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Is Windows 8 worth it?

Windows 8 is great!

Back to Windows 7!

What is windows 8?

Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 179
All Previous polls

Monday 09 November 2009
Motherboards Supporting USB 3.0 & SATA 6Gbps Now Available
Christo [PCD] , Monday 09 November 2009 - 14:45:46 //

Forget Intel, mobo makers will go on their own

Technology enthusiasts are the first to adopt faster interfaces. Interface speeds increase every couple of years, and it is no surprise that an upgrade cycle usually follows. No one wants to get stuck with an older interface, especially if they are planning to keep their motherboard for several years.

USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA are both getting speed increases this year in an unusual two-for-one special. USB 3.0 introduces the SuperSpeed mode, which provides raw throughput of 5 Gbps versus the measly 480 Mbps of USB 2.0. The USB interface uses 8b10 encoding, so with overhead USB 3.0 will top out at around 400 MB/s. This standard will quickly be adopted by USB flash drives and digital cameras due to the large amounts of data involved.

The case for 6 Gbps SATA isn't as strong, unless you're into Solid State Drives. While Seagate has shipped the world's first hard drive to support the new standard, it uses magnetic storage and is only able to use the extra bandwidth when reading from cache. However, SSDs have been bandwidth limited since early this year, and SSDs supporting the new interface should have transfer speeds over 500 MB/s.

ASUS and Gigabyte were both showing off motherboards supporting USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA during the Computex trade show in June. They both announced several motherboards last week, and the boards are available in volume. All of these boards use NEC's USB 3.0 host interface controller introduced in June.

ASUS is now shipping the P7P55D-E Premium using Intel's P55 chipset and the P6X58D Premium using the X58 chipset. The P55 chipset only supports the first generation of PCIe with single lane bandwidth of 250 MB/s, so ASUS uses a PLX8613 bridge chip and four PCIe lanes to optimize the throughput potential of the new interfaces.

The company is also making its U3S6 expansion card available for all P7P55D series motherboards. It will plug into a PCIe x4 or x8 connector and add two USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA ports.

Gigabyte is also shipping seven motherboards in its P55A series supporting the new technologies. They have decided against using a bridge chip, but their implementation means you will be unable to use a second PCIe x16 slot for CrossFire or SLI.

Meanwhile, problems at Intel have delayed new chipsets that will use these new technologies until the beginning of 2011. Solutions from motherboard manufacturers will have to do for now.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1257770081 Mother

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Saturday 24 October 2009
Facebook Gets Another Homepage Makeover
MaTiCa , Saturday 24 October 2009 - 21:43:17 //

Facebook rolled out a revamped home page on Friday. The changes once again shake up the information that you see by default when you visit your home page on the social networking site. It demonstrates how Facebook continues to adapt and try to find the right balance of status updates and details to deliver to users.

The major changes basically boil down to this: the ‘Highlights' are merged into the News Feed, and there are basically two home page views to choose from-- the News Feed and the Live Feed. The News Feed uses Facebook magic to determine the posts and updates that seem like they would be most interesting to you, and adds back in items like notifications when friends are tagged in photos, or when friends follow fan pages or join new Facebook groups, add other friends, or RSVP to events.

By contrast, the Live Feed is literally the live feed of all status updates from your entire network of friends on Facebook. While you are viewing the News Feed, a bubble next to the Live Feed link keeps a running count of the number of new updates in the Live Feed. You can also customize what shows up in the Live Feed by clicking on Edit Options at the bottom of the Live Feed page. The removal of the Highlights section from the right panel also mean that the Events box will shift up where things like friends' birthdays will be more visible.

Over the past few months Facebook has morphed through other evolutions in site design and content as well. Facebook added an option to share status updates publicly-- similar to the way Twitter tweets are available to the general public. Facebook updates are still private by default though and require you to manually change the privacy settings to allow them to be shared. It also added Twitter style ‘@' tags, and purchased FriendFeed, a popular niche social networking rival.

Social networking has been around for a while, but it is still embryonic, or at least in its infancy. While sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and others at one time seemed to provide fairly unique services, the lines continue to blur as social networking evolves. Facebook traffic has increased substantially while MySpace has plummeted, and Facebook is continuing to adapt to try and become the Google of social networking rather than turning into the next MySpace.

Facebook explained the reason for the changes on its blog. "Some of you may ask why we are changing the home page again. Like you, we know it can be disruptive when things are moved around, but we hope that these changes make Facebook a more valuable experience for you."

I have no doubt that Facebook wants to provide a valuable experience, but I think there are ulterior motives in there as well. I am sure Facebook monitors the traffic and usage patterns of users very closely to figure out what works. These changes will foster more cross-traffic and more social interaction. Facebook thrives on the viral aspects of the social network and isn't necessarily trying to be a news site.

Facebook also wants to capitalize on its potential of the status update feed with deals like the one with Microsoft unveiled last week at the Web 2.0 Summit. With over 300 million users, Facebook boasts more than 45 million status updates per day, a jackpot for real-time search indexing.

I have one piece of advice to offer Facebook for the next home page revamp (at the current rate of change on Facebook that could be as early as Thanksgiving): come up with a better term than News Feed. The Live Feed seems like it would be more appropriately called the News Feed, while the News Feed is more like the highlights or most interesting stuff. The News Feed and Live Feed names are ambiguous.


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Microsoft Windows 7 here on Thursday -
MaTiCa , Saturday 24 October 2009 - 21:42:16 //

Courtesy of

Microsoft releases Windows 7 to the world on Thursday as the US software giant tries to regain its stride after Vista.

Microsoft releases Windows 7 to the world on Thursday as the US software giant tries to regain its stride after an embarrassing stumble with the previous generation operating system Vista.

"It's a big deal for Microsoft," analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley said of the Windows 7 launch. "Windows Vista was a train wreck."

While computer users may not give much thought to operating systems that serve as the brains of their machines, the programs are at the heart of Microsoft's global software empire.

Microsoft operating systems run more than 90% of the computers on Earth.

Importantly for Microsoft, versions of its popular programs such as Office, Outlook and Excel evolve to work better with successive Windows releases.

Winning users of new Windows systems translates into increased sales of other packaged software for the Redmond, Washington-based company.

Vista's dismal reception in the market broke Microsoft's rhythm regarding hooking people on upgraded software.

Computer users held firm to Windows XP, shunning much-maligned Vista.

"Microsoft is still a packaged software company," Enderle said. "If people don't buy their updated packages, they feel it."

Microsoft apparently learned a lesson from Vista and worked closely with computer makers, users and software developers while crafting Windows 7.

More than eight million people have dabbled with Windows 7 since Microsoft began a beta test phase in January, according to Parri Munsell, director of consumer product management for the Windows client group.

Early reviews praise Windows 7 for being everything Vista should have been.

"We always listen to our customers, but we took an even more thoughtful and pragmatic process this time around," Munsell told AFP. "We feel really good that people have been trying it for themselves."

Windows 7 features winning raves include enabling computers, televisions, radios, digital picture frames and other "smart" devices in homes to talk to each other.

Windows 7 also lets people use PCs to record television programs and then watch shows "on demand" at any internet-linked computer using Microsoft's Live service.

Touch-screen capabilities built into Windows 7 should give birth to monitors that further blur lines between televisions and PCs, according to Munsell.

Microsoft's primary objective with Windows 7 was to simplify the lives of PC users, according to Munsell.

"This is going to be the next XP where it sticks around for a very long time," said analyst Matt Rosoff of Directions On Microsoft, a private firm focused on tracking the software firm.

"It performs well with a lot of hardware and software, and then it gets out of the way. It is not flashy, but it is solid."

He added that Windows 7 works "surprisingly well" on netbooks - low-cost bare-bones laptop computers that have devoured market share in the recent grim economic times.

Windows 7 will be available pre-loaded on personal computers as of Thursday, and people who bought Vista machines in recent months will be able to upgrade free.

Upgrading a home computer to Windows 7 will cost from $120 to $220, depending on the version.

As well-built as Windows 7 is, it probably won't boost consumer PC purchases, which depend heavily on the economy, according to Rosoff.

A lot of corporations clinging to Windows XP are expected to upgrade to Windows 7, but after Microsoft's new Office 2010 suite of business applications is released next year.

"This kind of gets Microsoft back on track with its core business," Rosoff said. "It is not going to be something that takes the world by storm, but it is a solid operating system that people will be relying on for years."

The failure of Vista to catch on hurt Microsoft competitively, giving Apple the opportunity to woo PC users to Macintosh computers.

Apple could benefit anew if PC users faced with switching operating systems go for Macintosh machines instead of Windows 7, according to analysts.

Microsoft has been faulted in the past for lacking the type of marketing pizzazz for which long-time rival Apple is famous. Microsoft has devoted an ample budget to advertising Windows 7.

Microsoft has already been lambasted for hokey online videos describing how people can throw Windows 7 launch parties in their homes.

Microsoft and television studio Fox announced that Windows 7 will be the theme of an animated Family Guy television show featuring "musical numbers, comedy sketches, and celebrity guests".

"The fact that Microsoft is trying new things is actually pretty unique," Enderle said. "They are going to try to show that Microsoft and innovative marketing is not an oxymoron."
[Submitted by Enigma_2k4]

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SA's own Silicon Valley
MaTiCa , Saturday 24 October 2009 - 21:41:23 //

By Ian MacDonald from thebrilliant

Silicon Valley, RSA

Thursday was one of those days when I felt that I was at the start of something special. Packed into a large room with 500 of the country's most dynamic young entrepreneurs, a dream took root. The dream: to turn Cape Town into South Africa's version of the famed Silicon Valley.

No, this wasn't the first step towards making Cape Town the plastic surgery epicentre of the south, but rather an information technology ecosystem that would attract local and foreign investors, the brightest technical talent, and the most promising entrepreneurs, to foster the creation and growth of world-class Intellectual Property start-up companies.

The original Silicon Valley is in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area in the United States. Thousands of high-tech companies are headquartered there, including giants like Apple, Google, Intel and Hewlett-Packard. It is a leading research and development area and serves as a magnet for the world's most brilliant minds.

Cape Town shares some striking similarities with San Francisco. Firstly, there is the natural beauty that makes each city a desirable place to live. Secondly, the proximity to excellent universities, particularly Stanford and UCT (which was ranked as the 146th best university in the world in the World University Rankings). Thirdly, the existing culture of innovation and start-up technology companies and a subculture of 'geeks' (digitally-obsessed individuals). And fourthly, both areas have government support for an IT hub.

South Africa has a proud track record in tech innovation. At the Silicon Cape launch, MC and online media guru Matthew Buckland reeled off a list of South Africa's world-class internet entrepreneurs: "Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth, Paypal founder Elon Musk, Roelof Botha at Sequoia Capital (the venture capitalists behind Google and YouTube), Gareth Knight who founded Kindo, Brent Hoberman from, Paul Maritz (often said to be the third-ranking executive at Microsoft, behind Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer). Locally we have some companies making waves overseas including MXIT, Yola and Clickatell and Naspers owns one of the biggest instant messenging clients in the world, TenCent in China."

Silicon Cape is being driven by two young, dynamic South African tech entrepreneurs: Vinny Lingham and Justin Stanford. They believe that Cape Town is where Silicon Valley was 15 years ago. Lingham and Stanford say that Silicon Cape is already happening in South Africa, but it is small and taking place in isolated, fragmented pockets.

Creating an ecosystem that exports innovation and intellectual property would have immense long-term benefits for the country. Like tourism, information technology should be a significant part of the the present and future of the South African economy, with our dependence on finite natural resource exploitation consigned to the past.

There are many obstacles to be overcome, such as inadequate intellectual property protection and a regulatory environment that is not particularly entrepreneur-friendly. These are certainly surmountable, and as Stanford said, "South Africans have a strong work ethic, innovative minds and a formidable can-do attitude".

In a short space of time, Stanford and Lingham have received the support of some high profile South Africans. I'm sure that if you had asked them who they would like to back the initiative, they might have said one of South Africa's most successful businessmen, a leading politically-connected academic and the premier of the Western Cape... and that is who they have roped in: Johann Rupert, Mamphela Ramphele and Helen Zille.

With that kind of backing, it is clear to see just how important this initiative is.

"The country has an opportunity to become a net exporter of intellectual property, right now," believes Lingham. "If we don't, we will remain a net exporter of talent."

No country can afford to export talent, and especially not a developing country such as South Africa. The talent we have needs to be nurtured, supported and offered an environment in which to thrive.

The excitement during the launch was palpable. There was a real sense, as Buckland put it, that 'here, today, history is being made.'

With the likes of Rupert, Ramphele and Zille behind it, and with the energy of young entrepreneurs (who are used to taking ideas from conception through to implementation) driving it forward, the dream of a South African Silicon Valley is destined to become a reality.

By Ian Macdonald
[Submitted by Enigma_2k4]

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Free Microsoft Office 2010
MaTiCa , Saturday 24 October 2009 - 21:40:32 //

As per

A version of Microsoft Office 2010 will be offered for free, with advertising support

Microsoft has unveiled their plans for an ad-supported version of its Office suite – Office Starter 2010. The product is to come pre-loaded on new PCs. It will have basic functionality – viewing, editing and creating of documents. MS claims that the Starter suite is designed for casual users, who will be fine with the reduced functionality and ad-supported software.

Microsoft plans to replace their MS Works version of Office with the Starter suite, which never expires. Consumers will have to live with the adverts, or pay to upgrade to a full version. The 60 day trial version of Office with full functionality will still be available.

A Product Key Card will be available via OEMs and retail stores, that allows the customer to upgrade to one of three full versions of the 2010 suite: Home & Student, Home & Business and Professional. Click-To-Run is a service that will enable users to download a trial version of the 2010 suite, as well as keep installed versions up to date. Product licenses can also be purchased through the service.

Office 2010 will be the first version of the suite to come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The beta trials of Office 2010 are expected to start later this year. Microsoft is still working on their Office Web Apps, which are currently in ‘technical preview’ status.
[Submitted by Enigma_2k4]

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