Looking for a silver lining in "The Cloud"

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2011 - 11:52 AM |

You've heard about "The Cloud" and the miracles of having your applications hosted by another company over the web and by now you might be getting a little sick of it.  The promises made by those first service providers made it seem as though your email, databases and other programs that cost your business serious money to maintain could be reduced to a sliver of it's previous cost and as a bonus The Cloud will make your website bulletproof.  Now that the shine has worn off a bit and cloud computing has actually been available long enough for proper testing and usage we have a much better idea exactly what it is capable of and what new skills techies need to catch up on.  Ars Technica answers a couple of common questions small to medium business should ask themselves before they reach for the sky


"The best argument against outsourcing e-mail to the cloud is also gone: Gmail for Business also comes with enterprise support. And Google also works with partners now, so you can get local support too. We are working together with Romneya for example, a Belgian Google Partner."

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Source: AnandTech

PC Matic Pitstop goes for -$0.01 on Frys

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2011 - 11:35 AM |

I realize that many of our readers are likely over confident in their own computing skills that software like the piece I am about to mention will seem unnecessary, but others will find the tip interesting if only for friends and family.  PC Matic Pitstop is a package that combines the benefits of a virus scan with a malware removal service, driver updates, registry tweaks and more.  And while you can read positive reviews from sites like Brighthub and CNet, but the price is what will really convince you to give it a try.

Fry's is offering the software package for -$0.01 after a mail-in rebate for a limited time.  As far as cost, it doesn't get much better than that, so if you think this suite might help your or your family out with a system in need of a clean up, maybe give it a try!

Grab a copy of the Silmarillion ... apparently it's Tolkien Reading Day

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2011 - 06:43 PM |

Perhaps we are a little odd here at PC Perspective, after all a post entitled Another Good One is guaranteed to be about a difficult computer problem, not a viral video about a kid who loves cats on Friday, but we know what we like and are proud of it ... even if we aren't perfect.  We like to break things (or at least stress them) so that we can find out how they work and how to rebuild them, and to add to our collection of random screws that didn't fit back in. In that spirit, why not see if you can break the beta version of the new improved PC Perspective design and get a peek at the future while you are at it. 

Sometimes we go for the maximum punch and other times we take a more minimalist approach but we never do seem to take the easy road.  Once everything is working, to relax we engage we engage in activities which require split second reflexes or argue about the unsolvable problems that face the world.  If you do find that it all gets too much for you, just be glad you can watch the four of us do what we have done #147 times before.

Antec Donates Online Store Sales Proceeds to Japan Disaster Relief

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2011 - 02:11 PM |

Fremont, CA – March 24, 2011 – From now until April 24, 2011, Antec will donate 10 percent of proceeds generated from its online store sales to the American Red Cross, helping offer relief to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

Understanding the far-reaching effects of its actions and recognizing its responsibility as a global company, Antec will offer its online store customers a 10 percent discount on all orders $50 or more, and free ground shipping on all enclosure and power supply orders (excluding b-stock items).

Orders can be placed at the Antec online store at http://store.antec.com. For more information about the American Red Cross visit http://www.redcross.org.

Source: Antec

Is it worth picking up a USB 3.0 add-in card?

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2011 - 12:07 PM |

The Tech Report investigates a question that is probably on the minds of those who upgraded their PC hardware just before the release of USB 3.0, is it worth picking up a PCIe USB 3.0 card?  They grab a Mukii TransImp TIP-PU301 2 port USB card and run through what you can expect in the way of bandwidth depending on the implementation of PCIe your motherboard has as well as the effect of legacy cables. 

"SuperSpeed USB connectivity may be a nice additional perk as part of a future system, but is it worth the trouble as a standalone upgrade?"

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The most concise and accurate Crysis 2 review you need

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2011 - 01:22 PM |

If you've been living on pot noodles for months to save up enough money to upgrade your system for Crysis 2 then maybe it's time to reinstall FarCry 2 or Metro 2033, there must be a few mods out there to amuse yourself with.  Whatever level of fail BulletStorm reached with encrypted .ini files, Crysis 2 surpassed them and kept on going.  Who needs a DX11 game on an XBox after all, let alone challenging play or graphics that crush modern GPUs?   Kyle at [H]ard|OCP will help you save some bucks buying this console port, but if you really want to play it he did stick with it long enough to provide a performance preview.


"We have played them all! Farcry, Crysis, and now Crysis 2. If you were relying on Crytek to stress your new AMD or NVIDIA GPUs, well, you will likely have to wait another 4 years, or never probably. Crysis 2 graphics suck. Yes the graphics suck and you all know why. Crytek sold us out for a bunch of pussy 360 gamers. Gameplay is about as exciting and motivating as pulling a scab off your dog's scrotum. Open gameplay? Yeah right. Challenging? Not in the least. Crysis 2 goes into the "Never Finished" game bin with Daikatana. Come to think of it, Daikatana had better multi-player."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Cedar Trail gets its big reveal at IDF in Beijing

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2011 - 12:27 PM |

Intel's new mobile platform for netbooks, notebooks and all-in-one PCs will be unveiled next month in Beijing.  Cedar Trail in its various forms could start to arrive on the market before the second half of the year, leading with netbooks powered by the new generation of Atom processor.  Graphically you can expect DX10.1 support and the ability to stream 1080p video, though we don't know how smoothly yet.  Digitimes has the tip here.

"Intel will introduce Cedar Trail, its new platform specifically designed for use in netbooks (Cedar Trail-M) as well as nettops and entry-level all-in-one PCs (Cedar Trail-D), at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) to take place in Beijing, China, during April 12-13.

The third-generation Cedar Trail platform will feature a 32nm Atom processor (Cedarview), that is already in beta testing and should be able to start shipping in May or June. The platform will support DirectX 10.1, Blu-ray content playback and dual-display output, and supports output formats such as LVDS, eDP, HDMI and DP.

In addition, Taiwan-based Asustek Computer may announce its US$200-250 ultra-thin netbook at the show."


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Source: Digitimes

The last browser to renew its self; Firefox 4 arrives tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2011 - 12:06 PM |

Over the past 7 days we have seen quite a bit of action in the browser world.  Internet Explorer has hit its 9th iteration for those running Vista or Win7, with improved performance across the board, previously unseen (from Microsoft) adherence to web standards and new features such as a Do Not Track header.  The eternally updating Chrome beat even Adobe to the punch in patching a serious Flash flaw, but Firefox has been lagging behind in this busy week.  Wait no more, as today sees the release of FireFox 4, with an update to the Gecko rendering engine and a new Javascript engine called Jaegermonkey.Drop by The Inquirer for a preview before you install it.

"OPEN SOURCE software developer Mozilla has big hopes that Firefox 4 will maintain the momentum of its most popular product, and so far the results are looking good."

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Source: The Inquirer

PCMark 7 Announced For Windows 7

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 06:30 PM |

HELSINKI, FINLAND – MARCH 21, 2011 – Futuremark, the developer of the world's most popular benchmarking software, announced PCMark 7 today, a new benchmark offering complete PC performance analysis for Windows 7. PCMark 7 includes 7 separate test suites combining more than 20 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. A release date has not been announced though the official website states that PCMark 7 is coming soon. http://www.pcmark.com/

"Hardware innovations like solid state drives (SSDs), and new form factors such as netbooks and tablets are greatly increasing the range of PC performance available to businesses and home users," said Jani Joki, Director of PC Products and Services at Futuremark. "With so much choice available, PCMark 7 is an essential and easy to use tool to test and compare PC performance accurately and reliably across a wide range of usage scenarios."

PCMark 7 provides a set of 7 suites for measuring different aspects of PC performance with a high degree of accuracy. Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark Suite. The Lightweight Suite measures the capabilities of entry level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the full PCMark suite. Common use performance is measured by the Entertainment, Creativity and Productivity scenario suites. Component performance is measured by the Computation and Storage hardware suites. The Storage suite is ideal for testing SSDs and external hard drives in addition to the system drive.

For more information please visit http://www.pcmark.com/ or follow Futuremark on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Futuremark/


Corsair hits the low end of 2.1 speakers with the new SP2200 system

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 01:30 PM |

$220 Corsair SP2500 2.1speaker set, which you can see from the full review was quite impressive for those sitting directly in front of their PCs.  Overclockers Club had a chance to try out Corsair's less expensive alternative, the $90 Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2200 2.1 speaker set.  As the price difference indicates, there are significant differences between the two models, the satellites are smaller and the control for the subwoofer also affects the bass sent to the satellites though on the plus side the speakers can accept input from 3 different sources without you having to swap plugs.  Check out the full review at OCC.

"Movies aren't so involving with the SP2200. Newer movies often have audio that favors bass, and, as mentioned, the bass must be turned down quite a bit on the SP2200 to prevent it from being overwhelming and boomy. Unfortunately, this means that the overall volume must be turned up rather high to have a traditional movie experience. Fortunately, because most movie audio is intentionally very quiet so that any dramatic, loud moments are emphasized, means that quiet listening of movies is possible. Simply note that you might have to increase the volume to hear quiet parts."

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