While Google continues to pull ahead with a healthy share of planetary images, Microsoft announced this week that they signed a deal that gives them access to 100TB worth of NASA’s images, that will ultimately find their way onto the WorldWide Telescope website.
Microsoft has announced that they plan on working with NASA in order to develop “the technology and infrastructure necessary to make the most interesting NASA content.” The content, which will be available on Microsoft’s virtual telescope for exploring the universe, WorldWide Telescope, should be available later this year.
And, for those keeping tabs on just how big 100TB of data is, that’s enough to fill 20,000 DVDs.
You’ve got USB devices, and you’ve got a network. Sure, you can plug those printers, scanners and hard drives into a computer and let that machine share them, or you can use IOGEAR’s new ShareStation and allow anyone using your network access to them!
IOGEAR’s ShareStation comes in two flavors – first up is the four port Net ShareStation that allows anyone with a local connection to the hub access to anything that’s plugged into its ports.
The smaller version of the ShareStation is a two port USB Printer Auto Sharing Switch that’s being described as the “only automatic printer switch compatible with Macs and PCs.”
The four port version will run you $99.95, while the smaller cousin will cost $39.95. Both will be available later this month.
Apple earlier this month began taking orders for its new Mac Pro workstations with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 quad-core processors, so technically, Lenovo isn't the first major PC maker to announce Nehalem-based workstations. Unless, like us, you demand a real PC (oh burn!).
Due for release next week, Lenovo's ThinkStation D20 and S20 workstation will also come configured with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 dual- and quad-core processors. Intel is expected to launch the new CPUs next week as well.
The lower-end S20, which will start out at $1,070, is a single-socket system with support for up to 12GB of memory. The higher-end D20, which will start out at $1,550, comes with two sockets and ups and ante with support for up to 96GB of memory. Both systems will offer up to 1TB of storage.
End-users will be able to choose between Windows Vista Business and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the OS, and an Nvidia Quadro or ATI FirePro workstation videocard for graphics chores.
Both models are expected to be available before April.
If you thought things were already ugly for the PC market, brace yourself for it to get even worse in the coming months, says Gartner. According to the analyst firm, the PC supply chain will have "bottomed out" this quarter and then remain at a low level for several more quarters. Gartner says a sustainable recovery isn't expected until Q3 2010, but warns against getting too excited.
"We caution against interpreting such surges as signs of recovery, as full recovery is unlikely until demand in mature markets picks up," Gartner said in a note.
By the end of the year, the firm predicts PC sales will have fallen 11.9 percent to 257 million computers, marking the biggest fall ever. Desktop sales are expected to drop a whopping 32 percent from last year, with laptops on the rise by 9 percent.
Gartner also said that although PC vendors will see a boost in the third quarter as they prepare for back-to-school and holiday seasons, they could still be in for a "disastrous fourth quarter' if they over estimate the demand in mature markets.
Anyone else feel as though someone must have taken a tinkle in Gartner's Wheaties?
Built by Huawei Technologies, T-Mobile is gearing up to release the "webConnect USB Laptop Stick," a USB-based modem for notebooks to tap into the company's new 3G network. The stick will come with 8GB of internal storage and include a micro SD slot.
According to Jeremy Korst, T-Mobile's director of broadband products and services, the webConnect will provide download speeds of 600Kb/s and peak at over 1Mb/s.
"For the majority of customers, use cases around web browsing, social media, MySpace, checking email - all those typical things we see our customers doing more and more while on the go, the speeds we're providing now are more than sufficient to provide that customer experience," Korst said.
Nifty as the device is, price could end up being an deterrent. The webConnect carries an MSRP of $250, which can be partially offset with a service contract. A two-year contract drops the price down to $50, or $100 with a one-year contract.
While giving a speech in Tokyo this week, Dell CEO Michael Dell admitted the OEM is "exploring smaller screen devices," leading to speculation that the company really is developing a smartphone. Of course, smaller screen devices could also refer to netbooks or any number of non-smartphone items, but where's the fun in that?
