Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bungie Reveal a Little More on Project

Bungie have said a tiny bit more about an upcoming project of theirs. Well known for revealing sparodic details about what they are working on, this news update told us to think about the typeface of the new game.

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Putting Star Wars to the Mythbusters Test

The cast of the show MythBusters chat about their pasts with ILM, talk about some Star Wars myths (Can you avoid freezing to death in a blizzard overnight by gutting a dead animal like a tauntaun and getting into its carcass?) and why R2-D2 is the perfect sidekick.

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AMD Inside

Soon you will be seeing AMD chips inside your Dell PC. How soon, by March of this year according to a financial analyst.

Dell will begin by slotting AMD's chips into its notebook product line and then "likely" move to use AMD chips in servers and desktops as well, said American Technology Research analyst Doug Freedman in a fresh note to customers.

Rumors of Dell breaking its Intel-only stance have circulated for years. This, however, marks the first time we've seen an analyst slap a specific date on the speculation.

"We believe there will be an AMD/Dell deal announced very soon; more specifically, we believe it will come as early as March," Freedman wrote.

The analyst reckons that investors have already sent AMD shares higher on the notion that Dell will eventually become a customer. Still, the actual announcement of such a deal would likely kick AMD shares ten per cent higher, while knocking Intel's slumping stock down 5 per cent.

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Warner Music to sell ringtones for Skype

Skype users now is the time to get excited. Soon Skype will provide a service that will allow you to buy ringtones for your phone. Both Skype and Warner Music have gone into a deal where one can download Warner Music Group ringtones onto your phone. There are thousands of great labels to choose from. Just have a little patience.

Warner Music to sell ringtones for Skype [via Reuters]

Microsoft Won't Issue Advance Kama Sutra Fix

Microsoft Monday posted a security advisory on the Kama Sutra/Blackworm/MyWife worm that's set to overwrite Office documents on infected PCs Friday, but the company has decided against updating its Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool before the next regularly-scheduled release of Feb. 14.

The security advisory -- a mechanism Microsoft uses to both alert users of impending threats and give them advice or workarounds to apply -- repeats recommendations that most security vendors have been offering since the worm debuted two weeks ago.

It also notes that infected PCs will be in danger on Friday, Feb. 3, when the worm will overwrite several popular file formats, including those of Microsoft Office, with useless data.

But according to the team in charge of Microsoft's Windows Software Removal Tool, that program won't be updated until after the Friday deadline passes.

"Microsoft releases a new version of the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool every month on the second Tuesday of the month together with the other security updates," wrote developers on the group's blog. "The next version, targeted for release on February 14th, will detect and remove this worm."

The Redmond, Wash.-based company has released the Malicious Software Removal Tool off-schedule once before, in August 2005, shortly after the Zotob worm began striking Windows 2000 systems.

Both the company's free online security service, Windows Live Safety, and its in-beta OneCare Live software, however, will disinfect compromised computers, Microsoft said.

Google readying its own Google OS!!

Google is preparing its own distribution of Linux for the desktop, in a possible bid to take on Microsoft in its core business - desktop software. A version of the increasingly popular Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution, based on Debian and the Gnome desktop, it is known internally as 'Goobuntu'.

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Google rolls out new toolbar

Internet giant Google has released a new beta version of its popular browser toolbar. The latest version, Toolbar 4 Beta, is available for free from the company's website, and adds various new features. The most publicized feature allows users to add custom buttons, meaning websites can be directly visited/searched from the toolbar.

Users can add the custom search functionality by right-clicking on a website's search box, or webpage developers can place a custom button on the page using an API that will do the linking for the user.Other features of the new toolbar include adding bookmarks, instant suggestions as searches are typed in, and an easy interface to share webpages via blog, e-mail, or SMS.

As of now the toolbar is not available for Firefox, although Google does plan to make a version for the browser.

The current implementation requires Internet Explorer 6.0 and greater and Windows 2000 or Windows XP.More information on this topic is available from PCWorld and Google's Toolbar page.

How to Add Fruit to Your Diet

Some ways to improve your health, body and way of thinking.

By adding fruit to your diet you'll not only be tapping into a rich source of nutrients, you'll be enjoying some delicious flavors as well. Fruits are terrific sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Blend an instant breakfast out of a frozen banana, a handful of frozen strawberries and a cup of milk.
  • Stir applesauce into hot oatmeal.
  • Choose an orange instead of potato chips with lunch.
  • Add bananas to vanilla yogurt for an afternoon snack.
  • Try some less-familiar fruits like guava, star fruit and kumquats.

How to Add Fruit to Your Diet [ehow]

Deal places limits on .com fees

The body which oversees the internet has put forward a revised deal to settle a long-running dispute over the crucial .com domain name.

The tentative settlement was reached between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) and the current .com owner, Verisign.

The proposals would limit fees for .com addresses charged by Verisign.

But Verisign would still retain control of the lucrative .com domain until at least 2012.

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Ultimate VNC Setup

Now how can someone setup the "Ultimate VNC Setup". Is there something as a "Ultimate VNC Setup".

VNC is a free (mostly) way to control another computer from somewhere else. But there are downfalls. VNC is not very secure. This tutorial will guide you through the steps of using two free programs to connect to another computer and do it securely. The programs are small , fast and not bloated like remote desktop. But this guide will also teach you how to setup encryption so no one will be able to get access to your computers.

The two programs we will be using are RealVNC and Hamachi. Hamachi is a tunneling app that lets you direct connect two computers. It bootstraps the connection and you get a new ip that displays up on the top of the application.

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Fire in the sky

Surfind through flickr found this spectacular MEME "Fire in the sky".

Microsoft Vista Delayed

Microsoft seems to be hinting that its long delayed operating system Vista will be even later.
According to Vole’s Vista operating system supremeo, Jim Allchin, Vista should hit the shops the day he retires. Fortunately for Microsoft customers his retirement day will be a matter of months not years.

As it stands Vista and Allchin will leave the Redmond Volehill about Christmas. Already that is a bit late, as Microsoft had been talking about October or November. However Allchin is hinting that Vista might not be finished when he goes.

Apparently what will hold back Vista will be "quality issues". Allchin is not saying that he thinks that any quality issues will come up, but he said he will slip the product if any appear.
So far Microsoft has completed internal development of Vista and the next Vista test release will come out sometime before March.

Of course if the product is late, Allchin will be safely in retirement when the much awaited product is finally delivered and probably will not care. Unless his retirement present is a Vista laptop.

You can read more of what Allchin said at Techworld

Google to acquire Napster?

Google has been pushing to align with Napster — rather than build its own online music store — a sign that Google sees subscription services, rather than the individual download model that Apple's iTunes is built on, as the future of digital music.
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Japanese Developers Comment on Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is off to a poor start in Japan but Microsoft -- or at least the editors over at Famitsu Xbox 360 -- don't seem to be calling it quits just yet. The latest issue of Famitsu Xbox 360 included a mega super gigantic feature in which some of Japan's brightest game development talent, from the Hiromichi Tanakas to the Keiji Inafunes, shared their thoughts on the fledging platform.

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'Point And Search' Technology For Cell Phones Hits Japan

GeoVector Corp. said Monday that it has teamed up with Japan's Mapion to offer Mapion's cell phone searching technology for mobile phones in Japan. Mapion Local Search enables consumers to use their cell phones as point and search devices to call up information.

San Francisco-based GeoVector said users can simply point their cell phones at 700,000 buildings, retailers, restaurants, banks or historical sites throughout Japan to retrieve information.

"Soon, users will point their mobile phones at restaurants to get reviews, point at billboards to shop at the advertiser's website, point at a movie poster to buy tickets, or play a game by pointing at their friends," said GeoVector president John Ellenby, in a statement.

The service was initially developed for the KDDI network in Japan and is available for use with CDMA-equipped phones with GPS and integrated compass capability, according to GeoVector.
Owned by CyberMap Japan, Mapion developed mapping technology for several firms including Yahoo, AOL Japan, and Excite Japan, GeoVector said. GeoVector provides its pointing-based and spatial search engine technology for the application.

Amazon readying full-length digital movie service

Online retailer Amazon.com reportedly plans to launch a new service this spring to sell downloadable, full-length versions of feature films. Variety reports that Amazon’s new service will likely marry downloads to DVD sales.

Customers could stream a digital version of the film for a fee and then apply that charge as a credit toward the purchase of the DVD. Another plan would let a customer buy a DVD, and while waiting for it to arrive, he could stream it over his computer.

“What they are serving up is a direct companion to the DVD,” explained one senior Hollywood executive. “Everything is being leveraged to sell more DVDs. When you go to a product page on the site, it will say all the variations about how you’d purchase that video—stream, buy or maybe a combination (of options).”

