Google launched their take on Second Life called Lively. The idea behind both Lively and Second Life is to bring a better social dimension to online interaction, or chat in 3D basically. Better is the operative term here. Second Life didn’t hold any appeal for me, it got boring in very short order. I’m just not a sit and chat type person and listening to someone laughing repeatedly is so beyond lame that I would rather go deal with the wife’s “Honey do list” than socialize in Second Life. Give me good old IRC every time. Lively is on the same order of things.
Lively does however have different aspects to its similar approach. Where Second Life is an entire world, Lively is compartmentalized with rooms. I am sure that it would be fairly easy for Google to make that jump and sting the rooms together to be seamless, but it really doesn’t need that. I like the feel of Lively better. Avatars are a little more cartoon like than I remember in Second Life. There are a number of preprogrammed emotes set up for the characters, and there are sure to be more things added both by Google and users daily.
Make the jump to see what else Lively has to offer.
Gizmondo and Crunchgear report that Acer's new Aspire X1200 is loaded with multimedia features in a slimline mini-PC form factor. Featuring nine USB 2.0 ports, a full-featured Flash memory card reader, and an HDMI port, the X1200 is ready to connect to your home theater system. It also features AMD Athlon X2 dual-core processors, 4GB of RAM, DirectX 10 support, and PCI Express v2.0.
For a complete feature rundown and available configurations, see me after the break.
Once upon a time, YouTube could be relied on to find that funny snippet from last night's sitcom episode to share with family and friends that may have missed it. Now it's a crap shoot whether the video you're looking for will exist, or if it's been deleted over copyright concerns like so many others. And if you do find the clip you're looking for, are you giving up any privacy rights to watch it? Throw in the crummy video quality (Tip: Add &fmt=18 to the end of YouTube URLs), and one has to wonder if there's any suckage left to bestow upon YouTube.
Apparently there is; The Wall Street Journal reports Google is looking to sell pre-roll and post-roll ads because, well, the expected $200 million in anticipated ad revenue this year evidently isn't enough. Or course, Google must first find willing advertisers, a task that could prove more difficult than it seems. According to the story, Google is only selling ads against video clips that been approved by media companies and other partners, which equates to just 4 percent of the total clips on YouTube. That means the overwhelming majority of videos don't seem to be worth anything to the company. At this pace, could it be long before they're also not worth anything to viewers?
According to Fujitsu, flash memory currently has no place outside of handheld gadgets, a situation it doesn't see changing within the next two years. But despite Fujitsu's short-term reservations, other manufacturers seem intent on pushing SSD storage into the mainstream posthaste. Both Super Talent and OCZ have recently announced lower cost SSDs, and now Samsung is getting into the fray by saying it has begun mass producing 1.8- and 2.5-inch 64GB and 128GB multi-level cell (MLC)-based SSDs.
"With the 64GB and 128GB MLC SSDs, we are satisfying the density requirements of most business users and many PC enthusiasts, who will appreciate not only the performance gains and added reliability, but also the more attractive pricing," said Gerd Schauss, Director of Memory Marketing EMEA, Samsung Semiconductor Europe.
Throwing a wet blanket over the announcement are somewhat comparatively underwhelming performance numbers. Samsung claims its MLC based SSD has a write speed of 70MB/sec and a read speed of 90MB/s, which not only pales in comparison to some of the faster single-cell SSDs on the market, but lags behind Western Digital's VelociRaptor HDD. That might make the new SSDs a tough sell to PC enthusiasts with money to burn, but depending on how 'attractive' Samsung plans to price the units, it could capture a portion of the bang/buck crowd, a market segment SSDs aren't used to seducing.
Tomshardware.com is reporting that Eran Badit editor-in-chief of ngohq.com has had some success running Nvidia’s CUDA platform and PhysX drivers on a Radeon video card. Apparently adding Radeon support to CUDA was not a big deal, but adding Radeon support for CUDA at the driver level is more challenging.
Badit says he needs support from ATI to finish out Radeon’s support for CUDA, but ATI has been slow to answer him, taking several days to reply. Surprisingly, Nvidia has been much more helpful and opened access to their Developer Relations and is providing assistance, including access to documentation, SDKs, hardware and actual engineers.
Nvidia’s official position is now that it doesn’t mind PhysX running on the Radeon an interesting change from when Justin Kerr reported that Nvidia wanted to license PhysX support to ATI pennies a GPU. This looks like additional pressure from Nvidia to make it’s platform dominant over ATI and Intel’s planned platforms. Third party implementation of CUDA on the Radeon is sure to rattle ATI’s cage.
Tom’s Hardware pinged ATI on the issue, but hadn’t heard anything back as of yet. The longer we wait for a competing platform from ATI, will only help Nvidia’s platform capture more market share. ATI looks to have an uphill battle against the already established
Intel's upcoming Centrino 2 mobile platform will finally push DDR3 memory into the notebook market, and OCZ already has a pair of kits ready to go. OCZ's DDR3-1066 modules will feature latencies of 8-8-8-27, while its higher frequency DDR3-1333 SO-DIMMs will come timed slightly higher at 9-9-9-24. Both kits sip 1.5V and are backed by OCZ's lifetime warranty. "The Centrino 2 platform is a logical extension of Intel's efforts spearheading DDR3 acceptance in the enthusiast segment in the desktop sector, " commented Dr. Michael Schuette, VP of Technology Development at OCZ.
Memory makers continue to lament weak memory pricing, and while they anticipate strengthening demand in the second half of 2008, vendors are hoping Centrino 2 will kick-start sales for DDR3 modules. DDR3 currently commands a higher markup than DDR2, and while that might be groovy for memory makers, are buyers ready to make the switch?
It turns out that off-shoring tech support and customer service might not be such a great deal for companies after all. A paper titled, “Does Offshoring Impact Customer Satisfaction?” posted on ssrn.com for feedback, touches on the subject. There is plenty of evidence that off-shoring saves companies money on their bottom dollar, but what hasn’t been looked at until now is how it affects customer satisfaction and loyalty. What is surprising is not that the papers over all conclusions that in customer service off-shoring is bad but that back office functions like tech support can be a good thing for customer perception. I find that hard to believe from a tech’s aspect.
If you’re the tech Guru for your circle of friends and family you know that they all cringe at the thought of calling tech support. They will relate horror stories of speaking to someone claiming to be named “Bob”, who is reading text from a computer screen in a hard to understand, thick accent. This is why they call you with their technical woes. The paper however suggests that this alone isn’t what causes customer dissatisfaction, but rather the perceived lack of expertise.
Make the jump to hear more about off-shoring and the invasion of the computer puppets!
Calling it the "Dawn of the Tera Era," Hitachi has announced its first three-platter terabyte drive. Billed as the Deskstar 7K1000.B, this is the second terabyte-class drive the company has produced since the launch of its first-to-the-market five-platter drive last year. But here's the weird part: the company has announced no concrete plans to phase out its second-generation drives before 2009. Nor is Hitachi coming in at a lower price point -- or comparable feature-set -- when compared to the other terabyte drives on the market today.
Check out our (confused) analysis after the jump! And yes, it appears Hitachi has modeled its "Tera Era" marketing after Hair:
Pioneer has to its credit a $145 Blu-ray player - on sale only in China, perhaps the cheapest BRD player in the world. However, it was a tad watchful during the course of the format war. Now with Blu-ray having emerged victorious, Pioneer is making a deeper commitment to it. It has announced plans to launch Blu-ray recorders by the end of the year in Japan. The recorders will be developed with some help from its minority owner Sharp (14% stake), which is amongst the six Japanese majors currently offering Blu-ray recorders.
The Drobo storage robot adds FireWire 800 ports for faster performance, and provides a discount for first-generation models. USB 2.0 users also get faster performance, and it's easy to figure out exactly how many (and how large) the drives you need to add to get the storage you want. So, how much is the new Drobo, what can you save on an "old" Drobo, and what else is different?