A common trait among many sci-fi movies is the depiction of outlandish technologies that, while they may appear to be badass concepts (some are just hokey), they end up scoffed at by geeks due to the impracticality of trying to implement them. The computer used in Minority Report falls into this category, or at least we thought it did until we saw Oblong's G-Speak spatial operating system. And there's a good reason for the similarity.
"Some of the SOE's core ideas are already familiar from the film Minority Report, whose characters performed forensic analysis using massive, gesturally driven displays," Oblong states on its website. "The similarity is no coincidence: one of Oblong's founders served as science adviser to Minority Report and based the design of those scenes directly on his earlier work at MIT."
Oblong's website hosts a video showing the new OS in action. A demonstrator wearing special gloves performs a variety of gestures that manipulate content on multiple screens. At one point in the video, a second demonstrator steps into the scene to show how more than one user can interact with the OS at the same time. What's really amazing is how smoothly everything works with real-time responses to hand gestures, a result of G-Speak being optimized for massive data sets and time-critical work, the developers say.
While it's far too early to tell what long-term implications G-Speak might have on mainstream computing, we can't help but think of the possibilities, both in productivity apps and videogames.
VIA, a one-time major player in the enthusiast motherboard chipset market and a current producer of low power processors (VIA Nano), has largely been overshadowed by bigger players in nearly every sector it competes in. So while VIA might be having trouble finding some love in the PC market, the company hopes it can fare better in less traditional areas with its new VIPRO VP7710 fanless touch-screen panel PC.
"Amid growing public acceptance of intuitive touch screen technologies, the VIA VIPRO addresses an increasing demand for cost effective, intelligent displays in commercial applications such as ticketing, ATM, vending and information kiosks as well as sophisticated fleet deployment infrastructures in transport, delivery and logistics enterprise," VIA states in a press release.
VIA opted for heavy steel and aluminum to construct the VIPRO's chassis, which serves to protect the 10.4-inch TFT display from shock, vibration, and other potential calamities. The touch screen also resists both water and dust, making it ideally suited for outside use.
From a hardware standpoint, the VIPRO comes with either a 1.6GHz VIA Eden or 1.0GHz C7 processor, up to 1GB of DDR2 memory, support for both IDE and SATA 2.5-inch hard drives, and integrated VIA UniChrome Pro II graphics. Additionally, a second display can be added via a VGA port.
Hit the jump to see a YouTube video of the VP7710 in action.
The SSD market was moving at a peaceful albeit underwhelming pace until Intel joined the party, promptly putting the smackdown on the competition. Intel's X-25M SSD proved to be twice as fast as other drives to have gone through Maximum PC's lab, helping it to earn a Kickass! award.
Now Samsung looks to follow suit, which comes as somewhat of a surprise given that the company hasn't been at that forefront of performance with SSDs topping out at less than 100MB/s. But that was before, and Samsung's new 256GB SSD not only offers up to twice as much storage space as its 64GB and 128GB models, but is more than twice as fast as well. Samsung says its 256GB comes rated at 220MB/s read and 200MB/s, or fast enough to store 25 high definition movies in just 21 minutes and able to launch applications 10 times faster than the speediest 7200RPM notebook drive.
Steven Peng, SSD technical marketing manager at Samsung, said the speed increase was made possible through multichannel interleaving, noting that "the basic architecture remains unchanged. However, there are design improvements such as optimized firmware, and improvements to the controller."
Samsung said it has begun mass producing the new 256GB SSD, but has not released information on pricing or availability.
Cyber attacks on the Pentagon are nothing new, but the latest infiltration has the Defense Department taking unprecedented steps to prevent further damage. In doing so, the Pentagon has banned the use of DVDs, flash drives, and all external hardware, according to Fox News.
"We have detected a global virus for which there has been alerts, and we have seen some of this on our networks," a Pentagon official told FOX News. "We are now taking steps to mitigate the virus."
The official stopped short of saying where the virus originated from, and as long as the information remains classified, we may never know. But Fox News did learn that the Pentagon has been aware of an impending attack from a memo that was sent out a week ago.
This holiday season, Microsoft is taking aim at arch-rival Apple's iPod - and its companion iTunes software. This week, Microsoft cut the retail prices on 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB Zunes as well as on the Car Pack, Home/AV Pack, and Dock Pack. With the 8GB Zune now selling for $139 (was $149) and the 16GB model now selling for $179 (was $199), Microsoft is undercutting the price of comparable Nanos by $10 (8GB) and by $20 (16GB). The 4GB Zune anchors the lineup at $99, down $30 from its old price.
