It seems like just yesterday that Microsoft reluctantly introduced us to the world of User Account Control (UAC). Many disgruntled reviewers claimed that the UAC present in Windows Vista was too intrusive. It caused a lot of frustration when trying to install programs that needed administrator credentials. Apple even made a commercial that illustrated how people felt about the constant nagging of UAC in Windows Vista.
Fast forward to Windows 7 Beta 1, Microsoft now gives full control over the number of prompts you receive. The problem is any malware can defeat UAC by sending a few Visual Basic scripts to activate the slider and turn off UAC. Once UAC is off, the computer can be restarted and the malware can be launched with full administrator credentials and expose the computer to more malware and exploits.
The Windows 7 beta fish surfaced to face the public for the first time on January 10th 2009. Since its release we have been both excited and terrified with what Microsoft has in store for us. A few naysayers aside, few will argue that the beta is very stable, and is an impressive offering. But is it ready for release?
Well as of February 1st 2009, 2,108 of you thought so! A fan of the Leo Laporte podcasting network took a cue from the host and decided to launch an online petition to try and convince Microsoft that Windows 7 is ready. In a recent podcast both the host Leo Laporte, and co-host Paul Thurrott commented on the petition to which their names were used as advocates, and they nervously took a step back. They both claimed to be enthusiastic about the future of Windows, but admitted that nobody wants Windows 7 to ship before its ready.
A quick scan of the comments from previous Windows 7 discussions would seem to suggest that this is likely to be a heavily debated petition. The vast majority of readers seem to be leaving positive feedback on the beta, but some incompatibilities clearly still remain.
Do you think the Windows 7 beta is good enough to launch? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
It’s no secret that we here at Maximum PC are fans of Intel’s new Core i7. In fact, Intel has held a place of distinction in our best of the best round up pretty consistently now ever since Athelon’s day came and went several years ago. Despite this fact, we are pretty fickle with our affections, and are all secretly still rooting for the underdog. We are also the first to admit that we are glad AMD is still around to keep Intel on its toes. Though both Phenom & Phenom II failed to set the world on fire, we were all pretty impressed when we discovered how much overclocking headroom we received as a result of the die shrink. We were even more excited when we saw the videos of AMD pushing the new CPU past 6.5Ghz, setting a new record in terms of clock speed.
Intel however, never wanting to concede its speed crown, was quick to go on the attack. In an email exchange with TGDaily, an Intel employee pointed out that the AMD 3DMark score of 45,474 submitted on January 12th 2009 was actually 1,170 points lower than a Core i7 score turned in by Intel just 8 days earlier. He also stated that the AMD results were achieved with unapproved drivers, and curiously were only run when the clock speed was at 4.481 Ghz. So as for who holds the 3DMark speed crown, I guess it all depends on who you ask.
It’s good to know that even if Phenom II didn’t quite bring them up to where they need to be, at least they have Intel taking notice of them again. And I for one can’t wait until I see the portable liquid helium cooling system that lets me duplicate these AMD scores at home! They are working on that right?
The news section of Maximum PC is bombarded constantly with updates on new up and coming cloud services. Cloud computing figureheads such as Google make a compelling case to start moving our lives online, but what about bulk storage? Plenty of competing companies offer a variety of services to share your pictures, music, and documents, but they tend to be stand alone offerings. Many users in search of good old fashioned bulk online storage have settled on services such as Microsoft Skydrive, or Amazon S3 with Jungle Disk. Others have even gone so far as to hack Gmail accounts into temporary storage, but many have wondered when Google would offer something like this natively.
The answer to this question may be fast approaching with a service they are rumored to be calling “GDrive”. According to a description snipped from Google Pack’s code, enterprising blogger Brian Ussery has uncovered the following description. “GDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents. GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device - be it from your desktop, web browser or cellular phone”. If this description holds true, it will defiantly give competing services something to worry about. The ability to upload any file securely online, and access it from any platform is truly a compelling idea. The questions that still remain are when, and how much?
What is your favorite way to archive files online?
USNews's David LaGesse reports that Charter Communications is about to 10-up its high-speed rivals Verizon and Comcast by rolling out a 60Mbps broadband service (Verizon and Comcast currently offer 50Mbps in some markets).
Maybe the aliens only hate Microsoft? After the company’s recent red ring around the rosy of ker-splosions, the idea's certainly not implausible. And now, a new player's bumbling onto the stage: the Games for Windows edition of Epic’s Gears of War.
Apparently, the game’s digital certificate walked toward the light on January 28, causing players to receive the following error message: "You cannot run the game with modified executable code. Please reinstall the game."
Microsoft and Epic are, as expected, staying up long past their bedtimes in order to mop up this mess, but have yet to give an ETA for their fix.
“Yes, this was a surprise to us too,” said Epic Games programmer “joeGraf.” “We aren’t casting blame or chewing anyone out. We’re trying to figure out how and why it happened so we can get it fixed.”
For now though, good ol’ Dr. Internet’s prescribed a simple remedy: set your system clock to any date before January 29, 2009.
PC gaming isn’t dead; it’s merely waiting for the day conditions are finally right for its return. Like Jesus! However, it looks like Our Lord and Savior (or incarnation of your particular religion’s greatest evil – you know, whichever) is posting a Craig’s List bulletin searching for a new pal for Friday night card games, because PC gaming’s “return” is nigh.
Finally, someone – in this case, fractiously monikered gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun – has conducted a semi-official survey of PC gamers’ buying habits. The result? RPS discovered that, of the 2,000 keyboard warriors interrogated, 93% have digitally purchased at least one PC game in the past 12 months, 71% bought more than four games digitally, and, through some flashy mathematics, that 47% of all PC purchases in 2008 were digital.
Assuming that RPS’ findings are more or less accurate, this means NPD’s figures would nearly need to be doubled before hitting the mark.
According to a recent study at the University of Rennes, Brittany, Brain Age’s mind workout is no better than playing Scrabble or completing Sudoku puzzles.
The study, which was conducted on a group of 67 10-year-old children, had four groups; the first two did a seven-week memory course using the Nintendo DS, the third group completed puzzles using just pencil and paper and the fourth group did no extra work outside of their school curriculum. According to the results, children who trained on the DS didn’t show any significant improvements in memory tests.
“The Nintendo DS is a technological jewel. As a game it’s fine, but it would be charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test,” stated Alain Lieury, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Rennes.
Despite this research, it’s expected that Brain Age will still sell very well thanks to Nintendo’s clever marketing, and gigantic casual gamer crowd (many of whom will probably never see this study).
The Japanese are known for a lot of things: tremendously cruel game shows, an insane passion for Hello Kitty, and drunken karaoke. But now, adding to that extremely distinguished list, is their very own robocop.
The new robocop, codenamed T-34, has recently been unveiled by Tmusk Co. and Alacom Co. for use by police agencies and larger companies that need better nighttime surveillance. The T-34 can move at a blazing 6 MPH and will be controlled by a security guard on a remote control or a cell phone interface designed by the firms. Real time images of what the robot sees will be transmitted to the operator, even on their cell phone.
The robot’s means of taking out would-be intruders consists of throwing a net at them to subdue them. The robot’s extremely quiet nature makes it good for sneaking up on crooks.
Currently, no plans exist to bring the T-34 to the U.S.
B-list actors and Hollywood washouts taking refuge on YouTube may soon find competition from more talented (or at least more popular) A-list actors. According to The New York Times, the social video site is close to inking a deal with the William Morris Agency that would have the Hollywod talent agency putting its clients in made-for-web shoots.
The deal is not yet complete and neither YouTube or the William Morris Agency are commenting on the situation, but The New York Times claims to have talked with people close to the situation who say this is YouTube's most ambitious attempt to date to expand its video library with professional level content.
Should the deal go through, it remains to be seen how many prominent actors will show an interest in acting for YouTube, but it should be noted that the William Morris Agency represents the likes of Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Quentin Tarantino, and more, as well as famous producers and musicians.