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RIP Alan Rickman, aged 69

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 9:39 pm

In a week which has already seen the loss of legend David Bowie, tributes are also flowing in for veteran character actor Alan Rickman, who passed away yesterday aged 69 following a battle with cancer.




Best known to audiences as Snape in the 'Harry Potter' series, Rickman had a long career in film, with memorable roles in 'Die Hard', 'Galaxy Quest', Love, Actually' and 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves'.


'Harry Potter' luminaries, such as creator J.K. Rowling and star Daniel Radcliffe have taken to social media to mourn the actor's passing.

Continue reading 'RIP Alan Rickman, aged 69' (full post)

The new HTC Vive Pre is an Oculus Rift killer

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 9:28 pm

CES 2016 - Leading up to CES 2016, I had plans to try out the new HTC Vive Pre as many times as I could. I booked a meeting with HTC themselves, but then I had a meeting with both AMD and NVIDIA where I could try it out, too.



So during the entire show, we had a chance to use the Vive Pre three times, which was enough to give me a great foundation to write on. I have a larger piece covering the Vive Pre that I'll write once I land back in Australia, but the impressions versus the original Vive are nothing but stellar.


The newly refreshed Lighthouse controllers feel lighter, the triggers feel better, and the entire controller feels more balanced in the hand. The original controllers felt a little top heavy, but HTC has redesigned the Lighthouse controllers with a strange circle at the top of them. We chatted with a few of our industry friends including the guys at Hardware Canucks, trying to figure out why they're designed like that.

Continue reading 'The new HTC Vive Pre is an Oculus Rift killer' (full post)

World of Tanks is crashing onto the PS4 next week

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 9:05 pm

World of Tanks, the free-to-play online armored vehicle mayhem simulator, is completing it's console infiltration by releasing on the PlayStation 4 on January 20th 2016. The PS4 version will get the upgraded graphics and physics that came with the Xbox One version.




The Xbox 360 was the first foray into consoles for's World of Tanks, and it was a rousing success. The Xbox One was next, and in it they added cross-play functionality between the two consoles so that you didn't have to leave your friends behind. Now the PS4 is the next to be blessed with what might be arguably the most fun free-to-play MMOTPS (massively multiplayer tank person shooter).


On PC and Xbox One alone there are around 12 million daily users that log-in, far more than the amount of concurrent Steam users on at any one time on an average day. The micro-transactions in-game aren't required by any means, and you can play, successfully, without spending a dime.

Continue reading 'World of Tanks is crashing onto the PS4 next week' (full post)

Witcher 3's Blood and Wine DLC 'better than main game', devs say

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 8:30 pm

CD Projekt RED is extremely confident that The Witcher 3's final expansion, Blood and Wine, will be an amazing experience.




The upcoming Blood and Wine expansion isn't like your average DLC: CDPR says that it's actually like its own separate game. The content features a huge 20-hour story that's entirely separate of The Wild Hunt, featuring nothing but fresh gameplay experiences. Blood and Wine will conclude the epic journey of Geralt of Rivia, and CDPR is sending the legendary witcher out with a bang. While many regard The Witcher 3 as a perfect magnum opus, CDPR notes that they felt they could improve, and Blood and Wine will be the fruits of their improvements.


How can you top something like The Witcher 3? To start, the Polish devs have created a new "charismatic enemy" that players won't soon forget, and tied that devious antagonist with a winding, sprawling story that arcs across the new region of Toussiant. The result is something that CDRP says is "even better than the main game".

Continue reading 'Witcher 3's Blood and Wine DLC 'better than main game', devs say' (full post)

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD getting amiibo exclusive dungeon

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 8:02 pm

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is getting it's very own amiibo exclusive dungeon to compliment the already large selection of difficult dungeons in the classic Gamecube game.




The name of the new dungeon was revealed on the French Amazon site as "La Cave du Crepuscule" which translates, through Google Translate of course, to The Cave of Twilight. Ominous sounding, to be sure, and a good fit for the revival of Twilight Princess. Amazon France posted the details in error, though it seems that even Amazon US has followed and you can take a look at the unreleased amiibo, which is Wolf Link.


We've known about Wolf Link for some time, though what we didn't know is that Wolf Link would come with a special dungeon to complete. Other amiibo's will also have other cool effects and should give you in-game boosts and other incentives when you use them. You'll be able to replenish your health or arrows or some such. The listing also says that you'll be able to use these amiibo's with the upcoming Zelda title for the Wii U. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD comes out on March 16th, which isn't too far off. And the other Zelda game is still slated for a general "2016" release date.

Seagate reveals its first 10TB helium-filled hard drive

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Storage | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 7:30 pm

Storage titan Seagate has just revealed its first helium-filled hard drive aimed at the cloud datacenter market.




Seagate's new helium-filled hard drive is set in a 3.5" form factor and features 10 terabytes of storage capacity. The drives specifically target cloud datacenters that need extensive storage space as well as memory efficiency, both of which helium-filled drives can accommodate. Traditional hard drives are filled with air, but filling the drives with helium allows manufacturers to fit more platters to increase capacity, improve power usage, and maximize accuracy of the actuator arm.


