As we close up yet another month of freeware goodies, it's important to look back and reflect on some of the awesome programs that received a version bump in the past 30 days. It was tough to nail down five free applications that not only upgraded themselves to a new iteration, but ones that successfully packed new and interesting features into their latest builds. There's no overarching theme this week save for that. It's a grab-bag of awesome new software to install; if the lack of a unifying concept horrifies you, don't worry. I'll list out all of this month's freeware roundups in the article below, which you can use as a guide of-sorts to travel back to safer downloading waters.
Click the upgrade button (okay, the jump) and check out the best of this month's updated freeware!
Solid state drives continue to go through growing pains, and not even Intel can avoid having to beat back bugs in this relatively new market. After some customers reported slowdowns following extended use with the first generation of X25-M SSDs, Intel pushed out a firmware update to fix the problem. Now it appears the company's new 34nm X25-M G2 SSDs are also in need of a firmware update, but for a different problem.
According to OEM system builder Puget Systems, a defect exists in the new drives which causes data corruption if a password is set on the drive in the system BIOS and then is changed or disabled later.
"There was a lot of confusion, but it was clear that something was wrong with these first units - enough so that Newegg and other online vendors had also pulled them entirely from their sites," Puget wrote in a blog. "We too stopped listing them, and began contacting our customers who were expecting us to ship them out this afternoon."
Puget says Intel was able to work out a firmware fix for the problem rather than rework the drives, however the updated firmware won't be available for another two weeks. In the meantime, Intel has stopped shipping the new drives until the fix is fully implemented.
Florence had a moment to chat with Valve's Chet Faliszek about Left 4 Dead 2, including info on the new boss monsters, the new uncommon common zombies, and the best costumes he's seen at the show. Hit the jump for the full story!
Yahoo is expected to announce a deal this week that would make Microsoft's Bing its search provider, says Advertising Age (AdAge.com). If true, the deal would put Bing on more solid footing to compete with Google and rake in some additional ad revenue.
Earlier reports suggested that talks between Yahoo and Microsoft broke down after Yahoo asked for upwards of several hundred million dollars to make Bing its search provider, along with revenue guarantees that would have guaranteed billions over the course of the deal. But according to AdAge.com, talks resumed last Thursday and the two continue to hash out a deal that will be based on a revenue share rather than a lump sum payment.
Both sides stand to benefit from the potential agreement. While the upside for Microsoft is obvious, Tim Cadogan, CEO of ad-serving firm OpenX and former senior-VP of global advertising for Yahoo pointed out, "As Bing grows, the first place Bing takes share from is not Google but the other guys. So Yahoo is going to lose share unless they have something radical planned."
It appears CBHD (China Blue High-Definition), formerly known as CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD), has a shot at doing something HD-DVD never could: Beat Blu-ray. Or at least that's the case in Japan.
Apparently a Japanese news station ran the numbers and confirmed that the CBHD format holds a 3 percent market share lead over Blu-ray, FormatWarCentral.com reports. The revelation was presented as part of a documentary, which you can view here, though you're on your own in translating the dialogue.
Under its former designation, the CBHD format was first announced in September 2007 as a joint venture between OMNERC and the DVD Forum, the latter of which was responsible for the failed HD-DVD format. CBHD supporters hope the format will succeed where HD-DVD didn't by offering better copy protection features. However, Warner Brothers is so far the only Hollywood studio to support CBHD.
This is it – the post you've been waiting for. After four days of wandering the show floor, sitting in on movie studio panels, and epic line waiting, we've come out of Comic-Con 2009 with the mother load: 600 (yes, SIX HUNDRED) photos of the most intricate, sexy, and spellbinding cosplay that showed up this year. Star Wars and Superheroes were well represented, but we also snapped up shots of PC gaming icons, including several Team Fortress 2 teams and an amazing Left 4 Dead group. Legions of slave Leias weren't afraid to bare their skin and the forces of Cobra proudly showed off their guns. We even saw a bunch of familiar faces from last year's pictorial. Grab and seat, put your day on hold, and enjoy the best cosplay gallery from the best year of Comic-Con ever!
Click on to check out our most amazing gallery yet.
Facebook has a long ways to go before its video service comes anywhere close to serving up the same number of videos as YouTube (1.2 billion per day), but the social networking site did reach a milestone that's nothing to scoff at - over one billion video views last month, CNet reports. All tallied, Facebook now claims four times more video views than members.
Pretty impressive, considering Facebook Video launched just over two years ago in June 2007. Even more impressive is that the service took just two days to implement. A promotional video describes how a pair of engineers, Soleio Cuervo and Chris Putnam, came up with the idea to add video to Facebook and the 40 hours spent coding the service.
"One product that I worked on was video, and I remember thinking to myself, 'Having just a video camera built into our laptops, wouldn't it be great if you could just record a video and send it to someone,' your mother for Mother's day or to your girlfriend just to wish her a good night, not blasting a video across the entire Internet," Cuervo reflects.
Later on, the ability to upload higher quality videos and embed Facebook videos on other websites would both prove instrumental in boosting video views.
AMD has been talking up its CPU/GPU combo chip codenamed Fusion for some time now, but it might not see the light of day for another three years, according to the latest rumor.
Initially expected in late 2008 or early 2009, Fusion in 45nm form was ultimately scrapped due to design challenges. The same might be happening with 32nm, says news and rumor site Fudzilla, who claims AMD has now decided to wait until it moves to a 22nm manufacturing process, currently scheduled for the second half of 2012.
That sounds like a long time to wait, especially as Intel puts the pressure on with a CPU/GPU chip of its own (Larrabee). For that reason, it's possible AMD may opt to follow in Intel's footsteps and release Fusion constructed with a 32nm IGP and CPU as two separate dies on the same chip. If AMD went this route, it could conceivably have Fusion parts ready by the second half of 2010, Fudzilla says.
Silverstone this week launched the Raven RV02, a "smaller, lighter, and higher performing" chassis than the original Raven RV01, the company claims.
Like the original, the updated design also boasts a 90-degree motherboard mounting layout, however the new version no longer supports Extended-ATX motherboards and "server-level storage capacity." Silverstone says that by sacrificing these features, it was able to make the RV02 more compact and consumer-friendly.
Other features include three 180mm fans, support for liquid cooling radiator mounting, motherboard backplate opening behind CPU socket area for easier installation of third-party heastinks, eight expansion slots, and an updated hard drive suspension system to help reduce drive noise.
The Raven RV02 will come configurable with our without a window, though no word yet on price or availability.
Writing an operating system is no easy task, particularly for Microsoft. Having to design a piece of software that will maintain compatibility across a nearly infinite number of hardware configurations can be a daunting mission. It becomes even more difficult when hardware manufacturers implement new technologies, but the software lags behind.
Determined to not let that happen to Windows 7, Microsoft engineers have reportedly worked side by side with Intel to optimize support for its processors. In a posting made on the new Windows 7 partner blog, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc highlights the results of the collaboration. “Working with Intel, Microsoft implemented a new feature called SMT parking, which provided additional support for the Windows 7 scheduler for Intel Hyper-threading Technology, enabling better performance on hyper-threaded, multi-core Intel processors.”Intel and Microsoft have also been working on optimizing boot/ shutdown/ sleep/ and resume times, which could end up giving the chipmaker a substantial edge in performance for the foreseeable future.
Intel’s rival Nvidia also posted a follow up on the partner blog outlining GPGPU functions in Windows 7, and encouraged upgraders to spring for dedicated graphics cards. Ultimately the Intel announcement is more interesting since the DX Compute found in DirectX 11 will favor both ATI and Nvidia equally and it certainly makes me worry about the growing performance gap between Intel and AMD.
Will this announcement influence your upgrade decision?