At the moment it is difficult to write about major financial developments in any industry without going on a frenzied hunt for words that can adequately describe the prevalent gloom. However, facts have a tongue of their own and at times don’t need to be underpinned by forceful words. Talking of facts, the previous quarter was the worst in the past six years in terms of PC sales.
PC sales data for the last quarter released by two of the leading market research firms, IDC and Gartner, paints a very grim picture. PC sales defied all expectations during the recently concluded holiday season and registered a trough. According to Gartner, PC sales only grew by 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter. But if data released by IDC is to be believed, then there was a depreciation of 0.4 percent.
Microsoft had predicted a growth of 10 percent to12 percent during the fourth quarter. The sharp drop in PC sales might have a huge impact on Microsoft’s own quarterly results.
So, you've decided to log into your bank's website to figure out if you can afford the newest techno-bling shown at CES. Your bank gives you the nod, and you open up another browser tab (or window) to cruise over to your favorite tech reseller. After doing a few price and stock checks, a pop-up window appears: your bank session has timed out - and if you want to double-check your available credit or account balance, you need to log in again. Should you click and go?
To learn how it works, and to learn how to protect yourself, join us after the jump.
Wired’s Brian Chen was smacked with a cease-and-desist not long ago for his video depicting how to turn your netbook into a hackintosh.
The video, which gave an exact step-by-step tutorial about how to put OS X onto a netbook, (with trips to The Pirate Bay included) has since been taken down off of Wired’s Tech Lab. However, you can still check it out over at Gizmodo, who’s sticking it to the man hasn’t run them into any evident danger as of yet.
Apple’s exact complaint about the video hasn’t been printed anywhere, so that is something that we might not ever get to find out, but what we do know is that the video is mighty thorough! And it only clocks in at about four minutes, so why not watch it?
Any sports fan will tell you that regardless of a team's record, first place is still first place (deep, isn't it?). So in that respect, Hewlett-Packard can still claim victory as the world's top supplier of desktops and notebooks. The only problem is HP is the top dog in a weak economy, which is kind of like a sports team taking the top spot in a weak division (we're looking at you, Arizona Cardinals).
Putting aside the sports analogy (and go Cardinals, btw), overall shipments of both desktops and notebooks dropped in the fourth quarter of 2008, which had a significant impact on the PC market, according to Gartner and IDC. But if there's a silver lining, it's that despite the Q4 slide, overall PC shipments for 2008 increased by a tad over 2 percent with 68 million units shipped. It should come as no surprise that netbooks helped drive the overall market.
"In the fourth quarter, if you had to pick a bright spot, the surge of mininotebooks in the PC [market] has helped drive growth," said Doug Bell, an analyst with IDC. "The Catch-22 is that these are inexpensive machines and that means total revenue is down. As far as volume goes, it helped a very tough fourth quarter."
For HP's part, the oem topped 15 million units in Q4 2008, representing a 3 percent increase over one year prior. Dell lost some footing with a 6 percent drop, and Acer has been gaining momentum with a 25 percent increase over Q4 2007.
If you're trying to watch a YouTube video and can't get the sound to work, it could be by design. The Google-owned video sharing site has just implemented a new policy which won't remove a user's videos containing copyrighted audio, but it will mute the audio stream, allowing the offending video to play on sans sound.
The new policy comes as a result of YouTube's ongoing dispute with Warner Music Group. Last month, Warner forced YouTube to cut off access to videos containing copyrighted music, following a breakdown in talks over licensing agreements. The video sharing site appears to have found a workaround until those talks come to a conclusion.
"Music licensing can get very complicated, but we try to make your experience as simple as possible," YouTube wrote in a blog post. "We want you to have options when uploading videos with music in them. And if your video is subject to a copyright claim, you should have some choices too."
YouTube recommends that anyone whose videos have been flagged and muted to check out Audioswap, which is a library of pre-cleared music.
