First things first - if you haven't already, read through our comprehensive mega-roundup of nine browsers, which includes both stable and beta releases, and even a browser still in the alpha stage. Up to speed? Good, let's move on.
As noted, we didn't see too much terribly different with Firefox 3.1 beta 2 over the currently shipping version, 3.0.6. A third beta was originally scheduled for an early January release, but lingering bugs prompted Mozilla to hold off on taking Firefox 3.1 beta 3 live. Left to bake a little while longer, Mozilla now appears ready to serve up the third beta, which it plans to do on March 10th at 2PM PST, according to the company's updated release schdule.
In other words, beta 3 might not be as fully cooked as Mozilla hoped, but at least some developers were feeling frustrated with the development process taking too long. Combined with 3.1's expanded scope, the question has been raised whether it might make more sense to rename the final version 3.5 instead of 3.1, just as Firefox 1.1 was renamed to 1.5.
Stay tuned, as we'll continue to follow the development of Mozilla's browser, no matter what version number the company settles on.
You hear that, GameStop? Capcom thinks you’re all washed up. Maybe it’s time to let the younger, prettier, and – most of all – immaterial new generation start helping you across the street, because your time’s running short. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Capcom VP of strategic planning Christian Svensson explained why.
“Absolutely. No question in my mind. Digital distribution on PC ties directly into our strategy," Svensson replied when asked whether or not digital beats retail. “We will probably do as much digital selling as retail in the current climate,” he later added.
“To that end, on the PC side, I’ve spent the past year building up a digital distribution channel that has about twenty different partners. We’re ready on the console side, and we were the first Japanese publisher to do anything on Steam.”
Just in time, too. Our collection of game manuals was starting to get a little out of hand.
Developer Creative Assembly’s new-er RTS, Stormrise, isn’t a simple, no-strings-attached type of girl like its sister franchise-in-arms, Total War. No sir – while Total War only aims to please (and succeeds, by the look of things), Stormrise won’t relinquish the key to its post-apocalyptic chastity belt without a little wining and dining first. However, whereas Windows XP’s reliable charms might’ve brought the princess back to your castle back in middle school, Stormrise wants – nay, needs – more.
"Stormrise has been designed for DirectX 10 and Vista only right from the start," said Stormrise lead designer Artem Kulakov."Vista only. DX10 only. No fallback option. We have never suggested this or hinted at it, so it shouldn't be a surprise."
But why bet the success of a new franchise on a pie-in-the-sky setup that only 25% of PC gamers can even access? Short answer: consoles.
"DX10 has offered a lot of advantages over DX9," Kulakov added. "First of all, DirectX 10 allowed us to simplify the rendering engine. It matches capabilities of next generation consoles better than DX9, which is important for us considering that Stormrise is a multi-platform title. We had fewer driver-specific compatibility issues with Stormrise compare to our previous games released with DX9."
Person-with-bad-idea-during-a-recession-says-what? Consoles and RTSes (especially those of the obscure, generically titled variety) are notorious for their inability to play nice together. Really, it's like putting all of your eggs in one basket with a gaping hole in the bottom; the expected outcome is as clear as day, so why even do it?
At CeBIT yesterday Asus unveiled the Eee PC 1008HA, a 1-inch thick netbook that weighs a mere 2.4 pounds.
The diminutive netbook, which was formerly known as the Eee PC Shell, is about as thin and light as the Eee PC S101, but it will supposedly have a smaller price tag. It will also feature an impressive 92% size keyboard and a multi-touch trackpad (like Dell’s Mini 10). Asus is yet to release any conclusive hardware details.
As far as pricing and availability goes, the only information that we have to go off of is the speculation that it’ll be cheaper than he Eee PC S101. No word on availability.
Earlier this week Dell introduced a special edition of their 15.4-inch Studio notebook, aptly named the Studio 15 Special Edition. This dolled up version of the regular laptop will feature a backlit keyboard, as well as a “Black Vapor” external color scheme.
When the limited edition machine goes on sale there will be three different versions available, depending on what level of hardware one orders. They’ll all sport a dual core 2.0GHz Intel CPU and integrated 4500MHD graphics processing to power the 1440x900 screen (a notable upgrade from the standard 1280x800).
As far as pricing goes, the Special Edition Studio 15 will start at $799 and cost as much as $949. The regular edition will remain at the low end of the spectrum, starting at only $599.
At this week’s CeBIT Asus unveiled the latest in their luxury notebook line, the Lamborghini VX5.
The VX5 will pack some impressive hardware under the hood, including an Intel Core 2 Quad processor, 4GB DDR3, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 130M graphics processor, but more importantly it will feature a massive 1TB SSD. It’s expected that the SSD is Puresilicion’s, which was announced earlier this year and has impressive 240 MB/sec sustained read speeds and 215 MB/sec sustained write speeds.
