In the land down under they’ve got a lot of neat things that are all their own, the John Butler Trio, dingoes, babies for them to eat, and now holographic car salesman. PDM, Australia’s number one digital media company has just launched the first life-size “Holographic Virtual Assistant” at the Audi Centre Sydney, Rosebery.
The holograph works with 3M’s dynamic Vikuiti rear projection film and rear mounted photo projector technology. Given Vikuiti’s particular digital content abilities, it’s allowed PDM to convert a 10mm thick piece of Perspex into a virtual, talking person.
The virtual assistant provides most of the essential information that one would need when looking to buy an Audi. What the dealership is offering, and targeted information depending on who is in the building at that time is all provided.
According to Allan Brinck, the Dealer Principal, “The Audi brand prides itself on innovation and quality and being a progressive brand, we are once again leading the way with this cutting-edge installation. We have been aware of PDM’s track record of innovation in the Australian marketplace for quite some time. The Virtual assistant is a great way for us to connect with our customers and a great example of Audi’s progressive brand coming to life.”
OCZ has been pretty clear that the delays on their Vertex drives was due to the state of their firmware, and now that they appear to have that part out of the way, they’re boasting some mighty impressive numbers.
The latest version of their firmware speeds up sequential read and write performance, so much that it can keep up with Intel’s X-25E Extreme series. But, the Vertex will feature lower prices and higher capacities.
The Indilinx Barefoot SSD controller that the Vertex uses was initially specified to work at 200MB/s sequential read and 160MB/s sequential write, whereas the latest version was able to blow those old numbers out of the water, now moving at 250MB/s sequential read and 240MB/s sequential write.
Most of the talk involving 32nm usually includes an Intel or AMD processor roadmap, but in the mobile world, it's ARM who is garnering the attention. The company this week demonstrated its first 32nm mobile chip. The Cortex processor is built on IBM's high-k metal-gate technology and boasts reduced power consumption to the tune of 10 percent, ARM says.
Developers will have access to the 32nm Cortex design starting this year, but ARM doesn't expect production to ramp up until sometime in 2010. And while no potential customers for the new chip have yet been named, ARM regularly licenses its chip designs to several processor makers, including Samsung, Freescale, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. Because Samsung supplies the current iPhone CPU, there has already been speculation that ARM's new 32nm chip could be used in the next generation of iPhones.
"This silicon proof is a key step in our roadmap to demonstrate the technical synergy between leading ARM processors, ARM Physical IP, and the Common Platform process technology that delivers best-in-class performance, lowest power consumption and rapid time-to-market,"said Ian Drew, EVP Marketing, ARM. "It also shows that we are fully committed to affording our Partners the earliest possible opportunity to deploy ARM technology, in particular the Cortex-A9 processor and future processors, on the 32/28nm process."
ARM's new chip comes as part of a previously signed three-way deal with IBM, Samsung, and Singapore-based Chartered Semiconductor to not only develop low-power 32nm chips, but 28nm as well.
Contrary to popular belief, the practice of counting cards is not illegal, nor is it considered cheating. But as private establishments, casinos can (and do) remove and even outright ban patrons who are caught tipping the odds in their favor. And what is illegal is using any kind of device to aid in counting cards, which then makes the practice a felony.
As such, Nevada gambling regulators have put the word out to casinos about a new card counting application available to iPhone and iPod touch owners. Nevada first learned of the program after officials at an Indian casino in California discovered some of its customers were using the app.
On a related note, should someone call or text your iPhone in the middle of a Blackjack game, it's probably best to ignore it. Not only would the alternative be obnoxious, but given the above, it could get you escorted out of the casino. And if you believe what you saw in the movie 21, having your trendy phone confiscated could be the least of your worries.
If you're Intel, you have to be ecstatic at the recent trend towards owning a netbook. At a time when many tech companies are posting big losses, the surprising success of netbooks is helping Intel to weather the storm through sales of its Atom processor. But if you're Microsoft, the mood might be decidedly different, even if the company isn't letting on.
On one hand, Microsoft should be thrilled to see more PCs end up in the hands of end users, but that only applies if they come equipped with a Windows-based operating system. And while many netbooks now come configured with Windows XP, Linux is much more prevalent on netbooks than it is on notebooks, which is the result of both underpowered hardware and a desire to keep costs low.
The bad news for Microsoft is that the trend towards netbooks doesn't look to be letting up any time soon. Recent IDC figures show that if you take Atom processor sales out of the equation, total PC shipments are down almost 22 percent. As netbooks continue to sell, that means more users are becoming familiar with Linux, and at a time when Linux is far more user friendly than even one or two years ago.
Adobe and new BFF Nokia announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund to encourage developers to create Flash-based applications and services for mobile devices.
"We are excited about the Open Screen Project Fund and the possibilities it offers to designers and developers worldwide," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Adobe. "With close to 40 percent of all new mobile devices shipped with Flash Lite in 2008, the fund will enable more developers to bring their rich content and services to a large number of mobile users."
To make a bid for a portion of the grant money, interested developers are being asked to submit concepts for apps built around the Flash platform, capable of running on Nokia devices, and support a variety of screens, such as mobile, desktop, and consumer electronics devices. Once submitted, projects will be reviewed by Open Screen Project partners that include Adobe, Nokia, and Palm, who will be looking for how innovative and compelling the user experience is, how robust the application or planned implementation, and how well it exploits the capabilities and features of Nokia devices, the companies said.
More information, including how to apply, can be found here.
Fans of Half Life and, well, things that are cool are advised to take a five and a half minute break from the daily grind and check out the fan film Escape from City 17 - Part One.
Directed by The Purchase Brothers, the life-action fan flick started off as a test project to experiment with various post production techniques, but has now turned into a multi-part series. The directors claim the short film was shot with "no money, no time, no crew, and no script," and that it only took $500 to make the first two episodes.
Check it out, then hit the jump and offer your critique.
Nvidia this week unveiled a new platform that ties its Tegra 600 Series 'computer-on-a-chip' technology with a $99 always-on, always-connected HD mobile internet device (MID). According to Nvidia, devices built around the new platform can last for days before it becomes necessary to charge the battery.
"Mobile internet devices have evolved to provide consumers with the performance and connectivity required by today’s lifestyle," said Michael Rayfield, general manager of the mobile business unit at NVIDIA. "Until now, consumers could get just another ‘gadget’ with limited functionality or a PC that’s not ‘always on’. A Tegra-based platform combines the best of both worlds."
In addition to a super-long battery life, Nvidia says its Tegra MID will be capable of both 720p and 1080p video playback and come equipped for full WiFi and 3G connectivity. The company also says the hardware will be optimized for Web 2.0 applications and utilize a complete software solution consisting of Microsoft Windows Embedded CE OS, application viewers, an internet browser, UI framework, a web mail client, and host of other goodies.
Too good to be true? Time will tell, but if Nvidia can deliver on all that it's promising, some very compelling devices could wind up in the market place. The graphics chip maker has indicated it is working with manufacturers who will build the new MIDs, the first of which are expected to show up in the second half of 2009.
The entertainment industry hasn’t met with much success during its battle against illegal fire sharing. It is foolish to believe that industry insiders, including some of the most ardent of anti-p2p zealots, are not cognizant of the futility of their anti-p2p campaign. They are just reluctant to concede that their approach has proved to be ineffective.
Johansen told Dagbladet, a Swedish magazine, that the ongoing fight against file sharing is useless. He believes that as copyright violations continue unabated, a fresh approach is needed - one that is more practical. "No one has ever won a battle when fighting against new technology," Johansen warned.
Computerworldreports that HP will offer not only Windows 7 Professional and Home Premium SKUs on its netbooks, but also the stripped-down (three apps open at a time) Windows 7 Starter edition. Making Starter available in all markets is a departure for Microsoft, which has offered Windows XP and Windows Vista Starter editions only in developing countries.
As we reported earlier this month, Windows 7, unlike Windows Vista, is designed to run on everything from netbooks to the most powerful desktop and laptop PCs on the market. Although HP isn't the first company to announce it would be running Windows 7 on netbooks (ASUS beat them to the punch back in October), HP's decision provides more backing for Microsoft's claim that Windows 7 covers all the modern PC bases. So, how about you? What's the lowest-performance platform you've used for installing Windows 7 Beta? Were you satisfied with the performance, or not? Join us after the jump for your chance to share your Windows 7 Beta on netbook or low-end PC platforms war stories.