Regardless of which side of the satellite radio camp you are in, XM or Sirius, competition is always a good thing (for the consumer anyway). To that end, Sirius has signed an exclusive deal with Audi of America and Volkswagen of America. The deal will make Sirius the satellite radio provider of choice for both car manufacturers up through the 2012 model year. Audi estimates that 50% of its vehicles sold are equipped with satellite radio, while Volkswagen expects to have an installed base of 80% of its vehicles.
What was once almost a rout with XM leading by a huge margin, has turned into a fairly equal battle for market share. It’s arguable as to which company offers better technology (XM gets the nod IMHO) and better programming (Sirius I do believe), but either one makes terrestrial radio passe. The war for subscribers is really starting to heat up.
A federal judge has ruled allowing the government a peek into Google’s search engine, but dramatically scaled back from the list of personal information and specific search requests that the government originally requested. Instead, they’ll provide the government with a list of 50,000 randomly selected websites indexed by the search engine. A victory for advocates of personal privacy and freedom of information, Google will not have to disclose specific search terms or personal information.
“This is a clear victory for our users,” Nicole Wong, Google’s associate general counsel said in a statement Friday.
Read More | ABC News
Just as a reminder, today is March 16 - the last day you can buy a lifetime subscription to the TiVo service. After this evening, you will need to choose a TiVo service contract in one-, two-, or three-year increments. Sucks, we know - especially with the Series 3 looming on the horizon.
All you chic guys out there that just had to have that Motorola RAZR, looks like you may experience some regret, starting - now. T-Mobile and Cingular Wireless have pulled the Motorola RAZR from their shelves as of today, citing a defect in the build of the phone. Turns out that part of the phone is faulty, resulting in dropped calls because the phone thinks you have flipped it closed despite your fleeting attempts to continue your conversation by saying “Hello?” at two-second intervals. No recalls are being issued, but if you are experiencing the problem, you can head to a Cingular or T-Mobile dealer for an exchange. If you have the Verizon version of the RAZR, you are in the clear. Sales of the GSM RAZR should resume within a week.
Read More | Chicago Tribune
Watercooling was once a niche market enjoyed only by those with a knack for tinkering, but in the last year or so has begun to invade the mainstream. Even Intel has taken notice and decided to get in on the action with their Advanced Liquid Cooling prototype. The cooler was designed by enthusiasts in Intel’s engineering department, who would like to see the company shy away from their current view toward overclocking (that it’s evil). The team wanted a watercooler that was robust, reliable and efficient enough for mainstream use and that differed from current kits on the market, which were viewed as complex and flimsy.
What they came up with was a centrifugal pump that uses a brushless DC motor, a CPU block with a copper core, and a radiator cooled by a 120mm fan. All of the items are tied together with solid metal tubing, with the pump residing on top of the CPU block. Everyone has their own opinions as to the optimal location of the pump in a watercooling loop, but apparently this design works well for Intel. Their test system, which houses a 3.8GHz EE CPU, was overclocked to 5.01GHz. Although we have no idea what the ambient temperature was during the test, the CPU remained stable at 62 degrees Celsius which is well within spec limits.
Intel is looking to have the cooler go from prototype stage to actual production, and because commonly available parts were used to build it, they expect it to sell for less than $50 USD. Watercooling enthusiasts may argue design specifics and compromises made, but watercooling for the masses is a notable goal.
Read More | Bit-Tech
BenQ has become something of a powerhouse with regards to optical storage devices. Selling products under their own name as well as providing OEM services for other companies, BenQ continues to churn out new models on a regular basis. One of their latest is the BW1000 “Trio” Optical Writer that handles Blu-ray Discs, DVD, and CD formats. One of the few optical drives to have a Serial ATA interface, the BW1000 can read and write all formats of Blu-ray Discs (BD-R and BD-RE at both 25GB and 50GB capacities) at 2x speed (approximately 72Mbps) and features SolidBurn and Write Right technologies. SolidBurn learns and optimizes the writing characteristics of recordable media, while Write Right provides various methods for ensuring an optimally recorded disc such as Seamless Link, jitter calibration and Walking-OPC.
No word yet on availability or pricing, but historically the European market will be the first to get the new device.
Read More | BenQ
Be prepared for what will surely be an onslaught of peripherals for Microsoft’s Ultra-Mobile PC platform. Eleksen, makers of fabric-based interface devices, has introduced a trio of products aimed at users of the new UMPCs. Bluetooth and USB-equipped keyboards will be available, as will a carrying case that has a keyboard and other controls integrated into it’s soft exterior. The keyboards are designed around Eleksen’s ElekTex technology, which allows touch sensitive interfaces to be placed in a variety of textiles. The Bluetooth keyboard even has drivers to allow its use with smartphones and PDAs, further broadening its usefulness.
Flexible keyboards may be nothing new, but with Eleksen’s products being incorporated into textiles, the possibilities are just about limitless. In fact, the company also has their interface technology designed into jackets (the Kenpo iPod jacket), backpacks and other items that have controls for audio players built right in.
Read More | Eleksen
Introduced to the public at CES 2006 in the form of a Dell XPS 600 Renegade system, NVIDIA’s Quad SLI technology is designed to provide smooth gaming performance at resolutions up to a whopping 2560x1600 pixels. The Quad SLI systems incorporate NVIDIA’s new 7900 series GPU and offers up 32X anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering, as well as support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 and NVIDIA PureVideo. If Dell’s Renegade is any indication, the systems will require a minimum of an 850-watt power supply, with the daughter cards using external power supplies of 150-watts each. So, not only will the systems put out extreme gaming goodness, but with over 1-kilowatt on tap, potentially enormous amounts of heat (and noise) as well.
To spot-check pricing on one of the new monstrosities, we checked both Dell and Alienware. As of this writing, Dell has yet to release their Quad SLI machine, but Alienware’s configuration page is up and running. With a base configuration price of $6,923 USD the Alienware Aurora ALX easily pushes the $10,000 USD envelope when loaded to the gills. That almost makes a Dual SLI system seem cheap and affordable.
Systems will be available later this month from a wide range of system builders, with some ready to start shipping systems today.
Read More | nVidia
Okay, so we were waiting for Thursday to arrive so that we could get the full scoop on Origami, and that time has arrived. From this day forth, Origami devices will be referred to as Ultra Mobile PCs - or UMPCs - and Channel 9 has posted a great piece showing off the platform. Robert Scoble sat down with Otto Berkes, the General Manager of the UMPC division, to get all the deets. The video is about 40 minutes long, and goes in-depth into what exactly brought the UMPC to fruition, and what we can expect from the platform in the future.
From our perspective, these first-generation devices may not have lived up to the hype that was generated across the Internet over the past couple of weeks, but we can see the potential going forward - especially once we have the Windows Vista-enabled UMPCs hitting the market. We do have to wonder, with Microsoft expecting pricing to range from $599 to $999 USD, where does DualCor stand in all this? Their device is a bit smaller, but they expect to hit retail at $1500 or so. This will certainly be an interesting one to watch.
Read More | First Look At Ultra-Mobile PCs
Microsoft, in their continuing quest to dominate Google, has made available the beta of their new search engine dubbed Windows Live. With functionality similar to that of its arch nemesis, Windows Live is able to search for images, news, RSS feeds, e-mail (Windows Live Mail and Hotmail) and more. For better or worse, some things have been spiced up a bit such as the Image search feature. When you hover your mouse pointer over a search result it increases in magnification and provides detailed information about the image. On the flip side for you minimalists, a nice feature is the ability to disable or hide just about everything on the page short of the search box.
What good would a search engine be anymore without a corresponding toolbar? Microsoft delivers on that angle as well with the Windows Live Toolbar. In addition to the standard search capabilities, it offers protection from phishing and pop-ups.
Read More | Windows Live
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