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Anthony Garreffa's Blog - Page 2

I'm moving house, into a much bigger office with world-class Internet

For those of you who don't know, I'm based in Australia. Even though I do a considerable amount of work for TweakTown (Senior News Editor, PRs, Tweakipedia, Ask the Experts, multi-monitor content, multi-GPU content, reviewing mobile devices and much more) - being based in Australia can be quite hard.

 

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I'm far away from events, and our Internet really sucks. Well, working from home is both a blessing and a curse. For one, I'm home with my wife and daughters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While I absolutely love this, it can really cut into my work time. I also find it incredibly hard to differentiate between work and play time, as they're all the same when you're at home.

 

Not only that, but Australia is notoriously bad for its copper-based Internet services. I'm stuck on an 8Mbps connection with 384Kbps up, meaning I can only download at around 850KB/sec and upload at around 30KB/sec. I'm uploading images and videos daily, which really restricts what I can do - and working from home is hurt by it.

 

Well, we just signed a lease on a new place which is around 25 minutes away from where I live - with a two-car garage that I am converting into a home office. It has ducted vents for heating and cooling, and enough space to setup a bunch of tables for all of my work - including the amount of table space required for what I do - especially multi-monitor content.

 

But the best part of it all, is that I get access to the National Broadband Network, or NBN. The NBN is the kind-of-equivalent to Google Fiber, where it offers some insane speeds at great costs. I have access to a Tier 5 connection, which means I get a guaranteed 100/40Mbps connection - virtually unheard of Down Under.

 

Right now, I'm paying $149.95 for my 8Mbps/384Kbps connection with 1TB of data cap, but with the new 100/40Mbps plan - I opted for a Business NBN connection with a better SLA with uploads not counted - costing $154.95 per month. This is $5 more than what I pay now, for a connection that is hundreds of times faster.

 

If I had opted for the normal consumer 1TB plan at 100/40Mbps, it would've cost a measly $99.95 per month - some $50 cheaper than what I'm paying now, for a connection that is magnitudes faster.

 

My office is half packed right now, with the removalists coming on Thursday to finish it all off. My NBN connection goes live on the 21st of May, a week before I fly to Taipei to cover Computex again. I'm excited to move and finally get some truly world-class Internet, so you can expect much more video content from me.

 

In the coming months, I'm going to acquire a 4K-capable camera, and begin shooting some incredibly detailed videos which I'll make available in 4K for those with the right monitors. If not, 1440p and 1080p users will still be able to enjoy it - but 4K is coming and it is coming quick.

A quick tease of LG's G Flex, a curvetastic smartphone

I've only just gotten back from the US after a trip to cover NVIDIA's GTC 2014 event, but when I got back I was greeted with boxes of new devices and goodies to review, one of which was LG's G Flex smartphone.

 

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The first thing you notice about the G Flex is its massive 6-inch display, which is of course curved. The 6-inch display has a resolution of 1280x720, which is a little on the low side, but it is curved, which more than makes up for it. Inside, we have Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 SoC, which provides us with a quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz. 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM is featured, as well as a massive, and much-needed 3500mAh battery.

 

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Analogix's awesome SlimPort technology, Bluetooth, NFC and much more - we'll cover this in our full review of the G Flex in the coming weeks. For now, we've taken some photos of the G Flex itself, and from the 13-megapixel rear-facing camera on the rear of the curved smartphone. The camera is very impressive, so enjoy the tease of photos below.

 

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And a quick shot of the front-facing camera, of me wearing my Google Glass.

 

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Continue reading 'A quick tease of LG's G Flex, a curvetastic smartphone' (full post)

NVIDIA's GTC 2014 party games filmed with Google Glass

GTC 2014 - Last night NVIDIA hosted the big GTC 2014 party, where there was some great people, great food and drinks and an even better atmosphere. There were some crazy fun party games available to everyone, with some videos that you can take a look at below.

 

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One of them was a tent like structure with green lasers pointing in all directions, with the goal of the game to get from one side to the other, without touching the lasers. You had to press a button on the ground to start, jump and dive through the lasers, to press a button on the ground on the other side. I did it with Google Glass, and hoped to upload it, but the lack of lighting makes it impossible to see what I'm doing.

