Intel’s Core i7 Gets Cold Reception  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Intel’s channels are finding few takers for its newly launched Core i7 processors, due to reasons ranging from a slowdown in economy to prohibitive costs of building blocks used to build systems with Core i7.

Core i7, which was previously code named Nehalem, had won rave reviews across the globe. However, it has so far received luke warm response as the costs of building a fully fledged system based on Corei7 is approximately Rs 50,000. This is largely because the mainboards supporting Nehalem only support DDR3 memory, which though superior in performance to DDR2 memory modules, costs more than three times. Moreover, the cheapest available motherboard supporting Nehalem is currently the Intel BOXDX58SO which is priced at just over Rs 15,000 on the street. “Unfortunately, the current market situation does not help either, as the usual buyers of high-end technologies have tightened their purses,” informed Sunil Kumar, CEO of Bangalore-based Lampo Computers, an Intel Premier Provider.

Though vendors such as Transcend and Kingston have launched their DD3 memory modules, the prices are very steep. Street price of a 2 GB DDR2 memory is less than Rs 1,000 mid-January, but 2 GB DDR3-1333 is priced at about Rs 3,500.

Intel distributors are also said to be carrying limited stock of processors, as they are not finding many enthusiastic buyers. “The demand is low, and anyone who asks for the motherboard and processor, usually is discouraged after hearing the price,” informed a senior manager at an Intel distributor. 

“It’s a proverbial Catch 22 situation. Till demand drives up, you won't see volumes increasing and prices plummeting. It is very unlikely that the demand and volumes will increase till the price drops,” observed Kumar. (full Story)

Intel Cuts Quad Core Chip Prices by 40 Percent  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Intel on Monday announced price cuts across a wide range of chips used in mobile and desktop PCs, including cuts of up to 40 percent for its quad-core chips.

Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9650 processors are now priced at US$316, a 40 percent drop from December. Other Core 2 Quad chip prices were cut between 16 percent and 20 percent. The quad-core chips are used in high-end desktops like gaming systems.

Intel's move could be a response to increasing price pressure exerted by rival Advanced Micro Devices, which recently announced the Phenom II quad-core chips for high-end desktops. AMD has priced its Phenom II quad-core chips between $235 and $275.

Intel also cut prices of its Xeon chips for servers and Celeron processors for mobile devices by up to 48 percent. The quad-core Xeon 3370 is now priced at $316, a 40 percent drop from December, while the Celeron 570 chip was cut by 48 percent from $134 to $70.

Amid the price drops, Intel also introduced three power-efficient quad-core chips with the "s" moniker. The Core 2 Quad Q9550s processor includes 12MB of L2 cache, runs at 2.83GHz and draws 65 watts of power. The chips are priced at $369. The chip is power-efficient version of the Core 2 Quad Q9550 chip, which draws 95 watts of power.

Intel also introduced the Core 2 Quad Q9400s processor, which runs at 2.66GHz, and the Core 2 Quad Q8200s, which runs at 2.33GHz. This chips are priced at $320 and $245 respectively. (story Link)

Intel’s CULV to Come in Q2  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , ,

Intel’s new platform for thin and light ultraportables should appear as early as Q2 2009, according to Digitimes. The new platform, dubbed CULV for consumer ultra-low voltage, is a tweaked ULV Core series architecture, designed to take on AMD’s Neo platform.

According to reports, the top three notebook vendors are working on CULV based products, and expect to sell as many as 10 million CULV based units before the end of the year. As the platform is scheduled for launch in Q2, this is quite an impressive number, but the $699-899 price tag of upcoming CULV notebooks is quite tempting.

Intel apparently plans to divide the notebook market into four segments. Everything above 12.1-inches will be traditional notebooks, it will have a Atom netbook segment, Menlow MID segment and the new, thin and light 11 to 13.3-inch market segment.

Intel’s CULV platform should fill the gap between Atom based netbooks and ultraportables, or even classic 12.1-inch machines, mainly due to its competitive pricing. Intel’s decision not to allow Atoms in machines over 10 inches also makes sense, as it would hurt its own upcoming platform and further lower the average selling price of its mobile CPUs.

Recently it was reported HP would ash Intel to allow it to build 11.6 and 13.3-inch Atom based machines, but it seems HP has opted for the CULV platform instead, following pressure from Intel.

AMD launched its Neo platform on CES, and at least on paper it is in the lead, but we have still to see actual product announcements or any word from AMD on the number of design wins. When Puma was launched some six months ago, AMD boasted 90+ design wins at launch day, and we all know Puma didn’t manage to make much of an impact on the market. (story Link)

How to Add All Regional Themes to Windows 7  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Each version of Windows 7 will ship with its own regional themes depending on the default region of the operating system. So if you have an Australian copy of Windows 7, it will contain Australian regional themes. Each copy will only have themes specifically for their region. There are seven different packs in total: Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, United States, and South Africa.Windows 7 Regionalized Themes

Fortunately, we have a little trick that will allow you to enjoy the beauty of all 7 theme packs. First, you need to download and extract this .rar file which contains all the theme packs. You can download the theme packs by clicking here.

Then you need to extract them to your MCT folder located at:
C:\windows\ Globalization\MCT

Once you’ve done that, download this registry file and double-click on it to add the following entry into your registry. This registry file automatically adds all your themes to the theme list under Personalization so you don’t have to manually add each theme pack.

If Windows 7 is not installed on a C Drive, make sure you open the registry file with notepad and change all the Cs to the appropriate drive.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft
\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\InstalledThemes\MCT]
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-AU\\Theme\\AU.theme”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-CA\\Theme\\CA.theme”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-DE\\Theme\\DE.theme”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-GB\\Theme\\GB.theme”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-JP\\Theme\\JP.theme”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-US\\Theme\\US.theme”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-ZA\\Theme\\ZA.theme”=”"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Wallpapers\ KnownFolders\0\Windows Wallpapers\MergeFolders]
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-AU\\Wallpaper”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-CA\\Wallpaper”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-DE\\Wallpaper”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-GB\\Wallpaper”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-JP\\Wallpaper”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-US\\Wallpaper”=”"
“c:\\windows\\Globalization\\MCT\\MCT-ZA\\Wallpaper”=”"

(story Link)

Price Watch: Aspire One Netbook, $289.99 Shipped  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , ,

Notebook or Netbook? It's a question for the ages, or at least for anyone shopping for a new portable PC. Buy.com has the Acer Aspire One Netbook for a tantalizing $289.99 shipped. The hitch: it's a refurb.

The last time I posted about the Aspire One, it was $309.99 new. However, this refurb has much beefier specs, including 1GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, and Windows XP instead of Linux.

The One also features a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, an 8.9-inch screen, a Webcam, and 802.11b/g wireless. It's modeled in sapphire blue, which I can tell you firsthand looks mighty attractive.

That's because I've got one of these babies right here. You can read about my experiences with it in The Netbook Diaries, but I'll sum up: it's a great little travel companion if you don't mind a slightly cramped keyboard and screen and have easy access to AC power (battery life bites).

This configuration sells for around $370 new, so if you don't mind a 90-day warranty instead of the usual 12 months, the refurb is definitely a good deal. If Buy.com runs out, you can get the same model for the same price from TigerDirect. (story Link)

Foolish Forecast: AMD Is Stronger Than It Looks  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Semiconductor underdog Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) will report fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday night. The last few quarters have been disastrous, and AMD's share price has shrunk to microscopic levels. Is this where the proverbial rubber hits the road, or will long-suffering investors continue to suffer? Let's have a little chat about all of that.

What Fools say
Here's how AMD's CAPS rating stacks up against some of its peers and competitors:

Company Market Cap (billions) Trailing P/E Ratio CAPS Rating
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) $73.42 14.3 ****
Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) $19.2 7.8 ****
NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) $4.0 11.9 ****
Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA) $2.73 N/A **
AMD $1.26 N/A **

Data taken from Motley Fool CAPS on 01/20/2009. Financial data courtesy of Yahoo! Finance.

CAPS member skymutt2 wrote the following in bearish volley in early December: "Burning thru cash, loads of debt, no end in sight for the losses." Ouch.

"This is a big one for a come back," says all-star member Vet67to82, who has an "outperform" rating on AMD. "Intel's only competition ... AND saving Intel from regulatory heat as a monopoly. Intel needs AMD to survive and prosper. ... Less price competition will be good for both companies bottom lines. Sooo, I'm looking for AMD to go from $2.00 to $10 to $20." (Story Link)

Red Hat Version 5.3 Released  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 became globally available on Wednesday, with the new enterprise OS featuring virtualization improvements, support for Intel's Core i7 architecture and inclusion of the Open Java Development Kit from Sun.

When interviewed in October 2008, Red Hat global chief executive Jim Whitehurst said virtualization was one of the company's key priorities. "Virtualization should be part of the operating system, not a separate layer," he said at the time.

Virtualization in RHEL 5.3 has been improved, including the ability to make larger virtualized machines — supporting up to 32 virtual CPUs and 80GB of RAM — in x86-64 environments. RHEL is currently used to run a number of large virtualization instances, including Amazon's elastic computing cloud, known as EC2.

RHEL 5.3 also includes support for Intel's latest chip architecture, Core i7, code-named Nehalem. Released in August last year, Core i7 is the successor to Intel's Core 2 Duo architecture.

Finally, RHEL 5.3 includes the Open Java Development Kit, an open-source implementation of Java SE 6 supported by Sun. This inclusion is intended to support Red Hat's Java application server, JBoss. (story Link)

Microsoft officials have said relatively little about the features and functionality the company is building into Windows 7 for business (as opposed to home) users. But a new blog post on the Windows System Deployment blog previews some of the changes enterprises can expect around Windows 7 deployment tools.

