At this month’s Professional Developer Conference Microsoft will be handing out the software development kit for their Surface tabletop computer. In an announcement made on the PDC’s site, Robert Levy sates that attendees will be able to “learn how you can become a part of the expanding partner ecosystem for Microsoft Surface and leverage your existing investments in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and Visual Studio to build engaging end user applications. Attendees will receive access to the Microsoft Surface SDK.”
This announcement comes as a sigh of relief to developers, who have been promised the SDK for some time now. The only known companies with access to the SDK are AT&T and Starwood hotels, whose projects are unknown. Microsoft has also been stating that the multitouch interface will be part of Windows 7, but is yet to detail how.
Let’s just hope that Chris Taylor and his boys get started on their version of Supreme Commander for the Surface ASAP!
RealNetworks has temporarily suspended the sale of its RealDVD software in accordance with Judge Marilyn Hall Patel’s request. The DVD copying tool is the bone of contention between the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) and RealNetworks. The two are currently locked in a legal battle.
The case will come up for hearing in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday. Judge Marilyn Hall Patel will be hearing the matter. Although most MPC readers are in favor of DVD copying, they have very little sympathy for RealDVD due to its encryption features and $30 price tag.
So you’re enjoying watching the baseball playoffs in HD, are you? Well, imagine yourself in the next 10 years watching these same playoffs in 3D. Dr. Nasser Peyghambarian (say that three times fast) of the University of Arizona is claiming that this could be possible, all thanks to hologram technology.
Dr. Peyghambarian, the chair of photonics and lasers at the University of Arizona’s Optical Sciences department claims that his crack team of scientists have broken a barrier by creating the first updatable three-dimensional displays with memory. "This is a prerequisite for any type of moving holographic technology. The way it works presently is not suitable for 3-D images," said Peyghambarian.
In order to create a television that’s capable of displaying 3D images they’ll need to create displays that can update multiple times per second, whereas they’ve only created displays that can update on a minute-by-minute basis.
Dr. Peyghambarian’s team has been hard at work on the technology since 1990, and believes that now that this breakthrough has been made the rest of the essentials will soon follow. "It took us a while to make that first breakthrough, but as soon as you have the first element of it working the rest often comes more rapidly," he said. "What we are doing now is trying to make the model better. What we showed is just one color, what we are doing now is trying to use three colors. The original display was four inches by four inches and now we're going for something at least as big as a computer screen."
There is some criticism though. Justin Lawrence, an authority on Electric Engineering at Bangor University in Wales said that while small steps are being made on technology like 3D holograms, but he can’t see it being available within the next ten years. "It's one thing to demonstrate something in a lab but it's another thing to be able to produce it cheaply and efficiently enough to distribute it to the mass market," said Lawrence.
A study by market research firm In-Stat has found that our dependence on wires is rapidly waning with the rise in the sales of embedded Wi-Fi devices. The study pegged the sale of embedded Wi-Fi devices around the world at 294 million units in 2007. It expects the figure to leapfrog to 1 billion by 2012.
According to the study, Wi-Fi enabled cell phones will usurp PCs as the most popular (largest) category of Wi-Fi devices. Even digital TVs are expected to interact with a wide gamut of devices using Wi-Fi in the imminent future. As Wi-Fi marches towards ubiquity, there are some compatibility and security issues that need to be addressed urgently.
Yesterday Google unveiled YouTube’s brand new theater view and dimming function, both dead ringers for the prospect of HD video. With the new theater view, users will be able to watch videos in a widened, dimmed format that will make whatever video they’re watching the main focus of the screen, much like Hulu’s “lower lights” feature.
Theater view provides a nice break from YouTube’s plethora of ads and “what you should watch” next suggestion boxes, all without making the video fit the screen and turn what was a watchable video into a pixilated mass.
The theater view provided by YouTube currently fills the extra space on the sides of the video with red curtains. Given the HD prospect of the theater view, there’s a good chance that this will be used to make room for 16:9 videos. And if that’s not enough for you, last week YouTube’s upload limit was changed to 1GB, convinced?
Now, we just need Tay Zonday to make a HD version of Chocolate Rain, and this will really catch on.
Asus may have led the charge into the netbook arena with its Eee PC lineup, but MSI's Wind has proved an extremely popular low-cost alternative in what continues to emerge as a prominent market. MSI sees the potential and will look to make a hard push in the coming months.
In an interview with Laptopmag.com, MSI's director of U.S. sales Andy Tung spoke openly about MSI's upcoming plans. Tung says the next generation Wind (U120) will focus on the business segment, not only in component selection but in appearance as well. To that end, the U120 will trade the U100's round corners for a "more square-like look," which Tung equates to a ThinkPad design. On the hardware front, the U120 will feature a 10-inch screen, HDD and SSD storage options, 3.5G connectivity, and Windows XP for a sub-$600 price tag.
Tung also indicated that MSI plans to bring its Wind Desktop to the U.S. market, which will go head-to-head against Asus' Eee Box. No time frame was given, but it's reasonable to expect it will come sooner rather than later, given MSI's aggressive push. Best Buy today announced it would start selling MSI's Wind U100 in its brick-and-mortar stores, a move that not only puts increased emphasis on North American sales, but will help the company with brand recognition as the netbook market continues to gain traction.
Google wants to make sure you never again send an email that you later wish you could take back. Problem is, once that angry letter or drunken confession flies out of your outbox, the damage has been done and it's only a matter of time before the recipient reads it. If only there could have been someone by your side to force you to solve math problems before allowing you to send that email! Wait, what?
Now there will be, and it's called Mail Googles. Once enabled, Mail Goggles will subject you to a handful of math equations that must be answered before that email can be whisked away for good.
"When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you're really sure you want to send that late night Friday email," writes Jon Perlow, a Gmail engineer. "And what better way to check than by making you solve a few simple math problems after you click send to verify you're in the right state of mind?"
Hit the jump to post your thoughts on this one, but first, what's 86-32?
AMD, once on top of the world with its Athlon 64 lineup, has been hit hard by Intel ever since the rival chip maker abandoned its infatuation with Netburst and began pushing its Core architecture to much fanfare. Phenom hasn't been the phenomenal success AMD had hoped it would be, and it appears the company has finally reached a crossroads for future operations.
Rather than continue on with business as usual, AMD has chosen another path, one in which the chip maker will be split into two companies, with one staying focused on designing processors and the other setting its sights on manufacturing them. Giving the separated companies a boost, AMD says it will receive at least $6 billion from two Abu Dhabi investment firms, which will mostly go towards financing a new chip factory near Albany and to upgrade the company's Fab in Dresden, Germany.
AMD will own 44 percent of the new entity, which will temporarily be known as the Foundry Company, with the Abu Dhabi government formed Advanced Technology Investment Company owning the rest. ATIC will invest $2.1 billion in the venture right way, with $3.6 billion to $6 billion to be injected later on.
"We generally believe this deal is a game changer for the industry," said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chief executive of Mubadala. "It's bold, and I think it's smart."
AMD's Dirk Meyer agrees, saying the split will make AMD a financially stronger company. And there's no doubt AMD could use financial relief, who at last count reported it carried a $5.3 billion debt while maintaining only $1.6 billion in cash.
Could this be the boost AMD needs to finally go toe-to-toe with Intel, or is this the beginning of the end? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Recording to Blu-ray media looks to get a big boost from Sanyo, who announced the development of a new blue laser diode the company says is capable of burning 100GB of data in as little as 10 minutes.
Current Blu-ray media tops out at 50GB of storage space (dual-layer), but Sanyo's 5.6mm diode can emit a beam of 450 milliwatts, or roughly twice that of Sanyo's currently highest power laser for Blu-ray devices. The high power laser makes it possible to read and write data on up to four layers at a 12x speed. To put that into perspective, Sanyo says one disc could record up to 8 hours of high-definition content.
It will be awhile before the new diode finds its way into consumer products. Sanyo says it will be another 2 to 3 years before production takes place, and by then, who knows what the state of Blu-ray will be like.
Commercial wireless systems, which top out at hundreds of megabits per second, still have a ways to go before being on the level of optical fiber, which boasts tens of gigabits per second. Looking to close that gap, engineers at Battelle, a research and development firm based in Columbus, OH, have found a way to send data through the air using millimeter-wave technology.
Achieving faster speeds by harnessing the millimeter-wavelength frequency of the wireless spectrum isn't new, but it is both expensive and complex due to the equipment involved to generate the signal. Or at least it used to be. The Battelle team has taken off-the-shelf telecommunication components and, by modulating data on two low-frequency laser beams, has been able to create a pattern of interference that acts as a 100GHz signal (millimeter-wave technology operates on frequencies between 60GHz and 100GHz). By doing so, the team demonstrated a 20 gigabit-per-second signal in its lab.
While the research looks promising, a shipping product could still be years away. Putting the system together using existing components has helped to break through the cost barrier, but the new challenge will be to create a smaller device that's less unwieldy.