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Gigabyte gaming line-up expanded with Auros X7DT and X5S v5 powerhouses

During this year’s Computex show in Taipei we got to spend some time checking out Gigabyte’s latest gaming laptops: the Aorus series. And what we were treated to were a mixture of already impressive machines and exciting in-the-pipeline news.

We kick off with the virtual reality-ready Auros X7DT, essentially the laptop equivalent of an Nvidia 980 desktop build – a slim one at that. Its thickest point is a smidge over 2.5cm.

That helps it achieve a comfortable form factor when used as a backpack VR PC – something of a trend at this year’s show. You can get an impressively low key but practical harness which allows the laptop to stay ventilated while you play.

The X7DT weighs in at just 3.2kg, making it lighter than other devices that we saw in this format over the show, which were around the 5kg mark. It’s an elegant solution and surprisingly strong with elasticated corners and a simple velcroed cross-strap to hold it securely in place.


Gigabyte Auros X7DT

Those familiar with the Aorus series won’t be surprised to see excellent ventilation on the X7 itself and some trademark design features. The series is good-looking as a whole with an anodised aluminium chassis in a matte black finish and a light-up logo on the lid.

We’ve always liked the kooky form factor of the Aorus series, the outsized vents call for some balance on the lid which they achieve by making a slightly peaked cover.

The screen has a 17.3-inch Full HD IPS (1920 x 1080) display and it supports Nvidia’s G-sync. We’re talking Intel Core i7 – 6820HK – for the CPU and 8GB on the GPU. There are three solid state drives plus one HDD. You can push the RAM up from the installed 16GB to 64 GB if you so desire.

If you’re looking to combine powerful mobility with VR-ready gaming prowess then the X7DT is certainly worth considering, although it will set you back a pretty penny at around £2,700.

Gigabyte was also showing its new RGB keyboard at Computex. It comes with a plethora of options and LED colours – 16.8 million of them, to be exact.

Each and every key is programmable and you can set up different audio and colour profiles on a game-by-game basis.


Gigabyte Auros X5S v5

The keyboard will be found on the 15-inch Auros X5S v5 which has seen some changes from the previous generation. It now has a new 3K panel and features 5 milisecond refresh rates (up from 20 milliseconds).

There are some design changes too with redesigned ventilation providing more vents just below the screen and a matte trackpad replacing the fingerprint-gathering glass on earlier versions.

The Gigabyte Auros X5S v5 sports the GTX 980M GPU and Intel Core i7 – 6700HQ. The whole device weighs just 2.5kg, which is perfectly acceptable for a gaming laptop and is a shade under 233mm thick.


Samsung Galaxy S7 Active official: 4000mAh battery and shatter-resistant screen

Samsung has just dropped a new Galaxy S7 smartphone variant and it could have done it literally, this thing is tough.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is, like the S6 Active before it, a tough version of Samsung’s flagship smartphone. But unlike many tough phones this handset packs some serious specs too.

On the tough side of things this handset packs plenty of punch. The screen is protected by a shatter resistant glass that should be able to withstand a drop or two. The rest of the handset is encased in a protective rubberised shell that will also help to absorb the impact of knocks and drops. All that and, like the standard S7, it’s water-resistant too.

The display is a 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED screen. Powering the handset is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. In a first for a Galaxy toughphone there’s also a fingerprint reader on the handset. In the rear is a 12-megapixel camera while the front features a 5-megapixel selfie snapper.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active will be an AT&T exclusive and is available from 10 June for around $26.50 per month on a standard Next plan, or $33.13 on a Next Every Year plan.

READ: Samsung Galaxy S7 review: The unsung hero?


Skip the pocket-poking key clutter with S-Key Organizer and 16GB USB Key Drive

The bulkiness of old school keychains is a relic of an era when form and function didn’t cooperate, but technology has made great strides since those original-design days – and it’s time to bring your most frequently-used necessities up to date.

