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Is Windows 8 worth it?


Windows 8 is great!

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What is windows 8?



Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 109
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Monday 24 May 2010
Seagate Tries for Hybrid Hard Drives Again With Momentus XT
Christo [PCD] , Monday 24 May 2010 - 20:23:51 //

Complete redesign combines speed with affordability

The promise of superfast access speeds has been fulfilled by solid state drives using NAND flash memory, but it comes at a high monetary cost. Many enthusiasts, prosumers, and corporate users have already adopted SSDs as hard drives are typically the primary bottlenecks in a computer system. While CPUs and RAM measure their access speeds in nanoseconds, traditional magnetic-based hard disk drives are still measured in milliseconds.

The primary advantage for HDDs is the low cost of production, even for faster 7200 and 10k RPM drives. Samsung and Seagate tried before to bridge the gap between low-cost HDDs and fast SSDs using a hybrid hard drive, combining a single magnetic platter with a small amount of NAND flash memory. The NAND would act as a cache, similar in theory to a small scale tiered storage solution like that used by many corporations for their datacenters.

However, the experiment failed. NAND was still too expensive in 2007, and the small amount that was used proved insufficient. Performance turned out to be worse in some situations, and the capacity of Seagate's sole model was soon overtaken by other products with higher areal density.

Now, three years later, Seagate has learned its lesson with its all new Momentus XT. The company calls it a Solid State Hybrid Drive, and it will be available exclusively in a 2.5-inch form factor. There are 250, 320, and 500GB models, all of which feature 32MB of DRAM cache and a 4GB single-layer cell NAND flash cache. There will unfortunately not be any 6Gbps SATA support, despite the XT moniker.

The secret sauce this time is what Seagate calls "Adaptive Memory". The firm has developed new algorithms based on their years of research and producing firmware for regular drives. These algorithms monitor data access transactions over time, and will place a copy of the most frequently accessed data (such as Windows system files) onto flash storage. A table also keeps track and counts of how frequently data is used in order to prioritize it for retention and caching.

This is similar in concept to Microsoft's ReadyBoost, but uses much faster SLC rather than the sluggish commodity NAND that ended up being used in USB flash drives and SD cards. The algorithms are also much more advanced, as is the garbage collection and firmware. Seagate developed its own proprietary NAND flash controller specifically for the Momentus XT.

This also means that the Momentus XT is also operating system agnostic, and can be used with Unix/Linux environments and MacBooks.

Seagate insisted on using the flash as a cache instead of primary storage for additional reliability. Their tests show that over 250GB of data a day could be written to the NAND for 5 years and it would still function.

Although the Momentus XT isn't as fast as an SSD, Seagate thinks that it will be close enough that its customers won't be able to notice the difference qualitatively. While most consumers will notice the difference between a 5400RPM drive and a 7200RPM drive, they might not necessarily notice the difference between a 7200RPM and 10k RPM drive, an argument that the company has used before as a justification for not producing a 10k RPM consumer drive.

To continue the example, Seagate likens the Momentus XT to a 7200RPM drive and SSDs as 10k RPM drives; while the SSDs are much faster, qualitatively consumers won't notice the difference. The company expects that it will be able to hold off the SSD onslaught for a couple of years with this strategy, despite the lowering cost of NAND flash memory. In fact, as NAND flash prices drop due to the introduction of new process nodes, Seagate will be able to fit more NAND into the same space and offer even greater performance.

The first OEM to adopt the Momentus XT will be ASUS for their ROG G73JH gaming laptop, which will feature two of the drives. Seagate will also be shipping Momentus XT drives out to the channel this week for retail distribution.

Two reviews of the new Momentus XT can be found here and here.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1274725374 Seagat

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StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM) in Stores Starting July 27, 2010
Christo [PCD] , Monday 24 May 2010 - 20:20:08 //

IRVINE, Calif., May 03, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM), will arrive in stores throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau starting on July 27, 2010. Players will also be able to purchase StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty directly from Blizzard Entertainment shortly after the retail launch.

"We've been looking forward to revisiting the StarCraft universe for many years, and we're excited that the time for that is almost here," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Thanks to our beta testers, we're making great progress on the final stages of development, and we'll be ready to welcome players all over the world to StarCraft II and the new Battle.net(R) in just a few months."

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment's 1998 hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. Sporting a vibrant 3D-graphics engine, StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying legions of veteran, upgraded, and new unit types. Unparalleled online play for StarCraft II will be available through a new version of Battle.net, Blizzard Entertainment's world-renowned gaming service. Battle.net has been redesigned from the ground up to be the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard gamers, with several enhancements and new features, such as voice communication, cloud file storage, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and more.

The solo campaign for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will continue the epic saga where it left off in StarCraft: Brood War(R). The story line chronicles the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor and features both familiar faces and new heroes. Players will be able to tailor the experience, choosing their own mission path and selecting technology and research upgrades to suit their playing style throughout the 29-mission campaign. Several challenge-mode mini-games will also be included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies.

For more information on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, visit the official website at www.starcraft2.com.Further details about the game, including the alternative pricing options previously mentioned for certain regions, will be announced in the coming weeks. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available -- visit www.blizzard.com/jobs for more information and to learn how to apply.
[Submitted by Synthetic_Darkness]

153 1272963975 StarCr

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Tuesday 06 April 2010
Free-to-play Need for Speed MMO hits open beta
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 06 April 2010 - 20:29:15 //

After 14 installments over the last 15 years, the most ambitious and innovative version of Need for Speed is on the horizon. EA is working on a free-to-play massively multiplayer online racer, exclusive to the PC. Joystiq notes that an MMO version of the game could be the last Need for Speed title EA will have to make, offering a potential platform for "limitless updates."

Called Need for Speed World, the title has only just reached beta but already boasts over 150 miles of open road. Joystiq says the game follows the arcade-inspired mechanics of previous NFS entries, and should be widely accessible with hardware requirements including a 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 512MB graphics card.

While Need for Speed World is free to play, dedicated racers can use real money to buy in-game goods, such as improved vehicles and skills. This is only speculation based on Joystiq's article, but it sounds like much of that content is open to anyone willing to grind for it. Regardless, you can't go wrong with a free game, even if you don't spend 30 hours a week playing.

EA will supposedly introduce new areas, driving abilities and more to the game every few months, but it sounds like there's already plenty to see. The game will debut this summer but it's officially in open beta, and you can take it for a spin by applying here. Watch a gameplay video after the break.
[Submitted by Synthetic_Darkness]

T

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Wednesday 24 March 2010
ADSL uncapped at R219 per month
MaTiCa , Wednesday 24 March 2010 - 12:24:43 //

MWEB aims to ‘free the web’ with the lowest prices ever on uncapped ADSL accounts

An online social media campaign called ‘Free The Web’ has over the past few days gained momentum, sparking speculation that one of the larger companies are planning something big.

A Facebook page was created with the message “We're frustrated by the limitations of the internet in SA. Let's celebrate the greatness of the web and call for a change! Join us and be the first to know when we succeed in our cause to Free The Web in SA!?

This Facebook page quickly grew in popularity through both word of mouth and an aggressive advertising campaign, and has to date attracted over 13,000 fans.

The company behind the initiative, which was until recently unknown, said that “Our grand plan is announced in just a few days time (today).?

MWEB unveils their plan

It has now been revealed that MWEB was behind this social media campaign, and the announcement was indeed significant: Uncapped ADSL bandwidth at affordable rates.

“On 22 March 2010, MWEB will launch a series of affordable uncapped ADSL products in the South African market targeted at both consumers and businesses,? the company said in a press statement.

The product offerings are as follows:

MWEB Connect (Consumer product; month-to-month)

1. Uncapped ADSL 384kbps: R219
2. Uncapped ADSL 512kbps: R299
3. Uncapped ADSL 4096kbps: R539

All inclusive

1. Uncapped All-inclusive 384kbps: R349
2. Uncapped All-inclusive 512kbps: R599
3. Uncapped All-inclusive 4096kbps: R899

MWEB BUSINESS (Business product; 12 month contract)

1. Uncapped ADSL 384kbps: R499
2. Uncapped ADSL 512kbps: R699
3. Uncapped ADSL 4096kbps: R1 999

All-inclusive

1. Uncapped All-inclusive 384kbps: R629
2. Uncapped All-inclusive 512kbps: R999
3. Uncapped All-inclusive 4096kbps: R2 259


Official Press Release:

South Africans are today a step closer to being able to use the internet like the rest of the world does as MWEB, South Africa’s leading ISP, today launches a full range of uncapped ADSL packages for consumers and businesses at an affordable, highly competitive price. With products priced from R219 per month and some 40% cheaper than other offerings, MWEB is the first major player in South Africa to offer uncapped ADSL on a significant scale, available 24 hours a day, with all the value-added products, technical back-up and a world-class network – at an affordable price.

