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Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 and VX-6000

It’s no secret that Microsoft wants to integrate PC and Xbox 360 users together when Vista debuts later this

millenium century

decade.  One step towards that goal is the integration of instant messaging between the two disparate platforms, and with the release of the Xbox 360 Live Vision Camera a short time ago, Microsoft is partway there.  Keeping the momentum going, Microsoft is now releasing two new webcams aimed at the PC market, the VX-3000 and VX-6000 LifeCams.

The first two available webcams, the Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 and Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000, bring a new dimension to Windows Live Messenger and feature exclusive industry firsts that streamline the webcam experience: • Windows Live Call Button. Located on the top of each LifeCam, the Windows Live Call Button makes placing a video call a breeze by eliminating the usual multiple steps. Just one touch brings up the Buddy Picker, a tool that shows users only current online buddies. They simply select their contact’s name and they are on their way to making a video call. • LifeCam Dashboard. Built right into the Windows Live Messenger window for easy access during video calling, the LifeCam Dashboard provides simple access to the controls people need most, including pan, tilt and zoom. Now users’ attention stays where it should be — on their video conversation. • One-touch blogging. Windows Live Spaces is one of the fastest-growing blog communities in the world, with more than 50 million individual Spaces. Now, users can post High Definition LifeCam pictures directly to their Windows Live Space blog with one click from within the LifeCam window. The new Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 is a top-of-the-line wired webcam providing the highest quality still photography on the market (5.0 megapixels interpolated), High Definition video (1.3 megapixels)3 and 3x digital zoom. A 71-degree wide-angle lens allows enough room for up to three people to join in the conversation. The Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 offers High Definition still photography (1.3 megapixels interpolated) and brilliant video (640x480 pixels). Both LifeCams feature a built-in acoustic noise-canceling microphone to ensure crystal-clear audio performance without adding clutter from extra headsets or external microphones. In addition, both new LifeCams come with fun Video Effects, such as falling snowflakes and twinkling stars, to personalize and enhance the background of video conversations. The LifeCams also have a Universal Attachment Base for easy and secure attachment to virtually any size monitor.

The webcams are available now with USD list prices of $99.95 (VX-6000) and $49.95 (VX-3000).

Read More | Microsoft via bit-tech

Gallery: Microsoft Introduces Two New Webcams


AMD X2In an effort to simplify their product lineup, and simultaneously bolster the sales of their FX series processors, AMD will spend the next few months reducing their product lineup.  On the chopping block are all processors with 1MB L2 cache, with the exception of their FX models.  This product subset includes the Athlon 64 X2 4000+, 4400+ and 4800+ processors.

This will allow AMD to re-focus 1MB L2 parts back into their flagship FX line of processors. If you sit down and really look at the benchmarks, 1MB L2 cache parts basically come in equal to a comparable parts with 512KB L2 cache but with a 200MHz core frequency bump.

If you’ve been hankering for an AMD processor with copious amounts of L2 cache, and don’t feel the desire to sell body parts to raise money for an Athlon 64 FX, then now is the time to act.  It’s unlikely the aforementioned processors will stay in the channel for too long before being snapped up.

Read More | [H]ard|OCP

Gallery: AMD Reduces Their Product Offerings

AOLOkay, hold on. Over a year ago, we reported that AOL would make it easier for customers looking to cancel their accounts. Apparently, someone didn’t get that memo. Vinny over at Insignificant Thoughts made the decision to cancel his AOL account, figuring that $14.95 per month could be spent in a much more beneficial way than giving it to AOL. He recorded his conversation with “John at AOL” and has made it available for all to hear. Truth be told, we got upset just listening to the atrocious service that Vinny received. Be sure to download the clip below to hear for yourself.

Here’s how to get the show:

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Voices: Andru Edwards, Vinny of Insignificant Thoughts
Length: 05:58, 2.87 MB

Gear Live Podcast SurveyIMPORTANT: We are surveying the listeners of our podcast to see what it is that people like, and more importantly, what they don’t like. It is anonymous, and just takes a couple of minutes. If you have the time, we would appreciate it!

Don’t forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley! Also, be sure to check out the Gear Live Odeo Channel, and subscribe there are well.

Gallery: Gear Live Podcast 019: The Horrors of Cancelling AOL

Tyan Typhoon

Okay, so “personal supercomputer” is a bit of a misnomer as there aren’t many individuals that would have need of a 16-core server, but there are plenty of research labs, medical facilities and other small companies that could make use of the number-crunching power provided by Tyan new Typhoon.

Speaking of power, the Typhoon gets its groove on courtesy of four removable motherboards, each sporting a pair of dual-core Intel Xeon 5100-series LV processors, up to 12GB of DDR2 SDRAM memory, dual Gigabit NICs, and a single, lonely SATA device.  The four motherboards are capable of working in concert via clustering sofware on Windows and Linux platforms. 

As always, with great power comes a little sacrifice and Tyan is estimating that purchasers will need to place at least $10,000 USD on the sacrificial altar to obtain a Typhoon.  It may be pricey, but it would certainly get your Folding@home, or other distributed computing project, well underway.  The various models in the Typhoon lineup will be available this Fall.

Read More | Reg Hardware

Gallery: Tyan Typhoon - Your Personal 16-Core Supercomputer

Dell XPS M1210

About a month ago, leaked pictures of Dell’s newest ultra portable notebook, the XPS M1210, hit the Web.  Unlike the average ultra portable notebook, the M1210 sports a dual core Intel processor, and an optional graphics system consisting of NVIDIA’s GeForce Go 7400.  Sure, the notebook isn’t as light as Dell’s X1, but it is a lot more powerful and should allow for some decent mobile gaming.

System specs are as follows:
• Intel Core Duo Processor T2600 (2.16GHz/667MHz FSB/2MB Cache)
• Up to 4GB of Dual Channel DDR2 memory
• 12.1” Widescreen WXGA (1280 x 800) TrueLife display
• Integrated Intel Media Accelerator 950 Graphics with optional 256MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400
• High definition integrated stereo sound
• Up to 100GB 7200RPM or 120GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive
• 24x/10x/24x CD Burner and 8x DVD-ROM combo drive or 8x DVD/CD Burner (DVD+/-RW)
• Integrated 1.3 mega pixel web cam, premium noise isolation ear buds, SKYPE, integrated mobile broadband antenna, and a directional microphone system (with optional A/V Communications Package)
• Ports: IEEE 1394, USB 2.0, Ethernet, Modem, VGA, S-Video, Component Video, S/PDIF Digital Audio Out, Headphone, Microphone
• Windows XP Home, Pro or Media Center 2005
• Starting at 4.37 pounds

Pricing for the XPS M1210 starts at $1,300 USD.

Read More | Dell

Gallery: Dell XPS M1210 Officially Released

Nintendo WiiNintendo has finally released pricing information for their next generation game console, the Wii.  Although no specific details were given in regards to bundled games, hardware configuration, or accessory pricing, Nintendo has stated that the Wii’s price “will not exceed $250 in America, or ¥25,000 in Japan.” 

The console is expected to be available sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, and an exact launch date and launch titles are still forthcoming.

Read More | Playfeed

Gallery: Nintendo Releases Official Wii Pricing

SamsungA couple of months ago we talked about Samsung taking their NAND flash memory modules and incorporating them into Solid State Disk (SSD) drives that operate faster than conventional hard drives and use less power in the process.  Now they’re taking those same 32GB SSD drives and stuffing them into their new Q1 and Q30 portable devices.

The Q1 has a form factor and feature set similar to an Origami device with a 7” 800x480 display and an Intel Celeron M running at 900MHz.  The Q30 is a laptop, sporting a 12.1” LCD with a 1280x768 resolution, and an Intel Celeron M at 1.2GHz.  Both models feature 512MB of memory and a 32GB SSD drive.  The Q30 is said to load Windows XP fifty percent faster and access data three times faster than a hard drive equipped model.  Samsung has neglected to mention what the power saving features of the drive translate into for real world use.

All good things come at a price, and the Q1 and Q30 are no exception to the case.  They’re scheduled for release in Korea next month with the Q1 priced at $2,430 USD and the Q30 at $3,700 USD.

Read More | Samsung via Ars Technica

Gallery: New Samsung PCs To Come With NAND-based Solid State Drives

MicrosoftWith WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) in full swing this week, it’s not unusual that we see new builds of beta products float to the surface.  This time around we have new builds of Loghorn Server and Windows Vista, both at build 5384, as well as Beta 2 of Office 2007. 

Office 2007 Beta 2 is available as a public preview, and if you opt for the Professional Plus version, weighs in as a 550MB download.  Per Ars Technica, “Office 2007 uses the new Microsoft Office Open XML file format, and will be broken down into seven different editions: Office Basic, Office Home and Student, Office Standard, Office Small Business, Office Professional, Office Professional Plus, and Office Enterprise.

  * Basic includes Word, Excel, and Outlook
  * Home and Student includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and One Note
  * Standard includes Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint
  * Small Business is the same as Standard plus Publisher and Outlook with Business Contact Manager
  * Professional includes everything from Small Business plus Access
  * Professional Plus comes with Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, and Communicator. It also includes Integrated Enterprise Content Management, Electronic Forms, and Advanced Information Rights and Policy Capabilities
  * Office Enterprise adds OneNote and Groove 2007 to the Professional Plus package.”

Unlike Office 2007, the new builds of Windows are not available to the public and can only be had from MSDN, Technet, or the beta program. 

Read More | Microsoft via Ars Technica

Read More | Office 2007 Public Preview Site

Gallery: Office 2007 Public Preview and New Windows Beta Builds

Macy's iPod Vending Machine

In an effort to keep up with the swankiest of swanks, Macy’s has entered into an agreement with Zoom Systems, makers of iPod vending machines. The Macy’s machines will be called Zoom @ Macy’s, and is an attempt to provide consumers with the ultimate in impulse buys. Luckily, these things accept credit cards, because we have more important things to spend the $299 USD (plus tax) in quarters that we carry around on. You can expect about 180 of the Zoom @ Macy’s iPod vending machines to be in stores by fall.

Read More | UPI

Gallery: Macy’s To Bring In iPod Vending Machines

Apple Store NYC

If you are in New York City, you owe it to yourself to head on down to the new Fifth Avenue Apple Store. Apple’s new flagship retail location opened for business just a couple of hours ago, and it is a beauty. Customers braved horrible weather to be one of the first to enter the magical glass cube, including guests from as far away as Scotland. Aside from the glass cube structure, the other unique feature of the store is that it is mostly underground. The subterranean levels feature iPod, Mac computers, and a large array of accessories for customers to mess around with before they buy. The Genius Bar will have dedicated Studio and iPod sections with full-time staff of 96 people available to help. The store will be open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

As for the glass - let’s just hope that the Apple Store Fifth Avenue isn’t as prone to scratches as the iPod, kay?

Read More | Apple Store Fifth Avenue

Gallery: Apple Store Fifth Avenue Is Open (And Never Closes)