Post author Patrick Azzarello, a Senior Program Manager on the Windows OS Deployment Team, notes that the deployment changes with 7 should be smaller and less onerous than those introduced with Vista:

“Don’t worry though – these are mostly enhancements (where in Windows Vista we pretty much changed all the tools and infrastructure used to build and deploy Windows).”

In his January 20 blog post, Azzarello said the deployment changes in Windows 7 fall primarily into three buckets: Windows set-up; servicing infrastructure and tools that are part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (for corporate users) or OEM Pre-installation Kit for resellers); and network-based deployment.

In terms of set-up, Microsoft has moved the license key to the Windows Welcome page. It also is enabling “specific, licensed components,” as an alternative to re-imaging a system to make upgrading  from different Windows 7 versions (like Home Premium to Ultimate) easier, Azzarello blogged. (full Story)

It has been over 2 months since I wrote up my first impressions of the Nokia E71. At that time I was getting flooded with review and purchased devices such as the Palm Treo Pro, Samsung OMNIA, Touch Diamond, Treo 800w, MWg Zinc II, iPhone 3G and loads of applications with iPhone 2.0, Touch Diamond updates, and the iPAQ 910. Most of those devices are gone now, but the one that keeps earning the honor of carrying my AT&T SIM card is the Nokia E71. The fantastic hardware, valuable notifications on the standby screen, outstanding 3rd party application support, and form factor keep it in my pocket most of the time.

The device I took you on a tour around before was a European version and since that time I picked up the North American version that supports 3G on AT&T’s network. The hardware is the exact same as I detailed before, with the exception of the internal radio now supporting the U.S. bands so I won’t go over the hardware again. I will say what I keep on saying to everyone that I talk to about the device, the hardware ROCKS!

Looks and feel: The E71 is targeted to the enterprise user and as soon as you pull the device out of the box you realize this is one classy and professional device with the sleek stainless steel and dense body. The front facing QWERTY keyboard challenges the BlackBerry and the business user who have Exchange should be pleased with the device. The E71 is one of the first Eseries devices that no longer supports the BlackBerry Connect functionality, which some people may understandably miss. I use an Exchange service and have been using RoadSync because it provides an advanced Exchange experience compared to the free Nokia Mail For Exchange utility (for example, better folder support).

I did notice there is more light present between the display and keyboard than there was on the European version and haven’t seen folks mention this on the forums so I think this is just a slight device flaw that is not present across the line.

Keyboard: The keyboard is surprisingly very good and I actually like it better than my BlackBerry Curve for the most part because the keys feel more solid and smooth (the Curve buttons are hard and a bit loose) and I rarely enter text I didn’t intend to enter. I love that there is a button for the @ character, comma, period, and question mark that do not require any press of a FN button like they do on my Curve. Unfortunately, Nokia hasn’t fully embraced the keyboard into the device since there are very few shortcuts that you can perform on your device and most shortcuts are application specific. For example, did you see the TON of fantastic shortcuts I listed in my Nokia Email service post I would like to see Nokia integrate these types of shortcuts throughout the system and applications. (full Story)

Global Mobile Awards 2009 Nominees Announced for MWC 09  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Global Mobile Awards 2009 nominees announced for MWC 09In just over three weeks Mobile World Congress 2009 kicks off in Spain and the press releases are already starting to appear as companies get ready for big announcements and product showcases. One of the first releases concerns the nominees for the Global Mobile Awards. MWC is a mobile show focused on world markets so you will see many services that are provided outside the US in the list of nominees. I was pleased to see two of my personal favorite devices, the Nokia E71 and T-Mobile G1 appear in the Best Mobile Handset or Device category along with the INQ1, LG KS360, and BlackBerry Storm 9500.

I have to admit I am unfamiliar with a majority of the services nominated for these awards since I am heavily US focused in my coverage and experience. Some familiar faces in the crowd are Shazam for the iPhone (love it on my G1 too), Palringo IM client, and the BB Storm SurePress display. (story Link)

Securing the Windows 7 Beta  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Despite the fact that security programs are often some of the toughest code to make work with a new operating system, Windows 7 already has several companies ready with products aimed at keeping it safe from attackers.

By comparison, only one antivirus firm--McAfee--had its security software commercially ready by the time Microsoft launched Vista for businesses in November 2006.

That said, it stands to reason, given that Microsoft was making far more dramatic changes to the operating system's underlying architecture in Vista than it is in Windows 7.

This time around, it is AVG, Kaspersky, and Symantec that have products that are being touted from Microsoft's site. McAfee said it will have support by the time Windows 7 launches, while Trend Micro is working to have a compatible product in the next month or so.

"It is great to see that these partners were able to have their solutions working so early in our development process," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc said in a blog posting.

