Generally, the term “conference call” stirs up images of stuffy businessmen swapping stories about things like revenues, stocks, and how to be completely out of touch with today’s youth (“Call your online database ‘kgb’! Then fill your commercial with facetious douchebags!”). However, there ain’t no conference call like an Activision Blizzard conference call, and today’s game of telephone didn’t disappoint.
First up, Acti-Blizz finally took war back to the future with the announcement that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will launch during Q4 (real, not fiscal) of 2009. Is it us, or is the recession looking a little pale?
Continuing its elongated pop-the-question date with our PCs, Activision Blizzard also plans to launch StarCraft 2’s beta sometime in the “months ahead.” In addition, the much-anticipated beta will include an early version of Battle.net’s next iteration, which will probably just open a portal to heaven or something.
Did we mention that Activision won’t be laying-off anyone? Presumably at all? Draw your own conclusions.
As in previous surveys, respondents recognize that people are both an organization’s greatest asset as well as its weakest link. But security vigilance is even more important in hard economic times, when the increased stress levels can lead people to behave in atypical ways.
After a lengthy standoff that ultimately punished the consumer rather than each other, Intel and Nvidia recently came to an agreement over using Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel chipset-based motherboards, specifically the Core i7 friendly X58. And now for the first time, Intel has licensed SLI for use on its own DX58SO "Smackover" motherboard.
"The addition of Nvidia SLI technology to the Intel DX58SO motherboard has been a welcome addition," said Clem Russo, VP and GM of Channel Desktop Platform Group at Intel. "The pairing of our new Core i7 processors on our Extreme Series motherboard and Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world's fastest consumer gaming PC platforms. For playing any of today's hottest PC titles, this is one awesome combination that our customers have been asking for."
Nvidia says the DX58SO supports any combination of GeForce GPUs, including support for quad-SLI, which will come as a boon to Smackover owners who have been lusing over Nvidia's new dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard.
Toshiba, always one to bolster their numbers, has added the A10-S3511 and M10-S3411 notebooks to their Tecera line of laptops!
Both of these have a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 2GB DDR2 and a 160GB HDD under the hood. And, to help seal the deal they’ve included a built-in webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, their own EasyGuard technology, a 3-hour battery, and they bring it to you all on Windows Vista Business with a possible downgrade to XP Professional.
The main differences are aesthetic, though the hard drives are different speeds. The A10 has a 15.4-inch WSXGA+ screen, Nvidia Quadro NVS and a 7200rpm drive and costs $1,249. The M10 has a slightly smaller 14.1-inch TFT LCD, integrated Intel GM45 graphics and a 5400rpm drive and costs only $1,100.
While for many the current economy is a sign of the savings, Intel has refused to change their prices. So if you’re looking to get an Intel powered notebook on the cheap, chances are pretty good that you’ll have to wait a bit!
Intel has notified its partners that it will not cut the prices of notebooks until the end of May. If this information holds up to be correct, they’ll probably begin lowering the prices of notebook CPUs by 13-40 percent in June in order to make way for their Calpella platform “based on its partners’ inventory status and demand.”
What does this mean for the average consumer like you and I? Well, until notebook manufacturers get rid of their current inventory, nothing. Absolutely nothing!
According to a study by New York computer forensics firm, Kessler International, 40 percent of the hard drives that are purchased in bulk orders on eBay contain personal, private and sensitive information. They’ve found everything from corporate financial data to surfing histories and even the downloads of a man with a foot fetish.
The study, which was conducted over six months, consisted of nearly 100 drives that ranged in size from 40GB to 300GB. “With size of the sample, I guess we were surprised with the percentage of disks that we found data on,” stated Michael Kessler, CEO of Kessler International. “We expected most of the drives to be wiped -- to find one or two disks with data. But 40 drives out of 100 is a lot.”
Of the data that they retrieved, 36 percent was personal data and confidential information (including financial information), 21 percent were photos, 13 percent were corporate documents, 11 percent browsing histories, 11 percent DNS server information, and 4 percent was miscellaneous data.
So, should you be looking to sell your machine on eBay let this be a warning to you! Be sure to format the drive completely, ensuring that you wipe out each little piece of data. Who knows where it might end up?
It's hard to imagine anyone being able to bully Google into submission, but according to Venture Beat, that's exactly what Apple did. The report claims Apple encouraged Google not to use multi-touch technology in the Android-based G1 mobile phone, and Google agreed, Venture Beat says citing an un-named Android team member as the source.
"Further, the Android team member went on to say that they were relieved that Google didn't go against Apple's wishes, given the legal storm that appears to be brewing between Apple and Palm, which is using multi-touch technology in its new Pre phone," Venture Beat writes.
And that might not be the only influence Apple had on the G1 handset. According to technology blogger John Gruber, a source told him Apple also took issue with a pre-release G1 prototype Google showed to them over its standard headphone jack. The unidentified source claims Apple owns a patent on "controlling software using buttons connected by a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (at least for music and video playback controls), and would not grant Google a license to the patent."
Getting back to the multi-touch issue, it will be interesting to see if future Android-based handsets implement the technology, even with the threat of a lawsuit lingering.
Either news and rumor site The Inquirer is seriously stirring the pot between Intel and Nvidia, or the two companies are looking to move in on each other's territory. It first started last week when The Inqposted a report claiming Intel will design the PlayStation 4 GPU, not Nvidia, and further stating there's a good chance Microsoft's Xbox3 console will sport ATI hardware.
Now the rumor site says Nvidia is trying to make an x86 chip and has put the word out to engineers.
"Word reached us a bit ago that Nvidia is definitely working on a x86 chip and the firm is heavily recruiting x86 engineers all over Silicon Valley," The Inquirer wrote.
But there's a problem with the rumor, other than it being unconfirmed speculation at this point. If Nvidia seriously is considering putting out a x86 CPU, it would have to climb a legal mountain before doing so. Given how long it took Nvidia and Intel to come to licensing terms to combine SLI technology with Intel-based chipsets, it seems unlikely the two would come to another licensing agreement, this time involving x86 technology.
The other route Nvidia could take is to form an alliance with a company already possessing a x86 license, but assuming Nvidia could pull it off, and assuming Nvidia is interested in x86 chip design in the first place, the move would still likely end up in a lengthy court battle.
Thoughts on Nvidia developing a x86 CPU? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Intel's three-chip Core i7 lineup is about to get a little more robust, and it starts at the top end. The chip maker has introduced a pair of new CPUs, with the Core i7 975 Extreme supplanting the 965 Extreme as the company's flagship processor. Intel's newly minted 975 model blazes a trail at 3.33GHz, up from 3.2GHz on the 965.
But it's not just the flagship model that's getting faster; Intel is also planning to release the Core i7 950. The new chip runs at 3.06GHz, nestling in between the 2.93GHz Core i7 940 and the aforementioned Core i7 965 Extreme.
No word yet on price or availability, however the Core i7 975 is expected to replace the 965 at the $999 mark.
What a difference a year makes. Nvidia yesterday reported a loss of nearly $148 million, or 27 cents per share, for the fiscal fourth quarter. A year prior Nvidia reported a profit of $257 million, or 42 cents per share.
Said Nvidia's ever-candid CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, "November fell off a cliff." Huang was referring to the dramatic drop in demand, which led the company to post revenue of $481.1 million, down 60 percent from the $1.2 billion it reported for the fourth quarter a year prior.
A rebound might not be on the immediate horizon for Nvidia, either. Market research firm iSuppli predicts that shipments of desktop PCs will continue to sag in 2009, with shipments expected to fall 5.5 percent to 146.2 million units. This is important because many high-end videocards end up in those PCs.
Despite the depressing sales numbers, we can't help but think it could have been worse for Nvidia. The graphics chip maker scored a major win by convincing Apple to use its GPUs in the recently refreshed MacBook line, and going forward, the company's newly released GTX 285 and 295 videocards have put the company on more even ground with ATI's 4870 and 4870 X2 parts.