MSI Gaming all-in-one AG2712 review: Stijlvol gamen?

All-in-ones. We kunnen veel woorden vuil maken aan de prestaties van de gemiddelde all-in-one computer. Maar het hoeft ook eigenlijk niet. De meeste zijn niet heel erg spannend. Ze zien er wellicht leuk uit, maar als het om echte prestaties gaat dan is een desktop vaak veel interessanter. Er zijn natuurlijk uitzonderingen: zo is een high-end uitgevoerde Apple iMac 27 heel interessant en de HP Workstation Z1 is ook een voorbeeld van een echte krachtpatser, maar dan voor de professionele markt. MS…

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Your USB cable, the spy: Inside the NSA’s catalog of surveillance magic

A diagram of an NSA BIOS-based attack, brought to you by sneakernet.

The National Security Agency’s sophisticated hacking operations go way beyond using software vulnerabilities to gain access to targeted systems. The agency has a catalog of tools available that would make James Bond’s Q jealous, providing NSA analysts access to just about every potential source of data about a target.

In some cases, the NSA has modified the firmware of computers and network hardware—including systems shipped by Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, and Juniper Networks—to give its operators both eyes and ears inside the offices the agency has targeted. In others, the NSA has crafted custom BIOS exploits that can survive even the reinstallation of operating systems. And in still others, the NSA has built and deployed its own USB cables at target locations—complete with spy hardware and radio transceiver packed inside.

Documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Der Spiegel reveal a fantastical collection of surveillance tools dating back to 2007 and 2008 that gave the NSA the power to collect all sorts of data over long periods of time without detection. The tools, ranging from back doors installed in computer network firmware and software to passively powered bugs installed within equipment, give the NSA a persistent ability to monitor some targets with little risk of detection. While the systems targeted by some of the “products” listed in the documents are over five years old and are likely to have been replaced in some cases, the methods and technologies used by all the exploit products could easily still be in use in some form in ongoing NSA surveillance operations.

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Ars picks our favorite Gear & Gadgets reviews from 2013

A word from the editor…

Quartz called 2013 “a lost year for tech,” but that’s certainly not how it seemed to us here on the reviews deck of the Orbiting HQ. This year saw us jumping from product to product like frogs on a griddle, as my grandmother would say—we had a hell of a year, and we got a chance to put our hands on some downright awesome products.

Putting together a list like this of the “best” gadgets of 2013 poses a lot of problems, though; not the least of which is figuring out exactly what “best” means. Fanciest? Most functional? Coolest? Most expensive? Flashiest? Most useful? Rather than try to define “best” and force everyone to come up with an ordered list, I instead asked the team to talk about the gadgets they liked the most—the gadgets they’d most want to live with as their very own. Or at least the ones they had the most fun reviewing!

Here, then, are the Gear & Gadgets top picks for gadgets in 2013 by reviewer—although Andrew had so much to say that he asked to go twice. That boy’s a regular reviewing machine.

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Ars 2013 images of the year: rockets, medieval war, and Hulk judges

We spent 2013 obsessing over image quality at the Orbital HQ. Not only does the front page have more of them than ever before, but our brilliant tech team built out full-width galleries and started creating custom design layouts that demand something more than PR images and stick figures. Needless to say, this would become an all-staff challenge.

2013 marked our first full year with this visual focus and, looking back on what we have to offer, it’s been a pleasant surprise. We took a few moments to reflect on some of our favorite Ars images from the year that was, and they’re shared below for all your “Open Image In New Tab>Save As” wallpaper-making needs.

Rocket speed and rocket work

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Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson has a job even his father doesn’t believe. But in between taking copious notes on everything from LEGO bricks to water-repellent miracle materials, Hutchinson will step behind the camera and capture some wonder for the rest of us to see. Among his favorite images from 2013 are the above trio bursting with power. “This [first] shot shows my darling wife standing next to a Rocketdyne F-1 engine,” he says. “This is the largest single-chamber liquid fueled rocket engine ever actually built, producing 1.5 million lbs of thrust and gulping down one ton of fuel and two tons of oxidizer per second—and a Saturn V moon rocket was powered by five of them. Everything about it was enormous, especially the engines required to start it on its journey from the Earth to the Moon.”

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