Sony shows off its new OLED and LCD TVs, video projector, and Bluetooth speakers

Sony didn’t show me many products that I wasn’t already aware of during my visit to the company’s PlayStation headquarters in San Mateo yesterday, but the reality was far better than the briefings and press releases. There was some audio gear, but the TVs and other video equipment were the most exciting.

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By far the most impressive product I viewed was the new 65-inch-class A1E OLED. I’ve been harshing somewhat on the rendering of fine details by existing consumer OLED TVs, especially in comparison to the latest, greatest HDR LED/LCD TVs from Sony and Samsung. As there’s really only one company marketing OLEDs currently (LG, although Panasonic does have one high-end model), that hasn’t won me any friends there. Neither has my calling them out on their 2.8K-labeled-as-4K 6000 series of TVs.

The A1E ameliorates all my complaints about OLED detail reproduction and proves that the lack thereof is not a deficiency inherent in the technology. The A1E’s picture and detail are simply stunning. But my enthusiasm for the A1E is also due the to use of the A1E’s front glass as a speaker. Planar, aka flat-surface audio projection, is nothing new, but this is the first instance I’m aware of it being employed in a retail TV. Coupled with a small subwoofer buried in the hardly noticeable stand, the A1E’s sound is the best I’ve ever heard in a slim, thin-bezel TV. It’s not overly loud, and it might not fill a large room, but you won’t have complaints about the quality.

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A view from the top reveals how thin the A1E OLED is. The screen is the main speaker, and there’s a subwoofer hidden in the easel-like stand.

Speaking of that bezel, there’s only the tiniest sliver of it that’s basically invisible during viewing. What you can’t see, can’t distract you. Though if bezels distract you, you should rent better movies.

There was one more detail that impressed me–the nearly total absence of ghosting, which can be an issue, albeit a very minor one, with other OLEDs. Sony lays this at the feet of their new improved X1 Extreme processor, which includes some nifty tricks such as a library of noise profiles for the reduction of that.

The X1 Extreme also performs a superior analysis of video frames, so that detail in both dark and light areas is improved, and banding is reduced to barely visible levels. Unless my eyes deceive me, the processing works extremely well. It’s also utilized extensively on their new LED/LCD TVs.

Alas, Sony was coy about A1E pricing, which I took to mean that it’s not going to be anything close to affordable for most of us. They didn’t provide an image either. Bummer. But if you’re in a box store after it ships, you owe it to yourself to take a look. It’s an awesome implementation of some very cool technologies and a vast improvement in OLED picture quality.

Sony also showed up its new E series TVs, which include both full-array direct backlighting–last year’s Slim Backlight Drive–and the new Slim Backlight Drive+ side-lighting. This isn’t your parents side-lighting, and it works remarkably well. There is a noticeable improvement in quality from the low-end 800E to the high-end 930E and 940E models that manifests itself in terms brightness, contrast, color acuity, and fewer motion artifacts.

That’s partly the different backlighting approaches and partly the processing I mentioned earlier in my comments about the A1E. Only the 940E will have the X1 Extreme, while the others will make do with the older X1. I was impressed with the overall improvement, which is perhaps almost as great as with the D series over the C series, but mostly with the smoothness of action sequences delivered by the X1 Extreme. I can’t wait for a shootout with the latest Samsung SUHDs. These TVs start at $1000 for the 42.5-inch XBR-43X800E and top out at $7500 for the 74.5-inch XBR-75X940E. All are in competition for best in their price range.

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Not quite Sony’s top-of-the-line LED/LCD TV (that’s the X940E), the XBR-X930E still delivers an outstanding picture, and motion was as smooth as any we’ve seen.

Sony also showed off its new line of Extra Bass SRS Bluetooth portable speakers, A/B-ing them against those from one of their most-popular competitors. Sound quality is a matter of taste, but with that caveat, I will say I generally preferred the Sony’s less aggressive lower mid-range, which tends to allow greater discernment of detail and induces less ear fatigue. That said, these speakers are tuned for EDM and parties, not classical music in the living room.

The Extra Bass speakers range from the $60 for the small SRS-XB10 to $250 for the SRS-XB40 $250. All can be doubled for use as true stereo pairs, and the SRS-XB40 can even be linked with up to 9 other units to cover the sound needs of your next rave. Additionally, the amount of LED lighting effects increases over the range of the speakers, from none in the SRS-XB10 to Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the SDS-XB40. Glitz, glitz, glitz. All have outstanding battery life, which we’ll get into in the reviews.

Also on display was the new HTMT300 soundbar and subwoofer. It sounded, well, quite nice with the familiar Sony taste in EQ. We don’t currently have a price, but it’s a worthy competitor.

Coming in at $299, the new UBP-X800 Sony Ultra HD Blu-ray player is impressively responsive, delivers a very nice picture, and will also process HDR (High Dynamic Range) content for maximum effect on SDR (Standard Dynamic Range; aka everything else) TVs. The effect was noticeable, with greater detail in dark and light areas, though I saw a limited amount of content.

The UBP-X800 chassis is quite heavy, which might not be good in a cell phone, but is generally considered a good thing for isolating vibration when playing any type of disc. Audio and videophiles generally appreciate heft in equipment; especially here in earthquake country (or is that Oklahoma now?). The other news is that unlike some of last year’s players, the Sony is firmware upgradeable to support Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision made a big splash at CES this year, with a host of new vendors climbing onboard.

Sony also showed me its new VPL-VZ1000ES short-throw laser projector, which is similar to, but stunningly–half the price of the company’s top-of-the-line VPL-GTZ1 predecessor. Though capable of displaying “only” a 120-inch image, the quality of said image is quite remarkable even in a lighted room (though darker helps, as in all cases).

Alas, I teased a bit with the price drop as the VPL-VZ1000ES is still $25,000. But that includes a host of design improvements such as leveling feet, better airflow, side-mounted connections (with two HDMI on the back), and a blessing for installers–a modest amount of range adjustment.

None of these products are going to do the Sony brand name any harm. The Bluetooth speakers and sound bar are as good as anything out there; the Ultra UD Blu-ray player will win the hearts of many consumers, especially those “stuck” with SDR LCD TVs; and the short-throw projector is a revelation if you haven’t seen one of its breed.

Last but not least, the fantastic A1E OLED has put Sony back in the discussion for best TV manufacturer. It’s cool, it really is. I just have one question: Does Sony know that “X” without a small “e” in front of it is indicative of eXperimental?

US chipmaker plans new factory in China

GlobalFoundries will open a new factory to make cheap wireless chips in Chengdu, China, next year.globalfoundries fab 8 cleanroom

The chipmaker, once part of microprocessor designer AMD, also plans to expand production at existing fabrication plants in the U.S., Germany, and Singapore, it said Friday. It makes chips for AMD, IBM, Qualcomm, and Mediatek, among others.

Beginning next year, the new fab in China, a joint venture with the municipality of Chengdu, will produce chips on 300-millimeter wafers using standard manufacturing techniques, the company said.

Sometime in 2019, it will switch to a different manufacturing process, FD-SOI (fully depleted silicon on insulator), which GlobalFoundries calls 22FDX. That process is particularly suitable for the low-cost manufacture of the radio-frequency chips used in smartphones, cars, and the internet of things, the company said.

GlobalFoundries already uses 22FDX at its Fab 1 plant in Dresden, Germany, where it plans to increase capacity by 40 percent over the next three years.

Engineers in Dresden are already working on 12FDX, the successor to 22FDX, so-called because it will produce chips with a 12-nanometer feature size rather than the 22 nm of the existing process. Smaller features typically result in smaller chips with lower power consumption, or higher performance for the same consumption, although the use of more advanced production technologies can increase costs.

GlobalFoundries wants to use 12FDX to manufacture chips for the next generation of mobile phone networks, 5G.

In Singapore, the company will speed up lines using older chip technologies, upping production of 40 nm chips by 35 percent. It will also boost output of 180 nm chips on the older 200-mm wafers that were common before 300 mm became the norm.

GlobalFoundries was keen to emphasize that is investing in the U.S., too. It has plowed US$13 billion into its business there over the last eight years, creating 9,000 jobs at four locations around the country, it said Monday.

Since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump last November, U.S. businesses have found it expedient to promote their investment in U.S. jobs.

Just this week, Intel dusted off a six-year-old pledge to build a new factory in Arizona following a meeting between Trump and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

GlobalFoundries is not done investing in the U.S. yet. Early next year, it will increase production of 14 nm FinFET chips by 20 percent at its Fab 8 plant in New York, it said. FinFET (fin field-effect transistor) chips have a three-dimensional structure particularly suited to microprocessors. The company is also developing more advanced manufacturing techniques in New York and expects to begin making chips using a 7 nm process there by the middle of next year.

