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The Mars One Astronaut Selection Program Press Conference

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A Netherlands non-profit group, Mars One, announced they will begin a global search on July 2013 to find the best candidates for the first human mission to Mars in 2023.

Applicants must submit a one-minute YouTube video explaining why they are the best candidate to become one of the 40 astronaut trainees. Those chosen would-be astronauts will train three months at a time beginning on 2015, and continue to train for the next 7 years to prepare for the hardships of the travel through space and living in the red planet.

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The spacecraft will launch in 2023 in route to planet Mars with four astronauts. I really thought this was a April’s Fool joke due to the insanity you will learn now, but it is for real. The unbelievable truth about this Mars One colonization project is that whoever wishes to volunteer must agree and understand this is a [One-Way] trip. There’s no plans to return back to planet Earth. The spacecraft is designed so. Hopefully, there are enough Supply Depots to endure the harsh conditions on the red planet.

Road Map

In 2014, Mars One plans to begin development of a communications satellite that will be set in orbit around Mars to facilitate broadcasting. Astronauts will have access to the internet with a six minute delay up to 22 minutes delay. Partially owned by Mars One, Interplanetary Media Group (IMG) plans to sell the broadcast rights (in advance) to raise funds for the project. IMG will televise the training, interplanetary trip, Mars landing and eventual living and experiences of the astronauts on planet Mars as a Reality Show.

And you thought the Survival reality show was harsh …

2014 will also be the year when Mars One begins Supply development. The Supply cargo will be launched into space on January 2016 containing 2500 kilograms of spare parts, solar photovoltaic panels, and general supplies. It is expected to land on the Mars outpost on October 2016.

A Mars Rover will be launched in 2018. It will explore and pinpoint the best landing spot for the 2023 first Human-boarded vessel. Mars One plans to video stream and broadcast the Rover exploration 24/7/365 via the Mars-orbiting Communication Satellite.

“In 2021 all the components of the settlement reach their destination in six separate landers. Two living units, two life support units, a second supply unit, and another rover arrive on Mars. The two rovers take all components to the settlement location and prepare for the arrival of Mars Team One, the first humans on Mars. A second video stream will be broadcast to Earth 24/7/365.”

“All water, oxygen and atmosphere production will be ready by early 2022, which is when the Earth crew is granted the go-for-launch of Mars Team One. Each component of the Mars transit vehicle is launched into a low Earth orbit and linked. In September history is made as the first four astronauts are launched on their journey to the Red Planet. Every part of this adventure will be broadcast to Earth 24/7/365.”

“The Mars Team One astronauts land in 2023 – the first humans to set foot on Mars! Once settled in, their first tasks include installing the connecting tubes between the individual capsules, configuring and activating the food production units, and assembling the remaining solar photovoltaic panels. Their epic exploration of Mars, their new home planet begins, with everyone on Earth engaged in the 24/7/365 broadcast. A few weeks later, five cargo missions arrive, bringing additional living units, life support units, and a third rover.”

“In June of 2025 Mars Team Two the second crew of four astronauts lands. They are received by their predecessors who have completed the construction of the settlement. As successive Mars One Teams arrive, the settlement will grow in its capacity for scientific research, experiments, and exploration of Mars, with a minimum of four high definition video streams providing viewers on Earth with 24/7/365 engagement.”

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Future Expansion

A new group of four astronauts will land on Mars every two years, steadily increasing the settlement’s size. Eventually, a living unit will be built from local materials, large enough to grow trees. As more astronauts arrive, the creativity applied to settlement expansion will certainly give way to ideas and innovation that we cannot conceive now. But we can expect the human spirit to continue to persevere, to even thrive in this challenging environment.

Press Conference: April 22

Mars One will hold a press conference in New York City this upcoming Monday, April 22 at noon. There will be a live stream (embed below) of their plans and volunteer astronaut trainee application process. They plan to have a live Q&A onsite and via Twitter.

Applicants must be age 18 or older. Have an excellent health condition, and eye vision. Checkout the qualifications to apply for this astronaut training position at the Mars One website.

      “On Monday 22nd April 2013, Mars One will make an important announcement about its astronaut selection program at a press conference in New York.

