Saturday, April 29, 2006

Boot up Windows before you even log in

Is your PC one of those slow PC that takes time to boot up, and do you have to enter a password once it's at the main logon screen? Then this article is for you. Why wait for a couple of minutes when you can run this utility that will load all those programs before you ever have to enter your password? You could press the button to power up your system and go get a cup of coffee. Five minutes later, you come to your desk and type in your password. BAM! Instantly dropped to the desktop! Your programs are already running and all systems are a go!

Its as easy as saying 1,2,3....

Boot up Windows before you even log in

Next Halo to Appear at E3

"Independent sources" who have recently spoken with Microsoft executives are saying that the next game in the Halo series will make an appearance at the E3 Expo next month.

Speaking to IGN, the sources claimed that it will appear in video format at Bungie Studios' news conference on May 9. Although the actual contents of the video is still unknown, expect in-game footage. Microsoft has taken its usual stance on the appearance stating, "We don't comment on speculation and rumors."

iTunes Music Store Celebrate Its Third Birthday

Apple which unveiled their iTunes Music Store three years ago on April 28, 2003, yeah I know I am off by a day. The store at time of its launch had over 200,000 songs. Now the store has increased their store to 20 other countries, moreover the iTunes Music Store offers over 2.9 million songs, 60,000 podcasts, 9,000 music videos, and over 70 television programs from ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, MTV, ESPN and Showtime.

Source: iLounge

Sony working on iPod rival

No matter how many times Sony fails on developing that perfect mp3 player, the company still does not seem to want to quit. This would be Sony's 5th attempt in trying to beat Apple. Their MP3 player will be unveiled during the beginning of next year, by March 2007. Sony whose MP3 player sales have decreased by 6.2% hopes that it will be able to gain some market share with the release of their new music player.

All well and said at this point in time when Apple has a strong hold on the music player industry it will be hard for any company to step in and knock them off, plus pretty soon Apple will be releasing their upgraded Nano's, and we will soon be seeing a wider iPod Video. Sony's release would not hamper Apple’s profit or market share.

Sony Readies iPod Rival [Gizmodo]

It's Official: More Than 100 Million Users Call On Skype

VoIP provider Skype has registered more than 100 million users, the company announced Friday.

Noting that the figure was reached in just two and one half years, Skype co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom said in a statement: "Skype has grown in leaps and bounds by making it simple for anyone across the world with an Internet connection to do something they could not do before – talk for as long as they like, to whomever they like for no cost."

The VoIP firm was bought last September for $2.6 billion by eBay Inc., which noted that Skype's user base has nearly doubled in that time period. Skype offers free software for free calls between Skype users. A small charge of less than three cents a minute is leveled for Skype callers calling non-Skype people.

News source: TechWeb

Microsoft Shares Tumble on Spending Concerns

Shares of Microsoft Corp. on Friday tumbled 11 percent, their biggest drop in more than five years, after the software giant said greater investment to take on rivals would hurt future earnings.

The move shocked Wall Street, which had been betting on growth from the company's biggest product releases in years.

"This effectively takes the wind out of the sails of investor sentiment at a time when investors were beginning to warm up to the prospects for accelerating earnings momentum," wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Rick Sherlund in a research note.

Microsoft on Thursday forecast earnings per share of $1.36 to $1.41 for the 2007 fiscal year, starting July 1, compared with an average analysts' forecast of $1.53 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

While it did not disclose specific plans, Microsoft said it would increase spending on its software services business, a course of action that would take a bite out of fiscal year earnings.

Microsoft has already delayed delivery of its much-anticipated Vista operating system and Office 2007 business-software suite until January.

Shares in Microsoft fell $3.12 to $24.13 in their biggest single-day drop since December 15, 2000.

News source: eWEEK

Friday, April 28, 2006

Experiment with IE7 without installing it

Google Operating System has a small guide on testing IE7 without installing it. For all those who are planning on downloading IE7 read this before downloading it.
  • First, download Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2.
  • Then use WinRar to extract the files from the setup to a folder, for example C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer 7.
  • For the rest......

Test Internet Explorer 7 Without Installing It

How to exercise your eyes

Eyes - Something that should be rested from time to time. I know what you are saying, they are eyes they don't need any rest. However when you stare at your computer for a brief period of time or sit at home watching TV, your eyes are strained and hence needs some exercise. So while your computer is rebooting or starting up use this downtime to rest your eye balls. eHow has a very informative guide on relieving eye stress. Use this well it's YOUR EYES.

How to Exercise Your Eyes

Apple ponders in-flight iTunes downloads

Over a third of airline passengers would download songs from Apple's iTunes music store if they were available via in-flight entertainment systems, according to a recent poll.

Aviation media portal Flightglobal.com found that 38 per cent of travellers would download songs from iTunes during a flight, but that 62 per cent would not.

The poll was run in response to recent talks held between Apple and a number of in-flight entertainment providers on the possibility of licensing iTunes media download software.

These could enable passengers to use their frequent flyer miles to download music and videos onto their iPods during a flight.

Apple's iTunes music store sold its billionth song in February. The store opened in 2003 and came to the UK in 2004.

The company claimed in January that it has over 80 per cent market share in the digital music download market and sells over three million songs a day.

At the current growth rate, the second billionth song could be sold later this year.

Disable USB Drives for protection

I know some of you would be asking yourself, why would I disable my USB drive? Well there are often times when you don't want anyone to use a USB flash drive and download data of your PC.

IntelliAdmin makes it easy to disable your USB drive. This will only disable USB storage drivers from starting when the system boots, however it will not disable your scanner, keyboard, and mouse.

To disable your USB you need to make a small and a simple adjustment to your registry. But if you don't want to touch your registry IntelliAdmin has created this free utility that will disable the USB drive with an ease.

Disable USB Drives [IntelliAdmin]

IE7 a complete review

Looks like ExtremeTech has done a full review of IE7 and like most of my friends and work colleagues who downloaded IE7 and who also just like the folks over @ ExtremeTech were not satisfied with the upgraded product.

ExtremeTech did a side by side comparison of IE7 and the other toolbar that has been gaining market share namely “Mozilla Firefox”, if you have used Firefox before you would notice that IE7 has tabs now something that was lacking in the older versions of Internet Explorer.

Here is what they had to say -
  • Internet Explorer 7, by contrast, doesn't have these features. There's a plug-in architecture, but as far as I can tell it doesn't let plug-in authors actually mess around with things like clicking behavior and the layout of the actual IE 7 frame itself. When I middle-click on a folder full of links in the Favorites Bar in IE 7, for some reason it opens a new window showing me all the link files. This behavior is in contrast to middle-clicking on an actual link in a web page which opens that link in a new tab.
  • Why doesn't middle-clicking the folder full of links on my Favorites bar open all the links inside it in new tabs? I use that in Firefox all the time. Why can't I middle-click a tab to close it (I don't like having to aim for the little "close" button)? Why can't I customize the way things look when I download files, getting rid of those file transfer windows? IE 7 just doesn't work the way I want it do, and from what I can see, there aren't any simple extensions or plug-ins to make it do so.

IE7 Isn't Good Enough

How exactly do xbox live servers work?

I am mostly curious, how this live connection works when playing games online. Basically what I am looking for (as example) is if Joe, Bob, Larry, and Mike all want to play a game of GRAW together, here is what may happen.

Joe hosts a game and the other 3 join in. Joe has pretty bad speed and the lag is horrible. So they decide to leave and have Larry who has good speed host the game and the lag is gone for all and everyone has a great time.

Why? Why did the game lag when Joe was the host and not ?When someone hosts a game does that mean their xbox is acting as the server for people to connect through xbox live.

Or is the game just being hosted on a server on the xbox live network?

Answer -

Xbox Live only tells you wheir the rooms are. So if you start hosting a game, the xbox will send a signal to their server, hey im hosting If people look for the games, they will send a signal to xbox live servers with, hey i need this and this type of game. You get a list of all the games which have the same settings like you want. Then you can select one, and the xbox gets to know the ip to connect to from xbox live. Then you connect to that one, and the connection for playing is between you and the host, not with xbox live servers. Stats, like kills get sended to xbox live, but not your position, voice and speed walking, direction, that goes between host and you.

Everyone connects to the host. If you start to walk, you send a signal to him (upload, you send) The host gets the signal (download, he recieves) Then he sends that signal to all other players (upload, he sends). They download that signal again (download, they recieve). Because the hosts needs to download the signals from all the players, and send it to all the other ones, he needs the best connection, because as a normal player you only send and recieve from the host.

