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The International Olympics Committee today gave its official approval for athletes to blog while at the Beijing games in August, providing that they do not publish media of the event or Olympic properties. Reuters reports that the IOC recognizes blogging as a form of personal expression, and not that of a journalistic nature. An additional stipulation states that any postings must adhere to the Olympic spirit, being "dignified and in good taste."
Yahoo's board of directors is torn between those seeking profit and others who would make an emotional decision to reject Microsoft's buyout attempt, according to sources cited by a report from the New York Post online. Yahoo chief Jerry Yang and several followers are allegedly seeking an alternative to Microsoft's takeover bid of $44.6 million, and could act out of emotion rather than their fiduciary duty to the company's shareholders. "The emotional part of Yang would rather do anything but sell to Microsoft, but he doesn't have the cards to come up with a value-creating, competitive alternative for shareholders," said one source.
Everex' newly shipping CloudBook Mini features several niceties that make it unique from the Asus Eee PC, but other drawbacks prevent it from fully taking the micro PC's crown. Laptop Magazine writes that Mac OS-like gOS simplifies the device's functions, but ultimately slows the miniature laptop in terms of boot and application startup time. Initially, reviewer Mark Spoonauer said that the trackpad is small and cumbersome to use, but warmed to it in the end.
Microsoft is prepping a major internal redesign of the Xbox 360 that will be both cooler and less expensive, according to a report from a historically accurate source. Nicknamed "Valhalla," the processor design will not only move both the IBM-built three-core processor and the ATI graphics to a more efficient 65 nanometer process (down from 90 nanometers) but will merge them into a single chip. The change will not only reduce the heat issues that have affected the console but also reduce the cost and noise of the Xbox: only one smaller, primary cooling system will be necessary, says the claim.
The delay in AT&T's mobile digital TV service has been confirmed, says a claimed source. While a company roadmap the tip suggests that both "legal issues" as well as technical troubles with the MediaFLO digital TV tuning processor have pushed the release back by as little as two or as many as eight weeks beyond existing delays, possibly resulting in a mid-April release. An initial release had been set for just after the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Dell is now offering customers the option to include an Intel Core 2 Duo "Penryn" processor select XPS M1730 notebooks. Users can select the Core 2 Duo T8300 at 2.4GHz or T9300 at 2.5 GHz 45nm CPUs with the 17-inch M1730. The former is included in the unit's price, while the latter is a $125 upgrade. The T7800, running at 2.6GHz, is a $400 upgrade option. Introduced in January, the 45-nanometer Core 2 notebook platform is based on the same Penryn architecture as the desktop Core 2 and Xeon parts. The smaller, denser chips also make room for media instructions and larger caches.
Samsung on Friday followed past promises and began mass production of the Flash SSD SATA II, its highest-performance solid-state drive to date. The new 1.8-inch, 64GB disk has both the added potential bandwidth of the Serial ATA II interface as well as much faster actual speed than its SATA I predecessor: at 100MB per second in reading data and 80MB per second for writes, the drive is about 60 percent faster than the outgoing drive. The speed also places the new Flash SSD ahead of many conventional drives in raw transfer speed rather than just the low latency advantage common to most SSD storage.
Sony's PlayStation 3 successfully edged out the Xbox 360 in sales for the first time in January, new research data from The NPD Group says. The console sold an estimate 269,000 systems during the first month of the year, significantly outpacing Microsoft's Xbox 360 at 230,000 and just narrowly missing the Nintendo Wii's 274,000 mark. Sony credits the jump in part to the PS3's built-in Blu-ray drive, which gave the console an added edge after news of Warner Bros. dropping HD DVD triggered a spike in sales of Blu-ray players and movies.
(Updated with official announcement) Wal-Mart will join a string of major retailers in being the next to drop HD DVD as a format, according to a post by an associate writing on an official company blog. The staffer claims that the store chain will echo the same Warner Bros. plans that triggered the sudden fall of HD DVD and will gradually phase out HD DVD movies and players, leaving only Blu-ray devices and titles on Wal-Mart shelves by June. Prices may also drop on Blu-ray equipment as consolidation around the single standard goes up, the writer speculates.
Microsoft's attempted acquisition of Yahoo! has gotten a bit more contentious. Bloomberg reports that a group of Yahoo shareholders have jointly filed a lawsuit against the search company for rejecting the $45 billion offer from Microsoft. Michigan's Wayne County Employees' Retirement System, which owns a relatively small 13,000 block of shares of Yahoo claims in the suit that the company failed to enter into substantial negotiations with Microsoft. "The board of directors is continually evaluating all of its strategic options. Our board believes the Microsoft proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo," Yahoo spokesperson Diana Wong told Bloomberg.
A relative newcomer to processor design, Montalvo Systems, hopes to take the edge over established firms such as AMD and Intel by using the concept of asymmetric cores, a reported source tells CNET. Much like the Cell processor at the core of the PlayStation 3, the unnamed first chip from Montalvo will feature at least one primary core but also multiple less powerful but more specialized cores that can offload work from the main cores without demanding as much power. While the way Montalvo's design will balance these uses is unknown, the Cell for PS3s typically uses its special cores to handle video decoding, networking, and background tasks.
Retailer Best Buy is no longer stocking any 15-inch MacBook Pro online, according to reader reports. The mid-range 2.4GHz model is listed as "sold out" and therefore unavailable; the base 2.2GHz version is listed as backordered and unavailable for between 1-2 weeks. Additionally, while the 17-inch MacBook Pro remains openly listed and immediately available, neither of the smaller versions are visible from Best Buy's section for the high-end notebooks.
Sigma today set pricing for its long-delayed DP1 high-end compact camera. Set to launch worldwide in the spring, the camera will now be priced in Sigma's UK home at a minimum £550 ($1,083) including tax for the standard version and £600 ($1,181) for a version that bundles a hot-shoe mounted digital viewfinder for photographers who prefer composing shots in a similar fashion to a digital SLR.
A future firmware update for the PlayStation 3 should fulfill a longstanding wish of owners to bring the cross media bar (XMB) interface in-game, Sony has inadvertently confirmed on its PlayStation Network site [since pulled]. A mention on the main page suggests users can communicate with each other during gameplay; such a feat is currently impossible with existing PS3 firmware, which limits the XMB to when users are not running any tasks on the system. While it does not explicitly promise the exact interface seen in the normal PS3 menu, the ability is not believed to depend on a custom chat overlay and would need a reworking of Sony's approach to chat as a whole.
Toshiba may be ready to pull the HD DVD format entirely after suffering a series of key defeats, says a claimed source of Hollywood Reporter. A tip reportedly from a person close to the HD DVD faction says Toshiba has not seen the expected surge in player sales from large-scale price discounts instituted for its movie players to compete with Blu-ray -- a decision which may have cost "several hundred dollars" per unit -- and is reportedly reeling from its format being marginalized at retailers such as Best Buy. The losses are such that Toshiba is said by the source to be announcing a complete withdrawal of HD DVD in a "matter of weeks."
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