AMD’s New Frontier Will Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer

This week, AMD announced a partnership with Cray to build a supercomputer called Frontier, which the two companies predict will become the world’s fastest supercomputer, capable of “exascale” performance when it is released in 2021. All told, they expect Frontier to be capable of 1.5 exaflops, performing somewhere around 50 times faster than the top supercomputers out today, and faster than the currently available top 160 supercomputers combined. Frontier will be built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

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Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

Plex started out as a simple home media server and has evolved into a cloud-based platform that offers streaming personalized news and a full-featured DVR. The company has now added a new DVR feature, via an update, that automatically removes commercials. Most of the update fixed bugs; this new feature must be manually enabled in the Plex DVR settings, which now offers a “Remove Commercials” option. Users should, however, pay attention to reports from other users and the setting’s description. Continue reading Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

Facebook Drops Price of its Rift VR Headset to Spur Adoption

In an effort to jumpstart sales, Facebook-owned Oculus VR is slashing $100 off the price of its Rift virtual reality headset and its Touch motion controllers. The Rift headset will be lowered to $499, while the Touch drops to $99. Consumers will still need a computer with enough power to support the Rift. When the headset launched last spring, consumers were surprised by the $599 price tag. According to Jason Rubin, Oculus VR head of content, recent surveys indicate that cost has been the primary obstacle to sales. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes VR will take at least 10 years to become our next computing platform. Continue reading Facebook Drops Price of its Rift VR Headset to Spur Adoption

HTC Vive Now Wireless with Add-On Upgrade From TPCAST

HTC Vive is now wireless, with an add-on tetherless upgrade from TPCAST, a startup with HTC’s VR accelerator, Vive X. The wireless kit was for sale on Vive’s Chinese website, and quickly sold out; Vive did not reveal how many units were for sale. Priority was given to potential buyers with a valid Vive serial number. Priced at 1,499 RMB (~$220) plus shipping, the wireless add-on will begin to ship in the first quarter of 2017 to those who pre-ordered. Other companies are said to be working on wireless upgrades to Vive. Continue reading HTC Vive Now Wireless with Add-On Upgrade From TPCAST

Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Microsoft has debuted Surface Studio, a desktop personal computer that transforms into a digital drafting table — and the company’s first desktop PC. Surface Studio is an all-in-one-PC that sports an aluminum body with a 28-inch screen on top of a stand. An accessory device, dubbed Surface Dial, is an add-on to the mouse, for a more precise way to zoom into images. The company also revealed that an upcoming update to its Windows 10 operating system will make it easier to create, manipulate and view 3D objects. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Windows 10 Update to Include Windows Holographic Access

An update to the Windows 10 operating system will enable PC users to jump into mixed reality next year when their computers run the Windows Holographic shell Microsoft introduced in early 2015. “The update will allow users to multi-task in mixed reality environments, which combine traditional 2D Windows 10 apps with immersive, 3D graphical environments,” notes TechCrunch. “These will be enabled via a range of ‘6 degrees of freedom devices,’ input devices that add positional tracking to other more traditional forms of input, like clicking and pointing.” The team is also looking to make this available to PCs that do not currently have the necessary specs to run full-scale virtual reality. Continue reading Windows 10 Update to Include Windows Holographic Access

Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

Yesterday we reported that Facebook is now able to block all ad blockers on its desktop website, sparking a discussion about the ethics of ad blocking. Popular ad-blocking software, Adblock Plus, has since posted instructions online for users to adjust their ad-blocking software by updating their filter lists so they can block Facebook ads again. Meanwhile, Facebook was quick to respond, expressing disappointment that Adblock’s workaround also removes posts from friends and Pages, in addition to ads. Facebook is reportedly rolling out a code update that will counter Adblock’s workaround. Continue reading Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Cisco’s 11th annual Visual Network Index predicts that one billion new Internet users will be connected by 2020, driven in large part by the introduction of 10 billion new connected devices. Cisco forecasts that by the end of the decade smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic — and the demand for video services will serve as the greatest driver, representing nearly 80 percent of data traffic. The report suggests that annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) milestone this year, and will reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020. Continue reading Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

National Science Foundation Funds Stampede Supercomputer

The National Science Foundation just announced grants to build the $30 million Stampede 2 supercomputer which, outfitted with 18 petaflops, will offer twice the power of the Stampede, which debuted in March 2013. Its processing capacity puts it on a par with Cray’s Titan and IBM’s Sequoia (though not as powerful as China’s Tianhe-2). The supercomputer will be available to any researcher with a need for immense processing power, for such applications as atomic and atmospheric simulations. Continue reading National Science Foundation Funds Stampede Supercomputer

BitTorrent Rolls Out New P2P-Based Live TV Streaming App

BitTorrent is debuting BitTorrent Live, a new live TV streaming app for the latest generation Apple TVs and computers, which offers live streams from 13 niche programmers. The goal is to build a virtual MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor), with more prominent cable networks. For now, the BitTorrent package is comprised of channels such as Clubbing TV, Filmbox Arthouse, FightBox, Newsmax TV, Heroes TV and TWiT. Although these aren’t well-known networks, the offering is free, unlike other TV streaming services. Continue reading BitTorrent Rolls Out New P2P-Based Live TV Streaming App

Philips Releases 43-Inch, 4K Ultra HD LCD Computer Monitor

Philips launched a new 43-inch, 16:9 computer monitor in the U.S. this week that features a 4K Ultra HD LCD display touting 3840 x 2160 resolution, 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, and a 5ms response time. Model BDM4350UC touts 10-bit color support (with color reproduction rated at 1.07 billion colors) and a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000,000:1. The IPS monitor — which also features MultiView functionality, built-in 7-watt speakers, and a four-port USB 3.0 hub — is currently available on Amazon for $800. Continue reading Philips Releases 43-Inch, 4K Ultra HD LCD Computer Monitor

Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

The security research community has warned that the Internet of Things, including home security systems, is hackable. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Microsoft have published an in-depth security analysis of Samsung’s SmartThings platform that allows control of home appliances via PC or smartphone. They were able to hack the system, setting off a smoke alarm and opening a digital lock with a “backdoor” PIN. Their findings will be presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy later this month. Continue reading Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

Pre-Orders for HTC Vive Headsets Top 15,000 in 10 Minutes

Within 10 minutes of accepting pre-orders from the U.S. and 23 other countries, HTC sold more than 15,000 HTC Vive VR kits, which will ship beginning April 5. The $799 Vive virtual reality package includes the headset, two controllers and two Lighthouse laser-tracking sensors, as well as three games that show off the technology of room-scale tracking and motion tracking. Those games are “Job Simulator,” an office destruction physics game; “Fantastic Contraption,” a puzzle game; and Google’s 3D painting tool “Tilt Brush.” Continue reading Pre-Orders for HTC Vive Headsets Top 15,000 in 10 Minutes

Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

Google is doubling down on its virtual reality investment with a new $20 version of Cardboard, which uses the smartphone as a screen and a standalone, all-in-one headset that doesn’t need to be tethered to a smartphone, computer or game console. Up until now, Google, which has sold five million Cardboard VR viewers since late 2014, has been seen as experimenting with VR. With the new VR headset — and appointment of Clay Bavor as its first VR chief, Google is entering the VR arena in earnest. Continue reading Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

Oculus Aims for High-End Virtual Reality with $600 Headset

Despite a sticker price of $599 for its new Rift VR headset, Oculus VR has already sold out its preorders, resulting in an extension of its shipping date. The headset, over $100 more expensive than originally predicted, also requires the processing power of a PC that costs in the vicinity of $1,000. Starting in February, Oculus will sell a bundled headset/PC for $1,499. The expense of the Rift is justified, say observers, since its quality needs to sell VR to a public that has, in the main, never experienced virtual reality. Continue reading Oculus Aims for High-End Virtual Reality with $600 Headset

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