Tech vultures looking to barnstorm their nearest Circuit City in hopes of plucking the electronics chain's low cost remains are instead finding themselves leaving empty handed. It's not that all the good deals have already been picked over, but there just aren't very many good deals to begin with.
Consumer investigative reporter Nydia Han for ABC Action News sent a camera crew into a local Circuit City to compare the bankrupt chain's liquidation prices to that of Best Buy and other stores. The crew examined 25 items ranging from DVDs to big screen TVs, and in many cases, Circuit City's sales prices ended up being higher. Examples include a TomTom GPS marked down to $180 versus $150 at Best Buy, and a 42-inch Plasma TV marked down to $900 versus $850. Of the 25 items, ABC Action News says 10 of them were cheaper at Best Buy, with other items selling for less at discount chains like Wal-Mart. And all of them could be bought for less online.
According to ABC News, liquidators tasked with getting as much money as possible from store closings are allowed to raise marked prices and bring in outside merchandise. To drive the point home, ABC showed a Sony laptop selling for $800 before the liquidation sale, but now sports a price tag showing it marked down to $837 from it's 'regular price' of $930.
Watch the video here, then hit the jump and tell us if you've found any notable deals at your local Circuit City.
The next version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer takes one step closer to completion as the Redmond software giant released a near final Release Candidate (RC) of IE8 today. Microsoft will have more details regarding Internet Explorer 8 RC1 as the day goes on, CNet reports, but you can already download it from Microsoft's download center here.
Internet Explorer 8 RC1 should offer more than just a glimpse of what the final product will look like.
"The ecosystem should espect the final candidate to behave like the release candidate," IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch said during an interview.
What Hachamovitch didn't say is when exactly the final version will be released.
Online scammers have contrived an ingenuous way to ride Obama’s rampant wave of popularity. According to Websense Security Labs, certain unscrupulous elements have registered several accounts on my.barackobama.com, the social network on Obama’s website that affords all standard social networking features to users, including personal profiles, groups and blogs.
The charlatans created various accounts on the website and planted a hideous Youtube image with the message, “click here to see movie.” Users who click on the image mistaking it for a Youtube video are redirected instead to a website, which resembles Youtube, but appears to be fraught with pornographic content.
However, when a user proceeds to view one of the videos the website asks the user to download a missing video codec. In its stead is downloaded a Trojan. Further proof of Obama's widespread popularity.
Confirming an earlier rumor that Western Digital had been nearing the release of a 2TB internal hard drive, the HDD maker is now producing and shipping the record capacity HDD. However, the new drive is so far only available through Mwave Australia.
The 2TB drive carries Western Digital's GreenPower moniker, an eco-friendly designation WD claims represents a 4-5 watt savings over standard desktop drives. According to Western Digital's product page, the new drive sips up to 7.4W during read/write operations, 4W at idle, and 0.97W during sleep or standby. Other specs for the WD20EADS include a 7200RPM spindle speed and 32MB of cache.
The drive sells for AU$378, which converts to about $250USD. No word yet on U.S. availability or pricing.
It issued the warning on its website, in what appears to be a less-frequented section, and opted against directly contacting the users. The company began its statement by downplaying the security breach: “as is the case with many companies that maintain large databases of information, Monster is the target of illegal attempts to access and extract information from its database.”
It claims to have taken the necessary “corrective steps” immediately after discovering the security breach. It has asked users to reset their passwords on their own, though they will eventually be forced to make the change. The company says that the exposed data includes user IDs and passwords, email addresses, names, phone numbers, and some basic demographic data. Resumes and sensitive data is said to be safe.
Monster.com has also advised users that they need to be more vigilant and watch out for specious emails claiming to be from the company.
The PC gaming market isn’t exactly known for clear skies and inviting waters, so one can only imagine that attempting to ford the ol’ river during these harsh economic times would likely result in an unceremonious game over. And so, we speculate, went Microsoft’s logic when it quietly told Games for Windows Live general manager Chris Early to take a hike.
When contacted by Venture Beat, Microsoft simply replied that Early’s time at the software company “has come to a close.” Apparently, he fell off the giant's back along with 1,400 other unfortunate employees.
Frankly, no matter how you look at this, things seem dicey for GFWL. If its head was deemed so non-essential as to be lopped off, you have to wonder how much longer its deaf, dumb, and blind stump of a body can continue to stumble through the buzzsaw forest that is Microsoft in its current state.
As always, we wish Early the best of luck (though technically, this is the second time we’ve done it) and hope he lands in a place where he’ll be able to more effectively pick off the buzzards that everyone seems to think are swarming PC gaming these days.
Have the first shots in the long-brewing Digital Distribution vs. Retail Wars been fired? About two weeks ago, GameStop.com abruptly stopped taking pre-orders for THQ’s upcoming Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II, and scrubbed any mention of the game from its site. While no one has been able to get an official reason out of either GameStop or THQ, the speculation is that the conspicuous disappearance is connected to the use of Valve’s Steam service as copy protection—GameStop is probably peeved that in order to install DoW2, gamers will have to install Steam and be presented with an option for fabulous deals on PC games that doesn’t require hauling their asses down to the mall and digging through all the Barbie Horse Adventure games on GameStop’s depressing PC corner shelf.
Further investigation, though, may indicate that this is no coincidence.
Has the time really come that Microsoft is forced to include other browsers on their operating systems? Since the early 90’s Microsoft has only bundled Windows with Internet Explorer, but the European Union antitrust agency may force Microsoft to start including other browsers as well.
If Microsoft is forced to install other companies’ browsers, this could represent a new unexploited area for advertisers. It will force OEMs and Microsoft in general to give the end-user a choice of which browser they want on their computer. If this happens, Microsoft will no longer be able to tie certain programs into their browser. For example, Windows Live Messenger will no longer require Internet Explorer. Microsoft may also be required to pay additional fines to the European Union antitrust agency for not including additional browsers on Windows based systems and integrating the operating system with their browser.
Microsoft recently announced that they’d be merging their Office Live and Windows Live services into a single destination, all in the name of “simplifying the customer experience around our Live services.”
According to information from Microsoft, about a four million people have signed up for the Office Live program, which remains in beta since it was made public about ten months ago. According to Kirk Gregerson, they’re making this move in the wake of customer feedback.
One can’t help but wonder what this has to deal with the pending layoffs that Microsoft has to endure. With the recent loss of their Flight Sim studio, there’s no question that this merge will cause some layoffs.
Depending on who you ask, that's probably two or three versions too many. Unfortunately, unless Redmond changes its mind between now and Windows 7 release, it looks likely that the same "too many versions" problem that haunted Windows Vista will be back for Windows 7. There's one bit of good news, though. It looks as if an easy-to-use version of Windows Anytime Upgrade will be included in non-Ultimate releases so you can move up.