28.12.09

Windows 7 fails to take down the Apple monster

Microsoft has failed! Or maybe its just a sign that there's room enough in the marketplace for two types of computers. While the PC market  has been enjoying an a spike in sales thanks to the release of Windows 7, Apple has also seen growth in sales ... meaning that the new Windows probably hasn't converted a lot of people to come over to the dark side...

Bangalore: The release of Windows 7 has definitely helped in increasing the sales of the PC at work, but have failed to slow the increase in adoption of Macs at the workplace, according to a study. Apple is expected to grow at the same time, while the number of companies buying Mac desktops remains flat at about seven percent, the number of those buying MacBooks has grown by 10 percent, according to Electronista.

The ChangeWave study also reports that Dell and HP should benefit from a slight increase in corporate sales with a respective 33 percent and 18 percent companies planning to buy both desktops and notebooks from the two. Also, 93 percent of those who had tried Windows 7 were either somewhat or very satisfied with the OS, that hasn't translated into significant decisions to move up upgrades at the office. But only 19 percent plan any sort of change, and only three percent plan a "significant" change to get Windows 7 into their businesses early.


Shouldn't you expect this though? Apple users drink coffee, drive Jettas and tell everyone how great their computer is. PC users have jobs. Enough said.

22.12.09

Bing eats up Yahoo, still way behind Google


Bing is continuing to grow with its market share in the search engine market, taking most of its traffic from Yahoo, which is something that brings up an interesting dilemma since Microsoft will be entering into a partnership with Yahoo. Akkkkkkwwwwaaaarrrrd.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Once the world's online search leader, Yahoo's share has sharply declined, putting it in danger of losing its relevance in a market increasingly dominated by Google.

Yahoo's search market share in November fell to 17.5% from 18% in October, according to a monthly comScore report released late Wednesday. It's the lowest share ever recorded for Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500).


Cannibalizing Yahoo's market share is Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), whose new Bing search site gained 0.4 points of the search market to 10.3% in November. That was the first time Microsoft owned more than 10% of the market since September 2007.


Now keep in mind that Google still rules the world, but Bing keeps creeping along.

7.12.09

Acer surpasses Dell in PC shipments

Laptop wars! With the Christmas season upon us and probably more than a few people wanting to get one for the Holiday season, it's going to be a bear's market out there. And apparently, traditional power Dell is losing ground.

Acer's Gateway acquisition positioned it as the world's third-largest PC vendor two years ago. Now, boosted by a 16.6% year-over-year growth in notebook shipments, the company has officially leapfrogged past Dell to take the second spot just behind HP. According to the latest figures from iSuppli, the Taiwanese firm commanded 13.4% of global shipments in Q3 2009, compared to 19.9% for HP and 12.9% for Dell. 

I wonder how much netbooks play a part in this as it seems those are becoming more popular. Anyways, be sure to put one of those on your wish list.

4.12.09

The internet apparently makes you crazy



Yesterday we heard about the guy that beat World of Warcraft, meaning that he's probably an internet addict. Hopefully he doesn't hurt himself, because apparently people who spend all their time in front of their computer on the internet are more likely to hurt themselves.

Researchers surveyed 1,618 adolescents aged 13 to 18 from China's Guangdong Province about behavior such as hitting themselves, pulling their own hair, or pinching or burning themselves, and gave them a test to gauge Internet addiction.

Internet addiction has been classified as a mental health problem since the mid-1990s with symptoms similar to other addictions.

The test found that about 10 percent of the students surveyed were moderately addicted to the Internet, while less than one percent were severely addicted.

The students ranked as moderately addicted to the Internet were 2.4 times more likely to have self-injured one to five times in the past 6 months than students without an addiction, said Dr. Lawrence Lam from the University of Notre Dame Australia.

The moderately-to-severely addicted students were almost five times more likely than non-addicted students to have self-injured six or more times in the past 6 months, Lam and his colleagues from Guangzhou's Sun Yat-Sen University reported.

Wow, so basically people with no social lives are more prone to physical harm of themselves? Surprise, surprise...

3.12.09

Congrats to the king of nerds

I don't know if I'd call this an achievement, I'd put this in the category of "what the hell have you done with your life?!"

A Taiwanese man has been named the first ever person to successfully "complete" World of Warcraft, collecting the game's staggering 986 Achievements to effectively do everything there is to do in the hugely successful MMO. This is literally the most amazing news of the day.

'Little Gray" beat the game after killing 390,895 creatures, administering 7,255,538,878 points of damage, completing 5,906 quests (averaging 14 quests a day), raiding 405 dungeons and hugging 11 players. I believe we can safely add another statistic to the numbers -- he has had sex 0 times during this period.

Some nitpicky WoW f*ckheads are trying to downplay Little Gray's accomplishment, claiming he received one event-tied achievement (B.B King) due to a glitch, and did not win it fairly. 


You've got to be kidding me. I mean not only did this guy spend waaaay too many human hours playing this video game but apparently there are some people out there that want to tear down his loser-dom. Seriously? How big of a loser do you have to be to say that another loser isn't as big a loser as he seems? I feel like it's the same people that live in their mom's basement and eat catfood.

Facebook is now much bigger than the United States



Remember how we thought "The Matrix" was just science fiction. Well when Facebook 8.0 comes out in 50 years we might all be hooked up to machines and getting used like a AA battery. Why? Because Facebook is spreading like a freakin' virus, what happens when it becomes self aware?

Social networking giant Facebook reached a new milestone this week, surpassing 350 million registered users. Founder Mark Zuckerberg noted the occasion in a blog update, where he outlined how his company achieved that number and where it is going from here.

Zuckerberg also used the time to address concerns about changes to Facebook's privacy policies. A major change will be the nature of networks, where regional networks are disbanded and users are presented with more confirmations on what information is exposed. Other privacy options will be simplified by combining many actions.


You've all been warned. Take cover.

2.12.09

Users love Windows 7, things that dont crash


Windows 7 has been a big hit with software critics (who must live a rockstar-esque lifestyle) and the sales charts - but what has the average user been saying about it? Remember, Windows Vista was treated like the plague when it was released and Windows XP was a mess when it was distributed to the public.

Seven? Well, it's heaven.

Windows 7 is scarcely more than a month old. Most of the people who will eventually use it haven't gotten around to trying it yet; those that have are still settling in. And the Win 7 experience will change rapidly as remaining bugs are squashed, missing drivers arrive, and compatibility glitches are ironed out. Even so, it's not too early to start gauging what real people think of Windows Vista's replacement.

