Google’s latest build of their extremely popular earth-browsing application, Google Earth features a total visual overhaul on the Big Apple, complete with photorealistic 3D models of most of Manhattan Island.
Go ahead and update your copy of Google Earth and fly yourself to New York City. Once you’ve turned on the 3D building layer tilt your view so that you can check out the buildings! If you’re feeling saucy, you can even boot in the up game flight-sim and pretend you’re one of the Blue Angels at San Francisco’s Fleet Week!
With any luck, this is a showing of what’s to come. As a native Seattleite and previous San Franciscan, I’m anxious to see my two favorite cities come to life in this fashion.
And when we say large, we absolutely mean it. Facebook, having just hit the 130 million active user mark at the beginning of December, is already up to a whopping 140 million.
Facebook’s projected growth was about 300,000 to 400,000 active users per day for most of the fourth quarter. Recently, that number has gone as high as 600,000 to 700,000 per day. Should Facebook’s growth continue at that rate, it’ll add up to 20 million new users in December alone and reach 200 million active users by March.
What’s even more fun, is that Facebook has released numbers on how their users spend their time on the site (creepy, huh?). 13 million user update their statuses at least once each day, 700 million photos are uploaded to the site each month, 4 million videos are uploaded each month, 15 million pieces of content (including web links, news stories, blog posts, notes and photos) are shared each month, and there are 19 million active groups on the site.
So what do all these numbers mean? Simply put, the number of users Facebook has is greatly increasing, as is their engagement on the site.
Looking for something to do over the holiday break or need an excuse to duck away from the in laws to regain your sanity? Crytek's got your back. The developer announced it is serving up the multiplayer shooter Crysis Wars free-to-play for 10 days, starting tomorrow at 11:00 AM PT and good through December 28th until 11:59 PM PT. You can snag your holiday trial at MyCrysis.com, which the developer says includes the latest version of the game with brand new maps Savanna and Frost. You'll need to register to receive a unique key.
Also just released is a new patch for Crysis Wars, which comes less than a month after patch 1.2 was released.. Patch 1.3 includes the Holiday Map Pack (two above mentioned maps), and fixes the loading of custom assets in downloaded maps.
According to a recent report enterprise virtual worlds are much more effective than web conferencing for conducting business. The report is based on the idea that possessing the ability to expand, introduce characters and produce virtual presentations in a simulated environment will easier and more cost effective.
In fact, the technology has already been demonstrated. At Fall IDF 2007 Pat Gelsinger gave an on-stage presentation lasting nearly a half-hour entirely though Second Life. He displayed how simple it was for users to create their on avatars, and engage in virtual business. It’s even expected that shopping will take a virtual turn sometime soon, with online shoppers viewing texture maps instead of products and virtual sales assistants instead of store clerks.
While this idea is cool, it sounds shockingly familiar. Either way, the potential for twenty-something, extremely fit avatars walking into business meetings seems extremely high, and that’s an idea that I can only promote.
Speculation has been rife about the possible use Microsoft might make of the “Kumo” name. The general consensus amongst the speculators has been that Kumo would be the new name of Microsoft’s Live Search service. But a new trademark application filed by Microsoft hints that the new name might be used for a few other MS services as well.
The Kumo trademark is intended for use in sundry segments, including advertising, telecommunications, education, training and entertainment, and not just for online search. Microsoft has also registered quite a few domains with the name Kumo in them. Maybe Microsoft believes that a brand new name might just turn the tide in its favor as far as the high-stakes online search market goes.
So you opened your advent calendar today, and what did you find? A new episode of the No BS Podcast, of course. In our penultimate podcast of 2008, we find time to not care about Apple’s recent announcement that they’re pulling out of Macworld Expo, discuss the merits of Nvidia’s new Ion netbook platform, and speculate about what we’ll see at CES next month. Join the podcast gang as we send off this past year (next week is a special all-rant edition), visit the lab, and answer your tech questions.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by. For the love of all that's holy people, if you guys don't start asking tech questions, we're going to change the name to the Nothing But Undead podcast...
Creative takes another stab at wireless audio streaming with the Creative Wireless Receiver, an AC-powered 4.0x2.75-inch block that you plug into powered speakers or your hi-fi system. The $70 device receives audio streams from a transmitter, such as Creative’s Xmod Wireless or X-Fi Notebook card (purchased separately), connected to your PC.
Micron this week announced it has been working with Sun Microsystems to develop a new single-level cell (SLC) NAND technology the company claims "dramatically extends the lifespan of flash-based storage." Just how dramatic? According to Micron, production devices are capable of one million write cycles, offering the highest available write and erase cycling of any NAND technology currently available.
"Micron is pleased to work with Sun on this landmark achievement, enabling the use of flash in new applications that were previously not possible because of the inherent write/erase cycle limitations of standard SLC and MLC NAND," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron’s memory group. "We expect this technology to revolutionize the enterprise storage hierarchy and be adopted by a wide range of transaction-intensive applications, including solid state drives and storage systems, disk caching, as well as networking and industrial applications."
Micron said it is sampling its Enterprise NAND in densities up to 32Gb (that's gigabits, not gigabytes), with volume production on slate for the first quarter of 2009. The company also plans to unveil SLC and multi-level cell (MLC) enterprise versions of its 34nm NAND process early next year.
In October, we spec’ed out a respectable $800 gaming PC in our monthly Buyer’s Guide feature. While the price and parts looked promising, we had to see for ourselves if this sub-$1000 system could hold its ground against today’s top rigs. After all, if you don’t need to spend your next month’s paycheck on performance parts, why should you?
We had to make some careful choices to keep this machine within our constrained budget, but in the end we were surprised by this little PC’s kick ass performance. Want to learn how to build it yourself? We’ll walk you through our meticulous build process, explain why we chose each component, and give you our final thoughts on the benchmark results this little-PC-that-could throws down.
If ever there was a reason to consider switching IM clients to Pidgin or Trillian, it would be the concept of in-chat IM ads. That's exactly what Yahoo has been experimenting with in its Yahoo Messenger instant messaging software since last August.
"Ads in Yahoo Messenger will allow us to put even more resources behind developing and delivering valuable free features and services," Yahoo said. "Yahoo Messenger is a free service to our users, and our goal is to provide a useful and relevant experience while ensuring this is a profitable business for Yahoo. Yahoo is inherently an advertising-driven business."
The test ends this month, but Yahoo isn't offering so much as a hint as to what it will decide to do once the test is finished. However, it might not take much to convince the search company to implement in-chat IM ads. The company has been struggling financially and recently laid off over 1,500 employees. On the bright side, the ads don't appear to be terribly intrusive. Yahoo claim users will see ads at most once per day.