? All Tech Radio Episode 379
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  • Worldwide PC sales continued to decline in the fourth quarter, landing at 90.3 million units, or a 4.9 percent decline from the same period in 2011. According to data from Gartner, the PC industry's problems stem from more than a weak economy. "Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by 'cannibalizing' PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs," Gartner principal analyst Kikako Kitagawa said in a statement. The holiday season proved that, as neither an uptick in low-priced notebooks nor the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system had a significant impact on PC shipments. Global marketing firm IDC last week reported that worldwide PC shipments were down 6.4 percent, as the October release of Windows 8 failed to boost computer sales.
  • The laptop was reinvented at CES. Or maybe I should say there was a vigorous attempt to reinvent the laptop. Because we won't know how successful touch has been until next year this time. Intel's CES booth -- still a large presence in the CES Central Hall -- had one basic unmistakable message: touch has arrived. Windows 8 convertibles, detachables, touch-screen laptops, and just plain tablets from Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, and others blanketed Intel's booth. And just to make sure the touch message was crystal clear, Intel issued an edict to PC partners during its CES keynote: all next-generation ultrabooks based on its "Haswell" chip must be touch. What does that mean to consumers? Your next laptop will likely be touch, whether you like it or not.
  • The government wants you to disable Java. In a rare move, the U.S. government warned computer users on Friday to disable the software to prevent hackers and malware writers from taking advantage of the zero-day vulnerability -- which is currently being exploited in the wild. There are fears that the vulnerability in Java 7 could allow unauthorized installation of malicious software on machines, which could then be used to acquire personal information, which could lead to identity theft. There is a strong risk that infected computers could become part of a wider "botnet"; a network of 'zombie' machines that are used to carry out denial-of-service attacks on Web sites and networks.
  • Samsung announced Monday that it has sold more than 100 million of its Galaxy S smartphones since launching the line in 2010. The South Korean company made the announcement with a series of photos posted to its Flickr account. The pictures show a group of people holding up phones with numbers on each one, collectively writing out "100,000,000." According to the Associated Press, Samsung has sold more than 25 million Galaxy S smartphones, 40 million Galaxy S II devices and 41 million units of the Galaxy S III, its current flagship phone.
  • The idea of a faster, higher-capacity WiFi sounds great, doesn't it? But right now the best you can do, realistically, in public places is to access 802.11n WiFi and hope for the best. Unfortunately, in busy sites such as airports, trade shows or even in offices with a lot of wireless traffic, that may not be good enough to provide reliable wireless connections. Fortunately, that may change. Federal Communications Chairman Chairman Julius Genachowski said he wants to give more spectrum to WiFi to enable broader availability of "Gigabit WiFi." The idea would be to either reassign portions of the 5 GHz band or share it with other users to enable a larger number of WiFi channels and thus provide more bandwidth. "We all know the frustration of WiFi congestion at conferences and airports," Genachowski said during an interview with Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association during an event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 9. "Today, the FCC is moving to bring increased speed and capacity to WiFi networks by increasing the amount of unlicensed spectrum for WiFi. As this spectrum comes on line, we expect it to relieve congested WiFi networks at major hubs like convention centers and airports. It will also help in homes as tablets and smartphones proliferate and video use rises."

email from listeners:

  • Judy from Ft Lauderdale asks "What features on Windows 8 makes it worth switching from Windows 7?"