Why would Google buy a defunct Canadian phone system maker?

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2011 - 03:43 PM |

It's the patents ...

Nortel was a major player in the telecommunications market, especially in researching new products and standards.  Even if you don't recognize the name you have seen a NorStar Meridian phone in person or on TV, but you don't see too much of them anymore.  After taking a big hit during the dot bomb and another after some accounting malpractices were discovered, Nortel took a dive that it, and many Canadian's pension plans, never recovered from. 

So why is Google offering $900 million for it's decaying corpse?  That particular body owns in the neighbourhood of 6,000 patents and patent applications covering basic parts of wired and wireless data and voice networking, as well as internet, service provider, and semiconductor technologies.  The Register is quick to point out that the 37 current lawsuits against Android have made Google wise to the idea that patent holders don't tend to sue themselves.

"Google has bid $900m for Nortel's patent portfolio, saying it hopes to use the portfolio to deter lawsuits against not only Google but also partners and open-source developers working on projects such as Android and Chrome."

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Source: The Register

Aperion Verus Forte; for those who still appreciate a wall of sound

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2011 - 05:28 PM |

If you are a fan of tiny speakers that unobtrusively fill the room with audio then the Aperion Verus Forte series of speakers is probably not for you.  If on the other hand you prefer a miniature wall of sound with speakers that are unashamed to make their presence known visually and aurally then click on over to Digital Trends.  With five parts, a pair of 30 lbs towers at 35" x 6" x 8.25, a single centre channel of 6.2" x 19" x 8" weighing in at 15 lbs and a pair of satellites of 9" x 5 x 5.7" and a relatively small 6.5 lbs.  If those aren't big enough Aperion also sells a Grand series.

"A few months ago internet-direct speaker maker Aperion Audio announced a new family of products dubbed Verus. The Verus line-up features higher quality drivers, more elegantly styled cabinets and more advanced engineering than their Intimus series cousins and, according to Aperion, a more authentic and true-to-life sound experience. Currently, the Verus offerings are comprised of the larger, full-sized “Grand” speakers along with the more recently released, and compact, Forte series. In this review, we take a listen to the Verus Forte towers, center channel and satellites and consider their value in contrast with their competition as well as Aperion’s own Intimus line."

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Do GTX590s really explode?

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2011 - 03:50 PM |

There are times when being a hardware reviewer offers some odd ways to enjoy yourself, such as the chance to pick up a brand new $800 GTX590 and try to make it explode.  That was how [H]ard|OCP spent a bit of time recently, fully investigating the claims that the NVIDIA Forceware 267.52 had faulty power management programming that would let the voltage on an overclocked card hit 1.2V or so and release the magic smoke from various parts of the graphics card.  Not only is this true, it is important because that driver version is on many retail disks, so those overclocking their cards with the disk provided by their manufacturer could end up with dead cards.  The good news is that you do not have to worry about that if you use up to date drivers and [H]ard|OCP shows in the review that there really is not much performance benefit to overvolting the GTX590 anyways.


"We take the new ASUS GeForce GTX 590 and overclock the crap out of it! What are all these exploding GTX 590 cards about? We will find out just what happens when you crank it up with proper power management working on the GTX 590. We compare performance at stock clocks, overclocked, and against a 6990."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Much ado about nothing: AMD and Global Foundries supposed tiff

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2011 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, global foundries, amd

Over the weekend conspiracy theorists perked their ears about an announced change in the way AMD will purchase 32nm chips from Global Foundries.  What seemed to be odd was the inclusion of the term "paying per good chip", something that is not done in the industry, even with horrible yields such as we saw with TSMC's 40nm process.  A call this morning filled in the missing details and SemiAccurate was there to report on it.  The long and short of it has nothing to do with yields, as they are still looking good.  Instead it seems like a way for AMD to ensure they have good supply of 32nm chips no matter how the actual production lays out and are not stuck paying for unusable chips while at the same time giving Global Foundries a way to get some money out of AMD if yields and sales are high.  This is very good news for companies like ATIC and Mubadala which have a stake in both AMD and Global Foundries.

"The AMD (AMD) and Global Foundries Wafer Purchase Agreement (WPA) that was released yesterday made little to no sense. On a conference call today, AMD’s Interim CEO Thomas Seifert filled in the missing pieces, it all makes sense now.

Few things are more beloved by journalists than a 5:30am PST financial conference call, but this one was worth it, especially in light of the questions left hanging by yesterday’s announcement. We stated that on the surface, it sure sounded like AMD was tearing Global Foundries a new reticle for use in debugging their 32nm process. That however contradicted the facts we had heard on the ground, as of late last year, there simply were not 32nm yield problems. So why was the press release written the way it was, and is really going on?"

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Source: SemiAccurate

Happy (Inter)National Cleavage Day

Subject: General Tech | April 1, 2011 - 10:25 PM |


Some of the more Perceptive of the PCPer's have probably realized just what this particular thread implies for the near future, but if you haven't checked it out you probably should, to avoid any future shock you could encounter otherwise.  If you've already played with the beta site, there is some discussion on system specification freeware which might be of use to those offering support to those who refer to the big case under their desk as their CPU.  Those looking to set up multiple OSes might garner some good information from this thread, while overclockers might smile at this success story.

