Everyone seems excited about the upcoming launch of Windows 7, and with good reason. By many accounts -- speed being the primary one -- Windows 7 is what Vista should have been all along. So where, then, does that leave Vista once Windows 7 starts shipping?
"We are still not sure if [computer makers] will be able to ship Vista once Windows 7 is made available," said Richard Francis, general manager and Windows client business group lead at Microsoft Asia-Pacific. "Having said that, an enterprise customer that purchases a PC with Windows 7 pre-installed is allowed to downgrade to Vista should they desire, similar to what we have today on Vista to XP."
Francis went on to reiterate that Microsoft will stop support forVista in April 2012. And it's probably a safe bet that Vista won't see anywhere near the same user outcry that XP saw, which helped the OS avoid a stay of execution more than once. After stumbling out of the gates with performance hampering bugs, most are looking forward to moving on.
"It's been a long time since we've had a version of Windows that will actually run better [than a previous version] on the hardware that most customers have," Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Windows product management group at Microsoft, told reporters during a conference call.
Windows 7 recently went into Release Candidate (RC) form and will be available to the general public for download tomorrow, May 5th.
According to a report in The New York Times, Amazon is thinking big (literally) with its Kindle eBook reader and plans to introduce a larger version later this week tailored for displaying newspapers, magazines, and possibly textbooks.
"We are looking at this with a great deal of interest," said John Ridding, the chief executive of the 121-year-old, salmon-colored British newspaper The Financial Times. "The sever double whammy of the recession and the structural shift to the internet has created an urgency that has rightly focused attention on these devices."
Larger eBook readers like the upcoming Kindle could prove game-changing in how media outlets do business. The current business model calls for newspapers and magazines to offer up content on the web for free, which The New York Times said is being viewed by many as a "critical blunder that encouraged readers to stop paying for the print versions." But not everyone sees a black-and-white eBook reader saving the day.
"I don't think we would be anywhere near as excited about anything in black and white as we about high-definition color," said Tom Wallace, the editorial director of Condé Nast, who publishes magazines like Vogue and Wired. "But technology changes at a pretty high clip these days, and if we are now in the Farmer Gray days, it will be only a very short while until we are in the video game era."
Thoughts on the upcoming Kindle? Hit the jump and sound off.
There's fast, and then there's stupid-fast, and a new hybrid SSD drive will fall into the latter category if it can live up to the speed claims being put out by its manufacturer, who says a single DDRDrive X1 can hit a staggering 300,000 IOPS.
The new drive combines 4GB of DDR memory for high-speed operation along with 4GB of NAND flash memory for backup duties. By doing so, the manufacturer claims a full 4GB backup will take no longer than 60 seconds. Equally impressive, the drive scales at a 1:1 ratio with multiple drives, making it theoretically possible to backup 32GB, 64GB, or even 128GB in 60 seconds with the appropriate configuration.
DDRDrive CTO Christopher George says the hybrid drive was designed with a maximum IOPS performance in mind, and according to the X1's spec sheet, it offers 512B reads and writes up to 300,000+ and 200,000+ IOPS, respectively, and 4KB reads and writes up to 50,000+ and 35,000+ IOPS, respectively. By comparison, Intel's fastest SSDs offering 35,000 IOPS in 4KB read and 3,300 IPOS in 4KB writes.
Less impressive is the DDRDrive X1's read and write transfer rates, which is bound by its PCI-E Gen 1 interface and checks in around 250MB/s (read) and 155MB/s (write).
Asus president Jerry Shen said Asus will launch an 11.6-inch Eee PC later this month and expects it to account for nearly a third of netbook shipments in 2009. He added that the 10-inch form factor will still be considered the mainstream specification and expects it to account for half of all shipments.
Shen also revealed plans to launch a 15.6-inch ultra-thin notebook, the XS15, which will first be made available in Europe priced from €799-999, or about $1070 to $1330, and a smaller 13.3-inch model priced at €599-699, or $790 to $925. Both notebooks will start shipping in July.
And finally, Shen commented on the recent panel shortages, saying it could have an effect on May and June shipments.
So here's the deal: You don't want 101Mpbs broadband. And because you don't demand ultra high-speed internet, you're not the least bit impressed with Cablevision's recently announced Optimum Online Ultra, which will offer Long Island, New York residents uncapped 101Mpbs starting May 11 for $99 per month. Heck, if you cared at all about such high speeds, Verizon would have been offering a similar package two years ago, but you just don't.
Don't agree? Tell it to Eric Rabe, senior VP of Media Relations for Verizon, who posted a blog downplaying Cablevision's high-speed announcement. Rabe had some interesting things to say, essentially calling the service a sham.
"With today's technology, you don't have to break much of a sweat to deliver 100Mbps to a few customers," Rabe wrote. "But given the inherent limits of the cable platform, a cluster of bandwidth junkies living near each other could be a real problem. One estimate is that a single 101Mpbs customer would use some 60 perent of the capacity in a neighborhood. Other users? Outta luck."
Rabe went on to ask "How many customers have been storming the castle, asking for 101 megabits per second bandwidth?" Considering the lack of demand and scope, Rabe called Cablevision's announcement a "parlor trick."
And why stop at 100Mpbs? Rabe points out that Verizon's FiOS network has the capacity to deliver 400Mbps to a single home, along with the muscle to carry the load. It also has "plenty of room for more" upstream bandwidth than the 20Mbps it currently offers.
RipNAS this week announced two new storage devices, the Statement SSD and Statement HDD. Both come capable of ripping CDs, leading the company to claim the former as the "world's first Solid State Drive Ripping NAS." And as far as we know, they're right.
The aptly named Statement series also challenges traditional NAS design in aesthetics. Instead of a bulky box, RipNAS chose a svelte silver enclosure that would fit right in with a home theater setup. Combined with its media streaming capabilities and dead silent operation (SSD version), RipNAS might be on to something.
On the hardware front, both boxes come an Intel Atom dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and four USB 2.0 ports. The SSD version will come configured with 500GB (2x250GB), and 3TB (2x1.5TB) of storage in the HDD version.
Business schools around the world often study the January 2000 merger of Time Warner & AOL under the headline “Worst Mergers In American Corporate History”. It is not unusual, or unnatural for content creation companies to enter the distribution market, but AOL and magazine publishing arm Time Inc. have dogged their parent companies earnings for years now. Looking to cut its losses, Time Warner announced on Wednesday that it was close to spinning off America Online, an acquisition that has cost the company more than $100 billion in shareholder value.
According to the filing; “Although the company’s board of directors has not made any decision, the company currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner’s stockholders, in one or a series of transactions.” When asked about the future of Time Warner, CEO Jeffery L. Bewkes claims the future “may well include publishing” but made it clear that this could change at any time. The company is likely holding out on making any decisions about Time Inc. until the recession eases and it can see if weakening print sales are a result of the recession, or the shift of its readers to online mediums.
Time Warner has already spun off it's cable division, and is clearly looking to focus on content creation, rather than delivery. I also can't help but wonder whether or not an independent AOL would become an acquisition target for Microsoft. The ad network was one of the primary drivers behind the Yahoo talks, and this is one area that AOL still does reasonably well in.
Can AOL survive on it's own? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
For most users, Microsoft's Live Search is little more than a default setting on new installations of Internet Explorer. This perception is part of why Microsoft has always struggled to gain market share against Google & Yahoo who both hold the number 1 & 2 positions by a fairly large margin. Microsoft has struggled to come up with a strategy for sometime now, but it seems clear that its new strategy is to shed the past by dropping the Windows Live brand in favour of Kumo.
The timeframe for the redesign has been kept secret so far, but according to a forum posting on Neowin, Microsoft has started a clock in the lobby of its search headquarters that is counting down to June 2nd. This date, coincidentally enough, coincides with a speech being given by the head of Microsoft's online servi
ces division at the Search Engine Expo in Seattle. It is here that Dr Qi Lu is expected to formally announce Kumo and demonstrate the upgrades to the search engine. The timing also lines up well with a new ad campaign which is planned for the summer. So far Microsoft hasn't commented on Kumo specifically, and executives have hinted that it is but one of several names being considered at this point.
Early screen shots show several potential improvements that will allow searches to be broken down by relevant categories, making it easier to find information when you search for more general terms. For example; if you search for “Microsoft”, Kumo might give you a category for Windows, Office, Xbox, etc.
What do you think of Kumo as a brand name? What would you call it? And finally, will this get you to use Microsoft Search?
Let it not be said that the European Union is playing favorites when it picks on Microsoft. The powerful antitrust regulators have now set their sights squarely on Intel, and the fines could be much worse. The commission began investigating Intel’s sales practices in late 2000 when AMD filed its initial complaint. Both chip makers are US based, but European regulators are historically much more aggressive at punishing monopolistic behavior than their American counterparts.
The chip maker has allegedly been accused of giving large rebates to computer manufacturers and retail chains to carry Intel exclusively, or in some cases, to downplay the AMD offerings. In some situations, Intel is even accused of offering server chips below cost to help corner the market. Intel denied any wrong doing and according to Intel spokesmen Robert Manetta, “Over all, Intel’s conduct is lawful, pro-competitive and beneficial to consumers.” Intel has every right to be concerned over the investigation however, since the fines imposed are rumored to dwarf those faced by Microsoft. In the 2004 EU antitrust verdict against Microsoft, the software giant faced a fine of close to $663 million US. Intel on the other hand could be facing a penalty of $1.3 billion or more according to experts.
Intel currently controls around 81.9 percent of the global market for CPU’s, while AMD scrapes by with only 17.7 percent. A guilty ruling could put Intel into further hot water after being found guilty of anti competitive practices in South Korea less than a year ago. They are appealing the $19.5 million fine, but this is chump change compared to the $3.6 billion penalty the European union is capable of leveling.
A Taiwanese based research group has developed a speaker technology that can be worked into paper allowing for ultra thin devices, or even talking posters. "A lot of companies are interested in this product," said Chen Ming-daw, a research director at ITRI. "We don't have enough people to handle all the attention right now."
The new technology is being called Flexspeaker because in addition to being paper thin, it can also be rolled up or folded. Right now the goal for minimum sheet size is around 23.6” by 17.3”, and would cost roughly $20 USD each. Unfortunately this is too large to be used in our magazine, but that doesn't stop us from dreaming of the day when our pages can sing “Still Subscribe” to our beloved readers.
According to the researchers, the paper is made by sandwiching thin electrodes that receive audio signals and a pre-polarized diaphragm into the paper structure. Right now an adapter is required between the sound source and the paper, but plans are in the works to allow any stereo source to connect directly to the paper or even wirelessly over bluetooth. The primary limitation of the speakers at this point, is that they have problems with sounds below 500hz. This means that the heavenly baritones of our very own Nathan Edwards would need to be augmented by adding a subwoofer.