Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Apple Plans "Fixes" For 3G iPhone

At Tuesday's Apple's "Let's Rock" event in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs hinted that Apple's release of the much anticipated 2.1 software update is a "big update" that would fix "lots of bugs."

Apple hasn't released the exact details of what the update will "fix" however speculations is that is covers the security hole and 3G reception issues, faster iTunes backups, improved battery life and overall better performance. The update is also said to add new features which include better GPS functionality, which could power true turn-by-turn directions; and the push notification service.

The new iPhone 2.1 firmware update will be available for download on Friday, September 12 2008.

Old News Good News For Google

Google's official blog announced yesterday that they will be stepping up efforts to digitize dozens of historical newspapers and make scanned images of the original papers available online.

Google began work on the project 2 years ago when they began working with The New York Times and the Washington Post, in an effort that involved the indexing of digital archives maintained by these papers. Since then, the company has reached out to other newspapers, and worked with companies that aggregate text content, such as ProQuest. Google's announcement highlights a partnership with the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, which has been publishing continuously since 1764, making it North America's oldest newspaper.

Not only will you be able to search through the old newspapers, you'll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed -- photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all.

You’ll be able to explore search the Google News Archive as a standalone site or by using the timeline feature after searching Google News. Google has said not every search will trigger this new content, however searching key historical stories should pull some results.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Google Chrome Fights Security Flaws, Updates TOS

Since Google's official release of Google Chrome on Tuesday the security flaws have been piling up the latest being a "SaveAs" critical buffer-overflow vulnerability that could allow a hacker to perform a remote attack and take control of a users PC.

Vietnamese security company Bach Khoa Internet Security (BKIS) has posted details of a new a flaw in Google Chrome that the company says is a critical buffer-overflow vulnerability that could allow a hacker to perform a remote attack and take complete control of the affected system.

"The vulnerability is caused due to a boundary error when handling the 'SaveAs' function," BKIS explains on its Web site. "On saving a malicious page with an overly long title (title tag in HTML), the program causes a stack-based overflow and makes it possible for attackers to execute arbitrary code on users' systems."

To successfully exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would have to convince someone to visit a malicious page and then attempt to save the page.

This is the third extremely high risk security flaw found in the new browser. Earlier this week, security researcher Aviv Raff found that a flaw in the open source WebKit engine could be combined with a Java bug to install malware on Chrome users' desktops.

And another security researcher, Rishi Narang, reported a way to crash Chrome with a malicious link. Proof-of-concept code has been posted.

At Milw0rm.com, a repository for security exploit code, two other Chrome exploits have been published. Someone identified as "Nerex" has posted proof-of-concept JavaScript code that supposedly "allows files (e.g., executables) to be automatically downloaded to the user's computer without any user prompt." (This may be related to the vulnerability that Raff found.) And someone identified as "WHK" has published code that supposedly will crash Chrome.

Google has also announced an Update to Google Chrome's Terms of Service.

After several users expressed concerns that Section 11 of Google Chrome's terms of service could potentially give Google rights to any user-generated content "submitted, posted or displayed on or through" the browser Google graciously removed that part of the wording from the TOS.

You'll notice if you look at our other products that many of them are governed by Section 11 of our Universal Terms of Service. This section is included because, under copyright law, Google needs what's called a "license" to display or transmit content. So to show a blog, we ask the user to give us a license to the blog's content. (The same goes for any other service where users can create content.) But in all these cases, the license is limited to providing the service. In Gmail, for example, the terms specifically disclaim our ownership right to Gmail content.

So for Google Chrome, only the first sentence of Section 11 should have applied. We're sorry we overlooked this, but we've fixed it now, and you can read the updated Google Chrome terms of service. If you're into the fine print, here's the revised text of Section 11:

11. Content license from you
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

And that's all. Period. End of section.

It might have been a minor oversight, but the language led to many major concerns. It's great to see that Google listened to the concerns of it's users.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Symantec Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Norton Upgrades

A Superior Court judge has certified a class action lawsuit against Symantec Corporation, the maker of Norton Products.

The lawsuit, Heverly/Margolis vs. Symantec Corp., was filed on behalf of people who purchased online upgrades of certain Norton products. According to the suit, installing the products resulted in the uninstallation of another Norton subscription product prior to the expiration of that product.

Examples of include Norton AntiSpam, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, Norton SystemWorks, Norton Confidential and Norton 360.

The Class affects persons who installed their upgrade product between December 5, 2001 and April 11, 2008. It does not include customers who purchased upgrades through Symantec's online store.

