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TweakTown News Posts - Page 31

AMD releases its new Catalyst 14.9 drivers

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Sep 30, 2014 2:45 am

AMD has just released its new Catalyst 14.9 drivers, which has a massive list of performance improvements that it provides to various benchmarks, and some of the hottest games out right now.

 

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The biggest improvements come to games like Murdered Soul Suspect on the Radeon R9 290X at 2560x1440 with 4x MSAA and 16x AF enabled, where there's performance improvements of up to 50%. Plants vs. Zombies receives an improved CrossFire profile, with the R9 290X in CrossFire at 4K seeing 92% scaling. Batman: Arkham Origins also sees improved CrossFire scaling, bumping up to 70% improvements.

 

Mantle improvements are also at play here, with Mantle being supported on AMD Mobile products with Enduro technology. Battlefield 4, Thief and Star Swarm all see improvements. You can read the full list of improvements, and grab the new Catalyst 14.9 drivers right here.

Take 'Maleficent' by the horns in our Blu-ray promo, thanks to Disney

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Sep 30, 2014 1:53 am

To celebrate next week's home video release of the 2014 blockbuster smash 'Maleficent' starring Angelina Jolie, we have five copies of the Blu-ray release to give away, thanks to our friends at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

 

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Once upon a time, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) the strong and powerful fairy, fell in love with a human peasant boy named Stefan (Sharlto Copley). As the pair grew older however, Stefan's desire for the throne outshone his love for Maleficent. A great betrayal led to a bitter and long lasting feud between the two, who now ruled the human and fairy realms as sworn enemies.

 

To go into the running to take one Blu-ray copy home, simply correctly answer the following question:

 

Name the author of the original 'Sleeping Beauty' story that 'Maleficent' is loosely based on.

 

To enter, simply 'like' this post and share via Facebook or Twitter and send your answers, along with your postal address to ben at TweakTown.com before the competition closes on October 3rd.

 

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'Maleficent' is available on 3D + 2D combo pack Blu-ray, Blu-ray and HD Digital Copy combo pack Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy combo pack and Digital from Australian retailers on October 8th.

Teenagers go into Apple store, bend iPhone 6 Plus display model

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 30, 2014 1:30 am

Even if Apple said iPhone 6 Plus phone models bending are scarce, it appears two teenagers in the UK walked into an Apple store, bent an iPhone 6 display model, and then heard from an employee that bending doesn't actually happen.

 

 

The teenager responsible for bending the phone uses so much force that the screen actually displaces from the casing.

 

"The reason why we were laughing was because it was really funny," the kids said in the video. "We were in the Apple store bending and breaking their iPhone, which I guess is criminal damage but I don't even care, to be honest. It's Apple's fault - they are false advertising, saying it's the best iPhone but clearly it's not if it can bend in your hands or your pocket. It's just ridiculous."

Continue reading 'Teenagers go into Apple store, bend iPhone 6 Plus display model' (full post)

SoftBank buyout may help DreamWorks Animation boost box office sales

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 30, 2014 12:30 am

Following news that DreamWorks Animation is considering a sale to Japanese company SoftBank has created quiet optimism that this could help the studio long-term. The proposed $3.4 billion deal, with SoftBank offering $32 per share, would be able to give DreamWorks long-term financial stability that it needs to continue developing up to three new films per year.

 

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Despite being known for "Shrek" and "Madagascar," the studio struggled with disappointing sales of "Rise of the Guardians" and "Turbo." Operating as a smaller, independent studio prevented the company from having a buffer - every new film must be a box office hit, or the company would feel it - though backing from a company such as SoftBank would help create new opportunities.

 

"I think they are sort of doing a 21st century version of what Disney did in the 1950s, when they went from being just an animation studio to doing living action," said Steve Hulett, Animation Guild business agent, in a recent statement to the Los Angeles Times. "They diversified, and that's the only thing you can do if you want to be a long-term player. Now it probably makes sense to sell."

Music industry struggles to cash in on streaming music sales

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 11:31 pm

Streaming music sales are rising in popularity, but still cannot make up for the drop in both physical CDs and digital downloads, according to a report released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As Pandora and Spotify continue to shake up the music industry, Apple - and its acquisition of Beats - can help push the industry forward, despite the difficulty in convincing streaming users to purchase music.

 

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Music business analyst Mark Mulligan noted that the music industry must try to determine if streaming music should be used as a marketing or sales tool in the future. There also is concern that many Spotify stations, for example, rely on major music hits from a small number of artists, while other songs and albums build a slow following over an extended period of time.

 

"The streaming picture is changing at an absolutely staggering rate and everyone across the value chain needs to get their heads around all the potential permutations else get left behind," Mulligan noted. "These are both exciting and daunting times."

BMW partners with Baidu to test autonomous driving in China

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 10:30 pm

German automaker BMW wants to test its autonomous driving abilities in China, and has partnered with Baidu to begin tests in both Beijing and Shanghai. Both companies hope the project will expand to other large cities in China, but didn't name which metropolitan areas could be next in line.

 

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Despite thousands of kilometers logged on the German autobahn highway, trying to carefully navigate the chaotic streets and highways in China should prove to be a difficult test. Using Baidu's high-resolution maps and familiarity with the local area should help give BMW a more precise method to avoid missing turns and keeping vehicles safely on the road.

 

"BMW is embarking on a further research project which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China as well," BMW noted in a press statement. "China's fast-expanding urban centers present the engineers with challenges such as multi-level highways."

Growing concern of emotional toll facing U.S. drone operators

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 9:31 pm

Over a decade of conflict has left thousands of U.S. personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why President Barack Obama is relying heavily on drone and fighter jet airstrikes to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria. However, drone operators responsible for monitoring targets and launching strikes also can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - and the PTSD, depression and anxiety levels of drone operators can match traditional pilots.

 

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"I would go to sleep and dream about work, the mission, and continuously see the people I'd watch on the screen earlier now in my own head repeatedly being killed," said Brandon Bryant, who spent five years operating drone cameras in New Mexico and Nevada. Bryant witnessed at least 13 direct killings, while his squad tallied more than 1,626 combatants.

 

As medical researchers struggle to address PTSD among ground troops returning home, there is growing concern that drone operators - which continue to be relied upon for reconnaissance and precision strikes - could also face the same type of mental health problems. A frightening thought as drones have also been used in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, with strikes expected to continue against suspected terrorists.

Apple set to release iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus in China on Oct. 10

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 8:30 pm

Apple is reportedly going to begin selling its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones in China on Friday, October 10, with the Chinese government claiming approval is in final stages. Retailers will begin receiving product on October 7, giving them three days to prepare for the public sale to begin prior to the weekend.

 

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Samsung beat Apple to the punch after announcing the Galaxy Note 4 will be available in China before the end of the month. Even though Apple has faced pressure from Samsung and Chinese-made manufacturers, the large consumer base is too appealing for the company to simply ignore.

 

It continues to be a curious journey in China - the Chinese media previously said the iPhone is a "national security threat," an accusation Apple has rejected. The Chinese government has also clamped down on smuggled iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models that are being illegally brought into the country.

Using Google Glass while driving is no safer than using a smartphone

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 7:45 pm

It doesn't matter what type of technology is developed, when it comes to driving behind the wheel, your attention should be focused on the road. Recent research found that drivers in a simulator using both Google Glass and a smartphone to text were equally slow to respond to their environment, posing significant safety hazards.

 

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"While Glass-delivered messaging has benefits, it does not in any way make driving-while-messaging safe," said Ben Sawyer, lead researcher, in a University of Central Florida peer-reviewed study done alongside the Air Force Research Laboratory.

 

Google Glass wearers reportedly recovered slightly faster than those using a traditional smartphone, but there was less distance between their vehicle and other vehicles ahead - dropping risk perception of a changing environment. There were hopes that the head-mounted display would allow drivers to keep their attention on the road in front of them, but interacting with Glass still proves to be too distracting for drivers.

Microsoft Xbox One officially launches in China, nixing console ban

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 6:30 pm

The Microsoft Xbox One has finally launched in China, following a 14-year ban that prevented consumers from legally purchasing gaming consoles in the country. The Xbox One is now available in 37 different Chinese cities and in 4,000 retail locations, with continued rollout expected in the coming months.

 

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The console was originally expected to launch in China on September 23, but a short delay pushed the console's release a few days. The Chinese government enacted a game console ban in 2000, just one year before the launch of the original Xbox in 2001.

 

"I think the Xbox One launch in Chia is a milestone event," said Brian Blau, Gartner market research analyst. "It represents the opening of a new type of market for the Chinese consumer, and if others followed suit this could be the start of a new gaming revolution in China."

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