Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GeForce v258.69 beta driver supports 3D Vision Surround

What you need is three identical 3D Vision-compatible displays (such as Alienware's 23" OptX AW2310), two Nvidia GTX 260s or better running in SLI, Nvidia 3D Vision glasses, Windows 7 (Vista and lower aren't supported) and, of course, the latest GeForce beta drivers. Of note, the GeForce GTX 295 in Quad SLI won't work at the moment, but that should be resolved soon. Nvidia has released the GeForce v258.69 beta driver, adding support for 3D Vision Surround which allows certain setups to display 3D graphics on three monitors.

Gamers looking for an expensive project can now configure a machine to churn out 3D visuals at a resolution of 5760x1080. Windows Vista and 7 (x86 and x64) users can grab the 258.69 beta driver in our download section, which also has information on new features besides 3D Vision Surround support. All of that will amount to somewhere above the $1,500 mark, considering the fact that mentioned Alienware screen is $450 alone.

The payoff? An unfair advantage in real-time strategy games, according to the above video which was posted on the Nvidia Ntersect blog. Another video shows a Maingear Shift PC with a custom cooling system and two GTX 480s strapped to the rear of a hydraulic-powered racing simulator.

Cisco reveals Android-based Cius tablet for business users

The company's business-oriented Cius tablet is designed to accompany corporate workers during those lonely nights on the road, boasting a "virtual desktop integration with anywhere, anytime access to the full range of Cisco collaboration and communication applications." Most of the slate devices shown this year have been aimed at consumers, but Cisco has its sights set on the enterprise market.

There are also dual noise-cancelling microphones, as well as 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, with 4G coming in the future. The Android-based 7-incher places a large emphasis on video conferencing features, including a front camera capable of capturing 720p video at 30 frames per second, along with a 5-megapixel camera on the rear for still images and streaming VGA quality video.

Customer trials of the Cisco Cius will begin this fall, with widespread availability expected in the first quarter of 2011.Other ports include gigabit Ethernet and USB, while an accelerometer adjusts screen orientation and a detachable battery pledges eight hours of life under "normal usage." As noted, the Cius supports a wide range of Cisco tools, including Quad, Show and Share, WebEx Connect, WebEx Meeting center, Presence, TelePresence, AnyConnect VPN Security and more.

Hulu Plus officially announced, coming to PS3, Xbox 360

On the bright side, Hulu says all native HD content is available to stream in 720p. After at least a year's worth of rumors, Hulu has finally unveiled its new pay model called Hulu Plus. As expected, the premium service costs $10 per month and subscribers have access to a ton of extra content, such as complete series or current seasons of TV shows, rather than just a few episodes. Unfortunately, as everyone feared, advertisements are still present for paying users.

Along with extra TV shows, Hulu Plus is far more accessible with applications already available for the Apple mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch via Wi-Fi or 3G, as well as Web-connected Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players. Support for the PlayStation 3 is expected in July, while the Xbox 360 will get Hulu Plus early next year.

The service is also "coming soon" to Vizio and Sony HDTVs and Blu-ray players. If you're interested in signing up, you'll have to request an invitation here. The site says it will issue invitations in waves over the coming months to ensure it's offering the best experience for members. Here's a more complete look at the library of shows included with Hulu Plus. It's worth noting that the basic free version of Hulu you're probably familiar with is still available and unchanged – for now anyway

MSI Wind U135DX netbook with Atom N455

MSI has announced the arrival of its new Wind U135DX netbook, which appears to recycle much of the Wind U135's external design, except for the "all new Color Film Print coating" and a 20% wider touchpad. Internally, the new unit supports DDR3 memory thanks to the use of Intel's 1.66GHz Atom N455 processor.

It also comes equipped with a 10-inch 1024x600 LED-backlit display, up to 2GB of RAM occupying a single memory slot, a 160GB hard drive, a 0.3-megapixel webcam, a three or six-cell battery, and Windows 7 Starter. I/O includes a 4-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS Pro), VGA-out, three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and audio jacks.

MSI says the Wind U135DX has a maximum battery life of around seven hours, and if you're not concerned about runtime, it features the company's TDE turbo drive overclocking technology. The system weighs 1.2kg (2.6lbs) with a three-cell battery. Pricing and availability aren't mentioned in the press release, but Tech Radar says the U135DX will go for £229 ($345).

Mozilla posts Firefox 4 Beta 1 candidate build

Firefox 4 Beta 1 candidate also relocates the default position of tabs to above the address bar – a move many users claim Mozilla is copying from Chrome and Opera. The organization wants you to know that isn't the case. To set the record straight, Mozilla has released a video explaining the thought behind shifting the tabs northward, and the reasoning seems logical enough.

If you're the type to live life on the edge, Mozilla has just posted the Firefox 4 Beta 1 candidate build. The early version has many of the upcoming features we've heard about, including a new menu button that aggregates the most frequently used browser menu options, native compatibility with Windows Vista and 7's Aero Glass interface, a customizable tab bar, and a bookmarks button.

ConceivablyTech has already tested the early build with SunSpider, and although its performance is an improvement over Firefox 3.6.6, Firefox 4 Beta 1 still trails behind Chrome, Opera, Safari, and even IE9 PP3. You can download beta candidate here, but we wouldn't recommend running it as your primary browser just yet. We haven't seen a due date for the official first beta release, but it shouldn't be far off.

Android 2.2 Froyo officially hits Nexus One phones

Android 2.2 also brings faster app-switching and support for Adobe Flash 10.1, allowing you phone's web browser to fully run websites that use Flash for navigation, games and video. In order to access the update, you will receive a message on your phone's notification bar.

Just download the update, wait for it to install, and you should be all set. According to Google, the update will be rolling out gradually to all Nexus Ones during the week. Good news, Nexus One owners. Google is finally rolling out Android 2.2, codenamed Froyo, to your devices in an over-the-air update

. The latest version of the mobile platform brings several performance improvements to the table, as well as new features like support for push notifications, better support for Microsoft's Exchange software, a streamlined Android Market interface, and the ability to turn your phone into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can be shared with up to 8 devices.

No specific date has been set for when other devices will get the final version of Android 2.2. The HTC Evo 4G, HTC Droid Incredible, and HTC Desire (non-US) should all be getting the update in the coming months, as well as the Motorola Droid and the upcoming Motorola Droid X. Both manufacturers use a custom version of the Andriod user interface with their devices, so it usually takes longer for users of these phones to receive the latest updates

The update will be compatible with most Android phones released in 2010. If you have an older Android smartphone, like the T-Mobile G1, don't expect to get Froyo, as its hardware is said to be too limited to provide full support.

