HTC releases the list of handsets that will get Android 4.0 update


After providing vague estimates for some time now, HTC has finally come clean with the full list of handsets that will be receiving the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update.

The lucky phones that will be getting the update are as follows.

The update for the Sensation and Sensation XE have already started rolling out in some regions and will roll out in others in the coming weeks. The update for the Sensation 4G and XL will follow shortly, along with the rest of the handsets. This is still incredibly vague and HTC should have at least provided a time frame if not the exact date.

Htc Velocity

Htc Velocity

Having said that, if you have the any of the aforementioned handsets, you can sleep well at night knowing that you will at least be getting the update, hopefully before the world ends.

What’s the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?


Author:David Parkinson

We take a look at Intel’s Sandy Bridge family of chips

Intel core i7

Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs have been around for over a year now, but some buyers still get stumped whenever they attempt to build their own systems and are forced to choose among the three. With the more recent Sandy Bridge architecture now on store shelves, we expect the latest wave of buyers to ask the same kind of questions.

Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 — the difference in a nutshell

If you want a plain and simple answer, then generally speaking, Core i7s are better than Core i5s, which are in turn better than Core i3s. Nope, Core i7 does not have seven cores nor does Core i3 have three cores. The numbers are simply indicative of their relative processing powers.

Their relative levels of processing power are also signified by their Intel Processor Star Ratings, which are based on a collection of criteria involving their number of cores, clockspeed (in GHz), size of cache, as well as some new Intel technologies like Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading.

Core i3s are rated with three stars, i5s have four stars, and i7s have five. If you’re wondering why the ratings start with three, well they actually don’t. The entry-level Intel CPUs — Celeron and Pentium — get one and two stars respectively.

Note: Core processors can be grouped in terms of their target devices, i.e., those for laptops and those for desktops. Each has its own specific characteristics/specs. To avoid confusion, we’ll focus on the desktop variants. Note also that we’ll be focusing on the 2nd Generation (Sandy Bridge) Core CPUs.

Number of cores

The more cores there are, the more tasks (known as threads) can be served at the same time. The lowest number of cores can be found in Core i3 CPUs, i.e., which have only two cores. Currently, all Core i3s are dual-core processors.

Currently all Core i5 processors, except for the i5-661, are quad cores in Australia. The Core i5-661 is only a dual-core processor with a clockspeed of 3.33 GHz. Remember that all Core i3s are also dual cores. Furthermore, the i3-560 is also 3.33GHz, yet a lot cheaper. Sounds like it might be a better buy than the i5. What gives?

At this point, I’d like to grab the opportunity to illustrate how a number of factors affect the overall processing power of a CPU and determine whether it should be considered an i3, an i5, or an i7.

Even if the i5-661 normally runs at the same clockspeed as Core i3-560, and even if they all have the same number of cores, the i5-661 benefits from a technology known as Turbo Boost.

Intel Turbo Boost

 

The Intel Turbo Boost Technology allows a processor to dynamically increase its clockspeed whenever the need arises. The maximum amount that Turbo Boost can raise clockspeed at any given time is dependent on the number of active cores, the estimated current consumption, the estimated power consumption, and the processor temperature.

For the Core i5-661, its maximum allowable processor frequency is 3.6 GHz. Because none of the Core i3 CPUs have Turbo Boost, the i5-661 can outrun them when it needs to. Because all Core i5 processors are equipped with the latest version of this technology — Turbo Boost 2.0 — all of them can outrun any Core i3.

 

Cache size

 

Whenever the CPU finds that it keeps on using the same data over and over, it stores that data in its cache. Cache is just like RAM, only faster — because it’s built into the CPU itself. Both RAM and cache serve as holding areas for frequently used data. Without them, the CPU would have to keep on reading from the hard disk drive, which would take a lot more time.

Basically, RAM minimises interaction with the hard disk, while cache minimises interaction with the RAM. Obviously, with a larger cache, more data can be accessed quickly. All Core i3 processors have 3MB of cache. All Core i5s, except again for the 661 (only 4MB), have 6MB of cache. Finally, all Core i7 CPUs have 8MB of cache. This is clearly one reason why an i7 outperforms an i5 — and why an i5 outperforms an i3.

