Windows Embraces New Space-Squeezing Photo Format

Support for the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) is coming to Windows 10. While it has little to no chance of overtaking JPEG as the de-facto image format, it is superior in terms of file size: HEIF files are generally 50% smaller, despite being identical in quality.

HEIF is a big deal since it can free up storage space and help you avoid running into your monthly network data cap. But there’s more, too: It’s actually a flexible data container that can accommodate live photos, bursts of photos, 3D scene data useful for special effects, audio, and more.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Windows Embraces New Space-Squeezing Photo Format

NVIDIA to Announce RTX Technology Next Week

NVIDIA is expected to detail its RTX technology on Monday, a culmination of a decade’s worth of work for achieving real-time cinematic rendering. The company will also be demonstrating Ray Tracing for Gameworks, which “enables real-time Area Shadows, Glossy Reflections, and Ambient Occlusion.” Major game engines such as Unreal, Unity, and Frostbite have already stated their support for the new API, which was created in partnership with Microsoft.


Source: [H]ardOCP – NVIDIA to Announce RTX Technology Next Week

A Startup Is Pitching a Mind-Uploading Service That Is "100 Percent Fatal"

Nectome is a startup tasked with archiving the human brain and its memories: the hope is that one day, technology will advance to a point where people can be immortalized by having their thoughts and experiences uploaded to the cloud. Unfortunately, the process not only requires a $10,000 deposit, but euthanasia.

Nectome’s storage service is not yet for sale and may not be for several years. Also still lacking is evidence that memories can be found in dead tissue. But the company has found a way to test the market. Following the example of electric-vehicle maker Tesla, it is sizing up demand by inviting prospective customers to join a waiting list for a deposit of $10,000, fully refundable if you change your mind.


Source: [H]ardOCP – A Startup Is Pitching a Mind-Uploading Service That Is “100 Percent Fatal”

Geralt of Rivia Joins Soul Calibur VI

Bandai Namco announced this week that The Witcher’s Geralt would be playable as a guest character in Soul Calibur VI. The developer collaborated with CD Projekt Red extensively to ensure that his model, animations, and weapons were faithfully recreated. He’ll even be featured on the cover.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Geralt of Rivia Joins Soul Calibur VI

Apple Invents Keyless Keyboards for Macs and iPad Pro

A newly published patent application from Apple describes a “keyless keyboard” in the works, which could offer the flexibility (customization) of a touch-screen, virtual keyboard, but with tactile response. Some iterations of the device depict what is essentially a keyboard-shaped display outfitted with force sensors and a haptic board.

Because the keyboard doesn’t have mechanical keys, the keyboard may provide numerous other features and functions beyond mere keyboard input. For example, the keyboard may include an adaptive display to render visual information, such as an outline of an input region (e.g., representing a key) and an indication of its function (e.g., a glyph).


Source: [H]ardOCP – Apple Invents Keyless Keyboards for Macs and iPad Pro

Myst Developer Re-releasing Entire Franchise on PC Later This Year

Developer Cyan Worlds has announced that updated versions of every game in the Myst franchise will be released for Windows 10 sometime this year. A physical package that bundles all of the games is being planned for the bigger fans and collectors out there.

Over the last few years we’ve been working to procure the rights to make all of the Myst games available. As an indie developer, resources are limited for development, and acquiring rights isn’t always an option. But we managed to finally talk to all the right people and departments and put some funding together to try to make it happen.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Myst Developer Re-releasing Entire Franchise on PC Later This Year

To Find Suspects, Police Quietly Turn to Google

WRAL is reporting on a number of unique warrants out of Raleigh, North Carolina, in which police requested (and were subsequently granted) data from all mobile devices in the surrounding area of a crime scene. Traditionally, police must find a suspect first before searching their data, but now, the opposite is occuring.

“We are willingly sharing an awful lot of our lives with Google,” said Jonathan Jones, a former Durham prosecutor who directs the North Carolina Open Government Coalition at Elon University. “But do people understand that in sharing that information with Google, they’re also potentially sharing it with law enforcement?”


Source: [H]ardOCP – To Find Suspects, Police Quietly Turn to Google

Microsoft Is Working on a Netflix for Video Games

Microsoft has established a new cloud gaming division, leading many to believe that game streaming is coming to Xbox in a service comparable to Netflix. Division chief Kareem Choudhry is optimistic enough to suggest that it could go beyond the Xbox brand and incorporate games from competing consoles, despite Sony and Nintendo’s probable averseness to the idea.

“We’re looking at ways to make that content available to anyone no matter what device they’re on,” Microsoft gaming cloud division chief Kareem Choudhry said in the interview. He told the tech news site that there will eventually be “2 billion gamers in the world” and Microsoft’s goal “is to reach every one of them.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Microsoft Is Working on a Netflix for Video Games

Airbus Ditches Microsoft Office, Flies Off to Google's G Suite

Aeronautical giant Airbus is permanently grounding its relationship with Microsoft Office and taking off with G Suite, Google’s line of web-based computing and productivity tools. According to the company’s chief information officer, Google’s option is a better fit for collaboration.

The shift to Google is clearly a massive blow to Microsoft, which warned resellers some nearly five years back not to compete with its nemesis on price because they would always lose. In Google’s calendar Q4, Google Cloud – comprising Google Cloud Platform and G Suite – turned over $1bn but the firm didn’t break down the sales by line.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Airbus Ditches Microsoft Office, Flies Off to Google’s G Suite

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered" Listing Spotted

According to Amazon, a remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is being released for Xbox One and PS4 on April 30. The pricing ($25) suggests that it will be a standalone release.

As with all listings of this kind, this may be a placeholder in case a game is announced. The listed release date would indicate an unusually small time between announcement and release – for comparison, the original Modern Warfare Remastered saw a six-month gap after being officially revealed.


Source: [H]ardOCP – “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered” Listing Spotted

Microsoft Wants to Force Windows 10 Mail Users to Open Links in Edge

In the company’s latest attempt to switch people over to its browser, Microsoft is testing a feature that forces users of the Windows 10 Mail app to open links in Edge, regardless of their default browser settings. Feedback from the Windows Insider community is being taken, but the change could very well be official.

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has done something like this with Windows 10. In April 2016, it announced that Cortana will be locked down so that it will only work with Bing and Edge. Then, last May when the company launched Windows 10 S, it confirmed that users won’t even have the option to switch their default browser or search engine on the new SKU of the OS.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Microsoft Wants to Force Windows 10 Mail Users to Open Links in Edge

Far Cry 5 Has Microtransactions, Campaign Is Playable Offline

Ubisoft has confirmed to GameSpot that Far Cry 5 will include microtransactions. They say that “all” of these items will be cosmetic only and have no effect on gameplay, but it is a little confusing, as they go on to hint at other items that will allow players to speed up their progress. The full campaign will also be playable offline.

As with many other games, including previous Ubisoft games, Far Cry 5 will offer microtransactions. Executive producer Dan Hay stressed that the game will be generous in what it offers, though if you want to speed up your progress by spending money, you’ll have that option.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Far Cry 5 Has Microtransactions, Campaign Is Playable Offline

Power Outage at Samsung Destroys 3.5% of Global NAND Flash Output For March

A power outage at a Samsung fab near Pyeongtaek, South Korea is being reported by AnandTech. The half hour power outage reportedly damaged 50,000 to 60,000 wafers of V-NAND memory, which represent 11% of Samsung’s monthly output, and 3.5% of the global NAND output.

Ugh, if the enthusiast PC market didn’t need yet another slap across its face right now. We will have to see what happens in the market, or else we may need to add NAND storage to the ever growing list of things that are running at inflated pricing. I wonder if the power outage was caused by miners using up all the electricity? Big thank you to @WhoBeDaPlaya for the story.

Samsung itself has already produced volumes of its latest Galaxy S9/S9+ smartphones it needed to support channel sales in the coming months, therefore it is not going to require massive amounts of NAND memory in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, other major consumers of NAND will start to build up inventory of memory only later this year when they start to prep for product launches in August or September.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Power Outage at Samsung Destroys 3.5% of Global NAND Flash Output For March

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Teaser Trailer Released

Square Enix has released a teaser trailer for the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and has also confirmed that the game will release on September 14th. A full reveal of the game will come April 27th.

Doesn’t look like Square Enix wanted to give away much. I loved the first of the Tomb Raider reboots, and enjoyed the sequel as well, so I’m fairly confident I’ll like this one as well. Not to mention I’m betting this will be used for much benchmarking.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Shadow of the Tomb Raider Teaser Trailer Released

AMD Ryzen 2700X & 2600 Review Leaked

WCCFTech is reporting that a review of the upcoming 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs has been leaked. The review shows faster inter-core communication, lower cache latency, as well as higher bandwidth. There are a ton of charts from the leaked review to browse through, but the gist of it is, the new 2700X is between 12-18% faster than the 17000X.

AMDs Ryzen platform just keeps getting better and better, if the leaked review is true that is. The launch date for the new chips is April 19th, and I’m definitely looking forward to see how they perform.

The 2700X doesn’t only enjoy faster inter-core communication and lower cache and memory latency, it also has higher overall cache bandwidth compared to its first generation counterpart. And the differences aren’t small either, we’re talking about up to 32% greater bandwidth.


Source: [H]ardOCP – AMD Ryzen 2700X & 2600 Review Leaked

Battlefront 2 Progression System Revamped

EA Games has announced that the Star Wars Battlefront II “Progression Update” will come on March 21st. The update changes player progression to a linear style, and removes star cards from loot crates. Star cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay using an experience system on classes, heros, and ships that you play in multiplayer.

Anyone else catch that “gain experience in multiplayer?” Does that mean that playing in Arcade mode won’t net you experience? I don’t know, and I suppose we will have to wait and see, although I feel the ship has sailed for Battlefront II a while ago.

Starting in April, you’ll be able to get appearances directly through in-game Credits or Crystals. The first new appearances are coming soon, meaning you’ll be able to grab new looks for your heroes and troopers directly by using either Credits (earned in-game) or Crystals (available to purchase in-game and through first-party stores). If you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of the Resistance as a Rodian, your chance is right around the corner.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Battlefront 2 Progression System Revamped

NY Municipalities to Charge Miners More For Electricity

UtilityDive is reporting that New York regulators will allow municipal power providers to charge higher rates to cryptocurrency mining operations. Electricity costs for high-density load customers will increase beginning in March, said the PSC, if customers they do not quality for economic assistance, and have a maximum demand exceeding 300kW, and a load density that exceeds 250kWh per square foot per year.

This isn’t the first time we have covered the massive power consumption that cryptocurrency mining brings with it. Just last week we wrote of a town in Washington experiencing first hand the results. Good to see New York deal with this, hopefully more will be on board.

In upstate New York, there are at least three cryptocurrency companies operating, and in some cases, these customers account for a third of their local muni’s load, according to the Public Service Commission.


Source: [H]ardOCP – NY Municipalities to Charge Miners More For Electricity

Tobii and Qualcomm Teaming Up to Bring Eye Tracking to Mobile VR/AR Headsets

Tobii and Qualcomm want to bring eye tracking to mobile VR/AR products. Mobile headsets using this eye tracking technology will take advantage of foveated rendering and allow high level graphics where the eye is looking in real time. This will enable devices to be more efficient and use less power. Some other nice features are interactive eye contact that will make immersion better in social scenes as well as improving hand-eye coordination. Overall, this is the next step forward for improved VR/AR devices and I hope they are successful in bringing this to market in the next generation of headsets. Check out the video from Tobii on eye tracking.

“Qualcomm is focused on transforming the way that people use mobile technologies for entertainment and productivity,” said Hiren Bhinde, director of Product Management, XR Technologies, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We added support for Tobii’s eye tracking solution to our new Snapdragon 845 VR development kits to help developers create new experiences using a higher quality of gaze interaction that we think will ultimately provide consumers with more intuitive, visually immersive experiences.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Tobii and Qualcomm Teaming Up to Bring Eye Tracking to Mobile VR/AR Headsets

Linus Torvalds Gives His Opinion on Latest AMD "Security Bugs"

If you were wondering what Linus thinks of the latest findings on AMD “security bugs” by CTS Labs you came to the right place. Let me just say that he doesn’t think too much of these so-called flaws or the company that brought them to light. You might want to go and take a look at his entire thread.

At what point will security people admit they have an attention-whoring problem?


Source: [H]ardOCP – Linus Torvalds Gives His Opinion on Latest AMD “Security Bugs”

AMD Jabs Intel Good Over Spectre/Meltdown Problems

AMD has a nice little sign set up in their booth over at Cloudfest in Germany. In a nut shell they take a nice little shot at Intel over their Spectre/Meltdown woes. You have to see it to believe it and I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did. Check out the twitter post that brought this to our attention.


Source: [H]ardOCP – AMD Jabs Intel Good Over Spectre/Meltdown Problems