Xbox 360 S Hardware Dissection

PC Perspective has a nice, well photographed, dissection of the new Xbox 360 hardware for those who like those kind of things.  Turns out that the change in architecture is more significant then I thought particularly since the CPU and GPU are located beneath the same hood.  The relevant information is on page 3 of the article and it some fascinating stuff that hardware geeks will dig.  PC Perspective sums it up nicely:

Either way, the change from a technological perspective is important and noteworthy as it is the first instance of a “high performance” graphics core being paired with a “high performance” CPU core in a product that will see millions of sales.  Yes we have the Intel Core i5 processors but I wouldn’t put the Intel HD Graphics core on par with the Xenos-based design here.  And while AMD’s Fusion parts will fall into this same realm we are still months from seeing production parts.

I don’t know if this means anything to average console gamer or not but for those of us still somewhat entrenched in the PC Gaming side of things it is a fairly significant achievement.  If I’m reading this right and AMD’s Fusion does manage to take off it is entirely possible that gaming on an integrated graphic processor might actually be feasible.  Of course the upgrade path for such a system is still problematic (i.e. the same problem that consoles have) but still a fascinating development if applied to the HTPC market.

Crouching in the Shadow of E3

If I weren’t such a huge frickin’ nerd I might have missed that across the pond in Taipai, Taiwan Computex 2009 is well underway as E3 closes its doors. Computex is a IT and hardware based trade show that most uber-nerds and PC junkies should love. As of right now Techgage has some sweet coverage and if you’re at all interested in hardware developments on the PC front you should head on over and check it out.

I must admit that I have a bit of thing for enormous PC chasis; in that they bring a child-like grin to my face. So needless I was extraordinarily pleased to see Corsair’s entry into the field.  Anyway there is tons of other cool and interesting news coming from that direction so do yourself a favor and check it out.

A Browser with Bling

I’m a huge Firefox fan.  Ever since adopting several years ago I’ve stood by the faithful fox through thick and then.  Lately though, things have changed.  I still enjoy Firefox, it is a fantastic product that is unbeatable in terms of customability and personalization.  However, I’ve begun to question its memory utilization.  I’m not a huge techie, I know just enough to break things, but I’ve found that my Firefox 3 can eat upwards of 600 mb of system resources.  I should preface this with by saying that this is on my PC at work which isn’t a spring chicken.  It’s a single core Pentium 4 just over 2 ghz, with a little of 1 GB of Ram, running Windows XP Professional which, while certainly not top of the line, is markedly more than enough to adequately run Firefox.  As if the large memory footprint weren’t enough there are occasions were something will slow up the browser’s operation causing delays when I type (anywhere from 2-5 seconds per key press) or when I try to switch tabs.  I have a multitude of extensions installed (Firebug, web developer, css viewer, tab scope, tiny menu, extended statusbar, to name a few) so for all I know it could be one of those causing the problem, but my recent performance woes did prompt me to give another browser a try.

Read on for my impressions of Google’s Chrome browser.

Continue reading “A Browser with Bling”

All I want to do is tantalise you

I think there is something wrong with me…since such a simple picture can get me excited:

I love that heat sink, looks effective but sexy with plenty of room for aftermarket cooling.  Unlike my ASUS board whose pounds of copper limits my aftermarket cooling options like nobody’s business.

Intel’s X58 boards feature a new socket to support their new “Bloomfield” processor which seems to be their new flagship “Extreme” processor. Rumor is that the top-level Bloomfield will cost $999, as opposed to the current top-level Extreme processor which costs well over the $1000 mark. I’m more excited about what that means for the pricing of the mid to low-end Bloomfields. Lower level chip, plus aftermarket cooling and some solid OC sounds good to me.

The new boards are DDR3 only, I’m still uncertain how great a performance gain the higher spec RAM yields but a quick glance at New Egg reveals some more reasonable prices than when I put together my rig.  Still nothing like the bargain basement price of DDR2 memory.  Plus it looks like we’ll be seeing both Crossfire and SLI support on these babies.  Suhweet!

