It looks as though 8M-series notebook owners aren't the only ones feeling slighted by Nvidia, who in the past several month has taken a PR hit due to an "abnormal failure rate" in what the company still claims is a limited batch of notebook GPUs. Media reports have questioned exactly how limited the problem remains, and there's even speculation that the faulty parts may apply to both the newer 9M-series of GPUs and desktop parts as well.
Now Nvidia must fight a new battle, this one in court. The graphics company has been hit with a securities fraud class action lawsuit, which covers all investors who purchased or otherwise acquired common stock of Nvidia between November 8, 2007, and July 2, 2008.
The complaint alleges Nvidia violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, accusing the company of making a series of misrepresentations and omissions that actively concealed and failed to disclose the unusually high failure rates of its mobile GPUs, along with the impact the supposed defects would have on Nvidia's financial condition. Nvidia in July announced it would take a one-time hit of $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with the failures, and the company's stock tumbled downwards in after-hours trading following the announcement.
Anyone who has recently put together a DDR2-based system would have found themselves jumping for joy when pricing out system memory. Kits that commanded a premium less than two years ago can now be had for under $100, and that's before any applicable mail-in-rebates. Even name-brand 4GB kits are insanely affordable, and the days of having to spend several hundred dollars on newer DDR3 modules are gone, at least now.
The low pricing structure has been that way for some time now, and while system builders couldn't be happier about it, the mood is decidely different among DRAM manufacturers. Both Elpida Memory and Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC) have said they plan to cut production, just as other manufacturers have done, but so far it has done little to correct the oversupply problem the DRAM industry faces. And according to A-DATA chairman Simon Chen, improvement is only likely to come if a memory chip maker decides to leave the market. Chen went on to say that 2008 has been the worst year for DRAM in the past 15 years.
Eventually the market will bounce back. If you're in the market for RAM, consider buying sooner than later and enjoy the rock bottom pricing while it still exists. And hey, if you know of a good deal on memory, hit the jump and let us know!
Opera Software has been formally initiated into the Symbian Foundation, the body that now oversees the development of the Symbian platform. Opera isn’t the only new initiate as some other companies including Sharp have also joined the Symbian Forum. Nokia decided to turn Symbian into an open-source platform, governed by a consortium, after it bought the remaining shares in UK-based Symbian earlier this year. More than 40 companies have joined the consortium since its inception in June, 2008. Opera Software, for its part, has emerged as a major player in the world of mobile web browsers. It will be an important cog in the Symbian wheel.
Google is currently pursuing an aggressive strategy of continuous, unabated expansion. Most people depend heavily on Google search for their online research, but Google is not resting on its laurels. After adding tools like Google Scholar and Google Book Search, the company is all set to make another welcome addition to the list of its research tools. The company plans to digitize newspaper archives.
It has enlisted the help of newspaper publishers for the digital newspaper archives. “Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you'll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed—photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all,” Google’s product manager Punit Soni claimed in a blog entry. Google will initially concern itself with only U.S and Canadian newspapers.
RealNetworks is soon going to tread the perilous waters of DVD copying. The company has announced that it is going to release RealDVD, an application for making digital copies of DVDs. Although DVD copying applications have been available for long, RealDVD will be the first such tool to be released by a major company.
RealNetworks is fully convinced that there won't be a strong case against it, if the company is ever dragged to court over the software. RealDVD will come with certain restrictions to prevent its use for piracy. "We have put in significant barriers so people don't just take this and put it on peer-to-peer networks," RealNetwork's Robert Glaser told NYT. However, he did not spill the beans on the exact nature of the curbs. RealDVD will carry a $30 price tag.
Thankfully, that very strange Bill Gates + Jerry Seinfeld TV ad isn't the only way that Microsoft is reaching out to a customer base that's still suspicious of Windows Vista. The San Jose Mercury News' SiliconValley.com website reports that Microsoft is planning to put 155 "Microsoft Gurus" into big-box electronics stores like Best Buy and Circuit City to help improve how Windows Vista and other parts of the Windows ecosystem are received by retail customers. It's part of a $300 million marketing campaign that also includes closer cooperation between Microsoft and major computer OEMs to make Windows faster and more reliable.