 

Hyper-Threading

 

Strictly speaking, only one thread can be served by one core at a time. So if a CPU is a dual core, then supposedly only two threads can be served simultaneously. However, Intel has introduced a technology called Hyper-Threading. This enables a single core to serve multiple threads.

For instance, a Core i3, which is only a dual core, can actually serve two threads per core. In other words, a total of four threads can run simultaneously. Thus, even if Core i5 processors are quad cores, since they don’t support Hyper-Threading (again, except the i5-661) the number of threads they can serve at the same time is just about equal to those of their Core i3 counterparts.

This is one of the many reasons why Core i7 processors are the creme de la creme. Not only are they quad cores, they also support Hyper-Threading. Thus, a total of eight threads can run on them at the same time. Combine that with 8MB of cache and Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which all of them have, and you’ll see what sets the Core i7 apart from its siblings.

The upshot is that if you do a lot of things at the same time on your PC, then it might be worth forking out a bit more for an i5 or i7. However, if you use your PC to check emails, do some banking, read the news, and download a bit of music, you might be equally served by the cheaper i3.

At DCA Computers, we regularly hear across the sales counter, “I don’t mind paying for a computer that will last, which CPU should I buy?” The sales tech invariably responds “Well that depends on what you use your computer for.” If it’s the scenario described above, we pretty much tell our customers to save their money and buy an i3 or AMD dual core.

Another factor in this deliberation is that more and more programs are being released with multithread capability. That is they can use more than one CPU thread to execute a single command. So things happen more quickly. Some photo editors and video editing programs are multi-threaded, for example. However, the Internet browser you use to access Netbank or your email client is not, and is unlikely to be in the foreseeable future.

Hopefully this gives you some insight for your next CPU selection.

Happy computing!

David Parkinson is the managing director of DCA Computer Technologies a computer retailer and support provider. Read more articles at the DCA Computers blog, follow DCA Computers on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Timeline: Weapons technology


Explore the history of war and weapons with our timeline of weapons technology.

Please note, many of the technologies are difficult to attribute, and historical dates are often approximate.


400,000 BC


The earliest evidence of humans using spears, in a part of Germany now near Schöningen (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/385807a0).

However, one population of modern chimpanzees in Senegal uses spears to hunt bushbabiesMovie Camera, suggesting the technology may have been used by our most primitive ancestors.


40,000 to 25,000 BC


The atlatl, sometimes dubbed the Stone Age Kalashnikov, throws a flexible dart that can kill a deer at 40 metres. Developed in northern Africa, it spreads throughout the world, being later replaced by the bow and arrow.


23,000 BC


Boomerangs are strongly associated with Australia’s Aboriginal people, but were actually used as hunting weapons throughout Europe and Africa. Most boomerangs do not come back when thrown.

The oldest boomerang yet, 23,000 years, was made from a mammoth tusk and discovered in a cave in Poland (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/329436a0).


20,000 BC


The earliest arrowheads date from this time, suggesting that bows and arrows were in use.

Some believe they were invented much earlier, pointing to a single 60,000-year-old stone that may or may not be an arrowhead.

A thorough analysis of projectile points from archaeological digs around the world suggests that projectile weapons were not in widespread use before 50,000 years ago (Journal of Archaeological Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2005.10.015).


5300 BC


Horses are first domesticated, on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

As well as revolutionising transport in general, horses are instrumental in the history of warfare. Only in the 20th century, with the appearance of rapid-fire weapons such as machine guns, do armies turn away from a reliance on horses.

5000 BC

The Bronze Age enables the development of the first metal daggers, and later swords.


By 1000 BC, swords are intertwined with Celtic mythology and ritual in Britain, reflecting their importance in society. Perhaps echoed by the Excalibur myth, swords are ceremonially placed in rivers, possibly as offerings to gods (see The swords that had to die).


500 BC


The traction trebuchet is thought to have been developed in China around this time. Powered by teams of about a dozen people, it could sling balls of rock as far as 125 metres. Around the same time, the ancient Greeks develop their own siege weapon, the ballista, a kind of scaled-up crossbow.

The traction trebuchet was long considered to be folklore, until a working model was built in 1991 and shown to be effective. It was eventually replaced by the counterweight trebuchet, which is driven by a falling weight rather than manpower, in the Middle Ages.

