I just picked up a new netbook the other day. And you know what that netbook had? A lot of things, but "optical drive" wasn't on the list. So there I sat, staring at a stack of CDs all full of my most critical applications, games, and movies. Then I had a brainstorm: Rather than run down to the local electronics store to buy a lame external optical drive, I figured I would convert all of my optical media and slap it onto one of the external hard drives I have sitting around.
To do that, I turned to a suite of applications to rip, burn, encode, convert, and create all sorts of image files. It was a daunting task at first, but it sure beat shelling out for more hardware. Based on my troubles, I've come up with a list of five of the must-have applications for your CD manipulation needs. And these aren't just a list of applications for new netbook enthusiasts. These free apps have a universal appeal for anyone who's ever had to interact with their optical drive at any point. I would assume that this would make up 99% of all computer users--the one percent being anyone who just bought a new netbook without any kind of secondary system in their house. Whoops!
Click on the link and check out the five free apps for CD manipulation mayhem. Trust me, it's just that exciting.
Weapon laser design reached an important milestone thanks to defense contractor Northrop Grumman, who reported it got a solid-state laser to fire a 105.5 kilowatt beam, the most power light ray yet created by an electric laser.
"Our modular JHPSSL design makes it straightforward to scale laser weapon systems to mission-required power levels for a variety of uses, to include force protection and precision strike missions for air-, sea- and land-based platforms," said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector."
Wildt went on to underscore the importance of the achievement saying that "the 100kW threshold has been viewed traditionally as a proof of principle for 'weapons grade' power levels for high-energy lasers." Noting that there are many military applications that can be achieved with laser weapons of 25kW or 50kW, Northrop Grumman's achievement ensures power scaling won't be a problem for some time to come.
The high-power laser demonstration operated at above 100kW for over 85 minutes using seven laser chains. By adding an eighth chain, Northrop says it will be possible to increase laser power to 120kW.
Microsoft used last week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, but without the fanfare Mozilla's Firefox 3 received when the open-source browser set a Guinness World Record for most downloads in a 24-hour period following its release.
But while IE8 didn't manage to set any new records, it did boost the browser's market share a tad. Nothing to get excited over, IE8's average market share increased from 1.34 percent from the day before its official launch to 1.45 percent on the day of release. To be fair, market share peaked slightly higher at 1.86 percent and now stands at 1.7 percent.
For the sake of comparison, Google Chrome 1.0 only gained about 0.1 percentage points next to IE8's .52 percentage points gain on day of release. Firefox 3, meanwhile, gained .66 points on the first day and 3.51 points over a two-day period.
Are you planning to download IE8? Hit the jump and let us know.
In an interview with TechRadar, Asus CEO Jerry Shen said his company plans to commercially launch its current fold/unfold notebook concept around September or October of this year, with mass production to begin in the second half of 2009.
"In 2007 when Apple launched the MacBook Air, it created a lot of media attention," Shen said during the interview. "So this year Asus plans to launch the Fold/Unfold, not following with tradition, to create a similar momentum."
Collaboratively developed by groups of designers from France, Italy, and Korea, the folding notebook concept folds in a way that adjusts the keyboard when the screen is lifted, taking it from a resting flat position to a raised, angled position. In addition to offering space saving ergonomics, the raised keyboard could potentially lead to better airflow for the internal components.
Shen made mention of Apple's MacBook Air more than once during the interview, and it's clear the folding notebook will look to compete with it as a more affordable and economical PC version.
According to Shen, the new notebook will be priced somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.
News site DailyTech has gotten its paws on AMD's upcoming ATI Radeon HD 4890 videocard from an undisclosed source based in Taiwan, and has thus been able to confirm rumored details of the new card's spec sheet.
Built around the RV790 core, the Radeon HD 4890, as received by DailyTech, comes with a core clock of 850MHz . The site also reports 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 3,900MHz resulting in 124.8 GB/s of bandwidth. Final memory specs could change, however, as the card DailyTech received came with Qimonda chips, which declared insolvency (went bankrupt) back in January 2009.
