DirectX End-User Runtimes (June 2008) Redistributable & Web Installer
This download provides the DirectX end-user multi-languaged redistributable that developers can include with their product. The redistributable license agreement covers the terms under which developers may use the Redistributable. For full details please review the DirectX SDK EULA.txt and DirectX Redist.txt files located in the license directory.
This package is localized into Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Swedish, and English[/QUOTE]
DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer
FSS employee insults the critics of Hellgate
After reading logs from a recent Mythos chat with Flagship Studios employee Taylor, one shouldn
UK is not a surveillance society, MPs claim
The Home Affairs Committee has called on the government to follow a
"minimum data, held for the minumum time" approach to British citizens'
personal information in its long-awaited report into surveillance.
The Committee has decided, after a year long investigation, that the UK is not becoming a surveillance society but warns that function creep still poses a danger. That said, it did not look at ID cards but warned that function creep could again raise concerns of increased surveillance of citizens. After recent government data losses it demanded the Home Office show more detailed plans for how it will make the National Identity Register secure.
It expressed particular concerns that increasing use of databases to store information on children could be used for predictive profiling, with the state singling out children deemed by computers to be likely future criminals.
On Home Office use of databases and sharing data the committee said there were three questions to be answered: "Where should the balance between protecting the public and preserving individual freedom lie? How should this balance shift according to the seriousness of the crime? What impact will this have on the individual and on our society as a whole?"
The politicians also suggested a broader role for the Information Commissioner's Office. The ICO should provide Parliament with an annual report on UK surveillance. It should provide resources to work with the government's chief information officer to improve privacy protection. The committee supported the ICO's demand for better inspection and audit powers.
The ICO could also have a role in carrying out "Privacy Impact Assessments" to be carried out before the Home Office starts a new information gathering project or extends an existing project. PIAs would look at risks and would aim to put in place some protection while the project was being designed. The committee noted that procedures around who can access such information were as important as technology in keeping data safe.
On CCTV use the committee asked the Home Office to carry out more research to show whether or not its use has any impact on reducing crime. It called for a debate before any expansion of the national DNA database and primary legislation to regulate its use.
The committee said it was concerned about the HMP Woodhill case - where conversations between an MP and his constituent were recorded in breach of the Wilson doctrine.
The talking shop also looked at the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. It wants the Home Office to raise public awareness of how and when communications data could be collected and used. It said it had serious concerns about the use of the Act for minor crimes.
The Home Office should make a public statement when a new organisation gets RIPA authorisation, it said.
Such suggestions are moot because the Government is expected to introduce legislation to replace RIPA in the next session of Parliament. We'll have to wait and see whether Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith accept any of the other suggestions.
Computex 2008 - The Guru3D report
Last week Guru3D traveled toward Taiwan to attend one of the bigger computer exhibitions on this globe, the yearly Computex 2008. We wrote a series of articles loaded with photo's from that event. Definitely worth your while checking out.
Computex 2008 installments:
Airports Install See-Through Body Scanners
Body-scanning machines that show images of people underneath their clothing are being installed in 10 of the nation's busiest airports in one of the biggest public uses of security devices that reveal intimate body parts.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently started using body scans on randomly chosen passengers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque and at New York's Kennedy airport.
Airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami will be added this month. Reagan National Airport in Washington starts using a body scanner today. A total of 38 machines will be in use within weeks.
"It's the wave of the future," said James Schear, the TSA security director at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where two body scanners are in use at one checkpoint.
Schear said the scanners could eventually replace metal detectors at the nation's 2,000 airport checkpoints and the pat-downs done on passengers who need extra screening. "We're just scratching the surface of what we can do with whole-body imaging," Schear said.
The TSA effort could encourage scanners' use in rail stations, arenas and office buildings, the American Civil Liberties Union said. "This may well set a precedent that others will follow," said Barry Steinhardt, head of the ACLU technology project.
Scanners are used in a few courthouses, jails and U.S. embassies, as well as overseas border crossings, military checkpoints and some foreign airports such as Amsterdam's Schiphol.
