Although DVDs are quickly losing the limelight to their higher-definition Blu-Ray brethren, they’ve still got a lot going for them. They’re cheap, for one, as are DVD burners. And DVD players and drives are so ubiquitous that you know that if you burn data onto a DVD, you’ll be able to access it almost anywhere.
Plus, burning data onto a DVD is easy—there’re a dozen free programs that can do it for you without any hassle. But burning video to a disc so that you can watch it in a regular DVD player isn’t nearly so simple. If you’re willing to pony up for commercial DVD authoring software like Nero Vision, the process is pretty user-friendly, but here at Maximum PC we’re committed to showing you how to do things using free software solutions, so we’re going to explain how you can use a free and powerful (albeit slightly confusing) program called AVI2DVD to create full-featured video DVDs from your media files.
Just last week the RIAA commemorated the signing of an absurd new law in Tennessee that states:
"Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall:
[R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year."
In short, if you’re going to school in Tennessee you’re boned. Since the entertainment industry was unable to get a solid framework for universities in the Higher Education Act passed by Congress just earlier this year, the RIAA has decided to attack universities by using infringement notices.
What’s worse is that the law will cost the fine folks of Tennessee a whopping $9.5 million in new software, hardware and personnel, with an annual cost of $1.5 million for the personnel and maintenance. None of this money will go towards artists or record labels represented by the RIAA.
At a series of press events over the past few days Adobe has unveiled a brand new version of flash aimed directly at smartphones. The new version of Flash is optimized to work with ARM processors (like the one used in the iPhone).
So long as your smartphone has a processor clock speed of at least 200MHz and 16MB of RAM, it should be able to run the new Flash. It’s also mentioned that a “completely capable browser” is required, but given the phones that it’s meant for, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Google’s G1 is expected to get the update soon, among others. Whether it’ll be simply downloaded by the phone itself or updated in-store is yet to be revealed.
While many other smartphone vendors are prominent when it comes to excitement about the possibility of Flash on their phones, Apple isn’t. Steve Jobs has mentioned that Flash “performs too slow to be useful” on the extremely popular iPhone. To many this seems like a match made in heaven, but Apple has politely snubbed that notion.
The DRAM industry is facing its toughest time in the past 15 years with not much of a light at the end of the tunnel. Most memory companies have already reduced production and scaled back the workforce, but it has done little to change the fact that DRAM prices have already dropped close to cost. Could a government bailout be the answer?
That's exactly what ProMOS chairman ML Chen wants to see happen. Chen, whose company has already suffered losses adding up to US$675 million in the first three quarters of 2008, is calling for the Taiwan government to keep the industry afloat. Total losses for the entire industry currently sit at US$2.73 billion, a number which is expected to grow in the fourth quarter.
Chen, who said it would be a pity of the government gave up on DRAM makers who have given so much to the nation's semiconductor industry, would like to see some fundamental changes occur, like the development of home-grown technologies. Chen also said that the government should offer aid programs and restricted bank loans, which could only be used for technological research and development and not for capacity expansion.
Should the Taiwan government step in? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Kanguru has developed a new breed of flash drive eliciting one of those 'Why hasn't someone thought of this before?' moments. The new drive, which the company calls e-Flash, combines both eSATA and USB connectivity on a standard sized thumb drive.
"We’ve combined the fastest connectivity with the most universal connection for the best of both worlds,” said Nate Cote, VP of Product Management at Kanguru Solutions. “The ultra-fast transfer speed, high capacity and small size combine to make it a great portable solution for users that want the next generation of unbelievable performance."
Kanguru says the eSATA connection comes powered so that it requires no extra power, but the company also tosses in an "eSATA + Power bracket and an eSATA + Power cable for easy hookup to the computer you use it most on." The flash drive also comes preloaded with Hotswap! software.
The Kanguru e-Flash currently comes in 16GB and 32GB capacities ($85 and $120 respectively), with a 64GB planned for January 2009. The drive's aluminum casing can also be personalized with a custom engraving.
YouTube, Google's $1.65 billion acquisition, leads the online video pack with 83 million viewers in U.S. That puts the video sharing site well ahead of Hulu, at least in terms of viewers, who compares with 6 million viewers, according to market researcher Nielsen. But when it comes to advertising revenue, the playing field is much more level.
Arash Amel, an analyst at digital media research group Screen Digest, suggests that Hulu's advertising revenue is growing much more rapidly than YouTube. By his own forecasts, Amel estimates YouTube will generate about $100 million by the end of 2008, whereas Hulu won't be too far behind at an estimated $70 million. The two are expected to be dead even next year, with both companies generating about $180 million in the U.S.
"YouTube is in a very tough place right now," said Mr Amel. "Most of that user-generated content is worthless or illegal. The next 18 months will determine whether or not it was just an expensive mistake for Google."
Whether or not YouTube can retain its lead remains to be seen. Matthew Liu, a YouTube advertising product manager, notes that the site isn't where it should, but the question is, what can it do about it?
The internet has become a breeding ground for scams of all shapes and sizes, but perhaps none more popular (and thus more easily recognizable) than the email rouse of a long lost relative, government official, or bank employee holed up in Nigeria and needing your help in securing a large sum of money. There's really no need to go on because you've undoubtedly received variations of this scam in your inbox countless times and, well, it never works. Or does it?
Not only does the old Nigerian bit still lure victims, the scam claimedits biggest known payday to date thanks to Janella Spears who forked over a mind boggling $400,000. Despite the big payout, Spears still contends she isn't easily duped. After all, she works as a registered nurse, teaches CPR, is a reverend who has married many couples, and also learned sign language to communicate with her hearing impaired husband. So what possible spin could this common scam have come with that got a seemingly intelligent woman to take the bait?
Hit the jump to find out what it was that convinced Spears the scam might be legit.
Yahoo co-founder and chief executive Jerry Yang has spent the better portion of 2008 staving off a takeover attempt by Microsoft that threatened to go hostile, a decision that hasn't always been a popular one with Yahoo shareholders. Nor has it sat well with the 10 percent of employees facing a job cut by the end of the year. Now, just 18 months after stepping into the role of CEO, Yang has announced his pending resignation and will return to his role as Chief Yahoo once a successor is in place.
"All of you know that I have always, and will always, bleed purple," Yang wrote in letter to all Yahoo employees. "I will always do what I think is right for this great company. While this step will be an adjustment for all of us, I know it’s the right one. I look forward to updating you on this process as soon as the board has developments to share, and will continue to do everything I can to make Yahoo! fulfill its full potential."
No front runner for the position of CEO has yet emerged, but Yang did say the board will consider both internal and external candidates. Hired to help in the search is international executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, with the overall effort being led by Roy Bostock, Yahoo's chairman of the board.
Does this change anything in terms of a takeover? Hit the jump and give us your prediction on where Yahoo goes from here.
Because hackers target Microsoft's Windows operating systems more than any other OSes, one could argue that it would be only fitting for the software maker to offer its users a free security suite, and that's exactly what Microsoft intends to do. Noting the rapid increase in the prominence of malware, Microsoft says it will discontinue retails sales of it's fee-based Live OneCare subscription service by June 30, 2009 and replace it with a free security suite currently code-named "Morrow."
"Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft. “This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware."
Morrow, which will offer protection against viruses, spyware, rootkis, Trojans, and other malware, will be built to use fewer resources, which Microsoft claims will make it well suited for both low bandwidth situations and low-power PCs. According to Microsoft, Morrow's protection will be on the same level as the company's enterprise solutions.
While that sounds like good news for Windows users, McAfee sees it as an even better opportunity for themselves and doesn't appear worried that it might lose paying customers to Morrow.
"Consumers have voted; OneCare, in its two years on the market, has achieved less than 2 percent market share," he said in an interview. "Microsoft is giving up and has defaulted to a dressed-down freeware model that does not meet consumer security needs. This is good news for McAfee."
Is McAfee underestimating Morrow? Hit the jump and give us your thoughts.
As predicted, HP today announced that they will immediately begin taking orders for the TouchSmart TX2, the first multi touch laptop widely available to consumers. The laptop, priced starting at $1,199, will begin shipping at the end of November.
The TX2’s multi touch interface will work with any program that already supports multi touch, as well as with HP’s integrated MediaSmart media suite. The laptop features an array of gestural controls, including all of the multi touch standards, like pinch-zooming and two finger rotation, as well as the ability to open MediaSmart at any time by drawing an “m” on the screen with both fingers. The screen uses capacitance-based touch detection and is designed to accept input either from the pad of a finger or from a built-in digital pen.
With a 12.1 inch screen and weighing in at 4.3 pounds, the TX2 is physically nearly identical to its predecessor, the TX2000. The only thing differentiating the two visually is the TX2’s glossy, charcoal-colored finish and “Reaction Imprint” design.
All but the cheapest loadouts of the TX2 come equipped with Turion X2 dual-core processors. All models will ship with Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, and consumers can opt for up to 8GB of DDR2 SDRAM and 500GB of hard disk storage. The laptop also features a webcam and optional fingerprint reader.
What do you think of the TX2? Are multi touch laptops going to become the norm? Let us know after the jump.