Tag Archives: ‘boosts

Parallels 15 Boosts PC Game Performance on Macs With DirectX 11

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Despite all of Apple’s success over the last few decades, the Windows software ecosystem is undeniably larger. That’s particularly true if you’re a gamer. Many AAA titles never launch on Mac, and those that do often arrive late. Parallels just announced a new version of its Mac software that makes gaming performance better, so you might not have to wait for a buggy Mac port. 

Until the early 2000s, using a Mac meant locking yourself away from the Windows software ecosystem. Apple’s PowerPC architecture ensured that any emulation or virtualization would be slow as molasses. Then, Apple switched to the Intel x86 architecture in 2006, and Parallels was ready a few months later with its Windows virtualization suite for OS X (as it was known at the time). Parallels lets you run Windows applications on macOS side-by-side with Mac apps, and the new v15 release marks the first major update in a few years. 

In the latest build, Parallels Desktop 15 adds DirectX 11 support inside Windows applications and games. That’s thanks to the use of Apple Metal, a low-overhead 3D graphics API used on all Apple platforms. Parallels says the new version of its software can render 3D graphics 15 percent faster when they implement DX 11. Past versions of Parallels were a bit too sluggish for 3D games, but the promo video (below) shows the software running Overwatch reasonably well. You’d probably have to keep the graphics settings modest, but it’s better than not playing at all. 

Parallels 15 includes support for the new Sidecar feature coming to macOS Catalina. With Sidecar, you can use an iPad as a secondary display on your Mac. Therefore, you will soon be able to run Windows programs (an even games) seamlessly on your iPad. You’ll just need a Mac computer nearby. 

Parallels also claims the new version is 80 percent faster when opening Microsoft Office apps, and it works with many non-gaming applications the rely on 3D rendering like Autodesk 3ds Max. There’s also support for sharing files between the Mac and Windows sides in apps like Windows Mail, Safari, Photos, and other macOS apps. 

Parallels desktop is available as a one-time purchase for $ 99.99, but some of the features are locked behind the Pro and Business subscription. That’s $ 99 per year. If you have an older version of Parallels, you’ll need to buy the new version, but the upgrade price is a bit more reasonable at $ 49.99.

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‘Something pretty dramatic could happen’: Trump boosts pressure on Mexico to stop migrants

Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what’s happening around some of the day’s most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.

TODAY:

  • Donald Trump is applying increasing pressure on Mexico over immigration, threatening to impose a five per cent tariff on all imports starting Monday and ratchet up the duties each month toward a 25 per cent target by October.
  • It has been a highly emotional and uncomfortable week for the prime minister and many others across Canada.
  • Missed The National last night? Watch it here.

U.S.-Mexico immigration

Mexican and U.S. officials are meeting again today to try to find a way to halt the northward flow of migrants from troubled Central American nations.

And Donald Trump is continuing to apply the pressure with his threat to impose a five per cent tariff on all Mexican imports starting Monday, and ratchet up the duties each month toward a 25 per cent target by October.

“Something pretty dramatic could happen,” the U.S. president told reporters before attending D-Day commemoration ceremonies in Normandy, France, this morning. “We’ve told Mexico the tariffs go on. And we mean it, too.”

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency says it “arrested or encountered” 144,000 migrants along the country’s southern border in May, a 32 per cent increase from the month before. That’s the highest monthly total in 13 years.

But Trump’s ongoing efforts to paint the influx as a “border crisis,” and to build support for his plan to construct a 3,145-kilometre wall between the two countries, remains a tough sell.

Here are some of the underlying numbers:

Mexico and migrants


Migrants from Central America walk on a highway in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Wednesday on their way towards the United States border. (Jose Torres/Reuters)

112,317 — the number of people Mexico deported in 2018, 96 per cent of them from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

80,537 the number of arrests and deportations from Mexico since December, a 33 per cent increase over the previous six months, and a 54 per cent increase from the same period last year.

