Weekend tech reading: AMD denies spinoff rumor, E3 roundups, 24 mins with Oculus' founder

By Matthew
Jun 21, 2015
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  1. oculus palmer luckey amd

    AMD denies rumor that it's mulling breakup or spinoff Rumors about AMD's breakup or acquisition by various companies are common, but they don’t often come from the likes of Reuters. According to the news agency, AMD is once-again mulling a breakup or spinoff. This latest review was reportedly sparked by Su’s stepping up to the CEO position and the company has reportedly been revisiting the topic. ExtremeTech

    Stanford engineers find a simple yet clever way to boost chip speeds A typical computer chip includes millions of transistors connected with an extensive network of copper wires. Although chip wires are unimaginably short and thin compared to household wires both have one thing in common: in each case the copper is wrapped within a protective sheath. For years a material called tantalum nitride has formed protective layer in chip wires. Now Stanford-led experiments demonstrate that a different sheathing material, graphene, can help electrons scoot through tiny copper wires in chips more quickly. Stanford

    Hiring: The First Librarian of Congress for the Internet Age In a month or six, the United States will get its first new Librarian of Congress in nearly three decades. The current librarian, James Billington, has held the title since his appointment by President Reagan in 1987. Though named by the president and confirmed by the Senate, the Librarian doesn’t change with every new White House. After being appointed, Librarians are free to serve as long as they want -- that's why there have been only 13 of them since 1802. The Atlantic

    24 minutes with Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey on Rift CV1, touch controllers, fresnel lenses and more E3 is over for another year and on this, the final day of the show, we caught up with Oculus founder and inventor of the Rift Palmer Luckey for an interview that covers everything from the Rift CV1's hybrid Fresnel lenses and ergonomics to Oculus Touch's capabilities and limitations. E3 2015 was arguably Oculus' most important ever. With the consumer Rift's design and specs now locked down and ready to show... RoadtoVR

    Amazon looks to improve customer-reviews system with machine learning Amazon is rolling out a big change to its customer reviews system in the US, introducing a new machine-learning platform it developed in-house to surface newer and more helpful reviews. "The system will learn what reviews are most helpful to customers...and it improves over time," Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law said in an interview. "It's all meant to make customer reviews more useful." CNet

    Automated vehicles: One eye on the road, another on you A video posted to YouTube last year provides proof that some people can’t be trusted behind the wheel even when their car is doing all the driving. In the clip, the driver tests the automatic cruise control and lane assist in an Infiniti Q50 by hopping into the passenger seat as the car hurtles down the autobahn in Germany. Who would be liable in an accident -- the carmaker or the driver? MIT Technology Review

    SSD prices in a free fall Hard-disk drive vendors point to the higher price of solid-state drives as a reason to keep on buying hard drives, but as Bob Dylan sang, "The Times They Are a -Changin'." The advent of 3D NAND has become a game-changer for the storage industry by increasing SSD capacity and dropping SSD prices. By packing 32 or 64 times the capacity per die, 3D NAND will allow SSDs to increase capacity well beyond hard drive sizes. Network Computing

    Rick's super E3 roundup! You may not be aware of this, but right now there's a little shindig going on in Los Angeles named E3. Here, every year, a small number of developers gather to show off exactly three computer games. The whole event lasts about five minutes and then everyone goes home feeling refreshed and happy and not at all like they've forgotten what sleep is. Bit-Tech (also, every E3 trailer in alphabetical order and everything that happened at E3 2015)

    Some things you should know about Steam The information in this article was gathered with the help of the tool Steam Spy that I've developed. Steam Spy acts a bit like an automated exit poll  --  it queries random user profiles to then extrapolate this data and create a whole picture. This method has its limitations, but it is pretty accurate for owners' data and usage patterns. Let me start by saying that there are a lot of stereotypes about what people from different countries are playing and what genres they do prefer. Medium

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    First look: OS X El Capitan brings a little Snow Leopard to Yosemite OS X releases of the modern, post-iPhone era are either "feature" releases or "consolidation" releases. All new OS X versions leave their mark on the operating system, but feature releases usually make bigger changes, and consolidation releases go about tweaking and polishing those features so that they feel more complete. Ars Technica

    A fearless culture fuels U.S. tech giants With this month’s announcement that the European Union is investigating Amazon for possible anticompetitive behavior in the sale of e-books, antitrust fervor in Europe seems to have hit fever pitch. Apple, Google and Facebook are all subjects of investigation, and Amazon is now the focus of at least three separate inquiries. The NY Times

    1 in 3 data center servers is a zombie A new study says that 30% of all physical servers in data centers are comatose, or are using energy but delivering no useful information. What's remarkable is that that percentage hasn't changed since 2008, when a separate study showed the same thing.Computerworld

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