Storage that uses flash memory is quite unlike the hard disk drives used to hold your computer’s data. The latter rely on speedy actuators to read and write information on spinning magnetic platters. SSDs use electrical charges to read and write the state of individual flash memory cells. An SSD’s flash memory is nonvolatile: Unlike your computer’s RAM, an SSD drive retains your data when you switch the power off. And since the handshake is electric, SSDs can access that data in a fraction of the time it takes a mechanical hard drive to do so.
Sounds ideal, right? Actually, the performance potential of SSDs needs to be weighed against some significant drawbacks. We’re going to outline the pros and cons of the technology and how it compares to traditional hard disk storage. We’re also going to put seven leading solid state drives to the test and let the benchmark numbers do the talking. At this stage in the storage race, an SSD is a big investment; we want to help you maximize your return.
You're busy. We're busy. Everybody's busy. Thankfully, busy people are also creative software developers. And we've tapped into their treasures to find you five awesome, "keep your life together" applications. Forever say goodbye to the yellow sticky notes adorning your computer display. These free programs will ensure that you never miss a critical appointment, important task, or billing date. More than that, we've selected a few applications that can even sync your life essentials across every platform you use, be it a cell phone, a work computer, et cetera.
Check out our full list of powerful personal productivity tools after the jump!
If you haven't noticed the general collapse of the financial system around you, coupled with the massive switch to corporate cost-savings mechanisms (including a healthy dose of "rightsizing" by every company under the sun), then you need to stop playing Wrath of the Lich King and flip on the news. Money is important, but perhaps never as important to the general corporate well-being as right now.
It's no surprise then that good ol' open source hardware and software platforms are being thrown into the mix now more than ever. Semantic arguments aside, the open source movement is generally consider a cheaper, if not free alternative to proprietary, commercial software in the enterprise market. But that doesn't mean that open-source software comes without a cost, nor are these companies necessarily immune to the financial movements of the technological industry. So where, then, does open-source development rest in the spectrum? Can these solutions do enough to save the bottom lines of big business? Or are open-source companies just as doomed by a market slowdown as the software vendors on the other side of the fence?
With just five applications--five, free applications--you can do anything you ever wanted to do across a network connection. We're serious. Using these applications, you can bridge your computers together from anywhere in the world across a secure, hacker-proof connection. From there, you can dial into your desktop as if you were sitting right in front of it, looking at the exact screen you'd be seeing were your butt in the groove of your favorite office chair. If you're a hardcore network enthusiast, we'll even show you how to tab-browse through multiple, connected desktops as if you were pulling them up in Firefox or something.
And if you think that's crazy, these examples only reflect three of the five programs we're featuring in this week's roundup. So what are you waiting for? Click the link and let's get networked! Which, in itself, should be some kind of 80s super-dance mix: "Let's Get Networked." Eh? Ehhhh?
Chris Cook comes from a long line of artists and explains that “it is this great gene pool that I am abusing here.” While Chris may make light of his own skills, it’s evident from these photos that he is an able successor to his forebears.
Project FiveWood utilizes nine types of wood, including mahogany, cherry, pine, and cedar. Chris’s goal was to create not a wooden shell but rather a case made entirely of wood—without a single screw! This project took more than 350 hours to complete—not including design time. We find the result well worth the effort.
Check out the rest of the rig right after the jump.
Here we go again! In honor of devnull's yearly tournament for the still-popular ASCII dungeon romp NetHack, we're taking a look at the five greatest modifications to this ancient classic. But in case you've never even heard of NetHack before, here's the deal: it started out as an ASCII-based dungeon exploration game that, in many ways, has become a precursor to all sorts of genre-busters. Even to this day, games like Fable II have borrowed from some of NetHack's better features (a travelling animal companion, in this case).
The game's dungeons are randomly generated each time you play. You can master the nuances and inventory management skills of NetHack, but there's always that little chance that the next step you take could spell you death in any number of creative ways--in fact, finding all the possible ways to die is a near-impossible task in itself, a fun little challenge for yourself in case you get tired of trying to "ascend," the term used for beating the game.
Strap on your adventuring sword and join us after the jump for the top 5 NetHack... hacks!
In the immortal words of Buckaroo Bonzai, “Wherever you go, there you are.” But if you want to know precisely where “there” is, you need a GPS device. Let’s examine how this technology operates.
The fundamental idea of a satellite-based navigation system was conceived prior to Word War II, but no one pursued the idea aggressively until the Russians launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. Research continued through the 1960s, and the U.S. Department of Defense settled on the first design in 1973.
The first developmental GPS satellite—Navstar 1—was launched in 1978, the first fully operational GPS satellite was put into orbit in 1989, and the system was declared fully operational in 1995. Although GPS remains an indispensable military tool (and is maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense), the technology was made available to consumers in the 1980s and can now be found in relatively inexpensive devices ranging from cellphones and PDAs to dedicated handheld GPS receivers.
The best kinds of system applications are the ones that make your life easier without you having to lift a finger. While the freeware applications we're profiling in this weekly roundup still require you to input a few settings, they're great tools to help automate some of the critical parts of your daily computer life. From hotkey creation utilities to applications that help you conserve power by turning off your PC at specified intervals, these freeware tools are must-have additions to your computing repertoire!
Click the jump to check out this week's batch of free, awesome apps!
Tick tock? More like ding-dong, mutha—shut your mouth. What baby? We’re talkin’ about Core i7.
Our apologies to Isaac Hayes, but if he were alive, we’re almost certain he would have been tapped to hammer out a theme song for Intel’s most significant CPU launch in, well, ever.
Why is this CPU more significant than the 8088, Pentium, or Pentium M? As the second new chip produced after a series of embarrassing losses to archrival AMD, the Core i7 will answer for the world whether Intel is prepared to ride the momentum of its Core 2 launch with another winning chip or if it’s content to rest on its laurels, as it did with the Pentium 4.
Core i7 also represents a major new direction for Intel, which has stubbornly clung to the ancient front-side-bus architecture and discrete memory controller for years. Indeed, with its triple-channel integrated DDR3 memory controller and chip-to-chip interconnect, the block map of a Core i7 looks more like an Athlon 64 than a Core 2 chip.
Intel actually has three quad-core Core i7 CPUs ready: the top-end 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition, the performance-oriented 2.93GHz Core i7-940, and the midrange 2.66GHz Core i7-920. For the most part, all three are exactly the same except for clock speeds, multiplier locking (only the Extreme is unlocked), and QuickPath Interconnect speed. See the chart on page 42 for details.
The bigger issue is how Core i7 performs. To find out, we ran the Extreme 965 against AMD’s fastest proc as well as Intel’s previous top gun in a gauntlet of benchmarks. Read on for the results.
Continue reading for our comprehensive review and benchmarks!
Are you sick of using iTunes? We don't blame you. The program eats up resources and makes us scratch our heads with its "Genius" recommendations, and we're ready to throw out display through the wall every time the Apple Software Updater tells us that there's a new version of Safari out. Arrgh!
Before our inner Hulk gets both mad and strong, we've taken a look at alternatives to the popular music library software. As luck would have it, we stumbled across an open-source solution that's every bit as good (and functional!) as iTunes. Better still, it comes without all of the clutter! You might have heard of the application before--it's called Songbird, an open-source music library application straight from Mozilla itself. But what you might not be aware of is the sheer depth of functionality (and dare we say it, iTunes replication) inherent in the program itself. And we're going to show you the top nine ways to tweak this application to bits and make it do exactly what you want, including features you'll never find in iTunes!
Throw on your headphones and check our out big list behind the jump!