These days it seems like “nanotube” is sort of a magic word. Scientists will say something crazy like “We’re building an elevator to space” and everyone else asks “How you gonna do that, scientists?” and they just say “carbon nanotubes,” and we’re like “oh, cool.” So go ahead and guess how scientists have created a kind of paper that’s 500 times as strong as steel and only weighs a tenth as much.
That’s right, it’s nanotubes. The paper, called “buckypaper,” is flexible in single sheets, and can be layered to form rigid plates. It’s being rapidly developed for commercial production, for use in everything from armor to laptops to fuel cells.
Ben Wang, one of the professors leading the charge to commercialize buckypaper, explains that the strength of the paper comes from nanotubes’ enormous surface area, saying “If you take a gram of nanotubes, just one gram, and if you unfold every tube into a graphite sheet, you can cover about two-thirds of a football field.”
What do you all think? How might we use this super-strong paper in the future? Hit the jump and let us know.
Netflix continues to lay the groundwork for subscribers to stream movies and television shows to their TV sets with yet another partnership announcement. This time around, it's Samsung who the online rental service is cozying up to, as owners of Samsung's BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc players now have the ability to instantly stream content from Netflix's catalog.
As you might recall, a similar announcement was made with LG last summer. In addition to the $99 Roku set-top player and upcoming fall dashboard update to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, Netflix subscribers have a bevy of options to choose from in streaming content to the living room.
"Samsung presents a new value proposition for Blu-ray players by posititioning it as a portal to a world of engaging digital content, be it Blu-ray discs, movies from Netflix, or other online content," said Reid Sullivan, VP of Marketing, Audio/Video & Imaging at Samsung.
Both Blu-ray players sell for about $400, and Netflix points out that existing owners can upgrade their device at no cost by flashing the firmware. Once upgraded, BD-P2500 and BD-2550 will have access to Netflix's growing library of 12,000 movies and TV episodes.
While the merits of DirectX 10.1 support is still being debated, AMD continues to champion the instruction set in its latest generation of videocards, including the new HD 4830. Best of all, the new graphics card carries an MSRP of less than $150.
There was a time when no self respecting gamer would ever dream of owning a sub-$150 GPU, but today's generation of gamers needn't be so discerning. Built using a 55nm manufacturing process with 956 million transistors, the HD 4830 comes equipped with a respectable 640 stream processors, 32 texture units, and 16 ROPs. And unlike some other budget-priced videocards in recent years, the memory bus checks in at 256-bit rather than 128-bit, making it a solid contender for mid-range gaming duties, at least on paper.
The HD 4830 is being positioned to compete with Nvidia's 9800 GT. AMD claims its new videocard "delivers better performance" than the aforementioned competition in several titles, a notion supported by a cursory glance at benchmarks across the web.
If thin is in, then Samsung moves to the front of the class. The company just put its prototype 40-inch LCD on the runway at the Korea Electronics Show in Seoul last week, a scintillating model which measures just 7.9mm thick. That's enough to earn 1/10th of a millimeter worth of bragging rights over Phillips, who showed off what was previously considered the thinnest LCD at 8.0mm at the IFA exhibition in Berlin this past August.
So how did the two companies fit all those electronics into an ultra-thin frame? The answer is they didn't. Instead, each company's respective prototypes moved the tuner and much of the electronic inner-workings into an external box located near the screen. Whether this approach ultimately leads to a consumer product remains to be seen, as neither company has talked about making their LCD commercially available.
Comcast is in the news again, but this time it has nothing to do with throttling connections or those ever-unpopular bandwidth limits. Instead, the ISP has announced it is rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 'wideband' internet service, giving (er, selling) subscribers up to 50Mbps downstream and 10Mpbs upstream.
At those speeds, Comcast puts itself nearly on par with Verizon's FiOS service, who's top-tier package offers the same downstream but twice the upstream at 20Mbps. But a key difference lies in compatibility. DOCSIS 3.0 means that cable operators don't have to install new lines and instead can use existing infrastructure.
The Extreme 50 service, as Comcast is calling it, will run $140 per month for residential subscribers and $190 per month for businesses. According to Comcast, Extreme 50 customers will be able to download a high-definition movie in about 16 minutes. Initial availability is limited to subscribers in parts of New England, Philadelphia, and New Jersey, with a planned expansion to more than 10 million homes and business by the end of the year.
Would you be willing to pay $140 per month for 50Mpbs/10Mbps? Hit the jump and let us know.
As new netbooks continue to march into the market, it's typically the hardware that garners most of the attention. Some models sport solid-state drives (SSDs), while others keep it old school with a traditional hard drive. But all of them share two key characteristics - reduced screen real estate and gimped performance - that have opened up a market for specialized software.
Enter ThinkFree, who this week launched its ThinkFree Netbook Edition, a software solution encompassing an assortment of productivity applications designed for netbooks. Unlike standard office suites, ThinkFree claims its new software has been optimized for small screens and limited hardware resources inherent in Intel Atom chipset-based netbooks.
"Netbook users are demanding applications that are built to not only meet, but make the most of the unique characteristics of this new device category, (and) Netbook OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) can now offer their customers just that by pre-installing a customized, device-tailored version of ThinkFree Netbook Edition," Su Jin Kim, ThinkFree's CEO, said in a statement.
ThinkFree Mobile: Netbook Edition is available now with support for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. And from now until October 31st, the company will give away a copy to anyone willing to fill out a short survey.
He once again reminded them that it has been a very challenging year for the company. After enumerating few of the things Yahoo is doing to survive in the “turbulent global advertising climate”, he came straight to job cuts.
Yang told all Yahoos that the company has no other choice but to slash jobs – in order to cut costs, as “compensation expenses are the single largest part of its costs.” He then apprised them of the heart-wrenching fact that 10% of them are going to loose their jobs by year-end.
ASUS CEO Jerry Shen discussed the Eee PC range at great length during an interview given to Laptop Magazine. He pegged all-time Eee PC sales – it has just completed its first year in the market - at around 4 million units. Shen confirmed rumors that the first batch of touch panel Eee PCs will become available by early 2009, but withheld details of the touch-sensitive netbooks.
He disclosed that the 7-inch Eee PC has performed very well till now. Shen rejected the possibility of an Eee PC with a screen size in excess of 10 inches. He argued against the notion that its Eee PC range has pushed all its other notebooks to the background. Finally, Shen said that Eee PCs running Windows 7 will become available in mid-2009.
It's official. E3 as you know it is no more. Again. E3 version 3.0 will return to the glitz and glamour of the gaming trade show's 2006 iteration, but with a few tweaks to put an end to those pesky money leaks.
"[E3 2009] will be smaller than E3 2006 because it will be a much smarter show than E3 2006," ESA President Mike Gallagher said, boasting the new format's cost-effectiveness.
Compared to its 2007 and 2008 counterparts, E3 2009 intends to stop sucking it in and let its girth flow freely. With a target attendance of 40,000 industry professionals, 2008's 5,000 will have plenty of company. However, 2006 and 2005 remain "king of the hill" and "hill," respectively, with totals of 60,000 and 70,000.
So, the question you probably skipped all of the other stuff to answer: Can you get into E3? Well, not really.
Strolling into E3's hallowed halls is as simple as being a "qualified" industry or media member -- though defining that position is much less simple.
"We have criteria set up to define what is an analyst, what is a media attendee," Gallagher said. "We want to make sure bloggers and others in the online space have the right path to admission, as long as they're legitimate."
"This is not a consumer show," he emphasized.
Unless, of course, you're a booth babe.
"Here's the thing," Gallagher said of the sisterhood of the traveling pants-less. "Our publishers will have the maximum ability to drive energy and excitement around their titles and their products. I would expect that you're going to see models there, but there will be controlled guildelines, just like we've had previous years."
E3 2009 will run from June 2-4. We'll be there, reporting with oodles of "energy and excitement." Oh, and booth babes -- look out. We've been known to get a little feisty while on show floors.