The following information was obtained at www.heverly-nortoncase.com



What Is This Notice About? This notice is about a lawsuit which has been filed in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County in California entitled Heverly/Margolis vs. Symantec Corp. On May 7, 2008, the Superior Court certified this case as a class action on behalf of persons and entities who purchased online upgrades of certain Norton antivirus and Internet security-type software products, the installation of which resulted in the uninstallation of another Norton subscription product prior to the expiration of that product's subscription. Examples of this software include Norton AntiSpam, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, Norton SystemWorks, Norton Confidential and Norton 360. The Class consists of persons and entities who installed their upgrade product between December 5, 2001 and April 11, 2008, but does not include those who purchased upgrades through Symantec's online store.

What Is This Lawsuit About? The lawsuit alleges that Symantec Corporation, the company that sells Norton computer security products, has an unlawful policy of terminating subscription time of certain customers who purchased upgrades without providing a credit or refund for unused subscription time, and fails to disclose this policy. Symantec denies these allegations and asserts that, at all times, its actions and business practices have been lawful and appropriate. The Court has not ruled on the merits of the claims.

Why Did I Get This Notice? You have been sent this notice because you may be a member of the Class described above and your rights may be affected by the lawsuit.
Do I Need To Do Anything? If you wish to remain in this case, you are not required to do anything at this time. If you remain in this case, you will be bound by any judgment that may be entered in this action, whether it is favorable or unfavorable. This means that if there is a recovery, you may be entitled to share in the proceeds of that recovery. If there is no recovery, you may not pursue a lawsuit on your own involving any of the same issues in this lawsuit.

If you wish to be excluded from this case, you must send a written request for exclusion in accordance with the directions set forth at www.heverly-nortoncase.com. Requests for exclusion must be postmarked by November 19, 2008.

Where Can I Get More Information? This is only a summary notice. You should go to www.heverly-nortoncase.com to obtain more detailed information.

How Do I Contact the Lawyers for the Class? The email address for the lawyers representing the class is nortoncase@heverlylawyers.com.


Google Chrome Lives Up To The Hype, Well Sorta

With only a few days under its belt the much talked about, much hyped Google Chrome browser has already grabbed more than 1% of the browser market.

The new Web browser was officially released in beta on Tuesday and quickly began grabbing at the market share held by Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera and others.

Net tracking companies Net Applications Inc. and StatCounter are reporting Google Chrome's total market share reached around 1%, less than 24 hours after the browser's launch, passing rivals such as Opera and Netscape in the process. So far the new browser has topped out with about a 1.57 percent of browser share, but then sunk back down after the initial excitement to 1.06 percent--still ahead of Opera's .74 percent.

It didn't take long for the buzz to die out around Chrome once bugs starting appearing and the "Chrome" quickly tarnished.

Google has posted a page of known Chrome issues. These include laptops failing to sleep when running Chrome, various network errors related to proxies, lack of support for SSL client authentication, inability to remove entries from the Most Visited sites page, and issues with Google Calendar, Docs, and Spreadsheet.

Many users, myself include, have commented on the rather large memory footprint and processor thread count that Chrome creates. Chrome's isolated tabs eat more memory because it essentially opens a separate instance of the browser for each tab. Basically when you have 3 tabs open you have 3 separate version of the browser running, something that was a little confusing when view my running processes.

Early benchmarks show that Chrome might consume has much as 60-80% more resources than FireFox, IE7 or Opera.

In my tests Chrome was very responsive. Page load times seemed to be faster than FireFox 3 or IE8 Beta 2, pages seemed to render much crisper and cleaner than IE8. However I didn't like the overall feel. The browser looks too generic, almost juvenile. The lack of support for RSS feeds, my Google toolbar or any other extensions left me wanting more.

Google has promised extension support sometime down the road, "We don't have that in the beta today, but we definitely plan an extension API," or application programming interface, Sundar Pichai, a Google vice president of product management, said at the Chrome launch event Tuesday. "It is one of the things we will get to next."

Anyone that has yet to try out the new browser it can be downloaded here in a version for Windows XP and Vista.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Debuts

Dell has confirmed that the new Dell, Dell 910 aka Dell Inspiron Mini 9, the Eee like PC will officially be unveiled this week.

dell mini 9

Dell still won’t confirm the previous leaked specs or the 2lb laptops official name however here is what has been confirmed:

The mini PC will be small starting at just 2.28 lbs* with an 8.9" screen. It is available in two classic colors: black and white. On the inside we'll see a new Intel Atom processor with your choice of Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04 (Linux) or Windows XP. You will also gave a complete set of optional accessories "Designed for Dell." (no comments available on those).