Seagate world's first 3TB hard drive

The 3.5-inch, 3TB drive achieves its capacity boost without increasing areal density. It has five platters, each with 600GB -- that's one platter more than current 2TB drives. For those who like keeping track of such things, Seagate says this drive can store 120 high-definition movies, or 1,500 video games, thousands of photos or "countless" hours of digital music. Looking to meet and exceed users' ever evolving storage needs, Seagate has announced it now is shipping the industry's first 3TB external hard drive as part of their FreeAgent GoFlex Desk family.

The drive is compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows systems, utilizing a work-around that allows it to overcome the 2.1TB partition limit on XP. Like other GoFlex products, it can be adapted to transfer data using USB 2.0, USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 interfaces

The new drive comes pre-loaded with automatic backup software as well as encryption programs to keep all your data nice and safe. Seagate is selling the 3TB FreeAgent GoFlex Desk today for $250 through its online store. Cables to add new interfaces vary from $20 to $50. The company is also readying an internal 3TB hard drive for release later this year

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Affordable Spectrophotometer Fluorometer

Having a CCD array spectrometer/fluorometer combination is now affordable for each of your lab stations! Array spectrometer technology allows you to collect a full wavelength spectrum (absorbance, percent transmittance, or intensity) in less than one second. Once the peak wavelength is determined, you can easily determine the concentration of a solution (Beer's law) or monitor rates of reaction.

With its two different excitation wavelengths, SpectroVis Plus can quantitatively measure the fluorescence spectra of many compounds, such as chlorophyll, fluorescein, GFP, and more.

Singularity GPU & CPU Performance In-depth

In fact it wasn't until a fellow TechSpot staff member pointed out Singularity as a game of interest last week that I even knew of its existence.

New and exquisite looking computer games are always something that we are on the lookout for, so that we can provide you with an in-depth hardware performance review. Singularity is a new first person shooter that managed to fly well under our radar even though it was developed by veteran Raven Software and published by Activision.

Singularity is getting released just today for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms, generating a lot of buzz as of late for its supposedly exciting single player campaign and the gameplay paradigm that it presents, giving you a "Time Manipulation Device" to play with and use as a weapon.

Although Singularity is based on the Unreal Engine 3 - like a few dozen or more games released over the past few years - we were still keen to check out how current hardware handles it.

Sony preps PS3 and PSP firmware updates

Other key additions in firmware update 3.40 include a photo gallery that lets you upload, browse and comment on Facebook and Picasa Web Album pictures.

There's also a video editor with the ability to upload clips to YouTube and Facebook, a one to five star rating system for PlayStation Store content, and power save setting to automatically turn off the PS3 after a set duration, the default of which will be two hours. Sony has detailed a forthcoming PlayStation 3 firmware update that will add various new features, including PlayStation Plus, enhancements between your PlayStation Network and Facebook accounts.

In case you've missed earlier reports, PlayStation Plus is a new paid subscription service that provides access to exclusive extras, such as free games, betas, special themes, and access to Qore. The existing free online platform will remain unaffected. Sony will launch the next PSP firmware update (v6.30) at the same time as PS3 3.40, but a date hasn't been announced. While we're talking about the PSP, it's worth noting that Sony exec Scott Rohde has gone on the record to say the company has no plans for a 3D-capable portable console. Granted, it's a seemingly niche feature at the moment but do you think Sony will reconsider its stance if the Nintendo 3DS is successful?

Chrome slips past Safari in US browser share

Globally, Chrome has long surpassed by Safari in usage share, so this shouldn't come has a great shock. StatCounter logged some 3.6 billion page views worldwide, showing Chrome has nearly twice the following with 9.4% versus 4% for Safari. Again, IE and Firefox occupied much of remaining market at 53% and 31%, respectively. \

Based on StatCounter's latest data, Google Chrome has skipped by Apple Safari in usage, becoming the third most popular browser in the United States. After recording 874 million page views in the US during the week of June 21 to June 27, the firm determined that Chrome represents 8.97% of the market, leaving Safari to claim a lesser 8.88%. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer remained dominate at 52% and Firefox held 28.5%.

Today's news is both impressive and ironic. Not only has Chrome seized nearly 10% of the US market in under two years, its success is thanks in part to WebKit, the same engine open-sourced by Apple, who uses it in both desktop and mobile versions of Safari.

WiMAX spreads to Richmond, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis

Pricing for WiMAX starts at $30 a month for home users and $40 a month for mobile users, which have unlimited data.
There are two home packages: one offers 1.5Mb/s download and 0.5Mb/s upload for $30, while the other is $40 for 6Mb/s and 1Mb/s. You can add a VoIP service to that for another $15 or $20. Likewise, there are two mobile services priced at $40 and $55. Both have the same 4G speed, but the more expensive plan includes 5GB of nationwide 3G coverage.Clearwire and Sprint have extended their WiMAX wireless broadband Internet to three new markets today.

The companies' home and mobile 4G services are now available to around 2.5 million residents in and around Richmond, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis, which adds about 1,400 square miles to the network's coverage. WiMAX is now available in 36 large cities across the US, with deployments expected in over a dozen other urban areas this summer.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Architecture Frameworks

When one looks at the Architecture Frameworks available all over, one can easily identify a common pattern. All the common architecture frameworks revolve around the same 4-5 different views. So as long as one is taking into account the below mentioned views, the architecture can be fitted into any of the known architecture methdology.

dw goes Lotus connections way

IBM has introduced the full set of features from Lotus Connections to the Developerwork member community. Now, one can enjoy the full social networking features available as part of Lotus Connections (Profiles, Dogear, Communities, Blogs, Activities) as part of the DW membership.

Google Wave will change the way we collaborate

In the current model of working, when individual sends out email to people, the email gets stored in people’s mail boxes (email folders). So everybody gets a copy of the mail. Subsequent replies are also routed to everyone mail box. The email client will try to group the email based on the subject as one conversation. Using the conversation mode, one can go through the mail chain to find out what happened.

Google Wave is going to change how we collaborate and work. The communication tool aspires to redefine not only email, but the entire web. You can read everything about Google Wave here and here.

IBM WebSphere eXtreme Scale V6

IBM Websphere eXtreme Scale is an in-memory data grid which was formally known as ObjectGrid. Caching requirements in Single threaded vs multi threaded applications, failure of singleton pattern and how data grids address the issue. Good start for novice folks. Once the basics are over, getting and deploying the WebSphere eXtreme Scale is as easy as dropping a jar file in the classpath. The examples start with the basic of how to an equivalent of ‘Hello World.

The example used is very lucid and easy to understand. The example covers how to create a grid and add and retrieve data. How does the data persistence work with Backup map and the different locking strategies available? The author has explained the locking and deadlocks very well. This topic is must read as these learning’s will be applicable when debugging and tuning the application data grid.

The Entity API allows the application developer to define the relationships so that ObjectGrid can understand the same. The author covers the Query API that provides an SQL-like view into an ObjectGrid The author demonstrates the usage of JPA API to showcase how the BackingMap is able to persist the data using the Loader. This chapter is a must read for all who want to introduce data grids in their existing applications.