The Car Pack now sells for $69 (was $79), but the Home/AV Pack, also formerly $79, is now just $59. The Dock Pack is also cheaper at $39 (was $49).
To find out how Microsoft plans to use Zune software to drive hardware sales, join us after the jump.
Well, how's this for unexpected? One day, one of North America's two pillars of professional gaming collapses, and the next, pro gamer Tom "Tsquared" Taylor becomes the first pro gamer to slap a mugshot on Dr Pepper's tiny, 20 oz. billboard.
Taylor will appear on roughly 175 million bottles of the good doctor's delicious nectar from January to April 2009. He currently twiddles his thumbs for Major League Gaming, and, despite the fact that we've never heard of him, is apparently a pretty popular guy.
“It’s not like I’m Tom Cruise or Usher walking down the street or anything like that, but it’s gotten to the point where you have to look your best when you go out,” Taylor said. “I carry a Sharpie around, like Peyton Manning.”
Along with adopting the latest Manning-inspired fashion trends and name-dropping like life is a giant Twitter input box, Taylor recently inked a three-year, $250,000 contract with MLG.
The upshot of all this: pro gaming in North America still has a shot at taking off. Now if promoters can figure out a way to really capitalize on the popularity of players like Tsquared (step one: stop using nicknames like "Tsquared"), then pro gaming might just blossom into something special.
Don’t worry, fear mongers. The LHC isn’t going to start up anytime soon, and it’s all because of one bad solder.
When the LHC was initially started up, it was doing lots. It was going through all of its testing, it was gathering plenty of data to boot, and it wasn’t destroying the planet (I like that last one the most). The testing process of CERN’s love child was well underway, but sadly came to an immediate halt when a transformer broke in the last stage of testing, taking down plenty of expensive circuits with it. All, according to Spokesman James Gillies, thanks to one bad solder.
June is slated for the earliest restart date, but until then they’ve got a massive $21 million to spend on repairs. What exactly they plan to spend it on hasn’t been announced.
While Intel’s Atom processor is meant for low-power demand machines, such as netbooks, it’s found a new use with a not-so-likely candidate – a supercomputer.
Silicon Graphics (SGI) has started exhibiting a new concept for a supercomputer that could pack almost 10,000 Intel Atom processors into one rack. SGI is planning to name it the Molecule.
The Molecule could reportedly offer the horsepower and memory bandwidth of more than 750 high-end desktop PCs, and consume only half the power. It would also occupy a meager 1.4 percent of the physical space.
After already once claiming the gleaming golden press release for fastest-selling PC game in 2007, Blizzard's back to its crazy shenanigans. According to Acti-Blizz's better half, WoW: Wrath of the Lich King moved 2.8 million units in a single day -- 400,000 more monetarily magnetized boxes than previous record holder WoW: The Burning Crusade.
“We’re grateful for the incredible support that players around the world have continued to show for World of Warcraft,” said Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime.
“Wrath of the Lich King contains some of the best content we’ve created for the game so far, and we look forward to seeing even more players log in to experience it in the days ahead.”
So, did you brave the WotLK-starved hordes to secure a day-one copy? We didn't, but the local line weaved down from GameStop and up into our room anyway, so we still consider our war stories valid.
As it stands, the PC gaming industry is estimated to be worth a massive $20 billion today, and it is predicted to enlarge to $34 billion by 2012.
While many have claimed that PC gaming is dying, they don’t take into account the sales of gaming-oriented PCs. According to Ted Pollak, one of the two men behind this robust estimation, “Retail software figures are not an accurate barometer for the health of the PC gaming industry. The retail numbers don’t capture the casual and digitally distributed games, either.”
Pollak goes on to state that PC gamers don’t really buy that many games to begin with. “Enthusiast PC gamers often latch onto one or two games that offer multiplayer options and stick to these titles for years. Hardware is where they spend the big bucks.”
And yes, it is noticeable that a good amount of the sales went to complete PCs, but there’s also a large market of you that buy your own parts. Many of the sales come from upgrade pieces such as improved graphics cards and memory. And for this, we at Maximum PC salute you.