Mozilla Removing Version Numbers from Firefox's About Page

Subject: General Tech | August 16, 2011 - 05:05 AM |
Tagged: software, mozilla, firefox, browser

A new bug report on Mozilla's Bugzilla website indicates that the versioning of the popular web browser will be hidden from the users in future builds.  Specifically, bug 678775 was posted late last week by Asa Dotzler, and addresses the version number on Firefox's About page.  The bug report recommends removing the specific version number in favor of a more general phrase such as "Firefox checked for updates 20 minutes ago, you are running the latest release," according to Asa.  Firefox would then, ideally, check for an update whenever the About window was opened, to keep the update message current and the user running the latest build.

aurora_update.png

The current Firefox About page where version numbers are still listed.

While the specific version number will be removed from the About page, users would still be able to dig into the browser's less well known areas, such as the about:support configuration page, to see it.

On one hand, Firefox's new rapid-release schedule will make versioning a less efficient method of, well, versioning; however, the About page of an application has traditionally been the spot to find the version number, and removing the version number from what is essentially a version number information page seems counter productive.  Firefox will likely be on version 7 before the end of the year, and considering version 5 was just released in June, the argument that version numbers are getting out of hand has some merit.  With that said, a simplified message to users that they are, in fact, running the latest version is a good thing to implement, but does it necessitate no longer displaying the version number?

Personally, I enjoy knowing the specific version number of the applications I run, but I'm curious what you guys think; should the version number be buried?

Source: Mozilla

"I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers"

Subject: General Tech | August 15, 2011 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: purchase, motorola, google

The tech world is always going through changes; much like life in a pond, the small things either grow into big things or something big eats them.  Motorola was once a big fish, but went through some lean times, losing about $4 billion from 2007 to 2009. They started off more than 50 years ago, designing chips for radios and TVs and even providing communication chips to NASA for many missions including the first moon landing.  From there they sold off the TV portion to a little known company called Panasonic, so that they could focus on their communications chips and to start dabbling in what became the 6800 and 68000 series of chips.  Those chips powered Amigas, the original Apple MacIntoshes; even the joint IBM and Apple PowerPC chips were Motorola and that architecture is still used today.

As of today that once big fish is now a part of Google, as they purchased it at a premium of 63% above market value.  That is certainly a decent deal for stockholders and may well be a great deal for Motorola employees as well as they move to a strictly Android based development regime. That may lead to some interesting times in the future, as Google claims that Android will remain open and run on any architecture.  However, now that they own a complete closed development chain, in the form of Motorola's patents and hardware, the open philosophy may run counter to the development of hardware.  John McCarthy of Forrester Blogs, as well as many others are following this story; though it will be quite a while before we know the full repercussions of the purchase.

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"Earlier this morning, Google announced its intention to buy Motorola Mobility for 12.5 Billion in cash or $40/share. There are three broad justifications for the deal:

  • Access to the Motorola patent portfolio which it could then license to partners like HTC and Samsung to protect against the long arm of Apple's lawyers.
  • An integrated hardware/software play to compete with Apple. The problem with this logic is that the deal does not address the fragmentation on the Android platform which is the bigger issue.
  • The set-top business to bolster its lagging Google TV offering."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

SteelSeries' Sensei Gets Smart With 32-bit ARM Processor

Subject: General Tech | August 15, 2011 - 07:25 AM |
Tagged: steelseries, Sensei, gaming mouse, cpu, arm

Bit-Tech reports that popular gaming peripheral maker SteelSeries will be unveiling a new mouse at GamesCon next week. The new gaming mouse, dubbed the Sensei is a dark, ambidextrous affair with LED powered logo, wheel, and sensitivity indicator in addition to an LCD screen on the bottom of the mouse to configure features.

The Sensei mouse has a large SteelSeries logo towards the back of the palm rest. The lighting of the logo supports up to 16.8 million colors. The body is comprised of metal with a non-slip grip coating, and features eight buttons. Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries’ CEO stated “The Sensei is really the culmination of thousands of hours of research and testing with competitive players.”  In keeping with the competitive gamer theme, SteelSeries has endowed the Sensei with advanced macro capabilities, including the ability to record timed and layered macros with keystrokes.

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On the sensor front, the Sensei features a sensitivity range of 1 to 5,700 counts per inch (SteelSeries’ DPI-like system of measurement). Further, thanks to a “Double CPI” feature, the gaming mouse is able to ratchet up the sensitivity to an impressive 11,400 CPI, which makes navigating a six screen Eyefinity setup a breeze. Using SteelSeries ExactTech tracking customization technologies (ExactSens, ExactAccel, and ExactAim), Sensei’s laser sensor features a 10.8 megapixel image correlation at up to 12,000 frames per second (FPS), enabling it to track movements up to 150 inches per second.

