Weekend tech reading: Deciphering AMD's new GPU roadmap

By on February 17, 2013, 10:34 AM

Fate of AMD's Sea Islands obscured in the fog Reports surfaced last weekend that AMD's graphics roadmap for 2013 would keep the Radeon HD 7000 series "stable" throughout the year. The news came out in an unusual way, via an interview with a Japanese website and then several tweets from AMD employees and the official Radeon Twitter feed. Naturally, we had questions about the state of things, so AMD held a conference call for the press today, in an attempt to clarify matters. Prior to last weekend, we expected AMD to be introducing a new generation of graphics cards within the next few months. The Tech Report

The true cost of a Raspberry Pi is more than you think As the Raspberry Pi craze sweeps the internet, you might have found yourself wanting to purchase the little computer to see what projects you can use it for. You may have thought to yourself that even if you can’t think of a nifty project, who cares, because the higher-end Model B is only $35. However, is it really that cheap when all is said and done? I recently ordered my first Raspberry Pi. I could never figure out what to do with it, but have wanted one simply because it’s a cheap, intriguing little computer. ExtremeTech

Locking the bad guys out with asymmetric encryption Encryption, the transformation of data into a form that prevents anyone unauthorized from understanding that data, is a fundamental technology that enables online commerce, secure communication, and the protection of confidential information. Encryption algorithms are the mathematical formulae for performing these transformations. You provide an encryption algorithm with a key and the data you want to protect (the plaintext), and it produces an encrypted output (the ciphertext). Ars Technica

How Nest’s control freaks reinvented the thermostat In 2007, Tony Fadell believed he could see the future. He was an Apple executive who had created the iPod and was a leading figure on the team that had worked on the iPhone, which the company was about to launch. He knew people would soon form attachments to the Internet-connected computers they carried in their pockets, and he kept thinking about that as he started another major project: building an energy-efficient dream home near Lake Tahoe. MIT Technology Review

Is frustration an essential part of game design? I've probably told you this story before, but a couple of weeks ago I almost destroyed my copy of DmC, Ninja Theory's reboot of the Devil May Cry series. I was stuck on a boss fight with a giant demonic baby, and although I understood what I was supposed to do, I couldn't do it. I just couldn't. I knew I had to avoid the infant's gigantic swipes, I knew I had to attack with aerial combos, I knew a weak spot would eventually open up. But I couldn't do it. So I took the disc out and threw it. The Guardian

Microsoft warns of looming retirement for Windows 7 RTM Microsoft yesterday reminded customers that Windows 7's first edition, which shipped more than three years ago, will be dropped from support in early April. At that time, Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) will become the only officially supported version of the popular PC operating system. The retirement of Windows 7 RTM (for "release to manufacturing," Microsoft's label for its launch editions) will take place April 9, that month's date for Patch Tuesday. Computerworld

Status symbols: MiniDisc The MiniDisc represents Sony at the height of its 1990s arrogance. In 1992, when the MiniDisc was introduced, Sony could do no wrong in consumer electronics: the best TVs were Trinitrons, the Walkman was still booming and the Discman was a hit, and Sony’s legendary hardware design was at the peak of its powers before software changed the world. It’s no wonder the company thought it could launch a quirky new music format around the world through sheer will alone. The Verge

Facebook can stick with its real name policy for now, German court rules Facebook can stick with its real name policy in Germany, and doesn't have to allow nicknames on its platform for now. The regulator that ordered Facebook to change it policy based its orders on inapplicable German law, a German court ruled. Facebook was ordered to end its real name policy and permit the use of pseudonyms on its platform by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ULD) for Schleswig-Holstein last year. ITworld

Apple's podcast disaster Apple's podcast app is, without a doubt, the worst iOS app it's ever made. Others have been poorly received or largely ignored, but this is unprecedented: With nearly 6,000 ratings, the app has just 1.5 stars in the App Store. Reviews range from harsh to despairing: "Horrible in every way," reads the most recent. "Oh, and this app cost me $40 in overage uses on my data plan." Among the most damning reviews: "Worse than iOS Maps." BuzzFeed

Intel shifts gears on Itanium, raising questions about the server chip's future Intel has scaled back plans for the next version of Itanium in a move that raises questions about the future of the 64-bit server chip, used primarily in Hewlett-Packard's high-end Integrity servers. In a short notice posted quietly to its website on January 31, Intel said the next version of Itanium, codenamed Kittson, will be produced on a 32 nanometer manufacturing process... PCWorld

Protecting people on Facebook Facebook, like every significant internet service, is frequently targeted by those who want to disrupt or access our data and infrastructure. As such, we invest heavily in preventing, detecting, and responding to threats that target our infrastructure, and we never stop working to protect the people who use our service. The vast majority of the time, we are successful in preventing harm before it happens... Facebook

Reinstall: Hitman: Blood Money This all started in Chiu Dai park, Hong Kong, twelve years ago. The first mission of the first Hitman game. You’re given a target, a pistol and a disassembled sniper rifle in a briefcase. And something is odd. You’re just a guy, in a street. No one’s shooting at you. No one’s hunting for you. The challenge isn’t to survive, or to get to the exit, or to solve a puzzle. You can just explore, observe, and understand this space, then decide how to make one man dead. PC Gamer

Don’t be a stranger The Internet of 2006 was not much different than it is today, mainly less: a bit slower, sparser, less open for business, like your hometown before the strip mall got put in. It was on this Internet that I met my best friend, Austin (not his real name). I was taking some time off from college in Portland, Oregon and had become an active member of a Portland-based online DIY community called Urban Honking. The New Inquiry

Nintendo fan is unhappy with Nintendo’s $200 answer to his $400 Wii U problem Jon is an enthusiastic Nintendo fan. He buys all of Nintendo's systems. He buys many, many Nintendo games. But he's gotten himself into a jam that he says has cost him access to more than $400 worth of downloadable games he's purchased from Nintendo over the several years. How does one lose access to $400 worth of games? Kotaku

Dead Space 3: are Necromorphs Thetans? I'm a video-game reviewer who insists on playing 90 percent of my games set to the "Hard" difficulty. I'm also an idiot. Why do I do this to myself? I have no idea. Possibly it's just simple masochism, but someone once said to me, long ago, that you're not truly playing a well-designed game unless you've allowed it to nest inside the circuitry of your central nervous system. This stuck with me. Grantland

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