The new hermetically-sealed enterprise-class hard drives feature seven platters at 1.43 TB a piece, along with 14 heads. Speeds have yet to be determined, and are assumed to be 7200RPM. Seagate affirms that the helium-filled drives utilize the company's PowerChoice technology to help manage power consumption during idle times. Thanks to the benefits of helium gas, the new 10TB drives have a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rate of 2.5 million hours, which is significantly better than existing enterprise drives.

Continue reading 'Seagate reveals its first 10TB helium-filled hard drive' (full post)

AMD shows off their 64-bit ARM Opteron A1100 series SoC

By: Jeff Williams | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 7:03 pm

A new family of Opterons from AMD has arrived, and they fill a growing niche of low-power, dense and highly available devices in datacenters. The Opteron A1100 SoC combines 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 cores with 10GbE networking solutions for their first entry into the ARM datacenter market.




The Opteron A1100 SoC has been in the news in the past when we first heard about the revival of the Opteron brand and a new direction that AMD wanted to head in the server market. A1100 is part of a plan to saturate all aspects of the market from the bottom on up to the high-performance.


This new A1100 SoC starts off with an off the shelf ARM Cortex-A57 that hasn't been modified and has 4MB of shared L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache. For memory it has two channels of either DDR3 or DDR4 and can support up to 128GB of ECC memory as fast as 1866MHz. The most exciting feature is the dual 10GbE network connections and 14 SATA III ports, making it a natural choice for web servers and even databases of a certain size. There are also 8 lanes of PCIe gen 3., but this isn't intended as a GPU compute platform.

Continue reading 'AMD shows off their 64-bit ARM Opteron A1100 series SoC' (full post)

The most agonizing game of all time, Desert Bus, is coming to VR

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 6:33 pm

Desert Bus was never meant to be an actual game. It's more of a huge practical joke...but the kind of cruel joke that only the twisted minds of legerdemain artists Penn and Teller could think up. And that's exactly what it is...but now the low-fi torture is crossing over to high-definition virtual reality, and we're all invited to catch a ride.



Did you know that Penn and Teller actually had a game? It was a Sega CD game called Penn And Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, and it was so godawful that it was cancelled before it was ever released. The game was made up of a number of "non-game" spoofs, and one of the most notorious, mind-meltingly bad mini-games was Desert Bus. The "game" is more like an exercise in monotonous hell--all you do is drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada in real-time, across a blank empty road that's totally devoid of life. As AVGN put it: "You drive, drive, and drive. There's nothing out there but road, and sand. There's no passengers to interact with, no music on the radio...the road never turns, and there's no other vehicles."


Now Desert Bus is making its way into the virtual reality realm to spread torment and misery to Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR owners. Oddly enough, Penn Jillette is working with Borderlands boss Randy Pitchford to make Desert Bus VR. "[Pitchford] is calling it Desert Bus 2.0. I'm calling it Desert Bus 1.0003. It'll be a period piece, it'll be set in 1992, like the original Desert Bus, just high-fidelity. We're doing a couple other games. It'll be a bundle of things. We're talking to a bunch of people. It'll probably be agnostic in terms of platform. It'll probably be for the [Oculus] Rift and for the PlayStatin VR," Penn Jillette said on his podcast.

Continue reading 'The most agonizing game of all time, Desert Bus, is coming to VR' (full post)

Xbox One getting background music in the summer, maybe

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 6:02 pm

One of the most requested features, and long awaited ones, is that of being able to play your own music in the background of a game on the Xbox One. But it looks like that feature won't be making it to the console until at least this coming Summer, says Phil Spencer.




That doesn't mean that it's impossible to interject your own music into the game, just that it's a bit more inconvenient. You're still able to use the Xbox music app, Groove, to play your favorite personalized tunes, though you'll have to do it with the Snap feature, having a slim line on the side with the app. It also doesn't replace the game music, either.


There's certainly a very large demand for being able to have personal soundtracks in their games with over 22,000 people having requested it on the Xbox Feedback site. So it's a natural progression, and having it play seamlessly would be just one more advantage over the competition.

Continue reading 'Xbox One getting background music in the summer, maybe' (full post)

Comcast injects ads into browser to get you to 'upgrade'

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: Jan 14, 2016 5:03 pm

Comcast is taking to injecting pop-up ads into the browsers of customers who have their own router in order to "encourage" those individuals to rent a router from them so they can enjoy "the full benefits" of their Xfinity service. A sales tactic that goes a bit too far and is most definitely a huge privacy concern.




In the past they've injected pop-ups to warn users of copyright infringement, which isn't necessarily a terrible interruption if one isn't quite aware of that infringement, though it can certainly still be concerning when the injection of anything can be seen as malicious in and of itself.


Now, however, Comcast is apparently plugging in pop-up ads into your online experience to get you to "upgrade" your router to one that they provide, which they do make a pretty penny from. It used to be that you'd receive an influx of phone-calls asking you to "review" your account, or perhaps some actual physical mail, but now it's much worse.

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