Intel pursues Moore’s Law with plan to make first 7-nm chips this year

Intel’s next big Moore’s Law advance will be a 7-nm pilot plant it is establishing this year to explore the upcoming manufacturing process.Intel fab worker

The chipmaker announced it was establishing the pilot plant during an earnings call on Thursday.

For decades, Moore’s Law has been the guiding light for Intel to make teenier, faster, and more power-efficient chips. The effort has helped PC makers continuously shrink laptops and mobile devices while adding longer battery life.

Intel is trying to hang onto the long-standing observation as a way to push its chip technology forward. However, some experts argue Moore’s Law is expiring as it becomes physically impossible to cram more features on smaller chips.

The pilot plant will test and iron out kinks in manufacturing 7-nm chips. Intel hasn’t said when it’ll start shipping 7-nm chips in volume, but it won’t be in the next two to three years.

“The pilot line is about figuring out how to make billions of chips,” said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

The pilot plant has limited production, but it sets the stage for Intel to invest billions in larger factories to make smaller 7-nm chips.

“Once they have the process locked down, it’s replicated in the other plants,” McCarron said.

Intel’s latest chips, based on Kaby Lake, are made using the 14-nanometer process, and the company is now moving to 10-nm with its upcoming Cannonlake chip, which was shown in a PC at CES earlier this month. The 7-nm chips will come after the 10-nm process.

Cannonlake chips will ship in small volumes by year-end, and their availability will expand next year, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said during the earnings call.

Moore’s Law has also helped Intel roll out new chips on a yearly basis like clockwork. Intel first interpreted Moore’s Law as a way to double the number of transistors in chips every 18 to 24 months, which doubles performance.

But that interpretation didn’t work on the 14-nm process, where it became a challenge to cram more transistors in smaller geometries. Intel dealt with embarrassing product delays and had to move away from its decades-old schedule of advancing the manufacturing process every two years.

Intel also broke away from its history of making two new chip technologies with each manufacturing cycle. It made three new chip technologies — Broadwell, Skylake, and Kaby Lake — with the 14-nm process.

The chipmaker now isn’t worried about doubling the transistor count with every new chip generation. Instead, Intel is now interpreting Moore’s Law more in line with the economics related to cost-per-transistor, which would drop with scaling. That’s an important part of Moore’s Law.

Intel last year said it was trying to get back to a two-year manufacturing cycle with the 7-nm process, but with smarter chip designs.

The 7-nm process could bring radical design changes to chips, which will be much smaller and power efficient. Intel’s planning on using exotic III-V materials like gallium-nitride for faster chips that could bring laptops longer battery life.

Intel is looking at the 7-nm process to alleviate some of the challenges it faces on the 14-nm and 10-nm processors. The company has hinted it would introduce EUV (extreme ultraviolet) tools in the manufacturing process. EUV will help etch finer features on chips, but its implementation has been delayed multiple times.

The pilot factory will help validate all those features, and then allow Intel to order equipment for the new factories, McCarron said.

Competitors like Globalfoundries and Samsung are getting a head-start on the 7-nm process. Globalfoundries has said it will start making 7-nm chips by 2018, and ARM has released tools for the design of 7-nm chips. It’s not clear if Globalfoundries will do 7-nm test runs or start making chips in large volumes.

Samsung and Globalfoundries have just started making 10-nm chips like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, which will appear in smartphones soon.

Globalfoundries is a close partner with IBM, which produced the first 7-nm chips last year.

Dropbox’s new collaboration and smart file-syncing features promise to boost your productivity

Dropbox kicked off its 2017 product launches with a pair of major announcements Monday aimed at improving users’ productivity at work. The cloud storage company announced the general availability of its Paper document collaboration service, along with the closed beta of a Smart Sync feature that gives users easy access to every file shared with them in Dropbox.Dropbox

Paper, first announced in 2015, gives users a shared workspace to work with one another on documents. It’s designed to be the product people use for collaborative tasks like brainstorming and taking meeting notes.

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A screenshot shows how Smart Sync looks in the MacOS Finder.

Smart Sync is the official name for a feature that Dropbox unveiled last year as Project Infinite. The idea behind it is simple: users store more files in Dropbox than they want to sync to each individual computer they work with.

