The surface of the earth was once thought to be flat, and just as it was eventually proven to be round, will technophiles make the same discovery when it comes to surface computing? It's far too early to tell what the future of surface computing has in store, but don't be surprised if years from now your PC looks more like a globe than a flat screen.
Giving a glimpse of such a future, Microsoft showed off its spherical Surface computer during the company's annual Research Faculty Summit in Redmond. Attendees got a chance to play with the prototype that relies on an infrared system to detect hands, fingers, and objects.
"It's really an exploration of ideas," explained Hrvoje Benko, the Microsoft researcher spearheading the project.
Getting touch technology to work on a curved surface was no easy task, but Microsoft researches came up with advanced algorithms to translate images originally intended for a flat PC screen and display them correctly on the rounded globe. So far applications for the Sphere include a picture and video browser, interactive globe visualization, finger painting, and an omni-directional video conferencing application with 360 degrees of panoramic video.
Catch the YouTube video here, which also includes a version of a Pong like you've never seen before.
As Intel gears up to sample Larrabee later this year, the chip maker continues to build hype over the architecture's x86 roots. Intel is quick to point out that developers will be able to program in C or C++ languages just as they're used to doing on x86 processors, giving them an easy way to port applications from other platforms over to Larrabee.
Meanwhile, Nvidia also wants to build hype, but over its competing CUDA architecture. DailyTech has posted Nvidia's comments on the issue, which read:
CUDA is a C-language compiler that is based on the PathScale C compiler. This open source compiler was originally developed for the x86 architecture. The NVIDIA computing architecture was specifically designed to support the C language - like any other processor architecture. Competitive comments that the GPU is only partially programmable are incorrect - all the processors in the NVIDIA GPU are programmable in the C language.
NVIDIA's approach to parallel computing has already proven to scale from 8 to 240 GPU cores. Also, NVIDIA is just about to release a multi-core CPU version of the CUDA compiler. This allows the developer to write an application once and run across multiple platforms. Larrabee's development environment is proprietary to Intel and, at least disclosed in marketing materials to date, is different than a multi-core CPU software environment.
Andrew Humber from Nvidia also went on to clarify that CUDA is a brand name for the C-compiler rather than being two different things.
Anyone else feel chilly when Nvidia and Intel are in the same room?
Gamers have enough trouble trying to come up with a game plan to beat pesky end bosses and single-handedly defeat armies of mutant soldiers. Saving often gives gamers an endless advantage and cheat codes can help in a pinch, but neither of these tactics will do any good against an increasing amount of real-life threats the online gaming scene.
More than just an annoyance, time spend in virtual worlds like Second Life can translate into real currency and it's attracted the attention of organized criminal gangs. According to security software vendor ESET (best known for its NOD32 Antivirus products), "high volumes of malware intended to steal passwords for online gaming and virtual worlds" have been detected since 2007, resulting in a "dramatic upsurge."
The alarming news comes courtesy of ESET's mid-yearly Global Threat Report, which focuses on broad trends in malware over the past six months. In addition to an upsurge in attacks against gamers, ESET notes that malicious software that tries to use the Windows Autorun facility to self-install from removable media continues to flourish.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the company reports email bound malware is in "dramatic decline," at least when it comes to dirty attachments. Malicious URLs passed through email messages have taken the place of attachments.
Further reading to keep yourself (and your virtual self) protected:
Any gamer would love to own an HD 4870 X2 or GTX 280, but lost in the shuffle of gaming-centric videocards is the hardware aimed at the professional graphics designer. This includes Computer Aided Design (CAD), Digital Content Creation (DCC), and other tasks that have nothing to do with fragging aliens in Crysis or honing team-based tactics in Team Fortress 2. It's this latter group that AMD is aiming its new ATI FirePro series at.
The company claims its new ATI FirePro V5700 and V3700 videocards will boost application performance up to 200 percent over previous generation workstation cards, representing a significant upgrade.
Find out what these cards are packing underneath the hood after the jump.
Power users who have dreamed of outfitting their portable backup solution in a RAID 0 array can now do so thanks to Addonics' new Portable Dual Drive RAID enclosure (AE25RDESU). Nervous Nellies are covered too, with RAID 1 providing a backup for your backup. The handheld device accepts up to two 2.5-inch SATA drives inside its "heat resistant aluminum" chassis, or pick up the optional SATA-CF hard disk adapter and install up to four CompactFlash cards. Other notable features include:
Easy installation and removal of hard drive
USB 2.0/1.1 and eSATA support
RAID configuration with DIP switch or GUI configuration
Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, BIG (Concatenation), SAFE50, SAFE33, or GUI mod using built-in hardware RAID
Can be powered by USB port
For backup duties Addonics throws in DriveClone software and the device itself includes a backup button the company claims "can be configured to provide the convenience of one button backup of any critical files or folders."
