It's official. Now that Lenovo has announced its Ion-based IdeaPad S12, Intel's Atom platform finally has some competition in the netbook arena.
"We've heard from consumers loud and clear about the need for affordable and extremely portable computing devices, and we've responded by introducing our third netbook with a completely new form factor, making mini-computing more usable and redefining value in today's market," said Dion Weisler, vice president, Business Operations, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "We are pioneering new territory in the developing netbook arena by being the first vendor to give customers high quality video and entertainment capabilities in a netbook with optional Nvidia Ion graphics."
The new 12-inch netbook comes equipped with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), up to 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, up to a 320GB hard drive, and of course integrated Nvidia Ion graphics, the main selling point of the S12.
GottaBeMobile.com has posted videos of the new ultraportable in action, noting that it's "fully capable of being a primary computer for those with basic needs." And we have to admit, the prospect of HD video and serviceable Call of Duty 4 framerates on a sub-$500 portable is mighty appealing.
Lenovo says the S12 will be available in June through business partners starting at $450, with Nvidia Ion-based units "available later this summer."
According to a new survey conducted by American Airlines and Hewlett-Packard, passengers are split nearly right down the middle on whether they'd prefer to fill their bellies with airline food or join the mile high WiFi club.
"We know that our business customers rely on technology to be as productive as possible while on the road," said Manuel de Oyarzabal, Director of Customer Research at American Airlines.
The survey pinged more than 1,500 frequent business travelers who take more than 20 trips a year on three or more airlines. Of them, a little more than 47 percent said WiFi was the most important airport amenity, besting their desire for food by almost 30 percentage points.
Related to the above, the survey found that not having a place to plug in and recharge a notebook ranked as the No. 1 irritant, with 24 percent indicating access to power outlets as the most important technology amenity when flying.
Biostar today adds to its T-Series motherboard lineup, this time with a hybrid board capable of running both DDR2 and DDR3 memory (not at the same time).
"Needless to say, the double DDR2/DDR3 design make it possible for users to enjoy better compatibility and cost saving on future memory upgrade," Biostar wrote in a press release. "This motherboard also supports Biostar's exclusive G.P.U. energy-saving technology."
The TP45E Combo motherboard dedicates two slots to each memory standard with support for up to 4GB of DDR3-800/1066/1333, and up to 8GB of DDR2-667/800/1066. Other notables include "whole solid capacitors," 1600MHz frontside bus support, 3 PCI slots, 2 PCI-E x1 slots, a single PCI-E Gen2 x16 slot, 6 SATA ports, and 5.1 surround sound.
Following in Microsoft's footsteps with its monthly 'Patch Tuesday' approach to system security, Adobe said it will stick to a quarterly release schedule for security updates of its own.
"Based on feedback from our customers, who have processes and resources geared toward Microsoft’s “Patch Tuesday” security updates, we will make Adobe’s quarterly patches available on the same days. (Although our 3/10/09 and 5/12/09 security patches landed on Patch Tuesday, the timing was coincidental. In both cases, we shipped the patches as soon as we finished testing them.)," Brad Arkin, Adobe director of product security and privacy, wrote in a blog post.
In March, Adobe released a patch that fixed a critical vulnerability in Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9 that would have allowed an attacker to gain complete control of victim's PC. According to Arkin, this security hole led to the company's decision to implement scheduled security updates.
Circuit City has risen from the dead, at least in online form, and as is most often the case when an entity emerges from the grave, decomposition rears its ugly head. In this case, it's the new CircuitCity.com's return policy that has been withered, but more on that in a minute.
Last Tuesday, Systemax -- the same company that owns TigerDirect and purchased electronics retailer CompUSA's intellectual property last year -- closed its agreement to acquire trademarks, domain names, and customer list of email addresses and "other basic customer information" of Circuit City's online business for $14 million plus a share of future revenue over 30 months, CNBC reports.
The online portal relaunches today and it looks just like the Circuit City of old, except for the return policy. Not even a full day under its belt, CircuitCity.com is already catching flak over how returns are processed. Under new ownership, non-defective returns "will be for store credit or refund at CircuitCity.com's sole discretion." But even worse than potentially getting stuck with store credit, some items are just plain nonreturnable.
"Products from manufacturers such as Compaq, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Epson, and others are not returnable to CircuitCity.com FOR ANY REASON," states the return policy.
Depending on where you check your stats, the US ranks anywhere from 15th to 22nd in broadband speeds, falling way behind other countries such as Iceland, Denmark, and even Canada. The broadband problem in the US gets even worse as you move out further into the rural areas where some communities have the choice of dial up, or if they have a ton of money to burn, super high latency satellite. This is a problem that won’t be solved overnight, but a new bill proposed in Congress last week by Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo, might just be the long term solution everyone is looking for.
The new bill would force governments to build fiber conduit into the sides of all new road projects allowing high-speed connections to flow naturally throughout the country. The costs are expected to be relatively low, since the bulk of the cost associated with laying new fiber is digging up and burying the cables.
Eshoo is the representative pushing the proposal forward in Congress, but doesn’t deserve full credit for the idea. The concept was initially proposed last year in the New America Foundation’s playbook, a guide published by Ben Lennett and Sascha Meinrath who were advisors to the Obama campaign on tech issues. The cost of the fiber optic cables will still be paid by private companies, but it will make for a much more compelling return on investment for fiber deployments in the future.
