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Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2011 - 09:43 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: modern warfare 3, gaming, call of duty
The Call of Duty franchise has always sold well, especially on the consoles. The Modern Warfare series specifically has managed to pull off some impressive sales numbers. The previous release, Call of Duty: Black Ops managed to make $350 at launch, and the series' latest first person shooter has made a record 400 million dollars in the first 24 hours of its release.
It seems that despite the lackluster graphics, the issue of the Call of Duty Elite service, and being more of the same game, Call of Duty is still something that gamers are willing to play and shell out top price for. According to Giant Bomb, the latest Modern Warfare game has more explosions than a Michael Bay movie and the gun-play is still sharp, so there are some positives to be had. Those positives make the game desirable for a lot of people with Activision selling 6.5 million copies at launch!
What do you guys think of the latest Call of Duty? Let us know in the comments!
Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2011 - 04:27 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, giveaway
I think I just created a new thing for us here at PC Perspective: Free Stuff Friday. After our contest for Skyrim, I thought I would let you know about another completely free contest you can enter. The prizes:
- 1 x XFX Radeon HD 6870 Black Edition
- 2 x Deus Ex: Human Revolution
All you have to do to enter is visit our friend Terry Makedon's blog and vote on your Game of Year selection!
Nov 8 2011 - What is the best PC game of 2011? Simple - it is the one that gamers vote as their favorite. I always hated "game of the year" articles that were written by editors or self appointed experts because they don't necessarily reflect the people's choice. What gave anyone the authority to decide what was the best game of the year? Realistically those articles should be called "My Opinion On Game of the Year". To really find the game of the year, I wanted to have a long running poll for gamers that will have a large sample size. This should undeniably put the "Best PC Game of 2011" question to bed.The other point of this article is to make sure you, the gamers are aware of the best games of the year (as voted by other gamers) so that you can try them out. VOTE AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE
Head on over and put in your vote, follow him on Twitter and get in on the action for a free graphics card or a free copy of DE:HR!!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 11, 2011 - 12:09 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: skyrim, giveaway, contest
Want to play Skyrim? Want to play Skyrim...for FREEE?? Well to celebrate the release of the new The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim game this week we are giving away a free retail Steam code for it right here on PC Perspective.
What do you have to do to enter? There are a handful of ways:
- Make a comment on this post. That's pretty simple right? You don't have to register, though we would appreciate it!
- Like PC Perspective on Facebook: http://facebook.com/pcper
- Follow PC Perspective on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pcper
- Circle PC Perspective on Google+: http://gplus.to/pcper
If you do all four, you'll have four entries into the contest. If you already follow @pcper on Twitter, then you are already entered. (And likely you'll be entered for future contests as well!) If only do one or two, then you are still entered, just with fewer shots at the goal.
The contest will run through tomorrow (November 12th) at 4pm EST so get your entries in SOON!! Good luck!
UPDATE!! We have our winner. Picking from a random.org number between 1 and 3850 (combined entries on comments, Google+, Facebook and Twitter) the winner was....Jared H!!! Congratulations! I have sent off an email to verify and pass on the Steam code.
Make sure you stay tuned for Monday morning when we should have another BIG contest starting around a certain processor launch...
Subject: General Tech | November 10, 2011 - 12:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, asus, acer
Ah, the Ultrabook; Intel's attempt to meet Apple on its own territory and playing by Apple's established rules. Since there has been so much news and speculation about the new ultramobile platform from Intel some of the information we have been given has degraded into noise. The original run was very limited, with about 50,000 units ordered by the major manufactures like ASUS. There seems to have been a second order placed with a much more respectable quarter million units requested by ASUS and Acer, though we don't know about the other players. However with the products launch resembling an attempt at flight by an under-powered, yet aerodynamically shaped chunk of metal these numbers have been reduced to under 200,000. DigiTimes predicts that this time next year the Ultrabook might be significantly more attractive, not just because of Ivy Bridge but also because of the release of Windows 8 which seems almost custom built for the Ultrabook.
"Asustek Computer and Acer have recently reduced their ultrabook orders from 250,000-300,000 units originally to 150,000-180,000 units by the end of 2011 due to the unsatisfactory sales during the initial month after their launch, according to sources from upstream ODMs.