825,000 — the total number of deportations by Mexico since 2012, including 10,869 U.S. citizens who were sent home.

196 per cent — the increase in asylum applications that Mexican authorities have received over the first six months of 2019, on pace for 60,000 by the end of the year, double the 2018 figure.  

250,000 — the number of migrants that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard claims authorities will prevent from reaching the U.S. border over the course of this year.

350 to 400 — the number of people detained yesterday by Mexican soldiers as they crossed the border from Guatemala.

8,835 — the number of Central American migrants who have claimed asylum at the U.S border but remain in Mexico while their applications are being processed.

U.S. apprehensions


Central American migrants turn themselves in to a U.S. Border Patrol Agent after crossing from Mexico into El Paso, Texas, on May 15. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

404,142 — total U.S. border apprehensions for the fiscal year that ended in September 2018.

598,714arrests from the beginning of last October to the end of May 2019.

1.6 million — the record-setting number of border apprehensions in fiscal year 2000.

80,000 plus — the number of people currently being held in U.S. Border Patrol custody.

256,000 — number of U.S. deportations in 2018.

Visas

700,000 — the number of people who overstayed their U.S. visas in 2018.

1ranking of Canadians among visa abusers, with more than 100,000 scofflaws.

20,599 — the number of asylum claims received by Canadian border officials in 2018.

Border agents

4,945 agents employed by the U.S. Border Patrol in fiscal year 1995.

19,555 — agents employed by the U.S. Border Patrol last fiscal year.

Unauthorized immigrants


Migrants hold hands as they cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico at the Rio Grande river on their way to enter El Paso, Texas, on May 20. The location is in an area where migrants frequently turn themselves in and ask for asylum in the U.S. after crossing the border. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

46 — percentage of Americans who support the deportation of immigrants who are illegally in the country.

43 — percentage of Mexicans who hold the same opinion.

12.2 million — estimated number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in 2007.

10.7 million — the estimated number in 2016.

1.5 million — the net decrease of unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the U.S.

Trade

$ 347 billion — value of goods that the U.S. imported from Mexico in 2018, 13.6 per cent of all imports.  

$ 17 billion — additional amount that American consumers and businesses will pay with a 5 per cent tariff.

$ 86 billion — additional amount they will pay if the punitive duty hits 25 per cent.

Border wall


The border barrier between the U.S. on the left and Mexico, photographed from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

1,052.5 km length of existing pedestrian and vehicle barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico when Donald Trump took office.

199.5 km — length of that fencing that was to be replaced in 2018 and 2019.

53 km  — length of new border wall scheduled to be constructed this year.

$ 8.6 billion — amount of money that the Trump administration is seeking in the 2020 budget to fund its wall plan.

$ 25 billion to $ 40 billion — estimated cost of completing the barrier as envisioned.


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At Issue

It has been a highly emotional and uncomfortable week for the prime minister and many others across Canada, The National co-host Rosemary Barton writes.

It’s been one of those political weeks steeped in ceremony and weighty moments.

Today, the Prime Minister visited Juno beach on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It was deeply moving to see some of those veterans — who are now, on average, about 95 — revisit the beach they invaded to help preserve the freedoms we enjoy today. The Prime Minister could not get through his speech without tears.

Justin Trudeau’s week also started with deep emotion and symbolism.

The closing ceremony of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) was full of raw moments, indigenous traditions and even a bit of hope.

It was also a really hard day for a lot of people at the ceremony and across the country.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands after being presented with the final report at the closing ceremony for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Gatineau, Que., on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

There’s been much said and written on the inquiry’s finding that what happened to Indigenous women and girls amounts to “genocide.” Still more has been written about how politicians reacted to the use of the word.

We won’t do a whole legal or semantic debate on it for At Issue tonight, but it’s worth talking about why it matters and whether it’s difficult for a politician to adopt that language.

More importantly perhaps, it’s also worth asking what happens now to these 231 calls to justice. The big and small changes the inquiry believes are needed to move beyond that one word and to a better place for everyone.

