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30
May

Intel Core i9 X-Series is a hardcore gamer’s delight, with 18-core option


During its Computex keynote, Intel announced a new series of CPUs that sit at the very top of the Skylake family.

The Intel Core i9 X-Series is for power users and seriously hardcore PC gamers as it starts at around $1,000 and goes up to a mighty $2,000 for the 18-core i9-7980XE. And that’s not including new motherboards you’ll likely need to run them.

For that though, you’ll more than likely be futureproof for years.

The Intel Core X-Series of processors also includes i5 and i7 CPUs, but it is the i9 range that’s garnering the most attention. The i9-7980XE, for example, is the first consumer chip from the manufacturer that offers over a teraflop in computing power.

  • Computex 2017: All the announcements that matter

Want to play games in 4K 60fps and run other processes over the top? It’s a doddle with that chip.

The i9 series of chips all run at base clock speeds of 3.3GHz. Turbo Boost can increase that up to 4.5GHz.

To keep the chips cool, Intel has developed its own liquid cooling system although if you’re willing to shell out so much for the ultimate in processing it is likely you are willing to build your own ultra cooling into your new gaming rig.

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30
May

Intel will present “the future of cricket” at the ICC Trophy. Drones, bat sensors, VR and more


Intel has announced a few new technological additions to the International Cricket Champions (ICC) Trophy, which starts Thursday 1 June.Chief among the technological advancements Intel will be taking to the tournament, include using the company’s Falcon 8 drone to analyse the pitch before each match. The Falcon 8 drone is equipped with HD and infrared cameras and will be able to monitor and assess grass cover, grass health and topology. All the data will then be available for commentators to access and use during matches.Intel also has a cricket bat sensor that’s powered by the company’s own Curie technology. The sensor can be attached to any cricket bat to generate data for each individual player. Data monitored includes back-lift, bat speed and follow-through. The sensors will be used by several batsmen during the tournament to not only allow them to assess and improve their game, but to give the audience a greater insight into stroke play. 

Intel

It’s not just the professionals that will ultimately get to benefit from the Speculur BatSense technology either, as Speculur plans to launch a consumer version of the bat sensor later in 2017. The consumer version will be available in Australia, India, the US and the UK in the second half of 2017. With its applications within sport rising all the time, it may come as no surprise to know that Intel will be bringing virtual reality to the ICC Trophy too. There will be dedicated virtual reality zones at both The Oval and Edgbaston cricket grounds, where fans and visitors can don a VR headset to test their batting skills against a virtual bowler.

The bat used when participating will also have the BatSense sensor attached, so players can view their bat stroke data and be given a final simulated score from the session.

The bat used when participating will also have the BatSense sensor attached, so players can view their bat stroke data and be given a final simulated score from the session.

30
May

Essential Phone vs Pixel XL vs Pixel: How does the newbie compare?


Andy Rubin, one of the original creators of Android, is back with a bang. The Essential Phone looks to give you as much as possible from a device without bogging you down with technology that gets in the way.

It’s minimalist, durable and has an amazing looking screen. But how does it compare to the current crop of purist Android phones? Let’s find out. 

Essential Phone vs Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Design

  • Essential Phone is the smallest
  • Pixel and Pixel XL are lighter
  • All three have USB Type-C

One of the Essential Phone’s biggest attractions is its build materials. Its frame is built from titanium, which is stronger and more durable than aluminium, and its ceramic back is built to outlast the usual glass or metal coverings. Essential is so confident in this fact, that it won’t even design or release a case for it. Its front is covered in the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 5. 

It’s a striking looking phone, given that it is almost completely bezel-free. The screen fills the entire front of the phone, apart from the cutout for the front facing camera near the top, and the slim “chin” near the bottom of the phone. It measures in at 141.5 x 71.1 x 7.8mm, and weighs a fairly substantial 183g. 

Both the Pixel and Pixel XL feature the same combination of metal and glass, with the former material taking up around two thirds of the back. There is an iconic glass panel at the top of the back panel, with fairly large bezels surrounding the screen on the front. 

Although the look of the two Pixel phones is the same, they obviously differ in size. The regular model measures 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5mm and weighs 143g, while the Pixel XL is a more hefty 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5mm, weighing 168g. 

All three phones have very minimal camera and fingerprint sensor designs, with the sensors sitting right beneath the surface, rather than protruding out of the back. Where the Essential Phone differs is that there are a couple of magnetic pins on the back for where you can attach modules like the charging base or 360-degree camera. 

