Release the Beast!

February 5, 2010 by

Any gaming gizmo that can bring you back to the sheer innocent joy of heading to an arcade as a kid is alright by me (though maybe that’s due to my personal peak of gameplay being at around six years old, ever since it’s been one giant collection of uncoordinated losses) and with that in mind, the Hori Real Arcade Pro Premium VLX arcade stick looks like the absolute business.

Essentially it’s like you’ve tried to nick an arcade unit but only managed to get away with the control panel. Okay, it’s a bit of beast, we’ll give you that – and it should clock in at around €240 when it reaches here – but the impracticality of it is part of its charm. The dead leg will be worth it!

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Get Going on VOIP for Home Use

February 5, 2010 by

VOIP was, for a very long time, something that we couldn’t get away from in tech media. It’s convenient, it can save you money, it’s not a total pain in the face to set up (something that can be true of traditional phone options), and it’s something that, for most people, hasn’t quite caught on as much as expected.

While a vast number of people have a Skype account and indeed, at any given time there seems to be anywhere between 15 and 25 million people actually logged in to the service, the fact is that there just doesn’t seem to be too much drive towards VOIP for general home use. Still, it’s worth considering, given the potential savings to be had, and especially with the existence of services like SkypeIn, which mean you’re still contactable at the same phone by others.

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Huge Windows Patch Next Tuesday

February 5, 2010 by

Microsoft has said it will deliver a record-equalling 13 security updates next Tuesday to patch more than two dozen vulnerabilities in Windows and Office. The company will ship a total of 13 updates next week; five of them pegged “critical,” the highest threat ranking in its four-step scoring system.

The 13 updates will, according to ComputerWorld, tie the record from October 2009, when Microsoft issued the same number of bulletins, but fixed a total of 34 vulnerabilities. According to Jerry Bryant, a senior manager with the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), next week’s updates will patch 26 flaws.

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The R2 Has Landed

February 5, 2010 by

Cylons won’t be quaking in their boots (do they have boots) just yet, but today sees the announcement that, after three years of work, a link up between NASA and General Motors (GM) has produced a humanoid robot named Robonaut 2.

Some R2s, possibly discussing which one looks more like they’re in Daft Punk.

While GM would like to eliminate some of the duller, more repetitive jobs that its workers face (Ed: or possibly the workers altogether) by using the Robonaut 2, NASA is interested in the idea of developing humanoid robots that can work side by side with astronauts in space.

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More Ebook Prices Rise

February 5, 2010 by

It seems that Amazon’s ability to offer ebooks at a lower price than Apple’s announced iBook shop is being eroded more quickly than even dire predictions had supposed it might.

Looks like physical books could turn out to be cheaper...

Word comes from Gizmodo that more of Amazon’s “big six” publishers have been pushing prices up to the higher price point for “hardcover bestsellers,” which is an interesting term to use in an entirely data environment. After MacMillan’s move on Monday to see prices bumped to the $15 mark on certain titles, it seems that other publishers have come pouring in with similar requests to make of Amazon’s Kindle Store.

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Gigabyte Unleashes Extras-laden P55 Motherboard

February 5, 2010 by

Gigabyte has released a statement on the launch of a new flagship motherboard for the Intel P55 chipset platform, the GA-P55A-UD7.  A DigiTimes report on the releases says the GA-P55A-UD7 will continue the tradition of the company’s UD7-series of “packing as many extra features on the board as it can find space for”.

Extra Extra!

In the case on the GA-P55A-UD7 value-added extras not seen on common P55-based boards include support for Nvidia 3-Way SLI. USB 3.0 with Power Boost, and SATA 6Gbpss, as well as a 24-phase power design to increase overclocking potential. Before we get into more of the details, DigiTimes asked the quite pertinent question of whether there really is logic behind adding so many extra features, which increase the selling price of the board, to what is essentially a mid-range platform (Intel has its X58 chipset for the high-end segment).

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Microsoft Talks Innovation

February 5, 2010 by

Microsoft is no stranger to criticism, whether justified or not, but it has responded to a recent piece from a former employee, Dick Brass, who essentially alleges that the company’s best work is behind it.

Gloves off, gauntlet thrown down, metaphores mixed

Brass was once Microsoft’s vice president in charge of ClearType and responsible for its ebook and tablet efforts back in the day when Microsoft was one of the very few companies that seemed to be taking the whole affair seriously. In a recent editorial piece for the New York Times, Brass paints a fairly sad picture of Microsoft, describing it by saying that,

“Microsoft has become a clumsy, uncompetitive innovator. Its products are lampooned, often unfairly but sometimes with good reason. Its image has never recovered from the antitrust prosectution of the 1990s.”

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Symbian Goes Open Source

February 5, 2010 by

The Symbian Foundation – who always sound like a charity front for a James Bond villain to our ears – has announced that the code behind the world’s most popular smartphone operating system has finally become open source.

It was said way back in 2008 that such a move was afoot but the Foundation has now confirmed that all the necessary work is complete and it’s all, according to a BBC report, in aid of attracting new developers to work on the system – which has shipped in more than 330 million mobile phones – to help speed up the pace of improvements.

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eBook Users Have No Regrets

February 5, 2010 by

It seems that those of us who have already mode the move to electronic books are very well served indeed by them, apparently regardless of the hardware options.

Indeed, word comes via RegHardware of a survey from industry analysts NPD that those who’ve sprung for ebook reading hardware are very pleased indeed with their purchases. Apparently, 93% of those who’ve picked up an ebook reader fall into either the “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” camps in NPD’s research. Perhaps more interesting still is the fact that only 2% of those surveyed actually said that they weren’t satisfied with their devices.

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