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Reportedly, Google is in the process of completing over $120 million worth of renovations and projects for its Mountain View headquarters. The latest project, which includes building a “secret lab” to test new hardware and devices, is being headed up by Google co-founder Sergey Brin and has been named “Project X.” According to news reports, the new testing facility will be located at the center of the Googleplex and will focus on secret projects. The lab will feature blacked out windows and utilize certain contaminants and chemicals to test new hardware.
In addition to building the testing facility, Google also has plans to build a 120,000 square foot “Google Experience Center.” The Experience Center will be a private museum to showcase Google products and technology for important clients and guests. The large facility will be able to accommodate up to 900 visitors simultaneously at a single event.
Andrew Burnett, one of the architects working on the project, said the following regarding the Experience Center:
“The Experience Center would not typically be open to the public — consisting of invited groups, and guests whose interests will be as vast as Google’s range of products, and often confidential… Therefore, the Experience Center must also operate somewhat like a museum, exhibit, or mercantile space allowing flexibility in the exhibits so that as Google’s products and needs change, the space can adapt.”
Since news of the “secret lab” and Experience Center broke, Google has not provided specific details. However, the company did provide a vague statement:
“Just as we continuously work to improve our products, it’s important to iterate on our workspace to keep us productive. That’s why we are adding additional meeting and work space to our campus in Mountain View.”
With Google committing over $120 million to showcase and test new technology and $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola, it is safe to assume that Google is looking to challenge technology rivals Microsoft and Apple with new products and hardware in the very near future.
[Sources Include: VentureBeat & Mercury News]
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Microsoft’s Surface tablet is a measured gamble to enter the cutthroat tablet business, but the company could be alienating longtime hardware partners that are also expected to announce Windows 8 devices starting later this year.
The Surface tablet models come with a 10.6-inch display and will be distributed directly to customers, via Microsoft stores and the company’s online store. Microsoft’s goal is to offer a package of hardware and software built around Windows so the company can effectively compete with Apple, which offers the iPad and iPhone devices running on the iOS platform, analysts said.
Microsoft is offering two tablets, the Surface with Windows RT for ARM processors, and the Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro for x86 Intel processors. The Surface tablet with Windows RT is lighter and comes with Office 15, which includes widely used productivity applications such as Word and Excel. Microsoft’s new tablets will come with a kickstand and a thin cover that doubles as a keyboard and trackpad.No Confidence in Partners?
If the Surface tablets become successful, Microsoft could potentially be stealing future revenues from its partners who view the tablet segment as profitable, said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.
“I have to believe that [the partners] are fairly discontent about it,” Kay said. “The tablet is the heart and soul of Windows 8, and it looks like Microsoft has reserved it.”
Microsoft has licensed Windows to hardware makers for PCs since the 1980s, but that business model may be getting antiquated, Kay said. Microsoft may be seeking a new business model around tablets, but at the same time the PC market is not going anywhere and Microsoft wants to retain its Windows licensing business, Kay said. Microsoft may be experimenting with a new tablet business model, but the software company will have to strike the right balance in maintaining a relationship with the PC makers on tablets and PCs.
Shaw Wu, a financial analyst at Sterne Agee, agreed, saying Microsoft’s tablets could eat into the sales of devices from Windows partners. The full impact of Microsoft’s tablets on PC makers has yet to be determined, Wu said in a research note sent on Tuesday.
The Surface is crucial for Microsoft to establish a presence in the tablet market and to compete with Apple, said David Daoud, research director for personal computing at IDC. Microsoft’s move to tablets came likely because PC makers failed to take the lead in making tablets good enough to compete with Apple, Daoud said.
“[Device makers] have been lagging in terms of creativity,” Daoud said.Aiming for iPad
Apple’s iPad dominates the market while competitors have stopped making certain tablet models or are trying to catch up. Hewlett-Packard last year discontinued the TouchPad, while Dell has discontinued Streak consumer tablets, and both companies are now planning to re-enter the consumer tablet market with devices based on Windows 8. Tablets with the Android OS offered by companies like Samsung, Asus, Acer and Lenovo have not sold as well as the iPad.
