Thursday, January 31, 2008

AT&T Data Network Down reported that AT&T's wireless data networks in the Southeast and Midwest U.S. were down for several hours on Thursday.

AT&T is still looking into what caused the failure, however users on the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) services began having problems around 6:30 a.m. EST. The problem was fixed and the network was back up and running by 3:00pm.

MacBook Air Recieves More Competition

Miniaturized versions of the Intel Core 2 Duo processors specially developed for Apple's new MacBook Air will soon be used by other PC vendors in systems. A move that will most likely be creating competition for what has been labeled as the world's lightest and thinnest notebook.

The MacBook Air comes with miniaturized version of Intel Core 2 Duo Merom family processors. The processors unning at either 1.6 GHz or 1.8GHz, have been shrunk by up to 60% compared to other Merom processors.

The companies' names have yet to be released, but the chip most likely will bring smaller and lighter notebooks that will compete in size and performance with the MacBook Air.

At the Intel Developer Forum last year, Intel talked about shrinking the size of chips by up to 60% for its next-generation Montevina mobile platform, which will include the new Penryn processors manufactured using the 45nm process. The small form-factor chips will be released shortly after the normal-size chips, due to ship by the middle of 2008.

Confused About Digital TV Transition?

You aren't alone, millions of television viewers will be affected by the Feb. 18, 2009 changes and recent studies indicate the majority of them don't full understand the changes ahead.

Feb. 18, 2009 that's the date in which full-power television stations in the U.S. will turn off their old-technology analog signals and broadcast only in a digital format. At that time anyone who owns an older television that gets its signal via antenna will need a converter box in order to receive the digital transmissions. In laymans terms these are your typical local stations, and you'll now need a converter box in order to watch those channels.

Reportedly 13.5 million television households, rely on over-the-air television broadcasts for programming. According to recent surveys by Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, 36 percent of respondents in its survey were unaware of the transition. Among those 58 percent believe all televisions will need a converter box to function. While another 48 percent believe that only digital televisions will work after 2009, and 24 percent believe they will need to throw away all of their analog television sets and buy new digital sets.

None of these presumptions is true.

According to the recent MSNBC article "Consumers confused about digital TV transition"the government has allocated $1.5 billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to pay for coupons that will subsidize the cost of converter boxes. But only $5 million of that is for consumer education. Another $1.5 million has been allocated to the Federal Communications Commission for public education efforts.

Each household is eligible for two coupons, regardless of whether they have pay-television service or not. To request a coupon, consumers can apply online at or call the 24-hour hotline, 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009).

For more information visit the FCC DTV
Consumer Facts Page

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Vlite Vista Installation Customizer

The developers of the popular Windows XP customizer Nlite have now worked their magic on a new customizer for Windows Vista. Vlite is designed to streamline your Vista installations and remove any unwanted Vista components. Items such as Windows Media Player, Windows Mail, Windows Photo Viewer, Wallpapers and other utilities can be removed before installation.

Vlite also allows for integration of other components such as hotfixes, drivers and language packs into the new image and has an unattended install function. This tool doesn't use any kind of hacking, all files and registry entries are protected as they would be if you install the unedited version only with the changes you select.

Techworld recently featured an article titled ""New utility cuts Vista install down to size" that provides a few more details, and a few things to watch out for when using this utility.

I've used Nlite for years to streamline and slipstream things into Xp install Cd's and personally give it a thumbs up. Its a must have for anyone that has the old SP1 install CD or simply anyone that doesn't want to spend hours downloading all the hotfixes and add-ons after a fresh install.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cable TV: Legal False Advertising

MSNBC recently discussed how Cables companies such as Comcast squeeze more and more out of your wallet. The article titled "Cable TV: King of misleading come-ons" points out ways Comcast mis-leads its would-be customers with teaser rates and promotional ads that never clearly explain their charges.

