Maximum PC - All Articles en Twitter Launches Curator Tool for Media Partners <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/twitter_logo.jpg" alt="Twitter Logo" title="Twitter Logo" width="200" height="163" style="float: right;" />A new way for the company to make money</h3> <p>Of the many notable social networking services out there, Twitter has been one of the most popular ones for a while. However, it has come to the point where its user numbers have begun to stagnate. A problem that hasn’t been helped by the company’s CEO admitting that the <a title="Twitter sucks" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">platform sucks</span></a> when it comes to dealing with trolls. As a result, it is looking for new ways to generate revenue. So to help keep the money rolling in, <strong>Twitter has publicly launched Curator</strong>, a tool for media partners to help search, filter, and curate Twitter for content that they can then display on their website, mobile apps, and even TV.</p> <p>“Curator was built to allow media publishers to search, filter and curate Twitter content that can then be displayed on web, mobile and TV,” said Twitter product Manager Matt Dennebaum on the company’s <a title="Twitter blog" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">official blog</span></a>. “Those who have been testing Curator have seen strong increases in audience engagement, participation and attention. With these encouraging results, we’re opening up the product to all media publishers around the world, for free. This includes news organizations, production companies, broadcasters, local governments, and even concert venues.”</p> <p>The new tool gives media publishers the ability to create complex keyword and hashtag queries to help discover streams containing high quality Tweets. Such queries can then be refined by location, follower counts, and languages in order to create a collection of the most relevant tweets that are pertinent to a particular topic. In addition, publishers will be able to work with Twitter Certified Partners, such as Flowics and ScribbleLive, for access to more advanced integrations, customizations, and hands-on support.&nbsp;</p> <p>How much revenue Curator will bring in for Twitter is anyone's guess. But it could be a big cash grab for the company which saw its average number of monthly active users grow by only 20 percent in the fourth quarter and its stock in 2014 drop from $65 a share to around $35 by the end of the year.</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> Curator media partners media publishers tweets twitter News Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:55:32 +0000 Sean D Knight 29674 at AT&T Gigabit Service Arrives in California for $110 per Month <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/att-logo.jpg" alt="ATT logo" title="ATT logo" width="200" height="196" style="float: right;" />Higher prices for customers when there is no competition</h3> <p>Competition between rival services might be bad for a business, but it usually ends up being good for the consumer. In the case of Google Fiber expanding, competition between Google and other ISPs tend to result in lower prices between rival gigabit services. AT&amp;T, for example, has had to offer its own gigabit service at a matching price in areas that Google Fiber has entered. But when there is no competition, things change. So while <strong>AT&amp;T’s gigabit service is now available in Cupertino</strong>, it comes with a starting price of $110 a month according to the company's <a title="AT&amp;T press release" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">press release</span></a>.</p> <p>For $110 a month, Cupertino residents will have access to AT&amp;T’s U-Verse service that provides internet speeds of up to 1Gbps. For residents who want 1Gbps speed and TV service together, the price starts at $150 per month. The company also offers download speeds of up to 300Mbps at $8 a month for those still wishing for faster internet speeds at a lower price. Finally, AT&amp;T is offering the full package which includes up to 1Gbps internet speed, TV, and unlimited U-verse Voice with a starting price of $150 that comes with a two year price guarantee.&nbsp;</p> <p>While it is great that those living in Cupertino, California now have access to a gigabit broadband network, it is a shame that they are paying $40 more than residents who live in areas that offer Google Fiber. For up to 1Gbps, Google Fiber charges <a title="Google Fiber Price" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">$70 a month</span></a>, a price that AT&amp;T matches when both companies are competing in the same area. Hopefully, we will start to see more competition when it comes to gigabit networks.