Microsoft had to take the lead in development as device makers were not willing to spend on research and development, Daoud said. Device makers are making razor-thin margins on consumer PCs and tablets, and have limited spending on innovation in tablets. Ultimately Microsoft’s lead with the Surface tablets could inspire device makers to release the next-generation Windows hardware and get a better understanding of the software and hardware ecosystem, Daoud said.
“The move is somewhat predictable. What is unpredictable is Microsoft taking the lead on the hardware side,” Daoud said.
“Selling x86-based tablets in the same retail channels as Windows RT tablets will confuse consumers and sow discontent if consumers buy x86 and think they’re getting something like the iPad. Microsoft and its partners need to articulate a compelling strategy for how they will manage consumer expectations in the channel,” Rotman Epps wrote.
But with or without the help of device makers, Microsoft is now gearing up to battle Apple.
“They have to do something, they can’t just sit there and let Apple take over the world,” IDC’s Daoud said.
Chevrolet and Hot Rod magazine turn iconic Project X into an EV
Garage tinkerers have been taking the engines out of vehicles that came from the factory and replacing them with an engine never meant to be there for decades. One of the most iconic magazines supporting fans and builders of the type of vehicle known as a hot rod is MotorTrend’s Hot Rod magazine. Chevrolet and Hot Rod have announced a project that will see them take a 1957 Chevy known as Project X and convert it to an electric vehicle. It has had several different powertrains under the hood over the years, and its latest engine swap is something modern.
The latest iteration of Project X will replace the V-8 engine under the hood with an electric motor producing an estimated 340 horsepower. That’s certainly not a lot of horsepower, considering at times since the ’57 Chevy was purchased by Hot Rod in 1965, the vehicle has been powered by an in-line six and various V-8 engines. Over the years, the car has used carburetors, fuel injection and has been supercharged.
An interesting tidbit about Project X is that it’s had so much time, money, and effort put into it since 1965 when it was purchased for $250 that it is considered the million-dollar Chevy. With the automotive world moving quickly towards electric propulsion, enthusiast magazines like Hot Rod know that some garage projects will become electrified in the future. The latest version of Project X will replace its current supercharged LSX V-8 engine with an electric motor producing about 340 horsepower and 330 pound-foot of torque.
That’s undoubtedly significantly less horsepower and torque than the current supercharged V-8 under its hood. The battery that will power the electric motor is something Chevrolet is currently developing with the potential to become a next-generation Chevrolet Performance product. Chevy has developed the battery using a modular concept allowing customers to scale the pack capacity to control driving range, costs, packaging, and weight.
The lithium-ion battery in proof of concept form is 400-volt with 30 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Chevrolet expects that the battery pack will have plenty of driving range for a weekend of cruising. In addition to the electric motor and battery pack, the vehicle uses a quick-change differential allowing the driver to just the final drive ratio depending on what they’re doing with the car. For example, a shorter final-drive ratio is used when the driver wants quicker acceleration, but when they want to go cruising, a taller gear will reduce performance but extend driving range.
Helping with the conversion project is a company called Cagnazzi Racing based in Mooresville, North Carolina. Other than ripping out the supercharged V-8 and cramming in the electric motor and battery pack, the brake booster system also had to be replaced with an electric booster, and an electrohydraulic power steering pump was used. While the engine is being replaced, the ’57 Chevy still rides on the front suspension system from a sixth-generation Corvette installed in 2007.
Ditching the combustion engine allowed the team to remove the exhaust system, which allowed the car to be lowered by two inches. The electrified powertrain the car is getting installed is also lighter, so the car is being changed to utilize softer front springs and stiffer rear springs. While the vehicle is getting a modern electrified powertrain, it still looks like a classic 1957 Chevrolet on the outside. The only change to its interior is a push-button gear selector used in the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette.
Chevrolet isn’t the only major automaker considering offering an electric vehicle conversion kit as a performance part. For example, Ford offers the electric motor from the Mach-E under the name Eluminator as an electric motor for conversion projects for $3900. That electric motor produces 281 horsepower and 317 pound-foot of torque.
Google is investing in new efforts to ward off vandalism in search results and ensure information remains relevant and reliable.
In addition, Google has provided details about measures already in place to get breaking news indexed many times faster than before.
Here’s more of what was announced today in relation to improving information quality in search and news results.Breaking News Delivered Faster
Google has developed an intelligence desk that actively monitors and identifies potential information threats.
This is an extension of Google’s crisis response team, which has tracked events around the world in real-time for years already.
“The Intelligence Desk is a global team of analysts monitoring news events 24/7, spanning natural disasters and crises, breaking news moments and the latest developments in ongoing topics like COVID.
When events occur, our analysts collect data about how our systems are responding and compile reports about narratives that are emerging, like new claims about COVID treatments.”
Reports from Google’s Intelligence Desk are used to ensure its systems are working as intended for the full range of topics people search for.
This effort has lead to a considerable improvement to how Google delivers information for breaking news and crises.
Now, Google’s systems can automatically recognize breaking news results in a matter of minutes – improved from 40 minutes in years past.
Google says this automated system is accurate and returns the most authoritative information available.More Accurate Information in Knowledge Graph Panels
Information in Knowledge Graph panels are more accurate as a result of partnerships with government agencies, health organizations, and Wikipedia.
“For COVID-19, we worked with health organizations around the world to provide local guidance and information to keep people safe.
To respond to emerging information needs, like the surge we saw in people searching for unemployment benefits, we provide easy access to information right from government agencies in the U.S. and other countries.”
As you may have noticed from time to time, Wikipedia information in Knowledge Panels are the target of vandalism.
This happens when Wikipedia pages are edited to intentionally provide false or misleading information.
Google can now detect 99% of Wikipedia vandalism cases, which allows its team to take action quickly.Improvements to Fact Checks
Google assists searchers with identifying false information through the use of fact checks in search results.
So far this year, searchers have seen fact checks in Google search results over 4 billion times. That’s more than all of 2023 combined.
Google is investing in making its fact checking system even more reliable by donating $6.5 million to organizations and nonprofits that specialize in fact checks.
In addition, Google has begun using BERT to improve the matching between news stories and available fact checks.
This allows Google’s systems to better understand whether a fact check claim is related to the central topic of the story.
Google then displays the fact checks prominently in the ‘Full Coverage’ section of news stories – a feature that provides full context from a variety of sources.Greater Protections for Search Features
Google has policies in place for what can appear in organic search results, as well as search features.
Autocomplete, for example, has policies around hateful and inappropriate predictions from being suggested.
Google is improving its automated systems for autocomplete to not show predications if it determines the query may not lead to reliable content.Other Highlights From Today’s Announcements
Google held a conference call in which I, along with many other reporters, got to hear Google deliver today’s announcements first-hand.
Here are some other notable details from the call:
25 billion spammy pages are detected every day
15% of all queries have never been searched for before (the greatest amount to date)
Google’s search rater guidelines are the “North Star” for understanding what algorithms are trying to do when ranking search results.
Google has 10,000 search quality raters around the world, including some in every state in the US
Google runs 1,000 search quality tests per day
Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) are weighted more heavily for YMYL (your money your life) queries
COVID-19 is the biggest topic in the history of Google Trends
In simple terms, compatibility is the state in which two different things can coexist without conflicting. In real world, milk is compatible with water, oil and water are not compatible with each other.Compatibility Testing
Compatibility testing is sub-category of software testing performed to determine whether the software under test can function on different hardware, operating systems, applications, network environments and mobile devices. It is a non-functional testing and is performed only after the software becomes stable.
The main objective of compatibility testing is to check the functionality of the software on different software, hardware, networks, etc. It is essential to software development and implementation as it avoids future problems in terms of compatibility.Types of Compatibility Tests
Hardware − It determines whether the software is compatible with various hardware configurations or not.
Software − It determines whether the developed software is compatible with various other software or not, e.g., MS WORD must be compatible with other software such as MS Outlook, MS Excel, etc.
Operating Systems − It determines whether the software under test is compatible with various OS like Windows, Unix, Mac OS, etc.
