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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

Thursday 10 September 2009
Apple Slashes iPod Prices
MaTiCa , Thursday 10 September 2009 - 12:02:27 //

At the much awaited Rock and Roll event, Apple refreshed its existing iPod line up with slew of changes. Few old models were quietly dropped and new ones with more storage replaced them. In the new iPod Touch lineup, the legendary iPod Classic gets highest capacity and iPod Shuffle gets more colorful.
Also, there's a price cut as always since September is meant to be Apple's annual product life cycle for iPods.

New Faster iPod Touch

Two new third generation iPod Touch models in 32GB and 64GB capacities join in the iPod Touch lineup and the 16GB iPod Touch model quietly slips out. Both new iPod Touch models support OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics for accelerated 3D graphics and are boasted to be 50 percent faster. Hence, it s believed that both new iPod Touch models have the same 600MHz Samsung S5PC100 mobile application CPU based on ARM's CORTEX A8's design.

If iPod Touch carries the same PowerVR SGX chip as in the iPhone 3GS, it is still capable of running 720p HD video natively. Also, the OpenGL ES 2.0 support will allow game developers for iPhone Platform to make games with better graphics.

Big bully iPod Touch 64GB can store up to 14,000 songs, 90,000 photos or 80 hours of video. That's seriously a massive storage for a handheld touchscreen device. Apart from storage bump, the new third generation iPod Touch models have new Genius Mixes feature that is capable of making up to 12 playlists automatically, based on the existing tracks on the device.

Third generation iPod Touch also has voice control. So, earphones from Apple or any third party earphones with remote can be used for Voice Control on Music playback. A slew of new features would be added with the iPhone OS 3.1 software update that is available for download from the official Apple site.

Apple sells the new 64GB iPod Touch for $399 (Rs. 19,200 approx.) which is the old price 32GB second generation iPod Touch model. While the new 32GB third generation iPod Touch is now priced at $299 (Rs. 14,400 approx.). Price of 8GB second generation iPod Touch model is slashed by $30 (Rs. 1,440 approx) to $199 (Rs. 9,600 approx.) from $229 (Rs. 11,000 approx.).

Unfortunately, rumors that the third generation iPod Touch will get a camera did not materialize and it's like that recent reports of camera module failure might just be true. So, it's likely that the images of iPod Touch with camera that surfaced last month might be of the fourth generation iPod Touch model.

[Submitted by MaTiCa]

186 1252576867 Apple

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Microsoft Instructs Best Buy Employees on How to Trash Linux
Christo [PCD] , Thursday 10 September 2009 - 09:09:14 //

Microsoft pulls no punches, but misses on the facts in its humorous training brochure

Typically, it's Apple doing the trash talking in the operating system market with its long running "Get a Mac" series of commercials. However, an increasingly feisty Microsoft is following up its "Laptop Hunter" commercials with a roast of Linux.

Microsoft and Best Buy's management has been reportedly distributing "training materials" to Best Buy employees, which educate them on Microsoft's view on difference between Linux and Windows. Reportedly, the idea is for the employees to then share this enlightened viewpoint with their customers.

An employee recently took screenshots of the "educational" training program. Its introduction reads, "Windows offers your customer choice and compatibility. A PC sale is not just about the PC, its also about the software and devices you attach to the sale. Since fewer software applications and devices work with Linux machines, your customers' PC experience will be negatively impacted. It is also more difficult for you to attach compatible add-ons to the sale."

It goes on to list tables with "Camera, iPod, and MP3 compatibility" and "Printers and scanners compatibility" being described as "many" for Windows and "few" for Linux. It also lists an ambiguous "Authorized Support" which it claims Linux is lacking, ignoring the fact that many Linux distributions do have support teams. It also mentions that Linux users can't play games like "World of Warcraft", which Windows users can. Ironically, Linux users can in fact use WoW within the free WINE.

The screen also humorously complains that Linux doesn't have support for video chat and can't support Windows Live essentials, failing to note that Linux provides a wealth of alternatives. To top it off, reportedly the training program then quizzes the reader on what they learned. One question reads "Linux is safer than Windows: ( ) fact ( ) myth". Answering "fact" earns you a glaring "incorrect" response.

Without question Microsoft has come a long way in security, but it's still a huge stretch to say that Linux is targeted by malware and attacks to an equal or greater extent than Windows.

Leaked screenshots from a Best Buy and Microsoft's Windows training program indicate that the company is "educating" employees on why Linux is horrible. (Source: ZDNet)

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1252566181 Micros

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Wednesday 09 September 2009
Twilight of the iPods
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 09 September 2009 - 19:02:00 //

On Wednesday evening, UK time, Apple is expected to release an upgrade to its iPod line. But amid the inevitable hype surrounding its careful marketing and intentional secrecy about the content of the launch, a different truth is emerging: that we are seeing the twilight of the stand-alone digital music player (DMP), a product category only just over 10 years old.

That does not mean that digital music players will vanish. Quite the opposite: the sector is still growing. Increasingly, though, the products have some sort of connectivity – whether Wi-Fi, mobile phone, Bluetooth or all three.

But if you look closely enough, the signs that the stand-alone player is in decline are all around. The first, and most obvious, was Apple's announcement in its latest quarterly results that iPod sales fell year-on-year for the first time since the product's launch in October 2001. As the iPod dominates the market for DMPs, any drop in its sales indicates a fall in the market.

Next is the news that in the last week of August, Sony's Walkman DMPs outsold the iPod in Japan for the first time in four years . But that was against a background where sales of DMPs fell by 13.5% for the fifth month in a row; and Sony forecast that it would sell 6.7m units in the year to March 2010 – compared to 7m sold the previous year. The conclusion? The market for those DMPs is falling. By contrast, in July the launch of the new iPhone 3GS at the same time the iPhone was the most popular phone in Japan.

Then there is Microsoft's decision to drop older versions of its Zune music player, which despite having Wi-Fi connectivity (unlike all iPods, except the iPod Touch) has failed to make an impact on the North American market, the only place it is sold. The Zune has been close to an embarrassment to Microsoft, losing money and never living up to expectations, with sales dropping 42% in the last quarter – though the company hopes for better from its next, touchscreen Zune HD.

And finally, there is the forecast by In-Stat, a consumer-analysis company, which suggests that the market for stand-alone DMPs peaked in value last year at $21.8bn and "will slow considerably over the next five years". It reckons that the market's growth fell below 10% at the end of 2008 for the first time since the Saehan "MPMan" player, able to store 32MB of data, went on sale in 1998. Soon after Diamond Multimedia started selling the Rio PMP300.

Download downturn

That in turn carries serious risks for the music industry, which for some time has surfed along on the iPod sales boom, warns Mark Mulligan, vice-president of the global media practice at the analysis company Forrester Research. Digital music downloads have been driven by DMP sales growth. But what happens when that growth slows? Logically, digital music sales – which the music industry had hoped would replace CD sales – slow down too.

"There's a really, really important point that we have been trying to hammer home to the record labels for some months, which is: what happens to music sales as device sales start to slow? Apple is 75%-80% of the music download market. Its fortunes are explicitly tied to iPod sales. And even before the last quarter, if you do a simple calculation – assuming a two-year replacement cycle for each iPod, and calculate the installed base – then you discover that the installed base of iPods stopped growing in 2007." Mulligan puts the total installed base at roughly 110m at the end of 2008.

He explains that 2005 was the "liftoff" year for iPod sales, and for the installed base to grow beyond that would require a "massive" sales surge – which is not happening. Instead, people are turning to the iPod Touch and iPhone; and those people are not buying as many tracks as iPod-only buyers.

But the music industry has had a troubled relationship with DMPs through their lives. In 1998 the first reaction of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), representing US record labels, to the Rio was to sue Diamond Multimedia because it could be used to play illicit copies of music. (A judge dismissed the case in October 1998.) The next was to ignore it: in 1998 Nick Raymonde, then the A&R (artists and repertoire) director at BMG Music, one of the biggest music companies, said in an interview that MP3 "is not a particularly good format technically" and "I don't really see a lot of kids walking around with MP3 players yet". He's probably seeing it now. And MP3 has remained the dominant format for storing music, with Amazon and other online retailers adopting it – forced principally by Apple's blanket refusal to use the Windows Media Audio format.

The iPod's arrival, with its click-wheel access to huge numbers of songs (5,000 on the first 5GB hard drive model), galvanised the market, which began to take off. By July 2006, a study by Digital Life America and Canada-based Fast Forward found 28% of Americans aged 12 and over had a DMP – up from 12% the previous year – with sales growing fastest among women. The iPod had a 68% US market share, up from 53% in 2005, with Creative Labs a distant second with 6%; dozens of other manufacturers with shares no larger than 3% made up the other 26%.

But now that market has matured – or become saturated. It is no longer enough simply to play music (or, as non-iPod devices often can, have an FM tuner and voice recorder). Connectivity is now the key.

There's wealth in wireless

According to Stephanie Ethier, a consumer devices analyst at In-Stat, the slowdown in the stand-alone market is caused by "market maturity, a weak economy and competition from other multimedia handhelds – primarily mobile phones". She believes the total market for personal media players (a category that includes Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as the iPod Touch, Zune and Sony's new X-series Walkman) will grow from 200m in 2007 to 245m in 2012 – but of that, 21%, or 52m, will have Wi-Fi. That means 193m sold without, a fall compared to 2007. And the value of those 193m will be below that in 2007, as storage gets cheaper and the market commoditises.

Apple, again, clearly recognised that with its launch in September 2007 of the iPod Touch – essentially, the iPhone with the phone and Bluetooth systems taken out, but Wi-Fi left in. Since its launch, the iPod Touch has sold 18.6m units worldwide – compared to 26.4m units of the iPhone, launched three months earlier.

That connectivity though means that the complexities of the device – and the need for good user interface design – are suddenly much higher. Wi-Fi means email and web browsing become possible, if not obligatory, and the idea that you might be able to do even more with the device – as the iPhone and iPod Touch have demonstrated through Apple's online App Store, selling 65,000 different applications – raises the bar for those in the market. As Michael Gartenberg, a consumer analyst at the research company Interpret, says: "Let's face it. app stores are table stakes for mobile platforms today. If you don't have one, you're not even in the game."

Building up interest

It's easier for mobile phone companies to consider building an app store, because they know how their handsets work. But they have the challenge of working out how to make any revenue from them, and designing them so that people want to use them to download applications. RIM, with the BlackBerry platform, Palm, Nokia (with the Ovi store) and of course Apple.

But Mulligan warns that for the record industry, this brings all sorts of dangers which won't help sell more songs. "The iPhone, iPod Touch, devices like that, are basically vanilla products where the owner adds apps to customise it." Then they can use it for navigation and games, not necessarily songs. Hence the necessity for the record industry to push schemes such as Nokia's Comes With Music, where handset buyers get free music for a year, or Universal's download deal with Virgin Media.

"I don't think Comes With Music would have been licensed three years ago," says Mulligan. "But the record labels understand that [digital sales to iPods] isn't enough. There's no hockey-stick upturn in digital downloads. They're pretty much having to go with anything that the market comes to them with – Spotify, whatever. And they have a clear need to be forcing product innovation. The album format was devised in 1909. It hasn't changed since."

The product rumoured before Wednesday night was the "iTablet" – a tablet computer being developed by Apple with record labels. "I've learnt never to second-guess Apple," Mulligan says. "But if you had things like interviews and apps and music on a touchscreen netbook – that would be an ideal format. That's just what the music industry needs."

With the iPod – increasingly key to Apple's growth – now glimpsing its end, there will be pressure on Apple too to revitalise its offerings. But will Wednesday night's launches have been enough?
[Submitted by MaTiCa]

186 1252512663 Twilig

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Nokia unveils X series phones
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 09 September 2009 - 19:01:21 //

Heralding the new X series range, the Nokia X6 is the latest edition to Nokia's touch-screen device portfolio. Bursting with features for people who love music, socializing and entertainment on the move, the slim design makes carrying and listening to your favourite tracks a breeze.

The Nokia X6 is a ‘Comes With Music' device, so it provides unlimited access to the Nokia Music Store. Its superb image quality comes from a 5 mega-pixel camera with Carl-Zeiss optics. With its built-in features to edit videos, show them on TV or online, sharing your memories has never been easier.

The large 3.2-inch display enables you to fit 20 shortcuts onto a personalized home screen - offering one-touch access to the web, your photos, videos and music library - and favourite social networks such as Facebook, Flickr, MySpace and more.

16:9 widescreen interface providing a slick, finger-sensitive touch operation, optimized to give a great viewing experience

Key Features

• It's all about your music - the Nokia X6 has a superb quality music player and built-in FM radio. Listen over Bluetooth stereo audio with a compatible headset like the new Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-505 with its cool, sporty headband. Or plug your choice of headphones into the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

• Nokia Music Store is all yours - As a Comes With Music device, the Nokia X6 gives direct access to millions of tracks online. Download for free and yours to keep forever. Stores thousands of tracks with 32GB out-of-the-box memory.

• 5 megapixel camera with Carl-Zeiss optics autofocus and dual LED flash for truly fantastic image quality.

• Customisable homescreen - add up to 20 shortcuts for one-touch access to Facebook, Nokia Music Store, Email, Contacts, Maps, Games - whatever you choose!

• Stroke-sensitive touch-screen interface - Nokia's smoothest, slickest interface ever - with a 16:9 widescreen made specially to give the best photo and video viewing experience.

• Social networking - supports easy access to Facebook, Ovi, Windows Live!, Yahoo IM, YouTube, MySpace and more.

• Brilliant web browsing - built-in Flash player and auto-landscape orientation means you really get the best out of online video and movies.

• 3 premium games on-board - Nokia X6 ships with Asphalt4 and DJ Mix Tour by Gameloft and Spore by EA.

• Nokia Maps - The Nokia X6 comes with A-GPS with compass and integrated Maps so you can find your way to friends and venues quickly and easily with turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation. Geo-tag your photos with Ovi to remember and share those great moments.

• Other Ovi services include push-email and IM with Nokia Messaging, N-gage games, downloadable Java applications and widgets, Ovi Contacts and Ovi Files for keeping your personal stuff safe and sound.

• Easy email - simple steps to set-up your email and combine multiple accounts into one inbox. Supports popular email clients such as Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and most other POP3/IMAP email - plus a lifetime license for Nokia Messaging, Nokia's mobile email and IM service.

• Video editing and sharing - includes video center and video editing plus support for online-share and TV-out. So, you can make your clips perfect, then upload them to your social network page or play to friends and family at home.

The Nokia X6 is a tri-band UMTS 3G device that will support either the 850, 1900, and 2100MHz bands, or the 900, 1900, and 2100MHz network bands - depending on the configuration.

All versions are quad-band GSM. The Nokia X6 is expected to ship in the fourth quarter for EUR 459 (US$652).

[Submitted by MaTiCa]

186 1252512119 Nokia

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Palm to release cheaper sibling of Pre smart phone
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 09 September 2009 - 19:00:53 //

SAN FRANCISCO — Palm Inc., which revitalized its product line with the Pre smart phone launch in June, is hoping to keep momentum going with the release of a lighter, cheaper handset called the Pixi.

The company said Wednesday that the Pixi will be available during the holiday season through Sprint Nextel Corp., currently the Pre's exclusive wireless carrier.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Palm would not divulge the Pixi's price tag, but confirmed it will be less than that of its big brother. Sprint shaved $50 off the Pre's price to $150 on Wednesday, including two rebates and a two-year service contract.

"The combination of announcing a new device and changing the price on the Pre show we're aggressively pursuing new customers to get them accessing the WebOS experience," Katie Mitic, Palm's senior vice president of product marketing, said in an interview Tuesday. WebOS is the operating system powering the Pre and the Pixi.

Contrary to a promotion briefly advertised on its Web site Tuesday, Sprint is not offering customers a $100 credit to switch to the Pre from another carrier. Sprint spokeswoman Michelle Leff blamed the Web site glitch on the carrier's computer system.

The Pixi's release will mark Palm's second attempt in less than a year to use new software and streamlined designs to lure consumers in the still small but fast-growing smart phone market, which is dominated by Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry devices. According to market research firm NPD Group, smart phones made up 28 percent of consumer cell phone purchases in the second quarter, up 47 percent from the same period last year.

Palm hasn't disclosed the number of Pre smart phones sold. But its stock has more than quadrupled since the company unveiled the device Jan. 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The Pixi also offers Sprint — which has been bleeding subscribers to other carriers — another opportunity to attract new customers and get current ones to "trade up" from regular cell phones. Despite the Pre's availability, Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint reported a net quarterly loss of 257,000 subscribers in the second quarter.

Like the Pre, the black, shiny Pixi will come with a touch-screen, full QWERTY keyboard and Palm's latest operating system, WebOS. It will also have 8 gigabytes of built-in memory. But while the Pre's keyboard slides out from the bottom of the device, the Pixi's slightly smaller screen and keyboard both fit on the face of the candy bar-style handset.

The new smart phone is longer and slimmer than the Pre, and, at nearly 3.5 ounces, lighter. It trades the Pre's center button for a tiny touch-sensitive bar that sits between the screen and keyboard. As on the Pre, the real estate between the screen and keyboard also will be touch-sensitive for navigating the device.

The Pixi will sport a 2-megapixel camera, instead of its sibling's 3-megapixel version, and two small speakers rather than the Pre's single large one.

Building on an already available WebOS feature, the Pixi will be able to gather users' contacts from Yahoo and business-networking site LinkedIn. The Pixi will include standard smart phone features like Global Positioning System, video and music players and a Web browser, but it won't have Wi-Fi.

A dedicated Facebook application will be released with the Pixi, Palm said. It is not yet clear if it will come loaded on the phone or will be available through Palm's online application store.

Shares in Palm dropped 61 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $14.37 in morning trading Wednesday.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
[Submitted by MaTiCa]

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