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Atari’s Ataribox: Company Reveals First Details

The Atari Logo

Atari raised a number of eyebrows earlier this year when it suddenly announced it was getting back into the hardware game and working on a brand new console, called the Steambox. Teaser trailers, a preview of the console’s planned appearance, and a statement from the company – emphasising that they were “taking things slowly” and revealing information gradually to ensure they get everything right – soon followed; but it’s fair to say that we still don’t know much about exactly WHAT the Ataribox is… that is, until today.


In a newsletter to subscribers, Atari has finally let loose some information on exactly what the Ataribox is planned to be. The console will be based on PC hardware and offer “a full PC experience for the TV, bringing you streaming, applications, social, browsing, music, and more”, as well as the games. The system will run a customised, lightweight Linux distribution “with a customized, easy-to-use user interface”, not unlike a Steambox. Atari explained the decision to use Linux with the following statement:


Most TV devices have closed systems and content stores. Linux lets us be more open; you can access & customise the OS, & you can access games you’ve bought from other content platforms (if compatible with the OS and HW).


On the topic of games, Atari have confirmed that the console will come preloaded both with classic Atari titles, and with current-generation titles “from a range of studios”. The company hopes to reveal information on the titles in the coming weeks.


Atari’s announcement also put heavy emphasis on the company’s desire to have the Atari community “be part of this launch. We want you to have early access, grab special editions (& pricing) and to have you as active partners in the rollout of Ataribox.” To this extent, the company has announced that the console will undergo an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, planned to launch “very soon”. Atari claim that the Ataribox is currently planned to retail for an expected price range of $249-$299, depending on “specific editions and memory configurations”. Fans fawning over the previously-announced Atari 2600-homaging wood-based design will also be pleased to hear that this edition of the console will be made with “real wood”.


The Ataribox is planned to ship in late Spring 2018. We’ll have more news as it gets revealed.

September 27th, 2017 by CrimsonShade
Posted in Gaming, General, Technology | No Comments »

Microsoft Starts Rolling Out Creator Update


Microsoft has begun the global rollout of what it is calling the “Windows 10 Creators Update”. Arguably the first major feature expansion of the operating system since the one year anniversary patch, the Creators Update has a wide set of new tools. We’ll break down the new features in just a moment, but if you want to get your hands on the update there are two ways.


  1. Get the update automatically via the phased rollout. This will involve making some choices related to your privacy settings (more on that later)
  2. Manually via the Software Download Site.


Now then, lets move on to the new creativity tools and features  of the Windows 10 Creators update


3D In Windows 10



Microsoft has added a new app called Paint 3D that allows users to create and modify 3D objects, easily change their color or texture and even turn 2D images into 3D ones. This also ties into an online creative community at Remix3D.com that will allow creators to connect and get access to a library of 3D objects for use within Paint 3D.

This seems to be part of a philosophy present through the update that everyone is a creator and Microsoft is putting the tools to communicate and express ourselves into our hands with this update.


Windows 10 Gaming Features


We’ve actually covered some of these separately, but it’s worth going over them again. The Creators Update includes built in game streaming to Beam, a service similar to Twitch that was acquired by Microsoft last year. Beam touts the ability to interact with streamers in near real time, and was interesting enough to that several staff here at Sanitarium.FM tested it out. With the Creators Update, gamers will be able to press Windows key + G while playing a game to bring up the game bar, then click the icon to launch Beam.



In addition, a new section has been added to the Windows Systems Settings: Gaming. This section will allow access to the standard Game bare, GameDVR and broadcasting options, but will also allow access to the new Game Mode. Game Mode is, in theory, a way to dedicate more system resources to your games. It will work with both Win32 games (most Steam games) and UWP games from Microsoft’s own store. While this certainly seems to carry forward with Microsoft’s  promise to better support gaming, early tests with Game Mode showed none to almost no performance increases when it was active.


Microsoft Edge Upgrades


Edge, Microsoft’s proprietary browser is receiving a lot of attention in the Creators Update as well. The updated version is being touted as faster than Chrome, with Microsoft saying it will stream video up to 3 hours longer than Chrome and 5 hours longer than Firefox while unplugged. This would be a welcome feature for all the laptop users out there that are binge watching The Walking Dead while on the go.


A new Tab preview bar is also being added that will allow you to glance at a visual preview of every open tab without leaving the page via touch, mousewheel or a touchpad. To go along with this are two new buttons that let you set tabs aside, moving them out of your way with the option to restore them later.


Windows Store and Cortana


The built in app marketplace for Windows is getting some attention as well, with digital books becoming available. Readers will be able to find New York Time’s Bestsellers and offerings from  Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Ingram Content Group to bring a wide range of authors and genres to the store. Much like the Amazon Kindle app, books purchased through the store front will be available on all Windows 10 devices.


Cortana has received some tweaks in the Creators Update, allowing you to control music playback, helping you work easily across multiple PCs by accessing the cloud and can even turn your locked PC into a fullscreen voice activated experience.


Wrapping It All Up


Theres a lot in the Creators Update, but there are still a few things to touch on.  There are numerous minor visual and security tweaks present in the Creators Update, many of which would take far to long to go over in detail. Then there are the ads. You may have noticed Microsoft slipping ads in all over Windows 10 in the form of app suggestions.  These can be disabled easily enough, but they require accessing a variety of menus to disable specific options, depending on which applications you are using. Fortunately, our friends over at PC Gamer have put together a handy little walkthrough.


So. Will you be grabbing the Creators Update right away, or will you wait for the rollout to get to your PC? Which features are you most interested in. Let us know in the comments!

April 13th, 2017 by Digmbot
Posted in Gaming, General, PC, Technology | No Comments »

Windows 10 Creators Edition Available Now – But Keep An Eye On Your Privacy Settings

The wait is nearly over for Windows users. On April 11th, the long-awaited “Creators Update” will launch for Windows 10, bringing with it such useful features as a new “night light” mode that reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your screen so that you an sleep better; a new Windows Defender Security Center where users can tweak their security options in one place; and a Game Mode for better performance while gaming among lots of other tweaks. People who do not want to wait for the update to be offered to them through Windows Update can get ahead of the game by downloading Microsoft’s upgrade tool to apply the update right now – but a recent report suggests privacy-conscious users may want to hold off from jumping on the bandwagon early.


According to an article by Tom’s Hardware, which has been backed up by numerous less patient users, Microsoft’s Windows 10 Update Assistant may not honour your Privacy Settings if you use it to upgrade to the Creators Update yourself. Instead, the Assistant tries to use default settings – whether or not you choose to upgrade or clean install the new version – meaning that if you changed your privacy settings when you installed Windows 10 and subsequently use the Assistant, you may need to keep a close eye on just what is being set, or you may find Windows suddenly gathering more data about you than you originally intended.


Those default settings encourage you to share your location and provide full diagnostic data to Microsoft to fix issues and improve future iterations of Windows 10. The default options also encourage enabling Cortana and receiving targeted ads rather than generic ones. The good news here is that Microsoft is being much more transparent about the data it collects – and when applying the Creators Update, the privacy options offer up clearer descriptions of what they do and the effects enabling or disabling them will have.


If you’re not looking forward to going back through all those checkboxes, however, Microsoft state that when the upgrade is made available through Windows Update some time during April 11th, existing privacy settings WILL be honoured. We’ll know for sure if this is the case soon enough – but as always, it’s wise to look before you leap.

April 10th, 2017 by CrimsonShade
Posted in General, Technology | No Comments »

Sanitarium.FM News Update | 05/04/2017

April 5th, 2017 by Lonesamurai
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Technology, Xbox | No Comments »

IndieGoGo Review: Sobro Connected Coffee Table

The humble coffee table. One of the most recognised pieces of furniture there is. Everyone’s living room has one, I’d wager; and whether it’s used to put your coffee and biscuits as you watch TV; as a decorative item; or as something to put your paperwork and other junk on, it’s fair to say that they’re not the most inspiring parts of a room or the most useful. Now, a New York-based firm called StoreBound thinks it’s time the coffee table got a 21st-Century upgrade.


A promotional picture for Sobro, showing off the product's uses and features


"Designed for a digital lifestyle… the furniture of the future." Thus starts the IndieGoGo pitch for Sobro, a smart coffee table designed to support your connected lifestyle, which at the time of writing has already thrashed its modest $50,000 funding goal, raising $838,055 at the time of writing with a month of the campaign still to run. “We’ve elevated the coffee table from a piece of wood that props up unopened large-format books, to an all-in-one center that connects your powered up life.”


So what IS Sobro?


Sobro's list of features include a Refrigerator Drawer, Bluetooth speakers, LED Lighting, both USB ports and actual electrical sockets, and more.


At its heart, Sobro is a coffee table with an integrated refrigerator drawer, designed to allow you to keep beverages chilled and snacks fresh while still allowing you to use it as an actual surface like a regular table. There are also two side drawers, for storing items that don’t need to be chilled. The top surface of this chunky furniture item is tempered glass, which StoreBound claims is durable and easy to clean, making coasters a thing of the past. But Sobro is more than just a glass-covered work-top with a fridge – this is a true techy delight.


To the left and right sides, the Sobro is equipped with dual Bluetooth-connected speakers, allowing you to pump music into the room from any Bluetooth-connected device with a rich bass and high-quality sound. This can be combined with configurable LED lighting on the underside of the Sobro in order to create a real sense of atmosphere, or bring life to a party. Speaking of configuration, the bottom-right side of the Sobro’s top surface features touch-sensitive controls, through which one can control the Sobro’s audio, lights and drawer temperature; and its Bluetooth connections right from the tabletop – no need for a smartphone and companion app.


Speaking of which, do you find that your smartphone or tablet runs out of juice far too quickly? The Sobro has you covered. With two USB ports on its side, the Sobro can charge two USB-powered devices at the same time. The Sobro also contains two standard power outlets, so even traditional electronics can be plugged in – why not keep your laptop plugged in while you use it? The Sobro gets all its power from a single plug which can be plugged into a wall socket and concealed underneath, allowing you to split a single socket into four seperate power solutions.


StoreBound claim the Sobro’s dimensions and stylish appearance will allow it to fit in wherever you might normally find a coffee table.


Unfortunately, because the Sobro uses 110-Volt American-style outlets, the Sobro is currently only planned to ship to America and Canada. This restriction, however, doesn’t seem to have hampered the product’s reach, with the connected coffee table being backed by almost 1200 IndieGoGo users at the time of writing. Currently, a pledge of $649 or more will buy you one Sobro, but slots are already filling up and once 200 people have claimed this perk, the price will rise to $899 for everyone else. Even this, however is still a 40% saving on the product’s expected retail price of $1499 – so if the sound of a connected coffee table appeals to you, and you live in the USA or Canada, don’t miss your chance!

April 4th, 2017 by CrimsonShade
Posted in General, Technology | No Comments »

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