The Coolest Workplace

Recently Lifehacker has started a contest named "Coolest Workspace Contest" where YOU the user can send it pictures of your workplace. This paticular entry attracted me to write this post.

Bryan who has a sweet desk that adjusts in height so he can use it from a sitting or standing position. The thing that attracted me was his desk, people don't realize that sometimes a body needs a little exercise and standing can provide you with that little exercise. His desk has definitely caught my attention, now that I know where to buy this desk I might certainly look into buying it and make this my own workplace.

To read more on this, simply click on the following link -

Bryans Workspace

You can buy this desk by clicking on the following link -

Electronically Adjustable Desk

Your Xbox 360 can blog for you!!

This is pretty nice, I found this while I was browsing around. I am going to give it a try and see how this works.

A user @ one of the Xbox forums posted this, try it and post a comment on how it worked.

The first link is where you can sign up, the second is for "STTheKing" it's a good example of what to expect and the third is the users newly signed up blog.
Your Xbox 360 will talk to you in your blog and let people know how you are doing.

Nokia will soon be opening two stores in the U.S.

As the Cell Phone industry is growing at such a fast rate, however this has not affected U.S. in anyway, who has been slowly gaining momentum in the Cell Phone Industry. Nokia headquartered in Keilaniemi of Espoo, Finland has decided to open two stores in the U.S. The two new U.S. stores will be in Chicago and New York and they will be selling all the hottest phones that Nokia has to offer (I love the N series models). The Chicago store is set to open its doors to the public on June 21.

The Chicago store should be at 545 N. Michigan Avenue while the New York store will be in the "5th Avenue Region," don't be surprised if your surrounded by a huge crowd of Nokia lovers.

Source: gizmodo

SketchUp: Model Your World

Google SketchUp (free) is an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program that enables you to explore the world in 3D. With just a few simple tools, you can create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions, woodworking projects - even space ships. And once you've built your models, you can place them in Google Earth, post them to the 3D Warehouse, or print hard copies.

Soviet Underground Submarine Base

Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Balaklava was one of the most secret towns in Russia. 10km south eas of Sevastopol on the Black Sea Coast, this small town was the home to a Nuclear Submarine Base.

Soviet Underground Submarine Base

Nuclear Disasters Map

Here is a Google Maps mashup shows the locations of nuclear accidents. [via Google Blogoscoped]

Red Apple Speaker

A new one of a kind speaker shapped as an Apple.

This Apple shaped speaker is foldable and has a place to put your iPod. It can run from batteries and it has a USB port as well. It measure 114x71x55mm.

Brando a Hong Kong based Gadget store sells this fruit for $16.00, thats not too expensive.

TV Guide magazine creates “Downloads” guide

TV Guide magazine is to launch a brand new weekly column called "Downloads”. The new column will debut in the May 1 issue.The new column will provide information for viewers who want to know where on the Web they can find their favorite programs for viewing online or download each week.

Visit Site

Microsoft increases its Xbox 360 shipment target

Microsoft had previously announced a goal to ship 4.5 to 5.5 million Xbox 360's by the end of their financial year, June 30. However this figure has been changed by Microsoft to between 5 to 5.5 million units shipped.

Microsoft further said that its earlier manufacturing problems were over, with VP Peter Moore saying, "Our supply challenges are behind us operationally". This has allowed them to ship 3.2 million Xbox 360s so far, including 1.8 million in North America alone. They also announced that over 4 million Xbox Live Arcade games had been downloaded from the marketplace.

Revive your failed hard drive by placing it in the freezer

This is a new for me as well, over the years as I have worked as a System Administrator, Network Administrator I have not come across this solution to revive a failed hard drive.
Over at Tech Republic they have a challenge for us the “Techie Community” is to try this method and see if it works.
  • One trick I have learned as a technician, when the problem is data-read errors off the platters themselves, is to freeze the hard drive overnight. It makes the data more 'readable,' but for a one-shot deal. If this data is critical, and you have a replacement hard drive (which, if it's a drive failure, you probably do), then you can hook up your frozen hard drive and immediately fetch the data off before it warms up.

Get IT Done: 200 ways to revive a hard drive

[via Lifehacker]

A FIX found for iPod's bass distortion

This is an on going issue with Apple iPod's especially with their iPod equalizer; one iPod owner has found a fix which eliminates equalizer distortion. Another issue which was apparent was the rolloff in lower tones when using headphones ranging from 16 to 32 ohms has also been reported, apple's earbuds that come with the iPod falls under this range. By using a free open-source utility called "MP3GAIN" which reduces the volume of music files and enables the iPod's "Bass Boost" preset then songs play without distortion. Also with the user of another utility called "euPod" this removes built-in volume caps on European and U.S. iPod models to compensate for the softer output volume after running MP3Gain.

New Samsung LG-KB1500

Take a look at the latest creation from Samsung, its "Samsung LG-KB1500 aka LG-LB1500" look at the words I know what you're staring at. It weighs in at 120 grams and will be available in May of 2006, not in the U.S though. Still no information is available as to when the phone will be released in the U.S. Why is U.S so behind when it comes to cell phone technology?

Phone Feature -
  • A swivelable LCD screen for wide screen viewer
  • 19mm sllim body
  • 1.3 megapiexl camera
  • Transflash card slot and 262k colors screen

This model has many other features, especially DLS (Dynamic Label Service) function and JSS (Jpeg Slide Show); DLS allows you to view the contents Traffic Broadcasting system through the screen while listening to radio, and JSS enables you to view a singers picture while giving you the ability to listen to the artists songs at the same time. Moreover if you receive a call or a text message while watching live TV or listening to your lovely music you will get a small indication on the corner of your screen.

Samsung LG-KB1500 aka LG-LB1500

Create a Google calender button

Events, meetings, and family gatherings something’s you don't want to miss. However this simple site lets you create a button which you can place on your site just as a reminder of this event.

Google Calender Button Creator

In the Mix: Blu-Ray, Ballmer on iPod

Lies, lies, lies - Engineers do lie

Here is a list of the top TEN lies of Engineers -
  1. "We're about to go into beta testing."
  2. "I don't know anything thing about marketing..."
  3. "I'll comment the code, so that the next person can understand what I did."
  4. "Our architecture is scalable."
  5. To know the rest of lies you will have to read this....

Microsoft Reports Third-Quarter Results

REDMOND, Wash. — April 27, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced third-quarter revenue of $10.90 billion for the period ended March 31, 2006, a 13% increase over the same quarter of the prior year. Operating income for the quarter was $3.89 billion, or a 17% increase compared with $3.33 billion in the prior-year period. Operating income for the third quarter included $397 million, compared with $768 million in the prior-year period, for certain legal charges. Net income and diluted earnings per share for the third quarter were $2.98 billion and $0.29 per share, which included $0.03 of legal charges. For the same quarter of the previous year, net income and diluted earnings per share were $2.56 billion and $0.23, which included $0.05 per share of legal charges.

Demand for Microsoft’s recently released products for business and consumer customers drove robust performance during the quarter in the Home and Entertainment, Microsoft Business Solutions and Server and Tools groups. Home and Entertainment revenue was up more than 80% due to strong demand for the Xbox 360™ system; Microsoft Business Solutions delivered 21% revenue growth due to continued customer interest in the Microsoft Dynamics™ line of business management solutions. This quarter marked the fifteenth consecutive quarter of double digit revenue growth for Server and Tools. “The Windows Server™ platform value proposition is truly resonating with customers, as shown by growth in Microsoft® SQL Server™ revenue of over 30% this quarter,” said Kevin Johnson, co-president, Platforms & Services Division. “Enterprise customers are increasingly selecting SQL Server to run their mission-critical applications because of its high performance, security and business intelligence capabilities.”

Microsoft Third-Quarter Results

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Activesync 4.2 Beta is now available

ActiveSync 4.2 Beta Preview is an early look at the latest sync software release for Windows Mobile devices. Microsoft ActiveSync provides a great synchronization experience with Windows powered PCs and Microsoft Outlook right out of the box. ActiveSync acts as the gateway between your Windows powered PC and Windows Mobile powered device, enabling the transfer of Outlook information, Office documents, pictures, music, videos and applications from your desktop to your device. In addition to synchronizing with a desktop PC, ActiveSync can synchronize directly with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 so that you can keep your e-mail, Calendar, Notes, and Contacts updated wirelessly when you’re away from your PC.

ActiveSync 4.2 Beta

Critical Flaw Affects Internet Explorer

A new vulnerability has been discovered within Internet Explorer's handling of the OBJECT tag that could cause the browser to crash. At first glance, the bug appears to be not much more than a nuisance, although an attack vector could not be ruled out by security experts.

Existence of the flaw has been confirmed on a fully patched version of Internet Explorer 6 running on Windows XP Service Pack 2, according to an advisory on the issue.

"At first sight, this vulnerability may offer a remote compromise vector, although not necessarily a reliable one," security researcher Michael Zalewski posted to the Full-disclosure mailing list on Sunday. "As such, panic, but only slightly."

Security firm Secunia has issued a slightly more dire warning regarding the flaw. Calling it a "highly critical" vulnerability, the firm said that successful exploitation would allow for the execution of arbitrary code. The firm recommends that users do not visit untrusted Web sites until a fix is provided.

Microsoft has confirmed the issue, saying its initial tests showed that only a crash vulnerability existed due to the issue. An investigation is ongoing, but no possible remedies have been announced.

Disclosure of the flaw comes just two weeks after April's Patch Tuesday, where some ten vulnerabilities were patched as part of the monthly security update.

Yahoo Releases DVR Software for PC

Yahoo! Go for TV is the latest component of Yahoo's Go platform, which is intended to bring the company's content from the PC to other devices such as mobile phones and televisions. Google and Microsoft have undertaken similar efforts as the PC continues its transition to a full-fledged entertainment device.

With the software, Flickr photos could be viewed on TVs, and users could even play games or listen to music via Yahoo's entertainment sites while sitting on the couch. DVD playback is supported, along with TV show recording capabilities much like those offered by SnapStream and Windows Media Center.

Jupiter Research vice president Michael Gartenberg questioned Yahoo's recent initiative, however, noting that Microsoft is much father along and offers a better out of box experience.

Yahoo! Go for TV is currently in beta and only available to users in the United States.

Ethernet Service Revenue Rockets to Nearly $6 Billion

Worldwide revenue from Ethernet services more than doubled to $5.9 billion between 2004 and 2005, and will increase to $22.5 billion by 2009, says a new report from Infonetics Research.

Infonetics says the Ethernet services market is growing quickly because it offers greater bandwidth without increasing WAN costs.

"Since Ethernet offers more bandwidth without increasing WAN costs, it's growing in popularity, especially among small and medium businesses, and among remote and branch offices of large businesses -- the very customers service providers are targeting for new revenue," Michael Howard, principal analyst at Infonetics Research, said in a statement.

The bulk of the revenue, 75%, comes from retail Ethernet services, such as Internet/WAN access, Ethernet private line, and transparent LAN services. The remaining 25% come from wholesale Ethernet service revenue, primarily point-to-point Gigabit Ethernet links. Wholesale revenues will grow slowly through 2009.

The Asia Pacific region accounted for the biggest chunk of revenue, with more than 40% of the total, followed by EMEA with over 30%, and North America, with over 20%.

Revenue from mid-band Ethernet services, comprised of one to 10 megabit and 10 to 50 megabit speed bands, was almost $1.9 billion in 2005. They are forecast to grow to over $8 billion by 2009, and will make up 36% of total worldwide Ethernet services revenue.

$60,000 iPod Tekserve Ad - It's no joke

Literally over 60 thousand dollars worth of ipods fell creating a domino effect in this new ad for Tekserve, a New York based independent Apple specialty store. They are located on 33rd Street & 7th Avenue, from May 1st through July 30th with huge LED displays up on Madison Square Garden.

[via Gizmodo]

Samsung gets the iPod chip deal

An executive from Samsung revealed today the company has won the contract to provide the processors in Apple’s next-generation iPods, apparently taking the partner position that PortalPlayer said it lost last week. “I knew that we would win this design,” Jon Kang, senior VP for the technical marketing group at Samsung Semiconductor, said during a presentation at the SEMI Strategic Business Conference. NAND flash-memory chips for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, has been working with Apple for a long time. “It’s a huge win for us,” he said.

via iLounge.com

Cranking up lectures on campus

MIAMI - Stroll onto any college campus and you'll see iPods galore.

But while many students are no doubt cranking Arctic Monkeys, just as many are listening to podcasts of lectures or specially designed video "vodcasts" of supplemental classroom material.

It's education gone high-tech. In fact, to be a professor one must be increasingly tech savvy.

Consider Dr. Ron Clark, the coordinator of the neuroscience module for the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.

Among the first to take advantage of the new technology, Clark has developed a number of vodcasts by mixing voice, animation and live action to detail the brain and visual system.

"I teach about the brain and we learn in different ways," said Clark, who adds background music to his vodcasts. "Some students love to read primarily. Some are good with audio. Some with video. This has both and images are important on the national board exams for students."

Repetition reinforces learning.

"If this is something they can go over in less time and review a whole subject matter several times it should be advantageous," he said.

University of Miami first year medical student Michael Gombosh, 27, thinks it is.

"You can download to your iPod to watch in a car or while on the Metrorail or take to the gym and watch over there while on breaks," Gombosh said.

"Dr. Clark has taken a 50-minute material lecture and condensed it down to the most important things in a 15-minute segment. It's a lot faster-paced; you get hammered home the most important things."

Second year med student Samantha Xavier, 24, nods. Podcasts, which are also available on regular computers for students lacking iPods, help her retain what she heard in class.

Instead of scribbling notes, she can pay attention in class, interact with fellow medical students and the instructor, and then pick pertinent auditory information off her iPod.

"When you have a quick question I can just go to that lecture (on the iPod) and go to that point," she said.

"I wish I had the video now."

Vodcasts for second-year students is coming shortly — probably next semester, said Ryan Bard, UM's Web systems developer.

CPU Upgrade will not Affect Performance

Microsoft have commented on the reasons for the recent Xbox 360 CPU upgrade that was announced last week. As suspected, the upgrade will not increase performance.

Speaking to Next-Gen.biz, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "The move to 65 nm technology will lower our manufacturing costs. It’s standard practice in the semiconductor industry to reduce transistor sizes every few years to be able to place more CPUs on a wafer. Doing so results in higher CPU yields and higher yields lead to lower manufacturing costs. We anticipate system performance will stay the same."

There was also some discussion over whether the upgrade was at least in part due to a want to reduce the heat output from the console, the spokesperson responded, "The primary reason for moving to 65nm over time is not to reduce heat, but to reduce manufacturing costs."

oggvorbis.net = apple.com?

Why does www.oggvorbis.net redirect to www.apple com?

Online Gaming Expected To Grow Dramatically In China

The number of line gamers in China is expected to increase almost 250 percent by 2010, a research firm said Wednesday.

Gaming ranks are projected to number 61 million in 2010, compared with 25.5 million last year, In-Stat said. Government policy that's generally favorable to the industry is expected to make growth possible. Current market barriers, however, include a new policy requiring that playing time be restricted to four hours for each game and for each player.

In addition, profits are elusive for man firms today, the analyst firm said. Fewer than 15 percent of online-gaming companies were profitable in China last year.

Nevertheless, the rate of increase of online gamers is expected to surpass that of the general online population, In-Stat said. Last year, there were more than 300 online gaming companies in China, with half of the games homegrown.

Key first-tier players include ShanDa, NetEase, The9 and KingSoft, which collectively account for 80 percent of the market.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Seagate shows off 750-Gigabyte Hard Drives

Seagate Technology officially brought its perpendicular-recording technology into the desktop drive market, announcing shipments of its first 750-Gbyte Barracuda internal drive Wednesday. A complementary external 750-Gbyte drive will be released this coming Monday.

According to Seagate spokesman Michael Hall, the suggested retail price of the 750-Gbyte Barracuda 7200.10 drive will be $590, while the 200-Gbyte model will sell for about $104. The drives began shipping last week to distributors, Hall said.

Somewhat surprisingly, the external 750-Gbyte Seagate External Hard Drive drive due next Monday will be priced at about $559; external drives are generally priced somewhat higher than their internal counterparts.

While it's relatively easy to add additional disk platters to a drive to increase its capacity, the new Barracuda 7200.10 drive contains four platters and eight heads, the same number of disks and heads used to design the prior-generation Barracuda, which used longitudinal-recording methods, Hall said.

For the hard drive industry, the capacity milestone pegs the biggest, fastest jump in its 50-year history.

