We have spent a lot of time speculating about who would be the US’s first CTO. Heck, even Intel’s CTO has chimed in on the issue. But when all the smoke cleared, Obama had chosen Aneesh Chopra, currently Virginia’s secretary of technology to fill the new and very high profile national position. Working side by side with chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, Chopra will be responsible for setting technology policy within government, and help to find ways to improve security while lowering costs.
Vivek Kundra was widely speculated to be a strong contender for the position, but so were several other Silicon Valley hopefuls. The announcement of Chopra as CTO puts to rest months of speculation, and will allow him to get down to business. As always, critics of the decision are lining up, but for the most part many respected industry leaders are coming out in favor of Obama’s decision.
According to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, “He is an excellent selection”. “He served proficiently in Virginia as Secretary of Technology and also has a strong background in the private sector advising the health care industry on technology management issues," he said in a statement. "He will bring to the position real world technology and public policy experience."
Does this mean Obama is going to hand over the Internet off switch? What do you think of the new CTO?
We’ve all seen the laptop hunters in action over the past several weeks and though you may not have noticed it at first, these ads represent a significant shift in tactics. The new marketing campaign by Microsoft takes a much less passive aggressive stance than in the past, and for the first time, charges head on into their primary competitor. In the previous campaign which featured a diverse group of actors claiming to be PC’s, Apple is never specifically mentioned, but clearly if you’re not a Mac you’re a PC right?
Microsoft’s strategy up to this point has been to ignore Apple completely, and to never give them the satisfaction of being acknowledged publically as a valid alternative to Windows. This new campaign is much less subtle about the value of a PC when compared to a Mac, and it is not surprising that they have invoked a response from Apple as a result.
According to an Apple spokesman “The one thing that both Apple and Microsoft can agree on is that everyone thinks the Mac is cool. With its great designs and advanced software, nothing matches it at any price." So close, yet so far”. Certain publications such as BusinessWeek would also have us believe that Anti Virus software and Geek Squad visits will make up the price difference between a $699 HP & a $2,800 Mac, but we don’t buy that argument either. One thing is certain however; we can likely expect Apple’s next ad campaign to respond in kind, making this the start of a very interesting and public war between the two rivals.
Yesterday YouTube announced an application that allows users of their popular video sharing service to add text captions to their videos, thanks to an all-new feature called (what else) “CaptionTube.”
CaptionTube, which is a part of YouTube’s TestTube labs section, allows the addition of captions directly inside your browser, thanks to a setup that will look and act much like a video editor. By selecting how long you want each caption to appear on screen for, and adding beginning and end points for each line of text it’s relatively easy to get a video captioned and ready for the Intertubes.
So, if you’re feeling up to the challenge, go forth and caption some MC Frontalot videos! I promise, it’ll take up at least an afternoon to do “Braggadocio.”
Boy oh boy, what a tumultuous few weeks it’s been!
So, for those of you just tuning it, not too long ago the minds over at Time Warner Cable decided to experiment on placing diminutive bandwidth caps (as low as 1GB/month!) on not only their customers in Texas, but others as far out as Rochester, NY.
But, after much public uproar, Time Warner’s own Cable Chief Operating Officer took it upon himself to repeal the negative press by writing an open letter to all of Time Warner’s customers, as well as others interested in the matter. His claim was simple: providing the Internet gets costly, and without capping the bandwidth hungry beasts that broadband users turn out to be, it’s just not going to work out in the long run! Still, the public outrage wasn’t quelled.
And, now, thanks to the power of the geekerati, the absurd bandwidth caps at Time Warner have been completely removed. Ultimately this uncapping could be temporary, because, in their own words, Time Warner states that they are holding off on the trials “while the customer education process continues.”
Sounds mighty condescending to me, but at this point, a win is a win.
Earlier this week YouTube announced that they’ve finally wrapped up a deal that will allow them to stream a large range of full-length movies and TV shows from Sony, Lionsgate, as well as other television networks and various indie movies.
The movies and episodes will come in a new section of YouTube, as ad-supported (but free) content. Some of the content initially included will be “Casino Royale,” CBS’ new series “Harper’s Island,” and even Morgan Surlock’s popular “Super Size Me.” Though, for the time being Sony’s content will simply be a link that leads users directly to their site, allowing Sony to collect traffic from their own video player.
Sadly, as Google admits, much of the content is at least a decade old. But, for the time being they’re looking towards making baby steps before they can fully compete with Hulu.
If you thought that YouTube was mostly a way to discover lame-o fan trailers, not-so-sophisticated movie spoofs, or the latest viral video sensation, think again. As ArsTechnica reports, pyramid scheme recruitment videos are now flourishing on YouTube. Although these so-called "cash gifting" or "cash leveraging" schemes are often referred to as Ponzi schemes, they're different. As an ArsTechnica commenter pointed out, in a true Ponzi scheme, early joiners are "paid back" by money from later "investors" by the people controlling the alleged investment, but in a pyramid scheme, you make your money only when you can con others into giving you money.
Regardless of how boring your Friday afternoons might be and how desperate you might be to make more money, watch out for videos like these. Our advice? Save your cash for better investments, like more RAM.
In what's being billed as "Design Excellence for Engineers," 3DConnexion, maker of 3D input peripherals, launched the SpacePilot Pro this week. It's one of the grooviest looking mice we've ever seen and comes with a ton of goodies for CAD professionals, including an integrated color LCD display.
"The SpacePilot Pro's LCD Worldflow Assistant gives at-a-glance visibility, whether it's email, calendar events, or RSS feeds," said Deiter Neujahr, 3DConnexions president. "It's push technology but the user can easily customize what they do and don't want to see. The intention is to focus you on your design work, with fewer interruptions to your workflow and less clutter on your main display."
Other features include keyboard modifiers (ESC, CTRL, ALT, SHIFT), 3D mouse keys, a SpaceNavigator knob capable of left/right, up/down, forward/backward, tilt, spin, and roll maneuvers, function keys, several applets, and a bunch more.
Gamers need not apply, but if you're into CAD, the svelte SpacePilot Pro might be just what you're looking for, provided you're willing to drop $500 on an input peripheral.
Breaking: The Swedish District court holding the infamous Pirate Bay trial issued a Guilty verdict early this morning, sentencing each of the four defendents involved to one year of jail time and split fines of 3.6 million dollars. The founders of the Pirate Bay were found guilty of assisting copyright infringement, even though half of the initial charges against them were dropped shortly after the trial began. The complete verdict can be found here (in Swedish). More news on the ramifications of this trial as it develops.
You are reading Maximum PC because you love to build, and tweak your rig. We will gladly spend hours trying to nudge a few extra clock cycles out of our CPU’s, but why do so many of us refuse to touch our network settings? The vast majority of users simply plug in their network cables, cross their fingers, and sacrifice an AOL CD to the gods who keep Conficker at bay. Truth be told, without going into too much depth up front, there is a really easy way to boost your surfing speed and it requires very little effort at all. This same tool gives you the ability to customize your internet experience further by creating URL shortcuts, or even filtering content, all without extra software.
The tool we are referring to is Domain Name System, or DNS for short. In a nutshell, DNS is your phone book for the internet. It helps translate a friendly internet domain like www.maximumpc.com, into IP address that our computer needs to find servers on the internet. Each time you visit a new website, a DNS query is issued in the background, and you’re none the wiser. Internet service providers supply DNS to all their customers, but these servers tend to be overpopulated, and certainly aren’t a priority to them because it’s difficult for the average user to measure performance. Power users are intimately familiar with how to benchmark raw connection speeds, but before that even becomes a factor, your machine needs IP address which is supplied by your DNS. Even if your smoking fast Fiber Optic connection can handle 18 Mbps, if your ISP’s DNS server wastes several seconds looking up your favorite website, you connection may be sitting in limbo when you could be surfing instead.
Interested in finding out how to improve the responsiveness of your connection and learning more about your DNS options? Hit the jump to find out more.
The memory market is in desperate need of some good news, and it just might be getting it. Citing un-named industry sources, DigiTimes says Taiwan's DRAM chip suppliers are eyeing an early recovery as the spot price of DDR2 1Gb eTT chips continues to rise significantly.
DDR2 chips climbed 6 percent to close at $1.2 yesterday, and is up again slightly to $1.21 today. According to DRAMeXchange, estimated DDR2 contract prices will very likely rise anywhere from 15 to 20 percent sequentially in the second quarter of 2009, after having remained flat since February.
That means if you're looking to score one final DDR2 upgrade this year, now might be the best time to do so.