The scanners bounce harmless "millimeter waves" off passengers who are selected to stand inside a portal with arms raised after clearing the metal detector. A TSA screener in a nearby room views the black-and-white image and looks for objects on a screen that are shaded differently from the body. Finding a suspicious object, a screener radios a colleague at the checkpoint to search the passenger.
The TSA says it protects privacy by blurring passengers' faces and deleting images right after viewing. Yet the images are detailed, clearly showing a person's gender. "You can actually see the sweat on someone's back," Schear said.
The scanners aim to strengthen airport security by spotting plastic and ceramic weapons and explosives that evade metal detectors and are the biggest threat to aviation. Government audits have found that screeners miss a large number of weapons, bombs and bomb parts such as wires and timers that agents sneak through checkpoints.
"I'm delighted by this development," said Clark Kent Ervin, the former Homeland Security inspector general whose reports urged the use of body scanners. "This really is the ultimate answer to increasing screeners' ability to spot concealed weapons."
The scanners do a good job seeing under clothing but cannot see through plastic or rubber materials that resemble skin, said Peter Siegel, a senior scientist at the California Institute of Technology.
"You probably could find very common materials that you could wrap around you that would effectively obscure things," Siegel said.
Passengers who went through a scanner at the Baltimore airport last week were intrigued, reassured and occasionally wary. The process took about 30 seconds on average.
Stepping into the 9-foot-tall glass booth, Eileen Reardon of Baltimore looked startled when an electronic glass door slid around the outside of the machine to create the image of her body. "Some of this stuff seems a little crazy," Reardon said, "but in this day and age, you have to go along with it."
Scott Shafer of Phoenix didn't mind a screener looking at him underneath his shorts and polo shirt from a nearby room. The door is kept shut and blocked with floor screens. "I don't know that person back there. I'll never seem them," Shafer said. "Everything personal is taken out of the equation."
Steinhardt of the ACLU said passengers would be alarmed if they saw the image of their body. "It all seems very clinical and non-threatening
Fellow from AMD ridicules Cell as accelerator weakling
IBM's Cell chip will struggle to woo server customers looking to turbo charge certain applications because the part has a fundamental design flaw, according to AMD fellow and acceleration chief Chuck Moore.
Sure, sure. Cell is a multimedia throughput dynamo and its SPEs
(Synergistic Processing Elements) are just lovely. "But something
happened on the way to the ranch," Moore said, speaking this week to a
group of Stanford students. "You have to get going first on the PowerPC
chip (inside Cell), and the PowerPC core is too weak to act as the
Moore presented the Stanford students with a possible vision for the future of computing where general purpose processors will function as a type of gateway, handling older code on their own and then funneling new types of software off to specialized silicon. Not surprisingly, Moore sees AMD's Opteron processor as the perfect general purpose chip and the GPUs produced by the ATI clan - rather than Cell chips - as the preferred accelerators for the specialized jobs.
The plan of attack presented by Moore will sound familiar to those of you following current trends in software and hardware development. The rise of multi-core processors has forced coders to adopt parallel programming methods that spread software well across chips with numerous engines. In addition, researchers and companies on the cutting edge of high performance computing are looking at a variety of accelerators, including GPUs and FPGAs to speed up certain libraries and applications.
Like others, Moore argued that we'll soon run into a major software issue, as too few applications will be able to deal with many-cored chips. Things look okay with two, four and even eight core chips, but we're in real trouble after that.
Some of the main issues will arise with the operating system, which handles a lot of the scheduling jobs.
"If you think about it, the OS has a scheduler in it, and it schedules to multiple cores," Moore said. "So, the OS kind of has a serial component to it. . . At some point, the OS starts to get in the way, and the OS actually becomes the bottleneck."
Accelerators present problems as well, since they're a notorious programming pain for developers more acquainted with things like the x86 instruction set. The Cell chip from IBM, Toshiba and Sony receives a ton of grief for being programming beast - a fact also highlighted by Moore.
Plenty of people argue that GPUs are just as much of a pain, but Moore sees the graphics chip route as a realistic answer to dealing with tomorrow's software.
His "throughput machine" would include a number of Opteron chips up front to handle existing software and to crunch through single-threaded code. Then, you combine the Opterons with "a large number of small, power-efficient, domain optimized compute offload engines."
On top of all this, you need a better memory system and a better programming model that lives well above the operating system.
"The reason I am working on this right now is that I honestly do believe that new and emerging applications are defining and operating on much larger scale and more abstract data types.
"The way this would look is a traditional host would offload work to these dense compute accelerators. You would go through APIs, or libraries or domain specific libraries in some cases to avoid the heroic programming. You would use a concurrent runtime environment to ease some of the scheduling and resource management issues.
"And out of that what starts to happen - and this is an interesting result - is that today the industry is sort of locked on ISA compatibility. You are either x86 compatible or you are not. But I think this line of thought leads to API and platform level compatibility, which is a really nice result for the entire industry.
"Maybe it is not such a nice result for AMD because we happen to have a very successful franchise with x86. But I think this is just absolutely inevitable. I don't think we can fight it, so we are embracing it."
Overall, Moore argued that these heterogeneous machines with x86 and GPU processors will make more sense moving forward than the so-called many-cored chips that the likes of Sun and Intel are pursuing where software is spread across tens or even hundreds of similar cores. Of course, there are tons of software questions that need answers before we can fulfill Moore's vision.You can catch Moore's speech here.
Video: Dawn of War II Trailer
The first gameplay footage from Dawn of War II is now online, offering at look a the upcoming sequel to Relic's Warhammer 40,000 real-time strategy game.
The game will support DirectX 10 graphics and multiple CPU cores. The game will reportedly feature cooperative campaigns for both Orkz and Space Marine factions, the only two classes revealed so far. The developers at Relic have been working on the game since September 2006.
No official date for the game has been set, although it is expected to launch in 2009.
Computex 2008: Day 4 - Getting closer to the end
Today we continue with part four of our Computex 2008 editorial. We are now getting closer to the end of Computex. Only a few more items to cover. We start of with a visit to AMD.
Please visit our computex landing page, right here.
Western Digital 20,000 RPM Raptor in the works
The word was loud on computex regarding this news topic for sure. To be able to compete with the up and coming Solid State drives Western Digital is rumored to be working on a 20.000 RPM Raptor drive. See, this is the effect of competition. In our Computex report we already stated that prices on SSD drivers are going down pretty hard over the coming and next year and the read/write & copy speed of these things are now moving towards 200 MB/sec .. and that's just crazy fast.
So that has to worry manufacturers like Western Digital. Ah well it's just a rumor ... or is it ?
NVIDIA's Tegra announced
I have not ahd the time to write this news due to Computex crazyness, but on Tuesday NVIDIA announced a line of ARM11-based media processors aimed at bringing 3D graphics capabilities to a variety of handhelds, from smartphones to so-called "mobile internet devices" (MIDs).
The line's name is Tegra, and it consists of the company's previously announced APX 2500 system-on-chip (SOC) part
ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 announced
ASUS unveiled at Computex the Xonar HDAV1.3, the world's first HDMI 1.3a compliant audio/video enhancement combo card . Capable of outputting uncompressed multichannel high definition audio from Blu-ray movies, the Xonar HDAV1.3 also enhances incoming HDMI video with an onboard Splendid HD processor - providing the ultimate multimedia enjoyment. Asus claims the chip enhances colors and edges for high-definition video, reduces flicker, and even "recovers clarity" with low-resolution content.
Despite its fancy video processing capabilities, audio remains the Xonar's focus. The HDAV1.3 supports both PAPS and AACS content protection schemes, allowing it to output uncompressed Blu-ray audio in all its glory. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are supported, as well, and the card is capable of feeding 7.1-channel, 24-bit/192kHz LPCM audio through its HDMI port. Asus isn't busting out a new audio chip for this latest Xonar. Instead, the card uses the same AV200 audio processor that we saw in the Xonar D2X, allowing it to take advantage of Asus' DS3D GX 2.0 EAX emulation scheme. The HDAV1.3 uses the same Burr Brown DACs, Cirrus Logic ADC, and National Semiconductor OPAMPs, too. This time around, however, the OPAMPs sit in sockets that allow particularly picky users to swap in their own chips.