Currently, Asustek is offering four Zenbook series ultrabook models in the retail channel, priced between NT$36,000-49,000 (US$1,194-1,625), while Acer is competing with its S3 series models with prices at NT$31,500-42,000. Because global notebook demand still has not yet seen any recovery, ultrabooks, which have a rather higher price range compared to mainstream models, did not see as strong sales as expected, causing Acer and Asustek to both drop their product orders by 40%."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft releases fix for Applocker bypass flaw @ The Register
- Intel’s Haswell chip will use a new socket @ The Inquirer
- Tegra 3 missed performance goals by wide margins @ SemiAccurate
- AMD reacts to Kepler news, 7000 series prepped and priced @ SemiAccurate
- A Quick Tour Of Oracle Solaris 11 @ Phoronix
- Real World Labs And OWC Joint Contest - 4 Days Left
- Contest: What Does Your Office Look Like? @ Computing on Demand
- Win a new DS212j NAS System with Synology and Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | November 9, 2011 - 01:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, cod, modern warfare 3
The new CoD incarnation has arrived to every possible platform and is hoping to steal Battlefield 3's thunder. The series is held in the same esteem as Halo, which can be good or bad depending what type of gamer you are talking to. The reviews are a perfect example of the complaints heard about the games review industry. HEXUS rounded up some examples, where an 80 is the lowest score, with comments like "Modern Warfare 3 doesn't do anything new ..." accompaning a score of 90. The general consensus seems to be that if you like Call of Duty, then you already like this game and probably pre-ordered it.
For those expecting something new, [H]ard|OCP has perhaps the most concise review you will see, "We’ve looked into Modern Warefare 3 and I don’t think we should do any articles on it, would be a waste of our time. The game runs at 150 FPS on a GTX 570 at 2560 4X AA and max settings. It is the same old engine we’ve seen in previous Call of Duty games, DX9, low quality textures, created for the xbox and ported to PC, nothing special about it, no need to waste our time writing an article on performance in it."
"After a year of anticipation, and with pre-order numbers toppling those of 2010’s mega-seller Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has finally launched worldwide.
In conjunction with the release of Activision’s blockbuster first-person shooter, dozens of reviews have hit the web and, by and large, reaction has been extremely positive with many critics praising the game for its signature thrills and entertaining gameplay, though some have expressed a little disappointment at the lack of innovation over previous games."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel Ultrabook Running Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 @ NGOHQ
- Gaming Made Me: Frontier: Elite II @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Three Way: Mass Effect 3 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- MW3 masses experience Call Of Duty Elite problems @ HEXUS
- Battlefield 3 Intervention @ The Tech Report
- Battlefield 3 VGA and CPU performance benchmarks @ Guru of 3D
- Battlefield 3 @ Tweaktown
- Battlefield 3 PC Review @ eTeknix
- Sonic Generations (PC) Review @ Techgage
- Skyrim DLC will be less frequent, but more substantial @ Ars Technica
- Butterfly milking and pig nibbling: building the strange world of Glitch @ Ars Technica
- OnLive Game System Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Sonic Generations Game Review (PlayStation 3) @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | November 9, 2011 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, gigabyte, ECS, asrock, msi, market share
With HDD shortages come a reduced demand for most PC components as shipping a system without a hard drive tends to be frowned upon. This will be hitting motherboard makers fairly hard over the last quarter of 2011. DigiTimes reports an estimated 20% drop for Gigabyte; MSI, ECS and ASRock are expecting around a 10% decrease and ASUS projects somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5-10%. We can certainly hope that there will be discounts offered in the attempt to focus on upgraders. A nice price on some of the new motherboards that have just come onto the market might draw the attention of those who already have a fully functional PC but are considering a possible hardware refresh.
"Motherboard makers have been impacted by HDD shortages arising from flooding in Thailand since mid-October, and are expected to see their fourth-quarter shipments decrease 10-15% on quarter, according to industry sources.
Gigabyte Technology may see shipments falling 20-25% from five million in the third quarter to below four million in the fourth."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Looking at AMD amid layoffs and new directions @ SemiAccurate
- Adobe Abandons Mobile Flash: Report @ Wired
- Mozilla updates to Firefox 8, disables add-ons @ The Register
- Case Modding with Aquatuning Review @ XSReviews
Subject: General Tech, Storage | November 8, 2011 - 10:54 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thailand, nidec, hdd
While Western Digital is still nowhere near the point where they can think about cleaning up their factory and getting started on the road to recovery there is good news for other HDD manufacturers from Thailand. Nidec, a company which provides about 75% of the global supply of motors for HDDs, also has quite a bit of their manufacturing capacity in Thailand, in the neighbourhood of 62% according to DigiTimes. Two of their Thailand based plants are back in business and they are redistributing quite a bit of workload to their Philippines manufacturing plants, in the hopes of increasing the supply of these critical motors.
Seagate, Fujitsu and other major HDD manufacturers desperately need these parts in order to help meet the demand from the market before we can even think to see prices begin to return to previous levels. This is not going to be a quick return since Western Digital and its subsidiaries accounted for about 50% of the HDD market and they have much more work to do in order to repair their factories than Nidec.
"Nidec currently has 10 production bases in Thailand with eight of them have been damaged by the floods. As water started to recede, Nidec announced its Rangsit plants, which stopped operation on October 13, already resumed production on October 25, while Ayutthaya plants also started operating normally on November 4.
Nidec's two plants in Philippine will also see their monthly capacity rise from 15 million units originally to 25 million units with capacity in China plants also increase from 10 million units to 15 million units. However, the total capacity in the fourth quarter will still drop close to 30% from 140 million units in the third."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Asustek delays Transformer Prime to December @ DigiTimes
- Boffins spy on iPhone screens from 200ft away @ The Register
- Interview with Jon Waring of Buffalo Technology @ HardwareHeaven
- VirtualBox 4.1 OpenGL 3D Guest Performance @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2011 - 04:19 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: google, Internet, social networking
If you've spent any time using Google's new Plus (+) social network for the past few months, the lack of business and brand pages has likely made itself readily apparent. While Google has been working on a method for allowing businesses and brands to join in on the Google + fun for some time now, it has been in a very limited capacity. Until yesterday, that is. The big G has finally taken the velvet ropes and training wheels off of the business pages, and opened up a new Pages feature to everyone. What this means for you, fine readers, is that we are finally (unfortunately I was never able to pester Google enough to allow us beta access ;) ) able to fill that small void in your Google + world with your very own Official PC Perspective Google + Page!
Now do you see why I'm excited? It's PC Per on your Google + (what could be better?)!
What the new business pages bring to the table is the ability for cool things that are not people to finally join the social network, obviously. The Pages are then able to represent the brand in much the same capacity as a person is able to interact with the service by adding and following others, starting and joining hangouts, and sharing text, photos, videos, and links with people in the group's circle(s). Where the business pages differentiate themselves from a normal user is in the new +Direct Connect service. This allows people to jump straight to any brand (with a Google+ Page) they want simply by searching Google with a plus (+) sign followed by the name of the brand they want to connect with. For example, users are able to jump straight to the Angry Birds page by typing "+Angry Birds" into a Google search. Pretty neat. The new feature is only available for certain brands right now but will roll out to every Google + page shortly.
Vic Gundotra, the Senior VP of Engineering stated that although the Google + Pages are now live, they still have a slew of new features to implement before they will be complete and the programmers can get some rest. "Stay Tuned," he ends. What sort of additional functionality would you like to see in Pages? Feel free to head over to the PC Perspective page and let us know what you think!
Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2011 - 03:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: best buy, workforce, UK, retail
Best Buy is one of the few major big box electronics stores still standing in the United States. Despite the retail chain’s history of annoying tech enthusiasts and pushing services, there system is no doubt profitable in the US. Unfortunately, the “big box” modus operandi is not working out as well on the other side of the Atlantic. The company opened up 11 of its big box stores in the UK on April 2010, and employs 1,100 workers. These 11 stores are only a drop in the bucket compared to the 2,500 small box stores specializing in mobile phones. These 2,500 stores are owned as a 50/50 joint venture between Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse. The smaller stores are proving to be more popular and profitable with UK consumers than the big box, more generalized electronics approach.
Image courtesy Loudrocksurfer via Wikimedia Creative Commons
Due to the profitability disparity, Best Buy has decided to refocus its efforts and will be closing all 11 big box stores in the UK. Fortunately, Best Buy has stated that it is committed to keeping the “vast majority” of the 1,100 affected workers employed in the company by shifting them to positions in the new small box stores. The new stores will specialize in cell phones and other mobile technology including tablets.
Do you think Best Buy is backing away too soon, or is the big box, brick and mortar retail electronics store just not as popular overseas? Let us know in the comments. I feel that it is also worth mentioning that our thoughts and best wishes go out to all those affected by the store closures.
Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2011 - 11:59 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Last week AMD took a scythe to their staff, not so much a separation of the chaff from the wheat and more of a slash and burn approach. As one press report put it "AMD has announced a restructuring plan and implementation of operational efficiency initiatives designed to strengthen the company's competitive positioning." As you can tell, the PR team is already suffering from regressive corporate double speak. Some names which have represented the face of AMD to hardware sites, such as Patrick Moorhead and Carrell Killebrew are gone from AMD, though not from social media nor the industry. The Tech Report looks at just how AMD handled this announcement to the industry and reveiw sites and details on what exactly happened.
"Following up on AMD's mass layoff announcement, TR's Scott Wasson reveals that the chipmaker has laid off virtually its entire public relations team, and he speculates about where the company is now heading."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Lion on a Hackintosh @ The Tech Report
- DIY spot welder can join anything together, even copper @ Hack a Day
- Weekend Project: Ensure a Hassle-Free Linux Upgrade @ Linux
- Mainstream desktop CPUs future evolution [Haswell, New Sockets, Enhancements...] @ VR-Zone
- Ubuntu 12.04 Developer Summit Summary @ Phoronix
- The 48GB DDR3 Weekend! @ ThinkComputers
- SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2012 Now Available on NGOHQ
- Weekly Giveaway #15: G.Skill 4GB DDR3 2133MHz Memory Kit @ eTeknix
- Real World Labs And Patriot Memory Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2011 - 10:38 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, nook, kindle fire, ereader, ebook, barnes & noble
Hot on the heels of the Kindle Fire announcement, Barnes & Noble is readying it’s own touchscreen tablet and ebook reader. Set to officially launch November 17th, the new Nook tablet is very similar to the Kindle Fire in physical dimensions; however, the hardware and software are a bit different. The new Nook Tablet measures 8.1” x 5” x .48” thick and will retail for $249 USD. It is currently available for pre-order now.
Weighing in at 14.1 ounces, the new tablet runs a customized version of Google’s Android operating system using some decent hardware. On the outside the gray colored chassis sports a 7” VividView IPS touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels (169 PPI). A 3.5 mm headphone jack, mono speaker, charging port, and microSD card slot are located along the edges of the tablet along with a microphone.
Powering the Nook Tablet is a Texas Instruments OMAP4 dual core processor running at 1 GHz and 1 GB of system RAM. Along with 16 GB of built in memory (expandable with up to a 32 GB microSD card.), the new Nook is trying to double up on the specifications of the Kindle Fire which has a single core TI OMAP 4 and 512 MB system RAM. In fact, the marketing documentation that was leaked last week clearly shows the company heavily pushing the increased hardware. The Nook Tablet also features Wi-Fi (no 3G connection), and a claimed battery life of up to 4 hours playing video with the Wi-Fi on or 11.5 hours of reading with Wi-Fi off. A slew of applications are included on the device for email, web browsing, Hulu plus, Netflix, and several other content providers.
The tablet supports the following formats:
E-Books and Documents: EPUB, PDF, XLS, DOC, PPT, TXT, DOCM, XLSM, PPTM, PPSX, PPSM, DOCX, XLX, PPTX
Video: MP4, SWF, 3GP, 3G2, MKV, WEBM, H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VP8
Photo: JPG< GIF, PNG, BMP
Audio: MP3, MP4, AAC, AMR, WAV, OGG
The marketing materials heavily pit the Nook Tablet against the Kindle Fire, even going so far as to dig at the Amazon Silk browser for privacy concerns that B&N’s tablet doesn’t have. What’s interesting is that the Nook isn’t being compared to other Android tablets. On the other hand, the Kindle Fire is the first Android tablet to be a successful launch even before the device has launched so it is only natural for Barnes & Noble to try to emulate that success and to heavily compare their product to the Kindle Fire. The customized nature of both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet really help to differentiate themselves from all the other vanilla Android tablets and are likely a cornerstone to the success.
On a personal level, my friends had never heard of the Transformer, Xoom, or Dell Streak but they knew just as much as I did about the Kindle Fire and jumped at the chance to pre-order it. Both the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire are set to officially launch this month, so it will be interesting to see how it shakes out as far as market share and whether or not the extra $50 for better hardware of the Nook will outweigh the Amazon juggernaut’s ecosystem (the app store, marketplace, kindle library, etc).
What do you think is more important in this customized 7” tablet/ereader market?
