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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Chromecast teardown reveals it might not overheat as much as before

by Devindra Hardawar 10/7/2015

Much like the original Chromecast streaming stick, Google's new Chromecast video and audio gadgets aren't things you'd want to try and repair if anything goes wrong. "Ultimately any device like those in the Chromecast family will be the same story—a board in a box," iFixit declared in its teardown. 

Then again, at just $35, you're probably better off just replacing your Chromecast when it conks out. There are some intriguing reveals in iFixit's teardown though: Google went a bit thermal paste crazy this time around, which should help the new Chromecast avoid overheating as much as its predecessor. It also looks like the HDMI cable in the video Chromecast is plenty tough, while also being internally detachable. If it does get damaged, there's a chance you'll be able to swap it out for a new part. Beyond that, both the audio and video Chromecast models look pretty similar internally.

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Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book: Flagship hardware that blows away the competition

By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes October 7, 2015

Yesterday Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 4, which, in the company's words is "the tablet that can replace your laptop." Then, as part of a "one more thing" reveal, it also unveiled a new laptop, the Surface Book. 

Be in no doubt that, on paper at any rate, these devices are the best when it comes to Windows tablets and laptops. Microsoft has taken the very best components currently on offer -- specifically the sixth-generation Intel Core processors, PixelTouch displays, and handfuls of RAM -- and put them inside a thin, sleek, and durable magnesium alloy chassis.

These devices are the business.

Which brings me to the second point: Business. These devices aren't aimed at the home user or the gamer. These devices have business written through them like a stick or rock. From the gigabytes of RAM to the TPM modules to even the images used to promote these devices on Microsoft's website, it's clear that the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book are aimed squarely at professionals. What kind or professional -- business, designer, musician, artist, engineer -- is up to you, but there is no question in my mind that these are not your usual mass-market budget fare built to satisfy a low price point.

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Users report iPhones 6 and 6s turning off by themselves, cause not yet identified

by Paul K. 07 Oct 2015 

Fans and users of the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices have reported that after updating to the new iOS 9.0.2, their handsets have started acting cranky on random occasions. Apparently, the phones will decide to turn themselves off — no matter if the user is currently operating the device, or it's just on standby — and the only way to fix them is to perform a hard-restart (hold down the home and power buttons for as many seconds as it takes for the Apple logo to reappear on the screen).

Apple reps have allegedly said that the issue is known, but is still hard to pinpoint and reproduce, so a fix may take a while to arrive. Meanwhile, earnest users are trying to figure it out, and current theories suggest that the issue may be caused by corrupted iCloud backups. Interestingly, iOS 9.0.2 came right after Apple fixed some iCloud bugs that prevented developers from taking advantage of the new App Thinning. 

The suggested solutions are two – reset all your settings (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings) and use the phone for a while in this manner. If it doesn't help, take the more drastic measure – factory reset the iPhone and choose "Set up as new iPhone". The latter is a pain, especially for those who have tons of apps. If you have any kind of iTunes backup that is semi-recent, you can try backing up from it, then filling out the blanks yourself. Otherwise, you will have to write down all the apps you currently use in a list, and restore them manually after setting up the iPhone as a new device. 

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AMD ties up with Dell to bring Oculus-powered virtual reality PCs

By DNA 7 October 2015 

AMD today announced a collaboration with Oculus and Dell to build a line of Oculus-ready computers powered by AMD Radeon GPUs. These computers will use AMD’s own LiquidVR and Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture to bring virtual reality experiences to this next generation of desktop computers. “It’s an exciting time to be at the heart of all things Virtual Reality.” said Roy Taylor, corporate vice president, Alliances and Content, AMD. “I’m confident that with Dell and Alienware, we can enable a wide audience of PC users with extraordinary VR capabilities powered by AMD Radeon GPUs.” In March this year, AMD announced their VR platform for developers and users via their AMD LiquidVR technology. One of the biggest challenges with implementing a functional and practical virtual reality experience is that of image latency: when on-screen pixels are unable to respond to motion quickly enough, it can induce an immediate sense of nausea in the wearer. LiquidVR enables low-latency VR performance that delivers a comfortable VR experience. The AMD GPU’s software and hardware subsystems are primary components in the LiquidVR system that will open VR authoring possibilities for developers and content creators. 

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Google to officially launch YouTube Gaming today

By Zeenews August 26, 2015

Google Inc is officially launching live streaming gaming service called "YouTube Gaming", creating a rival to Inc`s Twitch service. The service, which will be available in the form of an app as well as a website, will focus exclusively on gamers and gaming. More than 25,000 games will each have their own page on the site, bringing videos and live streams about various titles together in a single space, Google had earlier said. 

Users will be able to add games to their collection for quick access, subscribe to channels, and receive recommendations on new games based on the games and channels they follow. Amazon bought Twitch Interactive last year for $970 million, beating a rival bid from Google. YouTube Gaming will available on the web, mobiles and tablets on both Android and iOS operating systems, according to a tweet from its official account.

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Specs of AMD Radeon R9 Nano confirmed: 4096 SPs, 8.19TFLOPS

By Anton Shilov August 26th, 2015

It is not a secret that AMD’s upcoming Radeon R9 Nano graphics card will be the most powerful adapter for mini-ITX personal computers ever produced and will have no rivals for quite some time. As it appears, the Radeon R9 Nano will not only offer high performance, but it will actually offer compute performance that will be comparable to that of AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 Fury X. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card – which sales are expected to begin in the coming weeks – is based on the fully fledged code-named “Fiji” graphics processing unit with 4096 stream processors, 256 texture mapping units, 64 raster operations pipelines and 4096-bit memory interface, according to slide from AMD’s presentation published by VideoCardz web-site. The graphics board will continue to carry 4GB of HBM [high-bandwidth memory] operating at 1000MHz. 

The miniature graphics card from AMD and its partners will have clock-rates comparable to those of the flagship Radeon R9 Fury X. The Radeon R9 Nano will have compute performance of around 8.2TFLOPS, which is only 5 per cent below that of the Radeon R9 Fury X. Actual performance of the Radeon R9 Nano will be considerably higher than that of the Radeon R9 Fury, which uses a cut-down version of “Fiji” with 3584 stream processors, and will be very close to that of the top-of-the-range product.

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Intel unveils ultra-tiny, fully upgradable '5x5' mini-PC motherboards

Intel rolled out a new motherboard at its developer conference that offers more power than a NUC, but less than the mini-ITX.
By Ian Paul Aug 25, 2015

A lot of exciting technology was on display at Intel's IDF conference last week, but traditional PC hardware seemingly took a backseat to smart devices and the Internet of things. So much so, in fact, that one exciting PC-related tidbit that could’ve made more noise than button-sized chips and Wake on Voice was lost in the shuffle: The introduction of new compact motherboard that sits between the mini-ITX and Intel NUC in terms of size. The addition now offers a wide range of possibilities for compact PCs, from the Intel Compute Stick all the way up to the aforementioned mini-ITX form factor.  Dubbed the 5x5, the new motherboard doesn't quite live up to its name, measuring 5.5 inches by 5.8.

Nevertheless, it’s still smaller than the 6.69-by-6.69 mini-ITX and a bit larger than the 4-by-4 NUC board. Unlike the NUC, which ships with chips soldered to the motherboard, the 5x5 includes an LGA socket to house an Intel Core processor of your choice, with support for 35W or 65W thermal designs. The board also works with both M.2 or traditional 2.5-inch SATA interface SSDs.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Google updates its Hangouts apps with a slick new design

Android update rolls out today
By Jacob Kastrenakes on August 10, 2015

Google Hangouts for mobile has gotten a major design overhaul. The design refresh comes as part of Hangouts 4.0, which is rolling out today on Android and was released about a month back on iOS. Hangouts 4.0 keeps the app's distinct green accent color, but it adds a floating compose button, cleans up and simplifies the interface, and presumably adds in all of the animated flourishes you'd expect from a Material Design app. Hangouts' Android Wear app should also be looking a bit nicer today. 

In addition to the design changes, Google says that Hangouts 4.0 for Android should send messages faster and more reliably. The update also adds back in the ability to set custom status messages, and it's supposed to be less of a drain on battery.

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