For the better part of the last decade, <a href="">net neutrality has been an increasingly hot topic</a>, which exploded into the limelight after Netflix and other content providers started <a href="">revealing network benchmarks</a> that claimed large Internet service providers throttled network speeds for some and not for others, mainly, not for those who were willing to pay higher prices.</p> <p>While this sounds just fine, it is not. On the customer side, yes, absolutely charge me more if I want a faster Internet connection. However:</p> <p>Let's say I am paying $50/month for a 100Mbps connection. I then decide, I want a 200Mbps connection from my provider, and pay $100/month. I expect, under ideal circumstances to get double the bandwidth. But then, my carrier is secretly slowing down traffic from content providers and then going out to solicit extra money from those affected providers to "ensure" good service. This is called double-dipping. A webpage from a popular online website gets delivered to me at full speeds, while the video from a popular streaming website gets throttled. This is the issue at hand with net neutrality, where neutral states that all content is the same, regardless of what it is -- since it's all 1s and 0s.</p> <p>Imagine if I was a delivery courier for packages. I charged you $10 to deliver 2-day, and then went to the company you ordered your goods from and asked them for more money or else I'll priorities another vendor first.</p> <p>As you may have heard, most if not all of the Internet service providers are up in arms about the FCC's ruling. It throws a wrench in their attempts to curb the user experience that's already been paid for, in a back-handed attempt to get more money. Much <a href="">has already</a>&nbsp;been <a href="">documented</a> about these <a href="">shady maneuvers</a>.</p> <p>So, let's get back to the issue at hand.</p> <p>The carriers, like Comcast, TWC, Verizon, etc., are all claiming that the new FCC net neutrality rules based on Title II Regulations, will "hurt" and "stifle" Internet innovation for future generations. In fact, Verizon went as far as&nbsp;<a href="">releasing a press release in Morse code to mock</a> how the FCC is using a dated rule from the 1930's to regulate modern technology.</p> <p><img src="/files/u191083/screen_shot_2015-02-26_at_6.27.22_pm.png" alt="Verizon FCC Net Neutrality PR" title="Verizon FCC Net Neutrality PR" width="350" height="543" style="float: right;" /></p> <p>Clicking on the "translated statement here" <a href="">leads to a readable version</a>, except it's written in old, unclear, type-writer font, to continue mocking the FCC on using a Title II Regulations.</p> <p>This is amusing because Verizon previously forced its hand through the FCC by saying it is a common carrier under Title II Regulations. In fact, it's not recent at all. According to a <a href="">extremely detailed PULP report on Verizon</a>, the carrier has been using Title II Regulations on and off, depending on its business needs. Verizon flip-flops between saying that it's a heavily regulated network or a deregulated service provider. <a href="">In a report by The Verge</a>, <strong>Verizon's own documents say</strong>:</p> <p><strong>"As noted, Verizon NJ has been upgrading substantial portions of its telecommunications network with FTTP technology as a common carrier pursuant to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934..."</strong></p> <p><strong>Straight from the horse's mouth. Talk about hypocrisy.</strong></p> <p><strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">Verizon uses Title II to gain common carrier benefits, such as regulated lower prices, for when it wants to push out infrastructure and dip its hands into tax dollars for the build-outs, but shams Title II for when it wants to throttle broadband speeds so that it can siphon money from content providers--all after the Verizon customer has already paid for the access.</span></strong></p> <p><strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">How exactly can Verizon claim Title II? Easy: Verizon also has a landline telephone business. Telephone carriers are classified and regulated under Title II of the communications Act. This regulation controls costs, and allows telephone carriers to use backbones of other utilities, to ease the build-out of networks by piggybacking on existing infrastructure. Since land-line businesses are dying, Verizon and others <a href=";;xs=1&amp;isjs=1&amp;;xguid=9616a9ff2bb5c080e16cb484a77ec53e&amp;xuuid=8c28656282ab035e4a57bc4f98654d34&amp;xsessid=f91c565af82043ff8fdd008558f315ff&amp;xcreo=0&amp;xed=0&amp;;;xtz=480">keep this part of its business around as a very powerful tool</a>.</span></strong></p> <p>So, Verizon jumps back and forth on Title II classification, depending on whether or not it perceives an advantage, and even outright classifies itself under Title II. Yet today it is publicly trashing Title II as an old regulation from the 1930's.</p> <p>The fact that Verizon is releasing this kind of PR stunt designed to tell you, the public, that the FCC is using an outdated regulation not suitable for the modern technology era, is complete horse shit. The PR machine at Verizon is essentially spitting in your face thinking you won't even notice because it knows the majority of the public is too ignorant of what actually goes on behind the scenes and that most people don't really have the time to dig through reports and papers.</p> <p>Up until today, Verizon was freely using Title II on and off wherever it felt it could cut costs and fund infrastructure using public funds. It's now only making a play that the FCC's rules are unfit for modern society because the new rules will hurt its revenue stream from content providers.