HP to cut 27k jobs over 2 years. More depressing layoff news.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | May 26, 2012 - 03:10 AM |
Tagged: hp

ZDNet reports that HP will cut 27,000 jobs over the next two years which represents approximately 8 percent of their global staffing. The company claims that it will take those savings -- which are expected to be slightly over 3 billion dollars -- and re-invest them in research and development.

Yes that is right: 27k as in 27,000 jobs over two years.

CEO Meg Whitman made a statement that over the next couple of years HP will cut around eight percent of their workforce to refocus on research and development. They expect that with their projected cuts they will be able to recover $3-3.5 billion from wages to spend on their research into “cloud and big data” technologies.

Let us hope that they can keep their projected revenue even with the lessened workforce.

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So many printers -- but none print money.

And let us just think about the announcement for another second. The expectation is to lay off all those employees over the course of two years to reduce the short-term morale dip.

So instead you have practically all of your employees dust off their resumes in case their Russian roulette chance is not an empty chamber?

Congratulations HP -- you now probably have a company full of paranoid personnel.

Once again the loss of jobs is under 10 percent and thus I hesitate to make any guesses about the health of HP as a company. My general rule of thumb is that you can very loosely tell how bad a company is off depending on how many employees they lay off percentage wise. Up to approximately 10 percent is tragic but somewhat standard restructuring for a larger company. Up to 30 percent is seriously hard times. Approximately 100 percent means the company is either attempting to reboot or get picked apart for liquidation.

Again, that is just my rule of thumb when I look at these stories.

Source: ZDNet

Kingdoms of Amalur developer laid off entire 379-person staff

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2012 - 10:04 PM |
Tagged: 38 Studios

38 Studios, developer of Kingdoms of Amalur, has laid off their entire payroll of 379 staffers to pay off outstanding loans to the state of Rhode Island. The game sold 1.3 million copies in its first three months which is great but far short of the 3 million units required to pull a profit.

Kingdoms of Amalur was hotly anticipated and sold decently -- but just not decently enough.

Critics were somewhat positive about the quality of Reckoning and sales were likewise good. The game sold 1.3 million units in its first 90 days which is quite effective for the start of a franchise. Unfortunately finances were much tighter than the developer let on as sales were under half of where they needed to be. While they were able to make the $1.125 million loan payment to the state they were unable to do so while also paying their staff. All 379 were let go from the company.

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3 million units sold was pretty unreasonably optimistic for an expectation…

Alex Rubens of G4 and PC World has set up a public Google doc for those who were employed at 38 Studios to find potential new employers. Despite some vandalism it is still maintained by the original author albeit read-only for the rest of us.

As for the committee in charge of granting the loan to 38 Studios: two of the twelve members have resigned recently including the Vice Chairwoman Helena Foulkes who resigned under advice from the Governor. I personally tend to be forgiving of mistakes and would not desire for someone to be forced to leave after a single error unless it was malicious or negligent. And even if you disagree with my statement -- Foulkes was hired after the deal and thus was not even involved.

Oh well -- politics is as politics does. It looks better to have someone lose their job than to solve problems.

Source: Ars Technica

Blizzard further delays Diablo III real-money auction house

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2012 - 09:15 PM |
Tagged: diablo iii

Ars Technica reports that Blizzard has delayed the Diablo III auction house where users could buy and sell equipment using real money. While the delay is technically “indefinitely” as reported -- they just mean that no alternative release date has been announced.

This Diablows.

In the wake of recent security concerns Blizzard decided to further delay the ability to trade in-game items with fellow gamers for real money. The original launch of the real money auction house was set for some time this past week. Since then we have seen a delay to this upcoming Tuesday which today has also been overturned: launch date TBD.

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I wonder if I can be paid in Vespene Gas...

While Blizzard has been known to take a painstakingly long time to launch products I do not expect the delay to persist too much longer. While this delay has no definite timeframe it feels more like the company just cannot estimate development time rather than expects extensive attention is required.

In other words: it seems to be a question about how little work is required rather than how much.

Source: Ars Technica

The Facebook Browser -- a soap Opera

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 25, 2012 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged:

A source for Pocket-Lint claims that Facebook is looking to purchase Opera for a branded web browser. There is still question about whether Opera wants to sell or whether Facebook is able to muscle market share away from Google, Firefox, and Microsoft.

I, personally, find this rumor quite difficult to believe.

