It turns out Twitter can be used for more than just reading bad haikus, it can also be used to derail 8 weeks of legal proceedings, and get a case thrown in to mistrial. Last week, a Florida juror in a high profile drug trial officially went on record and admitted to the judge that he’d researched part of the case over the Internet. Normally a single biased juror isn’t a big deal; you simply eject the person in question and continue. But when the judge dug a bit further, he was shocked to find that eight other jurors had all committed the same offence. As a result a “Google” mistrial was called, and the justice system is starting to worry about the long term trends this case demonstrated.
This isn’t the first time the internet and social media has been accused of interfering with justice either. A few weeks back an Arkansas court was asked to overturn a $12.6 million dollar judgment by claiming that a juror was releasing details of the case on Twitter. Tweets such as “a big announcement is coming Monday” might seem harmless, but to the courts, they represent a grave threat to the justice system that is nearly impossible to solve. Currently jurors are warned in advance not seek information outside the courtroom, but with the answer to almost every question at our finger tips these days, the temptation to cheat seems to be getting to the best of us.
With access to the internet via mobile devices getting easier every day, do you think this is a problem the courts will ever solve? Or will we have to lock up all the twitterholics?
The PC Gaming Alliance has taken some heat over the years, both from the public, and the media as to what exactly they offer. Since their inception, PC Gaming hasn’t seen any demonstrable improvements in hardware standards, DRM, or really anything of note which could be traced back to the controversial group. They do however love studies, and they have prepared new state of the industry report to further beat the PC drum. According to Jon Peddie Research, sales of PC gaming hardware is the one bright spot in an otherwise dreary technology economy.
In Terms of year over year growth worldwide:
- Enthusiast PC’s sales have grown 9% - Performance PC’s sales have grown 19% - Mainstream PC’s sales have grown 21%
The result of this growth is a staggeringly large PC Gaming hardware market worth an estimated 20 billion dollars in 2008, and it is expected to grow to 34 billion by 2012. The report also suggests that PC Gaming is more recession proof then consoles because of the high cost barrier to entry. When you add up the cost of an HDTV as well as the console and accessories, it’s a big setback for a single purpose device. PC’s they argue, are more versatile and represent a better investment for cash strapped consumers. Also noted was the sharp rise in gaming notebook sales as compared to desktops.
“Don’t let the retail numbers fool you,” said Ted Pollak, co-author of the report. “Enthusiast PC gamers often latch onto one or two games that offer multiplayer and stick to these titles for years. Hardware is where they spend the big bucks. The retail numbers don’t capture the casual and digitally distributed games either. Retail figures are not an accurate barometer for the health of the PC gaming industry.”
So does this report have you convinced that all is well in the PC Gaming universe, or is everyone just playing Solitaire?
Asustek is now busy sprucing up its Eee PC range. The wafer-thin Fold/Unfold notebook, the dual touchscreen Flipbook and voice-controlled Eee PCs are some of the most innovative products on its release calender.
An optical disk drive (ODD) may be pale in comparison to all the scintillating stuff just mentioned, but it is still a big deal for netbooks to have one.
The E1004DN was showcased at CES 2009. It happens to be the first Eee netbook equipped with an ODD. Apart from the DVD drive, it will feature a 10” display, an Intel Atom N280 processor, 1GB RAM and a 120GB HDD.
Pirates of all ilks are locked in a game of cat and mouse with regulators and content proprietors. Throughout their endless war, both have tightly clung to Newton’s third law: every regulation (action) has an equal and opposite ruse (action). Microsoft has come up with a fresh way to stymie videogame piracy. Its newfangled anti-piracy measure will prevent gamers from enjoying illicit copies of games before the street date.
"We have zero-day piracy protection—this helps reduce the leakage of IP before release. The bits are encrypted, and there is a one-time activation that checks to see if the game has been released or not, and we'll send out a decrypt code so the game can be played." Drew Johnston, the product unit manager for the Windows Gaming Platform, told Ars Technica. How will pirates respond?
A well-informed tipster just leaked Dell’s brand new Latitude 2100 “Welch” laptops to Gizmodo, where they’re now spreading the news about the school-oriented netbooks.
