Just when we thought search couldn’t get any better, Evin Levey product manager at Google has blogged about a new feature that could have a dramatic impact on your search results. Scanned documents have been appearing in Google’s search results for quite some time now, but for the most part they were usually weren’t at the top your list regardless of how relevant they may have been. The reason for this is simple; when the search engine runs into an Adobe PDF file that was scanned as an image; it wasn’t able to read the contents other then what was contained within the meta tag. The article may well have been the definitive source on the topic for which you were searching, but until now they had no way of knowing what was in the document or sorting out key words in any type of automated fashion. On Thursday this all changed and it appears the search engine has successfully implemented a form of optical character recognition that can index the text for easy searching. This adds significant power to Google’s ability to catalog things such as books which are commonly achieved as images in PDF format.
Since millions of books are available as creative commons and scanning projects have been actively publishing these works to the web, the ability to search and find results will unlock countless additional sources of information. Care to try out some examples of the new feature?
So, you’re in the market for an all-in-one computer with a 24-inch screen, but you’re not looking to splurge on one of those yucky iMacs, huh? Well Dell has got your back, and it comes in the form of the XPS One 24.
The 24-inch beast packs plenty of powerful features, too. Including a gigantic 1920x1080 native resolution on a 16:9 display, 4GB RAM (standard), Intel GMA X4500HD graphics (or an upgraded Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT) and an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor. Should you feel the need to donate money to some worthwhile causes without actually doing so yourself, there’s a (PRODUCT) RED version available too.
While admittedly the name isn’t the best we’ve ever seen (seriously, say it out loud), it is shaping up to be a very worthwhile media machine. Some upgraded speakers and a built in TV tuner are looking to drive that point home. It’s shipping now, and will run you $1,700 for a base model.
Race fans, fire up your wallets! AMD’s first 45nm chip, the Shanghai quad-core has finally made its appearance at online resellers.
These bad boys aren’t cheap, either. The quad-core 2.7GHz chip will run potential buyers $2,499 over at PC Connection and $2,240 (for the chip without any fan) over at Buy.com. And these prices are pretty standard all the way across the board.
Admittedly, expectations might be low for these chips considering the debacle caused by the massive delays of Barcelona due to the production issues. Still, AMD’s hopes remain high. Shanghai is currently in full production, and supposed to have a 20 percent performance boost over Barcelona. There have also been confirmations from the likes of Sun Microsystems for plans to offer the chip in current x64 platforms that are running Barcelona by as early as Q1 2009.
While these chips do offer surprisingly low power consumption for a quad core chip (only 75 watts) and some burly clock speeds, the prices are pretty difficult to swallow. Although, to be fair, they’re meant for servers… or badasses.
Google’s adding yet another feature to Gmail’s formidable (and sometimes frivolous) arsenal. Starting soon, you’ll be able to send SMS messages to your friends’ phones from Gmail’s built-in Chat feature.
When it’s made available, you’ll need to enable the feature in the “Labs” tab of the Gmail settings page. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to send messages to people’s phones by simply entering a phone number into the Chat search box and selecting the SMS option.
When a person receives a text from a Gmail user, it’ll show up as coming from a phone number with a 406 area code. The first time you send a Gmail SMS, you’ll be assigned one of the thousands of numbers Google has reserved, and all messages you send in the future will come from the same number. The receiver can reply to the text and it’ll show up in Gmail chat.
The feature should become available today or in the next few days. When it does, will you use it? Let us know after the jump.
We reported two weeks ago that the Yahoo-Google search advertising partnership was facing some serious challenges in its discussions with the Justice Department and, sure enough, it looks like the two search giants may decide to give up on the deal. The Wall Street Journal has reported that inside sources said that Google and Yahoo may soon announce their decision to drop the deal, after failing to reach an agreement with the Justice Department.
Nothing’s set in stone yet, though, and both companies official positions are still that negotiations are ongoing. Yahoo’s spokesman said “We believe strongly that this agreement will strengthen Yahoo’s competitive position in online advertising.” Google’s spokesman said in statement that “We are confident that the arrangement is beneficial to competition, but we are not going to discuss the details of the process.”
What will it mean for the oft-courted Yahoo if this deal falls through? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
For most of the last decade, improving 3D performance has been the primary goal of operating system, application (read gaming) developers, and hardware developers. However, when you're at work, trying hard to make the money you need to buy a new HDTV and über-gaming PC, you're probably working in a 2D world that's being managed by the creaky GDI/GDI+ APIs which were first developed back to the 1990s.
