Wednesday 31 May 2017

The first Windows 10 ARM devices will come from ASUS, HP, and Lenovo

Microsoft and Qualcomm announced late last year that Windows 10 will be available on ARM-based Snapdragon devices. And, unlike with Windows RT, this time around x86 programs are welcome, giving users the ability to run full-blown software like Office 2016 and Adobe Photoshop CC. And now Microsoft and Qualcomm have provided an update on the project, announcing the hardware partners that will release ARM devices with Windows 10 and the sort of benefits that users can expect to receive from the "Always Connected PCs" that will arrive. The first Windows 10 devices powered by Snapdragon chips will come from ASUS,… [Continue Reading]

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Here’s Overwatch’s new moon base map, which is playable today

Horizon Lunar Colony available on Overwatch’s PTR

Overwatch is getting a new map called Horizon Lunar Colony. That map, which is playable in the game’s core quick play and competitive modes, is now available on Overwatch’s public testing region servers.

Players on Windows PC can opt in to the PTR and play Horizon Lunar Colony as of today. The Assault-type map ties in to Overwatch’s lore; the moon base was “built as a first step towards humanity's renewed exploration of space,” Blizzard said, with the goal of examining “the effects of prolonged extraterrestrial habitation—on human and ape alike.” The base was abandoned after the genetically modified gorillas who inhabited the lunar colony revolted against their human caretakers.

“Now, many years later, attacking and defending teams must return to the moon and battle for control of the colony’s facilities, all while they discover clues as to the fate of its previous inhabitants,” Blizzard said in an announcement.

Earlier this week, Blizzard started teasing new information about the moon base, where Overwatch hero Winston was raised. The developer also teased details about Winston’s fellow resident gorillas, including an escapee named Hammond.

Blizzard hasn’t announced a release date for the new map, but the developer typically tests Overwatch maps on the PTR for a few weeks before rolling them out to PC and consoles.

Check out a batch of screenshots of Horizon Lunar Colony in the gallery below.

Read the full article here by Polygon

Valve Eyeing "Exclusive GPU Access" To Boost SteamVR Linux Performance

Andres Rodriguez of Valve's Linux GPU driver team is looking at "exclusive GPU access" support in order to boost the AMDGPU+RADV SteamVR performance.

Rodriguez, a former AMD engineer turned Valve Linux developer, has been working on

high priority AMDGPU scheduling

and related work in order to enhance the performance of SteamVR on Linux. His latest "request for comments" work is on being able to offer exclusive GPU access by selected processes, such as SteamVR, in order to ensure faster and more predictable performance.

Andres' RFC

explains, "When multiple environments are running simultaneously on a system, e.g. an X desktop + a SteamVR game session, it may be useful to sacrifice performance in one environment in order to boost it on the other. This series provides a mechanism for a DRM_MASTER to provide exclusive gpu access to a group of processes...Using this app, VRComposer can raise the priority of the VRapp and itself. Then it can restrict the minimum scheduler priority in order to become exclusive gpu clients."

The work is still being reviewed and some suggestions made by other AMDGPU developers. We'll see where this work leads in the weeks ahead. Any SteamVR performance improvements on Linux are certainly welcome -- my AMD SteamVR Linux experience with the HTC Vive with AMDGPU+RADV hasn't been as nearly as good as NVIDIA's driver with Pascal hardware.

Read the full article here by Phoronix

WannaCry Theory Points To Currency Manipulation

Wannacry Ransomware delivered on its namesake a few weeks ago after being unleashed into the digital realm. Chaos ensued. Infosec professionals around the globe could be found curled up in the fetal position and dehydrated from crying out their bodily fluids as they lamented the patch policies of their corporate overlords. Or perhaps not. Some companies fared well.

In the weeks that followed, declarations of attribution began to fly from all corners of the media. Some claimed that the attack was carried out by a Nation State like Russia, while others pointed out snippets of code that invoked names like the Lazarus group. There was no shortage of blame going around. There is also no shortage on disagreement as to who conducted this attack and why.

One interesting theory that has emerged comes from Digital Forensics Expert Joseph Carson. To put it simply, Wannacry was used as a tool for currency manipulation and the insider trading of BitCoin.

Carson laid out his thoughts in an interview with SecurityWeek:

"WannaCry, was a sleight of hand, a deception. The ransomware was merely a mechanism to get a large number of people to open a Bitcoin wallet -- and that by itself would drive up the value of Bitcoin."

It sounds a bit far fetched until you look at the numbers. Over the course of the outbreak, Bitcoin currency value nearly doubled.

