While many of us turn on our TVs when we want to see our Seattle Seahawks play poorly (or at least I do), many more turn on their computers. Thanks to the easy to use PC-tuner cards, anyone with $50 and a will can upload a stream to a peer-to-peer network with ease – and it’s causing a stir amongst big wigs for just about every major sports league.
Some outlets, such as Major League Baseball aren’t very concerned with the problem. The Chief Executive of MLB.com, Robert A. Bowman says, “it’s embryonic, it’s not widespread, and we have a distinct advantage in that we have a better product,” referring to the package that they offer for streaming a season of games online for $79.95.
Other leagues haven’t been as fortunate, though. The National Football League has been having some issues with the problem, thanks to a long-standing feud between the NFL Network and cable companies. Because of said feud, millions of fans missed out on seeing the Dallas Cowboys’ last game in their current home stadium, while millions more saw it all online for free.
Someone cue up Taps for the little search engine that couldn't. No, Cuil hasn't gone anywhere, and that's exactly the problem. Managed and developed by former Google employees, the $33 million startup had high hopes of dethroning Google as the go-to search engine. Well guess what? Surfers are still going to Google, and it doesn't appear the same can be said for Cuil.
It remains to be seen if Google has simply grown too large for another search engine to challenge its dominance, but whether or not that's true, it's going to take a much better effort than what Cuil managed to muster, which seemed doomed from the start. Poor performance, indexing methods that slowed down websites, and quirky search results all led to heavy criticism following Cuil's debut. And that was before VP of products Louis Monier resigned from the team. Talk about confidence booster!
So where does that leave Cuil today? Not much of anywhere. After an initial flurry of activity following the search engine's hyped up debut, traffic has waned considerably .In the medical world, that kind of flatlining means its time to notify the next of kin. In this case, that would be Google, but something tells us they already know.
MSI has launched it's U1115 Hybrid netbook, which the company bills as the first notebook computer in the world capable of running both SSD and HDD drives at the same time. Combined with its 'ECO on' mode, MSI claims "the battery life of U115 Hybrid is super long." Sounds super duper.
The new netbook operates primarily with the SSD to run Windows, with the HDD being used for storage duties. With ECO on mode, the U115 Hybrid temporarily disconnects the HDD to help extend battery life, presumably offering the best of both worlds. Storage options come in 8GB/120GB (SSD/HDD) and 16GB/160GB configurations.
Outside of the hybrid drive configuation, MSI sticks closely to the standard netbook formula. Underneath the 10-inch hood sits a 1.6GHz Z530 Intel Atom processor, 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, a webcam, media card reader, and Windows XP Home.
One of the weaknessess with HP's MediaSmart servers running MIcrosoft's Windows Home Server software was that it was of no use as backup platforms for Macs running the Time Machine backup software. That shortcoming is no longer the case, as HP announced plans to upgrade its MediaSmart server lineup with a pair of Mac-compatible models - HP MediaSmart Server ex485 (750GB of hard disk storage) and ex487 (1.5TB).
"A growing number of digital-savvy households have both Windows and Mac computers, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of media files and documents scattered across these devices,” said Jason Zajac, vice president of strategy, Worldwide Attach Group, HP. “The HP MediaSmart Server protects, stores and organizes this content from anywhere on a network so consumers can access and share it any place they are connected."
Both models come with a 64-bit Intel Celeron processor clocked at 2.0Ghz, 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM (previous models only came with 512MB of RAM), and expandability with up to 9TB of storage. The ex485 and ex487 are expected to be available in February 2009 for $600 and $750 respectively.
Competition for the upcoming refreshed MediaSmart line may come from Apple, 9to5Mac.com speculates. According to the Mac site, Apple has plans to expand the Time Capsule paltform to include much of the same functionality, with the real question being whether or not Apple will decide to put most of its services in the Cloud. If such an update is in the cards for Apple, an announcement would likely be forthcoming at Macworld, which runs from January 5-9, 2009.
While it might not be a major setback for the Recording Industry Association of America, a federal judged has denied the RIAA's appeal for a mistrial against Jammie Thomas, the only person ever to go to trial after being charged with copyright infringement by the RIAA.
Jammie Thomas initially made headlines earlier this year when a jury found her guilty of violating copyright laws and was ordered to pay a staggering $220,000 to six of the top music labels. Thomas was accused of sharing more than 1,700 songs, but despite the moral ambiguity, public opinion tended to view the verdict as obscenely high.
Just weeks after the verdict was handed down, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis overturned the ruling on the basis that he had misguided the jury by indicating that the act of making a copyrighted song available was enough to constitute infringement. While a new trial has been scheduled for March, the RIAA appealed the judge's decision and asked that it be declared a mistrial.
