There’s a lot to be excited about when you consider the features Windows Home Server offers out of the box—primarily, automated backup of all your desktop and mobile machines and media streaming to every room in your house. HP builds on this goodness with a second-generation WHS product that boasts both improved hardware and a supercharged features list.
When we reviewed HP’s first foray into the world of Windows Home Server last year, we were optimistic about the future of the platform but a bit underwhelmed by the performance of the little box. Since then, the Home Server software has gone through some teething pains, including a horrific bug that corrupted users’ files (since corrected with the first Service Pack for the Home Server software).
The Linux graphical user interface (GUI) system may be very different from what you are used to if you are coming from a Windows or Mac OS X background. The GUI of an operating system is commonly referred to as its shell. While virtually all versions of Windows since Windows 95 have used variations of the same basic shell (explorer.exe), there are numerous shells available for the Linux GUI. These Linux shells are called window managers and desktop environments. The term window manager is used to address the simple core user interface of a shell, while the term desktop environment is much more inclusive, covering the shell itself in addition to the various other programs that are integrated with it.
Due to the vast number of window managers available for Linux, many new users often feel overwhelmed at the idea of having to learn their way around them. We must emphasize that many people experiment with several window managers before settling down with one that feels right for them, and there certainly is no need to learn all of them. Due to their modular nature, it is common to have several window managers installed at once.
Much like part one of this series that dealt with choosing a distro, this guide will help you to choose a window manager/desktop environment by introducing you to several of them and addressing their strengths and weaknesses.
OCZ has been on a mission to undercut the competition in the peripheral gaming market and has released a pair of gaming mice this week towards that goal. The company says its new Behemoth and Eclipse mice are "built with the hardcore gamer in mind" looking for an inexpensive gaming solution.
"OCZ continues to break barriers in the cost for performance arena by offering high performance gaming products that deliver exceptional features, ergonomics, and performance at an aggressive price," commented Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ. "The new Behemoth and Eclipse gaming mice are no exception, offering world-class performance designed to provide the discerning gamer and enthusiast with a superior hands-on control experience whether playing first person shooters or getting creative with design applications."
Both the Eclipse and Behemoth come with a 2-way scrolling wheel, adjustable weight (up to 18g on the Eclipse and 24g on the Behemoth), 4-way changing LED display, black rubberized coating for a no-slip grip, 60IPS tracking speed, and 50G acceleration. The compact-style Eclipse sports an adjustable DPI up to 2400, whereas the larger Behemoth ramps up to 3200.
Microsoft's recently released Internet Explorer 8 runs faster than previous versions, boasts better standards compliance, and serves up some nifty features like Tab Grouping, Web Accelerators, and Web Slices. And without any major UI changes to pull end-users out of their comfort zone, Microsoft likely expected a mad rush to upgrade. As it turns out, those who are upgrading appear to be running back to IE7, according to data by Net Applications.
After being released on Thursday of last week, IE8's market share ramped up to 2.59 percent on Sunday. By Monday, that number dropped to 1.86 percent and today sits at 1.17 percent. Going by Net Applications' numbers alone, this would seem to indicate early adopters aren't all that impressed with IE8.
Because of the improvements made to web standards compliance, Microsoft had to implement a Compatibility Mode to prevent itself from essentially 'breaking the web.' Major sites known to render improperly in IE8 automatically run in compatibility mode, while others require end-users to manually switch modes. Complaints have surfaced from not being able to print from greeting card sites to missing images on pages built with Microsoft Publisher.
Are you having issues with IE8? Hit the jump and sound off.
By now you've probably had a chance to either play with the Windows 7 beta, or have at least read up on Microsoft's upcoming operating system and have had your share of screenshots. But what you might not know is that the Windows 7 interface was close to being decidedly different than what it is.
Steven Sinofsky, senior VP for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, said that kept a gallery of designs for the Office Assistant on his office wall to help inspire the Windows 7 team. His gallery contained over 400 sketches of the desktop UI, including a taskbar with thumbnails of open windows instead of icons.
Other interface considerations include a Bat Signal, so that when you hovered your mouse over an icon, a window pop-up would appear highlighted by beams of light. This would later evolve into Aero Peek in Windows 7. Aero Shake, on the other hand, came from an experiment called Aladdin. So long as a user kept 'rubbing' a window in the background, it would stay on top.
Check out what other wacky ideas the Windows 7 team considered and view more sketches here.
