Plus, the Aussie-designed and developed home automation device that can track you through walls.
By Jason Imms on December 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm
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 Radeon R9 290X press board vs. retail board performance discrepancy, the surveillance petition to the US government from major US corporations, and the South Australian anti-gambling campaign that demonises videogames.
AMD Radeon R9 290X retail boards initially slower than press review samples
Multiple outlets have reported that Radeon R9 290X review samples provided by AMD have been outperforming the retail boards available to the public. The talented folks over at Maximum PC have performed a detailed analysis of the situation, and have found some interesting results that have to do with the card’s new variable fan speed and maximum clock speed tech. With the original Beta 9 drivers, there was a clear advantage found in the press review board for every single executed benchmark. After a statement from AMD that cited a driver issue as the root of the problem, new drivers were issued which improved the situation considerably, with a far more even spread shown in benchmark results. Maximum PC closes its analysis with a wary caution, and notes that the price-to-performance on the R9 290X puts the vanilla R9 290 on the top in terms of value for money. As always, check recent and trusted reviews before committing to a purchase.
South Australian government anti-gambling campaign demonises videogames
For someone into videogames, or for someone that encourages their children to try videogames, it will be difficult to look at the South Australian government’s latest anti-gambling advertising campaign and not take it personally. In a startling leap in logic, the slogan for the campaign reads “gambling starts with games,” and depicts a young girl using an iPad while sitting at a poker table with chips and cards strewn about. The URL for the campaign is www.NOGAME.sa.gov.au. In a statement to Gizmodo AU, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said “Our Children, Technology and Gambling policy is about ensuring young people experience the fun and social interaction of being online, while keeping them safe from harm. It is not about being the fun police. It is not about demonising people who play online games. The campaign is confronting – it depicts some of the very real dangers of gambling-like games and apps. But the key to our policy is working with parents and teachers to ensure young people make good choices about the games they play. It was never the intention of the campaign to target gaming and gamers. The campaign is about targeting those games that lead children into gambling and to help parents be better informed about the games their children are accessing. The Government will ensure that the future phases of the campaign make that clear.”
Major US corporations petition government on the topic of surveillance
Since Edward Snowden released information that shed light on just how much personal information is captured by the US government, a number of large corporations have worked together to put forward an open letter to Washington, calling for serious surveillance reform. Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple, Linkedin, Twitter, Yahoo, and AOL are all listed on the Reform Government Surveillance website as supporters of the initiative, with a number of CEOs quoted speaking out against unregulated government data mining. The reform is based on five principals: Limiting governments’ authority to collect users’ information, oversight and accountability, transparency about government demands, respecting the free flow of information, and avoiding conflicts among governments. For more detail, visit the Reform Government Surveillance website.
Latest US spy satellite is launched sporting an intimidating octopus
In related news, the US Office of National Intelligence recently tweeted a photo from the launch of its NROL-39 spy satellite, which has prompted some outcry for the tone-deaf logo adorning its side. With the slogan “Nothing is beyond our reach,” the mission patch features an interplanetary octopus wrapping its tentacles around the earth. “NROL-39 is represented by the octopus, a versatile, adaptable, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide, “ says National Reconnaissance Office spokesperson Karen Furguson. “’Nothing is beyond our reach’ defines this mission and the value it brings to our nation and the warfighters it supports, who serve valiantly all over the globe, protecting our nation.” NROL-39 was launched last Thursday, with a classified payload.
Ninja Sphere to automate your home with beautiful open source hardware
Ninja Blocks, a Sydney-based startup founded by Marcus Schappi, Madeleine, and Mark Wotton in January 2012, is currently raising funds for its new system to automate your home using beautiful new open-source hardware. The Ninja Sphere can be used to remotely control devices in your home such as lights or heating, track the location of your devices, houseguests, and pets using Trilateration, and provide warnings if intruders are in your home or moving your precious items. The Kickstarter video will provide clarification, though it should be noted that the system is still in development, and as such, many of the demonstrations have likely been staged for the video.