Anyone that has used a smart phone for browsing the internet knows that those little screens are just too small to be really comfortable to use. We also know that we don’t like to tote a notebook PC around on the chance that we need to use the internet for something.
The industry has known we needed something between a notebook PC and a smartphone sized device. It has taken several stabs at it, but nothing has quite stuck until a new breed of device has started to hit the market, called netbooks. These power sipping, devices are made primarily for checking email and surfing the internet at a low cost, some selling for $300. The PC industry is set to sell tens of millions of these devices. Good deal for the PC industry, right?
Maybe not. The NYTimes.com reports that industry analysts say that the emergence of this new class of low-cost, cloud-centric machines could threaten big market companies like Microsoft, Intel, HP, or Dell. “When I talk to PC vendors, the No. 1 question I get is, how do I compete with these netbooks when what we really want to do is sell PCs that cost a lot more money?” said J. P. Gownder, an analyst with Forrester Research.
Why are these tiny PCs a threat? Make the jump to find out!
Plasma displays are all but dead, and as any Maximum PC subscriber knows by now, the quality of LCD monitors can (and do) vary wildly, even among the same manufacturer (see VX2035WM and VLED221WM). Even still, LCDs dominate the PC landscape, and because prices have fallen so far in the past year, LCD televisions are also becoming increasingly commonplace. But there's a new contender on the horizon.
Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington talked up a new technology called "telescopic pixels" in this week's Nature Photonics. As the name suggests, the new tech takes advantage of an old concept and finds its roots in the optical telescope. How it works is each individual pixel consists of two opposing mirrors with one changing shape based on applied voltage, and the other reflecting light through a hole on the primary mirror and onto the display screen. Arstechnica has the full technical rundown, but what's most interesting are the several potential upsides over today's pixel technology.
Find out what potential advantages telescopic pixel technology might bring to the table after the jump.
eWeekreports that AMD, which has been running at a loss over seven consecutive quarters and has just switched CEOs, is planning to refocus its business on processors and graphics and will divest itself of the consumer electronics division that was part of its acquisition of ATI.
Some analysts predict that AMD will aim for the mid-market (a strategy it first used in positioning its ATI HD 2xxx GPUs) by stressing features rather than processor benchmarks. What do you think? Put on your prognosticator's beanie, stare deeply into the depths of your processor's heatsink, try not to become hypnotized by the cooling fan, and tell us what you think AMD should be doing now.
Some brands of digital cameras and most digital photo editors include software to create panoramic photos, but the results are often less than compelling. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have now created a better way to shoot panoramic photos: get a robot to control the camera.
The New York Times reports that the GigaPan device can be used with almost any standard digital camera and creates very detailed panoramas about 1 gigapixel (one billion pixels) in size. By overlapping hundreds to thousands of individual frames, extremely detailed pictures (visible at the GigaPan website) can be created. Before taking a single frame, GigaPan also calculates how many shots to take and how to control the camera. An Adobe Flash-based control enables you to pan and zoom in and out of the picture to see every detail.
To find out how GigaPan compares to existing panoramic cameras, how much it will cost when it hits the market later this year, and how long it takes to create a panorama with GigaPan, see us after the jump.
Anyone that likes to blow things up, dissolve it in acid, or make death rays to burn things to ashes, has to like Mythbusters. They take all those dreary science principles and turn them into something destructive and interesting, all while trying to answer that nagging question…”is it possible”? What geek wouldn’t like that stuff?
It seems your chance may be here if you are interested in helping the Mythbusters attempt to re-bust a myth that they have tried before. They are going to make attempt number three on the Archimedes Death Ray myth. Basically the myth is that the Greek army defended themselves from invading Roman ships by using 300 soldiers with mirrored shields to focus the sun's rays on the invading ships so they could set them on fire and stop the invaders before they even land. Any kid that played with a magnifying glass can appreciate the sort of fun Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage can create with that myth.
So if standing in the hot sun all day, holding a mirror, somewhere in southern California for a MythBusters T-shirt, a signed autograph card and maybe a group photo with Jamie and Adam sounds like fun, head over to Makezine.com to check out the details to try and sign up. I’m going to take a pass on that one and catch it from the cool comfort of my living room.
