Windows Live Hotmail’s 260 million users worldwide can look forward to a multitude of new features that were recently unveiled by Microsoft. Hotmail wave 3 promises a speed boost of over 70% during sign in, and will enable dynamic storage that will grow at a rate of 250 MB per month. Microsoft is also reportedly working to address the user interface problems which have plagued the service since the roll out of wave 2. Hotmail users currently have the option of picking between the well loved “classic” or the “full” user interface which reportedly suffers from a low adoption rate. This low adoption rate has kept the classic version alive, and made it difficult for Microsoft to roll out new features. Hotmail wave 3 looks to merge the layout of the “classic” with the functionality of the “full”, an approach they are hoping will finally please everyone. This is something that is desperately needed to help attract and retain users currently considering competing services such as Gmail or Yahoo. Improved integration of Live contacts, calendar, and instant messaging help to round out the initial batch of leaked features. The press release doesn’t make any mention of the long rumored POP support or any Skydrive integration, but hopefully these features are still in the works. No public beta has been announced yet, but the “coming soon” headline suggests it probably isn’t that far off.
Are you a former or current Hotmail user? Will these new features keep you with the service or send you running back? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
In a shocking turn of events in the Atlantic v. Howell case, the RIAA has scored a major victory and set a stern precedent against those accused of P2P copyright violations. Jeffrey Howell now finds himself on the hook for damages as a result of evidence proving that he wiped his hard drive after learning of the impending legal action against him. RIAA examiners were able to demonstrate that not only did Howell delete his shared folder, but he then formatted his drive and used a file-wiping program to destroy every last trace of the evidence .Evidence, which according to the RIAA, could have backed up his claims that he was innocent. According to the judge “Howell’s brazen destruction of evidence has wholly undermined the integrity of these judicial proceedings. The evidence that Howell destroyed could have been used to determine the origin of the music files, their locations on the hard drive, the settings and integrity of the KaZaA software, and many other relevant facts.” The guilty ruling comes in sharp contrast to the victory Howell scored this past April when a judge rejected the RIAA’s cornerstone legal theory that simply sharing a file on a P2P network was an act of copyright infringement.The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has suggested that Howell may have fared better had he been able to secure legal counsel which Howell claims was priced out of reach. The damages at this point are still unknown but one would imagine the RIAA isn’t going to get rich off a man who can’t even afford to hire a lawyer.
So is another victory for the RIAA enough to send the pirates running for iTunes? Hit the jump and let us know.
Microsoft’s quest for online dominance it would seem, will take more than just cash to realize. The aborted Yahoo deal was but a small part of a multifaceted approach towards capturing long term search engine market share, the most lucrative of which involves e-commerce. For those who can’t remember back that far,
on May 31st 2008
Microsoft announced plans to offer consumers cash back for transactions with select e-retailers which were found using the Live search engine. The comScore US market share results show a slight increase after the first month which represents a boost of about 0.7%. But July’s results saw the search engine give back 0.3% to its competitors. Even though the promotion has only been running for about two months, tech critics seem to think the idea is already running out of steam and express doubt that it will have any meaningful long term gains. It remains to be seen if Microsoft will continue the program as it may see any gain in market share to be a success. This seems even more likely when you consider how slowly search engine market share moves these days. To put it in perspective, during the same two month period Google’s market share rose only 0.1% to 61.8% and Yahoo dropped, but only by 0.1% to 20.5%. According to eMarketer Inc., U.S. online retail sales are projected to grow to about $335 billion by the year 2012. Even today, 68 percent of all online transactions began through a search engine.
Do you think Microsoft can make a comeback with cash back? Click the jump and let us know.
A few days ago, a friend and I were discussing the venerable Tim Rogers, an opinionated games writer if ever there was one. Here's the fun thing about Rogers, though: If you were to shuffle one of his reviews in with those of ten other game reviewers, his piece would stand out like the Batman in daylight, foremost for one obvious reason -- it'd be really, really long. Rogers meanders all over the place, delving into each aspect of a game, as well as many things seemingly unrelated, which he then acknowledges as seemingly unrelated. Sometimes, after noticing that 15 minutes have ticked away from your life and your web browser's scroll bar thing is only half-way down the page, you just wish he'd get to the point.
Rogers, as far as game reviewers go, is an anomaly. People don't want a novel; they want pros, cons, and a numerical score, because they'd rather be dashing someone's virtual brains against the pavement than learning. So I guess it kind of makes sense that games generally exist on the flipside of that reviewing stereotype.
Take, for instance, Resident Evil. Find the red lion, blue tiger, and green goat to form a key so that you can crank open the Voltron door. Sure, your gun-toting pyromaniac of a hero probably could've written a book titled "101 Ways To Pop A Door Off Its Hinges," but where's the fun in that?
Oddly, even though we constantly quip about padded-out sequences or pointless sidequests in our favorite games, we sound the sirens on the whaaambulance when those elements finally take a hint.
So which do you want? Games that toss in chores and fetch quests in exchange for that ever so marketable "60 hours of gameplay!" bullet point, or masterfully designed experiences -- like Portal -- that leave you hungry for more?
Well, today's Roundup, described by some as a "masterfully designed experience -- like Portal -- that leaves you hungry for more," hopes to satisfy all comers. Caged within, you'll find stories about a bill of rights for PC gamers, a new race for StarCraft II, and free gas! You heard me -- free gas! It's all after the break.
The abandoned remains of EarthLink’s ambitious free WiFi service are scattered across various U.S cities. Many of the WiFi networks that EarthLink founded have been rescued by private investors and saved from their inevitable demise. The latest savior happens to be Google, which has decided to run the WiFi network in Milpitas. It has joined hands with I-Net Solutions and a few others to save the network. There will be no access fee unlike the time when EarthLink ran this particular network . The Milpitas network didn't figure on EarthLink's list of free WiFi networks.
Forget about daytime television, the real drama takes place in the tech industry. Intel and Nvidia's relationship can be described as rocky at best, and now the GPU maker has said it will make "a significant investment in optimizing software" for VIA's Nano processor. VIA's low power chip has already been spotted outperforming Intel's Atom CPU, making this latest announcement all the more interesting for anyone paying attention to the ultraportable market.
The announcement also puts to rest an earlier rumor alleging Nvidia of using its relationship with VIA as a bargaining chip with Intel. Recent speculation suggested Nvidia's motive all along was to convince Intel to let its Atom processor support Nvidia's MCP73 IGP chipset, and in return, the GPU maker would terminate its alliance with VIA.
With the ultraportable market seemingly exploding as of late, should Intel be worried about a more solidfied relationship between Nvidia and VIA?
Comcast made it official today by announcing it will introduce bandwidth caps to all residential customers starting on October 1, 2008. The ISP describes the 250GB per month cap as "an extremely large amount of data," noting that a large majority of customers will never cross it. Or will they?
Comcast says that the 250GB cap is enough to send about 50 million emails, download 62,500 songs, download 125 standard-definition movies, or upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos. Put into that kind of perspective, 250GB seems plenty for all but the most bandwidth hungry users, who tend to be up to no good anyway. The ISP also notes that the bandwidth cap represents the same policy that has already been in place, except with more explicit numbers outlining what is and isn't allowed.
"As part of our preexisting policy, we will continue to contact the top users of hour high-speed internet service and ask them to curb their usage," the company told ArsTechnica. "If a customer uses more than 250GB and is one of the top users of our service, he or she may be contacted by Comcast to notify them of excessive use."
Previous speculation of Comcast's impending bandwidth cap pointed towards a $15 fee for every 10GB customers go over the limit, but a cursory glance at the company's FAQ page doesn't appear to make mention of overage penalties.
What are your thoughts on Comcast's decision to cap bandwidth?
Intel fans be polite and stifle those snickers, but at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, members of AwardFabrik.de managed to breach 4GHz on an AMD Phenom 9950 processor using liquid nitrogen cooling. Not without controversy, the feat failed to pass CPU-Z's validation.
Running at precisely 3952MHz, the team recorded a 19.954 second SuperPi 1M time, setting a new record for AMD processors. Other hardware used in the endeavor included a Foxconn A79-S motherboard and an OCZ 1KW power supply.
On a related side note, SuperPi may find itself being replaced as processor technology moves forward. While the world record for AMD CPUs now sits at just under 20 seconds, the record for an Intel processor is 7.14 seconds using an E8600 overclocked to 6376MHz, leaving little headroom for future record breaking attempts.
Some rumors just refuse to die, and one that refuses to stay buried is that Nvidia might be looking to enter the CPU market. On the surface, such a move would seem to make sense, as both AMD and Intel offer integrated CPU and GPU platforms. Speculation that Nvidia might develop a platform of its own has been particularly strong the past few months, and chairman Jen-Hsun Huang, a co-found of the company, only fueled the fire at his press conference on the opening day of NVISION, saying "we believe in x86...we believe in heterogeneous computing."
But while Huang has been hesitant to stomp on the rumor outright, Chris Malachowsky, another co-founder and senior vice president, went on the record with PC Pro as strongly denying the graphics chip maker would make such a move.
"That's not our business," Malachowsky said. "It's not our business to build a CPU. We're a visual computing company, and I think the reason we've survived the other 35 companies who were making graphics at the start is that we've stayed focused."
Malachowsky also pointed out Intel's marketshare dominance and financial strength in the CPU market as reasons why the Nvidia would be wise to steer clear.
Do you believe Malachowsky, or do you think the company will have a change of heart once Intel's Larrabee and AMD's Fusion start shipping?
Google inked another 3 year deal with Mozilla to remain the default search option in the open-source Firefox browser. Originally set to expire back in 2006, the deal was extended to 2008 and will now run through 2011.
"We're very, very happy about our relationship with Google," said John Lilly, Mozilla CEO, "and this makes sure that Mozilla will be sustainable and thrive for quite a long time to come."
Lilly has good reason to be happy, as the partnership netted Mozilla around $57 million in 2006 alone, or about 85 percent of the company's total revenue. The funds go towards paying staff, supporting its bandwidth and hardware infrastructure, and to distribute grants.
Google comes out ahead, too. As Firefox continues to grow its marketshare and increase its userbase, that means more searches and clicks for Google, which in turn translates to advertising revenue. But for as much as Google and Mozilla may seem intertwined, Mozilla maintains that the two operate independently.
"We develop our product and technical direction as part of an open process unrelated to the search relationship with Google," Mozilla wrote its 2006 Financial FAQ. "We talk to Google about the parts of the product that offer Google services (i.e., the Firefox Start Page) and the services they provide, like anti-phishing. Otherwise Google does not have any special relationship to Mozilla project activities."