Episode 189 of the No BS Podcast ushers in a new era for Maximum PC. It is Nathan Edwards' farewell podcast (He's moving to Texas, y'all), but with every ending there comes a new beginning. New Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang makes his podcast debut alongside Editor Josh Norem and Maximum PC Editor-in-Chief Katherine Stevenson. Our special guest star this week is Gordon Mah Ung's soundboard! (WARNING: ridiculous times and swear words ahead)
Have you bought a preconfigured big-box type PC sometime in the last five years? If so, you might have been slightly screwed over. That's what the European Commission claims, at least. Today, the EC announced that it is investigating 13 optical drive suppliers and two major PC OEMs for antitrust violations as part of an alleged long-standing "worldwide cartel" that ran a "bid-rigging" scheme to get the best prices for the parties involved.
Having to lug around bulky accessories and peripherals with your Ultrabook or tablet PC kind of negates the whole idea behind thin and light form factors. At the same time, some people find an external optical disc drive (ODD) to be an essential companion, and if you're one of those people, you may want to slap Samsung with a high-five for announcing its new SE-218BB external DVD writer.
Modern HDTVs can read all kinds of technology; DLNA streamed files, external hard drives, flash drives and heck, even SD cards. One thing they can’t read is data from USB optical drives. Or rather, make optical drives one thing HDTVs couldn’t read: Plextor’s new PX-612U External Slim DVD/CD Writer connects via USB and can play information stored on discs, thanks to some technical trickery that convinces TVs that the device is actually an external hard drive.
Last month, Samsung launched an ultrabook under the Series 5 brand in its home market of South Korea. The company, however, has remained tightlipped on any plans for a U.S. release of the Series 5 ultrabook. Thanks to a couple of premature pre-order listings on online retailer J&R, we now know the price of both models.
More and more folks are turning to cloud services like Dropbox to store their oh-so-precious private data, but when it comes to truly valuable info, it's still a good idea to keep a physical backup disc around in case those virtual services crap out on you. Then again, CDs and DVDs scratch waaaaay too easily and have limited shelf lives. If you've ever been screwed by a big gouge across an important backup disc, you might want to check out the new optical media that's hitting the market soon. Supposedly, it lasts forever, and the Department of Defense vouches for its resiliency.
Native media playback support has been steadily improving in Windows over the years, but what most people don’t realize is that this functionality comes at a price. Dozens of third party licensing agreements are needed to playback all the different forms of audio and video you’re likely to stumble across, and over the years Dolby has benefited quite handsomely from the inclusion of its Dolby Digital Plus pack into Microsoft’s operating systems.
Years ago a single- or double-speed CD-ROM drive without burning capabilities would set you back several hundred dollars. And today? A twenty-dollar bill buys you a high-speed DVD burner. Even Blu-ray drives aren't all that expensive anymore. Are optical drives on their way out? With ubiquitous broadband, streaming media, cloud storage, and digital downloads taking over, that could very well be the case, and it's already happening in the mobile world.
"I remember when a TV was a TV," my grandmother told me the other day, "And a radio was a radio. Now you can get radio stations on your TV! And TV stations on your computer!" Her look of amazement confirmed that, in fact, (grand)parents just don't understand, but before you smirk at the story, remember that we may be in my incredulous grandmother's shoes one day. Consider the currently-in-development ISOstick: it's a flash drive and an optical drive in one!
Conventional wisdom says you can't teach an old dog new tricks, just don't try pitching such nonsense to the engineers at Samsung, who found a way to make DVD writers newsworthy. Samsung's new SH-222AB internal DVD writer is like many other modern optical drives, except this one boasts a fast 'Lead-In' that Samsung claims considerably reduces disc recognition time from the moment you pop a disc into the drive to the when it loads.