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> at&t ATT Cupertino gigabit broadband gigapower Google google fiber u-verse News Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:24:54 +0000 Sean D Knight 29673 at Charter Communications to Purchase Cable Provider Bright House for $10.4 Billion <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/charter_spectrum_002.jpg" alt="Charter Communications" title="Charter Communications" width="200" height="139" style="float: right;" />Another potential merger between cable providers</h3> <p><a title="Cable/TWC Merger" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Last year</span></a>, Comcast caused quite a stir when it announced that it would purchase Time Warner Cable. So far, the merge has yet to take place as Comcast is still waiting for the government to approve of the merger. But now, two more cable providers are looking to merge. Today, <strong>Charter Communications announced that it will purchase Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion</strong> in cash and stock.</p> <p>Charter is the fourth biggest cable provider in the United States with 5.1 million internet subscribers and 4.3 million pay-TV subscribers. Meanwhile, Bright House is the sixth largest provider with 2.5 million customers with services located in Florida, California, Michigan, Alabama, and Indiana. The deal, if it were to go through, would make Charter the second largest cable provider in the company. However, the deal is “subject to several conditions, including Charter shareholder approval, the expiration of Time Warner Cable's right of first offer for Bright House, the close of Charter's previously-announced transactions with Comcast and regulatory approval,” according to the <a title="Charter press release" href=";p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=2030907" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">press release</span></a>.</p> <p>"Bright House Networks provides Charter with important operating, financial and tax benefits, as well as strategic flexibility,” said Charter Communications President Tom Rutledge. “Bright House has built outstanding cable systems in attractive markets that are either complete, or contiguous with the New Charter footprint. This acquisition enhances our scale, and solidifies New Charter as the second largest cable operator in the US.”</p> <p>So what do you think about another merger between cable providers? Do you think the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Justice will approve this deal? Sound off in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> Bright House Bright House Networks cable providers charter Charter Communications merger News Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:11:54 +0000 Sean D Knight 29672 at Newegg Daily Deals: Samsung D3 Station 5TB External HDD, Asus GeForce GTX 750 Ti, and More! <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/samsung_d3_station.jpg" alt="Samsung D3 Station" title="Samsung D3 Station" width="300" height="252" style="float: right;" /></p> <p><img src="/files/u69/newegg_logo_small_0.png" alt="Newegg" title="Newegg" width="200" height="80" /></p> <p><strong>Top Deal:</strong></p> <p>It seems like storage drives fail at the most inopportune time. Not that there's ever a good time for things to go sour, but inevitably, it happens when you've been talking about implementing a backup solution, but have yet to put one in place. You promise yourself, "Never again!," and then it happens again years later. Well, how about breaking the cycle? It's easy to do, just check out today's top deal for a <a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-EXT-HDD-N82E16822152425-_-0331&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Samsung D3 STation 5TB 3.5-inch Desktop External Hard Drive</a> for <strong>$125</strong> with free shipping (normally $140 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCAPPK23</strong>]). It's relatively compact, sports a USB 3.0 interface, is secure, and offers automatic backups!</p> <p><strong>Other Deals:</strong></p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-GPU-N82E16814127832-_-0331&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Video Card</a> for <strong>$330</strong> with free shipping (normally $350; additional $10 Mail-in rebate; Free game witcher 3: wild hunt with purchase, limited offer)</p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-GPU-N82E16814121855-_-0331&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Asus GTX750TI-OC-2GD5 GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDCP Ready Video Card</a> for <strong>$140</strong> with free shipping (normally $150 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCAPPK42</strong>])</p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-INT-HDD-N82E16822236339-_-0331&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200 RPM Internal Hard Drive</a> for <strong>$50</strong> with free shipping (normally $55 - use coupon code: [<strong>ESCAPPK22</strong>])</p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-PSU-N82E16817139042-_-0331&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Corsair AX760 760W Full Modular Power Supply</a> for <strong>$140</strong> with free shipping (normally $150 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCAPPK46</strong>]; additional $30 Mail-in rebate)</p> Daily Deals daily deals Newegg Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:23:03 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 29671 at Raptr Launches, Says You Too Can Be a Pro <!