And while the Pixel phone’s “G” logo on the back is among the most minimal of any branding we’ve seen, the Essential Phone takes it one step further. There’s no brand name or logo on it anywhere. 

Of the three phones, the Essential Phone is the slimmest and shortest, which is all the more impressive considering its screen is bigger than both the Pixel XL and Pixel. It is slightly wider than the smaller Pixel, but only by 1.4mm, which is hardly enough to put anyone off. It is heavier than both the Google-made phones though. 

Essential Phone vs Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Display

  • Essential Phone has largest display
  • Both Pixel phones use AMOLED
  • Bezel-free LCD panel on Essential Phone

The Essential Phone’s 5.7-inch display is incredibly interesting. It’s almost entirely bezel free and has an unusual 1312 x 2560 resolution, 19:10 resolution screen. That means a pixel density of around 504ppi. It has rounded corners and it’s LCD IPS, which means it should be very accurate, but not as saturated or high contrast as AMOLED screens.  

It’s worth noting the top of the screen has a cutaway for the front facing camera, but you shouldn’t worry about missing anything here, it’s normally reserved for status bar icons/notifications, which can easily fit around it. 

Neither the Pixel’s 5-inch or Pixel XL’s 5.5-inch display measures as big diagonally as the Essential Phone, but the Pixel XL’s 2560 x 1440 resolution means that it is a little sharper. It’s also likely to feature more vivid colours and deeper blacks, thanks to the AMOLED based panel. 

The smaller Pixel has a full HD 1080 x 1920 panel, with a pixel density of 440 ppi, and is protected – like the XL – by Gorilla Glass 4. 

Essential Phone vs Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Camera

  • Essential Phone has a dual rear camera with two 13MP sensors
  • All three have 8MP selfie cams

Of the three phones, the Essential Phone is the only one to feature a dual camera system. Similar to Huawei phones, this setup is made up of one colour sensor and one black and white sensor.

Both are 13-megapixel sensors with f/1.9 aperture lenses, and combine to hopefully make lowlight shots much better. You can also use the monochrome sensor to take pure black and white shots. The camera system also has PDAF and laser autofocus. 

Both Pixels has the same 12.3-megapixel sensor, f/2.0 cameras which can produce fantastic results with very little effort. They both also have phase detection and laser autofocus and a dual tone LED flash.  

All three phones have 8-megapixel front facing cameras for selfie takers, although the Essential Phone’s is the only one that can shoot 4K resolution video. 

Essential Phone vs Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Hardware

  • Essential Phone has Snapdragon 835
  • Pixel phones use Snapdragon 821
  • 4GB RAM in all three

Being a newer device, it’s no surprise to see the Essential Phone playing home to a more advanced processor. Specifically, it’s powered by the Snapdragon 835 chip paired with 4GB RAM and a generous 128GB built-in storage. 

Both Pixel phones use the same internal processing and memory power. That’s to say you’ll find the previous generation Snapdragon 821 chip inside, paired with 4GB RAM and either 32 or 128 GB built-in storage. 

As for battery power, the Essential Phone seemingly has a reduced capacity compared to the larger Pixel. With a 3,040mAh capacity non-removable battery, it’s considerably less capacious than the 3,450mAh Pixel XL battery, but bigger than the 2,770mAh Pixel battery. 

Like the Pixel phones, it’s compatible with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology, so all three phones can top up in speedy fashion. 

  • Google Pixel review

Essential Phone vs Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Software

  • Android Nougat on all three
  • Pure experiance on all

The software experience on all three phones should be very close to identical. There’s no added bloatware on the Essential Phone and it will run Android when it launches later this year. 

  • Android 7.1 Nougat review: Subtle but super-sweet OS update

The only difference might be that the Google Pixel phones will likely be upgraded to Android O when that launches. 

Essential Phone vs Google Pixel XL vs Pixel: Conclusion

From a hardware perspective, there are clear benefits to the Essential Phone. It’s built from a stronger metal, and has a bigger screen than either Pixel built in to a body that’s much smaller overall than either. For those aching for a frame-free phone experience, the Essential Phone looks ideal. 

There are no clear software advantages, but by the time the Essential Phone is actually available in the third quarter of 2017, the next versions of the Google Pixel phones will probably be released. 