No, I won’t be building a new computer this soon, but a man can dream.

Re: Hive Mind

Librarian Powers Activate!

A higher quality version of the demo is available at the TED conference site here.

More info is also up at the Microsoft Live Labs page for the technology, called Photosynth.  There is a demo there as well but my crappy work computer can’t run it (lack of even a cheap graphics card).  Be warned it requires use of IE 6/7, which already negates its viability assuming they don’t shoot for browser independence for the official release.  It might also be Windows specific, but if a Mac or Linux user (running Wine or some other means of getting IE to work….I guess) knows different let me know.

There is some other cool stuff on there as well including the team blog and links to specialized collections, including a link to a project with the BBC called “Your Britain in Pictures”, that might be worth playing around with.

The wikipedia entry provides a bit of trivia, some similar products, and other interesting tidbits.  In particular the science behind the whole deal: photogrammetry.  The photgrammetry article has a solid list of external links if you’re interested in finding out more.  Is it me or does photogrammetry have a delightfully 19th century science sound to it?

Last National Geographic has a video demo of the Stonehenge constructed using Photosynth.


NJ Says: IP Address = Private

From Ars Technica:

In the decision, the justices discuss the differences between IP addresses and return addresses on envelopes when discussing whether or not Internet subscriber information deserves an expectation of privacy. The justices say that IP addresses are sufficiently anonymous to justify privacy protection because, theoretically, only the Internet service provider can identify who is associated with a specific IP address.  Link.

Interesting stuff that, as Ars points out, is likely to become a more important topic down the road. How many times have you watched a crime procedural where the IP was magically tracked back to a person/address? In all the times I saw that I happen I never once considered that it might even be a violation of a person’s privacy.  But the judges make a good point, and Ars highlights, that:

The State compares IP addresses to the return addresses found on the outside of envelopes, which carry no privacy protection. But there is an important difference: letter writers choose to include their address on an envelope. They may also opt for anonymity and list no return address. Internet users have no such choice because they must have an IP address to access a website. In addition, the string of numbers that comprises an IP address and can be collected by a website is both less revealing and less public than a name or street address posted on an envelope,

As I said, interesting, a certainly food for thought as you do your daily browsing.

Electronic Storytelling

Saws on my BoingBoing feed:

We Tell Stories, is an online site made for Penguin publishing in which 6 authors are telling 6 stories based on classic works through the digital medium of the internet and using non-traditional methods.

How non-traditional?  The first story The 21 Steps uses google maps while Fairy Tale uses a choose-your-own-adventure form model.  While I doubt any of these will taking over the publishing world anytime soon it is certainly an interesting experiment worth a look.

Military Exoskeleton!?

From BBC News (via Slashdot) comes this awesome-filled article on the development of exoskeletons for military use.  Current hopes are for initial use on the logistics (i.e. heavy lifting) side but hopes are for a combat applicable version somewhere down the line.

I also recommend checking out the Slashdot comments, if only for the argument of manned exoskeletons vs. full fledged autonomous robots.

When I see things like this it just all feels so surreal.  When aspects of Aliens and Starship Troopers (the book not the movie) start forcing their way into reality, even if only in early development I really have to just take a step back and goggle in wonder.  Between ship mounted lasers, large hadron colliders, and quantum communication things are looking mighty interesting for the future.

Thou shall not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind

About 36 seconds into this video, I became very concerned for future of the human race.

Rest assured that when the robots come to enslave us, they will appear in forms approximating metallic goats. And they will not be easily knocked over. Although I’m assuming by the time they’re actually aware enough to start their conquest that there will be a wide variety of robotic quadripeds leading the charge. Goats are just the beginning and, while ill-tempered, presumably the people beyond this traveshamockery will push production into more exotic and deadly species of animals. Just imagine an army of robot tigers, robot crocodiles, robot platypi (they’re poisonous)…all impervious to fear and pain…all difficult to knock over.

We might want to nip this thing in the bud.

Mike Says:  Courtesy of JoCo via BoingBoing via the Onion:  a vision of the future: