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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
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Tuesday 15 September 2009
Microsoft Bing adds visual search
MaTiCa , Tuesday 15 September 2009 - 13:10:27 //

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, San Francisco

Software giant Microsoft has introduced "visual search" to its Bing search engine to try to further set itself apart from market-leader Google.

The new feature will allow users to browse results using pictures instead of text.

Visual search will initially concentrate on four main areas: travel, health, leisure and shopping.

"The whole concept is that the world of search is going to change," said Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi.

"There will be a more graphic way people will search, and it will pivot how people search," said Mr Mehdi, the firm's senior vice president of online services.

'Search battle'

Microsoft unveiled the beta, or test version of the feature, at TechCrunch 50, a conference being held in San Francisco for start-ups to pitch their ideas to investors.

"Competition breeds innovation and this nice little battle between Google and Microsoft is having a huge benefit to consumers," said investor Ron Conway, who has previously put money into Google, PayPal and AskJeeves.

Microsoft launched Bing in May and promoted it as an improvement over Google's "10 blue links" for tasks like shopping and travel.

New figures by net analysts Nielsen said that Microsoft's share of U.S. searches rose to 10.7% in August while Google remained dominant with 64.6%. Yahoo, in second place, was used for 16% of searches.

In late July, Microsoft and Yahoo Inc. signed an agreement to work together to better take on Google. It still has to pass anti-trust scrutiny.

At the launch, Microsoft claimed "Visual Search" allowed users to conduct certain searches faster than the "traditional image search" offered by rival Google and other search engines.

In a blog post, the company said a study it conducted found that consumers can process results with images 20% faster than text only results.

"It's like searching through a large online catalogue," Microsoft said.

As users enter search terms, a link at the top of the first page of results allows users to "visualise" what Bing has found.

Clicking on the link displays a gallery of related images.

'Money maker'

At the moment only a small number of topics will return a visual display. These centre around popular categories like entertainment, famous people, shopping and sports.

"I think in those isolated cases it's going to work very well and those are the areas where there is a lot of money," Don Dodge, Microsoft's director of business development told BBC News.

"There is a lot of advertising money for shopping, for travel and so on. So not only is it a better user experience but it's a better business model too," said Mr Dodge.

Even though the TechCrunch conference targets start-up companies which come to have their ideas evaluated by a panel of experts, Microsoft agreed to have the group rate its new product.

"This is a good paradigm but should be implemented in areas where the user needs images to get into what he's looking for," said Yossi Vardi, an angel investor known for investing in software, energy and mobile companies.

The panel was also jokingly asked if they would be interested in investing in the product and the company behind it.

"Bing has a real flair and, depending what you think of Microsoft, it is a great surprise," said Jason Hirschhorn, chief product officer for

"The brand and interface its fun and tactile. Yusuf, you have my cheque," he joked.

[Submitted by MaTiCa]

186 1253012960 Micros

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Pirates Foiled by Deliberate Glitch in Batman: Arkham Asylum
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 15 September 2009 - 01:16:15 //

Pirate posts help request for "glitch" in official Edios forums ahead of games launch

PC games are some of the most pirated software out there, as players look for ways to get the game they want without having to pay the $50 asking price most new games demand.

Eidos, the publisher behind the PC version of Batman: Arkham Asylum, has introduced a deliberate glitch into the game to catch and foil pirates who try and crack the game to play without paying. One person who pirated the game, and was brazen enough to post a help request on the official Edios forums, ahead of the games actual launch mind you, has brought the glitch to the surface.

A poster going by the handle Cheshirec_the_cat posted in a thread requesting help with a problem in the game. The poster wrote, "I've got a problem when it's time to use Batman's glide in the game. When I hold , like it's said to jump from one platform to another, Batman tries to open his wings again and again instead of gliding. So he fels down in a poisoning gas. If somebody could tel me, what should I do there."

An Edios admin going by Keir responded to the thread before it was closed writing, "The problem you have encountered is a hook in the copy protection, to catch out people who try and download cracked versions of the game for free. It's not a bug in the game's code, it's a bug in your moral code."

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1252970093 Pirate

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Study Finds Wii 9 Times More Reliable than Xbox 360
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 15 September 2009 - 01:11:45 //

Most Xbox 360 failures in first two years due to RROD

With any consumer electronic device that is manufactured be it a mobile phone or a game console, there are bound to be some of the devices that fail for one reason or another. This is particularly true of game consoles like the PS3, Xbox, and Wii.

While some failures are to be expected with game consoles, it came to years ago that the Xbox 360 was failing at a very significant rate with the so called RROD failure. DailyTech reported details of the failures due to RROD previously. Microsoft acknowledged the failure rate of the console and extended the warranty for RROD failures to three years.

Microsoft, however, has not denied recent reports that the Xbox 360 has a 54.2% lifetime failure rate.

SquareTrade has released the results of a study (PDF) into the failure rates of game consoles on the market today. The three major consoles were included in the study. SquareTrade looked at failure rates over the first two years of ownership and found that the most reliable console of them all was the Nintendo Wii with only a 2.7% failure rate. The PS3 was next with a 10% failure rate, and the Xbox 360 has a 23.7% failure rate over the first two years.

The major catch with the SquareTrade numbers is that the company acknowledges that it believes the failure rate of the Xbox 360 to be much higher than it is posting because many consumers reported the failure to Microsoft directly and SquareTrade wasn't notified of the failure. It would be wise to assume that the failure rate on the other two consoles is probably a bit lower than the actual numbers as well.

Despite the fact that the numbers in the study are admittedly skewed on the low side, the Xbox 360 still failed within two years for 1 in 4 consoles. That is nearly nine times the rate of failure for the Wii. SquareTrade reports that a bit more than half the reported Xbox failures were due to the RROD issue. When the RROD failures are taken out of the mix, the Xbox 360 failure rate dropped to 11.6%, still making it more likely to fail than the PS3 and the Wii.

SquareTrade expects the failure rate for the Xbox 360 to decline significantly with the Jasper update. The study acknowledges that the amount of use a console gets is related to its failure rate, The Wii is used on average 516 minutes per month, the PS3 is used 1053 minutes per month, and the Xbox 360 gets used 1191 minutes per month. That makes the Xbox 360 the most commonly used of all three consoles.

Xbox consoles fail for reasons other than the RROD issue with the second most common failure being disc read issues followed by display issues. SquareTrade found that once the Jasper update for the Xbox was released the percentage of RROD failures dropped dramatically after spiking post Falcon update.

Xbox 360 Failures Over First Two Years (Source: SquareTrade)

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1252969728 Study

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Friday 11 September 2009
Facebook Goes Back To Basics With 'Lite' Version
MaTiCa , Friday 11 September 2009 - 16:58:29 //

Thin is in at Facebook. It introduced an alternate front door for the social network called "Facebook Lite," a slimmed-down version of the site, optimized for those with slower Internet connections. Facebook Lite features a serious design revamp and is available only to users based in the U.S. and in India.

Facebook Lite brings a simplified, faster-loading experience in comparison to the traditional site. Part of the new Facebook Lite design, the news feed includes a simple top toolbar and buttons for posting status updates and media uploads. Facebook Lite can be accessed by visiting

The profile page on Facebook Lite removes many of the bells and whistles from the traditional version and keeps only the basics: your wall, info, friends, and photos and videos. The status and sharing interface is unchanged; however, you can't view wall-to-wall posts or invite friends to an event.

The most notable omissions from the new Facebook Lite interface are the third-party applications. Only a handful of Facebook's own applications are available, so that you can get a reasonable experience from the site. Other changes include birthdays and contacts moved at the top of the feed and real-time updates at the bottom of the page.

Facebook Lite was initially available as a beta test with a limited number of users in August. It is yet unknown when or whether the Facebook Lite interface will be available to users outside the U.S. and India.

The introduction of Facebook Lite is widely seen as stab at Twitter's simple interface, which is focused more on messaging and status sharing in real time. To better compete with Twitter's surge in popularity, Facebook has already introduced real-time updates to the news feed and acquired rival FriendFeed.

In the latest move to become more Twitter-like, Facebook also introduced on Thursday status update tagging, a feature that works in a similar manner to "@" replies on Twitter.

Source PCWorld

Home 180

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Thursday 10 September 2009
Google defends book deal as competitive, helpful
MaTiCa , Thursday 10 September 2009 - 12:09:57 //

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google's deal to digitize millions of books opens the way for others to enter the online book business, the company's chief legal officer said in testimony prepared for a congressional hearing on Thursday.

David Drummond, addressing critics of the project, said Google was "fully compliant with copyright law," and access to online books could revolutionize research in schools without major libraries.

The scanning project prompted a 2005 lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild, accusing Google of copyright infringement. A proposed settlement to resolve the lawsuit will be discussed on October 7 in Manhattan federal court.

As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers can register works and receive compensation.

Rival companies, privacy advocates and some libraries, have accused Google of violating antitrust law to dominate the digital book market. The Justice Department is looking into their concerns.

Google's Drummond argued that the scanning of "orphan works" -- books whose authors cannot be found -- would make it easier for other companies to follow suit.

"We believe anyone who wants to re-use abandoned works should have a fair, legal way to do so. In our view, the settlement helps," said Drummond the testimony prepared for a U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing.

So far, the search engine giant has scanned 10 million books, including many obtained from libraries.

Some Google competitors, libraries and others said they support plans to digitize books but not the settlement.

The Open Book Alliance said the pact threatened to monopolize the access, distribution and pricing, of the largest, private digital database of books in the world.

"It would do so by using the class action mechanism to not only redress past harm, but to prospectively shape the future of digital book distribution," said the alliance in a letter to Representatives John Conyers and Lamar Smith. Conyers heads the Judiciary Committee, while Smith is the ranking Republican.

Signatories of the letter included Microsoft, Yahoo and Inc, the New York Library Association, and small publishers like Bear Star Press. Privacy advocates like Consumer Watchdog also oppose the settlement.

The case is Authors Guild et al v Google Inc 05-08136 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

(Source: REUTERS)

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