Friday, May 30, 2008

Walmart Teams With Oodle For Classified Ads

Walmart has began adding classified ads listing to their site thanks to services provided by Silicon Valley startup Oodle.



For now the listings are free, which means Walmart is likely doing the deal to generate page views and advertising impressions. The classifieds listing’s went up quietly last week on Walmart’s site. By adding the new service Walmart and Oodle are putting themselves in direct competition with widely popular Craigslist and the not so well known eBay-owned classified service Kijiji.

Another Bank Loses Customer Data, 4.5 Million Affected

Computerworld reports that officials at the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. are confirming the loss of a box of unencrypted data storage tapes holding personal information of more than 4.5 million individuals.

The bank informed the Connecticut State Attorney General's Office that the tapes belonging to its BNY Mellon Shareowner Services division were lost in transport by off-site storage firm Archive America on Feb. 27. The missing backup tapes include names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and other personal information from customers of BNY Mellon and the People's United Bank in Bridgeport, Conn., according to a statement by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

"We'd like to provide people with a more current characterization [of what happened], but we are not yet in a position to make that available," said BNY Mellon spokesman Ron Sommer. "Our intention is to make it available as soon as we can."


Attorney General Blumenthal said that the bank's offer of a year of free credit monitoring to those affected by the breach is "grossly inadequate." He also slammed the bank for not promptly notifying customers of the security breach.

Source: Computerworld.com

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Robo-Monkey Brings Hope To Amputees

Researchers have created a brain implant that allows monkeys to feed themselves using a robotic arm just by thinking about it. The device could one day be used to help paralyzed people to operate prosthetic limbs that might enable them to eat, drink or use other utensils for themselves.

The research recently published in the scientific journal Nature, is the first to show that an interface that converts brain signals directly into actions is sophisticated enough to perform a practical function: eating.

Researchers who led the work have just begun human tests of a related technology.

"It's the first time a monkey--or a human--is directly, with their brain, controlling a real prosthetic arm," says Krishna Shenoy, a neuroscientist at Stanford University who was not involved in the research.

The arm is controlled by a network of tiny electrodes called a brain–machine interface, implanted into the motor cortex of the monkeys' brains — the region that controls movement. It picks up the signals of brain cells as they generate commands to move, and converts those into directional signals for the robotic arm.

Source: Nature.com

More info

Mozilla Shooting For World Record With Firefox 3

Mozilla has started a campaign asking users to pledge to download the next full release of Firefox 3 on the day it is available so the release can set a Guinness world record for the largest number of software downloads in 24 hours.

While Mozilla has not yet revealed exactly when Firefox 3 will be available, it has said that it could be as early as mid-June. Firefox 3 will be the first major upgrade to the browser since October 2006. Just last week Mozilla developers confirmed they would be releasing FireFox RC 2 close to June 6 for a new round of tests by Firefox users. Depending on whether a new critical bug is found or not, a third RC could be necessary or RC2 will become Firefox 3 final.

In the mean time anyone wanting to checkout Firefox 3 can download RC1 on the Firefox website

MySpace Message Center To Use Google Gears

MySpace announced they are offering new functionality in their MySpace Message Center by adding in the use of Google Gears.

MySpace has been lacking the ability for users to actually search their MySpace messages. To go through mail, users have to page through all of their messages until their find the right one. Now when users download and install Gears, they'll be able to quickly search their in-boxes for specific terms or sort messages.

Google's Gears project is an open-source plug-in, which endows browsers with a number of useful features to make them a better foundation for running elaborate software. Gears hasn't caught on widely, but MySpace gives the project more clout. And Google thinks some of Gears' success is actually measured in its influence over the new HTML 5 standard for describing Web pages.

More on Gears:

Caught In The Act Dell Releases "Mini Inspiron" Photos

dell logo

Gizmodo’s Brian Lam caught Michael Dell hauling around a mini laptop at the All Things D conference, the notebook just happened to be the new "Mini Inspiron".

Lam snapped a few photos which were immediately placed on Gizmodo leaving Dell no choice but to come clean. Shortly after Gizmodo spilled the beans on the tiny notebook, the Direct2Dell blog site went ahead and released two more images of the sub-$500 Mini Inspiron in all of its Candy Red glory.




It's hard to get an idea of how large the screen is, but everyone is guessing that it's likely 9" running at a resolution of 1024x600. The keyboard also looks to be a bit on the small side and lacks function keys on the top row. And although official specifications for the device haven't been announced, it's almost a given that the Mini Inspiron will feature a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and a 945G chipset. The Mini Inspiron will be available with Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux.

For the real world shots Brian Lam took of the Mini Inspiron, head over to Gizmodo.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Inaugural Kavli Prizes Awarded

Seven pioneering scientists who have transformed human knowledge in the fields of nanoscience, neuroscience and astrophysics have become the first recipients of the million-dollar Kavli prizes. The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Ole Didrik Lærum, announced the names of the prize-winners at the Academy in Oslo today, 28 May.

The astrophysics prize was awarded jointly to Maarten Schmidt, of the California Institute of Technology, US, and Donald Lynden-Bell, of Cambridge University.

Louis E. Brus, of Columbia University, US, and Sumio Iijima, of Meijo University in Japan, share the nanoscience prize.

The neuroscience prize goes to three scientists: Pasko Rakic, of the Yale University School of Medicine, US, Thomas Jessell, of Columbia University, US, and Sten Grillner, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The webcast of the 2008 Kavli Price announcement is produced i cooperation with Smartcom. Watch the transmission on Smartcom's webcast page.

Read more

Windows 7 Debuts To The Press At D6

Microsoft has been keeping a tight lid on details about its successor to Windows Vista, that is until they decided to give the press a little sneak peek at the D Conference in Carlsbad, Calif.

Microsoft's VP for Windows Experience Program Management, Julie Larson-Green , briefly demoed Windows 7, which showed off Microsoft's attempt at bringing multitouch capabilities to the masses. Using a current generation Dell Latitude XT Julie demonstrated the multitouch capabilities which accepts multiple finger inputs, hence the "multi" part of the "multi-touch" technology title.

The new multi-touch technology will deploy on "all sizes and shapes of computers" according to Julie, but you would need the appropriate digitizer hardware. Touching is "not complete replacement of the mouse", rather it’s a way to further your experience, she says.

While details about the rest of the new operating system are still scarce Microsoft officials have already confirmed that they will not be using a new OS kernel for Windows 7. They've also been confirming that they will have Windows 7 ready in time to ship in 2009.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Microsoft Wants To Pay You To Use Their Search

Microsoft Corp. today announced it will offer ad-funded cash rebates to customers who find and purchase their favorite products through a new program called Microsoft Live Search cashback. Key partners including eBay, Barnes & Noble.com, Overstock.com, Sears, Zappos.com, and WPP joined Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates at advance08, Microsoft’s annual advertising customer event, to announce their participation in the new program.

The complete Live Search cashback product portfolio includes more than 10 million product offers from more than 700 merchants, including more than 13 of the top 40 U.S. retailers. The company also announced it has delivered a new Live Search travel destination, Live Search Farecast, making it easy for searchers to find the best travel deals on the Web.

“We believe search can offer much more value to consumers and advertisers than it does today, and we see Live Search cashback as an important opportunity to deliver additional value,” Gates said. “Our goal is to make Live Search the most rewarding commercial search destination on the Web. Live Search cashback will help advertisers drive more online sales while giving consumers a new way to stretch their dollars.”