On mailers sent to Seattle-area residents, the introductory period was not defined. When did it end? Whenever Comcast called. And despite the abundant small print on post cards sent to Seattle-area TV watchers — which numbered 300 words or more — the real price of the service (ultimately about $150 a month) never appeared once

In a 2006 out-of-court settlement between the Comcast and the Massachusetts state attorney general, the attorney general said “Comcast, and its predecessor, AT&T Broadband, engaged in a series of unfair practices in the advertising and sale of its cable television services, including advertising limited time offers of free or reduced rate digital cable packages without adequately disclosing to consumers what the actual price of those services would be during and after the promotional period.”

Is this surprising? No we've all know for years that cable companies are monopolizing the markets. Ask any Comcast customer how much their bills have risen over the years and how little content has risen. Add on internet fees and now phone service and Comcast is sitting firmly in your pocket.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Windows 7 'build' on BitTorrent is bogus

Computerworld reports many users of popular torrent sites and programs having been creating bogus files called Windows 7. The files are a supposed follow up to Windows Vista. reports that several BitTorrent sites have been seeded with files posing as the M1 -- for Milestone 1 -- build of Windows 7. But downloaders have confirmed that the disk images are bogus and should be avoided. The potential for virus infection is obvious but as of now no one is reporting any malicious use of code. So far it looks to be a simple prank.

Popular Blogs such as Gizmodo have recently reported that the previous release date of 2009 as been pushed back to 2001 or beyond. Earlier this month Gizmodo posted Video of Windows 7 Ultimate however in my opinion it looks more like a tweaked version of Vista than anything.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

MacWorld MacBook Air Hands On

MacWorld throws the MacBook Air through its paces with some preliminary tests of the standard default-configuration. As you can see from the article the results are pretty much in line with what was expected. Thinner and lighter won't help with performance, but you've got to admit that the MacBook Air looks awesome.

Cell Phone Advertising A Revolution??

Not in my mind my, but according to a recent article on top technology executives at the World Economic Forum think so. Mobile Internet and video capable cell phones will eventually let advertisers tailor messages based on a user's location.

Several top cell phone companies might eventually employee "location advertising" enabled by the devices' global positioning system. Personally I have to agree with U.S. congressman Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, he noted that the prospect of advertisers knowing where users are through GPS was "bone-chilling." Its not bad enough that we can be tracked by "big brother" but now we may have to worry about getting inundated with ads!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mahalo Lawsuit Looks Inevitable

It looks as though the inevitable is likely, in less than a week I'll be forced to file a lawsuit against and Jason Calacanis for failure to pay in accordance to the terms of our contracts. I made pretty much every attempt possible to reach an agreement and avoid going through the court process. However its beginning to look fairly dim.

The only recent contact came shorty after the follow up post to my original post "Mahalo Refuses Mentors Payments". I basically pointed out the fact that the pages they are refusing to pay for are still on and for the most part they have been untouched or unaltered in anyway. The majority of these pages are still listed under my name and unfortunately I'm still listed on the email for the submitted user links!

To me this more than signifies the acceptance of those pages. Which in turn shows I fully fulfilled the terms of the Mahalo Mentors Agreement and my end of the contracts!

Given the fact they still had to calculate payments for December, of which I'm owed approximately $760, and they are never on time with those payments. I decided to give them until the end of the month to pay in full for all three months. Payment delays have always been an issue with Mahalo so they may surprise me!!

The lack of response to my email, which was a response to them calling, pretty much tells me I'm going to have to go through the legal system and fight to get my payments.

It pretty unfortunate that it has to come to legal action considering from July to December I devoted most of mt time and efforts to working with at and with the members of the Mahalo Greenhouse.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Meg Whitman to Retire

The Wall Street Journal has announced that EBay CEO Meg Whitman is finally going to step down after 10 years with the company.

