We're only a week away from E3, and the news faucet has tapered off to a mere drip. And yet, despite the drop-off in quantity, Monday has provided us with unprecedented quality. In today's Roundup, there lurks a reason for big-time excitement, as well as another. Let's just say that for some of you, this week may very well be more exciting than E3. No, you're not hearing things; that's the "Read More" link beckoning.
Carl Icahn should feel at home in boardroom coups, after having fashioned a few of them. Along with experience, he has tenacity and a never-say-die attitude, which is rearing its head in the aftermath of Microsoft’s deal with Yahoo. While some people attribute the breakdown of (doomed-from-the-start?) talks between the two tech giants to company culture clash, Icahn is trying his best to agitate Yahoo stockholders into a revolt against the company’s board. Icahn’s fresh missive to Yahoo stockholders claims Microsoft is still interested in buying Yahoo’s search engine business or the entire company.
He reports to stockholders that Microsoft's CEO has personally conveyed his distaste for the current Yahoo board, and so, wouldn’t enter any negotiations with the incumbent board. Ballmer wasted no time in confirming Microsoft’s interest in “a major transaction with Yahoo, such as either a transaction to purchase the "Search" function with large financial guarantees or, in the alternative, purchasing the whole company." But he made it amply clear that negotiations would be resumed only after a new board of directors is elected.
Yahoo wants Microsoft to prove its seriousness and make an offer immediately, if it’s interested in a deal. The company warned in its response that it doesn’t believe a deal – with a new board in place - would be in the best interest of Yahoo stockholders.
It's hard not to feel violated at the gas pump every time you fill you up your tank, and relief doesn't appear to be in sight. That is, unless you're a small business owner. As part of Microsoft's Bump the Slump sweepstakes, the multi-billion dollar corporation plans to give away 5,000 gallons of gas in order to promote its various software applications. Huh?
According to Eric Ligman, Microsoft US Senior Manager of Small Business Community Engagement (don't waste any space on that business card), the sweepstakes is about "saving money," and while that's hard, nay, impossible to do at the pump, Microsoft's Bump the Slump website claims that its bevy of software can add up to big savings. For example, "Windows Vista can save you as much as $70.77 in energy costs per PC per year compared to a typical PC not running Vista. It saves you money and lets you give Earth a little hug."
The promotion will cost Microsoft about $20,000, with the winner expected to be drawn on July 21, 2008. To be eligible, entrants must be 18+ years old and a legal resident of the 50 United States, own a small business in the U.S., and have between two and 100 employees. And when it's over, you can add Microsoft to a list which includes Mexican food, Celine Dion, baked beans, and other things known to give gas.
It looks like stock prices aren't the only thing falling over at Nvidia. Competition continues to heat up in the latest round of GPU leapfrog, and reports flanking from across the web over the weekend were claiming Nvidia would issue price cuts to its add-in board partners (AIBs). The GTX 260 was to be the beneficiary of a $30 chop, while the high-end GTX 280 was to get slashed by $90. Even the 9800 GTX was to receive a $17 snip. Scouring Newegg's selection, it appears the reports were right on the money.
Thanks to Nvidia's annoying Manufacturer Advertised Pricing (MAP) policy, you'll need to do a bit of extra clicking to see the new pricing structure. But assuming your index finger is up to the task, you'll spot several GTX 280 cards selling for $499, and even lower after rebate. GTX 260 videocards have dropped down to $329, and a small handful of 9800 GTX cards have dipped below the $200 mark.
Following Hitachi's annoucement of plans to hit 5TB in a single hard drive by 2010, Pioneer follows suit by proclaiming a major advancement in the optical storage arena with an unprecedented 16-layer optical disc capable of storing 400GB. Presumably intended for distribution as Blu-ray media, Pioneer points out the new disc's 25GB per-layer capacity is the same as that of a Blu-ray disc (BD).
Cross-talk among multiple layers has been a stickling point in the optical industry, but Pioneer claims to have tackled the problem with a specialized disc structure designed to reduce interference from adjacent layers. And what about compatibility with existing Blu-ray players? Pioneer says that because the optical specifications of the lens are the same as those for existing BD discs, there shouldn't be any compatibility concerns between the new 16-layer discs and existing BD media.
Dampening the announcement, the 16-layer discs are read-only. That may change in time, but for the here and now, you'll still need to resort to standard discs or HDDs to store your epic music collection, downloaded videos, and other legally acquired data. Of course, finding someone who owns a Blu-ray drive capable of burning BD discs is more rare than spoting a MacBook victory at Maximum PC.
If Asus was feeling lonely in the subnotebook sector with its Eee PC, they needn't feel that way anymore. MSI, Acer, ECS, and Everex are just a handful of manufacturers to jump on to ultraportable bandwagon looking to cash in on the Netbook craze, and now Gigabyte joins an increasingly crowded list, but with a twist. Literally.
Like so many other ultraportables, Gigabyte's M912V features an Intel Atom processor, but unlike the competition, Gigabyte stuffs the chip into a Tablet PC. This gives users the ability to swivel the 8.9-inch touch screen display a full 180 degrees to lie flat on the keyboard. Other goodies include:
1GB DDR2 memory
160GB SATA hard drive
802.11b/g wireless, Bluetooth
3 x USB ports
Windows XP, Vista Home Basic, or Linux
If PCLaunche's prediction holds true, look for the M912V to debut later this month for $699, not much less than a standard low-end to mid-range notebook. Do ultraportables hold enough appeal to compete in same price sector as their more powerful (and physically bigger) brethren?
We were hoping to find a giant Chaos insignia on the side of NZXT's newest case, but alas, it appears the chassis manufacturer isn't as big a fan of Warhammer as we thought. Naming conventions aside, this bold aluminum case is a beast to behold. Dubbed the Khaos, it's a huge and expensive addition to the full-tower chassis club. But don't take our word for it: check out a full batch of sexy unboxing shots below!
Windows Update will itself be updated, starting in late July, according to Windows Update product manager Michelle Haven, in a recent TechNet post. This update changes both the WU clients used by Windows XP and Vista-based machines as well as the back-end infrastructure, and as a result, scans for updates and update installations are faster. That's the good news. But, will the update cause problems for Windows XP users who need to perform a repair installation? And, what about users who don't want Microsoft making any changes to their system?
For more light on these questions, join me after the break.
While SSDs continue to come down in price and up in performance, hard disk drives keep ballooning in size. And just when we thought we were becoming spoiled with storage space, Hitachi hits us with a humdinger by announcing plans to release a 5TB hard drive by 2010. That's FIVE freaking terabytes in a single 3.5" drive, or half the storage capacity of the human brain, claims Dr. Yoshihiro Shiroishi from Hitachi. In more concrete terms, 5TB equates to about 5,000 hours of video, or more than a million songs. Throw two drives together and you could store a human brain's worth of porn!
Hitachi's pledge trumps an earlier prediction the company made back in October 2007 when it said 4TB of storage would be likely by 2011. Instead, Hitachi will employ Current-Perpendicular-to-Plant Giant Magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) magnetic read heads to pack an additional terabyte than initially anticipated, and a year sooner than predicted. CPP-GMR will make it possible to achieve data densities of 1TB or more per square inch, paving the way for even larger hard drives.
Home theater buffs will undoubtedly herald Hitachi's announcement, but what about everyone else? Are we reaching the point of diminishing returns in terms of hard drive space? Post your thoughts in the comments section.
In today’s world, people are beginning to judge each other based on their carbon karma and the power consumed by the gadgets they own. Sharp has developed a solar-powered LCD TV for all the alternative-energy patrons and parsimonious energy spenders. The LCD TV is three times more energy efficient than a regular CRT TV. And this frugal use of energy allows the LCD to completely depend on solar energy. A 26-inch prototype is on show at the upcoming Hokkaido Toyako Summit, Japan - better known as the G8 summit.
Sharp has also developed a solar cell module of the same size as the LCD TV to power it. The two will most probably be sold in conjugation, as if inseparable technological cognates. The company is targeting the product towards about 1/4th of the earth’s population which still has no or intermittent access to electricity. Many of these people might be living in such underdeveloped and impoverished places that they would be more interested in basic necessities of life than such flash technology.
But, of course, if Sharp can successfully sell this to even a very few of the world’s electricity-deprived populace, it certainly will be very happy.