</p> <p>It still remains to be seen what will happen in the coming months and years. Carriers will no doubt take the FCC's ruling to court and attempt to have it modified or thrown out. And for critics that are claiming that the FCC's new net neutrality regulation is a play by the government disguised to fool the average citizen? Verizon's dealt that card already.</p> fcc net neutrality tittle ii regulations tom wheeler Verizon News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 04:05:24 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29486 at Microsoft Removing Google Chat and Facebook from <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/outlook_logo.jpg" alt="Outlook logo" title="Outlook logo" width="200" height="199" style="float: right;" />Nothing but Skype from here on out</h3> <p>For those who use, they will have to rely on Skype for all of their communication needs. In an email to its users, <strong>Microsoft announced that it will be removing Facebook and Google Chat from</strong>. It is a move that is unsurprising given how much Microsoft has invested in Skype.</p> <p>"Within the next couple of weeks, we will be discontinuing support for Facebook Chat in And due to Google's decision to discontinue the chat protocol used by the Google Talk platform, we can no longer provide Google Chat in," reads an email from the company. "We understand that this may disappoint some of our customers, but we hope that you'll try Skype for chat, and video and voice calling, so you can take advantage of the more robust ways to keep in touch with friends and family."</p> <p>Microsoft went on to say that this will not affect users’ connection to their Facebook or Google accounts. This means that users’ People page and the People apps will continue to be updated with the latest contact information from those services.</p> <p>Whether the removal of these two services will cause users to go elsewhere, rather than use Skype, remains to be seen.&nbsp;</p> <p>But do you use and does the removal of Facebook Chat and Google Chat matter to you? Let us know in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> facebook Facebook Chat Google Google Chat microsoft Outlook News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 01:23:23 +0000 Sean D Knight 29485 at Tesoro Launches Low Cost Gungnir Gaming Mouse with RGB Illumination <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/tesoro_gungnir.jpg" alt="Tesoro Gungnir" title="Tesoro Gungnir" width="228" height="202" style="float: right;" />This rodent won't break the bank</h3> <p><strong>Tesoro today expanded its line of gaming mice with the Gungnir Black</strong>, an affordable rodent with customizable RGB illumination. It's named after the magical spear Odin used in Norse mythology, which is supposed to always be able to hit its mark no matter who wields it. See where Tesoro is going with this? The company likens its namesake mouse to the spear, saying that its 3,500 DPI optical sensor "ensures smooth and controlled movements."</p> <p>Aside from the mythology lesson, the Gungnir also boasts seven programmable buttons and 64KB of onboard memory to allow for the configuration of up to 35 macro keys and 1,600 recordable actions. This is done through Tesoro's new software, which has been redesigned to be more user friendly. You can also adjust the DPI and polling rate (up to 1,000Hz) in the software, and then save your custom setup to a profile.</p> <p>Other features include a lift distance of 2mm, 20G acceleration, 1.8m cable, four DPI levels, and an ergonomic design with a rubberized thumb grip.</p> <p>Tesoro says the <a href="" target="_blank">Gungnir</a> is available now in North America for $29 MSRP.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Gungnir Hardware mouse Peripherals tesoro News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:55:22 +0000 Paul Lilly 29482 at It's Official, FCC Reclassifies Broadband Internet Under Title II (UPDATED) <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/express_lane.jpg" alt="Express Lane" title="Express Lane" width="228" height="144" style="float: right;" />A new era for net neutrality</h3> <p>As seemed destined to happen, <strong>the Federal Communications Commission voted today to reclassify broadband Internet service as a public utility</strong>, thus giving the FCC the power it sought to implement strict net neutrality rules. The new rules were approved in a 3-to-2 vote and also apply to mobile Internet service, though the war isn't over just yet -- opponents of the Title II classification are sure to mount a legal challenge, and though it's an uphill battle, they may have an easier time convincing a court to issue a stay on the new rules.</p> <p>Under the new rules, ISPs will not be allowed to implement paid fast lanes, block access to legal content or services, or throttle speeds unless it's for "reasonable network management," such as upgrades to the infrastructure.</p> <p>"Today, the Commission -- once and for all -- enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open Internet today and into the future," the <a href="" target="_blank">FCC said in a statement</a>. "These new rules are guided by three principles: America’s broadband networks must be fast, fair and open—principles shared by the overwhelming majority of the nearly 4 million commenters who participated in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding."</p> <p>According to a report in <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a>, each of the five commissioners took turns speaking before the vote, with Republicans making clear their opposition.</p> <p>"The Internet is not broken. There is no problem to solve," said Republican commissioner Ajit Pai.</p> <p>Verizon was also quick to respond in a <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter post</a> saying, "The FCC's Throwback Thursday vote on Net Neutrality brought 1930s regulations to the 21st century Internet," along with link to a statement in morse code to drive the point home. The statement in English can be <a href="" target="_blank">read here (PDF)</a>.</p> <p>The new rules adopt only parts of Title II while ignoring others. For example, the FCC will not involve itself in pricing decisions or in how ISPs decide to manage their networks from an engineering standpoint. As such, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler considers this a modern adaptation of Title II.</p> <p>"These are a 21st century set of rules for a 21st century industry," Wheeler said.</p> <h3>Update</h3> <p>The topic of net neutrality and whether reclassifying the Internet as a utility is the correct approach is a topic with a clear division in opinions. Not many people or organizations find themselves wavering back and forth -- they're either for government regulation or against it (as it pertains here).</p> <p>Naturally, the Obama administration is thrilled with the vote, with the White House having <a href="" target="_blank">tweeted out</a>, "The FCC just voted to keep the Internet open and free. That's the power of millions making their voices heard. Thank you!"</p> <p>You can also count Netflix among those that are stoked with the vote:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>The net neutrality debate is about who picks winners and losers online: Internet service providers or consumers. Today, the FCC settled it: Consumers win.," Netflix said in a statement.</em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Today’s order is a meaningful step towards ensuring ISPs cannot shift bad conduct upstream to where they interconnect with content providers like Netflix. Net neutrality rules are only as strong as their weakest link, and it’s incumbent on the FCC to ensure these interconnection points aren’t used to end-run the principles of an open Internet. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Given the lack of competition among broadband providers, today’s other FCC decision preventing regulations that thwart local investment in new broadband infrastructure also is an important step toward ensuring greater consumer choice. These actions kick off a new era that puts the consumer, not litigious corporate giants, at the center of competition policy.</em></p> <p>On the opposite side, <a href="" target="_blank">Comcast has come and said</a> it's "disappointed the Commission chose this route, which is certain to lead to years of litigation and regulatory uncertainty and may greatly harm investment and innovation, when the use of Section 706 alone would have provided a much more certain and legally sustainable path."</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">AT&amp;T offered</a> similar rhetoric alluding to a lawsuit, saying that "Partisan decisions taken on 3-2 votes can be undone on similarly partisan 3-2 votes only two years hence. And FCC decisioins made without clear authorization by Congress (and who can honestly argue Congress intended this?) can be undone quickly by Congress or the courts."</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Mike Licht)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> broadband fcc Internet net neutrality tom wheeler News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:19:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29481 at Should AMD Jump on the Chromebook Bandwagon? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebooks_2.jpg" alt="Chromebooks" title="Chromebooks" width="228" height="175" style="float: right;" />Chromebooks and AMD don't currently mix</h3> <p>You have options when it comes to Chromebooks. Some have touch displays, a few are rugged so they can endure a day at the playground, many are relatively inexpensive at around $200, while others like the Chromebook Pixel ($1,300) are quite a bit more. But one option you don't have is buying a Chromebook powered by AMD -- it's either ARM or Intel. That may change someday, but for now, <strong>AMD simply isn't interested in the Chromebook category</strong>.</p> <p>We know this because AMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster said as much earlier this week during the International Solid State Circuits (ISSCC) conference.</p> <p>"You have to really look at the Chromebook, and what Google's objective with it is," Papermaster told a small group of reporters at ISSCC, <a href="" target="_blank">according <em>PCWorld</em></a>. "For us, it's just a business decision, when you need our type of CPU and graphics technology that can make a difference."</p> <p>For now, it isn't hurting AMD to ignore Chromebooks -- only around 4.6 million units were sold in 2014, representing a mere 1.5 percent of the PC market. However, the category is growing, with double the number of Chromebooks sold in 2014 compared to 2013.</p> <p>AMD is gambling that Chromebooks never become anything more than a niche product, or if they do, that it can jump in and become a player. And the Sunnyvale chip designer might be right. I've pointed out several times in the past that the top selling notebooks on Amazon are Chromebooks, but a glance today shows that's no longer the case.</p> <p>Instead, the top selling laptop is now a 15.6-inch Asus machine running a dual-core Celeron chip for $249, followed by the HP Stream 11 (No. 2), HP Stream 13 (No. 3), a 15.6-inch Acer Aspire (No. 4), and another HP Stream 13 (No. 5). None of these are more than $250, which suggests that customers weren't necessarily interested in Chromebooks for many of the reasons Google laid out other than price.</p> <p>Now that Windows laptops can be had at similar price points, Chromebooks aren't as popular, at least on Amazon. They only comprise the No. 7 and No. 8 spots out of the site's 10 best selling notebooks, whereas before they led the pack.</p> <p>"For us, it’s when do you need our CPU and graphics capability that can make a difference," Papermaster added. "Again, you’ll see that there’s these rock-bottom markets... so those don’t have our value proposition."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd chromebook Google laptop notebook News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:33:28 +0000 Paul Lilly 29480 at Why I Think Nvidia Is Going to Announce a VR Headset <!--paging_filter--><h3>Column: Jimmy Thang gathers the trail of breadcrumbs</h3> <p>There’s a rumor floating around right now that Nvidia is going to reveal its own VR headset at GDC. <a title="vr focus" href="" target="_blank">VRFocus</a> is reporting this will happen during the company’s teased “Made to Game” event happening next Tuesday, March 3rd.</p> <p>While I don’t know how rock-solid VRFocus’ source is, I have been speculating that Nvidia would announce its own VR headset prior to this supposed leak. Allow me to walk you through my logic.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" width="609" height="601" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>It will "redefine the future of gaming," you say?</strong></p> <p>In Nvidia’s “Made to Game” invitation teaser (seen above), details are pretty scarce, but we do have this line from Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang that reads, “More than 5 years in the making, what I want to share with you will redefine the future of gaming.” That already has a very VR vibe to it, but isn’t really substantial enough evidence to be worth reporting on, so let’s move along.</p> <p>If you’ve been listening to our <a title="no bs podcast" href="" target="_blank">No BS podcasts</a>—<a title="no bs 229" href="" target="_blank">episode #229</a> in particular—you might recall that we got Nvidia’s Distinguished Engineer Tom Petersen and Senior Director of Engineering Rev Lebaradian into the recording room. When I asked them what they thought of VR way back in this July 2014 recording, this is how the two gentlemen responded:</p> <p>“I love VR,” stated Petersen, adding, “I think it’s going to be great. It’s got some real challenges though, let’s be honest. VR today, even though Oculus is doing great things and is a great partner of ours, I think that VR in the future could be very, very good. The biggest challenge in VR is [figuring out] how do you couple the graphics subsystem to the sensor subsystem and the display; and you know the people who are best positioned to make that great and are willing to invest? That’s us.”</p> <p>We then expressed that we’d love to see a wireless solution, but that we understood it was difficult with the added latency. To which Petersen responded, “Think about GRID, think about [Nvidia] GameStream. What are we working on? Latency.” Nvidia’s Senior Director of Engineering Rev Lebaradian added, “with GSync, we’re working on displays.” Petersen then added, “I don’t want to talk too much about it other than to say it’s another one of those crazy technologies for gamers that’s right in the middle of our wheelhouse. It’s the kind of the stuff that we get excited about.” Lebaradian chimed in and said, “So we’re definitely invested in it, if that’s the question.” Petersen echoed those sentiments and added, “We’ve been investing in it and we’re going to do so… we are not a follower, and anything that’s new and innovative, we want to be there.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>VR talk begins at 1:37:18.</strong></p> <p>Did I mention that Nvidia is hosting a panel titled “<a href="">How Nvidia Technology Is Improving the VR Experience</a>” on March 4th... the day after its “Made to Game” event? It's also worth pointing out that the description for this panel says it will go over methods to "improve the gaming experience on the Oculus Rift and <strong>other VR headsets</strong>."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="" alt="nvidia 3d vision" title="nvidia 3d vision" width="620" height="625" /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Nvidia has plenty of experience with stereoscopic 3D.</strong></p> <p>Finally, Nvidia sent us an email today stating, “In addition to the event we have planned for Tuesday, March 3, we’ll have a booth presence at GDC in the Moscone Center, South Hall, Booth #1016 where we’ll be demonstrating a glimpse into the future of gaming.”</p> <p>Could this one-on-one invitation be a glimpse at Nvidia’s VR headset? All the clues seem to be pointing that way.</p> <p>Could I be wrong? Stranger things have happened.</p> column headset made to game maximum pc nvidia vr oculus rift rumor titan virtual reality News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:29:42 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29475 at Intel Rebrands Atom CPUs, Hints at New Silicon <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/intel_atom_rebranded.jpg" alt="Rebranded Atom" title="Rebranded Atom" width="228" height="172" style="float: right;" />Rebranded Atom chips follow Intel's Core naming convention</h3> <p>Intel is rebranding its Atom processor line so that customers will have an easier time determining the level of CPU performance at a glance. To do that, <strong>Intel is splitting Atom into three distinct levels -- Atom x3, Atom x5, and Atom x7</strong>. It's a similar approach to Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 naming conventions, which follows the good, better, best construct, and it will start with the next generation of Atom CPUs.</p> <p>"Intel Atom x3 processor provides basic, but genuine Intel-level tablet, phablet and smartphone performance. Intel Atom x5 processor has more capabilities and features for people who want an even better experience, and the flagship Intel Atom x7 processor provides the highest level of performance and capabilities for the Intel Atom family," <a href="" target="_blank">Intel explains</a>.</p> <p>The new branding is part of a larger breakdown that also includes three tiers -- Atom x3/x5/x7 for when mobility is a priority, Core M for a blend of performance and portability, and Core i3/i5/i7 for when performance matters most.</p> <p>While Intel didn't provide any details about the next generation of Atom that will kick off the new naming convention, we suspect it will be the company's 14nm Cherry Trail CPUs that are supposed to debut this year. Cherry Trail is the successor to Bay Trail and promises to deliver better graphics performance and battery life optimizations.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> atom cpu Hardware intel processor x3 x5 x7 News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:50:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29479 at Display a Custom Logo on Bitfenix's New Aegis Case <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bitfenix_aegis.jpg" alt="Bitfenix Aegis" title="Bitfenix Aegis" width="228" height="237" style="float: right;" />Add your own flair</h3> <p>Are you all-in with Nvidia? What about AMD? Or Intel? Hey, we're not judging -- <strong>you can be a fan of any brand you want, and if you'd like to show off your allegiance to team whatever, Bitfenix's new Aegis case will let you</strong>. Hidden behind the closed front panel of the Bitfenix Aegis is the Bitfenix ICON, a 2.8-inch logo display that connects directly to your motherboard via an internal USB header.</p> <p>This allows you to add any custom logo you want to the Aegis, which you can do simply by dragging and dropping a color image. Furthermore, Bitfenix has published the source code, so if developers want to get creative or fancy, perhaps animated or interactive icons will make its way to the Aegis.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/aegis_logos.jpg" alt="Aegis Logos" title="Aegis Logos" width="620" height="309" /></p> <p>The Aegis is a micro ATX chassis (supports both micro ATX and mini ITX motherboards), though it supports quite a bit of hardware, including four 3.5-inch drives (two removable cages with two tool free slots each) and four 2.5-inch drives (one removable cage with two tool free slots each).</p> <p>For cooling chores, the Aegis supports up to eight 120mm fans or five 140 fans, dual 238mm radiators, or a dual 360mm rad if it's of the slim variety.</p> <p>Other features include a built-in fan controller, rubber padded pump bracket, a reservoir bracket, PSU cover, dust filters on top, and five color options (white, blue, yellow, red, and black).</p> <p>No word yet on when the Aegis will be available to purchase or for how much. In the meantime, you can check out its <a href="" target="_blank">product page here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Aegis BitFenix Build a PC case chassis enclosure Hardware matx News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:47:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 29478 at What Exactly is Net Neutrality? Here's a Clear Answer <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u191083/wall-street-journal-net-neutrality.png" alt="Wall Street Journal Net Neutrality" title="Wall Street Journal Net Neutrality" width="120" height="68" style="float: right;" />A Clear Explanation On Net Neutrality</h3> <p>Over the past several weeks, I've posted several pieces on the FCC and the issue surrounding net neutrality.&nbsp;</p> <p>The issue around neutrality though, has been around for several years. But it only came into the mainstream light when Netflix raised some serious issues of it getting shafted by big tier carriers. Some may not agree with what I've said in my previous articles, <a href="">such as this one</a>, but the issue remains the same.</p> <p>Regardless of what might happen, which is to say, assumptions and conjecture aside, the issue is real, and the solutions focus squarely on the issue that Netflix, Level3, Google, and other <a href="">big tech companies have raised</a>.</p> <p>Some in the comments here have disagreed<span style="font-size: 7.5pt; font-family: Verdana;">—</span>which is fine, as everyone can have his or her say. This is why the forums and comments succeed. However, others have resorted to attacking me on a personal level and that's not acceptable. In fact, the ones who are raising a stink on a personally offensive level, seems to have no clue about net neutrality at all, and instead harp on the doom and gloom strings of potential collapse of the Internet as a whole because of would-be government failure. Which is to say, they're saying the FCC's proposal is a bag of crap because they "feel" or "believe" the government "will ruin everything."</p> <p>Let's stick with the facts, because you know, we're factual here.</p> <p>Actually, the Wall Street Journal has a good video explaining the principle behind net neutrality. Check it out here:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe src="" width="512" height="288" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> fcc net neutrality tom wheeler News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 07:28:36 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29477 at Rockstar Game Announces that GTA V Release has been Delayed Again <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/gta_v.jpg" alt="GTA V" title="GTA V" width="200" height="113" style="float: right;" />They say patience is a virtue</h3> <p>When it comes to developer Rockstar Games, PC gamers tend to wait a while before their IPs are brought over to the platform. This holds true for the developer’s popular Grand Theft Auto franchise. So it shouldn’t surprise us that <strong>Grand Theft Auto V for PC has been delayed to April 14</strong>.</p> <p>“Our apologies to PC gamers worldwide who have been counting down the days until the launch of the game,” writes Rockstar on its <a title="Rockstar Games" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">website</span></a>. “A bit more time is needed to ensure that the game is as polished as possible, and to make certain that both Heists and the GTA Online experience are ready to roll out on day one for PC.”</p> <p>This isn’t the first time that the game has been <a title="GTA V delayed" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">pushed back</span></a>. Originally slated for release on January 27, 2015, the developer delayed the PC version’s release to March 22. A move that wasn’t welcome considering that GTA V had been released on September 17, 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. However, Rockstar has been working on an updated version of the game for the current generation of consoles, released last year in November, which also meant a PC version at last. Now, PC gamers will have to wait until April 14 to finally pick up a copy of the game.</p> <p>However, the updated version of GTA V will include a new <a title="GTA V first person mode" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">first-person mode</span></a>, a first for the series, along with enhancements and additions to the game. So a delay this time around is understandable given the scope of the updated version.</p> <p>At this point, though, we are used to getting games from Rockstar much later than the consoles. Hopefully, the PC version of GTA V will be optimized for the platform. Until then, we still have GTA IV with all of its mods.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> delayed grand theft auto Grand Theft Auto V gta v rockstar games Gaming News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 01:29:47 +0000 Sean D Knight 29476 at DirectX 12 Will Allegedly Allow Multi-GPU use Between Nvidia and AMD Cards <!--paging_filter--><h3>Radeon and GeForce GPUs in the same PC?</h3> <p><img src="/files/u166440/directx_12_logo.png" alt="DirectX 12 logo" title="DirectX 12 logo" width="200" height="134" style="float: right;" />When it comes to DirectX 12 we have been cautiously optimistic. <a title="MPC DirectX 12 tests" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Early tests</span></a> have been promising and we are curious to see what else Microsoft has to say about its API. However, it appears that <strong>DirectX 12 will allegedly have Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU Capabilities</strong> according to an unnamed source who spoke to <a title="Tom's Hardware" href=",28606.html" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Tom’s Hardware</span></a>.</p> <p>According to the source, the API will be able to combine different graphics resources and pool all those resources together. Rather than having multiple GPUs rendering an Alternate Frame (AFR) each, there is a new method called Split Frame Rendering (SFR) that is being introduced. With this feature, developers will be able to automatically, or manually, divide texture and geometry data between GPUs that will be able to work together on each frame and be designated a separate portion of the screen for each GPU. Unlike AFR, that requires both cards to have all of the data in their frame buffers and leaving the user to have a 4GB frame buffer even though there are two cards with 4GB of memory each.</p> <p>This will, says the source, significantly reduce latency.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet SFR isn’t new, as AMD’s Mantle API supports it and applications out there that do as well (see how <a title="Mantle vs DirectX" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Mantle performs</span></a> against DirectX 11). What is surprising is that the source went on to say that DirectX 12 will support all of this across different GPU architecures allowing AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce GPUs to work together to render the same game.</p> <p>However, while this sounds great, it will still be up to developers to make use of, and utilize, Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU Capabilities for their games and software.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> DirectX directx 12 Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU geforce microsoft multiple GPUs radeon Split Frame Rendering News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:46:54 +0000 Sean D Knight 29474 at Stardock Releases Start10 Start Menu Replacement for Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/start10.jpg" alt="Start10" title="Start10" width="228" height="186" style="float: right;" />What's old is new again</h3> <p>Microsoft is bringing back the Start Menu in Windows 10, though it won't look exactly the way you remember seeing it in Windows 7. If that's what you're after, you might be interested to know that <strong>Stardock is putting the final touches on Start10, its Start Menu replacement for Windows 10</strong> that makes it look like it did in Windows 7. If you're an Object Desktop subscribers, you can try out the Start10 beta today.</p> <p>"Now that we know where Microsoft is going with the start menu, we will support our Windows 10 customers with a more familiar and feature rich start menu the same way that we did with Start8 for Windows 8," <a href="" target="_blank">said Stardock President and CEO Brad Wardell</a>.