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PC News and Reviews

Rosewill NEON K81 RGB Gaming Keyboard Review

July 22, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

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It seems as if not a week can go by without seeing the release of a new RGB-enabled device. From fans and light strips, to keyboards and mice, there are hundreds, if not thousands of RGB products available to PC enthusiasts. Rosewill, a company that has been around since 2004, is right there in the mix, providing RGB products. One of their latest keyboard designs is the NEON K81 RGB, a mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB illumination, as well as a configurable RGB outer rim. Available with either Blue or Brown Kailh switches, the K81 is a full sized keyboard with a subtle but stylish look. Let’s take a closer look!

Special thanks to Rosewill for providing us with the NEON K81 review sample!

Specifications

Color: Black
Layout: 108-key
Switch Type: Kailh Blue or Brown
Switch Travel Distance: 4.0mm
Lifecycle: 50 million keystrokes
Keycap Material: ABS
Weight: 2.2lbs
Interface: USB
Dimensions: 17.44in x 5.32in x 1.28in
RGB Colors: 16.8 million colors
Cable: 5.9ft, braided
Wristrest: Detached, Padded
Anti-Ghosting: Yes, N-Key rollover
Graphical UI: Yes

Packaging

The first thing we noticed about the K81’s packaging was the bright coloring and glossy accents. Rosewill did a great job relaying what the keyboard looks like, and the front of the box offers not only a visual reference, but also lists a few of the major features of the keyboard.

Around back get get a smaller image of the keyboard, which allows for more room to detail the features and specifications of the K81. Multiple images and call-outs help to give a good overview of the keyboard and its included features.

Accessories

While we have become used to seeing extra keycaps and pullers included with many keyboards lately, the K81’s kitting is quite sparse. Aside from a user manual and feedback card, the only other item in the box is a wristrest, which feels more like an afterthought than a feature.

The included wristrest, while quite comfortable, is quite underwhelming. There is no way to attach the wristrest to the keyboard, and the textured plastic underside can have trouble staying in place depending on your desk surface. In addition, the wristrest is quite bowed, raising up on both ends. Even after quite a bit of use and sitting on our desk, it has only slightly flattened out.

Tech News

The first 'Overwatch' Nerf blaster arrives in 2019

July 21, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Hasbro

So far, replicating the distinctive weapons of Overwatch has usually meant a whole lot of crafting, and you still aren’t likely end up with something that works. Hasbro, thankfully, is about to make your life much easier — it’s partnering with Blizzard on official Overwatch Nerf guns. The first of the bunch, the lengthily-named Nerf Rival Overwatch Reaper Wight Edition, is due in 2019. It mimics Reaper’s iconic shotgun in looks, though not in functionality. The toy weapon carries eight of Nerf’s Rival rounds and includes both a ready indicator and a safety lock.

Hasbro hasn’t mentioned pricing, although this probably won’t be the most affordable Nerf gun in your arsenal — especially not when you’ll need two if you’re going to be true to the character (very clever, Hasbro). The real question is what comes next. Some guns seem like obvious fits, such as the straightforward guns of D.Va, Soldier 76, Sombra and Tracer, but what about the more exotic weapons, like Mei’s freezing blaster or Lucio’s sound gun? It’s safe to say that you won’t see Wrecking Ball’s hamster ball of doom or Brigitte’s flail, but here’s hoping that Hasbro is willing to go beyond the ‘safe’ choices.

Tech News

Recommended Reading: The accent struggle for Alexa and Google Assistant

July 21, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Engadget

The accent gap
Drew Harwell,
The Washington Post

Smart speakers (and the virtual assistants they house) offer voice control for so many connected devices it’s hard to keep count. Those audio gadgets can also assist with a range of questions — that is, if they can understand you. The Washington Post took a close look at the performance of Alexa and Google Assistant when it comes to understanding people with strong accents. The results show that while these devices are certainly handy and increasingly popular, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

Zuckerberg: The Recode interview
Kara Swisher,
Recode

The Facebook CEO covered a range of topics, including its evolving approach to fake news and a comment about Holocaust deniers that warranted a clarification afterwards.