All this tracking, macro support, and laser sensor horsepower demands a relatively beefy processor. While these instructions could be passed to the CPU for processing, having a dedicated chip on the mouse to process the sensor data and pass the coordinate data to the system can lower lag (or at least that’s SteelSeries’ goal). That requirement for computing time is where the 32-bit ARM processor comes into play. Specifically, the company states that the processor enables advanced SteelSeries ExactTech calculations to be done on the mouse itself and configuration via the mouse’s LCD screen.

 

The Sensei is slated for launch in September with a price of $90. The numbers and hardware are certainly impressive; however, whether that hardware will make a noticeable improvement in gaming and daily usage over the competition remains to be seen.  More photos and information on the new Sensei gaming mouse can be found here.

What do you think about the Sensei’s inclusion of ARM processor and LCD screen? Personally, while I am rather partial to (blue) LEDs, I can’t see myself using the LCD screen or other gamer-oriented features.

Source: Bit-Tech

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, coming before HL2 Episode 3

Subject: General Tech | August 13, 2011 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: valve, Counter-Strike

There exists a videogame software company up in Washington State known as Valve Corporation. There also exists a company from Washington State that produces steamy forum trolls and 4chan memes. The two companies are often times (VST) the same company; today is no different. Valve unleashed a Global Offensive when they announced a new upcoming continuation to their longstanding franchise that is not Half Life 2: Episode 3. The game will be a continuation of their long-standing modern-era franchise and will be titled, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

HalfLife-Age2.png

Fans wonder if Valve actually thinks that they already released Episode 3.

(Update Aug 13th 2011 @ 4am: Replaced image to clarify joke 1am: They didn't announce Episode 3 yet... this is just yet another thing they announced before they announce it.)

Global Offensive is set to launch in Early 2012 which should always be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to Valve, Episode 3, but this time-frame looks about legitimate. The game will be available on Xbox Live Arcade, the Playstation Network, and Steam for PC and Mac. Judging by their target distribution model on the consoles it appears as if the release will not in fact be a full-fledged standalone game which makes sense due to Valve’s historical stance on how much content should be provided per dollar; there is even a joke that circulated briefly after the release of the Orange Box that Valve needs to round out the bottom of their second v. Valve promises that the game will contain both new and updated content with de_dust explicitly named as being in Global Offensive. No word on hats.

Source: Steam

Happy 30th birthday IBM PC 5150!

Subject: General Tech | August 12, 2011 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: killer frogs, friday, folding frogs

Computer maintenance can be a long and tedious process, trying to find rogue processes, old and useless registry entries or cleaning out temp files takes time to do manually or with the tools provided within Windows.  That is part of the reason that programs that automate cleaning are so popular, though some are almost ransome-ware so be careful which ones you choose.  The same goes when you are trying out new anti-virus programs as well.  For extra bonus points you can bring network and hardware maintenance into the mix as well, from replacing elderly protocols to replacing elderly hardware, there are lots of problems to fill your spare time.  Even keeping track of your vendors can absorb hours. Check out the Microsoft Forum for more issues ... as well as solutions, of course.

If you'd rather have a bit of fun instead of working, the Gaming Forum's Fragging Frogs are available on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday to help you out with that.  The Lightning Round is available for those who prefer their smackdowns to be delivered with words than with bullets.  If you are more altruistic, donate your CPU cycles to a BOINC project or to Folding@Home, or even join in the 24 hour a day swap meet that is the Trading Post.

You have probably noticed a lot of content on the front page covering Quakecon and the interview that Ryan did with John Carmack, so you are right in assuming that the PC Perspective Podcast spends a goodly amount of time on the same topic ... and others.

Ibm_pc_5150.jpg

Dr. Dre is shilling for Monster Cable

Subject: General Tech | August 12, 2011 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: audio, monster cable

The Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Headphones are made by everyone's favourite overpriced cable vendor, Monster Cable, helping to explain the $300 price tag ($350 direct from Monster Cable).  [H]ard|OCP nevertheless forged ahead with reviewing them, hoping that perhaps this time Monster Cable produced something worth the price of admission.  They compared them to similarly priced headsets from Beyer-Dynamic, which outclassed the Beats Headphones in every metric, as did the studio quality Audio-Technica M50 they tried.  Their final verdict is not kind.

H_drDre.jpg

"Few brands of headphones have achieved popularity and consumer adoption as quickly as Monster's Beats by Dre series. We recently purchased our own pair of the Beats' Studio Edition headphones to tell you if these are merely marketing fluff or the "real deal.""

