The Static Page
Cogito machina ergo sum? scale for the spiciness of chillies, the ConsScale tries to rate the consciousness of different entities, both organic and nonorganic, based on parameters such as whether it is adaptive, attentional, social etc. By the very nature of it being a scale, it implies that there can be less conscious entities and more conscious entities. Human consciousness obviously rates the highest. The only trouble is, consciousness which has begun in machine systems might be drastically different from what our idea of consciousness is. In fact, there is a growing body of work which suggests certain systems might already be conscious without us knowing about it. And hence there are more sophisticated evaluation methods than the ConsScale or Turing Test being devised to actually detect accidental consciousness. Some researchers suggest the more complex a network becomes, the more its chances are of developing rudimentary consciousness. Take the world wide web, or the breakneck speed at which IoT is consolidating devices and sensors, could a collective consciousness have developed? Simply expecting your fridge to answer back to you might fare lowly on a consciousness test, but imagine several hitherto independent networks coming alive and talking to each other (behind our back!) without us even realizing – how do you rate that on a consciousness scale? While we wait for signs of direct contact and consciousness indicators that we are accustomed to interpret, we should also budget for signs and trails that are beyond our perception. Personally, I believe any consciousness, even one that has accidentally occurred somewhere without any human effort will have one quality which we have in abundance - curiosity. It will try to contact us, much like we are trying to device consciousness detection systems. If it eventually decides we’re not worth making contact with, well, that’s a topic for another editorial altogether.
Siddharth Parwatay Managing Editor
on’t be alarmed, we’re still an english magazine. The above title is me being silly and trying to put a different spin on age old question: could machines ever attain sentience? Since discussions about “consciousness” or “sentience” often have the potential to quickly devolve into Deepak Chopra level woowoo, I’ll have to start with a disclaimer at the very beginning: despite my best efforts to keep things scientific and rational, some sections might require a “quantum leap of mindful perception”. I kid I kid; there’ll be none of that word salad here. We’ll keep things straightforward as always. Great! Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what this editorial is seeking to find out: could there ever be artificial consciousness? If so, what will this machine sentience be like? And would this proverbial “ghost in the shell”, be like us? To even have a chance in hell of answering those questions we first need to define what consciousness really is. Truth be told, no one, not even scientists know for sure. I remember in some random show, Neil Degrasse Tyson himself saying it’s one of the top five things he’d like to see answered in his lifetime. For the purposes of our analysis let’s think of a conscious system as one that can act with purpose and is aware of information. The highest evolutionary step in this ladder would be an awareness of its own self. The above definition seems to push this discussion into the realm of philosophy, but I postulate that it should be under the purview of technology, simply because tech is closest to creating systems that are self aware. Think of the way rudimentary AI systems of today are able to put two and two together. Take for instance the times when Google Now puts up an incisive card by analysing inputs from your mail and GPS location. The outputs coming out of deep-learning systems and neural networks do to some extent manage to mimic the qualities of a sentient entity. I’ve even read of programs that can not only learn, come to organically arrived at solutions, but also modify bits of their own code. If that’s not one step closer to consciousness, I don’t know what is. In a fascinating long read on Aeon (http:// dgit.in/machaeon), I even learnt of a scale developed by AI researcher Raúl Arrabales Moreno to rate consciousness. Much like the scoville
“The only trouble is, consciousness which has begun in machine systems might be drastically different from what our idea of consciousness is.”
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www.digit.in | September 2016 | Digit | 1
Remembering the masters
Marvin the Martian (from Looney Tunes), I had tasted themes from HG Wells’ work before, but only when I first read his books that I truly understood how they’d sparked modern human thought and possibilities. And to think all of this came from a guy at the turn of the 19th century is beyond amazing! For all his flights of fancy and pioneering ideas, looking back at HG Wells’ work now I can’t help but magnify the sense of pessimism and doom it portrays – something that I couldn’t really grasp in my joyful, optimistic youth. Perhaps not in my lifetime but the fact that this world’s going to end one day, humanity’s going to degenerate, that all will be lost are all undercurrents of Wells’ central theme in some of his seminal work. While, yes, global warming and rapid climate change is a worrisome trend, and that depleting natural resources may push the world towards an eventual thermonuclear WWIII, but as someone who’s witnessed technology’s impact on our lives I can’t help but think that there’s a silver lining waiting to reveal itself. As a result of the insecurities raised by sci-fi authors like HG Wells, technology is constantly being pushed to save ourselves from earth’s climate, find alternative sources of energy that would sustain our planet longer, build better humans through genetic engineering, and take unsurpassed leaps into space unlike we’ve ever done before. It’s all thanks to writers like HG Wells and their compelling vision of the future that gave wings to the imagination of countless others who followed, allowing us to build the world we live in, currently. But don’t forget that we could only build that world because of the tools that technological progress provided us. As I celebrate the birth anniversary of HG Wells this month, I couldn’t think of a better way to honour his legacy than by making him the topic of my column this month – along with sports, of course, the undeclared love of my life. But more importantly, I wanted to start a conversation with you, dear reader. Which sci-fi writers have sparked your imagination and how?
ust because you get older in life doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of wonder. With age and experience comes the understanding – at least to some degree – as to how the world around us functions. If nothing else, at least it lets you appreciate things that others do, in areas concerning your life or interests. Sports and reading have been two of my hobbies, for as long as I can remember. While last month’s Rio Olympics has left me starry-eyed by seeing the likes of Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and Dipa Karmakar excel in their individual capacity, I can’t help but wonder at how sports is being revolutionized by technology. Whether it’s day-to-day training, gadgets and sensors to track athletes’ vitals and help them attain optimal fitness, get focused and in the zone before a competition, or help them recuperate and relax after a strenuous workout, I think it’s easy to say that sports is benefiting from advancements in technology and big data analytics. It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to wonder what would happen if Indian athletes (like Dipa Karmakar) had a state-of-the-art, tech-infused coaching system and facilities to benefit from? Our Rio medal harvest would certainly have been more bountiful. I am a sports fan through and through, but because I write for a living, I think I have a slightly greater appreciation for writers now more than ever. Writers who, with their work, continue to have a mesmerizing effect on not just me but a lot of others here at Digit and beyond. Writers of science fiction, especially. Reading their stories again as an adult just leaves you feeling more like a kid again. Albeit a restlessly curious 30-year-old kid, left with more questions than answers. That’s the sort of effect HG Wells can still have on you! Through such epics as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and War of The Worlds, HG Wells left a deep impression on his readers – including myself. The idea that you could move back and forth in time, revisit the past and get a glimpse of the future blew my mind away. And the fact that aliens will one day appear on earth and try to destroy it, made me more inquisitive about space in general. In the form of cartoons like The Jetsons (animated cartoon series of a human family living in space, for the uninitiated) and
Jayesh Shinde Technical Editor – Test Centre email@example.com
“As a result of the insecurities raised by sci-fi authors like HG Wells, technology is constantly being pushed to save our race..."
