If you're of "a certain age," you might remember when "computer literacy" equaled "everyone will be a programmer." Unfortunately, the limitations of BASIC (line numbers leading to incomprehensible "spaghetti code," primitive graphics, and no syntax checking) made most would-be programmers dropouts.
I haven't written a computer program in over 20 years, but Microsoft has introduced a modern, easy-to-use language designed for the masses (and for dropouts like me): Small Basic.
Small Basic, available in pre-release version 0.2, runs on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Vista 64-bit Editions Service Pack 1, Windows XP, Windows XP 64-bit. It relies on .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, which you will need to install if you don't have it already.
This Ain't Your Daddy's BASIC
Microsoft says that Small Basic "is a project that is aimed at making computer programming accessible to beginners. The project comprises a simple programming language that gathers inspiration from the original BASIC programming language; a modern and attractive programming environment; and rich, extensible libraries. Together they make programming fun for kids and adults alike."
So, what's special about Small Basic, and how can you learn more about it? Join us after the jump for all the details.
“Let’s see… I’ll take one copy of Spore – hold the SecuROM DRM, please.”
“Oh, er, sorry. Your order’s already slathered in DRM and, well, we can’t remove it. If you come back in a couple weeks, though, we might be able to scrape off a bit of it. Sound good?”
Has something like this ever happened to you? A pleasant Sunday afternoon installation spoiled by SecuROM’s goon squad? Well, no more. At least, if you ride under Steam’s banner.
“EA is one of the industry’s largest publishers,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “The EA titles coming to Steam this holiday include some this year’s top PC titles.”
He’s not kidding, either. Titles like Spore, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover, and FIFA Manager 2009 are already available, with Mirror’s Edge, Red Alert 3, and Dead Space moving in with the Freeman family in the “coming weeks.” And, of course, these games will conform to Steam’s standards; in other words, no SecuROM whatsoever.
So, does this mean we can all finally kiss and make up with EA, and notice that it’s released some damn good games over the past year? C’mon now; it’s Christmas.
Well, it’s not completely a mystery, but with a tagline like “On the 9th of January you will change the way you look at laptops. Forever,” you can’t help but be a little titillated.
It looks like Sony couldn’t let Dell be the only laptop vendor that had a secret (but not so secret) launch on the horizon. Their latest in the Vaio series was packing its very own launch site with a counter, but it would appear that at time of press they’ve taken it down. Still, the secret lingers.
We’re not sure if the pressure was just too much, or that they’ve mixed up on the release counter somewhere, but it is still expected that at CES 2009 they will announce the new notebook (or netbook?).
If anyone else out there would care to keep the rumor mill going with your own secret launch, do so now. It appears to be the thing to do!
While it’s no secret that the Australian government is a fan of censoring and filtering the country’s Internet, they’re taking a bold new step this time. They’re planning to block BitTorrent completely.
The move comes from the Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy, who wrote in a blog post that he’s planning to oversee a trial if technology could filter data sent directly between computers as opposed to data downloaded from a central server. “Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial,” said Senator Conroy.
“I'm aware that this proposal has attracted significant debate and criticism – on this blog and at other places in the blogosphere,” Senator Conroy wrote. And how does he plan to follow that debate? “I'm following the debate at sites like Whirlpool and GetUp and on Twitter at #nocleanfeed.”
Microsoft recently announced to its system-building partners that they would extend the pull date on Windows XP past the originally announced January 31, 2009.
These system builders are going to be allowed orders of XP all the way up until January 31, and they can ship them until May 30. “This is a good solution to support the customers that are standardized still on XP,” stated Michael Schwab, the co-president of D&H Distributing. “In this case, people contemplated buying in larger quantities [of XP licenses] and holding on to them. But that would have caused a bubble [from] people buying five months of supply in January.”
This appears to be another sign of the market’s resistance to getting Windows Vista. Despite all the clever ads, it still seems that people prefer Windows XP to the pretty new OS.
What about you? Are you still set in your XP ways or have you moved on to Vista? Let us know in the comments.
Depending on the manufacturer of your notebook, finding updated drivers can be somewhat of a pain. After all, we are assuming that searching through a tangled index of cryptic model numbers probably wasn’t the game you intended to play when you bought your gaming notebook. That’s why we are pleased to pass on the contents of a press release we received from Nvidia which is intended to spread the good news. Your laptop’s GPU drivers can now be obtained directly from Nvidia.com. Using a generic driver platform should allow notebook owners to receive much more timely updates similar to their desktop based brethren. As of right now, only owners of 7, 8, and 9 series GeForce chips as well as Quadro qualify for this offer, but it’s a great start.
To further sweeten the pot, owners of 8 and 9 series GeForce chips will be given both PhysX and CUDA support through the beta driver available. A WHQL certified driver is planned for release early next year. This will go a long way towards ensuring better compatibility on gaming laptops and is something I’m sure we would all like to see migrate to other hardware manufacturers.
About a month ago we took a look at a disturbing new trend that was emerging in Australia involving the movie industry’s new approach to copyright enforcement. It now appears as though this heavy handed approach has indeed crossed the ocean and the RIAA is preparing to switch gears. Over the past 6 years the music industry has initiated lawsuits against over 35,000 people. Seniors, minors, or the deceased, nobody was safe from the wrath of the recording industry. This public relations nightmare was bound to end sooner or later, but their new approach could see tens of thousands of internet users booted off the web.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered agreements made between several unnamed ISP’s and the RIAA which will make it possible for them to force internet service providers to disconnect user’s who refuse to cease and desist music sharing after being issued a written warning. Warnings will likely start with an emailed notice of violation which can then lead to restricted bandwidth, or in worst case scenarios as we mentioned before, the disconnection of internet service. Under the newly proposed system, the RIAA would forward a notice to the ISP of an offending IP address, and would leave it up to the provider to contact the individual customer. The positive change here would be that your privacy would not be compromised, and the RIAA would not require disclosure of the customer’s name.
The RIAA believes this new approach will “reach more people” and that it cannot afford to ignore piracy. The group cites NPD figures which show that the growth of illegally downloaded content has stalled in the wake of the uncertainty surrounding the lawsuits. Their new approach would be much more covert, and would likely attract less media attention.
So would you rather be sued or booted off the net? I think I’ll pay the 99 cents a track thank you very much.
The results are in, and this might not surprise you, but Google’s market share is on the rise. November’s results show a meager, but still notable bump of 0.4 percent giving Google a grand total of 63.5 percent of all searches being done in the US. Google’s gains came mostly on the back of Microsoft’s Live Search and Ask.com which both gave up 0.2 percent. In terms of overall search engine market demand, the number of total inquires slipped a surprising 3 percent over October’s numbers. All the major search players noticed a roughly proportional drop in activity.
Despite the fact that Google appears to be well on track for world search domination, it’s worth pointing out that it isn’t all smooth sailing. The last time we reported on market share results back in August, Google enjoyed a whopping 69.17 percent of the global search market. Some of the smaller players such as AOL and Ask continue to hobble along with 3 to 4 percent of the market, but even though these numbers sound paltry, each 1 percent of the search market is reportedly worth around a billion dollars. That’s probably why competitors keep popping up, and seem to be slow to disappear.
If you're tired of tiny form-factor HTPCs run by underwhelming processors, the newest version of the Epson Endeavor ST HTPC is a shot of adrenaline. As Nexus404 reports, the new ST120, which measures only 75x185x195 mm (or approximately 2.95x7.28x7.68 inches), features powerful processing and movie playback power:
Core 2 Duo processor running at speeds from 2.26-2.8GHz
GM45 Express chipset
1GB DDR2 RAM with upgrade options to 4GB
80GB to 250GB SATA hard disk
Blu-Ray or DVD drive
So, what's the catch? Catch us after the jump to find out.
While details on Nvidia’s latest dual GPU monster have been pretty scarce, we’ve finally unearthed some specifics on just what the card will be packing.
For starters, there will be a whopping 480 processor cores on the card itself. Alongside that, there’s 1792MB of total video memory to keep your world as vibrant as can be. And all this will be based off of a 55nm manufacturing process.
These specs are really just the tip of the iceberg, so if you want to get all the dirty details on the card, be sure and hit the jump (and ready your mouse wheel for some scrolling!).