800 to 1300 AD

Gunpowder is invented in China. This leads rapidly to a primitive firearm, the “fire lance”, the first rocket, known as the “fire arrow”, and primitive bombs under the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279) – new technology partly driven by aggressive neighbours like the Jin Dynasty to the north.


1200 to 1600


The Golden Age of Islam (600 to 1600 AD) rescues the advances of classical civilisations after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Firearms technology develops rapidly and Egyptian soldiers are the first to use hand cannons and other small arms at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.

However, Islamic science declines from the 17th century onwards.


1415


The Battle of Agincourt marks the zenith of mediaeval longbow technology. An English army with a high proportion of archers decimates a French army five to 10 times larger.

See The longbow’s deadly secrets


1368 to 1644


China’s Ming Dynasty drives firearms technology forwards. Developments include the matchlock, which eliminates the need to fire a gun with a hand-held match; the musket; and the naval mine. The dynasty’s new technologies are eventually collected in the Huolongjing: a treatise on warfare by Jiao Yu and Liu Ji.

1750 to 1800s

Rockets become a permanent fixture on the battlefield, having gone in and out of fashion over the centuries

Indian Sultan Fateh Ali Tippu successfully deploys rocket artillery against the British, leading inventor Sir William Congreve to develop his own version, the Congreve rocket.


1775


The first submarine used in battle, Turtle, is created by American David Bushnell. The technology remains crude and unsafe for many decades, though several subs are used in the American Civil War (1861 to 1865).


1803


The British army begins using shrapnel shells (invented earlier by the Chinese), named for their inventor Henry Shrapnel. They contain a large number of bullets released at high velocities on detonation. They are eventually replaced by high-explosive shells during the first world war.


1836


American inventor Samuel Colt patents a “revolving gun”, which improves on several previous designs. Soon renamed the revolver, it is faster to reload than any other firearm, and remains popular today.


1851 to 1861


The first machine guns appear. The Belgian army’s multiple-barrelledmitrailleuse is soon followed by the Gatling gun – the first gun that can be continuously fired.


1862


The USS Monitor, the first iron-clad warship, launches from New York.

It is designed by Swedish engineer John Ericsson, who had come close to beating steam locomotive Stephenson’s Rocket in the competition that made it famous. Ericsson subsequently spends many years experimenting with solar power.


1876 to 1883


Schoolteacher John Holland builds the Fenian Ram, a military submarine, for a band of Irish rebels in the US.

Unlike any previous submarine it has a streamlined shape. However, the rebels are unreliable employers and Holland leaves them in disgust. The sub is never used in anger.


1884


Hiram Stevens Maxim produces the first fully automatic machine gun: the Maxim gun.

In later life, crippled by bronchitis, he develops an early inhaler.


1893


After the assassination of Chicago’s mayor, local priest Casimir Zeglenmakes the first bulletproof vest that did away with heavy plates of metal. It is made largely from woven silk and works, but still fails to take off.


1909


Hiram Stevens Maxim’s son, Hiram Percy Maxim, obtains a patent for a gun silencer.


1914


During the first world war, the British army introduces the first tanks.


1942


The Manhattan Project, the United States’ attempt to build the first nuclear bomb, begins under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer.


1945


The first successful test of a nuclear bomb is carried out in New Mexico, on 16 July.

On 6 and 9 August, bombs are dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshimaand Nagasaki, effectively ending the second world war and ushering in a new age of nuclear weaponry.


1952


The first fusion, or hydrogen, bomb is tested by the US in the Marshall Islands.

They use X-rays from a nuclear fission explosion to trigger nuclear fusion reactions between atoms of the hydrogen isotope tritium, like those that take place inside the sun.

A single warhead can be thousands of times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.


1953


The first maser (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is built at Columbia University. It produces a tight beam of microwaves. Originally hailed as a “ray gun”, it proves impractical as a weapon.


1960


The laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) isdemonstrated for the first time. It produces a beam of red light.

Lasers find a myriad of uses in society, and in warfare are used for targeting of missiles and other weapons, and as an alternative to radar. Variousprototype laser weapons are under development.


