Sep 13, 2011

Windows 8 Developer Preview: When and Where to Download

Got a brain full of Windows 8? Can't stop obsessing about it? Fret not -- as of 8PM PT this evening (just under eight hours from now), you'll be able to download a copy of the Windows Developer Preview to your machine from

Per usual, it's recommended doing so on a separate partition (or a spare machine altogether) in order to prevent unforeseen conflicts, and having a stiff glass of patience waiting nearby. Redmond's servers are going to be hammered. Windows Dev Center.

Here’s Windows 8’s Start Menu

It's not the most detailed look, but Tom's Hardware noticed a cameo of the newest Start Menu in a Windows 8 video demo. It looks... pretty bare. Stark white-on-black text, very few buttons, and, importantly, where are the programs?

Whereas Windows 7's Start Menu offers a multitude of ways to get at your software—favorites, search, a giant list of applications—this Windows Phone 7-inspired Start Menu has none of that. Just a search box. Unless we're missing something from this screenshot, which is entirely possible, this looks like a pickle. Are we meant to search for whatever we want to use, as we might via OS X's Spotlight? Are there context-specific buttons that spring up? With Microsoft revealing more and more about their next titanic OS, we'll probably find out soon.

Sep 12, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S II Has More GPU Firepower Than Any Android Device

Anandtech benchmarked Samsung's refreshed Galaxy S II phone over the weekend and discovered that its Mali-400 quad-core GPU contained within its EXYNOS chipset is not only powerful, but nearly 2x faster than any other Android device—phone or tablet.

The Samsung Galaxy S II was tested using GLBenchmark 2.1, and scored a 42.5. By comparison, the Samsung Infuse 4G scored a 25.5 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 scored a 20.8. Apple's iPad 2, which runs the company's most current chipset, scored an 85.7.

White PS3 Coming to Europe and Australia in November

There's nothing a like an (almost) fresh and exciting color variant to make us totally forget about thePS4. Besides, this little dazzler will come with a 320GB HDD and two equally white Dualshock controllers, which means you'll only have to spray-paint your PS3 Move, headset, external drive to match. Look out for it at GameStop in the UK, Germany and possibly other Euro nations too, as well as at Electronic Boutique in Australia from November 1st.

Sep 11, 2011

Acer Iconia Tab A501 with HSPA+ hits AT&T on September 18th: $330 on Contract

The carrier just announced it'll start selling the 16GB model next Sunday, September 18th for $480 -- or $330 with a two-year contract. As planned, it'll ship with Android 3.0, and 3.1 is coming via an over-the-air update. You can sign up for a monthly plan, if you so choose, though you can also pay as you go, with $15 getting you 250MB and $25 expanding your allowance to 2GB. Customers who commit to two-year agreements will have the same choices, to be honest, except they'll also have to contend with overage fees -- $10 per gigabyte or $15 per 250MB, depending on the plan.

Remastered HD Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes Could Stream to Netflix This Fall

Well, this news is a long time coming for most Star Trek Fans. Apparently, CBS is hard at work remastering the Next Generation as an HD offering, and will beam it to you via Netflix this fall.

While no official announcement has been made, the rumblings got a Geordi-sized boost earlier this month when actor LaVar Burton, he of the visor fame, tweeted that the remastering progress being made on a few select TNG episodes was going very, very well. Also complementing all that was Netflix's pre-existing relationship with CBS, which saw the DVD and streaming service beaming all Star Trek series episodes to customers.

The remastered HD TNG episodes could arrive as early as this fall on both Netflix and Paramount's Epix station, which coincides nicely with the purported start of filming for the rebooted Star Trek movie franchise. Cross promotion is so 24th century! Quantifies Internet Impatience, Old Links Get no Love

Oh internet, we love your animated GIFs and sad Keanu websites, but how much attention are we really giving each link? According to a recent study by URL shortener, a standard link is clicked for an average of three hours until traffic subsides by 50 percent, eventually fading away into oblivion. If we're talking about a super timely news story like an earthquake hitting the east coast, well, its half-life was a paltry five minutes. When URLs are shared on social networks, they last around 3.2 hours on Facebook and 2.8 hours on Twitter, but those on YouTube persist more than twice that long. There, link half-life is 7.4 hours -- probably because it's home to phenom bomb memes.

Sep 10, 2011

Ecko Zip Earbuds Pump Tunes Through a Functioning Zipper

These in-ear beauts will set you back just 30 beans -- or about a half-dozen servings of Ron Ron Juice. Other offerings include the $13 Zone earbuds, $15 Chaos II (that Chaos I was off the hook), the $20 Stomp, $25 Lace (which include a shoelace-inspired cord), and the $40 Chain, which, as you probably guessed, features a beaded dog-tag chain cord. At those prices we wouldn't expect stellar acoustics, but if you're rockin' out to any of these budz, you're probably most concerned with lookin' good. And nothing says six-pack like zippers and chains. Get them here or just search on Amazon.

Windows 8 Boots Up Faster Than a Bull Ride

What's Microsoft got to compete with the MacBook Air's near-instant on? According to a recent demonstration from its Building Windows 8 blog, the ability to take a machine from fully powered off to booted up in just under eight seconds.

The key change behind the improvement? In Windows 7, all user sessions are closed, as are services and devices in the kernel session. Windows 8, though, doesn't close the kernel session. It puts it in hibernation mode. By writing the kernel session to a disk—instead of having to restore it completely with every start up—Microsoft has seen improved boot times of 30-70%.

If you want a complete shutdown, you'll still have the option to revert back to Windows 7-style. But why drive a Volvo when you can roll in a... uh... 30% faster Volvo? More.

This Is How 9/11 Looked From Space

Taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus camera on NASA's Landsat 8, this image shows the 9/11 attack site. If you think that this is not impressive, think again: it was taken the next day, September 12 at 11:30am.

The image shows New York and the smoke from the World Trade Center in true color. More here.

How to View a Private Youtube Video

It’s just simple if you know the URL of the private YouTube video that you like to see. You can easily see some of the still frames of that video even without the permission from the owner. Example:

Just copy the ID of any YouTube video from its URL (in the above case, Or7--7Ny16Q) and replace it in the following links.


What actually the reason is that YouTube creates thumbnails of every video that’s uploaded in their server and those images are made public even in the case of private videos. An image is worth a thousand words. So, its easy for you to know what’s inside a Private Youtube Video.

Sep 9, 2011

Viewsonic's $200 ViewPad 7e Android Tablet now Available for Pre-Order

Viewsonic has been at the low-cost Android tablet for some time now, and it showed no signs of letting up on that effort at IFA last week, where it debuted its newViewPad 7e. If that managed to pique your interest, you'll be glad to know that the device is now available for pre-order for $199.99 (though there's still no promised ship date). 

That will buy you a 7-inch screen, a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, Android 2.3 for an OS, 4GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot for further expansion, and even a mini HDMI port that will let you output full 1080p video. Get it here.

The Next Version of Android After Ice Cream Sandwich Will Be Called Jelly Bean

The next version of Android after Ice Cream Sandwich will be called Jelly Bean. It's supposed to pack "game-changing stuff" that was originally supposed to be on Ice Cream Sandwich but didn't quite make it in time.

Ice Cream Sandwich so looking sounds kinda crazy at this point but at least we know the name! I'd have much rather seen Jello (probably nixed for copyright issues since they have enough of that) or just jelly (jelly sounds incredibly funny by itself) though.

And if you want to take a look back into history at how far Android has come, these have been the updates to Android so far: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich.

Twitter Doesn’t Give a Damn Who You Are

Twitter had a meeting yesterday to talk about how big it was. But what really came across was that while Facebook and Google+ value your identity, Twitter doesn't care who you are, as long as you've got something to say.

Google Facebook and Twitter now all have similar products. But Twitter CEO Dick Costello (somewhat inadvertently) made it clear yesterday that while all three have social networking features and make money from ads, they are in fundamentally different businesses.

At a very basic level, Google+ and Facebook are in the identity delivery business, and Twitter is in the information delivery business. That's a powerful distinction. It reflects a fundamentally different conception of what's more valuable: information or identity. It also gets at who is more valuable, advertisers or users.

Google and Facebook's social products are committed to a real names policy. Both can serve someone up to a network of peers or advertisers with some degree of certainty about identity.

Twitter takes exactly the opposite route towards building a network. You can be anonymous, or use a pseudonym, or even impersonate someone else as long (as you indicate that it's a parody). It will still connect you to others on its network, and allow you to both serve and receive data. And that's working well, for everybody.

Twitter has more than 100 million active users—that is a user who logs on more than once a month—and more than 50 million who log in daily. 40 percent of its active users don't tweet at all. They just log in to read. (In common parlance, they're lurking.) The ones who do tweet are sending more than 230 million tweets per day. It's big now. Very big!

In short, Twitter doesn't care who you are, it's still going to serve you an ad. And oddly, that may be the most effective tactic of all.

Dell Jams a Terabyte of SATA3 SSD Storage Into Precision M6600 Laptop

Dell is tweaking some of the options offered on its Precision M6600 and M4600 mobile workstations. You can now choose to add 512GB SATA3 SSD drives and (in the case of the M6600) a 4GB NVIDIA Quadro 5010M card. The interesting thing though, is that the 6600 has space for three drives: two full size and one mini-card slot. That means you could outfit this 17.3-inch beast with a pair of 512GB SSDs and one 128GB SSD, for a grand total of 1.1TB of solid state storage. Of course, with each half-terabyte drive adding a whopping $1,120 to the price of this professional lappy it's not exactly for those on a budget.

Sep 8, 2011

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play 4G Hitting AT&T on September 18th

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play has made the natural GSM shift in the States in order to grace Ma Bell's airwaves, and despite the "4G" naming convention, this fellow will be topping out at HSPA+. In other words, LTE lovers will need to look elsewhere. This marks the first launch of a PlayStation-certified smartphone for AT&T, and given that it's been around the block a time or two, the carrier is (smartly) pricing it at just $49.99 on a two-year contract -- a buck-fifty less than what it launched for on Verizon Wireless. 

It'll ship with Android 2.3.3, a 1GHz CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, a 4-inch display (854 x 480) and will arrive in an exclusive 'stealth blue' hue. AT&T customers will also be blessed with a gratis Multimedia Dock (DK300) and MC100 music cable, not to mention seven pre-loaded games at no charge.

The Father of the eBook Is Dead

Michael Hart invented the ebook. The idea that gave the Kindle a reason to exist, has helped float the iPad to its peak, and is currently killing bookstores. But before all that, he just wanted books to be $0.00.

There's a good chance you've used Project Gutenberg, one of the internet's great treasures. Among its 37,000 free texts, available in a multitude of languages, all for free, are some of humankind's greatest written works. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, the Declaration of Independence—all for free. It's an incredible, if somewhat dated looking resource.

It wonder what Hart, who died Tuesday at 64, would think of his creation. Ebooks are now an enormously lucrative commodity—enough to put expensive pieces of plastic into eager hands. But that seems to run a bit contrary to Project Gutenberg's ethos, that words should be available to anyone for no charge. Of course, Gutenberg's collection is all public domain stuff, and a lot of things flying into Kindles isn't.

But whether that's what Hart wanted or not, digitized text has become about a lot more than knowledge and opportunity. More.

Apple Already Planning Third Campus

In addition to their circular "spaceship" campus, because of company growth, Apple is already in the early planning stages of building a third campus.

Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong told the San Jose Mercury News that Apple executives had confided in him that they are already planning a third Apple campus after they finish the "spaceship" building, that has been dubbed Apple Campus 2. Additionally, Cupertino city officials have suggested that a sculpture of Steve Jobs be added to the Apple Campus 2 plans.

The location and design of the third office-park-that-iPhone built hasn't been announced, and Apple has declined to comment about it. We're guessing they told the Mercury News that "Apple doesn't comment of future products."

Electrified Bacteria Army Kills Uranium, Gives Captain Planet a Run for His Money

A certain type of "hairy" bacteria may just be the answer to cleaning up radioactive spills. Scientists at the University of Southern California found that under certain circumstances, Geobacter sulfurreducens could make metals like uranium less soluble -- essentially turning the metal into hard droplets rather than being absorbed. Researchers discovered that by lowering the bacteria's temperature, it caused hair-like pili to extend, which enveloped the poison uranium and ultimately reduced it through long-range electron transfer. 

The breakthrough could help deplete sources of uranium or other radioactive isotopes where bacteria normally can't survive -- like from the Fukushima nuclear plant that devastated Japan earlier this year. Scientists believe they've only scratched the surface with this development and are optimistic about the future of bacteria "electromicrobiology," which we can only guess grew in popularity after this '80s classic hit the airwaves.

How Old Are You In Venusian Years?

I just found out that I'll celebrate my next birthday at the end of September and I am old, at least in Venusian years. Curious about your own age if you lived on Venus and used its shorter calendar?

If you are, then you should point your browser to Nerdiversary, a light-hearted website that uses your birthday to list upcoming timely events in your life. You can calculate your age on Venus and Mars and find out how many seconds you've been alive (hint: it's an immensely large number). It's a fun distraction when you have a few free moments on your hand.