Maximum PC readers (and anyone with an internet connection) are undoubtedly familiar with Wikipedia, the free online community-based encyclopedia with topics ranging from modern art to the history of vomiting. But what you may not realize is that a for-profit spin-off exists that continues to try and strike gold on the coattails of Wikipedia. But instead of being a cash cow, founder Jimmy Wale's is scrambling to save what might be a sinking ship.
Citing an un-named tipster, ValleyWag.com reports the 43-person company has laid off 30 percent of its staff, or almost a third of its employees. Word on the web is that Wikia is suffering significant losses in cash, in part because of offices located in San Francisco, New York, and Poland. It also doesn't help that potential cash makers like Wikia Search have proved unpopular, and without another $14 million cash infusion from investors like Bessemer Venture Partners and Amazon.com, Wikia might not be long for the web.
In the most pointed paragraph of the letter, the MPAA’s Jeff Williams writes:
“Forgive us if we take offense when the EFF and other activist organizations that continually take the side of those who profit from widespread copyright infringement attack our industry as one that stifles innovation. It's a desperate throw-back to the Napster days of old when they pull out this tired and weathered playbook. It's not 2001 anymore.”
The letter also argues that Hollywood and the internet are no longer at odds, and that legal services like iTunes and Hulu represent ways in which the industry is embracing innovation.
What do you think? Is the MPAA right to say that “The days of Hollywood being from Mars and Silicon Valley being from Venus are simply over?” Hit the jump and let us know.
Last week’s Gmail outage, which lasted for about 28 hours, has once again highlighted a major shortcoming of cloud computing and web-based services. The incidence exemplifies cloud computing skeptics’ greatest concern that unheralded disruptions in cloud computing services might cost businesses’ and individuals dearly.
Some Gmail users – including paying Google Apps subscribers - couldn’t access their accounts between 16 and 17 October. Incensed users expressed their indignation across the internet, while Mark, a Google Apps adviser, provided regular updates on the status of the issue, as long as it lasted.
Earlier this year, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service remained unavailable for 8 hours. That particular episode had also spawned similar questions regarding cloud computing. Companies will have to come out with ways to keep outages to a negligible count.
If you’re a news junkie, chances are you use RSS feeds. According to a new study about the technology, that puts you decidedly in the minority, and it looks like that’s not going to change any time soon. The report found that only 11% of those surveyed used RSS feeds, and that that percentage is unlikely to see a large increase in the future, unless changes are made in how RSS is promoted.
The study found that of those people who don’t use RSS, 81% aren’t interested in using it in the future, seriously limiting the technology’s potential for growth. In the report, analysts explained the problem as follows:
“Unless marketers make a move to hook them—and to try to convert their apathetic counterparts—RSS will never be more than a niche technology.”
It’s not all bad news for RSS, though. The report mentions that feed usage has risen from 2% to 11% in the last three years, and that about half of marketers have added feeds to their websites.
Do you think RSS is doomed to be a tool only for the technological top tenth? Let us know after the jump.
Everyone knows that technology is an important part of the world that we live in (well, just about everyone), and that includes the Democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama.
Should Obama be elected President of the United States (please, don’t let the comments turn into partisan bickering!), he lists in his plan for the country the appointment of a Chief Technology Officer. The CTO would primarily be responsible for getting broadband Internet access into more American homes (shockingly, only 23 out of every 100 homes have such access, putting us in 15th place among nations on that particular statistic). They’d also be responsible for advancing green tech, thanks to a $50 billion venture capital fund.
As mundane as the job might sound, there are some pretty big names being thrown around for the position. The likes of Vint Cerf (Google), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Ed Felten (Princeton) are all potentials. But who cares what that one thinks, who would you want sitting in the biggest tech seat in America?
Piracy continues to be the bane of both software developers/publishers and consumers alike. Electronic Arts caused an uproar among gamers when it decided to use a modified version of SecuROM for Spore, which ultimately ended up punishing paying customers while pirates still got their hands on the game through torrent sites from the outset. Is there a solution?
Microsoft hopes to answer that question by taking the fight against software piracy global. In what Microsoft is calling Global Anti-Piracy Day (not to be confused with the International Talk Like a Pirate Day), the company will use a mishmash of education and enforcement tactics in 49 countries, which includes filing 20 lawsuits against software resellers in the U.S. allegedly selling pirated copies of Office 2007 Enterprise, Windows XP Pro, Office 2003 Pro, and Office 2007 Pro.
