Rambus hoped to make strides with its RDRAM technology, and while it never did take off, it's only a matter of time before a new technology shakes up the random access memory market. Engineers and physicists from Germany think they'll be the ones to do it and have demonstrated what looks to be the quickest prototype yet of an advanced form of RAM, one which challenges the fundamental speed-limit for the process.
Called magnetoresistive random access memory, MRAM uses a faster and more energy efficient version of today's modules, which store a digital 1 or 0 as the level of charge in the capacitor. By comparison, MRAM stores the same information by changing the north-south direction of a tiny magnet's magnetic field, with each variable magnet positioned next to one with a fixed field. To read the stored value, a current runs through the pair to discover the direction of the variable magnet's field.
There are different types of MRAM technologies, and the one most manufacturers are hedging their bets on is called spin-torque MRAM, which involves spinning electrons to flip the magnetic fields. In what could see the technology emerge in as little as just a few years, German researchers have now built a spin-torque system from tiny pillars just 165nm tall that looks to be dramatically faster than any other. The top of the pillar acts as a variable magnet that stores the data, with fixed magnets occupying the bottom. When a current passes through, the electrons reach the pillars' other end and flip the variable magnet region's field to match.
NewScientistTech has much more on the topic, and we want to hear what you think about the emerging RAM technology by posting below.
When you do something really well in the corporate world, it’s often easier for a bigger company to just acquire you, rather than try to out do you. Just look at Alienware and Dell or Voodoo and HP. Now, Logitech has acquired Ultimate Ears for $34 million in cash.
Ultimate Ears has a loyal following of touring musicians, sound engineers and mainstream music lovers. An estimated 75 percent of today’s touring rock musicians now use the Ultimate Ears custom-fit in-ear monitor while performing. Pricing for the company’s consumer products begins around $40, while pricing for custom products can be as much as $1200.
“Ultimate Ears is a perfect fit for Logitech and our audio business,” said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and chief executive officer. “Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience. Logitech’s success has been built on using a deep understanding of our customers to create innovative products that let people immerse themselves in their pursuits – whether they are listening to music, gaming, watching a video or otherwise enjoying their digital lifestyle. We look forward to using our worldwide distribution network and operational efficiencies to help more people discover this superior listening experience.”
We can hope that they adapt some of Ultimate Ears technology into some really great headsets for computers too!
It's been a rough ride for Nvidia as of late, who not only has had to contend with a suddenly competitive ATI, but also finds itself battling a bad batch of mobile GPUs (which might turn out to be a bigger problem than initially stated). The struggles have turned financial with the graphics chip maker reporting a net loss of $120.9 million in the second quarter, or 22 cents a share. This is in stark contrast to one year ago when the company posted a profit of $172.7 million, or 29 cents a share.
The quarter's results include a $196 million charge Nvidia took to cover warranty, repairs, and other costs associated with an "abnormal failure rate" among its mobile GPUs. Nvidia executives are hopeful for a somewhat better third quarter, saying they expect revenue to grow "slightly."
"We didn't lose any share, the market just got soft on us," said chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang. And while Huang admitted that the second quarter results are "disappointing," the company still saw its shares rise by 10 percent after announcing a $1 billion boost to its stock buyback program.
The last thing you want to see while hanging from a wire high above a crowd of spectators is Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death lingering in mid-air, but that's exactly what happened to Li Ning, one of China's sporting greats. The incident took place during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and as Ning geared up for the torch lighting climax inside the Bird's Nest, stadium projectors beamed the BSOD onto the roof where it was clearly visible for all to see.
The BSOD came as an unfortunate side effect to using specialized theatrical computer controlled lighting equipment to light up the Bird's Nest, making the process not only automated, but susceptible to software failures. But hey, at least Windows was only running the light show and not the high wire act!
Technology has always left the laws of the land playing catch up when it comes to regulating new things. A new law under consideration in California would allow cyber bullies who use text messages or the Internet to harass their fellow students to be suspended or expelled under a bill that is close to passing the state Legislature. The bill applies to bullying through messaging, cell phones, pagers, computers or other electronic communication devices.
Almost from the very beginning the internet has had it’s own form of bullies in the shape of Trolls and other jerks that feel brave based on the sense of anonymity (real or perceived) that being online gives them. Whether these Trolls are ‘griefing’ a multiplayer games or flaming a forum it has been up to the admins of these services to police their domain which boils down to cleaning up the Troll dung and banishing them by whatever means at their disposal.
This type of behavior in recent years has begun to see overlap with the more traditional schoolyard type bullies. Advanced cell phones with photo and video capabilities and text messaging and internet access make it all too easy for embarrassing situations to become immortalized online forever. This can make life hell for these kids at an age when they are most vulnerable.
They admonished the detractors of the proposal for objecting to the AWS-3 spectrum auction. The two Congressmen don’t believe that the TDD technology that will be used for the Pan-American wireless broadband network will jeopardize services in the AWS-1 region. T-Mobile had objected to any auction in the 2155-2180 MHz spectrum range as it holds AWS-1 spectrum. The duo also supports the proposed auction as it is worried about U.S loosing the broadband-penetration wars to other countries.
Free Wireless broadband certainly seems a step in the right direction. However, the question is whether suppression of pornographic material would encroach upon the right to freedom of speech.
Toms Hardware reports that Intel’s "Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) draft specification revision 0.9 in support of the USB 3.0 architecture, also known as SuperSpeed USB" is now available. This is a good indicator that we might see the first USB 3.0 demonstrations at next week’s IDF in San Francisco.
xHCI draft specification provides hardware component designers, system builders and device driver developers with a description of the hardware/software interface between system software. It is being made available under RAND-Z (i.e. royalty free) licensing terms to all USB 3.0 Promoter Group and contributor companies that sign an xHCI contributor agreement.
It doesn’t appear that the new spec will be backward compatible past USB 2.0. I find it hard to believe that USB 1.1 devices will be out of luck, so I plan to keep an eye on that aspect. USB 3.0 at 600 MB/s will offer a ten-fold increase in the bandwidth of USB 2.0 at 4.8 Gb/s. That is pretty impressive if it approaches it’s spec yield. USB 2.0 spec rate is 480 Mbit/s but typical USB PC-hosts rarely exceed sustained transfers of 280 Mbit/s.
Will you be wanting USB 3.0 on your future system?
Microsoft demonstrated its newly-unveiled Unwrap Mosaic video editing research project this week at SIGGRAPH. Unwrap Mosaic enables users to add shapes ("artifacts") to home video. As Gizmodo describes it, you can use it to put "a handlebar mustache on Grandma."
If that makes Unwrap Mosaic sound no more sophisticated than a spray-paint can in the hands of a tagger, consider Geek.com's summary:
[Unwrap Mosaic] is best described as the Photoshop of video editing tools. With UM you can literally take a video and change the appearance of the objects it contains. The demonstration video shows this in action with the male star having a moustache, bushy eyebrows and rosy cheeks added. The result looks natural, moving realistically with the face, and the first-time viewer would think he’d had a moustache all along.
Don't go banging down the doors at your local "Software-R-US" store or start surfing for your own copy of Unwrap Mosaic just yet, though. It's still a research project, but you can learn more at the Microsoft Research website. Unwrap Mosaic is just one of 13 different presentations that Microsoft is offering at SIGGRAPH 2008.
Are you looking forward to the chance to use photo-editing tools on your videos? Worried about a further blurring of the line between reality and "virtual reality"? Sound off after the jump!
When I was a youngster, in between seven hour sessions of the latest 60 hour role-playing behemoth, I always told myself that I wouldn't be like those other adults when I grew up -- those adults who whiled away their days in front of a cramped desk, wishing they still had room in their busy schedules to work through their ever-expanding pile of shame. But here I sit, leg sandwiched between a desk and my chest, foot resting on my chair. Yeah, the prognosis isn't looking so hot.
These days, I'm happy to fit in some game time every couple of days, so it's only natural that my tastes have changed. While many vocal gamers whipped up sternly-worded message board posts after beating Portal in a single afternoon, I only grinned. I'd taken the tour, seen the sights, and gotten the ubiquitous tune stuck in my head -- in and out, no filler. If the credits roll within a mere couple of hours, so be it. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time; I see no reason to be dissatisfied. In the end, short games fit snuggly into the hustle and bustle of my life, while encouraging their creators to craft tightly-paced experiences. Win-win.
But what's your take? Do you prefer long journeys whose plot threads tangle you up and never let go? Do you gripe when a game doesn't include any sort of multiplayer? Or do you currently have Braid penciled in for this weekend, with all times subject to change?
Well, for those of you who fall into the former camp, today's your lucky day. This particular Roundup is all about lengthier titles -- from a day-long boss battle to BioWare (Need I say more?), and maybe a quick smoke in between. Jump past the break for the whole shebang.
Go on a weekend getaway with a Playboy model, or take the 60-inch plasma TV and go home alone? A new reality TV show will put contestants in a position to answer this and other similar questions to find out what guys find more important - high tech gadgets or hot women.
It's part of a new series to air on Playboy TV called Gadget or the Girl in which one lucky bachelor will be introduced to three women, one of which he'll eliminate right off the bat. After going on a date with the other two, the guy will choose just one to spend the evening with, and then decide whether to continue the one-on-one time during a weekend getaway, or opt for a high tech prize instead. Gadgets will range from high-definition big-screen TVs to arcade machines and everything in between, but the bachelor won't know what he stands to get (or lose) until after he makes a decision. If he does choose the girl, she'll score a mystery prize instead.
The new show will premier on Playboy TV on September 1 at 7:30 PM, which might not be a problem if you're single. But for those of you that are married, you might be better off opting for HBO rather than trying to convince your missis that you need a subscription to Playboy TV.