On the surface, things aren't looking very bright for Vudu, the IP-based streaming movie service. The company laid off 15-20 percent of its workforce, including Patrick Cosson, former VP of marketing. And if that weren't enough, dealers have been complaining that Vudu stopped answering voicemails and would only provide tech support through email.
But not to worry, says Mark Donnigan, national channel manager for Vudu. According to Donnigan, most of the allegations are wrong or misleading. Donnigan claims that the layoffs were normal for a startup that has seen such rapid expansion, adding "we just have to figure out how to get back on track in terms of spending." And while dealers are complaining of email-only support, Donnigan insists that isn't the case.
CEPro has three pages worth of allegations and rebuttals, leaving it anyone's guess as to what's really going on behind closed doors. What's yours?
Vudu just announced the hiring of Chris Watts, former Ebay financial exec, as Vudu's new CFO.
"Chris is going to play a critical role in developing financial strategies as we extend our retail presence, deepen relationships with AV resellers across the country, and expand the functionality of VUDU’s e-commerce platform,” said Mark Jung, CEO of VUDU. “Chris brings deep experience in translating business strategy into financial and operating plans and that will be immensely valuable to our company going forward.”
Intel is going to need to start dressing up in a tricked out leisure suit with lots of bling and a plumed hat if it keeps pimping SSD technology. On the last day of IDF 2008 Intel wanted to hammer home the reason why hardcore gamers should be interested in its mainstream and Extreme SSDs and it worked to dispel the myths that have sprung up with SSDs.
Chris Saleski from the Storage Technologies Group showed off some pretty spectacular benchmarks with 500 GB, 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda drives in a RAID array, that were getting just under 550 IOPS versus a single 80GB X25M Mainstream SSD that was posting 44,000+ IOPS. Holy frack! I have to wonder just how accurate that figure is and I’ll keep an eye out for independent verification.
Falcon Northwest’s general manager Bradd Berdelman did another demo. He put a pair of identical FragBoxes together with one containing two of the vaunted 10,000 RPM WD Velociraptors in RAID, and the other FragBox ran an SSD setup. The SSD system turned in 32.65 FPS versus 16.76 FPS for the Velociraptor system.
Intel is preaching to the choir here. System enthusiasts like SSDs and we want to buy them, but when a single modern game can hog 6GB of drive space, we aren’t going to buy them in 80GB sizes for a king’s ransom. Put the products in our hands and if they start turning in those sort performance scores and we see a size increase/price decrease you’ll get us to buy them in droves. No pimping required.
Engineers have come up with a bit of sick technology, and we're not using that term as slang. Instead, they've found a way to assemble a key component of a microscopic battery using viruses, potentially paving the way for cheap and simple construction of pint-sized power sources.
The MIT group had previously been able to genetically engineer viruses to make a protein skin capable of attracting bits of metal, and this new research builds on that by having those same viruses build a specific part. In the MIT experiment, the genetically engineered viruses would help build the anode portion of a battery by attracting cobalt oxide. And more than just a proof of concept, the process has been drawing attention because of its ease-of-use and low cost.
One stumbling block preventing the widespread use of viruses in battery construction is a lack of application. There currently aren't any devices that would require a battery roughly one tenth the width of a human hair, though future applications could see the technology being used in nanotechnology.
Anyone else see the plot for a bad B-movie shaping up?
With the exception of a Celine Dion concert, nothing sucks more than having your laptop stolen. Not only is there the physical cost of the notebook to consider, but there goes all your saved and private data into the hands of a crook. To help deal with this type of harrowing situation, LoJack offers a service for laptops that, once installed, will track your notebook anytime it's able to detect an internet connection. Even better, the software comes pre-installed in most BIOSes, so once activated, it will still be able to dial home even if the hard drive is reformatted or swapped out altogether.
That's well and fine, but according to a team of computer scientists at the University of Washington, your privacy could still be at risk by relying on a third party to handle your security. To alleviate this concern, the team has come up with an open-source alternative called Adeona, named after the Roman goddess of safe returns. With Adeona, the developers say users can install the software themselves without the help of a corporate intermediary. The service is said to work much like LoJack does (minus the BIOS integration), except that it's up to the user to track their stolen notebook. And best of all, it's free.
Which would you prefer - taking security into your hands, or ponying up a fee for professional assistance? Sound off below.
How connected to the internet do we need to be? I already tote my laptop everywhere in the house with me. Often it is quicker to email me as opposed to calling me. As it is, my wife gets mad at me if I bring the laptop in to watch a chick flick on TV with her. It is as if I mitigating my affection for her by not suffering through Sex and the City with her.
As if my internet addiction isn’t bad enough, Chrysler is making a roving hot spot option available on it’s mini-van’s. I now have to convince my wife that she needs a mini-van. Then maybe I can get the dealer to slip in the UConnect Web option on the sly. I can then play dumb when she asks why I have an internet connection so often when she is diving down the road. “Oh a lot of open hot spots in this neighborhood, honey.” Do you think she’ll buy it? Me either.