Read the full press release at Microsoft.com

Guitar Hero World Tour Details Emerge

Activision finally confirms several rumors fliying around about the upcoming forth version of Guitar Hero. The new game officially titled Guitar Hero World Tour will feature multiple wireless peripherals and music-composing program.

Earlier this week Activision confirmed the game will feature a microphone and a "genuine" electronic drum kit, along with a redesigned guitar peripheral.

Of the three new instruments, Activision is particularly touting its drum kit, which will have three drum pads, two raised cymbals, and a bass kick pedal. Apparently, it will have "velocity-sensitive drum heads with soft rubber construction to deliver authentic bounce back."

Activision also boasts that Guitar Hero World Tour will have "the biggest on-disc selection" of music, and that all of the tunes available to take on will be master tracks. So far, no particular songs have been named, but the company has promised that offerings from artists Van Halen, Linkin Park, Sublime, and the Eagles will be included.

Along with the new peripherals the game will see a few software changes adding in Battle of the Bands player mode. Battle of the Bands allows up to eight players, two teams of four, to compete online to see which band rocks the hardest. Guitar Hero World Tour also adds a Music Studio music creator tool that lets you compose, record and edit your own songs, using all of the instruments if desired, and then importing these tunes into the game. You can also share your masterpieces with others through an online service called GHTunes.

Guitar Hero World Tour should hit shelves sometime this fall.

LifeLock CEO Still Defends Service

Apparently running hundreds of ads showing off your Social Security Number isn't as bright and idea as originally thought. Todd Davis, CEO of the identity-theft protection service LifeLock, had to learn his lesson the hard way when someone successfully stole his ID.

Davis who has ran several ads appearing on TV, radio, billboards and the internet, featuring his actual Social Security Number was daring somebody to take it, so it shouldn't have been a big surprise when someone did just that.

Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan operation last year into giving him $500 using Davis' Social Security number.

But Davis says it just proves that his LifeLock identity protection service works. Stating, "My Social Security number has been out there for two years, and there’s only been one instance where someone was successful in trying to turn my identity into money."

LifeLock's customers seem to disagree with Mr. Davis, filling several lawsuits. Attorney Davis Paris has filed a class action lawsuit in Maryland, West Virginia and New Jersey saying that Davis and LifeLock engage in false advertising by seeming to offer absolute protection against identity theft in their ubiquitous ads.

Another lawsuit in Arizona alleges that his $1 million “service guarantee” is misleading and covers only defects in LifeLock services and not actual identity theft. The credit-reporting agency Experian has also filled a suit, alleging that Davis’ company deceives customers about the depth of its service. Experian claims LifeLock doesn’t give consumers any more protection for its $10 monthly fee than they can get for free on their own.

It would appear Davis' advertising gimmick might land him in hotter water than just a minor incident with ID theft.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Next Gen iPhone May Launch June 9th

According to Gizmodo inside sources are confirming the June 9 date for the release of the next generation 3G iPhone, which is also when Steve Jobs' keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is scheduled.

Eric Zeman at InformationWeek however seems skeptical, "I am going to caution that everyone take this news with a small grain of salt. True, all indicators over the last four weeks have pointed to a launch on or near June 9, but Gizmodo did not reveal exactly who the sources are. Also, remember that the 3G iPhone hasn't been cleared by the FCC yet. With only three weeks to go before the keynote, that's cutting it awfully close."

Without FCC approval legally, the iPhone cannot be sold in the United States. If the FCC doesn't get around to its approval by June 9 then Apple and Steve Job's might be stuck holding the bag.

Supplies of the first-generation iPhone have been dwindling, which has led to lots of speculation about the release of the second generation phone. Its clear Apple needs to get something onto store shelves soon, but will it be the 3G iPhone?

AT&T Gives Free Wi-Fi To LaptopConnect Customers

AT&T announced today that its LaptopConnect customers, who pay $60 or more a month for wide area wireless data connections, will also be able to access more than 17,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots in the U.S. for free.

Back in Feburary we announced AT&T's plans to give free Wi-Fi access at AT&T hot spots some AT&T broadband customers with wired connections. The carrier has since said it plans to expand free Wi-Fi access to additional wireless customers. AT&T's Wi-Fi connection policies have also been important to Apple iPhone users whom for a limited time were also granted free Wi-Fi.

Napster Offers DRM Free Music At Their New All MP3 Download Store

Napster looks to take on iTunes as it opens up its new DRM-free music store.

Napster claims to have the largest selection of music among online music services, with over 6 million tracks, today they announced they will be making them all them available for purchase in standard MP3 format, playable on any device, including iPods.

The DRM-free tracks cost $0.99 and albums cost $9.95, which is comparable with Apple's iTunes Plus DRM-free songs. The Apple DRM-free tracks are also in the less-compatible AAC format, which Windows Media Player can't play. Both companies' DRM-free files are encoded at a high-quality, 256Kbps bitrate.

"It's great that we have finally gotten here," said Chris Gorog, Napster's chairman and chief executive. "It is really the beginning of a level playing field, which I think is essential for Napster, but also for the health of the digital music business in general."

Unlike their regular services Napster's new DRM-free service does not require any monthly membership fee. They will still be offering their $12.95 per month on-demand streaming service as well as their $14.95 Napster-to-Go portable syncing service.

The new service will not require the use of any new software, it will be a Web based interface that works on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux running Firefox 2.x or Internet Explorer 7.x (which is recommended).

Napster faces tough competition as Amazon is already offering better-than-iTunes quality for less-than-iTunes prices without the proprietary DRM (Digital Rights Management) software. Amazons music service has been up and running for some time now and reaches millions of existing Amazon users whom can buy downloads using their current account details. This would make Amazon the obvious first choice however Napster's pure volume of music available should create a better draw.

Intel Price Cuts Expected In The Third Quarter

DigiTimes has reported that Intel is planning to cut the prices of its desktop processors in the 3Q08. Along with the price cuts will come the launch of more quad-core and dual-core models, according to sources.

The performance-level Core 2 Quad Q9650 with a core frequency of 3GHz will launch priced at $530, while the Core 2 Quad Q9550 will drop around 40% from its original price of $530 to $316.

The Core 2 Quad 9450, currently priced at US$316, will be phased out and replaced by the Core 2 Quad 9400 at 2.66GHz priced at $266. The Core 2 Quad Q9300 and Q6700 will both be phased out at the same time too, leaving the Q6600 as the only 65nm quad-core CPU left in Intel's lineup, and which will drop from US$224 to US$203. (The Q6600 can currently be found sub $200 at microcenter)

For dual-core CPUs, Intel will launch the Core 2 Duo E8600 at 3.33GHz and US$266, and will phase out the Core 2 Duo E8300. The company will also drop pricing for the Core 2 Duo E8500 and E8400 from US$266 and US$183 to US$183 and US$163, respectively.

Intel will also add the Core 2 Duo E7300 at 2.66GHz and US$133 to its entry-level line and to drop the price of its Core 2 Duo E7200 from US$133 to US$113.

Source: DigiTimes

Monday, May 19, 2008

Google Announces Android Developers Top 50 Applications

Android Developers Blog: The Top 50 Applications
As you may have heard, the results from Android Developer Challenge Part 1, Round 1 were announced to all the participants late last week. We're still working on pulling together a more extensive listing for each application that made it into the top 50, but in the spirit of releasing early and often, here's a list containing the name of the application and its author(s):
  • AndroidScan - Jeffrey Sharkey
  • Beetaun - Sergey Gritsyuk and Dmitri Shipilov
  • BioWallet - Jose Luis Huertas Fernandez
  • BreadCrumbz - Amos Yoffe
  • CallACab - Konrad Huebner and Henning Boeger
  • City Slikkers - PoroCity Media and Virtual Logic Systems
  • Commandro - Alex Pisarev, Andrey Tapekha
  • Cooking Capsules - Mary Ann Cotter and Muthuselvam Ramadoss
  • Diggin - Daniel Johansson, Aramis Waernbaum, Andreas Hedin
  • Dyno - Virachat Boondharigaputra
  • e-ventr - Michael Zitzelsberger
  • Eco2go - Taneem Talukdar, Gary Pong, Jeff Kao and Robert Lam
  • Em-Radar - Jack Kwok
  • fingerprint - Robert Mickle
  • FreeFamilyWatch - Navee Technologies LLC
  • goCart - Rylan Barnes
  • GolfPlay - Inizziativa Networks
  • gWalk - Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus ten Hagen, Christian Klinger, Marko Modsching, Rene Scholze
  • HandWx - Weathertop Consulting LLC
  • IMEasy - Yan Shi
  • Jigsaw - Mikhail Ksenzov
  • JOYity - Zelfi AG
  • LifeAware - Gregory Moore, Aaron L. Obrien, Jawad Akhtar
  • Locale - Clare Bayley, Christina Wright, Jasper Lin, Carter Jernigan
  • LReady Emergency Manager - Chris Hulls, Dilpreet Singh, Luis Carvalho, Phuong Nguyen
  • Marvin - Pontier Laurent
  • Mobeedo - Sengaro GmbH
  • Multiple Facets Instant Messenger - Virgil Dobjanschi
  • MyCloset - Mamoru Tokashiki
  • PedNav - RouteMe2 Technologies Inc.
  • Phonebook 2.0 - Voxmobili
  • PicSay - Eric Wijngaard
  • PiggyBack - Christophe Petit and Sebastien Petit
  • Pocket Journey - Anthony Stevens and Rosie Pongracz
  • Rayfarla - Stephen Oldmeadow
  • Safety Net - Michael DeJadon
  • SocialMonster - Ben Siu-Lung Hui and Tommy Ng
  • SplashPlay
  • Sustain- Keeping Your Social Network Alive - Niraj Swami
  • SynchroSpot - Shaun Terry
  • Talkplay - Sung Suh Park
  • Teradesk - José Augusto Athayde Ferrarini
  • The Weather Channel for Android - The Weather Channel Interactive Inc.
  • TuneWiki - TuneWiki Inc.
  • Wikitude-the Mobile Travel Guide - Philipp Breuss
  • Writing Pad - ShapeWriter Inc
Those of you following along carefully at home (or who bothered to read this far) will notice that there's only 46 in this list. 4 winners opted to continue their efforts in secret and so while we congratulate them too, we can't list them here.

Wii Fit Launches In U.S.

Nintendo launches its Wii Fit today, the popular expansion to its Wii gaming system that has already sold more than 2 million Wii Fit units in Japan.

Its American launch came today at the Nintendo World store in New York. The system will be available through U.S. retailers beginning Wednesday May 21. Online resellers are already taking pre-sale orders with many sites already showing as out of stock.

Users use a balance board similar to the platform used for step aerobics. You can ride a virtual snowboard, do yoga, twirl virtual hula hoops, or do other exercises on the Wii Balance Board. The board connects with the Wii console through wireless signals. Mii caricatures reflect players' changing fitness levels as they improve.


"Wii Fit will get you moving whether you've been playing video games for years or this is your first time," Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive VP of sales and marketing, said in an announcement. "Wii Fit is easy for anyone to try and is yet another example of how Nintendo continues to expand the world of video games to new audiences."


The wireless accessory basically is a sophisticated, floor-based game controller. It senses your weight and movement as you step on it and uses that data to control onscreen games and exercises designed to improve your balance, posture and fitness. The system will offer more than 40 activities and stores users' records. Virtual trainers guide users and make suggestions for improvement.

The suggested retail price for Wii Fit is $89.99 and online pre-orders can be made at Circuit City, Best Buy, K-Mart and Walmart/

FireFox 3.0 Reaches Release Candidate Status

According to Mozilla developers Firefox 3.0 RC1 edges closer to final code. This milestone is focused on testing the core functionality provided by many new features and changes to the platform scheduled for Firefox 3.

Firefox 3.0 is built on the Gecko 1.9 Web rendering platform and includes better memory management, improved performance, enhanced security features, and improved usability. Other new features include built-in antivirus protection, easier password management, a new download manager and improved integration with Windows and OS X.

According to Mozilla, changes specifically attributable to the latest release of Firefox 3.0 include:
  • Improvements to the user interface based on user feedback, including changes to the look and feel on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X and Linux.
  • Changes and fixes for new features such as the location bar autocomplete, bookmark backup and restore, full page zoom, and others, based on feedback from our community.
  • Fixes and improvements to platform features to improve security, web compatibility and stability.
  • Continued performance improvements: changes to our JavaScript engine as well as profile guided optimization continues to improve performance over previous releases as measured by the popular SunSpider test from Apple, and in the speed of web applications like Google Mail and Zoho Office.

Firefox 3.0 RC1 is currently available for download in multiple languages for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms.



My thoughts:
I've been trying it out over the weekend and so far I'm not highly impressed. Some of my plug-ins aren't functional, I can't find a theme I like that will actually work, and the overall feel just doesn't fit for me. The first two are more an issue for the developers of the plug-ins and themes but its still an annoyance.

While page load times do seem to be faster, I see little to no change in memory usage. In fact if anything it almost looks like I'm using more memory now than with the latest version of FireFox 2. The new looks and feel of the address bar is great, you don't just get the url but a quick title for the page. Bookmark handling has also been upgraded nicely.

I can say I don't see anything majorly wrong, I've had no crashes and little to no issues. I just really don't see anything that is all that impressive. Maybe I'll need more than a day or two of surfing to spot a few extras that I haven't found yet.

AMD Announces "Game"

Today AMD has announced AMD GAME!, their new branding program designed to help consumers select PCs or components for high-definition gaming.

The minimum requirements for GAME! are an AMD Athlon X2 5600+ processor, ATI Radeon HD 3650 graphics card, and AMD 770 or NVIDIA nForce 500 chipset, making for a system that is capable, but not extraordinary. To qualify for GAME! Ultra a system will need a Phenom X4 9650 processor, ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics card, and an AMD 770 chipset.

AMD’s 780G integrated graphics platform will not qualify for the Game! program, as it is was only meant to handle entry-level gaming.

AMD GAME! Enables Console-like Simplicity for Mainstream PCs
AMD GAME! platforms combine the powerful balance of multi-core processors, exceptional HD digital media2, and next-generation graphics processing power. Industry leaders including Acer, Alienware, Logitech and Microsoft are joining AMD to ensure consumers can easily identify PCs that deliver HD gaming and entertainment experiences out of the box.

“With the support of industry leaders in PC gaming, AMD GAME! ensures consumers don’t need an enthusiast-level knowledge of PC hardware for an optimal gaming system,” said Nigel Dessau, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, AMD. “We in the PC industry owe consumers the same predictability, simplicity and affordability in finding a PC for gaming that the console industry currently provides.”

According to Jon Peddie Research, of all desktop and notebook PCs sold last year, two-thirds had only the most basic of capabilities, lacking the technology needed to drive a great gaming experience. AMD recognizes this and is working to provide a consistent source of reliable and accurate information before and at the point of purchase for gaming consumers.