Still, with a price of $699 in the States, it’s just about as expensive as a Pixel, but with a huge, breathtaking screen design and 128GB storage, it’s probably worth it. 

30
May

Injustice 2 review: Among the best beat-em-ups, ever


The world of beat-em-ups tends to be a backwards-looking one: new iterations of the big franchises generally run scared of making major changes and thereby alienating their fanatical fan-bases. However, Warner Bros’ Injustice franchise, which boasts the pick of the DC Comics roster of superheroes and supervillains, has no such baggage. The sequel to 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, it might just be the most high-tech and forward-looking beat-em-up ever made.

There is, admittedly, one venerable beat-em-up franchise still going strong which managed to reboot itself to resemble a modern game: Mortal Kombat. And sure enough, Injustice 2 was crafted by NetherRealm, Mortal Kombat’s developer. But we feel that, with Injustice 2, NetherRealm really felt able to cut loose and raise the bar for the genre as a whole.

Injustice 2 review: Delighting in DC

Story-wise, Injustice 2 picks up where its predecessor left off, in an alternate DC universe in which Superman went rogue and currently languishes in Stryker’s Island prison. Various other superheroes have been banished or consigned to obscurity. 

Batman/Bruce Wayne, though, rules the roost in Gotham and beyond, like a sort of billionaire superhero mayor (with Harley Quinn as an assistant), snuffing out evil with the help of a giant computer surveillance device called Brother Eye.

But that alternate Earth faces an existential threat, in the form of the invading Brainiac, who is coming after the last two Kryptonian survivors. And in order to defeat Brainiac, a sort of Justice League must be assembled – unsurprisingly, given that a Justice League film is due.

As ever in a beat-em-up, cut-scenes setup bouts against various good and bad guys, but miraculously for such a game, Injustice 2’s story holds together brilliantly.

Warner

The cut-scenes look stunning, as does the game itself – the detail of the character models and animation demands superlatives. The writing is pretty good, too, and it’s nice that you can often choose to control one of two characters; the story mode teaches you pretty effectively how to play as all of the superheroes.

Injustice 2 review: Supermoves and superlatives

The control system will be pretty familiar to anyone who played the original game, with medium, light and heavy attacks, plus a special ability and a welter of special moves. But it has been tweaked, and very impressively at that.

Warner

The four-bar super-meter is back, but this time around you can spend individual bars on particular moves, as well as waiting for all four to fill before launching a super move. These super moves are hilarious and very satisfying to behold, although they are blockable, so you must time them carefully.

A new system called Clash lets you wager bars of your super-meter against your opponent: whoever stakes the most is rewarded by a super-heavy attack. There are all sorts of environmental objects you can bring into play too.

Warner

Injustice 2’s control system pulls off a major feat for a beat-em-up: it’s easy to grasp its essentials, but contains vast amounts of depth (such as delayed recovery) that will keep the beat-em-up ninjas happy. You’ll have to master it fully if you go online, though.

Injustice 2 review: Loot, Multiverse and Guilds

One aspect of the game which is new and beautifully conceived is its gear system. More or less everything you do wins loot boxes, containing items you can use to power up your characters, or even radically alter their play-style to make them more effective against particular opponents. The loot system has an air of Destiny to it, which is an exciting thing to find in a beat-em-up.

Then there’s the Multiverse – an ever-morphing collection of alternate DC universes, each with its own subtly (or sometimes radically) different back-story, played out in a more traditional comic-book style, which lets you drill down deep into your favourite characters, and includes universes that only appear fleetingly. Injustice 2 is a very meaty game indeed, and the Multiverse extends it to near-infinity.

Injustice 2 supports Guilds, too – for those who, say, idolise Batman, or prefer to fight as villains with particular affiliations. Joining a Guild brings a whole new Multiverse, along with another set of challenges to bring yet more potential loot. You could envisage other beat-em-up franchises copying Injustice 2’s structure in the future.

Verdict

Future beat-em-ups would do well to eclipse Injustice 2. It’s the beat-em-up that has it all.

There’s a cast of playable characters which is a comic-geek’s dream, rendered and animated as well as we’ve ever seen, and customisable not just to your tastes but to the requirements of individual bouts. The game has plenty of appeal to casual players, as well as the hardcore, thanks to a good storyline and a near-infinite supply of new bouts, challenges and alternate-universe scenarios.