 

Warning: NSFW - there's some light swearing. It was an intense match!

 

 

Another game was a big touchscreen with six balls and buttons, with various mini games. It was an incredibly fun game socially, with everyone having a massive laugh and lots of fun playing the various games. The video above really is quite good.

 

 

 

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Party + drones + NVIDIA Shield + Google Glass = amazing. The game was called the Helicopstacle Course, where you used an NVIDIA Shield to control a Parrot AR Drone 2.0, and flew it through a course of obstacles. It looks easy and fun, but it was incredibly hard. I actually did it quite well, surprisingly, with the video above showing you how fun it was.

 

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My good friend Dimitry had a Corona, but just take a look at that lime! I think that's a bit big, right?

 

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It's weird seeing a photo of myself taken #throughglass, but I let every single person who asks me about it try it out.

 

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If you need some refreshments, just follow the green lights!

 

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Disappointing: Next-gen consoles are delivering last-gen resolutions

I'll start off by saying that graphics and resolutions aren't everything - but there's always going to be an argument on both sides, where I'm formally sitting on the side of give me more - more of everything.

 

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I want better graphics, higher resolutions, higher frame rates, more on-screen action - more everything. Microsoft and Sony have launched their next-generation consoles, the Xbox One and PS4, but most games are being released at around 720p - 900p - falling short of what I really expected next-gen consoles to provide: 1080p at 60FPS minimum.

 

I've written about this subject quite a few times now, and for those of you who are familiar with my history - I come from the age of when PCs were the master race, and consoles were the casual devices for gamers. I'm from the days of Quake and Unreal, where each iteration from id Software and Epic Games meant I needed to upgrade my PC to max it out - but it was worth it. Every sequel drove the graphic bar higher and higher, but those days are behind us unfortunately.


Continue reading 'Disappointing: Next-gen consoles are delivering last-gen resolutions' (full post)

Sony impressed at Mobile World Congress, while Samsung floated along

Mobile World Congress is over for another year, but just who came out on top at the biggest event for mobile devices in the world? Most would say Samsung, but I don't agree. This blog is the perfect outlet for me to vent my disappointment in Samsung, when it really should've gone for the hearts of all of its competitors.

 

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In a time where a manufacturer can go from top dog to second, third or last place, Samsung didn't impress me with its unveiling of the Galaxy S5. There was nothing that stood out feature wise, apart from a few possibly useful features like Driving Mode and Kids Mode. The latter will be a big selling point when telcos get their hands-on the Galaxy S5, especially parents.

 

But from a technology point of view, the Galaxy S5 intros nothing new, nothing groundbreaking, and nothing revolutionary. Apple has bored me for years with its iPhones, slowly but surely evolving its safe platform. I wanted Samsung to capitalize on Apple's lack of innovation, but was disappointed. My savior? Sony.


Continue reading 'Sony impressed at Mobile World Congress, while Samsung floated along' (full post)

My Google Glass arrives next week, and I'm incredibly excited

The last time I was this excited for an electronic device, would have to be the original iPhone. At the time, mobile phones were just these devices you used to message and call people - there were no apps, decent rear-facing cameras, wireless charging, GPS, and a billion other things they all do now.

 

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Between the original iPhone and now, the smartphone market has been evolving extremely well, but nothing truly, game-changing has been released - until, Google Glass. Even then, Glass isn't released, it's like being accepted into some secret club where you get to test out a device that will change the world - and it will - early in its life.

 

I'm a daily user of Google services - I use Gmail, Drive, Chrome each and every day. Maps, navigation and more occasionally, and my daily driver is the Nexus 5 smartphone. Google's services are what defines the company for me, as they are world-class - and best of all, free. Google Glass is a wearable extension of these services, especially for navigation - but mostly, for that front-facing camera in the first-person perspective.

 

The first-person video recording (and picture-taking) function is the biggest thing for me, something I can't wait to use in the real-world. Taking quick shots of my daughter as she's doing her swimming lessons, or jumping on the trampoline outside, or the arrival of our second daughter in just twelve days time. Glass is going to redefine my life, and I can't wait.

