Henrikh Mkhitaryan leaves Arsenal to join Roma on a permanent basis after his contract is terminated by mutual consent.
from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53977833
Henrikh Mkhitaryan leaves Arsenal to join Roma on a permanent basis after his contract is terminated by mutual consent.
from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53977833
Britain’s Cameron Norrie fights back from two sets down to beat ninth seed Diego Schwartzman on day one of the US Open.
from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/53978465
SpaceX had hoped to launch a pair of Falcon 9 rockets on Sunday, but weather early in the day threatened to scuttle the entire event. However, the skies cleared just in time for SpaceX to make history late in the day. The launch of the SAOCOM 1B satellite was SpaceX’s 100th and its first-ever polar orbit insertion from Florida. In fact, it was the first by anyone in decades.
Early on Sunday (August 30th), SpaceX had to scrap its planned launch of several dozen Starlink satellites. Things were looking grim until just minutes before the scheduled SAOCOM launch, but SpaceX was able to squeak by. So, SpaceX’s 100th launch carried the SAOCOM 1B satellite and a pair of smaller rideshare payload satellites into space. The company’s first launch was in March 2006, and it exploded shortly after liftoff.
SAOCOM 1B is an Earth observation satellite designed to collect radar imagery for first responders, environmental scientists, and more. SpaceX launched both SAOCOM 1A and 1B, delivering the satellites to polar orbits. A polar orbit is one in which a spacecraft orbits passing over the poles rather than nearer to the equator. This is ideal for Earth observatories like SAOCOM because a polar orbit allows the spacecraft to see the entire surface of the planet over time as it rotates.
Falcon 9 first stage lands at Landing Zone 1 to complete this booster’s fourth flight pic.twitter.com/tUtAcKmIFn
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 31, 2020
Getting into a polar orbit requires more energy than equatorial, and launch operators rarely attempt that from Florida. SAOCOM 1B was initially supposed to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but the mission was delayed and ended up at Cape Canaveral. And that’s the second reason this launch was historic. The last time a mission launched from Florida into a polar orbit was 1969 when the ESSA-9 weather satellite rode into space aboard a Delta E1 rocket.
Heading for the souther polar corridor from Florida includes the possibility of flying over land shortly after launch, which is something you want to avoid. In this launch, SpaceX performed a “dog-leg” maneuver to curve around the southern part of Florida. The first stage detached before it encountered any more land, but the second stage did fly over Cuba briefly. The 45th Space Wing noted there was no danger given the second stage’s altitude, and the mission reached the desired orbit without incident. The first stage even landed safely at LZ1 in Florida. All around, a successful 100th flight.
from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/314441-spacex-makes-history-with-100th-rocket-launch
Android’s application ecosystem has proven to be versatile and developer-friendly after a bit of a slow start. You are free to develop an app for Android and publish it to the Play Store with Google’s restrictions, or you can distribute it yourself outside the Play Store. This has led to a plethora of really cool Android apps, some of which aren’t available on iOS or other platforms. Even in this age of giant phones, you might occasionally want to use those apps on a bigger screen, like the one connected to your Windows PC. Fortunately, with a little leg work, you can run Android apps on a PC. There are a few different ways to go about it, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
One popular way to get Android apps running on a PC is to go through the Android emulator released by Google as part of the official Android Studio. The emulator can be used to create virtual devices running any version of Android you want with different resolutions and hardware configurations. The first downside of this process is the somewhat complicated setup process.
You’ll need to grab the installer from Google’s site and run through the setup process to download the platforms you want — probably whatever the most recent version of Android happens to be at the time (7.1 at the time of publishing). Google has some pre-configured emulation options available in the menu for Nexus/Pixel devices, but you can set the parameters manually, too. Once you’ve booted your virtual device, you’ll need to get apps installed, but the emulator is the bone stock open source version of Android — no Google apps included.
Since there’s no Play Store, you need to do some file management. Take the APK you want to install (be it Google’s app package or something else) and drop the file into the
tools folder in your SDK directory. Then use the command prompt while your AVD is running to enter (in that directory)
adb install filename.apk. The app should be added to the app list of your virtual device.
