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MediaTek To Spin-Off Virtual Reality Unit

May 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek is so confident about its VR plans it is going to spin off its VR division to form an independent company in June.

A recent Chinese-language Economic Daily News report claims that Mediatek wants the spun off business to drive VR sales. It all sounds pretty good but MediaTek have sort of denied the rerport.

Well we say sort of denied it. What it has told the Taiwan Stock Exchange  that it was not the report’s source, which is not quite the same thing.The spin off could go ahead, but MediaTek is denying that it told the EDN its cunning plans. But then again the EDN did not name its source either. Without a denial from the company we are none the wiser.

MediaTek’s VR unit was set up between end-2015 and early-2016 to focus on the development of the company’s VR solutions for handsets, the EDN thought.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Can eSport Be Used A Promo Tool?

May 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

While some publishers establish their own eSports divisions and appoint chief competition officers, Take-Two is approaching the competitive gaming trend with a bit more caution. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz in advance of the company’s financial earnings report today, CEO and chairman Strauss Zelnick said the field was promising, but still unproven.

“eSports we find very interesting,” Zelnick said. “It is, however, still more a promotional tool than anything else. And most people see eSports as an opportunity to increase consumer engagement in their titles, and depending on the title, to increase consumer spending within the title.”

To date, Take-Two’s biggest eSports endeavor has been an NBA 2K tournament with 92,000 teams competing for a $250,000 prize. The final 16 teams are set to compete in a single-elimination tournament this weekend, with the finals taking place during the NBA Finals next month.

“It’s just the beginning for us,” Zelnick said of the tournament. “It’s very gratifying so far, but we have yet to see it as a stand-alone profitable business. We see it more as an adjunct to consumer engagement in our titles.”

Zelnick also addressed the company’s digital revenues, which for the first time made up more than half of its revenues for the year. While the industry has shifted heavily toward digital in recent years, Zelnick doesn’t see this as some sort of tipping point or a harbinger that physical goods are in for declines from here on out.

“This year was a little different because we had a very significant portion of this year’s revenue through digital distribution,” Zelnick said. “And that’s a reflection of the power of titles like Grand Theft Auto Online as well as PC titles, 90 percent of which are digitally delivered. With frontline console releases, your numbers are more like 20 percent from digital distribution. So physical distribution remains the lion’s share of our revenue.”

While Zelnick acknowledged the growth of digital distribution is a good thing for Take-Two, he specified that it wasn’t a strategy for the company because it’s ultimately out of his hands.

“We want to be where the consumer is, and we’re not really the ones who vote,” Zelnick said.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

nVidia Outs The Tesla M10

May 24, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia has been talking about its Tesla M10 GPU designed to run on the latest version of the company’s GRID technology.

For those who came in late, GRID technology is supposed to give servers a kick in the graphics back-end. It powers virtual desktops and support cloud-powered gaming.

Nvidia says the Tesla M10 GPU can support up to 64 desktops per board and 128 per server with two boards. This means shedloads of virtual machines  which are potentially dead and alive.

The new graphics card ccan support Citrix’s XenApp and virtual PCs running Windows, or power virtual workstations that need the performance for professional graphics work.

The M10 is a bit like the M6 and M60 as a GPU accelerator – unlike the M10 motorway which is a disappointingly short road connected the M1 to the A414 just south of St Albans.

Companies making use of virtual machines or looking to substitute hardware for more efficient virtual systems can access the GRID and Tesla tech for less than $2 per month per user for use with virtual apps and remote desktop sessions, and the firm will provide virtual PCs for less than $6 per month per user.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Making Gains In The GPU Space?

May 23, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Figures from Mercury Research show that AMD appears to be clawing back some market share.

Of course market share does not mean profits, but it is the sort of news that AMD needs. Particularly, it does not appear that AMD is doing that much.

Mercury Research’s latest GPU market report, show that in the first quarter overall graphics unit volumes declined by 10.2 per cent in comparison to last year. However AMD gained discrete GPU market share.

This surge was on the back of AMD’s Radeon R9 Series GPUs as well as AMD’s revitalised driver development strategy. It clawed back 1.8 share points in desktop discrete graphics (that is 22.7 per cent) and 7.3 share point jump in notebook discrete, moving to 38.7 per cent share. Better than a poke in the eye with a short stick and could provide a bit of momentum when AMD’s next generation Polaris Architecture-based 14nm discrete graphics products are released this quarter.

The findings confirm what Wells Fargo analyst David Wong said earlier this week. He added that AMD has modeled for sequential growth, but Nvidia has guided for a 10 per cent sequential decline in sales for the quarter ended April 2016.

This suggests that what Nvidia has lost has been gained by AMD. If AMD manages to build momentum, it could pose a serious threat to Nvidia and expose the green goblin’s lack of GPU variety in the mid-tier. In order to retain its market share, Nvidia needs to come up with tactics to re-establish its dominance via product differentiation and feature incorporation.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is Mozilla Going After The FBI?

May 18, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Mozilla is taking legal action to find out whether its code was affected during an FBI investigation into Tor, the privacy browser that shares a lot of Firefox code.

Mozilla has concerns that the FBI has found a vulnerability that it will not disclose. The firm wants to know what it might be so that it can apply a fix. The FBI has not helped out, so the software company has taken its case to the courts.

“User security is paramount. Vulnerabilities can weaken security and ultimately harm users. We want people who identify security vulnerabilities in our products to disclose them to us so we can fix them as soon as possible,” said Mozilla lawyer Denelle Dixon-Thayer in a blog post as she explained that this is not a political action.

“Today, we filed a brief in an ongoing criminal case asking the court to ensure that, if our code is implicated in a security vulnerability, the government must disclose the vulnerability to us before it is disclosed to any other party.

“We aren’t taking sides in the case, but we are on the side of the hundreds of millions of users who could benefit from timely disclosure.”

The situation arose after an FBI investigation into a Tor-based child abuse site. The site was closed down, and the FBI reportedly installed malware to trace the users.

This suggests that the FBI has a decent way into the software, which raises concerns for Mozilla.

“The relevant issue in this case relates to a vulnerability allegedly exploited by the government in the Tor Browser,” said Dixon-Thayer.

“The Tor Browser is partially based on our Firefox browser code. Some have speculated, including members of the defence team, that the vulnerability might exist in the portion of the Firefox browser code relied on by the Tor Browser.

“At this point, no one (including us) outside the government knows what vulnerability was exploited and whether it resides in any of our code base.

“The judge in this case ordered the government to disclose the vulnerability to the defence team but not to any of the entities that could actually fix the vulnerability. We don’t believe that this makes sense because it doesn’t allow the vulnerability to be fixed before it is more widely disclosed.”

Mozilla would like the FBI to follow the same disclosure procedures as the technology industry and do the decent thing by letting the company know as soon as possible.

“Court-ordered disclosure of vulnerabilities should follow the best practice of advance disclosure that is standard in the security research community,” she said.

“In this instance, the judge should require the government to disclose the vulnerability to the affected technology companies first, so it can be patched quickly.

“Governments and technology companies both have a role to play in ensuring people’s security online. Disclosing vulnerabilities to technology companies first allows us to do our job to prevent users being harmed and to make the web more secure.”

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Is EA Cautious About The 3rd Person Shooter Market?

May 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

EA is telling the world that it wants into the third-person action market with an open world game, but it does not appear to be happening any time soon.

EA Studios VP Patrick Söderlund told us in 2015 that EA wanted to expand its portfolio into gigantic action games like Assassin’s Creed or Batman or GTA and CFO Blake Jorgensen said something similar.

“We feel like there’s a huge opportunity for us to continue to invest in new areas of the business like the action genre where we haven’t competed historically. There’s a very ripe opportunity for us to invest in and we’ve been able to bring great talent in to build out that part of the business.”

But according to Game Radar it is not going to happen any time soon. Blake is quoted as saying that the outfit was building an action genre product that’s probably will appear in three or four years.

We can expect something new from EA next year which has not been announced, Blake said. But this will not be anything like the big games which have captured popular attention.

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia Shows Better Than Expected Profit

May 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia forecast better-than-expected revenue for the current quarter demand for its chips has risen, while its rival, AMD has a knap while waiting for its Zen technology to arrive.

Shares of the company, which also reported profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates, were up 7.5 percent in extended trading.

The chipmaker last week unveiled its GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 graphics processors based on its Pascal technology.

Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the new Pascal GPU architecture will give a giant boost to deep learning, gaming and VR. The  processors were in full production and would be available later this month.

Revenue from its gaming business, which designs graphics cards such as GeForce for PCs, rose 17 percent to $687 million.

The company has weathered a shrinking personal computer industry by focusing on game enthusiasts, who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for processors used in playing graphically demanding games. Revenue from its data center business, which includes its Tesla processors, rose 62.5 percent to $143 million.

The company said it expected second-quarter revenue to be $1.35 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.28 billion for the quarter. Nvidia’s net income rose to $196 million in the first quarter ended May 1 from $134 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 13.4 percent to $1.31 billion, while analysts were expecting $1.26 billion.

The company also said it intends to return about $1 billion to shareholders in fiscal 2017 through quarterly dividends and share buybacks.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Intel Look To Atomic Energy For Mobile Technology’s Future

May 13, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Shortly after cancelling two generations of Atom mobile chips, Intel putting its weight behind future low-power mobile technologies with a new research collaboration with a French atomic energy lab.

Fundamental research leading towards faster wireless networks, secure low-power technologies for the Internet of Things, and even 3D displays will be the focus of Intel’s collaboration with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

Intel and the CEA already work together in the field of high-performance computing, and a new agreement signed Thursday will see Intel fund work at the CEA’s Laboratory for Electronics and Information Technology (LETI) over the next five years, according to Rajeeb Hazra, vice president of Intel’s data center group.

The CEA was founded in 1945 to develop civil and military uses of nuclear power. Its work with Intel began soon after it ceased its atmospheric and underground nuclear weapons test programs, as it turned to computer modeling to continue its weapons research, CEA managing director Daniel Verwaerde said Thursday.

That effort continues, but the organization’s research interests today are more wide-ranging, encompassing materials science, climate, health, renewable energy, security and electronics.

These last two areas will be at the heart of the new research collaboration, which will see scientists at LETI exchanging information with those at Intel.

Both parties dodged questions about who will have the commercial rights to the fruits of their research, but each said it had protected its rights. The deal took a year to negotiate.

“It’s a balanced agreement,” said Stéphane Siebert, director of CEA Technology, the division of which LETI is a part.

Who owns what from the five-year research collaboration may become a thorny issue, for French taxpayers and Intel shareholders alike, as it will be many years before it becomes clear which technologies or patents are important.

Hazra emphasized the extent to which Intel is dependent on researchers outside the U.S. The company has over 50 laboratories in Europe, four of them specifically pursuing so-called exa-scale computing, systems capable of billions of billions of calculations per second.

 

 

 

Will AMD’s Polaris Debut This Month?

May 13, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

According to a fresh rumor report, AMD could announced its first Polaris GPU architecture based graphics cards at a dedicated event in China, in late May.

While earlier reports suggested that Computex 2016 show might be the place that AMD picked for launch of its graphics cards based on 14nm Polaris GPU architecture, a fresh report coming from Zolkorn site claims that the press announcement, or a paper-launch, might actually happen at a dedicated event in China.

According to the source, AMD has already sent out invites to a select members of the press for an event that will take place in Macau, China. It is believed that AMD will officially present first Radeon R9 400 series graphics cards based on Ellesmere and Baffin GPUs at this event.

