That John Carmack! What a gossip, huh? He goes on a beer run with PC gamers and he’s all like, “I just wanted to… I just… I love you guys!” But then, after totally crashing a console-only party, he’s singing a different tune (possibly while wearing a dog costume). And now, once again Carmack’s shacking up with PC game—oh no! He’s here! Please, please, please don’t tell him what we said. That’d be soooo awkward.
"A lot of [Quake Live] was about doing something that the PC was going to be better at than the consoles," he told Gamasutra.
"Our modern triple-A stuff has to be somewhat more console-centric, with the PC as a peer, while this is an opportunity to do something where the PC will really stand alone,” he noted.
Carmack hopes to see Quake Live blossom into a sort of social-networking service – the one toy at show-and-tell that even Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo only wish they could get their grubby mitts on or toss in the sandbox or put in their mouths or whatever makes sense with this flimsy analogy.
"For years, I've often thought about the fact that a lot of people spend vastly more time on websites and forums about the games that they're playing than they actually spend playing the games themselves," he adds. "We hope to have some aspect of that here."
Well, that’s good enough for us, John. We’re yours forever now… wait a minute! Did you just steal this gift from our shelves – our shelves marked “1999” – and rewrap it? Is this all we are to you?
If you've ever been subjected to a babel of echoing voices during a teleconference, Microsoft Research is working on a solution. As demonstrated (link requires Microsoft Silverlight) at this week's TechFest, MR's audio spatialization project enables a PC with stereo speakers to spatially separate different members of a teleconference. Audio spatialization's been used for years in 3D gaming, but Microsoft Research has added a new twist: to make it work for teleconferencing, it's also added echo cancellation. As researcher Zhengyou Zhang puts it:
Audio spatialization uses speakers to create the illusion that call attendees have different locations spatially. This allows you to use the audio sense you already have, that you normally use in conversation, to isolate who you’re talking to, and to associate a location in space with a particular individual... In a conference where there are multiple voices coming out of multiple speakers, it becomes important to eliminate the echoes that might naturally occur.
So you’re a really big fan of a band. Such a big fan, that you’ll find yourself seeking out any new tracks from the artist and grabbing them at any expense. Don’t feel ashamed, there are others just like you!
One such band that (evidently) has such a fan base is Depeche Mode, and it looks like iTunes is helping hardcore listeners get their fix. A new feature recently released, called the “iTunes Pass,” will allow buyers to automatically get anything new that they release onto the iTunes Store within a set period of time (including albums, special tracks, remixes, videos, etc.).
The Depeche Mode iTunes Pass is being released alongside their latest album, Sounds of the Universe, and will allow buyers to get all they can eat before June 16 of this year. And don’t worry; none of the music will have DRM attached.
Currently, Depeche Mode is the only band with a pass on the popular music store, but it’s expected that others will soon follow once Apple works out any kinks that might remain.
Joseph Kohl, a 75-year-old Floridian, proved to be more than a match for a much younger thief. With his life’s very first laptop at stake, Kohl decided to give chase to the 29-year-old thief. Kohl was joined by an off-duty cop - who fortuitously happened to be at the scene - in the pursuit.
Kohl was waiting for his wife outside a Best Buy store after having bought a laptop and a printer, but Samuel Dallas Jarvis showed up instead. Jarvis then proceeded to grab Kohl’s laptop and set out on a run. But, apparently, his pickup was not anything to write home about as he could not really bolt out of the blocks as he would have liked; his elderly victim had to merely run about 8 feet to nab the crook.
When the off-duty cop showed up, it was game, set, match, and laptop to Jarvis. “I have no idea what computers are about, but I didn’t want him taking my first one,” Kohl said after the incident.
Upon the release of the Safari 4 Beta, Apple was boasting some mighty impressive speeds. Now, thanks to some extensive testing, it looks like the boys down in Cupertino deserve a pat on the back, with their browser clocking in at a staggering 42 times faster than Internet Explorer 7.
Most surprising, is that Apple’s latest addition was able to beat out Google’s Chrome (the proclaimed “Speed King”) in testing, along with Firefox 3, Opera 9.6 and Mozilla’s developmental Minefield. The tests were conducted on both a PC running XP SP2, and a Mac running OS X 10.6 with all of the latest updates applied.
If you’re looking to check out the full results of the speed testing, check them out here.
It looks like Dell, keeping with their latest trend of sneaking machines onto their website, has added a graceful new addition to their line of Studio XPS desktops; the Studio XPS 435.
Under the hood of the 435 you’ll find a 3.2GHz Core i7 running on an X58 chipset, room for up to 24GB of DDR3 RAM, and 4.5TB of storage across three hard drive bays. To make it all show up on your monitor, they’ll include a Radeon HD4870. And, of course, to help sweeten the deal they’re tossing in a Blu-ray drive, a 15-in-1 card reader, and a whopping eight USB ports.
Currently there’s no word on pricing or availability, but we’re guessing that a machine packing stats like those will give one’s checking account plenty to worry about.
According to Lenovo, eight new ThinkPad laptop models meet military specs for semi-rugged computing. These include the ThinkPad X200, X301, X200s, X200 Tablet, T400, T500, R400, and SL300 laptops.
"ThinkPad is well known for quality, reliability and innovative security technologies for business computing," said Tom Ribble, executive director, Worldwide ThinkPad Product Marketing, Lenovo. "The truth is we've always built tough laptops that can weather extreme conditions from hiking the rainforests of the Amazon to flying in space. You don't need a PC that looks like a tank to excel in harsh environments, and unlike many of our competitors, we don't put an extra charge on toughness."
Though not billed as a 'ruggedized' laptop, Lenovo claims its military-grade models can withstand a barrage of brutal testing environments. Lenovo subjected its new ThinkPads to various harsh elements, such as low pressure operation at 15,000 feet, cycling 95 percent humidity through the environment, baking the laptops up to 140 degrees, testing at minus 4 degrees, fluctuations between extreme hot and cold, and subjecting the units to blasts of dust for an extended amount of time.
Given all that the ThinkPads withstood, we're not sure when an Accident Protection plan would come in handy, but Lenovo offers it nonetheless.
Lenovo says the ThinkPad T400 laptop with high brightness screen (680-nit) is available now through Lenovo business partners with pricing starting at $1,350.
Dell's recently updated Studio 15 notebook looks to put the sting on other 15-inch laptops by offering an impressive selection of configurable parts without breaking the bank. There's just one problem: it's only available in Singapore. Bummer.
The Studio 15 comes configurable with an optional 15.6 LED HD (720p) backlit display with a 1366 x 768 resolution (15.4-inch 1280 x 800, 1440 x 900, and 1920 x 1200 displays also available) for high definition viewing, aided by ATI's 512 MB Mobility Radeon HD 4570 graphics. On the processor front, Intel's Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4GHz, 3MB cache, 1066MHz frontside bus) comes standard, with CPU upgrade options ramping all the way to Intel's T9800 CPU (2.93GHz, 6MB cache, 1066MHz frontside bus).
Dell offers up to 4GB of DDR2-800 memory when paired with 32-bit Vista, and up to 8GB with 64-bit Vista. Up to a 500GB hard drive, optional integrated X-Fi sound, WiFi, and optional Blu-ray drive round out the feature-set.
A baseline config with an Intel P600 CPU, 3GB of DDR2 RAM, 250GB HDD, 512MB HD 4570, 8X DVD burner, and 15.6-inch 720p display starts at a very reasonable S$1600, which is about $1,050 in U.S. currency.
In what the company claims is a first (and as far as we can tell, they're right), Palit Microsystems has released a GeForce GTX 285 videocard outfitted with 2GB of memory. Every other GTX 285 currently ships with 1GB.
Whether or not the additional memory buffer proves a worthwhile investment remains to be seen, but it's worth noting the GTX 285 is Nvidia's fastest single-GPU solution available, second in speed only to the dual-GPU GTX 295. We've often seen graphics partners outfit lower end cards with additional memory, which is almost always of dubious value, but that isn't the case here.
Palit also lays claim to offering the first custom designed GTX 285. Deviating from the reference heatsink/fan assembly, Palit has outfitted its GTX 285 series with two PWM fans and four heat pipes.
"Conceived for two GPUs, the two PWM fans are able to provide sufficient air flow to cool GPU on the graphics quietly," Palit wrote in a press release. "The PWM fan created for both fans can adjust the fan speed depending on the GPU's temperature."
Palit also offers the GTX 285 in a more standard 1GB configuration. No word yet on pricing or availability for either model.
Slumping demand continues to take its toll on the memory chip industry. Micron, the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, said earlier this week that it has been particularly affected by decreased demand for specialty DRAM products, and as a result it plans to phase out 200mm wafer manufacturing operations in its Boise, Idaho facility.
"This action will reduce employment at Micron's Idaho sites by approximately 500 employees in the near term and as many as 2,000 positions by the end of the company's fiscal year," Micron said in a statement. "The company has sufficient manufacturing capacity remaining and does not expect any disruption in product supply required for customer needs."
Micron went on to say that these latest job cuts were not anticipated and not part of the 15 percent global workforce reduction it announced last October.
The chip maker said it will continue to operate its 300mm research and development fabrication facility at the Boise site. Financially, Micron expects cash restructuring charges to be in the vicinity of $50 million, which Micron says will generate a gross annualized operating cash benefit of $150 million.