Weekend tech reading: SATA Express tested, running a private IM server, finding flight MH370

By on March 16, 2014, 12:40 PM
im, sata express, satae, flight mh370, instant messaging

Testing SATA Express and why we need faster SSDs During the hard drive era, the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) had no problems keeping up with the bandwidth requirements. The performance increases that new hard drives provided were always quite moderate because ultimately the speed of the hard drive was limited by its platter density and spindle speed. Given that increasing the spindle speed wasn't really a viable option for mainstream drives due to power and noise issues, increasing the platter density was left as the only source of performance improvement. Increasing density is always a tough job... AnandTech

Sony's VR tech will be revealed at GDC -- and it represents virtual reality gaming's greatest hope Sony will reveal its Oculus Rift-beating VR headset at GDC next week, according to developers familiar with the tech. A prototype is already in some thirdparty developers' hands, who have told us that Sony's VR headset is far superior to Oculus Rift's first incarnation, though that is expected to even out a little with the arrival of Rift's new, more advanced Crystal Cove devkit. They also said that there’s little software to speak of currently, but they expect to see something from one of Sony's firstparty studios at GDC, even if it is just a tech demo. Edge Online

short guide to the Internet's biggest enemies Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its annual "Enemies of the Internet" index this week -- a ranking first launched in 2006 intended to track countries that repress online speech, intimidate and arrest bloggers, and conduct surveillance of their citizens. Some countries have been mainstays on the annual index, while others have been able to work their way off the list. Two countries particularly deserving of praise in this area are Tunisia and Myanmar (Burma), both of which have stopped censoring the Internet in recent years and are headed in the right direction toward Internet freedom. EFF

close look at the NSA's most powerful Internet attack tool We already knew that the NSA has weaponized the internet, enabling it to "shoot" exploits at anyone it desires. A single web fetch, imitated by an identified target, is sufficient for the NSA to exploit its victim. But the Edward Snowden slides and story published yesterday at The Intercept convey a wealth of new detailed information about the NSA's technology and its limitations. First, it's clear that the NSA has settled on a system called QUANTUM as its preferred, if not near-universal, internet exploitation mechanism. QUANTUM is vastly more effective than just sending spam. Wired

The era of Facebook is an anomaly danah boyd's SXSW keynote is sold out. When it's over, a dozen fans rush the stage. These fans aren't young groupies hoping to get a closer glimpse at their favorite rock star, but full-grown adults hoping to hear one more word from boyd. She’s one of the world’s sharpest authorities on how teens interact with technology, and for many, her word has become canon for understanding why teens do what they do. The stage-rushers are e-marketers, digital strategists, and marketing gurus, but many of them are also quite likely parents. "Why are teens creating multiple identities online?" one asks. The Verge

Goodbye, Google Voice I am not really breaking up with you, not entirely. But you will no longer be the service I rely on. I have to think you saw this coming. We had that moment, back in July 2012, where I asked what you were getting out of this. A little less than a year after that, I realized you may always be a second-class phone app. I had a chat on Twitter with your original founder, who, along with people inside Google, suggested that Google Voice had a future inside the larger, more modern world of Hangouts. But we're coming up on a year since that discussion, and nothing has changed. Actually, things have gotten worse. ITworld

One-hit wonders For more than a year now, tens of millions of Americans have found time each day to devote themselves to an essential task: swiping at their phones and tablets to arrange colorful candy icons in rows. They are playing Candy Crush Saga, a wildly addictive mobile game that has been downloaded more than half a billion times. You can play the game for free, but enough people have been willing to pay for extra lives and various performance-boosting tools to make it staggeringly profitable. Last year, Candy Crush's maker, an Irish company called King Digital Entertainment, had almost two billion dollars in sales... New Yorker

U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web. Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash last year to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance. The Washington Post

How to set up your own private instant messaging server For the past few years, I've run my own XMPP-based instant messaging server. It's an incredibly convenient way for my wife and I to send links back and forth to each other while we're on our computers, and I very much like the idea of not having to depend on a third party for the exchange of simple messages. Not that Google is going to mine a lot of useful data out of our instant messages anyway (though they would be able to tell that we like funny cat pictures)—still, the server has come in extremely handy on occasions in the past. Ars Technica

The mystery of flight MH370: How on earth, with all our technology, do we lose a giant plane? It's now been almost a week since flight MH370 disappeared without trace. From official Malaysian sources, there is still no news to report. According to an exclusive report by Reuters, however, some investigators are now fairly certain that the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 did in fact fly on for another four hours. Apparently, shortly after the last time it appeared on civilian radar (around 1:30am local time), MH370 turned west and started following navigational waypoints (Vampi, Gival, Igrex)... ExtremeTech

The man who promised too much Peter Molyneux is crying. I'm not sure how to react to this. Legendary game designers don't often get emotional with the press. But here's Molyneux, who has made so many games and done so many interviews over the past two decades, openly weeping into my voice recorder. We're talking about promises. Molyneux, who has helped design a string of hits including Fable, Dungeon Keeper, and Populous, is a fascinating paradox, known both for his formidable creative accomplishments and his tendency to make big, lofty claims that never quite deliver... Kotaku

2014 is the year of the Linux desktop Wait, isn't the Linux desktop dead? As I observed last year, it all depends on how you define it. Many of us had expected a revolutionary overthrow of Windows by something that was, for all intents and purposes, just Windows with Linux under the hood. Instead, we have Chrome OS and Android, which are both essentially Linux, along with services delivered through the browser by cloud providers that run Linux on their servers. Part of my conviction that 2014 is the year of the Linux desktop flows from my personal experience at my own business... InfoWorld

Why Razer spent $380k redesigning the USB port The gaming company Razer, best known for its gaming accessories like super-precise lag-free mice and keyboards, announced a new laptop today, the second generation of its super-powerful 14-inch gaming laptop, the Blade. I sat down with Min Liang Tan, the CEO of Razer, to learn about the upgraded design and amidst Tan's chatting about the phenomenal speed and power of the new Blade, Min also mentioned that his company had spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" designing the USB ports on the laptop. Fast Company

Face-Off: Dark Souls 2 Out with the old and in with the new, Dark Souls 2 offers up the biggest technical overhaul to the series so far. With a new directorial team at the helm and a purpose-built engine bringing the eerie world of Drangleic to life, developer From Software uses the opportunity to trial new rendering techniques on PS3 and 360 in advance of their appearance on next-gen platforms. But while we're left with a string of upgrades in physics, lighting and effects, there are also some cutbacks we hadn't expected to see. Eurogamer

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