This week, Microsoft introduced a replacement for GDI/GDI+ called Direct2D. Microsoft's Thomas Olsen, a Dev Lead in the Windows Desktop Graphics organization, uses his new blog to bring us up to speed on why we need the new Direct2D API and how it will make PCs work better.
To learn more about Direct2D, join us after the jump.
Here’s one more reason to be glad that there’s not a big overlap between the “computer scientists” and “burglars” demographics: UC San Diego scientists have developed a program that can duplicate a key from a single photograph.
The software’s more powerful than you might think, too. It can copy keys seen from almost any angle, not just those seen in profile, and it can copy keys from a source as low-res as a cell phone camera picture. With a telephoto lens, the group was able to copy a whole ring of keys sitting on a table from a rooftop 195 feet away.
The group is not releasing the program to the public, but they are hoping the exposure will help raise awareness of the shortcomings of traditional keys. Stefan Savage, the program leader said "We argue that the threat has turned a corner--cheap image sensors have made digital cameras pervasive and basic computer vision techniques can automatically extract a key's information without requiring any expertise.”
In what's sure to show up on several holiday geek gift guides, Ardica has come up with a gadget every traveling technophile will want to tote around, assuming those travels include chilly locales. Ardica describes it as "the world's first fully functional, lightweight, portable personal power and heating system," which is essentially a power pack meant to be worn.
Once suited up, a proprietary lithium-ion pack with 39-watt hours of stored energy provides up to 100F degrees of heat for 3 hours when set to high, or just shy of 9 hours on low. And if keeping your bosom toasty while stranded on a snow covered mountain weren't enough, the portable power source is also good for 11 cell phone charges to call all your loved ones for that final goodbye, 20 iPod charges for the longest loop of Taps ever, or power a GPS, PDA, or any other gadget you may have on hand before going into full McGyver mode and constructing a life saving teleportation device.
PC enthusiasts used to selecting the right combination of computer components will feel right at home, as you'll need to pick out an Ardica enabled garment to ensure compatibility, with Mountain Hardware, Sitka, Redwing, and a handful of others already on board. Ardica says garments made to be compatible will add $35 to $50 onto the retail price. The personal power component will sell separately through Ardica's website for $145.
Asus company president Jerry Shen expects his company's notebook growth in 2009 to outpace the industry's average of 10 to 20 percent, while also grabbing nearly a third of the netbook market next year with shipments in the 6 to 7.5 million unit range.
According to DigiTimes, part of Asus' growth in the netbook sector will hinge on a new $200 Eee PC that Shen plans to introduce sometime in 2009. Not much is known about the proposed low-cost PC and whether or not it will be on par with the $300 Eee PC 900A Best Buy began selling earlier this month.
Notebooks have become Asus' bread and butter, with mobile PCs now account for 47 percent of the company's revenues. On the growing netbook side, the company's Eee PC line contributes 22 percent, while motherboards and graphics cards accounting for 19 percent, handheld devices 2 percent, and all other products contributing 10 percent of revenue.
It seems there's always a notebook battery recall taking place, and the latest round comes from a handful of PC manufacturers using Sony-manufactured batteries. Potentially affected units stands at 100,000 worldwide, with 35,000 of those in the U.S.
The affected lithium-ion batteries were manufactured by Sony Energy Devices Corporation of Japan. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the batteries could overheat and pose a fire hazard, a likely result given the complaints that have trickled in so far. According to the CPSC, there have already been 19 reports of overheating batteries, and all but 2 of those reports also indicated flames or fire. Two consumers report suffering minor burns, and 10 have complained of property damage.
No OEM has been more affected by the latest recall than HP. Out of the 35,000 batteries recalled in the U.S., 32,000 are being used in HP systems. These include the HP Pavilion dv1000, dv8000, and zd8000 sold from December 2004 to June 2006.
Other popular vendors include Toshiba and it's Satellite A70/75, P30/35, M30X/M35X, and M50/55 notebooks, as well as Tecra A3, A5, and S2 systems sold from April 2005 to October 2005 (3000 in all), and about 150 Dell Latitude 110L, Inspiron 1100, 1150, 5100, 5150, and 5160 notebooks sold between November 2004 to November 2005.
Notebook owners sporting one of the potentially affected units are advised to remove the battery and head over to CPSC's website for more information on how to contact the manufacturer to obtain a free replacement.
Edited 10/31/08 for clarification on the number of units affected and to include CPSC information.