Lest there was any doubt, two telemarketing companies that sell Dish Network Corp.'s satellite TV service have found out the FTC means business and have agreed to pay fines of $95,000 for ignoring the federal Do-Not-Call list. Planet Earth Satellite Inc. and its president must pay $20,000 for allegedly calling customers who listed their phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry, while Star Satellite receives the bigger fine of $75,000 for allegedly making telemarketing calls that failed to connect customers to a live telemarketer within two seconds after consumers answered the phone.
As it applies to Star Satellite's violation, the FTC said it implemented the two-second rule in response to some consumers, particularly the elderly, thinking they were being stalked when they picked up the phone and no one answered. But instead of a creepy anonymous admirerer on the other end of the line, the caller is a potential salesman. Playing the numbers game, telemarketing companies often make several automated calls at once and then route the first consumers who answer to a live representative.
So there you have it - the list actually works. And not only does it work, but the FTC has collected over $16 million in civil penalties for 46 cases since the registry began in 2003. Has your experience been different? Post below.
Kodak has announced a wireless HD media hub that will mark its foray into this particular market segment. The Kodak HD Theatre player will do all a media hub is supposed to: beam videos, pictures, podcasts, music and internet radio to an HDTV. It will allow users to watch and edit images and supports up to 720p video playback. Kodak decided against a built-in hard drive, however, the device supports a host of plug-in storage media. Obviously, it will readily support other products from the Kodak stable like digital cameras and photo frames. The Kodak HD Theatre player will go on sale in September for $299.
The floodgates have opened and you can expect to see plenty of manufacturers rolling out new notebooks built around Intel's Centrino 2 platform in the coming weeks. Leading the charge, MSI jumps on board with its GX620, a Centrino-2-based notebook equipped with the company's exclusive Turbo Drive Engine Technology; when in AC mode, pushing the turbo button ramps up the CPU clockspeed.
Further power management duties come courtesy of MSI's new ECO Engine. An ECO quick launch touch sensor gives users the ability to switch between five different modes - Gaming mode, Movie mode, Presentation mode, Office mode, and Turbo Battery mode - with each one automatically adjusting the brightness and distributing power where it's needed most to prolong battery life, the company claims.
Find out what MSI's packing under the hood after the jump.
It is safe to assume that PC manufacturers like Lenovo and Dell, who are not currently surfing the netbook wave, are busy hatching plans to make a dent in the nascent segment. Lenovo happens to be one of the most noticeable absentees but it will make its presence felt soon with its new G-series of IdeaPad products.
According to DigiTimes, the G-series will target entry-level and netbook markets. The website further claims that the first notebook in the G-series will be the 14.1 inch G340 that will be powered by Intel’s brand new Centrino 2.
Lenovo can be rest assured that its low-cost offerings will have to contend with netbooks from manufactures like Asus, MSI, Acer and HP who will surely give it a very hostile welcome.
More than a few early GTX 280 and GTX 260 adopters are catching a break thanks to vendors stepping up to the plate with cash back offers. XFX announced it would give its qualified customers up to $120 back in the wake of Nvidia's aggressive price cuts, and Evga has opened up a similar program. Evga customers must have purchased their GTX 280 or 260 videocard between June 16, 2008 and July 7, 2008 to be eligible for the kickback, and those eligible can choose between $75 in Evga bucks or $60 cash back (GTX 260), or $150 in Evga Bucks or $125 cash back (GTX 280). Other terms and conditions include:
Must be a new purchase from an authorized Evga reseller. Step-ups do not qualify
You have 14 days to register and upload a qualified invoice to claim your Evga Bucks
Only customers who purchased the Evga GTX 280 or GTX 260 at the full Manufactured Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) will qualify for the Reimbursement Program
So far this marks two Nvidia partners (that we know of) offering relief to early adopters affected by the quick price cuts, and it's anyone's guess if more will follow. Who thinks BFG will be next?
Amazon's Kindle is fast becoming a runaway success, and the eBook reader looks to get even more enticing this fall with two new models. Crunch Gear claims to have the inside scoop on two new Kindles, saying the first one will maintain the same size screen as the original but in a smaller form factor. As the un-named insider puts it, Amazon has "skipped three or four generations" with the new models compared to the original. The second of the new Kindles will reportedly come shaped like a standard 8.5 x 11-inch piece of paper, making it noticeably bigger than first run units.
Both models are expected to come in a variety of colors in an attempt to appeal to a larger audience. But what the insider didn't say is whether or not Amazon plans to implement PDF support and better battery life when using the wireless functionality. If so, will it be enough to get you interested in jumping aboard the eBook scene?
While a handful of DDR3-2000 kits can be found in the marketplace, the industry standard remains at DDR3-1600. That might soon change, as Elpida Memory today said it has developed power-efficient DDR3 memory in 1GB densities capable of cruising at 2Gbps.
Elpida's new memory uses a 65nm manufacturing process, and the company claims its 2Gbps modules use 35 percent less operating current compared with its existing products. And for those looking to save a bit of juice while running at the industry standard 1600Mbps, Elpida's memory will oblige at just 1.35V. Timings look to be a tad on the high side, most likely the result of running lower voltages:
DDR3-2000 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1867 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1600 (9, 9, 9)
Intel, AMD, and memory manufacturers are all pushing the market towards DDR3. Are you buying?
Flip someone the bird and they'll know just what you're telling them. But wave your hand in front of your monitor all you want, and no matter how many times you've watched Obi-Wan use the Force, you're just not going to manipulate your PC. At least not yet.
Toshiba's Qosmio G55-Q802 looks to the change the way you interact with your PC by reading hand signals. Make a fist and move it around to control the mouse pointer, or flip your thumb up like Fonzie to select an object. Force-push won't work, but raising an open palm will tell the system to stop or resume video playback, giving you hands-free media control.
Built around the Centrino 2 platform, an Intel processor performs most of the tasks on the G55, but to read hand signals the laptop will use a quad-core HD processor powered by the same Cell processor found in Playstation 3 consoles. The Cell also lets the PC scan videos and index every new face it finds.
Owning a laptop used to mean being condemned to a low performance hard drive, but that's no longer the case. This past year has seen a surge in both higher performing and higher capacity notebook drives, and as of today, Toshiba tosses its new 2.5-inch 400GB model in to the ring.
The 7200RPM MK4058GSX packs 400 gigs onto just two platters with "an improved read-write head and enhanced magnetic layter to boost areal density to 477Mbit/mm²". Further separating itself from Toshiba's previous flagship 320GB 2.5-inch drive, the new model purports to cut acoustic noise during data seek by 2dB, all the while consuming 20 percent less power than its predecessor.
Five other drives round out the new lineup, coming in 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, and 320GB flavors, and all of them support an optional Free Fall Sensor function Toshiba says will detect a failing hard drive and park the head before impact. Look for mass production to kick in late this summer.
As Microsoft and Yahoo do the tango, but fail to consummate anything, Google continues to erode their shares of the search engine market. According to Hitwise, Google’s share increased from 68.29 percent to 69.17 percent in June. Yahoo’s share dropped from 19.95 percent to 19.62 percent. Microsoft dropped from 5.89 percent to 5.46 percent. Their sampling is based on 10 million U.S. Internet users
Google it seems has little to worry about from the Dynamic Duo anytime soon.