Pricing has been set to $100 and can be purchased now.
Those Microsoft’s internal studios and development partners that license Havok Physics will also get Havok Animation. If this agreement provides easy access to Havok’s innovative products to Microsoft’s game developers, it also guarantees a loyal consumer base to Havok, which will allow it to push its new and lesser known products – other than Physics - far more easily.
Nvidia has licensed Transmeta’s power conserving technology for a sum of $25 million. The technologies that Transmeta has leased out to Nvidia include its flagship power management technologies, Longrun and Longrun 2. Transmeta has quickly mastered its current business model of licensing IP to bigger companies and its coffers are loaded with cash.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Nvidia has licensed Transmeta’s power management technology as most chip manufacturers are concentrating on increasing power efficiency.
Matrox's TripleHead2Go Digital Edition, which enables you to drive up to three digital monitors from a single DVI port, has just received a significant upgrade.
We last encountered TripleHead2Go Digital Edition in our January 2008 review of the Hypersonic Sonic Boom OCX flight simulator PC. Hypersonic used it to drive three 1280x1024 digital monitors for a 3840x1024 panoramic view of the wild blue virtual yonder.
So, what's new with TripleHead2Go Digital Edition? Now, you can run up to three widescreen displays at 1680x1050 or 1440x900 resolutions. 3x1680x150 gives you an eye-popping 5040x1050 desktop, while 3x1440x900 provides a slightly less stunning 4320x900 desktop (and, it also supports WXGA's 1366x768 resolution).
And, the best news is that you don't need to buy a new version of the external box: if your graphics card has an ATI or NVIDIA DirectX 10 GPU with the latest graphics driver and a dual-link DVI connector running on Windows XP or Vista, all you need to do is:
Upgrade your TripleHead2Go Digital Edition's firmware to version 6.52 or later
Install the GXM software suite 2.03.02 or later
Choose your monitors' resolution from the display.
If you're not sure you're ready for the upgrade, the upgrade page also offers a link to the GXM System Compatibility Tool.
Like the sound of TripleHead2Go Digital Edition? Already using one? Your chance to sound off comes after the jump.
CrunchGear reports that the 177.79 Forceware driver release is going to have the drivers to activate PhysX on the GPU for GeForce 8000, 9000, and 200 series videocards. The estimated release date is August 12th, although these drivers are available in beta here. I was not able to verify this in the release documentation. No mention was made of PhysX support. The CrunchGear story is based on a TechReport article about the first look at on GPU PhysX acceleration. Unfortunately, I am limping along on my 7600GT, which is not supported for PhysX under CUDA yet.
Have any brave souls jumped into the beta drivers with a Geforce 8000 or better video card to test the PhysX waters? Tell me what you think about it below!
I find television show depictions of people playing games absolutely ridiculous. Actors, directed by people with no grasp of how gaming actually works, lean and rock like they're atop a mechanical bull. Those of us who actually game can vouch for how utterly false such depictions are. But while some of us may sit hunched over in our cushy chairs, mouths agape, displaying only the basest signs of life, a good many of us do express emotion while we play. Thing is, when the actor asks, "What's my motivation?" The director should fire back with a single word: "Pissed."
Without a doubt, most of us play games for fun, but when I'm winding languidly through Uncannily-Accurate-Sniper-Alley for the tenth time, you'd have to be Stephen Colbert to turn my frown upside-down. We're all human, so when things don't go our way, we get frustrated. We shout, we curse, we frighten small children. However, gaming is unique as a medium in that, unlike television, film, or music, it manages to evoke such fiery emotions. Good or bad, you have to admit that's kind of cool.
So, when you play games, do you let your emotions take control? Have you ever embedded a controller into your wall? A mouse? Have any stories you'd like to share?
Today's Roundup isn't intended to make you angry -- or even a little hot under the collar -- so take a load off and give it a read. Inside, you'll find an EA cash-grabbing scheme that's a tad different from the norm, Ubisoft taking piracy by the horns, hope for Crackdown 2, and much, much* more. Jump past the break and let the catharsis begin.