According to the official Microsoft news release, you can expect to see the gurus located in specially-branded 'store within a store' locations by year's end, using techniques being developed at Microsoft's Redmond-based Retail Experience Center (see photo at the start of this article).
Microsoft compares its new retail methodology to the personal shoppers employed by high-end stores such as as Nordstrom, while others suggest comparisons with the Apple "Genius Bars" located in Apple retailers. One difference: Microsoft Gurus are tasked with handling pre-sales questions only , while the Apple Genius Bar personnel can also provide technical support.
For anyone who's ever had to drive off a commission-based computer salesperson's desperate struggle to load you up with a lifetime's supply of ink or toner, a USB cable for each finger, or other high-margin goods, one question is, 'how will Microsoft Gurus be paid?' SiliconValley.com quotes Microsoft GM of Corporate Communications, Tom Pilla, as saying a major determining factor will be customer satisfaction and their "ability to translate the technology to a language consumers feel comfortable with."
So, how do you think the Microsoft Guru program will work out? For your chance to sound off, see us after the jump.
Did you know that, on average, gamers find themselves embroiled in 43% more shouting-matches than non-gamers?
Neither did I, because it's a statistic I just made up. However, enshrouded by the many licks of flame that are now consuming my pants, there's a spark of truth. When we throw down across the 'net, the Lord Almighty actually plugs his ears -- not even He can damn people that hard.
Really, if I were to base my opinion of the gaming community on my harrowing online excursions, I probably would've slipped a full suit of armor under my Green Linen T-Shirt at QuakeCon.
But I don't, and I didn't.
Because, by and large, even the more obnoxious gamers are typically rational, socially acceptable creatures. However, given a headset and a broadband hook-up, everything changes. Outside, you're a walking, talking, glaring, physically imposing person; but on the Internet, you're a whisper bumbling through the static -- at best, a throaty voice who knows its way around a shotgun. In short, you're nothing. Your lack of presence, then, is a bright red target for someone's insecurities. If they're feeling small, they can make you even smaller with minimal effort.
Now let's turn this thing around. When you hop online, do anonymity's rays transform you into, well, a jerk? Or are you immune to Mr. Hyde's advances?
Well, today's Roundup should at least add some flavor to your jerkery. Inside, you'll find stories about GameStop sealing its own fate, NCSoft deciding that size does matter, and Hideo Kojima rallying against in-game advertising.
Several security vulnerabilities were reported in Google’s Chrome web browser after its beta version was launched earlier this month with much ado. Google has quickly responded with a security update that fixes four vulnerabilities. The update addresses two buffer overflow vulnerabilities, both rated critical by Google, and two other minor bugs. However, the carpet-bombing threat, first brought to light by security researcher Aviv Raff, still looms.
Nvidia and Opera have teamed up to provide a rich web browsing experience on mobile platforms. Nvidia will now provide “an optimized Opera 9.5 browser in its suite of pre-integrated, in-house and third-party software for the NVIDIA Tegra family of computer-on-chip Windows Mobile and Windows CE solutions.”
The web browsing experience currently available on most smartphones leaves a lot to be desired. But browsing on mobile devices is destined for a considerable leap in the near future as success of mobile devices is beginning to rest heavily on the browsing experience they offer.
In what's sure to elicit Tim Allen-like grunts, Philips has unveiled its Pronto TSU9800 touchscreen remote control. The new models retains all the same features as the previous model (TS9600), but upgrades to a bigger full-size 6.4-inch VGA display. Also new to the TSU9800:
Two more buttons + optical rotary wheel
Pronto Link support (allows a homeowner to control home theaters, lights, temperatures, security, and multi-room audio systems via a single remote)
Advanced two-way functionality by receiving feedback from RS-232 or IP-controlled devices in real-time
Philips is offering an optional accessory allowing users to mount the remote to any wall or table top, and will also make available two extenders for integrating into with home controls.