1960 to 2000


The Soviet Union begins developing a supercavitating torpedo in the 1960s. By exploiting the way water forms bubbles around fast-moving objects the Shkval can travel at 500 kilometres an hour. It is only completed in the early 1990s.

The US develop their own in 1997 and 10 years later start working on carrying humans in a supercavitation craft.


1974


The first Taser is built after five years of work by NASA researcher Jack Cover.

Billed as a non-lethal weapon, the electric stun gun is now used by police forces around the world. However, claims have been made that it is frequently abusedMovie Camera and may cause lasting harm.


1997


The US carries out its first test of an anti-satellite laser.


1999


Experiments with radioactive hafnium are used to argue it is possible to make a simple device that releases a massive amount of gamma rays comparable to a nuclear bomb. No definitive evidence to back up the theory has been released, despite millions of dollars invested by the US military.


2001


US president George W Bush proposes a national missile defence shield. The scheme meets with stinging criticism and the technology repeatedly fails to deliver in tests.

The Active Denial System, a directed-energy weapon intended to harmlessly drive people away, is tested by the US government. The device uses a microwave beam to produce a sensation of intense heat, forcing people to move away. Despite concerns about safetyportable versions have been mooted for police.


2002


For the first time, a high-energy laser is used to shoot down artillery fire.

The Pulsed Energy Projectile (PEP), a laser that can knock you off your feet, is developed.


2007


Australian weapons company Metal Storm files a key patent for its gun, whichfires a million rounds a minute.


2008


In another milestone for high-energy lasers, the Airborne Laser is fired from an aircraft for the first time.

Also, Stellar Photonics begins testing of their experimental Plasma Acoustic Shield System, which generates a dazzling series of mid-air explosions by blasting balls of plasma with high-powered lasers.


2009


A US government report advocates using neuroscience to enhance soldiers’ abilities.

Google+ leaves trial beta, now open for all; adds mobile Hangouts (for Android 2.3 with front camera)



 

If you have been waiting to jump on the Google+ wagon and couldn’t secure an invite for the past 90 days, today is the day! Google just announced that anyone can sign up for their uprising social platform and if you would like to give it a try head over to http://plus.google.com/ . On the other hand, the Google+ mobile app has received an important update allowing folks with phones running on Android 2.3 or higher and front-facing cameras to use the mobile video Hangouts feature. Google also changed the name of the Huddle section to Messenger which will bring a photo sharing feature to its users.

Check out the full list of enhancements:

  • Improved SMS support. Users in the US and India can now post to Google+, receive notifications, and respond to group messages via SMS (with more countries on the way). To start texting, just verify your phone number in Google+ settings.
  • Improved +mentions support. To add someone in your circles to a conversation (or simply get their attention), you can now +[their name] inside a post or comment.
  • +1’ing comments. When you read a great comment in the Stream, you can now +1 it directly from your iOS device (with Android coming soon).
  • Edit your profile photo. You can now put your best face forward, from where you happen to be. Just visit your profile, click edit, and you can choose or take a new picture.
  • Customize your notifications. Some notifications may be more important than others, especially when you’re on the go. Now you can decide which ones you see (or not) on your phone.
  • Make some room. If you’re taking lots of photos, or installing lots of apps, then internal storage can sometimes shrink. That’s why you can now move the Google+ app to SD storage on Android devices.

If you would like to download the Google+ app, head to the Android Market using the links below.

Team AMD FX sets Guiness record


(PhysOrg.com) — AMD has set the world record of fastest CPU with a speed frequency of 8.429 GHz, winning the company a place in the Guiness World Records. AMD’s yet-to-ship Bulldozer-based FX chips drew the Guinness ranking for the “Highest Frequency of a Computer Processor.” The AMD-FX CPU is set to debut in Q4 2011.

Supermicro.com/ComputerSystem Announced yesterday, the Guiness record news drew kudos and comments from a wide range of sites that closely follow news and events circling rivals AMD and Intel. Some reports noted the timing of AMD’s announcement was made on the opening day of the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.The record was actually set at an event in Austin, Texas, on August 31. A special team had been assembled at the Texas event made up of expert overclockers along with AMD technologists and were dubbed Team AMD-FX. Their goal was to attempt record numbers by “overclocking” 8-core AMD FX desktop processor

They achieved an overclocked frequency of 8.429 GHz on the processors, breaking their former record of 8.308 GHz.