Bigfoot, the company behind the uber expensive Killer line of network interface cards (NIC), expands its lineup this week with the Killer Xeno Pro and Ultra cards. Both cards run on the PCI-E interface and purportedly offer better throughput than the company's earlier models. But the biggest selling point for the Xeno series is the integrated audio for hardware-accelerated voice-chat.
"Killer Xeno's voice-chat acceleration technology addresses the most requested gamer feature, and will enable the millions of online gamers worldwide who utilize these chat services to enjoy a 'hiccup-free' voice experience while playing the latest generation of online games," Bigfoot wrote in a press release (PDF). "Bigfoot, in providing voice-chat, has partnered with companies supporting leading products such as TeamSpeak and Vivox as well as utilizing the popular open-source application Mumble."
The Xeno Pro comes with 128MB of onboard RAM, while the Xeno Ultra upgrades to 256MB, while also adding a customizable onboard LED status display for caller ID, network statistics, game information, and customized messages. Otherwise, the two cards are share the same spec sheet, including an upgraded NPU, hardware bandwidth control, and a hardware firewall.
The Xeno Pro will be available in April for $130 from both Alienware and EVGA. The Xeno Ultra will be available in May for $180 on retail shelves.
The internet has been rife with rumors of an Apple netbook. Another unconfirmed report has joined this unabated procession of rumors. According to a report on the website of Smarthouse, a prominent technology publication from down under, Apple has a functioning netbook prototype.
The magazine’s source at LG, Korea also claimed that the netbook will be produced in Taiwan and will feature a LG OLED screen. But our abstruse friends at Engadget have pointed out that the author of this particular Smarthouse report, David Richards, has a history of fanning rumors bereft of any logic. So do take this with a pinch of salt.
Remember a few young, naïve years ago (What’s an Obama?) when Crytek first cracked open your PC and drank the syrupy yolks within with the second iteration of its CryEngine technology? Remember the stomach-churning mix of awe and a heart attack you felt upon viewing its viewtiful vistas?
But it is very, very crisp, clean, and lush – just like CryEngine 2, but tweaked to levels of near-perfection. Does it knock reality off its high-horse and keep on riding? No, but if we fired a real rocket at an equally real tree, we imagine that its leaves tenuous grip on their lofty home would look something like that.
And oh, hey – look! A waterfall! Why, is that a heart attack we feel coming on? We’ll never doubt you again, Crytek.
Like a family engaged in an annual game of holiday card one-upmanship, the PC Gaming Alliance’s numbers, figures, and, er, printed-on coffee stains – courtesy of its State of the PC Gaming Industry in 2008 report – are shining with that make-everyone-else-jealous-of-your-obvious-superiority sheen that’s so popular with these sorts of things.
Most notably, the report states that PC gaming still brings home pounds upon pounds of bacon – nearly enough to necessitate tossing away a few slabs before fording the river, in fact – making it the largest single gaming platform in existence. As of now, industry revenues sit at $11 billion, and are expected to continue making our fingers, toes, and abaci feel inadequate in spite of the current Harsh Economic Climate.
In addition, PCGA president Randy Stude emphasized the PC gaming market’s unique advantages, saying:
“The biggest story in PC games is the expansion beyond retail. PC games have successfully pioneered online subscription and distribution models that have resulted in a global boom that shows no signs of slowing. Despite the advances of the likes of Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust worldwide is the PC.”
Buried at the bottom of scenic Oh-God-Don’t-Look, State of the PC Gaming Industry U.S.A. were a few roadblocks the industry’s currently negotiating, mostly stemming from variations in hardware configurations, piracy, and – of course – the economy.
You can check out the full, 33-page PDF file on the PCGA’s website, if you really want. Be warned, though – it’s large enough to become the butt of many a “Yo momma’s so fat” joke. Peruse at your own peril.
Time for another price and parts guide! The $1000 parts guide we posted earlier this month garnered much discussion and debate among readers, so we wanted to a better job explaining our choices in this edition. Compared to the pricey decked-out systems from OEM builders like Falcon and Digital Storm, $1500 is still technically in the "budget" range. But for many people, that's still a lot of money to spend on a PC. We catered this build for gamers, and anchored our picks on the GPU and CPU, while judiciously choosing the other parts and brands to fit into our budget limits. The results were pleasantly surprising, and recent price cuts and rebates across the board really helped. Of course, your own configuration may vary wildly from ours depending your own needs, priorities, or brand allegiances, but we think this is an awesome configuration for something building a new gaming PC.
Read on for our parts and price list, and contribute your thoughts and personal configs!