Gaming consoles are more and more positioned as entertainment centers. All well and good, as they’ve got the power necessary to live up to the task. One thing they don’t have, however, is hard drive space. And adding an external drive, for some reason is more of a chore than it deserves to be. Datel says it’s got a solution: the Space Dock, which provides a simple plug-and-play method for using an external hard drive with a PS3 or Xbox 360.
The Datel Space Dock is a 2.5-inch/3.5-inch SATA HDD docking station. It will handle SATA hard drives up to 1TB in size, and transfer data at up to 480Mbs. To use it with either a PS2 or Xbox 360 just plug it in. The Space Dock also connects to your PC and, using the “unique Memory Manager Software”, you can drag and drop movies, music, and pictures onto the external drive. What’s more, the Space Dock can be used to manage back-ups of your console’s internal hard drive.
Wonderful, except Datel’s product description is a bit sparse. For example, the folks at Gizmodo aptly note there’s no instructions on set-up other than plug it in. Gizmodo assumes that the drive is automatically formatted, with all necessary files for compatibility installed. But we all know what happens when we assume, don’t we? Furthermore, Gizmodo reckons the back-up feature only works with the PS3.
While the Space Dock is a good idea, it may be an even better idea to wait for a bit more information about the Space Dock to trickle out before plunking down $40 for one.
Being a PC enthusiast and a gadget nerd go pretty much hand in hand, but have you ever wondered what it actually cost the manufacturers to assemble your army of iPod's and book reader's? Well wonder no longer because marketing research group iSuppli and Business Week have teamed up to tear down over 25 popular gadgets and have come up with what they consider a pretty accurate ball park picture of the manufacturing costs. Some of the results appear to be a bit out of date, particularly when it comes to the consoles, but it still gives a pretty good overview of how much money each product is raking in.
As you would expect most gaming consoles continue to sell at a loss, but many of the popular new smart phones actually make a fair bit of money when you factor in the kickbacks they probably get from the carriers. You can check out the full article to read about all 25 of the gadgets from the tear down, or review our sampling below for some of the more interesting snippets to save you time.
Hey, did you hear? Netflix plans to bring 1080p streaming and 5.1 surround sound to its streaming HD video service to later this year. Pretty rad, right?
It would be, except Netflix is taking a mulligan on the recent announcement, and now says that it incorrectly acknowledged 1080p streaming in the company's 2010 roadmap. Boo, hiss! Netflix didn't say why it pulled the about-face, though it probably has to do with bandwidth. While not official, Netflix says the requirement to stream 720p HD content on an HD-compatible box is "typically" 5Mbps. It's a safe bet that 1080p would require more, and maybe Netflix feels there aren't enough streaming subscribers with the fast enough broadband speeds.
That means for the foreseeable future, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners are stuck with "underwhelming" 720p. That's right, in somewhat related news, Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications for Netflix, downplayed the streaming service when discussing what Wii owners are missing.
"PS3 and Xbox users have 1 in 17 titles available in HD, and it's streamed in 720... it's not in 1080, and it's not in 5.1 surround sound or anything," Swasey said during an interview with The Wire. "So the HD experience at Netflix Instant Watching isn't that overwhelming. It's a little bit underwhelming. So the Wii folks aren't going to miss that much."
Hackers set their sights on cracking a new video game console just as soon as it arrives. Their tenacity can usually bear fruits within months of the console's release unless the machine happens to be the PlayStation 3, which has remained unconquered for more than 3 years.
But finally, a hacker claims to have sneaked past the PS3's supposedly inviolable defenses. The PS3's ramparts may have successfully fended against hackers and the prospect of unsigned code for “3 years, 2 months, 11 days” but it took an eminent hacker just 5 weeks to come up with a hack. The man behind the crack, George Hotz, aka Geohot, has a penchant for hacking impregnable gadgets. A couple of years ago, a 17-year-old Geohot became the first person to jailbreak the iPhone.
Hotz revealed on his blog that he cracked the PS3 using a combination of hardware and software hacks. Although he claims to have gained full read/write access and the power to “make the system do whatever I want,” Geohot is in no hurry to release his hack, which is avowedly quite unstable and needs some fine-tuning. "If I posted what I have now, people would get fed up with it," he told El Reg in an interview.
Have you been holding off on buying that new console for fear of the setup process? Does the thought of wasting a whole ten minutes of you time plugging everything in and turning it on make you physically ill? Well then, Target will totally have you covered later this month. Yes, for a mere $99 Target will come to your house and set up your console.
If you are rich enough to go for this, Target will plug in the console to your TV, configure it, put it on your network, and setup online accounts. Technically, it’s a third party, Zip Installation, that’s doing the work, but Target is putting their name on it.
At a hundred bucks, I imagine it will be a tough sell. Would you, or anyone you know pay for this service?
This week's edition of the Freeware Files may seem a little unusual, but hear me out. A number of you faithful Freeware Files readers are going to be receiving (or have received) awesome gifts from Santa/your parents/Best Buy this holiday season. Trust me--I checked the list myself. Caught up in the frenzy of new toys, phones, and gaming devices to play with, you've probably neglected your poor ol' PC for the time being.
A number of the goodies you're playing with actually have unique little third-party tricks for interfacing directly with your desktop or laptop. Yes, that's right. You can actually use the non-computer components and devices from your living room or pocket to enhance your normal PC use. And these aren't just little remote desktop hacks that let you see your PC's screen on your phone or something. I'm talking about hacks that blur the line between your PC and your game controllers or phones, unlocking new usefulness for your desktop system with devices that are anything but.
So, if you're the proud owner of one of these products, click the jump and see how you can use them to enhance your PC experience:
Did you just buy a shiny new Blu-ray player for a loved one this holiday season? Well, there’s already a new feature it doesn’t have according to the Blu-ray Disk Association (BDA). The BDA has finally approved a standard for 3D Blu-ray disks, and it will be backwards compatible with 2D setups. So, while your gear might not support 3D, it will still work as a regular Blu-ray. If you don’t care about 3D, that new player might not be such a bad deal.
The 3D movies will use the Multiview Video Coding (or MVC) allowing them to run in full 1080p. Interestingly, the 3D movies will actually take up 50% less space than 2D content. It’s likely that you’ll need new equipment whenever this format takes off. Sony has helpfully managed to work out a way to make the PS3 compatible with the new standard. Then you just need HDMI 1.4 cables and a compatible screen. If having stuff shoot out of the TV at you isn’t your idea of a relaxing movie experience, keep your old equipment and be thankful for the backwards compatibility.
Talk of the technology behind the PlayStation 3 console always turns to the Cell processor, an innovative chip architecture which, in the PS3, contains essentially 9 processors on single chip (one PowerPC chip and eight Synergistic Processing Elements, or SPEs). And up until now, there was no reason to believe Sony wouldn't once again go with a Cell processor in its PlayStation 4 console, but there now lingers some doubt if the chip truly is "dead in the water, as David Turek, IBM's VP of Deep Computing, supposedly said.
The quote comes from German webiste Heise Online, which goes on to claim that the planned successor to the current chip, which is slated to have two PowerPC processors and 32 SPEs, is no longer going to be released.
What exactly that means isn't entirely clear at the moment. So far, there's no evidence that IBM is halting development on Cell processors, only that the specifically planned successor has been canned. If we're to take a glass half-full approach, that could mean the PS4 will utilize an even more power Cell processor, though it's far to early to tell.
Firefox is a force to be reckoned with in the desktop browser space. But could the Mozilla foundation be looking to port it to the PS3? Playstation Insider claims that Sony and Mozilla are in talks to do just that. "We recently received a tip from a source very close to Sony who says that they have been in talks with Mozilla lately about possibly porting Firefox over to the PS3," said Playstation Insider’s Dustin Rudzinski.
It’s no secret that the Playstation’s current browser is nothing to write home about. So access to a “real” browser would be a real treat for PS3 owners. The tipster didn’t know if any deal had actually been struck, but what a pleasant firmware update that would be. So PS3 owners, if you had Firefox on the console, would you actually use it to browse?
PS3 users will have to insert the disc into their console each time they wish to enjoy streaming content from Netflix's library. But this disc-popping ritual should only last until the two companies enable direct access to the service. "As a leading game console and Blu-ray disc player, bringing Netflix to the PS3 system is a real win for both Netflix members and PS3 system owners,"said Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings.