Friday Tech Roundup (29 November 2013): OCZ files for bankruptcy

OCZ SSD

By on November 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of the end of OCZ, the first official Steam Machine prototype, and Kano: the little computer that could, and hopefully will.

As OCZ breathes its last, will we wave goodbye to SSD innovation?

Popular SSD manufacturer OCZ Technology has filed for bankruptcy this week, after defaulting on certain operating ratios and covenants in its loan agreement with Hercules Technology Capital. OCZ was popular with PC enthusiasts for the performance to price ratio of its products, especially when compared to the prices of some of its big-name competitors, such as the Intel/Micron joint venture, the Sandisk/Toshiba joint venture, and Samsung.

With the closure of OCZ, we’re left with naught but the three big manufacturers on the market, the same three whose race to the bottom has forced out these smaller, more innovative ventures. (Via: PCAuthority)

iBuyPower announces the first official Steam Machine prototype

The first official third-party Steam Machine prototype has surfaced, and has been put together by iBuyPower. The prototype is quite powerful, with a multicore AMD CPU, a discrete AMD Radeon R9 270 GPU, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 500GB hard disk, and comes bundled with one of Valve’s Steam Controllers for US$499. According to a statement to The Verge, the box itself is bigger than a PlayStation 4, but smaller than an Xbox One. iBuyPower claim that the box will run any existing Steam for Linux games at 1080p, and 60fps.

Parallax compositing brings still photos to life

The Creators Project, an art/tech collaboration from Intel and Vice aims to “inspire new and emerging artists by showcasing the infinite possibilities presented by the advancement of modern technology.” One of the titular creators, graphic artist Joe Fellows, has produced a video that demos the process of animating a static photograph by using a technique called parallax compositing. The artist takes a photograph, uses Photoshop to define discrete layers using the content-aware feature, and then imports those layers into After Effects for animation. The result feels like a ponderous slow-motion glide through a scene. Check it out for yourself below. (Via: Tested.com)

Snowden’s “doomsday” cache of secrets to protect him from prosecution and harm

US and British intelligence officials are concerned that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden maintains a “doomsday” cache of highly sensitive classified information, such as previously unpublished names of US and allied intelligence personnel, and other documents generated by the NSA and other agencies. “The data is protected with sophisticated encryption, and multiple passwords are needed to open it, said two of the sources, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters,” Reuters reported. “The passwords are in the possession of at least three different people and are valid for only a brief time window each day, they said. The identities of persons who might have the passwords are unknown.”

University of Pennsylvania security and cryptography expert Matt Blaze is sceptical, however, saying that the description sounded as if it had been “re-written by bad sci-fi writer.” He illustrated his point with, “I assume the documents are in a booby-trapped attaché case with a flashing countdown timer.”

Kano promises to make the path to software development easier for kids

Tiny and cheap, the Raspberry Pi kit computer has long had aspirations of being a gateway to computer science for children, but the prohibitive complexity of getting started has caused it to fall short of this lofty goal. Kano is an upcoming open-source computer kit, based on Raspberry Pi, which comes with software and peripherals designed to make getting their start as easy for children as assembling a Lego model. Kano can be used to build simple games, such as Snake or Pong clones, or to create music, sounds and HD video. The Kano runs a Linux derivative, and uses custom coding software called Kano Blocks, which outputs Python and Javascript. Watch the video below for a demo of how to set up a Kano kit for first-time use.

21 comments (Leave your own)

Sucks to hear about OCZ, I bought stuff from them in the past and was satisfied with the quality.

As for steam box, gimme the controllers nao Valve D:

 

Bit of a shame with OCZ seemingly starting to get some momentum going over the last couple of years with their Everest controller success.

 

that steam box does look rather sexy and if it can take the role of my home theatre pc then I would definitely be considering it. My htpc is due for a major upgrade so this might save me some effort.

 

Between my friends and I we’ve had 8 OCZs and every single one has failed within a month.

