Southern Island is ahead of the pack, but it is set to low power for now

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2011 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, nvidia, gpu, amd, 28nm

Thanks to some information garnered by SemiAccurate we have a very good idea of AMD's release plans for their new GPU family, what we have been referring to as Southern Islands.  The confusion that we felt from AMD's announcement that Southern Island parts would be ready sooner than expected arose from the reported difficulties that TSMC was having with their 28nm HKMG process.  Thankfully someone had a chance to take apart some 28nm TSMC field programmable arrays and inside found a HKMG design modified for lower power states than the original specs.  That doesn't mean cellphone level graphics performance but certainly means that the first GPUs we see from Southern Islands will not be the high end cards.  AMD did the same thing with previous generations of GPUs, so the release schedule is becoming a habit, even if not what would be preferred.

There are other side effects to this choice by AMD and TSMC which are probably going to hurt NVIDIA, who are hoping to get full power Kepler based GPUs out at the beginning of next year.  Since NVIDIA tends towards more aggressive clocks, the experience that TSMC has with what is called the HPL 28nm process will not necessarily help NVIDIA's HKMG 28nm process.  SemiAccurate has more.

chipworks_151433-c_branded.jpg

"The final piece of the TSMC 28nm HKMG process puzzle was put in place at SemiCon last week, it now makes sense. Chipworks got ahold of a Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA, and it revealed a few secrets on the operating table.

If you recall, AMD is on track to put out Southern Islands chips much earlier than most people, SemiAccurate included, expected, possibly even this quarter. The real question is what process they are going to make it on, the TSMC 40nm SiON or 28nm HKMG? 40nm would be big, hot, and limited, think volcanic island more than Southern, while the 28nm SHP HKMG process wasn’t supposed to be ready until late Q1, best case. The short story is that Southern Islands is very likely not on either one."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: SemiAccurate

Chris Blizzard, Mozilla Blogs: The process of multi-process

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 19, 2011 - 11:59 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox

One side-effect of splitting a program up into multiple processes is that instructions do not inherently have a specific order. One of the most evident places for that to occur is during a videogame. I am sure most gamers have played a game where the controls just felt sluggish and muddy for some inexplicable reason. While there could be a few problems, one likely cause is that your input is not evaluated for a perceivably large amount of time. Chris Blizzard of Mozilla took on this and other issues with multithreaded applications and wrapped it around the concept of Firefox past, present, and future.

22-mozilla.jpg

Firefox is getting Beta all the time.

One common misconception is that your input is recognized between each frame, which is untrue: many frames could go by before input affects the events on screen. John Carmack in a recent E3 interview discussed about iD measuring up to 100ms worth of frames occurring before a frame occurred which recognized the user’s command. This is often more permissible for games with slower-paced game design where agility is less relevant; if your character would lose to a Yak in a foot race, turns about as quick as one, and takes a hundred bullets to die: you will not notice that you started to dodge a few milliseconds earlier as you would expect to die in either case. In a web browser it is much less dramatic though the same principle is true: the browser is busy doing its many tasks and cannot waste too much time checking if the user has requested something yet. This aspect of performance, along with random hanging, is considered “responsiveness”. Mozilla targets 50 milliseconds (one-twentieth of a second) as the maximum time before Firefox rechecks its state for changes.

Chris Blizzard goes on to discuss how hardware is mostly advancing on the front of increases in parallelism rather than clock speed and other per-thread advancements. GPGPU was not a topic in the blog post leaving the question for the distant future centered on what a multithreaded DOM would look like – valuing the classical multicore over the still budding many-core architectures. Memory usage and crashing were also addressed though this likely was more to dispel the Firefox stereotype of being a memory hog starting later in the Firefox 2 era.

GPGPU-Trail.png

The GPGPU trail is not Mozilla's roadmap.

