VoIP service Skype said it recently reached the 15 million concurrent user mark, claiming 405 million Skype users in all. But what's even more impressive is how quickly the service is growing. Skype estimates it adds 380,000 new users each day. To put that number into perspective, Ross Storey, Managing Editor at Fairfax Business Media, points out that over a 12 day period, the number of users Skype adds is equivalent to the population of Singapore.
Skype announced the figures in Signapore during the launch of the new Skype 4.0 software, which the company calls "the most exciting and fundamental change to Skype's software in the company's history." Even more exciting for the company is recording the eighth consecutive quarter of profit, in which Skype earned $45 million in Q4 2008. This is thanks in large part to a third of its registered subscribers using the service for business purposes.
"In this type of environment people are looking for cost savings wherever they can find them, they are looking to 'recession-proof' their businesses," said Dan Neary, Skype's new VP and GM. "hey don't want to fly from A to B, they want to do video-conferencing. More and more, this offering is becoming applicable for people in business."
Last month, a rumor surfaced suggested Ebay was shopping around its Skype service, showing particular interest in selling to Google. If Skype keeps up these kinds of numbers, it's hard to imagine Google, or anyone else, not being interested.
Microsoft received considerable buzz over its Silverlight web browser plugin during the Beijing Olympics, in which NBC opted to use Silverlight rather than Adobe's Flash to stream its Olympics coverage. But it didn't take long for NBC to run back to Flash once the Olympics were over, taking the spotlight off of the Silverlight platform.
Silverlight is back in the news, this time for a new contest Microsoft has launched at serverquestcontest.com. The contest is being aimed at Silverlight game developers age 16 or older and living in the U.S. To enter, eligible developers must create a user profile on the site, download the Software Development Kit, and then use it to create an online game.
Participants can submit up to three entries, each of which must follow a set of strict guidelines. These include a file download size not larger than 4MB and total file size of less than 10MB, resolution of 800x430 or less, the game cannot include any upload file aspects nor can it require or allow any external communication, it must be developed in Silverlight 2.0 and submitted in object/binary code format, and finally the game must clearly indicate to others that it is governed by the Creative Commons license. Phew!
The contest runs through April 30, 2009 (11:59 PM PST), with a voting period to take place between May 1 and May 14. Winners will be announced May 25, 2009.
An order by a Texas judge to release the identities of 178 anonymous posters for making inflammatory comments on news site Topix.com may have posters thinking twice in the future before hitting the 'submit' button. The order came after Mark and Rhonda Lesher filed a lawsuit against the anonymous posters for allegedly making "perverted, sick, vile, inhumane accusations" about them.
The online comments were the result of a criminal trial against the Leshers, who were being accused of sexually assaulting a former client in 2008. The Leshers were found not guilty, but that didn't stop the court of public opinion from berating the couple through the course of about 70 threads on Topix.com.
"It just basically made us both feel like common criminals," the Leshers told the Dallas Morning News. "It's like someone had basically raped us of our reputation and our standing in the community over and over and over again."
According to the complaint, comments made by the anonymous posters ran the gamut from insinuating Mark drugs women to calling Rhonda the "Herpies Queen." It was enough to convince the judge to order Topix.com to release the identities of 178 posters, for which the judge has issued a March 6 deadline.
Do you agree with the ruling? Hit the jump and post your (non-inflammatory) thoughts.
Select Vista owners may be getting a free ride to Windows 7, according to a draft document TechArp claims to have obtained. The document, which TechArp says was handed out to OEM partners on December 10 with a one month deadline to provide feedback, outlines Microsoft's tentatively named "Windows 7 Upgrade Program."
The point of the program is to alleviate the concern from potential PC buyers who may be postponing a purchase in anticipation of Windows 7. As it's being reported, it's a consumer-oriented upgrade program aimed at both individual consumers and small businesses who purchase a Vista-based PC during the unspecified 'Program Eligibility Period.'