"For the last three years we have integrated 3G radios into our notebooks," Dell said. "We already have agreements with many mobile carriers around notebook devices so it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that we would have smaller mobile internet devices or smartphones in the future."
Based on those comments, it's almost as if Dell wants to give notice that the rumors are true, but stop just shy of making a formal announcement. And citing Taiwan-based Commercial Times, news site TGDaily reports a Dell-developed smarthphone almost entered the manufacturing phase before ultimately being rejected from lack of carrier interest.
Should Dell jump into the smartphone market? Hit the jump and give us your opinion.
HP has begun offering a free Flash security tool called HP SWFScan, which helps developers identify vulnerabilities in their Flash apps. Though the ubiquity of Flash-based content should be enough motivation for developers to tighten the screws, a research conducted by HP revealed otherwise.
The end may be nigh for the Zune. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer came up with a measured reply – equal parts of realism and escapism – when queried about the Zune’s future by BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler at the McGraw-Hill media conference in New York. Though Ballmer reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to the platform, he admitted that the company will not be pouring a lot of money into it.
He said that Zune is both a device and a service. “And the future may be the software/ecosystem on other devices,” Ballmer went on to add. This is being read as a veiled hint at Zune’s impending demise as a hardware platform; Zune may be reduced to an iTunes-like service for other hardware platforms.
Hoping to upend Apple’s Mac Pro cart, Dell said its new Precision 7500 dual Nehalem Xeon workstations will pack up to six times the amount of RAM and at higher speeds than are available with today’s hottest Apple machines.
Users can get to the 192GB mark by stuffing 12 16GB DIMMs into the Precision T7500’s chassis. Dell said the RAM speeds are also increased thanks to support for DDR3/1333. The Precision will use registered ECC RAM for high density configurations. The new chips will also mark the end of FB-DIMM in the dual processor Xeon lineup.
FB-DIMM’s, which use a small and wickedly hot memory controller on each DIMM to buffer the signals, have long been dinged for massive thermal issues and latency penalties. Dell officials said people’s feelings on FB-DIMM aside, it did get the previous generation of CPUs to the RAM densities people needed. One of the primary justifications for FB-DIMM was the density issue on DDR2 but Dell officials said the 192GB mark for DDR3 was not a major technical hurdle in itself. Keeping it cool and keeping acoustics acceptable was a problem, but Dell said it has it under control.
Bandwidth and compute performance of the dual Nehalems leave the previous design in the dust, Dell said. Like the Core i7, the top-end Nehalem Xeons will feature 8MB of L3 cache, 6.4GT/s QPIs, and support Turbo Mode and Hyper-Threading. The Xeon’s will also support something called Direct Cache Access which lets single-threaded applications subsume all of the available shared L3 cache when it’s not being used by other threads.
Valve’s quiet, non-intrusive DRM solution – if nothing else – is highly preferable to many publishers’ boisterous assault on our PCs’ (presumed) innocence. We’d like to think Steam’s colossal success in some way attests to this.
So of course, Valve’s announcement that it’s now offering that DRM solution, known as the Custom Executable Generation, to any and all developers free of charge is reason enough to break out the Headcrab-shaped party hats. Or read press release quotes. Actually, you know what? Since we’re getting wild and crazy with excitement here, let’s just do both.
“Headlining the new feature set is the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology that compliments the already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks. A customer friendly approach to anti-piracy, CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC,” explained the press release.
The new set of features also includes support for in-game DLC and a Left 4 Dead-tested, Valve-approved matchmaking system. Cool beans.
"Delivering this extension of services on Steamworks first anniversary, demonstrates our commitment to continually develop the platform to better serve the community working with these tools," said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. "As we roll out these features, we continue to look for new ways make PC games easier to create and better for customers to experience."
And yes, before you make a snarky comment about it: DRM was already obsolete. But now it’s obsolete-er. It’s like making a horse ride in a trailer attached to a truck; the passing of the torch – especially in a situation like the one DRM has forced gamers into – need not always be cordial.