My current one doesn’t even boot half the time (friend gave it to me after they bought a new one) and I’m still trying to get centrecom to refund me. That’s hilarious though. I imagine their warranty provision was through the roof if one of the debt covenants was based on the D/E ratio.

 

Have used my OCZ SSD for 3+ years and it still works flawlessly. Sad to see them go.

 

Unfortunately, it was really SandForce (responsible for the controllers in their Vertex line) that sunk OCZ. Their support system was terrible (but when aren’t they?) which didn’t help.

On the SteamBox side, $499 is damn cheap for that gear. With proper marketing and a good Linux line-up that could easily contend with the new consoles.

 

Sucks to see OCZ go but I agree with some others, they had a really shakey product with the 3 series SSD’s. I owned 3 of them (two agility 3′s and one vertex 3) and they all had major issues from new, even after many firmware updates.

Guess they innovated a little too much, introducing the new SATA 3 drives with the fastest read/write speeds going around at a decent price but with the downfall of basically using your customer base as beta testers for the new controller :(

 

+1 to having problems with OCZ ssd. The bsod stopped after a fiddly firmware update but I’ve gone back to intel for my OS ssd.

 

Only 3 big manufacturers?
Fujistsu, Mushkin, Crucial, Corsair come to mind along with the others. Those 4 are fairly big.

 

Don’t know about the others but I think Crucial is Micron.

 

Hace had plenty of issues with my OCZ vertex 2 ssd as well. From BSOD to not being able to update its firmware and randomly not detecting it at all, or just refusing to boot windows. Replaced it with an intel drive and all the problems are gone.

 

Not sad at all. They had the highest failure rate of all SSD manufacturers. You can’t shake that reputation easily no matter how hard you improve. We’ve had problems with OCZ drives at work and eventually moved to Intel drives (which cost more, but given the vastly improved reliability it’s worth it, and I guess since the taxpayer effectively pays for it we don’t care too much anyway).

 

I have a vertex 2 which has my steam games on it and it runs fine…now.
Soon after getting it I had to do a factory reset [which includes full wipe] because it entered whats called ‘panic mode’ and it had convinced itself it was broken.
reset fixed that though and its been fine for years now so far.

as for the “big players” people have to look at who really makes the device.
there are, I think, 2 companies that make RAM chips and then it comes down to who makes the controllers.

 

Been running my OS on an OCZ vertex 3 120GB for nearly 3 years. I did get the BSOD and was assuming it was the SSD due to all the issues people were having. Turned out it was dodgy RAM. The SSD is still going strong. Though i’m looking to upgrade soon as 120GB is just not enough!

I still have the Gold OCZ RAM sticks in my HTPC too!

 

Also running my OS on vertex 3 120GB, had stuttering issues when gaming when I 1st got it but an easy firmware update later and it’s been running fine for ~ 2 years

 
NoobyMcNoobnoob

sorry but i must be one of the unlucky ones, 2 ssd and 2 ram sticks didnt last 3 and 6 months respectively form me all ocz,

WD hdd’s and corsair ram still going 3+ years

 

Nearly every OCZ I’ve used in a machine has been fine, only one drive played up and it was one of those cache drives. Every now and then it suddenly appears on my mates machine, works for a few weeks then goes on holiday again.

I’m using exclusively Intel and Samsung now. Samsung for the 840 Evo and Pro series and intel for the 520/530 series. Until recently the Intel’s were the OS SSD’s but now using some of the Samsung’s due to good reliability and good price/GB ratio’s. The 840 Pro’s give insane performance too when needed.

 

LOL my ocz vertex drive failed and i got jacked around for 3mths by ocz before i rang PCCG and said WTF now have a Samsung been flawless since. Moral dont give a manufacture 5yr warranty and the flake out at the 3 yr mark cause you sell shit. Cheap Aussie yea …. nasty yea

On another note did they really need to kill forest to pack that computer in so many pcs why not just send it as a fully assembled pc in a box ….. i know i’m cynical but shite its a waste

 

At best you could say OCZ were hit and miss.
The quality control wasn’t good enough in the manufacturing.

 

my ocz ssd has been strong for 2 years now.

 
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