Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Serato Scratch Live and the evolution of the DJ

What is Scratch Live???

It's a USB audio interface that connects Turntables(even cd turntables) to a computer, and gives DJ's the ability to play Music from thier PC or Mac's MP3 collection. It comes with 12" vinyl records and cds that have control signals that allow the Scratch Live software to track the motion of the vinyl.

It wasn't, by any means, the first attempt to bridge the gab between old school vinyl and digital MP3's. That honor goes to Stanton and it's Final Scratch. However, unlike FS, it actually works and is a legitimate substitute for vinyl. How is that possible? A. very little and practically unnoticable latency, B. Stability. Does that mean that it is crash proof and never prone to potential problems? No, but it works, and I've personally gone through 4-5 hour long sets with out a problem.

What makes it so evolutionary in the world of DJing?

  • Elliminates the neccessity of having to carry around heavy crates full of vinyl records and/or cds - The only thing to carry around is your laptop and the interface.
  • Elliminates the cost of having to purchase media(vinyl or cds) - one can download the tracks that they would want in thier arsenal online. Legally, of course. Which is still cheaper than buying actual media.
  • Gives users the ability to manipulate thier own sounds - For example, one can record thier own voice and scratch to it.
  • Best of all is the software, which is easy to use and has so many features - The many features can be applied to standard DJ'ing with two turntables and a mixer.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Tech News

Promise VTrak J300sWe take a look at a 12 drive SAS chassis from Promise and compare SAS, SATA and SCSI while taking a stroll down memory lane.
Windows Vista Performance GuideIt has been over five years since Microsoft last launched a major new consumer OS. Windows XP has been doing well for a lot of people in the interim, but now Vista is poised to put Microsoft back at the forefront of consumer OS technology. At least, that's the plan, so let's see how it stacks up.
Corsair Dominator PC2-10000: Fastest DDR2Corsair snares bragging rights with a new Dominator memory rated at PC2-10000 (DDR2-1250). Does this new CAS 5 kit push to the top of our memory performance charts?
Intel Demonstrates new 45nm Transistors and Conroe's SuccessorWhat's better than a Conroe? That would be a Penryn. Learn about the transistors that make Penryn so special.
Intel P965: Roundup Recap and AwardsWe review our test results from 12 different yet not so different P965 motherboards and find a few products that stood out from the rest.
CES 2007: Wrap UpIn our final CES 2007 article we take a look at some interesting networking, systems, and cooling products.
Value Cooling: Two Towers for under $30Thermalright and Scythe introduce tower CPU cooling at a bargain price. The Thermalright MST-9775 and Scythe Katana are compared to the best we have tested.
Intel P965: abit AB9 QuadGTOur first impressions of the abit AB9 QuadGT reveal some surprising performance results, new design ideas, and some lingering concerns about abit engineering.
January 2007 Buyer's Guide: Midrange MenagerieThe price of progress is outdated systems. We've got updated recommendations for midrange computers that look to put progress back in its place.
CES 2007 - The Best of CE from the ShowWant to see the runners up for the most interesting Consumer Electronics and Displays from this year's CES? Here's everything that caught our eye after Sony's OLEDs.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wii kicks @ss

Wii kicks @ss

The early success of Nintendo's Wii and it's portable brother the DS comes as a big and pleasant surprise to myself, and perhaps many of you out there. Given their outrageously innovative ambition and major focus on interaction instead of graphics, I thought that Nintendo was making a move that will probably land it a trip to gaming heaven in the console world besides it's nemesis Sega. However, that's quite the opposite. Instead, it's new gaming machine boast the highest number of units sold out of the 3 major next gen console releases. Beating both the Xbox 360 and PS3 in sales durring launch numbers. This means that we have a 3rd serious contender in the console gaming wars, and that's good news to all gaming consumers world wide.

Sony's spokesman Dave Karraker, said the Wii did not belong in the same category as the more powerful PlayStation 3. "Wii could be considered an impulse buy more than anything else," he said. He added, the Wii is attracting newcomers while while the PlayStation will be the console of choice for committed gamers.

I, personally, think that Wii's early success are due to 3 reasons:
  1. The price is right. At $249.99 MSRP, it's launch price is over half that of it's competitor.
  2. Innovative gameplay. Instead of the over 20 year standard of controller players using a controller, Wii gamers get to physically interact with thier games. This feature attracts many younger gamers and older gamers that do not have the time or neccessary skills to play games such as Metal Gear or Halo.
  3. Killer launch title. Let's face it Perfect Dark: Zero and Resistence aren't really launch titles that exposes players to the "next generation" of gaming. In contrast, Nintendo releases the Wii with one of it's biggest gaming franchise, The Legend of Zelda. Which is an excellent game, and reason enough for many to warrant the purchase of the Wii.

While it's still very early to declare any winner in this next generation of console wars, given the success of the DS(which many were very skeptical about as well), the future is looking bright for Nintendo.

News that Matters to Techies World Wide

General Techie News

Vista Arrives With Limited Fanfare - The quiet debut for Microsoft’s latest version of the Windows operating system reflects how the company’s influence has faded as the nature of computer software has changed.

Hobbled by Disappointing Sales and a Loss at the Game Unit, Sony’s Profit Drops 5% - The company’s PlayStation 3 game console has had a shaky start, despite rebounding sales in its bread-and-butter consumer electronics.

Games That Sell While Others Languish - There are growing signs that Nintendo’s Wii, which gets couch potatoes off the couch, has taken the lead over Sony’s PlayStation 3.

Yahoo Planning to Add 100 Web Sites for Entertainment - The company’s effort is intended to create online destinations for individual movies, television shows, bands, celebrities, games and other types of entertainment.

To ’08 Hopefuls, New Media Can Be Friend or Foe - White House candidates are aggressively monitoring and trying to master technologies like video streaming.

Nickelodeon Begins a Web Site Focusing on Interactive Play - The popular children’s cable network is pushing hard into the online world with a new Web site that will let its young users enter their own world of Internet activities.

Microsoft sets up MSN R&D center in China: sources Reuters - 9 minutes ago
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Software giant Microsoft Corp. is setting up a research and development center in Shanghai for its online MSN service, its first such center outside the United States, sources familiar with the plan said on Wednesday.

Napster boss eyes strong mobile future Reuters - 1 hour, 28 minutes ago
LONDON (Reuters) - The majority of consumers have not yet accepted the subscription model to rent rather than buy music but this is likely to change over the next year, according to the head of the online service Napster Inc..

Vista News

Vista steals the show
reporter's notebook Gates tries to sell The Daily Show's Jon Stewart on the new operating system, as Office takes a backseat.January 30, 2007

Experts: Don't buy Vista for the security
New Microsoft operating system is a leap forward in security, but few people familiar with it say the advances justify an upgrade.January 30, 2007

Vista's actual launch? Think whisper, not bang
reporter's notebook The day was filled with fanfare, but the late-night launch at CompUSA was anything but extraordinary.January 30, 2007

A frat party for Vista's debut
reporter's notebook Burgers, DJ and NFL quarterback help welcome the OS in San Francisco, but midnight shoppers aren't necessarily buying what Microsoft is selling.January 30, 2007

A lively market, legal and not, for software bugs
Software vulnerabilities are bought and sold online, both by legitimate security companies and by thieves.The New York TimesJanuary 30, 2007

Gaming News

2K returns to gridiron - Visual Concepts bringing football back with All-Pro Football 2K8 for 2K Sports; game set to hit next-generation systems this summer.

Wii, Wario win ToyAward Nintendo's latest honored for innovation at International Toy Fair in Trend and Lifestyle category.

PSP gets firmware update, Killzone demo Sony tweaks system's Web browser and sound setting options, promises more trial versions of games on the way.

M'soft details XBLA releases Band of Bugs, Eets: Chowdown, Luxor 2 announced along with seven others as coming to Xbox Live Arcade beginning February.

Electronic Arts, EA Mythic discuss online plans for 07 Gaming giant gives a glimpse of what it has in store for Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Warhammer Online.

Sonic rolls to Wii early The iconic hedgehog's debut on Nintendo's new console coming a week early; Sonic and the Secret Rings now shipping on February 20.

UK game charts: January 20-27 Lost Planet shakes off The Burning Crusade to rediscover the top slot, while football titles continue to prove popular.

Consumer Electronics News

Prices to plunge with demand for plasma TVs?
Plasma panels are losing flat-screen battle to LCDs, research shows. If history has a say, more price cuts are on the way.
January 30, 2007, 1:37 PM PST

Sony Ericsson takes No. 4 spot in handset shipments
Nokia remains No. 1, but Sony Ericsson shipments surpassed those of LG and gained on Samsung during fourth quarter.
January 29, 2007, 1:53 PM PST

Gates: Internet to revolutionize TV in 5 years
Microsoft founder Bill Gates tells the audience at the World Economic Forum that in five years, people will be laughing at what we today call TV.

Windows Vista

This week the biggest news in the world of computing is that the new Windows Vista by big OS Microsoft has been released to the public. It can be purchased in, currently, four different flavors. Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business, and Windows Vista Ultimate. Prices for the oem packages, which can be found on Newegg, is fairly reasonable. Ranging from 94.99 for the Home basic version to 199.99 for the Ultimate edition. Information on which version best suits you can be found at newegg

Vista marks a new milestone for Microsoft and the PC industry, and is one of Microsoft's largest projects.

According to Microsoft, Vista is a new breakthrough in computing technology. More than just a pretty upgrade to XP, Vista is touted as an OS that makes navigation easier with it's
Flip and Flip 3D desktop, backing up critical data a cinch with it's Backup and Restore Center, larger than life graphics for the gamers with DirectX 10, Networking painless with it's Network and Sharing Center, and that's just scratching the surface.

Why aren't you buying it already?

Well, given that Vista was such a large project and brings about so many new features, bundled apps, etc. Why isn't everyone going out there and purchasing it right away? The answer to that is two folds. Windows XP, which frankly, is probably Vista's biggest competitor right now, was and still is a very adequate and efficient. When XP was released, it was a big deal for every other consumer release of the Windows OS between 95 and XP seemed like minor upgrades to Windows 95. Aside for NT and 2000, which were more enterprise level Os's anyhow. XP, however, brought with it the stability and network capabilities of 2000/NT technologies and added the user friendliness of the 9x Operating systems. This was a big deal to consumers that were just sick of the same old 9x upgrades, and led to many users adopters of XP. The second reason is due to the vast visual enhancements that Vista brings to the table. Which means that there is a higher system requirement standard to not only run Vista, but also to enjoy what it has to offer. To run it's core functionality, your computer must have a clockspeed of at least 800 mghz, 512 mb of RAM, and 15 gigs of free hard drive space. Inorder to enjoy what Vista offers at all, here's what you must have:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB of system memory
  • 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with:
    WDDM Driver
    128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
    Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
    32 bits per pixel

Personally, I as well as many of you, have a system that can handle Vista. However, I plan to wait for some of the bugs to be cleared up, better driver support, and games designed specifically to take advantage of DirectX 10 to arrive before I jump onto the Vista bandwagon.