Microsoft made headlines recently by proudly proclaiming it would support Netflix streaming video to Gold members starting this fall at no additional cost. They have also announced plans to open a community application store whose concept very much mirrors the approach taken by Apple with the iPhone app store. Anyone can apply to join the XNA Creators Club, as long as you have the $99 application fee and a unique idea to work with. Microsoft will distribute content at prices ranging from $2.50 to $10.00 taking a mere 30% cut of the profits. Most readers know this approach is about as creative as the mii2 avatar’s but is still a step in the right direction. With community application support and streaming video now coming to the Xbox, it speaks to a larger trend. Consumers are increasingly looking for a one box solution to their entertainment needs. And the battle for the living room is just starting to heat up.
Click the jump to see to see why the future of all in one entertainment devices is bright.
In the midst of rumors regarding Google being close on the heels of a $200 million takeover of Digg, there is news of a major addition to the populist news aggregator. Digg CEO Jay Adelson announced at a party - attended by 300 fans of the website – that in the next 6 months users will be able to create their own sub-Diggs, whereby they will be fully in control of the mini-websites.
They will get to decide the number of stories that are flashed on the front page of their website. This obviously means that the cutthroat scuffle for a place on the main website’s front page will relax a touch in coming times as some of the traffic will be diverted to the user-controlled sub-Diggs. Some of you might be aware that such sub-sites are already available on Reddit and Mixx. However, the addition of this feature on Digg should have a far-reaching impact and might even make life even more difficult for Digg-clones.
Intel has unveiled its new system-on-a-chip (SoC) offering for embedded systems. The Intel EP80579 microprocessors, based on the Pentium M core, will be integrated in a host of products that roughly fall under the umbrella of industrial robotics, security, storage and communication devices. Each of the new integrated processors has a CPU core, memory controller, IO controller and acceleration technology onboard.
Intel has not only curtailed the appetite for power of these chips by 34% but also reduced their size by 45%. Since this is only the first of the eight such chips, a lot lies in store in terms of improvements.It is known that Intel will soon – sometime next year – integrate the Atom’s core into its SoC products.
The company has literally made even highly diverse devices, which employ its new SoC products, more compatible with each other, as the revamped integrated processors are all based on its X86 architecture. The chip manufacturer has thrust its weight behind MIDs (mobile internet device) and the new crop of its integrated processors will be employed in them; besides an entire gamut of consumer electronics products.
Call it an end of an era or a move that was long overdue, but no matter how you label it, Gateway will soon stop selling PCs through its website. Instead, the company will transition to a 100 percent indirect sales model focusing exclusively on brick and mortar stores, e-tailers, and channel partners.
Gateway had struggled in previous years to compete with Dell and other OEMs, but their fortunes looked to change after Acer acquired the company last year for $710 million. The acquisition turned Acer into the world's third-largest PC vendor overnight, while also giving both companies a boost in the North American market.
In a press release, Gateway claims the change in its business model will "deliver significant cost savings, ultimately resulting in an improved value proposition for consumers." Exactly how much the company thinks it will save wasn't disclosed, nor was the amount of job cuts that would result from the shift away from online sales.
How much time each day do you spend playing TF2? Do you find yourself stumbling through the web when you should be working instead? If so, you may have an affliction that requires professional attention, or so claims Professor Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University in Chicago.
"The subject is seen as a joke," said Ferrari. "But the social and economic implications are huge. These people need therapy. They need to change the way they act and think."
According to Ferrari, chronic procrastination has become such a big problem that it needs to be recognized by clinicians. By his own estimates, 15 to 20 percent of people fall into this category, and he says it doesn't matter the person's age, sex, or background because everyone is equally susceptible.
Ferrari isn't alone in his beliefs, and research by Professor Piers Steel from Calgary University claims chronic procrastination has risen sharply in recent decades and now affects one in four people. He says even email notifications are part of the problem, costing the economy $70 billion a year.
Has technology really pushed people to procrastinate more than they ever have before? Post your thoughts below, and do it now - your work will wait.
One of the greatest inventions to come to the PC is that of the Universal Serial Bus (USB). It doesn't matter whether you're in the market for a spiffy new keyboard or a digital camera, because nearly every gadget today plugs into any of the many USB ports found on any modern computer. Why can't all digital devices be as easy to work with?
If Doug Palmer's vision ever comes to fruition, they will be. Palmer, an engineer at the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), wants to eradicate wall warts. No, he's not referring to unsightly growths on your home's walls, but the many different external power adapters for all of your gizmos and gadgets.
From smart displays capable of identifying its viewers to a recent push for more rich media ads, privacy seems to be taking a backseat to ad revenue. But while companies toy with ways to make more money through online ads, at least one person in Congress wants to make sure your rights aren't getting trampled in the process.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass) has seen enough and believes online monitoring services working on behalf of the advertising community should make their intentions clear and be required to obtain approval before tracking your online activities. He's not talking about innocent cookies, but deep packet inspection (DPI) technologies.
"First, there is a distinction in the detail, type, and amount of data collected," Markey said. "As opposed to individual websites that know certain information about visitors to its websites and affiliates, deep packet inspection technologies can indicate every website a user visits and much more about a person's web use," he said.
Not everyone shares Markey's same concerns. Robert Dykes, CEO of NebuAd, claims his company doesn't run afoul of privacy rights and translates visitor's IP addresses it gathers into anonymous identifiers. Furthermore, Dykes claims an opt-in program would cause "major harm" to the current infrastructure of the internet, which thrives on advertising revenue.
Does Dkyes have a point, or is markey right on the money?
Sun can lay claim as the first company to release a one terabyte tape drive with its StorageTek T10000B, but the company didn't have long to celebrate. Raining on their parade, IBM has released a one terabyte tape drive of its own, only this one runs 33 percent faster than Sun's.
The new IBM TS1130 tape drive can store up to one terabyte of uncompressed data per cartridge at 160MB/sec, or 40MB/sec faster than the T10000B, allowing the new model to complete backups up to 54 percent faster than the previous generation drive.
IBM describes the tape drives as being able to hold the text of one million books, and to keep that data from becoming corrupt, the TS1130 uses a special head overcoat technology IBM claims will lengthen the overall life expectancy of the drive. The TS1130 also utilizes a "Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) head design that leverages IBM's world-record achievement of developing a more sensitive read-write head for the magnetic tape system." In other words, expect fewer data read errors.
The new drive uses existing 3592 rewritable and WORM (Write Once Read Many) cartridges, offering backwards compatibility with Gen 1, 2, and 3 formats supporting both read and write for Gen 2 and read only for Gen 1. And backwards compatibility is a good thing too, as IBM says the TS1130 will carry a starting price of $39,050, with an upgrade option from existing drives for a more manageable $19,500. Ouch.
CNet reports that the development of Windows 7 is going well. According to Windows unit head Bill Veghte:
The product is tracking very, very well. We are committed and looking good, relative to our commitment--[shipping Windows 7] three years from general availability of Windows Vista.
That wasn't the only good news for Windows fans in Veghte's talk, though. The Mojave Project, which provides Windows XP users a chance to "taste-test" Vista under the code name Mojave, is making inroads (read our take here). Veghte also cited recent internal figures showint that 89% of users are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with Windows Vista, and 83% would recommend Vista to friends or family.
Veghte also states that Internet Explorer 8, which we told you about earlier this year, will be available in final form later this year.
What are your plans for Windows Vista or Windows 7? See us after the jump for a chance to talk back!
Intel’s dual-core Atom will see the light of the day in Q4 and is slated to be released on September 21, 2008, according to Fudzilla. It will be the first dual-core processor in the power efficient Atom family that has emerged as a popular powerplant for netbooks. The dual-core Atom 330 will set you back by $43, which is quite reasonable as the Atom 230 single-core processor is priced $29. The Atom 330 with its 1.6 GHz clock speed, 533 FSB and 1 MB L2 cache will be ideal for budget rigs. Once the Atom 330 release is out of the way, all eyes will be on the launch of 1.87 GHz Atom processors.