There's been much ballywho surrounding Windows 7, Microsoft's anticipated successor to Vista, and we've covered much of it right here on MaximumPC.com. From what is known, Microsoft appears to be working closely with system vendors to ensure Windows 7 enjoys a smooth rollout among preconfigured systems, and to avoid third-party drivers giving the new OS a bad rap in similar fashion to how the software maker suggests early Nvidia drivers did to Vista. But it now looks like users will have to wait until December before spending some hands-on time with Windows 7 beta 1.
In the meantime, a pair of videos showing off two features of the new OS have begun making the rounds. The first one shows the Windows 7 Start menu, which looks no different than Vista's. However, with the mouse pointer hovered over the icon, a search box appears just above it in the video.
The second clip showcases Microsoft's redesigned Calculator application. You can choose from four modes - Standard, Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics - and copy and paste values. A new Options menu brings more functionality to the table, such as quickly calculating specific dates and breaking them down in to years, months, weeks, and days. Templates and unit conversion are also included, giving geeks with a caculator fetish something to salivate over.
Check out the clips and hit the jump to let us know what you think.
Give Ebay some credit - its union with StumbleUpon, which it acquired in May 2007, has lasted longer than some marriages. But now it appears Ebay wants out of its $75 million relationship, assuming Tech Crunch's sources prove reliable.
The news site claims Ebay has hired Deutsche Bank in hopes of stumbling upon a buyer, though the asking price remains unknown, and it's anyone's guess whether or not the auction site can get back what they invested in StumbleUpon. From July 2007 to July 2008, StumbleUpon has dropped from boasting 4.4 million worldwide visitors and 31 million page views to 1.1 million visitors and 25 million page views. Oddly enough, registered users continue to grow and now sits at over 6 million strong, a 20 percent increase over what it was just 5 months ago.
Google is home to many of the world’s smartest and most creative engineers and its newest plan once again proves they aren’t afraid to pioneer. To sum up Google’s idea in a few words, they plan to take the collective knowledge of mankind and send it out to sea, literally. The search giant is home to countless computer systems which crunch the millions of search terms thrown at it each minute and finding ways to keep costs down is always a challenge. Google hopes that by housing these computers on massive ships out in the ocean it will allow them to use sea water to both cool and power the electronics. Google’s commitment to the environment is commendable and even though data centers currently only represent a small portion of our total power consumption, the Mckinsey consulting firm predicts that by 2020 the carbon footprint of server farms will overtake the entire airline industry. In addition to energy savings, Google also stands to benefit from the tax exempt status that comes from operating in international waters. The high cost of operating data centers has pushed other companies to look for creative ways to save money as well. In fact, both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems are rumored to be looking at similarly bizarre options, though none have yet been confirmed.
Let me just say this; if Google plans to take the cloud and cast it out to sea, I hope my Google Doc’s can survive a hurricane.
The marketing drum at Microsoft beats on and new advertisements have finally surfaced for your viewing pleasure. The new direction in the campaign features a noticeable lack of Seinfeld and churros, but it finally takes on the damaging Mac vs PC ads which Apple first debuted several years ago. For many PC enthusiasts this is the real kick start of the Vista ad campaign, and in many ways is long overdue. For years Apple has stereotyped Windows user’s as pie chart obsessed corporate stooges who resist the very notion that computing can be fun. The Microsoft ads hope to demonstrate the diversity of the over one billion users across the world who use Windows everyday and are proud proponents of the platform. The campaign also features a new face to represent the PC, which ironically turns out to be an internal Microsoft employee named Sean Siler. Sean claims he was one of many who auditioned for the role of the PC and his duties at Microsoft otherwise involve work on IPv6. His email address (provided at the bottom of the ad) sends back an automated out of office response directed toward curious observers. Try it yourself by sending an email to email@example.com or hit the jump to read the transcript and see the ads for yourself.
The chipmaker claims that Fusion for Gaming can enhance a computer’s performance by up to 10%. Although it might actually prove to be handy, the chances of it being worth as much as AMD’s rhetoric suggests are slim to none. The beta is only meant for Windows Vista 32 and can be downloaded here.
We've all heard that what goes up must certainly come down (that Sir Isaac Newton was a smart cookie), but what happens when something keeps going up? In this case, you name it Google and ride the financial wave hoping the 'Midas touch' never wears off.
To call Google a search giant is no longer accurate, as it neglects to mention everything else the company has going for it. Now Google can add to its resume as owning the 10th highest brand name value, according to a study by BusinessWeek and Interbrand.
