1996 – The Year Alternative Rock Died a Messy, Forgettable Death

Some phenomenal hindsight of grunge, alternative rock, and how it became the very thing it stood against. I remember this year vividly. I was 15, at the height of my angst, and this caused me not only to re-live the period but it also provided a unique subtext I was completely oblivious to.

On the radio, Goo Goo Dolls’ “Name” bled into Tonic’s “If You Could Only See” into Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” into The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshmen” into Matchbox Twenty’s “Push” in a watery bouillabaisse of quiet-loud-quiet song structures and sad-bro earnestness.

This has to be the most fun I’ve ever had while reading a musical article. It’s seamlessly written and presented like a Family Guy episode, providing example after example of it’s sharp tongued posthumous observations, told in the best way possible, by the subjects themselves.

[AVClub]: Read More…

Hierarchy [ 2016, commentary, electronic, lament, media, music, nostalgia, pop, rock, songs ]
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Review: The Crew

THECREW_Wallpaper_1920x1080_254841This may be a bit delayed for some, but sales made this possible at all. I had no interest in it from the start. It didn’t look right and my gut told me no. My gut was right. It is a bad, bad game. It controls like ridge racer meets… a wall.

Originally posted Aug 1st. It is now roughly a month and a week later and I’ve played it again. See bottom for updates!

Point of note: I didn’t find the e-brake in my first run through. I was using the controller, tried X, B, and A is apparently nitro. LB is look-behind and RB is change view. No e-brake where it should be. I didn’t try Y, but why? It would make no sense for it to be Y, so I didn’t even try.

I had “assists” on hardcore, but it didn’t matter. It was socks on linoleum the whole way. You can brake for a corner, or you can just crash through. You will probably still get there before any of the other cars, even when crashing into every wall.

Ok, so I’ll start out with the things I was impressed pleased surprised by:

  • In-Car View, Interior Detail
  • Interior Customization
  • Car Selection

Now the things I had a problem with:

  • Driving “feel” aka Control
  • Exterior Detail of Car Models
  • Story
  • Missions
  • Character Animations
  • Dialogue
  • Initial Car Selection

I would say I didn’t like the graphics overall, but it was really the exterior car detail. They’d show the wheel doing a burnout and the shock was just a squiggly line. The streets were half wet looking all over the place.  The overall scenery was simple and cold.  The graphic style wasn’t even arcade, it was attempting to be realistic but it wasn’t done well. I would put it on par with the open world driving of Driver: Parallel Lines. To put it simply, it felt dated.

I’m surprised they paid so much attention to the interior detail when they really should have focused on the car models. There’s no physics to it at all, you either are sliding or you are glued to the road. No in between and it’s hard to tell when you’ve actually lost traction. Even with all the assists off, it was incredibly difficult to actually get into a slide I couldn’t steer out of. Normally that ended with a wall which for the initial car you start out the prologue with meant actual smushed damage but for the replacement bumpers on the Nissan Z I was driving after… a few minor scratches.

There was so much that didn’t feel right about it and without even a plot to save it. The story was horrible, cringeworthy even for a cheap video game but this was not originally a cheap video game. I paid $10 for the main game, and $4.90 for the Season Pass/Wild Run. It was better than Crash Time II but not by much.

In what other game can you choose a truck? Dirt racing? I haven’t even gotten to any of that. I’m not sure I will even play it again. There is no joy in it, though maybe if I find an e-brake it might help me not hit the wall so much. Braking though, regular left trigger braking… I’m actually shaking my head thinking about it.

Heads up on the graphics front too… it’s locked @ 60fps. I was running it at 4k, on 1 card. That was because SLI makes it crash. It would be SO much better at 120fps, that might help it a little.

So I am writing this to save you the $15. “Steer” clear of this crew unless you have nothing else to play.  And even then… have you heard about this pokemon go thing?  If this was originally supposed to go up against NFS Most Wanted (2015) it doesn’t just pale in comparison, it’s damn near transparent.

