Maximum PC - All Articles en China to Microsoft: You Have 20 Days to Explain Compatibility Problems <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_sign_5.jpg" alt="Microsoft Sign" title="Microsoft Sign" width="228" height="133" style="float: right;" />Microsoft must issue a written statement to China within 20 days</h3> <p>Around the same time China banned Windows 8 from government use over concerns that there could be built-in spying mechanisms, authorities also began investigating Microsoft for antitrust violations. The latest in China's antitrust probe over Microsoft's business practices has the <strong>State Administration for Industry and Commerce giving the Redmond outfit 20 days to issue a written explanation</strong>. What for, you ask?</p> <p>The agency wants Microsoft to explain "problems like incompatibility and other issues caused by a lack of released information about its Windows and Office software," according to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal's</em></a> translation of the SAIC's <a href="" target="_blank">online notice</a>. That's an incredibly vague task, though the agency issued the 20-day deadline during a meeting with Microsoft, in which further details were likely given.</p> <p>Citing state media reports, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Reuters</em> says</a> Microsoft's use of verification codes led to complaints by Chinese companies. Interestingly, verification codes could be one of the ways Microsoft supposedly violated China's anti-monopoly law, though if that's the case, it puts Microsoft in a tough spot. Software piracy in China is a big problem for Microsoft, and it's difficult to see how verification codes could run afoul of antitrust laws.</p> <p>Microsoft isn't China's only foreign target when it comes to anti-monopoly concerns. There are dozens of other companies being investigated, including Qualcomm, which China accuses of overcharging customers for its patents.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> antitrust china microsoft office Software Windows News Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:01:22 +0000 Paul Lilly 28458 at Scholar Feeds Over 12 Million Historic Photos to Flickr <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/stnicholas.jpg" alt="St. Nicholas" title="St. Nicholas" width="228" height="163" style="float: right;" />Browse millions of copyright-free images spanning hundreds of years</h3> <p>The Internet is a wonderful place filled with text, videos, and images. Lots and lots of images. In fact, Yahoo's popular <strong>Flickr photo sharing service is the lucky recipient of millions of historical images</strong> plucked from 600 million library book pages scanned in by the Internet Archive. The project is spearheaded by Kalev Leetaru, who began work on the massive undertaking while researching communications technology Georgetown University as part of a fellowship sponsored by Yahoo.</p> <p>One thing that always bothered Leetaru was that digitization projects tend to focus on words while leaving out the pictures. What he's doing is the exact opposite. Leetaru went so far as to write his own software to sidestep the way books had originally been digitized.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>BBC</em></a>, the Internet Archive used an optical character recognition (OCR) program to analyze all 600 million scanned pages and turn the image of each word into searchable text. The software could detect which parts of a page were pictures, and it would discard them.</p> <p>Leetaru's software taps into the process by taking that information and focusing on parts that the original OCR ignored. Each one was then saved as a separate JPEG picture. His software also copied the caption for each image.</p> <p>The end result will be a searchable database of more than 12 million historical copyright-free images available on Flickr. At present, Leetaru has uploaded more than 2.6 million pictures, all of which you can <a href="" target="_blank">browse here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> flickr photography photos News Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:20:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 28457 at Dell Readies 34-inch Curved Display for Holiday Season <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Dell 34-inch Curved Monitor" title="Dell 34-inch Curved Monitor" width="228" height="104" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Earlier this month, LG had unveiled a similar offering</h3> <p>The Alienware Area-51 gaming PC is not the only product that Dell will try and woo gamers with during the upcoming holiday season. The PC vendor is also readying its first curved monitor. Announced alongside the Haswell-E powered Area-51, the <strong>Dell UltraSharp U3415W is a 34-inch curved display that will be available in China in November and the rest of the world in December.<br /></strong></p> <p>The U3415W has an ultra-wide 21:9 display with a WQHD 3440x1440 resolution, according to a press release issued by Dell Friday. Further, the 34-incher, whose price hasn’t been revealed as yet, packs “HDMI 2.0, MHL, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort connectivity, dual integrated 9 watt speakers, 60Hz performance and, when it’s set up in multi-monitor configuration, a virtually borderless cockpit view across multiple screens thanks to its ultra-thin bezels.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> curved display dell Dell UltraSharp U3415W Hardware monitor News Mon, 01 Sep 2014 06:54:48 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28456 at Netflix: VHS-level Streaming Quality Forced Us Into Deal with Comcast <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Netflix " title="Netflix " width="228" height="153" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Netflix sheds light on circumstances that lead to 'interconnection' deal with Comcast</h3> <p>Currently undergoing regulatory review, the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable isn’t something Netflix is excited about. The Los Gatos, California-based company views the deal as a potential threat to online video distributors (OVDs), according to the <strong>“Petition to Deny” (<a href=";_ga=1.235764675.337222476.1409081769" target="_blank">PDF</a>) it recently filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).</strong></p> <p>Netflix, which has, of late, been busy entering into costly agreements with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ensure smooth delivery of its video streaming content to customers, fears that an ISP as large as the resulting entity would enjoy unduly large bargaining power “over an OVD in negotiating such access fees because failure to reach an agreement with a terminating access network that accounts for a very large portion of an OVD's customers could have a devastating effect on the finances of the OVD.” </p> <p>To make its point, the company cites the example of its February 2014 “interconnection” deal with Comcast and the exact circumstances that lead to it. Apparently, the deal came about because, in the two months immediately preceding it, the quality of the company’s service over the latter’s network had deteriorated to such a degree that customer support calls quadrupled and Netflix began losing customers.</p> <p>“Comcast subscribers went from viewing Netflix content at 720p on average (i.e., HD quality) to viewing content at nearly VHS quality. For many subscribers, the bitrate was so poor that Netflix's streaming video service became unusable,” the petition reads.”The fact that the height of the congestion occurred in December and January is significant. December is one of Netflix's busiest times because members spend more time at home over the holidays and therefore request more streaming video from Netflix and other OVDs. It became clear that Comcast would continue to allow congestion across its network to negatively affect its subscribers' online video streaming experience.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> Comcast fcc Federal Communications Commission merger NetFlix Time Warner Cable TWC News Mon, 01 Sep 2014 06:20:29 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28455 at Leap Motion Controller Mount for Oculus Rift Now Available <!--paging_filter--><h3>Company is also working on embeddable “mega sensor” for future VR headsets</h3> <p>Palmer Luckey, the creator of the Oculus Rift virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD), recently told <a href="" target="_blank">GamesIndustry International</a> that VR may not become mainstream for quite some time to come. One of the things currently holding VR back, per Luckey, is the use of traditional controllers, which he feels are far from ideal for VR. However, as we wait for the ideal VR input to materialize, <strong>the list of controller alternatives for VR aficionados to experiment with keeps on growing. The latest addition to it is the Leap Motion Controller.<br /></strong></p> <p>Leap Motion, Inc. has introduced a Leap Motion controller mount for the Oculus Rift. Called the <a href="" target="_blank">VR Developer Mount</a>, this $20 contraption allows the company’s eponymous motion-sensing camera to snap onto the Oculus Rift. </p> <p>“If virtual reality is to be anything like actual reality, we believe that fast, accurate, and robust hand tracking will be absolutely essential,” the company’s CTO David Holz said in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> Thursday. “We believe in the concept of other specialized controllers as well, but our hands themselves are the fundamental and universal human input device.”</p> <p>The VR Developer Mount will help developers make the most of a new API that for the first time gives them access to raw infrared from the Leap Motion Controller: “When mounted directly onto a head-worn display, these [infrared] images become stereoscopic windows into the world around you. What it sees, you see.”</p> <p>“This expands the tracking space to be in any direction you’re facing. You can reach forward, turn around, look up and down, and the tracking follows you wherever you go. Because our device’s field of view exceeds that of existing VR displays, you’ll find it can start to track your hands before you even see them.”</p> <p>Holz also revealed that the company is working on a next-generation “mega sensor” that will be offered directly to VR OEMs for embedding in their HMDs. Codenamed “Dragonfly”, the new sensor will come with “greater-than-HD image resolution, color and infrared imagery, and a significantly larger field of view.”</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="340" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> controller facebook Hardware hmd leap motion controller oculus rift oculus vr Palmer Luckey vr developer mount vr headset vr input News Mon, 01 Sep 2014 03:37:49 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28453 at Alienware Outs New Area-51 Gaming Desktop <!--paging_filter--><h3>New Triad chassis is the most outré thing to come out of Alienware’s stable in recent times</h3> <p><strong>Alienware is bringing back its Area-51 desktop PC and it’s nothing like the previous iterations</strong>, having received a pretty radical makeover. The 2014 edition Area-51 gaming rig is what can best be described as the love child of a hexagon and a triangle. Perhaps that is why the company has chosen to call the new hexagonal chassis the “Triad.”</p> <p>But what is so special about the new Triad chassis? Per the company, there is more to the design than meets the eye. The angled design is said to be better at heat dissipation as compared to the average rectangular chassis. This is because it affords “a large space for hot air to escape where a traditional, rectangular chassis only leaves a small space between it and the wall.” Further, this design is meant to enable easier access to both the front I/O panel and the rear portion.</p> <p>There is no word yet on the price of the new rig, which will be available for order in October. But it’s a slightly different story when it comes to specs. While the exact specifications are unknown, the <a href="" target="_blank">official product page</a> contains this technical outline of the Area-51: “The Alienware Area-51 ushers in a new era of performance with 6-core and 8-core Intel Core i7 Extreme processor options [<a href="" target="_blank">read our Haswell-E review</a>] that come factory overclocked and made possible with the new Intel X99 Express chipset alongside 2133Mhz DDR4 memory — up to 32GB in quad channel. Do insane, intensive multitasking like rendering video or extreme performance 4K gaming at your leisure. Experience a custom balance of solid-state and hard drives, enabling the performance of SSD with the storage capacity of HDD. Plus, 802.11ac – the latest wireless protocol – prioritizes streaming video and gaming, so lag is reduced.”</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="320" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> alienware area 51 dell gaming desktop gaming rig Hardware haswell-e x99 News Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:59:29 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28452 at Asus Rolls Out Trio of X99 Chipset Motherboards <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_x99_boards.jpg" alt="Asus X99" title="Asus X99" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />Hello, Haswell-E</h3> <p>Now that <a href="">Haswell-E has finally arrived</a>, have you started thinking about a new build? If so, you have plenty of options. In terms of motherboard choice, <strong>Asus today announced three X99 Series boards</strong>, including the X99-Deluxe, X99-A, and X-99 Pro. All three sport the latest LGA 2011-v3 socket for Haswell-E processors and feature DDR4 memory support, along with exclusive Asus technologies.</p> <p>Out of the three, the <a href="" target="_blank">X99-Deluxe</a> is the top-end model. It comes bundled with an Asus Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card for ultra-fast 32Gbit/s transfer speeds, onboard 3x3 antenna for 802.11ac connectivity, and an Asus Fan Extension Card for flexible cooling options.</p> <p>One feature that's on all three boards is Asus's patent-pending OC Socket. This is a unique socket with extra pins that connect proprietary circuitry to extra contacts found on Haswell-E's LGA and is fully compatible with Intel's new LGA 2011-v3 chips. According to Asus, its OC Socket allows for higher DDR4 memory frequencies, lower memory latencies, and enhanced stability when overclocking.</p> <p>The X99-Deluxe is available now for $399. Look for the X99-A to land in early September for $279, and the X99-Pro in October with a price that's yet to be determined.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asus Build a PC Hardware haswell-e motherboard x99-a x99-deluxe x99-pro News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:56:05 +0000 Paul Lilly 28451 at IDC's Outlook on PC Shipments is a Mixed Bag <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/dell_xps_18_0.jpg" alt="Dell XPS 18" title="Dell XPS 18" width="228" height="134" style="float: right;" />High and low points abound in the PC sector</h3> <p>Reading through International Data Corporation's (IDC) latest report on PC shipments is like slapping yourself in the face to kill a blood sucking mosquito -- you're not sure whether to be relieved or pained. More to the point, IDC's roller-coaster examination starts with adjusting its forecast. <strong>IDC now expects worldwide PC shipments to decline by 3.7 percent in 2014</strong> (bummer!), though that's an improvement from its previous forecast of a 6 percent drop (hooray!).</p> <p>The market research firm says PC shipments in emerging regions are being held back by competition from alternative devices and economic challenges (drats!), though commercial demand and a "rekindling" of interest from consumers in mature markets helped to boost results in Q1 and through the rest of the year (sweet!).</p> <p>Pop a Dramamine because the up and down ride doesn't smooth out from here. According to IDC, competition from tablets is waning, especially as PCs continue to make progress in competing with slimmer, touch-friendly, and low-cost systems (rock on!), though in emerging regions, competition from other devices is a bigger factor (darn!) and over time, the replacement of Windows XP systems (yay!) will decline as the install base shrinks (d'oh!).</p> <p>"Programs to reduce PC prices, such as Windows 8.1 with Bing, have helped to improve PC shipments in some segments," <a href="" target="_blank">said Jay Chou</a>, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers. "Coupled with a shift toward more mobile PCs, the market has seen a quickened pace of innovation and a focus on price points. Nevertheless, the prospects for significant PC growth in the long term remain tenuous, as users increasingly see PCs as only one of several computing devices."</p> <p>The bottom line? Quite frankly, we don't what the flip to think about IDC's assessment, so we'll wrap things up with the firm's current outlook. Barring an adjusted forecast down the line, IDC sees desktop PCs going from 133.5 million shipments in 2014 to 121.1 million in 2018; portable PC shipments holding steady at 170 million in 2014 and in 2018; and total PC shipments going from 303.5 million in 2014 to 291.1 million in 2018.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware idc pc shipments News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:32:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 28450 at G.Skill Sets Memory Frequency Record Using Ripjaws 4 DDR4 RAM <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_oc_0.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 OC" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 OC" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />DDR4 memory record sits at 4,004MHz</h3> <p>We said over and over that Haswell-E was just around the corner, and after all that waiting and anticipation, today marks the official launch of the new CPU line from Intel (see our <a href="">review of Haswell-E</a>). It's not just about the processors, though -- it takes a village of components to raise Haswell-E the right way, and if you're looking to set records, G.Skill makes a strong case for its <a href="">Ripjaws 4 Series</a>. At present, <strong>G.Skill and its Ripjaws 4 Series of DDR4 RAM own the DDR4 frequency record</strong> after hitting 4,004MHz.</p> <p>There are always caveats to this level of extreme overclocking, such as cooling. As you probably guessed, it took doses of LN2 to keep things cool enough to set the record. That's a buzz kill if you're only interested in stable clocks using air or liquid cooling, though it's par for course in the overclocking sector.</p> <p>G.Skill also had to drop down to single-channel mode. In doing so, the company was able to push its Ripjaws 4 to 2,002.2MHz (4,004MHz effective) with 17-25-29-50 timings. The memory was plopped into an Asus ROG Rampage V Extreme motherboard with an Intel Core i7 5930K processor.</p> <p>It's only a matter of time before the record is broken -- perhaps by G.Skill -- but for now, this is where the bar has been set.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws 4 News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:06:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 28449 at Mozilla Experiments with Ads in Firefox Nightly Build <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/firefox_nightly_logo.jpg" alt="Firefox Nightly Logo" title="Firefox Nightly Logo" width="228" height="168" style="float: right;" />Advertisers can buy sponsored tiles in Firefox's new tab page</h3> <p>Mozilla is in search of a new revenue stream for its Firefox browser, and one proposed solution is to sell sponsored tiles that would appear on a new tab page. More than just a concept at this point, <strong>Mozilla is actively experimenting with sponsored tiles, which now appear in the newest Firefox Nightly build</strong>. These are test builds of the popular browser that contain new features and enhancements that may or may not advance into later builds, including a stable release.</p> <p>This isn't the first we've heard of this. Mozilla mentioned the possibility of ads back in February 2014 to a mostly unreceptive Internet audience. Though the idea of ads isn't a popular one among users, Mozilla promised that they wouldn't have any tracking features, and would be clearly labeled as ads.</p> <p>Fast forward to today and the time for experimentation is upon us. The folks over at <em>The Next Web</em> gave Firefox Nightly a test run and noted that when you first launch the browser, there's a message on the new tab page explaining what the tiles are, a link to a support page telling how sponsored tiles work, a promise that it adheres to Mozilla's privacy policies, and a reminder that you can turn tiles off or opt for a blank new tab page.</p> <p>"It's quite a lot to take in all at once," <em>The Next Web</em> <a href="" target="_blank">writes</a>.</p> <p>According to Firefox Product Manager Bryan Clark, some sites will show up in tiles even when there's no sponsorship deal in place. For example, popular sites like Amazon and Facebook might appear even though they didn't pay for the spot.</p> <p>It's easy to see why Mozilla would consider this approach. The majority of the company's revenue comes from search deals with Google, in which the search giant pays a premium -- hundreds of millions of dollars -- to have its search engine the default option in Firefox. While this relationship has worked up to this point, it's hard to fault Mozilla for not wanting to be beholden to a single entity.</p> <p>As to the ads, it's not a foregone conclusion that they'll stick. If they do, the earliest you'd see them in a stable build would be three months from now, which is when the latest version of Firefox Nightly is scheduled to hit the stable channel. However, Mozilla's been slow playing this, so it's probably more likely that we'd see ads in a stable release sometime next year, if that's the direction Mozilla goes.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> ads browser firefox Mozilla Software sponsored tiles News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:13:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 28448 at