From a technical aspect the UConnect Webis way cool. It is however also pretty disturbing too. I cringe when I think of all the people I see driving in rush hour traffic shaving, applying makeup, reading the paper, or working their Crack- uh, I mean BlackBerries. I can just imagine adding a laptop to the mix. It’s bound to create a lot more combination vehicles like a “Chevroler”, or a “Forlet”. Of course, vehicles combined due to driver inattention just lose all of their value.
With around 40,000 traffic fatalities a year in the US now, do we really need to get our hit off the net in the car too? We don’t need to add fatalities beyond Fatal1ty to the information super highway. Chrysler’s intention is for the service to be used by the kids in the back seat, but do they really believe that is where it will stay? This article from the NY Times says no, but do you agree?
Call ZPower ambitious or destined to fail, but whatever you do, don't tell ZPower's brass that lithium-ion batteries are the way to go. Instead, this company has made it their mission "to be the leading global provider of silver-zinc rechargeable battery technology for portable power applications."
Toppling lithium-ion as the technology of choice is no easy task, but according to ZPower, next generation silver-zinc rechargeables will offer 40 percent more runtime than traditional Li-Ion while also being chemically stable. And in a nod towards environmentalists, the company says over 95 percent of the primary elements in silver-zinc batteries can be recycled and reused.
Does it all sound too good to be true? Perhaps, but if it means we can kill time during a cross-country flight by watching a 3-hour flick and getting in a round or two of gaming, then here's hoping ZPower can pull it off.
Rumblings that Amazon is working on a revised Kindle eBook reader have been coursing through the web since July, and it's believed the new version will come in a variety of colors to appeal to a larger audience. We'll have to wait and see, but at least one analyst sees an opportunity to cash in with college students and believes a collegiate version could make a debut in the not too distant future.
"There are already several new, improved versions of the Kindle in the works," said Tim Bueneman, an analyst with McAdams Wright Ragen.
Bueneman also predicts that one of the new features might include improved interface operating controls, which he notes has been issue with some buyers. But if Amazon is to target the collegiate crowd, the biggest issue might come down to price - $360 buys a lot of Ramen noodles.
Intel’s CTO, Justin Rattner, delivered a pretty phantasmagoric keynote at the IDF in San Francisco. Invariably most keynotes by tech honchos are about future technologies. But Rattner just didn’t concern himself with the imminent future – the Nehalems and Larrabees - but he allowed his imagination take unbridled flight. He pictured what the world might be like in 2050, where computers would be smarter than us frizzled, frayed Homo sapiens.
“There is speculation that we may be approaching an inflection point where the rate of technology advancements is accelerating at an exponential rate, and machines could even overtake humans in their ability to reason, in the not so distant future,” Rattner said.
Rattner even demonstrated a couple of personal robot prototypes, which employ razor-sharp sensing technologies, though only crude precursors to the “2050 machines”. The first robot – a robotic arm actually - was equipped with electric field pre-touch technology that allows it to sense objects before even touching them. And, just for your knowledge, fish are bestowed with this capability. The second robot is capable of recognizing faces and performing simple tasks as commanded.
IOGEAR, makers of connectivity products that link up USB, video, and networking devices, has just announced their latest KVM Switch. KVM (short for Keyboard, Video, and Mouse) is a hardware and software technology solution that allows you to control multiple computers from one set of peripherals. This new USB Laptop KVM switch connects to any two computers via USB (laptop-to-laptop, PC-to-PC, or laptop-to-PC), so you can control one system from the other as a console. The software embedded in the Switch's firmware adjusts for desktop resolution scaling and also facilitates drag-and-drop file transfers via a shared temporary window. An extra USB 2.0 port on the switch allows for extra device sharing, such as with an external hard drive. No extra power supply is required, and the entire cable stretches a total of nine feet (three feet on one end, six on the other). The USB Laptop KVM Switch goes on sale today for $129.95.
Click through for the full release and more photos
Ahoy hoy! This week, Maximum PC is going to be reporting from Nvision 08, Nvidia's three day visual computing festival in downtown San Jose. In addition to being a massive LAN party (bigger than the GeForce LANs of previous years), Nvision is also playing host to an epic gathering of Demo Scene developers, ready to show off their visual coding skills. We'll be there to sit in on the keynotes to be given by Nvidia's CEO and Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer (seriously?), check out the various workshop tracks, and test drive the new hardware and software on display. Keep your eyes peeled for daily photo galleries and event reports. And if you're in the area and going to Nvision yourself, stop by the exhibit hall on Tuesday at 2:30pm to watch a presentation run by our own Will Smith. Personally, I can't wait for the Buzz Aldrin meet and greet session and a chance to heckle the too-kool-for-skool hosts of Diggnation during their live recording session. Hope to see some MaxPC readers there.