 

Be sure to check back next week, as there'll hopefully be a steady stream of Glass-based content from me.

I've just put my first wearable device on, the FitBit Flex

I was walking through one of shopping centers near my house today when I walked past a retailer that sells notebooks, I thought I'd stop in and take a look, which is when I walked past a bunch of FitBit devices.

 

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I've been wanting to get into the wearable game, and with a few samples in the air and on their way to me, I thought I'd dive right in and grab the FitBit Flex myself ahead of time. This is my first wearable device, and I'm quite enjoying it so far. It has only been a few hours, so it's not like I'm able to blog about running 5,000+ steps.

 

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My initial impressions of using it for a few hours: it's light. I thought it would be heavier, but I can't feel it on my wrist as I type this, or when I walk around. I love that it is waterproof, and that it can track my sleep. Not that I need those two features or abilities, but it is great to have. You get two wristbands in the box, so if you have smaller, or bigger wrists, you don't need to fret: FitBit has your back, or wrist.


Continue reading 'I've just put my first wearable device on, the FitBit Flex' (full post)

NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor + Oculus Rift = standalone VR?

The current Oculus Rift development kit pumps out just 720p to its internal display for driving virtual reality, but the Consumer Edition will arrive with 1080p at a minimum. I'm confident we'll see a 4K-capable "Pro" model unveiled at the same time, or shortly after.

 

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But, the big problem here is that you're still tethered to a PC, or laptop. But, NVIDIA has just announced its new Tegra K1 processor at CES 2014, which is a quad-core CPU with a 192-core GPU - capable of driving 1080p without a problem, and some of the latest and greatest graphics engines like Unreal Engine 4. With John Carmack playing with Oculus Rift's latency and the Android SDK, and the fact that the virtual reality outfit has announced Android compatibility with Rift, and its latest funding round raising $75 million, things could get interesting for Oculus and the world of virtual reality.


Continue reading 'NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor + Oculus Rift = standalone VR?' (full post)

Let's see what these Radeon R9 290X GPUs can do in CrossFire, hey?

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all was quiet, except for the sound of the courier delivering a box of GPUs from SAPPHIRE. I've been talking to AMD and SAPPHIRE about getting some goodies to do some more 7680x1440 and 4K testing, now that I have my 4K display ready to go.

 

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Well, I received a box of GPUs, but the two stand outs would have to be the new, unreleased SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X Tri-X GPUs, which are just deliriously awesome. They look amazing, perform well so far - in Battlefield 4 at least - and sounds great when under heavy use, too. I've got two of them to start with, but we'll be doing some 3- and 4-way R9 290X testing in the coming weeks and months.

 

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I should hopefully have a look at 4K performance on Battlefield 4 in the next couple of days on these bad boys, after which I'll do some testing on Star Citizen, too. From there, I'll move into triple 1440p, or 7680x1440, which should be quite interesting on these two new GPUs. Until then, take a look at these sexy macro shots I took.

Happy Holidays! Oh, and remember to always backup your HDD!

It's Christmas Eve here in Australia, it's a sunny and beautiful 30C outside, and I've just finished my last-minute Christmas shopping with my daughter - who tried to tell her Mummy (yes, with a U) what we bought her for Christmas.

 

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Well, last night my QNAP TS-639 PRO began making some weird noises when I was doing my weekly backup of my Battlefield 4 folder to it. For nearly 6 years it has been running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without a problem until 2 days before Christmas - just my luck, right? Well, I had to run out and buy a new HDD to backup the goods I had on there, but it seems it's not detecting one of my drives sitting in there in a RAID0 array.

 

Luckily that RAID array has nothing super important on it, but it serves as a good reminder to back up your precious moments over the holiday period. Millions of people across the world will be snapping photos and videos like mad over the holiday period, but not many people have backups of these. They'll keep them on the SD card (or whatever storage method your camera uses) and wait to back them up.


Continue reading 'Happy Holidays! Oh, and remember to always backup your HDD!' (full post)

Please Note: This blog is not edited by TweakTown staff, and may not represent the thoughts or opinions of TweakTown or its editors.

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