Dave Cole, a senior director of product management at Symantec, said his company decided to offer up a test version of its Norton 360 product for use with Windows 7, even though the company knows there are still a few things left to work out.

"We determined that we could run reasonably well under Windows 7," Cole said. "There are bugs that we know about, but we're comfortable enough with the effectiveness of the product that when they called us to participate we took them up on the offer." (full Story)

How Not to Get Twitter Followers: Our Top Tips  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Over the past few weeks, I've quietly researched what works and what doesn't when you're trying to get more people to follow you on Twitter. There are some surefire ways to add followers--promote your Twitter stream to friends, colleagues, or family; say something that's retweeted by thousands of Twitter users; have notoriety; or have your username crop up on sites like CNET that Twitter users frequent.

But for all those successes, I've found many more ways to utterly fail at adding Twitter followers. From begging to stories to gimmicks, there are a variety of ways to make yourself look foolish on Twitter without getting one more person to follow you.

Asking: Laugh, then ignore

Will you please be my follower on Twitter? My username is "DonReisinger" and hey, I'll even throw in a link!

Didn't work, did it?

Last week, I tested this out a few times on my followers by asking them to tell all their followers to follow me, and all I got back was a few snide remarks from followers saying things like, "Nice try, Don" or "Um, no." Unperturbed, I decided to try again later in the day, since I figured a different group of Twitter followers were using the service now and I might have better luck.

Nope.

Asking for Twitter followers is a major faux pas in the world of micro-blogging. First off, most of your followers will probably laugh at your willingness to show how desperate you are for more. Secondly, all your Twitter followers simply don't see that kind of request to their own followers so you can reap all the rewards. What do they get out of their tweet? You guessed it: nothing.

Fake stories: Anger and betrayal

Realizing that asking my followers for help wasn't going to work, I next tried telling them that I had entered into a bet with a close friend to see who would reach a certain follower count quicker. But to make it believable, I had to create an elaborate trail of logic: "A close friend and I have $50 on who can reach 2,500 followers first. Whoever does so, wins the cash. Will you help a friend out and find me some followers?"

Unfortunately, my followers had a few unhappy thoughts to share with me and my obvious ploy to add more. Suffice it to say that family friendliness wasn't a concern in their replies. (full Story)

Inside Google’s Gmail: What’s Next?  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , ,

Earlier this week, I sat down with Gmail Product Manager Todd Jackson to talk about the future of the service and to find out what's been keeping the team busy behind the scenes. Here are five tidbits from our meeting you might find interesting.

1. More Themes are coming - including ones designed by you.

No new Gmail Themes have been added since the feature launch in late November, but Jackson says more of the skins are coming. "We want to keep adding Themes. People like it. We don't know exactly how we'll do that yet. The 30 Themes that we chose were hand-designed to look great in Gmail."

Jackson says the team was split on whether to open up the design process to third parties, like what's been done on Google's customizable start page, iGoogle.

"We've thought about continuing to do it the way we did, and we thought about opening it up for other people to (design them)." Most of the hesitation has centered around Gmail's design, which makes skinning tricky business. "Gmail's structure is an application that's written all in JavaScript. It's a different beast. The detail level we did on Themes--we went pretty deep."

That complexity doesn't mean that the Gmail folks are beyond letting users design their own themes. When pressed if there would one day be a design-your-own Theme tool, Jackson said the closest thing users might be getting is a tool that lets them choose the colors of each Gmail element, similar to the color picker used for Gmail's labeling system.

As to when new Themes are coming, Jackson wouldn't say. However, I got a peek at a few rejects and early mock-ups, including several iterations of plaid that would get the lumberjack or golfer in all of us a little excited. Gmail via Safari and Mail. app is all you're getting for now.

2. No iPhone Gmail app in the works

For iPhone users who are fed up with Apple's built-in Mail application and wish that they could get a native Gmail application like the ones for Android and J2ME phones--don't hold your breath. "We could make one for mail, potentially," Jackson said, "but we'd also have to make one for Palm and BlackBerry. For each platform, it's time consuming."

Instead Jackson thinks the future of Gmail on phones centers around improved 3G coverage and new standards such as HTML 5 that will make using Gmail on your handset's browser less painful. "If we can design for the Web and give you the client-like experience that you're used to getting with Gmail on your browser, it's going to be a good experience."

3. Video chat is capable of HD

Gmail got video chat last year. However, instead of using Adobe's Flash to serve up the video, Google went with a small 2MB plug-in that had to be installed on your machine. Jackson says the team had gone back and forth between doing the add-on and Flash, but in the end, what mattered was quality, which the plug-in delivered. Going forward, Jackson says the plug-in route will be able to provide even higher-quality video as people's connections improve, going to Video Graphics Array (640x480 pixels) all the way up to high definition. (full Story)

Seven worthy Google Notebook Replacements  

Posted by Mohammad Talha

With Thursday's news that Google is discontinuing development on its Notebook service, it may leave a few people looking for a viable replacement. The good news is that there are a handful of really solid products that do the same thing, and in some cases--do it better. Here's a list of seven of our favorites, in no particular order.

