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Kingston's First NVMe SSD, The KC1000

Kingston has reintroduced the KC1000 NVMe SSD. We first saw the drive in January at CES, but the company wanted to hold the details until the official launch. Seemingly, that is in the very near future--mid June.
The KC series has historically targeted system builders and corporations upgrading systems en masse. Kingston released several client SSDs under the KC brand, and many of them were tuned for increased stability and longevity but share similar hardware with models from the standard consumer product line. The KC1000 press release seems to turn the tables and take this series in a slightly different direction.
 
"The demands of today’s performance power users are constantly being put to the test as new data-intensive applications push the boundaries of what can be achieved with even the market’s high performance professional workstations and most powerful gaming rigs,” said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. “KC1000 is the perfect solution to meet the needs of media and design professionals, gaming enthusiasts and anyone who needs ultra-low latency storage performance to end data bottlenecks. This native NVMe device offers one of the industry’s most powerful storage solutions for high-resolution content delivery, virtual reality applications, accelerated game play or a competitive edge for the creative professional on tight deadlines.”
 
Gamers, power users, and enthusiasts have always been directed to the HyperX brand, but in recent years that series shifted to target gamers exclusively. Kingston calls the KC1000 an "Ultimate Storage Upgrade for HD Video, PC Enthusiasts, Gaming and More." The release later identified a list of specific application categories the series will perform well in:
 
High-resolution video editing Virtual and augmented reality applications CAD software applications Streaming media Graphically intensive video games Data visualization Real-time analytics  
It seems the KC series may begin to target a wider audience with the introduction of the first Kingston NVMe SSD.
 
 
The KC1000 series ships in three capacity sizes, but there are a total of six product SKUs. For each capacity, the drives ships as either a bare drive or with a half-height, half-length (HHHL) add-in card adapter. The performance coming from the Phision PS5007-E7 controller paired with Toshiba 15nm planar NAND looks strong. The sequential read performance reaches 2,700 MB/s, and the sequential writes are 900 MB/s for the 240GB model and 1,600 MB/s for the two largest-capacity drives. Random performance is also impressive, with up to 290,000 IOPS (225,000 for the 240GB). Users can reach up to 190,000 random write IOPS.
 
Kingston backs the KC1000 series with a generous five-year limited warranty with ample endurance figures that reach as high as 1PB for the 960GB drive.
Read more...
  • Game Directory


    Intel’s Core i9 Extreme Edition CPU is an 18-core beast

    At one of the most exciting – but least surprising, thanks to a series of leaks and rumors – announcements at Computex 2017, Intel unveiled its powerful new line of Core X-Series processors, including the beastly 18-core Core i9 CPU.
    The Intel Core i9 is the world's first ever consumer desktop CPU with 18 cores and 36 threads – out gunning even AMD's upcoming Ryzen 9 Threadripper CPU, which is due to come out with 16-cores. It is also the first ever teraflop desktop CPU, according to Intel.
     

     
    Last year at Computex, Intel unveiled its first 10-core consumer CPU, the company's move into the world of a "megatasking." It was a pricey chip, launching at around $1,700, but it satisfied the needs for users who needed to juggle several intensive tasks at once. Now, Intel is upping the ante with a whole new family of processors for enthusiasts, the Core X-series, and it's spearheaded by its first 18-core CPU, the i9-7980XE.
    Priced at $1,999, the 7980XE is clearly not a chip you'd see in an average desktop. Instead, it's more of a statement from Intel. It beats out AMD's 16-core Threadripper CPU, which was slated to be that company's most powerful consumer processor for 2017. And it gives Intel yet another way to satisfy the demands of power-hungry users who might want to do things like play games in 4K while broadcasting them in HD over Twitch. And as if its massive core count wasn't enough, the i9-7980XE is also the first Intel consumer chip that packs in over a teraflop worth of computing power.
     
    Its full name is the Intel Core i9-7900X X-series processor, and this first version will be made available with 10 cores and 20 threads, with 18, 16, 14 and 12 core variants coming soon.
    The 10-core i9 variant will come with a base clock speed of 3.3GHz, Inel Turbo Boost Max technology, which ups the frequency to 4.5GHz, 13.75MB of L3 cache, support for 4 channels of DDR4-2666 RAM and a TDP (thermal design power) of 140W. At launch it will cost $999 (around £780, AU$1300).
    The 18-core Core i9 7980XE, along with the 16-core Core i9 7960X, 14-core Core i9 7940X and 12-core Core i9 7920X should follow soon.
    All will come with up to 44 PCIe lanes and support for Intel Optane memory.
     