** update 9/11/2016 **

It’s not often that a game that has been out for over a year gets better. I have to say that this game got better. Upgraded graphics was one of the first banners that greeted me when I logged in. Once I actually attempted to start racing I was surprised again that it was not crashing! They seem to have fixed the SLI limitation as well. I had put in a ticket from my first time, hadn’t really been aware of an update but it had one and that was one of the major things fixed. It also looks decidedly better. I have not researched exactly what they changed (more objects, better models, higher quality textures?) but it looks better to me. They’ve also added rain (I suppose to explain why the roads are so wet).

I found E brake, it’s X on MS-brand controllers but that hasn’t really changed the way the game handles. It’s an arcade driver through and through but this time I found a few more tidbits that I have not really seen in other racing games. The only other “open world” game(s) that I can really compare this to is Need For Speed. You’d get the same general challenges that you had to drive to and do, normally races and you have that here but they are varied. It’s not all races, it’s not all with your car. I was driving a truck off the road in a lifted Porsche as one of them. You also get “fast travel” which is nice when you just need to get to somewhere you’ve already been but the initial trip down a new road needs to be driven.

I decided to give it another shot when I saw a writeup in pcgamer this evening where they mentioned that it would be free for the Ubisoft Monthly as part of their 30 year anniversary. Starting 9/14 you can pick this up yourself. If you fire up their launcher “UPlay” in the next few days you can still pick up a copy of Rayman. They said they’re going to offer The Crew because it’s notable in that it’s their first real open world game, and I’m guessing that’s not just open world racing game.

One of the things that broke up the monotony driving 30 virtual miles across a scaled down US map was the challenges along the way. You get everything from gates, slaloms, speed challenges, oncoming (wrong side) driving and other things which you’ll be given one after another if you hold the right Dpad to activate the “stunts” mode. I did that for a little while too.

Having something to do while you’re still going somewhere to do something else is nice, it makes the time go by, and gives you a chance to pick up some additional points/money, even parts to better your car if you do well enough. A lot of them I didn’t even finish, I missed too many gates as my Nissan Z is rather slippery and once it starts sliding you can really only let off the gas to get it back in line.

All told, they’ve improved it. It’s still an arcade driver, but it looks better and whether these items are the season pass or the wild run expansion I am not sure. I was able to pick up the season pass (which appears to be all cars I am purposely not using yet) for $9.99 on amazon and then got the wild run expansion for less than $10 on G2A so all told I’ve spent $25 on the whole lot, and given the amusement it’s already given me once I gave it another shot… we’ll see if it pans out. I haven’t even gotten to the wild run stuff yet, but maybe the offroad crash one was from that pack? In any case I’m able to drive everything from a mini to some classic muscle cars, to an Escalade. Trucks in racing games are few and far between as I mentioned previously.

It’s novel enough that I gave it a second chance.
Once you get it free in a few days you can let me know what you think!

Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, games, racing, review, SLi ]
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Video: GTA V Gets A Tweak!

Rockstar always rolls them out dialed waaaaaay back. Up until GTA V had already been out for a year the mods were still being applied to IV. They had 4K working in that quite a ways back.

I still see a lot of blurring, and the people don’t appear to be optimized but it looks damn good.

Here was IV Redux, assuming same author:

(warning: autoplay)

Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, download, games, gaming, youtube ]
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Vacations Highlight Living

I spent a lot of time this past week doing nothing, it was all I dreamt it could be.

I am now at the stage where I feel depressed that it is coming to an end. It’s not so much that work misty begin, but regret that nothing has to end. Possibly regret that I haven’t done enough, that I don’t have much to show for all this time off.

I saw my family, shared my children, and had some reflective time with the wife. I had time apart with both my brother and my sister with the brain tumor… One of the sanger of the family, apparently.

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Technical Requirements

I spent much of last night attempting to get a 3D video posted.  I’ve been a fan of 3D vision (with the 3D LCD flicker glasses) since I tried the first wireless.version at PAX.  Crisis 2 was being  used to show it off.  It was triple monitor setup and I was hooked.