UPDATE: Amazon is now stating that the Kindle Fire is running a dual core processor, not the single core I mentioned above.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 6, 2011 - 08:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, slate 2, psg, hp, business, atom
Not long after HP reconsidered spinning off the PC manufacturing arm of the company, it has begun prepping two new business computers. The new PCs are aimed at business, education, healthcare, and government users and include a tablet and notebook. Specifically, HP is releasing the HP Slate 2 tablet computer and a lightweight notebook dubbed the HP 3115m.
The HP Slate 2 is a dark gray and silver accented slate style tablet computer weighing in at 1.5 lbs and a 8.9” (diagonal) screen. Running Windows 7, the computer offers both pen and touch input using its capacitive multi-touch display. To make up for the absence of a hardware keyboard, HP is including a new Swype keyboard application which will likely be well received as a notable improvement over the default Windows 7 on screen keyboard. As it is aimed at business users, several security enhancements are baked in, including a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip, HP ProtectTools, and Computrace Pro BIOS level security software.
On the hardware side of things, the HP tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z670 processor and a mSATA compatible SSD. A front facing VGA camera is available for video conferencing, and a second 3 MP (megapixel) camera is located on the back providing photo and video capture. Further, the tablet features SRS Premium Sound, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optional 3G mobile broadband, an SD card slot, and USB 2.0 ports. HP is further designing a docking station, integrated Bluetooth keyboard tablet case, and a Point of Sale (POS) attachment that adds a magnetic card reader to the tablet for processing credit card payments.
For those that would prefer a hardware keyboard instead of a tablet PC, HP is also releasing a lightweight notebook. The company claims that the new HP 3115m laptop will offer up to 11.5 hours of battery life. The PC features a 11.6” LED-backlit HD display, an HP webcam, and Beats Audio. Powering the laptop is a AMD E450 dual core Fusion APU. The APU features AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics hardware, which should easily meet the needs of road warriors and business professionals.
Both the HP Slate 2 and 3115m will be available later this month. The HP Slate 2 will be available worldwide towards the end of the month while the 3115m will be available November 11th in North and South America only. More photos can be found here.
Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 03:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, storm xornet, gaming mouse
Measuring only 4"x4.2"x1.3" the new CoolerMaster Storm Xornet is not one of the larger gaming mice on the market. It still sports the 2000 DPI Storm Tactical Optical Sensor common to CoolerMaster's eSports line, which means it certainly qualifies as a gaming mouse. High Tech Legion were surprised how quickly they got used to the claw style grip that this mouse encourages and did not mind the new position at all, pointing out that the rest for your pinky finger. For $30 this shrunken version of the CoolerMaster Storm Spawn gets their recommendation.
"The CM Storm Xornet is a basic gaming mouse designed for claw-grip users. The CM Storm Xornet’s shell is essentially a black version of the CM Storm Spawn but internally, the CM Storm Xornet is outfitted with the Avago ADNS-3050 optical LED sensor with adjustable DPI settings of 500, 1000 (default) and 2000. Similar to the CM Storm Spawn, the CM Storm Xornet features long-lasting Omron micro-switches with a lifetime span of 5,000,000 clicks. Whether you are an e-Sports athlete or just a hardcore gamer, the CM Storm Xornet will fit your needs and your budget."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CM Storm Xornet Optical Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS Azurues Gaming Mouse Review @ HardwareHeaven
- SteelSeries Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse Review @ Real World Labs
- Microsoft Touch Mouse @ Tweaktown
- Roccat KONE[+] USB Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- NZXT Avatar S Gaming Mouse Review @ OCIA
- SteelSeries Sensei Mouse Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Mad Catz F.P.S. Pro Wireless GamePad for PlayStation®3 Review @ Madshrimps
- XEBEC Tech htpc Wireless Mini Keyboard Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 11:42 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, thailand, flooding, western digital, Samsung
According to SemiAccurate both Western Digital and Samsung will cease shipping hard drives to suppliers and retailers because of the devastating flooding in Thailand. Both companies need to find a new source for head stacks and drive motors and Western Digital will need temporary manufacturing facilities while they wait for the flood waters to recede and repairs to start on their damaged factory. Expect to see this have large effects on the industry as major suppliers like Dell, Acer, ASUS and HP do not tend to keep large supplies of hard drives lying around in storage which means that only the models with SSDs inside will be able to be manufactured and shipped out. That reduction in production in turn will effect motherboard, GPU and CPU manufacturers as the demand for their products drop. While you will not convince the 11,000+ Thai people who have been displaced by the flooding that the fate of Western Digital's factory is the biggest impact of this disaster, for many in the western world it is the only reason they are paying attention to this story.
