The HP Spectre, Hauntingly Small

Spectre. This evocative word suggests something sleek, fast, and powerful.

HP-Spectre-13.3-right-facingThe HP Spectre. Recently announced with very little fanfare or marketing hype. This is unjustified, as HP has finally created a device worth looking at for the nine or ten minutes you spend with it before breaking. Jokes aside (for now), it’s worth mentioning that HP’s products have dropped in terms of build quality, but still have quite a way to go to be the very worst. Back to the positives: One look at this copper-clad computer is all anyone needs to know what sleek means.

HP-Spectre-13.3_Rear-profile-showing-thinnessHP explains that the Spectre is as thin as a AAA battery and that it will last 9.5 hours on a charge. Going by some real life tests of other HP laptops, one can expect to achieve a little more than half the claimed battery life. The mathematicians here at The Hardwire have poured over spreadsheets and pushed their TI-83s to the limit, coming up with an estimate of about 5 hours. So because it’s powered by as thin as a AAA battery, this laptop exchanges battery life for thinness, it’s in a special class of ultraportable laptops along with the recent MacBook.

Speaking of, the recent MacBook was incredibly thin too. The Spectre aims to upset the market share by coming in just as thin but even more powerful, containing a full mobile Intel i5 processor as opposed to the MacBook’s low power Intel M series. This will make sure the Spectre is fast and comparable with larger laptop options.

HP-Spectre-13.3_right-facing-paired-with-wireless-mouseThe copper accents and hard corners have a steampunk-style flavor to them, not to mention the hinges that are powered by pistons. This design will be polarizing, as will the omission of every port except for three USB Type-C connectors (which could potentially allow it to connect to an external GPU for extra power).

 

Though there are a few negatives riding against the Spectre, HP is doing the right thing by jumping in because “Never was anything great achieved without danger.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli

All photos are from here, credited to 

Hopefully this shows the MacBook a thing or two about computing.

-The Hardwire

Research: Dyson Airblade Launches Germs Everywhere

Dyson, known for taking vacuums & room fans to the next level of style and mechanical innovation, has had a product out for a while that you may have seen during your last foray into a public restroom.

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fig. I) Imagine if this didn’t have instructions on it.

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fig.II) Operating procedure.

The Dyson Airblade (fig. I) is a complicated take on the classic hand dryer concept: blow enough air on your hands until you give up and wipe the rest on your pants. With the Airblade, the user can subject their mitts to over 400 mph of airspeed shaped into a thin sheet that strips the water off (fig. II).

Now, this device has been in use for some time now, but a new study shows how sanitary it is compared to its classic counterparts. The University of Westminster tested three methods of hand drying and came up with results relating to the average distance they spew germs:

  • Hand towels spread germs 25cm
  • Standard driers spewed forth at 75cm
  • The Airblade propelled germs 300cm (3 meters!)

To be fair, the average consumer won’t be making the purchase decision for this device, so what do you do with this information? Well, there is only two paths in life that anyone can take after finding this out. 1. Avoid any bathroom you see that has an Airblade (not recommended) or 2. Live life to the fullest and trust your immune system, use really cool devices and be a part of the future.

Now if you are in charge of deciding what moisture-combating device to install in your building, remember a good ol’ paper towel dispenser will make everyone happy.

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Though… if you are below budget, keep in mind how crazy cool this is.

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fig. I source fig. II source

-The Hardwire

Retina MacBook Pro Rumors

Once again, Apple is playing catch up with Windows-based devices.

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While Windows machines have been sporting the new Intel Skylake processors since late 2015, Apple MacBooks are still stuck a generation or two behind. It’s not entirely their fault: they release different model laptops on a schedule but recently missed a beat and de-synchronized with Intel.

Fortunately, the rumored MacBook Pro will be synchronized with graphics processor companies Nvidia and AMD, who have recently announced their brand new generations in graphics processing. Other than the hardware refresh, this MacBook Pro release is expected to be quite standard. Expect to hear more around June this year, according to Macworld.co.uk.

Here is a LEAKED PHOTO* of the current MacBook as the new one will look the same, but you can pretend if you’d like.