It will be interesting to see what long-term implications this current setback has on the RIAA. Just weeks ago, the RIAA announced it would try a new tactic in thwarting copyright infringement. Rather than continuing to sue individuals like Jammie Thomas, the RIAA said it would start working with ISPs to send out warnings to those suspected of illegally sharing music. After three warnings, the ISPs would cut off internet service.
Meanwhile, a retrial is still scheduled for March, and it would be hard to imagine the losing side not appealing the verdict. That means we're still a long ways off from knowing the true implications of the Jammie Thomas saga.
At what point does Asus push its S100 series Eee PC out of the netbook nest and into the land of laptops? Probably never, but if the company's Eee PCs grow any larger than the newly spied S121, it might be difficult to consider it a true netbook, even if it does sport an Atom processor inside.
Pictures of the yet-to-be announced S121 have emerged on the web, and according to EeePCNews.de, the new model will check in at 12.1 inches. That's almost two inches larger than the 10.2-inch Eee PC S101. Other details on how the new model will differ from it's predecessor are not yet known, nor is any pricing or availability information. But it's not a total wash; there are plenty of pictures to ogle at, and we'd wager our Voodoo 5 6000 graphics card (if we had one) that it will come with an Intel Atom N270 processor.
Unlike in the desktop market where quad-core computing has become commonplace, the four-core revolution has yet to make any real headway into the mobile sector. That might change soon as Intel has launched an affordable quad-core mobile chip.
The new Q9000 processor comes listed at $348, which is far easier to swallow than the $1,038 asking price for the existing mobile quad-core QX9300, or $851 for the Q9100. To make the lower price point possible, Intel cut the amount of cache in half from 12MB (QX9300 and Q9100) to 6MB. The Q9000 races along at 2.0GHz.
Acer has already jumped on board as one of the first OEMs to announce a Q9000-based laptop, the Aspire 8930G-7665, priced at $1,800. In addition to utilizing Intel's new quad-core chip, the Aspire also comes with an 18.4-inch WUXGA screen and GeForce 9700M GT GPU.
In other mobile chip news, Intel announced a handful of new dual-core mobile processors. These include the T9800 (2.93GHz, $530), P9600 (2.66GHz, $348), T9550 (2.66GHz, $316), and the P8700 (2.53GHz, $241).
It is common knowledge that smartphones are fast emerging as a dainty prey for malware proliferators. But a recent press release by IT security firm ESET, which spelled out some of the potential threats in 2009, might have iPhone and Android users worried in particular.
ESET warned in the press release that it expects both the iPhone and Android to become more vulnerable to malware. The company also expects both the smartphone platforms to fall prey to mobile browser exploits that might target their WebKit-based browsers.
The security firm has prognosticated an increase in fake antivirus extortion in 2009. “Some of the major antivirus companies have seen their websites spoofed over the last couple of months,” according to David Harley, Director of Malware Intelligence at ESET. The real threat lies in the fact that internet charlatans are leaving no stone turned in their bid to appear as credible as possible.
Verizon has secured a major legal victory against OnlineNic, a San Francisco-based domain registrar, which has been tormenting it for quite some time by squatting domains related to the telecom giant’s products. The court has ordered OnlineNIC to pay a sum of $33.15 million for squatting more than 600 Verizon-related domains.
Although the court’s order is expected to serve as a deterrent against cybersquatting, it is not clear how the promoters and employees of OnlineNIC will be brought to book as their identities still remain a mystery. They seem to be adept at concealment just like many other cybersquatters. In fact, it is this ability of cybersquatters to operate undercover that allows them to operate with impunity.
What’s better than seeing the world? Seeing the world during its post-life crisis – at least, according to Valve. And so, during a recent pow-wow with Kotaku, Valve writer Chet Faliszek confirmed that a smattering of new L4D scenarios are currently making sure their crumbling shacks and snaking paths are undead-accessible, as is the long-awaited L4D SDK.
However, as of now, details are sadly few in number. Apparently, Valve wants to “deliver more content you can play at this point,” meaning that the SDK probably won’t arrive with the initial batch of DLC.
On the bright side, the zombpocalypse preparation tool’s first tune-up will add versus mode support to the Dead Air and Death Toll campaigns, allowing you to feast upon your friends’ flesh at all of the game’s fine locales.
The Kotaku-Valve chat was recorded on December 15, so Faliszek’s claim that "We should be announcing that before Christmas, what the DLC is,” was obviously derailed.
"The holidays aren't actually so much delaying it as the press guys--[marketing VP] Doug [Lombardi]'s been taking some time. We'll have an announcement shortly, I don't know exactly when,” he continued. We’re guessing that bit’s still valid.
As is Valve’s wont, the DLC probably won’t cost any money – though arms and legs haven’t been ruled out just yet.
We’ll make sure to let you know when Lombardi and co. finally raise the curtain on Left 4.1 Dead. Pencil us in for “soonish.”