While the service will launch with at least two major studios, Amazon is currently working to convince indie studios, including Image Entertainment, Ardustry Home Entertainment and First Look Entertainment, to provide content.

[via iLounge]

XBox 360 Update Released

A system update for the XBox 360 is now available for XBox Live members. The next time you login to Live, your system will download the update.

Here are some of the changes -
  • Improvements to the Xbox Guide.
  • Option to retain your saved games when you delete a profile.
  • Increased accuracy of "last time played."
  • More detailed messaging for unreadable disk or region errors.
  • Network configuration improvements for Xbox Live.

Has anyone had any problems with this so far.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Best Super Bowl Commercials

Some of the best Super Bowl commercials till date.

Ever since the Super Bowl became the biggest sporting event in the country, the expensive spots have been just as anticipated as -- and sometimes better than -- the games.

So we've compiled our list of the best Super Bowl commercials of all-time. We also asked for your opinion, and we've compiled your choices for the best commercial introduced during a Super Bowl along with a poll to crown the top Super Bowl commercial of all-time.

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Great RSS Tool

"GooRSS" another one of the great RSS tool developed by none other than "Google". Hey I don't have anything against you "Google". "GooRSS" is a tool where the RSS is generated by instantRSS, and you find an RSS link on the bottom of the returned page when you've done a search query. Making search a lot more efficient.

Earthlink Finalizes Wireless Deal in Pa.

Earthlink Inc. has finalized a 10-year contract to provide wireless Internet service across Philadelphia, a city official said Monday.

Philadelphia was the first large city to announce plans to build a wireless Internet network and provide low-cost access to residents as a way to span the digital divide. Smaller cities already have networks in operation.

In Philadelphia, Earthlink will own the network and charge a wholesale rate of $9 a month to Internet service providers that would then resell access to the public, according to Dianah Neff, the city's chief information officer.

The contract doesn't specify the monthly rate that would be charged to consumers, but Neff said the wholesale price is low enough to enable ISPs to offer low-cost services. City officials had been trying to keep the monthly price to $20 or less.

The contract will go before the City Council for approval in February. Construction should start right after the contract is signed. Earthlink will build the network initially over a 15-square-mile area in Northeast Philadelphia to prove the system will work, Neff said. If successful, citywide access could be turned on by spring 2007.

Under the terms of the agreement, which can be renewed, Atlanta-based Earthlink will carry the cost to build the Wi-Fi network to cover 135 square miles.

That is something a tech blogger like me would definitely like to have.

Sometimes There Is a Free Lunch

Has gameplay innovation ground to a halt? Surf the aisles of your local game store, and you'd suspect that game publishers kinda given up. It's always the same tired play mechanics, over and over. Shoot the bad guys while avoiding flying lead. Level up your character in an online world. Drive like hell in a souped-up rig. Match the pretty colors in a puzzle.

Obviously, part of this endless looping is that success works: Like backgammon or baseball, these tropes appear to stand the test of time. But it's also the curse of genre. With games costing millions to develop these days, few publishers are willing to risk serious bling on some weird new style of play that might fail.

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Networks Make $1.44 on iTunes Video Downloads

According to JPMorgan Chase analyst Spencer Wang, one-episode of a hit show on network TV would generate about $12 million in gross ad revenue (assuming 17 million viewers). By comparison, even in the worst-case scenario -- with 20% of TV viewers opting for downloads, 100% of which overlap with existing programs -- downloaded episodes of such popular series can generate an estimated $15 million in revenue. The main reason is that the $1.44 in download revenue per user (or 70% of the $1.99 per download) is greater than the estimated 57 cents in advertising revenue per user generated under the current model.

[via Hacking Netflix]

Make Your Windows Fast As Never Before!

Steps one should take on making Windows respond faster by eliminating any bottle necks.

Indexing Services is a small little program that uses large amounts of RAM and can often make a computer endlessly loud and noisy. This system process indexes and updates lists of all the files that are on your computer. It does this so that when you do a search for something on your computer, it will search faster by scanning the index lists. If you don't search your computer often, or even if you do search often, this system service is completely unnecessary. To disable do the following:

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Microsoft Profit Increase

Despite the high cost of producing and marketing the Xbox 360, Microsoft still managed a 5 percent increase in profits for the quarter ending December 31, 2005.

"Net income for the quarter was $3.7 billion, and revenues for the quarter hit a record $12 billion, up 9 percent over the previous year.

“The growth in our core businesses was healthy during the quarter driven by strength in Server and Tools and the success of our Windows Client products in a robust PC market,” said Chris Liddell, CFO of Microsoft. “The quarter also marked the beginning of an important product cycle for Microsoft with the launches of Xbox 360, SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, all of which were extremely successful and well received by our customers.”

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ESPN/ABC programming prompts complaints

Apple’s iTunes Music Store has been updated with new programming from ESPN and ABC Sports. The new content includes “Best of the X Games” highlight clips, “SportsCentury Shorts” with famous athletes, “Streetball” episodes, “The 2006 Winter X Games” highlight programs and six quick SportsCenter television advertisements.

The pricing on ESPN’s “This Is SportsCenter” commercials irked some iTunes users. “Seriously? $1.99 for 30 second or less commercials. Come on now. With the exception of the ‘Card Sharks’ one, you can watch them streamed in the preview. There has to better content from ESPN than commercials,” said one user in the customer reviews section. “ESPN and ABC should be ashamed for charging this much for so little. Yes, the commercials are funny, but not worth $2 for 30 seconds of video,” said another user.

There were also complaints about the shortened “SportsCentury” features. “The full SportsCentury episodes would be worth $1.99. Why not offer those instead of these abridged versions?” asked another iTunes user. [via Micro Persuasion]

Another big surprise from Apple

Looks like Apple is on a roll here, just a few weeks back Apple released its new line of laptop the “MacBook Pro”. Apple who did not give any hints on whether it was going to release a new version of its existing iBook. That’s right a new iBook is due from Apple which could be seen in store shelves by this spring. Built around a 13-inch screen and includes Apple’s Front Row software.

The laptops will also include a major redesign of its exterior after having the same design for several years and also it comes bundled with the Front Row software, and Apple remote.

Apple's plans say the company at one point seriously considered adding a black-colored Intel iBook model to its offering. However, no such model has ever been seen, and with the development of the new laptops winding down, this option seems unlikely. The idea was reportedly inspired by the success of Apple's black iPods, which instantly became a hit with consumers when Apple introduced its iPod nano digital music player this past September.

Apple's Front Row media experience coming to iBook line [via AppleInsider]

USB drive fits in wallet

Israeli startup Walletex has developed the world’s first credit card-sized wallet flash drive, called Wallet Flash.

The drive, which has a double-sided connector so it fits easily into hard-to-reach USB ports, is waterproof and heat-tolerant, the company said.

Wallet Flash is available with USB 2.0- and USB 1.1-compatible connectivity and in storage capacities ranging from 128 Mbytes to 1 Gbyte.

[via EETimes.com]

Bill Gates makes another prediction

Bill Gates a man who is known for his creative abilities and his philanthropy has made another prediction “To reduce piracy in developing countries like India and China in the next ten years”. Now is that a legitimate timeline now there is piracy taking place in developed nations like the US, Europe, UK. Why make a prediction that falls short.
  • Reuters says he's claiming that we'll be able to beat software piracy in China and India -- though, he's giving a longer timeline. This time it's 10 years... and the details actually suggest it's not quite as crazy as the Reuters headline suggests. He wasn't saying that Microsoft would beat software piracy in those countries, but that the level of unauthorized copying would decrease to about the same level as in the US and Europe. Also, he seems to be indicating that this is a natural progression as the local economy builds its own software industry.

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Hacking Google China

Chinese web users can see full, uncensored results for their Google search by replacing "&meta=" with "&meta=cr%3DcountryBR" in the URL. Once the string is replaced, the censorship will not affect the results.

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Xbox Live Dashboard Update Jan 30th

Various websites are now reporting that the update will in fact, January 30th. The expected update will attempt to fix major issues with both games and the system itself. Some of the issues the update will address are freeze up in games, achievement issues, and general funchtionality in the Dashboard.

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Amazon offers Blu-ray and HD-DVD titles for pre-order

If you pre-ordered your Toshiba HD-DVD player then don’t forget to throw down for some flix, kid. Amazon.com now has HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc .

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Mouse Brains Brainstorming Tool

Mouse Brains, the online brainstorming tool for advertising creatives.

  • If you’ve ever used random words to spark creative ideas, then you’ll be comfortable with Mouse Brains. Mouse Brains works by taking the various elements of your advertising problem and making them part of a series of thought provoking phrases.
  • Be open minded - the system will generate some truly bizarre results… don’t judge them, follow the scenarios in your head and see where they take you.

Mouse Brains, by Joe Zandstra

Super Bowl XL in HD

When ABC Sports cameras zoom in on the football for the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XL in Detroit's Ford Field at 6 p.m. on Feb. 5, more than 130 million viewers in the United States and perhaps 1 billion viewers worldwide will see the most technologically advanced Super Bowl ever.

"Sports is always at the cutting edge of hi-tech on television," said George Hoover, senior vice president of engineering at NEP Supershooters, the mobile division of NEP Broadcasting in Pittsburgh that will bring three trucks to Super Bowl XL. "Since the first super slo-mo cameras five years ago, the NFL is generally a driving force for new TV technology." NEP is bringing Supershooter 26, the HDTV rig used to shoot Monday Night Football on ABC for the past three seasons, to the event. NEP also is bringing in Supershooter 20, the HDTV truck used to shoot Sunday Night Football for ESPN.

ABC Sports plans to use at least one hi-def RF camera, Gleeson said. At press time, it had not yet been decided whether to use a camera supplied by Link Research in the United Kingdom, (represented in the United States by Ariel Video System) or one from Total RF in Bensalem, Pa. Both of these handheld cameras performed well, he said, so the final decision will hinge on pricing.

"The HD RF camera selected will be all over the place," Gleeson said, "We'll go wherever we can't get with a cable camera, especially behind the benches where running cable is a major issue for the teams. We also will be able to walk up into the stands to get shots of the fans or see the game from their perspective, providing we can do this without blocking the view of the fans behind us, or we may go out to the concession areas."

Instead, Gleeson said, the director will have to talk the RF camera operators through each shot, telling them to tilt or pan to accommodate the graphics with various game stats. Another option might be to frame an RF camera shot within an insert window.

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Demystifying those confusing DVD formats

This is a subject that needs attention. How does one differentiate among those confusing DVD formats when one is looking for a DVD player? Well one would be to read, “Demystifying those confusing DVD formats” and have information on your finger tips especially when you walk into the store and have a conversation with a Customer Rep.

Amazon plans full-length feature film streaming

Online retailer Amazon.com is preparing to enter the digital download space this spring with a service that will likely marry digital video streaming to DVD sales, reports Variety.com.

Unlike Apple's iTunes service, which so far offers only short films and television programming, Amazon's plans call for full-length digital of feature films.

The retailer is reportedly working to convince indie studios, including Image Entertainment, Ardustry Home Entertainment and First Look Entertainment, to provide digital content for the service.

The service is expected to launch at the end of April with at least two major studio digital content partners. What's unique about Amazon's approach to digital movie streams is that the retailer plans to include with each digital purchase a copy of the content on DVD.

"One supplier explained that an Amazon customer could stream a digital copy of a film for a fee and apply that charge as a credit toward the eventual purchase of the DVD," wrote Variety. "Another plan is for a customer to buy a DVD; while waiting for it to arrive, he could stream the content over his computer."

Apparently, the hoopla surrounding the launch of the video iPod revved up Amazon.com's talks with studios. The retailer realized a move to digital video streams was necessary to help protect its Internet turf from industry "newbies" such as Apple.

It's unclear what movie content Amazon will have available at launch, according to the report. The major studios have so far licensed their movie content for sale over the Internet only to Movielink and CinemaNow in the pay-per-view window that lags DVD.

"We are having active conversations with Amazon regarding their digital strategy," Image executive VP of business development Burgess Wilson said. He declined to reveal details about the negotiations.

Apple USB mouse

Makes me want to eat an "Apple".

[via Akihabara News]

Wireless USB Almost Here

Belkin has created one of the first wireless USB hubs, your typical four port contraption, set to be out this spring. The difference is that this hub is powered by Ultra-Wideband wireless technology allowing the user to plugin a USB dongle into a remote computer and access all of the devices attached to the hub. This is ideal for the laptop user that likes to roam about the room while still maintaining connectivity to their printer or external hard drive.

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

MSN Spaces 360

MSN Spaces has now gone Live. Incase you don't know, MSN Spaces is a personal space anyone can have, a blog with lots of different modules which can show anything from archived posts to even your last played games on the 360 as of now. There are five Xbox themes to choose from now and you can even add your gamercard and as mentioned above, a list of your last played games.

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Gillete Fusion Hits Stores

The new Gillette Fusion razor is now available in stores and it is creating quite a steer among Gillette users. These fans are just about to pay any amount of money to get their hands on this razor, even if one has a Mach3 Power. Here is what one happy customer from Huston had to say about the new Fusion.
  • I got my Fusion last night (1/26/06) in Houston. I used it and I think it’s a winner. The blade cartridge is much larger but the individual blades are about 50% smaller than the Mach3 Turbo. The shave feels much different than the M3T. Maybe it was because it was a new cartridge, but the shave seemed closer with less razor burn. The single blade on the back is a great addition too, but I think it will take some practice to get the perfect sideburns.

As for the price the Fusion does not seem to be very expensive. Fusion without power is $9.99 and the Fusion Power will run you $11.99. So let me run out and get one for myself.

[via Gizmodo]

Kama Sutra wipeout

Windows users are been urged to make sure their systems are clean from an email worm which is programmed to overwrite user's files on 3 February. Blackworm (AKA Nyxem, MyWife or Tearec) has infected more than 300,000 systems worldwide, based on analysis of logs from counter web sites used by the worm.

Blackworm arrives as the infectious payload of email messages with spoofed sender addresses claiming to offer obscene pictures or pornographic movie clips. Subject lines used in the malicious emails include: The Best Videoclip Ever, Fw: SeX.mpg, Miss Lebanon 2006 and Fuckin Kama Sutra pics. The worm only affects Windows PCs.

If activated, Blackworm tries to disable security software. It also tries to harvest email addresses from infected PCs in a routine designed to draw up a hit list of targets for infection. Blackworm is programmed to download updates of its code onto infected PCs.

Its behaviour is little different from standard email worms apart from the fact it is programmed to overwrite DOC, XLS, MDB, MDE, PPT, PPS, ZIP, RAR, PDF, PSD and DMP on 3 February. The worm creates and opens a ZIP archive in the Windows system directory, potentially giving away its presence on infected systems but don't rely on this.

Windows users are advised to run scans for infected using up-to-date anti-virus signatures. The worm attempts to disable most anti-virus products so if you hit trouble on this score it's a good idea to either reinstall software or run web-based anti-virus scanners, such as Trend Micro's free House Call service.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Girl undresses in 3D

In a fashionstore in Kopenhagen a girl was changing clothes. After shoppinghours, she attracted crowds but turned out only to be a 3D projection.

Watch the video

How Long do CD-Rs & CD-RWs Last?

An awesome question and to make your life easier cnet has a great answer to this question, "How long do burned CD-Rs and CD-RWs last?"

If you are thinking what I was thinking the answer to that is "NO".

[via Hacking Netflix]

Blizzard apparently prohibits gay-friendly guilds in World of Warcraft

While there's no apparent objections to "Christian guilds" or other such out-of-game demographic bases for guild formation, Blizzard apparently objects to players who are GLBT or GLBT-friendly forming guilds with like-minded individuals. Blizzard's claim? The term "GLBT" violates their harassment policy.

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Zero Point Software Unveils Project IM

Check out these screenshots and a teaser trailer of "Project IM", which is the codename of this new game from Zero Point Software in Denmark.

“Project IM” is an AAA, FPS, Sci-fi, action and adventure game with an original and unpredictable storyline featuring single and cooperative gameplay, with heavy focus on realism. It is a trilogy, with a target audience that is estimated to be 17+ and aimed at the next generation PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 platforms. It is intended to utilize Epic Games “Unreal Engine 3” technology.

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IBM Acquires Argus Software

IBM said Friday that it acquired Argus semiconductor software and related IP property from Inficon. IBM pointed to the acquisition as an example of a broadening trend in which firms are increasingly collaborating in research and development.

IBM said it is working in closer partnership with clients in designing, creating and manufacturing new products and in this case it will meld Argus software for lithography advanced process control for semiconductor manufacturing into existing IBM operations. Financial terms of the acquisition were not released.

"This acquisition further expands and strengthens our portfolio of factory process control solutions," said Joseph Nemeth, vice president of Semiconductor Industry, IBM Engineering & Technology Services, in a statement. "We see the Argus product as providing a critical solution to the semiconductor industry in both lithography development and early prototype manufacturing."

IBM noted that it moved to improve its collaborative practices last week by creating a new business group called Technology Collaboration Solutions. The new unit combines IBM's OEM Microelectronics, Technology Development & Manufacturing, Engineering & Technology Services, Intellectual Property and OEM sales activities.

LA sues over 'Grand Theft' game

The city of Los Angeles has sued Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. for selling pornographic video games to children with its best-selling game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," which last year was found to have hidden sex scenes.

Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo, in the suit filed on Thursday, accused the game publisher of failing to disclose the pornographic content to get the game onto shelves of major retailers that do not carry games rated "Adults Only 18+".

Delgadillo said the company further deceived consumers by first claiming that hackers had modified the original version of the games, then announcing a week later that the sex scenes were written into the original game code.

The lawsuit demands that Take-Two and Rockstar Games, the subsidiary behind "Grand Theft Auto," one of the best-selling in video game franchises history, stop marketing the games to children, pay fines and return $10 million in profits.

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Microsoft Announces Official Xbox 360 Sales Numbers

Microsoft announced official Xbox 360 sales numbers along with their quarterly earnings announcement. As expected the Xbox 360 sales numbers are below Microsoft's original sales goal. Microsoft sold 1.5 million units in 2005. Main reason for the low number has been manufacturing issues. Microsoft says now that they will sell 2.5 million Xbox 360 consoles until end of February, 500,000 less than predicted in the original 90 day goal.

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Sony exits robot business

TOKYO — Sony Corp. will withdraw from the entertainment robot business as a part of its restructuring plan.

Sony reported a business recovery in its third quarter, and revised upward its annual forecast by ¥100 billion ($858 million) for operating profit and ¥70 billion ($600 million) for net profit. It previously projected a ¥20 billion ($172 million) operating loss and ¥10 billion ($86 million) net loss.

Sony also announced a restructuring plan. Ryoji Chubachi, who became Sony's president last April, said last September that 15 business operations would be reviewed, including robot development.

Sony announced action plans for nine business operations this week, including plans to close its entertainment robot business. Production of its Aibo series will end later this year. Development activity had been already terminated.

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New geek-based sitcom; airs first on the web TODAY!

UK's Channel 4 is airing a new comedy, "The I.T. Crowd", on the web a week before it's TV broadcast. The I.T. Crowd is a new sitcom from Graham Linehan (Father Ted, Black Books) and producer Ash Atalla (The Office). Sounds promising!

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Nintendo DS Redesigned - Nintendo DS Lite

Nintendo has made the move by providing us with a better, slicker looking console. A complete redesign of their latest portable console.

[via Forever Geek]

How to Take Great Photos of an Electronics Product with a Digital Camera

Whether writing a review for web site or selling a used camera or product at an online auction site such as eBay, your photos should look their very best. It's easier than you think to take pictures that stand out from the crowd, even without a fancy digital camera and professional lighting equipment.

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97% of readers say surveys are rubbish

Letters Surveys - where would we be without them? A lot better off, many of you reckon, but more of that a bit later. First up, a couple of fun-sized snippets from the mailbag, starting with two more missives on Thomas C. Greene and his Steve Gibson bashing, as previously discussed in letters:

Your readers seem quite correct that Thomas C Greene has a personal vendetta against Steve Gibson. Here's a Reg article back from 2001 when he was spewing his armchair critic vitriol against Steve Gibson even then. It's sad to see that Thomas C Greene is listed as an associate editior of The Reg and is allowed to use The Reg like this.

Mark Samson

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Analyst: 'Google Tunes' could be next iTunes competitor

Google may be looking to launch a digital music store that would compete with Apple’s iTunes, according to one Wall Street analyst. Robert Peck of Bear Stearns predicts that the search engine giant will roll out such a service within the next six months.

“We believe that Google is in the midst of creating its own iTunes competitor, which we’ve dubbed ‘Google Tunes.’ We think this is a logical step, now that the nascent Google Video product has been introduced,” Peck wrote in a research note sent to clients Thursday. “We would expect Google to rollout a Beta service within 3 to 6 months. We note that Google has not confirmed our expectations, and that our thinking is based on Mosaic theory. However, we do think this fits with Google’s recent moves and its ultimate goal of organizing the world’s information.”

[via iLounge]

TPod neo 1G, the iPOD Nano Video lookalike

Another gem from Thanko, this TPod neo 1G. No link with the heated USB slippers, but rather a serious competitor for the iPOD Nano.

This TPOD has 1GB of memory, it plays MP3 and WMA files when it comes to audio and for the video part, it plays MTV/AMX (384kbps) files, and you get an encoding software in the box that transforms your AVI, MPEG and WMV files. The screen is 1.5" big and the device measures 90x40x8mm for a weight of only 50g.

[via Akihabara news]

Most amazing soccer dribble

This guy may look like an average guy, but his dribbling ability makes him look like a pro soccer player.

Possible Microsoft Handheld?

In an effort to loosen Apple's stranglehold on the portable media device market, Microsoft may be contemplating throwing a new device into the fray; one that would most likely include gaming. Xbox chief Peter Moore told Business Week that a new Microsoft device would most likely incorporate music, video and gaming, the latter of which the iPod doesn't support. The device, then, would also butt heads with Sony's Playstation Portable and fall into a category all its own. "It can't just be our version of the iPod," Moore said in the interview. The fact that Moore commented at all could indicate that the Xbox brand would be used to market the device. Back in 2004, it was rumored that Microsoft was developing a handheld called the "Xboy." "I think the brand is an opportunity," Moore told Business Week.

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Microsoft says Xbox 360 sales started slow

According to Reuters, Microsoft Corp. has lowered its 90-day Xbox 360 sales forecast due to production-related shortages but is holding fast to its target to sell between 4.5 million and 5.5 million video game consoles by the end of June, the company said on Thursday.

The world's biggest software maker, which said it sold 1.5 million units of its next-generation video game console in its December quarter, now expects to sell 2.5 million Xbox 360s by late February.

Its initial forecast had called for sales of 2.75 million to 3 million units in that 90-day time frame, Microsoft Chief Financial Offer Chris Liddell said in a conference call with analysts.

The Xbox 360 made a huge splash when it debuted on November 22 in North America, where it sold 900,000 units by December 31 and demand has outpaced supply. It also got a warm reception in Europe, where sales hit 500,000 at year end. But it was a different story in Japan, where response was tepid and sales came in under targets at around 100,000.

Beer Pouring Robot

This is Asahi, a beer pouring robot from Japan. It can refrigerate up to six cans of beer, two mugs, and with a simple push of a button it will pour a beer into the mug with perfect head every time. It gets even better too, this thing is free! You have to collect 36 seals found on specially marked Asahi beer.

[via gizmodo]

Western Digital ships 500GB desktop hard drive

Western Digital (WD) has upped the capacity of its Caviar Serial ATA desktop hard drive range to 500GB, pitching not only the part's storage but also its low power consumption and low operational noise level - features it also highlighted for its new 120GB Scorpio 2.5in notebook drive.

The 500GB Caviar SE16 runs at 7,200rpm and delivers a 300MBps data transfer rate, WD said. There's 16MB of cache on board and the drive supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) for improved read/write efficiency.

The manufacturer said the drive is "virtually imperceptible to the human ear in home and business environments", thanks to its "highly efficient power driver design" and streamlined read/write seeking algorithms, which not only reduce head noise but make the drive operate more efficiently".

The 120GB Scorpio operates at 5,400rpm, but at a power level consistent with past 4,200rpm drives, according to WD. It's got 2MB to 8MB of cache, depending on which version you choose, and is offered in both Serial ATA and EIDE forms. Its average seek time is 12ms.

Like the 500GB Caviar, the new product incorporates the company's WhisperDrive and SoftSeek noise-reduction technologies. WD said the drive can withstand 250Gs of operating shock and 900Gs of non-operating shock

Longest, Deepest Secret Tunnel Between US & Mexico Discovered

US border officials have unearthed the longest and deepest tunnel ever gouged under the country's Mexican border.

The tunnel begins near the Mexican city of Tijuana, travels under a heavily fortified stretch of frontier, and is equipped with lights and ventilation.

Hacked out of the earth some 26m (85ft) below ground, the tunnel runs 720m (2,400ft) between two industrial warehouses straddling the border.

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Dell may use AMD chips

REUTERS reports from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that Michael Dell continues to speculate about his firm using AMD chips.

The report said Dell didn't have an exclusive relationship with Intel but that he wasn't announcing products on the ski slopes.

There's more, here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Intel to ship 45-nanometer chips in 2007

Intel in the second half of 2007 will begin commercial shipments of the first PC processors based on a 45 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process, the company said this week.

On Wednesday the company demonstrated what is says is the first fully functional SRAM (Static Random Access Memory) chips using 45nm process technology, its next– generation, high–volume semiconductor manufacturing process. According to a company statement, the chip has more than 1 billion transistors.

Though not intended as an Intel product, the SRAM chip demonstrates technology performance, process yield and chip reliability prior to ramping processors and other logic chips using the 45nm manufacturing process.

"It is a key first step in the march toward high–volume manufacturing of the world’s most complex devices," the company said. Achieving this milestone means Intel is on track to manufacture chips with this technology in 2007 using 300mm wafers, and continues the company’s focus on pushing the limits of Moore’s Law, by introducing a new process generation every two years.

Today, Intel leads the industry in volume production of semiconductors using 65nm process technology, with two manufacturing facilities making 65nm chips in Arizona and Oregon and two more coming online this year in Ireland and Oregon.

In addition to the manufacturing capabilities of its D1D facility in Oregon, where the initial 45nm development efforts are underway, Intel has also announced two high–volume fabs under construction to manufacture chips using the 45nm process technology: Fab 32 in Arizona and Fab 28 in Israel.

Joystiq readers redesign the PS3 controller

"With rumors that the PS3's boomerang style controller may not be the final design, we set our readers to the task of designing a possible replacement. The winning design is certainly interesting!"

Visit Site [via digg.com]

Microsoft to open up Windows source code to rivals

MICROSOFT caved in to European regulators and agreed to open up the Windows source code to rivals today.

The decision goes back to 2004 when the EU ordered the Vole to share the code.

Associated Press reported Microsoft lead legal counsel Brad Smith as saying that companies on both sides of the Atlantic were being given the details of its offer. However, he said rivals would be expected to pay for the source code and regulators will want to see the details of the Microsoft move.

The wire reported an EU commission representative as saying that it, and not Microsoft would be the judge of whether Microsoft was complying with its rulings.

Microsoft defends decision to give up search data

Microsoft Corp. is on the defensive over its decision to hand over search data to the U.S. government, saying the company would never compromise the privacy of its customers.

On the company’s MSN Search Weblog (http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/default.aspx), Ken Moss, general manager of MSN Web Search, said that Microsoft did not divulge any personal user information when it provided the U.S.

Department of Justice' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3>Department of Justice (DOJ) with data from its search service.

Moss said that the privacy of Microsoft customers is “non-negotiable” and the company aims to continue to protect customer data and information. However, Microsoft thought it best to cooperate with the government’s subpoena, handed down about six months ago, but the company did so in a way so it would not violate customers’ privacy.

“At MSN Search, we have strict guidelines in place to protect the privacy of our customers data, and I think you will agree that privacy was fully protected,” Moss said. “We tried to strike the right balance in a very sensitive matter.”

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Dell boss says open to using AMD chips

U.S. computer maker Dell Inc. is open to the possibility of using chips made by AMD as well its traditional supplier Intel , Dell's chairman said on Wednesday.

"Sure. We do not have an exclusive relationship with Intel," Michael Dell said when asked about Dell using AMD chips, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland.

Dell also said the company was sticking to its target of 9-11 percent revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2005.

"That is still our revenue growth target," he said.

Copyright 2006 Reuters [via Reuters]

Seattle Public Library Commits To Full Wi-Fi Coverage in Branches

The flagship library has an extensive Wi-Fi network and staffers wear Vocera intercom badges: But branches have lagged because the library system has, frankly, been focusing on building. A levy a few years ago paid for a chunk of the fantastic downtown facility, and for branch libraries all over town. Last week, the SPL announced that seven branches have had Wi-Fi added, and all of the rest of the branches will eventually gain such service.

I’ve shared office space with fellow writers and creative types since about 1997 in Seattle, and since 1999, I’ve always been within one to four blocks of a library branch. It hasn’t been on purpose, but Seattle is a book and library town. Every corner in most neighborhoods has some way of obtaining written literature and non-fiction.

[Link via meatspace experience]

AT&T, Avaya Partner On Enterprise VoIP Solution

AT&T and Avaya have joined forces to offer a comprehensive managed voice over IP (VoIP) solution intended to simplify enterprise migrations to VoIP and IP telephony.

Deploying Avaya technology over AT&T's IP network, the solution will provide customers with a single point of contact for VoIP design, implementation, operation, management and maintenance. According to the partners, customers will benefit from reduced overall costs and greater flexibility than possible with other options. Customers will be able to manage their VoIP services and infrastructure through AT&T's BusinessDirect Web portal.

The new offering will also provide extensive customer support. AT&T offers 24/7 network monitoring and fault isolation and resolution services through its Global Enterprise Management System, and customers will have access to Avaya expertise through the AT&T Global Client Support Center.

According to the Yankee Group, the VoIP market will grow at a 31.4% compound annual growth rate, reaching $3.3 billion in 2010, and marking its move from emerging technology top the business mainstream. According to AT&T and Avaya, the new solution is designed to help organizations through that evolution.

Adjust your schedule and your work accordingly

Merlin Mann gives us another one of his great “Modest Change” series. This time in audio format, "Honor Thy Energy".
  • Learn the times you’re most energetic and productive, and adjust your schedule and your work accordingly. Also: please just let the teenagers sleep, for God’s sake.

Very good advice. [via 43 folders]

XBMC VS Xbox 360

J Allard once said, “Our media support is really, really good and we got the design right.” He was talking about the Xbox 360, but the question is; is the Xbox 360 a quality media center, or is there a better alternative? We are going to compare the Xbox Media Center on the original Xbox to the Xbox 360’s media center capabilities.

The Xbox Media Center (XBMC) is based on the MPlayer source code, which is an open source and cross platform media player that is notorious for playing proprietary media formats without licensing fees.

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Flickr Logo Maker

Want to create a logo just as it looks on the flickr web page, now it gets easy with this easy to use tool that creates it for you. Type what ever comes into your head and tada!! There you have it.

Take a look at what I made up using my creative mind.

Bose-like iPOD speakers by Evergreen

Evergreen presents this cradle/speaker for your iPOD (Video or Nano) that looks very Bose. This GH-SPA-430 is available in 2 colours, and can be connected to your PC or Mac so the data can be synchronized. Needless to say that they also charge your iPOD. They offer 2x10W, measure 250x150x130mm for 1.4kg.

[via Akihabara News]

Disney shorts added to iTunes Music Store

To coincide with the announcement of the Disney-Pixar deal, Apple has added 10 of Disney’s animated short films to the iTunes Music Store. Among the $1.99 shorts are “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “Ferdinand the Bull,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Ugly Duckling.”

“Laugh along with Mickey, Donald, Goofy and a host of other classic Disney characters in this magical collection of celebrated animated shorts,” says Apple. “All Academy Award nominees or winners, these ten wonderful Disney cartoons are now available for download exclusively on iTunes.”

[via iLounge]

Bathroom faucets change color of water, based on temperature

Germany company Hansa has come out with these futuristic temperature sensitive bathroom fixtures that illuminate the temperature of your water with colored light. LEDs lining the walls of the spigot, illuminating the water in different colors depending on the temperature of the water (red=hot, pink=warm, blue=cold).

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Big Publishing Group demands my domain

A publishing firm is after this domain.

"I registered deusto.com in 1997. Now, eight years later, Planeta Agostini, one of the biggest publishing groups in Spain and owner of Ediciones Deusto, sends me letters demanding me to transfer them the domain, because they registered the trademark "deusto" in 2002 . Now they have presented a complaint to the WIPO and the domain is suspended."

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Disney to acquire Pixar for $7.4B in stock

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is now an even wealthier man, and it has nothing to do with iPod sales. Disney is indeed buying Pixar, the computer animation studio Jobs bought off George Lucas, for a rumoured $7.4bn.

As the majority shareholder in Pixar, Jobs walks away with a good chunk of that $7.4bn, though since the deal is a share-swap - at a rate of 2.3 Disney shares for each Pixar share - it's paper wealth rather than good hard cash. He also gets a seat on Disney's board.

The good news for the rest of us is the appointment of Toy Story director and Pixar executive VP John Lasseter to the role of chief creative officer at the animation studios. Pixar President Ed Catmull will serve as president of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios. The appointments bode well for the quality of Disney's future animation output.

The move is widely being viewed as good news for Apple, too, particularly its fledgling media resale business. Apple's iTunes Music Store (ITMS) began offering short Disney movies this week. It's only a matter of time before ITMS begins to offer full-length films, and with Jobs on Disney's board the appropriate licensing negotiations should run more smoothly.

Seattle plans library Wi-Fi network

Seven branches of the already-wireless central Seattle library are going Wi-Fi. The announcement focuses on warnings that "no technical help is available" - but further south, in the San Francisco Bay area, the Joint Venture Silicon Valley organisation is planning to cover 1,500 square miles with 802.11 signals. What happens when such projects collide?

According to Glenn Fleishman the Joint Venture group has yet to reveal any details - it hasn't even officially announced anything on its own website - but is organising a lobbying effort to local communities.

The group, headed by Intel, seems to be focusing on mobile, according to a local paper report, says Fleishman. That raises the real question of what the technical platform will be, because while Intel has done some work on mobile Wi-Fi, it is spending a lot of effort planning for mobile WiMax - a confusingly similar technology, which has yet to be defined by the IEEE.

Neither report, it seems, is talking of the inevitable spectrum conflict looming as domestic Wi-Fi proliferates, and City Wi-Fi spreads through the same areas.

The issue is discussed by ABI Research's senior analyst of wireless connectivity research, Philip Solis, who points out that the Qualcomm-Flarion merger has gone through, providing WiMAX with a possible competitor in 802.20.

Solis has contributed to a recent paper from the company on the status of WiMAX, now that the WiMAX Forum has announced that some suppliers have put equipment for WiMAX certification for 802.16-2004, and passed.

"There is a long queue of companies waiting to undergo the same certification process. Then, they can proceed to 'wave 2', covering security and quality-of-service, and when they too are certified, we can expect to see larger numbers of products actually reaching the market," was one comment. But Solis added:

"The picture is complicated, however, by a resurgence of rival wireless broadband access technology 802.20, based on frequency-division duplex technology developed by Flarion. With the closing last week of Qualcomm's acquisition of Flarion, 802.20 may get a new lease on life. Qualcomm will almost certainly attempt to rally support from other industry participants, but many companies had abandoned 802.20 to support 802.16e ."

London whale died of severe dehydration: autopsy

LONDON (Reuters) - A whale that made world headlines when it swam up the River Thames into central London last week died of several factors including dehydration, scientists who conducted a post-mortem said on Wednesday.

The female Northern Bottle-Nosed Whale was first spotted last Friday near the Houses of Parliament, some 40 miles from the sea.

It died on Saturday evening after rescue teams failed in an effort to return it to open sea.
"A combination of factors was likely to have been the cause of the death and these factors include severe dehydration, some muscle damage and reduction in kidney function," said the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in a statement.

It said that anti-submarine sonar signals -- which some media reports suggested had possibly confused the animal -- were unlikely to have contributed to the death.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

IBM accused of not paying millions in overtime

IBM was sued in federal court Tuesday on behalf of rank-and-file employees who say the company did not pay them overtime.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of three current and former workers, and seeks class-action status to represent computer installers and maintenance workers for IBM throughout the United States.........

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Starbucks and Apple join forces to provide coffee + music

Have you ever felt the need of downloading songs onto your iPod while you’re sipping your cup of Java Chip or Caramel Macchiato at the local Starbucks? Well apparently Starbucks and Apple are working on a technology that will allow customers to download music right onto their iPods at a Starbucks location. Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, at the Midem music industry conference in Cannes said, "The chain hasn't yet set a date for moving into music player downloads and is still talking to various companies about the technology."

Now this is what we need the convenience of downloading songs on our fingertips.

[via New York Daily News]

Are Governments Searching For Subversives Through School Exams?

Students (16-18) are being asked questions about alternative 9/11 beliefs, conspiracy theories and how much faith they have in government. Is this part of a vetting process to try and identify the next generation of dissidents or is it simply an assessment of how deep the alternative truth movement has penetrated the mass unconscious?
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Yahoo! phishing warning

Websense is warning internet users of a new phishing scam targeting Yahoo! users.

Users get a message via Yahoo!'s instant messenger asking them to "click on this website". Following the link takes you to what appears to be Yahoo!'s photo service.

But the site, hosted in the US, has nothing to do with Yahoo!. If users enter their user name and password to the site they will receive an error message and their account details are forwarded to a third party.

The whole warning, and screenshots of the fake site, are available here.

Geek designer wears tech well

Ousted "Project Runway" contestant Diana Eng wants to make the fashion-minded more interested in technology and the science-minded more interested in fashion.

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Apple's iWork the No. 1 competitor to Microsoft Office?

According to market researcher NPD, Apple's iWork has suddenly emerged as the primary competitor to Microsoft Office, taking the No. 2 spot in office suite sales during the 2005 calendar year.

The firm said Apple grabbed a 2.7 percent unit share, while Corel took only 1.6 percent share with its WordPerfect Office suite, reports CNet News.com. Meanwhile, Microsoft maintained its dominance with nearly 95 percent of unit sales.

"Apple's share is particularly impressive considering that iWork runs only on Macs, which account for a small fraction of computers, said NPD analyst Chris Swenson. "Apple's success for iWork has been pretty surprising."

Looking specifically at the Mac platform, iWork reportedly accounted for 17.4 percent office suite sales, compared to about 82 percent for Microsoft.

"Apple's iWork didn't overtake Microsoft Office, but I think taking almost a fifth of the Mac Office Suite market away from an entrenched competitor such as Microsoft is quite an accomplishment," Swenson said.

Apple introduced iWork just over a year ago at the 2005 Macworld Expo conference in San Francisco. Earlier this month the company updated the software with major enhancements to its Pages 2 and Keynote 3 component applications.

Re-cut of the SNL "Lazy Sunday" video by two 5th graders

This is an awesome redux of the SNL short film " Lazy Sunday" by two 5th graders who do a nice job of recreating the scenes and locations and graphics. Dad had to take them to the office that day so this was their idea to do something a little more fun than playing X-Box in dad's office all day.

Planning to come downtown? Check out the interactive map

This map gives a detailed view of parking areas, places to eat, party spots, and places to have fun. To all that are coming to Detroit for Super Bowl XL, come with an open heart. The city has a lot to offer, but on the other hand Detroit can not be compared to cities like Chicago, LA, Seattle. You can say it is a smaller version of these major cities or some may find it a different feel. All I can say is have fun, and enjoy your stay in Detroit.

Side Note: Make sure to get your sweaters, winter coats as February is the coldest month in Detroit. Come on, we are in mid-west, what do you expect!!

Google News gets personal

It's taken more than three years, but Google News is finally out of beta.

The search engine has added a few news features to its service, including lists of most popular stories and more personalization.


Avanquest brings iPod software to retail

Avanquest Publishing recently announced that it has partnered with four iPod software developers to bring their Mac and PC titles to retail locations in North America. The initial software titles in the new line include Lionhardt Technology’s WebPodStudio ($50; produce audio and video podcasts), ThinkFree’s PodPresenter ($30; create, view and share slide presentations from the iPod), Laridian’s iPocketBible ($40; listen to and read the bible on the iPod) and Memeo’s iExtend ($30; back up music, photos and files on the iPod).

[via iLounge]

Get traffic reports from Yahoo! Maps

Yahoo! Maps is now including live traffic reports designed to let you know where congestion, construction, and accidents are slowing things down on your commute.

To display traffic reports, just click on the “Live Traffic” checkbox on top of the map next to the “Send to Phone” link. Thanks, Tian!

Yahoo! Local Maps BETA [Yahoo!]

How to recover equipment after a liquid spill

A step by step "How-to" on cleaning your equipement after a liquid spill.

"Some time ago I helped a friend to install his DSL line with a Linksys WRT54g at his house. Everything was fine until one day when he called me and asked for help as he couldn’t reach the net anymore. His stationary computer had no link on the Ethernet port and his wireless computers couldn’t find his access point. When I came there I first checked that the lights we’re burning which they were and then I saw the WAN light blinking like there was no tomorrow. That seemed a bit odd as no computers could reach the Linksys. I unplugged the cable going to his stationary computer and plugged that one into another port and got a link light."

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Nokia and Intel turn on mobile TV alliance

Intel, Motorola, Nokia and Texas Instruments are teaming up to promote the use of TV on mobile phones and other devices. The Mobile DTV alliance will work to promote the Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H) standard and encourage best practice.

There are currently DVB-H trials in the UK and Europe with most markets in the US expected to have DVB-H access by 2007.

The group claims the standard will benefit operators by preserving bandwidth for voice and data services - DVB-H broadcasts directly to handsets from TV masts rather than using the cellular network.

More details on Nokia's website here.

180 degree news - I like it

180 degree news a site that pulls up news from around the globe and readers determine which stories are the most important. I kinda like it the effects give it a nice appeal, nice find Steve.

The Stealth Wireless Mouse

Elecom Japan has announcd the M-D7UR Wireless Mouse. It will be available in a variety of colors Black, Silver, Blue, Orange, Red and White. The mouse looks quite normal but on top of the mouse is sliding mechanism which when stores the receiver. It makes it quiet ideal for travelling as the receiver is also stored in the mouse. The receiver is a bit smaller than a Flash drive and connects via USB. Probably next time they will integrate a Flash drive with the USB receiver. The best part is the design of the mouse and how the flap open is cool. The mouse is 3 button with a scroll wheel and 800 dpi resolution. It is powered by a AAA battery which provides 85 hours of fuctioning time. The mouse measures 59×108.3×37.5mm and weighs 92 grams. It will be available from February for 5040 Yen ($ 40).
[via gizmodo]

IBM moves to the Macinteltosh

BIG BLUE said it will provide an OS X version of Notes software and will support the new MacInteltoshes.

According to a British magazine, Big Bluish said that the big idea was all part of its cunning plan to establish a non-Windows bridgehead in the enterprise market.

Normally that has meant Linux, but now it seems that IBM will provide a Mac version of Notes 7, despite the fact that hardly any of its business users use Macs.

It indicates that IBM is still close to Apple, despite Job’s Mob, dumping Big Blue's PowerPC chips. PC Pro seems to think that is because it frees IBM to concentrate on PowerPC development for other applications, especially game consoles.

How-To: Detect for A CSS3 Supported Web Browser

This script uses basic xhtml, javascript, and css to detect if a visitor is using a CSS3 supported browser. Comes in handy for those of you working with CSS3.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

XP On Your Thumb Drive

A step-by-step and illustrated guide on how to boot XP from an ordinary USB drive.

"Chances are you already either have a USB "thumb" drive, or you will have one in the near future--these little solid-state flash memory devices are inexpensive, nearly ubiquitous, and very, very handy. Not only can they replace floppy drives for casual file transfers, but the larger capacity thumb drives also can serve as the basis for an excellent, fit-in-your-pocket software repair kit, letting you diagnose and repair PCs, including those that might otherwise be unbootable or that are locked by password or other problems."

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Plasma screens suffer burn out problems

SPORTS addicts down under are fuming that their plasma TV screens are unable to take hours of watching their favourite sports channels.

Apparently if you watch live coverage where the TV channel has its logo on the screen, a plasma monitor will fuse the logo onto that part of the screen forever.

According to News.com, here, some owners have threatened legal action saying their screens have been ruined after watching cricket or motor racing.

Apparently they are not thinking of suing the plasma screen companies for not coming up with a technical solution to the problem. Instead it is the TV channels they are considering setting their briefs upon. They say that they should move the logos around a bit to make sure that the screens are not destroyed.

The TV channels say that punters should turn down the contrast on the screens.

RIM loses final BlackBerry appeal

Executives across North America are quaking in their expensive loafers today, fearing that the world is about to end. Is the stock market about to collapse? Is a gigantic extinction-level asteroid about to smash into our planet? Is Bill Gates about to sell all his Microsoft stock and donate it to Richard Stallman?

The answer to all of the above is, of course, no, but life as connected executives know it just might be about to end. Research In Motion (RIM), maker of the hugely successful and wildly popular BlackBerry PDA and e-mail service, has run out of legal wiggling room and is facing a possible shutdown.For those of you joining our program already in progress, a brief summation may be in order. To bring you up to speed:

RIM launches BlackBerry service, makes more money than it knows what to do with.
Out of the blue, patent-holding firm NTP sues RIM claiming patent infringement on push e-mail technology.
  1. RIM fights to have NTP's patent declared null and void, but fails.
  2. RIM appeals, all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.All along the way, RIM has been fighting to keep its BlackBerry service running while litigation and negotition with NTP goes forward.
  3. Today RIM exhausted its last appeal in the legal process (the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case), meaning it must now face the music on NTP's terms or--in a move that would leave CEOs, bankers, and day traders everywhere in a catatonic shock--shut down its BlackBerry service.

RIM stock fell almost US$2 per share upon release of this news.

RIM tried to minimize the bad news by saying it has a workaround in place in case it is forced to stop using technologies NTP claims are infringing on its intellectual property. Exactly how this workaround works or how it might affect RIM's 4.3 million subscribers was not disclosed.

The top 9 e-mail hoaxes

Ever wondered if anyone makes the money promised in those work-at-home advertisements? Or if each forwarded e-mail will really mean a donation of 10 cents from Microsoft to an orphan's organ-transplant operation? The answer is no. These stories are urban legends, e-mail hoaxes and scams. They are but a few of what we like to call financial fiction. The following are some of the most popular and most creative e-mail hoaxes waiting in in-boxes.

A complete list of hoaxes

No law compels employer to offer holiday pay

Last Monday, Jan. 16, was a holiday for some workers, an ordinary working day for others. One of the working stiffs called that day with a question:

"I'm at work and my boss isn't paying me double time for making me work on a holiday. Isn't that illegal?"

No, it's not.

No law requires an employer to give employees time off for nationally recognized holidays. And no law requires an employer to pay a premium to workers who do come to work on those days.

The only exception is if working on a holiday puts a non-exempt, or hourly, worker over a 40-hour workweek. In that case, the Fair Labor Standards Act says such workers should be paid at a time-and-a-half rate for each hour over 40.

Many workers also are surprised to learn that employers don't have to provide paid holidays off from work.

Although paid time off for several holidays a year is a common employee benefit for the American work force, it's a benefit that's offered by employer discretion or through collective bargaining contracts.

It's also important to know that employers can design different holiday pay practices for different categories of workers.

As long as such practices don't discriminate against a protected class of worker (based on age, race, gender, religion, national origin), employers may choose to provide holiday pay to, for example, full-time, but not part-time, workers.

On the subject of illegal discrimination: Awareness of religious diversity has increased mightily in recent years.

Most employers now recognize that their work forces might not be homogenously Christian.

Thus, while the preponderance of workplaces might consider Christian holidays to be their "official" holidays, many employers also offer non-Christians the option of a "floating holiday."

Floating holidays allow workers, given required advance communication and appropriate policies, to take a day off to observe important faith days for them. Generally, courts have agreed that such floating holidays do not have to be paid days off in order to comply with the "reasonable accommodation" spirit of the law.

Last year, when Christmas Day fell on a Sunday -- a day on which many businesses are closed -- another holiday question was raised by some workers. And the answer to that question, too, was that, yes, it's an employer's discretion as to whether the following Monday or the preceding Friday, or both, are designated as the company's official holidays.

iTunes created online video 'Big Bang'

ABI Research said today that Apple’s announcement last year that it would sell videos on the iTunes Music Store triggered the online video “big bang." The firm also said it believes that the premium online video market will grow 89 percent annually through 2010.

“While the push to online video had started well before the launch of the video iPod, the online video ‘big bang’ started with Apple’s announcement and continued through the Consumer Electronics Show,” ABI said. “At this year’s CES, gadgets took a backseat to the bevy of announcements by large online and content players. The flood of online content announcements from Google, Yahoo and others shows that after years of hesitation from the larger media players, the market for premium content online is finally beginning to take shape.”

[via iLounge]

Imation to acquire Memorex

Last week, Imation announced its plan to acquire Memorex in an all cash transaction worth US$330 million. Memorex was founded in 1961 and has grown to offer product lines including recordable media, media accessories, CD and DVD drives, and travel drives. Being acquired is nothing new for Memorex. The company was first acquired by Tandy Corp. in 1982 only to then be acquired again by Hanny Holdings in 1993.

Imation's Chairman and CEO said the acquisition of Memorex will allow his company to gain a "powerful consumer brand" and a "leader in recordable CDs and DVDs." Memorex will keep its headquarters in Cerritos, CA, and Michael Golacinski, the company's President and CEO, will stay on with Imation to head up Imation's consumer business. Imation hopes to complete the acquisition of Memorex by the end of the year.

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Mind map your del.icio.us bookmarks

Italian developer Pietro releases a neat Java applet which mind maps your del.icio.us bookmarks by tag.

Enter your del.icio.us username and password to see your del.icio.us map.

Delicious Mind Map Maker ginatrapani map

The best time to buy everything

Do you spend two hours to save five bucks on airline tickets? Still devote half the living room to a rack component stereo system, waiting for just the right time to buy that smaller, better sounding set-up?

Wait no more. From TV's to travel to a new Toyota, we've found the best time to get the best deal on just about everything.

Air tickets

For all the seeming complexity that goes into the price of airfare, the answer to when some of the cheapest tickets can be found is surprisingly simple: Wednesday.

That's when airlines release their available seats for the upcoming weekend and the weekend after, says Travelocity's Dominique Phillip.

Phillip, along with other travel agents, said it's still best to book a domestic flight at least two weeks in advance, and even further ahead for international travel. But if the two-week window isn't an option for you, she advised delaying the purchase even more, to a few days before you fly, as fares from 14 to 7 days ahead of departure tend to be the most expensive.

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Say Goodbye to Standby?

"Britons waste the equivalent of around two power stations worth of electricity each year by leaving TV sets and other gadgets on standby." There's no doubt the U.S. is worse off...is this the beginning of the end of standby buttons?

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Apple Top Brand in the US, Second in the World

Brandchannel.com's annual popularity poll has Apple at number one for most popular brand in the US and Canada but dropping one place to second this year in the world to Google. Last year Apple was at the top for both US/Canada and World polls.

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IE7 Leaked

IE7 has been leaked according to pcpro. From the article: '...last Friday it was revealed that a build of the new browser - version 5299 - along with numerous screenshots, was available online.

Most Outrageous PC Setup

One of the most amazing MAC as well as PC setup I have ever come across.

