Sunday, February 20, 2011

Google releases new developer and beta versions of Chrome

Keeping up with its breakneck development pace Google released new versions of Chrome yesterday for beta testers and developers. The beta release officially hit version 10, bringing a notable speed boost of 66% on the V8 benchmark suite over the current stable release, while also incorporating an early implementation of GOU-accelerated video decoding, which on supported video cards can reduce CPU usage five times when viewing full screen video.
Aside from improvements to JavaScript and video playback, Google has also revamped the settings interface, which now appears in a tab as opposed to a dialog box and includes a handy search feature you can use in case you're not sure where to find a particular option. Just enter a keyword, like "password" for example, and Chrome will display anything related while making the options directly available from the search results.
Google also made some security improvements, with a new mechanism for disabling outdated plugins, and introduced additional password syncing features that allow users to synchronize saved passwords across multiple computers and have them encrypted with a secret passphrase.
Meanwhile, those in the developer channel received the first preview of version 11, which offers enhancements such as a new implementation of the XSS Auditor to assist web authors in finding code segments that are vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks. Google isn't talking much yet about its plans for Chrome 11, but according to Cnet, one interesting feature on the way is the so-called chromoting that will allow users to control "legacy PC applications" running on other computers. The feature is expected to work like a remote desktop application only from the browser itself.



Friday, February 18, 2011

AMD says their chips are ready, willing and stable

 AMD has launched a new marketing campaign to encourage component channel companies and home users to turn to them as their source of chips. Dubbed "Ready. Willing. And Stable", the new campaign is designed to capitalize on Intel's Cougar Point chipset flaw by letting partners and enthusiasts know they can build their dream PCs today.

There will be three major components to it: a global advertising program, an online marketing campaign, and a Twitter-based contest that will run over the next 8 to 10 weeks. All activity in the "Ready. Willing. And Stable." campaign is designed to drive partners and customers to a newly launched web page that contains suggested platform alternatives to Intel's Sandy Bridge parts as well as links to online stores like Amazon, Newegg, and others.

To drive end-customer awareness, AMD will launch a Twitter contest the week of Monday, February 21, where participants can win AMD products and PC games. Details will be available at amd.com/tweettowin next week.

The company believes the Cougar Point misstep represents an opportunity for the company and it hopes to pick up some business through aggressive marketing. AMD's director of marketing, Tim Martin, acknowledged that there is no way to tell if the campaign is going to bring any material revenues to their business, and Intel is not going to concede much of a window as it has begun shipping the bug-fixed "B3 stepping" of 6-series chipset to notebook and mainboard manufacturers. If anything, he's confident that the campaign is going to move some momentum in AMD's direction.


 My view: I love AMD. I have a computer now that I built with a AMD 9850 Phenom Quad-core Black Edition. LOVE IT. Once they start coming out with more netbooks with the AMD Fusion's, I'm totally going to buy one!

These are similar to what I have.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Apple grabs 60% of touch panel capacity, hurting supply for others

Apple has an internal goal of shipping 40 million iPad products this year. To manufacture all of them, the company has occupied close to 60% of the global touch panel capacity, according to sources from upstream component makers for tablets cited by DigiTimes.
Touch panels are thus suffering the most serious shortage, which has hurt supply for Apple's competitors since the component shortage means shipment volumes are unable to keep up with orders, especially for second-tier players. Apple is holding control over the capacity of major touch panel makers such as Wintek and TPK.

RIM, Motorola, and HP are also competing for related components, leaving out second-tier players. As a result, Samsung Electronics, Acer, and HP have all started turning to smaller touch screen suppliers such as Sintek Photronic, Egalax-empia Technology, AimCore Technology, and J Touch.
Apple's iPad 2 entered production earlier this month. There are no details as to when the new version of the device might be hitting store shelves or what the pricing will be.
The company hasn't even announced the device yet. In the meantime, it is still selling the original iPad. In this respect, Samsung has beat Apple to the punch by announcing the successor to the original Galaxy Tab: the Galaxy Tab 10.1.


I think iPads are a waste of money...
What do you guys think?
This year looks to be packed with highly anticipated titles that will arrive to the PC. Crysis 2 is no doubt one of those games, and one in particular that has lived in our minds considering that the original game (2007) to this very day can put a mid-range machine to crawl.
As much as we admire developers' efforts to make newly released games accessible to a majority of PC gamers, Crytek's ambition to push the graphics envelope was confirmed last year when they claimed Crysis 2 would have “the best graphics you've ever seen”. Soon after we got word that Crysis 2 would be made graphically superior on the PC versus its console counterparts, which was great news as we worried that Crytek may not remain loyal to their PC fans.

Crysis 2 is slated for release this March 22, however as it is of public knowledge, an early incomplete build of the game was leaked to Torrent sites last week. So, before we get started let's get a few things straight:

1) Our testing is based on the leaked, unfinished build of Crysis 2. Our intention with this article is to provide an early look to the game's GPU and overall system requirements. Of course, we were keen to see how the game runs on certain hardware given how demanding the original title was. 2) We don't believe this leak can be called a final representation of the game that will ship next month. It's obvious further optimizations will be made as we encountered bugs and had to recur to a few tricks to circumvent crashing to the desktop.
3) Ever since we played the original Far Cry, we became huge fans and supporters of Crytek's work. We encourage all readers who planned to buy the game to hold off and wait for the finished version, rather than spoiling what will surely be one of the best games of 2011.

With that out of the way and keeping in mind that this "beta" build of the game is still missing numerous features, we have run a brief set of tests comparing AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. We expect Crysis 2 performance to vary from now to the time the game is actually released, so please only accept this article as a rough guide.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

AMD for sale, Dell is interested.

As far as the stock market is concerned, Advanced Micro Devices may be up for sale. AMD's shares were significantly up yesterday, apparently on rumors that Dell is interested in buying the American multinational semiconductor company. Barron's reported on the rumor first:
I would say the recent departures of senior executives — COO Robert Rivet last week, CEO Dirk Meyer back in January — is still unexplained and can lead to all kinds of speculation. There's not a lot of color on the rumor at this point. Is Dell considering making a more integrated kind of product line? Talk about a change in strategy.
CFO Thomas Seifert is acting as interim CEO but he has said that he doesn't want the promotion to be permanent. Bloomberg followed up on the rumor with quotes from an industry analyst:
"There is no management team there," said Patrick Wang, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in New York. There is some "chatter" that the company is up for sale, he said. "It's a far- fetched possibility."
If AMD ends up being bought out, the purchase by Dell, or any other company for that matter, would be among the biggest the technology industry has seen. It would be of course bigger than when AMD bought ATI in 2006.


My take:
I really don't want to see Dell buy AMD. Dell already bought Alienware, which made people mad.
AMD is a HUGE company, why would they be for sale?

PC Market will grow!

Acer, the world's second-largest PC vendor, expects the market for mobile PCs to grow between 10 and 12 percent in 2011. As before, it will be driven by emerging markets, according to Gianfranco Lanci, the company's President and CEO.
"The economy is coming back. Consumers are still spending," Lanci told Reuters in an interview. "In the last 12 to 18 months technological evolution has probably slowed down a bit. A lot of customers have delayed replacements. Tablets will be big in 2011. For us tablets are a natural continuation of the PC. Will we keep all three [operating systems]? I don't think so, but to choose today would be risky, without any real benefit tomorrow. More choice is always better."
The Taiwanese computer maker has recently seen very rapid growth and profitability mostly thanks to its various netbook offerings. As the market shifts towards tablets, however, the company believes that they will not replace netbooks. Despite rumors, the OEM will not phase out netbooks in favor of tablets. The company merely believes that as PCs become consumption tools more so than creation tools, new devices and new form factors will appear. Tablets will find their space next to netbooks and notebooks.