ASUS shows off its first SSD, the HyperXpress SSD

Anthony Garreffa | Storage | Apr 26, 2014 8:56 PM CDT

ASUS has teamed up with Kingston to build its first SSD, the HyperXpress SSD. The ASUS HyperXpress SSD is built into a 9.5mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor drive, featuring the SATA Express interface - something that ASUS' upcoming motherboards will feature.

Inside of the HyperXpress is a host-agnostic RAID 0 array of two mSATA-based 6Gbps-capable SSDs, wired together on a host controller built by ASMedia. ASUS has shown this off to various media, stating that future versions of the drive could feature two M.2 SSDs versus using mSATA drives. The drive was tested with sequential rates as high as 778MB/sec. We should see and hear more about the ASUS HyperXpress SSD at Computex in June.

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New 'high-performance' BF4 servers to stop rubber-banding issues

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Apr 25, 2014 11:41 PM CDT

EA and DICE are finally getting around to solving the rubber-banding issues that have plagued Battlefield 4 since its launch. DICE said at the beginning of the month that it had plans to upgrade the BF4 servers as the developer was "unhappy" with the performance when rubber-banding came into play.

When DICE released the latest Naval Strike DLC, the problem was even more apparent, where DICE said the issue stemmed from "a configuration of certain hardware types dedicated to 64-player matches". DICE has reportedly done considerable testing on the new hardware to make sure the rubber-banding issues were fixed, and that performance is already better on the new servers.

DICE's VIce President and General Manager, Karl Magnus Troedsson said: "While the process took longer than we would've liked, we wanted to be 100 percent sure it was done right and that the long-term solution was properly in place".

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Unreal Engine 4 supports PS4 and Xbox One; will support Linux, SteamOS

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh | Gaming | Apr 25, 2014 6:34 PM CDT

Epic Games recently released its 4.1 update where it provided details of its plans that will help any independent game developers who wish to make a game using Unreal Engine 4.

Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4.1 is now available to the public and indie developers, provided they're signed up in its $19/mo subscription plan. The company also said that the designers could be eligible for some free tools for indie developers to make games.

They've also mentioned in its notes that it will be providing full support for SteamOS and Linux, therefore giving more choice and platform options for indie developers. This move made by Epic will provide easy options for those game developers who wish to have their games powered by Unreal Engine 4 beyond Windows powered PCs, and even for Sony PS4 and Xbox One.

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Facebook launched NewsWire, a new service designed for journalist

Charles Gantt | Internet & Websites | Apr 25, 2014 2:23 PM CDT

Finding interesting news stories on Facebook has become increasingly hard to do over the last few years, and that is mainly due to the dilution of the news feed caused by so many useless and noninformative pages. Today Facebook launched a new service that is aimed at making it much easier to find what news stories are trending on the service, and it's called FB NewsWire.

FB Newswire is powered by Storyful, one of the leading social content discovery services. The new service aggregates news content that has been shared publicly on Facebook originating from individuals and organizations from around the world. Facebook says that it has designed FB Newswire for Journalist and individuals in an effort to make the hot topics and trending news better accessible. As a long-time tech journalist, I can attest to how big of a role Facebook plays in story discovery, and will definitely put this new service to use.

"In Storyful, we're excited to have found a partner with a track record of understanding both the potential of the social web as a key resource for media as well as the tools that newsrooms need to utilize it. We're confident that their news expertise and best-in-class editorial team will help make it even easier for journalists to use compelling social content from Facebook in their newsgathering and reporting," Facebook said in a release. "News is finding a bigger audience on Facebook than ever before. Journalists and media organizations have become an integral part of Facebook, which is visible in features like Trending Topics, improvements to Pages, and recent changes to News Feed. Publishers are seeing the results of our commitment, with referral traffic from Facebook to media sites growing more than 4x in 2013, and we're excited to deepen our relationship with media organizations and journalists in the days to come."

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FTC says that ban on direct sales of Tesla vehicles is bad policy

Charles Gantt | Business, Financial & Legal | Apr 25, 2014 11:44 AM CDT

In the mid 1900's most states adopted laws that forced car manufacturers to only sell their vehicles through independent local dealers instead of through their own sales dealerships. While these laws prevented market domination of a single manufacturer, it has become a hinderance for smaller manufacturers such as Tesla to get their vehicles sold in many states. Today the Federal Trade Commission finally voiced its opinion on the banning of direct Tesla vehicle sales by several states.

"For decades, local laws in many states have required consumers to purchase their cars solely from local, independent auto dealers. Removing these regulatory impediments may be essential to allow consumers access to new ways of shopping that have become available in many other industries," reads a post written by FTC directors Andy Gavil, Debbie Feinstein and Marty Gaynor.