Network − It checks the performance of the software in a network in terms of various parameters such as bandwidth, operating speed, and capacity. It also tests the software under test in different networks with all parameters that were specified earlier.
Browser − It tests the compatibility of a website under test with various browsers, e.g., Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.
Devices − It tests the compatibility of the software under test with various devices such as USB port, printer, scanner, Bluetooth, etc.
Mobile − It tests whether the software under test is compatible with various mobile platforms such as Android, iOS, etc.
Software Versions − It determines whether the software under test is compatible various software versions. For example, testing whether Microsoft Windows is compatible with Windows 8.Types of Compatibility Testing
Backward Compatibility Testing − This testing is performed to check the behaviour and compatibility of the hardware or software with their older versions. This testing is predictable because all the changes from the older versions are known.
Forward Compatibility Testing − This process is used to check the behaviour and compatibility of the software or hardware with their recent or new versions. It is difficult to predict forward compatibility testing because the changes made in the newer versions are unknown.Tools for Compatibility Testing
BrowserStack − This tool enables software engineers test websites and mobile applications in different browsers and platforms. It provides tools such Live, Automate, App Live, and App Automate, using which the cost can be maintained. These tools also help reduce time, expenditure, and maintenance costs.
Virtual Desktops − This tool is used to test the software in various operating systems as virtual machines. Multiple systems can be connected and their results can be compared.
LambdaTest − This open-source tool is used to test web applications on any mobile browser and desktop browser. It offers a screenshot feature which helps take full page screenshot of web pages. This tool lets test applications on real browsers, and provides a large number of mobile and desktop browsers to verify the compatibility of the application.
BrowseEMAII − This tool is used to run applications on different OS, like Linux, Windows, macOS, etc. BrowseEMAII is a cross-browser testing tool used to test applications on almost all mobile browsers and desktop. It can be directly used on local machine in local network.
TestingBot − This tool is used to test the application on various browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc. In this tool, the screenshots from multiple browsers and platforms can be compared and the responsive layout of the application can also be tested. It offers a number of browser versions for automation testing.How to do Compatibility Testing
The preliminary stage defines the set of environments the software under test is expected to run on.
The tester or the testing team must possess proper knowledge and skills of the software or hardware to understand the expected behaviour of the software in different configurations.
The environment must be established to test with various platforms, devices, networks to verify whether the software can run well under various configurations.
Report the bugs discovered during testing. Resolve the defects and other problems. Conduct the test again to confirm that all the defects have been fixed.Example of Compatibility Testing
Consider that you have created a complex excel sheet to track the project, resources, expenditure, etc. using Excel 2000. You then update your MS Office 2000 to MS Office 2010. It is expected that the functions working on MS Office 2000 still work on the update version. That is, the assets you created with the older version should work on the updated version. But, if these assets do not support the updated version, then an appropriate migration path should be provided to you so that you can migrate easily from the older version to the current one.Need of Compatibility Testing
To make sure that customer(s) is(are) completely satisfied.
To provide services across various platforms.
To detect bugs or defects while the software is in development phase.Compatibility Testing Issue
These issues arise in a single platform, and not in another platform. The compatibility issues are commonly UI (user interface) issues.
Look and Feel issueAlignment issue
These issues are those in which the elements of the web page is not properly aligned in an appropriate format.Overlap issue
It may happen that one attribute overlaps with another. This may occur while trying to open the application on different platforms, browsers, environments, etc.Scattered issue
These issues arise while performing compatibility testing, the application is not compatible with multiple browsers, platforms.Compatibility issue
This issue occurs when the application runs well in all operating system but not in a specific operating system. The reason is a program written by the application developer works fine in all platforms, but not in a specific platform.Functionality issue
This issue occurs when a feature of the application is not working as expected in all operating systems or platforms. It is also referred to as functionality defect issue.Advantages of Compatibility Testing
Compatibility testing helps meet customer requirements and avoid any complaints in the future.
The feedback provided in the testing phase improves the development process.
It not only checks compatibility, but also scalability, usability and stability of the software under test.