I could see Facebook being able to push a web browser -- they have the money and the user-base -- and I could see the deal but not expect it. Facebook would need to push for a web browser and Opera would need to sell.

Facebook.png

That said, with what goes on Facebook -- all we would need is Tide ads.

The main reason why this news sounds fictitious is because it occurred so close to the IPO. Going public would not contribute to the ability or desire for Facebook to acquire Opera. If it would not contribute to the acquisition then it is easy to assume it contributed to the rumor…

It is also unclear whether the source suggests that Facebook would like to purchase Opera and/or whether Opera would like to be purchased by Facebook.

I could see Facebook desiring to own a browser but this whole rumor does not smell right. Facebook is still quite good friends with Microsoft and I would expect that getting further involved in the Internet Explorer market share would be more desirable for the time being.

Source: Pocket Lint

Trimming the price but not the quality from their KNS series of headsets

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2012 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: audio, headset, gaming headset, KRK Systems, KNS 6400

If you are looking for a decent pair of circumaural headphones that simply offer great performance and do not delve into simulating 5.1 or 7.1 sound and have a budget of around $100 then check out KRK Systems' KNS 6400.  One of the best features of both this headset and its more expensive brother are the cords, which are not integral but can be replaced if they become damaged or if KRK Systems follows TechPowerUp's suggestion of selling custom cables for those with specific needs.  The audio quality is not top notch when compared to more expensive headphones but for $100 KRK Systems seems to have done very well.

TPU_bundle.jpg

"KRK Systems is well on their way to becoming a big name in the headphone business. Today we will be taking a look at yet another interesting set of closed back headphones, namely the KNS 6400s which feature the same mechanical design as the KNS 8400."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: TechPowerUp

NVIDIA's big chip, the GK110

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2012 - 11:28 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GTC 2012, gk110

We at PC Perspective were not the only ones who became a wee bit excited when we had the news from NVIDIA about what the GK110 Kepler chip is going to be capable of.  The chip will be powering professional HPC systems with the Telsa K20 board which will deliver over a teraflop of double precision processing power.  That precision is not so important to the proper rendering of fluid dynamics in the underground water of Crysis 2 but for scientists trying to model the real world it is double what they say from the previous generation of Fermi based Tesla boards.  Check out The Tech Report as they delve into how NVIDIA tweaked their new architecture to deal with new choke points and the compute enhancements they've added.

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"At its 2012 GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia revealed plenty of details about the biggest GPU of its Kepler generation. Here's what you need to know."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Windows 8 gives a little more attention to multiple monitors. Oh look -- a feature for traditional PCs.

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 24, 2012 - 08:22 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, multi monitor

PC Mag highlights enhanced support for multiple monitor systems in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview. It is like Microsoft has finally thrown a bone to the desktop and to a lesser extent, the laptop. Some features that were mentioned in the article have been around for a while, however.

If you have given the gift of a multiple monitor setup -- do not expect a take-backsies without a fight.

Chloe Albanesius of PC Mag wrote an article which outlines what enhanced support multiple monitor users will experience if they move to Windows 8. A refreshing suspend of the ctrl-alt-deleterious news. Or maybe Microsoft was just afraid of being attacked with vestigial display cables?

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Just think of the possibilities of per-monitor backgrounds… a shrine just for Josh...

The article opens with a description of the author’s triple monitor setup. Oddly enough my layout is very often an exact mirror image of her layout, horizontally. I would not be surprised if that choice was due to my left-handedness -- very amused, but not surprised.

Windows 8 will make it easy to load different backgrounds for each monitor but earlier versions were capable of that for as long as I could remember. The trick is to create a single very large background image in a program like Photoshop or The GIMP. This very large image must have the same dimensions as the sum of your monitor resolutions horizontally by the sum of your monitor resolutions vertically. The top left of that image is the top left of your “primary” monitor. Fill in the backgrounds wherever the desired monitor falls on that grid -- making sure to put whatever is above and to the left of the top left corner of the primary monitor at the extreme right and bottom. Set that background to “tiled” and you are set.

Notice how I never said that making it easier would be unwelcomed rather just that it was already possible.

The more important features include the ability to enable the taskbar on each monitor and customize how icons will appear for each display. That, combined with enabling corner context support for each monitor should help alleviate some of the juggling over real estate on the primary monitor.

You should be able to see all the changes for multiple monitor users in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview.

That is, of course, unless Microsoft ends up starting from scratch before they launch -- again.