“AMD GAME! is a new initiative focused on delivering a novel experience for consumers, addressing a problem that has long existed in the PC industry until now,” said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research in Tiburon, California. “Our research has shown that PC gaming is on the rise and this effort from AMD not only rallies industry support for PC gaming but also acknowledges that computer gaming needs balanced systems for the best consumer experience.”

Gaming and HD Entertainment Support
AMD believes consumers should have a balanced platform with matched and tested components that meet their needs – not compromise their overall computing experience by choosing which components and software are more valuable. Computers should have the power to surge through the demanding moments of gaming action or HD entertainment without stutter or lag. The AMD GAME! initiative helps ensure that the computer system has been optimized for gaming with the right graphics and processor components. Hardware and PC components that carry the AMD GAME! logo let PC buyers and do-it-yourself gamers know they will have a customized and exceptional gaming experience.

“AMD and Microsoft share the vision of delivering better gaming experiences on PCs running Microsoft® Windows® operating systems,” said Kevin Unangst, Microsoft’s senior global director of Games for Windows. “Microsoft’s Games for Windows program and AMD are both working to expand gaming accessibility and ease of use to consumers. Games for Windows titles and Microsoft’s gaming hardware, along with the AMD GAME! initiative, are great examples of how we can bring more value to PC gamers across the industry.” 

As part of the AMD GAME! initiative, AMD is dedicated to working closely with industry leaders to help create personal computer configurations that are optimized for all types of users.

“AMD GAME! is a great initiative that will help Acer drive consumers toward the best solution for their gaming needs,” said Brian Bogaard, product business manager – EMEA desktop PC, Acer. “PC gaming is an important area for Acer and with AMD’s help, we can meet the expectations of consumers with a solid gaming experience.” 

“We are happy to see the growing interest in PC gaming and now AMD is adding a much needed program to help continue that trend,” Patrick Cooper, director of product group, Alienware. “The AMD GAME! Experience enables Alienware to quickly and easily help consumers identify the experience that is right for them and the high performance Alienware solution that delivers it.”

“AMD GAME! is a great program to help consumers easily identify a solution that addresses their gaming needs,” said David Reid, vice president of marketing at NCsoft North America. “With this partnership, we hope to ensure consumers will enjoy our titles at the highest levels of quality possible.”

AMD GAME! Availability
AMD GAME! systems combine proven AMD technology including AMD Phenom™ processors, the upcoming AMD Turion™ Ultra processors, AMD Athlon™ processors, ATI Radeon™ HD 3000 series graphics, and AMD chipsets to deliver an enhanced and simplified mainstream PC gaming experience.

AMD GAME! platforms are available immediately on-line from system builders such as Alienware, Cyberpower, iBuypower, Maingear and Velocity Micro; retail availability is expected in the second half of 2008.

Information about AMD GAME! can be found at http://game.amd.com, the central source for PC gaming information. Supporting more than three million visitors per month, this website provides product information, contests, spotlights on industry partners, informative articles and purchasing information.

The AMD GAME! press kit offers additional information and collateral material for this launch and can be found at http://www.amd.com/GAME/presskit/.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fake Grand Theft Auto IV Torrents Contain Viruses

According to DriveSentry hundreds of users have been infected when trying to download Grand Theft Auto IV via P2P.

Hackers having been planting Trojans and other viruses in bogus game files, masking them as torrents that contain the files for GTA 4. The torrents are then being downloaded from P2P networks by those trying to illegally experience the game without purchasing it.

John Safa, chief technical officer of DriveSentry, said: "People are exploiting the popularity of GTA IV in a way which could bring mayhem to the internet."

Former hacker Safa highlighted that within two minutes of logging on to P2P network Limewire he found evidence of Trojan viruses disguised at GTA IV files.

We all know the huge risk involved in using P2P, and Geek-News.Net does not condone the action of illegally downloading files. But a few words of caution here:

Tread very carefully around these files, if you are going to download them do so from a good source. If you are hit with a link to a site that says it has a download chances are its a fake. Always check the main sites first. Invest in a good anti-virus Avast and AVG are great products that are free. Make sure you have the latest updates, viruses definitions are updated constantly and it does little to no good to use an outdated AV program.

Fry's One Day Anniversary Sale 5/16 Only

Fry's is currently having a one day anniversary sale with some great items. A few can be found online but some of the better deals are in-store only.

Fry's Online Ad Scans


Hot Deals:

15.4" Toshiba Notebook $399 online $379 in-store
    Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2370 1.73Ghz
    1GB DDR2 Ram
    120gig HDD
    DLDVD-/+RW
    Vista Home Premium 32Bit w/SP1


Tyris T902WDT 19" Widescreen LCD Monitor

Intel Q6600 and ECS G31T-M Motherboard for $179.99!
    Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processor Q6600
    ECS G31T-M Socket 775 Motherboard

EVGA 7200GS 256MB PCI-E Graphics Card

Envision V-Cam II Webcam

Software Free After Mail In Rebate:

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7.0 (3 user)

McAfee Internet Security 2008 With SiteAdvisor (3 user)
Currently sold out online

Nitro PDF Professional
Free After two rebates

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Underage Xbox Fan Has The Time Of His Life

I read this earlier today and thought it was just too funny to not repost it! Big thimbs up to Gamepro.com for catching this one!

Underage Xbox fan blows $30,000 on Halo, hookers and Oreos GamePro.com

One young (and now convicted) Xbox fan had the time of his life in Texas last week, leaving a trail of US$30,000 in games, consoles, Oreos and high-price hookers in his wake.

A 13-year-old from Texas who stole his father's credit card and used it to order two $1,000 hookers has been convicted of fraud and was given a three-year community service order and probation.

Ralph Hardy, a 13-year-old from Newark, Texas, confessed and was convicted of using the stolen card to take his friends on a $30,000 spending spree. When police finally caught up the enterprising teen, he and his friends were playing Halo (which one was unspecified) on an Xbox with the two hookers in a Texas motel.

Police were alerted to the motel by a delivery clerk, who had become concerned after delivering a stash of Dr. Pepper, Fritos and Oreos to the kids. When they asked where they could "score some chicks and were willing to pay," the clerk called police.

Police also recovered $3,000 in cash, a slew of electronic gadgets, an Xbox video console (with games), and the two local escort girls.

Sorry Niko, but you ain't got nothin' on these Texas party animals.

Uno Electric UniCycle

Just when you thought you'd seen it all, a Canadian teen-scientist comes up with the "Uno" an electric side-by-side two wheeled unicycle.



The motorized unicycle which actually features two wheels side-by-side, uses gyroscope technology and a control systems that both keeps the rider balanced over the tires and manages the suspension. When the rider leans into a turn, the inside wheel lifts and the outside wheel lowers, so both stay firmly on the ground. The bike was originally based off of the frame design of a Yamaha R1 sport bike and is powered by amped-up wheelchair motors and 36-volt batteries that can push the Uno to speeds of up to 40 MPH.


The Uno's inventor Ben J. Poss Gulak says that the bike beats out the Segway in terms of speed, and delivers better maneuverability than Bombardier's Embrio unicycle concept.

For more on the Uno checkout their site at the-uno-tomorrows-transportation.com. For more pictures checkout MotorcycleMojo.com

AMD To Launch HD 4800 Series On June 18th

ati logoVR-Zone reports that AMD has confirmed the marketing name for RV770, the Radeon HD 4800 series and will be shipping RV770 GPUs to AIB by end of this month. AMD is set to launch the Radeon HD 4850 on June 18th with retail availability on the same day.

