InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy has put Windows 7's Milestone 3 pre-beta build 6801, a freebie from last month's Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference, through a variety of benchmark tests, and isn't all that impressed:
As I reported on my Enterprise Desktop blog, the more I dug into Windows 7, the more I saw an OS that looked and felt like a slightly tweaked version of Windows Vista.
Just as slow as Vista...Just as consumer-focused as Vista...Just as confusing as Vista...
Kennedy cites these similarities:
The number of execution threads in key subsystems is almost the same in Windows 7 as in Vista
Benchmarks of Windows 7 and Vista Ultimate SP1 using the DMS Clarity Studio tools suite show almost identical results
Similar amounts of RAM are used by Windows 7 and Windows Vista
From these facts and visual similarities between Windows 7 and Vista, Kennedy concludes:
Bottom line: So far, Windows 7 looks and behaves almost exactly like Windows Vista. It performs almost exactly like Vista. And it breaks all sorts of things that used to work just fine under Vista. In other words, Microsoft's follow-up to its most unpopular OS release since Windows Me threatens to deliver zero measurable performance benefits while introducing new and potentially crippling compatibility issues.
Is Kennedy right, or is he missing a big difference between Windows 7 and its predecessor? For my take, join me after the break.
Nearly a quarter century ago, a young, pinup version Bill Gates released Microsoft’s first operating system, Windows. While the announcement was made in 1983, and the boxes wouldn’t see store shelves until 1985, Gates’ debut at New York’s Helmsley Palace Hotel was a notably ambitious one.
Gates stated that his fledgling operating system would be powering 90% of IBM’s computers by 1984. This didn’t come true initially (read: missed release date by a year), but it has managed to come to fruition as a number that’s near Windows’ market share today.
While Windows 1 was a short-lived ride, being made obsolete only two years later by Windows 2, it was a great start for Microsoft. Using a brand new graphical interface, it certainly made an impact on computing, as we know it today.
After banning the troops from YouTube in 2007 for bandwidth and security issues, the Military is attempting to turn a quagmire into something positive.
The attempt, better known as the US Military’s new video sharing site, aptly named TroopTube, is already up and running. Potential members can register as a member of one of the three braches of the armed forces, a family member, or a civilian. Once registered, users can upload personal videos. But instead of being simply processed, this time the video is screened by a Pentagon employee to ensure that there isn’t anything naughty.
“A lot of people are excited … to be doing something for the people who make sacrifices,” said Alex Castro, the Chief Executive on the project. “We're proud of this.”
PC builders continue to jump for joy at the rock bottom prices of memory, leading to an easy decision to go with a 4GB kit in lieu of a 2GB kit of RAM. Never has memory been so cheap, and some say the market for memory makers is the worst it has been in 15 years.
And therein lies the problem. While end users are celebrating low prices, DRAM makers have been cutting back production, reducing workers' hours, and laying off employees all in an attempt drive prices back up and cope with decreased revenue. But it isn't enough, and now it appears that memory makers have reached a crossroads.
"We believe that the DRAM industry has entered the key adjusting stage of 'reduce or retire,'" DRAMeXchange stated. "The big scale reduction is now in progress and even some DRAM vendors will be out of the DRAM market in 2009. This adjusting wave will continue until the demand and supply come to balance."
According to DRAMeXchange, the cash cost of the market's 70nm technology is between $1.3 and $1.5 and is expected to drop to $1.0 to $1.2 as DRAM makers migrate to the 6x nm process. Total 12-inch wafer output continues to fall, with the reduction for November expected to be 125,000 less wafers, which is equivalent to 10 percent of the total 12-inch wafer output. The situation looks to get even worse in December, with another 17,000-wafer reduction expected, with more reductions possible in January.
"We expect the oversupply situation will be eased starting from the end of Q1 2009," DRAMeXchange said. "Therefore, the DRAM price may have a chance to rebound at the end of Q2 09 and Q3 09 with the rising demand of PC OEMS."
The question is, which memory makers will be left standing by then?
Pocket-sized HD camcorders appear to be all the rage lately, and Pure Digital looks to answer the question of 'how small can you go' with its new Flip Mino HD. From the same maker of the Flip Video, Pure Digital's new camcorder checks in at just 3.3-ounces, which the company claims is the "world's smallest HD camcorder."
"Consumers have embraced Flip Video because it delivers on the promise of making video simple, affordable, and fun," said Jonathan Kaplan, Pure Digital's chairperson and CEO. "Flip Mino HD, along with FlipShare software, now make it easy for anyone to capture and share their stories in stunning HD quality."
We'll reserve judgment on the quality of its HD video, but at least on paper, the Flip Mino comes prepared to shoot up to 60 minutes of 720p HD content. Other notable specs include a 1.5-inch anti-glare LCD display, one-touch recording with 2x digital zoom, touch-sensitive buttons, 4GB of internal memory, integrated video publishing to YouTube, MySpace, and AOL Video, and the ability to capture still photos from video.
Nvidia looks to take on both Intel and Apple and make a bid for the mobile device market with its Tegra chip. The low powered "computer on a chip" boasts an ARM based processor core, HD video decoder capable of 1080p playback, a variation of the GeForce graphics core, an integrated media processor, and more.
Right now the chip is in the development phase, which company president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says is going exceedingly well. Barring any snags, Huang says we can expect to see Tegra shipping sometime between April and June of 2009. The launch would likely kick off with the Tegra 600 running at 700MHz, Tegra 650 running at 800MHz, and the Tegra APX runing at 600MHz.
It remains unclear which partners plan to utilize Tegra, but given the specs, it shouldn't be hard to find willing manufacturers.
Down but not yet out, Circuit City has secured a whopping $1.1 billion in financing that will help keep the chain operational, at least for the immediate future. The loan, which comes from the same banks that backed Circuit City's $1.3 billion credit line, will be used to pay salaries and continue buying merchandise as the company restructures.
The loan gives the chain "another lease on life," Chris Horvers, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., wrote in a note to clients yesterday.
And a new lease is exactly what Circuit City needs. Debt has piled up as the electronics retailer owes $119 million to Hewlett-Packard and $116 million to Samsung Electronics Co. In its Chapter 11 petition, Circuit City indicated $3.4 billion in assets and $2.32 billion in debt.
Circuit City already announced plans to close 155 stores while also cutting up to 20 percent of its 43,000-employee workforce. Despite the new loan, that could be just the beginning. According to what Circuit City's lawyers told the judge, the company will likely shut down even more locations and attempt to find a buyer for a slimmed-down version of the chain.
For awhile there, things were looking pretty grim for AMD's graphics division, ATI. Nvidia could do no wrong, leaving AMD content to focus on the low to mid-range market and conceding the high-end altogether. Would ATI silicon ever be competitive again?
As we found out, the answer is yes. As a result, AMD's graphics chips have been able to take some market share away from Nvidia, according to a report by market research Jon Peddie Research.
"AMD has by all account exceeded expectations with its Radeon 4000 series," the report claims. "Priced aggressively yet delivering solid performance, AMD's new line not only took back some market share -- jumping up to 40 percent from 35 percent the quarter prior -- it forced Nvidia (and other partners) to cut prices on its recently released GTX 200 series product."
More than just price cuts, we've repeatedly referred to the situation as a price war between the two camps. Never have gamers been able to get so much gaming bang for their buck, and looking at the market share results, the war appears to be favoring AMD. Interestingly, JPR notes sequential growth in add-in boards (AIBs), which increased by over 2 million units from Q2 to Q3 2008, but a 15 percent drop in year-to-year growth.
Thanks to a borked update, some PC users running AVG's free antivirus were in for a long and frustrating weekend. The virus definition update, which was released on Saturday, erroneously detected the "user32.dll" file for the Trojan Horse PSW.Banker4.APSA instead of recognizing it as a critical Windows component. Once the scanner went active, users found their AVG software recommending that they delete the quarantined file. Doing so caused systems to either stop booting or enter into a continuous reboot loop. Whoops!
The misinformed update affected both AVG 7.5 and AVG 8.0 installations on Windows XP. Vista users appear to be in the clear, though a spattering of user comments around the web have indicated otherwise. In any event, another update has corrected the error. For those who already deleted the critical system file, AVG is providing step-by-step instructions on how to restore your system back to a working state. Whether or not it restores your faith back in the program is another question altogether.
Hit the jump and let us know what security software you're using.
When you were a hopeful, ambitious young whippersnapper, we're sure -- for the 15 minutes after you saw Apollo 13 -- you wanted to risk life, limb, and lunch by becoming an astronaut. Well, so did Ultima creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott, but he still went into game development and... oh wait, now he's abandoning game company NCsoft to live a life among the stars. Or something.
"I am very grateful to you loyal players for sticking around through what I think we can all honestly say was a rough launch. I thank the development team for pushing hard to get polish, updates and new content out every month since launch...a feat that I think is unusual in MMO development. They have a lot to be proud of," Garriott said in his farewell note.
"Many of you probably wonder what my plans are, now that I have achieved the lifelong dream of going to space. Well, that unforgettable experience has sparked some new interests that I would like to devote my time and resources to. As such, I am leaving NCsoft to pursue those interests."
Good luck, Mr. Garriott. Earth won't be the same without you.