Desktop PC components get rated for power efficiency, Intel rules the roost

Desktop PC components get rated for power efficiency, Intel rules the roost

With all the antitrust noise, threats to AMD, and conflicts with NVIDIA, it’s hard to feel too charmed with Intel at the moment. But, if you’re looking for the best combination of performance and power consumption possible, you’ll have to swallow any animosity and put an Intel inside, with an efficiency piece at bit-tech.net finding that chips from that manufacturer were, on average, considerably more efficient than their AMD counterparts. That’s just part of the story, the site testing everything from memory to power supplies and finding the best compromise of performance and efficiency. It’s perhaps no surprise that high-efficiency PSUs trump older, hotter ones, but you might not expect to learn that desktop SSDs offer barely any improvement over their 5,400RPM platter-based brethren. Follow the article’s advice and you can shed 104 watts without losing a single 3DMark point — though you may shed quite a few dollars in the process.

Desktop PC components get rated for power efficiency, Intel rules the roost originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 25 Feb 2010 09:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourcebit-tech.net  | Email this | Comments

Apple Adds and Removes ‘Explicit’ Category from App Store

expliciiittt

After raising hopes of an adults-only section of the App Store, Apple has cruelly removed an “explicit” category from the submission process before it even made it to the public store itself.

After banning some adult apps from the store, but allowing smut from established players like Sports Illustrated and Playboy to remain, Apple added a new category to the drop-down list which developers use when submitting applications to the store. The category, named “explicit”, lead many to think that Apple was opening up an X-rated back-room in the App Store, somewhere to keep sexually explicit content away from the kids.

But almost as soon as it had appeared (and been documented by several independent screenshots), the category was pulled off. One developer got in contact with Apple to ask what was going on. Gizmodo reports that “according to the developer, Apple said that, while they are thinking about it, ‘it’s not going to happen anytime soon.’”

An explicit section would certainly be a good thing for Apple, as it would deflect accusations of censorship. It’s one thing to have control over the kind of apps you decide to publish, but quite another to police their content. And don’t forget that all the other iTunes Store departments, from music to movies to podcasts, all use the explicit tag. In fact, perhaps this whole story was caused by a mixup between the sections?

The irony here is that, as Apple teases us with its on-again, off-again behavior, we’re all getting rather worked up in anticipation — exactly what an iPorn ban was supposed to avoid.

Is Apple Preparing To Add An ‘Explicit’ Section To The App Store? [Cult of Mac]

New “Explicit” Category in App Store Could Herald Return of Sexy Apps [Gizmodo]

Apple Removes Explicit Option From iTunes [Gizmodo]

Screenshot: Gizmodo


Government Lacks Engineers to Watchdog Toyota

PriusEngineWeb.jpg

The government agency that could enlighten us about Toyota’s runaway-cars problem can’t help because the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration doesn’t employ the right engineers. This shocker appeared in the Washington Post: “NHTSA … was woefully unprepared to decide whether engine electronics might be at fault, [Congressmen Henry] Waxman and [Bart] Stupak said … NHTSA officials told investigators that the agency doesn’t employ any electrical engineers or software engineers.” Toyota initially blamed slippery floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals for its problem; now there’s concern that electronics controlling Toyotas’ drive-by-wire system may malfunction.

Linksys router turned into smartphone-controlled doorman (video)

Linksys router turned into smartphone-controlled doorman (video)

Working for a large company comes with a lot of baggage, the least of which is an RFID security badge. For those small companies who can’t afford such extravagantly wireless door key solutions there’s another option: this DIY project completed by a team of developers at Sunlight Labs. It all centers around a Linksys WRT54GL, a Linux-based wireless router that, with a little firmware hackery and a bit of wiring, was tethered into the office’s door release buzzer. The team then went about allowing SSH access to the router and created Android and iPhone apps that instantly connect to the device and open the door, authenticated by a PIN and a unique ID assigned to each device. Users can also deliver their PIN via SMS or a simple phone call to open the door. Elegant, impressive, open source, and one less thing to forget on a Monday morning when groggily heading to the office.

Continue reading Linksys router turned into smartphone-controlled doorman (video)

Linksys router turned into smartphone-controlled doorman (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 25 Feb 2010 09:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Make  |  sourceSunlight Labs Door Opener, Software  | Email this | Comments

Samsung quietly offers first 3D TVs available for sale; official details to come March 9

The Web sites Sears and Amazon are showing 3D TVs in stock and available today, but Samsung is keeping official word under wraps until March.

Pentax makes all-weather Optio W90 and superzoom X90 official

Pentax is going for broke with its take on the rugged camera, the W90, which is unlikely to ever be confused for a svelte and stylish point-and-shoot. What it loses in looks, it gains in usability, however, as the 12.1 megapixel shooter can withstand shocks from a height of four feet, go nearly 20 feet under water, and withstand temperatures as slow as -10 degrees Celsius. The dustproofing is just topping on that rugged cake, though it still offers things like 720p / 30fps video recording and 5x optical zoom that are now considered standard camera specs. There are also three forms of shake reduction: one is post-processing of affected images, the second is by automatically increasing the ISO in low light conditions, and the third is the use of “exclusive software” during movie mode. We can’t say any one of those will be as good as a well-implemented optical image stabilization, but at least they’re there and might offer some assistance. As to the X90, it joins a growing band of 26x and above optical superzoomers, while adding the W90’s 720p video mode and anti-shake plus its own sensor-shift stabilizer for good measure. Both shooters are expected in April, priced at $330 for the W90 and $400 for the X90, though we’ve noticed the former will show up a month earlier in the UK with a £270 ($417) price tag.