The ranking reflects a big jump from 20th place where Google sat last year. But with a value that has increased 43 percent to $25.6 billion, the company moved way up the chart and now trails just four other technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, and Intel). Meanwhile, IBM overtook the second spot on the chart, knocking Microsoft down to third.
Coca-Cola remains in the top spot, but could it be long before Google starts nipping at its heels?
We remember it like it was roughly five years ago. Our wave goodbye. Their shocked silence. Our shoulders gloomily slumped as we trudged out their door. Their faces pressed against the cold glass, rain-like water pouring dramatically, but mostly because the fire alarm was malfunctioning. It was the day we discovered Steam -- our final farewell to a helpful cadre of GameStop employees. And today, it looks like our departure -- along with that of most other PC gamers -- is finally hitting GameStop right in the pocketbook.
However, that doesn't mean GameStop plans to drop PC games without a fight.
"[GameStop's PC game sales] are down probably more than I had anticipated," GameStop SVP Bob McKenzie told Gamasutra. "...We had planned for it to be down. Again, the number of new titles we have on PC is down probably more than what I had anticipated it would be down -- but I don't see that as a threat or a signaling, we're not backing away from it at all."
"A year ago we had 350 stores that didn't carry PC merchandise and today, that number hasn't grown any... [bit] the PC market is definitely still very alive, and a portion of our business that we're hanging onto."
Speaking of the digitally distributed elephant in the room -- the straw currently slurping up his company's PC sales -- McKenzie noted:
"Our position with our publishers is that we're not afraid to compete with them -- against that digital distribution model. We can offer it. It's really another choice for the consumer, as long as they're not making that choice an unfair advantage for them, where they're able to sell it earlier or they add something into the game that we can't get our hands on for our consumer."
McKenzie, you so just lost your place on Dan DeMatteo's Facebook friends list.
That's the last time we press an ear up against this grapevine; sometimes, we'd rather a rumor soothe us with sweet, sweet lies than bludgeon us with a harsh truth -- that truth being, of course, a nebulous delay for the PC edition of Mirror's Edge.
Today, EA sent out a press release that trumpeted the hotly anticipated first-person free-runner's upcoming console release. For those fortunate fuc-- fellows, the game will be bouncing onto shelves November 11. And, as a spot of Mrs. Dash for you wounds, Xbox 360 and PS3 owners can also look forward to a demo of Mirror's Edge featuring "the prologue of the game including the tutorial and a segment of the single-player story mode."
We'd also parrot back the bit about how players who pre-order a console version of Mirror's Edge will break the chains off of exclusive demo content in the form of a ridiculously awesome time trial, but we don't want to upset you any further.
The PC version of Mirror's Edge, meanwhile, will launch "later this winter." Why? EA wouldn't say. However, we prefer to think it's because EA loves us, and people only hurt the ones they love.
Speaking of which, does anyone know where we could find a nice, sturdy tire iron, a plane ticket, and meticulously detailed directions to EA's offices? We want to tell EA how much we love them, and coincidentally, a tire iron is the perfect "thiiiis much" measuring tool.
If you ever wondered what constitutes an epic fail as opposed to a regular fail, here it is. According to UK based news and reviews site PC Pro, one of its readers claims to have received a recovery DVD with his Asus notebook purchase filled with various software cracks and several confidential documents. Oops!
The reader says his antivirus software discovered a key crack for the WinRAR compression software, and upon further investigation, he uncovered a folder labeled 'Crack,' inside which are what he claims are serial numbers for other software. But that's not all that was included. Another directory is said to contain confidential Microsoft documents for PC manufacturers, complete with program files and key codes. PC Pro says that yet another directory contains internal Asus documents along with source code for some of the company's software.
Apparently this isn't an isolated incident, prompting an Asus spokesman to issue an apology to affected customers, saying "We will be investigating this at quite a high level. Once the investigation is complete, we will ensure it doesn't happen again."
Have better things to do than to surf your videocard maker's website every day to check for updated drivers? That's okay, because we've done the legwork for you and found new drivers, so go ahead an hightail it over to ATI.
The just released Catalyst 8.9 driver package applies to both Windows XP and Vista in 32- and 64-bit trim. Home theater buffs should be particularly interested in the new drivers, as 8.9 introduces a 1080P @ 50Hz custom display mode for HDTVs. On the extreme gaming front, ATI's OverDrive overclocking utility now supports quad CrossFireX configurations, giving gamers the ability to overclock each card using manual controls or via the auto-tuning option.
Other goodies include OpenGL 3.0 extension support and several bug fixes for a variety of games, including recent releases Age of Conan and Spore.