Linux users will find quite a few active threads on Ubuntu 10.04 in this forum and those looking for a good argument can hit The Lightning Round ... who found a new victim to help moderate the most immoderate forum at PC Perspective.  If you are more into the physical, check out both the Hot Deals forum and The Trading Post, you are unlikely to walk away unhappy.

Lastly, you can grab all the old Podcasts from Youtube, iTunes or our page so c'mon people, get with the Podcast ... or in this week's case the Fireside Q&A brought to you by a certain inept Canadian ISP.

Logitech's solar powered K750 Wireless keyboard

Subject: General Tech | April 1, 2011 - 04:49 PM |

Skip out on the batteries with Logitech's new solar powered keyboard which sports an inch tall strip of solar cells at the top of the keyboard.  It won't help you much if you are a basement dweller but for those who can withstand a bit of natural sunlight will benefit from a wireless keyboard that never needs charging or new batteries.  As far as the usage, it has chiclet style keys and a complete lack of indicators such as a Caps Lock light.

Head over to Digital Trends for a look at Logitech's greenest keyboard yet.

"When you have companies slapping solar cells on everything from cell phones to backpacks so they can tie on recycled-cardboard tags with hemp cord, call them green, and charge twice the price, it's easy to get jaded and dismiss solar gadgets as gimmicks. Until about the third time you have to replace or recharge the batteries in your wireless keyboard, and realize a solar panel would eliminate that need forever. Like calculators and watches, Logitech's K750 proves that wireless keyboards make ideal candidates for solar-panel transplants, giving users both convenience and a clear conscience."

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Talking with NVIDIA about Tegra 2

Subject: General Tech | April 1, 2011 - 04:38 PM |

Nick Stam, the NVIDIA technical marketing director and Bruce Chan, the senior PR manager of Tegra 2 had a discussion with Hi Tech Legion about Tegra 2.  The audio interview was uploaded as opposed to offering a textual interview so you can amuse your eyes with other content while learning about what Tegra 2 will bring to tablets and cell phones.

"Paul at HiTech Legion chats with Nick Stam, NVIDIA technical marketing director and Bruce Chan, senior PR manager of Tegra 2 to discuss the past, present and future of Tegra. With the announced Tegra roadmap outlining the creation of powerful ARM-based, multi-core, ultra low- power processors that are significantly faster than anything the tech industry could have imagined, how much will the lines be blurred between desktop and mobile computers in the future? How far is NVIDIA willing to push the performance envelope of sub-1W computing?"

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AMD's Bulldozer boards will support SLI

Subject: General Tech | March 31, 2011 - 04:01 PM |

According to slide over at VR-Zone, the new 990FX and 990X chipsets will support NVIDIA's SLI multi-GPU technology.  That announcement does come with caveats, 7 and 8 series boards will not support SLI and there will be absolutely no support for the NF200 bridge chip.  Even still any time the consumer is given more choices it is a good thing.

"For so long, AMD enthusiasts have to resort to unofficial patches to make SLI work on their boards but not anymore. NVIDIA has finally agreed to make their SLI technology available for AMD 9-series chipsets boards supporting the Zambezi processors based on Bulldozer architecture."

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Source: VR-Zone
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair Components

A Headset for All Seasons

After being impressed by the Corsair SP2500 2.1 speaker system, I geared up to give their headphone audio a try. The technology that Corsair has implemented into their headphones certainly looks impressive, but only when we hear the sound will we know how well they accomplished this feat. Read on to see if Corsair can be the next Grado Labs in portable audio.A few weeks back I was able to listen to, and review, the SP2500 speakers from Corsair.  These impressed me a great deal with their clarity, depth of sound, and overall representation in all three major aspects of computer audio (music, movies, and gaming).  These were the first Corsair audio products that I had a chance to listen to, but they were not the first that Corsair had released at that time.  Some months before the release of those speakers, Corsair had introduced the Gaming Audio HS1 USB headphones.

Pardon the quality of the picture, my camera is dying.  The boys is well constructed and protects the headphones nicely.

Examining Dragon Age II's hardware requirements

Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2011 - 04:36 PM |

Dropping by [H]ard|OCP will give you a chance to see what kind of power you need to get the most out of the second iteration of Dragon Age.  Unlike some other games, this one supports DX11 so the first requirement to get every possible effect is to pick up a DX11 GPU.   For their tests they chose the GeForce GTX 580, 570, and 560 Ti as well as the Radeon HD 6970, 6950, and HD 6870 and used the High-Resolution Texture Pack.Drop by and see how your rig will fare.

"Dragon Age 2 is here in the hopes to provide your fantasy-action-adventure-role-playing fix. Its graphics are upgraded from the first game with advanced DirectX 11 features. Is it going to make mince-meat of your video card, or is it a kinder and gentler sort of bloodbath? We've got game performance on six video cards!"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP