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PCIe SSDs Will Overtake SATA in 2019

A recent report from Digitimes claims that PCIe SSDs could finally overtake SATA SSD shipments in 2019. Unit prices for 512GB PCIe SSDs have supposedly fallen 11% sequentially, down to a price of $55 in Q1 2019, while SATA SSD prices only dropped 9%. The price gap between the different SSDs was around 30% in 2018, and according to the publication's market sources, that gap is only going to shrink as time goes on. Meanwhile, thanks to the rapidly falling prices of NAND flash memory chips, total SSD shipments are expected to rise dramatically. Digitimes expects shipments to increase "20-25%" in 2019, while a separate report claims that changes in enterprise market shipments could be even more dramatic. Relatively low prices for high performance drives with capacities of up to 16TB are apparently tempting many companies away from HDDs. Meanwhile, laptop makers are starting to ship lower-cost devices with SSDs by default, and according to PCPartPicker's latest charts, retail prices for standalone consumer drives have been dropping as well. Overall, it looks like 2019 will be a great year for anyone who's looking for more speedy storage, but the big flash manufacturer's efforts to slow production could stop the tumbling prices by 2020.

Falling average selling prices for consumer Gen 3.0x2 PCIe SSDs fitted in notebooks will accelerate the adoption of such SSDs by OEMs. This, coupled with demand for ever-higher storage capacity and speed to support cloud computing, 5G and autonomous driving applications, will further stimulate market demand for PCIe SSDs and inspire brand vendors to gear up production of such lucrative storage devices and related chips, the sources indicated. For instance, Taiwan-based IC designers Silicon Motion Technology, Phison Electronics, and Silicon Integrated Systems are racing to roll out enhanced version of PCI SSD controller chips, while major brand vendors such as Kingston Technology, Adata Technology, Transcend Information, Seagate and Micron have also listed PCIe SSDs as their mainstream product lines.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 10:17 AM (CDT)

Google Fined $1.7 Billion Over Monopolistic Practices

The European commission has reportedly slapped Google with a 1.49 billion Euro (or $1.69 billion USD) fine for "abusing its monopoly in online advertising." More specifically, the report alleges that Google prevented companies that using its search service from running any third party adverts, and the commission claims that "Google's rivals were not able to compete on the merits, either because there was an outright prohibition for them to appear on publisher websites or because Google reserved for itself by far the most valuable commercial space on those websites, while at the same time controlling how rival search adverts could appear." Google apparently changed these practices in 2016, but it took some time for the repercussions to catch up with them.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said: "Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 10:30 AM (CDT)

MSI Expected to Overtake Samsung in the Curved Monitor Market

A recent report from Digitimes claims that MSI could soon steal the title of "world's largest supplier of curved gaming monitors" from Samsung in 2019. While flat monitors have dominated "gaming monitor" sales in the past, MSI claims that curved monitors accounted for about 60% of all gaming monitor shipments in 2018, and could rise to 66.7% in 2019. The gaming hardware market is still growing, even as the PC market continues to shrink as a whole, so its not surprising to see the big manufacturers increase their focus on their enthusiast and "gaming" lineups.

The company's motherboard business is currently facing issues including CPU shortages and decreasing demand. Despite Intel having already promised to ease the tight supply by the end of the second quarter, MSI still expects overall motherboard shipments to shrink by over 10% in 2019. MSI shipped around six million motherboards in 2018 and is expected to maintain a similar volume in 2019. Meanwhile, MSI is expected to finish digesting its graphics card inventory in the second quarter and begin promoting Nvidia's new cards to help increase its sales. MSI is expected to deliver around four million graphics cards in 2019, about the same level as in the past couple of years.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)

Lazareth Teases a Transforming Hoverbike

French car and bike maker Lazareth just teased a flying, turbine powered "hoverbike" that can transform into a motorcycle. No, I wouldn't believe them either, and many were skeptical of the company's claims back when they showed off renderings of the LMV 496 years ago, but they uploaded a live demonstration as proof. The contraption reportedly uses 4 96,000 RPM JetCat jet turbines to lift itself off the ground, and only weights about 308 lb while making as much as 529 lb of thrust. However, what isn't clear is how the bike is powered in "road" mode, or if the prototype's wheels are even powered at all. New Atlas seems to think there's some kind of electric drive train, and I wouldn't be surprised if the turbines were used to drive the car in road mode. Jet turbines have been used to make ridiculously high power motorcycles before, but as far as I know, this is the first one that can fly with them.

