Windows XP Still Powers 181 Million PCs

Microsoft XP is the operating system that just won’t die it seems. Even now, two years after support for Windows XP finally ended, it has been found that 181 million PCs around the world still use the dated operating system from 2001.

Whether 181 million PCs is a lot in a world where computers seem to be everywhere seems to be hard to measure, but US-based analytics vendor Net Applications released some metrics to put it into perspective. They found that these Windows XP machines made up as much as 11% of all personal computers and 12% of all Windows-running PCs. This difference is due to Windows’ share of the PC market being 91.5% and not 100%. This also means that Windows XP has a larger user-base than all versions of Apple’s Mac OSX, by as much as 40%. XP was also found to be the fourth most used version of Windows to this day, only falling behind Windows 7 at 861 million,  Windows 10 at 235 million and Windows 8/8.1 at 199 million.

While XP usage in the US is fairly low with a market share of only 3.2%, other countries have a much bigger XP problem, most notably China. Numbers on the exact usage of this outdated version of Windows in China seem to vary, its usage is between 26.2% and 31.6% depending on the source.

At its current rate of decline according to Net Applications, Windows XP is set to drop into single digit percentages for usage by as soon as May, but we could be waiting until March 2017 before it finally falls below 5%, almost 3 years since it was ended. Windows XP migration is tough at this point. For those still using XP, the OS is incapable of upgrading to the newest Windows 10 OS, requiring 7 to be a stepping stone along the way. The easier option is simply purchasing a new PC with a newer version of Windows, but for many this isn’t an option.

Apple to Use Old or Refurbished IPhones to Break Into Indian Market

The Indian market is one notoriously hard to get into for many firms selling devices at a premium, with many Indian customers being incredibly sensitive to high pricing and the import taxes for the country are high. In response to this difficult market, Apple has a new plan to gain a foothold in India: selling older and refurbished iPhones at cheaper prices.

Compared to their strong advance into the Chinese market, Apple’s progress in India has been slow. Despite increasing the number of distribution channels across a number of Indian cities, the Cupertino-based company only managed to sell 1 million phones in the last quarter, making up just a 3 percent share of the Indian smart phone market.

According to Vishal Tripathi, a research director at Gartner, most of Apple’s recent growth in the Indian market has come from sales of their older devices such as the iPhone 4S and that they may be seeking to target the lower-end of the smart phone market with these dated models, a vastly different approach to in the West. Even the new (and cheaper) iPhone SE, with a price tag of 39,000 rupees for a 16 GB model is unlikely to gain much of a foothold in the market amongst price-conscious customers according to Tripathi.

Currently, Samsung leads the Indian smart phone market, possessing a mighty 27 percent share of the 25 million devices shipped in India in the last quarter, trailed by Indian firm Micromax at 14.1 percent. There is no doubt that Apple wants a piece of this potentially lucrative market, which one of their main smartphone competitors currently controls. Whether this strategy will take hold remains to be seen, but Apple looks to have an uphill battle ahead of them in India as many in the country see them as simply dumping old end-of-life models into the market.

Who Needs 4K? Report Reveals Black and White TV Usage in UK

There’s always a buzz about what is new in the tech world. People have marketing campaigns pushed at them every day, showing how fantastic it would be to upgrade to a flat panel TV, high-definition, 3D and more recently, 4K, OLED, curved and more types of TV. Of course, new tech isn’t the primary concern for everyone and a recent report from the BBC proves just that.

The statistics show that around 9000 people in Britain are still using an older black and white TV. This isn’t a huge number, especially given the millions of TV viewers in the country, or that the first colour TV broadcasts started almost 50-years ago. I’m 31 years old now, and I personally haven’t seen a black and white TV in the house in since the late 80’s!

“We like the glow of valves, rich sound and wonderful warm smell of these old sets. Older people who grew up with black-and-white still love it and don’t see why they should throw away their perfectly good set to get color they don’t even want.” said TV and radio historian Jeffrey Borinsky. “Unfortunately even the youngest black-and-white sets are more than 20 years old and very few people now mend TVs at all. In a few more years this group will have gone to TV heaven,” he added.

I’m partly amazed there are still old black and white TV’s still working, but I guess the saying “they don’t make them like they used to” still rings true. Of course, the other saying of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” is also valid, and perhaps many of the viewers holding onto their old sets don’t use it that often, or just like watching Betamax tapes of classic black and white movies! Of course, there is one other reason, a black and white TV licence is about £50, while a colour one is around £150 per year.

It’s not only England that are rocking it old-school, as there are a few hundred sets also in use in Scotland. Although I do wonder what the global usage of older TVs is these days.