The author details on the basic configuration required to start server instances, how to connect to a distributed object grid, managing the server/container load and tips on capacity planning. Must read for administrators, on how to tune data grids instances for effective performance and scalability.The chapters details on how to write agents that can send logic to the grid/shard.The patterns are generic and are applicable for any in memory data grid (IMDG) application.How the ObjectGrid instance are injected into spring and how to write interfaces using Spring managed declarative transactions.

Technologies that will change how we design applications

The OSGi framework is a module system and service platform for the Java programming language that implements a complete and dynamic component model, something that does not exist in standalone Java/VM environments. Applications or components (coming in the form of bundles for deployment) can be remotely installed, started, stopped, updated and uninstalled without requiring a reboot; management of Java packages/classes is specified in great detail. Life cycle management is done via APIs which allow for remote downloading of management policies. The service registry allows bundles to detect the addition of new services, or the removal of services, and adapt accordingly. - Wikipedia. Designing new applications as OSGi bundles will require a different design mindset. Adding new features to enterprise applications will become easy. Maintenance and support cost will come down drastically. The recent new technological changes have brought about a sea change how we go ahead designing applications. Some of the technologies that i believe will have a pro-found effect on how we design and create our applications are

Cloud Computing - Infrastructure as a platform has come into its own. Amazon EC2, RackSpace, GoGrid and others have become mainstream. Hundreds of companies are running their business on the cloud today. All of the them have launched or in the process of launching private clouds initiatives for the enterprises. Ability to connect from cloud to the enterprise data servers will mean, enterprise need not maintain costly data centers for their application

Second part of the cloud is the emergence of SaaS enabled applications to connect with. Enterprise applications do not create functionality or download/deploy boxes for application features. Functionality like CRM (, Analytics (Google Analytics, Omniture, Unica etc), Payment Gateways (PayPal), Authentication (Open ID, integration with facebook, twitter etc), Webtools (like blogs, discussion forums, online chat, bookmarking etc), Database (Amazon RDS), Source Control, Defect tracking and score of others on cloud, will mean application design will be an integration with multiple SaaS vendors with easy to use and published API's (most likely as RESTful web services)

Distributed data systems - Technologies that allow us to scale and distribute our data have become stable and are being used in large applications. Handling petabytes of data have become a norm and social networking sites are doing it on a regular basis. Some of the open source technologies in the space like Hadoop, Cassandra, HBase Hive are mainstream and are all ready for use by the enterprises.

Dead Rising 2 launch bumped to September 28

The latest installment is set five years after the events of the original title and follows a "more interesting" protagonist, Chuck Greene, as he hacks his way through hordes of infected souls in the Las Vegas-like Fortune City. Dead Rising 2's gameplay remains largely unchanged, but there are various enhancements, such as new weapons including a lawn mower, missions (sans photography elements), and the onscreen zombie count has been increased from 800 to roughly 6,000.

According to Eurogamer, Capcom has postponed the debut of the sequel to 2006's sandbox-style zombie slasher Dead Rising by one month. Dead Rising 2 is now due on September 28 in North America and October 1 in Europe for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 simultaneously. The developer hasn't provided any official reason for the delay, nor is there any information about whether it will affect the Xbox 360-exclusive "downloadable prologue" Case Zero.

'Hurt Locker' makers to punch

One of the problems with Kowalski's legal claims, however, is that he can't know whether he's a defendant because Voltage Pictures, producer of "The Hurt Locker," has yet to subpoena the names of the accused file sharers from their Internet service providers, according to court documents. For that reason, Voltage's attorneys were forced to file an eight-page motion to strike Kowalski's response on grounds that he isn't a defendant and because his "answer" doesn't comply with federal rules of civil procedure. is still proceeding against all defendants as anonymous Doe Defendants," wrote Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, the law firm handling the litigation for Voltage.

"As the court has not ruled on motion for expedited discovery yet, and consequently has not even sent subpoenas to the ISPs yet." This will undoubtedly have little bearing on the outcome of the "Hurt Locker" case but it could be a good example of the kind of opposition Voltage and Dunlap Grubb will face as they attempt to kick-start an antipiracy approach employed for five years by the top four music labels before it was abandoned in Dec. 2008.

Dunlap is offering to sue individual file sharers who allegedly have pilfered the films of indie production companies. The potential revival of mass antipiracy litigation has stirred outrage in the file-sharing community and among those who oppose this kind of approach. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has offered to help anyone accused of pirating movies by Dunlap Grubb to find legal counsel.

An Arizona law firm, White Berberian, will represent those accused for a $249 fee. So far, Dunlap Grubb reportedly has a dozen clients and, it's said, may file suits against 50,000 individuals. Many people who say they downloaded an unauthorized copy of "The Hurt Locker" have reached out to CNET for information about when they might be contacted by Dunlap Grubb, so news that the court hasn't given Voltage permission to subpoena ISPs will likely come be welcome.

Windows 8 leaked documents hint upcoming functionality

Recently some new information has come to light courtesy of leaked documents obtained by Microsoft Enthusiast Francisco Martin, and re-posted by Neowin. Although we can't vouch for its authenticity, the information appears to have been presented at a Microsoft 'Ecosystem Forum' conference back in April, and includes mentions of USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0, as well as facial recognition, stereoscopic 3D, and 'instant on' booting. The latter could be seen as a response to Google's Chrome OS, allowing users to "check e-mail, sports scores, or play media" without any long delays. It's no secret Microsoft has already started working on a successor to Windows 7 -- a release often referred to as Windows 8.

There have been some hints of a release in 2012, and all the usual marketing hype has been thrown around in scattered posts by employees, calling it 'revolutionary' and 'completely different' from past versions of the operating system. But for the most part details have been kept under a tightly closed lid. Microsoft is also aiming to use sensors in Windows 8 PCs -- HID, accelerometers, proximity sensors -- working on hard drive encryption, adding GPS support to Windows 8 netbooks and laptops via the system motherboard or WWAN module, and putting a strong focus on boot time, shut down time, and battery life. You can read the leaked documents here.

Microsoft appears to be moving full steam ahead now that it finally hit the sweet spot in terms of public reception with Windows 7. Whatever functionality they end up including, we hope they take the same open approach that helped make the current release such a big success, with public betas and release candidate versions available for download. It will still be a while before any of those arrive, though.

TechSpot PC Buying Guide

After working on this guide for many years, we learned that the biggest pitfall of our previous work as well as many other buying guides on the Web is that they expire shortly after publishing. Prices change daily, components come and go, and the guides simply degrade in worth until they're eventually rewritten a few months later. Recognizing this, we are taking an alternative approach in our revamped PC Buying Guide.

The TechSpot PC Buying Guide provides you with an in-depth list of today's best hardware, spanning four unique and yet typical budgets. Whether you are a first time builder seeking guidance or a seasoned enthusiast, we've got you covered.

We will add and update new hardware to the mix as it's released. All four guides will be entirely up-to-date on major product launches, and we'll make a biweekly pass over the components and their prices to catch anything in-between. We wholly welcome your support and input to keep this guide as fresh as possible.

Toshiba celebrates laptop milestone with new models

The Libretto W100 is expected to become available in August, powered by a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium U5400 processor, 2GB RAM and a 64GB solid-state drive running Windows 7 Home Premium. The W100's dual 1024 x 600-resolution touchscreen design reminds us of Microsoft's Courier concept that was recently cancelled. The Libretto will carry a built-in sensor so that the dual screens can be used in both horizontal and vertical positions. One of the screens can also act as a full keyboard with haptic feedback.

For those of you thinking running Windows 7 is going to be too painful on such a small footprint, an Android-based device is also being announced today. The AC100 netbook will use a Nvidia Tegra 250 processor, 512MB RAM and 10.1-inch LED-backlit display, claiming instant on boot ups and an eight hour battery life. Toshiba is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its first laptop with a second wave of mobile releases this month, following the various new models that we detailed a week ago including their first 3D-capable Satellite notebook.

Two of the most interesting releases of the day are new Portege R700 13-inch thin and light system and the eye-catching new Libretto W100 UMPC that sports dual 7-inch multitouch screens. Finally, the Portege R700 is a customizable 13.3-inch ultraportable that can pack quite the horsepower for the size. Choose from an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 CPU, hard drive or SSD, an optical drive comes standard, multiple USB ports, multitouch trackpad and HDMI support. The Portege R700's pricing can range from $999 to over $1700 depending on features chosen.

Inno3D GTX 480 iChill Review: Water-Cooled Fermi

Either way, if that was reason enough to have manufacturers looking into custom board designs and cooling offerings out of the box, then you won't hear us complaining. Besides your run of the mill reference-based boards, Inno3D produced a number of impressive GeForce GTX 200-based products, such as their GTX Accelero line and the flagship of them all, the GTX 295 Black Series that added a large water-cooling block for heavy overclocking.

Inno3D offers an impressive range of graphics cards based solely on Nvidia GPUs and that's the reason we haven't seen a lot of action from them in recent months. With the delay of the GeForce GTX 400 series Nvidia’s exclusive board partners were left hanging for a while there. Although older GeForce models were still pretty competitive, ATI's successive launches kept pushing the efficiency and price envelope release after release.

Since then we haven't seen any similar products added to Inno3D's elite “Black Series”, until now. You may recall some of our thoughts from our original GTX 480 review. Although performance output was certainly there, we had serious reservations about Fermi's power usage and its most hazardous result, heat output. Without a doubt a perfect candidate for the water treatment, today we present to you the Inno3D GTX 480 iChill Black Series.

Now roughly 2 months later and despite of all those obvious drawbacks, Nvidia’s CEO claimed that the company had already shipped an impressive few hundred thousand Fermi GPUs. This either means there is a huge amount of Nvidia fans out there (a claim we wouldn't argue about) or that board partners have a truckload of inventory in their warehouses.

You assumed correctly, water-cooling is the key component here and it could make all the difference. Back in March, our GTX 480 reference card tests revealed that under stress this GPU was hotter than the dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295, and consumed a similar amount of power when compared to the dual-GPU Radeon HD 4870 X2. Against a comparable Radeon, the GeForce was not the practical choice as we found it to be power hungry, loud and hot.

Adding a water-block is not going to make the product any cheaper, but it will most likely improve the overclocking abilities of the GeForce GTX 480 and as a result improve performance. There is a lot being asked of the new Inno3D GTX480 iChill Black Series and we are keen to see if it can deliver. Let's find out.


However, going the homebrewed route isn't everyone's cup of tea. You have to research and purchase every item, assemble it all, and troubleshoot any issues along the way. The time and expertise required to build a new computer drive some to purchase pre-built systems from companies like HP, Lenovo or Dell – but just how much would you be overpaying? Is it really worth the effort to build your own rig.

When it comes to buying a new desktop PC, any hardware buff will tell you there's nothing better than building your own machine. If not for the enjoyment of putting all the components together, then simply for the comfort that comes with knowing you are getting high quality parts.

Although this has been a long debated topic – think 1992 – there's no absolute answer to those questions. While many of you reply and keep up with the latest hardware releases via our PC Buying Guide, others expressed utmost enthusiasm when we reviewed the Gateway FX 6831-03 gaming desktop a few weeks ago, as it seemed to offer a good blend of components at an attractive price. With that in mind, we've chosen three popular desktop series, configuring them as closely as possible to our own Enthusiast's PC. After the table below, we'll briefly dissect each offering to determine how it fares against our home-built machine.

Windows 8 leaked documents hint upcoming functionality

Recently some new information has come to light courtesy of leaked documents obtained by Microsoft Enthusiast Francisco Martin, and re-posted by Neowin. Although we can't vouch for its authenticity, the information appears to have been presented at a Microsoft 'Ecosystem Forum' conference back in April, and includes mentions of USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0, as well as facial recognition, stereoscopic 3D, and 'instant on' booting.

The latter could be seen as a response to Google's Chrome OS, allowing users to "check e-mail, sports scores, or play media" without any long delays. It's no secret Microsoft has already started working on a successor to Windows 7 -- a release often referred to as Windows 8. There have been some hints of a release in 2012, and all the usual marketing hype has been thrown around in scattered posts by employees, calling it 'revolutionary' and 'completely different' from past versions of the operating system. But for the most part details have been kept under a tightly closed lid.

Microsoft appears to be moving full steam ahead now that it finally hit the sweet spot in terms of public reception with Windows 7. Whatever functionality they end up including, we hope they take the same open approach that helped make the current release such a big success, with public betas and release candidate versions available for download. It will still be a while before any of those arrive, though.

Microsoft is also aiming to use sensors in Windows 8 accelerometers, proximity sensors -- working on hard drive encryption, adding GPS support to Windows 8 netbooks and laptops via the system motherboard or WWAN module, and putting a strong focus on boot time, shut down time, and battery life. You can read the leaked documents here.

Samsung Galaxy S to debut on all major U.S. carriers, Sprint's version gets WiMAX

Verizon's version will be called Samsung Fascinate. It will come with a 16GB microSD card included, 3G mobile hotspot functionality, and the carrier's usual slate of branded features such as VZ Navigator and V Cast Music. On T-Mobile's network the Galaxy S will be called Samsung Vibrant and includes a 2GB microSD card preloaded with the movie Avatar and The Sims 3. T-Mobile will start selling the Samsung Vibrant from July 21, for $199 with a two-year contract. Samsung is making sure you won't have to worry about switching wireless carriers to get your hands on its hot new Android handset, codenamed Galaxy S. The device is expected to debut on all major U.S. carriers sporting a high end feature set that includes a 4-inch AMOLED touch screen display, 1Ghz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and 720p video capture, 2GB of internal storage, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi.

The device will be Sprint's second WiMAX phone and is a great alternative to the HTC Evo 4G if you just can't get used to software based keypads. Common to all editions of Samsung's Galaxy S is version 2.1 of Google Android, with 2.2 "Froyo" upgrades expected to come at a later time.

Over on AT&T the phone will be called Samsung Captivate, including 16GB of storage and various customized features such as AT&T Navigator and AT&T Address Book. Last but certainly not least, Sprint's version of the Galaxy S will pack a few extra surprises. Dubbed Epic 4G, the device will be able to hop on Sprint's WiMAX network for faster download speeds (where available), and adds a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, six-axis sensor as well as a front-facing camera.

Acer's Predator takes on high-end desktop gaming

The way this system has been configured reminds me a bit of the Gateway FX gaming desktop we reviewed a couple of months back. The sheer amount of RAM is unnecessary, but nevertheless adds to the overall appeal for those easily mislead by spec figures. That's not to say the configuration is not well rounded though.

The Predator cannot be configured to build, so the SLI capable motherboard is a worthwhile addition. Also the GeForce GTX 470 seems like the best choice to offer a multi-GPU upgrade option as we recently learned in our SLI vs. Crossfire shootout. While not meaning to take it to any extreme levels, Acer is updating its Predator desktop PC series aimed at gamers packing a lot of horsepower and the option to scale up graphics. For $2,000 you get a Core i7 930 processor, a 3-way SLI capable motherboard, 12GB of DDR3 RAM, a single GeForce GTX 470 graphics card, 1.5TB HDD and a radical chassis design with a mechanized front cover that hides a multi-card reader and various connectivity ports.

Like with the Gateway FX, Acer seems to be targeting the gamer that doesn't want to bother to build his own system, offering a good combination of components at an interesting price point. Unlike its exterior may lead you to believe, the Predator is not an extreme gaming PC, but it won't cost you like one either. Next time an SSD choice in place of that extra RAM could make for a nice option. The new Acer Predator is expected to become available from retailers immediately.

Apple iPhone 4 buyers reporting display, antenna problems

It's unclear how widespread these problems are, but at the time of writing both Gizmodo and MacRumors have received more than two dozen reports from new iPhone 4 owners who say there is a discolored area on their screens, or an overall yellow hue to the entire display even after adjusting the phone's display settings.

The images below aren't the best quality, but they do help illustrate the yellow spots and bands new owners are experiencing. In many cases, Apple has reportedly offered to replace units for customers with screen issues -- though they won't be getting their replacement today. The much-anticipated iPhone 4 made its official debut today as thousands of gadget-loving folks lined up outside their local Apple, AT&T or Best Buy store to try and get a hold of the device -- whether they had pre-ordered one or not. Although reactions from early buyers have been mostly positive, there are already scattered reports of defective units, mainly regarding the high resolution Retina Display and the new steel antenna band that runs around the edges.

The other problem being widely reported involves the iPhone's wireless reception. Apparently there is a problem with the new antenna design -- which ironically enough was touted to boost the device's signal -- that sees reception drop considerably, sometimes from 5 to 1 bar or none at all, when users hold the metal ring around the iPhone 4. There's no definite answer as to what is causing the problem, but some say it happens when a user's hand connects the different metal sections of the antenna (it's broken into three pieces with small gaps in between). A few hiccups are to be expected with any major product launch, particularly one as popular as the new iPhone. It remains to be seen how widespread these issues really are, and in the case of the iPhone's wireless reception, if it's strictly hardware related or if this is something can be addressed with a software patch.

Update: According to a forum post at AppleInsider, the yellowish screen issue is caused by a bonding agent used in the display's layers of glass. Apparently, Foxconn is shipping these products so quickly that the bonding agent has not yet fully dried following the manufacturing process. We can't confirm the legitimacy of the source or its claims, but supposedly the issue should resolve itself after a day or two of use.

Seagate FreeAgent Theater Review

However you choose to acquire these files, there is a good chance that you have a variety of multimedia content on your computer.

You enjoy looking at all of those photos you take with your digital camera. You enjoy listening to your ever-expanding collection of MP3 songs. You’ll watch a range of movies and television shows using video files. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a simple solution to send that content to your living room for viewing in your home theater?At its core, that’s the idea behind the Seagage FreeAgent Theater HD Media Player Solution. By their own branding, this device will let you “bring all your stuff to your home theater… and play it with ease.” You could consider alternative solutions, but the key here is that the FreeAgent Theater is simple, straightforward, and robust.

You can expect the FreeAgent Theater HD Media Player to operate in a similar fashion as any other set top box for your television. The connection and setup process is not unlike what you’d do when setting up a video game console or a DVD player. The difference, of course, is that there are no discs involved. Instead, you can freely load up your multimedia content onto the provided FreeAgent Go portable hard drive. There are three bundles available from Seagate. You can opt to buy the FreeAgent Theater on its own if you already have a compatible FreeAgent Go hard drive. Alternatively, they sell bundles that come with either a 250GB or 500GB hard drive. These bundles also come with the same computer stand for the hard drive as the ones that come with standalone FreeAgent Go drives.

Naturally, you can buy additional hard drives to further expand your collection. There is also a USB input on the front of the device that will accept a range of flash drives, compatible cameras, and other similar storage devices.The FreeAgent Theater HD Media Player will support video, audio, and picture files from either the attached FreeAgent Go hard drive (which pops up in a similar way as an old eight-track tape) or a connected USB device. Video support includes MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AVI/VOB/ISO), MPEG-4 (AVI/Xvid), and DivX. In my experience, it would not support MP4 or MOV files. There’s also support for a range of audio formats (MP3, AC3, WMA, WAV, OGG), JPEG photos, and subtitle files (SMI, SRT, SUB).

Pure Digital Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Pure Digital introduced the world to affordable and simple movie-making with the first Flip Ultra and now they have expanded the line substantially. One of the newest additions to the line is the Flip UltraHD. As its name implies, you get (720p) HD video out of this pocket-sized camcorder.

I remember when my dad bought our family’s first camcorder. It was quite the premium product at the time, especially since we opted for the Sony Handycam. After taxes, an extra battery, and a couple of tapes, we racked up a bill of about $1,000. Thankfully, recording video on the fly is a lot more affordable and a lot more pocket-friendly these days.This isn’t the first HD camcorder to come out of Pure Digital, as you may already know. They introduced the Flip MinoHD some time ago.

it was great that you could get HD-quality video out of something that small. Unfortunately, the screen was a little too small and the memory topped out at one hour. With the Flip UltraHD, you get the slightly larger form factor of the original Flip Ultra, but many of the specs have been bumped. For starters, you get a bigger 2.0″ display. The memory has also been bumped up to 8GB, giving you enough room for 120 minutes of HD video. That’s pretty impressive.

Other specs include Flip Video Engine 3.5, 30fps progressive scan, 9.0Mbps average bitrate, H.264 video compression, MP4 file format, automatic white balance, automatic exposure control, f/2.4 fixed focus, built-in speaker, tripod mount, and HDMI output.

Samsung SyncMaster P2370 Slim LCD

This is quite possibly the slimmest LCD as part of Samsung’s lineup, if not among the slimmest LCDs on the market today. The SyncMaster P2370 is a 23-inch widescreen monitor and the display portion measures just 30mm in thickness. That’s pretty darn thin. Not everyone needs an LCD monitor is that is chocked full of additional features. You may not need to have a set of integrated speakers.

Maybe you don’t want to have a USB hub or a wide range of input/output options. You just want something that looks slick and does its job well. If that’s the case, then the Samsung P2370 just might be the ticket.
Features and Specs

In line with the current trend toward multimedia-minded products, the Samsung P2370 features a 16:9 aspect ratio (like an HDTV) rather than the 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio that we’ve come to expect from computer monitors. Going through the rest of the feature list, we discover the following:

•Screen Size: 23-inch wide (16:9)
•Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
•Brightness: 250 cd/m²
•Contrast Ratio: DC 50000:1 (1000:1 Typ)
•Viewing Angle(Horizontal/Vertical): 170° / 160° (CR>10)
•Dimensions (with Stand): 571.0 x 423.0 x 190.0 mm

Inside the brown cardboard box, you’ll find the P2370 itself, as well as the glossy piano black stand, DVI cable, VGA-to-DVI cable, power supply and cable, a cleaning cloth, and instruction manual.This is all pretty standard fare, for the most part, though it is interesting that this monitor has an external power supply rather than one that is built into the unit itself. This aids in maintaining its slim and lightweight nature, I suppose, but it means that you’ll have another power brick on your desk or on the floor.

NZXT Cryo S Aluminum Notebook Cooler Review

I’ve always been impressed with both the design and build quality of NZXT products, so I had the highest of expectations when I took the opportunity to try out the new NZXT Cryo S aluminum notebook cooler. Is this hot stuff or does it fizzle under pressure.

By and large, the Cryo S follows in the same philosophy as other notebook coolers in the Cryo family. You get a jet black aluminum finish, topped off with some rubberized feet to grip the base of your laptop.Just as there are a variety of cooling products for desktop computers, it is also important to be mindful of the temperature of your notebook computers as well. Passive solutions may be more convenient, but having active fans blowing cool air at your laptop is much more effective.

You don’t have to worry about cheap craftsmanship or shoddy materials, because NZXT has forged this product using 3mm thick aluminum construction. Believe me when I say that it’s built pretty darn tough. This also means that it has somewhat sharp edges and it may not be the most portable solution out there.Inside the box, you’ll find the cooler itself, a USB cable, and an AC cable. You can power the fans on the Cryo S either through the USB port on your laptop or through a wall outlet. The NZXT Cryo S will support notebooks up to 15-inches in size.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 SLI vs. ATI Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire

But for those amongst you that like to take things to the next level, gaming at 2560x1600 with 30-inch displays and beyond. For extreme users that do not necessarily care about value, power consumption or even heat... who offers the best gaming solution

This question leads us to a new showdown between ATI and Nvidia, only this time using a pair of GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards in SLI versus a pair of Radeon HD 5870 using Crossfire technology. Recently we revisited the battle between the high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 400 and ATI Radeon HD 5000 graphics cards series using updated drivers and a new testing method that saw us abolish all time demos.

This comparison was limited to single GPU testing at what we consider to be the mainstream screen resolution for high-end PC gaming. For many of us the prospect of spending $400 on a Radeon HD 5870 graphics card seems a little crazy, let alone the $500 Nvidia is asking for the GeForce GTX 480. So it goes without saying that those willing and able to purchase two of these mighty graphics cards are in the minority. Still, such configurations do exist and those of you looking to go down that path will be interested to check our findings.

eMachines intros Athlon II Neo-based 'floating' nettop

The ER1402 measures 7.1 inches in diameter and it can be affixed to the rear of VESA-complaint displays for a clean entertainment setup.

It packs enough punch to deliver full HD video, but eMachines says the system is also suitable for flash-based social media games, Web surfing, word processing, VOIP calls, and viewing and editing photos. If you've ever wanted a PC packaged in a floating black diamond, eMachines has brought that fantasy to reality today with the launch of its new Mini-e ER1402 nettop.

The company says its glossy black diamond-shaped chassis "floats" in a matte silver pedestal – not exactly the work of science fiction, but cool nonetheless. Guts include an AMD Athlon II Neo processor, Nvidia GeForce 9200 graphics, 2GB of RAM, a 160GB HDD, HDMI, S/PDIF, 802.11b/g/n, four USB 2.0 ports, and a multi-card reader. The ER1402-05 ships with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit as well as a keyboard and mouse. It's currently available through various retailers nationwide for $300.

Hulu to test its fee-supported service next week

These includes mobile devices like Apple's iPad, and possibly even on video game consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In the past Hulu has actively blocked attempts to put its video on TV-friendly apps and devices, such as Boxee, but with a subscription plan in the works it appears the service is ready to spread the way Netflix has. After all, access to additional viewing platforms seems like a much better selling point than just offering old episodes.

Hulu could begin testing out its fee-supported service, dubbed Hulu Plus, as early as next week. According to "people briefed on the plans" talking to the Wall Street Journal, the popular video streaming site is working to finalize agreements with content owners and hopes to wrap them up in the coming days.
Of course, not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea of paying for Hulu, but the current offering will reportedly remain 'as is', while those who pay the $10 monthly fee would get access to a deeper catalog of shows, plus the ability to watch it on other devices.

Currently, Hulu lets you watch the five most recent episodes of popular shows such as House and The Office, usually posted with some kind of delay. If you're able to stay on top of your favorite shows in a timely manner then you probably won't feel compelled to sign up. However, if you could access more content from your living room or on the go, would you be willing to shell out a subscription fee each

RIM sells its 100 millionth BlackBerry, reports solid Q1 earnings

According to RIM's recent earnings report, the company shipped its 100 millionth BlackBerry during the opening quarter of this year, with total sales skyrocketing 43% to 11.2 million.

The company witnessed a 60% growth in BlackBerry users, adding 4.9 million new accounts and closing the first quarter with 46 million subscribers – about 40% of which reside outside North America. You may not hear about BlackBerry maker Research In Motion as often as Apple or Google these days, but the company trumped analysts' expectations yesterday, reporting a net income of $768.9 million ($1.38 per share) on revenue of $4.2 billion for the first quarter of 2010, up 41% and 24% on-year.

Going forward, RIM predicts a second-quarter revenue from $4.4 billion to $4.6 billion, with earnings landing somewhere between $1.33 and $1.40 a share. New subscribers are expected to pile in at a similar rate to the first quarter, and possibly as high as 5.2 million.

Razer preps Tron-themed keyboard and mouse

The mouse features Razer's 5600dpi 3.5g sensor, which is the same technology found in the company's upper-scale products, such as the Mamba we recently reviewed.
It's also described as "ergonomic," although that's not the first word that comes to mind when we look at the picture below. The keyboard's highlights include a set of programmable keys, macro recording capabilities,

detachable keypad, as seen on competing products like the Microsoft SideWinder X6. There's also talk of a "high precision mouse mat," to complete the set. Children of the 80s: Disney is preparing a range of Tron-themed electronics to promote the launch of its new movie, Tron: Legacy. Among the companies partnering with the studio is PC peripherals maker Razer, working a new Tron-based mouse and keyboard.

Sony adds new signature VAIOs for Summer 2010 Collection

The summer 2010 collection also includes an updated version of the 11.1-inch Black Carbon X, which also sells for $1,500 with the same specs as the VAIO P except with 128GB of storage.

The Glossy Premium Carbon X seems to feature a higher quality finish for another $100. Sony has kicked off the warm season by flooding the North American market with 10 new Signature Collection products, including an upgraded version of the newly redesigned 8-inch VAIO P. The VPC-P118KX/B packs a zestier 2.0GHz Intel Atom Z550 processor, a higher capacity 256GB SSD, both GPS and Verizon mobile broadband, colors have been restricted to only black, and the asking price is $1,500. Meanwhile, VAIO Metal Shield Z costs $2,020 and has a 13.1-inch screen, a 2.4GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM, two 128GB SSDs, an Nvidia GeForce GT 330M, and Verizon mobile broadband.
This can be increased to an i7-620M, 8GB of RAM, two 256GB SSDs, a Blu-ray burner, and a 1080p display for $4,170. The Glossy Premium Carbon Z includes those higher end specs outright as well as a carbon finish and Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit for a hefty $4,800.

The black, pink and gold iterations of the 14-inch Arabesque are identical apart from color. Pricing starts at $920, which gets you a 2.26 i3-350M, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB HDD, and a DVD drive. Optionally, you can install an i5-520M, i5-540M, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD, and a Blu-ray drive.

The Black F and White J are the final two systems in the collection. The former is a well-stocked 16.4-inch notebook priced at $2,300, while the latter is a $1,550 all-in-one touchscreen desktop. All of the mentioned systems are either already shipping or will begin to do so tomorrow, June 25.

Steam's "Perils of Summer" sale discounts hundreds of titles

Hoping to pillage your disposable income, Valve has launched an epic assault on your bank account: the Steam "Perils of Summer" sale. Until July 4, Steam will drastically reduce prices on a new set of games every day,
promising discounts of up to 90%. Additionally, tons of game collections have been marked down by anywhere from 25% to 87%, effectively slashing prices on hundreds of titles. For today's 24-hour sale, Killing Floor is $5 (75% off), the Overlord Complete Pack is $4.50 (85% off), Trine is $4 (80% off), BioShock 2 is $14.99 (50% off), the Unreal Deal Pack is $13.60 (66% off), Colin McRae DiRT 2 is $10 (75% off), Counter-Strike: Source is $6.80 (66% off), and Aion Standard Edition is $19.99 (50% off). We have a complete list of all the publisher-specific collections after the break.

Microsoft says Xbox 360 will be relevant for five more years

With the redesigned Xbox 360 and new Kinect motion controller, the company says it will enjoy ongoing momentum and continue offering great experiences for people.
"We continue to attach more games than competitive platforms and we have the healthiest ecosystem with 25 million people connected through Xbox Live." The Xbox 360 may be five years old this November (has it been that long?), but Microsoft expects this to be a "very big year," calling 2010 the "mid-lifecycle" of the console.
In an interview, Microsoft executive Chris Lewis told that the platform at least another five years of life. The chat also cleared up concerns about whether Microsoft would abandon the hardcore market with the release of Kinect, instead favoring casual gamers. Lewis said that the company will remain committed to its hardcore audience, but it wants to enter the casual market and it will do so without alienating its core customers.

GeForce GTX 280 is only 14x faster than Core i7-960

In a blog post, spokesman Andy Keane pointed out that Intel used Nvidia's last-generation GPU, as opposed to Fermi.In a paper titled "Debunking the 100x GPU vs CPU Myth," Intel suggests that application kernels run up to 14 times faster in certain circumstances on an Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 than an Intel Core i7-960. On average, Intel says that number is more along the lines of 2.5 times faster. Naturally, Nvidia quickly published a rebuttal of its own.

Keane also notes that Intel presumably ran unoptimized codes on the GTX 280, and it's not even clear how they were compared between the GPU and CPU. In a peculiar attempt to dismiss claims made by Nvidia, Intel yesterday argued that its CPU technology is only 14 times slower than the graphics company's GPUs.

The unusual admission comes as the Santa Clara-based chipmaker looks to downplay Nvidia's claims that its GPUs outperform the conventional Intel processor by a factor of 100. The Nvidia staffer went on to acknowledge that not all applications run 100 times quicker on GPUs, but he cited many developers who have achieved that kind of performance, and more. At least seven organizations cite speed-ups of over 100x, and one claims 300x.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

VLC media player gets GPU decoding on Windows and Linux

VLC 1.1.0 also includes DSP decoding using OpenMax IL, improved MKV HD support, and compatibility with Blu-ray subtitles, MPEG-4 lossless, VP8, and WebM.
The latest build touts a better audio experience, with additions such as support for DVD-Audio files, AMR-NB, MPEG-4 ALS, Vorbis 6.1/7.1, FLAC 6.1/7.1, and WMAS, not to mention tweaked meta-data and album-art features. VideoLAN has pushed out a new finalized build of its VLC media player, adding stability as well as numerous enhancements and features.
Among the more noteworthy items listed in 1.1.0's changelog is the addition of GPU decoding on Windows (via DxVA2) and Linux (using VAAPI) for H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 formats. Unfortunately, the developer says GPU decoding is currently limited to Nvidia cards, citing driver issues with ATI products. Besides the added functionality and various developer-oriented improvements, VideoLAN says version 1.1.0 is simply lighter and faster, with thousands of lines of code removed and decoding speed boosted by up to 40%. If you're interested, you can read the itemized highlights here, or simply take the new build for spin.

Portal 2 multiplayer gameplay detailed

This makes sense, because the multi-player's higher degree of intricacy causes gamers to die far more often. Not only will there be four portals to manage instead of two, but it'll take more brainpower to wrap your head around the new puzzle mechanics. This added complexity once prompted Valve to say that a multi-player Portal is "less fun than you'd think," – though that was two years ago. Along with expanding on the refreshing single-player gameplay that originally captivated gamers, Portal 2 will introduce a multi-player element. The much-anticipated puzzle shooter will come with entirely separate levels designed for co-operative action, which puts players in control of "infinitely respawning robots," according to the guys at Joystiq, who got their hands on a preview build at E3.To prevent players from strangling their partners, the developer is implementing a number of communication aids, such as a marking system that gives players the ability to show one another where to stand or where to place a portal. All in all, Joystiq said Portal 2's multi-player aspect is better than expected. The title is due sometime next year for Windows, OS X, Xbox 360, and PS3.

Microsoft readies family-oriented Xbox 360 features

Along with four Gold memberships for $99.99, Xbox 360s will have a Family Center that will funnel billing and account management through one primary account. That account has the ability to purchase and dispense Microsoft Points to other members, as well as access to activity monitoring reports to "help encourage discussions about safer more balanced gaming and entertainment habits." In a move that'll surely brighten the day of gamer families, Microsoft has announced the "Xbox Live Family Pack," which will knock about half off four Xbox Live Gold memberships.

The initiative is reportedly intended to solve the problem of households sharing a single console and Xbox Live account, and it will include various family-specific features to make life easier on parents. Redmond also plans to offer "exclusive family content and discounts," and it'll take parental controls to the next step with talk of a function that removes all mature games, movies and content from the dashboard.

Parents will also be able to apply title exceptions to disallow inappropriate material, and Microsoft will offer "intelligent default settings for child, teen, and adult profiles." The new family features will roll out this November alongside Microsoft's new Kinect motion controller

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adobe releases Flash Player 10.1 for Android 2.2

In its announcement Adobe specifically mentioned Palm's WebOS, Symbian, MeeGo, Blackberry, LiMo and even Windows Phone -- though it didn't offer a specific release date for those platforms. The company supplied the necessary code to partners hoping that they'll make it available via over-the-air downloads or pre-installed on future smartphones. Apple iPhone users may have received iOS 4 yesterday, but today Android fans have something to cheer about too as well:

Adobe has released the final version of Flash Player 10.1 for Google's mobile operating system. Those with smartphones running Android 2.2 (codenamed "Froyo") will be able to download the ubiquitous plug-in from Google's Android Marketplace, and over the coming months Flash 10.1 will spread to many other mobile operating systems. Flash 10.1 includes a number of features specially designed for mobile users, including accelerometer support to automatically adjust Flash content to landscape or portrait mode, optimized power consumption to extend battery life, multi-touch compatibility, "smart rendering" so content that's not on the screen won't use up resources, and the ability to pause if the user switches to another application. Adobe also says it has worked with hardware and software makers to optimize for specific platforms

Nook and Kindle e-readers receive subsequent price cuts

new Wi-Fi only Nook model was announced set to sell for $149. Meanwhile, Amazon was ready with a press release on hand, taking a blow at its competition saying they will keep offering free 3G connectivity regardless of the price drop. Now, I've always been under the impression that e-readers have a limited market, but that may have been in part because the price of admission was considerably high at a few hundred dollars for the device alone.

As these reach out closer to the ever sweet $100 price point, there could be an even brighter future ahead for standalone e-readers, especially considering the connectivity convenience and anytime material availability. As soon as Barnes and Nobles was ready to drop the price of its Nook e-reader from $259 to $199 yesterday, Amazon took less than a day to follow suit with a price cut that puts the Kindle selling for slightly less at $189. It was almost like Amazon was waiting for B&N to make the move so they could go along.

Then again, the sudden price drop begs the question, could the three-month old iPad and the advent of more tablets have anything to do with this? At the previous price point of $259 for a Nook or Kindle, you could have just as well spent a couple hundred more for a device that does much more while still serving the purpose of an e-reader quite well, in fact many argue that the iPad is better suited for reading. On the other hand, the newly established $300-plus price stretch can guarantee that standalone reading devices will keep serving a different segment of the market for the time to come.

Monday, June 21, 2010

OCZ launches new enterprise Deneva SSDs

Discontent with the plethora of solid-state drives it already has on the market, OCZ has pushed out a new enterprise line based on SandForce's SF-1000 family. The Deneva SSD series makes use of the SF-1500 controller.
first to deliver Tier-0/1 Enterprise level reliability using a range of lower cost flash technologies including eMLC and MLC in processes as low as 3xnm." The use of MLC NAND is interesting, considering that most enterprise-grade SSDs rely on SLC flash memory.OCZ says its Deneva drives offer customers a high degree of flexibility because they can be designed to use a variety of interfaces, including SATA, SAS, FC, and PCIe, along with an assortment of form factors and custom firmware. Other enterprise-specific features include emergency power loss protection with supercap, best-in-class endurance, as well as top-notch encryption and ECC protection. Drives in the series have a max read/write of 285MB/s and 275MB/s with 4KB random writes up to 50,000 IOPS.

TechSpot News Page 4 12345

Bad Company 2 and Medal of Honor are already connected to the Gun Club. Players who own BC2 or preorder MoH will get advanced beta access to the forthcoming reboot, as well as early access to the M24 sniper rifle when the game launches this holiday season. More titles are set to join the Gun Club, such as Dead Space Battlefield Heroes, and the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 "digital expansion" Vietnam.

During its E3 media briefing today, EA opened a new "Gun Club" for fans of shooter games. On the service's official website, EA says the Gun Club is a way of thanking its loyal shooter community by rewarding them for "doing what they love best" – purchasing EA shooters. Members of the Gun Club will be privileged with in-game content, early access to beta programs and demos, as well as exclusive access to events, information and development teams.

Logitech intros new HD webcams, updates Vid HD

The C510 features a foldable design that's ideal for users always on the go. Though most notebooks today feature built-in webcams, with this $60 stand-alone device you'll get 720p video calls and video recording, 8MP photos,

360-degree rotation capability. Logitech will sell its HD Webcam C310 and Logitech HD Webcam C270 for $50 and $40, respectively, with a reduced feature set but still capable of making 720p video calls. Logitech has unveiled a new line of webcams today that can take advantage of Logitech's Vid HD software to make free two-way high definition video calls. The flagship HD Pro C910 will sell for $100 and offers 720p video calling, 1080p video recording, 10-megapixel still photo captures, a Carl Zeiss lens, Logitech's Fluid Crystal technology for smoother motion and truer colors, two microphones for stereo audio, and one-click uploads to Facebook and YouTube.

Besides supporting Logitech's free Vid HD software, which is now available for both Windows and Mac OS X systems, all four webcams are Skype-certified and will work with all major video-calling clients including Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and Gmail Voice and Video Chat.