Following our Microsoft and Google successes and failure stories, we’ve heard some of you clamoring for an Apple Successes and Failures list. Since it also happens to be Apple's big week for its WWDC event, we decided now would be a good time to oblige and reflect on Apple's history. Yes, we’re the biggest PC fanboys around, but we can’t deny that Apple has had some financially successful computing devices.
With a stock price of $1,149 at the time of this posting, it's safe to say that Google has been on a roll lately. However, having said that, the company has had its fair share of misfires. With Google recently purchasing Nest for a massive 3.2 billion dollars, quite the audacious move, we couldn't help but reflect on the company's greatest triumphs and tribulations over the years.
In Steve Jobs' two stints at Apple, the company made some great products. Their most amazing products. But no one's perfect. Not even Steve Jobs. And Apple produced a few pieces of total crap during his reign. Here're the worst.
Brrzap! Not all hardware failures start that way, but there's a good chance they'll end up sounding like that as a result of you chucking an unruly piece of hardware through the nearest exit of your dwelling. Before you hulk up next time, know that there are ways to get a little bit more information about the status of your components. Applications that assess the health of your system's various parts serve a twofold purpose. You can deduce that equipment on your system might be going kaput or is otherwise screwed up in some fashion. Armed with that knowledge, you can then attempt to make an effective repair. If there is no way to repair your parts, you'll at least get an advanced notice that disaster is about to strike and that a trip to the electronics store might be in your soon-to-immediate future.
In this week's freeware roundup, I'm going to give you a list of applications that will help you assess your system's CPU, hard drives, optical drives, network connections, and memory. Don't delay in installing these applications--every second wasted puts you but one step closer to a catastrophic meltdown--or, at the very least, an unexpected failure in a critical piece of your PC. And nobody wants to be left hanging on the one day you really, really, really need to access the Internet, for example.
Click the jump, put on your medic's coat, and let's run some diagnostics!
Thanks to a recent report, a new worst-case scenario has been proposed that details the downfall of the modern GPS system, as we know it.
The report, distributed by the Government Accounting Office, states that our nation’s GPS could begin to fail sometime next year. Our GPS system has supposedly been extremely mismanaged, and when the aging equipment used to keep it all running begins to fail there will be no new satellites to take their place.
“If the Air Force does not meet its scheduled goals for development of GPS IIIA satellites, there will be an increased likelihood that… the overall GPS constellation will fall below the number of satellites required to provide the level of GPS service that the U.S. government commits to,” says the report.
It also notes that the Air Force has failed to build successful GPS satellites within the cost and schedule constraints provided to it.
As it turns out, both Seagate and Maxtor-brand SATA drives can be affected by firmware problems. So, how can you find out exactly which models may be on the naughty list and when Seagate has a firmware fix that's ready for prime time? Join us after the jump for details.
According to news site The Register, Seagate's 1TB Barracuda hard drives are giving up the ghost "at an alarming rate." Users all across the globe have started complaining of lockups, non-detection in the BIOS, 0GB reported disc size, and other ailments, as reported by The Register and forum threads like the one at MSFN (Microsoft Software Forum Network).
If true, the problem appears to affect Barracuda 7200.11 drives made in Thailand (ST3100034AS) with firmware SD15. Users claim the reported failures are higher than what would be considered normal for hard drives, and adding insult to injury, some users are complaining of deleted and edited posts in an 18+ page support thread on Seagate's own forum.
And for you conspiracy theorists out there, while no Seagate Knowledge Base article yet exists on this specific topic, the company did recently reduce its bare drive warranty period from 5 to 3 years. For you non-conspiracy theorists, that means your drive is still under warranty.
Are any of you having problems with Seagate's 1TB drive? Hit the jump and post your experience, good or bad.
Update 1/16/09 - Seagate Responds
Seagate sent us an update regarding the failures and what steps potentially affected users can take to both resolve the issue and recover data. Full statement after the jump:
As we reported earlier this year, Nvidia GeForce 8M series mobile GPUs have seen an abnormally high failure rate . VR-Zone and The Inquirer report that Nvidia has a solution for its OEM laptop partners: buy their new mobile GPUs instead.
The old GPU is known as the NB8E-SE, and is used, according to VR-Zone, in notebooks running the GeForce 8700M GT, 8800M GS, and GeForce 9650M GS. The new GPU, the NB8E-SET (aka the G84-751) uses Hitachi underfill packaging for more reliability.
If you're in the market for a new Nvidia-powered notebook computer, it's worth finding out from the laptop maker if they've switched to the new GPU already. However, what should you do if your new (or not-so-new) notebook has one of the old-design GPUs onboard?
To find out what your options are, join us after the jump.
By now everyone is familiar with the problems Nvidia has had with its notebook GPUs, which resulted in an "abnormal failure rate" for what remains an unspecified number of graphics chips. But throughout all the speculation, including accusations that whatever problem has been plaguing the chip maker might also be affecting desktop units as well, Nvidia has avoided speaking out on the issue at any length. Until now, thanks to some prodding by AMD.
Earlier this week AMD's Packaging and Interconnect Director, Neil McLellan, went on the semi-offensive and said Nvidia not only uses inferior materials for its chip package design, but that the company just doesn't care as much about packaging technologies as AMD does, according to The Tech Report. Ouch. Those comments didn't sit well with Nvidia, who fired back in a letter in defense of its position.
"In his recent commentary on chip packaging, Mr. McLellan makes a number of speculative assertions about NVIDIA's people, products and philosophy," Nvidia wrote. "In his interview McLellan asserts that High lead bumps are more prone to fatigue. What he fails to note is that AMD currently uses High lead bumps on their CPU line -- a device well known to undergo high thermal stress, and also go through lots of power cycling."
Nvidia went on to talk about High Lead bumps being used in "10s of billions of semiconductor devices" and a whole lot more, but stopped short of saying what exactly caused earlier problems with its 8M series.
We sat down with Microsoft to hear the company’s side of the Vista story. What lessons have been learned following the worst Windows launch in the company’s history? Is Microsoft doing enough to regain PC users’ faith?
Way back in January 2007, after years of hype and anticipation, Microsoft unveiled Windows Vista to a decidedly lukewarm reception by the PC community, IT pros, and tech journalists alike. Instead of a revolutionary next-generation OS that was chock-full of new features, the Windows community got an underwhelming rehash with very little going for it. Oh, and Vista was plagued with performance and incompatibility problems to boot.
Since then, the PC community has taken the idea that Vista is underwhelming and turned it into a mantra. We’ve all heard about Vista’s poor network transfer speeds, low frame rates in games, and driver issues—shoot, we’ve experienced the problems ourselves. But over the last 18 months, Vista has undergone myriad changes, including the release of Service Pack 1, making the OS worth a second look. It’s time we determine once and for all whether we should stick with XP for the next 18 months while we wait for Windows 7. But before we answer that question, let’s review exactly what’s wrong with Windows Vista.