Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 08:05 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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?
Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 05:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- SteelSeries 5H v2 Limited Edition (Medal Of Honor) Headset Review @ eTeknix
- SteelSeries Siberia V2 Full-Size Headset Review for PS3 @ HardwareHeaven
- AKG Q460 Quincy Jones Signature Headphones Review @ t-break
- XtremeMac InCharge Home BT Review @MissingRemote
- ASUS Xonar U3 USB Sound Card Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 11:49 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: landauer limit, magnetic memory
Recently there have been significant breakthroughs in ways to reduce the amount of energy needed for electronic calculation and therefore a reduction in the heat produced by the electronics. This becomes more and more important as processes shrink and transistors become ever more dense. Most notable is Intel's announcement of their success in developing 3D transistors, called Tri-Gate technology, which will require vastly reduced amounts of power to change state as well as reducing leakage. Nanotechweb has put up an article dealing with another technique to deal with the heat which has also been in the news recently, magnetic memory. The benefit to magnetic memory is to allow the usage of the north and south poles as 1 and 0, instead of using electrons to change charges which creates heat thanks to resistance in the circuit. Current experiments utilize nanomagnets 100 nm wide and 200 nm long, fairly large when compared to current electronics, but show great promise and this field is one that should be watched.
"Tiny magnetic memory and logic devices that consume very little energy have been developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. With further improvements, the devices could operate close to the "Landauer limit" of minimum energy consumption because they require no moving electrons to work – something that could revolutionize electronics."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft says there are only 1,000 days left for Windows XP @ The Inquirer
- TSMC issues press release touting their own inabilities @ SemiAccurate
- GPU-Powered Planetarium Renders 64MP Projection @ Slashdot
- Android is becoming a magnet for malware creators @ The Inquirer
- Sci-Fi Propcasting Phototutorial from Shawn Thorsson @ Make:Blog
- ARCTIC Breeze Pro USB Fan Review for PCs and Laptop Users @ Madshrimps
- TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND Ultimate Wireless N Gigabit Router Review @ Madshrimps
- Complete $300 DIY Desktop CNC Machine @ Make:Blog
- Kindle Wi-Fi with Special Offers @ Hardware Secrets
- Weekly Giveaway #6: ECS P67H2-A SandyBridge Socket 1155 Motherboard @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 11:15 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: new york, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, fab 8, fab 1, dresden, cleanroom
Milpitas, Calif. – July 12, 2011 – Just over one year after revealing plans for a major global capacity expansion, GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced its newly constructed cleanrooms in New York and Dresden are ready for the installation of 300mm semiconductor wafer fabrication equipment. Achieving “Ready for Equipment” (RFE) status marks the transition from the construction phase to the operations phase—a significant milestone on the path to volume manufacturing in these new facilities.
“At GLOBALFOUNDRIES, we continue to invest aggressively in driving sustained growth on advanced technologies,” said GLOBALFOUNDRIES CEO Ajit Manocha. “The build-out of our 300mm manufacturing campuses in New York and Dresden is supporting growing customer demand for advanced technologies, while creating hundreds of jobs and providing a significant boost to the economies in the surrounding regions. By completing these massive construction projects on schedule and on budget, we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to being the only truly global foundry.”
At Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany, GLOBALFOUNDRIES has completed construction of an additional wafer manufacturing facility designed to add capacity at 45nm and below, which has the potential to increase the overall output of the Fab 1 campus to 80,000 wafers per month once fully ramped. The expansion project will add more than 110,000 square feet of cleanroom space to the site and will allow Fab 1 to operate as one integrated cleanroom. This extension will make Dresden the largest wafer fab in Europe for leading-edge technology.