Deluxe versions of the HDAV1.3 will come with a daughter card connected by a ribbon cable. Both cards will slide into PCI Express x1 slots, although it appears that the daughter card doesn't actually require electrical connectivity. On the main card, you get HDMI input and output ports, a shared line/microphone input, RCA front-channel output, and S/PDIF input and output ports. The daughter card expands the Xonar's analog output capacity, serving up RCA jacks to fill out the HDAV1.3's eight output channels.
Asus hasn't yet settled on pricing for the HDAV1.3, but we're told to expect the card to become available in mid-July.
BioShock 3 Might Accompany Feature Film Release
"It's more likely that [the BioShock movie] would be released coincidentally with BioShock 3," Zelnick said in an investors conference call, as reported by Kotaku.
BioShock 2, in development at California-based 2K Marin, is currently planned for a fall 2009 debut for yet unannounced platforms. Take-Two stated that BioShock creator Ken Levine will be involved in the development of the sequel, though his role on the project was not specified.
Zelnick has previously expressed interest in expanding BioShock into a full-fledged franchise, stating in an investor's conference call last year that an "every-two-year [release] schedule would be optimal."
Developed by 2K Games, the critically acclaimed and narrative-driven underwater shooter first appeared on the PC and Xbox 360 in August of last year. A long-rumored PlayStation 3 port of the title was recently slated for a release this coming fall.
IBM fills chips with water
Oh, those crazy kids at IBM's Z
EA officially reveals Crysis Warhead
Electronic Arts has officially unveiled the much talked-about Crysis Warhead.
It turns out it's a standalone expansion to Crysis and, despite much piracy belly-aching, will retain its PC exclusivity when it hits shelves this autumn.
Warhead retells the events of the first game through the eyes of Sergeant Sykes who his friends affectionately call "Psycho".
He, too, has a fancy nanosuit for throwing cars around and running as fast as a very fast dog, plus he's being treated to plenty more weapons and vehicles than there were in Crysis.
It will be the first game from Crytek Budapest, and is promising fresh multiplayer content on top of everything else.
"We were very pleased with the reception of Crysis from both gamers and media after our launch last year," said Crytek boss Cevat Yerli. "That being said, one of the key principles of our studio is to always raise the bar.
"With Warhead, we are focusing on refining our storytelling and game performance, while also delivering more of the visually stunning graphics and immersive, free-roaming gameplay everyone loved in Crysis."
Look out for more information on Crysis Warhead this summer.
Thanks to Smellybumlove [ Can I say that here? :) ] for pointing out the article.
'Duke Nukem Forever' Gameplay Video
In any event, Hall managed to talk the 3D Realms folks into talking about the game, which has been in development for what, a dozen years now? This would also seem to imply that the ShackNews demonstration was also legitimate.And yes, there's about 20 seconds or so of actual gameplay footage, which looks pretty polished. (And yes, it should be by now.) If you want to simply skip right ahead, it's about 4:20 in. Believe it or not, there seems to be some Duke Nukem Forever gameplay video available on the Web.
[Here's the NEW video]
German government approves anti-terror spyware
The German government yesterday passed a controversial anti-terror
law that would grant police the power to monitor private residences,
telephones and computers.
Instead of tapping phones, they would be able to use video surveillance and even spy software to collect evidence. Physically tampering with suspects' computers would still not be allowed, but police could send anonymous e-mails containing trojans and hope the suspects infect their own computers.
Government cyberspying, the legislators point out, would only be conducted in a handful of exceptional cases.
The bill, called a building block for Germany's security architecture by interior minister Wolfgang Sch
Teens' Nude Pics "Spread Like Wildfire"
Sometimes the photos end up in everyone's hands, via the Internet.
