Everyone knows that technology is an important part of the world that we live in (well, just about everyone), and that includes the Democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama.
Should Obama be elected President of the United States (please, don’t let the comments turn into partisan bickering!), he lists in his plan for the country the appointment of a Chief Technology Officer. The CTO would primarily be responsible for getting broadband Internet access into more American homes (shockingly, only 23 out of every 100 homes have such access, putting us in 15th place among nations on that particular statistic). They’d also be responsible for advancing green tech, thanks to a $50 billion venture capital fund.
As mundane as the job might sound, there are some pretty big names being thrown around for the position. The likes of Vint Cerf (Google), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Ed Felten (Princeton) are all potentials. But who cares what that one thinks, who would you want sitting in the biggest tech seat in America?
Piracy continues to be the bane of both software developers/publishers and consumers alike. Electronic Arts caused an uproar among gamers when it decided to use a modified version of SecuROM for Spore, which ultimately ended up punishing paying customers while pirates still got their hands on the game through torrent sites from the outset. Is there a solution?
Microsoft hopes to answer that question by taking the fight against software piracy global. In what Microsoft is calling Global Anti-Piracy Day (not to be confused with the International Talk Like a Pirate Day), the company will use a mishmash of education and enforcement tactics in 49 countries, which includes filing 20 lawsuits against software resellers in the U.S. allegedly selling pirated copies of Office 2007 Enterprise, Windows XP Pro, Office 2003 Pro, and Office 2007 Pro.
"One of the reasons we believe this announcement is important is it consolidates a lot of our activities in connection with our partnerships with governments, our customers and partners,” said Bonnie MacNaughton, Microsoft senior attorney.
Different tactics will be used in different countries. For instance, Microsoft is partnering with the American Chamber of Commerce to launch an anti-piracy educational blog in Brazil, whereas in Italy the company has begun an employee anti-piracy ambassador program. Regardless of specific strategy, it's all part of an effort to reduce the estimated $50 billion pirated software is costing the industry on a global scale.
Hit the jump and let us know if you think Microsoft's approach will work or not.
Building a capable PC has turned into a stupid-cheap affair as components continue to fall in price. This is helped in large part by slumping DRAM pricing, which has yet to recover no matter how much DRAM makers would like it to. And it doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.
According to Frank Huang, chairman of Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC), memory chip prices will continue to sag so long as the economy struggles, and isn't expected to start an upward swing until at least the second half 2009. Huang pointed out that DRAM prices have already dropped close to cost, forcing manufacturers to cut production. But despite a 20 percent production decrease by the end of the year, the effects on the market won't be seen until December, which will fall well shy of a rebound in DRAM pricing.
Take advantage of the low prices while you can, but if Huang's assessment proves correct, you needn't feel rushed.
Whether you're looking to purchase a standalone Blu-ray player or going for the entertainment combo kill with Sony's Playstation 3 console, the cost of entry remains a prohibiting factor for many consumers. This gets compounded by the fact that upscaling DVD players cost far less than Blu-ray while still offering a better picture than standard DVDs. But what if you could pick up a Blu-ray player for under $100?
Now you can, in a roundabout sort of way. Best Buy has started selling Insignia's NS-BRDVD Blu-ray player for a cent under $200 and with it a coupon book for $100 worth of Blu-ray flicks from Disney, Touchstone, and Miramax. The player itself is pretty spartan with few of the features found on higher end models, and it remains to be seen whether $100 in free movies will prove enticing enough (for $1 extra per month, Netflix subscribers can add Blu-ray titles to their queue), but it is the least expensive Blu-ray player around. Kinda.
Know of any good Blu-ray player deals? Hit the jump and post a link!
Rumor has it that Intel will finally launch its Core i7 platform on November 17, just under a month from now, with a handful of processors clocked from 2.66GHz (Core i7-920) on up to 3.2GHz (Core i7-965XE). That date can't come quick enough for enthusiasts who have patiently put off building a new PC or upgrading an existing one. But if you're also waiting for a mobile version of Intel's new architecture, get cozy because it might be awhile.
Codenamed Clarksfield, Intel says the mobile version won't even go into production until the second half of 2009, and it's anyone's guess as to how long after that the chips will be made available commercially. The news doesn't come as a total surprise, however, as Clarksfield will be a main component in the next version of Intel's Centrino platform, keeping in mind that Centrino 2 is barely out of the silicon womb.
