Archive for April, 2012

If you’re a Ubuntu Linux user, there’s a new entry on your to-do list for today: downloading Ubuntu 12.04 (aka “Precise Pangolin”), the just-dropped long-term support release for the operating system. That means it gets five full years of bug fixes and updates, and it brings a host of improvements and fresh features to the OS — including upgrades to its divisive Unity interface.

This is the first time Unity has reared its head in a LTS Ubuntu release, and it brings Canonical’s new menu-shattering HUD interface to the party. (We’ve covered the Canonical HUD previously; hit the link for more details.) Initial reports say that Unity speeds along like a champ in Ubuntu 12.04, but we haven’t had a chance to try it out for ourselves yet.

In addition to the usual app updates, Precise Pangolin packs in improved power management, a new login screen and a Video Lens that searches for cinema both online and locally. Canonical went after the enterprise market hard with this release: Ubuntu 12.04 includes support for VMware, Citrix, Microsoft RDP 7.1 and over 20 different laptops and desktops available on the market. OMG! UBUNTU! made a video of the top ten new features available in the O.S., which you can watch above.

Here’s the download page for Ubuntu 12.04.

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Leisure Suit Larry is returning to the Land of the Lounze Lizards, and it’s all because of the generosity of thousands of nostalgic old school adventure gamers who pledged the necessary half a million dollars to make it happen. With six days to spare, Al Lowe, creator of the original Larry games and not the last two abominations that sullied the franchise, is promising more content if pledges top $750,000.

Fans of the original games will be happy to know that Al Lowe is in full control of the remake, which promises to add improved graphics, a revamped interface, and updated humor. Adventure Mob is providing the code base, and Replay Games, which is made up of a bunch of Sierra veterans, is overseeing the project and will handle publishing chores.

It remains to be seen whether Leisure Suit Larry will capture gamers the way he did back in adventure gaming’s heyday. Al Lowe and Co. will give it an honest shot, and if nothing else, the remade game has allowed old school gamers who pirated the original copies to atone for their sins by backing the Kickstarter project.

Leisure Suit Larry’s Kickstarter Page

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Having to lug around bulky accessories and peripherals with your Ultrabook or tablet PC kind of negates the whole idea behind thin and light form factors. At the same time, some people find an external optical disc drive (ODD) to be an essential companion, and if you’re one of those people, you may want to slap Samsung with a high-five for announcing its new SE-218BB external DVD writer.

Samsung claims the SE-218BB is the world’s thinnest ODD, making it a perfect compliment for light and portable devices. It’s 18 percent slimmer than conventional DVD writers, measures just 14mm high, and is 8 percent lighter than Samsung’s regular DVD writers. And with a brushed aluminum aesthetic, it looks good to boot.

Here’s another bonus: It uses a single USB port to power the drive and provide AV connectivity. Most (not all) external DVD writers require two USB ports to function properly, and since these are in short supply on many Ultrabooks, this could end up being a major selling point.

As for speeds:

  • 24X CD-ROM
  • 24X CD-RW
  • 8X DVD±R recording
  • 5X DVD-RAM recording
  • 6X DVD+R Dual Layer recording
  • 6X DVD-R Dual Layer recording
  • 8X DVD±RW recording
  • 6x DVD-RW recording

You can purchase the SE-218BB now for $60 MSRP.

Image Credit: Samsung

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When is an Ultrabook not really an Ultrabook? Whenever Intel says so, that’s when. For consumers, the answer might not be so cut and dry, and as notebook makers look to deliver thin and light notebooks at lower price points, you’ll have to ask yourself how much you really care about buying a notebook with an official Ultrabook designation versus buying one that’s nearly identical but lacks Intel’s full blessing.

Here’s the deal. According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, notebook manufacturers aren’t really happy with the high manufacturing costs associated with second-generation Ultrabooks. Next-gen models are expected to cost about a grand, and that’s a tough sell. The solution? Launch “ultra-like” notebooks.

DigiTimes didn’t go into specifics, but we imagine lower priced Ultrabook knockoffs will show up to the thin and light party with mechanical hard drives instead of solid state drives, lower quality displays, slightly thicker frames, and a variety of less expensive processor options, including those from AMD.

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Samsung today officially introduced what it claims is the world’s first quad-core application processor built on the High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) low-power process technology. It’s called the Exynos 4 Quad, a 32nm 1.4GHz quad-core processor based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture. With twice as many cores as its predecessor, the 45nm Exynos 4 Dual, Samsung claims the Exynos 4 Quad doubles the processing potential with a 20 percent lower power footprint.

“The quad-core processor offers phenomenal multitasking abilities surpassing any single or dual application processor. Since all the cores must share a single battery, the power management and efficiency in the limited battery capacity are indispensable for mobile computing devices,” said Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics. “Given the diverse functionalities consumers are demanding from their mobile devices today, the Exynos 4 Quad meets those high-performance needs while keeping power consumption very low.”

One of the neat things about the Exynos 4 Quad is that it’s pin-to-pin compatible with the 32nm based Exynos 4 Dual, which makes it easier for mobile device makers to adopt the new part. From a performance standpoint, Samsung says the Exynos 4 Quad is tops when it comes to heavy-load applications like 3D games, video editing, and calculation-intensive simulation.

“With Exynos 4 Quad, you experience console-like gaming wherever you go,” Samsung claims.

The Exynos 4 Quad will provide the performance foundation for Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy smartphone, which will be officially introduced in May, and is currently being sampled to other device makers.

Image Credit: Samsung

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