The last topic discussed was Sandboxing for security. One advantage of branching off your multiple threads into multiple discrete processes is that you could request that the operating system assign limited rights to individual processes. The concept of limited rights is to prevent one application from exploiting too much permissions for the purpose of forcing your computer to do something undesirable. If you are accepting external data, such as a random website on the internet, you need to make sure that if it can exploit vulnerability in your web browser that it gains as little permission as possible. While it is not a guarantee that external data will be executed with dangerous permission levels: the harder you can make it, the better.

What does our readers think? (Registration not required to comment.)

Source: Mozilla Blog

CoolerMaster's new Storm headphones have nothing to do with JK Rowling

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2011 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: CoolerMaster Storm Sirus, audio, 5.1 headset

Naming a product Sirus right now might attract an odd crowd, then again maybe it is best that they are using headphones to watch or listen to their favourite series.  CoolerMaster's newest member of the Storm lineup is not a case, mouse or fan, it is a 5.1 surround headset.  One of the more interesting features is that there is only one wire coming from the headset, connecting to a small round controller.  From there you connect to the PC using USB, or preferably, 4 of the analog jacks on the back of your PC.  The controller allows you to adjust the levels of each channel separately, which is a very nice touch.  Unfortunately however Neoseeker adjusted it they couldn't bring it up to audiophile standards, but they have no reservations recommending it for gamers.

NS_CM_Storm_Sirus.jpg

"Not one to be left out, Cooler Master enters the PC audio market with a 5.1 surround sound headset of its own that can connect to your audio source via analog jacks or USB port. See how well the Sirius stacks against more specialized headsets in our latest audio review."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Neoseeker

Intel and AMD be warned; ARM could grab up to 20% of the laptop market in the next 4 years

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2011 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, arm, mali, low power

Those who ignored Microsoft's announcement that Windows 8 will support ARM processors will perhaps take note of Isuppli's claim that ARM could grab 1 in 5 of the laptops sold by 2015.  The extremely low powers System on a Chip design that they have been selling were at the opposite end of the market from AMD and Intel's X86 chips, but with the rise of the APU the market has undergone a fundamental change.  While the X86 makers are trying to lower the power requirements of their APUs, ARM is busy trying to ramp up the power of their chips.  There are already several vendors establishing a relationship with ARM, up to and including Apple

ARM's Cortex A9 and Mali are impressive, but ARM is already talking about console level graphics quality from their next generation of chips which we will see in roughly 18 months.  This improvement will also encompass their next generation of power efficency research, which should keep power consumption and heat well below what Intel and AMD will be trying to reach.  As well, it might provide an interesting opportunity for NVIDIA as the lack of a license to integrate chips with the new X86 based architecture will not stop them from developing graphics enhancements for ARM based laptops.  Drop by The Inquirer for more on this topic

ARM_Mali-T604 Architecture_675.jpg

"CHIP DESIGNER ARM could power over 20 per cent of all laptops shipped in 2015, according to analyst outfit IHS Isuppli.

IHS Isuppli has forecast that the domination of X86 chips in the laptop market will start to diminish as Microsoft releases its Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8 will be the first desktop operating system from Microsoft that will support the ARM architecture that is found in just about every smartphone in existence."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

NVDA Cum Laude-ing Stanford a CUDA Center of Excellence

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 17, 2011 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: stanford, nvidia, CUDA

NVIDIA has been pushing their CUDA platform for years now as a method to access your GPU for purposes far beyond the scopes of flags and frags. We have seen what a good amount of heterogeneous hardware will do to a process with a hefty portion of parallelizable code from encryption to generating bitcoins; media processing to blurring the line between real-time and non-real-time 3d rendering. NVIDIA also recognizes the role that academia plays in training the future programmers and thus strongly supports when an institution teaches how to use GPU hardware effectively, especially when they teach how to use NVIDIA GPU hardware effectively. Recently, NVIDIA knighted Stanford as the latest of its CUDA Center of Excellence round table.

GPUniversity.jpg

It will be 150$ if you want it framed.