Rudi Jansen, MWEB CEO, says the time has come for South Africans to experience unlimited internet access that is within their means. “Internet penetration in South Africa remains below par - in fact, South Africa has fallen behind a number of other African countries in recent times. The lack of well-priced, generously-provisioned bandwidth has been holding us all back, and as a result we are missing out on an immense economic opportunity.

“In his state of the nation address last month, President Jacob Zuma promised to increase broadband access, reduce tariffs and ensure a high standard of internet service, in line with international norms. MWEB’s latest move is supportive of the government’s objectives to increase internet take-up as part of its efforts to encourage greater economic growth and social upliftment. By lifting the usage cap and increasing competition, MWEB will greatly assist the industry change that is needed in this country.

ICT industry analyst, Arthur Goldstuck, agrees with this sentiment, saying cheap, unlimited broadband by MWEB marks a key shift in South African Internet history. “It has been proven that accessible technology builds the economy. This is the kind of catalyst we’ve all waited for; we hope it's the gambit all other providers will have to match. If it delivers what it promises, the consumer and business user and ultimately the country will be the beneficiaries.?

Vast benefits
Citing the examples of France and South Korea and pointing to various global ICT programmes aimed at overcoming the 2009 economic slump, Jansen says the direct and indirect benefits including the multiplier effect of cheap, abundant bandwidth are nothing short of remarkable.

“Broadband lifted South Korea out of the devastation of the Asian market collapse in 1997,? he says. “In 1995, 1% of their population dialed up to the Internet. In 2009, more than 95% of households had broadband. The change is deep and irreversible - everybody has high-definition video on demand. Online gaming conventions are as big as soccer matches or rock concerts. South Koreans spend twice as much per capita online as US citizens.?

South Africa’s turn
Jansen says MWEB hopes its actions are a precursor to a meaningful industry response. Since South African telecoms policy was liberalised to permit ISPs to offer services on their own networks, MWEB, a first-tier ISP with its own international bandwidth provisioned through SAT3 and Seacom, is now able to compete with telcos by providing Internet access on its own network.

“In spite of the current stranglehold that Telkom currently has on the internet market in South Africa, we felt that action of this significance was necessary to get South Africa to join the rest of the world and enjoy the social and economic benefits that broadband internet has to offer,? said Jansen. “This offer will enable South Africans to access and download content on scale never seen before. We have a real chance to lift ourselves from broadband mediocrity in South Africa, or we risk falling into broadband oblivion,? he added.

MWEB has invested significantly in its network to produce a top quality, reliable network that has been engineered to world-class standards and which will accommodate the volume of traffic expected. MWEB recently achieved Tier-1 ISP status with the migration of its customers to its own IPC network, thereby limiting its reliance on other Tier-1 providers for its bandwidth needs. With its new IPC link, MWEB will have more control over its ADSL network. Jansen said he is confident that the additional control will mean better performance and higher service levels.
“We will also be utilising bandwidth on both the SAT3 and SEACOM international cable systems in order to have full redundancy on our international bandwidth,? he said. “We signed up with SEACOM in March for a long-term agreement and we are purchasing significant bandwidth as SEACOM provides MWEB with a very attractive solution for international network capacity, at the best price currently available to the South African market.?

He added however, that for any ADSL service to be successful a close working relationship with Telkom is needed as they still control the last mile. MWEB will continue to work with Telkom to ensure MWEB subscribers receive the best possible network experience in the country.