--paging_filter--><h3> takes a bite out of Twitch and YouTube, Instagram style</h3> <p>Raptr today announced the official public launch of a <a href="" target="_blank">gamer-focused service called</a>, a kind of Instagram for gamers, where the idea is that everyone and every game has an epic moment of some kind.</p> <p>The idea though, says Raptr, is entirely different from and YouTube. According to Dennis Fong, <a href="" target="_blank">CEO and founder of Raptr</a>, "Twitch is just too complicated to set up for most people, and YouTube is like uploading your moments into the ether." The premise behind what Fong says is that there's a junction that serves a clear purpose through that doesn't exist on any other platform, and we get what he's saying.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/screen_shot_2015-03-31_at_10.53.43_am.png" alt="" title="" width="620" height="692" /></p> <p>Right now, is primarily a platform for pro gamers; they're there to make money as full-time broadcasters. At that point, you're essentially an entertainer and less of a "gamer." On YouTube, it's everything and everyone: make-up artists, cooks, car crash videos, street fights, idol shows, and gaming. However, YouTube announced recently that it would compete with As for Facebook, it seems that gamers don't often share their quirky or crazy moments there.</p> <p>"Facebook isn't a great place for [game moments] either. You have coworkers, random friends, and family. It's just weird," says Fong.</p> <p>We're trying out now, and the service is very easy to use. The videos upload seamlessly and there's not much involvement at all, which is a good thing. The client handles the work duties for you, and those who use Raptr can also upload to Raptr is hoping that its current install base of 46 million gamers will find a home on</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>With, users are able to instantly create a 15-second (user definable) video clip of what's happening in their game. The client continuously records the game play session to ensure no moment is missed. Plays are then sent directly to the user's profile page, where like-minded players can view and comment.</p> <p>"Raptr's current user base, combined with ease of use and stardom appeal, makes for a compelling community," Fong tells us.</p> <p>And he would know.</p> <p>Rewind the gaming scene back to the Quake, Quake 2 days, and Dennis "Thresh" Fong was a renowned world champion. Some would say he was the first professional gamer and the best FPS player of all time. Since then, Fong has created four companies: two of which are thriving today; the other two were successfully sold to larger companies. It's been a long road for him since winning John Carmack's Ferrari.</p> <p>Raptr's business model, too, has expanded with Originally launched as a cross-platform communications system for gamers, Raptr became a tool to solve some of the headaches surrounding performance from variations in the PC ecosystem. Think "GeForce Experience," but for all platforms. The Raptr client detects your hardware and games, and tunes settings to deliver what it believes to be the best combination of speed and quality. Raptr recently secured a partnership with Intel, and having AMD under its belt, the company is now the biggest player in game-system optimization.</p> News Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:14:11 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29670 at Async Shaders Will Allow GPUs to Live Up to Their Full Potential, Says AMD <!--paging_filter--><h3>Improvements to be enabled via DX12 and Vulkan APIs</h3> <p>Graphics cards are currently “not living up to their full potential,” says AMD, and the company is adamant that the forthcoming DX12 and Vulkan APIs will change that. Specifically, the red team says that these APIs will be able to take advantage of AMD’s asynchronous compute engines (ACE), which are inherent to AMD’s GCN architecture. These asynchronous compute engines will allow future games that support them to accomplish more simultaneous tasks at a time. AMD infers that this is tantamount to hyperthreading for GPUs.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/dx11.png" alt="DX11 amd" title="DX11 amd" width="620" height="332" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>This is the traditional GPU pipeline with DX11.