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: [H]ard|OCP

More from Black Hat 2011; Facial Recognition Book

Subject: General Tech | August 12, 2011 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: facebook, black hat 2011

A presenter at Black Hat 2011 put forward their research on using Facebook as a facial recognition database.  Not only do people upload a lot of pictures of themselves and their friends, they also tag them with the names of the people in the pictures.  This means that there is a large sample of data to be used, with the same face available from multiple angles, lighting conditions and backgrounds.  The findings; nearly perfect recognition and re-identification of people in the database with a photo taken from a smartphone in under 3 seconds. Thank Techware Labs for the chill that just headed down your spine.

facebook.jpg

"Every month Facebook users upload 2.5 Billion photos. With each upload users may identify and tag not only themselves, but everyone in the photo. What if we could use this massive attendance sheet of the world in a larger way. Say with facial recognition and location information? Today Alessandro Acquisti presented his research and attempts at doing just that."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Carmack Speaks

Last week we were in Dallas, Texas covering Quakecon 2011 as well as hosting our very own PC Perspective Hardware Workshop.  While we had over 1100 attendees at the event and had a blast judging the case mod contest, one of the highlights of the event is always getting to sit down with John Carmack and pick his brain about topics of interest.  We got about 30 minutes of John's time over the weekend and pestered him with questions about the GPU hardware race, how Intel's intergrated graphics (and AMD Fusion) fit in the future of PCs, the continuing debate about ray tracing, rasterization, voxels and infinite detail engines, key technologies for PC gamers like multi-display engines and a lot more!

One of our most read articles of all time was our previous interview with Carmack that focused a lot more on the ray tracing and rasterization debate.  If you never read that, much of it is still very relevant today and is worth reading over. 

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This year though John has come full circle on several things including ray tracing, GPGPU workloads and even the advantages that console hardware has over PC gaming hardware.

Continue reading to see the full video interview and our highlights from it!!

USB 3.0 Will Deliver 100 Watts Of Power In 2012

Subject: General Tech | August 11, 2011 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, external drive

USB 2.0 brought us 480Mb/s transfer speeds and 2.5 watts of power over the cable. This required either a second USB cable for additional power or a plug in power adapter. Either way, it was a hassle to power even moderately speedy external hard drives.

USB 3.0 brought a massive speed increase to 5Gb/s transfer speeds; however, power only received a relatively small bump to 4.5 watts of power over the cable (900mA at 5V). While the bump in power can now more easily power most external hard drives, power hungry high speed mechanical and solid state hard drives that are able to fully take advantage of the speed increases of USB 3.0 will still require additional power.

fluxcapacitor.png

A USB powered flux capacitor.

In an interesting move by the USB 3.0 Promoters Group, a new USB 3 specification will provide up to 100 watts of power at varying voltages to external devices. This great increase in power would allow users to power external USB monitors without a separate power adapter, RAID enclosures, desk lamps, USB grills (okay, maybe not), and other multiple hard drive external enclosures like the Drobo boxes.

While the new specification is due out next year (2012), it will be some time before hardware (specifically power supplies) catches up to the specification’s maximum power draw. Do you think the move to deliver more power through the USB 3 cable is a good one, or will the increased complexity of delivering 100 watts over the same cable delivering data outweigh the convenience of only needing a single cable?

Source: Ars Technica

Podcast #165 - QuakeCon 2011, MSI's GTX580 Lightning, Intel 710 SSDs, Ultrabooks and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 11, 2011 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: podcast, pcper, nvidia, msi, Intel, GTX580, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #165 - 8/11/2011

This week we talk about QuakeCon 2011, MSI's GTX580 Lightning, Intel 710 SSDs, 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: 1:25:12

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:27 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. 0:02:02 Quakecon 2011 and our Workshop - Postmortem
    1. Day 1 Coverage
    2. Day 2 Coverage
    3. Day 3 Coverage
  6. 0:18:05 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  7. 0:18:54 MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition Review: What a GTX 580 Should Be
  8. 0:30:18 Antec High Current Gamer HCG-750 PSU Review
  9. 0:31:30 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review - The Best Android Tablet?
  10. 0:32:16 Just Delivered Exclusive: PNY XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580 Combo
    1. ZOTAC Unveils Water-Cooling Solutions
  11. 0:36:40 Let us do some math, shall we? The cost of consoles
  12. 0:41:46 Intel 710 SSD Prices Leaked
  13. 0:47:40 ExpressCard trying to pull a (not so) fast one?
  14. 0:55:30 NVIDIA Outlines Multi-GPU and Cloud Graphics With Project Maximus and Virtual Graphics Technologies
  15. 1:06:50 Will Intel's Ultrabook form factor come with an integral Achilles Heel?
    1. Intel bets $300m on their Ultrabook-ie. Next step: broken legs.
  16. 1:09:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Blackmagic Intensity card 
    2. Jeremy: Strangely, I find myself thinking kindly upon BigFoot Networks
    3. Josh: http://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm
    4. Allyn: http://pastebin.com and Ghostery
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. 1:23:50 Closing
Source: