CNET interns Jeff and Jeremy give the Webcam a premature Fourth of July fireworks show and fuzzify the viewers, but we'll forgive them this time. In other news, we also take apart the Great Firewall of China, beg for Rush Limbaugh's scraps, voraciously consume watermelon with a vengeance, hack a few ATMs across the country, and question Wilson's stubborn refusal to see GOOD MOVIES.EPISODE 134 Download today's podcast
A couple months back I attempted to test two 30-inch displays--the Samsung SyncMaster 305T and the Gateway XHD3000 Extreme HD-- at the same time using CNET Labs' current distribution amplifier (DA), the Extron Electronics D2 DA4 DVI D2 DA4 DVI. This device allows up to four displays to simultaneously view the same video signal from one system. For years we've used this device to not only speed up testing, but to do accurate direct comparisons as well. Unfortunately the native resolution for the aforementioned 30-inchers is 2,560x1,600, and the maximum resolution the Extron supports is only 1,920x1,200. So, without a means to test them simultaneously at their native resolutions I was stuck in a bind. I could have tested them one at a time, but since our testing--which includes DisplayMate--has a high level of subjectivity to it, it's always best to do direct simultaneous comparisons, instead of testing one display today and then waiting a couple days to test the next. Testing them simultaneously allows you to see the exact differences between the displays.
So I delayed the testing and the review for a few weeks. In the meantime I got in touch with a colleague at DisplayMate, Ray Soneira. He put me in contact with a company called Kramer. Kramer manufactures a number of distribution amplifiers including the Kramer VM-2DVI. This particular DA is Dual Link compatible and supports each 30-inch display's 2560x1600 resolution. So now I could test both 30-inch displays simultaneously at their native resolutions in DisplayMate and in our current games test, World of Warcraft. However whenever I attempted to run either our Kill Bill Vol. 1 DVD or our Swordfish BD on both displays at the same time, the DRM gods reared their ugly heads and denied me salvation. So when testing how each display handles disc-based movies, I was forced to evaluate each display one at a time. The Kramer VM-2DVI is not advanced enough to circumvent DRM tomfoolery, unfortunately. That said, we're still very pleased that the VM-2DVI allowed us to do the bulk of our testing as fairly and accurately as possible.
The issue of not being able to view certain disc-based movies simultaneously on two or more displays may not be an issue for long, as CNET Labs is considering moving away from using movies--and even games-- to evaluate the quality of a display. The reason being that video images generally move too quickly to do a picture quality comparison, whereas static images such as high-quality photos can be studied as long as necessary in order to examine their quality. No decision has been made as yet, though, but look for more on this in a future Inside CNET Labs post.… Read more
If the people at Flaik are to be believed, they've created a product that's the next best thing to a personal guide on the ski slopes--and maybe even an entire posse to boot.
The Australian company's namesake product is a GPS device that can monitor your every move and log your performance, presuming that you're a good enough skier to want to keep track. Then you can keep score by posting your numbers to Flaik's online community to compare your speed, distance, air time, and other stats. By the way, don't even think about … Read more
It's languished for a while, but Rob Galbraith's extremely useful and detailed database of performance tests on CompactFlash and SD media has just been updated. If you've got burning questions about whether it's worth the extra bucks for a flashier flash card, this is the place to look. Recent additions include tests with the Canon EOS 40D and Nikon D300.
Intel gave CEO Paul Otellini a substantial pay raise last year, doubling the value of his compensation, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Otellini's total compensation package clocked in at $12.1 million last year, up from $5.9 million the previous year--an increase of 104 percent.
Intel investors, meanwhile, saw the chip giant's stock jump 33.6 percent during the year, as the Dow logged a 5 percent gain and the Nasdaq a 7.6 percent increase.
Otellini's pay hike was the result of trying to bring his compensation package in line … Read more
The last time Windows' System Restore failed on me, I didn't blink an eye. I gave up trusting Microsoft's own Registry safety net a long time ago. And considering the quality Registry freeware available, there's no reason you should rely on Windows to repair and recover from Registry-related problems. These four freebies will keep the Windows engine purring like a kitten.
Clear out the clutter with CCleaner Piriform's popular Windows-optimization utility includes a Registry-scrubbing component that clears out old application paths, ActiveX controls, shared DLLs, fonts, icons, and other Registry detritus. The program gives you the … Read more
The other evening I turned off my Windows XP system and busied myself with other matters, only to find the machine churning away several minutes later as it worked through its shutdown process. I could've understood the delay if it were installing updates, or even if some program or service had hung the system. But this was a typical PC shutdown, and it was taking forever.
"There's gotta be a better way," I thought, and after doing a little research, I found a bunch of Registry tweaks that reset Windows to close shop like it's … Read more
After I compared three popular desktop-search programs a couple of weeks ago, the folks at Google contacted me about a couple of inaccuracies in that post. I had thought that because local files are listed above Web sites when you use Google to search in your browser, the ads that appear on the results page are related to the content of the local files. In fact, Google keeps an index of your local files on its servers only when you enable the Search Across Computers feature, which is off by default. And even then, the index disappears once the search … Read more
Vladimir Vukićević from Mozilla's Firefox team eventually managed to turn Firefox 3 into a speed demon on Mac OS X. But Apple sure didn't help with the process.
Apple may not have been trying to cripple non-Apple applications on Mac OS X, but the fact that it's not open source means that the world is beholden to Apple's whims, as Vlad writes:
I do not think that Apple is in any way trying to purposely "cripple" non-Apple software. I also do not think that undocumented APIs give Safari any kind of "significant performance advantage" (as Firefox 3 should show!). … Read more
This post was updated at 8:06 PM PT to add comment from Bebo.
Remember that controversial study awhile back that pegged Facebook as having the worst performance out of major social media sites? Get ready for controversy, because a new one just came out that puts youth-oriented Bebo in the top, er, bottom spot, with Facebook pulling in a rather respectable ranking.
Representatives from Pingdom, a performance monitoring software company, posted a blog entry on Tuesday with the results of a study that monitored how much downtime 14 major social networks experienced between January 1 and February 25. Bebo, … Read more