California residents are already banned from holding cell phones while driving, and starting January 1, 2009, sunny state motorists will officially be disallowed to text message while driving. A first violation will result in a $20 fine, with each subsequent offense costing $50.
"Banning electronic text messaging while driving will keep drivers' hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, making our roadways a safer place for all Californians," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It remains to be seen how much effect the new ban will have on text messaging motorists, but it should come as no surprise if a high number tickets get written. According to Tom Marshall, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, there have already been 19,753 citations issued for holding cell phones since the law went into effect on July 1, 2008, less than three months ago.
Earlier this week, it came to light that Diamond Multimedia had shipped some defective videocards, and one rumor estimated the number of bad parts might be as high as 20,000, but Diamond Multimedia claims that number is greatly exaggerated. In fact, Bruce Zaman, a spokesman for Diamond Multimedia, said that only 188 videocards based on ATI's Radeon 3800 series were found to be faulty, and that the problem, which stemmed from inappropriate resistors, has been resolved.
So where did the estimate of 20,000 bad parts come from? Diamond Multimedia claims it was the result of false information being spread by one of its former employees who became intent on creating bad publicity for the company, and that the ex-employee in question was a former engineer among those responsible for the bad parts to begin with.
“The source of this article, after agreeing in writing and verbally to not denigrate their employment with Diamond or divulge any company data or proprietary information such as sources, customers and internal procedures did exactly that,” Mr. Zaman stated."
Whatever the real number of bad parts, it appears Alienware has jumped ship for good. This too holds a conspiracy theory twist, as Zaman claims Alienware's decision to end its relationship was because the company received "tainted data from [its] engineer," and that Alienware was further put off by the time it took the engineer to fix the problem.
Has there ever been a better time than right now to be a PC enthusiast? Due to oversupply, RAM remains dirt cheap, and pricing wars between Nvidia and ATI in the graphics sector, and Intel and AMD on the processor front have made it so you can build a killer rig on a manageable budget. Could motherboards be next?
If there is to be a price war among motherboard vendors, you can count Gigabyte out of the battle. Richard Ma, VP of Gigabyte, says his company has no plans to cut motherboard pricing in response Asus' recent adjustments, fearing that such a move would force Asus' hand to lower prices even more. Instead, Ma says his company's strategy will be to focus on improving quality, an area he claims is of primary concern to those who purchase mid-range and high-end motherboards.
Motherboard shipments, while still meeting Gigabyte's goal of 20 million units, haven't met the company's expectations the past two months, in part because of the new price competition. However, September sales have been kinder to Gigabyte, and Ma expects October and November to be even better with Core i7 CPUs and the X58 chipset on the horizon.
Is Gigabyte making a mistake by not dropping prices? Hit the jump and let us know.
A year ago most of us were bracing for a long, drawn out battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, but we all know how that turned out. What we don't know, at least not yet, is what impact digital distribution will have as the nation's broadband continues to improve. Michael Bay, the man who directed Transformers and then voiced his outrage over Paramount's decision to abandon Blu-ray, claimed in late 2007 that Microsoft wanted both formats to fail, and was even actively trying to sabotage the high definition format war, all so it could reap the rewards when digital downloads take over.
Hit the jump to see why some think Blu-ray and digital downloads are both here to stay.
S3 Graphics, now a joint venture with VIA Technologies, will look to capitalize on the mini-notebook frenzy with a triple play of low wattage videocards under its Chrome 400 Ultra Low Power (ULP) mobile GPU series. The Chrome 430 ULP, 435 ULP, and 440 ULP all support DirectX 10.1, potentially making them competitive alternatives to ATI's line of GPUs. The company's ChromotionHD technology also comes as part of the package, allowing for high definition playback without stressing the CPU. S3 also says its new GPUs will process sophisticated algorithms and power control mechanisms to extend battery life.
On the lowest end, the 430 ULP sips less than 7 watts. While specifics weren't given for the two higher models, S3 claims the 435 ULP and 440 ULP will outperform competitor products by over 40 and 60 percent respectively.
S3 says its mobile graphics are available now, but didn't mention any notebook OEM customers other than Fujitsu.
Hasselblad can already boast bringing the first digital camera to market outfitted with Kodak's wicked 50 megapixel sensor, but the flagship H3DII-50 won't have much time to sail the high MP seas by its lonesome. Hasselblad CEO Christian Poulsen promises a 60MP version will debut in April 2009.
Of course, digital photographers know that it isn't necessarily the size of the megapixel that counts, but how you use it. Even still, 60MP sounds pretty damn awesome. That will give the H3DII-60 a 94 percent full frame coverage, and Poulsen wants to make clear that "although we hear the phrase 'full frame' being used quite frequently, no manufacturer has yet achieved true medium full frame."
Not that it needs any reaffirming, but the new 60MP DSLR won't come cheap. Expect to pay a smidge over $27,000 for the bragging rights.
Microsoft Tinker, developed for Microsoft by Fuel Industries, puts you in control of an old-school robot that's exploring a miniature world. Move to each level's destination by moving blocks, jumping on elevator buttons, and destroying objects. Along the way, you can also turn switches on and off and collect cog wheels. You can control your journey with the arrow keys on the keyboard, an Xbox 360 controller, or a Windows Media Center remote. You can also record a video of a game level, and while you play, a cool jazz soundtrack keeps your spirits up.
Game sounds from Microsoft Tinker make up the second Ultimate Extra, joining previous audio Ultimate Extras Glass and Pearl.
Dream Scene Content Pack #4 adds three variations on a mountain lake at sunset (see illustration) to previous full-motion wallpaper offerings.
When Mythic proclaimed its intent to only credit Warhammer dev team members who were on board at or around the game's launch, it more or less shot controversy a lashy eyed "Oh, I'm digging you" look. But seeing as Mythic has bigger battles to fight, the developer decided this was one sh***storm it couldn't afford to weather. Thus, the Warhammer Online developer has provided -- but not credited the writers of -- this list of steps to resolve the crediting controversy:
In-game and manual credits will be reserved for the launch team.
Mythic will create an online database listing the name and title of everyone who contributed to a project, regardless of current employment status. Additionally, the studio will make best efforts to provide this information for its previous online games
Step three, which apparently wasn't important enough to make the list, involves partying-up with the IGDA to "promote fair and accurate trade reporting across the industry."
Overall, though, we couldn't be happier with Mythic's decision. Great job, guys!
For a man supposedly on an anti-videogame "crusade," Jack Thompson hasn't really accomplished much. He attempted to give Bully the legal equivalent of a swirly -- and lost. He tangoed with The Sims 2 -- and lost. And most famously, he mustered every last bit of his legal prowess against the Grand Theft Auto series -- and, well, you know where we're going with this.
So, today, we'd like you to join us in congratulating Jack Thompson for taking a definitive step toward his goal. See, now that he's been permanently disbarred with no hope of reinstatement, maybe a real lawyer can finally hog the anti-gaming limelight. Hip-hip hooray!
Said the press release:
"Over a very extended period of time involving a number of totally unrelated cases and individuals, [Thompson] has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes. He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior, but rather uses other means available to intimidate, harass, or bring public disrepute to those whom he perceives oppose him."
The proceedings, which began in June, brought 31 counts against the man fondly referred to by gamers as "Whacko Jacko." He was found guilty of 27.
In addition to a cushy new spot in the unemployment line, Thompson has also been granted the mandatory privilege of paying $43,675.35 in legal fees to the Florida Bar.
The disbarrment will be official 30 days from now, assuming Thompson doesn't nab a retrial. Regardless, however, we doubt Thompson's questionably-sane ramblings are at an end. With the Internet at his fingertips, we're actually kind of looking forward to seeing what Thompson will do next. You know, in the same way we're looking forward to the inevitable day when our doctor diagnoses us with a nice infertility-cancer double-whammy.
Whether you’re turning off the water while you’re shaving or driving a fancy new biodiesel fueled car, going green is something that just about everyone has on their mind. But if you’re using a computer (which I’m going to assume you are) you’ve got one more thing to add to your “going green” check list.
Where your PC winds up at the end of its life is something that’s come under heavy scrutiny lately. An estimated 1.8 billion pounds of PCs are disposed of every year, and only half of that (about 865 million pounds) are processed by recyclers, according to a report by International Data Corporation. While some of the nearly 900 million pounds of unrecycled computers are reused, for the most part they’re thrown in a landfill or incinerated.
A huge reason for this is because IT organizations are failing to accept responsibility for the end-of-life destination of the PCs that they purchase. While computer vendors such as Dell, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, Apple, Sony, Toshiba and IBM all offer take back programs for computers, most organizations donate their PCs, which simply shifts the responsibility to religious institutions or school districts.
So what can you do to help? Mostly keep your eyes open when you’re buying a machine. Check out if the computer that you’re purchasing has a good life cycle, and if the company that you’re buying from has a take back program (and be sure to use that program when the time comes to get rid of that computer).