Down but not yet out, Circuit City has secured a whopping $1.1 billion in financing that will help keep the chain operational, at least for the immediate future. The loan, which comes from the same banks that backed Circuit City's $1.3 billion credit line, will be used to pay salaries and continue buying merchandise as the company restructures.
The loan gives the chain "another lease on life," Chris Horvers, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., wrote in a note to clients yesterday.
And a new lease is exactly what Circuit City needs. Debt has piled up as the electronics retailer owes $119 million to Hewlett-Packard and $116 million to Samsung Electronics Co. In its Chapter 11 petition, Circuit City indicated $3.4 billion in assets and $2.32 billion in debt.
Circuit City already announced plans to close 155 stores while also cutting up to 20 percent of its 43,000-employee workforce. Despite the new loan, that could be just the beginning. According to what Circuit City's lawyers told the judge, the company will likely shut down even more locations and attempt to find a buyer for a slimmed-down version of the chain.
For awhile there, things were looking pretty grim for AMD's graphics division, ATI. Nvidia could do no wrong, leaving AMD content to focus on the low to mid-range market and conceding the high-end altogether. Would ATI silicon ever be competitive again?
As we found out, the answer is yes. As a result, AMD's graphics chips have been able to take some market share away from Nvidia, according to a report by market research Jon Peddie Research.
"AMD has by all account exceeded expectations with its Radeon 4000 series," the report claims. "Priced aggressively yet delivering solid performance, AMD's new line not only took back some market share -- jumping up to 40 percent from 35 percent the quarter prior -- it forced Nvidia (and other partners) to cut prices on its recently released GTX 200 series product."
More than just price cuts, we've repeatedly referred to the situation as a price war between the two camps. Never have gamers been able to get so much gaming bang for their buck, and looking at the market share results, the war appears to be favoring AMD. Interestingly, JPR notes sequential growth in add-in boards (AIBs), which increased by over 2 million units from Q2 to Q3 2008, but a 15 percent drop in year-to-year growth.
Thanks to a borked update, some PC users running AVG's free antivirus were in for a long and frustrating weekend. The virus definition update, which was released on Saturday, erroneously detected the "user32.dll" file for the Trojan Horse PSW.Banker4.APSA instead of recognizing it as a critical Windows component. Once the scanner went active, users found their AVG software recommending that they delete the quarantined file. Doing so caused systems to either stop booting or enter into a continuous reboot loop. Whoops!
The misinformed update affected both AVG 7.5 and AVG 8.0 installations on Windows XP. Vista users appear to be in the clear, though a spattering of user comments around the web have indicated otherwise. In any event, another update has corrected the error. For those who already deleted the critical system file, AVG is providing step-by-step instructions on how to restore your system back to a working state. Whether or not it restores your faith back in the program is another question altogether.
Hit the jump and let us know what security software you're using.
When you were a hopeful, ambitious young whippersnapper, we're sure -- for the 15 minutes after you saw Apollo 13 -- you wanted to risk life, limb, and lunch by becoming an astronaut. Well, so did Ultima creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott, but he still went into game development and... oh wait, now he's abandoning game company NCsoft to live a life among the stars. Or something.
"I am very grateful to you loyal players for sticking around through what I think we can all honestly say was a rough launch. I thank the development team for pushing hard to get polish, updates and new content out every month since launch...a feat that I think is unusual in MMO development. They have a lot to be proud of," Garriott said in his farewell note.
"Many of you probably wonder what my plans are, now that I have achieved the lifelong dream of going to space. Well, that unforgettable experience has sparked some new interests that I would like to devote my time and resources to. As such, I am leaving NCsoft to pursue those interests."
Good luck, Mr. Garriott. Earth won't be the same without you.
Slow and steady wins the race against piracy? That's probably the mantra that came of EA and DICE's recent mind-meld, in which the publisher-developer duo decided to keep lithe heroine Faith from tip-toeing across PC rooftops until 2009 -- at least two months after consolites get their fix.
Now, today, after an almost conspicuously lengthy session of nonchalant whistling and faux-confused shoulder-shrugging, EA has announced a release window for its totalitarian twist on the formula Mario laid forth.
"The PC version of Mirror’s Edge will ship in North America in January 2009," said the press release. But that's not all.
"To keep the action coming after launch, DICE is currently developing downloadable content that will be available at the beginning of the year. More details to be announced shortly."