As this will probably be a paper-launch, the official launch could still be scheduled for Computex 2016 show when AMD AIB partners will have those same graphics cards ready.

The same report also suggests that the new Radeon R9 400 series graphics card should be available shortly after Computex 2016 show, which will allow Nvidia to somewhat counter Nvidia’s recent GTX 1080/1070 launch, although we are pretty sure that these will not target the same market segment.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Nissan Competes With Tesla, Offers Home Battery System

May 12, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Japanese auto maker Nissan and power management company Eaton have announced a joint venture to provide wall-mountable lithium-ion batteries to power homes.

The new home battery system, called xStorage, will be in direct competition with Tesla’s Powerwall lithium-ion wall-mounted battery, which the company announced last year.

Tesla’s Powerwall will come in 6.4 kilowatt hour (kWh) and 10kWh capacities. The 6.4kWh battery retails for $3,000.

Recently, Tesla removed the 10kWh Powerwall battery from its website.

Nissan/Eaton’s xStorage wall-mounted lithium-ion battery system will provide 4.2kWh of power and have a starting price of about $4,800, the companies said.

While the xStorage battery appears to cost more than the Powerwall, Nissan said the total cost of ownership would be lower because the price includes professional installation of the unit. SolarCity is expected to charge about $7,500 for the Powerwall battery with installation, which includes an inverter that changes direct current from solar panels to usable alternating current.

Alex Eller, an energy analyst with Navigant Research, said the cost of the xStorage system — if it can actually be fully installed for $4,800 — would be one of the lower priced systems on the market.

“However the installed costs are generally measured in $/kWh,” he wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. “A 4.2 kWh system installed for $4,800 is around $1,142/kWh.  SolarCity claims they can install a PowerWall for around $7,500 for the unit rated at 7kWh [6.4kWh in actuality], which translates to only $1,071/kWh.”

SolarCity spokesman Jonathan Bass, however, said the company offers battery storage as a service for $4,250, including the battery pack, advanced hybrid inverter, monitoring and control systems and warranty and 9-year service agreement.”

“Installation is also included,” Bass said.

Additionally, up to nine Powerwall battery units can be daisy-chained together on a wall to provide up to about 57kWh of power. Nissan and Eaton did not specify whether  their batteries could be interconnected to provide more aggregate power.

The average U.S. household uses about 20kWh to 25kWh of power every day, according to GTM Research.

Eller said Nissan/Eaton have more to worry about than just Tesla and its battery system, saying “the marketplace for residential battery storage systems is growing highly competitive.”

 

 

 

 

 

Is Valve’s Steam Getting Toxic?

May 12, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Steam saved PC gaming. As retailers aggressively reduced the shelf space afforded to PC titles – blaming piracy, but equally motivated, no doubt, by the proliferation of MMO and other online titles which had little or no resale value – Valve took matters into its own hands and delivered on the long-empty promises of digital distribution. It was a bumpy ride at first, but the service Valve created ushered in a new and exciting era for games on the PC. Freed from the shackles of traditional publishing and retail, it’s become a thriving platform that teems with creativity and experimentation. Steam still isn’t all things to all people, but it saved PC gaming.

Sometimes, though, you look at Steam and wonder if PC gaming was worth saving. All too often, browsing through Steam to look for interesting things to try out leaves you feeling not so much that you want to close the application in disgust, but that you’d like to set the whole damned thing on fire. The reason isn’t usability, or bugginess, or anything like that – Steam has its issues, but by and large it’s a solid piece of technology – but rather the “community” that Valve has allowed to thrive on its platform. On a platform that aims to expose and promote great games from newcomers and relatively unknown indies, community feedback, reviews and recommendations are vital components, but a legacy of poor and deeply misguided decision making from Valve has meant that engaging with those aspects of Steam can all too often feel like swimming through hot sewerage.