Packages
MWEB is introducing six data-only ADSL packages for consumers and businesses. The consumer data-only products will cost R219, R299 and R539 per month for line speeds of 384Kbps, 512 Kbps and 4Mbps respectively. The MWEB Business data-only offerings will cost R499 per month for a 384Kbps line, R699 per month for a 512Kbps line, and R1 999 per month on a 4Mbps line. These services are available on any line rental package available from Telkom, even Telkom’s “Closer? subscription bundles.

In addition, MWEB will offer three consumer all-inclusive packages (ADSL line rental included) for R349, R599 and R899 per month for line speeds of 384Kbps, 512 Kbps and 4Mbps respectively. The all-inclusive offerings for businesses will cost R629 for the 384kbps option, R999 for the 512Kbps option and R2 259 for the 4Mbps package.

All business products are unshaped, and as in the rest of the world, no bandwidth caps will apply to any of these services.

Business-grade

The MWEB Business products are specifically designed to suit the needs of small and medium sized businesses, usually seen as 5 or more connected devices. Andre Joubert, GM of MWEB Business, explains that the MWEB Business packages are fully managed. “If something goes wrong, MWEB’s support engineers will remotely log on to fix a router or send an engineer on-site at no additional charge, and also liaise with Telkom, for their portion of the fault.?

Joubert says the Business packages have other advantages too.
- They are unshaped.
- The service is designed to cater for the throughput of business applications not usually associated with consumer products
- MWEB includes use of a business-grade router worth R3 999 in the 12-month contract.
- The product comes with fixed IP addresses, offering the ability to host servers and deploy a VPN connection.
- MWEB runs a dedicated call centre that offers business-specific technical skills.
- The service is fully MWEB VoIP compatible.
- The product comes with reports and proactive fault communication.

In addition, says Joubert, while MWEB Business packages are at a premium compared to consumer products, they’re still up to R1 800 less per month than comparative business products on offer. The throughput will be better than is currently available in the market.

?Now businesses can run more effectively without having to worry about their internet costs. This is set to drive growth in the SME sector in particular.?

Consolidation

MWEB will use the occasion to consolidate its numerous ADSL offerings into a simpler portfolio. On the consumer side, a number of capped packages prevail, but these will enjoy additional cost-savings. For example:
1GB R89 no frills now costs R69
2GB Data Cap Only will be migrated to 3GB at R145
1GB All-inclusive 384Kbps will be migrated to 2GB at R199

Source: http://mybroadband.co.za/news/adsl/11816.html

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Monday 25 January 2010
Firefox surges
MaTiCa , Monday 25 January 2010 - 18:39:33 //

Mozilla's open source browser experienced a healthy boost in popularity last week on the back of a new release and security concerns about Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

On Friday the Mozilla Foundation released version 3.6 of the popular open source browser and by Monday morning almost 12 million copies of the latest version had been downloaded. At the time of writing on Monday morning, 11 921 680 copies of Firefox 3.6 had been downloaded according to the Firefox download-tracking site. An average of around 42 downloads per second were being recorded on Monday morning.

The majority of downloads were from the US where close to 2.5 million copies had been downloaded over the weekend. This was followed by Germany (1.5 million copies), Brazil (640 000), France (580 000) and Japan (414 000). South Africa had recorded just over 18 000 copies downloaded over the weekend. In comparison Morocco recorded in excess of 31 000 downloads in the same period. South Africa was listed as number 55 in the total number of downloads by country.

Firefox 3.6 is a significant upgrade for web users and includes a number of new features including personas for customising Firefox's appearance, many new HTML5 features including geolocation, CSS gradients, native video and the new Web Open Font Format for including fonts in web designs.

Extra boost

While most of the downloads of Firefox 3.6 are likely to be done by existing Firefox users, the browser also received a additional boost in the past week when new security flaws were revealed in opponent Internet Explorer. The security risks in IE prompted the German government to recommend web users adopt another browser to protect themselves when online.

The result was a significant increase in downloads of alternative browsers, most particularly Firefox. According to the Sydney Morning Herald Mozilla said that it had seen an increase of more than 300 000 downloads of its browser in Germany over a four-day period following the warning. Norway-based Opera also reported an increase in downloads following the warning.

Microsoft said at the time that the flaws in IE were insignificant but they did issue a security update for IE on Thursday last week.

SOURCE: MyBroadband.co.za News

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