If he's right, the authors of WannaCry may have just socially engineered planet Earth into giving them exactly what they wanted all along.

You can find the interview here.


Read the full article here by [H]ardOCP News/Article Feed

Qualcomm Announces First OEMs for Windows 10 on Snapdragon 835

Today, as part of Computex 2017, Qualcomm and Microsoft are joint announcing the next steps for their Windows on Snapdragon strategy. As previously reported, Qualcomm and Microsoft have collaborated to emulate x86 on the Snapdragon 835 SoCs to the extent where Windows 10 is now functional for devices to come to market.

ASUS, HP and Lenovo will be the first OEMs to adopt the platform, which means we will see devices (laptops, clamshells, 2-in-1s) with Windows 10 but running on ARM. Qualcomm notes that the ubiquitous connectivity akin to smartphones is becoming an important aspect to how users use their computers as well as consume content – introducing the Snapdragon 835 on a productivity platform combined with the integrated Gigabit LTE baseband (Qualcomm’s X16) is a step in that direction along with mobile SoC levels of power draw.

When we first heard about Windows on Snapdragon, we instantly thought that Qualcomm and Microsoft would be going after the Chromebook market but the announcement today is clear that both companies are going for something a bit more substantial along with all-day battery life. The official press release states that ‘Sleek, thin and fanless PCs running a Windows 10 experience’, with the 10nm SoC, sounds something more than a basic Chromebook.

One might suggest that the Snapdragon 835 is a premium SoC, and Qualcomm certainly wants to promote their hardware in high-end premium devices. With Snapdragon 835 in high-end smartphones, one of the elements Qualcomm is promoting is the fact that their SoC solution has a smaller PCB footprint: OEMs can use the extra space and weight for extra battery. This is part of the story which Qualcomm states allowing a ‘truly always on’ device such that updates can run in the background when the system is in sleep modes.

Part of the demonstrations at the Computex show floor, Qualcomm was showing Windows 10 being used with UWP applications but also some non-UWP apps being used, such as 7-zip. The OS element is something we’re likely to hear during Microsoft’s announcements during the week, which I feel might be a tipping point for these sorts of platforms. I’ve been using the MateBook X this week during Computex, and the battery life is actually fairly decent for an 1800 Euro ultraportable with a 15W CPU: but there’s still a small amount of battery anxiety for sure, especially during network use. Qualcomm’s value-add is their baseband experience, which they say is a big plus on this new platform.

Having a proper productivity device is a plus, but big questions still surround performance, especially when emulating x86. It’s a problem that has been tackled and failed several times before. The Qualcomm issue here is somewhat smaller than previous attempts, because as far as we understand it only has to target Windows 10, and they’ve worked directly with Microsoft in order to support it. Qualcomm and Microsoft say that this combination is now a solved problem with minimal overhead.

The carousel image at the top shows the S835 compared to a 14nm equivalent, showing the 'board space' savings of up to 30%. Qualcomm is keen to point out that a competitor's platform will need things like M.2 in order to add storage, which they say also take up board space compared to a Qualcomm solution.


As part of our briefing, Qualcomm showed off an example reference PCB design that might go into the devices that they are targeting. 

On the left is an Intel solution, with on the right being from Qualcomm: 96.1cm2 compared to 50.4cm2 respectively. Here's a closer image of the Qualcomm solution (click through for high resolution):

The SoC is on the top right, with storage and memory to the left. It's worth noting on the far right is a USB Type-C connection, which would be the power input as well as how to connect other devices. There is no SIM card, as Qualcomm is integrated a multi-region eSIM which is activated at the time of purchase.

Read the full article here by AnandTech Article Channel

Nest Cam IQ is a $300 indoor camera with a 6-core processor

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Nest is adding a third camera to its lineup, after the

Nest Cam


Nest Cam Outdoor

. The new Nest Cam IQ occupies a premium spot over the other two, and it is an indoor-only $300 "sort-of 4K" camera.

I say "sort-of 4K" because the Nest Cam IQ does have a 4K (8MP) sensor, but to reduce storage and wireless data needs, it only records in 1080p. The 4K sensor is used for a digital zoom feature, and with a fancy cloud-powered "enhance!" mode, Nest is promising a "12x digital zoom." Zooming happens automatically when the Nest Ca IQ detects a person, at which point the camera will start saving two video streams, one at full crop and one zoomed in. Recording two video streams at once means the IQ is doing a significant amount of on-board processing, which is powered by a surprisingly beefy six-core Qualcomm processor.