It’s not an easy conversation, and as the Prime Minister himself said, it’s “uncomfortable.” Thing is, sometimes the only way to move forward is to be uncomfortable.

Andrew Coyne, Chantal Hébert and Tanya Talaga will be on your screens later tonight. See you there.

– Rosemary Barton


Note to readers

Due to the NHL Stanley Cup Final game, The National will be delayed on CBC’s main network. It will air at its usual time, 21:00 ET, on CBC’s News Network, digital and online platforms.


A few words on … 

Canada’s D-Day debts.



Quote of the moment

“We cannot say this enough: Vaccines are a safe and highly effective public health tool that can prevent this disease and end the current outbreak.”

– Alex Azar, the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, reacts to news that the country has now surpassed 1,000 measles cases in 2019, the highest number in nearly three decades.


U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)


What The National is reading

  • Canadians kidnapped in Ghana (CBC)
  • Millions of pigs culled across Asia as swine fever spreads (Guardian)
  • “Terrible deeds”: German ex-nurse convicted of murdering 85 (CBC)
  • Last North Korea nuke test was 16 times more powerful than Hiroshima bomb (Asia Times)
  • Ultimate limit of human endurance found (BBC)
  • Days are numbered for Norway’s fur farms (Agence France Presse)
  • Shakira appears in Spanish court on tax fraud charges (El Pais)
  • Ditch the GPS, it’s ruining your brain (Washington Post)

Today in history

June 6, 2001: Canadian veterans fight for support of Juno Beach Centre

Fifty-seven years after the D-Day landings, Canadian veterans are still fighting — for some long overdue recognition. Plans to build a memorial and museum at Juno Beach have met hurdle after hurdle, including resistance for locals who don’t want to give over a summer campground to the project. Now they are having to “scratch and beg” for the money to get the $ 5.5 million centre built. The vets have raised $ 1 million, and the government of France has pledged the same. Walmart is down for $ 1.5 million. But Ottawa says it can only spare $ 250,000 from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ $ 2 billion budget.

A group of veterans say Canada’s donation to a new D-Day museum isn’t enough. 2:25

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Please send your ideas, news tips, rants, and compliments to thenationaltoday@cbc.ca. ​


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Seagate Boosts Hard Drives to 16TB With New IronWolf and Exos Models

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With the worldwide data creation predicted to grow from 33 zettabytes to 175 zettabytes per year by 2025, incremental gains in hard drive density are a bit like putting fingers in the dike, but they are certainly always welcome and provide some breathing room. Seagate has now packed 16TB into 3.5-inch form factor Enterprise-grade drives. According to Seagate, these are the highest capacity hard drives ever produced.

Exos for Data Center, IronWolf for NAS

Seagate is launching two versions of its new 16TB helium-based drives. Both share the 3.5-inch form factor and 7200rpm rotational speed but differ in some of the finer points. The Exos X16 HDDSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce is designed for general data center use. Along with that designation comes Seagate Secure, which allows for safe, secure drive erasure.

Seagate's new 16TB Exos hard driveThe IronWolf and IronWolf Pro 16TB versions are tuned with Seagate’s AgileArray firmware, providing NAS customers with optimal RAID performance dual-plane balancing, and support for workloads up to 300TB/year. The IronWolf versions also include rotational vibration (RV) sensors to assist them in providing consistent performance and quiet operation. Other than the model number and larger capacity, the detailed specs for the 16TB IronWolf versions are identical to their 14TB siblings.

By 2020 HAMR Will Push Capacities Further

Traditional magnetic recording technology has pushed drive densities to the limit. With very-high-capacity devices, it isn’t possible to write only the bits desired, so additional data needs to be written as well — impacting performance. With HAMR, the bit to be written is heated using a laser diode, so that it is easier to write, and can be specifically targeted. The result, when combined with surrounding helium helps power predictions of drives up to 100TB by 2025. We got a demo of HAMR drives at CES, but they won’t be available until 2020.

