Newton's third law of motion states "to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," which might help explain why ISPs feel compelled to offer increasingly faster broadband, yet place bandwidth restrictions as low as 40GB/month. It hardly seems fair considering that streaming HD content is finally starting to take hold, along with downloadable games, an increased interest in Linux, and other ways to use up that monthly allotment. New York Congressman Eric Massa doesn't think it's fair either and has pledged to introduce a bill called the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act."
"I am taking a leadership position on this issue because of all the phone calls, emails, and faxes I've received from my district and all over the country," Massa said in a statement. "While I favor a businesses' right to maximize their profit potential, I believe safeguards must be put in place when a business has a monopoly on a specific region."
Massa was referring to Time Warner Cable (TWC), who said it plans to test tiered internet service in Rochester, New York, which resides in Massa's district. Even more startling is AT&T's plans to test its 20GB data cap in the same town where TWC began its pilot program.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, will come from Massa's proposed bill, but the lesson here is that if you take the time to write, email, or call your Congressman, someone just might listen.
Google this week released an 'early-look' version of the SDK for Android 1.5 with a smorgasbord of features to keep developers busy for quite some time. Google crammed so many goodies into its latest release that it would probably be easier to list what's not included, like no Microsoft Exchange sync, but where's the fun in that? Here's just a sampling of what's new:
On-screen soft keyboard
Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
Video playback (MPEG4 and 3GP formats)
And the list goes on and on. But it's not just new features that find their way into Android, but several existing ones have been polished. Even the SDK itself has been tweaked and "introduces several new capabilities that enable you to develop applications more efficiently for multiple platform versions and locales."
If the PCGA’s having an in-office Opposite Day celebration, well, someone took it a little too seriously.
Over the weekend, eagle-eyed, bloodhound-nosed chimera readers of the PCGA website noticed that Activision’s name disappeared from the organization’s member list. As it turns out, Activision – as well as “a few others” – could no longer afford the decadent lifestyle a PCGA membership entails, so they quit.
"A few members have decided they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance at this time," the PCGA told Kotaku.
Activision’s departure, of course, means that recent spouse Blizzard is also packing its bags. For those not in the know, Blizzard may very well be the biggest PC game developer in existence, and filling its cavernous cleats will likely prove impossible.
But here’s where things just get weird. The same list that lost Activision to miserly thrift recently gained a new member known as Sony DADC. Long story short, Sony DADC is the parent company of SecuROM, creator of the restrictive DRM that appeared in titles like Spore and Far Cry 2.
Yes, that’s right. An organization that claims to defend PC gamers’ interests has apparently taken a shine to public enemy number one. Um, what?
We’re hoping to learn the why’s and how’s of this strange turn of events from the PCGA soon. In the meantime, though, we’re off to coax the pigs down from the rooftop. Ever since they grew wings, they’ve been completely inconsolable.
Oh no! The sky is falling; PC gaming is doomed; they cancelled Firefly again, etc. After essentially tasting, feeling, and smelling like a multiplatform developer for a couple years, id Software – this time through the mouthpiece of CEO Todd Hollenshead – has finally come out and stated the obvious.
"There's no question that our roots are in PC gaming. And when I play a first-person shooter, keyboard and mouse is the configuration that I want to play on," Hollenshead noted. "But we feel like, in terms of your triple-A, big-budget, big-market title, that you really have to be cross-platform to be successful, unless you're a first party."
"As an independent developer, we feel like we have to be on all the relevant platforms. So we don't really view ourselves as PC first."
Is PC gaming The Future? Who knows – but multiplatform development is now, so excuse us while we don’t spit our cola onto the face of the nearest onlooker.
In other news, Hollenshead said that id will announce “some new stuff” at E3, and that Doom 4 will be like other Doom titles, but not – meaning that guns and demons are probably in, but that those of you who wanted conversation trees and complex interpersonal communication will probably be disappointed.
Read the full interview here, if you want. A word of warning, though: It’s long – and there aren’t many pictures.
The issue was brought up by Colin Kinney at ATL’s annual meeting. He referenced a Swedish research and the findings of some other European experts to justify his sense of alarm. “Have we the right to avoid the moral warnings simply for access to a few more computers?” he asked the attendees at ATL’s annual meeting.
He wants a long-time study to probe WiFi’s impact on heath. The teacher’s body has espoused Kinney’s concerns and resolved to prod the government into action.
Apple is reported to have put NAND flash supplies under considerable strain by placing an order for 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips with Samsung Electronics.
Taiwanese website Digitimes was the first to report on the issue. Sources told Digitimes that NAND supply will remain sparse until the end of May. NAND prices are expected to continue their upward trend on the back of this huge order. This is because NAND flash chip manufacturers are not keen on increasing production.
According to Daniel Amir, an analyst with Lazard Market Capital, Apple’s gargantuan order comprises both 16Gb and 8Gb NAND flash chips. Amir believes Apple’s order for 16Gb NAND is a harbinger of 32GB iPhones being around the corner. The same analyst had reported last month that industry insiders had told him that 32GB iPhones would become available in June, 2009.
ATI’s latest in their Radeon HD line has finally been confirmed as the HD 4890 X2.
While initially AMD maintained the notion that there wasn’t a market for anything beyond the HD 4870 X2 because of the card being absolutely top of the line, they’ve still gone ahead with the 4890 X2.
Reportedly, the new graphics card will have two GPUs running at least 1GHz per core, and depending on the SKU a customer buys, they can expect 2GB or 4GB of memory. Unfortunately, that’s the most specific information currently available.
No word yet on pricing or availability on the new powerhouse, but it is expected that Nvidia will follow this up with a new ultra high-end offering of their own.
Google, never one to sit idly by while there are small improvements to be made on their own web-based email client, announced this week that they would be releasing a new, experimental feature that would allow users to insert images into an email rather then sending them as attachments.
The new feature, aptly named “Inserting images,” will allow users to send email messages with inline images that show up at an exact, user-defined location inside the body of the message. Once you enable the feature in the Labs tab in Gmail’s settings, you’ll be all set to go. So be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!
It wasn’t long ago that numerous tech news sources (including us) reported on Time Warner’s miniscule bandwidth caps, and it would seem that all this press caught the attention of some higher ups within the ISP.
Landel Hobbs, Time Warner Cable’s Chief Operating Officer, wrote a lengthy reply to those that had reported on the matter. “Some recent press reports about our four consumption based billing trials planned for later this year were premature and did not tell the full story,” he states. “With that said, we realize our communication to customers about these trials has been inadequate and we apologize for any frustration we caused. We’ve heard the passionate feedback and we’ve taken action to address our customers’ concerns.”
The post continues to paint a picture where the ISP is stuck in a situation where the growing demand of the Internet causes them to charge such enormous rates and cap users at such small amounts of bandwidth. The post divulges, “…at Time Warner Cable, consumption among our high-speed Internet subscribers is increasing by about 40% a year.”
Strangely enough, at a later point where Mr. Hobbs is dissecting the reasoning behind a very small, very cheap 1GB capped plan for $15 a month he mentions, “Our usage data show that about 30% of our customers use less than 1 GB per month.” Hm.
Self-contradictions aside, the reasoning behind capping the bandwidth does hold some water, it’s just unfortunate that they should come at such colossal prices. If you’re interested in reading the whole message, be sure to check it out here.
It's been a little over a year when we first heard about Intel's Anti-Theft Technology (ATT, of no relation to the telcom), which purports to give LoJack for Laptops a run for its money. Fast forward to today and it looks like Asus will be the first to implement the security scheme, who just announced plans to equip some of its notebooks with Intel's ATT.
"With the incorporation of Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection technology in Asus P30 and P80 notebooks, professionals can now conduct their businesses with greater assurance and without the fear of dire ramifications in the event of theft or loss," said Mr. Henry Yeh, GM of Asus Notebook Business Unit. "This added security capability in our P Series commercial notebooks makes it the definitive mobile companion for the professionals of today's fast-paced market."
According to Asus, users who have their compatible P Series notebook stolen can send a "poison pill" remotely. By doing so, the notebook is rendered inoperable and shuts down. The embedded security chip also allows for tracking the notebook, and if the stolen laptop is ever recovered, a local passphrase or recovery token brings the PC back to life.
Compatible notebooks are available now, Asus says.