AMD has just confirmed the marketing name for RV770 yesterday which is no surprise to anyone, the Radeon HD 4800 series. RV770PRO is Radeon HD 4850, RV770XT is Radeon HD 4870 and R700 is Radeon HD 4870 X2. AMD will be shipping RV770 GPUs to AIB by end of this month and you can expect different card designs from the manufacturers at launch. AMD is set to launch the Radeon HD 4850 on June 18th and it is definitely a hard one with retail availability on the same day. Radeon HD 4870, however, will be launched a week later on June 25th with retail availability in July due to GDDR5 availability. Radeon HD 4870 X2 will come later in Q3. As for the clocks, we won't be revealing them yet but the RV770XT core clock is not going anywhere above 800MHz.


Late last month Geek-News.Net readers got a sneak peak at the 4800 series specs thanks to TG Daily. Look for benchmarks, reviews and more details to be headed out your way soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Craigslist Sues eBay

In a reversal of fortune Craigslist has filed a lawsuit against eBay. The suit accuses eBay of unlawful and unfair competition and copyright infringement, among other things.

Just last month Geek-News.Net reported that eBay was suing Craigslist for implementing new policies that eBay said unfairly diluted its economic interest in Craigslist by more than 10 percent.

Earlier this month eBay posted the court documents outlining exactly why it filed suit against Craigslist. So in turn Craigslist made the documents relating to the countersuit publically available. The 26-page document portrays a completely different picture on how eBay acquired its minority stake in Craigslist. They also allege eBay used its Craigslist board position to harm Craigslist while simultaneously using information gleaned from Craigslist to help their very similar classified ad services called Kijiji.com.

Craigslist is seeking permanent injunctive relief against eBay, its officers, agents, representatives, employees, attorneys, and successors. It further seeks an injunction against eBay using the Craigslist mark or name in advertising alleging eBay infringed Craigslist's trademark by placing ads for Kijiji on Google using Craigslist's name and that eBay interfered in its business, conducted phishing attacks and broke its duty to shareholders.



Craigslist is asking the court to return eBay’s shares to Craigslist and that the court order eBay to divest interests in Craigslist. Craigslist is also seeking a court order for eBay to pay general, special, actual and statutory damages for Craigslist damages and eBay’s profits and other damages the court deems just.

Dell Might Not Dump XPS After All

Yesterday we reported that "Dell was dumping XPS" to focus on its Alienware line, today it seems reports from the Wall Street Journal concerning Dell's XPS lineup were incorrect.

Dell spokesperson Anne Camden said they must have missed the memo concerning any changes to its XPS line stating, "XPS gaming systems will remain an important part of our gaming product portfolio. We don’t plan an early phase-out of these systems as the WSJ incorrectly stated, and in fact will continue to refresh them to keep them on the front edge of gaming."

It looks like the seasoned veterans over at the WSJ made a bit of a goof.

Microsoft Introduces The WorldWide TeleScope

Microsoft Research recently released a new, free online tool designed to bring the world of astronomy to the masses. Microsoft describes the WorldWide Telescope as a "Web 2.0 Visualization Software Environment".

Basically its a virtual telescope that combines tens of millions of images of galaxies, nebulae, planets and other celestial objects to allow you to explore the stars and some of the most interesting spots in the universe right from your PC.

The terabytes of images were collected from various sources including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS).

Users must first download an application to use the free service. Then you can opt for guided tours, conducted by astronomers or teachers, or check things out on your own.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

eBay Tries Out PayPal Only In Australia

eBay logoeBay Australia is laying down the law with payments, its PayPal or nothing!

Starting June 17th eBay plans to institute a new payment arrangement that would do away with direct deposits, personal cheques or money orders to purchase items - all in the name of enhanced security. Essentially this move forces all of its Australian users to use PayPal, a move that has angered users and prompted antitrust scrutiny.

Many critics think that the move in Australian is a precursor for a global move. "It's a test case," Ina Steiner, editor of Auctionbytes.com, told the Mercury News. "I'm sure they're very much considering rolling it out to other countries."

eBay is denying the claims that it might try the same approach here in the states. "In the U.S., we are not mulling, planning, or otherwise seriously considering a move to PayPal-only," wrote spokesman Usher Lieberman on the company's eBay Ink blog. "There are U.S. market-specific reasons why PayPal-only is something we simply cannot do in the U.S."

However nothing has been mentioned of them not trying to do the same thing in other countries.

If you read eBay's accepted payments policy you'll notice they've already made provisions to disallow any forms of online payments other than PayPal.

Not permitted on eBay.com
"Payment through online payment methods not specifically permitted in this policy."


It would looks as though eBay is trying to place a strangle hold on its buyers and sellers all in the name of "security".

eBay says it wants to reduce disputes and restore trust in its marketplace with the PayPal-only plan. Because eBay and PayPal can share information on each transaction, eBay says use of PayPal allows it to stop fraud more efficiently than outside payment services.

How it plans to do so is a mystery, especially considering the high numbers of fraud that current occur with eBay and PayPal both.

For more check out these articles:

Dell Dumps XPS To Focus On Alienware

According to the Wall Street Journal Dell is taking a surprising leap and dropping several of its most popular XPS models to focus on its recently acquired Alienware line.

Dell purchased Alienware back in 2006, since that time the company has seen sales drop due in large part to competition with high end Dell XPS systems. Dell had maintained a mostly hands off approach to Alienware allowing both companies to compete in the gaming market simultaneously.

Dell is also going to end the tie-in with World of Warcraft and its XPS machines. Arthur Lewis, who joined Dell with the Alienware purchase, as the head of its gaming PC division, says that Alienware is going to be updating its boxes, which have had the same look for a long time, by using new materials for the exterior of the systems.





Alienware has also said that it will be bringing a low-cost (by gaming PC standards) gaming system to market in the next few weeks powered by AMD/ATI.
The new Alienware system will be priced at $1,699 according to CNET. The machine will use a quad-core Phenom X4 9550 processor running at 2.2GHz. Graphics for the machine will be via ATI’s dual GPU HD 3870 X2 video card. The system is reported to use an Asus mainboard with the AMD 790FX chipset.

Price is one of the places Alienware is criticized the most. Anyone with even a limited amount of computer building experience can build a system far cheaper than they can buy from Alienware. However according to Marc Diana, Alienware product marketing manager for desktops, customers are still flocking to them. “We're seeing huge demand from customers." Diana says.

Intel E6850 for $99 +Shipping

**Update**
The page has been pulled so
the deal is now dead!

Dell Home right now has the 3.0ghz Intel E6850 for $99 plus shipping after $120 instant savings. This is a hot deal on a great cpu! Price is supposedly good until 5/15/2008

  • Speed: 3.0GHz
  • FSB: 1333MHz
  • Cache: 4M shared L2 Cache
  • Socket LGA 775
  • 65W Dual-Core Processor
  • 65 nm

Intel E6850 Reviews:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Microsoft Will Sell $25 Windows XP To Subnotebook Makers

IDG News Service reports Microsoft is launching a program to promote the use of its Windows OS in ultra low-cost PCs, one effect of which will be to limit the hardware capabilities of this type of device.

Microsoft plans to sell a somewhat crippled version of XP to the makers of low-cost PCs like the Eee PC and XO laptop for only $25. The major catch the PC vendors that make ULPCs must limit screen sizes to 10.2 inches and hard drives to 80G bytes, and they cannot offer touch-screen PCs…the systems can have no more than 1G byte of RAM and a single-core processor running at no more than 1GHz.

Besides limits on the screens and hard drives, to be eligible, the systems can have no more than 1G byte of RAM and a single-core processor running at no more than 1GHz. The program makes an allowance for some chips, including Via Technologies' C7-M processors, which run between 1.0GHz and 1.6GHz, and Intel's upcoming Atom N270.


The program is outlined in confidential documents that Microsoft sent to PC makers last month, and which were obtained by IDG News Service.

Microsoft has said it plans to stop selling new Windows XP licenses after June 30, but it has made exceptions, including for the use of XP Home in ULPCs.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mozilla Shipped Xorer Worm With Firefox Vietnamese Language Add-On

Mozilla Corp. warned users on Wednesday about a worm that slipped into Firefox's Vietnamese language add-on and went undetected for months.

The malware-infected file has since been pulled from Mozilla's servers however according to Window Snyder, Mozilla's chief security executive, the download count for the add-on since last November has been 16,667.

The Vietnamese language pack for Firefox 2 contains inserted code to load remote content. This code is the result of a virus infection, but does not contain the virus itself. This usually results in the user seeing unwanted ads, but may be used for more malicious actions.


"The Vietnamese language pack for Firefox 2 contains inserted code to load remote content," said Snyder. She confirmed the information in a post to the company's blog on Wednesday. "Everyone who downloaded the most recent Vietnamese language pack since Feb. 18, 2008, got an infected copy."

According to messages posted on Bugzilla a computer used by Jasper Thai, the author of the Vietnamese add-on, had been infected earlier with the Xorer worm. When Thai created the add-on, Xorer hitched a ride by installing itself in the extension's code.

Xorer can spread via removable media -- including floppy disks -- and network shares, several security vendors said in their online malware databases. "Its effects can range from simply annoying to destructive," noted the write-up by Panda Security. Snyder said that infected users were being shown unwanted ads when they surfed with Firefox.

Although Mozilla scans Firefox add-ons, including language packs, for malicious code before making them available for download, its antivirus scanner missed Xorer because it had not added a signature for the malware until mid-April. Thai had wrapped up the Vietnamese pack nearly two months earlier, on Feb. 18.

Snyder has said that Mozilla would boost the number of times it scanned files for malware. "We are also adding after-the-fact scans of everything to address this sort of case in the future," she said.

TorrentSpy Lawyer Says "We Won't Pay $111 Million Court Order"

Just a day after a U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ordered TorrentSpy to pay $111 million, one of the largest fines in copyright history, Ira Rothken the lawyer for the torrent-tracking search engine said the $111 million judgment won't get paid.

Nevis-based Valence Media, the owner of TorrentSpy, filed for bankruptcy protection in England last week "and has no appreciable assets," attorney Ira Rothken said. "This was a Hollywood publicity stunt."

TorrentSpy and the Motion Picture Association of America have been in an ongoing legal battle since last year when the MPAA sued the search engine in Los Angeles federal court. The suit accused the site of facilitating copyright infringement of Hollywood movies. The MPAA won a default judgment last year after TorrentSpy refused to turn over internal documents, and on Wednesday a federal judge levied the $111 million penalty and ordered the site never to return online.

"It certainly is not a lesson for other search engines to look at what the rules are as they relate to dot-torrent files," Rothken said. "There was no analysis of the copyright."

Elizabeth Kaltman, an MPAA spokeswoman, said "We will pursue enforcement of the judgment."

The legality of torrent-tracking services has never been litigated on the merits in the United States, said Charles Baker, a Houston IP lawyer who defended Grokster and is Limewire's attorney in a case accusing the peer-to-peer software maker of facilitating copyright infringement.

The MPAA, he said, wants "other torrent owners and operators to look at the $111 million figure and say, 'I'm getting out of the business.'"

The TorrentSpy case, Baker said, "is another example of the studios eating these guys to death. They haven't tried the merits of the case."

While the MPAA may be claiming victory it isn't the clear cut win they'd really like to see. Since the case was a default judgment it doesn't set much precedence for future cases. Had the case actually been heard and an actual ruling been made then they'd have further grounds for more cases.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Is Free Starbucks Wi-Fi Coming To AT&T iPhones?

Earlier today the AT&T iPhone page noted that "Access to AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots" was included in all iPhone subscriber plans, with additional details that spelled out the extent of that access. "Unlimited Data (e-mail and Web), 200 SMS text messages and access to AT&T's more than 17,000 Wi-Fi hot spots, including Starbucks all for use in the U.S. *"Wi-Fi available at U.S. company operated Starbucks locations equipped with a hot spot."*





However by 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, all mention of Wi-Fi hotspot access had been removed from the page. When contacted by Computerworld.com an AT&T customer service representative was unable to explain the change.

Just last week iPhone users at MacRumors.com had discovered that they could access AT&T's wireless access points in Starbucks coffee shops and other locations, including some Barnes & Noble bookstores, by entering their iPhone telephone number.

Within 24 hours AT&T had turned off the free access and users reported that they were being asked to now enter a username and password where one previously wasn't needed. The closing down of the service could in part be due to some users using tools to fool the hotspot into thinking their laptop browser was still an iPhone. (more info)

Earlier today, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel issued a blanket "no comment" when asked about the Wi-Fi information on his company's iPhone page.

Sun Launches Open Source Solaris

Sun and the OpenSolaris community are launching the first official release of Sun's open-source version of the Solaris operating system. Interested developers have had early preview versions to play with for some time, but the official release opens to door for corporate customers as well.

OpenSolaris is based on the Solaris kernel and uses many of its features like the Zettabyte File System (ZFS) and Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), which offers predictive self-healing capabilities. Initially, the OpenSolaris project will provide the core kernel, libraries and commands that are currently distributed with the Solaris OS. Over time, it is expected that additional parts of the Solaris OS will be made available through the project.

Download the latest version OpenSolaris 2008.05 in a single CD combined live/install image: a core operating system, kernel, system libraries, a desktop environment and a package management system.

The majority of OpenSolaris code is released under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) Version 1.0.

Source based on existing open source projects will continue to be available under their current licenses. Some binary components are covered under the OpenSolaris Binary License and some are covered under other open source licenses. Specific download pages provide license information associated with the available component pieces.

For more information check out the OpenSolaris homepage

TorrentSpy Ordered To Pay $111 Million

U.S. District Judge Florence -Marie Cooper in Los Angeles, ruling in a case brought by the Motion Picture Association of America, said site operator Justin Bunnell and associates must pay the maximum $30,000 for "each of the 3,699 infringements shown."

From the Copyright Act:

"...the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just."


The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said the judgment sends a strong message to copyright violators. “This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites,” said Dan Glickman, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA. “The demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios and demonstrates that such pirate sites will not be allowed to continue to operate without facing relentless litigation by copyright holders.”

The TorrentSpy site shut down in March, after it lost its case against the MPAA, saying the legal climate was too hostile to continue. TorrentSpy did not lose on the merits, but defaulted after it failed to produce internal records.

TorrentSpy's lawyers filed a document in court Monday saying Valence Media and its owners Justin Bunnell and Wes Park had sought bankruptcy protection in a United Kingdom court and requesting that the judgment be stayed.

No U.S. case has squarely addressed the legalities of BitTorrent tracking services, although this case and the case against Isohunt founder Gary Fung, which is nearing a resolution, will likely have strong impacts on future rulings.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Great PayPal Alternative, Revolution Money Exchange Reviewed

revolution money exchangeA few months ago we covered a story on the new online payment site Revolution Money Exchange (R.M.E.), that is trying to create competition for PayPal and Google Checkout. After three months of use I can say the site seems to be headed in the right direction. Not just with verifying users through their SSN (more on that later) but also with added security and lower fees.

