This Week's Hot News: March 9 - 13

What's New in Windows 7 Build 7048

With the hype surrounding Windows 7, people are paying close attention to each new build of the operating system in-the-making. The latest build is is 7048 and the changes just keep coming-- especially when compared to the public beta build 7000. Build 7048 was said by some sources to be the Release Candidate build, but we now know that it’s still in beta stages. The RC is still anticipated sometime in April. The SuperSite for Windows has documented some of the more apparent visual changes in build 7048. For one, this build drops the Betta fish and introduces a set of nature-themed desktop wallpapers.

While all are beautiful photos, it won’t be long before users will use an image of their own. In addition to new backgrounds, the new Windows 7 build also includes 13 different sound schemes if the old Windows Default beeps and blips are boring you, new icons, a slightly altered Start button orb, revised picture viewer and the removal of the “send feedback” link in the corner of windows.

Click here for a full list of the changes!

Philips LED Light Bulb Uses Less Than 7W

While environmentalists are still encouraging people to switch their incandescent lights over to compact fluorescent ones in the interest of saving energy, a new type of light bulb is just months away from the North American market. Philips said that it will release an LED-based light bulb--dubbed the “Master LED”--in U.S. and Canada within the first half of 2009 (some media outlets have said it will actually ship in July). The Master LED is already available in 230V countries (North America uses 110V), looks pretty similar to a regular screw-in light bulb, and will be compatible with most lighting appliances today.

According to Philips, a single Master LED retrofit bulb uses less than 7W of power, can replace traditional incandescent bulbs up to 40W and lasts 45,000 hours compared to just 1,500 hours for the conventional solution. It’s also lead and mercury free so it’s just as green as it is energy friendly!

Check it out here.

Seagate, AMD Show Blazing Fast SATA 3

For the last few years, SATA 2 has been the hard drive connection standard of choice for non-server markets. Offering up to 3 Gbps (300 MB/sec.) of (theoretical) speed has been adequate for many. However, Seagate, AMD and SATA-io believe the time for SATA 3 has come. During a demonstration at the Everything Channel Xchange Conference in New Orleans, Seagate demoed the new 6 Gbps SATA 3 standard. According to the demo, the SATA2 drive (a 7200.12 Barracuda) topped out around 288 MB/sec., running just below the standards top theoretical speed. The SATA 3 drive, a Seagate Barracuda SATA 3 prototype, reached a staggering 589 MB/sec., more than double the speed of the SATA 2 setup.

Read the full report here!

Circuit City Offers Discount Dignity

The recession sucks and everyone knows it. You can’t go anywhere without hearing horror stories about so-and-so’s husband who’s just been laid off or such-and-such a company shutting up shop. People love to hate the recession, which is why we found the recently laid off employees from Circuit City refreshing. The company closed on Sunday after a stock clearance sale and some of the staff had some fun with the Sale posters designed to advertise discounts on whatever products were going cheap in store.

Read more about the closure of nobody’s favourite electronics store here.

Imagine Mozilla Firefox Without Google

Ever since Google launched its Chrome browser, people have been questioning the stability of the search giant’s relationship with Mozilla. While Google continues to support the Mozilla Foundation, the CEO of the latter has admitted recently that things aren’t exactly a bed of roses and said the relationship is strained.

Today, news reports say Mozilla is rethinking things altogether. Mozilla Chair Mitchell Baker told BusinessWeek that the company is busy brainstorming about other possible search partnerships as well as alternative ways to generate revenue and in December CEO of Mozilla John Lilly said that the Google agreement is the longest deal the company had entered into (three years), adding that one can’t depend on a single organization forever. He also said  companies cooperate in certain areas and compete in other areas all the time and that the company was cooperating with Google because it gives the best search experience, something that is a fundamental entry point to the web which, to us, roughly translates as, “This isn’t forever, we’re just biding our time.”

Read the full report here!