I got the Asus 120hz monitor with it built in.  I even have a second pair of glasses now in case I want to watch a 3D movie. My plasma TV does 3D as well… Where has it gone?. They have not stopped making games, nor 3 D movies for that matter.  I have used it here and there, mostly for new games.  I had stopped because my cards were reaching what they could push in newer games, and adding on the 3D vision adds a bit of overhead.

I since upgraded. First to one, and then two EVGA 980ti, each with 6G of VRAM.  4K was the primary reason but I hadn’t forgotten about the 3D.  The advantage to having so much video processing ump is there is plenty left over.  Even if you are playing at 1080 you can still tweak the AA to ridiculous levels,  and I adore shadow processing, getting the right shade of a shadow on a corner, even in the background adds to the whole lighting atmosphere.  I also like to stream to twitch, or record snippets.  Check my  YouTube channel, there is shit that goes WAY back, even before Twitch.

The point of all this is of course to justify being very overzealous in my quest for graphics excellence, yet I make no apologies. I like to be able to try it, rather than only wonder what it might be like.  If I can pull one person over to the PC side who is on the fence by showing them what is possible… Well, then I’ve done my part.

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Doom Open Beta

I pre-loaded Doom. I wasn’t going to do it, but I am in an endless quest for graphics and gameplay evaluation. I know I sound old when I say this… am I saying this? Yeah — it’s a gore fest. It feels like it’s trying a little too hard with the face smashing and the head ripping and the biting and… well, everyone’s in full armor suits and it just doesn’t feel right for Doom.

Of course I have formed this opinion by the opening trailer alone. Despite having pre-loaded it, it will not launch. It did launch, but when I opened it for the first time and saw a warning screen against flickering on NVidia cards I was reminded of a tweet I had seen from NVidia about an updated driver specifically for the Doom beta. I quickly hit ALT+F4 and opened up GeForce Experience to check the latest driver.

I was surprised that nothing came up, went back to that tweet and installed it directly. It was labled as Doom hotfix 364.96 — It no longer started after that. I only just now got to downloading the previous driver to see what it looks like with the original one.

*update* After backing off to the previous version of the display driver, it works! It flickers and is pretty hard to play but it’s playable within a window. If I go borderless windowed, it does the same flickery bits, almost appearing interlaced. I’m not sure what the issue is but it was enough to give me an idea.

I’m about as good at Doom as I was at Unreal Tournament / 2003. I managed a couple kills, spawned as a demon a few times… the first of which I absolutely slaughtered about 10 different guys and unlocked quite a few achievements with just that first run. It was all downhill from there. The levels are very doom like, graphics are detailed, but levels lack the detail. You have a few stone floors with blood running through them but it’s nothing super impressive.

I stand my ground on my first impressions. It plays like it looks, and I can’t see this flying off the shelves at full price. I would put it at about $20 and it will have to hit that price point before I bother. I have many other games with stories to play through, and I don’t relish fighting demon spawn bosses while strafing around them launching rocket after rocket into them.

Hierarchy [ 2016, games, gaming, graphics, preview, Windows10 ]
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...that can't remember my login for the forums thing?  SAME login as the GAME!  Separate your systems.  PLEASE!

…that can’t remember my login for the forums thing? SAME login as the GAME! Separate your systems. PLEASE!

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Division Problems

The Division is beginning to smell a lot like… Ubisoft.


My addition to the forray: Game is Stuttering. Cause… it is, like unplayable. You will miss enemies. No good, no good.


Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K ]
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The Division #FirstLook in 4K

I checked back on the 4K videos I uploaded about a week ago and they’ve got 4K available as an option now. It’s really delayed, must seem kinda shitty to the people who come when it’s tweeted. Sorry, it’s not you, it’s You Tube. It’s a lot-a ca-chunking.

#IsIt4KYet ?

Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, games, preview, video, Windows10, youtube ]
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Need for Speed #ShareEveryWinNFS Contest Entry — Please UPVOTE!

Here it is – recorded and uploaded in 4K — we’ll see how long it takes YouTube to process it!

I managed to hit all 3 daily objectives in a single chase!
If that’s not #ShareEveryWinNFS I don’t know what is!


Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, games, gaming, graphics, hardware, racing, screenshot, SLi, video, youtube ]
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SyntheticX Gamealeon | Live on Twitch with Need For Speed

Watch live video from Serinitism on www.twitch.tv

[update 23:02 3/10/2016]
Thanks for checking out the stream! Check back tomorrow for round 2 in 4k.

Hierarchy [ gaming, twitch ]
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EA Access – Need For Speed PC Preview

Need for Speed is currently loading, I’m going to give the first 10 hours a shot and see if it’s worth it. I appreciate they allowed it to scale to 4k and supported wheel hardware (assuming force feedback) but really don’t think it’s going to be anything earth shattering. They often go far too arcade. I don’t wish to play Ridge Racer. I want good old Road & Track: The Need for Speed


Video is a success! New drivers did the trick. 1080p/60
** NVidia Driver 364.51+ is a MUST for this game **

[update 3/11/2016 10:46] Attempting 4k resolution…
No 4k, and EA was no help. They said “nope, don’t touch that config file” and after 2 people and 45 minutes I finally got the answer – no, you can’t manually make it go into 4k (I’m on 1080 display)

[update 3/15/2016 19:04] Release day, unsure if it was the tiny update received for it, or the appearance of the profile in Nvidia GeForce Experience but that was the first place I went. it already had the 3840 x 2160 resolution listed — apparently picking up on my manual changes to the config file which hadn’t made a difference to the demo.

There was a little bit of flickering when I fired it up, but otherwise it worked and I was able to see it in it’s glory.

I made a quick first look video using my un-performancized NSX:

Continue reading

Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, games, gaming, graphics, nostalgia, racing, review, screenshot, video ]
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Initial Impressions for Elder Scrolls Online (Tamriel Unlimited) – DLC

I had not played Orsinium yet, and given Thieves Guild just came out I figured I’d give it another shot. I have been waiting for this Thieves Guild content since day 0 here on ESO and I finally get to use my designed thief.

I had started getting him ready as a secondary character from the beginning. I’d focused his craft skills and honed his speed and sneakiness. I waited, so he hasn’t done a quest in quite some time, just did some crafts here and there and he’s been stuck at about level 36 for a while.

I got to bring him out today. I even got him brand new bigger bags for all the things he’s going to steal! ESO has reached my personal goal!

That aside, I hadn’t played Orsinium — but my main character is an Orc so I was right at home. I’m playing O on the main character, and TG on my golden boy — not crossing story lines with either of them so far. I’m not a huge fan of the “hey, each character is going to have to do the other two story lines too to get anywhere.”

I’m level v7 and it has scaled up to level 17 — I’m fine with that. I don’t put nearly enough time (or have it) to level him up before I go exploring. This suits my play style very well.

More to come but wanted to write a blurb.
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Hierarchy [ gaming, Uncategorized ]
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YouTube Punished Me For a Sun Fish

So long story short, I’m in the penalty box for YouTube. I had the ability to upload longer than average clips all was going well and good. I grabbed a video with viral-potential from Facebook because no one had done it yet. It was from my home state, shared by one of my friends so I figured I had the jump on it and could possibly get some visibility for my channel.

I sucked it down and uploaded it to my channel. It was the MA guy yelling at the sunfish “I think it’s a dead whale, Jay!” and apparently there is some Biggie in the middle of it. I honestly didn’t listen to the whole thing and was going forward with the assumption that the audio for it was awful considering it was on a boat, the guy doesn’t shut up, and there was so much going on it was not a focal point of the video.