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*Leaked meaning this was found right here with Google

We don’t usually go nuts over Apple products due to the software limitations of OS X and the low dollar-per-performance value of most Macs, but attempts are made to be journalistically fair even if journalistically isn’t a word.

-The Hardwire

 

The Rumored iPhone is one Glassy Device

If you thought your iPhone 6 wasn’t covered in enough brittle, translucent material, this successor will hopefully be acceptable. Rumors say that Apple is planning on using an “all glass enclosure” on next year’s iPhone.

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Lily wants to know what time it is. Guess she didn’t upgrade to the new glass iPhone with iClock.

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Sources say that it will look nothing like the phone pictured above as that’s completely ridiculous, you should be ashamed. Psychic mediums who volunteer here at The Hardwire have a hunch that it will look similar to the iPhone 6 but with more glass instead of aluminum.

Another rumored feature is the inclusion of an AMOLED screen made by Samsung. AMOLED screens are known for their remarkable acronym, color reproduction and superior black/white contrast. Currently, the Samsung Galaxy line of phones use the similar QHD S-AMOLED screens, with a grand total acronym of Quad High Definition Super Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode.

No further information has been given, and Apple left the world high and dry earlier this year after their biggest announcement was a the penny-savin’ iPhone SE. More to the point, people felt let down by the by the iPhone SE and are hoping for something a little bit glassier.


-The Hardwire

Consumer Tablets Dying, Business Tablets Exploding

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Quite the violent title, huh. Well it sure feels like it. Business tablets aren’t exploding in the bad way, like a grenade, but the market is taking off at a crazy rate. Consumer tablets are, in fact, dying in the bad way. 

It feels violent because, as a consumer, it’s hard to keep up with what exactly is cool, functional and future-proof. Tablets were historically laughed at as bigger iPhones, then declared a modern marvel, then saturated the market so rapidly that everyone and their neighbor’s dog had a tablet. Now the tablet is letting the 2-in-1 (tablet with detachable keyboard) computers to pick up any slack between a phone, laptop and desktop.

With options like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 that runs full Windows, companies like Apple are losing out when their iPad Pro runs the same exact software that the iPhone runs.

 

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Leaked photo of the new Apple iPad Pro 2

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The use of tablets like the Surface Pro 4 in business is taking off due to the quick, collaborative nature a tablet+stylus brings, in addition to the full features of the complete Windows operating system bundled with Microsoft Office. It’s a business machine right out of the box, and in addition they are really fun to draw on with the included stylus. Personal experience, and all.

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Remember that “personal experience”? This took 15 minutes and it’s the best thing this artist has ever created.

As the linked article predicts, business tablet sales will represent 30% of the total tablet market in 2020 (vs. the 8% now), while consumer tablet sales are going to drop.

Stay safe, stay informed, enjoy art.

-The Hardwire

Nvidia “Pascal” Graphics Cards…. So Close.

The Nvidia hype train is speeding up.

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With the promise of a blazing 1 TB/s bandwidth and up to 16GB of video memory, people are excited for the next generation of gaming performance. This new generation of video cards, code-named “Pascal”, are manufactured by Nvidia. The cards are slated to be twice as fact as the current generation (“Maxwell”), meaning more computing power in the same package, or the same computing power in half the size.

WCCFTech reports that Nvidia will release a new line of graphics cards very similar to Pascal somewhere around June of this year. Unfortunately, the hardware coming this June won’t be the the full-powered cards, but the lower-tier desktop and laptop cards.

So say “Goodbye Maxwell.”, and “Hiya Pascal!”

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We remember when you were new, old buddy.

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“The PC is successful because we’re all benefiting from the competition with each other. If Twitter comes along, our games benefit. If Nvidia makes better graphics technology, all the games are going to shine. If we come out with a better game, people are going to buy more PCs.” 

Gabe Newell, Managing Director at Valve Corporation

Plug-n-play GPUs: Boosting The Industry, Laptop by Laptop

For most people with typical needs, laptops are perfect. Portable, powerful, and kinda pretty sometimes; every feature required in a computation device can be found in a laptop. Word processing, email, internet browsing, image manipulation, casual gaming and more.

