ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has apparently learned that Microsoft’s online alternative to Google Docs will emerge from beta before the end of this year. Office Live Workspace is a service that is geared to work as either a standalone product, or in tandem with Office 2003-2007. It has been suggested that the current public beta is fairly close to the final version, and the primary issue outstanding is language support. Microsoft wishes to expand the 11 languages it currently supports to 37 before it officially lifts the beta tag later this year. Spokesmen Kirk Gregersen from Microsoft has also reportedly commented on the surprising trends they have identified during the public beta. It was originally assumed that casual users such as students would use Live Workspace as a means to author and remotely access documents. Instead, the service is being used mostly as a single access point for collaborative efforts involving multiple users. Insiders have suggested that this only further demonstrates why desktop versions of Microsoft Office won’t be leaving us anytime soon.
For those who haven’t been following the development of Office Live Workspace, hit the jump to learn more about the services currently being offered.
Consumer electronics giant Samsung also happens to be the world’s premier NAND Flash memory manufacturer. It now aims to further strengthen its position by acquiring flash memory maker SanDisk, if reports in the Korean media are to be trusted. The rationale behind such a move is that an acquisition will not only bolster Samsung’s current flash memory production capacity but also save the company about $350 million annually – the amount Samsung pays SanDisk in royalties. SanDisk has been navigating through some rough financial weather lately, but still is coveted by couple of big companies. Of course, rumors of Seagate making a bid for the company have also been around. A possible acquisition would handover a considerable advantage to Seagate in the SSD market. SanDisk certainly seems to have a few takers.
Be informed, dear readers, Microsoft’s next installment of security bulletins is going to be on September 9 – Patch Tuesday. Microsoft revealed in the security bulletin advance notification for September that it will release four security bulletins on the following Patch Tuesday. All four of them merit immediate attention as they have been rated critical. The security bulletins will all fix vulnerabilities pertaining to remote code execution. The Patch Tuesday in August also carried quite a few security bulletins related to remote code execution including a patch for the “MS Access Snapshot Viewer ActiveX control," which hackers had begun to exploit using a malicious toolkit.
Intel has pushed the release of its upcoming chips with integrated graphics core to 2010. According to the company, the move was necessitated due to the “client platform learning and customer feedback” it gained in 2008. These chips - codenamed Auburndale and Havendale -are based on Intel’s Nehalem microarchitecture and have integrated graphics core, memory controller and PCI-Express. They will be locking horns with AMD’s much vaunted APU (accelerated processing unit) that the company has codenamed Fusion. If AMD can release its Fusion in the second half of 2009, as widely speculated, it will have a bit of time to freely plug its APU.
This week, Google unveiled a public beta of its Picasa 3.0 photo-sharing software. Picasa 3.0 offers a huge number of new and improved features that will appeal to both point and shoot and DSLR users. I was particularly impressed by the following:
A new photo viewer that integrates with Windows Explorer and supports PNG, TGA and RAW formats as well as JPEG, TIFF, BMP, and GIF. The preview window displays thumbnails of other photos in the folder for faster navigation and offers one-click editing in Picasa, one-click uploading, or a one-click slideshow. Even on my less than swift single-core laptop, it displays Canon CR2 RAW files much faster than Windows Live Photo Gallery does. Google tested Picasa 3.0 on systems with up to 1 million photos, and it shows.
The ability to display image metadata for RAW files from within Picasa.
The enhanced photo collage creator with six preset designs along with easy drag and drop repositioning and image rotation. It's so good that I wonder if Microsoft Research's new AutoCollage 2008 (which costs $19.95) can compete.
Improved photo editing tools such as the retouching tool (good for removing scratches and dust) and the tuning tool, which features highlight, shadow, fill light, color picker, and color temperature controls. If you don't want to learn (or pay for) Adobe Photoshop Elements, you can do quite well in fixing less-than-perfect photos.
To see the photo viewer in action, and to find out where to learn more (or just get your hands on Picasa 3.0), join us after the jump.