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The logic here is that having multiple GPU queues allows for tasks to be completed much faster, and that users could see better performance out of their GCN graphics cards. On a call with AMD, the company claimed that the traditional GPU pipeline behavior is currently very linear with DirectX11 and that all work must be done in a single queue that is scheduled in a pre-determined order. With DX12, however, tasks like physics, lighting, and post-processing can be divided into different queues and can be scheduled independently. This not only amounts to higher FPS in applications that support asynchronous shaders, but lower latency as well, which is key to having good VR experiences. To analogize the comparison, AMD equated DX11’s current inefficiency to inner-city roads with traffic lights against DX12’s more asynchronous model, which the company equated to a freeway system. In the asynchronous/freeway model, tasks can merge in to fill gaps and aren’t bogged down by red lights, or bottlenecks, in this example.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/dx12.png" alt="dx12 amd async" title="dx12 amd async" width="620" height="324" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>AMD says DX12 will be able to leverage its GPU's asynchronous compute engines to perform more efficiently.</strong></p> <p>According to AMD, using asynchronous shaders can provide post-processing effects with minimal impact on performance. The company cited its LiquidVR SDK demo, which rendered a scene that had an average FPS at 245 with async shaders and post-processing turned off. With the post-processing effect on, however, the FPS took a huge hit and dropped to 158. With async shaders turned on, the average FPS jumped back up to 230, which is just ever slightly more taxing than the scene with post-processing turned off. According to AMD, async shaders have the potential to save performance by over 40%.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/asynch_shaders_perf.jpg" alt="async shaders perf" title="async shaders perf" width="620" height="326" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>AMD is touting that its async shaders will be very non-taxing on post-processing.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>AMD says that async shaders and asynchronous compute engines are a part of the GCN DNA, so developers will be able to take advantage of them with the next generation APIs. With AMD pouring its Mantle learnings into Vulkan, the next iteration of OpenGL, the open-source API will also be able to take advantage of AMD’s asynchronous shaders. In addition, AMD tells us that all the major game engines, like Epic’s Unreal Engine and Crytek’s CryEngine, will be able to take advantage of AMD’s asynchronous shaders.&nbsp;</p> <p>According to AMD, the PlayStation 4, which uses AMD hardware, are already uses asynchronous shaders in games like InFamous Second Son and The Tomorrow Children to get more performance efficiencies and the company believes these learnings will work their way over to the PC with the next-generation APIs. AMD also says the philosophy behind its asynchronous shaders will also apply to the company’s GCN-based APUs.&nbsp;</p> ace amd async shaders asynchronous gcn gpu graphics card multithread nvidia video News Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:45:04 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29661 at Razer Leviathan Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>More than just a Bluetooth speaker</h3> <p>If you were to tell us three years ago that Razer was going to make a Bluetooth speaker, we would have been interested, but now that we’re inundated with Bluetooth speakers everywhere, it’s pretty hard to get excited. But while Razer’s Leviathan sound system is far from perfect, it’s also more than just a pair of Bluetooth speakers. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/razer_leviathan.jpg" alt="razer leviathan" title="razer leviathan" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>Technically speaking, the Leviathan is in the “sound bar” family of Bluetooth speakers. The sound bar here features two 2.5-inch full-range drivers and two .74-inch tweeters. Spec-wise, the sound bar has a total power output of 30 watts, an impedance of eight ohms, and a frequency response rate between 180Hz and 20KHz. Weighing 4.4 pounds and measuring 19.5 inches wide, the sound bar is small enough to be tucked under your monitor or placed underneath your HDTV. Its black chassis is sexy to boot, though it would have been sexier if the Razer logo on the front was also an LED that would be able to light up with the company’s signature green color, but alas, that’s a small quibble.&nbsp;</p> <p>Razer is also touting the Leviathan as a 5.1 setup, and the extra kick comes by way of a passive 5.1-pound matte-black subwoofer, which has a 5.25-inch downward-firing subwoofer with a 30-watt output. The subwoofer features an impedance of eight ohms and a frequency response rate between 20Hz and 180Hz.&nbsp;</p> <p>Setup was relatively painless and took less than 10 minutes. In addition to the sound bar and subwoofer, inside the box you’ll find an optical cable, 3.5mm auxiliary cable, power adapter, subwoofer-to-sound bar connector, and two pairs of detachable feet that allow you to adjust the tilt angle of the sound bar to either 0, 15, or 18 degrees. Some may be happy to hear that the back of the sound bar also has room for wall-mount screws.