Dell Magazine today leaked a few more details with the the Inspiron Mini 9 on page 4 and 5 giving us a better idea of what some of the option might be. There are three configurations shown:

Introducing the new Inspiron Mini 9 Standard Edition starting at only $349!
E-Value Code 6F961-DNPCXW1
Intel Atom N270
Ubuntu 8.04
512Mb Memory
Dell Wireless (G)

Social Edition - $399
E-Value Code 6F961-DNPCXW2
Intel Atom N270
Ubuntu 8.04
512Mb Memory
Dell Wireless (G)
0.3 MP Webcam

XP Edition - $449 (regularly $494)
E-Value Code 6F961-DNPCXW3
Intel Atom N270
Windows XP Home SP3 (yes SP3)
1Gb Memory
Dell Wireless (G)
1.3 Mb Webcam

Get a $99 Mini 9:
According to the Direct 2 Dell Blog you’ll be able to get a Mini 9 for only $99 with the purchase of a Dell Studio 15, Dell XPS M1530 or Dell XPS M1330 laptop through 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 (U.S. only).

Intel Releases 3 Low Cost CPUs

Intel announced a new string of low-cost quad-core and Core 2 Duo desktop processors as well as a new budget Celeron D model.

Intel's first offering is a new 45-nanometer Q8200 at $224 (currently priced $199 @ Newegg), one of the least expensive quad-core chips that the company now offers. The processor has a front-side bus speed of 1333 MHz a core clock speed of 2.33GHz and 4MB of cache memory. The new chip lacks Intel’s Trusted Execution Technology and seems to lack Intel’s Virtualization Technology as well

The pricing point places it between the venerable Q6600 and the Q9300, both of which have larger caches, higher speed ratings and VT meaning they are going to be better selection. This leaves many people wondering why Intel would release such a crippled CPU at this price point.

Intel also shows a new E series Core 2 Duo processor. The E5200 is priced at $84, the lowest-cost Core 2 Duo chip on the list. It has a core clock speed of 2.5GHz, 2MB of cache memory, and an 800MHz front-side bus.

Finally Intel lists a new Celeron D processor for $53. The 450 slots in above the current 440. The 450 runs at 2.2GHz, has 512K of cache memory, and an 800MHz front-side bus.

Comcast Sets 250-gigabyte Monthly Cap

Last week Comcast announced that beginning Oct. 1 it will have a 250G-byte cap on monthly residential bandwidth, with the broadband provider saying it may send warnings to subscribers who go over the limit or exhibit excessive usage. If a subscriber goes over the limit a second time within a six-month period after getting an initial warning, Comcast will suspend the customer's account for a year.

According to Charlie Douglas, Comcast's director of communications, less than 1 percent of users will be affected by the limit, and customers who go over the 250G-byte cap will not automatically be warned, depending on whether they are in that top 1 percent.

Comcast has yet to clarify what is covered by the cap, for instance it's unclear whether Comcast traffic, including VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service, would be counted in the cap. However unlikely it may seem Comcast digital voice users might just be getting a cold shoulder in the deal.

Critics are quick to point out that while 250GB may seem like a lot (and for an average user it might be), add in things like a gaming console (PS3 or xBox), Vonage, Skype and services like Blockbusters new on-demand video rental, on-demand TV like Hulu or Joost and the bandwidth usage adds up quickly.

That's not even mentioning the occasional HD movie rental from iTunes, catching up with your favorite shows via streaming video or watching YouTube videos for a couple of days. Just because the average user only uses a computer to send emails does not mean there is not a substantial portion of users who use a lot of bandwidth on a daily basis, and no, not for piracy-related matters.

I think Comcast needs to re-think what the "average" user is.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Warning: Windows XP SP3 Users IE 8 Beta 2 Installation Is Irreversible

Yesterday we reported that Microsoft had released the second beta version of Internet Explorer 8. Shortly after that announcement we found out that installing IE8 beta on systems running Windows XP SP3 would be irreversible.

According to a Microsoft IEBlog post, users of Windows XP SP3 who installed the IE8 Beta 1 pior to installing XP SP3 may actually find the browser being locked into their system without any chance to remove the browser without a full reinstallation of the operation system.

This scenario will be in place if you installed IE8 Beta 1 before installing Windows XP SP3 and you now are now choosing to install IE8 Beta 2 on top of Beta 1 - and ignore a window with a warning. Microsoft said that you will be able to install Internet Explorer 8 Beta2, but once installed, you will not be able to uninstall either IE8 or Windows XP SP3 later.

“If you chose to continue, Windows XP SP3 and IE8 Beta2 will become permanent. You will still be able to upgrade to later IE8 builds as they become available, but you won’t be able to uninstall them,” program manager Jane Maliouta wrote in her blog post.

To avoid being locked into SP3 and IE Beta 2 we strongly encourage you to follow these steps before installing Internet Explorer Beta 2 (Again this only applies if you installed SP3 after installing Beta 1 or the uninstall of Beta 1 is greyed out):

  1. Uninstall Windows XP SP3
  2. Uninstall IE8 Beta 1
  3. Re- install Windows XP SP3
  4. Install IE8 Beta2

For more information check out the IEBlog's guide "Upgrading To IE8".

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Steve Jobs Has One Hell Of An Obituary, Even If He Is Still Alive

Steve Jobs may have been in a battle with pancreatic cancer and speculation over his health may continue to be a subject touched on by many in the press however he hasn't passed away, not yet anyways.
So it might have come as a shocker when Bloomberg financial newswire inadvertently published his obituary!

Gawker was able to grab a a full copy of the obituary moments before it was pulled Gawker. com - Steve Jobs's Obituary, As Run By Bloomberg and a minor retraction issued.

As previously mentioned there has been much speculation about Jobs' health since he appeared to have lost a great deal of weight and looked gaunt at the The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

Many wondered if Jobs' was suffering from a reoccurrence of pancreatic cancer that he had in 2003. Subsequently, rumors were fueled by media reports which further speculated about the health of the Apple leader, including debates about whether Jobs' health was a private matter (which I personally believe it is), if he was in fact ill -- which Apple denied.

Geek-news.net would like to wish Mr. Jobs a long happy and healthy life.

Malware That Is Out Of This World

NASA confirmed yesterday that Malware has managed to get off the planet and onto the International Space Station and it's not the first time that a worm or virus has stowed away on a trip into orbit.

Laptops brought aboard The International Space Station were infected with a computer worm known as W32.Gammima.AG.

W32.Gammima.AG is a worm that mainly attacks gamers. It spreads by copying itself to removable media and then attempts to steal passwords to various online games.

Wired magazine said that NASA characterized the virus as a "nuisance" and said it was only on "non-critical space station laptops" that have e-mail and nutritional experiments. Furthermore, NASA said the July virus wasn't the first computer virus to hit the final frontier.

"This is not the first time we have had a worm or a virus," NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries told Wired. "It's not a frequent occurrence, but this isn't the first time."

The first public reports of the malware was logged on Aug. 14. In NASA's daily status report on the station, the agency said that Sergey Volkov, the ISS commander, was "working on the Russian RSS-2 laptop" and "ran digital photo flash cards from stowage through a virus check with Norton AntiVirus"

A week later, on Aug. 21, Volkov "checked another Russian laptop, today RSK-1, for software virus by scanning its hard drives and a photo disk."

The next day, Volkov transmitted antivirus scanning results from the laptop to Earth, and U.S. astronaut Greg Chamitoff scanned another computer for possible infection. NASA also said in Friday's report that all laptops on board the ISS were being loaded with antivirus software.

"All A31p laptops onboard are currently being loaded with [the] latest [Norton AntiVirus] software and updated definition files for increased protection," said NASA.

Microsoft Launches IE8 Beta 2

Earlier this week Microsoft delivered on a promise made early in June by long time Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, then still a full-time employee of the company, that it would post IE8 Beta 2 before the end of August.

The newest version of Internet Explorer offers a set of features that makes Web browsing faster and more intuitive, including more intelligent tabs, a much improved Address Bar, and new tools designed to deliver information from other Web pages and services.

The beta has other new features as well, including those that improve privacy and security, and InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Blocking or what some people have called "porn mode." The beta is still rough in some places, but for anyone interested in seeing the next big browser release, it's stable, useful and well worth the download.

Keep in mind that IE8 is beta, and therefore may be buggy. In addition, if you install it, it will replace IE7 rather than run alongside it, so you won't be able to run IE7 and IE8, although IE8's compatibility mode does a good job of working with sites built for IE7.

IE8 Beta 2 can be downloaded from its own page or from Microsoft's Download Center.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Apple Faces Lawsuit Over Misleading iPhone Advertising

Lawyers for Jessica Alena Smith filed suit in U.S. District Court in Alabama and seeking damages in excess of $5 million against Apple Inc. for misleading her with their commercials which said the newly-released handset is “twice as fast.”

