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Aero Glass to disappear in Windows 8, Microsoft simplifies UI

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: May 21, 2012 3:29 am

When Aero Glass first arrived with Windows Vista, people were finally impressed with the sleek look of a Microsoft operating system. Windows 7 polished it up a bit, and pushed it even more, but it seems like Microsoft are ready to throw Aero out when Windows 8 arrives.




Microsoft has "moved beyond" the design, and are looking forward to embrace an approach that feels "clean and crisp". Microsoft's development blog has some great thoughts and information on the move, where they say that by "flattening surfaces, removing reflections and scaling back distracting gradients", Windows 8 will provide a simplified experience over its flashier predecessors:


We applied the principles of "clean and crisp" when updating window and taskbar chrome. Gone are the glass and reflections. We squared off the edges of windows and the taskbar. We removed all the glows and gradients found on buttons within the chrome. We made the appearance of windows crisper by removing unnecessary shadows and transparency. The default window chrome is white, creating an airy and premium look. The taskbar continues to blend into the desktop wallpaper, but appears less complicated overall.

Continue reading 'Aero Glass to disappear in Windows 8, Microsoft simplifies UI' (full post)

FCC eyes over the GALAXY S III variant for T-Mobile

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 21, 2012 2:28 am

Samsung's upcoming quad-core GALAXY S III has just slid through the doors of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), according to some FCC filings. The device that entered the offices was a T-Mobile variant, but the carrier hasn't confirmed the plans of launch for it yet, but the FCC's test documents show that the new model is destined for T-Mobile's 1,700MHz AWS spectrum.




It also includes the 850MHz and 1,900MHz WCDMA bands, with the device's T999 model number following the sequence from the carrier's T989 model that the GALAXY S II was proud to sport.


Not long to go now, folks! The GALAXY S III has a European launch set for May 29, ahead of the North American launch.

FaceTime could be coming to 3G networks

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 21, 2012 1:34 am

Apple's FaceTime is currently limited to only being capable of running over a Wi-Fi network, but Romanian Apple website iDevice is reporting that they've noticed new warnings in iOS 5.1.1 that looks to intro FaceTime calls over 3G networks.




It's been noted that running iOS 5.1.1 on an iPhone will be notified that "Disabling 3G may end FaceTime" if they try to disable 3G connectivity during a FaceTime call over a Wi-Fi connection. Putting fuel onto the fire is that iPhones are said to continue FaceTime calls even if the 3G connection is enabled or disabled, which could be a hint from Apple that they could lift the the Wi-Fi-only restrictions of FaceTime.


Even if Apple were to do this, it would then fall on the carriers to take on this feature. FaceTime is considered a Skype-like app, which bypasses traditional voice-minute caps by transferring the communication onto a data plan.

SpaceX launch aborted at T-minus 0.5 seconds, should launch next Tuesday

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 21, 2012 12:24 am

SpaceX, the space transport company out of California founded by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk, were ready to launch their first private spacecraft on its voyage to the International Space Station on Saturday, but at T-minus 0.5 seconds, it was aborted.



Technicians pegged it on a faulty engine valve, which was responsible for aborting the first launch attempt within just half of a second remaining on the countdown, after all nine first-stage engines had ignited. Computers had detected high pressure in one engine's combustion chamber, triggering an automatic shutdown.


The countdown reached zero, but SpaceX holds its rockets on the launch pad for a few seconds after ignition in order to ensure everything is functioning. In this case, it could've been a very, very good thing that the lift-off was halted, and SpaceX's delayed launch for a few seconds definitely helped.

Continue reading 'SpaceX launch aborted at T-minus 0.5 seconds, should launch next Tuesday' (full post)

World Exclusive: Phison's new S8 SATA III Controller with Type B 24nm NAND Pictured

By: Chris Ramseyer | More News: Storage | Posted: May 20, 2012 3:35 am

Let's just be honest about it, when you think of high performance solid state drive controllers the Phison name doesn't exactly jump to the top of the list. That isn't going to change anytime soon but Phison isn't looking to take on the SandForce or Marvell's of the world.




Let's break it down like this, 512GB capacity for less than 500 Dollars with 460MB/s read and 315MB/s write speed. Given that most other 512/480GB solutions are currently hovering around the 700 Dollar mark this is something to get excited about.


Then there's the performance. We didn't get a quote from the company or a specifications list but the 460MB/s read and 315MB/s write speeds were from our tests in ATTO with the very first firmware build for the new controller (S8FM0001). A performance firmware is expected to hit our lab in early June, just in time for Computex or at the latest July, just in time for retail.

Continue reading 'World Exclusive: Phison's new S8 SATA III Controller with Type B 24nm NAND Pictured' (full post)

Facebook completes first post-public acquisition, acquires Karma

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 18, 2012 10:29 pm

There's been a lot of news today about Facebook and its IPO and here is another. Facebook has just completed its first acquisition after becoming a publicly traded company. The mobile commerce startup Karma has been acquired by Facebook. Karma specializes in apps for gifting friends and family. The acquisition sees 16 employees joining Facebook.




The terms of the deal are undisclosed as of now. The acquisition should help Facebook monetize its app and mobile offerings, something its admittedly weak in. Facebook said in a statement: "We've been really impressed with the Karma team and all they accomplished in such a short time. This acquisition combines Karma's passion and innovative mobile app with Facebook's platform to help people connect and share in new and meaningful ways."

Continue reading 'Facebook completes first post-public acquisition, acquires Karma' (full post)

Facebook IPO is first to trade 500M shares in first day

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 18, 2012 9:32 pm

A lot of the talk today has been about Facebook's IPO which, while successful, did have a few surprises in store for Facebook and onlookers. First, Facebook didn't start trading on time due to a Nasdaq glitch. Apparently Nasdaq had an issue with its message relay system which wasn't sending out confirmations of purchases and sales.




That glitch doesn't seem to have affected total trade volume, however, as the Facebook IPO becomes the first one ever to trade 500M stocks in its first day. Prices for the stocks remained fairly level, spiking up to $42 and closing at $38.37. The stock price was set at $38 to start trading off. Within the first 30 seconds, 82 million shares had been traded.


It's a bit surprising that the stock didn't spike above $42 given the hype surrounding the IPO. The fact that it traded pretty level is a good indication that Facebook chose a good opening price. As such, it netted Facebook just about as much money as it possibly could and didn't give the early traders the money instead.

Americans watched an incredible 37 billion videos online last month

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Online Video | Posted: May 18, 2012 8:27 pm

37 billion. That's the number of online videos watched by Americans last month. In the United States, ComScore found that 181 million users watched 37 billion online videos last month. That means that 84.5% of United States Internet users watched at least one video last month. Incredibly, the average person watched 21.8 hours of video during the month.




Of course, Google grabbed the large majority of the viewers with 157.7. Second place went to Yahoo with only 53.6 million. Beyond that was Vevo, Facebook, and Microsoft with 49.5, 44.3, and 42.8 million viewers respectively. Hulu was even further down the list grabbing only 28.2 million views yet they came in just behind Google in terms of total time spent by the average user at 3.8 hours.


Video ads were also shown quite a few times in order to pay for the videos. 9.5 billion video ads were shown to users last month with Hulu showing the majority of those ads. This fact isn't surprising as viewers have to sit through the ads in the middle of their favorite TV shows. Video ads also accounted for 20.5% of all videos watched last month.

A new study shows BitTorrent piracy leads to higher album sales

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 18, 2012 7:33 pm

BitTorrent may not be all bad for the music industry which is contrary to how they would like to portray it. It seems that piracy could aid album sales, if a new study is to be believed. North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond examined prerelease albums being BitTorrented and the album sales of said albums.




The investigation netted some interesting results. What he found was that there was a correlation between the two, although it was pretty small. Keep in mind that correlation does not equate to causation. Since this is an observational study rather than an experiment, it's impossible to say with certainty that BitTorrent aids album sales.


It is, however, possible to indicate that they seem to. After watching 1095 albums, Hammond noted "The findings suggest that file sharing of an album benefits its sales. I don't find any evidence of a negative effect in any specification using any instrument." The average increase in sales was around 59.6 albums, so its not a landslide increase.


This study also does not account for BitTorrent use after the release, nor does it account for singles downloads and sales, which are more likely to occur with a casual pirate. In other news, a similar study has shown similar results in that movie rips don't seem to affect box office revenues.

Sony PlayStation to get game pre-loading feature, downloads pre-ordered games before release

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 18, 2012 6:32 pm

It's always frustrating to pre-order a game and then have to wait for it to download after release. That's why Sony is introducing a pre-loading feature into PLayStation Network. What the feature will do is allow users to download a pre-purchased game before it officially releases so that it is playable once the release date passes.




The debut of the pre-loading feature will be with the upcoming game Sorcery which will release next week. Valve's Steam already has a similar feature built-in and it is loved by users of the digital download and management software. A pre-loading feature makes sense on so many different levels, it's a bit surprising that it has taken Sony this long to implement it.


Pre-loading will also take care of some of the server hammering that usually occurs on a major game launch day. It also allows users who don't have the fastest connection, such as yours truly, to be able to play it right when it launches. It should also help increase pre-sales as the game has to be pre-ordered by a user to take advantage of the feature.

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