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Sunday August 30, 2015

Chrome Will Automatically Pause Flash Content Starting Sept. 1

Just another step toward the inevitable demise of Adobe Flash. Users will be able to toggle the setting, but Chrome will no longer autoplay Flash content starting next month.

Beyond improving battery life and browser performance, the wider move away from Flash may also bolster security. In early July, for example, an Italian spyware firm Hacking Team found "the most beautiful Flash bug for the last four years."


Is Office The New Windows?

Satya Nadella seems to think so. I know that Microsoft and Windows are synonymous, but it’s quite obvious to see what is happening based on how the company is injecting Office into whatever it can. I do think Microsoft is doing a fine job with its apps on other platforms such as Android—but long live Windows, despite the decline.

Office workers and students both rely on Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the rest of the suite. Google Apps (recently rebranded Google for Work) is providing some solid competition, particularly in smaller businesses and tech startups, but almost every big business in the world still has thousands of Office licenses. Rather than force Windows on users to make them use Office, Microsoft's new game plan is to make Office irresistible to anybody, no matter what device they're using.


PAX Prime 2015: Cosplay And Merchandise Galleries

Gaming mecca PAX Prime is currently on-going in Seattle, and its sights and sounds are rolling out. Take a look at some of the questionable cosplay and stuff nobody needs, like Fallout sneakers.

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Bourne 5 Will Be About "A Post-Snowden World"

I thought the last Bourne film was okay, but it was sorely missing Matt Damon’s titular character and Paul Greengrass’s direction. Luckily, the sequel will be reuniting the two, and the star teases what the film might be about and where it will take place.

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"Without giving too much of it away, it’s Bourne through an austerity-riddled Europe and in a post-Snowden world," Damon said. "It seems like enough has changed, you know? There are all these kinds of arguments about spying and civil liberties and the nature of democracy." Snowden has become a powerful figure in the debate over security versus privacy, from Washington to Europe to Asia to the Academy Awards. Sen. John McCain even said in 2013 that Snowden was seen by young Americans as "some kind of Jason Bourne."


In-Flight Wi-Fi Prices Jump As Demand Surges

While I find flying so boring that I probably wouldn’t think twice before buying expensive in-flight Wi-Fi, the pricing escalation is worth looking at. The trouble seems to be that there are many factors (location, saturation, etc.) involved that allow providers to really play around with pricing.

… on some flights — especially transcontinental routes crammed with business travelers who may have cushy expense accounts — prices have doubled from three years ago. Consider the following increases: Wi-Fi service on transcontinental flights — such as from San Francisco to New York, from Boston to Seattle or from Los Angeles to New York — now cost $28 to $40, up from roughly $18 in 2012, according to Gogo.


Do People Care About Physical Keyboards On Phones Anymore?

Shots of BlackBerry’s Android smartphone Venice are making the rounds, and one of its most obvious features is the physical QWERTY keyboard. Are you a fan of physical keyboards, or do you prefer the software kind?

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BlackBerry's Android-based Venice smartphone isn't just a figment of someone's imagination... at least, if you believe Vietnamese resident Ba Minh Duc. He claims to have photos of the slider in action, complete with its hideaway QWERTY keyboard, 18-megapixel camera and curvy screen.


Computers Can Easily Tell If You’re Psychotic

I don’t think this is necessarily a radical breakthrough. You can easily tell if someone is nuts based on how they communicate, so a computer could obviously be used to analyze an individual’s writing to determine their mental state. Or you could just check their browser history and see how much time they spend on sites like Facebook.

Researchers used an algorithm to root out such "jarring disruptions" in otherwise ordinary speech. Their semantic analysis measured coherence and two syntactic markers of speech complexity—including the length of a sentence and how many clauses it entailed.


Our Nearest Quasar Is Powered By A Double Black Hole

My understanding is that a quasar could be the center of, or the formation of, some distant galaxy. The hubble has found that the one closest to us involves a binary black hole. I wonder what that would even look like in motion—or what kind of juicy data TARS would get from it.

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If only one black hole were present in the center of the quasar, the whole accretion disk made of surrounding hot gas would glow in ultraviolet rays. Instead, the ultraviolet glow of the dusty disk abruptly drops off toward the center. This provides observational evidence that the disk has a big donut hole encircling the central black hole. The best explanation for the donut hole in the disk, based on dynamical models, is that the center of the disk is carved out by the action of two black holes orbiting each other. The second, smaller black hole orbits in the inner edge of the accretion disk, and has its own mini-disk with an ultraviolet glow.


Rocket Engine Lands In Guy’s Living Room

What is this, Donnie Darko? Apparently this kind of thing happens a little too often in China, as their rocket launch facilities are all inland.

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According to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, the three-stage rocket lifted off at 10:31 PM U.S. Eastern Time on Aug. 27. A few hours later, at 4:06 AM Eastern Time, UK-based news outlet SinoDefense tweeted these images and said, "CZ4 rocket debris fell into a house in Shaanxi after Yaogan27 launch yesterday. Possible 1st stage engine."


