Buffalo Technology, makers of high-end storage and networking peripherals (their products are apparently very popular in Japan), today announced several new products which they hope will bolster their market share in the US. One of the more exciting products they showed us is the Mini-Station portable hard drive, which is easily the smallest hard drive we’ve seen, period. The 60GB storage device is a mere 5 millimeters thick (.2 inches), and measures 3.4 by 2.2 inches. Inside the tiny frame is the smallest external spinning hard drive on the market, a single platter 1.8” drive.
It's not a sports score, but it might be even more important to tech fans: Windows 7, Milestone 3 is the current progress "score" for Windows 7, the next generation of Windows (milestones are internal test builds used to develop and debug features before beta testing begins).
So, what's inside W7M3 (also known as Build 6780)?
Castles, a simplified version of domain control designed for home networks but pulled from Windows Vista before it went out the door, is in Windows 7 but is now called Home Groups.
PowerShell v2, aka Graphical Console, is also in the mix for scripting fans (a preview for XP and Vista users is available now).
WordPad and Paint no longer look like leftovers from Windows 3.1 - they're getting a cleaned-up version of the ribbon UI introduced in Office 2007. Here's more about what's new and different. What's the big deal? According to Softpedia, the so-called Fluent/Ribbon interface is the future of Windows and Windows apps.
It looks as if the first formal beta of Windows 7 will be launched before the end of the year, with some observers speculating that Windows 7 might be available sometime between June and September 2009. So, what do you think?
Do you like the foretaste of W7's user interface? Are you looking forward to Windows 7, or do you suspect, as InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy opines, that "it's doomed to failure?" Hit the jump for your chance to comment.
Dolby isn't necessarily looking to improve the quality of your voice while chatting in-game, but it would like your vocals to interact with the gaming environment in a more realistic fashion. That's the idea behind Dolby's Axon technology, a tool the company introduced today at the Austin Game Developers Conference in Austin, Texas.
The basic idea is that this new tool will make it possible to enable surround panning and distance attenuation, so that your character will sound different if, say, he's behind a wall or closed door as opposed to both you and your teammate standing next to each other in the same room. Think of Creative's EAX technology, only this time it's applied to your voice.
Voice fonts come part of the package too, so if you choose a female avatar, you can sound the part no matter what body organs you may or may not have in real life. And according to Dolby, its Axon software has been designed to consume very little bandwidth, capable of supporting thousands of users per server and able to scale across multiple servers.
No customers have yet been announced, and it's consumer interest that might ultimately decide how many developers jump on board. With the increasingly popularity of Skype and stalwarts such as Teamspeak, is the prospect of customized and realistic in-game chat enough to convince gamers to turn off their third-party voice-chat programs?
Amazon has armed its subsidiary Internet Movie Database (IMDB) with 6,000 full-length movies and TV episodes. Users can watch the video content without spending even a single penny. Video on IMDB had been long overdue and its absence was perplexing.
Sadly enough, though, only a glimpse of the video feature is enough to tell you that it will take quite a long time for video to be the site’s USP. The list of featured videos is too short to be any good.
Samsung Electronics vindicated rumors about its interest in acquiring SanDisk by publicly making a takeover bid on Tuesday. But SanDisk quickly rejected the takeover bid, which valued it at $5.85 billion - $26 per share, citing its 52-week high of $55/share.
He called their attention to the fact that the offer is a “premium of 80% over your closing share price on September 15, 2008, and a 66% and 164% premium to your 30-day weighted average price and enterprise value as of September 4, 2008, respectively.”
This is going to be a game of cat and mouse just like the drama that played itself out between Microsoft and Yahoo; and EA and Take 2.
It might not be as well publicized as Micheal Phelps' race to 14 gold medals, but there's another kind of race going on in the chip industry, and that's to see who will be the first to reach 22nm. But it might not be Intel leading the way, and instead it looks as though IBM may be emerging as the front runner.
Unlike the path to 45nm and 32nm, getting to 22nm presents some significant challenges for chip makers, one of which includes getting the circuits "printed" in a process called photolithography. As IBM engineer Subu Iyer notes, "Once the wavelength of light becomes comparable to the size of the thing you're trying to print, things break down. The challenge is to use a light wavelength of 192 nanometers because 'extreme ultraviolet' radiation is still impractical."
Iyer went on to say that in terms of physics, getting to 22nm is a tall order requiring a tremendous amount of computation. To help with that, IBM has developed what it's calling the Computational Scaling (CS) initiative, which includes support from several of IBM's partners. If nothing else, this collaboration puts added heat on Intel, who downplayed IBM's foray into 22nm earlier this summer.