The big leap stems from a new so-called "perpendicular recording" technology that allows drive makers like Seagate and rival Hitachi Global Storage Technologies to boost the density of a disk by aligning bits of data vertically rather than horizontally. At the same time, fewer moving components are needed in the drives.

The advances are leading to the largest, most reliable disk drives yet, said Seagate product marketing manager Joni Clark.

Before long, consumers will have terabyte-, or 1,000-gigabyte, drives at their disposal, Clark said.

[via ExtremeTech]

Verizon Wireless Announces Wireless Priority Service

Verizon today began rolling out Wireless Priority Service for first responders. During large-scale emergencies, Verizon will give priority to calls placed by or to first responders over other subscribers. Non-WPS subscribers who are currently on a call when the system is activated will not be cut off, they will just have to wait in line behind approved first responders for an open circuit to place calls. Subscribers in law enforcement, emergency services and other first responder services in LA, south Florida, Washington DC and Chicago can sign up for the service today. It will be available nationwide by the end of the year. Cingular and T-Mobile already offer WPS nationwide.

Full Story

Sony releases firmware update v2.7 for PSP

Sony has released the latest firmware that will upgrade your PSP to version 2.7. In each of these releases Sony not only tries to plug the holes hackers are using to play emulated games and develop for the machine, but also introduces some new features.
This release seems to put the emphasis on getting the Internet working better, having added the ability to view Macromedia Flash 6 files. Audio content can be streamed from an RSS feed and saved to a memory stick. AAC compatibility has also been added to allow for a wider range of music playback.

The LocationFree player is also being included, which--when coupled with a Base Station--is meant to allow users to stream TV and movies from their home to their PSP. The rollout and usage of this system is limited by region and not all PSP owners will be able to take advantage of it. It seems Sony is controlling this with the availability of the Base Station you need to make it work.

For more, please see Game Informer Online.

Praying with your ipod

One thing missing from the ipod is native language support for several different languages. When you set up your ipod, most likely you chose English and therefore all you can read is your native language. What if your language of prayer is Hebrew or Arabic? Until now, you were out of luck. The brilliant people at Davka Software have come up with a solution for those who pray in Hebrew. I would imagine that other languages could be created based on this design. The software is called iDaven – daven is a Hebrew word describing the act of praying.


How it works:

Here is how it works. The software is in super-high resolution picture format – each frame is another “slide” in the group of pictures. You simply copy the “pictures” in the various folders into folders in itunes and then sync them to your ipod. The program ships with five folders of different prayers. Just open the appropriate folder and the thumbnails of the various frames appear. Select the first one and then just hit the “next” button on the ipod to make your way through the appropriate prayer. It is like having a complete Hebrew prayerbook with you at all times.

Ease of Use:

This program was incredibly simple to set up and use. If you can find pictures on your ipod, you can use idaven. Just open the folder (prayer) you want to use and advance through it. There is no sound (that is a different program to be reviewed at a later date.)

Overall Conclusions:

This is a great idea and a wonderful piece of software. Sure, there have been options for different language prayer on PDA’s for years. This, however, is a brilliant work around for the ipod – utilizing the photo viewer for the text. The images were clear and crisp and the convenience was great. Let’s hope someone else picks up on this idea for Latin, Arabic, Greek and other languages of prayer.

Final Grade: A

Idaven is available at http://www.davka.com/ for $19.95

Getting up: What a drag

“Getting Up” something that all of us demise; however have to do it to start our work cycle. But is it that hard to get up in the morning? While you’re still in bed, the warmth of your blanket is keeping you cozy from the cold air in the atmosphere. The answer is not easy as you think.
However this person shares the similar reaction to getting up.
  • When your alarm wakes you up in the morning, is it hard for you to get up right away? Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button and going right back to sleep?
  • That used to be part of my daily awakening ritual too. When my alarm would blare its infernal noise, I’d turn the damned thing off right away. Then under the cloak of that early morning brain fog, I’d slowly ponder whether or not I should actually get up:

How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off

Square Format

Browsing around flickr, I came across this rather hip group called the "Square Format", which made me want to explore this group and look deep into these images. Take a look you might like what you see.

Square Format

Skype to distribute ringtones for use with service

Skype has announced new licensing agreements with three major music publishing companies that will allow it to distribute ringtones from Warner Music Group (WMG) artists. The music publishing groups are EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and Warner/Chappell Music.

The agreements mean Skype users from a number of countries can download ringtones. Those countries include Belgium, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Availability to other users worldwide will soon follow within a few weeks. The ringtones will be available through the Skype's "Personalise Skype" store.

Skype is beginning to offer products like ringtones, which are more commonly offered by wireless companies. Of course, now that Skype is available for download to some PDAs, I suppose it is becoming more like a wireless company. Whether on a PDA or computer it's a great idea to sell personalization products to customers. Ringtones are a good start.

Read more from the Skype press release.

The E3 2006 Free Xbox Live Week

Xbox Live is going to be temporarily free again with Verizon sponsoring a second event, however this time it will be a full week long. Microsoft have made the following statement:

In honor of E3 2006 and since the first free weekend was so huge, we decided to do it again. And this time for a whole week - a full-on 7-day party. You wanted more. You're getting A LOT more. More time. More free Points. More stuff. So start inviting your friends. You might wanna quit your job, give away your pets, fire the girlfriend.This is the week you've been waiting for and it's all brought to you by Verizon.

The week runs from May 8 to May 14, and there will be one million Microsoft points and also backstage passes to E3 up for grabs. You are able to find more information here.

Hack Yahoo! Mail

If you have been using Yahoo! Mail and have not received an invite so far, here is a way you will get an invite to try out their new Mail service.
  • To get Yahoo Mail Beta, just switch your content preference to Germany, France or UK. Then you will be asked if you want to join the beta when you log into your Yahoo Mail. Say yes, and join the beta. Then from the options menu, change your content preference what it was before. Then go to Yahoo Mail again. You should see Yahoo Beta. If you don't see it, go to options and click "Try Beta" button. That's all.

The whole thing works.

[Thanks Forever Geek]

Sprint 's new Text to Landline messaging service

Reston, VA -- Sprint customers can now reach out to more friends and family than ever with the latest update - Text to Landline. Text to Landline lets customers send text messages to any landline phone in the United States, where they will then be converted to a voice message for the recipient.

Text to Landline is available now to all Sprint customers with two-way text-messaging-capable phones. To use, customers simply enter a 10-digit landline phone number and type a message, just as they would when sending a regular text message. The recipient's phone will ring, and when answered, the text message will be automatically read to them. Recipients can reply with a preset text message response or by recording a voice response. Standard text-messaging rates apply.

Read more from the Sprint press release.

Airplane Safety Instructional Video

A funny take on "Airplane Safety Instructional Video".

Prolong iPod battery life

Battery an important aspect of your iPod, but what if your iPod keeps dying every hour and you have to recharge your ipod, no problem!! Here is why you need to take a look at this. Here are some ways that can extend your iPods battery life.

  • Put It on Hold - Accidentally activating your iPod is easy if the play button rubs against something while it’s inside your pocket or bag. Unless you plan to use your iPod right away, engage the Hold switch so it doesn’t play when you’re not listening.
  • Avoid Large Audio Files - All iPods except the shuffle and the nano store files on a hard drive. To preserve battery life, the iPod spins up that drive, loads data into a 32MB SDRAM chip (the 60GB fifth-generation iPod is the only one with a 64MB chip), and then spins down the drive. With larger files—for instance, those encoded in the AIFF, WAV, or Apple Lossless format—the hard drive has to spin up more frequently, thus draining the battery more quickly.
  • Read more on how to extend your iPods battery life.

Toggle between Windows XP and Mac OS X

A detailed guide that will show you how to do this.
  • The first thing you should notice even before powering on your new Mac is the keyboard and mouse. There isn’t a Windows key anymore, and the Alt button now has the word “Option” on it. The Windows key has been replaced by what is commonly called the Apple or Command key, and for the large majority of hotkeys, will replace the Ctrl commands normally found on Windows.
  • You should also happily take note of three keys: F9, F10 and F11. These three keys make up Exposé, which is currently a Mac-unique feature that makes working on a computer infinitely easier. F9 miniaturizes all of your open windows and lets you view all of them. F10 miniaturizes your open windows in the program you’re running, and F11 pushes all windows out of the way to expose your desktop. See Expose section later.

Complete Guide

Handy programs to put on a USB stick

A great way to access some applications when you're on the go. These FREE programs do not require any installation and can be run directly from a USB drive.

Some cool applications to have on your USB stick -
  • YamiPod - YamiPod allows you to manage the content of your iPod without the need to have iTunes installed. You can copy mp3 and AAC files to/from your iPod, import and export playlists, search for songs...
  • cPicture LE - cPicture LE is a software to view and work with your digital photos. It offers support for thumbnail browsing, EXIF display, histogram view, as well as various features to resize, rotate, crop...
  • StartupList - StartupList creates a list off all items that are in any way related to your computer startup and are executed without any user interactions. It is not limited to the common Startup folders...
  • WinAudit - WinAudit allows you to perform a detailed audit of the hardware and software configuration of your computer. The resulting audit report contains details on installed software, license information...
  • Country Codes - Country Codes is a small database of country codes and additional information for more than 250 countries. It displays their location (continent), ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2-3 codes and ISO number as well as ...
  • Convert - Convert is the only unit conversion tool you`ll ever need. It includes fast and simple conversions for distance, temperature, volume, time, speed, mass, power, density, pressure, energy...
  • Click here to view the whole list of these great applications.

Longhorn Server Slated For Second Half Of '07

Longhorn Server, the next version of the Windows Server operating system, will ship in the second half of 2007, Microsoft disclosed at its Management Summit on Tuesday. Microsoft also introduced a new scripting language for controlling Windows applications, and said some of Windows Vista's security features will require additional Microsoft products.

Would this affect companies and in what way would it affect them?

Read more @ Microsoft narrows down Longhorn Server's release date

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Geeks Take Down Dirty C-Level Executives - With Email

Two geeks at a small tech startup find out that their CFO and a few other executives are not only planning on selling the company and terminating all the employees, but padding their own pockets with millions and screwing the board of directors/investors. The two geeks take matters into their own hands using linux, postfix and some ingenuity.

Geeks Take Down Dirty C-Level Executives

1957 Bonaguro Special

This sensational one-off 1950's custom is a hand-crafted built over the course of six years (1957-1963) by one man - John Bonaguro. If you're picking out elements from other cars of its time, you're not alone-- the designer cribbed a 1955 Oldsmobile Rocket V8 and transmission for motivation, the taillamps are Chevrolet circa 1958, the seats are from '62 Ford Thunderbird, and so on.

The hand-laid fiberglass body is original, and the car 'received a sympathetic restoration a few years ago,' which appears to have put it in good running order, with the patina of a vehicle that is actually meant to be driven. It boasts a radically low-slung greenhouse with a pursed split rear window and gorgeous looking custom aluminum bumperettes.

The car has a solid show history, and was featured in a 1964 Hot Rod magazine Custom Car Annual. As the eBay listing's text correctly points out, complete custom cars from this era are hard to come by, as many were subsequently cannibalized or scrapped to yield parts for later project cars.

Visit Site [via Auto Blog]

Mini - A flickr photo set

A photography technique called Tilt-Shift lens where you can vary the plane against which the image falls. You've probably seen these, think of the old-timey bellows-lens with individual adjustments on those metal rails, so each of the four corners of the lens can be moved back and forth independently.

  • For certain types of images, a narrow depth of field can make a real scene appear to be artificial, ie a miniature or model.
  • You can also fake the "tilt shift" effect in photoshop, and make your own minature places.

Symantec Tunes Up IM Monitoring

The new software can block new IM viruses based on behavior it detects on a network. So if a virus with no known signature starts sending messages with a consistent pattern to everyone on a user's buddy list, the software could block that traffic as a likely virus by blocking the machine from sending IMs.

Symantec is making it easier to monitor and control real-time applications being used on corporate networks. With Release 8.0 of its IM Manager software, the company is adding tools to apply security policies to VoIP and videoconferencing and expanding its ability to do the same to instant messaging and text messaging, the company says.

The benefits of the new capabilities are twofold, according to Eric Ogren, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. It gives businesses a way to discover just how much peer-to-peer traffic is on their networks, information they might not be able to get now. And IM Manager logs traffic, creating records that can be used to meet regulatory restrictions on how sensitive data is handled.

"You can't prevent use of Skype and Yahoo Instant Messenger, but you can control the corporate risk," Ogren says. "And you might not want to block them. You don't have to worry about software installation and you get business benefits for free."

The 8.0 IM Manager software integrates its archived IM transcripts with another Symantec product, Enterprise Vault, which archives e-mails. The company says this lets customers store and search these archives from a single console rather than opening IM Manager to look for archives and opening Enterprise Vault to search through stored e-mails.

The new software also can block new IM viruses based on behavior it detects on a network. So if a virus with no known signature starts sending messages with a consistent pattern to everyone on a user's buddy list, the software could block that traffic as a likely virus by blocking the machine from sending IMs. A person would have to investigate to see whether the behavior represented an actual virus.

With the new release, the company is changing the pricing of IM Manager to $40 per seat, including the IM Manager server. It previously cost $25 per seat with a $7,500 fee for server software.

Google just released the road maps for Europe in Google Maps

You can now get driving directions for many European countries in Google Earth and Google Maps. So, for example: Paris to Berlin: in Google Maps, and Google Earth.

In Google Maps you still can't see the roads in most of Europe, but the data is there for the directions. You CAN see the roads in the "Roads" layer of Google Earth though. Street addresses are also working in most of Europe as well.

[via gearthblog.com]

Motorola has a new idea

A new patent application by Motorola may be shocking to some users. It seems Motorola is exploring other ways of getting your attention, because putting your wireless device on vibrate isn't working well enough.

According to the application, the technology is an apparatus with a wireless communication device, a power source, and two conductors, which are attached to "an epidermal area of a body" whereby an electrical current is generated between the two conductors as directed by the wireless device. In other words, when you receive a call, voicemail, or text message it will shock you. That may be a motivator to limit those wireless minutes, huh?

Read more about the patent application from the U.S. Patent Office.

One Handed Guitar Playing

Very interesting to see someone playing the guitar with one hand.

Black holes are actually 'green'

A new study finds that supermassive black holes, located at the heart of some galaxies, are the most fuel efficient engines in the universe.
  • "If you could make a car engine that was as efficient as one of these black holes, you could get about a billion miles out of a gallon of gas," said study team leader Steve Allen of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University.
  • "In anyone's book, that would be pretty green."

Visit Site

Meet the Nokia N72

Berlin, Germany and Hong Kong, China - Nokia today revealed the Nokia N72, a sleek and stylish new addition to the Nokia Nseries range. In pearl pink or gloss black, this compact package has high-perfomance multimedia at its core, wrapped in a beautiful design.
  • The Nokia N72 offers the benefits of versatile photography, entertainment and personal productivity to people who value style as much as high performance.
  • A powerful yet stylish multimedia device, the Nokia N72 is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera and integrated digital music player, with dedicated capture and music player keys, an integrated browser, FM radio and support for Visual Radio.

"The Nokia N72 perfectly illustrates our commitment to offer the powerful performance of the Nokia Nseries to people based in regions dominated by EDGE/GSM network coverage," said Pekka Pohjakallio, vice president, Multimedia Computers, Nokia.

Press Release

25 Million U.S. Cell Phones to be Mobile Wallets in 2011

As many as 25 million wireless subscribers in North America could be using their cell phones as mobile wallets by 2011, reports In-Stat.

Unlike M-commerce, the mobile transaction concept touted in the 1990s that never took hold, the mobile wallet is a much more versatile application that includes elements of mobile transactions, as well as other items one may find in a wallet, such as membership cards, loyalty cards, and other forms of identification.

The most frequently mentioned barrier to the mobile wallet is added fees for its use (72% of respondents), followed by security concerns about loss of the phone and privacy.

Survey data found that mobile wallet was most appealing to technology innovators and early adopters as well as subscribers who already rely heavily on their wireless phones.

The report was developed through the results of a 1,200-response online survey and interviews with key players in the sector including credit card company JCB, semiconductor vendor Philips, credit card terminal company ViVOtech, and traditional wireless companies such as Nokia and Cingular Wireless.

Apple to display ads in iTunes

Apple will soon be displaying advertisements within iTunes, according to iLounge.com; the move is definitely something that will attract a lot of advertising companies, marketing professionals, as well as PR folks not to say that even the younger generation audience would be interested in this as well. Ad Age another advertising .com company says, "That may be why Apple’s current plans call for the ads to appear only in the lower-left corner of the iTunes library while users listen to podcasts… But it’s a big step for the service, which has so far limited ad intrusions to audio spots embedded in some of the podcasts offered via iTunes. ESPN Radio, which supplies some of iTunes’ most popular ad-supported sports podcasts, is working with the service on the new advertising offering".

Big Plans for the Live Arcade at E3

A Microsoft source close to the Xbox Live Arcade team recently spoke to SPonG and said that we can expect a huge announcement concerning the Arcade at E3. Have you heard of MAME?

"XBLA has seen some pretty serious deal-making in this first quarter - it's been a real priority," said the MS insider, "The deal-making has been a no-brainer for everyone we've spoken to and, aside from a few licensing issues with existing products, XBLA is going to smash Nintendo's Virtual Console to pieces."

Now onto the MAME arcade emulator piece:

"You've heard of MAME right? Right. We're just doing a legal version of MAME, meaning that all the game owners get paid and the users get quality product based around a community," said the source. "Imagine the biggest arcade in the world, just 1,000 times bigger. It'll have as many machines as we can possibly get, all with score-rankings and other community stuff. It's not a secret that MAME was massive for hackers of the original Xbox and the pull and sales of retro game packs on current machines is still really high. If this is taken and put under the right noses, it should become the biggest thing in mainstream/hardcore gamer crossover in the industry."

While this is certainly nothing official, we can expect to find out the real deal soon enough at E3 next month.

Microsoft Ships IE 7 Beta 2

Microsoft on Tuesday stripped the "Preview" label from Internet Explorer Beta 2 to roll out the first version of its new browser that the company will support with regular security updates.

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 users will also be the first to get their hands on the final IE 7 later this year; Microsoft plans to release their edition before Windows Vista, which includes its own version of IE 7, ships in November.

IE 7 Beta 2 is feature-identical to the March 20 version of IE Beta 2 Preview, said Gary Schare, director of product management for IE, but is more stable and reliable. Debug code, however, remains in Beta 2. "We'll continue to do performance tuning and bug fixes, and improve the reliability through the beta process," Schare said.

The audience for IE 7 has also been expanded.

"The Preview was primarily for developers, but Beta 2 is for who I'd call 'technology enthusiasts,'" said Schare. "If they're reading [TechWeb], they're technology enthusiasts."

Internet Explorer 7, which Microsoft has said will go final sometime during the second half of 2006, was first released to the public in late January, but it had been in the hands of a limited number of testers both in XP and Vista versions since July 2005.

"I'd recommend that users running IE at home especially give Beta 2 a try," said Schare. "Its security benefits outweigh any risks of using beta software."

IE 7 Beta 2 is the first version supported by Microsoft. Free telephone support is available immediately to North American users, and will be extended to German users May 3 and Japanese users May 8, when those localized editions are posted. (IE 7 will also be localized for Finnish and Arabic users, said Schare, and released May 3.)

The beta will also be backed by the Redmond, Wash.-based developer with any necessary security updates. Earlier versions were unsupported, and the security update picture was muddy.

IE 7 will go through another beta round -- "Beta 3" -- added Schare, then likely into the typical Microsoft "Release Candidate" trials.

The Windows Vista team's Community Technology Previews have been a lesson to the IE team, said Schare, who said his group is "committed to more frequent updates."

As well it should, since chairman Bill Gates promised the same late last month at Microsoft's MIX06 conference for Web developers, when he said that the company would update IE more often, perhaps as frequently as every 9 months.

IE 7 Beta 2, which can be downloaded free of charge, runs on Windows XP SP2, Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, and Windows Server 2003.

Also on Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled a new Web site, Internet Explorer Add-ons, that brings all IE add-on tools and software under one roof.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Apple's Earth Day announcements

Apple made two announcements in the spirit of this weekend's Earth Day.
  • first is an expansion of its computer recycling program, offering free computer take-back and recycling with the purchase of a new Macintosh beginning in June.
  • Earlier this week, Apple was named a "Forward Green Leader," one of the top ten environmentally progressive companies recognized by the Sierra Club and its investment advisor, Forward Management.

Visit Site

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Australia and Xbox Break World Record

More than 2,900 gamers from around the world staged the world's largest water balloon event in Australia today. The Water Balloon Challenge, held on Sydney's Coogee Beach, celebrated the record-breaking launch of the Xbox 360 console in Australia and raised money for a local lifesaving group.
About 50,000 water balloons, the same number of Xbox 360 consoles that have been sold in the country since the launch on March 23, 2006, were thrown by participants. Gamers traveled from as far away as Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States to take part in the event.

"It was absolutely crazy when the balloons started flying - there was so much water I should have worn scuba gear," said Niels Keurentjes of the Netherlands. "I flew thousands of miles to get here, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world."

The previous world record for a water balloon event was held by 2,677 Spaniards after the record was set in 2005.

"This was a great chance for us to do something fun for all those thousands of Australians who helped make the Xbox 360 launch such a success," said David McLean, regional director of Xbox Australia and New Zealand at Microsoft. "It was a great chance for everyone to jump in and remember the joy and fulfillment that comes from playing games of any kind."

The Water Balloon Challenge had a serious side as well. Five dollars from every registration fee was donated to the Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club to assist in its ongoing patrol of the famous Coogee Beach.

"There is nothing more Australian than coming together to play on the beach," said Rob Yelon from Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club. "Today's event was a massive success, and the proceeds donated from Xbox will be used to upgrade our lifesaving training facilities and replacement of critical lifesaving equipment."

Oracle patches three-dozen flaws

Oracle shored up 36 security holes on Tuesday, including a vulnerability revealed by a British security researcher in January during a presentation critical of the pace at which the company patches.
The Critical Patch Update (CPU) secures 15 issues in the Oracle's E-Business Suite and Applications software, 14 security holes in its database software, five flaws in the companies Collaboration Suite and a single vulnerability in the company's Application Server. The company's three Enterprise Manager software packages each had two security holes plugged by the patch.

A set of security vulnerabilities found by Next-Generation Security Software, and presented at a security conference in January, affected four of the Oracle applications. At the time, NGSSoftware researcher David Litchfield took Oracle to task for not fixing the issue in the last CPU released in January. The public outing of the flaws lit off a war of words between the two companies.

Oracle has taken a significant amount of criticism for its handling of software security issues. The company's January CPU consisted of fixes for 82 flaws, two of which took more than 800 days to fix. Last year, researchers took the company to task for taking more than 650 days to publish a fix for a security issue.

More Mac OS X Flaws Identified

Apple is doing a lot of security patching of late, and it looks like its employees may be working overtime just to address some of the flaws founds by one security researcher.

Tom Ferris, a hacker and researcher from Mission Viejo, Calif., posted on his Web site Thursday evening information about seven separate security vulnerabilities he found in different Mac OS X digital image formats.

Visit Site

largest 3D display

Students at the Delft University of Technology created the world's largest 3D display. It measures 2 x 4 x 8 meters and consists of 8000 red LEDs with pingpong balls to diffuse the light. Applications include 3D snake, 3D pong, sms-display features and various animations. Live video will available at the opening this evening (21:00 GMT+2).

Visit Site

[via digg.com]

Xbox 360 to get CPU Upgrade in 2007

Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, one of the world's top dedicated semiconductor foundries, has signed an agreement with Microsoft for the manufacturing of CPU products - using 65-nanometer (nm) Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) semiconductor technology - for Microsoft's Xbox 360 game consoles. Production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2007, and will support the Xbox 360's growing demand and expanding market reach. The announcement follows Chartered's successful manufacturing of 90nm SOI CPU products for the Xbox 360 console's launch, through an agreement with IBM.

"We look forward to working with Chartered on the production of such an important component of our Xbox 360 system," said Larry Yang, General Manager of Xbox Console Development at Microsoft. "Chartered's ability to demonstrate the manufacturability of IBM's advanced SOI technology in Fab 7 was key to our selection. We plan to continue with our strategy of dual sourcing from Chartered and IBM's fabs, which are operationally aligned and compatible, to give us the consistent product quality and flexibility we will need."

"We are excited to expand our manufacturing relationship with Microsoft and leverage the innovative 65nm SOI technology made available to us through our agreement with IBM," said Kay Chai "KC" Ang, senior vice president of fab operations at Chartered. "This is both a recognition of Chartered's 300mm manufacturing excellence and increasing customer confidence in our ability to enable cutting-edge technologies as products transition to 65nm. By working closely with IBM to enable manufacturing compatibility and dual-sourcing capability, our goal is to continue to be a reliable manufacturing source to Microsoft."

