Posts Tagged ‘media’

Samsung Transparent Notebook Nears Release

February 8, 2010

It seems that Samsung is nearing the release of its transparent active matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays, with the company likely to release devices boasting the displays over the next 12 months.

Transparent displays are both impressive and a little confusing...

For those who haven’t encountered the AMOLED arrangement, the image above should give some impression. Essentially, the display itself is transparent, meaning your desktop (or whatever else you happen to be watching) is not quite fully transparent, but still pretty hip nonetheless. Still, the technology will likely be more interesting in devices other than notebooks, so it’s curious to see that Samsung does have other devices in the works.



Special Offers – Week of January 25th

January 25, 2010

Good afternoon all, hopefully everyone’s managing the return from the weekend at least reasonably well. For those who aren’t long-time readers, we generally do a post about what we have on special offer on a Monday afternoon, with the intention of having it up on the blog as early in the week as possible… it gives you guys as much of a chance to have a bit of a think about whether or not you’d really like something before it goes out of our Special Offers next Sunday.

This week, we’ve got some nice bits and pieces on offer, so we’ll get straight into them.

Netgear Stora:

Netgear’s Stora is a network attached storage (NAS) setup, for those of you who don’t know what a NAS is, don’t worry, it’s not complicated, and it’s unusually useful.

Click through to check out our page for Netgear's 1TB Stora 🙂

Essentially, a NAS box is a device that houses some storage and sits attached to your network so that the volume is accessible to all of the machines connected. It’s a relatively simple concept, but it tends to be one of those things that a lot of users simply haven’t encountered. Netgear’s Stora boasts a 1TB drive, with space for another 1TB drive if you feel the need to expand it.

For those who haven’t used a NAS before, it’s an ideal way to keep media (whether music or movies) on a centralised drive that’s accessible to every machine on your network. Moreover, as long as you’re not too fussed about having all of your media accessible when you’re out and about, it’s also an excellent way to keep your PCs’ drives free of clutter.

Thanks to the fact that the drive is easily accessible via your local network, you’ll also be able to run backups of your notebook via your wireless network (software permitting), which is probably the closest you’ll get to a totally hassle-free backup experience.

You can also use the option to add another drive to the mix to make your backup that bit more reliable. Since the Stora offers RAID1 support directly, you can generally rely on your backup (or whatever you care to store on it) to be very well looked after indeed, unless there’s some totally catastrophic failure… or a fire.

Netgear’s Stora is down to €164.32 this week, with a 1TB hard drive already in there.

If you’d like to throw in an extra 1TB hard disk, then you could always pick up Samsung’s SpinPoint F3, which will set you back around €77.


Skype Sees Massive Boost

January 19, 2010

It seems that Skype has seen a massive bump over the course of the last year or so, with the VOIP company now accounting for fully 12% of all international calling minutes.

According to a report from TeleGeography, growth of international telephone traffic on a whole has slowed, while Skype has seen its uptake continue steadily, managing to accumulate a massive following. It’s worth noting that Skype accounts for fully 12% of all “international calling minutes” but we’d imagine the percentage of international calls carried by Skype is far lower… it’s just that those using Skype for international calls are more likely to stay on the phone significantly longer.


Skype to Get More Social?

January 18, 2010

Skype could befit massively from a move to supply VOIP to other social networks, using its vast user base as solid evidence that the service can offer the kind of scale needed.

Indeed, as pointed out by LooseWireBlog, Skype boasts more users than Twitter, Facebook and MySpace combined, which makes it, in an off-beat kind of way, the biggest social networking platform on earth. Still, the fact is that most users have opted to make an account not for the “social networking” side of things, but so that they can make phone calls on the cheap, which is always going to be a big draw.


Google Wins Word of the Decade

January 12, 2010

Google has been awarded the fairly impressive “Word of the Decade” from the American Dialect Society for the use of the noun “Google” as a verb, as in, “to Google something.”

The news comes via TomsHardware that, while Google managed to grab the word of the decade prize, “Tweet” has managed to become the word of the year, we’d imagine thanks to the unusually volume of coverage that news agencies have given Twitter over the last year or so. If nothing else, the fact that both the word of the year and word of the decade went to web-based companies is interesting.

We’re big fans of lists here in the office, so we thought we’d post a list of some of the various words and terms that have made the American Dialect Society’s shortlist for words and phrases that could have made it as word of the year this year.


Microsoft Patens DRM Torrents

January 11, 2010

It’s emerged that Microsoft has patented a system by which peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing, or downloading via bittorrent, would see the integration of digital rights management (DRM).

Word comes via TomsHardware of the patent filed by Microsoft, which would help the company roll out software through digital distribution without putting too much weight on its own servers. It’s an interesting distribution model, and one that usually allows users to have their content on release day without fear of stock shortages. Of course, the general issue with heavy-duty digital distribution is the stress on servers, which generally results in slowed downloads on busy days; this is neatly turned to an advantage using P2P networking.


Is it Worth Moving to 64-bit Windows?

January 6, 2010

This is a question we hear bandied around an awful lot by people who are considering making the move from Windows Vista to Windows 7, and even more so by people who have bought a machine with Vista installed and decided to revert back to Windows XP and are now facing an upgrade path that is, frankly, fraught with complications.

The big issue is that many people seem to have had it made very clear indeed to them that there will be massive benefits to making the jump from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. While that’s all well and good for those who will actually see a benefit, the vast majority of users out there aren’t going to be seeing the massive bonuses that some niche upragers will.

The Upgrade Path:

A fairly significant part of the problem with upgrading to Windows 7 64-bit on a machine that’s already running Windows Vista is that there’s no support for upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit. There are all kinds of entirely reasonable reasons for this to be the case, but we needn’t go into them here.

Many will be upgrading from some flavour of Windows Vista...

The long and short of it is that upgrading from Windows Vista 32 to Windows 7 64 is going to require you to have a sit down with your current OS while you say goodnight. It’s always a bit of a headache to run a complete backup, get all of your content onto another drive and install a new OS, then copy it back.

The simple fact is that for most users, there’s just not enough benefits in the upgraded OS to justify the various headaches of preparing your machine for the install, and then copying everything back across afterwards. Are there advantages to be had? Yes. Will they be worth it? Not for everyone.

Of course, I should put in as a disclaimer that you could (and many have) write an entire article on the various issues that people might encounter while they’re running a standard Windows upgrade. Things have come a long way since earlier versions but the fact is that there can be problems with upgrades. Could those problems be so bad that you’ll end up formatting anyway? Well… that depends on your threshold for annoyance 😉

Indeed, if you don’t have more than 4GB of RAM then you’re likely not going to see any real benefit at all, and even then…


Cinema Sales Outpace Discs in 2009

January 6, 2010

It’s been a long time since cinema sales last managed to outperform sales of disc-based media for movies, but it seems that in 2009 cinema has managed to push past discs again.

According to Adams Media Research, the strong performance from cinemas was bolstered by the release of “3D exhibition at a premium price,” which seems as though it could be a fairly roundabout way of saying that Avatar has been performing so very well that it’s managed to pull in crowds that cinemas haven’t seen in quite a while. Indeed, it seems that 3D cinema provides enough spectacle to draw in big crowds, with the news that Avatar has managed to pull become the fourth biggest grossing film ever, already.


Philips Teams up with Songbird

January 5, 2010

Open source media player Songbird has received a massive boost today with the announcement that it will be bundled with Philips’ MP3 players, pushing the software to vast numbers of new users.

For those who haven’t encountered Songbird, it’s an entirely open source media player, with a look-and-feel that’s not entirely dissimilar from Apple’s iTunes setup. Indeed, Songbird has made something of a name for itself as a customisable alternative to iTunes, which many find to be too much of a headache to use under Windows. The deal with Philips will see Songbird distributed with the companies new line of GoGear MP3 players.


Blu-Ray Gets Capacity Bump

January 5, 2010

Sony and Panasonic have managed to bump up the maximum amount of storage space on a single layer of a Blu-Ray disc, leading to a disc that can store up to 33.4GB on one layer.

At the moment, the limit on capacity for a single layer is somewhere around the 25GB mark, which means that dual layer discs have just jumped from an already respectable 50GB or so right up to 66GB, an increase of more than 20%. Of course, having researched the kit and actually being able to sell it are two very different things indeed, and we’ll be curious to see just how long it takes to push so significant a storage increase out to market.