"One of the reasons we believe this announcement is important is it consolidates a lot of our activities in connection with our partnerships with governments, our customers and partners,” said Bonnie MacNaughton, Microsoft senior attorney.
Different tactics will be used in different countries. For instance, Microsoft is partnering with the American Chamber of Commerce to launch an anti-piracy educational blog in Brazil, whereas in Italy the company has begun an employee anti-piracy ambassador program. Regardless of specific strategy, it's all part of an effort to reduce the estimated $50 billion pirated software is costing the industry on a global scale.
Hit the jump and let us know if you think Microsoft's approach will work or not.
Building a capable PC has turned into a stupid-cheap affair as components continue to fall in price. This is helped in large part by slumping DRAM pricing, which has yet to recover no matter how much DRAM makers would like it to. And it doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.
According to Frank Huang, chairman of Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC), memory chip prices will continue to sag so long as the economy struggles, and isn't expected to start an upward swing until at least the second half 2009. Huang pointed out that DRAM prices have already dropped close to cost, forcing manufacturers to cut production. But despite a 20 percent production decrease by the end of the year, the effects on the market won't be seen until December, which will fall well shy of a rebound in DRAM pricing.
Take advantage of the low prices while you can, but if Huang's assessment proves correct, you needn't feel rushed.
Whether you're looking to purchase a standalone Blu-ray player or going for the entertainment combo kill with Sony's Playstation 3 console, the cost of entry remains a prohibiting factor for many consumers. This gets compounded by the fact that upscaling DVD players cost far less than Blu-ray while still offering a better picture than standard DVDs. But what if you could pick up a Blu-ray player for under $100?
Now you can, in a roundabout sort of way. Best Buy has started selling Insignia's NS-BRDVD Blu-ray player for a cent under $200 and with it a coupon book for $100 worth of Blu-ray flicks from Disney, Touchstone, and Miramax. The player itself is pretty spartan with few of the features found on higher end models, and it remains to be seen whether $100 in free movies will prove enticing enough (for $1 extra per month, Netflix subscribers can add Blu-ray titles to their queue), but it is the least expensive Blu-ray player around. Kinda.
Know of any good Blu-ray player deals? Hit the jump and post a link!
Rumor has it that Intel will finally launch its Core i7 platform on November 17, just under a month from now, with a handful of processors clocked from 2.66GHz (Core i7-920) on up to 3.2GHz (Core i7-965XE). That date can't come quick enough for enthusiasts who have patiently put off building a new PC or upgrading an existing one. But if you're also waiting for a mobile version of Intel's new architecture, get cozy because it might be awhile.
Codenamed Clarksfield, Intel says the mobile version won't even go into production until the second half of 2009, and it's anyone's guess as to how long after that the chips will be made available commercially. The news doesn't come as a total surprise, however, as Clarksfield will be a main component in the next version of Intel's Centrino platform, keeping in mind that Centrino 2 is barely out of the silicon womb.
If Dell's Latitude XT Tablet PC is any indication, expect a few growing pains as multi-touch technology moves into the mainstream. More than a few users have voiced displeasure with the Latitude's N-Trig digitizer. Tablet PC and mobile PC news site GottaBeMobile.com has been particularly vocal about the as-yet unresolved quirks.
"More times than not, whenever I reboot, I’ll get N-Trig digitizer not found errors or applet loading errors," writes Rob Bushway, Editor-in-Chief for GottaBeMobile, "which render the auto and dual mode useless. The digitizer will only start working again after consecutive reboots. In addition, I still have problems coming out of standby with the digitizer accidentally clicking items while the pen is just hovering. In addition to the digitizer issues, I still have a recurring problem with my wireless card - it’ll just stop working and the only thing that will turn it back on is a reboot."
Bushway goes on to claim that he's worked with Dell engineering support to come up with solutions to no avail, with Dell reassuring him the company is working on a resolution. But Bushway's most frustrated by the lack of public acknowledgment from both Dell and N-Trig that problems exist.
Any Latitude XT Tablet PC users out there suffering similar woes? Hit the jump and sound off.