Amazon has been pretty good about digital distribution in the past. Their music store is a strong competitor to Apple’s iTunes, and now it looks like they’re planning to man up the casual game division with their own game download center.
The fledgling game store is already packed with 600+ titles here on day one, and they’re planning to add more as time goes on. And, as a bonus to people that sign up with the store this week, they are offering full versions of “Jewel Quest 2,” “The Scruffs,” and “Build A Lot,” all for free.
Though, they are sure to note that this is only a beta launch, so if there are kinks, don’t stress about them too much. Growing pains are all part of starting something like this. Amazon, we’ll keep our eyes on you, you’ve impressed before.
Four Google employees have been slapped with criminal charges of defamation and privacy violation in Italy. Their legal woes began when an Italian organization complained against a video on Google Video – uploaded a couple of years ago – that shows four imbeciles tormenting a disabled person.
Although Google removed the video as soon as the complaint was made, Italian prosecutors decided to persist with personal criminal charges – an unprecedented move - against the four Google executives. Their trial will begin on Tuesday in Milan, Italy. These Google execs may even be consigned to an Italian prison for up to three years, if the charges against them are upheld.
It has vowed to “vigorously defend” its employees. "Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet" a spokeswoman for Google argued.
Just this week Google and NASA announced the release of Google Earth’s new “Mars mode,” a feature that will allow users of the planet-browsing program to check out high-resolution shots of the red planet’s exterior.
Google Earth’s new feature “enables users to fly virtually through enormous canyons and scale huge mountains on Mars that are much larger than any found on Earth. Users also can explore the Red Planet through the eyes of the Mars rovers and other Mars missions, providing a unique perspective of the entire planet,” according to the press release distributed by NASA.
This will also give the scientific community an easy way to share information about Mars, and give every user the opportunity to understand its basic science.
The latest update to Google's Chrome browser brings the version number to 188.8.131.52, and with it a few noteworthy changes of interest to web-based mail users. Specifically, the latest release addresses an issue so that sending mail from Yahoo Mail works again. The new version also makes it so that Windows LIve Hotmail now works.
"While the Hotmail team works on a proper fix, we're deploying a workaround that changes the user agent string that Google Chrome sends when requesting URLs that end with mail.live.com," Google wrote on its Chrome blog.
That's all groovy and everything, but Google's Chrome browser still doesn't support extensions. But hey, it works with Hotmail. Woot?
Asus is typically good about tossing out press releases when they drop a new product, but this time around they’ve just put up their latest netbook up for pre-order, hoping that we’d catch on. Well, as you might have guessed by now we did, and without further adieu, let me introduce to you the Asus Eee PC 1000HE (E is for extended!).
The new little beastie will feature a 10-inch LED screen, a 160GB HDD, a 1.66GHz Atom N280 processor, and built in 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 2.0. It’ll all come wrapped in a very modest $399 (and an additional $25 off if you’re in the Facebook group), and will run for up to 9.5 hours using Asus’ Super Hybrid Engine battery technology.
If you’re looking to pre-order, be sure to check this out.
If John Madden ever gets his hands on a new touch recognition SMART Board, we're throwing in the towel and never watching another game football again. It's bad enough watching Madden draw swirlies on the screen as he explains that the team who scores more points by the end of the game will be the winner, but can you imagine the added dimension of moving players and objects around? *shudder*
Despite the potential risks involved, fans of SMART Boards will be stoked to learn that touch recognition has found its way onto the interactive whiteboard. According to Smarttech, the touch recognition feature makes it possible for compatible Boards to discern between writing with a pen and attempting to move objects with your fingers and will switch modes automatically.
"For teachers new to the SMART Board, this feature helps them become proficient more quickly," Smarttech writes on its product page. "That’s because the intuitive flow of writing and erasing on the board is similar to how traditional chalkboards and whiteboards are used. And the sooner teachers become comfortable with the technology, the sooner they can start engaging students with interactive lessons."
You can view a clip of the new SMART Board in action on YouTube here, which demonstrates some nifty functionality such as moving newly written words around.
Touch recognition-capable SMART Boards are expected to available in early February, so any day now.
We don't want to spook anyone wearing an aluminum foil deflector beanie, but pretty soon the U.S. government will be the owner of two more supercomputers from IBM, one of which will scale to 20 petaflops, enough power to probably be able to penetrate industrial strength aluminum to read minds.
It was less than a year ago that IBM became the first to break the petaflops performance mark, also used by the government. The new IBM BlueGene-class systems will make its home at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and will handle analysis of the U.S. nuclear stockpile (and spy on your thoughts). But the full 20 petaflops of computing power won't be available right away. The deal stipulates IBM will deliver one of its BlueGene/P systems capable of 500 teraflops by April, with a followup system called Sequoia to be delivered sometime in 2012.
"The Sequoia system will be 15 times faster than BlueGene/P with roughly the same footprint and a modest increase in pwoer consumption," said Herb Schultz, manager in IBM's deep computing group.
BlueGene/P uses a modified PowerPC 450 processor clocked at 850MHz with four cores and up to 4,096 processors in a rack. The Sequoia system uses 45nm processors with as many as 16 cores per chip running "significantly faster." Sequoia will also have 1.6 million petabytes of memory feeding its 1.6 million cores.
Just how awesome is Intel's Core i7 architecture? According to Intel, Core i7 processors pack enough punch to supplant some of the graphics chores typically handled by GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.
"Learn how to easily add real-time 3D smoke, fog and other fluid simulations to your game without using up the GPU," Intel pitches to potential attendees on a webpage titled Intel at Game Developers Conference. "In this session, we will present the source code to a fluid simulator optimized for multi-core CPUs."
According to Tom R. Halfhill, an analyst at the Microprocessor Report and Maximum PC columnist, Intel might be seeking ways to make better use of its quad-core processors, though Halfhill said "I need to be convinced that a CPU can do those 3D effects better than a GPU can."
Dedicated graphics processors are typically better suited for high-end effects, but Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research (JPR) says there are exceptions. "Not all algorithms and processes map well to a GPU. You have to have a problem that is naturally parallel, and except for the rendering of, say, a water surface and subsurface and reflections, the wave motion equations will just fine on a CPU."
Maybe now you have that excuse you've been looking for to justify a quad-core upgrade.
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang might just be the Charles Barkley of the tech world. Like the ex-NBA player, Huang knows how to stir the media with colorful quotes (and for all we know, Huang may have a mean jump shot too), just as he did during a financial analyst meeting by promising to "open a can of whoop ass" when discussing the integrated graphics market. Seizing the opportunity, Huang this week took another verbal shot at Intel, this time in regards to the netbook market.
"We’re all trying to figure out what a netbook is. From my perspective, anything that has an X86 processor and has Windows running on it is really a PC," Huang said in an interview with Laptop. "If I were to ask a million people, What do you call something with a Microsoft operating system called Windows and X86 processor from Intel, I would think that 99.9999 percent of them, except for the Intel marketing person, would call it a PC."
Hit the jump to find out what Huang has to say about Intel's Atom processor.
Germany-based chip maker Qimonda, who held a 10 percent share of the DRAM market in Q3 2008, becomes the first major memory chip maker to file for bankruptcy following the rapid decline of memory chip prices. As a result, DRAM pricing has spiked by as much as 26 percent, a trend which is expected to continue in the short-term.
Qimonda continues to operate, but for how long is anyone's guess. The company's bankruptcy filing follows a failed attempt to secure investment funds, and because Qimonda owes Inotera Memories and Winbond Electronics millions of dollars, the two chip partners refuse to ship any more chips to the bankrupt company.
Other chip makers might not be far behind Qimonda. In November 2008, DRAMeXchange stated "the DRAM industry has entered the key adjusting state of 'reduce or retire,'" and according to iSuppli, many of the world's top 10 memory chip suppliers will see major declines in revenue.