TV Licensing Scotland spokesman Jason Hill said: “It’s astounding that more than 550 households in Scotland still watch on a black and white telly, especially now that over half of homes access TV content over the internet, on smart TVs. Whether you have the latest 4K TV or a black and white set from the 1970s, if you are watching or recording live television, then you do need a TV licence.”

Do you still have an old black and white TV in your house or have you upgraded to something a little more modern?

The Wackiest Graphics Cards Ever Devised

AMD’s small-form factor Nano GPU provides an insight into the future with HBM stackable memory which leads to more compact designs. As GDDR5 is phased out, graphics cards should become smaller as the memory is no longer scattered around the PCB. Over the years, there has been some rather unusual designs and here is a number of the best courtesy of a Reddit post.

The header image needs no introduction and features an absurd elongated heatsink. Additionally, the wild, vivid colour scheme is not to everyone’s tastes but certainly an eye-opener. This might come as a surprise but the card in question is the Colorful GeForce GTX 660 Ti World Cyber Games Edition.

Now we move onto the KFA2 GTX 460 which utilized wireless antennas to connect an additional monitor or TV via a HDMI dongle. This enabled you to use multiple displays without using a HDMI or VGA cable. The card incurred a rather extortionate price compared to reference models but is a fairly interesting, albeit flawed concept.

The Radeon RX800 is a work of art and attempted to become the most flexible GPU in the world as motherboards began to drop the AGP standard. PCI-Express was clearly the future and back then cards opted for either an AGP or PCI-E interface. Unbelievably, the RX800 offered both depending on the orientation the card was positioned in. Not only that, you could adjust the DVI slots to fit in the correct way if the card was turned upside down. This was a rather complicated solution to changing graphical interfaces but a quirky card which deserves respect.

If there was an award for the most likeable graphics card name it would have to go to the Radeon HD 2400 XT Bite-Taken-Out-Edition. Originally conceived as a slim, single-slot card, ATI’s engineers had to extend the PCB to add Crossfire functionality. The end result looks extremely silly but for some bizarre reason, I wouldn’t mind owning one!

The next entry is a very peculiar GTX 680 model which adopts a single slot design and humongous length. Unfortunately, the original poster hasn’t been able to track down any manufacturer information although it seems targeted at the Chinese market. I would love to know how cool the card runs and the operating temperatures on such a long profile.

Finally, we come to the HIS 5450 PCI-E x1 Edition which slots connects to a PCI-E x1 slot instead of the industry-standard PCI-E x16 for graphics cards. Usually, PCI-E x1 is reserved for sound cards, USB controllers and other add-in cards. As a result, it’s very perplexing to see a card designed for PCI-E x1 considering every motherboard with this slot design contains at least one PCI-E connector. Although, the 5450 was AMD’s cheapest graphics card available and still might be if I remember correctly. It’s mainly used in HTPCs or basic desktop environments. Therefore, the x1 connector shouldn’t make a big difference.

‘May the 4th be With You’

Calling all Star Wars fans, you know what you’re getting into here. Lucasarts has announced a new deal ready for the unofficial Star Wars day; ready? They plan on re-introducing some of the classic games onto the PC with previously announced partner Good Old Games (GOG.com) and new partner, Steam.

The games in question are those from the X-Wings and TIE Fighter series, some pretty old school space sims on offer to go with the back catalogue of games already offered by both vendors.

So GOG.com has given you the reasonable (and easier) choice of two bundles, the Blaster Bundle and the Saber Bundle; I know which I would go for. Steam on the other hand has just given you some Force tingling deals across the entire range with some pre-defined bundles as standard; check out the deals on the Steam sale page.

So who can’t wait for the next film instalment? Are you furiously watching the old sagas in preparation so you can walk into the cinema with your hood over your eyes and constantly repeat phrases? Are you going to be suited and booted with your light saber in hand? Why not let us know in the comments or over on our forums.

Google Maps is 10 Years Old

Google Maps has just become 10 years old. It’s hard to believe that it’s as old as that, but it’s also hard to imagine a world without it 10 years ago.The quintessential mapping web app was initially developed by a team of 50 people, but it took many years and many more people to bring it to where it is today.

Google Maps originally started out as a downloadable app created by Danish brothers Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen at Where 2 Technologies – a company which attracted the interest and was subsquently acquired by Google. That app was a very basic application, but it laid the foundations for what was to become one of Google’s most iconic services.

So it was, that on February 8th 2005, Google made an announcement on the Google Blog about their latest project and that a beta version was to open to the public. That was just the beginning and since then, after many additions, including hybrid maps, Street View, transit information, turn-by-turn directions and more, Google Maps has become the way most of us find our way around the planet.

