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Microsoft store also features third party goods

By: Array

One would have presumed that come launch of Microsoft's online store, it would soley be flooded with nothing more than MS owned products, both hardware and software. But if you head on over and check it out as of now you will see that they're going well beyond with third party hardware and software including Sony netbooks, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing software etc.


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AMD/ATI partner VisionTek partners with Bigfoot Networks

By: Array

AMD/ATI partner VisionTek is making efforts to branch out into market segments other than just VGA and it begins by partnering with Bigfoot Networks, the company behind the Killer NIC for gamers, said to provide much better performance (lower pings and CPU usage) than traditional NICs.


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VisionTek call it the Killer Xeno Pro and we learn that this variant uses a PCI-e x1 interface and comes with a much better software package.


Pricing and availability is yet to be disclosed.


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Gartner lists Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2010

By: Array

There is a new list of the top 10 technologies that will be strategic for companies in 2010.


The list was compiled by the Gartner who defines a strategic technology as one that can have a significant impact on the enterprise within two years.


So what is on the list? What new technologies should you be concerned with for 2010? After each we will give you a little of our take.


Gartner lists the following:


Cloud Computing


This is being shoveled to the IT world in great and greater volumes. The thing is for anyone that is in IT and understands security this is not a solution. It is a method for service providers (including software service providers) to save money at the expense of the customer. We know that security for these types of services are nowhere near what they need to be yet we now hear it is a leading strategic technology for 2010.


Advanced Analytics


This is actually an old one that is just getting more prominence because it is now economically viable to run much of this from a computer. In the past it was decision flow charts and long documents covering "what if"


Client Computing


Again a regression back in time. Many Many years ago the concept of the client/server was nothing more than a server (mainframe) and a dumb terminal (client) all of the processing was done on the server and the client was used to display the results only. Yet here we are 20 years down the road and seeing a return to this model. I guess the more things change... It is also a way to push cloud computing on the market as the "client OS" can be pushed from a cloud based service.


IT for Green


This one is actually one that we agree with completely. IT and its services have to become more ecologically conscious. However, we must proceed with caution as the "green" initiative has been used as an excuse to push cloud computing


Reshaping the Data Center


This is another move that we can support. The shift from the traditional floor space eating Data Centers to a more modular "Pod" based setup. Take a look at the trailer based setup that Google and Microsoft have to get an idea.


Social Computing


This is the security experts nightmare, Social Computing. You see everyone wants to be connected to their personal lives even when at work. But should a company support that? Should a company really engage in using a Facebook, Twitter, or other social computing products? Personally I say no. It is enabling a decay in the way information is presented and consumed. The short attention span posts found on Twitter and places like Facebook should not be the way companies talk to the world.


Security - Advanced Monitoring


Ah, another move towards the cloud. This one is interesting in that it does provide a needed service but, can take the control away from many companies. The problem is not that many companies do not know how to deal with threats. It is in fact that too many companies do not even know there are threats. Since upper management lacks this knowledge they often will not spend the money on hiring the right people to perform this service in house. If someone offers them this for a reasonable cost they will jump at it.


It is sadly not the right way to go, but one that is inevitable.


Flash Memory


We have been in contact with Seagate an others about this move and it seems that too many enterprise class companies are not going to consider this as viable until they see a clear standard. Right now everyone has their own way of making SSDs, USB keys, pretty much any type of Flash memory. There are also long term usage issues that must be resolved before considering this in a mission critical space.


Virtualization for Availability


Another one that has been long in coming. In fact many companies use this already. with Products like VMWare's ESX and VSphere using V-Motion it is easy to setup. With V-Motion live migration you store the VM (Virtual Machine) images on a central SAN (Storage Area Network) this is then connected to a bank of identical servers (at least two). If one server goes down or is overloaded V-Motion can automatically shift those VMs to another server to keep you up and running. The down side is that the initial cost is pretty hefty for the equipment you must have to use this. Because of this Virtualization for Availability will remain out of the reach for many companies.


Mobile Applications


Depending on how you read this it can mean applications for mobile devices like smart phones and smart books or it can again be a push towards cloud services. Either way you are looking at increased security risks. The loss of a corporate device is not something to be taken lightly, while storing all of your applications and data on a remote server leaves you open to a larger base of attack (the bigger the target the more attacks per minute).


It is an interesting list. Gartner does know what they are doing here. Indeed all of these should be carefully watched. Especially as they are not all they seem on the surface. Many of these are technologies that have been out for years, but now are being pushed as a method to reduce costs. The rub is that most of these will take a lot of money to get in place and working, this leave the small, medium and many larger businesses out as they just do not have the funds to invest in this type of project.


So, while it is nice to cover these and talk about them as strategic technologies that companies should plan for, it is not really going to make that large of an impact and certainly not in the 2-3 year time frame. Adoption of any high capital outlay technology is significantly slower than that especially in a slow economy.


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Microsoft's first Store opens Thursday

By: Array

In timely fashion with the launch of Windows 7 this coming Thursday, Microsoft plans to open its first "Microsoft Store" in Scottsdale. To help gather the masses MS has decided to give the first 1,000 visitors free gift bags as well as tickets to an Ashley Tisdale concert set to kick off come 5PM.


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Every PC buyer on launch day gets a free HP printer and a copy of Office 2007 Home & Student. The strategy partly mirrors Apple's tendency to offer concerts at flagship stores as well as its giveaways, though the Mac producer rarely offers special discounts.


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Microsoft is known to be patterning its store design closely after Apple retail with answer bars and open spaces but with an emphasis on customization as well as all of Microsoft's main product lines, including Windows Mobile, Xbox 360 and Zune.


