Latest Computer and IT Support Industry News
I've been a huge fan of SSDs ever since I started looking into them back in 2008. The impact to the overall PC user experience is nothing short of tremendous. Honestly, whenever I use a system without an SSD I end up frustrated at just how slow it feels. I said it back in '08 and it's just as true today: moving to an SSD is the single biggest upgrade you can do for your machine. With all of that said, I'm very excited about today's continuation of our Holiday 2013 giveaway series. Crucial.com is providing us with two M500 SSDs to give away.
The M500 uses a Marvell 88SS9187 controller paired with Crucial's own firmware. The NAND comes courtesy of Crucial's parent company, Micron, and ships in a very unique 128Gbit configuration. The result is one of the best values in MLC SSDs, particularly at the highest 960GB capacity. The M500's performance is competitive, and it remains one of the only drives that supports Microsoft's eDrive standard. The M500's eDrive support allows Windows 8 users (on a properly enabled system) to allow Bitlocker to leverage the drive's hardware encryption engine rather than doing it all in software. The end result is virtually no additional CPU overhead for enabling Bitlocker in Windows 8, something you can't do without eDrive support.
Crucial.com sent us two high-capacity drives: a 480GB drive and a 960GB drive. We'll be drawing two winners at random, who will receive either a 480GB drive or a 960GB drive (prize distribution will also be at random). We'll be accepting entries until 12/12 at 9AM ET. To enter just leave a comment below (please only post once) and make sure you're a US resident with a US mailing address. For all entry details check out our official terms below. Good luck!
In the US, solar power remains one of the pricier options. Without tax breaks and renewable energy mandates, we'd probably see only a fraction of the installations that we currently do. And without much in the way of on-grid storage, solar is mostly useful for cutting into the peak demand that tends to hit midday.
All of which would seem to indicate that there's even less of a reason to install solar outside of wealthy, industrialized nations like the US and Germany. After all, if it doesn't always make economic sense here, it would make absolutely no sense to install it in developing nations where the cost matters much more. But that reasoning may very well be wrong; the things that are problems in the US may not apply at all in countries that don't have an existing grid and large generating facilities feeding power into it.
Coal generating facilities only become economic and efficient when they're relatively large. Natural gas plants can reach pretty good efficiencies when they're smaller, but these plants tend to need a large infrastructure to feed them with fuel. These factors mean that fossil fuel generating facilities make the most sense when plugged into a grid, which can then distribute their output to an appropriate number of homes or facilities.
We spend a lot of time watching and listening to our smartphones and tablets. The younger you are the more likely you are to turn to them for watching a movie or TV show instead of an actual TV. For a lot of us it is our primary source of music with our own content or streaming services. Very rarely when new phones or tablets are announced does a company place any emphasis on the quality of the audio.
The deadliest animals in the world, female mosquitoes, target their prey—us—because they are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale. But just finding breathing human beings isn't really enough to guarantee the one big sip of blood the mosquito needs to get the nutrients necessary for laying eggs. Most mosquitoes can't bite through heavy clothing, so they need to head for exposed skin like ankles and ears. Finding that perfect spot to suck our blood depends on more than just carbon dioxide. In fact, experiments have shown that if you turn off the mosquito's ability to sense carbon dioxide, they can still detect and target human odors.
A team of scientists from the University of California Riverside studied mosquito sensory perception and wanted to figure out how the mosquitoes sense our skin: which of our many body odor compounds do they recognize and what organs sense those compounds? They found that the same olfactory neurons on the mosquito's maxillary palp—the little sensory appendages around the mouth—that sense carbon dioxide also play a major role in identifying human body odors.
To test this, they needed some human body odors. They collected a bit of distinctive fragrance by having a couple of subjects rub their feet on some glass beads. They then watched as the test mosquito, Aedes aegypti, homed in on the beads even when placed in a small wind tunnel.
I'm working on a website that will allow users to log in using OAuth credentials from the likes of Twitter, Google, etc. To do this, I have to register with these various providers and get a super-secret API key that I have to protect with pledges against various body parts. If my key gets ganked, the part gets yanked.
It's no secret that Internet service providers fall squarely within "can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em" territory.
Whether it's a monthly bill that goes up $20 every three months for seemingly no reason, connections that sputter out right in the middle of a video, or customer support that is less than helpful, nearly everyone has a story about how ISPs have made life difficult. We asked Ars readers to share their most distressing tales of Internet woe a few days ago, promising to detail the responses in a follow-up article. More than 300 comments came in—let's take a look at some of the more intriguing ones.Pricing horrors, data caps, and little competition
High prices are bad enough… couple that with data caps, and you have a recipe for unhappy customers.
If you've ever tried to follow a recipe online while cooking simultaneously, you'll know it can be a messy business. Handy by Flora is a new Web app that aims to change all that, letting you control recipes' videos on YouTube without even having to touch your laptop.
Using gesture-control technology, cooks can operate the video by swiping their hand in front of the webcam attached to their laptop. All you need to do is copy and paste the URL of the YouTube video you want to watch into the box on the Handy by Flora website, and the video can play almost as normal. A small box in the top left-hand corner of the screen will show you the webcam's view, and a bar running along the top of that box will show you how the webcam is responding to your gestures.
A left-to-right swipe will play the video, whereas a right-to-left one pauses it. A second right-to-left swipe will rewind the video ten seconds, allowing you to easily catch up if you've missed anything. The technology has been jointly developed by Flora and a company called Lean Mean Fighting Machine over the past six months.
In a blog post on Friday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said that he would postpone a June 2014 spectrum auction to mid-2015. In his post, Wheeler called for more extensive testing of “the operating systems and the software necessary to conduct the world’s first-of-a kind incentive auction.”
”Only when our software and systems are technically ready, user friendly, and thoroughly tested, will we start the auction,” wrote Wheeler. The chairman also said that he wanted to develop procedures for how the auction will be conducted, specifically after seeking public comment on those details in the second half of next year.
A separate auction for 10MHz of space will take place in January 2014. In 2012, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which required the FCC to auction off 65MHz of spectrum by 2015. Revenue from the auction will go toward developing FirstNet, an LTE network for first responders. Two months ago, acting FCC chair Mignon Clyburn announced that the commission would start that sell-off by placing 10MHz on the auction block in January 2014. The other 55MHz would be auctioned off at a later date, before the end of 2015.
In the run-up to the Xbox One's launch this year, one of the more amusing stories was a Microsoft blog post suggesting that users could mark the system as a tax write-off if they used things like Skype chatting and Microsoft Office online for business purposes. It seemed silly, but it got me wondering: Could the Xbox One and some Web-based apps fill in for the desktop or laptop I usually use for my day-to-day work?
After using it in just that way for the better part of a day, I was surprised to find that the Xbox One's version of Internet Explorer lets the system serve as a halfway decent work machine—though not without a good deal of headaches and missing features. It wouldn't take many tweaks for Microsoft to really unlock the Xbox One's potential for productivity, letting the company market the box in earnest as a living room computer in addition to a high-end game machine.Getting to work