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Posts by Pulkit Chandna
Bad, but not quite Vista
Given its subjective nature, satisfaction isn’t something that readily lends itself to quantification, but that hasn’t stopped the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) from measuring the satisfaction of U.S. customers for more than 19 years now. The latest ACSI update is of particular interest to us because it sheds some light on Windows 8’s impact on Microsoft’s customer satisfaction rating.
Windows 8 hasn’t exactly been able to charm PC users off their feet and Microsoft’s latest ACSI rating seems to confirm as much, with the company’s customer satisfaction rating falling one point from last year’s score of 75 and as many as four points from the company’s best of 78, which it achieved in 2011.
Things, however, don’t appear to be as bad as they were following the launch of Windows Vista. Back then, Redmond shed three rating points. If we go back another year to 2006, the first time Microsoft appeared on ACSI’s radar, it is clear that the company’s customers are more satisfied with its products now than they were back then.
“It seems clear that the release of Windows 8 did not give Microsoft a significant bump, as the release of Windows 7 did, nor did it dramatically lower customer satisfaction in a rather short time frame, as the release of Vista did," David VanAmburg, director of ACSI, told Computerworld.com, adding that if Microsoft’s rating does take a more serious pounding next year then Windows 8 will surely be the one to blame.
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Xbox 720 believed to be behind surge in Gates’ wealth
Despite having given away billions in charity in recent years, Microsoft founder and non-executive chairman Bill Gates is said to have dislodged Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim, also a noted philanthropist, from the top spot on the list of the world’s wealthiest people.
The Harvard dropout is the wealthiest man on the planet as per the Bloomberg Billionaires index, which is updated on a daily basis at 5:30 p.m. in New York. At the time of the last update, Bill Gates’ net worth was valued at $72.7 billion, a shade (relatively speaking) above his nearest rival Carlos Slim’s net worth of $72.1 billion.
So what exactly fueled Gates’ return to the top of the Bloomberg Billionaires list after a five-year hiatus? Forbes’ contributor Nigam Arora, a nuclear physicist who serves as the chief investment officer at The Arora Report, ascribes this recent rise in Bill Gates’ wealth to the prevailing market excitement over the upcoming launch of Microsoft’s next-gen console; ever since Microsoft announced the upcoming Xbox 720 launch event, scheduled for May 22, the company’s stock price and, in turn, Gates’ net worth have witnessed a steady rise.
In other words, where the markets are concerned, all this Xbox 720-related excitement has been able to offset the negative impact of disappointing first-quarter PC shipment numbers. But the question is: for how long? According to Arora, this “rally in Microsoft is overdone.”
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Company now accepting pre-orders for the handheld from the most eager "fans"
At a time when dedicated handheld gaming devices are struggling to remain relevant, Nvidia is pressing ahead with plans to launch a handheld of its own. The chipmaker on Monday made its Tegra 4-powered Project Shield (codename) handheld available for pre-order to those who took the trouble of signing up for Shield-related updates by clicking ‘Notify Me’ on the official Shield website.
The upcoming Android-running device, which it unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, will now be known simply as Shield and set consumers back $349, the company announced today. Nvidia will start taking pre-orders from the general public through Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, Canada Computers and the Shield website on March 20, 2013, with the first units expected to reach customers in late June.
Shield runs what Nvidia says is “pure” Android (Jelly Bean). With Nvidia deciding against locking down the OS (à la Amazon Kindle Fire), gamers will have access to all the latest and greatest games and apps in the Play Store. In fact, a couple of games will come bundled with it.
However, it would be foolish to think that its console-esque controller is merely aimed at making the many touch-unfriendly Android games out there a touch (pardon the pun) more playable. Shield’s controller is sure to come in very handy when gamers choose to stream their favorite PC games from their GeForce GTX GPU-powered PCs to the handheld.
Here’s a quick rundown of its specs:
- Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 4 Quad Core Mobile Processor with 2GB RAM
- Controller: Console-grade controller with dual analog joysticks, a full-sized D-Pad, left and right analog triggers, full-sized bumpers and A/B/X/Y buttons
- Display: 5-inch, 720p retinal multi-touch display
- Audio: Integrated stereo speakers with built-in microphone
- Games and Apps: Android titles in the Play Store and PC games via GeForce game streaming
- Bundled Software: Google Play, TegraZone, Sonic 4 Episode II THD, Expendable: Rearmed, Hulu Plus, TwitchTV
- Storage: 16GB Flash Memory
- Wireless: 802.11n 2x2 Mimo Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS
- Connectivity: Mini-HDMI output, Micro-USB 2.0, MicroSD storage slot, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with microphone support
- Motion Sensors: 3 Axis Gyro, 3 Axis Accelerometer
- Battery: 28.8 Watt Hours
Has Nvidia put paid to Shield’s chances of success by pricing it in line with home consoles, or do you think that the handheld has enough juice to justify its hefty price tag? Do tell us what you think.