Continue reading 'Microsoft's first Store opens Thursday' (full post)

NVIDIA's Tegra gains more ground with Nintendo's DS

By: Array

NVIDIA's Tegra is looking pretty good right now. First it manages to land in Microsoft's Zune HD player. This iPod Touch competitor has been doing great so far with many stores reporting that they are sold out of them and waiting for stock. This is good for both Microsoft and NVIDIA. For MS it shows that they can compete in the Apple centric PMP market. For NVIDIA it shows that Tegra is a viable product and one that is capable of doing the job in a small package.


Now we hear that Nintendo is planning to drop Tegra (either the current or next gen version) into their new DS portable game player. This is great news and one that is sure to push the Tegra towards the 50% company revenue goal that NVIDIA CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang talked about earlier this year.


The news comes from multiple sources and seems to be close to the mark. Of course neither NVIDIA nor Nintendo are commenting on this as of this writing but our sources also confirm this and say that we should see quite a few more items with Tegra under the hood, including SmartPhones, Netbooks, SmartBooks and more. Some of these devices have already reached internal testing by different providers. This means we could see even more Tegra based products alone with the Nintendo DS next year.


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NVIDIA Partners Order Large Numbers of Fermi GPUs

By: Array

In the wake of the (somewhat inaccurate) news of the GT200 parts being discontinued we hear that many partners have ordered significant quantities of NVIDIA's new Fermi GPU. In some cases it was ordering Fermi that caused the shortage of GT200 GPUs in the first place. According to a few sources that we spoke with they anticipated delivery of Fermi GPUs earlier as such they were shifting from production of the GTX 260, 275 and 285s for the holiday season.


As such many manufacturers have had to shift allocation from their EMEA divisions to the US to meet demand there this has caused a false famine in parts at some companies.


Now while all of that is interesting, it does point out one thing. The GT300 appears to have been pushed back from the original production date. We have heard that originally GT300 was supposed to launch around the end of October. Now the time for the public launch is sometime in the middle of November. This could be the reason for the early demo of the Fermi Architecture instead of an actual launch.


All of that aside, OEMs are very eager to get their hands on Fermi. All of the ones we spoke to believe the GT300 will be quite the performer once they are able to get it out in the stores. The Fermi team has their work cut out for them as they still have yet to show Fermi Running DX11 or any type of real gaming performance. We hope they are up to it though, as it is sort of boring in a one sided GPU world.


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The the Mud fly and the FUD flow

By: Array

I tell you it must be the time of year. It seems like most of the new traveling around is a lot of mudslinging. After the round of bad FUD over NVIDIA (stupidly) showing off a fake card (I still think it is not a big deal). We now hear that someone is throwing mud at Microsoft's Project Pink.


This one comes from Apple Insider and reads like a disgruntled employee lashing out; in fact it might be the same one that leaked the original hate about the project.


This brings many, many doubts to mind about the project and what is going on behind the scenes here. Why would someone leak information to an Apple oriented site about an MS project? Why would they then follow up there if they are trying to give context?
There is really one thing that jumps top mind. The Zune HD launch was successful, Microsoft out did themselves with it and now someone, is worried about the chances of a phone in this device, or about a phone with the same type of functions the Zune HD has. This type of mud slung in the right directions pulls the attention away from the success of the Zune HD. Most people remember bad news before they remember good news (and of course recent news better than older obviously). If you throw in a scandal, name names, and "leak it" from an inside source it is a readers' dream. Once the seeds are sown and the news makes its rounds, well the damage is done.


So in the next few months I would keep your heads down. Otherwise you might get hit by a flying mud.


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Foxconn to manufacture Apple's tablet PC

By: Array

The folks at Digitimes have some info to share about Apple's upcoming tablet PC. It's been discovered that this unit is actually being manufactured by Foxconn and is expected to commence shipping at the beginning of next year.


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All we know about it at this stage is that it will use a 10.6" display and Foxconn could perhaps secure the panels from its subsidiary Innolux display. The main point of focus for this tablet PC will be more so towards e-book functionality as opposed to music, and in Apple likeliness it'll also boast long battery life, easy internet connectivity and a very simple user interface.


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Apple looks for apples in every logo they view?

By: Array

We sure know Apple don't like their feet being trodden on and they'll go to any measure to ensure their image maintains its separative values. This of course goes right down to their logo.


They've had stern words with companies in the past who have dared try anything similar using the fruit we all know and love and now they're shaking the finger at Australian based company Woolworths for their latest design.


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"While we can't rule anything out, we haven't got any plans (when it comes to computers and gadgetry) at the moment." But is their logo an apple, or does it even look like one? The Australian-based Woolworths claims that their logo is simply a stylized "W" paired with an "abstract leaf symbol". One could, however, also say that it's a stylized person with outstretched arms, or an "apple being peeled".


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Apple Claims two Billion Downloads

By: Array

Microsoft has an uphill battle against the iTunes App Store and Apple knows it. Today Apple announced that downloads from the iTunes App Store have topped two billion. This is an impressive number no matter what type of application it is that it being downloaded.


Of course some people will say that the iTunes App Store has gotten cluttered with crap (and this is true) but still 2 Billion downloads is a lot. Apple did not break out the details of the 2 billion but you can be sure that many of the apps are the free or "lite" versions that people grab before shelling out the money for the full version.


Still, no matter what, MS is going to have to rush to catch up, as of today they have a grand total of nine, seven games and two utilities. This is in contrast with the 85,000 in the App Store. Of course anyone that has browse through the App Store knows that a good number of that 85k is nothing but trash.


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