"According to sources that we have spoken with in the Taiwanese market both Samsung and Western Digital have decided to suspend shipments of disk drives to PC makers in Taiwan due to a parts shortage."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- VIA suffers continued net loss in 3Q11 @ DigiTimes
- Real iPad 3 reportedly to launch in 3Q12 @ DigiTimes
- Japanese supercomputer breaks the world record @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 03:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mobile, lending, kindle, ebook. book, devices
Amazon has launched a new service to augment its existing Amazon Prime subscription service this week that is sure to please ebook fans who happen to own a Kindle e-Reader. The new service dubbed the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library adds a free ebook renting option for Kindle devices.
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a subscription service like the Amazon Prime Instant Video service, except that instead of videos, Amazon will let you rent one book from the lending library for free. And as long as you maintain the Prime membership, you can keep the book for as long as you need to finish it. Once you’re done, you are able to turn in the book and exchange it for another ebook. Another plus is that any highlighting and bookmarking done to the borrowed books will remain persistent across rentals, meaning if you ever re-borrow the book all of your markups will remain intact.
There are some caveats to the rental service, however. You may have noticed that I emphasized the term “lending library” when describing the service. I did this because (again, much like instant video rentals) the ebooks that you are allowed to rent will be from a smaller subset of the library of Kindle books that you are able to purchase outright. Amazon is looking to expand the library of books that you will be able to rent; however, in some respects book publishers can be more restrictive (and old fashioned) than members of the RIAA and MPAA are in allowing their content on subscription services. According to Tom’s Hardware, amazon is, in some cases, being required to buy a title outright from the publisher every time it is rented (!). The company has said that it is even going to these extremes to try and show publishers the benefits of incremental growth in audience and revenue that can be achieved with such a lending (subscription) service.
The other caveat is that Amazon is currently only offering free rentals to Prime members who own Kindles, meaning that users of the smartphone and Kindle PC applications are out of luck. Further, there are restrictions on the Prime accounts that are eligible. Naturally, a full Amazon Prime account is required, meaning that you must be the primary account holder to use this service. It is unclear at this point whether the discounted student versions of Prime will be able to use this service (I’ve hear conflicting reports where some are saying they’ve gotten it to worth and some people have reported that it is not working for them).
Despite the caveats listed above, should Amazon’s subscription service be a success (I think it will be), it will likely entice other platforms to adopt similar subscription services. Once Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Amazon all integrate some sort of subscription services, book publishers will (hopefully) be forced to make more content available. For now though, the Amazon juggernaut will have to brute force it’s way into a decent subscription library. If you are curious about the titles offered, you can see the selection here. There are a few top 100 bestseller books as well, and the library can only grow from here. Will you be checking out the new rental system with your Kindle?
Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 3, 2011 - 08:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: layoffs, amd
We have been discussing AMD’s condition and future outlook over most of recent memory. Since the lawsuit versus Intel and the subsequent trying by the Big Blue Giant: AMD’s apparent jab-haymaker combo of lawsuit-Sempron to push heavily in the consumer market seems to have been mostly dodged and countered by Intel. While this last quarter has been positive there is little time for positive press; AMD has, today, removed 1400 employees from their company.
There was a time that AMD said they could beat anything Intel could throw at them.
That means that what AMD is releasing now is as-good or better than where they thought CPUs would be.
Food for thought.
It is not very uncommon to see layoffs during restructuring in the 10% range when a new CEO enters a company. The sad part of restructuring is that there is often little consideration about which employees comprise that 10%; rather, their job descriptions. These layoffs in isolation do not say much about AMD’s health in the upcoming time but should tint in one way or another how to perceive their upcoming actions. Where the future is positive or negative depends on how this ties into that.
Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2011 - 12:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, vector computing, exascale, APU
Chuck Moore, CTO of AMD's Technology Group, gave a talk this week about AMD's plans for the future of their architecture. As you might conjecture the focus was on the further integration of the CPU and GPU, with an eye on power consumption. The hurdle he feels will be the tallest is the bandwidth for passing data back and forth between the two processors and he sees 3D stacks of memory sitting between the main system memory, the GPU and the CPU. Once developed he feels that the stacks of memory should be able to increase the amount of available communication bandwidth to the point where tasks can be handed smoothly back and forth between the two processors depending on which is more effective at certain tasks. Performance is not everything however, when The Register quotes Moore when he discusses the power requirements of a mid-range exascale class machine costing $200 million just to power and cool over a year, you begin to see the importance of bringing down power consumption and heat production.
