When Jasmine and I evaluate MP3 players for CNET reviews, we always try to spend a few sentences describing any noticeable audio performance characteristics we detect during our subjective testing. We'll play around with all of the gadget's different EQ and sound enhancement options, listen back on our reference headphones, and run through a playlist of familiar music. We're only human, however, and hearing loss, ear wax, head congestion, and hangovers can skew our perceptions of audio quality from day to day. Thankfully, we have Eric Franklin.… Read more
Dean Takahashi sent me an e-mail pointing to a piece he wrote on VentureBeat describing statements Wednesday by Intel's Chief Technical Officer Justin Rattner targeted at NVIDIA. CNET's own Brooke Crothers covered the same story and provides additional background here.
The technology at issue relates to 3D graphics for PCs. All current PC graphics chips use what's called polygon-order rendering. All of the polygons that make up the objects to be displayed are processed one at a time. The graphics chip figures out where each polygon should appear on the screen and how much of it will be visible or obstructed by other polygons.
Ray tracing achieves similar results by working through each pixel on the screen, firing off a "ray" (like a backward ray of light) that bounces off the polygons until it reaches a light source in the scene. Ray tracing produces natural lighting effects but takes a lot more work.
(That's the short version, anyway. For more details, you could dig up a copy of my 1997 book Beyond Conventional 3D. Alas, the book is long since out of print.)
Ray tracing is easily implemented in software on a general-purpose CPU, and indeed, most of the computer graphics you see in movies and TV commercials are generated this way, using rooms full of PCs or blade-server systems.
Naturally, Intel loves ray tracing, and there are people at Intel working to… Read more
Natali Del Conte will be the guest hostess next week and we want your best nicknames for her now! Please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org because she won't see this coming!
It's everything from the Crave blog, with Brian Tong and guest host Bonnie Cha. This week, they talk about a new robot toy and a cell phone that you can use underwater. Then they take to the streets to see what people think about Built NY's laptop backpack. Plus, Bonnie takes your submissions and finds a nickname for Brian.
A couple months back I attempted to test two 30-inch displays--the Samsung SyncMaster 305T and the Gateway XHD3000 Extreme HD-- at the same time using CNET Labs' current distribution amplifier (DA), the Extron Electronics D2 DA4 DVI D2 DA4 DVI. This device allows up to four displays to simultaneously view the same video signal from one system. For years we've used this device to not only speed up testing, but to do accurate direct comparisons as well. Unfortunately the native resolution for the aforementioned 30-inchers is 2,560x1,600, and the maximum resolution the Extron supports is only 1,920x1,200. So, without a means to test them simultaneously at their native resolutions I was stuck in a bind. I could have tested them one at a time, but since our testing--which includes DisplayMate--has a high level of subjectivity to it, it's always best to do direct simultaneous comparisons, instead of testing one display today and then waiting a couple days to test the next. Testing them simultaneously allows you to see the exact differences between the displays.
So I delayed the testing and the review for a few weeks. In the meantime I got in touch with a colleague at DisplayMate, Ray Soneira. He put me in contact with a company called Kramer. Kramer manufactures a number of distribution amplifiers including the Kramer VM-2DVI. This particular DA is Dual Link compatible and supports each 30-inch display's 2560x1600 resolution. So now I could test both 30-inch displays simultaneously at their native resolutions in DisplayMate and in our current games test, World of Warcraft. However whenever I attempted to run either our Kill Bill Vol. 1 DVD or our Swordfish BD on both displays at the same time, the DRM gods reared their ugly heads and denied me salvation. So when testing how each display handles disc-based movies, I was forced to evaluate each display one at a time. The Kramer VM-2DVI is not advanced enough to circumvent DRM tomfoolery, unfortunately. That said, we're still very pleased that the VM-2DVI allowed us to do the bulk of our testing as fairly and accurately as possible.
The issue of not being able to view certain disc-based movies simultaneously on two or more displays may not be an issue for long, as CNET Labs is considering moving away from using movies--and even games-- to evaluate the quality of a display. The reason being that video images generally move too quickly to do a picture quality comparison, whereas static images such as high-quality photos can be studied as long as necessary in order to examine their quality. No decision has been made as yet, though, but look for more on this in a future Inside CNET Labs post.… Read more
iPhone music stuff: http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9963889-1.htmlBest non-iPod MP3 players for Mac: http://reviews.cnet.com/4321-6490_7-6545983.html?tag=feat.2iMainGo 2: http://reviews.cnet.com/portable-speakers/imaingo-2-silver/4505-11313_7-33060592.html?tag=links;reviewRadius TruTune: http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/sony-rolly-2gb-white/4505-6490_7-33059749.html?tag=prod.txt.2Sony Rolly: http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/sony-rolly-2gb-white/4505-6490_7-33059749.html?tag=prod.txt.2… Read more
Just a quick note to let you know Webware publisher CNET has a new iPhone-optimized version of its site that went live earlier Tuesday. As a result you can now read our stories a little easier while on the go.
To get there, just navigate to CNET.com on your phone and it will automatically detect that you're using Safari and give you a finger-friendly version of all of CNET's properties including our sister gadget blog Crave, iPhone Atlas, and MacFixIt.
Don't have an iPhone? Just point your phone's browser to iPhone.cnet.com
We'… Read more
iPhone 2! (Rumor roundup) http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2008/06/05/new-iphone-rumor-roundup/?mod=googlenews_wsj
Sanyo Xacti HD1000 4MP MPEG4 High Definition 1080i Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom http://www.amazon.com/Sanyo-HD1000-Definition-Camcorder-Optical/dp/B000V79G0M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1212700827&sr=8-1 … Read more
More TV shows for your Zune: http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9953767-1.htmlIriver Mplayer: http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/iriver-mplayer-1gb-pink/4505-6490_7-32858127.html?tag=prod.txt.3%20?tag=imgJayBird JB-200i: http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones/jaybird-jb-200i-bluetooth/4505-7877_7-33056080.html?tag=links;reviewSony MDR-AS30G Active Headphones: http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones/sony-mdr-as30g-active/4505-7877_7-32912122.html?tag=links;reviewPhilips … Read more
A TV phone that Spongebob would appreciate http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9954140-1.html
Take to the seas, it’s barbecue time! http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9954596-1.html
Always be ready for battle with a squirt-gun coffee table http://dvice.com/archives/2008/05/always_be_ready.php
Dutch claim world’s first solar speedboat http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9951260-1.html
The Dough-nu-matic: Homer Simpson … Read more