It’s hard not to like Google Earth. It’s free, it’s fun, and now it’s about to get sharper than ever. The GeoEye-1, a commercial imaging satellite sponsored by Google and considered to be the world’s most accurate snapped its first photo on Wednesday, Wired reports.
The satellite takes photos at a maximum resolution of 41 centimeters, high enough—in other words—to spot your dog from space. Unfortunately for Google, the government places restrictions on the max resolution of commercial satellites, meaning that Google will only be allowed to use images with a resolution of 50 centimeters or worse.
And speaking of the government, although Google is the primary corporate sponsor of the GeoEye, the satellite’s number one customer is the US government’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Eager to avoid an unflattering label, Mark Brender, VP of communications and marketing at GeoEye, says “This is the opposite of a spy satellite. Spies don’t put info on the internet and sell imagery.”
So now Google’s armed with its own not-a-spy satellite. Are you concerned about your privacy, or just psyched for a higher-res Google Earth? Let us know after the break.
Stop us if you've heard this one before. According to the latest rumor, Microsoft plans to offer an external Blu-ray drive for its Xbox 360 console. Wait! On second thought, just hear us out.
We've heard this rumor time and time again, and in each instance, Microsoft has been quick to deny the speculation. So what makes this time any different? Possibly nothing, but it's worth noting that Microsoft hasn't publicly squashed the rumblings, at least not yet. Nor has Toshiba-Samsung Storage Technology Corp (let's just call them TSST), a joint venture that XbitLabs says has been contracted to produce the external drives. If the rumor pans out, the targeted price point will be in the vicinity of $100 to $150.
Hit the jump to learn why Microsoft should go through with this.
It was exactly one week ago that I professed my undying love for Netflix with the same affection often heard from those harboring a grade school crush. At the time, which now seems like so long ago, I thought we had worked through most of our issues, but now I find myself needing to vent.
Today I wake up and find out that should I jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon, it's going to cost me an extra $1 per month. Jessie Teitz, Netflix's VP of marketing, says the surcharge is to cover the "significant cost difference" between Blu-ray and standard DVDs and calls the price hike "pretty modest." And while it may seem silly to begrudge a single George Washington to the one I love, that still works out to a near 6 percent price hike for the 3-DVD plan. And for those of you on the 2-DVD plan for $4.99, the increase works out to a 20 percent jump.
Maybe I shouldn't have let Netflix know how wrapped around its finger I am and only have myself to blame. Or maybe I'm overreacting. After all, I won't be charged anything extra to stream Netflix downloads to my Xbox 360 this fall, nor has the recent Starz catalog caused the subscription rate to rise. I know I'll work through this, I'm just not happy about it at the moment.
Do you feel the same way? Hit the jump and offer up some insight.
Can we all agree that User Account Control (UAC) sucks? Good. Now if only we can get Microsoft on the same page. That shouldn't be too hard considering at this point it's no secret that UAC was designed to annoy, and if Ben Fathi, president of Microsoft's core OS development is to be believed, we're all finally in agreement.
"We've heard loud and clear that you are frustrated," Fathi wrote on his blog. "You find the prompts too frequent, annoying, and confusing. We still want to provide you control over what changes can happen to your system, but we want to provide you a better overall experience."
Fathi goes on to explain that in Windows 7, users logged in as an administrator will be able to determine the range of notifications received. Fathi also says the dialog UI will be more telling, perhaps leading to less of a knee-jerk reaction to automatically click 'Allow' every time the dialog pops up.
Fathi sounds optimistic that the revamped UAC system will be far less hated than it is now, but the question isn't whether or not it will be less hated, but will we still hate it?
Power users have been chomping at the bit in anticipation of Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform, and some sites have already begun cashing in through pre-order sales. But as is often the case, being first means you'll likely pay the most.
Most of the pre-order parts are being found overseas, such as the MSI X58 Platinum motherbaord that was recently listed for over $300, or the MSI Eclipse spotted selling for as much as $413.
And it's not just MSI. As Fudzilla discovered, the Asus P6T Deluxe (the same board spotted with a warning label cautioning against running RAM voltage higher than 1.65V or risk damaging the CPU) was seen selling for $444. That's still cheaper than the Asus P6T Deluxe "OC Palm Edition," which at least one vendor had on pre-order for a staggering $492.
On the processor front, Canadian e-tailer PCVOnline is taking pre-orders on the Core i7 920 (2.66GHz), 940 (2.93GHz) and 965 Extreme Edition (3.2GHz) for $340, $650, and $1100 respectively. These aren't quite as overpriced as the above motherboards, as official bulk pricing is expected to set at $284, $562, and $999 respectively.
