It was on July 20, 2007 that the Energy Star 4.0 computer specifications came into effect, which was most notable for including requirements for power supplies that met the standards of the 80 PLUS program. As of yesterday, all around requirements have become a little more strict as the new Energy Star 5.0 specs go into effect.
Any computer product (game consoles not included) manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 must meet the Version 5.0 requirements to qualify for the Energy Star certification, even if models were originally qualified under the 4.0 specifications. Making it a little tougher this time around, a computer's power supply must have an 85 percent minimum efficiency at 50 percent of the rated output and 82 percent minimum efficiency at 20 percent and 100 percent of rated output.
There's been a major push this past year in being more energy conscious when it comes to computing, and one way Philips plans to do that is by making sure your LCD monitor doesn't consume more power than it needs to.
Called the Brilliance LCD, the upcoming display will feature a built-in sensor capable of detecting whether or not you're sitting in front of your monitor. Get up to grab a cup of coffee or go powder your nose and the monitor will dim its display, a move Philips says will cut power consumption by half. Once you return, the display lights back up and all is as you left it.
Because not everyone sits the same distance from their monitor, the sensor comes configurable for anywhere between 30cm and 120cm, and is completely independent of the host system's software or operating system.
Google recently introduced another tweak to their Gmail interface, allowing users that aren’t quite at home with the labeling system to use them as folders.
With the introduction of drag and drop to Gmail, your list of labels will move from the lower left-hand corner to the upper left-hand corner, directly underneath “Inbox” and “Sent Mail.” Google hopes that this will allow users see them more like traditional folders.
Drag and drop comes into play with the use of the labels themselves. Instead of adding tags to each individual message, you’ll instead be able to drag and drop your messages into the label of your choosing.
Earlier this week Asus announced their RT-N16 router, which brings their “three ‘S’s’ – Speed for ultra-fast data transfers, Simplicity for unparalleled ease-of-use and ease-of-setup, and Security for absolute peace of mind when performing online tasks.” (Seriously.)
The RT-N16 will feature wireless speeds up to 300Mbps, use an innovative “EZ UI” which will let system administrators easily setup and manage their networks, as well as allocate bandwidth to suit specific needs. And lastly, it’ll sport WiFi Protected Setup (WPS), so that users can lock down their networks quickly and easily.
Last week was just full of surprises. (RIP, all.) Thankfully, though, one shining, heroic force swooped in to save the world from snowballing into complete unpredictability. That final bastion of normalcy – that conqueror of chaos -- was, of course, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
The film – which starred explosions, Shia Labeouf, and explosions (but unfortunately, not Shia Labeouf exploding) – defiantly dodged negative reviews, negative word of mouth, and a near-negative Metacritic score to gross $112,000,000 in its opening weekend. Yep – nothing like a vapid, needless summer blockbuster to restore your faith in the world by destroying your faith in humanity. The movie’s success, though? Not surprising in the least. It’s a loud, action-packed film with more carnage than meaningful dialog. It’s simple, easily digested cheese. People eat that stuff up.
But then, no one expected Transformers to tug at our heartstrings and revolutionize storytelling as we know it. That’d just be silly; I mean, it’s a movie about robots fighting. Clearly, all eyes here are focused on the action – no time to roll them at the plot.
So then, how come we often expect tear-jerking, thought-provoking tales from big-budget videogames with premises nearly as dramatically inhospitable as Transformers? Why do we expect triple-A videogames – which, at this point, are quickly sneaking into movie territory in terms of development costs – to mold angry men, gunfire, and shrapnel into spellbinding tales when our prior buying tastes (see, for instance: Transformers) have shown that all we want is a loose thread to hold the action together? Especially when other story genres (you know, anything that's not action) lend themselves far better to interesting plots, untethered by the need for a five-minute shootout every six minutes?
Get Robert Stack on the phone! In what could be the greatest tech unsolved mystery since the disappearance of Intel’s Tejas, someone has kidnapped Premiere Elements 5.0 and 6.0!
Just kidding. There’s no crime here unless you believe that it’s flat-out wrong for Adobe to jump from version 4.0 to version 7.0 just to ensure that Premiere Elements matches version numbers with Photoshop Elements 7.0.
One thing we hoped for that’s definitely not present: three full upgrades’ worth of new features and improvements. Adobe continues to use its dumbed-down interface, which we initially viewed with disgust. Oddly enough, the more we’ve used it, the more forgiving we’ve become; we’ve grown quite fond of the newb-friendly front end, despite the fact that it’s basically unchanged. The menus and titling in the consumer video editor continue to be top-notch, as well.
If solid state drives (SSDs) are to ultimately replace standard hard disk drives (HDDs) as the default storage option, they're going to have to do it the old fashioned way - by offering a better, or at least comparable, bang for buck.
Because Windows 7 offers better support for SSDs than either Vista or XP, it was thought that Microsoft's upcoming OS might help bolster SSD sales and push the flash-based storage medium further into the mainstream. But this isn't likely to happen, say notebook vendors, who point out that the price gap between SSDs and HDDs is still too large.
SSDs currently check in at about $4-5 per GB, whereas HDDs cost less than $0.50 per GB, and that includes some higher end models. And despite rapid advancements in SSDs, it might be another three years before HDDs are finally dethroned.
SpeedFan is still our favorite software program for adjusting fan speeds and maintaining an optimal balance between cooling and noise, but software solutions don't have anywhere near the sex appeal as some dedicated hardware fan controllers, the newest being NZXT's Sentry 2.
The Sentry 2 installs in a 5.25-inch drive bay and works with any fan that uses voltage control. But it's the sleek looking touch screen that might be the biggest draw. NZXT claims an "ultra fast selection and response time," with the display including temperature readout in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.
Up to 5 fans can be either manually controlled or automatically adjusted based on temperature. Settings are stored after the power is off too, so you needn't worry about finding the best balance of noise to performance only to have it go by the wayside during a power outage.
NZXT tells us the Sentry 2 will be available later this month with an MSRP of $30.
That shiny new netbook is light and portable, plays music and movies, and cost less than an iPhone (with service). Problem is: you might be ready to chuck it off a bridge. Running the Intel Atom processor at only 1.60GHz, netbooks are a bit on the clunky side when it comes to actual data processing. No one is going to play World of Warcraft on one of these thin machines, but it sure would be great if OpenOffice, a music player, and Mozilla Firefox could run a little faster.
The answer to the netbook dilemma is: find an alternative operating system. Of course, this is a time-consuming proposition, considering you have to download the OS, burn it to a CD or USB key, load the OS, and then configure it. To find out which OS will actually add pep to your Sony P – or any number of low-cost, Atom-based netbooks – we loaded six different options on the same machine and performed a series of tests – looking at the interface, networking features, the browser and built-in apps, and how much customization you can do and ended up picking a clear winner.
Linux or Windows? Read on to find out which OS is best for your netbook.
Panda Security's free Cloud Antivirus, released in beta form just a couple of months back, has apparently been well received with "millions" of downloads. Based on feedback from those who have participated, Panda this week released the second beta for what it refers to as the first free cloud-based antivirus thin client.
Several new features and fixes have been added to the newest beta, some of which include:
Undo option for the Recycle Bin to recover deleted detections for a period of 3 days in case of false positives
Synchronous real-time Cloud scan
A response control mechanism that prevents programs from executing before they can be scanned
Background and on-demand scans no longer run simultaneously, improving overall scan times
For a full list of fixes of changes, as well as download instructions, see here.
No word yet on when the final release of Version 1.0 will go live, however Panda did say it plans to release a third beta sometime around September.