The peer to peer money exchange site launched nearly four months ago. At the time, chairman Ted Leonsis said, "We want to become for social networks what PayPal is for eBay."

Revolution Money Exchange has been aggressively courting new members with a $25 sign-up bonus which was a great incentive for us to try them out.

Signing Up:

Obviously signing up is the first step in the process, as with any other site you begin with your first and last name and then create a username and password. At this time you must also create a security question, this is important as you will later need to use this question to be able to log into your account.



In the second step you simply input your address, this must be your home address. This information will be used in the verification process. In the third step you will need to enter your correct date of birth and SSN this too is part of the verification process. You will also need to create a unique PIN number, again this will be needed later in order to access your account for transferring funds.




Collect Your $25 Sign-up Bonus:
Update - they no longer offer the $25 sign-up bonus

As previously stated in order to promote Revolution Money Exchange and generate traffic they have been giving away a $25 free sign-up bonus. The $25 bonus will be credited as a pending transaction to your Money Exchange account within twenty-four hours of your account approval. To accept the $25 bonus and have it transferred into your Money Exchange account for immediate use, you must login into your account and accept the $25 bonus within 30 days from the date we notify you of the availability of this bonus at the e-mail address you provided during your account registration.


Once you login and accept the funds they are yours to do with as you wish. In my case I had my funds almost immediately. I attached my bank account, I use and recommend using a secondary account with limited funds for both R.M.E. and PayPal, and withdrew the funds the next day. As with PayPal it usually takes a couple days for the funds to be available from your bank.

Security:

First and foremost I have to say Revolution Money Exchange's security is far greater than anything PayPal or Google Checkout has. Unlike either of the two whereas you only use a login ID and password to gain full access to an account, Revolution Money Exchange requires users to input a security question at login and a specialized PIN number for transferring funds. This double blind type security makes it very difficult for any wrong doers to cheat you out of your money.

I will say I found it a little tedious to begin with as there are a few extra steps involved but when looking at it from a security stand point and thinking of the numbers of people that have been phished over the years I can see how it could be beneficial.

While a phisher might be able to get my login id and password they'd have to go the extra mile in order to actually get my security question and there is almost no way at all that they could get my pin number.

Verifying Users:

The one area people question me about the most is the need to add your SSN. I'll admit at first I was skeptical, that's why I did the leg work and checked the company out before I signed up. I'll be the first to admit the only reason I originally signed up was for the $25 bonus. But I wasn't going into it blindfolded, I've seen too many scams over the years for that. So I did the research, the information I found is covered in my original blog post. From all my ongoing research I have yet to find anything that points to any negative activity, fraud or scams. As best as I can tell everything is on the up and up.

Flip MinoWhen you sign up for your MoneyExchange account they create and account for you at First Bank & Trust in Brookings, SD (Member FDIC). They in turn ask for your Social Security Number, which is then used to confirm your identity against other information you provide. This helps keep identity thieves from using your personal information to open a MoneyExchange account in your name. It also makes it harder for potential scammers to open accounts!

I'm still on the fence about this aspect of R.M.E. While I can see its a good way to keep out scammers, faking SSNs is something that is a lot harder to do than just being verified at PayPal, I feel it makes more people less likely to sign-up, therefore making it a bit harder to find people that use the service. From my point of view this creates a big catch-22.

Fees:

Sending and receiving funds on Money Exchange is free (as it is on PayPal for funds between two PayPal members) as well as transferring money to your bank account. A transaction fee applies for check withdrawals, check stop payments, paper statements, ACH returns, and overdrafts. See Schedule of Fees and Accountholder Agreement for more information.


My Conclusion:

As I've said I've used Revolution Money Exchange for a few months now, all in all the only two issues I have are not actually with the company itself nor are they with the site. Both seem to live up to my expectations. Transactions are handled smoothly and efficiently and the site never seems to have any downtime.

The first issue I faced was with eBay. According to eBay's Accepted Payments Policy you technically can not use R.M.E. for transactions. There is some ongoing debate about this however I've been told that sources at eBay have said they will not back R.M.E. as a payment option. Now obviously if both the buyer and seller agree to use R.M.E. then there is little that can be done, however should disputes over none payment arise you might be in a little trouble.

Flip MinoThe second issue is actually the lack of people that take R.M.E. Now this might simply be a case of me not doing as much trading as I have in the past therefore not finding them to be as prevalent. It could also be that the people are unaware of R.M.E. or they could be turned off by the SSN issue. However this is something that given time should remedy itself.

The same goes with Revolution Money Exchange and retailers or e-tailers, I haven't seen many that actually accept them as a form of payment. Not yet anyways! The RevolutionCard was recently part of a Buy.com promotion (see link) however that's a different part of the company.

All in all I can say this, I've never once had an issue with pay-pal. I have heard tons of horror stories but never once has anything bad happen on my end. So that said why change to R.M.E? Well I'm not to happy with the fee structure at Pay-Pal. I'm also not happy that eBay force feeds me those fees. While I've only used R.M.E. for a few months, granted that's typically longer than most people that right reviews, I won't go so far as to say they are the perfect answer however it is nice to have an alternative

NVIDIA Launches Hybrid SLI Technology

PC users love the visual realism that high-performance graphics processors give their PCs, but would rather do without the noise and power consumption typical of modern entertainment and gaming PCs. Starting today, however, they can have the best of both worlds, thanks to the new NVIDIA platforms based on the company’s Hybrid SLI technology. These new platforms are the foundation for a new breed of PCs that deliver a richer visual experience while reducing energy consumption and costs, fan noise, and even heat. The new technology is available immediately with new NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI and GeForce 8 Series based motherboards.



Hybrid SLI Overview
View Video Clip

"Hybrid SLI will give consumers the extra GPU performance they need for the increasing numbers of visual PC applications such as today’s PC games," said Drew Henry, general manager of platform business at NVIDIA. "And it will give gamers and PC enthusiasts the quiet and power savings they demand. Hybrid SLI components could very well pay for themselves over the life of the PC."

The visual capabilities of typical PCs are driven by either integrated graphics on the motherboard or by higher performance, discrete graphics cards, like NVIDIA GeForce® GPUs. Unfortunately, the most common integrated graphics chips lack the performance and features needed by many popular modern 3D applications, games, and movies. Discrete graphics cards deliver a far superior visual experience, but consume more energy.

Hybrid SLI-enabled motherboards eliminate this problem by putting a GeForce GPU directly on the motherboard. This GeForce GPU has better DirectX compatibility and HD movie playback capability than the most common integrated graphics chips found in today’s PCs, but consumes less energy than a discrete graphics card. But that’s only the start.


HybridPower
Unleashing graphics performance when needed, and switches to low-power operation for everyday computing.
View Video Clip

Designed for PC enthusiasts and hard-core gamers, the HybridPower feature completely powers down the discrete graphics cards and switches graphics processing to the motherboard GPU in applications where major 3D horsepower is not required, such as e-mail and Web surfing. Users will appreciate the lower energy consumption, quieter PC operation, and less heat. When additional 3D horsepower is needed, it can be manually transitioned back to discrete graphics cards using HybridPower technology, which are then powered up and ready to rock the 3D world. Hybrid SLI technology can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs over the life of the PC for high-end, enthusiast-class PCs, and deliver additional graphics performance for more mainstream desktops via these two features.i

For mainstream users, a Hybrid SLI technology feature called GeForce Boost allows the user to add an additional graphics card for even more graphics horsepower. By combining the performance of the motherboard GPU and graphics card discrete GPUs, GeForce Boost increases overall graphics performance up to 50% for today’s visually intensive applications and home entertainment.