The problem is this; Steam is almost entirely unmoderated, and Valve makes pretty much zero effort to reign in any behaviour on its platform that isn’t outright illegal. As a consequence, it’s open season for the worst behaviours and tactics of the Internet’s reactionary malcontents – the weapon of choice being brigading, whereby huge numbers of users from one of the Internet’s cesspits are sent to downvote, post terrible reviews or simply fill content pages with bile. Targets are chosen for daring to include content that doesn’t please the reactionary hordes, or for being made by a developer who once said a vaguely liberal thing on Twitter, or – of course – for being made by a woman, or for whatever other thing simply doesn’t please the trolls on any given day. The reviews on almost any game on Steam will often contain some pretty choice language and viewpoints, but hitting upon a game that’s been targeted for brigading is like running headlong into a wall of pure, frothing hatred.

Of course, Steam’s not the worst of it in most regards; the places that spawn these brigades in the first place, places like Reddit and 4chan, are far, far worse, and concoct many other malicious ways to hurt and harass their targets. That Steam permits this behaviour on an ongoing basis is, however, a huge problem – not least because Steam is a commercial platform, and provides harassers and trolls with an opportunity to directly damage the income of the developers they target.

It’s not that Valve doesn’t care about the quality of its platform. Just this week, it implemented a new feature allowing customers to see scores from recent reviews, rather than overall scores, so you can get a sense of how a game has changed since its original launch. It’s a good, pretty well considered feature. Yet its arrival really just highlights how little Valve seems to care that its storefront is being used as a tool by harassers, and filled up on a regular basis with vicious, abusive reviews and comments that no customer wants to be confronted with when browsing. Sure, traditional retail may have been hanging PC gaming out to dry all those years ago, but at least I’m reasonably sure that most traditional retail stores would have kicked out anyone who ran into their store and started screaming obscenities in the face of the first girl they saw.

“traditional retail may have been hanging PC gaming out to dry all those years ago, but at least I’m reasonably sure that most traditional retail stores would have kicked out anyone who ran into their store and started screaming obscenities in the face of the first girl they saw”

And look – I get that community moderation is hard. It’s really hard. Much harder than throwing in a quick algorithm to compute review scores from recent reviews only, which is why that got tackled first; but harassment and brigading isn’t a new problem on Steam, or on the Internet in general, and there are only so many times that you can claim to simply be picking low-hanging fruit before someone points out that you haven’t even brought a ladder to the orchard. You’re not even trying. You don’t even want to try. I stated earlier on that Steam ended up this way because of bad decision making down the years, and this is what I meant; there has never been a sense that Valve wants to tackle this problem. Rather, they’ve given the impression that they hope they can fix it with some clever engineering tweak, some genius little bit of code that’ll somehow balance the need for community feedback to expose good games against the need to stop harassers and trolls from treating the platform as a 24 hour public toilet.

That’s not how community moderation works. It’s a fundamental, obtuse misunderstanding of how any sort of system designed to manage, build and support a community works – from statecraft right on down to housemate meetings to discuss unwashed dishes. You need people; you need actual people doing actual moderation jobs, granted the training and the authority to step in and put the community back on the rails when it falls off. It’s hard, and it’s actually pretty expensive, and it takes a lot of care and attention – but it’s not impossible. Look at the progress Riot Games has made in turning around the community of League of Legends, which was formerly one of the most grossly toxic communities in gaming. It’s still by no means perfect, but Riot has shown that it cares, and that it’s willing to fight to improve things, and LoL is by far a better, more welcoming and more fun game for it. Some of that was achieved with tweaks to systems and protocols; but in the end, it takes a real, breathing, thinking human to counteract attempts by other humans to be unpleasant to one another, because if there’s one thing our species has demonstrated extraordinary affinity for over the centuries, it’s finding creative ways to skirt around rules in pursuit of being unpleasant to other people.

Riot’s done a good job of this because, I believe, Riot genuinely believes that it’s the right thing to do. Therein lies the rub; I don’t think Valve cares. It should care. It has a damn-near monopoly on PC game distribution through its storefront, and that gives it responsibilities – if it doesn’t like or want those responsibilities, that’s sad in and of itself, but I’m sure a quick dip in the swimming pools they’re filling with money from Steam might take the edge off the pain. It should also care, though, because there’s a hard limit on how much a business can grow if it permits abusive behaviour towards whole classes of customers or clients. Anyone making a game that tackles a tough subject, or aims at a non-traditional audience, or who is themselves a member of a minority group; well, they’d probably love to be on Steam, but they’re thinking twice about whether it’s a good move. That’s not conjecture – it’s something I hear almost every week from developers in that position, developers whose starry-eyed view of Steam from only a few years ago has been replaced with absolute trepidation or even outright rejection of the idea of exposing themselves to the storefront’s warped excuse for a “community”.

Today, that might just mean Steam is losing out on a few bucks here and there from creators and customers who have had enough of the toxic environment it permits; but markets diversify as they grow. Steam took over when retailers failed to serve customers with an appetite for PC games. What, then, will happen to Steam if new waves of customers – younger and more diverse – find that games and creators they like are treated abysmally by the service? Valve shouldn’t need a commercial incentive to fix this problem; they should fix it because it’s the right thing to do, because tacitly enabling and permitting abuse is really little better than engaging in harassment yourself. If that’s not enough, though, there absolutely is a commercial incentive too; Steam may be dominant, but it’s not the only option for either consumers or creators. There are far more sales to be lost from permitting abuse than from telling harassers they’re no longer welcome. Valve should give the latter a try.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will AMD’s Zen Processor Be Quad-Core?

May 12, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

In May 2015, we reported that AMD’s first Zen CPUs, launching in Q4 2016, would most likely be quad-core chips based on a presentation slide showing the company’s Zen core units scaling up to four cores with shared L3 cache. According to new information released one year later, this may not be the case and, the company could be preparing to launch eight and six-core variants in a tight efficiency race against Intel’s ‘Kaby Lake’ CPUs.

AMD’s official “Zen-based Quad Core Unit” slide” was released May 6, 2015 during its Financial Analyst Day when the company claimed its new platform will have a more competitively-focused IPC design, higher core counts, lower latency caches and will be based on second-generation 14nm Low-Power Plus (LPP) process technology.

On Wednesday, sources close to the folks at Italian site Bitsandchips.it now suggest that AMD will produce 8-core and 6-core Zen x86 chips initially – and only in the event of bad yields will OEMs and ODMs decide to use quad-core variants. Due to the fact that Intel is launching 6-core and 10-core high-end Broadwell-E processors later this month, it appears AMD will be initially focused on bringing back some high-end desktop (HEDT) market share from Intel’s stagnant performance numbers.

In recent benchmarks, the Core i7 6950X is only about 10 percent faster than the Core i7 5960X in Cinebench multi-threaded performance, while the former Haswell-E chip is actually slightly faster in Cinebench single-threaded tests. This is a great place for AMD to gain some ground against Intel’s ‘Kaby Lake’ CPUs in Instructions Per Clock (IPC) by launching Zen with a higher number of cores, at least initially.

We mentioned in August 2015 that Zen uses SMT (hyperthreading) just like Intel’s cores and will be switching back to a single FPU-per core design. With this market approach, every core will be able to run two simultaneous threads just like Intel’s CPUs. This is AMD’s way of breaking from the “core pair” implementation that was established in Bulldozer in October 2011, also known as Clustered Multithreading (CMT).