If Dell's Latitude XT Tablet PC is any indication, expect a few growing pains as multi-touch technology moves into the mainstream. More than a few users have voiced displeasure with the Latitude's N-Trig digitizer. Tablet PC and mobile PC news site GottaBeMobile.com has been particularly vocal about the as-yet unresolved quirks.
"More times than not, whenever I reboot, I’ll get N-Trig digitizer not found errors or applet loading errors," writes Rob Bushway, Editor-in-Chief for GottaBeMobile, "which render the auto and dual mode useless. The digitizer will only start working again after consecutive reboots. In addition, I still have problems coming out of standby with the digitizer accidentally clicking items while the pen is just hovering. In addition to the digitizer issues, I still have a recurring problem with my wireless card - it’ll just stop working and the only thing that will turn it back on is a reboot."
Bushway goes on to claim that he's worked with Dell engineering support to come up with solutions to no avail, with Dell reassuring him the company is working on a resolution. But Bushway's most frustrated by the lack of public acknowledgment from both Dell and N-Trig that problems exist.
Any Latitude XT Tablet PC users out there suffering similar woes? Hit the jump and sound off.
Most of the buzz surrounding Microsoft has to do with the company's next operating system, Windows 7, and what changes to expect over Vista. But a new OS isn't the only thing the software giant has been working on, as the next version of Office is receiving some attention as well.
At next week's Professional Developer Conference (PDC), Microsoft plans to talk about Office 14 (as the next version of Office has been code-named) with attendees, giving them a sneak peek at some of the features. Sure to be a highlight of the discussion is Office 14's ability to run in different modes, online or offline.
"We will rewrite Office to work in a browser," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with Britain's Computer Weekly.
But while attendees will get a first look at Office 14 - specifically, Office business applications and the software's Open XML file formats, according to the two listed sessions - it doesn't appear they'll be walking home with a copy, so don't fret if you won't be in attendance.
Corporate honchos often abuse earnings calls – and other similar events - for making grandiloquent claims and promises. Google co-founder Sergey Brin used Google’s third quarter earnings calls to broadcast his partisan review of the T-Mobile G1. He went gaga over the G1.
Brin said that he has been using a G1 as his primary phone for a few months now. He pointed out a few of the endearing qualities of the G1, while omitting any possible shortcomings. “I'm able to search and browse through my Gmail just as if I was at my desktop,” said Brin. He also praised its web browser and, finally, encouraged people to try the first Android phone themselves.
Being a blight upon the 99.8% of the gaming industry that enjoys making money, it's not too surprising that piracy has a place at gaming's Bad Guy table, where maniacal cackles flow freely and glasses are always half-empty. However, when one of PC gaming's great beneficiaries, the PC Gaming Alliance says piracy isn't so bad -- just misunderstood -- well, jaws drop.
That's exactly what happened when we heard about PCGA Pres. Randy Stude's plan to plant a money tree in piracy's apparently fertile soil.
"Let's monetize every one of those pirates, and let's advertise the hell out of them," Stude told Gamasutra.
Fearing that the big cheese had finally snapped, we nearly missed his explanation, wherein he said that such monetization should be "blatant." For instance, he noted, developers could plaster six times the number of in-game ads around unauthenticated versions of a game. The end result: pirates get an "inferior" version of a game, while developers rake in cash from ads.
"Don't throw [pirates] off [of the server], but show an ad every time a new level loads. The [paying customer] gets a billboard, a passive, less-aggressive ad than [pirates] are going to get," Stude added, demonstrably sane.
So those of you who play but don't pay, if Stude's grandiose plan were enacted, would you willfully download Far Cry 2: Viagra Blue Edition, or would you finally change your ways?
We'd slay zombies all day just for the heck of it, but turns out you can earn some sweet rewards for putting down the undead. Steam (and Xbox 360) achievement points, to be exact. Valve Software has hooked us up with the official full list of Left4Dead's 50 game achievements, which can be earned on both the Survivor and Infected side (in Versus mode). Among our favorites in the list? "Zombie Genocidest", which requires that we kill 53,595 common infected zombies, and "101 Cremations", which you earn by setting 101 infected on fire with the molotov cocktail. Hit the jump for the full list!
Edit: There are actually only 50 achievements, not 52.