We're not sure what to make of this, other than maybe Microsoft is trying a wee bit too hard to be hip. Or maybe it's a reminder that pretty much anything is patentable. In any event, the software maker has filed a patent for a "Hot or Not" interface allowing viewers to rate one another's fashion sense via uploaded pics. Taken from the patent application:
"The contributor uploads self images for viewing and rating (or voting) by viewers who choose provide an opinion on different fashion and/or cosmetic looks of the contributor. The contributor takes images show the contributor presented with a number (e.g., two) of different fashion choices. The snapshots can then be processed for upload to a website or other accessible location by one or more viewers. The viewers can cast a vote for one of the images by selecting the desired image, in response to which the viewer and/or contributor will be presented with overall statistics for that set of images as to how other viewers voted, as well as a next set of photos depicting the user in a different fashion and/or cosmetic choice. This process can continue until terminated."
It's called the Online Personal Appearance Advisor and, well, we're not really sure what Microsoft might be cooking up, but we're hoping it's nothing like this.
Power users routinely punch into the BIOS in order to fine tune their system, but it can be an intimidating place to go exploring if you've never before burrowed beneath the surface. And just like in real life, poking around in unknown places can be a dangerous affair if you don't know what you're doing or where you're going. On the other hand, once you understand the inner workings of your PC's control center, a whole world of overclocking and troubleshooting suddenly opens up. But what exactly is the BIOS?
Every modern motherboard comes with an embedded Flash EEPROM module, otherwise known as the BIOS chip. Short for Basic Input Out System, this is the first bit of code executed when you boot your PC. The BIOS stores all kinds of essential information about your system, such as your CPU's clockspeed, the size and type of RAM you're running, the boot order of your media, what onboard devices are present, and much, much more. An improperly configured BIOS can prevent Windows (or Linux) from loading, while a finely tuned BIOS has the potential to significantly improve performance over that of a similarly spec'd machine.
Whatever your goal is, this is your go-to guide for everything you've ever wanted to know about the BIOS. We cover every setting -- even the obscure ones -- so you'll never feel lost or out of your element, no matter what motherboard you're rocking under the hood.
Most chip manufacturers are busy readying the move to a 32nm manufacturing process, including Toshiba, which back in April of this year said it would begin mass producing 32Gb (gigabit) chips from the shrunken process by next month. But forget about 32nm - Toshiba says it has made a breakthrough in the use of strontium germanide (SrGex) that will make 16nm possible sooner than expected.
The breakthrough involves the development of a gate stack and interlayer with high carrier mobility that can be applied to metal-insulator-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MISFETs), ElectronicsWeekly.com reports. Today's MSIFETs use silicon for the channel, however the substance is reaching its design limit in terms of current handling capabilities.
Germanium presents design challenges too, namely the development of thin gate structures. According to Toshiba, it can get around these challenges by combining SrGex, a compound of strontium, and germanium, for use as an interlayer between the high-k insulating layer and the germanium channel.
The details get even geekier, but you'll have to wait for Toshiba to present the technology at the 2009 VLSI Symposia in Kyoto, Japan later this week.
Formerly called GrandCentral and acquired by Google back in July of 2007, Google Voice aims to streamline mobile communication by giving users a single phone number capable of accessing all other phone numbers, including home, cell, work, etc. Initial impressions by those who have previewed the free service have been positive, but a potential major downside is having to give out a new number to everyone. That might not be the case when Google Voice launches.
Google has started experimenting with letting new users port their existing numbers to Google Voice, including mobile numbers. And according to TechCrunch, this will be a mainstay of the new service later this year.
"Google is only testing the service for now, but we've heard from a source inside Google that they plan to roll out number portability as a general feature later this year," TechCrunch wrote. "Once that happens, users will be able to move the phone number they've had forever to Google, and avoid the switching costs."
The site went on to say that Google will also launch apps for outbound calls for major smartphone platforms that will automatically route outbound calls through Google Voice rather than show the number of whatever device a user is calling with.
Citing un-named sources at motherboard makers, news site DigiTimes says Intel plans on releasing a bevy of new processors before the year is up, including another Core i7 chip. Specifically, Intel will launch the Core i7 960, a 3.2GHz part, in the fourth quarter. If true, this would fly in the face of lingering rumors that Intel plans on riding into the Core i7 sunset with only the 975 Extreme and upcoming 6-core Nehalem, while discontinuing everything else.
In addition to the Core i7 960 part, Intel will also launch a bunch of Celeron chips, including a new 45nm Celeron E3000 series aimed at the entry-level market. Intended to replace the existing Celeron E1000 series, the 3000 series will initially consist of the E3200 (2.4GHz) and E3300 (2.5GHz), with each one sporting 1MB of L2 cache, an 800MHz frontside bus, and a 65W TDP.
And finally, a pair of new Atom chips is expected for early 2010. These will include the single-core Atom D410 and dual-core Atom D510.
We've heard rumors that Nvidia was planning on refreshing its GeForce GTX 295 videocard with a second, single-PCB version, and it looks like EVGA is the first to offer the new design.
"EVGA is proud to announce the latest and fastest in high performance graphics accelerators, the EVGA GTX 295 CO-OP Edition," EVGA wrote. "This card combines two GPUs onto a single PCB, a clear indication on why this card is called CO-OP!"
Core clockspeed will remain at 576MHz -- the same as EVGA's previous GTX 295 videocards -- however the company has goosed the memory clockspeed up from 1998MHz to 2016MHz.
EVGA also plans to sell separately a waterblock for the new card called the Hydro Copper. The full-cover copper waterblock ships with both 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch barbs and includes "an extreme high flow path design with a unique, integrated, pressure point."
Movie pirates have often justified their DMCA violations by claiming that “they were just making backup copies”. And while this might seem like a reasonable enough explanation for cracking the copy protection on your new Blu-ray disk, it is in fact, highly illegal. It’s taken over three years, but “Managed Copy” is hoping to finally put the backup issue to rest by allowing users to make legitimate backup copies of their Blu-ray disks as early as next year.
For those of you who are thinking that this sounds too good to be true, it does indeed come at a cost. Current Blu-ray players will most likely not be able to decode the copied disk, and although this feature will be included in new players, that doesn’t help people with older hardware. The number of copies will also be heavily restricted, carry an unknown price tag, and if you want a PC friendly version, the result is a DRM-laced, Microsoft only file. This leaves iPod’s, Zune’s, and other platforms out in the cold. This might change before next year, but it seems increasingly unlikely when you consider that the authenticity check requires an internet connection.
I suppose something is better than nothing, and while Slysoft clearly has the superior solution,at least this one is guaranteed to be legal!
The labs team at Mozilla has been hard at work on Jetpack 0.2, and is actively looking for volunteers to help test out, and give feedback on the new experimental UI. For those who haven’t been following its development, Jetpack allows users to create custom sidebar applications. These can range from something as simple as a Twitter stream, to a fully functional media player that will allow you to view flash videos while still surfing the web in the same tab.
According to Jetpack designer Aza Raskin “Jetpack is two things at once: it is a platform for experimentation and it is also a solid set of APIs that anyone to easily build new Firefox features”. It’s pretty clear that the web browser, like most modern operating systems is a mature platform, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. Mozilla is likely hoping that if Jetpack takes off (pardon the pun), it will be easier to break away from the pack in the future.
Users wishing to get involved in Jetpack’s development are encouraged to install the add-on, report bugs, or even just hop into the discussion groups to leave feedback. Hit the jump to check out a video of Jetpack in action, and make sure to leave your experiences in the comments if you decide to give it a try!
Last week we learned about Best Buy’s Windows 7 deployment plans, and this week, PCWorld has uncovered a source willing to spill the beans on the OEM strategies and dates. Similar to what we saw with Windows Vista, OEM’s are going to start offering upgrade coupons to individuals or businesses who buy new PC’s on, or after June 26th 2009. As expected, only Windows Vista Home Premium and above will be eligible for the offer, but unlike the Vista upgrade program, OEM’s may be on the hook for a portion of the upgrade fees. PC vendors will be forced to pay somewhere between $9 and $15 per license for the upgrade voucher, but this will allow customers to download a copy on the launch date, and still receive a disk as they become availible.
The coupons are rumored to be valid until Jan 31st 2010, and the OEM’s hope it will be enough to prevent Windows 7 from stalling new PC purchases between now, and the October 22nd launch date. PCWorld wouldn’t reveal the name of the Taiwanese executive who leaked the information, but apparently this was done to protect his companies negotiating creditability with Microsoft. So far, HP & Dell have only confirmed that they will participate in the in the Upgrade Program (whatever that may be), but have refused to release any of the details until Microsoft formally confirms the program dates and details.
Either way, it appears as though you should probably continue holding off on that new PC until at least June 26th.
According to a recent study, surfing the net makes us much smarter, rather than rotting our brains. For folks like us, this just happens to be some great news.
The study, which was conducted by Gary Small of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California at Los Angeles, took a poll of 24 participants. Half of the participants used the Internet on a daily basis while the other half had little to no experience. Using an MRI, Small compared brain activity as they read a book off of a computer screen, and both groups produced similar results. But, when he looked at the groups as they searched for clues about the benefits of eating chocolate and the best way to visit the Galápagos, the group that surfed the internet regularly registered twice as much activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulated areas of the brain – all of which supply aid to complex reasoning skills.
“The simple headline here is that Google is making us smarter,” stated Small. And for this revelation, we thank you. Perhaps surfing Facebook and I Can Has Cheezeburger all day long won’t seem so silly now!