     
    Keeping it in the X-Series family
    While the new Core i9 CPUs are understandably stealing the limelight, Intel also revealed the rest of the X-Series family of processors, which Intel says is its most "scalable, accessible and powerful desktop platform ever", and covers a range of processors with 4 to 18 cores.
    These eighth generation Core processors offer a 30% performance improvement over the current seventh generation CPUs, according to Gregory Bryant, corporate vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation, who took to the stage at Computex to announce the new generation.
    These CPUs will also be up to 10% faster for multi-thread performance, and up to 15% faster for single-thread performance compared to the current generation of Core processors. These new processors will make use of Intel's new X299 chipset, which comes with improved I/0 capabilities.
     

     
    Gaming, and virtual reality in particular, will benefit from these new processors, according to Intel, and will also improve streaming for gamers who want to show off their gameplay.  
     
    At the launch event Intel demoed a PC running a Core X-Series processor that was live streaming someone playing a virtual reality game to Twitch. Thanks to the power improvements of the new CPUs, the PC was able to simultaneously broadcast a number of views and angles of the gameplay live – something that would normally take a number of separate PCs to achieve.
     
    It's all very exciting stuff, and Intel said that we should see many Core X-series processors available to buy by the holiday system this year. Maybe even in time for Black Friday, we hope.

    Kingston's First NVMe SSD, The KC1000

    Kingston has reintroduced the KC1000 NVMe SSD. We first saw the drive in January at CES, but the company wanted to hold the details until the official launch. Seemingly, that is in the very near future--mid June.
    The KC series has historically targeted system builders and corporations upgrading systems en masse. Kingston released several client SSDs under the KC brand, and many of them were tuned for increased stability and longevity but share similar hardware with models from the standard consumer product line. The KC1000 press release seems to turn the tables and take this series in a slightly different direction.
     
    "The demands of today’s performance power users are constantly being put to the test as new data-intensive applications push the boundaries of what can be achieved with even the market’s high performance professional workstations and most powerful gaming rigs,” said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. “KC1000 is the perfect solution to meet the needs of media and design professionals, gaming enthusiasts and anyone who needs ultra-low latency storage performance to end data bottlenecks. This native NVMe device offers one of the industry’s most powerful storage solutions for high-resolution content delivery, virtual reality applications, accelerated game play or a competitive edge for the creative professional on tight deadlines.”
     
    Gamers, power users, and enthusiasts have always been directed to the HyperX brand, but in recent years that series shifted to target gamers exclusively. Kingston calls the KC1000 an "Ultimate Storage Upgrade for HD Video, PC Enthusiasts, Gaming and More." The release later identified a list of specific application categories the series will perform well in:
     
    High-resolution video editing Virtual and augmented reality applications CAD software applications Streaming media Graphically intensive video games Data visualization Real-time analytics  
    It seems the KC series may begin to target a wider audience with the introduction of the first Kingston NVMe SSD.
     
     
    The KC1000 series ships in three capacity sizes, but there are a total of six product SKUs. For each capacity, the drives ships as either a bare drive or with a half-height, half-length (HHHL) add-in card adapter. The performance coming from the Phision PS5007-E7 controller paired with Toshiba 15nm planar NAND looks strong. The sequential read performance reaches 2,700 MB/s, and the sequential writes are 900 MB/s for the 240GB model and 1,600 MB/s for the two largest-capacity drives. Random performance is also impressive, with up to 290,000 IOPS (225,000 for the 240GB). Users can reach up to 190,000 random write IOPS.
     
    Kingston backs the KC1000 series with a generous five-year limited warranty with ample endurance figures that reach as high as 1PB for the 960GB drive.

    Play FiveReborn LAN

    Select System: Windows Support Status: How To
    This tutorial is for those guys who want to play FiveReborn offline in LAN since they have a college proxy, or no internet access.
    To the Moderators :- Please add this to the FAQ. The part that you need to have FiveReborn.exe.dev for inst mentioned anywhere in the forums, no one
     
    Get GTA V. Now, install FiveReborn as given in the forums. Get the Enhanced Reborn trainer and install it. Use the Release or the Beta. I recommend the Beta. For hosting the server, make sure to open citmp-server.yml and change Announce=True to Announce=False. For using the client, just create a copy of FiveReborn.exe in the same folder and rename it to FiveReborn.exe.dev. Make sure you run FiveReborn.exe in Windows 7 Compatibility mode and as Admin. Now, you’ll need to make a hotspot with your mobile phone or router to create a LAN network. Now, open cmd and type in “ipconfig” without quotes. Search for the Ipv4 address and note it down. IF your university has a proxy server AND IF you are just connecting to a FiveReborn local server:-
    Disconnect your internet, start FiveReborn.exe and once it loads, reconnect your internet. IF your university has a proxy server AND IF you are hosting a FiveReborn local server AND connecting to your server:-
    Connect your internet, start the server, Disconnect the internet, start the client, and Reconnect.
    (Note: If you don’t disconnect your internet and start FiveReborn client, Social Club hangs infinitely. If you disconnect your internet and start FiveReborn server, it doesn’t start.) Now, if you get a black screen even after waiting for like 3 or 4 min, just try to close it by right clicking its entry on the taskbar and clicking on close. It’ll then load. Click on the settings wheel icon on the top-right, and type in that ip that you’ve noted and also set a username. Click on connect. Enjoy FiveReborn.

    Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

    After the first few hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda, I was discouraged--maybe even a little distraught. Within that short span of time, I'd already encountered unconvincing animations, bog standard missions, clunky user interface, stilted dialogue--basically every red flag you hope to avoid when approaching a lengthy shooter-RPG powered equally by action and story.
     
    Thankfully, Andromeda did improve. As I progressed, I unlocked exhilarating new combat options, met characters with deeper appeal than my initial crew, and discovered freely explorable worlds that finally fulfilled the series' decade-old planet-hopping promise. And yet, some of those early problems persisted throughout, and while I did catch glimmers of the original trilogy's greatness, that shine was often dulled by lifeless dialogue, tedious missions, and even technical shortcomings.
     

     
    To its credit, Andromeda boldly abandons the familiar. In place of the iconic Commander Shepard, we have Ryder, the daughter (or son) of a man chosen to lead one of four arks filled with intergalactic explorers looking to found colonies in a distant star cluster. Several disasters later, Ryder inherits her dad's job, and while the moments leading to and including that scene are pretty hackneyed, the stakes really sink in once you reach the Nexus--Andromeda's version of the earlier games' Citadel.
     
    Here you discover the other three other arks have gone missing and that the Nexus, which arrived ahead of the arks, has suffered every setback imaginable, from growing food shortages to a veritable civil war. With leadership in shambles and no resources to revive the cryogenically frozen colonists, the sudden arrival of an ark immediately lands Ryder in an uncomfortable position of power. In practice, the scenario felt more believable than typical "you are the chosen one" cliches. I understood why those characters would look to me and felt the weight of their desperation. So when the Nexus gradually sprang to life as I started fixing problems, I felt genuinely accomplished.
     
    In parallel with this more broadly-focused narrative--which encompasses much of the side content--the central storyline revolves around an evil alien race and its delusional, narcissistic leader, who poses a more immediate threat than food shortages. He's less one-dimensional than he initially seems, but the plot is largely predictable in a mindless blockbuster sort of way. The two stories intersect occasionally, and both pay off in the end.
     
    Truthfully, Andromeda's story problems stem more from delivery than from plot. The vast majority of Andromeda's characters are just dull, and conversations rarely delve deeper than arduous "get to know you" small talk. No one yells or cries or expresses any measurable emotion at any point, even when they explicitly talk about their feelings, and there's no Tyrion Lannister or Francis Underwood to keep things interesting. There was plenty of room for Game of Thrones-style power struggles on the Nexus, yet all political disagreements are merely mentioned without being explored. Even romance options feel stilted, and the culminating scene I unlocked for successfully wooing a crew member was not as explicit or exciting as you might expect.
     
     
    Worse still, your agency in these conversations is limited. Sure, you can periodically select from up to four dialogue options, but these frequently boil down to "be optimistic" or "be realistic." On paper, this system improves over the rigid renegade/paragon dichotomy of the original series, but in practice, the various options felt only superficially different. And regardless of what I picked, my inputs only rarely impacted the outcome. Even when I tried to be rude, characters generally found a way to shrug it off. And after beating the campaign, I can only recall one major decision that had serious repercussions, and even that felt contrived. It also paled in comparison to the memorably gut-wrenching choices forced on me in the original games.
    In fairness, Andromeda did sometimes surprise me with poignant moments, like my crew comforting me in a dark hour and a conversation with my partner AI about the meaning of life. The game just buries these gems under hours of empty or even cringe-worthy interactions filled with heavy-handed themes, awkward lines of dialogue, and weird idiomatic phrases that felt out of place in a far flung galaxy. What person says "What's the word on the street?" without irony in 2017 let alone 600-plus years in the future?
     
     
    Combat's one major flaw is the crafting system. I would call it more of a missed opportunity than a problem, but crafting is often the only way to get the weapons and armor you actually want, which means hours of scanning objects to accrue research points and many headaches dealing with the messy UI. Even bare essentials like comparing weapon stats can be tricky or even impossible. The crafting and loadout stations are also at opposite ends of the Tempest, which routinely forced me to run back and forth to get things done. You will occasionally find loot around the world, but it's severely utilized as a reward mechanic. I felt deeply satisfied when I finally completed my perfect loadout, but I'm not sure it was worth the energy.
    Crafting isn't Andromeda's biggest time-waster, however. That would be its tedious missions. Far too many open world quests--even some that feel important or come packaged in an interesting premise--devolve into multistep "go here, hit a button" errands. There's always another navpoint somewhere across the map or an NPC who needs exactly three items or a crucial datapad that's unexpectedly missing when you arrive. I frequently felt like an intergalactic errand boy, mindlessly scanning everything in sight so my omniscience AI partner could do whatever the situation required and give me a new waypoint to reach.
     
    These missions aren't all bad, per se, but they desperately needed some editing--or at least a wider variety of gameplay scenarios. Forcing players to repeat the exact same action three times or drive across the map to interact with one prompt isn't fun--it's padding. The campaign and crew loyalty missions provide better crafted experiences, but there's no avoiding at least some of the unimaginative tedium, especially since you rarely receive enough information upfront to really know what you're getting into.
    There is plenty to do outside of missions, however. Andromeda includes a somewhat convoluted meta-game that challenges you to raise planets' viability levels by establishing outposts and completing other quests. You can also hunt for "memory triggers" left by your father that eventually reveal a few interesting secrets. And then there's mining, which uses a hot/cold indicator to let you hunt for crafting resources while driving across the worlds; space travel, which lets you jump from to location to location, scanning planets for XP; and strike teams, which give you the option to send unseen groups of soldiers out on missions or earn additional rewards by jumping into a cooperative multiplayer horde mode match. Individually, these elements don't add much, but collectively, they do round out the sci-fi fantasy.
     

     
    Unfortunately, there's a dark cloud hanging over all of this: technical issues. Sure, the facial animations really don't look great, but the problems run deeper. On PS4, the framerate was all over the place both in and out of action. On both PS4 and PC, I encountered several audio issues, most notably multiple lines of dialogue playing at the same time, covering each other. I also saw other random glitches like characters that failed to load during conversations, exiting a conversation to find myself a room away from where I was previously, and enemies that fell into the level geometry. None of these issues rendered the game unplayable, but they were noticeable and pervasive.
    In many ways, Andromeda feels like a vision half-fulfilled. It contains a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly. Its worlds and combat shine, but its writing and missions falter--and the relative strength of the former is not enough to compensate for the inescapable weakness of the latter. As a Mass Effect game, Andromeda falls well short of the nuanced politics, morality, and storytelling of its predecessors. For me, the series has always been about compelling characters and harrowing choices, so to find such weak writing here is bitterly disappointing. Yet even after 65 hours, I still plan on completing a few more quests. The game can't escape its shortcomings, but patient explorers can still find a few stars shining in the darkness.

    Kong: Skull Island Review

    In the final days of the Vietnam War, secretive organisation Monarch secures government funding to lead an expedition to a recently discovered island in search of new species. And they find them. Boy, do they find them.
     
    There’s a tale from the set of Kong: Skull Island that goes like this: faced with imagining the giant ape the audience would see standing in front of him, Samuel L. Jackson asked three questions. “How big is it? How fast is it? What it do?”
     
    What it does and how fast it is will be familiar to anyone who’s seen the beast on screen before. It wrestles similarly huge creatures, has a strained relationship with man (mostly man’s fault) and is far quicker than any human (so it’s best not to get caught at the back of a fleeing group). But that question of size? That’s where things have changed
     
    This is the second film in Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse, following Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, and the plan eventually is to have the two creatures face off. And 25 feet of ape (size taken from the Peter Jackson version, other heights are available) isn’t going to last long against 350 feet of nuclear-powered Japanese lizard, no matter how angry he is. As a result, while still noticeably smaller than Godzilla at 104 feet, this is the biggest Kong has ever been on screen. He’s also the best thing in this hit-and-miss adventure. Fur and sinew moving naturally, he feels tangible — as though he really is swatting helicopters out of the sky or taking a moment to admire the Southern Lights. He’s also got greater depth to his personality than most of the humans.
     

     
    Close behind Kong are the rest of the creatures. Spiders, stick insects and squid (all giant varieties) call the island home, and are on hand to terrorise the new arrivals. But most frightening of all are the Skullcrawlers — giant, bipedal lizards who killed Kong’s family and, given the chance, would wipe out all human life on the island. Their skeletal heads may look like the Maitlands’ first pointy-faced attempts at being scary in Beetlejuice, but they’re no less effective once you’ve put that to the back of your mind. And when all these beasties are doing battle, that’s when the film flies.
     
    But we do have to address the humans. A fair number head out to Skull Island, with many of the faceless ones dying in the initial battle with Kong — he taking none too kindly to them dropping seismic charges (bombs, basically) on his home. Of the survivors, few make much impact. The leads are lumbered with dull characters introduced with leaden dialogue — Brie Larson’s photographer Mason Weaver is asked within moments of her first appearing, “Why do you want a gig documenting a mapping mission when you’re up for the cover of Time?” It’s about as subtle as the thud of a giant ape stamping on you.
     

     
    Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but it’s the two actors with a prominent middle initial who leave the biggest impression. (OK, it definitely is a coincidence.) John C. Reilly’s marooned World War II soldier adds much-needed levity, although he does feel like he’s in a different film to everyone else. So it’s left to Samuel L. Jackson — all bulging eyes and Ezekiel 25:17 intensity as vengeful Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard — to keep the energy high when the monsters are elsewhere.
     
     
    Two films in to the MonsterVerse and it’s been a mixed start — both Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island fumbling the human characters, but nailing the kaiju. There’s potential, it’s just yet to be fully realised. Of the two, Kong is the more entertaining film, so we’re moving in the right direction. Next up: Godzilla: King Of Monsters in 2019. Lessons learned here, perhaps that can be the film that finally nails it.
     
     

    The All Controller: A Universal Game Gamepad Prototype

    a YouTube channel hosted by Shane Luis, known for reviewing some very obscure game controllers and peripherals- has announced a project he, and a bunch of his colleagues have been working on behind the scenes: the ultimate video game controller.
     
     
    So far, this device is compatible with a whopping 7 platforms, including PC, Mac, Linux/Steam OS, PS3, PS4 Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Its built-in operating System and centered screen allows a player to customize every function including buttons, triggers, and even the controllers dead-zone independently from the console or PC you use it on, and you can even set macros for things like fighting games, and keep everything in an unlimited library of profiles you can create yourself.
     
    According to the All-Controller website, this item will have a Kickstarter campaign, beginning some time in March.
     

    25 million books are missing from UK libraries – but who's counting?

    Librarians call for a national audit after inventory count of Suffolk libraries reveals 10,000 books are missing, despite computer records saying otherwise
     
    The decline in books stocked by public libraries may be far worse than official figures indicate, with industry sources claiming that it may be many millions higher than the 25 million books recorded as missing, meaning that the number of books available to borrowers has plummeted by more than 50% since 1996.
     
    Librarians are calling for a national audit to reveal the true extent of the problem, with the news coming as the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) sent an open letter to chancellor Philip Hammond calling on him to increase funding for the sector, to protect it from irreparable decline as part of his strategy for economic growth.
     
    Official figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) for library books stood at 52.3 million at the end of 2016, a drop of almost 25 million since 1996. But that number reflects computer records rather than physical stock checks made by librarians. Earlier this week, it emerged that libraries in Suffolk had 10,000 fewer books than listed on its database after an inventory count by librarians. Insiders said similar disparities were likely to be reflected across the 151 library authorities in England and Wales because cutbacks had reduced librarians’ ability to do shelf counts.
     
    Library campaigner and former head of Waterstones Tim Coates said: “It’s not just Suffolk that has this problem. This is a national issue, because librarians are not doing enough stock checks because cuts mean they can’t do their job properly.” He added that throughout the book industry, it was acknowledged that inventory reviews always revealed there to be fewer books in store than databases suggested.
     

     
    Cilip chief executive officer Nick Poole agreed with Coates, and said that six years of austerity had left librarians unable to keep track of their book collections as well as in the past. “We need a national audit of what’s in our libraries,” he said. “Because we have had to pursue lots of other activities, we have taken our eye off the ball with books and they are absolutely at the core of what we do and why people use libraries.”
     
    Poole blamed the problem on swingeing cuts to budgets as a result of austerity measures imposed on local authorities by central government over the past six years. Cutbacks have resulted £25m being slashed from library budgets in just the past year. Since 2010, 8,000 librarians have been made redundant across England and Wales – a quarter of the workforce – while the number of libraries has fallen by 340 since 2008.
     
    The level of books stocked by individual libraries has also fallen dramatically. In 1996, the average library stocked 23,000 books, Coates said. “Since then we have removed the equivalent of 1,000 public libraries worth of books and the picture may be much worse once audited,” he added.
     
    Stock is lost through damage, loss and theft. In the past, books would be automatically replaced, but there is less money available in budgets to buy replacements. In Birmingham, savings of £113m imposed on the city council led to book budgets being suspended across its 38 libraries in 2015. Some branches appealed to the public to donate books less than a year old in order to maintain their collections.
     
    The head of one library authority told the Guardian they were confident that Suffolk’s missing stock levels were typical, but there was little money to fill holes. “Most stock budgets have gone down on the premise that we can buy more ebooks, but the money is spread thinner because we have to buy electronic copies on top of the paper copy of each title, so we can’t buy the multiple paper copies of books that we used to,” she said.
     
    Book budgets have been first in line for cuts because they were less visible to the public, she added. “People can see when hours are reduced or libraries closed, but stock budgets are not so obvious, so they are easier to cut.” Books not being replaced were most often children’s books, she said, and self-help books, a genre most likely to be stolen from her library.
     
    Council leaders laid the blame for the destruction of book stock firmly with central government. Ian Stephens, chair of the Local Government Association’s culture, tourism and sport board, said local authorities were doing everything they could to support libraries, but were “stuck between a rock and a hard place”. “On the one hand, demand for social care will create a funding gap of £2.6bn by 2020. On the other, councils have experienced a 40% reduction in central government funding over the last parliament alone, and serious funding pressures continue,” he told the Guardian.
     
    In his letter shown to the Guardian, Cilip’s Nick Poole called on the chancellor of the exchequer to ring fence library budgets in order to protect them from cash strapped councils trying to shore up frontline services. It also called for investment by central government in the sector in recognition of role libraries play in promoting knowledge, information and data, which, he said, were vital for the economic future of the country.
     

     
    Describing investment in the library and information sector as a “low-cost, high-impact” way to deliver the government’s goals of creating strong growth while maintaining low taxes, Poole wrote: “As a nation, at exactly the moment when we ought to be investing in literacy and skills, we have allowed at least 10% of our public libraries and many of our much-needed school libraries to close while many others have been forced to implement drastic reductions to opening hours and services.”
     
    Hammond had an opportunity to kick-start Britain’s knowledge economy by being the first UK chancellor to truly invest in our world-class library and information sector, Poole added. He warned: “If you don’t take this opportunity, there is a real risk that your government’s aspirations for a global Britain will be built on thin air.”
     
    The Libraries Taskforce, a government-appointed body, outlined a national strategy to tackle problems faced by libraries in December 2016. A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said ebook and e-magazine stock across the country had increased by more than 50% in the last year and added: “The Libraries Taskforce is committed to working with councils to improve procurement processes.”

    Resident Evil 7: biohazard PC

    Summary: Fear and isolation seep through the walls of an abandoned southern farmhouse. "7" marks a new beginning for survival horror with the Isolated View of the visceral new first-person perspective. Powered by the RE Engine, horror reaches incredible heights of immersion as players enter a terrifyingly new world of fear as they fight to survive.
     
    There was a lot riding on Capcom with Resident Evil 7. Proving time and time again that they simply didn’t understand why Resident Evil fans were so upset by their last few main series attempts, we were excited to see the publisher change up the formula once more after Resident Evil 6 confirmed to the masses that they simply didn’t have a clue. We were excited. Cautious, but excited. Thankfully, Resident Evil 7 wastes no time getting to the good stuff. Mia sent Ethan a message of her whereabouts after vanishing three years back, and Ethan deems this as good an excuse as any to go crawling back after the girl who walked out on their life together all those years ago. Vague at best, Ethan immediately walks out on his friends in a frantic mission to find her. Of course, that leads him to the Baker family home located off the beaten track on a farmyard in Dulvey, Louisianna. It’s always in the middle of nowhere. You know… except for Raccoon City.
     

     
    We could say it’s not all that it seems - but that’d be going the easy route. Nothing about a creaky, wooden house in the middle of nowhere ever seems 100% open to the public for a casual meet n’ great, but the Bakers welcome their visitors with open arms; they just expect them to be grateful for what they offer - regardless of what they’re giving.
     
    With over 20 people missing or unaccounted for across a 2 year span in the area, you’d have thought the Baker’s reign of terror would have been thwarted long ago. Judging from their reactions at the dinner table as the phone rang, the cops have certainly given it some thought. But they wouldn’t be able to handcuff what’s inside this house. Even if it’s hiding in plain sight. Thankfully, those phone lines act as somewhat of a saving grace for Ethan throughout the story. The girl on the other end offers him a sliver of hope when it comes to surviving the family’s wicked ways. You wouldn’t usually trust a mysterious voice on the other end of a phone line, but in this situation, anything can act as a reassuring safety blanket.
     
    Throwing you straight into the thick of it, it isn’t long before you slide your way into the lives of the Bakers. Seemingly summoned to their estate, the front gate is locked. Strange. It’s as if they want you to go in through the back entrance. Some families are just picky about that. Maybe they’re ashamed of their front of house offering, or maybe they’re just trying to keep the cold-callers away not expecting them to rummage around the trees to slip them a deal for 20% off their next takeout. The Bakers aren’t interested in trivial foods. They have their hunt walking right into their living room.
     

     
    Once you’re in, you’re in for a while. You’re in for a lot more than you bargained for, too. Welcome to the family, Son, indeed. It’s all they want for you. It’s all they want from you. Locating Mia right off the bat, even Ethan would have thought it was too good to be true. But with doors locking themselves behind you and walls being shockingly brittle, your world is about to get bigger, and smaller and bigger again. You’re never quite certain of your own safety in Resident Evil 7, and that’s just what we like to see.
     
    User reports would suggest Resident Evil 7 is about as long as you can make it. With some having a first run of around 6 hours with others stretching closer to 12, it’s all about how you as an individual react to the stimuli on offer. Like any good Resident Evil title of the past, creeping around dark corridors, fearing your next footstep and mentally mapping out the environment so you know exactly how to escape a turn for the worse is how it delivers its most shocking surprises. You’ll die in the next 5 seconds or just live to die another minute. There are plenty of moments where your own mental bullet count will fail you leading to the dreaded sound of an empty magazine with a Molded monstrosity staring you dead in the eye.
     
    If you go into this without any desire to be spooked, you can absolutely treat it like a close-quarters combat action game for the most part. Once you’ve been introduced to the whole family, you’ll slowly learn to deal with more hell-spawns of the house’s creation that either come at you ready to give you a good punching, or crawl along the walls with their heads on full show either gearing to take a chunk out your face or inviting your shotgun to make them a new one.
     

     
    Sometimes killing them all just isn’t an option. Whether you’re out to conserve ammo or simply too scared to face them head on, Capcom has taken their time to recreate almost everything that made Resident Evil 1 a resounded success in the early horror game movement. The house is silent before the howling winds shake the thin windows from their frames. The floorboards creek, the paintings on the walls make us question whether an art connoisseur could make sense of their tastes, while the framed view of the Arkley Mountains back in ‘91 make us long-time fans question just how this whole mess ties in with rest of the franchise. Did the Bakers pay a visit to the Spencer mansion? Did the man of house go from joining the Marines to having a hand in the development of Umbrella’s early experiments? It’s never really made clear, but it sure does add to the mystery.
     
    Long-time fans of the series will recognize some of the puzzles, too. Though some others are rather smart, there’s no pushing mundane objects aside for a gem to slot into a bird statue this time around - heck, there’s barely any pushing at all. But a plethora of switches and locked doors still threaten to keep the claustrophobic house wrapped tightly around your ankles just as you’d expect.
     
    Sadly, the puzzles are not all too difficult. Maybe growing up with the series has created a mind relatively immune to Capcom’s trickery; or maybe they just lost the guy who we held accountable for our early struggles. It’s all about shapes, keywords and neatly placed notepads in this one, so your quiet walk-about the estate isn’t much of a struggle on that front. But Resident Evil always has something else hiding beneath its obvious external layer. Something buried deeper beneath the skin.
     

     
    Coming from the days of being eaten alive by the shambling corpse of another man, Capcom has never been afraid to explore the utterly grotesque when it comes to their horror titles. Past games have included plenty of opportunities to watch your head be torn from your body in more ways than one, so you’d be naive to think you wouldn’t get another taste of that. Of course, with the game being in first person, it’d be difficult to show that exact method to its fullest - especially considering the fact that you don’t have a head to begin with. But between having your arm chopped off, reattached with staples and have it still function as the only limb in need of medical attention through the entire game, it’s up to the rest of the cast to demonstrate just how many pints of life juice can be spilled in one day.
     
    Whether it boils down to frantically plowing an old man with a car around a tiny garage or kicking the remains of another to get someone to stop waving a chainsaw at you, the boss battles of Resident Evil 7 are some of the most intense moments I’ve come across in a video game in recent memory. Think Deus Ex mechanics mixed with the gore of a modern horror movie and you have the principle of its early brawls - until things take an obscene turn with the more occult stuff later on.
     
    Sadly, however, the game never quite manages to emulate some of the finer points of the earlier Resident Evil games. Though notes are scattered all around its varied locations, the story pacing hits a turbulent stage early on. Within the first 20 minutes of the game, you’re already aware that the Baker’s aren’t simply your run-of-the-mill mental rednecks out in the boonies - but you don’t really get to delve into that side of things until quite a while after.
     

     
    The notes scattered around the house paint a picture of a family struggling to keep their maniac son under control - a son who’s obvious knack at electronics are made apparent not only by the traps he lays in his little party-house out back, but by the various competition trophies lining his bedroom walls. It begs the question as to whether the invoices left around the house speak of the puzzle installations as a way to keep its visitors from escaping, or simply as a means for Jack to nurture his son’s promising gift in the hopes of containing his over-active imagination.
     
    It isn’t until much later that you actually start to piece together just how the family managed to sink so low or why Mia was there in the first place. It gives you a sudden choice to make and uses that moment to force a switch of perspectives to have you play through most of its backstory in one go toward the very end of the game. It’s a pacing the original Resident Evil managed to spread evenly with its consistent notes hinting at something a little more out of the ordinary - but it did start with the shambling undead from the get-go.
     
    Performance and Graphics
    At times, the visuals still manage to feel a little dated with there being seemingly little difference between Medium and Very High quality textures; though with it being a generally dark and moody game, we can understand that you’re not supposed to be seeing every detail in the dimly lit environments. And for that reason alone, it’s enough to suggest you sacrifice the GPU memory in favor of some higher quality shadows and, if possible, a bump up in resolution.
    Even on an aged 2GB GTX 770, I had no problems playing through the entire game at 2560 x 1440 - with full 4K being plausible the vast majority of the time. It’s worth noting, however, that most of my testing was spent playing the game at 30fps, as it really doesn’t matter with a slow-paced game like this if it means you can focus on higher visuals throughout.
     
    RESIDENT EVIL 7 VERDICT
    Capcom came amazingly close to upstaging Shinji Mikami’s original horror classic, but a few oversights keep this one from really standing out as the cream of the crop for the series. A marvel when it comes to its ability to shake you to your core, its clearly a love letter to both those who adored the claustrophobic nightmares of the original games and those introduced to horror with more recent Hollywood attempts like The Conjuring and Insidious. It’s hard to imagine the formula working in their favor in the long run, but if it’s a reason to trust that the series could still be in the right hands with Capcom after all, we’re interested to see how they’ll carry on torch into the future.

    Asus Tinker Board Joins Raspberry Pi on the Bargain Tabl

    Just when you thought Raspberry Pi couldn't be knocked from its market-leading perch, along comes Asus with a rival device that may give the Pi a run for its relatively little money.
     
    Asus just launched its own low-cost computer, the Tinker Board, which is being sold in the UK and continental Europe for about US$57. Its features could interest open source enthusiasts in doing a little comparison shopping before deciding on a new device.
    The Tinker Board features a quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex A-17 CPU with ARM Mali-T764 graphics.
    The device includes four USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5 mm audio jack connection, CSI port for camera connection, a DSI port for HD resolution, a micro SD port and contact ports for PWM and S/PDIF signals.
    The Tinker Board supports the Debian OS with Kodi.
    A power supply is not included.
     
    Rival or Response
    "The Asus Tinker Board is not so much competition as extension of the Raspberry Pi ecosystem, and deeper it shows an extensible ARM ecosystem as well," said Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research. The Tinker Board runs a faster processor and like the Pi 3 model, implements WiFi and bluetooth wireless connectivity, he noted.
     
    "I don't believe anyone in the Raspberry Pi ecosystem is writing or using 64-bit software, so the Pi model 3 upgrade to ARMv8 is a bit mystifying, other than the BCM2837 processor was cheap, fast and available now," Teich told LinuxInsider.
     
    "The Asus part is substantially more powerful and uses about 25 percent more power," observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. The Asus system outputs 4K video, while Raspberry Pi uses HD, he noted.
     
    "This means the Asus part will perform far better when the performance requirement is higher and the need to keep energy cost down is lower," Enderle told LinuxInsider. The embedded space has proven to be relatively lucrative and can be a jumping-off point for even bigger markets and technology partnerships, so it's likely other manufacturers will enter this space as well, he suggested.
     
    Power Play
    The release comes about a week after the release of the Compute Model 3 from Raspberry Pi. That model is aimed squarely at expanding the range of the device to industrial uses and for the growing IoT audience.
     
    The Compute Model 3's standard model is priced at $30, and the Compute Model Lite is priced at $25. It has the same processor and RAM as the standard, but brings the SD card interface to the module pin, which allows users to connect it to an eMMc or SD card.
     
    The original Raspberry Pi's price was reduced to $25 when the Compute Model 3 launched.
    There has been demand in certain industries for a low-cost open source computer that provides robust capabilities for manufacturing and technical demands.
     
    "We don't see much mainstream enterprise demand for this type of compute model," said Jay Lyman, principal analyst at 451 Research, following the Compute Model 3's release last week.
     
    However, he told LinuxInsider, "we do think it is an attractive model for researchers and other HPC end users that are able to assemble and manage powerful compute capabilities for much less money and resources than is typically associated with supercomputing."
     
    By David Jones 
     

    Early access to iOS software

    Visit Website Select System: Apple
    If you can't wait to get your hands on all of Apple's next-generation iOS features, you can sign up to become a beta tester.
    The Apple Beta Software Program lets you try out pre-release software and give feedback, which Apple can use to improve the software's quality, find issues and fix them. As a member, you can enroll your Mac or iOS device and every time a public beta is released, as well as subsequent updates, you'll be able to access them from the Mac App Store or via iOS Software Update.
    The Apple Beta Software Program is open to anyone with a valid Apple ID who accepts the Apple Beta Software Program Agreement during the sign-up process. If you've ever downloaded an app or music track, you'll have an Apple ID. If you don't have an Apple ID, you can create one via the App Store. The program is free to join.
     
    To get started on the Program, set up an Apple ID if you don't already have one, and go to beta.apple.com.
    Click Sign up and enter your Apple ID and password. Sign in.
    Once you've signed in, both the MacOS and iOS public betas come with a built-in Feedback Assistant app. This is found on the second page of the Home screen on an iOS device or from the Dock on a Mac.
    The Feedback Assistant app is also available from the help menu of any app by choosing 'Send Feedback’. If you find an issue or something doesn't work you can send your feedback directly to Apple with Feedback Assistant.
     
    Membership does come with a couple of caveats, however. The public beta software may "contain errors or inaccuracies and may not function as well as commercially released software," explains Apple. Apple also added that the public beta software contains confidential information.
     
    "Don’t install the public beta software on any systems you don't directly control or that you share with others. Don’t blog, post screen shots, tweet, or publicly post information about the public beta software, and don't discuss the public beta software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the Apple Beta Software Program," Apple stresses.

    If you want to restore to a previous version of macOS or iOS you restore your device from the backup you created before installing the public beta. You can also leave the program at any time via Apple's Unenroll page. This will take you through the steps needed to disconnect your Apple ID.
     
    Credits:
    Wired & Apple
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