1. Evernote

Evernote has a few big things going for it, the main one being its cross-platform architecture which lets you access and add to your Evernotes from multiple devices. It also has optical character recognition, which means any photos you send in will be scanned for text, which gets indexed for searching.

Serious desktop users will most likely want to download the local client, which enables you to create and edit notes even when you don't have an Internet connection. There's also a browser plug-in that lets you clip entire Web pages, or simply bits of them, to save for later.

If you want to get at Evernote on your phone there are clients for both the iPhone and Windows Mobile handsets. Both let you access your notes collection and create new ones right from your device. This includes things like voice messages and snapshots from your phone's built-in camera and microphone.

The service is free to use up to a certain amount of data per month, which you can easily go over if you intend to use it for archiving high-resolution photo scans or for storing large files. However, if you're just using it for quick notes, and a few photos and Web clippings you'll be well under the limit.

Shortly after the news that Google Notebook was ceasing development, Evernote announced it would soon be providing an escape hatch for users to export their stuff over to Evernote free of charge.

2. Zoho Notebook

Zoho's Notebook is probably one of the best services for ex-Google Notebookers to flock to if only for its collaborative features. Several people can work on the same notebook at once, and it combines a handful of Zoho's other Web productivity services into one place. For instance, you can drop in a presentation from Zoho Show, add a video from YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, or any other site that uses embed code, as well as upload files from your desktop to share or squirrel away on Zoho's servers.

Additionally there's live chat with other Zoho users and collaborators, voice recording, and the capability to link to other notebooks within any notebook.

Its learning curve may be a bit steep for Google Notebook users unfamiliar with other Zoho products, but one thing that might help is the optional browser extension (for IE and Firefox) that lets users clip bits of Web pages to send to specific notebooks.

3. Clipmarks

If you were never really big into Google Notebook's writing feature, you'll probably dig Clipmarks. Once installed in your browser you can start clipping bits and pieces of any page you're on. These get stored in a central archive that you're able to search and browse through from any computer.

Like Google Notebook, Clipmarks lets you team up with other people to create a repository for various clippings. You can group together with these folks and send certain clippings to the shared space right when you're clipping them.

Where Clipmarks trumps Google Notebook is with its sharing, by letting you publish your clipping for the entire Clipmarks community to see and comment on.

4. Ubernote

Ubernote is right up there in both matching and surpassing the utility of Google Notebook. Like Google Notebook you can use it to grab bits and pieces of pages you're on, or simply as a storage space for collaborative writing and bookmarking. It also employs tags to let you sort and search through your content.

Ubernote works in all major browsers, has both an installable toolbar and a bookmarklet that lets you do the clipping. You can access it from the Web or on your mobile phone, and everything you create can be shared with others both in public and private groups.

One thing that makes Ubernote particularly attractive is that it lets you download your notes as an HTML file. This can be squirreled away on your hard drive or as an attachment in an e-mail due to its small size.

5. Springnote

Springnote takes a wiki-like approach to group notebooks. Like Google's effort you can keep a notebook personal or work on it with others. It's also entirely Web-based and employs tags and a quick search engine that lets you browse and sort through your work.

Springnote offers a much richer text editor than Google Notebook does. Like Zoho Notebook it also lets you insert all sorts of random media objects from anywhere on the Web or from your desktop. This includes document files that can be converted into Springnote notebooks. Like Ubernote, notebooks can be exported into HTML files for archiving or sharing.

In addition to its Web editor, there's also a free iPhone application that lets you view and edit your Springnote pages. You can use it to send photos you've taken to any one of your notebooks. Springnote's one limitation is the 2GB cap per account, which you might run up on quickly if you're using it to store media files. (full Story)

What this Firefox User Misses about Chrome  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Call me fickle, but I switched my default browser back to Firefox for the time being. In doing so, I discovered the features I really miss about Chrome.

Why did I switch back so soon after lavishing praise on Google's open-source Web browser? Well, when Google added the option to use a cutting-edge "developer preview" version, I signed up, and guess what--it's not as stable. Specifically, both 2.0.156.1 and the newer 2.0.157.2 that I now have installed inexplicably become unresponsive for long periods of time--at least 10 seconds, which is about 9.5 seconds longer than my tolerance limit.

But I like some of Chrome's new features, so I didn't want to downgrade to better-tested stable or beta versions. Instead, I thought perhaps I'd see what my second-favorite browser felt like again while waiting for the newer Chrome features to settle down.

I was a little surprised. What got me to switch to Chrome two months ago was performance, but what I missed most upon heading back to Firefox was Chrome's user interface.

More than once, I found that even after a few weeks of Chrome, my muscle memory had been reprogrammed to expect different behavior. Switching back to Firefox wasn't just different, though--I wanted the old features. Here's a list of what I didn't even know that I'd come to like.

