When Vista launched over a year ago we had many compelling reasons not to upgrade. But as time progressed and Microsoft silently addressed our woes, it seems clear; the Vista of today could be somewhat misjudged. That doesn’t make it perfect however, and Microsoft has owned up to this by releasing a 14 page guide with tried and tested tweaks that improve overall performance and boost notebook battery life. This free and easy to follow PDF guide walks you through native tools built into the OS which allow you to optimize Vista’s performance.The contents are especially helpful if you are new to Vista, having just come from XP, but even Vista veterans are bound to find a few things of note. If you manage to make your way through the Microsoft guide and are still looking for more, a host of other tweaks and tips can be found in both our online archives and Maximum PCs March 2008 print issue.
Low cost ultraportables are starting to veer out of their budget pricing tier, a trend that will soon include Asus and its Eee PCs, the netbooks many consider to be responsible for popularizing the recent trend.
According to Asus president Jerry Shen, the company will launch more Eee PCs designed to address different market segments, including the high-end. Helping them to do it will be Intel, who Shen said is expected to keep shipping Atom N270 CPUs through the first half of 2009. So much for the Atom shortage.
Adding to the existing lineup of 11 Eee PC models, Asus will introduce two new categories, Ultimate and Pro Fashion, for a 2008 release. Both new models will come equipped with dual-core Atom processors and either a 120GB hard drive or a 32GB SSD. Models equipped with a solid-state drive will also feature a 10.1 inch 16:9 LED backlit panel, 4-5 hours of battery life, and command between $700 and $900, making them the first Eee PCs targeted at the high-end market.
Can netbooks still hold their appeal when approaching the $1,000 mark?
Shawn Fanning, the former Northeastern University student who created Napster and popularized peer-to-peer sharing, could never have imagined all the fuss the technology would create nearly a decade later. Comcast earlier this year drew ire over throttling Bittorrent traffic, and now AT&T is taking a hard lined stance against its wireless customers engaging in P2P activities.
FCC Republican Robert McDowell asked AT&T about its policy regarding P2P traffic over its wireless network, and in a letter, Robert Quinn, AT&T senior VP for regulatory affairs, said in no uncertain terms that its customers are strictly forbidden from usng P2P services.
"AT&T's terms of service for mobile wireless broadband customers prohibit all uses that may cause extreme network capacity issues, and explicitly identify P2P file sharing applications as such a use," Quinn wrote.
Unlike Comcast, who drew criticism both for throttling internet traffic and for initially denying it was doing so, Quinn also wrote in his letter that AT&T does not use network management tools to block the use of P2P applications, and that its customers are warned in writing that they could have their service terminated if caught violating the policy.
Social networking site Facebook finds itself needing to update its data center infrastructure to support new media applications, and Intel will be the one to help them do it. The two companies on Thursday announced a joint agreement that will see Facebook use "thousands" of Xeon 5400 quad-core processors built on a 45nm manufacturing process.
More than just hardware support, Intel will also work with Facebook to optimize its software for use with the bevy of Xeon chips, giving extra focus to making the software take advantage of the additional processor cores. Moreover, Intel will look to send a message that its microarchitecture can support the massive data centers that will support cloud-computing infrastructures.
"It's a big win for Intel in the general category of web infrastructure and by that I mean categories like cloud computing," said John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Facebook has a large computing infrastructure that delivers these types of web services on demand and it requires the same level of service and infrastructure as a cloud-computing provider."
Facebook wouldn't comment on which OEMs would build the new servers, but according to eWeek, multiple sources have confirmed Dell and HP would be involved.
Intel just passed its 40th anniversary and the nostalgic occasion had CTO Justin Rattner musing about the future of technology. He foresees new breakthroughs in medical technologies, specifically with regards to nanoscale chips capable of moving through our bodies. Additionally, he predicts more realistic robotic intelligence, and a blurring of reality between humans and machines. Chuckle if you may, but in his 35 years at Intel, Rattner has witnessed some pretty amazing advances in technology, many of which Intel was at the forefront of. When the microprocessors first debuted in 1971 they contained about 2,300 transistors. It has since ballooned to over 820 million and the personal computer has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives.If Moore’s law holds true, and we have no reason to think otherwise, the future may indeed be a very different reality from what we understand today. According to Rattner, “In the next 40 years, computer chips will extend beyond our computers and phones, as people want to become more entrenched in virtual worlds and computers learn to react to our motions and thoughts.”
So what do you think the future holds? Hit the jump and let us know!
