AMD gets monkey to install graphics card

In a bid to convince you that it’s really really easy to install a graphics card in a desktop gaming machine, AMD has enlisted a monkey to show you how it’s done.

We’re not sure if AMD is taking the micky out of people or the micky out of monkeys with the video.

A lively discussion on Facebook, prompted by tech hack Sylvie Barak who posted the vid, ensued. Sylvie says she is “a little shocked that a certain company thinks people have nothing better to do than write up stupid videos of monkeys installing graphics cards”.

Damn it, we’ve just done it ourselves!

Net neutrality shouldn't stop RIAA snooping

A music industry lobby group famous for dragging the elderly, the sick  and the dead into court to face piracy charges wants a law which allows for net neutrality to help it bang more P2P users into jail.

The Recording Industry Association of America said it wants to make sure that when the US government brings in regulations on  Net neutrality it does not stop it sending letters blackmailing students demanding huge amounts of cash for downloading Coldplay and U2 singles.

The RIAA has asked the Federal Communications Commission to “adopt flexible rules” that free Internet service providers to fight copyright theft.

Actually what is saying is that it is fine to throttle the internet for P2P pirates as this will discourage the practice.  Of course if the FCC listened it would through net neutrality out the window.  All an ISP would have to do is claim that any bandwidth throttling it did was to prevent piracy.

According to a copy of comments submitted by the RIAA  the “Open Internet” principles should not protect unlawful content such as pirated songs.

It wants ISPs to adopt a “graduated response” when dealing with illegal file sharing and if it gets its way chronic offenders could lose Internet access.

Ballmer to China: Censor Bing anytime!

Delightfully understated Microsoft CEO Steve “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Ballmer has shown that his hand is well and truly on the pulse of international sentiment by declaring that his outfit would love to continue trading with China.

While rivals Google are considering pulling out of China so that they can mention the Dalai Lama as being a good bloke without being fined, Ballmer has said to China that it is free to censor his Bing anytime.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEOBallmer said his company intends to stay in business inside of China and obey the laws of that country even if it does mean turning over the names, addresses and emails of people that China does not think are very nice.  If this results in such people being executed in mobile execution trucks and their organs harvested at least they will never be using a rival search or browser.

After having a quiet lunch with  President Obama on ways the government can use technology to cut costs, Ballmer mimed that he had been quite clear that we are going to operate in China, and he was going to abide by the law.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Microsoft has not had its email system breached by Chinese hackers recently.

Picture of Apple tablet tips up

Pictures  of what is claimed to be Apple’s new tablet have appeared online in response to Gawker  magazine offering large amounts of cash to those who can show them one.

The pictures show Steve Jobs at his design best, and setting the standard for a new form of computing. 

The machine, which is tipped to cost $1,000, has Apple’s traditional minimalist form, with the graphics being controlled by two iWheels rather than the expected touch screen. 

The “Lust Red” casing is a bold return to polymer casing, but since the tablet sports a Green Apple logo we are sure it must be fully recyclable.

It is not clear what is under the bonnet of the new tablet.  Many have suspected that it will be powered by Intel’s Atom, although the graphics seem to suggest Nvidia has had a hand in it.

An artist's impression of the iSlateOne of the Wow! features of the new tablet is that its screen is refreshed by turning it upside down and shaking it.  This is the sort of design brilliance that Apple is famous for.

Notation that comes with the leaked screen shot suggests that the battery life is indefinite.  If this is the case then it must have some form of solar panelling on the back which cannot be seen in this picture.  Certainly this would be a bold move to deal with those who believe that mobile hardware should last a long time between recharges.

Gawker has been hit by an Apple cease and desist letter for offering the bounty, but we were hoping that it would be brave and pay us up front.

Analysts make up numbers on Apple piracy

Figures on how much cash that Jobs’ Mob lost to application piracy seem to have been obtained by thinking about a really big number, dividing by your shoe size and adding a couple of zeros.

Analyst outfit 24/7 Wall Street hit the headlines yesterday, claiming that Apple and third-party developers have lost $450 million due to App Store piracy since the store launched in July of 2008.

All great for a Thursday, but on Friday many of us are wondering how this figure was reached.

24/7 Wall Street takes a realistic number, which is based around an estimate from a Bernstein analyst that 510 million of the three billion applications downloaded from the App Store were paid downloads, and that the average application on the store costs $3.

The outfit then reasons that since there are 7.5 million jailbroken phones and iPod Touches,  40 percent of those use pirated applications.

Then using a figure which appears to have come from thin air, the report estimates that, for every one application downloaded legally, three are pirated.

Where did this come from?  The 75 percent piracy rate was apparently based on a “handful of developer accounts”, which in this magazine is a term which means “we asked a bloke in a pub”.

The report adds that 1.53 billion applications have been pirated at an average of $3 per unit, equalling $4.59 billion in lost sales.

24/7 realises that not every pirate would buy the application if it had not been otherwise available for free and thinks that 10 percent of pirates would have purchased, resulting in in $450 million in lost sales.

What is wrong with this is assuming that all applications are popular enough to pirate.  Some might be cracked while others are sitting inside Apple’s App store in the corner, getting drunker and not being looked at twice even by pirates.

Kodak glares at BlackBerry and iPhone

Happy snapper Eastman Kodak has threatened to remove iPhones and BlackBerrys from shop shelves claiming that Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) nicked its ideas.

The outfit reckons that the cameras used in Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry to preview images infringes on a digital imaging patent it owns.

Kodak is asking the US International Trade Commission (ITC), to refuse to allow the iPhone and Blackberry to be imported unless the pair pay large wodges of cash in used banknotes.

Apparently Kodak has been arguing with Jobs’ Mob and RIM for ages and so far a briefcase of bank notes has not been forthcoming.

Kodak has also filed two lawsuits against Apple in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on the basis if it can make it there, it can make it anywhere.

The first case claims that two patents related to image preview and the ability to process images of different resolutions did not spring fully formed from the mind of Steve Jobs as Apple fanboys claim. The second suit is about a process by which one computer program can call on another to carry out certain functions.

It is strange that Apple did not heed the warnings and strike a deal and carry on.  Kodak has already won a case against Sun Microsystems in 2002 over the same technology. It has also recently struck deals with Samsung and LG under which the Korean giants will pay Kodak royalties.

Intel beats the market with enormous profits

Chip giant Intel – formerly known as Chipzilla – turned in its fourth quarter results and made an enormous profit, reflecting a turnaround in the PC industry.

It turned in a profit of $2.28 billion on turnover of nearly $11 billion, the kind of results it was always used to before the darkening days of global recession.

Its gross margin also soared from 59 percent to 63 percent and it’s ambitious about the future too.

The industry is turning round – that was confirmed earlier this week by Gartner Group and IDC figures – and Intel is confident about the future as well.

CEO Paul Otellini (59) reckoned, in a statement, that the results reflected its investment in high end process manufacturing.

Intel is the “king” of process manufacturing, committed as it is to “Moore’s Law” which dictates that the smaller a chip gets, the more powerful it gets and you get many on a 12-inch wafer – a purified silicon slab that is photo-lithographed. That uses a very sophisticated and expensive kind of camera. The more chips you get on a wafer at a smaller size, the more money you make.

This is semiconductor technology. Software is a different ball game.

AMD rolls out HD gaming card

Chip firm AMD said it has introduced the ATI Radeon HD5670 graphics card and claims it’s the world’s first and only product fully supporting DirectX 11.

AMD says that the HD5670 graphics chip gives over 20 percent performance improvement over equivalent “competitive” products. It means Nvidia.

AMD HD5670 cardThe card costs under $100 in the US, and AMD claims it will provide up to 620 GigaFLOPS of computer power and GDDR5 memory.

The card will let you use up to three displays at once, and uses ATI Stream tech to speed up video transcoding and give better performance with Adobe Flash and the like.

The card, pictured above, takes less than 75 Watts under full load, and includes ATI CrossFireX dual mode support.

Having kids lowers your blood pressure

A study from Brigham Young University (BYU) said that parenthood – particularly for young women – lowers blood pressure.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom. But then conventional wisdom regards blood pressure as something different from the way medicine does.

A BYU psychologist, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, has had her peer-reviewed findings published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Said Holt-Lunstad: “While caring for children may include daily hassles, deriving a sense of meaning and purpose from life’s stress has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes.”

She studied 198 adults wearing portable blood pressure meters under their clothes for a day.  Parents scored 4.5 points lower than non-parents in diastolic blood pressure, and three points lower in diastolic blood pressure. and Holt-Lunstad says the size of the difference is statistically significant.

But she cautioned against people having more children. “The findings are simply tied to parenthood, no matter the number of children or employment status.”

Mothers showed the effect in a more pronounced way – with a 12 point difference in systolic blood pressure and a seven point difference in diastolic blood pressure. More here.

Realnetworks boss cleans out his desk

After a couple of years watching his outfit drop down the loo, Realnetworks boss Rob Glaser has called it a day.

For 16 years Glaser has watched the media outfit grow from nothing, to something and back to nothing again and now has decided to clean out his desk.

He will still be around as chairman, but will be replaced by Robert Kimball as president and acting chief executive officer. His exit mirrors that of John Giamatteo, the company’s chief operating officer.

All really is not that well at Real.  Glaser set up the outfit after defecting from the Mighty Microsoft Machine.  In the early days it produced some natty  proprietary software formats, RealAudio and RealVideo. It was the early days of the web and Real was the big name in online video and audio.

But Glaser dropped the ball when the internet video boom took off.  Real was duffed up by MP3, Youtube and Apple. To most people Real was a bit like AOL.  It might have been good in the pioneering days of the world wide wibble but now was as useful as one of those early mobile phones.

Glasser didn’t give up.  But his attempts to get back in the running by releasing  DVD back-up got him a court action from the movie studios, which he lost, and little else. Kimball will have to come up with something new fast if Real is not simply going to fall into yet another post-modern definition of illusion.