In recent years EBay and Whitman have come under fire for rising costs, security issues and fraud prevention as well as the acquisition Skype which led to a $1.4 billion write-down of its investment. Over the past several years sites like Power Sellers Unite and We hate Ebay have become more and more prevalent.

Under her leadership, eBay has turned into one of the most-visited sites on the Internet. But the company's growth has weakened in recent years cutting cut its stock price by half from a peak of just over $56 in late 2004 to just about $28 today.

Hack of Legitimate Web Sites Larger Than First Thought

In a follow up to a story posted last week "Massive Hacking Attack Hits Hundreds of Sites" Computerworld writes "Mass host hack bigger than first thought, hits 10,000 sites.
Some hacked Apache servers reinfected even after clean-up and Linux reinstall".

Last week a senior security researcher at ScanSafe Inc., said that they had uncovered hundreds of sites which had been hacked and were feeding exploits to visitors. According to ScanSafe the number is far higher than originally thought. Reaching approximately 10,000 sites hosted on Linux servers running Apache.

Those servers have been infected with a pair of files that generate constantly-changing malicious JavaScript. When visitors reach the hacked site, the script calls up an exploit cocktail that includes attack code targeting recent QuickTime vulnerabilities, the long-running Windows MDAC bug, and even a fixed flaw in Yahoo Messenger.

ScanSafe originally drew a link between the security breach at U.K.-based Fasthosts Ltd., and the site hacks, saying then that the domains ScanSafe had found infected had, or had recently had, a relationship with Fasthosts.

Fasthosts denied such a cause-and-effect, and cited what it called "technical discrepancies" with Landesman's claims, but said it was investigating nonetheless.

For more information check out the full article at

Friday, January 18, 2008

DeviceVM's SplashTop the Instant On Desktop

Device VM, a startup based in Silicon Valley, has recently released a tiny piece of software that is integrated with a PC's motherboard. The software gives users the option to boot either Windows or a faster, less-complex linux based operating system "SplashTop".

SplashTop users can start surfing the Web or watching a DVD in less than 20 seconds, and, in some cases, in less than five. Splashtop is embedded in the motherboards BIOS, so it starts before the operating system is up and running. The user will see a simple menu screen offering a handful of options, including launching the Firefox Web browser, a media player, Skype, or an instant-messaging program, or allowing Windows to boot.

The applications are stored in a flash-memory chip on the motherboard, so they can be quickly accessed--even if the hard drive fails. And since the software is linux based it is inherently safer than surfing the web with a slimmed down version of windows. The threat of viruses or hacking would be minimal.

Splashtop is currently available on motherboards from Asus. David Speiser, director of business development at DeviceVM said, "within the next couple of months, desktops and laptops with Splashtop-enabled hardware will be available to consumers."

DeviceVM is not the only company looking to cut boot times. BIOS company Phoenix Technologies announced a technology called HyperSpace, which is expected to be available in laptops in the second half of this year. And Intel is developing both hardware and software that will shorten boot times. They are currently shipping Intel Turbo Memory, which boots Windows faster by caching data in flash memory instead of on the hard drive.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

CPU's for 2008 and Beyond and feature two great articles "CPU Road Map: 2007 and beyond" and "CPU Road Map 2008: Maxing Out Moore's Law" mapping the future that Intel and AMD have in store for us.

AMD's Phenoms have hit the market with less than a bang. However it appears as though AMD might have a few CPU's on the horizon to keep an eye on. AMD is expected to move from the 65-nm process to the 45-nm as well, with the Leo platform in dual- and quad-core flavors. We will see Eight-core CPU's coming from AMD sometime in2009, still in 45 nm, with the Python platform. Python is also expected to be on the market when AMD moves from DDR2 to DDR3 memory.

Intel and their new "Core 3" Nehalem processors, which are scheduled for release in late 2008, should be the next big thing on the market. Nehalem will have integrated memory controllers, thus eliminating the FSB entirely (something AMD has done for years). This means that the CPU will talk to the system memory natively at DDR3 speeds. Nehalem will be offered in one- to eight-core versions for the desktop and likely for laptops.

