Today's geek gift idea isn't for the faint of wallet (or faint of fun). It's a remote control car from Traxxas that goes from 0-100MPH in under 5 seconds, and can hit speeds in excess of 100MPH out of the box, qualifying it as the world's fastest ready-to-race supercar, Traxxas claims. We don't doubt it, we just wish we could afford to buy one for ourselves and all our friends and family for an epic holiday showdown.
At long last, Mozilla's Firefox 4 browser has exited the beta cycle and is now available as a Release Candidate in more than 70 languages. If you're already rocking a previous build of Firefox 4, you'll be automatically updated to the RC, otherwise you have to manually download and install it. Let's take a look at some of the new features.
We get it, you're not about to give up ______ (fill in the blank with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or IE), which other browser makers will have to pry from your cold, dead hands. But aren't you the least bit curious what the competition is up to?
Now is as good of a time as any to give the Opera browser a whirl. The second Release Candidate for Opera 11 is just a click away, following the release of the first RC that was posted just one day ago. This followup RC mainly addresses a handful of tab stacking issues, otherwise Opera Software promises "Opera 11.0 is mature enough to be prepared for a final release."
In addition to tab stacking, the major new feature in Opera 11 is the long overdue support for extensions. Other features included baked in visual mouse gestures, better performance, search predictions from Google, and enhanced HTML5, to name just a few.
Havnig trouble changing the channel and controlling your AV equipment in the dark? Maybe you shouldn't have been such a tightwad and sprung for the universal remote with backlit or glow-in-the-dark keys. Normally we'd say don't despair, but in this case, you probably should. Oh, there's a solution available, one that's arguably cost effective, so what's not to like?
Well, the new Pop-up MicroLite jury-rigs your dim-lit remote with a mini pop-up flashlight. Just push the button and a series of MicroLites pop right up to illuminate your keys. In order to use it, you'll need a bit of free space at the bottom of your remote control, about the size of a nickel. To attach it, you simply use the included double-sided 3M adhesive tape.
That's right, this $10 device (or 3 for $20) needs to be taped to the bottom of your remote. To be fair, the company outlines a few other places where this might come in handy, including the back of computer cases, door keyholes (we've all been there, right?), thermostats, and fuseboxes, all of which we think are better applications than a remote control.
Batteries are included, and according to the company, not replaceable. Sounds like someone's been taking a cue from Apple.
You'll have to wait until next year before getting a chance to play with Firefox 4 in Release Candidate (RC) form. An updated release schedule shows the RC version being pushed back until early 2011.
"Development on Firefox 4 has not slowed down, and strong progress is being made daily. However, based on the delays in completing the 'feature complete' Beta 7 milestone against which our add-on developers and third-party software developers can develop, as well as considering the amount of work remaining to prepare Firefox 4 for final release, we have revised our beta and release candidate schedule," Mike Beltzner, VP of engineering for Firefox, wrote in an mailing list message earlier this week.
There have already been six beta version of Firefox 4 released in the wild, but after more than a month and a half of development, Firefox 4 beta 7 has yet to materialize. The problem, says ZDNet, has to do with issues integrating Firefox's older TraceMonkey engine, as well as trying to mesh the new JaegerMonkey engine.
Here's something for all you early adopters who scoff at the notion of patience being a virtue. Provided you're rocking a legal copy of Windows 7, you can now download the operating system's first Service Pack in Release Candidate (RC) form.
Windows 7 SP1 includes both a roll-up of OS updates and several new goodies, including RemoteFX.
"Microsoft RemoteFX introduces a new set of remote user experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops," Microsoft said in a statement. "RemoteFX can be deployed to a range of thick and thin client devices, enabling cost-effective, local-like access to graphics-intensive applications. RemoteFX also supports a broad array of USB peripherals to improve the productivity of users of virtual desktops."
Also included is Dynamic Memory, which enables servers running Hyper-V for server virtualization to make better use of memory.
Before you go and download the Release Candidate, there are some things you should know. The RC can't be installed over the beta of SP1, though you can install it on an evaluation version of Windows 7. Microsoft considers this a "high quality release," however once the final build of SP1 ships, you'll need to uninstall the RC version in order to upgrade.
Microsoft's Windows 7 Team sent out an email this morning reminding Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) users that the free ride is almost over.
"While most people who tested Windows 7 have now moved to the final version, some are still running the Release Candidate. If you haven't moved yet, it's time to replace the RC," the Windows 7 Team wrote.
In case you're fuzzy on the dates, here are the ones to remember:
March 1, 2010: PC's with Windows 7 RC installed will begin shutting down every two hours. Work will not be saved during these shutdowns
June 1, 2010: Windows 7 RC fully expires
Once June 1 rolls around, you may continue to use the RC in two hour spurts, but you'll also have to tolerate a solid black background with a persistent message on the desktop, as well as periodic notifications alerting you that your copy is no longer genuine.
The good news (for some of you) is it's tax time, so if you're getting a big refund this year, you can add Windows 7 to the list of annual computer upgrades.
Grown tired of your current browser? You may want to consider giving Firefox 3.6 a try now that the open-source browser has been made available in Release Candidate form. And if you're worried about being left behind with an unfinished product, don't be.
"[Firefox 3.6 RC1] may update itself periodically and will eventually be identical to the final release," Mozilla stated in the RC's release notes.
The latest release is built on Mozilla's Gecko 1.9.2 engine, which the company says has been under development for several months and includes a bunch of improvements, primarily for Web developers. It includes over 70 fixes from the last beta to improve performance, stability, and security features, and has the ability to run scripts asynchronously to speed up page load times.
On October 29, which is now less than a week away, Linux users will have a new Ubuntu release to play with. But if you just can't wait that long, especially with all the hoopla surrounding the launch of Windows 7 making you jones for a new OS, consider downloading the Ubuntu 9.10 Release Candidate that was just made available.
"We consider this release candidate to be complete, stable, and suitable for testing by any user," the Ubuntu team wrote on its blog.
Several new features have been added to the open source OS since the release of Ubuntu 9.04. For example, 9.10 makes the transition to Upstart native jobs for faster boot times, Empathy has replaced Pidgin as the default messaging client, the latest release ships with Ubuntu One, a personal cloud computing app allowing you to backup, store, sync, and share data with other Ubuntu One users, Canonical claims the inclusion of new Intel video driver architecture solves "major performance problems," the new ext4 file system is now used by default, and a whole bunch more.
See the full list of changes (and known problems) here, and if you're itching to try out the RC, you can download your copy here.
Mozilla (Firefox), Microsoft (Internet Explorer), Apple (Safari), and Google (Chrome) have all recently released new browser versions for the next-gen browser wars, and soon Opera will join the pack. In the meantime, Opera Software today announced the first release candidate for Opera 10.
"The release candidate pushes us closer to the final launch of Opera 10," said Jan Standal, VP of Desktop Products, Opera. "We paid special attention to the mail client, which is one of our most enduring and popular features."
According to Opera Software, the RC is feature complete and sports a fresh look, a new application icon, and of course improved speed and performance over previous versions, up to 40 percent faster than Opera 9.6, the software maker claims. Other new features include an inline spell-checker, automated crash reporting, Web integration for email, a resizable search field, RSS Feed previews, and more.
Interested in giving Opera 10 a spin? Grab your copy here, or chill out until September 1st when the final version is expected to launch.