So to riff on Ronald Reagan's famous question from his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter, Are Windows users better off today than they were a few weeks ago, back in the Vista era? We decided to ask the Technologizer community, a group of tech enthusiasts with a high propensity to acquire new operating systems quickly and push them to their limits. Starting on November 16th, we surveyed our readers (and Twitter followers) about their experiences with Windows 7.Our goal: to do a reality check on the mostly favorable initial reviews of the new OS (as well as our own survey of largely enthusiastic Windows 7 beta testers back in March).

The 550+ Windows 7 early adopters who took our survey mostly echo the positive response that the upgrade has received from professional reviewers, pundits, and users of pre-release editions. A sizable majority say they're extremely satisfied with the OS and rate it as a clear improvement on both the beloved Windows XP and the widely-panned Windows Vista. Crippling installation problems-the bane of every upgrader's existence, and always a legitimate reason to postpone switching OSes-were rare.

So everyone should go out, sell their Mac, and buy a PC with Windows 7. There, I said it.

1.12.09

Wii sales down for Nintendo, but still higher than the PS3 and Xbox


Even though every hardcore gamer (without a girlfriend) will tell you how much the Wii stinks because its graphics aren't as sparkly, the truth of the matter is it's selling a whole heck of a lot more than the other two "superior" systems.

The Wii outsold Sony's PS3 550,00 to 440,000; Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) has not yet published its figures, but said they were "double" the previous November week's, according to vgchartz.com.

Now, the bad news. Although Nintendo sold 550,000 Wii consoles between Nov. 22 and 28, that's roughly 30 percent fewer than the nearly 800,000 units sold during the same period in 2008. And that is also despite a $50 price cut on the Wii this fall. Some observers blame mediocre software on the decline. Others have noted Nintendo has been slow to offer new gaming titles for the Wii; the company's only recent major releases have been Wii Sports Resort in July and Wii Fit Plus in early September. According to reports, Wii Sports Resort is selling well.

In October, the game maker reported lower profit of 69.5 billion yen ($767.8 million) for the six-month period ended Sept. 30, compared with 144.83 billion yen for the same period in 2008. The company expects lower total earnings in 2009 than in 2008 -- the first annual earning decline for Nintendo in six years.

Well what do you expect in an economy like this? Nintendo is still racking in the money, and while I'm not sure about the Xbox - I know the PS3 is a big hemorrhage of money for Sony. Make fun of it's sophomoric graphics but the Wii is a moneymaker, that is for sure.

Good sales in the month of October for computer chips

Any increase in business is a good one, and the computer chip business had some excellent news to report, it was a whiz-bang month for them in sales.

According to data from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), worldwide chip sales rose 5.1% to $21.7 billion in October from September. October is historically a strong month for the semiconductor industry, and improvements were seen in all geographic regions. Europe reportedly grew the most, with a 7.5% sequential increase .

I wonder why October is so strong, is it computer manufacturers gearing up for the holiday season? Or are ghosts notorious for buying semiconductors? I'm just curious, that's all. 

30.11.09

Making counterfeit Apple parts does not pay


Word of advice to tech companies, don't try to make knockoff Apple computers. Or power adapters.

Why? Because they'll go after you.

Apple is taking another company to court, once again over knock-off hardware. Media Solutions Holdings will face Cupertino in court over making power adapters for laptops, at least one model of which allegedly violates an Apple patent.

The company being sued peddles more than just Apple knock-offs, they sell adapters for numerous brand-name laptops, including HP, Acer, Sony, Toshiba and Lenovo. It's a quite common business, as most brand-name power adapters can be expensive.

Apple is often synonymous with pricey, which makes them a common target for manufacturers of clone hardware like Psystar, but the term "counterfeit" better describes this case. It seems that Media Solutions Holdings was attempting to pass its adapters off as genuine Apple hardware.

Do you think consumers were tipped off when they found an orange on the power adapter instead of  an apple?

25.11.09

Macs definitely aren't perfect



First that little OS snafu where all user files were deleted, and now Apple is shipping defective or broken machines. What the heck is happening at the World Wide Leader of Cute Computers?

Scattered reports around the Web indicate that there may be one or more design flaws with Apple's 27" Core i7-powered iMac. Many users claim that their high-end iMac systems have cracked screens out of the box, and some units are completely dead on arrival. Among the affected are editors at Engadget, who recently received a new i7 model that refused to boot -- though, a different i7 iMac was fine.

Customers have piled into the Apple Support forum to complain about their busted machines, but Apple has yet to determine the root of the problem. It would seem most likely that the cracked displays are a result of insufficient packaging, poor handling -- or both. The DOA machines could also stem from improper shipping practices, though it is less probable.


Is the guy shipping all these Macs Ace Ventura? I mean a few cracked screens is one thing, but widespread cases of that along with dead machines is not a good sign for quality control at Apple.

24.11.09

PC shipments increase, revenues decrease

We've been hearing a lot of good news lately from the tech sector in terms of dollars and cents, however it seems that the PC industry market value will shrink this year.

According to a report released by Gartner today, worldwide PC shipments will grow 2.8% this year -- though, revenue will fall 11%. The firm's preliminary fourth-quarter forecast indicates that global PC shipments will total 298.9 million units in 2009, and may reach 336.6 million units in 2010, a 12.6% increase from this year.


This news comes after less optimistic research in September, which claimed there would be a 2% decline in shipments for 2009. Gartner said the growth is due to higher-than-anticipated sales in the third quarter, but despite that boost, the market value is still expected to decline. The outfit predicts that the market value of global PC shipments will total $217 billion in 2009, 10.7% less than 2008. That figure may increase by 2.6% to $222.9 billion in 2010.

With all things considered, an 11 percent drop seems about on par with the way everything is going. Growth in 2010 looks promising as everyone starts to pull themselves out of this recession.

23.11.09

Microsoft and Fox News in bed with one another


Well this whole Bing-Google search engine war just took an interesting twist. Look for the cannonballs to start flying after Microsoft is in discussions with News Corp to stop indexing their content with Google News. That's the same News Corp that owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and The Sun. Uh-oh.

Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company being paid to “de-index” its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry.

The impetus for the discussions came from News Corp, owner of newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal of the US to The Sun of the UK, said a person familiar with the situation, who warned that talks were at an early stage.

However, the Financial Times has learnt that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.

News Corp and Microsoft, which owns the rival Bing search engine, declined to comment.

One website publisher approached by Microsoft said that the plan “puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them”.

Things just got really, really ugly. We're about to see an all-out brawl. And I think newspapers are really kidding themselves if they think that selling the rights to their stories is going to save the industry. That's like saying a sports league could survive on TV rights sales alone. Not gonna work.

20.11.09

What you need to know about the Google Chrome OS


Google unveiled its plan for its new operating system yesterday and while I'm sure nobody is still sure what to expect but here's the basics about the Chrome OS...

1. Google Chrome OS is essentially a web browser on 'roids -
This is something hard to get my brain wrapped around but essentially the Chome OS will be based largely on web applications (meaning no desktop apps) and a tabular navigation system much like the Google Chrome browser already in existence. This may seem weird but considering how much work people already do online and how many applications are online these days, this is just another way to be speedy on the computer (a webpage opens up quicker than a program). However, despite it's browser roots, it still will be able to handle multiple tasks at once, you'll just have to get use to the navigation.

2. It will update and fix itself constantly - Tired of those "Patch Tuesdays" that Microsoft always rolls out? Chrome OS will always be updating itself to the latest version for security and convenience reasons meaning that everybody will have the most up-to-date versions. If it does find some malware or other problem in the operating system, it will basically just re-download the latest version of itself, bug-free.

3. All your data is online -
Everything will be stored online, not locally on a hard drive. While this seems scary at first, if your computer is stolen or broken you can just get a new computer and access all your old files. However, if you're not connected online, that's a different story. This is how they'll be able to pull of the constantly updating and re-imaging of the operating system since your files will not be on a hard drive, hence they wont be swept away when you OS refreshes itself.

4. Chrome OS will only work on Google-approved PCs - Google is looking for very specific types of machines for their OS. They're also going to do away with traditional hard drives and move on to "flash" or solid state hard media, meaning no moving parts. This would mean a boot-up time of around seven seconds on the machine.

5. It should work offline, but I'm not sure how well - You might be able to play games, but if you're not connected and can't access files, I could see this being a serious issue.

Mozilla makes some money


Mozilla Firefox, better known as the browser you download with IE after you buy your computer because it runs quicker than that slug Microsoft saddles you with, reported some interesting financial numbers for the year 2008. They are another tech company that has seemed to be able to ride out these economic times and grow in profit.

Our revenue and expenses are consistent with 2007, showing steady growth. Mozilla’s consolidated reported revenues (Mozilla Foundation and all subsidiaries) for 2008 were $78.6 million, up approximately 5% from 2007 reported revenues of $75.1 million. The majority of this revenue is generated from the search functionality in Mozilla Firefox from organizations such as Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, and others.

2008 revenues include a reported loss of $7.8 million in investments in the Foundation’s long-term portfolio (approximately 25%) as a result of economic conditions and investment values at the end of 2008. Excluding investment gains and losses, revenues from operational activity were $86.4 million compared to $73.3 million in 2007, an annual increase of 18%.


With Google Chrome, the latest version of IE grumbling in the background, Opera and Safari - there is a lot of competition out there for Mozilla. Although don't count out the devoted fanbase of Firefox, which seems to be growing all the time.

19.11.09

Modern Warfare 2 is the best selling piece of media ever

Fighting terrorists and other countries apparently ranks high in the minds of people as Modern Warfare 2 has raked in truckloads of cash. In fact, its raked in more cash in a five day period than any game or movie. Ever.

Wow.

Despite a bit of controversy in Russia, Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 has taken the video game world by storm, and now it is breaking sales records across the entire entertainment industry. The title reportedly generated $550 million in sales during the first five days available, beating all other video game launches and raking in more cash than any movie in the same timeframe.

By comparison, the current worldwide box-office record-holder is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which earned $394 million in its first five days. The Dark Knight holds the US box-office record with $203.8 million. The title has even successfully trounced Grand Theft Auto IV, which pulled in $500 million over the first five days of sales. 


Hear me know, there will be no studying on college campuses for the next three months. 

18.11.09

Internet Explorer to rise again


Even though I use Firefox religiously, Microsoft gearing up for another version of Internet Explorer is big news because I'll have to eventually get a new computer and use this browser to download FF and Chrome.

Microsoft will talk about its plan for upcoming builds of Internet Explorer this week at the Professional Developers Conference
-- though, it will not offer a preview of its next browser, according to CNET. It is also reported that the company is not planning to announce a move to the WebKit engine, despite speculation.

During a presentation today at the conference, chief software architect Ray Ozzie said Microsoft would make Internet Explorer the best Windows

browser, but did not elaborate. Redmond is expected to offer more details during tomorrow's keynote speech, however, which will touch on some "focus areas" for the next version of IE.

One thing that keeps getting me about IE is how darn slow the thing is. While more tests have shown that it's actually a fairly safe browser in terms of viruses and spyware items, it still takes forever to boot up and load pages. So Microsoft... speed things up a bit.

17.11.09

The Russians don't like Modern Warfare



This makes me wonder what they thought of Goldeneye. According to some content in the latest COD game, there's been a big snafu and the game has been pulled off the shelves in Russia. An apparently ban on it is rumored.

Activision is celebrating many successes with Modern Warfare 2 in general. The game opened up to amazing sales and helped contribute to a record-breaking number of Xbox Live connections. It's not gravy worldwide, however, following some recent trouble the game is dealing with in Russia. Despite an initial passing grade, MW2 is now facing an outright ban in Russia due to controversial content.

In particular the scene in which a player is put into an airport in Moscow has caused an upset, though for what specific reasons hasn't been clarified yet. Neither Activision nor the Russian government has released an official statement on what the situation is, but for now the game has been pulled from shelves in Russian stores. There's also rumors (though nothing official yet) that the game may face an outright ban.

So we don't know what it is yet? Can you say lame? Apparently they have a different idea of freedom over there in Russia, or some weird tastes when it comes to video games. After all, they did make Tetris.

16.11.09

Gamers up in arms about Modern Warfare 2's multi-player system



Gamers tend to like Call of Duty's awesome multi-player feature, which can basically suck up your entire day due to it's extreme enjoyability. Trust me in college, there was a week where we didn't have school due to snow and guess what I was doing that entire week? With the release of COD:MW2, it seems some gamers are up in arms about a few things.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released worldwide this week to an overwhelming success, selling 4.7 million copies on a single day and raking in an estimated $310 million in North America and the United Kingdom alone. Reviews have been mostly favorable too, at least as far as gameplay is concerned. But there is one group who feels slighted by a series of changes made in this latest addition to the Call of Duty franchise.

Ever since the word was out, PC gamers have been up in arms with Infinity Ward's decision to replace dedicated servers to host multiplayer matches with a proprietary infrastructure called IWNet. This has translated into less control in the hands of gamers, with no way to choose who is hosting matches (one player is assigned automatically), and no ability to kick or ban players from your game.


GASP! That's the end of the world.

Okay, so that does sound kind of annoying and I don't know why IW just couldn't stick with the old system unless there was some sort of concern that we're not aware of. Sometimes you don't want to give gamers too much control but the automated IWNet sounds a bit lame, kind of like Mario Kart Wii's automated and completely random multi-player system.

Makes me was to go use a rocket launcher.