The camera is Wi-Fi-only—there's no ethernet. Power is supplied by a USB-C cord and a power brick. You can't record anything locally—recording on the Nest Cam IQ requires a monthly subscription to Nest Aware. The subscription service has two tiers: a 10-day video history or a 30-day video history. The 10-day plan is $10 a month (or $100 a year) for the first camera and $5 a month (or $50 a year) for the second camera. The 30-day plan is $30 a month (or $300 a year) for the first camera and $15 a month (or $150 a year) for the second camera. There is absolutely no ability to record video without the monthly fee, though you can view pictures from the last three hours, and the camera will still send you alerts.

Nest Aware also gets you activity zones and cloud-compute-powered person detection. The person detection isn't just "any generic person," but it actually uses facial recognition and can determine "familiar" faces from strangers. A battery of IR LEDs allows the camera to see in the dark, and a speaker and microphone are setup for two-way voice interaction. Nest says the speaker is "7x more powerful than the original Nest Cam." There's also "Intelligent audio alerts," which can automatically detect and alert you of a dog barking or someone talking.

Nest is particularly proud of the design elements of the camera. The cord is in the base, so the power wires somehow survive being housed in a cup-and-ball hinge with a surprising range of motion. The USB-C wire is a custom design that sits flush inside the base of the unit, and the power "brick" is more a lovingly-designed marshmallow. The camera itself looks familiar—it's the Nest Cam Outdoor design on a stick. The base also has a standard tripod thread on the bottom, making it easy to wall mount.

In the US, the Nest Cam IQ​ is up for preorder now at $299 for one camera or $498 for a two-pack. In the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, and the Republic of Ireland, the Cam IQ "will be available for preorder" (does that mean today?) for €349/£299. Preorders for Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain start June 13. Shipping is expected everywhere by the "end of June."

As usual, the nearly-mandatory subscription plan means Nest is shipping a camera with one of the highest total-costs-of-ownership on the market, but the cloud platform and app means it's also the smartest and easiest-to-use. Does that make the IQ worth it?

Listing image by Ron Amadeo

Read the full article here by Ars Technica

Tuesday 30 May 2017

AImotive games its Project Cars to test self-driving software


Testing self-driving software on public roads can be incredibly expensive, with the cost of the car, the hardware, the license, and insurance potentially reaching into the millions.

AImotive, a self-driving software developer, has found a unique way to cut the costs. Instead of spending all the money on the real thing, it simulates the experience using Project Cars, a 2015 motorsport video game developed by Slightly Mad Studios.

See Also: New York is the newest state to allow autonomous car tests

The self-driving software is imported into a race and the team changes the dynamics of the race frequently. The team can import obstacles, other cars, and people into the game, and teach the software how to interact with objects.

Better for simulation

It is not the first time self-driving software has been programmed through a simulation, rather than real-world testing, but it is the first use of a commercial video game.

Project Cars outperforms most of the commercial car simulators available today, making it a viable option for any software developer that wants to test the car. Slightly Mad Studios has also made the game more ‘sandbox’ than rivals Gran Turismo and Forza, allowing developers to run a wider variety of tests.

Slightly Mad Studios may look to reuse AImotive’s self-driving software for Project Cars 2, expected late 2017, as a way of simulating real-life driving conditions while players race.

The post AImotive games its Project Cars to test self-driving software appeared first on ReadWrite.

Read the full article here by ReadWriteWeb

Monday 29 May 2017

Gollvm: Google Working On LLVM-Based Go Compiler

It seems Google is working on a new Go language compiler that's making use of the LLVM compiler infrastructure.

Gollvm has been making rounds this weekend as a new, experimental Go compiler leveraging LLVM. Its Google-hosted code repository says:

LLVM IR generation “middle end” for LLVM-based go compiler. This is currently very much in a prototype phase, with a fairly brittle/fragile build process, so please take careful note of the setup instructions.

Gollvm (name still not finalized) is layered on top of LLVM, much in the same way that things work for “clang” or “compiler-rt”: you check out a copy of the LLVM source tree and then within that tree you check out additional git repos.

You'll need to have an up-to-date copy of cmake on your system (3.6 vintage).

Interesting to see yet another language making use of LLVM, at least in experimental form, given Google's continued interest in LLVM. Those wanting to learn more can see

the gollvm Git tree

. It will be interesting to see in the future if they decide to make the Gollvm compiler more official or as an eventual replacement to its current compiler.

