Office 2010 now available to consumers

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 20:42 | Web and Industry News

Microsoft Office 2010 LogoOffice 2010 is now available worldwide to consumers. Microsoft has some new delivery options for those people who don't want to go to their nearest software store or wait for shipping.

“Working with major retail partners and PC makers, we’ve made dramatic changes in the way we deliver Office 2010 to give consumers more buying choice, making it easier than ever to unlock the power of Office on new and existing PCs,” said Stephen Elop, president, Microsoft Business Division. “For the first time, people can purchase a Product Key Card at retail to activate Office 2010 preloaded on new PCs. For those who want to download Office 2010 direct from Office.com for an existing PC, the new Click-to-Run technology will have them up and running in a matter of minutes.”

The new Microsoft Office 2010 will be available in three different versions: Office Home and Student 2010, Office Home and Business 2010, and Office Professional 2010. Office Home and Student retails for $149 and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Office Home and Business includes the aforementioned software plus Outlook for $279. Office Professional costs $499 and additionally includes Publisher and Access.

Microsoft has a video about some of the new features in Office 2010. It might be worth checking out if you are still using Office 2007 or even Office 2003.

 

AMD six-core demand greater than supply

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 20:34 | Web and Industry News

AMD LogoPeople are demanding a few too many six-core chips according to Digitimes. This short supply is also impacting motherboard sales and southbridge roadmap.

Due to their advantage over pricing, inquiries in retail channels for AMD's six-core processors was strong in the second quarter and boosted demand for the company's 800-series motherboards, the sources noted.

 

Portal 2 E3 2010 Teaser Trailer

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 20:26 | Web and Industry News

Even though this teaser was shown by Gabe Newell at Sony's E3 conference, I doubt Portal 2 is going to look much different on the PC.

 

 

Daily Hardware Reviews

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 20:22 | Affiliate News

Hardware reviews from around the web for June 16th, 2010.

 

Post-E3 console motion controller price comparisons

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 20:10 | Web and Industry News

Console Motion    Controllers

With every console manufacturer releasing motion controller devices by the end of this year, which one will end up being the cheapest and is Sony pricing themselves out of the market? Nintendo currently has the cheapest entry price for a motion enabled console. The Wii sells for $200 and includes one Nunchuck and one Motionplus Remote. Sony’s system currently costs $299 and barring any bundles, will require an additional $120 worth of accessories to enable motion features on par with Nintendo. Microsoft’s Kinect price is rumored to be $399 when bundled with a new Xbox or $149 on without a bundle. The difference between motion controller prices is not much different between Sony and Nintendo. For each additional player you want to use the system it will cost $70 for the Wii, $80 for the PS3, and $0 for the Xbox 360. Therefore the total price for 4 players on the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 will most likely be $410, $660, and $399 respectively.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account the high probability that you will still need 4 standard game controllers to play all of the Xbox 360 games. I didn’t hear anything in Microsoft’s E3 conference about their flagship titles like Gears of War 3 and Halo: Reach being compatible with Kinect.

Overall Nintendo will come out the winner based on price alone. Sony’s total cost of $660 is just too much an investment for the casual consumer. Sony may want to take a piece of the casual gamer market with its motion devices but the devices are just too expensive to be competitive unless they offer some very good bundling deals. Microsoft will be in an interesting position, because you can’t use their motion device with every game the controller will be a luxury add-on rather than the alternative interface that Nintendo and Sony are pushing. My bet is that consumers continue to buy the non-Kinected Xbox 360 and use the standard game controller for the games they really want to play on the 360 like Gears of War, Halo, and Call of Duty.

 

 

Starbucks to offer free Wi-Fi starting July 1

Written by Luke Ponio on Monday, 14 June 2010 22:33 | Web and Industry News

Starbucks announced their plan to offer free wireless internet for Starbucks Coffee Cupcustomers starting July 1 of this year. Feeling the heat from competitors like McDonald's who has had free Wi-Fi since last year, Starbuck's plan is a bit different than simply setting up a hotspot for people to check their Facebook. This fall Starbucks will launch the Starbucks Digital Network. The content delivery system will offer original, local content for free. The source of the content wasn't specifically laid out but Starbucks has a deal going with Yahoo and is in talks with AOL's Patch.com. Also, by logging onto the Starbucks Digital Network you will be able to access the Wall Street Journal for free. Unfortunately for anonymity advocates, Starbucks will require you to log in to their Wi-Fi with a unique ID so they can track who you are and where you log into their networks. Hopefully this doesn't pave the way for targeted advertisements.

 

Xbox 360 Price Drops Tomorrow

Written by Luke Ponio on Monday, 14 June 2010 22:19 | Web and Industry News

Xbox 360

Lots of E3 news going on but if you could care less about the Microsoft Wii then you may be interested in the Xbox 360 price drops happening tomorrow. Kotaku got ahold of a Target memo announcing price drops by $50 on all Xbox 360 SKUs starting on June 15th. The Arcade SKU will be especially interesting with an additional $50 gift card bringing the total price down to an easy $100. Of course if you want more features than the current Xbox models you can wait for the new version with integrated 802.11n wireless and larger hard drive (250GB vs 120GB). The new model will be slotted in at the old Elite's price of $299.

 

Lego felt tip 110 Printer

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 10:59 | Web and Industry News

This is one of the coolest things I have seen lately. A printer made from Legos that uses a felt tip marker as the printer head. This sure makes the spaceships I made with my Legos look elementary.

 

 

Starcraft 2 vacation pushed off until June 7

Written by Luke Ponio on Friday, 28 May 2010 19:54 | Web and Industry News

Starcraft 2Blizzard previously announced that the Starcraft 2 beta break would start on May 31 but the current phase of the beta has been extended until June 7. I'm glad they are pushing it off especially with all the lag/disconnect issues since the last patch. Hopefully they will be able to squeeze another patch in before the break so we can actually play a working beta.

We previously announced that the first phase of the StarCraft II beta test would be coming to a close in all regions on Monday, May 31. In order to prepare for the final phase of beta testing, we plan to extend the current phase in all regions until Monday, June 7. After this date, the beta test will be unavailable for several weeks while we make some hardware and software configuration changes for the final phase of the beta test and the release of the game. We plan to bring the beta test back online for a couple of weeks prior to the game’s launch to complete our testing. We’ll have more details to share about when this final phase will begin at a later date.

We’d like to thank all of our beta-test participants for your enthusiasm, dedication, and valuable feedback during the beta test, and we look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the StarCraft II beta test as the game’s July 27 launch approaches.

 

BFG Tech Leaving Graphics Card Market

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 18:04 | Web and Industry News

As a huge fan of the original GPU lifetime warranty, I'm sad that BFG will no longer be offering graphics card products. Their warranty has been the best I've experienced. I remember buying one of my first real video cards on a cold 2002 Black Friday at Bestbuy. It was a BFG ti4200 and I thought it was a steal for $89. The fan eventually burned out a year or two later and BFG replaced it with a then-current generation FX5700. No hassles. As far as I know that card is still working even if it is sitting in a drawer somewhere. Ahhhh memories.

 

BFG Tech logoBFG Tech Announces Exit From Graphics Card Category, Continues On With Power Supplies And Laptops/PCs

Libertyville, IL – May 17, 2010 –BFG Technologies today announced their exit from the graphics card category. The company will continue to sell their line of BFG Tech power supplies as well as their Deimos gaming notebooks and Phobos gaming systems.

"After eight years of providing innovative, high-quality graphics cards to the market, we regret to say that this category is no longer profitable for us, although we will continue to evaluate it going forward", said John Slevin, chairman of BFG Technologies. "We will continue to provide our award-winning power supplies and gaming systems, and are working on a few new products as well. I’d like to stress that we will continue to provide RMA support for our current graphics card warranty holders, as well as for all of our other products such as power supplies, PCs and notebooks."

BFG will continue to offer RMA, telephone and email support for qualified BFG Tech graphics card warranty holders, but will no longer be bringing new graphics card products to market.

 

Microsoft enhancing Hotmail service

Written by Luke Ponio on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 16:34 | Web and Industry News

I've been using Hotmail for over 10 years. Actually, I should say I've had a registered Hotmail account for over 10 years since it has been relegated to a spam address after I got a Gmail invite in 2004. At the time, Gmail trounced Hotmail in both inbox size and features. Microsoft launched Windows Live Hotmail in 2007 but that was too late to get me to turn back. Hotmail's upcoming update is aiming to add some features that competitors have introduced as well as original new features.

New Hotmail LogoUnoriginal features:

  • Conversation view: Similar to Gmail, this is a threaded view for emails so you can track your conversations. With Hotmail you can turn threading off.
  • Office integration: Feeling pressure from Google Docs, Hotmail will offer integration with Microsoft Office Live.
  • Inbox Sweep: I have over 8000 unread mailing list emails in my Hotmail account. I can unsubscribe from them but it would take me forever to go through all the existing emails and delete the junk. They are mixed in with emails I want so I can't delete everything haphazardly. Gmail has had a feature where you can select every email from a search result so you can delete everything in one click. Hotmail is getting this feature too. Both services have the ability to set up rules for what to do with emails that match a sender. Since Hotmail uses Folders instead of Labels like Gmail, you will be able to segregate your inbox better and hide things you don't feel like looking at all the time.
  • Integrated chat/SMS: I wish you could add AIM accounts to the integration but it looks like it will be just Windows Live Messenger accounts.
  • Exchange ActiveSync: I currently have my Gmail account, calendar, and contacts pushed to my Windows Mobile phone using Google Sync which integrates with Microsoft ActiveSync on the phone. I'm a little disappointed that it took Microsoft so long to implement this feature since Exchange push has been around forever.
  • Full-session SSL: Gmail has had this for a while. A good security feature.

Original features:

  • Unlimited Storage: Hotmail knows most people will never fill up their entire inbox space but what a great selling point to leapfrog Gmail's ever expanding Storage (~7.5GB) by offering unlimited storage.
  • Active Views: Embedded YouTube, Hulu, and Justin.tv videos. Instant package tracking. Embedded Flickr and other photo album services. I didn't see any mention of Bing Video integration but hopefully Microsoft didn't forget about their own product.
  • 10GB Photo Attachments: This is a little misleading because the pictures are actually not sent with email; they are uploaded to the free Windows Live SkyDrive service. You can send up to 200 photos 50 MB each in a single message. The integration will be seamless for Hotmail users so you can get a link to launch a slideshow or download all the pictures zipped.
  • 10GB Office Attachments: Same thing as the photo attachments.
  • Single-use security codes: Instead of entering your password on a  public computer, all you have to do is click "request a code" and Hotmail will send a single time use password to an alternate email or mobile phone.
  • Trusted senders: Hotmail will visually identify verified email addresses from common phishing scam targets like banks.
  • There are a bunch of mobile features too but those are for touch phones and I'm still using a non-touch smartphone so nothing really interested me.

 

Hotmail knows their main competitor is Gmail so they set up a chart specifically comparing the two services. Of course Hotmail is going to show how they are better but it is worth looking at.

A couple features I think Hotmail is still missing are IMAP and personal domain hosting. Exchange integration is a welcome addition but I want to use Hotmail IMAP with other email clients like Thunderbird. I also want to be able to host my custom domain name's email through Hotmail like I do with Gmail currently. Hopefully Hotmail will start rolling out more incremental updates rather than waiting years in between feature enhancements. That said I can't wait to give the new improvements a spin in a few months when the updates are released to the general public.

Here's a video of the new features if you didn't feel like reading:

 

 

 

 


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