There is one glaring problem with laptops, though. Remember way back when we said “For most people”? That doesn’t include the power users.

Power users are pampered, spoiled by the preposterous hardware requirements of their hobby or profession. Video gaming, computer-aided design, 3D modeling, movie & photo editing and programming are all greatly enhanced by higher-end hardware. These users demand that their laptop performance is similar to a full-sized, desktop computer while retaining the portability and beauty of a laptop. Sure, companies offer laptops with high-end specifications, but they don’t necessarily match the performance of a desktop and end up costing way more.

For even if ye art a power user, Technology hast a plan for you.

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Look closely, you may need a magnifying glass. In between the two familiar blue USB ports is something amazing. It’s the punky new peripheral connector, USB Type-C, known for its small size and rapid data delivery, properly labeled “SS” for Super Speed! Like the older, larger USB, this allows many different types of devices to be connected. This can even allow a weaker laptop to connect to a special device that boosts the performance dramatically, just as easily as plugging in a phone charger. It’s a decent compromise, instead of spending a lot of money on a high-end laptop or full desktop, the picky power user can purchase a decent laptop and one of these:

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Behold, the awesome power of Compromise!

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This is an External Graphics Card. An explanation for those with social lives: the graphics card, or GPU (graphics processing unit), is the crucial piece of hardware inside an enthusiast’s computer. It is a specialized CPU (central processing unit) that only deals with images and 3D models, taking a large load off of the CPU and allowing it to focus on the literally billions of other tasks it needs to do. Most laptops are too small and cute to fit a decent GPU, meaning the CPU has to do all the work by itself. By plugging a laptop into an external GPU, the load is shared and the laptop can operate on par with full desktop computers.

A few companies such as Razer, MSI and Alienware  are releasing their own versions of the external GPU and toying with the idea of using a proprietary connector. Because no consumer has ever wanted anything to be proprietary, tech giant AMD is pushing for an open standard connection, a likely reference to the USB Type-C. We predict that, in the near future, the external GPU won’t be needed. It’s a (very useful) crutch for weaker laptops at this moment.

Slightly related: Every year, some smartypants journalist or blogger comes around and says “PC gaming is dead” then conveniently disappears before they can even

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“Mmph.”

Drawing by Rod Anderson

We here at The Hardwire are making sure the foot is planted firmly in the mouth of the critics, per the depiction above. PC gaming isn’t dead. Big advancements, killer marketing and a solid fan base is the best medical insurance that an industry can have.

-The Hardwire


 

This aggression will not stand, man.” — The Dude

 

The Virtual Reality Revolution is One Step Closer

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You’re at the perfect park, the sun is just about to make it over the tallest trees and you hear the sound of crunching leaves directly to your right. You turn, it’s a squirrel carrying a nut in its tiny squirrel hands and you can’t help but smile. Aah, Isn’t nature beautiful?

It is, but you are actually sitting at your desk.

Also you look like this:

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So serine!

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“The future is now!”, “What a time to be alive!”, and “The X revolution is one step closer!” are all phrases that we see way too much, and frankly should be banned from the internet. Despite that bold statement, it is becoming increasingly hard to resist speaking these words when devices like the HTC Vive are making their way into the market.

The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset package designed and manufactured by the joint forces of HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer, and Valve, the video game giant that is responsible for the market-leading software distribution service called Steam. Virtual reality headsets on their own are not anything new, as we have seen devices like the Facebook owned Oculus Rift that really proved VR to be more than a gimmick. The HTC Vive, however, comes with two neat-o controllers that track hand and finger movement which allow the user to manipulate virtual objects, a body motion/position tracker that is placed in the room to enable virtual walking, and a forward facing camera that activates to show the user their real surroundings when they are dangerously close to kicking their non-virtual dog.

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The HTC Vive and all of these extra goodies will cost $799. This price being $200 more than the Oculus Rift (goodies sold separately), so weigh your options! Pre-orders open up 2/29 and the first units will be shipped this April.

And it will come with a free copy of this actual award-nominated work of art.wealthynaughtychicken

-The Hardwire


People enjoying a perfect, sunny day outside. -Photo taken December 2nd, 2046