No word yet on a projected price point or release date, but not to be outdone, Nvidia plans to go head-to-head with ATI's 4890 with its GeForce GTX 275. According to reports, the upcoming GTX 275 is being built around the G200b GPU core with 240 shader processors chugging along at 1,404MHz. Other specs include 80 texture units, 30 render back ends, and a 448-bit memory interface. GPU and memory clockspeeds are expected to debut at 633MHz and 2,322MHz, respectively.
Look for the GTX 275 to launch on April 9, 2009 for somewhere between $230 and $280.
Some students pursue a post secondary education for the love of learning, some to improve their employability, and others simply because their parents are paying the bill. This isn’t to say that only students with skin in the game take college seriously, but everybody knows at least one guy from school who was only there to party. Partner this dude up with a Dell, and you might be asking for trouble.
Recent studies into the value of notebooks in the classroom have yet to prove anything conclusive, but clearly their worth in a traditional lecture style setting is in dispute. When used properly, notebooks can help students stay organized, connected, and even improve marks, but what about those who are easily distracted? Ars Technica offered an interesting perspective into this topic, and it’s undoubtedly something that warrants further discussion. Do laptops really help, or do they only distract students?
As a part time student myself, I can honestly say the ratio of students taking notes to those surfing the web, watching video, and fragging in Quakelive is pretty ridiculous. It’s fairly clear, at least in my limited sample group that the vast majority of notebook users in the classroom are only distracting themselves, and those around them.
Is this something we need to take action on? Or should we do as Ars Technica suggests and banish them all to the back of the classroom? Let us know what you think.
If you’re looking to start a heated debate in the Maximum PC forums, Apple vs. PC is almost guaranteed to get people’s blood boiling. But wither you’ve built every PC you’ve ever owned, or your heart bleeds only for Steve Jobs, we can at least all agree one thing. The iPhone & iPod Touch are pretty kick ass devices even for Windows users. With more then 30 million of the gadgets shipped since launch, and 800 million applications sold, it appears as though the Apple hen will be laying golden eggs for some time to come.
But with success comes competition, and with the likes of Google, Microsoft, and even Palm looking for a slice of Apple’s lunch, they clearly needed to address a few glaring omissions from their feature list. Version 3.0 (which is expected to launch sometime this summer) will bring long awaited features, most of which are far less revolutionary then Apple would want you to believe. Here are the highlights:
- The ability to copy & paste. - Bluetooth Stereo headphone connectivity in 2nd generation devices - Turn by turn navigation from third party applications (not using Google Maps) - MMS - Better access to the dock connector for hardware developers.
Another interesting feature is the ability to perform transactions within applications. This feature could obviously be abused, but it could also unlock new DLC within games, or maybe even allow us to buy Kindle books from the same application we use to read them.
Are you looking for your chance to sound off either for, or against the iPhone? Hit the jump, Cats vs. Dogs go!
As expected, Microsoft used this week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, Cnet's Ina Fried reports. To make it easy to get your hands on IE8, links to the previous IE8 beta version website now automatically point to the official IE8 page. So, what's new in IE8? We've discussed a lot of the new features in previous articles, but if you need to get up to speed, here are some of the high points:
Compatibility mode, designed to enable IE8 (built, at long last, to comply with official standards) to properly render pages on sites designed to match previous IE versions' Microsoft-only features
Web accelerators, which provide one-click blog, define, email, find, map, and search for content in any web page
SmartScreen filter and other built-in features to help provide a more secure search environment
InPrivate browsing that automatically blocks history and other traces of where you've been online
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in checking out, you can find the transcript here. And, be sure and check out other debates in the future over at Xfire! They did a great job setting up the event.
Being a native (and current inhabitant) of the Pacific Northwest, I’m very used to seeing the Seattle PI around. The giant iconic globe above their building and the fluttering pages used as makeshift blankets for the homeless are all too common, but it looks like those days are officially over. The Seattle PI (known as “The PI” to Washingtonians like myself) has printed is last edition, and has become exclusive to the Internet.
The PI’s swap from print to electronic news is something of a landmark though, because this makes it the largest American newspaper to make that leap. Plus, with so many newspapers closing down and others in danger, this move will be closely watched by the entire industry.
“We clearly believe we are in a period of innovation and experimentation, and that’s what this new SeattlePI.com represents,” said Steven R. Swartz, the man in charge of the entire operation. “We think we’ll learn a lot, and we think the Seattle market, being so digitally focused, is a great place to try this.”