"It used to be that kids would make mistakes, and it was local and singular and everyone knew it was part of growing up," said Catherine Davis, who had a frank talk with her two sons after several students' nude self-portraits recently spread through the wealthy New York City-area suburb of Westport, Connecticut. "Now a stupid adolescent mistake can take on major implications and go on their record for the rest of their lives."
Such images are complicating the work of investigators whose job is to find exploited children. Authorities trying to identify youngsters in naked photos are increasingly discovering that the teens themselves took the shots, said John Shehan, a director at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
School administrators in Santa Fe, Texas, confiscated dozens of cell phones from students in May after nude photos of two junior high girls began circulating. The girls had sent the photos to their boyfriends, who forwarded them to others, officials said.
In La Crosse, Wisconsin, a 17-year-old boy recently was charged with child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child and defamation for allegedly posting nude photos of his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend on his MySpace page. The girl had taken the pictures with her cell phone at her mother's home and e-mailed them to the boyfriend, authorities said.
"They were pretty graphic," said sheriff's Sgt. Mark Yehle. "I think they just do it to impress their boyfriends. When he breaks up, he `vents,' in his words, by posting them. He apparently didn't think there was anything wrong with it. He didn't know it was illegal."
Psychologists said the phenomenon reflects typical teenage hormones and lack of judgment, with technology multiplying the potential for mischief. It also may reflect a teenage penchant for exhibitionism, as demonstrated on MySpace and countless other Web sites and blogs.
Brianna Moran, 15, who attends the same school as the girl in the La Crosse case, said she is not surprised by such behavior. "They probably think they're hot or something. If you look at people's MySpace, all the pictures are slutty," she said.
In suburban Syracuse, New York, several teenage girls sent naked pictures on their phones to their boyfriends, only to learn that another boy had collected them from the Web and was trying to sell a DVD of them.
Some boys are photographing themselves, too. In Utah, a 16-year-old boy was charged with a felony for sending nude photos of himself over a cell phone to several girls. Four middle school students - two boys and two girls - in Daphne, Alabama, took photos of themselves on their cell phones and traded the images back and forth, authorities said.
Connecticut police Sgt. Jim Smith, who investigates cybercrime and online child pornography, conducts seminars in which he warns parents about the use of cell phones to send nude pictures.
"It's often so spur of the moment that they're not thinking about where those images might end up," Smith said. "They might think it's just fun and games at the time they do it, but these images can really spread like wildfire."
AMD launches Puma notebook chip line
Advanced Micro Devices Inc is rolling out
a much-awaited line-up of chips for laptops, as Intel Corp's main rival
seeks to regain a competitive footing against the world's biggest chip
AMD, which in April posted its sixth consecutive quarterly loss amid missteps and market-share losses to Intel, said the launch of the processors and related parts, code-named Puma, is its largest-ever launch for notebook personal computers.
AMD counts more than 100 different notebook PCs designed to use versions of the Puma platform. "This is double the design wins over any previous mobile launches," Leslie Sobon, director of product marketing at AMD, said in a phone interview.
PC makers using Puma chips include Acer Inc, Asus, Dell Inc, Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV and Hewlett-Packard Co, she said. Prices for the mobile PCs will be mid-range for laptops, from about $700 up to $2,000. Most will be available in time for the back-to-school shopping season, and some will be available this week.
Growth in desktop PCs has been slowing for years, and the mobile segment is where the fastest growth is in the PC industry. Market research firm IDC predicts that consumers will buy more mobile PCs than desktop PCs by the end of this year.
"It is a good platform and I think the design wins are a testament to that fact," IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell said. "Everybody wants a serious competitor to Intel, you can't ignore that. But people aren't going to randomly take an alternative if it's not any good."
Sunnyvale, California-based AMD is offering three versions of the Puma platform -- a collection of the microprocessor, wireless chips to connect to WiFi, and related chips. Puma uses AMD's Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core processor as its brain.
At the cheaper end, AMD's new platform will use graphics technology integrated in the chipset, allowing video-gaming and also good enough to play back digital media seamlessly.