Step one on the long road to retiring 32-bit computers to the PC graveyard was the development of 64-bit processors (check). Step two was the development of 64-bit operating systems (check). Step three was the development of 64-bit drivers (check). And now, it's almost time for step four: major 64-bit applications.
ZDNet's Ed Bott has done some digging around in Windows 7's MigWiz.xml file (it's used to configure the Migration Wizard in Windows 7) and discovered that the upcoming Microsoft Office 14 will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. In the Office 14 section of MigWiz.xml in post-beta builds of Windows 7, Bott found references to both standard and x64 programs in Office 14, as well as references to upgrade options from Office 2003 to either Office 14 or Office 14 x64 (note that the public Windows 7 beta doesn't include these settings). What does this mean to Office 14's expected release date? Bott says:
The fact that this code is being baked into Windows 7 now suggests that the rumors of an early 2010 ship date for Office 14 are accurate. Having native 64-bit support for all members of the Office family is an extra bonus and welcome news.
If you're currently using some version of Microsoft Office, does the advent of a native 64-bit version make you more likely to upgrade to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 14? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
Unlike the chicken and the egg, in today's multicore environment, we can definitively say the hardware came first, and we're beginning to wonder if the software will ever come at all. We're not referring to the handful of games and applications that are multicore friendly, but the widespread development of software to take advantage of multiple cores.
So what's the holdup? According to participants at last week's Multicore Expo in Santa Clara, California, programming challenges remain. While there's no shortage of multicore processors in the wild, much of the software being written is still being geared towards single-core computing.
"Looking at the specifications for these software products, it is clear that many will be challenged to support the hardware configurations possible today and those that will be accelerating in the future," said Carl Claunch, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The impact is akin to putting a Ferrari engine in a go-cart; the power may be there, but design mismatches severely limit the ability to exploit it."
The above statement comes from a report Gartner released two months ago. In it, Claunch goes on to explain that the software running today's servers have both hard and soft limits on the number of processors the software can effectively handle, the latter of which requires trial and error to overcome.
Parallel computing may seem like a no-brainer, but programmers point to the potential of new types of software bugs and lack of programming tools. On the bright side, more tools are emerging, and both Intel and AMD have made it clear that the future of computing lies in multiple cores. That future will be realized once software development catches up to the hardware.
Acer is reportedly on the verge of releasing a brand new Aspire One that will feature a larger 11.6-inch panel (notably bigger than the 10.1-inch versions available today), and will go down in history for dancing on the line between netbook and notebook.
This new Aspire one will come with a 1366x768 16:9 screen, an Intel Atom Z530 processor and the Poulsbo chipset, along with GMA500 graphics. There’s even supposed to be an extended battery option that will allow up to eight hours of battery life.
No word yet on pricing or availability, but once we know, you will too!
According to DigiTimes, Intel is looking to release two new processor models, which would most likely drop the prices on their current releases by up to 20 percent.
The two new rumored chips are slated to release on April 19th, and both will clock in at 2.66GHz. The first chip, the Q8400 (95W) will cost $183, while its sibling, the Q8400S (65W), will run $245. The report continued to state that in late May further Celeron and Pentium Dual-Core processors would see their way to the market.
For a full list of all the rumored price cuts and releases, be sure to check out a full report here.
Intel has made quite the splash in both the nettop and netbook markets with its low-power Atom processors, but it will be another month before the chip maker dives into the mobile internet device (MID) end of the electronics pool, says DigiTimes.
Citing un-named "sources at MID makers," the news and rumor site reports Intel has postponed the launch of its Atom Z550 and Z515 Atom CPUs to mid-April, both of which are intended for MIDs. When it launches, the Atom Z550 will run at 2.0GHz, making it the fastest clockspeed Atom to date. It will offer the same 2.4W rated TDP, 512KB of L2 cache, and 533MHz frontside bus. The Z515 will run a tick slower at 1.2GHz. Both chips sport an average power consumption of just .22W.
The Z550 will boast support for Intel's US15W chipset, while the Atom Z515 will support both the US15W and low-power UL11L chipsets. In addition, the Z515 will also feature Intel's new Burst Performance Technology (BPT), which will adjust the core clockspeed based on performance requirements.
Weapon laser design reached an important milestone thanks to defense contractor Northrop Grumman, who reported it got a solid-state laser to fire a 105.5 kilowatt beam, the most power light ray yet created by an electric laser.
"Our modular JHPSSL design makes it straightforward to scale laser weapon systems to mission-required power levels for a variety of uses, to include force protection and precision strike missions for air-, sea- and land-based platforms," said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector."
Wildt went on to underscore the importance of the achievement saying that "the 100kW threshold has been viewed traditionally as a proof of principle for 'weapons grade' power levels for high-energy lasers." Noting that there are many military applications that can be achieved with laser weapons of 25kW or 50kW, Northrop Grumman's achievement ensures power scaling won't be a problem for some time to come.
The high-power laser demonstration operated at above 100kW for over 85 minutes using seven laser chains. By adding an eighth chain, Northrop says it will be possible to increase laser power to 120kW.
Microsoft used last week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, but without the fanfare Mozilla's Firefox 3 received when the open-source browser set a Guinness World Record for most downloads in a 24-hour period following its release.
But while IE8 didn't manage to set any new records, it did boost the browser's market share a tad. Nothing to get excited over, IE8's average market share increased from 1.34 percent from the day before its official launch to 1.45 percent on the day of release. To be fair, market share peaked slightly higher at 1.86 percent and now stands at 1.7 percent.
For the sake of comparison, Google Chrome 1.0 only gained about 0.1 percentage points next to IE8's .52 percentage points gain on day of release. Firefox 3, meanwhile, gained .66 points on the first day and 3.51 points over a two-day period.
Are you planning to download IE8? Hit the jump and let us know.
In an interview with TechRadar, Asus CEO Jerry Shen said his company plans to commercially launch its current fold/unfold notebook concept around September or October of this year, with mass production to begin in the second half of 2009.
"In 2007 when Apple launched the MacBook Air, it created a lot of media attention," Shen said during the interview. "So this year Asus plans to launch the Fold/Unfold, not following with tradition, to create a similar momentum."
Collaboratively developed by groups of designers from France, Italy, and Korea, the folding notebook concept folds in a way that adjusts the keyboard when the screen is lifted, taking it from a resting flat position to a raised, angled position. In addition to offering space saving ergonomics, the raised keyboard could potentially lead to better airflow for the internal components.
Shen made mention of Apple's MacBook Air more than once during the interview, and it's clear the folding notebook will look to compete with it as a more affordable and economical PC version.
According to Shen, the new notebook will be priced somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.
News site DailyTech has gotten its paws on AMD's upcoming ATI Radeon HD 4890 videocard from an undisclosed source based in Taiwan, and has thus been able to confirm rumored details of the new card's spec sheet.
Built around the RV790 core, the Radeon HD 4890, as received by DailyTech, comes with a core clock of 850MHz . The site also reports 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 3,900MHz resulting in 124.8 GB/s of bandwidth. Final memory specs could change, however, as the card DailyTech received came with Qimonda chips, which declared insolvency (went bankrupt) back in January 2009.
No word yet on a projected price point or release date, but not to be outdone, Nvidia plans to go head-to-head with ATI's 4890 with its GeForce GTX 275. According to reports, the upcoming GTX 275 is being built around the G200b GPU core with 240 shader processors chugging along at 1,404MHz. Other specs include 80 texture units, 30 render back ends, and a 448-bit memory interface. GPU and memory clockspeeds are expected to debut at 633MHz and 2,322MHz, respectively.
Look for the GTX 275 to launch on April 9, 2009 for somewhere between $230 and $280.
Some students pursue a post secondary education for the love of learning, some to improve their employability, and others simply because their parents are paying the bill. This isn’t to say that only students with skin in the game take college seriously, but everybody knows at least one guy from school who was only there to party. Partner this dude up with a Dell, and you might be asking for trouble.
Recent studies into the value of notebooks in the classroom have yet to prove anything conclusive, but clearly their worth in a traditional lecture style setting is in dispute. When used properly, notebooks can help students stay organized, connected, and even improve marks, but what about those who are easily distracted? Ars Technica offered an interesting perspective into this topic, and it’s undoubtedly something that warrants further discussion. Do laptops really help, or do they only distract students?
As a part time student myself, I can honestly say the ratio of students taking notes to those surfing the web, watching video, and fragging in Quakelive is pretty ridiculous. It’s fairly clear, at least in my limited sample group that the vast majority of notebook users in the classroom are only distracting themselves, and those around them.
Is this something we need to take action on? Or should we do as Ars Technica suggests and banish them all to the back of the classroom? Let us know what you think.