After three years of service, ex-Google Visual Design Lead Douglas Bowman parted ways with the search giant last Friday, while also offering some parting thoughts about the company and his decision to move on. His reason for leaving? Not enough creative freedom.
In a blog post, Bowman laments the process of how Google implemented design decisions, saying the company relied too much on data and not enough on subjectivity. He says the reliance on hard numbers ultimately became a crutch that prevented Google from making any daring design decisions.
"Yes, it's true that team at Google couldn't decide between two blues, so they're testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better," Bowman wrote on his blog. "I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4, or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can't operate in an environment like that. I've grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions."
Despite his design philosophy criticism, Bowman says he understands where Google is coming from with billions of shareholder dollars at stake and millions of users around the world to try and please. He also says he has something else lined up, which he'll announce at a later date.
In an attempt to better compete with streaming giant Netflix, Blockbuster this week announced a new deal to begin transmitting movies to TiVo users.
"This relationship with TiVo is step one in getting into the places that consumers care about," says Kevin Lewis, Blockbuster's senior VP for digital.
As part of the deal, Blockbuster will start selling TiVo DVRs in its retail stores later this year. However, neither company was willing to divulge how many of Blockbuster's nearly 4,000 stores will participate. Nor is it known what movies will be available, as "The studios and we are trying to figure it out," Lewis added.
Due to begin in the second half of 2009, Blockbuster's OnDemand will feature content to both buy and rent, and will be integrated into TiVo Series2, Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL DVRs, Blockbusters says.
Barring any changes, TiVo owners with Blockbuster accounts will pay up to $4 to rent a movie and then have 30 days to begin watching. Subscribers will then be given a 24-hour window. Alternately, movies will be available for sale at up to $20 a pop, but DRM will prevent subscribers from copying purchased content over to DVD.
Asus, the new champion of the report, didn’t only win the top spot, but they bulldozed Apple with a score of 972 to 324. Also leapfrogging Apple was Lenovo, who took home a score of 348.
Admittedly, Apple does have a larger US market share than Asus (1.6 percent compared to 6.8 percent), but given that Asus was only responsible for 0.2 percent of the service calls placed to RESCUECOM, they do deserve a big pat on the back.
Windows Home Server's latest update, Power Pack 2, is now available via Windows Update, the TechNet Windows Home Server Team Blog reports. WHS users must have Power Pack 1 installed before they can receive Power Pack 2. If you missed Power Pack 1, get it here.
Power Pack 2 fixes a number of irritating bugs left over from Power Pack 1 and the original release, and adds new features. For an overview of what's new in Power Pack 2, join us after the jump.
While Google continues to pull ahead with a healthy share of planetary images, Microsoft announced this week that they signed a deal that gives them access to 100TB worth of NASA’s images, that will ultimately find their way onto the WorldWide Telescope website.
Microsoft has announced that they plan on working with NASA in order to develop “the technology and infrastructure necessary to make the most interesting NASA content.” The content, which will be available on Microsoft’s virtual telescope for exploring the universe, WorldWide Telescope, should be available later this year.
And, for those keeping tabs on just how big 100TB of data is, that’s enough to fill 20,000 DVDs.
You’ve got USB devices, and you’ve got a network. Sure, you can plug those printers, scanners and hard drives into a computer and let that machine share them, or you can use IOGEAR’s new ShareStation and allow anyone using your network access to them!
IOGEAR’s ShareStation comes in two flavors – first up is the four port Net ShareStation that allows anyone with a local connection to the hub access to anything that’s plugged into its ports.
The smaller version of the ShareStation is a two port USB Printer Auto Sharing Switch that’s being described as the “only automatic printer switch compatible with Macs and PCs.”
The four port version will run you $99.95, while the smaller cousin will cost $39.95. Both will be available later this month.
Apple earlier this month began taking orders for its new Mac Pro workstations with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 quad-core processors, so technically, Lenovo isn't the first major PC maker to announce Nehalem-based workstations. Unless, like us, you demand a real PC (oh burn!).
Due for release next week, Lenovo's ThinkStation D20 and S20 workstation will also come configured with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 dual- and quad-core processors. Intel is expected to launch the new CPUs next week as well.
The lower-end S20, which will start out at $1,070, is a single-socket system with support for up to 12GB of memory. The higher-end D20, which will start out at $1,550, comes with two sockets and ups and ante with support for up to 96GB of memory. Both systems will offer up to 1TB of storage.
End-users will be able to choose between Windows Vista Business and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the OS, and an Nvidia Quadro or ATI FirePro workstation videocard for graphics chores.
Both models are expected to be available before April.
If you thought things were already ugly for the PC market, brace yourself for it to get even worse in the coming months, says Gartner. According to the analyst firm, the PC supply chain will have "bottomed out" this quarter and then remain at a low level for several more quarters. Gartner says a sustainable recovery isn't expected until Q3 2010, but warns against getting too excited.
"We caution against interpreting such surges as signs of recovery, as full recovery is unlikely until demand in mature markets picks up," Gartner said in a note.
By the end of the year, the firm predicts PC sales will have fallen 11.9 percent to 257 million computers, marking the biggest fall ever. Desktop sales are expected to drop a whopping 32 percent from last year, with laptops on the rise by 9 percent.
Gartner also said that although PC vendors will see a boost in the third quarter as they prepare for back-to-school and holiday seasons, they could still be in for a "disastrous fourth quarter' if they over estimate the demand in mature markets.
Anyone else feel as though someone must have taken a tinkle in Gartner's Wheaties?
Built by Huawei Technologies, T-Mobile is gearing up to release the "webConnect USB Laptop Stick," a USB-based modem for notebooks to tap into the company's new 3G network. The stick will come with 8GB of internal storage and include a micro SD slot.
According to Jeremy Korst, T-Mobile's director of broadband products and services, the webConnect will provide download speeds of 600Kb/s and peak at over 1Mb/s.
"For the majority of customers, use cases around web browsing, social media, MySpace, checking email - all those typical things we see our customers doing more and more while on the go, the speeds we're providing now are more than sufficient to provide that customer experience," Korst said.
Nifty as the device is, price could end up being an deterrent. The webConnect carries an MSRP of $250, which can be partially offset with a service contract. A two-year contract drops the price down to $50, or $100 with a one-year contract.
While giving a speech in Tokyo this week, Dell CEO Michael Dell admitted the OEM is "exploring smaller screen devices," leading to speculation that the company really is developing a smartphone. Of course, smaller screen devices could also refer to netbooks or any number of non-smartphone items, but where's the fun in that?
"For the last three years we have integrated 3G radios into our notebooks," Dell said. "We already have agreements with many mobile carriers around notebook devices so it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that we would have smaller mobile internet devices or smartphones in the future."
Based on those comments, it's almost as if Dell wants to give notice that the rumors are true, but stop just shy of making a formal announcement. And citing Taiwan-based Commercial Times, news site TGDaily reports a Dell-developed smarthphone almost entered the manufacturing phase before ultimately being rejected from lack of carrier interest.
Should Dell jump into the smartphone market? Hit the jump and give us your opinion.