"Together, Chartered and IBM offer a unique dual source capability that delivers superior redundancy and flexibility," said Jim Comfort, vice president, Microsoft Client Executive, IBM. "Chartered's decision to adopt our advanced Silicon on Insulator technology at 65nm is further evidence of the success of the IBM/Chartered Common Platform strategy."

Man, 25, Charged With Hacking Into USC's System

A man who earns money testing computer network security was charged with hacking into USC's application system and accessing confidential information on would-be students, prosecutors said Thursday.
  • Eric McCarty, 25, a San Diego resident, is accused in a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday of using his home computer to hack last June into the Web site that allows USC applicants to submit their information online. Prosecutors said the data stored in the application system includes Social Security numbers and birth dates of more than 275,000 people who have applied to USC from 1997 through the present.

Read More

Asia is public enemy No. 1 for spam, report says

More spam is now relayed from Asia than any other continent, according to the latest research from security company Sophos.
  • Asia accounts for 42.8 percent of the spam received by Sophos' global spam monitoring network, with North America in second place with 25.6 percent, the company said on Thursday.
  • Two years ago, North America was responsible for more than half of the world's spam, Sophos said. Now North and South America combined don't come close to Asia's percentage, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at the security provider.

Visit Site

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Take a virtual tour of the Gates estate.

You are your own tour guide inside the Gates estate.

Virtual Tour

New iPod nanos coming, 'true' video iPod delayed

Apple is likely to introduce new higher-capacity iPod nanos this Summer, but could delay the release of a video iPod with a larger screen until early next year, according to one analyst. Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said he expects 8GB and 10GB iPod nanos to be released in late Summer or early Fall. “Releasing new nanos during the back-to-school timeframe would allow Apple to capitalize on this seasonally stronger buying period, but, more importantly, we need to see the products in the market by October-November to take full advantage of holiday buying,” he said.

Opera 9 beta now available for download.

The Opera web browser has been around for a long time and has often been at the forefront of new browsing features, yet it has been a perennial also-ran in the battle for browser market share. The browser was first released to the public in 1996 as a time-limited free trial, with the full version costing around US$30. In 2000, Opera 5 changed their business model slightly, offering a free download supported by in-line advertising as well as the commercial, ad-free version. Last September, Opera announced that starting with version 8.5, the company would be offering the desktop PC and Macintosh versions of its browser for free without advertising (it continues to charge for the mobile versions, used by many cell phone manufacturers).

Visit Site

Google opens up their new Calendar API.

Adding to its growing list of "GData" application programming interfaces (APIs), Google on Thursday opened up its new Calendar beta service to third party developers. The API enables external Web sites and applications to integrate directly with Google Calendar and create, edit or delete events.

Visit Site

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ways to avoid office politics?

Office Politics something an employee comes across at work. Many people get involved in these office politics to get ahead in their career, but a lot (like myself) prefer to stay away from it. According to Slacker Manager there are some tips to help keep you out of the political game at work.
  • The primary reason that I stay apolitical is that it takes up too much space and time, and I’ve already got enough things to worry about. Plus, I don’t get the sense that being political would appreciably contribute to my overall efficiency or productivity. So I stay out of it.

How to avoid office politics [Slacker Manager]

Verizon Treo 700w - AKU2 / MSFP - Available NOW!

Treo 700w - AKU2 / MSFP - Available NOW!

The Palm® Treo™ 700w Updater 1.10 for Verizon Wireless includes the following enhancements:
  • Includes Microsoft®'s Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) with Direct Push Technology¹ for automatic wireless synchronization of email, calendar, contacts and, now, tasks² (learn more)
  • Enhances email capabilities for more support of push email solutions, such as WirelessSync and GoodLink™, and of synchronization capabilities, such as the ability to maintain an "always on" data connection after POP or IMAP email synchronization and the ability to auto-synchronize all email accounts based on user setting².
  • Updated memory management
  • Pictures and Videos enhancements
  • New Wireless Manager provides an updated interface for turning wireless radios on and off on your 700w smartphone

Click here to get the Palm Treo 700w AKU2 / MSFP Update.

If you use Verizon's Wireless Sync service to synchronize your Treo 700w smartphone, and have never synchronized to your desktop PC using the sync cable, you will need to follow these alternate instructions to update your device.

Palm note that, "After running the Treo 700w Updater for Verizon Wireless, some Settings and Preferences may have been modified. Some changed settings include:

  • Call Log filters were set to ALL instead of the previous setting.
  • View By setting in Contacts that were set to Company, was changed to View By Name.
  • Sounds and Notifications settings were checked where they were previously unchecked.
  • Background picture setting “Use this picture:” was unchecked. (Settings\ Personal tab\ Today).
  • Phone Lock Code set to default (Start\Settings\Phone\Security\Change lock code)
  • These Settings and Preferences will need to be changed back manually to the desired setting after your smartphone has been updated.

The whole process process takes upto 35 minutes, starting with downloading the 35MB Palm Treo 700w Updater 1.10.

NOTE: Don't forget the Treo 700w Webinar: "Direct Push E-Mail on Verizon" - April 26th.

Palm is offering a webinar on April 26th at 11.00 a.m. -- "Direct Push Technology Now Available On The Treo 700w Smartphone from Verizon Wireless."

It looks like the webinar may be geared toward enterprise customers, but I'm sure it will be interesting viewing for anyone with a Treo 700w on Verizon.Palm is wise to take steps to encourage adoption of a cool feature; happy customers are loyal customers, right?

Click here to register for this webinar.

Source: Palm

Seagate Introduces 750GB hard drive

Seagate insiders contacted us early this morning with a few snippets of information (PDF) concerning the upcoming Barracuda 7200.10 series hard drives. Like other Barracuda drives, the 7200.10 series are based on 7,200RPM spindles.

Two 750GB models have already shown up on the Seagate website. The Barracuda 7200.10 ST3750640A (PATA) and the ST3750640SA (SATA) will be two new models we can look forward to seeing this year. The Seagate webpage reveals dozens of other NCQ-ready 7200.10 based products ranging from 200GB on up. Cache information was not available via the website yet, but the official Seagate PDF claims the Barracuda 7200.10 series will come with 16MB and 8MB buffers. Considering these two drives will be the best of breed for Seagate, it is fairly safe to assume these drives will have 16MB caches.

Visit Site

Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 1.5.0.2

Mozilla has released a security and stability update to its Thunderbird E-mail client.
  • Thunderbird 1.5.0.2 provides stability and security enhancements that are part of our ongoing program to provide a safer email experience for our users. We recommend that all Thunderbird users upgrade to this latest version.

Visit Site

Apple announces plans to build new 50-acre campus.

Apple Computer Inc. is planning to build a new, 50-acre campus near its present headquarters in Cupertino, California, company Chief Executive Steve Jobs said.

Jobs mentioned, the company "has gone from $6 billion in sales to $20 billion in sales, basically." Analysts expect Apple to post $20.3 billion in revenue for its fiscal 2006 ending in September, according to Reuters Estimates.

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Sony lowers price of PlayStation 2 to $129.99

Sony announced today that they've reduced the recommended retail price for the PlayStation 2 from $149.99 to $129.99/$139.99 CND. Just as the earlier report suggested, Sony didn't opt for a more dramatic $99 price drop, instead going for a more subtle cut ahead of this May's E3.

Effective immediately, consumers can purchase the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $129.99/$139.99 CND. The company expects this latest price move to fuel consumer demand even further.

PlayStation 2 is the most popular gaming platform in North America, Europe/PAL territories and Japan/Asia, the only gaming platform to enjoy such widespread global success. To date, more than 101 million PlayStation 2 units and approximately one billion pieces of software for the PlayStation 2 have shipped worldwide, making it the fastest-selling gaming platform in the world.

Three new premium channels arrive on Sprint TV

Overland Park, Kan -- Now you don't have to wait until the weekend to see your favorite Saturday-morning shows. Sprint is making them available to customers 24-7 on Sprint TV with Saturday Morning TV on channel 40 - along with two other channels that give customers more entertainment choices than ever before. Blip TV, on channel 31, brings wacky, humorous shorts and clips, and Comedy Time, on channel 37, lets viewers pick the laughs they like best with stand-up comedy sorted by subject and funny original shows made for mobile.
Blip TV

Blip TV brings you the most popular funny and quirky cutting-edge shorts, video clips, spoofs and animations - all 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length. Ever get one of those funny video clips in an email from a friend and wish they would send you more? Now you can have those great video clips right on your mobile phone brought to you by Blip TV. Blip TV goes through a grueling selection process to pick some of the best content from all over the world. Blip TV's shorts come from some of the best established and up-and-coming directors to the young kid with a new camera and are the perfect quick entertainment for the on-the-move viewer.

Comedy Time

Comedy Time lets Sprint customers "pick their poison" with a variety of stand-up comedy in six categories and original made-for-mobile shows:
  • Urban/Hip-Hop: Enjoy the satirical voice of the street.
  • Latino: Choose your favorite Latin-related comedy on demand.
  • Relationship: See the funny side of love.
  • Observational: Watch comedians give their view of the world around them.
  • Family: See the best of family comedy from a comic's perspective.
  • Alternative: Out of the box comedy.
  • Shows: Funny original episodic programming made especially for your phone.

Comedians featured on the new Comedy Time channel include Judy Tenuta, Lisa Lampenelli, Chelsea Handler, Todd Glass, Jeff Garcia, Kyle Cease, Darren Carter, Rick Shapiro, Michael Gelbart, Morgan Murphy, Sebastian, Natasha Leggero, Bert Kreischer, Brett Ernst, Al Madrigal, Dan Levy, Shang, Nick Thune, Sam Tripoli, Maz Jabronani, Jimmy Dore, Henry Phillips and Rob Pue.

Saturday Morning TV

Remember when Saturday morning was all about eating cereal and sitting in front of the TV to watch your favorite cartoons? Join us in a mind-rewind with Saturday Morning TV -- the grooviest collection of cartoons and memories from the 1960s, 70s and 80s -- including Mr. Magoo, Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends, Dick Tracy, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Lulu and Roger Ramjet.

Blip TV, Comedy Time and Saturday Morning Classics are each available for $4.95 per month.

Sprint

M-Padur, a new wireless mini mouse

Elecom presents the M-Padur, a new series of wireless pocket mice of which the USB dongle is stored in the mouse when it's not being used. It's rather tiny, measuring 18.5x50.5x4mm for 29g.

[via Akihabara News]

Novell Buys e-Security: $72M

Novell acquired e-Security, a developer of identity management and compliance-monitoring systems, Wednesday for $72 million, in an effort to improve the Linux provider’s abilities at network security and event reporting.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company aims to enhance its identity and systems management with the acquisition by giving its customers a single view of security and compliance activities through the Sentinel 5 product that it will inherit from e-Security and will begin selling in May.

Security and identity authentication have become important issues for network administrators who are struggling to keep their networks from being attacked or from accidentally exposing the private information of customers.

“An acquisition to bolster Novell’s security presence makes sense, given this is one of the initiatives that has been growing in the recent past,” wrote SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analysts Terry Tillman and Tom Kight in a research note.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Apple reports growth in their revenue

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2006 second quarter ending April 1, 2006. International sales accounted for 43% of the quarter's revenue. Apple shipped 1,112,000 Macintosh computers and 8,526,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 4% growth in Macs and 61% growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter.

Apple's Second Quarter Results

The Top TEN Worst Video Game Quotes

It's no doubt we've all been victim of a few strange quotes while trudging through our interactive adventures. Hell most of time they're downright hilarious, offering some of the best Japanese-to-English mix-ups, out of date slang or just plain ignorant writing. Luckily for us, dumb people are amazingly entertaining. Without further flattering we bring you the best (or should we say worst?) of our great industry.

Oh let's do begin…
  • "Shine Get!" - Super Mario Sunshine
  • "A Winner is You!" - Pro Wrestling
  • The DK Rap - Donkey Kong 64, Super Smash Bros Melee
  • "You can't give it up! Triumph or die!" - Street Fighter Alpha 3
  • "I feel asleep." - Metal Gear

There is more @ Worst In-Game Quotes

Wash. settles spyware suit with Ore. man

SEATTLE - An Oregon man will pay nearly $84,000 in fines and consumer restitution for using e-mail to market bogus anti-spyware software called Spyware Cleaner, Washington state officials said in announcing a settlement.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna said the penalties are the first under an anti-spyware law the Legislature passed last year.

"We will not tolerate those who try to profit by preying on consumers' fears of spyware and other malware," McKenna said Tuesday in a statement.

The settlement with Zhijian Chen of Portland, Ore., follows a five-month investigation by the attorney general's consumer protection high-tech unit.

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NASA Creates Black Hole Simulation

Previous simulations were plagued by computer crashes since the necessary equations, based on Einstein's theory of general relativity, were far too complex. But scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., found a method to translate Einstein's math in a way that computers can understand.
  • NASA scientists say they have reached a breakthrough in computer modeling, allowing the simulation of gravitational waves from merging black holes.
  • Astronomers said the three-dimensional simulations -- the largest astrophysical calculations ever performed on a NASA supercomputer -- provide the foundation to explore the universe in an entirely new way.
  • But scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., found a method to translate Einstein's math in a way that computers can understand.

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Keep your employees motivated

Harvard Business School has done some research on this subject and has some great tips for keeping people motivated.
  • The great majority of employees are quite enthusiastic when they start a new job. But in about 85 percent of companies, our research finds, employees’ morale sharply declines after their first six months—and continues to deteriorate for years afterward. That finding is based on surveys of about 1.2 million employees at 52 primarily Fortune 1000 companies from 2001 through 2004, conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence (Purchase, New York).

This is a tough area, but through proper leadership and by providing employees some motivation and incentive for their work all this can lead to great results.

[via Lifehacker]

FireFox Goes MacIntel Native

For screaming FireFox performance on your Mac Core Duo or Solo, the latest version, FireFox 1.5.0.2, is now available for download.

If you have both Intel and PowerPC Macs, you can download a single Universal Binary version, which weighs in at 16MB. Alternatively, you can get the PowerPC-only version, which is a mere 9.5MB.The improvements in the latest Firefox version include better stability and bug and security fixes.

The latest Firefox demands OS 10.2 or later – still fairly modest requirements. The release notes also state "Firefox supports the enhancements to performance introduced by the new MacIntel chipsets."

First 2GByte Memory Card for Mobile Phones

Seoul -- Samsung Electronics announced today that it has developed a 2GByte MultiMediaCard (MMCmicro(TM)) that combines four 4Gbit NAND flash devices. This is the smallest, fastest and highest capacity memory card for mobile phones, developed only three months after Samsung led the industry by launching a 1GByte MMCmicro.

"The 2GByte high-performance MMC is a powerful indicator of Samsung's expanding efforts to embrace the widest possible range of multimedia applications including mobile video," said Don Barnetson, Director, Flash Marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

Despite being the size of a fingernail (12mmx14mmx1.1mm), the new MMCmicro will provide the highest transmission speed of any removable memory card, transmitting data 3.5 times faster than other cards. The card can store 12 hours of mobile video and is fast enough to download three hours of it in under two minutes. An adapter allows the card to be plugged into any multimedia card slot.

The 2GB MMC can operate at either 1.8 volts (V) and 3.3V, making it an even more viable solution for mobile phones.

The new MMC, in a format standardized by the MultiMediaCard association (MMCA) and being standardized by JEDEC, can be obtained by manufacturers without royalties or licensing fees.

The 1 GB MMCmicro will be commercially available later this year.

New 2006 FIFA World Cup Screens

EA have released a total of 27 new screenshots for 2006 FIFA World Cup on the Xbox 360.

Click on an image below to view all the screenshots.

[via PlanetXbox 360]


Watch Out: Counterfeit Apple iPod Nanos and Shuffles

Apple's iPod has become so popular that counterfeiters are making their own versions and passing them off as authentic. At first glance, the fake iPods appear very real. Apple is warning its resellers of the existence of these fake iPods and how to identify them.

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Bose releases TriPort MP3 CD player

It's one thing if you already have a portable CD player and are not willing to give it up, or don't want to set it aside and switch to an MP3 player. It's another thing altogether if you head out and drop some well earned coin on a new discman, even if it's from an audiophile's wet dream like Bose. Well, that didn't stop the company from releasing the TriPort MP3 CD "Music System."

The portable CD player will do the usual audio CD thing, including support for the CD-R and CD-RW variety, but also will play back MP3 files burned onto blank discs as well. The large LCD display can let you know what song is playing, tell you how much battery is left, and other useful stuff like that. It is nice that you can be browsing your directories without interrupting playback.

Personally, for the $219 asking price for the Bose TriPort CD music system, I would think you'd be much better off buying a compact 1GB or 2GB flash-based MP3 player and calling it a day. That said, you'll probably get better sound quality of this thing. Available for order now through Bose's official website.