The list of CUDA Centres of Excellence now currently includes: Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard School of Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering at Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Taiwan University, Stanford Engineering, TokyoTech, Tsinghua University, University of Cambridge, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland, University of Tennessee, and the University of Utah. If you are interested in learning about programming for GPUs then NVIDIA has just graced blessing on one further choice. Whether that will affect many prospective students and faculty is yet to be seen, but it makes for many amusing puns nonetheless.

Source: NVIDIA

PDXLAN Custom Cases Round 1

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | July 16, 2011 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: pdxlan, pdx, case mods

Yes, I am still gaming away and getting destroyed in some StarCraft II but at least we are having fun.  In between ass-whoopings I have been wandering around the BYOC looking for some interesting case mods.  Here are a few I found interesting.

 

cases01.jpg

These aren't really mods but I like the idea of bringing a BYOC stand that puts the case and computing components over the display in use, saving space on the table and moving the heat closer to the ceiling.  

 

cases02.jpg

Here is another example of the design but with a brightly lit overclocked and water cooled SLI configuration.

 

cases03.jpg

Probably my favorite for the event has been this Lego case that took about 2 years to create according to the owner.  The crane on the left is fully workable and controllable via some software running on the system.  My favorite part though: the HDD LED is routed to look like a Lego guy's welding light on the front!!

 

cases04.jpg

This Gigabyte branded case mod uses the company's new G1 Killer branded motherboards and focuses heavily on the green motif.  The skull shape reservoir really completes the ensemble.  

 

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Finally, here is a random shot of some people lining up to play a game of "LAN Pong" involving tossing tennis balls into a bucket.  The prizes were impressive though: a pair of NVIDIA Tegra 2 powered tablets.  

Source: PCPer

Steam readies update to download system, just in (Valve) time

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2011 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, downloader

Steam is not known to be the most reliable when it comes to updating; this is particularly true during the launch of a high-profile game when network traffic is at a peak. One such of those times happened for the last week-or-so during Valve’s fairly epic summer sale. Valve has, as usual, promptly addressed the issue and will be rolling out this new system starting today with a new client update forthcoming to support this new infrastructure.

steambusy.png

If other people are any indication: complain profusely while browsing more discounted bundles.

One method that the update will utilize to improve your downloading experience is to switch to the standard HTTP protocol for data transfers. There are two main benefits of HTTP: In the event that you are in a particularly nasty firewall environment, HTTP is more readily permitted than other ports for users with sane network administrators. The second benefit of HTTP is that data that protocol is potentially cached, thus if you and another user share some stretch of the internet between you and Valve, it is possible that you will not need to fetch the data all the way from Valve as the other request brought a copy of the data closer already. Besides HTTP, the other method of improving performance is the ability to perform differential synchronization. If a 2GB file is edited by 4KB, you will soon only need to receive the 4KB difference.

Valve, not being able to resist a troll, closed by teasing that DOTA 2 will be delivered using Steam’s new delivery system. They also claim that if you want to try out the new system, download a 1280x720 trailer from the Steam store because they already rolled out the new update to that part of the system. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: Valve

Microsoft May Be Dropping the Windows Branding In Future Operating Systems

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2011 - 10:14 AM |
Tagged: windows, microsoft, branding

Microsoft and their Windows brand have always been synonymous where it comes to Operating Systems. As someone who grew up with Windows 3.1, I have grown up seeing Microsoft through the proverbial Window(s). As such, Windows has been a brand that has always been around, and one that I assumed would always be around. In a surprise twist; however, This Is My Next reports that Microsoft may be dropping the Windows brand for their future operating systems after Windows 8.

windowslogos.png

Look how far the MS OS logo has come.  What does the future hold?

