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A place for me to be. A geek.





November 14th, 2006

Two weeks after its paper launch, the quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6700 has begun to slowly show up in online stores. For example, has it in stock for $1,499.00. Also, a quick Froogle search finds the lowest price at $1,015.00. It looks as if I may have to wait a while to wait for a price that justifies this chip.
Europe will not be seeing the PS3 officially launched on its side of the pond until well into next year. However, auction entrepreneurs have put the yet to be released machine up for grabs on eBay. The current starting price is roughly €855, or approximately US$25,000!1 Surprised? Neither am I.

Get Vista November 30?

According to the AP, Microsoft has struck a deal with CompUSA to make the business versions of Vista and Office 2007 available in its outlets on the business launch date, November 30. The move is to entice small and medium size businesses, which usually don't get the special treatment their larger counterparts do from MS, to upgrade to Vista on the same day the biggies can. This means that you too can purchase the Small Business Edition of Vista on launch day, if you want to plunk the $499 down for the full version (or $279 for an upgrade).

Zune released too Zune?

Microsoft officially took the wraps off of its answer to the iPod, the Zune. The only problem, no one expects the Zune to really do anything to hurt the iPod. For now. Here are a few things that are just wrong with the Zune:

  • No podcasting support built into the software
  • Doesn't support PlaysForSure. All that music you paid for from MSN Music, Napster, Rhapsody, et al. is useless on the Zune.
  • Instead of paying $0.99 for a song, you pay 79 Zune Points. How do you get Zune Points? You have to buy them in $5 blocks. So the bare minimum you will spend in the Zune Store is $5 for a song. It works exactly the same as the Xbox360 store. And honestly, the only true benefactor of this payment model is Microsoft. (and for you mathmeticians out there, you'll have to buy 495 songs before the number of points you've bought equal the amount of money spent. If I'm going to buy DRM'd music, I'm sticking with iTMS.
  • It has a wheel looking navigation system, but it doesn't "just work" like the iPod.
  • The Zune is about as big as a XBOX compared to either iteration of the PS2. HUEG.
  • The tag line for it SUCKS. "Welcome to the social". WTF? What social? An iced cream social? Is this 1922?
  • The ads are horrible. This is a brand new item. You should be seeing it on the screen for the entire commercial. Instead the most you see it is maybe 5 seconds during a 30 second spot. Awful. Now, I'm now ad expert, so I may be off. But from what I do know about advertising, its awful. I'm left feeling confused at the end. If I were someone that had never even heard of the Zune prior to seeing the ad, I wouldn't know what it is and would make little to no effort to find out.
  • For every Zune sold, Microsoft pays Universal Music Group a small bit of cash. What do you care? The unit is the same price as the iPod? It sets a horrible precedence. The reason Microsoft has to pay Universal is because anyone that buys a portable music player HAS to be a music pirate. So it's to compensate UMG for all that pirated music.

    And to be fair, it does have a few nice features missing from the iPod

  • A sleek rubberized plastic cover. This is really personal preference. If you like your players sleek and shiny, the iPod is for you. If you like them soft and a bit rugged feeling, the Zune plays your tune.
  • Wi-fi sharing. You can send songs to other Zune's via wi-fi. A few problems exist with this, tho. The song you share can be played three times or for three days, whichever comes first. Secondly. It's only for sharing. If Microsoft were to give it some way to access the Zune store directly from the device itself, that would be killer. Imagine not having to be at your computer to purchase a song you want? Ruled.
  • A nice, big, 3 inch display. This is nice for video watching. In fact, when the Zune plays a video, it automagically flips the screen horizontally so you can view widescreen movies in "true" widescreen. Very niiice.

    So thats it. 8 bad. 3 good. I'm sure Apple isn't scared of the Zune. Yet. Wait until version 3. Everyone knows it takes Microsoft at least 3 tries to get something right.
  • November 10th, 2006

    Vista goes gold for real

    I'm delayed on this (I should've posted in on wednesday), but Vista has *finally* been released to manufacturing and should be in business customers hands by the end of the month. And as I posted previously, Office 2007 has been finished as well. And to be honest with you, I'm more excited for Office than Vista. Vista seems a bit old thanks to its copying of features available in other OSes (namely OS X), while Office is something entirely new and unique. It's well worth the $1.50 to download the Beta and I highly recommend it.
    Thanks to its recent acquisition of ATI, this headline is actually true. The first new chipset release since the merger will happen in December with the RD600. According to The Inquirer, it looks as if DFI will be first out the door with motherboards sporting the new chippy. Expectations are high for the RD600. Word 'round the campfire puts the RD600 as the best overclocking chipset for Intel chips currently available, surpassing even the two day old nForce 680i. Only time will tell, though.

    November 8th, 2006

    As expected, NVIDIA announced their next-gen DX10 GPU's today, the 8800GTX and GTS. Specs have been posted already, but you can now buy the actual card. The 8800GTS part can be had for $500 from Newegg, whilst the 8800GTX will set you back, well, a lot (I can't find the price, and Im tired and want to go to bed). :).

    Another announcement today out of the NVDA camp was the 600 series nForce chipset for the Intel Core 2 Quad and Duo. The highend is the 680i, which support 3x PCI-E slots (SLI and Dual Display all in one!) and a FSB of up to 1200MHz for you overclocking freaks. Next on the list is the 650i SLI, which is a bit paired down with only 2x PCI-E slots. And bringing up the rear is the 650i Ultra (a bit deceiving). This part does not support SLI. Boards should be available soon from eVGA and others. And with that, I'm off to bed *yawn*.

  • November 6th, 2006

    Office 07, Vista hit Gold

    Microsoft officially announced today that Office 2007 has been released to manufaturing. This means we're on track for the January launch. It should be noted that Microsoft could probably pull off a pre-Christmas launch, but it would be too close to the holiday to make it worthwhile. Business will begin seeing the product November 30, and everyone else January 30, according to reports. If you're interested, here's a breakdown of the full/upgrade prices:

  • Microsoft Office Professional 2007 ($499/$329)
  • Microsoft Office Small Business 2007 ($449/$279)
  • Microsoft Office Standard 2007 ($399/$239)
  • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 ($149/NA)

    Also on Microsoft slate of upcoming releases in Vista. This release isn't official, yet. Paul Thurott reports that his Microsoft sources say Vista could be Gold as early as today. Microsoft does have until November 8 to RTM Vista and still make its goals, though. According to Paul, the final version number is 6000.16386.061101-2205.
  • Tech mag Gizmodo has done a comparison of HP printer ink and other valuable liquids. The results say volumes. A ml of HP45 black ink will set you back $0.71, while blood from the Red Cross only costs $0.40 per ml. Penicillin only costs $0.07/ml, and vodka even less then that. And in these days of high oil prices, HP ink FAR outpaces the cost of crude oil.
    ATI released its final, Release To Manfucaturing (RTM) driver for its card. One of the new features is an update tool built into the installer. During the install, the program will check for the latest version of the driver and download/install that one instead of your old, clunky driver. And speaking of clunky, The Inquirer notes that the driver itselfs rings in at 90MB, and the Catalyst Control Center comes in at a whopping 150MB, for a total (for the lazy in you) of 240MB installed. Yeesh, I remember once having a drive in a P60 machine that was about twice that size. How things have changed. For those running ATI cards in Vista, head on over to ATIMD and download it.
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