With all the new roads the Obama administration is proposing to stimulate the economy, this certainly seems like an idea they should implement sooner, rather than later. What do you think?
New research from NPD and Nielsens reveals some fairly interesting information on how Americans spend their free time, and the results might surprise you. On the gaming front, 63 percent of Americans reported having played some form of video game within the past six months, while only 43 per cent admitted to having gone to see a movie in the theatre. This bodes well for the gaming industry which reported that consumers now spend roughly one third of their entertainment budget on games, which equates to about $38 per person per month on average for content.
On the video front, Neilsen has released a separate study that shows online video might not be as big a threat as the major TV networks are letting on. Despite the rapid rise in online video viewing, consumers on average only watched about three hours per month via the Internet. That is up an hour from the results last year, but still only represents about 1.1 percent of total video consumption, which is totally dominated by traditional TV.
The other interesting statistic is that when it comes to video, apparently we are now watching more TV than ever before. The average American now consumes about 153.5 hours of TV per month, which works out to over 5 hours per day. This study excludes non-legitimate video sources such as peer to peer networks, but includes numbers pulled from Hulu, You Tube, and many other online video sites. Want to read the whole study? Click the link to read the whole report.
Ever wanted to open up a can of spray paint and write kick ass all over the front doors of the Maximum PC HQ? Well, now you can have your chance. A new tech demo has been released by a company called Earthmine who primarily specializes in geomapping, but decided it might be interesting to show case the early version of their new street-view technology in an interactive demonstration.
Users have the ability to select from the buildings it has indexed, and using paintbrushes, rollers, and other instruments of artistic destruction, create virtual urban art. The usefulness of this application is somewhat limited, but it does help to showcase the underlying technology, which will allow them to create full 3D maps of cities rather than just pasting together panoramic views. This will make browsing much more seamless. It certainly appears to be a pretty compelling offering when compared to the choppiness of Google Street View.
In addition to the web interface, a mobile edition is also being developed that will allow users to hold up their phones in real life, to view how buildings have been tagged in the Wild Style version of their neighborhood. The first version is expected to hit iPhones later in the summer when the new geolocation API’s are released. Want to learn more about Wild Style City? View the You Tube demonstration.
Things recently dropped by Valve’s new TF2 item system, according to players: duplicates, duplicates, and the ball. And while jumping through achievement-based hoops in order to earn new gear may not have been optimal, at least it made sense. The same couldn’t be said for random drops – at least initially. Thankfully, Valve has decided to pull back the curtain and give us the nitty-gritty on the little orange men who run its drop system. Here’s what the developer said:
"[The] new system watches the amount of time that players are playing TF2, and gives them a chance to find items at regular intervals," wrote Valve's Erik Johnson. "They aren't guaranteed to get the item at those points, but they have a pretty good chance."
How are these “regular intervals” decided upon, though? Johnson explained:
“When we were tuning this system we first looked at the average amount of time that players spend playing TF2 daily. From there, we set the goal of most players having around 20 items in their inventory after a couple of weeks of play. If you're someone who plays a lot of TF2, you're going to get items a lot faster than that.”
Also, if you thought Valve’s hot streak had finally ended with the drop system’s shaky start, fear not. As usual, Valve plans on tinkering with the thing’s inner workings until every rusty bit is replaced with solid gold. Planned improvements include item trading (bye bye duplicate items), more rare items, and some kind of way for players to “influence the system so they can work directly toward getting specific items” that’s not called achievement-grinding. Currently, Valve’s goal is to bring all of those upgrades into the mix before the next class pack.
Well, sounds like there’s no longer anything to complain about here. Back to pacing a hole in the floor and muttering about Half-Life 2: Episode 3, then.
In the beginning, Gas Powered Games created RTS/RPG hybrid Demigod, and all seemed pretty good. However, fittingly enough for something called Demigod, the game’s launch was far from perfect. Servers gasped and sputtered under the weight of literally hundreds of thousands of pirates, and legitimate customers just got a big, fat Out of Order sign for all their troubles. Thankfully, publisher Stardock promised a few goodies to those who weathered the storm, and now, the developer’s delivering.
First up, Stardock’s mailing out discount coupons that knock 50% off the price of a second copy of Demigod. You know, for friends or family. Something like that. At the very least, that’ll grant you the opportunity to tell said recipient of your miserly gift about how, back in the day, you paid full price for Demigod and walked 15 miles through unstable servers to play it. And you liked it.
There’s a catch, however: the clock’s ticking on this coupon, and it finishes “early next week.” Really though, it’s not like you’re making a tough decision or anything. Demigod, Demigod, or Demigod – which is it gonna be?
Don’t start badgering Stardock into apologizing for their apology just yet, though. Next week, the publisher’s sending out a second batch of apology coupons, this time good for 20% off any game from its Impulse download platform. Should neither coupon be enough to douse the flames of your fury, Stardock’s also promising more deals down the road for regular Demigod players.
And if you still aren’t satisfied, just look at it this way: Stardock didn’t have to do any of this.