      The briefing will be moderated by Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor at the Planetary Society. The panel will include:
      Bas Lansdorp, Co-Founder and CEO, Mars One
      Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel laureate and Ambassador of Mars One
      Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer, Mars One
      Grant Anderson, Sr. VP Operations, Chief Engineer and Co-Founder, Paragon Space Development Corporation
      Bryan Versteeg, Mission Concept Artist, Mars One

      You can be a part of the Q&A by sending us your questions and opinions via Twitter by using the hashtag #MarsOneLaunch.

Razer Edge Pro 256GB and Razer Edge 128GB Available Now

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Razer unveiled the Razer Edge (codename: Project Fiona) at CES2013 winning the Best of Show CES 2013 and People’s Voice CES 2013 Awards. Razer Edge also won four coveted CES 2012 Awards. It’s a gaming tablet that can be played in four-modes: Tablet Mode, Keyboard Mode, Mobile Console Mode, and Home Console Mode.

Both the Razer Edge Pro Tablet (256GB) for $1,499, and the Razer Edge (128GB) for $1299 are available for pre-order. The price is staggering high, but that doesn’t stop gamers from buying one.

The Razer Blade Gaming Laptop was considered very expensive considering you can get a similar setup for less, and still about three shipping waves sold out consecutively. The Razer Edge tablet will ship on March 2013. Once that batch is sold out, the next shipping wave will go out on May 2013. If you fancy one of these, better pre-order the March wave while supplies last — which is not too long from now.

Crazy stuff! These are the tech specs for the Razer Edge Pro 256GB Tablet.

Below you can see some photos and the available optional docking mode peripherals.

Tech Specs

Specs   Razer Edge Pro  
Processor Intel Core i7 Dual core w/ Hyper Threading Base 1.9GHz / Turbo 3.0GHz  
Memory 8GB DDR3 (2x4GB 1600MHz)  
Video Intel HD4000 (DX11)
NVIDIA GT 640M LE (2GB DDR3, Optimus Technology)
 
Display 10.1” (IPS, 1366×768)
Multi-touch HD display
 
Operating System Windows 8  
Storage 128/256GB SSD (SATA-III)*  
Network Intel WLAN (802.11b/g/n + BT4)  
Others Stereo speakers
Codec supports 7.1 (via HDMI through optional Docking Station)
HD Webcam (front-facing, 2MP)
Array microphones
Dolby Home Theater v4
USB 3.0 x1 (green, SuperSpeed)
Audio jack (3.5mm, 4-pole, stereo out / mic in)

Razer Edge Docking Station (Home Console Mode)

The Razer Edge Docking Station connects your Razer Edge to a desktop display and peripherals. This docking station allows players to hook up an HDMI cable to a big screen TV (HDTV) and up to two gamepad controllers.

The docking station basically turns your Razer Edge tablet into a Game Console. It expands your tablet with 3x USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a MIC in/Stereo out port.

Razer Edge Gamepad Controller

The Razer Gamepad Controller for Razer Edge converts your tablet into a Mobile Console placing the tablet on a peripheral attachment that adds two analog sticks placed to the left and right of the tablet. It has a immersive vibration-feedback and direct reflective acoustics, a backlit D-Pad and action buttons. (Xinput support)

The Gamepad Controller has an optional extended battery and power adapter (sold separately).

The Keyboard Mode dock station will be available at a later time. It basically converts the Razer Edge tablet into a small laptop.

StarCraft II on the Razer Edge

Alright, I know what you are thinking. “Why not get a laptop for the same price? It’s a matter of choice. Do you want a tablet like the iPad, or the Surface but also want high-end mobile video gaming on it? Then the Razer Edge can give you that … edge. And it runs on Windows 8 (DX11). I can also hear you: “Can this piece of [beep] run my favorite video games?” get the optional keyboard mode peripheral and you can play StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft, and Diablo III.

Let’s say you are a proGamer and need to travel to other countries to play against the best StarCraft II players. You want to travel light, without setting up a big system, or a heavy laptop. Bring the Razer Edge tablet, attach the keyboard docking station, or the Home Console docking station plugged into a big HDTV via HDMI. This video shows you StarCraft II on the Razer Edge using the Home Console docking station.

Kansas City Fans: Google Fiber Expanding from Jan-Mar 2013

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Google has scheduled five new locations in Kansas City to get Google Fiber installed through January – March 2013. For this to happen, if you live within the locations mentioned below you must sign up and spread the word with all your neighbors to build a fiberhood.

What’s Google Fiber? One Gigabit downloads. One Gigabit Uploads. 100 times faster than your current Cable or DSL broadband speeds.

If you live in one of these fiberhoods and want Google Fiber, you must select your service plan by your deadline, listed below. Google will start installing Fiber in your area shortly after the date listed.

See the Google Map here.

  • Piper Schools — choose your plan by January 31, 2013
  • Delaware Ridge — choose your plan by February 14, 2013
  • Painted Hills — choose your plan by February 28, 2013
  • Open Door — choose your plan by February 28, 2013
  • Arrowhead — choose your plan by March 7, 2013

You can go to google.com/fiber to select any of the available plans: Gigabit + TV Plan, Gigabit Internet Plan or the Free Internet Plan.

Google Fiber Expanding More Into Kansas and Missouri

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Starting today, Blizzplanet will be updating the technology channel with the latest Google Fiber news. Google Fiber is going to drastically change the face of the internet as we have known it in the past 24 years since the introduction of ADSL and Cable internet.

I think it’s important for gaming websites to talk about Google Fiber, to help make people aware of it, and to spread the word. It’s here to stay, and it’s growing and expanding.

Google Fiber has been growing at a steady pace in Kansas City bringing 1Gbps download/upload internet access to homes. That’s a blazing 75-100 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s best speeds for only $70 a month.

So far, Google Fiber is available in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Google plans to expand into:

  • Kansas City North, MO
  • Kansas City South, MO
  • Westwood, KS
  • Westwood Hills, KS
  • Mission Woods, KS

It’s unknown when the service will expand into big cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.

Visit the Google Fiber website often to monitor new cities coming next, and to learn more about the service. Make sure to sign up when they are searching for testers, and to spread the word in your neighborhood for more and more people to join the fiberhood.

Don’t be left out.

This is the internet video gamers really need. The end of lag and latency. Blazing fast patch downloads.

    Google Fiber installations kick off today

    The title says it all! After months of building a brand new Fiber infrastructure, we’re excited to announce that today we’re officially starting to connect homes in Kansas City to Google Fiber.

    We’ve been working in a few homes over the last few weeks to make sure we can deliver a great experience, and along the way we’ve thought a lot about what “great” might mean. We want it to take the amount of time we (and you!) think it’s going to take. We want to be able to explain what we’re doing in easy to understand language, so it makes sense to you and it’s not just tech jargon! And of course we’re aiming for “one and done”—one visit, everything working when we leave your home.

    There are two stages to getting you connected. First, we’ll pull your Fiber from the street to the side of your house; we’ve already done this for several houses in Hanover Heights. Then we’ll get in touch with you to schedule the second stage, your in-home installation. We’ve put together a short video to help you understand what to expect.

    If you live in Hanover Heights and see a new box on the side of your house (and have gotten a Google Fiber sticky note on your door), look for an email or phone call from us in the next few days to schedule an appointment. When the installer arrives, he/she will ask you about where you want your devices and then get to work.

    We’ve found that the difference between dreading an installation and feeling like you had a good experience comes down to us caring about the details that matter the most to you. For example, we’ll show up when we’re supposed to—at the start of your appointment, not somewhere in the middle. We’ll clean up any mess; each installer carries a vacuum cleaner. And we’ll answer your questions and teach you about your devices—don’t be afraid to ask us questions, or to ask us to explain something again in simpler language.

    We think that these small details can make your installation efficient, helpful and memorable. And, if you have any ideas or suggestions that would make it even better, let us know!

    Posted by Alana Karen, Director, Service Delivery, Google Fiber (source)

Here’s a nice article by Business Insider explaining what Google Fiber is and offers you.

Improve your Computer Temperature with EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler

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For a long time since I built my EVGA X58 motherboard computer system (in 2008) I had wanted to get a better CPU cooler, especially with all the upgrades World of Warcraft has gotten from expansion to expansion and because intensive games like Crysis 2.

