A major theme of this year’s TechFest—the conference for Microsoft’s researchers to show off all their coolest projects—has been human-computer communication. Of all the demos we’ve seen so far, we think the Commute UX in-car dialog system, seen in this video, is the most likely to actually impact our lives within the next, say, five years.
Commute UX is an advanced speech recognition system designed for use in cars. In the video, Principal Architect Ivan Tashev shows off how it can be used to quickly and smartly (based on incomplete information) select a song to play from an onboard MP3 player. It can also manage your cell phone, allowing you to dial a contact by voice (yawn), or even to dictate a reply to a text message (!). Finally, Tashev demonstrates how the car’s user manual can be integrated into the system, allowing you to ask questions about the operation of your vehicle, a feature that will be especially useful in rental cars.
We may have exaggerated a little in the title; Commute UX isn’t going to help you fight crime, or even keep you company on the long, lonely road. Still, it does look like it could be an incredibly practical technology for controlling the peripheral elements of your automobile. Stay tuned for coverage of other new technologies shown at TechFest!
We are certain that many of you want to try Linux to see what it is like, but have no idea where to start or how to get into it. This article is the first installment in a four-part guide that will gradually introduce you to the Linux environment and how to adjust to it if you are a new user.
One of the hardest things to do while starting out is finding a distro that is right for you. Many users try several before settling on one of two that they really like. Once they find a distro that feels right, they are often reluctant to switch unless the distro becomes unsuitable for their needs for whatever reason.
In most instances, choosing a distro ultimately comes down to several factors: Your skill level, the purpose of the system, and package management.
A few weeks ago we looked at moving to the clouds, and clearly, this is a concept that isn’t going away. Of course, we would be the first to admit there are some limitations, but the promise of freeing ourselves from the shackles of a single machine is clearly within our grasp. For the most part, we are sold on the idea of cloud-based email clients, and even photo and music sharing, But what about bulk storage for our files and sensitive documents? For many users, this is a line that simply cannot be crossed. The sheer thought of sending private information halfway across the world via the World Wide Web is simply too much to handle.
Unlike many cloud services however, online storage provides a solution to a very unique need that is difficult to satisfy, offsite backups. In today’s age of 2 TB hard drives, keeping all your information, even backed up on multiple drives does you little good if they are all in the same location. A fire or a break-in could leave you with nothing but a decade of lost files, and a handful of regret. So rather than updating a USB hard drive and shipping it to your buddy's house every few months, wouldn't it be great if you could archive your files online, securely and inexpensively? Good news, you can! Plenty of free and paid options exist, but how are you to know which services will best suit your needs? In this article we will look at the most popular solutions available, and help you navigate the chaotic seas of web 2.0 solutions.
If Marvell has its way, plug computers will soon become commonplace. The company today announced its Plug Computing initiative, which seeks to make always-on computing not only more flexible and easy-to-use than it is today, but also more environmentally friendly compared to a typical desktop or laptop PC.
A plug computer is essentially a small embedded computer that plugs into a wall socket and hooks into your home network via an Ethernet cable. It can then run network-based services that would typically be handled by a desktop or laptop. Marvell's SheevaPlug platform, for example, comes equipped with a Kirkwood embedded processor based on an embedded 1.2GHz Sheeva CPU, 512MB of flash memory, and 512MB of DDR2 memory.
Comparing Age of Conan’s dark, blood-splattered fantasy world to those of its competitors is like comparing night to day, so we suppose it’s only fitting that we can’t really see a light at the end of this tunnel.
Age of Conan developer Funcom recently announced its relocation to the pointy edge of a quickly crumbling cliff (artist’s depiction here) – reporting that it lost $23.3 million during its fourth quarter of 2008. The culprit: Age of Conan’s free-falling subscription numbers, which now sit at a mere 100,000 after reaching an all-time high of 700,000.
On top of that, Funcom CFO Olav Sandnes decided to risk a dip in the economy’s increasingly choppy waters rather than continue with Funcom, announcing his resignation with all the optimism he could muster.
"Funcom is a company with a substantial potential based on a unique combination of skill sets in a fast growing global market. I wish Trond Aas and the rest of the organization all the best in realizing the full potential of the company," he said.
The Kiwi government seems to have been somewhat precipitate in formalizing a controversial “three strikes” rule meant to discourage copyright usurpation. The anti-P2P law, which was originally scheduled to come into force on February 28, has been pushed back to March in the face of some stiff resistance from a group called the Creative Freedom Foundation and country’s ISPs.
An internet blackout organized by the group has forced the government to reconsider the controversial legislation. The Kiwi government plans to bring it into effect on March 27. However, the government wants the ISPs and copyright holders to see eye to eye on the issue before enforcing the law.
The ISPs are opposing the legislation, which makes repeat copyright infringers liable for disconnection, because they want tainted users to be able to defend themselves (using counter-notices).
Will Windows 7 bring glad tidings for gamers? Chris Lewis, VP of Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft EMEA, certainly believes the new OS will keep gamers happy.
"It's all good news - it's even more robust, it's quicker relatively, and the early testing cycles are proving very promising overall,” an excited Lewis told Gameindustry.biz in an interview. He said the company will divulge more details later this year.
Lewis didn’t forget to reassure gamers that Microsoft remains committed to PC gaming. “Ultimately we're a Windows and PC company at heart,” Lewis accentuated Microsoft’s commitment to its roots.
Microsoft Windows’ hegemony in the netbook market is currently unimpeachable. Contrary to conjectures and forecasts, Linux has failed to take control of the netbook market, a segment tailor-made for it. But can an entirely new Linux distro reverse the trend?
What's that? You're not on Twitter? Get out. From Will Smith to surgeons--freakin' surgeons!--millions of people worldwide are using this popular online service to offer up brief, 140-character descriptions of the key events in their fascinating lives. And you too could join the bandwagon/party/mayhem, but you sure aren't going to do it from Twitter's Web page. That just wouldn't be very Maximum PC of you when a host of other options exist for pulling an up-to-the-second ton information out of this living, breathing Web entity.
So join us as we explore five of the top Twitter clients. If you like what you see, perhaps you'll even be so inspired as to write your very own "Tweet," or "Twit," or "message" about your software adventures! Just promise you won't do it from the operating table, ok?
Videogames? In web browsers? When did this happen? Boy howdy – next thing you know, they’ll be putting those suckers in televisions. What a world.
Fortunately, if you’d like to set up shop on the ground floor of this sure-to-be revolution, you’ll soon have the opportunity to frag a Firefox with Quake Live. Or frag inside a Firefox. We’re not sure which, but both options sound equally awesome.
The free-to-play, browser-based edition of Quake III Arena will flip its window sign around from “Closed” to “Open” on February 24, assuming the above official teaser isn’t some kind of mirage brought on by living in a world without Quake Live for so many years’ worth of when-it’s-dones.
So, who plans on joining us when we christen a very special new browser tab on Tuesday?