Ask Slashdot: Advanced KVM Switch? 127

jez9999 writes: I have a rather advanced use-case for my home work area that I need a KVM-type device for, and I was wondering whether such a thing even existed. I want a 3-PC setup; 2 desktops (PC1 and PC2) and 1 laptop going through a dock (DOCK1). I want to connect 2 monitors (SCREEN1 and SCREEN2), 1 mouse, and 1 keyboard (INPUTS). So far it's relatively straightforward, as I could just switch everything between the 3 devices.

But here's the kicker; I'd like at least 4 modes of operation: one mode to output PC1 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC2 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to DOCK1, and one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to PC1.

Basically with the latter two modes I'd like to be able to switch between inputting to PC1 & DOCK1, whilst continuing to be able to monitor each by outputting each one's video to one of the 2 monitors. However, I also want to be able to go dual-screen with and control PC1 & PC2.

In terms of ports I'd like to use HDMI (or possibly DVI-D) and USB for peripherals; not VGA or PS/2.

Is there any KVM switch out there able to do this kind of thing? I guess I'm probably looking for some kind of programmable KVM which allows me to specify, for each 'mode of operation', which inputs are routed to which outputs. Failing that, is there some other way I can get the setup I want (or something close)?

Google Releases Open Source Plans For Cardboard V2 Virtual Reality Viewer 26

An anonymous reader writes: After revealing an improved version of Cardboard, the super-low cost virtual reality smartphone adapter, Google has now also freely released the detailed design documents, encouraging people to use them for projects ranging from DIY fun to full blown manufacturing. The v2 version of Cardboard is easier to assemble, has larger lenses, a universal input button, and is bigger overall to support larger phones.

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Organize Your Virtual Desktops? 125

hyphenistic writes: As a programmer I find myself switching between multiple projects on a daily basis. Virtual desktops have been a big help in grouping my related programs together. I try to have a virtual desktop open for each project I'm working on. Although I've used Linux in the past my currently preferred desktop OS is Windows 10. For the most part I have found the new virtual desktops to be easy to use. My primary issue (regardless of OS) is that I really don't want my virtual desktops to interact with each other. In the past I have accomplished this with a separate login for each project but that brings the hassle of managing multiple sets of OS and application preferences. Can someone suggest a better method for organizing my virtual desktops?

Sharebeast, the Largest US-based Filesharing Service, Has Its Domain Seized 122

An anonymous reader writes: The RIAA says that the FBI has seized the domain of file-sharing service ShareBeast, shutting down what it said was responsible for the leaks of thousands of songs. The site now only displays a notice saying the FBI acted "pursuant to a seizure warrant related to suspect criminal copyright infringement." In a statement, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman called the seizure "a huge win for the music community and legitimate music services. ShareBeast operated with flagrant disregard for the rights of artists and labels while undermining the legal marketplace."

The Story of Oculus Rift 80

An anonymous reader writes: A lengthy new article details the history of the Oculus Rift, from the VR headset's stereotypical beginnings in a hacker's parents' garage to its $2 billion acquisition by Facebook. "Luckey got into VR by way of computer games, which he was obsessed with for a time. After building what he recalls as a "beautiful six-monitor setup," for extreme visual saturation, he wondered, Why not just put a small screen directly on your face?" At just 19 years old, Luckey built a prototype good enough to impress John Carmack, which brought him all sorts of further attention. Investors came running, and eventually Mark Zuckerberg took an interest. "When Zuckerberg arrived, Luckey introduced himself and then quickly walked away. 'I'm a big fan,' he said, 'but I actually have to get back to work.' ... Zuckerberg seemed taken aback by Luckey's brusqueness but also charmed. 'They definitely have the hacker culture that we have,' he says." As the device approaches release, they're all wondering how much VR will change the world.

Raspberry Pi Touch Screen Released 66

An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi has been enormously successful, but one frequent request has been for the Foundation to create a simple touchscreen to go along with it. Gordon Hollingworth said, "I honestly believed it would only take us six months from start to end, but there were a number of issues we met (and other products diverted our attention from the display – like Rev 2.1, B+, A+, and Pi 2)." Now, after two years of development, they've launched a 7", 800x480 LCD that runs at 60 fps. The capacitive screen supports 10 simultaneous finger touches and has a 70 degree viewing angle. The Raspberry Pi Foundation's blog post provides some interesting technical background on electromagnetic compliance and how to connect and use the display.

Samsung Unveils Gear S2, Gear S2 Classic Smartwatches Running Tizen 53

MojoKid writes: Samsung announced their latest smartwatches the other day, the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic. At a hands-on press event in New York this week, Samsung had the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic up and running. Both of these smartwatches feature 11.4mm-thick casings and 1.2-inch, 360x360 displays that are completely circular, unlike the "flat tire" displays used on the Moto360. At the heart of the Gear S2 is an undisclosed Samsung-sourced 1GHz dual-core processor paired with 512MB of RAM. NFC technology is incorporated into the watches as well, which will support Samsung Pay in the near future. The Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are IP68 certified for dust and water resistance and there will be versions with and without integrated 3G connectivity. Both watches feature a rotating ring around the display, in addition to two buttons at the side, intelligently located at 2 and 4 o'clock to minimize accidental actuation, for navigating the various menus and apps. Samsung allows user customization of some watch-faces to show personalized info, and offers dynamic watch-faces with notifications presented on-screen at all times, along with the time.

Sony Unveils Smartphone With 4K Screen 117

An anonymous reader writes: Sony has taken the wraps off its new Xperia Z5 Premium smartphone, which has a 5.5" display that operates at 4k resolution. "The company acknowledged that there was still a limited amount of professional content available in 4K — which provides about four times the number of pixels as 1080p high definition video. But it said the Z5 Premium would upscale videos streamed from YouTube and Netflix to take advantage of the display." Sony's answer to the obvious battery concerns raised by such a pixel-dense (808 ppi) screen was to use a 3,430 mAh battery and memory-on-display technology. The video upscaling can also be turned off to decrease battery drain.

Video Mozilla Project Working on Immersive Displays (Video) 47

Yes, it's 3-D, and works with the Firefox browser. But that's not all. The MozVR virtual reality system is not just for Firefox, and it can incorporate infrared and other sensors to give a more complete picture than can be derived from visible light alone. In theory, the user's (client) computer needs no special hardware beyond a decent GPU and an Oculus Rift headset. Everything else lives on a server.

Is this the future of consumer displays? Even if not, the development is fun to watch, which you can start doing at mozvr.com -- and if you're serious about learning about this project you may want to read our interview transcript in addition to watching the video, because the transcript contains additional information.

A Look At the World's First Virtual Reality Theme Park 16

redletterdave writes: The Void is the first company to create a virtual reality theme park, where virtual experiences are layered on top of physical, real world environments. Tech Insider was the first media outlet to visit The Void's headquarters in Utah, filming the company's first creations. These experiences are still far from final, but the footage is impressive and entertaining. This is not Lazer Tag.

A New Take on Wearable Devices 29

minstrelmike writes: A company called Polyera is working on a wrist-worn device with a flexible, fabric-like screen that uses e-Ink technology and can go days without recharging. "Right now we design electronic devices that are built on rigid little bricks, so our devices end up looking like rigid little bricks. We wanted to make a fundamental technology that would completely open up the design capabilities. Now we're playing with materials that are more warm, and integrating electronics with materials that are more like leather than they are metal or glass." Their device is touch-sensitive and has much more usable screen space than most wrist-borne devices, which comes at the cost of being lower-resolution and grayscale.

Twenty Years Later, Nintendo's Virtual Boy Is Still an Oddity 43

An anonymous reader writes: Nintendo launched its Virtual Boy gaming console twenty years ago today. Expectations were high after the company sold tends of millions of its previous devices, but the Virtual Boy only sold about 770,000 units. It was conceived at the height of the '90s VR craze, but the technology of the time just couldn't produce the kind of experience that Nintendo (or gamers) envisioned. An article from Benj Edwards provides insight into the Virtual Boy's development and its inevitable failure.

"A major problem with the idea of making VR32 wearable, according to Makino, was that Nintendo engineers were concerned about placing a chip with high radio emissions near a user's head, since the safety of EMF radiation on the brain had yet to be thoroughly studied. Its proximity also produced visual noise in the displays. 'This meant that the internal CPU had to be covered by a metal plate,' says Makino, 'which made the whole system too heavy, forcing the goggle concept to be abandoned.' Not long after, Yokoi's console evolved from a strap-on headset into a heavier device that one could prop up onto one's face using a clumsy shoulder stand. Again, Nintendo's legal department feared liability issues; the device might cause children to fall down a stairwell while playing. ... Hobbled by liability concerns, VR32 soon evolved into a bulky red viewport mounted to a bi-pod that rested on a table."

Motorola Quickly Shows Next Moto 360 Smartwatch, 'Flat Tire' Display Lives On 44

MojoKid writes: Will they or won't they continue on with the 'flat tire' display? That's been the big question surrounding Motorola's next generation Moto 360 smartwatch. Today, we finally learn the answer to the question, and unfortunately, it looks as though Motorola still hasn't seen clear to incorporate a completely circular display like LG, Huawei and now Samsung into a smartwatch. In an incredibly short video posted to Motorola's official Twitter account (the tweet has since been taken down), we see a fleeting glimpse of the next generation Moto 360. There is still a cutout at the bottom of the display, which houses an ambient light sensor in the current generation Moto 360. Keen eyes will also spot that the side button has been moved from the 3 o'clock position to the 2 o'clock position and that the integrated lug system for the watch bands has been abandoned in favor of an external lug system typical of most modern wristwatches.

Researchers Fight VR Focus-Switching Headaches 46

An anonymous reader writes: One of the biggest problems virtual reality headsets have yet to overcome is the headaches they cause in a subset of users. For a lot of users, this is caused by needing to rapidly switch your focus between objects that are (virtually) near and far away. "Trying to focus on 'far away' objects on that stereoscopic screen means keeping a fixed focal distance but changing the 'vergence' angle of your eyes—in essence, going a little cross-eyed for a moment." Fortunately, researchers at Stanford have figured out a partial solution.

They "created a prototype headset (PDF) that includes a translucent LCD panel sitting about 1cm in front of a standard, opaque LCD. With some GPU pre-processing, this 'light field stereoscope' headset can display nearby objects on the front LCD and farther-away objects on the rear, creating what the researchers call a '4D' image that layers a basic virtual light field on top of the usual stereoscopic left/right eye 3D separation." This provides an easy, low-tech way to let the eyes focus more easily, and alleviate the strain that causes headaches.

Samsung Wants To Bring Back the Flip Phone With Bendable Screens 59

redletterdave writes: A new patent filed last April but published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month suggests Samsung might be working on a smartphone that can bend in half like a flip phone. The biggest problem, according to the patent, is all the strain that accumulates by continually folding the display, or keeping the display folded for a long period of time, which can result in deformations and imperfections, Samsung notes. But Samsung's patent also describes how the phone could keep track of how long it's been in the folded and unfolded states, so as to alert the user of any strain that needs to be relieved. This could help extend the lifetime of the phone and its display.

Ask Slashdot: Best Wireless PC-to-TV Solution? 158

jez9999 writes: I have a slightly unusual requirement. I don't want to use some console like an Xbox, Steam Machine, etc. I just have a desktop PC which I use for most of the stuff I do (gaming, video, work, etc.), and it's upstairs. From time to time, I'd like to use it downstairs. Is there a wireless solution that will let me take control of the PC from downstairs, using the TV (HDMI) as the screen, and the TV's speakers to replace my desktop speakers? Ideally there would be a wireless transmitter in the PC, and a downstairs wireless receiver box into which I could plug the keyboard, mouse, and of course, the TV via an HDMI cable. Obviously Bluetooth wireless peripherals won't do for this as there's no line of sight between downstairs and the upstairs PC, and besides, I prefer wired peripherals anyway which I can actually plug in to something (no battery recharging needed).

Researchers Demonstrate the World's First White Lasers 118

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists and engineers at Arizona State University, in Tempe, have created the first lasers that can shine light over the full spectrum of visible colors. The device's inventors suggest the laser could find use in video displays, solid-state lighting, and a laser-based version of Wi-Fi. Although previous research has created red, blue, green and other lasers, each of these lasers usually only emitted one color of light. Creating a monolithic structure capable of emitting red, green, and blue all at once has proven difficult because it requires combining very different semiconductors. Growing such mismatched crystals right next to each other often results in fatal defects throughout each of these materials. But now scientists say they've overcome that problem. The heart of the new device is a sheet only nanometers thick made of a semiconducting alloy of zinc, cadmium, sulfur, and selenium. The sheet is divided into different segments. When excited with a pulse of light, the segments rich in cadmium and selenium gave off red light; those rich in cadmium and sulfur emitted green light; and those rich in zinc and sulfur glowed blue.
Input Devices

Nokia Announces OZO 360-Degree Camera For Filming Virtual Reality 23

New submitter Sepa Blackforesta writes: Nokia has unveiled Ozo, a next-generation camera for capturing audio and video in 360 degrees. It is built for professional content creators and the company hopes the camera will become the leading device for shooting virtual-reality experiences for Hollywood. A formal launch and price announcement is planned for the fall. A Nokia press release reads in part: "OZO captures stereoscopic 3D video through eight (8) synchronized global shutter sensors and spatial audio through eight (8) integrated microphones. Software built for OZO enables real-time 3D viewing, with an innovative playback solution that removes the need to pre-assemble a panoramic image - a time-consuming process with solutions currently in the marketplace. OZO's filmed content can be published for commercially available VR viewing hardware such as head mounted displays (HMDs), with immersive, full 360-degree imaging and spatially accurate original sound. OZO also integrates into existing professional workflows and works with third-party tools, dramatically simplifying content production at all stages."

Samsung Unveils the First Monitor That Can Wirelessly Charge Your Phone 89

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung wants to reduce the number of cords in your house and has unveiled a new monitor that can wirelessly charge your smartphones. Called the SE370, Samsung says the monitor is the first of its kind to have this capability. The monitor comes in 23.6-inch and 27-inch sizes. According to Samsung : The SE370 "declutters work areas by doing away with unnecessary cables and ports needed to charge mobile devices. Along with superior picture quality, enhanced visual performance and thoughtful design, the monitor seamlessly integrates advanced technologies that offer both professionals and consumers an optimal viewing and usability experience."

YouTube Is Adding VR Video Support To Streaming Videos 23

An anonymous reader writes: While YouTube's streaming platform currently supports 3D videos OR 360 degree videos, the combination of the two is essential for properly immersive virtual reality video. Fortunately, the company has announced that they'll soon enable support for 3D + 360 degree videos, bringing more immersive VR video capability to the platform. Currently, 360 degree YouTube videos can be viewed through desktop web browsers and on the YouTube Android and iOS apps, with the Android app being the only one of the bunch currently providing a side-by-side view for VR viewers like Google's Cardboard.