Windows 8 is already incorporating tile elements of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Xbox elements in the form of a re-branded Games For Windows Live service. It seems logical; therefore, that Microsoft would want to even further integrate their mobile, gaming, and computing platforms into one cohesive unit. This Is My Next reports that the future OS will present a single Operating System and UI features across all devices and platforms. They further quote Andy Lees in stating that the single ecosystem would facilitate consistency across all Microsoft powered platforms and “the goal isn’t just to share UI, but also core technologies like Internet Explorer.”

You can read more about the “Next Next” OS over at This Is My Next. What are your opinions on the proposed branding theme? Do you have any fold memories of the Windows brand?

Sony: Back on track with their tablet ad campaign

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 15, 2011 - 11:39 PM |
Tagged: sony, S2, S1

It was just under a month ago when we reported on Sony’s “Two Will” campaign to promote their pair of upcoming Android Honeycomb tablets. The first video was part of a promised five-part series which started with a Rube Goldberg-esque machine casting shadows which either spell stuff or look like they are part of a city for Echochrome 2 people. It was unclear whether the next videos would have entirely different themes or if they would continue down that aesthetic. Now that the second video is released it appears like rails are here to stay.

S1S2.jpg

Barely hanging on the tail of a big cat. Nice metaphor -- but not iOS’ naming scheme.

(nor flattering for an ad)

This time around, Sony opens with a colorful fountain, a typing plunger device, and a jingle that is so familiar I have been racking my brain over it for hours trying to figure out where I heard it before expecting it to be some grand clue. There seems to be a lot of hidden metaphor in this ad campaign, much like what was seen in the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads that were pulled because they were panned by critics who could not see where they were headed thus making us all unsure of where they were actually headed because the rest is left unaired. Hopefully Sony will make it through all five of their episodes and we can find out exactly what Sony is trying to make us think about.

What do you think? Best ad ever or has Sony lost their marbles? See more metaphors?

Comment within.

Source: Sony

Battlefield 3 Battlelog: Call of Dutied all over Call of Duty

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 08:31 PM |
Tagged: battlefield 3

Battlefield has to my knowledge always allowed services to track your statistics to some degree and display them on their site. While I was off in the Unreal, America’s Army 2, and Halo PC universe during the age of Battlefield 1942 I was very active in Battlefield 2 upon its launch in 2005. Members of the couple clans I played with spent quite a bit of time browsing each other’s stats tracker pages from various services including BF2S. Call of Duty’s announcement earlier this year was that they would bring a deep level of stat tracking for a subscription fee, and now DICE announced that Battlefield 3 will roll a lot of that tracking which formerly was piped to independent services into their official web services.

battlefield3-collapse.jpg

Battlefield can topple buildings, but can it topple Call of Duty?

P.S.: That Helicopter is screwwwwed.

The blog Battlefieldo found a few screenshots of Battlefield 3’s online service and posted them before the official German Battlefield site removed them. One of the largest advancements is to the inter-player chat which appears to transcend inside and outside of game similar to Steam’s service and, again like Steam, allows you to join on a player’s server directly. There are no screenshots showing the depth and detail of statistic tracking however what we can see suggests they are at least as detailed as what is currently available through third-party services in the previous Battlefield games.

Do you care about statistics? Comment within.

(Registration not required to comment)

Source: Battlefieldo

24,000 Files Stolen From Pentagon In Cyber Attack

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 05:37 PM |
Tagged: pentagon, hack, Cyber Security, cracking

If we thought that the antics of LulzSec and Anonymous were bad, the recent admission by the Pentagon that 24,000 files were stolen by an as yet identified to the public attacker is not good news at all. Exactly what was taken has not been released; however Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said that the Pentagon believes the attacker was a foreign government and according to Fox News, Lynn stated that “’we have a pretty good idea’ who did it.”

pentagon.jpg

The Pentagon attack was revealed to the public during a speech on Thursday as a preface to a newly proposed more active cyber-defense. The Pentagon believes that the threat of retaliation is not enough of a deterrent to stop attackers, and a more active defense is needed. The strategy includes a greater focus on defense rather than offensive measures, improving its workers’ computer habits to mitigate the risk of succumbing to viruses and malware, and calls for collaboration with other federal agencies, contractors, and foreign allies.