I'd like to think that I'm a fairly well-adjusted person. I'm generally jovial, well-versed in a range of topics, and only fly into embittered, cursing rages when people really deserve it, or when they speak to me between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM without having submitted the proper paperwork. Overall, though, I'm a circular peg in the round hole that is our society.
But it wasn't always this way.
As a wee lad, I was quite the little nerdling. I wiled away my time basking in the glow of a computer monitor, sending tiny green orcs to be trampled into tiny green puddles against insurmountably immense forces.
But that wasn't enough for me.
When I wasn't playing, I was drawing. Covered in construction paper scraps and the glue I didn't ingest, I'd emerge from my lair looking like a Swamp Thing pinata. There was a purpose to my demented sciences, however. In essence, I created the ultimate fan art. Towering paper monuments to my favorite videogame characters, they were. Four feet in height, and crafted with the utmost care. They were at once my greatest friends, yet also my only friends. (Note that I was, like, eight. It was perfectly normal, right?)
So, has gaming ever busted down the doorway into your day-to-day life? Any stories you'd like to share? Art projects? Fan fiction? Halloween costumes?
Regardless, today's Roundup is right up your alley. Boiling in the belly of this monstrous site are stories about a console developer decrying consoles, a PC developer spitting in the face of piracy, and Peter Moore dropping a big, bad F-bomb right on top of Sonic The Hedgehog's creator.
After a few eyebrows were raised over Chrome’s highly libertarian end-user license agreement (EULA) – almost a proclamation of a man’s fundamental right to piracy, an amendment or an explanation was inevitable. Chrome’s EULA stated that users were at liberty to use anything posted online through the browser. But Google has amended the EULA. The web juggernaut also downplayed the entire episode as a mistake. Setting the EULA aside, a few chinks in Chrome’s armor have already been sighted. Avi Raff, a researcher, has discovered that Chrome is vulnerable to carpet-bombing a la Safari.
Seagate hasn’t had to hard-sell its products directly to consumers hitherto, as manufacturers and disk drive resellers account for most of its sales. But all that will change in December with the airing of Seagate’s maiden commercial aimed at generic consumers.
Brian Dexheimer, the company’s president for consumer solutions, views the upcoming ad campaign as both an experiment and opportunity. The ad campaign will proclaim the indispensability of Seagate drives and show no gender bias – its Seagate not Gillette; there will be a separate set of ads for both men and women. Seagate’s ad budget has seen a substantial increase of 40% this year.
Most times when you read about a notebook recall the problem typically stems from a defective battery. But that's not the case with Sony's voluntary recall of 440,000 Vaio TZ notebooks. Sony says "irregularly placed wires near the hinge, or a dislodged screw inside the hinge, may create a short circuit, causing localized overheating." Affected models include:
The issue potentially affects all modes sold between July 2007 and August 2008. If you own one of the above models, Sony advises visiting http://esupport.sony.com/fixmypc where you'll be prompted to input your product code and serial number to see if your unit is affected. Alternately, you can call 1-888-526-6219, and if your model qualifies, Sony will provide a free inspection and on-site repair.
It appears AMD will tag upcoming Phenom processors with the FX nomenclature the company has used in the past. You might recall AMD's Athlon FX line sported both higher clockspeeds and an unlocked multiplier while carrying a premium price tag.
Not much is known about the upcoming Phenom FX line, but it's believed the new processors will be basaed on the Deneb FX core with four processing engines, shared L3 cache, and built on a 45nm process. TomsHardware reports the Phenom FX line will make a debut in mid-2009 on AMD's new AM3 socket platform. Whether or not AM2 platform owners will be left out in the cold remains to be seen, but AMD has previously stated that AM3 processors will work in AM2 sockets.
Pricing has yet to be revealed, and traditionally AMD's FX CPUs have held the upper end of the pricing spectrum. But at the same time, even AMD's current 'Black Edition' processors, which also boast an unlocked multiplier, don't break the bank. The company's flagship Phenom 9950 Black Edition commands less than $200 on Newegg.