Also, the man behind the "Microsoft" phone scam has been captured and fined.
By Jason Imms on April 4, 2014 at 12:47 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 AMD’s new monstrous Radeon R9 295X2, John Carmack’s response to Facebook’s Oculus acquisition, and the Amazon Fire TV.
Radeon R9 295X2 specs leak, with photos
According to a report from our friends over at TechPowerUp, specs for AMD’s upcoming Radeon R9 295X2 monster-GPU have leaked, which show that the company is swinging hard for the benchmark set by Nvidia’s ludicrous GeForce GTX TITAN-Z. Radeon’s new baby, codenamed “Vesuvius,” supports a pair of 28nm “Hawaii” chips, each with every single one of their 2816 stream processors enabled, bringing the total count up to 5632. Each GPU is connected to 4GB of memory, totalling 8GB on the whole card, with the full 512-bit memory bus width enabled. The two scarily powerful 250W GPUs are to be cooled by a hybrid liquid/air solution, likely similar to that used by the Asus in their ROG ARES 2.
Amazon announces Fire TV set-top streaming box
At a press event in New York yesterday Amazon unveiled the Fire TV, a streaming box set-up to compete directly with the Apple TV, the Roku, and in some cases, the Ouya. Amazon maintains a number of services that offer a compelling value proposition to those interested in shelling-out for Amazon Prime, such as a large catalogue of movies and TV shows available for streaming, same-day shipping (in limited areas), and obviously their large library of books. By giving Prime account-holders access to the TV and movie catalogue in their living room, Amazon stands to reap some pretty significant rewards around the world. The box is somewhat standard hardware-wise, but includes an optional game controller for playing games designed for the system, including those that will be inevitably designed by Amazon Game Studios’ latest big-name hires, Portal designer Kim Swift, and Far Cry 2 designer Clint Hocking. It’s just a shame that the controller looks as though it was designed by someone who saw a controller once, from a great distance. Check out The Verge’s hands-on preview.
John Carmack breaks silence on Facebook’s Oculus acquisition
In a response to a blog post by chiptune musician Peter Berkman, Oculus CTO John Carmack has said that he “wasn’t expecting Facebook” to purchase the company he had joined in August 2013. “I wasn’t personally involved in any of the negotiations,” he said, “I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out he bought Oculus.” In response to the idea that Oculus abandoned its early supporters, Carmack said “There is a case to be made for being live Valve, and trying to build a new ecosystem like Steam from the ground up. This is probably what most of the fans wanted to see.” But that comparison doesn’t make sense, Carmack argues, because Oculus simply isn’t in the same position as Valve held when it retained sole control of the digital games industry for a number of years. Virtual reality is already being hotly contested by companies with the kind of resources of which Oculus could only dream. “The real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who,” says Carmack.
Smart skin patch delivers drugs on time and as needed
Current-day drug delivery systems are inherently flawed, because they either rely on the fallable patient to stay on top of their dosage, or they deliver a constant stream of therapeutics without being sensitive to the down-to-the-minute needs of the patient’s body. Fortunately, a group of South Korean researchers are developing a dermal patch that ensures that the patient is receiving their regulated dose of drugs, and is also capable of knowing when it is time to change that dosage. The 2-inch long patch is made of stretchable nanomaterials, and contains heat-activated silica nanoparticles that monitor muscle activity and release therapeutic agents based on the patient’s body temperature. Such a device is perfect for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, as the patch is able to monitor when the accompanying tremors have begun, and release a small amount of the appropriate drug.
“Microsoft” phone scammer caught and fined more than AUD$45,000
Most Australians that still have a landline have received calls from scammers claiming to be from Microsoft, who say that their computer is sending out “distress signals,” and that they can help. Unfortunately, those that aren’t tech-savvy enough to see the warning signs tend to fall for it, and end up following instructions to give the scammer remote access to their machine. The scammer then installs any number of viruses or extracts sensitive information, and charges the captive PC-owner upwards of £150 to install free Microsoft antivirus software. Well, BBC News has reported that one Mohammed Khalid Jamil, 34, from Luton, England has received a suspended four-month sentence and a £24,594 fine for running the scam, by employing India-based people to do his dirty work. It is however unlikely that this will spell and end to the scam.