A late release to keep pirates from affecting sales figures? A spot of DLC to make players think twice about dumping Mirror's Edge in GameStop's used games section? Sounds like EA's really playing things safe with this franchise. It's just a damn shame that we all have to suffer for it.
Actually, "damn" isn't quite potent enough to describe the shame stream that currently plagues this situation. Jump past the break to see a more fitting phrase.
Dell has decided to pass on releasing their MP3 player this holiday season. With no real reason cited for the delay, it looks like Apple can sit back and let their iPod dominate the sales charts once again.
While the release of the MP3 player has been put on pause, their work on the planned entertainment software, Zing, has continued and is expected to release sometime this fall. Zing is purported to organize downloaded music and movies on PCs.
With any luck, this will give Dell more time to finely tune their product. Jumping into an Apple dominated market isn’t something that… anyone has succeeded at. But with 2003’s DJ Ditty failure behind them, perhaps Dell has learned their lesson.
Arizona-based Hyperion Power Generation is looking to take what was once a mammoth-sized power generator and shrink it down to a fraction of that size, thanks to some technology licensed from the U.S. government. They call it the Hyperion Hydride Reactor.
The Hyperion Hydride Reactor is a self-operating nuclear powered reactor that will output 27MW of power (enough to power 20,000 homes), won’t have any movable parts, will be self-operating and other than refueling, won’t require any maintenance. And unlike normal nuclear reactors, the need for water-cooling has be eliminated. This gives it the unique option to be placed anywhere.
According to Hyperion’s CEO, John Deal, their goal is “…to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world.” And with the technology behind it, they’ve even managed to garner interest from the oil and electricity industries, as well as developing nations.
The reactor’s uranium hydride core is surrounded by hydrogen gas will only need to be refueled every 7-10 years. Other than that, it will remain completely undisturbed.
For many, supercomputing seems like something that’s out of reach. At the most, we’ll usually just contribute our spare processor cycles to a project that involves it. But Purdue University is looking to change all that with their latest venture, Rack-A-Node.
Rack-A-Node is a flash-based game that requires you to become the network admin, and set up each rack so that they hold a solid cluster of servers that are good at tackling a variety of different tasks. From chemistry to physics, it’s all up to you to figure out if you’ll need more CPU power, more RAM or a wicked fast connection.
While the game isn’t meant to actually turn the average man into a supercomputing whiz, it is meant to let us get one step closer to it. “This is a dry and boring topic even for geeks,” claimed Gerry McCartney, the chief information officer at Purdue. “So, we wanted a way to get people excited about these things.”
Evidently they’ve been asked to create a more sophisticated version of the game that would be designed as a learning tool. “It is not stupid right now, but it’s way too simple,” Mr. McCartney said.
Google’s been on a real spree lately, rolling out one improvement after another for their Gmail service. Looks like that’s not about to stop, as they’ve just announced that the service's built-in messenger will be getting noticeably beefier with the addition of voice and video chat.
The feature will be built right into the Gmail page (no client download required) and will allow anyone to chat in real time with other Gmail users. Google has posted a video showing off how the feature functions, and frankly it looks pretty damn cool.
The service certainly isn’t as full featured as voice-chat top-dog Skype (it cannot, for instance, connect to a regular phone), but it looks like it might be just the thing for a quick chat with someone you’ve been talking to with email or Gmail’s chat. And, knowing Google, it’s probably just a matter of time until the service’s features are fully fleshed out.
The service is available now, and requires a plugin download.
Do you use video or voice chat on your computer? Will you give Gmail’s new service a try? Let us know after the jump.
Google's open-source Android platform may not have revolutionized the mobile industry just yet, but it has spurred some interesting comments among top level execs. Two weeks ago, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the current iteration of Android isn't "good enough to put the Sprint brand name on it," and taking it a step further, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer says he sees the move as being finanically unsound for Google.
"They can hire smart guys, hire a lot of people, blah dee blah dee blah, but you know they start out way behind, in a certain sense," Ballmer said while speaking at Telstra's annual investment day.
Ballmer went on to say that he doesn't understand Google's strategy, criticizing a product launch launch "that has no revenue model." But the potshots didn't end there. Ballmer further indicated that "Google doesn't exactly bubble to the top of the list of competitors we've got going in mobile." Oh snap!
Is Ballmer underestimating the potential of Google's Android platform? Hit the jump and give us your thoughts.