Of course, AMD will eventually release a 16-core x86 Zen APU with Greenland integrated graphics, but this is not expected to compete with Intel until 2017 when 10-nanometer Cannonlake CPUs are released later in the year. AMD can also produce an 8-core and even 6-core version of this Zen APU

Bristol Ridge APUs will initially take dual-core and quad-core designs

Meanwhile, the company is planning to announce some new dual-core and quad-core APUs later this month at Computex 2016, codenamed Bristol Ridge, to compete with current Intel 6th-generation Skylake CPUs. These 7th-generation APUs are built using four ‘Bulldozer’ CPU cores and eight GPU cores, and AMD will categorize them as “entry level” CPUs when they launch later this summer. Already, HP has announced an Envy x360 15-inch convertible with dual-core and quad-core Bristol Ridge parts based on the AMD FX naming scheme.

GlobalFoundries has been ramping up production of its second-generation 14-nanometer technology, also known as 14 Low-Power Plus (14LPP) since Q4 2014 and provided some validation on production samples in December 2015. AMD has said in the past that it will not pay GlobalFoundries (or any foundry) to develop custom silicon for its architectural designs. With this in mind, the company is relying heavily on the success of the GF second-gen 14LPP process technology and fully-depleted silicon technology to restore its core PC business back to levels it has not experienced in years. The improvements should help AMD gain traction in both TDP efficiency and performance that will allow the company to effectively scale Zen designs across more market segments in years to come.

Courtesy-Fud

 

TSMC Working On Apple’s A11 Processor

May 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Apple’s partner in crime, TSMC has begun to tape out the design for Apple’s A11 processor built on a 10nm FinFET process.

Digitimes’ deep throats claimed TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to the customer for validation in the first quarter of 2017.

This means that TSMC could begin small-volume production for Apple’s A11 chips as early as the second quarter of 2017 and building the chips will likely start to generate revenues at TSMC in the third quarter. The A11-series processor will power the iPhone models slated for launch in the second half of 2017.

TSMC is expected to get two-thirds of the overall A11 chip orders from Apple.

The company is officially refusing to comment on Digitimes’ story, but it does fit into what we have already been told about Jobs’ Mob’s plans for next year.

Courtesy-Fud

Do Smartphones Cause Cancer?

May 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

It is looking incredibly unlikely that mobile phone use is giving anyone cancer.  A long term study into the incidence of brain cancer in the Australian population between 1982 to 2013 shows no marked increase.

The study, summarized on the Conversation site looked at the prevalence of mobile phones among the population against brain cancer rates, using data from national cancer registration.

The results showed a very slight increase in brain cancer rates among males, but a stable level among females. There were significant increases in over-70s, but this problem started before 1982.

The figures should have even been higher as Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and related techniques, introduced in Australia in the late 1970s can spot brain tumors which could have otherwise remained undiagnosed.

The data matches up with other studies conducted in other countries, but in Australia all diagnosed cases of cancer have to be legally registered and this creates consistent data.

The argument that mobile phones cause cancer has been running ever since the phones first arrived. In fact the radiation levels on phones has dropped significantly over the years, just to be safe rather than sorry. However it looks like phones have had little impact on cancer statistics – at least in Australia.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Could VR Be Used In The Future To Cure Paranoia?

May 10, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Researchers at Oxford University think that virtual reality could soon be being used to treat psychological disorders such as paranoia.

In the British Journal of Psychiatry, which we get for the horoscope, the researchers explained who they stuck paranoid people into virtual social situations. Through interacting with the VR experience, subjects were able to safely experience situations that might otherwise have made them anxious.  We would have thought that paranoid people would not even have put on the glasses, but apparently they did.

By the end of the day more than half of the 30 participants no longer suffered from severe paranoia. This positive impact carried through into real world situations, such as visiting a local shop.

Paranoia causes acute anxiety in social situations – after all they believe that everyone is out to get them.  About two percent of the population suffer from paranoia which is sometimes connected to schizophrenia.

Treatment methods for anxiety often involve slowly introducing the source of anxiety in a way that allows the patient to learn that this event is safe rather than dangerous. The VR experiment, used a train ride and a lift scene taught subjects to relearn that they were really safe.

The VR simulation did not use very photo-realistic graphics, which raises another question about if realism is important to have a positive impact.

Courtesy-Fud