In a 10-page complaint filed in court, Smith said that her iPhone 3G was not at all what Apple ads said it would be. While Apple made profit by selling its famed handsets, she, and other customers as well, had been misled into buying the new version of the iPhone, but did not get for their money what the producer said they would.

"Defendant intended for customers to believe its statements and representations about the Defective iPhone 3Gs, and to trust that the device was 'twice as fast at half the price'," the unsatisfied customer wrote in the complaint.

The lawsuit seeks "actual, general, special, incidental, statutory, and consequential damages," plus interest and attorneys fees.

Apple customers have been complaining about 3G network problems since the iPhone's July 11 debut. Since then, several thousand messages have been posted to Apple's support forum, detailing difficulties making calls from areas supposedly covered by a 3G network and griping about weak signals, dropped calls and slower-than-promised data download speeds.

On Monday, Apple issued an iPhone software update that a company spokeswoman said "improves communication with 3G networks." Complaints have continued to surface on Apple's support forum, reporting that the iPhone 2.0.2 update did nothing to solve their 3G reception and connection problems.

Smith's lawsuit touched on Apple's promises stating, "The defendant (Apple Inc.) expressly warranted that the defective iPhone 3G would be "twice as fast" and would otherwise perform adequately on the 3G standard or protocol," it says.

"The defective iPhone 3Gs do not conform to these express representations because they fail to connect and/or adequately maintain a connection to the 3G standard and/or protocol."

The lawsuit asked that a federal judge grant the case class-action status, claiming that "the proposed Class contains thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of members." Smith also asked the court to force Apple to repair or replace the iPhone 3G, and award her, and if the case is given class-action status, other iPhone owners, an unspecified amount of money in damages.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sony Announces New 160 GB PS3

Today at the Leipzig Games Convention, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced it would release a new 160GB PlayStation 3 in Europe for €449 ($660) shortly after that announcement Sony Computer Entertainment America announced a similar model for the American market with a $499 price tag.

The new limited edition Drake: Uncharted Fortune PS3 bundle using the new 160GB hard drive will include a DualShock 3 wireless controller and a free download of the game PAIN. The limited edition bundle will go on sale in November, just time for the holidays.

President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Jack Tretton said in a statement, "As PLAYSTATION Network continues to evolve with our recently launched video delivery service and more exclusive games, PS3 owners are demanding more storage capacity. Consumers also are utilizing PS3 as an entertainment hub for their digital media, placing content such as their entire music collection on the hard drive. The 160GB PS3 system addresses this growing consumer demand in a compelling bundle that delivers significant value."

In addition to the new PS3 Sony also introduced a new Wireless Keypad accessory that attaches to the top of standard PS3 controllers. Sony says that the Wireless Keypad is paired to the PS3 by connecting it with the USB cable to the PS3 system. Once paired with the PS3 the keyboard connects to the PS3 with built-in Bluetooth.

eBay Cuts Fixed Price Auction Fees

ebay logo

eBay announced on Wednesday that it will be lowering fees on fixed-price "Buy It Now" listings in most categories. The highlight of the new fee structure is a flat rate of $0.35 for "Buy It Now" auctions and an extension of the listings' time length from seven to 30 days. eBay has also said they will let merchants list multiple quantities of the same item for a single $0.35 fee.

The most impacted category is the one for books, music, DVDs, movies and video games, which will see an even lower flat-fee listing fee of $0.15, but higher commission charges. A full run-down of the new fee structure has been posted in this page.

The move which becomes effective September 16, is a bid to reduce the clutter of similar items on eBay -- 100 pairs of white socks will now be sold as a group, for example. The change comes just in time to boost business heading into the crucial holiday season.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Study Shows 35% Of Vista PCs Downgraded To XP

According to market research firm Devil Mountain Software, which runs a global community-based network to collect “real-world” metrics from windows computers, almost 35% of users who purchased a PC within the past six months downgraded from Windows Vista to Windows XP. Apparently, this trend continues, despite the fact that Microsoft officially retired Windows XP from retail and OEM channels back in June.

The survey covered more than 3000 users who voluntarily provided data to Devil Mountain's exo.performance.network. Devil Mountain came up with final results by matching vendor and system ID data from the exp.performance.network database and comparing it with system vendor offerings, which enables the firm to estimate the number of systems most likely shipped within the past six months.

