As you may or may not remember, it wasn’t long ago that we reported on the potential effect that the struggling economy would have on one of the biggest electronic trade shows in the world. And as it turned out, just about everything was true.
This past weekend, CES drew only 110,000 visitors, down a frightful 22 percent from last year. What’s more, this number is lower than the predicted 130,000 people that were planned as a low point.
For show goers, this provided a noticeably lighter experience. It was far easier to get around on the show floor during prime time hours, cab and monorail lines were rarely seen, and transportation was quicker than ever before.
Sadly, this wasn’t as great for the exhibitors. With far fewer people making an extra trip out to see their products, it was difficult to get a euphoric feeling of years past.
Overall though, CES still served its purpose – it brought us first hand looks at the latest and greatest that the tech sector has to offer. Let’s just hope that the show can get a more solid footing next year, and that this trend doesn’t continue.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when the beholders are judges from Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), Acer's Aspire Predator G7000 series gaming PC has all the right curves. The rig's menacing aesthetics earned Acer WinHEC 2008's Industrial Design award, with one judge saying one look is all that's needed to know that the Predator G7000 is intended for gamers. The judge also noted the PC likely won't win favor among female consumers, but said that wasn't a bad thing, given that Acer's design nails its target audience.
From a hardware standpoint, the Predator G7000 comes with the option of either an overclocked AMD Phenom X4 or Intel Core 2 Quad processor, up to 8GB of DDR2-1066 RAM, and support for either ATI's CrossFire X or Nvidia's SLI dual-videocard technology. But it's the funky orange chassis with a mechanical bezel for easy access to four 3.5-inch HDD bays that ultimately won Acer the award.
Acer also won a Media & Entertainment award for its Aspire 8920G notebook with Blu-ray and full HD, and an Internet award for it's Aspire one Netbook.
Odds are you’re carrying at least one or two devices that double as a portable media player. We’d also bet that if you’ve spent any time at all trying to watch video on such a device—be it a cell phone, personal media player, smartphone, laptop, or pretty much any other device that’s not a DVD player—you’ve experienced compatibility problems. Right now, you need a thorough understanding of the codec, resolution, and container capabilities of all your devices in order to perform an advanced task like ripping a video for use on an alternate player or streaming content from your PC to, say, your Xbox 360 (by the way, we show you exactly how to do that here).
Hit the jump to learn more about the future of media playback.
Concerned you may have waited too long to download Microsoft's Windows 7 public beta and missed the boat? Don't be. Following a deluge of download requests that initially took out Microsoft's servers forcing the company to temporarily halt downloads, Microsoft now says it has removed the 2.5 million download limit originally put in place.
"Due to an enormous surge in demand, the download experience was not ideal so we listened and took the necessary steps to ensure a good experience," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, on The Windows Blog. "We have clearly heard that many of you want to check out the Windows 7 Beta and, as a result, we have decided remove the initial 2.5 million limit on the public beta for the next two weeks (thru January 24th). During that time you will have access to the beta even if the download number exceeds the 2.5 million unit limit."
Microsoft hasn't said how many users have already downloaded Windows 7, but according to Net Applications, IE8 beta 2, which is included in Windows 7 beta, spiked from .82 percent on Friday to .98 percent on Saturday, and then 1.01 percent on Sunday, setting a new record level for the browser.
If you haven't already, you can download the Windows 7 beta here.
For those who often find themselves sending out emails in a drunken stupor, Google's Mail Goggles can help turn a potentially regretful exchange into nothing more harmless than a brain exercise in mathematics. But it might also stop you from sending emails in your sleep. Wait, what?
If that sounds silly, well, that's because it is. But it's also very real, according to the Sleep Medicine journal. An upcoming article will show how sleepy-eyed individuals can send emails without first waking up, and even use higher motor functions to input passwords.
As one might expect, those who suffer from an unofficial sleep-emailing disorder don't always make sense in their emails. One example includes a message sent by a female with the subject line "!HELP ME P-LEEEEESE," complete with awkward punctuation, spelling, and spacing. The same individual later sent out an invitation for dinner and drinks asking guests to "come TOMORROW AND SORT THIS HELL HOLE Out!!!!!!" In both cases, the sender had no recollection of ever composing the emails.
Sound like anyone you know? Hit the jump and tell us all about it.
So much for the $2.2 billion operating profit Sony predicted just three months ago. Perhaps the company was looking at the balance sheet upside down, because now Sony is expected to report a 100 billion yen (that's $1.1 billion in homegrown U.S. currency) loss for fiscal 2008 ending in March, says Nikkei business daily. And that's just the beginning. Nikkei says the loss could reach as high as $2 billion, and will depend on whether or not Sony is successful in cutting inventory in Q1 2009.
If Nikkei's prediction comes true, this will mark Sony's first loss in 14 years. But unlike the one-time charge the electronics took for its picture division over two decades ago, losses this time around can be attributed to less than expected sales of Sony brand flat-panel TVs and other electronics, particularly in the U.S. market.
Yelp describes itself as a "fun and easy way to find, review, and talk about what's great (and not so great) in your world." In Christopher Norberg's world, taking advantage of what Yelp has to offer has landed him a lawsuit accusing him of libel.
The San Franciscan was in a car accident in 2006 and sought the services of a local chiropractor. But after a dispute over billing took place, Norberg posted a negative review on Yelp essentially accusing the doctor of being dishonest. Now the 26-year-old custom furniture builder will have to defend his comments in court.
"If Christopher loses then anyone on Yelp who writes a negative review better be careful," said Michael Blacksburt, an attorney representing Norberg. "This strikes at the heart of Yelp's business model and other websites that provide a bulletin board for people to state what they think of businesses in their community."
Not surprisingly, Eric Nordskog, the attorney for chiropractor Steven Biegel, sees the situation differently. According to Nordskog, "Dr. Biegel has no problem with people expressing their views and opinions about his service," but the question is whether or not Norberg posted a false statement as fact.
Should Norbert be held responsible for his review, or is the chiropractor getting too bent out of shape? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
We don't know if Verne Troyer's into the whole netbook scene or the open source movement, but if he is, he can now order HP's shagadelic Mini 1000 Mi. Sporting a 9-inch screen, the pint sized mobile PC gets randy with the Linux community by trading in Microsoft's Windows XP for a customized version of Ubuntu.
A baseline configuration starts at $330 and includes an Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz) processor, 512MB of DDR2 RAM, 8GB SSD drive, and HP's Mobile internet (Mi) software. But if baseline's not your bag, the Mini 1000 Mi's mojo allows for custom configurations, something not common in the netbook sector. Upgrade options include a 10.1-inch display, 1GB DDR2 RAM (currently a free upgrade), 16GB SSD or 60GB 4200 RPM hard drive, and Bluetooth.
Toshiba sees a future in which Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) power technology steps into the limelight to prevent scenarios in which "a busy business person making a presentation to clients" runs out of battery power, or "a woman talking on her mobile phone while walking around town" being forced to cut her conversation short (see these and other scenarios laid out in humorous fashion here). With DMFC technology, these and other devices can be quickly recharged without having to swap out the batteries or cut off power.
More than just a concept technology, Toshiba was touting a new DMFC internet viewer device at CES. Using a dual-methanol power source, Toshiba says its internet viewer can run for about a week of normal usage before having to replace the methanol. The wireless prototype was shown running Windows, but no information was given on what hardware it was using.
Intrigued? Get the full scoop, as Toshiba sees it, on DFMC technology here.
In a time when the tech industry has been making concerted efforts in going green, startling new research reveals that we may be mucking with mother nature simply by using Google. Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard physicist researching the environmental impact of computing, claims that for every two Google searches performed, the same amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) is burned as it would take to boil a kettle for a cup of tea, which is about 7g.
"Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Wissner-Gross. "A Google search has a definite environmental impact."
Wissner-'Gross isn't the only one to question what impact Google searches might be having on the environment. According to an estimate from John Buckley, managing director of carbonfootprint.com, CO2 emissions of a Google search sit at anywhere from 1g to 10g, depending on whether or not you have to start your PC. And Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, puts the average higher at 7g to 10g.
For Google's part, the company hasn't disclosed its energy consumption or carbon footprint, nor has the search giant revealed the locations of its data centers. That makes it hard to come up with a clear consensus on how much CO2 emissions Google searches create, but the company did say Wissner-Gross' estimation is many times too high. Instead, Urs Hölzle, senior VP of operations at Google, says the actual number is equivalent to about 0.2g of CO2, and that it would take roughly a thousand Google searches to produce as many greenhouse gases as an average car driven for one kilometer.