There was a time when motherboards sporting integrated graphics were best avoided like the plague, and while that's still the case for the hardcore enthusiast, many modern micro ATX motherboards have begun closing the performance gap between their full ATX brethren. The situation looks to get even better by summer's end. According to a DigiTimes report, Nvidia plans to mass produce its latest Intel platform IGP chipset by the middle of next month with shipping product expected to hit retail shelves in early September.
Touting support for Nvidia's GeForce 9-series mGPU, the 730i MPC will be offered up with either an onboard GeForce 9400 graphics core (MCP7A-U) with a core frequency of 580MHz and shader frequency of 1500MHz, or with a GeForce 9300 (MCP7A-S) with a core and shader frequency of 450MHz and 1200MHz respectively. The GPUs don't look to rival anything close to a GTX 280, but with support for PCI Express 2.0, Shader Model 4.0, and DirectX 10, along with 16 built-in stream processors, less demanding gamers are likely to be able to get their gaming groove on with more than just Peggle.
Rounding out the feature list, both MCPs will support a 1333MHz frontside bus (think 45nm Penryn) and come in both DDR2 and DDR3 flavor. And for HTPC crowd, look for a bevy of connection options, including HDMI, dual-link DVI, DsiplayPort, and D-sub.
Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini had a bounce in his step going into his shareholder briefing on Tuesday. Intel’s continued dominance over AMD and a solid earnings report has left his investors glad they placed their money in hardware rather then software. Investors on the other hand are nothing if not fickle. The conference call quickly turned into a debate over the shortage of Atom processors and weakness in Intel’s flash memory business. Put on the defensive Paul Otellini hinted that Atom isn’t the chip maker’s primary focus. "(Atom) is less than a third the performance of our Centrino (processor). You're dealing with something that most of us wouldn't use," he said. He further goes on to clarify that Atom is aimed at the emerging Netbook audience and is a way that Intel can grow without cannibalizing its other processor offerings. He continued to reassure investors that Intel has plenty of Atom chips in stock and back end improvements to testing as well as increased production of chipsets should solve the problem. Intel has been steadily increasing its production capacity of the popular CPUs since November.
The New York State Attorney General’s office has won another battle in its war against child pornography on the Usenet. AT&T and AOL have joined Sprint and Verizon to drop large chunks of the alt.* hierarchy, thereby limiting access. This comes as a major disappointment to Usenet surfers who make legitimate use of the alt.* service. Internet service providers have been under increased public pressure to address Usenet abuse since a recent investigation turned up over 11,000 child porn images scattered across 88 different newsgroups. Intervention by ISPs was inevitable, but they are treading very carefully into the foray. Network providers maintain a strict policy of noninterference when it comes to moderating the content of their networks. Improper filtering of content can be seen as promotion and has lead to lawsuits in some cases.
Want to know more about Usenet?
Click the jump to see what else this little known corner of the web is used for.
Wikipedia is famous for being the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of so-called "Wikipedia vandalism," where the reputations of people past and present have been blackened by bogus entries in their Wikipedia pages. To help reduce vandalism, Wikipedia is now experimenting with flagged revisions on its German Wikipedia site, which is apparently a hotbed of vandalism. When pages are changed, a checker must sign off on the changes to a page before they are posted.
How big a problem is Wikipedia vandalism? How do we know that the checkers who approve pages can be trusted? And what do Wikipedia fans think about all of this? To find out more, join us after the jump.
Relative newcomer Danamic looks to jump into the increasingly crowded CPU cooler market with a heatsink of its own, but this isn't like any other cooler you've seen before. Rather than rely on air, water, or phase-change cooling, Dynamic's new LM10 heatsink uses liquid metal, and according to the company, it's the world's first commercially available CPU cooler to do so.
That might be true, but liquid metal isn't an entirely new concept when it comes to cooling processors. Coollaboratory used to market the metalic goo as a thermal paste (Liquid Pro) and now sells a thermal pad it calls Liquid MetalPad aimed at both PC and console owners. Danamic's solution differs in that it's not a paste, but a fully-fledged heatsink solution. A multi-string electromagnetic pump sits atop the LM10 and pushes the liquid metal through a series of heatpipes without using any moving parts. Judging by the available pictures, the LM10 doesn't come with a fan, which would explain why the company can claim a power draw of less than 1W.
No word yet on pricing or availability, which means there aren't any hands-on reviews in the wild either. Have any expectations for this new cooler? Post them below.