There’s no mention as to how much this laptop will cost or when it’s expected to release. But what we can gather is that this notebook will be pricey.
Nvidia has said on more than one occasion that it wants to simplify its product line to make it easier for consumers who might not know the difference between, say, an 8800 GTS 256MB, 8800 GTS 512MB, and 8800 GTS 640MB, and why the 512MB trumps them both. Then there's the 9800GTX+, which is a supercharged 9800 GTX, which is really a supercharged G92-based 8800 GTS, which is confusing as all get-out.
It gets better. Meet the GeForce GTS 250, the videocard formerly known as the 9800 GTX+. The rebranded videocard still uses the 55nm G92b GPU, however in a more mature yielding chip in GTS 250 trim. Available in both 512MB and 1GB configurations, the latter includes a new board design noticeably smaller than the 9800 GTX+ by about an inch and a half.
Other specs include a 738MHz core clockspeed, 1100MHz memory clockspeed, 256-bit memory interface for a 70.4 GB/s of total memory bandwidth, 16 ROPs, 64 texture filtring units, and 128 processor cores. The GTS 250 carries a TDP of 150 watts, and according to Anandtech's testing, both idle and load power consumption runs about 30W less than the 9800 GTX+.
The 512MB and 1GB versions will run $130 and $150 respectively, with widespread availability expected next week.
What is it lately with AT&T and inflated WiFi charges? Last week the ISP handed a Chicago Bears fan a $28,000 internet bill after his laptop's wireless card picked up an errant signal while he watched a football game on his notebook, and now the company has billed an Oklahoma woman $5,077 for data charges on her DataConnect plan.
Oklahoma resident Billie Parks is suing both AT&T and RadioShack, alleging the two companies co-conspired to offer a netbook and data bundle intentionally designed to mislead customers into racking up thousands of dollars per month in service charges. Parks purchased her netbook from RadioShack in December of 2008 for just $100, a price which required a two-year commitment with AT&T's DataConnect plan. On the $60/month plan, customers can get online no matter where they're at.
However, Parks maintains that she was never told that Internet data usage over 5GB would result in "astronomical additional charges running into the thousands of dollars." According to Parks, the Customer Service Summary says only that additional charges apply, but makes no mention of what those charges are.
"We're reviewing the suit and don’t have a comment on it at this time," AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom told ArsTechnica. "But I can tell you that we go to considerable lengths to inform customers of the limits involved in these plans. We display the plan usage limits and overage rates on our collateral, terms and conditions, and on att.com, And customers can check their usage using myWireless Account or by using the usage monitoring capability on the AT&T Communications Manager application."
Does Parks have a fighting chance with her lawsuit? Hit the jump and sound off.
Dell has announced a new 24-inch LED widescreen display the company says will help cut energy costs and environmental impact. In addition to LED technology, energy saving features of Dell's new green G2410 display include the use of "recycled materials and other environmentally preferable components," less than 0.15W of power consumption when in sleep mode, manufacturing free of PVC, BFR, CFR, arsenic, and mercury, and reduced waste due to up to 20 percent slimmer panel than comparable models.
The G2410 sports a 1920x1080 screen resolution, which might be disappointing for some gamers hoping for 1920x1200, however it's enough for movie buffs to get full 1080p content. Other specs include a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 16.7 million color support, a 5ms response time, and 250 cd/m2 brightness. Connectivity options are limited to VGA and DVI-D.
You know what's larger than a single 2TB Western Digital hard drive? The answer is four them, all stuffed into Western Digital's ShareSpace NAS for a total capacity of 8 freakin' terabytes.
More than just increased storage, WD claims its new four bay NAS serves up 30 percent faster transfer speeds, along with support for DLNA media streaming.
"With its huge capacity and small footprint, WD ShareSpace has become a popular choice among small business owners. By doubling capacity and increasing transfer speeds, the new 8 TB WD ShareSpace offers more value to small business users," said Jim Welsh, senior VP and GM of WD's branded products and consumer electronics groups. "Digital media enthusiasts, on the other hand, will really appreciate the new streaming support which lets them easily stream to PCs, Macs and game consoles. With the new WD ShareSpace, we have made important improvements for all our customers."
Several other goodies abound, such as GigE connectivity, RAID 0/1/5 capabilities, built-in email alert system, iTunes server support, three USB 2.0 ports, and a built-in FTP server.
WD says the new 8TB capacity will be available this week through the company's online store in 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB capacities. The 8TB version will run $1700, and all three models include WD's Anywhere Backup software.