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All Hail a Forerunner of Social Media, AOL Instant Messenger (1997-2017)

Perhaps the only surprising thing about the announcement last week that AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is shutting down December 15, 2017 is that it did not happen years ago. After all, AIM had a market share of less than one percent… in 2011! But it was not always like that. For internet users of a certain age, AIM, like Nullsoft's Winamp, was likely once one of those must have programs.

In its heyday, the mid-2000s, AIM accounted for over half the instant messaging market; helping to popularise online conversations, as well as features, like custom icons and personalized profiles, now taken for granted. The service gradually fell out of favor as social media evolved, not an entirely unexpected development. But AIM's problems went much deeper. The service, like Winamp, was completely mismanaged by AOL, which was never entirely comfortable with a free product nor able to adapt (to the rise of mobile communications). The early pioneers of instant messaging, AIM, ICQ and MSN Messenger, engendered cross-platform programs, like Skype and WhatsApp, that are capable of handling all forms of communication, not just text conversations amongst desktop users.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Aim Launches SC808 7.1-channel PCIe Sound Card

Taiwanese PC audio hardware manufacturer Aim launched its flagship consumer sound card, the SC808. This full-height dual-slot (with daughterboard) sound card features PCI-Express x1 bus interface, and offers 7.1-channel analog and digital outputs. At its heart is C-Media's CMI8888, which is a native PCIe HDA controller, giving external DACs the task of handling analog outputs. The primary 2-channel headphones output is driven by a Wolfson WM8741 DAC, which offers a stellar SNR of 128 dBA. Other analog channels (center/sub, rear, sides), are handled by a C-Media CMI9882A CODEC, which offers a reasonable 100 dBA.

At the downstream of the WM8741 is the card's headphones amp circuit, featuring socketed Texas Instruments LM4562 OPAMP chips, metalized polypropylene capacitors, and a swappable pre-amp stage. The main PCB of the card holds a 6.3 mm stereo headphones jack, left and right RCA line-outs, 7.1-channel coaxial, and optical/TOSLINK SPDIF outputs. The other multi-channel analog outs are wired out by a header and ribbon cable to the daughterboard, which holds color-coded 3.5 mm jacks to all the channels. All audio portions of the card feature electrolytic capacitors (except the OPAMP stages, which feature MP caps), only the electrical/VRM portion of the card features conductive polymer (solid-state) capacitors. The card draws power from a 4-pin Molex power connector. On the software side of things, the driver provider is C-Media, with its reference Xear3D control panel. The card supports Windows 8. Slated for an April 24th launch in Japan, it's expected to be priced at 12,000¥ (US $112). Given its hardware, that's a reasonable price.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Intel Launches 3rd Generation Intel Core vPro Platforms

Today’s IT managers face a range of challenges from complex business processes to sophisticated security threats. Additionally, a number of industries such as retail, healthcare and industrial are turning to technology to develop innovative solutions to solve the unique challenges facing them in an increasingly connected world. To address these challenges, Intel Corporation has announced the availability of its 3rd Generation Intel Core vPro processor-based platforms for business and intelligent systems.

The enhancements to the Intel Core vPro processor platform provide a more secure platform for business computing and drive the next wave of innovation in intelligent systems. The Intel Core vPro processor-based platforms address the realities of today’s business climate, where data integrity and organizational efficiency create a competitive advantage. New capabilities embed security at every layer, including the silicon, without compromising performance. Software innovation allows IT managers to set up and configure systems within minutes to quickly implement compelling solutions. Additionally, the enhanced graphics and secure manageability help accelerate the transition and growth in intelligent systems for the retail, industrial, and healthcare industries.

Google Integrates AIM Into Gmail

Google has integrated AOL's AIM instant-messaging service into its Gmail Web-based e-mail client, the company announced on Tuesday. Gmail has had its own chat service since February 2006, but now Gmail users will be able to connect to AIM through a drop-down menu on the Gmail Web page, Google said. Gmail users can sign into AIM through the "set status here" menu. AIM contacts and Gmail chat will appear on the same menu. Initially only English version of the AIM service will be available, with more languages to join soon.
We're always looking for new and useful ways to help our users connect with friends, family, and coworkers
Google said in a statement.Source: InfoWorld
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