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Raspberry Pi gets experimental GPU acceleration, games now playable

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 day, 10 hours ago

The Raspberry Pi is a fantastic developer platform for all skill levels. The amount of amazing projects you can create is just staggering, but it's been somewhat limited by the meager processor under the hood. And the underused GPU. Experimental GPU acceleration has just been added to the latest release of Raspian, extending the possibilities immensely. Install at your own risk.




The Pi already had some fantastic gaming chops and was a natural choice for a small retro console. Those graphics you'd be running, from the SNES, NES, Genesis and Jaguar era's aren't terribly demanding. But opening up the GPU gives you more emulation possibilities. Not to mention the ability to play actual 3D games.


Not to mention all the other great sciency things you can now do more quickly with that otherwise unlocked GPU. It could potentially mean using a farm of Pi's (despite the relative inefficiency, but it has the cool factor) to compute novel things. They do warn, however, that installing the experimental driver could break other GPU functionality, and might even prevent the camera module from working properly. Not to mention messing up video playback support. But this is just the beginning stages of something quite nice that adds to the value of the minuscule devices.

Google announces it will stop displaying Flash ads as of Jan 2, 2017

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 day, 11 hours ago

Google has announced that its Google Display Network and DoubleClick Digital Marketing will be abandoning Flash-based ads for HTML5-based ads starting on January 2, 2017.




Advertisers won't be able to upload ads with built-in Flash into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing, starting on June 30, 2016. This is great news, as Flash has been a security problem for while a while now, with more and more people moving into the warm embrace of HTML5.


Google moved away from Flash to HTML5 video with YouTube in January 2015, and in February, the company began automatically converting Flash ads into HTML5.

NASA provides MIT with humanoid robot, will help out space missions

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 1 day, 13 hours ago

NASA has announced that it will be providing MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) with one of its huge 6-foot, 290-pound humanoid robots. MIT will use it to test and develop for future space missions to Mars, and beyond.



CSAIL Principal Investigator Russ Tedrake will work on algorithms for the robot, which is known as "Valkyrie" or "R5". Tedrake's work will be part of NASA's upcoming Space Robotics Challenge, with its missions to create more dexterous autonomous robots that will help, or one day replace humans on "extreme space" missions.


NASA says that it's interested in humanoid robots because they can assist, or replace humans working in extreme space environments. For future missions, humanoid robots can do tasks that humans simply can't do - like out in space itself, where humans die with a lack of oxygen - and that little thing called gravity.


Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission DiDirectorateSTMD) at NASA HQ in Washington, Steve Jurczyk, said: "Advances in robotics, including human-robotic collaboration, are critical to developing the capabilities required for our journey to Mars. We are excited to engage these university research groups to help NASA with this next big step in robotics technology development".

Continue reading 'NASA provides MIT with humanoid robot, will help out space missions' (full post)

Tesla's Model 3 priced as low as $25,000 after tax subsidies in the US

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: 1 day, 15 hours ago

Most people would love to own a Tesla, but their price keeps them away from the average consumer - which is why the electric car maker is working on the Model 3.




According to Bloomberg, the Model 3 could be found as low as $25,000 when it arrives, after tax subsidies drops it from its starting price of $35,000. Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn told Bloomberg: "We can confirm it's $35,000 before incentives. We haven't changed our minds".


If we consider the average American wants to spend $31,000 on a new car (according to an analysis by Salim Morsy of Bloomberg New Energy Finance), the $35,000 starting price on the Model 3 from Tesla is getting very close to that point. Adding in tax subsidies and hitting $25,000 - well then, it's looking very good for consumers.

Continue reading 'Tesla's Model 3 priced as low as $25,000 after tax subsidies in the US' (full post)

Fuel cell maker teases 7-day battery life on smartphones inevitable

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 day, 17 hours ago

We all know the pain of crappy battery life on our smartphones, as it doesn't matter if you own an Android smartphone or an iPhone, the battery barely lasts a day (100% brightness, heavy use). But, this could soon change thanks to fuel cell technology.




British fuel cell developer Intelligent Energy Holdings has pumped $7.6 million into developing a fuel cell small enough to be crammed into a smartphone. How does fuel cell technology work? Well, it converts hydrogen into electricity, with the only byproduct remaining being water vapor. This leads fuel cell to be environmentally friendly, too.


Julian Hughes, the acting Managing Director for Intelligent Energy's Consumer Electronics team, said: "Embedding fuel-cell technology into portable devices provides a solution to the current dilemma of battery life. With consumers demanding more and more from their phones, battery innovation has not kept up".

Continue reading 'Fuel cell maker teases 7-day battery life on smartphones inevitable ' (full post)

Uber drops its 5% fee in London, to get taxi drivers using Uber

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 day, 19 hours ago

Uber is getting feisty in Foggy London Town, with plenty of London taxi drivers looking at Uber and seeing them as a threat to both their profession, and reputations. Well, Uber has been smartly sidestepping multiple roadblocks in the UK, and wants to work with taxi drivers and the taxi industry as a whole.




The company launched an UberTAXI option, something that helped taxi drivers find new passengers - and today, the company is now waiving the fee that it would take for each Uber-sourced passenger. This fee is 5%, and it will be dropped for the next 12 months.


Uber's Regional General Manager for the UK, Jo Bertram, said: "For Londoners it means they can order a traditional black cab at the push of a button and pay electronically through their phone, rather than worrying about cash. For taxi drivers it's a chance to get a fare when there are no passengers on the street or they're waiting in a long queue at a rank".

Continue reading 'Uber drops its 5% fee in London, to get taxi drivers using Uber' (full post)

Micron updates GDDR5X progression, volume production this summer

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: 1 day, 19 hours ago

Micron has updated us on the status of GDDR5X, with the company receiving their first samples back from their fabrication plant, earlier than expected.




These samples are 100% operational at data rates passing 13Gbps, with the company still testing its GDDR5X production line, with GDDR5X samples being sent to partners in the spring (over the next few months). Right now, the 13Gbps-capable GDDR5X chips don't consume any more power than the current GDDR5 chips, so in certain scenarios, GDDR5X-based cards will actually use less power, when maximum VRAM bandwidth isn't required.


GDDR5 has an 8Gbps data rate, so the huge 13Gbps that GDDR5X has hit before it's even in volume production is a huge achievement by Micron. The company is hoping to reach 14Gbps, but hasn't said when this will happen. Micron explained on their blog: "Compared to GDDR5, these ultra-high data rates were achieved at an improved power consumption per transmitted bit due to VDD/VDDQ of 1.35V, while not gating maximum speed of the device. We also added features to improve system signal integrity: a new package with reduced ball pitch enables shorter PCB traces, which improves electrical performance".

Oculus Rift-ready gaming PC pre-orders will open on February 16

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: 1 day, 22 hours ago

If you're wanting to buy a new Oculus Rift-ready gaming PC, pre-orders for Rift-ready gaming PCs bundled with an Oculus Rift start on February 16 at 11AM Eastern, or 8AM Pacific.




As for the companies offering the Oculus Rift-ready gaming PCs, we have Alienware, Dell and ASUS - which will be selling their gaming PCs through Amazon, Best Buy and the Microsoft Store. If you do pre-order any of these gaming PCs, you'll get your PC sometime in April (with the first batch of Rift headsets shipping on March 28, this works out well).


The PCs on offer are normal desktop gaming PCs that meet the Oculus Rift specification, but you'll score yourself a discount if you've already pre-ordered an Oculus Rift (between $100-$200 off). Considering the cheapest Rift-ready PC is $949 after the discount, you can get into VR gaming for less than $1K, which is great.

Windows 10 changelog site launched

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: 1 day, 23 hours ago

Microsoft has been pretty secretive about the contents of its Windows 10 updates, but that's no longer the case as of today. The company has launched a new section of its website which details all updates in changelog form, starting with two updates released today (one for each Windows 10 branch).




"We're committed to our customers and strive to incorporate their feedback, both in how we deliver Windows as a service and the info we provide about Windows 10," they write. "In response to this feedback, we're providing more details about the Windows 10 updates we deliver through Windows Update. You'll see a summary of important product developments included in each update, with links to more details. This page will be regularly refreshed, as new updates are released."

Continue reading 'Windows 10 changelog site launched ' (full post)

Tales of Symphonia mod fixes stuttering, resolution issues

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Gaming | Posted: 2 days ago

As reported last week, JRPG Tales of Symphonia is in pretty bad shape on PC, sporting a default rendering resolution of 720p and 30FPS lock, among other issues. Fortunately modder Kaldaien has come to the rescue again, releasing a fix similar to the one for Tales of Zestiria.




At present, TSFix gets rid of the framerate limiter, adds a fullscreen borderless windowed mode option, integrates Durante's neat character outline mod, matches the rendering resolution to the resolution you've chosen, and cures crashes. Not too shabby for version 0.1.1.

Continue reading 'Tales of Symphonia mod fixes stuttering, resolution issues' (full post)

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