Lazareth has hover-tested the bike on tethers to a height of 1 m (3.3 ft), with his brave and lightweight girlfriend Vanessa at the helm... The Lazareth team will be bringing the Moto Volante to Gitex in Dubai this October, and will launch pre-orders there at a price of 496,000 Euros (approx. US$560,000). La Moto Volante joins Jetpack Aviation's Speeder as the only two jet-powered flying motorcycle concepts we've seen to date. Mind you, the Speeder is much more of a single-purpose vehicle without any road capability, and as such we'd expect its flight dynamics to be superior and less compromised. But Lazareth's got a full size prototype in the air that's also road-certified, so congratulations to the Lazareth team for building what must be acknowledged as a ground-breaking multi-mode vehicle.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 11:48 AM (CDT)

Texas Is Trying to Block Tesla from Servicing Its Cars

Tesla’s problems are beginning to grow in the Lone Star State: the automaker’s direct-sales model is already banned in Texas due to the clever use of old laws by local car dealers with a loud lobbying voice, but legislators have now introduced a bill that would prevent the company from servicing its cars through its own service centers. While Texans have managed to get their hands on Tesla vehicles by having them delivered from other states, the passing of this law could mean a whole new can of problems.

Well, Texas’s use of direct-sale laws was already ridiculously abused but they are now pushing it to a whole new level of stupidity. If the legislature actually approves this bill, it would be extremely disappointing from a political standpoint and a major hit to Tesla itself and Tesla owners in Texas. Texan EV fans, or free market fans for that matter, should contact their local representatives and let them know how you feel about this ridiculous attempt to abuse legislation to give a monopoly to franchise dealers who are afraid of fair competition from Tesla and other companies looking to sell and service their own vehicles.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 10:45 AM (CDT)

Tesla Unveils Model Y Electric SUV with 300-Mile Range and Seven Seats

Tesla officially announced the latest member of its vehicle family Thursday, the Model Y, a crossover/compact SUV version of the Model 3 starting at $39,000. The Y is rather similar appearance-wise but sits a little higher, offering 66 cubic feet (1.9 cubic meters) of storage space and an optional third row for up to seven seats. Specs include 300 miles of range, expected 5-star rating, 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds, and a 0.23 drag coefficient.

The more expensive versions of Model Y with a bigger battery pack, dual motor, and higher performance are going to come first in Fall 2020. This one is likely going to use the same Long Range battery pack as Model 3 and it is getting a slightly shorter range due to the size. Instead of opening reservations with a $1,000 deposit like they did for the Model 3, Tesla already launched the Model Y online design studio and buyers can place an order with a $2,500 deposit.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 10:15 AM (CDT)

Tumblr Defends Controversial Porn Ban despite 20 Percent Drop in Traffic

Tumblr’s pornography ban in December has resulted in a major exodus: numbers from web analytics firm Similarweb reveal the blogging site has lost over 100 million monthly page views since the end of January and saw a 17 percent decline in visits over the last 30 days. Despite this slump, Tumblr has defended the ban, calling it "the right decision."

