If you develop a red or itchy rash on the side of your face that affects your cheek or ear, you may suffer from a skin allergy being called "mobile phone dermatitis," according to the British Association of Dermatologists. Unlike the brain cancer debate that typically occupies cellphone studies, the allergic reaction is based on extended physical contact with nickel surfaces.
"It is worth doctors bearing this condition in mind if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained," the study said.
While cellphones often come under scrutiny for various safety issues, doctors may finally have a warning worth heeding. According to the May Clinic, nickel is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis and can be found not only on mobile phones, but things like jewelry and belt buckles. Frequent texters are not immune either, as the study points out that, in theory, a rash could develop on the fingers if too much time is spent on mashing metal buttons.
Nvidia this week has released new WHQL videocard drivers - version 178.24 - applicable for GeForce 6-, 7-, 8-, 9-, and 200-series owners. The 85MB download sports a number of improvements, including PhysX acceleration on all GeForce 8-, 9-, and 200 series GPUs with at least 256MB of graphics memory. Intel X5400XS motherboard owners can now run up to 3-way SLI with the new driver package.
Gaming looks to get a sizable boost with the new drivers as well. Nvidia claims both Call of Duty 4 and Bioshock (DX10) will see a 15 percent gain by running 178.24, while Assassin's Creed (DX10) will get an 11 percent bump on a single card setup. For those sporting 2-way SLI, World in Conflict (DX10), Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (DX10) are said to run at least 10 percent faster.
EA has certainly taken a turn for the less-reviled as of late -- a sudden change that can be attributed to risk-taking, trouble-making CEO John Riccitiello. However, even creative greats like Picasso, De Vinci, and Batman were only human, and all humans have breaking points. For Riccitiello, that point was seemingly first-person run 'n' rebel Mirror's Edge.
"I was totally convinced that game needed to be third-person and not first-person, because I wanted to see Faith," Riccitiello said.
“I was really wrong about the third-person thing,” he continued, citing the highly anticipated title's finished form.
But even with titles like Mirror's Edge under his belt, Riccitiello's heart is clad in a business suit, and some "creative risks" -- like Tim Schafer-Jack Black collaboration Brutal Legend -- give him palpitations (the bad kind; not the blood-pumping, required-to-survive kind).
"I have seen it," Riccitiello replied when asked if EA has considered publishing Brutal Legend. "I am well aware of what the game is. It’s a very significant creative risk."
"Sometimes significant creative risks end up being some of the world’s best products. Spore was also a significant creative risk. So was The Sims. Portal, BioShock. But so was [the relatively poor-selling, high quality Tim Schafer title] Grim Fandango."
Well, that was quick. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Blizzard COO Paul Sams claimed that Warhammer Online was no 18-hour raid boss. The battle's over, and the spoils of waaaagh clutter Blizzard's side of the field.
"The good news is that we've seen a significant number of people, well over half, that cited Warhammer as their reason for leaving - they've already returned," Sams said over the deafening roars of BlizzCon.
But, regardless of whether the game's a direct competitor or merely Led Zep to Blizzard's Beatles, Sams handed out Warhammer Online's participation ribbon with an air of humility -- hedging his bets on the MMO's future success.
"I think Warhammer is best positioned to succeed out of the various products that have come out thus far since World of Warcraft has come out. It seems to be a good game, certainly a great company, Mythic and Mark [Jacobs] over there and his team, they're very, very talented," he explained.
"But I think without EA they would have struggled as well, because EA fortunately for them has a lot of money and so they were able to put forward a lot of marketing dollars and were able to support the huge infrastructure that they require for these kinds of games. It's a tough road and as I said, if we had not had the benefits of the trust of our customers because of the years of delivering for them, I think that we could have been in trouble a few times. There have been big challenges and mistakes that we've made and we've been fortunate enough to get by them."
So MPC readers, who's pocketing your subscription money at the end of each month? WoW or WAR?
Dell has infused fresh life into its swanky Studio 15 notebooks. It has begun shipping Studio 15 notebooks with Intel Centrino 2 technology. The Studio 15 notebooks will be slightly more power-efficient with the introduction of the Centrino 2 platform. The basic Studio 15 model features a 2.20 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of DDR2 memory, a 320 GB 5400 RPM HDD, a ATI Mobility Radeon 3450 graphics card, a DVD burner, 802.11a/n, finger print reader and Windows Vista Home Premium. The refreshed Studio 15 range begins at $999, which is reasonable considering the fact it occupies the middle ground between ultra-portables and high-end notebooks.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touched upon virtually all the major issues concerning MS – from Windows 7 to Yahoo - at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando. Unsurprisingly, he was confronted by many questions regarding Vista and Windows 7.He ardently defended Windows Vista. “The adoption rate of Vista is two times faster than XP at two years in,” Ballmer said in Vista’s defense.