Might IBM beat Intel to the punch? Hit the jump and make your prediction.
Have better things to do than to surf your videocard maker's website every day to check for updated drivers? That's okay, because we've done the legwork for you and found new drivers, so go ahead an hightail it over to ATI.
The just released Catalyst 8.9 driver package applies to both Windows XP and Vista in 32- and 64-bit trim. Home theater buffs should be particularly interested in the new drivers, as 8.9 introduces a 1080P @ 50Hz custom display mode for HDTVs. On the extreme gaming front, ATI's OverDrive overclocking utility now supports quad CrossFireX configurations, giving gamers the ability to overclock each card using manual controls or via the auto-tuning option.
Other goodies include OpenGL 3.0 extension support and several bug fixes for a variety of games, including recent releases Age of Conan and Spore.
We've said it before and we'll say it again - it's a great time to be a PC gamer. While ATI and Nvidia continue to go at each other's throats, it's the consumers who benefit with faster cards for less money than has traditionally been the case. Now the situation looks to get even better.
With a focus on the budget market, ATI's HD 4600 series looks to offer reasonable gaming performance for an even more reasonable sub-$100 price tag. The HD 4650 will carry an MSRP of just $69, which buys a 512MB frame buffer, 320 stream processing units, a core clockspeed of 600MHz, and a 500MHz memory clockspeed. Naturally with a price so low, cuts had to be made somewhere and the 4650 will sport just a 128-bit memory bus.
For $10 more, the HD 4670 carries the same specs, but faster core and memory clockspeeds of 750MHz and 1000MHz, respectively. Unfortunately for overclockers, overclocking the 4650 won't put it on par with the 4670, as the former uses GDDR2 and the latter GDDR3.
Both cards also continues ATI's focus into the living room with HTPC friendly features such as the company's Unified Video Decoder (UVD), Avivo HD technology, and support for 7.1 surround sound through HDMI.
Looking back to when Intel's Core 2 architecture was still a blip on a roadmap, enthusiasts were cautiously optimistic over the promised performance gains. And rightfully so, considering the burn that the chip maker's hot running Penryn put on end users. But as we now know, it turns out Intel was every bit justified in hyping its new architecture, putting a (perhaps temporary) end to AMD's Cinderella story.
And so here we are again eagerly anticipating Intel's next architecture, only this time we're slightly less apprehensive regarding the company's ability to deliver now that Netburst has been nixed. Unfortunately, the chips formerly known as Nehalem are still under lock and key, but that hasn't stopped details on the Core i7 lineup from making its way to the web. According to reports, three processors are slated for a November 2008 release:
Core i7 920 (mainstream) - 2.66GHz
Core i7 940 (performance) - 2.93GHz
Core i7 965 (extreme) - 3.20GHz
Differences in clockspeeds aside, all three models will be quad-core parts built on a 45nm manufacturing process with 256KB of L2 cache per core and 8MB of shared L3 cache. Each one also comes with a 130W TDP rating, so don't be surprised if they run hot, assuming the rumored specs hold true.
Pricing on the 920, 940, and 965 in thousand unit quantities looks to be $284, $562,and $999 respectively.
As we've become painfully aware over the past couple of weeks, game publishers will do just about anything if it means pointing an over-sized foam middle-finger in piracy's direction. But, with EA's recent decision to plunge a grimy claw into an old wound that was finally beginning to scar over, another lesson has been hammered into our collective conscious: DRM doesn't work. It alienates legitimate customers and pushes budding pirates right over the edge.
However, there are other, much more viable methods of thwarting thieves, most of which are only now heaving themselves upward and making awkward, Bambi-esque strides into the limelight. Thus far, however, only one such anti-piracy tool has proven itself stupidly lucrative: the subscription fee.
During this week's Activision Analyst Day event, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith mused about a possible Guitar Hero subscription service -- part of the publisher's plan to "monetize" the series. In addition, he noted that Call of Duty could fall under a similar, dollar-shaped banner.
Taken on its own, I see no problem with this pseudo-announcement. In both cases, a subscription service would have us lazing in a warm tub of new content with minimal hassle, and, as WoW has kindly pointed out, PC piracy of those games would slope off drastically.
But try ka-ching-ing a few more subscriptions onto your bank account's emaciated form and suddenly, this idea doesn't seem quite so dandy.
Continue reading to find out why subscription fees -- in their current form -- just can't muster the strength to heft the gaming industry above piracy's grasping mitts, as well as how they might be altered to succeed.