The location of new tabs
When you open a link in a new tab with Chrome (I often middle-click to do so), the new page shows up in tab immediately to the right of the current tab. This naturally groups related tabs, and for me at least, eases the process of switching among many.

When you open a new tab in Firefox, it appears to the far right of the list, and it's harder to get to it. It takes just that little extra bit of time to locate and navigate to the tab.

Good news, though: Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard pointed me to a blog post by programmer Mike Beltzner, which says the same behavior is coming to Firefox:

• tabs that are opened from links will open to the immediate right of the current tab
• new tabs created by the New Tab button or keyboard shortcut will open at the end of the tab strip
• if multiple tabs are opened (in the background) from links, they will open sequentially to the right of each other; as soon as focus changes, this sequential opening behavior will stop, and tabs will go back to opening immediately to the right or at the end of the tab strip as per the above

After typing 'g' in Firefox, it takes two more keystrokes to load Gmail.Searching from the address bar
I think Firefox's awesome bar does a better job digging previously visited links out of my history, but searching directly from Google's Omnibox, which adds online search into the mix, is more useful. I search dozens of times a day, and now I have to remember either to visit a search page or head over to Firefox's special search box (to do the latter faster, I hit Ctrl-L, then Tab).

Some folks are concerned about sending lots of juicy personal data to Google's servers, which monitors what you type so it can supply suggested search results. But except for typing in Web sites, it's the same stuff I'd type into a search page anyway.

After typing 'g' in Chrome, hitting the Enter key will load Gmail.

One less keystroke
When typing addresses into the address bar, both Chrome and Firefox offer a list of suggestions in a drop-down box. But Chrome highlights its top pick, while Firefox puts it one entry below the box.

That means if the pick is right, I just have to hit Enter with Chrome, but the down arrow, then Enter with Firefox. It's a tiny thing, but I do this hundreds of times a day. (full Story)

Qualcomm Grabs AMD Handheld, Graphics Tech  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Qualcomm has picked up handheld assets from Advanced Micro Devices, including graphics chip technology.

San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD announced on Tuesday that Qualcomm has acquired graphics and multimedia technology assets, intellectual property and resources that were "formerly the basis of AMD's handheld business."

The acquisition includes "graphics cores that we have been licensing for several years," said Steve Mollenkopf, executive vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, in a statement. The agreement provides Qualcomm with "vector graphics and 3D graphics technologies and IP," AMD said in response to an e-mail query.

AMD would not provide further details on what Qualcomm got but said that AMD's handheld graphics is centered on "unified shader architecture" technololgy that has been used in Microsoft's Xbox, for example. "We have not disclosed the specific assets and technologies that Qualcomm has acquired. Our Handheld 3D graphics technology is based on unified shader architecture," the AMD spokesperson said. AMD, however, did make it clear that the agreement does not include its Imageon processors. "The agreement does not include the AMD Imageon processor products, the Imageon brand, or any existing Imageon customer commitments," an AMD representative said.

"AMD will retain rights to the AMD Imageon products," the spokesperson said. "We intend to honor existing customer commitments for the currently available AMD Imageon products, including the A250 application processor and the M180 media processor, for the remaining lifecycle of these products."

AMD added that it will not update the Imageon road map. "We will not add any new AMD Imageon products to the road map," according to the representative. (full Story)

HP Unveils TouchSmart TX2 Multi-Touch Tablet  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

For years, the computer industry has been pushing the concept of the tablet PC, but save for a small percentage of professionals in specialized fields, the form factor has largely failed to catch on.

Hewlett-Packard is looking to change that with the Wednesday introduction of the TouchSmart TX2, the first multi-touch tablet for Windows.

HP took some interesting baby steps with touchscreens with the launch of the TouchSmart IQ816 all-in-one "kitchen" PC. Designed for family use, the PC proved its usefulness when it came to multimedia, letting users get more hands-on with things such as digital photos.

Like its predecessor in the TouchSmart line, the TX2's touch capabilities are largely focused on multimedia--flipping and expanding digital pictures and things of that nature. Some of the touch functionality extends to other apps, but it's fairly limited.

PC Magazine got some hands-on time with the computer earlier this week, and the first thing HP showed us was the ability to launch HP MediaSmart by drawing an "M" with two fingers (even this simple gesture took some getting used to, however).

HP is also being a bit generous with the multi-touch classification. While it supports more fingers, the gestures at this point are still limited to two. An HP rep suggested that there were limited functions that might require more than two fingers, but Apple's new multi-finger trackpads for the Macbook certainly make a different case.