Rather than requiring them to use the storage service’s web interface, Smart Sync shows users placeholder versions of those files in the MacOS Finder or Windows Explorer. When a user goes to open a file that’s not stored locally, it’s downloaded from Dropbox’s servers.

Monday’s announcements are part of Dropbox’s overall push to make its product more useful and appealing to business users, as it competes in the crowded cloud storage market.

Rob Baesman, the head of product at Dropbox, said in an interview that the company thinks people will reach for Paper as a tool to help collate information from different sources and kick-start their process of working on an idea.

“We see Paper really being this place to allow teams to collaborate across all their information,” he said in an interview. “When we look at the challenges many of our customers are facing, we see so much information fragmentation and it being difficult [for them] to not only locate but collaborate across all these different sources.”

Baesman said that Paper isn’t meant to replace a traditional productivity suite like Microsoft Office or Google Drive. Instead, he sees it as a starting point for a “lifecycle of ideas” that includes other applications.

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A screenshot shows enhancement to Dropbox Paper’s task management functionality, including support for assigning tasks and due dates.

To that end, Dropbox launched new task management functionality in Paper that makes it easy for users to assign people to tasks and set due dates for them, all within a Paper document.

Dropbox isn’t the only storage company pushing a live document collaboration service to its users. Last week, Box unveiled a new standalone version of Notes, which offers much of the same functionality Paper does.

What’s still largely untested is whether the vision of a collaboration product like Paper will actually prove commercially successful. It may be challenging for these companies to unseat traditional productivity systems. However, Dropbox says it already has several customers who began relying on the service while it was in beta, like InVision, Shopify and Getaround.

Right now, Smart Sync is only available to Dropbox Business customers through the company’s Early Adopter Program. It makes sense for Business users, since they’re likely to share files with other people inside an organization that don’t require constant access.

The new feature dovetails well with Dropbox Business’s existing Team Folders functionality, which lets administrators set up shared folders that multiple people have access to. Syncing a massive team folder down to each user’s computer would take a lot of hard drive space, and Smart Sync means that people can easily see files without all of the storage space concerns.

While it’s a useful feature, Smart Sync is not without controversy. In order to provide that functionality on the Mac, Dropbox needs to use a kernel extension that could potentially cause performance or security issues. The company argues that it has battle-tested Smart Sync internally, and it shouldn’t cause problems.

IT managers, however, will be able to control whether or not their organizations opt in to Smart Sync.

“So, if for whatever reason, in your business, you’re not sure about that level of functionality, you can turn it off,” Baesman said. “And, no problem, Dropbox will continue to work the way it always had, without Smart Sync.”

At launch, Smart Sync will be available for users running MacOS 10.9 and Windows 7. Baesman refused to provide a technical explanation for why the feature was being kept to only business users at this point. He did say that Dropbox is evaluating what to do about bringing Smart Sync to consumers, but that the company isn’t announcing anything about its plans at this point

Lost your password? Facebook thinks it can handle it for you

Forgot your password? Well, Facebook wants to help you recover your internet account.Facebook

The company is releasing an open source protocol that will let third-party sites recover user accounts through Facebook.

Typically, when people forget their password to a site, they’re forced to answer a security question or send a password reset request to their email. But these methods of account recovery can be vulnerable to hacking, said Facebook security engineer Brad Hill.

He recalled a time when he was granted permission to break into an online bank account. To do so, he took advantage of the password reset questions.

“It asked me what my favorite color was, and it let me guess as many times as I wanted,” he said Monday, during a presentation at the USENIX Enigma 2017 security conference.

Most other account recovery methods rely on sending a message to a user’s email address. But many people fail to properly secure their email accounts with strong passwords or two-factor authentication — and if there’s ever a breach, a hacker can reset passwords to the user’s other third-party accounts, Hill said.

Facebook is proposing it become another option for account recovery.

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Essentially, users would be able to link their Facebook account to a third-party site, and if password recovery is ever needed, they could do so through the social networking site, Hill said.

Facebook’s protocol works in the web browser over HTTPS and requires no plugins. GitHub, an online repository for open source projects, is the first to adopt it. On Tuesday, it’ll start using Facebook, as part of a two-factor method, to recover accounts on the site.

The thought of centralizing all password recovery with Facebook might alarm some people. But Hill stressed that the protocol isn’t exclusive to the social networking service.

“I hope you do trust Facebook, but first of all, we’re opening up this protocol,” Hill said. “You’ll be able to choose the accounts you trust, not just Facebook, to do secure recovery.”