Price and Availability

Seagate has been shipping some of the Exos drives to some of its enterprise customers for several months, to ensure that they can pass muster running vendor qualification tests and performance benchmarks including sg3_utils and smartmontools. The Exos 16TB drives are now generally available for purchase at an MSRP of $ 629, with the IronWolf version selling for $ 610 and the IronWolf Pro version for $ 665.

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Antacid use in babies boosts risk of allergies

Infants who are given antacids like Zantac or Pepcid are more likely to develop childhood allergies, perhaps because these drugs may alter their gut bacteria, a new large study suggests.

Early use of antibiotics also raised the chances of allergies in the study of nearly 800,000 children.

These medicines are considered generally harmless and something to try with fussy babies who spit up a lot.– Dr. Edward Mitre, Uniformed Services University

Researchers combed the health records of kids born between 2001 and 2013 and covered by Tricare, an insurance program for active duty and retired military personnel and their families. A surprising 9 per cent of the babies received antacids, reflecting the popularity of treating reflux in infancy.

Over four years, more than half of all the children developed allergies to foods or medications, rashes, asthma, hay fever or other allergic diseases. The study couldn’t prove causes, but the connection with antacids and antibiotics was striking.

50% increase in severe reactions

For children who received an antacid during their first six months, the chances of developing a food allergy doubled; the chances of developing a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis or hay fever were about 50 per cent higher. For babies who received antibiotics, the chances doubled for asthma and were at least 50 per cent higher for hay fever and anaphylaxis.

The results were published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

“These medicines are considered generally harmless and something to try with fussy babies who spit up a lot,” said lead researcher Dr. Edward Mitre of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. “We should be a little more cautious prescribing these medicines.”

In people with severe allergies, peanuts can sometimes cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. The new study found that babies given antacids in their first six months of life doubled their risk of a food allergies and increased their risk of anaphylaxis by 50 per cent.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mitre’s interest began when his youngest was a baby. A pediatrician suggested an antacid because the baby cried when on his back.

“We didn’t give it to him. He did not have terrible reflux. He got fussy when you put him flat,” Mitre recalled.

In the study, it’s possible medications were given to infants who already had allergies and were misdiagnosed, the authors acknowledged. But that didn’t seem likely to explain all of the strong effect they saw.

Gut bacteria play a role in a healthy immune system. Antibiotics and antacids might change the makeup of a baby’s microbiome, perhaps enough to cause an overreaction in the immune system that shows up as an allergy, Mitre said. Antacids also change the way protein is digested and some may alter development of immune system pathways.

Study co-author and pediatrician Dr. Cade Nylund of Uniformed Services University said parents can try offering fussy babies smaller amounts of food more often and frequent burping during meals.

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New PS4 Update Boosts Image Quality for PS4 Pro Owners Stuck on 1080p

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Sony has released version 5.50 of its PS4 System Software, with a number of new improvements and features for PS4 owners. The new update includes better parental controls, a number of UI tweaks, and most importantly, a new feature to improve image quality on the PS4 Pro.

Supersampling Comes to PS4 Pro

When the PS4 Pro launched, one common criticism was the paucity of improvements for gamers who still owned 1080p TVs. Most of the updated titles available at launch focused on 4K presentation and HDR support. Games that weren’t programmed to take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s second, more powerful GPU cluster didn’t initially benefit. The PS4 Pro’s Boost Mode, which Sony added over a year ago, did extend some benefits into titles that weren’t updated for the refreshed platform, but that didn’t address the fact that you really needed 4K + HDR to justify buying a PS4 Pro at all.

Video-Output

2K is a little-used term for 1080p TVs.

Now, with System Software 5.50, there’s a new supersampled resolution mode gamers can activate at-will. Here’s how Sony describes it:

PS4 Pro users taking part in the beta will see a new ‘supersampling mode’ under Settings, which enables those with HDTVs (i.e., 1080p or less) to enjoy an enhanced visual experience when playing some PS4 games.

