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June 25, 2012

Bing Maps Gets 165TB of New Imagery

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, Bing Maps

In a month full of online map announcements, Microsoft is jumping into the game by adding 165TB of new imagery to Bing Maps.

The data dump is the "largest satellite release to date" for Bing, Microsoft said in a blog post. "In fact, this release is larger than all of our past Aerial releases combined!"

Bing's new release features imagery over North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Asia – almost 38 million square kilometers.

Today's update includes aerial images taken by satellites or aircraft, as well as Global Ortho photography.

This month, Bing Imagery Technologies finished capturing 100 percent of aerial photography over the U.S., and is expected to complete photography over Europe this fall. All updated imagery should be published by the end of the year, Microsoft said.

Bings Maps

When Microsoft-owned Bing launched its Global Ortho Project one year ago, the search engine team acknowledged the challenge for consumers and organizations using Web-mapping services: "Much of the magery featured there has historically been patchwork of satellite and aerial imagery of different vintage, quality, clarity, and detail," Microsoft said in June 2011.

Users' experience was inconsistent at best, the team wrote.

With today's unveiling, a refresh cycle will update previously collected imgages, focusing on those areas that are more likely subject to change, Bing said.



April 10, 2012

Toshiba Revamps Satellite, Qosmio Laptop Lines

Toshiba Satellite S Q3 2012

You may not be thinking of back-to-school shopping just yet, but Toshiba is ready with five lines of laptops that will reach retailers at the beginning of the third quarter.

The new portables will feature the latest Intel and AMD processors, including some configurations with Intel's third-generation Core or "Ivy Bridge" CPUs.

At the entry level ($400 to $550)—currently home of models like the Satellite C655-S5542—the Satellite C800 series adds formerly absent HDMI and USB 3.0 ports, as well as a 14-inch model to the existing 15.6- and 17.3-inch choices. A larger, recessed touchpad addresses what a Toshiba rep tells PCMag was consumers' number-one complaint - unintended mouse movement.

Moving up to the Satellite L800 series ($500 to $700) brings SRS Premium Sound HD to address consumers' second greatest concern, audio quality, as well as dual USB 3.0 ports with Toshiba's Sleep & Charge functionality to recharge handheld devices even when the laptop is powered down. Thinner than previous Satellite L models, the L800s feature a Fusion II plastic case finish with a new cross line pattern in a variety of colors. They, too, are available in three screen sizes.

A new Satellite S line (pictured) slots in between the L and P series, positioned as offering smart performance for $700 to $1,000 (or $50 to $100 under comparably equipped Satellite P systems). Featuring a brushed aluminum finish in Ice Blue, the three S800s offer Intel "Ivy Bridge" or AMD multicore Accelerated Processing Units with optional discrete ATI graphics; top-of-the-line configurations include a Blu-ray player.