The beat-em-up world is fiercely factional, spawning tribes who are devoted to specific franchises, so lining one beat-em-up against another can prove controversial. But Injustice 2 is certainly the most 21st-century beat-em-up we’ve ever encountered and, in general, it feels like it moves the genre forward.

It might be a bit rich to assert that it’s the best beat-em-up ever – and there will always be those whose tastes fail to extend beyond peers that feel retro and classical – but Injustice 2 is an instant classic with little compare.

30
May

Samsung adds UFC fights and more live events to Gear VR


Soccer. Basketball. Golf. While plenty of sports are being shot in 360-degree video, the format is still the exception, rather than the rule. For Samsung, which wants to sell as many Gear VR headsets as possible, that just won’t do. To solve the problem it’s teamed up with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the X Games and concert organiser Live Nation for a slew of VR programming called “VR Live Pass.” The first events will be available from June through the Samsung VR app, with near-global access provided you have a headset handy and a stable internet connection.

The first broadcast will be a UFC clash between José Aldo and Max Holloway. The featherweight bout will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 3rd, and mark the first time a UFC fight has been live-streamed in VR. Samsung will then shift to the X Games in Minneapolis for some live BMX and skateboard coverage starting on July 13th. With the likes of Jimmy Wilkins, Chad Kerley and Jagger Eaton, you can expect some, like, totally gnarly backflips and 5-O grinds. Finally, the Gear VR pass will cover a live music concert with a yet-to-be-announced artist in August.

To earn a mainstream following, VR needs content, and lots of it. Spherical video is cheaper to produce than “true,” computer-generated virtual reality, which is why there’s so much of it in the Gear VR store (and other virtual reality platforms) right now. It’s easily marketable too, especially to people who might not have tried VR before and aren’t sure why they should be interested in the technology. The long-term audience for live, 360-degree sport is unclear, however. For most it’s a novelty, one that’s immersive but ultimately inferior to carefully orchestrated TV broadcasts.

Source: Samsung

30
May

Control this insane $16,000 laundry-folding robot with your voice


It’s been awhile since we’ve heard about Laundroid, the laundry folding robot that will make lazy people swoon. Now, parent company Seven Dreamers has announced a new partnership that could make your laundry-related life even easier.

Seven Dreamers is partnering with Cerevo, a company that focuses on IoT and connected devices in Japan and across the world, to bring voice control technology to Laundroid. But there’s a catch: As of the announcement date, it won’t work with Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant or any other widely used voice control service.

Instead, Laundroid will only work with Cerevo’s Lumigent, a desk lamp that responds to voice control. “Lumigent lights up automatically when spoken to. The integration will enable Lumigent to command the basic Laundroid operations,” says the press release. Pricing on the lamp isn’t available, but it will likely set you back between $400 and $700.

It’s not clear what other IoT devices, if any, that Laundroid will connect with (it comes with onboard WiFi and is controlled by an app), though presumably Seven Dreamers is working on further integration. Adding insult to injury, Laundroid is ridiculously expensive—the first-run units are expected to be priced around 1.85 million yen, which is roughly $16,500. The company is accepting limited reservations for units in Japan starting today.

While adding new features and integrations such as voice control is a good idea, doing so in such a limited, proprietary way is frustrating. Why not open the Laundroid for use with Siri, Amazon Alexa and the other voice control apps that people are already using? At such a high price point, it doesn’t seem like that should be too much to ask.

Source: Seven Dreamers, Digital Trends

30
May

Twitter will livestream five BBC UK election specials


Twitter’s attempt to reposition itself as a major video provider has led to a number of important partnerships, but many of them have been US-based, or held at a time where UK users are unable to watch. However, that’s all set to change with the upcoming General Election. The BBC announced today that it’s linking up with the social network for the first time to share coverage of five major debates that begin on May 31st.

The first event is the BBC Election Debate. While it’ll provide an important platform for politicians from six of the UK’s major parties, neither Conservative leader Theresa May or Labour frontman Jeremy Corbyn will be in attendance. They’re saving themselves for the two Question Time Leaders Specials on June 2nd and June 4th. Twitter will also stream the Newsbeat Youth Debate on June 6th and conclude its coverage with the live Election Night Results Special on June 8th.

The BBC says that its “trial interactive experience” will deliver curated real-time tweets from BBC experts alongside live video. Tweets including the hashtags #bbcdebate #bbcqt and #bbcelection may also be presented to politicians during the debates. The video streams will be hosted at bbcelection.twitter.com, but will also likely promoted in timelines of UK users when the BBC begins its broadcasts.

The platform worked well for Bloomberg and BuzzFeed during the US Election and the BBC will hope that its coverage can reach new audiences. If it’s a success, it could open the door for more BBC programming to come to Twitter, including live sports.

Via: BBC Media Centre

Source: BBC Election Debate 2017

30
May

Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro harbors a stowaway S Pen


Whether it’s your shirt pocket, the zippered compartment in your backpack or a pencil case, existing spots to stow your stylus just aren’t as convenient as an on-device dock. And few laptops these days have built-in slots for a digital pen, which is why Samsung’s latest convertible laptop is unique. The Notebook 9 Pro comes with a helpful S Pen that conveniently slides under the keyboard for storage, and will be available in 13.3- and 15-inch full HD models.

The S Pen that comes with the Notebook 9 Pro is the same one that accompanies the Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book. It has a fine 0.7mm nib, can detect up to 4,000 levels of pressure, and supports Windows Ink as well as the Galaxy smartphones’ Air Command. That means you can use the S Pen to sign documents and take notes on the Windows 10 laptop. To be fair, many convertibles already support stylus input, including options from HP, Lenovo and Dell, but Samsung’s device offers more comprehensive and helpful tools.

Like previous Samsung Notebooks, the 9 Pro also supports fast charging over USB Type-C using a compatible smartphone charger, although the company hasn’t provided an estimate for how long it would take to fully power the 54Whr cell. You can also plug it into a portable battery pack to draw power on the go.

Just like the new laptops that ASUS unveiled this week, the Notebook 9 Pro sports a latest-generation Intel Core i7 processor, with boost speeds going up to an impressive 3.5GHz. The 15-inch version also carries a discrete Radeon 540 graphics chip with 2GB memory, while the smaller model uses Intel’s integrated HD card. We don’t know how much the Notebook 9 Pro will cost or when it will be available just yet, but S Pen who need a laptop should keep an eye out for this device to hit stores.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from Computex 2017!

30
May

TwitchCon 2017’s early-bird tickets start at $89


Twitch moved its annual convention to the fancier Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center this year, and that means tickets cost a bit more than you remember. The video streaming platform has begun selling early bird tickets for TwitchCon 2017 on the event’s website, including three-day passes for $159, which is $40 less than their on-site price. Friday and Sunday passes will set you back $89 (onsite price is $109), while the Saturday pass will cost you $109, down from $129. The three-day and Saturday passes cost a bit more than the other options, because they come with access to the Saturday night TwitchCon party.

You can get in for free and even get a travel stipend if the company chooses you to become one of the Talent Show acts, though. Twitch has issued an open call for anything worth showing on stage — it’s removing categorical restrictions this year — so long as you regularly stream under the Creative umbrella. If you’re attending either way, you may want to take advantage of the hotel booking tool on the event website. It offers discounted rates for the TwitchCon weekend (October 20th to 22nd), but only on a first-come, first-served basis.

Source: TwitchCon

30
May

Scientists take a big step toward creating custom organisms


Scientists dream of using custom organisms to fight illnesses or even build computers, but there’s a problem: it’s difficult to make the sweeping genetic changes that would give you exactly the lifeform you need. To that end, researchers have found a way to rewrite “large stretches” of genomes with synthetic DNA. The team modified salmonella bacteria by using step-by-step recombineering (that is, exchanging sequences between similar pieces of DNA) to patch in yeast-grown genes that were “amplified” to boost their quality. The result was salmonella with 1,557 replacements spread across 176 genes — a huge change for a relatively simple organism.

The resulting bacteria appears to be largely healthy. It grows about as quickly as the completely natural variety, and there aren’t any serious growth defects.

This is still early work, so you’re not about to have customized bacteria coursing through your body any time soon. Salmonella is relatively easy to edit, and there’s a big difference between a lab experiment and crafting bacteria that reliably produces a specific result. However, it’s promising. Gene editing techniques like CRISPR don’t have enough throughput to make these kinds of large-scale changes, and other methods are often slow and complicated — this allows for quick yet drastic modifications. Simply put, this could help unlock the fuller potential of genetic engineering. Instead of making tiny tweaks, geneticists could rewrite DNA sections so large that the result is almost unrecognizable compared to the original.

Via: Reddit

Source: Oxford Academic

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