Yesterday Microsoft officially announced their brand new search engine, Bing.
Bing, which will be come available over the next few days, is the product of the Kumo project (which remains the internal codename). What Microsoft hopes will set Bing apart is its completely reworked algorithms. Each search page will be customized based on what you search (health, travel, shopping, news, sports). The algorithms will not only determine the order of results on the page, but the layout as well. Each section on display can include guided refinements or a list of related searches.
To see more of Bing before its official release, be sure to check out screenshots here, at TechCrunch.
According to the rumor mill, Comcast is going to release a 100Mb service sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Currently, the fastest available service from Comcast is 50/20Mb, and will run consumers roughly $189 per month. There’s no word yet on how much this rumored service will cost, but going from the current model, we can gather that it will be costly.
We’ll be sure to keep our eyes on this as it develops.
Just this week Hulu launched their new service, Goog—err, Hulu Labs in the interest of letting their users get a more hands on approach to the development of the site.
“To help us learn from user feedback […], we’re excited to open up a new Hulu Labs section on the site today. At Hulu Labs, we’ll provide sneak peeks at some of the upcoming releases from our product roadmap, some of which are personal projects and hobbies our devs have been cooking up,” wrote Eric Feng, Hulu’s CTO on their official blog. “From new recommendation algorithms to tools for building custom widgets to a time-based view for browsing your favorite shows, we’ll be sharing a variety of these new creations with you at Hulu Labs and looking forward to your thoughts on how to make these products better.”
They also released the beta for Hulu Desktop, an application that has been optimized to let you watch all of your favorite shows (so long as they’re hosted on Hulu) on your desktop or media center PC. The UI has been designed with a small Microsoft or Apple remote in mind, making it a very reasonable contender for all the media center PCs out there.
You've seen the demos of multitouch, and you might even have a PC that supports Windows 7's multitouch, but what can you do with it? If you're in the market for a PC that supports multi-touch, Microsoft is making a multitouch PC even more appealing by announcing its Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7.
Microsoft Touch Pack is a product of the collaboration between the Windows and Surface development teams, and as a result, Microsoft Touch Pack includes three Microsoft Surface applications and three casual games. Here's what you get:
Microsoft Surface Globe enables you to navigate the Virtual Earth 3D version of the world by touch, and lets you get local information as you "fly" by particular places.
Microsoft Surface Collage brings one of the original Microsoft Surface "touch and move the photos" demos to life, adding the ability to convert a collage into a desktop background.
Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a multi-touch enabled screensaver - watch fish gather around your "submerged" finger.
Casual gamers can enjoy the Rube Goldbergesque Microsoft Blackboard, a mashup of death rays and air hockey in Microsoft Rebound, and float origami on the water in Microsoft Garden Pond.
To find out who gets their hands on Microsoft Touch Pack first, join us after the jump.
No Star Trek talk this week. Scout's honor. Instead, the gang talks about futuristic technology that's here today! Several technology conferences going on this week hosted product announcements from Google and Microsoft. At the I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google announced their support for HTML 5 and the ambitious Wave service. 550 miles away in San Diego, Microsoft revealed their Bing search engine that will replace Live Search. The team also tries out Hulu's desktop application, and ponders its ramifications for Boxee. As always, we take a few listener questions and Gordon spills his thoughts on James Bond in his rant of the week. Join us for all this and more on this week's No BS Podcast!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Stop surfing the internet for a minute (we know, a tall order) and go get your last cable or satellite TV bill. Back? Good. Now skim to the bottom and look at the total amount of money you paid for TV last month. Do you feel like you got a reasonable amount of entertainment for that $60, $80, or even $100-plus? Are you happy about the money you spend for the privilege of watching TV? We’re not. The vast majority of TV we watch is available for free, over the air. Sure, we’ll occasionally watch an episode of Flight of the Conchords on HBO or a documentary on Discovery, but most of the TV we watch is on one of the big over-the-air networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, the CW, and NBC. So we started looking for alternatives.
It turns out that the vast majority of new TV shows are available online, either as part of an ad-driven website like Hulu or TV.com, or available for sale on iTunes or Amazon’s Unbox service. However, having a PC in the living room has traditionally sucked. After all, you don’t want to hear a big, noisy PC when you’re enjoying a movie or a TV show, and using a mouse and keyboard as the primary interface just doesn’t cut it when you’re kicking back on the couch. But times have changed. These days, it’s easy to build a PC that’s quiet enough to be virtually unheard, yet powerful enough to play all the high-definition video that’s currently available.
And making the proposition even more appealing, there are software frontends like Boxee and the new Hulu Desktop that let you harness all that hardware power in an easy-to-use, remote-friendly interface that combines the massive library of streaming video on the web with the DRM-free content you rip from discs or purchase legally on the web. We’ll introduce you to a couple of the options, then help you configure our favorite. By combining a few hundred bucks’ worth of hardware with a free software app and your broadband connection, you can reduce the money you spend on entertainment from $100 a month to $100 a year.
Former IBM mergers and acquisitions chief David Johnson finds himself on the potentially wrong end of a lawsuit seeking to prevent him from accepting employment with Dell. According to IBM, the new job would allegedly run afoul an agreement Johnson signed preventing him from working with rival companies.
"Mr. Johnson has possession of valuable confidential information and cannot undertake a senior strategy position at Dell without violating his obligations to IBM," said Edward Barbini, a spokesman for IBM. "Mr. Johnson repeatedly received significant compensation in exchange for agreeing to noncompete provisions."
For the last nine years, Johnson oversaw mergers and acquisitions and was privy to other strategic deals, according to the lawsuit. However, it remains unclear exactly what position Johnson was offered with Dell.
"Characterizations by others of his role are speculative," said David Frink, a spokesman for Dell. "Without exception, Dell respects the trade secrets and intellectual property of others."
The general consensus among consumers is that DRM sucks, and the often draconian measures used to prevent copyright infringement do very little, if anything, to prevent software piracy. The argument is that DRM only shackles the honest consumer, while pirates figure ways around the copyright schemes regardless. But could DRM also be giving otherwise law-abiding citizens cause to cross the legal line?
That's exactly what DRM is doing, according to the first empirical study of its kind in the UK. In a new paper titled, "Technological accommodation of conflicts between freedom of expression and DRM: the first empirical assessment." Cambridge law professor Patricia Akester says she spent the last several years interviewing lecturers, end users, government officials, rights holders, and DRM developers to see what affect DRM was actually having.
In one example, Akester cited a situation in which a blind person who bought a legal electronic copy of the Bible from Amazon could not utilize text-to-speech. Amazon's policy is not to refund eBooks once they've been downloaded, and the publisher proved little help. Seemingly out of options, Lynn Holdsworth, the individual in question, ended up tracking down an illegal copy without the text-to-speech limitation. Not exactly what one envisions as the typical pirate.
You can read Akester's lengthy paper here, or view the shorter version here.
Facebook this week announced that Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST) made a $200 million investment into the social networking site in exchange for preferred stocks. The deal gives DST nearly a 2 percent equity stake in Facebook, and for you number crunchers, values the company at a healthy $10 billion.
"This investment demonstrates Facebook's ongoing success at creating a global network for people to share and connect," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "We've worked hard to bring than 200 million people -- 70 percent outside of the U.S. -- onto Facebook to share with friends, family, and co-workers. A number of firms approached us, but DST stood out because of the global perspective they bring."
And the $200 million. Facebook had previously said that it doesn't expect to generate positive cash flow until sometime next year, so the cash infusion during a global recession comes well timed.
Zalman has attracted more than a few fans of air cooling (pun only slightly intended) with its CNPS line of high-end heatsink/fan combos, and the company's newest entry -- the CNPS 10X Extreme -- trades in its signature circular heatpipe design in favor of a block design.
The new cooler supports a variety of sockets, including Intel's 775, 1366, and upcoming 1156, and AMD's AM3, AM2+, AM2, 754, 939, and 940. The nickel-plated cooler also comes with what Zalman says is the "world's first RPM controllable PWM fan speed controller," which overrides the motherboard's PWM signal for manual fan speed control, or can alter the signal for low, medium, or high. Best of all, Zalman says the PWM mate can be installed on the case's exterior, when far too often that isn't the case.
Five heatpipes run up through the 10X, which checks in at a hefty 920g. Other specs include aluminum fins, copper base, and noise levels between 20 - 30dBA.
No word yet on availability or price, though you can spy a handful of pics here.