Is it time to put a shiny new Windows 7-based computer on your holiday shopping list? Yes, it is. Redmond has finally made it official - Windows 7 is coming out this year. In an interview with Cnet's Ina Fried, Microsoft Senior VP Bill Veghte confirmed that "We [Microsoft] are tracking well to a Windows 7 holiday."
So, what makes it possible to roll out Windows 7 early? Veghte points to a couple of factors:
Excellent early feedback from Windows 7 RC
Higher level of partner support for Windows 7, notably from graphics chip vendors as well as those already receiving Windows 7 logo certification
To learn more, keep an eye on the Microsoft Tech-Ed 2009 conference opening today in Los Angeles. If you're using Windows 7 RC as your primary OS, how close do you think it is to being "ready to roll?" Join us after the jump and tell us.
Budding astronomers who have trouble finding Orion's Belt (or any constellation) may soon get some help from Google, providing the struggling star gazer carries an Android-based cell phone. That's because the search giant plans to release a new mobile phone application called Star Droid, although no launch date has yet been set.
"There are lots of great applications being produced all the time so you will just have to watch this space," a Google spokeswoman said.
Not a whole lot is known about the upcoming application, but according to the UK's Telegraph, Star Droid will use GPS technology to compare the position of the phone to that of existing maps of space. Nametags will accompany stars and planets as seen through the phone's viewfinder.
Word on the web is that Star Droid will be a free download from the Android Market.
Citing "sources familiar with the case," Reuters reports that EU antitrust regulators believe Intel illegally paid computer makers to postpone or cancel the launch of AMD-based products.
An official statement from the EU regulators is expected to come this Wednesday, at which time it will have decided on an appropriate fine. There's been no indication so far of what amount it might be, however the largest fine ever handed out by the European Commission was 479 million euros, or $655 million, to Microsoft in 2004 for allegedly freezing out rivals in server software and products.
According to the report, EU execs will say that Intel gave rebates to computer makers in exchange for restricting the use of AMD chips, while also providing other incentives to retailers to sell just Intel-based systems. Sources say the ruling will order Intel to end the alleged illegal rebates by a certain date.
You may have thought Intel's Atom processor line was only suitable for netbooks and nettops, but 'au contraire mon fraire,' says Supermicro, who recently announced the launch of 4W and 8W Atom server solutions.
"Bringing the low-power consumption advantages of Atom processors to the server appliance market empowers our customers with energy-saving, quiet solutions that provide flexible expansion and storage features previously unattainable with Atom solutions," said Charles Lian, president and CEO of Supermicro.
Two platforms are being outfitted with Intel Atom chips, the X7SLA-L with a single-core Atom 230 processor, support for up to four SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, seven USB 2.0 headers, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and Intel GMA 950 graphics, and the X7SLA-H, which uses the dual-core Atom 330 processor and doubles up power consumption from 4W to 8W.
Both servers weight just 10 pounds and are under 10 inches deep, and both offer support for full-height, half-length expansion cards. They're also quiet thanks to a fanless chassis.
OpenOffice.org has made available version 3.1 of its OpenOffice software suite, marking the first major release in the 3.0 series. Several new features have been added to just about every aspect of the open-source office program, making this a must-have update if you roll free with your productivity apps.
As a whole, the 3.1 update sports an improved screen appearance, as it now uses anti-aliasing to smooth out any rough edges. Dragging is made easier by trading in the dotted outline for a shadow of the object you're trying to move. Other non program-specific enhancements include improved file locking to prevent others from overwriting a file, and support for overlining text.
Just a handful of the many program-specific changes:
Carry out a conversation through Comments by selecting 'Reply' (Writer)
Better grammar checker integration (Writer)
Rename sheets with a double-click (Calc)
Significant performance improvements (Calc)
Font size buttons (Impress)
You can view a full list of changes here and download the 3.1 update here.
