So it seems China is really serious about censoring internet traffic. The New York Times reports that the government will require all PCs sold in the country must have filtering software pre-installed. With a implementation deadline of July 1, the system will allow the Chinese government to remotely update a banned list of websites stored on the computers.
I’m sure this will piss off a lot of Chinese. I can only imagine the reaction of online gamers who find access to their MMORPG cut at their local net cafe. But I’m pretty sure some savvy users will find ways around the block. Some enterprising programmer must be working on software to fool the government’s watchdog.
Now, I’m not familiar with computing realities in China. But if retailers like Dell or HP sell computers with bloatware, that’s something the Chinese government should definitely ban. Bloatware has long plagued new computer users, who’ve suffered from decreased performance and slowdowns caused by marketing-oriented pre-installed apps, and who’ve most likely struggled through a complete OS reinstall to clean up their brand new toys.
Which leads me to another question: what will stop users from reformatting their new computers, preinstalled with the government software, and starting from scratch? Has China actually reconfigured its gateways to allow access only to those running the software?
Foreign manufacturers retailing in China are definitely confused. Manufacturers have complained about the directive’s vagueness. They do know what the end result should be, but unsure about its implementation. “The wording may be intentionally vague, but the message is clear: we have no choice in the matter,” complained one anonymous computer executive.
In any case, some people see the required proliferation of this filtering software as a step back. I for one see the total, absolute end of computer bloatware as progress. I’d be willing to actually pay a bit more to free manufacturers from marketing deals which “force” them to pre-install bloatware. What about you?
phoneWreck did just that, taking a brand-new Palm Pre apart to analyze the components and how the electronics relate to each other. Want to know how the Baseband Processor links to the Dual-Band RF Transceiver? Want to read technobabble that puts Star Trek’s Data to shame? Look below! (click on the image to see the full-size version)
And here’s a picture that is more familiar to our eye-candy-friendly sort of comprehension:
The full mind-boggling details, suitable for consumption by electronics experts, is available via phoneWreck.
Everything Pre last May 19: “Shortly after the announcement of a June 6th release date for the Palm Pre, Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse indicated the company did not plan to spend much on advertising and expects supply shortages to develop. “We won’t be able to keep up with demand for the device in the early period of time,” said Hesse.”
PC World last May 23: “Well, now it’s time for the bad news, because Best Buy is rumored to have only 4250 units in stock for the Pre’s June 6 launch, according to BGR.
That’s a big problem since Best Buy will sell the Pre at almost 1000 of its Best Buy Mobile counters and specialty stores nationwide, leaving an average of just four devices per store. What Best Buy will likely do in this case is, just like Apple did during the early days of the iPhone 3G, direct larger quantities of Pre devices to higher population areas. That means if you live in a smaller city or rural area, you may be waiting a long time after launch day before seeing the Palm Pre on store shelves near you.”
Introducing the Sony PSP Go: Seems Sony realized that the UMD format was effectively dead; the latest planned incarnation of the Sony PSP only accepts media through Memory Stick Micro cards and wireless downloads (via the PlayStation Network). Bad news for current UMD and normal-sized Memory Stick users.
Yet the focus on digital delivery means that Sony was reportedly thoughtful enough to equip the PSP Go with 16GB of onboard memory. The new slide-down form factor may be something new for longtime PSP users. That’s because controlling the portable console requires the hands to be closer together—and below the Go’s 3.8″ screen. Compare that to the thumbs-on-the-side configuration that has defined every PSP model until now. [Read more]
In the video below, you can see the Android OS—originally designed for mobile phones—boot up relatively quickly and take full advantage of the laptop’s built-in HSDPA. Yes, you heard that right, a laptop:
Featured at the recently concluded Computex, it’s obvious that Google needs to change at least one thing: you don’t tell a laptop owner to turn of his or her “phone”. Interesting though how the apparently unvarnished version of the OS automatically adapts to a laptop’s larger-than-mobile resolution. According to the video’s uploader, Asus was publicizing their own Android-based laptop, but reportedly chose not to showcase a demo unit.
Compal, the company behind the laptop, is known as the outsourced manufacturer for big brands like Dell and HP. It specializes in the production of notebooks and computer displays.
Since StatCounter started tracking Microsoft Bing’s online presence last June 1, the search engine has grabbed a market share of 5.56%—about 0.39% higher than Yahoo as of June 4.
No doubt, Microsoft’s marketing push has helped. I’m sure Bing has benefited from the relative success of Windows 7 to grab the attention of the more tech-minded, while more casual users probably try Bing out of curiosity.
It remains to be seen if Bing will maintain its momentum. Google after all retains its stranglehold on search at 87.66%. Yet it’s actually lost almost two percent market share over the June 1 - June 4 period (Yahoo lost “only” 0.14%, ending up at 5.17%). If StatCounter is an accurate tracker of US online search habits (the figures cited here only cover that country), and if Bing can manage to sustain its growth over the next few months, Microsoft will definitely have a winner here.
Yahoo, on the other hand, ends up losing face again. A search pioneer drops to third to a relative newcomer.
Over at the Guardian, Richard Wray writes:
Trying to stop people sharing copyrighted material over the internet is a game of cat and mouse in which the pirates will always win and calls for internet service providers to halt illegal file sharing are “naive”, according to the boss of Carphone Warehouse.
Instead, Charles Dunstone said, the solution is education about the benefits of respecting copyright coupled with services that allow consumers “to get content easily and cheaply“.
Amen brother! A friend from the Philippines recently complained about the iTunes Store’s lack of support for his country.
“Sure, currently you can buy applications and download podcasts for your iPod Touch or iPhone. But no can do for music and video. I’m an avid fan of Burn Notice and Dexter, but I prefer to watch those shows on my own time, free from the set schedule of local cable.
I’m very willing to pay the few dollars for each episode. After all, those TV shows have to make money, right? But I can’t; the iTunes Store doesn’t offer that kind of content for my country, and neither do other (if any) online retailers. So what can I do? I like the show and I want to watch it, so I end up leaving the computer on over the weekend to get those torrents.”
To be quite honest, the sooner copyright holders realize that widespread digital distribution brings in more paying customers, the sooner they will face less piracy.
If I was attending the upcoming WWDC and Apple does reveal new iPhone functionality or a model (as rumored by so many websites online), I’d sarcastically scream the following phrases at the top of my lungs.
- “Oh my God!!! It can now capture video??!?!? Fantastic!!!!!”
- “People can now copy and paste text from one app to another??!?! Amazing!!!!!”
- “Wow, people can now get an iPhone for less than $100?!?!??! Why, how generous of Apple!!!!!”
- “What, I can now send pictures, music and videos as text messages?!?!? Unbelievable!!!!!!”
So what new features will Apple introduce with the latest iPhone, presenting them as revolutionary to the Jobsian masses? What new arguments will Apple users employ to insist on their superiority? This and more to be revealed this coming WWDC!
Part of Steam’s appeal must be its regular discounts and price drops. But with so many titles in the catalog, it can be easy to miss out on some of them.
Yet that should now be practically impossible, thanks to the efforts of Steam forum user sciss0rz, who’s taken it upon himself to update other forum members with information on—you guessed it—the latest discounts and price drops on Steam! The list (found here) also includes information on Steam game packs, compilations of multiple titles that are usually available at a lower total price (sciss0rz does not list packs that represent no savings).
Even more important however is region availability. Lots of Steam customers have complained about the inconsistent availability of games worldwide. Specific games aren’t available in certain regions and countries, and you can see who misses out on what.
Nevertheless, the “Price Reduction and Sales!” thread is a very useful resource that any Steam user should bookmark. Heck, I’d even suggest making it your browser homepage, if only not to miss out on any new promos cooked up by Valve’s sales team.