Buffalo Electronics is staking the claim that their WLI-UC-GN Wi-Fi dongle is the smallest that’s been created. Whether this is true or not, we can’t say for sure, but one can’t help but admire its diminutive size and price tag.
The dongle will only run you $25, and it clocks in at 33mm by 16mm. Evidently, the brains behind the operating aren’t much bigger than the plug that goes into your computer. It’s reported that it will feature B/G certification for backwards compatibility with older wireless networks, base station operation, and an automated security system.
Let’s just hope that we can see this bad boy on our shores sooner than later, because a handy (and cheap) little piece of tech would find plenty of uses.
Research into the field of light powered computing has made some considerable strides as of late. Most notably, the science behind a laser powered hard drive has been more solid than ever before.
A laser powered hard drive would work on the principles of picosecond pulse lasers working where magnetic read/write heads would (something that was considered to be impossible until recently). Drives working on these fundamentals would provide a 1 TB/s transfer rate with their first generations, and others after that would reach speeds of 100TB/s and over.
Supposedly, this technology will be available within only five years, but like most laser technology, we’ll believe it when we see it.
For a long time, both Intel and AMD relied on ever increasing clockspeeds for each new processor release. That still remains the case today, but to a much lesser degree. Case in point - Intel's long retired Northwood line topped out at 3.4GHz, or 200MHz faster than the zippiest Core i7 processor currently on the market.
The future of chip design has shifted to where multiple cores is now main factor, supported by larger cache, on die memory controllers, expanded instruction sets, and other secondary concerns. That's all well and good that AMD and Intel are on the same page, which puts the onus on software developers to catch up, but at least one group of researchers believes we're headed for an unpleasant surprise.
Hit the jump to find out why more cores may not translate into better performance.
Don't read DDR2's eulogy just yet, the last generation memory standard still has some life left. Citing un-named motherboard makers, DigiTimes says the DDR3 generation won't fully take hold until sometime in 2010.
AMD and Intel were both expected to push DDR3-only platforms in 2009, but neither one is ready to fully commit. For Intel's part, DigiTimes claims demand for its Core i7 processors and X58 chipsets hasn't yet met expectations, prompting the chip maker t postpone its DDR3-only 5-series chipsets until much later in the year, likely around September.
Rival chip maker AMD isn't in a position to push DDR3-only platforms either, but it has more to do with technical difficulties than less-than-expected demand, says DigiTimes. According to the report, the struggling chip maker hasn't yet achieved full stability and compatibility with the DDR3-controller that comes integrated in the company's AM3-based processors.
Meanwhile, the memory market continues to struggle, resulting in some tantalizing DDR2 and DDR3 prices all around. A 4GB DDR2-1066 kit can now be bought for under $50, or half that if willing to play the mail-in-rebate game. A 4GB DDR3-1333 kit runs a bit higher at around $70 and up, or around $150 for a 6GB triple channel kit. Kind of makes you sick to think back on that enthusiast 2GB DDR2 kit you paid over $200 for just a couple of short years ago.
Should you have the misfortune of experiencing a flood or fire in your home, backing up your digital photos, music, documents, and other data probably isn't high on your list of things to do. Even power users tend to put family and pets first, and for those of you that are married, don't forget the wedding album (for the wife) and universal remote (for the husband).
A new product by Solo promises to keep your data safe in the event of a disaster if you don't have time to pick up your computer, laptop, and other devices containing your data. The company's ioSafe is an external USB 2.0 storage unit capable of holding up to 1.5TB, but unlike typical external backup drives, the ioSafe was built to withstand extreme situations. Solo says it can survive temperatures up to 1550° F for 30 minutes and/or being submerged in 10 feet of fresh- or saltwater for 3 days. To prove it, Solo posted a video demonstrating situations you probably (definitely) shouldn't try at home.
The ioSafe is available for preorder (ships January 28, 2009) in 500GB, 1TB, and 1.5TB capacities for $150, $200, and $300 respectively.