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Displays

First AMD FreeSync Capable Gaming Displays and Drivers Launched, Tested 63

Posted by timothy
from the play-on-this dept.
MojoKid writes Soon after NVIDIA unveiled its G-SYNC technology, AMD announced that it would pursue an open standard, dubbed FreeSync, leveraging technologies already available in the DisplayPort specification to offer adaptive refresh rates to users of some discrete Radeon GPUs and AMD APUs. AMD's goal with FreeSync was to introduce a technology that offered similar end-user benefits to NVIDIA's G-SYNC, that didn't require monitor manufacturers to employ any proprietary add-ons, and that could be adopted by any GPU maker. Today, AMD released its first FreeSync capable set of drivers and this first look at the sleek ultra-widescreen LG 34UM67 showcases some of the benefits, based on an IPS panel with a native resolution of 2560x1080 and a max refresh rate of 75Hz. To fully appreciate how adaptive refresh rate technologies work, it's best to experience them in person. In short, the GPU scans a frame out to the monitor where it's drawn on-screen and the monitor doesn't update until a frame is done drawing. As soon as a frame is done, the monitor will update again as quickly as it can with the next frame, in lockstep with the GPU. This completely eliminates tearing and jitter issues that are common in PC gaming. Technologies like NVIDIA G-SYNC and AMD FreeSync aren't a panacea for all of PC gaming anomalies, but they do ultimately enhance the experience and are worthwhile upgrades in image quality and less eye strain.
Space

Most Powerful Geomagnetic Storm of Solar Cycle 24 Is Happening 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-colors-in-the-sky dept.
astroengine writes: The most powerful solar storm of the current solar cycle is currently reverberating around the globe. Initially triggered by the impact of a coronal mass ejection (CME) hitting our planet's magnetosphere, a relatively mild geomagnetic storm erupted at around 04:30 UT (12:30 a.m. EDT), but it has since ramped-up to an impressive G4-class geomagnetic storm, priming high latitudes for some bright auroral displays.
Displays

Valve's SteamVR: Solves Big Problems, Raises Bigger Questions 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-why-do-i-need-three-dimensions-of-candy-crush dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When Valve debuted its SteamVR headset recently, it came as somewhat of a surprise — it certainly hasn't gotten the same level of hype as the Oculus Rift. But people who got to try out the new headset almost universally impressed with the quality of the hardware and software. Eurogamer has an article about the device expressing both astonishment at how far the technology has come in three short years, as well as skepticism that we'll find anything revolutionary to do with it. Quoting: "R demands a paradigm shift in the thinking of game designers and artists about how they build virtual space and how players should interact with it. We're only at the very beginning of this journey now. ... but this process will likely take years, and at the end of it the games won't resemble those we're currently used to. In short, they won't be Half-Life 3."

The author thinks simulation games — driving, piloting, and space combat — will be the core of the first wave, and other genres will probably have to wait for the lessons learned making sims good. He adds, "...the practical challenges are great, too — not least in persuading players to clear enough space in their homes to use this device properly, and the potential for social stigma to attach to the goofy-looking headsets and the players' withdrawal into entirely private experiences. I still think that these present major obstacles to the widespread adoption of VR, which even more practical and commercially realistic offerings like Morpheus will struggle against."
Hardware

The 2015 Vintage Computer Festival East is April 17-19 (Video) 23

Posted by Roblimo
from the they-don't-make-them-like-they-used-to dept.
The Vintage Computer Festival East is where you go to see working computers from the forties through the eighties. It's held at the Information Age Learning Center (InfoAge) in Wall, New Jersey, a site that is full of electronics history on its own. In addition to displays (including a number of items for sale), there are sessions on topics ranging from "Keyboard Restoration" to "Fixing what's hopelessly broken." Event volunteer Evan Koblentz, today's interviewee, says that most of the several hundred people the event draws every year come from the United States, but there are always at least a few international visitors. And if New Jersey isn't your thing, there are other Vintage Computer Festivals you might want to attend. To get current news about these events, you might want to sign up for the VCF email list.
Displays

PrintDisplay: DIY Displays and Touchscreens Anyone Can Print 14

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-and-watch dept.
Zothecula writes For years now, we've been promised miraculous new flexible touchscreen displays, but the deployment of such technology in big consumer products, like say the LG G Flex, hasn't started any revolutions just yet. That could soon change thanks to a team of computer scientists from Germany's Saarland University who have developed a technique that could allow anyone to literally print their own custom displays, including touchscreens."
Displays

Developers Race To Develop VR Headsets That Won't Make Users Nauseous 164

Posted by timothy
from the or-nauseated dept.
HughPickens.com writes Nick Wingfield reports at the NYT that for the last couple of years, the companies building virtual reality headsets have begged the public for patience as they strive to create virtual environments that don't make people physically sick. "We're going to hang ourselves out there and be judged," says John Carmack, chief technology officer of Oculus, describing what he calls a "nightmare scenario" that has worried him and other Oculus executives. "People like the demo, they take it home, and they start throwing up," says Carmack. "The fear is if a really bad V.R. product comes out, it could send the industry back to the '90s." In that era, virtual reality headsets flopped, disappointing investors and consumers. "It left a huge, smoking crater in the landscape," says Carmack, who is considered an important game designer for his work on Doom and Quake. "We've had people afraid to touch V.R. for 20 years." This time around, the backing for virtual reality is of a different magnitude. Facebook paid $2 billion last year to acquire Oculus. Microsoft is developing its own headset, HoloLens, that mixes elements of virtual reality with augmented reality, a different medium that overlays virtual images on a view of the real world. Google has invested more than $500 million in Magic Leap, a company developing an augmented reality headset. "The challenge is there is so much expectation and anticipation that that could fall away quite quickly if you don't get the type of traction you had hoped," says Neil Young. (More, below.)
Games

Valve and HTC Reveal "Vive" SteamVR Headset 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the is-it-real? dept.
An anonymous reader writes Today Valve and HTC revealed the "Vive" SteamVR headset which is designed to compete with Oculus and others, which aim for a high-end VR experience on PC. The Vive headset uses dual 1200x1080 displays at 90Hz and a "laser position sensor" to provide positional tracking (head movement through 3D space), and also includes a pair of motion input controllers. The companies say that the Vive headset will be available to developers in Spring and receive a proper consumer launch holiday 2015, though no price has been announced.
Displays

Pebble Time Smartwatch Receives Overwhelming Support On Kickstarter 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-it-run-crysis? dept.
DJAdapt writes: Pebble Time, the successor to the Pebble & Pebble Steel smartwatches, has gone up on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, hitting its $500,000 goal in 17 minutes and hitting the $2M mark in less than an hour. The new wearable is touting a color e-paper display and microphone for responding to notifications. It also has features Pebble users are already familiar with, such as seven days of battery life, water resistance, and an extensive library of watch faces and apps. Will any of you be jumping on this? Holding out for the Apple Watch? Waiting for wearables to get more capable?
Books

The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the love-affairs-with-dead-trees dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Michael Rosenwald writes in the WaPo that textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer reading on paper for pleasure and learning. This bias surprises reading experts, given the same group's proclivity to consume most other content digitally. "These are people who aren't supposed to remember what it's like to even smell books," says Naomi S. Baron. "It's quite astounding." Earlier this month, Baron published Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, a book that examines university students' preferences for print and explains the science of why dead-tree versions are often superior to digital (PDF).

Her conclusion: readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers. Researchers say readers remember the location of information simply by page and text layout — that, say, the key piece of dialogue was on that page early in the book with that one long paragraph and a smudge on the corner. Researchers think this plays a key role in comprehension — something that is more difficult on screens, primarily because the time we devote to reading online is usually spent scanning and skimming, with few places (or little time) for mental markers.

Another significant problem, especially for college students, is distraction. The lives of millennials are increasingly lived on screens. In her surveys, Baron was surprised by the results to the question of whether students were more likely to multitask in hard copy (1 percent) vs. reading on-screen (90 percent). "When a digital device has an Internet connection, it's hard to resist the temptation to jump ship."
Displays

Valve To Reveal Virtual Reality Dev Kit Next Week At GDC 48

Posted by timothy
from the they-want-your-eyeballs dept.
An anonymous reader writes Gaming giant Valve has been researching augmented and virtual reality for some time. Early on, the company worked closely with Oculus, sharing research findings and even adding support for TF2 to Oculus' first VR headset, the DK1, back in 2013. After demonstrating their own prototype VR headset at Steam Dev Days in early 2014, and then a modified version later in the year, Valve is now ready to take the wraps off a 'previously unannounced ... SteamVR Dev Kit,' which will make its debut at GDC next week. SteamVR is the name of the software adaptation of Steam's 'Big Picture' mode that the company revealed early last year, allowing players to browse their Steam library and play supported games all in virtual reality.
Graphics

