Gadget lovers have a device for everything. We often have 15 different ways to check the weather, 10 for email, and at least 5 with built in cameras. What we don’t have is an unlimited supply of USB ports, and we often struggle to keep our army of doohickey’s charged and ready to go. This can become an even bigger challenge when we’re on the road.
That's why we were so enthusiastic when we stumbled across the Super Travel A/C USB Wall Charger. This $25 adapter can power up to 5 devices at once with the 4 built in female ports, and sports an additional 5 pin male connector for smartphones. I just ordered one for myself, and devices like these remind us why we here at Maximum PC are such big fans of devices that charge via USB.
Videogames? In web browsers? When did this happen? Boy howdy – next thing you know, they’ll be putting those suckers in televisions. What a world.
Fortunately, if you’d like to set up shop on the ground floor of this sure-to-be revolution, you’ll soon have the opportunity to frag a Firefox with Quake Live. Or frag inside a Firefox. We’re not sure which, but both options sound equally awesome.
The free-to-play, browser-based edition of Quake III Arena will flip its window sign around from “Closed” to “Open” on February 24, assuming the above official teaser isn’t some kind of mirage brought on by living in a world without Quake Live for so many years’ worth of when-it’s-dones.
So, who plans on joining us when we christen a very special new browser tab on Tuesday?
The original Mass Effect may still be priming the DLC buffet for one or two more bites, but that isn’t stopping BioWare from slipping gamers a small dose of its sequel.
The trailer in question can be seen here, and – for those who are deathly afraid of even the remote possibility of a Rickroll and would rather not click that link – not-so-vaguely suggests that Commander Shepard (your main guy or gal in Mass Effect) suffered a quick and clean off-screen death. And a permanent one at that – not simply due to bad camera angles.
But, to be honest, we’re thinking the rumors of Shepard’s death have been greatly exaggerated, mostly because the only other tidbit BioWare’s dropped concerning 2Mass2Furious involves reusing save files from Mass Effect – probably for stat boosts, character profiles, and other such pieces of space bling. Otherwise, BioWare could’ve tossed in a few “So, how about that one guy who saved the universe that one time?” questions, ala Knights of the Old Republic 2, and called it a day.
If you're on the Microsoft Connect testing list for Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2, Redmond has just rung the "come and get it" bell - SP2 RC (the same package upgrades both Vista SP1 and Windows Server) was released to MS Connect testers yesterday, Ars Technicareports.
So, what's special about SP2 RC? Some highlights include:
Support for VIA's 64-bit CPU
Integration of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, including support for Bluetooth 2.1
Support for writing to Blu-ray media
Integration of Windows Search 4.0
Better and more secure installation experience
Over 690 hotfixes
If you're not among the fortunate few testing Vista SP2 RC, what should you be doing until you can try it? For our suggestions, as well as an early comparison with Vista RC1 (not to mention your chance to sound off), join us after the jump.
Google Mobile App is now available on Windows Mobile. It is basically a search application with an ambiguous name. The Google Mobile App spares lazy mobile users the trouble of opening their browser for initiating an online search.
You might want to know about the amount of time that can be saved with this app. According to Google, it is possible to get "search results for identical queries nearly 50% faster from Google Mobile App than from navigating to google.com in the mobile browser."
The search application can not only be accessed directly from the start menu, but it is also possible to summon it to action while another application is active by pressing a shortcut key assigned to it (assigned by the user).
There are not too many reasons for WM users to overlook this application. Apart from search, the Google Mobile App also provides instant access to many other popular web services, including Google Maps, Gmail and Google News.
Silicon Power announced this morning that they have plans to release a 2.5-inch SATA II SSD that will weigh in at a sizeable 256GB.
Doubling the size of their already notable 128GB SSD released previously, the new 256GB version will feature faster read speeds of 165MB/second and write speeds of 98MB/second. Sadly, the drive has a Jmicrion JMF602 controller, which doesn’t play well with SSDs unless it ships with revision B of the very same chip. No word yet on whether or not this is the case.
According to Silicon Power “Customers can easily install the SSD in laptops, PCs or other devices that support SATA II SSD. Silicon Power 2.5” SSD with SATA II or IDE interface is fully compatible with RoHS requirement, with capacities ranging from 8GB to 256GB.”
If you’re looking to pick up one of Asus’ 8.9-inch netbooks, be sure to do it soon. Asus reportedly has plans to completely discontinue their 8.9-inch netbooks sometime later this year.
Asus Asia-Pacific’s President, Benson Lin, sated that the 10-inch models have become more mainstream. It’s not clear if this was stated in reaction to lackluster sales, or of it’s something that the company’s marketing department came up with.
Still, it’s expected that their 10-inch models will account for 95 percent of Eee PC shipments, with the remaining 5 percent being 7-inch models for telecom service operators.
According to a report published by review site PCPerspective, Intel's advanced sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithm used in the company's X25-M SSD is causing the drive to suffer serious performance degradation over time. In some cases, the site noted reads had been reduced to a pokey 22MB/s. The only solution PCPerspective could come up with to restore the once speedy SSD back to its original performance level was to use a dated version of HDDErase.
Not so fast, says Intel in response to PCPerspctive's claim that the X25-M had become, well, not so fast. Despite the review site having found a drop in performance in all three of its SSDs, Intel claims it has not seen the same type of degradation in its own labs.
"Our labs currently have not been able to duplicate these results," Intel said. "In our estimation, the synthetic workloads they use to stress the drive are not reflective of real world use. Similarly, the benchmarks they used to evaluate performance do not represent what a PC user experiences."
Intel went on to say that it's completely normal for a PC's drive, whether it be an HDD or SSD, to exhibit reduced performance when filled up, but that PCPerspective's results are higher than what Intel would generally expect. Hence the reason why Intel questions the methodology that was used.
Any SSD owners, Intel-brand or otherwise, notice any performance slowdowns over time? Hit the jump and let us know what your experience has been.
For a while, the Google Earth plug-in was only available for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Now, it looks like Google has allowed their very own browser to get in on the fun, making it available as of this week.
“As of ~4 p.m. PST today, Google Chrome 1.0+ on Windows is an officially supported browser,” wrote a Google Employee in an Email sent out to a mailing list yesterday. “That means Chrome users will no longer get the unsupported browser message, and the plugin and API should work just as they would in other supported browsers.”
Most of us take for granted the inner workings of a Google search and all we're concerned about is receiving near instantaneous results to our query. And just as well, because Google hasn't been one to pony up much specifics on the hardware it uses to sift through oodles of web pages. That is, until Google Fellow Jeff Dean gave a keynote talk at ESDM 2009.
According to Dean, a typical Google search might consume the processing power of 1000 machines. Talking about Google's growth in the past decade, Dean said search queries have gone up by x1000, and so too has the company's processing power (# machines * speed of the machines). In addition, Dean claims query latency has dropped from under 1000ms to normally under 200ms, as well as dropping the update latency by a staggering x10000, so that crawler updates have been reduced from several months down to just a few minutes.
Dean says the improved performance is a result of switching the holding indexes to now being completely in memory. The result is that it takes thousands of machines to process a search query, but it has made near instantaneous searches possible.