With supersampling mode, some games will render at a higher resolution and then be downscaled to match the HDTV – allowing PS4 Pro owners to leverage the benefits of an image clarity boost even if their PS4 Pro is not connected to a 4K TV. Please note performance will vary, as games are optimized differently to take advantage of the power of PS4 Pro.

We don’t know yet how many titles support this mode, but it should offer a significant visual upgrade. Supersampling, also called downsampling, is the process of rendering a game internally at a very high resolution, then scaling it to a lower resolution for display on a TV or monitor. This process substantially reduces the presence of “jaggies,” the stair-step jagged lines you’ll often see on foliage, power lines, fences, and line edges more generally within a given game.

Supporting this feature should be a relatively straightforward affair. The reason we don’t use supersampling as a primary antialiasing method in all cases is because it’s extremely computationally expensive. Sony’s use of checkerboarding to hit near-4K equivalent resolution should still help here, however — supersampling the checkerboarded image will still reduce bandwidth and pixel throughput requirements compared to a native 4K display.

Other Features

The PlayStation 4 has had parental controls since it debuted, but Sony has been buffing them of late. The 5.50 software update introduces a new feature called Play Time Management. Parents or guardians with access to the PlayStation Network account can log in via smartphone or PC and check how much each child account has played that day as well as how much time remains.

PlaytimeManagement

Parents can change when the PS4 is available for use and how much game time is allocated for that day from the web portal, as well as ordering it to log out once the game session is over. The children who are playing on the console are warned when their play session is almost over, allowing them to find a save point or safe logout point before running out of time.

Playsessions-Time

PS4 owners also now have the option to import custom wallpapers via USB, there are new updates to the library UI, and players can now hide certain applications under the “Purchased” tab. Custom friends lists are also now accessible from the Quick Menu and you can permanently remove old notifications from the system.

All in all, a solid set of improvements. Happy gaming.

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MIT Boosts Speed of 3D Printing by 10 Times

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Three-dimensional printing was supposed to be the next big thing, but a combination of factors have kept it from becoming a mainstream technology. One of the ongoing issues is that 3D printing is slow, and most of the technological improvements have been geared toward improving quality and lowering the cost. A team of engineers at MIT are now tackling the speed issue. They’ve designed a new 3D printer that can operate up to 10 times faster than a traditional printer.

The speed of a 3D printer isn’t the most significant barrier to adoption, but it’s still something that needs to be addressed. It could also help alleviate some of the technology’s other shortcomings. Even small objects can take as long as an hour to print with conventional consumer-grade 3D printers, and it’s hard to know if a particular design will print correctly on a given system. That leads to waste and frustration as people fiddle with 3D models to compensate for the issues. If it only takes one-tenth as long to test a new design, 3D printing could be far less annoying.

This system doesn’t require completely rethinking the way 3D printing currently works. It’s based on the same fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology with which you’re probably familiar. Plastic is melted and extruded onto a build surface in FDM, but the fast fused filament fabrication (FastFFF) system designed at MIT has several features that are, well… faster. The video below shows the FastFFF printer working at normal speed — it’s not sped up.

The print heads in this prototype printer have been redesigned to have higher output than standard printers, and there’s a screw mechanism that feeds filament to them at higher speed. Normal 3D printers use a pinch wheel mechanism to feed in plastic filament, but the screw design gets a much better grip. Of course, you need an efficient heating element to melt all that filament quickly. That’s why the team added a laser to the print head, which can melt the plastic faster. The last major piece of the puzzle is how the print head moves in the FastFFF printer. A high-performance gantry system lets the mechanism zip along to drop molten plastic as fast as it can extrude it.

According to the recently published paper, FastFFF can achieve a build volume of 127 cubic centimeters (7.75 cubic inches) per hour. The team hopes to see FastFFF reach commercial viability, but it’s not clear how that would work yet. An existing firm might license the technology or MIT could start a company to make and sell them. Either way, it’ll be a few years before anyone can buy it.

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