A list of MAC's and PC's that were used to set this up -
  • 12" Powerbook 1.3Ghz 1 GB Ram 100GB HD
  • 17" Powerbook 1.67Ghz / 2GB Ram / 100GB HD
  • 30" Display on 17" powerbook
  • Canon Xl1s MiniDV Cam
  • Dell 2.8Ghz P4 1GB Ram Using MS RemoteDesktop
  • 23" on a Mac Mini 1.42 Ghz with 1GB Ram/superdrive
  • Bluetooth Mouse on WebObjects Mousepad
  • 40GB 4th Generation iPod
  • Toshiba Tablet PC
  • 30" Display one on Dual 2.7Ghz G5 4 GB Ram
  • 30" Display two on Dual 2.7Ghz G5 4 GB Ram
  • Canon 20D with 70-200 IS L Lens
  • Canon 100-400 IS L Lens
  • Wacom Intuos3 Tablet

This is not fake, and is sitting in someone's room. Excellent find, big ups to AppleGeeks and Foreever Geek.

Pimp the wheel of your iPOD

Some might think that the wheel of the iPOD looks a bit pale and colourless... so here's a nice collection from iCustom with Disney stickers for the iPOD wheel.

[via Akihabara News]

MacBook Pro Arrives February 15

A post Valentine gift from Apple. The MacBook Pro is set to be released on Feb 15. A nice gift for Apple users.

BitTorrent Clients Reviewed

PC Magazine is running a review of several popular BitTorrent clients. They review uTorrent, an app that 'packs an outstanding array of features in 107KB, and doesn't even create a folder in your Program Files' and give it 4.5 stars. BitTorrent Client from BitTorrent.com, 'whose clean interface has three basic elements: a large progress bar for each torrent you're working on, a slider that controls your maximum upload rate, and a link to the BitTorrent Search engine', gets 4 stars. BitPump 'features an attractive interface that sacrifices a detailed feature set for BitTorrent tweakers in favor of simplicity and ease of use' and gets 4 stars. Finally, Azureus, 'a favorite with advanced users, who enjoy its plug-in system and huge range of tweakable settings', gets 4.5 stars. An interview with Bram Cohen from BitTorrent is available as well.

Six common sounds of your drive failing

Thanks to Hitachi for this great page that features six wav files of the most common, heart-stopping .. my drive is about to die sounds. This is when you start chanting .. "please, one more boot .."

Visit Site

Saturday, January 21, 2006

IBM Lotus Notes to support OS X

If many of you are saying to yourself, Lotus Notes!! Yes a lot of companies do use Notes as their internal mailing system. Even though Outlook is the better choice. IBM will announce next week that the next client version of their Lotus Notes software will support OS X (while version 6.5 of Lotus Notes supports 10.3, version 7 doesn't support OS X at all). They will also be announcing support for Intel-based Macs, due later this year. As reasoning for this newfound OS X support, a representative for an IBM partner is quoted in an InformationWeek article saying: "We have a lot of health-care customers and maybe 1 percent of a company’s research department is on Macs but they have 99 percent of the influence."

[via tuaw.com]

The world's most visible wearable technology showcase

The CTIA Wireless 2005 Convention and Expo is one of the most important technology events on the planet, more so each year because of the growing momentum of the wireless revolution sweeping the globe. Held over three days in New Orleans from March 14-16, 2005, the event is attended by over 40,000 technology professionals and more than a thousand of the most influential technology journalists in the world. Attendees are from every imaginable industry, all seeking to see the latest wireless ideas, technologies and applications. Without doubt THE highlight and most anticipated facet of the event each year is the "Fashion In Motion" Technology Fashion show - a cutting-edge, high-energy fashion parade incorporating wearable and wireless technology into fashion, lifestyle, health, and security applications.

The couture style runway show is a fast-paced pageant of models adorned in the latest in wearable technology - it's a showcase of currently available and emerging wearable technology and is run at regular intervals during all three days of the event. When the live show isn't happening, the recorded video of the previous show is played continuously on giant video screens throughout the show.

Accordingly, CTIA is offering the opportunity to a innovative companies and individuals to show their wearable products, technologies and concepts - prototypes and student projects are welcome and encouraged - in the "Fashion In Motion" Technology Fashion show.

Submissions and enquiries about being a part of "Fashion In Motion" should be directed to Kathy Klingele at kathyklingele@earthlink.net

Source: gizmag.com

Denial-of-Service Attack-Detection Techniques

Denial-of-service (DoS) detection techniques — such as activity profiling, change-point detection, and wavelet-based signal analysis — face the considerable challenge of discriminating network-based flooding attacks from sudden increases in legitimate activity or flash events.

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Nintendo shares rise on 'less than $300' statement

Shares of Nintendo rose 7.7 percent on the Osaka Securities Exchange today. This comes off of Reggie Fils-Aime's interview confirmation that the Revolution "will cost less than $300,'' and will go on sale before Thanksgiving in November.

From the article: "Nintendo's market share has narrowed to about 14 percent for its existing GameCube console as Microsoft and Sony Corp. introduced products with a hard drive, DVD player and Internet connection. Microsoft started sales of its Xbox 360 in November for between $299 and $399. Sony plans to sell its PlayStation 3 device around the second quarter."

[via Infendo]

Underworld: Evolution (Review: A worthy sequel and a bloody good ride.)

January 20, 2006 - If a movie featuring vampires and werewolves fighting with guns, claws, swords and teeth doesn't sound like engaging, messy fun to you, stop reading… you aren't going to like Underworld, let alone its extra-bloody sequel Underworld: Evolution, which releases to theaters today.

For those who are down with all things either furry, bleeding, or covered in skintight leather, this is the film for you; a worthy sequel to its predecessor, and a much better ride on several levels. Where the original spent a good deal of time setting up the reasons for the battle between vampires and werewolves (or Lycans, as they're called here), this one does a decent job of letting the battle simply play out. There are lagging sections of exposition, but nowhere near as many as the first film, and many of them are told in flashback, giving the audience a first-hand glimpse at the proceedings.

Kate Beckinsale reprises her role (and wardrobe) from the first film; a vampire named Selene who is known as a Death Dealer, charged with the task of ridding the world of Lycans. At the end of Underworld, she learns of a betrayal that changes the path of her life, and this film explores the repercussions of that.

The biggest of these is her relationship with Michael (Scott Speedman), a hybrid vampire/Lycan who looks a lot like The X-Men's Nightcrawler on 'roids in his changed state. Since vampires and Lycans have literally been at each others' throats throughout history, their affair does not go down well on either side, and in the beginning of this film (which picks up right after the events of the original), Selene and Michael are on the run, and defending themselves against all comers.

At the same time, the Lycan blood that made its way to Marcus, the last remaining vampire Elder, has transformed him into a super-charged, winged beast (think the flying creature from Jeepers Creepers after a couple hundred bowls of Wheaties), and he is out to exact revenge on everyone who has wronged him. His idea of a good time is to find an enemy, pin him to the wall with his bony wing-tips and rip off his head. In fact, Marcus' bloodletting is one of the true joys of the film.

For horror fans, there are some righteous kills and Marcus is usually at the center of them. Jaws are dismantled, heads disintegrated, and scores of folks are shot up in the tech-heavy war. It all looks a lot better than in the first outing; the effects have been upgraded considerably. The werewolves themselves—their transformation sequences and their movement, especially—are leaps ahead of the ones on display in Underworld.

The whole production seems to have gotten a bump. Director Len Wiseman is very comfortable mixing genres, and the result is something that feels a lot like the successful albeit campy Blade trilogy. While much of the original seemed like cookie-cutter scenes culled from The Matrix and the aforementioned Blade films, Evolution gets more creative, carving out its own identity in the action/gore sequences. Where the film falls down is in trying to strike an emotional chord.

We feel something for Selene, and to some degree her Lycan hybrid lover Michael, but there is not enough to get too emotionally involved in the proceedings. Part of this is due to the fact that all of the characters are so "other." In many ways, it's like watching superheroes fight without finding out what they're like when they aren't saving the world.

The cast does a noble job, although most of their work is in two shades of emotion—angry and sad. In two films, it's difficult to remember a single character smiling or laughing (even in a maniacal, bloodthirsty way). Kate Beckinsale is cute as a button in her leather skinsuit, but she isn't going to be Transylvania's sweetheart if she doesn't grin and show those fangs once in awhile.

Bill Nighy, in his appearance as the vampire Viktor, almost steals the show with his gloriously evil line delivery.In the end, Evolution follows all sequel rules—more action, more nudity, more villains—but manages to be better than the original by keeping the action coming. Sure, there is some tightening that could have made the exposition flow faster, but overall this is a solid genre picture with killer action and plenty of satisfying death-dealing.