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Some say Microsoft chose poorly when they backed Toshiba's HD DVD standard, and that had Microsoft backed Blu-ray instead, there wouldn't have been much of a format war.  There's another group, including Michael Bay, that thinks Microsoft intentionally chose a standard that they didn't think would win in an attempt to undermine consumer confidence in disc formats altogether.  Why?So they could build up their HD content on their digital distribution service:"Microsoft has been expanding the HD video capabilities of both Vista Media Center and Xbox Live Marketplace. The Marketplace's HD content library is modest today, but the software giant clearly has plans to change that.So, let's put everything... Read more...
Rumors flew yesterday about today's YouTube announcement. Some thought it would be high-definition videos (long desired); others thought it would be a deal with Hulu (which would have been cool). The real announcement was an opening up of YouTube, turning it into a service that could power your own application, site, whatever, via new APIs.We try really hard to make YouTube as open as possible. Anyone can upload and view videos, which can be embedded anywhere and viewed on all kinds of different devices. And, of course, anyone can participate in our community by commenting on videos, rating them, and sharing them with friends. Nevertheless, we worried that we weren't open enough. So, we pulled... Read more...
Google has cleared the final hurdle, the OK of anti-trust regulators in the EU, and will take over DoubleClick. DoubleClick is well-positioned to help Google consolidate its position in Internet marketing, advertising, and tracking customer surfing habits; and they specialize in multimedia ads that could possibly draw advertising revenue away from television. So the good news at DoubleClick is you're soon to be part of the most successful search company ever. For a lot of people, the bad news will be: you're fired. Besides opening up new opportunities, Google's takeover of DoubleClick will create more challenges for a management team already grappling with concerns about how the slowing... Read more...
I don't know which I dread accidentally clicking on more: A PDF link (Adobe) or a Quicktime video (Apple). But unless you live under a rock, you're looking at Flash video every day on the Internet. Steve Jobs doesn't seem to be; he's publicly  announced that Flash is unsuitable for the iPhone in any of its current iterations. Adobe countered that if your smartphone doesn't play Flash video, it's a pretty dumb smartphone. Rather than support Flash, Apple requires that video be delivered in a particular file format. As a result, even though Google's YouTube has agreed to go along with Apple, only a fraction of Web video is playable on the iPhone. Flash is used to display the majority of online... Read more...
Word has reached us that Dell is cutting back some of their AMD-powered offerings, at least on their web site:“The big computer company said it still plans to keep selling the AMD-based machines in retail stores and over the phone and is still using its Web site to sell AMD-powered machines for business users. But Dell's shift is nevertheless seen as negative for AMD, which took years to convince Dell to modify its longtime strategy of using ...”It took Dell a very long time to agree to sell AMD machines, and sadly by the time they finally agreed to do so Intel was readying the Core CPUs.  Considering that the performance (and demand amongst some high-end crowds) change every few CPU generations,... Read more...
Yahoo's board of directors is reportedly meeting today to consider what to do about Microsoft's unsolicited $44.6 billion buyout offer. There's been quite a bit of advice, unsolicited and otherwise, offered to Yahoo to avoid being taken over. The offer so far exceeds the value of the stock involved that the board would likely be blamed for malfeasance if they did nothing, and it's very unlikely anyone else is going to offer more. Why is Yahoo's management balking at the takeover?  "They have to be public about it," Ward [publisher of Boardroom Insider] said. "They have to leave a strong record of who said what and who and when....You document and then you re- document...You have to show... Read more...
We've been hearing that SP1 has been nearly ready for release for quite a while now, so when can we expect to see it?  Perhaps in a few weeks.“Through its public relations agency today, Microsoft declined to comment on the Feb. 15 date beyond reiterating the software would be available in the first quarter. Still, several sources who work closely with Microsoft said a mid-February release is not unlikely, and they expect the software to be out before the end of March.”Microsoft might end up with a lot of returning corporate and government customers if Vista SP1 ends up being extremely stable and secure.... Read more...
CPU sales continue to break new records, with an overall growth of 8.5% in the fourth quarter of 2007.  That's great news by itself, but there's an interesting breakdown on growth that shows some interesting facts:“Shipments of processors designed for PC servers stood out in the quarter, growing 17% sequentially. Shipments of processors for mobile PCs grew 10.3%, while processors for desktop PCs grew 6.5%. IDC analysis also reveals that, within each form factor, the percentage of high-end and mainstream processors grew at the expense of low-end processors. For example, in the desktop processor segment, high-end and mainstream processors represented 87.1% of processors shipped in the fourth... Read more...
It's lots of fun to see all the gaudy and enormous things displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show. But when you see a CEO standing next to a television the size of a roadside billboard that costs more than your last divorce did, you wonder if much of it will ever turn out to be a big hit with the general public. Brier Dudley poked around in the less traveled and decidedly unglamorous corners of the CES, and found what he thinks is the real next big thing: a pile of vinyl mats next to a Nintendo WiiComputer-monitor covers? Toilet-tank protectors? I had no idea....... The mats are aftermarket covers for Wii Fit, a new game from Nintendo that uses a plastic step as a controller. The game was... Read more...
Modern PCs are inching closer and closer to having 10 GB/sec or more usable memory bandwidth, and we haven't really had any complaints about the steady increase until we heard that Rambus was working on technology that could enable 1 TB/sec of memory bandwidth.The applications for graphics cards and consoles are certainly interesting, but we think that desktop and server CPUs might also end up benefiting from such an increase.  Consider that when Intel released the P4, its theoretical memory bandwidth was 6.4 GB/sec, and that was 4 years ago.  Today's CPUs have 4 cores, and it is safe to say each core is faster overall and thus could use more bandwidth.So how does Rambus plan... Read more...
According to market research firm iSuppli, the ferocious competition between various hard disk manufacturers is driving the cost of storing your precious ones and zeros down. Way down.Average pricing of notebook hard drives tumbled, falling to $53 in the third quarter of 2007, from $86 in the same period during the previous year, according to the survey by the El Segundo, Calif.-based market research firm. Desktop hard drive prices fell to $51 in the third quarter of 2007, compared to $52.75 the previous year.Overall, about 134 million hard drives shipped in the third quarter of 2007, compared to 114 million the same period a year earlier, a 21% year-on-year increase, iSuppli found.Prices also... Read more...
Western Digital has announced the availability of their Scorpio 320 GB 2.5-inch SATA Hard Drive. By "available," they seem to mean they have a picture of one. The Western Digital website says the bare drive is out of stock, and not one vendor I can find in their voluminous list of "Buy Locally" outlets  even lists it yet. Too bad, because at $199 list, this thing is a beast:Massive capacity - Whether they are in an external drive or a notebook computer, WD’s 320 GB 2.5-inch drives offer the most available capacity for space-hungry operating systems like Windows Vista™, plus plenty of room left over for photos, music, and video.Fast and Efficient - With 5400 RPM spin speed and 12 ms... Read more...
Apple's comeback and growth have been nothing short of amazing, but despite its hits, or perhaps because of them, it appears to many that customer service and quality have suffered.By broadening its share of the computer market and diving into whole new businesses, the company has become a case study in the challenges of taking a cherished brand with a devoted (some would say cult) following into the mainstream. Today, Apple is selling huge volumes of products to a much wider, and perhaps less patient, audience. The iPod, starting at just $79, has put its name in the hands of millions of mainstream consumers, many of whom, analysts say, have gone on to buy Macs and iPhones. In the most recent... Read more...
Only a few days after Valve's Gabe Newell dished on why Valve, makers of the Half-Life series, doesn't develop for OS X, it seems that Apple decided that they needed to make their position known as well.Bear in mind that Newell's general explanation revolved around Apple changing their support team rather frequently, and not seeming to have any continuity between the outgoing teams and the incomming teams.  The net result, Newell claims, is that every time Apple approaches Valve about gaming, they do it with a completely new (small) group of internal engineers/developers that seem to have no idea that a similar group met with Valve about year ago.  Those people from approximately a... Read more...
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