Yesterday, I briefly heaped praise on the "new" Electronic Arts for its recent push towards creativity and employee practices that are actually legal. However, I know that many people chuck verbal darts at EA's target simply because they don't like big, "soulless" corporations. After all, each of us is the punchy underdog in our own lives, so rooting for the little guy only seems natural -- especially when the Man seems to be breathing down his neck.
But, as I'm sure you've all noticed, we're kind of running out of little guys to root for. "Consolidation" is one of those mean words we're not supposed to like, but in an industry that's expanding rapidly -- one where development costs regularly zip past $10 million -- consolidation is natural.
So, are you ready for our little hobby to become more like the big, bad movie industry, or are you of the opinion that we don't need "E" and "A" to spell BioWare?
This edition of the Roundup is gaming's "The Empire Strikes Back." Large independent devs are dropping like flies, and stalwart supporters are turning to the dark side. No Ewoks, though, so the Roundup isn't jumping the shark just yet. Jumping past the break, however, is highly encouraged.
J.D. Power and Associates have announced the results of their 2008 Digital Camera Usage and Satisfaction Survey, and the winners include:
Digital SLR cameras: Canon EOS Digital and Nikon D-Series (tie); Olympus, Pentax, and Sony scored way behind the leaders. Canon EOS led in picture quality, while Nikon led in performance and operation.
Point-and-Shoot cameras: in a crowded field, the Fujifilm Finepix S series was the winner, but not far behind were the Kodak M, V, and Z series, the Olympus Stylus series, the HP Photosmart R series, the Samsung S series, and the Sony Cyber-Shot S Series.
Premium Point-and-Shoot cameras: Another tie, between Canon PowerShot G series and Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ series. In second place, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ series.
Ultra-Slim cameras: the Sony Cyber-Shot T series was the winner here, with a three-way tie for second place between the Sony Cyber-Shot W series, the Casio Exilim Zoom series, and the Fujifilm Finepix Z series.
Each camera in the survey was judges on five criteria: overall rating, picture quality, performance, operation, and apperance.
One frustration for serious camera shoppers is the lack of model-specific information, but given the frequent turnover in camera models, perhaps the J.D. Power and Associates method of evaluating by series is the best way.
The survey was conducted between April 2007 and March 2008, and was based on responses from more than 8,000 consumers. See the press release for more information. For more information about J.D. Power and Associates, see their website.
What do you think about the ratings? Give us your best shot after the jump.
But Hu Zintao, the Chinese President, took it upon himself to warn journalists about the consequences of breaching Chinese laws in thickly veiled terms. He told them that they should not "engage in activities which are incompatible with unity or community and public interests." The media fears that the Chinese government might renege on its promise of a free internet for the duration of the games. But our tenacious, ingenious journalist friends from world over are expected to freely employ anti-censorship tools to circumvent any hindrances.
It doesn't matter if you seek solace in Creationism or prescribe to the theory of evolution, everyone should be equally stoked about what Nvidia's calling "Big Bang II." No, the graphics chip maker isn't gearing up to end the debate on man's existence, but even better, the company will improve man's quality of life with a new driver package that looks poised to earn its codename by bringing gamers at least one big, long overdue improvement.
Bang Part I
The biggest news associated with Nvidia's ForceWare Release 180 (R180) is the introduction of SLI multi-monitor support. Ever since Nvidia introduced SLI, the inability to run a second monitor while gaming has been a major complaint, and even more so as LCD displays have fallen in price. That finally looks to no longer be the case with the new driver release, and gamers will be able to frag opponents while simultaneously keeping an eye on their email inbox, incoming IMs, and everything else that would previously be blacked out on a second monitor.
Find out what else is bangin' with the new driver after the jump.
Having already moved on to its 9-M series GPUs, Nvidia presumably has solved whatever problem led to an "abnormal failure rate" in the what the company still contends only affects a limited batch of previous generation GPU and MCP products. Exactly how limited that batch is might never be fully disclosed, but it appears the problem may be more widespread than consumers were led to believe.
Just over a week ago Dell made available a list of its notebooks that could possibly be affected by the GPUs believed to be suffering higher than expected failure rates and is recommending owners update their BIOS to reduce their risk of running into a problem. The updated BIOSes modify the fan profile to help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations, but as Dell notes, the new parameters won't help customers who are already suffering video-related issues.
Dell isn't alone, and now HP has also released a list of models that qualify for 'Warranty Service Enhancement' (curiously absent is the DV97xx series). And like Dell, HP is also recommending its owners update their BIOS as a preventive measure.
So are all G84 and G86 parts bad like The Inq surmised early in July? No one but Nvidia knows for sure, but looking over the list of affected models would seem to indicate the allegation could hold some merit.
Did Nvidia drop the ball harder than they're letting on?
The next time anyone tells you that PCs will soon become obsolete in a world filled with media centers and gaming consoles, feel free to give them a wedgie. And while you're tugging at their skivvies, be sure and let them know the real truth about PC sales, which are not only in no danger of disappearing, but are boasting stronger than expected sales.
"How strong?," the wedgie recipient asks, appearing more surprised at the news than he is of his underwear being pulled higher than it every has been before.
Tell him $127 billion, which represents global semiconductor chip sales for the first half of 2008, or 5.4 percent above the H1 2001 result. Then let him know that June 2008 sales climbed 8 percent from June 2007's numbers, settling in at $21.6 billion compared to $20 billion.
Hit the jump to find out why memory manufacturers aren't sharing the same enthusiasm.
One of the biggest hurdles preventing solid state drives from bursting into the mainstream continues to be the relatively high price points compared to traditional hard drives. Recent strides have started to reverse this trend, with OCZ pushing its lower cost Core series and Super Talent slashing the price tag on its MasterDrive MX line, but SSDs still have a ways to go if they're to challenge HDDs for the bang-for-buck crown.
Stepping to the plate is Micron, who today announced it will ship a series of speedy SSDs up to 256GB in capacity as part of its next-generation RealSSD line. But the real story here is that Micron's new line will check in at one third the price per gigabyte of existing drives.
Hit the jump to see what Micron has to say about the RealSSD's pricing strategy after the jump.
Beating out 38 other contestants representing 19 countries, Chinese duo Xu Gang and Susie have won the title of AOCC 2008 Champions. Over 3,000 people attended the two day Advanced Overclocking Championship in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and saw the Chinese team take first place in all three categories of the competition.
"It is a great honor for us to win the Championship, and we think that constant practice and upgrading on overclocking knowledge are key factors that contributed to our victory," Xu Gang and Susie said. "In addition, the components that were used for overclocking were vital, and we found that Asus' hardware, and all other components from the different sponsors of AOCC, were exceptionally stable and top-notch in terms of quality. Overclocking is increasing in popularity back in China, and we think that 1-2 percent of the whole population are currently overclocking today!"
While the team gave Asus the biggest shout-out, components from Intel, Nvidia, Kingston, FSP, and Western Digital were also part of the event. Xu Gang and Susie were awarded $5,000 for their efforts.
Not on the ticket was a side competition involving LN2. Catch the YouTube video here, and definitely do not try this at home. Or anywhere else.
Wi-Fi theft is turning into a menace of inordinate proportions and home-based wireless networks are sitting ducks for bandwidth thieves, a demographic that now also includes wily terrorists. A case that has come to light in India will insure that some of the benevolent Wi-Fi hosts will never turn off their firewalls or show vacuous disregard towards bandwidth theft.
He is fortunate that the cyber experts of the ATS bought his plea, that his Wi-Fi might have been used by the terrorists to send the e-mail without him being in the know. Of course, their preliminary investigation also seems to suggest the same, as he hasn’t been booked under any law. However, he has been told not to leave the country until further notice.
Several fear-mongers have prophesied about the threat cyber terrorism poses. This isn’t the deadly manifestation of cyber terrorism that they talk about, it is a sinister beginning all the same.
64-bit operating systems are certainly nothing new and when they first launched they weren’t even highly anticipated. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition only created a small amount of excitement and that died a quick death when the complaints about driver issues, Windows Explorer bugs in 64-bit mode, and 16-bit programs being unsupported started to roll in.
It was just too green to be of any real use to me, despite my 64-bit processor. I love to tinker with my PC, but I also want it to be stable and work well with lots of peripherals.
With the release of Service Pack 1 for Vista I decided to give it another try with my workstation and was pleasantly surprised, both by Vista (not the evil, vile monster it was at launch) and 64-bit computing. It seems that others are beginning to share that feeling.
Make the jump to see how many more Vista 64-bit OSs are hitting Windows Update