Pentax makes all-weather Optio W90 and superzoom X90 official originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:53:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceLets Go Digital (W90), (X90)  | Email this | Comments

Kodak Bantam Special, an Art-Deco Masterpiece

kodak-bantam-special

File under “They don’t make ‘em like they used to”. This is the Kodak Bantam Special, a beautiful camera from 1936, made from machined aluminum and finished with enamel. The camera was designed by a company named Teague, and employee Sarah Matheny posted this lovely picture on the revamped Teague blog.

What strikes us, apart from its stunning looks, is that this limited edition camera was arguably more adventurous in its shape than most modern cameras (although it does conform to the Art-Deco styling of its day). Even when constrained by the needs to carry a roll of film, the folks at Teague came up with a case both unusual and functional (that sticking-out piece on the right is a flip-open cover).

Apart from the Olympus Pen, what other modern camera looks anything like this good? It is especially annoying as – provided you put the sensor behind the lens – a digital camera can be any shape you want. Heck, even the good-looking Pen is really just a reworking of an old design.

Perhaps there is a market for more innovative cameras. Or maybe somebody should take these old, obsolete film-shooters and retrofit them with digital guts. Who wouldn’t buy one of those?

Holy Bantam! [Teague via Kottke and Core77]


Nokia’s Ovi Maps headed to Windows Mobile and Android? (update: no way)

Put your skeptic hats on kids ’cause we’ve got a juicy one for you. When Greig Williams, Nokia’s General Manager for South East Europe, was asked by the German language Die Presse whether Ovi Maps would be coming to Android and Windows Mobile he responded very simply, “That will be the next step.” Well then, that’s pretty clear… but as much as we’d like to believe it, we simply can’t pin our hopes to this statement alone.

Remember, Nokia’s motivation for making its Ovi Maps service free was to sell more handsets; not handsets from its competitors but high-margin smartphones from Nokia in an effort to boost its profits. And unless it can pump out the Android version before Google Navigation goes global, there won’t be much motivation to download a presumably fee-based (it certainly won’t be free) Ovi Maps on the platform unless Android users are willing to pay to have Nokia’s localized maps on the device instead of downloading them over the air as the Google offering requires. Besides, is Nokia really going to dedicate staff to Android development when its more advanced Ovi Maps still aren’t available on its much touted Maemo MeeGo mobile computing platform? Not likely. Regarding “Windows Mobile,” well, 6.x’s days are numbered and getting Ovi Maps approved on Windows Phone 7 might not ever happen in light of Microsoft’s own efforts with Bing navigation. Of course, Greig offers no dates, and on a long enough time line anything is possible. We’ve already contacted Nokia for clarification and will update you just as soon as we hear back.

Update: Nokia just got back to us with an unsurprising response: “have spoken to Greig and he absolutely didn’t make that statement. As I understand it, this has now been, or in the process of being, taken down by the De Presse journalist at their site.” So much for that.

Nokia’s Ovi Maps headed to Windows Mobile and Android? (update: no way) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Electric Pig  |  sourceDie Presse  | Email this | Comments

Microsoft: Windows Phone 7 upgrades will be possible, up to OEMs to make them happen

Alright, keep your socks on here, this is as noncommittal a statement as Redmond can make on the matter, but when asked directly about the likelihood and possibility of Windows Mobile 6.5 phones being transitioned to the new hotness that is Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft’s Alex Reeve had this to say:

It’s early days yet, and that’s really for our hardware partners to think about.

As the Director of the company’s UK Mobile Business Group, he’s well positioned to know what’s going to happen after said early days, and it’s encouraging to hear that at least Microsoft won’t be putting up any barriers to that HD2 upgrade we’re all dreaming about. After all, the Chassis 1 specs we keep hearing about tend to sound an awful lot like HTC’s 1GHz Snapdragon-powered bad self, so let’s keep our fingers crossed and our minds open.

Microsoft: Windows Phone 7 upgrades will be possible, up to OEMs to make them happen originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:22:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink My Microsoft Life  |  sourceTwitter (question), (answer)  | Email this | Comments

Glowing Lightsaber Thumb Drives, Less Powerful Than You Could Possibly Imagine

c12e_lightsaber_thumb_drive_laptop

Back up your files on this thumb-drive and you’ll keep your data from crossing to the Dark Side. The lightsaber drives hook up using a USB plug hidden inside the handle and can store just 1GB each, which is hardly enough to justify their $20 price-tag.

The lightsabers do at least make good use of the normally annoying flashing lights found on almost all pen-drives: When you plug them in they will glow, either with the malevolent red of Darth Vader or the moronic, headstrong and self-centered green of Luke Skywalker.

Available now, as officially endorsed Lucasfilm collectables.

Japanese Lightsaber USB Thumbdrive [Think Geek]