You can read more about the attack and the proposed defense to further attacks here.

Source: Fox News

Samsung needs to pump up their tiny ARMs

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: arm, Samsung, 20nm

Good news for those into shrinkage, as Samsung has rolled out a proof of concept 20nm chip based on the ARM Cortex SoC.  The process used includes High-k metal gates in addition to silicon on insulator, neither of which are new technology to CPU enthusiasts, however the process size is.  That lends credence to the rumour that Apple might be considering switching to an ARM architecture since they already use Samsung as a major provider and this would allow them to continue that relationship.  Then again GLOBALFOUNDRIES is looking at a partnership with ARM as well, so don't count them out.  This should also give doubters of Intel's scheduled process shrinkage some reassurance; if Samsung is already doing it then it is hard to doubt Intel's abililty to do so.  SemiAccurate has the scoop here.

pumpyouup.jpg

"Samsung Foundry, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SEO:005930) is currently testing its entire 20nm process flow and has just taped out a complete test processor that is based on an ARM Cortex-M0 processor that has been combined with ARM Artisan prototype libraries (both 12-track high performance and 9-track high density versions), custom memories, GPIO, and test structures."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: SemiAccurate

64 Bit Flash Support Returns To Linux With Flash Player 11

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 02:50 AM |
Tagged: linux, flash, Adobe

Linux, once the beholder of 64 bit versions of the Adobe Flash plug-in, has been without any form of 64 bit support for the past few iterations (since version 10.1 to be more specific); however, Adobe has finally reinstated support for the 64 bit Linux version with the newly announced Adobe Flash Player 11 Beta. Currently only available on the desktop (Adobe claims the mobile version is coming soon), the new beta brings a new method of 2D and 3D rendering dubbed the Stage 3D API. This new API uses GPU-acceleration to speed up rendering across “multiple screens and devices.” Support for H.264/AVC SW camera encoding and Native JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) are also features of the beta.

flashlinux.png

The announcement also briefly covers the improved security measures, specifically those that relate to GPU-acceleration. The new Stage 3D rendering API includes a new simple shader language dubbed AGAL (Adobe Graphics Assembly Language) that prohibits loops or functions inside shaders. Further, Adobe has added restrictions to the API to limit the number of calls per frame in an attempt to mitigate DDoS attacks.

The new desktop beta is available now for download. 64 bit Linux users rejoice, for the necessary evil that is Flash has returned to you.

Source: Adobe

Podcast #162 - Adventures in Bitcoin Mining, the Eyefinity experience, Ultrabooks and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2011 - 04:38 PM |
Tagged: podcast, bitcoin, mining, gpu, gpgpu, amd, nvidia, eyefinity, APU

PC Perspective Podcast #162 - 7/14/2011

This week we talk about our adventures in Bitcoin Mining, the Eyefinity experience, Ultrabooks and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:16:40

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:10 Bitcoin Currency and GPU Mining Performance Comparison
  6. 0:22:48 Bitcoin Mining Update: Power Usage Costs Across the United States
  7. 0:34:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:34:50 Eyefinity and Me
  9. 0:45:00 Video Perspective: AMD A-series APU Dual Graphics Technology Performance
  10. 0:47:02 As expected NVIDIA's next generation GPU release schedule was a bit optimistic
  11. 0:49:40 A PC Macbook Air: Can Intel has?
  12. 0:53:00 PC: for all your Xbox gaming needs
  13. 0:56:06 Email from Howard
  14. 1:00:28 Email from Ian
  15. 1:03:00 Email from Jan
    1. In case you're interested, here are almost 150mpix of HDR: http://rattkin.info/archives/430
  16. 1:08:55 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
  17. 1:09:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Dropped the ball
    2. Jeremy: I NEED FLEET COMMANDER
    3. Josh: Finally getting cheap enough for me to buy
    4. Allyn: http://gplus.to/
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. 1:15:15 Closing
Source:

