The new year is upon us, and that means our holiday 2012 giveaway is about to wrap up. If you haven't stopped by our gift guides and left a comment on each to win one of 14 AT&T smartphones, well, you might want to think about doing that now. We're accepting entries till today, December 31st, at 11:59 PM EST -- so get on it!
Still wondering what the heck happened with Netflix on Christmas Eve? Cloud architect Adrian Cockroft has returned to fill in the details with an official blog post. As we already knew, Amazon Web Services was to blame for the issue -- the company issued an apology earlier today -- with the Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) service causing the outage. The interruption began at 3:30PM ET on December 24th, though some users had normal service until later that evening, at which point many TV-connected devices in the US, Canada and Latin America were affected. Notably, customers in the UK, Ireland and Nordic countries did not experience issues.
Netflix uses hundreds of ELBs, but only "a handful" failed -- devices using these specific ELBs, including game consoles, were unable to access the server. While the Elastic Load Balancers serving Mac and PC streaming were unaffected, those users experienced latency issues, and may have needed to reload a stream. Cockroft explains that at 1:30AM ET on Christmas Day, the ELBs were restored by AWS, and most users were reportedly up and running at that point, though some still experienced downtime throughout the morning. Ultimately, Netflix plans to improve redundancy, which will be costly and could take some time to accomplish. For now, let's hope that AWS manages to avoid future failures. You'll find Netflix's full explanation at the source link below.
Last week's Downton Abbeybroadcast debacle, while not representative of the world's most acute problems, unnervingly illustrated one of the many ways that media companies fail to understand markets, technology and day-to-day consumer realities. The hit show ended its third season on December 25th with an extreme plot development. The season was broadcast only to its British audience, while American viewers were waiting until 2013 to clap their eyes on the latest round of shows. Problem was, of course, that the entire non-UK audience had the whole third season spoiled by instant social buzz and UK-generated web reviews of the final dramatic denouement.
If technology does nothing else, it destroys boundaries of all sorts -- between countries, time zones, populations, affiliations and cultural circumstances. Media companies that distribute their products as if those borders still held sway seem increasingly clueless and hostile to their ever more empowered audiences.
So, are sugar plum fairies dancing in your head yet? Us neither, so how about those always-popular year-end lists? It's time to re-raise a toast to that tradition here at Engadget with a look at the top articles over the last 12 months as voted on by you, dear readers. If you're drawing a blank about any such ballot-casting, you did it with each duly noted click -- meaning that, Kumbaya-style, our list is also your list. Overall, 2012 was a red-letter year at Engadget as we unveiled a snappy fresh look (literally and visually), changed to a new commenting system, added the poshly accented Eurocast and generally kicked butt with more features, liveblogs and scoops than ever -- all of which is reflected in (woot!) our largest all-time yearly readership. After a couple of years off, we're re-booting the top yearly post tradition, so without further ado, here's a list of the articles that brought the biggest page-view ruckus in 2012.
While Windows 8 inspired plenty of crazy new form factors, it also gave laptop makers a good reason to circle back and tweak their tried-and-true products to bring them into the touch-optimized era. One example is ASUS' Zenbook Prime line of Ultrabooks. We've seen quite a few of them in the last year; the UX31A landed in our offices last summer, and we reviewed the 15-inch UX51Vz mere weeks ago.
But a dry spell is nowhere in sight: ASUS just released another 13-inch Zenbook, the $1,099-and-up UX31A Touch. The name says it all: it's the UX31A we've known and, er, liked, but with a capacitive display added in. Of course, this slightly different iteration still provides an opportunity to improve the laptop in other ways (for instance, we thought the UX31A featured a subpar touchpad). So, does this new touchscreen model improve upon an already finely crafted Ultrabook? Jump past the break to find out.
Well another year is over, and it was loaded with triumph and tragedy as usual. But as usual, humankind persevered – at least when it came to their gadgets and geekery.
All tolled, we published over 3,700 posts this year, bringing our total since we launched in 2006 up to over 14,200 posts. And that’s just one of our two sites! We know that not all of you visit Technabob every day (we wish you would – so why not subscribe to our RSS Feed?), so in case you missed any of our biggest stories, here are the 30 most popular articles we posted in 2012…
As you can see, there’s a pretty good variety of stuff, ranging from gadgets and video games, to geeky costumes, to the funny and just downright weird on the list. There’s also a typically large volume of Apple tech, and an atypically large amount of Assassin’s Creed stuff. Guess you guys couldn’t get your fill of Connor/Ratonhnhaké:ton this year.
Technabob continues to grow thanks to you guys. We ended the year with over 8.2 million unique visitors, and just over 15 million pages viewed on the site during 2012. And since we launched in 2006, we’ve had over 30 million unique visitors and 54 million pageviews. The mind boggles.
Thanks for another great year! Be sure to stop back by in 2013 for all sorts of cool stuff.
How do you break the silence on one of the slowest news days of the year? Well, if you're Samsung, you tease the obvious. The Korean company has been counting down the days till CES with mini-previews of upcoming HD products -- first hinting at a refurbished Smart Hub on Christmas and today confirming that a new Smart TV will indeed be unveiled next week. But not just any TV; Samsung Tomorrow is drumming up anticipation for "an unprecedented new TV shape" to be unveiled in Vegas. From the photo, it looks like a monitor in the portrait form factor, -- and a transparent one, at that -- but we won't have to hold our horses too long before we learn more. In the meantime, you can check out the video below the break.
Look up in the sky! It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s the geekiest R/C plane ever! You will believe a man can fly. This awesome Superman R/C plane makes if feel like Metropolis and makes observers do a double-take, wherever it flies.
Are they filming the new Superman movie with super cheap effects? Nah. Apparently a couple of guys were biking down the Pacific Coast Highway when all the sudden they see Superman fly by. WTF? Well, after some investigation, they caught up with the owner and shot some footage so that we all can see the awesomeness of this R/C plane.
Presumably, it’s one of these, just painted and caped up to look like the Man of Steel. I wish I had one, but I would just crash it on the first flight.
Velocity Micro is refreshing its NoteMagix line of laptops with three 14-inch Ultrabooks: the U430, U450 and U470. These models aren't the thinnest machines in their category -- the aluminum design tips in at four pounds -- but all three have enough room for a DVD drive. All three models also feature a 14-inch display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768 -- and, notably, none of them come with bloatware. Other specs include a 1.3-MP webcam, integrated Intel HD 4000 Graphics and a rated battery life of six hours.
The $800 NoteMagix U430 is the entry-level model, with a Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive spinning at 5,400 RPM. The $900 U450 steps up to a Core i5 processor and a 120GB SSD, while the $1,100 U470 runs a Core i7 chip with 240GB of solid-state storage. The Ultrabooks are available now through Velocity Micro's site -- check out the source link for a closer look.
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