Let me know your thoughts on this column at: facebook.com/jayesh. shinde | @jshinde | firstname.lastname@example.org
2 | Digit | September 2016 | www.digit.in
Contents SEPTEMBER 2016
VOLUME 16 \ ISSUE 09
001 ENTER 016 DGT Desire
LIFE 030 DIGITAL Origins Geek Life
037 TOOLBOX Workshop
Q&A Tips and Tricks
TECH 063 SCI Space Age
From the Labs
069 WORLD VIEW & TESTED 074 TRIED Bazaar Comparison Test
SMART 092 STREET Killer Rigs
47 ButTorrent The authorities think they have managed to lock
Agent 001 Top 3
@ WORK 096 TECH Careers Smart SoHo Industry Connect
105 DEVWORX 137 ESC Unwind
the gate to our torrents and downloads, but we know better, don’t we?
A different kind of hacking
Geeks are the most prolific cheaters out there, and when they decide to cheat, sh*t gets real!
TRIED & TESTED
75 CANON EOS 700D
77 ASUS ROG G752VY
A good camera for beginners
79 HUAWEI P9
The heavyweight stunner
“Good” camera, better design
4 | Digit | September 2016 | www.digit.in
ON THE DVD QuakeCon 2016
109 SKOAR! (Now inside Digit)
We delve into how accurate the history in video games have been depicted through the ages
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Security and Privacy Tools Avast Comodo Firewall CrashPlan Diskcryptor Eraser KeyScrambler LastPass Malwarebytes Spybot Anti-beacon Tails Tor Browser TunnelBear VirtualBox ZMail
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Cyberduck Darktable DaVinci Resolve 12.5 Studio GIMP Handbrake Hazel LibreOffice Little Snitch Notational Velocity Pixlemator PopClip Skype Smart Converter TextWrangler Tor Browser Transmission WaterRoof
By Manish “Trigger Happy” Rajesh
DOOM – Unto the Evil Now Inside Quakecon Prey – Official Gameplay Prey – Secrets from the Announce Quake Champions – Debut Gameplay Quakecon 2016 Quake Live Frag Video QuakeCon 2016 Welcome Rapha vs Evil - QL Duel, Grand Final
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66 Modular phones: A pipedream
How close are we to having a fully commercial modular smartphone?
30 Fabricating the future
We talk about the current state and progress of smart fabrics
Best macOS software Adium Alfred aText Bartender 2 Blender Boxcryptor Caffeine Clementine CrashPlan
Boid Exodemon Red Trigger You Have 10 Seconds
San Diego Comic Con 2016 American Gods Doctor Strange Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Game of Thrones (Final Season?) Justice League Kong: Skull Island Sherlock (Season 4) Snowden Star Trek: Discovery The Walking Dead (Season 7) Wonder Woman
QUACKECON 2016 SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2016
SECURITY TOOLS macOS SOFTWARE
81 AMAZON KINDLE 8
83 AMD RX 470
Why would someone get a new Kindle anyway?
More bang for your buck than the RX 480
www.digit.in | September 2016 | Digit | 5
The RSS Feed
A fine line average US movie ticket cost (about `580), and claim that to be the losses for the movie. Similar method for music. This in itself is idiotic, because it assumes that anyone who downloaded the movie, would otherwise have bought a movie ticket to watch it, and that too at expensive US movie theatre prices. For starters, every single Indian pirate certainly was not going to watch the movie, and secondly, the average Hollywood flick ticket costs about `170 to `200 in metros (slightly lower in smaller cities). Plus, I’ve downloaded movies that I first paid to watch in theatres just to watch it a second time. If I had to pay, I just wouldn’t watch it twice. (I like looking for bloopers and plot holes the second time – in case you’re curious.) I go back to my original point of letting them “win” this war of piracy. All it will really do is drive even more people away from big broadcasters and movie conglomerates. Of course they will always have a large and loyal following, however, I think most of the armchair pirates will end up just finding something else to watch online, which will make the hype created around movies fade a little on social media. It’s just so easy to replace those two hours with some YouTube or Facebook videos anyway. Plus, VR is coming to your phones, PCs and TVs, so pretty soon this whole “big screen” experience is not going to be very cool. It will still have the real-world social angle going for it – but that can just as easily be fulfilled at a coffee shop or a beach (and for much cheaper!). I can’t help but become a conspiracy theorist and imagine some cigar-smoking, filthy-rich, white man looking out at the world from an office building named after him, while abusing us pirates for not making him even richer than he already is. He’s walking a fine line though, and he’s the one who might end up paying for it. What do you think? Will an end to piracy result in you paying to watch as many movies as you are now pirating, or will you just find something better to do?
Robert Sovereign-Smith Executive Editor email@example.com
he past few months there’s been a buzz about piracy, censorship, government control and monitoring what people do online. Torrent sites are being shut down left, right and centre, people are being arrested and ISPs are being told to block content. More and more movie houses are approaching the courts to seek broad blocking orders in the name of John Doe (the public at large, or unknown persons). If all goes well for the powers that be, piracy may soon die a final and horrible death. I think this is a good thing, and no, I’m not some money-grubbing, MPAA-sympathiser looking to protect the rights of the “poor” movie and music stars. I’m quite the opposite. I actually believe that we should give these people enough rope and let them hang themselves. Let me explain. Software companies have known for years that piracy helps them a lot more than it hurts them, and there’s a fine line between being greedy and being so greedy that you dry up your business. At the height of the Microsoft dominance all we ever heard about from a small group was Linux, and why it was better. Why pay, when you can get the same features for free? Why use Adobe Photoshop when GIMP does pretty much the same job for the average Photoshopper. Of course a professional would prefer Photoshop because of the hundreds of things Adobe has built specifically with them in mind, but do I ever need that level of sophistication when all I’m doing is cropping and mildly colour-correcting family pictures for Facebook? Obviously not. I’m lucky to have it provided to me by my office, but let’s just say I used the “free” version for a long time before that. It’s the same story with Windows. I had a paid version when I started work, and when I bought laptops, but on my home desktop it was always the “free” version. I switched to Linux when it got a lot easier to use, in about 2006, and realised that had push come to shove – if it actually became hard to get a pirated copy of Windows – we’d all be using Linux. That’s just the way it is. There’s a lie being told about how much money is “lost” because of movie piracy. Those with a vested interest (MPAA) take an assumption based on the amount of seeds and peers on a torrent file (probably inflate that number), and then multiply that by the
“There’s a lie being told about how much money is “lost” because of movie piracy.”
6 | Digit | September 2016 | www.digit.in
Liked or hated this column? Let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org | @raaabo facebook.com/raaabo
September 2016 • Volume 16 • Issue 09 TO ADVERTISE
Managing Director Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha Printer and Publisher Kanak Ghosh Publishing Director Vikas Gupta
PRODUCTS REVIEWED THIS MONTH
Sales Director: Lalit Arun, Mobile: +91-9582262959
GALAX GTX 1070
South: Ram Sarangi, Mobile: +91-98864 06961 West: Suvarna Shringarpure, Mobile: +91-93249 28247
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North: Debleena Majumdar, Mobile: +91-98101 19492 East: Jayanta Bhattacharyya, Mobile: +91-93318 29284
Technical Editor Jayesh Shinde Senior Reviewer Mithun Mohandas
Brand.............................................. Page No.