</p> <p>Start10 is the first Windows 10 compatible addition to Stardock's Object Desktop library. It's also a work in progress -- Stardock hopes users will provide feedback on the beta as it readies a final release for this fall when Windows 10 launches to the public.</p> <p>What's different about Start10 versus the native Start Menu in Windows 10 is that it gives users the option of simplifying the interface by removing the metro tile section.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Software Stardock Start Menu Start10 windows 10 News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 20:33:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 29473 at Microsoft Office 365 Now Free for Teachers and Students Worldwide <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/office_365_4.jpg" alt="Office 365" title="Office 365" width="228" height="86" style="float: right;" />Free Office 365 for education offer extends beyond the U.S.</h3> <p>Microsoft had already been doing teachers and students living in the U.S. a solid by offering them free Office 365 subscriptions, and now that same offer is extending beyond the border. How far? Try all the way around -- <strong>if you're an eligible teacher or a student living in a place where Office 365 is available, a subscription is yours for the taking</strong> once you provide a valid school email address.</p> <p>"That includes the 5.5 million eligible students in Australia, the nearly 5 million eligible students in Germany, 7 million more in Brazil, 1.3 million at Anadolu University in Turkey, every student in Hong Kong and millions more," Microsoft stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>If you're a student and you want to check if you're eligible, <a href="" target="_blank">go here</a> an enter your school-provided email address; teachers can <a href="" target="_blank">go here</a> and do the same.</p> <p>Those who qualify and take advantage of the offer will have access to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher, all of which can be installed on up to five PCs or Macs and up to five mobile devices. They also receive 1TB of storage on OneDrive and access to Office Online for in-browser editing.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> education microsoft office 365 productivity Software News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 19:43:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 29472 at Corsair's K70 RGB Keyboard Only Delivers 512 of Advertised 16.8 Million Colors, Fix Coming <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/corsair_k70_rgb.jpg" alt="Corsair Vengeange K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard" title="Corsair Vengeange K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />Where did all the colors go?</h3> <p>Corsair's Vengeance K70 RGB mechanical keyboard is supposed to deliver a color palette that's precisely 16,777,216 wide, which the industry rounds up to 16.8 million. However, a curious user who often works with Arduino LED projects noticed that something seemed off with his plank, so he did a bit experimenting. What he discovered was that <strong>Corsair's K70 RGB was only displaying 512 colors instead of the nearly 16.8 million advertised</strong>.</p> <p>"As someone who works with Arduino LED projects I'm very familiar with the software and the hardware going on under the hood. I figured I'd test this systematically just to make sure I had some hard data," Corsair forum user "Digital.Zilla" <a href="" target="_blank">stated in a post</a>. "For those reading this thread that aren't aware, you can generate any color of the spectrum with the three primary light colors - red, green and blue. 'True color', what we use in computers, is 24 bit color; that is to say each light has to produce a value between 0 and 255 (8 bits) giving us a total of 24 bits for all three channels. Thus, 256 * 256 * 256 = 16,777,216 or the 16.8 million colors advertised on the box.</p> <p>"Testing each color was a matter of clearing every key (turning their background color to off) then making a simple fade from 255 of that color (0 on the other channels) to 0, running it over 10 seconds and counting the unique steps of brightness it produced. If a light could produce a full 256 levels of brightness I shouldn't be able to count them in real time. I could.</p> <p>"Testing each channel produced the same results: 8 steps of brightness each. 8 * 8 * 8 = 512 colors. That leaves us a whole 16,776,704 colors short of the advertised color range."</p> <p>Others in the thread noticed the same thing, but what made the situation more mysterious is a video from CES 2014 that appears to show the K70 RGB using all 16.8 million colors. Check it out below and skip ahead to the 1min12sec mark to see the smooth transition between colors:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>So, what's going on? The short version is Corsair ran into some USB stack size and performance issues that left the company with two choices -- delay the keyboard's launch or gimp the color palette while it works on a fix. The company chose the latter, though here's the full statement from Corsair:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>During development of the keyboard and prior to the release of the RGB keyboard, we came across an issue regarding the possible color combinations. In an effort to get the product out to our customers as committed, we made the tough decision to resolve the issue in a future software release as we believe our customers would enjoy the product as-is. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Here are the specifics that detail the issue: </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Due to USB stack size and performance issues, we had to reduce MCU processing overhead in the best and quickest manner. The LED controller gives us greater than 8 bits of color depth but we use the 8 bits that give us what we believe to be the best color granularity. Our controller architecture provides for over 100 million color combinations out of which we select 16.8 million to display. We devised a color palette scheme to encode and compress the RGB color data and the data to select and control the 'current sources' that drive the LED array. An unfortunate side effect is that it prevented us from utilizing the full color depth available from the LED controller. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>We are in the process of making the necessary improvements so that we can send the uncompressed RGB data to the keyboard. Additionally, we are optimizing the data protocol and LED driver/display algorithms through the display control firmware to handle the uncompressed data, and to more efficiently program the 'current sources' that drive the LED array. This should give our most “resourceful” customers an easy way to identify the data and be able to easily send standard RGB 8 bit values. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>This enhancement had already been planned and will be implemented in a few weeks by the release of a software update, which will be announced and be made available to download here and at </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em> - Corsair Team</em></p> <p>The bad news here is that if you own the K70 RGB, you're not getting anywhere near the advertised colors. But the good news is a fix is coming, hopefully soon. In the meantime, 512 colors is still a lot to play with, albeit some of the transitions and effects might not be as smooth until a fix is issued.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> corsair Hardware k70 rgb keyboard mechanical keyboard Peripherals News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:16:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29470 at Nvidia CEO is Mocked for Explanation of GeForce GTX 970 Memory Issue <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_meme.jpg" alt="Nvidia Meme" title="Nvidia Meme" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Here come the memes</h3> <p>Nividia ticked off a lot of people when it came to light that its GeForce GTX 970 graphics card was suffering from performance issues when games tried to access onboard memory above 3.5GB. Turns out it's the result of an architectural design, one that doesn't exist on the GTX 980, and one that wasn't communicated to Nvidia's internal marketing team or externally to reviewers. There's been a lot of negativity surrounding the issue ever since, and in an attempt to diffuse the situation, <strong>Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has offered up an explanation of the GTX 970 memory issue</strong>.</p> <p>Before we get into that, we suggest reading <a href="">this</a>, <a href="">this</a>, and <a href="">this</a> as primers to what's going on. If you're crunched for time, the Cliff Notes version is that the above scenario, along with the discovery that the GTX has less ROPs and L2 cache than advertised, has led to a class action lawsuit.</p> <p>Seeing that the contempt is growing bigger, not smaller, Huang tried explaining away the issue as a "feature" that should have been bragged about.</p> <p>"We invented a new memory architecture in Maxwell. This new capability was created so that reduced-configurations of Maxwell can have a larger framebuffer – i.e., so that GTX 970 is not limited to 3GB, and can have an additional 1GB," Huang stated in a blog post.</p> <p>"GTX 970 is a 4GB card. However, the upper 512MB of the additional 1GB is segmented and has reduced bandwidth. This is a good design because we were able to add an additional 1GB for GTX 970 and our software engineers can keep less frequently used data in the 512MB segment," the CEO continued.</p> <p>According to Huang, the expectation was that users would be "excited" about this, but were ultimately "disappointed that we didn't better describe the segmented nature of the architecture." He also admitted that the "new feature of Maxwell should have been clearly detailed from the beginning."</p> <p>Perhaps so, though looking at the comments to his blog post makes me think this was a ticking time bomb no matter how you slice it. For those holding Nvidia's feet to the fire over this, the bottom line here is that the GTX 970 is gimped compared to the GTX 980, which doesn't have an issue accessing all 4GB of VRAM, and that they were misled, both by the impact this would have and by the advertised specs.</p> <p>"Yes, a 'new feature,' a 'good design' not included on GTX 980 because [it] decreases performance," a reader commented. Another stated, "I will most likely never buy from Nvidia again, they care nothing about their customer. And blatantly lie to our faces."</p> <p>Others took to posting memes and doctored videos, like this one:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="465" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>It's hard to watch the above clip without busting a gut, though for Nvidia, this is no laughing matter. To Nvidia's credit, the performance issue seems to only crop up when gaming at high resolutions and shouldn't bother folks gaming at 1080p. And based on the benchmarks when the performance issue doesn't creep up, the bang-for-buck here is pretty high.</p> <p>But in the end, Nvidia is finding out that none of that matters, as their fan base feels it's been lied to. It's going to take more than a blog post to win back their trust and/or make this go away.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC geforce gtx 970 graphics card Hardware jen-hsun huang nvidia Video Card News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:01:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 29469 at