Marketing research firm iSuppli has reported on the status of the hard drive industry, and from the sounds of it, we just can’t get enough storage.In the first quarter of 2008, hard drive vendors shipped over 137 million units in a seemingly futile attempt to satiate consumer’s appetites for inexpensive storage. Despite the 21 percent increase in sales over the same period last year, many HDD vendors such as Seagate continue to struggle. iSuppli speculates that lower prices and a disproportionate demand for lower margin desktop drives are to blame. This is a trend that is likely to continue as SSD’s continue to plummet in price and become the storage medium of choice for mobile devices mainly due to its durability. Despite the challenges conventional hard drive makers face in the mobile market, iSuppli is forecasting strong demand in the second quarter with shipments estimated to be up by as much as 16 percent over 2007. Seagate continues to lead the pack with profits of $363 million, followed by Western Digital at $298 million, and Hitachi at $65 million. This is excellent news specifically for Hitachi who has been struggling to pull itself out of the red. So has our insatiable appetite for digital media made mass storage devices recession proof?
Yahoo isn't the only one facing the threat of a proxy battle. Kavan Singh, a 26-year-old entrepreneur who owns a chain of Cold Stone Creamery ice cream stores, wants to freeze Chris Gorog out of his position as Napster 2.0's CEO, which would end his uninspired reign.
Gorog, the former CEO of Roxio, struck a deal to scoop up the once renowned P2P service for just $5 million in 2002, turned it into a legit paid music subscription service, and promised investors an influx of millions of customers. But instead of music listeners turning out in droves, today only about 760,000 subscribers pay a monthly fee to listen to its library of 6 million songs. Since the relaunch 3.5 years ago, stock has plummeted 69 percent, and the company noted a $16 million loss for this fiscal year. Now Singh wants Gorog to step aside.
Along with two other investors, Singh will fight for a board seat at the company's September 18 annual meeting. All three of them blame Gorog and mismanaged marketing for the company's failure to compete, noting that people still associate Napster with illegal activities. "When you tell people they should get Napster, they say, 'What are you trying to do? Get me arrested?'", complains Thomas Sailors, one of the investors running for a board seat.
Whether the ice cream man and his entourage prove successful remains to be seen, but will it even matter, or does Napster have a shot at turning its fortunes around?
By all accounts Amazon's Kindle eBook reader appears to be a resounding success. Despite the gadget's shortcomings -- no PDF support, closed eBook format, poor batter life when using the wireless service, limited magazine selection -- the $359 device sold out almost immediately after going on sale, fetching as much as $1,500 in Ebay auctions. Fast forward to today and the Kindle pushes over 12 percent of Amazon's book sales. And rumor has it that Amazon will soon release a new model, Kindle 2.0, a bigger version of the original in a multitude of colors.
Book sales aside, just how successful has the Kindle been? Because Amazon won't disclose how many of its eBook readers it has sold, nobody knows for sure, but TechCrunch claims to have the inside scoop. "240,000 Kindles have been shipped since November, according to a source close to Amazon with direct knowledge of the numbers," TC reports.
If true, that puts Kindle sales close to the $100 million mark and well over that amount after factoring in book sales, subscriptions, and so on. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. TC notes that Scott Devitt, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., has Amazon on track to sell 500,000 to 750,000 more Kindles within the next four quarters, with a total revenue of up to $355 million after tallying up additional book sales. This, he says, values the Kindle as a $1 billion business for Amazon.
Gamers are pasty, white nerds who pop and sizzle when exposed to the sun's rays, say the old stereotypes. We're socially inept and maladjusted -- unable to carry on a normal human existence. Of course, that's an uninformed viewpoint at best, but neither would I say that all gamers are social butterflies.
As I write this, I'm sitting in QuakeCon's cavernous, dimly-lit BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area, where gamers from all walks of life gather to, well, do what they always do: play games. But even though the BYOC is populated by hundreds of people, the air is abuzz with a light hum of voices. The ear-annihilating roar that one would expect from such a colossal crowd is absent. Obviously, not all QuakeCon goers are into the talky-talky.
So, what kind of gamer are you? Do you live for events like QuakeCon? Do you thrive when jostling against the shoulders of others? Or do you mute your headset every time you hop online, preferring instead the subtle company of your own mind? Single-player? Multiplayer? Pick your poison.
Either way, today's Roundup has stories that pertain to your experience -- from some colorful language about Diablo III to Flagship Studios' stunning conclusion (for real this time!). Oh, and another Doom movie, but that story is for me.
Silicon Valley has played host to innumerable tech startups that promised to be the next Intel or Google only to vanish away without a trace, or an apology for their erroneous claims. Now Tomshardware’s Wolfang Gruener, who claims to have successfully portended Google’s spectacular rise, has placed his bet on Ncomputing to be the next Google.
It isn’t exactly the most perilous punt ever, as Ncomputing is in one of the hottest tech niches of our times, i.e. highly affordable, no-frills computing. No, Ncomputing isn’t building the cheapest netbook or low-cost PC. It is doing things differently by pioneering a viable cloud computing solution for plebeians. Its $70 computing device is like a set-top-box that can be connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and can share the resources of a full-fledged Windows or Linux PC - using an Ethernet connection - to allow a user to surf the internet, watch media and use other essential applications.
The thought provoking details that will rile up a storm inside any geek worth his bytes are "after the jump".