 

Overclocking refers to the process where technical experts get chips to run at higher than normal speeds.

AMD said they found that the company’s FX chips could reach over 5 GHz using normal air cooling or water-cooling rigs that cost less than $100.

Commenting on the record-setting feat, the overclocking review siteOverclockers Club made note that only two cores were running throughout the overclock. Having the other cores disabled may have helped the frequency boost, it said, along with the temperature of -235 degrees C to keep the CPU chilled. Nonetheless, the site added that a dual core clocked at 8.429GHz is still an AMD triumph.

Similarly, another site, Overclockers, said the record numbers spell only the beginning and that, looking forward, one might wonder what about 9 GHz. “Pre-production chips historically only scratch the surface of what the architecture is capable of. Given time as fabrication processes and yields improve while more people get their hands on more chips, we could hear reports of AMD seriously flirting with 9 GHz soon enough.”

The AMD press statement said that, beside setting world records, the AMD FX processor will enable an “unrivaled enthusiast PC experience” for the money, including extreme multi-display gaming and HD content creation.

Razer Blade Review: World’s Best Gaming Laptop


We’ve been expecting for the Razer Blade to come on the market for more than one year. Rumored to be the world’s best gaming laptop, Razer Blade is the the result of no less than 3 years of hard work. What’s so special about this laptop? First of all, it’s only o,88 inches thick and has under the roof some powerful hardware parts. Basically, it comes equipped with a 2.8GHz Core i7 2640M CPU capable of running most of the modern applications on HD games. As well, it comes with a GeForce GT 555M video card, asides of 2 GB GDDR5 of memory. The bast part about it is the fact that the 17.3” display is 100% compatible with a 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution, fact that makes out of this laptop a real beast. Consider the Razorblad the Megatron of all the laptops that have ever existed.
Razor Blade will also come equipped with 3 USB slots as well as with a HD cam perfectly positioned on the middle of the top screen.

world's best gaming laptop

Although it hasn’t been launched yet, the tech forums are also fired up about this subject. However, since the laptop is meant to be used only by the elite gamers or even by businessmen, the price will also be quite high: a fully equipped Razer Bladewill cost about $2,800 (shipping and VAT fees included).
Even if the price may be high for the average user, keep in mind that this one is definitely the Ferrari of all the laptops. Moreover, it hasn’t been launched yet; Considering that theRazer Blade‘s official release date is still unknown, but rumored to be in the final days of December, you’d better start saving from this moment if you want this laptop. This way, you can shoot two rabbits from one shot: not only that you will get to have the world’s best laptop, but you will also get a nice present for Christmas.

Xperia-NEV-V

Sony Ericsson introduces the Xperia Neo V


The Sony Ericsson Xepria line of phones is growing. Today, Sony Ericsson introduces the Xperia Neo V, their latest Android smartphone. The Neo V will feature Android 2.3.4,a 3.7-inch screen with 480×854 resolution, front and rear-facing cameras, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor, 320MB of internal storage, 2GB microSD card, and much more.

3D-video

The Xperia Neo V will be the first phone to feature the new Facebook inside Xperia functionality and also the new 3D camera functionality. The 3D camera feature will allow users to capture images with their camera, which can then be viewed in 3D by connecting the phone to a 3D TV using the HDMI output.

The Xperia Neo V will be available globally in select markets from Q4 2011.

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO


 

Big news out of the tech world tonight is that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has just resigned. Instead of CEO, Steve will serve as Chairman of the Board, director, and Apple employee. He has nominated Tim Cook to replace him as CEO of Apple.

Although the reason for his resignation hasn’t been revealed, it was probably due to health reasons. As you probably know, Steve has been battling pancreatic cancer since 2003. He has taken multiple leave of absences since he was diagnosed, and continues the battle.

Android vs. iOS aside, we really hope that Steve will be alright and that his health didn’t take a turn for the worse. Below you will find a letter of his resignation.

Best of Luck, Steve
The DroidMatters team

PRESS RELEASE: Letter from Steve Jobs

August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.