What Is The Ultimate Gaming PC?

High End PC Gaming Systems

When it comes to gaming PCs, it’s all about the speed. And if you play Second Life and other high end games like I do Every component must be the fastest in its class. Of course, the best is not cheap; high-end gaming PCs can cost from $3000 to $5000, and up to $10,000 at the extreme.

Some gamers build their own dream machines from scratch. But most turn to boutique custom-build companies that specialize in high-performance PCs for gamers. Alienware, CyberPower PC, Velocity Micro, iBUYPOWER and Falcon Northwest, Digital Storm, Origin PC, and Maingear are some of the most respected names in the custom-built gaming PC market.

Whether you are going to build or buy, you should be aware of the ingredients of a high-performance desktop PC designed for gaming:

CPU: specifically, a multicore processor such as the Intel Core i7-7600. The faster, the better; the Core i7 can be overclocked to a staggering 5 Ghz! The 2-core and 4-core processors are common; some CPUs come with 6 to 10 cores for blazing multi-threaded speed. Speaking of “blazing,” you definitely need a good liquid cooling system to keep these babies from overheating.

RAM is often maxed out in high-end gaming PCs, with as much as 32 GB. Speed is important in RAM, too; top gaming PCs use 1600 or 2600 Mhz DDR4 RAM.

Graphics processing units are critical for fast, smooth animation and 3D effects. You will often find more than one GPU in a high-end gaming PC, each sporting at least a gigabyte of memory. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 and 580 GPUs are a popular choice for second life. I prefer the GTX 1080ti ATI is another preferred vendor in high-performance GPUs.

Hard Drives and Peripherals for Gaming PCs

Solid-state drives are the performance gamer’s choice. They’re much faster than spinning hard drives, and they’re silent. However, SSD storage is very expensive per gigabyte so most high-end gaming PCs use a mixture of SSD and spinning magnetic storage.

Hard drives in high-end gaming PCs tend to be huge in order to hold lots of games. Each game can occupy 35 GB of disk space or more. Speed is critical in retrieving data from the drive, so a very fast hard drive the Western Digital Velociraptor is often chosen.

Of course, a top-flight monitor is essential for high-performance gaming. Bigger screens are always better, but 24 inches is considered a minimum for hard-core gaming Multiple monitors up to 4 with some of these graphics cards. A pixel response time of 5 ms or less is essential to keep up with fast-paced game action.

Gamers use many peripheral devices including mice, joysticks, steering wheels, digital guns, etc. So a high-end gaming PC comes with lots of connectors and many types of interface: USB, HDMI, Firewire, and so on.

Gamers’ penchant for flashing lights and special effects extends to the cases of their macho PCs. Many gaming PC cases are made of see-through materials that show off the high-performance components inside. Internal lighting is also considered cool. But when all is said and done, it’s the speed, baby.

So you want a recommendation for the ultimate gaming PC? A couple of years ago The Alienware Area-51 ALX Desktop is designed for total domination, with a price tag that starts at $3499. I configured one with an overclocked Intel® Core™ i7 990x Extreme Six Core Processor (4.0GHz, 12MB Cache), 12GB of Triple Channel 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, dual 4GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon™ HD 6990 video cards, a 1.2TB hard drive (SATA-II, 10,000 RPM), and the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium sound card. Price: $7818. And don’t get me started on what I configured on my new Gaming Laptop.
Of course you don’t need a machine like this to play second life but if you are wanting to see SL at its best and have little to no lag? Spend the money the first time you can’t go wrong and you will have years of use.
Have a Great Week.
Deuce Marjeta

New Family Orientated HUB Shopping & Activities Community – Introducing Bitty Bazaar

Bitty Bazaar is located on one of ZoHa Islands Region “Marbella Bay” and is a new up and coming family orientated community full of vendors, activities, places to explore and visit as well as club events, story times and classes for all.   There is a creators lab for builders and creators to utilize as well. We spoke to owner Delilah Greyson (amoralie.triellis) about the event and this is what she had to say:

“Bitty Bazaar is a 24/7 collection of over 200 shops that cater to the kid community. While we’re not an event, we do host frequent festivities in our Kids Hangout and all around our sim! We opened our doors just a few weeks ago – on July 1st, 2017. We’ve been so excited to hear so many positive things about our little world.

