theodp writes "Bring it on, suggests the video for The Amplify Tablet, an Intel device (specs) developed for Rupert Murdoch's Amplify Education, which shows kids wrestling with, dropping, and even splashing the device. So is a ruggedized 10.1" device, which appears to be Amplify's answer to earlier fragility problems, the future of high-tech education? Or is go-big-or-go-home with a 27" touch screen the way to go, perhaps in some kind of next-gen-flip-top-school-desk? Or — cost be damned — are separate classroom and home devices what are really needed?"
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MojoKid writes "Buzz has been building for the last week that Microsoft would soon unveil the next version of DirectX at the upcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC). Microsoft has now confirmed that its discussion forums at the show won't just be to discuss updates to DX11, but that the company is putting a full court press behind DirectX 12. The company responded sharply over a year ago, when an AMD executive claimed that future versions of the API were essentially dead, but it has been over four years since DX11 debuted. To date, Microsoft has only revealed a few details of the next-generation API. Like AMD's Mantle, it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead. Like Mantle, the goal of DirectX 12 is to give programmers more control over performance tuning, with an eye towards better multi-threading and multi-GPU scaling. Unlike Mantle, DirectX 12 will undoubtedly support a full range of GPUs from AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm. Qualcomm's presence is interesting. With Windows RT all but moribund, Qualcomm's interest in that market may have seemed incidental. However, the fact that the company is involved with the DX12 standard could mean that the handset and tablet developer is serious about the Windows market in the long term."
JDG1980 writes "Krita, an open-source graphics editor, has been around since 2005, but no stable version existed for Windows users — until today. With the release of Krita 2.8, full and stable support for Windows users is finally a reality, thanks to input from KO GmbH and Intel. Krita brings some things to the table that GIMP does not: 16 bit per channel color support, adjustment layers, and a name that won't set off red flags at HR, just to list a few. You can download the Windows version here. Might be worth looking into, if you're tired of the lack of progress on GIMP and don't want to pay monthly "cloud" fees to Adobe."
An anonymous reader writes "Months after Intel ported the Chromium open-source web browser to Wayland, Chromium is now running on Ubuntu's Mir. The Mir display server port ended up being based on Wayland's Chromium code for interfacing with Google's Ozone abstraction framework. The Ubuntu developer responsible for this work makes claims that they will be trying to better collaborate with Wayland developers over this code." Grab the code hot off the press.
crookedvulture writes "Most of Intel's recent desktop SSDs have followed a familiar formula. Combine off-the-shelf controller with next-gen NAND and firmware tweaks. Rinse. Repeat. The new 730 Series is different, though. It's based on Intel's latest datacenter SSD, which combines a proprietary controller with high-endurance NAND. In the 730 Series, these chips are clocked much higher than their usual speeds. The drive is fully validated to run at the boosted frequencies, and it's rated to endure at least 70GB of writes per day over five years. As one might expect, though, this hot-clocked server SSD is rather pricey for a desktop model. It's slated to sell for around $1/GB, which is close to double the cost of more affordable options. And the 730 Series isn't always faster than its cheaper competition. Although the drive boasts exceptional throughput with random I/O, its sequential transfer rates are nothing special."
jones_supa writes "Yesterday Portal 2, a Source-based game that has been missing a Linux version, got a public beta release. The Steam game product page doesn't yet say the game supports Linux. To access the beta for Linux, right-click the game in Steam, select Properties and go to the Betas tab. Valve hasn't published the Linux system requirements for Portal 2 yet, but WebUpd8 tested it using Intel HD 3000 graphics under Ubuntu and it worked pretty well."
New submitter TheP4st writes "A group of Swedish police officers thought it would be a good idea to use WhatsApp as a work tool for surveillance operations. The officer that set up their chat group mistyped one of the phone numbers to mistakenly include a civilian IT teacher. Once the teacher informed authorities about the mistake, it took more than 24 hours before he stopped receiving sensitive case information, which included criminal records, passport photos, and communications between surveillance teams tailing suspects. When confronted by Computer Sweden (Google translation of Swedish original), the officer responsible for setting up the group said, 'I know this server is not located in Sweden and that one cannot share every kind of information.' The only mobile chat medium approved for sensitive information is BlackBerry, and this initiative by a small group of officers happened because they do not have access to BlackBerry handsets."
edxwelch writes "An analyst at Bernstein Research has found that Intel is selling their tablet Bay Trail chips to OEMs below cost, concluding that after end rebates, Intel's tablet revenues are likely to be "close to zero," while profits will be negative. Intel has responded that the 'special costs' Intel is incurring are not pushing down gross margin. Intel needs to offer the subsidies to OEMs building $199-$299 devices to bring the bill of materials down and make them competive with cheaper chips from the likes of MediaTek and Rockchip."
MojoKid writes "Asus stepped out this morning with something new for the Chrome OS powered hardware crowd, called a "Chromebox" small form factor PC. Just as Google has been evangelizing with its Chromebook notebook initiative, the pitch for these Chromebox systems is that they're capable of doing everything you need to do in today's connected world. While not everyone will totally agree with that marketing pitch — gaming, 3D modeling, and a host of specialized tasks are better suited for a PC with higher specs — there's certainly a market for these types of devices. They're low cost, fairly well equipped, and able to handle a wide variety of daily computing chores. There are two SKUs being released in the U.S. The first starts at $179 and sports an Intel Celeron 2955U processor, and the second features an Intel Core i3 4010U CPU (no mention of price just yet), both of which are based on Intel's 4th generation Haswell CPU architecture. Beyond the processor, these fan-less boxes come with two SO-DIMM memory slots with 2GB or 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, a 16GB SSD, a GbE LAN port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2-in-1 memory card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, a DisplayPort, an audio jack, and a Kensington Lock. ASUS also includes a VESA mount kit with each Chromebox, and Google tosses in 100GB of Google Drive space free for two years."
benrothke writes "At first glance, The Art of the Data Center: A Look Inside the Worlds Most Innovative and Compelling Computing Environments appears like a standard coffee table book with some great visuals and photos of various data centers throughout the world. Once you get a few pages into the book, you see it is indeed not a light-read coffee table book, rather a insightful book where some of the brightest minds in the industry share their insights on data center design and construction." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
MojoKid writes "AMD has a new set of drivers coming in a couple of days that are poised to resolve a number of longstanding issues and enable a handful of new features as well, most notably support for Mantle. AMD's new Catalyst 14.1 beta driver is going to be the first publicly available driver from AMD that will support Mantle, AMD's "close to the metal" API that will let developers wring additional performance from GCN-based GPUs. However, the new drivers will also add support for the HSA-related features introduced with the recently released Kaveri APU, and will reportedly fix the frame pacing issues associated with Radeon HD 7000 series CrossFire configurations. A patch for Battlefield 4 is due to arrive soon as well and AMD is claiming performance gains in excess of 40 percent in CPU limited scenarios but smaller gains in GPU-limited conditions, with average gains of 11 — 13 percent over all." First time accepted submitter Spottywot adds some details about the Battlefield 4 improvements, writing that Johan Andersson, one of the Technical Directors in the Frostbite team, says that the best performance gains are observed when a game is bottlenecked by the CPU, "which can be quite common even on high-end machines." "With an AMD A10-7850K 'Kaveri' APU Mantle provides a 14 per cent improvement, on a system with an AMD FX-8350 and Radeon 7970 Mantle provides a 25 per cent boost, while on an Intel Core i7-3970x Extreme system with 2x AMD Radeon R9 290x cards a huge 58 per cent performance increase was observed."
MojoKid writes "AMD's Andrew Feldman announced today that the company is preparing to sample its new eight-core ARM SoC (codename: Seattle). Feldman gave a keynote presentation at the fifth annual Open Compute Summit. The Open Compute Project (OCP) is Facebook's effort to decentralize and unpack the datacenter, breaking the replication of resources and low volume, high-margin parts that have traditionally been Intel's bread-and-butter. AMD is claiming that the eight ARM cores offer 2-4x the compute performance of the Opteron X1250 — which isn't terribly surprising, considering that the X1250 is a four-core chip based on the Jaguar CPU, with a relatively low clock speed of 1.1 — 1.9GHz. We still don't know the target clock speeds for the Seattle cores, but the embedded roadmaps AMD has released show the ARM embedded part actually targeting a higher level of CPU performance (and a higher TDP) than the Jaguar core itself."
Trailrunner7 writes with this excerpt: "Building on the success of the last couple of years, Google plans to offer more than $2.7 million in potential rewards in the next iteration of its Pwnium hacking competition at this year's CanSecWest conference in Vancouver. The company has run the contest in parallel with the older Pwn2Own competition at the conference, with somewhat different rules, and this year plans to allow researchers to go after Chrome OS running on both ARM- and Intel-based Chromebooks. Pwnium began as Google's answer to Pwn2Own, the well-known hacking contest that has attracted some of the top researchers in the industry over the course of the last few years, including Dino Dai Zovi, Charlie Miller, Chaouki Bekrar and the Vupen team and many others. ... But the money that Google is putting up for new compromises of Chrome OS is far beyond what's available at Pwn2Own or any of the other major contests and has attracted a small, but elite, group of contestants in past years. The company is promising rewards of as much as $150,000 plus some bonuses, paid at Google's discretion, for especially innovative or serious exploits."
Oneflower writes "As we discussed last week, a lawsuit is moving forward that alleges widespread conspiracy among the CEOs of Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar to suppress the wages of their tech staff. Mark Ames at Pando explains how it happened, and showcases some of the emails involving Steve Jobs and other CEOs. Quoting: 'Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees. Chizen sheepishly responded that he thought only a small class of employees were off-limits: "I thought we agreed not to recruit any senior level employees. I would propose we keep it that way. Open to discuss. It would be good to agree." Jobs responded by threatening war: "OK, I’ll tell our recruiters they are free to approach any Adobe employee who is not a Sr. Director or VP. Am I understanding your position correctly?" Adobe’s Chizen immediately backed down.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Gregg Keizer reports at Computerworld that Hewlett-Packard has stuck their finger in Microsoft's eye by launching a new promotion that discounts several consumer PCs by $150 when equipped with Windows 7, saying the four-year-old OS is 'back by popular demand.' 'The reality is that there are a lot of people who still want Windows 7,' says Bob O'Donnel. 'This is a twist, though, and may appeal to those who said, "I do want a new PC, but I thought I couldn't get Windows 7."' The promotion reminded O'Donnell and others of the dark days of Windows Vista, when customers avoided Windows 7's predecessor and instead clamored for the older Windows XP on their new PCs. Then, customers who had heard mostly negative comments about Vista from friends, family and the media, decided they would rather work with the devil they knew rather than the new one they did not. 'It's not a perfect comparison,' says O'Donnell, of equating Windows 8 with Vista, 'but the perception of Windows 8 is negative. I said early on that Windows 8 could clearly be Vista Version 2, and that seems to have happened.' HP has decided that the popularity of Windows 7 is its best chance of encouraging more people to buy new computers in a declining market and is not the first time that HP has spoken out against Microsoft. 'Look at the business model difference between Intel and ARM. Look at the operating systems. In today's world, other than Microsoft there's no one else who charges for an operating system,' said HP executive Sridhar Solur in December, adding that that the next generation of computers could very well not be dominated by Microsoft." Also at SlashCloud.
diegocg writes "Linux kernel 3.13 has been released. This release includes nftables (the successor of iptables); a revamp of the block layer designed for high-performance SSDs; a framework to cap power consumption in Intel RAPL devices; improved squashfs performance; AMD Radeon power management enabled by default and automatic AMD Radeon GPU switching; improved NUMA and hugepage performance; TCP Fast Open enabled by default; support for NFC payments; support for the High-Availability Seamless Redundancy protocol; new drivers; and many other small improvements. Here's the full list of changes."
Freshly Exhumed writes "Phoronix has an article about how Dirk Hohndel of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center has stirred the hornet's nest with a talk at Australia's Linux.Conf.Au (MP4 file) about what he views as the biggest problem with the GTK: he finds dealing with upstream GTK/GNOME developers to be tough, with frequent abuse and flame-wars, with accusations from the developers that "you're doing it wrong." Conversely, he found the Qt development community to be quite the opposite: willing to engage and help, with plenty of application developer documentation and fewer communication problems than with their GTK counterparts."
crookedvulture writes "AMD's next-generation Kaveri APU is now available, and the first reviews have hit the web. The chip combines updated Steamroller CPU cores with integrated graphics based on the latest Radeon graphics cards. It's also infused with a dedicated TrueAudio DSP, a faster memory interface, and several features that fall under AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture for mixed-mode computing. As expected, the APU's graphics performance is excellent; even the entry level, $119 A8-6700 is capable of playing Battlefield 4 at 1080p with medium detail settings. But the powerful GPU doesn't always translate to superior performance in OpenCL-accelerated applications, where comparable Intel chips are very competitive. Intel still has an advantage in power efficiency and raw CPU performance, too. Kaveri's CPU cores are certainly an improvement over the previous generation of Richland chips, but they can't match the per-thread throughput of Intel's rival Haswell CPU. In the end, Kaveri's appeal largely rests on whether the integrated graphics are fast enough for your needs. Serious gamers are better off with discrete GPUs, but more casual players can benefit from the extra Radeon horsepower. Eventually, HSA-enabled applications may benefit, as well."
MojoKid writes "Plenty of OEMs have lifted the veil on their planned Steam Machine products, but Dell really seems to want to break free of the pack with their Alienware-designed, small form factor machine that they unveiled at CES this week. It's surprisingly tiny, sleek and significantly smaller than the average game console, weighing only about 4 — 6 pounds fully configured. Dell had a prototype of the machine on hand that is mechanically exact, complete with IO ports and lighting accents. Dell also had a SteamOS-driven system running, though it was actually a modified Alienware system powering the action with Valve's innovative Steam Controller. In first-person shooters like Metro: Last Night that Dell was demonstrating, the left circular pad can be setup for panning and aiming in traditional AWSD fashion, while the right pad can be used for forward and back movement with triggers set up for firing and aiming down sights. You can, however, customize control bindings to your liking and share profiles and bindings with friends on the Steam network. What's notable about Dell's unveiling is that the Steam Machines initiative gained critical mass with a major OEM like Dell behind the product offering, in addition to the handful of boutique PC builders that have announced products thus far."
retroworks writes "Several news outlets report on Intel's announcement that it will avoid purchases of rare earth minerals and metals, such as tantalum, sourced from high conflict areas such as the Congo basin. Could this lead to manufacturers stating the percentage of their boards which are made from recycled boards, like recycled paper greeting cards?"