Happy Birthday Google Maps.

Source: The Guardian

Watch Some Old People ‘Play’ GTA V

There’s a lot of these videos nowadays. Kids, teens and old people get sat in front of a game, piece of old or new technology, an outrageous YouTube video, or pretty much anything else that’ll get an interesting reaction, and they’re just asked to say what they think about it.

Well this time, the latest ‘REACT’ video features a bunch of elderly people attempting to get Michael De Santa to walk. There’s more to it obviously, but a lot of it is just about getting him to walk.

See it and their hilarious reactions for yourself in the video bellow.

Source: REACT on YouTube

BlackBerry Classic Officially Released

BlackBerry has finally released the Classic – a device the company has been talking about for a long, long time. Well now we finally have everything we need to know about this little blast from the past.

The device comes with a 720 x 720 pixel, 3.5-inch touchscreen, with 2GB of RAM and a rather dated 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor. Above its full qwerty keyboard and its display, there is a 2-megapixel camera, with an 8-megapixel camera on the rear. There’s also 16GB of expandable storage onboard. It also runs the BlackBerry 10 OS, with support for native Android apps.

The device, which is available now for $449, has been targeted at business users whom a number still rely on old BlackBerrys (including the Commander in Chief) to plough through those millions of e-mails with that beloved physical keyboard.

We shall have to see whether this explosion of smartphone nostalgia is enough of a fix for BlackBerry’s troubles.

Source: The Verge

Bye Bye Plasma TV Technology

In 2005, Sony and Toshiba announced their departure from the plasma business, followed by Hitachi and Pioneer in 2008. Now South Korean companies Samsung and LG Electronics have announced their abandonment of the once-popular panel option.

Samsung and LG have recently cancelled their investment plans into plasma panels into Taiwan’s Chungwa Picture Tubes, with us seeing more companies gradually making the move to alternative sources, citing plasma panels to be out-of-date technology akin to the CRT’s seen above.

Changhong has become one of the lone survivors in the plasma business, often being asked by media if they’re going to give it up. A Changong representative answers publicly when asked this question, but dodged it entirely – providing a complete ‘non-answer’. In 2005, Changhong completed their Plasma TV market dominence and set forward with a $2 billion investment in 2007. Nine years down the road, it seems that Changhong has made the wrong decision.

Changhong had previously invested over 40 billion yuan ($6,525,822,000 US) into plasma projects, resulting in losses every year following ans deciding to call it quits – selling eventually for a grand sum of 64.2 million yuan ($10.4 m USD). To this day, it’s hard to say if the failure is due completely due to the plasma markets decline, or also due to Changhon technology in itself.

Unfortunately before the sale, Changhong found themselves in some hot water – seeing hundreds of employees waiting for resettlement discontinued and providing a ruthless end to a once glorious reign. News has just surfaced on November the 2nd of their plans to sell their assets for the aforementioned 64.2 million yuan – relieving the owners of their failing factories burden.

When is the last time you saw a plasma TV on the market? Personally, I didn’t really notice their slow fade into non-existence, but it’s becoming clear that crystal, LCD and LED is now king of the tech-jungle.

Image courtesy of Post Independant

15 Year Old Cashes in $100,000 Thanks to Bitcoin and Launched a Startup

Erik Finman is the 15 year old founder of Botangle, an online education program designed to link students with instructors across the globe. He’s said to be following in similar footsteps to his mentor, Alexis Ohanian, who started the ever-growing online platform Reddit at the young age of 22.

After being inspired by Ohanians book “Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed”, Finman cashed in a $1,000 check from his Grandma and invested it in the online currency, Bitcoin.

A pretty daring move for someone at only 15 years of age you could say. Ohanian agreed in an interview with CBS News:

“I’m shocked by Erik’s success at this age, compared to where I was”

However, Finman went in with full confidence:

“I just thought it was an amazing tool, and it was going to be really big,” Finman said. “I hit the jackpot.” CBS News

As the title explains, his jackpot reached a total of $100,000. But why stop there? Finman was frustrated by being stuck in school in Idaho, where he was experiencing a lack of interesting subjects to quench his learning thirst – his solution being Botangle.

Botangle gives registered members a place to keep in contact with instructors and learn about almost any subject they wish, ranging from languages to science.

After Botangle’s launch in May, there are now more than 1,700 registered users and employs 20 people full-time.

Finman commented:

“You can choose to register as a student and learn something, or become an instructor and teach something. I wanted it so that any person like me, who doesn’t have the same opportunities as someone living in a really nice school district, can go on my site and learn anything they want.” CBS News

Image courtesy of Business Insider