As little as a few years ago the biggest question on the market was which single core cpu was best, which manufacturer could reach the highest Ghz rating and where will they amaze us next. Now the question on everyones mind is dual core or quad core. In a couple years it will be quad core or octo-core!

For me this raises the question of how much computing power does the average user really need? I've always head fast to the idea that "most" users don't need dual core machines. And can in fact get by with single core PCs. However now the view is that most users can benefit from a mid-range dual core setup but don't need quad core. In a couple years we'll have to change that view.

If you are curious how your CPU stacks up against the latest greatest offering from Intel and AMD checkout Tom's Hardware Cpu Charts and the PassMark CPU Benchmark Charts.

AT&T to Play Big Brother

Even thought the federal government has said that AT&T and other ISP's don't have to police their networks for pirated content, the telecommunications giant is voluntarily looking for ways to play internet cop.

According to AT&T executives have said the company is testing technology to filter traffic on its network to look for copyrighted material that is being illegally distributed.

So far, most ISPs such as Verizon Communications and Qwest Communications International have declined comment. Comcast has stated that following last years uproar over their allegedly slowing P2P content that they are no longer using or testing content filtering technology.

Art Brodsky, a spokesman for Public Knowledge, a digital-rights public interest group has said "Content filtering is like the cops knocking on everyone's door to make sure there are no stolen goods inside, searching packets on a network throws out the whole idea of innocent until proven guilty."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MacBook Air Versus the Competition

PC World provides a little perspective on how the MacBook Air fairs against its PC/Windows based competition including products from Sony, Lenovo, and Fujitsu. And in a second great article "MacBook Air: How Incomplete Is It?" they point to some key features that are missing. has a similarly impressive slideshow. I'll admit the MacBook Air looks impressive however with a starting price tag of $1,799 I won't see one sitting on my desk anytime soon.

For those that are willing to shell out the dough you'll get a very stylish notebook measuring 12.8″ x 8.94″ x 0.16-0.76 inch and weight 3.0 pounds. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor 1.6ghz, 80GB 1.8″ disk with a 13.3″ 1280×800 LED-backlit display. Other features include 802.11n draft wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor, and 2GB of RAM standard. Apple also decided to pack in a full-sized keyboard, iSight webcam, and MagSafe power connector.

You'll be limited to a single audio jack, a single USB 2.0 slot, and Micro-DVI out. Unfortunately you do not receive an optical drive nor do you have the option for a wired Ethernet adapter.

Add-ons and upgrades include an optional $19 S-Video adapter, a $29 USB Ethernet adapter and for those willing to spend $3,098 you can opt for the upgraded model which will feature the 1.8GHz processor and a 64GB SSD for storage.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Massive Hacking Attack Hits Hundreds of Sites reports that a massive hack of legitimate UK based Web sites has been spreading malware to visitors' PCs, using a new tactic that has made detection "extraordinarily difficult,". "All of the affected domains either have or have had a relationship in the recent past with Fasthosts, a UK based hosting company" said Mary Landesman, a senior security researcher at ScanSafe Inc..

The hacked sites sites are legitimate URLs, many of which are small mom-and-pop e-commerce sites mainly located in the U.K.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

MySpace Profiles Offering Fake MS Patch

Attackers send new "friend requests" to MySpace users. When clicking on the person's picture or name link to view their profile, it shows a profile page overlaid with what looks like a legitimate Windows "Automatic Updates" pop-up box. Visit for more details.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mahalo Dropping Payments to Guides

Allen Stern over at CenterNetworks summed it up well with his recent post Mahalo Changes Payment Plan and Yes, Jason Mahalo is an SEO Play - I've Got Charts

Beginning Monday, January 14th, we will be assigning smaller dollar amounts to extremely short SeRPs or very fringe topic SeRPs that aren't of high priority, and likewise, we will be assigning higher prices to SeRPs in especially difficult verticals or which are in high demand.