These new little beasts will be based off of Intel’s Atom processor (up to 1.6GHz), can support an optional SSD, pack up to 2GB of RAM, and weigh just under 3lbs. There’s also three USB ports, a SD/MMC slot, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/g/n, Bluetooth, 3 and 6-cell battery options, a 10-inch screen, and the possibility of a touchscreen.
As for pricing and availability, it should be out around May 2009, just in time for the back to school shopping season, and cost under $600.
Microsoft's latest browser, Internet Explorer 8, has gotten mixed reviews from MaximumPC.com readers (see comments here and here), but one question that's hard for any individual user to answer about any browser is "how secure is it?"
To find out, Microsoft asked NSS Labs to pit IE8 RC1 against its predecessor, IE7, as well as the following third-party browsers: Firefox 3.0.7, Safari 3.2, Chrome 1.0.154, and Opera 9.64. The objective: find out which browser did the best job at handling so-called social-engineering malware sites - the ones that try to con you into downloading malware disguised as something else ("Adobe Flash update," anyone?).
ComputerWorldreports that IE8 did the best job of fending off attacks from 492 malware-distributing websites, blocking 69% of attacks (details here [PDF link]). If you're not using IE8, join us after the jump to learn how your favorite browser fared.
Ads are a necessary evil when browsing the net. We all see them, we all browse right past them, but it looks like the powers that be are working on new and inventive ways to shove them in our faces.
The latest concoction brewed up by the folks at Pixazza, Inc. is a tool that turns items in pictures into clickable links (presumably to a virtual check-out with that item). And, while supposedly the backend for implementing this feature is a bit complicated, the user interface is intuitive. Visitors to a site will be able to simply move their mouse over an image to reveal any additional information they might want, via a pop-up tab.
So, if you see Scarlett Johansson wearing some sweet shades, and you’re looking to get yourself a pair, look no further then the pop-ups that will soon accompany your images.
Earlier this month Boxee, the ambitious new program that’s looking to bring a full Web content experience to your living room (that’s currently only available for Mac and Linux), announced that it would introduce a brand new, overhauled application program interface (API) and a workaround that will allow Hulu’s content to work… for now.
The new API will introduce a few applications right off the bat, including built-in support for Pandora and RadioTime. But, the new API will also allow developers to build more complex applications for the platform.
The workaround that will allow users to view content on Hulu will work by detecting video in a regular web page and then attempting to put it into full-screen view. In the past, Hulu was available as a channel right though the API, but it was blocked at the request of content partners. Not long after Boxee just grabbed the data they wanted from Hulu’s RSS feed, but they blocked that too. With any luck, this new change will allow users to view all the video content they wish.
Does the placement of the mouse laser matter? Japan-based Elecom seems to think so and has come up with a new mouse the company claims is "like you're holding a pen."
Dubbed the Scope Node Mouse, the new rodent places the 1600 DPI laser off-center so that it sits to left, just like the tip of a pen would sit. The beneift of doing so, says Elecom, is greater accuracy.
"The Scope Node is also characterized by its laser sensor position aligned to that of the pen tip, so that the sensor's high-resolution performance (1,600 dpi) can be accurately represented on the screen," Elecom wrote in a press release. "In short, you can use 'a PC monitor and a mouse' just like 'a piece of paper and a pen' because you can use the mouse just 'like you're holding a pen!' for writing or drawing.
Other than the off-center laser, the Scope Node retains the same general shape of a conventional mouse, albeit a bit futuristic looking. It comes with three buttons, "optimal weight balance," and a higher recognition rate than that of a conventional LED optical mouse, the company claims.
The Scope Node is available in Japan for ¥6,300, or about $64 USD.
It's been rumored that Cisco would move into making its own blade servers, and that rumor turned into a reality last week when the company accounced its Unified Computing effort. A bevy of press releases related to the effort were released by Cisco last Monday, which has the company aiming to unify components of the data center into a single footprint and cut both ownership and operating costs.
The company's new Nehalem-based blade servers have been in design and development for two years and spells bad news for HP, who Cisco has dead in its sights.
"We're going to compete with HP," said Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTO. "I don't want to sugarcoat that. There is bound to be change in the landscape of who you compete with and who you partner with."
Cisco's blade launch includes partners like BMC, EMC, VMWare, and Microsoft.