[H] Consumer Archives: October 2006

Archive Listing

Tuesday October 31, 2006

Xbox 360 Price Cut “A Ways Off”

Those of you hoping for an Xbox 360 price cut for the holidays will no doubt be disappointed by this news. According to a Microsoft spokesman, there is no plans for a price cut this year.

Versions of Microsoft's console sell for $300 and $400, compared with the announced prices of $500 and $600 for the PlayStation 3. In addition, Sony has said it won't be able to supply as many of its new consoles initially as it hoped. A Microsoft spokesman said last week that the company has "no plans to adjust the price of the Xbox 360 this year."

Had Sony’s PS3 announced a price point in line with MS, we might have seen a price war. Unfortunately for gamers, Sony tossed that $499 - $599 price tag out there leaving little to no incentive for the competition to cut prices.

Analysts Urge IE7 Upgrade?

There should be a TV show called “Analysts Say The Damnedest Things” just so we can tune in once a week and laugh at the bizarre stuff they say.

"When in doubt, upgrade." That's what Forrester analysts Natalie Lambert and Colin Teubner are saying about installing Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 7 Web browser.

I have had IE7 on a Vista Beta box forever and Firefox 2.0 went on it too as soon as it was released (I believe in the dual browser theory) but I would seriously recommend against the “when in doubt, upgrade” line of thinking for anything.

Monday October 30, 2006

Expert Vista RC2 Tweaks

If you are running Vista RC 2, the folks at ZDNet want to help you out with these 10 expert tips and tweaks for Vista RC2. Tip #5 is one of my favorites:

Windows Vista has no shortage of diagnostic tools. The System Health Report is one of the most useful. It takes input from the Performance and Reliability Monitor and turns it into a well-organized, information-packed report that does a good job of spotlighting potential problems.

Couples, Computers and Gaming

Here’s something interesting for all of you that are into gaming and happen to be married or have a significant other. VIA is hosting a Couples, Computers and Gaming session in the San Francisco area on November 11th. The event has several big name keynote speakers, cool activities and they are even giving away a trip for two to Sweden. Hit the link for all the info.

Hear experts talk about the latest games and gamers. Learn how to fit gaming into your relationship in a healthy way. Find out about the exploding professional gaming industry. Learn what games women really play and fascinating stories of life online.

Right To Copy Law?

There is a group in the UK fighting for a Right To Copy law that, doesn’t propose anything new, it is actually just asking for the courts to update current laws. With both the RIAA and the MPAA lobbying hard to make it illegal to do anything other than fork over money each time you hear a song, I expect heavy resistance.

A British research organization has called for an update to UK copyright laws to reflect the realities of the digital age and let people copy music, videos, and other content onto MP3 players -- without penalty. In lobbying for a "private right to copy" for personal use, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) noted that millions of Brits now break the law by transferring CDs onto their computers and iPods.

PS3 Is A Power Hog?

I remember hearing that the PS3 power requirements were going to be huge, but this 380W number just doesn’t sound right. Anyone have a link to actual documentation on this?

With the Playstation 3 launch just around the corner, Sony has released further information about the next gen console. The PS3 is a power hog and consumes around 380 watts of power more than double the Xbox 360's 160 watts and eight times the PS2's nimble 45 watts.

MySpace To Block Copyrighted Music

It would seem that MySpace is starting to crack down on all the copyrighted music being used on its members pages. Now, instead of hearing really annoying copyrighted music when you click on your friend’s MySpace page, you'll be greeted by really annoying non-licensed tunes. Ugh.

MySpace, one of the most popular sites on the Internet, licensed technology from privately-held Gracenote allowing it to review music recordings uploaded by community members to their profiles. The technology compares those filed with Gracenote's database of copyrighted material and can block uploads without proper rights.

Another IE 7 Pop-Up Flaw Found

It looks like another IE7 pop-up flaw has been found. I am not sure what they mean by “visiting a trusted site that opens a new window with malicious code” or who would even enter their CC info into a pop-up window in the first place but all this info is still good to know.

The browser flaw could affect users who visit a trusted site by opening a pop-up window in that site but containing malicious code. This is the second IE 7 flaw that has been discovered since Microsoft released the browser two weeks ago. Last week, a security flaw was discovered in IE 7 that could spoof the address of a pop-up window.

Dell XPS 700

Although many of you build your own boxes, not everyone has the time or resources to do it themselves so they need somewhere to turn for a high end gaming machine. [H] Enthusiast has put the Dell XPS 700 through our rigorous evaluation process to see just what this machine is made of. If your looking to buy a new gaming box, make sure you don’t miss this.

As this is the crème de la crème of Dell’s consumer line, we have rather high expectations for this system, both in terms of gaming ability as well as raw speed. We’ve had faster Core 2 Duo chips in our office, most notably the Velocity Micro E2200 (sporting a E6600), but the XPS 700’s E6400 is a monster in its own right.

MS Responds To Vista License Concerns

In case you missed this one, TechWeb sat down with Microsoft and found out just how Vista will impact the enthusiast. After 5 years, I have never had a problem swapping out components with Windows XP, hopefully that stays the same with Vista.

The hardware tolerance of product activation for Windows Vista has been improved and is more flexible than that for Windows XP. We believe these improvements will better accommodate the needs of our PC enthusiast customers. When hardware components are changed, Microsoft's product activation process compares information derived from the initial validation, which includes the hardware configuration of the device, against the changes that have been made. This process uses an algorithm to help assess whether the software is installed on the same device. Validation will fail if the software detects a substantially different hardware configuration.

Sunday October 29, 2006

Why Two Browsers are Better than One

Time has an article up this morning that preaches the merit of having multiple browsers installed to take advantage of their respective strengths.

By now you may have heard that the makers of the two leading web browsers launched their latest totally free editions, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 and Mozilla's Firefox 2, within a week of each other. Feature-wise, most news reports have already declared a winner: the long-awaited IE7 may be a vast improvement over its predecessors, but the new Firefox leaves it in the dust.

What's After Multi-Core?

We’ve seen a lot of development lately when it comes to multi core processing. The big question that has had a lot of people wondering is what’s next?

It’s very easy to make accurate predictions about the future of technology. Stuff will get smaller, faster, and cheaper. This has been true for centuries and is unlikely to change—at least until we start running out of oil. Making interesting and accurate predictions is somewhat more difficult.