All of these things would seem reason enough for something being passed for copyright reason. I got caught up in fighting it. It was the principal of the thing, this had a lot of viral ability and by me saying someone else had a copyright to the section, they could get all the commercial revenue from it. A million views could potentially add up to a lot.

Maybe they saw the same thing I did, maybe the Biggee was more pronounced than I thought… in any case I lost the case, lost the appeal… never in my experience had I had a copyright issue I couldn’t explain away. Something not being the focal point of the video, aka “back ground noise”, being incomplete, none of these reasons were accepted this time which I felt was unfair. A human just needed to review this, it must be automated — so I continued. At some point I was warned if I appealed, or took it further I could get a strike. I didn’t think it would be a problem. I was wrong.

For those wondering why my YouTube is blank — here’s why. I could do it up on Vimeo or some other site, but in truth — I don’t think anyone’s that interested in watching my game play videos enough to care. I’ve got another couple months on my 6 month “sentence” so just know I have been trying, but my hands are tied.

Why my YouTube looks a little lacking lately.

Why my YouTube looks a little lacking lately.

Hierarchy [ 2016, gaming, lament, video, youtube ]
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Checking in with GeForce 3D in the face of VR Headsets

3D was a phase.
I was in denial. I know how computer 3D came and go but the underlying technology was sound and would live on. At the time, the next version of my card did not have 3D but this is the 3D that it had, complete with the same NVidia test pattern they use with the N that floats out in front of you. Same one.

Anyhow — I still have faith, because GeForce isn’t getting rid of it and games are going to be made more and more sprite-less, meaning no glitches and such. Bad 3D, like bad HTML — is very visible. There is a rating that NVidia gives each game it tests it with. I hope this encourages them to keep testing and holding those games to a higher standard for 3D (which totally translates to VR – Win / Win!

So twitch right now is going to be testing, carry on at your own risk:
Watch live video from Serinitism on www.twitch.tv

Hierarchy [ 2016, live, video ]
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Fallout 4 Season Pass 15% Off

PC Gamer has some pretty good deals this week:

I thought the The Fallout 4 Season Pass was a pretty good deal, but I am still protesting DLCs so only when they’re really really good. It only recently came out and they announced the details last week?

a.) Most people have not finished it yet.
b.) Step 3.

Hierarchy [ 2016, consumerism, games, games for windows, gaming ]
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The Division: Streaming to Twitch: Beta Review

Few screenshots, some 4k, some not.

Two EVGA 980ti:
20 to 30fps @ 4k
70fps vsync @ 1080

NVidia doesn’t even have an optimized driver for this one yet.
The city looks alive-ish, Multiplayer started out really cool — I had help from real people, we all ran into the fire together. Once I took the base, then I had to go looking for people for each mission. I didn’t discover this until later. They’ve got some reworking to do. You need people all over, fighting for both sides or it might get a little crowded.

The cover system could get a little old. I think I just need to hide the lines and buttons and everything that pops up. Once you have the hang of it you don’t need all the lines in the air. It seems pestiferous and unnecessary. I absolutely love the GUI though. I like the Minority Report style heads up display, perfect once you’ve got a VR headset, some eye tracking and a glove. It’s still cool without all that.

I won’t get started on VR but I’ve got a strong opinion on it. I was just finding the coolness in 3D — everyone still got tired eyes from it.
Anyhow, it’s late and the kids have gym early in the morning. There will be more occuring tomorrow. Most likely I’ll have a stream ready to go from this very post.

Ok, had some more time with it last night and have a rundown for ya.  It’s repetitive, from the enemies to the missions, all around.  So far I have not seen much aside from running into random people (NPCs) who may or may not start shooting at you.  To clear a threat from an area, you approach them from a side, take cover, shoot, reload, maybe move cover and do it all over again.  They don’t do much aside from throw a grenade to impact your approach.

Virtually nothing in the world is interactive, there was a mission which involved grabbing a battery and carrying it back to the generator.  Of course waves of guys come at you and you need to put it down inas  between you being it back to the area of the generator.  That was the most I interacted with something.  Switches, power, lines, anything environmental is nada.  It’s the same old trash bags and papers that you probably can’t vault over.

I don’t see the full game here, or maybe I do and it’s obscenely short.  It’s feeling like they are relying on the DLCs to change it up… Or at least add more of the same.  Can’t say for sure but it doesn’t look great for them.

Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, games, gaming, graphics, review, SLi ]
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Rise of the Tomb Raider et al

Ok, so QTE aside (it’s minimal) they really stepped up the tech.  It doesn’t quite look as smooth as it could, snow vs Assassins Creed III, as an example, but there were multiple times I was in awe.  It played less like an interactive movie, and more like a book I couldn’t put down.  It was all I could do to stop after the obligatory flash back sequence.  I can only hope it’s at least as long as the first one.  I purposely read very little about games now a days.

Prior to that it was 3D Mark, a brief (failed) attempt at GTA V, Dirt Rally in 4k, Fallout 4, Wreckfest in 4k, Batman Arkham Knight (finally ran well!), And finally topped it off with new Tomb Raider. Here are the latest screenshots.  Next Car Game actually took the screenshots in 4k, so make sure to check those out!

Rise of the Tomb Raider – Screenshots

Batman: Arkham Knight – Screenshots

Wreckfest- Screenshots

Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, games, gaming, graphics, screenshot, SLi, Uncategorized ]
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The Division: Open Beta for PC Now Available For Preload

The beta starts on Friday for PC and goes until Monday. It will be played.
You may start your downloading now, preload it and you’ll be ready to go when it’s available.

Start Your Downloading...

Start Your Downloading…

You’ll need UPLAY (yeugh) from here.

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Tomb Raider 2013: Revisit

With Rise of the Tomb Raider on its way, I thought it might be a good time to take a second look at the one that got it all going again.  I can’t believe it was 2013, seems like a long time ago.  The hair was the big thing, it looked incredible… But yippy couldn’t actually play with it on.  I had 2 780ti cards and it would struggle with the hair. Perhaps the physics dipped the performance, everything r else was ultra but not the hair.

Today it was a single 980ti and even the hair was swaying. With Ultra and FXAA I got no less than 80fps during the benchmark.  Rerunning tests here  and there,getting the numbers for the single card to add to the finished report.  Why this is fun for me…? Who knows but I like numbers, I like games, and game relayed numbers seems natural.

I had pretty much dropped it after finishing the game, as I just did the same with Fallout 4. Collecting the 100% stuff never really interested me, never tried multiplayer.  It’s difficult to maneuver as a shooter, doesn’t lend itself to multi, at least for me.  I did some jumsp

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Benchmarking Rumble! Round 2

780ti 3g vs 980ti 6g vs 98ti 6g in SLi

Please refer to Round 1 for the 780ti numbers

Putting this placeholder here, please check back in a couple of days.

Hierarchy [ 2016, benchmarks, gaming, graphics, hardware ]
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Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Talks to Young Voters • Triumph

Oh my goodness, this had me in absolute stitches! It just goes to show you that no matter what you say, you’ll never not offend anyone!

Hierarchy [ 2016, funny, oped, video, youtube ]
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Music: I have a type.


Hierarchy [ 2016, music ]
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Spotted in the Wild: NVidia External Thunderbolt Display Support

External Thunderbird displays coming to Windows 10

I noticed this when installing the latest NVidia driver.

I instantly thought of the Mac display, and will this resolve the 4k ( 4 x [1920x1080p]) display rate conundrum? I am waiting for the first 120hz display, and then I will happily 4k away.

Hierarchy [ 2016, 4K, graphics, hardware, video ]
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FUKUSHIMA – podniesinski.pl

When I visited Chernobyl 7 years ago, I didn’t think that a similar disaster could take place anywhere ever again, and certainly not in Japan.

Source: FUKUSHIMA – podniesinski.pl

Hierarchy [ 2015, photography ]
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