The hope is to create a “diverse ecosystem,” where any site can rely on multiple trusted sources for account recovery, Hill said.

He compared the protocol to OAuth, an open standard that lets third-party applications access services like a user’s account, without the risk of handling sensitive password information.

Facebook is hoping to attract other early adopters. The company has released the protocol on GitHub.

Uber, Amazon, Tesla ramped up US lobbying in 2016

Many major tech companies spent less money lobbying in Washington in 2016, but a handful, including Uber and Amazon, invested significantly more in attempting to influence politicians and the regulatory process.p1170299 6

The money, which totals tens of millions of dollars, is spent on workers and companies that monitor bills and schmooze with politicians and their staffs in the hopes of shaping laws in favor of their clients.

Uber, which is regularly in conflict with regulators, spent $1.4 million on issues as varied as autonomous cars, access to military bases for its cars and transportation regulations. That’s almost three times the $470,000 it spent in 2015, according to regulatory filings.

Both Tesla and Dropbox increased spending by more than seven times to $160,000 and $725,000, respectively, as they expanded lobbying efforts that began in 2015.

The biggest Internet spender was Google, which poured $15.4 million into the hands of lobbyists, down 7 percent from 2015. Google’s lobbying efforts are so big partly because the company has interests in so many areas, and also because it’s rich.

Facebook spent $8.7 million, down 12 percent; Microsoft also spent $8.7 million, up 3 percent; and Apple spent $4.7 million, up 4 percent.

Amazon increased its spend by 21 percent to $11 million, joining a handful of companies that pour eight-figure sums into Washington, D.C. Others in that club included AT&T at $16.4 million, Comcast at $14.3 million, the National Cable Television Association at $13.4 million, mobile industry group CTIA at $11 million and Verizon at $10 million.

The drops in spending in 2016 come after several years of increases. Congress tends to shy away from taking much action in election years, and 2016 marked the end of the Obama years and transition to the Trump administration. In recent weeks, several tech companies have launched new lobbying efforts as the legislative outlook for the next few years becomes clearer.

Some companies have been able to take their pressure directly to President Trump, who hosted a high-profile meeting with tech CEOs in January and promised to make them regular events.

Two prominent tech names, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, have forged closer links to Trump. That could be handy for Musk, who spent $1.9 million at his other company, Space X, which has much to gain from lucrative government and military launch contracts.

US tech industry says immigration order affects their operations

The U.S. tech industry has warned that a temporary entry suspension on certain foreign nationals introduced on Friday by the administration of President Donald Trump will impact these companies’ operations that are dependent on foreign workers.Trump inauguration

The Internet Association, which has a number of tech companies including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft as its members, said that Trump’s executive order limiting immigration and movement into the U.S. has troubling implications as its member companies and firms in many other industries include legal immigrant employees who are covered by the orders and will not be able to return back to their jobs and families in the U.S.

“Their work benefits our economy and creates jobs here in the United States,” said Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman in a statement over the weekend.

Executives of a number of tech companies like Twitter, Microsoft and Netflix have expressed concern about the executive order signed by Trump, which suspended for 90 days entry into the U.S. of persons from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – as immigrants and non-immigrants. The Trump administration has described the order as a move to prevent foreign terrorist entry into the U.S.

Tech companies like Uber, Apple, Microsoft and Google are in touch with employees affected by the order, according to reports. Uber is working on a scheme to compensate some of its drivers who come from the listed countries and had taken long breaks to see their extended families and are now unable to come back to the U.S., wrote CEO Travis Kalanick, who is a member of Trump’s business advisory group.

“As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world,” wrote Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, in an online post over the weekend. “We will continue to advocate on this important topic.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a Facebook post that “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all.”

The tech industry is also concerned about further moves by the government on immigration policy that could place restrictions on visas for the entry of people who help these companies run their operations and develop products and services. The H-1B visa program have been criticized for replacing U.S. workers.

Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a note to employees on Saturday that the company believes in “a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system.”

This week in games: Morrowind comes to Elder Scrolls Online, Lego invades Arma 3, and more

February already, eh?

This week we’ve got a bunch of successful Kickstarter campaigns, the first Stellaris expansion, Lego modded into Arma 3, the impending death of Denuvo, and Elder Scrolls Online pulling out the nuclear option: A Morrowindexpansion.Operation Blockhead - Arma 3

It’s gaming news for January 30 through February 3.

