111.bmpPhotoshop.com may be Flash-y and Air-y with photo-editing capabilities, but it surprisingly still seems to lag sites like Flickr and Facebook when it comes to various sharing features. For instance, only this week has Adobe launched video-hosting and group album capabilities (available for free accounts as well as paid), long available from its competitors.

 If you e-mail an invite to someone at an e-mail address other than the one connected to their Adobe ID, there’s no way to link the addresses or even allow the person to reply to you with the correct address.

People you invite as Collaborators to Group Albums aren’t automatically added as your friends. And while it notifies you via e-mail of updates to the album there don’t seem to be other notification options, like posting Twitter, Facebook, or even an RSS feed.

With the release of Windows 7 in October, PC gamers will finally have another platform on which to play their favorite games. Those who didn’t quite enjoy Windows Vista as a game platform or have stuck with Windows XP are probably looking forward to the opportunity to buy some new hardware, install Windows 7, and get the most out of their favorite games.

Windows 7

Development of Windows 7 is over and now is the time to peep into it. How will it be beneficial to the gamers. Does it have features that will help it beat out Windows Vista or Windows XP in the game space?

Let’s check this out:

DirectX 11
DirectX 11, which is set to run on both Windows 7 and Windows Vista, is highly anticipated. A recent blog post on Advanced Micro Devices’ official blog asserts that DirectX 11, “in combination with new graphics hardware, and in some cases Windows 7, brings significant changes to the computing experience, changes that mean upcoming games and other applications are about to get a lot better.”

AMD believes that with the help of “a beast called the tessellator,” game developers will be able to create even better-looking games. The company contends that titles will be “smoother, less blocky, and more organic-looking.”

Thanks to better support for multithreading and GPGPU compatibility, game developers should be able to get more out of their games on Windows 7 than any previous version of the operating system.

AMD contends that games will have “higher frame rates” and “more realistic characters.” It also believes that game development costs might be kept down, thanks to a simplified, more efficient Windows 7.

In a recent posting on the Windows Partner blog, Intel’s Brandon LeBlanc wrote that Windows 7 will be a far more efficient platform than its predecessor. According to LeBlanc, Microsoft worked with Intel to implement “a new feature called SMT parking, which provided additional support for the Windows 7 scheduler for Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, enabling better performance on hyperthreaded, multicore Intel processors.”

Nvidia product manager Chris Daniel wrote on the Windows Team blog last week that Windows 7 is “the first Windows operating system to treat the graphics-processing unit as a real peer to the CPU.” He went on to say that Windows 7 is doing a fine job of making its platform more appealing to gamers.

“Microsoft is really opening up the immense parallel-computing horsepower of the GPU natively right in the operating system,” he wrote.

Those are just a couple examples, but most companies, albeit with a vested interest in seeing Windows 7 succeed, are saying the platform is more powerful than its predecessors. Regardless of the motives, that can only be good for gamers.

Games Explorer
Perhaps Games Explorer won’t top the list of the features that will help make Windows 7 a great gaming platform, but it could help.

Although that feature originally launched with Windows Vista, Microsoft has promised that the Windows 7 version of Games Explorer will make gamers much happier with what they find.

Once they add titles to their PCs, gamers will be able to update those games from the Games Explorer pane, rather than open up each title and download updates in the software. If they want in-game statistics, they can have that too.

Dell’s profit sank drastically during the final quarter of 2008.

The PC maker reported fourth-quarter revenue of $13.4 billion Thursday, a 16 percent drop from $15.9 billion reported the same quarter a year ago. Dell’s profit for the quarter totaled $351 million, or 18 cents per share, compared to $671 million and 31 cents per share the year before. That’s nearly a 48 percent drop in profit. Analysts had been anticipating earnings per share of 26 cents.

Dell had reported last month it would be forced to take a pre-tax charge of $280 million, or 11 cents per share, related to cost-cutting and restructuring measures taken during the quarter.

The company continued to cite the “challenging” global environment and the reduction in IT spending by large corporate customers, a segment in which Dell is heavily invested. dell

Many of the company’s customers began to defer spending starting in the summer, and it “continued to deteriorate through the second half of the year,” Chief Financial Officer Brian Gladden said during a conference call with reporters. “We expect continued weakness during the current quarter.”

Gladden tried to keep the focus on the company’s progress on cutting costs. Dell cut operating expenses by 16 percent, or $363 million, during the fourth quarter.

He also said there would be more to come. Gladden said the company will be able to take $4 billion of costs out of its budget by 2011, up from the previous goal of $3 billion announced last year. The costs will come from improving on manufacturing and supply chain costs, as well as operating expenses. When asked if that included more job cuts, Gladden didn’t deny that it would. It’s “not just labor, not just people,” he said.

Microsoft is moving forward with plans to launch Windows 7 this year, although the company still refuses to publicly commit to that goal.PC industry sources in Asia told that they have heard things are on track to launch by this year’s holiday shopping season, which has been Microsoft’s internal target for some time. Microsoft is also putting the finishing touches on a program to offer Vista buyers a free or low-cost update to Windows 7. The company has run such “technology guarantee” programs in the past, typically allowing each PC maker to set the exact rules, but essentially offering buyers after a certain time to get a free upgrade to the next version. In an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Microsoft senior VP Bill Veghte cautioned that the release still could be pushed into 2010, depending on customer feedback.

Intel has launched a low-cost quad-core mobile processor and added more mobile Core 2 Duo processors to its chip lineup, according to an updated price list dated December 28.quadcore

Acer was one of the first PC makers to announce a system with the new quad-core processor. On Monday Acer released the Aspire 8930G-7665 laptop designed for extreme gaming using the new Intel Core 2 Quad Mobile Processor Q9000, which runs at 2.53GHz. The laptop comes with a 18.4-inch WUXGA screen and Nvidia GeForce 9700M GT graphics. It is priced at $1,799.

The Q9000 processor is listed at $348, significantly less expensive than the existing QX9300 mobile quad-core processor, which is listed at $1,038, and the Q9100, listed at $851. Both of these processors, however, have 12MB of cache memory, twice the amount of the cheaper Q9000, which integrates 6MB of cache. Generally, the more cache memory, the faster the processor.

1. Standard approach to mobile broadband
Windows 7 treats cellular modems as a standard connection, much like a Wi-Fi network, popping them up in the same available wireless networks dialog.

Sierra Wireless has already said it will support the new approach, which should make life much easier for road warriors (myself included). One of my few gripes about the prebeta Windows 7 laptop I’m using is that it doesn’t recognize my relatively new USB Sprint modem.

2. Help with public Wi-Fi spots.
This was a little feature I discovered on my own. With many public Wi-Fi hot spots, once you connect to the network, you have to do something in your browser, such as agree to certain terms or enter a password. Windows 7 pops up a notification that tells you that, although you have to be connected to the network, more action may be needed and it gives you a direct link to open your browser.

3. Windows Troubleshooting
Sure, it would be better if your computer worked problem-free. But, acknowledging that’s not the case, Microsoft has added a central place in Windows 7 to try to figure out what went wrong and why.

Among the kinds of problems that Windows Troubleshooting aims to help solve are issues with networked printers, detecting hard drive problems, and even some proactive things, like figuring out how much life a laptop battery has before it will likely need to be replaced with a new battery.

4. New sensor support
Windows 7 adds base-level support for all kinds of sensors, from GPS, to fingerprint readers, to ambient light sensors, to accelerometers. Light sensors, for example, can now be used not only to light up a keyboard, but an application could sense daylight and make type larger so that it’s easier to read.

At WinHEC, Microsoft handed out 700 free sensor developer kits that included a light sensor, touch pad, and accelerometer. The kit was a big hit with the developers, prompting one of the only long lines of the show.

5. Improved battery life and playback of DVDs
Microsoft is trying to do a couple things to make the DVD-playing experience better in Windows 7.

First and foremost, it has changed things so that DVD movies just start playing, as opposed to bringing up a long list of options.

Second, the company has worked to adjust power settings while playing back movies to enable better battery life.

“I’m hopeful it will have battery life equivalent to a portable DVD player,” Microsoft’s Jon DeVaan said in an interview. The issue is personal, he said. If Microsoft can reach its goal, he might be able to only bring a laptop on outings. “I hope to spare my back on family trips,” he said.

6. Windows Biometric Framework
According to a press release from fingerprint sensor make AuthenTec, the operating system features improved biometric support that should enable a more standard way for fingerprint management applications to work with fingerprint readers in Windows 7.

“This provides ease of fingerprint sensor integration for PC manufacturers and a more consistent user experience,” AuthenTec said in its release.

7. Enhancements to Windows Media Center
Microsoft hasn’t given up on its dream of having Windows gain a prominent spot in the living room and its main effort in this area–Windows Media Center–is back in Windows 7.

Adobe Systems announced late on Tuesday that it has begun shipping Creative Suite 4, the latest edition of its bundle of professional graphics and media applications.

The launch, which Adobe described as the largest in the company’s history, includes updated versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Contribute, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Soundbooth, OnLocation, and Encore. Four different flavors of the suite are available, with prices ranging from $1,699 to $2,499.

Adobe continues to improve integration among the applications. After Effects, for example, can import Photoshop 3D layers and export content directly into Flash.

Options for working with high-definition video and mobile content expand too, with support for the latest formats, as well as for making Adobe AIR applications.

If you feel that Windows starts too slowly most days, Microsoft is considering an option that could help.

The company is surveying select users on whether an “instant on” feature, which would rush a usable desktop to your screen in just seconds, is something they’d like included with Windows.

“The concept is called ‘Instant On.’ Instant On takes your computer from being completely powered down or turned off to being usable for a few specific activities in a very short amount of time,”

“The Instant On experience is different from “Full Windows” because it limits what activities you can do and what applications you can have access to,” the survey states.

Faster boot times are clearly a priority for Microsoft and could be included in Windows 7, the next planned release of the operating system.

“For Windows 7, a top goal is to significantly increase the number of systems that experience very good boot times. In the lab, a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds,” engineer Michael Fortin said


NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft has discovered evidence of past water at its Martian landing site and spotted falling snow for the first time, scientists reported Monday.

With summer waning, less sunlight is reaching the spacecraft’s solar panels on Mars.

Soil experiments revealed the presence of two minerals known to be formed in liquid water. Scientists identified the minerals as calcium carbonate, found in limestone and chalk, and sheet silicate.

But exactly how that happened remains a mystery.

“It’s really kind of all up in the air,” said William Boynton, a mission scientist at the University of Arizona at Tucson.

A laser aboard the Phoenix recently detected snow falling from clouds more than two miles above its home in the northern arctic plains. The snow disappeared before reaching the ground. hoenix landed in the Martian arctic plains in May on a three-month mission to study whether the environment could be friendly to microbial life. One of its biggest discoveries so far is confirming the presence of ice on the planet.

Scientists long suspected frozen water was buried in the northern plains based on measurements from an orbiting spacecraft. The lander also found that the soil was slightly alkaline and contained important nutrients and minerals.

Scientists think there could have been standing water at the site in the past or the ice could have melted and interacted with the minerals.


Mars today is frigid and dry with no sign of water on the surface, but researchers believe the planet once was warmer and wetter.

NASA extended the three-month mission through the end of the year if Phoenix can survive that long. With summer waning, less sunlight is reaching the spacecraft’s solar panels.

The Playstation 4 won’t feature Blu-ray.

The Playstation 4 should be made available in the next three to five years. During that time, Sony will need to work on getting Blu-ray into more homes and try to supplant DVD as the leader in the media space.

But how will it do that? The main advantage DVD still enjoys is that it’s mobile and ubiquitous.

It took DVD almost a decade to reach that kind of saturation and Blu-ray simply doesn’t have that much time. With companies like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and others quickly moving towards a home environment that doesn’t require a disc, but rather a download or streaming service, Blu-ray can’t compete.

It’s becoming easier and easier to stream movies from your computer to your HDTV. A Roku Netflix box means Blu-ray isn’t even needed anymore, and cable companies offer VOD service for those that don’t feel like popping a DVD into the player. And as broadband speeds increase making HD downloads more relevant, Blu-ray finds itself squeezed out by the past and the future.

And all the while, Sony is left to make the decision of whether or not it wants to tie its next video game console to an irrelevant format.