It ensures that all the prerequisites are met and agreed upon by the developer and the customer.
It helps gain success in business operations.
It also helps improve the reputation and goodwill of the company.
Compatibility testing helps ensure the software can work under different configurations and its compatibility with the customer’s environment. This testing reduces the overall error of the software. It is comparatively inexpensive and is like a boon that ensures success of the software.
Cooling is half the battle in gaming laptops and Alienware’s new secret weapon is its mysterious “Element 31,” which the company finally revealed at Computex 2023.
Traditional liquid metals have been used by enthusiasts on desktops for some time, as well as high-end laptops for the last couple of years or so, but it’s always had downsides. Alienware actually looked at phase-change materials, aluminum-doped materials, organic waxes, graphite and raw liquid metals, but decided Element 31 was the best answer.
Dell’s Travis North said while conventional liquid metal has great thermal conductivity, it’s also electrically conductive, which isn’t great in a computer where it can potentially short out components.
You can see Alienware’s Element 31 on a CPU die before the cooler is attached, which crushes the encapasulated gallium liquid metal and creates safer and more efficient cooling material.
“In addition, the fillers corrode in the presence of water vapor, so you get a degradation of performance over time and it’s very corrosive in the presence of aluminum,” North said during a press briefing on the new laptop’s cooling.
Where Element 31 differs is the ease and safety of application.
“It looks like a grease, you apply it, compress the heat sink by screwing it down, it breaks the bonds of the silicone so we get liquid-metal to die touch points and to the base of the heat sink touch points,” he said.
In the end, North said, Element 31 provided a 25 percent improvement over the thermal grease Alienware was using.
The four-fan design of the new X-series creates a positive pressure inside the laptop which helps cool all of the components.Fan-tastic
The fans in the Alienware x15 and x17 are strategically placed to create an internal climate system inside of the laptops. Two fans using Dell’s Dual Opposite Outlet fan design are mounted forward of the traditional two fans at the rear. The DOO fans feature much larger impellers—30 percent bigger—to create a positive pressure of air flow across the heat sensitive components such as the M.2 and voltage regulation before the rear fans exhaust it all. Each of the fans are now running 12 volts which increases efficiency as well, and each fan is independent of each other in speeds.
Finally, Dell also includes custom power profiles in the BIOS as well as user control over how the system should bias cooling. Want more gaming? You can manually shift it to give as much cooling to the GPU. Doing CPU-intensive encoding? You can manually shift the cooling to the CPU.
All this, Dell said, adds up to better cooling in as thin a gaming laptop as possible and makes the Alienware x15 the “world’s most powerful sub-16mm, 15-inch gaming laptop.”
Alienware’s x15 will be its thinnest gaming laptop and perhaps the world’s thinnest gaming laptop too.Alienware x15 and x17 specs
The Alienware x15 R1 will come with either an Intel 11th-gen Core i7-11800H or 11th-gen Core i9-11900H CPU with GPU options ranging from a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU with a TGP of 70 watts plus an additional 20 watts of Dynamic Boost power. The Alienware x15 will also be available with a GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU with a TGP of 90 watts, plus an additional 20 watts of Dynamic Boost. There’s also the 8GB variant of the GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU with a TGP of 90 watts and an additional 20 watts of Dynamic Boost.
Panel options range from a 1080p panel humming along at 165Hz or 360Hz, and a QHD 1440p panel at 240Hz. Ports include one USB-A, one USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1 and 2.5GbE. And yes, there’s no more Alienware Amplifier port.
The larger Alienware x17 will offers the same 11th-gen Intel Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs and the same GPUs but will reach higher ratings.
Panel options for the x17 range from a 17.3-inch 1080p panel with either 165Hz or 360Hz refresh rates, and a QHD 1440p screen at 120Hz.
For ports, the Alienware x17 will offer two USB-A, one USB-C, one Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, miniDisplayPort 1.4, one 2.5GbE and also discontinue support for Alienware’s Amplifier.
Both laptops will run off of 240 watt power bricks using barrel adapters.
Alienware will see a return of its RGB track pad but due to limited supplies will only offer it on the highest-end configurations.
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