The Bulldozer has sprung another leak, get a peek at the upcoming FX series

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2011 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: zambezi, leak, fx series, bulldozer, amd

Turkish site Donanim Haber got the scoop on Bulldozer and the news is good.  Compared to the first silicon we saw, which had 32 cores running at 1.8GHz, with this new leak we see seven models all running at much more respectable speeds.  There are three 8 core FX CPUs of which the high end FX-8150 runs at 3.6GHz, 4.2GHz under boost.  One of the two six core FX Bulldozers runs at 3.3/3.9GHz, the second called FX-6120 remains mysterious and similarly we know the quad core FX-4100 runs at 3.6/3.8GHz with the FX-4120 still having undetermined clock speeds.  All are based on the 32nm Zambezi core and all will be unlocked Black Edition and support DDR3 up to 1866MHz.  The actual performance when compared to SandyB is up for debate, a good starting point is this article at Real World Tech, which gives you educated guesses based on the leaked benchmarks.  Part of the uncertainly lies in the new architecture and trying to interpret how 4 modules, each module with a single shared FPU/MMX/SIMD unit and two ALUs from an engineering sample.

Hopefully, we should only have to wait 2 or 3 more months to find out for sure.

amdbulldozersaathizi_dh_fx57.jpg

"According to recent information from AMD, two quad-core, two and three of the six-core, including the 8-core processor for 2011 Bulldozer-based model to the market poised to offer 7 different FX. AMD's most powerful processor will be the standard 8-core 3.6GHz FX-8150 processor at 2.0 technology will serve and Turbo Core 4.2GHz operating frequency of up to increase. AMD's 8-core processor, the second how quickly the standard 3.1GHz FX-8120 has been working in the technology and the Turbo Core 2.0 4GHz can go up automatically."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Life is unfair: Giant touchscreen Star Wars game edition

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2011 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: TacTile, Star Wars, gaming

Look at those kids, they aren't even smiling, yet they are controlling a giant fleet battle in the Star Wars Universe by touch!  Arthur Nishimoto was a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and this is what he designed as part of his course.  It is hard to say exactly what the pop up menus signify exactly, but don't you desperately want to find out?  You can glean quite a bit about the Fleet Commander game and the interface called TacTile which was used at his personal site here.  The full size HD YouTube link also contains interesting comments, an almost unique occurance for that site.

 

 

Thanks to BoingBoing for first finding it.

"It's probably the level of concentration required, but these kids do not look nearly as excited about what they are doing as I think they should.

For the last two years, University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Arthur Nishimoto has been working on this incredible-looking video game based around a multi-touch interface."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: BoingBoing

Bumpday 7/13/2011: Furry browser of choice, now less leaks

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2011 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: firefox, bumpday

This week Mozilla released Firefox 7 into the Aurora channels and probably about twenty other versions elsewhere as well. Firefox has come under fire (heh heh) lately for its ridiculously rapid release schedule particularly for those interested in deploying Internet Explorer alternatives in the enterprise market. With the recent release of Firefox 5 it is only reasonable that Firefox 7 be nearing its prime too. The major advancement for this version is the concentration on performance, in particular: memory leakage. Mozilla grew a slight reputation lately for not being the quickest and most responsive browser. That title was once held by Internet Explorer compared to the much faster Firebird. I guess it is time to bump it up in our memory.

Bumpday2.png

Despite Mozilla being strict with their logo… rule 34. Let’s leave it at that.

In early 2004, Firefox came to life out of the ashes of a Firebird. It was not yet in the canonical “version 1” form at that time, numbers forced to follow in a line behind a point, but for many it was their browser of choice. There is a little debate whether the name is of choice but that debate was silenced with a request for a screenshot. For a moment. Before the other inevitable. And lastly, regardless of your platform on technical support, Firefox for President.

BUMP!

Source: PCPer Forums

The lad doth protest too much, methinks ... AMD is probably not in that much trouble

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, finance

At The Inquirer you can read a counterpoint to a recent analysts comments on the failure of AMD in the current market.  It seems that APUs are not hot ... even though that is exactly what Intel's SandyBridge processors are whether they call them that or not.  The analyst is unimpressed with the performance of the CPU portion of Llano, which is understandable as most of us were underwhelmed with its performance.  He completely glosses over half of Llano, calling it "integrated graphics circuitry" and giving no recognition to the fact that it is the fastest iGPU ever seen and can even earn you Bitcoins.  As The Inquirer points out, the size graphics portion of the APU on AMD opens up quite a bit of utility that people just aren't programming for and while the CPU portion is clocked lower it performs true multithreaded apps much more efficeintly.

He then goes on to denegrate AMD's chances in the server room, citing Intel's Xeon refresh.  What is strange is that Intel's move to 22nm in 2012 is somehow much more of a safe bet that AMD's first generation of Bulldozer for the server room.  Both are new architectures and while Intel is generally a safe bet, AMD and GF are also a team to bet on.  He also misses mention of AMD's Terramar and Sepang, which will compete directly with the Xeon E7 lineup and apparently has no idea about ARM's plans whatsoever.

Can't argue his point about the lack of a CEO though.

AMD_Stock.jpg

AMD's Quarter 2 2011

"A CHIP ANALYST at JMP Securities has downgraded AMD, alleging that the company's APU and server offerings aren't in sync with the needs of its retail partners and are falling behind the competition, both of which, if true, are damaging for AMD's prospects."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Netflix Announces New Prices For Streaming and DVD plans

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 08:05 PM |
Tagged: Netflix, streaming, ip

Today, Netflix announced significant changes to the movie rental service’s pricing structure in addition to a new DVD only plan. Representing their lowest price ver for unlimited DVD’s they have announced a new $7.99 a month plan for 1 DVD out at a time and $11.99 per month for 2 DVDs at a time. Netflix is further changing up the way DVD plus streaming plans work. Specifically, they are changing their plans into separate DVD only and streaming only plans. Customers would then further be able to add a streaming plan on top of the DVD plan to their account.

netflixlogo_0.png

The unlimited streaming only plan will be priced at $7.99 a month while the unlimited DVD only plan will also be priced at $7.99 a month. Thus, the price of the lowest cost DVD and streaming monthly price will be $15 USD. The new prices are effective immediately for any new members while existing members will be subject to the price increases starting September 1, 2011.

Netflix claims that they have changed the prices in response to the realization that DVDs still have a long life and the previous model of $2 add on to the streaming plan for 1 DVD out at a time was not making them enough money cost effective. On one hand, customers are up in arms regarding the price increase for the same service they have been paying to for years, and on the other hand the price increase may allow Netflix to update its streaming catalog more frequently with new content. Regardless of the semantics, it is certainly a bold move by the company and it will be interesting to see how its customers react.

What are your thoughts on the pricing changes?

Source: Netflix

Need some help decoding your audio codec?

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 05:58 PM |
Tagged: audio, onboard audio, codecs

With the rise of onboard audio, the technical details that used to come with your sound card are often missing from your motherboard manual.  Hardware Secrets has compiled a set of tables that will help you sort out the mysterious chip found on your motherboard.  Covering Analog Devices, C-Media, Realtek, VIA and other manufacturers they list the major chips available and an overview of their capabilities.  Bookmark this one if you find yourself tracking down audio chip specifications frequently.

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"Audio codec is a small chip measuring 0.25 sq. in. (7 mm2) located on the motherboard in charge of the analog audio functions. Knowing the specs of a codec will permit you to compare the audio quality of different motherboards, allowing you to choose the right product for your needs."

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Audio Corner