Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14″ Ultrabook Unboxing

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14" Ultrabook Unboxing

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Windows RT Review

Autore: AnandTech

Meet Windows RT

Microsoft’s first serious foray into tablets came just after the turn of the new millenium, with Bill Gates demonstrating the first tablet PC prototype onstage at Comdex in the autumn of 2000. From there, OEMs started releasing tablets based on Windows XP Tablet PC Edition in 2002, with a full range of pen-enabled slates and convertibles releasing over the next few years. In addition to oftentimes prohibitive cost, each had its own set of drawbacks. Convertibles tended to be quite bulky compared to their notebook counterparts (the ThinkPad X-series being a notable exception), while slates were rather difficult to use – a symptom of shoehorning a desktop operating system into a purely touch-centric form factor. 

Fast forward a decade, to the beginning of 2010. After a number of conceptual non-starters in the tablet PC space – building tablet PC support into all editions of Windows Vista and 7 (other than Basic/Home Starter), the entire Origami class of devices – Microsoft’s touchscreen devices were floundering. The iPad had been announced to mixed reaction but an extremely high level of anticipation. Microsoft and HP countered with the Slate 500, an Atom-based device shown off at CES 2010 with solid state storage and Windows 7 in roughly the same form factor as Apple’s iPhone OS-based ARM tablet. With speculation pointing to a pricetag of just $ 549, the Slate appeared to be the most viable hope Microsoft had in trying to make mainstream headway with the tablet PC concept. But shortly after the iPad shipped in April 2010, rumors of the Slate’s demise started to circulate, and after a six month delay, the Slate 500 started shipping as an enterprise-only product in December of that year for $ 799. HP’s acquisition of Palm (RIP) definitely played a role in the sidelining of the Slate, but more importantly, it essentially spelled the end for the tablet PC. This was news that was perhaps known already, but the Slate saga officially pulled the plug on Microsoft’s original idea of what a tablet was. 

The problem was two parts software, one part hardware. Microsoft had developed a very interesting touch-oriented user interface for its handhelds, so at least one part of the equation was relatively straightforward. The hardware issue came down to this: the iOS and Android tablets succeeding in the market ran off ARM system-on-chips, which resulted in slim, power-efficient tablets that had idle times stretching for days. At the time, there was just nothing in terms of x86 hardware that could compete with that in low-power device realm (Clover Trail and Haswell, of course, change this part of the story considerably). The other question? How to converge the touch-centric UI with the classic desktop environment that had been the corner of Windows dating all the way back to 95. 

Meet Windows RT. It’s Microsoft’s first major foray into the modern tablet market, the shipping version of Windows-on-ARM, and it’s one of Microsoft’s most important product launches ever. Windows 8 shares the same touch-friendly user interface, but the ARM silicon makes RT an almost entirely tablet-centric operating system, the first for Microsoft. Combined with the focus on premium hardware experiences, this is Redmond’s most serious push to be competitive with the iOS and Androids of the world. How does it fare? Keep reading.

User Interface, Gestures, and Multitasking

ARM wades into Intel

Autore: Welcome to Fudzilla

No advantage in processing tech


ARM CEO Warren East claims that his rival Intel has no actual advantage when it comes to process technology.

Accrording to Electronics Weekly East mocked Intel for claiming it had  manufacturing superiority. While the ARM ecosystem was shipping on 28nm, Intel was shipping on 32nm. So East could not see where Chipzilla was ahead. With the foundries accelerating their process development timescales, it looks increasingly unlikely that Intel will be able to find any advantage on mobile process technology in the future, he claimed.

ARM was supporting all the independent foundries, which includes 20nm planar bulk CMOS and 16nm finfet at TSMC; 20nm planar bulk CMOS and 14nm finfet at Samsung and 20nm planar bulk CMOS, 20nm FD-SOI and 14nm finfet at Globalfoundries. He said that this gives the ARM ecosystem lots of processes to choose from. East said that he was no better equipped to judge which of these processes will be more successful than anyone else, but it means that ARM is hedging its bets. He thinks that the foundries’ process roadmap is on track to intersect Intel’s at 14nm.