Netflix 4K Content Leaks To Torrent Sites

It’s possible that HDCP 2.2 has been cracked, as a 4K rip of the Breaking Bad pilot has made it off Netflix and into the wild.

At the time of writing the 4K leak is only available on private torrent trackers but it’s expected to eventually leak to public sites as well. It’s currently unknown if the release group broke HDCP 2.2 or if they found another way to capture the stream.


LAPD Body Cameras Roll Out Monday

Video is the ultimate evidence, as they say, so the LAPD is starting to put cameras on every officer to bring clarity to controversial encounters. I’m a little surprised at why Californians are upset over why the videos won’t be released to the public, however; have they read their state’s statutes lately?

The LAPD policy — approved by the Police Commission's 3-1 vote in April — allows officers to review the footage before writing reports or giving statements to internal investigators. But the LAPD has said it does not plan on publicly releasing the recordings unless they are part of a criminal or civil court proceeding.


Life-Size LEGO Bricks For Building Real Stuff

Have you ever lounged around the house and thought to yourself, "Boy, it’d be sweet if I had life-size LEGO blocks to build furniture with!" Well, I haven’t. Can you imagine how uncomfortable a LEGO sofa would be? This company evidently doesn’t agree, as they have actually conceived giant blocks for building everything from coffee tables to buildings.

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But EverBlock is more tool than toy. You can use the polypropylene blocks to build fully-functioning furniture and structures. They come in 14 colors and three sizes: full (one foot long), half (six inches), and quarter (three inches), and vary in weight from two pounds (full size) to a quarter pound.


Saturday August 29, 2015

Apple Hopes To Charge $40 For TV Subscription Service

That sounds like a fair price for 25 to 30 channels, right? The problem is that cable providers want to charge more. Reportedly, Apple’s ideal price was $30, but media companies keep pushing the price up. Let’s hope that Apple’s clout keeps the monthly fee attractive and sane.

While we’re not exactly sure which content providers in particular are demanding a bigger cut, some of the cable channels already on board reportedly include ESPN and FX. Though it’s possible that the dynamics have changed, a report from this past March relayed that Apple was running into trouble trying to secure content deals with NBCUniversal, a Comcast subsidiary that owns quite a few popular cable channels, including USA, E!, and Bravo.


Don’t Buy A 1TB PlayStation 4

It turns out that the recent hardware refresh for the PS4 doesn’t apply to the 1TB models. The revision, CUH-1200, can offer over 30% in power savings and also runs cooler and quieter, which is something I would imagine that any potential owner would want.

Before you lay down any cash, ask to check the packaging for the console. Around where it designates the storage capacity on the box it will also display the model number. If it says CUH-1200, or similar, then you're in luck, that's the new updated PS4. If it says CUH-1100 or the like, then you need to look elsewhere.


In Case You Were Dumb Enough To Insert Your Note 5’s S Pen The Wrong Way…

…there is now an instructional video on how to get it out without damaging the sensor. All you need is, well, paper. I don’t think anyone with common sense is affected by "pengate," but it is really weird how Samsung’s engineers designed it so the pen could be inserted both ways—you couldn’t do this on previous Note models.


Dad Builds The Ultimate Portal Bedroom

Wait, what happens when this kid gets sick of Portal? Is an Outer Heaven bedroom next?

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Portal, and its successor Portal 2, took the brilliantly simple concept of a portal gun, combined it with a fantastic storyline that included a sadistic but hilarious antagonist, and created a game that is just as replayable today as it was eight years ago. It was no surprise that my video game obsessed son took to it like a Cheep Cheep to water. Years after that first test chamber, he is still a huge fan and has amassed an impressive collection of t-shirts, toys, and collectibles based on the characters and story. So when it came time to remodel his room for his thirteenth birthday, and he asked for a Portal room, my wife and I wanted to make sure it was something worthy of one of Aperture Laboratories’ finest young test subjects.


Windows 10 Business Users May Get Patch Notes

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to get tired of hearing about the fallacies of Microsoft’s update policies and what may or may not improve. They should just make updates optional and add patch notes for everyone so we can move on to whatever Windows 10 annoys us with next.

Windows SuperSite's Rod Trent, who was attending the press briefing, tweeted "Change lists for Windows 10 updates are coming for businesses." And Ars Technica's Peter Bright tweeted from the event that "Microsoft is considering some kind of change lists for Enterprise users, but still not a hard commitment to provide proper patch notes."


How To Spot A Potentially Violent Person In The Workplace

Well, I guess it’s nice to know that at least 70 or 80 percent of the people I have worked with in the past fit at least one of these profiles.

Experts on workplace violence offer a psychological profile of the typical perpetrator, and it’s worth the while of businesses to know the signs.


The Highest-Paying Jobs At Google

Hold up. Are you telling me that I could make nearly $200,000 a year as a "Communications Manager"? If that job merely entails writing blog posts and yelling at interns for stupid social media posts, sign me up.

…Google is willing to pay top dollar for the best candidates, regardless of the field, according to annual salary data we pulled from Glassdoor. Salary data on Glassdoor is an average based on anonymous reports that were voluntarily shared by both current and recent employees.


Captain America: Civil War Concept Art Reveals Warring Factions

The new Captain America film is almost like an Avengers film in disguise. We know that it’ll be based on the Civil War storyline from the comics, in which Stark and Rogers adopt opposing ideologies in regard to a superhero registration act. New concept art suggests that War Machine and Black Widow will ally with Iron Man, while Captain America will have Falcon and Hawkeye on his side. Am I the only one who thinks there is a serious power imbalance? I mean, Iron Man also has the Vision on his team, who was super powerful in Age of Ultron.

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The moral complexity of this conflict looks to produce some strange bedfellows. It’s odd to see Black Widow ally herself with Tony against her closest friend, Clint. It’s possible that Hulk’s absence here is the key to all that. With Hulk in self-imposed exile over the destruction he’s caused, his dearest friend (Tony) and best girl (Natasha) may be particularly invested in making sure no super-powered individual is ever able to cause that kind of damage again.


YouTube Is About To Change Dramatically

I don’t watch YouTube enough for its ads to bother me, but will those who live on the video service actually pay to avoid them?

According to multiple sources, the world’s largest video-sharing site is preparing to launch its two separate subscription services before the end of 2015 — Music Key, which has been in beta since last November, and another unnamed service targeting YouTube’s premium content creators, which will come with a paywall. Taken together, YouTube will be a mix of free, ad-supported content and premium videos that sit behind a paywall.


Minecraft Creator Is Unhappy Being A Billionaire

"The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance." Can someone please let Notch know that if his money is bothering him that much, my bank account is currently accepting very large transfers?

Persson certainly looked like he was having a blast, living the big life. He bought a $70 million mansion, completed with a massive wall of candy, and has been hosting wild parties ever since. But he's really bored and deeply lonely, he revealed in a series of tweets.


Android Wear Is Coming To iOS

If you are one of the three Apple enthusiasts on the planet who want to pair their iPhone with an Android watch instead of an iWatch, you are in luck, as Huawei’s watch announcement suggests that Android Wear will get iOS support soon.

So far iPhone owners have had a limited amount of smartwatches to choose from, say just the Apple Watch and Pebble devices. Likewise, there are dozens of different Android Wear models available, each offering a slightly different look and feature set from each other. If Android Wear gains iOS compatibility, suddenly iPhone owners will have a huge selection of available smartwatches.


South Korean Live-Fire Exercise Video

Planes, tanks, missiles, bombs, explosions, oh my! Check out this 10-minute vid of the South Korean military testing some toys out. Pretty cool soundtrack, too.


Boeing's Portable Drone-Killing Laser Cannon

What do you do in the near future when you have a neighbor who won't stop ordering things via Prime Air? Boeing has the perfect solution. Their portable laser fits in just a couple of suitcase-sized boxes and can be set up in minutes. Leave one on your porch and watch those pesky drones drop like flies.

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Boeing thinks the best way to kill a drone is to zap it with a precision laser, burn a hole in it, and bring it down. So it created a weapon system to do just that—and the result could someday be installed everywhere from LaGuardia to the Pentagon.


Nitrogen Triiodide Is A Substance That Detonates On The Slightest Touch

Looking for a new way to prank your friends? Try placing some nitrogen triiodide on their seat. It’s an incredibly unstable substance that blows up with minimal contact.


Oxford University Press Adds Hundreds Of Useless Words To Its Dictionaries

Rage-quit. Hangry. Awesomesauce. These are just a few of the incredibly poetic and culturally relevant terms that have made it into Oxford’s latest update. Maybe Oxford should make a separate dictionary whenever they feel bored enough to add words like these. They can name it "Words you should never say out loud."

One reason you might rage-quit is because you are being pwned: that is, utterly defeated by an opponent. This informal term is used more often in video gaming, and supposedly resulted from a common mistyping of own with this sense, as a result of the proximity of p and o on a computer keyboard. Along with pwn comes pwnage (and ownage), being ‘the action or fact of utterly defeating an opponent or rival’.


Razer Wants To Sell You A $150 Controller For Xbox One

If you are an Xbox One gamer who thinks one overpriced controller is not enough, you’re in luck, as Razer has just announced their own version of Microsoft’s Elite controller—the Razer Wildcat. Like the Elite, the Wildcat gives gamers additional input options, but it lacks the swappability of the thumbsticks and paddles that Microsoft's version allows.

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Every button on the controller can be bound to whatever input you choose, and the controller sports a "quick control panel" that allows you to quickly switch between different profiles. These can each have a different button configuration setup for various games.


Friday August 28, 2015

[H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews

Today is Friday and you know what that means! It is time once again for the [H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews! For anyone that might have missed them, we like to take a quick look back on the hardware evaluations and articles we posted earlier in the week. We kicked the week off with our evaluation of the ASUS Z170-A LGA 1151 Skylake motherboard, followed by our The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Gameplay Performance Review article. Finally, we wrapped up the week with our AMD Radeon R9 Nano Video Card PAPER Launch article.

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