Latest Front Page News

US Air Force Buying 2200 PlayStation 3s

Submitted by: 9Millimeter @ 11:27 AM | Monday, November 23, 2009 | (url:

The U.S. Air Force is looking to buy 2,200 Sony PlayStation 3 game
consoles to built out a research supercomputer, according to an document posted on the federal government's procurement Web site.
The PlayStation 3s will be used at the Air Force Research Laboratory's information directorate in Rome, N.Y., where they will be added to an existing cluster of 336 PlayStation 3s being used to conduct supercomputing research.

Sales of PC Gaming Hardware Predicted to Hit $27B in 2010

Submitted by: 9Millimeter @ 10:22 AM | Saturday, November 21, 2009 | (url:

JPR has released a new report that predicts sales of PC gaming hardware will reach $27 billion in 2010. The global PC hardware gaming market is expected to grow by $1.2 billion this year, a 5.9% increase from 2008.

The increase is due to an increased demand for enthusiast, performance, and mainstream hardware influenced by the desire to play games on the PC. The PC gaming market is set to grow by 30% in 2010 due in part to delays in buying systems in 2008/2009 as users waited for the economy to improve.

This means that any of you console gamers out there who like to think PC gaming is dead need to think again. The market is growing impressively despite the poor economy and top tier games are still coming to the platform.

Category: Hardware | 14 Comments
Tags: games hardware

Bing Captures Almost 10 Percent Search Share In U.S.

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 09:10 AM | Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | (url: http://www.techcr...)

Remember all that talk about Bing starting to fizzle in September? Well it didnt happen, and now October numbers and Bing gained another half a point to reach 9.9 percent market share of U.S. searches, according to comScores qSearch service. Five months after launch, Bing has steadily gained two points of market share.

And it is keeping the pressure on, with deals to index realtime data streams from both Twitter and Facebook (Google also has a deal with Twitter, but not Facebook), a deal with Wolfram Alpha for nutrition and diet data, and the constant rollout of new features such as better video search.

The biggest loser in the search wars, however, continues to be Yahoo as it awaits approval to hand over search to Bing. In a single month, Yahoos U.S. search share dropped 0.8 percent to 18 percent, and is down 3 percent since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, Google seems unfazed, gaining another half point itself in October to finish with 65.4 percent share.

Bings progress is encouraging (someone needs to compete with Google in search), but so far all Bing has shown is that it can take share away from its future partner Yahoo. Bing has yet to put a ding in Googles share. Perhaps it needs to do something radical, like cut deals with major news and media sites for exclusive rights to index their content. Otherwise it will just keep eating away at Yahoos slice of pie, which its already been promised anyway.

Intel to Pay AMD 1.25 Billion Dollars

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 08:54 AM | Thursday, November 12, 2009 | (url: http://www.pcmag....)

Advanced Micro Devices and Intel have agreed to settle their outstanding litigation, and Intel will pay AMD $1.25 billion as a result, the two companies said Thursday.

The settlement ends all litigation between the two companies, including a Delaware case and two cases in Japan. The U.S. case was scheduled to go to trial in 2010.

"While the relationship between the two companies has been difficult in the past, this agreement ends the legal disputes and enables the companies to focus all of our efforts on product innovation and development," the two companies said in a statement.

AMD executives had declined to comment at an AMD analyst day on Thursday about the possibility of a settlement.

Under the terms of the agreement, AMD and Intel obtain patent rights from a new 5-year cross license agreement, Intel and AMD will give up any claims of breach from the previous license agreement, and Intel will pay AMD $1.25 billion. Intel has also agreed to abide by a set of business practice provisions, the companies said.

Microsoft: Windows 7 sales exceed Vista sales by 234%

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 07:36 PM | Thursday, November 5, 2009 | (url: http://windowstea...)

It has been quite amazing to watch the global excitement build around Windows 7, especially during a tough economic climate. It was just a few short weeks ago that we learned about Windows 7 outselling the UK's "own" Harry Potter. In Japan, anxious PC users waited in line to be one of the first to get their hands on Windows 7. And just today, according to the NPD groups' weekly tracking service, Windows 7 software unit sales in the U.S. increased 234% over Windows Vista's first few days of sales. "A combination of factors impacted Windows 7 PC sales at the outset, but the trajectory of overall PC sales is very strong leading into the holiday season," said Stephen Baker at NPD.

Gratuitous Space Battles Released

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 11:14 AM | Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | (url: http://gratuitous...)


GSB is the new game from UK developer 'Positech Games'. It's a strategy / management / simulation game that does away with all the base building and delays and gets straight to the meat and potatoes of science-fiction games : The big space battles fought by huge spaceships with tons of laser beams and things going 'zap!', 'ka-boom!' and 'ka-pow!'. In GSB you put your ships together from modular components, arrange them into fleets, give your ships orders of engagement and then hope they emerge victorious from battle (or at least blow to bits in aesthetically pleasing ways).

Gratuitous Space Battles aims to bring the over-the-top explodiness back into space games. The game is for everyone who has watched big space armadas battle it out on TV and thought to themselves 'I could have done a much better job as admiral'. This is not a game of real-time arcade twitch reflexes. GSB is about what ships you design, and what you tell them to do. Your individual ship commanders have total autonomy during the chaotic battle that unfolds. This is not a tactical game, it is a strategic one. These gratuitous space battles are not won by plucky heroes with perfect teeth, but by the geeky starship builders who know exactly what ratio of plasma-cannons to engines each ship in the fleet will need.

Pirate Bay closure sparked file-sharing boom

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 03:25 PM | Monday, November 2, 2009 | (url: http://www.pcpro....)

The temporary closure of the Pirate Bay had the unforeseen side effect of forcing torrent sharers underground and causing a 300% increase in sites providing access to copyright files, according to McAfee.

In August, Swedish courts ordered that all traffic be blocked from Pirate Bay, but any hope of scotching the piracy of music, software and films over the web vanished as copycat sites sprung up and the content took on a life of its own.

This was a true 'cloud computing' effort, the company said in its Threats Report for the third quarter. The masses stepped up to make this database of torrents available to others.

Pirate Bay is just a redirect site to lead people to sources where they can get media and other files, McAfee security analyst Greg Day told PC Pro. Once it was temporarily shut down, those people still wanted the torrents so they went elsewhere, and that meant lots of other sites popped up to take advantage we saw a 300% increase in sites hosting and distributing movies and software."

According to Day, in the days prior to the shutdown, treasure-hunters used anonymising software to gain access and copy the indexes that Pirate Bay used to redirect users to other computers hosting torrents.

Once the indexed data was in the public domain, open-source code was available to anyone who wanted to help with redistribution of torrents. While the Pirate Bay was offline there were four times as many sites offering access to the torrents.

The Pirate Bay example shows how difficult it is to 'stop' data once it is on the web, the report says. A website can be shut down, but anyone who has accessed the content may still be able to redistribute it.

Nintendo's Profits Slide 52 Percent as Wii Fades

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 09:27 AM | Thursday, October 29, 2009 | (url: http://www.pcmag....)

Nintendo Co Ltd reported a 52 percent slide in quarterly profit on Thursday and slashed its full-year earnings forecast, as its Wii console loses its place as the videogame platform to beat.

Demand for Nintendo's family-friendly games has cooled as rivals Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp bolster their catalog of games that appeal to die-hard players.

Nintendo's portable game machine, the DS, also faces increasing competition from Apple Inc's iPhone, which has become a popular platform for handheld games. And like other Japanese exporters, Nintendo has been hit by the stronger yen, which eats into the value of overseas profits.

The group slashed its annual sales forecast for the Wii by nearly a quarter and in an attempt to reignite demand said it would roll out a large-screen version of the DS.

But that falls short of being a real product advance, said Hiroshi Kamide, an analyst at KBC Securities in Tokyo.

"A lot of what they're doing seems to be old hat, and therefore what we need to hear is more information about their ideas going forward," he said.

"There is still life in the current platforms with the content they can generate themselves, but there is a need for the company to demonstrate that there are new products."

Nintendo's operating profit fell to 64 billion yen ($709 million) in July-September from 133 billion a year earlier, missing an average forecast of 90 billion in a poll of four analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reuters calculated the quarterly figure by subtracting Nintendo's first-quarter results from the first-half figures released on Thursday.

ICANN set to approve web addresses using non-Latin characters

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 08:48 AM | Thursday, October 29, 2009 | (url: http://www.downlo...)

There are web pages written in virtually every living language. If you read Japanese, Korean, Arabic, or Hebrew, odds are you can find web sites written in your native tongue. But in order to find them, you'll probably have to enter a string of Western characters into your browser's address bar.

That's because up until now, the organization that oversees domain names has only accepted URLs with Latin characters. But this week the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is expected to approve a new rule allowing addresses to be written in different scripts, including Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, and Cyrillic (Russian).

While the change might not affect English speakers reading this web site all that much, this is huge news for the 1.6 billion internet users who speak languages that don't use Latin characters. So while we have no plans to change the web address for Download Squad, I did consult with Google Translate today to learn that the site would be called something like загрузка Сборная in Russian. Because, you never know.

The new rule could be adopted as soon as Friday, although we probably wouldn't see the new Internationaliised Domain names (IDNs) until mid 2010.

ICANN has been looking at the change for a few years. But there have been technical kinks to work out. Essentially, under the new system, users will be able to enter URLs in a variety of different scripts and the domain name system will apply some new translation techniques in order to ensure that users are taken to the correct web page.

Category: Technology | 8 Comments
Tags: icann internet

Fusion-io ioXtreme PCI Express SSD Sneak Peek!

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 02:05 PM | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | (url: http://hothardwar...)

If you've been watching our previous coverage of Fusion-io's almost too good be true PCI Express SSD products, you'll know that while the company makes no bones about the fact that their enterprise class cards are ridiculously expensive, they are also planning on delivering an "enthusiast" class card that will align better price-wise with the average end user just looking for killer storage performance. It appears the planning process is over today and though it was delayed a month or two, Fusion-io is now executing on that plan.

Fusion-io's ioXtreme and ioXtreme Pro cards just showed up to the Boston HH Test Labs and as we like to say around here, they're looking pretty .

We've received two cards for testing here; one is the ioXtreme Pro, that you can install multiple cards into a system for RAID configurations and the other is the ioXtreme for single-card installations. Save for the heat sink color coding and the "X" logo on the standard card's backplate, it's almost impossible to tell the two cards apart, at least mechanically.

It's true, your eyes do not deceive you. You're looking at a product that offers 300MB/sec average write throughput and 750 - 800MB/sec of average read throughput. We're going to strap on a drool bib and get back to testing these bad boys a bit more. RAID 0 anyone?

Category: Hardware | 7 Comments
Tags: fusionio

Sony, Toshiba, Hitachi face U.S. antitrust probe

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 05:25 PM | Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | (url: http://www.usatod...)

Japanese electronics giants Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi said Tuesday that their optical disc drive operations are under investigation by U.S. authorities for possible antitrust violations.

Sony said its California-based sales unit Sony Optiarc America has received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice seeking information for an antitrust probe related to the company's optical disc drive operations.

Company spokesman Chisato Kitsukawa said the company is "fully cooperating with U.S. authorities," and that he could not provide any other details about the case.

Toshiba and Hitachi said they also received similar subpoenas for optical disc drive operations at their subsidiaries, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology and Hitachi-LG Data Storage They also declined further comment.

Optical disc drives are used in computers and in CD and Blu-ray disc players. The three companies account for about 60% of the market.

Hulu to Charge Users in 2010

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 10:23 AM | Friday, October 23, 2009 | (url: http://www.tvweek...)

Chase Carey, the deputy chairman of News. Corp -- which co-owns Hulu -- says the popular online destination that carries TV programming, will start charging users, probably as soon as 2010, B&C reports.

Noting that Its time to start getting paid for broadcast content online, Carey added that I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value. Hulu concurs with that, it needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business.

Carey made his remarks at B&C's On-Screen Summit in New York on Oct. 21. He later told B&C's Claire Atkinson that not all content on Hulu would be behind a pay wall.

Category: Technology | 76 Comments
Tags: hulu

Microsoft to Add Blu-Ray Add-on for XBox 360

Submitted by: XTasy @ 05:03 PM | Thursday, October 22, 2009 | (url:

More than a year after Sony declared victory in the format war, it appears that Microsoft is officially embracing Blu-ray, to an extent. In an interview with Gizmodo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer seemingly confirmed that the Xbox 360 will eventually be receiving an external Blu-ray drive.

The confirmation came when Ballmer was asked whether the Xbox 360 would be getting a Blu-ray drive anytime soon. He replied, "Well I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray in there - you'll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories."

Starsiege: Tribes -- death and resurrection

Submitted by: Beren @ 05:43 PM | Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | (url: http://www.examin...)

Here is a news article about Tribes (shock). It goes over some of the history of the game and then rounds up touching on GG buying the rights and some mention of it at PAX this year and a hopeful release towards the end of this year.

Nvidia Halting Nforce Chipset Development

Submitted by: Beren @ 08:05 PM | Thursday, October 8, 2009 | (url: http://www.pcmag....)

Nvidia has announced it will cease development of future Nforce hardware until its suit with Intel is settled sometime in 2010. Intel has alleged that a previous chipset agreement between it and Nvidia does not apply to the Core or Nehalem series of processors.