The big upside here is that the emulator is unmodified Android right from the source. The way apps render in the emulator will be the same as they render on devices, and almost everything should run. It’s great for testing app builds before loading them onto test devices. The biggest problem is that the emulator is sluggish enough that you won’t want to make a habit of running apps in it. Games are really out of the question as well.
If you’re looking to get multiple apps and games up and running on your computer with the minimum of effort, BlueStacks is your friend. BlueStacks presents itself as just a way to get apps working, but it actually runs a full (heavily modified) version of Android behind the scenes. Not only that, but it has the Play Store built-in, so you have instant access to all of your purchased content. It actually adds an entry to your Google Play device list, masquerading as an Android device.
The BlueStacks client will load up in a desktop window with different app categories like games, social, and so on. Clicking on an app or searching does something unexpected — it brings up the full Play Store client as rendered on tablets. You can actually navigate around in this interface just as you would on a real Android device, which makes it clear there’s a lot more to BlueStacks than the “App Player” front end. The main screen in BlueStacks with the app categories is just a custom home screen, so replacing it makes BlueStacks feel almost like a regular Android device.
Having full Play Store access means you won’t be messing around with sideloading apps, and BlueStacks manages to run apps pretty well (and better if you have a CPU that supports hardware virtualization). Most games are playable, but keep in mind you’ll have trouble operating many of them with a mouse. If your PC has a touch screen, you can still use apps and games that rely on more than one touch input. BlueStacks can essentially make a Windows tablet PC into a part-time Android tablet.
The only real issue with BlueStacks is that it’s not running a standard Android build. All the alterations the company made to get apps working on a PC can cause issues — some apps fail to run or crash unexpectedly. This customized environment is also of little value as a development tool because there’s no guarantee things will render the same on BlueStacks as they might on a real Android device without all the back-end modifications. It’s also a freemium service with a $2 pro subscription, or you can install a few sponsored apps.
Samsung’s latest high-end phones have enhanced support for Microsoft’s Your Phone Windows 10 client, offering access to your messages, notifications, photos, and yes, apps. The apps aren’t technically running on the PC — they’re mirrored from your phone. However, this system is very fleshed out and officially supported. Everything else we’ve talked about is a bit of a hack or not for regular users, but you can be up and running with Link to Windows in a few minutes.
You will need a Samsung phone that works with the latest Your Phone features. As of this writing, that’s just the Note20 family. The feature will expand to more Samsung phones in the coming months, though.
First, make sure you’ve got the Your Phone app on your Windows PC. Next, launch the Link to Windows client on your Samsung phone — it should be accessible under Advanced Features and from the quick settings. You’ll have to scan a QR code on your computer with the phone and sign into your Microsoft account. And that’s it.
Your app list appears in the Your Phone app, and you can launch any of them. Your phone doesn’t need to be plugged in, but Wi-Fi is recommended. Currently, you can only run a single app, but multi-app support is coming in late 2020.
If you need to test something with the intention of putting it on other Android devices, the emulator is still the best way. This is best suited to developers as the configuration and management of apps is complicated. It’s slow, but you’ll be able to see how things will work on the real deal. If you’re interested in getting more than a handful of apps running on your PC so you can actually use and enjoy them, BlueStacks App Player is the best solution for most people. It’s easy, has Play Store access, and works on multitouch Windows devices.
If you happen to have a Samsung phone compatible with Microsoft’s latest Your Phone features, that’s by far the easiest way to get Android apps on your PC. These phones are expensive, so it’s not worth buying one just for this single use case. However, if you’re due for an upgrade and running Android apps on a PC is on your list of priorities, this might influence your decision.
from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/computing/83812-run-android-apps-on-your-windows-pc-2
Microsoft has published some details on its upcoming DirectX 12_2 feature level and which companies will be supporting these new capabilities in upcoming GPUs. If you’re wondering how DirectX 12_2 and DirectX 12 Ultimate relate to each other, they’re the same thing — if a GPU supports DX12U, it’ll also support 12_2 and the reverse appears to also be true.
A DirectX feature level is Microsoft’s way of defining what specific capabilities a GPU is capable of. A GPU that can only handle DX 12_0 or 12_1, for example, would support the low-latency command structures and performance-improving aspects of DX12 as an API, but would offer no support for Microsoft’s DXR (DirectX ray tracing) technology. Microsoft typically only puts a major brand push behind whole-integer updates (DirectX 10, 11, 12), but the company is making a bit of an exception with DirectX 12_2, which is where the “DirectX 12 Ultimate” concept comes from.
Here’s the official phrasing, straight from Microsoft (and likely AMD, Nvidia, Intel, and Qualcomm):
Intel’s statement is a bit different than any of the others. It’s the only company to imply that support is a bit conditional, with the qualifier that the company’s roadmap includes “discrete” GPUs that take advantage of 12_2. The fly in the ointment here is probably Tiger Lake. If a GPU doesn’t support ray tracing, it can’t claim to support DirectX 12_2, which is why Nvidia also makes it clear that support is limited to the company’s RTX family of cards.
It’s going to be a long time before we see ray tracing in an integrated GPU core sitting alongside a CPU inside the same socket. At the moment, the performance penalty for using the feature would nuke any benefit of enabling it. Obviously AMD and Intel will eventually add it, but ray tracing is going to remain a somewhat high-end capability for now. Even if AMD, Nvidia, and Intel deploy DXR against each other throughout the full range of their product stacks this generation, it won’t likely be useful on lower-end cards for at least a generation after this one, and possibly longer than that.
The feature I’m most curious about besides ray tracing in DX12_2 is variable rate shading, which I’m still hoping will see wider adoption in future GPUs and titles. The interesting thing about VRS is the way it could boost performance of lower-end GPUs, allowing smaller and lighter systems to pack a decent amount of graphics performance (at least, in supported titles). We’ve talked about variable rate shading here — if you need a quick refresher, it’s a method of rendering that allows a GPU to reserve limited horsepower for the most detailed areas of the scene intended to draw the eye rather than lavishing the same amount of detail (and power) on every section of a frame.
Should you expect these features to immediately revolutionize gaming? No. As much as I’d love to say otherwise, we’re looking at an ongoing slow burn for features like ray tracing, though the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft will obviously boost the feature. It’s taken time for Nvidia to push a moderate number of titles into market and it’ll take a few years more for that number to grow to the point that you could realistically call it a library. Last gen showed that ray tracing was possible, this generation will showcase it in ways that drive adoption directly, and next generation will probably see broader top-to-bottom availability, even on lower-end hardware.
As the launch date for Ampere approaches, the details on the next-generation platform are firming up and the rumors are theoretically becoming more accurate. The first is a given, with details on Ampere arriving this week from Nvidia, while the second is… look, details on Ampere arrive this week from Nvidia, and I’m tired of talking about salt. Stop eating so much salt. Take your rumors with something healthy, like a giant spoonful of high fructose corn syrup.
If these new, tasty, tasty rumors are accurate, the highest-end Ampere will cram up to 24GB of RAM onboard, while the RTX 3090 and RTX 3070 will feature 10GB and 8GB, respectively. This seems… kind of low, honestly — but it may be that looks are deceiving here.
On the one hand, this would be the third generation in a row in which Nvidia mostly held the line on 8GB cards. While the RTX 3080 would move up to 10GB, the RTX 3070 at 8GB means that effectively, 8GB is going to be the RAM target for high-end hardware. No one is going to build games that require 10-24GB of VRAM if only a few percent of the market can play them.
On the other hand, however, we’re finally seeing games tapping the power of SSDs this generation rather than continuing to rely on ever-large amounts of console RAM, and it’s already been stated that PCs are expected to share in that bounty. Thus, we should be able to expect the same kinds of graphics updates courtesy of leveraging NVMe and solid-state storage on the platform side of things, without the need for larger memory pools.
Here’s what VideoCardz expects as far as speeds and feeds:
Assume, for the sake of argument, that Ampere and Turing offer identical performance-per-clock (they probably don’t, but it makes the math easier). The RTX 3090 is 1.21x wider than the old RTX 2080 Ti, while the new RTX 3080 is the size of the RTX 2080 Ti. Clocks would be modestly higher than what we saw in the last generation, with the RTX 3090 picking up about 1.1x clock compared with the RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 3080 would be almost 1.5x wider than the old RTX 2080 (non-Super), making it a significant upgrade in the same price bracket and an unknown value until we know more about how Nvidia will price these new cards.
Looking at these cards, the big question is price. If Nvidia holds the RTX 3080 steady at the RTX 2080 Super’s pricing, it would be a tremendous upgrade. If it raises prices — and if I’m being honest, the sharp increase in VRAM and core counts could both point in that direction — then Ampere might offer performance benefits in-line with its architectural improvements but not dramatically exceeding them, in terms of performance-per-dollar. It’s a little harder to predict Nvidia’s pricing here than in the past because the company raised prices last time it launched, then cut them under pressure from AMD once its own RDNA architecture debuted. Nvidia’s overall share of the graphics market has increased to 80 percent of the discrete space, which probably hasn’t signaled to the company that it ought to consider a price cut.
Then again, if Nvidia comes in at markedly higher prices than AMD plans to target, we’ll see costs come down when AMD launches its own RDNA2 GPUs, an event my crystal ball tells me…to expect. This year, if things are still on schedule, but we don’t know more than that.
It’s been a bit of an odd year in gaming. With a number of Xbox Series X and PlayStation launch titles pushed back, there’s been less to talk about, and for every game that’s formally announced a delay, there are more still floating in limbo. One reason it’s hard to predict how Nvidia will price ray tracing with Ampere is that there hasn’t been as much of a high-profile push around next-generation gaming titles.
Assuming VideoCardz specs are accurate, a lot of how the 3090 – 3070 compare against their predecessors is going to come down to price.
from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/gaming/314429-nvidia-rtx-3070-3080-and-3090-specs-reportedly-leak
PC Mitch Howton spent 23 minutes performing CPR on Rui Andrade when he collapsed.
from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-53973057
Tottenham are drawn away to Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the second round of Europa League qualifying.
from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53970926
Joseph Hawkridge is charged with taking a 100ft Thames Clipper river bus without the owner’s consent.
from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-53973053
If you remember even basic elementary school geography, you know that Earth’s surface is mostly water. Scientists have disagreed about how all that water ended up on Earth. Was it all here when the planet formed, or was Earth a dry husk until asteroids and comets delivered water? A new analysis of meteorites published in the journal Science points to a watery Earth from the start.
It’s not unthinkable that a planet could form with water or ice, but Earth formed in a much warmer part of the solar system than chilly planets like Jupiter or the uncountable icy Kuiper Belt objects. The current thinking is that no water ice would have remained frozen amidst the swirling cloud that became Earth, and that would mean Earth accumulated water later on to become the wet world it is today. To know for sure, we’d have to look at the material that formed Earth. That’s not possible 4.5 billion years after the fact, but we have something almost as good.
The latest clues to Earth’s beginnings came from a rare type of space rock known as an “enstatite chondrite meteorite,” also known as E-type chondrites. Only about two percent of meteorites are in this class, which have chemical compositions that date them to the earliest era of the solar system. Since these objects are essentially the same material that coalesced to form the planets, the amount of hydrogen locked up inside is of great interest to scientists.
Researchers from the Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques in France took a close look at 13 of these uncommon meteorites. They measured the amount of hydrogen present in the rocks because hydrogen plus oxygen gets you water, and we know Earth had plenty of oxygen at the beginning.
The team found less hydrogen in the enstatite chondrites than in other types of space rock, but it was still more than enough. According to the study, the hydrogen present in enstatite chondrites could account for several times more water than is currently in Earth’s oceans. That supports the idea Earth formed with most or all of the water we have today. Backing up this claim, the team analyzed the ratios of hydrogen isotopes in the meteorites, finding they are very similar to the Earth’s interior.
This conclusion is appealing because it’s much simpler than the alternative — that Earth picked up oceans of water from other objects. We probably did accumulate some water from the occasional comet, but this study offers strong evidence Earth has always been a watery planet.
from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/314417-rare-meteorites-point-to-origin-of-water-on-earth