As most audiophiles know, picking a new pair of headphones can be a very personal experience. At least, that’s what a new Canadian firm named Soundcage is hoping. They are one of the first companies promoting a revolutionary new concept of creating a custom ear bud that fits directly inside the ear cavity. This allows them to block outside noise and creates an air tight seal. Presumably this would allow the headphones to mirror the noise cancelling typically offered only in larger and more expensive headphone solutions that involve using white noise to mask outside sounds.It only takes about 10 minutes to be fitted with the new ear buds, and is an evolution of Soundcage’s roots, which involved making custom earplugs for factory workers. With such a tight seal around the inner ear, the clarity of sound promises to be impressive. Early testimonies describe the audio quality as “hauntingly pure”. Additionally, the headphones carry the advantage of being made to fit you, and only you. So unlike my noise cancelling headphones, I wouldn’t have to loan them to my girlfriend every time we fly, a definite bonus. They are expected to retail for around $199 CDN, and we have no word yet on any US availability. But if the hype holds true, expect capitalism to bring these puppies to a store near you in the not so distant future.
Microsoft made headlines recently by proudly proclaiming it would support Netflix streaming video to Gold members starting this fall at no additional cost. They have also announced plans to open a community application store whose concept very much mirrors the approach taken by Apple with the iPhone app store. Anyone can apply to join the XNA Creators Club, as long as you have the $99 application fee and a unique idea to work with. Microsoft will distribute content at prices ranging from $2.50 to $10.00 taking a mere 30% cut of the profits. Most readers know this approach is about as creative as the mii2 avatar’s but is still a step in the right direction. With community application support and streaming video now coming to the Xbox, it speaks to a larger trend. Consumers are increasingly looking for a one box solution to their entertainment needs. And the battle for the living room is just starting to heat up.
Click the jump to see to see why the future of all in one entertainment devices is bright.
Intel has unveiled its new system-on-a-chip (SoC) offering for embedded systems. The Intel EP80579 microprocessors, based on the Pentium M core, will be integrated in a host of products that roughly fall under the umbrella of industrial robotics, security, storage and communication devices. Each of the new integrated processors has a CPU core, memory controller, IO controller and acceleration technology onboard.
Intel has not only curtailed the appetite for power of these chips by 34% but also reduced their size by 45%. Since this is only the first of the eight such chips, a lot lies in store in terms of improvements.It is known that Intel will soon – sometime next year – integrate the Atom’s core into its SoC products.
The company has literally made even highly diverse devices, which employ its new SoC products, more compatible with each other, as the revamped integrated processors are all based on its X86 architecture. The chip manufacturer has thrust its weight behind MIDs (mobile internet device) and the new crop of its integrated processors will be employed in them; besides an entire gamut of consumer electronics products.
Call it an end of an era or a move that was long overdue, but no matter how you label it, Gateway will soon stop selling PCs through its website. Instead, the company will transition to a 100 percent indirect sales model focusing exclusively on brick and mortar stores, e-tailers, and channel partners.
Gateway had struggled in previous years to compete with Dell and other OEMs, but their fortunes looked to change after Acer acquired the company last year for $710 million. The acquisition turned Acer into the world's third-largest PC vendor overnight, while also giving both companies a boost in the North American market.
In a press release, Gateway claims the change in its business model will "deliver significant cost savings, ultimately resulting in an improved value proposition for consumers." Exactly how much the company thinks it will save wasn't disclosed, nor was the amount of job cuts that would result from the shift away from online sales.
How much time each day do you spend playing TF2? Do you find yourself stumbling through the web when you should be working instead? If so, you may have an affliction that requires professional attention, or so claims Professor Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University in Chicago.
"The subject is seen as a joke," said Ferrari. "But the social and economic implications are huge. These people need therapy. They need to change the way they act and think."
According to Ferrari, chronic procrastination has become such a big problem that it needs to be recognized by clinicians. By his own estimates, 15 to 20 percent of people fall into this category, and he says it doesn't matter the person's age, sex, or background because everyone is equally susceptible.
Ferrari isn't alone in his beliefs, and research by Professor Piers Steel from Calgary University claims chronic procrastination has risen sharply in recent decades and now affects one in four people. He says even email notifications are part of the problem, costing the economy $70 billion a year.
Has technology really pushed people to procrastinate more than they ever have before? Post your thoughts below, and do it now - your work will wait.
One of the greatest inventions to come to the PC is that of the Universal Serial Bus (USB). It doesn't matter whether you're in the market for a spiffy new keyboard or a digital camera, because nearly every gadget today plugs into any of the many USB ports found on any modern computer. Why can't all digital devices be as easy to work with?
If Doug Palmer's vision ever comes to fruition, they will be. Palmer, an engineer at the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), wants to eradicate wall warts. No, he's not referring to unsightly growths on your home's walls, but the many different external power adapters for all of your gizmos and gadgets.
Sun can lay claim as the first company to release a one terabyte tape drive with its StorageTek T10000B, but the company didn't have long to celebrate. Raining on their parade, IBM has released a one terabyte tape drive of its own, only this one runs 33 percent faster than Sun's.
The new IBM TS1130 tape drive can store up to one terabyte of uncompressed data per cartridge at 160MB/sec, or 40MB/sec faster than the T10000B, allowing the new model to complete backups up to 54 percent faster than the previous generation drive.
IBM describes the tape drives as being able to hold the text of one million books, and to keep that data from becoming corrupt, the TS1130 uses a special head overcoat technology IBM claims will lengthen the overall life expectancy of the drive. The TS1130 also utilizes a "Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) head design that leverages IBM's world-record achievement of developing a more sensitive read-write head for the magnetic tape system." In other words, expect fewer data read errors.
The new drive uses existing 3592 rewritable and WORM (Write Once Read Many) cartridges, offering backwards compatibility with Gen 1, 2, and 3 formats supporting both read and write for Gen 2 and read only for Gen 1. And backwards compatibility is a good thing too, as IBM says the TS1130 will carry a starting price of $39,050, with an upgrade option from existing drives for a more manageable $19,500. Ouch.
Intel’s dual-core Atom will see the light of the day in Q4 and is slated to be released on September 21, 2008, according to Fudzilla. It will be the first dual-core processor in the power efficient Atom family that has emerged as a popular powerplant for netbooks. The dual-core Atom 330 will set you back by $43, which is quite reasonable as the Atom 230 single-core processor is priced $29. The Atom 330 with its 1.6 GHz clock speed, 533 FSB and 1 MB L2 cache will be ideal for budget rigs. Once the Atom 330 release is out of the way, all eyes will be on the launch of 1.87 GHz Atom processors.
OS X has remained an Apple fiefdom and any attempts at liberating the OS have been frowned upon by the company. Earlier this month, Apple initiated legal proceedings against Psystar that sells a Mac-clone. However, the law suit seems to have had very little deterrent value as yet another manufacturer has announced plans to launch its own Mac-clone, though, with a difference – not an endorsement.
Open Tech Inc. has announced the Open Tech Home and the Open Tech XT open PCs that will easily allow users to run OS X. The similarity between Psystar’s outright Mac-clone and Open Tech’s upcoming PCs ends here as the latter’s offerings won’t come with OS X pre-installed, instead, users will have to install it on their own using a meticulously crafted set of instructions. Open Tech believes that this move will shield it from any legal action. But Apple's legal department might hold a different opinion.
I hate it when I am wrong…except this time. Being wrong means I get to have SLI when Bloomfield ships. It seems that Nvidia will be ready for the Bloomfield launch after all with the nForce 200 SLI processor, the older brother of the nForce 100 that was so successfully with the launch of the Skulltrail.
Bryan Del Rizzo with Nvidia says, “some vendors will be incorporating more than one nForce 200 processor for even more advanced configurations and flexibility for multi-GPU configurations. Both 2-way and 3-Way SLI configurations will be fully supported with our latest GPUs, including the GeForce GTX 280 and GeForce GTX 260 GPUs."
I certainly can’t wait to see what the nForce 200 CPUs can do. The part about “more advanced configurations and flexibility for multi-GPU” really sparks my interest. Maybe some sort of GPU cluster across different Nvidia GPUs? I’ll be keeping an eye on that.
Perhaps even more interesting than that, was when Bryan said, “We are not doing our own native chipset for Bloomfield.” What? That’s right, no native Nvidia chipset for Bloomfield CPUs. The reason for not doing a QPI (Quick Path Interconnect) chipset is because of the quick transition to DMI (Desktop Management Interface) and the short-lived nature of QPI. Picking up an X58 Chipset Board with an nForce 200 SLI processor will be the only way to get SLI.
This is a pretty big shift considering Nvidia puts out a very popular chipset for enthusiasts, not that Intel chipsets are any slouch.