Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for September 25th, 2017

theodp writes: In a slick new video, segments of which were apparently filmed looking out from Google’s Chicago headquarters giving it a nice high-tech vibe, Chicago Public Schools’ CS4ALL staffers not-too-surprisingly argue that creating technology is “a power that everyone needs to have.” In the video, the Director of Computer Science and IT Education for the nation’s third largest school district offers a take on why U.S. IT jobs were offshored that jibes nicely with the city’s new computer science high school graduation requirement. From the transcript: “People still talk about it’s all offshored, it’s all in India and you know, there are some things that are there but they don’t even realize some of the reasons that they went there in the first place is because we weren’t making our own.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Intel’s 8th-gen desktop CPUs boost gaming and streaming speeds

Posted by kenmay on September - 25 - 2017

Intel has launched its 8th-generation mainstream desktop chips, calling the flagship $359 Core i7-8700K its “best gaming desktop processor ever.” The six-core, 12-thread 3.7GHz chipboosts Gears of War 4 frame rates up to 25 percent compared to 7th-gen desktop chips . It can also do 4K video editing up to 32 percent faster. The best gains are with multitasking, as Intel says gaming, streaming and recording with Player Unknown: Battlegrounds will be 45 percent fast than before. What’s more, it can be overclocked to 4.7 GHz using Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0, and 5GHz and higher speeds are easily achieved with air or basic liquid cooling. The speed gains are even more impressive if your system is over three years old, but probably won’t push many folks with 7th-gen Intel chips into upgrading. For multimedia, it’s worth noting that Intel has implemented some new 4K tech, which will make for smoother streaming of 10-bit, HDR Ultra HD video now on services services like Netflix and many new 4K TVs. The 8th-gen Core i5 and Core i3 chips in the lineup might be more interesting for consumers. The Core i3 chips start at $117 and have quad-cores and base clock speeds up to 4 GHz, while the Core i5 models, starting at $182, are six-core units. Neither are multi-threaded, but four physical cores and four threads is a lot better than two cores and four threads, which is what the i3 lineup had before. If you have Intel’s 7th-gen Core i7 chip and want to upgrade to get every ounce of gaming or graphics speed, it’s not as simple as a chip swap. The new CPUs will require Intel’s Z370 chipset-based motherboards, so they’re not at all compatible with whatever model you have right now. That chipset has a few advantages over the last gen, like improved power delivery for 6-core chips and better support for DDR4-2666 memory, but nothing dramatic. Some pundits have noted that Intel could have made them compatible with older motherboards, but elected not to . Intel is also touting its Optane storage for gamers, but as we’ve mentioned , this won’t help you much if you already have an SSD, and not at all if you have M.2 PCIe-based storage. The mainstream 8th-gen desktop chips are a bit less interesting than the 8th-gen laptop CPUs, which offered more performance than expected , Meanwhile, Intel recently unveiled the 7th-gen X-series i9 chips, which rocked up to 18 cores , dramatically boosting performance over the top-spec 10-core i7-6950X previous-gen models. The new eighth-gen desktop chips will arrive starting on October 5th, and as mentioned, the flagship Intel Core i7-8700K will cost you $359. Source: Intel

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Biologists find new hermit crab that uses living corals as shells

Posted by kenmay on September - 25 - 2017

A new species of hermit crab with feathery antennae has been discovered off the coast of Japan. What’s especially cool is that they use living corals as shells. (more…)

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Microsoft and Facebook’s massive undersea data cable is complete

Posted by kenmay on September - 25 - 2017

Last year, we reported that Microsoft and Facebook were teaming up to build a massive undersea cable that would cross the Atlantic , connecting Virginia Beach to the northern city of Bilbao in Spain. Last week, Microsoft announced that the cable, called Marea, is complete. Marea, which means “tide” in Spanish, lies over 17, 000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface and is around 4, 000 miles long. It weighs 10.25 million pounds. The data rates (which let’s face it, that’s what we’re all really interested in) are equally staggering: Marea can transmit at a rate of 160 TB/second. And it was finished in less than two years. What’s really interesting about Marea, though, is that it has an open design. This means that Microsoft and Facebook are trying to make the cable as future proof as possible. It can evolve as technology changes and demands increase for more data and higher speeds. Its flexibility means that upgrading the cable and its equipment to be compatible with newer technology will be easier. If you’re interested in learning more about Marea, you can watch the recorded livestream of a celebration of the cable that happened last Friday. It’s nice to see tech companies working together, and on big projects that will help them meet future demands for Internet usage. Source: Microsoft

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A typography historian shares his favorite typefaces

Posted by kenmay on September - 25 - 2017

Paul McNeil just published his comprehensive typographical overview, The Visual History of Type . To celebrate, he also published a list of his six favorite faces for It’s Nice That, starting with the first compact italic: The Aldine Italic / Griffo’s Italic / 1501 Few typefaces have had as great an influence on Western culture as Francesco Griffo’s Italic. At the end of the 15th century, when most books were large and heavy, Aldus Manutius commissioned Griffo to cut this compact, inclined letterform. Easily legible at small sizes, the Aldine Italic permitted the production of small, affordable, portable books suited to the requirements of an educated, mobile class of literate individuals. Over the next three centuries, the practice of publishing changed everything. By allowing texts to be reliably reproduced and disseminated in an almost limitless time frame, it triggered new ideas that profoundly challenged all forms of institutional control, leading to dramatic religious reforms, radical socio-political changes, and to the scientific worldview that initiated the modern era. • The Visual History of Type (via It’s Nice That ) Image via ilovetypography.com

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