"Either these machines were downgraded by Dell or HP, or they were downgraded by the user after they got the machine," said Devil Mountain's chief technology officer Craig Barth. "In any case, these machines are no longer running Vista." The EULAs for Vista Business (including Vista Enterprise) and Vista allows end users to downgrade to Windows XP Professional. Barth noted that 35% is an estimate rather than an exact figure. However, he considers the result an indication that "people are taking advantage of Vista's downgrade rights."

The study does not mention the reasons customer give for using the downgrade option so frequent it just gives an estimate on the total numbers that have been downgraded. However, the news about the survey’s findings contradicts Microsoft’s expectations of stronger Vista sales in the short term. The downgrade option will bed phased out in a few months and then customers won’t have the alternative anymore.

There may be a glimmer of hope coming from Microsoft as soon as next year with Microsoft set to reveal Windows Seven features as early as next month. Until then I suggest anyone wanting to avoid Vista to check out DistroWatch.com and try some of my favorite Linux distributions, which include Open Suse, Slackware and Ubuntu.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Microsoft Set To Reveal Windows 7 Features Next Month

Microsoft said that it will publicly reveal details and "in-depth technical information" about Windows 7 to developers attending its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) set to take place from October 26-29 and at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) scheduled for November 5-7.

On Thursday Microsoft launched the new Windows 7 blog headed by Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan, senior engineering team leaders.

"With this blog we’re opening up a two-way discussion about how we are making Windows 7. Windows has all the challenges of every large scale software project—picking features, designing them, developing them, and delivering them with high quality. Windows has an added challenge of doing so for an extraordinarily diverse set of customers. As a team and as individuals on the team we continue to be humbled by this responsibility."

Microsoft has said it is aiming for the launch of Windows 7 for late 2009 or early 2010. The company first demonstrated Windows Seven and its new multi-touch technology, among other features, at the WSJ's D: All Things Digital conference in May.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

AMD Launches ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2, World’s Fastest Graphics Card

AMD today announced what is being labeled as the world’s fastest graphics card, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. Also announced today is the ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 graphics card.

Based on an advanced 55nm design and leading DirectX® 10.1 support, the ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series delivers engineering elegance and the industry’s most compelling feature set. The ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 is immediately available from e-tailers worldwide priced at USD $549 SRP, while the ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 is scheduled to be available in September at an estimated price of USD $399.

“The ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series is proof that our graphics strategy is working. The response from OEMs, system integrators, game developers, press, and most importantly, from gamers regarding the ATI Radeon HD 4800 series products has been incredibly positive. Now, only a few short weeks after the launch of those products, AMD reclaims the ultimate performance crown and continues to deliver winning products to market in the ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD. “The ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series continues AMD technology leadership with support for DirectX 10.1, tessellation, and now 2GB of frame buffer. The new products join a line-up of stellar offerings, all of which are designed to give gamers experiences that approach eye-definition computing.”

The graphics chips used on the 4870 X2 run at clock speeds of 750MHz, while the chips used on the 4850 X2 run at 625MHz. Another difference lies in the graphics memory used on the two cards. The 4870 X2 has 2G-bytes of GDDR5 (graphics double data rate 5) memory, while the 4850 X2 has 2G bytes of GDDR3 memory.

AMD ATI Radeon 4870 X2 reviews:

Source: AMD

Once You Know, You Newegg

Monday, August 11, 2008

Steve Jobs Confirms iPhone Kill Switch

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has confirmed the existence of the so-called "kill switch" capability, some form of application blacklist built into the new 3G iPhone. Jobs came forward with the information following last week's ruckus over early reports of just such a function.

The admission came from Jobs at the bottom of a story in today's Wall Street Journal about Apple's first month of sales at its App Store.

Apple needs it in case it inadvertently allows a malicious program -- one that stole users' personal data, for example -- to be distributed to iPhones through the App Store. "Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull," he says.

Hacker Jonathan Zdziarski was the first to discover the mechanism that periodically checks in with an Apple Web page for applications that should be removed. Until Jobs' comments, Apple had refused to discuss the matter.

Zdziarski, author of the books iPhone Forensics and iPhone Open Application Development, offered up information on his blog on how disable the functionality using the iPhone Dev Team's Pwnage Tool.

So far there are no confirmed cases of Apple deactivating any iPhone applications remotely, however the company has been criticized for removing applications from the App Store without explanation. One such application was Nullriver's NetShare, which makes it possible for iPhone customers to use their high-speed Internet connections to provide Web access to a PC.