"NVIDIA continues to deliver outstanding innovation for AMD CPUs. We are especially excited that HybridPower, a feature of NVIDIA Hybrid SLI, will be introduced exclusively on AMD CPU-based platforms," said Leslie Sobon, director, product marketing, AMD. "The AMD Phenom X4 quad-core processors, together with this motherboard’s HybridPower features, deliver powerful performance and energy efficiency, an important combination for AMD."


GeForce Boost
Get an average of 55% more performance on Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare!
View Video Clip

The Hybrid SLI-enabled desktop PC motherboards are designed to create a balanced PC with GeForce GPUs and AMD Phenom processors. Eight models, including a newly available nForce 780a SLI motherboard, are available:
  • nForce 780a SLI, nForce 750a SLI, nForce 730a, and nForce 720a
  • GeForce 8300, GeForce 8200, and GeForce 8100

Currently available Hybrid SLI-enabled discrete graphics cards include:
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 and NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX (both HybridPower-capable)
  • GeForce 8400 GS and GeForce 8500 GT (both GeForce Boost-capable)

Hybrid SLI-enabled PC motherboards for Intel processors and Hybrid SLI-enabled notebooks will be available in Q3 of 2008. For more information about NVIDIA Hybrid SLI technology please visit www.nvidia.com/Hybrid_SLI.

Santa Monica High School Team Wins National Science Bowl

The Associated Press reported yesterday that four California high school students from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. used a complex mathematical function called a Maclaurin series to come up with the correct answer — "two-thirds" — Monday to win the Energy Department's annual National Science Bowl.

The team beat 66 other schools and won a trip to the International Youth Science Forum in London this summer.

"We felt that if we were going to win it, it was going to be this year. Our team was just really solid," Dimitry Petrenko, 18, the team's earth sciences specialist, said after the win.

Petrenko and his teammates, Alexandre Boulgakov, 16, Marino Di Franco, 16, and Ian Fels Scheffler, 17, planned to celebrate by going out to dinner.

"Each of our guys really knows their stuff," said coach Ingo Gaida, a biology teacher at Santa Monica High School. "It's not like they're just studying for the competition; they just really love their subjects."

A team from Mira Loma High School of Sacramento, Calif., placed second, winning a trip to a nuclear science facility in France. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Va., placed third and will get a trip to an accelerator facility in Virginia. Fairview High School of Boulder, Colo., came in fourth place.

More than 300 high school students on 67 teams participated in the competition. They represented 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The top 16 finishers each received $1,000 for their school science departments.

Grand Theft Auto IV Sales Top $500 Million

The Associated Press: Grand Theft Auto IV video game tops $500M in 1st-week sales

Video-game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said Wednesday that sales of its popular and eagerly anticipated title "Grand Theft Auto IV" reached more than $500 million in its first week of availability.

The company said it has sold more than 6 million units globally since the game was released April 29.

The New York-based company said it sold 3.6 million units on its opening day alone, worth a retail value of $310 million worldwide.

"Grand Theft Auto IV" follows the criminal exploits of protagonist Niko Bellic, an immigrant-turned-gangster who travels from Eastern Europe to Liberty City, the game's fictional locale based on New York City. As Bellic, players can hijack cars, earn cash for criminal activities, shoot innocent bystanders and visit strip clubs.

Critics say the extreme violence in "Grand Theft Auto" video games could be harmful to children, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving has complained that the latest version includes the ability to drive while intoxicated.



Grand Theft Auto IVGrand Theft Auto IV $49.99 after Google Checkout


Grand Theft Auto IV: Special EditionGrand Theft Auto IV: Special Edition $79.99 after Google Checkout

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Released to Web and Windows Update

After a few delays due to data corruption issues between XP SP3 and its retail point-of-sale software Windows finally released SP3 to the to Web and Windows Update. Microsoft has also resumed automatic distribution of Windows Vista, Service Pack 1 (SP1), which had been halted because of a similar problem.


Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers’ experience with the operating system. This white paper summarizes what is new in Windows XP SP3.

DOWNLOAD: Network Installation (316.4MB) | ISO CD Image File (545MB).

Microsoft still is not offering either service pack to Microsoft Dynamics RMS customers, having put in place a filter on Windows Update to prevent distribution to those customers. The company is still working on a fix it expects to have available later this month, it said.

Half Price Rock Band Songs

Source Major Neslon
MTV Games and Harmonix have teamed up with McDonald’s to drop the price on select Rock Band tracks in the United States and Canada. Each week until June 1st, you can grab two new tracks for 80 points each. To help you budget your time and money, here is the schedule of tracks:

5/6/08-5/12/08 :
Crushcrushcrush - Paramore
Rock 'n Roll Band - Boston

5/13/08-5/19/08 :
Shockwave - Black Tide
Sugar Magnolia - Grateful Dead

5/20/08-5/26/08:
We Care A Lot - Faith No More
All the Small Things - Blink 182

5/27/08-6/2/08:
Gimme Three Steps - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Dirty Little Secret - All-American Rejects

The lower price will start tomorrow at 0200 PT. But I wanted to give everyone a heads up as soon as I found out about this promotion.

Take-Two Sues Over Pulled GTA 4 Ads

Reuters reports that Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., the publisher of the controversial "Grand Theft Auto 4", has sued the Chicago Transit Authority in Manhattan federal court for violating its free speech and contractual rights, saying it pulled its posters within days of the ads first appearing on April 22.

Take Two accused the Chicago Transit Authority and its sales agent, Titan Outdoor LLC, of violating a $300,000 ad campaign agreement that included running "Grand Theft Auto 4" poster ads on the sides of buses and transit display spaces throughout the Chicago transit system scheduled for six weeks between April and June.

The suit seeks an order for the transit authority to run the ads as well as monetary damages of at least $300,000.

"Although we prefer to resolve these issues amicably," a Take-Two spokesperson said in a statement, "the CTA has refused to discuss with us its outrageous decision to pull advertising for the critically acclaimed game Grand Theft Auto IV while running ads for other forms of popular entertainment with similar content, including mature-themed TV shows and R-rated movies."

A CTA representative said at the time that the decision to pull the campaign was made not because of complaints over the GTA IV ads, but due to complaints over a series of ads that Take-Two ran in 2004 for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. However Reuters reports that the suit said ads were removed following a report by a Fox News affiliate that questioned why the ad was allowed to run after a wave of violent crimes in Chicago,.

Consumer Reports Says Apple Tops In Tech Support

According to recent findings by Consumer Reports Apple's technical support is much more likely to solve users' problems than rival computer makers' help desks.

In Consumer Reports’ annual reliability survey for the June 2008 issue 80 percent of the users that contacted Apple’s technical support reported that they had their computer problem solved. The industry average last year was 60 percent.

The survey, which polled subscribers on their experiences with technical support from September 2006 to January 2008, represented more than 10,000 desktop and laptop machines.
Apple led its rivals in both the laptop and desktop categories with reader scores of 83 and 81 percent. For laptop support, Lenovo finished second with a score of 66, followed by Dell (60), Toshiba (55), and Gateway (54); Sony (51) and HP (48) finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Lenovo finished second with a score of 66, followed by Dell (60), Toshiba (55), and Gateway (54); Sony (51) and HP (48) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

For more on the survey check out these two great articles: