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Epic Games Announces More Exclusives and Features

At its "State of Unreal" session at GDC 2019, Epic Games announced multiple new games coming to the Epic Games store. Some of the new exclusives include The Outer Worlds, Control, Industries of Titan, Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain and many more titles. Humble Bundle has been chosen as a distribution partner for the Epic Games store which will allow it to sell Epic Games keys which will be redeemable on the Epic Games store. Epic will receive no revenue share from the sale of those games purchased through the Humble Store. Customers can link their Humble Store accounts to the Epic Games store for direct purchasing. Coming soon to early access in Unreal Engine 4.23 is Chaos; Unreal Engine's new high-performance physics and destruction system. Expect developers to create cinematic-quality visuals in real time with massive-scale levels of destruction. Epic Online Services provides a single SDK that works across any platform, game engine and store to help developers give their players a unified, cross-platform social experience. The library of tools include cloud storage, voice communications, matchmaking and more. Epic MegaGrants is a new $100,000,000 assistance fund for those people and companies doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community. Ray tracing, Microsoft Hololens streaming support, Google Stadia support and more were discussed during the opening session.

"Our success is inextricably linked to developer success, and that ethos guides everything we do," said Sweeney. "From our free Online Services and Epic MegaGrants to new Unreal Engine features, our goal is to help developers, and to equip them to give players even better experiences."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 20, 2019 3:24 PM (CDT)

AMD's 7nm Navi GPU Rumored to Launch Roughly a Month after Ryzen 3000

Contradicting earlier rumors of an October launch, the Wccftech gang is claiming AMD has told partners its 7nm Navi GPU will launch "exactly a month" after the debut of its next-generation Ryzen processors. With the conundrum of low yields somewhat out of the way (based on the availability of the Radeon VII), the author is confident AMD will have no issues getting the card out within the third quarter this year.

I have been told that AMD’s Navi GPU is at least one whole month behind AMD’s 7nm Ryzen launch, so if the company launches the 3000 series desktop processors at Computex like they are planning to, you should not expect the Navi GPU to land before early August. The most likely candidates for launch during this window are Gamescom and Siggraph. I would personally lean towards Gamescom simply because it is a gaming product and is the more likely candidate, but anything can happen with AMD!

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 2:15 PM (CDT)

Pilots Now Spend More Time Learning Automated Systems than Hands-On Flying

The Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes have reignited debate over the potential risks of automation in aircraft and how it may hinder human competence, but a New York Times story suggests many new pilots are at the mercy of technology regardless: interviews with pilots and instructors indicate many are less skilled at manual control because of an increased focus on automated systems, turning them into system operators rather than pilots. "They may not exactly know or recognize quickly enough what is happening to the aircraft, and by the time they figure it out, it may be too late."

"The automation in the aircraft, whether it’s a Boeing or an Airbus, has lulled us into a sense of security and safety," said Kevin Hiatt, a former Delta Air Lines pilot who later ran flight safety for JetBlue. Pilots now rely on autopilot so often, "they become a systems operator rather than a stick-and-rudder pilot." In recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration has advised airlines to encourage pilots to fly manually when appropriate, among other policies intended to improve manual skills.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 12:50 PM (CDT)

Tesla Raises Prices to Keep More Retail Stores Open

Tesla has announced that is going to raise prices 3% to keep more of its retail locations open. Some stores in high visibility locations will be reopened. These stores will have fewer employees, but test drives will be available. Some stores are under review and a decision will be made over the coming months to close or keep them open. As a result of keeping significantly more stores open, Tesla will need to raise vehicle prices by about 3% on average worldwide.

Potential Tesla owners will have a week to place their order before prices rise, so current prices are valid until March 18th. There will be no price increase to the $35,000 Model 3. The price increases will only apply to the more expensive variants of Model 3, as well as Model S and X. To be clear, all sales worldwide will still be done online, in that potential Tesla owners coming in to stores will simply be shown how to order a Tesla on their phone in a few minutes. Stores will also carry a small number of cars in inventory for customers who wish to drive away with a Tesla immediately.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 3:25 PM (CDT)

Tesla Launches New Supercharger with 1,000 MPH Charging, Better Efficiency, and More

Tesla has introduced a new version of the Supercharger with higher charging capacity (250 kW), providing up to 75 miles of range for the Model 3 in as little as 5 minutes. This is made possible by a new liquid-cooled cable that is "significantly lighter, more flexible, and more efficient" than their current air-cooled cable. These increased charging speeds will be unlocked for the Model S and X in a future software update.

A new "On-Route Battery Warmup" software feature was also announced. When entering a Supercharger station in your navigation system, the vehicle’s software will "intelligently heat the battery to ensure you arrive at the optimal temperature to charge." That’s assuming you have enough charge in the battery when you come in. The new feature alone should reduce "average charge times for owners by 25%," according to the automaker.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 11:05 AM (CST)

The Tech World Remembers Jerry Merryman Who Was an Inventor of the Calculator

Born June 17, 1932; Jerry Merryman was a brilliant inventor whom others could call upon for information on any subject. By age 11, Mr. Merryman was the Hearne, TX radio repairman. "'He'd scrap together a few cents to go to the movies in the afternoons and evenings and the police would come get him out ... because their radios would break and he had to fix them,' said Merryman's wife, Phyllis Merryman." He wasn't a braggart or boastful; even though he would work on projects at his home like a motorized telescope that automatically tracked the planets. Texas Instruments hired him and in 1965 his Nobel Prize winning boss, Jack Kilby, presented him with the idea for a calculator. In three days, Jerry Merryman did the entire circuit design for the device that his boss desired to be "as small as this little book that I have in my hand." The three man team had enough work completed to file for a patent in 1967, and revised the final patent in 1974. Merryman said in a 2013 NPR interview, "Silly me, I thought we were just making a calculator, but we were creating an electronic revolution." Mr. Merryman died Feb. 27 at a Dallas hospital from heart and kidney failure after experiencing complications during surgery to install a pacemaker. He was 86. The team's prototype is enshrined at the Smithsonian Institution. This 1997 photo shows Jack Kilby and Jerry Merryman, right, at the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, Montana.

"I have a Ph.D. in material science and I've known hundreds of scientists, professors, Nobel prize-winners and so on. Jerry Merryman was the most brilliant man that I've ever met. Period. Absolutely, outstandingly brilliant," said Vernon Porter, a former TI colleague and friend. "He had an incredible memory and he had an ability to pull up formulas, information, on almost any subject."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 8:55 PM (CST)

Fujitsu Document Leaks More 9th Gen Intel CPUs

A motherboard and processor compatibility document straight from Fujitsu's website has reportedly unveiled several previously unannounced 9th Generation Intel Core processors. The document was quickly taken down, but according to the screenshots other media outlets managed to capture, many CPUs in the existing lineup are getting an "F" variant with a disabled IGP and a "T" variant with a lower TDP.
Intel is allegedly squeezing the fully enabled 8-core Coffee Lake die into a 35W TDP with the Core i9-9900T, while the Celeron G4390 even has a low power variant. Meanwhile, the 2 core, 4 thread, Pentium G5600 is getting an IGP-less SKU, which will presumably target affordable gaming desktops with discrete GPUs. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 9:13 AM (CST)

The GTX 1660 is Rumored to Launch in Mid March

The Taiwanese news outlet DigiTimes claims that the Nvidia will launch the mid-range GTX 1660 graphics card on March 15, at a price point of $229. This more or less lines up with the latest info from our own industry sources, who claim the 1660 will launch on March 14 at that same price point. Meanwhile, DigiTimes also expects the GTX 1650 to launch on April 15th at the US $179 price point. We can't verify that particular claim yet, but the latest rumor from Videocardz indicated that the GTX 1650 would launch "next month" in late March.

With the launch of the four products bearing high price-performance ratios, Nvidia is apparently seeking to refocus its graphics card business on the medium- and low-end market in the first half of 2019 to prevent its profits from falling further and drive AMD's share in the market down to under 25% or even 20%, industry sources commented. The drastic shrinkage in demand for crypto mining graphic cards seen since the second quarter of 2018 prompted Nvidia to fast reduce its inventory in the following months, minimizing the impact on profitability. For the fiscal quarter from November 2018 to January 2019, Nvidia's revenues plunged 24% on year and 31% on quarter to US$2.205 billion, and its profits for the quarter plunged 54% sequentially and 49% on year to US$567 million.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 10:22 AM (CST)

Intel CEO Bob Swan Discusses the PC Market and More

Intel CEO Bob Swan was interviewed by CNBC's Jon Fortt at the Mobile Trade Congress where he discussed topics such as the PC market, 5G, FPGAs, and more. While Intel won't have 5G chips for modems available right away, we should expect to see them the second half of this year. These are slated for applications in smartphones, automotive industry and more. Intel expects to corner 40% of that market over the course of the next few years. A recent Financial Times article questioned Intel's investment spending binge. Some investors think that Intel is spending too much on R&D in various markets, but new Intel CEO Bob Swan countered that with this statement. "If we want to play in a much larger market we're going to continue to invest more in R&D, there's no question about that," he said. "We don't want to get too penny wise and pound-foolish so we don't invest for the future." He also discussed the need for Intel to "bring computer memory closer to the processors." Mr. Swann noted that Intel's traditional strength lies in its process technology and this would give Intel an advantage in memory chips.

Intel's efforts to move faster beyond its core business of making processors for PCs and servers has brought a surge in spending. It has spent heavily on memory chips, GPUs and modems for wireless devices, while also paying out more than $30bn in the two biggest acquisitions in its history. The spending has weighed on its finances. R&D and capital spending jumped from a combined $12bn at the start of the decade, or 27 per cent of its revenue, to $29bn, or 40 per cent of revenue, last year.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 25, 2019 1:51 PM (CST)

More 1660 TI Pictures Emerge as Launch Nears

As the 1660 TI's launch nears, more pictures of the unreleased GPU are leaking onto the internet. One Reddit user posted what appears to be a Galax GeForce 1660 TI, while Videocardz uploaded a picture of a Palit GTX 1660 TI StormX. An anonymous source told us that the card will launch on the 15th for around $279 back in January, but noted that the information "is likely in flux now and changing day to day" at the time. More recent rumors (which we haven't confirmed yet) suggest the card will launch on the 22nd.

Palit is preparing two models of StormX series. Both cards are equipped with TU116 GPU and 1536 CUDA cores. The GTX models from Palit feature 6GB of GDDR6 memory. The StormX OC variant features a clock speed of 1815 MHz, while the non-OC variant is set to default 1770 MHz.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 11, 2019 12:24 PM (CST)

Nikkei Claims Smaller, More Affordable Nintendo Switch Is Coming

Contrary to recent mumblings by Nintendo CEO Shuntaro Furukawa, Japanese publication Nikkei claims the Japanese gaming giant does have a new version of the Switch in the works. This edition, which is expected as early as this year, will be designed with portability in mind and come at a cheaper price due to reduced features. The report also suggests Nintendo is "readying some sort of new service for this year aimed at game enthusiasts."

"They’re taking measures as for what is to come -- one of those being a smaller version of the Switch. The company said that ‘couldn’t comment’ on their plans for the product, but has informed multiple suppliers and game development companies that they intend to release them as early as 2019. According to their affiliates, they are ‘miniaturizing the console with portability and playing outdoors in mind, as well as cutting features to reduce the price and expand the userbase.'"

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 02, 2019 9:25 AM (CST)

Facebook Paid Teens to Test Even More Invasive Apps

TechCrunch just posted a report claiming that Facebook paid teens to install a "VPN that spies on them" on Android and iOS devices. More specifically, the social media company has allegedly been paying users between the ages of 12 and 35 "up to $20 per month plus referral fees" to download the "Facebook Research" app, which can reportedly monitor almost every part of the phone. Among other things, the app apparently asked users to take screenshots of their Amazon orders page, and a security researcher from TechCrunch said it had the ability to collect "private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps - including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed." Apple banned the Onavo data collection app from the iOS App Store for violating their data collection policies last year, so Facebook allegedly had to sideload "Project Atlas" to circumvent Apple's restrictions. In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said "Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data," and true to their word, have subsequently yanked Facebook's permission to sideload apps on iOS devices. Experts say this could interfere with Facebook's own internal R&D efforts, though unsurprisingly, "Project Atlas" will continue to run on Android. Additionally, many other publications are following TechCrunch down Facebook's latest rabbit hole today. The BBC, for example, claims it was able to sign up for the service and download the app without any parental consent, even though the BBC identified itself as a 14-year-old boy during its test, while a BuzzFeed reporter managed to get a parental consent email that didn't mention Facebook by name. When asked how parental consent was obtained, Facebook "said it was handled by a third party and did not elaborate."

"The fairly technical sounding 'install our Root Certificate' step is appalling," Strafach tells us. "This hands Facebook continuous access to the most sensitive data about you, and most users are going to be unable to reasonably consent to this regardless of any agreement they sign, because there is no good way to articulate just how much power is handed to Facebook when you do this... "It is tricky to know what data Facebook is actually saving (without access to their servers). The only information that is knowable here is what access Facebook is capable of based on the code in the app. And it paints a very worrisome picture," Strafach explains. "They might respond and claim to only actually retain/save very specific limited data, and that could be true, it really boils down to how much you trust Facebook's word on it. The most charitable narrative of this situation would be that Facebook did not think too hard about the level of access they were granting to themselves . . . which is a startling level of carelessness in itself if that is the case."

Facebook did respond after TechCrunch's article went live, but they didn't outright deny the claims. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas January 30, 2019 10:00 AM (CST)