For one last night, make it a Blockbuster night
Justin Heckert,
The Ringer

News of the one remaining Blockbuster store in the US circulated late last week, and The Ringer examined the end of an era.

The gospel according to Pusha T
Josie Duffy Rice,
The Atlantic

An interesting profile on the Kanye West protégé following the release of his latest album Daytona.

My search for the spirit of Prime Day at an Ariana Grande concert in a giant Amazon box
Hudson Hongo,
Gizmodo

Just trust me on this one.

Tech News

'Ghost Recon Wildlands' adds a hardcore permadeath mode

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Ubisoft

Ubisoft isn’t just relying on cameos from aliens and iconic game characters to inject extra life into Ghost Recon Wildlands. When the Special Operation 2 pack arrives on July 24th, it’ll include a Ghost Mode that adds some high-stakes realism. For one, death is permanent — if your character falls in battle and isn’t revived in time, all your hard work will amount to nothing. Friendly fire is also a real risk. And you’ll want to be conservative with your shots, since you’ll only have one primary weapon (you have to swap at ammo boxes or when looting) and will lose any unspent ammo in a given clip when you reload. If regular Wildlands seemed too soft, you won’t have that problem from now on.

The mode is available for every difficulty setting and will be available to everyone for free, although Year 2 Pass holders will get first crack. You’ll have to wait until July 31st if you don’t want to pay extra.

There’s more than just a no-forgiveness option, of course. Ubisoft is adding two player-versus-player maps, and it’s revamping its Prestige economy to both let you earn credits in the regular campaign (not just Ghost War) and spend it on Prestige Packs that include customization. You’ll also find an eSports- and stream-friendly Observer Mode for watching custom matches, a new victory screen to let you celebrate your triumphs and a True Solo mode that turns off AI teammates.

Ubisoft is still keeping some details close to the vest (such as player-versus-environment missions, new themes and new classes). However, it’s evident that the developer is following a strategy like the one that keeps Rainbow Six: Siege thriving: it’s treating Wildlands as a continually growing service, rather than a one-and-done release.

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Tech News

'GTA: Online' goes clubbin' next week with 'After Hours'

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Rockstar Games

A little bit of Liberty City is coming to GTA: Online very, very soon. “Gay” Tony Prince, first seen in Grand Theft Auto IV‘s “The Ballad of Gay Tony” expansion from 2009, is opening up a nightclub in Los Santos and needs your help. “A perfect cover for all illicit activities, Nightclubs can be customized, staffed and promoted, offering players a brand new business opportunity,” Rockstar teased last month. Judging by the trailer, the main mission in “After Hours” is securing a DJ for Prince’s latest venture. “Run your nightclub business from setup, design, staffing and promotion; the more popular the nightclub, the faster your secure safe will fill up,” Rockstar promised.

Oh, and the DJs you’re trying to lock down? You may have heard of them before: The Black Madonna, Solomun and Tale of Us all appear in the game, with Pitchfork reporting the trio were all face-scanned and motion captured for their respective roles. So yeah, they should look and move around like you’d expect.

There are probably a few other clues about the expansion hidden in the trailer embedded below. Some of the cinematography may even give eagle-eyed fans a bit of nostalgia for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City‘s TV commercial. And, to catch a self-aware nod to the virtual Prince’s reception from the real-world LGBT community, make sure you stick around until the video’s final moments. “After Hours” is out next week, July 24th.

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Tech News

'Stardew Valley' multiplayer arrives on PC, Mac and Linux August 1st

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Stardew Valley

We’ve been waiting on Stardew Valley multiplayer for awhile now, and now we finally have a release date. According to the developer’s Twitter account, it will arrive on PC, Mac and Linux on August 1st. There’s also a new trailer to enjoy.

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Eric Barone, the solo game developer of Stardew Valley, answered some questions in the replies to this original tweet, so feel free to take a look if you have additional concerns. There is currently no date for the Nintendo Switch or other console multiplayer versions, though they are in the works. Split screen will not be supported. If you played the beta multiplayer version, you won’t notice any significant changes — most of the tweaks are bug fixes.

If you decide to fish, farm and mine with your friends, your money, world and farm updates will be communal. Inventories, relationships with NPCs and skill levels will remain separate. Group chat will, of course, be enabled. friends will be allowed to marry NPCs or one another. All in all, it looks like a great update to an incredible game.

Tech News

PlayStation and Xbox sales discount 'Fortnite' and 'Shadow of War'

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Jerritt Clark via Getty Images

Summer tends to have few new video game releases, but that also tends to have an upside: loads of discounts. Both Microsoft and Sony are running limited-time sales on games that promise some steep price drops, and not just on old titles. Microsoft’s Ultimate Game Sale, for instance, is promising up to 67 percent off Xbox One games between now and July 30th. You won’t get that cut on the biggest games, but there are still some solid offerings. A Fortnite Standard Founder’s Pack is 40 percent off (down to $24 in the US), while Assassin’s Creed Origins is 40 percent off ($36). And if you missed out on Titanfall 2, you can get the Ultimate Edition for 75 percent off ($10). And this is before the Xbox Live Gold discount, so you can expect better bargains if you’re paying to play online.

Sony’s Flash Sale only lasts until July 23rd at 11AM Eastern and tends to focus on older titles, but there’s some definite gems. For one, this might be your chance to try Middle-earth: Shadow of War now that Monotlith has removed all the microtransactions that arguably hurt its gameplay — it’s 60 percent off ($20). It’s also a good time to be a Telltale fan, as Back to the Future and Guardians of the Galaxy have dropped from $20 each to $6 and $8 respectively. Other notable breaks include Human Fall Flat (down to $6) and Warhammer Vermintide‘s Ultimate Edition (half-price at $25).

These discounts may only have so much appeal if you’re saving your money for sequels and seasonal updates. With that said, there are some good offers if you’re determined to keep your gaming schedule full during the summer doldrums.

Tech News

'Pokémon Go' cheaters now get three strikes before a ban

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a post today, Niantic provided details on its new three-strike discipline policy for Pokémon Go players. In most cases, players found to be cheating will first get a warning through the Pokémon Go app and certain gameplay experiences may degraded for about a week. For example, that player may not be able to encounter rare Pokémon in the wild and could be excluded from receiving EX Raid Passes. The second strike will result in a temporary suspension that will last for approximately 30 days. If a player continues to cheat, the third and final strike will be a permanent ban.

“Everyone can make mistakes,” Niantic said in the post. “That’s why we have created this policy to enable offenders to learn from their mistakes and change their ways. If you have been issued a strike, don’t ignore it. Take action to ensure that you do not commit any further transgressions.” However, the post notes that some offenders may not be offered three strikes as certain behaviors will result in immediate termination.

Cheating will be defined as behaviors that violate the Terms of Service and Trainer Guidelines, and they include GPS location spoofing and unauthorized access of game clients or backends.

At one point, Niantic had a zero-tolerance policy against cheating, but more recently, the company has dealt with cheaters by only giving them lousy monsters and flagging those caught through third-party services.

PC News and Reviews

Fortnite Reportedly Tops $1 Billion in Revenue

July 20, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

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A new report from analyst firm Superdata has given us some insight into the craze of Battle Royale games. Epic’s Fornite is now estimated to have earned more the $1 billion in revenue since it launched last year. And from the looks of it, it does not seem to be slowing down. In May alone the game made $304 million on in-game microtransactions, all of which we remind you are cosmetic. This is a 4% increase over the $296 million figure in April. Since introducing the Battle Royale game mode in September of last year profits have skyrocketed, just revenue from May and April account for more than half of the $1 billion being reported.

With Epic basically printing money we can assume the team working on Fortnite has only been growing, especially since Battle Royale has been added to the game. You can also bet that Epic will be working on a successor to the game, if not now probably when the revenue starts to decline. Fortnite has now entered its fifth season and does not seem to be slowing down in terms or user-base and revenue.