Monthly Archives: November 2019

Half Life Alyx hits PC VR headsets in March 2020 [Updated]

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: It's set between 1 and 2, so no resolution of the HL2:E2 cliffhanger we've all been waiting 15 years for. I am excited to see if they've finally come up with something compelling to do with a VR set, because that hasn't happened yet.
  • Whoa! I have hands!

After a tease earlier this week, Valve has revealed more details and a new trailer for the first new Half-Life content in over a decade. The "full-length" Half Life: Alyx will hit Steam in March 2020, Valve says, with support for "all PC-based VR headsets." Pre-orders are already available for $59.99, though the game will be free if you own a Valve Index headset.

The game, which Valve says is "set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2," has been "designed from the ground up for Virtual Reality" (i.e. you can stop hoping for a 2D monitor release). "Everyone at Valve is excited to be returning to the world of Half-Life," Valve founder Gabe Newell said in a statement. “VR has energized us."

"We’ve invested a lot of ourselves in the technology," Newell's statement continues. "But we're also game developers at heart, and to be devoting ourselves to a VR game this ambitious is just as exciting. For that to come in the form of Half-Life feels like the culmination of a lot of things we care a lot about: truly great games, cutting edge technology, and open platforms. We can’t wait for people to experience this."

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SC Exciting find: Whitebox Switches?!

Oddly, one of the most exciting things I’ve seen at SC19 is whitebox switch hardware. Innovium’s Teralynx Ethernet fabric silicon smells like the end of Broadcom’s near-monoply (and associated deep partnership with high-end switch vendors with their proprietary environments) in that space, and the coming of whitebox 100+ GBE (and frankly, even 40+GBE) switches. I chatted with some folks from Innovium and Cameo, who were hosted in the Gigabyte booth because apparently they’re partnering, where they were showing serious enterprise switches that are open to the bones running Open Network Linux booted from Coreboot instead of proprietary lock-in vendor OS. Even their baby product in the line, the ESCC600-32Q (PDF warning) is pretty damn exciting.

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Intel’s Xe for HPC: Ponte Vecchio with Chiplets, EMIB, and Foveros on 7nm, Coming 2021

Source: Published articles

Right on the heels of burning the shit out of DOD's HPC spending with the collapse of the Phi stuff right after DOD jumped in at scale, DOE is trusting intel's absolutely-no-public-details unified GPU plan for Aurora. I really, really do hope it pans out (because GPUs are bullshit and Intel commodizing them and bringing decent drivers and toolchains would make the world better) but the degree to which they're being cagey at this stage is a cause for suspicion.

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Intel’s ‘One API’ Project Delivers Unified Programming Model Across Diverse Architectures | Intel Newsroom

Source: Published articles

Even the press release can't make it look like something other than Khronos' SYCL C++ extensions with a bulky coat of paint. It could be uglier, and Intel with open washing might be enough to unseat CUDA, so ...OK?

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Regional offices in Kentucky to issue Real ID licenses

Source: -- State

Article note: This is feeling clusterfuck-y. RealID _is_ kind of ridiculous, but Kentucky's continued botched handling is even worse.

A Kentucky transportation official says the state plans to set up 12 regional offices to issue special driver’s licenses that will be needed in less than a year to board … Click to Continue »

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Half-Life: Alyx: What we know about Valve’s upcoming full-length VR game

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Huh. I've been _deeply_ unimpressed by VR so far, but if anyone can make something compelling...
Yep, it's real—and here's what we know so far.

Enlarge / Yep, it's real—and here's what we know so far. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Valve)

For a certain class of video game fan, no news could be bigger than today's: Half-Life is back. In VR. As an entirely new game from the series' creators at Valve.

We're here to connect the dots between what has been announced, what has been rumored, and what we've heard from well-placed sources. Rise and shine, Half-Life fans. We have a lot for you today.

Months of rumors, then a TGA leak

We should probably begin with the game's name, as revealed in a leaked Game Awards 2019 presentation and confirmed hours later by an official post from Valve. Half-Life: Alyx is a brand-new game in the Half-Life universe designed exclusively for PC virtual reality systems (Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality).

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Vegans sue Burger King over meat contamination of Impossible Burger Whopper

Source: Boing Boing

Article note: On one hand, this is an obviously absurd demand. On the other hand, I'm now worried that restaurants are going to contaminate their grills with coconut from the fake burgers, and I'm going to have a surprise allergic reaction.

Some vegans have filed a lawsuit against Burger King because they cook the Impossible Burger Whoppers on the same grill as their meat burgers. According to the suit, the Impossible Whopper is not a vegan option and the restaurant doesn't disclose the meat contamination on their menu. Of course, vegans and vegetarians have been quite vocal about this issue since the Impossible Whopper's introduction.

According to TMZ, plaintiff Philip Williams "not only wants damages ... he wants the judge to order Burger King to stop cooking Impossible Burgers and the OG burgers on the same grill. Read the rest

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Intel end-of-lifing BIOS and driver downloads for dusty hardware

Source: The Register

Article note: Really Intel? You can't afford a dusty static ftp so your legacy drivers don't become a Honeypot for shady malware filled file hosts?

You have four days left to nab what you need

Intel is removing drivers and BIOS for its old desktop boards so anyone running an old Pentium-based PC has four days to get hold of anything they might need.…

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Intel disables Hardware Lock Elision on all current CPUs

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Getting a twofer today on "Intel processors get noticeably slower with each microcode update, as they are forced to disable sloppy bullshit that they shipped to win the numbers game." Latest microcode turns off all the TSX Hardware Lock Elision features in all processors, plus turns off a (probably exploitable) fast path for all JCC (Jump Conditionals) that happen to end on or across a 32-bit boundary (see: ).
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Player three has entered Cray’s supercomputing game: First AMD Epyc, now Fujitsu’s Arm chips

Source: The Register

Article note: I got a little look at the A64FX stuff at SC this year, and chatted with a Cray rep in front of a sample board; a year ago I was curious about Fujitsu's Post-K ARM plan announcement, now it's a goddamn impressive chip that is already here. A bunch of ARM cores with SVE (nice SWAR extensions) and memory interfaces that beat the pants off anything you can get in or out of accelerators has both serious performance potential and should be drastically easier to program to squeeze that performance out of than most current contenders. It sounds like Cray has only very preliminary plans to put them on the fancier interconnects, but even still, after years of present but not really, this suddenly makes ARM HPC very credible.

A64FX: Big in Japan, big in the US, UK at this rate

Cray has said it will build a family of supercomputers for government research labs and universities. The kicker? The exascale machines will be powered by Arm-compatible microprocessors.…

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