Tesla sold just 22,000 cars last year which is barely a fraction of the 15 million total sales the entire new car industry sold. In the post, the FTC says that that number hardly makes Tesla a serious threat, and these lawns need changing. "What it could represent is a real change to the way cars are sold that might allow Tesla to expand in the future and prove attractive to other manufacturers, whether established or new ones that have yet to emerge, and consumers. Efforts to litigate, legislate, and regulate to eliminate Tesla's perceived threat have forced it to battle jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction for the simple right to sell its automobiles directly to consumers," the statement continued.

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Transcend releases JetDrive SSD upgrade kits for MacBook

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh | Storage | Apr 25, 2014 7:44 AM CDT

One of many storage and multimedia product manufacturer Transcend has launched JetDrive upgrade kits for MacBook systems. The upgrade kit is made specifically for professional photographers, videographers and graphic artists. Just like standard upgrade kits, these also come with an SSD/HDD to USB 3.0 enclosure, screw driver for T5 and P5 screws and even a travel pouch.

Transcend assures that its upgrade kits can provide up to 560 MB/s transfer speeds via SATA 6Gb/s, therefore promising to provide faster boot up and application load along with increased storage capacity. The drives also support TRIM.

It also comes with JetDrive Toolbox which uses S.M.A.R.T. data to display health status of the Transcend JetDrive SSD. These drives are backed by 5 year warranty support and the enclosures have warranty support of up to 2 years. In JetDrive 420, Transcend lists its performance numbers- Sequential Read up to 485MB/s and Sequential Write up to 410MB/s. The Jetdrive 500 is assured with Sequential Read of up to 495MB/s and Sequential Write of up to 427MB/s.

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OnePlus One smartphone boots incredibly fast, beats Nexus 5

If you're in the market for a new smartphone, you really need to consider the OnePlus One smartphone - it has some of the best hardware baked inside of it, at just $299. It also runs CyanogenMod, which is a heavily modified Android ROM.

But how does it compare to the other super competitively priced Android-based smartphone, the Nexus 5? Well, Geek.com has booted both the smartphones up, with the OnePlus One taking just a couple of seconds to have the user in the OS, while the still-fast Nexus 5 takes much longer. I can't wait to get my hands-on the OnePlus One.

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The entire country of Denmark is re-created in Minecraft

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh | Gaming | Apr 24, 2014 9:18 PM CDT

Two people from the Danish Geodata Agency have created a 1:1 model of Denmark in the most popular indie game, Minecraft.

This project was made by the agency's Simon Kokkendoft and Thorbjørn Nielsen who built the entire country using virtual block. The two used the data from their Geodata Agency to make an accurate 'block' version of Denmark.

The duo planned this project keeping environment and education in mind. According to the news report by Danish's news agency, the duo hopes that this Minecraft version of Denmark will be introduced in local schools so that students can learn everything from urban planning to environment preservation.

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Peter Jackson renames the third and final 'Hobbit' movie

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Apr 24, 2014 8:54 PM CDT

The last few months have seen fevered speculation that Director Peter Jackson would revisit the title of the forthcoming final entry in the Hobbitt franchise - There and Back Again, fuelled by the complete absence of promotional posters, trailers, or even a plug on last week's Desolation of Smaug Blu-ray release. Today, Jackson has taken to Facebook to confirm that he and Warner Bros have jointly decided to do just that.

In the long winded entry, Jackson has taken great pains to explain the rationale of renaming the film The Battle of Five Armies, and I must agree with most of them. Additionally, the new title has more aggressive undertones and probably appeals even more strongly to the established fan base.

Jackson also mentions the upcoming Blu-ray extended cut version of The Desolation of Smaug which will come with an additional 25 minutes of footage, far extending the extra 10 minutes that was granted to the extended cut of the already bloated An Unexpected Journey.

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Vladimir Putin says that the Internet is a 'CIA project'

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Apr 24, 2014 8:40 PM CDT

While speaking at the media forum in St Petersburg yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Internet was one big "CIA project" and "is still developing as such".

Vladimir Putin says that the Internet is a 'CIA project'

After his remarks, Russia's biggest search engine, Yandex, saw its share price drop drastically. The Kremlin has been trying to grab more control over the Internet, as opposition activists have used to promote their ideas and organize various protests. Putin touched on Google, saying that information "all goes through servers that are in the States, everything is monitored there".

There have been conspiracy theories for as long as I remember that the Internet was a big CIA project, and that Mark Zuckerberg was a CIA agent. This is why Facebook has become so big so quickly, because the US spy agencies instead of having to require a subpoena or similar to get information on someone - people just hand it up on a silver platter through the social network now.

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