The ambitious One Laptop Per Child project was started with high hopes of bringing low-cost connected laptops to children in developing countries, an idea that so far has struggled to spread the way it was originally conceived. Giving the project a big boost, the government of India plans to purchase 250,000 of OLPC's XO laptops.
The big order comes as somewhat of a surprise. OLPC had once before tried to win favor in India with a pilot program that saw 20 XO laptops distributed to students in Khairat-Dhangarwada village in the state of Maharashtra, Arstechnica reports. Despite being a success, the country's Ministry of Human Resource Development raised concerns about what adverse health effects might arise from prolonged laptop use.
This time around, the 250,000 laptops will be sent to 1,500 schools, and that might be only the tip of the iceberg. OLPC India CEO Satish Jha said he hopes to ship 3 million laptops in India this year.
No more than a couple months ago Toshiba showed off the first 32 nanometer NAND flash chips, and soon they’ll be the first company to ship them as well.
According to a press release from Toshiba, they’ll begin mass production of 32Gb (gigabit) NAND flash chips in July 2009, and 16Gb products will begin to ship Q3 of this very year.
So, what does all this mean for you, as a consumer? Sooner rather than later, manufacturers will be able to start packing more memory into smaller places. This translates to bigger SSDs, and even more internal memory for your smartphone and other mobile devices. Ahh, progress!
Once Windows 7 ships, Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate edition users will be able to download a free Windows XP Mode upgrade from Microsoft, WinSuperSite's Paul Thurrott reports. What Thurrott calls XP Mode will enable these versions of Windows 7 to be almost perfectly compatible with Windows XP applications. Essentially, Windows 7 will have "Windows XP inside" when XP Mode is installed.
What is XP Mode? Officially known as Virtual Windows XP, it combines a hardware-accelerated host virtualizer based on Virtual PC with a fully licensed copy of Windows XP Professional SP3 which the user must supply [updated 4-29-09]. While, at first glance, this might sound like little more than a more convenient replacement for downloading a copy of Virtual PC 2007 and scrounging up a Windows XP Pro disc and license from a dead PC, there's a lot more to Virtual Windows XP.
As the WinSuperSite screenshow reveals, Virtual Windows XP will be able to share your system's USB drives, and when you install apps to Virtual Windows XP, your Windows 7 menu will automatically be updated with shortcuts, enabling you to run Windows XP programs in separate virtualized windows on your desktop. Although the virtualizer used by Virtual Windows XP is a host-based virtualizer, these features put it miles ahead in usability compared to Virtual PC 2007 plus Windows XP. And, because Virtual Windows XP's virtualizer requires hardware virtualization support, it won't bog down your system the way an unaccelerated virtualization host will do.
Are there any downsides? For a couple of potential gotchas, and for your chance to sound off, join us after the jump.
Back in September of this year Google launched their Mobile Search with My Location service, which allowed users of mobile devices to quickly and easily find nearby points of interest. And now, it looks like that very same functionality is making its way to your computer.
Google’s Toolbar will now feature My Location. This addition will allow Google Maps and their own Maps gadget to automatically close in on your location, allowing you to type less into your search box when tracking down the closest pizza place. “You can just do a search like [thai food], and you will receive a list of nearby restaurants and more local Google search results,” wrote Aseem Sood and Susan Ting, members of the Toolbar Product Team at Google. “This feature is similar to IP-based local search results announced earlier this month, except Google Toolbar with My Location can determine a more accurate location by using nearby Wi-Fi access points. This is done without associating location information with a user's Google Account. Google Toolbar with My Location is only available in the U.S.”
Unfortunately, the Google Toolbar will continue to be available only for Internet Explorer (someone should let these guys know that they have their very own browser too!), and there’s no word on an official release date. But, according to the official Google Blog, they “hope to bring you the next batch soon.”
Earlier this month the traffic monitoring service comScore released their global numbers for March of 2009. And, with those results came some astonishing numbers for everyone’s favorite compulsive microblogging service, Twitter.
Twitter.com’s worldwide visitors increased a whopping 95 percent in March from 9.8 million to 19.1 million, according to the report. It’s expected that Ashton Kutcher’s race with CNN to one million followers and Oprah’s introduction were both large parts of the traffic increase.
It should be noted though, that this is only traffic on Twitter’s site, not an actual tally of active users. And it doesn’t track users that use the service by means of desktop or mobile client. All things considered, these are still some pretty impressive numbers.
Most parts of the country aren't expected to see any more snowfall until next winter, but the relationship between Nvidia and Intel couldn't be any more chilly. At odds with each other over Nehalem licensing, netbook platforms, and other tech related spats, the two sides seem all to happy to take digs at one another when the opportunity arises. For Nvidia, that means calling to question Intel's claim that its Core i7 processor can improve game performance by up to 80 percent.
"I have a copy of Intel’s latest deck that they share with press and customers, and on there they have a slide that is called The Intel Core i7 920 Processor, where they claim that gaming performance goes up by 80 percent when you use a Core i7, said Tom Peterson, Nvidia's technical marketing director. "Now, I was impressed by that claim, and I was trying to figure out how they could possibly say such a thing, and it turns out that Intel is basing that claim on only 3DMark Vantage’s CPU test."
Peterson went on to point out that the synthetic benchmark's CPU test doesn't actually measure game performance, and to say otherwise would be disingenuous. To drive his point home, Peterson showed Nvidia's own benchmarks of a Core 2 Duo E8400 machine outfitted with a GeForce GTS 250 videocard. The PC averaged 41.6 FPS in Nvidia's testing, and only increased to 42.4 FPS after upgrading to a Core i7 965. But after upgrading to a pair of GeForce GTX 260 videocards, that number jumped to 59.4 FPS.
"In real gaming, there's no difference between a Core i7 and a Core 2 Duo," Peterson concluded.
Still like the Boston Celtics' chances of winning the NBA championship despite the likelihood of Kevin Garnett missing the entire playoffs? No matter who you think will win, if you're looking to place a bet online, you'll need to trust an overseas gambling site in order to put your money where your mouth is. That's because the U.S. Congress chased away U.S.-based online gambling outlets several years ago as part of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, a law which some say may be overturned, according to a report in The New York Times.
Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, is expected to lead the charge at overturning the 2006 bill in matter of days.
"He supports the repeal and wants to move forward on it," said Steve Adamske, communications director for the House Financial Services Committe.
Despite the 2006 Act, online gambling generated revenue of $6 billion last year in North America, or more than a quarter of the global total of $22.6 billion. That's a $5 billion increase from 2006. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, if the ban is overturned, the U.S. government could potentially pocket more than $50 billion over the next 10 years.
Those who oppose overturning the ban point out that online gambling makes it too easy to get in over your head and can break up families. Some sports leagues also voiced concern that online betting could increase the risk of game-fixing.
Should the ban be repealed? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Following a board meeting last week, VIA has come to the conclusion that it needs to cut capital to NT$5.17 billion ($153.4 million USD), a 60 percent reduction. A shareholder meeting on June 19th will decide when the reduced capital will take place. As a result of the planned reduction, VIA said it expects shares to improve to $NT11.36, or almost three times as much as the current NT$4.50 share price.
VIA didn't say what effect the reduced capital would have on its Nano processor roadmap, which could put the heat on Intel in coming months. Citing un-named market sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes notes that demand for Intel's Atom netbook CPUs has been slowing down lately in the wake of price cuts by low-end notebooks. The sources also attributed the reduced demand to consumer anticipation of the next generation of Atom processors, currently scheduled for the second half of this year.
Citing people familiar with the situation, USA Today claims Verizon and Apple are at least talking about developing an iPhone for Verizon. If that were to happen, it would be the first time Apple has produced an iPhone for a CDMA wireless network, and come as a blow to AT&T, who has exclusive U.S. distribution rights until sometime in 2010.
"Breaking the iPhone exclusivity with AT*T is a huge thing," says Roger Entner, head of telecom research for Nielsen. "That would send shivers into AT&T's stock and senior leadership."
AT&T's iPhone deal has proved to be a lucrative one, as evidenced last week when the telco posted impressive wireless numbers. According to AT&T, it has signed up 1.6 million iPhone customers during the quarter, with 40 percent of them beng new to AT&T. It's mobile revenue was also up 40 percent.
AT&T would still boast the faster network if Verizon started selling iPhones, but Verizon's aggressive ad campaign, combined with the iPhone's immense popularity, would likely be a recipe for success, even if a bitter one for AT&T.
Hold the boat, Blu-ray, a breakthrough in optical storage technology could prove to be game changing, according to General Electric. GE today announced that its researchers have successfully demonstrated a threshold microholographic storage material they say can support 500GB of storage capacity in a standard DVD-sized disc. That breaks down to about 20 times the storage capacity of a standard Blu-ray disc and is equivalent to 100 regular DVDs, the company says.
"GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer," said Brian Lawrence, who leads GE’s Holographic Storage program. "Because GE’s micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every home."
GE's holographic storage technology makes use of the entire volume of the disc material rather than just the surface. Three-dimensional patterns represent bits of information, a process GE has been working on for over six years but has only just now turned a corner with the latest breakthrough.