Teen "Sexters" Facing Child Porn Charges

A new phenomena being labeled "sexting" is erupting in the United States and abroad, and it's putting unwitting teens at risk of life changing consequences. According to a recent article published by the Sun-Sentinel, the number of incidents of teens being charged with child pornography related felonies is on the rise.  In one case covered by the story, a Phillip Alpert sent nude photographs taken of his then 16-year-old girlfriend to others after a breakup.  Just three days later, authorities arrested him with charges of transmitting child pornography.  Alpert avoided jail-time for his crime, but is now under five years of probation and must register as a sex offender until he turns 43.

Read all about the risks involved in sexting in our full report.

Intel Working on Display Linking Technology

As a part of Intel's "Carry Small, Live Large" initiative, Intel researchers are working on a technology that will enable multiple mobile devices to work together to create a larger display. In other words, the displayed output will span all of the devices. While there doesn’t seem to be much information to go on at the moment (just that little snippet on Intel’s press site), we love the idea of everyone putting their iPhones or Storms together to check out a video or photos. Like Intel says, “Imagine you and 3 friends placing your mobile devices together while on the road to review the video of the day's events.” Socializing and holiday snaps aside, this could prove a really useful took for business folk on the go for the likes of PowerPoint and slide shows.

Read the full story.

Oddly: Amazon Supplier Abandons Warehouse

Lately, Amazon headlines have mostly been focusing on eBook readers as opposed to actual books. This week was a little different. A supplier of second hand books for the online retailer abandoned a warehouse in the UK and left behind thousands of books. Rather than paying to have the books taken away and disposed of, the owner of the industrial estate put the word out that there were books sitting there for the taking and people flocked from far and wide to grab as many as they could take home with some towing campers and trailers to help carry their booty.


Microsoft Wants Windows 7 Users to Upgrade

We already know that there will be six versions of Windows 7, but will that be all? Perhaps not. Bloomberg’s report on Windows 7 for netbooks spins the idea that there will be multiple versions of the upcoming Microsoft operating system for low-cost, portable laptops. It’s not quite clear if Microsoft is aiming to splinter its lower-end versions into smaller subsets, but suggests there will be strong encouragement for the user to upgrade to a higher tier. The cheapest version of the OS, Windows 7 Starter Edition will be limited to running only three programs at a time. Users who find this limitation unacceptable will have the convenient option of upgrading to a version of Windows that isn’t bound by the three program rule. That said, the point of a netbook is to budget so we’re not sure how well Windows 7 will fare on netbooks.

Read the full story over here.

Microsoft Considers Phasing Out Xbox 360 Elite

Rumors that Microsoft may be phasing out the Xbox 360 Elite console may be true depending on how Resident Evil 5 Elite sales go, according to Fudzilla resources. Fudzilla's behind the scenes contacts have revealed a unique strategy for the high profile Elite edition, where retail orders of the Elite would cease in the second quarter of 2009 in order to allow remaining inventory to deplete.  Once on hand inventory is eliminated, Microsoft would then consider phasing in a new limited edition version of the Elite, with exclusive distribution at select retailers. Apparently the primary reason for the elimination of the Elite is the recession.

Read more here!

  • kewl munky
    Um my dad bought an LED bulb from some other company that has a bulb rated at 40W that uses 2W, and a 45W that uses 3.5. I guess it only matters when larger companies do something like this though.
  • Tindytim
    demonhorde665i really miss the old soundblaster card i had back on 98 , it added a theme to teh sound at start up that was real coolevery time i turned on my pc you got lightening and thunder crack sound, for somereason they stoped doing this on the audigy series and alter cards hopefully win 7 will have soemthing similiar I loved heariing that thunder crack sound.granted that wqont be why i woudl update , in general i just need to update but new sound themes are are awsome , is always a welcomed additionI certainly hope you were kidding. You can make any sound that the OS makes different just my having a sound file. I once used the opening riff for "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" as my start-up sound. I don't use that anymore because I find no reason to change the default sounds.
  • wavebossa
    Why is there a picture of a girl showing off her breast above the "Google Firefox" story???
  • Tindytim
    wavebossaWhy is there a picture of a girl showing off her breast above the "Google Firefox" story???Because Tom's can't get any original images that relate to firefox.

    They don't even use this one:
  • deck
    I guess intel has never heard of Xinerama