&nbsp;</p> <p>All in all, there are several ways to get music out of this box. The Leviathan supports Bluetooth 4.0, and there’s even a spot on the top-right of the sound bar that allows you to tap your phone and pair it via NFC. Bluetooth here should allow you to move your phone 30 feet from the sound bar, which is plenty. If you want to replace your crappy HDTV speakers with Razer’s sound bar, you can switch over to the Leviathan’s optical mode. Finally, there’s auxiliary mode if you want to hook up the speakers up to your PC’s mobo or sound card. In terms of audio inputs, the Leviathan supports all modern mainstream solutions.&nbsp;</p> <p>In terms of features, the Leviathan supports Dolby Digital Surround, but we didn’t really notice much of a difference when we toggled it on and off. The same thing can be said with the Leviathan’s different presets, which includes movie, music, and game modes.&nbsp;</p> <p>For the most part, the Leviathan really accentuates whatever bass it can pick up, which has become a popular trend for which you can thank Beats Audio. No joke, the Leviathan has a ton of volume firepower at max volume and we thought we were experiencing a minor earthquake when we cranked it all the way up. It’s that thunderous. While the audio still manages to sound clean at higher volumes, we initially thought there was no way to crank down the subwoofer, which can sound overwhelming at times, but luckily you can do that by holding down the Dolby button and adjusting the volume buttons. Finally, if you’re expecting a true, all-encompassing 5.1 setup from these speakers, you’re going to be disappointed. Razer marketing talk aside, all of these drivers are still coming directly in front of you, so it would be unfair to expect musical magic here. Still, all in all, the Razer Leviathan never sounded distorted or unclean, and sounded great overall.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/razer_leviathan_2.jpg" alt="razer leviathan" title="razer leviathan" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>As much as we like Razer’s Leviathan, it’s certainly not without faults. It’s a little annoying that there is no volume indicator on the device; heaven forbid that you forget you had the speakers on blast the last time you turned them on. Speaking of turning them on, you’ll have to do that a lot, considering the Leviathan shuts off after 20 minutes of being idle. While this might allow you to cut down on your power bill, having the option to disable this feature would be greatly appreciated as it can be annoying to try and watch TV from across the room, and then be bothered with having to walk back across the room to wake up the box. And on that note, yes, you’re going to have to manually press down on the Leviathan’s power button since it has no remote control. This isn’t that big of a deal if you’re using them as PC speakers right in front of your monitor, but it can be grating if you’ve got them set up for your HTPC across the room. Finally, another very small gripe we had with the sound bar is that it doesn’t have a built-in battery pack and needs to be tethered to a wall. It would be cool if there were at least a little battery pack inside so you could take it on camping trips or something. We hope Razer makes a second-gen Leviathan and corrects some of these quirks.</p> <p>Still, for under 200 bones, the Leviathan is fairly priced, sounds much better than your cheapo 2.1 hand-me-down speakers, and supports a variety of devices and audio inputs.&nbsp;</p> <p>$197,</p> <p><em>UPDATE: The review has been updated to reflect that you can adjust the intensity of the bass by pressing down on the Dolby button.</em></p> analog bluetooth speaker HDMI leviathan nfc optical razer sound bar subwoofer Reviews Speakers Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:44:06 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29669 at Chromebit HDMI Dongle Turns Your Display into a Chrome Device <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebit.jpg" alt="Chromebit" title="Chromebit" width="228" height="135" style="float: right;" />Chrome OS without the Chromebook</h3> <p>Google's on a major push to advance its Chrome OS into more homes by whatever means necessary. Fancy a low-cost Chromebook? Google today announced the Haier Chromebook 11 and Hisense Chromebook, both available for pre-order at $149. Prefer an all-metal convertible? Google wants you keep your eyes peeled for the Asus Chromebook Flip, which is due out this spring for $249. And then there's the <strong>most intriguing product of them all -- the Chromebit HDMI dongle</strong>.</p> <p>Chromebit is an HDMI stick that's smaller than a candy bar but is advertised as a full computer running Chrome OS for less than $100.</p> <p>"By simply plugging this device into any display, you can turn it into a computer. It’s the perfect upgrade for an existing desktop and will be really useful for schools and businesses," Google stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>Powering the&nbsp;<em>&nbsp;</em>Chromebit is the same Rockship 3288 quad-core CPU as found in the aforementioned Asus Chromebook Flip. It also boasts Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a full-sized USB port, and a micro USB port for powering the stick. Other details aren't yet known, such as how much RAM it's packing and what resolution display these sticks support.</p> <p>Look for the Chromebit to ship this summer in various color options.</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> chrome os Chromebit Dongle HDMI News Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:37:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 29668 at Let Pac-Man Run Amok in Your Neighborhood Using Google Maps <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/google_maps_pac-man.jpg" alt="Google Maps Pac-Man" title="Google Maps Pac-Man" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />No quarters required</h3> <p>This generation of kids and teens are pretty lucky when it comes to time wasters on the PC. Instead of Minesweeper or, my favorite Windows game from back in the day, Ski Free, today you can play some <a href="">900 classic arcade games</a> right in your browser. And if you're bored with those, <strong>head over to Google Maps and navigate Pac-Man through your neighborhood</strong>, or anywhere else that suits your fancy.</p> <p>Apparently Google is getting a jump on April Fool's Day, the bane of every technology journalist tasked with sifting through mountains of mostly unfunny announcements for real news bits. On the flip side, some of the pranks and tech creations are pretty damn entertaining, and this is one of them.</p> <p>Well, like traditional games, that depends on the map. If your city doesn't have many streets to navigate, it won't be much fun navigating Pac-Man to his inevitable demise. But choose a busy neighborhood and you're golden -- just click the Pac-Man icon in the lower left corner to get started.</p> <p>Google was thoughtful enough to mute the volume, presumably so your co-workers and wandering boss don't notice that you're wasting the work day playing a game, but if you have headphones or don't need to worry about such things, you can enable sound by clicking on the icon in upper left.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Enjoy!</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> browser games google maps Pac-Man News Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:11:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 29667 at Microsoft's Atom Based Surface 3 Tablet is Available to Pre-Order Starting at $499 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_3_0.jpg" alt="Surface 3" title="Surface 3" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Slimmer, slower, and cheaper than a Surface Pro 3</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft just expanded its Surface line with the Surface 3</strong>, a less expensive version of the Surface Pro 3 that's also smaller and less powerful. Other than size (10.8-inch display, 8.7mm thin) and weight (1.37 pounds or 622 grams), the physical design is the same as the Surface Pro 3, as both use premium materials and sport the adjustable kickstand that Microsoft is so fond of.</p> <p>There are four versions of the non-Pro Surface 3 that, two of which are available to pre-order immediately. They include:</p> <ul> <li>Intel Atom x7-Z8700, 2GB RAM, 64GB storage, Wi-Fi: $499</li> <li>Intel Atom x7-Z8700, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, Wi-Fi: $599</li> </ul> <p>So for $100 extra over the base model, you get double the RAM and double the storage. There are also 4G LTE versions of both Surface 3 tablets, though Microsoft isn't yet taking pre-orders on those, nor did it say how much those models will cost.</p> <p>Other specs include a 1920x1080 resolution, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, full-size USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader, micro USB charging port, headset jack, cover port, 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, 3.5MP front-facing camera, built-in microphone, stereo speakers with Dolby audio, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and Windows 8.1 64-bit. You also get a year of Office 356 Personal with OneDrive cloud storage.</p> <p>As with the other Surface offerings, a Type Cover costs an additional $130. If you want a Surface Pen, add another $50 to the tally.</p> <p>Regarding the Atom chip, it's a 64-bit quad-core CPU (1.6GHz to 2.4GHz, 2MB cache) part based on Intel's Cherry Trail architecture.</p> <p>If interested, you can place your <a href="" target="_blank">pre-order 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> atom Hardware laptop microsoft notebook Surface 3 tablet News Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:30:38 +0000 Paul Lilly 29666 at