Read the full article here by Phoronix


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Using Photogrammetry for Real Time Projects

Guilherme Rambelli has shared a breakdown of the latest personal project he did that shows the process of using photogrammetry to create 3D assets for real time use. The guide proves that it’s actually not that difficult to start using this approach. So, study this breakdown, grab your camera and create your first scanned assets for games and real time projects. 

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Procedurally Generating Random Medieval Cities

Procedurally Generating Random Medieval Cities

With procedural content generation, you build data algorithmically rather than manually — think Minecraft worlds, replete with all the terrains and mobs you’d expect, but distributed differently for every seed. A lot of games use algorithms similarly to generate appropriate treasure and monsters based on the level of the character.

Game developer [Oleg Dolya] built a random city generator that creates excellently tangled maps. You select what size you want, and the application does the rest, filling in each ward with random buildings. The software also determines the purpose of each ward, so the slum doesn’t have a bunch of huge mansions, but instead sports a tangle of tiny huts. [Oleg] shows a little of how the application works, using polygons created with the guard towers serving as vertices. You can learn more about the project on Reddit.

As new as this project is, it’s limited. All the maps feature a walled community, each has one castle within a bailey, and none of the cities includes a river or ocean port. [Oleg] designed it to make cool-looking maps, not necessarily accurate or historically realistic ones. That said, he’s already tweaked the code to reduce the number of triangular buildings. Next up, he wants to generate shanty towns outside the city walls.

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Enterprise vs Startup Journey to Cloud

$ Enterprise vs Startup Journey to Cloud

Enterprise vs Startup Journey to Cloud geek comic

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Friday 26 May 2017

Firefox Marketing Head Expresses Concerns Over Google's Apparent 'Only Be On Chrome' Push

Eric Petitt, head up Firefox marketing, writing in a blog: I use Chrome every day. Works fine. Easy to use. There are multiple things that bug me about the Chrome product, for sure, but I'm OK with Chrome. I just don't like only being on Chrome. And that's what Chrome wants. It wants you to only use Chrome. Chrome is not evil, it's just too big for its britches. Its influence on the internet economy and individuals is out of balance. Chrome, with 4 times the market share of its nearest competitor (Firefox), is an eight-lane highway to the largest advertising company in the world. Google built it to maximize revenue from your searches and deliver display ads on millions of websites. To monetize every... single... click. And today, there exists no meaningful safety valve on its market dominance. Beyond Google, the web looks more and more like a feudal system, where the geography of the web has been partitioned off by the Frightful Five. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are our lord and protectors, exacting a royal sum for our online behaviors. We're the serfs and tenants, providing homage inside their walled fortresses. Noble upstarts are erased or subsumed under their existing order. (Footnote: Petitt has made it clear that the aforementioned views are his own, and not those of Mozilla.)
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Android co-founder teases smartphone reveal date on Twitter (updated)

Android co-founder Andy Rubin teased us with a photo of his new smartphone this past March. The glimpse was small, showing only a corner of the new phone made by Rubin's company, Essential Products, Inc. The company jumped on Twitter today to announce that "something big" was coming May 30. Assuming the hype machine is in full force, this likely means that we will get a glimpse of the Essential smart phone in five days.

Essential will focus on a line up of connected tablets, smartphones and mobile software, according to early reports. The smartphone prototypes are reportedly larger than Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and feature bezel-free sreens and ceramic backings. The reports also say that the Essential team is working on a feature similar to Apple's 3D Touch and magnetic charging capabilities, which seems to position Rubin's new company as iPhone competition rather than other Android-powered hardware. We hope to find out more next week.


Update: A followup tweet reveals a shadowy outline, but with a little editing appears to show a 360-degree camera add-on that's similar to the old Sidekick camera (a previous Rubin project). Looking at a recent tweet of Rubin's appears to confirm the camera, showing a colleague working on some sort of surround camera setup.

Via: The Verge

Source: Essential (Twitter)

Read the full article here by Engadget

Raspberry Pi to merge with CoderDojo

The Raspberry Pi was designed to provide an ultra-cheap way to encourage schoolchildren to learn to code just as they had back in the 1980s and 90s. Although the uncased credit card sized computer has since found a highly appreciative audience outside of education, kids -- the computer scientists of the future -- remain a priority. CoderDojo is a global network of coding clubs for children aged from seven to 17 with the aim being to provide a safe and social place for kids to learn to program. It’s clear the two foundations have similar aims, which is why it’s… [Continue Reading]

Read the full article here by Betanews