Anyone out there willing to pay pre-order pricing for day 1 bragging rights?
We don't always agree with sister site MacLife.com's outlook (we recently had to slap the site silly when it went on the offensive towards PC users), but this is one time we find ourselves on the same side of the fence. Is anyone expecting great things out of Flash for the iPhone?
MacLife says no and points out several reasons why iPhone owners may rue getting what they wish for. Chief among the fears is a lack of usability in which the desktop experience for Flash heavy sites might become a convoluted mess when ported to the iPhone. Other concerns include irritating ads (you know they're coming), more frequent crashes back to the home screen, and a tug of war over standards.
We would expect to see an increase in ammo, canned food, and other survival sales during the current economic downfall, but local Army Surplus stores aren't the only ones seeing increased traffic as of late. As the stock market continues to slide, people have begun spending more time on the web following the latest news on Wall Street and looking for financial advice.
According to internet tracker comScore, visits to GasBuddy.com, which helps consumers find the lowest fuel prices in their area, are up almost 30 percent. The tracker also expects statistics will show increased traffic to finance and bargain-hunter sites when tallied later this week.
"Investment pages are just red hot right now with people wanting to know what is going on with stocks," Yahoo Finance general manager Mark Interrrante told AFP. "We have been impressed by the traffic. People are not just diving down into stocks but asking what is going on, how it affects them and where it is all going."
Yahoo Finance message boards has seen its traffic jump by 40 percent, and Google searches for the term "stocks" has almost tripled in September. SavingAdvice.com reports "a significant amount of traffic," and self-help startup PeopleJam.com says it has seen interest in personal finance tips jump eightfold in the past month.
Hit the jump and tell us what sites you're visiting.
Riding the success of its Eee PC series, Asus has big expectations for competing in the notebook segment, and that includes trying to whiz by both Dell and Lenevo.
Asus will look to ship 50,000 units of its Eee PC S101 this month, which would translate into about $35 million towards the company's revenues. Those numbers could jump even higher as Asus gears up to launch the same model in Europe and Japan later this month.
Fanning the fire, Asus will launch a pair of Linux-bases S101s in the coming weeks, with the 32GB version commanding $700 and the 64GB model bringing in between $800 and $900. All together, Asus thinks it will ship anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 S101s by year's end.
Other plans include two more Eee PC models positioned between the S101 and 1000 series, and if un-named sources turn out to be correct, Asus will soon announce plans to outsource Eee PC production to Foxconn and another as-yet unknown electronic manufacturing service.
It all adds up to fierce competition in the notebook segment, in which Asus president Jerry Shen had no bones about admitting his company's goals are to surpass Dell in the China market and Lenovo in the worldwide market by the end of 2009.
The LED revolution has begun, and we're not talking about those flashing lights emitting from your PC's chassis. Display technology is seeing a shift towards LED backlighting, one in which Dell says will account for all of its notebooks by 2010, and the notebook market as a whole is expected to see 30-40 percent penetration by next year. On the desktop front, Lacie is already there and the company's newest display lays out a spec sheet that's hard not to drool over.
Lacie's new 700 series, which has its sights set on professionals rather than gamers, is available in 20, 24, and 30-inch form (models 720, 724, and 730 respectively). Each model sports an RGB-LED backlight the company claims will "mimic real life by embedding some of today's most advanced display technologies."
On paper, Lacie appears to be right. The 700 series sports ultra-wide gamuts of up to 123 percent of Adobe RGB, a backlight stabilizer technology capable of adjusting settings in real time, and 14-bit Gamma Correction lookup tables which, according to Lacie, allows the displays to produce improved gradient rendering without banding and smoother color transitions "that are 64 times more precise than on consumer-quality 8-bit monitors."
As for pricing, brace yourself. The 4:3 720 model will run $1600 sans hood, or $2040 with. Tack on a color meter and the tally comes to $2290. The 16:10 724 version runs $2300 ($2930 with hood, $3180 with color meter), and the flagship 730 smacks you in the wallet for $4600 ($5850 with hood, $6110 with color meter).
Companies selling risk assessment tools are headed for great business because the current meltdown has been blamed in part on poor risk management of major financial institutions. The likes of McAfee, Symantec, SAP and RSA Security are few of the major companies offering such tools and as a result expected to benefit greatly.
E-Discovery in particular is going to profit from the contemporary legal makeup coupled with the crisis. As the drama usually spills over from tense boardrooms to courtrooms during such financial crises, lawyers are going to enjoy a windfall. However, they will have to share their spoils with e-discovery firms because current laws put the onus on the proper storage and discovery of all information related to a particular business enterprise.