The kid community is full of so many talented, awesome people that we wanted to create a place that brought us all together. There aren’t many dance clubs or hangouts like the adult community has – so we thought it was time to fix that. Our sim consists of 6 separate islands surrounding Town Square, which hold over 200 shops – all kid related! Not just kid creators are welcome, adult stores that have furniture or hair that kids can use are welcome to be a part of our collective.

Not just kids are allowed either – its a place for babies, kids, teens, and families to spend time together and meet others while finding new creators to love!”

6 Themed Locations Include: 

Bittipop Candy Shop, Bitty Carnival, Bitty Bay, BittyBrook Forest, IttyBitty Unicorn City and Bitty Beyond.

Creators Lab for Builders and Designers:

A space for creating and idea sharing, teaching, sharing and just building with people with like interests.  So many people build alone on their platforms why not be around people who do the same as you?

A Unique Shopping Hud Experience:

When you arrive at Bitty Bazaar (after July 1st, 2017) you can pick up a
FREE shopping HUD. Over 200 designers, events, communities, and
creators are waiting for you to discover them!

You’ll no doubt find many stores that you’ll want to visit. But instead of
gathering an inventory full of LMs, you’ll simply click on their save box to
save their LM to your Shopping HUD!

After you’re done browsing at Bitty Bazaar, you can begin teleporting to
all of the places you saved. You can even shop while you’re at home! The
Bitty Bazaar HUD has a full directory of shops that you can save straight
from your HUD.

DoublePulsar: The Undetectable Backdoor

Second Life as we know seems to be hard to hack, But is becoming more evident it’s an open source for hacks and Malware as much as just surfing the Interwebs. Our advice is, NEVER EVER click on links sent to you In World! Sure your friends could send you a seemingly harmless link they found and just have to have you see it, and BAM! you are now paying a ransom to get your computer back.! So folk’s just DON’T!

While everyone was preoccupied with the Wannacry ransomware epidemic that began in mid-May, a bigger threat was secretly spreading through tens of thousands of computers. It locks up files and demands a ransom, too, but that’s just a smoke screen designed to distract victims from what this sneaky malware is really up to. Here’s what you need to know about DoublePulsar…

What is DoublePulsar?

There are lots of movies that deal with the theme of “lab experiment gone wrong.” In Jurassic Park, for example, the dinosaurs created by well-meaning scientists escape from the lab and wreak havoc on the outside world. A similar thing has recently happened, but in the digital world this time.   

The U.S. government’s premier spy agency created a program called DoublePulsar that enables undetectable infiltration of a target computer. Then someone stole DoublePulsar and a bunch of other NSA spying tools. A hacker group known as the Shadow Brokers posted the NSA tools online, and they were immediately exploited.

Before encrypting an infected computer’s data, this malware scans documents, email, browser histories, and other targets looking for login credentials. With credentials, hackers can infiltrate an entire enterprise network and work all sorts of mischief. Data can be stolen; operations disrupted; and computers turned into slaves to hackers’ other projects.

NSA DoublePulsar hacking tool

For consumers on home networks, being enslaved as part of a botnet is the most serious danger. Some bots are being used to launch spam campaigns. Others are being exploited to “mine” cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, creating wealth for hackers from the computing resources of others.

The galling thing about this malware is that it uses a sophisticated hacking tool developed by the National Security Agency (NSA). DoublePulsar allows malware to enter target systems undetected by 99% of commercial security software. The malware can be injected into the kernel, the heart of an operating system, where the malware will have the highest system privileges.

Conscientious consumers can protect themselves. Microsoft has issued two sets of Windows patches designed to ward off the stolen NSA hacking tools. But the NSA has not been forthcoming about all of the Windows vulnerabilities it has discovered, prompting Microsoft president Brad Smith to blast the NSA and other government agencies that don’t share knowledge that could improve everyone’s security.

Undetectable malware is on the rise. In mid-June, 2017, a new technique called “fileless malware” was used to infect the point-of-sale systems of several hundred restaurants. This type of malware is never written to a disk; it is injected into RAM and does its dirty work there. Most anti-malware software scans for “signatures” in executable files, and overlooks fileless malware.

In the past, only governments had sophisticated hacking tools like these. But now, Shadow Brokers is offering subscription access to NSA tools, and a user interface called Metasploit that makes child’s play of plotting and executing a global ransomware or credential-stealing attack. Anyone with a few hundred bucks can wreak global havoc.

The biggest fear among security experts is that DoublePulsar and other NSA tools have been used to compromise the computers that run critical infrastructure such as power grids, hospitals, railroad systems, traffic lights, and so on. Lives could be at risk.

The best that consumers can do is keep their systems up to date with security patches. I mentioned earlier that Microsoft has issued Windows patches designed to ward off the stolen NSA hacking tools. Those patches were released back in March. So it was failure to apply security patches in a timely manner that allowed WannaCry and DoublePulsar to attack and spread widely.

If you’re not already configured for automatic Windows updates, you really should be. Here’s how to do it:

In Windows 7, click the Start button and enter “windows update” in the search box. Open Windows Update from the search results list. In the left sidebar, select “change settings.” Under “Important updates,” select “Install automatically” from the drop-down menu. Pick a convenient time for Windows to install updates and restart your PC, if necessary. The default is 3:00 a.m.

Windows 10 installs updates automatically by default. To fine-tune Win 10 updates, enter “windows update settings” in the search box on the taskbar, and click on that phrase in the search results. Next, click the Advanced link, and check the box next to “Use my sign-in…”. This allows Windows 10 to complete the installation of updates that require a restart. When this option is checked, Win 10 will log you out, restart and install updates, then log you back in.

If you use Microsoft products such as Office, check the box that enables updating of those as well as Windows. The rest of the options should be left as they are unless you have a compelling reason to change them.

I’d like to Thank Bob Rankin for Sharing his expertise in computer security and how to stay safe.

Have a Happy And Safe 4th of July

Deuce Marjeta

Linden Lab Special Interactive Gift for 14th Birthday

To celebrate, Linden Lab has put together a special (and somewhat mysterious) gift set.

We’re not entirely sure what a Sananok is, but the Moles assure us they are friendly creatures that tend to keep to themselves and need a good home. Each Sananok avatar comes with a mysterious egg, which is  in fact so mysterious, not even the Moles know what it will hatch into.

Sananok Avatar

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A wearable avatar that includes a shape and an alpha layer.

Mysterious Egg  (Rezzable or wearable)

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Things you can do with the egg:

  • Rez it out your parcel, make it feel at home.
  • Add it to your avatar to carry it around with you (perhaps for a night on the town?).
  • Have a tea party with it, it’s all good.

Keep an eye on your Egg as it will, from time to time, tell you things (like when it’s getting ready to hatch!).

Stop by the SL14B Birthday Regions and grab this gift from any of the gift kiosks available!

(Alert) Latest Ransomware

We post these tech articles to inform Second Life users of the way accounts get hacked and how to avoid major problem’s in the future from attacks within the viewer (which is not as secure as we think) So please read on and secure your computer don’t let this happen to you!

Ransomware seems to be the darling of bad guys these days. It’s a very direct, powerful technique for extorting hundreds of dollars from a single victim very quickly, or millions of dollars when there are thousands of victims. Let’s take a look at the latest ransomware campaigns and how you can protect yourself from them… Recent account hacks in second life have not only locked people out of their accounts but have wiped out all L$ as well as attached ransomware to computer.

Ransomware: Detection and Protection
For anyone unfamiliar with it, ransomware is a type of malware that denies a victim access to his or her computer by locking its screen and/or encrypting the files on the hard drive. When a victim tries to access the computer, all they get is an ominous screen like the one below, that says “Oops, your files have been encrypted!”

The essence of the deal is, “Pay $X within Y days or you’ll never see your data again.” It’s extortion, pure and simple. But ransomware is getting much more sophisticated these days. The screenshot below comes from the Wannacry ransomware, which infected hundreds of thousand of computers in a single weekend in May.

The map shown here was generated by IBM, and shows the worldwide distribution of Wannacry ransomware infections. Apparently, you’re safe if you live in Papua New Guinea, Greenland, Niger or Chad. The rest of the world, not so much.

Payment in Bitcoin, the digital crypto-currency, is required. Most victims don’t know much about Bitcoin, so Wannacry and other recent ransomware provide surprisingly good “customer support” to guide victims through the process of creating a Bitcoin account, funding it with real money, and sending money to the extortionist.

One characteristic of Bitcoin is transparency; anyone who knows how can view all Bitcoin transactions since Bitcoin was created. Experts who have examined Bitcoin payments to the creators of Wannacry estimate that this global act of terrorism has so far generated only about $92,000 for its perpetrators. That’s a small return on the infection of an estimated 200,000 computers in 150 countries.

It turns out that Wannacry has a “kill switch” embedded in it that can halt the spread of Wannacry in its track. Within Wannacry’s code is a routine that constantly checks a gibberish domain name to see if it has been registered. As long as the domain remained unregistered, Wannacry would continue infecting any computer it could reach. But when a 22-year-old British security analyst who goes by the handle “MalwareTech” registered that domain, Wannacry stopped trying to spread itself. Amazingly, it cost only $10.69 (the domain registration fee) to halt this worldwide scourge.

That still left hundreds of thousand of computers infected by Wannacry. It’s a mystery how most of them, apparently, have either eradicated the infection somehow or are managing to get by without their data and computers. The UK’s National Health Service is still dealing with the fallout of widespread Wannacry infections on its network, delaying elective surgeries and slowing the nation’s entire health care system to a crawl.
Other Ransomware Attack Vectors
If you have been infected by ransomware, don’t run off and buy a bucket of bitcoins. First check in with the No More Ransomware Project, which offers free decryption tools for a range of ransomware attacks.

Another new form of ransomware has been dubbed “doxware.” You are unlikely to encounter it because it’s a technique that requires a lot of legwork from the perpetrators. First, they identify high-value targets, computer networks that house highly sensitive, confidential data. Then they infiltrate those networks with ransomware that not only encrypts all files, but also sends to the perpetrators select files that contain words like “confidential,” “top secret,” and so on. Then the victim is told that these files will be posted on a public Web site and all of his contacts will receive the URL that links to that site, unless he pays up by a specified date.

The best defense you can mount against ransomware, or any kind of malware infection, is to keep your operating system up to date with patches for all known vulnerabilities. If you allow Windows Update to run automatically, you should have received the patch to protect against the latest threats.

Microsoft even released a Wannacry patch for Windows XP and Windows 2003, obsolete operating systems that officially no longer receive security updates. Many computers in China, Russia, and even the USA are still running XP, despite its ever-growing vulnerability to hackers and malware. See Microsoft’s Customer Guidance for WannaCrypt attacks to read the company’s response to WannaCry, and links to those patches.

Trust No One

Other good advice here includes “Trust no one. Literally.” Do not click on any link or file attachment – even if it seems to have been sent by your bank, your brother the IT administrator, or your Mom – until you know what you are clicking on. If a message seems out of the ordinary, call your contact and ask if he or she sent it. No account is safe from hacking or impersonation (“spoofing”).

For further protection, enable the ‘Show file extensions’ option in the Windows settings on your computer. To do so, type “folder options” in the Start menu’s search box and click on “Folder Options” in the search results. In the dialogue window that opens, select the “View” tab. Uncheck the box next to “Hide extensions for known file types”. Click “OK” to save this change and close the dialogue window.

The purpose of showing common file extensions is to help you spot executable files (programs) that are disguised as non-executables. With “hide extensions” enabled, a file named WatchMe.avi looks like a video file. But with all extensions revealed, it may be WatchMe.avi.EXE and that is a big red flag. If you see multiple file extensions, delete the file without opening it.

A good anti-malware suite is also essential, and it must be kept updated too. I use the combination of Avast anti virushttp://avast.com/ and Malwarebytes Antimalware (MBAM) to provide double coverage.

And of course, be ever-vigilant about opening email attachments. When in doubt, contact the sender to ensure that they actually sent it, and that it’s safe to open.

Have a Great Week

Deuce Marjeta

Linden Lab Reintroduces Community Gateway Program

Today Linden Lab announced they are bringing back the Community Gateway Program.
Previously, the Community Gateway program helped bring new users to Second Life, by enabling Second Life communities to attract, register, an on-board new Residents. The program was shelved in 2010 as resources were re-prioritized, and now we’re excited to reintroduce the Community Gateway program along with some improvements that will make it even more valuable to Second Life.  We recognize the benefit of having Resident supported tutorial areas and have been working with several communities while fine tuning the new program over the last year.

This program allows Second Life Communities to:

  • Create a new user experience and attract Residents to your specific community

  • Assist those new Residents in beginning their journey into Second Life

  • Lend a guiding hand in the creation of their new avatar personas

  • Assist with increasing new user retention.

This powerful new tool will allow you to register new users right from your own community website and add them automatically to your group, thus helping your community to grow!

All details about this program (including how to apply) may be found here.

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London City Community Gateway

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Firestorm Community Gateway