Source: PC Mag

Green is the new blue for Intel -- pledges more eco friendly

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | May 24, 2012 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: Intel

Intel has released a report about their environmental efforts in terms of manufacturing efficiency, waste, and the efficiency of their products themselves. Their 2020 mobile and data center product line is expected to use 25-fold less power than their 2010 product line. Intel is hoping to use less water and consume 1.4 TWh less energy between 2012 and 2015 in their manufacturing with no chemical waste to landfill by 2020.

It is not easy been green.

… But, especially now, Intel can afford to try.

The chip manufacturer has set some goals for themselves to decrease their impact on the environment. These plans were published in their 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report (pdf), released last week. The plan highlights goals extending out as far as 2020.

It would seem that for Intel foresight is also 2020.

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Yes, those puns were terrible, I admit it.

One of the forefront issues raised is alterations to their supply chain. Their raw materials have been addressed -- not just for eco-friendliness -- but also for human rights violations. By the end of 2012 Intel intends to validate that all tantalum would be “conflict-free” with the other three minerals verified by the end of 2013.

On the topic of environmental impact Intel is also intending on reducing their electrical and water usage at their manufacturing plants. A total of 1.4 TWh of energy is expected to be reduced from 2012 through 2015. Intel is also lauding their solar initiatives although they fell short of committing to any specific future endeavors in clean energy in this report.

Lastly, Intel claims that their mobile and data center products will consume 25-fold less power than their 2010 counterparts. Obviously such a statement falls more under gloating than a vow to promote sustainability but it is respectable none-the-less.

Podcast #203 - ASUS N56VM notebook, XFX 7850s and 7870s, Thunderbolt on Windows and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2012 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: video, xfx, thunderbolt, podcast, msi, Ivy Bridge, Intel, asus, amd, 7870, 7850, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #203 - 05/24/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the ASUS N56VM notebook, XFX 7850s and 7870s, Thunderbolt on Windows 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!

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

Program length: 1:12:55

Program Schedule:

  1. 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. 0:02:00 You talked about all the cool stuff last week!
    1. GK110
    2. NVIDIA GRID
    3. AMD Trinity
    4. GTX 670
  6. 0:13:30 Antec High Current Pro Platinum 1000 watt PSU
  7. 0:16:20 ASUS N56VM Ivy Bridge Notebook - our reference system
  8. 0:17:30 XFX HD 7870 and HD 7850 Black Edition
  9. 0:28:25 Unreal Engine 4 Screenshots
  10. 0:31:00 AMD to stop making "needlessly powerful" CPUs
  11. 0:42:00 NVIDIA is not recalling Kepler
  12. 0:45:00 Thunderbolt for Windows from ASUS and MSI announced
  13. 0:48:30 Josh's Banana Phone - VIA $49 Android PC
  14. 0:51:30 Seagate to purchase LaCie
  15. 0:56:30 The discrete graphics card is not dead
  16. 1:02:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt External Storage
    2. Jeremy: DeLorean Hovercraft or levitating bed? Or I could go old school.
    3. Josh: Some Thieving Goodies from Way Back
    4. Allyn: Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 - alignment for SSDs integral with partition moves / resizes / etc
  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. Closing

Source:

TET, ePO and SSO... McAfee and Intel's Cloud

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2012 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: mcafee, Intel, cloud

Intel's purchase of AntiVirus vendor McAfee has been feeding rumours and speculation for about 10 months now and while we have plenty of buzzwords and a feeling that they are looking at securing Cloud Computing only recently have we seen anything concrete.  The first product to give us insight into their actual plans has arrived on the market bearing an awkward name, McAfee Management for Optimized Virtual Environments AntiVirus.  This is essentially antivirus and antimalware specifically designed to be used in virtualized server environments which are connected to and providing services to a large amount of geographically separate devices ... aka 'The Cloud".  It is possible that they have a product which will be able to prevent the spread of an infection by leveraging the strictly partitioned nature of virtual servers and data stores, something that will be very important for anyone providing SaaS (Software as a Service) to clients. 

The Register also points out that in order to fully benefit from this AV product you will need a relatively new Xeon for your servers to support Trusted Execution Technology and a Sandy/Ivy Bridge processor for client side machines.  That means hardware upgrades which Intel's sales team would be more than happy to talk to you about.

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"What Intel is planning is a cloud-to-desktop security strategy, mixing hardware and software features in a federated framework designed to make cloud computing safer, locking down the desktop and, coincidentally, giving IT managers another reason to specify Intel's systems during the next upgrade cycle."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register