GPU maker still paying the price for defective chips
Several years ago, there was a big brouhaha over Nvidia's notebook GPUs failing at an "abnormal rate" due to a manufacturing defect. Nvidia would go on to settle a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. for $2 million, and it looks as though it will spend a similar amount to settle another suit brought on behalf of Canadians who also purchased systems equipped with a faulty GPU.
Outdated laws that have seen people arrested for leeching off open Wi-Fi networks certainly elicit a few chuckles over its absurdity, but a very real Canadian law could, if interpreted literally, result in mass arrests during the upcoming federal elections on May 2nd. Section 329 of the Canadian Elections Act forbids the transmission of local polling station results across time zones, and it just so happens Twitter and Facebook would fit the definition of a “transmission medium”.
A Canadian gamer suspected her ISP of throttling traffic for games like World of Warcraft, so she put her complaint on paper and sent it to the government's telecom regulator. Her action paid off, with the government ordering her ISP, Rogers, to look into the matter and report back. Rogers did look into it, and admitted that it's throttling WoW in some instances, but claims it's not on purpose.
Canadian ISPs are notorious for subjecting their users to atrociously low data caps. Needless to say, some of the more restrictive data plans are unfavorable to bandwidth-intensive activities like watching streaming movies. Mindful of this fact, Netflix has now launched a new video quality management option for its Canadian users, letting them select the video quality that best suits their data budget. Hit the jump to know more about the different video quality settings now available to Canadian Netflix users.
It's been a long wait for Motorola to drop its Wi-Fi only Xoom tablet, and those living in Canada will have to hang tight just a little bit longer. Motorola on Monday announced it will begin shipping and selling its Wi-Fi Xoom slate to Canadians beginning sometime in April, though stopped short of offering up an exact release date, or price for that matter.
While Motorola didn't want to get into pricing details, you can find the Xoom for pre-order on both Best Buy's and Future Shop's Canadian portals, with each one offering up the Wi-Fi tablet for $600, the same price as here in the States.
"Motorola Xoom brings PC-like power to a tablet, providing consumers with an easy-to-use, lightning fast experience designed with fun and productivity in mind, and we're thrilled to bring it to Canadians," said Jeff Miller, corporate vice president, Motorola Mobility.
Likewise, Canadians should be thrilled to have access to a viable alternative to Apple's first and second generation iPad tablets. As we noted in our review, the Xoom has a shot at being an iPad killer, but it's critical to get the Wi-Fi only version out there in the wild for people have no need or desire for the 3G radio, which carries a pricing premium.
Canadians have been faced with deteriorating bandwidth caps for years now, but a recent decision by countries telecommunications regulator has put the final nail in the coffin for heavy users. Most of the countries large established Cable and DSL providers have been offering caps that range anywhere from 25-80GB for quite some time now, but those in search higher limits have always had the option to turn to the smaller ISP’s which offered higher or unlimited plans to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Last week however, the CRTC sided with Bell Canada who asked the regulator to implement the same caps on smaller wholesale customers, which essentially ends the era of unlimited bandwidth in Canada. To put this in perspective, a typical 5Mbps plan from a DSL reseller in the Toronto area cost about $40 for unlimited service as of last week, a plan which has been replaced today by a $32 package which grants a mere 25GB per month.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada joins Australia and New Zealand as one of three member countries where unlimited Internet service is practically impossible to find, and a lack of competition means this won’t be getting better anytime soon. Bandwidth caps in the US haven’t yet reached this level of oppression, but it’s the start of a disturbing trend that could very well make its way across the border eventually. Canadians who wish to fight the decision should check out the Open Media petition which, at last count, was over 137,000 strong.
The average Canadian spends more time online than a user from any other country, according to a new report from comScore. The data indicates that, on average, a Canadian spends more than 2,500 minutes online a month. We'll save you the trip to the Google calculator; that's nearly 42 hours. Israel was the runner up with only 2,300 minutes per month.
These numbers are buoyed by the fact that a huge proportion of Canadians are online. Internet penetration in Canada is 68%. By contrast, it is only 59% in the US. Add to that the fact that Canadians watch more YouTube videos per capita than the rest of the world, and the stereotypes begin to melt away.
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have also proved very popular up north. These services were adopted early and continue to be used by a disproportionate number of Canadians. Our friends to the north are also more active on Wikipedia than their population would lead one to believe, making over 200,000 edits per month. It's clear; Canada loves the Internet. Time to catch up everyone.
Given that Intel's Atom processor is nearly ubiquitous with netbooks, it's fair to say the world's largest chip maker has a vested interest in seeing the netbook sector survive the emerging tablet era. To make sure that happens, Intel put its AppUp store in the hands of CompUSA, TigerDirect, and Best Buy Canada.
The AppUpSM center has nearly 2,000 free and paid apps to play around with running the gamut from social networking to gaming, productivity, travel, and the like. And just as Microsoft did with games for Windows Phone 7, all apps in the AppUpSM center include a try-before-you-buy feature.
In addition to free healthcare, Newegg, and some of the best bacon in the world, Canada now has access to Netlfix's streaming service, the online movie rental company announced.
"Jessie Becker here, delighted to tell you that today our neighbors to the north (or 'neighbours,' to use the Canadian spelling) can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes from Netflix to TVs and computers for only CDN$7.99 a month," Jessie Becker, of Head of Marketing, Netflix, announced in a blog post.
This marks the first time Netflix has ventured outside of the U.S, and depending on how things go, more territories are likely to follow.
"For now, we're focused on Canada," Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix, said. "If we succeed in Canada, we will certainly look at other markets.
Hastings said "Western Europe, Latin America, Asia, or Russia" could all be future destinations, adding "It's unlikely to be Africa, but other than that, all continents are open."
Acer, the second biggest PC vendor on the planet, is taking its aggressively styled Predator gaming PC line north of the border with the introduction of the AG7750-E2112.
"Designed to conquer and destroy, the Aspire Predator boasts a rugged, intimidating chassis as well as super power and speed," said Susan Hu, retail desktop product management for Acer Canada. "It's a smoking hot gaming rig delivering eye-popping graphics and dynamic audio for a jaw dropping experience that will fire up even hard core gamers. Plus, plenty of room for future upgrades will assist gamers in their quest to reign supreme in the new world order."
Settle down Hu, we build Dream Machines, remember? But we will admit that Acer's latest Predator barges into Canada with plenty of power, albeit for a fist full of moosebucks. Starting at $1,800 CAD (about $1,750 USD), the AG7750-E2112 comes armed with an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 9GB of DDR3 memory, Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 videocard, and a 1TB hard drive. Supplementary ammo comes in the form of 11 USB 2.0 ports, a pair of eSATA ports, two Ethernet ports, two DVI ports, HDMI, multi-card reader, lighting effects, and other odds and ends.
Interestingly, the U.S. version packs a slightly bigger punch with an Intel Core i7 930 chip and 1.5TB of hot-swappable storage. It also costs a little bit more with a starting price tag of $2,000.
The AG7750-E2112 is available now at "technology and electronics retailers" in both the U.S. and Canada.