In December, Tumblr CEO Jeff D'Onofrio said in a blog post that it chose to remove adult content after weighting the pros and cons of expression in the community. D'Onofrio said the platform had to consider the impact on different age groups, demographics, cultures and mindsets. "We made a strategic decision for the business that better positions it for long-term growth among more types of users. This was the right decision," a Tumblr spokesperson said Thursday in an emailed statement.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 9:25 AM (CDT)

Steam Link Anywhere Enables Game Streaming over the Internet

Valve has announced Steam Link Anywhere which allows Steam users to stream their games from their PC to their other computers over the internet or Wi-Fi, as long as their computer has good upload speed and their Steam Link device has a good network connection. I confirmed that I could stream from my gaming PC to my mobile phone using mobile data. This service is free and the Steam Link (BETA) app can be downloaded from Google Play. Steam users will need to update their Steam Client to the beta build to enable the functionality.

To use Steam Link Anywhere: Update your Steam Client to the beta build, dated March 13 or newer. Add a computer and select "Other Computer." Follow the pairing instructions on screen. This service is in early beta, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to improve the service.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 5:25 PM (CDT)

VR Rhythm Game 'Beat Saber' Sells over 1 Million Copies

Beat Saber may have become the first VR title to sell more than 1 million copies. Beat Games co-founder and CEO Jaroslav Beck thinks the secret to the game's success is "It is super intuitive." He also credited his team for creating a game that didn't crash and didn't lead to motion sickness. "'The code is super polished,' Beck said." In addition to today's release of the paid DLC "Monstercat Music Pack," the developers are considering adding new genres of music to the game and more self-published free music. Beat Saber currently maintains a 97% positive approval rating on Steam.

Beat Saber surpassed the one million unit milestone in February, according to Beat Games co-founder and CEO Jaroslav Beck, who credited word-of-mouth for most of the game's success in a recent interview with Variety. "We did zero PR whatsoever," Beck said. "We didn't expect that it would blow up that crazy."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 2:32 PM (CDT)

Uber Settles Driver Classification Lawsuit for $20 Million

Uber has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit that stemmed from its classification of its drivers as independent contractors. By classifying its drivers as independent contractors, the ride-hailing service was able to avoid paying expenses and benefits associated with traditional employment. In 2016, Uber had agreed to pay $100 million to settle the case with 385,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts, but another judge threw that ruling out as the payout wasn't sufficient given the original class size. An appeals court ruled in favor of Uber and reduced the amount of affected drivers to 13,600. It determined that "Uber's mandatory arbitration agreements -- which obligate workers to settle their claims with the company one-on-one -- were largely valid and enforceable." The 13,600 drivers who qualified for the settlement either worked for Uber before the mandatory arbitration agreement was added or had opted to not agree to arbitration. Drivers will receive about $.37 per mile driven.

Uber said it had worked to make "the driver experience even better through improvements like in-app tipping, a redesigned driver app, and new rewards programs," according to an emailed statement from spokesman Matt Kallman. "We'll continue working hard to improve the quality, security and dignity of independent work."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 1:46 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)

911 Calls Raise Concerns Over Amazon Working Conditions

Amazon's warehouses don't have the best reputation as is, but according to a recent article from The Daily Beast, working conditions inside the facilities could be worse than previously thought. The report alleges that, between October 2013 and October 2018, emergency workers were summoned to Amazon warehouses for "suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, and other mental-health episodes" at least 189 times. The reports only covered a quarter of Amazon's sorting and fulfillment centers across the U.S, and The Daily Beast is quick to point out that the records are "not evidence that Amazon staffers experience suicidal episodes more often than other American workers, in or out of a warehouse," but they clearly imply that harsh conditions are exacerbating existing mental health issues on a large scale. Check out some of the calls below:

The Daily Beast spoke to six current or former Amazon employees who had mental-health crises that required emergency assistance at the warehouse. They said much of their at-work stress stemmed from the performance quota. A former employee in Etna, Ohio, said that it was sometimes physically impossible to stay on pace. "Even if it isn't your fault, they ignore any explanation that you could give." He was constantly fearful that he would receive citations for falling short. "Once you have enough write-ups, you're out the door," he said. "There goes your livelihood... There was a constant sense of, 'did I screw that up, did I screw that up, did I screw that up?'" he said. "[It] stays with you and almost becomes a permanent anxiety."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 11, 2019 11:17 AM (CDT)