"Because Advanced Micro Devices has not yet announced its 16-core "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 processors, it has to talk about something, and in situations like that, it is best to talk about the far-off future. And so AMD rounded up a bunch of its partners on Wednesday in San Francisco for a shindig to talk about the challenges of exascale computing."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- JPR Reports Q3 Graphics Numbers @ SemiAccurate
- Western Digital and Samsung will not supply hard drives to Taiwan channels in November @ DigiTimes
- Facebook's "Open Compute" Server tested @ AnandTech
- HIS Desperate Upgrade GPU Competition @ XSReviews
- HiTechLegion Founder's Birthday Contest
Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2011 - 01:18 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming
The PC Gaming Alliance is not the most beloved industry body lately. The goals of the PC Gaming Alliance are to create an agency which addresses the issues with PC Gaming in an attempt to further it. What ultimately occurred was a stack of news stories chronicling who is no-longer a member of the PCGA for any given day and a series of jeers toward the group and the users of said platform. Occasionally they release studies -- like an upcoming one as announced on Intel’s software blog -- about a specification for cross-platform gaming.
United we stand, divided we prone.
Intel’s blog teased at the contents of a webinar that is scheduled to happen on the 9th:
During this webinar discussion we’ll be outlining a couple of key proposals that should not only help PC Gaming, but most other gaming ecosystems as well. A couple of the key trends we’re seeing in the research from the PC Gaming Alliance, and in discussions with Game Developers, is an increased desire to support and adopt various ‘Cloud gaming’ scenarios that are accessible across a wide spectrum of devices and displays. (aka. Compute Continuum, 3 screens, etc). This ‘Cloud Gaming’ movement is critical to comprehend in tandem with another key trend as games increasingly move towards a games-as-a-service (aka GAS) model. Due to the global popularity, massive install base, and extensibility of Personal Computers as gaming devices, the PCGA’s set of proposals will be largely targeted at addressing the PC Ecosystem.
What do you guys think of the upcoming webinar? What does Intel and the rest of the PCGA have in store for their specification?
Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 2, 2011 - 05:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: overclock, bulldozer, amd
Remember back in September when Ryan was all excited about seeing AMD exceed Intel with their Liquid Helium-cooled overclock? 8.429 GHz bulldozed past the 8.309 GHz record set upon Intel’s Celeron and all rejoiced at AMD’s 130 MHz triumph. Well out with the old and in with the new: there is a new overclocking king and it goes by the name of -- well it is also the AMD FX-8150. That is irrelevant, however, as the new record (if validated before someone beats it too) has become 8.461 GHz.
Someone’s the new king in town… the current king.
The new world record was set by Andre Yang, an overclocked from Taiwan, with an ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard. Benchmarks were not possible as when you get overclocking to this level: successfully running CPU-Z just to query the specifications of a CPU is generally considered sufficiently stable to be qualified as an overclock. Do not be surprised if SuperPi blows a hole through your chassis. It was not stated which method of cooling was used to allow the processor to reach those specifications.
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2011 - 04:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, pc exclusive, Mechwarrior, free to play
If you were a long-time PC gamer it is quite possible that some revision of Mechwarrior was installed to your C-drive at some point. If you are me, you likely had multiple of them. While the web of who owns what part of Mechwarrior and its larger Battletech universe is complicated to say the least, Smith and Tinker owns what Microsoft formerly acquired from FASA and is using it to make a new Mechwarrior game exclusively for the PC.
A ComStar faction should be an amusingly terrible idea.
Image from Piranha Games
The original announcement for Mechwarrior Online was quite different than where we are today. Mechwarrior Online, then called Mechwarrior, was scheduled for release on the Xbox 360 and Windows PC as a full retail game. That decision has since been overturned: Xbox 360 support has been dropped and the game is slated as a Free-To-Play PC release. Constant DLC is planned but free for players. The time-frame has also been shifted from 3015 to 3049 with each real day translating to a full day in game. You will also be able to select your Inner Sphere House when you launch and control over each planet is persistent. Like all free-to-play games, the ultimate question is how they plan to encourage their players to make small purchases leading to how successful the game will be when it is launched sometime in 2012.