We wouldn't describe today's USB thumb drives as portly, but if you're looking for a way to slim down your flash storage, you could try running over it with a steam roller. We suspect (no, we KNOW) this won't do you any good, so if you absolutely must have a flash drive that will fit in your wallet nestled next to your credit cards, TopTech may be your go-to company. The company today announces the "nationwide availability" of its Slim Data USB Card.
"The Slim Data USB Card, which is available in a variety of colors, enables users to conveniently store and carry digital photos, music, video clips, and other documents in their wallets keeping them available to share with friends or family whenever or wherever the need arises," TopTech Products said in a press release.
TopTech says its ultra slim flash drives weigh less than 9g. So far, capacities for the USB 2.0-capable drives are only offered in 1GB and 4GB flavors, with custom colors beyond the clear, gray, orange, red, and blue currently offered.
The Slim Data USB Card are available now through TopTech Product's website in 4GB form for $28.
According to the Financial Times, readers of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) website will soon have to cough up micropayments for individual articles, along with premium subscriptions to the website. The new micropayment service is expected to launch this fall, says Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Journal.
The move comes as newspaper outlets struggle with what has so far been a busted business model. It would also make WSJ the first big newspaper to dive into micropayments, and if successful, it probably won't be the last.
As for pricing, WSJ is still crunching the numbers and hasn't yet decided what to charge for its articles. The goal, according to Thomson, is to develop a system where occasional readers are charged a small amount who otherwise wouldn't pay more than $100/year for a site subscription.
The 2009 Webby awards have come and gone, and sadly, Maximum PC was mysteriously overlooked. We didn’t notice a category for “world’s most amazing technology website / magazine”, but that’s no excuse! For those of you who haven’t heard of them before today, the Webby’s are an international award honoring excellence on the Internet. They focus on everything from YouTube skits to innovative advertising, but one look at the list and you’ll wonder if they just snagged the first million URL’s from Google and ran with it.
Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch is ending the great newspaper debate by going on record and letting everyone know, “having a free newspaper website is a flawed business model”.When Murdoch was questioned yesterday during a conference call with reporters and analysts about online subscriptions he replied simply “We’re absolutely looking at that. The current days of the internet will soon be over."Many would question the wisdom of this, but in his defense Murdoch points out The Wall Street Journal which has enjoyed massive growth in their online subscriptions division.
It anybody’s guess at this point whether or not this approach will work for mainstream news, but one thing is certain, the status quo can only end in bankruptcy. Many within the industry have described online news websites as “trading analog dollars for digital cents”. Dwindling advertising revenuehas been compounded by the global recession and many wonder how much longer newspapers will be able to hang on. Several have already bit the dust and with so many other great alternatives, one wonders what if anything will solve their financial woes.
Is it too late for Newspapers to charge for online subscriptions now? Or is there still time to wind back the clock?
Massively multiplayer online everythingamajig Second Life’s total player numbers may be debatable at best, but the dedication of said, er, eclectic legion sure isn’t. According to a study conducted by Nielsen Media Research, Second Life gets more average playtime per week than games like StarCraft, Warhammer Online, and even World of Warcraft!
Lest you cry foul of Nielsen’s study, however, know this: World of Warcraft players still far outnumber those of Second Life, racking up 46.710% of total PC gaming time, while Second Life picks up a silver medal with 3.206%. Second Life’s significantly smaller group of players, then, just loves its game of choice a bit more than players powering Blizzard’s piggybanks.
Even so, however, Second Life still far outstrips most every other MMO on the market -- in terms of average playtime and total percentage of the pie -- including Warhammer Online and Eve Online, both of which didn’t even make the top ten.
Just for clarification’s sake, the study was conducted among a sample of almost 200,000 people –- not just hardcore gamers. It was, apparently, a random sample.
The only thing that makes us question this study? That’d be Dark Horse of Might & Magic in third place. Um, really? Not to question the alchemy behind Nielsen’s algorithms, but do you know anyone who actually plays that game anymore -– on a regular basis, no less?