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Microsoft pulls Vista SP1 from automatic updates, too

Posted in Vista by Darrin Olson on May 1st, 2008

Microsoft removes Windows Vista SP1 release from automatic updatesEarlier this week Microsoft announced that it is delaying the release of Windows XP SP3 because of some bugs it caused with the database server with Microsoft Dynamics. Last night I went home and was looking for the automatic update bringing SP1 to Vista and found that it wasn’t there either, much to my dismay as there are a number of issues I have on Vista that I was hoping to see corrected.

Today we find out that Microsoft has indeed delayed the release of Vista SP1 to Automatic Updates as well, due to the same issue. It sounds like some of found the problem has to do with SQL Server with Dynamics. It’s unlikely that the problem is with SQL Server alone since MS is surely to have tested that at some point, but the relatively few that are out there running Microsoft Dynamics are holding it up for the rest of us.

Apple iTunes to sell movies on DVD release day

Posted in iTunes by Darrin Olson on May 1st, 2008

iTunes will sell movies on the same day as the DVD releaseApple today announced the immediate ability to purchase movies through iTunes the same day that they are released to DVD. This takes away another hurdle that Apple needed to get over to increase the number of online movie rentals through iTunes, and comes only months after the initial launch of the ability to purchase movies at all through the online service.

Apple says they will be providing new releases for sale from 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate, among a couple others. The new release purchases are priced at $14.99 each and can be viewed on a Mac, PC or any iPod with video and require iTunes version 7.6.2 which is available now as a free download.

Easter Egg Speakers wobble but won’t fall down

Posted in Speakers by Darrin Olson on April 30th, 2008

Easter Egg Tumble SpeakerWe’ve seen our share of portable speakers and so far our favorite so far has to be the X-Mini Capsule speakers, mostly because they are compact and they went wireless recently. Close behind would probably be the Easter Egg Tumbler Speaker. This device, like the X-Mini, pops open to extend out the chamber a little bit and add some more bass into the pint-sized speaker (or about as much base as you can expect from something like this.) It also comes egg-shaped and heavy at one end so that it can’t be tipped over when being bumped around on your desk

Each comes as a single speaker with an audio cable for input and a USB cable that powers and charges in the internal battery. No word on exactly how much juice the speaker puts out but we’re guessing 1W, and it’s pretty hard to say on the battery life if you wanted to use this with your media player.

Windows XP SP3 release delayed at eleventh hour

Posted in Windows XP by Darrin Olson on April 30th, 2008

Windows XP SP3 delayed due to compatibility glitchIf you’ve been eagerly watching your Windows Update on XP waiting for SP3 to show up your wait is over; it’s not coming, or at least not quite yet. At what seemed like a very last minute decision, Microsoft on Tuesday delayed the launch of Windows XP Service Pack 3 due to a compatibility glitch with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System software. The release was scheduled to be available through Windows Update on Tuesday and has already been released to manufacturing and volume customers last week.

“In the last few days, we have uncovered a compatibility issue between Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) and both Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1),” said the firm.“In order to make sure customers have the best possible experience, we have decided to delay releasing Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to the web.”

Grand Theft Auto IV launches big

Posted in Games by Darrin Olson on April 29th, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV launchGrand Theft Auto IV went on sale worldwide today and many retailers such as Best Buy and GameStop opened their doors at midnight last night to meet fans across the country who created long lines to be one of the first to get their hands on a copy and spend the rest of the night playing. The GTA 4 launch from Take Two is expected to see sales that will rival that of last year’s Halo 3 release, with numbers nearing $400 million for around 6 million copies sold around the world.

The Grand Theft Auto 4 game is available for both the Sony Playstation 3 and the XBox 360 which greatly broadens the audience. Some speculate that the launch delay from last October also allowed more people to have time to buy the latest generation of game console and built more anticipation for the launch. Take Two says the delay was due to technical hurdles that needed to be overcome.

Targus Speaker Book portable speakers

Posted in Speakers by Darrin Olson on April 23rd, 2008

Targus Speaker book portable speakersTargus has introduced something new for the portable speaker market called the Speaker Book. Creating a good set of portable, battery-operated speakers seems to be quite a challenge, and although we’re not sure how it sounds quite yet this one at least looks like a pretty cool solution.

The Speaker Book, like the Targus SonicPak backpack, uses the super-thin NXT Balance Radiator speaker technology and pumps out the tunes from your portable player through a standard 3.5mm jack. Also it can be powered by either three AAA batteries or from a USB connection if you want to run it from something like your notebook computer.

Optimus Maximus Keyboard shipping from ThinkGeek

Posted in Keyboards by Darrin Olson on April 23rd, 2008

Optimus Maximus Keyboard available on ThinkGeekNow you have no excuse, except for maybe the price, not to pick up one of those Optimus Maximus keyboards for yourself. ThinkGeek is now shipping the Art Lebedev creation for the incredible price of $1589.99.

Onkyo brings upgrades with the TX-SR606 receiver

Posted in Home Theater by Darrin Olson on April 22nd, 2008

Onkyo TX-SR606 home theater receiver wtih 1080i video upscaling and more HDMIOnkyo has released an upgrade to its TX-SR605, HDMI 1.3a home theater receiver with the announcement of the TX-SR606, while still keeping the price under $600. This new model comes similar to the original but with two more HDMI inputs added in which bring the total to four. They’ve also added in 1080i video upscaling, Audyssey’s new Dynamic EQ loudness compensation technology and the companies new Music Optimizer.

This is an impressive set up for the price, allowing four high-definition video inputs each with high-def 7.1-channel surround sound, and will also convert non-high-def signals up to 1080i. Aside from the new add-ons, the TX-SR606 receiver comes equipped with a 90 watt-per-channel amp, Remote Interactive HDMI control, has a number of surround sound codecs and is equipped to handle Sirius Satellite Radio.

Windows XP SP3 has gone RTM

Posted in Windows XP by Darrin Olson on April 22nd, 2008

Windows XP SP3 announced as released to manufacturing with April 29 release dateChris Keroack, release manager for Windows XP Service Pack 3, has announced that the new service pack has been released to manufacturing (RTM) and is working its way to the OEM’s right now. For the rest of us, Microsoft is planning on getting XP SP3 online and available through Windows Update on April 29, along with its associated documentation.

This release is the first of its kind for XP since Microsoft released SP2 back in 2004, and is a welcome site to users of XP anywhere and especially to those that have battled with Windows Vista and lost, or at least came out slightly injured. Included in the update is a cumulative security update along with some performance and stability enhancements. They’ve also included some features to help integrated new Windows Vista OS’s along with existing XP machines on a network.

Italy to get iPhone unlocked with no contract

Posted in iPhone by Darrin Olson on April 22nd, 2008

Apple to sell 3G iPhone in Italy unlocked without a two year contractIt’s hard to say how they did it, but it appears that somehow Telecom Italia Mobile has convinced Apple and Steve Jobs to offer the new upcoming 3G version of the iPhone to customers in Italy with quite a bit more leeway than we’ve seen here in the states. Not only will the iPhone not require that two-year service contract along with the purchase, but it will also come unlocked.

This is something that Apple has been very stringent about stateside and has been volleying versions with hackers since the beginning, keeping the iPhone locked and with a single, exclusive carrier. What this means is that in Italy customers can just by the iPhone and use it with any carrier that they choose.

Wii Fit date confirmed and priced at $89.99

Posted in Wii Accessories by Darrin Olson on April 17th, 2008

Wii Fit coming to the US May 19 for $89.99This news may be a little bit old for some, but just in case you hadn’t heard the Wii Fit game from Nintendo which is bundled with the Wii Fit Balance Board has gotten an official release date and now an official price. $89.99 will be the price tag associated with Wii Fit on its May 19 US launch date. This price includes both the game and the board bundled together.

In the short time since the announcement, pre-orders for the Wii Fit on Amazon has moved up into the number one position with an 885,500 percent increase in just a day, not to mention all the accessories. Needless to say, it looks like this is going to be another hot item for Nintendo this year.

Nintendo

IOGEAR DVI Extender goes 100 feet with one cable

Posted in HDTV by Darrin Olson on April 15th, 2008

IOGEAR DVI Extender kit sends signal 100 feet for under $500The new DVI Extender Kit from IOGear packs some serious high-def distance into a relatively affordable package. The DVI extender has the ability to send both a video and audio signal up to 100 feet away through a single CAT 5e/6 cable connection, and can be yours for just shy of $500.

Granted, $500 is getting close to the price of some decent high-def displays but if you have a nice system that you would like to keep away from high traffic areas or just out of the way this is a pretty sweet solution and is way better than trying to use a 100-foot DVI cable. The kit includes two boxes, the local and remote DVI extenders with the remote extender having a 3.5mm jack for connecting your stereo speakers at the other end.

Transformer’s All Spark talking USB hub

Posted in USB by Darrin Olson on April 13th, 2008

Transformers All Spark 4-port USB HubThis already-shrunk-down version of the All Spark from the Transformers movie has a few less powers than its likeness in the movie and probably won’t turn your gadgets into small Autobots and Decepticons. It does however have the ability to expand your USB ports by 3 as its main purpose is a 4-port USB hub. As if that’s not quite enough for Transformer fans, the hub will also spout out All Spark phrases from the Transformer movie. I don’t think I remember the All Spark doing a lot of talking during the movie but I suppose that was the next best thing to having the device auto-expand into the full-size All Spark.

The USB hub retails for £17.99, but can only be pre-ordered at this time and isn’t expected to be available until the end of August.

IBM introduces new ‘racetrack’ memory solution

Posted in Storage by Darrin Olson on April 13th, 2008

Stuart Parkin and colleagues at IBM introduce a new type of memory dubbed ‘racetrack’ memoryDr. Stuart Parkin and colleagues at IBM have recently published a paper in Science introducing a new type of storage technology dubbed ‘racetrack memory’.

The memory uses something called spintronics which uses the storage of bits generated by the magnetic spin of electrons rather than their charge to identify each as “on” or “off”. This new storage solution offers some advantages over the most popular current options. It’s faster than traditional hard disk drives and has a lower failure rate since there are no moving parts.

Blockbuster direct-to-TV streaming rumors

Posted in Rumors by Darrin Olson on April 12th, 2008

Blockbuster rumored to have a streaming video solution in the worksBlockbuster has been rumored to have been secretly working on some new technology in the works that would allow streaming video content from an online rental service direct to consumers televisions, and could be available as soon as the next few weeks. No information has been given on the exact technology or price but the service could again bring the home video renting giant back up to par and possibly ahead in technology, compared to other rival video renting services from Netflix and Apple.

Netflix would be directly affected by this new service by Blockbuster and has recently upgraded their service to provide unlimited streaming to some subscribers, however it streams to their computer and not necessarily to the living room of most consumers. In order to work their way into more entertainment centers, Netflix is also looking into providing streaming video rentals through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console.