What's that? It hasn't even been 3 months since the last podcast, and already a new one? Your eyes don't deceive you. This week, Nathan, Alex, Alan and Gordon discuss all of last week's big news, including HP dropping the Touchpad, Steve Jobs resigning from Apple, a few major product announcements, and more. Download Episode 178 of The No BS Podcast for all that, plus reader questions and Gordon's rant of the week.
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 not standing by.
Audiophiles, hear this: The amazing Asus Xonar Essence STX finally faces a true competitor.
Creative’s Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium is startling in several ways. A gaming and music enthusiast’s audio card, this X-Fi is ready for Windows 7 (and Vista) out of the box and comes armed with Creative Alchemy, which restores multichannel positional audio for legacy Windows XP and Vista games. Watch out, though: The sheer fidelity of the card’s output will really make you notice any shortcomings in the quality of your speakers’ or headset’s sound. Another thing you’ll notice: Its analog outputs don’t include an option for more than two speakers. Users of 5.1 or 7.1 systems without optical or digital audio inputs or a decoder will probably want to think about another soundcard because of this.
With everyone’s lives on display via services like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, it’s gotten to the point where it’s getting hard to find anything new to talk about. Fortunately, TED, our Cool Site of the Week, plays host to enough intriguing content that after one visit, you’ll never be at a loss for a topic to jaw about again.
Creative’s Live! Cam was one of the smallest and lightest of the cams we tested. That’s a plus for portability, though its inflexible clip for mounting to a monitor and its inability to swivel right and left made it a little inconvenient to position. Image quality was in line with the other cams in its class, both in good and poor lighting conditions.
Creative wants you to know that they've just launched the world's first truly 3D audio headsets, unlike those other 3D sets you may have read about, which apparently aren't the real deal. So how exactly can Creative make that claim?
"Creative gaming headsets are the only headsets in the world to deliver a true 3D immersive experience -- with sound coming from around you, above you, and from below. As games have evolved and 3D video has become the norm, Creative headsets with THX TruStudio Pro are the perfect complement, providing gamers with a completely immersive, mind-blowing 3D audio and video experience," said Steve Erickson, VP and GM for audio and video at Creative.
THX purportedly had a hand in helping develop the new Sound Blaster 3D Tactic Alpha and 3D Sigma headsets, which use proprietary advanced algorithms to blast audio at your eardrums from above, below, and all around. From a hardware standpoint, the 3D Alpha comes with 40mm Neodymium drivers, a detachable noise-canceling mic, and a dual-mode USB 2.0 adapter that allows the headset to be used in analog mode.
The 3D Sigma boasts the same feature-set, except the drivers are 50mm and it comes with a steel core headband. These are also the first headsets to come with customizable profiles.
Look for the 3D Alpha and 3D Sigma to ship later this month for $60 and $90, respectively.
Normally, designing a headset for one specific game would limit you to a relatively small segment of the gaming community. But we’re talking World of Warcraft here—a game whose massive popularity makes a game-specific headset seem viable.
Enter the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset from Creative Labs. The headset uses a small USB dongle that broadcasts in the 2.4GHz range. We found the reception to be fairly good, allowing us to walk into a different room during use without static.
I have an Intel Core i7-940 coupled with an Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard and 6GB of Super Talent DDR3/1333 memory. My OS is 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium with Creative’s X-Fi XtremeGamer soundcard. I bought an upgrade version of Windows 7 and ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor; it said my audio device was not compatible. I downloaded the new Creative drivers and still got the same message. I have looked all over the Internet for a fix and I see a lot of people having the same problems with X-Fi cards.
Read the Doctor's answer to William's question after the jump.
Alright, Adobe Creative Suite 5, here's the deal: I really, really want to put my hands on all the neat features and general awesomeness you offer. That's not an admission of a fanboy, it's a gentle acknowledgment that this is the industry-leading suite of software for those that dabble with multimedia across a variety of formats.
That said, not all of us have a stock portfolio to dump off in an effort to raise the funds to purchase said Creative Suite. And this is the weekly Freeware Files column after all. Which leads us to a grand proposition: Can one recreate the best of Adobe's CS5 with freeware and open-source applications?
A long time in the making, Creative Technology today announced that its Creative Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset is now available for purchase.
"As the leading innovator in precision audio for PC gaming, we were well positioned to develop a headset that could live up to the high standards set forth by Blizzard Entertainment games," said Steve Erickson, VP and GM for Audio and Video at Creative. "The Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset is a result of this, providing an unprecedented combination of wireless technology, THX TruStudio PC technology for enriched audio performance, and a unique design that stands out from anything else available to gamers."
The headset comes with interchangeable headset lenses so your mom knows where your allegiance lies when she brings you dinner during a raid. Other features include oversized padded earcups, built-in rechargeable battery, VoiceFX technology, a detachable microphone, and an optional Voice Tap accessory to eliminate the need to put down the hot pocket and push a key to talk.
Pretty soon, it might be easier to list out companies not releasing an e-book reader than ones ones that are. Just as quickly as netbooks took off, digital e-book readers are fast becoming the next must-have portable device, as evidenced by the number of product announcements from a variety of players. The latest comes from Creative, who will look to make a splash with its Zii MediaBook.
According to Creative, the Zii MediaBook will be unlike any other e-reader on the market. The Zii will come with a touchscreen, text-to-speech, an SD memory card slot, and the ability to play video files and roam willy nilly across the Internet. That means you can probably expect WiFi, though whether integrated 3G connectivity comes as part of the deal remains to be seen.
Creative will also implement a strong social networking element to its device by offering users access to Facebook and Twitter while on the go.
The Zii MediaBook will face stiff competition from Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's nook (with a lowercase 'n') right from the outset, and it won't get any easier over time. Asus, MSI, ViewSonic, and several other companies are either working on e-readers of their own or have shown interest in the fast growing digital reader segment.