At Fab 8, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ newest semiconductor manufacturing facility under construction at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, New York, the RFE date was moved up by nearly two months to meet heavy customer demands. Last week, GLOBALFOUNDRIES moved into the facility’s Admin 1 office building and broke ground on the Admin 2 building. Once completed, Fab 8 will stand as the most technologically advanced wafer fab in the world and the largest leading-edge semiconductor foundry in the United States. When fully built-out and ramped, the total available cleanroom space will be approximately 300,000 square feet and will be capable of a total output of approximately 60,000 wafers per month. The total facility, including cleanroom support infrastructure and office space, includes approximately 1.9 million square feet of space and is expected to come online in 2012 with volume production targeted for early 2013. Fab 8 will focus on leading-edge manufacturing at 28nm and below.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | July 11, 2011 - 05:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox, pc gaming
Last week we reported on Microsoft rolling their Games for Windows initiative into Xbox.com and I essentially said that unless Microsoft is trying to roll their now established Xbox brand into Windows that they are missing the point of PC gaming. This week we hear rumors that, in fact, Microsoft may be trying to roll their now established Xbox brand into Windows. According to Insideris, Windows 8 will allow you to play Xbox 360 games on your PC. That said, despite speculation as a result of this news, it does not state whether it will be the complete catalog or a subset of 360 games that are compatible with the PC.
Which came first? The console or the Newegg?
What does this mean for PC gaming? I am unsure at this point. A reasonable outcome would be that Xbox becomes a user-friendly brand for Microsoft’s home theatre PC initiatives which adds a whole lot more sense to the Windows 8 interface outside of the tablet PC space. This is a very positive outcome for the videogame industry as a whole since it offers the best of Xbox for those who desire it and the choice of the PC platform.
This however opposes Microsoft’s excessively strict stance on closed and proprietary video gaming platforms. Could Microsoft have been pushing their proprietary platform to gut the industry norms knowing that at some point they would roll back into their long-standing more-open nature of Windows? Could Microsoft be attempting to lock down PCs, meeting somewhere in the middle? We will see, but my hopes are that proprietary industry will finally move away from art. After all, why have a timeless classic if your platform will end-of-life in a half-dozen years at best?
Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2011 - 04:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, mouse, cooler master, CM Storm
CoolerMaster is really going all out in the peripheral market as you can see from their latest gaming mouse, the Sentinel Z3RO-G. The 5600DPI Storm Tactical Twin-Laser Sensor is standard issue in the Storm series, 128kb of onboard memory gives you multiple profiles for the 8 buttons and it even features something called Rapid Fire Tactical Mode which will probably be handy when Diablo 3 comes out. The unique feature on this mouse is an LED screen which displays your current sensitivity settings which eTechnix really fell in love with.
"Today I will be taking a look at CM Storm’s latest offering- the Sentinel Z3RO-G. Just like CM Storm’s other products the Z3RO-G is aimed at the gaming market, and showcases many of the company’s famous features. The Z3RO-G is kitted out with a 5600DPI dual laser sensor which is easily changeable on-the-fly for a quick switch between precision sniping to rushing within an instant. It also has a unique LED display on the top to give you information about your current settings and is highly customisable using the advanced software included. So are these features useful, or just a marketing gimmick?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- NZXT Avatar S Mouse Review @ Hardware Secrets
- ZOWIE MiCO Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknix
- XFX Warpad Gaming Mousepad Review @ Tweaknews
- Soyntech Inpput R490 @ XSReviews
- XFX WarPad Review @ OCC
- Synology USB Station 2 @ XSReviews
- Scan 2-Port HPU-300 NC SuperSpeed USB 3.0 PCI Express Card Review @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2011 - 11:38 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pewpew, laser, DIY
There are a lot of instructions on the net covering the steps to build yourself a laser, from the large scale models at Power Labs which are not portable to smaller scale ones using DVD/Blu-ray lasers which can't be used for much more than driving the family pet insane. Over at Hack a Day is a detailed project on how to build your own hand held pulse laser which can certainly burn holes through thin metals and other unsuspecting inanimate objects. This particular build is powered by scrounged capacitors from disposable cameras and as long as you keep an even number and ensure the capacitors are all the same rating you can make it even more powerful.
"Self-declared Mad Scientist and Instructables user [Trevor Nestor] recently built a pulse laser pistol and decided to share his build process, so that you too can build a ray gun at home. The gun is made up of mostly scavenged components, save for the Neodymium:YAG laser head, which he purchased on eBay for about $100. He does say however, that you can score an SSY-1 laser from an old rangefinder, providing you hang out near a stockpile of decommissioned Abrams tanks."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How digital detectives deciphered Stuxnet, the most menacing malware in history @ Ars Technica
- Google+ privacy features are exposed @ The Inquirer
- Google Blocks co.cc From Search Results @ Slashdot
- Report: Microsoft Wants $15 Per Samsung Android Handset @ Linux.com
- Fujifilm Finepix F550EXR Digital Camera @ Maximum CPU
- The TR Podcast 91: Llano is Audi
- Summertime Challenge Giveaway @Hi Tech Legion
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 11, 2011 - 03:53 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nook color, kindle
Amazon did not create the eBook reader market but they created the vastly most popular product in the category, the Kindle. Amazon gained such a popular status over main competitor, Sony, due to their content and the ubiquity of their service across multiple platforms adjacent to the Kindle device itself. Rumors flew for quite some time now, and from various sources, that Amazon would be jumping into the Android tablet space to likely complement their Kindle line. In a humorously ironic twist, an eBook reader based on an Android tablet just unseated the Kindle as the most popular e-reader.
A little hot under the collardron?
Barnes and Nobel entered the eBook reader market in late 2009 fighting an uphill battle against Amazon and a juvenile pun on their name (hehehe, “Nook eBook”). A year later they launched the Nook Color, an Android 2.1 tablet locked into a certain subset of applications available either pre-loaded or their application store. This tablet brainwashed to be an eBook reader overtook Kindle recently, finally shushing naysayers to Barnes and Nobel's entry to the tablet market. Heh – “Nook eBook”. It will be interesting to see how Amazon’s business will evolve in the coming year or two as a result of competitive pressures and an evolving marketplace.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Systems | July 10, 2011 - 02:45 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, ultrabook
Intel has been trying to push for a new classification of high-end, thin, and portable notebooks to offset the netbook flare-up of recent memory. Intel hopes that by the end of 2012, these “Ultrabooks” will comprise 40% of consumer notebook sales. What is the issue? They are expected to retail in the 1000$ range which is enough for consumers to buy a dual-core laptop with 4 GB of RAM and a tablet. Intel is not fazed by this and has even gone to the effort of offering money to companies wishing to develop these Ultrabooks; the OEMs are fazed, however, and even with Intel’s pressing there is only one, the ASUS UX21, slated to be released in September.
Asus sticking its neck out. (Video by Engadget)
For the launch, Intel created three processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture: the i5-2557M, the i7-2637M, and the i7-2677M. At just 17 watts of power, these processors should do a lot on Intel’s end to support the branding of Ultrabooks having long battery life and an ultra-thin case given the lessened need for heat dissipation. Intel also has two upcoming Celeron processors which are likely the same ones we reported on two months ago. Intel has a lot to worry about when it comes to competition with their Ultrabook platform though; AMD will have products that appeal to a similar demographic for half the price and tablets might just eat up much of the rest of the market.
Do you have a need for a thousand dollar ultraportable laptop? Will a tablet not satisfy that need?
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Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 06:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
If there is one piece of advice you can glean from our Forums this week, it is that letting an 8yr old relative play with any piece of technology you value is a very bad idea, at best you will end up with a Miley Cyrus infection. If you are looking at setting up a new system and going for a nice overclock with your AMD or Intel CPU, maybe you should investigate some of the air coolers that Forum members have used successfully. That's not all, don't you hate whining PSUs, naughty SSDs and overly picky RAM?
As well you can catch the 161st iteration of the PC Perspective Podcast, or get in an argument in the Lightning Round, trade kit in the Trading Post or just go off the wall in the Off Topic Forum, the choice is yours.