Dota 2 trails League of Legends
Gaming social network Raptr, which has over the past few years published yearly lists of the most popular games based on its users’ gaming habits, last month began doing so on a monthly basis. Earlier this week, it published the second such monthly list of “most played games.”
With a total share of 8.73 percent, the top spot on Raptr’s list of most played Xbox 360 and PC games of April, 2013 belongs to Call of Duty Black Ops II , which had also topped the list last month. It is just one of six Xbox 360 games in the top 10.
Just like last month, League of Legends occupies the second spot with a 6.31 percent share, slightly up from the 5.97 percent it managed during the previous month. The next two are both PC titles as well.
Dota 2 climbed two places to snag the third spot from World of Warcraft, which is number four on the list. The fourth and final PC title in the top ten is Defiance, having debuted at number nine in April. Another PC title that merits a mention is SimCity, albeit for all the wrong reasons. The title, which somehow clung onto the twentieth and final spot last month, has now dropped out altogether.
It is clear from the site’s latest monthly data — for which it relies entirely on the willingness of its users to share their gamer ids — that multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are very popular among the PC-doting section of the five-year-old site’s constituency, and SimCity isn’t (for obvious reasons, of course).
But, as far as we are concerned, the biggest highlight of Raptr’s first two monthly lists is the fact that Dota 2, which was recently said to have become the most played game, finds itself behind — and by quite a sizable margin at that — the game it had supposedly overtaken: League of Legends (LoL). This lends credence to Riot Games’ contention that Dota 2 is not even close to LoL when it comes to popularity, with the latter attracting as many as “500,000 peak concurrent players every day on just the EU West shard” compared to Dota 2’s peak of 325,897 concurrent users worldwide.
Image Credit: Raptr
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Silence, in this case, is not golden but matte black or glossy white
PC chassis maker NZXT on Tuesday announced the release of a new case called the H630. The new H, as the El Monte-based company likes to call it, has been designed to smother the acoustic signature of the beast within.
The company is particularly proud of the fact that the NZXT H630, in an industry first, supports up to two 200mm fans in the front and back of the enclosure. As far as liquid cooling solutions are concerned, the new H supports the mounting of 240mm, 280mm and 360mm radiators in both top and front positions.
“Fully enclosed in steel and combined with an intelligent vent design to minimize intake noise, the H630 offers a sleek, jaw-dropping design that will leave you and your components speechless,” reads the official H630 product page.
“Complete with fully modular hard drive cages , a ten-port fan hub and two removable SSD mounts located behind the motherboard tray, the H630 offers comprehensive customization for all enthusiasts.”
Available in matte black and glossy white colors, the 31-lb ultra tower case sports a $149 price tag and comes with a two-year warranty. Here are the detailed specs:
- Size: Ultra Tower
- Drive Bays:, External 5.25" x 2 (Toolless), Internal 3.5"/2.5": 8(2 x 2.5" behind MB) 2 x 3HDD cage, 1 x 2HDD cage (Fully Modular)
- Cooling System: Front 2 x 200 or 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm ( 1 x 200mm included ), Top 2 x 200 or 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm, Rear 1 x 140/120mm ( 1 x 140mm included ), Bottom 2 x 140/120mm, HDD Pivot 2 x 140/120mm
- Filters: Front Side(Included), Bottom Front (Included), Bottom Rear(Included)
- Radiator Support: Front 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm, Top 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm, Bottom 2 x 140/120, Rear 1 x 140/120mm
- Clearance: CPU Cooler 190mm, VGA Card 354mm, Cable Management 27mm
- Dimensions: 245mm(W) x 547mm(H) x 567mm(D)
- Material: SECC Steel, ABS Plastic
- Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, XL-ATX, EATX (347mm x 272mm)
- Expansion Slots: 9
- External Electronics: 1 x Audio/Mic 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, SD Card Reader With SDHC & SDXC Support, I/O Panel LED On/Off
Image Credit: NZXT
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