Ditch the poking annoyance of a pocketful of keys with S-Key Organizer and 16GB USB Key Drive, allowing you to store up to 8 keys in a stylish and gorgeously compact leather clip.

With a built-in 16GB key-shaped hard drive to top it off, your S-Key is the modern upgrade your pockets have been waiting for – and the resourcefulness you’ve been missing. Sure, your wardrobe may even thank you, now that your keys are snugly organized and won’t be tearing at the fabric of your pants. For a limited time, you can pick it up at 22 per cent off on Pocket-lint Deals.

The S-Key’s flexible functionality is half its charm. Add additional keys or gate remotes with the included outer attachment clip, and organize your essentials like a space-saving master. The USB drive covers your modern necessities, with a quick 16GB on hand for easy file transfers and backup, no matter where you may be in the world. Add the simple and sleek design style, and you’ve got a gorgeous key loop with class.

Upgrade and keep it simple with the S-Key Organizer and 16GB USB Key Drive, now £26.01 ($38) with free U.S. shipping on Pocket-lint Deals.


Master Corel Painter 2016 with this 5-course super bundle

Corel Painter 2016 offers a powerful digital art studio for artists, designers, and more — and here’s your chance to maximize the potential of this potent app.

Charge ahead with The Corel Painter 2016 Super Bundle, which offers Corel Painter bundled with a dozen hours of instruction to sharpen your skills. For a limited time, it’s offered at a 55 per cent discount on Pocket-lint Deals.

Corel Painter 2016 offers the most lifelike digital depictions of oil paints, pastels, charcoal, watercolors and other artistic media, using Natural-Media to perfectly emulate real life and richly imaginative art materials. 131 brand-new brushes offer a range of new painting options, including Audio Expression – where brushes react to sound so that the music you’re listening to can modify the size, angle and color variations of certain brushes.

Across 5 enlightening courses you’ll learn the ropes of these materials, as well as several core creative techniques, establishing fundamentals while learning to create your own superhero, painting landscapes, portraits and more. Learn to create visually stunning digital paintings and customize your workspace with new tutorials, and expertly manipulate a new canvas to the unlimited whims of your imagination.

Your Corel Painter 2016 Super Bundle includes:

  • Corel Painter 2016
  • Illustrate Your Own Superhero Using Corel Painter
  • Paint Your First Digital Landscape Using Corel Painter
  • Paint Your First Photo Using Corel Painter
  • Corel Painter Digital Art Fundamentals
  • Learn to Become a Digital Artist Using Corel Painter

Get started down the path to design mastery. Take 55 per cent off the retail price today on Pocket-lint Deals.


Sophisticated hack attack? Don’t believe the hype.

You wouldn’t believe how sophisticated hacking has become in the past few years.

It has, in fact, gotten so mind-blowingly complex and erudite that this word, sophisticated, is now the only one human beings can really use to describe any single act of computer-security violation.

Actually, no. The word, at best, has almost always been used to cover up egregious screwups of breached companies, and shoddy reporting. Or, when at a loss to understand even the most mundane of hacks. Even high-minded publications step into infosec’s linguistic dung heap and track the word throughout their pieces on whatever latest rehashed cyber-bomb hysteria-of-the-week they’re pushing.

Just recently, the New York Times delivered a missive with no less than three instances of “sophisticated” buried within. This article was based on a report with seven repeat appearances of security’s single-most abused adjective. In what’s now a tradition, the word was misapplied to some stuff that’s considered pretty basic by security professionals, and didn’t escape ridicule on cybersec’s watercooler hangout spot, Twitter.

There is no barrier to developing malware. Even ISIS managed to produce custom malware for a targeted attack!

— the grugq (@thegrugq) June 1, 2016

Article about commercial spywayre always try to spin it as something with huge barriers to entry. It’s very wrong, they are almost none.

— The mach monster (@osxreverser) May 30, 2016

The truth is, use of the word “sophisticated” in describing hacks and attacks to the public has been anything but. It’s hard to pinpoint when, exactly, the word “sophisticated” became the choice for cybersecurity bullshitters everywhere.

Remember last year’s “most sophisticated ever” attack on the Pentagon? It was, once again, the attack technique prized by Nigerian scammers, the spear-phishing email. Or the series of “highly sophisticated” attacks on Florida Department of Education servers that turned out to just be a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), an external onslaught of traffic that’s simple as pie and purportedly cheap to obtain as a service. Carphone Warehouse also said its 2.4 million customers were victims of a “sophisticated attack” on the company, which turned out to be just an old, basic technique of distracting security with a DDoS while the attackers broke in.

The @CPWTweets hack FAQ is stunning! “This attack was a sophisticated one and is part of the reality of the modern world” .. erm, nope.

— Glenn Pegden (@GlennPegden) August 10, 2015

The tipping point was probably last year, when TalkTalk boss Dido Harding told Sky News the company had been hacked in a “sophisticated and coordinated cyber attack.”

@anthonymusk she says she doesn’t want to discuss the specifics of hack, as matter of investigation. but “highly sophisticated”

— Graham Cluley (@gcluley) December 15, 2015

We then learned the attack was actually so simple a 15-year-old could do it. In fact, a 15-year-old did do it. A teen from Ireland found few barriers in gaining access to TalkTalk servers and personal details of over 160,000 customers.

So the sustained and sophisticated hack of TalkTalk was a kid in Antrim?

— Paul Watson (@paulmwatson) October 30, 2015

If the TalkTalk hack was from a SQL injection..that’s not a sophisticated attack, that’s blatant negligence from the company

— John Oakley (@jonokli) October 24, 2015

But there the word stood, conspicuously naked and unashamed in its use to misdirect attention and deflect ire.

Or maybe we reached peak I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-bullshit with the OPM hack. It was at first characterized by US officials as sophisticated, but later exposed by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology as being the result of bad management and dated tech. “In terms of advanced persistent threats, the OPM breach was not a sophisticated attack” (emphasis mine).

Er, maybe it was the Anthem hack. Our nation’s second-largest health insurer told press that hackers launched a “sophisticated attack” that broke through its security layers. This held water until some of the Anthem customers harmed in the breach filed a lawsuit last year, saying the company didn’t train employees on the basics of not getting suckered by phishing emails.

Waiting the day UK News outlets don’t report a security breach as “a sophisticated hack” & just “incompetent corporation left data exposed”

— Signius (@SigniusNetworks) August 9, 2015

Look, I can see that use of this word reached stupid epidemic proportions in infosec descriptors long ago. But words are important. In security reporting, they have become so powerful that they make their way into, and shape policy. So I could laugh it off as common self-fluffery or PR dumbfuckery, but I’m in a privileged position of happening to know a lot about this stuff.

A lot people don’t. So the people we’re all supposed to be serving, or our customers or constituents are all being done a disservice when you try to pull the wool over their eyes by saying something’s more complex than it really is. When a phishing email is the difference between safety and life-ruining identity theft, all you need to do is say what the damn attack vector is. But, instead, you decided to pretend it was above everyone’s heads.

.@thegrugq cynicalsecurity’s lemma:

“If the tool used has been around for longer than you’ve been without nappies it is not sophisticated”

— Arrigo Triulzi (@cynicalsecurity) November 7, 2015

Maybe I’m being too harsh. I mean, we all long for a certain sophistication in life, so who am I to deny those who just want things to look cooler, smarter, more alluringly clandestine and complicated than they really are?

I can still offer a respite for those of us seeking a little less fertilizer in our infosec news.

Try my helpful tip for filtering out BS cybersecurity articles. Before you start reading, type command F, enter the word “sophisticated,” view the results, and if there’s more than zero, click it away stat, off into the dung heap of your browser’s past.


Sprint poached Verizon’s ‘Can you hear me now?’ guy

Geico has a Gecko, Progressive has Flo and Verizon… doesn’t have the “can you hear me now?” guy any more. That’s because actor Paul Marcarelli has been signed up by Sprint to be the new face of its brand, while mugging off his former employer. In the first of a series of commercials, the former Verizon guys says that his oft-repeated question is now irrelevant because “it’s 2016 and every network is great.” Sprint is using him to push the idea that its coverage is just one percent behind Big Red, so people shouldn’t have to worry about coverage issues.

It’s a big deal for Sprint, which is celebrating its coup with a fresh round of publicity and plenty of tweeting from CEO Marcelo Claure. It is, after all, a rare ray of sunshine for a company that has suffered the most over the last few years. A revitalized T-Mobile stole the firm’s third-place position in the US mobile world, and (parent company) Softbank refused to bankroll further success. Claure was given instructions last year to slash $2 billion from the firm’s budget. It’s led to a war of words with T-Mobile, with Claure famously calling the third-placed company’s Uncarrier marketing as “bullshit.”

1/7 Good evening @Verizon – someone special just joined #TeamSprint & I think you may recognize him…

— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) June 6, 2016

Mobile networks have spent plenty of time and money to groom faces that’ll help to give their brand an edge in a fiercely competitive market. T-Mobile hired Carly Foulkes in 2010 to be the face of the company until she was dropped in 2013 — ironically, for John Legere to take the spotlight. AT&T, meanwhile, uses Milana Vayntrub to play the character of Lily Adams, a well-meaning store supervisor. Verizon has taken to using the lovable, relatable Ricky Gervais in its own attack ads on Sprint. It’s ironic, given that Verizon already employs the world’s most engaging screen presence — he reviews mobile phones for Engadget.

Via: Verge, Android Central

Source: Sprint


Netflix produces its first original series for India

Netflix only reached India in January, and it knows that it has to cater to local tastes if it wants to earn respect in the country. Accordingly, it just announced that it’s co-producing its first original series for India with the help of Phantom Films. The project will bring author Vikram Chandra’s bestselling novel, the Mumbai-centric thriller Sacred Games, to the streaming service with both on-location filming (only logical, really) and dialogue in both Hindi as well as English. It’s not certain when the production will be ready, but it’ll be available worldwide — it’s an ambassador for India’s creative scene on top of providing culturally relevant entertainment.

Via: Mashable

Source: Netflix


What to expect from Lenovo’s Tech World event this week

Lenovo is pulling out all the stops this year. While it’s no stranger to big launch events, this company is hosting a Tech World keynote on June 9th that promises a little bit of everything, including Motorola’s latest flagship phones and the first commercially available device using Google’s Project Tango mapping technology. But exactly are we going to see? And are there any wild cards in store? We’ve rounded up the leaks and rumors to give you a good idea of what to expect when Lenovo and Moto take the stage in San Francisco this Thursday.

Moto Z

This is the main reason why you’re here, isn’t it? You’re probably wondering how Motorola will follow up the Moto X Pure Edition, especially now that Lenovo is putting more of its mark on the iconic phone brand.

From all indications, the answer is to drop the Moto X name completely… along with some of the things you associate with Motorola’s top-of-the-line smartphone. You might instead see the Moto Z Play and Style, a pair of 5.5-inch devices that would focus on personalization even more than you’ve seen with past Moto phones. You’ll reportedly get modular backplates (MotoMods) that let you change the functionality of the phone — JBL speakers, a projector and even a Hasselblad-branded camera would be just a quick swap away. However, you’d lose the curvy back that made the Moto X so easy to grip, and a fingerprint reader on the front would do away with Motorola’s historically compact front bezels.

If the rumors are accurate, Lenovo would repeat the split between high- and low-end models. The Moto Z Style, like the Moto X Pure/Style, would be the star of the show with its quad HD display, 32GB of storage, 3GB or 4GB of RAM and an 0.2-inch thick body. It’s likely to pack a speedier Snapdragon 820 processor, too. The Moto Z Play, meanwhile, would be for the budget crowd with a 1080p screen and choices of either 16GB of storage and 2GB RAM or 32GB of space and 3GB of RAM. Verizon is expected to have at least one Droid-branded variant, although it’s not clear what you’ll get besides flashier designs (metallic hues may be the main theme) and lots of carrier branding.

Lenovo’s Project Tango phone

Lenovo's Project Tango phone prototype

In a sense, the other high-end device due at Tech World is no mystery at all: Lenovo already promised to formally launch its Project Tango-powered smartphone at the event. The large (under 6.5 inches) device will revolve around Tango’s signature 3D mapping tech, which should both measure your environment and bring augmented reality worlds to your screen. The exact nature of what you get might be up in the air, however. Lenovo has promised a sub-$500 price, a summer release and a Snapdragon processor, but the finished design and performance haven’t been nailed down. We’d expect at least a few changes to the prototype Tango phone teased back in January.

Don’t expect a RAZR comeback

The Moto RAZR... which isn't coming back.

Sorry to dash your hopes, but one of the biggest stories for Tech World is what isn’t happening. Despite Lenovo and Motorola fueling expectations of a RAZR revival at the show, they warn that they’re “not re-releasing” the iconic clamshell. That video really exists to remind you of Motorola’s ability to change the cellular landscape, apparently.

Not that this comes as a total shock. Outside of Japan and the occasional smart flip phone, the RAZR’s form factor doesn’t have a huge following in 2016. The once ubiquitous name doesn’t mean that much in the 12 years following its launch (even the Droid-branded models didn’t last long), and Lenovo isn’t in a financial position to gamble on cellular nostalgia. The Motorola team may need to sort out its future before it dwells on the past.

Wild cards

Lenovo smartphones

What else? Lenovo has promised “freshly minted concepts” from its labs, so you should see some out-there technology that grabs headlines. Whether or not the tech translates to shipping products is another matter, but Lenovo is no stranger to bringing clever ideas to fruition.

Besides that, it’s hard to know what’s coming. We wouldn’t count on smartwatches when the second-generation Moto 360 is less than a year old. Lenovo might use this mid-year media gathering as an opportunity to announce new PCs, although the phone focus makes that seem less probable. The one certainty is that you can’t rule out a surprise or two: Lenovo is fond of pulling rabbits out of its hat.

[Image credits: HellomotoHK, Lenovo, Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images]


Remastered ‘Final Fantasy XII’ comes to PS4 in 2017

Add Final Fantasy XII to the next batch of Square RPGs getting a major facelift. The company announced today that a revamped version, titled Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, is heading to the PlayStation 4 next year. And before you start worrying, yes Sony has confirmed that it’s headed to North America and Europe in 2017 as well. As usual, you can expect it to run in 1080p and it’ll feature an upgraded music mix. There will also be a revamped job system and some interface tweaks originally seen in the international version of the game.

FFXII was originally released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, so you could think of this version as a belated anniversary release. The game was one of the last major releases for that console, and it looked surprisingly great considering the PlayStation 3 was right around the corner. Judging from the trailer below, the revamped version should hold up well against today’s RPGs.

Source: Sony


Burger King Game Boy toy turned into real retro handheld

At the turn of the Millennium, Burger King handed out adorable tiny Game Boy Colors with fake Pokémon cartridges. Sixteen years later and a modder, armed with a Raspberry Pi Zero, has turned one of the dummy units into a working console. Paired with a two-inch display from Adafruit and Retropie’s software emulator, the title will play Game Boy Color and Advance titles with its now working buttons. Although, of course, since there’s only A&B, you might struggle with titles that need the shoulder bumpers too. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen Raspberry Pi’s tiny board being used in this way, with a full-size Game Boy being turned into an emulator earlier this year. Given how many broken handhelds are available on eBay, we imagine everyone’s going to devote a weekend to building their own.

Via: Kotaku, Engadget Spanish

Source: Reddit, Imgur

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