Need something to play this weekend? You’ve got a few free trial options.

First up is Rainbow Six Siege, one of our favorites of 2015 and beyond, which is free-to-try through Steam from now until February 5. The game is also selling for 50 percent off if you want more permanent access.

And on the not-so-finished side of things, there’s Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. The game releases in April, but it’s hosting an open beta this weekend. Expect two singleplayer missions, as detailed in the trailer below. You can sign up here.

Following our usual tradition, I was going to take this space to write about the Sunless Sky Kickstarter campaign. “Hey, Sunless Sea was great! Get out there and fund a sequel if you want it!”

But like Pillars of Eternity II last week, there’s nothing to even write about. Sunless Sky already hit its goal—four hours after the Kickstarter launched. Give me one or two more successful crowdfunding campaigns and I swear it’ll feel like we’re back in 2013 again. Anyway, the Kickstarter’s still running for another 28 days if you’d like to chip in.

Not a week goes by where I don’t wish for more Sea of Thieves footage. Like this week. Here’s eight minutes of in-game footage, including some stellar accordion playing:

Up until this week, I thought the worst part about Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was that it ended on an out-of-nowhere cliffhanger—purportedly because the game (and its story) was split in half late in development.

Maybe that’s still true. Last we heard, Mankind Divided’s follow-up went into production at Eidos in 2015. But there’s a new rumor flying around this week, from the usually reliable Eurogamer, that Eidos is focused primarily on Tomb Raider and Guardians of the Galaxy, with another small team devoted to The Avengers. And Deus Ex? Reportedly on the back burner.

It might be a looooong time before we see a resolution to that cliffhanger.

Well, Bethesda finally got desperate enough and did the one thing it knew might get skeptics to play Elder Scrolls Online: Announced a Morrowindexpansion. Fine Bethesda. You win. I’ll play your stupid MMO.

Stellaris has released a dozen or so tidbits of content since launch, but Paradox is now gearing up for the game’s first “major” expansion, Utopia. Dyson spheres, ringworlds, and a whole new evolution subsystem seem like good reasons to jump back in. Especially the Dyson spheres.

It’s just a teaser for now, but I expect we’ll hear more out of GDC later this month.

The DRM arms race continues. Time was, Denuvo’s anti-piracy software seemed uncrackable. Long-time members of the scene sort of gave up, with cracks often taking months to appear on torrent sites (if they appeared at all).

That seems to be changing though. Last week Resident Evil 7 was cracked within five days of launch—the shortest period yet. If this keeps up, expect to see Denuvo used in fewer games over the next year or so, and inevitably replaced by something else.

For Honor launches in a little over a week, so if you guessed “It’s time for a Season Pass trailer” on this week’s betting sheet, good news. Six new heroes and six new maps are on the way, post-launch. Also mentioned in this trailer: Ranked and tournament play.

Conspicuously not mentioned: Dedicated servers. Yes, this game that relies on split-second timing is still using P2P connections. Ugh.

In other news, if you want a crack at For Honor’s open beta a.k.a. “marketing demo” it will be available February 9.

The Oculus/ZeniMax lawsuit wrapped up this week. You can read about the fallout here, but in short: Oculus was cleared of most charges, but will pay ZeniMax $500 million for violating an NDA. Both companies issued statements afterward, so expect further appeals, injunctions, and yada yada yada.

But one of the most bizarre aspects came in the middle of ZeniMax’s statement, wherein it said John Carmack—maybe one of the smartest engineers on the planet—“intentionally destroyed data on his computer after he got notice of this litigation and right after he researched on Google how to wipe a hard drive.” [Emphasis mine]

If you just laughed out loud, well, so did a lot of people who saw that accusation on Wednesday. Whether because of the laughter or some other factor, Carmack took to Facebook soon after ZeniMax’s statement to unofficially officially comment on the trial. “I never tried to hide or wipe any evidence, and all of my data is accounted for, contrary to some stories being spread. Being sued sucks,” he wrote.

What an ugly lawsuit.Funcom’s Conan-themed survival game launched this week—a fact you might be aware of because of the buzz around the game’s rather silly genital-size sliders (NSFW). Or you might’ve heard that the servers are a bit of a mess and that the game is a bit “generic survival game” at the moment.

Either way, Funcom’s admittedly got grand ambitions. We’ll see if this one becomes an Early Access success story.

Posted this week, “Operation Blockhead” adds your favorite blocky soldiers into the game and it looks fantastically stupid. If Lego ever gets tired of churning out licensed games and making millions of dollars, this is absolutely the direction it should go:

Operation Blockhead - Arma 3

Intel’s Optane faces threat as Micron chases future QuantX tech

Intel made waves at CES in January with Optane, a new class of memory and storage that will supercharge PCs and servers.QuantX chips

But don’t forget that Optane has competition. Memory company Micron is coming out with memory and storage based on the same underlying 3D Xpoint technology.

Intel and Micron jointly developed the first-generation 3D Xpoint technology, which was announced in 2015. The fruitful partnership is now turning into a healthy rivalry.

While Intel ships its first low-capacity Optanes for PCs, Micron is already researching the second- and third-generations of 3D Xpoint technology. Micron’s 3D Xpoint products are called QuantX.

The companies believe 3D Xpoint products could ultimately replace conventional SSDs and DRAM in PCs and servers.

Intel has said Optane SSDs are 10 times faster than conventional SSDs. The companies say the new technology is significantly denser than DRAM.

The first low-capacity Optane storage should appear in PCs in the second quarter of this year. It will be used as cache to allow PCs to boot faster and load applications and games more quickly.

Micron has moved a bit slower and expects to ship its first QuantX products in small quantities by the end of the year, the company said during an earnings call in late January.

Micron has a different strategy than Intel for the development of QuantX. Instead of PCs, it will target high-capacity QuantX SSDs and DRAM at servers and high-end systems.

In the next-generation QuantX products, Micron wants to tack on more storage capacity and reduce latency, Scott DeBoer, vice president of Micron, said during an analyst meeting Scottsdale, Arizona, this week.

“This a real exciting technology for the future,” DeBoer said.

There is significant interest in using both Optane and QuantX in data centers for applications like machine learning. The dual-threat ability for the technologies to be used as both memory and storage makes them handy for caching and hot and cold storage.

Micron won’t offer the QuantX drives directly but will make it available through companies making storage products.

Angular JS Training Course For Real World Projects

What is Angular JS?

Angular JS is one of the forms of JavaScript language. This language is taken as a component of MEAN. Various training programs are available for this language. The most wanted training is the basics of Angular JS.

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What the course is about?

This course is a complete course to learn about Angular JS to build the real world projects. The angular JS is an open source full-stack JavaScript development tool. The candidates will learn to produce the cross-platform coding. This course is very simple and easy to learn by the participants.

The candidates of this angular js training classes will learn how to use the angular framework to build the web solutions. Candidates will be able to build the apps which work on both the mobile and web using the single code base. The candidates will be able to understand the MEAN stack technologies. Also, the candidates will learn about the core concepts of the JavaScript language based framework

This course provides the candidates the fundamentals of the Angular JS. This course provides the participants entire knowledge about how to build and run the applications builds with Angular JS. The learners will learn about the open source JavaScript framework. The candidates will gain the entire knowledge about the Angular JS platform.

The participants will also learn how to interact with the servers and the party libraries of the Angular JS 2.0. In this course, participants will learn about the views, the controllers and the built-in directions. Also, the participants will learn about the filters and how to create custom filters. The topics covered in this training are the service types, directives, directive communication channels, routing and promises and advanced scope.

Who can take this course?

This course is taken by the persons those who are interested in Angular JS and by the following professionals

  • Website developer
  • Professionals those who want to do the certification in angular Js
  • Students
  • Web designers
  • Application developers
  • Technical leads
  • JavaScript professionals
  • Web application developers
  • MEAN stack developers
  • Angular JS developers
  • Technical leads and architects
  • Quality and testing professionals
  • Junior and Senior front-end developers

What are the objectives of this course?

  • Understand the Client side MVC, SPA and Typescript
  • Explore the Angular JS features such as the components, services and DI
  • Learn about the XHR communication, and REST API communication
  • Learn about the concepts like internationalization, localization and external libraries like the jQuery, Bootstrap, Material and Multi-device and Cross-platform applications
  • The candidates are able to work on the real-life projects which involve the implementation of electronic system to learn create, read, update and delete concepts and derive business insights
  • The candidates are able to understand and apply various application design development and testing practices and techniques

What are the prerequisites?

The pre-requisites for this angular js training classes in Sydney includes,

  • Basic knowledge of JavaScript
  • Basic knowledge of Typescript
  • And Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS