With the Internet's collective knowledge at our fingertips, we generally know what we're in for when we purchase a game; even when reviews steer us wrong, exhaustively in-depth 75-page forum threads usually give us at least something to go on. But at some point or another, we've all found our more rational sides obscured, and due to a low, low price tag that just screams "Buy me," a movie license that would make a totally rad game, or what have you, we've retched up an all-too-clear "This game sucks."
So, what's the worst game you've ever played? What factor intoxicated your poor brain into giving the game a shot? Was it a friend's recommendation? A movie/comic book/TV show license? A kindhearted, but woefully uninformed birthday gift?
Well take some solace in the fact that today's Roundup won't steer you wrong. Between quantifiable proof that digital distribution is the future, Crysis' surprising success, and one man's dirge for console gaming, the Roundup tells it like it is. See it all after the break.
On Friday, Microsoft released the production version of SyncToy 2.0, the sequel to the popular SyncToy 1.x file-synchronization program I've been using for over two years (the beta version appeared last fall).
So what's new? A few of the 16 new features include:
Native support for 64-bit Windows XP or Vista (choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version when downloading SyncToy 2.0
Support for encrypted files and folders
Folder pair rename
Dynamic drive letter assignment
For the entire list, see the SyncToy download page. Microsoft also offers a white paper (PDF format) on SyncToy 2.0, and offers a FAQ list on its forums.
When you install SyncToy 2.0 on a system that includes a previous version, it upgrades the previous version automatically. To assure that your folders are properly detected, you should synchronize your folder pairs with your old version of SyncToy before installing version 2. SyncToy 2.0 requires the .NET Framework 2.0 (you'll be prompted to install it if your system doesn't have it already installed).
From the Makers of TweakUI and Other Great Windows XP PowerToys
SyncToy has the distinction of being the only PowerToy that works on both Windows XP and Windows Vista. For other PowerToys for Windows XP, stop by the Windows PowerToys website.
For your chance to tell us your favorite file-sync programs or war stories, see us after the jump.
Weighing in at a mere 2.20lbs, hailing from the house of Dell, please welcome the Dell Inspiron 910 (Mini Note) – the supposed Eee Pc killer. The Inspiron 910 specs have fallen into the safe hands of our buddies at Gizmodo, who claim to have covertly accessed the 910 web documentation.
The Dell 910 Mini Note will feature an 8.9” WLED screen, a 1.6GHz single core Intel Atom processor, up to 1GB memory, maximum of 16GB Flash SSD storage, three USB 2.0 ports, WLAN and mini card support for Bluetooth. As for the OS, it will either boot Ubuntu 8.0.4 or Windows Xp. From the looks of it, the netbook will be powered by a 4-cell battery as there is no mention of a 6-cell battery. The tech blog further suggests that the netbook might end up on store shelves as early as August 22nd.
The WiMax Forum has formally approved three licensed spectrum profiles for WiMax, 2.5 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz. Intel’s primary focus hitherto has been on the 2.5 GHz spectrum profile as it is used in the U.S – Clearwire will roll out its WiMax service in three U.S cities later this year. The chip maker has announced that its WiMax chipset will support frequencies beyond 2.5 GHz in 2009.
Although it didn’t specify the exact spectrum profiles it plans to support, it is safe to assume that the remaining two profiles approved by the WiMax forum will be on the list. As WiMax networks in various countries around the world operate on either 2.5 GHz or 3.5 GHz, it is very obvious that Intel will soon support them. But Intel stopped short of announcing any release dates.
The most popular method of purchasing a notebook remains buying a prebuilt machine and calling it a day. That slaps in the face of enthusiasts who know they could do just as good of a job putting together a laptop, but there just aren't as many options to go the DIY route as there are in the desktop arena. The good news is, that list is growing.
Asus and OCZ both already offer whitebook solutions, and today Antec announced that is launching a new line of standard components for the mobile computing market. Referred to as common building blocks (CBB) and developed according to a common set of specifications initiated by Intel, the interchangeable components takes away much of the guesswork from would-be system builders hoping to go the DIY route.
"Our new line of mobile product components offers system builders for the first time the ability to configure and build laptop computers specifically for their important accounts, and to fully support them in the field," said Scott Richards, Antec senior VP. "We are proud to be the pioneer global provider of these products to the channel, helping system builders penetrate mobile computing markets that were previously closed to them."
Do you find the notion of building your own notebook appealing?
All eyes continue to be glued to Intel and its upcoming Core i7 (Nehalem), but AMD has a product release in the wings too, this one for the server market. The struggling chip maker said it's planning to release a new server platform in the second half of 2009 currently code named Fiorano. Built to take advantage of AMD's upcoming 45nm Shanghai processor, Fiorano represents the company's first foray into the server chipset market instead of using chipsets from Nvidia and Broadcom.
The Fiorno platform will fully support the company's chip-to-chip technolgy called HyperTransport 3 while also offering a new virtualization technology called IOMMU, which allows for the virtualization of the system's I/O traffic. Support for the second generation PCI-Express will also be included, but the same can't be said for DDR3 because of cost concerns.
"it will hit once the price of DDR3 comes down," said John Fruehe, who handles worldwide channel market development for AMD's Server and Workstation Division. "The back half of next year is about the time the process changes in DDR3 will happen that will allow the prices to come down."
The first AMD platform to use DDR3 memory will be called Maranello (previously known as Piranha).
Yesterday Google announced on its Android Developers Blog that it is releasing the Android 0.9 SDK beta. A crude SDK build was made available in November, 2007 to give a dekko into the Android mobile platform. The Android 0.9 SDK gives developers a better chance to unravel the OS before the release of version 1.0. The release of 1.0 shouldn’t be far off as the first Android-bearing phone will be soon launched by T-Mobile, a member of the Open Handset Alliance. It is called the Dream and has been developed by leading smartphone manufacturer HTC, another key member of the consortium behind Android. To get your hands on the 0.9 SDK beta and Google’s development roadmap head over to the official blog.
With Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, MSI, and everyone else offering mini-notebooks, it might be easier to list which companies aren't jumping on the netbook bandwagon than vice versa. But is the recent hype surrounding ultraportables just a passing fad, or is it here to stay?
If it is a passing fad, research firm Gartner says to expect the craze to stick around for at least a little while. The firm reports that worldwide mini-notebook shipments are on pace to reach 5.2 million units in 2008, with 8 million expected to ship in 2009. However, by 2012, Gartner says the market could balloon to nearly 10 times the size it is today with the potential to see as many as 50 millin units sold.
"The demand for mini-notebooks will be driven by several factors: by their small form factor and small screen, their light weight, their price, their ease of use and their basic, but sufficient, PC functionality," said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. "Mini-notebooks are likely to attract a variety of users with different usage scenarios."
If Gartner's predictions hold true, the ultraportable market will have shifted from low-cost education PCs to consumers in both mature and emerging markets, including some business buyers. The research firm says the largest growth opportunities for mini-notebooks are in the consumer subcategory, which will eventually account for about 70 percent of all ultraportable sales.
Tom’s Hardware reports that IBM and its chip development partners (which includes AMD), revealed that they beat Intel in creating the first functional 22 nm SRAM cell. Unfortunately 22nm processors are still 3 years out. This will put the pressure on Intel to make sure it keeps its manufacturing lead. Intel presented its first 32 nm SRAM cell wafer last September and is not expected to show 22 nm SRAM cells for another year.
While for the foreseeable future it seems likely that Intel will remain on top in CPU performance, this announcement means that we could be looking at a shakeup within three years unless Intel starts cranking away in research. We can certainly hope for things to heat up in the processor wars again. We don’t want Intel to become complacent about it’s position in the market.
The most popular game in the social activist fraternity and political circles currently happens to be “blame the videogames.” However, there are ardent gamers and researchers galore to even out the scales. Once again, fresh studies have reinforced the value of games in enhancing cognitive and perceptual skills among children; creating a breed of hyper-dexterous surgeons; and bolstering scientific reasoning capabilities in gamers. All said, there is a slight blemish with one of the studies having found that violent games lead to more violent behavior among gamers. Make the "jump" for all the justification you need to keep playing games.