Intel intends to put 14nm into mobile SOCs and make them the first ICs to be made on a new process. East said there is nothing new in this and his foundry partners were planning the same thing. Globalfoundries intends to have 14nm finfet in volume manufacturing in 2014, the same timescale as Intel has for introducing 14nm finfet manufacturing, he said.

Forti proteste per la norma battezzata ‘ammazza-web’

Autore: IlSoftware.it

Nell’aula del Senato è in corso di discussione il cosiddetto DDL “salva-Sallusti” in materia di diffamazione a mezzo stampa. Per il momento l’approvazione non c’è stata e questo risultato, allo stato attuale, viene valutato positivamente da chi s’intende di informazione online. Sulla scorta della vicenda Sallusti, ex direttore de “Il Giornale“, il provvedimento “avrebbe dovuto garantire maggiore libertà di informazione ai giornalisti della carta stampata, sottraendoli dal rischio di finire in galera nell’esercizio della propria attività“, osserva l’avvocato Guido Scorza, dottore di ricerca in informatica giuridica e diritto delle nuove tecnologie. In realtà sono ricomparse alcune disposizioni che potrebbero portare al polo opposto ossia mettere degli evidenti paletti alla libertà d’espressione, soprattutto online.

L’obbligo di rettifica, ossia la modifica di qualunque contenuto pubblicato in Rete entro poche ore dall’invio di una semplice contestazione, sembra venire esteso a tutti i siti web, di qualunque genere essi siano (anche amatoriali, quindi).
L’edizione italiana di Wikipedia è quindi immediatamente tornata sul piede di guerra: “il disegno di legge, se approvato, potrebbe imporre a ogni sito web (ivi compresa Wikipedia) la rettifica o la cancellazione dei propri contenuti dietro semplice richiesta di chi li ritenesse lesivi della propria immagine o anche della propria privacy, e prevede la condanna penale e sanzioni pecuniarie fino a 100.000 euro in caso di mancata rimozione. Simili iniziative non sono nuove, ma stavolta la loro approvazione sembra imminente“, si legge sulla home page dell'”enciclopedia libera”. “L’approvazione di questa norma obbligherebbe ad alterare i contenuti indipendentemente dalla loro veridicità“, aggiunge Wikipedia valutando l’impianto generale del DDL come un provvedimento profondamente liberticida. “Un simile obbligo snaturerebbe i principi fondamentali di Wikipedia, costituirebbe una limitazione inaccettabile alla sua autonomia e una pesante minaccia all’attività dei suoi 15 milioni di volontari sparsi in tutto il mondo, che sarebbero indotti a smettere di occuparsi di determinati argomenti o personaggi, anche solo per <<non avere problemi>>“.

Scorza, nella sua analisi, estrapola uno dei passaggi dei tanti emendamenti presentati: “Chiunque potrà “chiedere ai siti internet e ai motori di ricerca [n.d.r. quasi che si trattasse di soggetti di diritto!] l’eliminazione dei contenuti diffamatori o dei dati personali trattati in violazione della presente legge [n.d.r. legge che non ha nulla a che vedere con il trattamento dei dati personali!]“, scrive il legale concludendo come un pugno di caratteri possa di fatto “condannare a morte la libertà di informazione online“.

La stesura, va detto, non è fortunatamente quella definitiva ma gran parte di coloro che “vivono la Rete” e ne conoscono bene le dinamiche si augurano che questioni delicatissime come quelle affrontate dal DDL vengano opportunamente soppesate prima di partorire un mostro capace di calpestare senza rispetto e consapevolezza, come osserva Scorza, quello “straordinario ruolo che l’informazione diffusa attraverso Internet sta giocando, in Italia e nel resto del mondo in termini democratici“.

Estremamente critico è anche Marco Polillo, presidente degli editori di libri (Associazione Italiana Editori): “questo provvedimento getta una pesante ombra sul rispetto di un principio cardine per la società civile e democratica come la libertà di stampa e di informazione e impatta in modo significativo sulla nostra attività di editori“. Gli obblighi imposti dal DDL, compreso quello di rettifica, vengono esplicitamente estesi anche ai libri: “queste norme costringerebbero di fatto autori ed editori a una censura preventiva e contraria ai principi di libertà democratica“, continua il presidente dall’AIE. “Sia chiaro a tutti, (le nuove regole, n.d.r.) non riguarderebbero solo i cosiddetti libri d’inchiesta ma tutta la produzione libraria, dai libri di scuola (perché non rettificare un’analisi sulla storia contemporanea?) alle enciclopedie fino alla saggistica e alla narrativa (perché non rettificare libri di mafia?)“.

Con un’impostazione del genere, conclude Polillo, si fa prima a non pubblicare più alcun libro. “Già oggi chi diffama attraverso le pagine di un libro ne risponde, come è giusto che sia. Con questo provvedimento invece chi si sente diffamato potrebbe chiedere un’immediata rettifica entro 7 giorni su due giornali, in modo illimitato e con sanzioni sproporzionate nei tempi e nei modi: questo diritto di replica, incondizionato e senza commento, per il nostro settore potrebbe essere davvero pericoloso perché non fa alcuna distinzione tra notizie vere, notizie sbagliate pubblicate in buona fede e notizie false pubblicate in malafede. Sono norme contraddittorie, sproporzionate e, diciamolo chiaramente, irragionevoli“.

Features that Google Chrome should steal from other browsers

Autore: ExtremeTech

Google Chrome has been a colossal success. Although reports vary, Google’s browser now has between 19% and 34% of the desktop browser market. Thanks to Chrome’s meteoric rise, many derivative alternatives have been created, and they offer many interesting features and fundamental differences. A vanilla Chrome installation, even with extensions, just cannot mimic some of this functionality.

These alternatives range from Google’s own open-source Chromium Project to specialty browsers like the security-focused Comodo Dragon. There are too many to count, and there doesn’t seem to be an end to their creation. However, three Chrome derivatives are particularly of interest, and a number of their ideas are worth considering for the main branch.

First up is SRWare Iron. This browser is designed with user privacy in mind. Some of us are uncomfortable with the amount of data that Google can track when you install and use Chrome, and this is absolutely a solution for this. Features like search suggestions, installation tracking, and error reporting don’t even exist in SRWare Iron. While Chrome can be configured to be more privacy-focused, some options can’t be changed easily, if at all. While it’s in Google’s best interest to gather as much data about you as legally possible, it would very nice if the company offered a single toggle to turn off all tracking features.

Rockmelt, the social browser

In 2005, a browser called Flock came onto the scene. It launched using Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine, and focused on the idea of social browsing. Later, it switched to WebKit, the same core rending engine used by Chrome (and Safari). It soon changed hands and was swiftly discontinued. Flock.com now cites the famous Twain quote “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” and features a newsletter signup field. Flock might not be around anymore, but it does have a spiritual successor.

RockMelt launched in 2010 for Mac OS X, and it continued the idea of a social web browser. It integrates both Facebook and Twitter into the interface with the intention of making it easier to share and discuss web content very easily. It’s still not available in a finished form, but you can sign to be notified of version 1.0′s release. Now, many social extensions are available in the Chrome Web Store. Cortex, for example, is extremely useful for sharing content on social networks. It’s worth having around, but it just doesn’t have the same utility that a true social browser does. While extensions are good at sharing, there isn’t much in the way of receiving updates from friends in a simple and easy way. Chrome could certainly take a page out of RockMelt’s book, and the social experience could be improved greatly for the end-user.

Robin browser, with side dock
Finally, a little browser called Robin is worth noting. It started out with the name Raven, trademark concerns arose, and updates have been a bit spotty since then. The beta download link isn’t even working as of publication. That said, it does include a rather good idea that Google could take advantage of: A dock. Google introduced installable web apps in 2010, but there isn’t really a good way to launch and switch between them as you’re browsing. Robin solves this problem by having a dock permanently attached to the left-hand side of the browser. Not only is it easy to launch and switch web apps, but navigation is also baked right in. For example, launching the Tumblr web app allows you to easily switch between your dashboard and editor. If Google wants web apps to overtake traditional native apps, this would be a great step in that direction.

In sum, each of these Chrome derivatives might not be revolutionary by themselves, but they do offer up some great ideas ripe for the taking. If Google starts implementing some of these ideas, the gap between Chrome and its competition will undoubtedly widen even farther.

Now read: The death of Firefox