Smart Rendering For Virtual Reality 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the works-way-better-than-dumb-rendering dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Intel have been working on new methods for improving the rendering speed for modern wide-angle head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. Their approach makes use of the fact that because of the relatively cheap and lightweight lenses the distortion astigmatism happens: only the center area can be perceived very sharp, while with increasing distance from it, the perception gets more and more blurred. So what happens if you don't spend the same amount of calculations and quality for all pixels? The blog entry gives hints to future rendering architectures and shows performance numbers.
Displays

Apple Patent Could Have "Broad Ramifications" For VR Headsets 128

Posted by timothy
from the it's-on-your-face dept.
An anonymous reader writes Filed in 2008, published in 2013, and legally granted to Apple this week, the company's patent for a 'Head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display' could have "broad ramifications" for mobile VR headsets like Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard, says patent attorney Eric Greenbaum. "This Apple HMD patent is significant. I would say it introduces potential litigation risks for companies that have or are planning to release a mobile device HMD," he said. "There is no duty for Apple to make or sell an HMD. They can sit on this patent and use it strategically either by enforcing it against potential infringers, licensing it, or using it as leverage in forming strategic partnerships."
Sony

Sony To Release Google Glass Competitor 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-facetop dept.
jfruh writes: With Google retooling its Glass offering, Sony appears to have jumped into the breach to offer an Android-compatible wearable face-computer. The developer edition of SmartEyeglass will be available in March for $840, with a commercial release planned for 2016. The device must be manipulated with a separate, wired controller unit that houses a microphone, speakers and an NFC module.
Displays

VESA Embedded DisplayPort 1.4a Paves Way For 8K Displays, Longer Battery Life 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-reportedly-grow-you-a-replacement-kidney dept.
MojoKid writes: The VESA standards organization has published the eDP v1.4a specification (Embedded DisplayPort) that has some important new features for device manufacturers as they bump up mobile device displays into the 4K category and start looking towards even higher resolutions. eDP v1.4a will be able to support 8K displays, thanks to a segmented panel architecture known as Multi-SST Operation (MSO). A display with this architecture is broken into two or four segments, each of which supports HBR3 link rates of 8.1 Gbps. The updated eDP spec also includes VESA's Display Stream Compression (DSC) standard v1.1, which can improve battery life in mobile devices. In another effort to conserve battery power, VESA has tweaked its Panel Self Refresh (PSR) feature, which saves power by letting GPUs update portions of a display instead of the entire screen.
Businesses

The Oddball Side of CES (Video) 35

Posted by Roblimo
from the there-are-real-fakes-and-there-are-fake-fakes-and-it-can-be-hard-to-tell-the-difference dept.
In between nodding earnestly as hopeful exhibitors told him how wonderful their products were, Slashdot's Timothy Lord took a look at some of the less-serious displays and goings-on at CES. Some of these people and companies no doubt take themselves 100% seriously, but after grueling days patrolling the endless exhibits at this giant show, Timothy was looking at them through tired (and cynical) eyes. This short video shows some of what he saw.
Displays

Ask Slashdot: Affordable Large HD/UHD/4K "Stupid" Screens? 330

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-dave-can't-let-you-do-that dept.
New submitter LOGINS SUC (713291) writes Truly in the first-world problems category, I've been looking for large format (>55") HD/UHD screens for home entertainment. In light of the recent Samsung big-brother monitoring and advertisement injection concerns, does any reputable manufacturer still make "stupid" TVs? I don't want to pay for all the WiFi, apps, cameras, or microphones. I don't need it to have speakers. And at this point, I don't even care if it has the TV receiver functionality. All this stuff leads to vendor lock-in or is well on the path to obsolescence by the time I purchase the device. I prefer all of this non-visual functionality be handled by devices better suited to the purpose and I don't want to pay for screens including these widgets I have no intention of ever using, at all.

I've searched all the normal retail outlets. If I find anything, they are wildly expensive. "Computer monitors" fit the bill but are almost all 55") LCDs in the sub-$3,000 range anymore? Are projectors the last bastion of visual purity for home entertainment?
Google

The Prickly Partnership Between Uber and Google 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.
HughPickens.com writes Google, with billions of dollars in the bank and house-by-house maps of most of the planet, seemed like the perfect partner for Uber, the hugely popular ride-hailing service. But Mike Isaac writes in the NYT that just two years after Google's venture capital arm poured more than $250 million into Uber there are signs that the companies are more likely to be ferocious competitors than allies. Uber recently announced plans to develop self-driving cars, a longtime pet project at Google. Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, has publicly discussed what he sees as the inevitability of autonomous taxis, saying they could offer cheaper rides and a true alternative to vehicle ownership. "The Uber experience is expensive because it's not just the car but the other dude in the car," Kalanick said at a technology conference in 2014, referring to the expense of paying human drivers. "When there's no other dude in the car, the cost [of taking an Uber] gets cheaper than owning a vehicle." Uber is also adding engineers who are experts on mapping technology. And the company, based in San Francisco, has been in talks with Google's advertising archrival, Facebook, to find ways to work together.

Not to be outdone, Google has been experimenting with a ride-sharing app similar to Uber's and both companies have long toyed with the idea of offering same-day delivery of items like groceries and other staples. Last month Google announced it would start presenting data from third party applications inside Google Now, a service that displays useful information prominently on the screen of Android smartphones. Google said it had struck deals to draw data from such apps as Pandora, AirBnb, Zillow, and the ride-sharing service Lyft. The company most obviously missing from that list? Google's old and possibly former friend, Uber. According to Isaac, for young companies, even one as well funded as Uber, dancing with giants is a part of doing business — even if there is always a risk of getting squashed. "There are some hard lessons about the dangers of cooperation that are strongly in the memories of these companies," says John Morgan. "Something that makes partnering harder, even when it might make economic sense to do so."
Handhelds

Dell Venue 8 7000, "World's Thinnest Tablet" With Intel Moorefield Atom Reviewed 120

Posted by timothy
from the straight-outta-round-rock dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Dell recently launched their Android-based Venue 8 7000 slate, claiming it's the "world's thinnest" tablet. It measures a mere 6 millimeters thick, or 0.24 inches and change. That's 0.1mm slimmer than Apple's iPad Air 2 and 1.5mm flatter than the iPad mini 3, giving Dell full bragging rights, even if by a hair. Dell also opted for an Intel Atom Z3580 processor under the hood, clocked at up to 2.3GHz. This quad-core part is built on Intel's 22nm Moorefield microarchitecture. Compared to its Bay Trail predecessor, Moorefield comes in a smaller package with superior thermal attributes, as well as better graphics performance, courtesy of its PowerVR G6430 graphics core. The Venue 8 7000 also features one of the best 8-inch OLED displays on the market, with edge-to-edge glass and a 2560x1600 resolution. Finally, the Venue 8 7000 is also the first to integrate Intel's RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera, which offers interesting re-focusing and stereoscopic effects, with potentially other, more interesting use cases down the road. Performance-wise, the Venue 8 7000 is solid enough though not a speedster, putting out metrics in the benchmarks that place it in the middle of the pack of premium tablets on the market currently."
Businesses

Apple To Build New $2 Billion Data Center In Bankrupted GT Advanced Buildings 98

Posted by timothy
from the secret-plan-all-along dept.
mrspoonsi writes Apple announced it will spend about $2 billion to build a new data center in Mesa, Arizona. It will be housed in buildings formerly used by GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), which went bankrupt last year after failing to supply sapphire display covers for the iPhone 6. The data center will be powered entirely by renewable energy. It will be a "command center for our global networks." Apple has said it would help find work for people affected by GTAT's bankruptcy. It's possible some of those former GTAT employees might help construct the new command center. When Apple initially partnered with GTAT to make sapphire displays, the company invested millions in a sapphire production facility. It makes sense that Apple would want to do something with the building if it couldn't make sapphire there.
Displays

Graphene Based Display Paves Way For Semi-Transparent Electronic Devices 51

Posted by timothy
from the looking-through-things dept.
hypnosec writes University of Manchester and University of Sheffield researchers have managed to produce the first graphene-based LED displays, which could pave the way for efficient, flexible and semi-transparent electronic devices. The research, published in scientific journal Nature Materials [abstract; article is paywalled], shows how graphene displays and related 2D materials could be utilised to create light emitting devices for the next-generation of mobile phones, tablets and televisions to make them incredibly thin and durable. The LED device was constructed by combining different 2D crystals and emits light from across its whole surface. Being so thin, at only 10-40 atoms thick, these new components could form the basis for the first generation of semi-transparent smart devices.