Mahalo was supposedly able to run for the first several years without generating revenues from Ads, however we now see that has changed. Jason at one time said they had enough capital to run for several years, however he has been actively searching for more money. ValleyWag seems to think Mahalo is burning money.

What gives Jason are you guys going broke? Do you honestly feel as though your guides are going to work their butts off to create a "great" page for $2.00? I wonder how many of your current guides are planning a mutiny? They've already been complaining about delays in payment and delays in having their SERRS accepted. It sounds as though things are sliding down hill fast over there! Thank god I got out when I could. Now if I could just get paid for the work I did for you guys I'd be a happy man!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Best CES 2008 Coverage

Not all of us could make it to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year, and don't we all wish we could be there. However there are plenty of great bloggers and technology sites that are there and they are providing great coverage. Here is a list of a few of the sites I personally have been following.

Technology Sites
PC Pro: CES 2008
Tech Web TV (great videos)
CNET: CES 2008
Wired @ CES 2008
PC Magazine

Valleywag CES 2008
Auto Blog (The cars of CES) an often overlooked area of CES
PopSci Blog

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Talk of Recession Looms Over the Fun at CES

The worsening economy, and the combination of a surge in the U.S. jobless rate, high oil and gas prices and a worsening credit and housing crisis has many in the consumer electronics industry on edge.

An article by outlines the many fears and hurdles faced by company executives at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Website Hacked Customer Data Stolen

According to The Consumerist recently discovered on December 5, 2007 that customer information, including Visa credit card information, may have been compromised. It is advised that anyone that has recently made a purchase from AKA Computer, track all their Visa activity or place a fraud alert on their accounts.

More information on avoiding identity theft.

Update: has this great article on the security breach. has set up this phone number (888) 529-6261 to assist customers with questions and concerns related to the incident.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Follow up to "Mahalo Refuses to pay it's Mentors"

As there has been a great deal of interest in my recent post "Mahalo Refuses Mentors Payments" and I've received several emails inquiring as to how things are proceeding I figured I'd better post some follow up.

Unfortunately there really isn't much to say. I had to wait until the end of December for them to contact me with the total number of pages they were refusing payment on. All told it ended up being 257 pages for a total of $2,510.00.

Following the legal guidelines I was given I sent them a demand of payment letter. In any situation such as this you must show proof that you contacted them asking for payment. So now the waiting game begins, they have until the end of the month to respond or remit payment.

I found out today that they have removed my greenhouse account, previously it was active even though it was not in use. I didn't plan on building any more pages so thats not really an issue however I found it funny.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Facebook Reinstates Tech blogger Robert Scoble's Account

From: Computerworld

Technology blogger Robert Scoble's Facebook account was reinstated Thursday, just hours after the social network kicked him off the site for running an application to import his contacts from the popular social network,

The incident kicked off a raging debate about who owns the content that a user builds up on a social network. Scoble was testing a new feature of Plaxo Inc.'s Pulse social network that allows users to import Facebook contact information, including names, emails and birthdays to Plaxo.

More on this story

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Trojan Delivers 'Ransomware' Demands Payment for Unlocking PCs

As featured in an article on

Following infection by the Backdoor.Win32.Delf.ctk trojan your computer is completely locked and a very official looking screen prompts you to to dial a 900 number for activation.

Sunbelt-Software has posted more information as well as screen shots on their blog

Update: McAfee has posted removal tools and instructions

Man vs. Machine - Jason Calacanis - Weblogs - Mahalo

From By: Adam L. Penenberg

Serial Webmeister Jason Calacanis survived the dotcom bust and went on to sell Weblogs Inc. to AOL for $25 million. He says his new search engine--powered by people, of all things--will give Google a run for its money. We almost believe him.

read more | digg story