13.11.09

Water found on the moon



Remember that big NASA impact on the moon a while back? Well apparently the data is back and they've found quite a substantial amount of water of the moon. Looks like we might be going back...

Substantial water reserves have been found beneath the Moon’s surface, Nasa announced yesterday, paving the way for a permanent lunar base.

The discovery came from Nasa’s “moon bombing” mission, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) probe, which was deliberately crashed into the lunar South Pole last month. An analysis of the dust thrown up from the impact revealed the presence of about 80 litres of water, or enough for a shallow bath. The results suggest that much larger, more accessible reserves are available at the poles.

“We can announce that we’ve found water — not just a little bit, a significant amount,” said Tony Colaprete, principal investigator for the mission at Nasa’s Ames Research Centre in California.

The exact form of the water is not yet clear, but it is likely to be spread out in small ice crystals. The rocket hit the Moon at an area where the surface temperature is around -230C. This region has not been in direct sunlight for at least two billion years. 


And it's still probably cleaner than the tap water in LA. Wonderful.

The 50 Best Innovations of 2009

Time Magazine has released a list of the 50 best innovations of 2009. Some of them high-tech, some of them life changing and some of them are just plain weird. The No. 1 on the list was NASA's Ares Rocket which could potentially launch men to the moon and beyond.

The new rockets could take astronauts to some thrilling places. The biggest costs — and risks — associated with visiting other celestial bodies are from landing and taking off again. But suppose you don't land? An independent commission appointed by the White House to make recommendations for NASA's future recently returned its 154-page report and made strong arguments for bypassing the familiar boots-in-the-soil scenario in favor of a flexible path of flybys and orbits.

Under the new thinking, astronauts could barnstorm or circle the moon, Mars and Mars' twin moons, deploying probes to do their rock-collecting and experiments for them. They could similarly sample near-Earth objects like asteroids. They could also travel to what is known as the Lagrange points — a scattering of spots between Earth and the moon and Earth and the sun where the gravitational forces on the bodies are precisely balanced and spacecraft simply ... hang where they are. These would serve as ideal spots for deploying probes and conducting cosmic observations.


Ladies and gentlemen, the 21st Century!

12.11.09

Windows 7 continues to take over the world


It's official, Windows 7 is way better than Vista and it's selling a whole lot better than Vista. In just three weeks, the new operating system has captured an astounding four percent market share, something that took Vista six months to do. Miracles or miracles if you release something stable and people actually want to use it.

Windows 7 continues to blaze trails, both in new sales and in upgrades of existing machines. As of the second week in November, less than three weeks since the official release, Windows 7 has reportedly snagged over 4% of the global OS market. At that speed, Windows 7 is outpacing its predecessor at an alarming rate. It took Vista roughly six months after release to reach 4% share.

This momentum may continue through the end of the year, when PC sales are traditionally high. If it does, it will be interesting to see where most of the users are coming from -- be it upgrades from XP, Vista, or new machines. Regardless, the message is clear: Windows 7 is growing at an astounding rate.

Apple people might have overestimated the whole "Windows 7 will cause people to switch to Mac" because they were dead wrong. Windows 7 is gaining momentum and I think we may have found a suitable replacement for Windows XP.

10.11.09

Macs apparently aren't perfect either


Wait, I though Macs were supposed to be perfect in every sense of the word. No viruses, bugs and gremlins slowly tearing apart your computer (Actually PC's don't have gremlins either). However, Apple just came out with a massive patch that fixes 58 vulnerabilities in its operating systems. Wow.

Today's security update was the sixth from Apple this year, and the second that included patches for Snow Leopard, launched in late August.

"Seems a little large, but really, it's par for the course for Apple," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security, referring to the number of individual bugs quashed in today's 2009-006 update. In May, Apple patched a record 67 vulnerabilities; it addressed 55 in February, 33 in September, and 19 in two separate August updates.

"Thank goodness Apple didn't release it tomorrow," Storms said. Microsoft, which unlike Apple sets a regular schedule for its security updates, is slated to deliver six updates Tuesday that will patch 15 vulnerabilities.

Why does it always feel like I'm getting talked down to when reading a Mac story? I mean these guys seriously think they're error free yet they do the same stuff Microsoft does.

Ready for Google Caffeine?



Remember when Google rolled out it's test Google Caffeine build that was much quicker in terms of search speed. Well the next generation of Google search is about to go live and while it's not much of a graphical change it will be a big tweak to the infastructure of the search engine giant.

Here's the statement from Google. This comes from the Google Caffeine beta page which has now been shut down.

We appreciate all the feedback from people who searched on our Caffeine sandbox.Based on the success we’ve seen, we believe Caffeine is ready for a larger audience. Soon we will activate Caffeine more widely, beginning with one data center. This sandbox is no longer necessary and has been retired, but we appreciate the testing and positive input that webmasters and publishers have given.

It will be interesting to see how this changes some of the rankings and who gets dinged and who doesn't. This might hurt Bing a little as more people will want to test drive the new "Google" if they don't already use it all the time. 

6.11.09

Big Brother... I mean Google... is watching you



In a rare move in big company history, Google is actually letting everyone know how much information they have on you. Now if only the CIA would do the same...

"Over the past 11 years, Google has focused on building innovative products for our users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, we are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data," said Google in a blog post today. "In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we've built the Google Dashboard."

The company said the Dashboard is set up so that users can control the personal settings in each Google product that they use. Google said the Dashboard tool supports more than 20 products and services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Google Latitude.

I took a peek at my Dashboard and basically Google knows everything about me, which is kind of creepy. It's like a spouse but without all the arguments about who left the toilet seat up.

5.11.09

The Wii doesn't do so well with Mature games




There's no denying that the Nintendo Wii has been wildly successful and while it may not be the prized console for hardcore gamers, it's reached a wide audience as people are drawn to its social gaming concept. Let me tell you, it's wonderful to have around for parties since the games are easy to pick up and very entertaining. The motion sensor remotes feel new and it's just more fun.

However if there's a downfall to the Wii, it's the console's slant towards family/kid games. I'm guessing that since the GPU isn't as powerful as the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, game makers have to make their 3D models more cartoonish, and due to the controllers - which are more likely to appeal to kids than Joe the Gamer sitting in his mom's basement (who wants 18 different button configurations).

There has been ventures into Mature-rated games but they have largely failed.

...according to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board database. Some, such as Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, haven't even been released yet. Compare that to 168 Mature-rated games listed for Xbox 360, or 126 mature-rated games for PlayStation 3, and it's clear where the majority of the industry's grown-up releases end up. But publishers remain intent to trying to make it work on Wii.

Earlier this year, a substantial amount of pre-release hype and critical acclaim followed the most hopeful attempt: Platinum Games and Sega's hyper-violent action game MadWorld. Japanese developer Platinum Games was founded by former Capcom designers Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya. The theory went like this: with that kind of gaming pedigree, hardcore gamers would flock to MadWorld, and its over-the-top violence and Sin City-esque art style would attract Wii owners looking for something different. That theory didn't hold, and MadWorld failed to make a splash.

Even Sega doesn't know exactly what went wrong.

"It’s difficult because it was a critically acclaimed title; it was extreme but good," said Sega of America president Mike Hayes in an interview with Wired. "The thing that we’re saying is, Sega would be extremely arrogant to have a title that didn’t do as well as we thought on a platform and then say, 'Those kinds of games don’t sell on that platform.' I think if you take our slew of more mature games -- House of the Dead Overkill did really well in Europe, and for some reason even though it’s a big (intellectual property) it did less well in North America. So that’s kind of like a win and a miss that’s kind of come out neutral. MadWorld sales were very disappointing, but was that to do with the platform? Was it that people didn’t like the art style? Or that people didn’t like the way the game played through? It could be many things, which we’re obviously researching."


I think for the most part, hardcore games - the ones who buy these Mature titles - go for the powerful machines like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Hence, you're marketing to a smaller market of your core consumers on the Wii. It's just set up to fail from the beginning.

4.11.09

Windows 7 saves the economy!

Hooray! Microsoft's new operating system is jumpstarting PC sales and causing the market to blow up by 40 percent. That means the economy will probably rebound right? Nothing to worry about we can start charging our credit cards again?

As many predicted, the debut of Windows 7 has prompted a surge in PC sales -- for now, at least. During the first week of general availability, Windows 7 boosted computer sales by some 40% year-over-year, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katheryn Huberty.

The figure is based on NPD sales data, and is partially skewed by consumers holding off purchases. During the two weeks leading up to Windows 7's launch, sales fell 29% and 2% compared to 2008. While computer sales have rebounded (and then some) from that stint, many people -- including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer -- don't expect Windows 7 to have a long term impact on PC sales.

Oh so this is just a bubble? Really? Who's ever built their financial stability on a bubble and failed? Oh wait that would be the economy in the early 2000s.

3.11.09

Windows 7 makes large leap in market share



After it's initial release to the general public, Windows 7 is already making some inrows into the operating system market - someone Windows Vista could really never do against XP.

Windows 7's market share climbed almost 40% in the week following its release, according to research outfit Net Applications. During the week after October 22, market share of Microsoft's latest operating system jumped more than 39% from 1.91% to an average of 2.66%. That growth doesn’t appear to be slowing either, rising another 82% to a peak share of 3.48% on October 31. For the entire month, Windows 7 finished with a market share of 2.15%, a 41% increase over the 1.52% for September.

Overall, Windows' share fell by .23% globally to 92.52%, while Apple's Mac OS X consumed the majority of that loss, gaining .15% and finishing the month at 5.27% -- its highest share ever. Windows XP experienced a .92% loss during October, falling to 70.6%. Meanwhile, Vista rebounded from September, when its share dropped for the first time in over two years, ending the month with 18.77% -- still less than its August record of 18.8%.

Keep in mind that many people wont make the leap until the coming months, or maybe they're waiting to upgrade to a new machine for Christmas. Sometimes people will also wait for the new Microsoft OS to be out for a while so they can work out all the kinks. One thing is for sure though, all initial responses have been positive and it looks like Windows 7 won't have the same negative connotation as Vista.

Apparently Google owes a lot of money


Turkey is not happy with Google, saying that they owe $47 million in back taxes. Look for that country to be eradicated from the face of the planet by Googlebots.

TechCrunch reports Turkey is claiming Google owes them 71 million Turkish Lira or 47 million US dollars in back taxes.

In fact, the Turkish government is fining Google for the money. Google claims all the funds are through their Ireland branch and Google does not owe Turkey any taxes. Google technically has a company in Turkey named Google Reklamcılık ve Pazarlama Ltd. Şti. but the company is technically set up as a ‘liaison’ branch. If set up properly, TechCrunch reports Google would owe little to no taxes to the Turkish government.


I know what you're thinking... Turkey has taxes? Yeah they do, they have a government and everything. It's quite fancy. This also isn't the first time Google has been accused of evading taxes. Should be interesting to see how this thing pans out.

2.11.09

The Internet will eventually run out of spam sites promising $1250 a month by working at home



Just when you thought that the internet would never run out of space - we've got some serious web address issues. It seems that at our current rate, we will run out of internet address within the next two years. Does that mean we just have to start using geocities and blogspot domains?

A survey, conducted by the European Commission, found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6. Web experts have warned that we could run out of internet addresses within the next two years unless more companies migrate to the new platform.

The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in which web addresses are created and assigned. Each website has a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such as 192.168.1.1, which are then given a user-friendly web address, such as telegraph.co.uk, to make them easier to remember.

Credit card details freely available on webThe IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses. By contrast, IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible new web addresses – experts estimate it could assign a unique address for every blade of grass on the planet.

Ahhhhh! This is worst that Y2K. Everyone run for the hills.

Windows 7 upgrade causes widespread pain and suffering



Usually when you upgrade an operating system you would expect things to either work or just reboot and go to the old operating system if the upgrade failed. However, Windows 7 has a fantastic little feature where it actually just keeps rebooting if your upgrade is unsuccessful. And rebooting. And rebooting.

Users remained stymied today by endless reboots after trying to upgrade their PCs to Windows 7, according to messages posted on Microsoft's support forum.

An answer has yet to be found for all users, who began reporting the problem last Friday after watching the upgrade stall two-thirds of the way through the process. Most users said that their PCs had displayed an error that claimed the upgrade had been unsuccessful and that Vista would be restored. Instead, their PCs again booted to the Windows 7 setup process, failed, then restarted the vicious cycle.

Several Microsoft engineers, including the company's senior group manager for Windows supportability, have offered advice, but on Monday users continued to publish complaints on a growing forum thread.

"I think I've gotten to the point where trying to install Windows 7 is simply not worth it," said "Chimaera717" around 1 p.m. ET today. Chimaera717 was one of the first users to gripe about reboot hell. "I'm more content with actually having a working computer. Anyone know if we can get our money back?"


Obviously this isn't everybody but there is a growing number of people - something Microsoft is going to have to take a look at unless they want another repeat of the Windows Vista hellstorm of user discontent.

29.10.09

Signs the machines are taking over: we've harnessed the power of the sun

So does this mean I'll never have to recharge my iPod battery again?

"A key component of a $10 billion nuclear fusion plant is vintage 2002 Indonesian coconut-shell charcoal. After a 20-year search, German researchers discovered that the coconut-shell charcoal is the best medium for 'adsorbing' waste byproducts sucked out of the thermonuclear reaction's vacuum chamber. In what will be the first fusion power facility that's commercially viable, magnetic fields will heat hydrogen isotopes to over 150 million degrees Centigrade. (Essentially, the super-hot plasma creates artificial stars.) As the article points out, 'It's not quite a Starship warp drive, but it does harness the power of the sun.'"

(From Slashdot)

28.10.09

Photo: Windows 7 will give you a heart attack



No really it will.

Tech market continues to rock the economy

While it may not be a sign that the economy is recovering quickly, it's good to see some industries bounce back from the abyss. The graphics processor market is humming along nicely since people like cards that make their video games render cool explosions and effects.

Third quarter graphics processors shipments jumped 21.2 percent sequentially after an initial rise in Q2 2009, according to the latest numbers from Jon Peddie Research. Overall 119.45 million units were shipped during the period, exceeding the record 111 million units that were shipped in the year-ago quarter, as computer vendors built up inventory in preparation for the Windows 7 launch.

As usual, JPR's report includes market share data and covered both discrete and integrated graphics -- thus as expected Intel continued to hold the top spot with 52.7% of the market, bolstered by its installed base of integrated graphics chipsets. Nvidia was second with 24.9%, followed by a closing in AMD with 19.8%.

Noticing a trend in the tech market? Everyone is making some profit. Good news...

27.10.09

Microsoft nixes Family Guy special


You may have heard about Microsoft's partnership with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to make a special with built-in Windows 7 plugs. You know that show... the one that pushes the line on decency and offensive material?

Well apparently Microsoft got offended.

Microsoft had planned to sponsor the special, titled "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show," and was going to embed Windows 7 pitches directly into the show, rather than using traditional ads. A sneek peek at a trailer revealed that the pitches were not even close to being funny.

Now that Microsoft has actually seen the show, the company has changed its mind about sponsorship. According to Variety, in a taping of the show Seth MacFarlane and his "Family Guy" co-star Alex Borstein:

"...made typical "Family Guy" style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest."

That spurred Microsoft to pull the plug.

What did they expect? A special about ponies and rabbits? It's Family Guy! This show takes more risks that Michael Jordan at a craps table. Did anyone brief the Microsoft execs on what Family Guy was all about or were they assuming it was like that Simpsons cartoon?

26.10.09

Bing strikes back


Remember a month ago when people we're freaking out over the one-month drop in market-share by the Microsoft search engine Bing? Well look out naysayers... it's bouncing back!

Microsoft's Bing search engine captured 8.8 percent of the search engine market in September, up from 8.7 percent in August, according to a new report from Compete, a Web analytics company. Google continues to dominate the search engine market with 72.6 percent of all searches performed in September done through the Mountain View, Calif.-based giant; Yahoo ranked third with 14.7 percent of searches.

Google (NSDQ:GOOG), like Bing, also grew from month to month, outpacing its Redmond, Wash.-based competitor, with 0.3 percent growth, from 72.3 percent in August to 72.6 percent in September, according to Compete.

Yahoo (NSDQ:YHOO), on the other hand, was the biggest loser in the search engine market share race. The company saw its query volume drop 8 percent from 1.98 billion searches in August to 1.82 billion in September, contributing to its market share dropping from 15.8 percent to 14.7 percent.

While Google is still doing its thing, it looks like Bing is here to stay (hopefully). The real loser in all of this is Yahoo, which after announcing they'll be using the Bing search engine has lost users to either Google or Bing. Once Microsoft finally takes over all the search capabilities from Yahoo, there might not be any market share left.

23.10.09

Video: I hate when this happens

I think we have found a design flaw in the Nintendo Wii...

Grumpy journalist complains about not getting Microsoft press releases


Stop the presses! We've got a news story on our hands as PC Mag's John Dvorak has thrown down the gauntlet - he's going after the evil giant software company known as Microsoft. You may have heard of them because they're trying to take over the world. Dvorak reveals some of the horrible things that the company has done...

I haven't received a single personal note from a Microsoft PR person for roughly four years. Instead, the company has taken to sending out very lengthy and somewhat boring cheerleader-type consumer newsletters to the media in an attempt to keep us informed. It's essentially spam with lots of links and no real compelling content, which seems to be the work of someone who has recently finished taking English as a Second Language courses.

Somewhere along the line, Microsoft apparently decided that it only wants to deal with those amenable suckers who will give it a pass on everything—or perhaps the company has just given up any hopes of getting favorable press. Whatever the case may be, the Microsoft of 15 years ago did a much better job managing the media than it does today. The shift signals more than a simple annoyance—Microsoft's carelessness with the media seems to represent an overall careless that permeates throughout the entire company.


You haven't received a press release?!?! Heaven forbid you have to actually research something yourself or go onto these blogs which are already stuffed with info on windows. You want an article hand delivered to your inbox so you can rewrite it and collect a paycheck. Ladies and gentlemen, journalism!

21.10.09

Yahoo hauls in a boatload of cash


Yahoo has reported a total net income of $186 million this quarter, up an astounding 244% from last quarter when it netted $54 million. This comes largely because Yahoo cut costs but nevertheless shows how tech companies and raking in the cash in this recession.

Yahoo's surge in profit comes after some major budget trimming, and despite the company's handsome bottom line, its revenue is still falling. Yahoo recorded revenue of $1.6 billion in the third quarter, down 12% year-over-year, and excluding traffic acquisition costs revenue was $1.1 billion. 

Now considering all the issues surrounding Yahoo (i.e. their outsourcing of search engine duties to Microsoft) it seems like a good sign that the company is able to haul in profit at a decent margin. We'll see how this plays out in the coming quarters.

20.10.09

Sony Playstation 3 is king (for now)


After less than stellar sales during the early part of its existence, a new price drop helped the PlayStation 3 become the top selling console in September. What does this mean? Maybe people are sick of Microsoft and waving motion controls around like a drunk uncle.

Benefiting from a significant price drop last month and a hardware redesign, Sony's PlayStation 3 took the top spot in the U.S. gaming console sales rankings for the first time since it was launched in November 2006. According to the latest figures from NPD, the Blu-ray equipped device sold 491,800 units in September, compared with 462,800 for the Nintendo Wii and 352,600 for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

No one managed to topple the Nintendo DS, however, which boasts an impressive 524,000 units sold for the month. The entire industry as a whole enjoyed a 1 percent year-on-year growth to $1.28 billion, breaking six months of straight decline. Of that amount, software was up 5 percent to $649.32 million, while hardware was down 6 percent to $472.28 million and accessory sales were up 2 percent to $157.33 million.


While the PS3 does boast better graphics than the Xbox 360 and definitely the Wii, for some reason it seems to have excluded two key demographics: the kid gamer and the casual gamer. I would guess that hard-core gamers eat this stuff up since it's the most powerful machine on earth (other than PCs) and has several franchises from Sony. However, things have always seemed a little more advanced and adult on the PlayStation. Kids are going to be more attracted to the fun Wii, and the off-and-on gamer is going to be more inclined to buy the cheaper and better franchised Xbox 360.

Serious, name one franchise specifically on the PS3 that has reached main, main stream conscious (NOTE: I'm not talking about being mentioned on your gamer message board, I'm talking about something your mom would recognize). Now do the same for the Xbox and Wii. Mario? Halo? Those have entered the big time and people are willing to hope in bed with those machines. Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy are mainstream in the gaming world but probably not as popular as the other console's marquee franchises.

However it appears this price drop may have earned the PS3 some more fans.

Video: Does anyone find this commercial slightly creepy?

Just the end of it, with the change of music, made my skin crawl a little.

19.10.09

Apple profits on the rise


Looks like another tech company is doing well in the face of a rough economy as Apple posted a spiffy profits report...

SEATTLE — Apple Inc. said its net income rose 47 percent in the most recent quarter as more people bought Mac computers and gave in to the iPhone craze. The results, released Monday, sent Apple shares surging 7 percent in extended trading to an all-time high.

Apple unveiled a faster iPhone in June and cut the price of the previous generation of the phone to $99. That boosted iPhone sales from July through September to 7.4 million devices, half a million more than last year.

Apple weathered the economic meltdown better than other computer companies, giving it a running start when PC sales grew in the quarter. Apple had also updated its Mac operating system and refreshed its Macbook Pro line. Apple sold 3.1 million Macs, a 19 percent rise from the same period a year ago.

With Google also posting it's biggest profit ever, things look up for the economy at least in the tech sector, now if that could translate over into other parts of this country's economy, we could be on the road to recovery.

Microsoft to become the next Starbucks Coffee



Watch out now, not only is Microsoft software on most personal computers in the world, but now the company is expanding their physical influence by opening their first "Microsoft Store" in Scottsdale, Arizona. No word yet if you'll have to ask Windows Vista permission before going into the store.

Microsoft's retail stores are expected to showcase computers and mobile phones running Windows software, as well as the company's own Xbox 360 and Zune hardware. A further site is reportedly planned for Mission Viejo, California. Meanwhile, Apple is said to be launching an aggressive ad campaign to try and steal the spotlight away from Windows 7's launch. 


Oh no! Now people will have a physical target when their Windows system crashes and erases all their data. This will not end well... mark my word.

Microsoft out to ruin Mozilla Firefox


If you're a big company that has a PR problem, the last thing you want to do is create an add-on for a competitor browser that creates a serious security issue. Last Tuesday, when Microsoft released its huge update for Windows, one of those updates was to actually help users from getting hacked.

One of the 13 security bulletins Microsoft released Tuesday affects not only Internet Explorer (IE), but also Firefox, thanks to a Microsoft-made plug-in pushed to Firefox users eight months ago in an update delivered via Windows Update.

"While the vulnerability is in an IE component, there is an attack vector for Firefox users as well," admitted Microsoft engineers in a post to the company's Security Research & Defense blog on Tuesday. "The reason is that .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installs a 'Windows Presentation Foundation' plug-in in Firefox."

The Microsoft engineers described the possible threat as a "browse-and-get-owned" situation that only requires attackers to lure Firefox users to a rigged Web site.


However, some serious issues arose (understatement).

What was particularly galling to users was that once installed, the .NET add-on was virtually impossible to remove from Firefox. The usual "Disable" and "Uninstall" buttons in Firefox's add-on list were grayed out on all versions of Windows except Windows 7, leaving most users no alternative other than to root through the Windows registry, a potentially dangerous chore, since a misstep could cripple the PC. Several sites posted complicated directions on how to scrub the .NET add-on from Firefox, including Annoyances.org.

Annoyances also said the threat to Firefox users is serious. "This update adds to Firefox one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer: the ability for Web sites to easily and quietly install software on your PC," said the hints and tips site. "Since this design flaw is one of the reasons [why] you may have originally chosen to abandon IE in favor of a safer browser like Firefox, you may wish to remove this extension with all due haste."


Really Microsoft? Come on now. I had read somewhere that it had been fixed but keep a weary eye out for those add-ons.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

16.10.09

PC Shipments bounce back! The computer industry is saved!


Apparently either more people are becoming homeless due to the economy or they're getting sick of being hosed by Best Buy salesmen. After seeing a drop in PC shipments first and second quarter, the market bounced back marginally and the release of Windows 7 is supposed to only have a small effect on the market in the coming months.

Gartner has released a report that shows a rise of .5% in PC shipments during the last quarter from a year ago. A small but nonetheless positive gain, compared to the second quarter's 5% decline and the first's 6.5% drop. The growth was somewhat of a surprise to Gartner, which expected PC shipments to fall by 5.6% in the third quarter.

Last quarter held a milestone for Acer, as the company raced passed Dell to claim 15.4% of the global market
, with the latter holding about 12.8%, and HP remained on top with a 19.9% share. HP performed about equal to the prior quarter, but Acer and Dell were neck and neck with 13.5% and 13.6% of the market. 

I wonder if the rise has anything to do with the upcoming holiday... oh what is it called again... oh yeah, Christmas. It's only a few months away people. Of course more models are getting bought up, because those crazy people that do their holiday shopping in advance are gobbling them up.

Okay, that might be just a shot in the dark (it is) but I'm not sure how thrilled you can be about a .5% rise in sales - but hey, at least the bottom of the market isn't dropping out.

15.10.09

Finding the biggest prime number ever


This isn't nerdy at all. This is something I would totally use if I were trying to pick up girls at the bar.

San Francisco, CA - infoZine - A worldwide volunteer computing project called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has discovered a 12-million-digit prime number, netting $100,000 and a Cooperative Computing Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for discovering a prime number of over 10 million digits.

The GIMPS PrimeNet network made the discovery on a computer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Mathematics Department. Computing manager Edson Smith installed and maintained the GIMPS software at UCLA, and thousands of other volunteers also participated in the search process. The discovery was hailed by Time magazine as the 29th top invention of 2008.


That's freakin' huge number by the way. I'm not sure you could count that one on your fingers.

The winning number is the 45th known Mersenne prime, written shorthand as 2 to the power of 43,112,609, minus 1. A Mersenne number is a positive integer that is one less than a power of two. The GIMPS discovery was announced in the Fibonacci Quarterly journal in August of this year; it is the largest prime number ever discovered.

Yeah this isn't something you'd use on the T-80 in high school.

14.10.09

The Chinese have developed an artificial black hole, possibly working on a cloaking device


Sorry America, we're royally screwed. If Washington D.C. suddenly scrunches down to the size of a penny - we know who done it.

Step forward Qiang Cheng and Tie Jun Cui at the State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, who have used metamaterials to create the world's first artificial black hole in their lab. Yep, a real black hole.

That's not quite as scary as it sounds. A black hole is a region of space from which light cannot escape (that's why it's black). According to Einsteins' theory relativity, black holes form when space becomes so distorted by a large mass that light cannot escape its gravitational field.

But gravity needn't be involved. Metamaterials also distort space, as far as light is concerned anyway (in fact there is a formal mathematical analogy between these optical and gravitational distortions). Physicists have already exploited this distortion to steer light around an object within a metamaterial to create an invisibility cloak. If that's possible, then more exotic distortions ought to be possible too.


Hmmm, but hasn't human-made black holes been in existence for quite some time now. We actually see them everywhere in America. Here's a photo of one...


No light or rays of hope ever leave these black holes, and they're significanlty bigger than the Chinese "black holes."

Bring it on China! We're ready.

13.10.09

Woman goes to pokey for poking someone on Facebook

Social networking continues to be a strange experiment in human interaction. Now a woman has been put in jail for poking someone that has put a restraining order on her.

...a Tennessee woman was arrested last month for "poking" another user on Facebook.

According to an affidavit filed with the Sumner County General Sessions Court on Sept. 25, Shannon D. Jackson of Hendersonville, Tenn., allegedly violated a legal order of protection that had been previously filed against her when she sent a virtual "poke" to another woman on Facebook.


I wonder what would have happened if she would have tagged in the person in one of her photos? I can only imagine the death penalty.

12.10.09

I'm a PC, I'm a Mac with a serious bug


Apparently despite all the banging drums about how stable Macs are, it still has some issues. Example: this nasty little bug that causes the Snow Leopard Operating System to delete all user data. Ooops.

The flaw is triggered when a user signs into the guest account, be it intentionally or unintentionally, and then attempts to sign back into their regular account only to find that all of their files have been erased. Unfortunately, the only way to get them back is from a backup on a separate drive.

The number of users impacted by this bug is uncertain as is the exact cause behind it. Speculation is that something makes Snow Leopard treat the regular account like a Guest account, from which by default all data is deleted upon logout. Furthermore, it seems the problem occurs only when the Guest account was already enabled in Leopard before being upgraded to Snow Leopard.


So until Apple figures out a way to fix it, you might want to start away from those guest accounts. Unless of course you want your entire virtual life to be deleted... forever. As far as the "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" commercials go, you've let me down Mac, you've let me down. Should of stuck with being a B actor that starred in movies like "Waiting."

9.10.09

Your Windows OS will be getting a rebuild come Tuesday


You might have heard that every once in a while Windows has bugs, security risks and other things that may need to get fixed. Okay, that's a slight understatement as Windows is constantly getting patched and worked on by Microsoft technicians and Mac users always like to point out all the issues with the operating system.

Well they just got more ammo as the upcoming Windows patch will include 13 fixes, a record for the company. You might as well not come into work while Windows is updating.

In June, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) issued 10 security bulletins addressing 31 vulnerabilities, the largest number of vulnerabilities fixed in a single day since the company began issuing regular patches on the second Tuesday of every month in October 2003.

This coming Tuesday, the company's four-month-old record will fall: Microsoft's October patch cycle includes 13 bulletins that address 34 vulnerabilities.

Eight of the bulletins are rated "critical" and five are rated important. The bulletins affect Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, Silverlight, Forefront, Developer Tools, and SQL Server.

According to a blog post by Microsoft senior security program manager Jerry Bryant, the patch will resolve two issues described in recent security advisories: a Server Message Block (SMB) vulnerability and an FTP vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Services (ISS).

"Usually we do not go into this level of detail in the advance notification but we felt that it is important guidance so customers can plan accordingly and deploy these updates as soon as possible," said Bryant.


13 fixes? All of a sudden Windows seems like the broken-down Cadillac spewing smoke on the highway.

8.10.09

Why video games slowly drain your bank account

Gaming can be an expensive hobby... ask anyone who's walked into a GameStop to get the latest copy of Grand Theft Auto: Beating up your Grandma for their X-Box. Sixty bucks a pop? Really?

Here's how it breaks down in pricing...
  • $12 goes to the retailer.
  • $5 goes toward discounts, game returns and retail cross-marketing. (You didn't think those cardboard standees were free, did you?)
  • $10 goes toward cost of goods sold, which includes manufacturing the game disc, shipping the games to the store and anything else directly related to production and delivery of the game package.
"It is generally accepted that most publishers receive $30 to $35 per game sold before they run into overhead, development and marketing costs."

That's all fine and dandy, but I have a different theory on why it costs so much to buy a video game
  • $10 goes to the donut fund that all the programmers use to feed themselves during the development of the game.
  • $5 goes to pay the Microsoft god Bill Gates so he doesn't smite unsuspecting game companies.
  • $5 is for the company party after the game is released. They spend it on cake and a live band (usually Bon Jovi).
  • $20 goes to making the cover art to a game. This usually takes longer and is more thought out than the actual programming of the game itself.
  • $5 is for the Canadians, because they secretly run America.
  • $5 is to the "How can we somehow add a female character with a large chest" fund that all gaming companies have.
  • $10 goes to paying off all the gaming publications to trick you into thinking this is a good game.
In other words, you get hosed.

7.10.09

Google Monster chugs through bad economy


While the sad state of the economy has hit everyone, the one exception has been none other than search-engine giant Google, which probably prints its own money now.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said that the tech firm has ramped up hiring, citing an end to the advertising slump.

Schmidt told reporters at the company's headquarters in New York that Google started to see the first signs of a recovery in May and June, and Wednesday he said the advertising recession has ended, according to a Google spokesman.

"The worst is behind us," said Schmidt. "We're clearly seeing aspects of recovery, not just in the U.S. but also Europe."

Google weathered the economic downturn well, but the company still endured more modest gains in revenue and earnings than the soaring profit and sales it was used to in prior years.

A couple of things that might have helped Google has been the fact that...

(1) People are going out less, staying home, and spending more time on the computer. You don't see internet providers going under because people are more likely to stop eating than stop updating their Facebook status. Since Google is the main search provider for everyone, they get used more since their surfing more often.

(2) Google has diversified, and the amount of items you can use for is staggering. Email, website management, blogging and even social networking. Meanwhile on Bing.com... you can search throw a group of photos... wow.

Well, when we are the Google States of America, just remember the days before the search engines took over...