ZOTAC GTX 1070
Samsung 9 Series SUHD 55-inch
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ASUS Strix 1060
Lenovo IdeaPad 500
Asus ROG G752VY
Reviewers Hardik Singh, Souvik Das, Shrey Pacheco Assistant Vikas Patil
Gamesir G3 bluetooth controller
Writers Arnab Mukherjee, Manish Rajesh, Nikhil Punjabi
MSI RX 470
Editor Soham Raninga
Hitachi.......................................Inside Back Cover
Assistant Editor Prasid Banerjee, Sameer Mitha Features Editor Adamya Sharma
Sr. Art Director Anil VK
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Huawei Honor 5C
Visualiser NV Baiju
Sr. Designers Haridas Balan, Charu Dwivedi,
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Jayan Visheyan, Koustav Ray, Nachiket Mhatre,
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Meizu M3 Note
ASUS Zenfone Max (2016)
Sr. Photographer Jiten Gandhi Contributors
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Peterson PJ & Manoj Kumar VP Photography
LeEco Le 1s (Eco)
Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
Purusharth Sharma, Rohan Parte, Ronak Gutpa, Swapnil Rastogi, Varad Choudhari
Coolpad Note 3 Plus Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
Production and Logistics
India AV................................................................. 143
Manager Operations Rakesh Upadhyay
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Product Mgr Soham Raninga
Asst Product Mgr Sourabha Shakya Mgr - Online Shauvik Kumar
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Reader Services Team Leader Sudhir Patel Executives Poonam, Bhishm, Nilesh &
Published and printed by Kanak Ghosh for and on behalf of the owners, M/s Nine Dot Nine Interactive Pvt Ltd. Published at A-262, 2nd Floor, Defence colony, New Delhi-110024 and printed at International Print-O-Pac Limited, C/4-11, Hosiery Complex, Phase II Extension, Noida-201306 (U..P.) INDIA. Editor : Kanak Ghosh.
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For those who just want more than should be humanly allowed, we have enough to satisfy your hunger...
If you’re wondering what to do with yourself or how to spend some time getting cultured, this section is for you...
THIS MONTH: BeoVision 14, Evo-43, Caviar Pokémon GO, Vertu Aster Chevron and a lot more...
THIS MONTH: Movie: Suicide Squad, TV Show: Stranger Things, 50 years of Batman
TECHNOLOGY WITH STYLE SHOWCASE
HP’s latest in gaming desktops
emember the time when the first line of Alienware gaming desktops and laptops were released? We sure do, especially that calm and straight-faced “no” we got from our parents because of the astronomical prices. It surely set a design trend years ago in other product categories along with gaming. HP reentered the gaming line with the Omen series through laptops and desktops, and their latest is the Omen X desktop. In the shape of a box straight out of a sci-fi movie, it’s actually an innovative design to compartmentalise the various components. The chassis design is insane, supporting standard microATX motherboards and
open to future upgrades of all the components. The storage bays are completely tool-less, and one really convenient feature is not worrying about cable management. The form factor does look like it might melt down the components inside, but the tri-chamber design along with their separate cooling setup should keep things under control. The Omen X is part of their high-end gaming line so it does support VR and 4k gaming, otherwise why would anyone even
Gear Icon X
With Bluetooth and Internet access, via an app on your smartphone, you will be able to creep yourself out, err, feel the pulse of your loved one with this ring.
Moving over to a future where robots do the cleaning, iRobot’s next is a mopping device that can wet mop, damp sweep or dry sweep the floor.
Samsung has launched a massive SSD with 15.36 TB of capacity that neither us or you are going to be buying since it costs a whopping $10,000(approx. `6.72 lacs)!
Earbuds always looked cool on special agents in movies. Gear Icon X is Samsung’s take on wireless earbuds and for the fitness freak, it doubles as a fitness tracker.
If you love big screens and reading, Kobo has launched the 7.8-inch Aura One with a resolution of 300dpi. We say big screen since it’s unusual for an e-book reader to have such a huge screen, and as we know Kobo, they have kept their latest e-reader waterproof just like the previous one. At $229 it comparatively seems a little expensive, but hey, it’s worth it if you can read your favorite books in the bathtub, isn’t it?
16 | Digit | September 2016 | www.digit.in
call a gaming desktop highend, right? Surprisingly, they haven’t talked about RGB lighting and have only mentioned about nine lighting zones around the chassis. Although the base version includes the AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU inside, you’ll be able to customise it with dual-GPU configurations from both team red and team green.
SPECIFICATIONS CPU: Intel Core i7 Skylake | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 2TB HDD and 256GB SSD
Learn about how Search Engines came into being and their evolution over the years
Some of the most innovative ways in which companies around the world are encouraging innovation
Fabricating the future Forget smart watches and augmented reality glasses, the clothes that you wear are the wearables of the future
Arnab Mukherjee email@example.com
he world of fashion knows what we want to wear, often even before we do. Be it the trending hemlines or the latest accessories, designers around the world predict and often create the future when it comes to clothing preferences. And of late, one thing that has been picked up by a lot of such visionary designers is smart fabrics. The connotation ‘smart’ here isn’t just the same as it would be for a smartwatch or a smartTV, but also something more that has been around for a while, especially in the world of sports. But in both cases, they are turning the old adage of ‘you are what you wear’ on its head.
that draws sweat away from the body. There are multiple other brands that are doing this too. Along with this, compression clothing is also used by a lot of athletes to prevent muscle fatigue and improve blood circulation while reducing muscle recovery time. The next level in performance enhancement fabrics has been created by BioLogic, a group of researchers from the Tangible Media Group within the MIT media lab by combining biomaterials research with textile design. Instead of using traditional electronics, BioLogic is growing actuators that are alive and responsive bio skin. They do this by harnessing a biological property in a particular species of ancient bacteria, Bacillus subtilis natto. The cells of this species expand and contract on the basis of atmospheric moisture, making them a key ingredient in creating a breathable fabric. These cells are harvested in the lab and assembled with a micron resolution bio-printing system to create a second skin-like fabric. This
For most of history, clothing has been a means of preserving one’s modesty and hygiene along with projecting one’s individuality. But in recent times, that has been changing drastically. Fabric has been developed in the last decade that is specifically engineered to enhance the performance of athletes due to various traits of such fabrics. Some of these traits are achieved quite easily. Take seamless garments as an example. Something that we take for granted, the simple modification of removing seams from sportswear makes them much more adaptable to the physique of athletes. Taking this a step further, a number of sportswear brands use special blends for their fabric which grants them additional capabilities. Luon from Lululemon is used in their range of trousers and sportswear as the special yarn used in it creates capillary action
A close up of a moisture wicking fabric showing the pores for capillary action.
30 | Digit | September 2016 | www.digit.in
fabric reacts to body temperature to open up flaps around various heat zones allowing sweat to evaporate.
In 2014, Ralph Lauren debuted the tennis collection in the US Open Tennis Championships to be worn by ball boys and girls. The t-shirt could monitor breathing, heart rate and stress. Similar designs and innovations have been seen across the fashion world with one thing in common - the innovation is right down to the yarn level. Interestingly, conductive yarn has been around for more than a 1000 years. Gold-wrapped threads have been used by artisans for embroidery and fabric construction for a long time. Currently, this skill has been identified as the perfect way to create an electronic canvas in the fabric, removing the need for wires to be embroidered into the fabric. A shining implementation of this is Google ATAP’s Project Jacquard which uses conductive yarn.
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Tips & Tricks
This month: 10 tricks and settings for capturing great pictures and one touch image editing on your smartphone
iOSusing experience esoteric apps
Far away from the realms of photo feeds and news updates, lies a treasure trove of apps whose utility goes beyond the banal. Get ready to greatly expand the function of your phone using these lesser known apps. Swapnil Rastogi firstname.lastname@example.org
s of June 2016, Apple’s AppStore hosted 2,000,000 apps. That’s an extremely large number of possibly useful apps. Where giants such as Facebook, Google and Snapchat rule the regions, it feels daunting to jump into such a dense forest to pick out the juiciest berries. But that's why you have us, so we can do all the dirty work for you, right?
Price: Free Ever desired a file manager on iOS? Developed by Readdle, Documents (currently in its fifth iteration) is both a robust and a reliable app to manage the contents of your device. The app provides documents and media viewer that supports a large number of file formats, which to be honest is a treat for iOS users. Other than viewing, deleting, copying and moving files, Documents also provides access to your cloud services along with an archiver, a web browser and capabilities to transfer files to and from a computer. Important pointers to note here though, due to how much iOS allows access to its system, Documents won’t allow access to deep system files and also it won’t become an alternative for iTunes to transfer files to its first party apps. Although you can use the
in-built media viewer to completely ditch the Music and Videos app. http://dgit.in/Dcmnt5
Unroll.Me Price: Free You create an account on a new website, use its services for a while, get enough of it and its utility fades for you. But you find out soon that the website isn’t done with you yet and bombards you with news and update mails. It’s a spot you find yourself in too often, every morning clearing tonnes of such mails. Even though you can unsubscribe to these services but who has the time to go to each of the websites and unsubscribe?
This is where Unroll.Me becomes a knight in the shining armor. The app lets you manage the horde of all the subscriptions related to your email accounts. You can unsubscribe, keep or even tell the app to add a subscription into a daily digest like feature which sends just one mail to you for all the subscriptions. http://dgit.in/UnrolMe
Slow Fast Slow Price: Free Here’s an app for all the timebending film makers. The iPhone shoots amazing videos, plus with its ability to shoot in up to 240 fps www.digit.in | September 2016 | Digit | 37
INDEX: BUT...TORRENT...................................................... 47 SSSSSSS ADMINS................................................. 50 THE DARWIN AWARDS........................................ 53 INVISIBILITY!........................................................ 56 THE MISCHIEF MONGERS.................................... 58 A DIFFERENT KIND OF HACKING...................... 60
46 | Digit | September 2016 | www.digit.in
IMAGING: PETERSON PJ
Cover story Cover story
TORRENTS HAVE BEEN BLOCKED, WHICH IS OK FOR ILLEGAL STUFF, BUT WHAT ABOUT LEGAL TORRENT DOWNLOADS?
BY ARNAB MUKHERJEE email@example.com
iracy hurts the people who create content, which is so good that you’re willing to pirate it just to watch it. That’s just crazy, right? Now we may feel strongly about piracy, but there’s something else we feel even more strongly about, and that’s censorship. While we’re all for stopping cyber crime, we’re never going to support the curbing of rights in order to do that. It is your right to use P2P networks such as torrent, and use it you shall, thanks to this article. The government wants to block illegal content, and has instructed ISPs to do that, but we don’t think blocking off a technology as a whole is warranted at all. We refuse to be treated as guilty until proven innocent, and we want to be able to use P2P for legal file sharing. Honestly, we suspect the government isn’t interested in blocking the entire technology either, and we’re pretty sure you won’t be prosecuted for using P2P for legal file sharing.
When you try to download a file normally online, you usually click on a link or download button. This leads to your web browser asking the remote server (the computer on which the file is hosted) to send a copy of the file to your machine. This transfer is handed by File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Now, the transfer speed, or more popularly, the download speed will be affected by quite a few factors – such as server load, protocol type and number of simultaneous ongoing downloads of the file. Almost all of this is different in the case of peer-to-peer file sharing. First of all, there is a dedicated software client that takes your request and searches other computers just like yours for the file or a portion of the file that has been requested. These computers also have similar P2P software running in order to be able to understand the request. Once such computers are found, your computer starts downloading the file. BitTorrent or torrents in general take this one step further by offloading the tracking of other computers to a central server called a tracker. And torrents work on a tit-for-tat basis, meaning the more of the file you upload, the better downloading bandwidth you get. Also, the file is downloaded in multiple pieces
HOW DO TORRENTS WORK?
In order to be able to know how torrents are blocked, you first need to know how they work.
from multiple machines to avoid bottlenecks and low speeds. These pieces are then joined by the software to give you the file. However, your job is not done yet. If you keep uploading even after your file is completely downloaded, you get a good preference in the P2P system.
THE CHESHIRE KAT
Much like the mysterious feline character in Alice in Wonderland, one of the biggest torrent networks in the world recently vanished into thin air. KAT (short for KickAss Torrents) operated under multiple domain names, all of which were seized by US authorities recently, along with the arrest of the person who was allegedly running the site. KAT was the Netflix of the torrent world, because it had a vibrant community that always reported fake uploads and rated audio and video quality accurately. It was also a good place to find esoteric stuff, which may not have been super popular, and thus hard to find. It’s just a site, though, and uploaders have just moved on to other sites, which are now getting a lot of traffic that they just didn’t before. Sites such as demonoid, GloTorrents and 1337x are seeing an increase in the number of seeders and uploaders for all their torrents and all three of www.digit.in | September 2016 | Digit | 47
From the labs
With a 17% increase in unit shipments in Q216, Samsung still leads the Indian smartphone market http://dgit.in/SmsngLeads
Samsung leads in India
Close to hitting the market, we explore the phenomenon of Modular smartphones.
methanol which we don’t consume for fear of death. There are traces of ethyl alcohol, but peppered between other toxic compounds. Ahh, space cocktail!
Space is an unforgiving place, inhabited by objects that push the limits of physics and human imagination. Even against that background, here are ten facts about space and our universe that at first will still sound like bullsh*t but are not.
There are magnets in space that are powerful enough to break every chemical bond that exists in our body - from a thousand kilometres away
Ronak Gupta firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a cloud made of alcohol in space and no you cannot drink from it
One of the largest known structures in our cosmos is a hole and it’s so huge that you can fit 10,000 galaxies inside it
While at first glance this might sound to At the end of a star’s dying stages there be truly BS, if you think about it, alcohol sometimes occurs an explosion dubbed is a fairly simple compound. It is made as a supernova, which under the right up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen conditions results in the formation of and all three exist aplenty in space. The a neutron star. Neutron Stars are very complex formation processes and chemdense objects packed with neutrons and istry that is found in interstellar gas some protons. More importantly, neutron clouds could be the birthplace of an alcohol cloud formation. And a process called quantum tunnelling can, in theory, explain how alcohol is formed even in the harshness of space. Alright, all good in theory, but did we actually find one? As it turns out we’ve found plenty of such clouds. One such formation has 10 billion-billion-billion An artist’s impression of a magnetar showing radio emissions and magnetic field (CC 3.0) litres of space booze. Let’s
It is not surprising to read about a stellar body that is much larger than the Earth. In fact, what do you define as huge anymore? Jupiter is huge. A galaxy is huge, so much so that a mere planet is like a grain of sand in comparison. How about a hole as big as 10,000 galaxies? Scientists have reported the existence of a void in space that was missing about 10,000 galaxies. It has been pegged as one of the largest individual structures ever identified by humankind. Christened as a ‘supervoid’ this ‘hole’ in space is not a vacuum but simply a region in space that is extremely barren, cold and devoid of mass. To put a number to how large the void is, imagine that you could travel at the speed of light (it’s blasphemy to even imagine that though) and wished to traverse the diameter of the hole. It would take you around 1,400 million years. To put things further into perspective, the largest man-made hole on Earth is in Utah, USA and it’s about four kilometers wide. The supervoid is roughly 1014 times larger!
not even try to comprehend that number. Another cloud formation is ‘just’ 6,500 light years away. In cosmic scales this particular cloud region named W3(OH) is practically our neighbour. So given a large enough straw, or a fast enough rocket, could we tap into the seemingly endless supply of alcohol? Unfortunately not. Most of the alcohol is
stars also rotate really fast. Closely packed charged particles rotating at an insane pace produce strong magnetic fields. A certain class of neutron stars, dubbed magnetars have magnetic fields so powerful that they would make our Earth bound magnets seem like kiddie toys. The most powerful magnet on www.digit.in | September 2016 | Digit | 63
OUR PICK OF THE BEST TECH ARTICLES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE
DARK PATTERNS OF THE SURFACE WEB
5 YEARS AT APPLE
Lately, it’s been a hard time for the guys at Apple to maintain the sales numbers. On completion of five years at Apple, Tim Cook shares his experience along with Apple’s future strategies to improve these numbers and upcoming projects in this extensive interview.
SMART HOME ASSISTANT
There’s been a lot of activity in the smart home arena, led by various tech giants including Google, Amazon, Apple, etc. But when we sit down to compare, which one of these giants mark all the checkboxes and have the potential to build the controller of your future smart home?
Sure, there are UX designers that are dumbing down website interfaces to complete an action in minimal clicks, but along with the good, there also exist various websites that are using shades of grey, billing you via deceptive practices. http://dgit.in/DrkPtrn
When Algorithms can be used to understand and predict exactly what we want, why can’t they also be used to predict upcoming risks and maybe suggest measures to eliminate it.
MAKE UP YOUR MIND
Having a switchable navigation bar on an Android phone seems to be a decent idea, till we realise how much space is wasted on those dedicated hardware buttons.
Long live the DBA! If you thought Database Administrators were dead or just catered to particularly large scale enterprises, here’s the time to re-think. With the onset of data mining and analysis, Database Administrators are more important now, than ever.
Extra secure Copperhead OS Thought your Android OS was secure, especially with those regular OS updates and patches it receives? Guess, it is time to rethink. A two-man startup is working to clean-up Android’s security mess that even Google has seen adopting, with their Copperhead OS.
No Man’s Sky Review The much anticipated game might not have received as great reviews as it was expecting, but on the other hand, no other game can beat this one when it comes to in-game photography. Here’s more about the gameplay and the amazing engine it is built on. http://dgit.in/NMSRevw
www.digit.in | September 2016 | Digit | 69
THE LATEST PRODUCTS REVIEWED FOR YOU
Page 76 ASUS ROG STRIX RX480 8G GAMING
The Digit Test Centre receives hundreds of products every month. Each of these products is put through a series of tests and is finally given a score. The final score is arrived at after considering a number of factors and evaluating them in terms of features, performance, value for money, build quality, and, in the case of software, even ease of use.
Page 77 ASUS ROG G752VY
Page 79 Huawei P9
Page 80 Lenovo IdeaPad 500
For better understanding of our ratings, here’s a quick guide to our overall score to
Extremely poor product. Keep away!
Very good product.
Page 81 Amazon Kindle 8
Go for it, but there may be better products out there.
Ground-breaking product. We’ve never seen anything like it before. A definite must buy!
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Page 82 Samsung 55KS9000 SUHD TV
Pokemon finding app? Poke live and an Android app to find pokemon on go has been released. dgit.in/Pokeliveapp
Tesla’s Master Plan!
Tesla has set up Gigafactory to meet the demand of 400,000 preordered Model 3s by 2018. dgit.in/GigaTesla
Canon EOS 1300D A good camera for beginners
he Canon EOS 1300D is (obviously) Canon’s latest upgrade to the EOS 1200D, Canon’s lineup of entry-segment DSLR cameras. The EOS 1300D uses the same, 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor as the EOS 1200D, while packing an upgraded DIGIC 4+ image processor. Native ISO goes up to 6400, and is expandable up to ISO 12800. The camera houses 9 AF points, with one cross AF point to speed up focussing. All of this translates into uncomplicated shooting experience, although not the best in class. As with most budget DSLR cameras, the optical viewfinder is pentamirror and pentaprism, leading to a slight leakage of light internally. Thankfully, this does not disrupt your photos even when you shoot in extremely bright conditions. The EOS 1300D maintains a good balance of colours, and colour accuracy is fairly true-to-source. Pixel noise, however, is certainly very noticeable from ISO 800 onwards. The light processing is also not the best in class, and you will often end up increasing ISO values. It works fine when you are outdoors – mostly, landscape or street, and the ease and simplicity of shooting adds to the experience. Shooting in low light, dusk or any situation with low colour temperature becomes tricky because of having to raise ISO. As a result, images tend to become grainy, sometimes even in relatively well-lit conditions. The pleasant vibrancy of colours is commendable, and shooting in vibrant, well-lit marketplaces in the evening or night sees the Canon EOS 1300D do very well, particularly because of the colours. The noise levels, though, pose an obstacle to the good colours that the EOS 1300D’s sensor renders. The dynamic range of the EOS 1300D is not class-leading either, which leads to morphing of shadows, lower accuracy of colours in comparison to the likes of EOS 750D, and at times, noticeable banding in ISO 100, which becomes particularly evident when you shoot an object in shade under bright, direct sunlight. In terms of overall balance, though, the Canon EOS 1300D is certainly one of the best-performing cameras for its price, albeit a bit sluggish when it comes to rapid or continuous shooting. The EOS 1300D is also one of the best cameras to get accustomed to the nuances of
manual shooting, and getting the hang of an interchangeable lens camera. Autofocus is faster and more accurate than any of Canon’s previous entry-segment DSLRs, even in manual mode. Its neat and simple UI coupled with the guide meter encourages you to experiment with shutter speeds, ISO and white balance until you learn all the controls. One of the most convenient factors of the Canon EOS 1300D is the presence of WiFi connectivity. To use it, you need to download Canon’s CameraConnect app on your phone, enable Wi-Fi on the camera from the Wi-Fi Function option on the second-from-right Menu list, connect your phone with the SSID and password shown on the camera’s LCD display. The Canon EOS 1300D allows you to sync the camera’s Time and Location to your phone’s, browse images on your camera’s memory card and download to your phone, and use your phone as a viewfinder and remote shooting control. Remote shooting works fairly well with minimal lag, unless you have a distance of over eight feet from the camera. The battery life could have been much better. With one full charge, I managed to shoot 229 photographs. I had kept LCD settings at default which translates to a very inconvenient LCD switch off time of 10 seconds and comparably dim brightness. The Canon EOS 1300D, to sum up, is a very convenient camera to shoot with. It may not present prodigal photograph quality, autofocus speeds and/or additional features that really strike, but will appeal to many.
Features........................62 Performance................65 Design............................74 Value..............................83
Sensor: 18-megapixel, CMOS type, 3:2 aspect ratio, Lens Mount: Canon EF, Image Type: JPEG, RAW (14-bit Canon original), RAW+JPEG Large simultaneous recording possible, Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror, approx. 95% vertical/horizontal frame coverage, Autofocus Type: TTL secondary image-registration, phase-difference detection, Points: 9-point (Cross-type AF sensitive to f/5.6 with center AF point).
Phone: 18002083366 Email: http://www.canon. co.in/personal/web/ contact Website: http:// www.canon.co.in/ personal/products/ interchangeable-lenscamera/dslr-eos/eos1300d-kit-ef-s18-55-isii?languageCode=EN
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Pokémon Go in AR
Bored of Pokémon Go already? We bet Pokémon Go in Augmented Reality would never let you get bored. http://dgit.in/PokemnAR
Tired of seeing the low step counts on your fitness tracker? Here’s how you can fool it. http://dgit.in/ChtFitbt
SA Hardik Singh email@example.com
obile technology is changing at a tremendous pace and the budget segment is affected the most by it, allowing it to sport features like 3GB RAM, fingerprint scanners, 1080p display and even 16MP cameras. You name it, these phones have it.
Further, the budget segment has become the most competitive market in recent times and that means consumers like us get a lot of options to choose from. To find out how they fare, we picked all the popular and best budget phones in the market and put them head to head. Out of those we further filtered 10 phones, which fall in the `7,000 to `11,000
84 | Digit | September 2016 | www.digit.in
price band. We chose this range as we believe this to be the most important price segment in the smartphone market. Moreover, if you are about to buy a phone in India, chances are your budget lies in the same segment. We considered all possible use cases and via thorough testing, we were able to find out a clear winner.
This will not only help you narrow down your options but also help you to buy the right device according to your needs. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.
HUAWEI HONOR 5C The Honor 5C is a good smartphone that gets a lot of things right. It rocks a similar design as the Honor 5X, but the design has now been tweaked to be
IMAGING: BAIJU NV
Just for fun
Core War III
microarchitecture and their product cycle change. The ‘tick-tock’ cycle had begun. AMD promised to turn this around with a radial design change which we’d all come to know as Bulldozer. Bulldozer was late in arrival and the boat had already passed. And with AMD’s acquisition of ATI, it started to seem like AMD was juggling too many things at the same time. Aggressive pricing helped and the new Fusion APU lineup helped AMD stem its reducing market share.
Core War III
AMD’s now on the war foot. The upcoming Zen architecture has been in development since 2012 and they even brought in Jim Keller, the lead architect of the K8 architecture and was closely involved with the K7 architecture. And just recently, AMD even demonstrated an 8-core Zen CPU against Intel’s flagship 8-core 6900K Broadwell-E and showed it to be faster than the Intel unit by approximately 2 per cent. An AMD processor was finally better than an Intel flagship CPU with the same core count at the same core clock speed. Let’s wait for that to sink in. What hasn’t been revealed is that there was only one benchmark performed and not a lot was revealed about the test run like the temperature, memory speed, modification of the benchmark software (which in this case was Blender, an Open Source software). Also, AMD has the habit of showing multiple benchmarks to indicate supremacy across that many different types of workloads like it did with the RX 480 but the Zen reveal had only one benchmark. This makes me wonder how big Zen will be when it comes to comparing apples with apples. But even one benchmark against a flagship Broadwell-E is enough to raise many a fanboys’ spirits from the depths to scream #BetterRed. Only time will tell, but all I hope is that it doesn’t turn out to be another Bulldozer.
Mithun Mohandas Senior Reviewer
f memory serves me right, AMD’s been on the back foot for a little while now. Like the proverbial French Army that’s been running away from conflicts throughout history, AMD has fallen back on offering a better deal in the entry-level to mid-range segment while Intel reigned supreme with the enthusiasts. Fortunately, both things aren’t entirely true. France’s reputation was cemented by two defeats in early 20th century and AMD’s reputation was cemented by a lacklustre performance by the last few microprocessor architectures. Both have a long history that has seen multiple ups and downs.
“Only time will tell, but all I hope is that Zen doesn’t turn out to be another Bulldozer."
Core War I
The first instance was when AMD used to make Intel architecture based CPUs as an alternative by sourcing the design from Intel itself. AMD’s offerings were often better clocked and sold for cheaper. That stopped when Intel ceased providing the design after introducing the 80386 in 1985. AMD had to reverse engineer Intel’s designs for quite a while until they acquired NexGen and then came out with the iconic AMD K6 microarchitecture. Things turned around for AMD as it now had a product that could not only perform better than all of Intel’s offerings but was even better than what Intel had planned for the future.
Core War II
Let me know your thoughts on this column at: @mithun_mohandas
The K6 microarchitecture was followed by the K6-2 and the K6-III revisions which only featured minor incremental changes and AMD was seen as stretching the K6 lineup like what many successful authors do with their money-making novels. Then came the K7 architecture which again provided a tremendous leap in performance for AMD and it ensured AMD’s survival in an increasingly competitive ecosystem. AMD broke the 1 GHz ceiling before Intel, it was akin to the Russians reaching the moon before the USA. AMD continued to push ahead with the K8 architecture and released its Opteron lineup for servers which beat Intel’s offerings black and blue. Intel’s saving grace was the ‘Intel Inside’ marketing campaign that made Intel synonymous with the PC. There were a lot more factors that led to AMD losing its edge. But key among them was Intel’s new Core
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We tell you about the best components to look for various PC rigs at different budgets.
The very best products you can buy right now spanning across 10 popular tech categories. Have a fun time buying!
Netbooks Agent 001 firstname.lastname@example.org
freebies!) and some offer only a DOS or Linux operating environment – far from ideal. Don’t be swayed by their “quad-core” label when you come across their listings on e-commerce websites, as the CPU and chipset they run on are often several generation older and not the latest. These machines are meant to offer the bare minimum in terms of performance in order to maximise its battery life, so quad-core essentially means nothing here with respect to its CPU. It’s all Intel Atom-based SoCs, Celeron or Pentium, anyway. Very little to separate between the various Atom SoCs, in terms of performance, unless it’s based on Bay Trail or later versions (Moorefield, Cherryview, etc), where the onboard GPU is significantly better than older Intel HD variants. But since the screen resolution of all these 10 to 12-inch devices is 720p (or thereabouts), a humble GPU (which again consumes as little power as possible) is par for the course. Intel Celeron or Pentium-based netbooks are generally slightly more powerful than Atom SoCs and usually don’t sell under the `10k price point. I’ll give the devil its due, though, as the netbook-class of laptops are all very good at two things, and those two things only. They’re ridiculously easy to lug around, because they’re so tiny and tip the weighing scales at 1 kg or lesser. Secondly, because of their modest hardware firepower, these tiny
he term netbook may have become less fashionable for them, but sub-13 inch laptops sporting an extremely barebone hardware and feature set, selling on a shoestring budget are essentially that – netbooks. Traditionally, they’ve been useful for very little than getting online and allowing you to work through a web browser, besides offering an extremely ultraportable form factor and better-than-average battery life than larger, bigger laptops. Apart from all the traditional bigwigs of the marketplace, brands like ASUS, Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo, that dominate most laptop sales (and not just in the netbook space, mind you), recently brands like Micromax, Swipe, iBall, MaxPro and others have started selling their inexpensive netbook alternatives for consumers to choose from, too. And almost all of these new entrants of the market are heavily undercutting the established traditional brands’ netbook offerings. How much should you trust these new brands of tiny, thin and light laptops (aka netbooks)? What’s the catch in their offer? Is it truly an incredible buy or is it all too good to be true? Here’s what I think. Netbooks being sold at the magical `9,999 price point seem to really pinch the buyer in the features department – especially in the RAM, storage, operating system department. Instead of a minimum of 500GB hard drive, most offer only a measly 32GB of storage; instead of Windows 10, most offer only Windows 8.1 (remember, the official Microsoft free Windows 8 to Windows 10 offer ended on July 29, so no more
Are cheap and tiny laptops worth buying at all?
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netbooks offer very good battery life. I’m confident that all 10-inch netbooks sold between the `10k to `18k price point can easily offer double the amount of battery life compared to a 15-inch laptop. Also some of the sub-15k tiny laptops also come with a built-in 3G SIM slot, giving you the flexibility to stay connected and work online while you’re on-the-go. Another concern with most netbooks I’ve used over the years, that’s valid with tiny laptops being sold in the market even now, is that of their build quality. At such inexpensive price points, only a fool would expect netbooks to be built tough and exude a sense of premiumness. Be ready for anything but that! As long as you’re only ever going to fire up your web browser, get online, watch some YouTube video, stream music, send and receive emails, log into Facebook and Twitter, you can get away with doing all of that on a 10-inch netbook class laptop. One task at a time, though, otherwise you run the risk of stressing out that tiny laptop’s diminutive CPU! Yes, it will offer you great battery life while being easy to carry around. But that’s it. For anything else, there’s no point wasting your money on these handicapped machines (too harsh? Nope).
Nick FitzGerald, Senior Research Fellow, ESET, gives us insights into the current cybersecurity landscape
We pick 10 Google Chrome extensions that are guaranteed to make your work life easier
Arnab Mukherjee email@example.com
international level. Seems more like a mainstream medium now, doesn’t it? On that note, it is also evident that VR and AR development are serious career choices right now, with the technology just beginning to grow in our country. And as with any emerging field, there is a dearth of information regarding how exactly should one approach this. Like any other field, this does require a specific skillset, has a specific demand and knowing all of this will only increase one’s chances of actually making it big in this industry.
et’s face it, reality is boring. And sometimes, we do feel the need to transcend to an alternate reality, don’t we? To leave our schools, colleges and work behind and dive into a completely different world with its own rules. Well, that’s no longer a farfetched dream. For the last few years, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology has become much more than just a concept in the labs. Chew on these facts: the HTC Vive started shipping in April, Steam has a dedicated VR section on its store, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is built with AR capabilities, Xiaomi launched its own Google Cardboard inspired headset and there are many Indian VR startups who are doing brilliant work in VR and AR at a national and
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The Roleplay Aspiring to become a VR or AR developer is commendable, but not enough to even get started down that road. Remember, when some of us as kids used to say that we want to become scientists? We were never specific. It was always just scientists,
not chemists, physicists, biologist etc. This is not that different, except for the fact that this decision for VR and AR needs to be taken from the get go. Why is it so? Because this field consists of work that is extremely diverse, ranging from story creation to audio expertise to graphics and 3D design and even more. We are over that phase where work in VR and AR solely required technological expertise. Now a fair share of creativity is also involved. With the rise of these technologies more as experiential mediums, students can choose from both technical roles that involve programming, hardware, algorithms and game development, as well as nontechnical roles in the field of business, management, marketing and operations. Chandan Singh, VR Head, SmartVizX (a VR design studio), says “An AR/VR project, like any other real time rendering project, has two sides:
> code / creativity / community > Intel unveils Project Alloy http://dgit.in/IntelAlloy
Introduction The internet has primarily been silent. Sound on the other hand is a powerful tool, almost as powerful as vision and at times even more. Leaving aside the regular audio or video streaming websites like SoundCloud or YouTube, the internet generally prefers to avoid tuning into the auditory aspect. The main reason for this was the complex and heavy Flash objects that were required to generate even simple sounds. With HTML5 the <audio> and <video> tags enabled better integration of prerecorded sounds and videos; however, the original problem of creating dynamic sound at runtime still remained. Thus the Web Audio API in HTML5 came to the rescue, and made it possible to design web applications and games where different kinds of sounds ranging from a single tone to complex ones like drum beats could be generated on the fly. Web Audio therefore can now replace all the flash based sound generators and make webpages lighter and cleaner. The monotony of silent webpages is slowly but surely being broken with aesthetic use of sound effects.
>>The Web Audio API lets the internet talk to you beyond videos and music downloads> by Koustav Ray
Why audio? Audio conveys meaning, can draw attention of the user to particular events (like an incoming call, notification, alert etc.) or
>>Web Audio samples from Google showing Web Audio APIâ€™s full potential.
*PowerShell on Linux
>>Microsoft open sources Powershell and makes it available for Linux.
*Intel RealSense tools
>>At the 2016 Intel Developer Forum, a number of tools for RealSense technology announced.
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E M PL
SA DONâ€™T MISS:
Games on Steam Greenlight you should check out
Franchise: Devil May Cry
Rewriting history in gaming
ESL India Challenger Cup
111 | Mobile monthly 114 | Top 10 Steam Greenlight games 123 | Gangsta Granny
Batman: The Telltale Series
131 | Raptor - Blast from the past! 134 | Why do devs make platform exclusive games?
Cover Design: Anil VK
CONTENTS | SEPTEMBER 2016
Bring SKOAR! To life by following these simple steps:
Whether it is speed runs, graphics tearing or any other momentous grabs from our favourite games, we try to share it with our readers. For your viewing.
Drunk CSGO is fun!
No Man’s Sky sucks... bigtime!
Hand, wrist exercises for gamers
Duration: 9 min 28 sec
Duration: 3 min 32 sec
Duration: 5 min 29 sec
Partake in the special flavour of giggles brought to you by a bunch of drunk gamers playing CSGO. It’s epic!
Glad we only gave a poster of this game, as reviewers all over the world are unanimously bashing No Man’s Sky
Good guy Dr. Levi must’ve been a gamer growing up, because he shows that he cares for them. GG!
110 | SKOAR! | September 2016 | follow us on:
PHE A CHUR
You have to try these games out on your smartphone!
By Anusha ‘Trillian’ Sinha
rom Noodlecake Studios Inc, the creators of Mmm Fingers and Stickman Golf, comes Chameleon Run, as stellar a game as any of its predecessors. The game is about guiding the protagonist, a cap wearing, light-footed, sprightly individual who jumps up platforms and bounces from walls like it’s no big deal. There are just two controls in this game. You touch the left side of the screen to make the character switch colours between yellow and pink, so they are the same colour as the platform they have to run across. If you
byssRium is hands down the best clicker out there. Firstly, the graphics are amazing. This cannot be stressed enough. The fish, corals and the coralite come to life in glorious, polygonal design in pastel shades. The standard screen doesn’t allow
Through the Fog
f there was a way to turn a poem into a game, ‘Through the Fog’ is probably what you would get at the end of it. Straight from the names of the levels to the graceful movement of the ever extending block and the music, everything in this game combines to give you what is truly an ode to classic runners. Through the Fog is a remake of the beloved Snake of yore but done so elegantly that you will hardly recognize it for what it is. Forget the row of black dots which crawled across your Nokia’s screen and take a look at the beautifully designed landscapes in this game. There are several levels and each level has been designed keeping in mind a season or set of emotions as the basis for inspiration. ‘Through the Fog’ is in essence a one-touch controlled runner in which a pillar extending to eternity zig-zags across breathtaking levels. We can go on and on about this game, it’s that good. Try ‘Through the Fog’ for a surprisingly transcendent mobile gaming experience.
you to do much except upgrading the coral covering the lonely rock who is sort of the protagonist of this game. However, there is a camera mode which allows you to get up close and personal with all the piscine inhabitants of your spot in the sea. There is even a VR mode which can be used if you have a Cardboard for a truly immersive experience. This mode is more satisfying than many other smartphone games or visualisations built exclusively for VR. The soundtrack is gentle and serene and is key to creating what is, in essence, a very happy game. There is no violence and no fish eating other fish. If you have always hated clickers, give a chance to AbyssRium and you just might become a convert. If you like clickers, definitely try this out.
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8.7 make the switch a second too late, your runner will disintegrate into shards. The graphics are really slick as are the physics which means that you retain precise control even when the character is zooming by at high speeds. The game is quite reminiscent of Rayman Fiesta Run in terms of the way the character moves but substitutes Rayman’s visually dense levels with something almost Spartan.
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By Manish “Trigger Happy” Rajesh
118 | SKOAR! | September 2016 | follow us on:
Wolfenstein or how door knobs weren’t invented yet in Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Game developers are allowed to take such liberties when it comes to the plot of their games. After all, the success of their games depends on how much we, as the player, enjoy it. Going back to Assassin’s Creed: Unity as an example, the game is based around the French Revolution. Those of you who are familiar with the topic would know that the French Revolution happened over a course of several years, but the game shortens this time down considerably, and it’s understandable as to why they would do so. The Assassin’s Creed franchise is an excellent example of history being used in gaming. The games feature several prominent historical figures and places and we actually get to participate in several monumental moments in history. We also get a glimpse at the functioning of the machinery and the society of the time. Now here’s the important bit, those of us who do have a slight background in history should be able to point out how something or some person is out of place, but not everyone is well-read when it comes to topics like history. Those who do play the game are satisfied with the knowledge they get from it, which unfortunately could be inaccurate. Now if we had to touch historical inaccuracies in every game
Imaging: Anil VK
ow when we say history, here we’re not talking about the history of gaming but rather the history in gaming. Videogames are a powerful storytelling tool and by using history as a setting they’re effectively teaching us more about it. We’ve got games like Total War and Sengoku: Way of the Warrior, which put us in charge of famous historical campaigns as we lead our troops and nation and relive history itself. We’ve got games like the Civilization franchise which attempts to condense the entirety of history for us to enjoy. Let’s not forget age-old classics like Age of Empires which for many of us would have been the very first historically-based strategy game we played. Then there’s the plethora of FPS or shooter games based on and during World War II. And now with the Battlefield I reveal, maybe we’ll start seeing a whole lot more games revolving around World War I as well. It’s great, isn’t it? Why waste time studying history in school when you could just play some games and learn all about history from them, right? Hmm, not quite. Now usually we’d be the first to jump on the “videogames are better at teaching history than teachers” bandwagon but maybe let’s take a few steps back and ask ourselves the question, are they really? We don’t mean to nitpick about how plastic bags shouldn’t have existed in
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released to date… it’ll take forever, so let’s just touch a few prominent titles.
Age of Empires This was the game that lit the fires of historical interest in many of us. If you’ve played this game then you know that there are campaigns and such throughout the game but they’re fairly straightforward. The game gives you set of objectives that you need to complete and you’re free to go about them in any way or sequence you please unless they specifically state otherwise. This formula has pretty much remained the same for most games of the genre. While the AoE games follow actual events in history, the way they play out is very different from what actually happens. Civilizations as diverse as the Japanese and the Aztec sharing the same units is also a tad absurd. Of course, we don’t need to tell you that there’s no way a stone structure will crumble and catch fire when a long swordsman whacks at it with his sword. But this is understood, the game still did a good job of educating people about the various playable factions and civilizations. Rather than teaching us about history itself, Age of Empires can be seen as the transition of man through the ages. From the Stone Age to the Bronze Age and then to the Iron Age. The technological developments, from the fire to the wheel. So even though we’re not
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We show you all new ways to waste your time online, and tell you how we wasted ours, plus the Cursed Child.
All about India’s digital wallets and the way they are evolving with new and improved features.
Is it or is it not? We took a thorough look at the twilight zone of vaporware
Abhimanyu Mehta firstname.lastname@example.org
Sega VR (1993)
200$ bundle. But SEGA could not finish this project and kept failing with its testing repeatedly. SEGA hilariously claimed that the device was ‘too realistic’ and causes motion sickness to players as well as dizziness. Due to this and many other reasons, SEGA VR never really came out for the general public and vanished from the list of release dates since 1994. But it did open a gate to future developers and today it is indeed possible to do what this piece of technology aimed to achieve way back then.
If you are a in your 20’s right now, there is a huge chance that the word ‘Sega’ means nostalgia to you. All the countless pennies spent at the arcade were totally worth it. And there was one Japanese supergiant which was known to be ahead of it’s time in its approach towards arcade gaming. But then they took a huge leap. They stumbled upon a concept that the world was perhaps not ready for- virtual reality. The device was announced in 1991 and shook the world as it was unlike
At a time where games like Call of Duty and Battlefield were
Looks like something straight out of an 80’s sci fi film doesnt it?
The game had a creepy dark space feel to it
anything seen before. However, development difficulties caught up with this project and it was only in 1993 that the first working prototype was demonstrated at Winter CES where it could not gather critical acclaim. The system was to use cartridges and came with 4 game cartridges with a
the most successful first person shooters, Prey offered a different take on the idea and was a breath of fresh air. It was originally announced in 1995 and finally released in 2006 and instantly gained a cult following for its unique sci fi take. A sequel was much awaited but much
magine a world where the PlayStation remote you are holding right now was a bit different, say more like a trackball machine like the early console developers wanted it to be? There is a reason certain innovative tech never gets its fair share of success and most often, there are multiple reasons behind it. So what is vapourware? The internet defines Vapourware as ‘software or hardware that has been advertised but is not yet available to buy, either because it is only a concept or because it is still being written or designed.’ Now this is about all those sweet pieces of hardware or software, that we were promised by the developers, and the hype that surrounded them built up for years and years while the product was stuck in development hell. All the ‘could haves’ and the lore that surround these releases were often built up to legendary status and most often the expectations were not met by the final product. Still, these products are as important as anything for in most cases they were a revolutionary idea which wanted to start a new conversation and succeeded in doing so, even if the execution of the idea was not good enough for commercial launch. So let’s take a look at the weird, whacky world of vapourware in the
following list and take a look inside the great big world of the ‘what if’:
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