To qualify, end users must buy a new PC with Vista pre-installed, and the system must come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached. The upgrade only apples to Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate flavors, which can then be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate respectively. And finally, Microsoft says the program does not support multiple upgrades for medium, large, or enterprise customers, according to the document.
Keep in mind the above is based on a draft document, and should it become finalized, eligibility requirements and other details could very well change. Stay tuned!
Cool, right? Granted, Valve has never given us reason to fear that it’s into the whole nickel-and-diming thing, but it’s still nice to hear that our dwindling budgets can now go toward more important things like Starbucks coffee, impulse iPhone app purchases, and a replacement iPhone after an ill-advised literal interpretation of DanceDanceRevolution S Lite.
Oh hey, here are some details about the new rides the Survival DLC pack will bring to Valve’s carnal carnival. Apparently, the mode will see “up to four players set records for the longest time surviving hordes of zombies on over 12 maps.” That’s all anyone knows at this point, really.
Generally, the term “conference call” stirs up images of stuffy businessmen swapping stories about things like revenues, stocks, and how to be completely out of touch with today’s youth (“Call your online database ‘kgb’! Then fill your commercial with facetious douchebags!”). However, there ain’t no conference call like an Activision Blizzard conference call, and today’s game of telephone didn’t disappoint.
First up, Acti-Blizz finally took war back to the future with the announcement that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will launch during Q4 (real, not fiscal) of 2009. Is it us, or is the recession looking a little pale?
Continuing its elongated pop-the-question date with our PCs, Activision Blizzard also plans to launch StarCraft 2’s beta sometime in the “months ahead.” In addition, the much-anticipated beta will include an early version of Battle.net’s next iteration, which will probably just open a portal to heaven or something.
Did we mention that Activision won’t be laying-off anyone? Presumably at all? Draw your own conclusions.
As in previous surveys, respondents recognize that people are both an organization’s greatest asset as well as its weakest link. But security vigilance is even more important in hard economic times, when the increased stress levels can lead people to behave in atypical ways.
After a lengthy standoff that ultimately punished the consumer rather than each other, Intel and Nvidia recently came to an agreement over using Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel chipset-based motherboards, specifically the Core i7 friendly X58. And now for the first time, Intel has licensed SLI for use on its own DX58SO "Smackover" motherboard.
"The addition of Nvidia SLI technology to the Intel DX58SO motherboard has been a welcome addition," said Clem Russo, VP and GM of Channel Desktop Platform Group at Intel. "The pairing of our new Core i7 processors on our Extreme Series motherboard and Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world's fastest consumer gaming PC platforms. For playing any of today's hottest PC titles, this is one awesome combination that our customers have been asking for."
Nvidia says the DX58SO supports any combination of GeForce GPUs, including support for quad-SLI, which will come as a boon to Smackover owners who have been lusing over Nvidia's new dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard.
Toshiba, always one to bolster their numbers, has added the A10-S3511 and M10-S3411 notebooks to their Tecera line of laptops!
Both of these have a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 2GB DDR2 and a 160GB HDD under the hood. And, to help seal the deal they’ve included a built-in webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, their own EasyGuard technology, a 3-hour battery, and they bring it to you all on Windows Vista Business with a possible downgrade to XP Professional.
The main differences are aesthetic, though the hard drives are different speeds. The A10 has a 15.4-inch WSXGA+ screen, Nvidia Quadro NVS and a 7200rpm drive and costs $1,249. The M10 has a slightly smaller 14.1-inch TFT LCD, integrated Intel GM45 graphics and a 5400rpm drive and costs only $1,100.
While for many the current economy is a sign of the savings, Intel has refused to change their prices. So if you’re looking to get an Intel powered notebook on the cheap, chances are pretty good that you’ll have to wait a bit!
Intel has notified its partners that it will not cut the prices of notebooks until the end of May. If this information holds up to be correct, they’ll probably begin lowering the prices of notebook CPUs by 13-40 percent in June in order to make way for their Calpella platform “based on its partners’ inventory status and demand.”
What does this mean for the average consumer like you and I? Well, until notebook manufacturers get rid of their current inventory, nothing. Absolutely nothing!