Otherwise, the tablet is a lot like its predecessor, the Tx2000z. It features a 12-inch widescreen, a stylus, a dual-layer DVD burner, three USB ports, and a multi-card reader. Inside the tablet has a 250GB, 5400-rpm hard drive, a 2.2-GHz AMD Turion X2 ZM-82 processor, and 4GB of memory. Pricing starts at $1,149. (full Story)

With Earnings Call, Apple Heads Back to Business  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

After a week spent worrying about the health of CEO Steve Jobs, Apple will look forward to getting back to business Wednesday when it reports its fiscal first-quarter earnings.

The last three months were not kind to computer and consumer electronics companies, but Apple is expected to have weathered the storm better than others. Analysts are predicting the company will report revenue and earnings per share at the high end of the guidance it provided in October, with expectations of $9.76 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $1.38.

The three-month period between October and December is usually one of Apple's best quarters of the calendar year, but this was anything but a typical holiday season. Overall retail sales fell 2.7 percent in December as compared with November, as the full emotional impact of the late-2008 stock market swoon took hold. We got a bit of an earnings preview last week, when IDC and Gartner reported their PC market share estimates for the fourth calendar quarter. Apple's Mac shipment growth slowed from the strong pace it set throughout 2008, but the company is still growing faster than the market itself.

Measured against a U.S. PC market that fell 3.5 percent compared with last year, Apple's shipments grew 7.5 percent. That suggests that Apple is still enjoying momentum in its Mac division, which no doubt got a boost from the introduction of new notebooks in October.

Still, the economic climate is having some sort of impact on the Mac, which is almost exactly what analysts felt would happen going into this quarter. Most analysts seem to be expecting Apple to have sold around 2.6 million Macs during the quarter, representing decent year-over-year growth at around 13 percent but slower than Apple had been reporting over the last several quarters. When it comes to the other two legs of Apple's business, however, the prognosis is less clear. iPod shipments, usually the crown jewel of Apple's first fiscal quarter, are expected to decline from last year's 22 million shipments to around 19 million. But there could be a silver lining for Apple if the momentum toward higher-priced iPods like the iPod Touch continues, allowing the company to offset a volume decline in sales with an increase in revenue obtained per iPod.

Predicting the iPhone shipment totals is even less of a science, since Apple's history in this market is too short to have established seasonal patterns. The company sold way more iPhones last quarter than anyone had expected, shipping 6.9 million units. That has dampened expectations for the current quarter, since many of those sales were used by Apple's carrier partners to build inventory ahead of the pent-up demand for the July iPhone 3G launch. Financial analysts seem to expect around 5 million iPhones to have been sold during the quarter, which would be a steep decline from the company's fourth quarter but a 116 percent increase over last year's first-fiscal quarter iPhone sales. (full Story)

Google Kills off Print-Advertising Project  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

As the publishing industry gradually moves online, Google has discovered that it's hard to shift some of its initiatives in the other direction--specifically, advertisements.

"While we hoped that Print Ads would create a new revenue stream for newspapers and produce more relevant advertising for consumers, the product has not created the impact that we--or our partners--wanted," Spencer Spinnell, director of Google print ads, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "As a result, we will stop offering print ads on February 28."

Google launched the print ad program in November 2006, then expanded it in 2007, but with the recession in full bloom, the search giant has been winnowing projects to cut expenses. Google also offers programs for video and radio ads.

Spinnell said Google still wants to find a way to help the ailing journalism trade.

"We remain dedicated to working with publishers to develop new ways for them to earn money, distribute and aggregate content, and attract new readers online," he said. "We will continue to devote a team of people to look at how we can help newspaper companies. It is clear that the current Print Ads product is not the right solution, so we are freeing up those resources to try to come up with new and innovative online solutions that will have a meaningful impact for users, advertisers, and publishers." (story Link)

Archive Mail on Your iPhone  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Pretty much everyone with an iPhone and a Gmail account has a preference for how to use the two together. Some people prefer the iPhone's built-in email client -- it's fast, syncs everything via IMAP, and works like the rest of the device. Others, myself included, can't live without search and threaded conversations and prefer to bring up Gmail in the browser. And a few people, for whom this tip is geared, read their mail via the client but switch to the browser-based version to clean out their inboxes so they can easily archive rather than delete.
See, the default Gmail set up for iPhone's built-in mail client configures things such that if you delete a message on your iPhone, it's sent to Gmail's Trash. That means in 30 days it's gone forever. Sure, you can archive by clicking the "Move to" button and then selecting "All Mail," but if you're an archive junkie and want mail you delete on your iPhone to get archived in Gmail instead, you just have to re-do the Gmail set up on your phone.
First, get rid of your default set up. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar. Find your Gmail account under "Accounts," click on it, scroll to the bottom, and click "Delete Account." Don't worry -- it'll be back and better than ever in a sec.
Then manually configure IMAP using the "Other" menu option by following the instructions this video (also available in the Gmail Help Center) (link)

Intel Pledges 80 Cores in Five Years  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel has built a prototype of a processor with 80 cores that can perform a trillion floating-point operations per second.

CEO Paul Otellini held up a silicon wafer with the prototype chips before several thousand attendees at the Intel Developer Forum here Tuesday. The chips are capable of exchanging data at a terabyte a second, Otellini said during a keynote speech. The company hopes to have these chips ready for commercial production within a five-year window.

Intel uses its twice-yearly conference to educate developers on its long- and short-term plans. Over three days, hardware developers and partners get a chance to interact with Intel employees and take classes on new technologies.

As expected, Intel announced plans to have quad-core processors ready for its customers in November. An extremely fast Core 2 Extreme processor with four cores will be released then, and the newly named Core 2 Quad processor for mainstream desktops will follow in the first quarter of next year, Otellini said.

The quad-core server processors are on a similar trajectory, with a faster Xeon 5300 processor scheduled for November and a low-power Xeon slated for the first quarter. Intel's first quad-core processors are actually two of its dual-core Core architecture chips combined into a multichip package.

"Performance matters again," Otellini said, disclosing that the quad-core desktop processor will deliver 70 percent faster integer performance than the Core 2 Duo, and the quad-core server processor will be 50 percent faster than the Xeon 5100 introduced in June.

One reason performance didn't matter to Intel during the last couple of years was because it was getting trounced on benchmarks at the hands of Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron and Athlon 64 server and desktop processors. That all changed with the introduction of the Core 2 Duo chips this year.

"With this new set of dual and quad-core processors, we've regained our leadership," Otellini told developers. The growing Internet video phenomenon, as evidenced by the spectacular rise of Web sites like YouTube, will keep these processors busy during intensive tasks like video editing, he said.

Road to Santa Rosa
Notebooks will get a face-lift next year with the Santa Rosa platform, which will provide notebooks with new technologies like 802.11n wireless and flash memory. Intel believes that it will be the first to add flash memory to a notebook motherboard, which will improve boot times and reduce power consumption, Otellini said. (full Story)

Wait no longer. Although Microsoft is still trying to add servers and eventually post the download link on the Windows 7 website, we’ve figured out how to download the official Windows 7 Beta ISO images and acquire an activation key.

  • Step 1 - Download:

    The first thing you want to do is of course, download the ISO images of Windows 7 Beta.

Click here to download Windows 7 Beta (32-bit)
Click here to download Windows 7 Beta (64-bit)

  • Step 2 - Get your activation key:

    Even with the slmgr -rearm trick, your Windows 7 Beta copy will only last 90 days. An activation key will extend your expiry date all the way to August 1, 2009. To get your activation key, first sign-in at the Technet website with your Windows Live ID. Once you’re signed in, you must copy and paste one of the following links into your browser.

Windows 7 Beta 32-bit Activation Key:
https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/scripts/gcs.aspx?Product=tn-win7-32-ww&LCID=1033

Windows 7 Beta 64-bit Activation Key:
https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/scripts/gcs.aspx?Product=tn-win7-64-ww&LCID=1033

Copy and paste the appropriate link into your browser. At first you may receive the following error message:

The site is currently experiencing technical difficulties, please check back in the next business day.

Disregard it and continue refreshing. Also keep in mind that the 32-bit and 64-bit Activation keys are interchangeable, meaning you can use a 64-bit activation key to activate a 32-bit edition of Windows 7 Beta and vice versa. If you can’t get a 32-bit key, try getting a 64-bit key instead. Once you’ve acquired your activation key, you’re all set to install Windows 7. (story Link with Thanks)

MotoGP 08 Coming To The Nintendo Wii  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Capcam has announced that their multi-platformed title, MotoGP 08, will be extending its console line to the Nintendo Wii. The game features different modes such as Championship, Career, Time Attack, and two-player split-screen action. They have also added all 3 of the MotoGP classes; the 125cc, 250cc, and MotoGP.

Capcom also wanted this to be a more serious type racing title, so they have included the option to either play in arcade or sim more. Also, you will be using your Wii Controller to steer the bike by holding it horizontally, like handle bars of a real bike.

Also, we bring you the entire fact sheet.

Game Description
The first officially licensed MotoGP title ever for the Nintendo Wii platform, MotoGP turns the Wii remote into a virtual set of handlebars to deliver the definitive two-wheeled racing experience.
The development team’s overriding aim is to deliver an unparalleled handling model that allows access points for gamers of all skill levels and just as importantly provide a challenge to meet each player’s abilities.

3 MotoGP Classes
MotoGP for Wii puts the player at the centre of the world’s premier motorcycling championship by letting them join a team and compete alongside their sporting heroes in all three race classes – 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP. Recent MotoGP titles had excluded 125cc and 250cc at a cost and Capcom is keen to ensure that all the riders are faithfully represented, which also enables complete progression through the ranks as well as giving the gamer a different racing experience per class. The game features a scaled and competitive AI which adjusts within limits to give a more enjoyable race experience on the lower levels but shows no mercy in the higher levels. (full Story)

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