However, he tacitly gave the thumbs up to enterprises that have abandoned all plans of upgrading to Vista and are already waiting for Windows 7. Regarding the possibility of a deal with Yahoo, he said that a deal would make sense for the shareholders of both the companies. The price of Yahoo’s shares shot up by 17% after Ballmer’s comment.
Ballmer believes that Google Apps has “very primitive” capabilities. He further derided Google Apps by not even acknowledging it as serious competition.
10 billion, that’s a pretty sizeable number. For the sake of this story, let’s see that number in its natural state: 10,000,000,000.
That’s the number of images that Facebook is now hosting, according to a post by engineer Doug Beaver on Facebook’s official blog. While this number might sound like it’s lost in the crowd of other photo-sharing sites, bear in mind that Flickr only hit 2 billion photos a little less than a year ago and Photobucket’s active ticker puts them at 6.2 billion at time of press.
Beaver’s post also listed some impressive stats on the amount of photos that Facebook is now handling. “To celebrate, we got a bunch of cupcakes and handed them out to our engineering and operations groups,” he said, “One of our engineers calculated that if we had gotten one cupcake for each of our photos, and lined them up side by side, the line could reach halfway to the moon.” They’re also receiving a staggering two to three terabytes of photos per day, and their photo traffic peaks at over 300,000 images served per second.
As monumental as this is, the hardware isn’t free. Facebook reportedly borrowed $100 million in May to help cover the colossal costs of hosting all those photos, and it’s not evident that revenues will be level with server demands anytime soon.
Thermoelectric materials are common, but they’re not used as often as one would expect. This is because these materials have either been inefficient, expensive, or both. Several groups of researchers have been looking to correct this, and solve the mysteries that have been surrounding these compounds with a goal of bringing them to the world.
Mildred S. Dresselhaus is one of those looking to change the face of thermoelectric compounds. Working with her team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology she’s looking to create more efficient materials by manufacturing tiny particles or wires into them to disrupt the flow of head. These particles and wires would make the materials that are already great conductors much more competent at dispersing heat.
Professor Peidong Yang’s team at the University of California at Berkely is searching for entirely new materials. While silicon isn’t a great thermoelectric material, once you look at it in nanoscale, things change. Silicon nanowires have been shown to be one hundred times more efficient at conserving energy than bulk silicon.
Where things really start to get interesting are at the University of Århus, Risø-DTU (say that three times fast) and the University of Copenhagen where they’ve unlocked a secret of certain thermoelectric compounds which might potentially help in developing more efficient materials.
There are several other teams working on pushing the technology of thermoelectric based compounds, and they’re looking to implement them in a multitude of places, including your PC.
We’re willing to bet that a lot of readers of the Max PC blog have experience with building or maintaining web sites. If you have, then we’re also willing to bet that you’ll be interested to know that the early results of a study conducted by Opera examining the composition of some 3.5 million web pages have been published, and Ars Technica has posted an analysis of the findings.
Among the more interesting information to be gleaned from the study, only 4.13% of websites passed the W3C’s standards validation test, and only 50% of sites sporting standards compliance badges were actually valid. Ryan Paul at AT suggests that “This could indicate that many sites which are initially designed with valid HTML later cease to be valid as changes are made and new content is added.”
The study also examined which HTML tags people are using, which rich web content people are using the most (hint: it’s Flash), and a whole bevy of other statistics about how people are writing the web.
There’s way too much information to cover in one blog post, so if you’re interested, go check out the results for yourself and let us know what you think.
I know it, you know it, almost everybody that reads Maximum PC knows it - but that doesn't mean that your family, your co-workers, or your bosses know it. What's it? Simply this: Microsoft never - repeat never - sends out security updates via email.
The email, ironically enough, claims that "Since public distribution of this Update through the official website http://www.microsoft.com would have result in efficient creation of a malicious software, we made a decision to issue an experimental private version of an update for all Microsoft Windows OS users." And, it's signed "Steve Lipner, Directory of Security Assurance, Microsoft Corp."
Well, at least the bad guys got Steve's name right. However, he's actually senior director of security engineering strategy in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, according to a recent interview.
The message (minus the Trojan, of course), is available at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center blog, where you can see for yourself the classic hallmarks of a fake message: a shaky command of the English language, sentence construction that's so stiff it belongs on a Victorian-era calling card, and off-the-wall sentiments that show it was adapted from a different con job document: "We apologize for any inconvenience this back order may be causing you." Back order? Whaat? I didn't order any malware!
Already getting calls from frantic family, friends, or co-workers wondering why their PCs have slowed to a crawl or become infested by popups? Join us after the jump for solutions.