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Monday, January 20, 2014

HP sticks it to Windows 8 with new Windows 7 PCs

Posted by Jim Bernstein

If you are even slightly into computers then you know how different Windows 8 is from previous versions of Windows and how it’s been a real struggle for Microsoft to get people to adapt to and embrace it. And if you have used it yourself then you know how frustrating it can be to do things you used to be able to do easily before. Then again there are many people who love the new interface but not nearly as many as Microsoft would like there to be.

Hewlett Packard (HP) is a huge computer manufacturer and sells countless numbers of new computers each year. Now it seems that they are promoting Windows 7 over Windows 8 as a preferred option for new computers calling it a "familiar and intuitive environment" and “back by popular demand.” Of course you will still be able to get a new HP computer that runs Windows 8 but now you will be able to “downgrade” to Windows 7 if that is what you are really after.

HP is most likely doing this to boost PC sales which have lost some serious ground to tablets in the last couple of years. Since Windows 8 is designed to run on tablets its better suited for someone with a touch screen rather than a keyboard and mouse so that is part of the problem for diehard PC users. With Windows support set to continue until 2015 we may see more personal computer manufacturers doing the same thing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Courts rule against Net Neutrality

Posted by David Bernstein

The Internet is a place that most of us consider to be free and open where we can reach any website out there without having to worry about being cut off or restricted. This was the goal of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Net Neutrality plan which would require internet providers to treat all traffic equally and not pick and choose what traffic goes through and who gets what bandwidth.

A federal appeals court ruled against the FCC and Net Neutrality saying its regulations were overreaching and some say that competition is enough to keep things fair. But supporters of Net Neutrality say that regulation is needed otherwise bandwidth will be sold to the highest bidder and internet providers will be able to discriminate against their competitors and not having it benefits the larger carriers such as Comcast and Verizon giving them more control.

The FCC may try to appeal the ruling since they have the authority to write rules “governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic” but that may not be enough to get their legislation passed.

Friday, January 03, 2014

YouTube to offer 4k video

Posted by Jim Bernstein

If you have a semi new TV then you know what HD looks like and are familiar with terms like 1080p and 720p in regards to the resolution\definition of the picture. And if you watch YouTube videos you most likely know that most videos have the option to watch in HD assuming the uploader recorded the video in HD to begin with. Most of the time switching to HD makes quite a difference in picture quality but can sometimes cause slower performance and lagging with the video itself.

The latest and greatest video quality standard is called 4k and it offers higher resolution and has 4 times higher resolution than 1080p. YouTube has announced that they will be offering 4k video support for YouTube videos in the near future. But Google will be using their own codec that they have been developing called VP9 which is a royalty free codec and an alternative to the H.265 video codec used by other 4k implementations.

Google has partnered up with other companies such as LG and Sony to help kickoff the VP9 codec and they have 19 partners lined up pledging to support the new V9 codec. Google has said that they are not opposed to supporting the H.26 codec and don’t want to start a codec war. By using this new codec Google says you will not only have better quality video it will also reduce the amount of data needed to stream video by half which will help with the dreaded buffering we are all used to.