There's been a bit of hype as of late concerning OLED technology, leading to a cautious optimism in the consumer electronics industry. Back in June, Plexitronics, with funding provided by the U.S. Display Consortium, announced a breakthrough in OLED manufacturing that could lead to low cost OLED displays, and just one month later Matsushita cranked the hype machine by saying it had set a goal of selling 40-inch OLED displays by 2011. Could we be on the verge of an OLED revolution?
Not everyone is as optimisitc, including Panasonic, who casted a ray of reality on the situation during the opening day of Ceatec 2008. Panasonic AVC Networks president Toshihiro Sakamoto squashed that idea that we might see OLED televisions in sizes of 30 inches or more anytime soon, saying th technology is not suitable for mass manufacturing. Earlier this year at CES, Sakamoto said that because "you won't be able to beat the cost and price performance of LCD and plasma for a long time," we likely won't see OLED start to grow as a market until 2015, but now feels even that estimate might be overly optimistic. The biggest irony here is that Panasonic is a brand name of Matsushita's!
Is Sakamoto's pessimism warranted, or will we see affordable 30-inch+ OLED displays before 2015?
Nvidia has a new videcoard driver available for download, and for you poor saps on dial-up, it will come as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the 86.9MB download checks in at more than the twice the size of previously released drivers. But added bulk brings PhysX acceleration to the table for owners of Nvidia's GeForce 8, 9, and 200 series of videocards outfitted with a minimum of 256MB of video memory.
If you're anxious to see what potential lies in PhysX support, Nvidia offers a free GeForce Power Pack containing several demos, a full game (Warmonger), an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, and more.
The new driver also contains the usual assortment 3D application compatibility fixes, along with purported performance boosts in a handful of games. For example, Nvidia says single-GPU gamers can expect a 15 percent increase in Bioshock (DX10), 11 percent in Assassin's Creed (DX10), and 15 percent in Call of Duty 4, among other titles.
Yet another leaked slide has made its way to the web, this time showcasing a triumvirate of motherboards slated for a late 2008 release by top tier vendor MSI. The company has labeled its enthusiast offering as the Eclipse, and its performance board will carry the familiar Platinum nomenclature as the X58 Platinum. The third board, which doesn't yet have a name (X58 Diamond?), will target the "Über Overclocker" according to the slide.
The mystery board carries the most intrigue, and not because of its lack of name. While all three motherboards bring support for Nvidia's SLI and ATI's CrossFireX, the board without an identity shows support for quad-SLI or tri-SLI with PhysX support in full speed x16 PCI-E v2 slots (insert your own Crysis reference).
With Intel bracing itself for the discrete GPU market with its upcoming Larrabee chip, Nvidia and AMD are expected to make an earnest attempt at luring millions of users of integrated graphics with their low-end discrete graphics solutions – quid pro quo. ATI/AMD has launched its low-end offerings HD 4350 and HD 4550 with integrated graphics’ users in sight. The new GPUs are priced between $40 and $55.
The cards are based on AMD’s 55 nm 4800 series architecture and are claimed to hold an edge over Nvidia’s low-end 9400 series. Both the GPUs have 80 stream processors and are clocked at 600 MHz. The HD 4550 will come with either 256 MB or 512 MB GDDR3 memory. On the other hand, HD 4350 will only be available with 256 MB of DDR2. The GPUs are only going to consume 20 watts of power, which is 2/5 of the appetite for power of Nvidia’s 9400 series.
The Netbook movement, if it may be labeled as such, has received a shot in the arm in the U.S with the launch of Sprint’s XOHM WiMax network in Baltimore. The launch effectively ushers in the WiMax epoch in the U.S.
Subscribers will have unabated mobile broadband access throughout Baltimore as the XOHM network envelopes the entire city. Sprint is claiming downlinks speeds of 2-4 Mbps, effectively faster than 3G.
Netbooks are expected to become more practical and even indispensable to a fair degree as more cities appear on the WiMax map in coming months. Moreover, netbook are beginning to make much more sense due to the financial meltdown.
"Here's the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know Bittorrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software. Therefore, high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC."
"Right now, it makes sense for us to focus on Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Not least PCs with multiple configurations and piracy."
And finally, when questioned about a PC port for our jump-suit clad selves of the future:
But along with giving me one extra reason to cry myself to sleep at night -- as well as driving a nice, fat stake into GFW's termite-infested coffin -- Bleszinski's comments raise an interesting question: What's worse? Tearing open a game box only to find the sour scent of DRM sulking its way into your nostrils, or never being given the chance to purchase (or "rent," for the more bitter among you) a game at all?
If you bought music from Walmart.com before February 2008 (when Walmart.com started selling MP3 music), your ability to move music files from PC to PC has a very short shelf life. How short? Try October 9, 2008. That's the date that Walmart.com will shut down the DRM servers that control your ability to play non-MP3 music purchased from Walmart.com.
After 10/9/2008, you won't be able to move your music to another computer or access the songs on your system if you upgrade to another operating system or reinstall your current OS after a crash or to refresh its bits and bytes.
Fortunately, there's a bit of good news. While there's no way to extend the shelf life of that half-gallon of milk you lost a month ago in the back of your refridgerator, Walmart "strongly recommend[s] that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer."
It's almost enough to make you agree with BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow, who posted Walmart.com's message (excerpted above) and added this rejoinder:
Boy, the entertainment industry sure makes a good case for ripping them off, huh? Buy your media and risk having it confiscated by a DRM-server shutdown. Take it for free and keep it forever.
My answer? I buy CDs and rip them myself. What's yours? Hit the jump for your chance to sound off.
You'll often hear enthusiasts describe an overclock as being Prime stable, meaning the system is able to pass the Prime95 stress test for an extended length of time without any errors. But even though it's become a common a torture test, Prime95 was designed primarily as part of a bigger project - the pursuit of prime numbers.
Today the distributed computing project called GIMPS, or Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, has confirmed it has discovered the largest prime number ever at almost 13 million digits long. The number in question is 243,112,609-1, or listed out in millions of digits is, well, let's not do that. The discovery means the project can now claim a $100,000 bounty offered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was offered to the first to find a prime number in excess of 10 million digits.
Fun fact: Only 45 Mersenne primes have ever been found, with the GIMPS project responsible for 12 of them. A Mersenne prime is one that can take the form of 2n-1 rather than writing out all the digits.
Fun fact 2: The prime number in question was discovered by a UCLA computer, with the GIMPS software installed and maintained by Edson Smith. Don't be surprised to see this appear in a future edition of Trivial Pursuit.
There's a major disappointment resonating from Redmond, and really, you're the only one that can do anything about it. you see, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn't like "not being No. 1," but that's exactly the position his company takes in the search arena. If that's to change - and Ballmer believes Microsoft may be the only company with a fighting chance - he says it will take several more years and lots of cash.
It's going to take us a while," Ballmer said during a speech at the Churchhill Club. "It's a five-year task. We've got a lot to do."
Ballmer went on to say that the Microsoft will have to figure out a way to fundamentally change both the experience and economics of the search industry, claiming his company has "taken some steps in that direction." Of course, we're sure Google would have a different outlook, but ultimately it's you, the web searcher, who decides the outcome. So if you refuse to use Live Search because it sucks compared to Google, at least consider switching so Ballmer can sleep more soundly at night at not having to be not No. 1.
No matter what we may have thought as children, along with growing up comes the sad realization that we'll probably never own a full on replica of the customized Pontiac Trans-Am David Hasselhoff cruised the television airwaves with all through the mid-80s as Michael Knight. But don't despair, because you don't need a near three-decade old sports car to get your geek on as a modern day Knight Rider.
Radioshack on Friday announced it has secured exclusive rights to the Mio Knight Rider GPS. The $270 device comes with a 4.3-inch antiglare touchscreen LCD complete with voice synthesized lights adorning the left and right-hand sides that move in sync with actor William Daniels' (KITT) guidance. And best of all, you can choose from over 150 male and female names, including Michael if you want to get in full character.
Anyone else spellbound by this? How about by this?