My i7-920 CPU was normally in the 78-82 degrees, with spikes of 85 — pretty bad, considering the motherboard auto-shuts at 86 degrees. During the periods of time I did not clean the interior of my computer I could probably be able to fry an egg in there.

I tried the Corsair Hydro Series H100 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler, but I got unlucky with a non-working paperweight I had to eventually RMA/return.

I skipped getting another H100, because I needed to get a working computer ASAP, and didn’t want to run the risk of another RMA nor waste more delivery time. For something that costs $100, I’d expect it to work out of the box or to have been tested at the factory.

My next option was to get an EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler. Half cheaper than the Corsair H100 Extreme. The photos don’t make justice to this behemoth. It’s big and heavy.

The fan is actually 120 x 120mm (open your hand and extend your fingers wide and apart. That big is this CPU cooler.

After loading the EVGA e-Leet utility software to monitor my i7-920 CPU temperatures I was literally blown out of my shoes. I couldn’t believe the readings. Half the temperatures I always had with the previous CPU cooler.

It’s been 2-3 months since I installed this CPU cooler, and haven’t cleaned the case on purpose to take readings of a dusty computer interior. Not something safe to do, but for your benefit here we go.

These are my current CPU temperature readings with a dusty computer case: between 43-47 degrees. At the moment of these readings I have World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria set at Ultra settings for over 8 hours and Adobe Photoshop open. I’m amazed.

Of course, it’s recommended to clean your computer case at least once a month. I personally use the Metro Vacuum ED500 Electric Duster to clean up my computer. It certainly beats wasting money on compressed air cans that don’t do a great job. **Thanks to the fan who suggested that electric duster. I love it.

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler is compatible with Intel Socket 775, 1155,1156, 1366; or the AMD Socket 754,939, 940, F, AM2, AM3.

  • Fan Size: 120 x 120 x 25mm
  • Fan Speed: 750 – 2500 RPM
  • Fan Airflow: 26 – 84 CFM
  • Heat Pipes: 5 x 8mm Direct Touch
  • Fins: Aluminum / Wind Flow

What’s your favorite CPU cooler? Share your feedback with other players.

Protoss Technology? Intel Wireless Charging Technology (WCT) – One Step Closer to Reality

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WiFi and Wireless Internet Connection? Technology has shown incredible feats in the past ten years, but Intel is coming forth in 2013 with a technology that makes Protoss technology nigh a reality.

Intel’s Wireless Charging Technology allows Ultrabook users to recharge their smartphone without the need of a power cord nor a USB cable. Place the smartphone a few inches from the laptop, and let it sit there. The smartphone battery will be full within an hour. Say whoa?

Could you imagine a future where stores, restaurants, Starbucks, Libraries, parks and airports have wireless charging technology? Your smartphone, laptop, gaming handheld, digital camera, iPhone/iPad and other devices never running out of juice?

Intel Blog

    Even Captain Kirk would have raised an eyebrow at the prospect of wireless charging on board the Enterprise.

    Today it’s a step closer to reality for all of us not zipping around the universe at warp speed. Demoed by Intel Labs for the first time way back in 2008, Wireless Charging Technology (WCT) by Intel literally lets you charge your smartphone wirelessly from your notebook PC. That’s right — no cables, no power cords. Of course Intel is no stranger to wireless technologies, launching Centrino mobile technology nearly a decade ago. Imagine a coffee shop without Wifi today?

    Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT)  – a company with specialized expertise in wireless charging – announced it will develop and deliver chipsets for Wireless Charging Technology by Intel. IDT’s product is important and new because it leads to a solution that isn’t limited to inductive charging and ‘smartphone on a charging mat’ usage.  Size and cost reductions are key to IDT’s solution, as is their differentiated “resonance wireless charging technology” that simplifies the way the PC charges the phone wirelessly. Intel is working with companies like IDT, peripheral vendors (from smartphone cases to printers and cameras), OEMs, and other ecosystem partners to deliver a cost-effective and simpler path to wireless charging.

    Although we are not yet giving out timeframes for consumer products with WCT enabled, IDT has stated they will be delivering their full chipset solution for reference design work in early 2013. The ecosystem is already excited about this technology so we assume there will be a race to the finish line for sure.

    Imagine, for example, this wireless charging solution in an Ultrabook of the future. How would it work? You are low on juice on your phone — you simply start the WCT detection software and place the smartphone close to your Ultrabook (about an inch or so). Coupling takes place between the two devices and energy begins to seamlessly and wirelessly flow from the Ultrabook to the smartphone. Within an hour, you have recharged your smartphone sufficiently to make it through the afternoon. No more wires or chargers.

    Intel will be discussing specific plans and timelines at a later date, so stay tuned for more details on this innovation that’s one step closer from the labs to your home.

    Originally posted on the Technology@Intel Blog

2nd Annual ASUS Republic of Gamers in Sunnyvale, CA – July 28-29

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Everyone near Sunnyvale, California will have the opportunity to win phat-lootz at the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) Event through July 28-29. There are some workshops, mini-tournaments, prizes and charity to boot. Sounds like fun.

At the event, ASUS is gonna showcase the latest Republic of Gamers motherboards (ROG): ASUS Maximus V FORMULA (Z77) and the ASUS Maximus V Extreme.

These use the patent-pending Fusion Thermo™ hybrid VRM cooling system, GameFirst II™ + Intel® Gb LAN, mPCIe Combo and Dual-Band Wi-Fi/Bluetooth. The Maximus V Extreme kicks in with Thunderbolt connectors.

July 28 at 11:00am – 6:00pm PDT until July 29 at 11:00am – 6:00pm PDT

Fry’s Electronics, 1077 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085

Where: Fry’s Electronics, 1077 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085

When: July 28-29, 2012, 11am-6pm

Come join ASUS, NVIDIA, Antec and Patriot Memory at Fry’s Electronics in Sunnyvale, CA for 2 fun-filled days of PC gaming, DIY workshops, exclusive giveaways and of course, great in-store specials. Best of all, admission is free.

Stop by for $0.50 hot dogs and Coke sponsored by ASUS from 11am-3pm to benefit local charities and stay for any number of ongoing activities including:

  • Gaming and mini-tournaments on ASUS tablets, notebooks and custom-built gaming PCs for prizes
  • Workshops and presentations where you can learn about everything from building your first gaming PC building to overclocking with liquid nitrogen, plus get raffle tickets for an exclusive giveaway just for attending
  • Attend an exclusive Q&A panel on Saturday hosted by Ryan Shrout, Editor in Chief of PC Perspective with representatives from ASUS, NVIDIA, Antec and Patriot Memory

Keep checking this space for an updated schedule of activities and workshops, as well as prizing lists!

Intel Thunderbolt

Blistering-fast Data Transfers

An industry first, ASUS has place Thunderbolt I/O technology onboard its motherboards, and are set to revolutionize the speed at which peripherals and displays operate. Featuring a maximum bi-directional speed of 10 Gbps, Thunderbolt is 2 times faster than USB 3.0 and an incredible 20 times faster than USB 2.0. And with the ability to daisy-chain up to six devices without the need for a hub or switch, that means less overheard for a clutter free computing experience. For example, users can connect multiple native Thunderbolt storage devices, an HD video capture device and even an HD display to a single Thunderbolt chain while maintaining maximum throughput.

OUYA the Open-Source Game Console and StarCraft II eSports on the TV

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A company established in Los Angeles, California started out a Kickstarter to collect money to develop an open-source game console.

They set a pledge goal of $950,000 and surprisingly it got up to 1.92 million dollars in less than 24 hours. They had surpassed the goal in only 8 hours.

Boxer8 founder Julie Uhrman explains in this video how she visualizes an open-source game console where the console is cheap, the library of games is free-to-play, and developer cost to produce games is low. Julie wants the players back to their roots. Back to their TV, in a new era where mobile gaming has flourished and dominates the market and consoles like PlayStation and Nintendo are driving developers away with the costs and difficulty and setbacks to develop for their consoles.

The key for this open-source game console to succeed are:

  • It’s based on the android platform.
  • Developers already know android development.
  • OUYA is inexpensive.
  • Game Publishers can develop games and thrive in a flexible environment.
  • Their development cost is dramatically reduced.

Ouya seeks game publishers to innovate and bring all games genres into their platform. So far Minecraft and Twitch TV have jumped onboard. This is big.

Speculation

With Blizzard Entertainment’s Next-Gen MMO Titan in the horizon, and Blizzard having its own Mobile department, it would be awesome to see Blizzard jump into the mix developing games for OUYA.

This might be the best chance to bring StarCraft II and Diablo III to the HDTV with some couching and ideas from Blizzard. Especially if OUYA integrates keyboard and mouse to their game console.

With its open-source factor, we could even see Razer innovate new Blizzard licensed products to support Blizzard games.

Twitch TV partnership with OUYA to bring video stream to the HDTV directly benefits fans. It means watching StarCraft II, and Diablo III PvP eSports straight from your TV without the need of a PC.

I can foresee Blizzard and OUYA building a great relationship if this open-source console game becomes a reality. By the looks of it, that reality looks promising. So far there are 15,392 backers signed up at OUYA’s kickstarter in less than 24 hours.

Is a Blizzard / OUYA partnership far-fetched? Not necessarily. Rob Pardo has expressed in the past his concerns about the lack of flexibility in current game consoles and the lack of a keyboard/mouse. This android-powered OUYA might be the big changer to bridge console and PC gaming development.

Anyone knows Ed Fries? He was formerly Microsoft vice-president of game publishing involved in the XBox development, and most recently the founder of FigurePrints which sells World of Warcraft character replicas created with a 3D printer. Ed Fries is involved in the OUYA game console project. Booyah! This is getting interesting.

OUYA: The Revolution will be televised

OUYA is a new game console for the TV, powered by Android.

We’ve packed this little box full of power. Developers will have access to OUYA’s open design so they can produce their games for the living room, taking advantage of everything the TV has to offer.

Best of all, OUYA’s world-class controller, console, and interface come in one beautiful, inexpensive package. All the games on it will be free, at least to try.
Great games come from great developers.

Developers can wave farewell to the roadblocks of bringing a console game to market. Anyone can make a game: every OUYA console is a dev kit. No need to purchase a license or an expensive SDK. It’s built on Android, so developers already know how it works.

That doesn’t mean OUYA is an Android port. You can create the next big title in your bedroom – just like the good old days! Who needs pants!?

OUYA could change AAA game development, too. Forget about licensing fees, retail fees, and publishing fees.

Estimated Launch: March 2013

Hardware Specs

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one) (possibly more in the future)
  • Wireless controller sporting two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button, and 3″ touchpad
  • Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich

Check out the OUYA kickstarter page.

Windows 8 Pro Hits October with Two Current Offers $39.99 and $14.99 Upgrades

Windows-8-Logo

Microsoft announced Windows 8 OS will be available to the public by the end of October 2012.

The company is really pushing the mass marketing campaign to facilitate Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to jump into the Windows 8 Pro wagon with two crazy offers.

New Windows 7 PC Sales Starting Today

Did you purchase a Windows 7 PC or laptop since June 2, 2012? If you plan to buy one between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you can download Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99 — exclusively from Microsoft here.

The Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer Q&A can be found here.

Old PCs

If you are running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro straight from the microsoft.com website for only $39.99 — with the option to pay $15 + shipping for a physical DVD.

The downloadable Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Assistant allows you to stop/resume download, and to create your own bootable USB or .ISO file.

You can read full details of the upgrade process here.

Press Release

July 9, 2012 — Today in Toronto, Canada, at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller spoke to thousands of partners from around the world. She shared some exciting new details regarding Windows that I wanted to pass along.

For the first time, we provided details on Windows 8 availability. Tami confirmed that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August. For enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits, they will have full access to Windows 8 bits as early as August. Additionally, she noted that RTM is when we’ll be turning on the commerce platform so that developers can start earning money for their apps – we’ll have more to share on the Windows Store for developers blog soon. Of course, right now with the Windows 8 Release Preview, all apps are still free for people to try.

Tami went on to say that Windows 8 will reach general availability by the end of October! This means that new Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs will be available to buy and upgrades will be available starting in October. She also mentioned that that Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide.

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display Arrives

macbook-pro-retina-1

The Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display has arrived. What’s so hot about this new version? The buzz is it features a Retina display packed with 5.1 million pixels supporting up to 2880-by-1800 resolution.

That’s crazy! That’s 3 million pixels more than an HDTV.

The MacBook Pro Retina is even thinner than its predecessor — extremely portable: only 0.71 inch thin and weighs 4.46 pounds.

It’s the first notebook ever to include two Thunderbolt ports. It also has two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, FireWire 800, SDXC card slot (Photos), and an HDMI port.

The two versions of the 15-inch MacBook Pro feature an Intel Core i7 Ivy-bridge (3rd Generation 22-nm) CPU running at 2.3 GHz or 2.9 GHz depending on the model. With Turbo Boost it speeds up to 3.7 GHz.

The new MacBook Pro 15-in has a new integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor, plus an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete processor with up to 1GB of video memory. It switches automatically when playing 3D games, editing HD video, or CAD software.

Thunderbolt is a recent technology that contains two 10-Gbps data channels — 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and 2 times faster than USB 3.0. Those Thunderbolt ports can be daisy-chained up to six devices to plug a display and other devices. There’s an HDMI port, but there’s a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter (optional) for more displays.

The MacBook Pro Retina also has a FaceTime 720HD camera that can make video calls to iPad, iPhone 4/4S, and iPod Touch.

The Multi-Touch trackpad has no buttons. The trackpad itself is the button recognizing different levels of click pressure.

The battery lasts up to 7 hours on a single charge.

Another really surprising feature of the MacBook Pro Retina is the addition of a Flash drive (SSD) 256GB / 512GB. Overall, with the Retina display and the Flash Drive, Apple was able to engineer a pretty thin notebook with enough room for an extra Thunderbolt port and other options.

Setbacks: The specs don’t mention a Superdrive (DVD). Apple assumes you can use the USB 3.0 to add a drive, I guess. The RAM is integrated into the motherboard. No RAM upgrades. Both versions have only 8GB RAM. With the removal of the hard drive and the DVD drive, considering this baby is designed for Photographers, video editors, artists, etc. a boost on RAM would have been phenomenal.

Gaming

What’s the importance of this Retina Display? Gaming will look breath-taking with the amount of detail. It’s just impossible for your eyes to discern the pixels. During the Apple conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook showed off … DIABLO III on the Retina Display at around 31:40 in the video stream.

Tim Cook didn’t specify it, but it’s hinted Blizzard Entertainment might support a higher resolution to play Diablo III on the Retina Display. Currently, Diablo III only supports up to 1920 x 1080. — “And if you think it’s just all hard work, and no play — there are some great games being created for it as well. This is Diablo III — I know a few of you have played this game. You are going to see a gaming experience with this resolution unlike anything you have seen before.”– said Tim Cook. I’ll ask Blizzard if they could comment on this.

MacBook Pro with Retina Display Options

  • Apple MacBook Pro MC975LL/A 15.4-Inch – $2,194.00

    • 2.3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor
    • 8 GB DDR3 RAM; 256 GB Flash Storage
    • 15.4-inch LED-backlit Retina Display, 2880-by-1800 resolution
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1GB Graphics
    • Mac OS X v10.7 Lion, 7 Hour Battery Life
  • Apple MacBook Pro MC976LL/A 15.4-Inch – $2,794.00

    • 2.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor
    • 8 GB DDR3 RAM; 512 GB Flash Storage
    • 15.4-inch LED-backlit Retina Display, 2880-by-1800 resolution
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1GB Graphics
    • Mac OS X v10.7 Lion, 7 Hour Battery Life

OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program

The OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date upgrade will be available at no additional charge from the Mac App Store to all customers who purchase a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller on or after June 11, 2012.

Customers must request their Up-to-Date upgrade within 30 days of purchasing their Mac computer. Customers who purchase a qualifying Mac between June 11, 2012 and the date when Mountain Lion is available in the Mac App Store will have 30 days from the OS X Mountain Lion release date to make a request.

When Mountain Lion becomes available in July, come back to this page for details on how to request your copy of Mountain Lion. — source

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